Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Tuesday, November 30

Unless You Become Like Children, You Will Never...

This is kind of strange.

This afternoon I Google-imaged the term “Innocent baby.” (Don’t ask why. I just did.)

In order of popularity, the images were of:

1) Aborted fetuses—photos, watercolors and pastel drawings (Charming!)
2) Whores
3) Random drawings of animals
4) Pregnant women
5) Freddy Mercury
6) A yellow condom, code named “Banana”
7) Adult men wearing diapers
8) Dolls
9) Actual babies, largely looking squirmy, dirty and not terribly innocent

I had better luck with the term “Gerber.”

Monday, November 29

The Suitcase Is Back In The Bedroom

Yeah, but don’t read too much into that.

Your mom’s given me a reprieve, but hasn’t granted me full pardon. The socks aren’t back in the drawer just yet.
She’s telling me to develop a routine. She says that’s what I need to do. Something solid. Something regular.
She tells me Hemmingway woke up each morning, got dressed, sat at his typewriter, put a clean piece of paper in the machine.

Yeah, and started drinking.
If he did it, by god so can I.
Where’s my scotch. I know I have a glass around here somewhere. Eh, what’s that kid? Right here in front of me? So it is.
Oh God, that tastes good. Maybe this won’t be so hard after all.
Pull up a chair or sit at my feet, let’s go ahead and give this a go then, shall we, kid? I’m going to tell you a story about a doctor, a medical resident, going home for thanksgiving…

The second I opened the car door, the briny air hit me, I could hear the parrots squawking off in the nearby palms, and I knew I was back in America.

I grew up in Miami, a world away from this southern town where I have spent the past year and a half, but I am back now. Palpably so, as I breathe in more of the brine.

After a seven hour car trip through insane holiday traffic, where ATMs were out of cash, and where the manager of a Kentucky Fried Chicken was in full scale panic mode because they were almost out of chicken. I am back to the America I know, where I can find a deli that serves bagels and lox, where I hear a triad of languages when I walk a single block, where I don’t have to listen to co-workers complain about ‘fags and Jews,’

God help them. But Christ, it’s the twenty-first century already. How do you say that its time to reconcile your bigotry with the ideals that your country was based on without being called condescending?

Let me interrupt my story for a second here. Kid, let me tell you how to convince anyone of anything without being condescending. A sucker punch to the gut, an elbow to the kidney, and a “shut your stupid mouth, you dumb asshole.” But don’t you tell your mother I told you that. That’s something she wouldn’t understand so well, let’s just keep that our little secret, okay. Yeah? Give me that smile. There you go.
Now then, where’s my Scotch? Ahh. Yeah, that tastes good. Hemmingway was a genius.
Alright, so back to the story…

For the third year running the thanksgiving party has included my new grandmother, Dottie, who is in her early eighties (How is it that I have a new grandmother you ask? It’s a long story) (Well, not so long, really: My mom got remarried three years ago.) and her neighbor Jeanie, who is 79 and has her over for lunch every Sunday. She makes Manhattans for her at these lunches.

“It’s in one glass, but it is probably four drinks,” Jeanie confides, “I always watch her ride her Little Rascal until she gets into her house, I don’t want her riding into the lake.”

When Jeanie was younger, she worked for the Truman administration and she tells fairly amazing stories about working in the White House during those years, particularly about the somber awe that blanketed the building after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This year, they brought Jeanie’s brother, Jim, an ex-Navy man. This was apparently not the first time he had been to my mother’s home, as we were drinking Beaujolais Nouveaux and he commented on the little golden dangly talismans my mother attaches to the wine glasses so everyone knows whose is whose. (A pointless reminder really: the glasses rarely leave our sipping hands.) His comments catch my interest, because he says how he still enjoys the monkey that was on his glass at the last party. I suspect that I misunderstood him, and, because I am vaguely bored with the general conversation that is occurring, I say: “Monkey? I have The Parrot. I’d prefer the Monkey. Mom, can I have the monkey?” My mother, who has been in the kitchen, comes into the room and looks in her little drawer of talismans and says, “I don’t see the Monkey in here. Can you make do with the Parrot?”

I toy with saying, “I’d really like the Monkey,” but before I can, Jim again says, “I have the Monkey.” And I feel a bit bad, because I realize only now that my game was trying to shame an old man for pocketing a trinket worth only a few dollars. A trinket I didn’t care about. I think my mother must have assumed he had the Monkey at that very moment, rather than at home, perhaps in his sock drawer. But he didn’t have it at that moment. I looked. He has the White Hibiscus.

So after a bit, we sit down to dinner, and I am sitting next to Jim.

During dinner he tells us about his 1953 solo motorcycle ride from the District of Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska, back across to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, taking the ferry back to Maine, and then down and back to D.C.

During the story, I am trying to read the tattoo on his forearm. But he is wrinkled and the tattoo is faded. By the end of the story, I am looking like I am starting the tonic part of a seizure as I hook my neck around and upside down to read his arm. I think it says “Fatty.” That doesn’t make any sense to me. I am trying to imagine some story that would explain tattooing the word “Fatty” on his arm. But I can't think of one, so I just ask him what the tattoo says. He gets stirred up and motioning at his sister says, “Oh, don’t talk about that. I don’t want to get in trouble.”

“Oh,” I ask, whispering, “Did she used to be overweight?”

He looks at me quizzically.

“The tattoo,” I say, pointing to his tattoo, “Your sister is very skinny. Why did you call her Fatty?”

He is still scrunching his face up and barks, “Kathy, it says ‘Kathy.’”

“Kathy?” His sister says, startled, “Why bring her up?”

