Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Skype: It's Not Just For Cyber-Sex Anymore

Being technologically challenged, it was a thing of beauty when I met someone who could not only debug my hoopty laptop, but was also able to successfully install a webcam.  I've always been a bit wary of Skype and it's ilk as the majority of the time that I'm on the phone I'm dressed in pajama pants and my 'Jesus Loves You...But Just As A Friend' T-shirt and eating Wheat Thins and I'm just not sure the world is ready for that.  But, since Dylan has moved to North Carolina, Skype is the only way I get to see him these days so I have swallowed my discomfiture and accepted the webcam as a necessary evil.

ME:  So, did you all survive Superstorm Sandy?

DYLAN:  Meh, we weren't that affected here.  Honestly, it didn't really live up to the hype; kinda like P.F. Chang's or the new iPhone.

ME:  I think it's the name.  I mean, seriously?  Who comes up with these?  'Sandy', 'Andrew', 'Katrina'. . .it sounds like a lacrosse team.

DYLAN:  Yeah,  they need to come up with something more bad ass like 'Tropical Storm Terminator'.

ME:  Or 'Hurricane Tupac'.  Make it sound like it's gonna tear some shit up, yo.

DYLAN:  You're ridiculously gangsta for a 42 year old white girl.

ME:  It's a gift.

DYLAN:  Man, Skype is kind of trippy.  When I was a kid I imagined that someday we'd have phones with screens so you could see the people you're talking to but I always thought it would be more. . .dramatic.  Oh, and I totally thought we'd all be zooming around in hovercrafts by now.  T.V. jacked up my expectations.  Screw you, Jetsons.

ME:  Yeah, it's weird to see you and be with you but not be WITH YOU-with you.  It's like being single again, but not. . .I mean, I was OK being single; I wasn't actively searching for a man, you just kind of showed up in my parking lot.

DYLAN: Oh yeah, in no way does THAT sound creepy.*

*For the full back story, read here.

ME:  Pfft!  You know what I mean.  I'd pretty much given up on dating when you wandered by.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep a straight face while some 40 year old blind date spends two hours regaling you with tales of his drunken escapades at the Sigma Chi house?

DYLAN:  Seriously?

ME:  Oh!  That's not even the best one!  That honor goes to the guy who spent the entire meal telling me how much money he made, then whipped out his calculator and divvied up the bill over dessert.

DYLAN:  I'm oddly conflicted.  A part of me wants to apologize on behalf of my gender, while the other part wants to high-five these guys for making me look like a total rock star.

ME:  Babe, these guys make you look like a freaking demi-god.  But talking about them makes me all stabby so let's change the subject. . .how's your mom doing?

DYLAN:  Doing OK.  She's bound and determined to do the whole Thanksgiving spread over here, but. . .we'll see.  Thanksgiving and my family?  Historically, not awesome.

ME:  How so?

DYLAN:  Well, there was the Thanksgiving of 1978 when my grandfather got hammered and walked through the neighbor's back fence. . .literally. . .THROUGH the fence. Then of course there was Thanksgiving, 1982 when my father decided that a cozy holiday gathering was the perfect time to announce that he was moving out to live with his pregnant girlfriend.

ME:  Holy shit.

DYLAN:  Holy shit, indeed.  Of course, that was nothing compared to Thanksgiving, 1989 when my mother proceeded to regale my date and our entire extended family with stories of how I used to like to wear her clothes when I was little as I sat there wanting to shove my head in the oven.

ME:  Cross-dressing, huh?  Should I be worried?

DYLAN:  Nah, I grew out of it.  For the record, I look great in culottes.

ME:  Duly noted.  I have to say, so far you haven't given Thanksgiving too bad a rap.

DYLAN:  Oh, that's just the warm-up act, the headliners didn't hit the stage until the 90's.

ME:  Continue.

DYLAN:  Thanksgiving.  1992.  Brian attempts to light a joint on the gas burner and singes off his eyebrows.  Thanksgiving.  1996.  Brian attempts to deep-fry the turkey and winds up at the emergency room with second degree burns on his arms.  Thanksgiving.  1998.  Brian attempts to carve the turkey and winds up back at the emergency room to get seven stitches in his hand.

ME:  OK, this sounds like less of a "Thanksgiving" thing and more of a "your brother is an idiot" thing.

DYLAN:  Valid point, but bear with me.  Thanksgiving, 2002.  In a random act of senseless violence, my mother decides to do a "vegan Thanksgiving".

ME:  Wait. . .is that even legal?

