The Ballad of Harvey Weinstein

Relax, this isn’t about Harvey Weinstein. I’ve already dealt with him here.

But since he’s still the Outrage du Jour, I commented on a Facebook thread about him by saying, “Why don’t these fat pigs just pay prostitutes instead of going around ruining people’s lives?” It was a rhetorical question but someone came back at me with something like, “Why do you want sex-workers to be mistreated? And what does body size have to do with this?”

Jesus! I will leave it to you to evaluate the self-righteous absurdity of that response.

I now realize that I will never, ever, be able to keep up with progressives. This makes me sad. Have they just gone too far or is it an age thing? Maybe I’m too old to learn the new rules. I think I even call my mailman “the mailman” instead of “the mail-carrier.”

I certainly think that Weinstein is a fat pig. So many predators and bullies are fat pigs! Here’s a collage that Max made for me, for a post I wrote in 2009.

I don’t see why we have to worry about fat-shaming our cultural villains, if they’re fat. We need to have some leeway with language or we won’t be able to speak at all. We old people especially have trouble with retrieving words and we shouldn’t be penalized for calling prostitutes prostitutes, for example.

Words are still a joy for me, even though they are evaporating from my memory bank in huge quantities. Today, when Obama staffer Alyssa Mastromonaco called Donald Trump a deranged animal, I felt a spark of joy, literally. I could feel my neural synapses light up and go ping.

Good call! I thought. And later, back to Facebook, I couldn’t stop laughing when a friend wrote:

My favorite pants right now are Eileen Fisher. Who even am I?

As long as I can still use and enjoy words, I will probably be able to put up with everything, including Harvey Weinstein. I’m just hoping we can quickly move on to the question of why that beautiful Marchesa woman married him, even if it’s gold-digger shaming.

Posted in News, Words | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Armchair Psychology

armchair psychologyOnce upon a time, people used to accuse other people of being anal retentive, or just “anal.” You could also get a reaction by calling people “neurotic.” Remember “nymphomaniac?” That was a word used to shame girls who liked sex, even though it referred to a compulsion that couldn’t be satisfied.

Today, it’s “narcissist.” People throw this term around like it’s fairy dust, meant to undermine or discredit anyone you don’t like. In fact, only around 1% of people are narcissists in the clinical sense.

To some degree, narcissistic traits are healthy and useful. But the label Narcissist should be applied with care, unless you want words to stop having meaning, in which case I hope you’re good at interpretive dance. I think it’s safe to say that Trump is a narcissist, and maybe my dad, who wasn’t interested in anything that didn’t mirror his sense of his own wonderfulness.

Some poor children who hate their mommies are still writing to me, to offer their diagnosis of my narcissism. Again, please study your DSM. I am profoundly depressed, with some PTSD. Got it? Self-help culture has confused a whole bunch of fragile, angry Adult Children. Some of them don’t even understand satire. It’s probably Mommy’s fault.

Anyway! On SNL the other night, Pete Davidson did a sketch about depression, and his recent diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. If you thought he was joking, he was, but not about his disorder. He is not ashamed of his diagnosis, and he can see the funny side of suffering. He is going to help remove the stigma of mental illness, and god bless him.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a tough one. It’s core conflict is “I Hate you, Don’t Leave Me,” the title of a really good book on the subject. People who tell you about their psychotic ex will often accuse them of being Borderlines. What they usually mean is that the ex dumped them abruptly without explanation and they are fucking furious as well as hurt and baffled.

I love abnormal psychology! I have shelves of books on various disorders, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, of course, and some good ones on OCD. OCD is particularly poignant, I think. Especially the kind where you think you ran over someone in your car and have to keep driving back to check. Personally, I have no OCD traits but don’t worry, I have plenty of trouble without them.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing is kind of a fatuous cliche but it applies pretty well to psychology. How many times have you yelled “You’re projecting!” during an argument? Or what about “control-freak?” If you’re mean, you probably like to accuse people of being “too sensitive!”

Those of us who live with mental illness are keenly aware, for the most part, of our challenges. If you want to call us names, just stick with “nuts” unless you know what you’re talking about.

And here’s something exciting: I’ve discovered a brand new disorder that might explain my entire life!!! I have to discuss it with my psychiatrist before I announce it, but as awful as it is, I’m prepared to joke about it. Gallows humor is not only my brand, it’s my life force. I don’t mean this in a narcissistic way – I’M JUST SAYING.

