Chapter Two: Patron Saint of the Retarded

We’re visiting Aunt Millie, Patron Saint of the Retarded, the first day of our vacation. Her house is a couple hours from our hotel, and he felt obligated to visit the woman who’s been sending him “Happy Birthday. God Bless You” cards all his life. I wouldn’t even so much call it a house as I would call it a petting zoo for the mentally impaired. She never married, never had kids, and when she found god at age 58, she started taking in foster kids: twitchy crack babies, the droopy downward faces of Downs, and the shifty-eyed crouching abused. You name it, she housed it.

In my late 20s I wondered if I would ever have children. Karma and all that college hash would have it that if I did, they’d have eight arms like Shiva or be retarded. Either way, they’d have a dandy time at Aunt Millie’s. I wanted them. Want them. Want one, but I’m already taking care of a big baby. It’s just that instead of carting a kid to soccer practice, I’m carting one to his AA meetings. For all intensive purposes, he’s pretty much useless. He repairs guitars from our one bedroom in New York. Our curtains, our couches, our sheets all smell like varnish like someone glazed over our lives in an attempt to trap us in that moment, just like that mosquito in Jurassic Park. And he pisses on the seat, which he doesn’t lift (goes without saying I guess). And he leaves empty ice cream containers in the freezer and leaves cold pizza on the counter, not on a plate. I’d leave him, but I like his version of me better than I like my own version.

It’s not like I’m barren. My mom had had 5 kids, would have been 6 if she didn’t abort the first one (but I’m not supposed to know that). My grandmother had 4 kids. The other one had 3. Heretically speaking, I should be capable of getting knocked up. If I fail at even that… well, I’m not sure what I would do.

Aunt Mill is offering us peanut butter cookies she probably made 6 months ago, and she serves them in a plastic container that has a macaroon sticker on it, with tea. Scotty, who has a lisp, wantsss me to puhlay Hot Wheelsss with heem, so I roll it around the table a couple times. I’m kind of hoping he has ADD because I do and I’m already bored. Fuck this. How can this be entertaining for you? Stop picking your nose god damn it.

Upon closer inspection, I can see that the driver of this tiny vehicle is a booger, seat-belted in by its own gumminess.

Aunt Mill must have done something awful in her lifetime to be doing this kind of penitence. Like awful, awful. I-killed-a-man-in-Reno awful, because watching Scotty with his plastic car, and Liz with her spandex pink stained leggings, saliva softened cookie plastered to her sleepy elongated face, I think

this must be hell.

I look over to see my boyfriend, the manchild I share my bed and life with, the man I come home to after work to make frozen pizza for, the man I’m actually faithful to, with smooshed cookie in his beard and another in hand. He offers me one.

I taste nickel and feel the flames lick at my feet.


“Thank god we’re fucking out of there” as I light a cigarette on the way to our car, which still smells like the entire McDonald’s dollar menu.

“Oh it wasn’t so bad. The kids are cute.”

I roll the half-lit cigarette between my top and bottom teeth. I don’t even care that the smoke will stick to my hair, my face, my teeth and tongue. It’s not like I showered for this. The only consolation to this day thus far has been the voluntary singeing of my lungs. It reminds me that I have insides. I would have lit up in Aunt Millie’s Petting Zoo, but I was afraid that if I accidentally dropped it, the carpet Margot has so often peed on would have gone right up in flames, Carrie-style. There are two types of people in this world: those whose houses smell like dog pee and those whose don’t. Millie was of the former group.

“Babe, I thought you quit”

Thought I quit smoking. Thought I quit? Really? Did he not see that the first thing I did when I woke up was go outside for a smoke. Probably not, because he was probably jerking off onto the shower stall walls. That’s how it usually works. I work on giving myself cancer, and he works on himself.

Idiot. I have to remember to take my pill when I get home because if this man procreates, the entire world will be at a loss.

I take another drag.


