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[about the author]

i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish, eh?

i work crossword puzzles in ink.

i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie izzard. can't decide, really.

i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really good aunt.

i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.

i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.

i never play dumb. never.

i am way too hard on myself.

i am a change agent.

i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.

i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.

i am militantly pro-choice.

i am pro-adoption.

i know a little bit about alot of things.

i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.

i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it. hard.

i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.

i have been known to hold a grudge.

i have hips.

i am not my sister.

i am lousy at forgiving myself.

i am an indoor kind of gal.

i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.

i am 32 flavors. and then some.

 
[the ones people ask about]
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[in case you were wondering]

[the blogger behind the curtain]

[100 things about me]



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[all content copyright 2007 by tequila mockingbird. seriously.]


 
11.29.2002  

getting over being dumped: five easy steps to grieve your way to happiness
in an effort to speed things along for you, my loyal readers, i did a little research yesterday into the grieving process. you know, see if there’s anything i should go out and get. grieving supplies. snacks. whatever. just to move this along so we can all get back to lighter matters.

i’ve been through my share of loss before. deaths of loved ones, deaths of pets, house fires, divorce...i’m pretty much a grief expert. or, at the very least, i lost amateur status a long time ago. but i just wanted to be sure i get this one right. if i jack this one up, i suspect i could be permanently screwed up. plus, let’s be honest: i’m now in my thirties. i was almost six years into a relationship; i thought i’d be getting married and starting a family next year. [ed. note: god, just typing that i’m embarrassed. could i be any more of a total dumbass? clueless much?] i would very much like to start a family, and i don’t have the luxury of time that i had when my heart got broken in my early twenties. i’m definitely not one of those biological-clock-focused chicks, but facts are facts...i do not have ten years to work through this pain, or pine away for someone who doesn‘t want to be with me, or hope he‘ll come back. i just need to get on with it. grieve it and move on. there’s a lot wrapped up in this one.

so, i found out that there is an official grieving process. i’ve never used this process before, so maybe that’s why i’ve had a hard time letting go of some of my past losses. there are five stages of grieving -- although they say that the process is flexible, allowing for customization on an individual basis. convenient, that.

i read an overview of the process, and, truth be told, i’m very glad i did. i’ve been running through all five of these phases every day since m ended things. hell, sometimes i’ve gone through all five phases in an hour. no wonder i’m not doing so hot.

today, we’ll just focus on stage one:

denial, shock and isolation
this seems like alot for one phase. but, hey, they’re the grieving experts, right? okay, so...shock. definitely. i mean, i had been thinking that things had been better between us. i expected our talk to be about some steps we could take to continue to make communication better. i was thinking we’d be talking about counseling. or at least having a get-it-all-out-on-the-table-wipe-the-slate-clean-and-make-a-real-effort-to-treat-one-another-right discussion. i was shocked to hear him end the relationship. after everything, he wanted to end it. wait,wait..i don’t want to get too far down this particular path, because that’s gonna move me right on into phase two...anger. focusing on phase one right now. focusing. focusing. okay...shocked, too, because i am completely in love with this man. and, it was a big fat shock to be sitting there in love with someone and they're just looking at you and being very calm and logical and unemotional, and not talking at all about feelings, and just giving you logical explanations why they're dumping you, most of them "reasons" like "i think it's best for you..." or, "i haven't treated you very well and i don't think i can forgive myself," or...wait, i'm totally in phase two now. back it up. um...so...yeah...shocked.

my research says that phase one is just temporary. that it’s supposed to be a defense mechanism to protect us from the first wave of pain. i’d say that we‘re gonna need a bigger phase if our goal is to protect me from pain. seriously. okay, so let’s review: shock is a big fat check. denial. well, if the whole conversation seemed like a dream, and i walked around stunned for the next hour counts, then check. isolation? well, i’d say my lovely thanksgiving day of bawling my eyes out while ignoring all telephone calls was pretty much all the check one gal should have to log in that column. ever. so, checkity-check-fucking-check.

okay, all done. that wasn't too bad. these grieving experts really know their shit. i mean, i was through phase one, and i didn't even know it was phase one. sweet! i’m totally ready to move on to phase two. anger, as you may recall. but i think phase two requires the company of good friends with sympathetic ears. and booze. so, i’m hitting the open road to spend a couple of days in phase two with a friend. plus, m is supposed to come home today, and it would probably be best if i wasn’t here. i don’t think it would be very good to have my phase two with him. so, i have several kind offers to come visit on the table...honestly not sure which one i’m going to take. i’ll decide once i’m in the car. but, don’t worry...wherever i end up, there’s sure to be at least one bathroom-wall-worthy moment. and i promise to share.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

11.28.2002  

happy turkey day
that was always the way my grandmother greeted us on thanksgiving day: happy turkey day! the appropriate response was: gobble gobble. i remember wondering as a child why thanksgiving would be happy turkey day. wouldn't it be about as far from happy as you could get if you were a turkey? then i understood that it wasn't happy turkey day...it was happy turkey day. see?

at any rate, since my grandmother died, thanksgiving has seen a steady decline in my family, culminating in this year. this year, my sister and her husband have hopped a plane to jamaica, and i'm sitting here alone in my apartment having thirty-minute crying jags, mourning the end of a five-and-a-half year love after a painful scene yesterday in which i played the part of julia roberts in notting hill when she says that whole "i'm just a girl asking a boy to love her" speech. i paraphrase, of course. and, to paraphrase the boy's response: "no, thanks." it ain't no martha stewart thanksgiving over here. hell, it ain't even home for the holidays.

so, i could sit here and try to come up with something new and exciting to share with all of you, knowing that you're not going to read it because you're all sitting down to an actual family-oriented (or at least friend-oriented) thanksgiving while i'm not. bitter. plus, it would take me all morning just to type something because i'd collapse into sobs at the mere typing of words like "family" (he says he's looking forward to starting a family...but it's not going to be with me, obviously. i'm never going to have a family now. *heaving sob*) or even words like "cranberry" ("oh *sob*...he hates cranberry sauce!). it's just not a good day to try and write.

so, instead i'll give thanks that i've already penned a couple of pieces that i think are worthy of revisiting. nothing heavy. no mention of "cranberry." just the kind of random hilarity that you folks have become accustomed to here at tequila mockingbird. at least, before my heart got broken and i started writing sad stuff like that piece yesterday.

it'll go back to random hilarity...i just have a little grieving to do first. i promise.