DYLAN:  I know, right?  There was a lot of Earth Balance margarine involved. . .and something called a Tofurkey. . .I've repressed most of the memories.

ME:  Yikes.

DYLAN:  And then there was Thanksgiving of 2003; I was going to break up with Rachel that night when she informed me that the crescent rolls weren't the only 'buns in the oven'.

ME:  Oops!  But at least you got an amazing daughter out of it, so it wasn't ALL bad.

DYLAN:  Very true, but it was Thanksgiving of 2006 when Rachel also informed me that she and my best friend Rob had been bumping uglies for a year and we split up.  So you can see how Turkey Day is not the most festive of holidays for me.

ME:  But, again, bright side: if you hadn't split up you never would have left the accounting firm to be a firefighter, you never would have had the freedom to start your construction business, and you never would have stalked me in the parking lot.

DYLAN:  Hey, I was working!  You're the one who came slinking over to the truck trawling for firemen.

ME:  There were guys running around in hazmat suits!  I was simply being a concerned citizen and inquiring as to the safety of my coworkers.

DYLAN:  So why didn't you ask the guy from geological services who was next to your door answering questions?

ME:  He wasn't hot.

DYLAN:  I'm both flattered and disturbed by you now.

ME:  Yeah, I get that a lot.  But I just came and talked to you. . .YOU'RE the one who asked ME out.

DYLAN:  You quoted 'Hotel California' and referenced George Romero films.  I was intrigued.

ME:  And now?

DYLAN:  Still intrigued.  Few people in this world surprise me.

ME:  And I do?

DYLAN:  Surprise. . .shock. . .confuse. . .maybe all of the above.

ME:  Ummm, thank you?

DYLAN:  Trust me, 'shock' and 'confuse' are good things.  I like a challenge.

ME:  I am nothing if not challenging, my friend.  So, any luck finding a place?

DYLAN:  Not yet.  Made a few offers but they're getting shot down faster than a straight man at an Indigo Girls concert.

ME:  Wait. . .wha-what was that?

DYLAN:  What do you mean?

ME:  You. . .you just made a pop culture analogy.   I feel like the Miracle Worker.  Yes, Helen!  Water!  WATER!!!  That was fucking beautiful.

DYLAN:  You have taught me well, Obi-Wan.

ME:  I am so proud, I could kiss you.

DYLAN:  I'd be OK with that.  I miss kissing you.

ME:  I miss weird things.  Like that creepy purring noise you make when you sleep and the way you pop your thumb in and out of the socket when you're distracted.

DYLAN:  You hate that thumb-popping thing.

ME:  It makes me want to slam your hand in a Black and Decker work vise. . .but I still miss it.

DYLAN:  I miss you waking me up at 3:00 am to go out for pancakes.

ME:  I miss you giving me crap about my shitty taste in music.

DYLAN:  I miss your shitty music.

ME:  Really?

DYLAN:  No, not really.  But I do miss arguing with you about the merits of Nicki Minaj and Jason Derulo.

ME:  I miss the way your hair smells.

DYLAN:  Well, if you'd like, I can always FedEx you some.  At the rate it's falling out these days I'll look like Doctor Evil by Christmas.

ME:  It's probably just stress.

DYLAN:  Probably.  But, hey!  I can always get one of those cool hairpieces like my buddy John.

ME:  Jesus, please don't.  That is the worst toupee I've ever seen.  That rug couldn't be more obvious if Aladdin rode in on it.

DYLAN:  I miss your random analogies.

ME:  I miss that little 'happy noise' you make when you eat.

DYLAN:  I miss the way you bust out and start doing the Dougie in the middle of Target.

ME:  Hey!  They were playing David Guetta!  I'm not made of stone, you know.

DYLAN:  Well, I guess Gloria Estefan was right.  Eventually, the rhythm IS gonna get you.

ME:  I love you.

DYLAN:  I know.

ME: . . .

ME:  Wait. . .did you just Solo me?

DYLAN:  What?

ME:  You did!  You totally Han Solo'd me!  Well played.

DYLAN:  You are no match for me, Young Jedi.

ME:  I'm becoming increasingly aware of that fact.  It must be time to step up my game. . .be very afraid.

DYLAN:  Suddenly I feel a lot better about being 3000 miles away.

ME:  As well you should.

DYLAN:  Oh, and for the record:  I love you too.

ME:  I know.

