When You Care Enough To Give The Very Least

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

worst mom ever

My kids can skip expensive years of therapy to find out who is to blame for their failures in life: it’s me.

I fucked them up. On July 14, 1998.

We awoke at the crack of noon that day. The kids watched TV from the moment they woke up. Stupid TV, not even that ersatz educational shit. And they blew off their chores. And lolled about on the couch while I drove through McDonalds for our lunch. Breakfast was leftover cake. We were going to rent a video, but that was too much effort. We toyed momentarily with going to the library, but no one wanted to look for his shoes.

My sons were happy. I was conflicted. We could have been at the museum. We could have been on a hike. We could have been writing letters telling Ken Starr to shut the fuck up already and think about why no wants to give him a blow job. It was a sunny day in July. No reason to sit in the house watching TV and eating junk food. No reason at all.

I wondered if anyone else had days like this but I’d never find out because I was never going to tell anyone about it. Surely Albert Einstein’s parents would not have allowed this kind of slacking. Or Michelle Kwan’s parents. Those parents hit the ground running each morning and kept going until every one of their children was enriched, tutored, coached, rehearsed, and perfectly coiffed. And those moms probably did their 25 Kegel exercises each evening, to keep their pelvic walls toned lest they chose to conceive and bear more achievers. Yeah, fuck those guys. They probably had bad sex. And not the good kind of bad sex.

What ever happened to laissez faire parenting? You know, when you can grab a cig and cup of coffee first thing in June and send the kids to play outside until, say, September? That kind of life isn’t approved of anymore. It went the way of, oh, I don’t know, douching. Does anyone even douche anymore? And why not?

Maybe the abandonment of douching is the key. It might have been the glue that held the whole, beautiful lifestyle together. That, and the fact that no one had discovered trans fats yet. A person could eat a shitload of fatty crap all night, grab a douchebag in the morning and get on with her day. When did that become a bad way to live?

Well, if you read my blog, you know that I blame Oprah. Her enthusiastic “gotta live your BEST life” edict has ruined the game. And frankly, is Oprah even living her BEST life? Really? Steadman? The woman could buy any man on the planet. Plus, I suspect that Steadman is actually Eric Holder. Which is not germane to this post, but still.

We have to start living our IT CAN BE KINDA FUCKED BUT BASICALLY IT’S OKAY life. Rage against BEST. Eschew enrichment. I just don’t get that enrichment shit, anyway. It’s just another meaningless word, like waterfeature or you have an addiction problem, Ann, and we are here to help. Blah, blah, blah.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it for Steadman.



[Photo Credit: Flickr image member Todd Huffman]


Urban Family: What Would Wade Do?

February 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

white people and black people becoming friends

I ran into my African American friend today.

You know Wade? Yeah, he’s African American. I have an African American friend. A real one, too, not some African American person I recognize because we go to the same bank or dentist or something. Wade comes to my house and everything. He has even been here when I’m not home.

Okay, that’s not true, but I wanted to stress that we are so close, I would totally let him come here when I wasn’t home. Although not with all his kids. One of them is a vomiter.

There are precious few things a nice, white, suburban Jewish girl can do that are cooler than having a black friend. Especially with my family history of political activism, being friends with Wade is the official PC notary stamp on my life. I love that I can tap into my militant angst and rage against the machine right alongside my strong, angry African American brother.

Like this afternoon? At the market? Wade’s wife couldn’t find a gift card for Justice. Even though she totally saw them there the day before. Hate crime. Fucking A.

Oh yeah. They shop at a store called JUSTICE. Man, they are so fucking hot. Compare that name to Safeway. SAFE way. Puhleeze. Even I want to beat myself up for being so white.

And yes, I did check out Justice on their pink and purple website. And yes, they do sell Webkins and Zhu Zhu pets and pink go-go boots, but still. It’s called Justice, for fuck’s sake. I am totally shopping there from now on for all my…er…cute ‘n cozy pj’s and 4-undies-to-a-pack in lollipop colors.

