Thursday, January 06, 2005

Why Am I Single? Let Me Count The Ways

The Animal Farm

Girl, It's a hard, hard world, if it gets you down
Dreams often fade and die in a bad, bad world
I'll take you where real animals are playing
And people are real people not just playing
It's a quiet, quiet life
By a dirty old shack
That we called our home
I want to be back there
Among the cats and dogs
And the pigs and the goats
On Animal Farm
My animal home
On Animal Farm
My animal home
On Animal Farm
Animal Farm
- The Kinks


There I was, living with my best friend. My roommate who was like a sister to me after five years of living in each other's back pockets, crying about boyfriends together, helping each other out. You know the drill.

Lisa, my dear friend, had met Jimbo (snaggle tooth) several weeks earlier and began dating him. You remember the guy I mentioned whom I thought was an asshole the first time I met him? (Pausing here and wondering if my continued reference to men that piss me off as "assholes" is a part of my singleness? I will have to consider that for later.)

Shortly into this dating scenario, Lisa's little Escort started shooting the craps. Her dad offered to give her his Dodge Dakota, but she had to drive out and pick it up. We rented a Ford Taurus and planned to drive out, non-stop since we couldn't afford to be gone that long. We invited our friend Wendy (later referred to as Amazon Wendy because she was so tall as opposed to our other friend, British Wendy), or, I should say that Wendy invited herself. She could be like that.

"I wanna go, I wanna go!"

"Are you sure? It's no place spectacular. Just a little podunk town in Illinois." Lisa's dad was a sheep farmer, herder, rancher. Whatever the right term is. He lived in the back and beyond on a gravel road where all the farms were white clapboard, two story houses with white clapboard barns and a silo. The roads were unmarked and, if you weren't raised around there, you could easily be lost and drive around for days because all the farms looked the same, smelled the same and had the same guy on a John Deere tractor driving in the field.

"Yes. It will be fun!" Wendy, if I failed to mention this, was from the Main Line in Philly. A trip to Podunkville probably did sound like a new and exciting adventure to her. Wendy’s real name was "Bronwyn", her family of Welsh heritage with Spanish somewhere way back when the Armada broke apart in the north sea and threw some of the Spaniards on the shores, where they stayed and married. The Spanish heritage was apparent in Wendy’s olive toned skin and thick black hair.

If you know nothing else about Philly, the Main Line was home to the "old families" with "old money" or at least once had "old money". Of course, the people with "new money" often bought homes there. I know you think this is only in books or movies, but the "old money" people really did look down their noses at the "new money" folks and called them "noveau riche", with just that slight patrician tone that indicates they had just found something slimy and smelly on the bottom of their shoe.

Wendy's family were "barely have any old money left", but were fairly comfortable with their income as a professor and a lawyer. They lived in one of the "lesser" homes on the line. You know, the kind that only had five bedrooms and six bathrooms, a study, a den, a family room, a living room or parlor, a rec room, a small in ground pool, a formal dining room, a breakfast nook, kitchen, pantry and a little room they used as a sowing room that I was sure once housed the "house keeper" and had it’s own little bathroom as well? Let's not forget the detached three-car garage.

Not that her family exactly looked "down" on people, but I am quite sure we did not fit the ideal frame for a friend of their daughter. Particularly as Wendy met us while "slumming" at the Rose when it was still standing. She wanted to do that "cowboy" thing.

I recall meeting Wendy's parents for the first time. The time I discovered they lived on the Main Line. The time I was dressed in my best pressed jeans, starched with a crease down the middle, my brushed poplar western shirt with a patriotic theme of stars and stripes, also starched within an inch of it's life, shiny black ropers, big silver buckle and a Stetson. We were on our way to the rodeo and Wendy insisted that she needed to stop by and drop something off to her mom and I should come and meet them. They'd love me.

Uh-huh. Like Cleopatra loved the asp that she clutched to her breast. Like people love that ugly, kitschy little porcelain dog they keep on the desk because aunt Philomena gave it to them and she's old and senile, you know. Like people love that Picasso with the woman that seems to be cut into pieces and then put back together again. The one that everyone talks about defining "Picasso" and the wonderment of his art (the one that I think says "misogynist who would like to cut his mother up") even though most of the sane world thinks it's ugly and their five year old child could have produced it.

