“And is the guvment payin’ for that?”
“Now, jus’ who you figger is payin’ for THAT, I wonder?”
“I s’pose we all know where the money for THAT is comin’ from…”
Talking with my Grams, you know exactly where the conversation is headed. It’s headed to the same place where it’s always been headed. The path it has taken every last time it has taken a path.
I give Doctor Belloq the heads-up before the two of us visit my Grams’ place for dinner.
I say to her, “My Grams is like ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,’ only instead of Kevin Bacon, it’s Grams’ money paid out in taxes, and instead of six degrees of separation, it’s probably only one or two.”
Why, most anything you can name in this big wide world, it’s the guvment taking Grams’ money in taxes that done paid for it to be. That woman walking down the street blabbing on a cell phone. The renovations done to the house around the way. Those new Nike sneakers the neighbor kid’s wearing. And everybody down at the grocery store and every soul down at the used car lot and – would you believe it? – even my very own brother’s recent wedding.
“Miss Belloq,” my Grams says confidentially, “you know our Antony married that Negress.”
“That Negress…” Doctor Belloq echoes without comment.
“Oh!” Grams pokes dramatically at her orange bouffant, hairsprayed up into the exact same tangle into which it’s been hairsprayed up the entire twenty-eight years I have known her, and – unless photographs lie – some time before that as well. “That likely idn’t the… politically correct term nowadays, is it?”
“I always say ‘Negratrix’,” Doctor Belloq bellows in her finest Foghorn Leghorn imitation, so it comes out sounding like, “Aaaaaah aaaaalways sayeee…”
At this, I come damn near to spitting my iced mint julip sweet tea all over my platter of chicken fried chicken. But soon enough, we have departed the topic of my (Hispanic) ex’s race and gotten right back onto the topic of the guvment’s continued use and misuse of my Grams’ hard-earned retirement money.
Familiar territory at last! For you see, the feds are stealing my Grams’ Social Security checks – robbing sweet little ole Grams at gunpoint, no less! – each and every month of her life to purchase 7-11 stores for the Asians, to build mosques for the Mohammedans, to send canines up into orbit.
Dogs… in… outer… space!
“Now, jus’ who you figger is payin’ for THAT, I wonder?”
And then the there’s free flavored prophylactics for the wetbacks, and the guvmint whisky for the alcoholics, and the bathhouses like palaces for the queers (“…and when I say ‘queers,’ I am speaking of them disgusting fairies, not you two fine ladies, you understand…”).
Doctor Belloq, never one to mince words or to pull her punches for long, eventually breaks an eternal, unspoken family rule and questions my Grams about all that tax money the guvment’s been so busy stealing. “So Grams,” Doctor Belloq says, “what would you do with that money if they didn’t steal it from you?”
My Grams freezes mid-swallow, mashed potatoes halfway down her throat. Just stops right where she is. “Pardon me?”
“All that money you’ve been robbed of all these years,” Doctor Belloq says. “C’mon. Tell us. What would you have spent it on?”
For that single frozen moment in time, I consider faking a stroke.
My Grams – bless her heart, as they say – she gazes off at one of her awful paintings of horses galloping into sunsets and she says something that sounds an awful lot like, “Well, I s’pose I’d use the money to work on my time machine.”
That is what it sounds like she says. But those words would not make any sense coming from my Grams, so it cannot possibly be what she says. Right?
“Your time machine…” Doctor Belloq echoes without comment.
“You never told me you were building a time machine, Grams,” I say.
My Grams turns to look at me, slowly, stone-faced, as though I have just interrupted a most important private conversation between her and the good Doctor Belloq. She takes another bite of her food, still glaring. Then, after some more time has passed, she says to me, “You’ve never asked, dear.”
* * * * *
The time machine itself is set up between piles of dog-eared Louis L’Amour paperbacks, back in the room we all still call “Nancy’s bedroom” even though Aunt Nancy moved away years before I was even born.
And Doctor Belloq, she is now sitting in what looks to be the driver’s seat of a ’65 Mustang that has been attached to a circular track with wires and lights attached to it.
You might say the evening has taken a bit of a strange turn.
