Thanksgiving

I went to get a pelvic ultrasound test for my latest round of hypochondria. The radiologist was a small Asian woman with a dour demeanor. “My name Tran,” she said resentfully.

We started a test with the thingy on my belly, which reminded me of the ultrasound tests you get when you’re pregnant. It was a nice feeling. I asked Tran, “Do you have kids?” and she said, “No kids. Not enough money for kid.”

Uh-oh. Now I felt sad. Here I am, a middle class white women who could afford two kids, and this poor immigrant is servicing me, so to speak, on a crappy income, unable to live the life she deserves, that everyone deserves.

“Yeah,” I said stupidly, “They are expensive!” “What are you doing tomorrow [Thanksgiving]? I asked next, hoping to cheer her up with conversation. “Sleep,” she answered tersely.

Oh god, okay. So I said, “Oh, I love to sleep too! It’s my favorite thing in the world!” She brightened up a little.

Next, I had to get undressed and she stuck the thingy up inside me. With my legs in stirrups, and the internal “discomfort”, I remembered the feeling of giving birth, the agony and the ecstasy, and it was shockingly visceral. I wanted to give birth with all my might!

But then it really started to get uncomfortable and I said OW. I asked her if she saw anything awful and she reminded me that she wasn’t allowed to say anything.

She stayed in the room while I got dressed and I asked her in a sympathetic tone when she could go home. It was around 4. She said 4:30. I said, “Oh good! It’s coming right up!” She told me I was the last patient of the day. Then she told me that it was the last day of her job.

Shit! Had she been fired? Or was she just moving on? I asked her what her plan was and she said she didn’t know. “But I am healthy, I have brain, I can do work!” she said plaintively. “I not going to kill myself!” she exclaimed, as though meaning the opposite.

Fuck! What was going on, I wondered, my brain whirling. “Of course, of course, you can get any job!” I told her. “You didn’t like working here?” I asked her. She looked down as she straightened things up. “They don’t like me. They not happy with me. Say I am mean to patients.”

Well, she was kind of mean, but that no longer mattered. I told her that she could start a new life, she was just 40 years old, not too old to have a family or do whatever she wanted. I told her about all the places I’d worked where no one appreciated me, about the time I called my boss a cunt and got fired, the fact that I could not work with people looking over my shoulder and telling me what to do. She listened intently. She asked a few questions.

Now she was smiling a little while we talked about our mutual dislike of cooking on holidays. I thanked her and said it was nice meeting her, and added, “Hopefully, I won’t die from a gigantic uterine tumor the size of a cantaloupe!”

She smiled and said, “You have nothing to worry about.”

One thing I’m good at is tricking the radiologists into telling me what they saw. You don’t get to be my age for nothing.

 

 

Posted in Horrible Stuff, love | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Just Say “Shut Up, You Fucking Moron!”

Everyone’s in a tizzy about how to talk to politically partisan relatives at Thanksgiving, but not me! First, because I would never have a meal with a Trump supporter. Not even my last meal on Death Row, which, as everyone knows, will be a burger and fries.

Second, because if someone spoke favorably of Donald Trump in my earshot, I would not hesitate to shout, “Are you out of your fucking mind? What the fuck don’t you get?

Watching him at rallies, surrounded by drooling racist dimwits, it’s a chilling picture of a species I haven’t encountered much in real life but now know to fear and dread. I can’t imagine being face to face with this level of ignorance.

But even for family members, it is just not acceptable. I have no bandwith for excuses about “the people who feel left behind” bla bla bla.” If anyone is still okay with Donald Trump walking around a free man, there is no pass and no forgiveness. Sure, they’re stupid, sure they barely made it through high school, sure they’re incapable of reasoning and adding 2 plus two. Too bad for them.

If you’re passing the cranberry sauce and someone quotes Hannity or talks about those sneaky Dems and their secret hearings, just lean toward them and scream, “Shut up, you stupid piece of shit! You don’t deserve to vote, that’s how stupid you are!

Then, carefully smash a pie in her or her or they face. Tell them that for every immigrant and refugee in a detention facility, that’s how many centuries they will burn in hell.

