It's not about the house.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Low Priestess of What, Now?

I don’t know why I’m thinking about this story tonight, but I am, so I’ll tell it…

Years ago, when I used to have a real job, and that real job used to include all kinds of music and other assorted stuff like that, there was this one night that I drove down to Providence from Boston with a good friend of mine. To hear this group we loved, who was on deck to play the opening set for another group that, in a perfect world, wouldn’t have been worthy enough to shine our boys' freaking shoes.

I don’t even remember who the headlining band was. They were nobody. And the venue was nothing. A club, like any other club – only not even what you’d really call a club. Just a bar, really. A bar. And if it was in New York or L.A. you might think a gig there was on the way to something, but in Providence a gig there couldn’t possibly be any more than just a gig. You could only possibly think that it was something if you were nobody, on your first Chevy-van tour.

But these guys, unfortunately, were on their way back, and so they had to. They’d been up – not so amazingly, top-of-the-charts up, but influentially – and they’d been down, and now they had a record deal with Rykodisc and they were on this sad little tour to promote what I had heard and knew to be an amazing and of-every-moment album. And so I went.

It’s a ninety-minute drive. My friend Marie came with me. We brought cheese and grapes and we drank beer on the drive down (because we weren’t so concerned in those days about the people that we might kill on the road) and we got there early. Because we were sure that, in such a small venue, even in such a small town, this group – this group – would pack the house.

They didn’t.

We were on the list (which is a fancy way of saying we didn’t have to pay to get in because we knew somebody), and so we did not exactly queue up early. But I did want to make sure we’d be up front, and so we didn’t wait till the last minute, but when I couldn’t stand it anymore and we made our way over, there was nobody there.

So we went in. And when we did, out boys were there. Sitting in a booth, waiting for it to be time to go on stage. Not drinking, because they didn’t.

Now is probably a good time to tell you what I was wearing: maroon and gray searsucker shortalls, with a wife-beater t-shirt under them, and faux Keds. Oh, and also, I’m white. And at the time had a Rosemary’s Baby blonde bob on my head.

So. Do you have a picture in your heads? Oh no wait, that’s right, you don’t. Because I haven’t told you yet who this historic group was.

It was The Last Poets.

Do you know The Last Poets? You might not. They aren’t famous like the Isley Brothers, or the Chi-Lites. They never had a hit that you’d have heard of. They are an important step in the ladder of where rap music came from, and their best-known songs have titles like “Niggers Are Scared of Revolution.” The Poets themselves have names – some given at birth, some adopted later – like Abiodun Oyewole, and Umar Bin Hassan.

The album they were there promoting was on Rykodisc, called Holy Terror, and I had heard it early because the company I worked for had a relationship with Ryko. I loved the Last Poets already, because I was that kind of stupid, poser, music geek, and I knew this particular album before it got released ‘cause I was lucky.

So there I was. In a very small (let’s face it) stupid bar, with The Last Poets, my friend Marie – and nobody else. Of course (are you kidding?) I went over.

It happened to be Omar I went up to (he changes the spelling of his name). I said I was thrilled that they were here. Thrilled that I would get the chance to see them. Loved them, loved what they did, couldn’t wait for them to get on stage.

He asked me was there anything in particular I’d like to hear.

Now, I don’t know how you feel about this, but myself, I get sick to my tits hearing the same old crap. I go hear Tom Waits, I don’t want to hear “The Piano Has Been Drinking.” And I don’t imagine that he wants to play that shit again. Everybody always wants to play their new stuff, which nobody ever wants to hear. So I said this:

“I can’t remember the name of the song,” I said. “But the one that goes: ‘Baggy shadow street boys—’”

“Dun! Dun! Dun!,” he interrupted me, hailing a friend of his in the corner.

And when the dignified, bearded, dashiki’d man in the corner turned his head, I realized that “Dun” was short for “Abiodun.” As in Oyewole.

Dun came over, and Umar said what he had to say.

“Sister wants to hear us do ‘Black Rage!’”

Sister. That was me. White girl with a Mia Farrow haircut in searsucker shortalls, asking them to play a song which I suddenly realized (although I knew, of course) was about how very much white people are to blame for the problems of—


Needless to say, I felt like a jackass.

So anyway.

They played their set, and I did not hear that song. I didn’t care. I loved them anyway, and I didn’t give a hoo about the local yokels who were supposedly headlining, so when the Poets left the stage Marie and I prepared to go back home. But when the Stupid Local Band came on, they said The Poets would be doing another set when the Stupids took a break. And so Marie and I, we got another beer, and stuck around.

The Stupid-Whoever-They-Were's sucked. Or, you know what? That’s not fair. They might not have sucked. I just don’t remember them at all. Because then the Poets came back on.

And when they did? Here’s what Oyewole said:

“This is a song we weren’t going to do tonight, because it’s off the new album, and we thought we’d just do the old stuff. But there’s a sister in here who wants to hear it, so – where is she?”

And if you think I didn’t raise my beer and give a white-girl holla...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Apple Pie and I Scream


Could he look more disgruntled?

Do you like my pyjama bottoms? 

Can you identify my t-shirt?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Leave It!

There was an article in the Boston Globe last week giving us permission not to rake our lawn. It said "Seriously, Johnny and Erin, we know you're busy. Just don't worry about it this year. Your neighbors won't mind in the slightest. Trust us."

No. Really what it said was that if you have maple treed (which we do) and you don't care that much about the artificial glory of your lawn (which we don't -- expecially over under the maple trees, where it's mostly moss anyway because it never gets any sun), then you might as well just leave it. It will rot by spring and be good for what grass is actually there. Maybe run it over with the lawn mower to speed up the breakdown process.

See, the thing is, in this yard, for some reason -- and not in any of the other yards on the street, incidentally, our leaves generally refuse to fall. The entire rest of the state will be all bony-looking and prepared for winter, and we're still all lush and thick and yellow. Then we wake up one late November morn and whump, they fall at once.

It's annoying, because by that point we only have about a week and a half before the snow starts, and it's too cold to be out there raking (although not this year, to be honest, it hasn't been too cold this year at all). And god forbid it rains in those nine days, because then we have to rake up wet leaves. And never mind that I'm Destructo and -- I swear to god -- every single year my rake breaks in the middle of the job and I have to go swearing out and buy a new one.


