Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sick 'em, Fido.

This afternoon, as I was walking to the subway on my way to work, a man with two dogs passed me on the sidewalk. The dogs were a giant bulldog and a corgi-type puppy. Very cute. They jumped on me, as dogs tend to do, and as a dog-lover, I let them. It makes my day when neighorhood dogs get all jumpy and slobbery and they let me pet them and squish their faces. I love it. Judge me if you must. I still love it. I can't have dogs in my apartment, so I must satisfy this jones like every other addict in this city: on the street.

Usually when this happens, the pet owner will try to pull the dogs off me, and they always, always apologize. I always say, "It's okay! I don't mind!" because I don't. And they relax that I'm not barking at them to keep their animals in check or bitching that their pets shed all over my clothes (see what I did there? bark and bitch? so clever!). They let me play with their dogs for a minute, and then we part ways, and I thank them for indulging me. The dogs have done their duty of smothering love on an unassuming stranger and the owner let it happen, as they should. And the world keeps spinning on its axis because in that moment, everything worked properly and in accord with the laws of nature.

"Chill, Stanley! Chill! Chill!" this particular dog-owner said as he strained to pull the bulldog off of me.

"It's okay! I don't mind," I said, rubbing the corgi-thing's head.

"NO," he said (to me! not to the dog! and with anger and hostility!). "I decide how my dogs should behave, not you."

I was completely floored. "Um. Stanley. That's a cute name," I said, and walked away. What I should have said was, "I hope Stanley rips your balls off while you sleep, as he's apparently trying to flee your care, you fucked-up little man." That would have been much more satisfying.

"Wow," Lisa said when I told her the story. "I think I just would have looked at him and said, 'You're just a prick.'"

Ultimately, he wasn't wrong: It is up to him how his dogs behave. Yes, that's true. But a) I wasn't trying to train or otherwise influence the behavior of his dogs, I was just telling him I didn't mind that they were going berserk on me, and b) his tone of voice was so condescending. He spoke to me as if I were a five-year-old. I know I can behave all five-like sometimes, but he doesn't know that. So then I walked along, making all these assumptions about him and his ridiculous woolly hat and unfortunate complexion and his need for pets to fill his life in the obvious void of people. (Says the woman who just adopted two cats.) Also, his use of the word chill as a disciplinary device.

More than anything, I walked away thinking, "Don't make me a party to your own social awkwardness." Which, if he's socially awkward, he can't help. The whole scene just reeked of bad playground etiquette. Maybe I should have backed off when he tried to tame Stanley, but his smackdown just made me want to get hold of Stanley's collar, unlatch the leash and let the dog go to town on this guy.

I think Stanley's on my side.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Quote of the Weekend

Long story longer:

Stacy was in town for a night on Friday while she was en route to a business trip in Israel. She lives in San Francisco now and is 14 weeks pregnant, so for her own comfort as well as for a dose of awesomeness, she finagled a layover in New York. We spent the night catching up — let me tell you, it's mind-blowing when your closest friend since you both were six years old is about to become a mother — and she told me about a convention she went to this month.

In the weeks leading up to the convention, she began to get a little worried. The guy organizing the event sent e-mails in which he kept using cheesy mountain-climbing metaphors ... metaphors you never want to hear in a business environment for fear of migraine-inducing eye-rolling. I started referring to him as The Crampon Guy. There was, apparently, lots of "I look forward to reaching the summit with you" type blather. Ugh. That's worse than getting one's ducks in a row and being on the same page. Stephen Covey is probably rubbing his palms together, whispering, "Brilliant!"

Turns out, the convention was extraordinary. They hired a motivational speaker to lead it (it was far better than that sounds), and the man climbs treacherous mountains and skis down them, as one does. There were all these interactive problem-solving activities using scaling Mt. Everest as a metaphor for team-building, trust and risk. Again, it was executed much better than it sounds. Stacy said this success was entirely at the hands of the speaker himself: He was charismatic, kind, intelligent, attentive and approachable.

"Marla," she said, "you should have seen him." She took a deep breath. "Oh. My. God."


She gasped. "He was ... he just ... he ... Marla, he's our type."





"Good teeth?"

"The best smile ever. His eyes glittered. He's tall and wiry and has great skin and he's Australian, so the accent."

"What's his name?"


"Oh. I don't like that name."

"Yes, but — "

"The name kind of ruins it."

"Yes, but, OK: If you have that hair and that smile and you're that tall and perfect and have great hands and are so charming and have that accent, your name could be Asshole and I would still love you."

She has a point.

She comes back through New York on her way home in about a week. We intend to discuss the creation of a prototype of a man named Asshole who is hugely appealing to women. We think we can pull it off.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Foozle Ball

I subscribe to Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day e-mails (shut up), and when I opened my in-box this morning, I was greeted with joy and fuzzy bunnies and butterflies in the form of my new favorite word ever:

foozle \FOO-zul\ verb
: to manage or play awkwardly : bungle
Example sentence:
Carl thought he had an easy putt lined up for a birdie, but instead he foozled the shot and hooked the ball to the left.

