Love Letter Monday: Memphis, Baby

Mom’s highlight of the trip. I guess she preferred to look at these creatures waddling as opposed to Carrie and me.

Dear Memphis,

What kind of an “adult” likes to climb inside a minivan with her parents in the middle of June and drive a total of 1400 miles?  This “adult.”  (I am contractually obligated to put that word in quotation marks as we are not quite sure what that word signifies and, therefore, are unsure as to whether or not I meet the criteria.)

Oh, but we didn’t go just anywhere. We drove south. South to the land of hotel ducks and 107 degree weather. We piled three of the warmest women on earth and Dad into one vehicle and transported ourselves to a place where it was 82 degrees at night AND agreed we would walk everywhere because why not?

But you, Memphis. You rocked my socks off. Literally because no one should wear socks there because it is 107 degrees.

First of all, the trip to get to you is long and boring, so there is a high chance that we were delirious by the time we saw your beautiful skyline with little to no traffic. (Delirium included an instance where Carrie forgot to put honey mustard on my sandwich at Subway so as we were in the van and I was bemoaning my very dry sandwich, Mom opened hers and said, “Here have some of my honey mustard!” And she held it there until I replied, “Mom. We’re not going to rub our sandwiches together.”) Really, though, Arkansas? You won’t be getting a love letter anytime soon.

The niceness just oozes out of you, Memphis. From the second we pulled into the Peabody, everyone we met wanted to help us in some way. (I informed Dad that some help required tipping; he looked disillusioned with you, but I explained, Mem. I helped him understand.) From the old-timey bellhop to the front desk worker who upgraded our rooms for nothing, we felt like you wanted us there. It is good to be wanted. Your gift shop manager really liked our vowel-y accents, too.  Diversity is the spice of life, baby.

We ate at the Flying Fish which has the largest collection of those singing bass fish decorations anywhere. We even saw one painted to look like a confederate flag!  Who knew a bass could be racist? We do now, Memphis. You taught us real good.

To make up for that, we went to the Civil Rights Museum which was a crisp, cool half mile from our hotel. I added a half mile by getting us lost in a part of you, Memphis, that might need some work. But that’s okay. Only everyone complained about the heat. The Civil Rights Museum deserves its own love letter and should be required attendance for human beings.  It was somber and interesting and air conditioned.

When we left, we were looking for Central BBQ but my phone said it was 4.5 miles away, which everyone quickly denounced as being a no go on foot. We considered calling a taxi. Then I looked behind me and there a Central BBQ stood, less than a block away. (I imagine what that taxi ride would have looked like. “Take us to Central BBQ!” we would exclaim. The driver would look at us. We would remain giddy. He would put the car in drive and go 5 mph around the block. “Here you go,” he would say. We would ensure victory in the Laziest Americans of the Day contest. Send us our trophy!)

That night, we would eat at B.B. King’s on Beale Street where you house some excellent music and a really fabulous waiter. When Mom asked what was good on the menu, he listed off four different types of BBQ and then she went ahead and ordered the organic pasta anyway, he couldn’t help himself from exclaiming, “But that ain’t got no meat on it!”  Carrie would then wave her ribs across the top of the plate so he was more satisfied with her order and also brought us extra “cornbread croutons” because why not?  You wanted us to eat, Memphis, and we obliged.

The consensus for best experience was probably Sun Records/Studio.  What a fabulous tour!  Dad even won a guitar pick for answering a trivia question correctly but first he got it wrong and I actually gasped. I don’t know if my father has ever gotten a music trivia question wrong. He redeemed himself, but I thought we might need to have him examined.

If we have one complaint, my friend, it is Graceland. Wow do you just herd all of your unmentionables to that one location and desert them there all day, Memphis. Well done but hot diggity. Literally, hot. So much standing and waiting in line and kitche nonsense. The mansion itself was interesting as was the woman sobbing in front of Elvis’s gravesite. He’s been dead almost 38 years, Memphis. When are people gonna let it go?

Our Graceland experience was probably hindered a bit by our choice to starve ourselves all day in preparation for eating at a Paulette’s, a super nice restaurant, that night. I think large collections of gaudy items and blaring Elvis songs is better done on a full stomach. We forgot all about that experience, though, when Carrie had what she declared to be the “best filet mignon” anywhere. I had red fish with crab meat. It was so wonderful.