“Forward in time, backwards in time, or both?” Doctor Belloq says.
“I aim to go to the past,”my Grams says as she flips a switch which starts Doctor Belloq’s seat humming around the track. “And before you say it, yes, I am well aware of what Mister Einstein says about the impossibility of THAT.”
My Grams says, “What Mister Einstein didn’t see is… well, all you’ve really gotta do is stay right where you are while everything else runs off into the future around you. Then you can stroll on into the past just as leisurely as you like.”
“Of course,” my Grams adds, “whenever you’re talkin’ about them old Jew scientists, ‘member their experiments were all paid for at the guvment teat.”
I start flapping my hands around frantically. I say (maybe even out loud), “Did we drop acid or something before we came over here?”
No one answers me.
Still, I do not believe we dropped acid before we went to my Grams’ house for dinner, so I now find myself in the uncomfortable position of needing to amend the statement I made at the start of this blog post: Talking to my Grams, you don’t always know where the conversation is headed, after all.
Usually you do.
Most of the time, even.
The vast majority of the time, perhaps.
But despite all of that, there will always be the night my Grams told us about her time machine.
(And the next time I tell you my Grams is living in the nineteen fifties, I might mean it literally.)
[NOTE: No taxpayer funding was used in the production of this blog post. However, I did get the pictures from over HERE.]
OUTSTANDING - LMAO - will add to the next issueReplyDelete
I am like your Grams when it comes to taxes. That is why I live in Thailand and work offshore
like this sentence - My Grams says, “What Mister Einstein didn’t see is… well, all you’you've really gotta do is stay right where you are while everything else runs off into the future around you. Then you can stroll on into the past just as leisurely as you like.”
THE SEXY SEASON WITH GRANDMA
Has the Dude lost it? Do we need to lock Granny in the closet? Inquiring minds want to know!
Hi, GOODSTUFF! I was reading my old blogs - from 2007, 2008 - the other day and decided I was going to write one that would fit comfortably in there. This post was the result..Delete
Incidentally, I keep my taxes down by remaining dirt poor. Works well!
"The Pranksters were now out among them, and it was exhilarating--look at the mothers staring!--and there was going to be holy terror in the land. But there would also be people who would look up out of their work-a-daddy lives in some town, some old guy, somebody's stenographer, and see this bus and register...delight, or just pure open-invitation wonder. Either way, the Intrepid Travelers figured, there was hope for these people. They weren't totally turned off...the citizens were suitably startled, outraged, delighted, nonplused, and would wheel around and start or else try to keep their cool by sidling glances like they weren't going to be impressed by any weird shit--and a few smiled in a frank way as if to say, I am with you--if only I could be with you!" — Tom WolfeDelete
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
I need to startle some more citizens. Things have been too comfortable around here for too long!Delete
I have linked to this outstanding blog postDelete
Get the low down on Danielle Colby Cushman (American Pickers chick) in this monumental metablog. This issue will show you the way out of the box!
GOODSTUFF'S BLOGGING MAGAZINE (120th Issue)
The project for this week is "Black Friday" - will not be asking for money or bitcoins - just trading links - all black and white stuff - promoting mine and blogging friends stuff - thinking outside the box...Delete
Belloq is a genius. From "negratix" to the beautiful simplicity of asking what gram-gram would do with the money, she nailed it.ReplyDelete
My dad is the same 2-degrees of taxation type. That is until you mention possibly cutting Medicair (or is it Medicaid). Once it is something that affects him, it's hands off.
It's not even that I have any love for President Obama, leftist politics, or government. It's just that for five minutes - five damn minutes! - can she have any sort of discussion without tying those things into it? Can we stand outside without her accusing everyone of getting everything they have through welfare?Delete
It's frustrating, because it makes her seem... unhappy or angry or something, and if it weren't for that, she wouldn't seem that way.
I try and stay away from politics with people I care about!
