Archive | February, 2005

Mrs. P saves the day

28 Feb

My sister has probably saved my life a hundred times over the years. Just this past weekend, she convinced me of the following truths, which changed my course of action in several instances just enough to keep me out of prison or safe from blunt instruments:

1) It is a bad idea to tell the dimwitted elderly first-time Mom sitting in front of you on the Acela that her monstrous screaming child should be euthanized.
2) Pigeon shit is not a biological weapon. Even if it lands on your sleeve.
3) It’s OK to be irritated with humanity; not so OK to yell, “Fuck you, I was sitting there!” And then swat people with your laptop.
4) Long Island Iced Teas: A Drink For The Beginning of the Evening, Not The End.

Splat!

27 Feb

Mrs. Piddlington and I went to New York this weekend, to visit my pal Smyres and see the Gates before they get torn down and recycled as Hari Krishna robes or whatever it is that’s gonna happen to them. But first I got crapped on by a pigeon, because that’s just the kind of thing that happens to me.

We were walking down Fifth Ave. in Park Slope, me and Smyres and Mrs. P, minding our own business, when a freaking pigeon dropped a deuce right on my tasteful and sorta pricey bright red winter coat. The poop was green, so it kind of looked like Christmas, with the green on the red and whatnot. And let me tell you something: I don’t know what was wrong with that pigeon, but I don’t think the poor bastard is long for this world. He had dysentary or something, because he got me good — three poop splotches on my coat and one on my purse. Which is also bright red, so yay.

I think I heard the fucker laughing as he flew away.

I’m a Hubley, you’re a Hubley, he’s a Hubley, too

23 Feb

I got an e-mail the other day from a very nice fellow named Mike Hubley, whose name is my name, too. This made me ridiculously happy, as my name is far from common, especially around these parts. Hubley is a German name, heavily and ruthlessly anglicized. My father’s full name, including his Anglo-Saxon sounding but actually Slovac middle name, sounds so English that he is often mistaken for a blueblooded WASP.

But enough about these names and whatnot. The best part of the e-mail was that Mike Hubley informed me that he had once dated a Jen, who, if they had married, would have become Jen Hubley. Just like me! (For the record, even if I do get married, I will remain Jen Hubley. I may make my husband change his name. Because fair is fair is fair. Not that you’ll have to worry about that for awhile. Someone asked the other day if I was getting married and I said, “Yes! June 2012. Save the date!”)

Being a Hubley is a whole thing, at least to those of us who are. It doesn’t come with a trust-fund, or any particular history, but we do have a sense of pride in our heritage, which is, as far as I can tell, a deep-seated interest in being nice and pretty comfortable and having lots of snacks around.

Also, and more importantly…

21 Feb

…Hunter S. Thompson is dead.

Unless you’ve all been working very hard this holiday, or are still in bed nursing your hangover, you already knew that. Sandra Dee also died over the weekend. So, for those of you who are keeping track of the celebrity deadpool, we lost Gonzo AND Gidget in the past 48 hours. That’s unacceptable, people, and let me tell you why: with the advent of reality television and chick/lad lit imprints like Red Dress Ink, we’re not actually making any new cultural icons anymore. At this rate, I calculate that we’ll be shit out of celebrities by the year 2011. (Coincidently, the same year that I’ll be done paying off my student loans.)

We need new famous people and we need them right now.

Dull girl

21 Feb

It’s getting nine kinds of Shining around here, and there’s very little relief in sight. I am losing my ability to spell, speak coherently, and put on pants. It must be time for spring already, mustn’t it? No? Soon, maybe? Still no? Okay. I’ll just climb back under this blanket and continue talking to myself.

The worst part about winter in New England is that it totally kills any originality you might ever have had, in terms of writing topics. ‘Long about this time of year, I find that my conversation is solely restricted to:

1) How goddamn cold it is.
2) How sorta sick I feel.
3) How much I hate the snow.

Also, I have come to realize that every year is the Worst Year Ever for weather and illness. Ask anyone. Any old person you see on the street. They’ll be happy to tell you.

