December 29, 2004

a memo to the bug(s) in my apartment

To: The Bug(s) in My Apartment
CC: Any Bug(s) or Rodent(s) Considering Inhabiting My Apartment
From: Curly McDimple
Date: 12.29.2004
Re: Your Most Unwelcome Squatting

First order of business -- for the sake of my mental health, I'm going to gloss over all obvious indicators that place you squarely in the roach family. I'm going to continue to let myself believe that the species that just paid me a visit is of the waterbug variety. For whatever fucked up reason, it just makes me feel better to think so. Mind you, I don't like them either but they are at least a rung or two lower than roaches on the gross-out scale. Silly and delusional of me, I know, but kindly indulge me.

Secondly, I fully realize that I live in New York City, an old city rife with vermin and other disgusting pests, and I shouldn't be too shocked when said vermin decides to drop in on my wee studio. But I still am. I choose to reside in a clean, tidy living space ALONE and I'd like to keep it that way. I eschew vermin for the same reason I eschew roommates... they're dirty and always getting into my shit.

Now perhaps your recent intrusion was due to the fact that you got worried about a comrade who only last week decided to explore the small confines of my studio. When a waterbug doesn't return to the nest, perhaps it is your duty and obligation to form a search party. Um yeah, while I mostly respect social norms and mores, I have to discourage you from continuing this practice. Particularly in this case as it's a hopeless cause. I caught one glimpse of your friend and in one fell swoop lunged for a can of Raid and gassed that mofo into oblivion. I nearly had an asthma attack from the fumes but seeing his motionless corpse was more than worth the pair of scorched lungs I suffered.

Do I need to spell it out for you? My apartment is not a safe haven for your ilk. Just ask the mouse that dared rear its head in here two years ago. Granted, I did not kill it directly. It's rather hard to perform such an execution while stricken with fear standing atop one's coffee table. While I screamed bloody murder, I couldn't quite carry it out, you see. It wasn't for lack of trying though. I realize it's rather incongruous but I took the smooth stones from the meditation garden on my coffee table and fired them with ferocious strength in the direction of the rodent. It matters not that I missed. What matters is that the mouse ran back into the hole it came from and then most likely shit twice and died (knock wood). An hour and a pair of sweat-soaked pajamas later, I summoned the courage to dismount the coffee table and call the super, who plugged up the hole and set traps to take care of that little fucker and all others for good.

The same super has been notified of your recent activity and mark my words, your days are numbered. In fact, one of your brethren is already dead. I spotted the bugger when I got home from work tonight and sprung into action. Granted, the closest thing at hand was a glass of water but it still surprised him! I bet he was expecting bug spray or loud shrieking but that sudden dousing of Poland Spring caught him off guard and sent him into a tailspin. Shock and awe, indeed.

To his credit, he tried faking me out by hiding behind the garbage but a series of swift kicks to the can and squirts of Raid smoked him out and sent him fleeing towards the fridge. He then deftly dodged my stomping feet causing me to retreat and compose myself. And then in a sneak attack, he dropped from the ceiling behind me. Now, that could very well have been a second bug entirely but again, for the sake of my nerves, I'm choosing to believe that the first bug made himself invisible and flew past me undetected. Regardless if it was the same bug or not, its dive-bombing tactic proved to be a miserable failure as was its subsequent fast-break for the closet. I cut him off at the pass with another quick kick-and-spray combo. He turned tail and headed through an open field towards the bathroom. After a couple more evasive maneuvers on his part, I came at him with a surprise left foot and smashed him but good. The force at which I stomped even drowned out the disgusting crunching noise that normally has me gagging.

So let this be a lesson to you. It wasn't an easy battle, I'll admit, but I'm ready for round two. Sure, I'm twitching now with a perpetual case of the heebie-jeebies and I fully plan on wrapping myself in a blanket cocoon and sleeping with my shoes on tonight... but victory will STILL be mine. Or at the very least, the super's.

on abandoned trees and auld lang syne

My heart grew heavy this morning as trees stripped bare of their decorations awaiting the wood chipper littered my path to the subway. I expect more of the same in the coming days and frankly, it depresses me. Sometimes a lone bit of tinsel still clings to a branch further eliciting my pity. What once contributed to a cozy, comforting and festive display now seems sad, lonely and pathetic. I genuinely adore the Christmas blitz but the post-holiday schrapnel, the bombed-out looking store aisles and barren shelves sporting those yellow and red half-price tags make me sad and wistful. Don't even get me started on the premature stocking of Valentine's Day crap. It makes me absolutely cranky.

However, in an effort to extend the shelf-life of my holiday spirit and make this blog somewhat educational, I'm going to give you a wee lesson in how the Scottish folk celebrate the New Year (also known as Hogmanay). By singing "Auld Lang Syne," you're already gettin' your Scottish on somewhat but here are a few more tidbits in case you want to inject some more of my people's traditions into your festivities.

After the clock strikes 12, people throughout Scotland visit family and friends bearing gifts of food and drink in a tradition called "first footing." Ah, but there's a catch... not just anyone is welcome to pass through the threshold. I mean, everyone is welcome to visit but ideally, the "first foot" through the door should belong to that of a dark-haired man. Anything less is considered bad luck. My father, in his younger days, had hair as black as pitch and was promptly ordered by my Granny to exit and enter the house at midnight. Feel free to shove your favorite brunette or raven-haired fella out into the cold to keep up the tradition. If he complains, I got your back.

So, to you and yours, I wish you a very Happy New Year. And remember... if it's not Scottish, it's CRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAP!



December 27, 2004

10 things I can be sure of over the holidays

No matter the year, the circumstances, the new additions or any other changes, the following are McDimple family holiday traditions I can count on yearly:

10. A book of stamps, shaving gel, razors and Snickers in my Christmas stocking

9. The Mother will inevitably use the word "carcass" when referring to the remnants of the turkey or ham. The rest of the McDimples, particularly me, will be grossed out and will loudly protest her use of that term. However, the rest of them are not grossed out enough to refrain from eating the soup she makes with said carcass. I, on the other hand, am.

8. The Father will pontificate that "Alastair Sim is the best Scrooge ever." He will then scoff at all other comers. That's right, Kelsey Grammar... He's talking about you!

7. The McDimples must pussyfoot around the house while the Mother's sultana cake is in the oven. Loud noises or slamming doors are the bane of the sultana cake's existence, you see. My mother has been known to say, "If you ruin my good cake, I'll flatten ya." It's actually quite charming and not at all violent-sounding when said in a soft Scottish accent.

6. The Father will cram several pieces of candy into his mouth while trying to avoid the watchful eye of the Mother. His hunting and gathering moves are quite stealth but his unnaturally sensitive gullet gives him away each and every time. Peanut M&Ms in particular set off violent coughing fits in this man. After the choking scare has been averted, The Mother scolds him and hides the candy dish while the rest of us mutter under our breath and shoot him dirty looks. Group punishment blows.

5. The Mother will say, "This is too much!! A nice wee box of chocolates or some Licorice Allsorts would have been plenty!" as she opens the many gifts from her children. The Father's favored standard phrase is: "What'nerth are yae doin'?" While we're all moved at their humility, each kid takes a turn issuing an "Oh, shaddup!" or some other variation. Lovingly, of course.

4. I will be tasked with quietly rearranging the Christmas decorations the Father haphazardly places in the family room. When it comes to illuminated ceramics, the man knows no restraint. Mind you, he's a brilliant artisan when it comes to making furniture and other decorative pieces but arranging them is a whole other matter.

3. At 7:00pm EST on Christmas Eve, my parents will wish each other a "Happy Christmas" since by then it's technically Christmas in Scotland. After that, they give us the usual stump speech that goes a little something like this: "In our day, we were happy to get a piece of chocolate and an orange in our stockings. After dinner, we had dumpling and that was our big treat. That was our Christmas and we were glad to have it. It was a simpler time then..." Their storytelling both warms our hearts and shames us simultaneously.

2. The mere mention of Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey will bring all four McDimple girls close to tears. The one who brought it up will be soundly shushed and the memory of the persecuted wee donkey will be repressed for another year.

1. Diarrhea and regret

December 19, 2004

don't tell mom the babysitter's dumb

To earn me a bit o' extra Christmas scratch, I babysat for my Two Favorite Wee Boys this afternoon. I should note that these kids (ages 7 and 10) attend a very well-to-do academy with a curriculum far more advanced than most universities. In a word, these boys are BRILLIANT.

To better illustrate my point, let's just say that after a baffling round of Hang Man where my strangled stick-figure corpse was swinging from the rafters in record time, I had to set forth a rule banning the use of Latin. Yes, Latin. In Hang Man. Um, like, whatever happened to trying to stump your opponent with dirty words and shit? Next time, I'm going to arm myself with this. And won't their little highfalutin-know-it-all asses be surprised?

December 16, 2004

olfactory onomatopoeia

During today's meandering IM session with Jess, I expressed my displeasure with the bad smell that consistently haunts all Subway sandwich shops I've visited. I like Subway (mmm... 6-inch Veggie Delight) but the odor that greets me each time makes me crinkle up my nose in disgust. I grossed out Jess when I told her the smell was "yeasty." Hell, I grossed out myself when I said the word "yeasty."

To me, that word is a sense memory trigger. I reflexively sniff when I hear it and I instantly and vividly remember the stank. There are several words/terms that provide the same effect:
:: Scummy
:: Belch
:: Beefy
:: Musty
:: Dung
:: Cockey
:: Manure
:: Björk (LOVE LOVE LOVE her but I've always thought that her name sounded like a "milk burp." P.U.)
:: Bill O'Reilly (Suck on it, O'Reilly!)
:: Bated breath (I know it means something altogether different but I can't help but think of the smell of my Dad's tackle box combined with someone's kickin' halitosis.)
Speaking of bad breath, I feel like there are certain people that just have that look about them as if something crawled in their mouth and died. Don't know what it is exactly. For example, I've never met the following celebrities but I can't help but think that they could benefit from a tin of Altoids:
:: Michael Bloomberg
:: Bill O'Reilly (oooooooooooooh, double burn!)
:: Hugh Down
:: Jeff Goldblum
:: Frances Sternhagen
:: Charles Nelson Reilly
:: Carly Simon
:: The Guy Who Used to Play Sean Donely on General Hospital
:: Freddie Mercury (I know I shouldn't speak ill of a deceased legend but still, those teeth! I bet he did a lot of breathing through his mouth at night, which, as you may or may not know, is a leading culprit when it comes to morning breath.)
I'll add more to the list as they come to me. And I know you'll all be waiting with... bated breath. ::sniff:: Ew.