A few eyars ago I bought this stupid contraption for two hundred and fifty dollars. You're supposed to push it around and it rakes all the leaves up into a sort of sack, which you then empty into your bag or compost pile. It works, after a fashion. Except it doesn't get any of the dug-in, stubborn leaves, and the goddamn sack gets filled up in three damn square feet of lawn. I used it once, and then I couldn't return it because I had used it, and now it's in our basement, mocking me.

So anyway here we were again, with a leaf-covered lawn and ten days till snowtime, and the Universe up and sent us a message through the Globe. So we're leaving it this year, to see what happens. We've been meaning to do that bit with the lawn mower, though. Any day now, I swear to god.

But then I had a dream last night that I woke up this morning and some old man neighbor (not anyone real, just a dream-neighbor) was out there raking up my yard. I didn't know whether to be pissed at him or grateful -- but either way, I knew I was offended when I saw that he had built a sort of fence to shield the neighborhood from the vision of our crap-filled veranda. Bastard.

I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was when I woke up for real and discovered our yard still reassuringly blanketed with rotting leaves.

And they smell good, too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Sub-Prime Mortage Massacree

I wrote this last year, but it still seems appropriate -- if not eerily prescient -- so I'm running it again. Enjoy! Again!


This post is called The Sub-Prime Massacree, and it's about the Sub-Prime, and the Massacree, but Sub-Prime Massacree is not the name of the Massacree, that's just the name of the post, and that's why I called the post the Sub-Prime Massacree.

You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
Walk right in there’s beer in the fridge,
Just a half a mile from the damn drawbridge.
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!

Now it all started four Thanksgivings ago, was on – well, actually was on Groundhog Day, when my Johnny bought himself a scratch ticket. Johnny didn’t live in the scratch ticket store but he lived nearby the scratch ticket store, on the second floor, with me and Him and Her, the two cats. And livin’ nearby the scratch ticket store like that, we got a lot of tickets where our bank balance used to be. Havin’ all those tickets, seein’ as how we had no money, we decided that we didn’t have to be responsible adults for a good long time.

But we got up this day, this Groundhog Day, we found a down payment in one of them tickets, and we decided it would be a friendly gesture to take the ticket down to the Lottery Commission and trade it in for actual cash dollars. So we took the scratched-off ticket, put it in the back of a red Cadillac Sedan DeVille, took passports and licenses and implements of identification and headed on toward the Lottery Commission.

Well we got there and there was a chain along the wall and a big sign saying “Welcome to the Mass State Lottery” and there was Fox News on the television. And we had never seen Fox News on the television before, and with tears in our eyes we cashed that ticket and went looking for a safe place to dump the money.

We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the side road there was a fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there was a credit union. And we decided that one big pile is better than lots of little piles, and rather than empty the credit union we decided to throw our money in there.

That’s what we did, and we drove back to the cats, had a piss-up that could not be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the next year, when we got a phone call from the universe. It said “Kids, we found your name on an account at the bottom of a ton of money, and just wanted to know if you had any intentions regarding it.” And I said “Yes, sir, Universe, I cannot tell a lie. I intend to ignore it for a little while longer.”

After speaking to the Universe for about forty-five days on the telephone we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down and put that money to some Practical Use. So we got in the red Cadillac Sedan DeVille with the passports and the licenses and implements of identification and headed on toward the realtor’s office.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that the Universe coulda done at the Realtor’s office, and the first was it could have given us a medal for having avoided homeownership for this long, which wasn’t very likely, and we didn’t expect it, and the other thing was it could have bawled us out and told us never to be seen sittin’ on a wad of money like that again, which is what we expected, but when we got to the Realtor’s office there was a third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was both immediately bamboozled. Bemused. And I said “Universe, I don’t think I can invest that money with these here blinders on.” Universe said “Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car.”

And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to quote Houses For Sale unquote. I want to tell you about fixer-uppers, which we looked at here. They got three kinds of poison, two infestations, and one major structural issue, but when we got to the AssVac there was five kinds of poison and three major issues, being the rottenest house of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted us to get in on the action around her. So we set to taking twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs or our bank accounts, with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was, to be used as evidence against us.

After the ordeal, we went back to the Realtor’s Office. Universe said he was going to put us in the red. Said, "Kid, I'm going to put you in the red, I want your wallet and your belt." And I said, "Uni, I can understand you wanting my wallet so I don't have any money to spend while I'm in the red, but what do you want my belt for?" And it said, "Kid, we don't want any hangings." I said, "Now there’s an idea," and I handed it over. Uni said he was making sure, and friends it’s a good thing he was, cause what we went through next I wanted to hit myself over the head and drown, and ‘bout the only thing I haven’t done with toilet paper since is roll it out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape.

But first we had to get a mortgage.

We walked in, sat down, with twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures of our bank account, with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. Universe walked in, sat down. Man came in said, "All rise." We all stood up, and we presented our twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures, and the broker walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog. And he sat down, we sat down. Universe looked at the seeing eye dog, then at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog and began to laugh, as we came to the realization that it was a typical case of Undocumented Lending, and there wasn't nothing we could do about it. The broker wasn't going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. We was given 5% fixed for ten years and had to pick up the garbage in the AssVac, but that’s not what I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about foreclosure.

They got a final step in buying a house, called Closing, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my Closing one day, and I got good and drunk the night before so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from Townville. Man I wanted, I wanted to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from Townville! I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I walked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said: "Kid, sign this sayin’ you’re not poor."

And I went up there, I said, "Bank, I’m poor. I mean, I’m freakin’, I’m freakin’ poor. Poor. I eat soup three days a week, I reuse my tea bags. Eat dead burnt hamburgers for breakfast. I mean poor, Poor, POOR, POOR." And I started jumpin’ up and down yelling, "POOR! POOR!" and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "POOR! POOR!" And the banker came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall, skippin’ all the injections, inspections, detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they wasn’t doin' to me at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty ugly papers I didn’t understand and I was just having a tough time there. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the last man after that whole big thing there, I walked up and said, "What do you want?" He said, "Kid, we only got one question.

"Have you got a down payment?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Scratch Ticket Lottery, with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that - and he stopped me right there and said "Kid, did you ever cash it in?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Cadillac Sedan DeVille and the Fox News on the television, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want you to go and sit down on that bench that says Undocumented .... NOW kid!!"

