Something For Walter


I must request that you indulge me in something.

I need to take a break from the madness; my madness and remember someone who was very close to me.  Someone I miss a great deal.

Walter Minter Tarpley was my best friend.

We had a strangely initmate love/hate relationship that only a gay man and a straight woman can have.  Our disagreements could divide a nation; our good times often bordered on criminal, but life with Walter was so much fun.    My life with him was amazing.

He didn’t believe in much, except that a good time was had by all .    His circle was small and I always felt quite honored to have stood at one of the corners.   Circle in a square; square in a circle and somehow, it…we always fit.     He could be extremely cavalier at times and his carelessness bothered me, but then again, he made me realize that I wasn’t really the hip, happenin’ chick I thought I was.   He was liberall;  Tim Robbins liberal.   I was Conservative and becoming more so as each year passed.  It had gotten to the point that I was inching toward being politically on par with Elizabeth Dole, save for the fuel injected Southern hair.

We argued about the ever growing abyss between the two parties, but we learned to sway the topic if politics reared its head.   And despite our differences, we cared a great deal for each other.   Our first outing together was  Halloween in 2005.  We made a vow that we would always spend Halloween together.   We had a wonderful time that night and the next day, I had a tough time working because I kept laughing at the things we’d done..said…felt.  I remember thinking that day that we’d be friends forever; but forever only lasted two years.

He died on July 4th 2007, a mere nine days after being diagnosed with AIDS-related pneumocystis pneumonia.

We used to go out and make merry every Halloween and frankly, I can’t let another one go by without honoring my best friend and remembering how his life cand death, altered the course of mine.

I wrote this post exactly ten years ago years ago.     I republish it today.

For Walter.

Twenty years ago, I dreamed of meeting one  special man that I could be friends with for the rest of my life…one man to laugh with, cry with….share my most intimate thoughts with.

He was given to me on a warm and sunny August day in 2005.

Walter came into my life quite by surprise, but hardly by accident. He sent me an e-mail at the radio station where I worked. It took no time at all for us to become friends and when we did, I found that I adored Walter.  He was devilishly handsome, brilliant, crass but polished, opinionated, fearless, acerbic, openly gay and hilarious.

To me, he was Perfection.

He was also a tortured soul. As was I, when we met. One would think that two fractured people would just create a pile of emotional shards. But that wasn’t the case with us. We seemed to provide the bonding needed to keep each other together. I think it was laughter that served as the consummate adhesive. We became best friends.

My relationship with Walter was rather cloistered. Few people understood our connection. I’m not sure even we understood the degree of our closeness. That was fine with us; we preferred it that way. When other people listened to us speak, it was as if we were speaking Esperanto. We jokingly said we spoke “TarKen”; our own language which was interspersed with many expletives and the requisite “Filthy” and “Dirty”, all spoken in a feigned British accent we used.

Few “got us” and that was OK.  We held on to each other, only letting go only when the other stepped free, but even so, the bond was never completely broken.   We were content  knowing that we’d found each other. We were happy to have found a certain “punctuation” to the paragraph of our lives.

We just clicked; my cup to his saucer—mismatched, chipped and crazing down the center, but still beautiful, even in it’s damaged state. Perfectly flawed.

Walter entered my life at a time I needed him most. He brought joy and laughter where there was none. He helped me learn to live again.   In fact, he was best time I’ve ever had. He felt like home. Comfortable, safe and secure. Like a hug, accented with the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, wrapped in a soft, familiar blanket.   He never dismissed me or made me feel anything less than extraordinary.

He was never aloof, nor did he ever exist passively in my life. He was a willing participate–fully involved, concerned and more importantly, he was there when I needed him. We were good about being there for each other. Walter understood that Life is inconvenient. So is Love. Neither will ask for permission and both can be obtrusive.   Still, he was never too busy for me, even when I was.  He was kind in the sense that he never decreed me as anything other than one of his very best friends. What an incredible honor!

Make no mistake, we had issues.  We had our disagreements which were legendary. And vicious!! Imagine a film recording of Joan Crawford telling off the board of Pepsico on a continuous loop that plays at painful decibels.We never stayed mad at each other;  at least, not that long.

Ultimately with Walter, I always felt loved. Unconditionally so. I could be thin, pudgy, hair perfect or teased up to a dizzying Elsa Lancaster’s Bride of Frankenstein height. I could be sans make-up or with a full compliment and wearing something that fashion-wise, would’ve have been considered only luke-warm from five seasons earlier. That didn’t matter.

To Walter, I was always just Laurie. No pretense.

