Monday, March 24, 2008

Sock it to me.

The first thing I did when I got to work this morning was start up the freelancers' computers. We bring in a team to close the magazine every week. They sit in a cluster in a large "pit" behind my desk, which also accommodates fact-checkers and interns.

While I was logging into a computer two desks away from two chatting interns, I caught wind of their conversation:

FEMALE INTERN: I mean, I'm almost 22. I'm gonna be 22 soon.
FEMALE INTERN: I've only been turned away once. In Vegas. But, like, it sucked, but I could just go somewhere else, you know? I wasn't 21 yet, so. It doesn't always work.
MALE INTERN: Yeah, I know.
FEMALE INTERN: It's just a problem because, like, I still have some friends who aren't 21 yet, so if they can't get in, it's like, we have to, you know, go somewhere else. And, like, the fake doesn't always work.

I'm going to be 34 in June. I felt aged. It reminded me of an incident about two years ago when another editor and I had to explain to an intern what Dallas and Dynasty were. What is a life without the shoulder-padded Bob Mackie rainbow that is Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan, I ask you? With the pot of Krystle at the end?

And yet, some part of me wanted to chime in about my old fake ID, and how the person whose ID it was was 5-foot-6, had straight brown hair, brown eyes, was super-tan and lived in Florida. (I'm 5-foot-3. I have blue eyes. Curly hair. Pasty. Detroit.) And it worked every time. Once I turned 21 and renewed my license, the same bar that had been letting me in for two years with my fake started asking me to sign my name to test its legitimacy before they'd let me pass through their hallowed gates. Did I mention the bar is called The Landshark? ("Candy Gram.") Anyway, it never really mattered anyway, for in East Lansing, Michigan, you can get past any door if you have boobs and a working knowledge of beer pong.

Ultimately, what right did I have to attempt to relate to the trials and tribulations of the early-twentysomething set? In contrast, this is a conversation I had with Lisa this weekend, just before we headed out to see Aretha Franklin in concert:

ME: I know I'm getting old, because I'm so glad she's playing Radio City. There's seats.
LISA: Oh, you know how I feel about seats. I hate standing shows. Remember when we saw Crowded House last summer? You were all, "Let's go stand in the middle!" And I was all, "Ugh."
ME: Radio City is carpeted, too. So if we have to stand, it's cushy.
LISA: That's what I'm talkin' about.

Did I mention I saw ARETHA FREAKIN' FRANKLIN this weekend? At Radio City Freakin' Music Hall? Oy, was it divine. The Queen walked out in a dress that was a veritable kiln explosion, all black and silver foofy beaded tulle that she still managed to navigate behind the piano so she could play it. And Aretha moved and belted and Queened her way around that soul — and CISSY FREAKIN' HOUSTON was one of her backup singers! a backup singer! — and that voice effortlessly rose from inside of her, letting her man know that he better respect, that she's not his fool, that she may have lost her heart but she still has her head, and then, the night before Easter, she took us to church, and holy crap, Aretha. I don't know if I've mentioned it here on this forum, but I've truly believed for years now that, while I may be Jewy Jew Whitey on the outside, I'm Aretha on the inside. The whole thing made me unreasonably happy at a time when my life is, well, let's just say I've been challenged and I need emotional release.

And as expected, Aretha took care of us. We got to sit and rest. And when we stood, our feet were cradled. And I felt ageless and my tone-deaf voice soared and I was sitting next to a guy who looked exactly like Nile Rogers but I didn't want to ask him if he was indeed he, and Aretha saved my old, temporarily songless soul.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Processing cheese

These are some conversations I've had lately:

ME: [to self] Oh, Simon Monjack. Where were you when I was single?
JESSICA: I feel like Simon Monjack is the guy who keeps a sandwich by the bed just in case he's hungry. Like, he just rolls over and eats.
ME: Ooh, you know what kind of sandwich it is?
JESSICA: What kind?
ME: Bologna! With cheese slices.
JESSICA: EW! Cheese slices!
ME: Yes. Kraft Singles. Bologna and Kraft Singles.
JESSICA: Sometimes our conversations disgust me.