I wanna be like Wade. I want oppression issues. Cool ones, not stupid shit like demanding a Hanukah menorah next to the Christmas tree in in front of the library or lodging a complaint that school dances are on Friday nights when, supposedly, all the Jews are in temple. Because they aren’t. I know; I’M in temple and there are A LOT of empty spaces in the pews. I’m just saying.

Everything Wade does is cool. Like, this one time…um…um…hunh. Well, nothing specific comes to mind but believe me, when you are black like Wade, with a shaved head and a ‘tude, everything you do is cool. Well, except when he wears that Christmas sweater with the dog angels on it. Even Wade can’t sex up that weenie thing.

Or when he hit his elbow on the corner of the coffee table and he, like, practically howled and kept talking about it all fucking evening.

Or when he dances. Yikes.

I joke. I’ve never seen Wade dance. It would be racist of me to try and get him to do it and I just don’t see it coming up authentically in our everyday conversation. It would be like if he said to me, “oh, by the way, Jew, will you come over and count my money?”

And I’d say, “what money? You don’t have any money, homey.”

And he’d say, “yeah, cuz your people stole all of it to buy the banks and movie studios, bitch.”

And then we’d laugh merrily and toast to our awesomeness.

‘Cause Wade ‘n me, that’s how we roll.

‘K. Later.


Urban Mom: It’s About Time

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

feet propped up by computer- working from home

So Claudia wrote a list the other day of all the shit her someday future daughter-in-law will notice about her and find hypocritical. Claudia is a playright and an editor, and coming up with this list probably took her the better part of a Friday. It was a really well-written list.

It is precisely this kind of time management choice that bonds me to my Facebook Ladies Writing And Creative Endeavors Salon.

Claudia’s boys are nowhere near marrying age; in fact, none of our kids are planning to get married anytime soon, but we all felt compelled to study Claudia’s list and discuss it. It’s such an important topic. Especially when Jane is late for a meeting and Claire is on a deadline for her next novel.

This whole “working at home on your own time” thing intrigues me. They did not teach time management at my high school. I am certain this is the sole cause of my lazyass lifestyle.

My niece Alia – imbued with all the ambition and work ethic that Karen and I traded in for pot in 1971 – actually showers and gets dressed in real clothes just to work in her home office. When my oldest was here last week for Robin’s surgery, he took 8AM phone consults with clients in a suit. In the living room.

I often go to work in the clothes I slept in the night before. Which were the clothes I went to work in the day before. Really, the only things I am consistently on top of are overeating and tweezing.

And even the tweezing ocassionally goes to hell when life is hectic and I forget to bring the magnifying glass into the bathroom for mustache inspection.

A lackadaisical attitude towards personal grooming.

And thus begins the list of things my someday future DIL will notice about me.

I better buckle down and get to work on this list right now.

But first I better go into the bathroom and fix the DIY haircut I did at 2AM this morning. You know how ideas seem so kickass bitchen when you are dangerously sleep-deprived? And how – if you don’t wear your glasses and only have the nightlight on in the bathroom – you can totally dig the coif you give yourself, employing all the methods you see Shanonand Vesta use in the shop, like cutting in sideways and twisting locks of hair before you snip?

The morning light brought a harsh blow. I look like I pulled out pieces of hair with my teeth during the night. The only positive thing I can say about my new haircut is that I have finally discovered the perfect style to highlight a double chin.

Which is enough accomplishment for today, right?


Photo Credit: [Flickr member: Denise Mattox]


Brother, Can You Spare A Facebook Fan?

January 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

comfort food

Oh God, I am so full I wanna barf.

No, I take that back; the thought of barfing makes me, well, not want to barf. Whew, good, I’m not bulimic. It’s so great to cross shit like that off my list. Not bulemic: check. More therapy time to talk about the rest of me.

I’m just so fucking full.

I hope none of you are so poor that you don’t have enough to eat because you are not going to think this post is funny, or even nice. It’s not a post I would share with, say, the homeless guy with the sign at the freeway exit. He’d be all, “hey, can you spare a dollar?” and I’d be all, “I totally would -I just went to the bank, in fact – but I ate a humongous felafel with a side of extra pita and hummus a few hours ago and I can’t bend over to reach my purse on the floor ’cause my stomach is too full. Don’t you just hate when that happens?”