While having Dylan now living 2765.8 miles away (not 3000...Pfft!  He's a slave to hyperbole) is hardly ideal, I'm oddly OK with it.   I miss him, but I'm not incomplete without him, because the bottom line is that no one can "complete" you if you aren't a whole person to begin with.  Looking to a man for completion and absolution is like masturbation; sure it may seem fun and spontaneous at first, but in the end it's up to you to achieve the desired result.  Trust me, you're better off spending that time and energy looking at yourself and figuring out how to handle your own shit instead of expecting someone else to go all "white knight" and swoop in to handle it for you.

People keep asking why I don't just pack up and move across the country to be with Dylan.  All that would be well and good if I were a childless 24 year old working part-time at Starbucks, but I am a 42 year old mother of two with a living will and a 401K.  My family is here.  My support system is here.  And for the first time since my divorce, the short people are settled and comfortably established in our little corner of P-Town; to take that all away from them would be selfish and cruel.  When it comes right down to it, my decisions must be made with my head and not my heart (or any other pesky little parts of my anatomy). Sometimes being a responsible adult sucks. . .OK, the MAJORITY of the time being a responsible adult sucks, but somebody's gotta lean into the strike zone and take one for the team.  Maybe things will work out for Dylan and me. . .and maybe they won't.  But no matter what happens, I will always love him for teaching me to open my heart and trust again.

But I still think he's wrong about Nicki Minaj.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Love Means Never Having to Say "I'm Sorry For Puking on Your Shoes"

The influx of viruses flooding my fair citycoupled with my short people's return to the veritable petri dish of contagion otherwise known as the public school system means only one thing: unavoidable illness.  Sure enough, within the first two weeks of school both of the shorties came home with a cough that would make a Welsh coal miner cringe, and my coworkers began dropping faster than Facebook stock. But I figured, hey!  I of all people should be well-prepared to avoid the impending plague.  After all, I'd seen "28 Weeks Later", and God knows I've logged the man hours online playing Pandemic 2 .  Unfortunately, as I had neither Jeremy Renner with a high-powered assault rifle nor the ability to shut down the ports of Madagascar with a single keystroke, I was, in a word: screwed.

To be fair, there really is very little one can do to avoid getting sick.  Sure, you can wash your hands like Howard Hughes during a SARS outbreak or start popping echinacea like they're fucking Skittles but the bottom line is that your body is just a giant douchebag and in its ham-handed attempt to keep you healthy it is going to screw you over.  Every.   Damned.   Time.  Allow me to elaborate.  At the risk of sounding like a science geek. . .*

*Which I am. . .so shut up.

. . .at any given point in time, the human body is home to over 300 different viruses.  The majority of these viruses are pretty innocuous; content to just be chillin' in your bloodstream with their homies, but then your immune system has to get all Mark Fuhrman up in their grill and start stirring shit up.  Basically, your immunities are a lousy judge of character and all of the cold and flu symptoms you experience: coughing, sneezing, nausea, fever, is just your body's reaction to your immune system wailing on some pansy-ass virus like a narc in the prison yard.  Dick move, immune system.  Dick move, indeed.

Still, I figured I'd taken all of the necessary precautions short of rocking the Michael Jackson surgical mask.  I washed my hands like Howie Mandel at a Hands Across America convention, doused my desk with enough Lysol to anesthetize a small village, and was first in line at the Student Health Center for my flu shot.  One would think I was impervious. . .yeah, one would be sadly mistaken, as last Thursday night I woke up in a cold sweat and spent the subsequent 24 hour yelling the names of the states into the porcelain phone.

What I soon discovered. . .*

*Thanks to the tutelage of my primary care physician, Dr. WebMD

. . . is that when it comes to stomach ailments, the flu shot is about as useful as a one-fingered gynecologist .  Because while we may call it "stomach flu", in reality, there is no such thing.  What you're experiencing while doubled-over, power-luging everything you've eaten since the Reagan Administration is actually gastroenteritis brought upon by, yeah, you guessed it. . .our immune system's overreaction to a virus.  And while I took some comfort in the fact that it would pass in 24-48 hours, I was also humbled by the knowledge that while I could hardly get from the couch to the toilet without crapping my pants, Michael Jordan scored 39 points in the 1997 NBA Finals while struck with the same malady.  In short, I'm  a pussy.  I am also a lousy patient.

I wasn't always that way.  When I was a child some of my fondest memories were of sick days at home with Mom.  She would let me sleep in my parents' bed and bring me dishes of orange sherbet and flat 7-Up while laying a cool hand on my feverish head.  Flash forward to ten years of being married to someone who practically red-phoned the CDC when I got sick and made me sleep in the guest room so he wouldn't "catch my bullshit" and eventually I became like one of those cats that just crawls under the porch to die.  I quickly learned that when ill it is best to just take a lesson from the Red October: shut down your baffles and make like a hole in the water.  So this Thursday when I started puking like a Lohan at an after-party, I buried myself under a blanket, unplugged my phone and politely told my family and friends to fuck off.  Oddly enough, Dylan would have none of that.

