This week’s challenge was to draw a cat wearing a wig that looked even half as good as a cat wearing a wig.
And what if it’s a male cat. What then?
What if it’s deaf?
Yes, it’s all good fun when you’re only using Photoshop and can command-Z away all of your criminal instincts. When your weapons are colored pencils, however, you end up with I don’t even know what this is.
I don’t ever really think about my archives because once I get something off my chest I’m usually done with it. But the other day I was thinking about the post I wrote when my son told me he liked to hurt dogs. Those were the days! When I could admit difficult parenting moments and get the almost-full support of the Internet. I got some anonymous comments from what we used to call “concern trolls” who were worried that Jackson would grow up to be a serial killer, one of whom suggested I take him to an abused animal shelter and show him what it looks like for dogs to be horribly mistreated, which — would they even let a four-year-old into a place like that? If I had explained to them that he liked to pinch his dog’s ears, would they have said, “Oh, by all means, let’s show him some bait dogs that have been starved half to death so that you can teach him that grown ups can be far more cruel than he’d ever imagined, because we want to make sure he feels just as helpless and traumatized as these puppies.”
I am so glad I don’t blog about my kid anymore.
Rita read that post and ended up including it in her parenting anthology, Sleep Is For The Weak. Knowing what I know now, that Jackson was going through a phase that’s weirdly normal for a lot of kids, and that he was not on his way to becoming a sociopath, I am tempted to delete that post because it could end up embarrassing him when he’s older. I am also tempted to rewrite it because I come off as fairly desperate to reassure myself that he was just kidding. He wasn’t, of course. I simply had no idea how to handle what he was telling me.
Fortunately, the Internet can smell insecurity on you. Then they pinch your ears until you cry! Who’s the sociopath now, Internet?
What made that post necessary for me then and the reason I’m leaving it up for now are the comments that said, Oh yeah, I used to do that as a kid but I grew out of it, and, Thank you for writing this because my kid is doing the same thing and I am freaking out.
Now, I’m not an expert in anything, but — okay, would you like to know what irony is? My dog was just sitting in the living room barking at nothing and I said, “Oh my God, Peewee, I am going to fucking kill you if you don’t shut up!” and then I took two chew toys and I dangled them over his head to get him to follow me into the bedroom, and then I threw them on the floor and ran out of the room and closed the door. He is now trapped in a squeaky, quilt-filled prison.
People used to ask me and Alice if we were going to do a sequel to Let’s Panic About Babies!, something that would take you from toddlerhood through teenagers, but since neither of us knew anything about parenting a teenager the idea never got out of the gate. I still have no idea how to parent a teenager. It has occasionally occurred to me that I wouldn’t mind swaddling Jackson, who is now eleven, but only because I think it might make it more of a challenge for him to play Grand Theft Auto IV.
JUST KIDDING I DON’T LET MY SON KILL HOOKERS ONLINE.
I’ve also felt guilty for drawing a mustache on one of his baby pictures and putting it into Let’s Panic!
He said it was okay that I did this — and please believe me when I tell you that I asked for his permission at least a dozentimes before the book went to print — but then when the book came out he was all, I don’t like that you did that! and I was all, Goddamnit I asked you a hundred* times!
I just looked into the bedroom and Peewee was lying on the bed with his head on my pillow, snoring. HE’S NOT DEAD AND I DID NOT KILL HIM, EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMED LIKE A GREAT IDEA TWENTY MINUTES AGO. But now I have another idea.
Excuse me while I go register dogswaddling.com.
Rita is doing a giveaway because it’s the fifth anniversary of Sleep Is For The Weak and the second anniversary of Let’s Panic About Babies! Alice is doing one here, and I am doing it, too, because that seems to be what I do these days, give away books in exchange for you leaving your life story in the comments! It’s in honor of Mother’s Day, which is coming up pretty soon. If you would like to win a parenting double whammy of Sleep and Panic, leave a comment telling us the thing that worried everyone most about you when you were a kid, and how you grew up to be okay anyway. I mean, yes: unless you’re dead we won’t really know how it all works out, maybe the urge to put beans up your nose will return when you’re 73 and make fools of us all. But if you feel relatively sure you’re in the clear, psychologically and spiritually.
UPDATE: Our winner is frequent commenter and long-time Fussy supporter DGM. Thanks to each of you who spilled out a small portion of your guts in contribution to this post.
