Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Chronic

I’m currently dealing with chronic pain as the result of a back problem brought on by a lung problem that had me with just about enough energy to get up, go to work, and go home and that was it for, oh, 2015. All. Of 2015. Forget going to the gym as I had been, just trying to get rid of the crap that had taken over my chest was about all I could manage to do. So, going from “pretty perky” to “inert” when you’re in your early 40s translates to a back issue that has been hanging around for the better part of a year. Physical therapy has made me realize I do not bounce back like I did when I was 30, or even 35. I have cried a lot in the last few days as I have pushed my carcass and struggled with things that used to be quite easy for me. While I have laid on the floor and did my bridges and held my lower abs and quadraflexed my ponyhoists, I thought about how much I liked physical activity. (Except walking. Walking – unless it has a purpose of getting me from Place A to Place B – annoys me. It’s the Phil Mickelson* of exercise for me.) I liked going to the gym and dancing about and developing big-ass calves. Frankly, I liked to annoy gym personnel when I would tell them my goal wasn’t to lose weight. As a person, especially a fat person, my response is not supposed to be only “I am interested in getting stronger” when I’m at a gym. It should only be about losing this unsightly flesh of mine.

But that isn’t what this is about – well, it is, tangentially, probably. Trying to work my way back to a level where I can tolerate going to the gym makes me think back to what giant a-holes I had for gym teachers when I was young and how they helped to kill the fun of physical activity. There was simply no room for anything but winning and being athletically skilled and if you didn’t fit into that particular box, you were a useless loser. My elementary school gym teacher (also fat) mocked me in front of the entire class; my junior high gym teacher thought I should be keeping a food/exercise journal – never mind she wasn’t having anyone else in the class do it. (My mom put a stop to that red-hot bullshit.) I was never going to be “good” at sports or games, and boy did they love to make sure all of us non-good kids knew it.

To what end, I wonder? What good does it do a child and, frankly, an adult, being told that if you’re not a) an elite athlete or b) aspiring to be an elite athlete physical activity and playing games or sports is off limits? Every single fucking fitness ad or product is quite explicit that every human being should be looking to run a marathon, basically. Having a goal like mine – getting back to a point where I can get into the gym three days a week – is for jerks. If I really wanted to rank, I would be making a 5K my goal. Followed by a 10K. Followed by a marathon. Followed by THE IDITAROD…except I WILL BE PULLING THE SLED AND THE PUPPERS WILL BE RIDING IT.

I would love to see an ad for a gym or a fitness product or “Let’s Move” that featured people that looked like me, all tattooed and goofy and just drenched in sweat and weird-shaped doing fun things…for fun. Flopping around on the elliptical and mouthing the words to “Let it Whip” by the Dazz Band or just barely staying upright on the treadmill because the connection between my brain and my legs gets distracted sometimes by thinking about work or my book or Benedict Cumberbatch or where my husband and I should go to dinner on the weekend. The universe’s physical body default is not the Rock. Those of you who wish to resemble the Rock, go forth and be fruitful. Hone your eyebrow-raising skills and make me proud.

My activities might not result in anything more than my getting my big-ass calves even bigger and returning to my pre-funkylung state of being where I was feeling good and ready to fight. But that’s good for me, and if that’s all that people aspire to, that should be good enough, too. No one should feel like they have to run a 5K in order to be considered “worthy”. Physical activity doesn’t have to result in pounds lost in order to be worth doing. No one’s goal has to be some towering athletic achievement in order to feel like one has achieved. Shit, my achievement this week has been walking up five stairs without pain. Good enough for me.

(*I have an irrational dislike of golfer Phil Mickelson. He has not done anything to me personally, professionally, or otherwise; he has simply made the grave error of existing in a fashion that somehow displeases me. The only other member on the Mickelson’d List thus far: Paul McCartney. Though I believe there are more, I can only think of Paul friggin’ McCartney right now. Just typing his name is causing my face to tighten up into a twist of displeasure and disgust.)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bowie.