At that point he tries to redirect the conversation by pointing out the shamrock tattooed on his earlobe which I—up until that point—had assumed to be a basal cell carcinoma.

My mother, going along with the change of subject, asks “Are you Irish?”

Things settle down after that, and the rest of the afternoon is relatively eventless, until all the guests have gone home, and my mother is putting away the talismans and exclaims; “The White Hibiscus is gone!”

Wednesday, November 24

Venn Diagram of The Week

What's a Venn Diagram?

Click Here to find out.

For a more complete answer, click Here.

Tuesday, November 23

Well, The Reviews Are in And The Critics Say:

Not awful.

Even such heavyweights as Jake of NoFo and Hot Babe of No One's Home have graced me with posts.

My Friend Toph says, "I made it all the way through three posts, and I usually find these things insufferable and nauseating."

Robbie noted the various misspellings and errors of grammar and fact.

Mom Wrote, "Love you, Honey."

Strangely, but not entirely unpredictably, the greatest praise has come from my State Representative Juan Zapata(R), who writes, "This blog is so captivating that I find myself distracted during session meetings. "I just shipped myself" indeed!
"Your advice to 'Nofo' even got Rep. Julio Robaina to smirk--and he's typically humorless. He once tried introducing legislation that would have required warning labels on satirical material.
(That happened after he made an alarmist speech based on some article from The Onion, but you didn't hear that from me.)
"I have to try to stop reading Playing Doctor during session, as the Florida House of Representative's Photo Album is starting to note a trend. You don't catch me smiling at what I am reading though, do you? That's a trick I picked up in junior high and it has served me invaluably in my political career."

Monday, November 22

Is Their Ancesters' Use of Clogs To Blame?

About ten years ago, my family had a party in honor of my cousin Gigi being in town. When she suggested the family play a game of "Name The Most Embarrassing Moment of Your Life." My grandmother, who is typically a quiet and easy going woman, refused saying, "I can't remember my most humiliating moment, but if I could, I certainly wouldn't tell it to everybody."

As far as I am concerned, my grandmother is right. Apparently, some people like playing that game though. Here, hailing from the clumsy-woman state of Minnesota, are their stories.

Saturday, November 20

Why Is Daddy's Suitcase By The Door?

Ok, Let's be honest.

This thing was a crapshoot from the start. I had no idea what I was doing when I started this thing. One entry and I am out of ideas already.
It's not that I don't love your mother. And it certainly isn't that I don't love you.
It's just that I'm tapped.
I'm all used up, and that info highway's a callin'. You be a good kid. And love your mother. She's a good woman.

And I can still write you from other people's blogs.

Here's one from my old pal NoFo, whom I have never met. Nor spoken to. Nor had any other form of communication, until now. I responded to a series of questions he posed on his blog. (See 'Where Am I Surfing?' at left.)

He posts:

What do you say when you're making small talk with a guy at a bar and you really don't want it to go any further than that and he asks for your number?
On the flip side, why would you set yourself up for awkwardness and rejection by asking for a number from a guy you've been talking to for all of 10 minutes?
And when that guy -- no matter how skillfully or clumsily -- says he doesn't want to give you his number, why would you keep asking him for it?
OK, that was three questions.

So I responded:

1) What do you say instead of giving your digits?

a) I don't give out my number the first night I meet someone.
b) I want to remember you just as you were. On this night. This conversation. (Delivery is important here, best rueful Bogart voice)
c) My boyfriend will kill me if he catches me giving out my number again.

2) Why would he ask for the digits?

a) Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
b) It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to blah blah blah.
c) Have you not looked in the mirror?

3) Why keep on asking after you have said no?

a) Not using correct American Sign Language.
b) He believes weariness is next to horniness.
c) You can't have kNOowledge without ‘no.’

Friday, November 19

Lets get started then, Shall we?

Hellooooo Internet!

I arrived back from spending the weekend in New York City with my good friends Rob and Anna and had a lovely time. While there I was walking around the east village and saw an aromatherapy shop called "Just Calm Down." It struck me as weird to call a store about pleasure and comfort by a phrase that is usually used in hostility.
Then I thought it would be a fun project to start taking pictures of other businesses that came up with clever, but inappropriate, names that were based on similar unpleasant concepts, but I decided it would be easier to just make up a bunch.
My Friends Rob, Anna and I came up with this list:

Furniture Store: Just Sit Down

Hardware Store: You're Screwed

Marina: I think I Just Shipped Myself

Woman's Accessories: Whore Bags!

China/Crystal Boutique: Something Smells like Glass

Pet Grooming Salon: You Filthy Bitch

Hair Salon/Spa: You Lazy Cut!

Gastroenterologist: What's Up Your Ass?

Hospice: I'd Rather Be Dead

Medical Supply Store: Are You Some Kind of Cripple

Women's Dress Store: Go Frock Yourself

Bakery: Put My Cake in Your Mouth

I sent out that list to friends and relatives and asked for suggestions for others.
And I got some. Here are my sister's additions:

Church: Jesus Christ

Candy Store: Suck It

Pawn Shop: I Want My Money Back

My Friend Robbie from Jax came up with these:

Speech Therapist: Watchu Talkin Bout, Willis?

Drum Store: Beat It

Cheese (and Fish?) Purveyors: He Who Smelt It, Dealt It

Escalator Repairs: Up Yours

Watch Repair Shop: Watch Out!

My friend Alex came up five entries, three of which I don't understand, one of which is my all-time favorite, see if you can guess which one it is:

Ice Cream Parlor: Snowball Me

Holistic Store: My Brown Eye

Bar: Velvety Fold

Cleaning Services: ...Even the Spooge Stains

Deli: Toss My Salad

Medical Records

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