Chapter One of the 3am Novelletta

I don’t have the heart to tell him that I’m not an alcoholic, or have ever been. In fact, I rather enjoy drinking. Vodka martinis with those cute little olives when I’m feeling like Marlene Deitrich, Dewar’s on the rocks when I’m feeling like John Wayne. I let him think that I’m in recovery because it makes our relationship feel legitimate somehow, like we share something other than towels and toothbrushes. I don’t tell him that I frequent the happy hours.

But now sitting at this AA meeting I wonder even how much I can take. We’re on vacation and this is our time away, but the oh-so-fabulous thing about AA is that ex-alcoholics are everywhere: in Outer Bumblefuck, PA driving your kids to school, in Newark pushing your pot that you still smoke because it makes you feel young and rebellious, in Memphis cutting your grandmother’s head open to work on that tumor, in Florida your boyfriend who plays crappy guitar and cries writing lyrics about Asian genocide (but has never written a song about you).

Everywhere, everywhere- alcoholics, recovering.
And not a drop to drink.

Ohp, here comes the tears, and snot which will inevitably end up absorbed onto the sleeves of my tshirt. I love this tshirt. And I hate doing laundry. I’m not sure if I love or hate this person on my arm though.

“You are a good girlfriend. You are a good person who does nice things. You even donate blood regularly. You are going straight to heaven after this.” This is what I tell myself.

I wonder how his other girlfriends dealt with this. The last one had been a dyslexic stripper with fake tits and an underbite. This would be fodder for resentment, but there was the whole booze thing, and blah blah blah. Sure, I have a nervous tic where if people yell, I squint my right eye tight like a pirate who’s just sat on something I’d rather not say. The squinting usually pulls my mouth into an unflattering grimace and then the squint eventually turns into a fluttering ADD wink. I feel that’s pretty minor though. At least my tits are real. And I can spell.

Joel McHale would say this is an upgrade for him.

Though I can’t help but think he’d be more fun drunk.


After he rolls off me, I know I can count to 10 and he’ll be fast asleep. That’s just how it works. I lay there and “ooh” and “ahh” and the louder I say said “ooh”s and “ahh”s, the sooner I can go to bed. Let’s face it, we spent 8 hours in the car today with cramped knees in a sea of McDonald wrappers and rather then get the romantic walk on the beach I was hoping for, we were in a florescent-lit windowless room talking about strength and persistence.

Let me tell you about strength. When a 200 pound man falls asleep on you and you see the drool river a-comin,’ you find strength. And when you get snuggled in at last just as he finds himself with a hard on, you come to witness persistence.

I get out of bed, and put my sweatpants on. (Okay, they’re really his sweatpants but they’re unofficially mine.) I dig through all my fabulous outfits packed, now wrinkled, and find something to cover the stench of an unsatisfying night. Sitting outside of a cheap hotel in a plastic chair with 4 airplane-sized plastic bottles in your lap really puts things in perspective. Certainly, this isn’t Cinderella’s castle.

Not yet, at least, as I open a fifth.



Me At Work: what do you think about <"so and so">?

Skinny Gay Dude:
I’d hit it

Skinny Gay Dude:
split it


Skinny Gay Dude:
re-live it


Skinny Gay Dude: then ditch it

Me At Work:
and then roll it flour and fry it up with some okra

Skinny Gay Dude: and serve it with a side of two sticks of butter


Me At Work: dude, I’m lol’ing by myself in my office. i’m going to get fired.

Skinny Gay Dude: tell them you have ADD

Stuff White People Like

After reading through stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, I am convinced that I am the White Ambassador. See below:

#32 Vegan/Vegetarianism
“As with many white people activities, being vegan/vegetarian enables them to feel as though they are helping the environment AND it gives them a sweet way to feel superior to others.”

Case-in-point: Call it taking the higher moral ground, but the White Ambassador loves questioning peers as to if they know where their food is coming from. I mean, you like your dog, right? But you wouldn’t eat it, right? The fact that soy “chikn” is tearing down the rainforest and PETA objectifies women is an impossible dilemma though.

#61: Bicycles
“And of course, it goes without saying that white people who ride bikes like to talk about how they are saving the earth. If you know a person who rides to work, you should take them aside and say ‘Hey, thanks. Sincerely, The Earth.’”