Friday was Dylan's day off and he showed up at my doorstep minutes after I'd returned home from making a run to the Kwik-E-Mart for Gatorade.*

*FYI, if driving while  intoxicated is a felony, I can only imagine the legality of driving with a fever of 102' and urping into a Starbucks travel mug.  Please, do not try this at home.

Despite the fact that I looked like Ozzy Osbourne circa-1998 and smelled like a Port-a-John at Lollapalooza, Dylan insisted upon bringing me water, holding my hair back on my numerous trips to Chateau d' Toilette, and ignoring my numerous pleas that he kindly go pound sand and leave me alone to die in a pool of my own filth.  The man was as unstoppable as freaking Robocop.  But eventually he wore me down and I allowed him to take care of me, although I kept a wary eye out for any outward signs of resentment and/or disgust.  Oddly enough, I found none.

While I spent the bulk of the day about as coherent as Courtney Love at the VMA's,  Dylan did the laundry, changed my sheets, cleaned the bathroom, and even helped me take a bath without any pretense of sexual overtures.*

*Which is wise, as when I am sick I am about as stabby as a Manson youth at a Polanski filmfest.  Any unwanted appendages poked my way when I feel like shit are apt to get cut like last night's meatloaf.

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I didn't have to "suck it up and walk it off"; I was able to just sleep, rehydrate, and concentrate on getting well.  And the most amazing part of it was that when I eventually recovered, Dylan did not appear to be physically repulsed by my presence.  Trust me, the day you throw up on someone's shirt when you're neither completely 'toe up from the flo' up' on Jager shots nor a toddler with reflux is the day you realize that if that person agrees to be in the same room with you ever again you are one lucky bitch.

Fortunately this was one of those 24 hourish things so I rallied well enough to go slog through the mud and the horseshit (literally) at the pumpkin patch with the shorties the following morning.*

*aka. my own personal concentric circle of Hell.

But while I physically feel back to normal, my Grinchy little heart grew a few sizes during my sick day and to be honest. . .it kind of pissed me off.  Yes, I appreciated having Dylan there, but my inner bitch kept screaming "Don't get used to it! He's leaving in a week and the next time some typhus-ridden crotch-dropping sneezes in your face or you get a hold of some discount sushi it'll just be your ass on that couch, Missy!"  It was almost like he'd torn down the last emotional defense I had left and now I know I'm going to have to go all Ty Pennington and 'Extreme Makeover' that shit when he's gone.

Being vulnerable is terrifying as in the past it has been manipulated and used to demean or abuse me.  I let myself become emotionally vulnerable to Dylan and now he's seen me physically vulnerable as well.  As it's taken me almost 42 years to find someone who won't rip out my heart like a modern-day Prometheus when they see me defenseless, I'm under no false illusions that lightning will strike twice in my lifetime and that scares the hell out of me.  So, from now on, it's back to the old sick day routine: crawl on the couch, bolt the doors, and let my immune system go all Career Tribute on my District 12 pansy-ass.  

May the odds be ever in my favor.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Carolina On My Mind

When we were in high school, relationships were so shallow and simplistic they could be summed up in fourteen chapters of a Sweet Valley High novel.  By the time Elizabeth and Todd had broken up and she had trash-talked his pansy ass to Winston and Enid, Jessica had already created the perfect series of wacky events to drive them back into each others arms.  Aaaaaannnnd, scene.

The precursor for the Twilight shitstorm yet to come.

In college things were easier still.  Relationship drama could be easily dissolved by simply ingesting enough Jagermeister to anesthetize a rhino and sleeping with his fraternity brother.  And with the advent of the internet,  changing the status of your relationship became as simple as clicking a button on Facebook or having your "friends collect your records and then change your number".*

*My apologies for getting that shitty Gotye song stuck in your head.  

But as we grow older, have children, and become more "settled" in our lives, relationships grow more complicated as well.  There are just more. . .variables involved, and the decisions we make are no longer about our wants and desires, but about out financial obligations and the well-being of our children.  In the simplest of terms: We are forced to follow our heads, and not our hearts.  The reason I mention this. . .

*Yeah, I do have a reason; bear with me.