To me, he was always Walter. No pretense.

One night he asked me why I couldn’t have been born a gay man. On that particular day, I had to fire six members of my staff. I was crying in his arms. I was wearing this silk blouse with, pink feather scuffs. I looked up at him, mascara streaming down my face and said, “Take one look at me, Walter. Look at what I’m wearing then take a gander at my make-up! I have to ask you, what makes you so sure I’m not?”

Our friendship was enduring and so incredibly special.  We had this idea that we’d grow old together. That we’d live long enough to comb gray hair, use our AARP discounts at dinner, complain about arthritis and those damn kids and their crazy music. We thought surely one day, I’d be Blanche to his Baby Jane. Aging wouldn’t matter as long as we could view the process through each other’s eyes. Together.

But the Universe had other plans. It gave me Walter, but the one thing it couldn’t give me was a relationship with him that could be measured in years. He was only in my life for a mere 23 months. That was all. Even though I have many brilliant memories that could rival the most dazzling, star-filled constellations, I felt this was and still is so incredibly unfair.   I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I’m still not. My first hello to him–seemingly uttered just yesterday– still resonates on my lips!!

I wanted more time.  No, I needed more time for one last look at his wonderfully handsome face; one more chance to absorb the warmth of his smile; to hear that wicked, wicked laugh; to read his soulful eyes; to feel the touch of his hand.

I grapple with the Divine more than I care to admit and when Walter got sick, I felt angry.  When he died, I felt cheated.  I’m told that people are put in our paths for special reasons.  Sometimes,  it’s to force us to give of ourselves and sometimes it’s for us to receive.   If so, then that means sadly, tragically, these beautiful, divine human gifts must also leave our lives for special reasons.     Why Walter left mine is something I’ll never, ever understand,  but I know why he came into my life. And that was to save my life  and as a result, I’m a much wiser and richer woman for my all too brief experience with this angel.

I love Walter and always will.

His death cannot negate my feelings or the relationship I’ll continue to have with him. The love lives on because I do. And I live on because this precious man gave me a reason to do so.   His friendship in many, many ways gave my life back to me.

I went to his memorial service and saw his ravaged body lying in the coffin.   He would’ve hated that.   He would’ve loathed how his make-up had been applied and how badly he looked.   I made myself look at him,  I needed to see him one last time.   I fought the urge to cry as I touched his withered and drawn face.   I stood there and actually mustered a smile for a few fleeting moments as I thought about the strange, cyclical nature of life and how for every mortal journey, death is the final destination.

This was Walter’s time to die, but unlike so many people, Walter also knew how to live.  And for an all too brief moment in time, his beautiful life intersected mine.

And I am so incredibly grateful.

Twenty years from now, I’ll dream of how I met that one  special man who I wanted to be friends with for the rest of my life…one man I laughed with, cried with…shared my most intimate thoughts with.

And I’ll remember how he was taken from me on a warm and rainy July day in 2007.


I’m No Feminist, Nor Am I A Mom

Now, don’t get me wrong—I like most women.    We’re tough, strong  and often smarter than the Penis  People.    There are many, many women I respect whole-heartedly.      And yes, there are some women I wouldn’t even spit on.    That’s just the way it is.    Some people we click with,  others we don’t and can’t and never will.     But that’s human nature.

I had a stable first ten -12 years of life.    After that, the family dynamic changed irrevocably and I kind of raised myself.      Little guidance, little help and eventually I was basically told to leave the last few twigs  that comprised our nest, and go find my life.

I went to college, got job….learned  how to be an adult—–a very young immature, inexperienced adult.     I planned, I plotted, I schemed and succeeded and failed….repeatedly….and ultimately, got my college degree and my womanhood.      The rest of my life to this point was all about career which ebbed and flowed , not unlike life.

And well, I’ll  admit it once again,.. I made horrific choices in men.    But I learned something from each sociopath.   They are crazy, manipulative people indeed, but fairly decent life teachers as long as you understand who and what you’re dealing with.

But you grow with every success and failure.    And you learn to survive heartache and you learn  how to survive survival.    Some join groups and clubs and participate in women’s  marches. There is strength in numbers, but what you learn on your own, by yourself as your own woman, as your own person, are tremendous lessons.    That’s why I’ve never been too keen on groups, especially any group  with  “stands with whatever”‘in its title.       It’s fine for you…. It’s  just I’m just not much of a joiner.  I like  boots on the ground.  And writing a check works too but for me there’s more to it than fancy galas.  That’s just not my style.     But to be honest,  I’d I prefer a fundraising ball as opposed to distorted  meetings and  angry attention seeking women, screaming vulgarities into a microphone.     I don’t care to hear any more about what I’ve  already learned.    I don’t need to hear someone reading a bullet point list of someone else’s experiences.