I can't pinpoint when I figured out David Bowie existed for me. Even though his "old stuff" (a statement that sounds ridiculous when you think of how present so much of his "old stuff" sounds) had certainly gotten into my head by the time I really became interested in music, I'd guess it was "Let's Dance" and his presence on MTV brought him into my sphere. And, I'm sure it didn't hurt the Duran Duran-obsessed me that they touted Bowie as a big influence so OF COURSE I had to love him too.

Not that it was hard to love Bowie when you're a fat girl that loved theater and theatricality and wearing funky clothes and didn't quite know where the hell she was going to land or if she was ever going to be loved. He was an elegant, stylish presence, assuring those of us who might not have felt like the regular world wanted anything to do with us oddballs and weirdos and freaks that we were going to be just fine in whatever form we wished to take. He was a patron saint of the strange.

What I dug about Bowie was how he was one of the few artists, if the ONLY artist, who could try different genres of music as he aged and not make it feel like a gross cashgrab or sad attempt to stay relevant. He made a fucking electronica album at 50, for Christ’s sake. I loved the album cover of “Earthling”, him with his back to the camera, wearing an Alexander McQueen full-length coat with the Union Jack emblazoned on it. I suppose that’s an aside, but it was that “fuck you, I’m David Bowie” spirit that I loved. Of course he was going to make an electronica album. Of course he was.

David Bowie was cool, seemingly without effort. If you ask me, he established a certain level of cool that most (if not all) of us will never be able to come close to meeting. I mean, I think I’m maybe...Midwest Cool but I’ll never be Bowie Cool.  He was cool without effort, without being that guy going around, tugging at our sleeves and saying “hey, hey, hey, hey everyone, aren’t I cool? Aren’t I edgy? Look at how edgy and different and weeeeeird I am!”  When it feels like most of pop culture nowadays relies on shock value and people insisting they are unique special snowflake flowers for fun and profit, David Bowie was an original. THE original.

We’ll probably never hear the full story about his illness and death, which seems right to me. As awful as it feels that he’s dead, it also seems so right – dare I say, rather cool – that instead of making a maudlin announcement a year or so ago, putting us all on notice that his demise was imminent, he made a record that, in retrospect, is his telling us just a bit of his story of the last months of his life. I get the sense he didn’t want his art to be viewed with any sort of kindness – he didn’t want people to go easy on him because he was terminally ill. You know how people are. He knew how people are.

Purely by accident, my husband and I were on a bit of a Bowie tear this weekend – the cable channel Palladia was showing DA Pennebaker’s “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, which I had never seen. My mind was blown – not by his musicianship or his voice, because duh– but by the fact that this eyebrow-free, stringbean-bodied, henna’d mothercusser was doing fucking MIME on a stage in front of thousands, wearing a shorty kimono sans trousers and knee-high silky boots and people were LOSING THEIR MINDS. And this wasn’t just some dude who had a small niche audience that dug the cut of his jib, he was blowing up HUGE. That amazes me.  It also amused me, because how can it not? The sack of this guy, the spine on this dude, deciding that's how he was going to roll and holy shit, it worked out. IT WORKED.

On January 9th, I tweeted "Day two of thinking about the tremendous impact David Bowie has had on popular culture. This might go on for a while." I thought I'd get to ponder what additional impact he was going to have as he entered what we all probably imagined was the last, oh, 30, 40, 50 years of his life. It's still kind of hard to wrap my head around his being dead because he was so damn present in my (our?) universe, even in the years between albums, even in his retirement from public life. He was...no, no, no.  


He is. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A brief return...for a thinkpiece. UGH.



When I read the summary of what Louis CK’s episode, “So Did the Fat Lady” was about before it aired, I was quite curious to see just what he’d wind up doing.  I have a very, very sadly small pantheon of white male comedians who actually seem to “get it”, or at least, appear to make an effort to “get it” when it comes to issues of sexism, racism, misogyny, and the like.  Louis CK is a member, along with Paul F. Tompkins, and…well, there’s plenty room for more.  So come on, fellas, the snacks are top-notch.

