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While I appreciate that you have worked out hard enough to produce enough sweat to seep through your clothing, young lady, I do not appreciate that the clothing involves pants whose color is light enough that not only is the path of the sweat's journey easy to view, but, even more so, its source -- a circular site about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, incredibly visible when you bend over to stretch. I know it's a fact of physiology, but I don't care. I wish someone would invent a tampon-like plug for this aperture to be used in cases like this.
Upon breaking up with the boyfriend who called her “Presh” (short for “Precious”, natch) (because she is, after all, a Pomeranian puppy), my sister grabbed the bundles of love letters, ticket stubs, notes, photos, and all other manner of memorabilia collected during their months together, stamped every item with the huge BULLSHIT stamp she’d ordered from the back of a magazine (she was 18, so she didn’t need permission!), tossed the newly marked (and, I imagined, humiliated and panicked) packet into the outdoor fireplace by the garage, struck a match or two, and laughed as the flames devoured it.
I didn't know how I'd manage, but I was determined to have Bill Bixby as both my father and my husband. Once we were past mere courtship and actually married, I'd insist Mrs. Livingston remain so Bill and I could run around town with Eddie on our shoulders. (Never mind that Eddie and I were about the same age. In my scenario, I was still a kid but somehow also magically adult.) Eddie, of course, would call me Jodi, because, really, I wouldn't be "Aunt", the way my own parents had us address their female friends. I'd be his mother-sister!
Ideas for products whose time has come, which is a very good thing given that they are mine and I am willing to become a millionaire off of them:
* Band-Dudes: Adhesive bandages to combat the sissy image associated with minor first aid procedures. The anti-Hello Kitty bandage.
* Love Handles: Clamps for your fuck-object to hold onto when he/she is face down on the bed and needs a more solid grip on the sheets.
* ShamPube: Specialty hair care product for the obvious.
By posting these ideas on this public forum, they are hereby officially mine. So don't steal.
I don't care that my ride with old-fashioned rollerskates won't be as smooth and fast as what inlines would produce. I don't care if I'll look like an enormous throwback to 1972 and people snicker at the too-clean white boots with the little black heel and the brightly colored wheels and me staccato-stumbling and flailing along the pavement in Riverside Park or up and down my boyfriend's street (perfect for this activity!). I haven't wanted something so much in such a long time. I may even wear my hair in twin pigtails on the back of my head for this.
Eric is fascinated that I’ve never hung out in the parking lot of a 7-11. How could it be that I managed to get through my teens and early 20s without once having sprawled on the hood of someone’s Trans Am while drinking a Slurpee or, better yet, something a little less fruity and hidden in a paper bag? Whatever or however, he’s impressed with my “class”.
So, how is it that we find ourselves in his neighbor’s back yard, with me on my hands and knees on one of the freshly-laundered towels plucked from their clothesline? Clothes-free and classy.
I was always a precocious trendsetter.
I was one of two girls who, after ninth grade's summer break, entered tenth grade so skinny that people thought I had a terminal disease. I was resentful of the other girl's apparent success and deemed her a copycat.
She may be good now, I thought, but there's no way she'd had the head start I did, several years earlier, when I set the stage for eating disorders and the accompanying habit of deception and lies, by sneaking Oreos into bed at night by way of my pajama bottoms.
I was still the champ.
Senior week, Wildwood, and I alone, from the group of girls I've come down with, have made good on our idea to devirginize. I'm an overachiever, so I accomplish it the first night! Although we hadn't called it a pact, I'd considered it one. I didn't figure my friends for such pussies.
The day after I do my part with a bartender, my dreamboy from home, with whom I'd made out quite a bit after admiring him for years, stops by. I want to erase the night and redo it all with him. Only better and this time with feeling.
Ordinarily she shoves these things into her purse without looking at them, but today Mindy's glad she didn't do that with the booklet/handout for Dance Theatre of Harlem handed to her on her way to the subway. This way, she has an excuse to semi-sorta smile at the cute guy across the aisle, also leafing through the booklet, if he glances her way.
But he won't. He's only pretending to read it, thinking it'll up his "cool" factor with the gorgeous black girl next to him, who, unbeknownst to him, knows what he's doing and wants no part of it.
You'd think I wouldn't be amazed at how much crap one person can cram into her locker, given the garbage heap known as my bedroom, but I am. I curse and scowl while lugging the teetering mass of detritus to the bus waiting to take me on a final ride home from middle school.
I wish I could rollerskate instead, toting a purple satchel containing a Bonne Bell Lipsmacker, some Polaroids of me and a secret beau, the dictionary I won in the spelling bee, and a tampon. But I'd settle for a BFF to say "seeyatomorrow" to.
Continued from 5/10
Somewhere mid-panic, while jostling bags and boxes bulging with a school year's worth of worthless whatever, some kid I've never seen before learns my last name (how? had a spelling quiz freed itself from the heap?) and shares that fascinating tidbit with me.
"I know of only one other _____," he says. "But he's a sex therapist on the radio!"
