He’s been screaming at her for the past hour, and she’s almost at her breaking point. She tries to get him to be quiet, afraid of what the neighbors must think. Why does she put herself through this? But then she remembers – sometimes when he’s asleep, she watches him breathe, wonders what he’s dreaming about. He can be so sweet at times.
“You want to leave? Then go already! Why don’t you just f*ing go?!”
He paces back and forth across the living room, ignoring her questions.
“What the hell is keeping you here? If you’re so unhappy, why don’t you walk out the door? And take all your shit with you, while you’re at it.”
He walks back over to where she is sitting on the couch, and she thinks that maybe he’s calmed down until the screaming starts all over again. This time she’s had it. She stares right back at him and laughs, cruelly.
“Oh that’s right. You can’t walk out that door, can you? Because you don’t have opposable thumbs! Scream all you want, but you’re not going anywhere, are you?!”
He paces in front of the door some more, tries to peer underneath the crack, then stretches up to rattle the doorknob.
“Tapping it’s not gonna work. Just turn it, you big baby! All you have to do is turn it to the right a little. I don’t know why you’re yelling at me – I’m not stopping you!”
He gives up, for the moment, and she hears the crunching sound of him eating some food in the kitchen.
“I should, you know. I should let you leave.”
He’s drinking some water now.
“You think it’s fun out there? You think there are bowls of food just lying around on every street corner? You wouldn’t have the first clue what to do if I actually let you outside. I mean, look at how fat you’ve gotten. Christ, it looks like you’re pregnant!”
But deep down, she knows that she’s really trying to convince herself of this. In reality, he would do just fine on his own. He’s very resourceful and quite charming when he wants to be. And he’s not afraid to ask for what he wants. He is the squeaky wheel that will always get the oil.
He tries to leave her every chance he gets. He’s made it down the stairs a few times, but she always gets him back. She thinks about not chasing after him this time. Still, though, the thought of losing him terrifies her. She tries to reconcile.
“Look, just come over and sit with me, will you? Come on. Come here, please? I’m sorry I said your ass looked like an Easter ham. You’re really in pretty good shape for being neutered.”
She strokes his face and holds his thumbless hands. He lays his head on her chest and they fall asleep together.


