Let Liz Speak

Okay, okay, okay, I swore that the next time I posted it would not be about politics and, come to think of it, that’s probably why I haven’t written anything in like 3 months, because, honestly, what the fuck else is any sane, thinking human being preoccupied with right now?!?!! So I decided to hone my outrage to one specific thing and that thing is motherfucking patriarchy! Specifically the atrocious and hypocritical treatment of Senator Elizabeth Warren during the Senate debate over the confirmation of Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

On Tuesday Senator Warren attempted to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King. The letter had been sent to then Senator Strom Thurmond regarding Jeff Sessions’ nomination for a federal judiciary seat in 1986. In her 1986 letter the widow of the Civil Rights leader details how Sessions had continually made efforts to suppress the votes and voices of Black Americans in the State of Alabama. King laid out, in very measured language, how Sessions attempted to abuse the power of his office at the time in his “eagerness to bring to trial and convict three leaders of the Perry County Civic League…despite evidence clearly demonstrating their innocence of any wrongdoing”. Sessions was not confirmed for that Judiciary seat in 1986 by a vote of 10 to 8. Did you guys hear that? This guy was deemed too racist and polarizing to be  judge….IN 1986!!!!

Not once, in her letter, did King resort to name-calling, speculation or rhetoric. She simply recited history from an eyewitness point of view. So it was kind of slightly odd when Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell stopped Senator Warren in the middle of her reading this letter to say that she was “impugning the character of a fellow Senator”. What happened next is straight out of my college journalism class where I would raise my hand to answer a question, get called on by my flagrantly sexist Indian journalism teacher (yeah, it was community college so he definitely does not get to be called a “professor”), provide the correct answer to his question only to have him tell me I was wrong, then call on the boy sitting next to me who said THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING AS I JUST SAID and was told he was correct. It was literally like being in the Twilight Zone. I audibly said, simultaneously addressing everyone in the class and no one in particular “Isn’t that EXACTLY what I just said?!?!” which was met with general murmurs of confirmation and agreement.

McConnell interrupted Senator Warren’s remarks about Sessions and she was then reprimanded by the Senate Majority Leader. Warren was then gaveled down by Republican Senator Steve Daines (Montana) and told to “take her seat”. McConnell then cited rule XIX which prohibits debating senators from ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” Which is pretty much a bullshit rule to begin with and one that no one has ever paid attention to until it came time to shut up an outspoken woman on the Senate floor. When asked about the silencing of one of his colleague McConnell responded by saying “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted.” and now Mitch McConnell will have to live the rest of his short, miserable life knowing that thousands of feminists are at this very moment getting his words tattooed across their ribcages. Take that, patriarchy! Mitch McConnell’s very concise history of the Women’s movement was quickly turned into a meme because of course it was and #ShePersisted became one of the most awesome things on the internet for a few hours because that’s pretty much the shelf life of sensationalist internet memes.

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Sadly, the fact that Senator Warren was censured, reprimanded like a disobedient school girl, ordered to sit down and shut up, and ultimately blocked from speaking by her male peers comes as no surprise. What was slightly more surprising and very irksome was that just a few hours after Senator Warren was ordered off the Senate floor Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon picked up Mrs. King’s letter and read it in its entirety, uninterrupted by McConnell or his cronies. So to recap, it’s okay for a dude to violate rule XIX but not for a lady? Is that the lesson I was supposed to learn from watching C-SPAN yesterday? That my voice, because it issues from a body in possession of a vagina, will never be as valuable as the voices of my male peers and colleagues? Because THAT is shit! To be clear, I applaud Senator Merkley for picking up where Warren left off and using his voice to convey the messages that she could not. I just think it’s supremely fucked up that he had to do that in the first place.

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Then there is the hypocrisy that goes along with all this shit. The fact that male Senators have, on record and on the Senate floor, called other colleagues horrible names and definitely impugned their characters but were never censured and rule XIX was never officially invoked. It was not invoked in May of last year when Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas had this to say about then Democratic Senate Minority leader Harry Reid:

“I’m forced to listen to the bitter, vulgar, incoherent ramblings of the minority leader,” “Normally, like every other American, I ignore them. I can’t ignore them today. . . . When was the last time the minority leader read a bill? It was probably an electricity bill. … This institution will be cursed less with his cancerous leadership.”

It was not officially invoked when, in the Summer of 2015, Republican Senator Ted Cruz called Senator Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor. It was not invoked when Senator Harry Reid called his Republican colleagues “puppets” in 2007. It was not invoked when, in response to Reid’s comments, Republican Senator Arlen Specter fired back with the implication that Reid was not qualified enough to do his job. It was not invoked in the initial 1986 hearing when Senator Ted Kennedy called Jeff Sessions “a disgrace” (although Sessions was not then a sitting Senator). It was not invoked in 1979 when Republican Senator Lowell Weicker (Connecticut) called his colleague, Republican Senator John Heinz (Pennsylvania) “an idiot” and “devious”. Have you noticed anything about all those who were warned about Rule XIX but were not forced to “take their seat” or forced to “shut up” or ousted from the Senate floor? If you guessed they were all dudes you get a gold star for paying attention.

This serves to reinforce the idea that it is far more uncomfortable and outrageous when a woman is being tough and outspoken. I actually just read an “article” (those are my sarcastic air quotes) on the clearly bipartisan website Restate.com (nice name guys) about how liberals need to stop whining about Warren’s treatment and that “the Republicans treated Senator Ted Cruz much worse” for the comments he made about McConnell’s being a liar. That is just patently false. Cruz was never told to sit down and shut up. Cruz was never voted off the floor by his colleagues and to suggest that he was “treated much worse than Warren” is irresponsible, false and incendiary (and maybe someday we can talk about how right leaning news outlets feel the need to lie in order to maintain their narrative that the left are a bunch of nazi hypocrites who are also, somehow, hippies and whiners and cucks and stupid and elitist all at the same time but that conversation is for another day). Even if one scrolls down to the comment section on the C-SPAN video of Warren’s hour-long speech “impugning” Senator Sessions the majority of the comments are about how Warren is a mouthy bitch who needs to be put in her place. This despicable rhetoric is just being reinforced by those in the Senate and in the current White House who are more concerned with protecting the speech of Neo Nazis, white supremacist, anti-feminists and basically just racists and xenophobes of every stripe than it is concerned with hearing facts and history recited back to them by a well-respected sitting Senator.

My point, and I do have one, is to ask my Senate why it is okay for a man to call his fellow Senators names (idiot, cancerous, liar, bitter, devious, vulgar, disgrace etc.) but when a woman dips her toe into that territory she is immediately voted off the floor and told to “take her seat”? Did she not earn her Senate seat in the same manner as her male colleagues? Did she not work as hard or spend as much money (because honestly) to get where she is today? How can you say out of one side of your mouth that you “cannot understand why women think they need to march” while simultaneously exploiting your station to keep a woman silent? Do you not see what you’re doing? If not, let me assure you that we see what you’re doing and we’re not going to forget it….you useless, wrinkled, old, limp-dicked, fascists! (I threw in that last part for any Republicans reading this post [HA!] or anyone who wants to tell to “go high” because fuck that!)

And here is a link where you can buy your very own “Nevertheless She Persisted” T-shirt and a portion of the proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood! 

MAKE AMERICA PIE AGAIN!!!!

Because by god, don’t we fucking need something we can all agree on at this point??!!?!?!?!?!

“This is America, you live in it, you let it happen. Let it unfurl.”- The Crying of Lot 49

Look, I know, I really do know. I am really feeling it today. Particularly because I am a person who has a vagina. What happened last night has me even questioning whether women are people (and I know this sounds completely dramatic and ridiculous to some and to those I would point you to this very interesting article written about a month ago on Salon called “Are Women People”), when a man, simply because he is a man, can be elected to one of the most powerful and influential offices in the world despite his complete lack of experience, lack of qualifications, lack of any real solutions to any of the issues facing America or the world, lack of basic human decency in dealing with his fellow man, and lack of tact, grace, humility or warmth.

I know that his being a man was not the beginning and end of his appeal for those that voted for him. I also understand that Hillary’s appeal was…well, virtually nonexistent. Only the most die-hard Hillary supporters were able to look past the fact that she absolutely represented the Washington Old Guard and the worst of what old fashioned political double-dealing and backdoor politicking will get you. But she was, at the very least qualified. Very well qualified in fact which is why it is so maddening that she lost to a bellowing fucking spray-tanned clown in an ill-fitting suit and a red power tie with absolutely NO political experience. Politics and prostitution are the only two professions I can think of where your complete lack of experience could be considered a selling point regarding your ability to do the job. It’s completely insane. But I digress…I am not here to talk about campaigns or candidates or victory margins or the “white working class” or how or why this happened (okay, I might talk about that a little bit). I just want to talk about how it made me feel as a woman, as a feminist, as a mom and a person and what I am going to do about it!

It made me feel like no one will ever truly consider women to be equal to men. It made me feel voiceless and powerless, scared and small, sick and helpless. I am disgusted and so ashamed that this, this MAN will be the outward face of our country for the next four years. This man who judges and sexualizes women. This man who has tried to make so many of us feel so small for so long is now our “leader”. This man who is the literal and proverbial face of white nationalism and who has frothed up an Alt Right and white nationalist movement engaged solely by the fear of growing racial diversity in our country (oh, and maybe by the election of our nation’s first black president….that might have something to do with it too). Fear is incredibly potent and last night saw a record number of white males (and this is a statistical truth, not just my own brainwashed libtard assumptions) turn out to the polls to cast a vote for Trump. But for what were they really casting a vote?

