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Hipstercrite: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

No. 6- A Partially True Story

God, you are beautiful.

"What kind of sandwich do you want?" the bitter, nonplussed Subway Restaurant employee keeps asking me, but I'm not listening. You are at the head of the line and all I'm focusing on is getting you to turn around and look at me.

"Ma'am, what do you want on your sandwich?"

I'm standing in a Subway Restaurant somewhere in the middle of Koreatown, Los Angeles and there you are and here am I and I'm not going to let you walk out of this building without noticing me.

"Oh, I'd like a tuna fish sandwich please. Lettuce and tomatoes, but probably no onions. My co-workers have put a strict ban on onions for me. They also told me that I had to order the tuna salad sandwich because they like the way I say, "salad", I have a tendency to make my "a's" exaggerated because I'm from Upstate NY.

Lauren, what are you doing? Stop talking!

"They also make fun of the way I say, "pants". Paaaants."

The employee is looking at me like I'm a huge asshole.

"And platter."

Stop it.

"And squash."

Oh my God, you are turning around. You are looking at me. You are smiling at me. Your eyes are like pictures of waterfalls I've seen in distant countries that I will never visit.

I think I love you.

"I was told I couldn't eat onions anymore too," you say to me.

"Gwehrjerhtrhgjblah," I say in return.

Wait, why are you talking to me? You're too good looking.

"Do you work around here?" you ask.

"No. I mean yes. I mean kind of....?"

"Where do you work?"

"Over there," and I point to a dilapidated bodega nestled on Wilshire Boulevard. "I mean, down over there. Somewhere over there..." Regain your thoughts. "I mean in Hollywood. I work in Hollywood!" There you go.

"Oh really! Do you work in the film business?"

"Yeah, I work in production. I'm an assistant."

"That's so cool. Yeah, I moved here not too long ago to work in the business."

You hand me your card. I look down at a miniature version of your beautiful face smiling back at me.

Dear Lord, you're a fucking actor.

I hand you my card.

"Lauren, huh? I'm *Matt, nice to meet you. Let's grab coffee sometime."

"FGhdsfkjdlfjkgjfklgjfg," is all I can muster as I walk out the door to amble through the wild streets of Koreatown and make my way back to "over there".


"What are you doing tonight?" a text flashes across my Cingular 8525.

What am I doing tonight? It's my 24th birthday and I'm doing absolutely nothing. In fact, I have barely reminded a soul that it is my birthday. Every birthday since I've turned 16 has paled in comparison to the excitement that came with every birthday before then, so I just gave up on trying to enjoy them.

That and I'm going through an existential crisis.

"Who is this?" I text back.

"It's Matt. Want to grab a drink downtown?"

Downtown. My favorite place in Los Angeles. The darkened void on the map of LA. A place forgotten by the working class and inhabited by a small village of drifting hearts.

A man after my own heart.

"Sure I get done at 7:00." I text back.

"Can you swing by my place? I don't have a car. :("

The all encompassing frowny face.

An actor and has no car. I'm only 23, turning 24 and obviously don't have the life experiences yet to tell me to turn the other way. No amount of jokes about such a species in Los Angeles from seasoned and jaded lady friends will deter me away from you.

To be continued, cause I need to work...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cary Grant is the Reason You Can't Get Laid

Is your love life in shambles? Do you find yourself repeating the same mistakes over and over? Do you feel like you will never meet the right guy or girl, or when you do meet them, they don't seem to want you? Well, put down that copy of "Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus" that you never read anyways and listen to me very carefully; I have found the answer:

Your love life is in the shitter all because of Cary Grant.

Every man wants to be Cary Grant and every woman wants Cary Grant, but the truth is, Cary Grant doesn't exist. He never existed. Cary Grant was even quoted as saying, "Yeah, that sweet ass mo-fo up on the big screen? He's not real." In real-life, Archibald Leach could be a real f'ing turd. His first wife claimed that he hit her and his fourth wife, Dyan Cannon, alleged that he would spank her during rows (that part doesn't sound that bad).