Lunch Crowd

I’m sitting in the food court at the train station, carelessly flipping through what is a very uninteresting newspaper. Across from me sits a table of young professionals – five in total – and I suspect that wherever they work is most likely their first job out of college.
It is their enthusiasm for lunch that betrays them – like they are still expecting there to be recess as soon as they finish their cartons of milk and scrape clean their pudding cups. The two men: bright-eyed, with just a hint of acne, and necks a bit too skinny for their big-man shirts and ties. The three women: bubbly, with nighttime makeup, and more than a bit of discomfort in their skirt suits.
Seeing these youngsters in their business attire reminds me of when I first met my friend Dee-Dee. We had both just been hired on as interns in the marketing research department at a company in Milwaukee, and were eager to make a good impression. Me with my nude pantyhose and long skirts, and Dee-Dee with her shoulders. Well, shoulder pads, really, but the image of her grand entrance into the office was that of a Donna Karan linebacker sashaying down a catwalk.
I was in earth tones and tasteful pearl earrings, but Dee-Dee meant business in her head-to-toe black. On her initial tour of the company, she was mistakenly led into the CEO’s office as he was meeting our new General Counsel.
“Dave! So nice to see you again! Great to have you as part of the team. We’re going to have to get you involved in our annual golf outing – we could use some fresh blood! And hello, I’m sorry… I don’t think we’ve met yet…”
“I’m Dee-Dee… the new intern in the marketing research department.”
With her powerful handshake extending from her even more powerful suit, it was clear from that moment that Dee-Dee would quickly climb the ladder at this company.
Years passed and dress codes grew lax. Professional Attire led to Casual Fridays which became Business Casual Always and finally Jeans Fridays. But still, Dee-Dee kept the suit. It hung in her closet like Excalibur, the source of her strength and symbol of her rise to power. She couldn’t give it up, nor the flowy chiffon pants that she and her college roommate Natasha bought on sale at Banana Republic in 1990, convinced that they would cut them up and sew them into curtains for their first apartment.
A few years ago, when Dee-Dee was rearranging her apartment, she decided to finally clean out the closet in her spare bedroom. Natasha, who had long since traded the rolling meadows of Milwaukee for the towering skyscrapers of Chicago, was in town for a visit. I was at home watching TV when Nat called me in a semi-coherent panic, yelling at me to come over to Dee’s house immediately. I expected to discover a fire or flood, but instead, found a fashion show. Natasha’s eyes were puffy from crying, as she sat in a heap of clothes on the floor of Dee-Dee’s bedroom, a half-empty bottle of wine at her side.
“Ohmigod! Jenny – get in here now! Dee’s trying on her old work clothes!”
I walked in just as Dee-Dee was buttoning up her pirate blouse. I immediately let out a most unflattering cackle, and made a bee-line to the closet. Rifling through her clothes like a madwoman, I threw one outfit after another at her.
“Here – put on this paisley vest with that collarless shirt! No wait – this short jacket with the gold buttons – try this one on!”
There were bursts of hysterical laughter followed by long periods of silence as we tried hard to pull air into our lungs. By the end, every square inch of Dee’s floor was covered with a period piece of some sort. Just as we started to pack things up and put them into bags for the Salvation Army, Dee-Dee yelled for us to stop. She crawled deep into the darkest corner of her closet and emerged bearing the pièce de résistance: hounds tooth plaid stretch pants. I blacked out shortly thereafter.
The table of young upwardly mobile professionals is laughing loudly, nearly choking on burgers and Chinese food. Lunch is still a thrill for them. One of the men has packed a lunch from home and takes big bites of his sandwich followed by gulps of Dr. Pepper.
I look down at my Caesar chicken wrap and blame Dee-Dee for my own inability to pack a lunch. During the near decade that we worked together, I can count on one hand the number of times we brought in our lunches. Even when I would try to be healthy and save money, Dee-Dee would tempt me with soup and sandwich specials at the local deli, or sushi lunch boxes in the strip mall. I grew to need the physical escape more than the food itself.
I am finishing up my lunch as the table of future executives crumples up wrappers, straightens ties, and shuffles back to work, laughing the entire way. I continue flipping through the paper and notice a headline: “Stretch pants are back!”
And so the cycle continues.

Opinion Poll: Checked Out

These past few days have been really trying on me emotionally. In a span of 48 hours, I renounced my US citizenship, became a Canadian, was alternately embraced and mocked by my Canadian brethren, and fell into a deep spiral of depression fueled by the resulting identity crisis.
There has been a lot of heated political debate on this site, so I wanted to calm things down a bit and open up the forum to everyone, because this should be a place where we can come together not as Americans or Australians, Belgians or Brazilians, but simply as people. Open your hearts and just imagine it, will you?
So to switch gears from talking about me and how I feel about my new citizenship, I want to spend some time talking about me and how I feel about grocery shopping.
It all began last weekend: while gathering all the necessary ingredients to make my world-famous turkey chili, I caught myself staring into the baskets and carts of my fellow shoppers. Now, this cart-staring isn’t a new phenomenon – I do it whenever I grocery shop – but something was different this time. I guess this was the first time I realized that I was doing more than just satisfying idle curiosity.
By examining the contents of other people’s baskets, I was unconsciously forming a snap judgment about whether or not I was attracted to that person. What I also discovered was that there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what attracted me and what repelled me. Case in point:

  • Red grapes – attractive
  • Red Delicious apples – not attractive
  • FrankenBerry – attractive
  • Frosted Flakes – not attractive
  • Pepperoni pizza – attractive
  • Hamburger pizza – not attractive
    At first glance, you might think that I’m only attracted to someone buying things I like to eat. I considered that theory myself for a while, except that I don’t always like the things I found myself attracted to. Like, for instance, I would never in a million years eat FrankenBerry cereal, but would be completely charmed by someone who did.
    I wanted to test my theory, so I started walking around the grocery store and casually perused the contents of everyone’s carts. What I found was that, regardless of their appearance, social status or apparent mental stability, I had a visceral response to people based solely upon the contents of their carts.
    Category 1: Wildly Charming

  • Grape Nehi
  • A single coconut
  • Pop Tarts with sprinkles
  • Sprinkles
  • Nilla Wafers
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots with stems
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon
    Category 2: Not a Second Glance

  • Orange Crush
  • Cantaloupe
  • Pancake batter
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Windmill cookies
  • Strawberries
  • Bag of baby carrots
  • Bacardi Breezers
    Category 3: Jury’s Still Out