But that wasn’t enough. You, Memphis, you decided to flatter me. I got carded at that restaurant and told I am just so young looking.  Which means that I’m quite the catch, Mem. You’re lucky I love you.  But I do. So much so that twice I even thought, “Yeah. I could move south.”  Then I drove through Arkansas again and stayed in St. Louis (who will be our feature in my new Way to Suck Thursdays collection) and remembered that I am a Yankee. Still. We will always have this glorious week.  You are fabulous.

Love,
wonkypenguin, your trophy wife

P.S. Forgive Mom for always calling her small purse her “body bag.”  She knows not what she does.

 

MomBlog: Organizophile Edition

And in the beginning, there were clothes. And my god look at the sock drawer.

And in the beginning, there were clothes. And my god look at the sock drawer.

“I am 100% committed to this process,” I told my wife Thursday morning. “I have so many god damned clothes. It is overwhelming and embarrassing.”

“My fear is that you will get halfway done with the process and then just leave it,” she responded.

“Yes, because that’s what Mom is about. Doing things halfway.” I rolled my eyes even though I was at work and no one could see me do it. Facebook does not have a good eye roll emoticon. Fix this, Facebook. “I texted her because I couldn’t remember the name of the “organization guru” guy that she would inevitably leave Dad for. She texted me back within 30 seconds.”

“She probably let out a little ‘Squee!’ that you even asked.”  I then sent Carrie the link to Peter Walsh’s organization blog. “I can’t even tell you how much I don’t care about the organization guru,” she responded.

“WHICH IS WHY OUR HOUSE LOOKS HOW IT DOES!” I stated emphatically.  We are not a dirty people; we are a messy people. Whenever I come across any article that combines “hidden genius” with “organized messes,” I immediately bookmark it.

If this hypothesis is correct, Carrie and I are a collective Einstein.

*****

Mom has been pursuing this event since approximately 1988. The great purge. The event for clearing of all things clutter. The deconstruction of a wardrobe that still contains a shirt I wore in high school, back when my boobs were not the focus of my being and I could run 800 meters in less than 12 minutes. Of all the things she has worried about, the lack of organization in my life ranks in the top 5. “How could I have failed,” she must wonder multiple times a day. (This reminds me of her visit to my college dorm room freshman year when she literally said, “Kelly – you don’t need to live like this. No one needs to live like this.” The horror is real.)

To wit, I am neither a hoarder nor suffering from any disorder unless you count the one that makes me keep multiple small piles of books scattered throughout the house so that wherever I am sitting at any given moment, I have something to read. I am more the “I was tired of wearing a bra so I took it off and flung it onto the chair in the office where it then gets thrown onto the floor of the spare room and lies there until I go on a cleaning spree and take it downstairs so it’s on the floor of the laundry room which then qualifies as “progress” to me. Make sense?

As Mom continued to send messages outlining what we would be engaging in, I asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you?”  She replied, “It’s like getting 30% off at Kohl’s!”  That is the epitome of MomJoy.  I knew we were in for a day.

*****

My parents arrived with an entire box of garbage bags intended to collect “The Purge” as we were calling it. I had taken Ava to the vet and instructed Carrie not to let my mom just start or I would be left with one of each piece of apparel. She grunted as though she did not care. Indeed, I began to suspect she did not.

The system in our house had always been to keep just enough clothes dirty so that we had room in our drawers and closets for the clean ones. But on Friday morning, all of mine were piled in the living room for judgment. “Where shall we start?” Mom asked without saying hello to me when I arrived home. “Oh you brought doughnuts!”

Yes. The expectation was that I would bring home doughnuts from Bloedow’s which was voted the best bakery in Minnesota. Oh and did no one mention that Friday was National Donut Day?  So would you think that perhaps said bakery would be busy? The morning was already exhausting and we hadn’t touched an article of clothing.

We ate our doughnuts in the living room, looking at the amassed history of my apparel. “Okay,” Mom said, feeding part of her bismarck to the boys, “this is how Peter says to do it.” She then outlined for me the upcoming joy we would all be experiencing.

*****

First came the clothes on hangers. These were my “dress clothes.”  Perhaps you have these, too. These are the ones you keep in a closet so that when you suddenly out of nowhere have an orchestra concert or an impromptu wedding you must attend, you have options to choose from. These are the ones you stare at while declaring, “I have nothing to wear.”

The oldest winner in this pile was a button up shirt from a shopping trip in 2004. It went in the pile. Mom exhaled with pride.  “Doesn’t that feel good?” she said holding up the next pair of pants for judgment.  A lot of shirts went. “The key is to have no emotional attachment to them,” Mom guided me. “They are going to the depot where they will either be resold or recycled. You’re not throwing them out. You’re just… redirecting them.”

