Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chick-O-Stick, you're my only friend...

Smarties...I kinda like you too.

The Bi-Polar Express

I’m trying to write some kid-friendly publicity for a holiday event and I’m having a hard time rhyming with the words North Pole. The only thing that's coming to me is parole, pistol, skoal, hellhole and a little poem that I wrote to one of my brother-in-laws many Christmases ago (he had accidentally set him leg on fire one night):

Don’t go drinkin’ and playin’ with fire
Or your leg will go up like a funeral pyre.
So, here’s a nice tip from the North Pole,
Always remember to stop, drop and roll.

Am I wrong? Maybe I shouldn't be writing for children.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I will be at the Falls tonight to represent the library and to (more importantly) give away candy. Lots of candy. I will be dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow (Scourge of the Black Creek), but will look like a cross between the velvety 80’s fashion of Vivienne Westwood and the French Revolutionary style of John Galliano. Any way you look at it, I will be foppish. Yes Sister, I should have borrowed Nephew’s Captain Feathersword hat with the broken feather sticking out of the top. That would’ve been a bit of a “three sheets to the wind” touch, don’t you think? Actually, I’m going for more of an Adam Ant look to be truthful (be still my heart). As a matter of fact, I’ve taken Radiohead out of the CD player and replaced it with Adam Ant. Please, don’t anyone think less of me (I know that there are some closet Kings of the Wild Frontier listeners out there), and I will be back to my Radiohead self by tomorrow.

Off to maraud!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dry & Fresh

There have been a few questions about the deodorant in the eye incident. At great risk of humiliating myself more so than I usually do (oh, what the hell), I am posting the letter to P&G explaining in detail what happened that late summer day. With my documentation skills blazing a wide trail (all those years working with high risk and special needs teens), most of the letter gives great, boring details about the accidental application of the deodorant to the eye and what happened to the eye throughout the day. I have to say that Old Spice High Endurance is still my favorite deodorant, and I use it to this very day. And, I have to say that it kept my eye dry and fresh all day long. As I mentioned to Ms. Field, I think that the last three paragraphs sum up the experience. Feel free to skip (although if you do skip, you'll miss my conception in paragraph 8).

To Whom It May Concern:

In regards to the incident that occurred on 9/27/06: At approximately 5am, I prepared to put in my daily-wear disposable contacts. After washing my hands, I moved the deodorant aside in order to retrieve a new package of contacts, which I have kept in close proximity of each other for the last six years or so with no incident. In moving the deodorant, I must have dislodged a piece of deodorant from the cap or side of the stick. I put my left contact in without any disruption, but when I put my right one in, I immediately experienced a burning/stinging in the eye. I quickly removed and discarded the lens and noticed a small white particle stuck to my eye, just below the iris. I dabbed at this particle with my wet finger and was able to remove it. My eye continued to water for about 4-5 min.; I did not notice anything remaining in the eye and did not immediately experience anymore trauma. The outside of the deodorant container did not specify any measures to take in the event of any type of internal exposure, and since I did not see any more deodorant in the eye, I continued to prepare for work and wore my glasses in the place of contacts.

Within the hour, I began experiencing what seemed to be a film over the affected eye, a film that could not be blinked away. After trying to continue with my first job of the day, I left to return home in order to contact Proctor and Gamble for advise on how to remedy the blurred vision. By this time the blurring was bad enough to have affected my depth perception which made driving more interesting than it normally would have been, but the blurring had seemed to arrest, making my eye about twice as blurred as it was under normal circumstances, even with my glasses on.

At approximately 9am I contacted Jill at P&G’s customer service, after I had unsuccessfully searched for the product’s MSDS on the website. Jill took my information, apologized for my situation, and when asked by me if this was going to cause permanent damage, consulted her supervisor. Her reply was that none of P&G’s products would cause permanent damage. I should flush the eye for 15 minutes and that the blurring would eventually go away.

