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I am pleased to make your drunken acquaintance via a snapshot (we can still call them "snapshots," can't we, even in this digital age?) taken by a mutual friend at a party to which I wasn't invited.
"This is Trina," our friend Liz (you know her as "Betty") says. "The photo does her no justice."
"You mean smashed more than a pumpkin, grinning as stupidly as a carved one, and hanging onto two titsy and beyond tipsy girlfriends who can't stop flashing their snatches while flopping around on a sofa isn't her best look?" I want to say. But don't.
He means business, Walter does, when he comes to your door wearing spats. You want to say, "Hey, Walt, hey Walterrrrrrr, hey Willy Wonka Walter Kronkite Kryptonite Masonite Mason Reese, I can tell you mean beeswax ay-kay-ay business! Spats! Spats in 2008?"
But you don't.
Instead you take him and his business seriously. You tell him you'll be his moll, you'll be his doll, his baby, and thank-you I'm pleased you like my pins. He says something-something skidoo, and you say Daddy-O, and he looks at you all weird-like because that's an anachronism.
And oh, how his Model T shines.
Cora stands in front of the class, practically peeing herself from excitement, knowing her show-and-tell this afternoon is going to be the best one not only in Miss Shoenwalter's second grade class but in ALL second grade classes EVER in the history of Edgar Allen Poe Elementary School.
She reaches into her book-club tote for an old embroidered hankie.
"This," she says, pausing for dramatic effect like a magician, "is my dog's nose!"
She extends her left hand, and with a flourish unfolds the hankie's edges with her right, releasing a faint memory of her grandmother's Jean Nate.
Continued from 6/3
Gretchen K., never known for her strong stomach, puts her head on her desk, shoulders heaving. Warren S., rumored to have a real live subway rat hidden in a backpack in his bedroom closet, leans over her slumped body for a closer look.
"Awesome!" he says.
"Not-so-close!" Cora says, pulling her hand back.
"Oh, I get it!" he says. "That's not a dog nose! It's part of a brownie!"
Giggles, gasps, and guffaws richochet off the concrete walls.
Warren lunges forward, almost trips on Gretchen, and wrenches the hankie and its contents from Cora's hand.
Continued from 6/4
"No! Don't!" Cora screams. "Warren! Stop it!"
Mrs. Shoenwalter dashes forward from her observation perch at the back of the room, but her speed is no match for Warren's. Just like Cora's pleas are no match for his determination.
Without even looking at what he's just managed to wrench from Cora's grasp, Warren pops its contents into his mouth and starts chewing maniacally. Just as Mrs. Shoenwalter reaches him and places her hand on his left shoulder to spin him out toward the aisle to face her, he starts gagging, choking, and rolling his eyes.
Continued from 6/5
Warren is a notorious showoff, clown, and disruptor of the class. Indeed, he spends so much time in the principal's office that Principal Cordovan even jokes that he should have his own desk there complete with his name balanced in a little tray . So naturally everyone laughs as he pantomimes choking. That Warren -- always a goof!
"Shit! Shit!" he manages to sputter.
"Language, Warren, language!" Mrs. Shoenwalter says.
"SHIT!" he says. The front of his shirt is covered in spit and --
And this time Cora's the one in Principal Cordovan's office.
Continued from 6/6
Cora's miffed, because being in Cordovan's office means she's missing her favorite class, Art, where they're using clay, and she'd planned to secretly mold a voodoo doll of Warren to use whenever he acted extra-jerky. Well, at least she got back at him with the dog shit "dog nose". She couldn't have planned it better! Yeah, everyone will remember Warren flailing like she'd done voodoo on him, but they'll remember her more for getting him that way. Who'd've thought Cora would be the one to give him his comeuppance? Just goes to show, you never can tell.
Even though I am fairly certain that it is not the case, I still, upon being subjected to the raised naked arms of a dark-haired man , am convinced that the tufts cluttering the underarms lead somewhere rather than just sprout forth from the skin like regular head-hair. It doesn't matter if the hair is bushy and dense or fine and sparse, my brain automatically registers "twin twats" and "ewww" and imagines, without conscious encouragement, furtive flesh folds leading into the guy's body. Once inside, though, there is no accompanying internal organs, i.e. no uterus available via underarm trap door.
Your Facebook profile photo places you in a colorful cafe somewhere unidentified, slouched over a plate of half-eaten egg-something and a bagel half reduced further by a single bite revealing details of your front teeth that are never seen in photographs because smiling is just so uncool. I mean, hey, you're so cool otherwise in that porkpie hat, Batman T-shirt, Converse low-tops, and vintage rockstar sunglasses, somehow managing to look vaguely distracted while at the same time pretending you don't even notice your pierced and dirty-haired girlfriend memorializing this candid pose with the enormous camera her trust fund bought her.
He's in the ground, and I couldn't care less. I didn't even notice that they'd lowered the box containing his carcass, so I'm kind of taken aback when the rabbi asks the small congregation if anyone has anything to say about this mass of flesh and bones that was, in biology only, my paternal grandfather.