That would be insensitive. Even for me.

I considered not even writing about this for fear of offending poor hungry people. I thought about writing a post on ending hunger in the world.

But I’m just too full to think about hunger. Maybe I can write something meaningful for people who are suffering from being full. Maybe tomorrow. Plus, I am still trying to play the “my husband has cancer” card which should give me carte blanche to be insensitive to poor and hungry people.

It’s been a real clusterfuck, as you know. Last you heard from me, I was flashing truckers from a hotel window. Where does one go from there?

To the refrigerator. Duh.

You’d think that having Robin home with all his tubes and drains and shit would put a small dent in my appetite. Turns out, happily, I am made of sterner stuff than that. In fact, last night while we were draining his neck tube, I ate a perfect Braeburn apple and two cinnamon rugelech. Didn’t miss a beat.

Not eating, evidently, isn’t my go-to response to crisis. The last time I can remember being so distraught as to actually lose my appetite was when I discovered that my Facebook Fan page had dropped from 153 to 152 fans and my friend Claire LaZebnik Writes had, like, 300 fans. That was a horrible, dark time in my life. Fortunately, my friend Irene double-friended me by using her middle and maiden names the second time around, which brought my numbers back up and I was able to live life again.

I had been planning on losing some weight during Robin’s ten-hour surgery last week since, really, what kind of a wife thinks about what she wants in her foot-long Subway turkey on honey oat while her husband’s neck is being sliced open in the O.R.? (no mayo, no cheese, all the veggies sans jalapenos, oil and vinegar). In fact, in the bag I packed for myself (in case I didn’t go home. In case I slept at the hotel across the street with my mom and sister. In case I stood at the hotel window at midnight and lifted up my pajama top to flash truckers), I even put a pair of pants that have been too tight on me, so sure was I that I’d emerge from the week of Robin’s hospitalization down a few pounds.

Not even half a pound. Robin lost 8 pounds. He has all the luck. AND, I bet he’ll even lose more weight when he starts with the radioactive meds. FML.

Really. FML.

Pass the rugelech.


My First Ever Holiday Card

January 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

drunk and smoking

Hello to all my friends!

Yes, it’s me. So, first of all, I guess I better come clean to those of you who thought I was out of the country, dead or back in grad school: I’m not. I just made up those excuses because I didn’t want to answer my phone when you called. Sorry. I owe particular apologies to those who left me urgent messages that your car had run into a ditch or broken down in a bad neighborhood and pleaseplease please could I come get you. My bad. In my defense, I had just gotten home and taken off my bra.

So. Another year, huh? Amazing. Seems like just yesterday I was crying out to God to release me from the fresh Hell of 2010, and, voila! 2011.

You can see from my photo that I am doing well.

I’m rocking the bifocals old school and I got my Prozac-to-Xanax-ratio down right so I expect 2011 to be a much smoother year. And I hear they are bringing back parmesan and basil Wheat Thins, so there’s that. So many riches, if one only cares to look around.

There was less hooch around the Strangemomabode this year, as I found myself between wines. And anyway, you know the old joke, right? The one Allan Phillips just told me right now?

Why don’t Jews drink alcohol?
Because it dulls the pain.

You can’t see me but I am laughing so hard right now. I love the humor of our people.

So, what to say about 2010?

Cheney didn’t shoot anyone in the face this year and that was a huge disappointment to me; happier news arrived, however, when our local Mayor was stripped of her powers after it was revealed that she lied about being a college graduate. This story alone makes me glad I live in a small town where you can blow hot lies outta your ass straight into the public’s face and no one will vet you for at least fourteen months after you’ve taken office.

I embarked upon a beauty and health regime in 2010, in that I have given up hope of possessing either of those things ever again. And, unlike the time I gave up carbs for twenty minutes, I believe I can really stick to this plan. Plus, now I have the time to stare in writing-block panic at my blank computer screen, not answer the phone, and feel bad that I tell so many lies to get out of doing shit.

