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Coyote Ugly

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The absolutely, utterly, repulsively insane, conservative, right-wing extremist movement in this country (which is becoming ever increasingly more right-wing mainstreamist) – encapsulated so beautifully in this modern Republican Party – wants to control my body.  A woman’s body.  Any woman’s body.

Every woman’s body.

And I mean in a baaaaaad way.

Really bad.

Like, wanna-lay-me-down-and-force-objects-into-my-vagina-make-me-tell-my-employer-if-I’m-going-to-need-birth-control-for-sex- instead-of-endometriosis-keep-an-aspirin-firmly-between-my-knees-kind-of-way.


A. The Blunt Amendment

B. Rush Limbaugh

C. Personhood

D. Rick Santorum

E.  Mitt Romney

F. Foster Friess – Santorum Political Backer

G. Bob McDonnell – Virginia Governor

H. Darrell Issa – House of Representatives

If you think that the phrase “war on women” is merely conveniently concocted Liberal hyperbole, I have to ask what you’re smoking.  I bet it it some gooooood shit.

Let’s lay just some of it out here.

I want to get straight what these people (i.e. Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, Darrell Issa, Roy Blunt, Mitt Romney, various Republican-led state legislatures, Republican leaders of Congress, et al) and their political party and zealot followers want American women to succumb to and accept:

  1. We are not supposed to want sex other than for the sole purpose of procreation.
  2. We should keep an aspirin between our knees in order to keep them closed together so as not to let any male genitalia into our general genital area, and certainly not male genitalia that we are not married to and without the express purpose of conceiving a child.
  3. Any employer should be able to opt out of covering birth control pills to prevent pregnancy based on any non-specific moral code that employer spews forth.  Every sperm and egg is sacred, don’t you know.
  4. In order to have our insurance cover The Pill, it should be legal for our employer to ask us WHY we are being given this prescription and if it is to prevent pregnancy or for another medical condition.
  5. Our employer should be able to morally, legally and practically object to our insurance covering a prescription of The Pill if it is merely for its primary function of preventing pregnancy.
  6. Should we become pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy (for whatever reason that pregnancy is unwanted and/or untenable) and presumptively in part because we now have Draconian barriers to accessing The Pill, we – as well as our physicians – should be prosecuted should we actually have an abortion.
  7. A newly fertilized egg inside or outside of our bodies should not only have legal “personhood” rights, it should have more legal rights than we do.
  8. We should practice abstinence-only to avoid pregnancy.
  9. We should not like sex for the sake of only sex – unless  you are married.
  10. We should not want sex simply for the pleasure and intimacy of it – unless you are married.
  11. Every time we have sex we should be ready to birth a baby nine months later.
  12. If we do not want to birth a baby, we still should not have access to an insurance-covered medicine designed to prevent that baby’s very conception.
  13. You want congressional panels of men, only men, and most of them religious clergy, to be the only voices heard during a debate on this issue.
  14. If we do not want to birth a baby, we should not have sex at all.  Ever.  Not ever.
  15. We should not be able to make the decision to have sex simply because we like it while simultaneously making the responsible decision to not become pregnant at all through the use of insurance-covered birth control pills, but should instead defer that decision to our employer or the Pope or Rick Santorum or Rush Limbaugh.
  16. Should we become pregnant you want to force us to bear that child by repealing Roe v Wade; a choice you will make for us based exclusively upon your own religious beliefs and your interpretation of God’s will.
  17. Until you can repeal Roe v Wade and while it is still legal to have an abortion (even though you didn’t want us to have fair access to medication to prevent the pregnancy to begin with) you want to force us to do the following things regardless of the fact that we have already come to our decision through significant soul-searching and consideration of all personal factors involved:
  • Lie on a table, have a doctor spread our legs and forcibly, against our will, insert a 7-inch vaginal ultrasound wand into our vaginas.
  • You want the doctor to point the ultrasound screen at our faces and describe to us to the fetus in detail.
  • You want the doctor to crank up the volume on the fetal heartbeat.
  • If we don’t want to see and hear the fetus, we might still have the option to close our eyes and sing “lalalalala” loudly with our fingers in our ears, although I suspect that forcible eyelid and arm restraint legislation is pending.
  • If after this physical and emotional rape by our doctor we still want to have the abortion, we must watch an actual abortion taking place by, what??  Ostensibly forcing us to sit in between another woman’s legs while the procedure is being done??

In addition:

  1. You want men everywhere to be given the right to have their Viagra covered by insurance, when the SOLE reason for taking it is to ensure a raging erection whenever they want one.
  2. You want those men with the raging erections to be able to have sex with the woman of their choosing knowing that the culmination of their medically enhanced super-libido may result in an unwanted pregnancy with a woman who, married or not, who was not given the option to prevent that pregnancy through the use of an equally-insurance-covered medication: The Pill.
  3. You are fine with those men with the raging erections being responsible for massive environmental damage due to billions of dropped aspirin littering the Earth.

Do I have it right?

Okay.  Thought so.

Hey, Conservative-Right folks of America…psssst….I have a suggestion for you.

No, really.  Come here.  Let me whisper it to you.

Don’t be a-scared…closer.

Good.  Thanks.

Now listen up……..

Why don’t you forget about screwing-over women, and go screw yourselves instead.

Not very ladylike of me?

The time for niceties has passed.

This isn’t about religious freedom as you proclaim.  You can’t whine “GOD is on MY Side!” every time you want to justify your flagrant misogyny.   It is about the opposite of freedom.  It is about shackling women with chastity belts per whatever religion you espouse.

This isn’t about your faux-outrage over how your tax dollars are being used to subsidize some woman’s birth control or Planned Parenthood or abortions when you don’t want it subsidizing those things.  Here’s a news-flash for you:  we live in a democratic collective.  We all pay for things we consider abhorrent or immoral via our tax dollars.  All of us.  Not just you.  It is the price we pay to help fulfill as much freedom and equality as possible – for all.

This isn’t about smaller government.  It is about the most massive, tyrannical intrusion into personal liberty since the pre-civil war era treatment of African-Americans.

This isn’t about protecting the unborn.  It is about protecting your funding from right-wing extremist/lobbyists and pandering to the special interests who give you and your representatives big, big money.

This isn’t about morality, because what you and I and millions of others just like me consider moral isn’t even closely related…at all.  Just because you say you and you alone are right and have a direct pipeline into God’s most private thoughts and access to the divine interpretation behind every word of the Bible and Constitution – does not make it so.

This is about SEX.

The controlling of women through controlling our sex lives.

You want to control our reproductive rights – and reproductive parts – in every way.

Every way.

Your singular goal is to shame women into making the choices you want them to make.

Are you a woman who wants, simply wants, to have sex?  You are most assuredly a slut.

Are you a woman who wants to have sex but also wants to prevent a pregnancy from occurring through the use of birth control covered by your health insurance?  You are definitely a slut.

“Shame the women!” you screech through your heavenly anointed megaphones.

Shame us into acquiescing to your bizarre mindset of what women should be and how we should act.

No one encapsulates this GOP mantra better than Rick Santorum:

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.”

“Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

And this absurdity isn’t coming from just Santorum (So sorry you had to abstain from the Presidency, Ricky.  Really, such a shame) or the religiously fanatical base of the GOP.  It is not.  It is now becoming mainstream Republican dogma.  More and more of these pathetic thoughts and bills and propositions come forward every day.

And you know what your backing is for these neanderthalic tactics?

The Bible.

That’s it.  The Bible.

The Bible.  Written thousands of years ago; when if a woman had her period she was deemed unclean and forbidden to leave her home without first sacrificing a goat or a chicken.  When she was the express property of her husband.  When she was fit for little else than to serve as a baby making machine for whichever man decided she was his possession.

The Bible; ordering women to miraculously somehow remain perpetually chaste and virginal…lest our sexuality show through and tempt the men-folk.

The Bible.  Written by men.  For men.

That is IT.  That’s who’s got your back.

Hillary Clinton got it dead-right.  All over the world, and in the name of whatever your religion is, you want to control women by:

  • dictating what we wear
  • what we think
  • what we can learn
  • how we have sex
  • when we should have sex
  • for what reasons we should have sex
  • how much we should enjoy sex
  • whether we should be allowed insurance coverage on a medication that will prevent pregnancy resulting from having sex
  • what we can do with the pregnancy inside our bodies which resulted from sex
  • who we must tell intensely personal information to regarding acquiring pregnancy-preventing medication so we can have baby-free sex.

And on and on and on.

It is sickening.

You Bible-blinded sheep.  You mindless, amoral, weak-minded sheep.

No religious doctrine – whether I agree with its content or not – which was written exclusively by men, exclusively for men – will be the reason that you get to control what I do with my body.

Generations upon generations of women have fought tougher foes than the likes of you in the name of personal autonomy, freedom and the right to control what goes in, and what comes out of, our vaginas.

You all mean business.

You are passing laws which thrust these perversions upon the inherent liberty of American women.

This isn’t just feeble-minded shock-jock talk anymore.

You want to push women and our human rights and dignity back 100, 500, 2,000 years.

You are all insane.

You know the definition of insanity:  you keep repeating the same action over and over again while expecting different results.

So you are thinking, what, Rightwingers???  That NOW, in the year 2012, is the time that your attempt to literally control a woman’s body and spirit will finally succeed despite the fact that is has failed in every attempt which has come before it?

Did all of the top Right-Wingbats in this country get together and discuss it?

Here’s how I imagine the conversation went:

Wingbat #1:  Hey, you know, a lot of people are really pissed off that Barack Hussein Obama was elected President.  People are out of work.  The stock market is in the shitter.  Gas prices are high.  Our followers are terrified of terrorists and foreigners and, well, everything.  Especially Obama.  He’s not even a Christian.  He might be Hitler.  Logic tells us it is time to strike….WOMEN.  Let’s get ’em.  Let’s ride this wave.  We can get the masses to agree with anything now.  So…you know what I think?

Wingbat #2:  No.  What?

Wingbats #3 & #4:  I bet I know (chuckle, chuckle…)

Wingbats #5-#50:  Start repealing women’s rights to their own bodies, start denying them control over their own medical care and reproduction, and start forcing them to know their place, you know, before all that “women’s lib” shit happened.  We can’t legally stone them to death, YET, so let’s get conservative men…hell, let’s get conservative WOMEN to start shaming all women over being women who want to have sex!

Wingbat #1:  HA!!  You guys are so smart.  Yes.  Exactly.  Now is the time.  It will work this time.  We have God and a lot of Houses of Representatives on our side.  There is no way we can lose.  What could possibly go wrong?

Wingbats #1-#50:  Let’s show those slutty bitches who’s boss.  Hooooorrrrrayyyyyyyy!

You should drop all of this now.

You won’t, because you lack the humility to admit that women will never settle for anything less than complete control of our minds and bodies.

You won’t drop this.

But you should.

If you don’t, I swear to the God you believe in that a revolution will play out before your very eyes.  It is already starting.

Stop messing with this.  Retreat.  Run away.

Or it’s gonna get ugly.  Really ugly.  Coyote ugly.

You’re not fooling anyone.

It is about sex.  

Why extremists always focus on women, remains a mystery to me, but they all seem to.

It doesn’t matter what country they’re in, or what religion they claim, they all want to control women, they want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions that we make about our own health and our own bodies.

Yes, it is hard to believe, but even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world.”

– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the right-wing extremists who have taken on the women of America ( and awakened a sleeping giant).



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One of the funnier things I have seen on television is this scene from “Arrested Development” where Lucille 2, played by Liza Minelli, is sauntering herself into a clinic for treatment of her vertigo.  It then cuts to Lucille 2 leaving the clinic “cured” and running into a man arriving at the clinic for his own treatment, and well, things get dicey.

Okay maybe you can only appreciate the extreme humor of that scene if you actually suffer from it.

VERTIGO (DEFINITION):  The condition by which your balance and physical stability is compromised apparently due to some loose-piece-of-shit-eating-calcium or somethingorother in your inner/middle ear which enters and gets stuck in a part of the ear in which it does not belong and bangs around in that wrong place, wreaking havoc with your sense of motion – essentially creating the feeling of what you’re certain the brown acid must have been like at Woodstock ’69.

Hi!  I have Vertigo.  I was diagnosed with BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo).

