Que Sera Sera


I’ve been kind of busy and stuff, but I did find the time to engage myself in another fierce Plug/CounterPlug. I also drew a picture of myself with a sunburn where I look like Andrea Zuckerman from 90210. It’s the little things.

DO i SOUND like A musical ROBOT?

I have a lot of rare but unmarketable skills, like being able to immediately name the celebrity voiceover in commercials, or having excellent penmanship, or always swallowing. However, I do not have any skills that could be properly displayed in a talent show, which is why, growing up, I got really excited every year about the school spelling bee. Words! That’s all I got! Bring it on! I mean, come on, I sleep with a dictionary! You think I’m kidding but I’m not!

Perhaps I got a little too into the spelling bee, because last summer I uncovered a 7th grade journal wherein I had filled an entire page with ways to “psyche out Lisa S., since she is my only real competition” the night before the spelling bee in 1989. I did not win the spelling bee in 1989, or 1991, or 1988, or 1987, for that matter. I always came close—like top three close—but for all my word skills, I am just not spelling bee winner material.

I now live with some literary like-minded ladies, so my roommates and I were all very interested to see that our favorite neighborhood dive, Freddy’s, would be hosting a spelling bee on August 25. We’ve had the flyer on our fridge all month, and it’s been all anyone in our house could really talk about, save for a few other issues like Halloween costume ideas and rent increases and marriage. I would go so far as to say that, in the past week, our house has been abuzz with speculation. What if one of us won? Would they make us take a shot as we were promoted to the next round? Would there be a trophy? Could we wear the trophy around our neck like Flavor Flav? So last night we all walked down the street and paid our $1 and had the spellmaster put our names on the list, and I got so excited that I could feel my skin getting hot just sitting there.

Then I got out on my very first word.

Seriously, all reason and knowledge just flew out of my head. The very nice spellmaster guy said, “accelerate,” and looked at me kindly, and my mind went completely blank like I’d never even heard English before. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE SAID, I could not put understand, but there was that microphone in front of me waiting for it, and so I just opened my mouth and busted out with some E-X-C-E-L-E-R-A-T-E. Um. WTF. Clearly I’ve been using too much Microsoft Office and not doing enough driving, but man! That’s some serious loss of cred right there.

So I had the walk of shame back to our table, and now my skin was hot for a different reason, but the rest of the bee was really fun to watch. I put my money on the guy named Linus who ended up winning, so I sort of won too. Only not at all, not really.

There was a guy there taping the evening for a segment on WNYC’s The Next Big Thing, and he interviewed me for about five minutes, during which I somehow managed to give some begging-to-be-used soundbite encouraging small children to drink. I really hope my parents don’t hear that if it airs. For one thing, they’ll realize all those accelerated classes didn’t do shit.

Meet the Missus, or How I Got Married In Front of CBGB's

My husband, right after his road trip with Neal Cassady. Oh how I love that man of mine.

Trouble, brewed

Hurricane Parish is due to roll into Penn Station around 11 am tomorrow. I will do my damnedest not to wake up married or in jail or on a railroad train headed west come Sunday morning, but I make no promises. A girl can only protest so much.

The drunken haircuts, however, are inevitable.

(Lame words in this post: damnedest, Hurricane Parish

Totally redeemed by: cute boy, tattoo of an atom)

These Foolish Things

It’s hardly news that being in a relationship makes you do crazy things, or stupid things, or things that make you cringe when you look back at them later. And typically, the other person in the relationship is there to witness these things, making them even harder to look back on without cringing once you’re out of the relationship. In the interest of honesty and good karma, I will now admit to you three embarrassingly cringe-worthy things I have done under the auspices of love that, until this moment, no one knew about except for me.

(I feel like I should admit that I’m doing this because last week was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had, and although I’m not religious or superstitious, for some reason I believe that I need to counter all of my recent good tidings just in case, like making a Shame Offering to the Luck Gods or something. Okay, maybe I am superstitious. I really liked last week, though, so let’s give this a try.)