Loved it. The frantic hand-waving was a llvely touch.ReplyDelete
I really do this hand-flapping thing when something weird is going ton that no one else seems to be noticing is weird. I didn't even realize I did it until one of my kids did an imitation of it...Delete
I remember, as a teenager, reading a scientific article that actually discussed the possibility of creating a real time machine.ReplyDelete
You'd need to create a naked singularity, meaning a point of infinite density without a black hole type event horizon surrounding it. The author suggested that this could be achieved by rotating an "infinitely" long metal cylinder at an extremely high speed in space (where there is no air friction to slow it down) and then sending something to orbit it at a close distance. However, even if it does work, there will be some problems:
First, you can't go to the future; you can't even go to the past beyond the moment when the machine was created. In other words, if you start it up now, 955 pm my time, and tomorrow at 12 noon you try and send something back, it can only come as far back as 955 today, the moment when the singularity was created.
Second, the energy required to transfer some kind of material into the past will probably be equal to that obtained by converting the entire mass of that material to energy. So a message might be a more viable option.
I don't know much about it beyond Einstein's twins paradox - which is where the "only traveling forward" thing comes from.Delete
Time and light both appear to move forward at the same rate relative to anyone. So if I had a watch on and you had a watch on, and I got on a rocket that traveled close to the speed of light, the light around me (and my watch) would still be going at the same rate as yours.
However, Einstein thought, if I kept going at that speed for a year, when I came back to earth, a great deal of time would have gone by for you but not me. You would have experienced 60 years where I experienced one.
The experiments it's based on have only seen differences in nanoseconds or something, of course, because we've never gotten close to the speed of light.
We can already see billions of light years into the past thanks to the fact that the universe is so big. On a shorter time scale, if we were in an FTL spacecraft and witnessed something happening to an object a few light-minutes away, we could go back into the "past" by travelling towards that object at Warp speed and then stop that thing from happening. Reason 8543 why I love science fiction!Delete
I don't know if we can go warp speed, though, because we haven't found any Wookies to make that roar as we're doing it. The Wookie is a critical part of the whole thing...Delete
Yes, that's the time dilatation effect and is an integral part of spacetime. It has nothing to do with actual time travel though.ReplyDelete
But it would effectively BE time travel if I managed to get 100 years into the future in a few months, wouldn't it?Delete
Regardless, I have largely given up on the idea of time travel happening in my lifetime (although, i guess if they managed it 250 years from now, "in my lifetime" might be a relative thing...). I now know how... that scientist felt who said he would give 10 years of his life to be able to come back for 1 day in a century to see how things had changed. Not sure who it was who said that.
I am hitching the last of my hopes on alien life being found in my lifetime. That could happen, I guess, even if it's not actual contact.
I don't really have anything to say, m jaw is still mid-drop to the floor and my smile is still too wide for my mind to come up with some witty response to this awesome story. I just want you to know that as I finished reading this, I started to applaud.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I'm just happy a few people read it. I've been writing really short ones lately, and this was sort of pushing my self-imposed length limit.Delete
A liberal woman and her ignorant grandma. This is the stuff of novels! I agree. I'm sure her motivation for a time machine isn't to see Sinatra on tv and wear funny hats.ReplyDelete
But grandma's "stolen" money is actually funding a time machine; maybe she's mad because the current machine isn't going as far back in time as hers would.
Hi, Ashley. I have thought about writing about her before, but I never wanted to show her as one-dimensional - just a racist reactionary - so I never wrote about her until the time machine incident. It's no fun to just beat up on someone in a blog.Delete
I'd say she wants to go back to the 1850s, but I'm pretty sure that she has some medical condition that they didn't have a fix for back then...
Hi Katy, You're so good at replying and you do so so meaningfully to every comment.Delete
I agree it isn't fun to beat up on someone. She's definitely not one-dimensional here or even a person to be scorned. I think your post about grandma shows that her thinking is a product of something far bigger and more dangerous than herself: her time.
And isn't it interesting how people cherry pick what they like about certain times?
I try to reply to every comment. It's easier now than it was in the past, where I got a whole bunch of comments. People say cool things, though - usually way cooler than whatever was in my post to begin with!Delete
I don't think there is an era I would rather live in on a permanent basis than this one. It might be fun to visit some other era, but... polio! smallpox! leprosy! bubonic plague!
