Monday, January 02, 2006


Marilyn doesn't like New Year's Resolutions. I can well understand this. After all, New Year's resolutions are the reason why for the next three weeks I'll have to wait in line for every machine at my gym.

I won't complain about it, of course. I'll just stand by, trying to be patient, trying to appear genuinely interested in the flyer on the wall advertising the new "Mommy and Me" body sculpting classes for North Shore mothers and their offspring.

When a typical example of Evanston manhood sits on the shoulder press machine, making cell phone calls to his trainer and his broker, I'll force myself to think things like, "Hey, I'm in no hurry, right? I'll just do a few more stretches."

When two tri-Delts just back from winter break spend 15 minutes sitting on adjoining leg machines, discussing the agony of losing the two pounds it will take to get back into their size zero A & F jeans, I will think, "Such dedication, in such young persons!" and smile beatifically.

Or maybe I won't.

Maybe my New Year's Resolution will be to stop being so nice. Maybe 2006 is the year I begin to kick the asses of those who spent 2005 getting up my commodious nose.

By way of example...

Modern Parents and Their Children

Specifically, people who expect the world to maintain a 20-foot zone of space and quiet around their precious children at all times. These are the same parents who teach their kids that the world is their toy box, that their needs are first among those of all people, and that all their demands should be voiced immediately and at full volume no matter where.

These are people like the mother on the bus whose tow-headed darling pointed at me and said, "Mommy, that man looks like a burglar! He has a dark beard and dark skin!" Mommy's equally audible response: "Yes, burglars have dark beards and skin, don't they? But I bet when he robs people he wears a mask."

If you are such a parent, you would do well to keep your children away from me this year. If little Schuyler kicks me in the shins, and you laugh to indicate that I should find this cute, his Baby Gucci boots are getting thrown into traffic. I may or may not take them off his feet first.

Urban Snails

I will move on to people who walk really slow. I don't mean people who have to walk slow, whether their mobility issues stem from age or infirmity. I mean dawdlers-by-choice who live in the third largest city in the United States and have never noticed the line of 30,000 people stuck behind them, trying to get to the platform before the train leaves. They wear high-heeled shoes during ice storms in November. They think State Street during lunch hour is a swell place to stop and smell the roses. They like to pause, meditatively, at the bottoms and tops of escalators.

If they notice their fellow citizens at all, it's to ask, "Hey, why the hurry?"

Why the hurry? Because this is a city, you morons. Cities are for people who like to be busy. Cities are for people who are busy. Busy people don't @$!* have time to stroll. You wanna stroll? Go stroll on a dirt road in rural Wisconsin and bother the cows. Because in 2006, if I'm behind you and the train's coming, you're going to get a pointy umbrella in the back of the neck.

The Preacher Outside the Old Navy on State Street

Listen, loudmouth. Every time I walk by you start bellowing about how mine is not the kingdom of heaven if I behave in a "HO-MO-sexshul FASHion."

Well, I happen to disagree. However, you're the one with the bullhorn, so there's no point in trying to out-yell you. So next time I'm just going to walk over and give you a big ol' French kiss. It's high time you made good on your latent fascination with hot men. Pucker up.

Women Who Wear Lingerie as Outerwear

Especially when combined with low-rise jeans. I include the famous ones, like Britney and Christina; and the less-famous, like the Northwestern University Class of 2007. I am tired of being confronted by your boobs and bellies. You look like pork sausages with low morals. I am buying a super-soaker, and I have great aim.

Midwestern Tourists

Whether you've rolled into Chicago from near (like Gurnee and Naperville) or far (like Iowa) the next time I hear you say any of the following,
  • "This must be the neighborhood with all the queers."
  • "I'm sure those homeless people could get jobs if they wanted to."
  • "Watch your purse, honey, that black guy was looking at it."
I'm personally going to make sure you have one hell of a story to tell everybody back home.

Lindsay Lohan

Shut up. Stop it. Go away.

Karl Rove

And he knows perfectly well why.


Anonymous said...

That's too bad. There are plenty of jerks in the world, but the nice guys are hard to come by. Why would you want to go with the lowest common denominator?

Not that I'm defending the other jerks you've mentioned. Except for the newbies at the gym. I first joined a gym in the new year 5 years ago. Everyone has to start somewhere.


Melissa said...

Down with the modern parent and their hellspawn! I actually had one of those brats poke at me through the holes in the back of my chair while out to eat one day. His mom started to laugh & then just yanked him up when she saw the look on my face.