They were voting with their fear, their fear that their white majority will disappear (it will, that’s just simple mathematics), their fear that their guns will be taken away (America, that’s never going to happen, we are going to be allowed to keep shooting each other to death until time runs out), fear that the “progressive agendas” were moving too far too fast (we are all going to be forced to attend HUGE gay, muslim weddings officiated by Germaine Greer and Grace Jones wherein all the bridesmaids are Ru Paul and John Leguizamo’s character from “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar”, all the guests are Syrian refugees, and the fucking cake is made out of kale or some shit…actually that sounds like one hell of a party…except for the kale cake. Can we, as a species just admit that no one really “loves” kale? It’s fucking terrible, okay!), and as we all know nothing motivates like fear (think “why America invaded Iraq”).

A lot of people are not ready for the America that will inevitably exist. The fight is hard, the setbacks are terrifying and it is every goddamn day but eventually THAT America will exist, the one where sexism is meaningfully and universally eschewed, the one where the lives of all human beings, no matter their age, religion, skin-tone, gender, sexuality, or ethnicity, are valued equally in the eyes of the law and our equality will be sacrosanct! The America where everyone will work to preserve a brighter, cleaner, more civil and more understanding future for the generations that follow us will absolutely exist! It’s just going to take a lot more time than we want it to….than we think we have, than we think we can bear but bear it we will because, Goddamnit, WE ARE AMERICANS! We do not stop fighting for what is good and what is just and what is right just because it’s hard or even because at times it seems impossible! It is when we are faced with what seem like insurmountable odds that we are forced to do our best work and I have no doubt that this country will, in fact be great, and it will have nothing to do with keeping it white, or keeping it insular, or keeping certain people out and other people silent! It will be because we will all rise up to include and value ALL voices and ALL faces because true democracy is about action and inclusion of EVERY person, not just the “right” people!

And it is for that vision that I am formally declaring my candidacy for President of the United States of America in 2020. I said back in March that when I fun for President my campaign slogan was going to be “Make America Pie Again” and, unlike some other filp-floppers, I absolutely stand by this statement! I will make America pie again! And since last night’s election proved to us that Americans are perfectly willing to vote someone with absolutely no political experience into the highest office in the land I think I’ve got a damn good shot at this thing! My platform is simple; I am running for basic human decency, basic human rights (food, shelter, medical care, all protections of all the laws, freedom of speech and expression, freedom from oppression and bigotry, freedom to practice whatever bullshit religion you feel most aligns with your personal ideals, but most of all your basic and inalienable right to eat motherfucking pie) for ALL, NO MATTER WHAT, AND THE RIGHT TO MOTHERFUCKING PIE! I stand for freedom, and pie, simple as that! If we cannot put a pie in every pot (chicken pot pie, perhaps?) then and only then can we truly say we have failed as a nation!!!!

Feel free and even encouraged to download the Bibliodiva For President “Make America Pie Again” bumper sticker jpeg below and share it on all your social media platforms. If you are truly committed to the cause of equal rights, equal pay and equal pie for all and want to display your pie pride outside of the internet, click on the link below and it will take you to a magical place where you can purchase your very own Bibliodiva For President “Make America Pie Again” bumper sticker that will totally exist in real life and not just on the internet! May we all eat pie and may god have mercy on our souls!!! BIBLIODIVA FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!

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Buy your Bibliodiva for President “Make America Pie Again!” bumper stickers & t-shirts HERE! 

Also, (drink) I did not edit this so there are probably a lot of typos but if you feel the need to point them out to me, well, you are just a fucking monster!

Also, also, just so you know how absolutely seriously I am taking this platform, here is a picture of my desk as I sit here writing this…

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Yup, that’s Pie! 

 

Pussy Grabbing, Locker Room Talk and Why Trump’s Comments are Truly Problematic

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We get it, men talk about pussy. They do, and they talk about it like that, like it’s a thing having nothing to do with an actual person and while it’s not ideal I think it’s fair to say that it is normal and will continue to be normal until societal norms change, and I am sure they will, slowly, but they will.

But until we live in an ideal society where everyone has their own unicorn and all lives of all human beings are valued equally and we all get together and hug it out at a big fucking ice cream social every Saturday afternoon, men are going to continue to talk about women and their vaginas like they are a commodity, something to be obtained in order to bolster their own self worth. But that’s not the problematic thing about Donald Trump’s comments that were caught on a hot mic in 2005. The problematic thing with the comments that the Donald made is that he explicitly talked about kissing women without their permission and then went on to talk about how he didn’t need permission because he was famous! It’s not because he said the word “pussy”! It’s because he talked about grabbing said pussy without obtaining consent to do so! I’ll allow that his talking about trying to “fuck” a married woman whilst being married himself is gross but I think it’s gross because it’s Donald Trump talking about fucking and that’s just toe-curling-ly nauseating! Was is very “presidential”? Certainly not but is anything that guy does?

Obviously we have had presidents in the past who were absolute poon-hounds and were absolutely unfaithful to their wives, before, during and after their presidencies but, as far as I know, none of them were ever caught on tape, describing themselves sexually assaulting women. And that is why Donald Trump parading all (okay obviously not all, it wasn’t that big of a room) the women who Bill Clinton slept with or sexually harassed or flashed or  who have accused him of sexual assault is not going to work for Donald. First of all using these women, who have already been through Hell, as a despicable political prop is pretty fucking lousy and just feels icky but the worst part is that, in doing this, Donald Trump seems to have completely disregarded that fact that Bill Clinton IS NOT THE ONE RUNNING FOR FUCKING PRESIDENT!!!! It’s like he can’t even treat Hillary like an individual human being and simply equates her to the closest man in her life.

But here’s the thing; Donald Trump wants to use the actions of Hillary’s husband against her, citing that because her husband did these things that somehow makes her unqualified to be president! WHAT THE DAMN HELL? So, on the same side of that coin, does Donald Trump’s wife posing naked on the cover of Max Magazine in 1997 (and naked on the inside of the same magazine with another naked woman in 1995) make him somehow morally deficient? My guess is that Donald Trump would argue that it makes him a “stud” because that is just the kind of grotesque, prepubescent logic and phrasing he would use. I find that Donald Trump’s repeated and continued attempts to use Bill’s actions as a case against Hillary to be genuinely disturbing and definitely a symptom of his own deeply held sexist attitudes towards women. Donald Trump is a sexist, I don’t think anyone can argue that point (although that won’t stop some from trying), but it’s the fact that there is an enormous segment of the population (as well as an enormous segment of people in positions of power) that is able and all-too-willing to overlook the fact that he is a sexist that is the real problem.

Which brings me to my next point, larger Republican establishment, why now? Why this audio? How is this the straw that finally broke the camel’s back? Is it because he said “fuck” and “bitch” and “pussy”? I’m guessing that’s why because you already knew who Donald Trump was, and this audio is EXACTLY who he is! You already knew that he was basically just a racist, upside down traffic cone filled with bile and overcooked steak who liked to start Twitter wars at 3 a.m. with former beauty queens or David Letterman or Rosie O’Donnell or basically anyone who has ever said anything bad about him. He has no self control (which is probably one of the reasons he is always cheating on his wife and trying to have sex with married women), he has no capacity for empathy, he is a pathological liar (I MEAN SERIOUSLY! JUST LOOK AT THE FACT CHECK SITES, THIS IS NOT FUCKING COMPLICATED! IT IS LITERALLY A GOOGLE SEARCH AWAY FROM YOU!!!!!!), he is a deplorable racist, he is a xenophobia-spreading cancer on this nation! But it was that fact that he talked about pussy that was just too much for y’all to bear? Seriously?

And the way that most of the Republicans who came out to denounce Donald Trump or remove their support of him was just as cringe-worthy as having supported him in the first place. All the cable news channels just showed wave after wave or white guys talking about how Trump’s comments disgusted them because they have daughters and/or sisters or mothers or wives or females dogs as pets or what the fuck ever. So basically, you’re saying that if you didn’t have females close to you then you’d be just fine with ol’ Pussy Grabber Trump prattling on to a giggling Billy Bush (and we are DEFINITELY going to talk about that scumbag) about how he uses his fame to justify assaulting women? It’s only the fact that you have daughters that makes you capable of understanding why his statements were deplorable and wrong? Otherwise you would have no understanding of why the things that Trump said were so damaging? Well….that’s just fucking great!

Your saying that you found Trump’s comments upsetting because you have daughters is nearly exactly the same as Trump saying that Hillary is unqualified to run this country because of the things her husband has done! Both statements are steeped in some seriously deep-seated sexism but really one thing should not have anything to do with the other! The things that Trump said on that tape should be condemned because they patently sexist and, even worse, were advocating sexual assault and if you could not come to that conclusion without first thinking about whether or not someone might speak that way about your daughter or your wife then you, my friend, are right up there with the Donald himself! And this seems like the perfect time to remind you of a point I made WAY back up at the top of the page; women are not pissed about Donald Trump talking lewdly, we are pissed about his admission that he has kissed women without their consent, that he would grope a woman without consent and would expect no consequences because he is famous!!!!

It’s not the words he used, it’s what those words said! Do I wish I could go back in time and never have to hear Donald Trump say the word “pussy”? You’re Goddamn right I do! That shit is gonna haunt my nightmares for at least another month at which point all of my frustration and exhaustion over all this sexist bullshit will be completely washed away by the elation of having our first female President of the United States of America…even if it is Hillary Clinton. Just like how racism doesn’t exist anymore because we had a black President!!!!

Wouldn’t that be awesome if that’s how things worked in real life though?

XOXO!!! Thanks for hanging and reading!

