Monday, May 20th 2013
Here’s a swell list of all my Mad Men words. I’ll write something about last night’s episode as some as my speed shot kicks in.
MAD MEN SEASON 6 REVIEWS
MAD MEN SEASON 5 REVIEWS
Mad Men 501-502: A Little Kiss
Mad Men 503: Tea Leaves
Mad Men 504: Mystery Date - 01
Mad Men 504: Mystery Date - 02
Mad Men 504: Mystery Date - 03
Mad Men 504: Mystery Date - 04
Mad Men 505: Signal 30 - 01
Mad Men 505: Signal 30 - 02
Mad Men 506: Far Away Places
Mad Men 510: Christmas Waltz - 01
Mad Men 510: Christmas Waltz - 02
Mad Men 510: Christmas Waltz - 03
Mad Men 512: Commissions and Fees - 01
Mad Men 512: Commissions and Fees - 02
Mad Men 513: The Phantom
Tuesday, May 14th 2013
I need you, and nothing else will do.
When chaos overwhelms a part of your life that you usually dominate, like Don does his workspace, a natural urge to control something, anything, takes over. When my life becomes chaotic, I crawl inside myself and make strange lists, like Ted admits with his Gilligan’s Island-margarine pairings. During the darkest times in my past, my house was impeccably clean because, while I couldn’t control what was happening to me, I could absolutely control the space around me.
Taking control over another person is tricky. It can be an exciting, freeing experience for both, or it can be a warning of potential abuse; control must be given as freely as it is taken, and trust must exist on both ends. For Don and Sylvia, their short game of dominance and control was exciting and cathartic, but ultimately, with too much time for Sylvia to consider the truth of their play, an ending.
What a gift though, to read another person well enough, like Don did Sylvia, to know that she needed, for a spell, to lose control; to not know what was going to happen next, but trust that she was going to enjoy it. Don, in turn, was able to know with complete certainty, that while his work was muddled and confused with new people and change and challenges, there was something beautiful waiting for him, something even more beautiful than Megan because Sylvia was waiting on Don’s order. She existed only for him.
We’ve seen Don’s dominance take over with nearly all his relationships. We’ve heard him tell more than one woman to stop talking. We’ve seen his need to control take an abusive turn with Betty, and a filthy worded role play scene with Megan. What we ultimately see with Don though, with the women he cares about – Betty; Megan; Sylvia – is a boyish need to keep things as they are, even if the woman is miserable. “Please,” Don begs Sylvia as she calmly explains to him that their relationship is damaged and doomed. Don doesn’t want to stop playing; he doesn’t want the beautiful, smart, lovely woman to leave him.
After shaming, ignoring, shoving and calling Betty a whore, when she finally tells him it’s over, he lowers his head in a darkened room and weeps. A strong shouldered man, broken because the beautiful woman he loved tells him he’s not good enough. When he and Megan fight at the HoJo after she turns down his delicious orange sherbet offer, he violently kicks in a door, chases her while she grips her hairbrush, like an angered father attempting to control his defiant daughter. When they fall together, and Megan holds an aching limb and cries, Don’s face looks terrified and exhausted. She stands, proud and frightened, and he crawls to her, clutches her, and suddenly, he’s the frightened child.
Every woman Don chooses ends up finding a voice that says, “I don’t need you”, and it terrifies him. For Don, there is nothing more frightening than being insignificant; unneeded; unwanted. He keeps a loose hold on one woman while wrapping himself around another, and when one fails, he grips the one that’s still there, hoping that she doesn’t go away, hoping that he can always return to her and find her, sweetly waiting for him. The foreshadowing image at the end of the episode, while Megan sits on the end of the bed and cries watching the footage of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, and Don sits near her, facing away, looking shame faced and tired, is a glimpse of what it would look like if Don lost Megan too – just a sad lonely man, filled with remorse.
Tuesday, April 30th 2013
Then one day, they get older and you see them do something, and you feel that feeling that you were pretending to have. And it feels like your heart is going to explode.
Sharing grief with an entire nation of people is a surreal, sensitive experience. In 2001, three days before September 11th, SB’s Great Grandmother died. SB told me that she felt as if the whole world was grieving alongside her. The world was not aware of her, or her loss, but everyone was experiencing the shock and terror of grief.
On Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men we observed everyone’s reactions to losing a leader, a real father, and a symbolic father to his followers, and everyone released their fear and sadness in different ways. Betty, who saw Lee Harvey Oswald shot on live television, forbid the children from the TV and squirreled them all away in one room before sending them to their father where she could have the TV on while she waited alone, just in case. Megan readjusted her fear at living high and enclosed but still amongst the sound of angry reaction by tumbling all her emotions onto her father and his uncouth words. Henry and Abe, who would strangely benefit from the event, reacted with a heart palpating excitement. Joan doled out hugs amidst tears. Dawn, eyes wide in shock, ached for her routine, something normal amongst the chaos.
Pete misdirected all his anger and fear and loneliness onto Harry, who exists only on the surface. Such an easy target, someone who says exactly what they’re thinking when they’re thinking, even if what they’re thinking is selfish or unnecessary. Pete, who tried throughout the entire experience to reach out and could find no one, finally found a passionate interaction with the office buffoon. We watched him wait frantically to make a call right after hearing the news; we watched his awkward interaction with Trudy, who, though gentle, had no interest in comforting or seeking comfort with Pete. And finally, in Pete’s last scene, we watch him in that sad lonely apartment attempt to talk to a delivery person who either didn’t, or pretended not to understand him. And there Pete stood, alone, with no words to share or recall except an impassioned speech to a person he doesn’t even care about or respect.
Don reacted the way he does best, by not reacting. Whenever grief strikes Don’s life, unless it’s very personal and very solitary, he seems to resemble the calm quiet voice of reason, offering reasonable solutions to problems, conjuring up wise words to steady the breath of someone actually feeling an emotion, but the truth is that Don isn’t feeling anything. We have seen Don feel. We know what it looks like. We saw it at the end of the episode, Don, deep inside a bottle, admitting what many parents never admit, that they go through the motions with their children until their children do something quietly extraordinary.
That afternoon, waiting for the encore of Planet of the Apes, Bobby Draper became a real human person to Don and to us as well. Bobby has become a bit of a joke to fans, hasn’t he? Four Bobbys, each one popping up to annoy Betty or deliver a cheeky one-liner. Nobody has paid much attention to Bobby, but now Bobby says something so decidedly Don that it makes us whimper. Now we know that Bobby frets for Henry. Now we know that Bobby curses. Now we know Bobby needs order and obsessively tears at the wallpaper that doesn’t line up. Now we know Bobby can offer wise advice to a stranger that he, through observation that Don was completely unaware of, knows his father does. Go to the movies when you’re sad. Watch it again if you’re still sad. Escape. It’s one simple, beautiful way to both cope with grief and reveal to a withholding frightened father that loving you will help heal his broken heart.
Friday, April 26th 2013
I don’t care how they make you feel, it’s right in front of you for the taking.
Who is better at keeping it together than Joan? She reacts to everything that happens as if she not only expected it, but planned it – a surprise pregnancy, a failed marriage, a man’s foot being chopped off, all handled (with the exception of a smashed model airplane) with an assured placidity; everything is happened exactly as it should.
It’s why Joan’s private moments of doubt are like watching a statue crumble, and why it rarely happens, because Joan depends on the resolve she has built. Joan accepts all that has happened to break her, all the abuse, and uses it to straighten her spine and calm her face into an expression of quiet confidence. It’s intimidating to people like Harry, whose emotions are incapable of restraint. It’s inspiring to people like Don, whose restraint is similar to Joan’s, but, as a man working in a permissive environment, is allowed to misstep. Joan must always remain on guard, she must always choose her words and her actions wisely, and the best part of watching Joan is watching her whip-smart mind decide what course she’s going to choose.
Watching Joan interact with a friend whose life is so decidedly different than Joan’s reminded me of when Roger took Freddy Rumsen and Don out on an exciting night of forbidden shenanigans that involved passwords and code names. To a woman who sells cosmetics, Joan’s life is like stepping into a novel, and Joan welcomes her friend into the world, opens the door to an exciting, opulent, seedy land where young men clumsily flirt and paw all evening, the only proof of their existence being a torn dress, a rushed morning, and a vague sense of discontent.