If anyone still comes to Trump’s defense, you know what to do next. Upend the whole table, housewife style, and say, “I care about the fucking Constitution even if you don’t, motherfucker!” and remind them that article 2 does not mean the President can do *anything*. Just for fun, point out that fetuses aren’t people.

I mean, how hard is it to have a plan for Thanksgiving? I don’t even see the problem. Just do the right thing.

If you’re a big pussy, you can print out this handy Thanksgiving discussion placemat from Neil Katyal here.

 

Posted in News, Rants, Words | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Having a Wank

Since I’m borrowing my title from Derek and Clive, I listened to this sketch for the 50 millionth time and still laughed. If you haven’t listened to this, don’t even talk to me EVER.

All I intended to do was direct you to my essay for Miista about women and sex toys. I really want to hear your feedback on this! Are you with me or am I all wrong?

Let me know. Now, back to my 3 o’clock Monday wank.

Posted in irritants, Words | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Dynamic, Passionate, and Unique, Tho

Words continues to thrill and annoy me on a daily basis and I know you feel the same. Right now, I am creeped out anew by the word “tho,” as used on Instagram. It is not only gratuitous (” Those nails, tho.”) but the spelling is like a knife in my heart. MAKE IT STOP. So here’s a list I just came across, about words “you should never use to describe yourself.” I’m pretty sure these are all in the context of job interviews, because where else might someone claim to be “innovative?”

Here they are:

Innovative
World-class
Driven
Extensive experience
Authority
Global-provider
Motivated
Creative
Results-oriented
Responsible
Track record
Organizational
Guru
Curator
Passionate
Strategic
Collaborative

Ew! Who would use these words to describe themselves? Maybe they’re the professional equivalent of self-negating dating-app words like “eccentric” or “classy.” But wait. If you string all those words together, they might make a persuasive sales-pitch for a booty call! Try that out, mentally at least.

On another front, who is not sick of “quid pro quo” at this point? How about this phrase instead, from Virgil: sunt lacrimae rerum  (tears haunt this world).

Here’s another list of those minutely specific words we don’t have in English, like Bakku-shan, Japanese for a woman who looks pretty from behind but not from the front.

Then there is the issue of linguistics by gender, like the female use of the word ‘just.”

Finally,  let me run this by you. It’s a quote by physicist Wolfgang Pauli, after reading a colleague’s paper:

This paper is so bad it is not even wrong.

I was so amused by it that I repeated it to *someone* who did not share my delight and argued about why not for the next five hours (okay, five minutes that felt like hours.)

Please tell me if you like it, or if you don’t, using rational considerations and back-up sources. Thank you in advance, xoxo.

Posted in Words | Tagged , | 7 Comments

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To

Most people know at this point in social etiquette not to bark, “Cheer up!” at people who aren’t showing their back molars in a smile. Thank god that’s pretty much a thing of the past. I remember strangers informing me, even as a kid, “Things aren’t THAT bad!” as they walked past me.

But many people do find it difficult to be in the presence of sadness, not to mention grief.

Not long ago, a family member came over to visit, and was moved to share with me their wish that I could be less sad. I have so much going for me, after all!

It was a wish born of compassion. But still. Feeling aggressive, I leaned toward them and said, “Until you have seen your child in a body bag, you cannot understand what it’s like. You just can’t.” I know what a brutal thing this is to say aloud. But at times, I want to make it a teachable moment.

They were taken aback, but rephrased the sentiment to something like, “Yes, but you have to go on living.”

Humans of Earth, AREN’T I ALIVE? How alive do I have to be before you can deal with me? I walk and talk, I put on lipstick, I go to the grocery store, I walk down the street, you know?

Do I have to go on a fucking world cruise or Dancing With the Stars or what?

When I moved to my new community nearly five years ago, I was thrilled to make a new friend: An intelligent, vibrant mother of two who was funny and well-read. The perfect friend, I thought. As it turned out, she started avoiding me. When I finally pressed for a reason, she texted that I was too sad for her.

Even though all she talked about what the sexual assault of her daughter and how much she hated men. I was devastated, but I lived to tell. I’ve chalked it up to Her Problem, Not Mine, as one does.

I’m okay with being sad. Just let me be sad. I am Sad Girl. I am trying to use my sadness as an instrument for good. I’m an excellent listener, if you’re sad too. I try to turn my sadness into art, when I can.