Also, have you ever read a better sample sentence in your life? And I don't even like golf references! They're overused! They make it impossible to buy a greeting card for your father if you've already bought him a golf one! But I'll be damned if I don't want to hit the links (play a round? putt a fore? whatever) just so I can foozle it.

I'm not in the habit of quoting Rosie O'Donnell, but the one thing she said that I've always remembered was when she was doing the VH1 Half-Hour Comedy Hour (shut up), and she said something to the extent of, "Golf is men in bad pants, walking." Josh once told me that his parents signed him up for tennis lessons because they thought knowing how to play would be good for his future in business (they actually wanted him to be a lawyer, so I'm sure they were over the moon when he started his own record label when he was in college). I listened to this story, paused, and then said, "Tennis? But you can't talk during a game of tennis, except about the tennis game. Business deals are what golf is for. That's the whole purpose of golf. Why didn't they sign you up for golf lessons?"

"They wanted me to play tennis."

"Yes, but golf."

I have one good memory of playing golf, though I didn't exactly play it, per se. My friend Jon loves to play golf. He's good at it, which is fitting, since the house he grew up in practically sits on top of a beautiful, lush course. One night while we were on break from college, we got bored (of course; suburbia), so we grabbed a bottle of vodka, some weed (hey, kids! don't do drugs!), some golf clubs and a ball, and Jon took me out to the green behind his house to teach me to play. It was a perfect summer night in Michigan, around midnight, and the moon was huge. Despite his valiant efforts, Jon's lessons were useless to me because I'm a crappy golf player. It took about three strokes before my ball landed in a sand trap, and Jon waited patiently while I diligently batted at it without actually hitting it. I was determined to get it the bollocks out of there, but I couldn't even hit it an inch in any direction, never mind propel it airborne. I was terrible. Not long afterward, one of us must have just picked up the ball and put it back on the green (I'm sure I barked, "This game sucks!"), the sprinklers went off, we played a little bit more despite the sprinklers going off, and then headed back to his house, drunk and wet (shut up), no more accomplished at the game than we were when we started that night. It was great, great fun — and it's a testament to what a loose night it was, as well as to my growth as an individual, that I didn't try to make out with Jon that night despite the presence of vodka, which always turned me into a raging whore and is the number one reason why I don't drink anymore. I don't know why I just told you that.

Anyway, golf.

As far as I see it, golf is a sport played for two reasons: 1) because it's a good way to do business without the pressure and intimidation of an office or conference-room setting; and 2) because the sole point of each game is to try to play better than you did last time — not to get the ball in the holes (dirty!) or to perfect your arc or anything, but just to suck less. Many have spent dedicated hours of their lives attempting to suck less at various skills, and golf is a manifestation of just one of those efforts. I suppose you could say the same for any sport, but with golf, I fail to see the fun part of it that I identify in other sports. The game itself doesn't really matter: It's the furious attempt to get it right that keeps people walking in bad pants for hours at a pop. It's why I walk away from every miniature golf course angry, every single time, as if we needed more reasons to be angry at pirates. Gah, pirates.

Random But Not Really Thought #1: Getting back to sample sentences, my other favorite one is from high school French class. We used to do worksheets while following along with tapes. In one multiple-choice section, you had to pick the sentence that didn't fit with the others. My favorite sentence was, "Eh! Pompiste! Fait le plein!" Which translates loosely as, "Hey! Fireman! Fill the tank!"

Totally Random Thought #1: Two nights ago, I got home from work to-the-bone tired. Whenever we walk into the house, the cats drop to the floor onto their backs so we can rub their bellies. (I know!) I dropped down to play with them, found myself on a spot above some pipes so that area of the floor was toasty warm, and I fell asleep. On my kitchen floor. After about 20 minutes or so, I woke up and immediately realized that if I stayed there, Josh would come home and the first thing he'd see would be my legs sticking out from behind the kitchen counter, seemingly lifeless. I quickly got up and planted myself on the couch for Supernap Round 2, so as not to give my husband a heart attack by thinking I was dead. Oy.

The kittens are getting spayed today. I'm festering, all worried-mama, though I know it's a routine procedure. I hope the fur on their bellies grows back the same after it's been shaved, because it's striped and I want to smoosh it. In the event they have to wear those cones on their heads, I shall take photos and post them, for your amusement.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Who wants to play?

Seeing how I have no news to speak of that I believe is worth sharing (I think my therapist is even tiring of me: When you sit down, in tears, saying you can do nothing except think of the one horrible thing happening in your life and you ask her to help you find a way to refocus so it's not monopolizing your brain and giving you anxiety attacks, and she says, "Try not to think about it, " perhaps it's time to reassess), I've decided we're going to play a little game.

