Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lies (The Thompson Twins)

Recently I was at an annual event where the regular cast of characters were on the loose. Most of the people are okay, but there are some I really do not care for. One in particular is a woman I will call Candice. Yes, Candice. On the surface Candice is the picture of perfection. She is a good looking blonde lady with a handsome husband and three adorable children. Candice has this perky attitude, and is “positive” all the time. Yes, positive, positive, positive. Meanwhile, Candice is about as positive as HIV because the woman is really a manipulative backstabber with nothing but seething bitch underneath.

Yes, we all know a Candice. She was that girl in school that was the teacher’s pet, and everyone wanted to beat her ass not because she got better grades, but because she was shrill and annoying. Candice won a bunch of awards for academics, tennis, and went to an elite college. After that, she went on to be a teacher and then headmistress of a prestigious all girl’s prep school. On paper Candice looks like a rize, but in person she is like nails on a chalk board.

I saw Candice and her children who aren’t allowed to speak at this function. Not really caring, I asked her what she had been up to. Candice told me that for a while she was teaching and then headmistressing. However, she discovered this new self-help program and started to apply it in her school. Candice then quickly informed me that the school had begun to run itself, so therefore they no longer needed a head mistress. Then shortly after she resigned, she started writing self-help literature, and worked as a motivational speaker. I asked her about her concept and she was shady at best, trying to give me fluff answers as she changed the subject. Her story already had more holes than a piece of Swiss Cheese, and the way she explained her idea made mud look clear.

Candice then chirped away that she wrote a New York Times Bestseller. I asked her the name of her book. Now I was officially nauseous but also rather curious. Candice named the piece of literature. There is one problem. Candice didn’t write it. Someone else did. As a matter of fact I know Candice didn’t write it because I am social media chums with the man who did. Although we only chatted twice, he seemed quite nice and the polar opposite of this intellectual property stealing wench that stood before me at that very moment.

I was paralyzed as a thousand emotions rolled through my veins. There was the initial shock that she could be so bold and audacious. On top of that I felt insulted because Candice actually believed I am that dumb. Yes, maybe I talk like a red neck chipmunk on meth but I know a liar when I see one. Then there was a part of me that was angered on a deeper level. For those that don’t know, writers are the indentured servants of the creative world. While we are by far much smarter than actors, dancers, musicians and visual artists, we have the least rights when it comes to royalties and take the most crap. Not only do we get screwed worse than a low grade porn star when it comes to contracts, but producers are always the first to throw us under the bus. Directors pervert our ideas. Then we are snobs for defending our work. Yet at the end of the day, when people need us they are super, duper nice. Now here was this C-U-Next-Tuesday taking credit for the blood, sweat, and tears of another writer.

Then I realized her husband wasn’t there. I could only wish he was cheating on her with a highly paid escort somewhere. It’s got to be better than sleeping with that thing every night, jeez. Or this is the only case aside from Tori Spelling in 90210 where I would applaud a man for throwing a woman down the stairs. I don’t advocate domestic violence, heck I survived it. But what this woman did was evil. Am I angry? Fuck yeah. But when you are a writer who has been cheated you will understand my rage at this vagina wig, trust me.

I debated calling her on it. But if I did I would look like an angry, embittered single woman and the hetero-normative majority would drop kick me. Not to mention she has her other idiot friends at the event who has more bullshit coming out of their mouths than a barnyard. So I smiled and made my way to someone else. There was a part of me that wanted to slap her myself, but I had no desire to make the Daily News that badly. Later that evening I found out from another person who despises her just as much as I do that she sold promotional materials for this author, and it was a work from home job. Perhaps she has a creative mind, baby girl certainly stretched the truth on this one.

Of course this kind of lying is nothing new. I am in the entertainment industry where it is the Smoke and Mirrors effect. At a club, when everyone is sitting around, it is amazing how many people have “pilots.” Yes, the pilots for Adult Swim, MTV, VH1, and every other damn network under the sun. Nine point nine times out of ten these pilots never materialize. Maybe they are friends with an airline pilot, I don’t know. Others have films going to “festivals.” Sometimes the films get there, but most of the time they don’t. And the short films never materialize. Oh and my favorite are the people releasing books with big name literary agents. Note: They have been releasing this book or screenplay for the past six years. Really it’s in a drawer where it should be collecting dust. The more someone tells me the less I really do believe. Call me cynical but it’s a one up game, and the best story wins. Did I mention everyone has a DVD, album, and podcast, too? Nevermind no one listens to it. They have it.

The craziest are the liars that I meet in my travels. A few years ago, there was a dude Justin who wanted to worm his way into a circle of gay men I was a part of. Henry, our sort of Queen Bee, had been the dance captain in several Broadway shows and was now a well respected teacher. Justin wanted a job on Broadway, and fabricated a life story that was insane. He said he was a former child star, and insisted he had roles in several well known movies. We were taken in because while he was a complete and utter fraud, Justin did know his crap. I discovered him in action when I left my purse with him for a few minutes. Later, I got a call from my credit card company that someone had bought a few hundred dollars worth of gay porn in minutes. This happened not only to be but several others who left their things with Justin. That is when I looked up the films he said he was in and Justin Davis was no where to be found. I called Henry panicked, who busted him in another lie a day earlier. Needless to say, we also discovered Justin had fabricated his Broadway stage hand resume as well. As soon as he was busted, Justin disappeared never to be heard from again. These days, we joke about our pet Mr. Ripley, but the way he was committed to his lies was amazing. I have to give him that.

The worst is when you give your heart to a liar. It happened when I was coming out of a rough time in my life. Yes, my ex James Scott Buchanan, but he went by Scott in order to distinguish himself from his grandfather that he was named after. Scott insisted he was directly related to the worst US President in history, the one that caused the Civil War. Also, he told me before going to law school he had played with the Detroit Cobras and had a career as a musician. Scott had also been a music major at the University of Michigan, before leading a protest and having a change of heart. 

Additionally, Scott also trained as a boxer and even practiced with the Olympic squad before going off to college. Scott’s grandfather had been a teamster, and his dad’s godfather was Jimmy Hoffa. Before me Scott dated a slew of impressive women as well. One ex was  a Playboy Model, another won an Academy Award for Costume Design, and a third was a Smith/Yale educated international rights lawyer who he caught in bed with another man, and Scott had nearly killed the guy.

After Scott destroyed the relationship with the help of a third party, the truth came out. Scott’s law license was probationary, and he was in danger of being disbarred because of misconduct. Then I found out via the Detroit Cobras website where all the alumni are listed that Scott had never played with them. Also, the ties to president Buchanan are sketchy because his living descendants are small in number because he never married and left any heirs. Not to mention Scott attended Eastern Michigan University and was a history major, and the story about the University of Michigan was just another lie. My Uncle Franklin was a union organizer and was nearly killed by a Jimmy Hoffa car bomb. He had no knowledge of Scott and his fabricated familial relations of the famous mob boss. Also met someone on the Olympic Squad that year, they had never met Scott.

 I Googled Scott’s exes. Apparently they were so famous that Google had never heard of them. Oh and the gf that won the Oscar for Costume Design, a man won that year. As for the story about the former fiancé, I think she woke up one day, realized she was marrying Scott, and broke it off. In order not to look like himself, Scott made up a fabulous story. Then I remembered Scott was a lawyer, but said he might change career paths in ten years. I agree. The asshole needs to put his talent to good use and write fiction, because he lies everytime he breaths.

Did it hurt? Yeah, especially since I had survived an ex before him who was physically violent and stalked me. This was the last damn thing I needed. But it was only a few months of my life, and we didn’t share property or children. Then I thought of my late friend Chacho Vasquez who always had misgivings about Scott. While those around me thought he was a positive change from Sean, Chacho let it be known whenever he could take the floor that he didn’t like the guy. At the time, I didn’t realize let alone appreciate Chacho’s sixth sense when it came to sniffing out individuals who were less than kosher. But most of the time, he called it as he saw it and he called it correct.

