The most interesting thing about my breasts is that they
developed overnight. I went to bed a fairly
flat-chested ninth grader, and I woke up with a big B cup. I can still remember my face in the mirror,
my mouth dropped open in surprise, my eyes wide. I put one breast in each hand and felt the
weight of them for the first time. I looked
at the sides, and I saw the stretch marks.
I was horrified – by the marks, by the heft, by the realization that
there was no turning back. Womanhood and
my humanity, terrified me.
Whenever I learn that someone is a cupcake maker – I trust
that person a little bit more.
(Probably somebody reading this is thinking, “Well, I know a
woman who makes cupcakes, and she is a bitch!” because that’s how life works.)
But what I am saying is that if a person is a cupcake maker
she is (at least in part) adding good things to the List of What Exists in the
I bet Hitler didn’t make cupcakes. No Sir.
If somebody makes cupcakes, icing, and adds sprinkles – she is probably worth knowing.
Thus ends my thoughts on cupcakes.
time ago, a man wept as he told me that he had raped someone.
We were in a room twice the size of a confessional. Nothing
separated us, except all that had led up to him saying those words and all that
led up to me hearing them.
I don’t offer prayers or forgiveness; I sat there with him in his
regret and despair. He lifted his
fingers to his eyes and his handcuffs rattled.
Then (this is exactly what it means to be a lawyer) I said, “You are
not alone. I’m not neutral. I’m on
I had a healthy dinner; then 2 cookies (chocolate thin mints
– also known as “bean covered herb treats”) and then a bowl of ice cream with chocolate
Magic Shell topped with peanut butter sauce.
Christ, why do I do this to myself?
Ice cream is so delicious, but I know I’ll regret it, and
there I am, eating it anyway – eating so that I’m not going to respect myself
Well, tomorrow is another day, and another sensible
breakfast. Honey Nut Cheerios.
Tomorrow is 20 minutes of boxing and a little yoga.
Oh, ice cream! Why
must you temp me?
“You’re going to get out of the penitentiary in a year and a
half. But you’ll have two felonies on
your record. You won’t be eligible for
parole if you pick up another charge.
You’re 22 and you have to change your life,” I said.
“How the fuck can I get a job with felonies on my record?”
“It’s possible. But
you’ve limited yourself.”
“I’ve limited myself my whole goddamn life.”
“Well,” I acknowledged, “that might be true.”
“I’m going to get my GED while I’m in prison.”
“That’s a good idea,” I said.
But I’m afraid it’s too late.
I exercise by sparing with a green manikin called Slam Man. Slam Man has lights on his face and body that
I punch as hard as I can. I told a
friend that I might have to stop because the punching left me angrier than when
I began. It just brought stuff up to the
My friend suggested that I yell with my punches to dissipate
Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Right now, my wrists are sore, one hand has a
tremble, and I feel great.
My advice on exercising with anger: add screaming.
My newspaper tells me four people were shot in a drive-by. Two dead, two in critical condition. Shooter at large. A stunned crowd gathered at the scene, most
still in church clothes. No names
My heart beats faster – are former clients of mine involved? I run through a mental list of faces.
I talked to a kid one time who robbed somebody with a rifle,
and I said, “Look, I guess you’ve heard this before. But maybe not. Look at me. Stop carrying a gun. You’ll
end up dead or in the penitentiary. Fucking stop.”
He made no promises.
I bought a fishing lure.
If you saw it, you’d say, “That’s a huge lure.”
I’m trying to catch a striper bass; the lure looks like a
foot long fish.
I reared back and casted that sombitch 70 yards, over and
over across the river. But the hefty
lure weakened the line so the giant lure went sailing unfettered.
I’m worried a fish is going to bite into it, I won’t be able
to do a catch and release, so the fish will suffer.
The thought that a crane, hawk, or eagle might get hold of
it makes me sick.
People who don’t like Willie Nelson have something wrong
with their ears. I know he’s not as good
a singer as, say, Clay Aiken. But if you
prefer Clay to Willie, there is seriously something the fuck wrong with you.
And, if you live in Oklahoma,
and you’re voting for James Inhofe, then please, by all means, kiss my ass.
If you are one of the women who was going to vote for Obama,
but switched after Palin was added to the other ticket – know that you make me
want to stick a fork in my eye from frustration.
