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Posts Tagged ‘miscellaneous’

She came in late because that’s what she does best. Looking for an open chair before looking around at the people there. Walking in after the momentum was set in motion always made the grade school feelings resurface of trying to peep a spot to sit in the lunch room, carrying this goofy tray that must have been dipped in anti-cool spray, seeing that it always felt dorky, and wanting to look smooth and like she had friends- a place to be or go to of importance. She had them, it was just one of her little quirks. She pendulumed between the now and triggers of the old. It was her bit. Anyway, she had to settle before she could settle.

There were probably 45 people in that basement. One quarter of them set to speak at some point in the night in front of the rest of crowd, present. The literary types. The solo ones. The ones who came to listen, to glean inspiration, to be alone in a crowd. These people, being under the cover of night, posting up in a dark, dingy Portland basement in Old Town- pretty much optimal for this chiquita.

When you think about it, people are just balls of swirling habits and needs. Some have habits to be filled outside of themselves. Some have that artistic fever. The kind that wells up and demands release. This one- she had the latter. Her need for speed showed up in the likes of pen and ink. Leaving the house without a writing tool would be akin to leaving the house pants-less. But colder. And stupider. Sure.

So boom. Her ass on the stool. Her eyes keen on the speaker. A plain-looking middle-aged woman, spouting off some biz about dragons in the Victorian era or some-such has-been stuffy topic. The woman’s voice- pleasant enough, and for that she could be forgiven for the fact that the sweater she wore was the deadly and dreaded ”skin tone” color- a mistake that no white person should make again; that and it made her boobs look terribly boring. Burn all these items. Ok ok ok- also the fact that she was creating– so for the subject matter she could be forgiven. 5 Hail Marys’, ma.

Our girl momentarily cut the physical  vision off to illuminate the inward visual potentials. What could come to light from the contact high of these people, in this hole in the wall full of wayward history? Well, I’ll tell you one thing- if you ever wanted imagine a ghost pinching your chichones, now is your time.

“Write about us, mija. Tell your people sobre nuestra historia. Tell them there are witches everywhere. Brujas rojas, blancas, negras.”

Damn, she thought. I open up to tap in and some ghost dude’s got me reporting on some bullshit that’s played and noone’s trying to hear. Give me something juicier. Witches are outta season.  Sassy bitch.

Give me fodder about funny things we do, ghost. What do you see? Maybe you gotta get over yourself in the spirit world. You lingering beings take yourselves way to seriously. Give it up. And don’t climb on my head- this writer’s block is already killing. Give me some ESP or something.

Well that ghost had it. Ghosty middle fingers on blast and the haunting was over. Sitting erect, intent on the speaker, open to absorption; She waited. Mother fucking writers block. Assassinate the maker of this beast. Who coined the term was coconspirator. Take em’ out, Darwin. Right? Let’s do this. Open up the channels. Stupid spirits flying around. Permeating the corners and hallways of this whole damn block. This entire neck of the woods. Old fodder was all she had for the now. Boring like those long mound- upstage sweater titties. Waiting for the perks. Ready ready ready.

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I AM NOT A HAMMER! Not a hammer. He screamed inwardly, directing his intentions at the tall, rough-brick buildings, the foreboding, overlooking passersby, the ominous, taunting sky. Screamed on the inside and what good did it do, but translate to another twisted face of his. The fear and anger welling up once again. If only he’d learned in time to pipe up, if only his voice could back him, if only the right person had asked the right things, if only. If only. If only.

Ah, but that is the curse of the foster kid shuffle. Is it not? The souls it claims tumbling out in ruins, vacillating between the unstoppable, menacing dissonance in splatter-surround-sound, incessantly playing between ears of the touched, and coming out loud, disconcerting… Or the quiet ones; The ones still entangled in the monster-under-the-bed deluded illusion of the “if I can’t see them, they can’t see me” variety. Eyes averted. Lost beyond the depths. A despondency measured in dog years.

Herein is where our homeboy lay. He’d been pushed out into the sun under a bad star from the jump. Tunnels of NYC ain’t no place to form a baby, especially when a woman didn’t know what the fuck was wrong with her until the day she uncontrollably wet herself, and was stabbed by alien pains emanating from the depths of her belly when she was mostly used to being numb.

Cries and primal, animal sounds rung the dark maze beneath the streets that morning, about an eighth of a mile shy from the nearest shaft of dusted light. A baby was born onto a worn mattress full of unspeakable stains. Picked up reluctantly by filthy, unexpectant hands, and held, finally, to a tattered breast on a tired body with a rapid heartbeat, and the first. blossoming. of instant. surprise. love. a person can only know once they’ve been left to bleed and all else had failed.

And speaking of blood, holy mother was it a mess. Messy from day one. This woman! She had no idea. She was just walking in the shoes that she’d been given a generation or two ago. She couldn’t be sure. Family history was never rich on the roster. But she’d stayed on the same path as her own mother. Tending her habits above all else. Passing them on to her skinny, miracle child.