Then as Candice passes through my mind, the lying piece of air suck, I remember Chacho fondly. Candice would probably look down upon Chacho, as would Justin, Scott, and most of the entertainers who exaggerate on the reg. Chacho did every possible “wrong” thing with his life. He sold drugs, did drugs, stole, went to jail, and had sex with a beautiful stranger whenever possible. Oh and Chacho always looked for Prince Charming but fell in the arms of a married man. Chacho was always honest with me to a fault. Sometimes I would beg my buddy to lie. Chacho would reply, “Why would I do that? I am such a jerkoff I would probably screw it up.”

Of course for as crazy as it sounds, Chacho is superior to all of them. Sure, most of being his friend was not killing him but Chacho could tell the truth. Granted, his honesty got him in a boatload of trouble with a lot of people but that was a part of his charm. When he passed we debated what station in the after life he was in. While he made his mistakes my belief is my friend is an angel, and God has given him the job of correcting the phonies because he is the perfect man for the task. So as I strangle Candice in my mind, another Chacho quote pops in my head, “A nobody trying to be somebody is the worst kind of nobody there is.”

Candice believed she had to exaggerate her credentials because she was just a mere stay at home mom. Nothing wrong with that. In order to make herself look like a winner she became the ultimate loser. Same with everyone else in this blog. If you have to pretend to be someone you aren’t in order to have that person be your friend, they are not a friend worth having. And if that person doesn’t like you for who you are, it’s not you who’s worthless, it’s them.

Of course, in a world where we are pressured to keep up with the Jones’s, we forget they are an imaginary family that never fights, has financial problems, let alone a bad day. They Jones’s aren’t real. Then again, when someone lies so much to keep up, you wonder if they ever knew how to tell the truth in the first place. Of course when this realization hits, the anger fades and what remains is pity, pure and simple. Having a liar be honest is like having someone who has never driven a car drive a mac truck. They don’t have the ability to tell the truth, and they don’t even know what the truth is. Why ask them to do something they have no knowledge of in the first place?

Fantasy is appealing because it has the bells and whistles the truth doesn’t. But while the truth is uncomfortable, when you accept it you can do things you never dreamed of. Most of the time, the truth is not as bad as you think, either. When you think of it, being a liar must be a lonely existence. You always have to remember the tales you spun and probably get a headache trying to keep it straight. With truth you seldom have that issue. Not to mention eventually people see a liar for who that person is and they move on. In the end, the liar is just left with themselves and the mess they call a mind. That is a sad, sad existence if you ask me.

So my hope and prayer is that Candice finds peace along with Justin, Scott, and a great many entertainers I know. It is my dream that they wake up someday and give reality a shot. It’s not all that gnarly. It is my sincere hope that they know that they are good enough as they are, and maybe, just maybe, they can achieve some sort of peace and calm. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Morning (No Doubt)

The last few days have been a whirlwind of busy. I can’t even get into it it’s been so busy. There is some exciting stuff coming as a result of my DVD, YIPEE!!! My fans are watching my video stream and then buying the hard copy online. The video stream was my webmaster’s idea, genius. Either way, I hope word gets out there about me and my hard work.

Thursday my mom and sister came to town to start Heisman weekend. My sister was the 2004 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award Winner. They bring back the alumni every year for this event, and they crown a new winner. It is a fun weekend, but it is so intense on so many levels. Not just my family coming into town, but then it always falls when I am super, duper busy. I was exhausted to begin with, and had a filled last few days and a few coming up. Of course a family visit only intensifies everything.

On top of that, the event is nice and everyone is always dressed up. It is a so called “family” event, which means I have to curb my normally foul mouth. And the action of the weekend is usually jam packed between the activities the Wendy’s people have planned, the event itself, and familial fireworks. Add in my already crippling schedule and you get the need for a nap and a Red Bull.

Thursday night I took my mother and sister to Pippin on Broadway. A good friend got me good tickets for free and so I took the two. Skipper and my mom liked the first act, and I did too. The second act was a little, eh. Pippin had commitment issues. Then the ending was blah. Basically my mother, Skipper, and myself concluded that Pippin was a whiner that would never be happy.

After Thursday night was over came Friday, the most intense day. I told myself if I lived past Friday I could do Saturday and maybe the next six months. Friday I had a television show taping and then I was headed to perform at an animal benefit in Staten Island. Before that, I did some Christmas shopping with my mother and sister and we got matching dresses at Forever 21. After that, we had lunch at Juniors and I was on my way.

I went to my TV taping and gave my commentary. During one of my lines, I was kind of stuck in my head aka thinking. When I think real hard I look like I am going to kill someone. So they kept having me do the line and they commanded me to smile. I hope they use my footage, and I don’t look too much like an angry jerkoff New Yorker.

From there it was the ferry to Staten Island. On my journey to the event I passed the infamous Bay Street where Eric Garner was killed (RIP). The whole thing is kind of sad and they so need to put cameras on police cars. So then off to the event I went which was far out in the island in Tottenville aka where all the big houses and old horse farms are.

There was much drama surrounding this event. Apparently the night before the event there had been some disagreement that got heated. It was a gentle reminder of why I didn’t book and produce live events anymore, shit like this. One woman got so mad she even tried to cancel the event on facebook, and had purchased a table and didn’t show up. Again, a gentle reminder of why I stopped producing live events.

When I got there, I met the people and socialize a bit, which is not what I normally do when I perform. The DJ I had messaged wasn’t there, but his assistant was. I donated a few of my books to be auctioned off for charity and to benefit the animals. The people were nice, very passionate about animal rescue. I didn’t know a lot about animal rescue before that night so it was a little educational.
I sat at the table of the woman who tried to cancel the event and didn’t show up. Originally, I was supposed to go on at one time but the people from the rescue mission were speaking about the shape they found one of the dogs in. Then dinner was being served. Of course the demographic of the event was mostly women and some men who were dragged along because their wives were in rescue-not the normal April Brucker crowd. Not to mention I wasn’t told until I got there that a child was going to be present. It was as if God was trying to test me.

During dinner, there was some heated discussion about the adoption of the dog the benefit inspired and the ethics behind it. The woman sitting next to be had the most insight on the situation. I told her the event had some interesting behind the scenes happenings. She said, “There is always drama in rescue.”

As the discussion intensified, this same lady said with a big smile, one of those one wears when things are truly awkward, “So, when are you going on?”

I went on shortly after dinner. At first I did a little crowd work and they seemed like they would be into it. I was in the middle and almost surrounded by tables, so the only way to perform was to walk around. The crowd was laughing, but then they would return to talking amongst themselves, but then they would laugh again only if I engaged them. I had a nice set planned, but the second I started into my material I saw it wasn’t happening. So I decided to abandon Plan A and just go to them.

I got out my puppets and went from table, to table to table. One table, the one with the mix of guys and girls, was really receptive and took photos. Two tables of women were cool and laughed. One table was hard to crack completely, and another was 50/50 depending on the puppet. Granted, these people were tough like most SI crowds are, but sometimes you have to come to the people. Was the set a success? I dunno. All I know was it wasn’t a dismal failure, and people laughed and took photos. That’s the important part.

The crowd knew there was comedy, but wasn’t there to see comedy if it makes sense. While it wasn’t the best set I ever did, it wasn’t a complete disaster either. I made it work and sometimes that is what live entertainment is about. People were gracious afterwards, and they invited me to dance during the dance party. Also, the people who won copies of my book during the raffle friended me on facebook, and from the looks of it I got some new fans. They also did me a solid and made sure I got back to Manhattan, the and DJ played my song “Hell No, Joe.”

While the night was a far cry from what I did at the Metropolitan Room or the theater in Long Island, I tackled a mostly female crowd on Staten Island and wasn’t killed afterwards. I did alright. I wouldn’t have been able to do that 5 or 6 years ago. I wouldn’t have been that quick on my feet with the gear change. That in itself was a victory. My only prayer is that they enjoy my book. I also find myself perhaps wanting to foster a dog someday, and wanting to do more animal benefits if possible.
My only regret is I felt bad about how I ran out of the event, but the downside of having your mother in town is she thinks you are dead if you don’t pick up your phone. So I bounced out at 11:40. My driver was a nice dude, and we talked about life and family and all that jazz. Poor guy had another job at JFK early that morning, so although the animal peeps had covered my ride I gave him a generous tip. FYI, always tip your drivers well.

