[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
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
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.
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.
all those in favor, say huh
my first political science class was my senior year in high school. it was one of those elective classes that most people just put on their schedule as a way to fill up their day without having to do math. i was, of course, the exception. i already knew that i would be a poli sci major in college [those in the know refer to it as poli sci. even though it makes us sound really gross.], and was eager to get an early jump on things.
my class was filled with the most colorful mix of characters i ever had the privilege to sit with during my years in public education. there was no rhyme. no reason. just a bunch of random kids with no interest in the subject at hand, looking to lay low and not fail this class that the guidance counselor put them in because our guidance counselor didn’t give a rat’s ass what you did as long as you didn’t interrupt her “stories,” which she watched on a black-and-white mini television in her office.
as a creative mid-term [oh, mrs. moore, you made such a valiant effort!], we held a mock legislative session. each “delegate” had to draft and introduce a bill that was then debated and voted upon.
i remember the hours of research i did. the careful crafting of the language to as to allow all the obligatory loopholes. the thickets of legalese strategically placed throughout in an effort to hide my proposal’s obvious benefits for my particular constituency. ah…it was a masterful effort.
m always sat in the very back of the room. the last chair, in the last row, closest to the windows. i say “always.” “always,” of course, means when he actually came to class. which wasn’t that often. m didn’t seem to come to many classes, period. to paraphrase a line from one of my favorite movies of all time, m had released himself on his own recognizance, feeling that the institution no longer had anything to offer him.
on those rare occasions when he did come to class, he was pretty doggone high. i remember one day when m sauntered into class and slouched into his “regular” seat. we were discussing the electoral college.
“man, that’s retarded,” came his comment from the back of the room.
while i don’t actually disagree with his position, mrs. moore didn’t really seem to know how to follow up on his observation.
at any rate, someone must have made it clear to m that he needed to not fail this class in order to get out of high school. so, he showed up on the last day of the mid-term.
as he loped into the classroom, the before-class chatter stopped. we had all just assumed…i mean…did he even know about the mid-term?
what would mrs. moore say?
truth is, mrs. moore wouldn’t say much. see, in addition to being a "friend of elmo", m was a total charmer. he had a halo of golden hair. breathtaking blue eyes. dimples that were so deep and perfectly placed that he looked like something out of a magazine. and don’t even get me started on the smile itself. he was tall and lean, a vision in denim, and stoned off his ass.
in his hand there were no books. no paper. only one thing: a huge bag of dum-dum suckers.
the plan seemed obvious to us: he would glad-hand and schmooze and bribe us into rallying around him via the dum-dums.
however, our supposition did not take into account the munchie factor.
he was a machine.
as the class wore on, he devoured the suckers. one after the other after the other. root beer. sour apple. cream soda. grape.
eventually, everyone had presented their bill. except m.
mrs. moore cleared her throat nervously at the front of the room.
“uh, m, it seems to be your turn. would you like to present your bill now?”
“nah, go ahead.”
“well, everyone else has already gone.”
“and, so, then, i have to go, right?”
as he rose to his feet, a dum-dum wrapper fell from his desk and landed on the floor in front of him.
“go ahead, m.”
the rest of us had read from note cards and typed summaries. we had hand-outs. some even had visual aids.
m had none of those things.
he reached up and took the dum-dum from his mouth.
“my bill is to make all unknown people known.”
and he put the sucker back in his mouth and sat down.
mrs. moore looked around the room nervously.
“uh, m…that seems a little…odd? well, maybe not odd…maybe vague is a better word?”
“okay…that’s cool…okay…sure...my bill is to make all unknown people known for a day.”
floor debate was waived. committee review was waived. the bill was put to an immediate vote. and passed unanimously.
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the longest hours of your life. courtesy of philip glass.
dang, i almost forgot – i’m remiss in posting the third in our series of decorative-yet-functional movie reviews: the hours.
here’s the summary: this is a story about three chicks – one of whom is virginia woolf, the other two of whom are not virginia woolf. so, there’s virginia woolf, who’s going pretty batty in the 20’s while writing the book mrs. dalloway, then there’s a repressed housewife in the 50’s who’s reading mrs. dalloway, and then there’s a woman in the 80’s whose life is sort of mirroring the story of mrs. dalloway.
yeah, it’s all very literary and takes itself really seriously and seems a bit too precious, doesn’t it?
anyway, the performances are stunning, there’s no denying that. nicole kidman is going to be dancing all around her house naked, holding her academy award and saying in a sing-songy voice “i got mine before tommy got hiiiis.” you go with your naked, gloating self, nicole.
the score has gotten a lot of attention. it’s by philip glass. this might be a big deal to you. it is not a big deal to me. the first five minutes or so of the movie are nothing but visuals accompanied by his score, which really, truly, starts out nice enough. and then…well, i only wish i wasn’t mooching off blogger for this free site so i had server space to post an mp3 for you. let me see if i can somehow convey the eventual tone of the score:
dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah
yeah, that’s about right.
and it does that pretty loudly. while other stuff is going on in the movie. stuff like, you know, people talking. and i almost said, out loud, right there in the middle of the movie theater, “no wonder everybody in this movie wants to fucking kill themselves! i’m gonna kill myself if you don’t fucking stop it already with the dah-dah-dah-dah.”
so, basically this is one of those too-mainstream-to-be-considered-artsy-but-too-literary-to-be-considered-mainstream movies with great performances and a shitty score that actually distracts you from watching the movie. and some people kill themselves. and some other people think about killing themselves, but then they don’t. and there’s some voiceovers. and one special effects scene. oh, and lesbians. and even some non-lesbian chicks who just kiss other women.
and, of course, no one can talk about this movie without mentioning that nicole kidman wears a fake nose. and, holy cow, it's bigger than her real nose and everyone seems to think it was such a brave thing to do. you know, lots of us walk around every day with noses bigger than nicole kidman's real nose. i had no idea we were such freaks. who knew? so, whatever, she wears a fake nose. and it's a really good fake nose. and i still think she looks kind of hot in it.
when it was all over, it was one of those movies where you’re pretty sure that they had some important, life-altering message to share, but either they got really distracted by the shitty score and forgot what it was, or you’re just too much of a doofus to get it.
the message i got? sometimes life is really hard and oppressive and you go a little crazy. sometimes you wish you could kiss other women instead of that guy you’re married to. sometimes you wish you could be with your true love instead of your lesbian lover, but your true love is a gay man, so that’s pretty much out of the question on several different levels. anyway, when those hard times come along, kill yourself.
maybe that’s not what they were trying to say. again, i blame the confusion on the score.
bottom line: if you get off on watching a group of actors who are undeniably at the top of their game, and you want to see why nicole kidman is going to win an academy award, then spring for a matinee. but, just know that it’s not a feel-good movie. except for the girl-on-girl kissing parts.
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hooked on phonics worked for me, it can work for you too, mr. president
you know that part in uncle buck where uncle buck goes to maisy’s school and talks to the counselor and she has that giant mole on her face and he says:
“i'm buck melanoma. moley russell's wart. not her wart. i'm her growth, her pimple. they sometimes call me melanoma head.”
and that part in the steve martin movie, roxanne, where they warn the new fireman not to look at steve martin's giant nose, but then when he meets him all he can look at is his giant nose? it’s like he can’t see anything but the giant nose.
in the spirit of these celluloid moments, let me share with you my state of the union experience:
blah blah blah blah NUKE-U-LUR blah. blah blah NUKE-U-LUR blah blah. blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. blah blah blah NUKE-U-LUR. blah blah blah blah.
of course, i don’t want you to think that i’m nitpicking or anything. or that all i heard was “nuke-u-lur.” no. i also heard this:
blah blah HITLERISM blah blah blah blah.
is it just me or does “hitlerism” sound like a word you use to describe some clever little thing that das fuhrer said at a dinner party? doesn’t really seem to capture the feeling of a scary nationalistic movement with the goal of world domination. i don't know. maybe it's just me.
listen, regardless of how i might feel about the current administration, i cannot believe that no one has the balls to say to this man, “sir, you are the purported leader of the free world and the self-proclaimed defender of all that is good in the face of the evil that threatens our way of life. the word is nuclear. just the one u, sir. nuke-u-lur? not an actual word.”
it’s like when you hear someone say “chimbley.” or “supposebly.” only the people who say those things are usually not on television being broadcast around the world. they’re usually not the president of the united states of america.
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surprise, surprise, surprise!
last night, the planets aligned and i had a chance to “real life” meet an “internet friend.” last night, i had dinner with j from the safeword. the safeword is a site run by j and his girlfriend kerry, and it is one of my very favorite reads. and, i should also mention that kerry was the very first person to email me about my blog. ever.
i have to admit, i’ve never real-life-met an internet friend before, and i was a little nervous. i mean, when you meet someone that you’ve “talked” to, do you hug them like you would a “normal” friend? what do you say? i had no idea what to expect.
it turned out to be an evening filled with surprises. such as:
- in suburban maryland, who would guess that a table for two would take 40 minutes on a monday night? it’s the day after the super bowl, people. don’t you have leftover bean dip and chili at home?