I am a fat lady, the kind of fat that makes people really angry.  It’s my body type that’s more likely to be used in one of those “headless fatty” montages used on the news when they decide it’s time for the quarterly report about how awful fat people are.  I did my due diligence in my younger days of dieting, losing some weight, gaining it (and more) back, dieting, losing some weight, gaining it (and more) back.  I removed myself completely from the world when it came to romance and dating.  I believed 100 percent that a woman that looked like me had absolutely no shot at finding a fellow that would love me unconditionally, that wouldn’t see me as a make-skinny project, that wouldn’t keep my existence a secret because he wouldn’t want the world to know he stooped so low as to fuck a fat woman.  A part of my pain-in-the-ass brain understood that I actually did deserve love and was someone who was entertaining and festive and decent, but as long as I had an ass the size of Madagascar, it was simply pointless to make an effort.  So I didn’t.  Well, I wouldn’t until I’d reached some sort of “acceptable” size.

In my earlyish 30s, I discovered fat acceptance and began a lengthy re-acquaintance with feminism and figured out “holy fucking shit, I have wasted SO MUCH TIME hating myself”.  I got my head right and even though I still wasn’t terribly keen on venturing into romantic waters, I wound up the happiest, the most confident, the most comfortable and content I had been in a long time.  I finally understood that a goodly amount of the noise my head was filled with regarding the pursuit of the opposite sex was self-generated – maybe the reason why I never had a boyfriend wasn’t because I was fat, but because I’d bought the shit that was being sold to me and it turned into one of those handy self-fulfilling prophecies.  However, since I’d never actually participated in the rigmarole of dating, I couldn’t speak to whether or not my fat was truly an impediment.  I’d certainly had my stomach-churning crushes and felt like I had “loved” someone (though he didn’t love me back), and all the experiences had all ended with me feeling humiliated and worthless because the affection wasn’t returned.  But these were experiences I had had between the ages of, say, 14 and 20.  The one blind date I went on thanks to the personals section in the Chicago Reader went from gross (he interrupted me while I was talking and said “let’s cut the small talk and get to the sex”) to hilariously cataclysmic (he presented me with photographs of himself posing on a rug, wearing just a Speedo, then followed his disturbing presentation with a story about getting a handjob from a lesbian on a gay bar dance floor – oh, and he was wearing a wrestling singlet, as you do).  So I was a bit at sea as to how to go about pursuing a potential suitor…if I even wanted one at that point.

Long story short, the internet – the blessed, infuriating, bullshitty, wondrous internet – would eventually deliver a stone fox to me, and we’ve been friends for almost seven years, together for almost five, and married for just a smidge over two.  I never “dated” until I met my husband.  Oh, I made a halfhearted attempt at online dating and quickly realized it just wasn’t for me despite my having done a goodly amount of socializing online since the late 90s.  I had two things that were important to me, things I wasn’t willing to compromise on – I wasn’t interested in dating someone who was religious, and I wasn’t interested in dating someone who had children.  It would also be helpful if someone was feminist or feminist-friendly.  The suggestions provided to me by the service I used inevitably consisted of men with children, and those who didn’t have children were quite keen to have women with “weight proportionate to height” which I definitely am not.  I checked out free sites, pay sites, and at the end of it all, I couldn’t conjure up the energy or interest that was required to “date”.  Then I was resolute – if I was going to be single until my dying day, then for fuck’s sake I was going to make my life as entertaining as possible.  That resolution has had some revisions since then.

So I couldn’t necessarily identify with what Vanessa said during her speech about dating and flirting since I didn’t endure years of fruitless dating and I suspect I’ve flirted over the years, but I really can’t be sure.  But mercy, mercy me, I felt it, I completely understood when she said, “You know, if you were standing over there looking at us, you know what you'd see? That we totally match. We're actually a great couple together.”  I felt it when she presented Louie with those fucking hockey tickets that she insisted wasn’t some sort of demand for reciprocity in the form of a date or just a kind word or some affectionate attention, because God almighty, how often did I do that over the years.   There’s a certain hustle that goes into being a fat girl – my hustle consisted of having a sense of humor that was beyond, a personality that was funny and loud and funnyloud, doing whatever I had to do in order to make the life of the object of my affection wonderful and joyous and oh he’s asking out someone else and now they’re getting married and oh.  My hustle should have taken me into comedy or performing or acting, but good ole insecurity/my being chickenshit took me out, and if there’s a regret I cling to to this day, it’s that I didn’t take the best compliment I ever received from a teacher of mine – “You have a knack for making an unfunny scene funny again” – and run the shit out of it.  