It was novelty at first. Because she’d never really known care. Never really known responsibility. Didn’t know the first thing about child rearing but hot-damn would she do her best. Her capabilities were few- let’s not glorify. I mean, an addict in deep is an addict in deep. But little can be done to stifle that innate knowledge that woman share. The one that is connected to ancestry. To source. The umbilical chord of the universe. She tended best she could, long as she could, until the mouth became too needy. Her own needs too greedy, to give proper attention to a babe.

So off with it on the kind of hot summer night where the nail-exposed overhangs drip with polluted condensation and people move molasses slow to keep the heat at bay. Off with it, this kid, this monkey, this needy thing she never wanted, couldn’t even remember how it happened in the first place. Off with this and onto some store’s front stoop where come morning a startled Asian grocer would find a itty-bitty-stinky-baby in a box and stare at in amazement for one shocked moment, wondering how people could be so cruel, before picking up the entire box that weighed all of 6 pounds and bringing it into NYPD’s 5th Precinct on Elizabeth and Canal, to be stared at suspiciously and questioned with intimidation, armed with about 30 specific, limited to shop-talk- English words. Oh poor secret Asian mang.

Fast forwarding our tale and on with it. Our poor guy. Our poor baby who would be sure to grow slight in height, and not far in the mental. Our poor guy who was to be pushed, dropped, dragged, and kicked through an unchecked system of house after house and on. Filled with predator and mouse. Loud television and louse. Lack of love, direction, or reliable constant. The irony of taxing the shit out of parents desperate to adopt, and adversely allowing the shittiest of the lot to be foster parents. And paying their asses. The horror. No criteria having mother-fuckers. Something to shake your head at.

Our boy never developed much of a taste for outward speak. Didn’t have much to say. Maybe he didn’t know how. Perhaps he lacked the overlooked tools of expressivity or composition. Teachers thought he a lost cause. Not much you can do with a lump that sits in the corner, refusing to engage. So in he went and out again. And at the glorious age of 18; the ripe age where we are fit and tied to greet the world; the age where we no longer need guidance or help at all, ever, and are ready- all of us- for complete and utter independence- our homeboy was let out.

He was like an instant street rat. Literally like a fucking rat. Where he learned from the rodents basic survival. Eat what you can find. Drink where you can find. Sleep in the little nooks where people are not apt to disturb you. He took to the streets with arguable natal instinct. The streets gave him selective shelter, opened up his fuzzy focus. Taught him the freedom to sit and stare. The freedom to bark or growl or yell at random- all of which he practiced, just to see. But it wasn’t him. He was the silent type. You know. On the city pulsed and he felt off-shook by the beat. Our boy never had the luxury of feeling steady, really. His only purpose was today, I suppose. The ability to reflect on purpose is paired with those on the elevated levels of the comparably modern day caste system. Paired with those where the concept of hedonism can ring. Where people can afford sarcasm. His pockets bore holes and his currency nil.

Our boy. Left to eat the dust. Left an empty shell of nobody. He never got to be. Some people never do. They run through depleted soil from dia numero uno. No chance. Bleek grim. A sad ending from the beginning. A side bar. An untended, deficient weed.

In a world of hard focused happy endings I embrace the grime. Tip a 40 oz., a pinot with your pinky in the air, your G & T, your whisky neat, rip the tip off your blunt if you gotta- for all the living ghosts out there. They’re out there right now, shuffling, rocking, hiding. Tip it and sip it and know you got it good, and if not good, better than a lot.

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Today I stomped the ground in careless play, noticed the reverb of hollow from below. Pounding above a bomb shelter, a tunnel, a tomb? Above all in absent awareness…

…Calling for a dig exceeds my jurisdiction but if I had the power, the earth would be pocketed in curiosity, and restored rapidly in vigilant remorse, for better or for worse.

I recall clearly as a child, a teacher telling class that the Native Americans we so romantically studied lived where our houses were. My house. A top ancient secrets. Those powerful beings who understood the tangibility of seasons, ran through crisp, blue corn fields, made with callused fingers- beads of dried piñon berries, lived nobly herding flocks, believing in coyote medicine…

I had the presence of mind to know that their reign extended beyond the small stretches of my yard. Most likely to at least the perimeter of my block, or ”la manzana”, as my pops called it. I came home that day to scour the ground and blacken my baby nails in dreamy hopes of turquoise treasures, dulled arrowhead, bird bones. Nothing ever came of these missions. Time would give way to something shiny, some tinsel or so, leading my excavation, my excursion- to press on in whispered hope.

bow arrow

During the time of year where the leaves find themselves tossing in tiny tornadoes, and the cold makes scarlet our cheeks, I will be greeted by the painfully beautiful scent of burning cedar. Instantly I transport to the vast expanse of my time living on the rez with the Dinéh people, an event that was lead by the hand of my earlier fascination and curiosity.

I breathe in and hold.

Smoke, providing a background where images dance and bob. Broken relics of poetry and dry dirt. Old woman of long braid and woven skirt. Counting sheep. Snapping sage brush. Being followed by a pack of loyal, rag tag dogs with each step. Awaking before dawn with purpose to ensure warmth by lighting the fire…
With that smell I am carried, and not a moment too soon.
I am living simply. I am living at peace. I am living with full intention. The red earth stretches for days and I revel in wonder about what tales are beneath.