P.S. I said I was going to talk about that tittering piece of human garbage, Billy Bush, so here is it: Billy Bush is a vile little troll who single-handedly grossed out millions of women by acting as Donald Trump’s hug pimp and referring to himself as “the Bushy”. That alone should be an offense punishable by firing squad or being made into some kind of human piñata and then being continually beaten with a baseball bat until his intestines fall out his asshole. He is a shriveled, repugnant, jizz-stained, hair-sprayed, malodorous sack of fetid human waste who is absolutely the worst version of himself and I don’t even think that Oprah could help now. That is all.

P.P.S. Also, how great was it when actual professional athletes came out and started criticizing Trump for his use of the phrase “locker room talk” citing that sexually assaulting women was definitely NOT something that was discussed in actual locker rooms?!?!  Super Great! That’s how!

P.P.P.S. Also THIS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Positive Drinking*

*Originally Published as “I am an Achiever” which was a thinly veiled Big Lebowski reference

ACTUALLY I wrote this over a ago and it was first published on May 17th, 2015. I did, however, add some things to the list so there are a few new/updated bits! Enjoy!

I wrote this a few weeks ago and read it at the live reading we did at the beginning of the month, but even if you came to the reading there are some extra goodies at the end of the post. Thanks for reading and I love you guys!!!

I took my son to the park the other day and, granted it was a mild Sunday afternoon of which we do not get many in April in the great Pacific Northwest, I saw 5 pregnant women there…5!!! Oh wait, it gets even more interesting from a sociological and anthropological stand-point (said no one ever…except for maybe Oliver Sacks)! Of all the pregnant women every single one was there with their already existing child/children. And of all of the families at the park that day the pregnant moms were making up nearly half of the moms! Now, I am fully aware that it is rutting season and we are coming out of winter wherein the humans hunker down and procreate, mainly to stay warm and have an excuse to shave, but this just seemed excessive to me. As I watched the the gravid parade of moms waddling slowly from one end of the playground to the other chasing after their rapidly swelling broods, I realized that two of the five already had four children to their names!!!! That means each of those two women were currently gestating a fifth child!!!!

I can’t be the only one who becomes immediately suspicious of anyone who voluntarily has, just an unreasonable shit ton of kids, right (I say voluntarily because I am just assuming that since I saw these ladies at the park neither of them has been chained up in a basement being forcibly and repeatedly impregnated by their captors, but stranger things have happened, GO CLEVELAND)? I mean there are only a few reasons why anyone has that many kids; 1) to repopulate the planet with ready-made, home-schooled evangelical cult members 2) their religious beliefs prohibit the use of birth control (see also reason 1) and 3) sheer stupidity (see also reasons 1 and 2). All this reproduction just seemed excessive to me. I mean these ladies were clearly trying to compensate for something because they were totally overachieving in the baby-making department; they were reproductive overachievers!!!

In the face of all this extravagantly superfluous and even a little show-offy propagation of the human species I started to feel a little bit like a reproductive underachiever with my one measly kid. I will allow that I do have a pretty top notch baby (yes, I realize that he is four and no longer a baby but he will ALWAYS be my baby so shut up about it, okay!), with whom I am desperately in love. But every now and then, as I imagine all mothers do, I get sort of nostalgic for the days when he was a tiny little thing who smelled amazing and never ran away from me in the parking lot of Target. Then I quickly remember what it was like breastfeeding or staying up all night or cleaning feces off his neck and I am quickly ripped out of the land of newborn nostalgia and firmly back on earth where the worst of our problems consist of the DVR always missing the last two minutes of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” no matter how many times I try to record it from Sprout.

Besides I may be a reproductive underachiever but there are plenty of things at which I totally overachieve! Here is a bulleted list of those things in no particular order:

  • examining my pores in the mirror for hours at a time (okay, half hours at a time, but still)
  • anxiety
  • turning anxiety into chin acne
  • binge watching “Daredevil” on Neflix (and can I just say I’m on episode 10 already and he still doesn’t have a goddamn costume! WTF)
  • oral (full stop) hygiene
  • finding spare change in the car seats while waiting in line at the drive-through for a Blizzard
  • eating an entire pound of grapes in one sitting
  • WINE!
  • sleeping in until 10 o’clock
  • eyeliner
  • plucking my chin hairs
  • angrily screaming “SUCK MY DICK!” at street harassers
  • makeup in general
  • thrift store shopping
  • cussing people out while driving
  • Simpson’s trivia
  • being continually blown away by the size of my son’s poop
  • Boggle
  • neuroses
  • remembering all the names of the characters from the “Transformers” cartoons
  • “Big Lebowski” quotes
  • moping
  • always having a corkscrew
  • laughing at my own jokes
  • stick shift (also not a dirty metaphor)
  • getting kicked in the tits while trying to put shoes on a shrieking four year old
  • scalloped potatoes (I seriously make awesome scalloped potatoes)
  • sarcasm
  • inevitably being that person in the crowded bar who is saying something embarrassing or wildly inappropriate when the music suddenly dies down
  • forgetting to put tampons in my purse
  • scheme hatchery
  • “forgetting” to pay for the items I put on the bottom of the cart (and this is just a karmic reach-around to which I am not looking forward)
  • whiskey
  • insomnia
  • always picking the line at the grocery store that will take the longest no matter how few people are in front of you.
  • reciting the plots of all the episodes of “Ultimate Spiderman” when called upon to explain what the fuck my son is talking about and why he is trying to lock you into some sort of mental combat wherein he is the “Grandmaster” and you are the “Collector” and you each have to pick a team of heroes or villains to battle for the fate of New York City,  and how you should ALWAYS pick Kraven the Hunter because Kraven the Hunter is tits, but I mean, c’mon people, this is day one shit.

I could go on, but I don’t want to toot my own horn. But you see, there are plenty of things I do well, in addition to making fabulous, if not a little free with the nudity, babies! These are the things I have to tell myself in order to sleep at night when wading through the long list of all my inadequacies…also, whiskey helps a lot with that too.

P.S. Yes, I am perfectly aware that there are people with tons of kids who are NOT actually religious fanatics….as I had to point out to a friend of mine who busted my balls the first time this was published. But if I never blew anything out of proportion, never made broad, sweeping generalizations, and avoided hyperbole and sarcasm at all times, this probably wouldn’t be a very fun blog to read, now would it? So you can refrain from emailing me to tell me about all the perfectly normal atheists you know who just happen to have 7 kids because I already know that this is a thing that happens in real life, thank you. XOXO

“They Don’t Call it Hero-lose”

A while ago Saturday Night Live aired a sketch about the growing heroin problem in America. The trouble was America was not laughing. Heroin use, abuse, and deaths have been steadily on the rise for the last 15 years and increasing at an alarming rate since 2010*. The politicians are calling it an epidemic. The headlines are calling it an epidemic. It kind of seems like heroin is everywhere. But it’s not….not really, is it? As close to home as this has reached for so many Americans to many other Americans it still feels like “someone else’s problem”; someone who’s poor, or not white, or not living in “my neighborhood”, or someone who’s a criminal or a street person.

But here’s the thing; heroin is a suburban problem. It’s an urban problem. It’s a rural problem. It’s an everywhere and everyone problem. In a report released last July the CDC found that “significant increases in heroin use were found in groups with historically low rates of heroin use, including women and people with private insurance and higher incomes. The gaps between men and women, low and higher incomes, and people with Medicaid and private insurance have narrowed in the past decade.” The fact is that 90% (yes 90%) of first time heroin users are white. Many are middle class or “wealthy” and 75% of new users have had previous addiction issues with prescription painkillers.

But that’s just where the story starts this time around. The fact is that heroin has been in my life for over a dozen years. I have seen what it can do and what it does to people first hand at an uncomfortably close range. And I use that phrase with great intention. Talking about this makes people wildly uncomfortable. Most of the people who are outside that small circle of folks in my life who know exactly how devastating heroin addiction can be, just kind of cannot believe that someone, in real life, in their life, knows anything about heroin addiction. It’s like people don’t believe it’s real. That it’s something that only happens in the movies. But it happens in real life.

I have heretofore refrained from talking much about Bo’s dad because I have tried to be respectful of his privacy. His story never felt like it was mine to tell. But it is also my story.

I was 24. It was December. It was always December. I knew something was wrong with Zach. I just didn’t know what. I would, in time, grow very familiar with all the signs and symptoms of his drug abuse. At some point all the relapses blur together. Other moments, the really bad ones, stick out. It wasn’t until 2 months later, when he was fired from the restaurant at which we both worked for leaving a needle in the manager’s office that I knew something else had to be done. He was using heroin…again. I had caught him, eventually, back in December. He tearfully admitted it, said it wasn’t that bad, that he didn’t need to go to rehab or anything and that he could take care of it on his own. I trusted that he was being truthful because I didn’t know any better.

After he got fired in February even he had to admit that the problem was more serious than he had been letting on. He agreed to get clean. His best friend and former girlfriend, Sagan, who had been through this with him many times before, offered her help. She was not working at the time and offered to be the babysitter for the better part of the ordeal. When I was at work someone had to watch him while he was going through the difficult and painful process of detoxing.

We gathered his things and went over to Sagan’s apartment where we would be staying for about a week. At that time, in Seattle, there was a doctor on Beacon Hill called Dr. Si whose specialty was helping ease heroin users through the detox process with a combination of several non-narcotic prescription drugs. A lot of muscle relaxers, sleep aids, anti-nausea and anti-anxiety medications, taken all at once so that the patient is basically an anthropomorphous blob of relaxed, sleeping, human skin who occasionally wakes up to pee and drink gatorade. Through this detox process the patient does not experience as much or as intensely the classic symptoms of detoxification such as vomiting, diarrhea, uncontrollable shaking, sweating, cramping, anxiety, or excessive screaming if you are junkie being played by Leonardo Dicaprio.