- who knew that when they buzz you that your table is ready, they don’t mean “ready” in the sense that you can now be seated. no, they mean “ready” in the sense that “you can stand over here and wait instead of over there and wait.” good to know.
- surprise! your waitress is psychotic! not only will she rant and rave about the “goddamn bakery” being slow, she’ll also tell you about her “fat and lazy” boyfriend. and how she likes to stockpile her sick days for when her kid is sick, so even though she doesn’t feel well, she’s still here to work a closing shift with an expanded section that keeps getting quadruple-seated and now her hair is all messed up and falling down in her eyes and “the goddamn bakery” is killing her table times. right…so, um…how is the chicken marsala?
- it’s surprising how you can have a menu with about 15 pages of stuff…but you can’t find anything that you really want to eat.
and, perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening:
for a while now, i’ve known that i look younger than i am, but it turns out that i write younger than i am, too. in retrospect, it might be my consistent use of “dude” and “fuck” that skew the perception.
j seemed truly shocked.
“i had no idea you were so old!”
“i mean, i’ve read all your stuff, and i thought, ‘wow, this girl has lived a lot of life,’ but i just thought, you know, that you had gotten married really young.”
poor j never saw it coming -- my age isn’t anywhere on this site. but i never realized that until last night. there’s no ulterior motive for not mentioning my age. age just isn’t something i usually think about. i graduated two years early – got bumped up two years in school. so, i was always younger than everyone else. but, i acted older than everyone else. so, age was a very nebulous thing for me growing up. then, as i got older, it just became irrelevant to me. i never really think about it. when people ask me, “how old are you?” i have to stop and think. and do math. it’s all a little embarrassing.
a couple of years ago, when i was 31, i spent the entire year telling everyone i was 32. it was an honest mistake. when my birthday came around that year, my mom wished me a happy 32nd birthday.
“what the hell are you talking about? you’re not 33, you’re 32.”
“oh. well, whaddya know.”
despite the age difference, j and i had a great time laughing and talking [at least i think we did. i’ll be crushed if i read otherwise later, j, so consider yourself warned.]. we talked about stuff like:
- eyebrow management: waxing v. threading
- how to maintain your cool when you walk in to teach a class and one of your students has some sort of monocle-periscope-headgear device
- all things blog-related, like, people who ask for money on their sites, people whose blogs seem to be really popular, but we don't really enjoy that much [no…i will not tell you, so don’t even ask], and the age-old question: how much sex-related content can you include on your site before you start to lose readership?
but, mostly we talked about two things:
j’s girlfriend, kerry
j talked about taking care of kerry when she got tanked a couple of nights ago. he talked about how they just hang out and do nothing together – and how cool that is. he talked about what a gifted and talented designer she is, and that he wishes she saw that as clearly as he does.
he even talked about kerry’s eyebrows.
as i sat across the table from j while he talked about kerry, i couldn’t help but smile. see, when j goes on a riff about body piercings, or his wangtastic burberry pants, he’s a very funny guy. and cute, too. [i think it’s important to mention that, because i have the feeling he’d give me grief if i didn’t.]
but, when j talks about kerry, he’s not just a funny guy...he’s different.
whether he knows it or not, his eyes sparkle just a little bit more. his smile is just a little bit bigger. and, as much as i had a great time with j, and as much as i’d really love to meet kerry…listening to him talk, i realized that i’d really love to meet kerry and j.
so, when all was said and done, when the leftovers were bagged up, when the psychotic waitress had finished her rant and gone to get the check [but not before j had her guess how old i was – she said “no more than 28.” and i believe that was an honest guess, and not an effort to protect her tip.], when i had dropped j off at his hotel and it was just me and my ben watt remix heading home for the night…i realized a few things:
- meeting internet friends is a weird, but wonderful, thing.
- i’m 33…but it doesn't mean a damn thing to me.
- there’s something wonderful about the way a man looks when he talks about the woman he loves.
i like to believe that some day, a guy will sit across the table from someone in some restaurant somewhere and he’ll look like that while he’s talking about me.
because you’re never too old to dream.
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i gotta get a better class of friends
with the help of some strategically requested best buy gift cards i received during the holidays, i recently picked up my very own digital camera.
while it doesn't have all the bells and whistles and bazillions of megapixels that some of the other, more expensive cameras have, it is cute. and i think we can all agree that cute is right up there on the important-things-to-consider-when-buying-expensive-electronics list.
anyway, i've been playing around with it, snapping pictures of pretty much any and everything.
there's something about not having to buy film. it makes you take pictures of the most ridiculous things. photo after photo of that tree outside your window. not even a particularly interesting tree. just a tree. photo after photo. furthermore, there is something about not having to submit your film to some teenage perv at rite-aid to get your pictures in-hand. it's uh...liberating, i think. i notice an awful lot of folks on the internet feeling "liberated," taking pictures of parts of their body that i'm thinking they might have hesitated to take had they been obligated to send film to their neighborhood photo-mat. i mean, i wasn't the only one who saw one hour photo, right?
so, what with this newfound sense of photographic freedom, i'm thinking about making some changes to the site.
upgrading to a service that allows me to post images.
brushing up my photoshop skills. [okay, "brushing up" is optimistic. actually getting photoshop skills is probably more accurate.]
and, of course, changing the name of the site to tequila mockingboob.
i told my friend, m about my proposed site revamp and how i thought that it might allow me to realize my lifelong dream of becoming a self-made porn tycoon and retiring by the time i'm 40.
"maybe you should change the name to tequila cock'n'boob. that way your audience is wider."
it's just wrong to mess with a piece of classic literature like that.
come on, man...show some class.
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bring it on
although we here at tequila mockingbird have very strong opinions on many things political, we rarely dip our toes into the murky waters here on “paper.” mostly because we remember that one time when we wrote something that might possibly be construed as political and an assload of right-wingers came flocking to the site from all corners of the .gov domain to beat up on my beloved al gore.
so, it is with much trepidation that i click the “post & publish” button. but, i cannot sit idly by. i will not sit idly by. for i am seething over here as a result of the current administration’s selection of this jackass to serve on the presidential advisory commission on HIV and AIDS.
although said jackass has now withdrawn his name from consideration, i cannot help but continue to seethe.
first off, bush administration types, in a time when our country is grappling with issues of acceptance, this is the best you can do? you choose a man who refers to AIDS as the “gay plague” and sees homosexuals as “aberrant” and “curable”? am i the only one who wonders how long it will take this guy to suggest that if you eliminate the aberrant plague carriers, you eliminate the plague?
mr. thacker has given several speeches at his alma mater, that bastion of christian love and acceptance, bob jones university. of course they mean christian love and acceptance for white people. who don’t date brown people. and aren’t catholic. or gay.
summaries of mr. thacker’s comments were posted on the bob jones university web site:
"when he [thacker] and his wife discovered in 1986 that they had contracted HIV, the most horrible thought was that it was a disease connected with the sin of homosexuality….”
"they didn't want anyone to think they were homosexual because they knew what the bible said about homosexuality."
"homosexuality is not inborn biologically, just as incest and bestiality are not inborn. studies have show that thousands of homosexuals have been set free from this sin."
obviously, mr. thacker is perfectly suited to sit on the president’s commission on HIV and AIDS. oh, and while we’re at it, maybe the president should appoint trent lott to the commission on sickle cell anemia.
but, and this may come as a surprise, what really chaps my ass about this isn’t necessarily mr. thacker’s views. or even the stunning insensitivity of the administration to select someone who holds such views. hey, this is america – you’re entitled to be a total asshole, what with free speech and all.
no, what really makes me angry is this:
“in his speeches and writings on his web site and elsewhere, thacker has described homosexuality as a ‘deathstyle’ rather than a lifestyle and asserted that ‘christ can rescue the homosexual.’ after word of his selection spread among gays in recent days, some material disappeared from the web site. earlier versions located by the washington post that referred to the ‘gay plague,’ for instance, were changed as of yesterday to ‘plague.’ [ed. note: emphasis added by very angry woman.]
hey, if you want to be an asshole, go right ahead, but own it, buddy. if that’s what you think, if that’s what you espouse, that AIDS is the “gay plague” then don’t you fucking fold under the first sign of scrutiny. if you’re right – and you must believe you are or you wouldn’t have written or said such things in the first place – then have the fucking backbone to stand up and own it.
maybe this whole backing-down-from-your-beliefs thing is some sort of certificate program at bob jones university: by midday yesterday, the summaries of thacker’s speeches had been removed from the university’s web site.
and, of course, the administration wants no part of their own nominee now:
“white house spokesman ari fleischer said president bush did not endorse thacker's statements and that the pennsylvania consultant would not be a member of the 35-person panel. ‘the president has a totally opposite view,’ fleischer said. ‘that remark is far removed from what the president believes.’"
then why in the hell did you nominate him in the first place? it’s not like his comments were hard to find, or his position unclear.
“white house aides blamed the thacker controversy on HHS. [secretary of HHS tommy] thompson said he was unaware of the selection.
