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How long did it take you to decide to eschew regular shoes in favor of neon green flip flops that have no business with that suit? How long did it take you to get your hair to look like you just rolled off your futon? How long did you fret over just how undone to do your skinny tie?
Look at you, slouching against the subway door, sighing as if you're bored by the morning routine that takes you wherever it is that allows a get-up like this, yawning extra-wide to make sure we see your tongue piercing. Oh, please.
I compliment my hostess on the lavish guest bedroom at the top of the stairs. I don't really mean it, but it's what you do when you go to someone's house, right? Right. You don't say, "Hey, this place is an ostentatious diorama brimming with nouveau riche poppycock!" do you? No. You don't.
She at least has the good graces to confide that she had nothing to do with its decoration. "That bedroom is exactly the same as the display in Bloomingdale's. I have absolutely no taste of my own."
I compliment her honesty. And this time I mean it.
I work in the mattress department at Macy's. Everyone who comes up to the sixth floor is annoying, and not just because they never actually buy. The worst are the middle-aged couples who think they're being "naughty" and grope each other like 10-year-olds as they test the mattresses. They all think they're the first to do this. With one eye on each other, the other on me, they sneak kisses about as sexy as the ones my mom gives me before I leave for work in the morning. Tomorrow is my last day. Tomorrow I yell, "Just fucking fuck already!"
We're standing outside a pub in North Binswick called The Chirping Guppy. Cattycorner, a few dusty, mossy cobblestone stumbles away, is The Galloping Snake. Greg is almost literally scratching his grizzly jaw, above which an actual enormous black question mark hangs even more ominously than the thick thunder clouds rolling in from just beyond the end of this already darkened road.
"But a guppy can't chirp," he says.
"Duh," I say.
"And a snake? How can a snake gallop?"
"Um," I say.
Like I expected more from a guy who doesn't even get "Orange you glad I didn't say 'knock-knock'?"
I would love to see a rabbit fumbling through an enormous collection of keys at the front door to his brownstone, chuckling as he tries to separate the ones he needs without the benefit of thumbs, bending his fuzzy head down a bit to engage his surprisingly flexible and nimble ears, finding the one he needs so he can finally get inside and pour himself a nice glass of something soothing, but first tipping his natty felt hat (perched neatly between the ears) in my curious direction, nodding toward his key ring that has as its ornamentation a human thumb.
Ahhh, to be one of my neighbors, glancing out a window into the courtyard, only to witness, without even needing the enhancement of binoculars, me hula-hooping on my patio, on the Brady Bunchesque Astroturf, the visual spectacle enough to behold without even knowing that on my iPod, clutched in my right hand, is Erasure and Queen and the rest of a playlist called "Mo Tunes". "Don't stop me now", indeed.
Ahhh, yes. Not much different from my high school sophomore year, 80% of which was spent bouncing on a mini-trampoline in my blue-lightbulbed bedroom with Queen's "Jazz" on the 8-track!
When I wear my hair a certain way -- deep side part, swooping straight down over the forehead a bit to the other side, and pulled back into a tight ponytail -- and stare straight at myself in the mirror, adding an imaginary mustache (damn me for not being one of these girls who can grow her own!) -- I bear a striking resemblance to Hitler.
It only works if I don't smile, though. But oh how hard *not* to, when I imagine how furious he'd be if he knew he could probably just as easily look like a Jew-girl.
If, when checking out an apartment, the artificial smell of new carpet hits you in the face like a dozen new car interiors, don't think your landlord is a doll for taking such good care of his tenants from the get-go. Instead, worry about what he's trying to hide beneath that the scratchy beige expanse. It may not be decrepit, buckled, water-stained linoleum left over from the Eisenhower administration. It may be what mine was: oak in perfect condition except for the blood splatters and chalk outlines of murdered cockroaches too numerous to count. Don't say I didn't warn you.
One night, while out and about with my boyfriend, the heel to one of my favorite pair of shoes (Charles David, black patent, 3-1/2" heel, rounded toe, bungee cord T-strap) came unhinged mid-step while dashing toward the turnstile to hop on the Times Square subway. When we resurfaced at our stop, he offered me a piggyback ride to my apartment, so I hopped on, and he spryly carried me home as I giggled like a demented four-year-old. Where's a freelance TV camera operator when you need one? This would've been the perfect opportunity to star in my own Mentos commercial!
It only takes three sessions for Betty, whom I could tell midway into the first was a consummate know-it-all, to tell me she’s got a better method for getting to know more about someone.
“Do what I do,” this self-professed “great judge of character,” says. “Use the sweat stains on their shirts as a Rohrschach test.”
As if I need more to go on than her Chippendale’s T-shirt itself, I tell her I could start with the enormous sweat blotch spread over her chest and gut. It looks like two woman fighting over a pair of Juicy sweatpants at Loehmann’s.
A few basic communication guidelines:
The appearance of your name on my Caller ID is not an adequate substitute for an actual voicemail message and will not be treated as worthy of a return call.
