Category Archives: humor

Colonoscopies, Porn and Snuggies

This blog has just reached its 20,000th pageview.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a rather paltry number based on how many years its been since I “launched” it.   It’s embarrassing to even say it out loud.

As those of you with a blog know, there are stats that track what posts have been read on what day, the link they’ve clicked on to get to the blog, a map of the world where you can see who is reading your work in Iceland, for example. (Actually, there isn’t anyone reading me in Iceland but I have quite a following in Russia, France and the Philippines.)

There are big spikes in the numbers on days that I post my links to facebook and a handful of other places.  I can see who is reading these at the exact time someone has the post open and I love that some people are jumping on them within minutes.  It makes me realize that I have a teeny, tiny bit of a “following.”

On the flipside, and really, it’s like being kicked in the backs of the knees, are the statistics that show the    EXACT words that people have typed in as their search terms to get to my posts.

Here’s what I have learned:

If you have the word “porn” ANYWHERE in your blog, especially in the title of a post, you will get a LOT of traffic.  More than one person has wanted to know if there was porn in the Middle Ages.  Really, who could blame them.  Kids and older students do their theses on much worse.

When you use a title for your post that is the same name of a Snuggie-like thing that appears in an infomercial you learn a lot about how lazy people are.  Forever Lazy.

There are a lot of people having colonoscopies that want to know if you can use Coffee Mate during the prep.  This is a very important question and certainly one that I needed the answer to.  People are also very concerned about colonoscopy insurance coverage, and what your “effluence” is supposed to look like.

I use a lot of free clipart in my posts.  Apparently, there are a lot of people who also want to get their hands on “boy sneezing clipart,” “plane in storm clipart,” and “female therapist” clipart.

These are in my personal Hall of Fame of search terms:

“Celebrity flabby ass”

“Jew sneeze”

“Why does Barbara Bush look so old?”

“When will corned beef be back on the shelves?

And my own personal favorite….

“Do middle-aged women like giving handjobs.”

No matter how you’ve found this blog, thanks for reading.

How A Nice Jewish Girl Became A Badass

Not many people can lay claim to being kicked-out of pre-school like I can.  I remember the day well, sticking my hand up one of those machines that dispense milk, the ones with the plastic udders snipped at the ends.  My mother was called and told not to bring me back.  Ever.
A year later I pushed a neighbor into a thorn bush and tied him up with kite string.  According to facebook he is now the manager of a multi-million dollar hedge fund, clearly revenge for what a 7-yr old girl did to make him look like a pussy at the bus stop 40 years ago.
During my years of working in non-profits I spent a lot of time with “at-risk” individuals of all ages.  I worked on behalf of homeless women and former gang members, but I never expected that I would find myself working with incarcerated convicts.
For the first few weeks as a volunteer creative writing instructor with female inmates I had handouts, made them write and read from a book that I thought they could relate to. I was so not badass. Some were receptive, others just thought I was wasting their time.  Soon, I ditched the handouts, the readings and a pen hasn’t been used in my workshop in at least a year.  Now it’s very free-form  and those who start out staring out the window and roll their eyes, eventually become engaged in the conversation.  I have NO problem yelling at them to “STOP TALKING!” which gets the attention of the officer looking down on the class.  If they act up they know they can go to “the hole,” so generally once is enough.
I’ve recently started working with male offenders ranging from 14 to over 60.  The nature of their crimes are all different and what I instruct them in depends on what type of pre-release situation they are in.  When people ask me what I do I feel totally badass.  Usually people ask if I’m afraid or they ask my husband if he gets worried.  He’s used to it by now, and no, I’ve never been afraid.
People have become really used to the natural high or the incredible heartbreak I feel every week after spending an hour with “my ladies.”  It runs a close second to being on top of my Tempurpedic mattress as my happy place.  Now, after I finish my weekly classes with the men, I’ll call my husband and say things like, “I love my felons,” or “I love my juvenile delinquents!”  It’s that same feeling I’ve gotten from working with their female counterparts for the past two years.
People always told me that working with the men is much easier than working with the women.  The men certainly respect me a bit more, sit rapt with attention and call me “teach.”  Some are a bit more impenetrable than the women and there is one in particular that I am desperate to break through to just to see a teeny glimmer of vulnerability that I KNOW has to be in there somewhere.  The men tease me a bit and have their inside jokes that I am not privy to (the women always teach me new jargon) but I feel more attuned to the women, the playing field being more level.

