The Grass Isn't Really Greener Over There, You Just Ate Too Many Green Veggies.

>> Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Erma Bombeck once said that the grass was always greener over the septic tank. I imagine that is often true. For the rest of the grass -- I've decided that greener color is really an optical illusion brought about by excessive roughage.

The other day I was imagining what life might have been like if I had been landed gentry, living in Georgian England. What luxury I could have, changing my gowns for tea and for dinner, having a maid to wait on me hand and foot, having a cook and a houseboy to run all my errands. However, if you were reading my earlier posts, you will recall that we recently suffered a critical shortage of broccoli and that I eat other green vegetables only unwillingly (and thus sparingly). As the broccoli levels in my blood declined, I had a new vision of clarity.

Even if I had been living in some other time, the life of the well-to-do would just not be my luck. Once upon a time, my mom and I were touring an old English model village showing all the types of houses, shacks, and hovels people lived in on a castle estate. She walked (or rather, ducked) into the meanest of them and said, "This is where we would have been living." She is probably right.

I'm not sure it really matters, though, because the more I think about it, both sides -- the haves and the have-nots -- had a cross to bear. Think about it with me. Let's suppose you were King of England. Suppose, if you wish, you were King Henry VIII, one of England's more extravagant monarchs, living in Hampton Palace (or, if you prefer, any of his 6 unfortunate wives). Sure, the palace is a beautiful place, but as royalty you have no privacy. Yes, you have a maid/manservant to help you dress, but as royalty, you stand naked before your servants. They don't strip in front of you. (Well ... let's put aside that part of Henry's nature, shall we? This is a PG blog.) I understand things are even worse in pre-Revolutionary France where the gentry actually put the royal couple to bed every night in a public spectacle and were there when they rose in the morning. Wow. I sure don't want anyone seeing me first thing in the morning if I can help it.

Now put yourself in the servant's position for a moment. You have to help this royal person bathe (occasionally) and get dressed and undressed multiple times a day. You probably sleep on the floor of their room while they get the bed. There are few flush toilets available for several hundred years yet, so everyone uses the outdoors, the outhouse, or the chamber pot. And some poor soul has to empty those pots. Who has it worse, the one who has to empty it, or the person who has to sleep with it in their room all night? I have to admit, every time I read some novel with some poor drunk puking into a chamber pot, it almost makes me hurl.

Of course, the very rich Henry had one better than a chamber pot or an outhouse. He had a closet in his palace with a special royal "throne" if you will. Pretty neat, huh? Well, true, except for that poor body servant of Henry's. The tours at Hampton Palace will tell you if you go there that Henry had a favorite servant who had the very special job of helping the King on this special throne and making sure ... well, making sure he didn't get diaper rash, if you know what I mean.

Before you get too grossed out, I'll change subjects. Think about how hot all those people were in their floor length gowns and jackets? And the discomfort? Of course, we have high heels and ties, but they had corsets and wigs. No thank you. No thank you at all.

The grass only looks greener. In reality, its all just weeds, just like my yard.


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