This is Joan’s world. Remove the pale bosomy redhead, and it’s a deep immersion inside a man’s world: a partnership; an apartment in the city; strangers tending to physical needs; child usually in the care of another. Joan, using her quiet intelligence, her diligence, and her pale bosoms, climbed the corporate ladder and landed inside a world that, to other women, seems like something only breathlessly heard about, and maybe, if pushed by an impending sense of age or responsibility, for just one night, lived inside. Joan is so brave she lives it, beautifully, courageously, every day. No apologies, no world-weary melancholy, Joan is nothing but quiet intimidation and limitless inspiration.
Tuesday, April 9th 2013
Just be yourself.
My biggest aging fear is not wrinkles, or sagging skin; it’s not memory loss, or finding the music too damned loud. My biggest aging fear is losing myself in a decade. I’m afraid I’ll spend a steady amount of years successful and happy and as the times a’change, I won’t be able to change with them. This decade will define me and I will be old and sad; so profoundly sad. I will hold so tight to the way I looked and behaved during those years that I will forget how to adapt.
It is lovely to hold on to a thing or two from your past. I was in high school during the whole school girl knee-socks & pleated-skirt phenomenon. My Mom hated the look and wouldn’t let me wear it. Now, because I’m eccentric and don’t look my age, I am taking advantage of that lost time and totally wearing a version of the trend. That’s fine! Rock on! Picking and choosing an appealing trend from decades past to repeat is a fantastic fashion choice. What I haven’t done is totally adapt my wardrobe to resemble that of a 17 year old girl in 1995. That would be sad. Not because I committed to a trend. I know plenty of women who commit themselves to dressing in entirely retro clothing and their dedication is an inspiration. However, if I dressed entirely in clothing from my teen years, I wouldn’t be dedicating myself to a look, I would be trapping myself in my past.
Here’s Don, it’s almost 1968, and aside from the clothing Megan dresses him in during their vacation, he looks like an older version of Don circa 1960. Last season Don turned off a psychedelic Beatles album after a short listen, was hurt when Megan rejected his favourite iced dessert, and furrowed his brow disapprovingly at a young girl backstage at a Rolling Stones concert. Don will smoke weed because he’s down for whatever, but would never seek out the current era’s drug of choice. Don is sleeping with a woman whose kid is in college. Don looks like the Ken doll Sally played with back when she was Thally Draper.
Even Don’s idea of the profundity of love is somehow antiquated. He is starwort, verbose only when overwhelmed with his distaste at the way the world around him is moving. When on a decadent Hawaiian vacation he won’t even speak unless he finds someone who wants him to reminisce and treat him like a wise older man. When he discovers later, that the man he shared a spontaneous and profound experience with had a youthful catchy phrase engraved on the lighter that Don accidentally ended up with, Don rejected the experience, discarded it, refused the connection. The first 10 minutes of the sixth season premiere reveal Don in various scenes looking bewildered and bemused. His slight brow furrow, his small tight smile hiding, what we see as the episode progresses, a deep sadness; a death wish; a curiosity about our inevitable end. It feels as if he just wants it to be over.
There’s such a disconnect between Don and everyone around him. He can exchange words, laugh at a joke, make love to his wife, make love to another man’s wife, but everything is on the surface, and he’s just waiting for the ocean to swallow him whole. The only thought that seems to consume him is whether he’ll let the ocean find him, or if he’ll shed all the various skins he’s cloaked himself in and wander into the abyss himself, leave everything behind without anyone ever really knowing who lived at his center. All we’ll know is that Don felt safe in the glamour he wore in 1960.
Monday, January 14th 2013
What’s important about Jodie Foster publically coming out is not how she did it, or when, but that she did. If we could not critique, but instead embrace every queer person who declares or confirms their sexuality, we could set the scene for every closeted person to know that we welcome and celebrate them. Sharing something about yourself that is still met with scorn and prejudice is a courageous act; coming out, regardless of words chosen, venue, or age, is brave. Let’s thank everyone who has chosen to live openly without shame so that, eventually, heterosexuality will no longer be assumed and homosexual and bisexual men and women won’t have to decide when it’s safest to make a declaration to the world about who they are: they can just be.