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there. Undocumented’s where they put you if you may not be qualified to get a mortgage after spending all your money, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Single mothers. Immigrants. Single immigrants! Single immigrants sitting right there on the bench next to me! And the singlest, immigrantest mother of them all was coming over to me and she was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and she sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?"

I said, "I got 5% fixed for 10 and I have to pick up the garbage."

She said, "What house did you buy, kid?" And I said, "AssVac." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and gave me the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "I’m gonna fix it up and sell it." And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about money, real estate, bein’ poor, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, until the Banker came over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and said.

"Kids, this-piece-of-paper's-got-47-words-37-sentences-we-wanna- know-details-of-the-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-I-want-to-know-names-and" and talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there, and I filled out about the scratch ticket with the four part harmony, I wrote it down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the pencil. And I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the following words:


I went over to the bank, and I said, "Bank, you got a lotta damn gall to ask me if I’m a liar, I mean, I mean, I mean I'm just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Undocumented bench 'cause you want to know if I'm stupid enough to buy a house, burn money, hit myself on the head and drown myself after winnin’ the lottery." He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send your mortgage application off to Washington."

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my mortage application. And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the bank wherever you are, just walk in and say "Bank: You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!" And walk out.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't notice. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think it’s performance art and they won't notice them either. And if three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin’ a bar of Don’t Need No Documents and walking out? They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in, singin’ a bar of Don’t Need No Documents and walking out? Friends, they may think it's a Recession.

And that's what it is, the Sub-Prime Mortgage Anti-Massacree Recession, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.

With feeling.

So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar here and sing it when it does.

Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
Walk right in there’s beer in the fridge
Just a half a mile from the damn drawbridge
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents

That was horrible. If you want to avoid Depression and stuff you got to sing loud. I've been writing this post now for three and a half hours. I could write it for another twenty minutes. I'm not proud... or tired.

So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part harmony and feeling.

We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing.

And now here it comes.

You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
You’ll wish you didn’t
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
Walk right in there’s beer in the fridge
Just a half a mile from the damn drawbridge
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!

Da da da da da da da dum
You don’t need documents!

For those of you who know and love me, you should know that, although everything I've said is true, I am not in danger of foreclosure or anything. Not yet! Barely!
And for everybody else, if you spam me with email or comments about refinancing, I will post your email on the template of this blog, permanently, for all to see and counter-spam.

Oh, and apologies to Arlo. Somehow, I think he'd understand.
Da da da da da da da dum
You don’t need documents!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And By "We," I Mean...

The wine won't be ready for another couple months, but we bottled the cider. It was quite a process.

First, we had to wash the bottles.

Then, we had to rinse them in sterilizing solution.

Then, we had to put them on the rack to dry.

(Actually, before all of this, we had to try to wash them in the dishwasher -- which we are for some reason never otherwise allowed to use -- and discover that it's broken. Which is odd because, ahem, we never use it. Then we had to fight for a little bit about whether or not to get it fixed, because some of us refuse to use it, so others of us feel we can just sell the house someday and let it be someone else's problem. So far, at least, the latter argument is winning.)

Then we had to go and get ourselves a couple spares. That was my job.

Then we had to put one of these in every bottle, so the cider will get fizzy (and, not incidentally, slightly more boozerrific). I did that part, too.

Then we had to fill them!

And cap them, but I didn't get a picture of that because that was also my job and I had both hands (and all my body weight) occupied on the capper.

Then we had to change our sticky clothes and make a stir fry for our loving wife, because she's getting over-hungry and when that happens she yells.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Something Broke

I've been missing and I have no excuse except for I seem to have discovered a newfound joy in not-writing.

I'm over it. The joy of not-writing has now been intimidatingly supplanted by the looming backup of writing I have not been doing, which is now hanging over my head in a big black jumbled letter-cloud, making booga-booga noises and baring its very large metaphor for teeth.

So I have to get back to it.

In the meantime, here's a funny thing I found from a very silly blog:

Or both.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Now Be Off, or I'll Kick You Downstairs

I think I have some sort of degenerative neurological condition. I haven't been diagnosed or anything, but I'm fairly certain that's what's going wrong.

It seems that I've misplaced my sunglasses.

I've misplaced my sunglasses, I can't remember why I got up from my computer and went into the dining room, and I don't know what happened to that little green plate after I took it out of the cupboard and decided not to use it after all.

Seriously, where did that plate go? It's not back in the cupboard, it's not on the counter, and it isn't in the sink. I didn't use it -- it was way too small to be a lid for that glass bowl I was steaming pudding in -- and it isn't in the fridge with butter on it, either. It's not even absent-mindedly tucked in a drawer or anything. It is just gone.

Also, I must have stepped over that empty box on the living room floor a dozen times yesterday. I left it there on purpose, so that I would not forget. And it worked, after a fashion. I mean, every single time I stepped over it I thought to myself "Right. Must pack that box and send it off to Ireland." But then every single time, as soon as the box was behind me instead of in front of (or under) me, the thought went poof -- out of my head. The card that I intend to put inside it is right here on my desk, though. Still blank, of course, but right here at my fingertips. So, you know, there's no way I can possibly forget.

Meanwhile, I'm going away for a few days. Just down to Dr. One Friend's, to take care of her dog while she does Big Important Work Things at an ooh-la-la Resort. I'm leaving in two hours, and I haven't packed yet. The empty suitcase was on the floor of my bedroom all day yesterday. Stepped over that one fifteen times, as well, until I had the bright idea to pick it up and put it on my bed. No way I could forget about it if it was staring at me from my pillow. I did have to move it back to its place on the floor, though, when it came time to lie down.

So you see? There's something wrong inside my brain. I'm no neurologist, but I think it's an inner ear thing. I think it has something to do with the fact that the earth, no matter how I rail against it, insists on perpetually spinning on its axis and circling the sun. Messing up my equilibrium. Or something.

If only I could make it stop, I'm certain I'd be able to find that plate.

Aha! So there you are, you little bastard!

Apparently, I did use the goddamn thing, after all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We Will Eat No Pud Before It's Good...