Cary Grant was the perfect illusion of what a real man should be- dignified and diplomatic, impeccable manners, chiseled features, entertaining and humorous, yet with a hint of melancholy. Generations of women hold the standard that there is a Cary Grant out there for them, they've been told since birth that they deserve no less, but when he fails to show up on their doorstep with a corsage in one hand and a brandy and cigarette in the other, they pick the closest Burgess Meredith or Peter Lorre they can find. The women become resentful of their men and the men begin to feel inadequate and underappreciated. Then the fighting starts happening and the sex stops ("why don't you want to wear that three piece suit and hair oil that I bought you!?"). Then the cheating starts, the courtship completely unravels, wars break out in tiny countries, and the ozone layer becomes a little more depleted all because of Cary Grant.

To Cary Grant! The man that makes me question whether or not I can participate in necrophilia!

Here is the trailer to one of my absolute faves, Bringing Up Baby.
Talk about ahead of it's time. This shit is funnier that most of the stuff out there now COMBINED.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

54 Flavors of Choice Fatigue

In 2008, I left my career in the film business to suspend myself in the air. The bubble had burst, but I still stood there motionless. No longer wanting to work the industry I had loved since I was a little girl, I vehemently pulled my foundation up from Los Angeles, only to be left standing there with the roots in my hands, clueless as to where to start planting. The vastness of options before me left me ambivalent. I had a couple of near getaways, only to come crawling back to Los Angeles dismayed and disoriented. I spent the summer wandering aimlessly around my life. Until one day I decided to take control....

Towering before me amongst the big sky backdrop of Suburbia, Texas, stood a Super Wal-Mart and Super Target.

I needed toothpaste and undereye concealer- a necessity ever since 7th grade when classmates interpreted my dark circles as a deep love for crack cocaine. I typically would not shop at either place, but having been new to this neck of the woods, there was something safe and familiar with the old heavyweights of convenience.

Choosing which super store to go into was easy. I thought back to the night I ended up curled into a ball, crying, screaming at the TV set, and collapsing from the weight of fear for the world after watching the documentary, "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price". Though Target has had it's fair share of controversy regarding worker's rights, ultimately the corporation is far more socially conscious than Walmart.

At least that is what I tell myself at night.

The Super Target I entered boasted a grocery store and retail store. Anything you could possibly want can be found there. You can furnish your entire house, fill up your refrigerator, spruce up your closet, and entertain yourself with a plethora of options at Super Target. Want California grown avocados? Super Target's got 'em! Want visually displeasing bedding from a sell-out designer? Look no further! Need your fix of forced sardonic dialogue and excessive pop culture references? Get the entire series of "Gilmore Girls" on Super Target!

It's easy to get side tracked at Super Target. I found myself wandering into the produce section, picking up fixings for a salad, then subsequently veering into the condiment aisle. I stood, staring at an entire wall of salad dressings. Now, I have difficultly choosing a salad dressing to begin with. At one point two years ago, I had 13 salad dressings in my refrigerator to represent my indecisiveness with life. I scanned from top to bottom to see what Kraft in particular had to offer me. Kraft had to offer over 50 different types of salad dressing there at Super Target that day.

54 types to be exact.

I counted out every single one, loudly.

For example, this is what one had to chose from if one liked Italian dressing:

Zesty Italian
Tuscan House Italian
Creamy Italian
Golden Italian
Caesar Italian
Italian Vinaigrette
Free Caesar Italian
Free Zesty Italian
Light Done Right Italian
Carb Well Light Italian
Carb Well Italian
House Italian Reduced Fat
Light Done Right House Italian
Reduced Fat Light Done Right Zesty Italian
Reduced Fat Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan
Special Collection Caesar Italian with Oregano
Special Collection Classic Italian Vinaigrette
Special Collection Italian Pesto
Special Collection Parmesan Italian with Basil
Three Cheese Italian

The phrase "choice fatigue" came to mind.

"Choice fatigue" or "choice overload" is the theory that too many choices leads to paralysis in decision making and unhappiness with life. Well, I think I had just proved that idea correct. I stood there in the salad dressings for 20 minutes. I bounced from intrigue to confusion to pissiness. I left the salad dressings completely empty-handed, exhausted, and angry.

When I discovered the theory of "choice fatigue" earlier that year, it was as if a light had been turned on. Being a frustrated, nonplussed twenty-something, this explained a lot of things. Everyone nowadays is faced with countless options in their daily life, but Generation Y was born into it. In the beginning of 2008, I quit my career. I wasn't happy and I didn't know why. I purposely cleared my slate and decided to start from the scratch. I then spent the following months confused and immobile. I could go in any direction. The possibilities were infinite. The infiniteness terrified me. I could go back to school. I could move anywhere in the world. I could try to climb the corporate ladder. I could not shave my legs and paint fucking leprechauns all day (not fucking leprechauns but fucking leprechauns).