Tuesday, October 23rd 2012
I am passionate about autumn and celebrate it like a Pagan fiend. I enjoy gruesome morbid frights all year ‘round, but it culminates in October when I allow myself to indulge in every dreadful delight I can dream up. Suicide Blonde and I decorate our home and bodies with skulls and stripes as a macabre patriotism to our gallant leaders: Burton & Addams. Freddy Krueger and other monsters have courted me for over 25 years and I spend candle-lit evenings with them, reminiscing about yesteryear. My favourite emotion is faux fear, and I delve deep inside the emotion by reading filthy, debauched, disgusting horror stories; they induce disturbing nightmares that I retell with a wide-eyed sinister pleasure to Suicide Blonde over breakfast every morning. My favourite flavour is a savoury sweetness, and I bake endlessly with apples, pumpkins, squash, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg.
I find russet leaves crunching underfoot so much more satisfying than verdant foliage; Suicide Blonde and I go on daily walks in the crisp air, marvelling at neighbours’ spooky Halloween decor, petting neighbourhood cats, discussing costume plans. The days before Halloween and Halloween night are filled with traditional activities: carving fat orange pumpkins into jovial or menacing Jack-o-Lanterns; toasting pumpkin seeds; watching our very favourite horror films that we saved like a delicious holiday treat; dressing up in ridiculous and depraved costumes and photographing each other; delighting with a gluttonous joy in the frightful perfection of Halloween. Nothing is lovelier than the grotesque; the ghoulish; the ghastly witchery that’s celebrated every October. I ache for it the whole year.
Tuesday, October 9th 2012
My capacity for salaciousness is tremendous. My greatest pleasure is looking at and touching exposed flesh. I am voracious in my admiration of a woman’s body. I adore every bit: an elegant clavicle, the curve of the lower back, a plump bum, a soft belly, long fingers, slim arms, the fleshy tops of the thighs, pointed toes, a hip’s curve, parted lips, a long swan neck, flushed cheeks, gapped teeth, a bruised knee, pale breasts, the muscles of an outer thigh, worrying fingers, stray locks of hair escaping a ponytail, a tan-line tracing the memory of summer around the shoulders and down the back, tattoos decorating skin like bookmarks, tiny scars that recall aching nostalgia, a pert nose, glowing bronze flesh, downy pubic hair, shorn locks revealing the most kissable part of the neck, a strong profile, delicate wrists, thick dark lashes, spectacularly curved brows, freckled shoulders, a jutted hipbone, a connect the dots puzzle of beauty marks, a bit lower lip tugged between teeth, tight pink nipples, painted lips, a furrowed brow, curls falling over a shoulder, skin so pale that delicate blue lines can be traced.
There is something luscious and lovely in every woman so long as she possesses confidence, and if she does not, there is something luscious and lovely lurking beneath, waiting to reveal itself. I encourage every woman to revel in her flesh; to touch photograph, share, and possess it. Your body is yours and yours alone, but it is terribly fun to decorate and reveal your form. Modesty is underrated; show us what you’ve got. I bet it’s exquisite.
Tuesday, September 18th 2012
I’m going to write Boardwalk Empire musings this season like I did for last season of Mad Men, though I’ll be honest, most of them will be about Richard. Here’s a Richard-analysis for the season premiere!
The ghosts of Jimmy and Angela Darmody live on in Gillian and Richard. Sweet Tommy Darmody is spoiled with attention from the woman in love with the dead man and the man in love with the dead man’s dead wife. Never mind that Jimmy was Gillian’s son or Angela a lesbian, these two characters hold proud incestuous, uninformed torches for their deceased loves, and their respective departed beloved lives on inside Tommy. The bond between Gillian and Richard is both beautiful and volatile; they both want to best prove their love for Tommy: Richard by keeping Angela’s memory alive, Gillian by replacing her. This intense overwhelming need to put their love on someone who will one day become a version of their lost love bonds them, so even while Gillian offers sweet voiced threats to Richard’s stability in her home if he refuses to live inside her story and carve out his own, Richard offers a sincere, “I understand” in response to Gillian’s objection at Richard schooling Tommy on Angela’s existence.
