ETIQUETTE: Contrary to popular belief (thanks a lot, Ann Landers), birds’ stomachs will not explode if they eat uncooked rice grains, so it is absolutely fine to throw rice at the bride and groom after the wedding if you are wishing fertility upon the couple. Let’s say you don’t want to wish fertility upon the couple, however. Maybe having a child will kill the bride. Maybe the happy couple has a raging drug problem. Maybe you are worried about global overpopulation. What can you throw? Happily, stupid brides who believe everything Ann Landers writes and the stupid wedding planners that humor them have provided us with several options over the years:
- rose petals
One note: our friend Millicent Fenwick tells us that confetti is absolutely not to be thrown at weddings in the southern part of the US. And I will believe Millicent Fenwick over Ann Landers any day.
SUPERSTITION: The Loogaroo! Also known as the Soucouyant (thought it’s not nearly as fun to say), the Loogaroo is an old woman who has this very unhealthy relationship with the Devil. As long as she gives him fresh blood every night, she will have magical powers. If she can’t give him someone else’s blood, she is going to have to give her own blood, and that’s not good for her. She’s an old lady, after all.
So in order to get someone else’s blood, the Loogaroo sheds her own skin at nightfall and wanders about in the form of a bright ball of blue light. It’s really not clear how the Loogaroo divests her victims of their blood, but if you wake up one morning feeling really groggy after having looked at a bright blue ball all night, chances are she’s gotten you. The Loogaroo can sneak in through the smallest crack under a door, so even if you hide indoors you’re not safe from her unless you place a big pile of rice on the porch. The Loogaroo is obsessive-compulsive, you see, and she cannot pass by a pile of rice without counting all of the grains. If you make the pile big enough, the Loogaroo will be stuck counting the grains of rice until morning, at which point you’ll be safe.
Being a girl named Elizabeth who grew up in Sunnyvale in the ’70s, I was always fascinated by the Toys R Us ghost Johnny Johnston. As a film major in college, I considered making a documentary about him but was discouraged by time and budget considerations. In the years since then, I’ve abandoned a lot of dreams, but I’ve never forgotten about Johnny Johnston. I always thought I would meet him someday.
The only problem is that I can’t find evidence of any recent encounters with him at the store. He seems to have gone.
I guess the Estate of George Harrison can’t very well sue for copyright infringement here, can it?
Oh wait; I guess it can. Interesting.
I finally got Mark Twain’s autobiography this week. It’s big. He talks a lot about the idea of autobiographies in it. One of his observations is that if anybody took the time to write a complete autobiography, he or she would have to spend at least half his/her life writing the autobiography and not living the life that the autobiography is about. He seems to change his mind a lot about how he feels about that.
Anyway, last night I read this part about how duelling was a really big fad when he was in his twenties. They didn’t duel with swords so much as with pistols when he was stuck in this duelling fad, but it’s more fun to talk about etiquette and superstition related to swords than with pistols. Feel free to dispute me.
ETIQUETTE: Don’t hit your sword against another person’s sword unless you mean business. Even an unintentional sheath-to-sheath contact may cause the object of your attention to invite you outside. And by no means should you lay your sword down on the floor and kick the guard of the sword in the direction of anybody either. That is really asking for trouble. That’s not just “we’re going to fight outside with our swords and I’m going to cut you” trouble, that’s “we’re going to fight outside with our swords and when I cut you, my sword is going to enter your mouth and come out the back of your throat” trouble.
SUPERSTITION: A man wishing to discover his true love should go to the churchyard (or maybe a haystack) with a sword. At exactly midnight, he should take his sword and march around the church nine times (or maybe only three), exclaiming, “Here is the sword, where is the sheath?” the whole time. After the ninth or third time, his true love should appear. A woman can do this same thing, but when she is walking around the churchyard or haystack she is supposed to shout, “Here is the sheath, where is the sword?”
Photo by LOOMstudio on Flickr
I used to work with this woman who was pretty unpleasant to be around; besides being kind of brusque and condescending, she also wore an alarming amount of perfume. To this day, I’m not sure if she wore the perfume as some sort of failed attempt to soften her brusque nature, or if she was choking everybody on purpose because she was such an asshole.
ETIQUETTE: It’s your own business whether you want to smell like an opium den or a birthday cake or a piece of moss, but it should remain your business. Just like it’s poor manners to have natural body odor that intrudes upon other people’s personal environment, it’s poor manners to have artificial body odor intruding upon this very sensitive space. The basic rule of thumb is that if you are not intimate with a person, they should not be able to smell you. This can be tricky, because you can become immune to your own scent (even if that scent comes in a bottle). If you wonder whether you are wearing too much perfume, you probably are.
SUPERSTITION: The scent of a blooming magnolia tree is so powerful that it can kill a person. The scent of lavender attracts otherworldly spirits and also love. The scent of a pregnant Guamanian woman can attract ancient ghosts who mean to do her harm. If she wants to go outside at night (when these ghosts are especially prevalent), she should wear clothing that smells like her boyfriend or husband, or she can wear some perfume instead. She should take special care to cover her back with the scent, because apparently these ghosts like to hurt pregnant ladies by hitting them in the back.
Photo by williamcho on Flickr
It has come to my attention that even though I posted about this fabulous show over two years ago, some of you are still not familiar with the TV program Food Party. This is a shame. It’s even more of a shame that all of us don’t have some sort of job working for Food Party, but that’s another story.