Jack’s mom died this week. We hadn’t seen her for a while but we talked to her all the time — she loved the phone, loved to talk, she would gladly spend hours working over any little tidbit of news, gossip, or family history you gave her, thoroughly picking it apart until she was satisfied she understood it from every angle and was as joyful, angry, or bored with it as you were. So when Jack’s brother called with the news, it really felt as though a huge part of our world had been silenced in a profound way. Her voice is just gone.
I don’t think I posted about Barbara very much — a quick search yielded this weird little scene, and this one has a photo of her with the baby version of my husband — though I could have written whatever I wanted because she never owned a computer and no one on her side of the family seemed to notice what I was doing on the Internet. Because OH MY GOD THE STORIES about Barbara’s life. You can’t even imagine, I should just interview everyone who’s still alive and write a novel about her because no one would believe it if I called it nonfiction.
For now, I’ll just show you this.
Lillian Bassman was a fashion photographer famous for “furtive eroticism,” and Jack’s mom modeled for her occasionally. (Barbara made a living as a lingerie model both before and after Jack and his brother were born, which is a testament to her amazing genetics, as well as to having children when you’re 19/20 years old.) There are photos of Barbara floating around in a negligée; burying her nose in a huge, luscious rose while wearing a lacy black merry widow; or just standing there looking more relaxed than you’d imagine it was possible to be if you wearing a garment you needed at least two people to get you into.
I don’t know who’s going to get what photos — Jack and his sisters are down in Palm Springs right now going through her house and figuring out what will go where — but last year a book of Bassman’s photos came out and Barbara sent us a copy. She was proud of being included in the collection.
That was Barbara before she married Jack’s dad, walking around Manhattan looking like Grace Kelly’s little sister. I hope Jack manages to get the photo of her and Mickey Mantle at the Copacabana, or at least make a copy. That shit is historic.
Glamorous as she had been, she also loved her role as Jackson’s grandmother. A holiday never, ever went by without a card with $20 in it (in small bills, so Jackson wouldn’t spend it all at once), and I mean every holiday. Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s, birthday, St. Patrick’s day, Halloween. If we’d been slightly less pagan she would have sent cards for Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and Passover, too, like Jackson’s cousins got every year.
I’ll talk with Jack and see what he’d feel comfortable with me sharing on the Internet, but for now I’ll just leave it at this: she is deeply missed.
UPDATE: The winner of the giveaway for the book Trinkets by Kirsten Smith is Liz! And her long Ira Glass quote! Congratulations, Liz, you’ll be getting an e-mail from me. I will start drawing the quote I chose for the second giveaway ASAP and will post it next week, there’s been some other stuff going on here which I will tell you about as soon as shit settles down. Thanks, as always, for your patience and continued interest in fussy.org.
It turns out that when I try to rush through my drawings, they suck. I end up throwing out more paper and wasting more time — but when I sit back, take an hour, and really think about what wants to happen on the little 5 x 7 card on my lap, I have more of a chance to draw something that makes me really happy. “It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop,” Confucius purportedly said.
Or, in the words of someone who’s still alive:
This is what I mean by taking the time to work out something that makes me really happy. I ended up being so happy with this one that I decided to add a little color:
Then I wondered whether an “amazing” mouse would still be brown? I don’t want to overthink it, my until-now unexamined prejudice that normal, brown mice cannot be amazing. I ran the idea past Jackson and he told me to make the mouse pink, duh. Oh my God, is that racist?
It would be TOTALLY racist except that now that the mouse is pink it looks like a mole, or a fetal . . . something.
The next drawing request was for “a hippo sitting in a pool of water, holding an umbrella.” I could not for the life of me draw a hippo holding anything — have you seen a hippo’s hands? I couldn’t even fake it in a way that made sense, so I came up with this:
I like this because it’s what Peewee does when we’re eating dinner in front of the television, he puts his chin on the table so that we won’t forget to set a place for him. Why do we keep forgetting to do that?
But if a hippo put his chin on the edge of a backyard pool, you would soon have a hippo in an empty pool and a lawn saturated with hippo effluvia.
Which is gross.