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Don’t look at me. I’m hideous. That picture that I posted- don’t you dare take a peek. It is to serve as a disciplinary tool for when someone tells you “don’t look”, you actually won’t. It’s for practicing purposes. It’s to fortify you. Because I love you. I do. But I’m still embarassed about my state of affairs, facially speaking.

It began yesterday morning, Monday the 3rd. I awoke shortly after 6am to find that I had a major shiner. Ok, not like a baseball walloped me, but as far as a “spontaneous contusion” (my deceptivley professional sounding self-diagnosis) goes, it’s pretty savage.

I went to sleep Sunday nice, like an innocent lamb. I woke up with a fucking busted-ass black eye.

And now I am privy to the world through the eyes (genuinely, not a pun in sight, just clever phrasing) of an abuse victim. I am seeing somewhat of how it is to look, and be responded to, in a manner of a woman who has seen the ugly side of a fist. It. is. a. trip.

The last two days have involved people shifting uncomfortably around me. A stirred mix of sorrow, discomfort, and concern emanate from stranger’s gazes.

No eyeliner, tacky wallpaper. Don't judge me.

No eyeliner, tacky wallpaper. Don’t judge me.

As for my friends, I have been making up deliciously elaborate bullshit stories of what happened.

-There was an old woman, laying in the middle of the road, in the rain, naked, and it looked like she was crying and confused. She was holding a baby, naked, crying, you could tell the baby was hungry. In the arms of the baby was a puppy, furless, crying too somehow. So very vulnerable. I heroically approached and the puppy popped me one. This story was BELIEVED by two of my friends. I need new friends.

-I was at a bar and told some Billy Joel looking mother f%^&* to kick rocks because he was bugging me. He got a mouth on him and his girlfriend was on my jock and he didn’t like it and so he took me on the whiskey train to Fist City. Then it all went up in the air and became a straight up barroom brawl.                                                   My friend asked me if his girlfriend jumped in too. I let it run for a bit longer, because I was having too much fun to bring truth into the equation. I still can’t believe how gullible my people are. (Grumbles something about West coasters). I told him Billy Joel would NEVER do my like that. Please.

I guess that’s about it for my spontaneous tides of baloney.

I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the bruise and it is somewhat unsettling, but the doctor said she thinks that it was mysterious trauma or possibly a spider attack. Bananas. It looks a lot worse in person, for the record. It totally merits it’s own blog posting as such. I’m serious.

I suppose if there is a moral, for the sake of a proper wrap up here, it would be that if you ever get busted up, make up a good reason and see how far it takes you. Aren’t we here to have a good time?

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Oh to be at the helm of our own thoughts… Take a moment to picture where you might be if you exercised more control. Just a sec.

Tremendous power lies within us- often dormant, as we let the reigns slack in the name of trivial pursuits,  and also because it’s far easier and more immediately gratifying to be subject to whims outside of ourselves.

It’s been a reoccurring theme in my life lately- that of discipline. I am picking up on patterns of the hard-to-swallow-but-it’s-for-my-own-good variety. And all the antidote that is needed is that of ddddddiscipline. I can hardly even write it.

A coworker of mine showed my the video below called “The Marshmallow Project” which is catalytic for this here tiny entry. Basically the premise is that those who exercise their minds (and it literally is a work out- training our brain to be strong) and maintain control, have an advantage and live a more sound, steady life. I suppose it is obvious, but there are ground breaking developments in teaching techniques now that involve cultivating patience and restrain in students on an intrinsic level. Studies were conducted in the same of vien of this video in Stanford, where the subjects were followed loosely for 20 years, with results that showed that the children who were not in control of themselves and acted mostly on impulse were the ones who wind up addicts, unsuccessful, or just making unfavorable life choices. The very watered down version, but you get it.

So here’s the video, a song on discipline, and maybe a timely reminder that the world is your peach and the sense of urgency is an illusion, and that we got this.

*believe*

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There I was- flipping through a ragged, time-worn, cardboard box at my parent’s house. I gingerly sifted through yellowed and thinned pages, in my own time capsule, revisiting a fair amount of the two dimensional art of my youth. They kept so many of my creations. Occasionally I’ll wonder the purpose of keeping a diary other than to get the immediacy of pressures off my chest because I hardly think that there will be a day where I am driven to revisit all of my petty boy-riddled qualms of old. It seems, at least, that that’s the most of what my journal entries have seen over the years. But this- this was different. This was ART! Encapsulated. I understood the inability to dispose of it. Such richness. I totally had an eye for fashion and have apparently been designing clothes since I could pen myself a plausible idea. Lots of drawings were comprising sleep overs; quite likely an influence from every little girl’s treasured book Madeline. They were very big fun though. Yet another reason I’m glad to have the XX chromosome thing in place. Another common topic was of little girls puking. Yup- you read it right. Little girls puking. I was no stranger to belly aches- especially in the car (lo siento, padres) so I guess I just wanted to spread the love or at least normalize it so everyone got sick all the time too. Oh, yeah and kids are weird, sooo go figure.  BuT- the most common theme in my drawings? Homeless children.