Friday had concluded and I wasn’t dead. The weekend was 2/3s done. Now I just had to live through Saturday.

Saturday came, and there was no way I was going to be Skipper’s date to breakfast. My mom went instead. I was originally going to go home, drop my stuff, and join my mom and sister at the hotel, but I nixed that plan. My mom had been half asleep waiting for me, and the hotel was only down the street. So I just went to there instead. I saw some people from the event by the elevators and we caught up. Yes, Ashford and his friend Manny. Ashford won the same year my sister did, and Manny is his buddy from business school. Ashford like my sis had just gotten engaged, and Manny’s engagement had broken. We shot the breeze for a bit before I went back to my room.

Of course my mom was up waiting for me. Life in comedy means I come tumbling in at all hours, and having my mom in town meant it wasn’t that easy. Some things never change. Either way, I was so exhausted that I just fell asleep in my clothes.

I woke up to a contraband breakfast smuggled from the hotel. Then I was told we were hitting the hotel gym then headed to a bowling event at Lucky Strike. FYI, Lucky Strike is the only bowling alley in NYC with a dress code. We walked over with Emma, a girl who won the Wendy’s High School award last year and was now attending Yale. She seemed like a nice lass. Emma was seeing a chap on the baseball team and playing lacrosse. She seemed to have it figured out kind of.

Our bowling game was interesting. Skipper and I were the bi-polar bowlers. We had some strikes, but then would just screw up. Emma was consistent. Ashland and Manny joined our team. Ashland was decent, but Manny was amazing. I was kind of fancy on Manny, but couldn’t tell whether he was into me or not. His doctor fiancé had dumped him because he didn’t make enough money, but now that he had completed business school she wanted Manny back.

I asked Manny whether or not he hit the strip club after the break up. Manny insisted strip clubs were unfulfilling. I then inquired as to whether or not be had sex with random women. Manny said he didn’t do that. Instead he went to business school. That’s when I lost interest. Not because he did something positive, but because I felt he was lying. No dude just breaks up with a girl and does a positive thing. There’s usually some drunken sex with randos.

After that we went back to the hotel for the event. Of course, we showered and got beautified. Originally, it was just going to be Skipper and myself. But then something happened and someone’s date backed out, so there was an extra ticket for my mom. As you can imagine the three of us jumped on top of that. My sister dawned her outfit and got ready. My mom changed hers a million times. I just tried to stay sane.

We raced to the Best Buy Theatre after the reception hoping to get good seats. Instead we found them slow to open the doors and waited outside in the cold. I cursed my sister out because it had been her idea for us not to bring spare shoes, and thus my bare toes were getting frozen. Finally, the doors opened and in we went.

There was some drama over where we would sit, because my mother is rather tiny and it is hard for her to see, and plus she hates to be cold. Then of course she wants to take a thousand photos and my sister Skipper was resistant. My mom wanted pictures up close and personal, so she snuck down to the stage. The corporate people thought she was in charge and asked her where to sit. My mom directed them, and then told them her single daughter April was there and to say hello. They waved and I waved back unaware that my mother was trying to sell me to a bunch of strangers. When I found out I almost killed her, but decided against it because if I did I wouldn’t have any more good stories for my blog. FYI, everyone in the vicinity thought this was funny.

The Heisman Ceremony started, and was lovely as always. My father who could not attend was watching live at home, and my mother was texting him during the telecast. As for my sister, she was texting Boomer her fiancé. Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper were both very nice young men, and I know life will be good to either one. However, Marcus Mariotta won as we all knew he would. A nice, humble, mannered young man, he gave a speech that nearly moved the whole place to tears. Two words, “Go Ducks.”

After the ceremony, we met some former Heisman guys and their wives who were all quite nice. Got to see Matt Leinart again, and had not spoken to him since my sister won in 2004. He’s retired from the Pros, and now is just chilling out with his son I suppose who is very adorable. My mom accidentally hit Matt coming out of Starbucks with a door, FYI. Then we met Jim Plunkett and his wife who were both quite nice. They are passionate pit bull owners, and the bull they own (Godey I believe is it’s name), is very protective of their grandson. It was a good night.

That is, until my mom got her camera out and Skipper decided she was pictured out. Skipper walked away from our mom to join a conversation with some other folks. Fuming, my mom sent Skipper the following text:

“How dare you walk away from your mother? What is going to happen if I ever walk away from you, bitch? Did you learn nothing from the young man that won tonight?”

My mom sent this seething, scathing text to Skipper, someone who would never intentionally hurt anyone. The whole thing was amazing, and I almost died laughing. Then my mother commanded me to mingle. I went back into the broadcasting room, and met some people and learned more about the event. My mother followed me in and took a massive amount of photos. At least she was happy with one child, but that could easily change on a dime.

Then Skipper sent my mom an apology text and she joined us in the broadcasting room. We took some more photos, and then went to socialize. While Skipper and my mother had made peace, I could tell there was some animosity still brewing underneath. That is, until we saw a dude who looked like Colt McCoy. A few years earlier a guy had come to the Heisman’s impersonating Reggie Bush. This dude was forthcoming and admitted he was not Colt McCoy but rather the senior QB at Princeton. 

Well Skipper then informed him that I was single, and I was only a few train stops away and available. My mother joined the chorus and they both buried the hatchet as they both rejoiced in torturing me. I nearly killed them both right then and there. The Colt McCoy look a like felt my pain and was a good sport about it, especially when he learned my mother had tried to sell me earlier in the evening.

I would have killed my mother and sister, but again, would have no material for my blog.
We left and now Skipper had changed her mind, she wanted to take photos. I was pictured out and my mom was revved up and ready to go. I went with it, but bitched and moaned the entire time. When we got back to the hotel, my sister had to call Boomer and my mom had to call my dad. 
Having a significant other seems a lot like having a probation officer, you have to check in. Sigh….

Then I remembered the weekend was about family. I also remembered the people at the dog benefit putting their heart and soul into a good cause even if it looked like they all might kill each other. I remembered how well they took care of me, making sure I got home safe. I remembered the hard work behind the Heisman event, and Mariotta’s endearing speech. And yes, he had probably wanted to throttle his family members several times during the weekend.

But family cannot be replaced. They are who they are and you need to roll with it. You also need to put your best foot forward, and sometimes your job was just to make something work when up against the wall. This includes saving animals, performing onstage, dealing with family, and playing football.

My mom and sister got off safe, but not before I told some asshole in the elevator to go fuck himself. He was being an asshole to impress a girl. I should have punched him but figured he wasn’t worth a felony. That is when it occurred to me that the weekend was over, I lived, and it had been the New York woman that got me through it. Now that New York woman needed a rest before she got ARRESTED.

And I can’t take my photo for World’s Longest Variety Show if I am in lock up. Yes bitches we are going for the Guinness Record xoxo


Thursday, December 11, 2014


Lately I have been working  A LOT which is good in my line of work. This past weekend was crazy busy with the telegrams. Then on top of that, I am doing an event this Friday for animals and my family is in town this weekend for the Heisman Trophy Events. I am also doing a television taping Friday as well. So basically, Friday I am doing a TV taping and then headed to Staten Island to perform. Saturday I am my sister’s date to the big show. And then in between my mother will be cleaning my apartment aka going through my shizzzzzz.

Yesterday was kind of crazy. Then again, everything has been kind of crazy lately. I ended up doing a telegram for a rich lady on the Upper East Side. I get to the restaurant and it is built railroad style. Basically, the walk way is narrow and very hard to maneuver past anyone. I accidentally assaulted a woman opening the door. She screamed, I apologized. Then I called the contact aka inside dude for the job. Paul wasn’t there but told me to “Go right in.”