We've been waiting for a month to make our Christmas pudding, because for some reason NOPLACE carries candy peel anymore. You know, the multi-colored, vaguely chemical-looking citrus rind that comes in little tubs and that goes in fruitcakes, Christmas puddings, and basically nothing else? Well, for some reason every store in America stopped selling it. Poof.

At first they told us it was because it wasn't Christmas season -- as if THAT matters, when they've had Santa Claus in the center aisle since September. But then there started to be no denying that it was, and still they didn't have it. Anywhere. Not with the baking goods, the holiday stuff, or dried fruit. And nobody we asked had any better ideas. Nobody actually bothered to look for it for us, either. But then, that's what they pay us for, right? To find our own stuff, make sure it's priced properly, then ring it up and bag it all ourselves? Before you know it they're going to let us use the deli slicers. Then we'll learn...

Anyway, we finally asked Billy to send us fruit from Ireland. On Monday it arrived, and we're making it today. That means our puddings won't be correctly aged by Christmastime, but there's really nothing we can do.

Thankfully, we still have that one we found in the attic last year.

Later, if I can figure out how, I'll re-post the recipe I posted last year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Take Your Bows and Say Goodnight

I slept last night the sleep of the just. Fresh bed, fresh pyjamas, cold night, plenty of warm blankets. I awoke, after six uninterrupted hours, in the exact same position in which I'd lain me down. This is something of a miracle for me, and it was a bit hard to get out of bed once I realized it. It wasn't until I remembered a certain dream I'd had that I began to giggle uncontrollably and kiboshed the snuggly mood.

I dreamed that Dick Cheney, flush with free time in these heady Lame Duck days, had decided to do Dancing With the Stars. They hadn't asked him, mind you. He was just twiddling his thumbs in the OEOB, had an idea, and hollered for his secretary to get the producers on the phone. Not wanting to get shot in the face like a bunch of elderly lawyers, they didn't dare say no.

Now, I don't watch Dancing With the Stars -- though from what I hear, I'm pretty much the only one. I've never seen it. So I didn't watch it on my dream television either. From what I heard, though, I was not the only dream-person who passed.

From what I heard, the dream Nielsens on that hot mess were a nightmare.

63 days and counting...

Monday, November 17, 2008

O, Super

I've had this new haircut for just over two weeks now. I know I haven't posted a picture of it, and I probably won't, but let me just say that it's very shaggy. Very towel-and-go. Very, as my brother described it yesterday, Laurie Anderson.

Last Thursday, when I was at work, my Lady announced out of the blue that she thought it "has a certain quality the French would call insouciance."

Now, English happens to have caught this word directly from the French. It's a word with which I am familiar. A word I've passed around. A word I don't stumble over if I come across it in a book. But in regards to my new haircut...?

I looked it up just to be sure.

Here's what my good old New Webster's had to say:

in-sou-ci-ance n. carefree indifference. e.g. for what other people will think about one's behavior.

Hm. In other words, Ms. Golightly: It looks like you don't care what people think it looks like.

Was that a backhanded compliment, do you think? Do you think that means she thinks it looks like hell? Or do you think I need to stop thinking quite so much about my words?

Ah well. From what I hear, language is just a virus from outer space, anyway.

Maybe, someday, I'll get over it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

… If it’s the Last Thing We Ever Do

Okay, so it wasn’t just a pee-pee cake.

Remember July? When I wrote this? And this? And maybe a few more things that I can't find right now?

Well, in case you don't -- and in case you also don't feel like following those links to see what I'm talking about -- I'll sum it up: The Weymouth (a.k.a. Townville) police chief was suspended and eventually quit for reasons they wouldn't divulge at first, but which were later revealed to be a tasteless joke involving, and a "sexually explicit cake" delievered to, the (female) guest of honor at a department birthday party.

Big whoop, I thought at the time. Tasteless, boorish, not that smart -- and, as far as jokes go, barely funny -- but not something somebody should be fired for. Give him a slap on the wrist, tell him next time to go a little lighter on the Hawaiian Punch, remind him what century he's living in and that you haven't been able to make "pubic hair on my coke" jokes in the workplace for twenty years. Then get back to talking to construction workers and staring down manholes while traffic crashes around you, like a well-paid Massachusetts policeman is supposed to do.

But wait. There's more. And it wasn't just a pee-pee cake. And it wasn't just Hawaiian Punch.

In yesterday's Globe there was an article. Also a picture of the guy. Real Adonis, this one, what? Maybe Paul Newman can play him in the movie. Especially now that he's dead.

Anyway, you can follow that link above to read the article in it's entirety, but you won't, so I'll sum up. In an exhaustive list of incidents dating back to 2004, the Globe reports that he (allegedly):

1. Groped at least four women at an office Christmas party. "One female told us that he grabbed her entire buttock cheek in his hand and then just smiled." When asked whether he had touched these four women, Thomas said, "No, not that I recall."

2. Played the Jimmy Buffett song "Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw)" over the Police Department intercom system.

3. Put two Hostess Sno Balls snack cakes together on a plate and presented them to a female police employee. (As best I can figure, he did not actually say "Heh, heh. Looks like boobies.")

4. Announced over the intercom that the same employee would celebrate her birthday by "pole dancing at Alex's," referring to a strip club in Stoughton, "and would be buying the drinks." (This is the so-called "joke" we knew about last summer. Did not know he said it over the intercom.)

5. In February, an employee reported seeing damage on Thomas's cruiser when the chief arrived at work at 6 a.m., but accident reports stated that the damage occurred later in the day. (In other words, he crashed his car over the weekend but claimed to have done it on the job.)

6. Drove his cruiser after he had been drinking. A Police Department employee said the chief pulled a motorist over, called in the wrong license plate number, and appeared to be slurring his words.

7. Employees report that the chief's voice, on that night, "sounded similar to when he would call the station late at night asking for a phone call to be placed to his cellphone as he had misplaced it during the night." (To which I have to ask: if he could call the station, why couldn't he call his own goddamn cell phone?)

So the moral of the story is: Not only did he deserve to be fired, but he deserves -- as Johnny would say -- to be strapped down and shot with balls of his own shite.

On a related note, BusinessWeek magazine has named Townville (a.k.a. Weymouth) the second-best place to raise a family in Massachusetts. Behind Malden, and ahead of Cambridge.

