Strange Things & Filthy Lies

Excuse my lack of patience with your service serpent

July 2019

Wendy Parker


The world has become a terrible and scary place. Unfortunately, the emotional crutches some people choose for “soothing their psyche” are often more disturbing to the rest of us than the terrible and scary world.

When I was a little kid, I carried around a stuffed animal my granny made for me. I called it “Mousie.” I absolutely could not survive any extended period of time away from Mousie without complete and utter emotional destruction. The thought of life without Mousie was inconceivable. He was everything to my 4-year-old self, made of velvet and gingham. Majestic Mousie, with his floppy neck and googly eyes. I loved Mousie.

Granny made him with a long, thin nose that had a tiny little pom-pom on the end of it. In times of stress, or bliss, or pretty much every minute of the day, I shoved the little pom-pom in my nostril and used Mousie’s nose as a handle, so his face and ears kept people from seeing me suck my thumb. He was perfectly proportioned, so I had a line of vision wide enough to see between his ears to walk while I held Mousie close.

Looking back, Mousie was actually pretty gross and the definition of a germ-donkey if there ever was one. This is beside the fact that he had about 17 choking hazards sewn to him. I slept with one of my nostrils completely blocked with the pom-pom nose and the rest of his body covering my face. Let’s not forget the thumb in my mouth, just to make sure my childhood oxygen levels never crept above a steady “she don’t act right.”

Mousie may or may not have been responsible for my whole Sunday school class getting strep throat, but those filthy accusations were never proven, and that’s what those mean little kids get for playing keep-away with something I stuck up my dang nose and drug all around Ponce-de-Leon Avenue in 1974.

Y’all remember downtown Atlanta in 1974? It wasn’t gentrified and gorgeous. It’s a wonder we all didn’t get the plague or die from Kool-Aid poisoning. Lord, mama used tap water, of all horrific things. We played in the sunshine, slept on our stomachs and apparently were outlaws of the highest order for being allowed to ride in the car without seatbelts.

I forgive ya, Mama. And I have a soft spot for those needing an emotional support item. I’ve been there.

That said, people have done what they do best, and taken the emotional support items to a level way beyond boogery stuffed-animals. The heights of extra are really appalling – and this is coming from a supporter of the benefits support animals provide. (Say that three times fast.)

Look, it’s cool to have a dog, or cat, or bunny – you know, something small and furry with an appendage easily shoved up one of your nostrils, who can sleep on your face without impeding your oxygen levels any lower than “she don’t act right.”

I understand petting something that purrs for comfort. I do not understand how having a serpent from hell writhing around your neck and general person could even vaguely invoke a sense of comfort.

And don’t expect truck stops to willingly conform. It was hard enough getting decent dog food in the aisles. I don’t want to live long enough to hear, “Let’s see, ya’ got a monster energy drink, a pack of Marlboros, and a live rat for your service-serpent. That’ll be $25.50!”

I understand we’re not all alike and probably need a vast variety of things to choose from that should be legal to bring on an airplane, or bus or into the truck stop showers to cover each and every need. But here’s the thing – let’s be reasonable. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to keep your choices to a level of “nonlethal to human beings.”

This would include the woman who recently sued an airline for not allowing her to board with her emotional support peacock. And no, it wasn’t in a cage. She bought a seat for the peafowl so it could sit beside her and scream like a demon from hell for the entire flight. Because that’s soothing to her. Apparently this woman also enjoys icepicks crammed into her eyeballs with great force and repetitive motion, but no one wants to see that either.

Lady, there’s a reason the Hindu God of War rode a peacock into battle, mmmmkay? They’re huge, and scary and used to guard palaces and stuff. Also, a peacock will kill the hell out of a snake, so what’s going to happen when emotional-snake-support person is violently attacked by your emotional-support-peacock?

I’ll tell ya’ what – the entire airplane will need therapy, and before you know it we’ll need arks to travel on instead of airplanes. “Now boarding – all passengers with scorpion-infested-pillow-support…”

No. Just no.

Not too long ago, they arrested a fella in Ohio for using his pet iguana as a weapon in a Perkins restaurant. Apparently, the ol’ boy was in an ill mood and began beating the manager with his live iguana when asked to leave.

The iguana and I both wish this was a filthy lie, but alas, it is not. It’s uncommon, it’s strange, and it was probably fairly painful for Copper, the ill-fated reptile, as well as the manager, who I am certain was in no way prepared to defend himself against whirling iguanas. I mean, is there an OSHA class for that?

(By the way, Copper suffered a broken little reptile leg but was taken to a shelter, where he was definitely not used as a bludgeon ever again.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you these two prime examples of why it’s so difficult to discern between Strange Things and Filthy Lies these days. Return next time, when we dive into the violent underworld of illegal three-toed sloth racing. STFL, over and out. LL