We're told we can do EVERYTHING, and by God, I was afraid to do anything. Normally a girl who always knew what she wanted, I felt like I was drowning in the sea of options. I thought long and hard on why I felt such paralysis. Why does choice make life more difficult? Nothing is permanent, yet why do we lay such burden on our decisions? Is it because our lives are temporary and making the wrong choice could set us back precious time? Or have we just gotten too exhausted (or too lazy) to contemplate multiple thoughts nowadays? I realized that for me, is was the former. Then it hit me. I'm losing more valuable time by being afraid. Yes, we're pelted by the assault rifle of options on a daily basis, but we can't let it stop us from living our lives. I made a u-turn with my shopping cart and headed back to the salad dressings. I picked out two salad dressings that day and it felt good. That evening I had the most delicious salad I had ever tasted. A salad made with the freedom I had found in making a choice.

Any choice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why You Frownin', Baby?

While I work on climbing past my gigantic monolith of creative lackluster, I will lazily present to you some posts from my other blog, Baby Hipsters.

Also, please check out the wit and wisdom of The Hitch List, possibly one of my favorite blogs ever and a contributor on Baby Hipsters.

(Send me photos at hipsterbabies at gmail dot com!)

On his way to a date with a publishing assistant, Mike stopped at the local book store to pick up the Cliff Notes of Infinite Jest only to find that they don’t exist and that no employee or customer at the store could actually explain to him what the book was about.

“And this is my boyfriend, Slade, er, wait, are we officially dating now? Molly turns to Slade for confirmation, but only gets a blank stare in return. Molly backtracks her sentence, “This is the dude I’m sleeping with on the weekends after 11PM…”

After her boyfriend left her for their bike mechanic Atticus, and her trust fund ran out while in the middle of an impetuous pilgrimage to India, Yvette finally understand ten years after her 10th grade English class what being under the bell jar really meant.

Realizing that she could no longer live up to her boyfriend's Zooey Deschanel fantasies, Jennifer figured it was best to dump him and use the fodder towards writing a quirky indie screenplay

It wasn’t until Emily caught herself not leaving the grocery store so she could listen to “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates in it’s entirety that she realized that she was turning into her mother. But it was when she immediately went home and bought tickets to see the duo at the local state fair that she finally admitted to herself that her childhood was officially dead.

Eva had become so accustomed to posing pigeon-toed in her Lookbook photos that she eventually developed a crippling case of arthritis.

Jamie figured that a day at Coney Island dressed as Hunter S. Thompson was just the creative stimulus he needed to finish his roman a clef.

During the company Christmas party, Sammy thought it would be funny to end his staff motivational speech with, “The guy wearing the $4,000 suit is holding the elevator for the guy who doesn’t make that in four months! COME ON!” However, Sammy misgauged his staff’s taste in contemporary television pop culture and ended up offending about half of his work force.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Twenty-something lament.
I thought I pushed you out of a moving car on Route 10 somewhere near Lordsburg, New Mexico?
How did you drag your skanky, lumpy ass to Austin and find me?

I'd like to think that I suffer from depression, but I don't. I suffer from nothing remotely near that.
In fact, I suffer from nothing at all.
I. absolutely. do. not. suffer.

The only adversity I face is not having the emotional resources to handle becoming an adult.

Right now is one of those times.

And it's at these times I think of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" (and at no time do I think of The Dixie Chick's "Landslide"):

"Oh mirror in the sky, what is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I handle the changing ocean tide? Can I handle the seasons of my life?"

But then I wonder what the hell mirror she's talking about? Is this the mirror that Stevie did lines of coke on to help her deal with the ocean tides? Cause if so, I don't have a bunch of nose candy and gigantic metaphorical plates of glasses to help me deal with getting older. I handle rough patches with buying Wendy's every night, staring at it, never touching it, and putting it in the fridge as if I'm going to eat it the next day. I handle it by giving up on grooming habits and one day noticing that my cootch looks like a Muppet drunkenly tried shaving it's own head. I handle it by watching the same episodes of "Arrested Development" over and over trying to learn Gob's "Final Countdown" dance and ultimately throwing myself down on the floor and crying when I can't master it or trying to strip along to Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease and ultimately throwing myself down on the floor and crying when I realize I have the same level of sexiness as Gene Wilder.