I want to be a whistleblower, too

17 Feb

I like to read the wires while I’m eating my lunch, because I’m a nerd. Today’s stories on Yahoo! include, among various items involving Bush, Shiites and Monarch butterflies, a piece on the recent arthritis medication scare entitled “Whistleblower warns of more Vioxx risks.”

This is an important issue, of course, and hats off to Dr. David Graham, the FDA member who insisted on bringing this information to light. He was willing to buck the system and go up against pharmaceutical giants and his own bosses and so on. He seems very brave. But then, don’t whistleblowers always seem brave? It’s their defining characteristic. This is why I want to be a whistleblower, too.

As a general rule, I am a cowardly person. I am deeply non-confrontational by nature, to the point where, if someone is stepping on my foot, I will actually think to myself, “Does it really hurt all that much, having my foot stepped on? Perhaps it would be better to put up with it. And anyway, I’d hate to hurt this person’s feelings.” This sounds funny and sort of cute, but beware the wishy-washy person: I have, in my younger years, broken up with men via e-mail and the ever-popular gradual disappearing act, just to avoid having to tell them that I didn’t want to date them anymore. And needless to say, I have never battled any government agencies.

But now’s the time! I’m older and stronger and I’ve had loads of therapy. All I need is to find a corrupt government agency, insinuate myself into its ranks, and then, you guessed it, bravely blow the whistle on their corruption. How hard could this be?

I know that you will all wish me the best of luck in my new endeavor. And if you happen to think of any government agencies that particularly need exposing, please feel free to e-mail me.

Sick day with Mrs. P

15 Feb

My sister and I are sitting in my parents’ livingroom, wearing a comfortable lounging outfits and eating fattening things. I have a cold. We each have a couch to ourselves.

The TV is on. It’s playing a commercial, featuring a pleasantly plump soccer mom type who, no doubt, has been selected specifically in order to make the commercial’s intended audience — pleasantly plump soccer moms — feel comfortable. It makes me feel so comfortable that I forget what she’s shilling, even while I’m watching it.

I’m more interested in her hair, which is short and curly, like a purse-dog’s.

“See,” I say to Mrs. Piddlington. “That hair. THAT’s what I think my hair looks like.”

She looks at me in shock. Horror. Pity. “THAT’s what you think your hair looks like? You’re INSANE.”

I nod, sadly. She’s got me there.

She looks at the screen again, and then back at me. Poodle Lady is making spokesmodel gestures, which she’s not really suited to do. Again, God knows what product she’s advertising.

“Her hair,” Mrs. Piddlington says, “Is like ramen noodles.”

Humanity, snot

13 Feb

I have a cold. In this, I resemble about 90% of the people I know. Everyone is sick. But no one does it with quite as much style as I do.

Have you ever seen the old black and white movie Camile? Neither have I. But I saw a clip of it once, when I was little, because it was featured in Annie, which was one of my favorite movies. In Camile, Greta Garbo basically coughs and lies around upon a divan in silk lounging attire looking tragic until she eventually dies. She looks gorgeous. I am wearing flannel and I look like shit. But the drama quotient is similiar.

I am spectularly weepy when sick. This morning, my friend Cathy called me about a party that was taking place this evening, and I had a complete nervous breakdown over the phone. I felt awful, I explained. No, really bad. I might not live to even make a decision about whether or not I was going to the party, and also, my looks were spoiled.

Cathy has known me for a very long time now and must find me amusing or something, because she was very patient with me. (It’s either that, or, as I’ve long suspected, my parents are paying her to hang out with me.) Anyway, she suggested I go to CVS and buy myself some DayQuil and Zicam, which I did.