The Urban Dictionary defines “badass” as “An ultra-cool motherfucker.” My 11-yr old daughter would take issue with that as she’s at that age where everything I do embarrasses her.  I bet, though,  when I’m not around and someone asks what her mother is like, she would totally describe me as “an ultra-cool motherfucker,” and nothing could make me more proud.

How To Get Free Booze, or, Pilots As Enablers

I hate flying.  I’d rather be anywhere else on earth than on a plane (Being in Penn Station on one of the hottest days of the year about 20 years ago comes in a close second.)  From the second a ticket is booked, whether it’s five months before, one month or two weeks, my sense of security is thrown off balance.
I recently flew to Los Angeles, a trip I’ve done at least 15 times, to visit my father who has lived there for 30 or so years.  I’ve been flying since I was an infant, visiting grandparents who lived in Florida every Christmas break until I was 13 or so.  I’ve been to the UK three times and flew quite a bit for a couple of jobs, taking me to some really great American cities.   Friends say I need to do it MORE, to get used to it.  I think they’ve gone slightly mad.
Now here’s the thing:  you never know when a good flight is going to turn bad.  You never know, as you’re coasting along quite beautifully when you’ll hit an air pocket, fly through a thunderstorm, suck a poor unsuspecting bird into the engine, be struck by lightning, have some crazy passenger storm the cockpit demanding to be taken to New Zealand (the longest possible flight there is). 
The week before I most recently flew, the news played a tape of a conversation between a pilot and an air traffic controller after the plane had lost its hydraulic system.  Their voices were calm (ish) like they always are.  Then, when the controller asked how many “souls” were on the plane, SOULS, not people, I knew that a crash and mass casualties were expected.  The captain of the Titanic was asked the EXACT SAME QUESTION and we all know what happened there.  Somehow the plane landed and everyone was fine, their souls intact.
Flying is lovely when the seatbelt sign is off.  I look out the window, at the grids and circles on the green and brown ground, but, when we start to experience even the slightest bumpiness, I wait in fear to see if that seatbelt sign is going to flash on and the inevitable scripted announcement from the pilot that says, “Well folks, it seems as if we’ve hit just a little patch of turbulence.  Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts and we’ll try to get through this as quickly as we can.  Thank you.”
At that point I just stare out the window thinking I’ll see something on a clear day that indicates how bad it will be.   Those flights are the ones that confuse me the most—there are no clouds, no discernible winds, nothing that can explain why we’re suddenly being bumped around.  If one more person tells me that it’s just like a bump in the road or recites the statistics that the chances of crashing in a plane are infinitesimal compared to how many people are killed in car crashes, I will throttle them.
I envy (Re. hate) people who LOVE to fly.  My friend Phillip (who also loves going to the dentist) laughs his way through turbulence.  I can see him squealing “whee!” when being slightly tossed around.  I think flight attendants are freaks.  I study their faces when they too are asked to sit down during a rough patch and marvel at how they can just flip through a magazine as if their lives aren’t about to end.  Who ARE these people??
I’ve developed quite a brilliant and foolproof  strategy in recent years so pay close attention:  The second I step through the gate and onto that jet way thing where you begin to smell fuel and that one-of-a-kind footstep sound, I begin to panic slightly.  I check out the part of the plane I can see and curse it for holding me hostage for 6 hours.  At that point I’ve already taken at least one ativan but it really does very little.  As I take that dreaded step over the threshold and onto the “aircraft” I pop my head into the cockpit and ask if it’s going to be a smooth flight.  Most of the time they are nice and automatically pin me as a nervous flyer.  On this most recent trip they asked me what seat I was in and I knew I had scored big (keep reading).
They never say that it’s going to be the most turbulent flight in their history of flying, but they might say, “It’s going to be a bit bumpy over the Rockies but other than that, we should be fine.”  We SHOULD be fine!   I ask the flying time, willing it to be an hour shorter than I know it will be and when the pilot on the way home told me it was going to be 5 hours and 4 minutes, I said, “But it’s going to be shorter than that, right?”  He responded by saying, “No, it’s going to be 5 hours and 4 minutes.”   Fuck.  You.
So, after I’ve talked to the pilot, I then ask the first flight attendant I see the same questions.   They smile and say that they haven’t heard otherwise from the pilot.  Throughout the flight, I will periodically check in with them to make sure they haven’t lied to me.  When I work my way back to use the bathroom and see people drooling in sleep I wonder why they have chosen to sit in the bumpiest part of the plane.  But they don’t care.  They’re SLEEPING!
So, as the drink cart made its way down the aisle on this most recent flight I started to jones for that first sip of wine.  A guy two rows in front of me started asking the flight attendant a bunch of questions about God knows what and I felt like jumping out of my seat to begin pilfering the cart.  The other attendant pushing the cart looked at my aisle number and said “The pilot told us to give her whatever she wants.”  SEE, that’s how it works!  Thank you lovely pilots.   Two bottles of wine and one more ativan had me smiling and doing crossword puzzles.
Obviously, a trip in one direction requires a trip in the other.  I throw away the used boarding pass and rue the fact that there is still one more trip to get through.  I’m so grateful on the first day that I made it through the first  flight that I generally don’t start panicking until the day before the next.  For some reason the trip home was harder, coming off the heels of a rather emotional trip.  My heart started beating the second I woke up and I took the ativan sooner than usual.  I had a glass of wine at lunch before we boarded and the aforementioned pilot didn’t take the bait.  I watched our entire flight on the screen in the seatback, as a computer image of our plane crept its way across the country.  In case you were wondering, Nebraska is a big fucking state.  I watched as the mileage countdown changed, challenging myself not to look for as long as possible.  My husband, a meteorologist and someone who considers flying the same as sitting on the couch, felt badly for me, but we made it home, safe and sound.
So, even if you’re not terrified of flying, I’m sure you can act afraid for a few minutes, put on your best award-winning performance in order to score some free booze.  What you can’t do is tell them that it was me who told you how to do this, as I may single-handedly be responsible for another airline declaring bankruptcy. 