Officials in Weymouth did not return calls.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gettin' My Gary Glitter* On






*No, they don't really play Gary Glitter anymore. Not since he got done for diddling. But it's still the song I hear in my head when my boyds** score a touchdown. 

**Yes, that was a typo, but I think it's hysterical so I'm keeping it. From here on out, the Patriots are my boyds. 

Squawk on, Boyds! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stupid Teeth

I have a dentist appointment this morning. To re-do one of the fillings I had done last year. This is not the first time this has happened, but after six months or so I figured I'd written enough about my stupid teeth, and I moved on.

This is a new dentist -- well, not new today, but new in the sense of not the same one who did all these fillings the first time. She started re-doing them because one hurt when I flossed (yes! I floss! and still I'm being punished in this manner! seriously, call me Job! though at least my breath is not corrupt. not yet. anyway...). She said she'd re-do it, but my poor-people insurance wouldn't pay for it because it had been less than a year since it went in. I gave her a look and she said "oh, we won't charge you for it, I was just thinking out loud." Damn straight you won't, lady!

Don't get me wrong. I like her. And she does a good job. Certainly much better than the other girl who screwed everything up last year. But I've seen a little too much of her and I'm ready to put her out of sight and mind.

This went on for four more fillings (or maybe five, I've forgotten). Hurting when I flossed, re-doing them for free, etc. We were finally done with all of those (well, one that she re-did actually still hurts a little bit when I floss, but not so much that I can't stand it, so I haven't told her) and then a tiny little piece fell out of this one.

Well, if you want to get technical about it, a tiny little piece fell out of this one when it was brand new, but that was last year, when I was in the middle of this whole other dental thing, and I just decided not to tell anyone about it. But when I had my cleaning in September, the technician noticed.

Damn technician.

It's in my wisdom tooth, and half the reason I never told anyone the filling broke was that it was explained to me that these smart choppers of mine could be filled once, and if anything went wrong after that they'd have to be pulled. So obviously ignoring it was the best plan.

I told New Dentist when Technician called her in that I understood the situation and would really rather just wait for now and see what happened. She looked at me like I was nuts and said "I'll just re-do it. They used the white filling and they should have used the silver kind and I don't know why they did that and this wouldn't have happened if they had. We should really try re-doing it, at least. It may have to come out eventually, yes, but that process is going to be much worse for you later if you don't deal with this now."

Damn Good Dentist.

She also said, again, that the insurance wouldn't pay for it because it had been less than a year, and that she'd do it (again) for free, but I felt bad. Not enough to, you know, pay for it myself or anything, but still. She shouldn't have to do this one for free when it was (again) the other dentist who screwed up, and I knew it right away and I said nothing. So I asked the technician to check my chart and find out when it had been done the first time, and I made this appointment for after that so New, Good Dentist could finally get paid.

And that's today.

I'm out of practice with this shit. I got so used to it last year, it came to the point where I actually fell asleep once in the chair. But it's been, oh, four or five months now since I've had Novocaine, and I'm all fatooshed. Which I may have used wrong. Because I'm not Jewish. And I googled it and couldn't find it anywhere, no matter how I spelled it. Oy.

Maybe, while I'm in the dentist chair, one of you people would be kind enough to tell me what fatooshed means and how to really spell it? Leslie? Are you still out there? You're still Jewish, right? Anyone else? Anyone better at or more patient with Google than I am? Everyone better at or more patient with Google than I am?

I have a little something for the person who submits my favorite answer... I don't even care if it's the right one... Lots of times, funny's better than truthy...

(You should read that last line with a singsongy lilt, like you would say "Who wants cupcakes...?" Or, I guess, like I would say "Who wants cupcakes...?" Maybe you would just say "Who wants cupcakes!?" But you'd be wrong.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

My New Favorite Comic

Oh, and P.S., I got a phone. It's AT&T, so I think it might just work. And now the batteries have been charging long enough that I am actually allowed to use it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I have bad luck with phones. I always have. Ever since my brother and I learned how to unscrew the mouthpiece of the old handset receiver and take the microphone part out so we could listen in on our big sister’s private conversations without having to stifle our giggles, and ever since we learned how to screw it back in really quickly when we felt a big belch coming on, I have had back luck with phones. They’re always breaking. Either spontaneously, or else people get mad when they hear burping while they’re trying to talk to their boyfriends and they wind up throwing the rust-colored princess phone you got for your eighth-grade graduation present up against the lousy bedroom wall.

Sheesh. I was a tomboy. How was I supposed to know what it felt like to be a teenaged girl? I thought burping was hysterical. Still do.

Anyway, I’m not kidding about the phones. We moved here four years ago, and we have gone through equally as many phones. And that doesn’t even count the bone-white princess one we keep in the drawer for when the power goes out, which also seems to have given up the ghost since the last time I used it. I mean, it works – I could call out for emergencies or pizzas in a hurricane if I had to – but there’s a sound in the background like a constant burp. Which, okay, now I see how that can be annoying…

The first one – a pair of cute little white cordless handsets – did not technically break. Technically, the batteries died and it was some weird brand that I couldn’t get replacement batteries for unless I ordered them online and paid more than I had paid for the phones themselves. No thanks. I got all uppity and emailed them and told them they had to just give me new batteries, goddammit, but they just burped and giggled and told me I should have read the fine print first.

I replaced that with a black one that had just one handset and an answering machine (we aren’t voicemail people very much; we like to see a number flash to tell us someone’s called. We do have caller ID now, although we didn’t used to, but we never scroll down through it to see what we might have missed. If you call us and you don’t leave a message, then we don’t know that you called. It’s like Little House on the freakin’ Prairie around here, I’m telling you.). The black one worked okay for quite a while – almost two full years, in fact. And when the batteries died, I found the correct replacements after only seven stores and two wrong tries (want to know where I found them? Stop & Shop.).

It did start going a little wonky when we switched our service over to Comcast digital. Sometimes people who called would say it rang six or seven times before we answered, when we swore to god we only heard it once. Things like that. I called Comcast and they said it was because certain brands of telephones are incompatible with their digital service. Which I thought was odd, but nice of them to have mentioned before they signed us up. This phone was GE, though. A major, you know, actual thing. Surely GE can’t be one of those incompati-brands. Um… yup. It is. But I decided I could live with its wonky foibles rather than replace the phone, because I knew the phone itself was bound to be breaking soon enough. And I was right.