Thursday, August 9th 2012
I was once roofied at a club. The usual roofie happenings didn’t occur. I’m not even sure why someone slipped me a mickey since usually a drugged drink is accompanied by something sinister. I was at a gay bar I often visited, on my second drink, and suddenly I was stoned out of my mind and stumbling out of the bar with a friend, who had also been drugged, to his car. Of course we didn’t know at the time that we had been drugged; we just thought we felt awesome. He decided that we should drive to his rich friend’s house out in the country and play video games. “Great idea,” I replied, before abandoning my sober companions in their boring sober vehicles and willingly jumping into the passenger seat of my stoned friend’s car.
To put this scenario into perspective I’ll share two facts about me: I have a strong constitution and I do not drive drunk, or ride in cars with drunken people: ever. When I was 15 I was a passenger in a car that was struck by a drunk driver and I was seriously injured, so I strictly abided the No Drunk Driving laws, even during the most inebriated years of my misspent youth. I did, however, love liquor, and it loved me, and 2 drinks had never caused me to misplace my judgement so severely. But judgment-free, I was, so off I went into the car, and off we went on a terrible adventure.
Saturday, August 4th 2012
Was there anything hotter than the Wakefield twins? Look at them! They’re stunning! I owned every book up to #100 & best remember the issues that I read in the summer, floating about in our above-ground pool or lazing in the bath. I had two Wakefield twin puzzles that I put together & pasted over with puzzle paste, then propped up against my dresser so I could gaze at them from across the room. I planned to frame my beautiful puzzles, but never got around to it. They’re still tucked away in a storage bin somewhere in my parents house along with my other early fandom collections.
If asked, I would say Elizabeth was my favourite because I was also brainy & wore my hair in half-ponies, but she wasn’t. It was Jessica. Always Jessica. Jessica was brazen, but still a lady. She demanded respect & invited attention. She wore her sunny blonde shoulder length waves & sparkling blue-green eyes with complete conviction. Elizabeth scorned her beauty. Own it, Lizzie!
Probably the best Sweet Valley storylines were when one of the girls pretended to be the other, then my favourite twin answer would be Liz pretending to be Jess. Let that half-pony down, girl! Show us what you’re workin’ with!
Sunday, July 1st 2012
Male strippers were an important part of my youth. My Mom was friends with a troupe (is that what a group of male strippers is called? a gaggle? a murder?). They were called The Loverboys and were the Chippendale’s rivals in the upper-midwest. The leader of the gaggle was called Vic. Momma bought me this Ken doll because he looked like Vic:
I used his shiny silver jacket on my Julia-Roberts-In-Pretty-Woman Barbie for the scene where she’s wearing Richard Gere’s jacket over her hooker get-up.
One time Momma and her best friend Sandy tp’ed Vic’s house and Vic called to tell them that while he was taking the tp down from a tree, he fell and broke his beautiful bronze leg and Momma cried. It’s ok though, Vic was just joking. Haha! Good one, buddy!
Another member of the throng was called Hollywood. That was not his real name. He danced for me at my 11th birthday party. It was the most mortifying experience of my life, and probably one of the happiest of my mother’s. To prepare for the horrifying experience, Momma asked me to explain the difference between a ‘dork’ and a ‘nerd’. I remember with perfect clarity drying dishes as she washed, explaining in intricate detail who I felt was a ‘dork’ and who I considered a ‘nerd’. I don’t even know why this was prep-work for my disturbing birthday surprise, because the routine Hollywood did was just a clothed version of one of his stripping routines.
On my birthday, wearing a fuscia button-up with a sassy hot pink bandana tied jauntily around its collar, I met my two best friends, my cousin, and Sandy’s daughter at the friend’s house. I wasn’t even suspicious as to why we weren’t partying at home (it was because my Dad loathed the stripping cluster of men), I was just excited to have a day with the girls. Then, in the midst of my pretty awesome party where I believe we were discussing Dirty Dancing and NKOTB, a knock sounds at the front door. “I wonder who that is,” Momma said while waggling her eyebrows. I trusted her completely and answered the door when she asked. Imagine my horror when a 27 year-old man stood before me, wearing a ‘nerd costume’, looking like Slater did in the Snow White and the Seven Dorks episode of Saved By the Bell. He busted in, performed a routine about how lonely and sad it is to be a nerd (I told Momma nerds were worse than dorks, is that why he chose nerd? What if I had chosen dork? Would my life have turned out completely different?). Mid-way through the routine my homosexuality was sealed when Hollywood shook out his mane of layered, moussed, frosted, permed waves and did a shimmy-shake in front of my terrified face. Horrible! Just awful! I will never forgive my Mother.
