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Dear Subpar Fruit,
It is not your fault your appearance is deceiving, that the good looks that led me to bring you home don't reflect what lies beneath your surface. How were you to know, Peach, that once my teeth penetrated your fuzz, they'd squish into mealy strings? How were you to know, Apple, that although you presented my teeth with a crisp introduction, they met with brown rot?
When a second bite "just to make sure" yields the same result, I still feel very sad for you, but at least you know I tried.
Thank you anyway.
A few words about how people present theirs:
I have no time for people who are "soft-spoken". If you don't speak up, I'll assume you really don't want to be heard. So, if you do, TALK BIGGER, DAMN IT.
Please SHOOT ME if I ever speak so slowly that you can LITERALLY see each letter of every word individually dropping out of my slackjawed maw on its way to forming a drooly sentence-puddle at my feet.
If you, like, say "like", like every other word, I'm, like, not going to like listening to you. In fact, I'll, like, hate you.
A and S are in the kitchen, a colorful blur of knives and elbows and roasted beets and mixed greens and goat cheese and walnuts. I alone am stationary. They insist I'm not in the way. They're good liars.
I slink to the living room. A and S are my friends. Knives are not.
Within moments, they join me, accompanied by the vibrant salad and other dishes they'd prepared before my arrival. I feel like a traditional husband, served by a dutiful wife -- or, really, wives. For a few moments, I consider a sex change and conversion to Mormonism.
Bubby's walk-in linen closet was my favorite private clubhouse (even more than the "forts" I'd created under my parents' Parsons table) not only because of the bright plastic orange that contained large, sweet vitamin C tablets but because of the small aqua plastic travel cup that collapsed into itself. Huddled under the bottom shelf, snug in the dark and comforted by the slightly musty scent of towels that I don't think ever got any "play", I gobbled the vitamin C like Sweet Tarts and drank lukewarm tap water like Hi-C. I wanted for nothing when I was in that closet.
Just because I haven't eaten meat since 1979 doesn't mean I can't find the aroma of barbecued hamburgers or broiled steak so incredible that I want to leap over a neighbor's fence, attack the grill, and flip a burger onto a bun before stuffing it into my mouth or grab the serrated knife out of someone's hand at Les Halles and saw off a hunk to cram in my drooling maw. After all, I'm no murderer and literally cannot even hurt a fly, but that doesn't stop me from daydreaming about stoning someone to death, does it? Of course not.
"You should be a dog-walker!" people say, knowing my love of dogs surpasses that which I hold for shoes and tofu, but not realizing dog-walking cannot be limited to circumstances when I favor the weather or the appearance of my hair. I imagine that customers would not take kindly to my whims. A suggestion of "Why don't you drop Peabody at my place en route to work?" would be enough of an eyebrow-raiser, without them knowing that Peabody and I, along with Dusty, Mr. Boots, and Jake, would be spending the entire day indoors, tossing popcorn into each other's mouths.
Shana, my receptionist, has a mind like a sieve. No sooner do I remind her for the fourth time in an hour that we need paperclips and pear juice than she stands in the doorway, motionless, keys in paw, asking, "Hold on. Where am I going again? What did mew say we need? Orange marmalade and a salad spinner?"
I would dismiss her from her job, but my clients find her so charming that they say she provides better therapy than even I do. "What does she charge an hour?" at least one of them has asked, not entirely joking.
For years, Brenda's mom has been passing off Pammy's, the popular canned chili, as her own but not telling anyone her spicy little secret. Little did she know that her daughter had been bragging about her culinary skill to all the girls at her lunch table, including Kim, Pammy's daughter. One afternoon Brenda brings Kim home to prove that her mom's "from scratch" is better than Pam's mom's "canned crap".
"Maybe my mom should can hers too!" Brenda says as they skip into the kitchen for the introductions.
"Can it, Brenda," her mom thinks, recognizing Kim's face from the label.
Yes, I know. I made a small mistake in the preceding entry. I used "Pam" in one spot when it should've been "Kim". I know you'd recognize this as an "honest mistake" -- I don't wish to deceive, alas! -- and you, as an intelligent reader, would be able to work around the two letters that differentiate "Pam" from "Kim". Still, I had to point it out, so you wouldn't think you caught me in a mistake of which I am unaware. (Also, I'm sure some readers aren't so intelligent. But they'd never point that out to *me*, would they?)
Horrible Sudden Thought While Trying to Fall Asleep, Which Then Renders Sleep Impossible (#162)
Of the three siblings, I'll be the last to go.
My brother, two years older than I, will go first. He's male (as brothers tend to be) and the oldest, so that's pretty much a done deal. My sister, a year and a half younger than I, will go second. She's been smoking since she was 8, drinks vodka like it's water, and suns herself to leathery imperfection.
I'm sure they think of this, too. But I wonder: do they come up with the same order?
He isn't a hip-huggered, wavy-haired, gleaming-toothed Adonis like Marcia Brady's, but my dentist has his own "way". He cracks a crooked-tooth grin with every frequent spit of wit, not even flinching when I call him "buddy boy" instead of "Doctor".