UPDATE: The list of smelly celebs is growing! Check out the comments and add your own!

December 13, 2004

from the home office in provincetown, massachusetts

In the past week or two I've gotten several responses to my online dating profile. Admittedly, it hasn't exactly been a bumper crop so I haven't replied to any of them. Here are some reasons why certain emails and profiles have since been banished from my in-box:

10) Headline: Strong, silent type looking for her lady
Not silent enough if you ask moi. I equally resent those women who fancy themselves "tall, dark and handsome." Uh yeah, while you're out getting a grip, please be sure to pick up some updated phrasing.

9) Headlines using any sort of play on the word "cat"
Seriously, girls, every possible double entendre involving the words "pussy" or "kitty" has already been done AD FUCKING NAUSEUM. In fact, you may want to accompany Strong, Silent Type and Tall, Dark and Handsome on their new terminology shopping spree. I bet they'll even offer to drive.

8) A combination of the words "Sappho" and "lover" in the user's member name
Excuse me but I just dry-heaved.

7) Use of the word "womyn" in the same user's profile
See above.

6) Use of the term "greasy chicken" in yet another headline
Exactly what, pray tell, is appealing about oily poultry? Allow me to rid you of the notion that there's some titillating similarity to 9-1/2 Weeks. I already checked and there isn't one.

5) Favorite on-screen sex scene: Better Than Chocolate
Now that's original. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this person's runners-up are: Gia, Bound, Personal Best, Desert Hearts, The Hunger and If These Walls Could Talk 2. Just a hunch.

4) Non-descript short hair with dangly old-lady earrings
I'm willing to bet good money that this woman wears long, bouncy skeleton earrings on Halloween and Christmas balls this time of year. Overly festive accessorizing sickens me.

3) Age: 22
I'm a shallow asshole in many respects but I do have some limits.

2) "Gender politics" listed as a hobby
As an interest, it's fine. As a hobby, not so much.

And the number one reason for banishment from my in-box...

1) Red Sox fan
Need I say more?

December 12, 2004

a small hot chocolate and a bowtie

I went on a marathon walk with a good friend of mine yesterday. We're both fed up with the drooping and sagging that has plagued our bodies in recent months so we've decided to counteract the flab while exploring our fine city. Yesterday we zig-zagged through Central Park talking a blue streak and burning calories all the while. We ooohed and aaahed over the windows at Bergdorf's, played with Jack Russell terriers by Wollman Rink, ate a crepe near the Boat House, directed tourists towards Belvedere Castle, took a lap around the Great Lawn and then finally left the park when it grew dark and the paths seemed "too Fisher King" for our liking. I already feel like I've got a little less jiggle. Good stuff.

Before meeting my friend, I wanted to fortify myself with a large Dunkin Donuts coffee. While waiting on line, a homeless woman stinking of booze approached me for "99 cents." Something about that specific amount touched me. I felt like George Bailey when Mrs. Davis asked for a meager $17.50 during the bank run in It's a Wonderful Life. I only had a twenty on me so I couldn't make change but I offered to buy her something to eat instead. Her eyes lit up when I said, "Anything you want." I was expecting and even hoping that she'd want something filling and more substantial like one of those croissant things with egg, sausage and cheese on it. Instead, she wanted a small hot chocolate and a bowtie.

I suggested she get more but she was more than happy with her original request. Mind you, she was so drunk that it took her about 10 minutes to relay her simple order to me (good thing the line was long). However, I could hardly grow impatient with her post-binge brain lag. That very morning, I woke up sitting upright on my couch with a sleeve of crackers in one hand, the remote in the other with the TV on, face unwashed, teeth unbrushed wearing only a t-shirt and my Hello Kitty undies. The night before, I arrived home a bit drunk courtesy of some Jack Daniels shots that Jess' Tall Guy generously bought us. I decided I needed to restore some sobriety so I turned on The Daily Show and got stuck into the saltines. I do believe I fell asleep mid-chew. I was the picture of drunken sloth so I was in no position to criticize someone else half in the bag. At least she had pants on.

December 08, 2004

coming soon to a small-screen near you?

Um, I'm not sure but I think I may have landed me a part in an upcoming episode of Newlyweds. I was walking through Rockefeller Center and who walked by me with a camera crew but one Mr. Nick Lachey? I wouldn't have even known it was him but my coworker pointed him out. So there I stood craning my neck to get a look just as the camera man panned in my direction. Somehow I don't think I was captured in the most flattering pose. Here's hoping I'm banished to the cutting room floor. Seriously, edit me out.

This won't be the first time I've made it onto cable TV. When I was youngster, I stuck my hand in front of a SportsChannel camera at the Meadowlands Racetrack as the horses were in the final stretch. Yup, this here left mitt of mine made the evening news.

In case you're wondering why I was at the track at such a young age, well... my best friend's father was rather fond o' the ponies. The deal was we looked through the racing forms and he placed our bets. Simple. I knew nothing about odds or handicaps but I made my selections based on funny-sounding names and pretty harness colors. That method won me 25 smackers, folks. That was back in 1983, so don't scoff at the amount. I went back a couple of years ago and tried using the odds strategy and I didn't win shit. If I go again, I'm going back to the funny names and pretty colors technique.

And not to be outdone, my right hand once made it onto a broadcast of a now-defunct CNBC nightly program. I was an intern back in college, you see. On one particular episode, we were waiting for details on breaking news. Once it came over the wire, my pale, quivering hand reached out from behind the half-wall on the right side of the set and passed the notes to The Well-Known Host during a live broadcast.

As a journalist I think The Host is a tool but I will say this: He was a rather affable fella. Except for the time he wanted to send me outside in the dead of winter to track down an executive producer who stepped out to an undisclosed location for a sandwich. When informed that the EP would be back shortly, I overheard him snap, "Send the kid to find him!" The kid??!? Ew, muthafucka, ew! In other words, I found that dismissive remark to be the height of bad manners.

But I got back at him... passive-aggressively of course but really, is there a better way to give someone the old F.U.?

One of my jobs was to buy food for the green room as well as beer for the mini-fridge in The Host's office. You know, like, when I wasn't cleaning his office with Fantastik or defrosting the miniscule freezer with a plastic knife and a hair dryer borrowed from the makeup department. Safety and good sense be damned! The Host needs ice! In fairness, it was the sycophantic associate producer with the gnarly perm who made me do these ridiculous things. I can't in good conscience blame The Host for my close encounter with Freon.

Anyhoo, I accompanied the production assistant on a shopping run on my first day. She showed me what to buy and how to charge things to the account. After we hit the supermarket, we went to the liquor store to pick up the aforementioned suds. Much to my dismay, the PA reached into the refrigerator case to buy two six-packs of cold Sam Adams. I had to intervene. Yup, there's me on my first day in the middle of a liquor store giving my superior a quick tutorial on why she shouldn't buy cold beer if there wasn't room for it in the fridge. Girlfriend maybe knew how to book guests and cue up tapes but she was utterly clueless about the scourge of skunky beer.

After that, I became solely responsible for the shopping. It sucked but being the conscientious and diligent intern that I was, I made sure to buy good shit for the green room to keep the guests happy and room-temperature six-packs to ensure a good-tasting beer supply for The Host. Needless to say, that goodwill policy ended the day after he sent me out in the snow on a wild goose chase. Hope you liked those store-brand ginger snaps and your funky-tasting, smelly beer, asswipes!

November 23, 2004

on thanksgiving and why i think peppermint patty is a big ol' bitch

I'm heading out to New Jersey tomorrow to spend the holiday with my family. I love Thanksgiving... even though I don't eat turkey or most things that cluck, oink or moo. However, my mother makes enough veggie side dishes to keep me good and bloated the entire weekend. [Note to self: Wear pants with an elastic waistband.]

Fortunately, my mother now lets me sleep late on Thanksgiving morning. She used to wake up the family and make us go to church, you see. This was always a bone of contention because all I wanted to do was lounge around in my PJs and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. But she won the battle (like I had a chance!) and off we went to church.

Truthfully, it was a nice service. During the Mass, each family received a small loaf of bread to be shared at the dinner table that evening. After the bread was distributed, the priest asked the congregation to hold it up so he could bless it. This took one family by surprise because when they sheepishly lifted up their loaf, there was already a big bite out of it. My younger sister pointed it out and we giggled until we got The Church Death Stare from the mother.

A Charlie Brown ThanksgivingIn other news, ABC will be running A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Thursday night. You know, out of all the Peanuts holiday specials I've seen, this is probably my least favorite. [Full disclosure: I've not seen the more recent Easter, Valentine's Day and New Year's specials.]

The reason I don't like this particular installment falls solely on the shoulders of one Ms. Peppermint Patty. She's a tiresome figure in this outing. Actually, she's dreadful in all of her appearances but this one is particularly cloying. And yes, I have seen Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!) where she typifies the ugly American. But I maintain that her galling lack of etiquette on Thanksgiving, of all days, completely trumps her appalling behavior abroad. In fact, while I'm normally loathe to use this term, I'd go so far as to say that Peppermint Patty is a cunt.

Yeah, I said it.

Some background: Charlie Brown and Sally were all set to go to dinner at their grandmother's house. Then Peppermint Patty called and invited herself over for dinner. He tried telling her they wouldn't be home but she wasn't hearing it so being the sensitive and well-mannered young man that he is, Charlie Brown decided to host his own impromptu Thanksgiving dinner. He recruited Snoopy, Woodstock and Linus and together they assembled a feast of toast, pretzels, popcorn and jelly beans.

