Community Service

Prompt: Community

1950 Brownie Uniform

Dear Wednesday,

When I was nine or ten it became urgently necessary that I join the Brownies. This community group was a kind of junior Girl Scout troop, whose uniform was a delicious chocolate-coloured dress with a belt, a scarf, a tam; a little military in nature. On Fridays all the Brownies in my elementary school wore their cool uniforms to class and then afterward went on to their exclusive Brownie meeting. It was imperative that I become one and learn their secrets and most important of all, strut my stuff in the uniform.

It took months of pleading with my mother because the outfit wasn’t cheap, but I somehow convinced her I would be a lifelong Brownie with community-minded virtues, and also be completely out of her hair on any Brownie excursions.

A Brownie was a legendary figure, a kind of fairy. How cool is that?

A brownie or broonie (Scots), also known as a brùnaidh or gruagach (Scottish Gaelic), is a household spirit from British folklore that is said to come out at night while the owners of the house are asleep and perform various chores and farming tasks. The human owners of the house must leave a bowl of milk or cream or some other offering for the brownie, usually by the hearth.

Hmm. Details. On to my first day as a Brownie!

Oh my, the uniform was glorious. I would have badges of accomplishment all over it! I stood up straighter in my classes that first Friday, in sisterhood with the other proud Girls in Brown with the same name as a delicious moist fudgy treat!

The gathering took place in a classroom where all of the desks had been pushed against the wall to make room for the, er, big toadstool that Grey Owl, a big mean-looking lady who led the group, had placed in the center. We all sat cross-legged on the linoleum tiled floor and then I’m pretty sure that before we all paid our weekly dues (a quarter or a dime, I forget which) someone danced around that papier-mache toadstool. What kind of shit is this? was my un-Brownie-like thought.

But the Brownie Mystery Trips! These were well-organized bus excursions to unknown destinations, maybe to a farm or a zoo or a museum or a water park. Who could say? It could be anywhere!

Funny thing is, I have no memory of any of the destinations. Perhaps they were to a nuclear plant? Or a brain-wiping research facility? I do remember part of one trip though, in the bus, charging through the countryside with my fellow Brownies, all of us excited in a very Brownie, lady-like way. I pretended I was allergic to bridges. I wasn’t sure what “allergic” actually meant, but I had a vague idea and decided to scam my Brown Sisters of the Bus, so I made quite a show of sneezing every time we drove over a bridge, large or small. Grey Owl said nothing, bless her. I got blessed, often— every time I fake sneezed.

The thrill of being in a virtuous para-military community organization with cool uniforms was beginning to wear thin. The odd Mystery Trip did not truly compensate for the big toadstool, not really. The last straw were the badges. I earned only one badge during my short tour with the Brownies: Dishwashing. Dishwashing! Where were the badges for spelunking or chainsaw sculpting or archery? My mother (proudly) stitched my one badge onto the sleeve of my uniform. I think it had an image of a teacup or something on it, a tribute to my knowledge of how to properly wash, rinse and set dishes on a rack to dry.

I’m pretty sure my mother used that badge against me in retribution for an expensive uniform I only wore for a few months. I know I got way more dish duty.

May I now present a few of my favourite cartoons loosely related to today’s casual prompt, “community”?

cartoon my-client-is-willing-to-do-community-service-new-yorker-cartoon_u-l-pgs22v0

cartoon boy-scout-break-glass-1

cartoon would-you-like-to-buy-some-girl-scout-crack-new-yorker-cartoon_a-G-9178735-8419449


Peace and love,

~~FP

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Paper or Plastic

Prompt: Fright


Dear Wednesday,

I’m interested to know if your experience when you sat down with yourself to identify what frightens you was the same as mine: My mind went blank. I apparently have nothing to fear? I tried to muster up some goosebumps about an impending hurricane or perhaps an atomic bomb or maybe a vicious home invasion by psychopaths in masks.

Nope, those images did not appear, probably because the likelihood of such scary events is next to nil. How fortunate I am. Now I will ponder that for a few minutes…

But of course there are things I do fear. I actually have an irrational fear of earthquakes (since I currently live far from any fault lines). I will run screaming if a fat moth or Junebug flies too close. The thought of torture makes me break out in a sweat. Death is a big one, but I both fear it and am curious about it. You know, joining a universal and glorious spiritual meld of souls has a certain appeal.

I’m afraid of embarrassing myself. Afraid of the dentist. Afraid of drunk drivers. Afraid of old age. Afraid of relentless stupidity (seriously, look what happens when stupidity votes). Afraid of my neighbour’s dog. Afraid of absolute darkness. Afraid of squirrels.

Just kidding about that last one. I suppose one way we control or defuse our fears is by finding the funny side of them– which usually involves us realizing that we generally have no influence over what scares us so laughing them off and moving along. To continue one of the best segues into my cartoon selection ever, may I present a few of my favourites relating to today’s casual prompt, “fright”?

cartoon hogging covers

cartoon paper or plastic

cartoon satan


See you tomorrow for Throwback Thursday!

Love and peace,
~~FP

The Internet Wing

Prompt: Internet


Hello Wednesday,

In the mid-nineties my cousin coerced me into signing up for the World Wide Web, aka the Internet. I had Windows 3.0 on my computer and I remember being thrilled about the possibilities. I kept a couple of magazines by the monitor because sites took minutes—minutes— to download.

