The Suckling of the American People

I often find myself out of sync with modern life. I don’t watch regular TV anymore, so when I pick up People Magazine, I don’t know who half the featured celebrities are. I’m fine with that. I’m content.

Another way that I am out of step is that I refuse to suckle, like the rest of America. What am I talking about?? Have you bought a water container lately? I have tried. But I couldn’t buy a bottle or cup without a sucking function–a straw or sport cap. I refuse to suck; I want to sip. Or gulp, not suck.

The Medical Industrial Complex

“We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

In 2015, 54% of the US discretionary budget was spent on the military. Today, we spend 6% of our Gross Domestic Product on healthcare. In my mind, these problems are equal. Ike warned about the influence building up our military would have on American society. We are living with that today. We are also dealing with insurance companies that influence our healthcare decisions.

Folks ask the question: do you want the government making decisions about your healthcare? Well, no. No more than I want insurance companies–who care only about their profits–making those decisions for me, as they are right now.  


I want fewer choices. Heading in this morning I was thinking about my trip to Target this afternoon and all of the choices I have to make. I will find the toilet paper I like and try to figure out how many rolls my cabinets can handle and does that match what they sell. Never mind the best deal—I’ve let that go. Then paper towels. The kind that let you pick a size. How many rolls? Laundry detergent: which is best for the environment and still gets the clothes clean? Which hand soap with what smell? Too. Many. Choices.

Speeches got me thinkin’

I hate speeches. I think they are an enormous waste of time. I love letters. I love getting them, writing them. I constantly write letters in my head. (Really.)

On July 16, 1984 I heard Mario Cuomo’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. This is why I remember this particular speech:  Cuomo’s speech so moved me that I decided to write and tell him so. A real letter, not a cerebral one. I borrowed my neighbor’s AppleIIe to write the letter. It was a beautiful letter, I have no doubt. But, the hard drive crashed and it was lost forever.

I think about this all the time…

Not all of us have a defining moment in life. That moment when we are asked to do the right thing, speak up, act right, stand tall, be brave. I often wonder, if faced with such a situation, how would I behave?

My family owned slaves. Would I have had the guts to know everyone is created equal and to stand against slavery?

I fear, in the darkest part of my heart, that I would be a coward, a sheep. I don’t know that I have the bravery to be the person of character that I would like to be.

This Happened

I was coming home for Thanksgiving, my first year of college. I packed an enormous suitcase with everything I could possibly think of, including my dirty sheets. (Why?) I was taking the train. I could barely lift the suitcase. As I was dragging it through Penn Station, from Amtrak to LIRR, a tall man came and hoisted it up, asked me where I was going, and carried it all the way there for me.

Today we would take a selfie and I would post it to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. As it is, only that guy and I remember.

255 Words On Being Fat

“Don’t go on a diet!” you say, and those words are music to my ears. But if I don’t diet, how will I love myself? You’ve heard me talk about it–the voice, the self-loathing that comes with being fat. (To others I say “chubby”.) It tells me I am ugly, not worthy of love or affection. I hate myself when I am fat, as I have been so much of my life.

I remember getting on the school bus and telling Judy D’ellorso that I had lost weight. “10 pounds!” I’d say, having no idea what I was talking about. I think I was in fourth grade. I remember drinking Tab when I was 16 years old. I don’t think I’ve had a regular soda since then. My sentient life has been one of diets. Up, down. Up, down. I can tell you the most I’ve weighed and the least I’ve weighed; though I won’t. The sizes I’ve worn span the spectrum, too. I won’t talk about those either. The most I lost at any one time was 40 pounds. (Thank you, Marty Rubenstein!) One summer I ate nothing but salad and hard-boiled eggs. Needless to say, I looked terrific. I was not yet 21 years old. Eating has been like that ever since. Up, down. Up, down.

I simply want to stop. I hate giving this much brain space to what I eat, when I eat, how I eat, and who is watching. I want, simply, to be healthy and loved. By me.


Girl Crush

The girl crush is such a funny thing; I am glad someone put a name to it. It is not a matter of wanting to be with the girl, or woman, so much as it is wanting to BE her.

Now that I understand it, and it has a name, I am not ashamed to tell you who my girl crushes were when I was a girl myself. Here goes: Natalie Wood. Raquel Welsh. Ann Margaret. Marilyn Monroe, of course. Vivian Leigh.

I wanted to jump into their beautiful skin and to be the object of admiration and, perhaps, desire.


Sitting in Shanghai

I never thought these words would come from my mouth or my pen, 
but here I am sitting in a hotel room in Shanghai. A five star hotel that isn't 
very five-starish. Maybe three.

Outside my window--which I can open, by the way--are skyscrapers, construction, 
and domes of gold. Nothing like America. It's a city of 24 million and it feels
every bit like that. Although you would be surprised at the green spaces. And
the people dancing in the parks.

So far, the Chinese people are lovely. Warm, welcoming, generous. I like being
here a lot.

Jeannie–this one’s for you. Written back in December

To my inner saboteur: sit down and be quiet. Do not tell me that I am no good; that I don’t matter. Sit in the corner and don’t say a word.

I can do it. I will do it, no matter what you say. It may not make me rich or famous, but it might make me happy. It might even make me proud.

Sit down, I said! Stop talking. I can’t kill you (yet) but I can silence you. I can put you in a mental corner and make you be quiet. Sit down, shut up, leave me alone.