  • Goober Grape
    For some reason, I simply cannot categorize this one. It seems absolutely repulsive as a food item, but it’s just so weird that I found myself oddly intrigued by the fact that someone was actually buying it.
    So all this analysis leads me to my latest Opinion Poll! Tell me your secrets! Voice your opinion! Bare your soul!
    Question: Which of the following grocery items would attract you most to the person in front of you at the checkout counter?
    1. Marshmallow Peeps
    2. Count Chocula cereal
    3. Star fruit
    4. Root beer
    5. A single coconut
    6. Shoe polish
    7. Brussel sprouts on the stalk
    8. Other (please explain)

  • Oh, Canada!

    All this Olympics fever has made me more aware of the fact that there are other countries in the world besides the United States of America (USA! USA! USA!). While watching the ice dancing competition, I was thinking about how amazing it is to see all these talented people from different countries come together in one place, when I realized that I really didn’t need to go to Torino to find such diversity – I simply had to look at my own blog. But while reviewing the overall demographics of the people who stop by my site, I discovered an unexpected and confusing trend:

    of Origin:

    Could this really be true? Is it possible that visitors from Canada outnumber my own countrymen? This really got me thinking – what is it about Canadians that draw them to this site? Do they come here by accident? Maybe my web address is really similar to a hip Canadian record store, and they just stumble here on their way to buy the new Celine Dion album. Because when I was a kid, our phone number was one digit off from an auto supply store, so we would constantly get calls asking for Napa Auto Parts. I would then tell them the correct phone number, right after I quoted the sale price of windshield wiper blades for a 1976 Buick LeSabre.
    But maybe it’s more than just happenstance. Is it possible that I connect with Canadians on some emotional or philosophical level? Do we have a psychic bond that transcends international borders? I can honestly say that I have an unnatural affection for my neighbors to the north. I guess it all started when I visited Toronto as a teen. That city has everything: an opera, museums, a subway, a zoo, tall buildings, Chinatown. You can’t get that kind of stuff in Chicago.
    Really, you could ask anyone who knows me and they’d tell you about my fondness for the Canadians. Go ahead – ask my friends what country I love almost as much as my own, and see what they say:

    Vivian: “Uh, France? It has to be France, because she’s obsessed with French stuff. Yeah, definitely France.”
    Dee-Dee: “Hmm. Probably Mexico. We’ve gone there on vacation a bunch of times, and I know she really likes tamales.”
    Natasha: “Germany. She does this thing called the German Dance – it’s hysterical – and she likes chocolates. Or wait… did she hate her trip to Germany? Maybe that was it. I don’t know – probably somewhere in Europe, though.”

    Okay, clearly my friends know nothing about me, because the answer is Canada. I think part of my love for Canadians might be due to the fact that they are just so darn nice. And clean. People always said that about me in school: “Jenny is pretty nice and in general, seems to have good grooming habits,” so I guess we have a lot in common.
    And just like me, I think Canada is often underestimated. Well, you know what? Canada and me – we’re a lot more than just nice and clean. Frankly, we’re really tired of people always taking advantage of us, and we’re not going to take it much longer. To prove my solidarity with the Canadians, I sent off a letter to the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Department requesting that they make me a Canadian.

    Dear Emperor of Canada:
    Your highness, I am writing you to request permission to become an official citizen of Canada. I like your people a lot, and think they’re really nice and clean. I would fit in well because I’m originally from Wisconsin, which might as well be Canada. Also, I really like whiskey, and growing up, my dad would always eat these little candies called Maple Nut Goodies. Are those Canadian? Probably. I didn’t like them that much, but he really does. And although I’ve only seen one hockey game in my life, and thought it was pretty boring, I’m sure I could get into it if I had to.
    Enclosed please find an assortment of Canadian coins that look deceptively like real money, but will not work in any American toll booth or vending machine. I trust this will cover the cost of my new Canadian passport. Thank you!
    Best regards,
    Jenny Amadeo