PART 2: I HAVE ANOTHER BOOK TO GIVE AWAY, PEOPLE. It’s a YA novel called Trinkets by Kirsten Smith. It’s about three high school-age girls who meet in Shoplifters Anonymous. Three souls united by a need to take what isn’t theirs! Sadly, I can relate, as there were a few years in there when . . . yeah.
I think my total take was a pair of cheap sunglasses and a couple of records that I could have afforded. I was just being an asshole who wanted to have her cake (pocket money) and eat it too (not spend it, but still get stuff). You know how I got away with it? I looked like I could afford it. Pure white middle-class privilege.
I grew a moral backbone eventually, but what’s interesting for me about Trinkets is that the kids in the book talk about their actions and think about them far more deeply than I ever did, thus helping them to grow the hell up and get through their problems in a way that was not open for me at that age. A friend of mine is writing a term paper on how tween and YA literature can be useful in helping kids to process and grow through their own questions and problems, but at that age I was coming out of my King Arthur phase and just about to begin my descent into the Great American Alcoholic Canon (Berryman, Bukowski, et al) so I don’t know if re-reading The Cat Ate My Gymsuit would have helped.
Oh boy. In order to keep myself from falling into a shame spiral over the lost years of my rudderless adolescence, I’m going to tie this all together and ask you to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to randomly win a copy of Trinkets, and in that comment I’d like you to give me a quote that inspires you to be your better self. I am always on the lookout for wisdom, and as a bonus giveaway I’ll also choose a random comment-quote to illustrate for the person who shared it. So give us a good quote and you might get it back with some added perspective that may or may not include mice, hippos, or other deeply personal associations that make sense only to me.
About a month ago I was all, “Oh, shit, spring break’s coming, what should we do?”
“Nothing,” was my first thought, but then I pictured Jackson pale and shaking from Xbox 360 Lego Lord of the Rings poisoning and I decided it might be nice to get out of the house and go somewhere. Jack was going to have to work that week so it was all on me.
It turns out you can get two passes for two days at Disneyland for something like $400, but if you want to lay down and sleep in a place that isn’t your car parked in the lot of the Anaheim Chili’s you either need to book a hotel a year in advance or pay between $1,800 and $3,000 for on-site, Mouse-approved accommodations. The New York Times had the balls to call this a moderately priced vacation. I, on the other hand, was looking for something in the less-than-a-mortgage-payment range, so I said to Jackson, “How would you feel about spring break in Las Vegas?”
My son loves Las Vegas! He loves to stroll down the Strip in the warm night air and then cut through the Flamingo to get a burger at Johnny Rockets. He loves flipping through the sale rack at the Urban Outfitters at Mandalay Bay, looking for cardigans. He will linger on the bank of the canal at the Venetian and bask in the wonder of a ceiling that’s painted and lit to make you think it’s eternally four o’clock in the afternoon.
And it’s amazing, all of it, the effort and the money it took to build this crazy simulacrum of actual culture in the middle of one of earth’s most heinously inhospitable landscapes. It’s depressing as shit after a couple of days, but it’s still amazing.
“My science teacher hates Las Vegas,” he tells me as we’re on the walkway between the Excalibur and New York New York, heading to Houdini’s Magic Shop. “Why?” I say. “Because it’s expensive to get water here and they waste a ton of electricity.”
It’s true, Las Vegas is a blot on our collective soul. But the hotels are cheap, the shows are frequently kid-friendly, and the people-watching is fantastic. However, when I see a girl in a dress cut up to here tripping over her shoes and falling into the back of a cab while flashing the entire taxi line and spilling wine cooler all over herself to the applause of every bro in front of Caesar’s, I do not turn to Jackson and say, “Well that was glamorous!” I say, “Did you see that?” and he says, “No,” and I say, “Good,” and he says, “What happened?” and then I describe what I saw, and he says, “Oh, is that why all those guys were yelling?”
The taxi drivers make the trip half worth it. One is grumpy as hell, then overwhelmed when I give him a $5 tip for a $10 ride because I don’t want to be the asshole that made his day worse. One is silent; one has a mild, beatnik-y way of talking; one has blue hair and complains about her back giving out after so many 12-hour shifts. One tells us of how Las Vegas used to be, how his mother has been a cocktail waitress at the Golden Nugget for 38 years and once won a gold medal in the waitress Olympics, making it through her whole obstacle course without spilling a drop of the drinks on her tray. He told us that when the Mob was in control, the town had class and people dressed up; now, the local kids get hooked on drugs and commit suicide at alarming rates. “Well, that was depressing,” I say when we get out of the cab. “I thought it was interesting,” says Jackson. “I still want to protect you from stuff like that,” I say. “It’s okay,” he says, “I’m not going to be a drug addict.”