Okay, okay. I think you get the picture. She, Wendy, gave me directions to her parents house. I am driving my very beat, 1981 Nissan toy truck. The truck I will explain about later, in more detail. Suffice it to say that, the afore-mentioned clothes I was wearing, along with the Stetson, was worth more than the rust-o-matic on wheels. You can see where my priorities were.

And, yes, I was very "country" by then. I was more country than when I had left my home state and traveled to Pennsylvania. As a matter of fact, the longer I lived there, the more I regressed to "my roots". Of course, I was playing a part. Everyone thought that the girl from Kansas should be a hick, so I dressed the part and lived the part, including following the rodeo, dancing, playing guitar, saying "ya'll" and generally putting on the show of my life. It was kind of fun when I shocked the crap out of people with my radio blasting Beethoven, singing a selection from La Boheme or quoting Plato while dressed to the nines in my cowboy kit. People are so predictable in their stereotyping of others.

Me, too, which is why, when we pulled up to Wendy's parents' house, I nearly shit a brick. My friend, slightly ditzy, sometimes brainy, tall, gorgeous (as in she modeled for awhile, much to the dismay of her family), insecure, go for the biggest bums that hit on her, was from the Main Line with brilliant parents, who had brilliant careers and expected their two daughters to imitate their brilliant lives. Obviously, one of them had decided to rebel.

When we drove up to the house and parked in the driveway, I kept looking in the rearview mirror, expecting the local police to pull up, followed closely by an enclosed tow truck that would haul my piece of rusty crap away, just for the audacity of appearing in the neighborhood. The tow truck would be enclosed so my vehicle would not inflict further damage on the psyche of the offended residents.

I was looking up and down the block at all the homes with what must be the same look little orphan Annie had the first time she entered Daddy Warbuck's place. Mouth slightly open, eyes glazed and ears with a strange buzzing that sounded strangely like my friend Wendy asking me to come in with her for a minute and meet her parents. Assuring me once again that they would "love me". It was at that point that I started to get the feeling my friend wanted to either a) throw her redneck friend into her parents face as part of her ongoing rebellion, or, b) show off her newest acquisition, me, and exclaim over how "adorable" I was in my cowgirl get up. Maybe, c) all of the above. Then again, maybe it was my own insecurity and paranoia showing.

Whatever, I felt rather uncomfortable as we strolled up to the house and Wendy just went in without knocking. She introduced me, "This is my friend, Kansas. Kansas, these are my parents, blank and blank." I remember the look on their faces to this day. They were sitting in two wing chairs in the den, decorated in early Americana and colonial antiques. Mrs. Blank apparently preparing for her next day's class, looked up and froze, mouth slightly open in preparation of greeting. Mr. Blank was reading the newspaper, which was half folded over in his hands, slightly in front of his face. His reading glasses halfway down his nose. He had just looked up from his paper and he set frozen for about 10 seconds, gazing at me above his glasses.

I do believe they were shocked to see a cowgirl standing in their den, full of antiques, in Philly, on the Main Line. Not something you see everyday. Of course, maybe it was their daughter in all her borrowed finery, closely resembling this strange bird from Kansas?

Fortunately, my parents had instilled some manners on us heathens and I went forward to shake their hands, "Mr. Blank. Mrs. Blank. It's very nice to meet you. Wendy has told me so much about you," liar, liar, liar, is going through my mind while I shoot Wendy looks out of the corners of my eyes that say, "Lucy...you got some 'splaining to do." After which, Wendy suddenly recalls that she needed this thing out of her old room and promptly leaves me in the den with her parents.

It was at that moment that I think I felt exactly the way I felt the first time I met my boyfriends' parents. Like I was being weighed and measured. They offered me a seat on the sofa where I sat for what seemed an eternity in silence until my eyes alighted on an antique bread toaster hanging near the fire place. The kind you put bread in and then turn it over an open fire to toast. Fortunately, I have a small clue about colonial and federal period antiques as I had devoured an enormous number of books set in that period, just enough to know that that funky thing by the fireplace is a bread toaster. Not that I knew a whole hell of a lot more. I struck up a conversation about antiques and where Mrs. Blank found that lovely item. Mr. Blank joins in a few times with added comment about acquiring other items. They discover that I am not a troglodyte with hay growing out of my ears about to convince their daughter to move to the Midwest and marry a pig farmer cousin of mine.

