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Persistence pays.On our way in to see the drag show, my friend Brian pointed out this guy who was speaking to a couple of people in the lobby. “That’s the guy who played Hedwig.” I looked at him and thought it was possible but wasn’t sure. I approached. “It’s difficult to tell without the makeup, but did you play Hedwig?” “Yes.” He hugged me, kissed my cheek, and asked for my name. He was quite pleasant and seemed pleased to be recognized. We spoke for a few minutes and then I went on my way. It was great.
People I’ve Seen in Concert
Elton John (13 times), Cat Stevens, Humble Pie (with Peter Frampton), Three Dog Night, Santana, David Cassidy (long, long ago), Charlie Rich, Elvis, Tom Jones, Madonna, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Belly, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Jesus Lizard, New Order, Swan, Laura Love, Candye Kane, 10,000 maniacs, REM, U2, David Bowie, Sting, Mandy Patinkin, Patti Lupone, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rufus (with Chaka Kahn), Tears for Fears, Blonde, Debra Harry, Helen Reddy, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, B-52s, Jethro Tull, and some I’ll remember five seconds after I post this. Tonight I’ll see Cyndi Lauper and Cher.
I have to hand it to her: Cher looks great even though she was absent from the stage about forty percent of the time. The show was set up in sections, each capturing a portion of her career. I liked the Sonny and Cher phase the best. All in all, there were eleven costumes and about 90 minutes of Cher (or her video image).
Cyndi Lauper was amazing. For some reason (not revealed), she was hobbling around on a crutch. But that didn’t stop her from going deep into the audience, walking up the riser sections and through the crowd.
i see you flying up behind me, darting in and out, cutting off cars and trucks. fucking asshole. don’t even think you’re gonna pull that with me. hah! so now what are you gonna do? huh? how d’ya like that? bitch.
fuck me. now that car in front is hittin’ his brakes. dickwad. why don’t you learn how to drive, asshole?!? great. now that cunt’s in front of me. we’ll see about that. go. go. go. GO. now who’s in front? shit. use your turn signals you dumbass. there she goes. so what: i had to turn anyway.
This is patent truth: Genetically manipulated seeds develop into mutant corn that, when popped, fixed up with a little salt and butter, and enjoyed during a Saturday matinee, will dissolve the lining of your stomach and turn your eggs and sperm into ravenous creepy bugs that are impervious to poison and gamma rays. Aren’t you concerned?
In twenty years, teenagers will plunk down $12.99 for a bag of blue popcorn, settle into their seats, and tremble during horror-movie scenes that show how their parents came to give birth to freaks of nature like themselves without ever stopping to wonder why.
The truth will someday be found amid the chaotic residue. It will not give itself up easily. What would be the point of that? In the silent waste of too many years unlived, days are fossils to be dug up and contemplated: their significance the object of theory, their gravity never really understood. But in real time, eons before they gain such value as relics, we throw them away. This moment is gone. I will never get it back. Why don't I treasure it more dearly, guard it more jealously? The lost change of time rattles around on the floor.
It was an emergency. I had to get out of that place. Thank God I had stashed away a little money. There was no way in hell I was going to stay in a room at a crack house. There was not even a doorknob. Why did you think I would sleep on a stained mattress that sat on the floor? You don't really know me at all.
But, then again, you live here. Your judgement can't be good. Do you have a chemical imbalance? Have you stopped taking your medication? You better get it together before it's too late.
It rustles in the dead leaves and patiently awaits its opportunity. It wants to infect you with its poison. When you’re afflicted, your blood will boil, your vision blur, and your heart race. You will not think straight. You will not know what to do. As soon as it strikes, it will slither into the bushes and watch for you to weaken and fall. That’s what it wants.
But you have a choice. Even after you’re bitten, you can struggle to get away. Get far enough away. Don’t let it find you down. Run. Hurry. Don’t falter. Do not connect.
Under My Thumb
I want to know where you are every second of the day. I don’t care if this makes you unhappy. You must check in with me every single day. I will track you down to see if you have told me the truth. I want to control you. I don’t care how old you are; I am your mother. You owe me. I manipulate you because I love you. I am your best friend, like it or not. You do not have a life apart from mine. I will not let you. You will never get away.
Remote hog. Phlegmatic belcher. Your secrets can be discovered. You’re not as cunning as you think. We manage to work both in and out of the house. We have long days too. But we occasionally load the dishwasher, take out the trash, wash clothes. The news is important to you except when I want to watch it. What happened with your soap opera today? You watched me load in the tape you requested, but didn’t watch. Its tab is pulled, though. Did you remember to load a tape in the VCR? I remembered, but I didn’t remind you. So there.