I’ll Have The Corned Beef, Lean, A Pound of Chopped Liver, and the Chocolate Babka

Two nights ago a miracle in the form of an attractive 70-yr-old woman appeared, like Glinda the Good Witch in her ephemeral bubble, waving her magic wand. POOF! Leftover food from her Yom Kippur breakfast appeared on the empty kitchen countertop at my friend’s house. Bags of bagels and tubs of whitefish salad, piles of lox and pans of kugel materialized like the poppy field that Dorothy and her nice friends get high and fall asleep in. In my delight, I suddenly found myself clapping my hands like a seal.

Where I live there is no easy access to food like this. Twice a year Whole Foods trots out buckets of chopped liver and brisket and I stand in front of the case wide-eyed, like a kid watching someone put a final squirt of whipped cream on a sundae. The Whole Foods employees look rather horrified as they are faced with the task of spooning the chopped liver into takeout containers, undoubtedly thinking, “This is not in my job description.” I want them to believe me when I tell them that it’s better than ice cream, but clearly they don’t believe me. And, when people ask if it’s like pate, I don’t betray the integrity of what it is—chicken liver, chicken fat, onions and egg. Just like people call Target, “Tar-jay,” I don’t buy into this notion of “let’s make it sound fancy” because it’s NOT. It looks like cat food, it’s got tons of cholesterol, it smells, BUT, it is the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted.

It’s not an original subject, talking about a Jewish cultural connection to food. Every race and religion has one. My Puerto Rican husband will go to the ends of the earth for the perfect paella. An Asian co-worker of mine taught me to cook with bok choy and talked about the culinary wisdom her Thai father continues to pass on to her. We all love to gather around and eat food that is familiar to us with those that we have done it with before. My husband is not going to pick up the last remaining hunk of gefilte fish with his fingers like my brother would. New friends are not going to hang around in the kitchen and peel the skin off of a roasted chicken and shove it in their mouth like my sister would. At my former (Catholic) sister-in-law’s house, I would get a hand slap if I pinched a glob of stuffing, and be forced to eat the green jello mold that was a family tradition (no so bad, actually).

I will always give my father credit for creating one of the lovliest rituals of my childhood. Like Jews all over the the tri-state area, my father would get up early and hunt and gather. He would go to the not very originally named “Hot Bagels and Bialeys” which flashed in neon on a storefront, stand in line, and tell the guy behind the counter what to include in the baker’s dozen. They were picked from bins like the ones above, WAY before there were blueberry and chocolate chip bagels. The poppy seeds from the poppy seed bagels and the salt from the salt bagels would get mixed up with the onions from the onion bagels, so by the time he got home, the bottom of the paper bag looked like a dumped spice rack. We’d come back to them after eating, wetting our fingers and rolling them in the mixture, licking them off our fingers.

