Taking the Cake, Hazelnut Dance Mix

Miss Sasha calls almost daily with explosive wedding-related revelations. Did I know so-and-so said such-and-such and swore blah-blah-blah? There are only so many times I can hear soothing words fall from my own lips – “Don’t worry, sweetheart, they’re just fucking jealous of your classic beauty. I know how it can be…” – before I start chortling like Butthead and smashing my forehead on the coffee table. It’s so difficult to be a caring Mommy!

Mamie and I decided to join the New Jersey Bloggers Ring, since we’re blogging and can’t make a break for the state line – something in the plea agreement, it’s all a blur now…You’ll find a tab in the righthand column connecting Poor Impulse Control to the rest of the dancers shouting, “It’s electric!” So welcome, people who found us by accident! I hate to embarrass anyone, but even Miss Manners frowns gently when guests show up emptyhanded.

Next time, bring me a shiny object. I demand it.

Holy Moses! Is That Bush Burning?

My alarm rings just after 6 on weekday mornings, which sucks most days. Yesterday we rolled the clock forward so the alarm went off at what my body assumed was not “freaking 6″ but in fact “God damn 5″ in the morning. It makes a big difference. Most mornings, I could’ve shrugged off a priest on my local news show. This morning, I was on the stepper, stepping for all I’m worth in the semi-conscious state that permits me to exercise vigorously before I can talk myself out of it, when WABC’s Lori Stokes interviewed this priest on the matter of the Pope. If the reporter was not actually Lori Stokes, I have no explanation for why I didn’t leap off the exercise equipment and onto the remote. I like her. This interview was the softest soap I’ve ever seen. I talked this over with Mamie.

Me: So right around the 9-minute mark of my workout, he starts talking all this absolutely unbelievable, completely made-up crap about the Pope and I was thinking, ‘Voodoo. Cheap parlor tricks. Nobody could possibly be buying the cheesy sleight-of-hand this charlatan’s selling, could they?’ His version of what’s happening has as much relation to reality as those people who talk about fairies.

Mamie: Yeah? What was Father Lucky Charms saying?

Me: I wish I could tell you word for word but I was busy stepping, growling, trying to remain hydrated, assuring my cat I would soon be on the floor doing pushups, planning breakfast and some sort of outfit to wear to work that included – you know – less hypothetical clothing than last week. Wasn’t it Douglass Adams who said people could only have a certain number of thoughts at the same time before some have to leave? I thought, ‘Wait a second. One BILLION people believe this crap’ and I forgot what he was saying.

Mamie: Exactly. Like unicorns.

This morning, I posted Johnny’s straight-to-blog request, then got some angry email. Some of it was righteous. Some of it was bullshit. I conceded one point: one word in the text struck a nerve in a way that distracted from his point. I’m re-posting with that word replaced and asterisked – for which I apologize to him. I’m a free speech nut; sometimes free speech is uncomfortable for the listener. I’m also not in any way distancing myself from a frequent contributor to Poor Impulse Control just because his feelings about being a Catholic boy brought up in the Not-Acknowledged-By-the-Vatican-Catholic-Boy-Hellhole-That-Was-Boston offend people.

If you don’t like what you’re seeing, don’t read any further. You know what you’re in for.

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Johnny can’t contain himself:

I haven’t prayed since Catholic school, but I’m praying today. I’m praying they hurry up and find something more interesting to talk about on the news than the death of the pope. First of all, I find it very hard to take the whole thing seriously, because my wife, another ex-Catholic, and I call our dogs’ poops “popes,” and we call pooping “making a pontiff.” You can imagine the difficulty of keeping a straight face when people on the radio gas on about the worldwide impact of this pontificate. Seconal, if this idiot* weren’t the so-called Holy Father, even my long-suffering still-Catholic mother would agree that, based solely on his opinions, the guy was a dumb fucking redneck, the kind of guy she and my dad held signs and protested against back in the sainted civil rights days, when even knowing black people was some kind of moral gold star, even though Floyd was their brother-in-law and if they wanted to see my mother’s sister, not to mention their nieces and nephews, they were going to have to know him anyways. Do me a favor. If after I die, which shouldn’t be long now, if anyone puts on a serious tone and starts talking about my great humanity and the richness of my spirit, fucking kick them in both balls. Do this in memory of me. Jesus.
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A bit less than a year ago, Ronald Reagan died and I have never seen history rewritten so fast in my life. TV commentators and interviewees went boldly into science fiction with their fascinating new mantra: the poor loved the Gipper. The what? The poor loved fucking Ronald Reagan? On what planet? I tried so hard to keep a civil tongue in my head I almost bit it off. Every day, on an on, the most surreal assertions were made. At the time, I should have made a list of the most I-Want-What-That-Bastard’s-Smoking arguments. Being nice made me a complete waste of the oxygen I inhaled that week.

To complete the super-nauseating 1-2 punch, WABC News played a phone interview with Nancy Reagan recorded over the weekend. I actually climbed out of the shower to hear it better, felt faint and climbed back into the shower in hopes I’d pass out and a head injury would make be forget what I’d heard. I can’t think of anything more undignified than letting this crap go on even one more day. Why isn’t Ron, Jr. patting her hand gently and saying, “Mom, I love you but you were always, always wrong”?