Thoughts, delusions or rationalizations, anyone?

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The Stupidest Man in the World

I know you know, but I want you to hurt like I do. Every once in a while, you might forget how stupid and awful this bastard is, but don’t. Keep it at the forefront of your conscious mind. That way, you will join a march, make some noise, and tell the world that Trump is not your President!

Try to think of one person who would make a worse President.

There isn’t anyone.

Even Mitch McConnell, hateful prick that he is, could not do a worse job. He can probably speak in coherent sentences, at least. And he might know to be sad when people die. Or to not throw rolls of paper towels at them.

WHY???? Why do we need to endure this crap? Everyone knows he’s a clown, a senile dim bulb with no empathy or humanity.

In the fairy tale, a kid could announce, “The Emperor has no clothes!” and that would be that, game over. In real life, we have to wait for a tape of Trump in bed with Ivanka AND Jared before this nightmare is over.

Every fucking day with this moron.

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Stigmata!

Last night, I was trying not to think of the things that were bothering me (largely Trump, along with some other stuff) when the word “stigmata” popped into my head. I don’t know why. I’ve always liked the sound of the word and the actual phenomenon too.

Just say it aloud: STIGMATA! It’s a winner every time.

So I googled stigmata and forgot all about my troubles (and yours.)

stigmata

St. Gemma Galgani, above, was a real pain in the ass, apparently. I guess it’s part of being a saint. She also levitated.

Stigmata can occur in regular people, ahem, and here’s what an expert says:

History has shown that the stigmata can occur in a wide variety of persons, circumstances and conditions. While the vast majority of recipients have been women (90%), and most of them religious nuns, it has occurred numerous times throughout the centuries in a number of lay men and women, single and married. From the 1980’s to today for example it has (allegedly) occurred in the young married Catholic woman named Myrna Nazzour of Damascus, Syria and also in a retired married Catholic man from Michigan named Irving “Francis” Houle who died in 2009.

Uh-oh. I don’t like that “stigmatics” are usually women. It sounds suspiciously like fibromyalgia, only messier. But here’s something interesting, from the same expert:

… in regards to the blood that comes forth from the stigmatised wounds, this writer has found that in almost every case that I have researched, there is reported an accompanying sweet, flowery odor that emanates from the blood itself.

Whoa. That is worrisome, if you know what I mean.

Therese Neumann, below, was a total mess. She suffered and suffered and suffered.

I’m beginning to think these “stigmatists” are a teeny bit masochistic. Sister Consolata Betrone wrote “It is my fate to die in little pieces”. Sadly, she died of tuberculosis instead.

Rhoda Wise, below, had the usual hand stigmata but was also blessed with the “crown of thorns” bleeding from the forehead.

I know you’ve probably had enough but just let me sneak in a picture of Teresa Musco:

There is so much to learn, and marvel at, about stigmata. At one point in my research, I couldn’t help but laugh, as Oscar Wilde said about the death of Little Nell.  Laughing is good! We need all the laughs we can get. And in case you’re worried that I’m losing my mind, I wrote about stigmata back in 2007. So there.

I would almost call it a guilty pleasure, but since I’m not Catholic, it’s a guilt-free pleasure. If I go to hell, I’ll let you know.

Posted in Art, Disorders, Horrible Stuff, Religion, Words | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

I Don’t Practice Santeria

I don't practice santeria

Saint Clare intervenes to save a child from a wolf. Giovanni di Paolo, 1455

But I do love a botanica. I just found another one in Long Beach, hidden on a side street but filled with a million delights. Shelves that nearly reached the ceiling were stocked with perfumes, oils, cleaning sprays, amulets, religious figurines, herbs, and candles.

I grabbed a bottle of Arazza Todo oil for a friend, and a pretty teenager with blood red hair asked if I needed help. YES, I told her, and asked in a cheery voice: “What do you have if your kid hates you?”

She led me to a candle labeled Santa Clara, and said mothers used it to pray for the well-being of their children.  She added that the shop’s owner sometimes turns on three candles at once, arranged around a bowl of water. I love the idea of turning on a candle! I might have to go back there to buy a “Court” candle that you turn on if you’re in legal trouble. My kid who hates me has threatened a restraining order against me because I can’t stop sending him email.