Sagan and I had to go fill his prescriptions and gather the necessary supplies (e.g. gatorade, consume, saltines etc). Before we left him in her apartment alone, we took the phone (kids, this is when people still had land lines) which was not a cordless so we just unplugged the receiver from the phone and took it with us, along with his wallet, his keys, his pants and his shoes. We figured those measures would at least be a deterrent; if he wanted heroin he would literally have to run down the street with bare feet in his underpants begging for money in order to get it. We thought we were so clever.

The rest of the week was, for me, going back and forth from my apartment to feed our new kitten, to work and then to Sagan’s apartment. At work, everyone knew why he’d been fired. No one even asked me if I was okay, or what I was going to do about it. It’s like they just assumed that I was going to dump him because of his drug use. Truth is, I don’t know what I would have told them had they asked. I was just doing the one thing that made sense to me; helping my friend, whom I loved, with his problem. I didn’t know what the future held, but I knew that he would still be in it with me.

The trouble with being a junkie is that even when you’re not on heroin you’re probably on something else. Maybe it’s alcohol or cocaine or the program or yoga or guilt or self loathing or whatever it is, the hole that heroin left inside of you is going to get filled with something. He always filled it with alcohol, guilt, depression and hatred.

I cannot remember how long it was until the next relapse. He got his job back after some time. And then lost it again after refusing to take a drug test that he knew he would not pass. He said it was too hard to stay clean working downtown, right next to the blade. The drugs were unavoidable. And every time he started using again and started lying to me about it a little bit more of my confidence would erode, not just in him, but in myself. Finding out about it each time was like finding out I was being cheated on and effectively I was; his mistress was heroin. It would always be.

There was the time I found the make-up he had hidden; foundation that he used to cover up his bruises and track marks. When I confronted him with it he said it was old, from the last time he relapsed and he had just forgotten about it. I told him I did not believe him and that he’d have better luck with concealer than with foundation. He used that excuse all the time; “I haven’t been using I just forgot about (insert whatever piece of incriminating evidence I found) since the last time!”

After losing his job, again, and kicking heroin again, in the midst of his job search I encouraged him to take some time off. I worked two jobs and we could get by on that for a while. He took a year off work. He wrote and drank and cried for a year, but he did not use heroin. For that I was thankful. When he started to look for work again I was scared. I didn’t want to start the same thing all over again.

But it was okay. For a long while it was okay. He got back in touch with his son from his first marriage. Things were going well. Then some shit happened as shit tends to do. His longtime friend, who also struggled with heroin abuse, came back into town. That was hard. They would continually flip this coin wherein its landing on one side they would try to lift one another up but the other side of that coin was their dragging one another down. His friend, Ronnie, was about to have a baby with his girlfriend, who also used. Ronnie was trying really hard to get away from heroin but heroin is a mad goddamn dog and it does not stop coming after you. I watched over Ronnie as detoxed on an air mattress on our living room floor. I watched him as he writhed and cried and begged for drugs. I watched him get clean. I watched him relapse. I watched him get clean again and it all felt like a microcosm of what I was going through.

One morning, a watery grey dawn, I woke to find that I was the only one in bed, save for my cats. The dog, Ronnie’s dog actually, who had been living with us while Ronnie was homeless, was gone and so was Zach. I did not even have time to lean into the full froth of my panic when the door of the apartment rattled. It was Zach, dogless and bandaged about the neck and wearing a hospital bracelet and a shirt that did not belong to him.

He had waited until I went to sleep, took the dog out for a walk and while out, decided to stop on a side street and shoot up. The paramedics found him lying in some bushes near the sidewalk, a needle hanging out of his neck…with no dog. The depth of what happened, the overwhelming weight of the situation was completely overshadowed by the lack of the dog. Ratchet was not just a dog, he was Ronnie’s child, his partner of over a decade. That dog meant everything to him and he was missing.

I pulled on clothes. It had grown lighter out now, it was around 6:30 in the morning. We walked the whole neighborhood, looking and calling for Ratchet. I walked until my feet were sore and my throat was raw from calling Ratchet’s name. I cried. Out of despair for the loss of the dog, despair for the whole situation. I wanted to scream.

Ratchet, as it turned out, upon Zach’s passing out in the bushes, ran back to our apartment building where he dutifully stood outside, leash dangling on the ground and barked, and barked and barked, presumably in an effort to wake me, but to no avail. When he finally gave up on barking and returned to find Zach no longer where he had left him, Ratchet went to the local drugstore up the road which was open 24 hours. There he sought shelter and companionship for the rest of the evening. He was returned to us around 10 am. I was so exhausted from worry, hopelessness and relief that I collapsed into bed with Ratchet and my two cats and slept all day, until I had to go to work that night. I was simply trying to run away from the thought that there would be another detox, another “starting over”, another broken promise, more fighting, more anger, more exhaustion, more pain, more pain, more goddamn pain, more consuming and unfaltering and inescapable fucking pain. Pain….for poppies. Just poppies.

I was completely alone to deal with this, too. How could I expect anyone to understand what I was going through? I didn’t even understand it. I was just trying to survive it. I remember confiding in a friend, at the time, about what was happening with me, with him, with us. She seemed bewildered. She did not know what to say or do…so she just stopped talking to me. What I was going through was too much for her to handle. I wish I could say she was the only one. She was not. After a certain point I learned  my lesson and just didn’t talk about it anymore.

That was 2006. In 2010 our son was born. In the intervening years, after the last “getting clean” was all over, there were no more incidence of heroin use, at least none that I knew about.

It wasn’t Zach’s heroin abuse that (directly) lead to my ending the relationship after 11 years when our son was just 3 years old. It was a decade worth of things. A decade’s worth of my corrupted sense of self, a decade’s worth of alcoholism, a decade’s worth of mistrust, a decade’s worth of codependency. It was a death by a thousand cuts and I was quickly running out of unmarred skin. I felt like I couldn’t breathe under the weight of his hatred and judgement of me. After all HE had done it was ME who was never going to be good enough, never going to be able to repent enough for the past. He was always like that. He could never find the fault in himself but was a surgeon about finding it in others.

Of course I worried that the break-up would send him back into heroin’s sedative and tranquil embrace. But for a while he was okay. Then, at preschool orientation, he showed up high as fuck! He denied it when I confronted him about it because of course he did. I had no proof. I did not know what to do. I think that I secretly, and quite stupidly, thought that Bo would keep him on track. That the presence of this bright, coruscant, and breathlessly beautiful creature would somehow keep him out of the darkness.

One day, I went to pick Bo up for preschool at the apartment I had moved out of in favor of living in the back of my bookstore. At this point Zach and I were splitting the weeks with Bo. He was with me 4 days and 5 nights of the week and with Zach on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This was one of the days that Bo had stayed with him and it was a work day for us parents at our Co-op preschool. I approached the door, opting to knock out of some sense of decorum despite my having a key. No answer. They should have been up and ready to go. I did not hear Bo inside. I did not knock again. I opened the door and it was quiet. Bo was still in bed. I looked at the couch and there was Zach, passed out with his sock rolled down and his foot and the needle still in his hands, his works spread out on the coffee table. I chocked on my own horror. I could not believe that he would do this…with our son asleep just feet away in his bedroom.

I did not scream. I woke him up. He tried to play it off like what I had just witnessed was, in fact, not at all what it looked like. I still did not scream. He scooped up his things from the coffee table, finally regaining his wits. I calmly assured him that I knew it was EXACTLY what it looked like. He tried to make more excuses. Then, finally, I screamed; “WHAT IF I HAD NOT FOUND YOU?!?!!! WHAT IF IT HAD BEEN HIM?!?!” I screamed, gesturing toward the hall down which my son’s bedroom lie. He started to cry. He was out of excuses and out of heroin and the reality of what he had done and what he had narrowly avoided began to hit him.

I told him that he would never see his son again unless he got help. I also told him that, this time, I could not be the one to give it to him. After all, I had a child to raise and a business to run. I woke Bo, gathered his things and we left. We did not go to school that day.

It took Zach a little while, and after exploring other programs, he got on methadone. I was not particularly pleased with this course of action. As far as I was concerned it was really no better than being on heroin. While it was not illegal, there was virtually no chance of overdose and it was free he was still going to “be on drugs” and quite dependent upon them too. And that is what eventually lead to his getting fired from yet another job. Even on methadone he could not hide the fact that he was a junkie. His decline was just too obvious, to me, to his employer and to everyone else around him. And of course, his losing his job meant his losing his home (when he realized he could no longer afford the apartment without my income, although he, ironically, always insisted that I did not contribute to the household financially as I was a business owner and did not “bring home a paycheck”, he was forced to take up at an “hotel” that rented rooms by the week).

After getting fired, just about a year after our split, he could not even maintain his room at the hotel and was forced to move out, seeking the succor and infinite patience of Sagan, once again. She was compliant with his presence in her home for as long and longer than anyone could expect. He had started using again, street drugs. It was too difficult to get to the methadone clinic each day, apparently, but not too difficult to steal money (or whatever could be sold in exchange for money) in order to buy heroin. It becomes really difficult for me to recall the timeline of events with much accuracy at this point. I had gotten a new job and in lieu of putting Bo in daycare, a step I was very reluctant to take as he had never been in any sort of childcare previously, Zach would take him during the day. At this point I thought he was still on methadone. He was, however, pretty much homeless, staying with friends when he could.