The servers knew what was up and I changed into my cake costume. When I got out, I sang to this woman. Of course it was a luncheon of ALL WOMEN. I prefer a crowd of all dudes or mixed even. But all women is rough. You see, when it is a bunch of women and you are the performer, sometimes they roast you and test you to see if you are going to break. Then if you live through their scrutiny you’re alright. It’s never younger women, they’re actually pretty cool. It’s never older women, they have lived so long they are too tired for games. It’s the middle aged chicks.

They seemed to enjoy me, but it was like pulling teeth. It could have been that their first husbands ran off with someone like me. I dunno. In any event, at the end they did admit they liked it. However the recipient added, “It’s better it was my children that sent this then my sister.” Okay……

They said I was “cute” and the birthday girl wanted to keep my outfit. The rich women inquired as to how I went in and out of doorways with this thing. Then the birthday lady wanted to keep my hat and boas for realsies. I was like, okay, maybe you are at the latter end of middle age but you are old woman cray cray about now.

The servers liked it. And when I changed the woman I sang to saw me in my sweats, cold snowy day clothing, and looked at me giving me this hard to read smile. Translated, you passed the test and won us over but we will still be watching you. The experience left me with this feeling that there was no wonder my people didn’t have rights. For as much as I whine about male sexism sometimes, dudes don’t play these stupid assed games with each other. A male audience isn’t as judgmental. But yet, at the same time women friends when they are good are invaluable.

My audience for my animal benefit Friday is mostly women. I think God is trying to teach me something. When I was younger an all women audience was hard for me, and I didn’t really have any female friends. Then again, I was going through a dumb ass phase where I was an unintentional boyfriend stealer and husband borrower and thought nothing of it. That ended when I realized I could get shot. Plus it made me think of another woman I knew who told me she was terrified of a woman like myself. Turned out her husband was a big cheat FYI. Still, in addition to getting possibly shot I didn’t want to hurt someone like her.

Still, I have rocked book talks filled with women readers. I have also rocked women audiences. Then again, I have also calmed down. A few months ago I did a dicey show for an all woman social worker crowd who made me work for it and they were even more brutal, and two heckled me. But at the end they told me what a great job I did. Who knows, me and these damn women. They are hot and cold. Being lesbian can’t be a damn choice cause who would choose to date women?

Of course it made me think of why feminism has been such a bust in some ways. Women can’t agree on anything. In my mom’s generation, the 2nd Wave, the white feminist majority wanted to exclude activists of color because it made their cause harder. Then when the white activist decided to include minority women, there was a division on the subject of including lesbians and there was a ton of infighting. Now this generation, the 3rd Wave, the big issue is gender identity. Some say let’s include transmen and transwomen. Others believe transmen are now “men” and shouldn’t be included, and transwomen were born male and they shouldn’t be included. I say if you want a pay cut and to deal with sexism, I’ll include you all you want. Sexism is the same devil that haunts us all.

Then of course on a more basic level, how many women have been betrayed by a so called female bestie? Several years ago when things were completely insane in my life I had a so called gf steal a man from me. Then she made it like I was crazy and it was all my fault when I told her things in confidence because I thought I could trust her. Next thing I know she is with my man and I’m crazy when I tell her how it is and who she is. I’m the bad guy. Or better yet, one of the few women friends I had from college, we dated the same dude off and on and it was a running joke. Then she went and married his sorry ass, and now whenever she sees me it’s like I am a stranger that robbed her damn house. You can have him. As I recall I dumped him for an even bigger mistake. Even another friend who’s boyfriend said I seemed cool went on a rampage to ruin my life afterwards. Then heck, there was one girl who I was friendly with until she started dating an ex of mine. I liked this girl as a person too. That is, until she took it upon herself to throw shade whenever possible and start shit whenever convenient.

I just want to tell all of them a man’s a man, and it’s not worth losing a woman friend over. They all do the same three tricks and have the same equipment. Then again, who am I to be the bearer of bad news? Of course there is a thing called kharma that gets bitchy people. My friend who stole the dude from me, they are married and suited for each other because they are kind of dumb. The other gal pal who decided I was public enemy number one, well she has burned every bridge possible with everyone and talks about the book that she is writing that is still waiting to be released 5 years later. Mine is available on Amazon. The friend who tried to ruin my life is fat, ugly, unpleasant and single which means God hates the same things we all do. And the girl who throws shade, well she sober for about an hour a day. Then again, in order to deal with my ex you would have to do a boatload of drugs too to keep from killing him. The best is when she insists that she goes to the gym and exercises, but she is fatter than ever in all of her pictures. What’s your workout, the all you can eat buffet walking back and fourth?!

Still, maybe my issue with my gender is I don’t get the hang ups. Heck, I did a project with a dude who was getting married and his now wife dreamed of the wedding since she was five. I am not wired like that. Of course, I got into a battle with his wife at times because we were both vying for his attention in an odd way. She wanted a honeymoon to Bermuda and therefore I had to pay for everything because he was being drained. Finally, our arrangement fell apart. Yeah, she dreamed of her wedding since she was 5, but her husband had dreams too and she was squashing them because she felt the need to get married and have the royal wedding on a Manhattan Apartment Share budget.

Then women are a torture in an all-female company because it’s passive aggressive nonsense and all. I dunno. I worked at one once and got fired. It was either that or I quit. My supervisor bullied me because her husband had gone to Vegas, met a blonde, and ran off. It was all my fault. No Crazy, it was all yours. You were nutso and that is why your husband ran far, far away. Ain’t my fault.
As time goes on though, I hear other women have the same complaints and issues with our gender. In a way, we all learn to laugh about it. Maybe God is putting these female crowds in my path to teach me about coming correct in a whole new way. The older I get the more real I become. Maybe it is not just about getting more real, but getting more humble. Maybe it is about also acknowledging just as men are hung up on sex, sex, and more sex women have their own insecure basketcase hang ups too. Maybe it is that we are all in this together.

That being said, I look forward to my crowd of ladies Friday. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Girl on Fire (Alicia Keys)

Yesterday I did a singing telegram for a girl in Walden, NY. It had been a week where the Crazy Fairy came to town because everyone was nuts. Actually everything was nuts. Monday I got a request for a Bumble Bee telegram. While the costume was in my possession, I had only performed the anthophila and that was several years ago. Then I had a request for a Playboy Bunny. I only get that a few times a year. Still, both were at the bottom of my closet which meant ripping up my room. And I had just cleaned. Jesus doesn’t want me to have a clean room. Or maybe it’s the devil. Cleanliness is next to Godliness apparently.

Oh and there were protests in NYC and several of my friends got arrested. Then I saw a trash can fire because someone was upset with the verdict. The goal for this week became one simple thing, live.

So Friday after a series of successful deliveries, I got a call from my boss’s assistant Delta. She asked if I wanted to do a chicken in Walden, NY. Where the frickedy frack was Walden? I said sure. It was early morning. Jeanie and her amazing belting voice are sleeping and doesn’t awaken until noon at least, and we know not to call her before then. Jacqueline Dallas is probably asleep as well, because told me once she was not a morning person-Vegas does that to a woman. Lavare is probably dog walking or asleep, and destinations in the middle of no where mean being timely and that is not quite his thing sometimes. Delta is happily married for the third time and living near the Hamptons with her new man so that wasn’t happening. Donny doesn’t travel as much these days. And Akaya the new girl is in Jersey City so that would have been a hike for her. There is a nutty lady who owns a car, Evette, but is a problem child Bruce only uses in the case of emergencies.
So it was only me.

I mapquested the place when I got home after taking the gig. One thing about that part of New York is that it is out of the city. The state of New York is city, and then middle of no where towns or villages. Getting to point A was easy, however point B was going to be challenging. There was an airport shuttle to a minor place that had three flights I could take, but that was going to be 5 hours. I googled the cab, it was 42 minutes. WOW! And that was going to be EXPENSIVE. I called Bruce. This was a panic moment in the life of a telegrammer.

