Lady Goosepelt

St John Karp

Ramblings of an Ornamental Hermit

Tag: humor

The Longest Limp

I’m not disabled, just a terrible person. I’ve been called manic. Someone told me I’m “a prism through which light is refracted.” And I’ve had a complaint filed against me by a coworker who thought I was experimenting on him with a ray gun secreted between my legs. But I’m not disabled — I feel like that’s an important piece of information before we start.

Years ago, when I turned 21, my friend got me a walking stick with a bicycle bell attached so I could signal to pedestrians and other meaningless blockages that I was coming through. I loved it. But, like most of my things, the walking stick has spent the last ten years in my parents’ house in Sydney. Somehow it managed to survive the living carpet of mold that ate the family photos and the rust that turned the inside of my vintage computers into a moist, crystalline forest. But my parents are tired of housing what’s left and keep dropping hints they want it gone. My mother sent me a photo of herself next to a big, gasoline-soaked pile of my childhood treasures, one hand holding a martini and the other poised to flick a lit cigarette onto the pyre.

On my most recent visit I decided to cram as much as possible into my luggage to bring it back before my stuff went the way of Saint Joan. I wound up with two full suitcases toeing the airline’s weight limit, but I didn’t mind if one went over — even the excess baggage fees are cheaper than paying to send heavy boxes by airmail. Once, bamboozled by the shipping costs, I asked USPS if I could send something by seamail instead. There is an episode of The Simpsons in which Mr. Burns attempts to send a telegram to the Prussian embassy in Siam. The look the clerk gave him was the same one the postal worker gave me. Apparently seamail hasn’t been a thing for years.

That’s why I was determined to fit everything into my bags, which left only one problem — the walking stick. It wouldn’t fit in my luggage and it would cost hundreds of dollars to check in an extra bag. So I looked up the regulations and it turned out I could bring any amount of “Mobility Equipment” I needed. All I had to do was limp a little and I could carry it onto the plane for free.

So limp!” my dad told me. “You know how to limp, don’t you?”

So I limped and hobbled into the terminal dragging my heavy bags behind me. As I approached the check-in counters I realized I was passing more and more people in wheelchairs. And tracksuits in the Australian colors. Right after the Rio Olympics. And then it hit me — it was the Australian Paralympic team. I had just faked being disabled in front of the world’s best disabled athletes. I could not have felt worse — at least, not until the stewardess ushered me into the priority boarding queue. And seated me next to the only empty seat on the plane to give me some extra room. Because once I’d started I couldn’t stop. If I stopped limping now they’d think I had deliberately tried to get special treatment. I was trapped in my own unspoken lie for the next fifteen hours of the flight to San Francisco. And while waiting at the baggage claim. And in the taxi home. Because once people have seen you limping with a cane, God help you if you suddenly stop.

Mate!” Dad chortled when I told him over Skype. “You’re a genius. I should try that next time.”

But I know my walking stick is going to stay at home, at least until I actually need it. I can’t take it outside now — I never want to go through that again. The only problem is that, by coincidence, another friend also bought me a cane for my 21st — the kind with a silver knob at the top for beating up tramps and castigating beggars. And it’s still in Sydney. And I have no idea how I’m going to bring it back.

Skunks Dance Book Trailer

You crazy kids with yer book trailers and yer Game Boys. Grrrr, I am old. *shakes fist*

We’re just about a month away from the launch date of Skunks Dance, so I wanted to post a wee update. One, there’s a book trailer, which is apparently all the rage in funkytown. My lawyers have assured me that funkytown, not being an actual town, can’t sue me for libel, so I can say anything I like is the rage there. Marrying goats: all the rage in funkytown.

In other news, the reviews have started to come in. Check this out:

rollicking from the first, driven by quips and ostentatious characters … Skunks Dance is solid, sarcastic, and bombastic young adult fare”

Foreword Reviews

Karp imaginatively combines absurdism and adventure with snarky teenage sleuthing and a sense of the macabre in this ambitious sophomore effort … A colorful, exuberant romp with an appealing fortune-hunting duo.”

Kirkus Reviews

I was getting myself into a truly addicting story … I had so much fun with this one.”

— Siobhan Caughey, Bibliophile Ramblings

Highly Irregular

It seems webcomic artist Stan Stanley is on the wind lately. Last week a film crew made a short movie at my flat and the Sound Guy noticed two Stan sketches I have in my hallway from back in the day when she used to have art sales on LiveJournal. (Remember LiveJournal? Yeah.) It turns out Sound Guy (his new name forever) was a big fan of Boy Meets Boy, one of Stan’s earlier comics when her nom de plume was K. Sandra Fuhr. Since then I’ve been re-reading her autobiographical comic Stananigans! and rediscovered her two strips about wanting to be a regular where you can have “the usual” and the cupcake-related benefits thereof. I can appreciate the way people feel about having a regular haunt where everybody knows your name and I am wild with envy for anyone who gets free cupcakes, but I’m one of those people who finds minor social interactions awkward. I hate forgetting people’s names, though I do it all the time. I hate mixing two people up because they look a little bit alike. I feel terrible when a restaurant accidentally brings me the wrong food because their English isn’t very good and/or my accent is incomprehensible. Having a “usual” loads up an already weird interaction with a whole lot more baggage.

I love chit-chatting and swapping jokes with waiters and bartenders — I’m not being antisocial. But when someone asks if I want my usual, they’re making a big assumption and my first thought is, “YOU DON’T KNOW ME.” I can’t help it — their assumption complicates everything. It should be simple: I buy something and they make the magic happen, not: they guess what I want, I evaluate whether or not I like the subset of the menu that’s been presented to me, and then justify why I might contradict them. I had a similar experience lately when I was dating someone who ordered for me at restaurants without asking what I wanted. It’s so patronizing.

Then there’s dealing with the fall-out. If it turns out I do want my usual, then suddenly I feel like one of those sad-acts who goes to McDonald’s every day for ten years to eat the exact same burger. I am predictable, I’m in a rut, and what’s worse it makes me picture the last six months of the exact same meal being pumped into me all at once like a human lard-balloon. And if I want something different today? It turns into a major production. “Woahhhh,” the server will say. “Don’t want an orange soda today, huh? What’s that about? Is it not good enough for you?” Maybe I feel like a cola today, all right? Didja ever think about that? Why is it suddenly a federal case?

As soon as anyone offers me “the usual”, it’s an instant guarantee that I’ll never go there again. I’d rather not deal with a whole bunch of expectations I never wanted. I guess if that’s antisocial then my punishment is being deprived of free cupcakes. This saddens me deeply, but then I feel happier knowing that people like Stan have earned them. Oh! And since I don’t know if they exist anywhere else, I thought I might end on a happy note and share those beautiful Stan sketches I have in my hallway. I really love her work, and if you haven’t seen them you should check out her new comics The Hazards of Love and Abernathy Square.

Fox Maharassa
Rafi and friend shop for Pringles

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