Your grandma and my grandma would get along well, I think. Mine doesn't say things like "negress," but she does like to talk about "the gays."ReplyDelete
Also, paying taxes is completely optional. Just ask my rich brother-in-law, who had all of his cars repossessed and lost his mansion. I bet HE wishes he had grandma's time machine, amirite?
Is your brother-in-law one of those loons who believe that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional or was ratified wrong or something? Cool!Delete
I read about that at one point, but I haven't had much time to spend researching it ever since the government slammed those planes into the World Trade Center.
I have written TWO blog posts this year about grandmothers, albeit different ones. I have also written one about my deceased father.Delete
By the time I am done blogging, I'll have written about most of my family, I'm betting. I seem to stick to people who aren't likely to read my blog, though.
Well, this story certainly took a turn I wasn't expecting, and now I'm jealous because though I did not know either of my grandmothers very well I'm about 100% certain that neither of them was building a time machine.ReplyDelete
Yeah, my family has the, um, advantage of having generations that are spaced about 15 years apart, so everyone gets to meet their grandparents and great-grandparents.Delete
Well, I mean, grandmothers and great-grandmothers, since the males generally drink and smoke themselves to death by their mid-forties.
Katy, I can only stand to visit your blobber about once a month. Any more often than that and I'm forced to face the sad and obvious-as-fuck truth that you are ten times the writer I'll ever hope to be.ReplyDelete
I can hear your Gram's conversation as clearly as I'll hear my own brother-in-law's a week from now when we're breaking bread over the Hollerdaze turkey dinner. And trust me, I'd be willing to strap my ass to any time travel device that could move me past THAT point in time.
What is it about bigots and there place in our lives? I understand that we don't get to "pick" our families, but do we HAVE to spend time with them, even if they make us crazy? Crazier? I meant to say.
Great post, ma'am. Once again, I'm in awe.
Amazingly, I have not been challenged on the the part of the story where my grandmother feeds us something called "chicken fried chicken." I must have a lot of Southerners reading the blog...Delete
But you know, when my GREAT grandparents acted like bigots, we thought it was... endearing, almost cute. A leftover thing from another time. But my grandparents have no such excuse. This sort of crap - things like saying "Negress" - hasn't been common, accepted, or remotely sane for more than half a century.
My grandma is similar except she complains about and blames the democrats for everything at the drop of a hat. I wonder if she is building a time machine too.ReplyDelete
It could be something that ALL of our old people are doing. You know, like that movie from the Eighties, "Cocoon," where the old folks are all planning to leave with the aliens. Someday, scientists are going to find some fossilized Ensure or Depends from the Paleozoic Era and know what happened.Delete
Fossilized adult diapers... what a concept!Delete
See? You don't get that sort of high concept thinking on just any blog...Delete
Wow. Your grandmother sure sounds like a character (bless her heart).ReplyDelete
The thing is, she's pretty much the only family I have, so there is some... ethical obligation to stay connected. She's always there, a constant reminder that family is overrated...Delete
First of all, I just figured out where you were in blogosphere! I don't use Google+ at all, so I had to figure out where your blog was.ReplyDelete
I LOVED this --- you know, your grandmother isn't the only one who keeps a tinfoil hat on her nightstand. My other half is constantly screaming, "THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING THAT!" I swear to GOD last night I was washing the dishes. We have this incredibly large window in front of my sink. It's beautiful when it's daylight out where I can see everything. But at night, it's pitch black out. So I said, "Geez, I feel like someone's watching me."
Mad quickly looks at me and says, "RIGHT???"
"What do you mean? People ARE watching me?"
"The government is always watching you, Deb! They have cameras on trees and drones as big as flies."
So, this is what I have to deal with. I'm glad I'm not alone.
I do try to keep the blog a secret...Delete
If the government is watching me or listening to my phone conversations, then there is some government worker who has a really crappy job. I mean, i'm not thrilled about domestic spying, but... I'm cleverly discouraging the government from spying on me personally by having a life that has gotta be boring as hell to watch!
If Mad wants to have something serious to bitch about, he could remind those watching us that we shouldn't need Medic Alert to tell someone we've "fallen and we can't get up!" Right???Delete
Why don't they see and hear the problem, and just send the rescue team?