The Pope’s dead. We’ll have another. They’re a renewable resource!
Reagan’s still dead. It’s not very Buddhist but: good riddance.
Nancy Reagan pretends she’s relevant. Great.

When are we going to wake up from this nightmare?

Buttermilk, Bread Crumbs, A Week In Review, Part 2

Start with part one

“Please don’t refill my coffee,” Mamie says. “It’s not empty yet. The proportions of coffee to milk to artificial sweetener will be off.”

The waitress gasps. “I’m like that, too! Nobody understands! When someone refills my coffee before it’s empty my whole day is ruined.” I decide this young woman, who has never waited on us before, is our girl. I’ve decided we love her, and she will tell us more of her endearing quirks. I declare it so. Mamie’s not entirely convinced.

A good waiter or waitress is nearly invisible, which I know because I was a *terrible* waitress in Dad’s high-end restaurant, and a few other joints down the line. At the end of the meal, you remember you ate the delicious food you asked for when you expected it and there were no jolts or unpleasant surprises. You, as a diner, probably won’t remember much about the person who served you. You should tip 20% and thank your lucky stars. A good server is hard to find but a neurotic server is very entertaining. She’ll be back later for Act III, I’m sure, and I see the proverbial gun on the wall.

“I kept trying to leave the bridal shower,” I say, when chewing resumes. I’m not eating. I ate at home. They’re at my mercy and if they spit food, I win. “But Mamie reminded me if I’d kept my knees together nobody would be there. The first thing that happened was my cousin chased me around the room, trying to take my picture for a guest book. It took her half an hour to catch me.”

“Waaaaam sssh a bee?” Trout munches.

“No. She’s wily,” Mamie explains. “The room *wasn’t* that big. It was also a little warm.”

“Right! When a nice person from the place lit a fire in the fireplace I tried to climb out a second story window.”

“You did not! You wanted ventilation.”

“A lot you know! I was going OUT that window.”

Lala’s smiling. She’s attended her daughter’s bridal shower, too. “What happened?”

“Apparently, the place is used to people trying to bust out of the event room. The window cranks were gone.” I look forlorn. My escape plans were foiled. Mamie’s nonplussed. Trout perks up and swallows.

“Remember that time in Newark?” Trout’s very excited. “We were leaving The Fringe and that guy was just hanging onto the side of the building! He said, ‘I got locked out. Would you hold the door open?’ I laughed so hard I had to duck between the cars and puke.”

“Hanging…on the side…of the building?” Mamie is staring again.

“Yeah, yeah, you know they can’t always hear the doorbell and sometimes the door gets locked,” I toss out. “And you were there when Jhon Thum climbed the side of the house in a kilt, so it’s not like we never see people hanging around a story up.”

“Jhon Thum,” Mamie sighs. “I’m always glad when I see him in pants.”

“When we started eating, I was sitting between Mamie and Niece #1, who is inseparable from Sister #4. They’re less than a year apart in age and they get along great. We kept trying to feed them tiramisu because we couldn’t eat it. The calories! Miss Sasha walked by with a full plate. I asked her had she seen the vegetables on a stick. She said, ‘Damn!’ and went back to the buffet.”

“Everything’s better on a stick,” Mamie agrees.

“And if you have to stab somebody you’re prepared,” I continue. “When the girls got up to go do that junior bridesmaid notetaking thing, Dad sat down next to me, which should have had seismic consequences because then he was sitting next to my mother. She looked like she might dispense with the wine glass and drink straight from the chardonnay bottle. And – oh my God! You should’ve seen the presents.”

“She got five shower curtains!” Mamie shouts. “Miss Sasha registered for stuff and forgot all about it! I gave her this beautiful Japanese sushi plate set in green! She said, ‘That’s really beautiful! I love your taste.’ I said, ‘It’s YOUR taste. You registered for it.’ Your cousin said it was like she ran through Target with the UPC gun singing, ‘La la la la la la.’”

“At 7 o’clock, the place was a well-heeled mess, my sisters were exhausted, Dad was the only one who knew how to use the 50-year-old industrial dish machine.The bridemaids started packing things up, All the concerned menfolk arrived to help eat the mountain of leftovers. Dad, Sister #1 and I packed up food, washed and put away the dishes at lightning speed for about an hour until #1 had to sit down. She’s 8 months pregnant so I don’t know how she stayed on her feet that long. In her place, I would’ve told those twenty-somethings to go fuck themselves and get next to a dishtowel. And Dad’s got a heart condition, so I told the bridemaids to stop whatever they were doing and help me.”

“What were they doing?’ Lala’s done eating now. Trout’s plate’s disappeared. Mamie’s lighting a cigarette. And my seltzer’s empty! Alas, no one will be spitting food! Well, there’s always next week.

“Darling,” I say to the waitress, “May I have another seltzer with lemon?” She points to a spot on the other side of my Dragonball Z lunchbox.

“Like that one?” she asks. I didn’t see her put it down. I’m thrilled! Mamie purses her lips.

“Ever have one of those days where everyone annoys you?” Mamie asks the girl. “You know, where everyone’s poking at you and you just think you’re going to kill somebody?”

“She’s a WAITRESS!” I shout.

“That’s EVERY day!” she says. Mamie brightens. Our girl’s no Twinkie.

And now we have a new playmate.