Friday, October 19, 2012

Oops. Forgot One.

Well, boys and belles, after Ashley's Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Words of Comfort posted yesterday, I was called and reminded of this little nugget:

9.  To the young lady sobbing in my office, convinced that her husband was having an affair:  Honey, take a step back here and look at your situation for a second.  You're hot.  He's not.  You're really hot.  He's really not.  I know, I know--you say that he looks much better since he shaved off his moustache, but let me put it to you this way:  You can shave a gorilla's ass, but it's still ugly.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ashley's Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Words of Comfort

You may or may not have guessed it from my previous posts, but I’m not perfect.  Were you sitting down?  I hope so.  That may have come as bit of a shock to some of you.

As a matter of fact, I am a most imperfect Southern Belle.  I am glaringly missing a key element usually present in the DNA of every properly reared Southern woman:  Tact.  My usual coping skill is to simply keep my mouth shut in touchy situations, but there are certain instances where I have no choice but to attempt to utter a coherent string of words in sticky situations.

Now, I can tell somebody off or shut somebody up lickity split.  Tact isn’t required in a fire spewing transaction.  What’s my kryptonite?  For the love of God, no matter what you do, please, please, please, in the name of all that is good and holy, don’t cry.

I know that men are supposed to be the ones who freak out at tears, but I somehow missed the mushy gene.  I hate tear-jerker movies and I would much rather sit through an action flick.  Oprah gives me hives.  The Hallmark Channel makes me want to bang my head against the wall.  Typically, if someone starts to cry in my office, I flap my hands around like a chicken, throw a few tissues at them and screech for a warm and cuddly paralegal to come in and fix it, fix it now!

You see, boys and belles, I have tried.  I have tried to bestow words of comfort upon the tearful and—although I occasionally I knock one out of the park—I usually tend to just make things worse.

“Oh poo,” you’re thinking, “she can’t be all that bad.  It’s not rocket science to just pat someone’s hand and tell them that everything’s going to be okay.”

Right.  Well, I choke.  Not to mention, things aren’t always “going to be okay,” no matter how much I wish I could make the promise.

Need examples?  Okay then.  Here, in no specific order are:

Ashley’s Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Words of Comfort

  1. To the middle-aged lady who was sobbing at the notion of signing her Will:  Signing this Will won’t kill you.  I mean, your husband might want to since he’s the sole beneficiary and all, but North Carolina has a Slayer Statute that would keep him from inheriting your estate if he did.  Well, don’t worry.  It’s nothing.  I certainly don’t have any plans to kill you.  That I know of.

  1. To the boy in trouble for harassing his former girlfriend who lived in his dorm:  Look, the good news is that you get to stay in school, but you’ve got to leave the girl alone.  If it’s any consolation...look...have you had your eyes checked?  I’m just gonna come right out and say it: She’s homely.  You’re a good looking fella.  There are jillions of prettier ladies out there and you’ll see that once you go get and you some glasses.

  1. To the gal in tearful distress at the news that her probation was being revoked because she’d failed three drug tests in a row:  Look, the good thing about prison is that it’s free rehab and I would hope that you harness the wisdom to see it that way.  Just avoid the heroin dealers and shit.  The other plus is that the women get to wear pink instead of orange now, so yay!

  1. To the girl who came in for her first appointment, sat down and started crying without uttering a single word:  Oh my good God.  I haven’t even said anything yet.  Are you ok?  Do I need to get a paralegal?  Are you crying because of the situation you came in to see me about or did I do something to make you cry?  You’ll need to stop that now.

  1. To the lady that always ended up crying after every single conversation I had with her on the telephone:  (Slow and even-toned as though talking to a gunman in a hostage crisis) Okay Mrs. X, I need to have a conversation with you and I promise that it’s nothing to get upset about.  The only thing in the world I need to know about is whether you were referred to Dr. So-and-So by Dr. Whatshisname.  What?  Wait!  No!  Nonononono!  Stop!  Stop crying right this minute!  There is no reason in this world to dissolve into tears about a physician referral!  Unless it involved a spinal tap or a rectal exam, I’m really sorry, but I think that you need to pull yourself together!

  1. To the tearful gentleman about to plead to shoplifting at the Wal-Mart:  If having to stand in open court and plead guilty to swiping Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen lip gloss doesn’t cure you from shoplifting, then there’s no help for you whatsoever.

  1. To the hysterical drama queen who wanted a restraining order taken out on her ex (who she perceived to be stalking her) when they ran into each other in the middle of the canned goods aisle at the Harris Teeter:  Personally, you couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to go back and relive the pre-pubescent world of junior high school.  Did you actually enjoy it?