I have had this condition for years, enduring for the most part only short-lived bouts of it.  Sometimes is hangs on a bit longer.

This time it is the latter of those.

I woke up abruptly in the middle of the night a while ago while on my left side, decided I needed to know what time it was RIGHT THEN for some reason, whipped my head to the right to look at the clock – and whhhhooooooooossssshhhhhhh – there it was.

The entire room started spinning violently.  I grabbed hold of the covers and side of the bed and held on for dear life, gritting my teeth.  It was several minutes until the spinning completely stopped.  It was the worst it had been since the first time it happened to me around 8 years ago.

It has settled down.  I can certainly function normally.  After I’ve been awake and up for a while I forget about it.

But then I do something reckless like tilt my head backward to chug a Diet Pepsi or lie down without propping my head up on 12 pillows first…and there she is, that bitch.

Doing sit-ups at the gym is full of hilarity and fun!  I pop in my headphones, rifle through my iPod to choose a song that enhances the mood such as “Rubber Band Man” or “Stuck in the Middle with You” – and wait.

My head has to be in the offending position for a fairly prolonged period of time (15-20 seconds) before it happens.

If I lie prone or tilt my head back and keep it there…at first it feels fine.  Then I get all cocky thinking, hey, it’s gone.  But I know better:

  1. My eyes feel it first.  Almost like they start getting heavy and I close them.
  2. Then a pulsating starts in my brain and the whooshing sound starts in my ears.  Maybe it’s my heartbeat.  I don’t know.
  3. Then the spins start.  If you’ve ever been drunk, pretty damn drunk, and you plop down on your bed and stare at the ceiling and have gotten the spins – that’s it.  Only without the fun and mayhem of the drinking beforehand.
  4. It gets worse and worse, culminating in a full-out your-drunk-with-the-spins-while-at-the-same-time-on-the-tilt-a-whirl-at-the-carnival type feeling.
  5. Then it starts to subside.  It lessens.  It slows.  Eventually it stops, like it never happened.
  6. Until later if I tilt my head backward or lie down again, in which case – yipppeee – it basically starts all over.

When I went to physical therapy for this condition years ago I FREAKED OUT on the poor intern, so sure was I that it would never go away and would happen constantly every minute of the day no matter what I was doing (not the case), and verbally accosted her with:

“How am I supposed to LIVE??  What the fuck am I supposed to DO for the rest of my life…take the BUS?!?”

(That poor girl.  I really dislike buses.  The only time I took a bus regularly, ever in my life, was when downtown Chicago flooded in 1992 – underground.  Remember that Chicagoans?  No subway. Had to take the bus to work from the far North Side to Michigan & Randolph every day.  Man that sucked.)

I feel no symptoms of vertigo while I am driving.  Thankfully I do not drive staring up at the ceiling or lying down.

That very patient intern gave me some maneuvers to do (this and this) which either completely eradicate the dizziness or significantly lessen it.

I did one of them on a park bench once, after leaning my head backward to catch a frisbee triggered it.

When you see people made of clay doing this in public, you’ll know why.

Some day relatively soon, as history has proven, I will wake up and it will be magically gone again.  And it might be months until it rears its ugly head.

What really pisses me off though, is that it’s prohibiting me from pursuing a career in so many things like for instance, figure skating.

How could I perform one of those pretty tilty-head spins?

Come on.  If my vertigo is acting up I cannot do that.

Because I would look like this…

My secret dream of becoming the first 43-year-old, never-trained, never-before-ice-skated Olympic Silver Medalist (I am realistic…Gold at my age would be difficult) in solo or pairs ice skating can never be realized.

It makes me bitter.

And it makes it difficult to write.

I always write while sort of semi-laying on my left side. I don’t like to sit straight up at all while writing.  I am a lounger.

So I haven’t felt much like writing in a damn long time.  But I caved and have been sitting up writing this as if I have a 2×4 shoved up (noooo, not shoved up that) the back of my shirt with my head duct-taped to it.

But it is not at all conducive to creativity.

So if you don’t mind I am going to assume my normal Cleopatra-esque writing position here, reclining on my left side with my head tilted to the left, hoping the dizzies will keep at bay –  because I have been dying to tell you all this one thing that  happened:

h qwpeoi hgpajas ;lhgk.

lkdl lwkneu Piuuake lkwp oiue;lksntnbs;lkjsd.   Destiny lsadfoidE!!!!  Lhkasdkf[p.  l;kjd.  lads0ufgh’sdlkj@@R%.  HA!  Right!? ;lskdfo9lkhetr.

LJlkdf.  &4e8#$dafkj8.  angels singing 0o9e3r4u  daljgj384  adfj[og8add. *&3.  O(dlkfa. =profound 4dlkaf*.  og[a=adfouk.

*&4ew a’w33rmD 0)(*r  WEr9jd’fa09832  dsl never the same kjfa0-9rk=((87r)(r#$.  )98r39kjfd.  It was (*RJjtrLEUjh;ds life changing (ri;lfgnNcbbvnbk, ever.

Hold on…sitting back up now.  Okay.  Okay.  Definitely spinny but not too bad.  That was not as bad a spin session I don’t think.

Soooo….can you BELIEVE that HAPPENED?!  Seriously?  Seeing that changed my life forever and I hope it has as great an impact on you as it did on me.  I had to share it with you.  Please take it to heart.

Ah, it feels good to be back.

Disclaimer: This Entire Post is a Disclaimer.

Posted on

The Big 3-0.

Ha.  No, not my age.  As if…

No, it’s just since last April when I began “Hippielib” I’ve made 29 posts.  I’m kind of itching to make 30 for some reason.

I have nothing particularly burning to say, so I’m thinking I will just leave my computer up to this screen and throughout the day write what pops into my head, thusly getting the 30th post out of the way.

I know what you’re thinking – this will be fasccccinnnating:

My hands get really dry in the winter, but there is no real hope of rectifying that situation.  I hate hand lotion of any kind.  I put it on and feel the soothing, yet painfully stinging, relief of the cool lotion and within five minutes I have to wash it off which only exacerbates the problem.

It just feels – weird: slippery and oily and icky. It gives me the heebies.

I accidentally bought some sexy-dance-club-slut type lotion last time – with flashy, sparkly flecks in it – which I suppose doesn’t entice me to end my lotion aversion.


Spongebob genuinely makes me laugh.  Dora The Explorer does not.


I take for granted how wonderful life is when I have my over the counter reflux meds in abundance.  I realize how bad a day can suck when I’m out and forget to buy them.

For dinner tonight I wanted to have stuffed peppers with red sauce, with a side of tomatoes, to be washed down with a gallon of orange juice.  Oh well, not tonight. Not tonight.


My kids have not, and will not, stop talking about Christmas and what they want next year from Santa.  They won’t stop drawing pictures of Santa and the reindeer.  They keep taping pictures of these things to every window in the house.

They went to bed last night asking if I could call Santa to tell them about the cool new toy they saw on a commercial, and I had to make many trips to their room to tell them to zip it.

They wouldn’t stop, man.

My last trip up the stairs to their room led me to proclaim in a very deadpan tone: “Christmas is Dead”.  Then I turned out the lights and walked out with finality.

I don’t feel even a little bit bad about it.


I have never, and will never, have the desire to go on a cruise.


I want to take a 15 hour-long nap, and when I wake up I want it to be the same time on the same day as when I began the nap.  I do not understand why I am not allowed to do this.


I really want to take a dance class with a partner.  Like a Spanish or Big Band dance class.  Maybe that’s so “Swingers”, so 15 years ago, but I don’t care.  I want to.  It would be so money.


I hate money and everything it stands for and represents.  I hate how having a lot of it or having very little of it or having just enough of it makes people act in ways that are unbecoming a human being.

I would like to have more money so I can stop writing sentences like this.


Oh my  God.  I just opened a bag of what I thought was lemon flavored licorice.  It’s mango, not lemon.  That is some seriously gag-inducing crap.


Some creepy guy at the gym today came up to me out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to hear the joke of the day.  I said “Uh, okayyy…”.  He then proceeded to tell me three very off-color Jewish jokes, one of them about why Jewish women prefer their men to be circumcised.

When I said “Stop”, he said, “It’s okay, a Jewish friend of mine told me those.”… and walked away.

Here’s my joke of the day:  You’re a dick.


My nearly 4-year-old son will do everything in his power to avoid going to the bathroom.  He dances around and winces and holds it.  When I repeatedly coax him to go, and tell him he will feel better when he does, he gets MAD. “I’m just dancin’!!!”.

Okay, son, samba away.

He then eventually runs like an insane person to the bathroom at the last possible minute, finishes and comes out mad at ME that he peed “…a little not in the toilet”.

I understand the deflection of his poor choices onto me so as to avoid any responsibility for pee on the bathroom floor.  But what I don’t understand is why it still doesn’t sink in that he can avoid this situation altogether?

I don’t get it.


I don’t know, much like crappy beer –  after 10 or so pieces – this mango licorice isn’t quite as bad.

Ta-daaa!  My 30th Post.  Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

Now let’s move on to 31 and win there.

(Disclaimer to the Disclaimer:  I apologize for the dreck above.  But sometimes you feel like a post, sometimes you don’t).

The Monkey Squad

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There are quite a few things a parent can do to inadvertently damage a child’s psyche.

It’s been done to all of us; well-meaning parents trying to infuse some sort of loving control over their children in an effort to guide them through the turbulence we call life.

Inadvertently damaging the child’s psyche usually comes in the form of the well-meaning parent (often frustrated at their astounding inability to break through the child’s unique ability to resist all guidance from said parent) resorting to some teaching tool or tactic they would otherwise not employ – were the child not a logic-allergic…child.


Let me take you back to the summer of 2010.  I believe the month was July.

My three boys were outside in the front yard playing with two friends, also boys.

Did I say playing? Silly me.  I’m sorry.

What I really meant was screaming/yelling/wrestling/picking weird stuff up off the ground/shoving weird stuff off the ground into anyone’s face within arm’s length/falling down/scraping body parts/more yelling/asking for snacks every one and half minutes/all claiming they were Darth Vader when everyone knows there can only be one Darth Vader/crying and whining from everyone who couldn’t be Darth Vader because they didn’t call it first…kind of playing.

Aaaahhhhh.  A typical summer day here.

When my kids and neighbor kids are outside playing here (all under the age of 8) I am omnipresent.  Oh, I camouflage myself quite skillfully, usually in a discarded Army tarp and shrubbery remnants which I bungee-cord to myself, so as to disappear….

“… don’t seeeee meeeee…..

I like to think of myself as the Jane Goodall of Moms; living among them but trying not to interfere in the natural order.  The problem is they are out there for hours, dammit, HOURS.  It gets boring.

There is only so much yard work you can do covered in a mobile duck-hunting blind in the scorching 180 degree humidity of a summer day in Chicagoland.

"Dude, is that your MOM???" "Yes (sigh)". "Does she think we can't see her?" "Yes (sigh)". "Dude, that is messed UP!" "Dog, I KNOW!" (High five)

On this particular day my oldest son Boogs (5 1/2 years old at the time) was being uncharacteristically aggressive and testosterone-y with his brothers and friends.  He was also not listening to my admonishments and was generally pissing me off.

I try not to embarrass him in front of his friends with my discipline.  I make every attempt to pull him aside and embarrass him with my discipline.  But on this day he was having none of it.

I pulled out every Mom threat I could think of to get him to stop bullying his brothers and friends into being perpetual mere clone troopers or droids while he expected indefinite Darth Vaderdom:

  1. Reason:  Share Darth Vader and you’ll have more fun –  (“No!  I’m the best Vader and you know it!”)
  2. No popsicle – (“So, it would melt anyway!”)
  3. A time out – (“Good, I’ll get to sit down!”)
  4. His friends will have to go home – (“Big deal, they’re not playing right anyway!”)
  5. Go inside to your room – (“Mmmm…I’d love to be in the cool air conditioning!”)
  6. No TV for a week (“TV is stinky!”)

Arghhh…this kid.  The plain truth was he knew I was bluffing.  On this day the two friends were over because their mothers weren’t home.  He knew they weren’t going anywhere and that I wouldn’t make him go to his room.