What else? Oh, the the dog died, Robin got cancer and all my underpants shrunk, like, four sizes. Yes they did. Shut up.

I love you all, I mean it. And I am only sorry that I will be so unavailable in the coming year, what with my leaving the country, being dead and going back to grad school.

Air kiss.



Everything I need to know I learned from Ginny Thomas

January 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

Do we know, exactly, what Anita Hill said back to Ginny?

Man, I wish I could’ve been on the extension phone, listening in. Or better yet, sitting next to Anita that morning, feeding her kickass shit to say to Ginny, writing it out on cue cards and laughing so hard that Anita and I pee in our pants.

Ginny would totally be, like, “um, who’s there with you? Is someone listening in? That’s mean, you know.”

And Anita and I would be, all, “no, YOU’RE the mean one.”

And Ginny would be, all, “nuh-uh, YOU’RE mean.”

And we’d be, like, “whatev, bee-yatch. C-ya”

And we’d hang up the phone really hard. And go to Baja Fresh for lunch.

And Ginny would sit there, still holding the phone in her hand and give Clarence a really dirty look, like, “I hate this chore wheel idea. Next time, I’ll clean the litter box.”

And Clarence would shrug and say, “Well, it was worth a try. Now call Christine O’Donnell and demand an apology. For being such a stone cold fox.” And he’d laugh and laugh until he brought up a hairball.

And Ginny would pour herself another Supreme Court Justini and prepare to face another day of warning Americans about the tyranny of government. Maybe two Justinis. It’s noon somewhere in America.

Yeah, fuck those two but, frankly, I think Ginny was on to something. I am going to ride this new trend of demanding apologies from people I’ve fucked over. I’m gonna ride it until the battery in my cell phone dies. Or I run out of gin, whichever comes first.

Now, let’s see…who owes me a long-overdue apology?

Oh, I know. Orbachs Department store.

When I was thirteen, I stole a pair of earrings there. My friends and I, fresh from Bat Mitzvah class, had my mom drop us off and we hit the jewelry counter. We hit it hard. And we hit it stupid, evidently, because we were caught. Orbachs totally owes me an apology for that. What is their phone number. What, they went out of business? Okay, then. I guess we’re even.

And you know who else should apologize to me? Janice L (not her real last name initial) from seventh grade. I started a rumor about her, said her father was in jail and she sucked her thumb. In my defense, she was running against me for class secretary and I was not popular and I needed an edge. So, Janice, any time you want to call…or send me a muffin basket or something…

It kinda reminds me of once when I was in the middle of a terrifying, life-threatening coughing episode, gasping for breath, Robin came into the room and said to me, “why don’t you ever remember that I have VERY sensitive ears? That coughing is really loud.”

Robin, I am sorry that my painful brush with death hurt your sensitive ears.

Was that too loud just now? Come closer, I’ll whisper it.


I know. You’re right. That was shitty of me. You owe me an apology for it.


Read My Lips

December 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

I’ve been remiss in doing my Kegel exercises, have you noticed?

Each new school year I make a commitment to doing 25 of those pelvic toners at least four times a week. I know that they are very important in keeping everything where it is supposed to be, pelvically speaking, and I do not want to be one of those women whose unsupported bladder simply ups and falls out into her underpants one day while she is giving a speech to the Garden Club. It was embarrassing enough that time my shoulder pad inched its way down my chest, resulting in a large squarish third boob during a conference with my kid’s very very very good-looking history teacher.

The beginning of the school year fills me with resolution. The beginning of the school year also coincides with the Jewish Holidays, which gives me an added incentive to tone up down there since, as a Cantor sitting up on the dais all day, I have to go long periods without being able to leave and go to the bathroom to pee. This is especially dangerous to the lazy menopausal female sporting a lax pelvis if the unexpected, errant remark is made by the Temple president in his attempt to announce the ritual where we go together to the river to cast our sins and demons into the water and, in an unfortunate twist of the tongue, tells the entire congregation that we will now adjourn to Willamette Park to “cast our semen into the river”.