At least, I had learned by then the wise axiom my grandmother had taught me, “A wise man says nothing and lets people think he’s a fool and a foolish man opens his mouth and proves it.” Following this line of thought, once I opened the conversation with my “Oh, is that a bread toaster?” remark, I was smart enough to just nod my head, murmur politely and ask things like, “where did you acquire that?” Or, “oh, I bet that was an exciting find.” And they were quite happy to fill in the rest of the time until Wendy trudged her ass back down to the den. Alls well.

Until we get in the truck and I wring a peel over "Bronwyn's" (they insisted on calling her that) head for not giving me even the slightest heads up. Then again, I think she really took it for granted. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when we left.

So, where was I? Oh yes, the trip to get the truck. Now, it’s Lisa, Wendy and I, to travel across the country and spend some “girl time” when, at the last minute, Lisa informs me that she has invited snaggle tooth to join us on our sixteen hour trip into the hinterlands of Illinois.

“What?” I was really surprised. Yes, they’d been dating for several weeks, but I was pretty sure it was not time to take him home to meet Daddy. At least, I prayed that she was not planning such an escapade. On the other hand, it could be damned amusing since I had formed a rather low opinion of the fellow and was sure her family was going to form an even lower one. Maybe she’d see the light?

Nah..”Yes, I told Jim we’d be gone for a few days and he wants to come with. Besides, it will be good to have a man along, just in case.”

“Why yes, Lisa,” I wanted to say, “it would be good to have a man a long, so you tell snaggle tooth to stay home while I find us one.”

Of course, I didn’t say that. What good would it have done me anyway? She would just roll her eyes and say, “Kansas”, in that admonishing tone.

Okay, you must be wondering why it was that I disliked the guy besides the hat incident in the beginning and the lack of money and the bumming or mooching off of everyone else (as if that wasn’t enough to paint a big “L” on his forehead – loser). There are multiple things at the end of Lisa and my association as room mates (we never ended our friendship) that give me that opinion, but it was the beginning of the relationship that had me grinding my teeth and wishing I could slap Lisa at least twenty times to bring her out of her sugary sweet, shit sandwhich dream where she magically changed ol’ snaggle tooth into a knight in shining armor in her mind.

The knight was incredibly tarnished. I mean, I don’t know how he moved around his freaking armor was rusted so badly.

We were talking, as girls always do, about the men we were dating. I was still, sort of, seeing Joe the Fireman. We were still “friends” though he seemed to desperately want more. The more he wanted, the more I became afraid because I thought that it would be so easy to fall for him. But, as I mentioned before, my heart was not yet ready. Lisa, on the other hand, was raring to go. She was two years older than me and was in the place that I would later come to know as the “biological clock world” where she worried that she was getting older and not settling down.

I recall the words of another wise man and an equally wise woman who cautioned against “settling” for something less just because. If only others would listen. Then again, where would the state of marriage be?

On this particular evening, Lisa was telling me about the things that she and Jimbo talked about. He told her his dreams. His dream of someday owning a little farm with some animals, a wife and two point five children. Maybe a dog or two. Of course, I was wondering how he planned to achieve this dream since he seemed chronically unemployed and rather uninterested in alleviating the problem. Remember I said he was a farrier? Well, it turns out he was an “apprentice” farrier and didn’t get that many jobs. He also didn’t go out and seek too many jobs, mostly because he spent his nights drinking at the expense of his friends and was too hung over to do anything about it. This offense seemed particularly egregious as he was 29, well past the age when drinking and partying could be considered acceptable number one past times and well into the age where he should have had some idea what he was going to be when he grew up.

He was also living, for free, with his friend who was married and had a pregnant wife. His friend was also just barely respectable as he was the one that was hitting on all the girls at the club the first night we met them. It was later I discovered he was married and, retrospectively, his behavior began to disgust me.

