Friday, August 31, 2007

In Paradisum

In paradisum deducant te angeli,
in tuo adventu
suscipiant te martyres,
et perducant te
in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
aeternam habeas requiem.

May the angels lead you into paradise,
may the martyrs receive you
in your coming,
and may they guide you
into the holy city, Jerusalem.
May the chorus of angels receive you
and with Lazarus once poor
may you have eternal rest.

Requiem, Mikey.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Viewing

There is a heap of clothing on my bed; it's difficult to know what to wear to a viewing. Jeans are inappropriate. But what if they're nice black jeans? No-- forget that idea. It's ridiculous. My Mom didn't raise me in a barn. A skirt? No-- I don't have the correct underthings for that particular skirt. Finally I decided to dress just for Doris, Mikey's Mom, the original steel magnolia.

Driving over to the chapel, I checked my purse over and over again for the cards for Doris and Mikey's children, Brittany and Brandon. There was a third envelope in my purse; a letter to Mikey I wrote this afternoon. I picked some wildflowers, fashioned a miniature bouquet and placed them in the envelope with this letter. I thought he'd like to have some wildflowers taken from the dirt of The Hamlet to accompany him into eternity.

What did the letter say? It's too personal to share word for word, but I will say that I told Mikey about the memorial service last night and all the weird things that happened there, all the women that are crawling out of the woodwork and claiming him for their own, how angry I am with him for leaving. I mentioned old friends that are gone and how lucky he was to get to see them again, and how I too would see him again one day, hopefully many, many years from now. Most of all, I told Mikey how much I was going to miss him and just how much I love him.

At the chapel I was happy to see only a handful of people had arrived, as it was still early. I didn't relish the idea of standing in line to visit with Mikey for the last time.

While signing the guestbook, I heard the music from the chapel-- Irish folksongs. Oh, God.

I walked in, terrified.

Up front was the casket, open. I glimpsed his profile against the velvet. "Not ready. Not ready," I said to myself. With relief I noticed a board set up on an easel, covered with photographs of Mikey. I walked over, curious and very, very afraid.

There he is, a baby-faced Army infantryman, helmet on, rifle in hand. Smiling, holding baby Brandon. A studio portrait of short-haired Mikey and the kids, with their golden curls and Sunday best. Mikey with a really bad perm, peeking out from behind his drum kit, grinning. Mikey and his relatives, in front of a white clapboard church somewhere in Mississippi. Mikey in front of the Christmas tree, holding up a brand-new cymbal. A recent photo of Mikey behind his new kit, playing his ass off. Mikey and Sledje, relaxing after rehearsal.

I could have stood there for hours, gazing at those pictures.

I turned and saw Doris sitting in the front pew, speaking softly to the preacher about the service tomorrow, with Brandon and Brittany interjecting occasional comments. A couple stood up at the casket, looking down at Mike.

I sunk into a pew and waited.

After about five minutes, the couple turned and left the chapel. I stood and walked up to Doris.

"T-Bone, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Doris. I'm wondering how you are." I held her hand and chafed it. "Your little hand is cold!" I commented.

"Ah know," she said, glancing at the casket. Doris looked up at me and said, "This is so hard. So hard!" I hugged her.

I gave her the card, and walked over to Sonia, who hugged me. "Would you please give this to Brittany and Brandon?" I asked her, handing her the card. "Yes, of course. I will," said Sonia. I looked at Doris and held up Mikey's envelope. "Doris, may I put this letter in with Mikey?"

She raised her eyebrows and looked over at Sonia. "Well, ah don't know! Is that alright, Sonia?"

"Oh sure. Definitely," said Sonia.

"Thank you so much," I said. I turned to walk over to Mikey.

Mikey was dressed, of course, in a black shirt and jeans, his sticks in his hands. His skin was so pale. Reaching into the casket, I placed the letter next to his hip, then I held his hand, carefully curling my fingers around his. I wasn't thinking at all, of anything.