While the menu was rather unorthodox, you have to applaud their responsible and forward-thinking approach: There was no use of an oven without parental supervision nor was there risk of a salmonella outbreak caused by a bunch of rookies trying to cook poultry. Um, not sure how I feel about a dog and a bird preparing food but under the circumstances, I'll let it slide.

So Peppermint Patty arrived rocking her usual look -- shorts, a green-striped polo and Birkenstocks. The bitch could have at least dressed up a little. Oh and if her behavior thus far wasn't appalling enough, she had Marcie and Franklin in tow and not one of those assholes thought to bring the host a gift! And then when dinner was served, Peppermint Patty had the audacity to criticize the food and the table setting!! God, could she be any more callous and inappropriate? I want to punch her in that round, freckled face of hers.

Um, okay, I'm ending this now before I have aneurysm.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

November 21, 2004

cavorting with the coworkers

All week long I looked forward to Friday night. It was Girls Night Out, after all. Actually, this one was Girls (and Michael P) Night Out. He was the lone boy amongst a gaggle of acid-tongued dot-com chicks and he most definitely held his own. To adequately illustrate my adoration of this boy, let's just say the he played air keyboard right in my face and I didn't strangle him. I really detest when one pantomimes the playing of a guitar, drums, etc., you see...

Random tangent: I was on a date with a stupid girl once and she knew of my distaste of air instruments. Or at least she thought she did. We met up the night before St. Patrick's Day and the sound of bagpipes could be heard in the distance. My Scottish-Irish pride compels me to stand at attention and swoon when I hear that familiar, comforting wail. I expressed my pleasure at the sound and she said, "I'm surprised you like the bagpipes. You hate air instruments, remember?" Now I'm no musician but even I know the proper classifications. I was like, "The bagpipes are a WIND instrument. I have nothing against horns and tubas and stuff. But if someone was pretending to play one of these instruments by blowing into their thumb or something, it would annoy me." Dumbass.

But back to Friday's festivities -- some of us have since moved on from the job and some are still hanging in there. We still meet up every couple of months because our past and present job-related misery was such a powerful bonding agent. Our wit, sarcasm, empathy, sympathy and all other coping mechanisms served as the grout in our disgruntled mosaic. Actually, The Lovely Jess and the equally lovely Sheila are two of my most prized possessions from that otherwise-awful stint. Unfortunately for us, Sheila couldn't make it to our latest bash but fortunately for her and certain counties in Ireland, she's in her ancestral land tearing it up. Go read her gorgeous account.

So we drank margaritas and Hoegaarden at Cowgirl. Okay, I drank Hoegaarden and everyone else enjoyed the establishment's highly-regarded margaritas that come served in wee Mason jars. We ate lots of things smothered in cheese and talked lots of smack. Oh, how I adore these outings.

Some of our group hails from Long Island and New Jersey and had to leave early because of their unforgiving train schedules. I remember the days of hauling ass and sweating bullets in the hopes that the subway or PATH train would miraculously defy the rules of the universe and slow down time to get me to my connecting train. Sometimes it worked but most times I found myself cursing at the conductor of the departing train at the Hoboken station. Apparently, they have to "stay on schedule." Bureaucratic bastards that they are.

Eventually our numbers dwindled until only Jess and I remained. Our conversation went a little something like this:
"Um, do you wanna go home now?"

"I dunno, do you?"

"I mean, I could go somewhere else and have like one drink or something."

"Okay, let's go."
So off we two enablers went and had way more than one drink. Just for shits and giggles, we walked up the block to Rubyfruit. I had never been there before but I knew of its old lesbo granny bar reputation. And the reputation was well-earned. It was a karaoke-singing softball coach convention in there. There was a lot of bad fashion on display including a woman with pre-Doc Billy Ray Cyrus hair. Come to think of it, there were several Doc-era Billy Ray Cyrus hairstyles too. And lots of high-waisted jeans and vests. The girls hit the clothing department at Sears before going to Rubyfruit apparently.

Elsewhere on the dance floor, a geriatric with nary an ounce of rhythm was shaking her polyester-encased rump with two very young chippies. And she kept trying to sing along to the song but clearly didn't know the words. I give her a 1 for accuracy but an 8 for effort.

Jess and I were visibly shaken by the sight but what was most upsetting was the bony lady wearing an oversized red Tweety bird t-shirt. My back was to her but Jess tipped me off to her alarming choreography. I turned around to take a gander and was NOT prepared for what I saw. Admittedly, my dancing will never get me invited on Soul Train but Jesus, this was bad. It was like she was doing The African Anteater Ritual while having a seizure in between occasional bouts of finger snapping.

Discarded Car Door on Hudson StreetAnd then we got distracted when an androgynous figure walked past us. So we spent the next few minutes playing Guess the Gender. This individual looked like The Amazing Jonathan but without the facial hair. It remains the night's unsolved mystery. Well, it's actually a toss-up between that and a discarded car door wedged in between some trash on Hudson Street. However, I definitely think the unidentifiable gender was the more perplexing of the two.

Next up: Cubbyhole. For those of you not in the NYC area, this bar is nestled in the labyrinth otherwise known as the West Village. I've been to this place a dozen times and can get there from the subway, no problem. Trying to get there from points north or south when slightly inebriated is another story. So we tramped around a bit until we got our bearings and found our destination.

Jess managed to snag a seat at the bar and within minutes, a woman was talking to her. I thought I would have to step in and play girlfriend to discourage the prowling lesbo but it turns out, it was just a very drunk girl pleading with Jess to watch her seat while she went outside to smoke. She promised to buy her a drink in exchange for the favor. However, she never made good on it. Bitch.

That girl was a sloppy drunken mess with a really unfortunate hairdo. Out of nowhere, she of the burnt perm and crunchy bangs started arguing with a bunch of unsuspecting women to her left. The exchange of slurred words culminated with her hurling a GO NYC magazine at her rivals. I feared drinks being thrown and a fist fight so I dusted off my diplomacy skills and distracted the messy drunk with a request to clink glasses and just enjoy herself. It worked. She stopped trash talking and flinging reading material... and then set her sights on befriending me and Jess. Oy.

Oh, but she was frightening! She had a crazed look in her eyes and sounded like Coalminer's Daughter. I resumed chatting with Jess and another friend but Coalminer's Daughter kept poking her nose into the conversation. Literally. She didn't say anything necessarily but she repeatedly jutted her face into our little circle and stared at us all creepy-like. She'd then lose interest, walk away and wander back. At one point she asked me who I was and I answered, "Oh, nobody." She stuck out her hand and said, "Well, Nobody, it's nice to meet you." And then she declared her love for me, asked me to save her seat and staggered away. She swung by a few more times trying to remember where her seat was. She'd point at us, begin to say something, stop, then shake her head in confusion before resuming her patrol. Perhaps it was wrong of us, but Jess and I never tipped her off to her seat's location. Truthfully, it was a rather enjoyable floor show.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go apply a soothing balm as the flames of Hell are licking at my feet.

November 16, 2004

dingleberries by definition

I was just looking through some pictures from my sister's wedding and I came across one of a childhood friend who lived in our old neighborhood. We'll call her Tilly to make things easier on both reader and author. So years ago when Tilly was best pals with my recently-betrothed sister, I often hung out with Tilly's younger brother (let's call him Arnold).

Arnold and I could almost always be found playing with Star Wars action figures and Matchbox cars. Lest you think I was a total tomboy lesbo in-the-making, I'll have you know that I was playing with Barbies on alternate days. And for the record, the dolls were always impeccably dressed and not one of them ever played golf or worked for a non-profit. Oh, and when I did play with Matchbox cars, I always selected a Le Car (mustard yellow with an open-and-close hatchback) or a ragtop red Lincoln Continental. Make of that what you will, armchair psychologists.

ANYhoo, the mother of these neighbors was a stay-at-home mom who often passed the time with various crafty projects. One day we entered their backyard to find signs hung on the privacy fence around the pool. Because many neighborhood kids used to swim there and because she had the time to do it, the mother made her own signs similar to "Welcome to our ool. Notice there's no P in it. Let's keep it that way." Her homemade signs were neatly printed in blue ink on beveled wooden boards and were suspended from the fence by blue-and-white waxy clothesline rope. A few of her ground rules:
:: No running

:: No P'ing (I remember she made the "P" really big and thick)

:: Please don't pee in our pool. We don't swim in your toilet. (She obviously felt strongly about this)

:: No diving

:: No dingleberries
On the latter sign, the neighbor's mother drew three little circles in a triangular formation right next to the lettering. I remember questioning the meaning of the word dingleberry and was told by Arnold that it was another word for fart. So I gave the sign a closer look and surmised that the three little circles represented tell-tale air bubbles. I was on board with the whole no diving thing but I didn't think that farting in a pool warranted a whole rule devoted to it. It's not like it tore the lining, clogged the filter or caused permanent paralysis or anything like that. I felt it to be frivolous. Regardless, I was delighted with the new word I had learned and called everyone a dingleberry for months afterward.

Fast forward several years later to me in a car listening to The Howard Stern Show. As frequent listeners know, Howard often regales the audience with tales of his battles with post-pooping clean-up. In short, the man is the King of All Skidmarks. So in the course of the broadcast, the term dingleberry came up often and not in the context to which I was accustomed. I became confused and voiced my befuddlement to a friend. Luckily, she was able to fill me in on its actual meaning. Imagine my surprise in a later conversation when my 70-year-old uncle used the term properly. Well, he called it a "dangleberry" truth be told but at least he knew that it was a wee ball of poop in question and not a toot, if you will. Don't even ask why this was being discussed.

It then occurred to me that the put-down I used for years was a far more wicked and diabolical insult than I had realized. The looks of shock and hurt it registered now made much more sense. Some of those kids really deserved to be called a piece of shit dangling from one's ass. But not all of them did. In that moment, I felt victorious and remorseful in one fell swoop.