Of course, Lisa told me other things. For instance, Jimbo did not have a car and had to be picked up from the back and beyond of Jersey if she wanted him to come and visit. He had no car and he had no license. The car had been totaled after he wrecked it while driving under the influence. His first offense for which he paid a large fine and had his license suspended. His second offense, as I was to discover, was driving while high. Upon search of his vehicle, the state trooper discovered and eight ball of cocaine in the truck. He did some time, paid a fine and had his license voided for something like three years. This was before mandatory sentencing was in place.

So, there he was, no license, no vehicle, no prospects and telling my friend his dream. She wanted to believe it so badly and did not take into account that sometimes dreamers are only ever that: dreamers. Hitching your wagon to a chronic dreamer takes a special kind of person.

Jimbo swore that he was clean now, but I couldn’t help but begin to judge some of his behavior over our acquaintance and they began to look eerily similar to my first roommate. Glazed eyes, either sluggish or animated above normal. I asked Lisa if she was sure and she gave me a hard time about being so prejudicial. By then, I had learned some very hard lessons about people, facades and the things they hid. My Midwestern naivety and belief in the general good of people had taken some serious hits in the big city. I took little for granted and my expectations had become one of “wait and see how they will be” before I gave them the benefit of my friendship and understanding.

Jim pushed the limits.

Slightly older now, I recognize some of my animosity was jealousy because he was an interloper in the little world I had built and enjoyed. The other part was about love. I loved my friend like a sister. The one I didn’t have growing up. I also felt protective of her because, even though we came from similar backgrounds and she had lived longer in the city, she did not seem to have lost some of her genuine naivety and belief in the good of all people. Since I’d known her, she had been taken advantage of several times for her good heart and I just couldn’t see that happening again.

Jimbo, with all his attendant failings seemed like the next one to do it. Again, slightly older now, I know that you cannot change people, you can’t change their minds and, sometimes, you can’t save them from themselves. People will always do what they want even if that means they might get hurt someday. Those with blind faith in mankind are the most vulnerable.

She then told me that, technically, he was still married. Of course, after the Tally and Jason fiasco, I flipped a lid.

“What the hell do you mean he’s still married?” We were standing in the living room of our apartment.

“Kansas, they’ve been separated for two years now,” she was eyeballing me like a native eyeballs the local volcano that’s been making strange rumbling noises. Trepidation was the word. I don’t think she wanted to tell me because she knew how I would react. On the other hand, we only had each other to talk to so maybe she just needed to voice her own concerns?

“What? He can’t get a freaking divorce? Does he have kids? Where does she live?” I wanted to know because “separation” could be such a weak term and children meant something else.

“No, no children and she lives in Philly.” She was starting to sound a little defiant as if she was already preparing her arguments for someone else.

“Why hasn’t he gotten a divorce?” I was not letting that one go.

“He needs about a thousand dollars to do it and he hasn’t had it with one thing or the other.” I think she was sorry that she had mentioned it by now.

“Yeah, like the lack of a real job for the last year and a half. What are his plans anyway?” Yes, I was sounding like somebody’s parent, but, so far away from home, I thought somebody needed to have their priorities straight. Hooking up with a dream was a good way to get your heart smashed and end up in penury.

“He said he’s going to start looking around for construction jobs since that’s the other thing he knows how to do. He wants to stay up here and find one close by.” At this point, I had an inkling that he was already pressing her to move in. I really couldn’t say anything since Carlos the Heartbreaker had lived with us, but he had at least had a job, his own place to go to and contributed to the bills and food. Jimbo on the other hand…

“Well, I think it’s a little hard to do while he’s sitting in our chair, flipping our remote control for hours on end, drinking up our beer and eating twinkies all day.” Yes, that was my other complaint. He had already stayed up in Philly with us for a week and everyday we came home, he was sitting there, with the remote, several empty beer cans, twinkie wrappers and other plastic wrappers thrown casually on the ground at his feet, with another beer can on the arm of our chair, full of spit and a full ash tray of cigarettes, generously supplied by my roommate. He was a mooch, a slob and chronically unemployed. He was the epitome of the worst loser redneck you could find on the sitcoms, barring a pair of greasy overalls and stained undershirt.