Finally, a coherent thought: "Well, I can't stand here all fucking day." I turned and said my goodbyes to Doris and Sonia, telling them I would see them tomorrow. I started down the aisle.

A dark-haired lady, dressed very conservatively, stood in the aisle and said hello. "What's your name?" she asked.

"I'm T-Bone Jones," I said, shaking her hand. "What's your name?"

"I'm Leslie," she said simply.

We reached out, held each other and cried.

"Come and sit down, T-Bone. I've heard so much about you. I want to talk to you," she said quietly. "Mike's told me so much about you. I'm so happy to meet you-- finally."

"And I'm happy to meet you, Leslie."

As I talked to Mikey's ex-fiance', I found myself transfixed by her. She was so adult, so eloquent, so classy. The cross on her necklace gleamed. This was not how I had envisioned Leslie; I was so happy she was this way.

After a bit of small-talk, she said to me, "T-Bone, I just want to warn you. Tomorrow is going to be standing room only in this chapel. There are going to be lots of girls."

"Well," I said with a smile, "That's not a big surprise."

"Do you know that these girls are still calling Mike's cell phone? Honestly. I had two calls on his phone today."

"Who? What on earth..." I said, confused. "Don't they know...?"

"Oh, they know," she said smiling gently. "They don't know what to do when I pick up the phone, though!"

I giggled. "What do they say?"

"Well, I answer the phone 'Hello'. Then they ask, 'Who's this?' and I say, 'No. Who's this?' Today one of them was a girl named Jamie."

"Jamie? Who's Jamie?"

"I have no clue," said Leslie. "But then she says to me, 'I'm Mike's girlfriend.' Well," said Leslie with a wry smile, "I told her: 'Get in line.' Then I hung up."

I snickered.

"So I wanted you to know, T-Bone, so you could be ready tomorrow," Leslie said. Then: "We, meaning the family and I-- I'm staying with Doris until the smoke clears. I'm really worried about her. But I also have been wanting to meet you for a long time. I've heard so much about you from Mike." Here she looked at me. "We know who the people are that really mattered to him, and you're one of them."

I looked at Leslie, amazed. Then tears. We held each other, there in the pew.

"Oh, Leslie," I snuffled, "Thank you so much for telling me."


Mikey's memorial service was held last night. Approximately 150 people attended and were crammed inside the shop like sardines.

Candles were distributed to everyone, but mine remained dark. It's sitting on my kitchen counter with a still-fresh wick. Perhaps I will light it sometime this week, in private, as I didn't want to display my emotions at this event.

I knew a few people there, but for the most part the mourners were fellow musicians. Other than those fifteen or so of my acquaintance, the remainder of the crowd were strangers to me. I felt very odd being there, as if I was encroaching on their territory (similar to how I'd feel attending one of Mikey's shows).

Something I noticed at the hospital last weekend carried over to the service last night. For reasons I'm still trying to comprehend, the general conversations at the memorial were one-upmanships of how important each person felt they were in Mikey's world. In speaking to one another about him, there was a curious "I was far more important in his life than YOU were" tone to it all. No one listened to others' reminicses-- they just wanted to be at the top of the heap.

That silly game irritated me very much; in fact, I felt very irritable throughout the memorial.

I couldn't leave soon enough.

Monday, August 27, 2007

You Big Lug.

Why couldn't you have waited two more hours?

This morning, I was so happy to find out that you were still here. I even brought a book of Irish poetry to read to you, hoping that the beautiful words you love so much would somehow penetrate the void.

But you were gone.

Michael Jeffrey Pittman
September 18, 1962 - August 27, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Fond and Loving Tribute to The Amazing Weasel Boy.

This is the Amazing Weasel Boy, whom will forever again be known as Mikey.

Mikey inspired and encouraged me to write this blog. Sixty-Four Twelve's very first post, "Silvercliff", was about our daytrip there.

As you can see from the picture above, Mikey is a musician-- a percussionist and drummer-- and an excellent one at that. He is a late bloomer, having realized his calling just twenty short years ago.

