Ten years of sweet, sweet freedom

I got an invitation to my ten year high school reunion yesterday. The five year was okay, and I’m not in prison or anything, so I guess I’ll go. Also, it’s only twenty bucks.

I’m tempted to reprint the whole invite for you, but I don’t want to ask the president of my graduating class for permission to reuse his work, so I’ll merely snark on the following things:

1) My reunion is at the Village Club in beautiful downtown Needham, which means that at 11:30 when the damn thing lets out, the streets will be crawling with twenty-something drunkards, lurching zombielike toward their parents’ homes.

2) The president urged us to RSVP, either by phone or by “e-mail” (quotes his). Apparently, he thought some of us might be stuck in 1994, and only have heard tell about this newfangled “Internet” thing that the government is working on.

3) My reunion is at the Village Club in beautiful downtown Needham. Wait — I said that already. Okay, how bout this: I’m totally sneaking in a dirt-cheap bottle of Blackberry Brandy and drinking it in the bathroom, just like I used to at the Village Club rock ‘n roll shows in high school.

More importantly, who wants to be my date? I need to bring someone totally horrifying with me. Just being my same gender isn’t good enough anymore, people. Please drop me a line if you have a pet pig that you can’t bear to leave at home, or a 1970s era Dodge Charger with flames painted on it, or a lot of rather ill-advised elective surgery on your head. Thank you.


My brother John

My brother-in-law is going to Iraq in a few weeks. I don’t know when exactly, because the army doesn’t tell you these things, and I don’t know where exactly, because every time I ask, my sister answers, “Muhfahbuhdadada” and I go “whah?” because I’m a stupid American white person.

I really like my brother-in-law, so I’d prefer it if he’d just get a nice desk job and hang out with my sister, but he wants to save the world, so off he goes to Iraq.

No, seriously, do you understand? He wants to go to Iraq. To help people. About a month ago, he started having terrible stomach problems, probably as a reaction to his anthrax vaccine, and he didn’t want to tell anyone about it, because he was afraid they’d make him stay home.

I think my sister must have picked him as an antidote to growing up with me as an older sister. I am so, so shallow. I mean, like, seriously shallow. I don’t even read the newspaper all that often. I spend most of my time thinking about boys. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around someone like John.

Sample conversation between me and John, to illustrate my point:

Me: Are you really, really going to Iraq?

John: I really am.

Me: Why?

John: (crickets chirping)

Me: Okay, I’ll let you go, but on one condition: If they start shooting, I want you to grab the guy nearest to you, one who isn’t my goddamn brother-in-law, and use him as a human shield.

John: (mouth hanging open in horror)

Me: No? Okay, how bout this. Let’s work on your running. How fast are bullets? We need to make it so that you can run faster than that.

I am not happy about any of this.

When I am Queen…

…Bathroom primpers will be executed first, before enemies of the state and people who carry puppy dogs in handbags. Honest to God, if it takes twelve tubes of unguent and spackle to make you presentable, just save up for the big sandblasting and have done with it. Some of us have a touch of Fenway Park Syndrome and can’t go while you’re standing there listening.

Bob ponders the changeable nature of Woman

I got a phone call the other day from my friend Bob. (Read his opinions on my opinion throughout this blog. He calls himself “Bob Fuckin’ Smith.” “Fuckin'”, as you may or may not know, was an early surname prefix akin to “Mc” or “O'”, meaning “bastard son of the cranky side of the family.” No one knows why it disappeared, but all props to Bob for resurrecting it.)

But back to my phonecall.

“Hey, Bob.” I said. “What’s up?”

“One of chicks on Sex and the City just came out,” he said, gloomily. Whenever Bob says anything, he says it gloomily. It’s implied, okay?

“NO! Which one?”

“The blonde one.”


“No, not her.”

“Wait. Kim Cattrall?”

“Maybe. Listen, I don’t know, okay? I don’t watch the fuckin’ show.” (Nor does he watch the “O’Show”, nor the “McShow”.) “I just want to know one thing.”


“Is female sexuality just like, this totally changeable thing? Can you just switch at any minute? What gives?”

“Oh, yes. We’re like parakeets that way.”

“Shit. That’s what I thought.”

I was pulling his leg of course. I don’t think female sexuality is any more mutable than male sexuality. The only difference being that if a girl thinks she might be a little bit gay, everyone in the world (except for real lesbians) throws a parade for her, whereas if a guy voices any confusion, he gets stoned to death or at least stuffed in a locker in the boy’s room.

Also, I didn’t know it was Miranda who came out of the closet. Let’s just say that I don’t think anything’s changed for her, sexuality-wise. If anything, she’s just thrown up her hands and declared, “You know what? Fine. You guys were right. I’m totally, totally gay. Man, that’s a relief. Now who wants to go to Meow Mix?”

I knew this already:

Study: Living in the Suburbs Can Make You Sick

Case in point: Did I ever tell you about the time I went to visit my high school guidance counselor, a semester after graduating? This is the woman who had made my life a hell all through school, asking me why I wasn’t taking more math classes and trying to get me to apply to schools far away when I could barely drive to the post office without having a panic attack. She had a bleached blonde moustache and a weird sour body odor, like bad milk or yogurt.

Anyway, I went to UMass and did really well. My GPA was a 3.9 my first semester, and I was really happy and felt well and successful and young and pleased with myself. So I went back to visit my guidance counselor, to show her that she’d been wrong.

“Good for you,” she said, pursing her mouth beneath its moustache. “Now what are you doing for … extra-curricular activities?”

I should have said “drinking”, but instead I just cried.

I know you’ll probably say that she was just one asshole, an isolated incident, nothing, certainly, from which to extrapolate an entire set of values. But I swear to you that she was emblematic of my high school, and in some ways, the snootier aspects of my town. Whatever you were doing, it wasn’t good enough.

I should’ve mentioned this earlier…

…like, say, when I first got back from my trip, but I loved Chicago. Everyone was so friendly there! For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like a weirdo. (In Boston, the fact that I say “please” after every separate item in my sandwich order is considered somewhat strange and maybe a little creepy. “With tomato, please. Yes, please. A little mayo. No, thank you, not toasted.”)

The first thing I did after arriving was run out to a dive bar around the corner and eat an astonishing amount of meat and watch a Bears game. Then I called up my cousin Rolfe, who is from Chicagoland originally (although, if you want to get persnickety about it, Deerfield is just as close to Milwaulkee), and tortured him over it.

“You can smoke everywhere,” I hissed into the phone. “And everyone leans on their vowels for half an hour. Come hooome, little Hubley, come hooome.”

Which brings me to my next point, which is that Rolfe has been trying to tell me for years now that I’m essentially a Midwestern person who sprang up in New England by mistake. After my trip, I think he’s right. Although, then again, big hotels are their own sovereign nation, like Luxembourg or Monaco. We were at the Hilton, and we could have been in Chicago, Atlanta or Kuala Lumpur. People bring you things and clean up after you. I love it. It makes me think that I’d make an awesome rich person.