1) My long-term serious we are totally in love boyfriend broke up with me, completely out of the blue. Then he quit speaking to me, immediately after a conversation where he said, "I don't want us to quit speaking!" I was pretty confused and shocked and devastated. I was also pretty furious, for a myriad of reasons, one of which will become abundantly clear to you in the next sentence. So anyway, a week after the breakup I had to go to the drugstore to buy a home pregnancy test, and instead I somehow I ended up in the deodorant aisle, sitting on the floor and sniffing his brand of anti-perspirant and trying not to cry because I missed him and hated him so much. I am not proud of this. So not proud that I felt compelled to share it with a multitude of strangers, evidently.

(I do feel that I should add that, since we were no longer speaking, he didn't know anything about the home pregnancy test, but after everything that had happened, I certainly wasn't going to call him and tell him.)

2) I started sort of seeing this boy who was very nice and really into me, a little more into me than I was into him, because I knew he wasn’t my type and it wouldn’t work, and also because I knew better than to be getting into anything at the time, but then I started to like him in spite of myself, and was looking for a sign to go either way. Around this time, he wrote me a letter, and it was really not that remarkable or lifechanging a letter, except for this one sentence, which was so breathtakingly lovely and wise that I thought, wow, I have completely misjudged this person! Maybe I should allow myself to fall for him! But the discrepancy nested in my brain, and it kept digging at me so much that one night I got out of bed and turned on the computer and googled that exact sentence to see if he had lifted it from someplace else. Google turned up nothing. Jesus God, can you believe that shit? Clearly I am horrible person and unworthy of human interaction.

3) Why am I doing this again? Because I think it’s good karma to admit it or something? What the hell gave me that idea? Fuck karma. I’ll take my good week and see what happens.

Published P.S.

I promise not to keep talking about it, but I will admit to you right now, in all honesty, that seeing my name in print in that book today was the best feeling I have ever felt, ever, in my entire life. Maybe one day I’ll make a baby or fall in love or something, but until then, this is it. Coming in a close second was realizing that my bio was on the same page as Michael Ian Black’s bio, thus sealing us for all posterity as Library of Congress BF + GF 4-EVA.

It’s definitely a start.


This book comes out today, and I have a few things in it; nothing big, stuff you’ve probably seen before—in fact, I’m prouder of the bio I wrote for myself than the actual pieces, which are tiny and previously available online, so maybe don’t buy it at all, because doing so wouldn’t line my pockets any more than they’ve already been lined, maybe instead just go pick it up off the shelf of your local bookstore and leaf through it, and if you want to buy it anyway, sure, whatever, it's a funny book so go ahead, but I hope that while you’re in that bookstore, you flirt with some nice quiet dark-haired girl, maybe a girl with glasses who’s not displaying her midriff or her jutting hipbones, because God knows I’ve spent enough of my life in bookstores and libraries, watching boys and wishing I had the plums to flirt with them, but instead I’d just look away and read the same Edward Gorey book for the nine hundredth time, so, you know, if you pick up this book and read my little pieces and enjoy them, we’ll call it even if you end up flirting with some nice girl. But not in a cheesy way, because come on, she deserves a little better than that.

Choked up

I’ve always sort of prided myself on not getting emotional about things that other people typically get emotional about. I don’t cry at weddings or funerals, I roll my eyes and make Mystery Science Theater comments at movies meant to tug on your heartstrings, and large shows of heartfelt group emotion make me want to sneak off to some corner and smoke a cigarette, and I don’t even smoke.

However, I’ve come to realize that there are four things that make me tear up without fail, and those four things are baby elephants, The Elephant Man, the part in The Sound of Music where Christopher Plummer is singing Edelweiss on stage in front of all the Nazis and his voice catches and Julie Andrews comes out from the wings to help him, and whenever the little boy I used to babysit for would ask me to sing You Are My Sunshine to him before he went to bed.

