Because my husband and I looked around at our situation in life and decided we had too much money (meaning we only have to eat Spam and ramen three days a week now instead of the usual seven), too much free time (now that we’ve maximized on the hours between midnight and four when we used to lay there doing nothing), and some calories that needed to be burned (not even going to explain that one), we decided to take up golf.
Let me explain what taking up golf means: well, wait, there’s really no need to decipher that for you. You’ve already got the visual, I’m sure.
Basically, we bought our dream house about five years ago and it happens to overlook the eleventh hole on a golf course. And other than sitting on our porch with coffee in the mornings and listening to people as early as six am whacking at golf balls, it’s never really made an impact on our lives.
When my husband tried to tempt me with promises of how much fun it was going to be, I actually wasn’t a really hard sell. I like trying new things, I like being outside, and I like sports that require specific and goofy outfits. I did have two rules, however: 1) I’m not walking anywhere, and 2) I’m not playing thirsty, and by thirsty I actually mean sober. He was fine with my rules, so we launched our golf careers.
Luckily, we were already members of this country club because they happen to have a pool and we take the kids there every summer. It was a slight upgrade to include golf, and my brother-in-law had some old clubs he could loan us. We were set.
Our membership includes a free bucket of balls to hit at the driving range each day, so that’s where we decided to start. We would get really comfortable (re: look less stupid) at the driving range before actually attempting to play on the course. We were a go for golf!
Until we actually tried it and discovered there’s a reason they planted a wall of trees between the driving range and the nearby homes. I never actually heard glass breaking, but it could be that the homeowners had already replaced all of their windows with a combination of Plexiglass and gelatin sheeting before I ever tried.
While it was hard work and a little frustrating, the first round of hitting the balls from the driving range was actually going much better than I’d envisioned. Of course, I’d had enough limeritas by that point that it’s possible my awesome-looking ball hitting was all hallucination, and I didn’t care.
With only one ball left for each of us to hit, the unthinkable happened.
There I was, minding my own business, when a sharp pain in my very lower back indicated that my husband had teed off and hit me square in the ass with a golf ball. I crumpled like a washed up boxer with a glass jaw. My husband ran to my aid and (wait for it) pulled me up to standing so he could pull the waistband of my shorts down and see if there was actually a dent there. As he stood there publicly rubbing my ass, he yelled, “Please don’t blog about this!”
It was horrific, only made worse by the fact that I couldn’t keep a straight face long enough to make him feel really, really bad. I tried limping and clutching my back, hoping at least for another limerita out of this if not actual jewelry, but it was so damn funny that I couldn’t stop laughing while my mascara ran down my cheeks from the tears of pain.
Eventually the sharp stinging and exploding eye floaters subsided enough for him to fold me tenderly into the car. As we drove off, he started to say something but then stopped himself, declaring it was “too soon” to say it.
“It’s already out there, buddy, I know you started to say something. Go ahead, don’t be a coward!”
He looked at me as sympathetically as he could and said, “I’m really glad I hit you and not that old man!”
I speak Italian. There, I said it. With a name like Lorca Damon there was a really good chance that I spoke something, but I cleared that up in case you couldn’t pinpoint exactly which variety of mutt I identify with.
I also have a kick ass job that sends me to New York from time to time, and after a brief period when I didn’t realize I didn’t have to stay in a hotel that was technically located in New Jersey, I came to enjoy my trips. They’re one of the few times when I’m guaranteed both a dose of culture and an armadillo-free few days.
This most recent trip was last week, and a strange phenomenon occurred. I went to New York, did the whole “I’m really supposed to live here and not in a place that still accepts live chickens in exchange for medical care” (totally not kidding on that one, look it up) thing, and even ordered food in a restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen in Italian (see note above about speaking a foreign language). But then I started to identify with “my people,” and not necessarily in a good way.
First, the restaurant went something like this:
HIM: Buona sera, signora. (Good evening, madam)
ME: Buona sera. Di dove sei? (Good evening. Where are you from?) (Incidentally, isn’t this whole thing reading like your high school Spanish book?)