Sometime over the last year, the buttons just stopped working. You’d push and push and push and never get that satisfying little beep indicating it went through. And then suddenly you would get two or three. So you’d hang up and try again, and you’d swear and think about hurling the damn thing against the wall. Finally, I decided there was no one I needed to call who hadn’t called me first. I’d scroll through the old files of caller ID – sometimes two, three months into the past – until I found whoever it was I was trying to reach out and touch, then I’d just hit “talk” and we’d be off. I kept going to stores with the intention of buying a new one, but I kept choking at the prices. Eighty, a hundred, a hundred and forty dollars for a telephone? Nah. As long as this one technically worked, I figured there was no sense replacing it. Not for that kind of cabbage, anyway.

This idea did not sit so well with Johnny.

So finally, about a month ago – on September 23, in fact – I went to Wal-Fart all determined and prepared to purchase a new phone. All determined and prepared to spend a hundred dollars. And I found one – a two-handset, answering-machine-inclusive one – for forty bucks! I brought it home and set it up and Johnny said “Is it a good brand?” I said “No. I never heard of it. But the old one was GE and that meant nothing in the long run, so who cares?”

Well, something told me to tuck the receipt into my wallet and hang onto it a while. And the reason I was so sure in that paragraph above about the date I bought it, is: the damn thing broke last Thursday afternoon and I brought it and its receipt back to Wal-Fucking-Fart today.

They gave me cash back. I walked to Electronics, fully intending to buy the same damn phone again (because doing the same thing and expecting different results is, I hear, a sign of genius), but they didn’t have it. At least, I didn’t think they did. There was one of them on the display shelf, but the box – which I well recognized, because I had uncharacteristically kept it and re-packed it and returned it moments before – wasn’t on the lower shelf where boxes belong.

I hailed a man. A man with a Wal-Fart lanyard around his neck who just happened to wander into the aisle at the moment that I was settling on something else. “Excuse me,” I said. “If you have it on this shelf but not this one, does that mean you don’t have it in stock?”

He was Indian. India-Indian, not Native-American. And he was one of these employees who try to be very helpful but, when their helpfulness has run its course, just don’t know when it’s time to walk away.

“Yes,” he said. “if it is not on the shelf, then it is out of inventory. I do not know when it might come in. I wish that I could tell you when to expect it, but I cannot. Perhaps, hm…” And he started shifting all the boxes, looking to see if what I wanted was hidden behind.

“No, no,” I said, “but thank you. I know what the box looks like – I just returned one. If it were back there, I would see it. Thank you. Thank you very much for all your help. I guess I’ll just take my time and settle on something different.”

In other words: Thank you, now go away.

But he didn’t.

He stayed there, shuffling boxes, talking to me about telephones. And I stayed there, repeating “Thank you. Okay. Thanks very much,” and thinking: this is one hell of a salesman, I am screwed.

Until, finally, he piped in with this:

“I do not use any of these," he said. "I only use my cellular. I find the home phone isn’t necessary.”

I’ve heard this before. I have friends who do this. I’ve considered doing this myself, except for the following:

“We make a lot of international calls,” I said. “And they cost a lot more from a mobile phone.”

“Oh, no,” he said. “I have Verizon. I call London and Bangladesh all the time. They have an unlimited international plan that costs $14.99 a month.”

Really?” I said. “Unlimited?”

“Well, no, not unlimited. But 500 minutes. Who needs to talk overseas more than that?”

Not us!

“Thanks very much,” I said, offering my hand. “You’re a lousy salesman, but you are a good man. I’ll go home and talk to my husband and call Verizon, and see if we might just cancel our home phone!”

So I came home without a phone and I had some conversations. To make lots more long stories short, here's what I learned:

a. Johnny doesn’t want to cancel our home phone.

b. There is no such Verizon plan.

c. If we canceled our phone service, with the Comcast triple-play package that we now have, we would actually wind up paying more.

d. So we are now phoneless. You can't call me, even if you know my number and you want to. And I have to go back out into retail hell tomorrow, at the very moment that (as I learned out there today) the Christmas season is, for some reason, gearing up.

I told you that I had bad luck with telephones.

Hi, Danny!

Do you remember when I wrote this?:

"...For most of the years I worked there, the Barn Manager was a girl named Cathy Barry. I just googled her, and apparently there is a British porn star who shares her name. That isn't her. Our Cathy Barry was The Shit. Frizzy brown hair; sturdy, mannish legs and hands; freckles all over her moon-shaped face; and a voice like Joe Pesci's would have been if he were ever a 20-year-old girl. She smoked Marlboro Reds by the carton, drank White Russians every night, went to UMaine Orono, drove a 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood that used to be a hearse, and slept with the cutest, nicest boy in the entire camp. He was three years younger than her -- which is a bigger deal at 20 than it can be at 39 -- but she didn't care. Picked him out of the lineup much the same way Angelina Jolie chose Brad Pitt: 'I'll take that, thank you very much.' And he went along with her the same way, too: a bit stunned to be chosen, but thrilled pantsless nonetheless..."

Well, a few weeks ago -- purely coincidentally and not because of the above post whatsoever -- that Cutest, Nicest Boy found me on Facebook. I sent him the link to the above post, and he says he thinks Cathy Barry might still have his pants. He was kidding, of course, but I love him for saying it. I've emailed him a few times, we've talked on the phone a few times, and we're going to get together soon, I swear to god. But in the meantime, he's brought all these camp memories flooding back into my head, so I thought I'd share a few of them with you all.

Danny (that's Cute Nice Boy's real name) said he's still in touch with another of our friends from camp, a boy that we called Squidd. With two d's. I don't know why, on either count. Every girl in our camp was in love with Squidd, and I actually "went out" with him for a couple days when we were twelve years old. I was a CIT that year and he was still a camper, but I don't think it counts as sexual harassment because the most intimate we ever got was the day he let me wear his sneakers. They were way too big for me, but all the other girls were jealous, so I wore them all day long, tripping over them till campers's bedtime, at which point he made me give them back.

