December 4, 2018

My nephew passed away in October.

I know what you’re thinking: “Dude, I don’t read this blog to cry. My mascara isn’t waterproof.” (The women probably feel that way, too.)

But don’t worry – this isn’t a sad post.

Brian was a special kid. Severely handicapped, he couldn’t walk by himself, feed or bathe himself. He required care 24/7. But he was, as all these kids are, an absolute bundle of love, and he gave our family so much joy.

And my sister was a SUPERMOM to him. She gave up any semblance of a normal life and cared for him until the day he died. It was the most consummately selfless act I have ever witnessed.

And it really got me wondering: what kind of karmic reward comes with a sacrifice like this?

Is there stadium seating in Heaven? Does she get a box seat?

Does she get to come back as a queen, or Alexis Colby Carrington, or Beyonce?

Will she get to sit up there with God and gossip like mean girls, while he forces all the lesser souls to eat lunch alone?

I picture my sister getting awards (“And the winner for Best Performance by a Mother in a Sacrificial Role is…?”) as she strides to the stage in that famous Jennifer Lopez gown. (Hopefully, we’re all 25 in Heaven.)

I picture her getting to be bouncer at the Pearly Gates. “You, with the wheelchair and the voicebox. Come on down!”

I imagine her having a mansion so big you need Segways to get from the screening room to the wine cellar. (“I’m sorry it’s such a long walk,” she would apologize to guests, “but you know that crazy God. He does love to spoil us.”)

I picture her getting to be guardian angel to Oprah, which essentially just amounts to live streaming Oprah’s dinners with famous people and stopping her from eating carbs.

I imagine a lot of great things for her, for one simple reason:

Because I have to.

 

2018-12-04T08:47:15+00:00December 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Nov 23, 2018

There was a woman on my flight this morning who was doing her level best to cough up both her lungs. Nonstop.

It was Thanksgiving morning. I, along with everyone else on the plane, was flying home to see family. And holidays are, for those of us traveling from a blue state to a red – or  vice versa – fraught with its own special brand of terror. And none of us really wanted to add the flu or Tuberculosis to the fun factor.

The woman – a tiny, fashionable lady around 60 –  clearly felt that covering her mouth would consume energy best conserved for things like lying to the gate agent. As  she handed him her ticket, coughing directly into his face, she said, “Someone is SMOKING in here.”

Because, you know, that’s legal.

This was Southwest Airlines, so it was open seating on boarding. Several people around me and I all whispered together as we walked down the jetway.

“Sit way behind her.”

“Sit on the other side.”

“Why do I feel,” I said, “like we’re gonna have to divert to a hospital when her lung lining lands on the floor?”

Needless to say, as we boarded, everyone on the plane was clued in, and, since the flight was only 85 or 90% full, passengers were giving her a wide berth. No one sat in her row – an exit row with the coveted extra legroom. No one sat in the row in front of her, or across from her. We all crammed into the remaining rows like oarsmen on a slave ship.

One of the flight attendants was standing in the row in front of me during boarding, and she recognized me from another flight. As we chatted, I nodded in the direction of the emphysema victim – like I needed to – and said, “Do you guys have masks?”

She smiled. “I’ll take care of it.”

Once everyone was boarded, she brought a mask and politely ordered the woman to wear it if she wanted to remain on the flight. The woman complied.

And then, 15 minutes into the flight, I realized something: Typhoid Mary, who had been coughing to the point that everyone within 20 feet was  busy breathing through cocktail napkins, was silent. An hour passed. No coughs. People began to move into the abandoned rows around her. Another hour passed. She laid across her luxurious exit row, thumbing through a magazine as though expecting a pedicurist to show up any second. Not a single cough – until we landed, when she began hurling up another lung and everyone moved out of her way once again. (Clearly, she had somewhere to be.)

And I realized the truth: she had faked this little performance to guarantee herself extra personal space.

I really should have been incensed at her manipulation. How f-ing selfish and greedy. And on a day that’s all about giving thanks and being – at least until the stores open at 6pm – a little kinder and gentler with one another.

But instead, I realized that I was impressed. Because this chick had really committed. And I wished I’d thought of it. Not that I’d ever do it. But this is what the airlines – by shoving more and more seats into planes – have reduced us to.

Maybe when I’m boarding my next Southwest flight, I’ll fake fake sneeze a few dozen times. I can keep one of those perfume atomizers in my pocket (note to self: replace Britney Spears Fantasy with water) and I’ll just covertly press the little air bulb as I sneeze, spraying mist across the rows around me.

It’ll be as close to flying private as I’ll probably ever get.

2018-11-23T11:58:30+00:00November 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|

November 6, 2018

The Audible version of my latest book just came out, and everyone seems to be asking me the same question:

“Why didn’t YOU read it?”

Those of you who’ve heard me speak aloud can’t be blamed for posing such a question, since you’d likely agree that my rich, velvety voice would caress the ears of listeners far and wide. (As my college voice teacher once said, in what I’m sure was a compliment: “I know you think your voice is candy for the ears, but it’s giving me diabetes.”)

