Posts tagged “Alex

Manimal, get thee behind me!

Oh hello. Nice to meet you. I’m a grown woman. Who is afraid of animals.

Well, not animals per se. Specifically, I am petrified of a fictional genus of animals that I like to call “human-animal hybrids”: Man-imals if you will. Their natural habitats are children’s TV shows and films starring Marlon Brando, although they can occasionally be found grazing outside used car lots and chicken restaurants.

Not sure what the hell I’m talking about? Allow me to ‘splain. It comes down to this: whenever I see a human dressed up in a realistic animal costume, I have the urge to run in the other direction, or if that option isn’t available, cower like a child with my head tucked into my shirt. (Notice I said “realistic” animal costume – this is not a reaction prompted by mouse ears from Disneyland or those knitted hats with gerbil ears that hipsters wear; only by the combination of prosthetics, head-to-toe fur, and the kind of faithful animal imitations that most actors left behind in Strasberg Level 3.)

Still not sure what I mean? Check out the horrifying examples below. With any luck they’ll make you just as phobic as I am!

Bob Dog, from Mister Rogers Neighborhood: truly the Famous Original Ray’s of terrifying Manimals, and the bête noir that started it all. Like many of my peers I watched a lot of PBS as a child, and Mr. Rogers was a frequent visitor to our tiny black & white TV. Though I remember thinking Fred was a little wussy at the time, I now credit him with helping build my delicate semblance of self-esteem. I also credit (blame?) him for introducing me to Bob Dog – a seemingly innocuous inhabitant of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe who sported a spirit-gummed canine nose and footy pajamas, walked around on his “hind legs”, and howled and woofed his way through lessons on being nice to others. I never absorbed any of his teachings, however, because I was too busy screaming. Seriously. My Mum used to tell me that she’d have to anticipate Bob Dog’s appearances in every episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood (not that hard considering each character had its own theme music) and distract me, or she’d end up spending the next hour talking me down from a psychotic break.

Zoobilee Zoo: Apologies to Ben Vereen upfront, because though I love him I can’t stand even the thought that this show existed. Actually, Hallmark should apologize for making him prance around moronically in a leopard suit, mug to the camera and sing songs like “Rhyming is Fun” with the other – ahemZoobles, but they never will. Plus the costumes all look like they were pulled out of some crazy old woman’s basement where they were used as cat beds. Can someone tell me why human-animal hybrids seem to be the inevitable default setting when networks are coming up with kids shows?? Are lessons about sharing and counting somehow easier to absorb when delivered by a terrifying freak? I have to assume they are. Because as much as I try, I will never get the damn theme song out of my head.

The Island of Dr. Moreau: I actually can’t believe I’m bringing up this film, because writing about it will require me to do a Google image search for stills, the thought of which makes my hands shake. It’s the stuff of nightmares. Well, my nightmares anyway, and I don’t even know what the movie’s about. I once saw some scenes from it by accident when I was channel-surfing and the memory of those ungodly creatures is branded forever onto my brain grapes. And yes, I understand that’s part of the point: that Dr. Moreau is some kind of twisted evil man who populates his island with homemade animal deviants by blending DNA like a breakfast smoothie. Well done, Island of Dr. Moreau! You have succeeded in arousing in me the kind of deep-seated Jungian revulsion normally reserved for Real Dolls, and guaranteeing that whenever I pick up the remote with one hand, my other hand will be hovering over my eyes.

SpliceI am a HUGE fan of Sarah Polley, but the preview for this film forced me to cover my ears and hum loudly whenever it appeared on TV. ‘Nuff said.

So…yeah! Hope you enjoyed the forced thrill ride into the darkest corners of my neuroses.  I certainly feel better for having heaved a little mental poison onto your collective laps. And if by admitting my phobia I can prevent one more adult from donning a latex nose and whiskers in the name of entertainment, well…then my work here is done.


Behind the scenes with Booby Hatch!