The subject line of an email is not to be confused with its body.
If your cell phone has the ability to auto-expand when typing text messages, there is no excuse for not using actual words instead of nonsense like "u" for "you" and "4" for "for".
If you say, "Is it too late to call?" after I've picked up, you already know the answer.
Today marks a year and a half since that horrific day when my sweet boy, the love of my life, left this life. Whoever said "it gets easier" needs to be kicked in the teeth and told, when scrambling around looking for tooth-chards in blinding pain, that hey, it gets easier. Smile. When he was away at the vet's and I was at the gym, I framed scenes of his eventual homecoming to Nick Cave's "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" on my iPod, so excited at the prospect I'd almost sing aloud. I haven't listened to that song since.
Actually, I was wrong yesterday. *Today* marks the year-and-a-half point since the horrible day I mentioned there. But I don't want to think about it again because I cannot wallow again. As much as I 'd like to.
Sometimes I find odd comfort in wallowing, though. It's the emotional equivalent of pressing your tongue against an achy tooth to feel the twang of pain that instantly floods your jaw. The tooth doesn't hurt unless and until you encourage it to. You can very easily leave it alone, but you choose not to.
So, anyway. I was wrong. Carry on. Ahoy!
I just saved $10 with a Val-Pak coupon. See what you're missing by placing the envelope, unopened, into a homemade rocket and blasting it into the neighborhood quarry?
I bought Asics GT-2410 running shoes. The apparent changes from the 2130 are snappier-looking soles, a slight difference in logo placement, and barely perceptible adjustments of a few aesthetic design elements. Not enough change to warrant a price increase, but enough to earn 10 points higher in its model number. And enough to make me feel super-superior to anyone still wearing the 2130, 2120, or -- gasp -- maybe even the 2110.
In the early 1980s, after years of declining enthusiasm, the tradition at the East Hinsdale State Correctional Facility for Women of offering death row inmates a sumptuous last meal was put to rest. Any appetite for food of any kind was, over time, replaced with a gnawing hunger for high fashion. Four-course final feasts consisting of surf 'n' turf, macaroni and cheese, chicken Caesar salad from Applebee's, and crème brulee, gave way to vintage Dior and Givenchy, all manner of Chanel, and, in the case of one murderess who only ever knew home-sewn frocks, "anything from Old Navy."
Surprise! Yesterday’s entry isn’t continued!
Do you feel cheated?
This is just like that time my dad promised me and my brother and sister, as we bemoaned that our shrimp in a basket and french fries were done, that he’d take us to that nifty drive-in ice cream place at the edge of town by the miniature golf, the one we’d always wanted to go to but never had, and then, when we got to where it should’ve been, it wasn’t there anymore, and he told us he’d already known that anyway.
But that never really happened.
(Or did it?)
My sister is crying. But what else is new. For the seven years I’ve known this kid, she’s been one of the biggest crybabies I’ve ever met. But this time she’s got no one to blame but herself. I suppose if I wanted to take responsibility, I could say I’m to blame too, as much as if not even more than she is. But I don’t want to take responsibility. I am, after all, only eight.
She’s gotta be stupid, too, to believe me when I tell her that if cuts off her Burt puppet’s hair, it’ll grow back, right?
Years ago I temped in a law office where the office manager gave me instructions about a very particular (TRANSLATION: enormous pain in the ass) attorney who REQUIRED that his documents be stapled in the upper left-hand corner, VERTICALLY, precisely one-quarter inch from both the left edge and the top. Fortunately I never had to do anything for this persnickety schmuck, or I probably would have handed him his documents stapled either all over the place like a capricious two-year-old would do or with one neat staple dead-center of the page, HORIZONTALLY. It would have been worth jeopardizing the assignment.
Well, that didn’t take long. First week with the new agency and already I’m out on my ass. And here I thought my campaign idea for Pampers Cruisers would have the honchos and clients so thrilled that they’d wish they were wearing the product right then and there. I know I peed myself a little just coming up with it.
A bunch of babies, decked out in the product, tank tops, black leather jackets and matching caps, checking each other out in a darkened gay bar.
“No one’ll be able to identify them beneath their mustaches,” I said.
Still – fired!
Sir Straphanger, is it really necessary for your aggressively stringy, sparse, and sweat-clumped underarm foliage to take center stage on the subway? Isn't it enough, in the first place, that you had the selfish indecency to display your pizza-dough flesh in a tank top with arm-holes big enough to reveal that you would be well served by a bra? And you, Madam, do we all need to see your thoughtless contribution, a grayish mush of five o'clock shadow housing small, creased clumps of white deodorant? All in favor of abolishing overexposed underarms in public, raise your … well, maybe not.