last but not least, i'd like to give thanks to you kind-hearted folks who took the time to comment and email with your words of support and encouragement. blogging is a surreal experience at times. you write these things and send them out into the virtual world, never knowing if anyone ever sees them. to hear a chorus of voices in response to your lament is an amazing, and reassuring thing. i still cried myself to sleep last night...but i felt a bit less alone. and for that, i am truly grateful.

now, without further ado, the answers to the question i've been asked more than once: "what's your favorite?"*

[why i don't read horoscopes - pt. i]

[revenge is a dish best served piping hot...with corn muffins]

[two girls, a sharpie and a bathroom wall]


*it's tough for me to choose favorites, really. but, these three make me laugh. and, in my current state, that's definitely something worth noting.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

11.27.2002  

on a day like today
sometimes you just can’t believe that you’re actually hearing what he’s saying.

sometimes it feels like a dream.

sometimes you realize that you'll never see his parents again.

sometimes you cry yourself to sleep.

sometimes you love someone so much that you lose yourself.

sometimes you try to talk, but your voice shakes so much you just have to stop.

sometimes you feel so alone it takes your breath away.

sometimes you think that it wasn't supposed to end this way.

sometimes you think that truly his heart was made of icing.

sometimes you think you can love someone enough. but you can’t. it doesn’t work that way.

sometimes you're so angry that your throat closes up and you feel dizzy.

sometimes you feel like an idiot, because you thought things had gotten better.

sometimes you wonder if other people can tell, just by looking at you, that your heart is broken into a million tiny pieces.

sometimes a song makes you cry. even though it never made you cry before.

sometimes you sit in your car in the parking lot while the song plays and you cry so hard you can’t breathe.

sometimes you think that if you could just sit in your car for the rest of the day and play that song over and over, you’d cry so long and so hard that you’d get it all out of your system, and you’d be whole again.

sometimes you know that even if you sat in your car for the rest of the day, it just wouldn't be long enough.

sometimes there just aren't enough hours hours in the day.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

11.26.2002  

hair today, $100 and a freakin' disaster tomorrow.
i got a new ‘do. against my will. sort of. i mean, not without my consent, but...well, it started out innocently enough. just popping in to get my coif in order for the thanksgiving trip home, and the inevitable holiday photos. hey, even we terminally unphotogenic people like to try. it's a game we play with ourselves. "hey, maybe the reason i haven't taken a good photo since age five is because i need a haircut!"

so, i settled into my stylist's chair, and we made pleasant chit-chat, and everything was going along just fine...and, then…well, then she said it.

“i was thinking we’d try something different.”

it was like ice water through my veins. different. why? what's wrong with this hair? and what’s this we stuff? i’m the one who will have different on her head, my friend. me and me alone.

hair is a tricky thing. you find something that works for you. after years of trying. and then, you keep on keepin’ on. and then…well, then you look in the mirror one day and realize that not even jennifer aniston is wearing the “rachel” cut anymore. and so, the process begins again.

let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane, shall we, stopping along the way to visit the highlights (if you will) and the lowlights of one gal’s hair:

"in the beginning" hair: hair, beautiful hair! i’m talking ‘bout 10-year-old hair. you know the hair: long, dark, silky, shiny hair. perfect. pristine. i tear up just looking at the photos.

the dorothy hamill: that perky little ice skating bitch. she came along with that perky little wedge thing, and next thing you know i’m crying that i want to get all of my “in the beginning hair” cut off. and my mom lets me. no, i’m still not over it.

the farrah fawcett flip: so, i never had this one. i was still growing out the dorothy hamill wedge (a painfully long process), so i aimed instead for the kate-jackson-as-the-smart-angel hair. but, i think i actually ended up with the immeasurably unfortunate leif garret hair instead. either way, i'm pretty sure that my inability to achieve the farrah flip was the beginning of my lifelong career as the “smart angel” instead of the “angel that every teenage boy has masturbatory fantasies about.”

the bi-level: you know the one...short on top, long in back. also known as a mullet. i was assured it was all the rage. yeah, if you’re on the girls’ basketball team.

the first perm: given to me by my first gay hairdresser. unfortunately, in the midst of perming my fragile virgin hair, he and his partner got into a huge fight about swags and valances and he completely forgot all about me. and my hair. the words “brillo” and “pad” come to mind.

the first color experience: they were supposed to be highlights. they were supposed to be “auburn.” evidently, my hairdresser was french, confusing “auburn” with the french “aubergine,” which, of course, means eggplant. as in purple. i remember leaving the salon and going into a store. i caught sight of myself in a mirror, backlit. i had a fucking aura. my hair glowed. my dad, always knowing the right thing to say to me during those fragile teenage years, said, “jesus! your hair is purple. did you mean for it to be purple?!” i didn’t leave my room for two days.

the princess diana tribute: i had the misfortune of having a hair appointment the day after princess diana died. when i arrived at the salon, my hairdresser’s eyes were swollen and red. i should have turned back then. or when, while washing my hair, all my hairdresser could mutter was, “she was the people’s princess. it’s all too much. too, too much.” but, no, i sat right down in that chair anyway. in retrospect, all the warning signs were there. i should have seen it coming.

the rachel: you, me, everyone had this haircut. you didn’t even have to tell your hairdresser what you wanted, you just sat down, and they started cutting. it was like an assembly line. you’d be sitting there, getting your “rachel” and, on either side of you were two other chicks getting their "rachel"s. and, sometimes, a guy. hey, it was a very flattering cut.

and, so, knowing all of this. knowing my heinous track record in the coiffure department, what did i say when my stylist said “different”? did i say, “you know, this seems to be working for me, i think i’ll just stick with what i know?” did i say, “you know, i think it’s a bad idea to try something ‘different’ right before a holiday photo op?”

no. i say, “sure. different is good, right? change is good, right? i mean…it’s just hair…right?”

oh. my. god.

it is just hair. right?

please say ‘right.’
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

11.25.2002  

ooooo…my baby’s got a secret
on friday, i was talking to a guy i used to…um…know, and he had just finished reading my 100 things list, and was digging a little deeper into a few of my list items. after a while, i was tired of the one-sided disclosure, so i told him it was time to put up or shut up – give me your 100 things list, or i answer no more questions. he said that he didn’t think he was introspective enough to come up with 100 things about himself...how about twelve things?