HIM: D’una citta’ vicino di Venezia. (From a city near Venice.)
ME: Da’vero! Anchio! (Really? Me too!)
HIM: Si? Di dov’e’? (Yes? Where are you from?)
ME: Da’un villagio si chiama Caldogno. E’ vicino di Vicenza. (From a village called Caldogno. It’s near Vicenza.)
HIM: Bene. La mia e’ piu di nordest. (Mine’s from farther northeast.)
ME: Ah, vicino Iugoslavia, se era’ ancora la’. (Oh, near Yugoslavia, well, if it was still there.)
HIM: Si’. (Figure it out)
Then the rest of the dinner started. Only it went like this (I shall henceforth drop the Italian because I got all nostalgic about Italy while typing that part and started drinking. No, the Italian still works just fine under the influence of wine, it’s the English translation that’s kind of throwing me off.)
HIM: Would you like to see the wine list?
ME: Oh no, I’ll just have a glass of merlot.
HIM: You don’t want merlot! I bring you something special.
(Later, after a glass of non-merlot…)
HIM: Have you decided on a first course?
ME: Oh, the bread is fine.
HIM: You can’t live on bread! I bring you something special. (“Something special” turned out to be cold tomato soup with a basil reduction. Oddly tasty, but it wasn’t actually bread.)
HIM: And for your second course?
ME: I’d like the grilled lamb with the insalata caprese. (Incidentally, if you’d paid attention during high school Spanish, you could at least be kind enough to insert the Spanish translation here for me. After all, I’ve been drinking. And I’m now weepy.)
HIM: Very nice. How do you want that prepared?
ME: Well done, please.
HIM: No! You don’t want it well done! I bring it medium rare.
Fortunately, the special wine took the edge off the fact that I was eating a plate of raw meat swimming in its own blood, served on a bed of NOT insalata caprese (sliced tomatoes with mozzarella) but on a bed of goose livers instead. The entire affair was very elegant and very home-like, but all I could think was, “I could be eating a fully cooked cheeseburger from a drive-thru, washing it down with a slushie.”
I’m back among my other people and I’m thankful, even though there is no wine list because they’re Baptist. And grape-intolerant. Luckily, they also don’t speak standard English so I still get to use my mad Berlitz skills. English-Redneck subtitles to follow.
Here’s today’s lesson on why you have to be careful when reading headlines on the internet. I know a lot of people who read only the headline, then go ahead and share the article or (worse) comment on it on Twitter.
Let me explain what “My Life Is Perfect Hell” means. It means I am living in a hell created by having a life that is perfect. I know, I know, I’ll cry you a river after broiling my tuna steak for lunch.
This past weekend, I got my new office. I was going for Meryl Streep’s office from The Devil Wears Prada, and while I have about six years and $40,000 to go before it comes even close to her office, my office upgrade didn’t cost anything and it’s already way better than it was before (mostly because I moved all the furniture and managed to vacuum up a lot of dead bugs that had been there for ages).
Now, however, my charging station is across the room, so when my phone dies I have to plug it in way over there (that guy who wrote Angela’s Ashes is already penning a book about my tragedy.) Now when my husband and my oldest tax deduction text me, I have to stop what I’m doing, get up, walk over there, and read it while it’s still plugged in.
It’s rough. No one knows my darkness. Well, okay, YOU do, but only because I just told you about it. And I kind of get the impression that you’re judging me for it.
I don’t blame you.
Of COURSE you should judge me for bitching about this! I’m a horrible person! I don’t care, but I do admit that I’m horrible. Yes, I’m complaining about a new office, a husband who texts just to see what I’m doing, and a teenaged offspring who still speaks to me. I said my life was perfect, didn’t I?
The problem with having Perfect Life Syndrome (or first world problems, as the memes keep calling it) is that you feel like a total shit for complaining about it… and you should. Your problems are nothing compared to those of even the guy sitting next to you, let alone some mom in a mountaintop village where yak milk is the only source of liquid that didn’t have to be hauled up a hillside.
