Thursday, February 25, 2010

Writer's Block

The only cure for writer's block is insomnia.
Merit Antares




Writer’s Block
By Kelley Williams



I write about blogging. I blog about writing.

I write about the dust on my TV stand. I write about my dog chewing his foot. I write about the stacks of bills on the kitchen table.

I write about nothing.

I have writer’s block.

I take a break to pluck my eyebrows, and still nothing comes. I write about my eyebrows. They are the bane of my existence.

I write about my laundry, waiting to be washed, dried and folded.

I write about nothing.

I have writer’s block.

I write about colors; my favorite is blue. I write about food; cooked carrots make me vomit. I write about exercising, something I loathe to do.

I write about nothing.

I have writer’s block.

I write about the time my husband got mad.

Now there’s something to write about.

In the eight, almost nine years, I have been with my husband (4 years dating, 4.5 years married) I have only seen him mad once. Yes, you read that correctly. Him. Mad. Once.

He doesn’t get mad when I throw his $90 calculator because he gets a better grade than I do. (Although he does sternly say, “Don’t throw my calculator.”) He doesn’t get mad when I wake him cuz he’s breathing too loud. He doesn’t get mad when I leave my stilettos, heal tip up, in the middle of the floor and he steps on them. He doesn’t get mad when he’s lying in bed trying to watch tv and I get the dogs riled up, and they jump all over him and block his view.

So what was the one thing that made him mad? It had nothing to do with me, of course.

Okay, maybe it had something to do with me. Maybe I was hungry and we had no food in the house. Maybe I wanted bagel bites but didn’t want to get dressed, put on makeup and go to the store. Maybe I wanted him to go get them for me. Maybe he said he would, but the next thing I know, he is sitting on the couch eating. Maybe he is eating, while I am starving. Maybe I get mad and say, “how dare you eat while I am wasting away, while my stomach is so starved for food it is eating itself. I thought you were going to get me bagel bites.” Maybe he says something like, “I will. I just wanted to eat first.” And maybe I was all like, “Well if you loved me, you’d get me food first and we could eat together. But I guess you’d rather I starve.” And maybe he doesn’t take the bait, remains calm, chooses not to fight. Maybe this irritates me. Maybe he finishes eating and says he is going to the store, and maybe I say, “don’t bother.” Maybe he asks, “why not?” and maybe I reply “I’m not hungry.” Maybe he says, “you were just starving and now you’re not hungry?” Maybe I say, “yeah,” and stomp up the stairs. Maybe he says he’s still going to the store. And maybe I say, “it’s a waste of a trip because I won’t eat them.” And maybe he gets mad, throws his keys to the ground and says, “YOU. DRIVE. ME. CRAZY!”

I’m not saying that’s what happened. But maybe when Mark got mad, the cause was something similar to this.

Maybe he went to the store anyway to get the bagel bites because he is such an amazing husband. And maybe I didn’t eat them for four hours, you know, to punish him.

Maybe I am crazy.

Maybe my husband was evil in a previous life and is paying for it in this one.

Maybe his curse is my blessing. Yeah, I think that one’s right.

Maybe when I think I have nothing to write, he is my inspiration.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Analysis of Hip Hop

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad.
Lord Byron




Analysis of Hip Hop
By Kelley Williams


I think today’s hip-hop music gets a bad rap.

Go ahead, take as long as you need to laugh at my hilarious pun. I’ll be here when you get back.

Seriously, though, rappers are often accused of objectifying women or glamorizing things like drug abuse and murder, through their music. And while I do not mean to make light of any of these offenses – they are horrific and should be taken seriously – I think rappers and their songs are just misunderstood. If you listen closely to the words of their songs, you will find they are replete with humor, love, chivalry, and even exercise instructions.

Don’t believe me? Let me share the words of a few popular rap songs, and you will soon see what I mean.

Let’s begin with I Know You Want Me by Pitbull.

The song is partly in English and partly in Spanish and begins with:

Haha Its Mr. 305 checkin' in for the remix, you know that S 75 Street Brazil? Well this year gon be called Calle Ocho, Hahahaha

Okay, I have no idea what this means, but there is a "haha" and a "hahahaha", and I know that means something is funny. And laughter is contagious. I don’t have to know what I’m laughing about in order to laugh. See, I’m doing it now. Ha ha ha. Hee hee hee.