[ed. note: call me crazy, but i think this may be some sort of indicator as to why things didn’t work out between the two of us.]

so, one of his twelve things is “i have a secret i’ve never told anyone.”

well, this is exactly the kind of thing you can’t tell someone! you can’t say, “i have a secret i’ve never told anyone” and just expect me to let that lie. no way. no how. no can do.

so, i’m all “can i get a hint?!”
and he’s all, “no.”
and i’m all, “come on.”
and he’s all, “okay…i was considering writing a book about my secret. but, then i found out that someone had already written a book about a very similar secret, so i ditched that idea.”

oh, well, that clears it right up. let’s see… you uncovered some complicated conspiracy involving the murder of a supreme court justice? no? okay, you’re a hermaphrodite ? no? okay, that was a foolish guess on my part, given our history. hmmm. well then i can only assume that you took part in some nouveau pagan ritual during which a farmer was inadvertently murdered in a particularly gruesome way .

so, until he decides to make with the disclosure, i’m sticking to that last one.

then, over the weekend, i was talking with my most recent guy-i-used-to-see-naked. (and, in case my mom is reading this: it’s not like there are a lot of those, mom. i swear. honestly.)

anyway, he’s decided to take up blogging, and he was asking if it was okay to homage my “about the author” list. and, since i’m all for the homaging, i said, “sure!” i’m swell that way.

so, i see his homage, and there it is:
i have a secret i’ve never told anyone.

what the hell?!

setting aside the obvious ooo-wee-ooo freudian weirdness of two guys i used to see naked using the identical sentence in describing themselves, i just have to say in my best sarah jessica parker voiceover:

does everyone have a deep dark secret? are there things that you just never tell anyoneever?

i feel like the biggest maroon. i had no idea that so many people were running around with deep dark secrets!

after much pondering, i've made a startling discovery: i have no deep dark secret.

what kind of stuff is so secret that you live for 30+ years and never tell anyone?! not a single solitary person. i mean, i have stuff in my closet…skeletons…bad stuff. but i don’t have anything that i haven’t told someone. even if it’s just one person, i told someone. how can you not tell anyone?

i remember several years ago there was some art-chick (yeah, i’m sure that’s what she puts on her tax return: art-chick) and she did this art “installation,” or whatever the hell you call an "art exhibit" that doesn’t have paintings. i think it was called “confession” or something like that.

you can see that i clearly have all the details nailed down here.

anyway, she set up this phone number with an answering machine, and people could call, totally anonymously, and confess. whatever they wanted to confess. and then she took the confessions and made this walkthrough art thing.

i never got to see it.

sounded really cool, though.

so, maybe that’s what i’ll do here.

today, the comments section is a confessional. no names, no emails or homepages. just your deep dark secrets. or your not-so-deep-dark-secrets. just whatever you want to get off your chest. just tell us. you'll feel better...unless you just really dig being mysterioso and being able to tell people "i have a secret that i've never told anyone." in which case, you are excused from today's exercise. 'cause i don't want to ruin that whole vibe you got going on.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

11.22.2002  

it's not tv. it's crap.
sometimes i don't mind paying a gazillion dollars for hbo. like the times when the sopranos, or six feet under, or even sex and the city are on. and the times when they actually show a good movie on a saturday night when i have no plans whatsoever, and not enough money to afford to go across the street to the "real" movies.

but, last night wasn't any of those times.

last night it was cold, and nasty and i just didn't feel called to watch friends, followed by the four-hour will & grace extravaganza (obviously a thinly veiled very special episode. i don't do very special episodes. nothing good ever comes from a very special episode. unless it's a very special episode of everwood. that's completely different.)

so, i snuggle down on the couch with my keebler fudge stripe cookies, secure in my knowledge that i will find something fabulous on one of my ten channels of hbo (or, in the case of hbo latino, atche-bay-oh).

hbo east: inside the nfl - total crap.
hbo east 2: harry potter and the sorcerer's stone - saw this in a theater. with about 400 hundred screaming kids who already knew all the words to the movie, and recited all of them. out loud. in unison. it was like going to some bizarro pre-pubescent rocky horror picture show. only this wasn't fun because i was actually interested in hearing the actors. plus, i wasn't stoned or drunk, and none of the 400 kids was stoned or drunk either. doubly not fun. i fear that seeing it again would only cause flashbacks, so i'll take a pass.
hbo signature: cast away - saw this in a theater, just like every other person in the entire world. and maybe the next time i have a couple of days of my life to spend watching the longest movie ever made in which absolutely nothing happens, i'll watch it again. but, until then...no.
hbo family: the king and i - i would watch the original (because yul brenner was so fucking awesome). i would even watch the jodie foster version (because chow yun fat is so fucking awesome). but this is some generic animated piece of crap. no thanks.
hbo comedy: cool runnings - hbo says it's "[a]n absurd concept--based on a true story!" variety says it's "highly entertaining!" i say "it's craptastic!"
hbo zone: daybreak - starring ted mcginley...the patron saint of crap.
hbo latino: inside the nfl - total crap in spanish.

so...friends was really funny.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

11.21.2002  

channel surfing with drunk girl
the following is a loose transcript of actual conversations that took place. in my house. last night. i say “loose” due to the fact that…well, that i had a few drinks after work. hence, the title of today’s episode.

key:
rw = remote wielder
dg = drunk girl

rw turns on local news

rw: i love this reporter.
dg: why?
rw: i don’t know, i just think she looks like her name should be yetta or something.
dg: i think she looks like a young, female jerry orbach.
rw: what??
dg: seriously. look at her.
rw: you’re on crack.
dg: you know i’m right.
rw: i know you’re drunk.
dg: she is totally jerry orbach. did you say her name should be yoda?
rw: yetta.
dg: yenta?
rw: yetta.
dg: that’s dumb.

[click]

rw turns to a different local newscast.

dg: we can’t watch this news.
rw: why not?
dg: because she has buggy eyes. they creep me out. plus, her hair scares me.
rw: whatever. i just want to see the score.
dg: aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

[click]

rw turns to espn where there is a basketball game in progress. scoreboard reads as follows:

xu 30
stan 38

dg: they won’t show the weather on here.
rw: i just want to see the score from the football game.
dg: but i want to see the weather.
rw: you're just whining because you don’t like basketball.
dg: nuh-uh.
rw: yeah-huh. and what exactly is it that you don’t like about basketball, anyway?
dg: that would be the actual game of basketball itself.
rw: whatever.
dg: what? you thought i didn’t like it because of their outfits or something? i just don’t like basketball.
rw: is it just basketball on television that you don't like? have you ever gone to a game in person? you might like it better.
dg: if i go in person, they'll still play this game right? or, is it actually a baseball game, and then, through the magic of television it is broadcast as this?
rw: i think you just don’t like basketball because you don’t understand the nuances of the game.
dg: i totally understand basketball!
rw: oh really?
dg: yes, really. i mean, i understand it enough to know that stan is kicking the chinese guy’s ass.
[stifled laughter]
dg: i’m funny. you know i’m funny. you just don’t want to give me my glory.