I drew and drew and drew this topic in so very many capacities all throughout my growing up. Kids behind dumpsters, kids under bridges, under awnings, on corners, in the snow, with a dog, kids alone with signs, kids with parents, kids with questionable chaperone. Some of them were even throwing-up too…  A clear memory that I have is asking my mother why we couldn’t just take someone home with us. I thought if everyone in the city took somebody home the homelessness problem would be solved. Grown ups are so dense! Come on people, don’t you see?? And this of course was NYC circa 1980-1990’s, when the mental asylum Bellevue, was shut down and emptied onto the streets of Manhattan. I had vivid fantasies of setting up the extra room for our(?) homeless person and coming into the bathroom while they were obligingly in the shower, handing them a bag courteously,  and taking their smelly clothes in exchange for new, clean ones. Problems solved! Even as a 5 year old I guess I knew that one of the larger deterrents to my Adopt-A-Homeless-Person program was the stank factor. Needless to say this never manifested.

Many years later I would wind up tutoring homeless kids for a while. It was such a tremendous experience with so much variety that I couldn’t surmise it with one quick descriptive word. Ok- intense.  If I must. Bear with me- I’m building my “fretting for the homeless portfolio”.

I tried to tackle the problem from several different angles throughout the last ten years plus. At one point I worked diligently on an idea that I thought was rather brilliant. It stemmed from talking to people living on the streets that seemed unmotivated to find work. After all, it’s hard enough to find something when you’re clean and showered, let alone educated. My idea was to hook up seasonal farm work opportunities to homeless shelters, and have houses of worship do their good deeds by providing ride shares to the people. Flawlessish? I called so many freakin’ farms that did not appreciate the thought of a bunch of hobos smashing their berries or sleeping in their corn or whatever. Did everyone on the other end of the line read Grapes of Wrath? Sheesh. And to boot, I couldn’t find any churches, synagogues or mosques to do the driving. Foiled.

My fascination with homeless (housing disabled?) waxed and grew and on the side I kept a notebook full of years worth of spontaneous interviews with street dwelling folk. I wanted their stories. Badly. Occasionally I would set out with the intention of conducting the interviews, sometimes I would see someone too interesting pass up. (I told you- my curiosity might just be the death of me some day. Please play “Blaze of Glory” at my funeral. I’m not kidding. I’m working up to earning it but no, I’m not trying to die anytime soon.) I had a long list of questions and my spiel was to go up and ask if they were hungry and I could buy them some lunch or a cup of coffee in exchange for some question answering. The notebook, I regret to say, is sadly long gone, lost to the same sea that claims matching socks, sunglasses,  and bus transfers, but some of the questions that I had in there went something like this:

*Where did you grow up?  * What was your family like?  * When did you start living on the streets?  *Is it scary?  * Do you get assistance?  * Do you want to live in a house/ apt some day? * Drug related questions. * Saftey related questions * Adventure related inquiry * Favorite stories?…

This is a small sampling. The questions were very subject to change, depending on the person I was asking and their openness and willingness to divulge, naturally.

I’ll tell you though, boy have I heard some shit!

There is one that stands out above the rest though. I was interviewing this guy, a mid forty’s man originally from an upper-middle class home in the suburbs of NJ. Born to religious parents. Happy childhood. Good relationships with brothers and sisters. He liked partying a little too much and got turned on to heroin. He’d always been the rebel in the family; the black sheep. He’d been living on the streets of several states for well over two decades by the time I met him. He seemed happy to tell his story. He seemed so sound. Peaceful. I asked him if he wanted to be off of the streets and his response was, and I remember it so clearly: “Man, you people feel bad for us out here, but we feel bad for you! Most of us don’t want those responsibilities that you have. There’s too much to do. A house, a car, bills, paperwork. Responsibilities. They are overwhelming. Yeah, it can be dangerous, but we don’t want what you got. I believe in God. And out here- ain’t nothing between me and God.

Take that in.

The concept of the interviews originated not just to satisfy my own forever’s-worth of curiosity. It was to serve as a bridge. Long ago I recognized people’s limited abilities to care for something/ someone at a distance. We tend to favor what and who we know. Throw another sad sap’s face into the world and if the public at large doesn’t recognize it, it’s easier to walk on by. Walk by a face on the street of someone who was in your past, who you know in a more intimate way- perhaps a friend’s father, an old neighbor, a former student, and things change. There is a sense of ownership and most of us have a built in mechanism to care for those we know. I felt that if we had people’s stories and could actually personalize them, find them relatable, then people would have more compassion and vested interest in getting people help that wanted and needed it.

So I ran off to get a sharpie and some name tags. What’s she doing now? I had a new experiment in mind. If we bore name tags there would be a missing piece of the lacking reliability solved. Like “Oh! Your name is Joey? That was my grandpa’s, name and he was really influential in my life. I love guys named Joey.” Etc. So on the name tags went the name, because knowing someone’s name is personal and pretty undeniably humanizing. Then three random things. 1. Favorite band 2. A place I’ve traveled 3. What I love. Really, it could’ve been anything. The objective was to show the public the humanity of people, as it’s so easily dismissed or ignored in our world where people are so overstimulated and walled.