My uncle relates a tale of a baseball loving bon vivant, punctuated with chuckles and chortles. And for the life of me, I can't remember any occasion with this dead guy that had anything to do even remotely with laughter.
Good riddance, you sadistic bastard.
National test screenings of Limited Life's latest not-yet-aired life insurance commercial reveal what no one at Biddle & Hawthorne had foreseen: Nobody is buying seven-year-old Billy as the son of the genial actor who had swept all markets as the most "dad-like".
"The 'son' doesn't even cry when his 'dad' dies," Marge P. of Trenton, NJ, wrote on her survey.
The kid's gotta go.
Billy's mom writes an outraged letter to the agency, claiming it is unwittingly responsible for the beating Billy receives, post-rejection. But no one at B&H believes someone so incredibly dad-like could or would be so cruel.
If I didn't know us, I'd sure be jealous of us. Hell, I'm jealous of us even now, when I'm one-half of the dynamic duo (ha!) that is indeed you 'n' I, here in the Belasco Theater (for the next 2-hours-20-minutes-plus-15-minute-intermission and I fear I'll have to pee before the first hour!) and we're really excited about being together after a long four-day untogetherness.
Before there was an "us" I would have "killed" to be part of the us we are now. I would have "hated" the other people who were "us", but only because I did not have it.
I was dating the "you" you used to be. The you of 1986, of 18 years earlier, the you who stood by my desk and swung an invisible baseball bat (thus forcing me to imagine you in a very real baseball uniform, much to my delight -- who knew your ass was so perky?), the you who was 27 and the best-looking lawyer I'd ever seen. I wasn't dating the you of 2004, the you who grew into a decent enough man but one that I didn't feel nearly as much "wow" for as the one of days gone by.
"You're 'The Mouth'," my mom says over the phone. "You're the one who can tell them how ridiculous this whole situation is."
(It's too stupid a story to go into, so suffice it to say that "someone" has to tell my brother and nephew their behavior just ain't cuttin' it.)
Of course I'll say something, I say. I'm no pussy.
Yeah, I'm "The Mouth" now, but it wasn't always this way. Thirty years ago I sealed it, allowing no food in and no words out. Today the words that come out taste as good as the food I welcome in.
The flat sandals arrived from Zappos, a scant 30 hours after I'd placed the order, giddy and thrilled even more than usual, as this was the last pair in this color in this size, which is my usual "sign" that I meant to have something. These sandals, which will keep me close to the ground at least physically but which will do so much to lift my spirits because that's the kind of shoe-loving shmoe I am, were meant to be. This is what is known as destiny and fate in the grand cosmic order of the universe, my friends.
The plain-faced Asian couple stands face to face. She wraps her arms around his neck and caresses his hair. He wraps his around her hips, fingers interlocked. They don't look like the sort who would be situated this way in public, but they don't seem self-conscious. Something looks slightly off, though, and I can't quite identify what it is until the girl stands on her tiptoes. She seems to be doing it involuntarily, as if she's dying for her guy, who's slightly shorter than she is, to be taller so she can raise up on her tiptoes to kiss him.
Stewpot's only claim to fame is its pronunciation, which isn't the obvious. People passing through the less-than-one-horse town on their way to bigger and better places ("and that's just about all of 'em!" longtime local Henry Clanghorn says, snapping in his dentures to enhance his mumble) expect to see a sign proclaiming it the home of a famous cooking vessel.
"Excuse me. Do you sell a commemorative stew pot?" they ask at the town's lone store.
"Typical stewpot question!" June Clanghorn always says, hoping they'll get the joke.
But they never do. They just turn on their heels, feeling insulted.
You may not have noticed, but for the past two weeks Glenda has taken to not eating before noon. This is unusual, given that you have no doubt noticed her cramming a vast variety of victuals, and not just that ordinarily relegated to "breakfast food", into her maw within 23 minutes of awakening, including, but not limited to shrimp scampi, Shepherd's pie, flan, and generic hot pockets.
But now, having heard that Claudia Schiffer doesn't eat before the clock strikes 12, Glenda isn't doing so, either. Never mind that Claudia Schiffer wakes up at 11:56 and Glenda five hours earlier.
My calls were not the usual types you'd expect, because my clients were not the typical variety associated with the service I provided. I say clients, plural, although I handled a scant handful for the duration of my stint, one of whom called often enough that had others wanted indulgence, they would've been denied. Not just because this one was a regular, but because he was extraordinarily inventive. Perverse, yes, but then again, I wouldn't have taken him on for as long as I did, both in individual calls and in general time span, had he not been.
Continued from 6/19
Knowing how his taste ran, and knowing our call would last at least three hours, I created the "Defec-athlon", a saga involving an "elimination contest" of Olympian proportions. He was fond of the variety of special chairs and other apparatus I designed specifically for the solo events, but even more intrigued by the team efforts, where he was depicted as coach, directing his prize athlete and her "handler", who would coax and guide the prized possession from bowel to puckered aperture and finally into the open air.