I'm turning 27 next month and I thought I had it all figured out.
Yep, I knew it all.
However, I've come to realize that the only thing I've figured out is that we'll never have it all figured out.

We go to college, study a major that we're convinced holds the key to our future, only to discover that we can't imagine spending the rest of our lives working in that field. We get a job, the sort of job we've dreamed about for years, only to discover that we'd rather be doing something else. We meet a partner, a person you can see yourself spending an extended period of time with, or maybe even forever, only to discover that they don't feel the same way. We go out into the world shouting, "Hey World! Take a look at me!" only to discover that no one is really expecting you.

The last time I felt this way, I uprooted my life in Los Angeles and moved to Austin, Texas where I knew no one and had no job. The puzzle pieces that I could not fit together in Los Angeles seemed to.....blah blah blah boring...let's get to the fucking fun stuff!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Can't We Be Ourselves Like We Were Yesterday

"Do you see that?"

I didn't see it. I wasn't even looking.
Jimmy quickly pulls the car off the PCH and into the moonlit parking lot overlooking Malibu.

"What the hell is that?"

My head feels like a lead weight against the seat belt holder. I haven't taken my eyes off the road for the past hour.

"Lil, look."

Jimmy's long finger nail pushes into the bottom of my chin.

"Look," he says softly in my ear.

The warm wind feels heavy on my eyelids and it is at this precise moment I recognize every muscle in my face.
Off in the distance looms an object with a greenish glow, hovering six inches off the dash board, hundreds of feet off of the horizon.

"What do you think that is?" Jimmy asks rhetorically.

Such aberrant occurrences in Los Angeles lost their credible intrigue decades ago.
Their mystique only finds a home in the ones searching for a symbol.
Maybe this was my sign.
I focus on the object and burn it's memory onto the back of my eyelids.
This will come home with me tonight.

Jimmy pulls the car up the driveway.
When I open my eyes the expectation of seeing the object still hovering off in the distance takes my breathe away.
But it's no longer there.
A coyote barks not far below me and for a second, the wind carries up the smell of decomposition. Our neighbor came over yesterday to say that their dog, Johnny Cash, got loose and I can't help but think it's him I smell.

"What do you think happened to Johnny Cash?" I say to Jimmy.

"He died a few years ago," he says, barely listening to me as he walks towards the house.

Through the kitchen window I see people dancing to the muted rumble of Morrissey. My living room is filled with beautiful people that I don't know.
I stand in place in the driveway.
Anywhere other than here is the only thought in my mind.
I climb into the back seat of the covertible and fall asleep.

The car's weight shifts and I feel someone wedging their arms underneath my dress.

"There you are! It's time to go in," Jimmy says.

"But what happened to the green light?" I say.

Jimmy carries me to the back of the house, past the kids pouring wine into the pool, past the boy pissing on my flowers.
I'm too tired to say anything. Too tired to care.
Jimmy stops to talk to our friend Jacqueline in the kitchen and I feel safe against Jimmy's concave chest.

"Is she dead?" I hear someone jokingly say to Jimmy, then the sound of someone unsnapping the jeweled hairclip from my head...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Need to Return Some Videotapes