I received a letter written in pencil on white notebook paper. It says, in its entirety:
Just Go and Do it and Then Be Gone
Do it Without Being ask
The letter is unsigned.
I must say that I admire the spirit. Indeed, Anonymous Writer! I will do it! Then I will be gone! I will not wait around, lollygagging post-doing. I shall be a rolling stone.
Without being ask? I rock without being ask. Easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I always say.
What shall I do? Anonymous Writer, it might be damn near anything. Thanks for the encouragement.
My cousin calls people who speak in tongues the “Motorcycle
Cult.” He throws up his hands shouting, “Kawasaki!
That’s terrible joke – but he figures that since he’s a
preacher he’s allowed. I think he’s daft
because he thinks cancer is caused by Satan.
This is what I know – I don’t want to go to a church where
people are speaking in tongues. I don’t
want the person sitting next to be start twitching unless there is some epileptic
or turrets problem. I don’t want too
much emotionalism in my religion. I like
to keep my head about me.
admit something to you, 100 Word people. My workout music play list is an
embarrassing cheesy mixture of all that should be mocked and deplored in music
to pump up a middle aged woman.
start with a little Salt and Peppa, encouraging me to Push It Real Good.
Indeed. But that is just the warm up:
Shady Please Stand Up? Check.
other one from 8 Mile? Got it.
Ice Baby? Natch, Natch Natch.
end on – wait for it – Play That Funky Music White Boy. Because I like to
box while laying down the boogie.
Bartender is a
song by Rehab about a guy who violates probation, gets high, hits his
girlfriend, steals her keys, wrecks her car, and walks to the bar to tell his
story to the bartender.
The best line is, “I pour kerosene on everything I love/ And
watch it burn.”
I have met a hundred guys who have lived that song, who have
destroyed that which means the most to them:
marriage, kids, homes, cars - everything. It’s the most curious, tragic thing I’ve ever
Destruction of what is loved is as common as eating pancakes
in the morning.
I admire people who
I don’t see men the way straight women do. That seems obvious, but it manifests itself
in strange ways.
First of all, I think most men look a lot alike. I don’t study their faces close enough.
Second, when I do think that a man is handsome, and I mention
that fact to a straight woman, more than one time I’ve had her respond with, “Really? You think he’s handsome? I think he looks like a monkey.”
A monkey. Evidence
suggests I think men who look like monkeys are handsome.
I’m not attracted to women who look like monkeys.
Jesus Fucking Christ I hate auctions.
I am tired; I am lonely; I am a more than a little
discouraged. And I just came back from
an auction; auctions are designed prey on our hubris and shame.
But I did have a couple of good conversations and some well
made lasagna. (Sidebar: I didn’t know lasagna had a g in it
until I was 25 years old)
(Sidebar II: I met a
woman once whose name was Lasagna,
but she pronounced it la-ZAG-na, which is how I learned about the g in lasagna.)
I’m not proud of that story, people.
I never really saw a flower until three years ago, when I
took a picture of one. Now, I take
photographs of everything from rivers to shadows on the kitchen wall, but, at
first, I took hundreds of pictures of flowers.
The photographs made me stop glancing and start paying
attention. I saw how miraculously beautiful
flowers are. I’d stare at a picture for
a long time, and I’d keep noticing new things.
Later, I noticed how the light shines through the leaves in
the morning, the tiny antenna on a cricket – my world grew bigger by noticing its
This economic bailout thing has my shit freaked out.
I worked with schools in Armenia after its economy had collapsed. Most of the teachers I met hadn’t been paid
in years – they worked for free because they were committed to education, but
the country had no money to pay them.
In the job I have now, I get paid by the county. I doubt our state or county could survive if
our national economy collapsed. But, if
I’m not able to do my job, then our country cannot uphold the Constitution. I ensure people’s rights aren’t trampled on.
I call my partner, my
partner, because we can’t get married in my state. She isn’t my wife.
Since I’m a lawyer, partner has a common and specific
meaning, as in, law partner or making partner. When I talk about my partner at work, people often
are confused, at first.
Straight people have no idea how precious marriage is. Loving someone and not being able to marry
them is like having healthy legs but not being allowed to run.