Baby elephants get me going just because GOD, have you ever SEEN baby elephants? My eyes are getting wet while I’m writing this, and I can’t even help it, because Jesus Christ, baby elephants are the sweetest things on the entire planet. And then they grow up to be grown-up elephants, and grown-up elephants are like the wisest most noble things on the entire planet. One day at lunch, Heather told me the story of these elephants at a Tokyo zoo during WWII, and how the zookeepers had to mercy kill all of the animals because they didn’t want them to run loose in the city during the bombings, but the elephants were smart enough to realize there was poison in their food, so they just quit eating, and starved to death, but were kind to the zookeepers until the very end, and I got so upset while she told me this that I had to stop eating and get lots of napkins for my eyes and take a walk around the block before I went back to the office.

The Elephant Man is totally unrelated to the baby elephants, but I seriously cannot even speak about him and his sad life or I get really angry and upset. My college boyfriend used to think it was funny to say, “I am not an animal!” in a John Merrick voice, but he learned pretty quickly that we wouldn’t be sharing a bed or a meal or a car ride home if he kept that shit up. It only took him a few times for this point to really be drilled home.

I realize that The Sound of Music is a big old gay musical, but it’s also one of my favorite movies of all time, because back when I was 8 years old and the Brown family was on the leading edge of technology with our Betamax, my brother and I would watch one of three movies after school every single day: Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back, or The Sound of Music. As a result, I still remember every single line of dialogue from all of these movies, including the noises the spy droid makes when it lands on the ice planet Hoth, and if you think that knowing something like that and being a 20-something white girl won’t get you laid, you are so, so wrong. Anyway, I am not a musical person at all, really, but The Sound of Music will always have a place in my heart, especially that scene where Christopher Plummer gets all choked up and stops singing and Julie Andrews has got his back, and they’re so in love and brave in the face of the Nazis, and then the whole concert hall starts sing Edelweiss with them, and man, that’s just some heartwringing shit right there.*

The You Are My Sunshine story might seem really lame, but lame is sort of a moot point when you’re talking about what makes you cry. And it wasn’t that I cried because the little boy I babysat for was really cute, or that the way he asked me to sing it was a really cute way, because both of those are true, but it was the actual singing of the song that got me. That’s right: I would tear myself up with my own rendition of You Are My Sunshine. The reason why is a long story that involves true love and heartbreak and misty watercolored memories, but would telling the story make me cry? No. Just singing the song, apparently.

*As a sidenote, another part of this movie made me cry once, the part where Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer realize they’re in love, and sing that song about how somewhere in their youth or childhood, they must have done something good. I was sixteen years old, and suddenly burst into tears while sitting on the couch and shocked my whole family, because that was the first time in my life that I had ever cried at a movie, not counting Raiders of the Lost Ark, but that was really more screaming then crying, because seriously, who takes a four year old to see Raiders of the Lost Ark by telling her it’s about Noah’s Ark? My parents, evidently. Anyway, in my defense, I was sixteen years old and had just discovered that my high school boyfriend had been cheating on me with some girl named Meagan and the whole school knew it including my best friends but not me, and I challenge you not to burst into tears under the same circumstances. That’s a tight spot.

Maintaining One’s Shit

Yesterday afternoon, Ryan and I went to see The Village. A few minutes into the movie, I leaned over and whispered to him, “I’m just warning you: I might lose my shit.” I really like scary movies—good freaky scary movies, not gory slasher films—but they really do scare me, and when I lived alone, I never allowed myself to watch them because I knew I’d end up with my head under the covers that night, wishing I had one of those Gary Larson-designed bad dream snorkels to breathe through. But now that I have roommates, and can fall asleep comforted by the knowledge that if that little dead girl shows up, everybody’s fucked, not just me alone, I can see all the scary movies I want.

Anyway, there wasn’t really anything in The Village that was all that scary, save for maybe Bryce Dallas Howard’s giant hairy man hands, but I had no idea that the frightening part was going to come after the movie, at Chevys. Chevys is a large colorful Mexican chain restaurant located inside the same building as the theater, and they offer 15% off your bill if you retain your movie stub, so we sat outside and ordered some beers and fajitas and were enjoying ourselves until (WARNING THE FOLLOWING FRACTION IS MAYBE THE SCARIEST PART OF ALL) about three-fourths of the way through our meal, when I looked down and noticed that there was a medium-to-large-sized roach lying belly-up on the onions and peppers.