I’ve read a few thinkpieces (let’s have that word destroyed, shall we?) about “So Did the Fat Lady” and they interpret Louie grabbing Vanessa’s hand as a sign that he just wanted her to stop talking and be quiet, or to end the awkwardness, or any number of things that would point to him not having had a moment of clarity.  To me, it was a moment – and maybe it wouldn’t stick with him, maybe that moment of courage would only be just that, a moment – where Louie decided to flout conventions, give the middle finger to all the guys who would give him shit for being seen with a fat girl in a romantic way, and hold the hand of this woman who was “very really beautiful”.  

Maybe I’m being optimistic.  I probably am – shit, I’m in the midst of writing a novel about a fat girl in her late 30s getting her shit together and finding love for the first time in her life which, if you know me personally, IS BASICALLY MY FUCKING STORY.  But it’s not hard for me to see it being dismissed as fantasy, wish fulfillment, complete bunk – once again, EVEN THOUGH IT ACTUALLY SERIOUSLY HAPPENED TO ME.  And fucking forget it ever being made into a movie, since romcoms are only allowed to feature thin women who have a tendency to be a wee bit clumsy because isn’t that just ADORABLE.  I couldn’t bear seeing someone who wasn’t me, frankly, playing the lead role.  After all, I spent so much time as a supporting player in my own life – I’m not giving up the spotlight ever again.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Be true to your drool.


Warning: capitalization (and swearing) will be used excessively in this segment because SQUEEEEE!!! OMG

I should preface all of this by saying I never stalked anyone, I never did anything illegal, and I certainly didn't do or see certain things because I thought Famous Guy wouldn't approve of it or something. My brain simply needed something of an escape from complicated shit. Today, I feel compelled to discuss…the Imaginary Celebrity Boyfriend (ICB).

I am officially taking credit for that turn of phrase and too bad if you don’t believe me. Eye hemorrhage-inducing perusal of the Livejournal I kept between 2003 and 2010 suggests that I seem to have first used it in an entry dated February 15, 2004.  MEANWHILE, I collected and cultivated ICBs like one might tend to a bonsai tree – with care and endless dedication. My first true pretend love was John Taylor of Duran Duran, of COURSE. There was no man my 13-year old self wanted to jump on more (as if I truly understood what that really meant at that point in my life) than good old J.T., who was (and, frankly, REMAINS) almost terrifyingly good-looking, all slender and angular. I started reading Isabel Allende because of John Taylor. I learned to play the bass because of John Taylor. And if you think for one red hot second that John is all looks and no licks (holy SHIT I NEED TO COPYRIGHT THAT SHIT NOW), think again – the cat can fucking play. I…well, I can play…to a certain level. I cannot play at a John Taylor level. I can sort of play at a Sting level, depending on what song, I am mostly competent when it comes to a Simon Gallup of the Cure level and I could most likely jam out with my clam out if I suddenly had to play bass in the live version of Nine Inch Nails. BUT ANYWAY


My childhood bedroom was an absolute museum to the glory of John and Duran Duran as a whole. I had to share this room with one of my sisters, so there was a significant line of demarcation between my area and hers. Her walls sported a couple of tasteful Don Johnson and Clark Gable pictures. Mine was an out of control, massive collage of rapturous celebration of Duran Duran in both fivesome and threesome status with a decided concentration in John Christing Taylor. If there was bare wallspace, I was slapping up a carefully snipped picture from Tiger Beat, Bop, or Star Hits (the US version of UK mag Smash Hits) of John looking happy, pensive, moody, sad, thoughtful while walking, posing, running, jumping, fencing. This genial lunacy continued up until my brain really decided to short out a few more synapses and the Duran collage gave way to a more generic collage of actors and musicians I found intriguing – none more so than...