[click]
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

11.19.2002  

he's a very freaky guy
i read that rick james has been busted. again.

it seems to me that rick is a very, very odd man.

i remember several years ago, right before i moved to atlanta, i had a surreal experience involving rick james.

i had quit my job, leaving myself a week between my last day at work, and the day that the movers would arrive to cart all my shit down south. allegedly, i would spend that week carefully wrapping and packing all my worldly possessions in preparation for said move.

that plan pretty much went nowhere.

the first day, i was just going to relax. enjoy the day. make some lists, run some errands, take the dog to the park. you know, relaxing, yet productive stuff.

three days later, i was still enjoying my day one plan. except i hadn’t run any errands. or taken the dog to the park. mostly, i was working the modified day one plan. this consisted, primarily, of eating all of the food in my house. my argument in favor of this modification was that i was reducing the actual amount of packing that would be required by eliminating all perishable items.

so, i planted myself on my futon and started grazing. i tried to mix it up – you know, not eat all the chocolate in one day, or all the salty snacks in one day. spread it around a bit. there was a method in my madness.

on day four, i had worked my way up (or down, depending on your personal preferences, i guess) to the cheetos. i’m about halfway through the bag when judge joe brown comes on (yes, i should have been watching facts of life on tbs, but my cable had already been disconnected in preparation for the move…my options were very limited.). they introduce the first two parties, and i swear to god, it’s rick james! the rick james. i immediately call my friend, and former co-worker, r.

r: hello?
me: hey, you’re never going to believe this!
r: hey! what are you doing?
me: feeding cheetos to the dog and watching judge joe brown. guess who’s on!
r: you’re supposed to be packing.
me: yeah, but this is way better. seriously, guess who’s on judge joe brown!
r: won’t cheetos make max puke?
me: maybe. i don’t know. god, r, i’m not kidding here – guess who is on judge joe brown!
r: i have no idea.
me: you’re supposed to guess.
r: i’m at work.
me: you are no fun at all. it’s rick james! rick james is on judge joe brown!
[silence]
me: you know…rick. james.
[silence]
me: the superfreak guy!
r: have you packed anything?*
me: okay, obviously, you do not get how funny this is. i gotta go.

*it should be noted that, normally, r would have totally appreciated this. however, he had agreed to come over on sunday and help me pack up anything that was “left over” from my week of packing activities. so, you know, he was completely focused on the fact that he was going to be spending a long day throwing everything i owned into unmarked boxes. and, he’s the kind of guy that would be bothered by such a total lack of organization. that kind of thing would make him break out in hives.

so, as i recall rick james was the plaintiff in the case. i think his friend had bought a guitar from him, and then stopped paying him for it. pretty cut and dry, right?

wrong.

all of a sudden, there’s this huge homosexual subplot.

rick james claimed that his friend, who he claimed is gay, groped him in public. i just remember him saying, “i got a hand on my butt. and then there’s another hand on my butt, and i look around and it’s him. and he says, ‘it’s an accident.’ hello? you’re squeezing my butt. that’s no accident! i guess i should have told him that super freak was just a song i wrote. i mean, i made a lot of money and got real famous from it, but that don’t mean you can put your hands on my butt. there are no men’s hands on my butt! that’s a big no-no.”

granted, i’m paraphrasing. but, i think it’s pretty accurate. i mean, i was a little distracted during the middle, because max started licking cheeto dust off of my fingers (dammit, dog! that’s the best part!)…but i’m pretty sure i got most of it right. that kind of thing stays with a girl.

rick james won the case, and it seemed like there weren’t any hard feelings between the guys. after it was over, i remember they hugged outside the courtroom.

rick james looks at the camera and says, “if i was a homosexual, he’d be my wife.”

superfreaky, indeed.
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11.18.2002  

alas, poor zito
okay, so i’m not a marketing professional. i’m just your average gal, watching television, being subconsciously convinced that tide will really get my clothes that much cleaner than cheer, and that if i eat an uncle ben’s rice bowl some hot guy will find me irresistible.

but i have to admit that this whole harley earl thing that buick has going has me stymied. baffled. flummoxed, even.

is it just me? am i the only one who, at the first sign that one of those buick commercials featuring some dead guy named harley earl is coming on, immediately reaches for the remote?

and, am i the only one who keeps wondering where switek is? i mean, there’s zito, wearing some zoot-suit-looking get-up, complete with spats, telling me he’s come back from the dead to build me a buick…so where’s switek? you can’t have zito without switek. and, while you’re at it, bring back izzy, too. [note to john diehl: female perversions, and amanda and the alien might not have been, uh…good, but is this honestly the best you could do? is your career really as dead as…well, as harley earl? oh yeah, and i'm submitting you for hey, it's that guy!. you can thank me later.]

and who in the hell is harley earl, anyway?!

okay, so i found the answer to that burning question at buick.com. and, after reading their fascinating bio on mr. earl, i have to say: who gives a shit? i mean, other than john diehl, who’s grateful for the job, who gives a shit? so this guy made cars. and, he was tall. and he wore a fedora. woo.

and now your best marketing idea is to take zito and dress him up like some dead guy no one ever heard of and tell me, the potential buick purchaser, that he’s back from the dead, large and in-charge over there at buick? and, that’s supposed to make me want to buy your cars? that your cars kick ass because they’re the idea of some dead guy? that a ghost is running the show at buick?!

i so don’t get this.
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11.15.2002  

a tale of two bad-asses
i was talking to my sister this morning, trying to decide what to buy my grandmother for christmas, now that i’ve abandoned my totally-crafty-christmas plans. i love my sister, but every time i talk to her it is a bracing reminder that we are fundamentally different people. fun-da-men-tal-ly. i mean, i know we share a certain amount of dna and all, but, really, the similarities end there.

i'm glad that we get along well now, despite being such different people. we didn't get along at all growing up. at. all. the "relationship" we had as children was a nightmare. for me. for my sister. but, mostly for my mom. in retrospect, i feel especially bad for my mom. it’s a goddamn miracle that child protective services never came and took us away. i’m sure everyone thought my mom beat the crap out of us. she tried really hard to get us to stop. she tried every possible solution. but, we would not be deterred. we were determined to inflict bodily injury on each other. over and over and over again.