He would also go to what is called an “appetizer store” and get cream cheese and chives, whitefish rolled in wax paper, lox, muenster cheese and sometimes herring in cream sauce. With the resulting breath it’s no wonder we spent our Sundays in separate rooms.

When the question comes up, “What would you want your last meal to be?”, you know, which happens a lot, I would go for everything in both of these pictures. In honor of my mother, I might ask for a pot of boiled beef flanken which looks like this:

I’d throw in some rice pudding, a linzer tart and I’d HAVE to have mint chocolate chip ice cream, which incidentally, was the only thing Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma City bomber, asked to have as his last meal. He certainly wasn’t Jewish.

The Year of the Jewish Husband

After a couple of years running through the vast sea of non-Jewish men, my friend Mark and I decided that 2010 would be “The Year of the Jewish Husband.” Our “dating” lives seemed to parallel each other. There was a period of time when we were both, um, “entertaining” black men, younger men, Latino men, and just plain old white guys (not “old” white guys, just your run-of-the-mill white guy.)

Both of us had quite a flurry of men after we had both ended long-term relationships, both with white Catholic guys. I was married for 7 years and Mark was with his lover for the same amount. 2010 seemed like the time to buckle down and find the man that our mothers always hoped we would.

In a previous post, “Heckling At The Matzo Ball With Cocoa Butter Mark,” I end with our very short-lived desire and effort to join JDate. I was in my sunroom lounging on a chaise, glass of wine nearby, laptop on my, well, lap, and Mark was undoubtedly at a Starbuck’s, complaining about noisy kids, with his laptop on a table. We said, “One, two, three, GO!” and logged on to the registration page simultaneously.

The questions went something like this:

“What tribe do you belong to?”

a) Ashekanazy

b) Sephardic

c) Really bad Jew

d) Other

“What am I?” Mark asked?

“Well you’re kind of dark so just go with Sephardic.”

“What dietary restrictions do you follow?”

a) I keep kosher, of course. That way I get to have 2 sets of Crate and Barrel dishes!

b) I put bacon on everything.

c) I’m on a liquid fast.

d) Other

“How many times have you been to Israel?”

a) HELLO, I was bar/bat mitvahed in Israel!

b) Never. I’m too afraid to fly.

c) Once but it was so hot I just stayed in my hotel

d) Other

At this point, I knew I wasn’t the type of Jew they were looking for, and after a quick search of “Men seeking Men,” Mark decided that he wasn’t either.

We gave up and went on to talk about other more pressing things, like who got eliminated on Project Runway or the cute black bartender we both had a little crush on at our favorite dive bar. Onward and upward!

Around three or 4 months after this, Mark met someone that he seemed very excited about. Mark has the great ability to be cautious, to not get ahead of himself when it comes to relationships, but I could tell that he was hopeful about this one. His last name is Nunez. From then on, he has simply been know as “The Nunez.” He’s Dominican and a real throwback to 2009 when, for me at least, it was “The Year of the Dominican.”

Not long after, just as I was about to throw in the towel on, I met my now remarkable husband, whose last name just happens to be Rodriguez. Yeah. Now, instead of “The Year of the Jewish Husband,” it has become “The Century of the Jewtino.” We have even invented a cocktail—a Jewtini which is a delightful combination of rum, Coco Libre and Manischewitz, which premiered at our Jewtino Passover. If we had a spokesman he would look something like Geraldo Rivera or Juan Epstein from “Welcome Back Kotter.”

We have both found true love in these incredible men. Everyone adores “The Nunez” and Ricardo Rodriguez. Mark and I have never been happier. He told this story at my wedding celebration and of course brought the house down (when he wasn’t tearing up as he is known to do). We have no regrets for closing out “The Year of the Jewish Husband.” We adore our spicy Latino men for everything they are and we love that we still bring out the “Jewish” in each other, throwing around the occasional Yiddish phrase while the men look on and grin.

Like A (Gefilte) Fish Out of (Its Jar Of Gelatinous Stuff)

Last night for work I attended a party at a home in the wealthiest suburb of Boston, which according to Forbes magazine has the 97th most expensive zip code in the United States. According to public record, the house has an estimated worth just shy of $2 million.