    Once I’m a Canadian, those people who underestimated me all my life had better watch out, because becoming a Canadian citizen is like joining the largest street gang in the entire world. The cleanest, nicest street gang you’ve ever had the misfortune of crossing. And if it ever came to blows, each and every one of my Canadian gang-brothers would hold your arms for me if I asked them to.
    Yeah, once I’m a Canadian, all I’ll have to do is say the word and mes amis will be on you like white on rice. Do you really want to be on the bad side of Peefer? Carrington? P-Sass? Sween? There are tons more, but I’m not going to tell you their names because then it will be a surprise when you wake up in a bed filled with maple syrup. Zing!
    Apparently a) Canada is not ruled by an Emperor, and b) you cannot simply request Canadian citizenship. The Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Department sent me a packet of information on how to become a Canadian citizen, and it looks really complicated! There’s a whole long test I have to take and like, more forms to fill out than for my taxes. Well, I suppose I’d better get started on these questions if I’m going to join the motherland anytime soon. Wish me luck, eh?
    A Look at Canada: Citizenship Questions
    1. Who are the Aboriginal peoples of Canada?
    2. Which trade spread across Canada, making it important to the economy for over 300 years?
    [Baseball cards. No wait… Beanie Babies. Is it Beanie Babies?]
    3. What did the government do to make immigration to western Canada much easier?
    [Filled in the moat]
    4. Name two fundamental freedoms protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    [Drinkin’ and whorin’]
    5. What will you promise when you take the Oath of Citizenship?
    [Never to do that one thing again. In public.]
    6. Where do most French-speaking Canadians live?
    [In hiding]
    7. What does the Canadian flag look like?
    8. Give the first two lines of Canada’s national anthem.
    [Oh Canada, la la la la la la.]
    9. Which animal is an official symbol of Canada?
    10. What is the capital city of Canada?
    11. Name all the provinces and territories and their capital cities.
    [Toronto, Toronto Territory, and New Toronto City]
    12. Which region covers more than one-third of Canada?
    [Middle Earth]
    13. What are the three main types of industries in Canada?
    [Whiskey making, maple syrup making, hockey stick making]
    PS – I tried my best on these questions, but if any of my Canadian brethren and sistren out there know the answers, please let me know. Merci!

    Ready Reference

    I was reading Ashbloem’s blog recently when she made reference to boquerones, and then Neil talked about how much he loved boquerones, and then Ash replied that she can get boquerones at the little store across the street from her house. My first thought was, “What the hell are boquerones?” My next thought was, “I should Google boquerones to find out what they are.”
    I clicked over to Google and started to type boquerones, when something made me stop mid-click.
    As I sat in front of my computer, all alone in my apartment except for my cat Zahara who was staring at me from atop my monitor, and her brother Maddox who was sitting quietly on the radiator, I had a sudden realization. It used to mean something that I could quote the entire poem, Jabberwocky, from memory, or that I knew all the lyrics to the theme song from the TV show The Banana Splits. These seemingly useless facts that lodged in my brain for one reason or another gave me some odd sense of accomplishment and endeared me to others. But the Internet, particularly Google, changed all that.
    With my cursor hovering over the “Google Search” button, it hit me like a ton of bricks: Google is the reason I am alone.
    The supply and demand of knowledge is what once drew people together. If I wanted to know how to make a pot roast, I would ask my mother. If I couldn’t remember the name of the actor who played the bad guy in LA Confidential, I would call Seamus. If I needed to find out how to cook up some crystal meth in my basement, I would talk to my friend Dr. Greene.
    Now I don’t need any of them. I have Google.
    As convenient as this may seem, it also means that none of them need me either. Whatever unique knowledge I once was able to impart is now available online on at least 60,000 different pages within nanoseconds. Google is the reason that no one needs me.
    If this were 1984 and I had received a letter from a young pen-pal who made reference to boquerones, I would have just called her and said, “Hey Ash! Ohmigod – did you see Mary Lou Retton win the gold? She’s awesome! I kind of wish she were my best friend – is that weird? Anyway, I was reading that letter you wrote, and was just wondering, what the heck are boquerones?”
    Then she would have told me what they were, and shared a wonderful story about the first time she tried them (or wore them, or played them, as the case may be) and a cherished memory would have been created. But it is not 1984. Mary Lou Retton is not my best friend. I do not call people when I need information and they do not call me. We have all been robbed of these bonding life experiences by the über-convenience of the Internet.
    And so now, in 2006, I have decided to boycott Google. Starting today, if I need to know something, I am going to communicate with live human beings and ask them. If they don’t know the answer, then maybe I’ll go to the library and use a card catalog, if they still exist. I’ll pull a dusty encyclopedia off the shelf, Volume Aa-Ce, and look up boquerones. If that doesn’t work, I will exclusively watch UniVision, because I think that boquerones sound Spanish, and perhaps I will hear the word and be able to figure out its meaning through visual context. Or maybe I will subscribe to National Geographic on the outside chance that there will be an article about boquerones, which may or may not be small flightless birds found only in the Azores.
    As unnecessarily time consuming and inefficient as this process will be, I will stand my ground. Despite the fact that it is agonizing to type the word boquerones over and over again without knowing what it means, I will never, not ever, Google this word. I will force myself to need people. If I am ever to learn what boquerones are, I will have to wait for the day when Ashbloem tells me about them herself.
    I just hope it’s a really good story, because otherwise, holy crap, this all will have been a colossal waste of time.
    [And in other news, thank you again Kevin! It was so great to see you and Ryan again – you are both as funny and charming as ever. Sorry I missed you Chris – were you there?]