‘i was not familiar with jerry thacker until it was brought to my attention in the press today," thompson told reporters. "i'm sure someone from my office had contacted him. i had never met him. . . . when you have this many appointments to make, you're going to have some that are controversial, and this was controversial, and the gentleman withdrew his name."
spineless, gutless assholes.
and so, i stand here, waist deep in the murky political waters. and i say to those right-wingers who found me once before: bring. it. on.
comment your brains out. deride me as some sort of bleeding heart liberal. hit me with your best shot.
because, unlike these chicken shits, i will not fold.
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maybe there was a year-end clearance sale at hookers r us
you know how, sometimes, in your everyday life, you’re just walking along and you see some woman dressed like a hooker? and you know she’s not an actual hooker. she’s just dressed like some movie-ized version of a hooker. a hooker cliché, if you will. and i just know you will.
sometimes, when you see these faux hookers, you can kind of appreciate the look they were going for. you know, you see your faux dominatrix-leather-fetish hooker with the knee-high patent leather boots, and some black bustier kind of thing. or, sometimes, you see a faux disco hooker, who’s all huggy-beared out, wearing some pole-dancing platform shoes and some bedazzled maribou-trimmed mini-skirt.
candidly, i can appreciate this. i like that i can look at these faux hooker get-ups and say, “oh. i see what she was going for with that.”
but, yesterday, during evening rush hour on my red line commute, i saw a faux hooker get-up that stunned me. i’m pretty sure my mouth actually dropped open.
let’s take it from the top.
there was a french twist. and some funky square glasses. okay, so i see that here we are addressing the sexy librarian faux hooker. you know the one. she was in that adam ant video for goody two shoes. she’s the ice princess and you’re just the guy to thaw her out. i’m with ya.
next up: a faux-fur swing coat, with a faux-pashmina wrap draped around it. all righty, i believe this is going to fall into the naughty-socialite-who-really-wants-to-be-bad-with-a-blue-collar-guy-primarily-you realm. i can see it.
then, we move on to the…huh. okay, the leather bustier. we’ve already established that this is a key element in the dominatrix-leather-fetish look.
moving on, we have the tartan plaid pleated mini skirt. obviously, this is classic catholic school girl fantasy material. and/or britney spears.
the obligatory fishnets, clearly a paean to one of my personal favorites, the saucy french maid.
and, last, but by no means least, the boots. these are knee-high red leather boots with stiletto heels. they lace up the back. and they have [wait for it] fringe. red leather fringe. up the entire length of the back of the boot. i'm thinking that these boots are multi-purpose. there is a certain element of the ride-me-cowboy hooker represented in the fringe, clearly. but, perhaps she is also attempting to leverage the heretofore untapped niche market of stevie nicks fetishists out there? obviously, her marketing acumen is far too clever for me to understand.
while i admire her desire to be an all-inclusive faux hooker, i felt that her efforts came up short. of course, her oversight could have been remedied with one simple addition: a nurse’s cap.
methinks someone might want to familiarize herself with the adage, “you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
still, i honestly couldn’t help but wonder where in the hell this woman was going.
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no bad dogs, only bad owners
last night i was thinking about how much i miss my estranged dog, max. max is, in my opinion, the worst dog ever. in the history of dogs. the world over.
when i moved to dc, i couldn’t find an apartment that would allow me to keep him. see, not only is max the worst dog ever. in the history of dogs. the world over. he’s also about 100 pounds. so, that makes it kind of tough. one of my friends was like, “just don’t tell the apartment management people, and then just sneak and have him anyway.”
yeah, no one will notice the 100 pound black dog digging holes in the community area. no, max is not exactly sneakable.
it all started innocently enough. i had lost my last dog, molly – the best dog ever. in the history of dogs. the world over. – when my house burned down. i wasn’t sure i would ever really want another dog. i was honestly worried that i would always compare my new dog to molly, and the new dog would, inevitably, come up short. then i decided i was being kind of creepy [you know that line about "you can love your pets, just don't love your pets?], so i decided to get a new dog.
i went to my local shelter. i swore i was “just looking.” i don't know who i thought i was fooling with that line. i can’t even "just look" at target, and no one at target is standing next to me saying, “oh yes, that eiffel tower topiary has been here for several weeks. i sure hope someone comes along and falls in love with it. it’s so loving. it just needs a good home. soon.”
there he was. a little black puppy sitting quietly in the corner of the cage while all the other puppies jumped and barked and yelped for my attention. he looked so sad. and he was so quiet. for years, i looked back on his demeanor there in the shelter with a sense of wonderment. why? he seemed so quiet. so sweet.
i understand now that is was all part of the grift. the scam. the con. and i was such a sucker.
“what can you tell me about that one?”
the attendant pulled his blue information card.
“okay, he’s a pure bred lab…” she began.
“um, no, he isn’t. see how his chest is white? and how long his ears are? my last two dogs were labs, and he definitely has lab in him, but he’s not a pure bred lab. it's not a big deal to me, but you might want to make a note of that.”
“well, the card says he is.”
“okay, but that’s not correct.”
“and it says he’s housebroken.”
“huh. well, does it say why he was brought here?”
“yeah. it says ‘destructive’ and ‘bad dog.’”
well, how horrible was that? i mean, here was this cute, quiet little puppy. "bad dog"?!? man, i was just fuming. irresponsible people. no bad dogs, only bad owners. blah blah blah.
“okay, i’ll take him.”
of course, this being a shelter, he had to have the procedure before i could bring him home. when i picked him up, they told me that he was very groggy from the anesthesia, and that he would probably be a little listless and sleepy for a day or two.
for the next two days, he was this pliable, cuddly little puppy. of course, it became clear by day four that those blissful moments had been directly linked to the anesthesia still coursing through his devil dog veins. in the subsequent years, i have often thought back to those first days together, when max was in a drug-induced state of pleasantry. the halcyon days. our salad days.
it became readily apparent that “pure bred lab” was not the only error on max’s blue card. he was definitely not housebroken.
max’s favorite pastime was to spend thirty minutes or so wandering around outside in the freezing-ass cold, pretending he was going to pee at any moment. there i was, bundled in layers of scarves and hats and gloves and mittens over the gloves, shouting words of encouragement.
“come on, max! that’s it! that’s a good boy, max! go potty!”
eventually, when i could no longer feel my extremities, i would give up and we’d head back inside.
almost immediately, max would walk to the center of the room and pee.
sometimes, he’d make a special effort. he’d wait until i left the room, then he’d take a huge dump in the middle of the room. then, he’d eat half of it. then, because i’m pretty sure that the digestive system of mammals is not genetically engineered to handle such things, he would puke it up directly onto the remaining pile of poo.
and then he’d trot off and collapse almost immediately into a deep and blissful sleep.
who could blame him? i mean, eating your own poo must really take it out of a guy.
when spring arrived, i decided that, in order for max to survive the next year of his life, obedience school was in order.
we found a small school that offered a twelve-week course, with personal attention. and a money-back guarantee.
the next eight weeks were excruciating. humiliating. max would simply go dead weight on the end of his leash when asked to do pretty much anything. unless the command was sit, lie or stay, in which case he would immediately pull me across the lawn and start humping the first available dog. but, if the command involved movement, such as “heel,” max would drop to the ground and refuse to move. i remember one session in particular when the instructor, as frustrated with me as i was with max, told me in an exasperated tone, “well, just try bribing him! use your treats!”
so, i held out a treat. and max, ever the glutton [i mean, you gotta think this is a dog who will eat anything, right?] immediately sat up and devoured the treat. and then, immediately threw himself back down onto the ground.
the instructor came around and squatted down. she started pushing max’s backside, and shouted at me to “pull!” so, there we were, her pushing, me pulling, and max just looking at me as if to say, “if you don’t cut this out, i’m going to do the eat-poo-then-puke trick right here, right now.”
that was week eight.
at the end of the class, the instructor called me aside.
“um, this is sort of unusual, but i thought it would be best if i just gave you your money back.”
“but, this is only the eighth week.”
“yes. so…um, that would mean that you wouldn’t, you know, have to come back for the other classes.”
so, that was that.
as spring turned to summer, max was still not housebroken, which resulted in him being crated all day. i hated the idea of crating, although it was necessary to keep from coming home to a three bedroom litter box. i bought max the biggest “crate” i could find. it was actually more like a cage for a lion or a tiger. at any rate, every morning before leaving for work, i would wrangle max into his cage. he hated it, and so did i.
one monday, black monday as we now refer to it, i decided to try a different approach. i placed a baby gate in the doorway of each entrance to my kitchen. i put every toy known to dogkind in the kitchen, along with max. a quick scan of the kitchen showed that there was nothing on the floor that max could get into. the trash was safely locked away in the pantry. the flour and sugar in canisters on the counter, pushed as far back against the wall as possible. not even a dishtowel hanging somewhere in temptation.
that day was hell at work. my two co-workers and i got the irrefutable message that our newly installed supervisor was suffering with an advanced case of bitch fever. prognosis was that it was so far advanced as to be untreatable. i remember thinking on my way home, “man…i’m going to eat every fucking brownie left in my house.”
see, i’d had a party that weekend. and my friend, who is a chef [i highly recommend having at least one friend who is a chef, by the way.] had made me a huge platter of his world-famous brownies. i don’t know if it’s the crack he puts in them, or the incredibly dark, rich fudgy icing, but whatever it is, they are so good as to be indescribable. and i was lucky enough to have about a dozen left over from the party. they were safely tucked away on a platter, covered in saran wrap, on top of my stove.
as i put the key in the lock, i looked through the glass of my front door and noticed something lying on the living room floor. i couldn’t tell what it was, but i didn’t remember it being there when i left that morning.
stepping into the apartment, i noticed that it was eerily quiet. i walked immediately to the kitchen. the baby gates stood quietly in their assigned places.
i noticed that there was a tube of apricot facial scrub lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. something was definitely wrong.
there was no sign of max.
as i stood a moment longer, looking at the kitchen, i noticed that there were dark brown streaks all over my white cabinets. black smears all over the hardwood floor.
but no sign of max.
i walked back to the living room, and picked up the object i had seen lying on the floor. it was the black plastic platter that had held the dozen brownies. warped. chewed.
something i had read years ago flashed through my head: chocolate kills dogs.