It was September when I was cleaning out my car, which I would leave for Zach and Bo to use while I was at work, that I found something under the diver’s seat. It was the small metal dish, the kind you get from the needle exchange, that is used to cook the heroin, an unfolded paper clip for stirring the drug while it cooks, the lot of which were charred and stained with the drug’s sticky, black residue. I was enraged but not surprised. I immediately made arrangements to put Bo into a school near my work. That Monday when it would usually be time to meet up with Zach before I went to work, Bo and I went to his new school/daycare. Bo was so excited to be in school, with other kids, it was like he didn’t even know he was supposed to be upset about my leaving him. The next day, however, was a different story. When it was time for me to leave him at school he cried and then I cried and I hated every decision I had ever made as a parent.

Zach actually had the fucking nerve to not only be indignant that I made the unilateral decision to put Bo into daycare and remove him from his care but he also fucking denied that what I found was his!!!! THE FUCK!!! Even if it were not his (which, DUH, it totally fucking was) the best case scenario is that he let one of his junkie friends use my car, drive my car, whilst on drugs and/ or use drugs in my car, and where was my son when all this was happening? Who the fuck knows? I could not let shit like this continue. I was pulling absolutely no punches this time after a fucking lifetime of giving him the benefit of the doubt, he was decidedly out of benefits.

It was November, the first time he was arrested. In between then and the first of the year he would be arrested and jailed more than 5 separate times. He would get released and then go right back to using and stealing to support his use. At his age it’s a damn miracle he hasn’t died from the physical stress of detoxing in jail. He was arrested for the last time in mid March. He’s been in jail ever since. It’s the best place for him. At least in jail there is a roof over his head and no heroin. We’ve spoken a few times. I still don’t think he realizes how much everyone around him hurts because of what he’s done. He’s never been good at looking at himself with a critical or even realistic eye.

He will get released soon. He sounds hopeful about his future. I want to be too, so that Bo might have his dad back someday. But I am not optimistic, for I’ve far too much sense and too much experience to have much room left for optimism.

That’s it for now. I realize the strokes, although measuring nearly 3,500 words, were indeed quite broad, this is all I have the mind to put to print at this point. There’s more, so much more, and maybe someday I will get around to writing it all down. For now…XOXO.

*what had been a steady increase in overdose rates, 6% a year, from 1999 to 2008 took a HUGE leap as overdose rates skyrocketed with a 37% increase in 2010.

P.S. As for the title, I have always said that if you cannot laugh about it, it WILL definitely kill you.

The Trump Blog All 5 of You Have Been Waiting For

So there’s this election coming up and while in my real life I am anything but A-political when I am here, sitting in my awesome blogging throne* from which I do all my totally awesome blogging I tend to keep politics as an aside although I am relatively certain that most people can guess which way I lean. It’s not that I don’t have strong opinions or even that I have nothing to say on the political matters that are important to me, it’s just that I prefer that if people are going to hate me, it be for good reasons like I got drunk and pooped on your front porch and then videotaped your stepping in it the next morning when you left the house….hypothetically, or because I called you cuntrag in front of your small child because you cut in line at the zoo, or I ate the last of the Cocoa Krispies and left the empty box in the cupboard so that you thought there were actually Cocoa Krispies left so you totally got your hopes up for some delicious Cocoa Krispies but when you felt how light the box was your hopes, while diminished, were not completely crushed until you upended the box over your bowl and were met with only a feeble sprinkling of Cocoa Krispy dust. Frankly I cannot think of better reason to hate someone than that last one. Except maybe if they were a psychotic, racist, sexist, violent, misogynistic, bloated, homophobic, orange, narcissistic, delusion, mono-maniacal, smarmy, creepy, lying, repugnant, xenophobic, greasy, vomit-swelling, little fuckstain of a shriveled up oompa loompa, that might also be a good reason to hate someone. But, alas, hate only breeds more hate, just like anything else that powerful…like love, for instance. So let’s maybe not talk about why we “hate” that oompa loompa and talk about why he’s such an incapable, dangerous, and downright idiotic choice for a leader.

Of course I’m talking about Donald Trump and just like John Oliver said, I am kind of loathe to even write out his name because I am positive he has a tiny orgasm every time it is written…..or spoken….or read, not even aloud, just in your head, but he still knows because he once made a wish with a genie from a magic lamp and now he can sense it whenever bile rises in someone’s throat after simply hearing his name or seeing his picture.

 

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It seems like an oddly impractical thing to wish for if you ask me, but let’s be honest people, we are not dealing with a Rhodes Scholar here. Sometimes, after the Donald feels the need to reassure the American public that there are “no problems” with his dick (I find this highly doubtful coming from a man who repeatedly and in earnest talked about wanting to bang his own daughter), when I am done throwing up, I try to figure out if this is actually happening, like for real, actually happening. It’s kind of like watching Trapped in the ClosetR. Kelly’s much beloved/maligned “hip hopera” that is still puzzling stoned people everywhere as to whether or not its creator was entirely serious in the making of what the writer, producer, director and actor of the “films” would call his masterwork.

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Have I mentioned that in R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet he is legit trapped in a literal closet?

There is simply no way to watch Trapped in the Closet and not think to yourself, “NO FUCKING WAY THEY ARE TAKING THIS SHIT SERIOUSLY!” And that sentiment is pretty much echoed whenever I hear about the next, ridiculous, offensive, stupid and/or (usually and) appalling thing the Trump campaign has done. I can just imagine the Donald sitting around the frat house with his other white, be-polo-ed frat buddies (only because that’s where I assume he lives), high-fiving one another, drinking their way through case after case of unsold Trump brand vodka (which was absolutely a thing….just not a thing anyone wanted), and trying to think of the next absurd thing that Trump is going to say or do that will inevitably get him more headlines, more recognition and possibly, more votes.

“Dude! You know what you should totally do tomorrow, bro? You should totally talk about murdering innocent women and children. Betcha no one will call you out on it!” *shouts of bro-ly agreement* *high fives all around*

“BRO! Then you should totally talk about how big your dick is at the debates! That would totally fuckin’ crush it!” *smashes empty beer can into forehead, swigs Trump brand vodka, casually rapes coed while high-fiving his bros, posts it all the Twitter*

“Fuck yeah! You should threaten to walk out onto 5th Avenue in downtown NYC and shoot someone! Fuckin’ EPIC, Bro!” *Tweets about how he’s gonna retweet the tweet that Trump will tweet after he is forced to go on Twitter and defend his saying that he could shoot someone and no one would care…oddly enough, no one cares*

The Trump candidacy has been the most collectively head-scratching theater that the American public has ever seen. I mean this guy has Andy Kaufman beat by a country mile…unless he’s actually serious….OH GOD! You don’t think he’s actually serious about this, do you? I mean, if he is actually serious about his campaign, which, of course, is a possibility, he might be some kind of publicity savant and he genuinely and truly thinks that the hardest part of being President of the United States is getting elected….while simultaneously proving himself wrong at every turn! GENIUS!

But in reality I don’t think Trump has given much, if any, thought to what would happen after getting elected. I honestly don’t think he thinks things out much at all; what he’s going to say, how he’s going to “run a business (into the ground?)”, how or where his money is spent, what bullshit thing/building/failed casino/piece of steak he puts his name on, or to whom he might be liable if elected. I think the most dangerous thing about Trump is that Trump only cares about Trump. He is not interested in the welfare of the American People at all. The only reason he is even running for President is because it was the biggest popularity contest he could get himself into and he NEEDS validation, adulation and attention like normal, non-psychotic, non-narcissistic people need air or water. And let me tell you one thing, the leaders that are only in it for themselves and to further their personal agendas, their own need for power, worship, veneration, awe, devotion, glorification, praise, flattery, blandishments…those are the men (and I say “men” because I fucking mean MEN) who are truly dangerous because at the end of the day they are only beholden to their own emptiness at NOT having those things. And like a toddler, he will resort to any means necessary to get them. Unlike a toddler instead of throwing a tantrum, the leader of the free world can just decide to send a nuclear missile strike to….*throws dart at globe, comes up with country I cannot pronounce, picks France instead because I totally bet the Donald hates France for no reason at all*….FRANCE!

Trump may or may not be a psychopath (my money is on the former) but he is definitely dangerous. He is definitely not a leader. I wouldn’t let Trump lead a goddamn girl scout troop…mostly because he would try to sleep with all the girls and when they refused he would call them “cows” or “lesbians” and threaten to sue them and then he would rename all the cookies “Trump-mints” and “Trump-moas” and “Trumpalongs” or “Shortbread Tre-ump-foils” and then he would convince the girls that are just commodities and that if they wanted to achieve anything in life they’d better do it in a 24 karat gold-flake Trump brand string bikini while stripping in Atlantic City because that is the only way those stupid cows are going to find a rich husband, but it may already be too late for Trisha because she’s going to be 14 in a month an a half and the only thing you little bitches really have to offer a “successful” man is your youth and beauty. And don’t you forget it….MAKE ‘MERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Also, globe darts is the best sport I have ever just invented! XOXO

*”blogging throne” may or may not refer to any chair, bed, toilet, yurt, park bench (where I was totally NOT sleeping), carpet, patch of mostly dry grass, blankie, tuffet or really any flat surface available for sitting within reach of the writer.

P.S. I decided that when I run for president (because that is what wildly under-qualified lunatics are doing these days) my campaign slogan will be “Make America Pie Again” because who doesn’t love pie?!!!! BOOM! That’s at least 26 delegates right there! Also, I am suddenly feeling the need to make “Biblio Diva for President” T-shirts and bumperstickers. It’s gonna be a long night. XOXO yet again!

Let’s Be Friends*!

*no seriously!

