Sunday, January 26, 2014

“Oh, bummer! The murderer? It was me all along.”

 (The quotes below are taken randomly from my favorite book.  Is this shameless marketing?  Yes.

My life is like food I have purchased that clearly says, ‘refrigerate after opening,’ and I keep glancing at it on the shelf and think, ‘oh yeah, I really should refrigerate that.’

     You have only to remember Willa Cather’s My Mortal Enemy where there’s a realization at the end of life that the person you’ve been living with is your mortal enemy.   And suppose the person is you?  Of course it’s you.  Now that I think about it, it has to be you.  That’s why you have to take care of these things while you still have a chance.  You don’t want your dying words to be, “Oh, bummer! The murderer?   It was me all along.”

     I was no better than The Manchurian Candidate when I got married.  I had a chip inside me that was like a homing missile.I think I had no sense of safety.  Yes, I’m sure that’s it.  Back then, women had no sense of safety unless they were married. 

     I looked for my old thought catalogue: this house is falling apart I can’t stop eating Katie Couric looked good on The View. I haven’t been outdoors in two days the lawn needs cutting the big tree in back is going to fall over and kill me where is my hairbrush I’m afraid of taking Tylenol p.m. because I might not wake up my feet still look good the gutters are filled and there’s no one stable enough to climb a ladder and get them out I can't stop looking at J.Lo I need a manicure and a pedicure my eyebrows need shaping the ground turkey that is a staple has been recalled but I already ate it I love Alec Baldwin why did I think I could manage my own brokerage account if I thought about the money I’ve lost, it would make me pass out and why did I sell the New York apartment so soon when now it’s worth five times more the rich guy next door has the loudest air conditioner I’ve ever heard and it runs 24/7 he waters his lawn so much there’s a perennial puddle in front of my house where mosquitoes are breeding by the millions but I am annoying the neighbor on the other side with my huge tree that sheds leaves and other debris all summer long and keeps his driveway filled with stuff and oh, the kids.

      I have given up on too much. I have said “okay” to the absence of nurturing work and real intimacy and a reliance on love as a hub of life.

     While I’m talking about scent assaults, I may as well call your attention to the soap Lever 2000.  I went up to my second floor one day because I smelled the overpowering scent of cheap perfume mixed with stale sweat.  I thought a cologne-crazed robber might be hiding up there.  The smell was suffocating and it was coming from an unwrapped bar of Lever 2000.  I began to feel nauseous and had to take it far out of the house and throw it away.  I would vote for any candidate that would outlaw perfumed soaps, shampoos or anything else.  Thank god for scent-free All.

At the check out, the woman in front of me had every item I would never buy and yet I wished I knew her.
What kind of person buys this at Walmart:  individual packets of Whiskas, Shout Out, Pringles, Devil Dogs and miniature-sized lemon-scented S.O.S. pads. If you’re picturing overweight and slovenly, forget it.   She was thin as a rail and neat as a pin. I knew this much about her:  she doted on her cat, she could tolerate fake scents, she took her snacks seriously and she didn’t need Real Simple Magazine to give her any bs ‘aha’ ways to get stains out. This woman had chosen everything in her basket with a purpose and knew exactly what she was going to do with each item whereas my purchases were random and impulse driven.   I wanted to ask her  what was the worst stain she had dissolved with Shout Out and if the miniature S.O.S. pads were a better value.   What came to mind as I waited for her to pay was how appropriate it was for Spiro Agnew to have called us  “an effete corps of impudent snobs” to characterize the East Coast intellectual voting block. This woman (who might be a Harvard-educated neuroscientist for all I know) was exactly why people like my friend Delores seldom got their candidate elected.  She represented the whole big other section of American life and it’s their America, too.


  1. oh man! this stream of yours could be my stream except you shared it better, tuned in longer to what was going on. regarding scents: i didn't know terrorists who have recently handled explosives will dose themselves in cologne to prevent dogs from scenting them out. and when my grandmother died, actually before she did, my sister started leaving shavings of Ivory soap here and there in her house. whenever she'd get a whiff of Ivory, she'd recall our grandmother and life would feel good then, for that moment. the lady in line behind me at the store told me once she got home with her apple juice, she'd never be able to open it. we made sure no one was looking and then i cracked the lid open for her. she invited me over, but we both knew that wasn't going to happen. now i wish it had.