Prayers for all!

One of the things I’ve found astounding, working with clients, is their total lack of appreciation that there is a line of demarcation between Friendly Customer Service Representative and Person Who Gives a Shit.

Frequently I receive emails from clients that inform me of some kind of trial or tribulation they are experiencing, some political stance they are sharing with the world, or, you know, stuff that has nothing to do with my job for them.

Today I received a missive calling for love and prayers (and cash donations) because the client’s adult daughter has been hospitalized due to a “critical medical emergency.”

I’ve never met this daughter. I’ve spent time with her parents because they were my clients. I don’t know where they live, if they prefer contemporary oak dining sets to repurposed barn boards and I’m not sure whether they have a dog. But for some reason, I’ve been included in this mass email cause to give a damn about humanity.

This all irritates me considerably as it intrudes upon my consciousness*.

However, my time in reading the whole thing was rewarded as there is a fantastic typo in this heartfelt, massively inappropriate email.

“May Bod bless us all.”

That’s right, the Bod that watches over us and keeps us safe. Thank you, Bod, for all of your blessings.

*that’s right, I got it in!

There are sentences. Sentences that start like this.

As someone who works in publishing, I periodically trip over clunky writing.  It interrupts my thoughts, upsets my zen, and just generally makes me feel like I have once again failed at embracing the Matthew McConaughey way.  Just how does one cope with bad writing?  One mocks it, of course.

Penelope Prudence: Writing habits I hate: “She gets a call. It’s from…”

Lovely Editor: you mean breaking it up like that?

Penelope Prudence: Yes. How about “She gets a call from…” Especially if it is a summary, I don’t need 16 extra sentences.

Lovely Editor: I know. It’s supposed to sound intriguing but it’s just stupid

Penelope Prudence: It really is.

Lovely Editor: someone’s at the door. It’s Charles. Charles from down the street. Charles, who went to Vietnam and was never the same. Charles, who once was your blood-brother, back when you were twelve.

Penelope Prudence: Charles who knew secrets. Secrets you couldn’t share. Secrets that belonged in attics and basements.  Secrets that did not belong in minds.

Lovely Editor: Secrets that only a mother should know. Only a mother who hates her children. Only a mother whose child, Charles, is her worst nightmare.

Penelope Prudence: But she didn’t know.  She didn’t know because it would kill her. She didn’t know because she would kill him. Kill him in the same way that she killed their daddy.

Lovely Editor: Their daddy, who lies in the dark. Who lies in the dark backyard. Who was still breathing when the last shovelful of dirt was shoveled onto him. Shoveled onto him by Charles, who did not know his father was gagged and still breathing. Charles, whose mother never told him that he, along with her, killed his own Daddy.

Charles didn’t look well. He didn’t look well, as in he’s been an another bender.

Penelope Prudence: And benders were Charles’ specialty.

Lovely Editor: Specialty meaning an every night affair. Every night, that is, until tonight. What is Charles doing at my door?


You are welcome.

Matthew McConaughey is My Power Animal

I have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to my emotional outbursts over injustice, contempt, and anger. I get this from my mother. We are both Sagittarius if you put any stock in that Zodiac business. We do — but only when it suits us.

Frequently my mom will call me, like today, simmering and just about ready to boil over about some perceived atrocity that has befallen her. I often call her in a similar state.

I’ve decided lately that this is no way to live and so I tried to talk her down. She kept saying her favorite saying, “I’m just going to be like water.” This of course is a total bastardization of the old proverb (or maybe Bruce Lee said it according to this website) that water doesn’t fight obstacles, it instead goes around them, over them, just wearing those obstacles to nothing and doesn’t let obstacles get it its way. This is great if you are a normal person or maybe Bruce Lee.

However, when we are “like water” my mom and I are really angry, indignant water. It’s not a calming motto or a way of being for my mom and I. Instead, it’s a passive way of dealing with something. Which really isn’t dealing with it at all.

So today I told her, “Don’t be like water. Don’t get all stone-faced and not say anything. This is not the way to be. You need to be like Matthew McConaughey.” And in that moment, I knew I was right.

What would Matthew McConaughey do? Maybe not the real MM, but the MM that lives in our perception. MM would just takes the news, shrug his shoulders, look out at the waves — gives his toes a little wiggle in the sand maybe, and then just say, “Cool. I’ll be over there,” and he’d point to a spot on the beach. “You let me know when you work that out.” And then he’d saunter off (I imagine MM saunters without attitude) to check out a Frisbee game.

This isn’t to say MM doesn’t know when to take a stand. He’s been embroiled in a few legal battles over paparazzi, he has been arrested for “resisting transportation” during the infamous nude-bongo-weed incident, and he’s involved in a lot of charity work, according to his official website.

In fact, he originally went to school to be a lawyer. So it isn’t that he isn’t into justice, a moron, or just wandering around in some catatonic state (well, maybe he is sometimes as he is known to enjoy a little weed here and there), but rather I imagine MM knows when to get cranked up and when to just shrug his shoulders, smile, and see how the waves are doing while everyone else sorts out their shit.

And that is why being like water is bullshit.

Be like McConaughey. Just. Keep. Living.

Singing with myself…

Sometimes, when I’m in the office alone, I sing. Sometimes that I means I also sing over chat. This is why I don’t have friends.


XXX: Set an open course for the viiiiirgin seeeeeeas
me: ‘Cause I’ve got to be free
Free to face the life that’s ahead of meeeeee
XXX: and i’ll tryyyyyyy
me:A gathering of Angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said
THey said…
me: hahaha
XXX: guitar

Hey, Jack Ass!

One of my favorite newsroom stories from my previous incarnation as a newsie involves lots of ssssss.

Our assistant editor was named Jack Stripling — a cool guy with a great sense of humor, but who occasionally would feel he needed to point out how he was higher ranking than the rest of us as an assistant editor. Our education reporter was Ryan. He was (well, is probably still) gay. He was not one to shy away from the stereotypes. He was what I often refer to as Really Gay – lispy esses, fantastic denim and all.

We were all friends as young, upstart newsroom staffers often are.

One night we were out at the local bar (there really weren’t a lot of choices, it was a Really Small Town) and we were all a little tipsy (Really Small Town – we all lived within walking distance) and Jack was teasing Ryan about how cavalier he was with his respect for Jack.

Jack starts in, “This guy, this guy is always calling me Jack Ass! ‘Hey, Jack Ass, what’s going on?’ ‘Hey, Jack Ass, here’s the story you asked for.’”

And we’re all laughing because, well, Jack could be kind of an ass sometimes.

Jack is telling this story, and Ryan is turning bright red and isn’t laughing with us. Like, not at all.

Jack claps him on the back and says, “I’m just pulling your chain, dude, it’s cool.”

That’s when Ryan, almost kind of weeping now, looks at him and says, “I was calling you Jack S.”

A New Word

dramoxy (n.): drama by proxy. While some people are said to be drama magnets, others appreciate drama within a certain radius. We don’t want to actively participate in the drama. Instead, we want to be just outside of it. Most people fill this need by watching soap operas, while enviously wondering how Susan Lucci’s face isn’t melting off. Or if she is actually a cyborg. Others live for the thrill of seeming superior, but hoping that you will fuck up your life so that they can be part of the crazy.