After rinsing with saline solution for approximately 5 minutes, I had to return to work. For the next hour and a half, I noticed that I was unable to read my computer screen and that the eye was beginning to blur more. It was at approximately 10:30 that I contacted my eye doctor to get advise from him. They said that the antiperspirant in the deodorant was probably drying out the eye and that I needed to come in to have it looked at. By my 2:30 appointment, my vision in my right eye had deteriorated to the point of not being able to see to read the eye chart (I could see shapes, but no details).

Dr. Klingenbeck irrigated the eye twice, treated it with an antibiotic, a steroid and a lubricant and was able to note, in detail, the abrasion left on my eye from the deodorant. I was then given a prescription for the same three medicines he had just used to take for the following week and was told that if I had not come in to have it treated, the blurring would not have gone away on its own and that I would have ended up with an infection within 24 hours. At that time, he could not say if the abrasion to the eye was going to result in permanent scar tissue.

Due to the fact that I did not wait for the blurred vision to go away on its own and the aggressive treatment by Dr. Klingenbeck, my eye began to regain vision approximately 12 hours after the initial exposure to the deodorant. Two days later, at my follow-up appointment with the doctor, the vision in my right eye was back to normal and I was healing nicely.

I have attached copies of all the receipts for the doctor’s visits and medications (all except the bill I shall receive from Blue Cross and Blue Shield once they have processed it) to show the type of treatment I received. Dr. Klingenbeck was also good enough to give me a condensed version of his lab notes for your records as well.

As I told Jill on the 27th, I am a stockholder with P&G and completely believe in your products. As a matter of fact, I would not exist at all if it had not been for P&G as my parents met and began dating over 39 years ago while working at P&G. I can’t tell you all of the P&G products I currently use, Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant (it works the best, although I don’t recommend it for the eye), Oil of Olay beauty products (what don’t I use in that line--they are divine); I could go on, but you know how good your products are (no need to preach to the choir). And I will continue to use P&G products because I have found them to be the best.

The only concern I have is the lack of information on the product’s label concerning how to deal with a situation in which a product is accidentally introduced into the body in a way it should not be. I worry about someone who is less likely to go ahead and call the doctor after speaking with a P&G representative and wait for the blurring to go away, or for the swelling to go down. I believe that Jill did and said what she needed to on the 27th of September when she spoke with me, but neither of us understood the possible trauma or gravity of the situation. It was only after I found myself driving about twenty-five miles per hour in a 55mph zone because I couldn’t tell how far away the other cars were that I realized that this could be a bad situation and that I need to seek treatment (and get off the road) because it wasn’t going away on its own. In fact it got much worse before it got better and it is my understanding that it was not going to get better without medical treatment of the eye. I believe that with antiperspirant in the eye, it would be best to recommend not just flushing of the eye, but irrigation of the eye and a visit with an eye care professional.

I hope that the information I have provided to you will assist in future phone assessments of accidental/wrongful exposure to one of your products. Accidents do happen, more often than we would like them to.

On a lighter note, one result of this accident has been the astonishing swiftness and capability of my friends and coworkers to make up the most remarkable jokes about deodorant in the eye. This too shall pass, of that I’m sure.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If I’d known, I’d have worn lederhosen for the occasion.

The package looked as if it had been played like an accordion. It had gotten caught in something along its trip to me and had been squeezed. The contents were clearly visible from outside the package, that’s just how damaged I’m talking about.

Sometimes it’s just a pea that rolls into your mashed potatoes that sets you off. Something small like that, something that you wouldn’t normally even notice.

I guess what pissed me off most was that it was the photo paper I’d been waiting for. A diversion from the mundane that I was looking forward to. I shot off an email to the seller.

"Yikes! I have just received my package of Ink Jet Glossy Photo Quality Postcards, and the package is horribly damaged. Not only is the box partially open and wet, but it looks like someone tried to play it like an accordion; obviously it got caught in something (what, I can't possibly imagine). I don't even have to open the box in order to see that the purchase is damaged beyond use. What are my options? I needed this paper today for a project and can't get it locally. Will you be able to replace this and do you even want me to send the damaged paper back to you? If you would like me to send you some very lovely pictures of the condition of the box, just let me know, I've photographed it.