Case-in-point: Hey, you’re welcome, Earth.

#28: Not Having a TV
“Though these people often fill their time by talking with other friends who don’t watch TV about how they don’t watch TV, looking at leaves, cooking, reading books about left wing politics, and going to concerts/protests/poetry slams.”

Case-in-point: Also add to that list watching documentaries about factory farms, Clark Park environmental movie night, and Sierra Club bike rides.

#6 Organic Food

“As seen by the image on the left - when faced with eating food that has been processed and loaded with nitrates, sodium and saturated fat, or organic rat poison, 10/10 they will take the rat poison.”

Case-in-point: Decision: Don’t eat at all. You’ll look less bulky in that sweater (#103) that you bought from the GAP.

#10 Wes Anderson Movies

“White people love Wes Anderson movies more than they love their kids. If a white guy takes a white girl to a Wes Anderson movie on their first date, and neither of them have seen it, they will immediately commence a relationship that is reflected in songs by Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes.”

Case-in-point: I know that Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes have never been on a Wes Anderson movie soundtrack.

“wigwam” – bob dylan

“needle in the hay” – elliot smith

“where do you go to (my lovely)” – peter sarstedt

“kite flying society” – mark mothersbaugh

“rebel rebel” seu jorge

ALSO QUITE RELEVANT: #17: Hating Your Parents, #58 Japan, #21 Writers Workshops, #90 Dinner Parties, #24 Wine, #64 Recycling, #88 Having Gay Friends, #12 Non-Profit Organizations, #55 Apologies, #106 Facebook



I am the Had, the Having, and Been
I am the Having Had and the Had Been
I am the Having Had Been

But not the Had Been Having


I swirled my wine in circles, more out of boredom than to catch undertones- whatever those were. I was thinking about a ten-card spread where I was the knave, of coins, living by the moon, just waiting for some fire. I’ve been a rogue all right, throwing all my pennies in fountain [drinks].


Ever notice how falling snow gulps up the train squeals, the distant grandma spills, the celestial twinkly white pills?


Today, I wore a new dress that everyone told me was quite pretty. It’s the kind of dress I would wear to someone-else’s-family’s party. And I found a dollar, crisp, on the floor. I told my baby sister how proud of her I was. It’s her birthday today, which seems like a good time to tell her. After I get out of work, I’m going to the market to buy a couple of my favorite things so I can cook for some of the people I love most. I wish I’d get some sleep but almost nothing can wipe this stupid grin off my face. Yeah, sleep would be nice.Icecream? Baby, I thought you’d never ask.


RANT: Chemistry

There’s a reason why they have business majors take a plethora of liberal arts classes like chemistry, and history, and English… I’m just not sure what that reason is. I’m not sure how my high powered job selling cigarettes and booze to children has anything to do with molecular compounds.

[Although I learned that many Asians are not equipped with the correct enzyme to break down alcohol and therefore, like every other substance we learn about in chem, it is toxic. So perhaps not the best market segment]

Maybe I’m just too pragmatic, but I have a hard time believing that floating hexagons are responsible for turning my bananas yellow. And if two of these hexagons combine, you get mothballs. So why don’t I have mothball bananas? Even better, if you get a hexagon orgy going on, you get cancer.

Supposedly, this is organic chemistry, and if Amanda has any say in it, I should thoroughly enjoy it, with a side of blanched kale and granola. However, sitting through the two hours of lecture, taught by a toothless troll of a man, is comparable to pouring nitric acid on my hand. And I only know that because of Fight Club.

Plus you’d think the labs would be awesome- like making fireworks or something. Yesterday we ground up aspirin and filtered it a hundred times to get something that resembled packing peanuts. Next week, we’ll weigh it and throw it out. Way to leave thousands of hang-over headaches without relief.

I want to believe that this will have zero relevance in my life, but perhaps if FedEx and the US postal office and UPS and every other mail service blows up, I can filter my Tylenol through some coffee filters and safely pack plates or something.

Boo(radley)Yah!So, that's chemistry for business majors, a subject only made relevant by Tyler Durden.

high school bunsen burner smores... relevant.