Next is the chorus:

one-two-three-four Uno-do'-tres-cuatro I know you want me (want me) you know I want cha (want cha) I know you want me you know I want cha (want cha)
(Etcetera, this goes on for a while)

Now here’s something I didn’t mention. The songs can be educational. See, we’re learning how to count in Spanish. And the whole, I want you, you want me thing – well, there’s nothing quite like requited love.

Still not convinced? Keep reading.

Umm…I’m really not sure what the rest of the song is saying. Even the parts in English.
6 to tha clock, on my way to the top uh, Pit got it locked from brews to the locker, All I.P uh, big and packer, That he's not, but damn he's hot, label fly but Pit wont stop, got her in the car, quit playin' with his (Como?) watch him make a movie like Albert Hitchcock, ha Enjoy Me

Huh? Let’s try some more.

Mami got an ass like a donkey, with a monkey, look like King Kong, welcome to the crib, 305 thats what it is, with a woman down ya s*** dont play games, they up the chain, and they let her do everythang and anythang, hit tha thang and they love it gettin' it in, gettin' on, all night long

Okay, I still have no idea what he’s talking about. But, oh, oh! He mentions donkeys and monkeys, so clearly - an animal lover. That’s always a good thing.

The song continues. There’s some stuff in Spanish and more of the chorus, a lot more of the chorus, and, well, I really don’t understand most of it.

Not the best example of my theory you may be saying, but let’s review, shall we? We laughed a little, learned some Spanish, the guy wants me, I want him, and he likes animals. ‘Nuf said.

Let’s move on. Whatever You Like by T.I.

Whatever I like? I’m a fan already.

I said you can have whatever you like I said you can have whatever you like

A man devoted to my desires. Does it get any better than that?

Stacks on deck

I’m a little perplexed by this. Stacks of what and where’s the deck?

Patron on ice

Hmm, I’m not a fan of tequila, in fact the smell of it makes me vomit, but the way he says it makes it sound so nice…

We can pop bottles all night Baby you can have whatever you like I said you can have whatever you like

There he goes again, tending to my every waking whim. How chivalrous.

Late night sex, so wet and so tight

Oh good. I’m so not a morning person.

I'll gas up the jet for you tonight and baby you can go wherever you like I said you can go wherever you like

New York City please, then how about the Bahamas? No, make it Costa Rica. Then can we hop on over to Paris?

Anytime you want to pick up the telephone you know that it ain't nothing to drop a couple stacks on you

Oh, oh, I get it! Stacks are stacks of money. He wants to spend money on me. See how he doesn’t give it to you all at once? He makes you work for it, exercise that brain.

If you want it you can get it my dear 5 millions dollars homes drop the business I swear

A one million dollar home would suffice, but who am I to refuse a gift?

I want your body. I need your body. As long as you got me you won't need nobody.

Ok that’s a little demanding. But he's been so generous and accommodating so far. And he did ask for it – kinda - instead of just taking it. So, okay, he can have my body.

You want it, I got it. Go get it, I'll buy it.

Again, thank you. That’s very nice.

Tell them other broke nig*gas be quiet

Um, can you tell them for me?

Shawty you the hottest. Love the way you drop it.

I knew one day a man would find my klutziness endearing. That is what he means, right?

Brain so good coulda sworn you went to college

Now that’s just a good ol’ fashioned compliment.

100k deposit. Vacations in the tropics And everybody know it ain't tricking if you got it

Actually, I didn’t know that. See, there’s that learnin’ again.

You ain't never ever gotta go in your wallet. Long as I got rubberband banks in my pocket. 5 6 rides wit rims and a body kit…

Blah, blah, blah. You get the point.

So let’s see. In just one song we’ve covered chivalry, love, and a man who’s devoted to my desires. It really is quite the love song. And once again we learned something. We now know that stacks means money (I think. Don’t quote me on that). I know it can be hard to remember the definition of a new word, so try using it in sentence, like tomorrow I am going to go to Ann Taylor Factory Outlet and drop a couple stacks on some fabulous new clothes that I desperately need.

Are you ready for your workout? Here’s where the exercise comes in.

Let’s examine Swing by Savage.

In order to fully grasp the benefits of this song, the following must be read while doing what Savage instructs. However, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine.