“max! max! max! where the hell are you?!”
i ran through the apartment, expecting to find his lifeless, fudge-filled body.
when i got to my bathroom i stopped dead in my tracks.
the vanity. the shower. the toilet. the floor. all white when i left the house that morning.
all brown now.
and, oddly, wet.
as in water.
the shower was wet, as though i had just used it. a huge brown smear ran down the side of the tub. there was what looked like muddy water all over the bath mat, all over the floor. but no tracks out of the bathroom. was he still in the bathroom?
i was dazed and confused.
and then, i heard the softest sound.
pad pad pad
i turned around, and there he was.
his entire head was covered in wet, gooey, fudgy chocolate.
and his feet were covered in cotton balls.
“holy shit, you’d better run you son of a bitch!”
from what i pieced together, and granted, this is all pure speculation, i guess that max ate the brownies and then found himself covered in fudgy goodness. obviously, this was not acceptable. so, he carefully opened the baby gate, making sure to close it behind him, and went into the bathroom where he attempted to wipe off the goo with an entire bag of cotton balls he found under the sink. of course, this was foolish, as the cotton balls merely adhered to the fudgy glue. so, the next logical option would be to take a shower. unfortunately, the shower still did not do the trick, so he was forced to attempt to remove the sticky wet mass of cotton balls using an abrasive exfoliant – the apricot facial scrub. it was then, in the midst of exfoliation, that i came home and interrupted him.
i’m sure he was going to clean up the entire thing if i had just given him time.
man. i miss my dog.
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scenes from a three-day weekend
the planets aligned as four of my favorite things converged in one shining moment: trading spaces went to las vegas and penn and fucking teller made a cameo.
wait -- trading spaces. las vegas. penn & teller. that’s three things.
oh yeah: three. day. weekend. four things.
shortly after i moved to dc, i had the great good fortune to see penn & teller at the warner theater. second row seats as a matter of fact. it kicked copious quantities of ass. unfortunately, the memory was sullied when i headed out to the lobby after the show in hopes that the duo would grace my playbill with signatures. penn is standing there – well, he’s a massive guy, so he’s actually looming there – and he chats me up a minute or two whilst signing my program. i hear him say that teller is outside. sure enough, i step out into the brisk night air to see him bundled up with an elmer fudd-looking hat on in, a throng of signature-seekers around him. and he’s chatting with them. out loud. fucking talking out loud. that is not right. as a matter of fact, it’s just plain old wrong. i know he’s a real person and everything, and that he probably talks in his everyday life and all, but i don’t want to hear it. it ruins everything. i got my playbill signed, but the whole time i kept fighting this overwhelming urge to put my hand over his mouth and give him a big ol’ “shush already!”
went to see the hours. yes, there’s another of my decorative-yet-functional movie reviews to be had, but that’ll have to wait until later this week. for now, we’ll just focus on the stupid bitch seated immediately to my left before the movie. you know, you try not to listen to other people’s conversations. well, sometimes you try. but, you’re at the movies by yourself, you got no one to talk to, so you really don’t have much choice but to listen in on other conversations. right? plus, it’s not like she was being all quiet or anything. anyway, she is talking to her male companion about the people in her office, running down a list of names and then basically saying whether or not she liked them.
“and then there’s ellen. ugh. i just can’t tolerate her. she has that obnoxious entp thing going on. entps are so obnoxious.”
okay, my head practically explodes at this juncture.
1. who in the hell really lives their life making judgments about other people based on the fucking myers-briggs test? i mean, since we’re on the subject of “obnoxious,” this would a perfect time to talk about people who make judgments about other people based on a fucking personality test.
2. i’m an entp.*
*okay, most of the time i'm an entp. sometimes i'm an entj. every once in a while i even test as an enfp. it all depends on variables. like my hormone levels, or if i'm having a good hair day, or whether or not i got a good night's sleep the night before. you know...scientific variables.
so, i’m sitting there seething. not necessarily because i’ve just been labeled obnoxious by some twit i’ve never met, but…well, okay, maybe that is why i’m seething. at any rate, she starts talking about chicago.
“i don’t know why, but i just don’t like that catherine zeta [pronounced zay-tah, of course] jones.”
i cannot resist.
i lean in and say, “i’m sorry, but i couldn’t help but overhear. my guess is that you don’t like her because she’s an entp. see, i’m an entp, and we can spot another entp a mile away. she’s so entp. and, speaking of a mile away, i hope you enjoy the film.”
and, with that, i got up and moved. in retrospect, that probably didn’t really go very far in dissuading her from her perception that entps are obnoxious.
last night while trying to watch the golden globes, i was inundated with the new chrysler ad campaign featuring celine dion.
i understand and appreciate the magic of marketing. really. i swear.
but, come on. am i supposed to believe for one fucking second that celine dion is driving a chrysler minivan?
i don’t believe it. and, even if i did believe it, it wouldn’t make me want to buy a chrysler minivan. i mean, celine dion is no harley earl, ladies and gentlemen of chrysler. so, let’s just acknowledge that this wasn’t maybe the best idea and please, for the love of all that is right and good in the universe, pull the campaign.
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a banner [ad] week
welcome to our first annual weekly recap!
or something like that. i don’t know. anyway...welcome!
it’s been a week of highs and lows here at tequila mockingbird. let’s review:
1. started off the week with a raging stomach virus. we’ll put that in the “low” column.
2. last friday, i decided to move out of my snarky comfort zone and write something that isn’t what i typically post here. it’s not the first non-snarky post i’ve written, but posting this particular story was a little tough for me. it was more personal, maybe, than a lot of other posts, and i was nervous about doing something different. but, the rewards were great, and i’m grateful for the feedback. definitely in the “high” column.
3. this week, a number of blogs i enjoy a great deal were kind enough to link to me directly in a specific post. as a result, my blog saw a week of “personal best” numbers in terms of visits, and, it appears, garnered some new regular visitors. so, much thanks to the following folks for shining a light on my little corner of the blogverse:
the safeword [both j and kerry]
the johnny bacardi show
zanyblog [perhaps my most avid supporter…it has not gone unnoticed. much thanks.]
not my dissertation
this is definitely “high” column stuff. my apologies if i missed anyone...let me know and i'll remedy the oversight post haste.
4. today is a snow day, and, for some reason, a lot of “professionals” think it is a good idea to come to the office dressed in their eddie-bauer-i-don’t-actually-go-outdoors-but-i-paid-a-lot-of-money-for-this-sweater-so-people-will-think-i-do gear, along with some sort of boot. i wish they wouldn’t do this. it looks wrong. these people look uncomfortable and unnatural. in the same vein, i also fell into the “snow day” attire trap today. i put on some sweater that was in my closet that i swear to god i never bought and do not know who put it there. it’s a big navy blue turtleneck sweater [which is really great – i’m a fan of those, as you may recall], but then there’s this giant-ass yellow star on the front of it. i. have. no. idea. where. this. came. from. the tag in the back says “tommy hilfiger” which, in and of itself is disturbing, given that i do not, as a rule, purchase mr. hilfiger’s clothes. what i find more disturbing is that i cannot help but think that mr. hilfiger’s sweater would be more appropriately labeled “from the electric company’s 2002 fall collection.” it’s like i’m wearing this to teach kids about shapes and colors or something. it’s truly disturbing. i feel like i should be walking up to people and saying, “my sweater is brought to you by the letter k and the color yellow.” uh…”low” column, please.
5. in what can only be described as a high and a low, production this week came to a screeching halt on the hotly anticipated gay-bigfoot-travel-martini-glass-holder when the item’s creator, one cw, broke off negotiations with the laotian government. “they wanted me to pay their workers seven cents a day! i said six. not a penny more.” the good news is that this left cw with plenty of free time to start his own blog. i highly recommend you visit.
6. the increased traffic led to an increase in emails as well. a few of the more interesting ones:
-1 email in which the author asserted that he/she allegedly nominated me for a bloggie award
-1 email in which i was decried as pretentious
-1 email in which the author asserted that he/she was submitting me to msnbc's weblog central as a "best of" blog
-1 email which suggested i not quit my day job
-2 emails sending me voodoo curses
so, you know, you gotta say that's a mixed bag in terms of your "highs" and "lows." but i hope i get nominated for “best ingenue” one day. i always wanted to be an ingenue. probably not going to happen though. i’m pretty sure that if you put ramps in your friend’s honeymoon luggage you’re automatically disqualified for any ingenue awards. hey…ingenue is fun to say!
