By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
I think we all know that I snit easily. Take just this morning (please!) and the snit I got into from someone (we'll call him "Tad") e-mailing me a nice note that ended with, "By the way, I love that you're a mommy." (Any use of proper punctuation is coincidental or has been added by me.) I replied, without being overly horrible about a grown man using the word "mommy"—since there was no need to get into What Exactly Was Wrong WithRonald Reagan this early in the game—"I'm not a mommy so much as a mom, since my son's 11," and added a sentence or two about my parenting philosophy—trying to make my son more independent, etc.—when Tad answered back, "You'll always be a mommy; that's the gift you received when you had your son."
Surely the guy was just trying to be nice. Am I an asshole? Was I reading way too much into it by seeing it as a man pompously correcting me—and infantilizing me with the cloying baby talk while he was at it—and determining for me my proper place in the world? That Tad, who's never met me, didn't listen to what I was saying, and had to spout homilies from Chicken Soup for the Soulto add insult to insult? He's gonna tell me what my "gifts" are? Him and his Dr. LauraVirgin Mother Mommy Cult?
I know I'm a knee-jerk feminist, but am I insane in the bargain?
I told him (nicely, for me) why it had bugged me, but took the blame on myself for being overly bitchy and said I truly hoped he had a good day. He responded that I had issues and clearly needed counseling and said it was no wonder I don't have a boyfriend. Then he thanked me for showing him early how ugly I was on the inside.
Hey, motherfucker, where's your Chicken Soup now?
This was at least the third guy on Yahoo Personals who'd told me I had issues. I was starting to believe them.
And that's when I started thinking about Harriet Miers.
* * *
"Mom!" I said. "I think I have issues, and I'm going to end up a 62-year-old spinster like Harriet Miers, and then everyone will snicker about why I never got married!"
"She's a lesbian," my mom explained sunnily. Yes, Miers' 1987 mullet was a bad idea.
"Well, people are going to think I'm a lesbian!" I said. "Or they're going to say, 'What kind of person is 62 and never got married?' like it's so not normal! I don't think she's a lesbian! I think Nathan Hecht just never married her because he was running around with Priscilla Owen, and she waited for him all those years, and it's supposed to be her fault he never married her! 'Too busy with her career,' my ass!"
"I think you'll get married," my mom said. "I think he'll be ugly, and he'll probably have money because I think it's important to you that a real man be successful and able to take care of things, and he'll love you and adore you exactly the way you are instead of trying to make you into that stupid mommy shit. Look at your cousin Caroline at her wedding: she was sucking Gary's fingers! She looooves him! She was kissing his neck on the dance floor! And he paid a lot of money for that beautiful wedding so they could have exactly what they wanted and didn't have to ask anybody, because he looooves her, and she's not sweet and soft! And you were right about that Tad guy: he's a disgusting asshole!"
I love my mom.
* * *
So I got in another fight (I am my mother's daughter), this time with Max. "I'm a Marine,"Max boomed, presumably in the sense that once a Marine, always a Marine, since he's Santa-fat and has eight inches of biker beard jutting out of his chin. Max and I were having a charming conversation on the Swallow's patio, where I'd gone in a snit to stalk some folks who'd done me wrong, which, as you know, is most of them.
A most delicious car chase had just ended blocks from the door, with all of us whooping at the teevee each time we saw the perp pass another Laguna Niguel offramp. Somewhere close, he exited, flipped a bitch and leaped out of his car running. But he wasn't fast enough for SuperCop (clearly, no doughnuts), who caught up to the perp like he was taking a Sunday stroll and took him out with a lovely and effective flying tackle.
"Yay!" shouted we inside, and I went onto the patio to pass on the exciting car-chase news. That's when Max started in on the ACLU. Why? I don't know, because Max was very, very drunk, which I understand, but what I don't understand is why everyone's got a hard-on for the ACLU.
Max: Fuckin' ACLU!
Me: Hey, what's wrong with the ACLU? They defend everyone's rights, whether they agree with you or not! The Constitution is the most beautiful document in history, and they defendeveryone's constitutional rights, whether you're a liberal or a right-winger or a Nazi! Even if you're a total asshole, they'll defend your rights.