*****

I own 15 hooded sweatshirts. I threw three of them out. “Do you seriously wear all of these?” Mom asked me gravely, sifting through the multiple colors and densities.

“Yes, I do,” I said back, somewhat snidely. “It gets cold in Minnesota in the winter.”

*****

The underwear and sock drawers were next. These were obnoxious. I quickly realized that 82% of my underwear drawer was composed of garments I hadn’t worn in years. Not like two years.  More like eight.  Toss toss toss.  The sock drawer was a little easier because I have a sock obsession and wear almost all of them. But I still had a pair from 2000 when I was at a freezing cold soccer tournament in Marshall, Minnesota, and I needed a warm pair of socks for being a spectator.

That pair of socks was when I really realized that my clothes led to memories and that perhaps that is why I kept them around for so long.  I don’t know if other people have this with as many pieces as I do. All I knew is that while I came to realize this fact, I turned to face the biggest obstacle in my way: T-shirts.

*****

My grandmother screen printed a Polaroid and sent me a t-shirt three years ago. Again: Screen. Printed. A. Polaroid.

My grandmother screen printed a Polaroid and sent me a t-shirt three years ago. Again: Screen. Printed. A. Polaroid.

Good god the t-shirts.  Allow me to show you a few of the most special ones.

The first t-shirt Mom brutally tried to take away from me was the one on which my grandmother screen printed a Polaroid of a crying 2 or 3-year-old me with their old dog, Tuffy.

“What on earth is this?” Mom asked as she looked at it. “Seriously, Kelly. You hated that dog. Look how miserable you are! And Tuffy wasn’t exactly fond of you either. Is this a memory you really want?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed emphatically. “It’s a great shirt that I wear underneath other shirts.”

“We can buy you new white shirts,” Mom offered.

“Will they have a screen printed Polaroid on them?” I asked.

“No.”

“Then we’re keeping it,” I responded.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 1, Mom 0.

I stole this shirt at a softball tournament in Kentucky. 12 years ago.

I stole this shirt at a softball tournament in Kentucky. 12 years ago.

 

Next came my Bluegrass Bombers t-shirt. I was never on the Bluegrass Bombers – a girl I was dating was.  And I essentially stole this shirt at a tournament in Kentucky in 2003.  It is a very comfortable softball shirt.

The problem is that I had eight (EIGHT) other softball t-shirts from teams I had actually played on. I had to have a softball shirt throwdown.

“I’m letting you keep six shirts because you claim to use them throughout the season,” Mom said. “That’s all. You were never a Bluegrass Bomber. You don’t need a shirt.”

“But I wear it underneath things!” I protested again.

“I’m onto your rouse,” she responded and it went in the bag.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 1, Mom 1.

Remember when everyone lost their damned minds in 2004?

Remember when everyone lost their damned minds in 2004?

One of my favorite time periods for the Sharbies was 2004. We claim we went crazy that year – did everything we wanted to do, traveled all over, dug ourselves into the most fun debt we could imagine (and then spent six years trying to recover from it).

Also in 2004 was the presidential election from hell. I don’t know if everyone else feels that way about the Bush/Kerry era, but I can say that it was so hellishly contentious and angry… and so much of it was focused on gay issues… that it was an exceptionally annoying time to be alive.

Within that, the Vote for Change tour erupted with tons of musical acts gathering together to promote the liberal cause. We saw one show in Des Moines featuring Bonnie Raitt, Keb ‘Mo, John Prine, and Neil Young. It was a sweet concert in an absurd time.

And that t-shirt was uncomfortable as all get out. Mom won easily.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 1, Mom 2.

If you can't understand why I need both of these, we can't be friends.

If you can’t understand why I need both of these, we can’t be friends.

“These are the same shirt!” Mom exclaimed.

“They are not!” I exclaimed back. “I don’t have any other brown shirts!” Emphatically. Shouted.

“Fine. Keep the brown one.”

“I NEED A SMATTERING OF COLORS!”

“A smattering. Of colors. Of Coors t-shirts. Are you even listening to yourself?”

She was right. I may have, um, been peaking in my stress right about then. But I got to keep them both which just goes to show: People listen when you speak passionately.

T-Shirt Purge Score: Kelly 3, Mom 2.

The winner of oldest piece of clothing is...