No thank you.

And if I had ever had a daughter, I would teach her  those things first.      Namely, the value of her independence.

I’d teach her this, even before toddling,    I’d show her how to stand “with” no one….just for herself.   I would teach her strength and resolve and how to defend herself in any situation:    against  bullies, predators, disrespectful, and cruel adults….teachers, even.     Not all adults deserve respect.    I won’t  beatify an asshole just because he died.  And  just because someone has endured enough  decades to amass a few gray hairs but did so as a total conniving bitch, I can’t respect  and I would teach that to any child of mine.   “Be civil”, I’d tell her, but I’d also ask her to understand the flaws in every human.    That will help in the inevitable fights with friends, and all these  ridiculous bully issues I keep hearing about.      I would want her to know and be upfront about the real evils in the world and that fairy tales often end in tears.    Happy endings exist only in Mother Goose stories and Asian massage parlors.

But for my daughter, because the labrynth of life would be different for her as a woman, , I’d teach her all she needed to know and then set her free to determine who she was, what she was….why she was the way she was, Gay….straight…..artist or capitalist personified. I’d still love her if she became a Democrat and elected to go to Texas A&M.  (Note to self: if this should have ever happened, the will would’ve been rewritten.)

I would want my daughter to be herself, whatever that is. I want her to try ….and if she can’t do something’  accept it and find another thing to attempt.   .    Play with dolls and Tonka trucks, mix her gender metaphors and I wouldn’t allow her to feel wrong for merely playing with both.     Playing is how we learn.

I would lead, but only long enough to teach her how to walk, not necessarily too show her how to follow.    Unlike some moms I know, I wouldn’t thrust my moral compass down her throat. I’d present my values and mores, based on what I’ve  learned and place them on a platter of sorts…, actually, it’d be more like a menu from a Chinese restaurant; she could choose all she wants  from column A and Column B or even order a la cart.    I would give birth to her, but she would create herself.       I’d be there with a brushstroke or two, but she’d apply the colors she chooses., the ones that would make her, her.

I’d encourage her to have many relationships plutonic and otherwise and for those that might be leaning a bit serious, I’d urge her to like this person first.     Liking  before loving is great.   Fall in love with your friend.   It’s important.    I’d encourage her to do things…travel…learn a foreign language or two and understand that her principle  role in this life is to help whoever, whenever in whatever way she can.     I’d tell  her to be ok with being alone and that being alone won’t always mean being lonely.

I’d want her to wrap her head around pain.   She’s going to feel if from skinned knees to not making cheerleader to a broken heart after a love gone wrong.    But she has to experience these things and also learn to rebound from them.  I’dvwant her to be fluent in kindness, nobility, integrity and equality.     Unlike me, Shevardnadze would be able to love freely and with she would have  been spared the scars I have.   She would be able to see and feel  beauty where I can’t.       Or won’t.

At least, that would have been my hope for her.

And had I lived a normal life and given birth to this child, I think I would feel in my soul when it would be time for her  to move out, move on  and  I would let her go.   The urge to put training wheels on her adulthood would be strong, but I ‘d be even stronger–I’d refrain.    But I’d constantly remind her of certain things as she packed.   I’d go all Aibileen from the movie, The Help on her.   I’d tell her to always remember—

.”You is kind. You is smart. You is important”…..

And as I watch her leave, I’d  tell her what I was never told; that I loved her….always….and that disappointments are unavoidable facts of life…..but disappointment would never, could never  negate my love for her.  And she would know this love while awake, asleep, studying, partying, having breakfast….throwing up after the kegger the night before.    That would teach her that sometimes there’s a price to be paid for having fun.     But fortunately, hangovers  run their course and parties are held frequently .  I want her to mature, but she must have fun in the process.  I don’t want her to curl up in a ball and wake up at age 56 and realize she’s never fully lived her life.    I’d dare her to find joy; take chances and try new people, places and things.

So, when the time would come when  she’d walk out the door and I’ve wave goodbye, with a lump in my throat….and silently,  I’d wish her the best, pray for her growth, and that she’d be safe, healthy and happy and make sound choices.

Then, I’d probably make myself a big ol’ drink and hook up with someone on Tinder.













It’s Father’s Day

father daughter

I dread this particular 24 hour span. I’ve never had a great relationship with my dad and this Father’s Day will mark almost six years since I last laid eyes on him.