For 16 years I have made a living essentially asking rich (or as my boss has taught me to say, “well-resourced”) people for money for the variety of human services agencies I’ve worked for. I’m good at my job because I feel really passionate about the issues I’ve raised money for—at risk youth, the homeless, teen moms—and, I’m not afraid to ask anybody for anything.
These small events are a great and easy way to make money. Board members host at their lovely homes and invite their friends who also live in lovely homes so they can learn more about the work being done at our agency and ultimately whip out their checkbooks and give tons of money on the spot. I’ve planned about 30 of these and have been everywhere from an expansive apartment overlooking Central Park to sitting on couch cushions in a funky Park Slope townhouse, where I’m certain the hostess must have hid her hookah pipe before her guests arrived.
The picture above is the image Google came up with when I searched for WASP. I have absolutely nothing against WASPS. My best friend is the epitome of WASP. The couples at the party weren’t quite so…pink or young, and sadly there were no perfect labs there, but Boston, really because of its proud blue blood history, has a lot of people who look like this, much to their credit. And, I LOVE that woman’s dress.
Every once in a while, when I was still speaking to him, I would mention to my father some event or situation where I may have had conflict with a boss, or some other work or social conflict. The first question he would ask was “Are they Jewish?” It seemed like the most preposterous question in the world to presume that there was some rampant anti-Semitism in every interaction I had with non-Jewish people. In some cases I’ve been the first Jewish person someone has met and after that rather surprising admission I feel like they should meet another one first because I’m not exactly the poster child for Judaism. Even my first husband, a Catholic, ended up knowing more about my religion than I do.
I can’t know this for sure, but I think that most people feel most comfortable around their own. When I go to Long Island or Manhattan, I feel at home, like being there brings out the authenticity in me that isn’t the same in Boston. I have two Jewish friends here who I am very close to. When I first met the second one, we were out on our inaugural getting-to-know-you coffee, and I whispered to her, “Are you Jewish?” in the same way that people whisper about cancer. There was some instant understanding, like we belonged to a secret club. It’s just how it is.
I am very proud of who I am. People seem to learn quickly that I’m the child of a Holocaust survivor giving me some bizarro Jewish seal of approval. That being said, I wouldn’t know that tonight is Rosh Hashanah if I didn’t have Jewish friends on facebook all wishing each other a Happy New Year. I won’t go to services tomorrow or on Yom Kippur.
Of course, the people at the party were lovely and engaging. They didn’t condescend to the teenage mother who came to speak about our programs. Of COURSE I wasn’t the first Jew they had ever met. I might have been the least in shape person there, but certainly it’s not because I’m Jewish. It’s because I’m kind of a slug.
Sometimes, when I’m in a situation where the women are naturally blonde and the men are in Brooks Brothers I feel like this:
That’s my issue, and noone else’s. I am certain in SOME situations, that could be the case (as a matter of fact, with some statements said to me like “Jews are cheap, right?” and in one case, “Is it true that Jewish girls love to fuck?”) I’m reminded that maybe that is what I represent to some incredibly ignorant people, but in reality, not to the rest of my orbit.
So, to all of my delightful Jewish friends, I wish you a very Happy New Year and an easy fast.

"Poor Prep," Or How I Failed My First Colonoscopy

“It’s kind of like drinking the beach,” a friend of mine told me.

“Sounds awesome,” I said.

My boss told me it wasn’t THAT bad (Clearly, I have the kind of relationship with my colleagues where we can stand around and talk about our colons.)

For about twelve years I’ve had these random, double-me-over stomach cramps that come out of nowhere. I can feel them coming on slowly and then within about 3 hours, they hit full force and I literally can’t stand upright because of the intensity of the pain.  I used to have them about 3 times a year, but they’ve become a bit more regular now. The one upside to this is that I get to walk around with prescription painkillers (one being valium because my doctor is the best doctor EVER) in a wonderful little case that a dear friend gave me that says “Happy Pills” on the front. I’m slightly in love with my “Happy Pills” case.

After 12 years of stumping my primary care physician we figured it was time to go see a specialist. He’s such a lovely man, which I suppose helps in his line of work. I remember when doctors used to say “You’re WAY too young to have such and such,” but now they say “Well, you’re getting closer to the age when…” Fuck you, lovely colon doctor.

I left his office with a scheduled colonoscopy for two months later and a packet of information about what and what not to eat 24 hours in advance with urgent and asterisked sentences about having a ride home and the usual hideous side effects that would scare the hell out of anyone. My packet soon became part of the detritus on my dining room table that when not looking, my husband would put in a box along with an entire week’s worth of mail, magazines, catalogues and bills.