I’m pretty sure that they’ll make good on it. At least that’s the experience I usually have with retailers who’ve been in business awhile. I mean, look at what happened with P & G after I got deodorant in my eye last year (Your eye, you ask? Yes, of course my eye, why the bloody hell not?). I sent them a letter, being completely honest about what had happened, explaining what a moron I had been, and they sent me a check to help cover the cost of doctor visits. They probably laughed at me too.

Well, it’s like what Ms. Donaghy always used to say, “Whaddareya gonna do aboudit? Nothin!”

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finally, some Thai that I didn't have to cook myself.

The only way that I will eat iceberg lettuce without shame is if it is used as a vehicle for something else of much greater taste, like teriyaki chicken with ginger, green onions and water chestnuts. And damn, if it isn't that sauce again...I've got to find the right-tasting recipe to replicate it. The spicy basil beef was a mite tasty too. Thanks, Sister.

Scare Tactics.

In training...

Monday, October 15, 2007

You Ought Not To Do That...But, I did. And here are some of the photos.

Alarming color

Tami called the color June-bug green. And the alarm on it was going off not like a normal car, but as if someone were hunched down unseen in the seat, mashing randomly on the horn at possible car thieves walking by.  It was pretty, but noisy, sort of messing up our chances at a quiet drink after work. I couldn’t concentrate on what Tami was saying. Who’d own a car that color? And who would install such an alarm?

I saw the car driving down Broad later that week, too far away for me to get a look at the driver. Wish I could’ve kept up with that car. If I tied a string on one of the tires, I could keep up with it better...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Putting the groom at risk.

This is a journal entry from Saturday, June 16, 2007. It is a gateway into my psyche at the time. The photograph is of the groom hanging his head in shame for what he participated in with me that day.

J and I are driving through A, headed to see the old motel his grandfather used to own. When I see the rusted B M sign out front, I have to get out to take pictures. “No Trespassing.” I wave off J's reading of the sign taped to the Office & Boss door. We won’t be here long. He stays in the car while I shoot. Not even five minutes later, about the time I am walking back towards the car, a truck pulls up with an evil-eye casting old redheaded woman in the passenger seat and a irritated looking man in the driver’s seat. He pulls in behind us, blocking our only exit. “Can we help you?” In my best out-of-towner voice, “Oh, no, just taking some pictures.” “What for?” “A photography class.” At this, evil-eye says, “You ought not to be doing that.” How true. The man, puzzled, asks, “For WHAT kinda class?” “Photography. But I’ll just delete them.” Again, evil-eye, “You really ought not to be doing that.” The man tells me that folks have done stole all of his copper wire and run off with various other stuff. I nod and say that yeah, I’ve heard of such happening these days. “But really, I’ll just delete them, the pictures...” The camera beeps as I’m going through the photos. “Done. I’m really sorry about that. We’ll go.” He moves his truck out of our way with evil-eye giving it to us the whole time. I’m in the car and we’re pulling out. I apologize to J for putting him at risk the week before his wedding, especially for a couple of photos. He asks if I really deleted them. No, I just forwarded through them, making the camera beep in the hopes that they would believe I was deleting them. I’m such a freaking liar now, but I didn’t want to lose the photos. J jokes that, “You ought not to have done that.” I think I’ll work on a coffee table book of trespassing photography entitled You Ought Not To’ve Done That.

I’m drinking some Sand Mountain scuppernong wine and looking at the first of my series of trespassing photos. Well, there are other trespassing photos that come before these, so they are not the first. Perhaps they are the first with a purpose…what that purpose is, I don’t know yet.