7. and now, for the high that coulda been a low. this week i went all zen and talked a bit about how i try really hard to live my life on the high road. in a blatant display of the universe’s sense of fuck-off humor, the voice of god – or maybe it was just the gannett company – came low and whispered in my ear: “oh yeah? well, high road your way outta this.” those of you who know me in “real” life [how weird is that?] are probably holding your breath, waiting to see which path i will take.
this is a tough one, there is no doubt. but, after much pondering, i have decided that i will, indeed, stay the course. take the high road. i will not pen a scathing blog post containing the words “liar” or “sociopath” or even “repugnant.” i will not write phrases such as “so completely self-absorbed as to be unaware that any other living being exists on this planet for any purpose other than to worship at her altar,” or “outrageous distortion of the truth,” or even “manipulative attention whore.” and i certainly will not be writing anything involving the phrase “fender bender.”
totally not stooping over here. chalk that one up to the oh-so-high column.
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i don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation
in high school i had a pretty bad reputation. as a prankster. a practical joker extraordinaire.
i had two key rivals for the title of jokester supreme: two of my best pals -- b and w. we were great friends, and with my honorary one-of-the-guys status, i was just as often a co-conspirator as i was a victim of one of their gags.
they were typically just your run-of-the-mill pranks. when the senior class before us gave a large statue that was undeniably phallic to the school, we constructed a giant condom out of clear plastic sheeting and added our own artistic touch late one night.
when one of our friends passed out on a couch at a party, we constructed a web of twine and duct tape just inches above his body, and then threw water on him so he’d sit straight up. or at least try to sit straight up.
in a variation on a theme, another friend, t, had the grave misfortune to pass out at yet another party. we’d really never seen anyone so passed out before. nothing seemed to wake him. this unique opportunity could not be wasted. the three of us huddled together to formulate a plan.
in the morning, they woke t at the last possible minute.
“t! get up, man! you’ve got to go to work! holy shit, you’re late, man! get up!”
they hustled him into the shower, into some marginally clean clothes and sent him off to work. there, he came through the door and literally ran into his supervisor. who just happened to be my mom.
“so, t, did you have too much to drink at the party last night?” she asked.
“i know i’m a little late, i’m really sorry.”
“oh, no, that’s fine. um, just how much did you have to drink last night?” she continued with a straight face. you gotta love my mom.
“why? can you still smell it? i’m really sorry.”
“no, you can't smell it. have you looked at yourself in the mirror?”
“i’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you haven’t. looked in a mirror. go ahead, right over there.”
and there, under the hum of the fluorescent lights, t looked into the mirror and felt our sting.
we had shaved off half of his mustache.
we also pulled pranks on a grander scale. we were planning to bring a cow into the school one sunday evening, take it upstairs and leave it in the typing room. b knew people. he could get his hands on farm animals.
however, before we could pull off that one, a friend in ohio tried the same stunt. he learned a valuable lesson: turns out that getting a cow to go upstairs is not a problem. however, getting a cow to go downstairs is a different story altogether. who knew?
scratch the cow. enter the ducks. a lot of ducks. roaming the hallways of the school.
that was a good one.
w decided to get married while we were in college. he had met a very quiet, petite young thing who he adored and they were planning a beautiful spring wedding.
in a moment of what could have only been insanity, w asked b to be in his wedding. and then, in a moment of what could have only been something even more insane than insanity, they asked me to be a bridesmaid.
w’s bride-to-be wasn’t from west virginia. her family – a family of means, it should be said – had never stepped foot in our state. w warned us to be on our best behavior to give her family the best possible impression.
so, b and i rolled up to the rehearsal in a rusted-out truck, both of us wearing overalls and no shoes, with blacked-out teeth.
w couldn’t help but laugh. but his mother was not amused.
“the two of you, over here. now.”
we sat quietly in front of her, b twiddling the piece of hay he had in his mouth only moments earlier.
“i know all about you. both of you. there will be no funny business at this wedding. do you hear me? this wedding will go off without a hitch. and, if there is a hitch, i’m coming after the two of you.”
well, she said wedding. meaning the wedding ceremony. right? well, that’s how b and i chose to interpret it, anyway.
so, the reception was fair game.
we sketched out the plans and assigned tasks. we were nothing if not organized.
at the time, my sister was dating a very nice young man whose family owns a seafood market. my assignment was a piece of cake. and, what with b’s mysterious connections in the livestock sector, his task wasn’t much tougher. we agreed that this was going to be one of the easiest jobs we’d ever pulled.
boy, were we wrong.
the lobsters would not stay in the punch bowls. we tried everything we could think of, but they just were not cooperating. it was a bitch even keeping them on the table, let alone in the punch bowls. eventually, through the process of just putting them back in the punch bowl over and over and over again, i think we wore them down. which was good, because they were positioned “just so” when the guests arrived. of course, mere moments later, they got excited by all the attention and began trying to escape again. i’m sure you’ve heard the expression “herding cats”? well, that’s applesauce compared to herding lobsters.
b and i ducked out the back of the reception hall. not only to avoid w’s mother’s wrath...but also to begin phase ii.
when the happy couple left the reception, headed to their typically decorated car, draped in crepe paper and covered in “just married”, they stopped short.
that would be sheep. two of them. in the car.
and, in case you were wondering: you’ve heard the expression “herding lobsters”? well, that’s nothing compared to trying to convince two grown-ass sheep to get into a car. thank god i wasn’t going to wear that bridesmaid dress again anyway.
i think w’s mother had an aneurysm at that point.
w on the other hand, just laughed. he came over to b and me and gave us each a big hug.
“i love you guys. i knew you wouldn’t let me down. i would have been disappointed if you hadn’t done something. sheep. nice. very nice.”
we got the sheep back out of the car [much easier than getting them in, in case you were still wondering] and sat down on the curb.
“i’m glad he appreciated it.”
“think he’ll still appreciate it when they open up their luggage?”
“think they’ll get the smell out?”
“yeah, probably not. that was a whole lotta ramps* we put in those suitcases.”
“hell yeah it was.”
*okay, after the first comment and several emails, i shall now answer the burning question: "what the hell are ramps?" and i quote: "The flavor and odor of ramps is usually compared to a combination of onions and garlic, and the garlic odor is particularly strong. Strong enough, in fact, that even ramp-lovers will advise caution. If you sit down to a big meal of ramps, don't be surprised if people continue to keep their distance after a few days have passed!" dang. i bet that story wasn't funny at all if you didn't know what ramps were.
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the ripple effect
lately there have been some discussions amongst my friends about my compulsion to always do the “right” thing. i’m aware of my compulsion. heck, i even included it in my list of 100 things about me. it came up during a conversation with my brand-new therapist last week, and we had an interesting discussion about it.
“i tried to treat him with as much kindness as i knew how. i tried very hard to always treat him with dignity. and i tried really hard to respect the commitment we made to one another.”
“what do you mean why?”
“well, after listening to some of the behavior he exhibited in the relationship, i was just wondering why you think you continued to…well, to take the high road for lack of a better expression. i think that a lot of people wouldn’t have. a lot of people in your position would have acted with vengeance. or anger.”
“well, i did act out of anger at times. i’m only human. but i hated it afterward. are you saying i shouldn’t have taken the high road?”
“no, not at all. i just don’t see it very often, and i was curious as to whether or not you’d given any thought as to how you maintained that path during some very ugly times.”
truth is, i hadn’t.
i’ve had my share of “ugly times.” some pretty trivial. others a bit more trying than average. but, after talking with her, i looked back over my life and realized that i have, with a handful of exceptions, taken the high road.
i remember when my ex-husband left our marriage. he had been gone from the house for only a few days when i came home from work to discover that he had been there in my absence. he had removed pretty much all of the material possessions from the house. he was a police officer, and i later learned that he had come to the house in the middle of the day, in uniform, along with a group of his police officer friends, also in uniform. i mean, who's going to call the cops on the cops? at any rate, they emptied the house. bed linens. dishes. big screen television. tools. even the lawnmower, despite the fact that he had moved into a second floor apartment, with no lawn at all.
my girlfriends plotted revenge. it was all within the realm of possibility. schemes to ruin his credit. numerous ways to make his car not run. even just simple ways to embarrass him in front of his family. but, although i did fantasize about making his life as difficult as he had made mine, i never followed through. not even on the relatively harmless plots.
i remember explaining to my best friend and chief conspirator.
“yes, i am angry. yes, i am hurt. yes, i am scared to death. but, here’s the thing: years from now, when all of this is a distant memory, i want to be able to look back and say that i was the best person i knew how to be. that i never stooped. i never acted in such a way as to have to feel embarrassed by what i did. one day, i honestly believe he will look back and feel shame. he has treated me unfairly. let him be the one who has to live with that. let him be the one whose conscience bothers him. it will not be me.”
“so…no sugar in the gas tank?”
