Archives For Unfair

So yeah, I haven’t been around for a while. This is why.

Over the past several months my dad braved a massive onslaught—the evil ravages of severe COPD, liver disease, bladder cancer, and a handful of other medical problems. He had an astonishingly strong constitution but he was so tired from fighting such a difficult battle. Dad died on Saturday morning, October 11th, 2 months and 13 days short of his 76th birthday.

I was with him during his final days. We talked, we even laughed a few times, and I told him everything I wanted him to know. I also said I’d be pissed if he didn’t stop by every so often to haunt us and fuck with our lights.

We weren’t with him when he died—I think he wanted to check out on his own, without us hovering. I know he’s happy to be free of all that illness bullshit. I know because when my mother called to say he had just died, I felt a cloud of energy wrap itself around my head and shoulders like a shawl—it was full of happiness, relief, love, and peace. It was Dad, without a doubt, letting me know he was fine now. I couldn’t stop smiling for several hours after that. That was his final gift to me.

Everything looks strange, as if viewed through a filter or from a warped angle. I can look at something blue and know that it’s blue, but the color doesn’t look right somehow. Objects appear closer or further away than they actually are. My normal surroundings look familiar but foreign. The reality sometimes slams me out of the blue: Dad is really gone. It helps me to know he’s okay but it doesn’t keep me from crying.

Anyway, enough about me. This is about my dad. And in honor of his 100% Irish ancestry, his twisted sense of humor, and his fondness for the occasional cocktail or two, I’m holding a virtual Irish wake for him, where we’ll eat, drink, celebrate his life, and tell some stories. He’d like that.

So help yourself to some refreshments, mingle with the other guests, pour your favorite tipple—gin, tea, soda, beer, whatever—and let me tell you a few Dad stories.

For starters, Dad had the best poker face of anyone I’ve ever known. It’s a shame he didn’t actually play poker because he could have cleaned up and retired early. Between the poker face and the gravitas in his voice, he could have you believing almost anything he said.

When we were at restaurants, he liked distracting me during dessert so that I’d look away. When I looked back, my dessert would be gone. As I got older I became wise to this ploy. Mostly. One night he sat across from me and stared behind me. With a perfectly straight face and a calm voice he said, “Isn’t that strange…a three-headed man just walked in the door.” Mind you, I wasn’t a little kid at the time; I was about 16 and knew there was no such thing as a three-headed man. I said to myself, I am not turning around, he’s just messing with me again, I am NOT turning around…  But the expression on his face—a mix of genuine curiosity and confusion—would have convinced even a seasoned FBI profiler to check it out. What choice did I have? Of course I turned around. And of course there was nothing there. When I turned back, Dad had my chocolate pudding and a shit-eating grin on his face.

Then there was the time he had Army recruiters calling me. Those of you of a certain age will remember those business reply cards inserted in magazines, where you could send away to the Army, Navy, etc., for information on enlisting: Yes, please send me some materials on joining the United States Army. Dad filled one out with my name and contact information. I was 12 at the time. He figured they’d send me some brochures and it would be a good laugh and that would be that. Little did he know then that the gag would go even better than he expected; one night I received a call from a sergeant at our local Army recruiting office. I stammered through the call, trying to discourage the sergeant from having any further interest in me without disclosing that, you know, I was only 12 and my dad was just fucking with me. Dad was tickled pink that his prank yielded a bonus prank. He would talk about that sergeant for years. “That poor bastard…” he’d say.

Like most dads, mine had many words of wisdom. One of my favorites was the way he explained why he didn’t put any stock in UFO sightings:

“Think of the advanced technology required to travel light-years to earth. Now if you’re an alien that advanced, why would you fly all the way over here just to fuck around and play UFO??”

He was nothing if not practical.

Dad was a good-natured guy and very charming when he wanted to be. The nurses in the ICU said he was their favorite patient because he was pleasant and funny and never complained unless he was really in discomfort. That’s how he was. He didn’t make a fuss and he didn’t need anyone fussing over him.

Two days before he died, he said Mr. Weebles and I should have some fun while we were there (my parents retired to Florida, as all New Yorkers are required to do). He told us to go to Universal or Disney but urged us to avoid the new Harry Potter rides at Universal because he heard they were still ironing out some mechanical difficulties. Unbelievable. The Grim Reaper was pulling up to the curb and there was Dad making theme park recommendations. As if I’d leave him to go stand on line with a bunch of sniveling kids, obnoxious adults, and teenagers wearing TURN DOWN FOR WHAT t-shirts. As if I’d leave him to do anything.