when i tell people this, they just laugh. “yeah, i fought with my sister, too.” listen, i don’t think my sister and i were the biggest bad-asses to ever play kickball, but i’m not sure you truly grasp what i’m saying. we really beat the shit out of each other. permanent scars. trips to the hospital. seriously.

maybe it’s the fact that we were girls that makes people scoff. maybe it’s the pictures of our cherubic faces, dressed in complementary holiday dresses, beaming out from the gilded frames around my mom’s house. whatever the case, no one ever believes us when we tell them that we used to terrorize one another.

so, here are a couple of supporting exhibits.

exhibit a: a classic case of reverse psychology put into glorious action. i took a brand new bottle of flintstones chewable vitamins into my bedroom and taunted my sister with them. told her that they were candy, and that it was my candy, and that i’d better not catch her eating any of it. then, i left the lid off, placed the bottle on my desk, and promptly left the room.

she ate the entire bottle.

turns out that this master plan worked far better than i could ever have hoped. must be something bad in flintstones chewable vitamins, ‘cause when my mom took her to the hospital, they pumped her stomach. sweet!

exhibit b: i fall asleep, and my sister cuts off my bangs. like off. not even anything you can sort of comb over. just off. although the physical injury quotient here is low, the scars of mental anguish still linger. so, kudos to my sister on that one.

exhibit c: after being forced to allow my sister into my way-cool treehouse, i convince her that the red blanket in the treehouse is, actually, superman’s cape. you know, the one that enables him to fly. i tell her we’ve been flying with it all morning, and that i didn’t want her stupid-ass to come up in the treehouse, because i knew she would tell on us. after she pinky-swears that she won’t rat on us, i agree to let her use the cape.

and out the door she went.

broke her arm in three places. her nose in two.

i got an ass-whipping on that one.

but the best punishment came from my sister. she would sneak into my bed every night and whale on me with her cast.

i guess i had that coming.
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11.14.2002  

memo to kevin kline
to: kevin kline
from: me
re: your "new" movie

i've always been a fan of your work. except wild wild west, which was, truly, unfortunate. oh, and january man. i mean, what the hell was that all about? hmmm, and i didn't really like i love you to death so much, either. but, i didn't hate french kiss nearly as much as everyone else on the planet.

so...maybe it's more fair to say that i've always been a fan of you, as an actor, rather than your work, necessarily.

i digress.

anyway, i'm sure you have lots of advisors and agents and stuff like that who help you select your projects. and i'm sure they're all really nice people. and i know you're really busy, doing all your theater-acting-type stuff, and trying to keep up with your younger wife, and doing the occasional independent, edgy project so everyone thinks you're cool.

but, i'm thinking you should get out more. see more movies.

maybe you wanna swing by your local blockbuster, or have phoebe do that on her way home from doing whatever it is she does all day. pick up dead poets' society. after you watch that, you might want to have a talk with the people, who i'm sure you pay well, who helped you select your "new" movie, the emperor's club.

just a thought.

you can thank me later. you know, gimme a call. drop me a line. i'll be waiting.
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11.13.2002  

bah-humbug
normally, i’m all about the christmas. i dig on the decorations. i dig on the music. i dig on being with my family. i dig on a charlie brown christmas. i even dig on nestor, the long-eared christmas donkey. but, most of all, i dig on christmas gifts. actually, what i really dig on is christmas shopping.

every year, i spend hours poring over websites, catalogs, racks and bins, looking for just the right gift for everyone on my list. i use a soon-to-be-patented-color-coded-matrix-based system. i love it. i find it fun, relaxing and, usually, rewarding.

but, this year…well, this year, it’s gonna be a different story.

this year, i am b-r-o-k-e. broke. as in flat-busted-no-money-having-gubment-cheese-eatin’ broke. i don’t really know how this happened. well, i do know how this happened, but i prefer to act as though i have no clue.

i decided over the weekend that, just because a gal is broke, doesn’t mean she can’t give terrific gifts to everyone on my list! that’s the holiday spirit, right? right! i figured i’d just make all the gifts this year! that would make them more special anyway, right? right! damn, this is a fucking fabulous idea! i have no idea why i never did this before! actually, i know exactly why i never did this, but i prefer to act as though i have no clue.

i spent the past several days perusing various websites, looking for artsy-crafty-make-shit type projects that would result in fan-fucking-tabulous holiday gifts.

let me give you a rundown of some of the more scintillating things i found:

make your own lip balm kit: you must be kidding. if i wanted to give people lip balm, i could actually afford to buy that. from a store. made. already.

make your own soap kit: ditto.

make your own candles: see above.

make your own potpourri: yeah, my dad would love that.

make your own bath salts: ditto. plus, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

most of this stuff i found on martha stewart’s website. go figure. you know, i’ll be the first to admit that i’ve gotten some pretty good ideas from martha over the years. well, actually, from martha’s staff. but i think some of her “fans” are a wee bit nutty. it’s like some sort of cult.

i remember several years back, i read a letter in one of her magazines from a loyal reader. i wish i had cut it out and saved it so i could share all the details, but the gist of it is still with me. will always be with me.

[ed. note: yes, the synopsis you are about to read is true, to the best of my recollection. all the random, wacky stuff you read here on tequila mockingbird is true. yes, that includes the dust buster and the spilled grandpa story. i got a lot of emails on that one. what kind of sicko makes up a story like that? plus, if i was a sicko who could make up a story like that, i'd write for a living and quit my shitty job.]

the letter was from a woman who lived in alaska, as i recall. she was very excited because one of her local stations was going to air martha’s christmas-with-lots-of-food-but-none-of-my-family-‘cause-they-all-hate-me show. she got her vcr all set up, got a notebook and several pens so she could take copious notes, and settled in for the show. well, about that time, the power went out at her house. she was panicked, but remembered that her husband had a mini black-and-white television that he sometimes watched sports on. unfortunately, upon finding the mini-set, she discovered that the batteries were dead. luckily, the mini-set came with an adapter that would allow you to power the television through the cigarette lighter in your car. off to the garage went the marthaphile.

realizing that she couldn’t run the car’s engine, and, thus, the car’s heater, while it was in the garage, she piled on layers of clothing and jumped in the car and plugged in the set. guess wile e. coyote, super genius didn’t consider opening the garage door, or pulling the car out of the garage. too much work maybe. but, she’s gonna make a croquembouche. whatever.

