Monday, November 26, 2012

Vegans, this is why people sometimes hate you.

Today I went to Bloomingfoods, which is our answer to Whole Foods (except for being local, co-op, and one millionth the size.
 Also Subarus instead of LandRovers in the parking lot. 
No wine tasting or dessert bars. No chefs wanking about with big knives. Etc.).

 I roamed about the store purchasing needfuls such as fresh local eggs, organic veggies, vegan baked goods* and soap that smells like my college dorm. Before I checked out, I decided to get breakfast and headed for the hot bar.
AND THEN:  Jesus smiled upon my locavore shopping basket, and 
Lo! he let there be sausage gravy [LOCAL PIGS. LOCAL MILK! LOCAL LARD!]!

 And LO! He willed that there would also be-ith the biscuits!  Praise ye, Jesus and all of your little baby animals that frolic ghostily round the hems of thy robe!

I was waiting my turn to scoop some delicious gravy into my takeout vat, when I realized that the woman I was behind was YELLING at the top of her lungs the following:


I could not help staring at her, because: INSANE. 
Also: IN A GROCERY STORE. Nothing around BUT things to eat. On the hot bar itself, in addition to the heavenly gift of sausage gravy, there were:

1. Eggs
2. Cheese grits
3. a terrifyingly grey "tofu scramble"
4. two kinds of soup, one of which is always vegan
5. lovely salad makings
6. Vegan HOT cinnamon rolls
7. More eggs
8. Some kind of casserole described as "breakfast" which had nothing that I could readily identify in it, except the words "casserole" and "breakfast"

Now, I did not point out all of the many other choices on the bar, or the food stacked to the ceiling in the rest of the store. One should avoid criticizing the Public Crazy. Sometimes it makes them even more crazy. Sometimes, they then direct all the crazy at One.

 But I think that I probably did look at her, and then looked at all of the food springing forth from every crevice of the building, and then look back at her with a slightly critical expression on my face. Which, I admit, I should have had the maturity to NOT do.

But, I didn't.

And so she yelled at ME:

She did say "CORPSE GRAVY".

So, I did what any reasonable, part time sort of vegetarian would do.
I laughed really hard. I might have even choked out "Did you just say corpse gravy?!?!" 

NOT the right choice.


I said, like a sane person not chanting corpse gravy repeatedly under my breath:  "Well, you know, it is almost 1pm. They probably just ran out. Did you ask someone?"


[this last, of course, was directed at the stony faced staff members behind the sandwich counter, who I would like to take this time to commend for their incredible patience, tolerance and ability not to stick this woman with sharp tined forks designed specifically for meat eating]

Then a teenage boy pushed in front of Corpsie and started to spoon gravy onto his plate. Apparently, this was her son, because now she directed her spewings at him.


Seriously, this is Bloomington, and for a minute I thought "Wait. Are these people rehearsing a scene from a play or a student film or something? Maybe they're sociology majors doing research?"
But then I realized, No.

This isn't a scene from a play. Because no playwright would create a character THIS ridiculous. "CORPSE. GRAVY."
Those are not words that should ever be put together. 
They should especially not be shouted in a place that sells food.
Even film students, as pretentiously horrid as they can be, have SOME standards. Usually those standards are subsonically low, but they ARE standards.

The teenager just shrugged his shoulders and said "Yeah. Okay. This looks really good. I'm eating it." And then he smiled at me as if to say "What are you going to do?"
I felt so sorry for him and also at the same moment I was so impressed by him.  If I were a 15 year old boy whose mother was having a screaming public meltdown over corpse gravy, at the very least I would be rolling my eyes and pretending not to know her, or even throwing corpse bits in her face on my way out the door.   But this kid was respectful to his mother even while holding out for his right to eat corpse gravy, and even though he clearly found her annoying, he wasn't mortified by her the way most teens are by their parents' very existence.  So as I waited for my turn at the gravy coffin, I said "Just leave me some of that dead pig, ok?"
And he laughed really hard, which might have been bad but at that point his mother was screaming at another employee.  The kid said "You know, I really do feel bad, because I like pigs, but...."
"They're just so delicious?"
Then his mother came back with more of her offspring, who were much younger, and proceeded to tell them as loudly as possible to stay away from the deadness, and to NOT use those horrible huge takeout containers like SOME PEOPLE....
like the one I was holding.

I knew then that if I did not leave ASAP that Corpsie would take her food crazy on to the next logical food nazi soap box, about how horrible and fat people who eat meat are, and so I immediately paid and left.  

And I laughed, out loud, all the way to my car, and have spent the rest of the day saying corpse gravy over and over in delighted horror.


*Only because I've found that the vegan cookies tend to use more sugar to disguise the fact that they don't have much flavor

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I spent an hour or nine perusing the fiction shelves at Barnes and Noble this week. I might not be a practicing librarian anymore, but I still care about books. Only halfway through the fiction section I realized that there were only about 15 different plots in use.  Also, I hate almost all of them.
 The point of writing fiction is that YOU GET TO MAKE STUFF UP!!
Or. You can just write about the Tudors and vampires and knitting groups.  But, please, if you're going to do that, stop. Stop right now.  Step away from the vampires.  Open your mind to something besides the zombie chasing you, and create something that does not involve any of the following:

1. Zombies.

2. Vampires.

3. Vampires and zombies in the same book, especially if producing hybrid Zompire/Vambie offspring

4.  Zombies and vampires in the same series, such as
Book One: Suck it, Vampire
Book Two: Eat it, Zombie!
Book Three: Suck, eat, have sex with it, and make it undead, Vambie Love Child!!

4. Zombie apocalypses where the remaining humans must fight off the brain eating hordes and save the world. Or something. I don't care. If I see one more book about zombies, I'm going to eat my own damn brain in self defense.

5. Anne. Fucking. Boleyn.
Yes. She seduced a king. He chopped her head off. How many books about this must we suffer?   Why must we make them all into bestsellers? Straight people, is this really the only romance in western European history that catches your eye/groin?
Here's the plot:
Henry VIII marries brother's widow, Katherine of Aragon, who's crazy religious and does not smell nice.
Young Anne twitches around court, catching H's eye, which is wildly roaming anyway looking for someone without heavy gold crosses worn as chastity belts.
A says Put a Ring on It, Big Boy! You ain't getting up in this unless I'm queen!
H tries to shake old woman loose.
Waa, waa, mean old Pope, excommunicatey blah blah blah,
Me King! Me Also Pope!
Detaches old woman, finally.
Yay Anne! So:
Puts ring on it.
Soon, takes head OFF it.
And there you have it, or rather, if you're Anne, you don't.

