Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I’m Big in Uzbekistan?

© 2011 Leighann Lord

I’m not a social media maven. I’m on the big three: LinkedIn, Twitter and FaceBook. Technically, I’m still on MySpace because I just don’t have the heart to delete the account. I completely ignore it, which is probably worse. Believe it or not, there are still quite a few folks on MySpace. They’re arguably not the most trendy lot, but Luddites like good comedy too. My Mom, the lead Luddite, who is not computer savvy at all conflates MySpace and FaceBook, calling it MyFace. This is wrong, of course, but it might also be disturbingly prescient.

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My Mom’s lack of tech savvy aside, I sometimes forget how global social media really is. I was reminded when someone from Yzbekistan started following me on Twitter. (And yes, my Mom calls it Fritter.)

Yzbekistan? Geography is not my strong suit so I have no idea where that is. I asked Google, and Google said, “Did you mean: Uzbekistan?” Probably. “Y” and “U” are right next to each other on the Qwerty keyboard and my new follower – “Mr. Stan” — probably set up his profile like many people do: late at night after a glass or three of wine, hoping to wash the taste of MySpace out of their minds, and start their online life anew. This might understandably lead to a typo or two. I’m sure there are a few folks on Twitter who claim to be from Bew York.

According to Wikipedia, The Republic of U/Yzbekistan is part of the Stan family: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan. My respect for Mr. Stan grew as I realized the how badly he could have spelled the name of his home country. U.S.A. seems easy by comparison.

As tickled as I am by new Twitter followers, I was also a curious. Is comedy in general, and my style in particular, big in U/Yzbekistan? I didn’t know I had a following there. Does one guy constitute a following? Maybe not but in a population of only 27 million, one’s not a bad start. Maybe I should include them on the world tour: Amsterdam, London, U/Yzbekistan.

How would folks in the part of the world even know about me? Do they get Comedy Central? Are the U/Yzbekis buying the “Def Comedy All Star Jam” (Season 7) DVD from Amazon? Did they stumble upon my YouTube page? Looking at Mr. Stan’s tweets were no help. Most were written in Uzbek. The easiest thing might have been to go to the source. Follow back and ask Mr. Stan himself why he’s following me, but that seemed a bit rude. I’ve never interrogated my UK, German or Aussie followers.

Sadly, I don’t know much about Mr. Stan’s corner of the pale blue dot. I’ve been to Afghanistan (performing for the troops in 2002) but I never left the Khandahar Airport. At that time it served as a very bullet-ridden Marine Corps base. If you judge a place solely by its airport, no one would ever come to New York. There are parts of JFK International that make Greyhound Bus terminals look cutting edge and elegant.

I’ve read “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” but again that was about Afghanistan and Pakistan, not U/Yzbekistan. And while well done, I think the airport rule applies. For example, not all Black women are waiting to exhale. A bout of childhood asthma notwithstanding, some of us are breathing just fine.

I saw a documentary once on the National Geographic channel about Kazakhstan. They have an interesting court ship custom. The male members of the groom’s family steal the woman he wants to marry. The women in his family then spend hours convincing her that this is a good idea. We in America call that kidnaping and unlawful imprisonment, but it does alleviate the pressure of having to come up with a well-crafted e-Harmony profile.

Aside from my lone Twitter follower, the people of U/Yzbekistan are a mystery to me. But while we probably laugh at different things culturally, the need to laugh is inherently human. French writer, Romain Gary said,
“Humor is an affirmation of human dignity, a declaration of man’s superiority to all that befalls him.”
So maybe in U/Yzbekistan, a country often criticized for its domestic policies on human rights (according to Wikipedia), the people there need as much comedy as they can get. In this they share a common bond with us here in America. As my Mom would say, thank goodness they have access to MyFace, Fritter, LinkedUp and CrudeTube.

Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Off With Their Hair*

© 2011 Leighann Lord

I’ve heard that in some parts of India when a woman receives a blessing she gives thanks to God by cutting off all her hair. Couldn’t I just send a thank you note?

“Dear God, Good looking out! You’re the best!”
- Love, Leighann xoxo

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Is cutting off all your hair really the best way to say thank you? If God knows your heart, then he already knows whether you’re truly grateful or not. If you do the deed but you’re faking the funk, it’s probably not going to count.

I’ll confess, my reluctance to cut my hair is pure vanity. I’ve had dreadlocks since 2001. They’re long. I love them. And I don’t have the slightest intention of cutting them for anybody. My goal, in fact, is to be the Black Rapunzel.

Now I don’t know if the hair cutting thing is mandatory, but it might look a little awkward if you’re the only one not doing it. Sure you’re giving the people around you the gift of feeling morally superior, but chances are they won’t see it that way.