I close my eyes when his fingers enter my mouth. Surely if I keep them open, he'll know I'm entertaining thoughts of opening wide that have nothing to do with dentistry.
Do I really think he's flirting with me, when the extreme close-up of the tooth that's the subject of today's visit is displayed on the monitor beside him? Apparently.
I've been waiting "forever" for the M5. The M7 approaches, two blocks away. Although it gets me to my destination as easily as the M5, it's a local, and I hate stopping every two blocks. Besides, I'm determined to only get on the M5. M5, M5, Mfucking5.
"It's the principle," I say, loudly, inside my head.
The M7 stops in front of me. No one gets off, and I'm the only person at the bus stop. Its doors, then, open just for me.
"Come on, you know you want my bus!" the driver says with a laugh.
Fuck the M5!
The moment Carl crosses the threshold into my office, he rolls down the top of his big bag of Cheetos and secures it with a chip clip. I'm thrilled, because I didn't want to have to remind him this week that I don't allow food in my office during sessions.
"I did good, huh, Doc?"
His grins reveals bright orange teeth. I try hard to not think about removing the teeth from his jaw with an enormous hammer.
"You can keep the rest of the bag. Ain't nothin' sexier than a well-dressed female munchin' on Cheetos."
Should I be flattered?
A few of my friends can not only get away with dressing like ragamuffins but actually manage to look adorable so outfitted. I could never pull off the folksy, quasi-Sound of Music skirt, button-sided flat-heeled boots, brightly colored chunky sweater, and double-bun hair configuration that A sported one night when we went out to dinner. Same goes for the Swiss Miss-meets-Paulie-Girl frock and colorful tights and old-ladyish cardigan and jaunty "willies" J wore yesterday.
I'd feel foolish in these get-ups. I prefer the elegant ease of Audrey Hepburn. This way, my personality doesn't have to compete with clothing for attention.
Ordinarily, Hugh Jackman inspires me to flail, froth, and otherwise flop around like a flounder, but a recent photo of him riding a bike, unshaven and in schleppy clothes, shows him to be less "eye candy" and more like a linty sourball scraped from the bottom of my grandmotherís old pocketbook.
I'm dismayed. The dreamboat has let me down! He should be glamorous and gorgeous and glossy no matter what he's doing, whether appearing on a red carpet or vacuuming his own at home.
Then I'm thrilled: My own boyfriend is way cuter when unshaven and in schleppy clothes!
This is the fifteenth time Martina has tried to create a poem reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's "This is a Photograph of Me," and it's perhaps the most miserable attempt yet. She doesn't even know why she's tries anymore. After all, after only nine tries for last week's assignment, she gave up on trying to emulate William Carlos Williams' "This Is Just to Say". Apples, pears, peaches, watermelon, and kiwis just didn't cut it the way plums did.
Why even bother, though, when that dimwit Angela got an A just for finding a way to not rhyme "Nantucket" with the obvious?
It is at this point that I bring to your attention the horrifying fact that I made errors I deem glaring in two earlier entries. It is at this point that I wonder whether I should leave it at that or point them out, considering that if I choose the latter, you, if you're even a fraction as obsessive as I, will be compelled to comb through a half-month of entries to find them. It is at this point that I mock those of you who pretend that, even if you're not obsessive, you're not even the least bit curious.
Dear Free Spirits:
I do not want to see your toes at the gym. If you're moved by the Universe to bare your soles, please confine the activity to the locker room or yoga studio. The regular mats, weight and cardio areas, non-locker room restrooms, and stairway are no place for your tender twinkletoes to roam free. If you insist on exposing your naked feet where the rest of us are suitably shod, I will insist on guffawing when someone accidentally drops a 35-pound dumbbell onto your instep and saying, in a singsong tone, "I toed you so."
Although there is no good angle by which to view Alvin B.'s face, the profile causes even the most casual observer to regard him with a blend of consternation and disdain. The protruding brow and beak are nothing compared to the lower third, an area commonly reserved for a chin. There, however, Alvin's face is jut-free and without apparent bone, the lower jaw melting directly into his scrawny neck, giving Alvin the appearance of a recorder, a cheap instrument given to children with a glaring lack of true musical ability but wish to fit in with their more gifted classmates.
When my friend B was in the hospital for an extended period of time, his roommate was a guy who was at least 85. His wife, chatty and hilarious, was with him constantly. They held hands, kissed, laughed. They invited me to come over to their side of the room and hang out. So of course I did. The wife made a bawdy joke about his nakedness and the bathroom that made me burst into a genuine guffaw. (I can't remember it now.)
My last day, she gave me their phone number and address. I never called. Should I now?
In response to my institution of "Casual Fridays" in our two-member office, Shana says, "If you think clients will be able to take you seriously in cargo pants, that's fine. But as the 'face' of our organization, I owe it to them -- and to us! -- to continue in my usual fashion."
