(A letter to my 9 year old niece)
Dear Divine Miss M,
Long, long ago in a place far, far away there were two cousins. The older of the two (by a mere four months, but still, older) was named Mary. She had straight, blonde hair and blue eyes, was shy and smart. She had a very good sense of humor and was very funny. Her giggle would cause everyone to start giggling, too. Mary was a good height, and slender as a willow. She had two younger siblings, a brother and a sister, to whom she was a very good big sister.
The younger (by only four months, but still, younger) was named Heartless. She had curly brown hair, cut short in what was called a “Pixie Cut” (no one likes a Pixie Cut, unless they are four years old and even then, they dream of the day the Pixie Cut magically disappears from the face of the Earth). Heartless was loud and boisterous, a big, tall girl. She had two older brothers, to whom she was a relentlessly bratty little sister.
Mary and Heartless shared a set of grandparents, whom they called “Graggie and Pop,” (they would be your great-grandparents in case you are wondering). Graggie and Pop were retired from the life of working in offices and other extremely boring places with nasty artificial lighting, so they were able to do a lot of traveling. They traveled all over the world, seriously, ALL OVER. They would always bring lots and lots and lots of amazingly wonderful and interesting pictures (in the form of slides – ask your father what that is) and goodies back from their travels. One of their trips was to China and Japan, even! And from that trip, Graggie and Pop brought wonderful presents home – the most wonderful of which were two traditional Japanese Kimonos. One for Mary (the blue one), and one for Heartless, (the white one), they were even child-sized!
Below is a picture to show you what people looked like in the last millennia, which also shows the actual two cousins wearing the Kimonos:
Flash forward many years ( so many years it’s not only a new century, but a new millennia later which is a REALLY LONG TIME. You should be amazed any of these people are actually still alive), the Heartless cousin (now known as your Auntie H, and also as “crazy lady”) went by a local theatre that was having a fundraising sale. Suddenly, your Auntie H saw them: Hanging up on a rack, a ray of golden sunshine beaming down upon them; two Kimonos. One blue and one white (except full-size, not child-size).
Your Auntie Heartless knew immediately that her niece, the Divine Miss M, was meant to carry on the Kimono Tradition. Here, (meticulously dry-cleaned, of course!), they are: two Kimonos for you to share with your cousins, even though they will be quite long and drag all over the place. Not to worry, that is what they are for – and also for putting on your younger brother when you are stuck at home and really bored.
I should tell you that the pretty, smart, funny cousin Mary is in Heaven. She went to Heaven three years ago. On the day Mary left this Earth (perhaps to avoid a Pixie cut), her sister (another very smart, funny cousin named Katie), and one of her aunts saw – they absolutely swear they both saw this – your great-grandfather Pop driving down the street in his big, blue station wagon (he always drove a big, blue station wagon). As you may know, your great-grandfather went to Heaven 11 years ago. Apparently, though, he is still available to act as a taxi service to bring angels to Heaven. I’m not sure who will be driving my taxi, if I get one, but I sure am hoping it is Pop.
This “Thanksgiving” holiday, it is completely useless. It has become a potlatch of gastronomic gorging and emotional toxic waste.
Hello, why don’t we all just stop a moment and recognize – The American Indians, whom we decimated. Yes, thanks to those who shared their experience, strength and hope with those Mayflowers who were all set to shrivel up and become one with the firmament, we now have this holiday. Yes, that’s right, the American Indians upon whom we committed mass genocide were the ones who, in fact, made it possible for those early Puritans to survive and thrive and thus ultimately create Blue Laws.
Mr. Salty Goodness
It’s cunning, baffling and powerful how drool-y I become in the face of this photo. It’s actually just disgusting. But seriously, this man could be As Gay As Christmas, As Dumb As Dirt and it wouldn’t stop the drool. Despite a life-long aversion to People Whom the Camera Adores because in real life they can be just as ugly as the next toothless hoosier, I can’t quit staring at this one. In real life, he presents a shockingly similar level of Yummy Goodness. It’s sickening and annoying. Nauseating. I just can’t quit you, Danny Lee.