. . .is that a couple of weeks ago Dylan learned that both his mother and brother, who live in his hometown of  in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have terminal cancer.  About four days after that, Dylan's ex-wife announced that she had met a man and subsequently accepted a job transfer.  She, the new guy, and Dylan's daughter Katie, would be relocating to Greensboro, North Carolina; 30 miles from his hometown.   As Dylan has fifty percent custody of Katie, his heart was shattered at the thought of only seeing her "every other holiday",*

*Unlike my ex who lives 5 minutes away and hasn't seen the boys since the last presidential administration.

and he knew he had to follow Katie across the country, to take care of her, and his ailing family as well.  So, in ten days, Dylan will be moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.   2,765 miles away.  Permanently.   


"This really sucks."  I muttered into Dylan's shoulder, as we sat by the firepit.  He was silent for a moment, playing idly with my hair.

"Yeah, pretty much."  He agreed with a sigh.

I lifted my head up and stared at the remnants of our campfire.  "This would be so much easier if I could just. . .erase. . .the last few months.  You know, like 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', only with less Jim Carrey and more narcotics."

He shook his head slowly.  "I don't want to forget.  Do you?  Really?"

"No,"  I smiled weakly.  "You know that I don't.  I'm just. . .I've never known anyone like you before and I feel sick to my stomach thinking I may never see you again."

Dylan scowled, making frustrated fists against his knees.  "It's not supposed to BE like this!" he growled, pounding his legs like a petulant child.  "It isn't FAIR!"

"No, it's not."  I agreed "But it's not about being fair.  It's about being a good parent and doing the right thing for your daughter."

Dylan sighed and reached for my left hand, softly running his thumb over my ring finger.  "If we'd known each other longer. . ."

"But we didn't."  I interrupted, pulling my hand away.  "We didn't, and neither one of us is ready for that, and it wouldn't change things anyway.  You know there's no way I can move to North Carolina.  I just got an amazing job with the university, M. is in one of the top autism programs in the country, and our whole support system is here.  Taking the boys away from the only home they've ever known would be devastating.  Not to mention taking them away from their grandparents whom I'm relatively certain they love more than me."

Dylan chuckled softly.  "And it would be a little weird to propose to someone when I've never actually MET their family."

"Yeah, and at this point it's probably better that you don't."  I said, fiddling with the edge of my sleeve.  "With you leaving so soon it would just make things more. . .complicated."

"True."  he agreed "Besides, I get the impression your sister Holly is a little weirded out that I'm short."

"Oh, for God's sake I never should have told her how tall you are!"  I cried, throwing my hands in the air.  "For the last time, 5'10" is not SHORT!  Jeremy Renner is 5'10" and he's a total badass!"

Dylan arched a brow in mock concern.  "You know, I'm becoming increasingly disturbed by your rather encyclopedic knowledge of all things Jeremy Renner."

"What are you talking about?"  I sniffed dismissively, "I don't know that much about him."

"Middle name?"


"Shoe size?"



"January 7th."

Dylan laughed.  "You do realize you know more about him than you do me, right?"

"That's not true!"  I huffed indignantly.  "Your middle name is David, your shoe size is also eleven, and your birthdate is March 15th!  Ha!"  I cried, flashing him a smug grin.

"I wear an eleven and a half."  he corrected "And my birthday is on the 16th."

"Oh. . .well. . .shit."

Dylan chuckled softly and poked at a rock with his foot.  I watched him roll the stone back and forth a few times, then I slid closer and rested my head on his shoulder again.

"Your favorite color is blue."  I whispered, and felt him smile as he rested his head on mine.  "You hate tomatoes but love ketchup.  You've never broken a bone, Kristi McFadden was the first girl you kissed, and you got that scar on your arm falling into a parked car when you were playing Ultimate Frisbee in college."

"You hate mushrooms even more than I hate tomatoes."  he replied, pulling me closer to his chest.  "When you were seven you wanted to change your name to Virginia.  Your first dog was named Woodrow, you've seen 'Animal House' 47 times, and your favorite color is green because it's 'hopeful'."

We sat in silence; for how long I don't know, but we held each other gently as the fire slowly faded to smoldering embers.  

"You know. . ."  I finally murmured into Dylan's chest as I snuggled closer.  "It doesn't freak me out that much anymore. . .not really."

I lifted my head, looking up to see Dylan's grey eyes cloud over with confusion.  Then realization dawned and he smiled so joyfully it took my breath away.

"I love you."  he whispered, burying his face in my hair.  I sighed softly and rested my hand over his steadily beating heart.

"I know."  I replied with tears in my eyes.  "I love you too."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rombama in 2012!

