Not Yet Finnished



Friday night. Late August. I wanted a laugh. More important, I needed to hear other people’s laughter. Problem was: I only wanted my pet’s food to be canned, and I didn’t want my living room to be comedy central. Devoid of amorous company, I dove into the subway and emerged into the neon nirvana of Forty-Second Street, Times Square.

Passing on caricature portraits and flirtatious pickpockets, I swerved around starry-eyed tourists and glazed-eyed addicts to zoom in on the first hawker of comedy venue flyers in my hot concrete path. “Hmmm…twenty bucks for three comics performing live?” I asked the husky, bearded Black dude in baggy denims and black tee. “I’m there.” It was roughly forty-five minutes until the eleven o’clock set.

After I was ushered to one of a dozen tables among stadium seating, I distracted myself from both claustrophobia and the dearth of Black people in the tiny, dark club by inhaling the first of four turkey sliders on pretzel buns divided between two red-and-white checkered paper boats. Before I could fantasize about sailing away from the venue into fresh, open air on the Caribbean Sea, I heard a reedy voice ask, “Excuse me, madame. Is this seat taken?” Apparently the joint had filled nearly to capacity while I was on my armchair vacation, and the average-height blond man hovering over my medium cup of Coke was assuming that my companion had stepped away to use the men’s room — or to find a slender girlfriend.

“No one’s coming,” I told the stranger through my thin napkin  as a couple of thirtysomething stick-chicks tittered my way as if I were the set’s opening act. He squeezed his thick frame into a red wooden seat perfect for Baby Bear, plunked his bottle of Heineken at the tiny corner of table that I had managed not to monopolize, and then neglected to provide either his name or a handshake. He did mutter a monologue about being in Manhattan on business for two days before returning to Finland and finding it difficult to close a precarious deal. I recall him smiling as I reacted between munches: “Oh, you’re Finnish. I was trying to pin down your accent and thought I detected Nordic — ”

Before I could complete my sentence, all the house lights (“hut” lights would be more apropos) except the ones onstage went out, and the emcee — a dead ringer for singer-songwriter Levi Stephens, sans guitar — asked the crowd, “Are y’all ready to laugh yo’ asses off?” After waiting for our tiny, nearly all-white village to chant “Hell yeah!” for the third time, the night was on like Cheddar cheesy pop-poppity-popcorn.

From the lesbian comic opener who is responsible for my repulsion to rabbits of the silicon variety (let’s just say her repetitious ribbing rubbed my insecurity the wrong way) to the Honduran pothead from Red Hook — I lost all six porcelain fillings by laughing and coughing so hard. The few times I looked over at the Finnish businessman, he seemed to be enjoying the comedy as much as his fourth or ninth Heineken. I wasn’t counting, the bottles that is.

By the time the house lights had flickered back on and the applause had waned, my Finnish seatmate was gone. I was left with his emptied beer bottles and his cold, stiff seat. “Well, not even a goodbye,” I thought. Biting my bottom lip, I stood up and swiveled around to watch all the other patrons making their way toward an exit so narrow that we could have been trying to flee a funhouse. And like that amusement park feature, life suddenly appeared so distorted, though no deceptive mirrors were in sight.

Friday evening had begun in solitude; it now ended in loneliness. Although crowds of people were wandering the vivid, illuminated streets between Eighth Avenue and Broadway, I felt abjectly alone. Rendered two-dimensional by virtue of melancholy, I was a crumpled soul embodied in a woman who was destined always to be a party of one. Faltering with each footstep, I couldn’t compete with those five-dollar caricature portraits drawn in haste in front of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Unbearable awareness of my mateless meandering had reduced my bodyweight to that of pencil lead.

Heading toward the BMT subway, I thought that a downpour was threatening despite the hour, but it was my own rain. I felt tears streaming down my face and gazed in horror at the left side of my torso, which already was beginning to be smudged out. With watercolors for eyes, I probably stumbled past the vanished Finnish visitor, whose soliloquy on his apprehension toward a business deal with boorish Americans could have competed for length with any of Hamlet’s procrastinations.

Topped with charcoal-gray hair, I lost my balance beneath an unexpected gust of wind — my maker’s hurricane breath sweeping rubbery bits of eraser into the fragile paper frame’s northwest corner. In contrast to my disappearing form was a colored-in scene of jubilant figures shouting, singing and otherwise affirming their existence within a replacement neon picture frame.