    Dr. Feelgood

    I grabbed a few quick drinks with co-workers today after work (no hugging was involved), but made them promise not to let me miss my train. I can easily be swayed by groups of people encouraging me to stay, eat chicken tenders, and drink Blue Moons with orange slices. But true to their word, they released me from their grasp in time for me to catch my train, get home, and make it to the gym in time to watch Paula Abdul’s tearful confessions to Dr. Phil.

    It was only after about ten minutes on the elliptical machine that I realized, “Holy crap. I’m drunk.” I think my first clue should have been the fact that I was watching Paula Abdul’s tearful confessions to Dr. Phil. Recognizing the inherent risks involved with operating heavy machinery under the influence, I did what any responsible adult would do: I moved over to the recumbent bikes and watched the Olympics.

    This experience made me think of another group of people I hope can sway me into staying, drinking and eating chicken tenders well past my bedtime. Yes, I’m talking about you, TequilaConners.

    Here’s the scoop: on Monday I sent out an update email with a top-secret attendee list to everyone who had RSVP’d for the big event. So… if you didn’t receive an email from me, and you are planning on attending TequilaCon ‘06, it can only mean one of a few things:

    1. You never RSVP’d. I can’t read minds, yo!
    2. You RSVP’d but I forgot. I can only manage so many details, yo!
    3. You RSVP’d and I know you RSVP’d, but you did something to upset me recently and I left you off the list intentionally so that you would hurt like I hurt right now. You know what you did, there’s no point in airing our dirty laundry here.
    4. You RSVP’d and I know you RSVP’d, but I have a mad crush on you, so getting emails from you makes me feel like a pretty pretty princess, and I’m just pretending like I forgot to put you on the list so that you’ll have to email me again. When we finally meet, I will watch you from across the room, averting my eyes whenever you look my way. Eventually, I will ask you if you have any tattoos. That will be our signal to make out.

    So, if you fall into Categories 1, 2 or 4, please send me an email at jenny@runjenrun.com and I’ll add you to the list. If you fall into Category 3, I think you owe me an apology first. Thanks!

    And the info once again:
    What: TequilaCon ‘06
    Where: New York City, NY (exact location is TBD)
    When: April 22nd (with April 21st and April 23rd designated as preparation and recovery days)

    Hope to see you all there!

    PS – I think I might still be drunk.