We’re not going to assume anything here, but we’re pretty sure that if you’ve been keeping up with the Joneses, you have a computer and a bunch of free time on your hands. And, it’s not like we’re tracking your hits to our website or Facebook page or anything (Hi Jim), but we totally know that you like to sit and look at pictures of us sometimes. Maybe you even let your mind wander and try to imagine what was going on in some of the shots? A few of you may have even signed up for a class at the Learning Annex and are working on some short stories based on them. Well, step away from that there imagination, friends, because we are about to give you the true, behind-the scenes story…

WHO IS THIS KID?

Sabrina: All I can say is that this kid is everything I want to be. If I do a decent job with this life, perhaps I will be reincarnated as this kid. Check him out. He has some kind of onesie superhero costume going on, complete with a padded six-pack, a Freddie mask, a Zorro sword, and reasonable shoes. If he is not my hero, his mother sure is. The best thing? The thing you don’t know? This kid was growling when we took this picture. He had this low, consistent, wolf-growl going for about three minutes. We told him that this picture was of him “protecting” us, and he just knew what to do. You can’t make me stop loving this kid. Just try. Just you try. That kid will show up and karate chop you in the balls.  

Katharine: Yah, I didn’t want to work with the kid at first.  I mean, his mother was standing just out of frame. Such a Stage Mother too!  Here she is enjoying a lovely sunny day when three freezing (it was early March) obviously crazy ladies come traipsing by and demand that they take her child.  And she said yes! What a demanding diva!  The boy?  We’ve been dating for six months now.

Alex: All true. But this kind of stuff happens to us all the time: we were just minding our own Weewax, being fabulous in Brooklyn (as we do), when this pocket-sized Jason/ penguin/ Inigo Montoya approaches us, growling. We immediately recognized his high-Q potential and asked if we could pose seductively behind him. I was surprised that his Mom said yes so quickly! I was even more surprised when he said yes to a date with Katharine. When she gets out of jail we’re holding a little reunion at the Outback Steakhouse.

WHERE IS THE FOOD?

THAT’S NOT OUR FOOD, SILLY!

Sabrina: All I can say is that this pizza guy is everything I want to be. If I do a decent job with this life, perhaps I will be reincarnated as this pizza guy. I mean, are you kidding me?? Check him out. This sweet man was trying to deliver a pizza, and three crazy ladies in formal wear show up and assault him verbally. “What’s in that box?” they demand. “It smells like pizza!” they accuse. This Zen warrior is unfazed. His smile is like a butterfly on a raindrop, even when it appears that he has been screwed over by the nerdy guy who didn’t tip him and that strange women are trying to do prop improvisation with his bicycle . His heartbeat murmurs “all will be well,” and, as soon as his detachment kisses the face of the universe, the door immediately pops open and Professor Nerdington remembers to hand him a tip. The butterfly’s wings flutter gently in the wind as the pizza guy reaches over our mugging faces and takes his three dollars. The universe makes sense, especially when it doesn’t make sense, see?

Katharine: Typical New York City.  No one blinks an eye at yet another photo shoot being done on top of their bicycle.  Another day, another dollar that isn’t worth crazy people running up to you and posing with your transportation.  The least we could have done is bridge the gap and hand the dude his tip. Did we?  No!  Because it would have ruined the shot.  Dammit people, you have to understand that when opportunity knocks, only the strong and demented survive.  

Alex: The guy in the hoodie is my biological father. I THOUGHT WE AGREED NOT TO USE THIS PICTURE!!

THE AUDITION: A Totally High-Tech Video Shoot

 Sabrina: All I can say is that this director is everything I want to be. If I do a decent job with this life, perhaps I will be reincarnated as Lila. Check her out. She has turned a Broom into a BOOM with an exclamation point. And she is able to hold it steady as that hot guy unbuttons his shirt. That’s the way–uh huh, uh huh, I like it!!! Also, who was that hot guy? Did anyone get his number? Ring-a-ding! Soup’s on!!!

