I’ve developed a condition that, unfortunately, comes with age. I call it . . . Missing Word Syndrome—or MWS. It causes me to forget the correct names of things and substitute placeholder words. Just like a synonym is another word for the one you can’t spell, a placeholder is another word for the one you can’t remember. And lately, forgetting words is my… what do you call it…specialty. My recall deficit disorder first presented itself when my husband sent me on a parts run to Home Depot.
I sipped my coffee and thought back to my own Italian lover. His name was . . . Olivetti. God, I’ll never forget his compact, solid body, his muscular carriage arm, and his platen—oh, his platen—firm as a new saddle. Even now I can hear the sweet ting of his return bell. We spent countless nights drinking strong black coffee and writing impassioned thesis proposals. But, I must confess, Olivetti wasn’t my first. There have been other—typewriters.
“So I can write,” I say.
“You know I don’t like it when the door is closed,” he says.
Steve and I became best friends through our work-study jobs in the Theater Department at Cal State Long Beach. Each morning he’d greet me with a bear hug that could pass for a spinal adjustment. “Have you ever thought of becoming a chiropractor?” I’d ask, listening to my vertebrae pop. But I didn’t mind because no one else was ever that glad to see me.
We’ve all heard of cougars, those 40-something female predators who stalk bars, hoping to sink their finely sharpened claws into the tender flesh of innocent young men. Luckily, these modern-day Mrs. Robinsons—who’ve exchanged their garter belts for Spanx—have been exposed by the media and are now easily avoided. But young men, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet because there is a new danger out there, lurking in cafes and restaurants, preying on your naiveté, dining out on your trust. They’re called leopards.
One day while driving down Beach Boulevard, I passed a typical strip mall where one shop had a huge sign that read: Caskets, Urns and Gravemarkers: Direct to the Public. I don’t know about you, but I hate buying those things indirectly.
Then, I passed the usual conclave of psychic palm readers, the last of which also sells ceiling fans and vitamins, and on that corner, under the billboard advertising Actors and Models for Christ, I spotted something . . . unusual: Lady Liberty waiting for a bus.
My first love was a dark, handsome American. His name was Hershey—Hershey Bar. No mere childhood crush, chocolate and I still enjoy a long-term relationship, only now with more refined Swiss varieties.
When I was eight I told my mother I wanted to grow up and join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “That’s great, Honey,” she said. “You go for it.” Years later, I learned of her deceit. How was I supposed to know you had to be Mormon? Continue reading “I Still Believe”
My baby-self was delivered by a Dr. Keibler. No wonder I’m a cookie addict. But as we all know: if a food tastes good, it’s bad for you. To me this proves that the universe is a cruel, sadistic joker that gives us taste buds that love sugar and fats, then tells us not to use them. It’s like saying to a man, “You know that appendage you’ve got down there, well, just ignore it.” We’ve been set up for failure ever since God said to Eve, “See that tree over there? Don’t eat from it.”
As a costume designer I dreamed of doing Shakespeare. How then did I become the personal costumer for a pair of ice-skating chimpanzees? Oh, yeah. The mortgage. Continue reading “Monkey Business”