Tis’ the season to stress, er…I mean, celebrate, and what better way to rejoice than with laughter. Today we talk funny stuff, in both the novel we’re reading, Annabel, and in the Ladies on Literature look at legs.
Let’s face it: the material Kathleen Winter covers in her outstanding story is not light fare. An hermaphrodite child is born in northern Labrador, not exactly a progressive big city complete with social and medical support systems. The child is raised as a boy who sadly struggles to reconcile his masculine and poignantly feminine sides. I have praised Winter’s poetically descriptive writing but I must say she gets the LOL Cheers! for her sense of humor. With understated skill, this author manages to inject some seriously funny stuff into a seriously sad situation.
It starts with Jacinta’s visit to the hospital in Goose Bay, where she is scheduled to see a surgeon to determine whether to raise her baby as a boy or a girl. A lovely, intuitive nurse offers coffee and gently guides Jacinta to her appointment but then departs, leaving Jacinta with Dr. Ho and the pediatric nurse, who is less sensitive and “chewing gum as if she intended to grind her teeth to powder.” In the midst of a high tension scene, when the reader is poised to learn of this baby’s probable outcome, Winter injects humor when Jacinta voices her observations about the nurse:
“She’s chewing gum. Her voice is jarring and I don’t like her. I liked the other nurse. The one who showed me here…I really don’t want this nurse in here when I could have the nice one…If that nurse stays here I am going out and taking my baby with me, because I don’t like her.”
There are a number of times when Winter employs this highly effective strategy, of placing humor where horror abounds. Without spoiling the story, something really sad happens in chapter ten and in despair, Jacinta turns to her neighbor, Eliza Goudie, to commiserate about how her husband, Treadway, has done the unthinkable. But finally on antidepressants, Eliza does not offer up much support, saying, “You have a fine husband, if you compare him to all the dishonest men in the world.”
A former adulteress, Eliza tells Jacinta, “Go to the doctor and get some Valium. It has changed my whole life. I love my husband. I’ve finally seen him from a proper perspective.”
“You mean you no longer feel like throwing up every time he walks in the house?” Jacinta asks.
The scene goes on to include some very funny sexual innuendos with Eliza explaining how she now “leaps” into her husband’s bed, an image Jacinta finds fairly unappealing. What makes the situation heartbreaking, however, is the poignant observation Jacinata makes:
“No matter how outrageous Eliza’s reasoning, Jacinta had tried to understand it. Even now Jacinta did not argue about the Valium, though she felt Eliza’s new outlook was a chemically induced illusion. This is my problem, Jacinta thought. I am dishonest. I never tell the truth about anything important. And as a result, there is an ocean inside of me of unexpressed truth. My face is a mask, and I have murdered my own daughter.”
Amazing stuff as Jacinta wrestles with the decision to raise “Annabel” as “Wayne”, all the while sensing he was more a girl, while her husband, Treadway, tries to make Wayne into the man his “son” will never be.
Get the book!
Meanwhile, back at Fernando’s, while the LOL enjoyed some Feliz Navidad, a very important discussion ensued.
“How much do you hate hose?” The question was posed and Spray-On-Legs was gleefully answered.
As promised, it’s time to talk one of my favorite truths: faking great legs.
No, I’m not going to tell you to hit a body pump class or grab some hand weights and perform walking lunges from room to room (although all good), I’m giving you the goods on a quick fix. If you hate hoisery as much as we do (who can stand waistbands that fold when you sit or embed themselves into the soft pudgy parts of your belly, and itch, snag, run, droop, drop, and otherwise cause discomfort); If you’ve tried stay-ups (sexy in theory, down-right comical in practice, as Gail demonstrated her friend walking in downtown Toronto while her stay-ups fell down), listen up.
If you have any vericose veins or otherwise unsightly discoloration in your legs (in other words, if you’ve given birth, are over the age of 30, or failed to follow your charm school teacher’s advice to NEVER, EVER cross your legs) this miracle in a can might well be your best Christmas gift to self. Go to Walmart or any health and beauty department in a major retail store and ask for it. It comes in several shades (I am very fair and use the “light glow”). Be sure to stand in the shower, throw down an old towel or newspaper and get naked (at least from the waist down) and dispense of the dusty stuff all over your legs. It comes out a little wet, allowing you to evenly smooth it all over by hand, but dries quickly, in about one minute. It’s miraculously easy to get a smooth, consistent colour, just be sure to wash your hands after. It’s not orangey or fake-tan looking and stays on very well, doesn’t stain clothes or sheets (or certainly washes out if you do get a little residue) and will keep your legs a-glow until you soap up in the shower. I love the stuff. The only downside, for a girl who is challenged to get ready quickly at the best of times…you’ll need to allow an extra ten minutes of prep time.
But hey…we’re talking no more panty hose. I say “ho, ho, ho!” and a Merry Monday to that.
Use Facebook to Comment on this Post