I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Monday, January 30, 2017

You Don't Sweat Much For a Fat Girl: Observations From the Shallow End of the Pool by Celia Rivenbark

In this book of hilarious essays, Rivenbark, a Wilmington, NC native who used to write a syndicated column, writes about the joys of yoga, Twitter for Southerners, dropping off children in Nebraska, the Learning Channel, the Snuggie, Chinese bachelors, Menopause, and other topics.

Rivenbark signs up for yoga just to have an hour where no one is asking her do something, like clean the house, cook meals, or help with homework.  However, she discovers an interesting study from Denmark "that women who have skinny thighs have twice the risk for heart disease as us normal women."  This study came out at about the same time as a "Time magazine cover story on "The Myth of Exercise" in which a very learned scholar wrote that, while it's good for you, exercise won't make you lose weight.  If fact...exercise can actually lead to weight gain because of the notion that you're entitled to wolf down a platter of nachos the size of a hubcap at On the Boarder after a half hour workout on the Spawn of Satan, I mean, elliptical machine."

As a Southerner, Rivenbark, has had a lot of trouble in the land of Twitter.  "Because everyone knows that Southerners lean toward being a bit long-winded, verbose, wordy, overwrought, and dense when it comes to written communication."  How do you confine yourself not to 140 words, but 140 characters?  She compares tweeting to trying to write haiku "the Japanese art of hair weaving in thirteen words."  She also talks about how she once had fashion model Kathy Ireland as a tweet follower, until something she said upset her. 

For a while, in Nebraska, you could drop off your child, of any age, to a designated area, such as a hospital, and leave them for others to take care of.  This became a problem when people from as far away as Florida began dropping off their surly teens off and the system became overwhelmed.  She suggests using this as a threat for your kids when they act up, because what is there in Nebraska, but lots of corn?

In the Learning Channel essay, she talks about Octomom looking for a show for her and her brood. "Ok, she's got fourteen kids, no job, and no husband, but she's going to council others? This is like getting relationship advise from Chris Brown." They would fit right in with some of the other  crazy things they show, like the Duggers, where the sex advise is "sex is a lot like Legos", My Monkey Baby, and I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.  "TLC, which used to stand for The Learning Channel but now stands for Titillating Losers for Cash."

The South doesn't take the cold very well.  They'll close school for one threat of a snowflake or delay it if its too cold outside.  "We Southerners aren't built to endure cold.  We are gently creatures that look best in sundresses and skin that is dewy with humidity."  Also, there's like only one guy with a truck to shovel the snow from the streets, which is why when it snows everything comes to a standstill.  When she receives a Snuggie for a gift, she scoffs, until she tries it on and realizes how warm it makes her feel in the coldest of winter days.

In China, the one child per household, set up to lower birthrates in a country that is overpopulated, has now backfired.  "...in about ten years, there will be approximately twenty-four million Chinese men who won't be able to find a wife."  Also, Chinese elderly population will explode.  The Chinese women must be loving this, because now they hold all the cards.  So, Rivenbark suggests that Chinese men up their game and follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama who on date night, takes his wife out to dinner and the opera.  Even on his night out with the guys when he's going to go to an NBA game, he still takes Michelle out for a very fancy dinner out. 

Today, the church is crossing a line and telling parishioners to make love with their spouses every night.  "Now I totally get you'd do that in Kansas, because once basketball season winds down, really what else is there to do?...But Florida?  Did they shut down Disney and nobody told me."  But the church isn't the only ones dealing with sex.  The CIA is dealing Viagra to Arab Princes for information on the Taliban.  The Princes, with all of their wives to satisfy, eat it up.

Rivenbark, in peri-menopause, says that "many women in my situation try to learn as much as they can about this stage of life.  Some even embrace and try to celebrate this phase, which can include insomnia, memory loss, night sweats, fatigue, and memory loss (ha).  I like to call these women crazy."

This book, as all are her books, is funny as hell in a very Southern way.  She touches on subjects that everyone can relate to, even if they don't admit it.  I still have one Celia Rivenbark book to read and I can't wait.  I hope she writes more, since her she quit writing columns to write books.  She is a true Southern Belle.

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/You-Dont-Sweat-Much-Girl-ebook/dp/B004VMV3WW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485787052&sr=1-1&keywords=you+don%27t+sweat+much+for+a+fat+girl

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