So (drink) (and someday I will repost all the rules to the Biblio Diva drinking game so that those of you who are new to us, I’m talking to YOU Canadians, can play along at home because I have faith in you and your livers and their ability to withstand anything because they have already withstood decades worth of Tim Horton’s coffee, Molson, Justin Beiber and Nickleback) (Also, Dear Canadians, please stop telling your talentless musicians where the US border is, because we REALLY don’t need another Avril Lavigne or Celine Dion or Alanis Morisette. We already have a Kanye to deal with and he’s kind of a handful. Just point them in the other direction and they will all end up in the North Pole. Although if 3 Inches of Blood or Death From Above 1979 or DOA are asking you can give them directions…and I know you will because you are Canadian and, by nature, very polite and helpful. I feel like this is the most peaceful and humane solution for everyone) (and at this point I should just start over because even I have lost track of what’s going on with all these parentheses).

Starting over….So (you still have to drink), I super have NO friends, and I know what you’re thinking; “How is that possible?” you shriek, outraged. “You are so charming and erudite and generous and beautiful and intelligent and you know how to get free booze, like, anywhere you go and you are great at outrunning the police! Those are all tremendously attractive qualities in a human being!” except I can totally hear that you are saying it sarcastically, even if it is all true, so it kind of loses some impact…although the sentiment is appreciated even if you could not get through the delivery without laughing.

The fact is that when you COMPLETELY dismantle your life or it just falls apart in one way or another, whether by choice or by happenstance, it can make it difficult to keep people around. Not everyone is going to understand what’s going on, also, not everyone is going to care. It was easy for me at first to blame my lack of a social life on closing my bookstore or having to move far away from Renton, which was the admitted center of most of my social interactions, or never having any money (because unemployment often results in being poor). But I think it runs deeper than that. I think some people were really uncomfortable with the choices I made and it was easier for them to just fade away than to try to understand why I was making them. Now admittedly, whenever my life goes through sweeping changes it always seems to be more of a scorched earth kind of scenario than I ever intend when starting out. My chronic misbehavior is probably to blame for my instability but the thing is, I’ve always been this way. Y’all knew that when you first came along for the ride! But that’s the thing about people like me; people gravitate towards us because we are fun, irreverent, risky, a little scary, a lot crazy….and we know how to get free booze, like anywhere. We are very good at making friends but not very good at convincing them to stay.

That being said I am currently accepting applications for besties right now (I am sort of imagining people just losing their shit like when bitches find out that the episode of Oprah they are attending the taping of is the ‘favorite things’ episode)! And it’s crunch time, motherfuckers! I am getting married in 4 months (HOLY SHIT! FOUR FUCKING MONTHS!) and I need someone to stand up there with me and pretend to care about my getting married because, Goddamnit, I am already down one person who was supposed to walk me down the aisle. So, if you’re interested in being my Maid of (questionable) Honor read on.

  • You get to wear whatever you want. Within reason. No white. No blue seersucker because that’s what I’ll be wearing. No pants, it’s a wedding for godsakes! No florals, no feather boas, no tiaras, no fishnets (unless they’re like nude, then I support that move), no latex, no denim, NO corduroy, none of that 1990’s flouncy crushed velvet bullshit, in fact you can’t even come if you’re gonna wear that shit, I am already ashamed of knowing you.
  • You will literally be the only person up there with me so it’s impossible for you to be the “fat bridesmaid” because you will be the ONLY bridesmaid! Plus, I am pretty fat so there’s even a chance that you will be the “skinny bridesmaid”!
  • I won’t make you throw me any ridiculous parties because I have been to enough wedding showers to know that no one has any fun at them because who gives a fat shit about your monogrammed bath towels or your stupid fucking china pattern…let’s go get wasted and rip off a limousine! (It’s really a wonder that I have a dearth of compatible humans in my life…)
  • You must be female (sorry Sojin). While I am totally always in search of my new gay best friend (ISOGBF) I feel like my maid of honor should be an actual maid….not like a housekeeper….although if you are, that would certainly not rule you out….I am fine with whatever you do for a living…I am NO classist! I guess if you euthanized baby otters or worked on the Trump campaign for a living that might sour our potential relationship just a little.
  • Must tolerate or better yet celebrate excessive cussing, excessive drinking, excessive sarcasm, excessive laughing at my own jokes, excessive inappropriate exposure of my bare ass in public, excessive always being the person in the bar who is saying something REALLY offensive when the music dies down, excessive air concertina, excessive insistence that you “haven’t lived until you have woken up with vomit in your ears”, excessive talking of and enthusiasm for nearly all things related to Marvel or DC comics (this one’s really important), excessive squealing at pictures of baby miniature ponies,  excessive belief in Bigfoot, excessive excesses, unicorns, and children because I have one of those and it’s probably best that you learn to like him…or I will cut you.
  • Must be Catholic….not because I am Catholic or even religious but I figure if you’re Catholic you might have at least a fighting chance at keeping up with me where alcoholism is concerned. I will also consider Godless heathens of all stripes and lapsed Mormons because you guys totally kick ass to drink with!
  • You totally don’t have to make a toast or write a speech because you will probably have nothing to say about me because we will have just met and your cover will totally be blown if you get up there and start talking about what a good person I am because EVERYONE knows that’s not true.
  • I won’t make you pose for cheesy “bridesmaid” photos with your panties exposed because apparently that’s a thing. As a matter of fact I won’t make you pose for any photos, not because I don’t want pictures of you and our beautiful (and completely manufactured) friendship but because I am too poor to hire a photographer.
  • You must be my Bartlett. That is to say it is required that you will carry my flask and it will be your job to know and even anticipate when the dispensation of said flask is required.
  • Must be awesome at providing cover for someone who frequently feels the need to urinate in public, also, how are your holding-back-hair skills?
  • Must protect my secret identities.
  • Must already be able fit into the sidekick costume of your now deceased predecessor.

If this sounds like you, please submit your application to become best friends and eventual Maid of (dis)Honor in the comment section. And just so you know how serious I am about this, this whole post was supposed to be how I wanted to throw a Funko party where we all order a bunch of those blank Funko Pop characters and then decorate them, presumably while drinking wine and chatting and, with any luck, having a nice time.

Blank-Female-e-Male-DIY-Pop-Vinyl-Figure-01

So when I couldn’t think of anyone to invite (that might actually show up) to my imaginary Funko party that I may or may not have I started to get a little freaked out. That’s when I realized I have NO friends. If I can’t even get people to come decorate vinyl dolls with me even when I offer them free booze how can I expect anyone to want to be my Maid of Honor? How can I even consider asking someone at this point without feeling like a complete ass? The answer is I can’t….and I do. I am going to have to stand up there alone and I am going to have to be okay with it.

Maybe someday I will learn how to hang onto to people. Maybe someday I will learn how to be the kind of person worth hanging onto. For now….I hope I made you laugh. XOXO

Also, wouldn’t a Funko decorating party be super fun?! I would totally go to that even if I were (not a typo) the one throwing it!

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Thing

My Dad’s memorial/wake/celebration of life thingy was yesterday (I started this on Sunday so “yesterday” was actually Saturday) and I wrote a little speech thing to kind of get the sharing ball rolling:

“I write a humor blog and when I have had the occasion, in the past, to do live readings I usually start off by talking about one of my greatest inspirations; my Dad. Those of you that knew him well, knew him peripherally or just stood in the same room with him for any length of time whatsoever, knew that Scott was rude, crude, crass, foul, vulgar, uncouth, tactless, classless, tasteless, coarse, obscene, profane, blue, purple and perhaps even off-color. Scott wove cussing into every day discourse with the stealth of a ninja and the precision of a surgeon. He loved dirty jokes. In fact when I was 6 he taught me a joke, the meaning of which I was totally unable to grasp until I was a little bit older but that did not stop me from sharing it with everyone at the family reunion that Summer. Here it is; What do a 747 and a peroxide blonde have in common? They both have a black box (pauses for laughter). At 6 years old I genuinely thought I understood this joke in that I believed that the black box that the bleach blonde had, referred to the box in which her hair dye came from the store…turns out I was wrong about that. 

