Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hurting the one I love

When I was 14, I accidentally hit my twin sister, Joy, in the head with a golf club.

We were on the driving range of a new golf course that just opened in bumfuck McComb, Mississippi, where our family was on vacation, and I wanted to show off my skills.

I got Joy during the back swing, right between the eyes.

It was a big, bloody mess — as you might know if you’ve ever seen a head injury — and since it was the club’s opening weekend, they didn’t have things like a First Aid kit on hand.

We were sopping up blood with a nearby caddy's golf ball towel.

When word spread about the injury on the driving range, golf course management quickly shuffled us off the grounds because they didn’t want to offend any future country club members with Joy’s face.

(I think they also mumbled something about needing an age limit.)

Our mom then drove me, Joy, and our brother to the hospital, and since there were no cell phones back then, left our dad a sloppy note on the kitchen table of our cabin that said, “gone to hospital - Joy hit in head.”

I felt awful, and couldn’t even look at Joy during the car ride, but kept saying I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!

Joy was talking and crying and yelling at me, so our mom knew it wasn’t a concussion.

By the time we got to the hospital, the blood had dried and turned brown and gross and an 80-year-old Mississippi doctor was tasked with patching her up.

When she was wheeled into the hospital room, my mom looked at me and said,
“Because you hit Joy in the head, you have to watch her get stitched up. That’s your punishment.”

And then she put me front and center.

I nodded, feeling like there was no punishment acceptable for hurting my best friend and making her cry like that. So I watched intensely.

I was horrified each time the needle went in and out of her bloody forehead, with the black thread from the stitches dangling down by her arm.
I remember thinking that I’d never seen a light above her that bright before, and they used so much hydrogen peroxide I didn’t know what was blood and what was chemicals.

And then I passed out.

It was the first time I had ever fainted, and distinctly remember saying, “I’m just really hot. Someone turn on the air conditioner” as every pore in my body spewed sweat.

When the room didn’t get any colder, the world closed in on me.

It started going black from the outside corners of my eyes and slowly moved in, until the bright light faded and I could only see black, even though I was blinking furiously.

The next thing I knew, I was in JOY’S HOSPITAL BED and nurses were fussing over what to do with me (“SHE’S NOT EVEN WEARING A HOSPTIAL BRACELET!” one of them said.)

When I looked up, I saw Joy standing in the corner, giving me the meanest look I’d ever seen.

“Oh, so YOU get to lay in MY BED!” she said, black thread stitches still falling from her head.
She had evidently been rudely pushed out to make room for me.

“I..wuz…just…really…hot,” I said, as my mom pressed the nurses to get out the ammonium capsules or whatever you sniff when you need to come-to.

It was at that moment when our dad showed up. He saw one of his daughters with a bloody face and dangling stitches standing in the corner, frowning, and his other daughter looking quite green and clammy, lying in the hospital bed.

I don’t know if our mom even attempted to explain things.

Once my “situation” was under control, they moved Joy back to the bed and finished sewing her head. And age be dammed, that 80-year-old doctor had some steady hands, because you can only see Joy's scar if you look really, really close. With a really bright light.

But for the rest of that summer in 1997, Joy couldn’t get her face wet which meant she couldn't swim and had to take baths instead of showers, and walked around with a horrible wound that looked like a black caterpillar smack in between her eyes.

And that’s why I don’t play golf.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


“Nice to meet you, Natalie.
What does your dad do?”

This was seriously the first thing Natalie was asked by her friend Matt’s dad at a backyard BBQ.

“My dad is a teacher…at a public school,” Natalie said, miffed at the question, deliberately emphasizing the “public school” part.

Matt’s dad stood there for a minute, unhappy with her father’s chosen profession.

“Your last name is Ballier, right?” he asked. “Are you related to a Walter Ballier? He’s a lawyer who works in my building.”

“Probably not,” Natalie said.
She tried to excuse herself but Daddy Warbucks pressed on.

He wasn’t impressed with the high school she attended (low brow), but her college choice — she was about to enter her second year — was acceptable.