Post-Date Update: The Bloop vol. 2

The more I go out into the world scouting new people, the more I have the reaction of “what the fuck. They still make you??”

Case: I still talk to the Bloop Guy occasionally, or rather, he texts me while I’m out doing fun things and I just casually ignore it, because the truth is I’m neither available nor interested. I mean I did agree to see him again and I’m not dick enough to flat out cancel, though he was downgraded from dinner to lunch. (ouch) It’s true the real reason I don’t ever want to see him again is because my heart is elsewhere (though unappreciated), but still there are so many red flags for this Bloop dude that I can’t help but think RUN like DMC.

Exhibit 1:
He hates his dad, which is whatever, but because he hates his mustachioed dad, he also hates all men with moustaches. Does he not know how awesome the ‘stach is? Jesus.

Exhibit 2:
And his dad is Jewish. So he openly hates on Jews, right after I said one of my close friends is Israeli. One, his reasoning is ridiculous. Two, did you just listen to a word I just said?

Exhibit 3:
And then he accused my dad of “extreme faggotry” because he owns a Creed album. I’m sorry, you just told me that one of your top three favorite songs EVER was “Brass in Pocket” by the Pretenders. It’s an awesome song, but it’s also the song that Scarlett Johansson sang in “Lost in Translation

Exhibit 4:
And then this was the last straw:

Bloop Guy: im surprised some crazy muslim asshole hasn't tried to pwn that thing yet

me: so you dont like jews or muslims?
or guys with moustaches?

Bloop Guy: hahahaha
never met a muslim
they seem a bit off.
moustaches? unless your burt reynolds or tom selleck, lets take it easy

me: how can you live in a major city and have never met a muslim?

Bloop Guy: meh
mostly indian people
they're something different

me: and having not met them, how can you say they're "off"?

Bloop Guy: easy now

me: well i think you made a very brash statement

Bloop Guy: idk they don't seem to be the nicest of people. considering they move to places like europe and dictate how people should live.
theres a dog in that billboard! dogs are filth!
lets blow shit up!

me: and christians dont do that?
and jews dont do that?
and atheists dont do that?

Bloop Guy: i dont really want to get into this man
its not something i like to discuss
because of one thing i said.

PS this guy is an Atheist Republican from a single parent home. I know. Identity crisis abound.

I guess I can only blame myself because I went into this knowing that he was a “Cantankerous Conservative”. I was swayed by impressive vocabulary (wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last). This guy gets the pleasure of my company Saturday at the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival, where he’ll likely rag on Mennonites too. THE MENNONITES, who mind their business and make delicious bread. Ugh.

Bigotry is so passé.


40 Days and 40 Nights

It’s very rare we celebrate ourselves. We wait for others to remember our birthdays, and we don’t make our own cakes. We wait for someone else’s pat on the back to validate our accolades, and we raise glasses to everything and everyone else.

Today, I’m toasting the Collective Me.

On this day, August 7th, I am noting on my calendar that I have made 40 days and 40 nights of straight abstinence. It didn’t start as a personal challenge. I suppose it started as stubborn self-spite, but it has evolved into an experiment of self-love, minus self-love. It has not been easy, and it has not been fun. It is a mission comparable to Operation Desert Storm, though I think I shall deem it Operation Desert Panties. I could have easily let my fingers do the walking or I could have taken my bike across some cobblestone (or sit on a washer, or hit the gym, or ). I could have made a couple phone calls because let’s face it- it’s not that I’m cocky. It’s that I have a vagina and all 10 of my fingers. And even then, I know some guys who would compromise on those criteria.

And oh, there have been naysayers, those who promised I wouldn’t last a week, and in those faces of oppression, I flashed my chastity and flashed a smile, and then had a hot flash myself. Then there are the friends who have looked at me much in the same way parents look at their children before deployment- with love, with pride, and with concern.