Ooooh, he was giving me all sorts of lip and attitude and pushing my big, red Fisher Price-sized buttons to the Nth degree.  And he was just begging me to rein him in.

I was hot and frustrated and was trying at the same time to watch the other boys so I could prevent the “The Lord of the Flies” scenario from taking hold while their indignant leader was gone.

So I gently dragged Boogs alongside me as I waddled in my tarp and twigs to the side of the garage out of earshot of the other boys, and this simple phrase came flying out of my mouth in a forceful whisper:

“Do you want the monkey squad to come?”

Silence and huge eyes from him. Fear.  Then…

“What’s the monkey squad?”  Still with attitude, though faux now.

My first thought was “Ha!  That got your attention smarty.”

But my second thought was, “Oh boy…I wish I could take that back”. 

The week before we had watched “The Wizard of Oz” and it popped into my mind that I had told him the flying monkeys were the coolest, and at the same time scariest, thing to me when I was a kid.

But now I was stuck explaining what I meant and trying not to scare the shit out of him, without completely losing any standing as the Alpha Mother.

“Well, um, the Monkey Squad are really good, kind monkeys that sometimes come and teach kids who aren’t behaving well how to be better and listen to their Moms.”

Oh my God.  What the fuck? Because that is sooo much less scary than flying monkeys in a movie? 

“What do you mean?” he asked clearly terrified.  “Monkeys come and get you?  Where do they take you??”

Ahh, shit.  Think, woman, think…

“Um, they don’t really take you anywhere. They come and talk to you…. They…..oh forget it.  I’m making it up.  There is no Monkey Squad.  I’m sorry.  There is no such thing.  I was just telling you that funny little story to get you to listen to  me because you are not being good today.  I’m sorry.  There is no such thing.  Okay?  Just forget it.  Forget it.  Now go and play NICELY.”

He stood and stared at me.

“Where does the monkey squad live?”

There is no monkey squad!  (deep breaths)  I was joking.  Sometimes Moms do that when they are frustrated.  Never mind.  I was kidding.  There is no monkey squad.  Seriously.  I’m sorry.  I love you.  Now go play.”

And he walked away slowly, peering ever-cautiously through the trees for the rest of the afternoon.

Good Christ.  I felt terrible.  But damn if he didn’t play nice from that point on.


Okay, so I thought it was done.  Kids his age have the attention span of ducks anyway, right?

That night we were getting ready for bed.  I was brushing his teeth.

“Mom, where does the monkey squad live?”

Son of a BITCH.

“Babe, listen.  I told you.  That wasn’t true.  Really.  I was kidding.  Sometimes Moms make jokes that are mistakes and that was a big mistake.  There is NO monkey squad.  I promise you.”


Oh holy shit did I feel bad.  Horrible.  In a moment of sheer frustration and anger at my own inability to control a 5 1/2 year old boy, I instead scared the bejesus out of him.

I was sure he’d be riddled with nightmarish images all night long of flying monkeys landing in our front yard coming to take him to a Maury Povich-type troubled-teen boot camp.

But he slept fine.  He was okay. He never mentioned it the next day at all, and yet I was overcompensating still to make up for my “Mommy Dearest” moment.

I just wanted him to never remember I said it.  I plied him with more candy than normal.  Was super-lovey with him, more than normal.  And it seemed to work.  No mention the next day, or the day after that.

Whew.  Bullet dodged.

(I’m pretty sure, Dear Reader, you know that is not true or you wouldn’t be reading a blog entry about it would you?  Am I right?)


Fast forward roughly one year later.  Early August, 2011.

My three boys were upstairs getting ready for bed.  I’m sorry, did I say getting ready?  Right.

What I meant to say was running around and bouncing off the walls like racquet balls as they usually do right before sleep.  You know, just to get it all out.

Teeth were brushed, potties used, jammies on and I was looking through the dresser drawers in my room right across the hall from them.

The two youngest boys were particularly nutso that night and even Boogs was getting irritated.  He kept telling them to be quiet.  But they wouldn’t listen.

I was looking for my night-shirt when I heard this from Boogs to his two little brothers:

“You guys better be good or the monkey squad will come and take you to their camp in the woods for months until you learn to behave.  But they’re not mean, they’re nice.  But still they live in the woods and they’ll come”.

What the fuuuuu………………..

“NOPE…NO….!!!!” I yelled as I tripped over myself running to their bedroom, pulling myself along the walls and busting through their bedroom door in an effort to diffuse the A-bomb I had dropped the year before.

“NO!  That’s not true.  Guys, no.  There is no monkey squad.  Ha!  Ho, man, that was just a funny little story I told Boogs a long time ago but it’s not true.  Okay…so, let’s get ready for bed guys!”

The forced chipperness was oozing out of my pores like molasses and they could smell it a mile away.

“The MONKEY squad?!?  What’s THAT?” my 3 1/2 year old whimpered in terror as he clutched his favorite stuffed animal – a monkey, of course.

“No, Babe.  No Monkey squad!  Hey, you guys wanna go to the park tomorrow and then eat ice cream sundaes for dinner??”

It was done.  The damage.  Boogs had remembered it…of fucking COURSE!  Why wouldn’t he remember the single most terrifying thing anyone had ever told him, much less that it came from his Mother; his ordained protector and anointed truth-teller?


For the next half hour I tried in vain to explain the non-existence of the monkey squad.  The more I denied it, the more they believed.  They laughed some about it, but mostly they stared at Boogs as he kept interjecting more and more outrageous information about what the monkey squad was and where is was stationed (Minnesota, apparently).

It was the proverbial snowball.  From Hell.

They still talk about it.  They’ve told some of their friends about it.  One friend recently asked me if it was real.

“No.  Nope.  It is not true.  I told a bad-Mommy joke because I thought it would be kind of funny and maybe make Boogs listen to me.  Nuh-uh.  Not real”.

The friend turned to Boogs and whispered, “Where do they take you?”

It was useless.  They believed, and my protestations to the contrary seemed only to reinforce its reality.  It was done.

God only knows how many kids Boogs has told monkey squad stories to.  Hundreds?

The only thing I can’t believe is that I haven’t gotten a call from a single parent who had to get rid of their pet chimp because of my 10 second lie.

Parental guilt is rivaled only by Catholic guilt.  In my case I have both.  Such is my cross to bear.

These poor kids, not only will they be randomly subjected to sweat inducing, heart racing nightmares periodically throughout their lives…they will likely one day perpetuate this myth by telling it to their children in dire frustration, despite what logic dictates. 

But here’s a VERY interesting thing…  I Googled “monkey squad” just to see what might come up.  And there was the picture you see further up…”Monkey Squadron”.

Coincidence?  Was that picture created by a collective parental mind at work – by other parents all over the world who have told similar stories to force compliance from their offspring?

Or perhaps, just perhaps, we have direct knowledge as to how a folklore is born…on the driveway of a suburban Chicago home out of sheer desperation, from a little white lie meant to help a Mom on the precipice of losing control of her 5 1/2 year old son.

The whole story has taken on a life of its own.  You know why?  Because deep down kids think – it has to be trueMoms wouldn’t tell a lie. 


One thing’s for certain…I will lose all semblance of street-cred when they find out about Santa.

You Googled WHAT to get to my Blog??

I’ve been writing Hippielib for 8 months now.  I love it.  I really do.  It’s a wonderful creative outlet, sounding board and soap box for me.  It’s like having a job you love:

  1. It’s cheap. (No gas money.)
  2. I work only the hours I want. (Which really means the hours I don’t want…during my free time between 9 pm and 1 am.)
  3. I get paid extremely well to do it. (The currency being not so much actual money as much as me wishing it was actual money.)

I love writing.  And if no one ever read a single post I made I’d still write it.  The diary obsession, I suppose.  We all want a voice even if no one is listening.

In reality though it thrills me that anyone, anywhere takes even a minute out of their day to read anything I have to say – whether they love it or hate it – and I appreciate all who visit here.

Writing a blog is a sociological experiment on so many levels.  There are so many interesting things about doing it:  the comments you get, what you learn during your research on a post, the very interesting people you meet from all over the world who take time to read what you think is important at any given time, the connections you make when people like what you have to say (or really don’t like it at all), and through those connections coming across all the other voices out there you find fascinating in one way or another.

But one of the most interesting things is that you can monitor your “traffic”.  It’s a very fun and enlightening part of this job.  You can look at your stats every day to see how many hits you get and in a general sense where those hits come from.

You can’t see personal information such as e-mail addresses or anything like that from hits, but you can see if someone used a search engine to reach you and what they typed in to get to your site.

For instance if someone types something into Google, and for some reason my blog pops up in their search and they actually click on it  –  I can’t see who they are or any personal information – only what they typed to get here.

And…you can see exactly what they typed in.  Word-for-word.

When you write a blog entry you are encouraged to “tag” your posts.  Tags are words or phrases which are tied to your post and help categorize it for people who are searching for information on the subject you are writing about.

As an example, I could add a tag to a post labeled “making ice cream” and people searching the web for information on how to make ice cream may be directed to my blog.  But what these tags also do is…blend together.

I call them “BLAGS”…for blended tags.  (Remind me to copyright that).

Anyway, for instance I could tag a post with “eating ice cream at church when it’s hot outside”, but also add the tag “ice cream and your body”, because I write about how eating too much of it may make you gain weight, and the next thing you know someone who Googles “Rubbing Ice Cream All Over Your Hot Body” gets directed to my purely informational and non-pornographic post on holiday ice-cream making.  I was “blagged”.

But at that point it’s done…they’ve Googled it, they’ve clicked on whichever post best correlates with their search and/or blags, and voila!  I now have a record of exactly what they typed in.

There is rarely a day that goes by when I don’t laugh at what someone has Googled (let’s just use Google to encompass all search engines shall we?) to get to my blog.

Some search phrases and words are rather disturbing to read, some make perfect sense and some are hilarious and leave me scratching my head wondering how even the Internets came up with the blag (remember, blended tag) to get them to my site…and why on Earth once they saw where they were, did that particular person actually click on Hippielib at all.

I realize if you are not a regular follower of Hippielib (like most of the population) you may not get some of the references below so I will add links to the posts they are referring to when I think it might help.

So without further ado…the following are just some of the actual search engine words and terms, verbatim, which have shown up in my stats throughout the 8 month existence of Hippielib:


  • MEN MAKE ME FEEL WORTHLESS – This phrase, verbatim, has been Googled and directed to my blog many, many times since I wrote the post Hold The Door.  It’s very interesting yet obviously unsettling.  I’m wondering if men Google “women make me feel worthless” just as much.   I doubt it.  There have also been many searches using the phrase: Is it oppressive to hold the door open for women?  Good Lord.  No.  The answer is NO.  Definitively No.  For the woman who views it as oppressive for a man to hold the door open for her, I say…perhaps you are overreaching for shit to get pissed off at men about?  There are so many legitimate reasons to be pissed at them why make them up?  That may be my next post:  “The Legitimate Reasons To Get Pissed Off at Men”.  It’s in the works, ladies.

  • ABORTION – This makes sense.  I have written several times about my Pro-Choice stance.  There are many variations on the search terms though:  necessary abortion, what are my choices abortion, my God and abortion, what are my rights abortion, abortion please help.  And not once, as some on the Religious Right would have you believe, has someone gotten here by searching “I’m Pro-Abortion and Proud” or “I’m so excited to have an abortion” or “Yippee I’m pregnant again and can’t wait to have an abortion because I use it as birth control”.  Nope.
  • ASTRONAUT QUOTES:  Also many who have searched Astronaut quotes about religion.  A Little Faith is where I compiled as many quotes from astronauts as I could find.  There are entire websites dedicated to only the quotes from astronauts after they’ve been in space. Because one can only imagine how that changes a person and we should listen to what these chosen few have to say. Fascinating stuff.
  • DREAMS ABOUT BEING IN A BUILDING UNDER WATER – Since The Closet Superhero I’m kind of astounded as to just how many people search for information on dreams about being in buildings under water – which is exactly what I wrote about.  The following phrase with only slight variations in wording has been Googled, I would guess, close to 50 times:  “Wall of water a hundred feet high in dreams”.  There has to be some inborn psychological mechanism within the human brain which hard-wires us to dream of this scenario with such specificity that it must go beyond a simple fear of drowning or Freudian sexual frustration.  Right?