The story I usually tell people about Dad is so inappropriate that I almost don’t want to share it today….almost. [BOAT STORY]
(This was actually copied directly from my notes wherein I did not write out the boat story. And no, I will not write out the boat story. I tell it at the beginning of nearly every live reading I have ever done, so chances are a lot of you have heard it. It would also lose something in print because if you cannot hear it in Scott’s voice [which, of course, at this point is impossible] you should at least hear it told with my impression of Scott. It would be no good in print…and also I don’t want anymore hate mail this week. Long story still pretty long, if you want to hear the boat story you have to come see me read…or just bump into me in line at the grocery store; I’ll totally tell it to you there)
My Dad taught me that it was better to laugh first, and last and every occasion in between. I am deeply blessed to have his wonderful sense of humor as well as his high tolerance for alcohol, his impossibly Scandinavian whiteness, his love for having fun, being outside, setting things on fire, camping, fishing, star-gazing, rivers, beaches, animals, loud music, laughter, dancing (not well, but dancing nonetheless), drinking, eating, and bullshitting. I think one of things I admired most about Scott was that he could make friends with anyone, and often did, as we can very well see looking around here today. Thank you all so much for coming, and I hope we can all share some wonderful memories and celebrate a man for whom we all cared very deeply and who cared very deeply for all of us. 
Sharing Scott’s love with all of you has served only to grow it, not incrementally but exponentially. Scott always had room for one more, at his table, in his home, in his heart whether you were human, canine, feline or my old roommate Rob’s rabbit that he didn’t want anymore, Scott would welcome you. And for those who would say that his passing so early on in life is a tragedy that could have been prevented; prevented with prudence or moderation to them I would say that there are those of us who would prefer to live our OWN life as opposed to a LONG life by someone else’s rules. Thank you!”
It was an awesome day! A difficult, nerve-wracking, heart-wrenching, confusing, sorrowful, unforgettable, awesome day and I really, really, really appreciate everyone who came out to show their love for Scotty. Everyone who laughed and cried and drank and shared, you made my day and I am sure a lot of others’ day as well. A few “thank yous” and “shouts out” to people who went above and beyond the make the day not only bearable but actually pretty darn okay:
I wanted to thank Skyler Cesarone for the beer, albeit Scott would never have touched an IPA I was very grateful, as I am sure most attendees were, that everyone could come together and raise a glass in Scott’s honor. Thank you so very much! Also, it was great catching up!
Sharon Lambert, I know you’ll never read this which is why I feel free to say that while I am fully aware that your eagerness to host my Father’s wake was not entirely egalitarian I nonetheless thank you so much for your hospitality, your reaching out to make the day possible and above all, your friendship with my Father which I know he valued a great deal. Also, I will be by later on tonight to pick up my Mom’s coat. See you then!
Those Pedersen Women, all of whom have married names now, and all of whom are my Sisters-in-law and for that I count myself amongst the luckiest gals alive. Thank you all for seeing that glazed look of confusion and uselessness in my eyes and knowing that it was your time to shine. When I could not handle it all three of you knew exactly when and how to take charge. You are a blessing to me and to everyone who knows you, of that I am sure!!!
Thank you to everyone who stepped up to share a story! I am sorry if there were any that I missed while I was out back sobbing in the horseshoe pit.
I know that just because we had a memorial does not mean that memorializing or remembering is over. It does help me, in the broader scope of things, to start to move on if such a thing can be done, but I will be celebrating Scott’s life every day for the rest of mine! I love you, Daddy! I miss you more than I can aptly express and I just hope that you are comfortable and happy and proud, wherever you are! XOXO

This was Supposed to Have a Happy Ending…But Alas

I was at work on Wednesday, in our usual Wednesday afternoon production meeting. When the meeting let out I sat down at my desk and, because I had no real work to do, started to write a post for my blog. I then checked my phone. I saw that I had two missed calls and 3 texts. The calls had come from my brother which could only mean one thing; my Dad was in the hospital again. The texts were from two of my Dad’s roommates and one from my brother. I picked up my phone and went into the hallway to call him back. I listened while he told me that Dad had passed out in Home Depot, that his heart had stopped and that his ICD (or implantable cardioverter defibrillator or, if you want to get technical, the “shock box” that lives in his chest) had not recovered him from the spell. His roommate/friend/special lady person (not going to get into that now because it could not be more irrelevant), Erica, was with him and luckily Erica is a nurse. She performed CPR on him for 15 minutes while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. I don’t know how many of you have ever performed CPR or even watched someone perform CPR but it is a monumentally difficult task, physically and emotionally, to sustain for even 5 minutes straight so to Erica I say thank you, thank Sweet Muscly Jesus for you and your being there.

When the paramedics arrived they took him to UW Valley Medical Center in Renton. He had hit his head when he went down…and now it occurs to me that I should probably explain why my Dad passes out all the times and ends up in the hospital all the time. About 10 years ago my Dad started passing out, no one knew why. He eventually had a spell that landed him in the hospital where they discovered that he had a golf-ball sized tumor ON his heart. The weird part is they had no idea how long it had been there. Some of the doctors thought it was possible that it had been there all his life and was just now starting to cause problems. After many pokings and proddings and tests it was determined that this enormous mass on his heart was not cancerous, not malignant and not really doing anything anyone could find fault with so he was released and told to go live his life. Which is exactly what he did, occasionally passing out along the way, until May of 2011. It was May 26th at about 8:45 in the morning and Dad was driving the service truck for his work when he passed out at the wheel.

kentpole-480x321

This is the actual picture of the actual remains of my Dad’s work truck taken from the Tacoma News Tribune.

After being taken to the hospital by paramedics and being cleared for any major life-threatening injuries, doctors began to examine why this was happening. It was determined that my Dad had Atrial Fibrillation (AF) which is the most common form of arrhythmia, a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. A-fib causes his heart to function at a significantly decreased efficiency than a normal, healthy heart. His A-fib is thought to be caused by or at least exacerbated by the mass on his heart and his A-fib has, ostensibly, caused him to develop congestive heart failure (his body, and chest in particular take on fluid at a rapid rate and because of his decreased heart function he is unable to move the fluid around and distribute it throughout his body causing enormous amounts of pressure to build up in his chest and on his lungs making it difficult for him to breathe) and the congestive heart failure causes him to pass out. After the accident in 2011 was when they installed the shock box in his chest. Since then he does not drive (legally anyhow) and was forced to quit working. His heart functions at about a level of 10% efficiency which, as you might imagine, is not too great.

When my Dad arrived at the hospital Wednesday afternoon he was going from bad to worse. He had to be intubated, he was unable to breathe on his own, his heart had stopped, completely, at least 6 times that the medical staff was able to determine from the cached data on his shock box, he had two heart attacks and had been defibrillated like 12 times. It was not looking good but his heart, we quickly learned, was to be least of our concerns.

After I spoke with my brother I decided to leave work. Something felt different about this time. I picked up Bo and headed down I-5. I was in downtown Seattle when I got another call from my brother, except when I answered it was his wife. She said “you’d better get down here” and proceeded to inform me that Dad was not breathing on his own and it was not looking good. I called Josh and asked him to meet me at the hospital; whatever was happening there I knew that I could not take Bo with me to see it. I got my visitor’s pass after handing Bo off to Josh and went into the ER. My sister-in-law was standing outside the room. She came up to me and delivered the broad strokes; he had hit his head, he had bleeding on his brain, they might have to do surgery, it would be tonight… I could barely stand up, everything around me went watery, nothing would hold still. I walked into the room, determined not to lose my shit, and promptly lost my shit. Dad was on a respirator, sedated, in a large room with every piece of intimidating medical equipment on the planet hooked up to him or shoved inside of him. It was not easy to see him underneath the confusing, twisted, labyrinth of medical technology.

Before I knew what was happening my brother and I were being swept out of the room by someone in neurosurgery who wanted to “speak with us about our options”, which sounded like a thinly veiled attempt at not being foreboding. It did not work. We were now in another room, a small room that had only one purpose; this is where they told you the bad news. An impossibly tall man with a gentle demeanor spoke to us about what we could expect from my father’s condition moving forward. It was all very vaguely worded and presented in hypotheticals. And then we were being lead back to the room of medical and technological marvels to be shown my father’s CT scan. The tall man pointed out the white, shadowy area that covered the better part of the left side of my Dad’s brain. The cardiologist joined us, admitting that the brain was not his area of expertise but his casual positivity seemed, if not encouraging, at least comforting.

I went out to the lobby and found Bo and Josh. I asked Josh to go grab me some cigarettes while I took Bo to the cafeteria to get something at least resembling dinner. I picked at a salad and Bo ignored everything in the way of food while he and another little boy at a nearby table struck up a lively conversation about the grossness of zombies. Josh called. We left the cafeteria and met him in the upper parking lot, presumably far enough away from the hospital proper where I could smoke without noticeably violating hospital rules. Just as I lit up my Mom and Aunt pulled up. We spoke briefly and I told them to go ahead and that I’d be in shortly. I got Bo’s things out of one car and put into the other, preparing him to go home with Josh. I got a call from my sister-in-law saying that the neurosurgeon was coming down and needed to talk to me and my brother.

I went back into the hospital after seeing off Josh and Bo. We went back into the tiny room where bad news is delivered. There were more of us in there now; me, my brother and sister-in-law, my mom and my aunt. The neurosurgeon was there with the tall man I now understood to be his surgical assistant. He had small, beady pig eyes like a dead shark or Tony Romo. He was wearing his surgery hat and had a faint air of dude-bro-ness about him. He started to explain that the bleeding on my father’s brain was quite severe. He said that surgery could relieve any pressure that might exist but it would also probably kill him; that with his heart and respiratory health he may not even survive anesthesia and that even if he survived surgery we would most like be a vegetable. Okay, so what happens if we don’t operate, doc? Well, if you don’t operate the swelling or pressure (if there is any) might go away on its own but your Dad will probably still be a vegetable. Don’t get me wrong, pig-eyes had a fine bedside manner and, frankly, getting him to give it to us straight did take a little cajoling.

The gist of what he was trying to say and only half succeeding was that brain injuries like the one my father had were typically traumatic and the likelihood that he would make anything close to a full recovery was not probable and, in his opinion not plausible. He basically said there was almost no chance that my father would be the same man he was before this ordeal. We were in a difficult spot. We had to decide between doing nothing and doing something but no matter what the results would not be good and would probably be the same. I, for one, could not see the point in having my Dad’s skull cut open to relieve pressure that might not exist in a procedure that would most probably kill him for the result of his definitely being on life support for the rest of forever…I mean, fiscally alone it did not make sense, let alone all those other really good reasons to not cut someone’s skull open. I was about to pass out and could not look at pig-eyes anymore so I left the room and went to my Dad. I sat by his bed and cried while holding his hand. I leaned into his ear and said, “Daddy? Can you hear me?” He opened his eyes and nodded. I said, “I love you.” and he mouthed around the respirator that he loved me too. I could simply not reconcile that he was a lost cause at that point, that he was as good as broccoli and we should all just save ourselves the trouble and pull the plug, which is pretty much what pig-eyes over in the other room was getting at.