I resolved to wear a name tag for a week straight to see the effects and how people might approach me and how it would change dynamics. I had visions of grandeur!

Well, I’m embarrassed to say that I wound up getting irritated with the receptivity, especially considering that I was fresh out of a multi-year relationship and going out a lot and was on one, so having my name on blast was putting me out there to a general crowd that I didn’t want all up in my business. I tried to maintain it throughout the day time instead, but I was working in a school and it wasn’t the right place either. Eventually I lost interest because my life style at the time didn’t lend itself to the particular vision I had hoped for.

Do know that I have not given up on my idea of being a liaison/catalyst for bridging the worlds. I actually still quite fancy the idea of name tag personification. Perhaps I will conduct this experiment in more refined ways and pick my project back up again. Like only do it in certain areas of the city while doing specific activities. And get some new hobos on board…?

I will do it! I’ll do it for the people sitting under awnings tonight, getting splashed by the cold rain. And I’ll do it for that little, barfy, concerned drawer me inside.

Back on the grind, baby.

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Sometimes I’ll begin to wonder, and my wonder will be laced with concern. I wonder if the way that I feel about music and what it does to me is normal; is healthy. Profound would be a tidy, dismissive way to describe it, as 2 syllables can only cover so much ground.

The way that I will feel can be alarming. Like it’s so good that it hurts. My brow will involuntarily furrow. I am completely at the mercy of someone else’s creation and they are singing right to me.

I went and saw The Shins last night. It was heavenly. I felt so much love that it made me uncomfortable. Like my seams would burst. The sound was amazing and his words- uh! James Mercer is blindingly brilliant. It has been a very long time since a person has reached me in the place he does. His prose is thought provoking and ever so delicious. I have a fairly gigantic crush on a man’s mind who I know closest from a 15 yard distance. Love is amazing like that. And reason is laughable.

It’s crazy and comical to realize that you have a crush on the most likely impossible. There’s nothing substantive about my feelings, seeing as I don’t even know if we would get along on all levels, but seeing him live always leaves me levitated. It’s powerful juju, a man with a song. Damn.

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The amount of pain and suffering we go through in the name of beautification is impressive.

Yesterday marked the first Groupon I have ever purchased and it was an irresistible doozy. They were offering Laser hair removal for 75% off or more. Ah-ma-zing. Just about every woman who maintains their body hair has considered this option and most do not take the extra leap because holy-mother that sh*t is expensive! So I sucked it up and went for it. $200 dollars (normally over $1000!) and 6 appointments later I can expect to never have to worry about an ingrown hair on my bikini line again. This is very exciting. Awww yeah. TMI? I can’t help it. I have been getting waxed since high school and while my tolerance has gone up (compared to the horrid memory of my first experience where I walked out with only 1 smooth leg), I can only occasionally trick myself into thinking it “tickle-hurts”. Luckily, I have the best waxer ever and am always giving her positive feedback and love and telling her things like: “Thanks for making my ***** pretty”. It’s a special relationship. I will still see her, as the laser treatments are very specific and to do the whole leg and up up up would be close to $2000 (!) and would hurt like a roaring evil beast from hell… So I settled for a smaller area. Still great. Unburstable bubble. Got it?

Before whipping out the drastic plastic to pay it all off, I had a moment of reflection: How did it ever become common practice to rid ourselves so much of our natural state and how did it get so far and  to the current trend of looking like we never went through puberty in the first place? And what would Freud say? He would be jumping up and down, having a field day- that’s for sure- with the worst case of “I told you so’s”. Pervyyyy.

Then I started to wonder if the opposite was ever popular. Like full on Jungle Woman. Or is that just on reserve for the fetishistic? Dunno. And then it hit me~ like a wig in the wind… the Merkin. Who’s heard of this? Let me introduce you to my furry friend. Err, I mean my friend’s friend. I heard of once- yeah. The pubic wig. Yes. The pubic wig. Originally worn by ladies of the night after shaving their business, but are now used as decorative items, erotic devices, or in films, by both men and women. I consulted the Wikipedia for history of it and here’s the deal: The Oxford Companion to the Body dates the origin of the pubic wig to the 1450s! Women would shave their pubic hair and wear a merkin to combat crabs, and prostitutes would wear them to cover up signs of disease, like syphillis. Damn! The Goat God Pan is making more sense now. It has also been suggested that when male actors played female parts onstage, they would cover their man parts with a merkin so they could expose themselves as women in nude scenes. Ahem.

So then, naturally, as you know me- my curiosity peaked. What’s the history of pubes anyway? Here’s what I got:

The earliest shaving devices discovered are flint blades possibly dating as far back as 30,000 BC. Not only does flint provide an extremely sharp edge for shaving, it also becomes dull rather quickly, making these the first disposable razors.

From 4,000 to 3,000 BC, women removed body hair with homegrown depilatory creams made from a bizarre combination of such questionable ingredients as arsenic and quicklime. Copper razors appeared around 3,000 BC in both India and Egypt. The most elaborate razors of prehistory appear around 1,500 to 1,200 BC in Scandinavia where Danish Mound Graves yielded razors in leather carrying cases with etched bronze blades and carved handles. No doubt the Vikings liked their women shaved.