Once again, our government overlords ignore our pleas for help.
There was an old Steve Colbert sketch from when he was on The Daily Show called "So You're Living in a Police State," where he mumbles a threat against the President in his own home so that he can ask the federal officers who come to arrest him if their survelliance revealed where he'd left his keys...Delete
My step-father's father (step-grandfather?) was just like this. He was always yelling at my step-uncle about allowing one of his boys to have dolls. The arguments sounded like they were scripted to be on an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. So many ridiculous points were made. That being said, I'm pretty sure my step-grandfather was right about my step-cousin being gay, though he could've came up with a better way to support his claim.ReplyDelete
Also, his neighbors were a lesbian couple that he would frequently invite over for dinner, and then complain about the same things your grandmother does.
You know, there are so many things I DON'T say when I'm around family - I don't mention that their kids are brats, they appear to be hopeless alcoholics, and their marriage appears to be s sham - that I always wonder why they can't grant me the same courtesy and NOT mention politics for like three sentences in the name of family harmony.
Talk about the damn weather for an hour, you know?
While I do agree that the government spends money on all kinds of stupid things, I wouldn't go so far as to think my neighbour got his Porsche through welfare ;) ... Although I could be wrong!ReplyDelete
Just think, perhaps we have it all backwards all this time we've been trying to work and make a living and we have remained dirt poor throughout it, meanwhile all we had to do was start accepting welfare to get rich!! (Sorry, I'm horrible... I know... Don't put me in a room with your Gram.)
Where would you go if you had a time machine? Backward? The roaring 20's? Would you hang with the hippies? Would you start the lesbian revolution in the Middle Ages? Or would you trek forward and live in a glass bubble among the stars? Or umm... According to Gram can you even go forward?
... This is why I'm not an astrophysicist. (Did I even spell that right? Damn...!)
I would definitely go to the future. I want to see what happens! (although it might be fun to chill out in some pre-human environment, too)Delete
Katy! Good to see you again!ReplyDelete
I love this - of course, and as you know, I've got an inordinately soft-spot for time travel. I'm gratified to see that your Grams has begun work on The Machine.
(If you forget about the fact that we didn't have a polio vaccine; abortion was still illegal; sulfa was still the antibiotic-of-choice, Korea was consuming the American conscience and nobody cared about things like Civil Rights, the Fifties were awesome. I once owned a 1956 Packard Caribbean. Most awesomest car built in that era. We went to work on the space program then, which says a hell of a lot about our general optimism. Today, we're worried about all of those sad 1%'ers who might not get to go to Cabo.)
You have an awesome Gram, even if her politics are a bit extreme. My own Grandmother was a Fundie. I've written enough about her.
My great grandparents lived in Hawaii before it was a state, and they used to talk about the island there that was populated ONLY by people with leprosy.Delete
It was a leper colony!
Leprosy just requires some antibiotics, of course.
In 1996, after Bob Dole told America he'd be our bridge to the past, author Robert Anton Wilson wrote a piece about how he walked with a limp for all of his life because he had polio as a child.
I'm not saying that science and technology is all that makes life worth living, of course, but the past can be romanticized.... Actually, science, technology, and the low likelihood of lynching ARE probably all modern society has going for it. If it wasn't for those things, any era would be fine or better!
Your Grams sounds like my almost hundred year old Aunty Rene (pronounced Reen), except she would have said "darky" and instead of a time machine it would have been a senior's bus trip to see the Amish. (pronounced Ay-mish)ReplyDelete
I'm going to be honest here: Most of what i know about the Amish comes from the movie, "Kingpin." Do the Amish make something for the tourists? You know, like how in some parts of the country, you can buy beer or... jam or something that the Trappist monks have cooked up at their monastery?Delete
Those industrious bastards make all kinds of shit for tourists. Mostly they just sell you lies and broken dreams.Delete
It is weird that you say that, because I was just thinking about how many extra broken dreams I have lying around here gathering dust. I was considering boxing them up and trying to sell them. You get a bowlful of lost promise with every purchase.Delete