Bulletin Board excerpt

THE BAADER-MEINHOF PHENOMENON

From (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Bulletin Board, November 22, 2003

Back to: Poet X Home

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Karen of St. Cloud: "Whew! What a relief! I think I've had my first B-M.

"Two weeks ago, I was helping a friend tear out some old carpeting. This was some pretty ugly stuff: medium blue, light blue, and white lightning bolt zigzag shag. Just plain nasty.

"But we knew that, once it was torn out and in the trash, and the remnants of the rapidly crumbling foam backing were vacuumed up, that would be the end of it.
"Or so we thought.

"The carpet was ripped up, the crumbs swept away, when what to our wondering eyes should appear but the most gawdawful apparition on the floor. And it didn't go away. It just stayed there. It looked like an area rug that had been heat-sealed into the floorboards. The color combination, design, border, and all looked like (breakfast eaters, avoid this! stop reading now!) pizza puke.

"What was this decorating disaster from the '20s? A linoleum carpet. I never knew there was such a thing. And asbestos-laden, to boot.

"Two days of mask-wearing, scraper- and heat-gun-toting, profanity-muttering later, that nightmare was gone also. Linoleum carpet. Who thought up that little bit of ugliness?

"(I'd had linoleum in my bedroom as a child, but it was pretty, late-'50s linoleum, with turquoise and pink stars and built-in sparkles. I thought it was lovely.)

"To recuperate from my ordeal, I took a long, hot shower. Drained the tank. And then I settled down with the latest choice from one of my book clubs (the one where we actually read the book; in my other book club, we pretty much just sit around and eat snacks  not that there's anything wrong with that).

"In 'The Persian Pickle Club,' which takes place during the '30s in Kansas, one of the characters bends over and has to be careful so her porcelain brooch doesn't fall off her blouse and break on the... linoleum carpet.

"Tah-DAH!!!!!!!"

THE BAADER-MEINHOF PHENOMENON (RESPONSORIAL) Or: Today's helpful hints

Poet X of PDX: "As readers continue to tell their stories of 'finally' having had B-Ms, I sense a community of folks who need some help in that regard. Because I have my share of B-Ms somewhat regularly, what follows is a sort of laxative recipe for the uninitiated.

"The most important activity in attaining B-Ms seems to be reading  frequent reading. Newspapers and books are the favored forms, but billboards and bumper stickers will also work. I'd like to add here a comment about hanging out with good writers rather than trash writers, but that's a whole different recipe card.

"A personal favorite B-M inducer is watching 'Jeopardy!' Trivia games such as Trivial Pursuit have a similar influence. Crossword puzzles, especially the good ones (NYTimes), are also an excellent source of wide-flung references and citations conducive to having a healthy B-M.

"It also seems to help to keep abreast of current events, from the large, political-global things to the more cultural-flavor-of-the-month ones, no matter your age. Just because I'm closer to 50 than 40 doesn't mean I can't enjoy the current confab of young-boy singers, John Meyer, Jonny Lang, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and Damien Rice (they fit into my CD rack beside James Taylor, Neil Diamond, Freddy Mercury, Jay & the Americans and Syd Barrett quite nicely, actually).

"Hopefully that last sentence will provoke B-Ms in enough readers that I can stop there, my task done."


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