Well, it's election time again, and unless you've been hiding out in an Iraqi spider hole I'm sure you've been thoroughly inundated with political ads, heated debates, and a veritable plethora of information from such erudite sources as CNN, Fox News, and Facebook.  While I like to consider myself relatively politically aware. . .*

*and by that I mean I fangirl equally on Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart

. . .I also believe that one's politics are as personal as their religion and their grooming rituals and when cornered to "defend" my stance as  Republican I get twitchier than Michael J. Fox after a triple espresso.  Here in the U.S. of A we are never happier than when we are climbing up in someone's grill and trying to "convert" them like a Jehovah's Witness on Adderall.  Ease up there, party people.  Feel free to "Rock the Vote" as much as you want, but if you start getting all judgy and finger-pointy at me simply based on my political affiliation then I will freeze up like an Otter Pop and be out of there so fast I'll leave a fucking contrail.  You aren't going to change me. . .stronger men have tried and failed.  

That being said, let me simply state that what most of you have been told about Republicans is a steaming pileof horseshit.  Contrary to popular opinion, the majority of us do not spend our days yukking it up with Taylor Swift and her Kennedy coterie at the Hamptons after a long day of beating up gays and bombing abortion clinics.  In reality we are such a eclectic bunch of quirky bastards that if you lined us all up it would probably look like a casting call for a John Waters film.  We are wealthy, and poor, we are large families, and single parents, we are white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Christian, Jewish, educated, and illiterate.  We are just another faction of this nation of Misfit Toys, and like everyone else, we represent the best and the worst of our genre.

Who am I voting for in this election?  Well, let's see. . .we have one man who flip-flops back and forth more than Pamela Anderson's tits on a trampoline, and we have one man who has as much charisma as Kristen Stewart on Nyquil.  To be honest, watching the debate this year was so disturbing it makes a German “Scheisse” film look like fucking Fantasia.  Just once I would like to see an old-school election.  One that doesn't involve People magazine cover stories and YouTube videos of poorly sung Al Green songs.*

*Seriously, WTF!?!?

I say put them both in an arena without publicists and stylists and speech writers and let them just go all Suzanne Collins on each other.  I can pretty well guarantee that after about 48 hours of that shit the benevolent glad-handing fa├žades will get stripped faster than a Range Rover in Northeast Portland. Maybe then, and only then, will both sides of the political fence finally realize that we aren't really all that different. . .we're all equal assholes in the eyes of the Lord.

I get asked many times, "Why are you a Republican?"  Well, a million little reasons, really, but two above all else:

                   1) I want to see bad guys get fried like KFC, and
                   2) I like money.

Sure, I've heard all of the statistics that claim the death penalty does nothing to deter crime but in all likelihood it's because we're being too goddamn humane about it.  We live in a country where prisoners are given a gentle injection that helps them peacefully drift off to Valhalla while a kindly, cancer-ridden granny in Des Moines is popping morphine like they're fucking Tic-Tacs because Kevorkian's afraid of getting his hand slapped.  I say, make the punishment fit the crime.  You kill my son?  I get five minutes in a room alone with you with a penknife and a bag of rocks.  When I hear the further argument that "the death penalty costs three times as much as keeping a man in prison for life" all I can think is, gee! It sure is comforting to know that my tax dollars will be providing a college education, a gym membership, and expanded cable to the son of a bitch who slaughtered my family.  Trust me, if one of them hurts one of my own, I'll write the fucking check myself.  Because sometimes you just reach a point where you stumble across a Dahmer or a Bundy or a Manson and you realize that there is no possible way they are ever going to peacefully coexist with humanity and the only viable option is total eradication.  

Most people assume that since I am a Republican I am anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage.  Most people would be wrong.  Could I ever get an abortion?  No, I really don't think I could.  But I will go to the ropes every damned time to defend every woman's right to make that choice for herself.  My problem is not with abortion in extreme cases, my only problem is with women who use it as a method of birth control.  If you are so incapable of remembering to take that pill or get that shot or grab that handful of condoms from your teenaged son's wallet then maybe it's time you considered putting a tighter latch on your hurt locker.  Personal responsibility, ladies.  It's the careless few that are making the conscientious masses look like assholes.*

*Yeah, I'm talking to you, MTV.

As for gay marriage, I think the only way that it will ruin the sanctity of the institution is that they'll show us how badly we've screwed it up.  I think it takes a pretty stellar sack of brass balls to claim same-sex marriage isn't a valid union, considering that only 14% of same-sex marriages end in divorce, compared to the over 50% of heterosexual marriages that end up in a lawyer's office, screaming over who gets the treadmill and who gets the toaster oven.  And as for same-sex couples raising children, all I know is that two of the most loving, successful, and brilliant people I know were raised by homosexual couples and some of the biggest dickheads I know had the perfect Brady Bunch childhood.  The bottom line is that kids need loving and supportive parents and I really don't think it matters worth a damn if both of those parents stand up to pee.