Bruce told me he would call the client and explain our situation. Well Bruce called me back. The client told me that there was a train station called Campbell Hall that cabs ran to frequently that was much closer. The drama was over, right? WRONG!

I googled Campbell Hall and didn’t find much. There were no trains going there from Grand Central, yet the station still existed. Then I figured out the problem. Campbell Hall was part of the Port Jervis Line. Yes, the Port Jervis Line. To give you an idea, the Port Jervis Line is sort of a ghost line in the MTA train system. Despite going to upstate NY and being part of the Metro North, it leaves from Penn Station and not Grand Central. And while going on the Metro North Route, it is part of the New Jersey Transit system. Only a handful of trains come on this line, and they do not run frequently. While one might come, it might be hours before you get another one. And if you go to a stop on the route hope for a nice day and bring a good book because you will be stranded there for hours. Googling the station and trip planner the first train for the day at the beginning of my hour delivery window and got me there at the end. Bruce called the client. They changed the time.

Okay, nothing was easy but whatever. I would use my emergency $60 I always carry and take a cab to Seacaucus or Hoboken after the conclusion of the telegram. While I would be sick and dizzy afterwards, I wouldn’t be stranded. This telegram was going to kill me.

Then I got another part of the order. I was to sing “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. I know the song well, and heard it played on the radio to death. Here’s the thing, when I sing I don’t have a big vocal range like Jeanie, Jacqueline, or Delta. Instead, I am contralto. Translated, my voice can sound pleasing to the ear and can even sell records. However, I am not even attempting the impressive vocal gymnastics and don’t have a legit pop voice. I am respectful of music and the way it is written because of my cousin Rob, who was a music prodigy as a kid and now tours the country as a trumpet player with a jazz/rock outfit. I know how much time it took Alicia Keys to write the song, and I didn’t want to butcher it.

Just as I was agonizing over this latest piece of the telegram, Bruce called me back. His beginning words were, “So you know, I have been trying to go to bed, too.” Translated, he wanted me to know this telegram was going to kill not just me but the both of us. Which one of us would die first because the million dollar question. So Bruce then informed me the client changed the train stop back to the original one, but now her sister was going to be at the hair salon at 11 AM. And the destination was 10 minutes via cab instead of 42 minutes. This I could handle.

The next morning I woke up ready to deliver the telegram. I got to the train station, and there were two rookie cops patrolling the place. A baby faced rookie kept shouting to two homeless men, “Santa’s Watching.” Grand Central is not notorious for it’s homeless the way Penn Station is. Then the same rookie cop said to me, “Santa’s Watching.” Was that a pick up line, Sir? I took a deep breath. Today was going to be interesting. I also wanted to tell the cops as of late some of his comrades weren’t acting so hot so maybe see HR if that bipolar psychotic bully streak was acting up.

I got on the train and sat across from this couple who looked to be in their middle to later 20s. The girl looked like she crawled off of the series Girls, and she had a guy of sorts with her who was difficult to peg as her gay friend or boyfriend. I didn’t know by the way he dressed or acted. After a few minutes, it appeared he was her boyfriend. Granted, he seemed too pretty to stand up for anyone in a fight but whatever. This girl kept sprouting nonsense. She talked about how she planned to marry and never really work. And bragged that in this stage of her life her parents paid all of her bills, rent included. Then her boyfriend pulled out a computer and said, “I am going to watch a movie.”

“You’re supposed to talk to me!” The brat whined in a high pitched voice indicating someone who clearly believed the world revolved around her average looking being that she believed to be on par with Jennifer Lawrence. Being gay isn’t a choice, but the guy glanced at me like he wanted to be mercifully shot in the head. After being with that as a pretty dude, I might start dating dudes. They are less trouble and know when to shut up. Sheesh.

She continued with her inane blabber and I switched seats to look out the window. We came upon Ossining. As I looked out the window I saw barbed wire and a control tower. The place looked like a prison. Then I realized, “Holy shit, this is a prison! This is Sing Sing!” It’s awkward to look at a place where you know many of the people living there currently have killed at least one person. Yes, the control tower, they meant business. They were doing this prison thing for real. The Man wasn’t fucking around in this instance. If you were in, the guards were on your ass. Don’t drop the soap as they say.

Then I remembered my dearly departed friend Chacho had done time at Sing Sing for a drug offense. Of his 18 month bid he said, “Prison was not a very happy time in my life.” Looking at Sing Sing I understood why. Then again, prison isn’t designed to be happy. If you are happy in prison you should probably be given an automatic life sentence for being an anti-social asshole instead of being released to reoffend. Either way, you are taking government dollars.

From what people said on the train, this was the part of the state where a lot of the prisons were. It made sense, they were in the middle of no where and escape was hard. I knew a guy who walked out of a minimum security prison once. He was a handy man in my neighborhood. Greg was on the lamb for 6 months and then was caught committing more burglaries. Sigh, perhaps Sing Sing housed it’s share of dumbasses because the thing is, you only go to jail if you get caught, ha ha.

Still, it was like, okay. As we furthered along I began to see lakes and other pretty scenery, which would completely suck to miss out on if one was a guest of the state. When we got further up the train line, I saw a bunch of mountains.

There was one in particular, Break Neck Ridge. Apparently, it is popular with a lot of hikers. I saw the clouds envelop the mountain. It reminded me of climbing Jay Peak the weekend of Wendell’s wedding. I had never climbed a mountain before, and at the time did not have the correct gear. However, as I got to the top I remembered the air thinning and how it suddenly made sense why people who climbed K2 and all had oxygen tanks. The closer you get to the sky, the more scarce oxygen becomes. However, there was something about being near the clouds. It made me feel like I was close to another world, close to giants. Maybe I could rescue a magic harp.

I had also remember hiker etiquette. Since there was no cell phone service when we climbed, my Uncle Rob had to come down from the mountain because of an old back injury he had gotten while working as a union carpet layer and thus couldn’t finish the climb. He told us he needed to rest and would join us up the trail, but it had begun to rain. Uncle Rob gave the message to another hiker who saw us and asked, “Do you know a guy named Rob…..” Then I wanted to climb Break Neck Ridge. Who wants to go with me?

I finally got to my destination, and found a cab driven by a Central American dude who knew spotty English. In the cab were three other men who all spoke Spanish. This part of the adventure would scare anyone, but it had already been quite a morning. The first dude was a kitchen worker dropped off at some random fancy restaurant down a hill. And then it was me. The father and son were arguing about something. Although my Spanish is better understood than spoken, I could tell the kid was being a little brat. While he probably did need bapped upside the head, he was a welcome change from the whiny thing on the train.

When I got to the area, I got Manny the driver’s card. I noticed we were close to West Point. My high school friend Derek Judy had attended West Point. It’s a lot of crap to get in there. Granted, it’s a great opportunity, but it’s a lot of crap as I said. I remember he had to interview with the senator and then he was off to basic training after graduation from high school. So much for living it up one last time. I hadn’t seen him since until he popped up as a pleasant surprise at a show I did. It was cool to see him again after all that time. I keep up with him on facebook, but due to my volume of followers it gets hard (I sound like a bitch now). But I hope life’s being good to him, he’s a good dude.

I changed into my chicken costume and in I went. The place was a hair salon, and the people were cool. I belted out “Girl on Fire.” My decision was to stylize it and go for comedic effect rather than vocal perfection. The rendition was a hit. When I finished the girl I sang to was crying. I don’t know what it is but “Girl on Fire” makes me ball too. We ended the telegram in a hug, that is the only way to end it with “Girl on Fire.”
I got a cab back with Manny the Central American Driver. While his English was broken, it was not too broken to tell me about his recent divorce. Sure, he and his ex were friends but now he was seeing another woman. Manny liked her, but he just wanted to have fun. This other woman, he wasn’t sure. Manny liked the relationship on a superficial level, and liked having a bachelor pad. However, this woman wanted to move in and he didn’t know how to break it to her that he wasn’t ready for another serious relationship. Manny also confided in me that he had been on the outs with the ex wife for years, but they wanted to wait until the kids were older to divorce. I wanted to say, “You had me at hello.” Then again, my drivers always tell me everything. It’s just the way it goes. Note, all their home lives pretty much suck.