  • HERD MENTALITY – Since You Herd It Here First a lot of people have typed this in.  I like to think of these people as unsuspecting hard-core Tea Partiers hoping to find fodder for their dislike and distrust of us Libs, and then…..BLAM!  It’s flipped on ’em.   I’m kidding.  Sort of.
  • FATE VS DESTINY – Easily one of the most frequently searched phrases that leads to Hippielib, and of course to Fate vs Destiny.  Here are some of the variations:  What is Fate vs Destiny?, Which came first fate or destiny?, Can I change my fate or destiny?, What is the difference between fate and destiny?  Gee, I really thought I was the only one trying to determine the difference between them. Just when you think you’re unique in ALL the world…damn.
  • MID-FORTIES PHYSIQUE – There are lots-o-people stressing about reaching middle age.  Shocking I know.  I hope they aren’t hoping they’ll find any valuable insight from me regarding this milestone, and certainly not from “Dipshit” is the new “30”.  Because as you can ascertain by the title of this post…. meaningful insight is severelllllly lacking here.

  • I’M SO SAD MENOPAUSE – Menopause makes me sad, menopause sweating, menopause sucks…all variations on a theme which I assume leads them again to “Dipshit is the new 30”.  And I haven’t even gone through menopause yet.  Wait til I do though.  Only four-letter-words will guide the unsuspecting person to my posts at that time, as I’ll be all pissed off and hot-flashing because I’ve lost my bifocals and can’t remember where I put my estrogen pills.


  • JUGGSBig juggs, Shake your Juggs, huge juggs in corset, Huge juggs pregnant, jingling juggs, Big brown juggs.  What can I say?  People looovvve big juggs.  Lots and LOTS of people.  And with two “G’s”!  I’m proud to say that Just Say No. Well…Maybe and the mention of “Juggs Magazine” is the culprit here.  I feel bad though.  I keep picturing some sweet, little old farmer woman innocently searching for a nice country store that sells “big brown juggs” in which to store her freshly churned butter.  But then poor Mrs. McFarmer gets directed to a post about reefer madness and theft – replete with a mention and picture of a fetish magazine about absolutely enormous boobs.  Sure, I bet that’s exactly who searched “big brown juggs”.  Riiggghhht.

  • BEST FEMALE SOLDIER MOVIES– This phrase and its variations rival “Fate vs Destiny” for most Google searches leading to my blog.  The post Ain’t it a Bitch  gets a lot of traffic.  Hollywood should take note:  People are really jonesing for some good female soldier movies.  But sometimes the um, awkward variations get them here too:  Bitch female soldiers, Female bitch soldiers, Women Soldiers in Movies who are bitches.  Hmmm.  Let me clarify people:  A woman is NOT automatically a bitch when she becomes a soldier.  I mean she might indeed be a bitch, but it has nothing to do with being a soldier.  Come on!  Grow up.  And in keeping with that theme:
  • SIGOURNEY WEAVER MASCULINE SOLDIER – Lots of searches for Sigourney Weaver as a masculine soldier.  As a woman, I didn’t find her masculine in “Aliens”.  I thought she was hot and I wanted to be her and look like her.  So I got my hair cut just like her.  Only it didn’t look just like hers.  It looked like Ted Koppel’s.  Back in my acting days I actually had head-shots done with that hair style.  I’ll post a lot of shameful things about myself here, but that head-shot won’t be one of them.

  • BRUCE WILLIS GUNSBruce Willis…With a Complex is a fairly popular post.  People like Bruce a whole lot.  And they’re definitely searching for information on the “Die Hard”-era-Bruce as opposed to the “Moonlighting”/Seagram’s Wine Cooler-era-Bruce.  I sure bet they are disappointed when they realize that the title of the piece belies Bruce’s involvement in it.  It’s a classic bait-and-switch.  I can’t wait to write the post entitled “Justin Bieber and the Exit Strategy”.  It will be about our involvement in Afghanistan and the precise measures I think we should take to get out of there.    I will mention Justin once, only in relation to how little I know about him and don’t know what little girls see in him, but wonder what he thinks of the Afghan War.  And then I will add his picture.  I know it’s wrong, but the title alone will increase my traffic by about 10 billion percent and little girls will get to see yet another picture of The Biebs on yet another website.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

  • SUPER MARIO ALLEGORY –  This post gets hit a lot.  People actually type in Super Mario Allegory or Allegory Super Mario – and often.  The Allegory of Super Mario is naturally where they land.  I find that so cool, and strange.  Perhaps I should also copyright “You play Nintendo like you live your life”.
  • FUNNY THINGS TO MAKE A HIPPIE LAUGH – Yes, tie-dye humor is searched for quite a bit.  What-oh-what will make that crazy hippie laugh?  Also searched:  Hippie clothing, What do hippie women look for in men, Hippies in Video games (are there hippies in video games?  With guns blazing and grand theft auto-ing?), Hippie feminist sexist (Do those exist?  I thought those kind were extinct).

  • MY CHEER LEADING UNIFORM SHRANK – Also:  Help my cheer leading uniform shrank, can you unshrink a cheer leading uniform.  Oh, those poor girls.  I understand the inexplicable trauma as described in 15 Minutes
  • CASEY ANTHONY PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES – Also:  What were Casey Anthony’s parental responsibilities, and variations of Casey’s “responsibility”.  They were led to The Mother of All Panic Buttons.  And obviously the answer is:  She fucking had none.


  • SIGOURNEY IS NOT THE ALIEN MOTHER SHE’S THE CUNT –  Uh huh.  Wowza.  I don’t know about you but I sense some significant anger issues at play here.  That’s just not right at all.
  • ALIEN MOTHER AND PLANET AND I LOVER HER MUCH – I….hmmm.  I’ll chalk this one up to a language-translation-barrier issue.  Please God let that be it.
  • DIET PEPSI WITH WORLD TRADE CENTER ON IT –  Also:  Diet Pepsi Twin Towers, Diet Pepsi can with WTC jets, and Diet Pepsi World Trade Center Jet Image.  I understand the blags – I mention both Diet Pepsi and the World Trade Center in my post about 9/11 entitled The Instant-Replay.  But what am I missing here?  Is Pepsi doing some promotional campaign with depictions of the Twin Towers on their cans?  Oi.  Here’s some unsolicited advice, Pepsi:  Don’t do that.  Just don’t…dothat.
  • SLUT FINGER ON OVARY POSSIBLY PREGNANT – Yes, I did mention the word “slut” in Dear Diary, but I believe this might be the best example of blagging yet:  I think this phrase blended tags from five different posts, each word coming from a different one.  And for those of you who believe sex-ed is an unnecessary and religiously compromising addition to the curriculum in our public schools, please read this sentence over…and over…and over…and over…again.


  • OLD ENGLISH PHOTO OF A MAN HOLDING A TORTOISE OVER HIS HEAD – Wow.  I don’t know.  I really don’t.  I haven’t Googled this phrase myself yet, but I will.  I’m still too nervous at what I might find.

  • FREE TUBE OF HIGH QUALITY BIG FAT WELL SHAPED WOMEN – Hot damn there are some freaks out there on Planet Earth.  Maybe that makes me sound a little uppity, a little better and more “normal” than others.  But that’s only because it’s TRUE.  Come on!
  • DOUCHE BAG – I don’t remember writing about douches or douche bags in any of my posts, and I resent the Internets for sending this douche bag here.  Uh, see…now I’ve done it.
  • WE HAD 1 STAIR IN THE BASEMENT WITH 2 TERMITE LARVAE.  THE HOUSE HAS BEEN FREE AND CLEAR FOR TWO YEARS.  DO WE NEED TO DISCLOSE THIS INFORMATION TO POTENTIAL BUYERS – Uh huh.  Someone typed that whole thing in and got here, and then not only got here but read the name of this blog and most likely clicked on the post “Ain’t it a Bitch” (in which I mention the word “larvae”) because they were thinking…”Hey, maybe this bitch knows if I have to disclose or not!”  As a homeowner, I believe you do have to disclose for up to five years.  But please check with your state and local guidelines on this matter.  DISCLAIMER:  I’m making that up.  I have no idea.  But I’m glad you stopped by nonetheless.  Good luck to you.
  • DIPSHIT –  I know you are but what am I?  What is someone hoping to find when they search with just the word “Dipshit”?  Probably something really inane…oh, wait….Hey.  I resemble that.
  • DIPSHIT HAT –   I wonder what a dipshit hat looks like and where I can find one.  Oh, never mind…found it.

  • SMART MONKEY –  This one cracks me up because I too searched for this picture to compliment a portion of The Indignity Between 6 and 8, in which I justifiably compare my mathematical intelligence to that of a primate.  I literally Googled “Smart Monkey”.  People have also gotten here several times by typing in Monkey Wearing Glasses.  No one doesn’t like a monkey wearing glasses.

  • PRESIDENT OBAMA MAKING A BABY IN A TEST TUBE – So not only do some people think our President is the reincarnation of Hitler, or the Anti-Christ, or a screaming Socialist (as opposed to the not-so-closet Conservative he’s turning out to be)…he’s now a mad-scientist cookin’ up babies in tubes.  I wish I had better health care coverage to help pay for the whiplash I’m getting from shaking my fucking HEAD.
  • BRAIN SURGEON MATH FORMULAS – Cackling maniacally to myself.  Oh man, that is rich.  Some poor intern at Johns Hopkins was simply searching for the elusive “Brain Surgeon Math Formula” so he could study for the brain surgery final…and got my blog about how I only got a 7 in Math on my ACT exam.  I instantly made that person feel like the most super-smart person on the planet.  Glad I made their day.


  • FUCK MATH I’M GONNA BE A MUSICIAN – Whoever this person is I love him with all my heart and want to marry him and live happily ever after with him in a commune somewhere.  I assume that he clicked on The Indignity Between 6 and 8 and if he read it, surely realizes we are soul mates.  Call me??


Dear Diary.

Posted on

When I was 9 years old my mother took me to Woolworth’s.  Oh how I loved that store.  Being surrounded by all the neat stuff there (otherwise known to us adults as crapola) was like being in Heaven for me.  I’m sure my mother did everything she could to avoid taking me and my sister to Woolworth’s mainly because she’d end up spending hard-earned money on well, crapola.

My life in some pages...

I tended to gravitate toward the paper aisle.  Scads and heaps and troves of paper as far as the eye could see.  Notebooks made heart race.  I wanted to buy all of them; one big shopping cart full of empty pages to be filled with drawings or doodles, but mostly writing.

It was there in that aisle my mother let me pick out a little spiral bound notebook.  It was green.  It cost .33 according to its top, right-hand corner, and it would be my very first diary.  I wrote this warning on the cover:  “DO NOT OPEN – Notebook for Notes!”   Above that I had scratched out the word “Diary”, which you can still clearly read.  I think it really threw people off the scent of its true function.

I kept one diary every year for 12 years, starting from the age of 9 – 4th grade, through the age of 21 – Junior/Senior year in college.  I’ve kept all of them, although I seem to have temporarily misplaced 1979 and a few others.  They’ll turn up.

There is no better way I could travel back in time than reading these things.  Not even with a DeLorean.

I will now give you some random excerpts from just a few of these diaries because, well, it’s scintillating stuff.  The depth and worldliness of my observations is kind of astonishing.  There’s really no other word for it.   Please take a moment and enter my pre and emerging pubescent mind, with some 43-year-old commentary.  If you dare.

Has held up well for 33 cents. 1978.

March 19, 1978 – Age 9:  My boyfriend Mike moved because his father had to move closer to his work.  I loved him. And he loved me.  It was true love. 

Mike once asked me to say “robin red-breast”, so I did.  He laughed and said “you said breast”.  I fell hook, line and sinker.  How could I not?  Our love was deep, and it was binding.


March 28, 1978 – Age 9:  I’m sorry that I’m so late in writing but I got tied up.  I haven’t seen Mike since he moved.  I’m sure he’s forgotten all about me.  I like Jeff.

I must have been tied up in meetings.  I think 9 days was an appropriate mourning period.


March 29, 1978 – Age 9: My friend Jan stayed overnight last night.  We had a super busy day.  We went to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  It was about UFO’s (flying saucers).  Then we went home and ate and then we went into the basement and skated.  Boy what a busy day.

