The Coffee House

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. Grumpy Zeke

"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 his breath.

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's Women (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, Pan-Dimensional 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.

Solveig 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 for those switching from Microsoft Office, and  Techwriter Stuff: The Single Source, t-shirts and mugs for techwriters and those who love them.