Sadly, that doesn’t stop people from complaining about their perfect life hell, mostly on Facebook where they moan that their souffle didn’t rise high enough even though they had nothing else to do all day except cook that damn thing while tiptoeing so they didn’t disturb it.
So be grateful, souffle flunkies, and just stick your head in that bowl and lick it the way God intended. While being happy about the hell that is your life, of course.
In my real life day job, I actually go to work sober. And by that I mean I’m sober when I get there. Luckily, I’m a full-time author and editor, so there’s nobody to answer to if I decide to have a few margaritas at lunch (hell, the martini lunch is practically a publishing industry cliche, only they did it with other people around and they stopped after the first couple).
But damn if my job isn’t driving me to drink.
The first OSHA-related drinking problem I developed was when I was writing one of my novels (shamelessly plugged HERE, you should totally buy it if you think Catcher in the Rye was stupid). I figured out I just couldn’t nail the main character’s voice without a few glasses of merlot. Shortly after finishing the book, I discovered that I really like merlot, so my next several books just kept that theme going.
But this time, I’m completely innocent of my latest drinking problem. People, I swear it’s your fault.
I edit and review books. People like to write books. People like to write books about the South. People who write books about the South often have NEVER BEEN THERE. And it’s destroying my liver because I can’t do this without drinking.
Let’s clear up something: I live in the South. I DO NOT HAVE AN ACCENT. I do not have a black housekeeper. I do not have a “charge card” at the local family-owned department store. I do shop at a family-owned grocery store, but the owner IS FROM INDIA. Note, not Indiana the state. India the country.
But I’ll be damned if every single newly published book I read that is set in the South, regardless of time period (including the future), doesn’t portray every single character from Mayberry.
Yes, we have a sheriff and many, many deputies. They all have college degrees, mostly in criminal justice.
Yes, it it possible to walk into a store, bank, or other place of business and NOT KNOW ANYONE. Please stop depicting scenes in which everybody knows everybody else the second they walk into the store, or they see someone stopped at a stop light and automatically know who that is.
Yes, I’m certain you can get your hair done in one of the three salons in our mall (yes, we have a mall) and STILL NOT KNOW ANYONE WITH HER HEAD UNDER ONE OF THE DRYERS.Please stop writing THIS scene in particular, because it’s just stupid.
Yes, we still have a main street running through town with lovely locally-owned businesses on either side. But wedged in between those businesses is a freakin’ Merill Lynch, a Starbucks, and a Mellow Mushroom pizza.
This is a real town, filled with real people, and real up-to-date amenities. Have I made myself clear?
I live in a town in the Deep South, and our town’s population hovers just over 18,000 people. We do not haul water from ANYWHERE. We do not have black housekeepers because they’re all a little busy running the school system or operating on their patients. We have an oddly inordinate number of Baptist churches, but guess what? We’ve got a lot of atheists, too. And while our churches do have church picnics from time to time, guess who else has a picnic? THE MOSQUE. They’ve got incredible egg salad at their annual fundraiser.
Authors, STOP it. Stop writing about the South as some throwback to Harper Lee’s day. VISIT, if that’s what it will take. Go to Atlanta and see it for yourself, if you can handle the traffic. Just stop trying to recreate The Help every time you sit down to write, because sadly, moonshine stills are also a thing of a bygone era (except in a couple of places, according to rumors) and I don’t have enough alcohol on hand to read your ridiculous depictions of my hometown.
I’m a financial enigma. I think nothing of going to four different stores to do my grocery shopping in order to get the best prices and save all that I can, but will happily turn around at my computer and book a trip to London on a moment’s notice. I guess those two things cancel each other out…the grocery spending makes it possible to get stupid with the credit card when something shiny passes in front of me.
