Lee Pitts: Green guests
November 19, 2015
"Why are you walking with a limp?" I asked my friend ReRide.
"It's a long story. Basically it's because Honey Bunch and Archibald came for their annual visit."
"That's your sister-in-law and her wimpy third husband isn't it?"
"That's right. I swear it was the longest two days of my life. The problem is I can't remember my wife's instructions. I can't kill any spiders or flies in her presence because she's an animal rightist, I have to take off my wedding ring because the gold might have come from South Africa, and we can only talk about books written by Thoreau. As if I've ever read any. We have to watch public television, bathe with the smelly biodegradable soap Honey Bunch gives us for Christmas every year from a commune in Berkeley, and we have to pretend that we do yoga daily and only sleep on all-natural fibers. The minute my wife see her older sister coming she reminds me to act green at all times."
"That must be hard for you to restrain yourself."
"You're telling me! You should have seen the looks I got when I quoted Rush! It's hard because every year Honey Bunch is on a different crusade. Once it was endangered fairy shrimp, the next it was dreaming back the bison and singing back the swans, whatever that means. Last year it was green sex."
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"I'm not sure I want to envision that."
"Get your mind out of the gutter. Green sex is guaranteeing women the right to contraception and reproductive rights. I'll never forget the year Honey Bunch went around the house in a headdress and moccasins to show her solidarity with her Indian sisters."
"I didn't know she was Indian."
"She's not. The only tribe she belongs to is new age wing nuts who believe humans are a blight on the landscape. She doesn't have a good word to say about anybody and she believes that nature is God, which is amazing considering how ugly Mother Nature made her."
"Didn't you try to sabotage her car one year?"
"That's the year she was into green energy. I had to unplug our refrigerator so she could plug her car in without blowing a fuse. You'd have thought I shot her through the heart when I let it slip that our electricity comes from a nuclear reactor eight miles away. She accused me of polluting her batteries."
"I'd imagine meal time was a bit stressful?"
"For sure. She'd only eat stir fry tofu and pea pods and we had to eat with chop sticks. I swear I lost five pounds."
"Ah, the chop stick diet! That could be a huge fad and a bestselling book for sure."
"She even brought her own pair of ivory chopsticks because she didn't want to destroy bamboo forests with throwaway utensils."
"That seems hypocritical. How about the elephants the ivory came from?"
"I thought she was going to have a stroke when she saw the antlers I forgot to hide. She screamed, 'You killed a deer just so you could have its horns! What kind of cretin are you?' I tried to explain that they were sheds, that they weren't horns and that I was a terrible shot and couldn't hit a dear if I had to."
"That's for sure."
"Honey Bunch didn't believe me when I said I'd found the antlers on the ground. She just said I'd created an imbalance in the fragile state of natural ecology of the ecosystem. She also said that she would never harm an animal and would never wear or eat anything that was the result of an animal's death."
"So I complimented Honey Bunch on the two small bones stuck through each of her ear lobes which had to come from an animal… or her last husband. That's when my wife kicked me in the shins under the table."
"Which explains the limp."
"Exactly. But even that wasn't the worst of it. Honey Bunch went around the house lighting incense and candles and chanting in some strange language because she was into transcend-dental-mediation."
"You mean transcendental meditation."
"Yeah, whatever. I was afraid she was going to burn our house down. Which in retrospect might have been a good thing. Then Honey Bunch and Archie couldn't mooch a free room from us."