For as long as I can remember, every phone call with my dad concluded with both of us saying, “Okay, talk to you later. Hug.” I don’t know how it started but it lasted right up to our last phone conversation—with him being 75 years old and me 46, we still said, “Okay, talk to you later. Hug.”

Here’s to you, Dad. Here’s to everything you were, and are. I love you, and I miss you. Talk to you later. Hug.


I don’t want the comment thread to turn into a pile of maudlin. I’d rather continue the celebratory vibe, so I invite you to share a funny anecdote about one of your dearly departed loved ones.

Also, what’s that fragrance you’re wearing today? I find it especially provocative.

Fuck you, bullies

October 17, 2012 — 220 Comments

NOTE: I had hoped to make this a regular Friday thing because I like the alliterative quality of Fuck You Friday, but I haven’t been able to stick to a regular schedule so far.  Therefore, I declare today to be Fuck You Fwednesday.
Hey, assholes.  Yeah, you.  The scumbag who likes to belittle people.  The stuck-up bitch who trashes other chicks right to their faces.  The mean kid who makes fun of his classmates.  I’m talking to you.

You people are everywhere.  You’re a fucking plague.  I’ve read too many heartbreaking stories about children and teenagers being bullied for one reason or another.  Do you find it rewarding to pick on those who are smaller, weaker, or different?  Is it that much fun to gang up on someone and spread nasty rumors about them?  Does it truly satisfy you to taunt a person until they cry?  Or worse, until they have a nervous breakdown or commit suicide?  Do you think it makes you powerful?  It doesn’t.  It makes you vile subhuman filth.

The same goes for your adult counterparts. Internet trolls who get their rocks off by posting rude and insensitive remarks.  Facebookers, bloggers, and tweeters who target and mock others for entertainment.  Mean-spirited fucks who enjoy embarrassing their colleagues publicly.  Toxic bosses who are verbally abusive to their staff.  The foul vermin who bully their spouses or partners. What the fuck is your problem?  Obviously you haven’t grasped that you can’t become superior by cutting someone else down.  Here’s a news flash for you: not only does it not make you superior, it also makes you lesser people, you fucking cowards.

I was bullied when I was young.  I was shy and I was afraid of a lot of things.  I was also not an attractive child.  To make matters worse, I was the tallest one in my class, and the only one who had glasses and braces at the age of 9.  I may as well have had a bullseye painted on my forehead.  Terrible things were said to me.  My classmates teased me unmercifully.  Grownups made cruel, judgmental comments.  I was physically confronted by bullies a few times too, and it sucked.  Being a target because I was funny looking was bad enough; I can’t imagine how traumatic it is for kids who are victimized because of their color, religion, socio-economic level, or sexual orientation, or because of a handicap or other physical differentiation.

I’m not that shy, scared kid anymore.  As an adult, I feel very strongly about about confronting and stopping bullies.  You’re like cancers—you spread everywhere and you need to be cut off in your tracks.  I’m not a mother, and you should be glad about that because I would be your worst nightmare if you ever picked on my kid.  As it is, I am insanely protective of my friends and family.  If you take a potshot at someone I care about, I WILL COME AFTER YOU.  If you so much as say ONE WORD out of line about any of my loved ones, you will hear from me. I’m not kidding.

I don’t care if you had an unhappy childhood.  I don’t give a shit if you feel powerless and frustrated.  Under other circumstances, I might have compassion for you.  But if you choose to take out your misery and anger on someone with even less power, you forfeit any right to sympathy as far as I’m concerned.  Justifying your actions by blaming your home life or your upbringing makes as much sense as serial killers who target victims who look like their mother, or wife, or the first woman who ever dumped them.  The problem is YOU, motherfuckers.  Look at yourselves for a change, you spineless losers.  Look at what your actions have wrought.  Nothing good, right?  Think about that for a while.

Fuck you, you hate-filled jackals.  Fuck you and your twisted need to hurt others.  I don’t even have to wish ill on you—all I have to do is hope that you get what you deserve, because karma will be a vicious bitch.

You’ve no doubt heard of Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory disorder of the bowels.  My heart goes out to people with Crohn’s because it can be very debilitating and difficult to live with.

However, there’s another condition with a very similar name, and this is the one I want to talk about today.  It’s not easy to discuss, but I need to face my fears and tell my story.