The practice of pubic hair removal goes back to the dawn of civilization. To early Egyptians, a smooth and hairless body was the standard of beauty. The practice first gained total acceptance when it was practiced by the wife of Farao; afterwards, every upper class Egyptian woman made sure there was not a single hair on her body with the exception of her head. They used primitive depilatory creams and a form of waxing that utilized a sticky emulsion of oil and honey – the forerunner of what we now call “sugaring.”

The Greeks adopted the ideal of smoothness, capturing it over and again in their sculpture. Ancient Greek sculptures of women are universally clean-shaven, whereas the sculptures of men have pubic hair. The Greeks believed that a smooth, hairless body exemplified youth and beauty. In “Sexual Life in Ancient Greece” by Hans Licht, the author describes how the Greeks disapproved of women with pubic hair and considered it ugly. It was considered a sign of class distinction and subsequently all upper-class women practiced pubic hair removal, as did many women of the lesser classes.

The Romans also disapproved of pubic hair; young girls began removing it as soon as the first hair appeared. They used tweezers, which they called the “volsella” as well as a kind of depilatory cream called the “philotrum” or “dropax” which was sometimes made with bryonia and foreshadowed moderndepilatory creams. Waxing with resin or pitch was also used to depilate. Furthermore, the practice of pubic hair removal wasn’t unique to Rome – it was practiced in even the most remote parts of the empire. Julius Caesar (101-44 BC) writes that, “The Britons shave every part of their body except their head and upper lip.” It is reported that Poppaea, wife of the Roman Emperor Nero, used depilatory creams to remove unwanted body hair daily. At that time, the latest available creams included some wonderful ingredients like resin, pitch, white vine or ivy gum extract, ass’ fat, she-goat’s gall, bat’s blood, and powdered viper.

Islam also has a long history of pubic hair removal. According to the Sunnah, every adult Muslim, as a part of keeping his/her body clean, should remove the hair from his pubic area and armpits. The hair may be removed through any method that one feels comfortable with. The spread of Islam brought the practice to India, Northern Africa, and the other vast areas of the world under Muslim influence. In 1520, Bassano de Zra wrote “The Turks consider it sinful when a woman lets the hair on her private parts grow. As soon as a woman feels the hair is growing, she hurries to the public bath to have it removed or remove it herself.” The public baths all had special rooms where the ladies could get rid of their hair. Even today, the hamams (public baths) still have special rooms for the ladies to depilate.

The returning Crusaders (1096-1270) brought the practice back to Europe. In many European castles built between 1200 and 1600 AD, a special room was constructed where the ladies of the court could gather to shave. During the Renaissance, the practice of pubic hair removal flourished. Sixteenth and seventeenth century artists portrayed women as having little or no pubic hair. The work of Rubens, whose models typified the ideal in feminine beauty at the time, most dramatically reveals this.

The habit of depilating started to wane (publicly at least) during the reign of Catherine de Medici (1547-1589) who was then queen of France and something of a religious zealot. She forbade her ladies in waiting to remove their pubic hair any longer; however, it was still widely practiced until the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and the smothering prudishness of the “Victorian Era.” Even then, it remained popular in private, especially for the ruling classes. There is some photographic evidence ranging from the time of the Civil War to the “blue movies” of the 1920s and 30s that shows that the amount of pubic hair during that time varied from full to none. Even though repressed by the outward morality of the era, it appears pubic shaving never disappeared but instead more appropriately went underground.

The modern industrial age saw the rise of such razor manufacturers as Gillette, Schick, and Wilkinson. With the availability of cheap, quality razors, the practice of women removing their body hair became more publicly acceptable again. When women’s clothing styles began showing bare arms and legs in the 1920s, leg and underarm shaving followed immediately. In fact, armpit shaving was not common until May of 1915 when Harper’s Bazaar magazine featured a model in a sleeveless evening gown that showed her bare shoulders and hairless armpits. Shortly thereafter, Wilkinson Sword launched an advertising campaign to convince women that underarm hair was “unhygienic and unfeminine.” Sales of razors doubled in two years, perhaps the result of pent-up demand.


Pretty interesting stuff. Your choice at the end of the day. Soft and silky~ bushy and bold (you 70’s misfit rocker you). Shave it, pluck it, zap it, sugar it, hot wax yo’ self… Do how you do- but my best advice? Leave the merkins in the past and maintain. Hair today, gone tomorrow. Adieu.

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When it comes to being sick I must admit it; I’m just no good.

I picture that some people are good at being sick. What that looks like in my mind is someone who doesn’t mind lazing around. Slinking. Slothing. They are happy and content to sloop and watch- oh, I don’t know- soaps? Nature channel? Documentaries? Glee? Oprah? Ya got me, I don’t know. That’s because I’m no good.