The winner of oldest piece of clothing is…

There was a small contest going on to see just what would be the rattiest, tattered, oldest piece of clothing in my wardrobe. Now, technically, the oldest piece of clothing was a Beatles shirt that I wore on the first and last day of my senior year of high school. But I had kept that shirt in such pristine condition that it could hardly be considered the winner.

Which left my “Just Smash It” t-shirt as the winner. First off, I think the shirt itself is, like, a freaking size medium which I haven’t worn since I was probably 4 years old. It was a shirt I bought during my coaching career which started, peaked, and ended in 2000.

The fact that this was still in my collection is one of those flukes. It must have been hiding every other time I had tried to purge my clothing, tucking itself into a corner, begging me to remember that time they let me be in charge of a dozen 14-year-olds and I allowed them to use “The Thong Song” as our pregame inspirational music. I decided I didn’t need the t-shirt to remember such nonsense.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 3, Mom 3

One of my top 5 favorite football memories was buying this jersey. Hi. I'm a Vikings fan.

One of my top 5 favorite football memories was buying this jersey. Hi. I’m a Vikings fan.

I grew up hating one football player more than any other player for the continuous years of 1992-2009. It’s not hard to do. Putting a cocky, good, narcissistic ass on my least favorite team in professional sports causes this for most sports fans. Add to that the unadulterated worship that fan base showed that player and it makes for a chemical mix that causes so much disdain, it cannot be measured with any device.

We were at the cabin on vacation without television one morning when our neighbor, Bernie, wandered over to tell us that Brett Favre was on a plane heading to Minnesota.  Sure, the Vikings needed a quarterback and sure, he was probably the best one available. And sure, the Packers had literally tried to pay him $20 million to simply not play anymore.

But the torture it was going to cause the worshiping nation of Wisconsin seemed too good to pass up. We got in the car and drove into Mankato (where the Vikings do their training) and sure enough, we actually found a Favre Vikings jersey already on sale. I bought it immediately. The joy was real.

As you know, making deals with the devil don’t work out very frequently so when he threw that dumbass interception to lose the NFC Championship game, I was not surprised. The memory will always be the day we found out he was coming. And Friday, I easily gave the shirt up.

T-Shirt Purge Score: Kelly 3, Mom 4

Notice the space between hangers. That didn't exist before.

Notice the space between hangers. That didn’t exist before.

All in all, I gave up 31 t-shirts.  And my closet looks like a closet now. I even got rid of three pairs of shoes and five hats.  That is unheard of. No one believed it possible.

My mom danced around like a child at the end of a sugar overdose (which, really, the bismarck may have played a role in).  “Don’t you just feel so … so … FREE!?!?”

The truth is that I did feel free. I don’t feel like I’m drowning in unnecessary items collected over a lifetime. It is a joy to have only clothes that fit, that I wear, and that I am able to comfortably store in my closet and drawers without managing the balance of having half of them in the laundry at all times.

My mother is an organizophile. And a damn good one. Feel free to hire her by calling 1-800-MOMWILLHAPPILYTAKEALLYOURCLOTHESAWAY.

My soul-cleansing Fridays have been wonderful so far. What shall I do next week?

Love Letter Tuesday: Doing Yoga With Dogs Around

Dear Slider and Ava,

Earlier this morning, my yoga instructor told me to “melt into timelessness.”  That sounds beautiful doesn’t it? Leads to all sorts of meditative ideas. What is timelessness? How does one melt into anything? There is so much peace and joy in yoga, something prescribed to me by every doctor and therapist in my life.

And you two allow me to experience so much whatthehell during yoga that it is almost like its own form of meditation.

For instance, instead of melting into timelessness, you licked my elbow.

There is no good reason to do so. Just seconds before, the two of you were ripping apart a chew toy shaped like a giant frog. You willfully and joyously spit the frog’s fuzzy innards about the basement, grunting and taking turns like it was a buffet that everyone must stand over to eat. I ignored this. I did triangle pose in spite of your furry dissection, tilting my head just so and lowering my shoulder blades away from my ears.

I could really feel the pull in my hamstrings right before one of you belly crawled your way between my legs and laid down, suddenly bored with our search for transcendence. Indeed, the standing poses don’t interest you quite as much as the ground poses. The sitting poses are when you really get going with your participation.

Today, during one particular twisting stretch, you wrestled so emphatically against my hip that you knocked me off my folded pillow that I sit on because my hips are inflexible beams of steel. So I tried to balance and stretch and then boom – off I rolled right onto my mat. This encouraged you both as though you were suddenly winning a game I wasn’t playing.