1984. This one is fairly sparse. Shame, it was a good year.

I’m not sure how I survived that day, yeesh.  Whew.  Just reading about it makes me super exhausted.  Those skates had metal wheels, not the fancy rubbery plastic kind.  No stoppers/breaks on the toes.  Those were some old-school skates.  The metal wheels were dented in places so it was kind of like skating on squares.  The laminate flooring in our basement bore the scars from our skate parties, and so did the walls and doors due to our roller derby, high-octane collisions.  Every few minutes from upstairs we’d hear “**%$^%$#….KNOCK IT OFF!”  But we were pretty bad-ass, so we didn’t.


Junior/Senior year in High School. 1985-86.

March 30, 1978 – Age 9:  I spent the night at Jan’s house last night.  Her Mom made us clean the house and vacuum the living room and I knocked over a plant.  Her mom was out somewhere and came home that very minute but I ran so she didn’t have time to yell at me.

There are so many things wrong here.  Why did my friend’s mom make a 9-year-old guest clean her house and vacuum her carpet, while she was out getting a mani/pedi?  I do not note whether or not I was paid, but I suspect not.  Why did I scamper away due to the toppled plant?  Where was I going…I lived five miles away?  Why didn’t I man-up and say “Bitch, clean your own house!” while throwing the vacuum cleaner handle down and stomping out with pride? I’ll never know the answers to these burning questions.


???? 12, 1978 – Age 10:  I got my report card today.  Last time I got a U, a big fat U, in “talking”.  But this time I got an S -.  So not too bad.  Man, if I got another U my dad would probably beat me. 

I wrote on this one with a peppermint scented pen. 1980-81.

Let me be clear, my father never beat me.  Back then you could make reference to even just the threat of “getting beat” by your parents without FOX News doing a sixty minute expose on it.  Those were the days.  I did talk a damn lot.  And most of my “U”s were in bright red ink, I think to emphasize the fact that if I could have gotten a “Z” in “talking” I would have.  It was the beginning of my disdain for the tail end of the alphabet.


December 27, 1978 – Age 10:  This year’s Christmas was pretty good excepting I got the chicken pox.  I was loaded with them on my head, in my ear, in my mouth and everywhere else you could name.  I got the pox the last day of school before Christmas vacation and I missed the party and I was in charge of it!  And then my Dad got tickets to the Nutcracker Suite but I couldn’t go because I had a lot of the pox all over me. 

The Pox.  The dreaded Pox.  I had it bad, but not as bad as one boy I knew who was rumored to have scratched his wiener completely off during his stint with The Pox.  I’m pretty sure it was true.  I’ve seen that boy a few times over the years and my eyes always…travel…down….


October 24, 1980 – Age 12:  Tonight at 7:00 I am going to my very first boy-girl dance!  Since I’m on student council I’ll get out of a whole day of school to decorate the gym.

This one is flannel. So comfy. 1986-87.

Really?  A WHOLE day??  To hang up some construction paper and sweep the floors?   No wonder I got a 7 in Math on my ACT.  I remember that day, and all we did was listen to the music us girls brought in so we could make the playlist..the playlist consisting of a 7 foot high stack of vinyl 45’s.

– Right now it’s 6:30 and me and Julie are getting ready for the dance.  I am wearing light blue pants and a blue turtle neck with a white vest.  I set my hair in curlers of course, but the curl didn’t stay in.  I put eye shadow and lip gloss on.

Several things:  1. Blue pants and turtle neck, with a white vest…I…I…don’t know what to say.  It’s not right.  2.  Curlers.  I remember those curlers of my mom’s.  They were steam curlers.  When you’d open the lid of the casing to pull one out scalding hot water would launch out of the top, along with enough scorching steam to melt your face.  You could have powered all of Vegas with my mom’s 12-curler set, the Hoover be damned.  3. I remember the eye shadow was green, which was the perfect choice to compliment my “Hee-Haw!” outfit.  I don’t know why someone didn’t help me.

– Now it’s 8 o’clock and the girls are on one side of the gym and the boys on another side.  All the girls took off their shoes because the boys were too short. 

It’s not like we were wearing stilettos.  Those boys were damn short.  Freakishly short.  Like Lilliputians, and I was only about 5’2″ at the time.  Um.  Yes. I took my diary with me lots of places.  Apparently I took it to this dance.  Geeeeeeeek.  What did I do, stick it in the back pocket of my electric blue pants next to my comb while I was swaying back and forth relentlessly…sorry, dancing…. with a boy?  I also wrote down who danced with who and how many times.  I made a chart.  What the….?

'Cuz nothing says "SECRET!" like huge black letters on a shiny, silver background screaming "SECRET!" 1981-82.


November 18, 1980 – Age 12:  Today I’m working on my book.  I watched some TV too.  Laverne & Shirley and Happy Days.  I need a new bra and some long sleeve shirts.  And I want a piano. 

“…the attention span of a gnat” takes on a whole new meaning here.


November 20, 1980 – Age 12:  Today we played dodge ball in gym class.  I ended up being the only one left on my side so naturally everyone on the other side was aiming for my head and neck.  I was lucky to only get hit hard in the side. 

Naturally the head and neck is where the four guys on the other side simultaneously aimed for me.  It makes perfect sense.  And I believe the gym teacher who sat off to the side, arms-folded on top of his beer belly literally pointing and laughing at me, yelled to me the phrase which Rip Torn inevitably pilfered:  “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!”


November 21, 1980 – Age 12:  We finally found out who shot J.R.!  I thought it was Cliff Barnes.  Grandma thought it was Kristin.  Mom thought it was Dr. Elby (he’s a sicko) and my sister thought it was Pam.  But Grandma was right!  But now Kristin is pregnant with J.R.’s baby so he can’t call the cops on her or his baby will be born in jail. 

My Grandmother was a prophet.  Who else could have ever guessed it was Kristin when you had that sicko Dr. Elby running loose?  Grandma should have played the lottery that day. 


My Grandma phase?? 1989-90.

December 1, 1980 – Age 12:  Today I feel like my life has ended.  John broke up with me in Art class.  He said we fight too much.  We went out for 1 month and 8 days.  He likes Jane.  She is such a slut. 

Ohhh, Johnny.  I really liked Johnny.  We did fight a lot though; about current events and who would be more rich and famous when we grew up.  I’m pretty sure I lost.  Also around that time I learned the difference between a “slut” and a “whore”.  Jane clearly deserved every bit of my appropriate assault on her chastity.  She DESERVED it.


December 25, 1980 – Age 12:  Merry Christmas!  I got some stationary, books, lots of earrings, the new Styx album, an alarm clock and ATARI!  I also got a new diary, with a lock on it.  Atari is the best though. 

It was the best.  But most of my friends had Intelevision.  I hated Intelevision and worked hard to eradicate it from existence.  I did pretty well.  Styx “Cornerstone”.  I still have it.  You know it’s you, Babe.


December 26, 1980 – Age 12:  I went to Mary’s slumber party tonight.  We watched The Amityville Horror.

The scene with Rod Steiger and the flies made me gag but I remember thinking it would have been scarier if they had been bats. And the bleeding walls made quite an impression.  I decided right then and there that I never wanted to live in a house with bleeding walls.  I’ve yet to cave on that decision.


December 27, 1980 – Age 12:  Today we went by my aunt and uncle’s house and spent the night.  We all went to the roller rink.  Later on when we were watching TV me and my cousin Joe got into a fight and he hit me and gave me a fat lip.  But then I kicked him in the head.

Uh huh, but that kick in the head came about a half-hour AFTER our parents made us apologize to each other. 

This one survived a flood. Barely. 1987-88.

Only I didn’t really think I – needed – to apologize.  So while all the cousins were on the floor quietly watching TV as the parents played Pinochle,  I seethed, waited for my opening…stood up, and kicked him in the head.  He ran crying upstairs like a little girl because, shit, I kicked him in the head.  Yeah, go on…RUN.  He started it.


December 28, 1980 – Age 12:  Played some Space Invaders today and then watched The Amityville Horror again and went to bed. 

Why was I always watching that movie???  Ahhh, right.  I forgot.  I was in love with James Brolin, going all the way back to Marcus Welby.  Mystery solved.


December 31, 1980 – Age 12:  We went to Grandma’s tonight because my parents went out.  Me and Grandma stayed up until 2:30 am.  It was a blast. 

I wasn’t being sarcastic here.  I loved my Grandma.  I miss her.


I hope you were able to absorb the profundity of these entries.  If so, check in some time in the future for the High School years.  It gets pretty steamy.  I won’t give it away but there is talk of (deep breaths)………………corduroys.

So Very Cool: The Versatile Blogger Award

It is with humbleness and happiness that I acknowledge my nomination for the “Versatile Blogger Award”, especially considering it came from Barking In The Dark.

I did not know what the “Versatile Blogger Award” was until wordsfallfrommyeyes (a blog I am just now beginning to read and know I will love) commented on one of my posts that Mr. Bark had nominated me for one.  (He’s so sneaky that guy).  See, I’m fairly new to the blogging world and all of its nuances.  The VBA is an honor that a fellow blogger bestows upon you when they think that maybe your blog is worth reading because they kind of like it.  It’s a really nice way to acknowledge things other people produce, and then you pay it forward.

There are some rules to accepting this award.  They are:

  1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to between 5-15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Thank you so much Bark, for liking what I write enough to say so publicly.    I love Barking In The Dark.  I stumbled upon Bark’s (we’re on a first-word-of-blog-title-basis now.  Jealous?) blog by surfing and hoping to find something interesting to read.  I hit pay dirt.  It is sleek, exceedingly witty and creative, funny as all HELL, beyond clever and razor-sharp with just a hint of hippielibness.  So you know, I’m a die-hard fan.  I implore you to read it.

On to the other rules:

7 Things About Myself:

  1. I wanted to be an actor since…I can remember.  And I was for a long while.  But somewhere around 13 years old I toyed with the idea of going into archeology, because I found it fascinating and still do.  What’s weird is that when I became a college Theatre major, the Theatre Building (as it was referred to) also housed the very tiny campus Archeology department.  Not exactly natural bedfellows, eh?
  2. I love National Geographic.  When it comes in the mail I get very excited and anxiously await reading it that night in bed.  I have been a National Geographic member since 1993, and carry their crazy little ID card in my wallet.  It has yet to get me into any hip, awesome nightclubs or anything, but I kind of like that it’s in there.
  3. I believe in UFO’s and ghosts.  I believe with all of my heart I’ve seen both.
  4. I truly think that love makes the world go ’round.
  5. It really bugs me when people other than me say trite shit like #4.
  6. I like to swear.  I think curse words are underrated.  One of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten was from a very good, well-respected actor I admired when he said:  “Damn, you really swear well.  You do.  It doesn’t sound dirty coming from you, and you still sound intelligent when you do it.”  Fuckin’-A.
  7. I love Taco Bell.

