It is that time of year where I go outside into the city again. I am out of my den, done hibernating. Actually this winter I hardly hibernated. I trekked all over delivering singing telegrams. In addition I also got my book reviewed as a Must Read By Mensa and then into an Ivy League Book Collection. When I wasn’t promoting my book I was spending my time reading it in a recording studio aka the audio version. There I discovered I don’t drink enough water and am probably slightly dyslexic. I also paid amends to every voice and speech teacher I had by slowing down and breathing. Maybe they were right. Actually they did know their shit. It only took several years to figure that out. When I wasn’t doing that I was filming a TV pilot and getting onstage when I could. When I was in my den I was forced there because I had run myself ragged trying to be a high achieving woman in this man’s world, this man’s world that never gives me a freaking break!
Usually I did all of these things in my sweats. Yes, sweat shirts and sweat pants. The look that says I own six cats, eat ice cream out of the container with my hand, and have given up on life. This is the opposite of dead sexy, because to some this look means death. But it is a look of comfort. It is a look of not caring of what people think of you. It is a look that says you don’t pay my bills mutherfucker. It is a look that makes me confess I was too busy to do my laundry and this is the only thing I have clean. While I confess this now I pretend like this is a secret. However I do believe the rest of the world knows.
The sweats are the perfect stealth outfit. During winter gigs I arrived in my sweats and Jinga Janga wrap on my head. In a bathroom I would transform into Marilyn Monroe dawning the white dress, feather boas, red lipstick, and walk out ready to wow. Magically I went from waif into Hollywood legend, even if it was only for a half hour max. In that moment, I am hard to resist until I must meet Mother Nature again. In the cold weather, I trek to gigs in my sweats. To my mother’s chagrin, I have my puppet suitcase and have learned to hitch hike safely. Sometimes I hitch a ride from a kindly stranger who thinks I am broke and poor. So essentially my sweats might make me dead sexy after all because I could potentially become a statistic winning a Darwin Award. When I get to the gig I put on my hot dress and transform into a memorable night club act with my puppet partner May Wilson. After I am done I realize how cold the club is. That is when it is back to the sweats and ball cap to sell my merchandise. Sundays I always arrived to the studio in sweats. Usually I had road stink on me from the night before coupled with coffee breath. The whole place hadn’t slept in days either so we all either rolled out of bed from a power nap or hadn’t even gone to sleep. Archie and Anthony were kind enough never to hold these things against me. Plus the sweats made everything comfy.
Sometimes I wish I would have worn better clothing in the studio. One Sunday I stepped in the hall and Deborah Harry was there with her two yappy dogs. Granted she was dressed down too and very cool. But if I knew I was going to meet a rock legend I would have dolled up a little, wore the sexy little outfit I perform in with May. But instead I looked like I should have been begging for change on the side of the road. My big thing was when I stepped into the studio I was there to work. This meant most of the time I was the total antithesis of hot. Yes it was the sweats, the tangled hair, the furry winter hat/Yankees cap, and most of the time nail polish that was chipped. One evening I was there during a busy night. There were sexy girl groups that were scantily clad. Whether or not they could actually trill a note I will never know. That is when I was hit on by a rapper. I looked perhaps the most raggedy that I ever had. He should see me when I am really dolled up like I was the day of the pilot taping like I was the week before this all happened, and then he would have really lost his speech but that is beside the point. Not that I am beautiful but I will admit I clean up nice. Not to mention the day before I lost my grandmother. Maybe it was a long winter and he was hibernating too and therefore a very desperate bear. And when we are desperate we will grab anything.
No, I did not have Flava Flav’s love child.
So now it is spring. I can go outside in my sweats. Usually I prefer to jog in layers because the weather is bipolar this time of year. Plus it is easy to pull a muscle if you underdress and I am not into that. In the warm weather I am back to the Hudson River Park and back to my route where I see the Intrepid Museum. As I jog passed in my sweats I am saddened about the budget cuts and the cancellation of Fleet Week. That is usually the first week I dawn my slutty clothing and hit on sailors like the rest of the city. In the past May and I have done shows during that week and the guys usually have seen us on TV and take a pic. Then I realize two things. One that I havent been on TV in a while and perhaps I am fading into obscurity and maybe, just maybe, my sweats will become my every day wardrobe. Maybe I will be eating ice cream out of the container with my bare hands. Maybe I will be thankful for the expandable waist band on these sweat pants of mine. And second, a sailor ruined my aunt's life. Navy men are all disreputable. With my history when it comes to men, perhaps it is better there is no such celebration with all these sea men….bad joke. And then I realize I am totally out of my mind and continue jogging.
