In 411 BC, Aristophanes penned the play Lysistrata, a comical account of one woman’s attempt at ending a war. My Greek Tragedy girl Lysistrata persuaded women to withhold sex from their menfolk, hoping the men would conform to their wishes. Had there been credit cards, surely she’d have also suggested they get even "the old fashioned way." In a long detailed oath, over wine (most likely getting "porch drunk") women agreed, vowing not to "crouch like the lioness on the cheese grater."
I need to take a moment. There are certain things you can learn in a writing class: when not to use an adverb, the significance of a name, and even the formula to story and plot. But you can’t learn that. You can’t learn to see things as a poet might, to describe things in a way that make no sense, and by doing so, happen to make sense. You just can’t. That’s raw talent, and no matter how well-read, how practiced and knowledgeable, how many hallucinogenics and crazy LOST time jumps are involved, it’s not something you learn; it’s something you have.
Leaving the "crouching" aspect out of this for a moment, when I hear the phrase "the lioness on the cheese grater," I begin to wonder what the writing exercise might have been. What might the brainstorming chalkboard have looked like in that conference room?
Parmesan. Fine grate. Feline grate. Feline "greater." The Circle of Life.
Then I hear the theme song to The Lion King. I think of cubs. Of a mama licking her cubs. Of big goofy paws, the way you can tell how big a puppy will grow. And then I think of the potty. I can’t help but go there. It’s the word "crouch." It’s the kissing cousin of "squat." And then I think it might involve defecating on a man’s chest. And then "cutting the cheese" begins to make some sense. Aristophanes was a naughty boy who spent too much time in the outhouse. Or, um, it’s just me.
Aristophanes could’ve had Lysistrata deliver a general message of "Hold out, bitches!" It would have sufficed, surely, but how very "milk and water" that would’ve been. But "the lioness on the cheese grater?" That’s about as awesome as it gets. I can only strive for colorful turns of phrase like that. I need to get back to my Greek Tragedy roots, here.
When a man had an erection, back in the BC, it was considered "a prodigious burden." As in, "Oh, dear, notice my loincloth poking about? Never you mind my large thick burden." Whereas today, I think men have "the burden of proof", and so very often, dig for said proof in the bottom of an orange cylinder. This might be different, if only we women were to bring "the crouching lioness on the cheese grater" back in vogue. How, dare I ask, am I going to ever top that?
I’m disturbed. I know. Even now, when singing "On Top of Spaghetti" to my sprouts, I can’t help but think sick, alarming thoughts about meatballs.
4 YEARS AGO: Mint Chip