Nominate Between 5-15 Blogs You Enjoy Reading:

  1. A Face From The Crowd:  Great blog by someone I’ve known for a very long time.  He’s funny and charming and he basically let me and all of our friends live rent-free in his basement apartment in college even though we had our own places to live.  He’s a very insightful, heartfelt writer and his blog is always a good read about life, with some sports thrown in.  I forgive him for not only being a Chicago White Sox fan but also working for them.  Cubs, baby…wait til next year!
  2. Whine & Roses:  If you like highly intellectual snark and thinly veiled sarcasm, poignant story telling and HUMOR, and aren’t quite sure you think Gwyneth Paltrow is, or deserves to be, the archetypal woman in today’s world… please read Jen’s blog.
  3. Doodlemum:  Ohhhhh I just ADORE this blog.  Beautiful, humorous, whimsically endearing sketches of the daily life surrounding one mother.  She captures motherhood and childhood so perfectly.  I wish I could do what she does, but it couldn’t be better than how she does it.
  4. Stilettos and Sneakers:  An oh-so powerful blog by one woman who has lived a life worthy of a major motion-picture.  She’s an actor, AIDS activist, hilariously fucking funny, and wise to the world in ways that most of us will never know.  Please read.
  5. Kimberly’s Page: A Black Girl’s Poetry for the World:  Loving the written word all of my life, I have never been an exceedingly avid fan of poetry in the strict sense of the word.  But I find Kim’s poetry haunting.  It moves me in its simple, but never simplistic, style.  She conveys raw emotion with such grace and eloquence.  I never fail to read her new posts.
  6. Little Fish in a Big Pond:  Very good predominantly political, liberally focused blog by a college student.  She’s fantastic and just waaaay more on top of things than I was at her age.  She’s going places.  Check her out.
  7. Partisan Dawn:  I think this blog has my favorite tag line, which is:  “Because There’s No Such Thing as a Moderate Republican”.  Great writing and commentary supporting the Liberal in all of us.  Okay, some of us.  Really good.
  8. The Hack Novelist:  Great insight into the progression, frustration and excitement of one writer as he attempts to write and publish his first novel.  Very good, very interesting.
  9. dadcope:  A truly heartrending blog by a newly divorced dad trying to cope and thrive in his new life.  He hasn’t posted in a while and I wish he’d come back.  The peek into his life and the manner in which he conveys it is often funny, sometimes heartbreaking and always leaves you wanting to hear more.
  10. She’s Got a Mouth on Her:  Wonderful blog by a woman who just wants the world to be a better place.  She conveys so well her thoughts and ideas about how to do that without coming off as preachy, which I love.  Very well-written and sometimes edgy.  She’s my kind of girl.
  11. Inner Workings of My Mind:  Fascinating blog written by a Muslim woman.  She has a huge following, and I just happened to come across it one day…to this post in particular.  She’s so open and forthright and gives deep insight into the life of a woman living in a world so many in this country are afraid to acknowledge at all, except through fear.  Wonderful humanity.
  12. forum decorum:  Decidedly male point-of-view on life, and women.  His expression on the female form can be a little jarring – from a chick’s perspective – but I definitely appreciate his candor.  Some funny stuff.  Some interesting takes on the female of the species.  I enjoy reading it.
  13. Under the Lobsterscope:  Retired gentleman (who was once a Broadway producer, which I dig) who clearly isn’t retired from wanting to be part of the conversation.  Very intelligent, well-thought out commentary on politics and life in general.
  14. The Unknowledge Tree:  Very funny blog about the miscellaneous in life.  Very well done, visually stimulating and it makes me laugh.  I love to laugh.

There are more.  I wish I had time in the day to thoroughly read all the interesting blogs I come across.  What a world we live in that we each get our own voice in this way if we want it.

Cool, very cool.

The Indignity Between 6 and 8.

Ahhh, the Marigold.  It was an awesome, completely townie, dive-bar-bowling alley on the corner of Grace & Broadway on the North Side of Chicago, just East of the heart of Wrigleyville.

It was dingy.  It smelled.  It was most likely last renovated in the 60’s, and that’s being generous.  It was open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays.  It catered to a distinctly non-yuppie crowd considering its location, and it had the best karaoke bar ever in the entire world, where it was standing-room-only by Midnight.  They tore it down in 2004.  I believe outrageously priced condos now stand in its place.  Fucking gentrification.

It was the late 90’s, and big groups of us would go to the Marigold and bowl, get drunk, sing karaoke – not well, of course – and then walk across the street to the IHOP for pancakes at 3 a.m.  I really loved that place.  Those were some great times.

I’m a pretty good bowler, actually.  Even sauced.  I was pretty competitive when I bowled, so I was, hmmm, a stickler about scoring.  One friend thought it was cool to “round-up” each score to keep it easy.  Um, no.  And there were no fancy, George Jetson-y computerized scoring machines at this place.  There were barely cup-holders.

I liked to win.  But I didn’t like to keep score.  I’d do everything I could to avoid keeping score myself.  When it was my turn to score, I’d go to the bathroom.  Or walk away.  Or suddenly “see” someone from across the lanes who wasn’t really there.

“Where are you going?  It’s your turn to keep score!” someone would yell to me.

Me, thinking furiously,  “Uh, yeah…I see Ja..m..mer over there.  I have to go say Hi”.

“Did she just say she’s going to say hi to Jammer?  Is she making that up?”

I don’t know why I never just said George Glass.  Whatever.  I’d check it over later.  When I had some time.  I usually took the score sheets home.

Still there were those times when I couldn’t get out of it.

When I couldn’t get out of it, there I’d sit.  Nasty little stub of a pencil in my right hand with Neanderthalic bite marks cracking through the heavy, blue, most assuredly lead-laden paint, hoping to God whoever was up would gutter ball.  And not just because I wanted to win.

I’d start tapping my fingers on the table.  Start shaking my legs back and forth nervously. I’d pretend I was engaged in the laughing and conversations going on.  I’d crack jokes.  I don’t think anyone ever noticed what was happening to me physically.  This was just a fun night out.  And it was, until I had to sit there.

I’d look at the score sheet and pray there weren’t spares or strikes in the previous frames.  And damn it all to hell if there were.

They’d throw their ball and wait to throw it again, all the while I was getting more and more anxious.  Irritated.

After the second ball, they’d walk back to me and look over my shoulder waiting for their frame total.  I’d distract them.  “Hey, look over there!  Is…is…. that JAMMER??”

“Who the hell…is she kidding with this Jammer person?”  More laughing.  It was just me being funny.  I was always being funny.  Anything to buy time.

When I scored, those sheets would look like a 1st grader’s homework, and not in a good/cute way.  It’s not that other people didn’t add things up on the sheet.  They occasionally would.  But not like I did.

It’s not that I can’t add.  I certainly can.

It’s just that something happens to me, has always happened to me, when I am under any sort of pressure – imaginary or real – to deal with numbers.  It goes beyond fear.  It’s more like phobic.  Paranoia.

I don’t embarrass easily.  I’m a pretty confident person.  Ballsy even.  No one takes the piss out of me more than I do myself, but I was internally embarrassed of my phobia and tried never to let on that I panicked at the thought of someone watching me add up a basic bowling score.  But I absolutely did.


Mathematics.  The most universally linear and logical of applications, unwavering in its stringent adherence to its own principles…1 + 1 always, always = 2.  Yuck.  I don’t think I have a truly linear-thinking bone in my body.  I think abstractly.  I live abstractly.  Math…has always caused me to sweat, my heart rate to increase and head to throb…my whole. damn. life.

Fucking math.

My earliest memory of this physical and mental reaction to math is from 3rd grade.  I do not remember having any thought either way about math prior to that.  In 3rd grade I very clearly remember taking a math test.  The first one I ever remember taking. For any test the teacher put the test sheets upside down on our desks and we had to gently lay our pencils down on top of them and fold our hands in our laps.  We had to wait for her signal, at which time we could turn our sheets over and begin.

But this time before she said we could start, she reached into her drawer and pulled out a timer.  A big, shiny, metal egg timer.  We all kind of ooohed and ahhhed over it.

The teacher explained that she would set the timer and when it went off we were to immediately stop writing and put our pencils down and fold our hands in our laps again.

I sat two desks down from my teacher.  I was a great student.  I loved school.  And I really liked her.  She liked me too.  Teachers liked me.  It made me proud that I got to sit so close to her.

So I got a clear shot of the timer.  I thought it was neat, and I was excited to start.

She wound it and told us to begin.  You could hear the rustling of papers, chairs skidding slightly as we all pulled them in closer to our desks in anticipation, the inevitable dropping of a pencil and some kid laughing at the other kid who dropped it and the “shhhhh” from the teacher serving to aim our focus.

Once wound, she placed the timer on the front, left corner of her gargantuan, wooden desk.

I remember I was wearing a dress that day.  I could feel the coldness of the metal seat on my legs.  I picked up my pencil and started the test.  I remember that it seemed pretty easy.  I was not having a difficult time with the equations.

About half way through is when I started to run into trouble.  I’m not sure if it was an actual problem with an equation, or my mind was simply wandering.  I don’t know.  But what I do know, is that all I could suddenly hear was the ticking of the timer.

Tick tick tick tick tick.  I suddenly zeroed in on this sound, like when you’re in your house and there’s noise all around you but the only thing you can hear, what your mind picks out, is the dripping of a faucet.

Like some sort of torture this ticking mesmerized me.   I’m not sure, but I might have been hypnotized.  I lost complete track of time, which is ironic since a timer inherently exists to remind you of time.  I didn’t catch the irony then because, come on, I was a stupid 3rd grader.

The next thing I remember was the teacher saying, “One minute, class.” which apparently snapped me out of my wide-eyed, vacant stare.  I then distinctly remember looking down at my paper and thinking some age-appropriate variation  of “Holy SHIT”.  I’d hardly finished any of the problems.  I looked around and noticed that most of the kids’ papers were upside down with pencils on top as they struggled to keep their hands in their laps.  They were done.

I worked furiously to finish my test, but it was too late.


“FFFFUUUUCCCCCKKKK MEEEEEEEEE”, went my mind.  You know, or some age-appropriate variation thereof.

To this day when I hear an egg-timer go off, I pee myself.


Okay, that’s not true.  But I do know from that time forward I never looked at numbers on a sheet of paper with glee or anticipation again.


I clearly do not have a natural predisposition for comprehending higher math.  I SUCK at it.  SUCKITY-SUCK-SUCK.  Just ask my poor, beleaguered parents, especially my Dad on whose shoulders it fell to tutor me night after night throughout High School.

Now I’m not being cutesy here when I say this, but is Algebra a bunch of sick, twisted shit or WHAT?

Give my Dad a medal, because damn if he didn’t try to help me to the best of his ability.  Both of my parents are far better than average I would say, in their math comprehension skills.  Why I fell off that genetic apple tree I’ll never know.  Not only did I fall off, I careened down a hill, got ran over by a truck and stepped on by the bully ten year old down the street.

I can so clearly remember my father putting his head in his hands, eyes wide, glazed over and unblinking – very “A Clockwork Orange” – and muttering to himself something like “You’ve got to be kidding me”, at the fortified wall that was my brain when dealing with Algebra.  At some point he’d hit the table with his hands, walk to the sink and splash cold water on his face and then take a swig of something, very likely alcoholic.  At least I hope it was.  I recognized and understood his frustration.  I’d sometimes sit back in my chair and laugh at myself which only pissed him off.  I didn’t mean to laugh.  But what else could I do.  I just didn’t get it and I didn’t see the point in getting it.  “You’re smart!  Why can’t you get this?  Arghhh!!”  And he’d leave the room to take a well-deserved break.

He was right, I was smart.  When it came to the Humanities I was a bit of a rock star, in my own mind anyway.  I’ve been a writer since I was a little girl.  I’ve won many writing awards for both fiction and non-fiction.  I’ve been chosen to read essays I’ve written on national radio.  I’ve won Language Arts awards.  I never got anything but straight A’s in English, mostly the same in History, Social Science, and even Science-Science (Biology/Health classes…notice I’m excluding Chemistry).   When I was in 5th grade I was tutoring 8th graders in Reading, Writing and Language Comprehension.  In those areas I was in advanced placement classes all of my school years.  I have a decently high IQ.

But you put me in front of numbers where I’m required to do anything but add/subtract/multiply or divide the simplest of equations…where I actually have to use X’s and Y’s, tangents and cosines…Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus – it’s like one of those annoying black-and-white cartoons from the 30’s starts playing in that part of my brain on a relentless loop – you know the one, with the rudimentary-drawn animal singing some folksy “blahblahblah” song complete with scratched-record sounds crackling through – proving an extremely effective barrier to any sort of understanding…at all.


Long story longer….it’s High School and it’s time to take either the SAT or ACT, or both.  I’m not sure why I didn’t take the SAT to be honest, no recollection.  But I did take the ACT.  I was excited to take it actually.  I enjoyed taking tests for the most part, and while I’d basically scraped by or cheated my way through math for years in a desperate effort just to get through it with passing grades, I wasn’t worried about the ACT.  I’d kick-ass on everything else, which would negate the probable 15-17 out of 36 I’d get in math.  No problemo.

We took the test in the school cafeteria.  I remember it like it was yesterday; the subdued atmosphere tense with anticipation.  Everyone nervous but ready to get on with it.  This was it, the culmination of 12 years of education which would have a major impact on your future, right there encapsulated in those little ovals you had to fill in with the graphite of a No. 2 pencil.