Anonymous said...

love your resolutions--do you know that i walked around three visitors to nyc, into the street, around a parked truck and just managed to get past them in the merge onto the sidewalk?? all the while they glide and giggle on the sidewalk, while yes chatting on their cel phones---

as far as the children go--i am a preschool teacher-so i see a good cross section you describe--it is the parents who are in need of a manners check--i have people talking on cel phones during story time!!! usually a long stare gets them off--or at least out of the circle---i think it is really all abbe hoffman's fault--at least that is what i say to my 50ies + sisters--but with patience, love encouragement the children learn what we expect/accept--
good night!!

Anonymous said...

when i was visiting my brother in rural missouri, he told me a story about a gentleman who watched the construction of a particular part of the roadway, workers on the rodeway noticed that the gentleman hadn't moved since yesterday and discovered that the gentleman had actually died watching them build the road. this made me think of buddhist lohans...when i googled up lohan i got lindsey same; other wise i wouldn't know her.
does that help ya? lol.... marie in texas

Cher said...

Oh, d*mn, Franklin. I was doing fine until you mentioned the Old Navy preacher. Now I've snorted mineral water from laughing so hard.
(That fella's been on that corner since forever ... a big fat smooch from you might be just the kick in the pants he needs!)

Jean said...

Oh, Franklin, Happy New Year! Happy Ought Six! to be specific. The world is full of horrors, even here in Edinburgh, but we're alive, and have our knitting.

With allbest wishes, Jean

Yvonne said...

As a parent who has taught her children 1) respect your elders, 2) say please and thank you, 3) stereotypes are bad, 4) Gucci (or for that matter, A&F) is for when you're all grown up and are making your own money, I applaud your notice to modern parents. Whatever became of politeness?

Jen said...


I wish more people would say what's on my mind as well as you do - including me!

Leslie said...

You GO, Franklin, GO!! Pucker up the homophobe preacher and kick the ass of those in need of it! I trust your judgement implicitly.

And Franklin? Happy 2006!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you in the gym dept. Except it's usually some buff guy at 4% body fat sitting on the machine in his rests between the 5 sets of whatever exercise he's doing. (Needing to keep the seat warm?) Which is why I'm glad my trainer has me doing a lot of bodyweight and dumbbell exercises and he emphasises getting in and out of the gym in an hour. But then I need a bench, which usually has a swarm of teenage guys around it making comments about "the racks" on "the babes" on the ellypticals. And they always look so surprised when I ask "Are you using this bench? Cause if not I have 50 pounds to lose and I'd like to get at it. Thanks very much..."

Aidan said...

Oh Franklin. Dear Franklin. I don't know when I laughed so much. It wasn't a very good day -- pretty much everything today that could go wrong, did go wrong. And when I stepped in the door after a tiring day, it was to a crated puppy with the runs. Oi.

55 minutes, one walk, one bath, and a serious crate-scrubbing later, I plopped onto the bed, fired up the laptop, checked my e-mail to see if anyone remembered my birthday, and the checked your blog to see if you had posted.

I laughed. I cried. it was better than "Cats". I laughed so long, so heartilly, that I believe I may have wet myself. I had better go take a shower and change the linen. A small price to pay for such an eloquent examination of my (unexpressed) thoughts. G-d bless you, Franklin.


Anonymous said...

I so agree, on so many levels!
So I'm waiting til the New Year Rush crowd is gone before I join the gym...

As for the mother/baby duo -- when the baby kicks you, kick the mother. She's the one who deserves it for not teaching her child.

HK... the Mom who taught her kids bettter

Rabbitch said...

Oh my! You're not usually this cranky.

I think you need a tattoo. Yes. That will cure it.

Rabbitch said...

Oh my! You're not usually this cranky.

I think you need a tattoo. Yes. That will cure it.

And this is the third time that Blogger has made me type my word verification. NETWZKT, I say!

Anonymous said...

Yudzeps! Me too! Can I borrow your underwear while I give them what-for? I can never seem to be able to do it in my own VS's, even though they are purple cotton. First on my list are the people who threaten old and/or infirm people with bodily harm, just for being old and/or infirm.

Anonymous said...

yessssss!!!!!!!! i am so with you about the whole kids in public and othe behaviour by people who don't seem to realize they are not the only persons on the planet! Lets go push someone down!

dpaste said...

Are you sure you're not a New Yorker? Although I will pass on the lip lock with preacherman.

Catherine said...

I love you. That almost helped ease the pain of me leaving Chicago for western Michigan today.

I must say, the State Street preachers have been counteracted for me. Have you seen the robot man who is always in front of Field's at Christmas? If you're going to cause a scene, at least make it funny.