Before my lungs could be extinguished, I gasped at the irony that I had made an unplanned Broadway debut but that the last laugh was on me.


First published on October 5, 2015

“Not Yet Finnished”  © 2015 Chantale Rêve  All Rights Reserved


Photo Credit:




“Prissy,” they may hiss —

Although it’s a portmanteau

For “pretty pussy.”

© 2015 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved



I’ve just completed a blog post about valuing oneself and not identifying by occupation.  There are times, however, when it’s totally appropriate to ask where a person works.  Those are moments when you find yourself singing the melody of that cautionary Jackson Five song (but with the lyrics slightly altered):  Stop, the life you save may be your own.

Some years ago, I reluctantly attended a company party at an upscale jazz club-restaurant on the East Coast.  Of course, the event took place at night and in the middle of a week that didn’t contain a payday.  That meant – for the non-promiscuous among us – going home alone by subway, not by taxi.  I say that I reluctantly attended the shindig because I knew most of the co-workers would be talking out of their asses the way they did back at the office, except they’d be full of more shit after taking advantage of the open bar and buffet.  (I was right.)

Ah, but there was yet another reason I’d decided to go to the bash:  Just as I know that all humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, I knew that my upcoming performance review hinged on how I navigated the testy waters of the company party.  I had my eye on a promotion, and since I wasn’t willing to kiss any female manager’s ass or sleep with any male manager with a perpetual hard-on, the company party would be my last opportunity.

The grapevine gala was going on its second hour, with voices growing louder as bottles of differing shapes and sizes emptied faster than a well-serviced drainpipe during a torrential downpour.  By then I’d already stretched the rayon of my little black dress by returning to the buffet tables for thirds of fried spicy wings, jambalaya and cornbread.

Meanwhile, a live band took a break from 1970s disco tunes, and lots of silver-haired folks ambled toward the dance floor upon hearing the opening strains of the American standard “I Remember You.”  The change in pace prompted them to channel the confidence of “Dancing with the Stars” competitors and deliver their best imitation of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – and, when the rhythms switched to swing, their best impersonation of Frankie Manning and Freda Washington (look ’em up, y’all).

I knew a little tango and a lot less foxtrot, so I had no inclination to join the brave on the dance floor and glide amid the royal blue and lavender spotlights.  My exuberant co-workers, however, began goading me to “get out there!” because they knew I’d begun taking formal lessons at I-wouldn’t-have-dared-tell-them-where.  (Actually, I had been dancing for many years, but not ballroom dancing.)

I ignored their girlie chanting, holding my purse to my chest and bearing my weight into my shoes and into the chair.  They laughed loudly, perfuming the air with mingled spirits – and I don’t mean joie de vivre, either – as they attempted to pry my purse from my tight embrace.   I must’ve flattened my “D” cups to a set of “B’s” that night in a fierce attempt to fight off those drunkards.  In contrast, I was chain-drinking sodas.   This was like one of those pseudo-lesbian scenes from a bad 1980s women’s prison flick, except we remained fully dressed.  (Come to think of it, were there any good movies of that subgenre in the ’80s?)

Out of nowhere stepped a rather charming, handsome man.  He looked nothing like Astaire or Gene Kelly or either of the Nicholas Brothers, but, more importantly, he wasn’t dressed to the nines like most of the employees at the party.  However, he smiled so widely and his teeth were so bright, that I guess he had us blinded from his purpose.   Then again, our company was quite large, so none of us couldn’t possibly know everyone present.  The guy stood about six feet, had a lanky physique and reddish-brown complexion, and he kept smoothing back black, wavy hair brushed close to his head.  I didn’t try to guess if he had a conk; he had a cock, which made him a man — at least in the semidarkness of our table — so I knew to be wary.  His smile appeared a bit fake, as if he was contemplating:  Which of you sisters will I be bedding tonight?  I thought:  Not this one!  And just as that thought flashed through my mind, his gaze zoomed in on my face. Damn, damn, damn, I cursed inwardly while trying to snarl outwardly.

Just then, Mr. Charm extended his hand and grinned under a mustache thinner than Don Ameche’s.  I played coy because I was embarrassed as hell.  Glancing up at him, I said, “Merci, monsieur,” while shaking his hand.  I’d just returned from Quebec and was still feeling Frenchified, when what I should’ve have felt was too petrified to lift a limb.

