Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In Defense of the Streaky Tampon

Now that I have your attention, I should probably explain that I mis-heard my brother Bill when he called my mini-van a Streaking Tampon. I suppose as a metaphor the second version makes a little more sense.

He made this comment while driving my streaking tampon back from Apple Annie's in Willcox a couple of weeks ago.  I should point out that my streaking tampon carried seven people, a wagon, a full-sized cooler and about 25 pounds of produce back from Willcox, and still had enough power to pass the semi trucks up the hill through Benson. So, I shouldn't really let the comment bother me. But for some reason I feel compelled to, once again, defend my nondescript 2005 Chrysler Town and Country mini van, even though Bill and his family borrowed it a few years back for a trip to California, and so are clearly just giving me shit to get me to defend what they know is a great car.

For one thing, a mini van is awesome.  Sure, SUV's can fold down their seats and take a payload.  But only a mini van has that height from floor to ceiling.  I can move an entire twin bed including the mattresses and still have room to slide some bookshelves in alongside it.  I can transport several sheets of sheetrock or plywood. Of course, my children have to take the bus.  It's like a pick-up truck except you can stop at the store on the way without having your stuff disappear out of the back.

For another thing, I haven't had a car payment since 2006, and only this summer did we have any major repairs besides brakes and normal maintenance (I had to put in a new radiator.)  Compare that to my brother, who has pretty much bought a new car every year since 2006, each time losing value on his trade-in.  Come on, now, even if it handles like a streaking tampon, you can't argue with paying no interest for six years and very low maintenance costs.  Even if it does get 17 miles to the gallon... well, maybe that evens out.  I wish it was a hybrid, but I couldn't afford one of those at the time.  And I swore that I would drive this thing until it was no longer practical.  Get my money's worth and save the Earth some resources it would take to build me a new car.  The mini van obviously wins.

And I have to address the misogynistic prejudice so viciously expressed by the moniker my brother laid upon this car.  Streaking Tampon?  Is this supposed to imply that mini vans are not only feminine, but that somehow they are associated with a menstrual cycle, therefore implying that whoever is driving it is batshit crazy out of their minds with PMDD?

Actually, that could be an accurate characterization.  But let's not jump to broad generalizations-- that's only sometimes.  Is he implying the inherent inferiority of the female parts... the ones that produce life?  Whatever!

He says the shape of the mini-van is tampon-esque. Perhaps. Yes. I must agree. However, I might remind him that a tampon is roughly the same shape as a male member.  Hopefully not the same size.  Which, to me makes the mini van a good candidate for a masculine mid-life crisis-induced purchase.  It has a six cylinder engine.  I mean, come on.

Perhaps it's the powder blue color that makes it feminine.  More likely, it's the stereotype of the mom who picks up and drops off and chauffeurs kids around all day in the mini-van.  The soccer mom.  The dance mom.  I have been those things, and a mini van is an excellent vehicle for those purposes.  The van is like a womb-mobile, gently cradling our family throughout its day.  I'm not sure what part of this analogy includes the empty coffee cups, fast food wrappers, Target receipts, old schoolwork and Happy Meal toys that litters the floor of the thing so often.

So why do I need to defend my choice?  Maybe I really need to be defending the lowly tampon.  For if its position is elevated, then therefore too will be my mini-van.  However, if in the end my makeshift argument is not enough to guide Bill into the mini-van fold, from whence he will be reborn of the womb of the mini-van, then all I can do is remind him: You used it!


  1. Very clever! It would be a great example if you could use it in class..........

    1. example of... analogy writing, I suppose. Spoofy argumentation. Looking at things through the lens of gender. I really want to read it aloud to Creative Writing, but I don't think we know each other well enough, yet. Lots of 9th graders in there!

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