6. Any sort of book that is derivative of Jane Austen, i.e.
 What Mr Darcy Did Next
What Is In Mr Darcy's Pants? 
What I Did With What Was In Mr Darcy's Pants
or even
Mr Darcy's Pants: A Country Ramble With Animal Husbandry Tips!
Jane Austen is dead. She will write no more.
You will not improve on her.  You will not even come close to her.  Unless you are Barbara Pym, who is also dead, and who, thankfully, did not write about Mr Darcy or his pants, which, in my mind puts her AHEAD of Miss Austen-- but I digress.
 Reread Austen all you like, and, if you must, whack off to Pride and Prejudice, or Sense and Sensibility--but hopefully, not to Mansfield Park because that would be weird.  Better you do it at home, without pants, than in print, with pants, and unleash it on an innocent and unsuspecting public.

7. Anything that has zombies, vampires, AND Jane Austen.
(What Zompire and Vampie Sucked Out of Mr Darcy's Pants)

8. 50 Shades of anything. Ever. Shall not waste one extraneous word here.

9. Anything that has anything at all, ever, to do with Dr. Who. Please, Jesus. Make it stop. Television is enough--nay. It is already TOO MUCH.  MAY GOD AND JESUS AND THE GREAT PUMPKIN STRIKE ME DEAD BEFORE I EVER, EVER HEAR ONE MORE DAMN WORD ABOUT DR WHO. EVER.

10. Any subject that requires you to ever even consider using the phrase "young buck" in reference to any creature that does not have four legs and antlers.  Trust me here.

11. Teenage witches
(For some reason, witches are more popular in teen lit than adult lit, which I am sure is all because of that movie The Craft, which after all I totally get because Fairuza Balk was way hot in that movie)

12. Teenage vampires

 13. Teenage zombies

14. Anything centered around a knitting group.

15. Anything centered around a knitting group with witches, zombies, or vampires in it. Or teenagers. Or teenage witches, zom--ok, you get the idea.

16. If your name is James Patterson, any topic that occurs to you. Ever. Full stop.

17. Anything centered around an "inn", which I have always referred to as a hotel, but then again I do not write romance novels. Or anything revolving around a restaurant. Or a yarn store. A bakery. Florist shop(pe).  Or anywhere else that a bunch of random middle aged women come together, with at least one studly man, and then, someone gets cancer, and everyone rallies around except for that one woman who is all shirty and aloof who, of course, has already had cancer seven times, WHICH NO ONE KNOWS! SHE HAS A SECRET!!  and has lost everyone she ever knew to cancer and so she knows the pain all too well!! and oh, actually, she IS dead, that's why she seems so nasty until that scene where all is revealed and she gives her spleen and most of her brain to the other cancer person In The Most Noble Gesture Of All and everyone is all, "Whoa, she isn't such a bitch", but of course, eventually the other cancer patient dies, and everyone learns a lot of stuff about how Life Is Short, so the plucky single gal gets it on with the one studly man and then there's redemption and pie.

18. Related to Number 17 is the always popular Child Gets Sick, teaches lots of lessons to all the people around him/her, even that old curmudgeon who hates children and owns a dusty bookshop on the corner which happens to be worth eleventy zillion dollars so he sells it to get the money for the Dying Child's treatment but tells no one for he is the character meant to show us How To Do Things For The Right Reason; also naturally the Dying Child's estranged parents come back together in sorrow and learn things in the Face of Death like, So what if you had sex with my poker buddies at the lake cabin? And, honey, it's no biggie that your are the father of my sister's child, because Love Is Eternal And It Is All We Have Because Soon We Won't Even Have Our Kid etc etc etc.
 Dying Child dies, slowly and meaningfully, preferably with at least a chapter devoted to child's Last Words which are so wise and wonderful that someone should probably be transcribing them as a Guide To Life for everyone else; Oh, and it's fucking Christmas, so that there can be a doll or a teddy bear or a toy stripper pole to remind everyone of The Christmas We Would Never Forget Anyway Because It Was So Depressing That We All Converted To Judaism Just So We Would Never Have To Celebrate It Again.

19. Then, there's the always bestselling: Teenagers fall madly in love, are separated, reunite briefly many, many years later, preferably when one is on verge of death, and they both realize that those two weeks in the back of a '57 Chevy were the best ever, even after having long, fantastically successful lives packed with other loves, family, and probably a few million dollars in the ensuing six decades.  Set in the summer so as to have plenty of time for sneaking off to have sex, and probably takes place in small Southern town so we can Learn Lessons About Tolerance when one of the teens has a black, brown, or maybe even just deeply tanned friend who is of course killed off by the fourth or fifth chapter, and whose death is all tragic and horrible except apparently NOT tragic enough to prevent the teen lovers from humping the springs out of the back of that Chevy.  Of course, in the touching, heart rending denouement, one of our tragic duo dies, so other one can be left alone, hopefully crying until they, too, expire, not one damn second too soon.

20. Death and teens is ALWAYS a winner.  Like, where the mother dies and the teenage daughter experiences the five stages of grief while being pretty and popular and also loses her virginity, which is all her dead mom's fault and now she not only doesn't have a mom, she doesn't have a hymen, but that's ok, because she gets into Yale.

21. Anything about a group of college friends growing apart, or getting closer, or planning one member's funeral. You will not improve on Mary McCarthy, even if you throw in some dying children and knitting and a zombie.

There are more.  But after writing these down, I'm so sick of the printed word I can't even type. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Things I Meant to Do Before My 20th College Reunion

I am going to my twenty year college reunion this weekend.



Which would mean that I started college TWENTY FOUR years ago.

How did that happen? I don't feel that much older. I'm sure I don't LOOK that much older. My hair is still red*. I have no wrinkles**. I may have gained a little weight***, sure, but hasn't everyone?****
Fine, I probably look every day of my 42 years, but since I am an artist who lives in Granolaville, I don't even think about that most of the time. If I want to feel pretty, I just go to Walmart***** for twenty minutes.