Natalie and Matt were friends, and while she was pretty sure he was interested in her, they hadn’t so much as held hands at that point.

Matt was sympathetic that afternoon, rolling his eyes and saying, “Ok, dad. That’s enough,” after noticing how uncomfortable Natalie was. He steered her toward the grill to get a hamburger.

Natalie remembered thinking how his dad’s opening line could have really offended someone else.

Like, “I don’t know what my dad does, sir, I haven’t seen him since he walked out on me and my mom when I was two.”


“I don't have a dad. I have two mommies.”


“He works at a sausage factory.” (A mutual friend’s dad actually does work at a sausage factory so this could have been an actual response.)

Natalie knew Matt’s family was rich, so she wasn’t completely thrown off, but really…she wasn’t even Matt’s girlfriend. They hadn’t even kissed.

And she hadn’t decided if she even wanted to kiss him.
He wasn’t the cutest guy she’d ever been out with, but he was nice enough and they had friends in common.

After the awkward BBQ, in which Natalie said a five-year-old asked Matt if he could open her soda “because she doesn’t want to break a nail," they left and went to a neighborhood bar.

The next day, Matt called and asked Natalie if she wanted to go to dinner that weekend.

He picked her up at her parent’s house and he walked in and met her parents, who she noted, did NOT ask him about his father’s profession or his last name.

The restaurant was a surprise, Matt had said, and Natalie got really uncomfortable when they pulled up to the most expensive steak restaurant in the entire city.

She wasn’t dressed for steak. She was dressed for fish tacos.

“This is a really expensive restaurant,” Natalie said when they were seated. She certainly couldn’t afford it on her part-time summer job at a restaurant.
And she knew Matt didn’t have a job.

“It’s cool, I’ve got my dad’s credit card,” he said.
Of course he did.

They ended up having a really nice dinner, the nicest Natalie had ever eaten, with red wine and red meat, and then went to the same neighborhood bar for a beer, or two, or five.

Matt dropped her off later — no hand holding, no romantic kiss or anything — and Natalie figured he was just a friend who liked to spend money on fancy dinners and needed someone to accompany him.

SCORE, she thought.

The next day, Matt invited her to his parent’s house to watch the movie Jaws.

She could only stay for a little while because she had to go work at the restaurant, but still came over for the first half. When she stood up to leave, Matt said he’d walk her out.

Right when they got to her car, Matt pulled Natalie towards him and planted a kiss on her, which she said wasn't exactly good.

She was surprised and shocked and she was wearing a “shapeless polo shirt” (haha) for work and why didn’t he kiss her on their date...or after a few beers?

It didn’t work. The romantic window had closed and he was a bad kisser she now considered him a friend.

“I’m sorry, I’m…not interested in you like that,” she said. “And I have to go to work.”

And with that she rushed into her (used) car and sped off, away from his parents’ fat mansion.

He didn’t text or call her for two days. She didn’t either. What was she supposed to say? The whole thing was awkward.

That weekend, she went back to the neighborhood bar with her friends, including me.

Not surprisingly, there was Matt, drunk, at the bar with his friends.
Natalie walked up to him first.

“Hey,” she said. And then she said something like, “I’m sorry about Wednesday…”

That's when he blew up at her.

“You know, IT'S ALL RIGHT THAT YOU DIDN'T WANT TO KISS ME,” he said loudly, for everyone to hear, including the bartender. “Because you’re too LOW CLASS for me anyway.”

We all stood there in shock. The shithead was specifically talking about the difference in their parents’ tax brackets.

“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?” Natalie demanded, screaming.

“Oh, YEA!” Matt said arrogantly. “My dad’s tellin me not to mess with you, my mom’s tellin me not bring you out to steak dinners anymore.”


Then she ran outside to the back deck of the bar, and unfortunately didn’t get to hear our mutual feisty friend scream, “YOU KNOW WHAT’S 'LOW CLASS' ASSHOLE? CALLING A GIRL LOW CLASS BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T WANT TO MAKE OUT WITH YOU!”