Excusez-moi, mademoiselle.  Êtes-vous française?” he asked before raising my right arm higher to give the back of that hand a slo-mo peck.

Smiling and struggling not to imagine growing a wart on my hand, I replied:  “Non, je suis americaine.”  Then I snapped myself into my non-French reality and re-answered, “No, I just came back from vacationing in Montreal.”

“Montreal, eh?” he said, pronouncing his beloved city “MAWH-ray-YAHL.”  He raised an eyebrow and smiled back at me before practically dragging me tango-style onto the dance floor.

Mr. Charm looked to be 15 years my senior.  I didn’t understand why he selected me, but then I rationalized that he didn’t want an inebriated dance partner who would spill her guts when he spun her.  That thought caused me to look back at the giggling dingbats at the table.  Whenever I wanted to glance over at them, he would pull me in closer to him.  I think he really was trying to cop a feel, desiring the sensation of my heavy bra on his muscular chest.  Whatever.

It was difficult to place my right palm in his as my hand was still limp from his light kiss in front of my colleagues.  I made up some fancy footwork that I’d watched on those dance championships which aired on PBS every year.  Oh, but he was quite the dazzler, displaying smooth footwork of his own. And those damned chalk-white teeth.  He dipped me so sharply at the end of our twanglo (it wasn’t the tango; but it was twisted), that my left shoe nearly flew off.  A rather embarrassing moment, yes, but one about to be outdone by a horrifying sequence.

When Mr. Charm and I returned to the table, I reclaimed my purse, checking for any missing currency inside while my co-workers asked my dance partner within which department he worked at our company.  The assumption was that everyone at the bash was an employee.  “Leave the man alone,” I urged the intoxicated gaggle.  But no, they insisted on imploring further.

Mr. Charm complied.  Retrieving his scuzzy-looking backpack from beneath the table, he matter-of-factly revealed, “I don’t work for your company at all.”  Then he smiled widely.  That night, he explained while zipping up his windbreaker, he had landed at the Port Authority bus terminal after a 10-hour ride from Montreal.

The other women acted as if his admission was artistic and bohemian.  He said nothing about just finishing an avant-garde installation at a gallery in Montreal; he wasn’t distributing flyers for his upcoming high-wire act in Mont Royal; and he didn’t magically produce an easel and palette to do our portraits there in the club-restaurant.  No, this man had just held my waist, danced cheek to cheek with me, touched my palms with his, and now I was learning with the subtlety of a Band-Aid ripping the hairs off my arm that he was some kind of vagrant!?!  I was terrified that he’d crashed our company party and was even more of a stranger than a co-worker on crystal meth sliding by on HR’s second written warning.

When another co-worker at the table had the gall to ask him what he did for a living in Montreal, he casually replied that he handled cadavers.  Oh, great! I thought to myself while sneering over at her.  At this point, my colleagues were giggling nervously, but I wasn’t.  My jaw felt locked and my pupils must’ve been as dilated as a comatose patient’s.  When the intruder reached into a pocket at the front of his backpack, I held my breath.  What, is he going to retrieve a knife or gun now? I wondered.

Looking around at the other women, I could tell they, too, were having a cardio-pulmonary event.  Any trace of laughter was replaced by grim silence.  Still grinning, the mysterious stranger whipped out a company I.D. card that contained his photo, the name of the hospital, and the department where he worked:  the morgue.

I’ll never forget how “The Addams Family” theme flitted through my mind and how this interloper’s increasingly weird vibe crept through my bones and over my flesh.  I’d just danced toe to toe with a man that tagged toes.  A part of me struggled to escape out of my skin, but I caught myself midflight.  I was above discriminating against anyone’s occupation – unless it was serial killing, rape, armed robbery, etc. – and I didn’t want him mistaking me for one of those paranoid, post-Patriot Act Americans who assume that all foreigners are terrorists.  Still, for all any of us knew at the table that night, Mr. Charm could’ve been a murderer of Ripleyesque or Ripperian proportions.

The next day, I made it a top priority to communicate discreetly to the appropriate department at our company that there had been a security breach at the party.  Perversely, the cliché about “no good deed…” echoed in my head when I was placed under surveillance for having danced too intimately with a company-party crasher.  Yeah, where was the videotape when I was getting my ass groped in the mailroom earlier that year for committing the sin of hand-delivering my manager’s last-minute package after hours?