so, there sits this woman in forty layers of wool, in her car, in her dark garage, with her notebooks and her pens, and she turns on the mini-set only to find that she gets next-to-impossible-to-watch reception. so, does our marthaphile finally give it up? hell, no. she goes inside and gets a wire coat hanger to fashion an antennae. it seems our intrepid marthaphile has been catching old macgyver eps. i hear macgyver is huge in alaska. could be a rumor...i don't know. anyway, she finds that the wire antennae gives her crystal clear reception if she loops it around her neck and holds the set in her hands. so, that’s what she did. first off, what possesses one to even try looping it around your neck? actually, there are like ten other things up to that point that could easily qualify for “first off.”

sitting in a garage in alaska with no heat, wearing forty layers of clothes, with a coat hanger wrapped around your neck so you can watch some bitch who would run you off of her property with a shotgun should you try to approach her to tell her how much you love her? make your own lip balm? croquemwhah?

so, after serious consideration, i am now abandoning my brilliant-for-about-two-seconds idea of making gifts, and will be presenting everyone on my list with $2 in mcdonald’s gift certificates. and blistex. 'cause, evidently, lip balm is a good thing.
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11.12.2002  

maybe i'm getting old in my old age
[rant]
i wanted to chime in on a post i read recently. i was catching up on some of my favorite blogs, and read this post by kerry. coincidentally, i saw the commercial last night for conflict: desert storm and, i have to say i was speechless. and those who know me will tell you, that just doesn't happen very often.

at first, i thought it was just a joke. a bad joke. i mean, even the announcer guy sounds like some bad send-up of an announcer guy. but, apparently, this is not a joke. it is an actual "game." and, it appears to be selling very well. not that i should be surprised by that, in light of the mid-term election results.

don't get me started on that one.

at any rate, according to the commercial, the object of the game is to kill saddam hussein. the description at the game's site says that the game is "based around the events of the gulf war," and that the objective is to "protect freedom."

okay, where to start?

at the outset, i want to state, for the record, that i am not a fan of the current president. furthermore, it is my opinion that this administration would not be nearly so interested in mr. hussein if the current president didn't have the same last name as the president who, it is perceived by many, dropped the ball in dealing with mr. hussein. the current president has referred to hussein as threat to our nation. and, while there have been some allusions to hussein sponsoring terrorism, and the ubiquitous "weapons of mass destruction", the one charge that seemed to raise the most conviction from the president was "after all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad." hey, i'm not heartless, i have a dad. if someone tried to kill him, i'd be mad, too. just so happens that i'm not in a position to send armed forces into war in defense of my dad, or his honor. and, i hate to be a nit-picker, mr. president, but, didn't your dad try to kill him first? i mean, sure, he didn't exactly succeed, but hussein didn't succeed in taking out your dad, either, so it's sort of a wash, right? even steven.

now that that's out of the way...

if some company was marketing a video game in which the objective was to put a bullet through the head of the united states president, would that be okay? no, i don't think it would be. or, for that matter, if a company was marketing a video game in which the objective was to put a bullet through the head of any other real-live person, would that be okay? some people don't particularly like tony blair...so, where's xbox on that one?

there is a lot of talk about how video games have become too realistic and too violent. there is also a lot of talk about the possibility that this realistic violence might result in some people being unable to distinguish reality from virtual reality. if that's the case, then doesn't a game in which you are supposed to kill a real person crossing a very dangerous line? and, is that okay simply because we've decided he's an "evildoer"?

and, for that matter, why is the army's new recruiting video game a good idea?

i'm no prude. i'm an occasional gamer. we have the much-maligned grand theft auto iii in our house, for god's sake. i just think you can't have it both ways. you can't chastise the makers of games like gta for glamorizing violence, but then turn a blind eye to such games when they serve your own warped sense of purpose.
[/rant]
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11.11.2002  

this is how we say good-bye
my family isn’t big on funerals. i’m sure that seems like a rather stupid thing to say, since there aren't a lot of people who really like funerals. i mean, if there’s a funeral then someone died. and i don’t know too many folks who are fans of dying.

having said that, we just don't do funerals.

none of us has ever stood in the line of mourners to file past the dearly departed. we never say, “doesn’t she look good?”

no. no, she doesn’t. she looks small. unnatural. lifeless.

and we cringe at the piped-in music.

and we never read the cards on the flowers, in the tall white plastic baskets.

it's not that we don't understand, or have empathy for those who find these things comforting. it's just that, collectively, we’ve just never been comforted by these particular rituals.

i remember my first funeral. i asked my grandfather so many questions.

“why does everyone sign that book?”

“what will they do with all of these flowers?”

“why is everyone looking at her?”

his answer was, “well…this is how some people like to say good-bye.”

i told him that i didn't think i liked that way of saying good-bye. and, years later, i learned that he didn’t like it much either.

my grandfather and i were exceptionally close. it was my grandfather who taught me how to paddle a canoe. to skin-the-cat on the trapeze in the back yard. to play croquet. he introduced me to the simple pleasure of eating green apples off of the tree, with a salt shaker in your hand. he taught me how to change the oil in a car.

i was fifteen when my mother spoke the word: cancer. there were to be treatments and surgeries and consultations. we were all hopelessly hopeful.

after the first round of chemo, my grandfather said that his veins were on fire. he thought the cure was worse than the disease. he asked to be released. told us he wanted to go home and die with dignity.

my mother and i moved into my grandparents’ house. the emotional toll of caring for my grandfather was too much for my grandmother to take. so we spent our days, and our nights, watching the cancer consume my grandfather. waiting.

before my grandfather passed away, we spent an afternoon together, talking about funerals. his wishes were simple: no wake. no service. no body.

he was to be cremated. his ashes scattered across the ocean. he had been a sailor, and had always loved the sea. he felt that funerals were, excusing the obvious pun, rather lifeless. too uptight. and, too often they were not a reflection of the life of the deceased.

it was my mother, my grandmother, my sister, my aunt and me in the car with my grandfather’s ashes. we have always been a family of women, and it seemed fitting that we would be the ones to see him through to the end. we drove to a state park in south carolina with miles of pristine shoreline. my grandfather and i had visited it many times. it was beautiful. peaceful. not a single high-rise condominium in view.

our plan was to arrive at sunrise to scatter my grandfather’s ashes into the sea. it was grandpa’s favorite time of day. but, none of us are morning people, and we overslept. realizing our mistake, we threw on whatever clothing we had nearby and jumped in the car.

we arrived at the park to find that they were now charging a fee to visit.