We used to keep in contact across the camp (not me and Squidd, but all of us) with a system of walkie-talkies. There was one out at the riding rings, one at the waterfront, etc., and they were supposed to be specifically for emergencies. If, say, somebody fell off her horse, you radioed down to the office and asked them to dial 911. The walkie-talkies were Serious Business, and you weren't even supposed to use them to ask someone to bring you cigarettes. But later, when Squidd was a counselor, he used to somehow commandeer one to carry on his person, and he would use it to broadcast pretend football games involving all the staff.

They were amazing. Off the top of his head (at least I always assumed they were off the top of his head -- if I should find out now he planned them ahead of time I will be sorely disappointed), he would call what sounded like an honest-to-god gridiron matchup with all our names in it. We never knew when it was coming. The walkie-talkie would just crackle to life and we would hear "It's third and seven with two minutes to go..." and we'd send up a shout and gather round like it was old-time radio -- though somebody, I'm sure, was still paying attention to the kids. We'd listen for our own names and beam with pride at our on-field feats as if they had been real. "Ellia is going, going... Here comes Cathy Barry for the block but Oh! Nobody can stop her! And now Ellia has run sixty-five, seventy, seventy-five yards for TOUCHDOWN!" Wooooooooo!!!!!! Yay, me! You'd get congratulated in the mess that night and everything.

I have more camp stories, but this post is getting long, so I'm going to end it here and write more later. Right now I just have to add two more quick things:

1. Danny says that the last he knew, Cathy Barry was the head of sheep research at Tufts University. Please, learn from my example. Remember what I said before about there being a British porn star that shares her name, and do NOT google +"Cathy Barry" +sheep. I'm still having nightmares...

2. Danny sent this picture:

I told you I used to have a Flock of Seagulls haircut! I just haven't seen a picture of it in a while. Yeesh.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Last Looks

Some random thoughts I’ve had since Tuesday…

First of all, forgive me, but I am using the black smiley face as my bullet-point. Anyone who thinks that’s NPC can suck it.

Second: thank you to everyone who left such kind and funny and encouraging and otherwise all-around good comments on my last two posts. Especially the new folks who never piped up before. Welcome! There are too many for me to answer individually in the comments section like I usually do, so just yes, I’m talking about you. And you and you. And you. But not you. You can suck it. (Kidding! Oh, jeez, I was only kidding…)

It occurred to me this morning that Barack Obama is younger than Johnny, by almost a year and a half. I said this to him (to Johnny, that is – I do not yet have the ear of the President Elect) and his answer was: “Yeah. So? John Kennedy was only 42.” Which just has nothing to do with anything, whatsoever. I told him to suck it.

Just for the record: I wrote my Tuesday morning post way ahead of time. I had not yet read the 11/2 Times when I talked about Wyoming and all that jazz. Nor had I read last Thursday’s when I talked about the West Wing. I saw them both yesterday at my Lady’s house and realized that I am not, in fact, the most distinctive thinker in the world. Who knew? Ah, well, maybe I should suck it! Of course, the Times drew the opposite conclusion as I did on the electoral college, so I guess it’s them can suck it, after all.

If you don’t count Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – which I don’t, because their campaigns were really more like Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader’s in terms of actual viability – then we elected our first black president at the first chance we got. That’s kind of cool. Oh, wait, wasn’t there a woman back in the early ‘70s somewhere? Well… Yeah, right. As if that was actually viable.

Oh, and speaking of Change, look what I did ('Phaz, if you're out there, you might want to avert your eyes):

I always wore my hair boy-short, but four years ago I started growing it for no reason other than to see what it would look like. What it looked like was a never-changing, double-looped ponytail, because I didn't feel like doing anything with it, and I hated having it. Everybody kept telling me not to, so I just didn't tell anybody when I finally made the appointment to chop it off. Except for Johnny. I told him. Because otherwise it wouldn't have seemed fair. Everybody else, though? I'm me again!

So Suck It!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We did.

There Will Be Tears

I’ve been pretty clear in this space about how I plan to vote in the election, but generally I haven’t written much about it, either way. There are plenty of other people who do that – most a lot better (and some a lot worse) than I ever could – and besides, who cares what I think about it, anyhow? But I spent the weekend in bed watching the first two seasons of The West Wing and getting a little teary-eyed, and it got me thinking. So here goes…

Johnny and I are heading down to Dr. One Friend’s house this afternoon. We’re going to drink beer (and other things) and eat pizza (and other things) and watch election results (and maybe, if I can convince them to change the channel for one itty-bitty hour, the Dirty Jobs Dirty Presidents Election Special). I’ve already warned them both that I fully expect to spend half the evening all verklempt no matter which way the winds decide to blow, and that they should feel free to ignore my tears. Also my sobs. I would hope, should I begin to actually choke on my chips & salsa, that one or the other of them will be kind enough to Heimlich me. But otherwise I trust I’ll be allowed to weep quietly (and not a little drunkenly) into my beer.

See, I love these United States of America, and I believe in them. Wholeheartedly. We are not a country so much as an idea of one – an ideal, if I may be so bold – and the reason we disappoint ourselves (not to mention the rest of the world) so bitterly, so consistently, is that we can only ever fail to measure up. It takes a whole lot of rocks to build a city on a hill, and the dang thing about rocks is, they have an annoying tendency to want to keep rolling back down. But we keep pushing. We might disagree with each other about which rocks to choose, which hill to climb, how to most sturdily stack them if we ever get there, but every time they roll back down, we dust ourselves off and start again. I love us for it.

Personally, I’ve supported losing candidates in all but two elections since I was old enough to cotton what one was. And yet I do not hold truck with the attitude (unfortunately prevailing in this blue state I call home) that “those people” who voted for the other guy are obviously dumb. I mean, it’s all well and good to sit in your losing corner, count your plums and congratulate yourself for all your cleverness, but the fact is: there are stupid people everywhere, on both sides of the political divide, in every country. Most people, in fact, are pretty fucking dumb. Most people cast their votes based on superficial, incomplete, or misunderstood information, and I’m not hubristic enough to think that I do not. Because (get this) nobody, not even (gasp!) the candidates, understands every single issue inside-out. If you think this isn’t true, if you think you, at least, are the exception, then may I gently remind you that Alan Greenspan – Alan Greenspan! – recently fessed up to forgetting to carry a particularly important two? Trust me folks, you don’t so much as begin to know even the half of all that’s going on.