Then we get to the poses when we are lying on the mat. These seem to confuse you at first. Lotus really gets you kicking as I lie on my stomach and arch my chest up, the head following the natural arc of the spine just like my yoga instructor tells me to do.

This is when you sniff my eyeball.

I don’t know what smell my eyeball gives off to you or why you seek enlightenment by inhaling it rapidly at that moment in time. Then you like to give me kisses. Eyeball. Lick cheek. Eyeball. Lick chin. “Mom! Mom! Mom! What’re you doing? What are you thinking? Are you thinking about us? We’re thinking about you! MOM THIS IS FUN!”

“Keep a steady breath throughout your practice,” the master says.  Screw that. I will breathe when my dogs get their sniffers out of my face.

The next part isn’t your fault, Slider. We have trained you to jump on my back and sit patiently for petting. I don’t know why we did that really. It’s an odd trick. You do not “stay” or “come” or “stop losing your everloving mind over the cat over there.”  But sit perfectly still on my back while I lie on the ground on my stomach? At that, you’re a master.

But again, not conducive to good poses designed to bring peace and positive mental health to my life.  Instead it makes me giggle. It is hard to do the cobra pose when laughing. It is hard to “push up into child’s pose” when your 19.7 pound dog is sniffing your ear while standing on your back.

All of this is doable, my little white messes. You love each other – we get it. You may even be dating.  Still.  At the end of the practice, when I am meditating, when I am trying to align my chi by alternating which nostril I inhale through, I could do without the penis licking. I could do without the paw scratching. I could really do without the small grunts designed to continue the wrestling or the toy masticating.

To think – when I was hospitalized, one of the first things we did was get your vet records faxed so that you could visit me on the ward. They do this because dogs are supposed to bring peace and comfort, but all evidence is to the contrary with these practices, children.

You and I have very very different ideas of how to melt into timelessness. Something tells me you’re better at it than I am. Because at the very end of the session, Ava, as I sit cross legged with my eyes closed, hands resting on my knees, you climb gently onto my lap, curl up, and fall asleep like you’ve been there for hours. You melt just fine, don’t you? And Slider, you can’t possibly “melt” without “down” attached and yet, we firmly believe you were a Buddhist monk in a former life in your ability to let it all just roll right off your perfect specimen of a dog back.

You will always be timeless, though. I’ll give you that. So I love doing yoga with both of you around. Namaste.

Love,
wonkypenguin

 

MomBlog: The Chicken Sandwich Conundrum

Mom would LOVE this sandwich. Look how plain it is!

One of my goals for my summer is to have lunch with my parents more frequently. I do this for you, dear readers.

I have arranged my summer schedule to have Spiritually Enhancing Fridays. What this means is that I don’t work on Fridays and can do whatever I want. And truly, what can be more spiritually enhancing than lunch with my parents?

Well, lunch with my mom in particular. No offense to my esteemed father, but he is… well, he’s sort of normal. Events with him tend to go the way 90% of lunches in America probably go. Choose restaurant. Choose conversation topics. Order. Talk. Eat. Pay. Hug. The end.

But that doesn’t suffice for MomBlog entries. For one, there is no anxiety in that scenario. Lunches need more anxiety. There is just so much to worry about, dear readers. You will just never get around to worrying about them all.

To wit: Last Friday, I drove home to get my haircut because I get my haircuts across the street from my parents’ house by the man who gave me my first ever haircut 34 years ago. Why change? It’s also an excellent excuse to visit home and eat with my parents. We agreed to go to a restaurant I like 10 miles from my childhood home. 10 miles. It takes approximately 12 minutes to reach this restaurant. This is important math for you to remember later.

During the haircut, I mentioned to Mom that if she wanted to share a chicken sandwich and sweet potato fries for lunch, that would be great for me.  I only wanted half a sandwich and I know that she LOVES sweet potato fries. In my mind, I had offered a solution to my “light lunch” desires. I even said we could order it plain with honey mustard on the side. (If you are ever quizzed or ever out to lunch with Mom, this is what she will inevitably order. It’s not that she has any anxiety about change – it may actually be the ONE thing she doesn’t have anxiety about – it’s just that she’s found what she loves so why change?)