A few days before the procedure my doctor’s assistant called to confirm my appointment and to make sure that I had everything under control. “Yep,” I said, willing the paperwork to be among the piles in that box. 2 days before the appointment I found it and also discovered my first mistake: “No seeds or nuts within 7 days of the procedure.” Oops.

The clear liquid diet that begins 24-hours before the procedure, includes about 7 things. No matter how hard I stared at it, the list didn’t get any longer. Jello (NOT RED!), broth, popsicles, clear grape juice, clear soda, coffee with COFFEEMATE (probably the WORST sacrifice of the entire ordeal), tea. What I couldn’t understand is why I couldn’t drink white wine since it’s basically white grape juice gone bad. Vodka is about as clear a liquid that exists, but nope. No vodka or wine on the list.

I filled my prescription for my jug of “the beach” and tried to make eye contact with the young pharmacist so he would acknowledge the pure HELL I was about to go through. He didn’t take the bait but I’m sure as I was leaving the counter I heard he and his co-workers break out into hysterical laughter, falling to the floor while clutching their stomachs.

At 9 am the morning before, you have to drink a small bottle of what tastes like flat Alka-Seltzer mixed with Sprite. I know not ONE human being who hates Alka-Seltzer more than I. According to the many testimonials I googled, something was supposed to “happen” within an hour.My sweet husband just kept on looking at me saying, “I’m so sorry honey,” as I waited, like waiting for your water to break, but without the mind numbing pain.10:00, nothing.11:00, nothing.I decided to try to take a nap, which I managed to do rather well.Many more hours of nothing while I sucked on tangerine fruit bars and choked down a mug of chicken broth.

At 5:30 I confronted the beast—the jug of HELL!The instructions say to drink an 8 oz glass every 15 minutes putting the last sip approximately 4 hours after you start.You’re provided with flavor packets to choose from which do NOTHING to disguise the fact that you have to drink an endless amount of slimy, salty water FOREVER!Again, within an hour, all hell is supposed to break loose (no pun intended).I set up camp in our bathroom—Sunday paper, crossword puzzle, candles, the jug and my 8 oz glass by my side.That jug taunted me like a character that keeps appearing in the scenes of a horror movie.It didn’t get any emptier and neither did I.Nothing.Hours and hours of NOTHING.

I’m a mutant freak. I’m broken. This is practically impossible. All the people on online message boards said that they had become limp rags, chained to their bathrooms. And me? Nothing. I settled in to watch tv miserable, a cleansing failure, and went to sleep.

At 2:30 there was a breakthrough—the skies opened up and assured me that noone noticed that I had poured about 24 oz down the drain. I was forgiven! The sign I had to look for was “clear effluence.” I was going to do it!

By 6:30 am, I thought, ok, I can hold my head up high and walk in to experience, what my aforementioned co-worker said was like “having a huge hose with a camera stuck up your ass.” Good times!

I had to sit with a nurse before hand, the id tag already affixed to my wrist, presumably in case I died and they needed to identify my body. She asked me questions about my “prep” and I told her that it took a really long time to finally work. She asked me to describe the color it had gotten to and pointed to the laminated tan top of the table.

“Is it this color?” Silence.

“Is it more beige?” I felt pressured, interrogated, guilty, so I just said “Yeah, it’s more beige.”

She then proceeded to tell me what was about to happen and what I could expect.Noone told me that I was going to need OXYGEN.Noone told me that in recovery, I’d be surrounded by people, with partitions between us, who wouldn’t be allowed to go home until they “tooted” (her word, not mine.)She told me that I might experience short-term AMNESIA but assured me that I’d remember the conversation we were having.REALLY?I thought I was just going to be in a room with my lovely doctor, “consciously sedated” watching the whole thing on high-def tv!

I signed stuff, put on my gowns and slippers and was escorted into the room.I was immediately besieged by three nurses who started clipping, cuffing, sticking and shoving shit everywhere.The oxygen thing freaked me out and there was a snarky nurse barking questions at me.My doctor appeared all sweet and lovely, told me how to position myself, and stroked my head to assuage my nerves.He pushed a sedative through my iv and from that point on, I remember very little.I DO remember that something was amiss, that I might have been told that they couldn’t do the exam because I wasn’t “empty” enough.I knew I had let everyone down and was rolled into the recovery room.