In the grand scheme of things, hair cutting is harmless. The gods have usually asked for a lot more than that. Historically, when a god did you a solid you had to come across with something big: livestock, a virgin, a baby. Virgin baby livestock? Bonus. And usually, you had to fork this over ahead of time with no guarantee that god would keep his end of the bargain. Because while god answers all prayers, sometimes the answer is no. That’s a helluva an out-clause isn’t it? But I’d expect an omnipotent being to have a good attorney. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t. So even the spiritual buyer needs to beware.

That’s the one part of the hair-cutting-thank-you exercise that makes sense. The women in India do it after they receive a blessing, not before. Well, that’s the way they do it now. They probably didn’t always. I bet back in the day some chick cut her hair off first, waited around for something good to happen, god reneged – as is his contractual right to do — and we learned that hell hath no fury like a woman scalped.

*This post was originally done as part of my recurring segment on Agnostic Radio, The Word of the Lord.

Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Furry Boys Have a Falling Out

Choosing Sides and Getting the Stink Eye
© 2011 Leighann Lord

My Husband and my Dog aren't speaking because my Dog ate my Husband’s watch. The Dog is okay but I’m not sure about my Husband.

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Our Dog was busily chewing something that neither of us had given him. My Husband took a closer look and saw his watch, or what was left of it, between the Dog’s paws. He said, “Baby, come look at this.” I think he was hoping that he was mistaken. That when I looked between my Dog’s paws there would be nothing there but an old bone. But no, my Dog was clearly keeping time.

My Husband said in a dangerously quiet voice, “He ate my watch.”

I think what bothered him most was my Dog’s casual attitude. His Lordship didn’t act like a bad dog caught in the act of wrongdoing. No, he was lounging in the hallway, watch remnants in betwixt his two front paws, licking his chops like he’d just eaten a piece of steak. And in a way he had since the watchband was leather. The look on his furry little face seemed to say, “Oh, my bad. Did you want some of this?”

“Baby?” I said, grasping the potential seriousness of the situation. “Did he eat the buckle? Oh my god! What if ate the buckle?” I had visions of the tiny metal pieces making their way through my Dog’s innards, doing damage. I tried to remember where the nearest dog hospital was, and wondered how much doggie surgery would cost without insurance.

My Husband went to his dresser top where he normally kept the watch, deducing that it may have simply fallen onto the floor and into Rolie’s purview. There on the rug he found the buckle and prong that my Dog had discarded like empty artichoke leaves. The watch face, also uneaten, was apparently just an after-dinner trophy.
I was still worried. Was long dead cow, though ardently chewed, still digestible? We called the Vet and were told we were lucky the strap wasn’t plastic. If it had been, the Dog would have to get his stomach pumped. We were instructed to keep an eye on him, a pumping still in the offing if he was constipated.

So for the next few days we were on poop patrol. Looking closely at his leavings to see if any bits of band turned up. Luckily, our Rolie was his regular and prolific self. In fact I sometimes worry that what we feed him somehow magically multiplies in his colon. How else could a 35-pound-ish cocker spaniel manage to seemingly shit twice his own body weight on a daily basis?

Major canine crisis averted, I had time to worry about how my Furry Guys were getting along, or more accurately how they weren’t. My Husband, though worried about Rolie, was also still miffed about the watch. It was as if he had broken some secret Man-Dog code:

Don’t pee in the house.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

And, good grief, don’t eat your owner’s favorite watch.

fter the incident my Husband said things like:

“Hey Boy, want a snack? How about a watch?”
“You enjoying your dinner? Would you like some watch with that?”
“What time is it? Oh, I don’t know, let me ask my Dog.”

Yeah, it was uncomfortable.

Once, when I was giving Rolie one of his mandatory tummy rubs, I caught my Husband looking at me as if I had betrayed him. I said, “Hey don’t give ‘me’ the stink eye. I didn’t eat your watch.”

But men have a thing about watches. He will deny this, but I believe my Husband has more watches than I have pairs of shoes. Whenever he shows me a new watch, I swear it looks exactly like one he already has. He’ll point out some minute difference that I just don’t have enough testosterone to appreciate. I smile and nod realizing that this must be what it feels like when I show him a new handbag.

Don’t get me wrong. I feel bad that my Husband lost a good watch. I might be just as angry if His Lordship had scarfed down one of my cherished possessions. If the title of this post had been, “My Dog Ate My BlackBerry” then the subsequent storyline might have been about the dog I used to have.

But dogs, like children, get into mischief. They do things and eat stuff they’re not supposed to, but the watch took us by surprise. It seems like such a puppy thing to do and our Rolie is at least 12 years old. His watch eating ways should’ve been way behind him. On the other hand, maybe our Little Old Man was having a mid-life crisis and was trying to recapture his youth with a nostalgic nosh. That happens to the best of us. As you get older there are lots of things you shouldn’t eat anymore, but you try and you usually regret it.