Now here's where it gets slightly Telephone Game-like -- was the neighbor's mother mistaken when she made the sign or did her son interpret it wrong? Because of Arnold, I taught other kids that dingleberry=fart. A wealth of misinformation sprung from that boy. But that's not to say that his mother was in the wrong. Maybe she knew the real meaning and those three little balls she drew didn't signify air bubbles at all. Perhaps she grew tired of skimming mini turds out of the pool and decided to lay down the law. What I do know is that between this incident and his insistence that we watch the likes of No Retreat, No Surrender and Raw Deal, Arnold gave me many a bum steer during our friendship. Bum. Hee hee hee.

November 12, 2004

friday afternoon slack

As you can see, The Lovely Jess and I are once again hard at work...
Jess: I am making the fattiest fatty dinner ever on Sunday. The Roommate and I have been conspiring

Yours Truly: Ha ha ha. Conspiring. I just had the funniest visual of you two holding clandestine meetings with blueprints and rubbing your hands together all evil-like

Jess: I'm making individual chicken pot pies in a puff pastry and baked apples with butter and brown sugar for dessert

Jess: "How to make our dinner guests have heart attacks"

YT: Are you plotting the course of the cholesterol that will clog up the arteries? "If I add an extra 1/2 cup of butter, it will ensure rapid arterialsclerosis (sp?) beginning HERE!" [points dramatically at map]

Jess: HA!

YT: "However, if I go easy on the butter and increase the amount of sugar, we're looking at a good chance of diabetes. That might take longer to kick in though and at best, we might only get an amputated limb or some cataracts."

YT: I'm sick. Sick, I tell you. Sick

Jess: That's why I love you

YT: My mother would hang her head in shame if she only knew. You know, I think she'd be more upset about my irreverence than my lesbionic ways
Jess: Did you watch The Apprentice last night?

YT: Yup!

Jess: I cannot believe how horribly Apex did. It was mind-boggling

YT: I could not figure out why they were at Penn Station handing out ads

Jess: It was really dumb

YT: That's not targeted marketing at all. Stupid, stupid, stupid

YT: I wish the show wouldn't end. I like it far too much

Jess: Me too

YT: Ewwwwwwwwwwwww! Guess what?

Jess: What?

YT: My friend's in-laws somehow indirectly know Raj and they gave Raj her cell phone number!!!! She hasn't watched the show this season so she asked me about him...

Jess: Oh my god

YT: She will HATE him. She is a fiercely independent woman who will kick a man in the balls if he even looks at her funny. I mean, she wishes airborne viruses on people for fuck's sake

Jess: Oh dear

YT: I hate him so much. We were walking around DSW last weekend and I trash-talked him all the way from boots to sneakers

Jess: That's a great line

YT: Why thank you

Jess: You could start a novel with that line

YT: Yup. It's right up there with "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
Jess continues this theme on her blog with another of our deep and probing discussions...

November 05, 2004

a letter to my menstrual cycle

Dear Ms. Menses,

Do you mind if I call you Flo? I hope you don't find it too presumptuous but we have, after all, been together for about 18 years now so I don't think it's entirely inappropriate for us to be on a first-name basis. If you'd prefer to keep it formal, I admit that you have just cause.

I realize I may have made you feel unwelcome in the past what with the damning you to hell business and the research on hysterectomies I performed from time to time. That was rather rash and I apologize for any hurt feelings.

And please don't take it too personally that at the first sign of you, I always slipped into a week-long-Advil-fueled coma. I hope that this behavior didn't come off as standoffish or anti-social as it was not my intent.

I appreciate that when your colleagues pay their monthly visits, some women fall to their knees thanking a higher power. I myself have never had a pregnancy scare and well, since an exposed penis hasn't been in my vicinity in quite some time (save for the occasional bit of porn or Vincent Gallo film), it's safe to say that no baby will be occupying any womb of mine.

In other words, there's no upside for me.

With that said, I see no reason to continue your employment within my body. As you know, I'm gay and won't be having children so the very thorough monthly clean-out you perform is just a waste of your time and my energy.

I wouldn't mind keeping you on as part of a contingency plan but, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, you really don't make for very good company. The bloating, swelling, frequent urination, headaches, joint paint and fatigue are most unwelcome attributes. Furthermore, you're extremely messy and you constantly fiddle with my internal thermostat. Not cool, Flo.

Frankly, I'm not too keen on the crying and emotional upheaval you cause. It makes me look very undignified. But in your defense, I appreciate the accompanying bout of grumpiness you bring to the table. I tend to be a very laid-back, non-confrontational person three out of the four weeks in a month so that one week of crabbiness keeps friends, family and coworkers on their toes. We mustn't let people become too complacent, you see.

In summary, the work you do is very admirable despite your off-putting side effects. If circumstances were different, I would be forced to keep you on board. But we must face certain truths and well, there's just no valid reason for me to make my uterus hospitable for anyone or anything. I mean, I guess I could use the extra storage but, no, I'm standing firm in my decision.

Thank you for your dedication and valiant efforts, Flo. In your time with me, your attendance has been near perfect. And after a few erratic arrival dates, you really buckled down and improved your punctuality 100 percent. Naturally, I will enthusiastically vouch for your consistency and reliability should you require a reference.

I am confident your conscientious work ethic and plumbing skills will be put to good use in a more deserving host. Now kindly leave the premises.


Curly McDimple

November 01, 2004

is that your hip out of place or are you just happy to see me?

As frequent readers of this here blog know, my dating life of late has sucked some serious ass. If I wasn't so tired at the moment, I'd try to make some witty quip suggesting that the ass sucking was a viable substitute for actual ass (and other body part) sucking but the fatigue is preventing me from getting it together. You have the pieces so consider it a do-it-yourself-er. It's tres Ikea, no? Mmm... Ikea.

But back to my sad love life. So I went on a date last week with yet another new chick. She came recommended by an ex I'm still friendly with so I thought the outlook was good. Yeah, not so much. I arrived fashionably late and left freakishly early. I think the whole fiasco lasted about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Tops. I think that's a record for me. We just did not hit it off. But no bigs, I didn't hinge my happiness on the outcome. If it worked out, gravy. If not, onward.

I mostly embrace my fierce independence but every now and then (usually in time with the monthly hormonal fluctuations), the need for companionship and all that jazz starts creeping in. I fell off the wagon today and did some online shopping on PlanetOut and Nerve but found nothing worth mentioning. I just checked another upstart dating site where I keep a profile and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a message was waiting for me. Until I opened it.

Mark this down, ladies and germs, November 1, 2004 was the day a senior citizen with balls like brass (and horrid spelling) made contact with yours truly. I've had some creepy old gray hairs give me the wink and the nod before but never via the Internet. At the risk of pissing off some AARP types, I can't help but be surprised when someone over 60 not only owns a computer but is competent enough to use it beyond playing solitaire and making clip art-heavy greeting cards. Who knew they could tap into the potential to possibly get some? Plaudits, old people. Plaudits. Um, except when it's my ass in the crosshairs. Ew.

Seriously though, I just turned 31. What ON EARTH would I talk about with a 69-year-old? "Did they say this round was a regular BINGO or full-board?" She's older than my mother for fuck's sake. I'm beyond grossed out.

I will be out and about tomorrow night watching the election returns amongst fellow lesbos and, of course, The Lovely Jess. If this latest development with online dating doesn't snap me out of my public shyness, I don't know what will. Cheesecake, let's commence with the wine drinking early and often. The rest of you... wish me luck.

October 31, 2004

spell checker is an idiot savant

Just as I was forced onto a yellow school bus parked outside of my Catholic school to help rid me of my whistling "s" sounds each week, Blogger needs to enroll its spell checking tool into some remedial courses. It doesn't even recognize the word "blog" for fuck's sake!

It's really become rather amusing each time I spell check an entry before publishing to see what words it stumbles on and what it offers up in exchange. In my previous post, I used the term "knockoff." I laughed for a good five minutes when it suggested "conceive" instead. Hmm... Spell Checker doesn't understand or provide alternatives for a simple word like "musn't" but somehow, whether intentionally or not, it assumed I intended to say "knock up." Brilliant.

tales of halloween past and present

Happy Halloween, everybody! Here's hoping you are all enjoying a candy-filled holiday weekend. I'm not doing anything Halloween-related today (although some of the dust bunnies I will be battling soon are certain to be quite scary).

I'm debating whether I should go out and buy some candy. The past two years, NO ONE rang my bell even though I stocked up on goodies. The first year, I was eating fun-sized Three Musketeers and Hershey bars for weeks (okay, days) afterwards. Last year I bought candy that I don't like so that I wouldn't be tempted to eat it if no one came a-knockin'. Sure enough, no one rang the bell and I got stuck with lollipops and some other stuff that I don't care for. I can't remember the exact candy but I can say for sure that it wasn't Mary Janes. I HATED getting Mary Janes as a kid. I don't know that I ever even ate one but the wrapper was so ugly with that mustard and red coloring. Tres unappealing.

Truthfully, I never had first-hand experience with this candy but the information that it was bad was passed down to me by others. That was enough for me to stay away. Kinda like Ishtar.

Speaking of Ishtar, I once found myself trapped in a room where it was being shown. When I first got together with THE EX (who was a good 6 years my junior), we were watching television with her younger brother. He was flipping through the channels and settled on Ishtar for whatever reason. Maybe he was intrigued by the sight of Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman covered in sand. I just don't know. So needless to say, THE youthful EX and her brother had no idea about the reputation of this film. I found myself giving them a little lesson in notoriously bad movies -- Heaven's Gate, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Staying Alive, etc. I summarized the lecture by informing them that one mustn't watch these movies to verify the awfulness -- one just has to take history's word for it. And then we ended up watching something with Kevin Costner in it. Sigh... Thankfully it wasn't Waterworld or The Postman.

But back to Halloween. My younger sister had a Halloween party the other night and it was AWESOME. She's 5'11" and her roommate is about 6-7 inches shorter so they made quite the striking couple as Popeye and Olive Oyl. The costumes were all outrageous, save for the one girl dressed like a slutty angel. Although, she did throw off bets by not dressing like a slutty nurse.