Hollywood did, however, have a beautiful girlfriend. I can’t remember her name, but her hair was a sunny blonde and she was also a stripper. One time she came over to do her make-up and she let me watch! I sat in the bathroom and gazed at her as she gazed at herself in the vanity and watched her turn herself from girl-next-door beautiful to bombshell-beautiful. She wore cut-off jean shorts and a tiny t-shirt that fell off one shoulder and bared just the loveliest little bit of flat, tan tummy. I used to imagine we were best friends, that she would teach me to apply foundation and I would teach her how to work her VCR. She would never have any need of Hollywood and we would be very happy together, the two of us.
The most important member of the clutch of gentlemen was called Rocky. His real name was the same as my Dad’s. Rocky and Momma had this beautiful emotional affair that I probably shouldn’t have known so much about, but there weren’t a lot of barriers between me and my parents’ personal life. I met Rocky once and, like with Hollywood, was frightened of his intense charisma and male sexuality. Momma took me to his apartment and we went out to lunch together. Rocky was playful and flirtatious the way attractive adults are with awkward children. Rocky was also unaware that, even at 11, my sexual development was already well under way, and I just felt like he was making fun of me and like I would never find anyone to love me. I liked watching my Mom with a man she adored though; it was very charming. Rocky’s last name was Krueger and I wanted Momma to leave Papa so Rocky could adopt me and I could change my last name to Krueger and finally be a member of Freddy’s family. Rocky and Momma fell out of touch and he died of cancer a few years later. I think Momma still grieves him. It’s frightfully romantic.
There were other characters in the bundle: a beautiful gay man called Nick (Nick was too beautiful to need a nom de plume); a man who lit his thong on fire; a guy who did a routine to Black Velvet, which Momma thought was the ultimate in sensuality. Mom’s music interest during the years she knew the strippers was supplied by their routine numbers, and that made for a pretty kick-ass playlist.
The most difficult part of having a mother who was friends with a swarm of male strippers is that I had no interest in their bods, and that my rampantly heterosexual mother was disappointed that she couldn’t bond with me as a fellow lover of men. Mom thought that, because I mooned over Johnny Depp and Luke Perry, that she was raising a heterosexual daughter, ignoring the fact that I mooned even harder over Samantha Fox and Shannen Doherty; that I cried with longing for Cindy Crawford; that I desperately wanted Winona Ryder to love me.
Mom encouraged me to hang up a promo picture of the horde of fellas on my wall, which didn’t go at all with my ripped-from-Seventeen-and-Bop-magazine decor. Instead I hung them on the outside of my bedroom door (a life sized poster of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey already covered the inside). It was great! I could hang the stupid poster and never had to look at it! Papa, however, had to look at it every time he walked from his bedroom to the bathroom, and insisted that if I could have a topless men poster hanging on my door, then my brothers could have topless women photos hanging from their doors, nevermind the fact that none of us should have had topless people pictures hanging from any of our doors. The poster was removed soon after the argument was raised.
Even though interacting with these young robust men was a little scary, the stories of my interactions with them are still some of my favourites. I mean, c’mon! Hollywood! Rocky Krueger! Flaming thong! That’s a childhood most kids only imagine in their wildest Candy Land dreams! Not me. I lived it.
Sunday, June 24th 2012
10 Careers I’ve desired, in chronological order:
I liked the costume. Still do! I also liked my Fisher Price med kit. Still do! The thought of working in the medical field now though seems as strange as going into space. I can barely handle the small amount of pressure in my life now, I can’t imagine being able to handle the stress of tending to the health of strangers.
I like kitties. Still do! I wouldn’t want to work with animals though, this was a 6 year old dream. When I was 6 it seemed like my options were nurse, vet, or Mom.