My super charming, middle-aged best friend from Germany who once froze a dead cat because he didn't want the owner to think it passed away so quickly on his watch so he was going to microwave it right before the she came back from vacation, thinks I'm ahead of the curve when it comes to the movie/music/art scenes.
That is a fallacy.
I only give the illusion that I am. Just like how many people think I'm tall because I've been wearing heels since I was 13 (like my grandmother, which practice recently got her in trouble on the treadmill where she fell and broke her wrist). I'm typically anywhere from 2-6 months behind the latest music/movies/books which is why this blog will never be on the cutting edge for knowledge thirsty hipsters. Unless you want to know anything about Pee-Wee Herman, then I'm super on the ball.
So, I'm SURE you've already seen this video below. I typically don't post videos on my blog (unless it's Pee-Wee Herman), but this one I just can't resist. It sandwiches together possibly my two favorite things on this planet (besides Pee-Wee Herman)- "This Must be the Place" by Talking Heads and Bret Easton Ellis. Let me share with you how much I love each:
This Must be the Place-
-According to Itunes, I have listened to over 5,000. That does not include listening to it in the car or on various computers and Ipods through the past ten years I have loved this song. There is a good chance that everyone in my life secretly hates me for this and has never told me.
-I want this song played at my wedding and funeral. I don't give a shit what my husband wants.
-If I ever get a tattoo, it will be of the first line in this song, "Home is where I want to be, pick me up and turn me 'round". Or a mural of Pee-Wee's Playhouse on my chest.
-I distinctly recall the first time I ever heard this song. I was sixteen years old and had rented the 15th Anniversary Re-release of Stop Making Sense on DVD. Within the first few seconds of hearing the keyboards juxtaposed with David Byrne's minimalist photography onscreen, I was hooked.
Bret Easton Ellis-
- I own and have read all his books (except for friggin' GLAMORAMA, that one is like pulling teeth)
-I used to read LESS THAN ZERO every time I flew from L.A. to back home in NY. However, instead of cocaine and models, it was flannels and Keystone light.
-I shop at Oliver Peoples and exercise a daily facial cleansing regiment. A very serious facial cleansing regiment.
And this Talking Heads/Bret Easton Ellis combo is totally fitting considering that Bret Easton Ellis typically quotes Talking Heads songs in his novels and Talking Heads wrote a song call "Psycho Killer". They're practically BFFs now.
With all this being said, the cover below sucks ass (I'm sorry Miles Fisher, you're insanely adorable and do an excellent performance in this music video, but the cover sounds like it should be on Radio Disney).
So start your morning off right with Patrick Bateman's cover of "This Must be the Place".

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Where Is My Three-Piece Powder Blue Suit?

Religion and I are like a baby and a cat sitting in a room together. They both have a general interest in one another, but stay clear in case the meeting might go awry and the risk of someone losing an eye seems possible.

I'm technically Jewish, though moreso in spirit than in practice. My extent of being a Jew is limited to sometimes introducing myself to people with the added addendum as almost a preemptive excuse for what they're about to deal with. Much like how my father obnoxiously wears the badge of ADHD when meeting new people.

"Hi, my name is Karl. Nice to meet you. If my line of eyesight slowly drifts from you while you're speaking and then I interject with a random comment about a squirrel running behind you, don't mind it, I just have ADHD."

Mine would go something like,

"Hi, my name is Lauren. If you get to know me long enough, I might ultimately pull some guilt trips on you, or go into long rambling tangents about myself that I think are romantic in a Woody Allen-esque way. I may talk with my hands to an annoying degree and I give you permission to hold my hands still. I also give you permission to tell me if I'm talking too much about myself. That probably has more to do with me being an only child than be Jewish though. By the way, what is your name again?"

My Grandmother was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household which turned her off from the religion all together and she raised my mother agnostic who in turn raised me agnostic. My mother and I have both feel jipped in this scenario and have individually tried reclaiming our Jewish heritage as much as possible. Mom mostly talking about reclaiming it and me attending various friends' Seders and getting heartburn.

Since my religious upbringing is as gray as the skies of Scranton, Pennsylvania, I typically just go about my day, not really thinking about religion at all, but occassionaly waking up in a cold sweat realizing that I have nothing comforting to think about for the afterlife.

However there are those times in my life when I feel uninspired and mentally stagant. The times where I find myself stopping in mid-conversation and going, "I think my brain just took a dump." These are the times that I decide studying and experiencing as many religions at once is the only cure.

This recent episode of restlessness landed me at a Southern Baptist Church.
And boy, was it glorious.

Attending a Southern Baptist church has been an ambition of mine for many years. Having grown up in Upstate New York, our churches are grand, cold, stiff, and chock full of even colder and stiffer white people. As a high schooler I had dreams of traveling through the deep South in a '55 Thunderbird, dressed as a 1950's evangelist, and dropping in on backwoods churches and swampy diners.

I often catch my neighbor, Mr. Simpson, sitting on his front stoop with his Bible. He is a God-fearing man, but rarely brings up the topic in our conversations. He had mentioned a church that he attends on the Eastside, but hadn't been to lately. I asked if we could maybe go together which he in turn took as a sign from God to get his ass into Church. It's the only time in my life that someone felt that God spoke through me. If God actually did, I wish it instilled a tingling sensation or something like it.

Sunday came and I got dressed in my Sunday finest, making sure not to put on any American Apparel. I picked up Mr. Simpson and we drove east until we reached a monstrous chapel sitting out on the hillside. As we walked up to the church, I could see the windows vibrating in their panes. The mumbled thunder of singing and clapping permeated through the cracks in the door . I held my breath and as I opened the door, it was as if someone put a pair of headphones on my head and pressed the on button. A wave of energy rushed over me and carried me to the closest seat, where I sat, wide-eyed and awe-struck for the next two hours.