Alas, the moral of this true story is:  Go with your gut instincts and ask crucial questions because, if you don’t – and especially if mind-altering libation (or another kind of drug) is involved – you could wind up as some morbid statistic.




Article was first published on the Blah-Blah-Blah-Blah Blog on February 25, 2010.


“Rethink Passing On (and Passing Out at) the Company Party”  Copyright © 2010/2014 Chantale Rêve  All Rights Reserved



Clip Art Source:

Intrusive thoughts on infertility,

Palpable in the stifling stillness of the examining room,

Penetrate the lumpy surface of my hijacked womb.



Like a cadaver,


I’m denied a peek at the sonogram’s monitor,

Only a poker face offering no clues to the sci-fi picture.


Taking a gamble –

Charm having failed as a device –

I beg the technician for a full view of the aliens. (No dice)


From her boombox,

Light jazz intended for heavy petting

Turns me moody,

Though not in the “saxy” way James’ bebopping horn blows

In the serenade beginning:

“There I go, there I go, there I go, ther-r-r-re I-I go-o-o-o …”


Belly-buckling sobs drown out indifferent witness,

Blur my vision of a future filled with ornery offspring,

Underscoring that technology can’t eradicate emotional sting.


I hasten to hoist underpants over hamhocks and hips,

Shuddering from the silence lingering in air

Frostier than a January breeze lashing unkissed lips.


But, alas, a final violation –

Raven-haired receptionist dispenses humiliation,

A well-rehearsed line to collect my fine,

Her gatekeeping eyes flashing a No Exit sign.


At this existential impasse,

I long for the lesser of two evils:  a Sartrean hell.

Then, repetition of my name breaks the philosophical spell.


“Do I pay now?”

“Oh, you’ll pay later.”

My fate is sealed as I watch serpents

Strike amid the tresses of the HMO-paid instigator.


Copyright © 2000/2011 By Chantale Reve

Depending on your age and cultural references, the term “Dr. Feelgood” may have a negative or positive connotation.  When applied to the man in charge of “The Steve Harvey Project,” it’s all good because there’s nothing wrong with overdosing on some downhome humor now and then.

The key words are now and then.  When you have a crick in your neck and it’s not the worn futon that’s to blame, but the boss’s heel imprint, then surfing to the Centric Network channel to catch the antics on “The Steve Harvey Project” can be a timely antidote.  Watch the show too often, however, and you might find yourself tripping over subject-verb disagreement at the office and landing on the unemployment line.

Then again, I worked at one place where a colleague used to respond to anyone’s attempt at a humorous anecdote with, “You is so crazy!” or he’d omit the verb altogether while euphemizing a swear word, as in: “Dang, you a hot mess!”  I won’t fuckin’ lie; the second remark of his was my favorite.

But I digress from the subject of this post.

I watch “the Projects”  — a shorthand that Harvey, his co-hosts and even some guests use for the veteran comedian’s televised morning radio show — whenever I need to decompress quickly after work.  I can get some easy laughs in front of the idiot box when I’m stressed from Type A assholes’ pushing my buttons as if I were a human accordion.

I also view the ensemble comedy/talk radio show whenever I desire a brainteaser.  Why bother with Sudoku when I can just fall back on my couch, totally exasperated from trying to decipher Harvey’s speech.  Don’t get me wrong.  Steve Harvey has charisma and a rich reservoir of humor, downhome and otherwise.  His timing is impeccable, his material is funny and his moustache is Pryoresque.

Oh, and Harvey’s insight probably saves several generations of Black folks from wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the psychotherapy that they avoid as if it’s the superstition that unfortunately has survived the slavery era in America.  “What? You want me to put my bag where?  Under the table?  No can do.”

But here’s a twist:  Black folks may or may not be saving money by seeking Harvey and his sidekicks’ Southern shamanic treatments for their love joneses, the advertisers are racking up a fortune through subliminal messages that cater to the same viewers’ instinct to “keep up with the Joneses.”  And just when they thought they couldn’t buy enough fast cars, fast food and weight plans that make them “feeeeeel GOOOOOOD,” they get suckered in night after night through book plugs that pop up like those annoying, cloying TV ads for addictive sleep aids and pain medications.