We were taking two vehicles to the restaurant so I could head back to Winona after lunch and Mom and Dad could go back home. Mom had Dad ride with me. She seems under the impression that she needs to force bonding between us even though that is not necessary. (A couple of weeks ago, I called home and talked to Dad for 5-8 minutes about the Cubs and a smattering of other things. At the end of the conversation, I asked to speak to Mom. She picked up the phone and immediately asked, “What’s wrong?” I laughed. “Mom, if something was wrong, do you think I would have talked to Dad? No. I would have bypassed him. Think about it.” She responded, “Well, if something was wrong, you’d tell me, right?” “Yes, Mom.”)

Dad and I hopped in my vehicle and headed out. Mom was lagging a bit, probably checking to make sure the toaster, iron, coffee pot, and all other electronics were unplugged in the house so the chances of a fire were greatly reduced. He and I drove out of town talking about baseball and the like. Remember the math from before? Pay attention.

Six minutes into our drive, Mom called Dad’s phone. He picked up and held the phone away from his ear a bit so I could hear the conversation, which I have transcribed below:

“Well, I’m going to be late… I seem to have gotten behind the two slowest trucks on the road and you know how hard it is to pass on this road. [The road my parents have driven probably 200,000 miles on in their lifetimes.] [Again, remember the math.] So I’m going to be late. I hate being late. And I was thinking about lunch and how Kelly said she would share a chicken sandwich with me. But I worry that she’s not getting to order that turkey sandwich she really likes. And she should really order what she likes. I eat there all the time; she only gets there so often so she should get what she wants. Don’t you think? I feel like she doesn’t need to eat a chicken sandwich if she really wants turkey. [Pause] These trucks are going so slowly. So make sure when you get there you go in and get a table right away, I know she’s on a schedule and wants to get back to Winona. [It’s 11:45 on a Friday. Doubt the restaurant was going to have a wait.] But you don’t have to talk to her about the turkey sandwich. I’ll work that out with her when I get there and I’m going to be late. Okay?”

Dad says okay and hangs up the phone. “You’re going to get the turkey sandwich. She has decided.”

Sure enough, we pull into the parking lot and calmly walk into the restaurant and they seat us in a booth. It could not have been three minutes. I mean, I know what three minutes feels like, and this was not three minutes. I could have planked the full amount of time between our arrival and when Mom came briskly through the doors of the restaurant. She had not even sat down yet when she began, “I really think you should get the turkey sandwich…”

I looked at her. I assuaged her fears and said I would order the turkey sandwich. “And we’ll just give the second half of the sandwich to Tim [who cuts my hair] and then the whole problem is solved!” she declared, looking relieved and proud of herself.

“I’m really going to enjoy our summer lunches,” she stated later, doing her cursory glance at the menu as if she is going to order anything other than a plain chicken sandwich with honey mustard on the side.

So am I, Mom. And, my guess is, so will everyone else.

Love Letter (Thursday): Super Gay-Hatey People

I have yet to get my rainbow unicorn bike. Why, God, why?

Dear Super Gay-Hatey People,

What gives, Super Gay-Hatey People?  It’s always something. Now we have a 66-year-old Nebraska woman suing “all gay people” so that a judge may rule once and for all whether being gay is a sin.

When I was 24, I was on a GLBT panel.  Why was I on a GLBT panel?  Because, much like meeting with wise and noble Buddhist monks at the tops of tall mountains who eventually turn you into Batman, it is fun to ask questions of a group of people about their experiences.  This, they tell us, is the way to connect with you. If you see us as real people, perhaps you won’t be so gay-hatey. On this particular panel, I was asked, “What’s worse than being gay? Like, being a serial killer?”

I get confused about these questions, SGHP. I wonder silently (and now bloggily) why you are missing the necessary parts of critical thinking that put just a few stops between “serial killer” and “gay woman.”  Your ability to intricately link us with things … for people obsessed with slippery slope arguments, you should really be recognized for your superior slippery sloped brains.

You have professed that gays will cause the destruction of marriage, society, the universe, God, family, children, tall buildings, grassy knolls, Christianity, the country by terriorism, the country by sex, the country by voting in Kenyans, etc. You credited 9/11 to our existence. (Well, the feminists also took a huge percentage of that blame so really, you believe it was entirely my fault.)  I can only assume that one time there was some vandalism at the corner store in your tiny town that you believe was the result of the gay mafia invading your immediately-outside-your-front-door space.

I imagine that you wake up in the morning and one of your first thoughts is, “Stupid gays. They ruin everything.”