3. Pop Singer
I discovered I could sort of sing when I was 8 & since Madonna can also sort of sing I figured I was all set!
4. Investigative Reporter
I think I read a book about an investigative reporter & my 7th grade English teacher told me I’d make a good one. He was very encouraging. I’d be terrible! I like minding my own business.
I was really into clouds & thunderstorms. I’m still obsessed with weather & report it often to SB. I’m definitely going to be one of those elderly people who only watches The Weather Network.
6. Casting Director
When I would read Christian Slater interviews, which I did often, I’d read that his Mom was a casting director & thought that sounded awesome. I didn’t realize that there were only like, 7 casting directors in the whole world & thought I could actually achieve this goal. It still sounds pretty awesome.
7. Elementary School Librarian
I still like the idea of being a librarian. My elementary school librarian was eccentric & wonderful. I’d like to be like her. I’m probably too eccentric to work a day job though.
8. Thrift/Antique/Used Book & Magazine Store Owner
If a distant rich relative leaves us money in a will so we could have a job that makes little money but delivers a lot of creative satisfaction this might be an option. Otherwise it remains a dream.
9. Film Historian
Because Robert Osborne is my hero! I’d still love to have this job. A film or fashion archivist career would delight me.
This is my current career goal. It’s fun to have career goals when you’re 34!
These are the jobs I’ve had, in chronological order:
Most of my teenage babysitting gigs turned into long term nanny jobs for crummy Moms where I raised their kids as best as a 12 year old could. It was fun, but it also gave me the mistaken impression that I wanted babies. Gross.
2. Store Clerk at a Novelty Shop
This was my first legit job. I loved it & I learned how to pierce ears & count back change.
3. Video Store Clerk
Working at a video store in the mid-90s is exactly as cool as it sounds. We had a porn room!
4. Ladies Clothing Store Clerk
I love folding clothing & I was the lingerie clerk for a spell. Getting to tell ladies which bra would suit them best was a delight!
I was super excited to get this job because it paid SIX DOLLARS AN HOUR! It turned out to be the worst job ever! I did product surveys where I called people in the middle of the afternoon & asked if they enjoyed Fresca. The first call I made the woman who answered replied to my spleel with, “Oh my god, I am at a FUNERAL!” FANTASTIC!
6. Shoe Store Clerk
This job wasn’t so bad. I was robbed when I was working the store alone. They stole like, 4 pair of shoes & it was a discount shoe store. What a lame robbery!
7. File Clerk
I find collating tremendously soothing.
8. Data Entry Clerk
I find entering data into a spreadsheet tremendously soothing, though slightly less calming than collating.
I hate transcribing audio! I can’t understand what anyone is saying & the subject is usually dull, but I still have to pay attention to the stupid words in order to type them out. I do like typing though & I type freaky fast, so typing up documents is alright.
10. Unpaid Blogger
This is my most artistically satisfying endeavour, even if the pay is shit.
Tuesday, June 5th 2012
My best friend in elementary school had divorced parents. She visited her Dad every other weekend. Like Sally, Jessica lived in a dark house with her sullen Mom and distant step-Dad through the week and visited her Dad and step-Mom’s bright, clean home on weekends. Her step-Mom was younger, too, at least she seemed so, and she always had sugar cereal and pop. Her Mom’s house seemed to only ever have hot-dogs that Jessica would eat cold as a snack after school.
Sometimes I would stay the weekend at Jessica’s Dad’s house with her. The bedroom that she shared with her sister was clean and sparse, like a hotel. It had matching twin beds and pretty blue coverlets and sheets decorated with butterflies with a pale blue blanket tucked between the sheet and coverlet. The sheets were terribly scratchy and worn though, and I would always sleep on the top sheet.
I remember reading about Elizabeth Wakefield breaking up with Jeffrey while lying in that bed one Saturday night. I remember us watching Debbie Gibson’s Foolish Beat video late one night on MTV and agreeing to love Debbie, even though we had once sworn to devote ourselves solely to Tiffany. I remember catching Jessica’s sister kissing her boyfriend by his truck outside; he saw us peeking and waggled his finger at us without breaking the kiss. We ducked under the window and giggled manically. Jessica’s father would watch race car driving on Sundays and would periodically remind us not to drink the soda out of his glass because it was “grown-up pop”. My parents didn’t drink and I had no idea what that meant, only that his rum-laced drink smelled sweet and inviting.