Now my privacy is constantly in threat of invasion, nefarious groups influence elections, vile rumors are spread, and it all only takes seconds to download.

I love it anyway. And may I present a few of my favourite cartoons related to today’s casual prompt, “Internet”?

cartoon-internet-yelp

cartoon internet wing

cartoon moses waits


 —

Peace, love, and privacy,

~~FP

Tiny Umbrella

Prompt: None

freddie

Hello Wednesday!

In a departure from tradition, this post is not related to a prompt, nor is the post meaningfully related to the images that accompany it. (Just call me crazy and wild!) It’s just that the following has rattled around in my head for over a day now, so it’s time to let it loose:

Your family’s home
They wanna be fed
But you are confused and tired and stressed 
And would rather be dead!

We are the caterers, my friends
And we’ll keep on cooking ’til the end
We are the caterers
We are the caterers
No time for stress dreams
‘Cause we are the caterers of the world!

Who knows what it means
It’s only a dream
But when it’s night after night after night
You just wanna scream!

We are the caterers, my friends
And we’ll keep on cooking ’til the end
We are the caterers
We are the caterers
No time for stress dreams
‘Cause we are the caterers of the world!

Do you have recurring, repetitive anxiety dreams? I do, and they get so frustrating— and so boring— that I am trying new strategies to keep them at bay.

The kitchen/ cooking dream had almost faded away, once I conjured up detailed images of a singing catering crew who would pop into the middle of the stress dream as soon as I saw the dreaded big kitchen. Now my dreams are getting sneaky. The big cookpots are only slowly revealed. The ingredients and guest list keep changing…

I suppose if I dealt with the cause of this particular recurring dream it would go away for good. But for the life of me, I can’t figure it out.

Apropos of nothing, may I present, since it’s Wednesday, a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon nice wave

cartoon leo-cullum-may-i-have-a-tiny-umbrella-in-this-ernie-i-m-on-vacation-new-yorker-cartoon_a-G-9184361-8419447

cartoon bliss-are-you-as-excited-as-i-am-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9269896-8419449


Wishing you an excitement-filled week—

~~FP

Attention, Shoppers

Prompt: Customer


Hello Wednesday,

I’m just passing through today; have had a busy week what with cannabis, my sister visiting, a birthday party, and decorating a fantasy home, so without further adieu please allow me to present this small collection of my favourite cartoons relating to the casual prompt, “customer”:

I know my dog would window shop if he could, and with more enthusiasm than me:

cartoon dog butcher shop

Is it me or is it crazy that there are whole aisles at the supermarket dedicated to yogurt, potato chips, and yes, water?

cartoon bill-woodman-little-dutch-boy-at-supermarket-holds-his-finger-against-a-bottle-in-the-new-yorker-cartoon_a-G-9191008-8419447

Me, sometime soon:

cartoon attention shoppers


Have a wonderful week— though please check in tomorrow for Throwback Thursday.

~~FP

One More

Prompt: Toys

cartoonj-b-handelsman-toy-store-is-called-childcrap-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9181666-8419447

Hello Wednesday,

There was a cartoon in the New Yorker magazine a while back showing bunches of parents with children flooding into a big store called “Childcrap”. If you’ve ever been to those big box toy stores, or even the big toy department of any shop then you know how accurate that captionless cartoon is. Plastic everything, the worst of the Made in Chinas, gaudy colours, cheap and disposable trendy doodads.

But we adults are no less susceptible to crap toys. Our digital picture frames, our Instant Pots, our mp3 players, our golf club mitts, our milk foamers, our Moroccan hash pipes, our battery-powered thingamajigs, our air fryers, our expensive sneakers, our $50 corkscrews… bits and bobs that are fun but mysteriously transient. Every summer at our house we bring out a chips and salsa platter that plays the Mexican Hat Dance every time someone dips a tortilla chip. Well, maybe the latter example is less crap than a valuable family heirloom. Yeah, that.

In any case, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons relating to today’s casual prompt, “toys”?

cartoon two-cowboys-sitting-outside-a-saloon-with-remote-controls-watch-toy-robot-new-yorker-cartoon_u-l-pgrzy10

cartoon tom-cheney-so-many-toys-so-little-unstructured-time-new-yorker-cartoon_u-l-pgspqy0 2

cartoon paul-noth-a-bobbing-duck-toy-is-dipping-its-beak-into-a-glass-of-water-new-yorker-cartoon


Peace, love, and “adult” toys,

~~FP

Just So You Know

Prompt: Imagine


Dear Wednesday,

Do you remember a time when John Lennon’s song Imagine was considered controversial?

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Christians have condemned those words as blasphemous. According to a 2015 article in The National Review “to believers of older religion its (“Imagine’s”) open recommendation of an atheist faith cannot but sound lamentable and threatening.”

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

These lines were attacked as unpatriotic. The National Review article concludes that “few songs are more divisive”.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

This verse was condemned for its “communist overtones.”

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Did I say was controversial? This Lennon/Ono penned song is still vilified by right wing Christians and other religious fundamentalists and political ideologues. …What would Jesus think?

Relating to today’s casual prompt “imagine” in the most tenuous way is the first of these three of my favourite cartoons:

cartoon new-yorker-march-13th-2017-lars-kenseth

cartoon knight flowers-too

cartoon david-sipress-whac-a-mole-island-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9172422-8419449


Wishing you peace, love, blasphemy, unpatriotism, and communism,

~~FP