Oh sh*it, shake that xxx ma, move it like a gypsy Stop, woah, back it up, now let me see your hips SWING Stop, woah, back it up, now let me see your hips SWING Now drop it looooow and let me see your hips SWING Down to the floooor now let me see your hips SWING Down to the floooor now let me see your hips SWING

(Allow me to digress for just a moment and say that I am copying these lyrics from a website. I thought I’d point out the triple x’s – xxx - for the word ass, which isn’t exactly one of the words I’d include in the list of the top five most offensive words in the English language. And yet there is sh*it in all its glory. Interesting, yes? I added the * because I’m doing my best to keep things PGish.)

At first glance, it may not seem like you are getting a full body work out, but let’s break it down.

Oh sh*it, shake that xxx ma.

Are you doing it? Are you shaking your xxx? There’s your glutes work out, and possibly your upper hamstrings. (Is there such a thing as upper hamstrings? I really am clueless when it comes to working out, which is why Savage’s song is so important.)

Move it like a gypsy.

Now, I’m not entirely sure how a gypsy moves, but I’m fairly confident it involves gyrating hips, swerving abs and undulating arms. That’s a whole lotta muscle groups right there.

Stop.

Again, this may not seem like much, but going from gypsy movements to a dead stop takes extreme muscle control. Try it.

Back it up.

I don’t think a whole lot of explanation is needed here. Just do what the man says.

Now let me see your hips SWING.

Here we go. It’s time to swing our hips. Notice the emphasis on the word SWING. He means business. You better not half-xxx it.

Stop, woah, back it up, now let me see your hips SWING.

Once wasn’t enough. He's a slave driver. We must repeat it. But he has our best interests at heart. He's warming up our muscles so we don't pull something later.

Now drop it looooow.

Now we’re getting to the serious stuff, squats. Don’t break your form, remember to keep those knees over your ankles.

and let me see your hips SWING

Do it. SWING those hips.

Down to the floooor

Do not confuse this with Now drop it looooow, which was a squat. Here, Savage is telling us to go all the way down to the floor, flat on our stomachs.

now let me see your hips SWING

And as soon as you get down, you better hop right back up and SWING those hips.

Down to the floooor now let me see your hips SWING

And repeat.

Uh oh, lean back, girl you got some mean racks You got a mean xxx and I really mean that But can't you see, that I need a girl, that can move Make her hips SWING - and - look - just like you But come to think about it, I think this club is crowded It's kinda hard to do your thing when everyone's surrounding So let me form a circle everybody step back I heard somebody yell "Savage where the chorus at?!

I recommend that during the verses you take a breather, get some water, stretch a little. Whatever you need to do to gear yourself up for the chorus…

And here it comes already.

Oh sh*it, shake that xxx ma, move it like a gypsy Stop, woah, back it up, now let me see your hips SWING Stop, woah, back it up, now let me see your hips SWING Now drop it looooow and let me see your hips SWING Down to the floooor now let me see your hips SWING Down to the floooor now let me see your hips SWING

If you have any questions on how to execute these moves, please see above explanation.

On to another verse. Remember: breath, water, stretch.

And more chorus. Come on. You can do it. Savage and I believe in you.

Did you do it? Feel the burn?

Now here’s some new instructions. This is the most intense part of the workout.
Knees bent, xxx out, come on push your xxx out (Let me see your hips swing) Bring it up then back down, bring it up then back down (Let me see your hips swing) All my ladies on the floor, all my ladies on the floor (Let me see your hips swing) Pick it up then dip it low, pick it up then dip it low (Let me see your hips swing)

This can be a little tough, so I’ll break it down.

Knees bent, xxx out, come on push your xxx out (Let me see your hips swing)

Are you doing this? It’s not easy to bend your knees, stick out your xxx and swing your hips, is it? At least he’s taking it easy on us with a small swing.

Bring it up then back down, bring it up then back down (Let me see your hips swing)

Two quick squats followed by a hip swing. Feel the burn.

All my ladies on the floor, all my ladies on the floor (Let me see your hips swing)

I’m not entirely sure, but I think in this instance he wants us to swing our hips while on the floor.

Pick it up then dip it low, pick it up then dip it low (Let me see your hips swing)

Quick! On your feet! Deeep squat, almost to the floor, all the way back up, deeep squat and finish with a hip swing.