I got on the train back home, and this little boy who was three and a half going on thirty according to his mom told her that if she wasn’t careful she was going to spill her coffee. The little man sounded like a husband more than a son. Well the guy was right, she spilled her coffee. While she seemed like a nice lady, the kid had called it.

The ride home had another annoying woman whining. She had red hair and was rather unfortunate looking. The entire time she brayed about how she needed her nails done, and had to pick up another part time job to afford her salon habit. Then it was about health care, and how she could add her husband to her policy. Oh and then it was that she couldn’t have kids and it had to do with her menstrual cycle. So for a half hour it was all about her periods. I would have switched seats but this Vietnamese couple sat down next to me blocking me in.

Just then I thought this trip wasn’t going to kill me.

As she got more in depth about her menstrual flow, I pictured myself strangling this Fran Drescher without the comedic talent or any other redeeming qualities. Then he came to Sing Sing. I realized for as much as I wanted to take this horrible beast out of this world, she wasn’t worth a felony charge even if it was only in my mind. I wanted to climb Break Neck Ridge. Chacho would want me to climb Break Neck Ridge. Then I remembered his dream was to see Niagara Falls before he died and if I had kept going from Walden we would have been there in an hour or two. Then as we left Sing Sing it occurred to me that there were people in prison who probably strangled someone that everyone pretty much hated to begin with. The two cretins I met on the train were such people.

The Vietnamese people next to me began to chatter loudly about some nonsense. Then I realized that although I didn’t understand what they were saying, they were making fun of the lady who was talking about her cycle. I realized this as they both gave me a wide eyed look like they wanted to kill themselves too. At first I thought it was my imagination, but then when they spoke English upon going to Grand Central I knew I wasn’t imagining things.

I walked home wondering how my life doesn’t kill me. It would have killed anyone else a long time ago. Knowing my luck I will probably die as a result of something stupid like getting hit by a car or something mundane like a heart attack. Or maybe I will be 100 with all my stories.

Maybe I don’t have a belter voice, but my life is more exciting than most people who do. So we could safely say bring out the extinguishers because “This Girl is on Fire….”


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanks For Sharing

The other day I was running errands. Of course the Bad Luck Fairy who never shaves her arm pits had pissed on my head. I was already in a foul mood. People were acting crazy, and I just wanted to wall myself up in my digs I can barely afford and hide. At least I would be getting my money’s worth out of my apartment. Yes, a refuge against these nut jobs who somehow wander the Earth like I do. I wanted to tell every escapee from the lunatic asylum calling me that I was dead. That way they could never bother me again.

Then I saw a person I despise. Yes good old Jayne. Yes, Jayne. Jayne Kildare, perfect in every way. She looks like she could be on a soap opera that’s how good she looks. Jayne always had a snazzy outfit on, and never had a wardrobe that was under $1,000. She also worked this cush corporate job in a hedge fund where no one knew what she did, but she made a decent living. Jayne had written a chick lit novel, and was being wooed by a huge publishing house. It was along the veins of Eat, Pray, Love, chick lit, a genre that has a following but I believe kills trees and wastes time. Jayne also had a fiancé who had a good job and was as perfect looking as she was. They had a nice place in Tribeca. I hated Jayne’s guts by default. It was easy.

Jayne knew I didn’t like her and I never bothered to hide it. I never told her that I hated her writing. Commenting would mean I respected her as an artist. She usually told me my stuff was “dark and depressing.” Yes, Jayne. I have experienced poverty, lived off nickles and dimes literally, and had men do me wrong. I know you have never had a bad day, Jayne. Sorry you can’t relate. I secretly hope you walk into traffic. That way you can’t pollute my hopelessly flawed planet with your perfection.

I was not in a Jayne Kildare kind of mood, so I pretended not to see her and be focused on some task. The morning had sucked, and I was wearing the only clean shirt I had. It had been clean, that is, until I accidentally spilled coffee on it. I had gotten into a minor scrape with my bank, and had some people who owed me money that were being dick faces. While I had gotten the money, these people had been a headache. I wasn’t in the mood to have my head split open by the shiny, happy, people squad.

The last update I had gotten from Jayne was her obnoxious newsletter telling us how much the editors LOVED her piece of shit book I could wipe my ass with it was so vapid. Then I heard nothing else. That was two years ago. Looking away, I felt like perhaps I had been saved. No such luck. Jayne saw me and yelled, “APRIL!” Fuck my life. Fuck my life with a bright pink rubber pony they sell in the West Village sex shops. I was in no mood. Did I say fuck my life yet? I will say it again. Fuck my life.

“Hi Jayne.” I replied. Jayne Kildare looked good as usual. I had a pen from an errand before in my hand still. Should I take it and stab myself in the head? Hmmmm.

“Oh April, it’s so good to see you. I heard all about your book.” Jayne gushed. I wanted to ask where hers was but I knew she would tell me about how she was being wooed by some big publishing house and I would end up stabbing her in the head with my pen. While I hate her guts, I don’t want a felony charge.

“Thank you.” I said tersely.

“Everyone who reads it says you write with such honesty. Your pieces for the Huffington Post are honest, too.” Jayne said as her perfect white teeth flashed. I wanted to tell Jayne that I honesty despised her, but that would have made me look like a bad person. So I just thought it instead.

“You still writing?” I asked. Not that I cared. It’s called being polite.

“Well not exactly. You see, I had a big contract with Simon and Schuster and they gave me a huge cash advance, but I wasn’t happy. You see, my life looked really good on paper, but that was the externals. Internally, I was falling apart. I had put on this great show for the world but was really dying inside. I had gone to the great college-Cornell-and had the great job but it didn’t complete me. I was just with my fiancé because everyone told me I should have been. And my apartment just depressed me. So I let go of the writing contract. I let go of the job. I let go of the fiancé. I let go of the apartment. Now I live in Inwood with my cat and am very happy. I am the happiest I have ever been.” Jayne informed me.

Now I was astonished. What I wanted to say was, “Jayne, thanks for telling me. But I really don’t care about you. As a matter of fact, I don’t even like you.”

Jayne wasn’t done though. She was just getting started. Jayne told me she was presently living off unemployment and had just gotten her apartment. For months before that, she had been sleeping on friend’s couches. Of course, this was after she broke up with her fiancé and began sleeping with a guy from college who she still held a torch to. This dude broke her heart, she had a nervous breakdown, and slit her wrists. Jayne had spent a few months in Bellvue figuring out “who she really was.”

Now I was slack jawed. How does one respond to this? “Jayne, you’re crazy. Congrats. Not only did you spend time in a nut house, but now you are greeting a mere acquaintance on the sidewalk like they care. You go from someone who had a great life to someone who’s utterly allergic to achievement that has no job, lives in a shitty apartment and their only friend is their cat. But I’m glad you’re happy, Jayne.” But I didn’t say that.

Instead I stood on the sidewalk searching for words because the Bad Luck Fairy had disappeared the her sister, the Awkward Fairy took her place and was now taking a big shit on my head. I had no idea how to handle this impromptu confession of a would be chick lit author that now had turned into a cautionary tale. Was this the part where I hugged her and let her know I was her friend? Or was this the part where I ran in the other direction because this was too much information in too short of a time span? Sure, my brain cells would have a better chance of surviving if I bilked in the other direction. Yet I would look like a really rotten person.

That is when it hit me. I had to make my break in a kind, loving way. While Jayne’s world had come crashing down, I still needed my mind not to turn to sludge and for her insanity to steal my energy. So I said, “Jayne, it was really great seeing you. I know you are going to be okay. You just need to hang in there and keep writing. Maybe get a journal.”