    Dee-Dee poured some more wine from the tiny carafe into her glass. She continued her conversation without looking up from the piece of bread she was buttering.
    “You have to do it, Jenny.”
    Natasha agreed, “Seriously, Jen. I mean, what are you, heartless?”
    “But guys… it’s just. I don’t want to cross tha-“
    “It’s not a matter of want. There are some things you just have to do in life.”
    I went to my friends seeking advice on a matter that was troubling me, partly because I thought they would support my decision. I was caught a bit off guard when they both told me that my actions, or lack thereof, were categorically wrong and possibly indicative of a severe emotional shortcoming on my part.
    Earlier in the evening, while we were waiting for our appetizers to arrive, I told Dee-Dee and Nat that I needed to run something by them. As my trusted companions, I felt they would help me see the situation more clearly.
    “So… I need your advice. Someone I work with has been kind of upset lately – I think over family problems – and I feel like she wants to confide in me. I don’t really know her at all… I mean we don’t chit-chat, we don’t hang out, we don’t do lunch… but I just feel like something’s coming.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “I mean, I feel like fairly soon, I’m going to be put in a position where I’m going to have to hug her.”
    “What’s so wrong with that? So hug her.”
    “C’mon, guys! You know I don’t hug co-workers. It’s just a policy. Remember when my first boss hugged me at Christmas? Ugh, god. It was so awkward and forced… my back is tightening up just thinking about it! I just want to do my job, and it doesn’t involve touching other people.”
    Natasha nodded as she perused the menu for her dinner choices. She gave Dee-Dee a knowing glance and said, “Yeah, Jen. You’re really not a hugger, are you?”
    “I am so! I hug my friends all the time!”
    “You never hug me.”
    “What are you talking about? When am I not hugging you? Nat, I hugged you yesterday on the train for god’s sake. You just couldn’t feel it under your enormous Army-Navy snorkel jacket.”
    Dee-Dee stepped in, “Look, Jenny. We never really want to hug co-workers, but sometimes it’s the only thing we can do. I mean, look at me. I was hugging people every week at my last job, in between taking them for walks around the building to calm down.”
    “Yeah, but that’s because you and everyone you worked with were only one executive budget meeting away from a nervous breakdown.”
    “Well, I can’t argue with that, but all the same, I hugged a LOT of people. And you know I’m not a hugger!”
    This was true. I think I had been friends with Dee-Dee for five years before we finally hugged, and that was just because her house had been robbed and she was happy to see me arrive with lumber and a toolbox to fix her door.
    I think people are innately huggers or non-huggers, and Dee-Dee’s family, being of Nordic descent, lean more toward the non-hugger side of the hugging continuum. Once, she described the image of hugging her sister as that of two Daddy Long Legs embracing, a visual which still brings me great joy.
    I’m not entirely sure where I fall on this hug spectrum. I suspect that I carry the hugger gene, but that it is recessive. Or maybe it’s environmentally triggered – the gene completely shuts down the moment I swipe my ID badge through the reader at work.
    “But Dee, you know I’m not a cold person at work. Remember when we had to take those personality tests at work that one year? You’re the one who scored low in ‘Caring,’ not me. I was off the frickin’ charts in ‘Caring’ and you know it!”
    “Well, I may have scored low in ‘Caring,’ but which one of us is hugging our co-workers? Me or you?”
    “I wish Vivian were here. She’d support me – she’s super professional at work. She knows all about drawing lines between personal and professional.”
    “Vivian? Are you joking? Viv has worked in the non-profit sector all her life. All those people do is hug each other all the time. Why do you think they can’t turn a profit?”
    I tossed my menu down, gulped back the last sip of wine in my glass and signaled to our waiter that we were ready to order our entrees.
    “All right, fine. You and Nat are both so compassionate and hug everyone and I’m an ice queen. Hug, hug, hug. Care, care, care. You’re just hugging and caring all day long! I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Let’s get some more wine.”
    To: Natasha
    CC: Dee-Dee
    From: Jenny
    Subject: Hugs
    hey. so i did it. i hugged her. it was fine. i hope you’re happy.
    – j
    To: Jenny
    CC: Dee-Dee
    From: Natasha
    Subject: Re: Hugs
    what are you talking about?
    – nat
    To: Natasha
    CC: Dee-Dee
    From: Jenny
    Subject: Re: Hugs
    what do you mean what am i talking about? the hug. dinner last week? you and dee-dee both told me i had to hug her so i did.
    To: Jenny
    CC: Dee-Dee
    From: Natasha
    Subject: Re: Hugs
    are you kidding? i was on my third glass of wine that night! never listen to me when i’m drunk. you should *never* hug a co-worker.
    – nat
    ps – wanna go to the gym tonight?
    To: Natasha
    CC: Dee-Dee
    From: Jenny
    Subject: Re: Hugs
    you’re dead to me.