And oh, fashion, indeed! Although she's large for a cat, she's small enough that she can easily fit into vintage couture -- smart suits, peep-toe spectators, and even a jaunty hat -- without alterations! If Joan Crawford were alive, she'd be spitting tacks and plotting Shana's downfall.
It's 4:56 and Mr. Uber-Jew and his yarmulke are fast-walking up the path toward the bench where Allison and I sit, amusing ourselves while she feeds cashews to exceedingly friendly squirrels. He seems to have forgotten that daylight is extended these late spring days and he's got plenty of time before sundown and the Sabbath with all its restrictions. If I were a good Jew, I'd know if handing nuts to rodents is permitted on the Sabbath. But I'm not. And he's rushing by us just to emphasize that he is a good Jew and I, alas, am not. Oy!
"They have breast implants," Mark says with a frown, jutting his head toward the plate glass window for a closer peek.
"How's that even possible?" Sheila says. "They're mannequins."
"You can just tell," he says, nodding toward the lone undressed, disembodied torso, lying on its back in the corner of the display. "If they were real, they wouldn't jut upward like that. They'd fall off to the sides a little."
"But they're mannequins. They're fake to begin with."
"When I was a kid, the mannequins didn't have such obviously fake tits."
She wants to argue, but then realizes: he's right!
Maybe today he'll notice me. Yesterday when I passed, he was talking to someone else. I was convinced he saw me and wished he wasn't otherwise occupied. Perhaps tomorrow, I knew he thought, in sync with me. Yeah, we've got a bond, and we've never even spoken.
This morning he's alone. I approach with a purposeful step, a girl on the go! He's looking in the opposite direction. As I pass, I watch him in my peripheral vision. Nothing! He doesn't even notice me.
What's a girl have to do to get the attention of a street person?
This Memorial Day morning, I'm so festive I can barely contain myself. I'm a vision in a peach cotton top I'd never be caught maimed in public in and loungy black cotton pants that could serve as going-to-the-laundromat pants except I'm too vain to ever use them for that purpose. I just finished a large iced coffee "concoction" and am procrastinating on bed-making. The back door is open, inviting me out onto the patio, where I will enjoy my next concoction -- after I change my top, because even semi-privacy is too public. Perhaps a straitjacket would be more appropriate?
A knock at the door. My landlord, natch. I'm up to my tits in work (they perch like pigeons atop my eyebrows) and don't want to be interrupted. I fling open the door, huffing out a quick "Yes, I'm very busy," to avoid the usual protracted banter he seems to think is a term of my lease.
"Did you hear banging on the pipes last night?" he asks from beneath his beard.
"No," I say, wishing I had one to hide behind. I don't trust the corners of my mouth to not turn up with the delicious lie.
Continued from 5/26
"You didn't hear banging?" he repeats.
I return a couple of bonus negatives that I'm confident strike the perfect balance between "offhand and uninterested" and "it was probably a bad dream" and "have you forgotten my method is banging on the ceiling, which, by the way, I haven't done in over a year".
The knife I'd used to bang against the pipe, in protest of his cement-booted clomping near midnight, is silent in a kitchen drawer, sleeping off the ordeal. In about an hour it will have a hangover and curse me. But for now, I'm safe.
What kind of an idiot keeps an uncovered disposable razor in the front pocket of her purse -- the same pocket that houses her keys? If you guessed "Amelia Earhart", you're wrong. Ms. Earhart may have been silly enough to fly into the Bermuda Triangle -- which everyone knows is comprised of chocolate mousse, malted milk balls, and a graham cracker crust -- expecting to resurface to tell the world of her wondrous experience -- but she's not stupid enough to do what I did and thus endure a deep vertical slash on her pinky that almost made her faint.
Come on, just fucking spit it out already!
I want to shout.
The teammate giving Catch Phrase clues is wasting precious ticking seconds with inane chatter, and everyone else seems to think it's charming. I want to punch them in the throats for their lack of impatience. I tell myself his behavior is charming, that it's only a game, that I shouldn't be so competitive.
It doesn't work.
A week later, my boyfriend tells me he wanted to shout at this slowpoke too, even though he wasn't on our team. I fall in love with him a little bit more!
My loudmouth party-boy neighbor holds me captive outside our building when all I want to do is get inside and fold my laundry while it's still warm. it's my fault for saying, "How's it going?" in an attempt to demonstrate that I don't have to say some variation of "I could kick your ass, buddy boy" every time I see him.
I now know more about him than I ever wanted to know. I've seen his scars from a catastrophic bus accident. And am fascinated by his teeth, so yellow and square I swear he pilfered them from George Washington.
Every home ec group gets to invite one parent to join for our grand finale lunch, eaten off Corelware. Each table also gets to invite one teacher. I pray to gods I don't even believe in, promising I will believe, if my group gets Mr. L, the math teacher.
My prayers are rewarded, and there he sits, on the big day. At the same table with me and my mom. If I squint my eyes just so, I can blur out everyone's faces but the three of ours, and pretend we are the happy family I don't have at home.
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