But I honestly don't feel that much different than I did the day I graduated, or even the day my parents dropped me off at the Vassar farm and I realized I was alone in a state where I literally did not know one single person. I was a clueless 18-22 year old with very little idea of what I wanted out of life, and I spent the next five or six years going to school for a degree I finally realized I did not want. So I spent another year in school to get a degree in library science. With my MLS, I partially supported myself for the next decade and a half. Unless you are married, independently wealthy, or enjoy living in a wigwam made of empty packing crates, there is no way to support yourself on a public librarian's salary. But the nice thing about being a public librarian is that the whole time you are thinking about applying for food stamps, you can keep telling yourself "But My Job Is Important. I Am Helping People. I Am Making A Contribution To Society".

I was able to be a librarian Contributing To Society mainly because my parents were contributing to my bank account.

Being a librarian was possibly the only time in my life since I was 17 that I viewed the future without ongoing nameless dread. I hated college at first. I was homesick, I missed my family, my friends, and most of all my boyfriend. Eventually I settled in and by my sophomore year I loved it, had friends, was involved in activities, and was sorry when winter and summer breaks interrupted my life. Junior year was more of the same, but by senior year I realized, "Hey. This ENDS."

I had no idea what to do next. Hence, the misguided grad school years, and falling into my library career mostly by accident.

Now, packing for my 20 year reunion, I still don't know what to do next. I thought I'd have accomplished a lot more by now. I definitely did not think I would be living in my parents' basement without any appreciable income, single, childless, and somewhat crazy. My classmates all seem way more advanced in Life than me, but then, on some level, they always did. The whole time I was at Vassar I kept looking around me thinking "Who are these beautiful, self assured people? Has there been some kind of mistake? Why am I here? Did the admissions committee just need someone from the Midwest for this class?"

You'd think that someone who felt that way then, and still feels a lot like that now, wouldn't even bother to go to a reunion. And believe me, I've agonized about it plenty. Part of me is dreading it. But that's why I feel like I have to go. If I don't do, aren't I just admitting that I never did fit in at Vassar, and it was all a big mistake that ruined my life?

I do not believe "Things happen for a reason", in fact, I think that's one of the most offensive statements ever invented, and mostly amounts to blaming the victim.^* So I don't think that I Went To Vassar For a Reason, because if so, that reason might just as well have been to destroy any thoughts of a musical career and ruin my self confidence almost beyond repair as anything. And when people say that things happen for a reason, they usually don't mean something icky as the end point. They mean that something bad happens to clear the way for something good....well. Maybe it just hasn't happened yet, but I still think this concept is bullshit.

But I do feel the need to reconnect with my alma mater at least one last time, and see if I can figure out exactly how it fits....or doesn't.... into the rest of my life. After I lost my job and realized I'd have to sell my house and move home, I re-evaluated my life as harshly as possible, and I did not like most of what I found. It scared me to realize that most of my failures could possibly be traced back to Vassar. Such as quitting the cello, because of an asshole music professor with an inferiority complex. And quitting acting, because I wasn't pretty enough to be taken seriously. And never taking a studio art class, because the artsy things that interested me were sneered at as crafts. Giving up on singing, when I'd always wanted to be in an acapella group, because I had one bad audition and never tried out again. Never taking a writing class, because I was too scared.

College is supposed to be a time to expand your horizons, but I felt so insecure at Vassar that that the main expanding I experienced was that of my waistline. Which only made everything worse, since I now felt out of place, untalented, AND ugly. And, after years of being one of the top students in the class, suddenly I was near the middle at best. I'd never felt stupid before. I'd never written a paper longer than three or four pages, and had it not been for taking classes at I.U. my last semester of high school, I think the academic work load alone would have sent me home.

What I did do was develop a political consciousness, and I spent most of my time on some form of political activism, which I don't consider a complete waste.....except, I'm not sure if it's done anything except make me an angrier person. I did make wonderful friends who I treasure. But I wasn't much of a friend to myself during college. So I guess I'm going back to see if I can figure out what made me stop liking myself, and if its too late to start again.

*As red as the first time I dyed it...actually, probably redder now. Seeing as I used to put the color over dark brown hair instead of white.
**I highly recommend extremely oily skin and being fat if you want fewer wrinkles with no botox. Works like a fucking charm.
***Hey, at least I don't have wrinkles, haters.
****At least those of us who can't afford lipsuction, personal trainers, or surrogates to bear our three or four sets of twins
*****No, I don't buy anything. Not only do I hate Walmart and think they are the devil, I also don't have any money.
^* Yes, I do have a standard, full blown rant on this topic. Please contact me if you need the full version. Especially if you feel like getting smacked.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why no, I don't agree to disagree.

Unless you live under a rock, or in a country that treats humans like humans even if they aren't billionaires*, you might have noticed that political sentiments are running high these days. Personally, I think this is a good thing, but then again, I've lived my entire life like this pretty much since before I understood what politics were.

When I got to college, I realized that all of my opinions weren't just called opinions, they were actually part of a larger cloud called Politics. And by Politics, I don't mean, things involving government or at least, not just those things. At Vassar, in the late 80s and early 90s, your politics were much more than democrat or republican. Were you a capitalist or a socialist or maybe a Marxist? What about feminism? Moderate, militant, or separatist? Gay rights? What about bisexuality: just a stage or not? What about animal rights? Environmentalism: were you species-ist? "Politics" wasn't limited to how you voted; your politics were how you viewed the world.

In other words, as we learned over and over again, The Personal Is Political. Your politics and your self are not two separate entities. You are your politics, because they are your personal philosophy and way of connecting to the world.

It amazes me that in this day and age, I still have to explain this concept to people. Although, usually the people who don't understand this have never had to understand it. Politics become personal very quickly when, say, you have to sit at the back of a bus. Or you can't marry the person you love. Or when you need a medical procedure and can't get it because a group of zealots have chained themselves together in front of a clinic.

As most young people do, I assumed my college experience was fairly typical. Of course, it wasn't then, and it certainly isn't now. I think the one thing all Vassar grads agree on, especially as we get farther from it, is how atypical our education was. There are people who graduated from college around the same time I did, who even went to small liberal arts schools, who hardly gave politics a thought. And since I graduated in 1991, young people seem to have moved farther and farther from politics as student activity. I've lived in college towns all of my life except for when I was actually in college, and the activism seems to be almost non-existent. Which, if it isn't needed, is great. Although I'm not sure that's the case.