I had no idea what I was going to be but inspiration hit on Thursday night. After work on Friday, I visited K-mart, Target and Modell's in search of a toy tennis racket and an Adidas track suit. I found neither. I have Adidas track pants but they're swishy-sounding and didn't fit the bill. I wanted those soft fabric ones. Modell's was my last stop so I ended up buying a tight-fitting velour Juicy knockoff sweatsuit. It's ridiculously fabulous. I also picked up an Adidas headband. I wanted the toy tennis racket so that I could smash it into oblivion but, alas, no stores had any. So I dug out my really old racket and took a knife to the strings. I tried breaking the frame but it was surprisingly resilient. I did manage to knock a bunch of books off the shelf in the process though. Can you see where I'm going with this?

I put on the jogging suit and laughed hysterically at the sight of me in this ghetto fabulous get up. I stuck on a pair of Stan Smiths and pulled the headband down over my hair creating a puffy mass of curls at the top and bottom. With smashed racket in hand, I was John McEnroe's doppelgänger. If the weather was warmer, I would have worn really tight white shorts but it was far too nipply outside. I spent the evening throwing fake tantrums and screeching, "You CANNOT be serious." I should have brought an article reporting his atrocious CNBC ratings and Tatum O'Neal's new tell-all to complete the picture. Maybe next year.

Most people think I'm nuts because I don't really like dressing up. I get the same response when I tell them I don't like those crunchy things in between layers of ice-cream cake. I don't know why they react in such a way. I give them first crack before I touch my cake (remember, no dairy share). They totally benefit.

But if I do dress up, it's rather begrudgingly. I also assemble costumes that easily blend into normal clothes so that I can travel on the subway without comment. One year I put on army green pants, high-laced Doc Marten black boots and a white t-shirt (couldn't find a green one) and showed up to a party as Private Benjamin. I look nothing like Goldie Hawn so I made a "Hello, My Name is PRIVATE BENJAMIN" sticker. I rolled up my pants, slapped on the sticker, removed my coat right before entering and voila, instant transformation. It went over well.

My dislike of costumes must stem from an incident I had at an early age. When I was about seven-years-old, my mother got the idea from one of her coworkers to dress me as a crayon. I was asked to pick out my favorite color (at the time it was yellow) and we went to the store to buy big sheets of stiff yellow poster board (oak tag, if you're from Jersey). My father cut one of the pieces and formed it into a cone for the hat. I was given a black marker and told to write Crayola on the side and draw the squiggly lines, etc. When the big day came, the pointy cap was secured on my head with an elastic thingy and I was stapled into the yellow cylinder. I wore yellow pajamas underneath to avoid any yellow-peach confusion.

Remember when we were younger and the word on the street was that bees are attracted to the color yellow? I don't know about the rest of the country but we have a shit load of bees in Jersey in September and October. And they're all pissed off trying to get in their last stings before they die off (or go into a hive or whatever the hell they do in the winter). I got as a far as around the block before a bee started buzzing around me. I swatted at it a few times but it persisted. Finally, I decided to run from it. Um, not a smart idea considering my legs were mostly covered by a narrow tube. I can still remember the ripping sound. It wasn't even a clean break that could be fixed with Scotch tape. I ripped that muthafucka asunder.

I sadly walked back home and rang the bell. My mother came to the door thinking I was a trick-or-treater but instead of getting candy, I got a high-pitched "What on earth happened?!?!" She muttered and told me I was daft as she rummaged through her drawers to find a suitable replacement. She finally found a pair of pirate pants one of my older sisters wore a year or two before. Truth be told, I was a half-assed looking pirate because she couldn't find the hat, eyepatch or knife. In the end, all I was wearing was shredded jeans and a white shirt. I looked more like a castaway or someone victimized by a pirate.

But I still got lots of candy and did my yearly tradition of trading all of my Mary Janes in for the better candy in my Mom's bowl. The trade-in was the best part. I ditched all my bad candy and pennies for the good stuff. My rate of exchange benefited me rather generously, I might add. One penny = two boxes of candy corn or three Dum-Dum lollipops (cherry, preferably). My Mom made us remove Sugar Daddies, Now & Laters and Laffy Taffy from our bags because of their superior teeth-ruining properties. So we'd put those in the bowl in an uneven exchange for the Mom-approved (and much better) candy. Funny how she didn't seem to mind rotting some other kid's teeth.

Happy Halloween!!

October 16, 2004

it's hard to be humble...

You know, when I first started keeping a blog, I thought my forte would be mining my misadventures as a half-closeted lesbo. I thought my dealings with my clueless Irish-Scottish parents plus my issues of insecurity, depression, Catholic guilt and a general distrust of the populace would be equally fertile ground for my blogging career. Little did I realize that my feet, or more accurately, the reaction that men on public transportation have to them, would be a recurring theme in this here venue.

Yes, folks, there was another subway incident involving my lower appendages. What's really creepy is that it happened again on the same train in the same location as last time. As God as my witness, I will never ride the R train again!

I was on my way home from work the other day, fully engrossed in my copy of the Daily News. As I was reading about the brilliant postseason performance of one Bernie Williams, I could feel someone hovering near me. I looked up and a rather deranged-looking man perched atop a red and silver Razor scooter was looking at me funny. I thought that perhaps my freakishly long legs were blocking his path so I quickly pulled them in, tucked them under the bench and resumed reading.

He didn't move. I looked up again to find his eyes cast downward examining my feet. I had a moment of "Not again!" but this time, my feet were protected by calf-length boots so I knew there was no danger of unwelcome suckage. Furthermore, I was in no mood. I was sporting a serious "Fuck off! Your nuts are not safe!" puss on my face so I thought for sure he'd take heed and keep scooting.

And then he spoke. It was rather unintelligible but from what I could glean, he was interested in my boots. He kept pointing at them and saying, "Shoe! Shoe! Shoe!" At the risk of sounding callous, I thought he was deaf because well, he sounded like it. I had no idea what he could possibly want with my boots so I thought about it a minute and then said, "Shine? No, no shine." He shook his head impatiently, sat down and pointed emphatically at them once again. I gave the feet a quick once-over to make sure I wasn't trailing toilet paper or trekking dog shit around. I saw that there was nothing out of the ordinary so I gave him a snotty, "I don't know what you're talking about!" and back to the sports page I went.

That's when he reached down and pulled up his pant leg revealing his hairy calf. He then pointed at my pant leg trying to get me to do the same. He wanted to see some skin. This dude didn't want to buff my boots... he wanted to knock them, if you will. I declined his invitation and he persisted. He'd stab his finger at my leg and I'd say, "What the hell are you going on about?" Back and forth we went with the pointing and refusing until I finally tuned him out.

I'm usually quite skilled at ignoring crazy people but my eyes kept darting to the side because I just didn't trust this guy. I reread the same sentence in my paper over and over again. Sure enough, moments later he got agitated, lifted the scooter up over his head and shook it rather menacingly. Thoughts of reconstructive surgery and physical therapy sessions flashed through my head. I was certain I'd be kissing metal before long.

But then -- and here's where it gets weird -- he lowered the scooter, leaned over to me, pumped his bent arm in a "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" gesture and asked quite innocently, "Sing along?" He went from pervert to preschooler in the span of two minutes. The train pulled into the station and I scurried off praying that I wouldn't be followed. Luckily, he remained in his seat and asked the guy across from him to join him in song. I'm not sure if he obliged.

I used to think the curly hair and dimples were my most prominent physical assets but in recent months, the feet have made a strong showing. In fact, I might have to change my name...

Tootsie McSniffmyfoot

October 12, 2004

here's an interesting question for ya...

What do you suppose it means when a big ol' dyke has a dream about Alec Baldwin where said lesbo straddles him, gives him a right good snog and then lets her hand wander south, giving Baldwin an ending far better than in most of his movies?

Um, you know, hypothetically of course. Not saying it happened to me or anything. I'm just curious.

October 06, 2004


It's now Week 4 of the Daily News Scratch n' Match sweepstakes... and I still haven't won shit. I've even resorted to praying to help me win but alas, I have nothing to show for my newfound spirituality.

I don't have much luck when it comes to contests like this. I entered countless raffles in grammar school where top prize was a bike, a VCR, a computer, etc. And I never won. However, if the teachers put names in a hat to decide who was going to do a reading in front of a church full of people at the Confirmation ceremony, my name was miraculously selected. I also "won" the honor of doing a reading at my graduation right on the heels of my Confirmation performance.

Furthermore, in fifth grade, I was appointed to be the official welcome wagon when the parish got a new pastor. I had to sit through a REALLY long Mass attended by bishops and stuff and then go up and shake the priest's hand and say, "Welcome!"

I also had to crown the statue of the Virgin Mary at a well-attended church gathering on another occasion. Years later, I heard the song that goes, "Oh Mary We Crown Thee with Blossoms Today" and I believe I actually experienced a bout of panic. May Crownings are stressful! What if the wreath fell off Mary's head? What if I missed my cue and crowned her too early or too late? I was never good with the timing thing. In the third grade Christmas pageant, I forgot to stop rocking around the Christmas tree and continued circling it long after everyone else sat down. It was tres embarrassing.

I HATED doing these things. There were plenty of attention-starved and outgoing kids who would have jumped at the chance but instead, me -- the quiet, super self-conscious one -- was thrust in the spotlight and forced to perform. It was especially painful at the Confirmation because our public school peers -- the enemy -- were receiving the sacrament with us. They infiltrated our small, tight-knit group and scared the shit out of us quite frankly. We had a few smart-ass boys in my class and even they were speechless in the presence of the more wordly publics.

At the time, I was an awkward, pale and shy skinny little kid. The public school girls seemed so glamorous and mature to me. They wore makeup and gave their phone numbers to boys. I never concerned myself with such things before but suddenly, I was painfully aware of our differences. I dreaded getting up in front of them. I was certain they'd ridicule me. During the rehearsal, I read my assigned bit and was immediately chastised by the principal for not speaking loud enough. About 10 other students (both public and parochial) read yet she only picked on those of us who attended her school. Truthfully, she didn't expect much of the public school kids. In fact, we were always warned to take our valuables home on Mondays and Tuesdays when those kids attended catechism after we left for the day. Nice, right?