And just for good measure, the chorus one more time. Oh sh*it, shake that xxx ma, move it like a gypsy…

So, there you have it. Absolutely no trace of objectifying woman, murder or drugs. Just humor, chivalry, love, devotion, exercise and probably a whole bunch of other wonderful things I missed. And let’s not forget education, a benefit I hadn't originally thought of. You really just never know what gems are hidden in the lyrics of a hip-hop song.

Are you inspired? Ready to try one for yourself? See what you can find. Here are a few lines from Akon’s I’m So Paid to get you started.

I see police on the crooked i Doin a 100 on interstate ninety-fi' My shorty leanin, blastin that do or die Pushin that mxxxfxxxx wood cuz we certified Got a system that'll beat and knock your wall off Got a pump under my seat, the sawed-off Got a bunch of goons hope they never call off And my snipers sittin on the roof already saw y'all Cuz nig*gas they want war but ain't got money Cuz i seen them all talk until they start gunnin But i thought you was tough don't We carry choppers on our necks Call it cut throat We, bury powers on the set That they come from We, no magic turn We smoke the gun smoke We, bomb first when we ride You, in a hearse when you ride

Hmm. That doesn’t seem to be the best example. But I do not amend my opening statement. There is always one exception to every rule.

So play your rap music loud and be proud. Teachers, educate your students. Parents, serenade your children to sleep. Husbands, seduce your wives. Fatties, drop those pounds.

Rap songs are your oyster, their pearls just waiting to be discovered.


*******************************************************

If you notice any lyrical errors, know that I copied the words to these songs from a website. I checked several different sources to make sure I was as accurate as possible, but there were some discrepancies. Apparently I am not the only one who has no idea what the heck these rappers are talking about. Uh, I mean I know exactly what they are saying.


*******************************************************


I must give a shout-out to my breathtakingly beautiful editor Ashley for catching the typos in the previous posts. You might have your work cut out for you on this one!





Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Great Jacksonville Dog Escape

As with all other aspects of the narrative art, you will improve with practice, but practice will never make you perfect. Why should it? What fun would that be?
Stephen King



The Great Jacksonville Dog Escape
By Kelley Williams



On the morning of Thanksgiving Eve 2009, my husband and I and our two dogs were at the home of our fabulous friends Juli and Phil and their dog Stella. Juli went to work. My husband and Phil went surfing. I was asleep in the guest bedroom with the door closed. And our three dogs decided to run away.

As with every story, there is always more than one version, and in this case there are two: the Human Version and the Dog Version.



Human Version

Ring. Ring.

“Hello, this is Juli.”

“Hi this is Maria from the front office of your apartment complex.”

“Yeah…”

“Can you please bring your dogs inside?”

“Excuse me?”

“Your dogs. Can you please bring them inside?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Your dogs are running around the neighborhood. Please bring them inside.”

“What?!”

“Please bring your dogs inside your apartment.”

“I’m not home.”

“Oh. Well can someone bring them inside? They’re terrorizing the neighborhood.”

Juli flies out of the office, races to her car and does ninety the whole way home. She calls Kelley, who is at the apartment and surely knows what’s going on. No answer. She calls Phil. He’s surfing. No answer. She calls Mark. He’s surfing. No answer. And so the calls continue until she pulls into the apartment complex.

The back door of her apartment is open and Riley and Stella are sitting inside. Stella, happy to see her mother jumps up and puts her tiny puppy paws on Juli’s shins. Riley gives Juli a look that says “yep he’s gone.” Juli does a quick scan of the apartment and finds that indeed Cody is not there.

“Kelley! Did you know the dogs have been running around the neighborhood?”

Huh? What? I jump out of bed, throw on a sweater and pajama pants and process what I’ve just heard. Did I know the dogs have been running around the neighborhood? Why yes, Juli. Yes I did. I opened the door, said, “you kids have fun” and made them promise to be home before dark.

Of course I had no idea the dogs have been wandering around the neighborhood! (But just between you and me, I did wake up at one point and think it’s way too quiet in here. Three dogs should be making more noise. Oh well. I’m not going to complain. They’re letting me sleep. And I drifted back into my blissful slumber.)

I yank open the bedroom door and see Riley, Stella and Juli looking at me.

“Cody’s gone,” says Juli.

My heart sinks. Cody is my wild child and I know that if he’s run away he’s gone forever. Nonetheless Juli and I order Stella and Riley to “Stay,” close the door securely behind us and begin our search.