“no. as much as i’d love it, no sugar in the gas tank.”
i am the girl who waves to you when you let me into traffic. i am the girl who thanks the fast food worker and tells them to have a nice day. i am the girl who compliments the woman on the metro on her scarf.
why? because it’s the right thing to do. because we are all human. because, i have always believed that it makes a difference.
i used to think of this as a ripple effect. like pitching a small stone out onto still water. that my small acts of kindness and humanity – my compliments, my thanks – would inspire others to act in kind. you know, sort of like that volkswagen commercial where the chick sees the volkswagen and smiles, and then she smiles at the guy on the street, and then he smiles and helps someone who dropped something…like that. like i’m the volkswagen when i do little niceties.
but, as i thought about this, looking for the answer to my therapist’s question, i see that the ripple effect has been something entirely different. the ripple effect has been in my own life. my own actions.
these small acts of kindness, this effort to treat each human being with dignity and respect, taking advantage of even the smallest interaction as a way to “practice” the art of being nice…these things have been like a passbook savings account. little deposits. saving for a rainy day.
and, when the rainy days have come, i see now that the dividends have been great. it feels good to look back on my life and see that, when the storms came, when it came down to it, i didn’t falter. i didn’t stoop.
by trying every day in ways both large and small to do the “right” thing, i feel as though i’ve practiced for the important things. the hard things. it’s now my habit to do the “right” thing.
living in a city, it’s hard to keep making deposits. no one waves when you let them into traffic. the fast food worker has already slammed the drive-thru window in my face before “thank you” has left my lips. the woman on the metro looks at me like i’m going to ask her for money. no one smiles at anyone. no one says “excuse me.”
maybe i'm nuts. maybe i'm just a doormat. but, i don't think that's what it is. i think i might actually be onto something. so, i’ll keep on making those deposits. because you never know when it’s going to rain.
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the age-old question: gloves or mittens?
so, i was having blogger’s block again this morning. you know, it comes...it goes. i tried my old stand-by trick: if-i-write-my-post-then-i-will-reward-myself-with-[insert reward-type-item-usually-food-related here]. no luck.
[ed. note: for a painfully honest look at writing and the whole writer’s block thing, check out adaptation. but, before you go, be sure to read the second in my series of decorative-yet-functional-movie reviews: adaptation. a lot of people will not get it. some people will get it, and think it’s smug and impressed with itself, and hate it. some people will get it and think it’s smug and brilliant, and love it. because i don’t really know you, i’m not sure which group you’ll fall into. since it’s a crap shoot, make it a matinee, or get someone else to pay for your ticket. if you’re in the “like it” group, you’ll think it’s whipsmart and want to discuss it ad nauseam. if you’re in the “hate it” group, it will be the longest hour and 54 minutes of your life --- but,the good news is that you'll probably know pretty early on that you're hating it, so you can sneak out and go see the two towers again. or maybe chicago. but, remember, chicago is a musical, so don't sneak into that one if you don't like musicals. anyway, good luck.]
i had a couple of ideas i bounced around, but nothing was really turning the old crank this morning. so, i decided to punt and look for outside inspiration. i ran a couple of google searches. nada. visited a couple of my favorite reads only to pull my hair out when i discovered that the one thing i had been prepared to write about had been written about on two of my frequently read blogs within the past couple of weeks. dammitalltohell.
in what can only be called an act of desperation, i decided to google “blog topics.” and, bingo, there it was: the topics blog.
seemed like just the ticket. a list of ideas to help the blocked blogger put up a great post.
here are just a few of the suggestions on the list:
1. mittens or gloves: which do you prefer? why? if you prefer neither, then why?
2. imagine that you are a fly on the wall of an important event. describe what you see and hear and feel.
3. write a post that is an open letter to someone who will probably never read it.
okay, let’s see….
1. no fucking way.
2. you’ve got to be kidding me.
3. now this one might have potential.
dear guy-who-made-these-suggestions, jr.*:
how is your dad, guy-who-made-these-suggestions, sr.? and your mom, mrs. guy-who-made-these-suggestions? which do you prefer, mittens or gloves? why? if you don’t have a preference, then why not?
have you ever been a fly on the wall at an important event? me neither. but, wouldn’t it be fun if you imagined that you were, and then you wrote a blog post about what you might have seen or felt? man, that would be awesome! i bet lots of people would read it, and they would all think that it was a very interesting piece. you would probably get lots of comments, too! i bet some would say, “wow. that was really creative.” others might say, “man, that was cutting edge.” and, still others might say, “i wonder if guy-who-made-these-suggestions, jr. prefers gloves or mittens. I wish he had written about that instead of this stupid pretend-to-be-a-fly-on-the-wall bullshit.”
hey, guy-who-made-these-suggestions, jr., you can’t please all of the people all of the time. am I right?
very truly yours,
oh, forget it. that would suck.
*not his real name. but you probably guessed that already. how sad is that? i couldn't even get past my block to come up with a creative pseudonym.
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two thumbs up...their asses
note for those of you linking here via red synapse : i'm pretty sure that her very kind comment refers to friday's post...not today's. so, feel free to scroll down...that way you don't read today's post and leave scratching your head. we now return to today's post, already in progress....
checked out the movie chicago this weekend. i have to say that i thought it was a whole helluva lot of fun, with very impressive performances from all involved [you go with your bad, unconventional-looking-for-a-hollywood-actor-self, john c. reilly! way to steal the show!], very nicely filmed with a great feel. i found myself fighting the urge to applaud out loud after every single musical number. and, after a couple of particularly fun numbers, i actually wanted to give a big wolf whistle or something. except i can’t whistle, so that was a problem.
there are a lot of chicks with great bodies in black satin corset-y type outfits with legs that go from the floor all the way up to their asses, wearing fishnets and garters and…well, it was all pretty hot. so hot, in fact, that a couple of numbers in the movie made me want to leave immediately and go have a whole lot of hot steamy sex up against a wall while wearing garters and stockings and stilettos.
see, this is the kind of review you just don’t get from ebert & roeper.
not too long ago, i watched xxx on dvd. before we continue, please reread that sentence. i watched xxx on dvd; not “i watched a xxx dvd.”
not that i haven’t done that.
but that’s not what this post is about.
anyway, after it was over, i said, “huh. that didn’t suck nearly as much as i thought it would.”
my friend said, “yeah, i didn’t hate it as much as I expected to.”
“i mean, it’s not great cinema or anything, but it wasn’t bad for mindless entertainment,” i continued.
“could have been worse,” we agreed.
how come you never see movie reviews like those? just tell people the truth and let them decide if they want to see it or not. there are a lot of people who would pay to see a movie that “doesn’t completely suck.” trust me. why go overboard? why is everything “incredible!” or “stunning”?
sometimes i think those quotes are from reviews that read something like this:
“someone thinks this piece of shit is worth you spending $10 of your hard-earned money? incredible!”
“that anyone actually greenlighted this movie is stunning.”
anyway, here’s my review for chicago: defintely check out this movie, unless you don’t dig on musicals, in which case you’ll fucking hate it, but you probably guessed that already because you’re not a total shit-for-brains [but, if you hate musicals and you still pay to see it, just know in advance that you have forfeited all bitching and moaning rights. it's a musical. you're not going to like it.]. if you go, you’ll be entertained, and when it’s all over, you’ll probably have the urge to force feed renee zelleweger an 18-piece bucket of original recipe from kfc. oh, and you'll more than likely be in the mood for a little nookie action involving garters.
ebert & roeper, take note: this is the kind of functional movie review the people want. i suggest you follow suit.
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i grew up in a small town. actually, i grew up outside a small town, in an area that wasn’t even an official town. i grew up in what is often referred to as “the sticks.”
but even in a town as small as mine, there were "haves" and "have nots." our town is divided – in every sense of the word – by a river. on one side of the river were the “haves.” the other side, the “have nots.” i grew up on the “have not” side.
you’d think that a bunch of kids who spent their formative years being looked down upon by kids who thought they were better than us because their parents had some money would treat each other with kindness. or at least understanding. but, as is the way with many things in this world, that kind of thing just rolls downhill.
within our world of the “have nots” there was still a pecking order. there were kids like me who probably would have been "officially" considered lower-middle class, and then there were the really poor kids. dirt farmers, as they were often called. these were kids who didn’t get to take a bath every day. kids who wore the same clothes two days in a row. kids whose eyes looked sad.
they lived in trailers. in shacks with outhouses. i remember one brother and sister -- jimbo and teresa -- who lived in an rv. they walked out of the hollow, out to the “hard road” to catch the bus every day.
the school system didn’t make it much better for them, despite their good intentions. their subsidized lunch cards were a different color than the regular lunch cards. blue, as i recall.
“hey, jimbo! what color is your lunch ticket?” the boys would taunt.
i remember once, around christmas in my sixth grade year, my school had a clothing drive. my mom gathered up some clothes i had outgrown and sent them to school with me in a grocery bag. i remember asking her why we didn’t have a yard sale instead. we could use the money ourselves, after all.
“and sell that that sweater for, what, fifty cents? and what will you buy with that fifty cents? gum? candy? would you rather have fifty cents to buy gum which will be gone in a day, or give that sweater to someone who will wear it to stay warm all winter?”
well, i had been saving up for a record player, and could have used the fifty cents, but i had to admit that i could see her point.
a few days later, teresa got on the bus. my friend, carrie, elbowed me.