And then that friend called him ugly and pointed out that no amount of money could fix that.

The argument got really heated, to the point where Matt’s friends collected him and they all left, because really, he was the BUTT in the situation.

And we were all underage.

We then had to calm Natalie down, who was mortified and embarrassed — as she should have been — to have an ugly guy yell at her that she's "low class" because her pauper parents didn't live in a mansion.

Everyone shunned Matt for the rest of the summer and we all went back to our respective colleges in the fall.
No one heard from Matt again until February — during Mardi Gras, when he sent Natalie a text message:

“Do you want to come to a Mardi Gras ball with me? I can buy you a dress if you don’t have one.”


It was an insulting message, one she didn't respond to, but it still made her laugh that after six months of zero contact, Matt didn't have any other girl to ask.

All that money couldn't buy him a girlfriend?



Friday, May 20, 2011

Rapture ready

WHAT am I going to do on my last day on Earth?

I’m going to get a pedicure on my lunch break.
You know, just in case Jesus has a foot fetish.

To be honest, if the rapture does come tomorrow, I don’t know what position I’d rather be in — stay on Earth with the heathens or go up to Heaven with the prudes saints.

Yes, floating up to heaven with the all the good people sounds dreamy, but I wouldn't mind staying in the dirty dirty with the sinners and the drinkers KnowWhatIMean?


By all accounts, I’d be one of the ones scooped up by Jesus. I’m angelic (see: blonde), raised Catholic, (and therefore have read a decent chunk of the Bible) and I routinely follow at least 4 of the Ten Commandments.

But, what exactly would I DO up there in heaven?
Who would I stay up late with?
Who would I crack offensive jokes with?

(And I bet DVR recordings of HBO’s CatHouse would be a no-no up there in God's kindgom.)

You know, I still have an extensive bucket list of things I want to do before I leave Earth and last I checked, “seeing a whale in the wild” and "going to Canada" isn't possible in Heaven.

I’ve been reading stories this week about all the crazies who are altering their lives in preparation for this said “rapture.” They’re making signs declaring they are the “good ones” and Jesus should pluck them up first.
(Side note: does Jesus read English? Perhaps those signs should be in Hebrew. Just sayin.)

One family I read about both the parents QUIT THEIR JOBS to prepare for the End, which I found a little extreme until I remembered all the people who lived in bunkers and stocked up on canned food and ammunition in preparation for Y2K. Geez.

(On the bright side, anyone in Maryland looking to be a nurse…two positions just opened up.)

How many times IS the Earth supposed to explode in my lifetime? Scientists say in a billion years (give or take 10 million years). But that’s based on actual patterns of sea levels rising and temperatures and…nevermind. Al Gore is a liar.

The creepy guy in the French Quarter says the Earth will explode tomorrow. (That’s based on his crack habit.)

I have no clue where this RAPTURE idea came from, other than a vaguely interpreted sentence in the Bible. And/or a fossilized Mayan calendar.

But, wait, since when were the Myans so freaking smart? I'm not trying to be a hater or anything, but all of their structures are now considered “ruins.”

And as far as the Bible is concerned, you’d think if Jesus was going to come back for an odd judgement-day swoop, wouldn’t there be more instructions?
Like, “pack your sheep leave your camels??”

I, for one, will be “packing” my newly polished toenails.
And an US Weekly.

See ya’ll Sunday.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I had to drive Adam home at 1:30 a.m. because when I told him I didn’t want to have sex with him, he called me a bitch.


And here I thought dating had evolved since high school.

I mean, I had totally forgotten about all the lines guys try to use to get their, ahem, way.
The lines the nuns at my Catholic High School warned me about.

But here I was, practically ten years out of high school, hearing the same ridiculous phrases that turn out more candidates for the show “Teen Mom.”

“Oh, I see,” Adam said, annoyed, after I dropped the blue-ball news.
“You’re the everything BUT girl.”