Katharine: This is an example of why I love being involved in video production. At no point did anyone sit and cry out “Why couldn’t we find a sound person?!”  Ok, well maybe that one person asked. But she was a jerk. The rest of us decided to work as a team! When we realized we could not mic a stripping man, we got to problem solving.  We put our heads together and looked at Lila for an answer.  Lila, the ukulele playing super director, didn’t sit in her non-existent director’s chair and let everything fall apart. NO! At 4AM, her arm and the friggin broom were going to be the best sound capturer in the history of sound capturing!  Hizzah!  

Alex: Ah yes, this old chestnut. The old “tape a mic to a broom” sound-recording technique. It’s how I do all my audio surveillance, except that I cleverly disguise the broom handle in the sleeve of a veeeeeeery large trench coat (what? I used to be a Little Rascal we were always getting into hilarious scrapes!) I’m just glad those wacky adventures finally came in handy at the business end of a night shoot, when we were all out of bourbon and good ideas. Let’s hear it for American ingenuity!!

There it is. You’re welcome.

So, now, true believers, it’s YOUR TURN. Come up with a story for this shot and win a prize. You can’t win if you don’t enter! We’ll reveal the true story in next month’s BH blog, so, until then, keep stalking!


Great Cultural Milestones I Have Missed

Storytelling, or “bragging” as it’s more commonly known, is a popular pastime for humans.But unless you fought in a war or dated Mickey Rourke before 1995, the only bragging worth doing is about the cool cultural events you’ve attended in your lifetime. True, a kick-ass scar beats a stupid concert any day, but for many of us these stories are all we have: they build street cred in the right circles, and make city-dwellers feel that our cranky, pocket-sized existences are somehow worthwhile. Age is a factor too: as far as I’m concerned, one of the perks of making it out of your twenties is that you earn the right to self-mythologize a bit. It will certainly come in handy in writing the memoir that every single one of us will eventually publish! (You know, the collection of semi-true, moderately humorous confessional essays about summer camp and bulimia that yields average sales near the check-out counter at Books-A-Million? Start jotting down notes now is all I’m saying.)

But myths aside, flashing my own cultural achievement scorecard is not the purpose of this post. Instead I’d like to eulogize the many, many milestones that I wish I could say “I was there” for. Regret is healthy and it’s honest.  instead of leading people to believe that my world-weary, Sam Shepard-esque, taken-by-the-wind brand of sexy cool is anything but the result of years of practice and wishful thinking, I can come clean with exactly the kind of square I am.  So here are my regrets, in reverse chronological order, and spiked with a jigger of professional jealousy:

January 2011: P. Diddy graces the stage at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre New York
I will confess upfront that I’m not a huge fan of Diddy, Ciroc, or the crowded, smug conditions in the UCB basement theatre, but I am a fan of comedy stunts, and feeling like a cool kid. So it was with MUCH regret (and some loud ranting that disturbed my cats) that I awoke the morning after enjoying a friend’s sketch show at UCB, to the news that I had missed Diddy’s heavily rumored and tweeted-about surprise appearance on the Chris Gethard Show by AN HOUR AND A HALF. (Ah, so that’s why the UCB staff shooed us out after the show like feral cats – DIDDY WAS IMMINENT.) Had I faked hysterical paralysis and refused to leave my seat, I might have caught a glimpse of Puff the Magic Mogul. Alas.

November 2007: The cast of 30 Rock performs an episode live on stage
The WGA writers strike was on, and this sweet comedy antidote was announced very quietly through a handful of comedy nerd news sites…which of course immediately spilled over to EVERY MEDIA OUTLET IN EXISTENCE. Tickets were sold online to the general public, but predictably, they sold out in a nanosecond. I had one or two strings I could have pulled to get in, which I now realize I should have not only pulled, but swung upon as if they were the bells of Notre Dame and I, Quasimodo. That I was too busy pining after a young gypsy dancer is the only excuse I can think of.