Ahh, yes. At times the job could be quite shitty.
I had my doubts about my cat's alleged skill with the potter's wheel, especially since no one had ever actually witnessed her using the thing. I just chalked it up to yet another whimsical late night eBay purchase.
One afternoon she served me red grapes in a cobalt blue bowl I'd never seen before. I marveled at its exquisite craftsmanship and wondered why anyone would want to sell it on eBay.
"Oh, Shana, this is quite a find," I said.
"Mew like?" she said.
"Oh, I do. Do you mind my asking how much you paid for it?"
Continued from 6/21
"Not a red cent," she said.
"Oh, so YOU didn't pay, but I did," I said, playing along. "PayPal or credit card?" I allow her one extravagance on my dime each month.
"Neither," she said. "I made it."
I cringed as I asked, "How is it possible to spin a bowl if you don't have thumbs?" I hated to be cruel, especially since she just gave me a gift.
"Take your thumbs and shove the up your ass," she said. "You don't 'spin' a bowl," she said, her eyes narrowed to green slits. "You 'toss' it."
Carolina is nervous about announcing her plan, but she takes a deep breath, the way she's heard you're supposed to before doing something that makes you nervous. By the eighth such breath, her father drops his knife and fork onto his plate and leans back in his chair. Carolina doesn't know how to read this conflicting body language. She starts a ninth inhalation but stops herself.
"I'm going to rice school," she says. "To learn how to cook rice. And you can't stop me!"
"Now, wait a minute. Rice?" her brother says with a smirk.
And no one gets it.
In 1974, in love with Fonzie and the '50s, I was desperately jealous of Misty Rowe, who played a roller-skating waitress on Happy Days. I'd never seen her before (having denounced HeeHaw as wholly repellent without ever having watched) and couldn't get enough. Not only was she buxom, blue-eyed, and blonde -- three achievements I hadn't managed as an 11-year-old -- but she got to kiss Fonzie all day.
"She'll be OLD and not-so-pretty some day," I consoled myself. "And then I won't have to be jealous of her anymore!"
Thirty-four years later, Google reveals the fulfillment of my wish!
Rare is the occasion that I have two bars of soap (Dove, white, original) goin' on in the bathroom at the same time, so you can imagine my excitement when I bought a fresh new two-pack the other day and realized I was on the brink of making this dream come true. Since I already had a close-to-finished bar in the shower, I only had to unwrap one, though, which I placed by the sink. This morning, having finished the shower bar, the time had come to unwrap the second bar and give it its place of honor.
Continued from 6/25
Dilemma: In which location should the soap roost? Should the one already by the sink, used only a handful of times, be relocated to the shower? If the new one was directly shower-bound, it'd never get to revel in the by-the-sink experience. That wouldn't be fair to the current sink soap and countless bars before it, which had to start off by the sink and eventually graduate to the shower. The shower, you see, is the coveted, exalted position, because even though it's not as visible, the soap located there gets the daily full-body tour.
Clarification after our discussion last night over fabulous Thai food:
All lawyers are not dicks or assholes or other body parts that we love but for some reason use to describe people we do not. My saying they all suck is like you saying all cab drivers suck. Dan and Blobby and E go against the stereotype, as do Leo, the Indian guy who gave me his lunch and sang for me in the car, and Anthony, the really cool black guy trying to earn enough money to go to nursing school to support his wife and two young kids.
In the past four years, you bestowed upon three of the guys you dated for extended periods of time as "the one". Although, thankfully, you did not use those trite words, the sentiment and expression of it was still the same. Oh, this is true love, this is real love, this is an unbreakable bond, this is strong and this is honest and this is beautiful.
This is bullshit.
Or is this like a mom/wife who, every year, when admiring the family Christmas tree, all tinseled and balled and starred, claims, "This is the most beautiful tree we've ever had!"?
I still tear up whenever I think of his fuzzy face or remember him stretched out by the front door of the old apartment pretending to be asleep but actually being secretly watchful, acting as a decoy for any intruders that might have made their way past the doorman and up to the 12th floor. Or remember when his dad had had surgery and it was up to me, who had never walked him before, to do so pre-dawn, and how I grew to love to hear his dog tags jangling as he tiptoed down the hallway to meet me.
Because I'm the kinda girl who does nothing all day but loll on her sofa in a peignoir set (Doris Day powder blue) while cramming stale chocolates (Russell Stover, bought at a Woolworth fire sale circa 1988) and watching my "stories" (90210 reruns), it should come as no surprise that some of that luxurious chocolate found itself ground into one of the sofa's throw pillows. So, does it surprise you that rather than order my imaginary houseboy (shirtless, black-haired, non-English-speaking) to steam-clean it posthaste, I put the pillow to my mouth and sucked the stain out the best I could?
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