Despite the fact that I am a proud Republican, I don't always vote for the Republican candidate.  In fact, I'd say it's been about 50/50 since I turned eighteen.  I vote for the issues and the platform, not the political party. So, who am I voting for in this next election?  It may surprise you. . .or it may not.  The point is, it is my vote.   Mine.   And I don't have to defend it or prove it to anyone.  Our country was founded on the basis of freedom and acceptance and yet somehow overnight we went from Kate Smith's "God Bless America" to Ugly Kid Joe's "I Hate Everything About You".   Political party bashing has become the last socially acceptable level of judgmental hatred in this country and it needs to stop.  Like Bill Maher said, "if  Founding Father Thomas Jefferson saw what had become of this great nation he'd be rolling over in his slave".

But whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent, please. . .VOTE!  Make your voice heard.  And if you aren't registered to vote or too apathetic to mail in that ballot, then please. . .shut the hell up.  Talking the talk without walking the walk is a little like watching porn; it may get you all worked up but you aren’t really actively involved and people lose all respect for you when they find out.

Be kind to each other.  And God/Allah/the Earth Mother bless America.


PS:  It's Ladies Night at Dude Write, y'all!  Come on over and hear what my sisters have to say: 

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Have Fun Storming the Castle!"

"Do you want to go somewhere, or just hang out?"  I asked, nudging Dylan's leg with my foot.

"I dunno," he mumbled into the arm of the couch.  "what do you wanna do?"

I signed deeply.  "Oh shit, have we become THOSE people?"  Dylan raised his head and regarded me quizzically.

"What people?"

I threw my hands in the air in frustration.  "You know, those 'sit-on-the-couch-whadda-you-wanna-do?' people!  Is that what we are?"

"No."  Dylan replied, propping his feet on the coffee table.  "We're those 'I-just-got-off-a-14-hour-shift-and-you-didn't-sleep-for-shit-last-night' people.  Relax.  I like just vegging out with you.  Why don't we watch a movie?" 

I agreed with a minimal amount of sulking. . .*

*and by minimal I mean I was a complete asshole.

. . .and we began burrowing through my extensive collection of DVD's.

"Hey! I haven't seen this in ages!"  Dylan cried, holding aloft my copy of "Field of Dreams".  "Want to watch it?"

I shook my head frantically.  "Oh HELL no!  That movie makes me cry like a little bitch  every damned time.  I'm an ugly cryer. . .you're not ready for that yet."

Dylan gazed at me with great solemnity and then asked in a quavering voice,  "Hey. . .Dad? . . .do you wanna have a catch?"

"I hate you so hard right now."  I scowled, snatching the DVD case from his hand.

"Umm, Jen?"  Dylan asked, holding two box sets in his hands "Out of curiosity, did you somehow think that owning the entire season of 'Firefly' would somehow counterbalance the extreme amount of 'suck' contained in the box set of 'Bring It On' movies?"

"Oh no you did NOT just talk smack about 'Bring It On'."  I cried.  "They are the tales of a plucky young rebel escaping a neo-socialist regime to create a bridge between the classes.  And they're perky, they're cute, they're popular to boot."

Dylan shook his head sadly.  "I'm not going to win this battle, am I?"

"Not a chance, my friend."  I smiled, patting him on the shoulder.  "This is not a democracy, it's a cheerocracy."

We searched a little more when I unearthed a battered DVD with a gasp.  "Yes! Perfect!" I squealed.

Dylan peered over my shoulder.  "'The Princess Bride'?  Oh, yeah, I've heard about that one."

I stared at him in shock.  "HEARD about it?  You've never SEEN 'The Princess Bride'?"

He shrugged absently.  "No. . .isn't it kind of a girl movie?"

I clutched the movie to my chest protectively.  "A 'girl movie'?  No!  This is the ULTIMATE movie!   It has everything! Romance, sword-fighting, rodents of unusual size, sociopathic Sicilians with speech impediments. . .how have you NOT seen this?"

"This coming from the woman who's never seen 'Rocky' or 'The Godfather'."  he countered.  "Is that even legal?"

"Pfft!"  I waved my hand dismissively and then inserted the DVD into the player.  "Sit back and prepare to be blown away."*

*That's what she said. 

We watched in silence as Princess Buttercup and the Farm Boy traipsed through the meadows, kissing tenderly to Mark Knopfler's theme music.