After a lot of hard work and sacrifice, Mikey finally was on the cusp of greatness. He had opened his own drum shop about a year and a half ago. The shop was his baby and occupied his every thought. His customers loved him and asked for his opinions on every aspect of their drum purchases. He worked diligently to make his customers happy. He treated every person that walked through his door with warmth, respect and honesty.

His most recent pet project is Hellstrum, a band in Colorado Springs. Four like-minded musicians came together to write original music-- very hard, very fast, punk/industrial metal. Mikey was free to create his music without restrictions of any kind. He told me that after playing for twenty years in various bands, he had finally found the perfect marriage of musicians in Jack, Sledje and Terry. The joy these guys found together in their music was evident each time they walked on the stage. Hellstrum was also on the verge of greatness, getting attention state-wide and starting to reach out beyond the Colorado state lines.

Mikey and I met in high school in 1978. We now argue about who broke up with who-- Mikey said, "Oh, you broke up with me to go with that guy Matt," and I say, "Noooo... it was YOU who broke up with me, because I remember being broken-hearted afterward." He bought me my first diamond ring and I recall piously returning it after we'd split. I wasn't going to return it until my mother spotted me wearing it.

"You still have that? Why are you still wearing that, T-Bone?"

"Mikey gave it to me, Mom. It was a gift," I said ignorantly.

"T-Bone. You do not keep diamond rings after the relationship has broken up. You have to return it!" So I did.

What I would give to have that ring now.

One night, Mikey said to me, "You know what I remember? I remember your parents were out one night and I was over, and I got to lay on top of you down in the family room. God. That was awesome."

"How come I don't remember that?" I asked. "I want to remember it! Was it nice?"

"It was really nice," he said with a smile.

Again, as with the ring, what I would give to have that memory.

Mikey and I lost touch for about 25 years, when last year he suddenly popped into my head. I
Googled him, and there he was.

In my first email to him, the subject line said "You Are Not Going To Believe This." We got together for dinner and thus began the eleven month odyssey of getting to know each other again.

How he'd changed! The once painfully skinny, shy and tall Mikey with the feathered disco hair had turned into a bulky, long-haired musician. He was still so polite, so lovely, and smelled so good. After our first dinner, I was walking on air. I told my girlz Gwyneth and Deb, "Oh, I feel just the same. Just the same as I did all those years ago. Am I insane? I've got to be insane."

We met for dinner on a regular basis, either out or here at The Hovel. Mikey loved to come to The Hovel. "I love The Hamlet!" he said, gazing out the window onto the shops below. "I want to live here one day," he'd say.

"You will, sweetheart. One day you will. You'll forget all about The Other Side and live here," I said, "One day you're going to have everything you want. You just wait and see."

Immortality was a oft-discussed topic of our long conversations. "You know, T-Bone, I think you really ought to work on transcribing those diaries of your great-grandfather's. I think you're sitting on an amazing book and don't realize it." He looked at me so earnestly with his pale blue eyes. "You've got to do it! Life's too short, T-Bone. If you don't do it now, you're going to regret it."

"I know, I know..." I'd say irritably. I thought, God, but grandpa's writing is so small and spidery-- what a project!

He'd continue, "That's why I work so hard, T-Bone-- that's why. I need to make sure I make it so my Mom will know that I wasn't a complete fuckup my whole life. That's why this band and my music and my store are so important to me. I don't want her to die thinking that I was a fuckup."

"Mikey, she knows you're not. She loves you."

Throughout those eleven months, I wavered back and forth about the pursuit of Mikey. He didn't like pressure (who does?) so he backed away from me while simultaneously keeping his hand in.

When I went to San Diego to visit The Hessian, Mikey was very nervous about it. I didn't know this until one evening at The Hovel and over dinner, Mikey said:

"I have something to ask you."


"I just... you know, your going to San Diego made me think about some stuff." Here he paused and I thought, Oh boy. Here it comes. He continued, "Don't you think we'd make an awesome couple?"

