"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Oct 6, 2016

Mini Me's

Long ago a friend gave me a Frida Kahlo calendar with twelve self portraits by this unusual, fascinating artist with great eyebrows. I doubt I'll publish a calendar but I’ve got at least 12 visages on gourds...my own collection of Mini Me's? Most are under 4 inches tall. How can I incorporate them in a storyline?

I passed a small encampment appropriately named (sic) Train Town in rural Arkansas.  It bugged me for miles that I didn’t turn around to take a picture but it would have been rude so I’ll describe it for you.

About 12-15 rusting Boxcars were lined up with just enough space in between to park a mid-size car.  This wasn’t some Chi-Chi Small Living Space experimental commune on one of the gazillion television shows wasting our time. Rather, this showcases the terrible lack of affordable housing.  Those of us living in more affluent conditions often forget, are unaware or simply choose to ignore this problem while focusing on the plights of others half a world away.  “Tend your own garden,” Mom would say.  Then let's save the world without hypocrisy.

A good friend in Puerto Rico, my art-mentor actually, gave me a piece of advice years ago when I explained my desire to promote economic equality when it comes to Fair Housinng (click to view) in this country.

“You may not be able to (affect) the change yourself, but you can keep the idea alive until change DOES happen.”  And this from an interview with a civil activist:  “If you expect to see an answer, you haven’t asked a big enough question.”

I listened with interest to the radio story about (sic) Sgt. Josephine and his her struggles as a former man’s-man cop: beauty maintenance, harassment and his astonishment that the Missus didn’t understand and demanded a divorce. After a time Josie missed being married and went back to Joe, but that didn’t last either because the wife’s demands were extensive and included, “Not even dressing up on weekends.” So after 6 weeks, which were undoubtedly as agonizing for his wife as himself, Joe is trying again to be Josie.

You know I drowned my own at birth, but I still have opinions when it comes to Mini Us-uns.  I am particularly disturbed by stories of parents who are encouraging their children to transition…as young as age 4?  What do they know? The microphone is stuck in a toddler’s face and I hear voices which belong on, “Kids Say the Darndest Things”:

“I wanna be a boy,” or, “I want (other kids) to stop being mean to me.”

Really?  Parents?  You’re subjecting your children to something they can’t possibly comprehend for what?  Your sound bite of fame? Since people are demanding laws to protect the LGBT community, which I support, how about including one that restricts minors from having surgeries or taking medications to transition until they’re…what’s reasonable?  12?  14?  I’d say 18 and Emancipation but I live on another planet.

I should’ve been a boy, and if I was a kid today I’m sure I’d pressure my parents, just like I did for that Troll Doll in 1963.  I liked climbing trees.  I still prize my Matchbox collection.  I love wearing men’s shirts, sweaters and coats (something to do with the buttoning?); and gladly helped other band-mates tie our uniform ties.  I loathe manicures and massages. I lead when I dance.

If that's not enough, I prefer listening and contributing to men’s conversation more than women’s at parties, which wasn’t easy in Puerto Rico’s macho society but I was tolerated.  Babies make me run for cover.  I always wanted to scream like Faye Raye in King Kong but I sound more like Janis Joplin.  Dad called me George when we built things in his garage workshop, which I enjoyed more than perfecting my culinary skills in the kitchen.

As I’ve grown I’ve only learned more traditionally-masculine skills, like engine maintenance and bailing dinghies, and earning admiration from friends of all persuasions for my chutzpah. I survived, and thrived, without surgery.  I remind friends it hasn’t all been out of choice but  survival.  I’ve had to toughen up because there’s often no choice, and just like everything the more you do something the easier it gets.

If it wasn’t for Uncle Sam I’d likely be living under a bridge, so I’ll be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for that if nothing else.  I also have an Obama-Phone, which some people say with a sneer.  Well let me tell you, I’ve had phone difficulties in the past because I couldn’t afford even the most basic cell phone service.  This is my ONLY cell phone. It does text but I don’t. No camera, no Apps; but if I was homeless I could receive a reminder of a doctor’s appointment or a job interview. In my case, it’s comforting to know that wherever I am I can always dial 911 if I'm really in a jam.

But that’s neither here nor there.  I’ve made it into Texas. Fooled by cooling weather in Mississippi and Arkansas, I pulled out summer clothing to donate to Goodwill. One minute I'm surrounded by trees near Texarkana; then suddenly they're gone and it's hot again. Oh, no…I can’t have finished with seasons already?

Only for a time.  I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to be Irish to have their legendary luck. I’ve been very fortunate with the weather during my travels, especially considering that most of the time I didn’t know where I was heading. Avoid Florida is something I'm particularly glad of, you can imagine.

I saw a story about that exclusive hotel in Paris where that celebrity was attacked.  I’m not particularly a fan but how frightening for anyone. Just goes to show that $10,000 (or whatever) a night can’t assure one’s safety.  Too many crazies out there willing to push more and more boundaries, even when it comes to National Security, for things as trite as fame, money and reality shows.  Better off learning to use a hatchet.

Well, this is mostly rhetorical and I’m finished with my twelve Mini Me’s so I'll close.  I have more Me's on flatter surfaces but twelve Me’s is eleven too many. Or ten, if I count Ego Amy.

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Original gourd art designs Copyright 2020 Andrea Jansen Designs. Please write for permission.



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