October 2001: Jane’s Addiction plays Madison Square Garden on their Jubilee Tour
Normally I would feel fine about missing this concert, since tickets were harder to get than a fingerbang at a Christian Rock show. Normally, that is – except for the fact that a group of my (infinitely cooler and better-looking) friends got in without tickets by a crazy stroke of luck. They had been waiting outside MSG in the freezing cold, with throngs of other vinyl-corseted freaks for hours. Then, straight out of a Rolling Stone essay titled I’m with the (Pidgeon-chested Guy in Eyeliner and a Wrist) Band, the stage door opened a crack, and a roadie beckoned for them to come in. Two of my friends managed to slip in before the door slammed shut, and they joined the teeming audience for a night of transcendent druggy mayhem. Granted, one of them left behind his girlfriend (later the mother of his child) without so much as a glance, but hey – in the pursuit of “I was there” stories, sacrifices must be made.

Early 1990s: Seattle Grunge/ Riot Grrl Music Scene
While I didn’t technically miss it, I do think it sucks that I lived smack in between Tacoma and Seattle during the years leading up to the scene’s explosion, and then we moved to the East Coast right at the moment when:

  1. The music was taking off, and
  2. I was entering my iconoclastic, moderately angry teen years, outfitted in clunky boots, Dad’s motorcycle jacket and a suburban scowl.

The significance? Had we stayed in Washington I COULD HAVE BEEN KATHLEEN HANNA OR CORIN TUCKER. Or at least the girl they experimented with backstage.

1985/86: Singing with Placido Domingo and the LA Opera
Ok this less a cultural milestone than a missed opportunity, but it totally fits the “Look Back in Anguish” theme. When I was ten years old our school choir auditioned to sing with Placido Domingo at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I don’t remember which opera it was, but my mother, a HUGE Placido fan, was thrilled and kept talking about how proud she’d be to see me on stage with him. In preparation for the audition I rehearsed a french folk song with a friend, in addition to the ancient choral number we sang as a group. Although mostly on-key, my voice could at best be described as “reedy” – I was always being told to “Sing OUT!” by our enthusiastic music director. Nevertheless I had the optimism of childhood on my side, and I envisioned myself at the stage door after an exhausting performance, graciously smiling at my admirers while clutching armfuls of roses. At the audition, I did my best but was not chosen for the “angel choir” in the opera. I bravely put the snub behind me, until the day a few weeks later when I came home from school to find my mother glowing, with a letter in her hand. I had been offered a walk-on role in the opera with Placido!! I asked my mother what “walk-on” meant and when I learned it meant pantomiming in crowd scenes I immediately refused – I would have a singing role or nothing! Her disappointment in me eventually faded but I have felt like a complete, utter jackass for 25 years and counting.

1981: Simon & Garfunkel Reunion Concert in Central Park
Yes, I was six years old. And we lived in LA, and my parents were bigger fans of latin jazz than folk rock, and were never the types to fly cross-country for a music event, but I still resent them for not taking me to New York. The video of the concert shows TONS of blissed-out children on their parents’ shoulders – WHY NOT ME??? Oh right: my fear of heights meant I was too scared to sit on my Dad’s shoulders, and I probably would have spent the entire concert screaming. Sounds of Silence indeed.

So that’s my list of regrets, may they rest in peace. I could probably think of more if I wracked my brain, but I’m saving the real gems for my memoir, tentatively titled Fumbling Towards Mediocrity: My Life in Slipper Socks. And now I’m curious: what are your biggest cultural regrets? Let’s share. I showed you mine!


Ides are the Devil’s Playthings!