I fell out of my strident political activism sometime after the mid 90s, when I finished grad school. I got a "real" job and played at being a grown up for a decade or so. I thought it was time for the next generation to take up the banners for a while.....but apparently they didn't. I was shocked when I started reading "feminist" magazines again a few years ago and discovered that in the 21st century, the main issues twentysomething feminists talked about had to do with the politics of bikini waxing and knitting in public. No more Take Back the Night marches, apparently.

Maybe part of the reason politics were so important at Vassar at the end of the 20th century was because, after years of being the most liberal of all the Eastern schools except for maybe Brown**, Bennington***, and Sarah Lawrence****, we were inundated with a a new breed of students. These were people who apparently couldn't make it into their first, second, or even fifth choice schools. By which I mean, schools where you could be rich, mean, loud, conservative and fit in seamlessly. At Vassar, you could definitely be mean and rich, and you could even be Republican and mean and rich. But combine all of the above, and you stood out so much that your only hope was to create your own clique so you could have some friends.

You think I'm joking? Do the names Richard Miniter or Marc Thiessen ring a bell? No? What about Liz Murdoch? Her dad's first name is Rupert, by the way.

I cut my political teeth at Vassar, and it should be no surprise that then, as now, I was on the opposite side of the barricades as my wealthier, more infamous classmates. While Rich and Marc wrote for The Vassar Spectator, a newspaper funded by Liz's pop, my friends and I wrote for and published a feminist newspaper called Womanspeak. We didn't have any billionaire dads helping us out, so our little rag wasn't as slick as the Spec. What we lacked in funding and layout programs, we made up for with intelligence, good writing, and sheer obnoxiousness....and for our trouble, got smacked down in many a Spectator editorial. It might have been all in good fun, except, those people have been and still are shaping the political discourse of the far right.

So maybe I've had a little longer to think all this through than everyone else, because I came up against their hateful rhetoric earlier than most. We were college kids back then, and we were all, quite honestly, kind of assholes. The difference is, the members of Womanspeak aren't feeding the right wing monster that's destroying our country.

Which brings me, at long and tortured last, to my point.

So often, I hear liberals/progressives***** say things like "Oh, well, we can agree to disagree!" or "Let's just not talk about politics!" or something like "No matter what you believe, I'll always love you!"

And I honestly want to smack those people.

Not the Teapublicans. No. Their need for smacking should, at this point, no longer even need saying. The Republican party has made it very clear that they hate gays, that they wish to restrict not only access to abortion but to health care for women in general, that no one but the wealthy deserves to have health care anyway and now, with their blatant union-busting, they've made it all too clear that in this America, working for a living means that you should scramble for the few crumbs the corporations are willing to toss your way, and you should be delighted and eternally grateful for the privilege.******

No, the people I'm annoyed with in this instance are the supposed liberals, or should I say, progressives.

Side note:
I've noticed that those of us who still use the word "liberal" tend to be a lot less apologetic about our politics. Maybe that's because we're old or something; I don't know. Maybe it's because we just think "progressive" has too many s's. Maybe it's because "progressive" doesn't always mean "progress" in a good way, it can also just mean going forward in time, without any real benefit. Like a cancer that progresses, because it is growing, but that isn't a positive kind of growth.
End of side note

Whatever word you use, I'm just plain, flat out tired of always being expected to act as though ALL points of view are equally valid. Because, newsflash: THEY ARE NOT.

I know. I have just broken an essential rule of liberalism, which is to always respect other points of view. But, guess what. If you're a bigot, and hateful, and spend most of your time trying to keep other people down, then I reserve the right to tell you to fuck off, no explanation needed, and NO APOLOGY.

I'm done with other liberals making me feel like I'm somehow not liberal enough because I don't want to play nice.

Why the hell SHOULD I play nice with people who would like nothing better than to see me and most of my friends even worse off than we already are?? And in the name of all that is decent and right, why the hell would I want to be FRIENDS with people who believe the things I enumerated above? There are lots of things you can agree to disagree about: Sports teams. White after Labor Day. Spit or swallow. Beatles or Rolling Stones. Toilet paper over or under. Beets as a food.

But why in the world would you want to be friends with people who disagree with you about basic tenets of life? Why would I want to be friends with people who think poor people don't deserve to have health care? Who hate gay people? Who think Glenn Beck has anything worth saying to anyone, anywhere??? What possible redeeming quality could someone like that honestly have that I would want near me by choice?

I understand that you don't get to choose your family. But, you CAN decide how much contact you have with your family. Because, you see, I also know plenty of people disowned by their own families. So, because their families didn't agree with them, in this case usually their sexual orientation, they were unchosen by their families. Because it is more important to please an imaginary man in the sky than, you know, love your own son.

And you don't get to choose who you work around. I am all too aware of working in close quarters with fucking crazy ass republican fundamentalists. Even I tried to keep my mouth shut, but in my case, I would have had to remove my entire head for that to help.

But all of that is different than having friends you choose.

Now, I hear lots of you saying "But...but...but". Let's look at your butts. I mean, your buts.

".....what about learning from each other?"
"...what about reaching across the aisle?"
"....what about working together?"

Really? Do you see Republicans as being willing to do any of these things?? Ever? This is a party built upon lies. This is a party filled with hate, and which sees nothing wrong with discounting enormous groups of people based on nothing except bigotry. Why would you WANT to learn from them?

And, again, if there are people who still call themselves Republicans when by doing so they throw themselves in with the worst of their kind, yet who don't necessarily agree with some of the most radical views, well, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr:

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

So, lets look at those "buts" again, and see where you can agree to disagree:


"What about my jogging partner, Susie, who thinks all fat people are stupid and lazy? Can't we agree to disagree, even though my best friend is overweight and I know she's not lazy or stupid?"

"What about my friends I have coffee with on Tuesdays who all talk about how Jews control the media? Can't we agree to disagree about that, even though I think anti-semitism is wrong and horrible?"

"What about my neighbor's friend who is running for office on a union busting platform? Surely we can agree to disagree on this, even though I belong to a union and without it, I'll lose all the money I've paid into my pension?"

"What about my friend Joe, who thinks gay people should be sent to camps? Can't we agree to disagree on this, even though I have a gay son I adore and support?"

