I see that the gender neutralization movement – well, let’s be honest, those who push for this are actually going after men’s nether regions – is alive and kicking some poor bloke. The politically correct are in danger of disappearing up their own fundamental orifices in their twisted belief that everything should be a pleasant shade of gray.

Take Sleeping Beauty, for instance. When the prince awakened her with a kiss, it was evidently non-consensual and therefore must be put up on the literary pillory and quite frankly flogged.

Hansel & Gretel don’t go unscathed either. Their dash to the gingerbread house, never mind the evil old bag living therein, is encouraging diabetes. No doubt the FDA has been petitioned for the story’s removal by the dietary censors.

I was playing bridge online the other night with my darling Sir as my partner – yes same room, different computers, and no we don’t cheat. I played a hand so spectacularly badly, I typed into the room: “sorry pard, I played that like an idiot, with apologies to idiots around the world.”

This brought about a rather scathing admonishment from one of the opponents: “That was pejorative – you should have said that it was an ‘idiotic act.’” I replied with “oh dear *sigh*” and left it at that. What I wanted to say, all in capital letters was: “where on earth do you think ‘idiotic’ got its start, you prune faced, starched, stitched-up bat?” but I refrained. You would have been proud of me.

So, I’ve decided to do these pinch-nostrilled, lips-of-string paragons of virtue a service before they go into libraries around the world and start a regimen of systematic book burning or black-line censorship.

Three Little Pigs? Sorry, no building permit, so you’re gone. Pied Piper? No, child endangerment and cruelty to rats, you’re outta here.

Will, Bard old buddy of mine, you’re in for a bit of a drubbing. Shakespeare no doubt has some ‘splaining to do.

Where do we start? Well Cleopatra needs a bit of smartening up. “… she did lie in her pavilion, cloth-of-gold tissue … on each side her stood pretty dimpled boys.” Well this is wrong on so many levels, covering everything from tarty dressing to, well, I blush to think where the next bit could lead. And as for being bitten on the boob by an asp – well, bodily parts aside, surely PETA will have a thing or two to say about that.

Julius Caesar poses some problems too. The emperor of the Holy Roman Empire? Oh, tisk I say. First off, he’s a guy, so that’s immediately out, and as for the empire nonsense, nay nay I say. We shall now have Veronica Caesar as head of the Non-Denominational Empire, thank you very much.

Midsummer Night’s Dream with a Puck and a Bottom, and Titania being the Queen of the Fairies – oh I can feel my black sharpie all aquiver in my fingers.

That’s it, I’m off to the Library of Congress – you can find me steadfastly plowing my way through the 24,728 Shakespearean reference works – but I’ll make it all gray for you, I promise.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedearkc@hotmail.com.