"Oh, yeah,"  Dylan drawled sarcastically "no way THIS is a girl movie.  Wait, isn't that the dude from "Saw"?  He's kind of a douche."

"Shh!"  I huffed, elbowing him in the ribs.  "You're harshing my Cary Elwes zen."

We continued watching with limited commentary until Count Rugan (aka. 'The 6 Fingered Man') rode into the scene.

"No way!"  Dylan cried, leaning forward in excitement.  "It's Nigel Tufnel!"

I squinted in confusion.  "No, it's Christopher Guest."

Dylan gaped at me in astonishment.  "No, I mean he played Nigel Tufnel. . .in 'This Is Spinal Tap'?  The greatest mockumentary of all time?"

I crinkled my nose in mild derision.  "Oh, yeah. . .I tried to watch that once. . .couldn't really get into it."

"But. . .but. . ." Dylan stammered.  "You own 'Waiting For Guffman' and 'Best In Show'.  How can you NOT like 'This Is Spinal Tap'?"

"I don't know,"  I mused "isn't it kind of a 'guy movie'?"

Dylan shook his head and flopped back on the couch.  "You're killing me here, Jen."

The next hour was an unending series of cleverly placed 'Spinal Tap' quotes until I went batshit crazy and was about to go Tarantino on Dylan's ass with the remote.

  • "Certainly, in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful." he mused as Fezzig picked up a club.
  • "This piece is called "Lick My Love Pump" he chuckled as the theme music swelled.
  • "Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It's just not really widely reported" he noted sagely as the rebels snuck through the castle gates wearing the cloak of fire.
  • "Put it up to eleven!"  he guffawed as Count Rugen cranked up the torture device.
Do you see what I mean?  Bat.  Shit.  Crazy.   I managed to keep it together until the credits began to roll, then sighed and clicked off the TV.  "So,"  I smiled, turning to Dylan.  "don't you agree that movie is a classic?"

He shrugged.  "It was OK."

"OK!?!?"  I shouted.  "How can you call 'The Princess Bride' OK!?!?"

"Well, c'mon.  It was pretty cheesy."  Dylan laughed.  "I mean, it was cool that they brought Westley back from the dead and basically made him a zombie because. . .you know. . .zombies.  But the rest of it?  Way too far-fetched."

I shook my head in astonishment.  "Please, elaborate."

Dylan thought for a moment.  "Well, for starters, why didn't Westley kill the Prince? He just left him tied up. . .poorly, I might add, and cruised off into the meadow?  So, why don't they show the next scene?  The one where Prince Humperdink shrugs his way out of the ropes and gets his entire royal army to hunt Westley down and pound his ass like a narc in the prison yard. I mean, they must have mentioned, like, a hundred times what a great hunter the Prince was.  You seriously think he couldn't track down a guy dressed like Zorro, an 8-foot tall wrestler, a blonde with no discernible acting skills, and a Spaniard with a massive flesh wound?  Helen Keller could find those guys before they hit the county line."

I sat in stunned silence.  "Did you like any of it?"

"I liked that Andre the Giant was in it."  he admitted "Of course, it made sense to have him in it.  The crappy one-liners and choreographed fight scenes were just like watching pro-wrestling, circa 1981."

I rose from the couch and put away the DVD, wandering quietly into the kitchen.

"Hey,"  Dylan said, wrapping his arms around my waist and resting his chin on my shoulder. "are you mad that I didn't like the movie?"

I shook my head a little sadly.  "I'm not mad, just. . .disappointed.  That movie has always been really special to me and it just bums me out that we don't have that in common."

Dylan let go of my waist and turned me to face him.  "Jen, it's OK to like different things.  You didn't like 'Spinal Tap'.  I can't listen to Pitbull without driving a pen in my ear. You hate camping.  I can't gag down that kale salad you love so much."

"Kale is really good for you!" I argued.
"Kale might cure male pattern baldness and increase my penis size; I'm still not eating that crap."  He smiled and placed his hands on my shoulders.  "My point is, we agree on the important things: parenting, politics, and that Dick York was a far superior Darren Stevens."

"Oh, without a doubt."  I nodded.  "So, let's just agree that your shitty taste in music is perfectly offset by my shitty taste in cinema.  Deal?"

"Deal." he laughed, pulling me into a hug.

"Oh, and. . .D?"  


I smiled up at him sweetly.  "The next time you quote 'Spinal Tap' in the middle of a movie I reserve the right to punch you in the kidneys, OK?"

He smirked and leaned over, kissing the tip of my nose.  "As you wish."