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.  See, the love-drug-addicted among you probably got a rush just now.  I nabbed my copy of Harvey’s bestseller, not from my local library but from the pile of books headed for the trash heap outside.  Actually, I’m busted, too.  Ahem, eyes up here; I didn’t say busty.  I meant that I’ve been going through withdrawal symptoms waiting for another neighbor (or the same one) to toss out the sequel to Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.  Yes, I’m looking forward to being bullshitted straight through Straight Talk, No Chaser.  Or perhaps I missed my chance at a free copy.  Maybe an opossum already gobbled it up.  The critter took one look at Harvey’s yummy lips and bared its teeth like Karen Black at the end of that Trilogy of Terror vignette (the best of the three).

Yes, now and then “The Steve Harvey Project” has me grinding my teeth.  Not in my sleep but when I’m wide-awake.  Sometimes my ears are doing battle with Harvey’s smothered-fried dialect and I’m grabbing the remote for the umpteenth time to press the rewind button.  For me to unwind in those moments, the amount of negative stress in my workday must outweigh that experienced when I’m struggling through his chunky dialect.

Having said that, Harvey’s skit in which he purposely obscures every word in a sentence — as the aptly named character “Tongue Tied” — is hilarious because it’s supposed to be incomprehensible.  But there is another reason for the skit’s effectiveness:  One of Harvey’s female co-hosts, the überarticulate Shirley Strawberry, plays the role of interpreter.

If ever there was a perfect voice for a phone sex line, it would be Strawberry’s.  (Her surname alone is erotic, and I couldn’t care less whether she was born with it, married into it, or created it.)  I may wince through Harvey’s grammatical butchery as he scoffs at missives from the “E-mail Bag,” but while I’m listening to Shirley in the “Strawberry Letter” segment, I feel as if I’m receiving a full-body massage — at a remote island spa where I’ve traveled to only in daydreams.

My fave skit on “The Steve Harvey Project,” cardboard-and-wood fans down, is “Pastors with Horoscopes.”  Thanks to my father getting his way and making me follow the Baptist religion in childhood — even though he himself never attended worship services — I recognize all the love taps and outright disses in Harvey’s sketch.  For example, I never fail to laugh when the Reverend Motown (Harvey), with Deacon Def Jam (Harvey’s Nephew Tommy, a co-host of “the Projects”) at his side, opens his Baptist-style sermon with:  “Holluh, holluuuUUUHHH!  Backatchoboyyyy.”  Perhaps I’m not doing the line justice here.  You really need to hear it in all its gospel glory for yourselves.

Deacon Def Jam, too, has me rolling as he recites the church’s slogan — “Jackpot Joint of Jerusalem”  (a.k.a the “JPJJ”) — in an inadvertently maniacal voice.  Think legendary film villainVincent Price; for those of you under the age of 30, Price narrates at the end of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

As for the pastors’ “Jackpot Joint of Jerusalem,” there’s at least one inside joke:  that some of the most sanctified churchgoers are some of the most discreet high rollers at the casinos.  Hmmm, all that cash intended for Building Fund envelopes, gone!

With the exception of the old-school cash register’s “cha-ching” that follows the deacon’s intro — and, of course the horoscope readings (“Stop right dehre!”) — the sketch “Pastors with Horoscopes” brings back fun memories of my churchgoing days.  Hey, if one must be a captive congregant, one may as well get some comedic mileage out of the experience.

In a Black Baptist church, at least the one I joined as a young girl, the organist would lean on a few chords as the preacher approached the pulpit.  Although television doesn’t have the time to allow the Reverend Motown and Deacon Def Jam to spoof Black Baptist sermons fully, their skit mocks the best parts.

My favorite part of the sermons of yore was the revelation.  The lesson.  Upon hearing the organ cue up the sermon’s climax, I would completely awaken if my mother’s backhand hadn’t resuscitated me first.  Then I would stretch my eyes at my Mickey Mouse wristwatch and prepare for the jam session that was chutch.”  Just as instruments — vocal and mechanical — riff off each other in jazz, so too between organist and minister.

A whoosh of chords piping up sharply behind every few, briefly spoken-sung phrases could delineate how swiftly the listener might go to Hell if the pastor’s lesson were not heeded.  Or, a ripple of organ notes could accompany the preacher’s impromptu tap-dance number behind the pulpit as he sang in a gravelly voice about the upside of following the Lord’s word.

