Dear Little Boy, Stop Farting with Your Mouth

Some days I like to get my failure out of the way early. It feels good to really suck at something in those morning hours and know that I have a chance (albeit slim) of finding some measure of success later in the afternoon.

This morning I sucked at dropping my kids off at school. It started with trying to park in a space too small. I felt like this:




Only with all of the other moms watching. But whatever.

When I finally allowed my children to exit the vehicle, we headed to the playground just as a bus released a gaggle of children heading in the same direction. Two boys ran from the bus and an adult with some level of authority, evidenced by a safety vest and a plastic badge, yelled at the boys to walk. They ignored her. She ordered them to return to the bus. They ignored her.

The older one obviously called the shots in this duo. He was probably eight or nine years old. And I kind of wanted to tackle him and pin his insolent little face to the ground. I settled for a glare over my shoulder.

They walked behind us and the older one began making farting noises with his mouth. Why the fuck do little boys (and sometimes girls) feel the need to constantly making farting noises with their mouths? If you're making a farting noise with your ass, I'll cut you a little more slack, because sometimes that is a necessary function of the body. Do they need to fill the silence? And if so, what ever happened to good old-fashioned humming? When they are home, do the parents allow the constant sound of mouth-farting in the living room? At the dinner table?

I glared at the boy again. He glared back. "That's gross," I said. He mouth-farted louder. "Stop, girls," I commanded. "Let's wait for these boys to pass us because they're awfully rude."

And I could tell that I was getting out of control and should probably be escorted from school grounds. This isn't the first time this has happened. I often see kids behaving like, well, kids, and I walk up to them and say, "Not cool" or "Wow, you really think it's okay to behave like that?"

The boys walked ahead, the farting noises continued. Then they reached their destination and stopped. As we passed by, I glared harder. And the older boy looked surprised. So he sneered at me. His eyes narrowed and one side of his mouth curled up, as if to say, "What the fuck is your problem?" And I sneered back, in an uglier, nastier sneer than the one he gave me. Only by this point, there was a group of moms in between us, and I think they maybe thought I was sneering at them. I wanted to yell, "No, it's not for you! I'm making faces at that rude little boy!" But, would that have been any better?

And have I learned nothing from the internet? Cameras are everywhere! I don't want to pop up in a viral video as the asshole mom who appears to bully a little boy at elementary school. There are a million ways I could have better handled the situation.

For someone who tells her children to walk away from kids with bad behavior, to rise above and not let it bother them, I was one hell of a shitty ass example this morning.

Tomorrow will bring new successes and failures. Hopefully more of the former. But whatever failures may occur, I'm determined that they will not occur on school grounds.

Interview with Author Bonnie Dodge

AK Turner: Thanks for joining me, Bonnie. Let's talk about your latest book Waiting. Is it about leaves?

Bonnie Dodge: You would think so, wouldn’t you, by looking at the cover. Actually, the story takes place in a small fictitious town called Aspen Grove. The leaves on the cover are aspen leaves, so bright and colorful. Also, some of the characters in the book leave, but you’ll have to read it to find out where they go and why they leave.



AKT: Wait, I thought you wrote ghost stories. Are you sure you're the right Bonnie Dodge?

BD: Umm. Let me look. (Checks reflection in mirror and sees dark circles under eyes.) Yup, and it looks like I need to comb my hair. 

AKT: I won't judge.

BD: And, yes, I do write ghost stories, and poems, and essays. That’s what I call the short work. For the long work I like to write women’s fiction. I’m afraid if I wrote novel-length ghost stories, I’d probably scare myself to death and then my husband would have to find someone else to do the laundry. 

AKT: Good point, that would be sucky for him. Your cover is beautiful, and while the book sounds interesting, I'm still a little disappointed that the book is not about leaves. Did you have any input on the cover or was this solely in the hands of your publisher?

BD: Greg Simanson from Seattle designed the cover. He presented me with three cover choices, and, yes, I did have final say. My publisher is Booktrope, also out of Seattle. They are very hands-on and easy to work with.

AKT: Tell me about writing the book. When did you start, how do you write, where do your ideas come from? Basically I want all of the details of your writing process. And you have to answer in 140 characters or less. Just kidding. But try anyway. 

BD: Started writing WAITING seriously in 1996, I write badly, and steal ideas wherever I can.

AKT: Not bad! Okay, give me the extended version. 