“That would be a great idea.” Jayne told me. “You have always been a really great listener.”
“Thanks. I need to run to an appointment. But thanks for sharing.” I said with a fake smile. Meanwhile I wanted to borrow her razor so I could slit my own wrists after she took ten minutes of my life I was never going to get back.

However, I walked away and I didn’t despise Jayne or the air she breathed for once in my life. Maybe the perfect thing had been an act all along, and she was struggling really badly. It was almost tragic that no one knew her life had been such a nightmare. Plato said something to the effect of everyone fights their own battle. I truly wanted her to keep writing. It would keep her out of the psych ward, and the stuff she would churn out would be insightful, dark, and somehow funny. It wouldn’t be the fluff she normally passes off. For as bitchy as it sounds, perhaps Jayne had been given a creative break through. I wanted to run back and encourage her to take it. On the other hand, maybe not. I didn’t want to know anymore.

I also started to feel better about myself and the coffee stain on my shirt. Maybe I wasn’t as perfect as Jayne, but my book had gotten published. My work was out there in the world, and hers wasn’t. Maybe I don’t have the perfect house or perfect man or perfect job or anything going for me sometimes, but I get things done. In the scheme of things, I realized I had not brushed my teeth or combed by hair either. But hey, maybe I was doing better than I thought I was.

Maybe Jayne sought me out because she desperately needed a friend. She wanted a listening ear that understood hell and walked through the flames. While I never had done a psych ward, I had a lover I had to let go because he didn’t want to adhere to his bipolar regimen. It was hard, especially with his mounting legal issues. Jayne probably felt I wouldn’t judge her. She was wrong, I had, a little…And then I didn’t.

Still, why me? Why the hell did she have to dump on me? Why the frickety frack?! Jayne’s family was old Boston money. I am sure her high priced shrink would have given more insight than a person from the past who didn’t think much of her. I wanted to tell her to get away from me because she was sucking my brain.

Instead I had been a nice girl and said, “Thanks for sharing.”

Sigh, fuck my life. Fuck my life with a bright pink rubber pony from a West Village sex shop. 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Duck Tales

A few days ago I was watching television with my parents. My dad hates commercials. As a matter of fact, whenever one pops on, he changes the channel. It’s his domain, he has control of the clicker. Lately, he has been hooked on the show black*ish. However, like every show that needs sponsors.
So we found ourselves on the nature channel. It was a documentary on ducks.

In the first part, it was talking about ducks in the Arctic who did not fly South for the winter. These ducks were hardier it seemed. They stuck together, and let me tell you they didn’t put up with any smack from the bigger predators. The narrator explained the ducks needed to find food, and the camera illustrated these ducks diving underwater and basically eating every clam on the bottom of the Arctic floor. Apparently, ducks are known to not only swallow clams full, but they also clean up the whole sea bed wherever they are.

The narrator also informed us that this was the first time the ducks were ever captured swimming. And let me tell you before I thought they just put their head in the water and maybe caught a fish. But this was legit deep sea diving. I looked at my mom. We both concurred ducks were much cooler than people gave them credit for being.

Then the narrator also told the viewers the ducks waited for open ice patches in order to keep up their lifestyle. That wasn’t easy. These ducks were amazing.

After that, it cut to the ducks that flew south for the winter. My dad surmised the gators were going to get those creatures. However, there was more to come. Apparently this was when ducks mated. The males were preening their feathers, and apparently it was okay to fight with other male ducks over women.

As this happened, a female duck and her male friend were profiled. Apparently, this duck had been friendzoned. While she was making no move to mate with him, he was by her side like an unsung knight in shining armor making sure no male ducks got fresh. The rest of the male ducks tried, but he attacked them. She made no move to mate with him, thus not only continuing to friendzone Donald but now he was being cock blocked all the way.

The narrator then told the viewers that ducks were a species where during mating, if a female duck refused the advances of a male duck, the male ducks could force copulation. Holy shit! Duck rape. No means maybe in this animal kingdom. Of course this was happening on camera. Were these foolhardy ducks aware this could be used against them? Oh nevermind, there is no duck court. So basically, ducks behave like a bunch of frat boys.

“They are Cosby Ducks.” My dad explained changing the channel.

“Dad, while I get what you are saying, you are technically incorrect. These ducks were awake.” I informed him.

My dad nodded in agreement.  Duck rape was where this family drew the line. After the show cut to commercial, we were back to the ducks. Now the duck rape had stopped. Apparently, the female Daisy had seen Donald’s devotion. He had protected her from duck rape. She realized that he stuck by her side, listened to her whine, and perhaps this friend she had so friendzoned was worthy of a promotion to mate. Donald and Daisy got together.

It was a ducky ending. I want a man who protects me from duck rape. New standard. 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Show That Never Ended

Yesterday I ended up visiting my Mema Ralph in the nursing home where she just moved. From what I had heard, the place was like the Taj Mahal of nursing homes. The way my relatives spoke of it, my 90 year old grandmother was living in the lap of luxury while us little people were forced to be working stiffs at the mercy of The Man who went back to their humble abodes at the end of the day.

Of course, moving Mema to assisted living had not been an easy decision. It came as a result of some health complications she had as a result of age. Also, with these health complications my Mema needed around the clock care, and she could not get that at her residence that she was living at. When she got the news she was being forced to leave her domicile, she did not give up without a fight. After moving her in, my Mema, who is wheelchair bound, tried to escape. The staff, worried, deemed her a flight risk. Meanwhile, there are only two places one can go from the nursing home. One is Lowe’s Home Improvement. The other is Kool Springs Golf Course. Both would have been incredible if she did make the escape. This flipped out my aunts and uncles, but her grandchildren thought this was amazing. So yes, my Mema is magic.

However, she has calmed down. Two weeks ago, I got news my Mema and some of the other residents of the nursing home were taken out for a day to the casino. Yes, my Mema Ralph was gambling. I know you are picturing a sweet, demure old woman. Think again. My Mema could rival a Dominican at dominos, and she would cut them if she lost. I have seen her in action. She made my cousin Jared who stands 6’2” and plays line for Case Western shake with fear. Mema was taking black jack just as seriously. So basically, now that she was in assisted living, she was shining brighter than ever.

I had seen my Mema the day before. Of course this was during my Thanksgiving Pilgrimage Marathon. I was on the road from 10:45 AM until almost 10 at night. People drove like idiots and the day was intense and had a lot of eating. However, it was also a ton of fun. I enjoyed seeing my cousins and being updated. I had also seen my Mema. However, the next day, although my Mom, Dad and I were tired, we decided to visit Mema one more time because I was travelling back the next morning. Plus we didn’t know if she had any visitors that day.

When we pulled up to the home, I saw it was more an estate than a home. There was a courtyard and fountain, a far cry from the state run nursing homes where children dream of condemning their parents everytime they piss them off. We signed in, and went to my Mema’s room. We knocked. No answer. My dad entered. When we got in, the Deadly Women Marathon was playing on Discovery ID. However, there was no Mema. Maybe one of my other concerned aunts and uncles assembled the same plan before my cousins returned to college or their perspective jobs.

Or maybe she had escaped to Lowe’s or Kool Springs. While it would shorten my father’s life span, it would be beyond words awesome if that was the case. So we went to the front desk to see what was the case. The perky looking attendant explained Mema Ralph was at Happy Hour. “Do they give them booze?” I asked my mom.

Mema Ralph could be pretty wild if she got a few in her. I had read about the STD rate in nursing homes. There was a lothario with pants up to his nipples with pick up lines and game waiting for a ride on those hot wheels she possessed. Despite what Mema Ralph says about being happily widowed, liquor is the eternal game changer no matter how old you are.

“Sometimes they do.” My mom said with a half smile, reminding me not to respond at all.
We went to the lounge, and a nice worker lady gave my dad, mom, and I chairs. Mema Ralph was sitting in a far corner enjoying the show, and we waved. She saw us and waved back. The residents were enjoying Ginger Ale and cake. Onstage, in front of the room entertaining, was a man singing to karaoke track. His hair was brown, but not a natural color one might have. Rather, it was purchased in Aisle 6 of the local drug store. His face had a tint to it, and I could tell he did a little Wayne Newton powder for one reason or another. The suit was an off blue, and his voice was somewhat off pitch and flat. However, he was engaging and seemed comfortable with the elderly crowd, a tough one to hold. I know this from experience. So aside from empathizing with him, I could appreciate that he was working his ass off.