Dear Ides of March,

It may be tempting fate to say it, but I am not scared. Not the least bit wary. Should I be? How did an expression that originally meant “Look out Caesar! You’re gonna get stabbed today!!” turn into some kind of universal superstition about March 15th? Ok, I wouldn’t call it a universal superstition – it’s not like the average person gets out of bed today and worries that a ladder’s gonna fall on them, or their cat’s gonna develop a cocaine habit, or that the milk that was juuust this side of fresh yesterday will SUDDENLY TURN WITH A VILE AND PUTRID VENGEANCE. “Beware the ides of March” is something only your Nana says anymore, to no consequence whatsoever. (Except for a roll of the eyes and a mental note to start doubling her meds.) Yup, “the Ides of March” can pretty confidently be added to the pile of obsolete expressions without too much worry that it’s going to spring back into vogue any time soon.

(…unless toga parties regain their 70s appeal. According to Wikipedia, in Rome the Ides are celebrated with an annual toga sprint through the streets, and there’s nothing like a boyish frat prank to make me fear for my life! I don’t know about you, but an all-male street riot with optional bed sheets would give me MORE than enough reason to “beware” –  I’ve lived through St. Patrick’s Day in midtown Manhattan.)

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about obsolete expressions: phrases like “radio silence” that, by virtue of the ever-accelerating march of time and progress, will be entirely meaningless to any person born after 1990. They may use the expression, in air quotes, as a quaint tip of the hat to their parents’ generation, but they will have no visceral sense of what it actually means. Not that that’s a bad thing – I mean why would they need to? Radio barely exists for ME anymore (aside from a few local or indie stations that I REALLY wish I could arm with enough money and wattage to blow the morning cockjocks and adult contempo shitpeddlers off the airwaves for good.) But I digress.

It was less a thought about linguistic nostalgia, and more about becoming aware that expressions I use with some – ahem – frequency (ie I repeat myself – like a certain parent I could name) are becoming extinct. Basically, the cognizance gap between me and the Millennials is widening, and into that gap is falling all kinds of sayings and figures of speech that shoot off bright metaphorical fireworks spelling out “OLD LADY HERE! DON’T SPEAK TOO LOUD OR EXPECT ME TO UNDERSTAND DONKEY PUNCHING!! JUST TURN ON DR. PHIL AND HAND ME A TUB OF ACTIVIA!!”

(The Millennials are the kids under 25, right? I can never remember if they’re separate from Gen Y or not. Either way, whoever thought of that label shafted an entire generation. You think “Generation X” is bad? “The Millennials” sounds like a straight-to-video buddy flick starring Chris Kattan and Keifer Sutherland as aliens who perform vaudeville in space.)

So yeah. I’ve been getting pretty cozy with my mortality lately. In its honor, I’ve assembled a list of expressions that, to me, represent the border of comprehension between my generation and the next; expressions that will drop dead right when we do* (then probably rise again once the Sexicentennials – or whatever the following generation will be called – discovers retro-irony and starts wearing Skechers the way 20-somethings today wear sweater vests and monocles.)

*Btw, it’s much harder to think of expressions that the next generation won’t get than cultural references – if it was a cultural literacy test I was after, I’d need go no further than one of the 3,000 facebook groups called You know you were a child of the 80s if you had a crush on Skeletor and wanked off to a Muppet . Finding figures of speech is MUCH harder. Just so you appreciate what I’ve done here…

THE LIST:

  • Radio Silence (now a modern classic!)
  • Rolodex (as in “Open my Rolodex and help yourself to a cigar”)
  • “Doing” lunch (I’m pretty sure lunchtime cuddling has supplanted lunchtime sex among the young)
  • To “nuke” something (as in “I need to nuke this tomato soup; it’s a threat to our national security”)
  • Dial Tone (as in “I’d like to paint my bathroom walls Dial tone, to match the soap”)
  • Reasonable facsimile (as in “Saying that a document is ‘like the original’ is a reasonable fax simile.”)
  • To “crunch numbers” (in the future all numbers will be smooth, like peanut butter)
  • American Craftsmanship (ha!)
  • Writing in “cursive” (redundant; in the future, written language will consist exclusively of swear words)
  • “Telemarketing” (instead of marketing by phone, it will refer to buying groceries using one’s holographic avatar)
  • To “carbon someone” (as in “I don’t know how to use this bong. Please carb me on it.”)
  • Going postal (once postal mail is obsolete we’ll all be free to antagonize ourselves!)