Not everyone shares my same jogging philosophy. Some women choose to jog in as little as possible now that it is warm to shake off their cabin fever. These are usually the women in my opinion that need to invest in a pair of sweats. While they believe their bodies are beautiful no one really wants to see their muffin top that badly. During my jaunts by the Hudson I usually see the sign for the Hustler Club. On there is a badly dyed blonde who is scantily clad probably named Bambi. This photo is not just designed to get male patrons in the club but it is also Bambi selling the lie to women that they need to be sexy all the time. That sex, youth, and beauty are the only thing that matters. Bambi is the Venus Fly Trap for the sex drive of men and the self-esteem of women. She is there to seduce both and destroy. Bambi makes me want to hide in my sweats so I will be safe from her eyes, her syphilis, and her stupidity.
Then I realize I want to hide in my sweats for an entirely different reason. I remember the ex fiancé who had a history of dating strippers before we met. Yes, just another thing that made us not work out. He never hesitated to let me know how unhappy I made him. It brings back memories of a really rotten time in my life. Granted, it made me get myself together. Still, maybe this is the reason I have never had a successful relationship. I am damaged. Yes I have proceeded to become an activist but that doesn’t mean I have healed. Bambi makes me feel yuckified. Is yuckified a word? George W. Bush made up words. I can too, right? There is a part of me that judges because she makes me feel disgusting. And there is a part that envies because even though her daddy probably touched her when she was young, every man secretly wants Bambi. Maybe my ex was just a little more honest about it. Most guys won’t be. They just bang Bambi behind my back. So I let them have Bambi and I will have my sweats.
On the other hand I did publicity for Headquarters, another gentlemen’s club. They were some of the finest people I ever worked for. They paid me in cash ontime and were very fascinated by my ventriloquism, unlike the ex. The other night I delivered a telegram there and they tipped me well in cash, and it wasn’t on the order to tip. In my travels, I met Brittany Andrews. It was during the time my ex’s stalking had crossed the line and he was attempting suicide to get my attention. Brittany was a world famous porn star and had many stalkers. As a matter of fact her psychotic male admirers were so numerous she was on a first name basis with the detectives of the LAPD. Brittany was a great comfort when so many proceeded to judge me and acted like my ex’s issues were my doing. During this time I was afraid, and Brittany gave me comfort.
It’s my ex and the shitty memories he left with me. That is what I am truly angry with. And for the record her name is probably not Bambi but Svetlana. She is probably like me, coming and going to the club in her sweats because you have to keep your muscles warm to pole dance.
The thing about my sweats is that I can be absolutely anonymous in them. I can disappear into the fabric like a comfortable, special blanket. Perhaps it will give that child on the loom in China working for one cent an hour a purpose to live, that April Brucker wears her sweats out. Sorry Third World Baby, while I might not be as fat as Sally Struthers I wear these damn things out like the Twelve Dancing Princesses did their shoes. With my sweats I usually wear a ball cap and sunglasses. In the back of my mind I fancy I am working as a CIA operative as I blend in. The street conversation is going on around me. People are acting off the wall as they always do in the city. Cherry blossoms are on the trees sprouting new life as children play in the park. I witness the whole thing not missing a beat. In a way I feel like Homer. While I am not blind I experience the skill of witness as I blend peacefully into the wood work. No one sees me or hears me. Some makes me happy to be a member of the human race. Some makes me feel better about my own life.
The sweat disguise also helps me hide out from people I purposely want to avoid. That is a whole rolodex of individuals in the scope of life too. There is the nut who always wants to chew my ear off about their latest crisis. While I would love to be supportive I am sure a therapist or Twelve Step Sponsor would be a better substitute. Lest we not forget the vicious gossip, the one who likes to dance and drink to the misery of others. Sure it is fun to poke and prod in a way but it is also a form of bullying and no good comes from this exchange. Having had my share of bad days I experience no joy from this. And then there is the whacko who is almost homeless that wants to break into show business that knows that I have had some success and wants my help. YIKES! They always have some concept idea too. Granted, I am thrilled to hear you out, just not an idea that involves L. Ron Hubbard and Salvadore Dali putting you into a gay cult. I have a family friend who claims their child turned gay after an alien abduction and shows anyone that will listen the plugs in the back of his head. Already been done people. Last but not least there are the homeless people. Begging me for change because they claim they are hungry, we all know it is for a vicious alcohol and crack habit. When I look like I could be as broke and homeless as them they tend to leave me alone.