I just read a review of a new Nick Cave album, in which the writer notes about the death of Cave’s teenage son, in 2015:

He has not put the grief behind him; he has learned from its presence.

OF COURSE he has not put the grief “behind him” for fucksake, it has only been four years, Jesus Christ. When can this kind of thinking end?

Most people never even get over a divorce, let alone such an elemental loss.

People need to be allowed to exhibit an entire range of emotions, as long as they don’t do it while driving. Let people be sad, worried, negative, silly, anxious, inquisitive, grumpy and hopeless if they want to be. Unless they ask for your help or your diagnosis, just try to accept this rich tapestry of human behavior.

Here’s a study that might convince you.

Posted in Disorders, grief, irritants, Words | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Finding Beauty

It’s a cliche that cliches are often based on truth, but the biggest cliches are easy to forget, like the ones about beauty. Beauty isn’t truth, but it elevates the soul just as much as garbage debases it. I keep forgetting to look for beauty in my search for relief. By relief, I mean relief from my own thoughts, which are my own worst enemy (not counting my trolls of course.)

Last night I went to see Van Morrison, and was reminded of the healing power of communal joy. Normally, I don’t want to make the effort to do things that involve any commitment of time and energy. A Van Morrison concert requires buying tickets, a strategy to get across town, a timetable to keep, packing snacks to eat, putting together an outfit that’s comfortable but reflective of my superior style, and so on. Thanks to my husband, I gathered myself to go.

Beauty is probably everywhere for all I know but I’m finding I need to search for it and cling to it. I wish this would become a habit, like checking the New York Times to see what new travesty is afoot. All my habits are bad but I know it’s possible to form new ones, better ones. Smoking weed is a relatively new habit that’s improved my life immensely. Same with Chai Latte.

Music used to a big part of my life before smartphones. Driving and listening to the mixes Max made me was always so pleasurable.  A house full of musicians was something I took for granted. The empty nest is quieter, and there is a joy that can’t be replaced but there is still joy to be had. I might need some mechanism to remind me: A rubber band, an alarm clock, a mnemonic acronym like MOEB (Music Or Else Bummer)?

I wish I could follow Van Morrison around the world and see every show. I wish I could rouse myself to get out and see more art. It’s a first-world problem but a life or death one for the severely depressed. (See Schopenhauer.) The crack is not where the light comes in, it’s where the vessel will break under pressure.

What form of beauty do you turn to for consolation? Tips, anyone? Here is a video that my friend Andra sent to me, an excursion into undersea beauty that left me weak with religious ecstasy.

And here’s some sparks of joy for you synesthetes.

Posted in Art, Religion | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Are You Ready For Emotional Granularity?

Granular is a word that’s starting to make me wince, maybe because of the people who use it or maybe because it’s so onomatopoeic.  I can almost feel it in my shoe, like sand. Nevertheless, I just came across a new theory that I love, involving “emotional granularity.” Just as you would suspect, it means getting into the minutia of emotions, the gradations that distinguish one type of anger, let’s say, from another.

Apparently, it helps to label an emotion when you’re trying to manage it. I guess that makes sense, if only because stopping to label it is a form of counting to ten. You also have to accept the notion that there are all kinds of anger, and in other cultures there are kinds we may not have experienced or named.

Germans have a word that means “a face in need of a slap,”or backpfeifengesicht. I’m not really familiar with that feeling but I’ve heard men talk about “the kind of face you want to punch.” Mandarin Chinese has a word for anger directed toward oneself; that one is familiar and ongoing. Ancient Greeks distinguished between short-term anger (orge ) and a long-lasting anger that’s permanent (menin.)

In Thailand, there’s seven degrees of anger, starting with displeasure and ending with (just guessing) homicidal rage.

So anyway, your ability to distinguish between the many varieties of your emotional experiences can help you cope better. If you can say to yourself, “That guy is an annoying cunt” instead of “Why are people so awful!” you will be less depressed and less given to binge drinking. Studies have shown, alright?

I have already written about the varieties of misery experienced in other countries but not anger. I think that in the U.S, people are experiencing new and debilitating forms of anger that probably need to be labeled, like the kind you feel when people with Southern accents talk about Christianity. Or the kind you feel when you listen to Tucker Carlson. And the kind you feel when reading about immigrants in cages.