Similar to the actual Memorial Bra, just enough to give the idea.
There is a bra in my dresser drawer, a light confection of sheer black netting and lace with an underwire curves demurely underneath the whisper-light cups of lace and net. Just a hint of devilry in that underwire.
This frothy, playful nothing is not mine, was never my undergarment. This Bra of Magical Thinking was never attached to any of my own hopeful and ultimately unfulfilled plans or nights. I have a cluttered trail of sad non-beginnings, endings and never to be’s littered with Lingerie of Magical Thinking, but not this one. This one I keep for someone else.
Memorial gardens, plants, trees, stones, bricks, endowments, stones, plaques – all will serve, all will do the job in a way that will suffice. All have meaning for a time, some take on meaning apart from the original. This is how it should be, perhaps.
But in this dresser drawer is a Memorial Bra. She gave it to me about three years before the end. Ruefully acknowledging that she’d bought the saucy, flirty little item hoping she would then have someone for whom she would wear it. How could it be that she – gorgeous, talented, brilliant – how could SHE lack for opportunities? To this day, I am baffled.
I keep it for her. I keep it for me. Every time my hand touches it, unseeing, there she is. There IT is – take what you will from IT. Hope or hopelessness, fury or resignation, giggles or sobs – remember this, remember THIS: Be Humble. Be Grateful.
The other day someone confided in me that there was a person – a harmless and very nice person – who wore their hair in such an awkward and unaccountably horrible fashion that it enraged my friend to the point of being unable to look at Awkward Hairdo Person. My friend said that if she looked at this otherwise quite nice and sweet person for too long (.5 seconds) she became very afraid. Afraid she would be unable to beat back the overwhelming urge to engulf Awkward Hairdo Person in an hours-long tirade delivered at full bellow. She found the only solution was to avoid looking at Awkward Hairdo Person at all, and just slither away.
I stared at my friend, struck dumb by the audacity of her bigotry. Her Hair Bigotry. She began to fidget and asked if I thought she was an Evil Being for being so Offended by Bad Hair.
Of course you are, I replied. But the true Evil lies with those who Perpetrate their Bad, Awkward, Ill-Conceived Hairdos upon the sensitive psyches lurking amongst the general public.
That’s why I never fail to wear sunglasses. To protect my eyes from The Horror.
We happily High-Fived and commence to shoot spitballs at People Wearing Loafers Without Socks.
Extra Yummy Salty-Goodness Now with an added Dash of the Intellectual.
So last night I had a root canal in my left front tooth. No big. Been waiting for it for over 20 years. I wish I could really truly capture the flavor of the comedy show that was the dental office. I’ve been going to my dentist since the last century. I have no problem firing doctors or dentists if they are creepy, mean, bad and/or if their front-office staff are bitches. Which happens a lot. I had just fired a dentist I actually liked because his front office staff were a bunch of uptight Bleached Blonde Bitches with Attitude. Many of my friends went to this dentist and highly recommended him, so I finally went. I told him I would not tolerate ignorant, bitchy, uptight, bleached blonde acrylic nail bitches giving me attitude and that is why I fired my last dentist. My Guy says, in front of all his staff, that if any of his staff act like that he will fire them on the spot. They all nodded their heads that it was so. Of course, he is a moody bastard and has some high staff turnover, but so what. None of them give me any lip. We’re bonded.
But last night, the person who answered the phone was The New Guy.
I’d noticed another DDS’s name on the sign under My Guy’s name – it filled me with fear and foreboding. I don’t like change. I don’t like change that I don’t engineer. If My Guy was going to be pulling some sh*t like retiring, he’d better be sending me a f*cking personalized handwritten letter with some flowers.