If there was ever a moment that I wish I wasn't me, it was during that sermon. If there was ever a moment that I wish I had a hat with a bow that touched the sky or a three piece powder blue suit it was during that sermon. If there was ever a time I wish that I got down on my knees and cried and cried until someone had to pick me up it was during that sermon. The sheer girth of emotion running through that church was almost enough to make me a believer on the spot. I wanted to stand up and sing and wave my hands in the air and wipe the steady flow of tears from eyes and sing, "Thank ya Jee-zus!" over and over, but I was too mesmerized to do any of that. Instead I listened to every word, watched every gesture, and took in the overwhelming certainty and love the churchgoers had for their God. In a way, I was envious.

The sermon ended and Mr. Simpson and I grabbed lunch. He said to me over tacos that he hopes I open my heart up to God. I told him I wasn't making any promises. Later that evening I thought about what Mr. Simpson said that the sermon we attended. Though I walked away feeling exactly the same as I had before in regards to God and religion, there was one thing I became sure of and that is the undeniable power of the human spirit.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mom, Don't Read This One, OK?

I've always prided myself on being an extremely self-aware person ("self-aware"= narcissistic only child). However, I have extreme difficulty writing about matters close to my heart. Matters that make me feel sensations other than hungry, tired, or gassy.

The Queen of All Matters Of the Heart is my mother. A woman that I so closely resemble in appearance, manner, and ethic that it's near impossible to find any objectivity when talking about this woman. She and I are the symbolic definition of the greatest "Awkward Family Photo". The fact that no clothing synchronized photo of us running through a florous ravine exists is surprising and disappointing.

(not my Mother and I or anyone that I know or care to know)

Mom, this post may be addressed to you, but I was serious about you not reading it.
I know you'll call me later after seeing this on Facebook and say, "I saw that you wrote a post about me...." and there will be an awkward moment of silence, then I'll have to explain that it's actually a very nice essay about you, but it may contain swear words and exaggerated truths that I don't think you're ready to hear. And I don't want to have to do that.

So this letter below is to you, Mom. The Joan Crawford to my Christina. The Big Edie to my Little Edie.
But don't read it.

Mom, this post is insanely difficult to write. Thanks a lot.
I've been staring at the computer screen whining and awkwardly playing with various flabs of skin trying to come up with something. What do I say? That I've completely taken for granted the emotional and monetary support that you have given me my whole life? That though I know I'm a good daughter, I still feel there are not enough words in the world to adequately thank you for the sacrifices that you made and the struggles that you faced in order to make sure I had an absolutely perfect childhood? How do I apologize for getting mad at you when you cramped on Dad's "Good Time Dad" style when in actuality you were making sure that neither he or I ended up dead in a ditch from some adventure-seeking experiment gone awry? How do I thank you for being my number one fan? The person who encouraged me to wear bow ties and suspenders in 8th grade, though everyone in school called me "a dyke". The person who told me it was ok to be different and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. How am I able to thank you for the woman you made me today? A slightly neurotic one, but still a club where I would definitely have me as a member nonetheless.

I know we've had our ups and downs, but it's mostly been a smooth ride due to your unwavering releasement of the Jewish quilt trips. You may have kept me in line with that ploy as a child, but my therapist said it was ok to let you know when you're being ridiculous. And no, calling you ridiculous does not mean that I think you're "stupid". There you go again.

Please bear with me during this time of twenty-something lament where I talk about me all the time and don't ask you about your day. You know that I love talking to you, but we also need to get you out of that one horse town so we can have conversations that aren't twenty minutes of waxing poetic on the new Super Wal-mart in town. You're way too big for this World, Mom. You deserve better than Super Wal-Marts and towns where their claim to fame is being the #1 most incestuous city in New York state.

You deserve bigger. You deserve brighter. You deserve passion and love and goodness and everything in between. It's time to leave home and start living. Sixty is never too late. I may just be going out into the world, but so are you. Let's fucking rock this joint, huh?