  1. To the sobbing mother of twins who just discovered that her traveling salesman husband was, in fact, unemployed and using the “traveling” part as an excuse to roam around all over and fornicate with various women:  I am so sorry, but I don’t do domestic work.  I am a criminal attorney, however, so if you decide to kill the motherf***er, please don’t hesitate to call upon me.

Yeah, I don’t think Hallmark is going to be coming at me with a contract any time soon. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


A Southern Belle can live anywhere.  We can adapt just as well as any highly trained spy or soldier.  You can put us in the jungle and we’ll be just fine.  Drop us off in the arctic cold (if you must) and there will be no problem whatsoever.

Yeah.  So what?  I’ve done the “Ava Gabor” and traded in the big city life for Green Acres.  Whoopity do.  I am a Southern Belle and I am adaptable.  Great balls of fire, even the Original Southern Belle (O.S.B.), Scarlett O’hara, was born and raised in the country—although I’d love a tip on how she dealt with that damned red clay getting all over her frilly ruffles and finery.

Good ol’ Johnston County!

It’s true that I was a resident of Johnston County when I was in law school and to say that I was less than happy about it is a gross understatement.  As Barbara Mandrell croons, “It was country when country wasn’t cool.”  I cried at least once a day for reasons such as: (1) Going to vote and standing behind a man in line who was wearing nothing but a pair of overalls and a Richard Petty hat;  (2) Reading that the White Swan BBQ Shack was voted the best place to propose marriage in Johnston County; and (3) Getting stuck on the 2-lane road to school behind a giant, noxious-smelling truck carrying pigs so that I had to look at pig asses all the way to my Constitutional Law class (I’m sure that there is symbolism in there somewhere.)

I’m much better about it this time around.  Maybe it’s because I’m not ensnared in the sucking black hole of doom that was law school.  Maybe it’s because I live in Clayton and Clayton has basically become a bedroom community to the evermore sprawling Raleigh.

Of course, just when I get a little bit too comfortable, something happens to remind me that I am still in the land of pork rinds and moonshine.

Take, for example, an innocent trip to the pool this summer.  Baby Belle 2 and I were lounging in the shallow end of the pool.  An adorable little girl who looked to be about my child’s age got into the pool with Mermaid Barbies and that was pretty much as good as catnip to Baby Belle 2. 

The girls got together and decided that they wanted to play with each other, so introductions were in order.  Baby Belle 2 told the little girl her name and the girl introduced herself as Jolene.  “Jolene” isn’t exactly your everyday name, so Baby Belle 2 asked her name again.  The girl said, “You know, Jolene!  Like the song!” and then little Jolene proceeded to sing the entire Dolly Parton ditty wherein Dolly pleaded with Jolene not to take her man.


I talk about the importance of manners and how the fierce retention of manners can help you out of socially awkward situations, but I am ashamed to report that the bottom of my mouth dropped to the floor of that pool and I wordless gaped at little Jolene for quite a while.  I am, however, pleased to report that my little Baby Belle 2 smiled and clapped and said “What a pretty song!” and they immediately commenced playing the Barbies.

I was yet again shocked out of my comfort zone a couple of weeks ago as I drove to get my girls from school.  I was barreling down Highway 70 and I passed a little white church that was packed to the gills for what was obviously a funeral.  How was it obviously a funeral?  Well, there was a hearse. 

The thing is, this wasn’t your average, everyday hearse.  It was a black Dodge dually with a giant black camper shell that sported some nice and shiny landau bars on the side.  It’s horribly tacky to laugh at a funeral (even if you aren’t technically in attendance), but I am yet again ashamed to admit to a quick and uncontrollable snort.  Of course, now I kind of want the black Dodge and all its glory for my funeral, too.

What was the coup de grâce?  Well, so far, the coup de grâce occurred as I stood in line at the drug store.  As usual, the line was taking forever with all of the price checks, special cigarette purchases and signups for special store cards and such.  When my eyes quickly tired of the various half-naked Kardashians flashed across the day-glo trash magazines at the counter, I looked over at the flyers pasted around the wall behind the cash register.     

Lo and behold, my gaze fell upon a poster titled “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHICKEN?” with a picture of the apparently A.W.O.L. poultry at the top. 

I’m sorry, but I thought it was a joke. 

When it was finally my turn to buy my toothpaste, I chuckled and mentioned the amusing sign to the cashier who promptly and seriously informed me that I was in a farming community where folks never joke about their livestock.  I was tempted to ask if the chicken had any distinguishing characteristics, but I felt that I had pushed my luck more than enough by that point.

I have since named the chicken Jolene in my head and I do sincerely hope that she gets home.  Lawd have mercy.