In addition to criticizing my volume, the nun took exception to the way I said the word "because." I guess I said it more like "becuz." She cut me off and yelled, "Miss McDimple! The proper pronunciation is 'bee-caawwwwwwse.' Now speak up and speak properly! You know better than that!" I just wanted to get up there, blurt out my bit and sit back down. Instead, she embarrassed me in front of all those kids and made me repeat myself about a billion times. At the risk of eternal damnation, I wanted to kill that fucking nun right then and there.

The worst was that the teachers actually tried to spin these gigs of forced public speaking as the most valuable prize of all. If by valuable they were referring to the small fortune I'd later have to fork over to a shrink and the makers of Paxil, then well, yes, I suppose they were right. I still would have happily "settled" for the Commodore 64.

September 26, 2004

see with your eyes, not with your hands

As you can see by the oh-so-very lifelike rendering in the sidebar to your right, I've got lots of curls sprouting from this melon o' mine. I'm not going to lie to you... I dig my hair. It's thick, naturally curly and has some crazy reddish highlights running through it courtesy of the sun. Some people pay good money to achieve this look. I got it free of charge thanks to puberty. Yes, that's right -- I've got pubies growing out of my head.

Throughout childhood, I had thin VERY blond hair. The tips curled up a little bit but mostly, my hair was straight and super smooth. And then I turned 13. Between Mother Nature and a bad layered mullet (don't judge me), my hair thickened up and kinked out. It took me several years to grow it out but once it was the desired length, I went to a new stylist and she gave me a very reasonable Molly-Ringwald-in-Pretty-in-Pink facsimile. Thanks to the buzz clippers the stylist used, my hair was super short in the back creating a stubbly-yet-smooth feel. The girls on my softball team liked to rub my head for luck. Yeah, that's always nice -- a bunch of dirty hands attached to bitchy girls running through my temperamental coif.

They weren't the only ones who felt the need to reach out and touch my 'do. To this day, MANY people -- most of them strangers -- touch my hair. My mane gets fingered and stroked more than a really slutty girl. It's flattering that some people like my hair but I still find the whole touch-first-and-ask-for-permission-later business to be very rude. I worked at a movie theater in college and I actually had a customer lean over the counter and grab my hair while I was fetching her popcorn and soda. That's not only presumptuous but very unhygienic. After the woman molested my hair, she called her friend over for a gang bang, if you will.
"Denise, look at huh hai-uh! Touch it. It's gaw-jus, ain't it?" Her friend manhandled my curls and chimed in, "Honey, is dis natural? Yaw lucky. I get perms 'n body waves awl the toyme but they nevuh look like dis. Just gaw-jus."
Last night I stopped by the Cubbyhole. My friend and I were deep in conversation when all of a sudden I felt fingers running through my hair. At first I thought it was a member of my party so I didn't flinch but then a craggy-looking older woman was in my face saying, "Great hair!" I guess I looked shocked and annoyed because she said, "Sorry, I couldn't resist." Granted, if she was cute, I wouldn't have cared but she looked like a spotter in a weight room. Me no likey.

I think I'm going to circulate a petition among pregnant women and people with curly hair, noticeable piercings, chubby cheeks and other obvious traits and protrusions. I think we should demand special dispensation to beat down anyone who touches us without asking. Hell, I'll even put aside my disgust of stretched ear lobes and welcome those people into the fold as well. Normally that shit freaks me out to no end but I'll suck it up for the cause. Now who's with me?

September 24, 2004

dinner with the mcdimples

To celebrate my father's birthday, I headed out to NJ after work last night for a family dinner. As expected, there was good food, great wine and lots of laughs... mostly at my mother's expense.

My mom has a tendency to recap the week's headlines at the dinner table. If by chance one of us has not heard a certain news story (or even if we have), she proceeds to retell it. At length. And VERY dramatically. She doesn't mean to but when all is said and done, it sounds like she's telling a ghost story. Her eyes widen and she gets a serious look on her face and deepens her voice. All that's missing is the campfire, the flashlight under her chin and the "It was a dark and stormy night..." intro.

She also injects a lot of Scottish-isms into each story. Between that and her Vincent Price-like delivery, it's hard to keep a straight face. She finds it extremely disturbing that her daughters always have to stifle a giggle after she tells a tale of death and destruction. Example: "So the car came tearing down the road going like the hammers and the poor wee woman got knocked down." No one ever gets hit or run over by a car, according to my mother. They get knocked down. This amuses me. And in case you need a translation, "going like the hammers" is shorthand for "going like the hammers of Hell," which means going really fast. Apparently the Devil is a no-nonsense boss who abhors inefficiency. If you get sent Down There, you can expect to be assigned a hammer which you'll have to swiftly swing FOR ETERNITY. No slacking in Hell allowed EVER. Got it?

So last night the mother was using her spooky voice to tell us about some poor kid who was playing with a latex glove and ended up choking on it and dying. We were all in agreement about how tragic and senseless it was. Nothing funny about it. She then went on to lament that the child was alone so there was no one around to perform the "Hemlock Maneuver" on him.

And that's when the dam burst. We snickered and laughed. She got flustered, offered up a few other mangled pronunciations in exchange and then finally told us all to shut up. But even when trying to silence us, she doesn't possess the ability to slap us with an effective, piss-filled "SHADDAP!" As a soft-spoken Scottish woman, the best she can muster is a rather genteel-sounding "Accch, sshhusht you! Away and bury your head!" Which only makes us laugh harder. She just can't win.

September 23, 2004

ill communication

Today is my Dad's 65th birthday. In honor of his big day, I'm going to tell a story that in many ways really sums up the essence of this man: sweet, kind-hearted, very generous... and rather hapless. Just like his daughter, he means well but most of his endeavors usually have unintentionally funny results.

As you may or may not know, New Year's Day is quite the holiday among the Scottish folk. Every year my mother makes a spread that rivals most Christmas dinners. On a side note, she also does this because the aforementioned trashy cousin has hijacked Christmas and serves a very untraditional buffet-style dinner served on Chintz, no less. Yeah, nothing screams Christmas more than Thuman's cold cuts, Pechter's bread and plastic cutlery.

So every January 1, my mother busts out the Royal Doulton and the McDimple clan goes to town on steak-and-kidney pie, ham, turkey, etc. Last year, my cousin from Scotland and his wife were in attendance. The cousin had just finished a tour of duty in Iraq (he's in the Royal Air Force) and wanted to spend the New Year in New York City. They stayed at an expensive hotel near Radio City Music Hall and actually ventured into Times Square on New Year's Eve. Um, I think I'd rather be in Iraq instead of Times Square on that night but that's just me...

But as I was saying... the cousin and his wife were invited to New Year's dinner with our family. My father didn't want them -- or me -- taking public transportation on this special occasion so he drove into Manhattan to pick them up at their hotel and then over to Brooklyn to get me. My father and I went over the logistics on the phone the night before. The plan was that he would bring my sister's cell phone and call me when he was nearing Brooklyn (to minimize wait time and/or the risk of him getting a ticket or having to circle the block).

The next morning, my mother called to say that the father had just left for the hotel. She knows I suck at waking up so she wanted to give me ample notice. I had a nice window of opportunity so I leisurely showered, ate breakfast and went about my business. The phone rang again shortly after, sending me into a panic thinking it was my father nearing my apartment building. But it was actually my sister, the owner of the cell phone my father was supposed to use. When I answered, the sister didn't even bother to say hello. Instead, she sounded all agitated. It went a little something like this:
Yours Truly: Hello?

The Sister: [in a really pissy tone] Uh yeah, Dad took my phone.

YT: Oh. He didn't tell you he was borrowing it? I thought he did. Sorry.

TS: He had permission to take my cell phone but instead, he took my other one!

YT: Wait, your cordless?


YT: You mean he took that big handset thinking it was your cell phone?


YT: [maniacal laughing and a series of asthmatic wheezes]

TS: So, just be ready because he can't call you now when he's getting close.

YT: [still laughing]

TS: So look out for him. Okay?

YT: O-HA-HA-HA-kay. HA! HA! H--click.
When my father arrived, I got caught up with my cousin and met his new wife for the first time. In the interest of being social and not embarrassing my Dad in front of his adoring nephew, I didn't mention the phone incident. We continued chatting as we made our way onto the BQE, across the Verrazano and along the Staten Island Expressway. While we were waiting to pay the New Jersey Turnpike toll, somehow the topic of cell phones came up. Again, I was going to spare my Dad but he left himself WIDE open:
The Father: Speaking of cell phones, something's wrong with [my sister's] phone. I was trying to call you and that bleedin' thing kept beeping at me. It said something about not being connected to the base. What does that mean?

Yours Truly: It means that you brought the wrong phone, Dad! You took the cordless! You got that message because you're like 20 miles from the base!

Dad: Oh. So that's why! [pause] You know, I thought it was rather big when I stuck it in my pocket and walked off this morning!
Now my father will never just say, "Oops, my bad." There's always some technical explanation or "logic" to explain his mistakes. Naturally, we skewered him for the rest of the day but he didn't relent. According to him, he overheard me and my younger sister once say that the cell phone in question was "antiquated" (his word, not ours). Granted, while it's rather big and clunky for a mobile phone, it could still NEVER be confused with a cordless one.

His other defense was that my sister gave him vague instructions where the cell phone was located (in her room being charged). To him, "the charger" meant an enormous cradle plugged into the phone jack, complete with blinking lights, various buttons and attached to an answering machine. He felt his confusion was valid. Nevermind that he completely overlooked the smaller phone next to it with a simple plug in it...

As I write this, I realize that this is the second phone-related blog entry involving my Dad. Little does he know that he and Verizon are fast becoming a killer comedy team.

September 21, 2004

it's 11:00pm... do you know where curly is?