The divorce rate for gay couples in Massachusetts is much lower than for hetero
Marriage is still sacred to us.
I tell you one thing about my girlfriend. She burps really
loudly. She sounds like Barney on The Simpsons. I can hardly stand it.
Rachel Ray calls extra virgin olive oil, E-V-O-O, which I find both funny and
I play the guitar, but I can’t tune it by ear like both
Indigo Girls can do. I feel inadequate.
Did you know that skunks go into chicken coops and bite the
heads off every single chicken leaving the rest of the body untouched? Poor chicken farmers sometimes wake up to a decapitation
horror when they do the morning feed. Crazy.
You know those create
a caption contests for cartoons? I
suck at that.
My neighbor has horses, and I see them up close whenever I
come and go from my house. You ever
notice how horse’s skin quivers back and forth?
I love that.
What kind of sandwiches do you like? A restaurant near where I work serves magnificent
sliced roast beef on sourdough bread.
They add tomatoes, mayo, shredded lettuce, salt and pepper. I consume that.
You a Democrat? Barack
Obama is back up in the polls. He’s
smart, honest, and he’s going to win. I
I went to the bait store, and said, “What are the catfish
biting?” The kid behind the counter,
Tanner, said, “Just about anything.”
Then his mom, who owns the place, came around and we
discussed worms, cut shad, and live minnows.
They wanted to know exactly where I live on the river because they might
know my neighbors. “Do you know the
Phillips?” they asked.
Even though I just moved to this small town, I love the
feeling like I’m from somewhere. I live off Old Arrowhead Road, in the house Mrs.
Johnson built in 1981. That’s where I
My partner wanted me to get her a gift certificate to jump
out of an airplane for her birthday.
She didn’t like the present that I got her – a long, blue sweater
with no arms.
That sweater sounds uglier than it was. Our friend who bought it for me considered it
But my partner opened the box and said, “Honey. You shouldn’t have. Really.”
Our friends were gathered around to witness my awful gift.
I still am glad I got her the sweater rather than the
sky-diving pass. Because I love her and
don’t want to watch her falling.
Why do I defend people when I know they’re guilty?
Because my guilty clients are human beings with rights endowed by their
Creator; because the best way to treat drug addiction is not jail time; because
all people are fallible; because some people are mentally ill; because many
people are desperate; because nearly everybody has a mama who wants the world
to understand her son.
Because it takes more integrity, character, and fortitude, to stand
with a guilty person than one who is innocent, and standing next to them, I am
proud of myself for protecting the Bill of Rights.
I was checking out at Wal Mart, yesterday, September 26, when I heard
singing right behind me – loud singing.
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer! Had a very shiny nose!, and so forth.
I looked over, and this guy with a smooth shaved head, about 6 foot 5, with
a thick goatee, was the one singing at the top of his lungs. He
appeared not overtly insane.
Instead of putting me in the Christmas cheer, his carol freaked
me out. The cashier gave me a sort of “Oh,
Shit” look – but neither of us laughed or called him names.
I am waiting for my dough to rise. One of the things I’m most proud of in my
whole life, is the ability to feel the perfect water temperature for yeast to
proof. I let it drip into the palm of my
hand, and I know it is right when I can stand the heat for only about 5
I am able to tell when dough has been kneaded enough by the
way it comes back into place when I press on it, and by the soft, tender, (I
want to say holy) way that it holds itself together.
United Way gave a presentation at our office and showed us a
video about some of the people they were helping in our community. One person was a child born without a rib
cage – doctors had to build her one, and then open her up every few months to
Things like that are exactly why I don’t believe in a God
that intervenes. God cannot be watching
over us and allowing children to be born without rib cages.
Once, I met a woman who was allergic to the sun. Allergic
to the sun.
There’s no excuse for that.
I admire Barack Obama, and I love him, too.
As trite as it
sounds, he give me hope.
Obama is special. I’ll
just say it – I think there’s something secularly
holy about him.
I don’t think he’ll bring about world peace, but I do think he
can bring much of the world together for a common good. I don’t think he’ll solve all of our
problems, but he can address them with a voice that most people will hear.
I’ll be proud of America if we elect him.
I hope someone doesn’t kill him before he can begin his