This mindset means I have to really be watchful for a good deal. No, I’m not an extreme couponer (I could be wrong, but it looks like you have to be good at math to make that work…I suck at math, and would just end up with a closet overloaded with aluminum foil for no reason) and I’m not about to jump in a dumpster to get the coupons from yesterday’s paper. But like I said, when a deal presents itself, I’m going to take advantage of it.
Like this, for example:
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Wow, crazy shit shows up at Lorca’s house! Who the hell makes a coupon to neuter your pet? Where does this woman live?!”
But you and I are not on the same wavelength. MY first thought was, “Hey, they didn’t say it had to be a dog! It doesn’t even have to be a pet! And my husband isn’t neutered!”
Yes, I actually took the time to clip that coupon hoping against hope that this would result in a $50 vasectomy for my husband, minus the $10 discount. I was thinking I could get them on the technicality of not specifying that it had to be an animal they worked on, but it turns out that no, they were not willing to honor the coupon (yes, I called and asked to speak to the manager even…she hung up on me). I even hinted that this might be a case of false advertising and that there were laws against that, but she countered with the fact that vets don’t have to work on humans unless it’s the Civil War AND the fact that the fine print states cats or dogs. Touche’.
Ever in search of a bargain, however, I’m now willing to sell my $10 coupon to someone for $5. Call me if you’re interested and have an actual animal to de-ball.
Mount. Shaft. Grind. Insert. Hole. Stopcock. Lubricate. Bushings. Seepage. Stroke.
No, this isn’t a list of things I plan to do on any given Saturday night. It’s a very true list of words I wrote down during two back-to-back episodes of the television show How It’s Made. Heehee. I said, “Back-to-back.”
You can call it educational all you want, you can swear to me that it’s interesting, or enlightening. But I’m telling you, it’s nasty. Filthy, pornographic, Penthouse letters-quality erotic spew. There is no way that the words, “This apparatus has two spouts that spray a solution over the surface,” can mean anything other than what you now think it means.
Take this episode for instance, which explains how hot dogs are made:
“Long rolls are loaded into the stuffing machine.”
“It pumps the meat, twisting it every 5.25 inches.”
“Then steamy air blows the casings right off.”
“A mouthwatering meal is just minutes away.”
SERIOUSLY? This is a Freudian slip buffet! How am I supposed to concentrate on the actual making of hot dogs with this level of suggestive language blowing around the room? CRAP, I just said “blowing.”
Just in case you think I’m blowing this out of proportion (dammit!), watch it for yourself and play my family’s new drinking game. Every time you hear a suggestive word or phrase, you take a drink. You won’t make it through an explanation of how shovels are made without succumbing to alcohol poisoning. Trust me, there are lots of “shafts” and “inserting” in that episode.
I have grand plans for my demise. No wait, that didn’t come out right. I have grand plans for my funeral.
First of all, I don’t want a funeral. They’re stupid. They hurt, and everyone stands around with a dead human in the room. It’s very, very awkward when you overthink it like I tend to do. I’ve been both a guest and a family member of the deceased at these things, and they never, ever go well.
When I die, and want someone to cremate me (ideally, someone who does this professionally) and put me in a paper cup, put a tree seed down in the dirt and ashes, and plant me somewhere with a view but that doesn’t border a garbage dump. The best part of this process is–wait for it–I want a kick ass tree house when I’m big enough.
I’m no tree math expert, but I’m under the impression that a good-sized tree, the kind necessary to actually hold up a tree house, has to be around fifty or sixty years old. I’m nothing if not completely inept at being patient, so I’ll need my tree house built up on stilts until I’m big enough to hold it. It’s like a training bra for trees. You wear a training bra until your boobs are big enough to hold up a real bra, so I’ll need a training tree house until I’m big enough to hold up my real tree house.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Whoever ends up in charge of this death improvement project needs to remember to donate everything first. Don’t forget to give away my organs and my skin. My skin is pretty bad assed, but I pity the person who gets my face. We won’t even discuss the poor sap (tree pun) who gets my liver, but let’s go ahead and build that guy’s tree house at the same time that we build mine, just to give him a head start.