Fucking home, that's where. I totally shouldn't be though. Why? 'Cause I had a date this evening. You know, there was a time when I'd meet someone for dinner or a drink and we would stay out until the wee hours of the morning talking, giggling and/or um... well, you know. Well, not tonight. What the hell is going on lately?!?! I was in the door by 9:00pm. This is appalling.

I went out with a perfectly nice woman but she just didn't tickle my fancy. At the risk of sounding immodest, I think she digs me... which is a real pain in the ass. It's just easier for all involved when the disinterest is mutual. While she didn't come right out and say, "I dig you, Curly McDimple," I could just tell she did. She was very flirty and coy. When we parted ways, she commanded me to call her soon. And she also stated, as opposed to suggesting, that we get together again. I don't mind an aggressive woman in the boudoir but I'd rather not be bossed around by one I hardly know on West 4th Street, thank you very much. It's very unbecoming.

I think I'm going to hit the bar scene again and try to stop being so shy in the presence of pretty women. I'm also going to expand my online shopping to include bi chicks. I have no issue with bisexuals but I have been hesitant to contact them in the past. It's not fun or easy to compete and coexist with men in this arena. It's just not. I also worry that these gorgeous women who catch my eye are straight and have accidentally selected the "I am interested in both sexes" feature. Now before you protest, I have to say that this is a totally legitimate concern. Two reasons: 1) I ALWAYS fall for straight chicks and 2) I've seen men's pictures show up in my lesbian-only search results because those dumbasses accidentally clicked "I am a woman seeking a woman" in the dropdown. Can you imagine his surprise when some diesel dyke invites him to a womyn's poetry slam? HA HA! It's no doubt amusing but it does give me pause.

I don't trust my judgment anymore. I just put Jess on notice that from now on, she's going to have to play "Is This Chick Ugly or Perhaps Insane?" with me before I contact or reply to anyone. She will be forwarded emails and online profiles to give her thumbs up/down before I make any moves. I'm clearly in a slump and I need someone to help correct my swing. Jess will be my Don Mattingly.

To get a broader sample of opinions, I might set up a reader panel to help dictate and decide the course of my love life. Kindly let me know of your interest and availability. Furthermore, if any of you can cough up a warm, willing body for me to squire around town, I'll be your best friend. Well, not really, but I will be grateful. Requirements:

:: Lesbo or bi

:: Female (assigned at birth)

:: Must live in NYC

:: Age range: mid-20s to 30s

:: Not gross or crazy
Let the games begin!

September 18, 2004

in the merry old land of oz

I've never been to Australia but from what I understand, it's GORGEOUS. I would really love to visit and see for myself. After checking my site statistics tonight, I really need to make this trip. Thanks to StatCounter, I think I inadvertently learned a new bit of Aussie slang and I'm eager to test it out. No doubt it will help me stand out from the other Yanks who will only be talking about shrimp on the barbie and all that waltzing Matilda's apparently been doing.

My plan is to make my way to the continent, approach a local and call him/her a "freckle fart." Yes, a freckle fart. Why? Well, from what I can gather, someone Down Under was rendered SO speechless by this put-down that he/she felt compelled to Google "comebacks for if someone calls you a freckle fart." Apparently, it's quite the burn in Brisbane, Australia and somehow, Google decided that my humble blog was a viable solution to this verbal scourge.

Now I'm quite certain that I've written all of those words individually but just never in the same sentence. I sincerely apologize for the confusion, mate. I'm even sorrier to report that I don't have a good retort other than the standard-issue and very American "Fuck you!"

If you're averse to using profanity, I guess you could retaliate with sheer logic. To my knowledge, human emissions do not have freckles or any other blemish for that matter. Sure, gas can smell to high heaven but in terms of sun damage, I think it's safe to say it doesn't suffer from it. Let science speak for itself, if you'd rather not be potty-mouthed.

Again, I'm partial to a good old-fashioned "Oh, go fuck yourself" but I understand and respect that certain folks are a bit gun shy when it comes to dropping the F bomb. Regardless of your strategy, I wish you luck!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Orbitz to check fares to Sydney...

September 17, 2004

speaking of work...

I've recently been promoted to a managerial role. I'll give you a few minutes to digest that and then recover from your fainting spell...

Anyways, I've been doing it for about two months now but I still feel out of sorts. I've always been the managed, not the manager. I feel strange telling people what to do. I realize that delegating tasks responsibly is very different from bossing people around but I still feel a wave of guilt wash over me each time. I can't help myself. Oh curse this Catholic, blue-collar upbringing!

With this job came an office -- the first one of my career. I haven't put my feet up on the desk while smoking a stogie but I've been enjoying my new surroundings in other ways. I've closed the door, turned up the speakers and rocked out. I've also shut the door and called my various doctors without having to broadcast my entire medical history to the whole floor. I've also closed over the door and smoked crack with vagrants and had wanton sex with hookers on my desk. You know, the standard taste-of-freedom stuff...

I haven't officially decorated but between all the tchotkes I've gathered over the years, drawings from the kids I used to babysit, squishy stress-reliever balls and toys with company logos on them, it's safe to say I'm going for the playful theme. The previous owner of this office left some really tacky knick-knacks so instead of tossing them, I'm letting them complement my already juvenile decor. My office is the equivalent of the Silver Spoons house except without the wee train, Pac Man machine and Ricky Schroder. And yes, I know he goes by Rick now but too damn bad. He will always be Ricky-with-the-Cool-Racing-Car-Bed to me. Hey, speaking of has-beens, what's Alfonso Ribeiro up to these days?

But I digress. Sometimes though, I can't help but feel like a fraud. I know I've worked hard to get here but there are times when I doubt myself and my abilities. It's not necessarily a bad thing because this self-inventory keeps me from getting complacent and lazy. I simply cannot afford to be highfalutin because at the first sign of hubris, fate takes a monstrous-sized dump right square on my head. Modesty and self-doubt, in good measure, keep me in line and poop-free, so to speak.

For all the times I feel inadequate, there are just as many occasions where I realize I'm like all professional and shit. For example, today I was asked to write a job description for a position opening up at one of our new, smaller websites. I'm not managing nor hiring for the job but I was asked to do it because I have "years of experience" in web developing. Um, I do? Okay, whatever. It was quite fun to start a sentence with, "The ideal candidate will be responsible for..." I'm used to reading that shit, not writing it.

I've also conducted job interviews recently and found myself using terms like "skill set" and "work flow." Why just the other day, I caught myself asking a candidate the following question: "How would you rate your ability to prioritize your workload and manage expectations under a tight deadline?" The candidate chirped away but I don't think I heard any of his sales pitch because I was too busy admiring the straight-faced, mature-sounding "professional me."

While he yammered, I began recalling all of my job interviews and comparing my demeanor with that of the people who interviewed me. How did I stack up? Was I nodding enough? Should I scribble notes on his resume? If so, what the hell should I write? I always hated when interviewers took a lot of notes when I spoke. What exactly were they jotting down anyway? When I saw someone writing, I automatically assumed it was something like, "Major dumbass!" or "No chance in hell!" or "Buy milk on the way home!"

But I'll no doubt be comfortable in my surroundings and with my new responsibilities soon enough. And as I further slip into "The Man" status, I solemnly promise to never act like some of my predecessors. I hereby declare that I will never tell someone I need them to "take ownership" of a task if I'm not happy with their work. If they're fucking up, I'll say it delicately but not in that bullshit way taught at management seminars. Furthermore, the term "due diligence" will never pass my lips... unless I'm making fun of a person who says things like "due diligence." And mark my words, I will never congratulate coworkers on a job well done by saying, "We're really hitting on all cylinders now!" I'm all about bypassing that bogus rah-rah shit and going straight for the booze. Speaking of which, Happy Hour awaits...

September 16, 2004

the tell-tale little jimmy stains

Due to a frustrating bout of writer's block, it's time for me to dip into my old journals once again. This was written on October 29, 1997. If memory serves me correctly, I composed this in between answering phones and taking messages for some weenie account executive. It kind of trails off at the end because I was no doubt torn away to FedEx a media kit, send a fax, wipe his ass or some other bit of useless nonsense. Anyhoo, brace yourselves for the choppy sentences ahead...

I think that one flaw that has followed me through life, and probably always will, is my tendency to not think things through [Ed note: Sadly, the same still holds true.] I have spent more time wishing that life came with a remote control than some have spent dreaming of fame and fortune. I really wish I could rewind and tape over some of my more dopey episodes. For example, if I could do it all over again, at age nine, I would not have stuck my tongue out at the neighbor driving by in retaliation for the scolding she gave me the day before. I don't regret the intent behind it because the woman was a raving bitch. My regret is that she caught me.

If I could press rewind, I wouldn't have suffered the consequences of drawing an unflattering picture of the same woman's daughter entitled "Michelle Smells." It wouldn't have been so bad except another friend stuck it in Michelle's mailbox. It turns out neither the mother, nor Michelle, enjoyed this artist's rendering. [Ed note: Personally, I thought it was rather clever to use Scotch tape for hair. It made for an impressive bas relief effect.]

If I could press rewind, my ass wouldn't have been slapped when I declared "Disco sucks!" in front of my tattle-tale sister. She proceeded to relay the off-color musical critique to my infuriated mother. Based on my mother's reaction, I can only guess that she was a closet disco lover... [Ed note: I remember this vividly. I was playing wiffle ball with some kids in the neighborhood. I was pitching at the time and some kids on the other team were talking about music while they were waiting to take their turn at bat. I overheard someone mention disco so I stopped my windup and said, "Disco?!?! Disco sucks!" I think I overheard some older kids say it so I was just repeating it. At the time, I wouldn't have known disco if it came up and bit me in the ass. I do believe this was the first episode of my obnoxious, opinionated music snobbery.]

I got nailed in these instances for several reasons:
1) A complete lack of discretion, obviously
2) No grasp of the basic concept of cause-and-effect
3) An inability to think before I spoke or acted
4) Fucking snitches

Admittedly, it was my own fault that the woman caught me mid-razberry as I forgot about that device called the rear-view mirror. In retrospect, that was silly of me to not consider that possibility.