[Note to you kids who hate mommy on Reddit: fuck off. This isn’t about you.]

Now that I’m home, I’ve turned on my candle and burned a stick of palo santo to cleanse my house of bad vibes. I can’t actually pray, because duh, atheist, but I can speak to the candle in a tone of respect, like I speak to clothes hangers or things I trip over.

It occurs to me that my reactions to my kid breaking up with me are similar to symptoms of PTSD: Irritability, hostility, fear, rumination, insomnia and nightmares. It is traumatic, after all. One minute it’s Where’s the clean towels? and the next minute, Please leave me and my family alone.

In my most morbid moments, I wonder if I’ll get to hold my child again before I die, maybe because of all the biopsies. In calmer moments, I figure that none of this matters. Life is but a dream. You’re here, stuff happens, and then you’re gone, poof. Why agonize about anything?

Posted in Disorders, Religion, Words | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Spider Bite

I was lying on the couch, talking on the phone to my adopted son Chris. We talked about getting our knuckles tattooed together. He told me that he recently went to the ER when a little red bump on his leg turned into a great big red blotch. They told him it was a spider bite and gave him some stuff to put on it.

An hour later, I noticed a bright red blister on my wrist. Much brighter than this picture. It’s hard to use your phone to photograph your hand. It was an angry purple-red. I looked through a magnifying glass. Does it look like a tiny penis burrowed in there? I was concerned.

I Googled spider bites, since I’d just been talking about them. And the photos looked just like my wrist! How could this happen? It’s too much of a coincidence.

Was it a Hobo or a Brown Recluse? Would it cause necrosis of the flesh, or vomiting and paralysis? I washed it wish soap and put neosporin on it. It got bigger and looked inflamed. More Googling and more dread.

It was nearly midnight and I was home alone. I called Chris and I called my nephew, who said he would come over. I called a free 24 hour nurse hotline and she told me to keep it clean. She read a statement absolving her of all responsibility.

Meanwhile, my stitches hurt. Ten stitches under the arm for a biopsy that no one is worried about, a whole other story.

Stitches, spider bite, I’d given up dairy products for two weeks to see if that was good, insomnia, Trump, senility, and so on.

My nephew arrived on his bicycle and we Googled spider bites together. I told him about the 5 Kinds of Becky and he told me I wasn’t a Becky so stop taking it personally. We discussed the parameters of the words “problematic” and “angst.” I love him so much. Times 100 or even a thousand.

I told him that if I died in my sleep from the spider bite, it would be okay because it wouldn’t be my fault. No one could get mad at me for dying. He was alarmed and told me that it wouldn’t be okay with him.

I woke up alive. Chris had texted me, “mommy, are you alive?” and I was touched that someone cared. I went to the Nurse Clinic at CVS, where a lovely nurse named Anulika confirmed that it was a spider bite. She told me how to care for it and prescribed something. We talked about how much we love Swiffer, and about eyebrows. We felt strongly about both topics and for a moment our souls were as one.

So in the end, I am ready for death but I’m a people person. Plus, I get to be Best Man at Chris’s wedding, a dream come true if I make it to October 31.

 

 

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

We Need You To Stay.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I might have been able to ignore it if I hadn’t read that the son of a disgraced Fox news host killed himself yesterday by overdose. Nineteen year old Eric Chase Bolling Jr. was distressed by his father’s troubles. Eric Bolling was fired for sending lewd photos to women, with a ton of fanfare on social media.

Bolling Sr. may be a cunt but no one deserves this. And no one should be in such pain without a person to talk to or a voice reminding him that he is needed in this world, no matter how hard that is to recognize in moments of despair.

I needed Eric Jr. and I needed Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, and Blake Heron, who died from an overdose three days after leaving rehab. Every day I read about someone’s son or daughter or parent leaving by suicide, and my heart breaks each time. The suffering they leave behind is unimaginable. If only they could all come running back!

Suicide can be prevented. Not always but in many cases where a hand to hold or a compassionate word might have made the difference.

We can all try to be a ray of light in someone’s darkness. What better enterprise is there, right?

We can learn the warning signs of a psyche in distress.

I admit that I struggle with To be or not to be, every single day. What keeps me here is the awareness of shattering other lives in my haste to depart. What a mess it makes! No one recovers. Obviously.

If you’re suffering, I urge you to stick around. Things will change!  Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)  Or click here for helpful advice.