“Did you really just say that? God, how old are you?” I asked, still trying to be playful.

He was 33 years old.
He was a 33-year-old bully.

“I mean, I just don’t see what the big deal is,” he said, pulling away.

Not that he deserved it, but I gave him a short list of reasons.

“Well, ONE, it’s a school night. TWO, this is our second time hanging out — ever — and THREE, it doesn’t matter what my reasons are because I don’t want to, so end of story.”

“Oh, so I get NO SAY in this??” he said.

“No,” I said.

I was hurt, because I really did like him until that moment, and now I was super pissed and wanted him to disappear forever. Certainly off my couch.

“I mean, we just met,” I said. “I like you, and I don’t want to have sex too quickly.”

He sat there.
“I don’t understand your logic,” he said.

He then jumped back into high school mode.

His next line, seriously, WORD FOR WORD was:

“I mean, I need to be able to have chemistry with someone in bed, and if we don’t have it, then I don’t know if we can go out again.”


I considered this for a moment.

“So you think people should have sex the first time they hang out to see if they're wasting their time?” I asked.

Adam then laughed, hopefully realizing how ridiculous that statement was when said aloud.
But, because he had to prove a point, said, “Yes. I do.”

I asked him if he’d ever heard of the term “having sex too quickly” and asked if he thought there was something to be said for building it up and building it up.

"What kind of game is that?" he asked.

Then he started begging.

“Look, I don’t know how many ways I can say, ‘no,’” I said, and then I looked away.

“So don’t say no,” Adam said, trying to get close to me again.

“NO!” I said with more ‘tude in my tone. Then Adam got all bratty. Like a high schooler.

“Oh, I bet you just LOVE holding this over me,” he said. “I bet you just LOVE being a TEASE!”

I tried to remember how the nun in high school told us to respond to this tactic.
She probably would have advised the “cold shoulder” method.

“Stop being a jerk,” I said.

“Oh, I’M being a jerk?” he asked.


“Well, I think you’re being a bitch. I mean, you’re just drawing a weird boundary line and I’m just supposed to go along with it,” he said.

“OK,” I said sarcastically.

Adam then got up to go to the bathroom and I fought back tears of anger about how out of ALL THE PEOPLE in the world I could have gone on a date with and brought to my house, it had to be THIS effing loser.

“Let me call you a cab,” I said to him when he returned, water splashed on his face.

He didn’t have a car, and I had driven his ass around town all day.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I don’t want to hang out with someone who’s going to call me a bitch for not sleeping with them,” I said, matter-of-factly. He was now dead to me.

I picked up my cell phone to make the call.

“I don’t have enough money for a cab,” he said.

“It’s, like, eleven dollars,” I said, on hold. “Cabs take credit cards now,” I added.

“I still don’t have enough,” he said.

I was painfully reminded of my mother’s advice to “screen people well.”

How does a 33-year-old not have $11 to pay for a cab?
How exactly WAS he planning on getting home?

“I’ll pay for your cab,” I said hastily, never wanting someone out of my sight more.

“If you insist,” he said.

The cab company told me that I actually could NOT pay for someone else’s cab, unless I faxed over authority, which was impossible at the moment. And I didn’t have cash on me to throw at him.

It was 1:30 in the morning and I wanted Adam gone forever.
I feared that if I threw him out of my house to let him figure out his own way home, he’d linger and come knocking like a puppy an hour later telling me he was cold and hungry.

I hung up with the cab company and said, “I’m driving you home.”

And that’s how I ended up taking the most uncomfortable 20-minute drive of my life, with an empty gas tank.

Neither one of us spoke to each other, even when I got lost finding his house.
When I pulled up, I put the car in park and waited for him to exit the vehicle.

“Look,” he said, almost sad. “I think we’re both being childish here.”

“I’m not being childish,” I said. He then tried to make eye contact, although I was fixated on the blue glow of my radio.

“Look at me,” he said.
I did.