So we each of us pick our issues, make our decisions based upon them, place our votes, and end up with the government that we deserve. If I tend to vote for the guy that seems the smartest – based on a few debates and a year or so of third-hand reporting – is that really any different, for better or for worse, than someone casting their vote based solely on who’d do what to Roe v. Wade? This time, to someone with a son in Iraq, the war may be the most important issue, while to someone whose house is about to be foreclosed upon, the economy may be the key. I don’t have a problem with any of this. It’s the (and it tends to be, unfortunately again, prevalent around here) the smugness that gets to me. People fortunate enough to base their votes purely on hypothetical theories and platforms – folks with nothing, that is, hitting so close to the bone as to hold sway with their emotions – seem to want special credit for showing up at all, and they tend to have special reasons all laid out why everyone who disagrees with them (or who, god forbid, votes in his or her own best interests) is too stupid and/or ill-informed to deserve the “privilege” of voting and should therefore probably just stay home.

I’m not going to pretend I haven’t made these jokes, or laughed at them. No, I’d rather you didn’t walk into the voting booth and flip a coin. Yes, I’d prefer you had at least some reason for your choice other than, say, the color of a particular candidate’s skin. But if we won’t (to carry that example) elect a man because he’s black, then that is who we are, and our government is designed to reflect that. When and if we become the kind of country who might elect a black man president, then you’ll know the day has come because we will. Until then, there’s just no sense pretending. So when it comes down to who deserves to get to vote, the answer is either A. everyone, or B. nobody. If you’re asking me, thanks very much, I’m choosing A.

And yet.

I am the only person I know who still defends the electoral college – which I do because this nation was founded as a constitutional republic and not (ahem) a popular democracy. The heartland matters – not least because those are the folks who disproportionately grow our food and staff our military, but also simply because they are a part of this country and they deserve a voice. No, the system isn’t perfect as it is now. Yes, if you divide popular vote by electoral college representation, then a single Wyoming voter counts for more (by a factor of almost 3:1) than a lone Bay Stater (although, interestingly, no one ever complains about Washington D.C.’s Wyoming-level representation when this argument’s presented). But if we did away with the electors then Wyoming wouldn’t count at all – and just ask a country like Turkey how well a de facto urban oligarchy works in terms of insuring domestic tranquility.

All of this is to say… what? Where am I? I was weeping and eating pizza and now I’m ranting about the electoral college? How did I get here? Oh. Okay. I remember. Right.

So how can I justify all this rah-rah, I-love-this-country-with-all-its-electoral-flaws folderol with my previously stated position that, should McCain win this election, Johnny and I will pull up stakes and move to Ireland? It’s really very simple:

I’m a hypocrite.

Well, hell. I am 39 years old. When Bill Clinton won in ’92, I was 23 and shocked. Having spent my entire cognitive life under Reagan/Bush, I truly did not believe that such a victory was possible. And in fact it’s very likely that if Clinton hadn’t won those two elections, I wouldn’t feel anywhere near as strongly as I do about this one before us here. But now that I’ve had a taste of what it can be like to roll one of my rocks all the way up that freakin’ hill and have it installed as the cornerstone of the White House, let me tell you: as far as I was concerned, I didn’t care how many interns he had taking shifts under the Oval Office desk. If that’s what it took for the leader of the free world to, so to speak, keep it up, then I was down. In fact, if he had put the call out, I would have been the first to volunteer.

And since I've gone down that road, I might’s well get this off my chest as well: if the Democrats weren’t so scared of Bill Clinton’s slick willie, they could have won it in 2000, too. Eight years of prosperity and relative peace, and Al Gore washed his hands of it for fear of Willie’s dick. I don’t blame the electorate for that, and I don’t blame the Supreme Court. I blame Al (and Tipper) Gore. I think it was a downright pussy thing to do.

On the other hand, 2004 made me feel eighteen again. In the sense that a George Bush was elected despite a shameful, possibly criminal record, against a boring liberal from my home state of Massachusetts, who got beat by a single TV commercial and a few bad photo ops. Turns out, I guess, you can go home again.

Which bring us to 2008, which has been going on since 2006. I was really annoyed in the early days, because it was assumed that I would vote for The Woman just because I am A Girl. (Oh, honey, I can say Girl if I want to. I am about twelve years past getting uppity about something as simple as vocabulary words. When I’m a girl, I am a girl, and when I am a Woman then you get out of my way.) But if this contest were about race or sex, we would have put up John Edwards – and then been shafted by a rogue John Thomas once again.

Honestly, for all the “most important election of our lives” talk that’s been happening these past few months, I don’t think of this November 4th as any different sort of race at all. It is another political race, is all it is, and it will, as they are all designed to do, take the measure of ourselves. Specifically: do we want to forge our 21st century city out of fire and brimstone on a hill of wrath and vengeance like Golgotha? Or do we want to build it on beatitudes?

If we choose the former – and I do mean “we,” even though I won’t be voting that way – then that will be fair enough. I won’t pretend the system failed, or that the obvious majority did not deserve their say. But I just might slip a wedge under my rock and take a break from pushing for a while. I know it’s weak and cowardly to cut and run. I know that every soldier counts in any army. But Johnny happens to own his mother’s house in Ireland and, now that we’re married, I could have dual citizenship if I lived there for a couple years. I always planned on doing it eventually. If we opt for Golgotha today, then now seems like as good a time as any for me to take that little break. Mostly because I can, and partly because I’m tired of defending people I disagree with, simply because it’s the only right and human thing to do.

But if we choose the latter. If we choose to, one more time, strive for a more perfect union. If we choose to put our trust in patience and diplomacy over defensiveness and fear. If we choose to declare another George’s Government destructive and once more lay down a new foundation in the name of Safety and Happiness. Well, then, I ain’t goin’ nowhere. Because even if we fail – which we are surely, inevitably, bound to do – I’d still give my left tit to take the ride.

For tonight, though, if you need me, I won’t be on Golgotha. I won’t be on Moriah or any other metaphorical, symbolic Mount. I’ll be down here in the foothills with a few people I love, in the garden, waiting, wide awake. I may not be sweating blood, exactly, but I guarantee you this:

There will be tears.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Approved This Message

"I would vote for the man with the black hair.
Because the man with the yellow hair looks like a
mean angry stinker."