The 98% humorous musings of M. Lizabeth Currain

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TLC Sundays

And I’m not talking about T-boz, Left-eye, or Chili. This is strictly about The Learning Channel and their Sunday evening programming. I’ve had this blog floating around in my head for awhile and finally decided that it needed to be let out. When I say “a while” I’m not talking two weeks, I’m talking two years at least. Two years I’ve held this belief, and I’m finally sharing it with all three of you.

The Learning Channel, most commonly referred to as TLC, shows the weirdest, most depressing programming on Sunday evening. Seriously. It’s usually about people with birth defects, people who are severely over weight, people with odd conditions, etc. One time they had a show about David Reimer, called “Born a boy, Raised a Girl“, it was about how but they botched the circumcision at birth, so the doctors thought it would be best if he lived his life as a girl. That plan didn’t really work out as nicely as they thought it was going to. They sent him to therapy when (s)he was a child and the therapist pretty much molested him and his brother by making them touch each other. The therapist even brings in a trans to try and show how the situation is okay, but the girl always felt like a boy. Finally at whatever age, she gets to be a he, but ends up killing himself later on down the road. On Sunday Feb 8th, the line-up wasn’t as grim, but included The Pregnant Man , Mermaid Girl, and The Woman With Giant Legs.

We all know about the Pregnant Man–TLC was just reminding us. You don’t really want to get me started on this. I mean, yes, this is a step in the right direction for the acceptance of transgendered people and I believe that people should be allowed to live their lives how they want as long as it isn’t harmful to themselves or others…HOWEVER, this is not some miracle. This is a man who was biologically a female and kept those baby making parts, enabling him to have children. This is not a man who was biologically a man with man parts that squeezed a baby out of his peen. This is one reason that I am not so fascinated with the Pregnant Man.

Mermaid Girl–this one was depressing. This girl was born with her legs fused together, so that she sort of only has one leg and it looks like a mermaid tail. It’s hard for her to support her upper body and because she can’t be as active as she needs to be, she puts on weight easily. The surgery is dangerous because all of the nerves are tangled up and stuff. She’s probably going to be a mermaid for a while. But she’s pretty positive…I’m not so sure how happy I’d be if I didn’t have any genitalia. Here’s a clip I found on YouTube, it’s not from the TLC documentary, but it’s kind of equally depressing.

The Woman With Giant Legs was a little unsettling. Mandy Sellers is from England and has something called Proteus syndrome, which is most commonly associated with this dude:

Mandy also seemed upbeat, which is amazing considering the shear amount of energy she has to put forward to just put on her shoes (which are unfortunate, I wish the shoe guy she had could make her a cuter pair). One of her feet is turned completely around, which makes it even more difficult for her to walk. She weighs 20 stone which is roughly 280 pounds…and 210 of that are her legs. This is all putting strain on her heart. She wants to have her legs amputated, but if they do that, she will only have her top half…and they aren’t able to make prosthetics that would enable her to walk, so she is going to wait until the last minute to have her legs amputated. She was kind of funny because she was getting her hair done and going shopping for a new top and basically said if her legs are going to look like this and people are going to be staring at her, she’s not going to look like a hot mess up top. Those are my words, though, not hers. She also kind of looked like Stephen Merchant.

This coming Sunday the line up includes; Extreme Aging: Hayley’s Story and Joined For life: Abby and Brittany Turn 16. Also on the following Sunday, TLC will be airing; Half Ton Mom, followed by Half Ton Dad, concluded by, not surprisingly, Half Ton Teen. If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that TLC LOVES a fatty! Case and point Manuel Uribe. TLC was good for him..he lost some weight, got married, and some company even made him a sex ramp so that he could do the dirty with this wife.

It’s as if TLC is saying, “Hey guys, it’s Sunday. If you weren’t feeling shitty already about the beginning of yet another terrible week, here are some stories that are sure to cheer you up, because you know what, at least you aren’t 1000lbs, don’t have giant limbs, and have genitalia.” That kind of nonsense doesn’t work for me…and I’ll tell you why. One Sunday evening a few summers ago, I was watching at TLC documentary on a supercalifragilisticexpialidociously fat man in England somewhere. He was basically bedridden and had home health aides who he made sign a contract not to allow him to stuff his face with crisps or mayonnaise or crisps dipped in mayonnaise no matter how many horrible things he said to them. He was lying in his bed, his head peering above his ginormous body and his hands folded over his mountain of a stomach, telling us his story. As I was watching this, I realized that I WAS LAYING IN THE SAME EXACT POSITION AS HIM watching him talk about how fat he is and how much he likes his crisps. That is depressing and I immediately turned on my side.