“What do you want me to say, Adam?” I asked. “Thanks for a disappointing evening? Thanks for making me feel like shit?”

“Well, I don’t think I made you feel like shit…” he started, like he wanted to hash out this issue more.
But I was out of gas, and out of patience.

“OK. Fine. I THINK it’s really late and you need to get out of my car.”

He did, and then looked sad with a puppy dog face looking back at me through the window, and he didn’t walk to his front door immediately.

I sped off and saw him still on the street, staring at my car until I made the turn off his block.

By the time I got home, I had text messages from him.

“Thanks for the ride. Dinner was nice” was the first one.

“I’m sorry we don’t see eye to eye and that makes me sad” was the second one.

“No hard feelings on my end” was the third one.

Ha! Oh, thank GOD there are no hard feelings on HIS end!!!

I didn’t respond to any of the texts, and actually hadn’t realized he sent them until later because the second I drove away, I called a girl friend and told her all about my shitty evening and exactly what happened with Adam.

We laughed and made fun of him the entire 20-minute ride home and she said she knew someone who worked with him and she’d be sure to pass along the story.

You know, just like in high school.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My radio, my love

I’m considering getting rid of my Sirius radio, but how exactly DO you end a five-year relationship???

It’s part of my car experience now, like putting on a seatbelt. Can I just cut it off like that???

The problem isn’t Sirius, it’s me.
We’ve grown apart, and it’s my fault.

I remember the good times when Sirius and I would spend 40 minutes in the car each way to work — just us and Howard Stern's penis jokes.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: without Sirius and Howard, I would not be employed. I’d still be sleeping.

I got Sirius specifically for Howard Stern, and plugged it in the first day he aired in 2006. But, Sirius, I've learned to appreciate so much more about you!

Do you remember the countless days we napped together on my lunch break at the park with your CHILL CHANNEL (Ch. 53) set at the perfect volume 8?

You’ve always been loyal, which is why this decision is so difficult.

You’ve always let me know when my “saved” artists were playing, and because of that, I know all the lyrics to every Paul Simon song.

And because of you, I now know the correct names of Classic Rock artists and songs.
Like how The Who’s “Who are You” is the correct title and chorus, not “Neeeeew Orleans” like I originally thought. Haha.

(♫ Doot doot doo doo doot♫)

And what about that lovely week when you played full Dave Matthews Band concerts from Portugal?
That was nice.

And how cool did you made me look when I got to put on Bob Dylan’s crazy radio hour for a passenger/fan??!
He loved it.

Remember the time I drove across state lines through the middle of the night and was still able to hear the New Orleans Saints game crystal clear on your satellite goodness??
(Fuck the Falcons.)

But, I’m sorry, baby. I don’t need you anymore.

I’m not in my car long enough to appreciate you. I can’t even hear full Howard Stern interviews with celebrities and porn stars before I get to my destination.

I also now live in New Orleans, home of the best radio station in the world, and it doesn’t cost $16 a month.

(Also, I nap on my couch now. Not the park.)

But wait! I’m not giving up on you just yet! I’m planning at least two summer road trips and I think that will reignite our passion.

And maybe instead of quitting you completely, I could move you into my house with an internet subscription. I know it won’t be the same, but things change.

PEOPLE change!

Relationships are so hard!!!

Wanna get me drunk and make me change my mind about us?

Howard Stern would approve.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


My twin sister, Joy, and I took the public bus home every day in high school.

It was 1 mile from our school to the bus stop at our block, but we got a 1,000 insults during the five minute ride.

It was because we were white -- super white girls with blonde hair and blue eyes -- and could have sat on a bus in Sweden and not had anyone paid attention to us.

But this was New Orleans and a bus with quasi inner city black kids and we were the subject of a lot of jokes, many of which we didn’t understand.

There was this one comment (compliment?) that our poor, inexperienced minds didn’t get.

This one guy used to say it to us every day.

We didn’t get it at the time. But now that we're older and more, uh, in tune to sexual things (from the movies, mom!!!) we NOW get what he was saying.