THE CURE. Ohhhhh, no one spoke to my shriveled little teen soul more than Robert Smith. When “Disintegration” was released, I embarked on a mission to BUY AS MUCH SHIT AS I COULD THAT WAS CURE-RELATED. Posters, magazines, imports – weekly trips to the Turntable, a local record store that specialized in imports and rarities as well as merch, merch, merch were made. The back catalog was purchased in a flash. Seeing the Cure for the first time in August, 1989 came shortly after I had my first kiss with a guy that I was convinced I was deeply in love with and couldn’t imagine my life without. Of course, he didn’t love me back. So when the lights went down and the massive fogbanks rolled out and those first quiet windchimes started to play from “Disintegration”’s opening track, “Plainsong”, I had what can best be described as a psychobilly hissy fit. I sobbed so hysterically that people were looking at me with concern. I didn’t heave those kinds of tears when I saw Duran Duran for the first time in 1987 and again in January, 1989. Those dandy motherfuckers had been the center of my universe. However, Robert Smith had a direct line to the baffled, fucked up battle for survival that was happening in my brain, he was singing exactly what I felt as a 17-year old girl who couldn’t understand why she wasn’t worthy of a boy’s love and why the fuck it was so awful and painful. (I assure you that once “Plainsong” concluded, I wiped away my tears and returned to earth to enjoy the rest of the show.)

I discovered another ally in my internal war not that long after in the form of a deliciously angry fellow named Trent Reznor and his band Nine Inch Nails. A cursory search of Wikipedia tells me “Pretty Hate Machine” was released in October, 1989 and “Head Like a Hole” came out in March, 1990, so I would wager that “Pretty Hate Machine” served as my soundtrack for high school graduation and beyond. If you’re a NIN fan, I’m sure it’s easy for you to guess what became my signature song as my fruitless pursuit of the guy I wanted to love me back continued. Go on, guess.

OF COURSE IT WAS “SOMETHING I CAN NEVER HAVE”. OF COURSE.

I mean, come on. The fucking lyric sheet in the cassette should have had “This one’s for you, Jane!*thumbs up*” (If you’re not familiar with the song, Google it and then you shall have insight into my tear-stained teenage heart). I damn near wore that cassette out. Of course, in retrospect (and in light of Trent’s later, mind-blowing work) “Pretty Hate Machine” sounds terribly dated and very much of the late 80s/early 90s. But mercy, that was my jam and, though it sounds cliché, the anger and “fuck you” that that record stirred up in me helped me to get through some mighty shit times that resulted from the abortive attempt at love I experienced. It helped me to get through a serious brush with suicidal ideation – though having a massive ego that refused to die also helped in that regard. As a result of such hardcore imprinting, I remain just so in love with Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor in general. Trent has had a strange way of making records that supply soundtracks to exactly what sort of fuckuppery/discombobulation I might be experiencing at any given time. Going to a Nine Inch Nails show was the ultimate release of rage and anger and frustration. I found that out almost too late, since I never made it to a NIN show until 2006 (being agonizingly broke got in the way before then). Great, now I just want to sit in a window and sigh while rain falls.

In 1994, I found another object of affection – one that would help to trigger a massive outpouring of creativity that…went…nowhere, but still, being creative is good, it’s a good thing. I stayed loyal (in that batshit crazy way) to this ICB until he decided to marry someone that wasn’t me. That Unidentified Foxy Object (GET IT) was…David “Red Speedo” Duchovny and, by extension, “The X-Files”.

Recently, I convinced my husband to travel down the “X-Files” rewatch path with me and I felt a little sad that the mountains of useless trivia I used to know about the show and David Duchovny had finally exited my brain. Because let me tell you, if you wanted some minutiae science dropped on you back when “The X-Files” was in full swing, I was your woman. I had to know absolutely everything and I had to know it immediately when I figured out it was a show right up my alley (it didn’t quite take in my brain until the second season). The internet was starting to come to the fore, but I didn’t have a computer at the time. However, my father did. So on Friday nights, I would trek out to the suburbs (I was living on the north side of Chicago at the time), watch and tape the show, then proceed to sit in the AOL X-Files chat room for six or seven hours discussing the show and bullshitting with folks. It was a good time, a strange time, trying to navigate this “internet” and finding one bonding with other people in other parts of the country (or even the world!) over a freaking TV show. My first internet-inspired transaction was a bootleg VHS tape of gag reels from the first three seasons. I couldn’t tell you what her screenname or even her location was now, but I can remember thinking just how neat the internet was.