He gets his picture taken with both Penn and Teller. He buys a plastic Venetian mask after a Cirque du Soleil show and wears it under his surfer beanie as he walks down the Strip, making him look like either an androgynous child bank robber or a melancholy hipster mime.
I feel lucky that I can do this with him. We have a special bond already, me and him, so a trip like this is purely for memory-making purposes. “My mom took me to Las Vegas when I was eleven and we body surfed in the wave pool at the Mandalay.” “Didn’t you grow up by the beach? Why did you go to Las Vegas to body surf?”
That’s an excellent question. We could have easily stayed home and saved hundreds of dollars by having our faces pounded into the surf right here in sunny California. I have no idea why we thought we had to drive six hours to experience the fake equivalent of something we could do here for free. We have hamburgers and sidewalks and cabs and beds here, too. Why do we travel at all?
We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more. The beauty of this whole process was best described, perhaps, before people even took to frequent flying, by George Santayana in his lapidary essay, “The Philosophy of Travel.” We “need sometimes,” the Harvard philosopher wrote, “to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.” — Pico Iyer
I have been in a horrendous mood! So that’s been hilariously fun!
I’m also 1,000 years behind on drawings, so let’s take a look at my terrible output for March. Four drawings. FOUR. Jesus.
This is obviously a personal joke for someone, because they specifically asked for a drawing with a raven and a box of Old Bay seasoning in it, two things that would rarely meet otherwise. I went online to look at reviews of Old Bay seasoning on Amazon, and that’s where I discovered that at least one person in the world believes that “it adds zing” to whatever you sprinkle it in. Zing! I’m not the sort of person who uses the word zing, so I appreciate it when someone uses it sincerely and without sarcasm. As a matter of fact, I’m going to look for a way to use zing in a sentence today, on the off chance that doing so will cheer me the fuck up.
Okay, this one is cheering me up, I’d forgotten I’d done this. The person asked for animals wearing clothes or accessories, including a squirrel. So I did the squirrel, and then I did the pigeon head where accidentally it looked like it was looking over its shoulder in some sort of fashion pose, and BANG, all of a sudden I knew I was looking at a page from The Animal Models Catalog. I wish I’d made the otter more expressive somehow, but I need more otter practice to coax that chillwave vibe out of whiskers and wet fur.
I’d been looking forward to this one, but when I started penciling it out I realized that it was somewhat of a nightmare. Normally I love repeating patterns, but the detail in copying this picture turned out to be overwhelming. I hope the person who receives it isn’t too disappointed. I think it still has some good qualities, but an accurate representation of the Budapest Parliament it is not.
Fortunately, a somewhat-accurate rendering of the old firehouse in Montecito was just the thing to help me get a little of my drawing confidence back.
Does anyone else feel like blogging’s just about dead? Maybe it’s just me.
UPDATE!Comments are closed and JanetS won the book! Well done being the second commenter, Janet, and having random.org choose your number. Thanks for all the tales of sales gone wrong, people. My stomach churns for all of you.
Several days a week we carpool to Jackson’s school with another family, and this morning one of the girls we drive with gave me the two boxes of Girl Scout cookies I’d ordered from her last month. I don’t even eat cookies but I bought a box of Tagalongs and a box of Thin Mints because I remember how hard it was to sell cookies when I was a kid and I wanted to help her out.
Well! We were driving along and I was all, “How many boxes of cookies did you sell?” and do you know what she said to me? “Almost 300.” I almost drove off the road. The thought of so many cookie sales is like science fiction to me. The only way that I, as an adult, could hit the same benchmark would be to make 10 people buy 30 boxes of cookies each, all of which I’d then offer to pay for myself, and then I’d have to go lie down in a dark room with a cold compress on my head. 300 boxes. Jesus.
After expressing my amazement and hearty congratulations, she said, “My goal is to sell 500,” and I fainted dead away. When I came to I asked her to guess how many boxes of cookies I sold when I was a Girl Scout. Go on, guess. Actually, don’t, because I told her the wrong number. I told her nine boxes, but I mixed up the fact that I was actually nine years old that year. I really sold only three. Three. However, nine still got a big reaction.