Oodles and Pickles,

Mannequin Babies

Mannequin babies like to go to work with Mommy wearing the same exact outfit.
Skippy is giving Mommy problems with his beret. He keeps wanting to take it off.
Mommy doesn't understand why Skippy keeps taking off the wool beret.
Mommy is wearing the beret so Skippy has to wear it too.
The beret makes you look nice, Skippy!
Don't take off the damn beret!

This kid is a real pain in the ass, Mommy thinks.
So what if it's 102 degrees out?
The beret compliments the outfit!
The outfit will not be the same without the beret!
Mommy and Skippy have to match!

Smile for the camera, Skippy!
Look up!
Don't touch the damn beret or we're going back inside and we're changing out of matching outfits.
You want that?
I didn't think so.
Now smile.

Look in that window, Skippy.
See what happens to mannequin babies that talk back to Mommy?
They get placed in American Apparel windows and forced to wear lamé leggings.
You don't want your bow tie taken away from you, do you?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

When I Talked to You, I Could Tell That You Were Already Gone

It's interesting how when life happens, the last thing that you care about is being funny.

These past few weeks have have been challenging on many fronts. Most particularly because the only man that I've known as a grandfather, the man who was most consistently rooted in my life, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease recently.

And though it shouldn't come as a huge surprise, it always is, isn't it?

You overlook that turn down the wrong street to get home, or the repetition of a story that you've heard a hundred times before, brushing it off as simply old age. Nothing to worry about. However, when Grandma told me last week that Lionel informed the doctors that the year was 1999, the depth of reality finally sunk in.

I asked Grandma to put me on the phone with him. I needed to hear the Lionel I was used to. The jokey Lionel, the little kid Lionel, the man I always brush off when teasing me about something or other. "Oh Lionel, you're crazy! Put Grandma on the phone!" Lionel was a noodge; the sort of guy you really didn't like, but you kind of loved.

Grandma put him on the phone and I waited with baited breath for the husky, excitable voice to come over the line, but it never came. Instead I heard someone I didn't recognize. Something broken. It was the voice of a man who deep down understands his fate but is unwilling to acknowledge it. Who would? Who wants to say to themselves, "I am forgetting my life"?

We exchanged a few pleasantries and he quickly handed the phone back to my Grandmother.

How did this happen? It was only four months ago that I saw him and he was fit as ever. Still going to the gym five days a week, still slapping Grandma's ass, still sneaking into the freezer to down a gallon of ice cream.

"Grandma, is he still slapping your ass?" I asked her.

"No... I feel so bad." She said. My Grandmother absolutely despised how Lionel teased her, but I could tell for the first time, she missed it.

We all miss it.

Lionel Fleischer was born in 1927 to a Jewish clothing retailer and his wife in Upstate New York. His father had a string of successful women's department stores named Fleischer's that was to be passed down to his only son. At 20 years of age, the spry and handsome Lionel managed a bevy of beautiful shopgirls at his father's store, but was smitten by a young Gentile named Maryanne. The two quickly married and moved into a picture perfect house in an upper class neighborhood of Syracuse, NY, where they eventually welcomed three sons. However, the marriage didn't come without it's problems and Lionel sheepishly admits that he, "screwed around" on his wife. The couple divorced and Lionel spent the next couple of decades as a free agent, enjoying the success of his businesses, raising his sons, dating pretty ladies, and wearing quite possibly the ugliest hair piece that I've ever seen.

It was in the early 1980's that Lionel's life was to change. It was then that he met the beautiful Sandra and instantly fell in love. The two married and Lionel became a father figure to her two young sons. The couple's ideal courtship came to a halt when the forty-something Sandy was diagnosed with cancer. Determined to save her, Lionel spent the better part of his savings making sure that Sandy got the best treatment possible. Unfortunately, after a long and difficult battle, she succumbed to the disease and forever left a giant hole in Lionel's heart.

Many years went by and Lionel didn't even think of dating another woman until he met a sassy Jewish lady that fell and broke her hip in the building that he owned. My Grandmother to this day still wears high heels and it was on that fateful day that her heel got stuck in an uprooted tile in our city marketplace. This caused her to break her hip and have her lifted out of the building by paramedics which embarrassed the living shit out of her. She sued Lionel for medical costs and he offered to take her out to dinner. My grandmother was skeptical, having heard that he was a sort of scheister, but she obliged anyways. They've now been together for fourteen years- through thick and thin. He became a part of my tiny family and there he has stayed. Loving my grandmother, my mother, and I the only way he knows how.

Now Lionel starts the next chapter of his life.