And not all of you come from a religious perspective…

…just kidding. You all come from a religious perspective.  I have yet to, in all my years of paneling, encounter an argument that did not rely heavily on your relationship with God.  God told you to sue us? Got it. God told you to stand outside with megaphones shouting about our inevitable demise? Check. God faxed down an order to you to scream epithets and profanity at us during funerals? Done and done.

The ironic thing about this, of course, is that we all get to roll our dice on the after life whichever way we’d like. And I always hear from Christians who are so incredibly NOT super gay hatey that it’s hard to imagine how you can all file yourselves under the same label. They are embarrassed by you, SGHP. I don’t know if you really grasp that. You’re like the cousin who gets really drunk at Christmas and throws things before storming out of the house because you weren’t allowed to eat first and nobody understands how much that upsets you.  They would prefer not to claim relation and can you really blame them?

Why I’m really writing you this letter is to let you know, once and for all, that you are now nothing more than fodder for my entertainment. I don’t need anyone telling me that “not everyone feels that way” or “we love you and support you” or “they’re just irrational and mean spirited.”  What you are, now, more than anything else is the punch line to every joke that gay people have. Your words don’t hurt. Your actions are just ignoramus personified.

You got to make fun of our feelings for centuries and the tide has officially turned. You are a walking, talking, internet commenting, enraged amusement to us.

And I hope that your existence quickly gets to this level for the young gays who maybe haven’t reached this point in their lives yet. But I want them all to know that you genuinely don’t matter in any conversation about gays, God, or the relationship between the two. Your voice is silenced in our minds, Super Gay Hatey People.

That thing you’re feeling right now? The one that made you file a lawsuit against all gays everywhere? That’s powerlessness. And that’s all you have left.

Love,
wonkypenguin

Love Letter Monday: Junk Email

I am 21 emails short of 5000 in my work inbox. But this isn’t about that. This is about the 5000 I have in my personal email’s inbox.

Dear Junk Email I Signed Up For Once Upon A Time,

So many people don’t love you, Subscribed Emails.  I imagine the “unsubscribed” button is one of the most commonly pushed on the internet. Sure, it’s just common business practice now to have people enter in an email in order to continue doing anything on their site; I have an email account set up specifically for this.  But some things, I actually want to have emails sent to me.  Or at least I did at one point.

Then they keep coming.  Some of them have been coming for over a decade.  I find that I love these junk emails I signed up for once upon a time for a very odd reason: They remind me of something awesome.

My current “deleted items” box looks like this:

Art.com
When I was in college, I ordered a lot of prints from art.com.  I thought posters were the key to happiness and evidence of self-expression that completed me as a person.  That gigantic poster of Norah Jones needed to be in my room with me because she spoke to me in 2002.  I had somewhere around four or ten Dave Matthews Band posters and occasionally, I would get a female athlete because that’s what gay 20-somethings did in 2000.  (Hi, Mia Hamm!)  I receive an art.com email every day at 7:50 a.m. so that when I get out of the shower, I have hope that someone is texting me to have a great day.  Instead, it’s just 20% off.  Sad face.  Art.com reminds me to decorate my life any damn way I want to.

Human Rights Campaign
This one is interesting because it comes to my inbox with Carrie’s name in the subject line. And it is always about some horrible thing we should contribute money to stop.  “Carrie, this is the scariest man in America,” it reads.  I know that the scariest man in America is not in my inbox; everyone knows it’s Ted Cruz.  HRC.org reminds me that we have come so far since I signed up in 2003.  

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Carrie and I have never really believed in saving money. Sure, she’s a financial analyst and yes, we have gotten much better in the past ten years, but I am neither thrifty nor crafty nor swift.  This is evidenced by our previously having held season tickets to the SPCO.  We would go to the concerts, sometimes out to eat at a nearby restaurant before, and then sit in the mezzanine at the Ordway (probably my favorite location in any theatre) listening to a great orchestra perform.  I think I got to teach Carrie a lot about music through this and they performed the best live version of Beethoven’s Fifth that I ever heard.  We don’t get there as often since we moved, but I enjoy knowing they’re still kicking.  SPCO.org reminds me of getting to act hoity toity once in awhile and that makes me smile.

Bandsintown
I signed up for live music alerts in 1999.  However, I just spent all weekend at Mid West Music Fest and am now convinced that I have eight versions of illness and consistently smell like weed and body odor.  Also I unknowingly drank beer with grapefruit juice in it each night which is precisely what I am not supposed to drink because of my medications (the grapefruit juice, not the alcohol) but I am special.  Anyway, my wife and I enjoy our three nights a year of live music but I feel like I’m yelling at my clients today.  Still.  Bandsintown.com reminds me that live music is da bomb. 