“What?!” she and her sister said in unison. Clearly they had never beheld a creature so incapable of selling the easiest thing to sell in the history of everything.
I explained that when I was a Scout I was so shy that to knock on strangers’ doors to sell cookies was certainly the most cruel task ever devised to make a little girl earn a badge. My father was a salesman — he was the type, as they used say, who could sell snow to Eskimos — but I didn’t get that gene. I wanted nothing to do with grownups or their money, especially ones I didn’t know. AND that was also the 70s for you, my mother just sent me out into the street to sell cookies, there was none of this “I’ll go with you and wait on the sidewalk so you don’t get abducted” business, or “let’s set up a table outside of the grocery store with two of your friends and we’ll just sit back and let the cookies sell themselves.” No, I just wandered off into the neighborhood with a clipboard and a sad wish to get back to the couch before I Dream of Jeannie started.
I guess there were badges that rewarded the introverts, too — I seem to remember getting one for “sewing” a vinyl “cushion” filled with yesterday’s newspaper, and one for learning CPR WHICH REMINDS ME, I got certified for CPR on Wednesday, unwillingly. It was required by my workplace, but as someone who works at a place where a lot of old people hang out I have to concede that it feels kind of great to be up on the latest heart-starting technologies. This is one of the videos they showed us, it’s got a reassuringly angry Ken Jeong in it:
I want to note that when the girls rush in to save the guy they don’t even check to see if he has a pulse before the one starts banging on his chest. You only do the heart compression thing if the person has no pulse. And you don’t have to breathe into the person’s mouth anymore! Studies found that compressing the chest was more than enough to fill and expel the oxygen from people’s lungs and keep their brain oxygenated until their heart picked up again, and that stopping to clear the airway and pinch the nose and share in a stranger’s blood- and saliva-borne diseases was an almost total waste of time. So get that pulseless person down on the floor and pump away! Whee!
We also saw some really gross pictures of burns, and one of a person who had a ring ripped off his finger by some machinery. Glaaaah.
Before I entirely lose track of what I meant to talk about, I want to tell you that I have a paperback copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking to give away. All you need to do is leave a comment and I’ll use random.org to pick a person to send it to. In your comment I need you to share with us the best, worst, or most interesting thing you’ve ever tried to sell.
ALMOST LASTLY, I have two more drawings to show you.
This was for a request for “a big, dumb (black, rottweilerish) dog that is scared of palm trees.” My inspiration came from two places. One is the bike path near the beach in Santa Barbara that is lined with palm trees, and the other was this dog that I saw on dogshaming.com. I’m not sure what the story is here: was she so scared of trees that she broke one? Did one fall over and scare her and now she’s afraid that palm trees are trying to kill her? Yes. All of that.
This next drawing was for the person who runs dandelionbaby.com, she asked for a drawing of something from her website, or else just anything I felt like. Since I’m still bravely facing my fear of drawing people, I was happy to try drawing this happy pair:
Can you see that? It’s a woman and a baby and they both have expressions of genuine happiness on their faces. I decided to try and capture that.
I didn’t succeed, so I made the baby into a bug. ARTISTIC LICENSE.
Last thing, I promise, I did a post over at the Popcorn Whisperer where I invent Salted Caramel Popcorn and explain how to make it and it’s MAGNIFICENT. It is truly a revelation. Go over there and make some, then come back and leave a comment so you can possibly win a book, or just come back and read the other comments, I don’t care, I’m not going to make you do anything. We all have free will. That’s the crazy part of all this.
The astrology app on my iGoogle home page is so weirdly on-point sometimes that I am often happy to think that Venus, Saturn, and the bones of Copernicus are responsible for who I am today. But invariably I’ll read one of those long monthly forecasts online that predicts the best days for me to plant corn or have an orgasm and I’ll get all excited, and then I’ll get mixed up and plant my corn on my orgasm days and then our garden goes CRAZY and I’m finding Doritos in my underpants.