    A Man Called Horse

    “Three tickets for the 7:15 Walk the Line, please.”
    “You mean the 8:30?”
    “No, the 7:15.”
    “There is no 7:15. Just 8:30.”
    Seamus turned around and looked at us with a guilty expression, shrugging his shoulders as he walked back to where his girlfriend and I were waiting. I was trying to cram in another critically-acclaimed movie before the Oscars so that Brokeback Mountain wouldn’t be the only nominated film I had seen, but apparently it wasn’t meant to be.
    “I don’t want to wait until 8:30. What else is playing now?”
    We looked up at the marquee:
    Munich at 7:20? Seamus had seen it already.
    Match Point at 7:30? Eh, maybe.
    Glory Road at 7:05? Isn’t that about basketball?
    Big Momma’s House 2 at 7:40? Aw, hell no, you did not just suggest that!
    Chronicles of Narnia at 8:00? Narnia! Narnia! Narnia! YES!
    So Narnia it was. After killing some time at the Starbucks across the street, we got our tickets, grabbed some snacks (medium plain popcorn and bottled water – $7.75), and settled in to a near-empty theatre.
    I don’t want to spoil the film for those of you who haven’t seen it, but I came away filled with desire. Deep, burning, passionate desire. Ever since we saw the movie, I find myself madly covetous of the following:
    1. A fancy fur coat – all four of the children got to walk around Narnia in full-length fur coats, and they never seemed the slightest bit cold, even though they were wearing tiny little British summer shoes. If fur can keep someone that warm in a land of eternal winter, imagine what it would do for me in Chicago!
    2. Turkish Delights – I want these more than all the Marshmallow Peeps in the world! Turkish Delights! Turkish Delights! I didn’t know if they actually existed until Jen at Nobody Here shared the story of when her husband brought her some from England. She told me they were horrible. She told me they tasted like roses. She told me not to eat them. I do not trust this woman. Why would someone work so hard to make me think something so clearly wonderful was, in fact, disgusting? Either a) because they truly are disgusting or b) because they are, in fact, clearly wonderful and she wants to keep them all to herself. I choose to believe the latter.
    3. A centaur boyfriend – Did you check out the guns on that man-horse? Hubba hubba! Can you imagine how cool it would be to have a centaur boyfriend? I suppose I would have to get used to sleeping in the stable, but he could give me a ride to work every day. I’d be all, “Look at me riding on my new centaur boyfriend. Your boyfriend just has two legs. LAME!” And then you’d be all, “Uh, yeah. Well, at least my boyfriend has a real job. Your boyfriend pulls a Hansom cab and poops into a bag.” And then I’d say, “SHUT UP!”
    So my Valentine’s Day wish for myself is this: a date with a fur-coat wearing centaur bearing a bejeweled box of Turkish Delights. I don’t know why it is so difficult to find a date for this stupid holiday!

    Mystery Solved!

    Once again, I am amazed and impressed by what a perceptive bunch you are. I must admit to you that I am quite terrible at solving mystery photo quizzes myself, and get incredibly frustrated by them, so I appreciate that you all play along.
    But even with all your group cleverness, there was still one lone photo that no one guessed correctly, although at least you were all consistent in your incorrect answer. This exhibits solidarity, team spirit and group-think that would have made Vince Lombardi prouder than his Packers ever did. A lone tear is running down my cheek right now.
    So here they are – the results of the latest Mystery Photo Quiz – Superbowl Edition! (answers hidden below in case any of you want to make quick guesses)


    Mystery Photo Quiz – Superbowl Edition!

    Well, after my embarrassingly easy holiday-themed mystery photo quiz, I had considered throwing in the towel. I let all of you down, but most of all, I let myself down. I thought, maybe I’m just not cut out for the dog-eat-dog world of mystery photo quizzes. Maybe I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to succeed in that arena. But then I thought, is that what Vince Lombardi would say? Or would he tell me that I had the stick-to-it-iveness to take it all the way to the big dance?
    Since Coach Lombardi is long dead, I guess I’ll never really know what he would have said to me, so I decided to look up some of the things he said to other people and just pretend that he was saying them to me:
    “Lil Jenny, in great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”
    “Lil Jenny, it’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
    “Lil Jenny, teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn’t do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another…”
    It was really that last one that got me. It was like he was talking right to me! I mean, I’m not doing these photo quizzes for individual glory – I’m doing them because I love you! I love you as much as a bunch of sweaty hulking men wearing face paint and giant shoulder pads have ever loved each other.
    And so now, I’m just gonna grab my helmet, brush off my short little pants, get back over there to huddle up and scrimmage out of the pocket with an audible and some play action fakes.
    Hut One!
    Hut Two!
    Hut Three!
    Hut Four!
    Hut Five!
    Hut Six!