In “Pastors With Horoscopes,” Harvey opens the doors of the church.  In real life, when the minister would open the doors of the “chutch,” the musical dynamics would change dramatically, as in “a lil’ bit lighter now” — to borrow from The Isley Brothers classic “Shout.”  After all, it was time for the minister to beg.  He needed cold hard cash for the Building Fund, the Sick and Shut-in Fund, the Pastor’s Anniversary Fund, the Fish Fry Fund, the Patrimony Fund, etc.

It also was a time for the good rev to implore his suckers, er, sinners to come get their souls cleansed.  There always would be more women than men trudging up to the front.  For the minister, the anticipation would be worth it; soon the day would come when he would get to dunk a fascinating array of women dressed in white in a baptismal tub and revel at how the water renders the material translucent.

As thrilling as his priapic fantasy may have been, money really was the focus of his musical invitation.  While the pastor’s eyes bucked and seemed to beseech dollar bills out of Madea-heavy bosoms in the front and side pews, ushers would thrust gold-toned collection plates into the faces of congregants foolish enough to sit on the aisle.

As a young teen, I often thought how ingeniously those collection plates were designed, with a velvety cushion at the bottom center so that churchgoers couldn’t hear all the coins clinking into the plates.  When the plate clunked against my nose, I used to strain to see the dollar bills bouncing off each other at the top and watch men groping through their pockets and women rifling through their bags as if dropping paper in that plate was their last chance to make it into heaven.  It was all so psychological — the fleecing of the flock.

On a recent episode of “the Pastors” — how the sketch sometimes is referred to by Harvey and his co-hosts, and in the media — gospel celebrity Kirk Franklin paid a visit.  While the height-deprivation jokes were overdone (with Nephew Tommy playing Harvey’s foil as always), the chemistry between Franklin and Tommy, as the deacon, was electric.

When Harvey, as the Reverend Motown, revealed to Deacon Def Jam that “Kirkie” would be replacing him as the reader, he stammered the word Wait an astounding number of times before quipping:  “After all these yeeeuhhhs, he come in here wit a Gucci hat and a Gucci jacket on, and you give him–”

The Reverend Motown interrupted him to explain how Kirkie “has sold a million albums,” as if to justify the deacon’s demotion.  With perfect timing, a camera zoomed in on Franklin’s Hello Fear CD, while Shirley Strawberry and Carla Ferrell could be heard guffawing in harmony in the background.  Franklin’s objection over the minister’s injurious short jokes, led Reverend Motown to apologize to him while still managing to insult Deacon Def Jam.  Deadpanning, the preacher stated that Franklin is “a giant in the gospel world.”

The skit concluded with Kirkie Franklin making a plea for viewers to “call into the Short Ministry of all the people that’s tall through it all.”  Again, maybe you had to be there, but that episode of “Pastors With Horoscopes” was funny as hell.

“The Steve Harvey Project” airs on the Centric Network every weeknight.  In my area, the show airs at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.  Please check your local TV listings for show times.

Are the feathers going to fly starting this weekend!  And Black Friday might take on a whole new meaning next weekend.  I’m not referring to the annual mass murder of turkeys and to the supposedly biggest shopping day of the year.  I’m editorializing about the inevitable brouhaha among stressed-out air travelers who now are being subjected to the equivalent of body work — but without the happy ending.

Unless Superman is performing the full-body scans (and unless I’ve got more of a chance than Lois Lane at getting laid by the superhero), I’m squinting at the Transportation Security Administration’s idea of X-ray vision.  Hey, if an actor with a body that’s hard on the eyes anyway can demand that a no-nudity clause be inserted in his or her contract, then I want a body double, too.  If I can’t make like Melanie Griffith’s “Holly Body” between now and November, more firmly grounded than a teenager who’s run up a $500 cell phone bill faster than the time it takes to reach the maids-a-milking in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Bad enough I get zapped whenever I’m subjected to a mammogram — or what I prefer to call a smash-o-gram.  (“On the count of three, ma’am, freeze.”  What else are we women supposed to do while we’re rockin’ those short gowns, tits pressed against a cold, hard glass?)   I glow in the dark just fine, thank you.  This Thanksgiving, I would like my well-dressed dead turkey without a side of radiation, please.