“Cody!” we call. “Cody!”

We look above Juli’s apartment at the girl lounging in her bra on the balcony. According to Juli, this was a regular occurrence despite the cool November weather. If I wasn’t in such a panic over Cody I would have informed her of this great invention called a bathing suit. I’ve been told they’re ideal for things like swimming and soaking up the sun.

“Did you see a black dog?” Juli asks

Bra girl nods.

“Do you know where he went?”

Bra girl shakes her head.

Thanks for the help.

Now what? Take off running and call for Cody? Good plan.

“Cody!”

“Cody!”

“Cody!”

We see two utility men working on a meter. “Have you seen a black dog?” I ask.

“Yeah.”

Oh what a relief.

“About thirty minutes ago.”

And the relief is gone.

“Do you know which way he went?”

“Um, yeah. That way I think.”

“Into those woods, with brush so dense you couldn’t slide a piece of paper through?”

“Um…well maybe it was that way.”

“Into the lake!”

The men shrug.

Is everyone in Jville this helpful?

Juli and I run toward the lake and I try to block out visions of Cody struggling to swim, getting caught in the cat-tails.

“Cody!”

“Cody!”

We continue to spastically run through the apartment complex, calling for Cody. I try to comfort myself by thinking he will hear the sound of my voice and run to me. I try not to think about the business parks with busy parking lots and heavily trafficked roads that surround the complex.

Mark and Phil arrive and Mark decides to search for Cody by car and Phil heads off into the woods.

Juli and I split up. I head toward one of the business parks and Juli heads back to the office to find out if there’ve been any sightings.

As I call for Cody, I resign myself to the fact that we’ll never see him again. We got Cody from the Humane Society. He was brought there by a couple who’d found him on street. They’d wanted to keep him but their landlord did not allow dogs.

I tell myself that Cody’s life is a journey, one with many stops along the way to the final destination. My husband and I are just one stop in the journey. I tell myself Cody is tough, he loves an adventure, he’ll be okay. But then I imagine myself packing up the car and heading up to P.C. to see my husband’s family with only one dog in tow. I imagine returning home to V.B., creating posters with Cody’s picture and sending them to Juli to post around the neighborhood. I imagine calling Juli every day asking if she’s found him. I wonder at what point I will stop calling, stop hoping he will return.

I do not want to be just one stop in Cody’s journey of life.

“Cody!” I cry.

My husband pulls up beside me. “He’s gone,” I say and I can see on his face he knows it too.

On the other side of the complex Juli talks with a maintenance worker. “Have you seen a black dog running lose?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know where he went?”

“Uh. That way.”

“If you see him again, will you stop him?”

The worker gives her a look that says stop a wild black dog? Lady, you are out of your mind. He doesn’t give her an answer.

Juli begins running back toward her apartment and hears a sound behind her. Click click click. She keeps running, her mind on Cody. But the sound continues. Click click click. She turns around and what does she see? A black dog running with abandon, free as the wind.

“Cody!” she cries. He runs to her, and she scoops him into her arms.

Mark and I are back at Juli’s apartment when I see Phil, covered in mud from the waist down, and Juli, carrying a big bundle of fur, come around the corner.

Relief washes over me and I run to Juli and scoop up Cody. “Cody! I’m so happy to see you!” I am expecting a joyful reunion, but the expression on his face is less than enthused. Dare I say annoyed?

But I am his mother. Surely he is happy to see me. Right?


Dog Version

“They’re leaving again,” says Cody, frantically scratching the door.

“They’ll come back Cody. They always do,” says Riley.

“Yeah, well I’m getting sick of being left behind.”

“I miss my Mommy,” says Stella resting her head on her tiny paws. She watches the crazy black dog claw at the door. As if that’s going to do anything. Boys are so dumb.

“Cody, calm down,” says Riley

“No way man. I’ve had it. I’m getting out of here.”

“Yeah? And how do you plan to…oh my gosh Cody! You opened the door.”

“Woah,” says Cody.

“Yay!” exclaimes Stella jumping up. “Let’s go play!”

“Um, I don’t think we should leave,” Riley says.

“Stop being such a baby,” Cody says and runs outside.

“Come on Riley. It’ll be fun. We won’t go far,” Stella promises and runs outside and sniffs the ground.