At this point in our conversation, the chronic twinkie eating and strange smell in our apartment came together in a bang for me, “And, you know how I feel about drugs. Any drugs. Tell him if he’s going to toke, he needs to go someplace else. I also do not want to see or find any stashes or paraphernalia sitting around. He wants to do that, he needs to keep it someplace else.”

“He needs a job and the only jobs are up here.” We were back to that again. She had her arms crossed and her bottom lip was kind of pouting.

I knew exactly where this was going, “Lisa, I’m not going to tell you he can’t stay here. You pay half the rent, but don’t you think it’s only fair that he contribute something to the bills, food and other upkeep around here? Or, are you planning to pay for his part?”

“If I have to, I’ll pay two thirds of the bills. But Jim said he’ll get a job and help out.” Dreamers always dream.

“Fine. As long as I’m not paying for his beer and twinkies, I don’t care.” This was pretty much the first major “discussion” Lisa and I had ever had, even concerning boyfriends.

A week later, after having indicated that she wanted to have Jimbo move in, she was proposing that he take the trip with us to Illinois and, ostensibly, meet her dad and step mom. That was just great.

The next day, we jump in the rental car, Lisa driving the first part out of the city, with Jim in the passenger seat, Wendy and I in the back. It wasn’t actually a bad trip. We did have some fun and several humorous occasions.

In particular, as we drove through Ohio with nothing much to see but rolling hills and farms along the highway, we were all quiet and listening to the radio, when Wendy turns to me, out of the blue and says, “Pull my finger,” sticking her right hand out to me, index finger extended.

“What did you say?” The chic from the Main Line was asking me to pull her finger. “Babe, you wanna fart, just roll down the window. No need to get me involved.”

“Kansas, I can’t believe you said “fart”!” The chic from the Main Line who just asked me to pull her finger was embarrassed I said, “fart”?

“I can’t believe you asked me to pull your finger. Wait until the next time we’re at the club and your getting hit on by a really cute guy. I think the first words out of my mouth are going to be, “Wendy, show him your “pull the finger” trick.” I was trying hard not to laugh.

“You will not.” Now she was worried.

“Don’t bet on it, babe.” The look on her face was priceless.

We got to her dad’s place. We weren’t even staying the night. Just grabbing the truck and running, but her dad asked if we wanted to see the new lambs. Wendy got all excited and was almost jumping up and down in her little strappy sandals, “Yes, yes. I want to see the lambies!”

Lisa and I were rolling our eyes and Jimbo was standing back trying to act cool like he was the farm boy of farm boys (in reality, he was from Florida and his little foray into farrier apprenticeship had been his closest thing to farming or ranching). So we traipsed out to the lambing shed while Lisa’s dad explained that he had over 200 new lambs, almost all twins. Wendy was staring down at the ground and walking gingerly.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“What are these little blackberry thingies?” She said as she squished a few more with her sandals.

“Blackberries?” I started looking around for a berry tree.

“Yeah, these berries on the ground.” And she squished some more which made me focus on what she was doing.

“Uh…Wendy, those aren’t berries.” I was trying not to laugh.

“They aren’t? What are they?” She bent down a little as if to take a closer look.

I couldn’t hold it in anymore and started laughing my ass off, “Babe, that’s sheep shit.”

“What?” She jerked back up as if the sheep shit might jump up and smack her in the face and then started tiptoeing trying to miss the one “berry” per square inch of yard.

Now I was really laughing. We had warned her in the car that she might want to change her shoes, but she insisted that the sandals were, like, soooo comfortable. Lisa and I were wearing boots. I guess we hadn’t been explicit enough about the kind of literal crap you might come across on a sheep farm.

We finally made it to the lambing barn and Lisa’s dad started proudly showing us all the twin birth lambs he’d had that year. The barn had a nearly over powering odor. If you’ve ever been on any type of farm or ranch that specializes in certain animals, you’d know that Cows, pigs, chickens and sheep have their own eu’ de vie. I think pigs are the worst, but sheep are right up there. Nasty, sickly sweet smell mixed in with wet wool. Nice.