"Yeah," I say. "He's my uncle."
Nowaynowaynoway! No. Way.
"Wow! I'm not supposed to listen to him, but -- he's the coolest!"
Who knew I'd had the secret to popularity within reach for years, untapped?
When Brian, the new guy in Shipping, was told that Marisol, a fixture in Accounts Payable for a decade, was known as "Welcome Wagon" among the support staff, he thought, "Cool, I'll get me some of that by week's end."
One prob, though: Leon said she only did married dudes. So, come lunchtime, Brian not only bought a cheap ring he'd slip on every time she approached but also some light-toned makeup to create fake tan-lines underneath it, just in case she had a little bit of a conscience and asked him to take off the ring during the act.
Over coffee at the Ansonia café, I hint that my boyfriend is the biggest pervert alive. I do not divulge details. She sallies back that she, too, is quite perverse, as is her boyfriend. However, she is more so.
"So far, he's been really into it," she says, without giving details. "I want to take it further, though, but I'm not sure he'd be willing."
All I think is, "So, he won't be into real handcuffs rather than the fur-lined pair from Ricky's on 72nd?" and roll my eyes inside my head. She has no idea what true perversity is.
Around this point in my monthly "batch", I normally rave about the glorious sexiness of my boyfriend's forearms, exposed when he rolls up his sleeves, or his glossy black hair damp on his smooth forehead and the nape of his neck when he wakes up, or the warmth of his body pressed against mine as we fall asleep, or the whole-body hugs that weaken my knees, and then insinuate about other stuff that I'm way too much of a lady to mention but which makes me shiver just to consider silently and privately. This month, however, I'll spare you. Okay?
Poppop would have been disappointed that my mother, his only child, didn’t make anything even close to a fuss for his funeral. Where were all of his card-playing cronies, his bakery buddies, his Horn & Hardart honchos? Probably at the card table, the bakery, and eating baked beans. But my mother, never one for hullabaloo, especially now in her time of grief, opted for just the immediate family, which you didn’t even need two hands to count. Poppop lived for festivity, for merriment, for socializing and befriending everyone. He should not have been denied that for his final moments above-ground.
I don't want to accompany my parents to visit friends of theirs that, until a few moments ago, I'd never even heard them mention. I don't know why my sister, brother, and I have to go, especially when the friends' only kid isn't even three years old. No way are we, at 6, 9, and 7, going to have anything in common with this unsophisticated baby.
It's a longish ride, though, so at least I might be able to sleep in the car, one of my all-time favorite activities. That alone is worth a good deal of aggravation.
Continued from 5/16
The moment we pull up, I notice this house is nothing like our new split-level. Truth: PA's so much cooler than NJ. I want to urge my mother to replace our siding with stone, just like this.
But as enchanted as I am by its exterior, I'm even more taken once I enter. Mike Brady must be responsible for all this grooviness.
I'm mesmerized by what my mother calls a "walk-in" fireplace. I don't get how anyone could walk into it, but it's definitely big enough to crawl through from one room to the other.
Continued from 5/17
My parents' friends are as opposite in looks to my parents as their house is to ours. Whereas my mother and father are movie star good-looking, slim and sleek and dressed the way all the parents I know (Bradys included) dress, these people are clearly funky, chunky, floppy, hairy hippies. How else to explain the guy's enormous black mustache and beard, what I swear are love beads, and his wife's gauze tunic and old jeans?
I want to burn all of my dad's polished Florsheims and replace them with what this guy uses for shoes.
I don't get to admire the fireplace for too long, because we kids are sequestered in a room away from the adults. I peek out, and espy my mom and the bearded hippie snuggled on the rug on one side of the fireplace. Thanks to its nifty walk-in/walk-through feature, I see my dad and the hippie's wife similarly situated on the other side. Both odd couples are engrossed in deep conversation.
A few months later, my parents tell us they're getting a divorce.
A few months after that, the hippie with the black beard and love beads becomes my stepfather.
One of the first days after we move into the neighborhood, my sister and I are playing in the street. Although tar reeks and we know better than to get anywhere near it, that doesn't stop us from dipping parts of our bare feet into a small warm patch.
While admiring our newly tarred heels, two boys, I guess about 14, pass on bikes, and one says to me, "Hey! My friend wants to see you tonight -- in his bedroom!"
"What kind of jerk says that to a 10-year-old?" I think first. Immediately followed by, "And what's his address???"
Before Mark even starts his run, he's practically hyperventilating. What's this? His gym crush, on the treadmill in front of him, has finally abandoned the shapeless T-shirt in favor of a form-fitting teal X-back top?
When she lifts her arms to adjust her ponytail, one of the straps moves aside, exposing a large heart-shaped mark on her right shoulder blade. Is this the reason for the ubiquitous T-shirt? Has no guy ever let his lips or fingers linger on what she probably considers a deformity? How can he ever tell her that her birthmark is, to him, a beauty mark?