Riley hesitates, looking at the closed door behind which his mother is sleeping.

“Come on Riley!” Stella calls.

“I’ll be right outside, mom,” Riley says to the door and runs outside.

“Look at me!” says Stella. “Look at all the stuff I’m picking up. When my parents take me out it’s always ‘leave it! Stella leave it!’ Well look at me now mom! Eew! What was that? That’s gross. I think I’ll leave it.”

Riley sniffs along the sidewalk, the bushes and the grass. “Everything smells so much better when you’re not on a leash. I’m so excited I think I’ll bark. BARK! BARK, BARK, BARK! Wow, no one is telling me to be quiet! This is great! BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK. Come on Stella, do it.”

“Bark, bark, bark. This fun! Ooh, what’s this?”

“Ah, it’s been so long since I’ve tasted freedom. I want to run over here. No here. No over here. Ooh what’s that? And that?” says Cody.

“Where’s the Frisbee? Someone throw the Frisbee,” says Riley. “Ooh a flower. I’ll pee on it.”

“I just ate a bug,” says Stella. “I love eating bugs.”

“Come on guys, let’s race to the end of the street!” says Cody.

“Ready. Set. Go!” says Riley. “BARK! BARK! BARK! I love to bark when I run.”

“Guys, wait for me!”

“Ha, ha! I win,” boasts Cody. “You guys are losers!”

“I didn’t want to win,” says Stella.

“I let you win,” says Riley.

“Whatever. The world awaits. Let’s go.”

“Cody, we’re getting too far from the house,” says Riley.

“Yeah, I think we should go back,” says Stella. “My mom will be worried if she comes home and can’t find me.”

“Mine too. Come on Cody!”

“No way man! I’m not going back. I’m free!”

Riley and Stella head back to the apartment. “You better come back before mom wakes up or you’re gonna be in trouble Cody,” Riley calls over his shoulder.

“Ha! Like she’ll be able to find me.”

What a bunch of babies, thinks Cody as he streaks through the neighborhood. The world is mine. I can pee on whatever I want. I can pee on this grass, and on this tree, and on the stairs, and on this fire hydrant. Ooh that lady just left a bag by her car for me to pee on.

Ooh, there are some people over there. I can go meet them because I don’t have anyone pulling on my neck, tugging me in another direction.

“Hi people, here I come.” Ooh, what’s that? I smell something. A dog! Or maybe a cat! I think it’s a cat! I must find it!

A stick. I’ll pee on it. Lizards! I love lizards! A newspaper. I’ll pee on it. Wasn’t I looking for something? More grass. I’ll pee on it.

What was that? I heard something.

“Cody!”

Aw crap, they’re looking for me. I’ll run further away. They’ll never find me.

I smell food! Chicken! I must follow the chicken.

The cat. There it is! I will catch it and pee on it. You can run but you can’t hide, cat. Crap, she ran up a tree. I can’t climb trees. I’ll bark at her. Maybe she’ll come down.

Ooh a person running. I love to run. I’ll chase her.

Look, she’s turning around! She’s going to give me chicken!

“Cody!”

That’s amazing! How does she know my name?

Wait! Don’t pick me up! Why are you picking me up? I want chicken.

Oh, crap. It’s you. You’re going to take me back to my parents, aren’t you?

“Cody! I’m so happy to see you!”

Yeah sure. Whatever mom. You’ve stolen my freedom and I bet you don’t have any chicken do you?

And that is story of the Great Jacksonville Dog Escape of 2009. It was my first dog escape experience and hopefully my last. But if Cody has his way, a sequel will be coming to a town near you sometime in fall 2010.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Beware the Lizards


Get your facts straight first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
Mark Twain



Beware the Lizards
By Kelley Williams



I have a fear of lizards. They terrify the crap out of me. I’m not talking big gila monster, iguana, Komodo Dragon, lizards-the-size-of a-truck lizards. I’m talking your run of the mill, brown, scurry in front of you as you walk down the sidewalk, lizards. When people find this out, the conversation usually goes something like this.

“You’re afraid of lizards?”

“Yes.”

“Why? They can’t hurt you.”

“And your point is?”

“Well if they can’t hurt you, then why are you afraid?”

Allow me to explain. Some people have irrational fears, like a fear of alligators, or a fear of heights or a fear of public speaking. However, can any of those hurt you? I think not.