My methods of “collecting” changed with the internet as well. Instead of plastering Duchovny pictures cut out of magazines all over my walls, I accumulated massive files of jpegs and gifs and BMPs (yes, even BMPs) of him. I could read interviews from magazines published in faraway lands like England and learn every single factoid under the sun that was available. I began to write spec scripts as well. I had started writing screenplays towards the end of my abortive attempt at going to college (three and out, WHOO), and when I wasn’t writing Mrs. Jane Duchovny on my trapper keeper, I was writing. In the beginning, my screenplays were crap. Lord love a duck, they were crap. But as I kept doing it, I kept getting better (I don’t toot my own very often with any semblance of seriousness, but bitch can write a screenplay), and when I was in full “X-Files” thrall, I began to crank out spec scripts. And then, I started sending them to the production office of executive producer Chris Carter in Los Angeles. I received some very nice notes from the office’s assistant and one of the scripts got to the point where network readers actually looked at it (I had to sign a release). Sadly, I can’t say that I had a “50 Shades of Grey” moment, but at least I have some cool souvenirs of…stationery.

In 1998, I caught wind of a comedy festival and competition taking place at a local theater and, even though I hadn’t performed on a stage since high school (despite attending a fine arts school with theater and improvisation training under my belt) I decided to enter it. I had a title before I had the text:

David Duchovny (Or the Socio-Economic Implications of a Celebrity-Hungry Society)

Rather amusing, I thought. I’ve always been a fan of ridiculous titles for things. But the title turned out to be just the spark I needed to put my years’ long fandom of celebrity men and things in general into something resembling perspective. A goofy title turned into 45 minutes that started as a generic autobiography and then morphed into a poke at fame and the sort of strangeness it breeds in those of us who are decidedly not famous. I was reviewed in the Chicago Reader, where it was tagged “ingenious” and I figured I would wind up winning the theater’s grand prize, which was a two-week run of one’s show at the theater. And then I was finally going to be heading down that road to fame and fortune and all the things I had dreamed of for so long!

I totally didn’t win. The show that did win was pretty anemically reviewed. I was “INGENIOUS”. The winning show…wasn’t. But at least I got up on stage and…did…I…did stuff…right? Right? Well, back to the apartment and my coterie of musicians and actors who will make me feel less failurey!

Having ICBs helped me cope, to be honest. I spent my 20s and a portion of my early 30s a genial mess. I isolated myself much of the time – when I wasn’t at work, I was either around family or alone at home, writing away and dreaming of a life that would never exist for me. My ICBs were like pets – non-judgmental, no conflicts, ever adoring. Yes, even though the CBs were I. I’d lost my touch for interaction with actual humans, and it wasn’t until a wander around the internet brought me to a website for (get ready) JOHN TAYLOR that I started to re-learn that being around people people was pretty all right.

I don’t have any ICBs to speak of anymore, not really. My husband and I have mutual ones, like Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, and Jason Mantzoukas. He is sad, though, because he’s going to miss out on something monumental: my seeing John Taylor as part of his publicity tour for his autobiography, “Into the Pleasure Groove”. There’s a slender chance I might actually get to meet John Taylor (I’m sort of in love with writing “John Taylor” instead of just “John” right now) which makes my 40-year old heart pitter patter just a smidge because OH MY GOD JOHN TAYLOR IN AN INTIMATE SPACE (not my intimate space whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat). There’s a Q and A and I don’t know that I could manage to Q him because I would be too busy just gazing lovingly at him like a precious china doll. I’d like to think I will be suave, clever, charming – but the 13-year old is itching to emerge and let out one last eardrum-piercing shriek.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

All right, now I have to gush publicly.