“hey, isn’t that your sweater? teresa is wearing your sweater! hey, teresa, nice sweater! wherever did you get it?”
and, sure enough, it was my sweater. one that i had carried to school in the brown paper grocery bag from fas-chek. the school had redistributed the donated items to some needy students at our own school. i’m sure they meant well.
my cheeks were hot with embarrassment for teresa. i couldn’t look at her. i kept elbowing carrie, whispering to her to cut it out. but, the rest of the not-quite-so-poor kids had figured out what was going on and had already joined in a chorus of jeers.
i never saw her wear it again.
that spring, those of us who rode the bus the furthest were sitting in the back of the bus. one of the boys proudly showed off a polaroid photo of his new dog – a beautiful german shepherd pup. talk quickly turned to one-upmanship as the boys tried to outdo one another with stories of their own dogs.
“well, my dog is the best huntin’ dog ever – my dad says he’s better than any huntin’ dog we ever had before.”
“oh, yeah, well, i taught my dog to fetch. whatever you throw, he’ll bring it right back to you.”
“so? my dog swims with me in the river up at the falls.”
in the midst of the boasting, the biggest, and meanest, of the boys waved his hand to quiet the others.
“watch this,” he sneered.
“hey, jimbo, what about you? you got a dog?”
a few of the boys snickered.
jimbo stared at the floor.
“i guess when you live in a car you can’t have a dog.”
the boys laughed.
“i don’t live in no car!” jimbo snapped.
“it don’t matter,” another boy chimed in, “he couldn’t afford to feed it anyway. you can’t get no blue lunch card for a dog!”
“you don’t know nothin’” jimbo muttered. his sister, sitting beside him, whispered to him.
“oh, yeah? well, if i don’t know nothin’, then why don’t you just tell me?”
“we got pets,” jimbo started. his sister elbowed him. as he turned to her, she shook her head from side to side.
i felt my cheeks growing hot again. inside my head, i could hear myself telling him, “just let it go. stop now. please.”
the boys were on edge now, some kneeling in their seats, leaning over to get a better look at the scene.
teresa was whispering to jimbo again.
“well? come on then, tell us about your pets!” said the ringleader.
it was suddenly quiet. you could hear the drone of the bus. the cha-chunk as it rumbled across the potholes of the backroad. the steady sshhhing of the tires as they made their way through the rain.
it was so quiet, i wasn’t sure i had actually heard it.
“we got chickens.”
the boys erupted in laughter.
“chickens?! chickens ain’t pets! i bet you eat those chickens!”
“do not! those are pet chickens!” he was angry now. angry for playing into their hands. angry that he hadn’t listened to his sister and kept quiet. angry at the world.
“oh, yeah. well, my dog does tricks. what kind of tricks can your chickens do?”
there was a pause before the answer came.
“well…” he started. “well…my chickens run so fast, it looks like they’re poppin’ wheelies!”
the laughter was deafening.
the bus trundled to a halt.
jimbo raced to the door, bounded down the steps and streaked toward the treeline.
he never looked back.
teresa rose more slowly. she walked quietly to the door. she stopped at the top of the stairs, and turned to face the back of the bus. it was only a moment that she lingered there, her eyes locked on the still-whooping boys in the back of the bus. only a moment before she turned again and walked silently down the stairs and stepped onto the muddy shoulder.
there, in the rain, her books at her side, she turned and stood, facing the bus. staring. she stood there on the shoulder, staring after the bus for as long as i could see out the back window. stock still. staring.
i stared after her until she was out of sight. when she had faded from view, i turned around and slumped down into my seat.
i hated those boys for what they did. i hated myself for not standing up to them. i hated my mom for making me give that sweater to the school. i hated blue lunch cards. i was angry at the world.
they never came back to school.
some days, as the bus rolled past the spot where they used to wait for the bus, i’d press my face against the glass, looking for them.
but they never came back.
years later, when i was living in atlanta, i came home to visit. i stopped into the local grocery to run an errand for my mother. as i placed my items on the counter, a quiet voice said, “i bet you don’t remember me, do you?”
her face was not familiar to me. but her eyes were. and something in the way she carried herself.
the plastic name badge read teresa
“i do. i do remember you, teresa. how are you?”
“oh, you know. how are you? i still see your mom around town. she’s always so nice to me. i can’t remember where she said you live at now.”
“atlanta. i live in atlanta now.”
“oh, that must be so nice. a big city like that. you were always so smart. i always knew you’d get out. that you’d make it out.”
my cheeks were hot again, and i couldn’t look her in the eye. it was something in the way she said it. the way she emphasized you.
i realized in that moment that, just as teresa always knew i would make it out, she always knew that she wouldn’t.
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worth the walk
okay, so yesterday’s post saw a couple of emails from readers who suggested i steer clear of religious humor.
who knew? maybe i should have just told the story about the time three of them did mushrooms and one of them went upstairs and called the cops and reported that they “better get over here right now because there’s a dragon in our basement” without telling the other two about it.
it’s such a balmy and non-january-like day here in dc that i decided to hop off the metro at dupont circle and walk the couple of extra blocks to my office.
it’s madness, i tell you – sheer madness!
at any rate, i popped into a dc institution – kramerbooks [or, as some people who think they’re all cool and literary and stuff like to refer to it, kramer’s. to which i say: jack kerouac is dead and only french people should wear berets, you poseur.] to grab some hot tea and a bagel.
well, what to my wondering eyes [as opposed to wandering eyes, because that’s a whole other thing.] did appear but this very special, limited-time only item on the specialty drinks menu:
the trent lotté: separate – but equal – parts of black coffee and steamed milk
that right there? made my whole day.
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southern hospitality with a shot of southern comfort
i have no idea what made me think of it, but this morning i remembered a story that a guy i used to know told me years ago. it was one of those stories that conjured up such vivid images in my head, such great word pictures, that it made me wish i had written it. not lived it, necessarily, but written it.
this guy had a lot of great stories, actually. most of them were from his college days and started out in one of three ways:
1. [insert friend’s name here] and i were drunk
2. [insert friend’s name here] and i were high
3. [insert friend’s name here] and i were on mushrooms
it was all just healthy college experimentation, but it led to some really funny stories. this particular story fell into category #3 as i recall.
they went to college in the south. it was a university of irony -- a somewhat stodgy and prestigious institution filled with the offspring of old money families planted squarely in the heart of redneck country. as is often the case, there was a certain tension between the local folks and the pseudo-ivy-league-legacy students in their seersucker and madras.
it happened to be halloween, and this guy and his friend decided that they would indulge in some mushrooms and then get dressed up and head out to some parties.
he decided to go as a vampire, and went all out with the cape and the fangs and the requisite fake blood. his friend hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into a costume, so he had to come up with something at the last minute. of course, coming up with a halloween costume at the last minute can be a daunting task in and of itself. but, when you’re on mushrooms and trying to come up with a costume at the last minute, well, it lends a whole new aspect to the challenge.
the two of them wandered around their fraternity house to see what they could possibly fashion into an acceptable costume. they walked out into the backyard of the house where the current project-in-progress was a deck that they were building. as they looked out at the stack of lumber, the costumeless one said, “dude, i have the best idea.”
and, with that, he went to work with a hammer and nails, dispatching his partner in crime to the linen closet to retrieve a sheet.
“hey – bring the fake blood, too,” he called after him.
thirty minutes later, oh-so-pleased with their handiwork, the two of them set out for an evening of merriment. they caught a ride with some friends to a party that was at a friend's house off campus. and, as sometimes happens when you get tanked, they looked around at the end of the night to find themselves stranded.
“dude, it’s halloween. i’m sure there are plenty of people still out. there must be people headed back toward campus…we’ll just hitch.”
“hitch?! man, this cross is heavy as shit. i don’t think i can drag it all the way back to campus. not to mention i'm wearing a sheet -- i'm freezing my ass off.”
“dude, that lumber is for the deck. we gotta take it back.”
so, the two of them set off toward campus. dracula with his cape fluttering in the moonlight, and his compadre: jesus christ. with cross in tow.
it wasn’t long before they saw headlights.
as the vehicle neared, they saw that it was a rusted-out chevy pickup with three guys in the front seat. and a confederate flag hanging in the cab window.
the truck slowed, stopping beside the two figures on the shoulder of the road.
“hey, man, can we get a lift?”
the men stared in silence. one of them threw a beer can out the window.
“shit…this might be bad, man,” muttered dracula.
the chevy’s rusted out muffler rumbled through the quiet night air. alan jackson was faintly audible through the open window of the truck cab. after what seemed like an eternity, one of the men in the truck finally spoke.
“who the fuck do you think you are?”
after an evening of mushrooms and alcohol, the answer offered probably seemed like a good one.
“dude, he’s dracula and i’m jesus christ!”
“oh, man – drop the cross and run!”
they never looked back, but they heard the truck doors open and the drunken ranting as the guys tumbled out onto the ground, too drunk to stand up for long.
“goddamn sacrilegious motherfuckin’ sonsofbitches!” echoed through the crisp autumn air.