According to my latest horoscope, Wednesday was supposed to be some amazing career day where if I asked for a raise I’d totally get one, not taking into account the fact that I work for a government agency and am about as likely to get a raise as to get a city-sponsored hot air balloon to pick me up for work in the morning. Ironically, however, I finally got the insurance check for my totaled car and put it into the bank on Wednesday, so it was a big money day? But the astrologer who told me to ask for a raise maybe has a limited imagination about how creatively the stars and planets can reach into my wallet.
I have to say, there was some weird energy in the air around the middle of the week. We were watching the most recent Downton Abbey episode on Tuesday night and Jack made a crack about Lady Mary wanting to learn to cook and I burst into tears. Then Wednesday I just felt itchy and manic, which means I was probably tailgating you and thinking uncharitable thoughts about your inability to use your turn signal, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wondered what it would be like to smack into you if you opened your car door just a little wider and stuck your ass out just a little farther into the street without checking for oncoming traffic. I’m sorry. I’m sorry if I glared and complained into the airless dark of my goddamned rental car with its mushy steering and terrible shocks and lazy acceleration and ugly interior.
I was on my way over to Renaud’s the next morning to buy croissants for an early morning staff meeting and as I got out of my car I sort of fell in next to this woman who was clearly going to Renaud’s, too. It’s awkward enough to be walking next to a total stranger through an empty strip mall, but she was walking at a pace that made me really anxious because I was going to be late if I didn’t get my hustle on, but she was older than me and my God, who was I becoming? Someone who fantasized about clipping pedestrians and beating old ladies to the front of the croissant line? So I sped up to a trot and passed her, and she made this little gasping noise, and when I got to the door I held it open for her so she could go in first. SWITCHEROO. It was really funny how relieved she was to find that I wasn’t actually a giant asshole. She ordered her latte and was so happy, now she wouldn’t be late for school (she was a substitute teacher), and what did I do? Oh, libraries are wonderful! Librarians are wonderful, too! You’re buying croissants for librarians? THAT’S WONDERFUL.
So I felt like I got my karma straightened out a little. I did some other nice stuff for old people that day, too, but I’m not going into it other than to say you need to watch out for some of those old guys, they are super flirtatious. I bet they know all sorts of things about plowing corn.
This drawing was a long time coming, it’s for someone who got on board after I’d closed donations so she just sent me $20 and told me what to draw, which is a “witty, postmodern version of Alice falling down the rabbit hole.”
Get it? She’s falling into a black hole! Which you might have picked up even if my little Stephen Hawking in the corner didn’t tip you off. I put a stretched-out pocket watch in there for a reference to the March Hare with a dash of Dalí. (Like I need to explain that to you.) Anyway, this took an inordinate amount of thought on my part, plus I was intimidated by having an actual commission. I will try to get over it, because this was fun and I want to do more.
We have a new microwave oven, after having spent the last year without one. Heating our tea water in a kettle on the stove like savages.
Yesterday afternoon Jack walked in on me heating soup for lunch, on the stove, like you do when you forget you now own a microwave oven.
Jack: “What are you doing?!”
Me: “Uh . . . not using the microwave?”
Jack: “Don’t hesitate — irradiate!”
I had been perfectly happy without a microwave, but our son mounted an extremely determined offensive to change my mind. Three days ago we were walking past a movie theater and Jackson was all, “Oh my God, that popcorn smells so good. I wish we could have some popcorn.”
My response was to take him to the grocery store and show him bag after bag full of Jolly Time popcorn ready to be popped in a pan on someone’s stove. Our stove, perhaps!
“Nooooooooo,” he said, looking longingly at the individually-expensive, cellophane-wrapped packages of extra cheesy microwave popcorn waiting to be plucked off the shelf and taken home to explode into life within a microwave. A microwave that, sadly, did not belong to us.
It’s just that we left our old, cranky one in the condo when we moved out, and there wasn’t one already installed in this house when we moved in. And for the last twelve months I haven’t particularly felt like spending a hundred bucks on a metal box whose main purpose is to make it easier for my son to eat junk food.
So I have no good reason to explain why I finally gave in after a year of being asked every day, “When are we going to get a microwave?” Apparently my goal was to teach my son that if he behaves as gently and persistently as water, he can carve a Grand Canyon through the microwave-resistant portion of my heart. Just like Lao Tzu prophesied in his deathless work, How to Succeed by Being a Really Stubborn Eleven-year-old. And honestly, though I may not be up on the current literature, I don’t think microwaves are causing a lot of extra cancers, or damaging the brains of our nation.