JOSH: [looking through one of my high school yearbooks] Holy crap! What is going on with that girl's hair?
ME: Those were some impressive 1991 mall bangs.
JOSH: Her hair is so big.
ME: You wanna see big hair? I'll give you big hair. [flips to page with giant photo of self reading the high school newspaper] There. That's some big hair.
JOSH: [quiet, pondering] Hey, you were really pretty back then.
ME: "But you're really fug now!"
JOSH: You know what? [leaves room]

The big, big, beeeeeeeg news is that Josh got a full-time job. Really. He's been temping since he graduated in June and has been working at the same place for four months now, hoping they'd take him on salary. And huzzah, they did! AND he's working for the city, so yay benefits! And pension! We may be in financial distress for the forseeable future, but damn if we won't have a sweet retirement. I told him that if he ever moves away from working for the city before he gets his pension, I will have a pack of wolves hunt him down. So we went out to celebrate (have you ever had chocolate chip bread pudding with hot fudge and vanilla ice cream? well then, you've never tasted heaven) and had this conversation:

JOSH: The first thing I thought of when they told me I got the job was, We can have a baby now.
ME: Well, not now now.
JOSH: But you know what I mean.
ME: What if the baby chokes?
JOSH: What?
ME: What if the baby chokes? What if the baby crawls over to the cat food and eats it and chokes? Or a quarter? What if the baby chokes on a quarter? Your change is always falling out of your pockets.
JOSH: Um —
ME: We need to take CPR classes. And I think I should learn how to make clothes.
JOSH: You're crazy.

I've neglected to mention how sublimely happy I am for him. And for me. And how proud I am, because he's worked his shiny little tail off to get to this moment. When he got that job, everything changed. We slept until 6 p.m. the next day because we could finally relax. Nothing is hypothetical anymore. It's such a big deal that I couldn't hold my body upright for an hour after he told me. So instead I bought a really cute green dress that Josh has no idea is a gift from him to thank me for supporting us while he went back to school and changed careers. Thanks, Josh! Cute dress!

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Monday, March 03, 2008

These haikus, so mean/We're on the Highway to Hell/Making fun of kids

About two weeks ago, I wrote a haiku:

Britney, why so sad?
You still have your Mercedes
To kill people with

Granted, she was in the hospital at the time, receiving necessary care and medication — and not driving. But still, I felt inspired — even nostalgic, if you will. So I wrote a poem that's so six weeks ago. I hope you enjoyed it.

You see, working at a celebrity magazine, we are on the front lines of star fashion, gossip, business deals, and overprivileged babymaking. An environment such as this and the bizarre hours we operate call for serious survival mechanisms. My survival technique of late? Inappropriate poetry.

Case in point: one Dannielynn Hope Marshall Anna Nicole Smith Marshall Smith Mexia Birkhead Smith, who just underwent eye surgery to correct strabismus, commonly known as "lazy eye." (An ailment the Garfields know a thing or two about. Hott!) Lisa and I got a little punchy, it's a long day (my schedule today is, roughly, 10 a.m. until borderline-sunup tomorrow), and in a fit of solidarity with the pains that poor little Dannielynn faces under the watchful eye of the media and the famewhoring paws of her father, we decided to offer the tot some syllabic guidance. The sweet thing needs all the help she can get, and I truly mean that from the bottom of my cold, jaded heart. Herewith:

The Smith Girl: Haikus and Eye Goo

(I started it with an e-mail, Lisa responded, and we took turns from there)

Dannielynn Birkhead
Who, what are you looking at?
Cross eyes: confusing

Little Dannielynn
My unsolicited advice
Is to look nowhere

Little Birkhead child
Look not upon your father
Or anywhere else

With those googly eyes
A famously dead druggie mom
And name, kid, you're screwed

Frosted tips, fish lips
Cameras in the O.R.
Flee your dad! Dickhead

We were fortunate to receive a contribution from Lisa's friend Peri:

Left eye equals: "trailer"
Right eye equals: "park"
Kid's destiny

Since I'm sensing a theme, here's another, for a new thread:

Paris, your stink-eye!
Is it your odor that makes
Your face go like that?

Feel free to contribute. This is nothing if not a forum for all you creative types.

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