The man sang a few songs and seemed nice enough. While I hold entertainers to a high standard, I can also appreciate someone sweating for a tough crowd like he was. The first story I heard him tell was, “When I was a young kid, I always dreamed of being in Casablanca, but I was too young to be in the movie. So it made me depressed. That is why at this moment, lets pretend we are all in the movie.” Okay, it made no sense but it was charming enough.

Then after that, the guy talked about playing in Vegas and recording an album. Was he someone of note? Hell if I knew. He kind of looked familiar. Then again, so does someone on a Most Wanted poster. So of course then he said, “Dean Martin only made a few films but he made it big with his concert appearances. He was like prune juice onstage…..he kept going.” My jaw went slack and I looked at my mother. Did this man legitimately crack a poop joke in front of a packed crowd of old people? Granted, the whole place probably had prune juice as a dietary staple but still. When the crap jokes start, there is only one direction things can go in.

The singer went into a Dean Martin standard, and the audience politely clapped. They were awake and weren’t drooling too badly. For this place he was killing, no pun intended. During his routine, some of the residents even sang along. His voice was good, but not so good that you felt intimidated to join in. I saw him working for even a muscle movement from this population. Gosh, he was pulling my heart strings.

However, seconds later that changed. Our singer friend decided to go into a tale about his time as a nursing home entertainer in between his time in Vegas. He explained, “I always love doing the senior centers and senior shows. People come and people go. There was one guy-Jimmy. Jimmy knew all the words to my songs. Jimmy is no longer with us. But sometimes you just have to move on whatever happens. Then again, someday we all have to move on.” I glanced again at my mom and dad, who glanced back at me equally as horrified. I don’t know if our singer friend realized this, but much of the population was latter 80s and early 90s. Translated, asshole, most of their spouses, friends, siblings and in some case children are no longer here. Yes, not only do they know the Angel of Death but they play cards every Tuesday.

Then after a few more songs, he said, “This is my last song.” I felt relieved. While he wasn’t doing a terrible job, I felt like if he stopped now I still might appreciate his hard work and might forgive his tactless tale. No such luck.

So after he supposed last song, he had another song. He proceeded this selection with a crazy story about how he was stationed on a battle ship. I couldn’t tell how old he was looking at him. He was either a little younger or older than my parents, and they were Vietnam era. “What war was he in?” I asked my mom. Maybe it was Persian Gulf.

“Shhh….He’s crazy and wasn’t in any war.” My mom informed me.

“Bring our boys home. Being overseas for Christmas is no fun.” The man explained. Then he went on to tell the story of White Christmas, except he got several details wrong. The rest of the room was semi-comatose. I was lucid and was tempted to correct him, but why ruin the happiness of those having a good time with dementia by being fact checker bitch?

While he promised this was his final song, the man lied again. I clapped politely like the others, but his lying was getting on my last nerve. Our singer friend decided to do some crowd work. Going over to a dude in an army hat that was older than any museum fossil, the singer asked, “Were you in a war, Sir?”

He asked the guy who looked like he was confused as to what day, month, and year it was. It made me wonder if our army vet was the local lothario, the mythical 83 year old creature they speak of in retirement communities. While this was not apparent now, perhaps during the happy hours the residents were allowed true alcoholic beverages those hot pants were pulled up and he was rocking and randy.

“Were you in the Korean War?” The man looked confused and nodded.

“He was never in a war.” A woman that I assume was his daughter said. There was that awkward moment where we all paused unsure of what to do.

“Did you like Frank Sinatra?” He asked the guy. The confused old man nodded again. Then our singer friend went over to his machine and turned on the track. A few seconds in he realized it was the wrong track but covered well. This awkward moment had turned into an awkward five minutes. Wow, this trip was becoming creative gold in ways I never expected.

The singer recovered well, and danced with the program director for a few minutes in the song. It was a lovely moment, and I could tell despite all his selfishness with encores and horrible stories he did truly have a good heart. I had seen better, but I had seen worse. This dude was alright. He was winning me back. We all clapped hoping this would be the finale like he promised.

No such luck. Then he sang Jail House Rock. His version was okay, but despite his promise, this was not the last song. Now I didn’t know what to think or feel about our singer friend who was sending my emotions in so many different directions. As he kept promising that the song selection would be the last, it felt like the last words of an idiot general in an epic battle in the Wild West against the oppressed Native Americans. The guy kept promising something, but then some Native American brave who knew the general was an idiot all along scalped him thus ending the stupidity for everyone on both sides.

Well our singer friend was now wandering into the zone of STOOPID. He told some terrible story about how he was wandering the wilderness before his wife captured him and chained him to the door so he could never escape. Granted, dementia was the normal state of mind in this place but several of the residents had a WTF look on their faces. On the bright side, he was keeping them awake. Perhaps his wife earned a stable living and had good health insurance. Yes, these were probably the missing pieces in this narrative.

After that, he told us 21 years later, he and his wife had a dog. It was his job to take the dog out at 5:30 AM to pee, and his wife wanted to sleep in, probably because he had to be at an office or something. Recently, during the snow storm he took the dog out at 5:30 am and the dog faked like it was peeing but didn’t just to mess with him. Instead, he peed on himself in the frigid cold, and locked himself out of the house. So he woke up his wife who grudgingly let him in. What this had to do with the song I don’t know, but he began singing. Now I was at a loss for words. I have lived more than many and have seen a lot, but this was one experience I have never had.

The man spoke of an album he recorded a few more times. Uttered that he was singing another song, and he did. Now he wasn’t promising it was his last song, and we had given up hoping. Maybe he had just been faking just like his dog had. But during this whole time, I had finally determined poor Jimmy’s cause of death.

Like us, Jimmy had attended the show that never ended. While we had a few more years on us, Jimmy did not. Rather than have him sit through another “final song,” the Grim Reaper too grew tired of being lied to by this nursing home lounge singer and spared poor Jimmy. The sad thing was, Jimmy’s wife was dead and she was been an insufferable wench when she lived, and his children were assholes that never visited. I don’t know. I am just making that up so that Jimmy seems sympathetic. The Grim Reaper did a good thing. This man still went on for five more songs. He would have come back to get more, but even Death can’t do nine final songs. Thus, the cause of death will never be listed and his tale has not been told until now.

Well the singer did not lie, nine songs later, this was truly his final song. After the show, we thanked him. The man might have selfishly taken three encores, but he selflessly gave himself to a difficult crowd. So while I loathe his lying, I like him as a human. He just needs better stories. And apparently he is a nursing home favorite, because he informed everyone he was booked for two more dates. Hey, he can handle the crowd. Most entertainers can’t. Points for him, even if you might die during the course of his show.

After the show ended, we visited with Mema Ralph for a bit. She showed us her new digs, and informed us she had gotten into a turf war with one other resident. We asked why she didn’t say anything. Ordinarily, my grandmother is a spitfire. Mema was tired from Thanksgiving, too tired to fight I suppose.

We got back to her room, which by the way she has a single. Yes, she has more living space than most of the NYC Metropolitan area. We arranged her furniture so living and moving would be easier. As we did this, the women who kill their husbands shows still played in the background. My parents and I were getting sucked in. Apparently, my grandmother watches them all the time. Sigh, runs in the family. Still, the women who killed their husbands were the perfect thing to do after the lounge singer. They prove the thesis that some show end faster than others, and sometimes you need to rewrite the script and kill your costar.

After that, we headed home. With age comes wisdom. So I followed the lead of the elder crowd, had some cake and pop as we say in Pittsburgh. As I chowed down on this delight, my mother popped on a movie. My parents and I celebrated by falling asleep in front of the TV.