BD: Waiting was actually inspired by watching my mother navigate life with an alcoholic husband. She kept saying, “I can’t wait for him to die.” Ironically, as life so often does, she died first and all her waiting and whining was for nothing. Men don’t wait around like women do. I wanted to write a book about women and the emotional baggage they juggle to attain their dreams. So often we settle, feel guilty, or plain stop dreaming. I hope this book inspires women to take more control to make their dreams come true. My writing process is a mixed bag. I do something writing-related everyday, and I have many projects in the air. One day I will work on a novel. The next an essay, or marketing, or a blog, or research. I’m a little bit OCD and there is never a minute when I am not writing, at least in my head. Deadlines are my saving grace. They force me to finish projects and move on.

AKT: I hear that in addition to writing, you are also a professional athlete. Tell me about that.

BD: When I was younger, I ran track, but now that I’m older, I do good to climb a flight of stairs without collapsing. The one thing I do consistently bad is yoga at the senior center. Once a week I try to turn myself into a pretzel or try to balance on one foot without peeing my pants. Going into airplane pose is even worse, with the instructor yelling, “Don’t forget to breathe!” The other day I was so focused on the arm movements, I did forget to breathe and almost passed out. Trust me, yoga is not for wimps.

AKT: You're preaching to the... other person who consistently does bad yoga. In any case, thanks so much for joining me. Every author interview must end with the question of what you are working on next (hopefully a book about leaves). And if you don't have a plan for what you are working on next, make something up quick.

BD: I have several projects in the mill. Booktrope has agreed to publish my novel Sarah’s Daughter, a story about a young girl (her mother was the camp prostitute) growing up in the mining camps of Idaho, which we plan to release in 2015. I’m also working on another anthology for the From the Snake River Plain series (see riverstpress.com). Oh, and I will be sure to add a book about leaves to my project list. Idaho has some wonderful leaves: elm, maple, poplar, Russian olive, and locust. Maybe I’ll turn it into a series!

And now, Amanda, I have a question for you and your readers. We all wait for something. What are you waiting for, and what will you do to make it happen?

AKT: I wait for no leaves! Wait, does that even make sense?

BD: Thanks so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

AKT: Thank you, Bonnie. You are exceedingly tolerant. 


Back cover blurb:  
Three generations of Foster women–senior citizen Maxine, attention seeker Grace, and aspiring artist Abbie–think they are nothing alike. But they all share a secret. They wait. For love, for attention, for life, for death, for Idaho’s warm, but promising summer to return. In their journeys between despair and happiness, they learn there are worse things than being alone, like waiting for the wrong person’s love. With sensitivity and humor, Waiting carries readers into the hearts of three women who learn that happiness comes from within.



Bonnie Dodge lives and writes from her home in southern Idaho. Her award-winning fiction, poetry, and non-fiction have appeared in several newspapers, magazines and anthologies in the Pacific Northwest. For more information about Bonnie Dodge visit her web page at BonnieDodge.com or follow her on Twitter.


Waiting is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Off-White

This essay first appeared in the anthology Little White Dress



I’m not the frilly sort. 

I’m bling-free in a sparkly world. 

I do not own a set of pearls. 

The first dress I bought was a hot little number.  White, simple, short, tight.  If I’m going to suddenly believe in marriage, I reasoned, I might as well also believe that this dress is appropriate.  It was not.  

On ginger toes my mother offered a shopping trip. 

“I won’t go to a bridal shop,” I vowed, “I don’t want a wedding dress.”

“I know,” she said, “I’m your mother.”

She herded me to the mall, to a store I don’t remember, which probably morphed into a food court additive or cell phone retailer a decade ago.  There was the dress.  Found, affordable, agreeable, done.  It was elegant, a touch of class to counter my tattoos and Marlboros. 

We could have forgone the elegance if we’d eloped as planned, but we stupidly publicized our Vegas itinerary.  My in-laws pleaded.  And triumphed. 

We took a car to a plane to Alaska to a boat to an island to wed.  Intermixed with thanks to my groom’s parents for handling the logistics were my demands of no guests and no God.  My wishes were honored.

On a privately owned island off of Sitka, Alaska, we gathered with parents.  Siblings have yet to forgive us the exclusion, but just as I didn’t want a real wedding dress, I also didn’t want a real wedding. 

Mike and I dressed together in the bathroom of an exquisite cabin.  Inadvertent elbows took up the tiny room.  He zipped me up.

“Isn’t there something about the groom not seeing the bride in her dress before the wedding?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I answered, “but I don’t believe in that crap.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

He wore suspenders as I requested.  I thought they were handsome.  In our wedding pictures, we look Amish. 

A woman we’d never met before spoke.  We repeated words, giddy and light and desperately trying not to mess up our lines.  I was 22, he was 21.  We were young and stupid and miraculously lucky, still married in love and lust twelve years later. 