It is entirely possible that one cannot do enough Kegels to avoid urinating all over the dais chair at a moment such as that one.

You’d think that experience would be motivation enough to squeeze and relax, squeeze and relax, squeeze and relax every day, but – you have to agree with me – it’s really hard to remember to do those Kegels. For one thing, I guess I don’t pay much attention to my pelvis unless there’s something noteworthy or alarming happening down there, like a brush fire or an orgasm. Plus, I tend to make a little grimace – scrunching up an eye and sticking out my bottom teeth and shit – while Kegeling so I can’t really do it in public. And even if I could keep a poker face at the same time I was squeezing my kegel maker, I’ll tell you what I absolutely cannot do: maintain a conversation at the same time.

I was at Safeway a few weeks ago, at the end of a long checkout line, when I suddenly realized it has been weeks since I’ve done my kegels so I figured why not, and proceeded to do it right then and there. I started off doing pretty well, got up to 11, 12, 13….and then someone from my parenting class got in line behind me and wanted to chat.

Thinking about it now, I should have just stopped squeezing but I was on a roll and wanted to make it to 25. Plus, if you stop squeezing your pelvis every time someone tries to chat with you in line at the supermarket, you will never get the job done. So I smiled and schmoozed with this nice mom, trying to maintain and isolate, but after a few seconds, something had to give. I finally just stopped talking altogether and fully devoted myself to the  grunts and facial tics that complemented the work I was doing inside my pants until I got to 25. I probably looked like some wild animal trapped inside Safeway, pacing in circles, lifting its tail, grunting, desperately looking for a place to poop.

So, here’s the new plan: every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10-11AM we will text each other and remind one another to do 25 Kegels. Tweet it to your friends. Fill the airwaves with our chatter and our grunting. Join me, Pelvic America, in keeping our (pelvic) borders strong and secure.

I am Dr. Strangemom and I approved this message.


Why I Will Go To Hell

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

I am in the worst mood today and I took it out on the nice barrista at Starbucks.

Remind me to be nice to him next time I go there. Or at least, remind me to feel bad every time I drive by. Because, as I’ve always told my children, “the important thing is that you feel bad.”

I know he didn’t deserve my bitchiness this morning but he was just bugging me. He had this ridiculous smile where his jaw kinda jutted out a little bit. How can you not hate a person like that? And I think his name was Brian or Sheldon or something upbeat. So fuck him.

Robin and I were in there getting coffee. I was already in kind of a shitty mood because it was a gorgeous autumn day and Robin was being so sweet to me. You see my point.

So this barrista person greets us with his stupid jutted-out jaw smile and says, “are you folks enjoying this beautiful day?” God, I almost bitch slapped him right there and then. First of all, fucking George W Bush ruined the word “folks” for me in the same way that Palin poisoned the word “maverick”, which was one of my top ten favorite words before that douchebag came on the scene. This is a constant source of aggravation for me because there are so many times I want to use the word “maverick” to describe, well, me, and now I can’t.

AAAAIIEEE, God, now I hate that barrista even more. I have no idea why that is, but it’s true. Such is the vitriolic power of the reactionary right to me. Robin gave me his order and went to wait in the car. He knows when to bail.

“Do you have anything FANTASTIC planned for this beautiful afternoon?” says Happy Barrista, presenting his smiley jaw to me as if it were a red-hot monkey’s butt in estrous.

I attempted to mold my mouth into a facsimile of a smile, averted his gaze, and nodded no.

Now, if someone gave me that social cue, I would totally get that they wanted space. So would you. There are some primal rules of the jungle that is Sunday morning at Starbucks, and Mr. Isn’t-It-A-Beautiful-Day better just fucking well get to learning them.

“Really?” he exclaims, “Nothing fun AT ALL? That’s not good!”

Oh my God. What the hell are they teaching them over at Starbucks University? Wasn’t there even one day when the supervisor spent time talking about how to talk to customers? Although, come to think of it, I’ve never been assaulted with that kind of shock and awe cheer by any other barristas so I’m thinking that maybe the problem wasn’t in the training. Maybe BrianSheldon’s mother took a few too many Paxils in her first trimester.