As we toured the shed, Mr. F was patiently answering Wendy’s questions about how to tell if one of the sheep was a ewe or if one was a ram and how often did they give birth, etc. Wendy finally noticed that several of the sheep have big orange “C’s” on their wooly sides and asks what it is for.

“Oh, those are the ones that haven’t had twin lamb births in two years.” Mr. F explains.

“Oh. Are you going to do something with them?” I’m sure Wendy’s thoughts were like those about horses. The poor old sheep would be put to pasture somewhere, like Little Bo Peeps old sheep from a fairy tale.

“Yes. They will be culled out of the heard.” We were now standing at the front of the shed staring down at a pen with a ewe and two lambs.

“Culled?” I knew what he meant and I could see it coming from a mile away. Wendy’s first illusion about genteel farm life where the chickens gladly give up their eggs, while they sing little happy songs and knit little chick bootees, the cows stand placidly by while they are milked by round faced milkmaids, the sheep love to be shorn like getting a massage and they all live together, forever, with the nice farmer and his round wife like one big happy extended family, was about to be shattered into tiny pieces.

“Yes. She’ll be going to the butcher next week for mutton after her last sheering.” Mr. F had no idea he was admitting to sheep murder.

“Oh my God! Can’t you just keep her? Look at those big black eyes. She looks like she already knows she’s going to die.” I am not shitting you. I think Wendy thought that the mutton she had once a month at her parents’ house magically appeared from a mutton generator in the star portal.

Mr. F for his part was confused because he was a sheepherder after all and these things were common, “Keep her? No, if they can’t produce twins for two years in a row, no use keeping them. They just eat your feed and you don’t get anything out of it. Time to go to the butcher.”

Wendy was becoming traumatized by her visit to the farm. She still had a stunned look on her face when she glanced down and noticed that the ewe in the pen we were standing by had started to kick at and butt one of the little lambs trying to take suck. She reached out her hand and started shooing the ewe away, “Stop that, stop that!”

I can’t lie. I was enjoying Wendy’s shock a little. I know that’s mean, but she was always trying to present such a world-weary façade and she was actually pretty naïve about some things, particularly about how the real world operated. “Wendy,” I smothered a laugh, “what are you? The sheep social worker?”

“She’s hurting the lamb!” She nearly wailed.

I could see Mr. F’s distress at her distress. He bent down quickly and picked up the little lamb, “Do you want to hold it?”

“Can I?” Like a kid with a new toy.

“Sure.” He handed the little lamb to her, stinky coat, sheep shit hooves and all.

“Why was she being so mean to the lamb?” She asked, struggling to hold the lamb and not be disgusted.

“It’s not hers.” Mr. F explained. “This lambs mother died so I was trying to get the ewe to suckle it.”

“Ohhhh. That’s terrible. But you said that they always have twins. Where’s her other lamb at?” Indicating the mean sheep in the pen.

Without skipping a beat, Mr. F replied, “Over in that sack there.” He pointed to a burlap bag lying by the shed wall.

“What?” Shattering illusion two, fire for effect.

“Well it died and I needed the ewe to suckle this one so it would live. Ewes know their lambs by smell. So, what we do is cut the sheepskin off the dead lamb and rub it on this one so it will smell like the other lamb and she’ll think it’s hers. Obviously it’s not working. I’ll have to bottle feed it through the night if I want it to live.” He was so matter of fact.

Obviously, the reason that the lamb smelled so bad was that it had dead lamb all over it. Wendy looked like she was about to have seizures and started holding the little lamb away from her as if she was touching a dead thing. Mr. F looked confused. Lisa was trying to get her dad’s attention so he’d stop giving our friend reality checks. I was laughing and finally reached over to get the lamb before she dropped it.

Lisa finally got her dad’s attention and he cleared his throat, “Ahem. Why don’t we all go in and wash our hands. Mrs. F’s got some chicken and stuff ready to eat.” Thank the lord he didn’t have any of those.

I handed the lamb back to Mr. F and he carried it with him to the house to a special pen he had inside just to take care of lambs.