Being the pretentious logophile that I am, a part of me actually enjoys the idea that someday no one will be able to understand what the hell I’m saying. My outdated witticisms will make me and my contemporaries seem wise, mysterious… adorably senile. It’ll be like having a generation-specific version of creepy twin language, or Vulcan! (Actually it’ll probably sound more like Vulcans speaking English – they do it with such a sexy, stoic formality, am I right?) I’ll be the cantankerous (but funny!) great aunt who all my nieces and nephews bring their friends to interview for their Technology Pre-History class. I’ll say “Speak through my ear chip; I can’t hear you! It’s like radio silence in here!” and they’ll laugh, recharge my electric heart, and fill my IV bag with bourbon (“Irished up” with a little whisky.) And once their kids are old enough, they’ll rediscover the quaint  joys of speaking like an 80-year old in skinny jeans and Uggs. And me? I’ll just smile and tell them all about the Ides of March Riots of Twenty-Ott-Twelve.


A Valentine Hosanna to Andy Richter

On this day of chocolate-fueled hysteria, mylar burn, and obligation sex, I’d like to shift the focus away from the man who was clubbed, stoned and beheaded for marrying people against the state’s will (which maybe accounts for all the red?) to lavish praise on a man who is perhaps less obsessed with labeling relationships, but whose unique talents are criminally undervalued in our age. That man is Andy Richter. 

Let me begin by saying…we’re all married here. St. Valentine would be proud. Andy’s spoken for; so am I. And happily so. No one’s going to show up on anyone’s doorstep with a batch of homemade Roofycakes iced to represent the milestones of an Illinois boyhood. Nope; I’ve learned my lesson where antics like that are concerned (plus buttercream doesn’t travel well.)

But Richter deserves serious props. The guy is really, really funny. Let me count the ways:

First, he’s versatile. His funny can be stingingly acerbic or sweetly self-deprecating, cerebral or completely silly. Andy is as comfortable on Conan’s couch as he is helming a (sadly short-lived) comedy series. He can play a tough, ladykilling private eye named Andy or an adorably unassuming short story writer named Andy That’s range, people!

Second, he’s an assured, nimble improviser, the true litmus test of which is his ability to support Conan and get laughs of his own, night after night. It was a crabby college acting teacher who once remarked that it’s a much harder job to be Ethel than Lucy. And he wasn’t just talking about ego. The second banana on a talk show needs to have a razor instinct about when to interject, when to spar, and when to rescue the host by changing the subject, all while never stealing focus or making it look contrived. Lucy wouldn’t be Lucy without Ethel. And Coco wouldn’t be Coco without…his…Nut? Crap. Failed metaphor. Cut to a bullet list!!

Facts that I enjoy about Andy:

  • May look pocket-size next to Conan but is actually a brawny 6’2”
  • Played Mike Brady on stage opposite Jane Lynch in The Real Live Brady Bunch
  • Does a voice on the Amy Poehler-written/ produced animated series The Mighty B!
  • Was on the wishlist to play Mitchell in the original cast breakdown for Modern Family

It was another, slightly less-crabby college acting teacher who once dropped this nugget of truth: “If you look at the puppet, the audience will look at the puppet.” While you could argue that many of the celeb guests on Conan have one or more parts of themselves shoved WAY up their own sock-holes, that’s not the comparison I’m going for. My point is this: Andy’s attention never leaves the guests. After some brief camera-time during the monologue, and some banter after the first commercial break, he cedes the couch and the spotlight  to every sports thug or model-actress-hyphenate who struts through the curtains. And for the rest of the show he listens. Pays total attention to whatever banality they’re plugging. And as a result? They become the most interesting people in the room.