As I've gotten older, I've gotten more picky about what I take in in the way of entertainment.  Stuff that never used to bother me in my younger days (casual sexism, fatphobia, etc. etc. and so forth) - rather, stuff that I could "get over" or "set aside" (ahhh, privilege) - now instantly puts my teeth on edge.  Stuff I never would have noticed or that I would have accepted as simply being a part of life, a part of existing in society as we know it, has become glaring, blaring sirens of "here comes some fucked up shit that's going to make you feel bad, feel uncomfortable, feel angry, feel ostracized".

As a result, my consumption of movies, television, and entertainment in general has decreased considerably.  I listen to podcasts mostly, which can be minefields but thankfully the ones I choose to listen to rarely blow up in my face.  It's through podcasts that I discovered that Paul F. Tompkins is just ridiculously amazing.  I knew who Paul was, though I'm not quite 100 percent sure how - I would wager it was through VH1's assorted "I Love a Decade" shows or "Best Week Ever" with a hint of his brief appearances on "Mr. Show".  But that's not important right now.

What IS important is that when I listen to or watch something involving Paul, I don't have to worry that he's going to suddenly crap out some sort of sexist, racist, homophobic, fatphobic bullshit when he opens his yap.  He's a walking, dapper (seriously, this cat loves him a suit and coordinating clothing and cufflinks) safe space.  And he's not afraid to discuss issues like sexism or homophobia in public and how shitty it is on the eight billion and counting guest spots he's done on assorted podcasts.  I know it probably seems like a "duh" sort of thing, but remember - this is a white guy in entertainment.  You just don't hear 95 percent of white male performers kicking back and having a serious discussion about how women are being shat upon from a great height in public.  He's a white guy who obviously LISTENED TO THINGS PEOPLE WHO WEREN'T WHITE GUYS HAVE TO SAY and THOUGHT ABOUT IT TO BOOT.  And that's fucking amazing.

The other thing that makes my greasy little heart go squish even more is that he is a fellow that loudly and proudly adores his wife, Janie Haddad Tompkins.  I mean, LOOK AT THIIIIIIIIIIIS:

http://paulftompkins.tumblr.com/post/21738202925/and-i-aint-goin-back-to-live-that-old-life-no-more

When you listen or watch his stand-up or listen to him on a podcast, he's not doing 10 minutes on "the ole ball-n-chain" or what a gutwrenching nightmare being married is or AUGH WOMEN RIGHT?!?.  He makes no secret about how cool and awesome his wife is and how much he appreciates her and that is so fucking heartening, particularly in our current climate where on some days it feels like being a woman is the worst thing in the world; where it seems like almost every male comedian would rather spend his stage time bitching about what bitches us bitches are and that they only reason they're married is they don't want to get screwed over paying alimony; where I feel compelled to write a gushy, dorky blog post about a comedian being a decent human male person because holy shit, it feels SO RARE SOME DAYS.

Anyway.  Paul F. Tompkins is a fellow you should not just know, but buy his items of entertainment!  Such as...

His shiny new DVD, "Laboring Under Delusions"!  http://goo.gl/mVXMi (the physical); http://goo.gl/oXRco (digital)

He does a kickass podcast, the Pod F. Tompkast, and that is FREE, readers - go to iTunes and subscribe!

He appears on, like, loads of other podcasts too, from Comedy Bang Bang to Superego and you should look at trackpft.com to find out what ones he's been on.

He's on Twitter and you should follow his stylish self at @pftompkins !  As is his wife Janie, who is a delightfully funny, smart actor-woman in her own right - @janiehaddad !

And now, I'll return to behaving like the mature 40-year old woman I am that doesn't write Tiger Beat-esque gushfests about men I don't know.



omg squeeeeeeeeee!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I love...

...when you shut the hell up.


You do realize that all of you screeching about Valentine's Day being a Hallmark holiday from hell are just as annoying as the lovey-dovey Cupidlickers, right?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Your relationship is not my relationship.