And it’s gross.

Every day, for the 180 days during that school year, he got on the bus, he’d look at us and say, “Yo, girl. I want some CREAM in my COFFEE.”

(He was wearing a high school uniform.)

We didn’t get it, because we were young and cute and didn’t drink coffee.

“Oh, you do? That’s nice,” we’d say, (seriously) and then pretended to read books from our seats at the very front of the bus.

We weren’t being dodgy; we honestly didn’t know what he was talking about.

It was only two years later when we realized what CREAM IN MY COFFEE meant.


He had to go ahead and make the most popular beverage in the world be all DIRTY! And were weren't even responsive to his sexual...uh...pick up line? Yet, he said that to us every day.

He wanted some HIGH SCHOOL CREAM in his coffee?


If I ever take up the habit, I’ll take mine with just sugar.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


On the day two people join together in holy matrimony in front of family and friends, the bridal party must never forget that it’s the god damn BRIDE’S day and whatever she says goes.

A last-minute switch in the order for who’s walking down the aisle? Done.
Is someone wearing too much makeup? Tone it down.

Asking people not to mention that she and her husband met online? Uh, sure.

Harry, the best man, didn’t get that last part.

Either he didn’t get it, or he was so drunk by the time the toast happened that he said the very thing he wasn’t supposed to say: COMPUTER.

My friend Ashley, the blushing bride, was very adamant about people not knowing they met online.
She told the bridal party, she told the groom. She specifically came over to our table at the reception to tell us guests not say anything.

“Tell people we met traveling!” she instructed.

We all wondered who exactly were we going to tell sitting at the "singles" table in the back of the room near the bathrooms.

But, she was the bride, and it was her day, so we said OK, you don’t want grandma knowing you used the interwebs to find your future husband FINE. Whatever.

We all minded our own business, and ate our dinner selections at the table in the corner. Near the bathrooms.

And we actually forgot about the Big Internet Secret until the bridal party gave their toasts.


Ah, wedding toasts. Meaningful and honest and from the heart.
But there are some things you don’t mention.

For example: “Remember that time in Puerto Rico when we picked up those two uh, well I guess they were prostitutes but I don't remember paying."
(I live for Adam Sandler movies)

Or: “I just want to say that the whole Sally-cheating-on-you-thing totally brought you two closer together!”

Also: Don’t mention things the bride specifically asks you not to. (Like that whole cheating thing.)

But, right out the gate, a very drunk Harry at the Royal wedding stood up, glass in hand and looked at the newlywed couple.

“I juss want to say,” he said into the microphone. “That I was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO TOM when he first INSTANT MESSAGED Ashley."

All of us at the “singles" table dropped our jaws. Grandma, in the front row, scratched her head.

Ashley gave Harry the most piercing SHUT THE EFF UP look I’d ever seen from her seat at the long table, but Harry continued.

“I said, ‘Do it! Do it, man! Instant message her! ASK FOR HER AGE/SEX/LOCATION!”

(Another rule for wedding toasts: don’t say the word "sex." Ever.)


We all started laughing, but Ashley was MORTIFIED.
She stood up and ripped the microphone from his hands in front of everyone.

Harry stood there, confused.

Ashley passed it to the maid of honor, who was less drunk, and talked more about a soul’s recognition of its counterpart in another than the computer.

When drunk Harry sat down, the groom patted him on the back and tried to pretend like it was OK.

By the time the cake was cut, grandma had forgotten about whatever the hell an instant message was, but Ashley still gave Harry chilly looks during photos.

He spilled the beans after all, and she had specifically told him not to. Now, when thinking back on her beautiful wedding day, she’ll be forever reminded of the stupid speech her husband’s drunk friend offered up. Shithead.

“It’s OK,” we said. “No one cared. By the way, this cake is delicious.”

I don’t think that made her feel better.

Neither did the fact that every new person we met and danced with that night we asked, “Age? Sex? Location?” to, hilariously.

Ah, we couldn’t help it.

We were drunk.


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