As much as I appreciate that Shana not only serves me lunch but prepares it herself with a minimum of clanking and banging and without whistling, humming, hacking up hairballs, or singing the "Meow Mix" jingle to herself, I do not appreciate that she continues to disregard my pleas to cut the peppers into chunks rather than julienne them. However, I must grudgingly agree that her way makes for a prettier presentation, and we all know how much I value that. Points to her, too, for carrying it to me on a tray while wearing an apron and kitten heels.
My first concert was Fleetwood Mac in 1976, probably at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, with my then-best friend Debbie, our moms (who'd been best friends since before we were born), and our stepdads. While our parents were in the stands smoking pot (not the first time for any of them), Debbie and I, eager to be rid of them anyway, were on the floor in our slinky Qiana shirts, having our 13-year-old asses touched by a pair of tall adolescent nincompoops. I remember that more than the actual show. But I do remember thinking the show was pretty groovy too.
Kids have it so much easier these days. When I was a kid, if we wanted porn, we had to sneak into our parents’ closets when they were at key parties and hope to unearth a rumpled back issue or two of Hustler from underneath our dad’s Florsheims and our mom’s Earth shoes. We were thrilled with whatever we could get our wet little hands on. Grateful for any glimpse of pubic afros, challenged by Match the Snatch, bewildered by Beaver Hunt. We weren’t spoiled with double-fisting, champagne-bottle penetration, and no way was anyone availing himself of a rimming chair.
This morning when I went to pull the covers back up over the bed I'd just vacated, a piece of popcorn was lying where my body had been. It was a little disconcerting at first because, in my pre-dawn, not-yet-caffeinated haze, I didn't remember that I'd made popcorn the night before and that I had neglected to retrieve, before retiring, a stray piece or two that had scampered down my pajama top. Instead I thought perhaps I'd had an encounter with corn on the cob that was not only very close but very hot. But I knew butter than that!
According to a longtime reader and self-described "fanboy" who has been on this planet only half the number of years I have, I am using my powers for evil, not good. I am, oh woe, a bad influence. I should put my considerable talents to better use, this person says, by spreading the gospel of soft-focus babies and pink unicorns. To this gentle reader I say this:
I hear Ladies Home Journal delivers to your town. If you cannot afford a subscription on your librarian salary, I am sure you can read it free at work.
Justin pretends to fix the wheels of his skateboard several feet from the liquor store. It's not difficult for even the dimmest of casual passersby to realize he's waiting for someone to go inside to buy him something, anything, it doesn't matter what, even those crappy Mudslide things would do. Finally, a shaggy guy with a long nose in an ankle-length black leather coat/cape thing saunter-limps toward the door. Justin tries to make eye contact, but the guy's dark glasses make it impossible.
"Dude," he says, hoping he's accomplished the cool, offhand tone he'd been practicing all day.
Justin doesn't know if the guy heard him or not. He doesn't want to piss him off by addressing him again, but he also doesn't want to miss this opportunity on such a slow night. If only he knew how to ride the stupid skateboard he swiped from his brother, he could check out the bigger places in the center of town. But no. This guy's his only chance. So he does what any big shot would do in his situation: Pretends to fall on his ass, knowing any decent person would ask if he's okay.
Although he only fell on his ass and didn’t strike his head, the impact must’ve been harder than he thought, because the next thing Justin knows, something that looks like a paw is reaching down toward him. He reaches up, wraps his hand around it, and is swiftly lifted back onto his feet.
“Dude,” he says. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were a dog.”
“You don’t know better,” the guy says.
“Dude?” Justin says.
“Don’t blow my cover,” the guy says.
“Your secret’s safe with me if you buy me something,” Justin says.
The dog comes out of the liquor store with a big brown bag. He extracts a small bottle and hands it to Justin.
Justin tries to see what it is, but the dog admonishes him to hide it in the pocket of his hoodie.
“Mad Dog,” the dog says. “Worse than drinking from the toilet, but I figured it was only appropriate.”
“Dude, that’s classic,” Justin says. “You must have some crazy-ass fake ID!”
“Nah, the guy inside is cool,” the dog says. “I just turned three, so that makes me legal. You know, dog years and all.”
Melanie and her Keith Partridge shag are propped up on my sister's trundle bed surrounded by a swarm of stuffed animals. She's got that smart alec look on her face that says, "I just collected enough change in my fake B'nai B'rith can to buy us all Slurpees". She has a crush on my brother, I have a crush on her, and I'm confused about all of it because I thought she liked girls and I thought I liked boys. Whoops. I wish I could find this photo so I could post it on Facebook and see if she bites.
Just before the plane goes down, 31E is still fretting that he paid $3.00 for a cellophane-wrapped chocolate chip cookie when he knows the guy in 2A (kind of guy he knows his wife secretly wishes he were despite insisting she doesn't care that he doesn't earn six figures, she only cares that he's loyal and doesn't cheat when away on business) will be served three free warm cookies, on a real plate. As the plane goes down, he grabs the stranger in 31F and kisses her hard. Does he die wishing he'd gobbled the cookie instead? I don't know.
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