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Saturday, December 18, 2010

AlI I Want for Christmas is Nothing



My extended family has performed every variation of gift exchange possible at Christmas. 'Round about Thanksgiving the email goes out, "What are we doing about Christmas?" We all understand this refers specifically to gifts (everybody? just kids? grab bag?) because we know exactly what we are doing ON Christmas. Every Christmas we go to my brother and sister-in law's lovely home where they provide a huge meal with a full bar featuring my brother's special Bloody Marys. They are special mostly because they are 80% premium vodka with a splash of Clamato juice, secret spices and a couple of ice cubes. There is a shimmer effect above your glass as light is bent in a minor explosion between the heavier alcohol molecules and the centrally heated air...I just made that up, but seriously, these drinks are strong. Everyone gets really drunk and eats too many pre-dinner treats thus spoiling our appetites for the main event. This routine is completely predictable but every year our hosts kill themselves putting on a large lovely dinner. If it were at my house I would just give everyone a pack of gum and send them home.

Back to gifts. An example of an average gift I might receive would be a bottle of wine or perhaps a counterfeit iPod.  OK, well when the wine is drunk and the battery in the i-Plod leaks, the excitement is over. This has to stop. This practice is stressful on us and our environment. Between the manufacturing, fuel, packaging, and consumer debt, gifting at Christmas has become unsatisfying for all involved. In this new, more thoughtful time I want to add my voice and declare, "I don't want a thing for Christmas BUT what I really need is new gutters!"  Economists say the exchange of goods or money should be about achieving the highest utility or satisfaction. It may also be argued that making another individual (in this case,me) happy through gifts (in this case, gutters) provides you with great personal satisfaction or utility. If someone gave me a charming, gluey, child-scrawled gift certificate, "Good for one hug and new gutters,"  that would be a "God bless us ... everyone!" moment. Oh, Christmas!

 Imagine our satisfaction on Christmas Day...
 "No, really I can not possible accept your generous gift of new gutters! Oh God, this is CRAZY! Well alright, but only because you are insisting. I don't want to offend you or your culture's beautiful tradition of paying for home repair. Thank you, I am extraordinarily grateful." I would say this last part with my head slightly bowed and my hands pressed in a pretentious Namaste-style gesture. Afterward we would touch our foreheads together to symbolize being of One Mind and then drink from each others Bloody Marys.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Dr. Robot Got His Name

You can pick your child's name but you can't pick their nicknames. Nicknames are assigned by Lady Circumstance. If you were caught picking your nose in 4th grade you might be assigned the name "Booger" or the slightly more subtle "Digger." If your name rhymes with something unfortunate...well, that's just too bad. I came by my childhood nickname by loving a bad guy. I was smitten by the foppish-ly rugged, slightly Semitic looking Captain Hook from Peter Pan. I can not remember if I saw my Cap'n Love in the the Disney animated version or a tape of the Broadway show...it was probably the animated version. It all happened so fast in the summer before my fifth birthday. Apparently I was feverish with only his name on my lips. My brothers and sister all thought this very funny and began calling me "Hook." This became "Hooker" as soon as they found out what that meant. Please be cool and don't call me this the next time you see me - I won't react well and it will likely be the last time we speak. But this is about Dr. Robot.

My spouse, Professor J. Maximus Robot,.PhD., is a scientist. I work in the human service sector. Through my work I became aware of a very troubled boy that required 24 hour supervision. He had severe behavioral issues and his parents literally could not let him out of their sight. They had to hire caretakers to watch him overnight just so they could sleep. He required more vigilance than a toddler with a machete. It is a sad and exhausting situation that will likely not end well. I don't often repeat all the things I see and hear - it doesn't help my mind to repeat these stories and it is often disturbing to other people particularly, J. Maximus. Weeelll, I ended up tellin' him this one. I told him that I was unable to stop thinking about the terrible responsibility, futility, and human tragedy of it all. He seemed to be really listening... considering... maybe even feeling something. When I finished talking he said, "You know, that would be a perfect job for a robot."

In Myers-Briggs terms, he is a classic INTP:  "INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the "absent-minded professors" who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions."

Yup, that about sums him up. Men often try to solve problems based on their livelihood or hobbies. Perhaps another man would have made a sports analogy, applied their military training, or broke it down to a business model. The world needs men like J. Maximus Robot, PhD. but occasionally I need someone to listen to me unburden myself and just say, "I hear you." Indeed, that would be a good job for a robot.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Don't Start None - Won't Be None

"Enemies are so stimulating!"

It's the time of year when we count our blessings. One of my blessings is that I have my very own antagonist. It's true! She is reliably insulting whenever she sees me so I believe that qualifies her as my antagonist. She has constructed a narrative in which I am not a serious person and she needs to remind me of this as much as possible. She is also the type of person that points out (in conversation and in print) the super subtle details that make your canned food drive misogynistic or how your house plants are racist. Her "quips" - a generous description because they are not even a lil' bit funny - are exclusively themed around me being a "bimbo" in appearance and thought. I would say that by any objective standard, I am neither. If you don't believe me just ask Dr. Robot - he would love an extra helping of bimbo if it were available.