I looked at him, fork in mid-air. "Yes. Yes I do," I said. "I think we could be really happy together."

"Would you... do you want to try it?" he asked.

"It would be my fondest wish, Mikey." Inside, I was exuberant and so very happy.

But nothing changed. Over the next three months, he pulled further and further away, until I finally realized I had to completely release him. I did so quietly, without any kind of speech, letter, email or drama. I just let him go, and he went.

I hadn't spoken to Mikey for seven weeks, when this morning I called our friend Derek, who'd left a message on my voicemail last night.

"T-Bone, have you heard from Mike?"

"Nooooo... we haven't spoken in weeks," I answered.

"Well... he's in the hospital," Derek explained.

He went on to say that Mikey had a seizure yesterday and they found a brain tumor pressing on his brain stem. Mikey was in a coma on life support.

Needless to say, I jumped in the shower, got dressed and went down to the hospital.

Many people were there, all of them in the same state as I was (and am)-- stunned, disbelieving, shaken. A friend of Mikey's, Cheli, said that the doctors had determined Mike was brain-dead and his family had decided to take him off life support. That is going to happen this afternoon, probably as I write this. "You should go in there and say goodbye, T-Bone," said Cheli gently.

I was shaking as I walked down the hall to his room in the ICU. I felt as if I was being pulled along by a force much greater than anything I'd ever felt-- a kind of repulsive and dirty rope, yanking me along to Mikey's room against my wishes and my will.

I walked in, and saw him.

He looked beautiful. The ventilator was in his mouth, breathing for him, and the soft whisper of his breath escaped through his lips. His long, silky hair was on the pillow. His eyes were closed, and oh, how I longed to look him in the eye one last time.

I held his hand. Warm.

"Mikey," I muttered. "You've really done it now." His beautiful face in complete repose.

"I came to say goodbye and I want to tell you I love you, baby. I always have and I always will." I leaned over and put my head on his chest, and listened to his heart beat. His big heart.

I straightened up and looked at him again. I smoothed back his hair from his forehead, and leaned down to kiss his cheek. I kissed his neck too, and put my nose up to his ear to take a sniff, something which always made him giggle. "You always have to get the sniff, don't you?" he'd say. "Oh, yeah," I'd answer. "I have to get the sniff because it's sooooo good!" This time was no different. He smelled like Mikey.

I said to him, "Mikey, I know I'll see you again. I'm going to miss you. We are all going to miss you." Then I leaned into his ear and whispered a poem by Yeats we both love:

'Your eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning.'
And then she:
'Although our love is waning, let us stand
By the lone border of the lake once more,
Together in that hour of gentleness
When the poor tired child, Passion, falls asleep:
How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!'
Pensive they paced along the faded leaves;
While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:
'Passion has often worn our wandering hearts.'
The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves
Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once
A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;
Autumn was over him: and now they stood
On the lone border of the lake once more...
'Ah, do not mourn,' he said,
"That we are tired, for other loves await us;
Hate on and love through unrepining hours.
Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell.'"

I again straightened my back and looked at Mikey for the last time.

"Baby, I love you so much. Goodbye."

I turned and left the hospital.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Because I work for The Hamlet's Public Works Department, I have access to all kinds of nifty things-- weed-whackers, tools, chainsaws, bulldozers, etc. By far the coolest thing we have is a street sign maker. Because my previous no parking sign was torn down by the angry man whose car I vandalized after he thoughtlessly parked in my space, I was thinking it'd be fun to make a new sign for my parking spot. It will read:

Do not at any time park anything here including,
but not limited to*, bicycles, tricycles, unicycles,
motorcycles, scooters, skateboards,
baby strollers, cars, trucks, SUVs or RVs.
If you park your vehicle here, I will have it towed.
If you park something here that is small enough
to pick up, I will throw it off the nearest cliff.
* Had to toss that in. My legal background, don't you know.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Tenth Circle of Hell

Each year for the last five decades, The Hamlet becomes the epicenter of the running world during the third weekend in August, hosting two grueling marathon races. To this I say:

"I fucking hate the third weekend in August."