“okay…fifty, seventy-five…anyone have a dollar?” my mom asked.

“hell, i don’t even have pockets,” my aunt responded.

“just tell her why we’re here…maybe she’ll cut us a break,” i offered.

so, my mother explained to the woman why we were there. that my grandfather loved this place and we had brought him here to lay him to rest. it was very moving.

“it’s illegal to do that. you cannot scatter remains here,” said the park ranger.

“oh shit,” my aunt said.

“mom, tell her you made that up! tell her you made it up to try and get in without paying!” said my sister.

“…eighty…eighty-five…”

“we are so screwed,” i mumbled.

“…ninety-five…got it!” shouted my aunt.

“okay, well, here you go, ma’am,” said my mother as she handed the fistful of change to the ranger.

“thanks for your help. and the information. we’re just going to take a look around. maybe do some fishing. we won’t dispose of any remains or anything. promise. anyway, thanks again!”

and we sped away in our volaré wagon.

we parked at the pier to devise a plan.

“ we can just walk up the shore a little bit until we’re further away from the campsites where no one is around,” suggested my aunt.

“he’ll just wash right back up on the shore if we do that,” i said.

“okay, we’ll rent a couple of poles at the tackle shop. and we’ll just go out onto the pier and pretend like we’re fishing. and then we’ll just wait until there’s no one around, and then we’ll scatter him,” suggested my mom.

“okay, let’s go,” my sister whined. “i’m getting hungry.”

my sister and i were still young enough that the five years between us seemed like ten. i don’t remember what started the ruckus, but i do remember that there was pushing involved.

“oh my god! oh my god! she spilled grandpa!” screamed my sister.

“well, if you hadn’t pushed me…” i started.

“well, if you weren’t going so slow…” she interrupted.

“well at least i’m not whining about food,” i shouted.

“shut up right now. right. now,” came my mother’s voice.

sure enough, i had spilled grandpa. not all of him, but i had definitely spilled him.

“holy shit. what the hell are we supposed to do now?” asked my aunt, as though any of us had been in a remotely similar situation.

“well…we have to get him up. together. i mean, we have to figure out how to get all of him back in there,” stammered my mother.

my grandmother lit a cigarette.

we stood there for a few moments, just silently staring at the small splat of ashes across the tan vinyl floormat. volaré, it read in script letters.

“okay. i’ve got it,” said my mother in such a manner as to really make you think that she had.

“mom,” she said, turning to my grandmother, “why don’t you go wait up by the pier. we’ll be there in a minute.”

once my grandmother had reached the pier, my mom opened the back of the car and pulled out a dust buster.

“oh god, i know you’re not serious” muttered my aunt.

“you cannot dust buster grandpa!” screamed my sister.

“i’m just going to empty this out, then we’ll…well, we’ll pick grandpa up, and we’ll take him out there,” said my mother.

and so, that’s what we did.

and so there we were, three women and two girls out on a pier with a bunch of old men. we set our poles against the end of the pier and waited until the coast was clear.

“is someone going to say something?” my sister asked.

“grandpa hated that shit,” i said.

“just tell him that you love him,” said my grandmother. it was the first time she had spoken all morning.

we all started to cry.

“okay, it’s clear…let’s do it.”

my aunt opened the lid of the small black box and my mother opened the dust buster, and amidst our chorus of “i love you”s, we let him go.

of course, the wind picked up and a good bit of him came right back on us.

and, when it did, our tears turned to laughter. and i realized that, in some sense, this was how we like to say good-bye. my wacky, amazing family.

and i think my grandfather was pleased.
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11.05.2002  

the little things
yesterday was a crap day. for starters, i had serious blog-block. some days, you just can’t think of one damn thing to write about. you’d swear that not one single interesting or amusing thing has ever happened to you. ever. but, i like to try and write something every day (i find it therapeutic. plus, if i miss a day, next thing you know, i’ll miss a week. it's all downhill.), so some days i reach. yesterday, i reached. and it bothered me all day.

then, i discovered that i’ve lost my driver’s license. not misplaced it. really lost it. best guess: i shoved it into my coat pocket and it fell out when i pulled my gloves out. wouldn’t be so bad, if it was my maryland license. i could just get a replacement. but, it wasn't my maryland license. i haven't gotten that yet. it was my old license. and now, without an old license to surrender, i’ll have to take a fucking driving test to get my maryland license. actually, a driving test and a written test. and you just know i’m going to fail one of them. it's inevitable. all this, not to mention the supreme joy of spending a day at the dmv.

then, i get to the metro station and discover that all of my metrochek farecards have been demagnetized. i can think of no earthly explanation for this. maybe i was sleepwalking and went to the airport where they x-rayed all of my farecards. seems unlikely, though. at any rate, there i stand with $120 in farecards, and not one of them will work. i ask the station manager for assistance. his idea of assistance: “these don’t work. you’ll have to take them to metro center and get new ones.”

yeah, thanks for the news flash. so, then i explain that i need to actually get on the metro in order to get to metro center. to which he responds, “well, that’s not my problem.”

that, ladies and gentlemen, is fine customer service. in action.

despite my desire to stay there and make inquiries as to what, exactly, it means to be a station manager, i don't really have the time. plus, i'm philosophically opposed to violence. and i don't want to get arrested.

eventually, i get to metro center and wait in the mile-long line at the sales office. my turn at the window, and i explain to the woman at the counter that i need to exchange my metrocheks, as they are all demagnetized.

“well, i’m not doing all of those.”

i’m trying to maintain my composure. i think i have a logical question to ask and i want to be sure that i ask it in a courteous manner.

“why not?”

“i’m only supposed to do one a day.”

“but all six of them are bad.”

“well, i guess you’ll just have to come back then.”

“you mean i have to come back five more times? are you serious?”