What about the kind you feel when the person in line in front of you at Starbucks has a ridiculous order? After all these years, I still have that one!!! What about when the thing you wanted at a great sale price is no longer available in your size?

What about the kind when you see Taylor Swift trying to dance? Or the kind when someone starts talking about “the program”? So many types of anger, yearning to be named.

I often have the one when your husband keeps reflexively contradicting you. Today, I experienced the anger you feel when your dog eats your toast because you looked away for ONE FUCKING SECOND at your Instagram feed.

So, what do you guys think? Angry? Is it the kind where you thought reading a blog would be entertaining but it was just a waste of time? Are you buying the concept of emotional granularity and can you name an emotion that needs it’s own label, like schadenfreude? I’m going to call that Tucker Carlson feeling tuckerschmerz. And I’m hoping that this time next year, it will be a fading memory rather than menin .

Posted in irritants, News, Words | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

5 Things You Don’t Need to Know

1. Demi Moore isn’t blaming Ashton Kutcher for the threesomes they had during their marriage but it was his idea, not that she’s blaming him.

2. Brad Pitt has realized that it’s not the roles that matter. What he really wants is to live an interesting life.

3. Tavi Gevinson picks at her face when she’s anxious and has let her assistant take care of her Instagram posts.

4. Rap artists with gang affiliations have to check in with the local gang when they arrive in a new city, or some bad shit will go down.

5. Demi Lovato wants you to accept her cellulite.

All these things are true, according to the Internet. I know them because I clicked on them. I clicked on them because at the time, each one seemed less stupid, pointless, or distressing than the other suggestions thrown up by my cellphone or the New York Times.

I’ve never clicked on anything about improving my habits at work or at home, about fitness or food, about what successful people do to manage their lives or about relationships. I’ve never clicked on anything to do with finances, careers, credit scores, parenting, or shortcuts to anything.

Every day, I’m confronted by a thousand ways to lose myself and avoid being present, so I’m learning to skip things that will make me go back to bed. It’s a process, okay? I still make mistakes. I just clicked on the thing about a grandparent in Florida who gave her disabled adult grandchild an overdose of something, because she was worried about dying and leaving him alone. There’s a whole website somewhere that lists the people who were killed this way, in order to honor their truncated lives. This is exactly the type of thing I am drawn to like a moth and must learn to ignore.

Who started the fucking Five Things lists? Why five? Is it because ten is too many for most people to handle? Five is a reasonable number, if there were things I wanted to know on the fly.

I don’t want to know five things though. I read stuff about philosophy, depression, addiction, autism, nursing homes, refugees, writers, murderers, artists, and Donald Trump. Ivanka, too. I want to know everything on these subjects. As little kids, my sister and I liked to dig deep holes at the beach, hoping to reach China. I still want to reach China, pretty much. The dream is alive.

Is there something I’m missing in my pursuit of knowledge and distraction? Let’s hear the five things you click on, or refuse to click.

Posted in irritants, News, Words | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

I’m Talking to You.

Dear stupid cunt from Texas,

Will you get a fucking grip on yourself and stop harassing me after almost ten fucking years?

What will it take to shut you up? Why don’t you have anything better to do? Do you read my blog when you’re feeling bad about your life? I understand those feelings, but not the depths of your malice toward a stranger.

HOW CAN YOU BRING UP THE LOSS OF MY SON??? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Your other comments about what a piece of garbage I am, how much you hate middle-aged married white woman, all that crap is fine. Even though I’m actually an elderly jew, close enough.

But my son is off limits. My grief is too. I want you to own up to triggering my god damn fucking PTSD. I’m talking to you, Ariella C. Villa or Monique L. Roberts of Texas.

Both of you have tormented me enough. Whichever one of you fucking lunatics is responsible for this latest, just be the big Beyonce-loving piece of shit you are and admit it.

Thanks, you fat dumbass coward.

Love, Sister Wolf.

Posted in Disorders, Rants, revenge, Words | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Hairpalooza

You know how I am about hair, right? So I wrote about hair for Miista over here if you’re interested.

If not, here’s some more hair.

 

Posted in Art, Disorders, Words | Tagged , , | 9 Comments