Why haven’t I been posting drawings? New excuse! My camera battery died and I couldn’t find my camera battery charger, so I had to order another one online, where they’re cheaper, and it finally came yesterday, and then my website was over quota on disk space usage. The whole thing was just tragic.
Anyway, I was feeling bad about the drawing I did for the person who asked for a fat old lady talking about sex, I felt it was too depressing and could be interpreted as the fat lady in the drawing was sad that she’d never fully explored her sexuality because she was fat. I might be overly fat-sensitive, but in order to correct an imbalance that may only exist in my own mind, I drew another picture, this time of a fat young (whoops) lady quoting Mae West (love her) talking about sex:
The lettering, sadly, isn’t that great, but at some point you just have to let go and move on, even though I seem to be allergic to doing that. (Just ask Alice how I wanted to rewrite Let’s Panic! when it was in final proofs. I win at being both fun and insufferable at the same time.)
This next one was for a friend who wanted me to draw of a cup of coffee saving the world. Coffee has naked arms and legs! I hope you’re not shocked by this development.
Lastly, I have two Popcorn Whisperer posts you should see:
For some reason I could not handle all the nice words the Internet funneled my way at birthday time, so I turned off my computer and walked away. I thought my self-esteem issues had been mostly resolved but I guess they have not! And so I responded to your kindness by hiding under the Birthday Throne until it was all over. I hope that didn’t trigger anyone’s abandonment issues; I can’t imagine anyone being that invested in this web site, what with me taking off for weeks at a time nowadays. Fortunately, I don’t feel a shred of guilt for not posting; what I do feel shreds and great hanging gobs of guilt for is not keeping up with sending out any drawings for the last month. My only explanation is that I was both overwhelmed by family obligations and stumped by the request for “a fat old lady talking about sex.”
Then I was taking a lunch break last week, sitting on a bench outside of Pierre Lafond’s in the sun. I spent the first half of my lunch reading San Miguel (which I really like so far) and the second half noodling around on a blank piece of paper and wondering whether human faces need to be (a) symmetrical, or (b) realistic. I concluded that they do not! And then I made this:
I’m not so sure about the story but I love her face.
Jack reminded me that no one has a symmetrical face (except for Nefertiti and Cybill Shepard) so I now feel freed up for all sorts of mayhem.
On Friday I spoke to an insurance agent who seemed poised to send me a check for actual money that will go towards buying a replacement car, so I have been reluctantly picking around various online car sites to see what’s available and for how much. I’ve got my face covered half the time, peeking through my fingers at the horrible amount of money it’s going to cost to replace a car that had been paid off since 2007. Buying anything on eBay with a “Buy It Now!” price of $7,500 seems absurd, but I’m going to have to suck it up and make a decision pretty soon. Big purchases terrify me. I would like another Volvo because it’s like driving around in a fuel-injected tank, but I don’t know if I can afford one that was made in this century. I could pocket the money and use it for 20 years of bus fare, I suppose. I’d certainly get a lot of knitting done that way.
I have also been spending some time every day on Pinterest and woe betide you if I find you are posting incorrectly attributed pins, for I am the self-appointed Pinterest Police. Oh, you want me to believe that’s “Einstein and his therapist“? No, it is Einstein and Cord Meyer, Jr. in a photo from Life Magazine. Or I guess after being shut up in prison and becoming so ill with meningitis that spinal fluid leaked out his ears Oscar Wilde could have said, “I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone, and not be defined by another person,” but it’s a lot easier to believe that Olivia Wilde was the actual source of that quote. And for the record, Eisenhower did not sign civil rights legislation with Martin Luther King, Jr. looking over his shoulder, but Lyndon Johnson sure did. LAZY PINNERS BEWARE.
Let's Panic About Babies! is a book I wrote with the delightful Alice Bradley. You will like it if you are currently pregnant, if you have children, or if you have absolutely no intention of having children. Not just because it's funny, but because you can burn it to stay warm.
Clicking on the cover will take you to the publisher's web site, and clicking here will take you to Amazon.com, but you can no longer go to Let's Panic! the web site to preview some of the material in the book and read stuff we post for free when we feel like it, because we let it expire. It's a full-time job managing the enormous wealth that comes from writing a fake parenting book.