It took my brain a moment to process this new information, so I actually kept chewing for a second, staring at this intruder, this mid-sized vermin, this sedan of roaches, who had obviously been cooked ALONG WITH the onions and peppers, body camouflaged by the brown of the caramelized onions, and while I was chewing my brain kept saying things like, “Surely your eyes are deceiving you. You are enjoying your guacamole and black beans and grilled chicken and Corona with lime, and the nice breeze coming off the water, and conversation with a good friend, and how would a mid-sized cockroach fit into this picture? Clearly, it would not,” while my eyes kept saying things like OH MY GOD IS THAT A THORAX?

So I put down my fork and very quietly alerted Ryan to the presence of this interloper among our onions and peppers. He leaned over to check it out for himself, still chewing, and I could see the same thought process play out in his head. Then he leaned back in his chair, eyes wide and face blank, swallowed and coughed and sort of laughed, and starting whistling La Cucaracha. So I said, “Ryan,” in still a very quiet but URGENT tone, a tone that said, “Perhaps you do not understand that I am doing a remarkable job of holding my shit together at this moment, but on the inside, I am a woman in turmoil, a woman who is seconds away from being COMPLETELY UNABLE TO DEAL with the current situation, and I am begging you as my friend to please, please do something before I freak the fuck out.”

So Ryan went over and quietly (quietly! still! we were masters of discretion!) explained our predicament to our waitress, who immediately went inside to tell someone else, leaving us sitting at the table, the food on our plates untouched, our chairs pulled back a little, not speaking but sort of casting anxious looks around, and whenever our eyes would meet, we would make these sort of maniacal sounds of desperation, or maybe Ryan would chuckle.

I now realized that the two people seated next to us were aware of our behavior, and they were trying to figure out what was going on. I’m sure at first we looked like a couple having a fight, but then perhaps they could sense the damp purple waves of panic emanating from my very being, and the guy caught my eye and said, very calmly, “I’m sorry; did you find a bug in your food?” to which I nodded, and then he said, “May I ask what kind of bug?” and I said, “The very worst kind,” and then the girl, horrified, came over to our table and checked it out for herself, and we were all agreeing that it was a truly shocking and disgusting chain of events, when at that moment the door opened and someone started walking towards their table with a giant tray and we heard the telltale sizzle, and realized they had ordered the fajitas too. We all shared this look of terror and inevitable doom, much like I think you would share with someone who was about to be eaten by a shark while you were already in the shark’s mouth, this look of O, MY BROTHER, WHAT A FOUL AND TRAGIC FATE WE ARE DESTINED TO SHARE! TRULY GOD IS ABSENT FROM HIS HOUSE TODAY!

Then our waitress returned with the manager and everyone started apologizing, and told us that of course we didn’t have to pay for it, and then the guy at the table next to us said, “Uh, we just ordered the same thing, and we don’t want it now,” and the manager assured him that of course they wouldn’t have to pay for it either, so we left a tip and got up to leave, glad to have that sordid and chilling business behind us, Ryan casting longing last looks at his salmon fajitas.

If you are at all aware of my feelings about roaches, you should know that I deserve a motherfucking blue ribbon for not standing up immediately and screaming, and I would just like to point that I waited until we were at least 20 feet away from the restaurant to fully freak out, which meant jumping up and down and screaming inside of my mouth and covering my face with my hands while doing this uncontrollable shivery spasm with my entire body. I also managed to calm down when we were walking past the World Trade Center site, because a roach in your food seemed like a shitty thing to freak out about at that geographical point, but then once we passed it I had to call every single person I knew and relive the horror, sometimes passing the phone to Ryan to give a fresh perspective, which was usually things like “Shit, I was ready to keep eating!”


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