A wise woman once promised that 6 months without sex would be equivalent to regaining virginhood. That wise woman was Samantha Jones, from Sex and the City.
Well, if you consider that you self-service about three times as much as someone services you, then that means I am but 3 weeks away from reclaiming what I once lost. (thought I left a breadcrumb trail…)

Regardless, tonight is for me. It is a time for me to look in the mirror and be proud that I still shave my legs. It is a time of reflecting, wondering how the girl once described as ‘kinda looking like a porn star’ ever refrained from one of the most basic and miraculous of god-given gifts. We erect our glasses to the power of will, and the potency of unrequited love.

Tonight is Forties for 40.




Scribbled Homebound

scribbled on a napkin, Newark Penn Station 8/1/2008:

God, these days are long and lolling. I have a cancer just skin deep, not quite in remission, but not willing to kill me either. The only consolation to this summer heat, are the subway’s dirty knave children on their white bucket drums. I’m waiting at the terminal [I wish this was terminal] at the bar sipping a little Sodom and Gomorrah through two thin red straws. Bring a little sunshine to my veins. Bring a little heat to my cheeks. I’m still wearing my sunglasses, indoors, because my future’s so bright.

The man next to me is on the phone with “Lise.” They’re going to bring the deviled eggs tomorrow and if there’s anything else, “Lise” can let them know. I thought at that moment I could smell eggs, their manipulated yokes spiced and smeared against the cellophane, scent escaped and spoiled in my nostrils. I dislike the way you write lately- so crude and tactless. Can we leave his asshole out of this?

I check the schedule, its letters and numbers flick-flick-flick-flick like a timpani staccato against the church garble. I stuff the last of my bagel in my mouth, wash it down with warm bitters, grab my bags and make my way to the platform. And on this platform, dear friends, I do my ditty. On trains heading North.

Post-Date Assessment: The Bloop

So I thought Jeff Goldblum was a safe bet for at least a couple hours of decent company, but alas. Seriously though, this one had a much smaller margin of error because I had been talking to him quite frequently for the last two weeks-ish and had at least a general idea of what this guy’s about. He sends me texts to say goodnight, and good morning, and ‘how’s your day going,’ and ‘hey I’m bored at work’ and here’s a cute story about me and my mom, and, and, and RED FLAG: Cling Alert.

He seemed nice enough- a CompSci major from Temple. Tall. Nice smile. Good posture. His music tastes are a bit spotty and we don’t share any socio-political opinions, but at least he’s working on a decent [boring] career. So you’re an educated 20 year old product of single parenthood aaand you’re a Republican? Huh.

His AIM speak is peppered with “omfGEEZ,” puns and scathing sarcasm. So middle school. So nerdy.

We arranged our “bloop” (as ‘date’ was too grown-up a word for him) at the art museum for wine and cheese. I brought juice box wine, because he’s not old enough to buy booze and he brought the cheese, the good kind. With expensive crackers. Points.

I only had to wait a minute before he made his way down the stairs as everyone else was pretending to be Rocky on their way up.

“Like the fuckin storming of Bastille around here”

I’m sorry. Did the first thing you ever say to me in real life- a French Revolution reference, as a joke? Whoa. Impressed.

We proceeded to sit on the steps with our little picnic and just bullshit. I think he’s cute. I dunno. His pants are a little snug, sexy? Can’t tell. I definitely dig that he’s a history nerd, or a nerd at all. He’s kinda funny. I think?

But let’s talk about baggage and the momentous amount of it that this dude has: Whaaa two bad break ups in my entire life! Girls are so mean. Whaaa my dad’s a douche with a moustache. My mommy’s so sad now. My big brother doesn’t like me. There’s no god.

Shh. Listen. Hear that? It’s the world’s smallest violin, and it’s telling you to shut the fuck up, because, dude, I don’t know you.

Ultimately, I agreed to a second “bloop” even if it’s because I haven’t come to a definitive conclusion. More research needed. Besides, he complimented me on my nose and my clavicles. Points for creativity. And the most important litmus test is the goodbye. So much rides on this single gesture. Hands down, if you try kissing me, I’m never going to take your calls again. If you suggest we go back to your place (or worse, mine), I’m going to kick you square in the ballz.

And what did this gentleman do? a decent hug.