I flew through most of it, finishing well before they’d tell us to put our pencils down.  I felt really good.

But the dread, oh the dreaddddd.  I don’t remember when the math part came in the sequence of the day.  I was as ready for it as I’d ever be.  When I started it, I was truly sick to my stomach.   I wanted to vomit.  God, I just wanted it over with.  I had studied enough, my ass off actually, to get through some of the basic Algebra questions with apparent ease.  But then, it became more advanced.  Much more.

I distinctly recall resting my head in my left hand realizing the time was ticking down, hearing that fucking egg-timer in my head, and panicking.  I looked around and it was me and maybe five other freaks who weren’t done yet…100 other people already done for an hour just watching the rest of us from the adjacent room as if we were zoo exhibits.  I just knew I had to finish all the questions.  I did my best.  I did.  I tried to reason out the answers with the basics I knew.  It didn’t help.  I finished with a few minutes to spare.  And by finished, I mean filled in the ovals on a wing and a prayer: the wing belonging to a buzzard circling over the carcass of my dignity, and the prayer being only to avoid puking all over the lunch table.

It was done.  It was done.  I was done.  Let the chips fall where they may.  If I could have cheated my way through it I would have.  I’m not proud of that fact, but I’m nothing if not self-aware.  I didn’t though.  The proof of that would come some weeks later.


I don’t know where I had been when I got home one afternoon and my Mom was holding the test results in her hand.  She was excited and kind of waved it at me.  I was excited too.  There’s nothing like having the single most determining factor in where you’ll be allowed to attend college typed out on a little sheet of paper.  Weeee!

I was nervous though.  Really nervous.  I opened it, looking at the overall total score first. I deflated like a balloon and closed my eyes.  It wasn’t good.  It wasn’t the worst ever, but it wasn’t what I wanted at all.  And I fucking knew why.

Deep, deep breath.


Math.  7.

Out of a possible 36.


Holy fuck.  What the FUCK!?

“What?!” my Mom said as she noticed my face turn varying shades of green.

I couldn’t even say it.  I just handed it to her.

I don’t even remember what my Mom said about it other than something like…it’s okay, everything else is great, it’s okay.  God bless her.

I think I laid on my bed in the fetal position wanting to die for the next few hours until my Dad came home.  Come home he did.  I didn’t have the heart to show it to him, my Mom did.  He knocked on my door and asked me to come into the kitchen.  I felt so bad for him.  That’s really what it was.  I had hoped that maybe I’d come through like one of those kids they’d do “60 Minutes” specials on; who triumph over a lifetime of poor expectations.  I really did.  But worse, I knew he did too.  I wanted him to feel like his countless hours of attempting to knock through the cement-blockade I had put up against math had worked, at least a little.  It didn’t.

My Dad has been an educator his whole life.  He knew the power of positive reinforcement, coupled with the power of my mother warning him to be nice to me, and when I walked into the kitchen he smiled at me holding that piece of paper.

“Hi honey.  It’s okay.  It’s good, it is.  It’s okay.  But…what happened here?”

I smiled weakly, trying not to cry.

“Gee, I don’t know Dad.  It could have been worse.”  I said with thinly veiled sarcasm.

He laughed warmly, took a step toward me and said quietly over the top of his glasses…

“A monkey could have done better, pointing randomly, with its eyes closed.”

It made us bust out laughing, and started my tears in full force.  I put my head in my hands, leaned back against the kitchen sink and sobbed a decade’s worth of frustration and futility.  He hugged me.  My Mom hugged me.  They knew how I felt.  It was an indelible moment.


My father later determined that regardless of my obvious mental incapacity in the area of mathematics, there was no way I could have gotten that low a score.  I must have somehow, somewhere screwed up the sequencing of the problems/answer ovals and answered out-of-order for a good part of the test.  Yes, that had to be at least part of it.  He wanted me to take it again.  Good GOD. But maybe he was right.

So I did.  I took the entire motherfucking exam over again.

I scored even higher in one of my already high areas.


Wait for it…………………………………………..7.


I don’t know, I think in some ways it’s pretty awesome that I literally scored lower than the expected score of a person, or simian, randomly guessing at the answers blindfolded.  If you’re gonna fail, fail big I say.  It took me a long time to admit to people what my score was.  And I’ve never told a single person who didn’t say “No, come on.  Seriously.  What did you really get?”  That’s the truth.

I suppose I wear it as some sort of pathetic badge of honor now.  Like saying, “Hey…do you have any idea how much more room I have in my brain for the pursuit and absorption of random knowledge while yours is bogged down with number montages like Russell Crowe’s from that scene in “A Beautiful Mind”?

I’m kidding.  It sucks.  And it’s embarrassing.  I’m highly intelligent and math is my Achilles Heel.  So be it.  I’ve taken a lot of lessons away from this lifelong scourge; acceptance of what I am and am not capable of, how to deal with defeat despite my best efforts, and never judge people based on a singular aspect of their intelligence.  There’s almost always more to it than meets the eye.

Oh also…never, ever go bowling without computerized score sheets.

It makes for a much more relaxed evening.

Just Say No. Well…Maybe.

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I’m a sinner.

Despite being a genuinely good person at heart, I’ve certainly sinned during my lifetime.

I am imperfect.

I was at a party my Sophomore year in college.  It was at my roommate’s friends’ house down the street from ours, off-campus in the old Greek Row.  I had been drinking, but wasn’t drunk.  I was most definitely high, though, because my roommate was a stoner musician. I mean she played a wind instrument in the orchestra, not the drums or guitar in a grunge band or something, but still.  And well… I was high.  But not crazy-high.  Just happily buzzed.  The typical mellow, no worries, chilled, isn’t-everything-so-awesome-and-interesting kind of high.  I didn’t really know the people who lived in the party house, but they seemed cool. Nice.  Musicians also.  Artistic.  I was a Theatre major and I loved being around “that scene”.

At some point I wandered off from the group hanging out on the back porch and in the kitchen, and into the living room.  There was the stereo blaring The Ramones.  No one was around.  I stood in front of the speakers looking at the cassette tapes (uh huh, 1988.  Hey, at least they weren’t 8-tracks).  Probably 100 of them.  Without so much as even looking around to see if anyone was watching me, I picked up three of them and put them in my coat pocket.  They were three I wanted but didn’t have.  The only one I still remember was Sting, “The Dream of the Blue Turtles”.

So I put these three tapes in my pocket very nonchalantly and turned and walked over to the couch, sat down by myself, put my head back and listened to the music.  I smiled to myself because I had just stolen these tapes, and I didn’t care.

Now Nancy Reagan would have said it was the pot stealing my soul.  It altered my thought-processes!  It brought out the demons in me!

Nah.  I’d always wondered what it would be like to steal something.  Small, you know.  Not grand-theft auto or bank robbery or anything.  But I had always been a good girl, and I wanted to do something “bad”.  The weed simply lifted the veil of morality that separated me from my inner bad-chick.  And honestly, it kind of felt awesome.

I walked around that party the rest of the night occasionally putting my hand in my coat pocket touching the tapes.  I had a little secret and I liked it.   Plus, they honestly had at least 100 tapes in there, they’d never miss these.  And they’d never in a gazillion years suspect lil ol’ me.

The next morning I woke up not with a hangover so much as a fog.  We didn’t get home til almost 4 am, and I woke up around 7:30 and I was just…tiiiiirrrrreeeeeddddddd.  I sat up in my bed, reached for the litre of Pepsi next to my bed (you know, dry mouth from all the reefer) and guzzled half of it without breathing.

It was FREEZING.  I think it was February.  My room was in the back of the house, and it was basically an enclosed porch.  I’m almost positive there was no insulation of any kind in that room.  It slanted significantly downward and to the right toward the back, with some paneling semi-nailed into some 2 X 4’s comprising a closet and old, dingy dark brown carpeting covering the floor.  I loved it.

My coat was laying at the end of my bed.  I reached over and put it on, got up to go to the bathroom, grabbed a piece of plain white bread from the kitchen and shoved it into my mouth (pathetic excuse for delayed-munchies junk food) and got back into my bed under the covers shaking violently.  I put my right hand in my right coat pocket and felt something hard.

My eyes opened real wide, and I pulled out the tapes.  What the…what???

Uh oh.  It all came back to me.  I was a thief.  There was Sting in all his tantric glory.

Oh. Boy.

I didn’t feel guilt right away.  I felt confused.  I remembered taking the tapes while being of “sound mind”.  I knew it was wrong when I did it, but I did it anyway.  I made a conscious, if not slightly altered, decision to steal them from my friend’s friend.  Yep.  I sure did.  I put them under my bed and put my hand back under the covers until I stopped shaking and started to fall asleep, I’m pretty sure with a slight smile on my face.

The next day was Sunday.  Me and my roommate went out for lunch.  We got back to our house and watched some TV.  Laid around.  Studied some.  Just a lazy day.  At some point mid-afternoon, she got a phone call.  She went into her room to take it and I went back to my room to find a book.

When I came back out she said, “That was Mike.  He’s so pissed off.  He’s calling everyone to find out who stole his shit.  Give me a break”.

Oh boy.

“What shit?” I asked.

“I don’t know, some tapes.  He’s so uptight.” she said shaking her head.

And I just shrugged my shoulders and sat down.

We both had our feet up on the Salvation Army coffee table, on top of the “Juggs” magazines we kept there as a conversation piece.  (Four girls lived in our house, all of us artists in some form or another, and we thought it was hilarious that we had four copies of “Juggs” as our coffee-table books.  Very weird, yet still damn funny to me).  And it hit me.  Um, I had done something bad.  And now I was feeling bad.  I had to return them.

But how??

“You know what?”, I said as if I had just remembered something, “…wait a minute”.  And I got up and ran to my room.  I reached under my bed and put the tapes back into my coat pocket.  I went back into the living room with my coat and reached into my pocket in front of her.

“Some guy at the party asked me if I wanted some tapes, and I obviously said okay, because I found these in my pocket yesterday and forgot about them”.

“Whoa!” she laughed, “Seriously?  Some guy at the party gave those to you?”

“Yeah, really.  Some guy sat down next to me and asked if I wanted them, and I said uh, okay, and he gave them to me.”

“Holy shit!  I have to call Mike!”

“Yeah”, I said, “I have no idea who he was, I just thought he lived there and was flirting or something and gave them to me.  And then I forgot about them.  He was pretty wasted.  But yeah, they’re obviously Mike’s.  So tell him I have them and I can bring them over to him.  Tell him I’m sorry, but I had no idea they weren’t that guy’s”.

Oh my God.  I was making so much shit up on the fly…and I was freaking out.  But I was an Acting major, so I tried very hard to utilize my training to cover my very-guilty-sorry-thieving-ass.

She called Mike.  She came out of her room and her face looked surprised and she said, “Wow, he’s pissed and he’s coming over here right now!”

“What?!  Pissed why??” I innocently asked.

“He thinks you stole them!” she gleefully yelled.

“What?!  Oh please.  Why the hell would I steal those?  I have a ton of my own tapes.  And I wouldn’t do that!”

“I know!  I told him that but he doesn’t believe me!”

Oh. My. God.  Now this guy who I didn’t know at all was coming over to what…beat me up for stealing his tapes?!

He only lived around the corner and within a couple of minutes he was knocking on the door.  I was cool.  Very nonplussed.  On the outside.

The tapes were sitting on the coffee table on top of the April issue of “Juggs”.  I thought if he saw them there he might be distracted from wanting to kill me.

He came in and said directly to me, “What the hell, man?  Why did you steal my tapes?”

“Hey, I didn’t steal them.  Some guy gave them to me and I was pretty stoned so I didn’t think much of it and forgot about them until you called here.  So here they are, sorry.”  I ushered his gaze toward the Juggs with all the zeal of one of The Price is Right showcase girls.

“Well this is only two of them.  Where’s the other one!?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.  I don’t have another one.  These two are the only ones he gave me”.

“Bullshit.  Where’s the other one?”  He was kind of menacing now. And it pissed me off.

“Hey, look.  He gave me two and these are them.”

“What did this mystery asshole look like?” he asked sarcastically.

I thought very quickly and decided giving him the “bushy-haired stranger” description would be too obvious a lie, and at lightning speed I ran through the guys who I remembered being there so I wouldn’t describe any of them.