“A plane just hit the World Trade Center,” William said from the door of my office. I went down the hall: Joyce’s six inch black and white screen showed the awful truth. A woman being interviewed over the phone described what she saw from her office window. The second plane hit.
I called people I knew; what else could I do? They already knew what had happened. Deciding to connect with something else, I gathered up the peanuts, corn, and seed I kept in my office and ventured out into the warm, bright day to feed the squirrels and birds.
There simply has to be more to life than this. I hate the fucking daily struggle to wake up, get ready for work, deal with traffic, and return home 7 ½ hours later. It’s not that I don’t like my job; it’s fine and it gives me plenty of opportunity to surf the Internet and research things I’m interested in. But it’s this deadening routine. John believes that finding love is the answer. He is sweet and naïve and I shouldn’t say sharp words that might burst this fantasy bubble of his. Real happiness is found somewhere else. But where?
Friday the 13th
Today is cursed. Find a ladder and walk under it. Break a mirror. Step on a crack. Whistle in a cemetery. Scream “Macbeth” backstage. Test your luck. There’s a black cat. Here Kitty; here Kitty.
Luck rhymes with fuck. Fuck luck. You get what you deserve. Try that on for size. Survivors shouldn’t grieve for living. You were at the right place by accident. No unseen hand led you there. Believe that or go crazy wondering why you were spared. It’s better than the alternative. Okay, maybe it’s not. But that’s what we like to tell ourselves.
Yesterday, the fucking asshole dickwad exterminator was at the office. I hate his fucking guts. He thinks he is sooo clever, but he is a dim-witted dolt. He tries to irritate me by loudly discussing how animals suffer after he poisons them. What kind of person would enjoy that? Obviously, people who make a living doing it. He sprayed the outside of my window (I won't let him do my office because I have six precious fish in two aquariums). And I told him I don’t have bugs in my office, but I do. Some ants. So there.
The heaving is a rhythmic chant. heyheyheyhey batter batter batter saWing. The wood swats the horsehide. A distinctive snap echoes through the park. He’s hitting for the cycle. An in the park homer. The right fielder baubles the ball. It caroms off the padding and tries to hide in the corner. The shortstop and the second baseman share a common dream of an unassisted triple play. That would win the crowd over, at least for an inning. The catcher feels at home at home. The pitcher toes the rubber. The crowd goes wild. Another one soars. I’m ready for Fall.
You fucking stupid cunt. Why didn’t you just hang up that fucking phone and drive? How stupid can you be, you crust-lipped slut? You drove two blocks the wrong way down a one-way street and didn’t notice that all the cars were parked in the opposite direction. You incredibly ignorant cunt. How many accidents will it take, shit head, for you to learn how to drive? You’re a fucking social menace. You and your loser parents who wouldn’t properly insure your car. Soon, you will get notice of my lawsuit, you dumb fuck. Stick it high up your ass, bitch.
This was a great car: four door, five speed, lots of storage compartments, large trunk. It was silver with blue interior. I purchased it in 1983, for $6,000, from a guy who worked as a car salesman, but it was his personal car. My payments were just $160 each month and I had it paid off in less than four years. I had lots of adventures in that little car. I took good car of it. Anytime anything broke, it was fixed immediately. At least every two months, I would detail it completely. Then some bitch ruined it.
Don’t tell me about loneliness. I know. I’ve been there. I know the hollow feeling where the heart is supposed to be. I know the exhaustion that comes from contemplating self-worthlessness. I know the energy that’s expended to maintain a facade of happiness and contentment. You see, you can’t let anyone know you’re lonely. That would add insult to injury. It’s much better to pretend that everything is just fine, thank you. Then you won’t have to listen to the fucking sympathetic tone in their voices. Don’t feel sorry for me. You’re just as alone and empty as I am.
The Best Television Shows of All Time (in no particular order)
The X Files
-a combination cop/medical/science fiction/anti-government/love story; what’s not to like?
-quirkiness in a small town with engaging, eccentric characters.
-Lynch on the small screen. What more can I say?
Six Feet Under
-the first season was fabulous, the second not as good.
Sex and the City
-girl talk at its nastiest and most realistic.
-prison life at its nastiest and most realistic. Lots of peepees too.
Queer As Folk
-great fashion, funny queens, good friends.
Law & Order
-good stories; great cast.
You better take care of yourself. Who else would spend all day hopping from one movie to another with me? Who else would sit in my hospital room all day watching J. Lo play Selena? Nobody else can enthusiastically debate Hedwig with me. Nobody else would listen to all my bitching so patiently. And what about the others? More people depend on you than you know. So slow down. Solve your problems so you won’t be so stressed all the time. Someone out there wants what you have to give. Believe that. Let that help you get past this stuff.
