by Melodie Johnson Howe
It is summer and time to bring out the garden furniture. But wait! Something evil lurks!
FOLDING CHAIR FRUSTRATION
What? You don’t have Folding Chair Frustration? It’s a new syndrome. At least according to the commercial I just watched. It’s the trauma one encounters when attempting to unfold a folding chair. But before you up your meds there is the new POCKET FOLDING CHAIR to take away all your anxiety.
What does it do? It easily unfolds into a very tiny chair where you can place your very tiny derrière (one hopes) and sit with your chin resting on your knees. But Wait! It’s a pocketsize portable chair that folds up to fit into your handbag, glove compartment, fishing kit, anywhere but in your pocket. Unless you have deep pockets; then you don’t need the Pocket Folding Chair because you can afford a valet to trail behind you with an antique Napoleon era-leather traveling chair.
I bet you’re thinking, “What does this have to do with short stories or the genre we all love so much? “ Well I have eked out tenuous connection. In The Thin Man Goes Home there is a hilarious scene where Myrna Lloyd struggles with a garden folding chair while William Powell eyes her wryly from the comfort of his hammock. Needless to say, they both end up flat on their backs on the ground.
Speaking of movies, in the musical The Bandwagon there is dance sequence featuring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse that is a delightful send up of pulp detective novels. Beautifully choreographed, danced, and narrated by Fred Astaire, who plays private eye Rod Riley, this is worth taking a look at.
Again, apropos of absolutely nothing, I read an article that stated people who receive a lot of Botox injections in their faces have less empathy for other people. The Swedes, I think it was they (it usually is), did a test where they injected one group with Botox and the other group with a placebo. Those who had the real stuff could care less about others. Those who didn’t did. What does this mean?
It seems that when your face is as stiff as a corpse you can’t read other people’s facial expressions as well. The article was not written with much depth, maybe because of the people they were dealing with. But I think what they were saying was that if you are lifted to the high-heavens and puffed up with a numbing serum you are unable to facially express your own emotions. Ergo you have a hard time picking up other people’s expressions. Even though the Botoxed person can still see these expressions she/he can’t interpret them. I found this fascinating. You can talk all you want and say all the right things, but if you can’t ape another’s sorrow or hurt you can’t feel for them. I see a new legal defense building here. The murder defendant took too much Botox and couldn’t move her face, rendering her incapable of understanding that killing her ninety-year-old billionaire husband was a bad thing. It could equal the Twinkie defense or the Casey Anthony defense of My Daddy Made Me Do It.
I wonder if a person smoothed out on Botox is able to experience Folding Chair Frustration?
Finally, this is for all the teachers and writers everywhere: