(this is annie)

from the big baby files

On Monday I am having my four wisdom teeth removed. The thought of this surgery is terrifying, and the financial burden is just another incentive to call the whole damn thing off. I feel like a big sucker for having agreed to go through with this fiasco. I'm essentially paying a few hundred dollars so that the dentist can play Doctor Demento in my mouth. Great.

What's worse is that Doctor Demento wrote a prescription for Vicodin. What if I become a serious pill popper? The research I've done suggests that Vicodin is addictive. I don't have time for a mild prescription addiction.

It seems fairly obvious that the best course of action would be to cancel the surgery, but my mom is coming in, and she's so damn excited about being able to nurse me back to health that I can't let her down. agh.

twice a lady

I have been listening to "Jesus Etc." by Wilco almost nonstop during the last week. Tweedy sings "our love is all we have" and the violin turns to pizzicato, and the whole thing just makes me crumble. Rob Gordon had it right: What came first, the music or the misery? I want the kind of connection that popular music promises: happy, problem-free, intense. What I've found is that actual love is sometimes happy, rarely problem-free, and varying in levels of intensity. Music, you lie.

- - -

Last night during the train ride to the city from O'Hare: I was huddled in a corner, struggling to stay awake as the train passed station after station. There were only four other people on board, and my eyes drifted to t the back of one boy's head. "Oh, now, that's a nice haircut," I thought. Then he turned around, and who was it but the inimitable FRESHMAKER. We smiled big goofy grins at each other, and he sat down across from me. I was worried that I smelled and looked bad after spending the day traipsing around Manhattan, so I was convinced that I had probably stunk up the train like a big pile of dung, and he was probably just coming over my way to be polite, and he would probably notice that pimple that sprouted behind my jaw, and so on.

But of course, everything went well, and we talked from the California stop Division, where we both deboarded. "Do you know of any bars around here?" asked the Freshmaker. "My friend says there's a tiny hole in the wall around the corner from the studio." Instead of taking this potential date bait, I said, "I always want to go to Polish bars and hang out with little old Polish men." And now the Freshmaker probably thinks that I don't want to get it on with 27-year-old megafoxes, but 77-year-old incontinent Poles.

We talked all the way to Chestnut and Ashland, where our paths split. "I'll call you soon," he said before hugging me goodnight. If I were suave, I would have said, "Cool, talk with you lata." But instead, I smiled and squawked, "Okay! Hey, you should come over for dinner sometime. I like to cook for my friends. I'm a good cook. All this (I point to my general body area) and I can cook, too." He grinned and we parted. God, even David Hasselhoff is smoother than I am. DAVID HASSELHOFF, people.

betty, the mole killer

When I was a child, moles invaded our homestead. They tunneled around the yard, basking in the soil and in creating an elaborate underground mole world. Betty, my mother, did not like the mole gentrification of our yard. She said that moles were pests who deserved to die, much like spiders and other creepy crawlies. Betty tried poison and home remedies alike, but nothing seemed to do the trick. Month after month, the moles taunted her by creating new colonies (now is the time to interject: my mother made me stomp down the mole runs. I also did not like doing this because, even at age eight, I understood the concept of futility).

Knowing of the family's mole problem, a neighbor jokingly suggested that the rodential ruckus would end—if only my mother were to "shoot the dang things." All of the adults got a chuckle from this outlandish idea. All except one. When we looked at my mother's face, it was as though she had been divinely blessed with great rodent-murdering insight.

Betty bought a Smith and Wesson pistol within a week, and then she began to plan her kills. She preferred to hunt in the morning, "when they're really moving." She would gingerly stomp the mole runs flat and patiently wait for one of them to pop up again—a sure sign that a mole was busy burrowing. She'd carefully aim her pistol at the ground, pull the trigger, and then, BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAMBLAM! BLAM.

Originally, these shots were followed with her call: "Bob! Baaaa-ahbbb. I need you to dig the mole up!" My father, a patient and peaceful man, would grudgingly comply. He and I both disliked being drawn into my mother's murderous plots, as we did not share in her bloodlust. When he expressed this to my mother ("They're just doing their job, and I hate to see the bloody little things") she agreed.

"You're right," she mused, gently caressing the cold steel of the pistol. "If we leave the dead ones in there, it'll be a message to the other moles." After that summer, we never had a mole problem again.


reality tv idea

I've got an idea for a new reality television show. It's called Assclown of the Week (ACTW). The concept is simple: cameras follow me around the city during various run-ins with jerks, and the at-home viewers can call a toll-free number to vote for that week’s winner. After the votes are tallied, the cameras will capture Ed McMahon as he surprises the Assclown-elect with the big news. ACTW will then have to decide if he or she wants to walk around with a sandwich board ("I am the ACTW. Ask me about my shyster ways!") for a chance at winning my gentle forgiveness or prizes, whichever they want.

This week’s contestants: driver of the gigantic teal SUV who almost hit me on Division yesterday, flipping me off though I inarguably had the right-of-way; the lad who talks about how he’d be sad if we didn’t stay friends after dumping me, but only monosyllabically acknowledges me at the Empty Bottle before winning a gold medal in the avoidance Olympics; pushy guy who pressured Karinsa to play video poker with him, but turned surly when she politely and kindly declined.

To keep the program somewhat cheery, we will also feature Good Egg of the Week. This week’s nominees: the boys of Italo, for looking irrepressibly happy while playing their instruments; the cheerful cashier at Target, for managing to be genuinely nice to people even though she doesn’t have to be; Miles, for seeing that I was about to come apart on Wednesday, and pulling me back together with a kind squeeze of the shoulder.

The good thing is that it was harder to come up with a list of meanies than sweeties. But you know, you don’t win the Nielsens with tales of love and happiness.


flashing grumpycute

Earlier this year I came up with a ka-ray-zee money-making scheme. It's pretty simple: I find books in my workplace's giveaway book bin; read them; and then sell them to Myopic Books in Wicker Park. Well, on Sunday I decided to run up to the bookshop to sell two heavy bags of books. I wore my messenger bag over a stretchy polyester button-down shirt. This is important for reasons that will be divulged later. Anyway, I parked ol' Vespy, grabbed the bags, and waddled into Myopic. As usual, the grumpycute man was working; he looks a bit like a pre-beard Rivers Cuomo, and he usually seems mildly sad. Naturally I assume that he must be a tortured, literate soul who would certainly become my best friend if only he were willing to take a chance. I also assume that he thinks I am a giant dummy, because I can never remember when the shop buys books. This time was no exception.

I dropped the sacks of books on the floor as Grumpycute looked at me with terror in his bespectacled eyes. I mean, he usually regards everybody with a certain level of disdain, but this time his face was unmistakably full of horror. I started to make small talk ("Ha ha, how 'bout that Faulkner, eh?"), but Grumpycute just looked as though he'd rather be slathered with creamed corn than be anywhere near me. I decided to leave this strangely unfriendly place, and bent over to pick up the books. Then I realized my horrible, unintentional mistake. The weight of the messenger bag had tugged on my shirt, pulling all but three buttons open. Worse, I was wearing my only clean bra—a sheer number that had never seemed scandalous until the moment my breasts popped out to greet the patrons of Myopic Books. "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod," I said to the reddening Grumpycute. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen. I didn't know. They just kind of got out somehow, it's this shirt, I knew it wasn't trustworthy ohmygodohmygod I didn't mean for you to see my boobs I'll put them away and will come back another time bye."

thrift store jabberwocky

Last Thursday I went to the Salvation Army to look for a bicycle. Like all the lame-o hipsters concerned with cycling aesthetics, I want an old Schwinn. Disregard the fact that my laziness has reached the point where I am too much of a sloth to cross the street for some Gatorade; if only my bicycle were cute, surely I'd get off my bum. So I scooted over to the ol' thriftorium and checked out the wares. No bicycles were to be found (other than a Huffy Sweet Style, anyway), but I figured it couldn’t hurt to take a look-see at the clothing.

I started moving through a rack of some shirts, standing about four feet from a woman in her late thirties. She looked like your typical blue jeans & t-shirt kind of Chicagoan, the kind of person who wears Oakleys and rocks out to Foreigner when she’s feeling saucy. She was browsing and coming my way, as I was going her way. When we were about two feet from each other, I excused myself and moved to her right. She glared at me. I started flipping through the racks again, when suddenly the woman violently shoved the blouses my way. I jumped a little as she yelled, "GET YOUR OWN DAMN BLOUSE RACK! THIS IS MINE! I WAS HERE FIRST!" I then realized that I was dealing with the modern equivalent of the Jabberwocky.

"I’m sure there’s room for both of us," I offered meekly. Because let’s be honest, Jabberwocky didn’t need the whole 6-foot rack to find the finest in poly-rayon blends. "YOU LISTEN HERE, MISSY," growled Jabberwocky. "MAYBE NOBODY EVER TAUGHT YOU ANY MANNERS, BUT YOU NEED TO KEEP TO YOURSELF." I suppressed the urge to inform her that one of my favorite columnists is Miss Manners, and instead, evenly explained, "Oh, but you’re the one being rude." The rabid Jabberwocky then snarled and continued her shopping. I could have given her a saucy comeback, but then I thought, "What would Audrey Hepburn do?" For starters, Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t be shopping at the goshdamned Salvation Army. So I left, hopped on my Vespa, and pretended to ride down the streets of Rome.

say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


© 2009 avt

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