Under the heated blankets and in and out of a deliciously deep state, I felt horribly guilty. I had wasted everyone’s time. I had endured 24 hours of torture for nothing. As I was taken out of recovery and told I could leave, I was handed a piece of paper that in big, bold capital letters said”POOR PREP.” It advised me that I needed to have a repeat colonoscopy within 2 months. I hung my head in shame.

I soothed myself with an enormous peanut butter and jelly sandwich, steak and mint chocolate ice cream. The following morning I waited for the office to open to find out exactly what had happened.

“I feel like I failed kindergarten” I wailed into the phone when the secretary answered.

She laughed and said, “Well, the doctor has a new “recipe” he wants you to try for next time.”

Was he going to send me to the fancy Colonics place in the desert that I had read about in The New Yorker?

“He wants you to be on the liquid diet for 48 hours, drink two bottles of the (stuff that tasted like Alka-Seltzer) and drink TWO JUGS of (the stuff that tastes like the beach.)

“HELL NO!” (and FUCK YOU secretary I used to really like!) I said rather emphatically.

“Well, you’re getting to the age when you have to do this anyway, ” she said back.

“Yeah, in FOUR more years!”

At that point, she got a bit frustrated with me and told me she was going to have the doctor call me back. I still haven’t heard from him and most of all, I hate that he thinks I didn’t follow the rules. I won’t tell him about the (36oz) of stuff I dumped down the sink. I will promise to be a better colon cleanser next time. I will promise to note the color, even take a picture with my i-phone, of my most recent “effluence.” I will tell him that his gentle stroke of my head did not go unnoticed. I will beg him, and the colonoscopy gods, for forgiveness.

Jews Don’t Camp

I know this assertion will create backlash and anarchy from all those Jews who love to camp, but until someone invents a portable Tempur-pedic mattress, or finds me a place like the above “guest teepee” on Ralph Lauren’s ranch, this Jew isn’t going camping. Spare me the “OMG, you would LOVE it,” or “Just try it once,” or “There’s nothing better than sleeping under the stars,” because I will ignore you. Yes, I went to sleepaway “camp” for 15 summers of my life, but the closest I ever came to camping there was sunbathing on a towel on the softball field.

I have also asserted that “Jews Don’t Golf, ” “Jews Don’t Hike,” “Jews Don’t Fish,” mostly to get me out of things I don’t want to do (The golf thing has been ruined for me after watching Larry David and his Jewish posse golf on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and I actually DID fish once off the Santa Monica Pier.)
Until I had my daughter I would have said that “Jews Don’t Sled.” Growing up on Long Island I don’t think I ever saw ANYONE sled, period. Noone came knocking on my door and said, “Hey, wanna go sledding?” My brother who lives in Vermont, got my daughter to try it at a fairly young age (he is the only one who gets her to try new things) and I tried it too, screaming and laughing the whole way down the little hill on the grounds of a church. Since then, I have tried tubing and loved it (I refer you to an earlier post, “Don’t Forget to Drag Your Feet”) and have recently discovered the joy of being pulled on my husband’s speedboat on a tube, bouncing on waves with water pelting my face.
I tried to rollerblade once because it looks so graceful and easy and, after putting them on, my friend left me standing in the middle of an empty parking lot off-season in Provincetown, and walked away as I stood there, immobilized by fear and unable to move. I begged and pleaded for him to come get me, and after catching his breath from laughing so hard, he took pity on me and pulled me to the car.
Those are things that have looked fun and I’ve tried them. Here are things that don’t look fun at all:
Jumping out of a plane

Bungee jumping

Standing up on a rollercoaster

Walking on stilts


Fixing a flat tire

Walking in stillettos

Sumo wrestling

Fire eating

Hot dog eating contests

Beer bongs

I think that having kids is a great barometer to get us to try new things, and maybe when my daughter starts to get over her own fears, of which there are many, I’ll get right up there with her and carve a pumpkin or something. Yes, in case you didn’t know, Jews Don’t Carve Pumpkins.

Awaiting A Hot Flash

Burning tongue can be a very irritating and painful symptom of menopause. Just like the name suggests, burning tongue occurs when an individual experiences a burning sensation on the tongue. Everyone has sipped a beverage such as coffee or tea that is too hot and burned her tongue. This is the sensation that those who suffer from burning tongue experience constantly.

The barely 29-yr old woman who sits down the hall from me at work knows that when she hears a scream from me in my office, that that’s the signal that I’ve just had my first hot flash. I’m sure by the time she gets to my office, mere paces away, I will be found in a crying heap on the floor.