***If you are in crisis but would be more comfortable texting, 24/7 support is available by texting 741741.

If there is anyone you are concerned about, take a minute to check in with them. It could change their life. xo

Posted in grief, News, Words | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Catching Up With Jane

I followed Jane, from Sea of Shoes, on Twitter and Instagram until she posted the picture above and I commented, “Nothing wrong here.” Boom, she blocked me.

I understand. No one wants any comments that imply one is less than fabulous. Especially Jane. So naturally she deletes comments that express worry about her weight.

You know what, when I was 14, I used to only eat egg whites and grapefruit. Finally, circumstances forced me to eat more, and eventually I learned that it’s more fun to eat than to starve. Last night I ate a huge quantity of tortilla chips with hot avocado salsa, and I’m a better man for it, I believe.

I think Jane has mentioned “health issues” and I hope she is okay. I have health issues my self. Seventeen of them, according to a print-out from my doctor, including depression, lumbago, and marijuana use.

I hope she is okay but I don’t think she is. And of course there is nothing I can do. People online discuss her life as though she’s a character in Grey Gardens, but only Jane and her family know the real girl. I watched an old video of her with her mom, and it was disturbing. It made me regret being mean to her, that time I said she had a fat face. What an awful thing to say. I was out of my mind at the time but that’s no excuse.

I’m so sorry for that mean post. I’m not sorry for mocking her blog. It was so mockable that someone had to do it. But I wish I could take back the mean personal insult.

I hope her marriage will bring a new happy life and a chance to broaden her horizons. Here is Jane with her fiance Jeff.  You can read about their engagement over on her blog.

Vaya con Dios, Jane and Jeff!

all photos (c) Sea of Shoes

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

Comic Relief From Prada

When I first saw these Prada loafers, I thought “Walrus!” Then, “Groucho Marx!” And finally, “Ew!”  What do you see??

From the rear, you can really appreciate the heel. Are they going for a Gaudi mosaic tribute or just a Disney princess thing?

comic relief from prada

A textured, silvery block heel encrusted with sparkling crystals in shades of blue brings a feminine update to a square-toed loafer finished with genuine shearling tassels.

Uh-oh. I would call this green, not shades of blue. Anyone?  Funnily enough, the whole thing looks different when it’s coming straight at you.

comic relief from prads

Now it’s a smiling shoe making a funny face! Adorable. $1,100 

Remember, when the world is about to blow up or just fall apart, there is always footwear and denim to take the edge off.

Posted in Fashion | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

*Clarification, Beckywise*

clarification beckywise

*A friend said on fb that she was depressed by my last post. My answer to her may clarify my position, which my tone might have obscured.  Have not yet heard back from her. But here it is.  Feel free to weigh in.

I don’t like to depress you. I’m aware that white women are not welcome to comment on this subject by definition. Here’s something a little different. When I worked for Dear Abby, her office manager was an old redneck lady who had been with the Dear Abby outfit for 100 years or something. They were technophobes who kept everything on paper, in files. One of their popular reprints was a list of Jews Who Have Done Great Things. It included Jonas Salk, Einstein, etc. I found it one day and laughed in amazement. I read it aloud to the office…”Jews Who Have Done Great Things!” Misunderstanding my tone, the redneck lady replied, “No really, some of them are good!”

So, you know, I have no wish to be considered a Good Jew, or a Good White Lady. I will not be defined by another culture’s criteria, or even by my own culture, whatever that’s supposed to be. As an atheist, I was not born with original sin. As an Ashkenazi Jew, I was not born with America’s original sin. My grandma was given a made up name at Ellis Island because they couldn’t pronounce her real one. My dad was beaten up every day on his way to school for being a “kike.”

America is a cesspool of racism and stupidity. I voted for Jesse Jackson and I’m married to a Mexican American. I don’t want to apologize for having light skin but I do want to apologize for a country that celebrates stupidity and bigotry.

Shit like calling out bindi wearers is a waste of energy, in my opinion. I would be happy to see anyone wearing a big Hasidic hat because they are dope.

I have been your friend in cyberspace for all these years because of your brains, your sense of humor, our shared fashion obsessions, your kindness, and our mutual disdain for countless things. I hope we can respect each other’s ideas even when we don’t agree. xo

Posted in Words | Tagged , , | 4 Comments