Okay, maybe alligators can hurt you, what with their bone crushing bites and death rolls and take you to the bottom of the lake and drown you and come back later for a tasty snack tendencies.

And maybe heights can hurt you if you’re, say, standing at the top of the empire state building and the railing breaks lose and you flail to your death.

And fear of public speaking? Come on people! Can that really hurt you? I don’t think so. Unless you are such an incredible bore that someone from the audience throws an axe at your head to shut you up. But really, unless you’re speaking at a lumberjack convention, what are the chances someone in the audience will have an axe?

Convinced that all those fears are irrational?

Good.

Convinced that lizards are scarier than alligators, heights and public speaking?

No?

Well then let me ask you: Can any of those fears make you jump up and scream your head off like a raving lunatic in front of the entire student body as you wait for cheering practice to start? Can any of those cause you to emit a blood curdling scream and make you run from the kitchen while your husband wonders who just stabbed you with a steak knife and your dogs run so fast to get away from you that they aren’t actually running because you have tile and they can’t get a grip so their feet just spin under them like the roadrunner? Can any of those make you bolt to a sitting position on a lounge chair, forgetting that your bikini top is untied thus exposing yourself to the entire neighborhood? Can any of those crawl up your pants and die at a party? Can they?

The answer to all those is no.

But you know what can do all those things horrific things?

That’s right, my friends. Lizards.

And that is why I am afraid of them.

And now you are too. Right?

Still not convinced?

Fine. I will elaborate because I believe it is my duty as a good citizen of this world to inform one and all of the dangers and evils of lizards, and hopefully provide some attack-avoiding tips in the process.

The first attack happened when I was a Junior in high school waiting “on the patio” for cheering practice to start. I was sitting on my friend’s lap when I felt something on my leg. I calmly looked down, because if you know me, you know I am calm by nature, and saw a lizard, on my shin. A lizard. On. My. Shin. Did you see how fast that happened? One minute I was calmly hanging out with the members of my fabulous squad and the next minute there is a lizard. On. My. Shin.

I of course did what any reasonable person with a lizard on their shin would do. I flew off my friend’s lap, sending the ambushing reptile to kingdom come, and screamed my head off in front of the entire student body.

All I can say is thank goodness for my friend Juli who realized the severity of the situation and coached me in taking deep breaths - in through the nose out through the mouth - while my heart returned to my chest and the blood to my head.

The second near death experience occurred several years later in the kitchen of the oh-so- lovely-upside-down-mortgaged-town-home in which my husband and I reside. We were cooking dinner, salmon I think, and my dogs told me they too were hungry. As soon as I touched their bag of food, this hideous, monstrous, brown creature, a.k.a. a lizard, came flying at me. (Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly monstrous in size – more like two inches, at most – but their small size makes them all the more terrifying, allowing them to venture into places they should never go, like my kitchen, and other places much more personal in nature, as you will later see.)

So, I did what any warm-blooded female would do and emitted the most blood-curdling scream you have ever heard and tried to bolt from the kitchen. But my two dogs, who wondered what the heck was going on, got in my way (see roadrunner description above) thus increasing the panic and the high-pitched hysterical screaming. My husband grabbed his Uzi, ready to make Swiss cheese out of the intruder who’d just plunged a steak knife into my gut, but much to his surprise no one was there.

“Lizard!” I screamed.

“Seriously, Kelley. People are going to think I’m killing you,” was his ridiculously calm reply. He must not have heard me say there is a lizard in the house.

I peered around the corner as my husband tried to find him and release him into the wild, when the evil thing came running at me again. Yes, it was running at me. Not I’m-a-terrified-baby-lizard-in-a-strange-place-with-a-screaming-psychotic-woman-so-I’ll-run-erratically-until-I-hopefully-end-up-outside kind of run. No, this thing was running at me. WITH A PURPOSE.

“EEEEEEEEE!” I screamed again.

My husband, whose eardrums I could see exploding at the noise I had emitted, ordered, “Kelley! Go upstairs!”

I bolted up up the stairs while he miraculously captured the evil creature and set him free. Thank goodness I have a husband brave enough to go to war with lizards, or the salmon would have burned, the oven would never have been turned off, and the four of us would have stood outside and watched our house burn to the ground. (Which I know was the evil lizard's plan the whole time.)