First of all, yes, my goldfish is handicapped. I’m sure I’m supposed to be all politically correct about it and call him differently abled, especially when you compare him to my typical friends, but my typical friends are human and are slightly more abled than my goldfish. If we compared my fish to other goldfish, are any of them actually abled in the first place? What do they do, exactly?
Let me describe the scope of my fish’s handicap. First, he swims upside down. That would be a cool trick if he was doing it on purpose, but he’s not. He gets flipped over due to something wrong with his equilibrium and he can’t turn back over, so he just keeps going. He also has one eyeball that exploded, so one eye is normal, and the other eye is all pupil. Finally, something is wrong with his swim bladder (the thing that helps fish go up and down in the water and just hang out there), so he can only stay at the surface, which means he can’t get to the food that drifts down to his fish tank gravel.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’ve checked…he’s still alive.
Here’s how we have to accommodate my fish’s handicaps. First, we don’t really care about the eyeball thing except if he turns the other way and we have to look at it. Then we just stop looking at him. But the upside down thing, I have this wooden spoon next to the tank and I just reach in and flip him over. As for the swimming down part, I just make sure to feed him often enough that he can reach food at the top of the tank.
But this little guy is resilient and resourceful. He’s learned to keep breathing and not panic when he’s on his back. He’s learned to fight his way down towards the bottom of the tank by swimming as hard as he can and then wedging himself between his little resin bridge decoration and the side of the tank so he can hang out down there. He’s even learned (get this) to tell me when he’s hungry…if he’s not hungry when I walk past his tank he just maintains and does his fishy thing, but if he’s hungry, he’ll do this weird cross between wiggling his body and having a seizure. I swear it looks a lot like a dog wagging its tail.
So already this fish has taught himself to adapt, to overcome, and to communicate in his own way. He’d be a fucking Mensa member, if they’d allow goldfish (the ADA laws are surprisingly vague here). And this is a good thing because I’m not willing to watch over his tank like a new mom afraid of crib death. I figure he’s made it this far with my half-assed attempts at intervention, so I’ve probably just Darwinized the snot out of him. Now we need to find him a role in life. With his current skillset, there’s not a lot open to him, but with his proven record of superior intelligence, I’m thinking a government job is in his future. I recommend Chairman of the Fed, or Speaker of the House.
There’s a new show on Disney channel and it’s creeping the snot out of me. It’s called Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, and it’s a darling animated show in which all of these different animals live in the Wild West (hence the title) and they help each other problem solve, get along, play fair, etc. It stars a cat as the sheriff, and there’s a bird of some kind, there are pigs, some cows, a sweet little skunk, and other random and sundry animals. They walk upright and wear clothes (this is the Wild West, not Ancient Rome) and they do things like work on their farms or run the general store or drive the train…you know, good old Old Westy stuff.
Exhibit A: The cows are cowboys who herd…other cows. That’s just wrong. It’s like Stockholm syndrome, playing out in technicolor. They’re all cows, and yet some of the cows wear clothes and run the place. I keep waiting for the pigs to stage a revolution and Boxer the horse to rebuild the windmill before getting sent to the knackers.
Exhibit B: All the animals can talk…EXCEPT THE HORSES THEY RIDE. Yes, these animals ride horses and their horses have cute names like “Clementine.” Only the horses they’re riding can’t talk. They neigh and whinny and stuff, but not words. What the hell, Disney? Are you illustrating that non-verbal and mentally challenged animals are second class citizens who get saddled and ridden all day? The fucking cat wears a hat and talks and rides the non-verbal horse! THE CACTUS CAN TALK, DISNEY…WHY CAN’T THE FUCKING HORSE TALK?!
I haven’t been this disturbed since the movie Barnyard (yet another animated farming travesty of justice) where the male cow Otis has udders. I nearly walked out of the theater. But I’m shaken to my core over this latest cinematic fiasco in which Disney so clearly espouses hatred and discrimination and has flipped plant physiology on its Stetson-wearing head. We’re not through here people.