Third, he’s fucking adorable. I mean, look at his face. LOOK AT IT – how could you not fall for that picture-day hair, that impish smile? That’s a smile that helps you pick up your groceries when you trip over a sleeping Schnauzer double-parked in front of the Whole Foods. It’s a smile that listens to all your Dad’s golf stories and then makes an insightful comment about them later that makes you tear up juuuust a little. But most importantly, it’s a smile that’s ready and willing to marinate in a bathtub of coffee for a 30-second gag – IN A SUIT MIND YOU. (“Sure”, you’re probably thinking, “I’d lower myself into a piranha bubble bath if the price was right.” So would I! But COULD YOU CONVINCE US YOU ENJOYED IT? Yeah. That’s what I thought.)

According to Andy’s Wikipedia page he was voted prom king in high school. I would KILL to have heard his acceptance speech and watched his ceremonial cry-walk through the gym, because I’ll bet it was funny, humble, and probably made everybody there feel like the most interesting person in the room.

Happy V’Day y’all.


A Transcen-dental Meditation

Toothbrushing, am I right? Who thought of that bullshit? “Hey everyone, let’s scrape hard plastic bristles against our tender pink gums!  Poke around in our mouth crevices with teeny tiny spikes! And stinging peppermint disinfectant!!”  Sure, the scrubbing may feel good at first. Until you see the blood. In your spit (what the HELL’s it doing there??)  In the sink (DITTO!!) All of a sudden brushing seems barbaric, aggressive, violent. Like an unholy congress with a crafty porcupine, jabbing its spines under your gumline like it’s trying to knit a sweater from the leftover spinach stuck there since lunch.

Alright, I concede that I might be exaggerating juuuuust a tetch. It’s just that brushing my teeth has always been one of my least favorite rituals. (That said, I’d like to take the opportunity to reassure anyone reading this that I DO IT REGULARLY, AND WITH VIGOR.)

So before you judge me, and forward me all sorts of links to dental urban legends about “flossing”, hear me out. This morning was different.

This morning I enjoyed the saucy tickle of a new toothbrush that changed my life: so soft, it might as well have been made of chinchilla. Like a minty nuzzle from the Doublemint Twins, it felt like America. Sunshine. Warm laundry.  I damn nearly danced out of the bathroom, ready for anything.

Yeah, that’s right: I keep my expectations low. Goal for the day = plaque-free teeth?  DONE! What else ya got for me, Universe?? I may be a disappointment to myself, others, and all those who came before me, but I will no longer be held back by the Scylla and Charybdis of diamond-hard bristles and razor-sharp floss. EVERYTHING WILL BE BETTER FROM NOW ON!

Dissolve to: A tree-lined street on a Hollywood backlot. Cue jaunty horns!

I high-step along the street like I’m in a musical with Judy Garland from the 40s. She’s dressed as a friendly Technicolor wino. Judy smells great: a heady mix of Thunderbird and that mush-in-a-bowl the Hare Krishnas give out on Avenue A. She’s missing some teeth but hey – it’s charming, like she lost ‘em playing dice with Mickey Mouse instead of knocked out in a brawl with her dealer over two dollars. We fall into step together and grin, thumbs hooked into our suspenders and faces lifted to the sun. A syncopated bass line plays and we tip our faded, fraying hats to a campy extra who will go on to own an Arthur Murray franchise, then design orthopedic inserts for retired dancers. Our smiles widen, and we break into a song about the three precious teeth we got between us – they bring us luck and we ain’t never lettin’ ‘em go! Never mind the teeth we lost – that’s all in the past and THIS IS SHOWBIZ! Our dental hygiene routine involves a rag, some Old Granddad, and JAZZ.

Seriously though – Celebrities in the ‘40s had the right idea:

  1. Maintain your dental health through booze (WIN!)
  2. Turn tooth loss into a hilarious comedy chestnut
  3. Spend your sunset years hawking denture cream

Truly, it is the American Comedy Dream. And I am living it.