Luckily it doesn’t happen all that often, with the acception of course of that long year when I worked in a K-2 special ed class. Hellooo petri dish. That was the pits. This one kid in particular- the Germ House. He should have won a prize or something. Man. I caught the stomach bugs from him, ear stuff, sore anything possible… All the way up to the last two weeks of school before summer, I remember recovering from a throat infection and saying to my man at the time, “Uh! Well, at least that is over with. There’s only one week left. I got this. Nothing else can touch me now. I’m in the clear.” Two days after this declaration pink eye appeared in my right eye. I vividly recall the fear I felt, knowing that all that stood guard between eyes was the bridge of my nose. My nose is not dainty, but by God the bridge is certainly not sizable for defense. By the end of that week I had pink eye in both eyes. He got me good, that kid. Made me sicker than dirt. All the time. Like chemy, beige, depleted dirt where no invasive weeds even grow or something. That was 3 years ago. I haven’t got ill apart from that year from health-hell for a while.

And so now, at the return of the school year, guess who’s a sneeze n’ drip factory. This girl. It is an odd and uncomfortable thing to be sick on the 2nd and 3rd day of work. My ego is running laps and doing jumping jacks trying to be resilient and not be crushed. Who wants the boss to think they are a weeny? Or a crier? Yick.

I actually went in today and much like a plague victim would be treated, they took one look at me and told me to get outta there. So I did, semi excitedly because I’m not feeling up for it, but also crummy because I really want to be there. Plus, like I said, I’m not very good at just lamping around and doing a whole lotta nothing. At least not off the beach or off vacation or in the states for that matter.

So now I virtually have a snow day. It’s the same feeling, but just with the sick counter part. And so I have compiled a list of what I will do today that demands little to no energy.

1. Make CDs for friend’s going away party (tonight (ahem))

2. Go to Ross and get cheap sheets to cover back of car to protect from shedding dog

3. Car wash

4. Tea and tea and tea and pee x3+3

5. Sell books to Powells and get a new one to read… ON THE COUCH. That’s right- I’m capable

6. Nap? Ha.

7. Wash sheets because tomorrow is health-only-acceptable day and new sheets will be lovely and not germy

8. Get more tissues (possibly earlier on the list)

9. Drink more potions of lizard tales, bat wings, ant balls, grapefruit seed extract and what the hell

10. Write a surplus of stories so that I don’t have to have month lapses on this here blog

So now,  a question: Is the purpose of rest supposed to include the head or do you think it’s ok to have a lot of mental activity going on during down time? This is day two of me supposed to be sitting on my keester. Wack. Who out there has this sick biz dialed? What do you do? Tips please.

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It’s been 11 entire years since that fated day in September. That terrifying day- where it is easy to remember a stillness void of calm, and a heartbeat’s pounding of anticipation’s unknown. Each of us remember where we were that day… What we were doing… Some of us remember where we were standing when we heard… And then there were those of us that saw.

That particular year I was pulling a stint in Colorado, tucked away from the crumbling buildings and smoldering remnants where my family and friends were. Where I called home. Where I grew up. Despite being far, there were no safety guarantees for anyone. There was no escaping the eeriness that had  thickly and unwelcomingly lay down upon the country. Creating this incomparable muteness, removing flights from the air, and instilling a fear that we as a whole had yet to experience.

My mother worked in midtown Manhattan. My father, in L.I., but had a job interview scheduled at the towers for the following day (the difference a day makes!). My other family and friends in and close to the city, and the people we knew working at the towers… it was terrible. No one was reachable. The lines were all down. We didn’t know who was alive and allright and we didn’t know how wide spread it was going to get. It was the most dreamy-doom feeling that I had ever experienced. It was all too large to understand. And that was just me- the abridged, clipped version of that day, a person who had not experienced it 1st hand.

Today’s post is a story of a friend of mine, Cheryl, who did experience it 1st hand. Her story has a silver, no- a golden lining. Not everyone was so lucky. I’m glad that she could tell her tale. It’s a very worthy read. It is insightful, raw and real (with even a touch of sass!), and gives us another reason to give thanks.

—————————————-

It was September 11, 2001. It was my first day of work after college. I was so excited. I didn’t sleep at all the night before. I kissed Ezra (my 4 year old roommate) goodbye and got a thumbs up from Mike and Aubrey along with a “you can do it” smile. I left the house in Jersey City about 8:00 am which I NEVER do as I normally can sleep till noon. I took a cab to Journal Square Path Station and started walking down into the building. I remember it seemed really empty which surprised me because we were smack in the middle of rush hour. Everyone there seemed engaged in heavy conversation and I noticed a lot of people were leaving as I was heading in. Huh?? I asked a worker standing outside what was going on and he said a small private plane hit the WTC. I asked if the trains were still running and he said “yes ma’am” so I headed in and got on the next train hoping to wind up on 14th & 6th near where my new job as a sound engineer was.

The next little bit I completely blacked out about and remembered just a few years ago.

So the train departed. I was oblivious to what I had heard earlier and was focusing on my skirt which was way too short and my heels which were way too high. Those that know me know that I never dress that way at all so I had to make sure everything was looking good when I got off (FYI if you are a sound engineer I would not recommend wearing heels and skirt to work). To those not familiar with the Path Train, it leaves from NJ to NY and stays above ground until it hits the Hudson (Pavonia/Newport) and then it goes back underground, through the tunnel and stops at WTC, Christopher Street and then 14th (I think). Right as we approached the tunnel I noticed smoke billowing out from one of the towers and at that split moment, when I looked up, I saw another plane hit the other tower, and then my train went underground heading straight for it.