“not my problem. and it’s not my fault, either. not my fault you don’t know enough to keep them cards away from magnets.”

it seems that the washington metropolitan area transit authority has some sort of new branding/community outreach campaign going on, the theme of which is: “not my problem.”

and that’s the point at which i think i’m going to stroke out right there in the middle of metro center.

i spend the rest of the day seething. i feel like i itch inside, but i can’t scratch it, and it’s making me so angry that i would really like to scream. scream in the edvard munch kind of way, where your head warps and the sky goes all red and wavy. an infinite scream.

it’s not that i’m easily set off. i just get supremely frustrated when a seemingly endless stream of inane, irrational things pile up on top of one another, resulting in some absurd and oppressive synergy.

i spent the evening solving this month’s where are you?, trying to relieve the stress in my shoulders, the result of my accumulation of little things. honestly, i wasn’t having much success.

and then my mom called.

my great-grandmother passed away yesterday.

and suddenly, the little things all fell away.


i will be out-of-pocket for a few days. i plan to return on monday. take care, and enjoy your weekend.
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11.04.2002  

a little unhealthy competition never hurt anyone
i had a pretty low-key weekend. i spent part of my time on the most ridiculous thing: practicing my skills at a video game. granted, it’s a pretty cool video game (soul calibur, on the unfortunately departed dreamcast), but that’s no way to spend your weekend.

and why was i practicing my swordsmanship? ‘cause i’m one competitive bitch, that’s why. i’m tired of getting my ass kicked day after day on this thing. i think i do a pretty good job of being a gracious winner, which i think is very important. but, i have a long way to go when it comes to being a gracious loser. so, i could practice my losing skills…or not lose anymore. i vote b.

i’ve always been competitive. even in trivial things. i hate to lose…arguments, spelling bees, video games, board games…doesn’t matter. i just hate to lose.

i remember several years ago, two of my friends had this asinine game. i hesitate to even attempt to explain it here because it is, truly, ridiculous. i don’t even think it had a name, per se, but we always referred to it as meat-gazing.

here’s the gist:

the goal was to get your opponent to "meat gaze*." to do this, you would make the okay sign (inexplicably referred to as ‘throwing meat’) and get your opponent to look at it (gaze). when they did (this was called a “get”), you got to give them two sucker punches in the arm and ridicule them as a “meat-gazer.”

listen, i told you it was ridiculous.

anyway, k and b were constantly playing this game. i think they both had permanently bruised arms. it was non-stop…there was never a time when they weren’t trying to get each other. it was hysterical, honestly. they worked together, although i think the term “work” is very loosely used in this case because they actually spent their days trying to come up with new and creative ways to get the other to meat-gaze.

i don’t remember what led me to challenge b, who was the undisputed champ. i just remember that i did. and, almost immediately, the game was on. we both went all out. and, even b had to admit that i was a formidable opponent – no amateur league, here.

i remember driving to work one morning, and noticing a car next to me. out of the corner of my eye, i could see that the car kept pulling alongside, then falling back a bit, then pulling alongside again, then falling back. i was getting extremely pissed.

“what a jackass,” i muttered.

finally, after several minutes of this, i looked over to see what kind of idiot this guy was.

too late, i realized i’d been had.

b had leaned his seat back so i couldn’t see his face. but there was no doubt it was him. all i could see was his hand, in the driver’s window, throwing meat, plain as day.

“son of a bitch!” i screamed.

then, b’s head popped up, and he turned to me. he was laughing so hard, he must have been crying. he self-high-fived and sped away.

“son of a bitch!”

by the time i arrived at my desk, i already had a voice mail from b…and several other friends. all mocking me.

“oh, the mighty have fallen!”
“my condolences on your humiliation.”
“gazer!”

all included copious laughter.

i spent the morning fuming. i couldn’t believe i’d been beaten! the ultimate gaze! although it really was a masterful “get,” i wasn’t willing to concede defeat.

i knew i had to outdo b’s “get.” but how?

that evening, i waited with friends at our regular watering hole. b came in, walked up to me and shook my hand.

“i admit it – you are the queen. a truce?”
“truce,” i smiled.

victory was mine.

that afternoon, as i thumbed through the yellow pages i had stumbled onto the most amazing ad. i photocopied it, and, with the help of the print services staff at my office, cropped the ad and enlarged the relevant part to a full 8 ½” x 11”.

and then i faxed it to b.

it was an ad for the A-OK Body Shop.

there was no cover sheet. i knew he’d know who it was from.

*yeah, i know that the term "meat gazer" is sometimes used to refer to a guy who checks out other guys' packages. this is different. no, i don't know why they chose this particular term. but i do know this was not a game involving looking at guys' packages. unless i totally misunderstood the rules or something. anyway, just thought i'd point that out.
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11.01.2002  

mr. pink and me
maybe it was the early onset of cold weather. maybe it was the idea of little goblins knocking on my door with their hands outreached. maybe it was jodi’s story earlier this week. i can’t pinpoint the precise reason for my idea. but i can tell you that i had the best halloween ever.

i have a “regular guy.” i call him mr. pink, because he sits outside the thomas pink store i pass on my way to work every day. he greets everyone who passes with a softspoken voice.

“good morning, sir.”
“good morning, ma’am.”
“good morning, young lady.”

maybe it’s because he called me young lady instead of ma’am that i stopped the first time. but i don’t think so. i think it was the kindness in his voice. unlike some others, he doesn’t sit sullenly, shaking his cup at people as they walk by. he doesn’t curse those who don’t stop.

“have a good day, now.”

usually, it’s just change that i give. but, some days i go to the food court at my metro stop and pick up coffee. sometimes, fruit. some days, bagels and a copy of the post. some days, we chat.

he’s always gracious, even on the days when it’s just change.

he tells me about his days in vietnam. or, about how he grew up rich, but gave it all up for a woman he loved. or about the time he met the president. some days we talk politics. or he’ll show me an article in the wall street journal and ask me what i think about the economy. sometimes the stories seem to have some thread of reality in them. other days, not. but, the truth is, it’s not about the stories, or whether i think they’re true. it’s about giving him the chance to tell them to someone.

a co-worker passed me as i was talking with him one morning. she came by my office later that day and asked, “why do you give that guy money? don’t you worry that he’s just going to buy something to drink?”

no, i don’t. i worry that he’s going to freeze to death. i worry that he might get jumped by some kids. but i don’t worry that he might buy alcohol.

why do i give “that guy” money? because i can. because i have fifty cents in my pocket, and he doesn’t. maybe he will buy a bottle. maybe he’ll buy a sandwich. maybe he needs the bottle more than the sandwich. i just know that he is a person who needs something that i have. something i can easily afford to give. why wouldn’t i give?

yesterday, as i left work, i filled both my pockets with all the change i could find in my purse, my briefcase, my desk drawers.

and every single person who asked received.

“spare a little change today, ma’am?” asked the man who sits outside the burberry window.
“trick or treat,” i smiled as i dumped a handful of change into his cup.
“bless you. and happy halloween!"
"happy halloween to you, too."

i could hear my co-worker's voice booming in my head. "why?"

i smiled all the way home as i imagined my answer.

"why not?"
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