The cool girls are so cool that they don't even know that the fake "joint" is way too fat to pass for the real thing. This thing is stuffed with enough oregano to accommodate an Italian restaurant for weeks. Obviously their parents didn't have as much experience as mine did; otherwise, they'd know better.
This circle of vicious prisses thinks its longtime object of disdain and the recipient of this ridiculous thing -- the shy, fat, dowdily dressed girl in our eighth-grade class -- is an idiot for trying to smoke it. But I know who the real idiots are.
I disregard the phone, a foot away, when my mom's morning call comes in. I don't want to hear about So You Think You Can Dance or The Bachelor. I don't want to have to feign even a modicum of interest.
Later, when I return the call, she asks where I was. Out, I say.
"Where? What were you doing?"
"I don't know, Mom. Running errands?"
Where and what and how and why and who and blah?
I guess this sort of thing is exciting to someone who considers a trip to T.J. Maxx a major event, but please. Enough.
Every time I know two people are newlyweds, I picture them addressing each other as "Mr." and "Mrs." and "husband" and "wife" any chance they get, especially when they have sex.
"I'd like to have sex with my wife," Mr. _____ says all matter of fact to the new Mrs. _____.
"Well, don't tell me, tell her!" Mrs. ______ says.
"I am!" Mr. _____ says.
"Oh, so you are! You are!" Mrs. _____ says.
When they have LIFTOFF:
"How does it feel, Mrs. _____?"
"It feels divine, Mr. _____!"
And then I vomit because I think this automatically.
Bare feet in a Starbucks is something you just won’t see in Manhattan, but here it is, in this town somewhere north of Los Angeles just off the Pacific Coast Highway. And the feet aren’t just bare, they’re sandy, tracking all sorts of footness everywhere. A short girl no older than 14, but probably closer to 11, wetsuit rolled down to her waist, exposing a triangle bikini top over a chest starting to unflatten, stands slouching by a table where her companions slump, touseled blondish hair clinging to her tanned shoulders. I feel like the lone clothed-and-shoe’d brunette for miles.
Again, with the pretzels. Again, I'm in a state I haven't spent much time in -- this time it's California, the other, years ago, it was Maine -- and again I'm surprised to discover that the supermarket carries my favorite salty car snack, Snyder's hard pretzels. Although I'm a bit too south to honor the 1849 Gold Rush, I exclaim as if I've successfully prospected, and can barely contain my excitement as I free the box from its ankle-level perch. This time, though, unlike In Maine, I resist telling the cashier I'm from Pennsylvania with some sort of ridiculous pride.
I was among the first girls in my middle school class to seemingly sprout tits overnight.
My seventh grade photo documents me leering in three-quarter profile with a near-mullet, slouching in a silky, long-sleeve disco shirt, midnight blue with silver something-or-other all over it, puny pubescent pencil points barely discernible under the clingy Qiana.
The eighth grade version finds me newly Farrah'd, bursting out of a white cap-sleeve T-shirt with the semi-rainbow running diagonally between teen-size tits on my pre-teen body.
But still, Karen Z. had a head start and received all the real ogling. Damn her and her Z-cups!
The interview with the cancer patient fills my head via my headset. I feel like I'm in one of those old cartoons where a monkey and a person are strapped into huge electric-chair-style chairs with metal helmets attached to their heads, and a crazed scientist is going to flip an enormous switch to swap their minds. Except instead of one of us being a monkey, we're both people, and instead of me scratching myself and oooh-oooh-aaah-aaahing and craving a banana, I'm filled with her intelligence, wisdom, and laugh-aloud wit that causes all variety of tears to spring to my eyes.
Someone I consider to be the bastion of hilarity and all things comical, whose live readings of his work and comedy performances always cause me to have a little crush on him for the duration of the event, recently indicated on his site that he sneers at "Apples to Apples".
Now, I really like Apples. I'm not as enamored of it as I am with The Gin (yes, "The") and Scrabulous, but I do dig it. So why, as soon as I read that this acquaintance of mine doesn't, do I automatically think I have to stop liking it too?
I appreciate your asking, "Will it bother you if I order the beef stroganoff?" the way a considerate smoker asks, "Do you mind if I smoke?"
Although flesh hasn't passed my lips for many years (pause to wink in the direction of my boyfriend, whose eyebrow raises in reflex), I will not tell you you cannot eat meat in my presence. I will not be as generous with the burning tobacco, though.
I will politely ask you to reconsider the beef stroganoff only because chances are it won't come with my favorite "Can I have a few?" of french fries.
Some clients give me a life history at our first session. Some of them do it in less than a minute, dashing from diapers to acne to neurosis without pausing for breath. Others, like Ron, use all 45 minutes.
“In kindergarten, they called me Georgie Porgie,” Ron says. “The girls thought my lips were shiny from bubblegum Lipsmacker.”
And were they?
“No. It was gook from my blisters. I always had blisters from chopping wood, so I’d chew them open, and the gook would stick to my lips.”
Charming, I think. But then, “Wait. Who makes a 5-year-old chop wood?”
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