"I know WalMart is responsible for the destruction of the mom and pop grocery store, like the one that my family friends ran for 40 years until WalMart came to town. Can't we agree to disagree, and they won't be angry with me for shopping there now that they're homeless and live in a van?"

"What about Aunt FooFoo, who works for Operation Rescue? Can't we agree to disagree, even though I would have died if I hadn't been able to have a mammogram at Planned Parenthood?"

If you are one of those people who can, somehow, agree to disagree, well, good for you. Know that I am not one of you, and I never will be.

And I'm fine with that.

*Hint:not this one.

**lots of drugs,but still an Ivy

***very, very rich; student body mostly expelled from everywhere else because of drugs

****close enough to Manhattan to get really serious drugs; also,too small to matter

*****whatever term we're trying to use to not upset conservatives too much these days

******Oh, and just in case you want to have one of those "discussions" where you tell me that I shouldn't paint all Republicans with the same brush, because it isn't fairrrrrrr because they arrrrennnn'tttt ALLLLLL like that, and how maybe I don't know that because I'm a complete idiot who needs to have things explained to her in words of two or fewer syllables, well, just don't. Because I guarantee you, I've had that conversation with other people AND myself about seventeen million times. Starting about 20 years ago. And I've probably thought about it in way more detail than you have, because I'm totally comfortable with it, and you're still trying to "discuss" it. When a party has become so crazily far to the right, if you stay a part of it, well, you ARE tarred with their brush, and you deserve to be. If you aren't part of the solution, people, you most certainly are part of this problem.

I can go on about this. At great, unwanted, frighteningly mind numbing length. Way, way longer than this, and I can tell you're already annoyed. Believe me. This is nothing. Stop now, while you have a chance to escape.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Twelve Steps for Dealing with the Republican Menace

Note: I originally published this on the "Notes" section of my Facebook profile. Since then, many people have forwarded it around, and since there are still people without FB accounts, I thought I would post it here as well.

My thanks to real twelve step programs for their inspiration. Feel free to forward and repost as needed, just leave my name attached. I wouldn't want anyone else to get in trouble for my smartassery.

by Wendy Bethel

A friend of mine wished that there was a 12 step program for her to do so she could stop trying to argue with Republicans. I agree that this is a vitally urgent issue, and so I've tried to oblige. These steps are only the beginning.

You must:

1. Admit that you are powerless over using logic on Republicans. You cannot argue with people in a language they do not speak.

2. Come to believe that powers not possessed by Republicans can restore you to sanity, including but not limited to compassion, intelligence, and reason

3. Turn over your energy wasted on speaking to Republicans to a high power, such as to the electoral college, or really, any college.

4. Take a fearless moral inventory of yourself.
For instance, do you believe that gay people are the same as pedophiles, those who practice bestiality, and rapists? Do you think that poor people are poor because they made “bad choices”? Do you believe in less government except when it applies to your enormous tax cuts? Do you care passionately about the rights of the unborn until the cord's cut? Do you believe that access to health care for every citizen is a big socialist plot, since you and everyone you know has really good insurance?

No? Then you don’t have to worry, because you are NOT a Republican and therefore you HAVE morals.

5. Admit to yourself the nature of your wrongs: You CANNOT reason with a Republican. See Step One.

6. Ask your higher power to remove the desire to reason with those who have defective characters, such as Republicans

7. Ask your higher power to remove Republicans from your life.
Trust me. It’s better this way.

8. Make a list of those who have been harmed by Republicans. This will be a long list. It may be quicker to simply make a list of Republicans, and then write at the top of it “Everyone except the following:”

9. Now, instead of wasting time, breath, and energy trying to speak to Republicans, make amends to those who have been harmed by them, including yourself, through volunteer work, community organizing, years of painful psychotherapy, living with compassion and integrity, and obviously, voting for Democrats.

10. Continue to take personal inventory and when you are wrong, admit it. It will not be easy to stop speaking to Republicans all at once. Sometimes, they seem almost normal until you’ve known them for a while. You may have to move, get a new job, find new friends, disown a child or two, and/or obtain a divorce. In the end, it is worth it.

11. Continue to practice empathy, reason, and love in your daily life. You could ask God what he wants you to do, but all too often he claims you should vote Republican, carry concealed weapons, hate the gays, bomb the brown people, and prevent women from entering clinics to get cancer screenings. Therefore, do so at your own risk. If I were you, I'd just make sure I was working on Step 10.

12. Now that you know how to free yourself of the Republican menace, carry your knowledge and support to others seeking to free themselves of the struggle.

And remember to take it one day at a time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

There's only so much of the earth I care to save.....

So my friend J. is deserting me for the summer. Since he lives in Manhattan and I live in the middle of Ohio, one might think that he has already deserted me by refusing to live anywhere that I might possibly ever think of visiting for longer than a week. One would be right about that, but in this case I mean that he's spending his summer out of cell phone reach.

This makes me frantic.

I have known J. since I was 20, which means, frighteningly, that I have essentially known him for half my life. Ever since the first night we bonded he has been one of my top five people on the planet. Others may rotate in and out of the Top Five, but he always manages to hang on to one of the spots. Aside from having all three of the Most Important Qualities in a Man [Funny. Smart. Gay.], he also understands me in a way that almost no one else does, and yet STILL LIKES ME. Plus, he shares most of my deepest, most crippling insecurities, and yet makes me feel like I shouldn't have those insecurities even while still maintaining them himself. That, grasshoppers, is the kind of friend you don't find every day.

J. is one of the only people I will talk to about my weight, because even though he is very tall and lanky, I know that he is at least as insecure about his own appearance as I am about mine. For instance, I admitted to him a few years ago that I was really sick of hearing about people who've had gastric bypasses, because they've become so common that I really believe that people are looking at me and whispering to each other "Why doesn't she just get The Operation and be done with it?"

He laughed insanely for about an hour, and then said "Yeah. Why don't you just get The Operation? What's WRONG with you?" and then went off in another fit of laughter. If anyone else said that to me I would secretly think "See, he HAS been thinking that, and even though he SOUNDS like he's joking, he REALLY MEANS IT". With J., I know that he's laughing because he's impressed that just for a second, I've managed to sound even crazier than usual and he's laughing at my ridiculousness.