On to attack number three. I was lounging by the pool, soaking up the sun, reading a book, minding my own business, when it happened.

First of all, let me just say that I deserve a medal for lying by the community pool of my town-home. The pool deck is Evil Lizard Paradise, a.k.a my worst nightmare. But I am a fiend for the warm rays of the sun, so I brave my nightmare. And also, getting a tan makes you look skinnier so you don’t have to work out as much. It’s science.

Anyway, I’m minding my own business when once again I feel something on my shin. I do not have to look this time to know what it is. I bet you think I screamed my head off, drawing the attention of the entire neighborhood. But this time I was so terrified I was rendered speechless and decided to draw the attention of the entire neighborhood in another way. I kicked my leg up, sending yet another lizard airborne, and flew to a sitting position. And…forgot that I had untied the straps of my bikini top, because there is nothing worse than tan lines (except maybe lizards), and flashed the entire neighborhood. I was too concerned with making sure the lizard was no where near me, that I did not immediately realize my lady friends were exposed.

Upon realizing it, was I completely horrified? Embarrassed? Distressed?

No. I was too busy trying to retrieve my heart, which had once again been extricated from my chest and was flopping around on the pool deck. Once it was situated securely back in place, I tied my straps, called my husband and recounted the attack. “This just proves you should always keep your eyes on lizards,” I said.

“I think it proves that you should always keep your straps tied,” he replied.

Uh, no. If I do, that means they win. And I will not let them win. I will not have tan lines.

And finally, the battle that changed the war. Attack number four. This time there were casualties.

Here’s how it all went down.

The hubs and I are getting into our car to go to an awesome party in V.B., (I know, a party in V.B, stop the presses.) when I brushed against the shrubs that line our drive. Moments later I felt something on my – you guessed it – shin.

My immediate reaction was to rip my pants off and check it out. But instead I decided to be a big girl and tell myself it was only my imagination.

So hubs and I were cruising along on our way to the fabulous V.B. party when I felt something on my knee. I was now at a freaked out level of Six. But again, I realized I am big girl and convinced myself it was just the sensation of my jeans pulling away from my body as I stretched.

Now would be a good time to remind all you ladies out there that women’s intuition is a real thing and you should always, always trust it. Is this camel leather Prada handbag a fake? Yes. Is the creepy man in the parking lot following me? Yes. Do these jeans make me look fat? Yes. Is my coworker a conniving backstabber who’s going to steal my promotion? Yes. Are these weird sensations on my leg actually not sensations at all, but something crawling up my leg? Yes!

So we arrived at the party. We knew maybe two people and being the SUPER outgoing person that I am, I headed straight to the hunch punch bowl. I sipped the hunch punch and talked to my husband. Or maybe talked to the two people I know. Or maybe talked to myself. This is where things got fuzzy, because now the sensation was on my inner thigh, and I was at a freaked out level of Off The Charts.

Let’s recap shall we? Sensation begins on shin, then travels to knee, then on to inner thigh. We all know where it’s going next, and there’ll be none of that. Time to investigate.

I headed to the bathroom, yanked down my jeans and saw nothing. I reached into my pants, because the best thing to do when you think you’ve got an unidentified creature crawling around in your pants is to blindly reach inside them to retrieve it. But all I was awarded with was a ball of lint. Hmm. How odd that a ball of lint would be responsible for all these sensations. Shrug. Whatever. Problem solved. I pulled up my pants, ready to rejoin the punch bowl, I mean party, when I felt this huge bunchy thing on my inner thigh.

That. Is. It. I have had enough. I reached inside my pants and pulled out this big bluish ball of lint. I looked at it and thought this is a big ball of lint. And then…

This lint has eyes!

Yes, my friends, that’s right. A lizard crawled up my pants and died.

Okay, I’m not exactly sure it died in my pants, although it was blue and in the shape of a ball, but I’m pretty sure brain trauma was induced when I threw it to the floor in horror. The next four hours were spent with my head poking out of the bathroom while I called for my husband and people gave me weird looks. He saw one look at my ghost-white face and sent me outside for fresh air.

So there you have it. Four horrific stories of evil lizard attacks. Although you are now sufficiently terrified – I am sorry – you have also been sufficiently warned – you are welcome.

But as for those aforementioned attack avoiding tips. Well I lied. There aren’t any. Lizards are everywhere. They are taking over the world. And they will find you.