As we rolled into the WTC station, there was complete and utter chaos. People were banging on the doors to get in, and the conductor made an announcement that we would not be stopping and that he would be taking us straight to Penn Station. Wait. What? We’re not stopping? I looked around and realized for the first time since I got on that train that I was the only one in there. The people outside were begging for me to open the doors. They were pleading for me to help them. I started screaming to stop the train “PLEASE STOP!!!” but we didn’t’, we just rolled passed them. They were running alongside banging on the car! I think I went into shock and complete fear as they tried to pry open the doors. And then blackness. We were out of the station and heading to 34th Street. I was crying. I was scared. I could hear rumbling and screaming. When I got out I was so confused. It was quiet. Like really, really quiet. Scary quiet. Like from the movie Legend quiet. Everyone was just standing with their mouths gaped open or their hands to cover it… and when I turned around I could see both towers were on fire, smoking. Smoldering. This was real? Shit. Shit!!. Fuck. What do I do??. Where do I go?? Someone help me! Wait. Get a grip! Calm down. Take a breath. Breathe. Ok, you’re breathing. Now run!

I didn’t know where to go or what to do so I just ran to my new office/music studio on 16th and 8th and when I got there everyone was just staring out the large window that had the ideal view of the devastation. Within those moments, the first tower came crashing down and everyone screamed and gasped and cried…we all went to the roof and watched the 2nd tower plummet soon thereafter… everyone started running out of our building, I was knocked down because I was wearing those dumb heels and that stupid short skirt. Ugh! I got up and left the building with everyone else. I remember I had to pee like there was no tomorrow, but all the shops were closed. No one would even let me in let alone come to the doors in fear of riots. I couldn’t blame them, but man, I had to go.

I remember wishing someone was there to tell us what to do and where to go and what was happening….I mean, there wasn’t a cop anywhere. I then stood on a long line to use the payphones to call home, (you know this is an old story when there’s a pay phone involved), but by the time I got up to use it, the landline was dead. No one even had a working cell phone. A Verizon guy told us the phone lines were down because the antenna was at the top of the WTC, he had a small radio and he said that there were bombs reportedly in the subways and on the bridges, so to stand clear and get the hell out of there.

I walked up 6th ave. and that’s where I saw the mass exodus of people heading uptown. The fire trucks and ambulances were covered in soot along with a lot of the people. I was scared. Really, really, really scared. I remembered my dad’s friend had an office right where I was standing so I wrang up and he let me in. My dad’s friend assured me everything was just fine and that he had an inside scoop that there were boats coming to get us off the island (Sounds like Hunger Games, I know). I used the bathroom and then the alarms started going off so we all had to evacuate. I stepped back outside onto the sidewalk and noticed that the slow exodus soon turned into a running mob!! So I started running too. Damn these heels!!! I ran about 20 blocks and stopped. I began walking backwards so I could watch what was happening as well as continue moving away. Then, I bumped into this guy and all his papers went flying up in the air. Poof! As I began apologizing and helping him pick them up, I realized I knew him. He was a friend from school that I had just graduated with. We had hung out on graduation day. We hugged. He said he was gonna walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. I tried to convince him to come back to N.J. because all the bridges were closed. He didn’t care, he had to get home. Before we departed, I had asked if he remembered James from our class. He was the only one I could even think of that would have James contact info. I had a big crush on him since school ended, but I couldn’t seem to find any contact info anywhere not even on the internet. And with a name like James Doe, a black guy from Brooklyn, it was nearly impossible. David was like “Yeah, he actually called me the other day looking for your contact info, that’s so weird.” I was shocked. I gave him my email and phone number and said “Please, when you make it home call me and also please pass my info along to him.” And he did. (Yes, I was giving out my phone number to get a date during a terrorist attack, sigh, only me).

I began walking up to like 90th street or wherever so I could get myself on one of those boats heading home. After I got there they were like, “no, sorry they are leaving from 14th street”. Fuck!. Are you serious??? So then I walked all the way back to 14th street. My legs were tired. I had already ditched my shoes and I had sores on my thighs from the walking. Eventually I snuck in line and got on a cruise ship headed for Jersey. The entire ride was silent. When I got there, Aub, Mike and Ez were already there to take me home. I don’t think I said anything to anyone until we got to the house and then I just lost it. I tried to compose myself so Ezra wouldn’t be scared but I couldn’t. He came in my room, smiled, sat next to me and put his head on my lap. I moved over to the window and just sat there, and then he came over and hugged me and we both sat there together, watching the towers burn to the ground.

I think I have only taken the train once since that day. I insist on ALWAYS wearing comfortable shoes and clothing when I go to the city, even at the expense of my friends who I constantly embarrass when I show up to a high class venue in Nike’s.

I tell this story as I remember it. To add a few things, James did call me 2 days later. We went on our first date a week later. I was in love big time, and today we say is our 11th Anniversary. We now have a beautiful almost 10 year old daughter, Sasha, the love of my life whom I would go through a thousand other terrorist attacks for just to be with her.

Thanks for listening,

Cheryl

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