A few years ago, he was working for a large company that produces a product that most Americans carry with them at all times. He was doing very well, outselling everyone in his office, and making lots of money. He transferred to another office and suddenly found out why the Gays mostly stay above the Manson-Nixon line. Within a year he was forced out of his job and found himself living in a strange city with no job and a massive case of depression. He pulled himself out of it, though, and turned his life completely around. Now he has a job with summers off and lives in New York. So, after the year I've had, he's pretty much the only person I've been able to talk to who understands what I've been through and who I can trust not to judge me when I whine about how bad daytime TV has become and why going to the bank and the grocery store can fill up an entire day. Even when I've had times when I couldn't bear to speak to anyone, he would always call me and force me to talk, and then make me promise to call him even if I felt so bad that I couldn't speak, because then we could at least watch TV together over the phone.

And now, when i'm just starting to feel like a human again, he has the gall to take off into the wilderness for the summer, to some retreat in upstate New York where they force you to eat vegan food and learn self actualization through silence, meditation, and the gas brought on by raw diets. He will be living in a TENT for two months. Not one of those nice tents like they have at summer camp, which are up on wood floors and have canvas sides that you can roll up. No. A tent, on the ground, big enough for a sleeping bag and a pee bottle. It goes without saying that there aren't phones. No e-mail. And NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION. So I can't even TEXT him obsessively.

I asked him, what the fuck is the point of living in Manhattan if he has to leave it to sleep on the ground and pee into a bottle for two months of the year?? After all, he cannot understand why I persist in living in flyover country, and yet I have NEVER peed into a bottle outside of a doctor's office. And the last time I went camping, which was in 1993, I forced my girlfriend to drive me home during the day so I could take a shower, and then made her drive me back home the next day so I could attend a Mary Kay party*.

He went on about how he would be able to center himself, and reach self actualization or some such nonsense; I wasn't really listening because I was also watching the Denise Richards reality show and besides, as soon as he brings up his new agey spiritual stuff I generally tend to become deaf in that ear. I realize that I am spiritually crippled, as I will never achieve self actualization because it requires introspection and honesty and why bother with that when you can watch reality TV instead? I also don't think that I have an inner child because that would imply that I have an outer adult.

I guess I can't look down on J. for wanting to become a better person, although I admit I don't want him to become too much better, because then he might not need me as much. I just don't understand why people can't find their inner children at home, in central air conditioning, with cable and internet access. My inner child becomes an inner demon if I am forced to come in contact with nature for more than ten minutes at a time. I once made my doll club give up a perfectly lovely meeting space because in order to get to it I had to drive far enough outside of the city that I passed a barbed wire fence. Barbed wire is a reminder that you've left civilization and are now relying on rusty sharp things to demarcate the boundaries that we leave up to socialization in the city.

So, as only a truly co-dependent friend can do, I started listing all of the problems with this scenario. I asked him about the food. Would he be forced to partake in the raw diet cleanse that overflowed the lavatories one year? J. hates anything and everything to do with The Brown Word, so I thought this might work. No, he reminded me, he has a digestive system of cast iron. Nothing sticks to it, but nothing slides through too fast either. Next, I ruminated on the weather. What about the heavy rains the rest of the country has been having? Won't his tent float away? Annoyingly, this didn't work either.

What about the constant insistence on being green and recycling?? Even though we went to a fancy eastern school and both vote Democrat, neither one of us really recycles. It's just too much trouble, and besides, we don't have children. What do we care as long as the earth lasts through our lifetimes? He claimed that he could stand it for the summer, because really, it was easy to do there since everyone was used to it.

Aha. I pounced. "But what about TOILET PAPER?? Aren't you afraid that they'll pull a Sheryl Crow and tell you to use only one square at a time, or worse, make you use rags so you can RECYCLE it???"

There was silence for a moment. Then he replied, "No. There's only so much of the earth that I'm willing to save".

Yes!!! They'll definitely kick him out after a week or two!!!

*Yes. That was my lipstick lesbian phase, as a matter of fact.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Shut Up and Eat Something

I think I may have mentioned before that I am, shall we say, Rubenesque. Heavy. Larger. Whatever you call it. Just not thin.
I am actually ok with this, because I have never been thin, and don't know what its like. Also, and this makes people mad, I have NO health issues. Perfect blood pressure. No diabetes. Slightly high cholesterol, which is hereditary because both my parents have it. It's not from my diet because I eat almost no red meat, cheese, and only allow myself to have eggs like once a month, if that. And I'm fit enough to take my stupid dog for a walk, which means that she pulls as hard as she can on the leash and I have to run to keep up while having my arms yanked out of their sockets. No joint problems. I am in general ridiculously healthy.

I've been on a healthy eating plan for the past month or so, and have lost 20 pounds, which is good because all my old clothes fit again. And I'll probably lose some more, just because I don't want to hit 40 and suddenly develop all the health problems that the medical profession believes I should already have. But I know that I will never be a size 2, or a 4. Or probably even a 10. I am just not built that way, and even when I was in grad school and lifted weights and worked out to the point that I had
muscular definition on my torso and like, sculpted upper arms, I still wore a size 16. I looked a lot smaller, but contrary to popular belief, women can be shapely, muscular, and not emaciated.

I would be delighted to be back in a size 16 now, and would feel very, very thin if I were. But even if I wore a 16, I would still technically be considered huge in a world where size 2 is now the optimal size for women. I'm sorry, but when I was in high school and had the same measurements as Marilyn Monroe, I wore a 12. I look at size 2 jeans and I think, what would it be like to be so small? To take up SO little space on the planet?? I mean, how do those Hollywood starlets who expand to an enormous size 4 during the 8th month of pregnancy carry those giant fucking purses without just toppling over?? How do women that small pick up their kids, or push a loaded grocery cart?? How can they do normal everyday things like take out the trash, or buy a bag of ice and carry it to the car?

I guess the answer to a lot of those questions is, they simply can't. I think it's really disturbing that the ideal woman's shape today is that of a skeletal, tiny, bird. How did we go from women taking more of an equal place in society to women just wanting to physically disappear?

I'm thinking about all of this today, because this afternoon I was, once again, witness to a conversation that made me want to scream fuck you, smack people, and just generally remove myself from the company of women completely. Or, let's be honest, heterosexual women. I've never heard lesbians have any form of the following conversation.