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the double-edged sword of fan mail
to: tequila mockingbird
from: tool-io iglesias*
re: your web site
hello! i found your web site today and enjoyed reading your stories. you are a very good writer, and are very funny.
i am a writer in la, currently working on my first screenplay. i just wanted to let you know that i enjoyed your stories so much that i borrowed a couple of them and incorporated them into my screenplay! the two girls a sharpie and a bathroom wall story – i thought that one was hysterical! and the “achy-breaky heart” line from your rant about the pax network. that one was a classic.
so, maybe you’ll be famous!
keep up the great writing!
to: tool-io iglesias
from: tequila mockingbird
re: the crack pipe in your hand
it’s always wonderful to hear from folks who appreciate my little corner of the web. and i’m flattered not only that you enjoy my stories, but also that you took the time to sit down and write me such a nice note. after all, with cojones the size of yours, that was probably a very painful experience, sitting at a keyboard for that long.
first of all, i think it would be really helpful if you put down the crack pipe long enough to read this. specifically, item number one.
second, find yourself a dictionary and look up the word “writer.” and, while you have that dictionary in hand, let’s take a gander at the word “borrow.” am i to assume that you are using the term in the sense of appropriation, as in “ms. ryder said she was only borrowing the items,” as opposed to the more widely used sense of taking temporarily, as in “i’m borrowing this kleenex, but i’ll return it when i’m finished.”
i enjoy writing, and am grateful for the outlet. i’m also very grateful for a readership. and, honestly, somewhere, deep in this heart o’ mine, i’m sure there’s an echo of a dream bouncing around. the dream that, one day, i can walk out of this hellmouth i slave away in day after day and into the bright sunshiny world of paid authorship.
okay, sure, i’m not actually taking proactive steps to make that happen, but you never know when some editor at random house will google “nigella lawson’s ass” [my current number one search hit] and stumble onto my site and run through the halls screaming, “ohmygod! book me on the next flight to dc! i’ve found the next….”
hmm…therein lies a problem. i’m not really the “next” anyone. what is it i write? essays? short stories? columns? maybe some enterprising editor will decide to do a “best of” anthology for weblogs or something.
anyway, tool-io, the problem with your little proposal is that if i give away all my stories to you, then how can i be the next big thing? can’t. so, while i’d love to give away the echo of my dream, and make you a bunch of money out in hollywood in the process, i’m afraid that’s just not going to happen. and, as for making me famous…well, without authorship credit for me, i’m not sure i understand how you “borrowing” my work accomplishes that. thanks for the thought, though.
so, while i can’t believe i have to even say this:
everything contained on these pages is now, officially, copyrighted. all rights fucking reserved.
thanks for writing. come back and visit anytime. and good luck with that screenplay.
*names have been changed to protect the moronic
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it's not easy being green
i'm out of the office today. taking a lame ass class. you know how they say that doctors make the worst patients? yeah, well trainers make the worst students.
since i'm bored off my rocker, i've been passing the last hour or so playing one of my favorite games: "if i worked at j. crew." in this game, you take an average, every day color -- in today's case, green -- and you try and come up with as many different names for it as you can. names that make people want to pay $60 for a green cotton sweater that should only cost $30.
so far, so good....
this afternoon: blue!
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dude, i bet bill clinton knows who richard marx is
i'm friends with a couple, k, and her boyfriend, r. they're sort of a study in contrasts, i guess you could say. anyway, i met r for the first time last summer at a cookout. we spent most of the evening talking politics. i had a great time, but i'm not so sure that r enjoyed it nearly as much as i did.
see, i was drunk. shocking, yes?
and, i think i might be some sort of liberal. and, uh…r is…uh…not one.
so, we had a great – albeit spirited – time talking politics.
for the record, i’m perfectly okay-fine with people who don’t agree with me. i can totally respect someone else’s divergent view on a subject. [ed. note: this smacks of an impending caveat. take cover.] as long as they don’t seem to be blindly following the party line. my grandmother instilled in me the value that, it’s okay to have an opinion…just be sure it’s a well-reasoned and carefully thought-out opinion. and, in her case, it should also be exactly what rush limbaugh thought.
rush limbaugh, lima beans and rhubarb: three things my grandmother never could convince me didn’t suck raw ass.
anyway, i digress. shocking, yes?
r didn’t seem to be one of those people who was okay with differing viewpoints. he wasn’t nasty or anything, but he seemed totally convinced that i was espousing “liberal bullshit” purely because i had been taken captive by a world wildlife federation junta and brainwashed into believing that global warming is bad. as opposed to actually having reached that conclusion based on my own independent reading and thought.
we had a lively discussion centering around his assertion that, if gary condit had been a republican, women’s groups would have been attacking him mercilessly during the chandra levy scandal. i assured r that all of the women’s groups to which i belong, and there are several, are opposed to skeevy murderers – be they liberal or conservative.
“well, then why aren’t they saying something, huh? if he was a republican, you wouldn’t be able to shut them up!”
“number one, r, i think it’s a given that people, in general – men, women, democrat, republican – are opposed to killing other people. even if they don’t populate the sunday talk shows with talking heads saying, ‘we think killing people is horrible.’ number two, the reason we hate you is because you say things like ‘wouldn’t be able to shut them up.’”
see, i thought that was kind of funny.
anyway, a couple of weeks ago, a group of us went out to drink over-priced “martinis.” these days anything served in a martini glass is called a martini. hell, over the holidays i saw oprah serve “mashed potato martinis,” which were nothing more than a scoop of mashed potatoes in a martini glass. all i’m saying is that i’m a little weary of shelling out $8 a drink just because you put my booze in a cool glass. dump it in one of those red plastic party cups [you totally know the ones i mean, right? the shiny red plastic cups that there is always a stack of next to any keg at any college party. i love those things.] and knock $4 off my drink price. i’m not proud. just thirsty.
what the hell was i talking about?!
so, we’re lounging on this nice couch at this swanky bar and r is sitting next to me. we are the two designated techies/geeks in the group, so he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a canon digital elph camera.
“check out my new toy,” he beams.
“nice! m has the same camera, actually. it’s really nice. takes great shots. i used it to take a few shots of my niece over thanksgiving, and then i photoshopped them and printed them out in black and white, put them in some really nice black frames with oversize white mats and am giving them as christmas gifts.”
“uh…anyway…it’s a nice camera.”
“i haven’t really had a chance to play with it very much. i just got it last week.”
so, i show r a few things about how his camera works. i show him the b&w setting. the sepia setting. how i use the high color contrast setting for the outdoor shots that i convert to b&w because i think it gives a more dramatic result. he’s pretty excited.
“i bought it for my trip to the white house.”
“oh, that’s cool…did you get to go on a tour? they’re still not allowing general public tours, though, right?”
“oh, this wasn’t a tour. i got to go meet the president!”
“very cool, r! i know that must have been really exciting for you.”
“it was amazing! i mean, i was so nervous! and they had to do a background check just for me to meet him for, like, 20 seconds! and, i got to shake his hand, and they took our picture together…it was so cool!”
at this point, k leans over and says, “tell her what an ass you made out of yourself.”
“well, i was nervous! i mean, i didn’t know what to say to him. so, i just introduced myself – i told him my name.”
“like the president is going to remember your name,” k laughed.
so, i thought i'd try to lighten things up a bit. make r feel less embarrassed.
“you know, r, i am totally familiar with that feeling. you meet someone famous, and you have no idea what to say, and then, after everything is over, you look back and think, ‘man, what was i thinking?!'
like the time i was working the door at bennigan’s in college. and, richard marx was in town for a concert. and, after their sound check or whatever, he and his band came into bennigan’s to get some nachos and some beer. and i’m working the door, and i turn around and say ‘welcome to bennigan’s!’ and it’s totally richard marx! and he says, ‘table for six…and we’d like something out of the way if you can do that.’ and, instead of saying, ‘why certainly, mr. marx!’ or even, ‘of course – i’m a big fan’ even though i wasn’t really a fan at all, instead of any of those things, i just looked at him and said, ‘wow. cool.’
my friend c still won't let me live that one down! so, anyway, i totally get where you were with that whole 'hi, my name is' thing.”
he just stares at me like i have a third arm growing out of my forehead, and then it dawns on me: maybe r doesn’t know who richard marx is. so, again, in an effort to make things better, i say,
“you know richard marx, right? canadian pop star richard marx? sort of a helmet hair guy. hold on to the nights? should’ve known better? don’t mean nothin’? no?”
“i know who he is. are you saying that your experience is similar to me meeting the president?”
“well, you know…uh…yeah…in a way…sort of.”
even though i'm thinking 'lighten up, francis,' i'm also feeling sort of bad, because i think r has the impression that i'm mocking him. probably because i'm an evil liberal sent to destroy the world and keep him from retiring early in the caymans or something like that. so, i try to smooth things over a bit.
"you know, r, uh...i'm not trying to make light of your experience. it's not like this is some liberal mocking of your meeting the republican president...."
at this point, our friend j catches some fragment of our conversation and leans in.
"the republican president? i can't fucking stand that jackass."
okay. so much for smoothing things over.
anyway, i'm almost 100% sure that he didn't really know who richard marx is. 'cause if he did, he totally would have appreciated my story.
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