(Damn, I just ate another doughnut. That makes two. Some jackass brought them in for Boss’s Day. They’re the kind that I get to eat at the Tour de Donut – damn they are good. I NEVER eat doughnuts unless it’s the Tour de Donut. NEVER EVER because the BURPING is UNREAL.)
So, I quickly put it out of my mind, the name on my dentist’s sign.
Until Last Night.
Dr. Whatever his Name. Poor little guy. He’s all doughy, sweaty and young – all alone in the office with Root Canal Problem.
Suddenly, this woman wafts in– it’s My Guy’s wife – who used to be a dental hygienist and may still be for all I know. This woman is Not On This Planet. Seriously. Either that or she was strung out on painkillers. She was very sweet and kept saying to me, “oh, well bless your heart, aren’t you just so sweet? Bless your heart, look at you. Bless your heart – do I know you?’ She also told me SEVERAL times that she’d just had a facelift. No, really, MANY MANY times. Each time I said, “Oh, I don’t believe you! No, I don’t! Nope, don’t believe you!”
She didn’t know where anything was, (umm, you work here – it’s your husband’s office? remember him?) she totally sprayed water all over the chair, my face and down my back and then was so upset and waving her hands (still holding water sprayer thingie, spraying all the way) “Oh My God you poor little thing! Oh my God! I am so sorry, oh, aren’t you just the sweetest thing? Aren’t you just precious?”
I think she nailed The New Guy right in the face with the water gun. That was some comedy. But, then she stroked my arm like way overly creepymuch while I was getting all those great and painful shots in the roof of my mouth and like up my nose into my brain. She was actually making shushing or cooing noises. She’s lucky I had a ten inch needle stuck in the roof of my mouth cause as funny as it might have been, I don’t like people touching me. I like to hit them when they try to touch me.
Once I realized she was probably stoned out of her mind I was kind of amused. But then when it seemed that they were going to go on ahead and start drilling the heck out of my front tooth, I was not so amused. This lady couldn’t manage to put the suction hose thing on the right way – when The New Guy told her she had the attachment on backwards, she told him “No, I don’t. Oh, yes I do. It’ll work, it’ll work.”
I was getting more than a little nervous.
Cue dramatic chord structure: My Guy strolled in. I was never so happy in my life. I think tears actually started from my eyes.
I, in fact, exclaimed: “Oh! You’re Here! I knew you would come!” There may have been hands fluttering weakly.
Yes, I did, I really did.
So, I quickly covered this up by saying, “Your glasses are AMAZING! I so LOVE them.”
He told his wife the get gone and took over the scene. Well, actually, he was telling The New Guy how to do everything. His Way. You see, The New Guy is the Son He Never Had and since none of his own kids are going into dentistry (although one is becoming a dental hygienist – ok, really? This family has $, she had educational opportunities, this is like pretty much taking out a billboard that says: Hey! IAM ACRACKWHORE), he brought The New Guy on after he finished dental school. Apparently, The New Guy has been hanging around since high school and, much like the creepy BeeGees voiced elf in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, he’s always wanted to be a dentist. But no one in his family has ever been a dentist or anything at all like a dentist. So, My Guy became his Dental Dad. True and beautiful story.
Because My Guy is one moody bastard and has seen a lot of his cohorts die too young (probably cause they were hooked on all kinds of drugs, duh), and his own father died in the last year or so – he has realized Life Is Too Short. He needs to Do Some Living Before It’s Too Late.
I supported this, of course. I mean, DUH.
He should ditch that crazy wife though. I told him how I’d insisted to her that I didn’t believe she’d had a facelift. He whispered,”She told you that?” To which I responded, “Several times.” There was a long pause. Then, in that soft tone of voice only a man beaten down by a persistent (p**sywhipped) partner has, “Oh, it’s true. She did.”
I could see the dollar signs floating about his head, glittering winging about his head like butterflies. Then swiftly dropping into Hell.