Sunday, September 27, 2009


If you read my previous post, you already know that I have been known to turn to for insight to the words and riddles of the modern world. While researching alternative meanings for the word clear, I happened upon an excellent word for the new millenium -- cleansane:

The state of stress and compulsive cleaning that overcomes a homemaker in the days leading up to a realtive's visit or a party.

My brother's graduation party is tonight. It's been driving my mom cleansane.

Newfangled or no, this is an excellent word. We've all been there -- driven to the very brink of cleansanity due to some sort of inspection -- and it ain't pretty, am I right ladies (and like-minded gents)?

It's bad enough when it's your in-laws coming to tsk-tsk at the condition of your clean home; it's always worse when your house is not in order, and you're shoving a sinkload of dirty dishes into the oven, and covering up clutter with a strategically thrown rug.

These are the smoke-screens and masks of our lives; and when you think about it, it's easy to see that while an oven full of dirty dishes is bad enough, there are some messes that are much, much worse: messy, smelly and rotten. Sometimes, you simply need to wash the dishes; sometimes, you catch a whiff of decay, and there's no getting around it: it's time to take out the trash.

I know how it feels to be certifiably cleansane due housekeeping ineptitude, but at least I have a teenager to handle the trash. How much worse and awfuller it must be when the cleansanity is due to moral in the case of embezzlers and racketeers.

My mother always told me that the worst thing about telling a lie is that you have to tell another...and then another...and still keep up the guise and hold up that ever-heavier mask. Eventually, such a construct of deceit must result in sleepless nights spent tossing and turning, and the arrhythmic beating of a tell-tale heart -- or is there only remorse when someone finally happens to lift up the corner, and see what lies beneath that weighty and tightly-woven rug?

There's been enough time spent overlooking...and enough breath wasted with smooth talk and tap dancing. It's time to pay the piper; it's time to stop the cleansanity.

A toast

I was talking the other day with two acquaintances; as the conversation ensued, I heard one say somewhat derisively to the other, "...the people at that meeting were all 'clears', so it just goes to show..."

I gently interrupted: "Pardon me, did I understand you to say 'clear'? What does that mean?" A broad smile crossed the speaker's face; "Why, you're a 'clear', honey," came the answer, buoyed by a hearty chuckle. I frowned.

From the loose definition which was then provided me, I took it to be a sort of backward slap against "the man"..."whitey"...and "the powers that be." As such, I felt myself very much offended.

Later, I recounted the story for my husband, who found the comment similarly off-putting. In this new age of make-believe words and facts and figures, perhaps we were overlooking a more modern meaning of the term. A visit to, however, provided us further fuel for fire:

One who is so fake, you can see right though them; someone who is trying to be something they obviously are not.

Now, I'm not entirely sure of what the speaker meant by this statement; perhaps like Judge Sotomayor's "wise Latina" statement, it was nothing more than a clumsy attempt at humor. But after mulling it over in my head for a bit, I came to see things differently.

These days, "clear" has been a scarce commodity; for instance, I can't see clearly now, and must rely upon reading glasses when reaching the fine print. Similarly, the significance of day-to-day events has become increasingly blurry. Despite the rallying cries for "sunshine" and "transparency", words are murkier than ever before these days...hinged with double meaning, and tinged with the slimy film of hidden agenda. Separating the wheat from the chaff, the fact from fiction, and the cats from the canaries becomes ever more challenging...and the day and age when a person's word was sufficient voucher are quickly going the way of the dinosaur.

Oh, I can already hear it: "Spydra (if indeed that is your real name), aren't you being hypocrital? Nice pseudonym...would you like a fake mustache to go along with your wig and sunglasses?"

Why, yes, thanks so much for asking. Because smiling faces sometimes tell lies; they don't tell the truth. Because the mendacious glad-hand you with palms that are constantly greased. Because cowards are only candid when comfortable.

A long time ago, a couple of wise women named Wilma and Betty decided they'd been kept in the dark long enough; together, they each donned a water-buffalo fez and fake mustache, determined to better glimpse hidden events. Those of us familiar with their story know that despite some pain, discomfort and humiliation, their thirst for a better understanding was quenched.

As such, let us raise a toast to those two old-fashioned gals from Bedrock and their quest for knowledge; to another place and time and days of auld lang syne; to every halcyon thing, transparent and clear: Here, Here!