Seriously, though, I don’t get it.  The Food and Drug Administration says MSG is bad for me, but being patted and prodded like a Butterball on Thanksgiving Eve is fine.   I suppose all the folks worried about overeating at the holiday table next week have a new reason to say “Hell no!” to that third heaping plate of turkey, stuffing and everything-that-can-fit-on-the-table.  What’s that new reason, you may be asking?  The FDA-approved, full-body scanners at U.S. airports will be doing a visual version of TMI — en masse.

Kind of makes you feel sorry for all those full-breasted birds getting fisted post mortem, doesn’t it?   Don’t get me wrong.  I love turkey and the tryptophan-induced stupor that follows the orgiastic consumption of it exacerbated by repeated refusals to say no to the host’s question:  “More wine?”

Gluttony and sottedness aside, the new airport procedures of the Transportation Security Administration might be perceived by many air travelers as mass molestation.  Here’s the rub:  There’s a serious purpose for the harsh, pre-emptive measures, and that is to deter terrorism.  But I just can’t avoid the humiliating aspect of the TSA’s new airport regulations.  No one wants anyone besides his or her gastroenterologist gawking at his or her post-Thanksgiving bloated intestines.

Wait, I take back the last statement.  If you’ve ever endured a colonoscopy at the hands of a wiseass gastroenterologist — and his sidekick, the anesthesiologist — you’re familiar with the inappropriate jokes they deliver while you’re still dry heaving from the gallon of Golytely cocktail you chugged down the previous night.  There you are, starving, weak and nauseated (from the Golytely) and ready to have your bowels pumped with air.  Two human beings with medical degrees snap on the gloves beneath wicked smiles as the sidekick forces you to do a countdown to the most humiliatingly invasive procedure right up (or should I say down) there with examinations by gynecologists and urologists.  Your last thought before an unconsciousness that carries a nominal rate of death is:  Geez, these docs are really a gas.

One time, after recovering from the procedure, the gastroenterologist said to me, “Chantale, if you only knew the things we did to you while you were under–”  Needless to say, I took three First Response home pregnancy tests two weeks later (“the kiiiid was not his son”) and never returned to his sterile torture chamber.  To this day I refuse to view Rosemary’s Baby when it appears on cable television, and don’t get me started on any TLC-channel program involving multiples.  (Not multiple sex partners — that’s cool — but freakish births by humans envious of dog and cat litters.)   The pending lawsuit gives me the last laugh at those white-coated assholes.

And what’s with the name of that colonoscopy-prep medicine, “Golytely,” anyway?  (They should rename it “Re-empty,” or banish the concoction  altogether.)  The only time that name sounds pleasant is when it’s spelled “Golightly” and paired with the name “Holly,” as in the breezy Audrey Hepburn-George Peppard romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s — or the Truman Capote novella from which the film was adapted.  And lest you assume that my reference to Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a non sequitur, need I underscore the first word in the title of the film’s memorable song, “Moon River”?

Despite the pain in the ass of intense body searches at the nation’s airports, after all the fracas subsides we’ll all just hum the same tune and mindlessly take it up the bunghole like a beheaded turkey crammed down its lifeless gullet with bread and chestnuts or other yummy things.  Let’s face it:   We need all the security measures possible so that we can fly safely to and from our destinations — and not only during major holidays.

I just hope the people in human resources, or whoever is in charge of background checks, takes special care not to hire convicted sex offenders as airport security personnel, or else some of those pat-downs of air travelers could take on a sinister context.   Hey, if there are bad seeds among department store security guards who are so unscrupulous as to screen fitting-room footage of unwitting “strippers” at company Christmas parties, anything’s possible.

As for the FDA-approved full-body scanners, everybody and his Uncle Charlie and Aunt Bertha could become more paranoid about them than they would hands lingering beneath tented flies on Fruit of the Looms and pebbled tips of Maidenforms.  Imagine that brand of madness — all those air travelers doing their versions of Robert DeNiro’s psychopath in Taxi Driver.  Here’s a sneak preview:

 You feelin’ me there?

You feelin’ me there?

Are you feelin’ me there?

Are you feelin’ me there?

Then who the hell else you feelin’?

You feelin’ me there?

Well, I’m the only one here.

Who the fuck do you think you’re feelin’?

If this post has made your skin crawl, you’d do best to shut your eyes when rubbing softened butter beneath that dead turkey’s goosepimpled flesh.  If you’re one of those creepy types who’s at the head of the line for the security jobs so you can have a better chance at peeping on other people’s private parts, well … cluck you.

Copyright © 2010 By Chantale Reve