In my sweats I feel true to myself. Yes, myself. April E. Brucker is a sloppy, disorganized woman. While she may be a noisy goodfellow craving the attention of others with her fame whoring and self-seeking, do not let the outgoing front fool you. Just because I have been on TV does not mean I am apt to do outrageous things all the time, although some of my fans have thought so. Most of the time I am a loner actually. It’s not that I don’t have friends. I just prefer my own space. My space is quiet, messy, and only makes sense to someone like myself. I only clean my apartment when I am forced to. It’s my castle. Go fuck yourself. Despite the confidence I feign, I am rather shy when it comes to men. Sure I took some sexy pictures that make me a hypocrite for ripping on Bambi from the Hustler Club. However most of the time the guy has to make all the first ten moves. Maybe this is why I like bad boys with nothing going for them. They aren’t scared to make a move. What do they have to lose? Nice guys are petrified to death of the act I put on and the guys I strut with in my phony state. But when I put on the sweats the phony state disappears. Enter the book worm. The one who read Voyage of the Beagle as a fourth grader. For the record Darwin doesn’t hate God but was an ordained Anglican minister. If you read you would figure this out. I am also a huge true crime and documentary junkie. My clothing choice says yes, I know all the serial killer trivia. No wonder no man wants me.
My sweats also hide my massive ego. Yes, I have one, big as the state of Texas. I travel secretly on the streets of New York as my fellows passing by do not know who I am. Inside my baggy hiding place I know exactly who I am. The sweats are my incognito hiding place. Motif for the woman who walks passed the Today Show building and has been inside as a guest with her puppet babies. Disguise for the lady who has been recognized on the street by fans. Costume outside the chicken suit for the woman who’s Nook Book was a pop up only an hour before on her computer screen. These people pass me by unknowingly. Sometimes when they treat me like a hobo I want to snap at them, “Do you know who I am, Assweed McFucktard?”
Note, I am not a household name. Maybe the correct phasing is, “Do you know who I think I am, Assweed McFucktard?” Note, Assweed McFucktard is their legal name. It’s either Scottish or Arabic.
My sweats allow me to travel these adventures mysteriously through the Big Apple. As I go to my bodega I am stewing in my head about book related drama. Yes, when you write a book you have book related drama. The entire time I look like angry female writer ready to snap at the man. Why does no one give me my due or my cause? Nevermind I am writing an entitled blog from a female Peter Pan damned to never grow up. There is no man in my life. There are no children in my womb. I just have my book, my words, and my pen. My muscles are warm. Anger runs through my brain. What if I accidentally punch someone? Someone who deserves it like that idiot who is always talking about all the women he bangs at the bodega. I could be an angry feminine avenger. Move over Sylvia Plath.
In my avenger state I stew. My tangled hair becomes a mess of smaller tangles to the point where I look like yes, my book will become a posthumous bestseller. Fuck all the pretty people and their easy lives who get the slam dunks with no effort. I am not one of the cool kids in New York City comedy. I never have been and never will be. No one famous has ever pushed for me because I happen to be in the right place, right time, and most likely male and preppy like a lady killer. I am not a female comedian spreading my legs revealing a perfectly waxed vagina because that is what whores have as they fuck their way to the middle of the pack. I have never run with any group of kids or any group in general. The lot in life I have been dealt is loner as I said. My sweats make it easy for me to be mysterious, in the shadows. They make it easy to be the weird girl with the puppet. The one who delivers telegrams and writes books. And then they all ask when I do something great, “Who is she and where did she come from? We never saw her hanging out at the UCB.”
I guess what I am trying to say is for as baggy as my sweats are, they don’t mask the cinderblocks that I carry on my shoulder from time to time. I try to believe that they hide them but they don’t. They don’t hide the battle scars of a girl slugging it out alone in this man’s world. They don’t hide the tired eyes from all my hard work. But they make me feel comfortable in my own skin, as woman.
Just then I see a man with a furry beard and a coffee cup talking about window designs. I nearly fall over. He looks exactly like my dear friend Joe Cannava. However it can’t be Joe. He has gone on to the place where wardrobe people and window designers rest when they leave this world. Like my dead friend he holds his Starbucks in one hand and cigarette in the other.
Just then I hear a pep talk from another dimension. Joe has appeared telling me that I am acting crazy and to stop it. If I remain in the sweats I will never get a man. Not to mention I need to lay off the fish tacos. Joe is also giving me gentle, guiding older brotherly advice. Advice that I have to get over everything that happened with the ex fiancé and not to push for what I want so hard. Advice to just let it come. Advice that I am too funny, talented, and smart to be forgotten. He also tells me to ditch the sweats pronto. While it is crazy to talk to dead friends in your head, these are all things he said to me in life. He also used to say, “You are very, very funny. I bet you always kill it live, April.” At times like these he also described my wardrobe choice as "brave," gay man slang for get rid of that outfit now.
Cut down to size and off my angry woman soapbox full of rant I walk into my bodega and speak Arabic to the man behind the counter. He immediately calls me April. Jimmy knows me. I am just crazy to think my sweats make me like secret, super agent. That is when I realize I need to watch less Lifetime and lay off the fish tacos.
That is when I realize my sweats make me comfortable but they also make me cozy in my crazy. And as soon as it gets warm, I am ditching them for a sun dress.
AprilI Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
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E-Book available on Kindle and Nook
Portion of proceeds go to Greenpeace