Wendy was still in shock and we lagged behind a bit while she exclaimed over the cruelty of sheep farming, “Oh my God, Kansas. I can’t believe he’s going to kill that sheep just because it didn’t have twins. And that poor little motherless lamb. What happens if that ewe doesn’t start feeding it?”

“Well, Wendy, lamb chops probably.” Okay, I was mean, but it was fun to poke at her a bit.

“Lamb chops?” Shattering illusion three, fire for effect.

“Yeah, you know, with a little mint jelly on the side and a sprig on top? Like you had last week?” Cruel, cruel world.

“Eeeew. That is so gross. I’m never eating lamb chops again.”

There ya’ go. One carnivore down, 299, 999, 999 to go.

Nothing like a little dose of close up reality to cure your illusions. Now, if that only worked with people and their relationships. We could take them to the human farm and show them how all the people kicked and head butted each other, randomly killing their relationships over nothing more than a good roll in the hay. We could point them out to the others, “Look over there. See that one with the droopy mustache? Watch as he goes over to that female human, gets her pregnant, wrecks her life, steals her money and cheats on her.”

“No way! He’s kind of cute in that sad hound dog kind of way. Why would he do it?”

“Don’t know. Human instinct I guess. I think he ought to be culled from the herd.”

“Kansas, you cannot cull that man from the herd. It’s illegal.”

“Who says I can’t? It’s my illusion after all. Maybe I could just brand him with a big orange “A” on his forehead so everyone will know to steer clear of him.”

“An “A”? Why an “A”?”

“As in “Asshole”, “Abcess”, “Amoebae”, take your pick.”

“Kansas…”

Yeah, if only it were that easy.


7 comments:

Jason Rubenstein said...

Ha!! I like it. "A"moeba for the men; "L"eech for the women ;-)

riceburner147 said...

Kat: have you copyrighted your writing (esp the single stuff ?). Also, i am curious how you see the book will be constructed. Will it be mostly advice "culled" from stories or straight advice, or both ? Whatever form it takes, put my early order in for a signed copy.

Kat said...

Rice...no, I haven't copyrighted it through an official means. What I need to do is go back and add something at the bottom of these pages that says (c) 2004 with my name on it.

That's the "unofficial" copyright (but completely legal and will stand up in court, plus I have you all as witnesses, so anyone tries to rip it off is going to be in big trouble.)

I see it as each section being like a short story within a story with each one having it's own lesson or providing the filler (ie, how we got here from there) with an occassional "why do we do the stupid things we do" advice section.

what ya think?

peterC said...

Maybe it's just my mood, but I think this the funniest chapter. And that meeting Wndy's parents was so well writen, esp Kat's outfit, I had a clear image of it!
Well done.
Kat, your understanding of copyright is correct. Artists and authors have copyright in their works under Common Law systems (which apply in US), but I suggest you subscribe the copyright warning usually found just after any book's flyleaf. (I am a lawyer btw)

peterC said...

I have now seen "The Human Animal" series, which I found at the local library. Cerainly worth watching.
Co-incidentally, Desmond Morris's recent interview by the BBC can be heard here The internal filmed item there mentioned in the interview is on the second video tape of "The Human Animal" - astounding!
BTW, those the link is to the BBC archive; I think they overwrite it with the next "Interview" - so you might need to hear it in the next few days. Oh, he say's the video of "The Naked Ape" is poor - just in case you see it at the library.
Kat, if you use your A word in a male's presence, he might get the (erroneous?) impression you think he's one. Of course, we know you better; you'd tell him straight up! :)

Kat said...

Peter, thanks for the advice. I'll look it up and add the copyright info ASAP.

Glad you enjoyed this post. Wendy was such a contradiction. Gorgeous and completely insecure about it at the same time. Brilliant in school (she went back to college during our association) but completely ditzy when it came to people and real life. Nice, do anything for you but pretty darn selfish sometimes. Her insecurity killed a number of relationships.

Her parents were actually very nice people after they got to know me:)

Michael_the_Archangel said...

The writing ... ahem ... glad you all like MY writing. Granted, it was difficult to write it from a female point of view - however, I did manage to get in touch with my feminine side, found out she's a bitch. Okay, old joke - again, great writing Kat and I agree, not only do you need to copyright it but start thinking long term towards a book.