I’m heading out tonight to see my other friend J win a tiara for himself to sleep in. He’s always dreamt of having his own. I completely understand wanting one, as I have had my own tiara for quite some time now (I, however do not sleep in mine). I absolutely love and adore him! He WILL win, I just know it!!! I was hoping he would be going by the shocking name of Ms. Anna Phalactic, but he’s using Suzanne Michaels instead. “Suzanne” for Suzanne Sugarbaker of the Golden Girls, “Michaels” for the name of the first gay bar in Tuscaloosa. I absolutely cannot wait! It should be quite a show. I will be looking for my own man tonight. You see, after much thought, I have decided to date gay men only. I know it doesn’t seem right, but I really don’t see the point otherwise right now. Mr. G did not work out, despite a great start, and he was hetero. I really think I am rightest only as a fag hag. So, I’m off to T D B for what should be a smashing time.

Almost five hours, two vodka tonics and a number of steamy spins around the dance floor with Uncle Jeffery later, I had had enough. Don’t get me wrong, I was having a fabulous time and Ms. Suzanne Michaels had placed second, thereby winning a much coveted crown to sleep in, but I was tired to my bones (mostly from defending my low-maintenanced self to Uncle Jeffery who felt I needed to kick it up a notch in the hair and make-up department in order to find a man) and wanted to go home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Un Chien Andalou or My Molested Eye

Visited the eye doctor today. I am beginning to not enjoy the visits for emergency mishaps. The doctor always performs some fancy move involving the flipping of the eyelid or some such maneuver. Flipping someone's eyelid is a little too intimate for me. I feel like I should go home and shower now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

For Those Who Want To Pee Their Pants

Visit this website for a number of good laughs.

Something to admire.

Hart Crane by Walker Evans.

His Name was Slim Jim and He Looked and Smelled Like Beef Jerky

The following is an old email that I sent to friends after I moved back to the South in 2006. I was suffering from culture shock and missed my pals badly. This was sent out on 13 August.

I realize that this past weekend in G-town was an oddity in that there was more than one thing to choose from for entertainment. We had our first tax-free weekend to encourage shoppers to get out and spend some major dough (you remember my first experience with a tax-free weekend was when I lived in New York and worked at Lerner—all I can remember from that weekend was the night-sweats and the distant sound of a cash register opening and closing). Second, there was the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which, you know as well as I, should be called the World’s Crappiest Crapsale. Third, we had the opening of Will Farrell’s The Legend of Ricky Bobby, which has caused more fuss than a Southern Baptist accidentally walking into Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ. I think the movie looks hilariously close to the way things really are at Talladega. But, since I’ve never been there, I have to rely on what everyone else claims. Last,we had the Annual Boy’s and Girl’s Club Rodeo, which is where I was found, see’n as I had so much fun at Colorado’s Annual Stockshow and Rodeo in January. I was looking forward to the smell of hay and poop. That evening…Ed "Dry Wall" Jackson, my friend’s father, is leading us in our rodeo recon. He is called Dry Wall because he poses as Stonewall Jackson in the Civil War Reenactments he takes part in.