Subway Gross Out

I’m back after my hiatus. I got a little distracted, but I am back for the New Year, hopefully more often, hoping that this blog will really take off and have more than 3 readers. I moved to a new apartment before Christmas. I now live in Manhattan proper…well, I don’t know how proper Washington Heights is, but it’s a Manhattan address. I miss Brooklyn and my bodega, but I’m sure that I will soon fine something comparable here.

Now, on to the subject at hand. The subway. Now, I’ve ridden my few share of subway lines. When I was up in the Bronx, I took the 2 or the 5 train–bright and usually clean. When I lived in Brooklyn, I either took the D or the R train. They weren’t overly bright or all that clean. The D train was always packed during rush hour, but the R train I could always find a seat–plus the people that lived along where the R-train stopped, seemed to be more attractive. Now I take the A train every day. The A train is dingy like the D and the R and it has a diverse ridership.

The cleanliness of the train really isn’t the issue here–it’s the people riding the subway that are grossing me out. You know how sometimes you are in a place that has lots of people and you focus on one or two people because they have some sort of nervous tick, crossed eyes, or hair plugs? Well this is how I feel on the subway every day. I feel like there is always some on there, that my attention gets focused on. Sometimes it’s funny/uncomfortable; like the lady on Christmas eve, who was taking off her close while singing Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know“. It was actually more uncomfortable because she was obviously cray-cray, and that meant that I had to stifle my laughter and not look at her for fear that she would cut me. Other times you can make a connection with another subway rider who recognizes the ridiculousness that is taking place–like the time there were two voguing gay t’weens being obnoxious on the train. I love my gays and I love the voguing, but those two were dressed so brightly and screeching so loud it was harming my senses. But if you ever get the chance, go to the Christopher Street Piers and check out the voguing…occasionally there is a battle, and it’s awesome.

I’m getting sidetracked again. I’ve been on plenty of trains with gross people. It’s always gag-inducing when someone is clearing their throat and hocking up phlegm while they are sitting next to you, or picking their nose, or clipping their nails. Yes, clipping their nails. Why someone would do that on the train, is really beyond me. I should not be subjected to a stranger’s dirty nail clippings flying in my direction. It’s almost as if people don’t know any better.

Yesterday’s train ride home is really what triggered this post. So the train was packed because it was rush hour and a few stops into the ride this girl, who was probably around my age, or slightly younger got on the train. She was reading The Alchemist–that point really has nothing to do with anything, just so you know. She looked like your typical winter hipster; boots, stupid winter hat, wool coat, etc. She had to stand and hold on to one of the bars because there was no place to sit. She looked fairly normal, except that her hands were a little dirty. Which is fine, it happens–but she kept touching her face. Every few minutes she would keep touching her face in the same pattern–the forehead, the cheeks, the nostrils, and then the chin. EVERY FEW MINUTES. Then she would go back to holding on to the bar. Thousands of people touch that bar…and your hands are already dirty…and you’re rubbing them all over your face. She probably had some form of OCD, but it was seriously making throw-up a little in my mouth.

On top of being transfixed on this hipster girl’s gross OCD, there was this little girl who was standing next to me, holding on to the bar that I was holding on to. Her hand kept slipping and touching mine, which I could have overlooked, had she NOT BEEN STICKING HER FINGERS IN HER MOUTH! That is disgusting. You are basically sticking like 100o other fingers in your mouth too. I hope her parents get her tested. I’m surprised I didn’t throw up on that little girl, she was grossing me out so much. Her parent’s didn’t even tell her to get her fingers out of her mouth or anything. They should probably be reported to child protective services.  It sort of reminded me of the episode of the Simpson’s where Homer has to go to NYC to get his car back and Bart is on the subway panhandling and licks the subway pole. I would link you to a clip, but YouTube is lacking.

I hope I don’t do anything gross on the subway that makes people want to throw up. I know I do some stuff that turns guys on and makes them follow me off the train in the dead of night. Chapstick really gets a guy worked up. Too bad he wasn’t cute. Ha! I laugh about it now, but at the time it was frightening and also shows that I sort of have no regard for my personal safety by allowing him to actually talk to me. I need help.

