Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Insect Queen, and other things that shouldn’t be flying over my head


Once upon a time, in the town of Smallville (home of Superboy) Lana Lang was in the woods behind her house picking wildflowers when she came upon a curious sight:  a six-limbed spaceman trapped under a fallen tree.

“Oof! You’re free now, sir!” exclaimed Lana as she struggled to lift the tree trunk off the alien.  To show his appreciation, he gave Lana a mysterious ring before taking off in his corny spaceship.

Soon, Lana discovered that the ring gave her special insect powers, and using “stretchy materials” she sewed a sexy superhero costume, complete with mask.  Long live the Insect Queen!

Shortly thereafter said event, Lana used her new powers to transform into a “Bee Girl” to rescue an armored truck.   Superboy comes to the rescue—“I heard there was trouble with the money shipment… HUH???”  Lana (in her elaborate guise) says “Too late Superboy, it’s been taken care of by the Insect Queen!  Ta ta!”

 As she flies away, a flummoxed Superboy thinks “Who is this Insect Queen?  Of course I could use my x-ray vision to look underneath her mask, but that wouldn’t be… er, cricket!”

I was around 8-9 years old when I first read this story, and I remember wondering why Superboy used such a curious word, what did it mean?  After looking it up in the dictionary:  cricket (krik-it): fair play; honorable conduct.

Now I remember this well, because a couple days later I brought said book with me to school, for my speech class.  (I had problems with the “S” sound and a slight stutter, and met with a ‘speech instructor’ every Wednesday.  He’d have me read aloud to him, and encouraged me to bring in my favorite books—so I brought in comic books, which he seemed to get a big kick from.)  So when I read this story to him (using different voices for the cast of characters, naturally) I stopped and asked Mr. Branthill if he knew that “cricket” also meant honorable conduct, and how I had to look it up & why did Superboy pull that particular word out of his hat.  Branthill said “Well, cricket’s an insect too… like Lana Lang in her bug costume” and I wanted to slap myself.  How the HELL did that fly over my head??

I shared all that, because in the last few days I’ve been somehow missing the obvious and everything’s been buzzin’ right over my brain like that Insect Queen.  Thursday in the office, a few of the women in my group were laughing over ‘Ballroom Jeans’ and just couldn’t get over their concept.  I asked “what are ballroom jeans?” and Gwen said “they have a gusset, Doug!” and Candace sent me this video:

Hmm… they looked pretty roomy, I said I wanted a pair.   Candace asked me if I’d wear ‘em to work and crouch in them too.  I said I would.  I walked back to our coworker Julie’s desk & asked her if she heard the women up front laughing over “the jeans with the elastic crotch” and then I said “So why do they call ‘em ballroom jeans?  Are they designed for line and square-dancing?  Ballroom sounds kinda formal for jeans, don’t you think?” and as Julie raised an eyebrow at me, it hit me.  Aargh!!!  It’s Superboy & his cricket all over again!

Okay I know this isn’t exactly newsworthy stuff, but it happened again the next day, and the day after that.  On Friday, another department contacted OUR department, and reported ‘invalid adjustment codes’ were showing up on claims.  My service-call shift had just ended that morning, and I thought “glad I don’t have to worry about THAT” and sent it off to my team-lead to investigate. 

(Of course, right around the same time I realize I’M the one who manages those adjustment codes & the invalid ones were MY doing, I get a call from that other department asking why I handed it off to someone else—“I’M ON IT, OKAY!?”)

And finally, on Saturday as I’m getting a haircut & doing my customary lament about my thinning mane, I notice this older gentleman shuffling past the shop’s front window.  I’ve seen him around town for as long as I can remember, he walks with a slight hunch and wears a 1984 ski jacket year-round.  I ask Angie (the woman who cuts my hair) if she saw him too, and how is it that he still has such a full head of hair. 

She says “You mean that old man with the tacky wig?  Oh Doug, you didn’t really think…”


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