“Nuthin’ much planned,” I managed to mumble. Suddenly, the pastries were beginning to look really good. Suddenly, I needed either a pumpkin scone or a cig or I was gonna blow. There was a whiny toddler behind me. I considered pushing him, just to take the edge off.

“No way! You gotta do something GREAT today!”

I didn’t even look at him. I made myself very busy studying the zipper on my wallet.

“Tell you what,” he says, “how about a coffee on the house?”

A conundrum. Take the freebie and be responsible for a change of attitude or reject the freebie and possibly draw more attention to myself when all I wanted to do was get my fucking coffee, get back into the car and enjoy my shitty mood? Sophie’s Choice, to be sure.

“Sure. Thanks.” I said.

“And how about a muffin? On the house!”

I was beginning to feel a bit more kindly towards him. Maybe the jaw thing was a birth defect. Unfixable.

“OKAY, then! Let’s get our HAPPY on!”

Never mind. He must die.

I slunk into a corner and waited for my drink. All around me, Starbucks life went on, oblivious to my pissy melancholia. Lattes were made, espressos were returned because they were not hot enough, muffins were chosen and reconsidered, sugar free hazelnut syrup was added, refills were given. The after-church crowd arrived brimming with fellowship, the neighborhood skaters left for the skatepark, the serious runners took the outside tables and stretched their calves in the sun, the young dads with their backpacked babies ordered sugar free nonfat mochas – to bring home to their wives, no doubt, in the hopes of earning points for afternoon sex while the baby napped – and climbed manfully into their minivans. Sons of Anarchy, suburb style. Born to be mild.

I added a splash of half and half to my coffee and walked to the door. A young kid held it open for me. I decided to try to be a better person, at least to not be such a bitch to Robin.

“Look,” I said to him, when I got to the car, “I got a freebie coffee for being in a shitty mood. And a muffin.”

Robin checked out my lucre. “Where’s my coffee?” he asked.

He went back into Starbucks while I ate my muffin in the car. I know I should have gone in, but I just didn’t want to.

The important thing is that I feel bad about it.


Where I Did Not Like His Penis

December 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

I often scribble ideas for the blog on backs of envelopes and odd scraps of paper. I rarely remember where I put them or even that I have them. Still, I can’t stop. I am addicted to lists; making lists is my number three hobby, third only to looking for them and not finding them.

So you can imagine my delight the other day when an old, scribbled-on envelope fell out of my wallet at the dry cleaners, upon which were written scads of hilarious ideas. How lucky was that to find it at my local dry cleaners because I had a built-in audience on whom to try out my potential new material.

In big, black Sharpie marker I had written the title, “WHERE I DID NOT LIKE HIS PENIS”.

Two customers immediately left the place without their dry cleaning.

Now, personally, I think this might be the greatest title EVER for ANYTHING. The problem is, I have no recollection of what I intended to do with it. My notes are copious and in ink, which tells me I put a lot of time into writing them, and they are written in Dr. Seuss form, which tells me that I had been drinking.

Oh, wait. Drinking. Drinking…I’ve got it! I was at my sister’s place and all she had to offer us in way of beverages was pink lemonade and rum. Karen and her husband live about an hour from the nearest grocery store so, in the pioneer spirit that blazed the Oregon trails, we made do, and Old Rumaids became the cocktail of the weekend.

I think it was on a hike around their land one afternoon that the whole concept of “Where I Did Not Like His Penis” came to me. I’m pretty sure of that, come to think of it, because it was such a damn funny title that I had to hold on to an old Madrone tree just to keep from tipping over and spilling my drink. Luckily, I had Karen with me to confirm that, indeed, this was the most awesome, most hilarious title ever. She was on her third Old Rumaid.