Perhaps I remind her of a dark-haired girl that pushed her on the playground or the brunette secretary that lured away her sweet, chinless father- STAGE WHISPER -from whom she gets her looks.  I can see how that might be wounding. Truthfully, I know very little about her and I will probably never know the reason(s) she coils up and hisssses when I enter a room. Meh, that's alright. It keeps me on my toes and and lets me feel a little outraged - both important activities to keep the mind and body nimble.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Robot wants to go to Mars as our retirement plan

Robot is genuinely excited about a report on the Colbert Report - which he understands might be satire -about people over the age of 60, colonizing Mars. He has always been interested in going into Outer Space. I would be interested if it was anything like "Lost in Space!" He wants to "Terraform" Mars in habitual space with post-reproductive people, or something like that. Conversely, I am really giddy about the next Royal Wedding! I am Irish and naturally disgusted by the British but I am a fan of fashion and spectacle. The British royalty do whatever the hell they want so the wedding will be on a Tuesday at 4:00p.m. (EST). I have plenty of vacation time so this won't be a problem for me.

I don't want to go to space. I don't even like to fly domestic. This is Robot's dream. But if I make it to senior citizenship, and I am hurtling toward death anyway, I would go to Mars.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The cats are guilty of thought crimes

Everyday, after I drag my bloated carcass home from my paying gig, I let my cats out in the backyard to air out. I believe this is imperative in reducing the possibility of them eating me if I become suddenly unconscious. This is also the time when Dr. Robot and I begin our early evening cocktails and discuss our day. Dr. Robot says, "Tenure, blah,blah...research grant, blah, blah...not collegial, blah, blah...I'm going to Central America for a month, blah, blah." I say, "Uh huh, well I saw a guy on the internet that has a 200 pound rabbit and this time I think it's real..."

Back to the cats. The cats are "indoor" cats meaning they are not allowed to run about the neighborhood eating rotisserie chickens from the garbage and planning coup d'etat(s). Anyway, occasionally they will try to "breech the parameter" by jumping to the top of the tall, wooden privacy fence and scribble-scrabblin' off to the front yard and sweet, sweet freedom. Being cats they telegraph this by hunching down and looking up to the top of the fence with a quick glance toward the guard tower (us). When this occurs, Robot (my spouse if you're just tuning in),lets out a yell that will cause your skin to peel. I am always surprised and alarmed by loud noises. I would ask him to stop but it is genetic, soooo.... It is at this point that he declares (in a strangely clipped German accent) that the cats are, "guilty of thought crimes," because they have dared to express...longing. Herr Professor then begins to "herd" the cats with a large staff/stick he acquired when alone...somewhere. I don't know where he gets his staffs and I don't want to know. This signals the end of the "airing out" and dinner time for all involved.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mother F-ing Winter

Winter is coming. The dread I feel is mixed with feelings of inadequacy. Once upon a time going through winter meant you lived in the prosperous, progressive North. It was a small price to pay to have a job that didn't involve a cotton gin, mostly excellent schools, adequate roads and decent Italian food. In contrast, the South was a frightening place talked about in history books - they actually owned human beings and had to have the shit kicked out of them to see the error of their ways. The South was shown on the nightly news as being lethal if you were black, brown, Jewish, Catholic, or a "Commie" - which is impossible to disprove to a group of fucked up Good ol' Boys. Now living in the Industrial North (or the Rust Belt as it is currently known) just means you are either unwilling or unable to leave.* If you could, you would certainly make your living in the Go-Go South (I include the Southwest for brevity) or the misty moors of the Pacific Northwest. Making your living in the eastern Midwest now means opening a goddamn cupcake business, making ballon bouquets or doing body work.

I have never liked winter but now it's like a punch in the gut. I did a gig in central Texas for almost ten years. TX has its problems but it's never really cold. During that time my blood got thin, country music became popular everywhere and and the industrial North became a wheezing fat guy. The world has changed dramatically since I was a young and that's OK -it does and it should-but winter still sucks hind tit. There I said it. I feel like I'm being punished for something. What the fuck did I do?


*The exception being NYC

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hello Mother Darling

My mother has started this blog- It was going to be a mother - daughter duo blog... However after reading her 1st post i feel this should be her baby. i think it is going to be amazing ( a word my mother hates and feels is over used).... I might be jumping the gun but truly she is such a great writer and is f-ing hilarious. I have signed on (for free) as a contributor, commentator, critic, and as a voice of maybe.. reality. I can promise only a few things about my posts: i will always write using my own voice and i will rarely use correct grammar. This is not my blog and is not about my life, I am writing as my mother's daughter to share our insane, dysfunctional, perfect relationship and my perspective on Winewit...someone has to tell the stories when she is in her Ambien Coma.

-Little edie

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pleasure meeting you

I am married and have two children. That's the short version. I, like so many others, have a B.A. in English. I hesitate to reveal this because some very detail oriented person will point out my grammar errors. I comma splice, write run-on sentences and occasionally use multiple tenses. I concentrated in 20th Century American Lit, OK? I am married to a man with a Ph.D. in the sciences. A simple conversations can be frustrating and require too much explanation - on both sides. He is fact, I am fiction. He is empirical, I am....always making shit up because it's funny. Blinking awkward silence, uncontrolled laughter, profound understanding-it's been 15 years I think we can work it out. I call him Dr. Robot and that is another story. My children are doing things that make me proud. I will call them Keith and Heather because that's what my brother called them for three years before he bothered to realize that was not their names. They are smart and attractive which puts them way ahead of the game. They are not perfect which is probably my fault. I frustrate my family (for various reasons) but it is the one thing they can all agree on. The other thing you need to know is I have too many pets. I love them despite the fact they believe they are celebrities.