But that’s just the problem. In this book, I am in my teens and early 20’s. And “rich and velvety” does not particularly describe the sound of a kid in his teens and 20’s.  (Sadly, I must report that in real life, I’m in my Extremely Late Early 30’s, or, as my friend Robert says, PREPOSTEROUSLY Late.)

And since I feel like the voice should sound as close to the age of the character as possible – it makes for a better listening experience – I chose someone else to do the narration, a wonderful actor named Kirby Heyborne. Kirby has a sweet, hilarious innocence to his voice that works perfectly.

So, much as I’d love a chance to ham it up on audio, I decided, in yet another example of my typical graciousness and benevolence, to give someone else the opportunity to shine.

Plus, Audible didn’t ask.

2018-11-06T14:44:55+00:00November 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|

October 8, 2018

I went to see A Star is Born this weekend, and – spoiler alert – Bradley Cooper dies.

As someone frequently mistaken for Bradley (‘s taller, dorkier, way less hot brother), it got me to thinking:

Would anyone sing a song for me, with a 50-piece orchestra, when I’m dead?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPgs3qq9CGs

I fear that any tributes will be more along the lines of recounting when I threw up on a girl’s va-j-j in high school (which, I’m sad to report, does not tend to seal your rep as a stud). Or when I passed out drunk with Tater Tots in the oven and awoke to a lecture from unreasonably irritated firemen. (My friend Kurt is forever asking me, “What’s the ETA on that tater flambe?”)

I fear that my husband will recall my love for Windex and 409. I fear that my friends will recall how, at 8, I tried on my mother’s pantsuits and bangle bracelets in an unconscious ode to Florence Henderson.

When what I really want is for someone to sob musically into a microphone.

It seems all too apparent that I haven’t given people enough REASON to cry. Clearly, the answer is to spend more time giving of myself.

From now on, I’m gonna help other little boys try on their mother’s crop tops and yoga pants in an unconscious ode to the Real Housewives.

I’m gonna teach new homeowners the joys of toxic cleaning products. (Sure, those chemicals can make you black out, but what’s a little loss of consciousness when your appliances shine like the hubcaps on a PT Cruiser?)

And I’m gonna teach teenage band kids how to get busy without horking on each other’s hot spots.

So, when that tragic day comes, and you hear that I’ve dropped dead from too many Slim Jim’s and Frappucino’s, be sure to book the LA Philharmonic.

‘Cause I want that power ballad.

 

2018-10-08T14:37:44+00:00October 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|

August 24, 2018

I’m not a racist. Really.

Last spring, my husband and I were at a snotty charity event in Palm Springs. It’s one we probably had no business being at given the ticket price; we were, essentially, two Cinderella’s at the ball, minus the glass slippers and ugly stepsisters. But  I do marketing work for a travel company that donated a cruise to the silent auction, and the owners of the company took us as their guests.

Many of the attendees were lovely and fun, of course. And Sandy and I are generally pretty good at navigating the pretenses of those who weren’t.

But at one juncture, as we divided-and-conquered at the silent auction in a hunt for something fun to buy, I found myself standing next to a short, tuxedo-clad guy in his 50’s. We were both admiring a large piece of modern art.

“We have a Wexler,” the man said, apparently burning with desire to let me know he lived in a mid-century  architectural gem. (Donald Wexler is one of the most celebrated architects of the Modernist movement.). “It would look fabulous above the fireplace in the living room.”

Inwardly, I rolled my eyes.

Oblivious to the fact that I was not exactly hanging on his every word, he plundered forward.“But you know how it is. We’d have to move another piece into the vault.”

When I moved away from St. Louis in the late 1980’s, part of my desire was to escape a segment of the gay population that thrived on pretension. (I don’t know that it’s like that now – maybe it was an 80’s thing, like parachute pants and cocaine.) I absolutely despise people who either pretend to be something they’re not, or want to lord their money over those with less.

And in that moment, something in me just snapped.

I turned to look at him and said, simply, “White people problems.”

His eyes grew big, and he literally began to huff and puff. I thought he might actually have a seizure and I would have to pull his tongue out of his throat. Without a word, he turned on his heel and stomped off.

Now. I am FAR from any kind of racist. My friends are a Benetton ad. I’m a California liberal. And I was actually using the phrase to comment on the sad fact that material overabundance is and has been for centuries primarily the province of Caucasians in America.

But he clearly took it as a racist remark.

And I should probably feel bad about that. The last thing I would EVER want to do is perpetuate discrimination.

But seeing the smirk melt off his face was worth its weight in gold.

I may not have made my point about his classlessness in acting so entitled. But at least we won’t have to worry about being invited to his house.

Because we’d have to bring a hostess gift, and  I’m sure he doesn’t drink Andre.

2018-08-24T07:54:10+00:00August 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|