Here’s the funny thing—I used to run. In fact, I used to be a jock in the complete sense of the word. Over the years, I’ve turned away from athletics. I don’t watch sports on television; I avoid athletic events such as professional football, hockey and basketball games; I don’t read the sports page; I laugh when yet another athlete is caught up in some sort of scandal; I feel contempt for the high salaries professional athletes receive; I am mystified by the adulation given to athletes. For this marathon to be happening outside my window, it’s a terrific irony.

I can't adequately convey the inconvenience this marathon places on residents' living conditions during this marathon weekend. Allow me to list my personal grievances:

1.) The street noise, usually a low roar during the summer, is heightened to a carcophony of loud music, cheering spectators and idiotic announcers. This is all punctuated by the clanging assemblage of large tents and street barriers.

2.) Parking is impossible, meaning residents cannot park in front of their own houses for four full days. If a resident parks in front of their own home, their vehicle will be towed. These parking restrictions are strictly and gleefully enforced by The Hamlet's Nazi Police Force.

3.) The street upon which the marathon embarks and finishes is closed to traffic. If you are a Hamlet resident and live on this particular street (such as the Brunette and me), you must locate a Nazi to ask permission to escape this temporary prison. If you manage to escape The Hamlet and want to return to your house, you must perform the same action-- locate Nazi, ask permission and drive up to your house. Remember though!-- no parking in front of your house, or your vehicle will be towed, motherfucker.

In my mind, there is a deep disconnect between the way I feel about this weekend and what I see outside in the spectators' shining, rhapsodic faces.

Some other complaints:

Music- the marathon organizers play one CD which has approximately 15 tunes on it, which is set to "random" play. "Random" takes on a different meaning when you have a choice of 15 songs from which to choose played during the course of a nine hour event. This CD has two songs on it that I really love, sung by Aretha and Squeeze, but being on the marathon loudspeakers, even these two fabulous songs take on a perverted, twisted feel. I don't think Difford and Tillbrook imagined while writing "Cool For Cats" it would be listened to by a bunch of middle-aged wanna-be jocks wearing "Life is good" t-shirts and Tevas, while swigging a Gatorade. Other songs on this pathetic playlist include "YMCA", "Get Ready 'Cuz Here I Come", "Shake Yer Booty", the "Rocky" theme (natch).

As the runners bottleneck at this point in the marathon, the noise is becoming louder and louder, the announcer's voice higher and higher.

I cannot think, people.

Please- someone stand behind me and shove an icepick into the base of my skull.

Another lovely scenario:

Fortunately, I happen to have off-street parking for The Hovel. I have a little private spot marked as such. I guard this spot jealously, because for some mysterious reason, the white letters painted on the side of the building that typically read, "NO PARKING TOW ZONE" are sometimes read as, "NO PARKING TOW ZONE EXCEPT YOU, MY SPECIAL FRIEND". When I come home to find my special friend parked my spot, I will either have them towed or I will vandalize their car, depending on how generous I happen to feel at that moment.

Friday night, coming home after a 15-hour workday, I drove into my parking lot and saw two rolloff dumpsters in my parking space. Imagine my excitement knowing the marathon organizers saw fit to place these in my precious parking space. I called Audrey at Nazi dispatch and explained the situation to her. "There's nothing we can do," she said. Ah, God. Why? Why?

Here's some stupid shit that the announcer has screamed into his microphone so far this morning:

"Well, folks- I just looked at my watch and it's three minutes to High Noon- we should be seeing Gary Cooper at any time now!!!"

During "YMCA", he screeched to the spectators just before the chorus, "OKAY! EVERYBODY! SING ALONG!!!" No one did, which was a cold comfort.

To an oncoming finisher, "Give me a high five!! Everybody gets a high five, you betcha!!"

Next year, I'm taking myself on vacation during the third weekend in August.