I was with a group of women who were discussing piercings and tattoos*, and the talk turned to bellybutton piercings. Personally, I think piercing your bellybutton is really, really odd. I mean, basically you're punching a hole in the place that once connected you to your mother. I guess I also don't see navels as particularly sexy, either. To me, they're mostly just kinda weird. Especially outies. They look like some kind of malformed genital that just didn't work out.

Anyway, one of the women present had had her navel pierced. One of the other women present, who is extremely thin, said that she was planning to pierce hers as soon as she got her "6-pack" back. She asked to see the other woman's piercing, and of course, there was a lot of giggling, and then that time honored conversation between women that goes something like this:

"Ooooh nooo, I can't show you cause I'm so fat!!" [slapping of nonexistent stomach fat]
"Oh nooooooo, you're not fat, look at MEEE" [pinching of three millimeters of excess skin on stomach]
"You guys!!! You look great!!! Look at my huge roll!!!" [Exposure of tiny fold of skin caused by sitting.]

"No way, you are all soooooo skinny!!!! Look at this huge muffin of mine!!" [Pulling up shirt to display half a centimetre of skin over tiny waistband.]

giggle giggle giggle giggle.

And I have to sit there, in complete shocked silence, as all of the participants are at least 50 lbs lighter than me, and not one of them could wear anything bigger than a size 10.
These women were thin. And some of them were the kind of thin that would even pass muster in Hollywood. And they're all trying to basically out-FAT each other???

I mean, what the FUCK???

And I remembered all of a sudden why I don't have many straight girl friends.

I mean, what am I supposed to do when this conversation takes place around me??

Laugh, and point at their imaginary fat, and say "Oh gosh, yes, you ARE grotesque, please cover that up before I vomit??"

Make retching noises and run out of the room??

Suggest emergency liposuction???

Cover my face and scream "Stop raping my eyes with your cellulite!!!"???

Point and chant "PIG PIG PIG"???

Shriek and giggle along with everyone else and assume that they can't see me?

Or am I supposed to be the jolly fat girl who says "Come on guys, look at ME!! Now don't you all feel so much better???"

Could that be what they really WANT?? Are they really that cruel??

It wouldn't surprise me. Because that's certainly what it felt like.

I don't know. I mean, what if we were all sitting there and one of us had only one leg, or no legs, and then the others started talking about how ugly their legs were?

Or what if one of us was bald, and everyone started talking about how much they hated their hair?

Or what if one of us had cancer, and everyone else started talking about how sick they felt after having that cold going around?

Or if the person with cancer had had a double mastectomy, and everyone started talking about how their own breasts were too small, too large, or otherwise unsatisfactory???

Would they have understood that they were being horribly insensitive and hateful then??

I'd like to think so. But I'm not sure. Because being party to that conversation felt pretty terrible to me. Just for future reference, no matter what you weigh: if you're with someone who clearly weighs quite a bit more than you do, please don't start complaining about how repulsive you are. Because the message to the heavier person is, "My God, if they all find themselves so disgusting, WHAT DO THEY REALLY THINK ABOUT ME???"

I mean, while watching my tiny, tiny friend pinch at the quarter inch of extra skin on her miniscule stomach and proclaim herself "huge", all I could think was, Is she blind? Is she retarded? Does she call me pig behind my back and snort when I walk out of a room?? Why does she even like me??

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't understand women. And at times like this, I'm glad about that.

*Okay I have to be honest. I don't fucking get it. I was trying to talk to a really nice, brilliant, otherwise lovely woman today and I could not hear one fucking thing she said because I could not stop staring at the ring through the middle of her nose. Why the fuck do women want to look like they are livestock?? And i'm sorry, I know you thought that little butterfly on the back of your neck was really cool in college, but what about when you're 75 and it's sagged to the middle of your back???

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Why can't we eat dogs instead of cows??

I have been up for almost 20 hours. And even though it is nearly 3am, I cannot yet go to bed.

This is because my dumb ass of a dog will not come in the house. I have been trying to lure her inside for the past hour and finally gave up and decided to completely ignore her.
Every five minutes or so she yips and scratches at the door, which means that I must then go open the door ostensibly to let her stupid ass in--at which point she runs away from the door and starts barking while running sideways with occasional mountain goat leaps into the air. I think this must mean "Hey Mommy!!! Come out and play with me in the disgusting slushy and muddy yard!! Pleeeeeeeeez Mommy play pleeeeeeeze!!!!" Which I am not going to do, because it is fucking cold out there in addition to being slushy and muddy. So I am then forced to walk part way into the yard, while hissing "LUNA! GET IN HERE GODDAMIT!!!" which of course doesn't work, so then I switch to my most dulcet, dogcharming tones and say things like "Come here you little shit, get in the goddamn fucking house before Mommy skins you and makes you into a nice pair of fur lined boots!!"

I hate golden retrievers.

It is now officially 3am and she is still out there. Making the most pathetic little whines possible. Which at one point in my life as a mommy could catalpult me out of an absolutely sound sleep. And which now are making me feel really, really murderous while wondering if perhaps the Koreans have something to teach us about dogs as food.

What makes this even more annoying?? She did the same goddamn thing LAST night.
Last night, I let her out at 1:30, which was already late, and she proceeded to elude capture until 2:54am. And last night, it was not raining but it was also less than 20 degrees out there.

I am so afraid that the only reason my neighbors have not yet called the police on me is because they are too busy filming my pathetic efforts and putting it on youtube where Keith Olbermann will see the ridiculous spectacle of a grown woman in an oversized flannel bathrobe trying and failing to outsmart a golden retriever and decide that it is the perfect thing to highlight on his Oddball segment.

Hate dogs. Hate winter. Hate complete lack of dog-parenting skills.

I wonder if anyone will call Dog Protective Services on me if I just leave her the hell out there and go to bed. I'm willing to risk it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Something I Do Not Recommend

Have you ever seen what two pounds of pork looks like after it's been inside a golden retriever??


Consider yourself deeply blessed, then.

I have seen, and worse, smelled this.

I was sitting at the computer rambling on in yet another entry about my pathetic lack of a love life, when suddenly I realized that the dog was no longer in the room with me.

I heard one, tiny quiet rustle of plastic. DAMMIT!!

I lurched into the kitchen to find the dog's head buried in the garbage bag I'd been meaning to take out for the past three hours. I yanked her head free, and executed a savvy motion intended to push her away, grab the garbage bag with my other hand, and lift it above my head. Instead I fell face forward onto the kitchen floor and my hand landed in something that looked like jello. Made out of blood. Hmmmm. I then heard a strange choking, gagging sound and twis
ted to see the dog sitting in a hunched over position with her poor head stretched out and drool coming out of her mouth.