Robin and Craig had sprinted off ahead of us, on the lookout for elk, ready to protect their women from the frequently-spotted beasts resting in the tall grasses. Robin and Craig, who had also been drinking, were seriously into their mission, noses high in the air to catch the scent of the elks (who, I imagine, had their own noses high in the air, saying to each other, “what the fuck are they drinking NOW, lemonade and rum? Great. Can’t wait to smell that again when the old guys pee off the balcony tonight”), moving stealthfully (save for the burping and farting) along the path and pointing out elk tracks by way of wild gesticulating to us to stop laughing so loudly lest we disturb the delicate harmonic convergence of the forest with our screaming such bon mots as, “I did not like it in my anus; Lord, I found that really heinous” and high-five-ing each other on our collective sisterly comedic brilliance.

Really, once you’ve experienced drunk hiking, there is no reason to hike any other way. No reason at all.

So, I am going to study these notes and see what I intended to say about where I did not like his penis. With a title as awesome as this one, the plot can really go pretty much anywhere.


In Which I Take On Self Help. And Forfeit.

November 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family

By: Ann Brown

People say it’s time I think about getting a new dog.

But what I am thinking about is whether or not I should get one of those Brazilian blowouts for my hair.

One of those things will cost me nothing and the other will take me seven months to pay off if I give up Xanax and live on government cheese. One of those things will fill my life with joy, reminding me with each new sunrise that we are on this earth to love, and the other thing is a dog.

I used to have bitchin’ hair –long, thick, straight, black. Now, as a result of my menopausal dye-resistant pubic hair transplant, those days are long gone. And since the old boobs are not capable of sitting up on their own anymore, much less able to distract from my stupid hair without, I don’t know, setting themselves afire, the entirety of my appeal has been placed on the drooping shoulders of my personality.

Yup. My personality.

Well. This is an awkward silence.

It’s such unfortunate timing. Just when my looks are dangerously waning, I have very little energy or motivation to work on my personality anymore. I just don’t have the joie de vivre for it. Or the shoes.

I saw a photo of a pair of shoes Claire wore to her birthday cocktail party. Just looking at them gave me a bone spur. Claire, clearly, is making the most of her life- sparkling personality, come hither shoes, cocktail parties. Oh, and she got the Brazilian blowout. It is a miracle she and I are even friends, what with her will to live and all.

I am just not cut out for a sparkling personality anymore. Even cultivating a bad personality seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Think about the people you know who have really awful personalities. They are always running around. Going to Cabo. Elbowing their way to the front of the line at Kohl’s. Shooting their best friend in the face on a hunting trip. They are busy busy busy. That sort of lifestyle is not for me.

And, frankly, I am tired of working on my shit. I don’t even know if I’ve made any leeway. I mean, I still wring my hands when everyone I know is not within my eyesight; I still only pretend to eat food that other people make and bring to my house; I still have to keep making new plane reservations until the six-letter code they give me forms an anagram of good harbinger; and my issue with gagging and barfing has only gotten worse.

In fact, just typing the word “gagging” is making me nauseous.

This is progress? What the hell am I paying a therapist for? Better I should get the hair thing.

I feel relatively certain that having good hair will take me a long way towards cultivating a better personality. With good hair, one feels a sort of noblesse oblige to be a good person, don’t you think? I bet you can’t even be a bad person if you have the Dorothy Hamil wedge. Did you ever see a Nazi with the wedge (or even a wedgie)? I rest my case.

When I met Robin in college he was rockin’ the Hebro – you know, the Jewish Afro. His hair probably stretched out about a foot and a half all around his head, and then it met his beard for the other half, making a perfect lion’s mane. He could hide joints in his coif. Fuck, he could hide an entire plant and grow light system in there, if he wanted to. I actually did find a Corn Nut in there once.

In the ensuing thirty years, Robin’s hair has only gotten more and more awesome. Salt and pepper, thick, shiny, and a shitload of it, while my hair has reclaimed its pubic heritage and sits atop my head scaring babies and fucking with the pull of the tides. Robin’s allure and cache can ride on his headful of hair for a few more years at least. For me, it’s slimpickin’s.

I suppose I could craft a new, low maintenance personality around my 1820 Pathwords score.


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