Jim Brickman
Well, not all live music is da bomb.  I looked into getting Mom and Dad tickets to see Jim Brickman one time.  I didn’t even buy the tickets and have been on the mailing list for 12 years.  But I secretly like when Mr. Brickman emails me because it cracks me up.  Jim Brickman reminds me that you can make an entire career out of rolling chords and wearing fancy turtlenecks.

Wehrenberg Theatres/Cinemagic Theatres
The only thing I miss about living in Rochester is the movie theatres.  This junk email reminds me of when I moved there in 2003 and had no friends yet and felt alone so I went to a ton of movies.  And now I have tons of friends and am pretty much never alone so I obviously overcame it.  Movie theatre junk emails remind me I can persevere.

Suze Orman
I said I was terrible at saving money but this reminds me that one time, I cared enough to try.  Suze Orman reminds me that shoulder pads should make a roaring comeback any day now.

LIDS.com
God I love hats. I have a hat issue which is ironic because I have a gigantic head so it’s not like I can pull off very many hats.  But I own around 40, I think.  Carrie says I should go through and get rid of the ones I don’t wear. But I wear them all!  I don’t have many fashion things that I adore.  I don’t know why she can’t just let me have this one thing…

Fossil.com
Fine. Two.

mlb.com
Fine. Three.  I don’t see your point.  These remind me that I have no discernible fashion sense.

Ticketmaster
The last things I purchased off Ticketmaster were our tickets to Mumford & Sons at Red Rocks which is the greatest concert we’ll probably ever see.  And I’m thrilled I got to see them before they turned into whatever it is they’re trying to be now.  RIP, banjo and upright bass. Ticketmaster actually reminds me of Metallica throwing a fit about Napster which reminds me of what it used to be like to take 14 hours to download “The Call” by Backstreet Boys cuz it got stuck in my head once which makes me smile because I can never honestly have a “My music taste is better than your music taste” argument with a straight face.

 

I love you, Junk Emails I Signed Up For Once Upon A Time.  You sort of represent my history (at least insofar as the internet goes).  Big shout out to something that drives everyone crazy and doesn’t hurt anyone.

{glares at Amazon.com} Then there’s you…

Love,
wonkypenguin

 

 

 

Love Letter Monday: Bleu Cheese

Who knew I loved you? No one. That’s who.

Dear Bleu Cheese,

First, an apology. I lumped you in with feta all these years and that is unfair. Feta cheese makes me think of deodorant lumps and it tastes about how I imagine that would taste. I hate feta cheese. I am not capable of a Greek diet.

But then I was in Chicago and I had exhausted the menu at the hotel restaurant so my best friend, the bartender, suggested I try a bleu cheese walnut salad. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Chicago, eat bleu cheese.

And I loved you. It was delicious. I finished the whole thing and that’s a lot since salads are usually a little harder for me to consume. I am more of a processed foods gal. Fresh vegetables freak me out.

So on Saturday, the Cucumbers and I went out for a ritzy lunch and I ordered you again. It was delicious. I didn’t even care that I continued to drip bleu cheese dressing onto my shirt. I said ritzy, not dainty.

But I gotta tell you what happened when Carrie got home. Carrie got home and I told her about my lunch date and how you and I are officially going steady.

“You like bleu cheese?!?” she exclaimed, unwilling to believe.
“Yes!” I exclaimed back, excited about my new relationship.
“I can’t believe you like bleu cheese.”
“I know! It’s crazy. I was so sure I didn’t like it.”
“You like bleu cheese,” she repeated a third time. “That’s it. I’m making you French toast.”

Now, I love you, BC, like a whole lot right now, but my poor mind could not conceive of how you would coincide with French toast.

“Um, NO! THAT’S DISGUSTING!” I shouted even though we were sitting three feet apart. “How would you possibly make something I hate as much as French toast BETTER by ADDING BLEU CHEESE TO IT?!?”

She stared at me. “The point is I’m going to make you something else you say you hate and see if you had just “bleu cheese’d” it.  I’m not saying I’m going to add bleu cheese to French toast.  And why don’t you like French toast? It has everything you love. It’s, like, 98% bread.”

“Whatever, I’m a salad person now,” I joked.

“Just stop talking,” she said and we went back to watching baseball.

But you and me, BC.  I might even take you to prom.

Love,
wonkypenguin