Unfortunately, I recognized this pose. It's what she does right before she throws up everything she's ever eaten.

In her entire life.

All at once.

Somehow I got her into the yard, because my vet has told me repeatedly that dogs don't like to throw up in the house.

I don't like to dwell on the next ten minutes in too much detail, except to say that if you have ever had a golden retriever you are probably familiar with the fact that when they do vomit, they immediately try to eat it, which causes them to vomit again immediately, which makes them eat it, and so on. I believe the reasoning here is, "Hey, I already ate that once, and dammit, I'm going to eat it again [and again, and again] until it's good and eaten!!"

Since at this point I had NO IDEA what was making her so violently ill, I was particularly worried. And so ensued a period of time in which she ran away from me heaving wildly, then vomiting, then energetically chomping at whatever was trying to exit her mouth while I screamed "STOP IT!! STOP IT!!! DON'T EAT THAT AGAIN!!!" and flew around after her like a giant plaid flannel loon in my bathrobe and bare feet.

Once, when the dog was only about four months old, we were out in the yard enjoying a lovely spring day. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. The leaves were that lovely shade of spring green. And a mama bird was teaching her adorable little baby bird to fly, right there in the yard! Mama would make odd little cheeping noises and push Baby away from her, and Baby would flutter her little wings and get a foot or so off the ground, and then Mama would rush to her and preen her feathers as if to say "Good job, Baby Bird!! What a good smart little Birdie you are!!"
Suddenly out of nowhere a blinding yellow flash swooped down on Baby Bird and with one giant bite, scooped her up and took off running. For a minute I couldn't understand what was happening. Then I saw the feathers hanging out of my sweet puppy's fuzzy little muzzle, and heard the horrified squawking of the mama bird. "No!!!! NOOOOOOOO" I screamed, running wildly after the dog, who delightedly took off even faster at this new fun turn of events. What a good game!!! She zigzagged around the yard like a downy yellow demon, and I stumbled wildy along, continuing to scream "NO!" and "DROP IT!" and many, many other things which had absolutely no meaning to the dog except "Wow, Mommy is getting really excited!! I'll run faster!!!"
Finally I thought to yell the one command she did know, SIT!!!.
And she did. And as she sat, and I finally reached her, she GULPED.
And that dear little baby bird was no more.
In horror, I grabbed my puppy and instinctively rammed my fingers down her throat, where, unbelievably, I could feel the bird wings still fluttering. I tried to grab them and pull, but another GULP and down went the birdie.

This was a lot like that time, only this time it was about 20 degrees outside and well after midnight. I bet my neighbors don't even have cable anymore. They can just watch me and my idiot dog instead. And this time, when I managed to get to her and force my hand into her mouth to make her stop chewing, I came away with something brownish with a spot of bright red jello like substance on it. Oh no. What can that BE???

Finally the heaving stopped, and so I brought the dog inside. Where, damn that vet, she began to vomit for England. Since I was in my pajamas, I hopped into a pair of pants and grabbed the leash, thinking, that's it, she's dying, we're going to the emergency vet. Suddenly the poor dog gave a great heave. A flood of foam came out of her. I thought I might faint. "This is it, I am watching my dog die right here, and it's all my fault because I am too damn lazy to take out the trash. I've killed her. I've murdered my dog!!!

And then, before I could move, she gave an even greater heave and deposited the unchewed, undigested remains of the pork roast with cranberry chutney that I made on Monday night. Which had been in the garbage bag. It, in fact, looked exactly as it had when I put it into said bag, except the cranberries [Aha!!! Blood jello!!!] were gone, and it was coated in a rather sticky film of mucus.

With awe, I looked up at the dog, who shook her head as though to clear it, burped, and then began to wag her tail happily and sidle towards the now twice cooked pork.

She's fine now. I am definitely going to become a vegetarian again.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Twenty One Things Best Not Mentioned, Really

Okay. So, to review:

1. Live in a circle of filth
2. Have less self esteem than a small writhing self-esteemless thing
3. Totally incapable of choosing romantic partners who are literate, nice, or sane, regardless of their gender
4. Own more animals than is normal or non-pathetic
5. Am possessed of more books than most used bookstores and still have nothing to read tonight
6. Have many artistic talents which are greatly underused and probably overestimated
7. Am approaching the physical age of 39 while emotionally not quite 13
8. Am completely incompetent dog owner as 2 year old dog still barely understands rudimentary commands such as "Sit", "Come" and "Stop eating your poop, goddamnit!!!"

In addition, I

9. Am continually on the brink of financial ruin even though have "professional" "managerial" type job due to having chosen

10. World's most wildly underpaid profession which unfortunately I totally love and cannot imagine not doing, esp at current position which is absolute dream job where I float around wondering at my luck in spending my days doing what I'm doing, and loving where am doing it in spite of being paid so little that literally am half supported by parents.

11. May be going completely insane as last night dreamed that I was breastfeeding a baby all night long which on closer inspection turned out to be a pug puppy, which in the dream was a big relief as could not remember actually bearing the child/puppy and YET was producing breastmilk [dream breastmilk, not actual breast milk] which was perfectly normal [????] and somehow woke up at least relieved that it was not as disturbing as other recent dream in which I

13. Actually gave birth to 13 golden retriever puppies and felt the labor pains, which in the morning discovered were actually

14. Menstrual cramps, which also had this morning, leading me to believe that perhaps in spite of all efforts since early childhood to deny such, actually DO have a biological clock, which

15. Is ticking frantically, although, disturbingly, for wrong species as last I checked am still mostly human.

16. Should be doing nothing except sewing, knitting, and beading as Christmas is coming and have finished precisely none of the approximately 507 gifts I am planning to make, on top of the other projects I am obsessed with working on yet am

17. Not doing, because I'd rather be enumerating lists of my own shortcomings to distract myself from the fact that

18. Am still single and

19. Don't particularly want to be because

20. Am in throes of worst crush have had in a good ten years which is extremely embarassing and lame and on someone so inappropriate that must stop writing now for fear that even thinking of said crush will cause someone to guess who it is which will result in horrible things such as being laughed at, rejected, or, worst of all,

21. Liked in return.