“I hardly remember.  He was blonde.  That’s about all I remember.”  That description fit roughly 85% of the guys there that night so I felt sure I wasn’t pinning this on anyone in particular.

“Whatever, man.  Not cool!”  And he grabbed the tapes and left.

My roommate stood by the door with her mouth open and said, “What an asshole!  He’s always been asshole, man…I’ve never liked him.  Ugh.”  She came and sat back down next to me.

I was completely and totally freaked out.  I’d never stolen anything before in my life and I was wracked with guilt.  He knew I was lying.  It was good to hear that Mike was not highly thought of, that kind of lessened the guilt, but not by much.

My roommate completely believed me, because she knew I wouldn’t steal stuff.  That is what made me feel instantly horrible.  We laughed about it, all the while I was feeling bad on the inside.  My parents had raised me better, and I was a very good girl.

I went to my room soon after to take a nap.  I sat on my bed, reached under my mattress and pulled out…Sting.

So here was this crazy guy coming over to a girl’s house to accuse her of stealing his stuff, a guy who wasn’t digging “Juggs” (what’s up with THAT?) and…knew I was lying.

Still, I kept Sting.  What was wrong with me?  Had I turned to a life of hard-core crime?  Was MaryJane really the gateway drug Nancy had been preaching against all these years?

WHY had I kept Mr. Sumner’s tape?

You know what, to this day I’m not sure.  Except maybe at the time I was thinking, “Hey, if I’m going to get caught I don’t want it all to be in vain.  He can’t prove I did it…”

And maybe because a little part of me still wanted to feel “bad”.  A little rebellious.  A little ballsy.  Push the envelope a little.  I laugh to myself as I write this…yeah, a REAL little.  What a bad-ass.  Are you rolling your eyes along with me?

I still have “The Dream of the Blue Turtles” in a tub in my basement.

I’d never stolen anything before that night, and I never have since.  Well, not long ago I walked out of the gym with one of their towels.  I had simply forgotten to throw it in the bin when I was done and had left with it absent-mindedly.  I brought it back the next day – after washing and folding it.

I heard the song “Russians” on the radio the other day, and here I am telling the tale of my inner-outlaw.

I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.  I’ve done a lot of other worse, though not intentional, things in my life.

It was just one of those things that I did…maybe as proof to myself that I could take a risk and get away with it.  It was stupid and not right.  It was wrong.

But…is it bad that I don’t really regret keeping it?

Eh. I blame the weed.

Hold The Door

I was nearing the entrance to a store the other day, and a probably mid-thirties man was holding the door open for two women in their early twenties in front of me, and me.  I said “Thanks” and smiled.  As we walked into the store, the women in front of me chuckled with eyebrows raised and looked back at the man and shook their heads.  I looked at him when he started to walk past me, and he had clearly seen their reaction.  He shrugged his shoulders at me as if to say “Oh, well, can’t win”.  I said “Thank You” – again.

That little episode made me think of this:

Many years ago I was an actor in a play with an all-female cast (save for one small male role).  The play addressed many of the plights and issues which have confronted women throughout modern history, albeit in an indirect manner.  It was a comedy with some heavy undertones, naturally.

As with any gathering of multiple women, there were some very strong personalities at work, which was a good thing…mostly.  We had all become friendly through the process of putting together and producing the show, and I had become close to one woman in particular.  Let’s call her Mary.

Late in the process of rehearsals, nearing opening night, we had a break in our Director’s notes one evening and we all started talking.  The discussion drifted toward sexism and harassment.  If there’s one thing a big group of women can all pretty much collectively rally around is that we hate misogynists and harassers.  What’s not to hate?

At that point we started comparing notes on who’d been done more-wrong by a man, and all of us had these things in common:

  • We’d been touched by a man in an inappropriate, uninvited way.
  • We’d been made to feel like we needed to “give it up” to a boss or teacher in order to feel secure in our jobs or classes (college classes, thankfully).
  • We’d been objectified by many men in an effort to make us feel less intelligent.
  • We’d all been at least verbally threatened or ridiculed by a man when we refused their advances or ended a relationship with them.  And in some cases “relationship” meant all of one date.

That’s eight women with all of those things in common.  We all obviously found this disturbing, but still it was a fun discussion as with hilarity we ripped each of these guys a new one.

At this point Mary said to me in front of everyone else, “I’m so tired of men making me feel like I’m worthless because I’m a woman”.  Most everyone agreed.  I was perplexed though, and I said “What do you mean exactly?”  She went on to explain that she was tired, for herself and all women, that we’re made to feel our self-worth is tied ultimately to what a man thinks of us.  Mary was a self-proclaimed feminist.

“Hmmm…”, I said, “I’m not sure I agree with that, I’ve never felt worthless because of what a man thinks of me.”

She said, “Oh, come on.  You’re telling me that no man in your life has ever made you feel like shit or degraded you to the point where you felt you had no self-worth?”

It was getting a little tense now.

“Has any man made me feel like shit and degraded me?  Yeah, of course.  But have I let that make me feel worthless as a woman or a person?  No.  I really don’t think so.”

“I don’t believe you.”  she said.

“Ok, well you don’t have to believe me…but that doesn’t make it any less true.” I responded.

“Bullshit”, decried Mary.

People were getting uncomfortable now.

“No, not bullshit.  It’s the truth.  I know women don’t get what they deserve in comparison to men, and that we’ve all had to deal with harassment and getting dumped and all of it.  But I’m telling you, not once in my life, not once, have I ever felt like ‘I’m a woman and these men make me feel worthless’.  Not once.”

The conversation went South from there.  And so did our friendship.  Mary clearly saw me as being in some sort of denial about my man-damaged feminine psyche and was angered at my dissent from the “feminist” mantra she espoused – which was “all men want is to either screw, or screw over, women.”

It was a very tense discussion which led me to leave the theatre wondering to myself, “Is there something wrong with me?  Maybe I should feel that way…I’ve known a lot of assholes in my life….hmmmm”.

I’ve always considered myself a “feminist”.  To me the enormity of that word encapsulated who I felt I was:  strong, opinionated, not intimidated by any man’s attempts to diminish me due to my sex, demanding of respect and equality….yeah, I felt very much like a “feminist”.  But not the parodied, cartoonish version of a Rush Limbaughian “femi-nazi”…I mean, I really like my bras.

Then I started to think of some of the things I like about being a woman:

  1. I definitely like my bras.  Not only do I like them, they are entirely necessary to hoist up what gravity has pulled asunder.
  2. I like feeling attractive to men.  And to women too for that matter.  It’s nice to feel as if people appreciate and admire the superficiality of my face and/or body.  I’m pretty much relegated to the realm of “cute”, and while I used to hate that word I appreciate the compliment if given.
  3. I like exhibiting power and strength that doesn’t stem from my physicality, and that I don’t have to rely on my physical self for people to see I have strength.
  4. I like that women can give birth to human beings and men cannot.  It’s kind of the ultimate “up yours…try THAT”.
  5. I like how we are given “permission” to openly express feelings to most anyone on most any topic.  Even though we get ridiculed for it by, men, mostly…I’d still rather be “allowed” than repressed.
  6. I like that our clothes are much more interesting than a man’s.  “Ooooh, look, he’s wearing a dark BLUE suit tonight instead of black.”   Yeah.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  7. I like men.

I do.  I like men.  I think good men can be hard to find…(or, as my Nanna used to say, “A hard man is good to find”)…but when you find them throughout your life, they’re pretty great and you should keep them handy.  I would say that I’ve had nearly as many close male friends as female friends.  And I can honestly say that’s held true for most of my life.

What I don’t understand about hard-core feminists like Mary, or perhaps these young women at the store, is this seemingly instantaneous skepticism regarding a man’s character.

God, yes, I’ve been blindsided by men who I was sure were upstanding and wonderful and caring who ended up breaking my heart, or stabbing me in the back, or groping me instead of wanting to have a relevant conversation with me.

But from an early age we women are trained to expect less from men in “general”…in other words to set the bar very high in terms of what kind of man should be allowed into our female inner-sanctum, because most men just aren’t very…good.

This way by the time they get through our screening process – in theory – they should all be Prince Charmings and every character Paul Rudd has ever played.

But honestly, truly…I’ve known just as many women –  friends or co-workers  – who’ve ripped my heart out or screwed me over in one way or another.  And it can hurt more.  Why?   Because women often let each other “in” willy-nilly for the most part.

I have rarely come across a man I was more afraid of or hurt by than a girlfriend or female colleague who had some sort of hidden agenda or vendetta against me.  The biggest “dick” of a man can’t hold a candle to the biggest “bitch” of a woman.  Sorry.  In my experience it’s just the truth.  Actually, in some strange way it kind of makes me proud:  right or wrong there is power in knowing hell-hath-no-fury as a pissed off woman.

No one I know would ever describe me as being passive, or a doormat, or intimidated, or even remotely capable of being dominated in any way by a man.  If if they did describe me as any of those things, they very clearly have no clue about who I am.

Yes, I’ve been hurt deeply by men I’ve loved.

Yes, I’ve been taken advantage of by men whom I’ve put naive faith in.

Yes, I’ve let a man or two get away with harassing me in a sexual manner in order to avoid an Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas pubic-hair-on-the-Diet Coke-type-thing.

Yes, I’ve occasionally allowed a man to momentarily make me question if I was “good enough” because he didn’t want me in his life.

Yes, I go through periods of extreme frustration knowing I often still have to fight harder and longer in order to get what a man merely has to sport facial and chest hair, to get.

Yep.  All of those indignities and more simply because – I’m a girl.

But I swear to you, not once have I ever tied my self-worth…what I believe I can offer to the world by virtue of my womanhood and my humanity…to any other person.  Not even a man.

My truth is, I really love it when a man offers his seat to a woman.  Or holds the door open for her.  I know many women look at it as a throw-back insult from a bygone era when we were consistently thought of as weak or frail and so we must sit so as not to risk injury to alabaster skin and bones by standing too long, or risk the busting open of the laces on our corsets by pulling on the knob of a door; seriously, I think that must have been a real concern.  Have you ever worn a corset?  I have.  They suck.

But to me, in this era, I see a woman behind that.  I see a strong woman who taught her son that it’s honestly just a really nice thing to do.  It shows an appreciation in some small way for who women are in general….a spontaneous recognition that every single, solitary human being who has ever walked the face of the Earth once grew and lived and was nurtured – literally – inside the body of a woman.  Yeah you can chalk that up to evolution and biology – but we’ve turned it into an art-form.

Or perhaps it’s an appreciation for how we look, or dress, or walk, or smell, or an appreciation for our intellect or the enlightening conversation we just had over coffee, or the account we just secured for our company.

Whenever it happens and for whatever reason, to me those niceties show respect for us, not disdain or pity.  Not anymore, at least.

Maybe I’m reading a tad too far into things here.  Still that’s how I see it.

A lot of men abuse the power they’ve endowed themselves with since the beginning of time.  And let’s face it, they did it because they could; they’ve got us on physical strength and that’s where all oppression of women going back to our primordial beginnings, stems from.  They took advantage of their biology, and did it with what evolution gave them.

But many more men, don’t.

One thing’s for-sure in my world; if a man doesn’t hold the door for me when it’s reasonable for him to do so, I automatically see him as weak.  And when he does hold the door for me, I smile warmly and say thank you.  I think it’s cool.

Maybe he does it as his way of paying “reparations” to us on behalf of all men, for thousands of years of ongoing oppression.

Maybe he does it because he can sense my womanly awesomeness, and it would be pretty damn weird to tell a stranger how cool he thinks she is simply because he can recognize her strength (whether through physical attractiveness or motherlieness or what…) without the need to flex her biceps or pee effortlessly standing up next to a tree.

Maybe he just wants to get laid.  I don’t know.

But he does it because he appreciates…something.

I am a strong woman. I am a feminist.

I suppose this is just my very long-winded way of saying to all of you men out there:  hold the door.

It’s okay.  I’ll thank you for it.


Here are some related articles, agreeing and disagreeing:

The Good Men Project: Damned If We Do, Damned if We Don’t.

Feminist Theory Reading Group: Marilyn Frye – The Politics of Reality:  Oppression

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