I was cooking dinner last night, when “Ricardo” came home unusually tired. I knew he wasn't at his desk all afternoon when I tried to call him numerous times about how I left my cell phone in “Javier” backpack and then later retrieved it with a note in pristine handwriting befitting of a kindergarten teacher stating: "Beth called." (Apparently, the asst. teacher had enough time to locate the backpack, rummage through it, and answer MY phone in the middle of circle time.)
During dinner, Javier' s lengthy analysis of the Star Wars' cantina band dominated conversation, but at the first pause, I asked my quiet hubbie, " So what did you do ALL DAY?"
Feigning interest in yellow headed aliens and the substitution of ketchup for blood, we waited until Javier took another breath. Then Ricardo finally responded mumbling: "I had to be in a shoot for the retreat video."
(Occasionally, the video producers, who create the "VERY FUNNY" ads for UTN (Unnamed Television Network), make in-house spoofs using their personnel as a way to liven up the luxurious, posh work retreats in the fall. These retreats, by the way, absolutely forbid significant others from attending and squelch those of us who dream of surreptitiously crashing a four-star hotel complete with 400 count Egyptian cotton sheets, free HBO, room service, and matching terry cloth robes and slippers..I guess for fear that we outsiders might follow the precedence of UTN insiders and actually leak UTN's new fall line up to the local newspaper’s TV columnist.)
At this point during our meal, I was starting to get a little peeved how Javier's recollection of episode 4, A NEW HOPE, from a playground reenactment was distracting him from eating. Ricardo and I had both cleaned our plates, so I started to nudge him to finish his dinner in that familiar motherly tone. Somehow between "finish your spinach" and "you HAVE eaten that wild rice salad before" I remembered to pay attention to my husband's fatigue and asked, "So what did you have to do?"
"I had to dress up as a pimp."
You would think that based on my reaction at all the other sexually inappropriate and bawdy UTN spots, lewd reality TV proposals, and my personal struggle over the fact that our income is derived from the entertainment industry and not some business that promotes human or environmental welfare, that I would immediately voice my disapproval. However, whether due to my own weariness or the fact I wanted to avoid the dishes, the pimp comment didn't seem to phase me, so I went back to lie comfortably on my bed to begin my ritual of working on the NYT crossword. 15 minutes or so passed, Ricardo was strumming his new $$ guitar, I was yelling for the six letter word for a Big 10 Team starting with a vowel, and Javier, dressed in his American Indian costume, began to wrestle me on the bed, as I clutched my pen and crossword ever so tightly.
In comes tired husband, plopping down on his stomach at 7:45 PM, a good two hours before bedtime. Oh yes, wife needs to acknowledge that husband had a long day. Oh right! He spent the working day acting like a pimp!
So as Javier is jumping and singing on the bed, I start asking those questions, I think any pimp's wife would want to know:
"What did you wear?"
"What were your lines?"
"Who were the girls?"
Somehow, I could only make out a few of Ricardo's answers because at this point, amidst the Indian attack, Javier was trying to bite, yes bite, my nose:
"Suit..[garbled]..zebra stripes..[incomprehensible]...floppy hat.......no lines..???....my girls...???..embarrassed by their exposed midriff....."
I am straining to hear Ricardo through all the giggling and screaming, while at the same time deflecting my son's face away from my nose and not trying to get pen ink all over my shirt. Two images pop into my head: Kojak in a brown polyester suit and stetson and Starsky and Hutch's "Teddy Bear" decked in a full-length fur coat, and chains getting into an el camino.
Ricardo: "Karen and Michelle..???..walking behind me.... ???...later covered them with cape...I am peddling my wares ..... ??...???... a cage in front....."
"CAGE?" "Wait! Someone was in a cage!"
I was glad that Javier was too amused by his antics to hear any of the conversation that his parents were having. He was almost about to get my nose when the bomb dropped:
"The shoot took so long because they couldn't find another set of lingerie for the 2nd donkey."
"'DONKEYS?" I screamed incredulously.
Here it comes: the tears, uncontrollable giggling, the once-a-year snorting. Javier's mouth had now descended upon my nose. I start rolling off the bed.
Meanwhile, Ricardo, who is curled up from laughing so hard, is trying to explain how the donkey trainer couldn't get the one donkey IN LINGERIE to walk in his "entourage." It needed a donkey friend..thus, another set of lingerie. (Funny that we just started watching HBO's show, Entourage.)
With all that transpired, I immediately take my wild child to bed...my head spinning..laughing at what I just heard, but also in shock of the implied bestiality and the sophomoric humor. What UTN producer thought of that scene? How could my perfect Ricardo not protest to such a thing? What if our church found out about this?? Forget a shot at the presidency now!
I put those thoughts quickly aside and crawled into bed to begin the last book of CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia . In it, an ape, Shift, encourages his friend, Puzzle, to dress up as Aslan the Lion, the savior king and Christ figure of the book. And guess what? Puzzle was a DONKEY! Of course, CS Lewis called him an ass, but I just couldn't seem to bring myself to say even the more polite version of arse to my potty-word-lovin' child. (BYW: there is a history of adding of "r" in other words to make them polite: Cuss-curse; bust-burst; hoss-horse.)
After Javier fell asleep, I went back to bed to read some Latin from my summer hiatus, but I couldn't get this donkey thing out of my head. As I was reading, I started remembering all the Greek and Latin comedies that used the motif of a donkey in a "sexual farse." In Lucius Apulieus ' The Golden Ass, the main character is transformed into a donkey, which at one point has some sort of sexual encounter or two, but my brain cells can't recall the specifics. In Shakespeare 's Midnight Summer's Dream, Titania falls in love with the character Nick Bottom after he has been transformed into a donkey head, which comes, I believe, straight from a comedy by Plautus . If the Greeks, Romans and Shakespeare exploited the poor donkey, I guess I can't vilify those UTN producers if they were just following a western literary tradition, now can I?
Since the Golden Ass was written during he 2nd c. AD, I am wondering if this same lewd sexual association with a donkey was common a century earlier. If it were, then the image of Christ on a donkey on Palm Sunday is even a more powerful image. Would it be that pastors are too afraid to talk about bestiality in church?? Hmm...
So if a guy ever tells you he is an ass-man, you might want to shake that booty in another direction.
Now--go kick some arse!