The Coffee House
JavaRanch Finds Its Inner Goddess
by Solveig Haugland
It was that time of year.
The time that every cowboy dreads, and the time that Brenda and Lacey
counted down on their calendars.
Not daylight saving time. Not the first crocus.
Cowboy Bath Time.
The cowboys approached Spring Bath Time as they would an annual root canal.
They probably wouldn't have approached it at all except that city ordinance
required that every cowboy bathe at least once a year. The only drawback
for the city was that cowboy bathtime had a "trust but verify" clause. Usually
they outsourced this to Kitty and the Gals in their place of business at
the edge of town. Kitty and the gals already had real strong stomachs.
It was a staggered schedule, and today was Zeke's turn. He chose to do it
at night for a better sense of privacy and to help give the illusion that
taking a bath was just a bad dream. This also meant, however, that
going through the storage shed for bathing supplies had to be done by moonlight.
Luckily, it was a full moon, he observed to the sheriff (there to verify
the bathing event), as he squinted at one item after another and tossed it
over his shoulder.
"I tell you, the leadup is almost worse than the event itself. It's like
I have to do spring cleaning at the same time. What the heck is this?" Zeke
grumbled as he tossed yet another mysterious cord over his shoulder. "And
I tell you, I have absolutely no memory of ever using HyperCard." The HyperCard
diskettes followed the cord. The whole yard was littered with old cords,
an assortment of Newtons, several Mac SE30s, and a whole lot more Mardi Gras
beads than you'd expect.
The sheriff was clearly uncomfortable. "I see your bathtub in the back. Haul
it out and let me get out of here before you discover Elvis back there."
The men hauled out Zeke's tub, which was the classic round tin tub that all
the cowboys used except that it had a nice coat of gold spray paint from
back when Sid was using it as a pedestal in his rodeo halftime gig. The men
filled it with ten parts water, two parts disinfectant, and one part Golden
Raspberry Souffle bath salts. The sheriff raised an eyebrows and declared
an intense desire not to know. And having seen enough to figure Zeke was
going to go through with it, got Zeke's signature on the bathing sheet and
high tailed it the heck on out of there.
Zeke stripped off one layer of crispy clothing after another, submerging
them in the separate tub that was needless to say one part water and one
part disinfectant. He downed the pint of vodka that he always had handy when
undergoing major surgery and, a little more relaxed, slipped into the tub.
He even started splashing about happily and humming "I Feel Pretty" under
A half hour later, the vodka had had its effect. Naked as a jaybird and drunk
as a skunk, Zeke rose out of the tub and started dancing around under the
trees. "I Feel Pretty" gave way to "Java Jive" which gave way to "Holy mother
of McNealy!" when he stumbled into a clearing and ran full tilt into fourteen
of the prettiest half-naked women he'd ever seen.
Zeke ducked behind the first cover he could find, which as he would discover
later was a poison ivy bush, and his eyes got about seven inches across each.
"What in the world are you doin' here, you hussies?!"
(Zeke was a major movie fan and was secretly afraid that the women might
love him up and then turn him into a horny toad. Though to be strictly accurate,
afraid wasn't quite the right term.)
The women smiled gently at him. Zeke was quite a sight--wild long hair, Mardi
Gras beads around his neck, and of course naked with glittery bits of Golden
Raspberry Souffle bath salts making his body all glittery and stuff. He didn't
really look like himself. Which is good and is what made what comes next
not that odd.
"Are you our spirit guide?" said one of the women, wearing a diaphanous gauze
skirt and a bikini that said Free Tibet on one side and Free Che Guevara
on the other side.
"Don't be silly, Cilantro," said another woman in more of a sari kind of
arrangement. "Marita said that our spirit guide would be young and hunky.
Or else a badger. She was kind of vague."
"Sunshine, you're remembering last year's Burning Butterfly festival," said
a third woman who seemed to be doing a badly executed but enthusiastic body
art sort of thing. "This year our spiritual forest experience will take the
form of a technopagan transpersonal breathing transfer. Ooh look, there's
all those antique computers strewn around a Golden Orb of spiritual transference.
This is it! Cilantro, get him before he leaves our dimension!"
Cilantro threw Zeke over her shoulder and the whole crowd of women rushed
toward the Golden Orb of spiritual transference, formerly known as Zeke's
bathtub. They threw the Mardi Gras beads around their necks, drank from Zeke's
spare bottle of vodka, and, before he could stop them, just a bit from the
disinfectant/bath salts mix which luckily did nothing more than lend a certain
sparkliness to their technopagan transpersonal breathing
transfer experience. Then they knelt and stared into the SE30s. Cilantro and Sunshine had a shared
vision in which Linus Torvalds appeared to them in kind of a Barbarella environment
and left them with a really great GUI for a new Linux distro. Magenta just
lay on the ground and muttered a string of primitive sizes over and over
again. Spruce had a vision of a world in which all software was open source
and everyone had access to the tools they needed for personal and professional
growth, and self-actualized on the spot. Nectar apparently got a little too
much disinfectant and channeled Bill Gates' Windows 95 launch speech, throwing
up in the bushes for several minutes afterwards.
Zeke, who Cilantro deposited in the Golden Orb, sat there shuddering with
his eyes closed for a few minutes but then thought, "Dang, what in tarnation
am I doing with my eyes closed?" and watched the whole multi-hour event.
He realized that it was the world-famous annual hippiefest Burning
Butterfly, which chooses a different location every year to Peace
Out and Channel and to Find Inner Goddesses who might have been left behind
by other hippie fests in years past. Zeke, shall we say, enjoyed himself
mightily and while a little pruny when he got out the next morning, to the
astonishment of the post-bathing verifier who came by to check him out,
Needless to say, this gave Zeke a whole new attitude toward bathing. He even
burned the old clothes and ordered some new ones, though he of course used
any opportunity to accidentally take them off, drink some vodka, and flit
around the forest on his north 40. And he was not disappointed. Burning Butterfly's
technopagan transpersonal experience was such a great experience for Cilantro
and Sunshine and the gang that they started making it a monthly event, making
sure to drink only moderate amounts of the Golden Orb's special sparkly contents,
and Zeke used the dating design patterns Interested Listener,
Renaissance Differentiator, and Half Bad Boy Plus
Protocol on Nectar that after one of the Burning Butterfly events
she just didn't go back and she and Zeke now do yoga together regularly and
find their inner goddesses together nearly nightly.
Haugland is an independent trainer and author near Boulder, Colorado. She's
the author of Dating
Design Patterns, the original reusable solutions to recurring problems,
recently profiled on Slashdot in such a way as to make the skeptical think
it was a joke. But it ain't. She also spends her time creating learning
materials and doing training through her company GetOpenOffice.org for those switching
from Microsoft Office, and Techwriter Stuff: The Single Source,
t-shirts and mugs for techwriters and those who love them.