Monthly Archives: August 2007

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Fake nail etiquette

When you are at a lovely dinner party, do not interject during dessert – “Oh shit my pinkie nail just popped off.” I didn’t know this would be such a big deal, but Selvi explained to me that people still have a hard time distinguishing acrylic nails from real nails. They don’t want any kind of fingernails getting mixed up with their food. This reminded me of a story my mom told me once about a hair salad, but I’m going to save that for a book. Anyway, after my big announcement about my pinkie nail, I sheepishly went to the bathroom to recover from the faux pas, and somehow I lost track of the nail after I placed it on the counter beside the sink. These bits of French-manicured plastic are really light. A small gust of wind (ahem) could have blown my nail to the floor. I searched around for a while, but then I started missing Selvi, who I could hear telling a story about the tallest building in the world (or maybe just in Canada), so I returned to the table. Our dinner hostess was not just satisfied waiting on us hand and foot with extraordinarily good food and five kinds of dessert, she also insisted we take some food home with us. She is the kind of selfless hostess who will only be happy if you empty the contents of her fridge into shopping bags and a cooler on your way out the door. So we said goodbye, my pocketbook stuffed with Texas chews, and then Selvi and I walked to her house. On the way I felt an irritant in the bottom of my sandal. I reached down and pulled out my pinkie nail.

Tada! Story comes full circle. The most important part of this story is that Darren and I leave for New York City and Montreal today. If you happen to be in either of those places, or even on the railroad route, give me a call. We can wave at you from the train while we sip mimosas and read great literature.

I am a real woman now

For the past three years, my fingernails have been a popular topic of conversation in my household. My fingernails: Are they in my mouth again? Are they being shredded by my cuticle nippers? Will they ever look normal? Can you please stop gnawing at them – I’m trying to watch TV without getting grossed out. (Answers: Yes. Yes. No. No.) Last night, after much struggle, I finally put on the fake acrylic nails that I bought last week in order to look pretty for vacation.

D: Are you going to put the nails on tonight?

W: Yes. Yes I am. Just give me time to adjust to the idea and say goodbye.

D: That’s been your excuse for a week.

W: I don’t think you realize the intensity of this emotional attachment.

…Two hours later…

D: Are you going to put the nails on?

W: Yes, I just need a few last bites.

Much hand-washing, sighing, and guilt-tripping ensues.

W: The chemicals in this nail glue are probably going to give me cancer.

At bedtime…

W: I can’t take my contacts out with these stupid nails. Can you fix the sheets? I can’t fix them with these godforsaken nails. I feel completely ineffectual. I feel like you forced me to get a lobotomy. I feel abandoned by my best friends. Today I wore my hair all wispy around my face the way you like it and I put on the nails. I am basically your slave.

D: I have lost my sense of humor about this.

Everyday objects made religious

toilet = Taolet

tuba = tubbha

It’s not just our vestigial tails

List of human evolutionary leftovers.

Hey Rolling Stone Magazine

I know you’re ultra liberal and in touch with the youth and irreverent and everything, but make up your mind whether you want to try for a serious piece of journalism, or use blow job metaphors and the word “fuck” in your political articles. Rolling Stone writing is the equivalent of your precocious 12-year-old cousin’s conversation – the cousin that peppers all his sentences with swear words so you’ll think he’s cool and give him one of your Heinekens. The first (web) page of this piece, The Great Iraq Swindle: How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury, is almost comically “Rolling Stone“/Hunter S. Thompson. It’s written in the second person and contains the following editorial:

This is the triumphant culmination of two centuries of flawed white-people thinking, a preposterous mix of authoritarian socialism and laissez-faire profitĀ­eering, with all the worst aspects of both ideologies rolled up into one pointless, supremely idiotic military adventure — American men and women dying by the thousands, so that Karl Marx and Adam Smith can blow each other in a Middle Eastern glory hole.

But eventually the writer settles down and produces a decent, if sickening, piece on military capitalism and profiteering. Read at your own risk.

Rolling Stone writer: I have this terrific story that’s going to blow the lid off Iraqi War spending. This piece is important. It’ll put your magazine in the atlas of serious journalism again.

Rolling Stone editor: Okay, but can you spice it up a bit by dropping in a couple hooker and BJ metaphors? And remember I pay triple for the word “fuck-up,” both as a noun and a verb.

Signs of a Small Town

You have seen all the local vanity license plates three or four times.

Haven’t heard from Duane for a while

Here is a Bodo’s bagel for him:


Top half bagel


Smoked turkey








Bacon (to fatten him up)


Bottom half bagel

Words I often want to use casually in conversation but then don’t, because I realize at the last minute I don’t know quite how to pronounce them

1. Irrevocable

2. Inconsolable

Where are the accents? No matter how many times I look up the pronunciations on, I still can’t remember.

3. non sequitur (I can never say this word casually enough.)

4. coven (somehow I always find myself wanting to talk about witches, but with a hard or a soft O?)

The Wife, Part 2

Just finished Meg Wolitzer’s The Wife, and I loved it. It’s not only written in strong, muscular, and beautiful prose so transparent that you can see Wolitzer’s images in your mind’s eye, but it’s also a great story, full of depth and ideas. It has surprises and non-surprises, depictions of gender that resonate as true and some that don’t quite seem fair, and it is layered with contradictions, but the book gives the reader a lot to think about. I want to do a post soon on “feminine” versus “masculine” writing, an issue that Wolitzer explores in her book, but it is very late and I want to sleep on the novel for tonight. Ms. Wolitzer seems like a novelist that “owns the world” (in her words).

A few weeks ago I told myself that I wouldn’t read another novel about a novelist for a long time, but this one snuck up on me.

Things I Contemplated Buying Today for Friend Going to Burning Man

1. A childrens’ lunchbox. Nixed because it was too “90s rave culture.”

2. A bottle opener shaped like a flamingo. Beak seemed sharp – dangerous.

3. An envelope for business cards. Is she going to be handing out business cards at Burning Man? Probably not. You don’t want those people knowing where you work.

4. Condoms. She’s already stocked up.

5. Drugs. All I have is Tylenol PM and a couple Vicodin left over from dental surgery. That’s not going to cut it in the desert.

6. Some anti-Bush, pro-liberal buttons. Isn’t that just assumed?

7. Cute purse. Oh wait – that was for me.

8. A decorative thermos. Wasn’t nearly big enough to hold the two gallons of water you have to drink every hour you’re there.

9. Chocolate. A) It would melt. B) People would assume it was laced with something and then they’d be disappointed and perhaps take it out on my friend.

10. An escape pod. jjjjjk.

I settled on something very ordinary (albeit Mexican), and something she can easily re-gift to new friends, and something that can double as a travel case for LSD. I’m a good shopper.

PS Thank you Cha Cha’s and Paper Rock Scissors.