As my friends and I enter the rodeo gate, we hear some program hawkers saying that if you purchase a program, you have a chance of winning a Dodge Ram pickup truck. The thought, “I’ve been gambling throughout my life, so why not.” I purchase a program, look at the stamped number on the front and immediately joke with my friends, “I wouldn’t drive the gas-guzzling thing if I won it,” and walk on to look at the tiny, toddler-sized spurs and no-fail plastic lariats for sale.Once we move to the top of the grandstand, the announcer begins rattling off sponsor names and banal jokes, and the more he speaks, the more he sounds familiar. Who can this old guy with a slurringly loud voice remind me of? Just then, another friend leans over and asks me, “Have you ever seen Will Farrell do Harry Caray?” It clicks. Of course. I can’t stop giggling to myself (I have so many private moments in public now). It’s true, he does sound like Harry Caray. He sounds like Harry Caray all the way until he calls out the numbers of the 13 lucky contestants in the “Roll the Dice, Win a Dodge” contest. And guess whose number he calls? And you know how excited I get when it comes to game playing. And throw in a crowd of several hundred people and at least 40 or so odd barnyard animals to watch, and I’m really excited. As I sign my name, give a blood sample and promise not to sue anyone should I not win, I notice a guy beside me who’s also one of the“lucky 13.” He’s sweatin’ and shiftin’ his feet and I think I see a little bit of foamy drool out of the corner of one side of his mouth. I ask him if he’s okay. He can’t answer. He just licks his lips, swallows and keeps shiftin’ his feet. He continues this way for the next half hour, while we wait for intermission. The rules of the game are to roll five foam dice to spell the word DODGE. Contestants have two chances on the first go to roll a D, and possibly an O. Then, you get to the back of the line and have one more shot after everyone else. I’m standing alone, digesting the rules of the game, still thinking that I wouldn’t drive the truck if I had it. I’m cool. Then my friend Hilary comes down out of the stands to check on me and give me some encouragement. She’s like, “Would you ever have thought six months ago you’d be standing here in this spot?” No. And then she’s telling me how great it would be for me to win, cause I could sell the truck and make a down payment on a house, and how I have as much of a chance of anyone else does of winning (the odds are 1/8000, which were stated in the fine-print of the rules packet Dodge gave us contestants to read—I may not be good with math, but I know when the odds aren’t in my favor)...I’m calm up until that moment. Then I begin balling my fists and kicking out at my imaginary fellow contestants (who had, thanks to Hilary, become my enemies), saying things like, “You bet I could win! I got just as much a chance as…those other mother f@%#ers are gonna win my foot up their a$$, is what they’re gonna win!!!” Hilary eyes me with one eyebrow up. She looks around at all the families with little children, local business owners, church ladies and livestock and decides to not try to encourage me anymore. She wishes me luck as she’s backing away.

When we are called to que up for the game, I notice the drool-guy again. This time he looks as if he’s experiencing shortness of breath. Again, I ask, “Are you okay, do you think you’re gonna make it?” He finally answers with a bobbing nod of his head and stutters out, with pauses in between words, “I…think…I….got….two…..chances, okay.” I just nod back as if I understand, and say, “You’re a bit nervous, aren’t you?” He nods “yes” and stops shiftin’ his feet all of a sudden, standing so still. I begin worrying about whether or not he’s gonna lock his knees and go over like a bride’s maid at a wedding, but then I am starting to worry about what my friends are going to do when it’s my turn to throw the dice. Are they gonna yell, “You throw like a girl!” or “Bed wetter!” They shouldn’t yell the latter, as I haven’t told them much about my childhood yet, and certainly not that little fact, and some things should remain private. And of course, I’m already thinking about how I should throw the dice. Granny shot it, and live with the consequences? Or, should I throw like a girl, because I am a girl? I do neither. When my glorious moment comes, with friends shoutin’ what may be obscenities at me from the grandstand, I blow on the small, bowling-ball-sized die as if I were in a glittering Las Vegas casino and throw with a technique akin to pitching/bowling/skeet-shooting? and actually roll a D. Since I’m the first contestant to do so, and possibly because of my patently impressive and effective throwing style, the crowd roars (only in my head; although my friends are now defensively and deeply yelling “YOUGOTIT” Jersey-style). I feel magnificent and invincible. I’m going to win a cute red Dodgetruck. A redhead in a red truck. And even though I don’t plan on keeping it, I may drive it around for a week or so just to be seen in it, before I sell it to make a down payment on a house in this very neighborhood, so I can be close to the fairgrounds where I won my new, red Dodge truck. I’ll tell the story of how I won the truck that I sold to make the down payment on this very house with the beautiful cool porch upon which we are now sitting…And then it’s over. No one wins. Imagine that. With such craptacular odds, too. But, I have a hellofa good time that night. And three days later, the master cylinder goes out on my clutch and I have a choice of Mom’s white van or Dad’s red Dodge truck.

So I’m driving to the CCA in Dad's red truck, thinking about how great it would have been to have won that truck…