Hot little number did not go to waste.  I wore it at our in-lieu-of-reception keg party the following day.  I wore the wedding dress again on our first anniversary.  I tried it on ten minutes ago.  It fits, though the body underneath is child-weary.

I’m not the sentimental type.

I own no lace or veil. 


I’m keeping the dress. 

Why We Must Ban Jen Mann's Book

If you know me, you know that I'm a tireless warrior in pursuit of an improved society. The first step should be requiring people to pass a simple written test before they are allowed to reproduce. The test would include such questions as:
  • Is it okay to sell drugs while running an in-home daycare?
  • Does appropriate parenting include yelling at my child to "Get me a fucking beer!"?
  • Is the best way to keep a baby from screaming to shake them really hard until they stop?
If the applicant answers yes to any of the above questions, then the answer is: No, you may not reproduce. In just a few generations, we could have a vastly better world.
But here's another thing that might help - we need to ban this book...


If we don't, here are the penalties we'll face for our lack of vigilance.

Swingers will take over the world.

Everyone will want to become a swinger, which could result in an additional population from people who shouldn't be spawning. That's what will happen when people read this book, because the irresponsible author makes swinging sound irresistibly attractive. Example from page 48:
Holy shit! This was no ordinary Fourth of July party with co-workers. These people were swingers! And not hot ones. God, why are swingers always so gross? Why is it always fat old men with ponytails and wrinkled women with fake boobs? ... I ran into the house and quickly found the Hubs hoovering appetizers off the food table. "They're swingers! They're swingers! Red alert! They want to have sex with us!" I grabbed the Hubs' plate and threw it in the trash. "Stop eating their food! We can't owe them anything. We cannot be in their debt. They will want to be paid in blow jobs!" 
"What the hell are you talking about, Jen?" the Hubs asked, starting another plate of food. 
"Put down the food and listen to me! I just got invited into a threesome with Maryanne and some old douchebag who isn't wearing a swimsuit!" 
"You did? Is there anyone good for me?" the Hubs teased me. 
"Shut up. This is serious. We need to go! These people might rape us!" 
"No one is going to rape us. They're too old and too drunk. We can totally fight them off. Besides, this pasta salad is delicious."

Fashion will die. 

The author's confused and ill-suited outfits will spread like disease. In this excerpt, she finds herself dressed in "full-on fleecy jammies with matchy-matchy top and bottoms... Pink with black bunnies" while face-to-face with stylish moms and her child's principle:
Now I was frantic to get away. I couldn't let the Dolce moms see me in my fleecy jammies. I didn't have much of a reputation to uphold. I'm usually up at the school in ill-fitting cargo pants and shirts with permanent food stains across my bosom - it's like a shelf where I can store leftovers I'll never eat.

Mommy drug rings will grow.

In this passage, Mann practically provides step-by-step instructions for how to incorporate an illegal drug distribution business in with your regularly scheduled playdates:
I've only met one superuser. Adolpha broke her arm when she was five, and it required surgery. She was prescribed something fairly heavy-duty to numb the pain and help her sleep. After a few weeks, I received a text message from a mom I know (aka the superuser). 
Superuser: How is Adolpha feeling? 
Me: Much better, thanks. 
Superuser: Oh good! Did they give her anything for the pain? 
Me: Yes, we have a prescription to help her sleep, but she stopped needing it a week ago. Tylenol is doing the trick now. 
Superuser: Oh good! Any chance she has any leftovers I can buy from you? I have a terrible migraine and I could use something to help. 
I was stunned. I wanted to write back: What the fuck, lady? Did you just offer to buy my child's pain meds? 
I chose not to respond to the text. I just ignored it. Then a few days later I got another one. 
Superuser: I don't know if you got my last message. I need to buy Adolpha's leftover pain meds. I've got an awful toothache and I can't get to the dentist this week. My dentist would totally prescribe something for the pain, but I just can't get there, so it's just easier if I pay you for Adolpha's. Would fifty bucks work? 
I ignored her again. I didn't know what to do. Luckily she wasn't someone I see on a regular basis, so at least I didn't have to see her in the parking lot at school and have her ask me face-to-face to sell her drugs illegally. After another few days passed I received the final text message from her. 
Superuser: Hey, just so you know, I was totally kidding about buying Adolpha's meds. It was just a joke. You can stop being all weird and judgy now.
Worst of all, the spread of this book might promote logic and a sense of humor within its readers. It needs to be banned.

Let's stay safe, people. And whatever you do, do not READ THIS BOOK.

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