Public Displays of Talent

or PDT’s as they will be referred to henceforth, I hate them. PDT’s should probably be filed under pet peeves, but since I was subjected to one today, I figured I would share it with you all. As most of you know, I work in a thrift store, where all the items are donated. Occasionally we get musical instruments, like guitars or PIANOS. First of all, pianos are loud; there’s not really a way to test them out quietly–I wish there was, because second point, pianos are obnoxious. I used to play the piano, but I gave it up. I wish I had some heart wrenching story about how I gave up playing piano because of long departed lover who taught me how to play and now every time I go near a piano it is too much for me to bear–but I don’t. I quit because I hated my piano teacher. She was a wench who spent most of her time hocking Melaleuca (also; melaleuca) products to my family. These products all smelled like tea tree oil, a lot of it. She also had enormous bunions. She always made me uncomfortable when she took off her shoes, yet grateful, because my feet did/do not look like that. To make a long story short, I don’t like it when people play piano, unless they are performing in a recital, because then it is appropriate.

So today; and pretty much every time we have a piano(s) in the store; people are constantly testing it out. There are probably four different categories that I can put these people in. The first is the person who can’t play at all. They just come in, tap a few keys to see what it sounds like and goes on their way. They don’t produce any melody, just a few notes. I like these people, because they know when to stop.

The second; and you’ll notice that as the categories progress, my hatred grows; are what I like to call “chopsticks”…because that is all they play. They think it’s amusing, entertaining, and/or cute. It’s not. It’s annoying. Chopsticks is only funny if you are Tom Hanks at FAO Schwartz (oddly enough, FAO is not as magical in person as it is in that movie) playing on a giant floor keyboard, in the movie BIG. You are not impressing anyone. You are not making anyone laugh. And you are not making anyone, i.e. me, like you. At all.

The third are the people that have no musical talent, but insist that they do, by forging through some piece of music that they can’t play. The song ruiner. This happens countless times a day. It’s almost kind of sad. You can tell they are trying really hard, and really want to impress us with their musical know-how, but it’s not working. Because they don’t know how to play–and what they are playing isn’t real music. One man once butchered a song to the point that one of my coworkers said, “I used to really like that song, until he started trying to play it.” This is probably what category I would fit into, if I was stupid enough to play a piano in public. But I’m not.

The fourth and final, and frankly the most frustrating and annoying, are the people that have talent, and play the piano like they are performing at Carnegie Hall. Also, I don’t want to stereotype and generalize here, but it’s almost always people of Asian decent. And for some reason Asian children. They are good at a lot of things; for example and also, and this (I love gymnastics! It’s another thing I quit. I also love quiting things, but that’s a whole other story) too. I think it’s most annoying when it’s children playing the piano at a freakishly high skill level. It’s like their parents are forcing them to play, to put on a show, and let people know how good they are. Stage parents are creepy–and so are their children (ed. note: HA!). However, when a teenager, or an adult comes in, and starts playing Mozart’s Piano Sonata no. 14 in C minor, and a crowd starts forming, and then they start clapping! It makes me want to be like, “Oh, Really?! Are You Serious?!” Are these people so starved for attention that they have to come into a thrift store to SHOW OFF? It’s like the people who post pictures on MySpace or Facebook and have captions like, “OMG, I am so ugly! Why am I so ugly?”, so people will leave comments like, “you are so not ugly, I wish I looked like you! Seriously, you are so pretty, I wish I had your hair. I hate you! J/K! I love you. But seriously, I wish I had your hair.” They want people to go up to them and tell them how good they are so they can be modest (false modesty by the way) and keep receiving accolades. It makes my blood boil. It happens a lot where I work and it always irritates me. I’ve always been this irritated by it. We had a piano in our house, and when people would come over, they couldn’t resist playing it. Starved for attention. This is why, when people start playing the piano at work, I say, “You bought it.” It makes them stop. If they bought it, that would mean they would have to take it home and the general public wouldn’t be able to awestruck with how talented they are.

This PDT also includes dancing. Three college aged kids came into the store one day, and I am not sure what music was playing, but they started showing each other dance moves in the back–like they were the coolest people ever. It was one girl with a couple of guys, so of course she was trying extra hard to be cool in front of them, by making herself look like a jackass.

These people don’t get it. No one is thinking about how cool or talented they are. We; i.e. me; are only thinking about how lame they are, and how much we want a lighting fixture to fall on their stupid face.

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