Soon, I will be joining a club that I hadn't thought I would ever join. In a couple days, I'm getting married and to some people's chagrin, I'm very laid-back about it. Don't confuse “laid-back” with “not being excited” - I'm excited that I'm marrying someone that I think is very amazing and my best friend and all those good things. But I've never been much of a “jump up and down and squeal” sort of gal, and I'm marrying a fellow who isn't much of a “jump up and down and squeal” sort of guy. I suppose if we were getting in a more traditional fashion, with the big-ass ceremony and big-ass reception and bouquet-whipping and chicken dancing, I imagine I'd be more traditionally “excited” - and wishing I'd fucking eloped. So knowing myself as well as I do, it's for the best that he and I are rollin' to the courthouse, dropping a ten-spot, and making it legal in less time it takes to get an oil change.

We kept our relationship quiet for quite a while, only letting those who needed to know know about what was happening on our personal planet. Now, of course, thanks to those handy Facebook buttons, it's no secret and, at my workplace (the Evil Empire), it is no secret either. Which has resulted in my experiencing a strange phenomenon – people expressing their own loathing for their relationships in that weird, uncomfortable “joking” fashion. I was trapped on an elevator today with a co-worker, a co-worker who has in the past given me other pieces of “advice” which included never letting my future husband anywhere near the finances and to NEVER NOT KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE FINANCES. I'll let you connect the dots as to what causes her asshole to pucker in her marriage. Today's precious moment began with her laying out a fresh chafing dish on her bad news buffet, with the expectation that I would happily step up and hold out my dish to hear about what new fuckery her husband was up to. I wisely stepped back from the sneeze guard. But that didn't stop her from saying, “are you sure you want to get married”, capped with a laugh I can only describe as the kind of laugh that can be heard in space and causes astronauts on the ISS to wish for puppies to punch. I replied, “I want to marry Futuregroom”, to which she stated, “get back to me in 20 years” (cue cackle from Satan's crotch). Another co-worker let me know that I would be officially relieved of my freedom the second the ring hits my finger, then did that weird uncomfortable laughing thing to assure me that...I'm not quite sure. That whatever shit she dealt with on a daily basis in her marriage was destined to be visited unto mine? That all men are infantile morons who are incapable of functioning without a woman at the helm to steer them into the appropriate ports (or icebergs)? That I would morph into a squalling harpy barking orders at my hapless spouse?

Look, I'm 40 fucking years old and I've spent a LOT of time ensuring that a) I've checked myself before I've wrecked myself and b) I am solid with what sort of bullshit I'm willing to put up with from other people. Everyone's got bullshit that's on display and I'm well aware of my bullshit, bullshit that I work on on a consistent basis to temper and minimize. Therefore, I am really quite solid and comfortable with my determination that the man I'm going to marry ISN'T A STEAMING DOUCHEBAG and that he, in turn, is not marrying A STEAMING DOUCHEBAG. If he had glaring personality defects that would shoot up multiple red flags on every planet in the solar system, I would not be marrying the motherfucker. Honey, I'm good with myself. I figured out a while ago that I didn't need to hunt down someone in order to make me “me” and that if I wound up being single until I died in a spectacular fashion involving perhaps a tiger, pyrotechnics, and a gunfight, I would still be capable of having a really gorgeous life. So I'm not getting married to fill a void or complete me because I was done to perfection before he careened into my life.

No relationship is perfect, fucking amoebas get that concept. It's not a sweeping romantic epic from start to finish. If you can't get over your life not resembling the lies that are sold by pretty much every piece of media that exists, you run the risk of being one of those people who get all shriveled and bitter and cynical and works quite hard to shit upon other people's contentedness because you haven't summoned up the spine to do what needs to be done in order to get right with yourself and the other person involved. Marinating in a years-long stew of misery because you think that's how it's “supposed to be” is a load and you do yourself or anyone else any favors.

So if your advice (hopefully solicited, because just dropping “advice” on someone who hasn't asked for it is a dick move) to someone else is a barely-disguised napalm job of your own relationship peppered with creepy “jokes” about the old ball and chain, you need to step back, stop, drop, roll, and resist the urge to paint everyone else's life with your crap-laden brush because your brush is the brush you own, and perhaps it's time to clean it.

Christ riding a chimney sweep, that was one of the more belabored metaphors I've constructed in quite a while. Must be that old ball and chain dragging me down.