Milinda said...

I think I love you. Those were fabulous. Post pictures when you take on the preacher man.

Anonymous said...

thanks for saying it...the Urban Snail must be stopped!! And the Modern Parents? Let's all go feast at A Taste of Heaven in Andersonville! Demon spawn must use inside voices only.

Laura said...

::peeking out from lurking, quietly:: Not all parents today have "demon spawn." My children are lovely, and generally behave pretty well, considering that my older son has autism and my younger son is three years old. I know there are plenty of obnoxious kids and parents, but most of us are trying really hard to do well at a very difficult job -- raising little humans. But I guess all parents think the same thing.

That being said, I am totally with you on the slow walkers. And the street preacher is just asking for a big wet one.

Anonymous said...

I'm from the midwest (I think - I'm from Kansas - people on some knit forum told me I wasn't from the midwest), but I don't walk slow.

Can I visit if I punch the preacher in the mouth and keep my kids under wrap? I've had lots of experience with homophobe preachers and I could lend a hand . . . so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Okay I had to come out of lurkdom and respond. GO FRANKLIN!!!! I think I would have looked at the mother and said 'mask, what mask, oh I don't wear a mask especially when I am eating young white (or fill in whatever color) meat,' and given an evil grin, or Hannibal Lector's famous lip sound. BWAHHHHHHH

Valerie said...

I agree with David--are you sure you're not from NYC? Or can you move here, please? We need you to push our tourists out of the way (and our poorly-behaved privileged children).

Those are some of the best resolutions I've ever heard!

Anonymous said... your blog...found it through the now famous QJ Knit Blog Contest.

I too, LOATHE urban snails! One of my biggest pet peeves.

xmasberry said...

have you noticed that the urban snails are exactly the same people who rarely walk further than a block because it takes so long? It is as if they get out of their cars and are amazed by these appendages at the end of their body and spend the next 100 steps (approximately an hour) figuring out what they might be for.

Liz said...

"you're the one with the bullhorn, so there's no point in trying to out-yell you. So next time I'm just going to walk over and give you a big ol' French kiss. It's high time you made good on your latent fascination with hot men. Pucker up."

OK, I just peed my pants. (not really, but almost . . .). I'd dare you to do it, but I have a feeling I don't need to. And I'm with you on the other stuff too. I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old, and it's such a pain in my arse when other parents let their kids behave in truly atrocious ways -- and sometimes even encourage it. My kids are sick and tired of hearing "different parents, different rules," but it's the best I can come up with.

Kafkat said...


As a basic e-mail address is not available to the average yokel like me, I had to add this to the comments section. (Or, I could just blog-blind and not see the link.)

OTN you have a Maine Lace shawl -- is this a pattern name (cuz I couldn't find it) or a shawl pattern purchased in Maine? Could I see a picture of it?

As an exiled Maine-iac with a large family, I see future gifts in my future with this thing (gifts for me maybe?)

thanks. OutFoxed

Anonymous said...

For several years now, I've made one resolution: to lower my expectations.

It has served me well. If I somehow manage to floss more often, or make my bed more mornings, well, that's just gravy.

Anonymous said...

Damn Franklin, I can share in all of these experiences, except for the burglar. I am usually called a drug dealer, since I have locks (that are not dreadful), and dark skin.

Anger only hurts the angry. So, while I am still a nice person, I DO PUT FOLKS IN CHECK IMMEDIATELY, who are selfish or ill-mannered (children included). I don't want internal anger hurting me.

And in the end, it will do their asses some good; Mark Twain says that your mouth may sometimes be the only bible a person reads that day.

Go get 'em, Franklin! You'll feel better!

Freecia said...

"Women Who Wear Lingerie as Outerwear"

Oh yes. Please. Load it up with the wash water after you soak wool in it (noxious to non-knitters). And may I insert my opinion that people who need warmth should wear outerwear before they get sick? Stupid women (and men).

I also dislike how parents think it is ok to teach their children that they are the center of the world. That stereotypes are ok to believe in...

You really should add "Vocalize the witty retorts" to the list. If people have no manners, well, sometimes people need a reminder to use whatever brain cells they have left.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog thru Joe's contest and I have to say, thank you for the giggle, especially kissing the preacher.....oh please have someone with a camera with you....hahahaha! I'm sure the look on his face would be worth the price of admission.

I love the way you is refreshing!

Lanea said...

halla-freakin-llueah. Happy new year.

Donncha said...

That preacher is quite a sight. I think I have a picture of the right guy here don't I?

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