My friends, I suffer from Crone’s disease.  I don’t have full-blown Crone’s yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

Medical literature on the subject is scant; patients generally present with very vague signs and symptoms.  Because there are no tests for Crone’s, proper diagnosis can be made only when the disease is already advanced.

I vividly remember when I noticed the first symptom.  I was at a bar and the music was really loud.  Probably no louder than the music at other bars I had been to, but on this night the volume really bothered me.  I was seized by the overwhelming urge to tell the bartender to “turn down that fucking noise.”  This was accompanied by a strong desire to reflect loudly and at length on how much better the music was when I was in high school and college and how “bands today all sound the same.”

I had never experienced anything like that before.  It scared me.

Several years later, another alarming symptom reared its ugly head.  I was out with some friends.  We had a great time carousing but after so much debauchery I needed to call it a night.  I looked at my watch.  It was 11pm.  That can’t be right, I thought.  It’s got to be around 4am.  My watch must have stopped.  How could this be, that after only a few hours I was tired and wanted to go home?

I didn’t know it then, but I was in the early stages of Crone’s.

Other symptoms emerged recently. Not long ago I used the phrase, “Kids today have NO IDEA.”  I sometimes mutter under my breath at loud groups of young’uns in their 20s and 30s.  And when people discuss celebrities, I frequently have no clue who they’re talking about.  Blake Lively?  Who’s he?

I babble about how U2 was really great “back in the day.”  I bemoan the fact that people born in the 80s and 90s are co-opting The Breakfast Club and calling it a movie for their generation.  Yeah, well, I’ve got news for you, you little punks:  you can’t possibly know what it was really like back then.  I was there, bitches.  So why don’t you just run along and play with your Xbox or something?

Doctors don’t talk about prognosis when it comes to people with Crone’s.  But I’m not stupid.  I know what’s in store for me.

“Get off my lawn, you rotten kids!”

I’ll start saying “I’m too old for this shit” more often.  My joints will make odd cracking noises, like an old house settling.  It will take me ten minutes to get up after sitting on the floor.  Certain foods will no longer agree with me but I’ll insist on eating them anyway and complaining when my stomach hurts and I can’t sleep.  My glasses will crap out and I’ll be forced to read stuff by holding it either really far away or right in front of my eyes.

I won’t even get into the visible manifestations of Crone’s disease because they’re too numerous and horrifying.  But I will say this: grey hair is associated with an increased risk of Crone’s.  As you know, I already have a touch of hag.  My future is grim.  Eventually I’ll have to accept my fate.

For those of you who think you might have Crone’s, please know you’re not alone.  You shouldn’t suffer in silence.  Instead, you should bitch and moan to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen.  It’s the only way.

A Touch of Hag

July 8, 2012 — 95 Comments

I’ve written a few uplifting/poignant/maudlin posts over the past few weeks.  Now I have to let out the snark because it’s been backing up on me and seeping out of my pores in a most unsavory manner.

Today’s rant is about this product:

You’ve no doubt seen commercials or ads for this stuff. Men can use this dye to get rid of most of the grey (I prefer this spelling, I don’t care how it’s spelled on the package) in their hair, to give them that distinguished look. Because if you get rid of all the grey, you might not be taken seriously.  And if you have too much grey, you probably won’t get a lot of hot young tail.  Touch of Gray gives you that happy medium—the look that says, “I’ve been around the block a few times but I’m not too old for another few laps, if you know what I’m saying.”

You’ve also no doubt noticed that there’s no Touch of Gray for women.  That will never fly.  They’d have to call it a Touch of Hag.  Maybe they could market it to women who are tired of getting hit on all the time or who want to be taken more seriously at their jobs.

Because grey isn’t usually considered hot on chicks.  You don’t hear a lot of women say they don’t mind the greys around their temples.  Sure, there are women who have no qualms about letting their greys show—some even flaunt them.  But they’re the exceptions that prove the rule.

Yours truly has been going grey since she was 18.  If I don’t touch up my roots regularly, I get that white/grey halo effect that really isn’t attractive on anyone who hasn’t been beatified by the Catholic church.  If I went all grey, I’d probably look something like this:

On the other hand, men who are all grey fare much better.  Look at these smokin’ hot Silver Foxes:


One might argue that I’ve bought into society’s beliefs about what’s attractive/not attractive on women.  It’s true, I probably have.  I’ll probably keep coloring my hair until I’m too lazy or just don’t care anymore.

Maybe that’s when Touch of Hag would come in handy: when you want to look like you’ve been flying on the broomstick for a while but aren’t too old for a few more rides.  If you know what I’m saying.