We were all hands on dog when the Little Guy started throwing up pieces of watchband. My Husband’s anger completely evaporated. He reacted in Super Doggie Daddy fashion, damn near pushing me out of the way to tend to His Lordship. Humph, I guess all is forgiven. The Dog threw up thrice, fewer and fewer pieces of band each time, at last getting all of it out of his system.

I really hope this is the last time watchband is on the menu. I don’t think I could take another round of door slamming, foot stomping, grumbling, growling and eye rolling. Things are much better when my Furry Boys are best buds. Now they can go back to covertly eating the things they’re normally not supposed to have: sausages, hot dogs, ice cream. Oh, but that's a "guy thing" so I’m not supposed to know about that.

Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Me? A Supermodel Look-A-Like?

© 2011 Leighann Lord

Do you know who Pat Cleveland is? I didn’t. If I'd been playing another round of Game Night Trivial Pursuit, I would have lost my turn. I'm sure you hard core fashionistas are aghast at my appalling lack of knowledge and are un-liking me on FaceBook as you read this. To be honest I may never have known who she is if I had not been power shopping in H&M. 

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I enjoy shopping, browsing through clothing store racks seeing what’s new, what’s hot, what I have to have. Whipping through H&M I found a basic but cute, long-sleeved, button down, black shirt on sale. I grabbed it in different sizes and headed for the dressing room. For women, clothing sizes are meaningless. They vary between stores, designers, styles and seasons. Assuming you’ve been able to maintain, a size six this year may not be the same as last year’s. Buying without trying is done at your own peril.

As I’m standing in line for the fitting room an H&M employee said to me, “Has anyone ever told you, you look like Pat Cleveland?” I smiled and said, “No, who’s Pat Cleveland?” He blinked and said, “She’s a Black supermodel from the 70s.” Is this a new H&M sales strategy? Off handedly dish out an amazing compliment and watch as the dollars just fall out of my wallet?

Damn good plan. 

Who’s not susceptible to unexpected flattery that somehow manages not to sound blatantly obsequious? I assure you, all my Ego heard was “supermodel.” And now, not only was I willing to buy the shirt without trying it on, but I also wanted to get some pants, dresses, shoes  . . .  oh hell, just back the truck up. Didn’t you hear the man? I’m a supermodel! 

The slightly more rational part of myself reminded me that, “yes,” we still needed to try the shirt on and, “no,” we weren’t going to let one compliment – albeit the best one ever – push us into a shopaholic orgy, right? Right?

Could it be that this man was just hitting on me? No, he was Gay. My Ego would like to think that I have what it takes to make a man change teams, mid-season, but he was easily in his late 40s early 50s. He’s riding that horse to the finish line.

His sexual orientation in no way diminished the effect of the compliment. As I strutted, catwalk style, into a now available dressing room I fired up my BlackBerry and consulted Google. I had to know who Pat Cleveland was. Thank goodness for 3G. 

This woman, in her heyday, was so jaw-droppingly gorgeous that in person she must look like nothing less than a goddess. She put the “f” in effin fierce. Oh, I was definitely buying the shirt now. 

Today, our barometer of beauty is Halle Berry. But if you put her next to Pat Cleveland in her prime, you wouldn’t see Halle. And if you did you’d ask her to please get out of the way so you could have an unobstructed view of Pat. Don’t get me wrong, they are both breathtaking women, but Pat would have had you reaching for an asthma inhaler.

Vanessa Williams, Stacy Dash, Tia & Tamara Mowry, Raven Symone, Jada Pinkett Smith, Leighann Lord

Mind you, this was not my first “You look like a famous pretty lady” comment. Over the years I’ve been told I favor Vanessa Williams, Stacy Dash, Tia & Tamara Mowry, Raven Symone and more often than not, Jada Pinkett Smith. They are all very attractive women so I can’t say I mind. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be told they look like Aunt Esther (from Sanford & Son), even if they do.

I was thrilled to be compared to such stunning a woman as Pat Cleveland, but I was also ashamed of not already knowing who she is. She began modeling in 1967 at the age of 15. Known for her wicked walk and luscious hair she owned the catwalk. Not afraid to live out loud, she partied at Studio 54 when Studio 54 was Studio 54. In an interview with publisher Philip Utz, he wrote: “Karl Lagerfeld remembers her ‘undulating on tables in short skirts and no underwear.’” Oh snap, that’s very loud. I’ve had my “Flash Dance” moments, but panties were always part of the package.

Even now as a mature woman, Pat Cleveland’s pictures radiate glamour, vivacious beauty, and quintessential charm. In reality, body type, height and skin tone are where the similarities end between me and Pat Cleveland, but I’ll take it and the shirt too. This supermodel loves a good end-of-season sale. 

Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunesLeighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.