I’m Still a Writer but I Still Don’t Have Cirrhosis

Another fake conversation in my head with nobody:

“So, what are you doing today?”

“Me? Nothing much. Except my third book came out today. Yeah, it’s no big deal, you know how long these things take. Oh? You didn’t know I’d written two other books? Huh.”

Yes, I managed to keep up the pretense that I’m a writer by releasing a third book. This one is my first published work of fiction. I am here to officially tell you that nothing will make a human being take up stupidly heavy drinking like giving birth to a whole other human being on the pages of a book, then killing that person after several chapters of suspenseful physical and emotional torture. Unless you’re a sick individual, in which case you can be that horrible to a made-up person while stone cold sober.

I write young adult fiction so I do have to tone it down a lot, but as one publisher told me, “There’s a really high body count in your work.” She was referring to a book to be released at a later date in which the main characters reach their intended destination only to discover that the entire town has been executed and is on display in the trees outside the city walls as a warning to others. There was a lot of drinking while writing that scene.

My non-fiction book about autism also took a lot of drinking to write, but I make no pretense about that because it’s an instructional memoir and it took an equal amount of drinking to live through it the first time, let alone when I decided to tell these things to the entire world in a book. It’s like I’ve done all the necessary pre-drinking for you. You’re welcome.

At the rate I publish books times the rate squared at which I drink while writing, I figure I should be well on my way to being on the list for a donor liver sometime next September. I was going to switch to writing greeting card copy as a way to salvage my already raggedly precarious inner filtration system, but I learned that greeting card writers are all secretly addicted to cocaine. (note: I made that up, greeting card writers are no more likely to be cocaine addicts than any other kind of writers.)

In the meantime, a toast to your good health and my publishing-slash-liver-donation success.

I don’t know if people should buy this or not. It will just give me more money to spend on booze. You’re such an enabler.

And That’s How You Accuse a Nun of Being a Terrorist

From time to time, I like to let people know that I’m just a normal everyday kind of person, despite the amazing fame that all of you must imagine me to have. I mean, I actually do have an amazing kind of celebrity status, but it’s not for anything that I can actually tell people about. Just let it go.

So when I want my legions of minions to see the human side of the dog-and-pony show that is me, all I have to do is toss out an embarrassing story to let them see that I have an all-too-human flaw or two. Or three. Let’s go with two. Plus, my lawyer really thinks it will help sway the parole committee if I own up to my mistakes and show remorse. If I ever need to come up for parole, that is. Better to be prepared, the way things are going these days.

In story number one, I went shopping with my daughter. We perused the racks and I headed to the register with a really, really blue knit-weight short-sleeved dress. It wasn’t all that pretty, ESPECIALLY being Smurf-blue, but it was marked way down and I thought it could make a good swimsuit cover or something to throw on to chase the garbage men down the street while rolling our overloaded trashcan behind me. We laid our items on the counter for the saleswoman to ring up when my daughter said, “Mommy? Why are you buying that dress? I thought you had to wear pants to work so you could fight off the inmates whenever they start a riot?” (It’s important to know that yes, my child was old enough to have really clear diction and a great vocal pitch, two things which the saleswoman REALLY appreciated at this time.)

“I’m only buying it because it’s on clearance. You know, it’s to wear around the house and stuff. I’d NEVER be seen wearing that dress out in public. I mean, seriously, is there even a name for that color?” I scoffed.

Please tell me you see where this is going. Yup. The saleswoman was wearing the dress. The exact dress. The one I had just declared not fit to be seen in. That one. Apparently she gets a discount for shopping there. Complimenting her on how the shade of blue really brought out her eyes did nothing to make her overlook my comment.

Sadly, that is nowhere near close to the worst thing I’ve done to humiliate myself publicly. The worst thing (well, the worst thing I’ve done this year, and yes, as a matter of fact, I do know we’re not even to the end of the first week) involves calling Homeland Security on a woman with a suspicious-looking lump under her dress that I have to say ANYONE could really easily have mistaken for a kilo or two of uncut cocaine but instead was just her hunchback. She was actually an elderly nun and she probably got that hunchback from decades of bending over to wipe little orphans’ runny noses in the tuberculosis ward of a Zambian hut hospital but that’s not what it looked like when I was following her through the mall, waving down idle security guards and telling them to go get the feds while I kept an eye on her. Apparently I’m quite the credible witness because those guys tackled her like she had the secret rocket formula and was smuggling it out of Oppenheimer’s lab.

Tell me that doesn't look like the same woman who cut in front of you at WalMart.

How was I supposed to know she wasn’t a notorious coke mule? Like anyone (but me) would think to accuse a nun. And excuse me for wondering why a nun is even shopping in the mall. Aren’t their clothes provided for them, like Maria’s dress in Sound of Music? More importantly, why in the name of all that’s holy was she wearing that hideous blue dress?