Dark clouds pile up over my head. This is not a literary device, although it could be. The brightness fades fast, with exponential precision. Glance away from the window for one minute. When you look back, you’ll find black setting in. The transition is smooth if you don’t take your eyes off it. But look away and it’s gone forever. Or has it just snuck around behind, waiting for its chance? Life is like this. How’s that for a simile? Not bad, huh? My future rests in my hands. That’s a sample of synecdoche. Language is the virus of despair.
The Week at a Glance
- The sunny beginning of another glorious week: it’s perfect for The Hub. This is also the day I stop and buy all my losing Lottery tickets for the week.
-A school night: it’s also perfect for The Hub. It’s amazing how a drink or two can make the students so much smarter.
-The middle of the week. Dee’s Den.
-Another rosy week ends: the Blue Penguin is the place for karaoke.
-Yard work. Movie hop. Bloody Marys at The Hub.
-Indian buffet. Super movie hop. Fortify for another week at The Hub.
Misery. The depths of hollow hell. Mothers should not expect their children to live with them forever. They should not try to insinuate themselves into every cranny of existence. What does she want from me? To dedicate my life to her? To be her best friend? To allow her to be my best friend? Hasn’t she done enough to me already? The forceful collision of her manipulation with my weakening resistance and rusting guilt has left me pounded and broken, a heap of self-loathing atop a mound of jagged anger. I-not what I want to be-am lost in the wreckage.
THE NEWEST ADDITIONS TO MY EVER-GROWING LIST OF INDIVIDUALS AND INSTITUTIONS THAT CAN STICK IT & SPIN
1. Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, who will not allow me to refinance my car and get a 2.5% reduction on my interest rate because “we can’t just let people refinance for a lower interest rate.”
2. MBNA Credit Card Company, who raised my interest rate to 22.4%. This company is nothing but a legal loan shark. Do not do business with this terrible company.
3. That asshole who cut me off in traffic this morning.
4. The Reverend W and his Posse.
Hey mother fucker. You want respect? You sure as shit don’t get it by acting like a total ass. You don’t get it by flying off the handle. You don’t get it through red-faced screaming. You sure don’t get it by not bathing, not washing your greasy, stringy hair, not shaving, not changing your filthy food-stained, baggy assed clothing, and-for the love of God-not wearing deodorant. If you’re going to be so fucking touchy, don’t chitchat with me. Don’t kid around. It doesn’t matter that much anyway. I have more important things on my mind right now. So fuck you.
please go gentle into that goodnight
I do not think that our dog Rumor will hang on to life much longer. I saw her slipping late last week, but I kept it to myself, hoping my silence would drive the demon away. She enjoyed dog beach on Saturday, but there was something—a look in her eyes maybe—that revealed a sad truth.
Then came bad news of her blood work. Strange infection. High white count.
This morning, I thought she was gone. But then I looked into her soulful eyes, rimmed with pus, and saw she was still here.
People who haven't experienced chronic depression don’t know how it keeps you on the edge of tears. I feel like I'm dancing on a narrow emotional parapet, and it doesn't take much to make me lose my balance. So, yes, I lost it; yes, it was unfortunate; yes, I'm embarrassed; yes, I wish it hadn’t happened; yes, I would love to tell everyone here to stick it and walk out. But, alas, it did happen; I can't undo it, and I'm in no position (at least yet) to calmly tell them to fuck themselves and waltz happily off into oblivion.
Last night, I saw a play-
-that one old friend and one old acquaintance acted in. The play, which takes place at a 20th high-school reunion, follows the story of a couple who bitterly broke up in their senior year, yet always felt as if they were meant to be together. The play poses a question: Is it ever too late? Refreshingly, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Their one chance passed them by; they don’t get another.
After, we all went out and reminisced. It was a little taste of verisimilitude: having a reunion at a play about a reunion.
Movin’ on up
Yesterday and today, I helped a friend move from a third-story apartment to a second-story apartment. This is a true test of friendship: Florida. September. 90 percent humidity. 92 degrees. No elevators. Lots and lots of clothes and shoes.
Although it was miserably hot and the stairs at one place are impossibly steep and narrow and together we must have ascended and descended the stairs at least 60 times, I was happy to help. These are the times that strengthen bonds.
Today, my legs are sore and my face is sunburnt. But, inside, I feel pretty good.
I want to take a nap. Sleep is a mini vacation that rests the body and soothes the mind. Dreams take us where we can’t afford to go. There’s nothing better than cranking down the a/c, spreading out a nice cool sheet, pulling the blinds, and stretching out with at least three pillows. Soon, every sound is muffled, slowly fading into silence. In an hour or so, you emerge from slumber feeling refreshed and invigorated.
The cycle is strange. Babies enjoy naps. Toddlers need, but resent, them. Teenagers don’t have time. Young adults avoid them. But many adults treasure them.
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