I know I'm not wrapping this posting up properly with a summary statement, but holy God. I am unable to hear myself think.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

After a dinner date and a lunch date, I thought it was time to have Biggy over for dinner to show him appreciation for the feeding of moi.

"What would you like for dinner?" I asked him.

"Oh, whatever you'd like to cook is fine. I love all food."

"Okay. How about pasta?"

"Yeah! Pasta sounds good."

"Well, I'll make some pasta," I decided, "And we'll have a nice quiet dinner at my house."

"That sounds great," Biggy said with enthusiasm.

The afternoon of the dinner in question, I ran errands after work in preparation for my guest. Grocery store: prosciutto, pasta, onions, heavy cream, good pancetta. Liquor store: chianti. Home: cat puke/cat hair removal, clean bathroom, sweep, vacuum and dust. Myself: shower, dress, hair, makeup. Music on, candles lit.

Biggy comes up my steps and he enters The Hovel.

"Would you like some wine?" I offered.

"Wine?" he said doubtfully. "Uh, I'm not sure... I'm not a big wine drinker."

"Oh. Take a sniff of the bottle and let me know what you think."

Biggy puts his nose to the neck of the bottle and sniffs. "Well... I'll try it."

"Okay," I said, pouring an inch into his glass.

He tasted the wine, his nose wrinkling slightly. "I don't think this is for me."

I laughed. "That's fine. More for me. I knew I should have gotten some beer."

"Nahhhh... water's good. I'll just have some with ice."

We talk while I make dinner. I begin to slice an onion.

Biggy: "You're putting onions in the pasta?"

"Yeah, I'm sautee-ing them. What-- you don't like onions?"

"I'm just not an onion guy," he said apologetically.

"Biggy, this is why I asked you what you wanted for dinner. If you don't like onions, I wish you would have told me. That way, I wouldn't have onions in the pasta!"

"I like those little white ones," he explained. "I've never had the purple ones."

"Trust me. When these are sauteed, they're sweet. They're really good."

"Okay, T-Bone. It looks really good so far."

I got a bread basket out and started slicing the bread.

"There's olives in the bread?" asked Biggy.

Now I'm annoyed. "Yes. There's olives in the bread. There's onions in the pasta. I suppose you don't like olives either?"

"Not really. But it does look like a good loaf of bread."

"Well, now that you hate everything I've gotten for dinner tonight, how about I just scrap all of it and we order Domino's?"

"No, T-Bone, it all looks terrific."

So I light the candles in the dining room and bring all the food he hates out to the table. God, how insulting, I think to myself.

I start eating (it's pretty good, if I must say so myself) and Biggy picks onions out of his pasta and arranges them along the edge of his plate. The olives soon take up residence beside the onions. I pour myself another glass of wine.

He yawns throughout dinner. This is awful! I think to myself.

Biggy leaves at about 9:00 p.m. "Thanks for dinner," he says, leaning forward to kiss me.

We kiss. "Yeah, you're welcome. Sorry you hated it," I said a bit rudely.

"I didn't hate it! It was a very good dinner," Biggy fibbed.

After closing the door, I trudged back upstairs to The Hovel and stalked into the kitchen. Pots, pans, cooking utensils lay spread across the stove, countertop and in the sink.

I lit a cigarette and surveyed the scene. I mumbled aloud, "Yeah, well-- what the fuck ever. Guess I should have had Bud Lite and sloppy joes."

I went out to the patio, thinking about what had just happened.

The wine, the olives, the onions, the yawning-- what a colossal waste of time, money and effort.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Great Mystery, Finally Solved

I have a few Achillies' heels (don't we all) but the one that certainly haunts me the most is the fact that I've never married nor have I had children. In a world filled with couples-- couples with children, couples without children, couples' vacations, tables for two, bicycles built for two, articles about raising children, articles about keeping your marriage hot, articles about retiring with your spouse and buying a vineyard in Napa (see Fine Living Magazine)-- being perpetually single has certainly cast a pall over my life.