I'm going to start a story and you're going to keep it going. I'm sure you've all played this before, but since I'm having anxiety attacks, I can't possibly finish it. More important, I think that, together, we can write the most scintillating tale of love, betrayal, adventure and questionable sartorial decisions ever recorded.

So, whoever takes on the next chain of events, make sure you end it at an intriguing point so the next genius reader can take a stab at it. I can't wait to read what you come up with ...

Here we go:


It was a cool 64 degrees outside, and despite that and the fact that skin-burning raindrops had begun to drizzle onto her front porch, dotting it with acid-tinged steam, Jessica Simpson hiked up her very favorite yellow striped tube dress, glossed her lips with cherry-infused gloss, fluffed her golden mane, and waited by the door for her ride. Daisy, her Maltipoo, barked at her strap-wrapped ankles, clawing at her espadrilles in warning not to go outside, but Jessica paid Daisy no mind.

"Shoo," she said, wiggling her dog free. "I know what you're trying to do, and it's not gonna work. Today is gonna be the best day ever."

Within seconds, Jessica heard a honk in her driveway ("Daisy, did you sneeze?" she asked the apoplectic boutiquedog, before realizing the sound came from the waiting SUV). She squared her shoulders, grabbed her tent-size leather Louis Vuitton monogrammed umbrella, and stepped outside.

"One, two, three, four, milk does a body good," Jessica chanted to herself as she skipped between raindrops and dove into the car. She collapsed her umbrella, smoothed out her dress, and sighed.

"I know, I know. Don't say it," she said to her driver.

"I don't mean to give you a hard time," he said, "but you promised you would


Your turn! Fun! Right? Fun ... ?

Please play with me ...

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Apparently, you cannot lie, either.

I subscribe to a service called Stat Counter, which tabulates how many hits my blog gets. It doesn't tell me everything — something with cookies and something-or-others — but I can see how some of you come to my site. (It doesn't give your names, so don't worry about me invading your privacy or stalking you or assuming you're all my ex-boyfriends who are dazzled by my thirtysomething droopy form of beauty of late. But it gives cities and, sometimes, server names. I apparently have a lot of readers who work in law firms. I should be careful that all my claims are true, then, dammit.) Mollie explained how it works much better here. A good explanation and Lawrence Welk jokes. This cannot be beat.

In any event, in some cases, I can see what you Googled in order to find me. Or, more accurately (lawyers!), what you Googled when you happened to find me.

For example, several months ago, someone fell upon my blog when they Googled stick figure fellatio. It was then that I realized that I'm just dirty.

On my current menu are three that piqued my interest:

big butts photos
conjoined twin myslexia Mexican forehead


I really don't know how I feel about that. I do have several thoughts, of course:

1. While I think my mother, for one, always wished I'd been more girlie, I am not, despite arguments to the contrary, a man.
2. I'm certain of this, as evidenced by my womanly bazooms.
3. I will never post photos of anybody's big butts. Unless they're mean to me. So if that happens, ba-donk-a-donk.
4. But what this finding says to me is that I talk about Sir Mix-a-Lot way too much.
5. I think I might be weird.
6. I'm fine with that.

While you're muddling together your explanations for why you're Googling big butts photos, please enjoy this. It is extremely important to watch the commercial, especially since you'll be a witness to real-life fishing emergencies.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Well, now I feel stupid.

As opposed to how I usually feel, I guess.


1. I left work at 6 tonight and ended up buying a Journey double CD that I never knew I needed, and then

2. I came home to find that the door to our garden had been blown open during the day and our apartment was an icebox, so I

3. Checked that the cats were OK, which they were, seemingly, although

4. Nora kept rolling around, meowing incessantly, and she had kitty litter all over her fur because she wasn't extending her legs, so then

5. I brushed her off and then climbed under a warm blanket, until

6. Josh came home from work and we decided to light a fire in the fireplace, except

7. When he went to open the flue, he saw that the cover was broken off its hinges and was being propped up by a lever and was, therefore, not fully opened or closed, so then

8. I made plans to call the chimney people to fix it, all the while

9. The apartment wasn't warming up, so we turned up the heat, and then

10. The radiator started spewing hot water into the air and into the wood floors, and in the middle of all this

11. We noticed that Nora still wasn't walking with her hind legs extended and she kept dropping to the floor, rolling around, meowing like crazy and she randomly fell off the kitchen counter, and in the meantime

12. Josh had gone to the pharmacy with our new insurance card and had been rejected so he couldn't get his pills, and if that wasn't enough

13. We realized we had to take Nora to the vet because her meowing was getting alarming and she seemed really uncomfortable, so we

14. Piled into a car, went to the vet, told them our spiel and found out that

15. Nora is in heat. There's nothing wrong with her legs. And we are stupid. The vet laughed at us.

16. At least they didn't charge us for the appointment.

17. But they are going to talk about us tomorrow. The two douches who brought in their cat because they thought she strained a muscle and it turns out she's just really horny.

18. Now we're eating cookies.

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