I have no memory of whether or not Jessica’s step-Mom and Dad were good parents. All I recall is their novelty. He worked with tractors and let me drive one once. I almost crashed it, and the dreamy boy that worked for him helped me control the machine. The place he worked at had a coke machine, a candy machine and an old fashioned coffee/hot cocoa machine; one that dispensed the drink in a paper cup that the employees would keep encased in a brown plastic cover. In the neon bright 80s and early 90s everything that was brown, orange or green seemed old fashioned. I can’t remember if he owned the building I attempted to drive the tractor into or just worked there. I know he had an office. They lived on the outskirts of town, which meant they had more money than us. They had an extremely old cat that I adored. I think her step-Mom’s name was Kim? I’m not sure. All I’m sure of is how much fun I had on those butterfly sheets, pretending like Jessica and I were on vacation together, watching cable TV, reading important Sweet Valley moments and catching teenagers kissing.
Saturday, May 5th 2012
I could tell a story about my unique & beautiful relationship with each of these cover boys, but I’ll just tell one.
When I was 11, the white trash neighbours moved out & a new family moved in. We adored the family that lived there because our family was also WT, but just a little less trash, so our bonkers front yard filled with broken cars, a barely functioning above-ground pool & cats (so many cats!) was largely ignored by the neighbourhood while the boy next door pulled shenanigans.
Luckily, when he & his dreamy brother moved away, an even MORE fantastically dysfunctional family moved in. They were glorious! The family consisted of two cranky smoking parents, twin blonde daughters whose names began with the same letter & three boys whose names began with a different same letter. The youngest boy was rambunctious & everyone said he looked like a real-life Bart Simpsons, because it was the late-80s, you see. The middle boy was quiet & polite. I wrote my first poem about him. It was titled Love. The eldest boy was a half-brother, the result of some teenage romp the smoking mother had before she settled down with the smoking father. This boy was magnificent: slim and tall and plump lipped. One side of his head were shaved by a blonde, cruelly beautiful girlfriend. The unshaved side covered one eye that I never saw. Maybe it didn’t exist!
I was obsessed with this boy from the moment I got over my brief crush on middle-brother until I discovered the Internet when I was 16 & also discovered it was totally cool to love ladies. He did not care for my bod, but was always very sweet to me, which actually led to more humiliation than would have resulted if he had simply ignored me. During my obsession I wrote my tender mono-eyed love many poems, one was titled True Love, because my feelings had deepened & a love letter that I foolishly asked my brother to deliver and was read & laughed at by my brothers & his brothers instead of him. But when I peeked out the window & witnessed my shame, his eye caught mine & he quietly snatched the letter out of the giggling boys hands & returned to his house. So gallant!
Sometimes the mother of my Sweet Love would visit with my mother. They would sit at our kitchen table & smoke & gossip. During one visit, they moved their cigarettes & sweet tea outdoors & Smoking Mom left her purse hanging from a kitchen chair. I was a tremendously well behaved child, but suddenly overcome by my irrational desire, I dove into her wallet, released My Tender True Heart’s school photo from its plastic confines & scurried to my bedroom with my stolen treasure clutched in my palm. I couldn’t look at it though! I couldn’t have such intimate eye contact with my Darling Man-child. He never looked away, just stared at me soulfully, slouched impatiently in his grey flannel. “What was he thinking?” I wondered. Even though I couldn’t interact with the photo, I also I couldn’t bring myself to toss it; the thrill of committing a crime in the name of (true) love was too delicious, the evidence must remain. So I hid it carefully behind a pin-up photo I had hanging on my wall, above my light switch, of Tommy Puett. I don’t even remember what show Tommy Puett was on (Life Goes On, maybe? I dunno.) He was just a space filler, surrounded by more important cast members of Saved By the Bell, Johnny Depp, New Kids on the Block, Mariah Carey & Winona Ryder, but behind Puett’s stupid face hid my True Love, and now that mullet-clad boy is a part of my heart’s history.