As I've mentioned to my sisters and my Mom, being a forty-something single chick in this world tends to make one feel like a complete freak.

I try not to think about this subject too much or analyze it too deeply, because when I do, it becomes too depressing to chew on for very long. Overly self-critical to begin with, I find myself shooting into hyper-criticism mode when ruminating over my single state. This is not what I need. Consequently, my thoughts on the subject are fleeting and the "problem" never gets solved.

But this weekend I had a breakthrough, thanks to the fabulous Melissa Lafsky at Freakanomics:

"Picking up women has been getting plenty of press these days, leading up to this week’s premiere of the VH1 reality show The Pick-Up Artist. The show follows eight “socially inept” men through an eight-week boot camp on seduction techniques, led by a self-proclaimed Lothario called “Mystery.” The headliner (whose real name is Erik Von Markovik) initially found fame after being profiled in Neil Strauss’s 2005 book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, and went on to co-write his own book, How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed: The Mystery Method.

"Under particular discussion is a pickup technique that Mystery advocates known as “negging” — a move that involves interjecting an insult during an initial conversation with a woman. The motivation behind the insult is, as Esquire’s A.J. Jacobs puts it, to “lower her self-esteem, thus making her more vulnerable to your advances."

Melissa does not condone negging, but plenty of guys left comments after reading her online article, and many agreed that negging almost always works. I didn't know this! I didn't even know it had a name! As the recipient of this approach, I've found the key to the greatest mystery of my lifetime-- why I've never been married.

I've been such a fool. The two times (that I remember clearly anyway) I've been the recipient of negging, I was mistakenly throwing away the possibility of a lifetime of happiness with a man I could truly love and who in turn would love me!

First Negging Example:

Standing in line to get into a nightclub, a guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Nice pants. Are you wearing underwear?"

"You're an idiot," I answered.

See, had I known he was negging me, I would have hung around him all night hoping he'd ask for my phone number. We probably would be buying that vineyard in Napa right about now if I'd not given him a verbal slap.

Second Negging Example:

I stepped into an elevator containing a man, who turned to me and said, "You're such a beautiful woman-- it's a shame you smoke."

"Is that supposed to be a fucking compliment?" I snapped.

Now I wish I'd ridden up to the top of the building with this guy so I could have tried to get to know him better. He and I would have had a lovely destination wedding to Sandals Resort, had I just known.

Those boys in kindergarten who hit you because they liked you? They grow up to become men that turn their negging skills onto you. Just like a laser beam of love.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Now, That's What I'm Talkin' About.

From Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War:

"To their amazement and delight... (the Fortune) proved to be an English ship... with thirty-seven passengers aboard. In an instant, the size of the colony had almost doubled...

"Everyone aboard the Fortune was in good health... many of them single men... (w)ith the arrival of the Fortune, there would be a total of sixty-six men in the colony and just sixteen women."

Those are what I call good odds.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thank You. Love, Max

When my 9 year-old nephew's birthday was looming on the calendar, I was ruminating about what I should get him as a gift. I thought and thought and thought, and finally, I just asked him:

"Max, what do you want for your birthday, sweetie?"

He rolled his brown eyes up to the ceiling and pondered.

"I don't know," he answered. "But the minute I decide, I'll tell you."

The birthday got closer and closer. One day, I recalled the really cool gift that both my Grandma and Aunt would send to me on my birthday: cold hard cash. Fabulous! I'll give Max some money.

Oh, he was so happy when he opened the card and the bill fell out. He picked it up with his square little fingers, and smiling, held it up to his cheek and said, "Thanks!"

A couple weeks later, I received a card in the mail from Max. The card itself is one of those bought in bunches for a wedding shower, a farewell party, or the like. Max chose a manly, horizontal maroon, navy and white stripe design for his card, with block letters on the front saying simply, "THANK YOU".

Inside the card, Max wrote:

"T-Bone, thank you for the money. I spent it on (Mommy's) birthday presents. Love, Max".