Once the decision was made (with no help from me) to NOT operate my Dad was able to be moved upstairs to the ICU. His fate, at this point still seemed murky. It was difficult to determine how much communication he was capable of between the heavy sedation and the roadblock of intubation. For the next few hours we just went in and out of his room, getting him settled, trying to gauge the severity of his brain injury. Trying to shake off our Sophie’s Choice ordeal that was still haunting all of us. We was a little more awake now; Erica and her husband Andy (I told you, not now) had shown up and we all went into his room in shifts, two at a time. It was quickly determined that not only was Dad awake, he was aware of what was going on, he knew everyone who had come in to visit. In short, he was the same man as he had been that morning before the fall! We did not know what, if any, effects to his motor function had been suffered but we could breathe a little bit easier knowing that Dad was, from what we could tell, still Dad.

The other visitors trickled out of the ICU, leaving me, my brother and his wife. We decided food and whiskey were in order….okay they decided food was in order, I decided whiskey was in order. After whiskey and poutine and fried pickles and buffalo wings and tater tots or as I like to call it, grief’s smorgasbord, we went back to the hospital. I fell asleep for a little while on the fold-out chair. I woke up around 1 am and decided there wasn’t anything else I could do. I went home.

The next day he was off the respirator and breathing on his own. He was fully awake and aware, all in all, himself, that is to say he was ornery, cussing at the nursing staff and bitching about not being able to pee (he a tube up his pee-hole so he was able to pee just not in the earthy and satisfying way he wanted to).

The next few days were strange. We were still coming down off the high of knowing that Dad was not, as predicted, going to be a vegetable, but the road ahead of him was still roughly cobbled and dimly lit. On Friday evening he was moved out of the ICU which we all viewed as an immensely positive turn of events. His Mother and Sisters had come up California on Thursday (alerted and alarmed since we were told he was most likely going to be a shell of his former self); we spent the better part of Thursday assuring them that we did not jump the gun in calling them and that the night before we were told that his brain injury was most likely going to kill him because by the time their flight had landed on Thursday morning his brain injury had been all but forgotten.

Despite his ability to shake off an enormous blood clot on his brain as if it were nothing more than a hangnail he still had his heart to worry about. He struggled to breathe normally, exacerbated by the fact that the chest compressions from all the CPR he had endured on Wednesday had left his ribs deeply bruised making it nearly impossible for him to draw a deep breath or cough.

He was moved back into the ICU on Saturday night/early Sunday morning because of trouble breathing. I went down to the hospital on Sunday before I had to work. He had not been intubated, thankfully, but he was wearing an oxygen mask or bi-pap but he was able to talk while wearing it and able to take it off at times. My brother, his wife and I sat in Dad’s room for hours, joking and laughing, sometimes with Dad and sometimes at him; Ian (my brother) worked on RC car body he was preparing to paint, Kayrn (his wife) played a puzzle game on her phone and joked with me while I sketched in one of my many books. At one point Dad suggested that a unicorn I had drawn on the whiteboard hanging up in his hospital room should “shove its horn up the nurse’s ass”. It was a beautiful day outside and the room had huge, south-facing windows and was flooded with light. I helped my Dad drink soda and told him what his oxygen saturation levels were when he obsessively asked every 74 seconds. When I had to leave for work around 4 in the afternoon I hugged him and kissed his forehead and told him that I loved him and that I would see him the next day.

hospital white board 1

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I started writing this on Sunday night and it was supposed to be a story about how my Dad beat the odds, refusing to succumb to the grim predictions of the neurosurgeon who said he was going to be a vacant invalid for his remaining days, if, in fact he had any days remaining at all.

My Dad passed away yesterday morning just before 6 am.

Not All Stepmothers Are Wicked but Mine Was

I recently read the Facebook post of a friend’s son who was having some trouble with a step-parent. It seemed like it went well beyond the normal teenage, “you’re not my real dad” bullshit. It sounded like the step-parent in question was really, truly awful. In any case I just wanted to reassure this young person that what they are feeling is valid and that others have been there before. I wanted to share my story with him…maybe it will help, maybe it will help me.

My parents split up when I was 10. To be painfully accurate they told my brother and I they were getting a divorce exactly one week before my 10th birthday. To be fair they had their reasons for the timing; I was born on their 3rd wedding anniversary and who can really blame them for not wanting to suffer through another celebration of their love for one another that no longer existed. I remember my 10th birthday party; it was perfect, a beach party on Lake Sammamish at Idlewood Park on a gorgeous August afternoon. I got the “Lil’ Swimmer” Cabbage Patch doll after which I had been pining. Everything should have been wonderful but I could not feel anything. I knew I was supposed to be happy, but I just could not find it inside myself.

But time marches on as it is wont to do. Less than a year after the divorce my Dad remarried, choosing for his second wife, in his infinite wisdom, Gail Deering. A former high school…girlfriend is the wrong word but you kind of get what I mean…of his who had recently appeared back in his life…as if by MAGIC! In any case she would have had you believe that in all the interim years she had done nothing but pine away for my father. What she was really doing in those interim years was getting pregnant at 17. She married the father of her twins (yes twins, a boy and a girl), Joe. Joe died when the babies were about 2, I think it was a car accident or motorcycle accident and I am fairly certain that alcohol and/or (most probably “and”) drugs were involved. At that point Gail decided that raising two babies on her own was too hard so she left the twins with her mother (who had obviously done a stellar job with her) in favor of biker gangs and heroin.

It was a good life but one can only make a respectable living off the money they earn hustling pool and arm wresting for so long before they start to yearn for life’s simpler pleasures; settling down, making a permanent home somewhere, reconnecting with your abandoned children and their social security checks, etc. And that was Gail in a nutshell; she was always trying to run a hustle. She never worked while I knew her and she was almost always in the process of litigation with former employers over an on-the-job injury or an L&I claim or a disability claim. She worked very hard to not have to work. Which was good because her lifestyle of drinking all day didn’t really jibe with full-time employment anyhow.

Gail was an alcoholic (at first). Not to say that my Dad is not an alcoholic but to this day I could count on one hand and have fingers left over the amount of times I have actually seen my Dad “drunk”. Gail was drunk every night. She was a large, brutish woman and a mean drunk. I always marveled at my Dad’s ability to maintain a blind spot for what a mean-spirited human being she was. I had never met anyone prior to Gail in whom I could find absolutely no redeeming qualities. And I did not want to feel that way about her. I did not want to play out some ridiculous, archetypal, fairytale horror show starring none other than THE WICKED STEPMOTHER! But that was what I got.

Once when I was twelve, and spending the weekend at my Dad’s, Gail and Dad had been drinking all day which led to Gail and Dad fighting all evening. I watched my father get so angry with her that he put his fist through the laundry room door. Her response to this was to hit my father over the head with a dining room chair. She literally broke a solid-wood dining chair over his goddamn head. In the midst of the chaos and the screaming I demanded to be taken out of that house immediately. I gathered up my things while Gail flung a litany of curses at me and my father. I was a “spoiled little bitch” and “a wimp” and “a little fucking princess” for not wanting to watch my father endure another blow to head with whatever piece furniture was next on her hit list. My Dad agreed to take me to his mom’s house. I don’t know why I did not ask to be taken home, to my Mom, but I think there was an unspoken agreement that that was a humiliation my Dad was simply unable to bear after all the other indignities he had suffered. I stood on the side of Highway 9 in the driving rain while my Dad called his mother’s house from a pay phone. There was blood running down the side of his head and out of his ear when he turned to me, while waiting for someone on the other end of the phone to pick up, and said “I think I made a mistake.” That was 1992. Fifteen years later he finally left her.

For fifteen years I was mostly estranged from my father because my stepmother made it too difficult to have a relationship with him. For fifteen years I wondered how he could be so blind, how could he not see what she was doing to us? For fifteen years I genuinely and earnestly wished my stepmother dead. For fifteen years of I was afraid to visit or call my Dad because I would have to go through her. 

In the last 10 years of their marriage Gail’s behavior grew more erratic as her alcohol and drug abuse grew more inclusive and indiscriminate. She abused prescription pain killers to the point that she had gone into cardiac arrest twice in as many months and she wasn’t even 40 years old. She began to traffic drugs, selling pain killers that she would get from her croaker of a doctor and using the money to buy meth or other street drugs. All the while my Dad remained either in denial or complacent due to the income brought in by the selling of drugs.

Towards the end she was painfully thin (having always been on the heavy side before), covered in sores, withered well beyond her years and always high on one thing or the other. But it wasn’t until she got a gun that my dad decided that whatever he might have to give up, it was not worth risking his life. He took off in the middle of night and left her, his house, all his belongings, every photograph, every possession and he had never been a richer man, for he was free.

I remember when I found out that he had left Gail; it was as if I became 50 pounds lighter. I was thrilled for my Dad, thrilled for us, thrilled at the possibility of a real relationship with him! And I was so angry that he hadn’t done it sooner. I don’t know if I will ever fully forgive him for the years we lost.

About 3 or 4 years after my Dad and Gail had split up he called me. I was at work; I remember it was just after Bo was born and I was sitting in the slipper chair at the shop nursing him when my cell phone rang. It was my Dad, telling me that Gail had (finally) died (of a drug overdose because DUH!). Into the phone said the first thing that came to my mind, “Well,” I sighed, “Ding-Dong!”. I had wished for it for so long, so many times but I knew that when it actually happened I would feel a little bit bad, but you know what? I totally didn’t, that bitch can rot in hell for all I care and I am glad she is gone. She was a fucking cancer and she corroded everything she touched.

I know this story doesn’t offer any salient advice or some great moral or lesson…other than if you wait long enough, all the people you hate will eventually die. I just wanted to let my young friend know that I understand what he is going through and if he ever needs to talk….well, you know where I am.

Also, sorry this isn’t funny. I promise to be less depressing very soon! XOXO