There are apparently 34 symptoms of menopause and the only one that I haven’t had yet is the “burning tongue” described above. When that happens, I will take to my bed and never come out.

The hot flash will be a horrible reality check, a jarring wake-up call to my inevitable aging. I know that I should embrace it and feel very grateful that I’m happier than I’ve ever been but to me it’s the true reminder that my body has been rendered rather obsolete, that as in so many cultures in this world, if you can’t make babies, you are downgraded to, I’m not sure what.

There is an upside to this: the other 33 symptoms, irritability, memory lapses, fatigue and bloat can be used as an excuse and get me out of some tough situations. And gentlemen, don’t blame your aging wives on opting out of sex every once in a while–loss of libido is #4 on the list.

(I have absolutely no idea why this formatted the way it did.)

Watching Porn at North Shore Towers

At thirteen, immediately after my parent’s divorce, my mother and I moved into what is apparently the only gated community in New York with its own zip code. I’ve recently learned that it also has its own self-generating power plant, so really, who wouldn’t want to live there?

The Towers apparently sit on the highest point of Queens. According to the rather fascinating Wikipedia entry, this “hill” was formed in the “last glacial period.” Now, apparently due to some serious melting, it’s an 18-hole golf course. The height sets off the three buildings so they can be seen from as far away as Connecticut. They cut a rather imposing figure from the Long Island Expressway and Grand Central Parkway. You could literally stand in one place and be in both Queens and Long Island at the same time. My favorite part of their placement is that they share land with Long Island Jewish Hospital where my mother spent time going in and out of the inpatient psych unit. Someone was clearly thinking ahead.

Living in North Shore Towers made me REALLY popular with my classmates who lived in normal, upper-middle-class suburban sprawl and didn’t have a “retail concourse” that included a movie theater and two restaurants underground. It housed the first atm machine I had ever seen (this was in 1979), buttons on the wall of a bank that made cool sounds and spit out money.

This subterranean mall connected three buildings. It was the perfect place for the disgruntled children of bitter divorces and hated stepmothers to run amok, completely unsupervised. We smoked cigarettes in the stairwells in our pajamas and smoked pot outside in the bushes near the pool. We went out for lunch at the deli-style restaurant, The Nibbler, and ordered whatever the hell we wanted. We made the rounds of each others apartments, all carbon copies of the others, and watched game shows after school. Like all other teenagers in America, we got bored out of our minds.

Recently as I’ve reconnected with people on facebook from junior high and high school, I’ve been reminded of the wild parties I used to throw at my apartment. Now very successful business men and women, after the initial “HEY, what-have-you-been-up tos” will say, “Remember those parties you used to have at North Shore Towers? Man, I used to get so drunk!” As soon as they say it, I get an image of well-groomed Jewish teenagers spilling through my door.

I have no recollection of how these parties formed. I guess I’d make a decision to have one, I’d tell one person, and friends would call others and say “Party at Gayle’s.” I would go down to the underground supermarket and buy Cheese Doodles and soda, chips and Lipton onion soup dip mix, M&Ms and called it a day. I have absolutely no idea of how the carpools worked, how late these kids stayed, and, the most vague of all, is where was my mother? Did these parties all happen when she was in the hospital? Was anyone staying with me? I remember just ONE time that she was in her room, in bed, and I went in to check on her with a cigarette in my hand. She asked for a “puff,” mistaking it for the first joint she might ever try. It took me a minute to convince her that it was just a cigarette.

I was not a drinker back then and can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve been hungover. I don’t know who brought alcohol to these parties and I certainly don’t remember who brought the porn classic, “Deep Throat.” I DO remember a bunch of eager boys sitting on our orange nu buck suede couch trying to act really cool as if this was something they did every day. I remember flitting about also trying to act cool even though I had never seen porn before especially not in my own living room with 20 or so of my friends around. I remember it being really bad quality being played on the Sony Betamax but still being able to make out Linda Lovelace doing some pretty dirty things. I learned a LOT of things that night that I wasn’t necessarily prepared to learn.

The night came to a rather abrupt halt when someone (I remember it as Jimmy Klein but I think I’ve since been corrected) vomited orange soda all over our guest bathroom and then locked themselves in. I don’t know who picked anyone up or how they were ever allowed to come back. People don’t throw up at my parties anymore, and if anyone is watching porn they’re doing it on their i-phones, sitting on a sage green and not an orange suede couch.