In the other cases, I got a raw deal. The friend who placed the offending picture in the mailbox cracked under what I assume was hardly an intense interrogation. When confronted by the victim's mother, that bitch plea bargained and blamed it all on me. According to her account, I masterminded the whole project and forced her to make the delivery. It was a bitter betrayal too because I sat on many a secret of hers. Did I tell anyone that she had a "booger wall" in her bedroom? Noooo-- well, uh, I guess that cat's out of the bag now.

Okay, but did I drop a dime on her when she had the bright idea to deliver wet, dirty, dead leaves to the mailboxes of everyone in the neighborhood? Again, no. You know, in later years, I had my suspicions that she was The Unabomber [Ed note: How's that for a dated reference?] given her eagerness to deliver "mail" not sanctioned by the U.S. Postal Service. Anyway, the point is, she named names awfully quick and I did time for it. The lady came to my house and showed the picture to my parents while bawling me out which then caused my parents, in turn, to bawl me out. Some mothers in the neighborhood labeled me a troublemaker and forbid their children to play with me. It was quite scandalous.

Next up is the situation involving the sister of mine who took great pleasure in ratting out her siblings. Did I tell on her when she wrote all over the bathroom door with my mother's new tube of lipstick? No! Even when the parents threatened to make me take a lie detector test, I just said, "I don't know who did it." Too bad she didn't adhere to The Code. I mean, was it imperative to inform my mother that I had joined in the chorus of criticism of that much-maligned musical trend of the 70s? I knew the minute I walked in the house and saw my mother's face that she blabbed. I think my mother got in one good whack on my butt before I escaped. Fortunately for me, I was quick on my feet and was able to race up the ladder to my top bunk, well out of her reach.

But as with the tongue incident, there were plenty of times when I was solely responsible for my downfall...
In the distance the faint tinkling of bells could be heard. Tremors strong enough to be felt through the concrete shook the ground with the intensity of a large T-Rex bounding towards its prey [Ed note: Guess who just saw Jurassic Park?] But this was no dinosaur. It was something more ferocious than a 25-foot cold-blooded carnivore. It was a mob of kids, money in hand, chasing after the ice-cream truck.

Like a charismatic preacher in a traveling tent revival, Little Jimmy could command the faithful to turn out in record numbers to worship him with one blast of his tinny, off-key theme music. I was devout in my adoration. With great reverence, I sacrificed my stash of hoarded change to receive Communion in the form of cherry Italian ice. Technically, I simultaneously received under both species since midway through my consumption, the ice would transform into a half-solid, half-liquid substance allowing me to eat and drink at the same time. Three quarters of the way through, the small, white pleated cup became soggy enough for me to stuff in my mouth and chew like paper-and-cherry-flavored gum. When it was done, I would sadly remove the pink, tattered wet mass from my mouth. At this point, it resembled something that was accidentally left in my pocket and put through the washing machine several dozen times.

I had always been a loyal subject of the cherry Italian ice but after an unfortunate incident, I abandoned it in favor of the less conspicuous lemon flavor. It happened one day when a friend and I were sent by her mother to the local deli. After devouring our ices, we were off to the store with evidence of what we just ate all over our faces. Mine was more noticeable since my friend's bubblegum ice was a light pink shade. I ate a cherry one and resembled Robert Smith of The Cure with my haphazard pattern of bright red on and around my lips.

One of the items on our shopping list was a fresh loaf of Italian bread. My friend had to get a few things so I offered to help carry the bags home. It turns out my load had the bread in it. If I were to sing a personalized (non-rhyming) version of "My Favorite Things," bread would be nestled right in between Italian ice and cake batter. And it was literally poking me in the face as I walked. Do you know how hard it was to be within nose shot and not be allowed to eat it? I made a few "discreet" comments along the lines of, "Mmmm... I like Italian bread. I wish I had some." I had hoped she'd pick up on the subtlety and offer me some. She didn't.

We continued walking home but I couldn't stand it anymore. I was a relatively polite and well-mannered kid, however, in the face of bread or some types of candy, I couldn't be held accountable for my actions. I had a jones for some carbohydrates and I had to obey. Good sense had completely abandoned me at this point so whenever the coast was clear, I would gnaw on the end of the bread and then strategically arrange the bag so that my friend couldn't see what I had done. [Ed note: To explain, there was a shortcut between the street the deli was on and our street. It was rather narrow so we had to walk single file. The friend was in front of me so I chewed when her back was to me.]

A few minutes later, we reached my friend's house and I couldn't hide my dirty deed any longer. For that short walk home, I was consumed by my bread lust and didn't fully realize what I had one. I said a quick prayer hoping she wouldn't notice. She noticed.

If it was just bite marks, I could have blamed it on some rodents at the store. I could have assumed a haughty posture and given her a lecture that she should have checked both ends of the bread much like one checks eggs to make sure they're not cracked before buying them. I thought denial and delusion were going to save me but my devotion to Little Jimmy came back to bite me in the ass. I tried pleading ignorance but my friend quickly countered with the damning evidence: the tip of the bread was the same shade of red that was smeared all over my face, teeth and tongue. I was totally busted.
I never got to finish this piece and now I don't really remember what happened afterwards. The friend yelled at me and threatened to tell her mother, I know that much. At that point, I think I dropped the bag and ran home. If I had to guess, her mother probably cursed my name while she sawed off the nasty end of the loaf. With any luck, maybe she later took pity on the poor kid who stole some bread. Wow, this story has suddenly taken on the tone of a Victor Hugo novel. Anyone care to join me in singing "I Dreamed a Dream"?

September 14, 2004

...somewhere in the swamps of jersey

It appears that the fabulous Jake has a gripe with the residents of New Jersey who have unceremoniously invaded his tranquil upstate haven. While I proudly hail from the land o' smoke stacks, corrupt politicians and an inordinate amount of people named Pinky, I do not feel compelled to take Jake to task for his blistering take on my home state. He makes a lucid and compelling argument that a lot of my former neighbors are, well... complete and total assholes.

I used to get really worked up and defensive about it but well, why fight it? I was born to be the butt of jokes. I'm a Catholic dyke from New Jersey, for fuck's sake. Have at it. But be warned -- the fact that I did grow up west of the Hudson River and east of the Delaware means I'm well-equipped to curse like a motherfucking trooper. I don't use this skill often but when necessary, I can lash out at critics in a most colorful and original fashion. I have used the term "ball sack" preceded by an active verb, folks. More than once. And while I won't utter the "c" word, I'm not above calling someone a "twat." What's my take on obscene gestures, you ask? The Finger is for pussies. I pretty much abstain from gestures altogether but every now and then I opt for the rather distasteful yanking motion with one hand. But mostly I curse. I mean, why resort to sign language when I can emasculate men and make women cry with my salty vocabulary alone?

I really have no choice but to lower my defenses about NJ. It's exhausting otherwise... especially after this weekend's viewing of MTV's True Life: I Have a Summer Share. This particular episode followed the exploits of Tommy, a construction worker from northern Jersey, as he made his way down the Garden State Parkway to Seaside Heights each weekend. Sigh... Normally, I would have an issue with the laziness of MTV for picking on Jersey in the most obvious ways but sweet Jesus, the folks in my old area code don't exactly make it too difficult. Unfortunately, the walking Jersey stereotype is not an elusive species. I mean, why would MTV go elsewhere when they can fix their cameras on the Seaside boardwalk to showcase a neverending parade of teased hair, stretch pants, airbrushed "100% Bitch" t-shirts, copious amounts of camel toe, hot pink talon-like finger nails and gold crucifixes suspended from herringbone chains?

And naturally, Tommy was the guido to end all guidos. He wore a Don Corleone cap ALL THE TIME, drove a Cadillac, drank Coors Light and got into a fight EVERYTIME he went out. Even worse, he spoke of Seaside as his "territory." Yeah, that smell of urine you get down there is not from the drunks coming out of the bars late at night. Rather, it's from when Tommy threw open the door of his Caddy and left a trail of piss from the Parkway to the Atlantic Ocean to mark his turf.

I've been to many parties and bars in New Jersey where I've encountered the likes of Tommy. And I have to say that I hate the likes of Tommy. When I'm met with this sort of a man, I thank God I'm gay. Nine times out of 10, the likes of Tommy is flanked by a glitter chick who is his best platonic girlfriend. She always feels compelled to say, usually in between puffs on a Parliament or Marlboro Light, "[Guido's name] is a total sweetheart. He would give you the shirt off his back. The shirt off his motherfucking back!!" She will stab at the air with her cigarette for emphasis and will declare that she wants to cry when she thinks about "the amount of heart that guy has." As proof, she will usually cite the example of a brutal beating the Guido threw some poor slob who had the audacity to look at the Platonic Glitter Chick. I never know what to say in response to this. I think I'm expected to go, "Awww! Ain't he sweet! You're lucky you have him looking out for you." As if. At least I've since learned to not cup my hand over my mouth and gasp in horror.

Now lest you think I'm totally embarrassed about my upbringing and land of birth, I would have to say that I disagree. I'm proud to hail from the same state as Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Philip Roth, Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, Joe Piscopo... (I was just making sure you were paying attention with that last one.) But anyway, unlike Tommy and his ilk, I display the appropriate amount of shame and humility. I will readily admit where I'm from, albeit with some sort of qualifier. "Yes, I'm from New Jersey but I don't use Aqua Net or anything. Seriously. I haven't touched the stuff in years." While I'm on the subject, you won't ever catch me making devil prongs while yelling "Jerrrrrrrrrrrrrsey!" when the state's name is mentioned at a public event. I will never threaten to fuck anyone up in an argument over a parking spot. I don't call all pasta "macaroni" nor do I refer to carbonated beverages as "soder." I know one person named Louie... and I don't like him. I enjoy The Sopranos for the intriguing storylines and compelling characters, not because I can name where most of the exteriors are shot. Furthermore, I've never set foot in a Camaro or any tricked-out car with mudflaps, spoilers, chain-link license plate covers or other accoutrements that are not factory-installed. So there.