I’d never used Zicam before, but man, it’s like crack for cold sufferers. This is some seriously great shit, and it makes me proud to be an American, and thus at liberty to stuff the landfill with used one-time disposable zinc nasal swabs. I feel much, much better now, and I got to stick something up my nose, which is almost as good as a pore strip in terms of being disgustingly satisfying. We don’t do product endorsement here at the Smash, but if we did, Zicam would be the first thing we’d shill. And by “we”, I mean “me”, plus whatever lingering rhinoviruses are floating around in my bloodstream.

Day of a thousand posts

11 Feb

In the course of freaking out this morning over the past two day’s posts and comments (see below), I diagnosed myself with a new disease. It is called OJO, and it stand for Obsessive Jen Overdrive. As of now, there is no treatment. However, unless I have a heart attack like a frightened chihuahua, I don’t think it’s fatal. Here are the symptoms:

1) Righteous indignation with little or no cause.
2) Obsessive contacting of all friends via phone, e-mail and IM to confirm that one is being unfairly criticized.
3) Once being told that one is, in fact, wrong, brief but wholly satisfying descent into self-recrimination and chastizement.
4) A plan emerges! Amends will be made! But first, a few organizational steps involving lists and office supplies, including but not limited to notecards, highlighter pens, and sharpies.
5) An apology suitable for the accidental annexing of another country and decade-long oppression of that country’s people, rendered lovingly in PowerPoint, four-color handbills, a short film, or similar.

It’s worth pissing me off, people, just to get the apology.

An interesting point about the word "gay" and popular usage of it

11 Feb

My last entry had a couple good comments, one of which was from a poster who took exception to my usage of the word “gay.” It was a very nice comment, actually, and I’m sorry that I went sort of insane when I saw it. However, I do have a policy of not removing my comments here, because after all, fair is fair. So if you want to see my whole “AHHHH! YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” rampage, just scroll down.

Now that I’ve taken a deep breath, let me address the issue: I myself sometimes cringe when I hear people use the word “gay” in the pejorative sense, most often when it clearly betrays some sort of weird fear of homosexuality on the part of the speaker. (You know what I mean: You’re at a bar with a bunch of straight guys and one guy starts calling another guy gay, to indicate that he himself is much more manly. And also that he would never ever have any interest in his friend’s ass.)

However, when I was a wee lass of eight or so, we used the word “gay” all the time, to mean “lame” or “silly.” We didn’t even know about gay people. (Even some of us who were gay didn’t know about gay people, I’ve been told.) I’m sure that the word had its origins in the culture’s homophobia, but I don’t think we knew about that. It was just another slang term, like saying “burnt!” to indicate that someone had indeed been shown up by one of his peers.

Now, we live in a different world and we know where that term comes from, and maybe we should be required to act differently. Gay people still don’t have the same civil rights as straight people, and I can understand how many people feel that changing our approach to language might help change public perception.

Except for one small problem: I don’t buy it. I don’t think that language creates reality. I think it documents it. So maybe what we’re really saying here, when we get upset at someone using “gay” in a negative way is that we’re mad that things haven’t progressed more. That’s something I could get behind, maybe. Although I still abhor linguistic restrictions of all kinds.

What about the “N” word, you say? Well, here’s the thing. The “N” word never meant ANYTHING good. “Gay” used to mean happy, and then that changed until it meant, “happy, but sort of fey”, and then it meant “homosexual”, and then it meant … something like “limp” or “lame”, reflecting one very negative perception of homosexuals. And that’s pretty gross. But it’s not as bad as the “N” word, which I won’t even write here. It really isn’t.

Also, part of me feels that in order to make real progress for gay people, we need to push ahead and ignore irritating linguistic foibles like “gay meaning bad.” I think that when people get hung up on stuff like that, they’re allowing themselves to get detail-obsessed to the point where we’re not focusing on the big picture. Sometimes it ain’t grassroots; it’s just fixating on the grass.

All this being said, if by NOT using the word gay on this blog to mean anything other than happy or homosexual (in a positive, healthy sense) will make people feel less oppressed, well, that seems like a small price to pay, and I’ll do it. And all apologies to anyone whose feelings I hurt. In the parlance of my third grade memories, I am well and truly “burnt.”

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