My brother has been insisting for months now, that more than enough time has passed and that I and I alone will have to make the effort to “break the silence”. I respond to his haranguing by telling him, “Why bother? I don’t have a father”.

I’ve felt that way for years.

I woke up at 3:15 that morning after fitful night’s sleep. I tossed, I turned; my mind spun like a Roulette Wheel. Millions of normal, emotionally healthy people would be spending this day with their fathers. Could I do the same? And really, what would it hurt to visit my dad? It would be easy enough to make the effort to visit with the man who, as my mother always said, “was merely present for my conception”. That’s the role he always played; a part well cast by her rage and his bitterness.

Besides, I needed reconciliation.

I made the long drive to the country. It was pleasant—more so than I remembered. Daddy always liked it here. He spoke about it all the time. When he was younger, he loved being outdoors, especially in this part of South Texas. I also spent some time here growing up. Michael and I loved playing in the barn and swimming in the river. I’d have to agree with my father; there was something about this land. Gently rolling hills; rich farm land as far as the eye could see. Pine and Mesquite trees dotted the landscape. It was nice. Quiet. Peaceful. I was stressing over having to visit my father, but the sheer tranquility of the countryside was having an amazing effect on me. I was starting to relax.

I drove up to the gate which leads to his property. I remembered it being larger for some reason. It was locked, as usual, but Dad always said we should come right in. The combination was easy to remember…. it was Michael’s birthday. Never underestimate the relationship between a father and his only son. I got back in the car and drove over the iron cattle guard; it had a jarring effect on my car. I’d forgotten how that felt.


I parked the car, grabbed my things which were on the seat beside me and exited the car. I walked over to him. Would he recognize me? Would he know I’d even stopped by?

I started the conversation immediately.

” Hi Daddy. I know it’s been a while since I was last here to see you. I guess an apology is in order, but things have been crazy at home.”

I was talking fast, hoping to avoid any awkward silence.

“You remember Robert, don’t you? Well, he was just promoted to partner in his firm and the kids are growing like weeds.”

I reached for my purse; I was going to show him pictures, but thought against it. He was never close to his grandchildren.

“Teddy reminds me of you, Daddy. He has your hazel eyes and your love of fishing. In fact, he and Robert went out in the Gulf a few weeks ago and they caught seven huge Red Snapper. And Kate is my baby. You last saw her when she was five. Well, believe it or not, she’ll be 12 in October and in seventh grade next year. Daddy, she’s so pretty and so smart. She made all “A’s” last semester. Sometimes, I wonder if she’s really my daughter!”

I chuckled.


The wind blew my hair in my face. I brushed it away and continued to plow through our conversation.

“I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here today after all these years. Well, it’s Father’s Day and I felt I should be here. I felt that I had to make the effort”.

I looked down and kicked a few stones with the toe of my shoe. I could feel emotions welling up inside me.

I took a deep breath.

“Daddy, I’m also here because I can’t deal with this any longer. There’s so much I don’t understand. I need to know why you left the family. I want to know why you left me! I’ve always wanted to know the answer to that question!”

My voice was cracking.

“I was just 11 when you walked out and I didn’t understand the dynamics of marriage or divorce, for that matter. All I knew was that you left. You walked out one night without an explanation and without telling me goodbye. Do you have any idea what that did to me? The precedent that set for the rest of my life?”

I looked away, not wanting my tears to tell my story. The sun broke through the clouds and there we were, bathed in the warm Texas sunlight.

I took another deep breath. “Daddy, I believed for years that men leave and that love is expendable. If you get bored with your marriage or if you fall out of love, no biggie, just leave; exit. To hell with making the effort or fixing the problem, just go out and find a newer, younger, thinner model. Find a new family, too. See Daddy, I learned all of this from you! I learned that men leave and when they do, they leave broken people in their wake. I was broken for years. I never knew how to love. Daddy, I never knew how to be loved, either! It was horrible.”

I decided to sit down on nearby bench. The breeze was blowing through the pine trees. It created a hum…an odd discord actually that somehow, seemed fitting. Discord had always been the soundtrack of my life with my father.

I wiped away another tear.

“Life, post divorce was so hard for us, Daddy. It was a struggle in every way, but your absence was what hurt the most. I wanted you to be there when I got braces, when I had my first date…the proms. My graduation. I would’ve loved to have talked to you about the time Jake Shelton broke my heart in eighth grade, but you weren’t around. I hated that you weren’t there. But then again, you missed all of those things, too. And don’t even get me started about college! It was horrible and so were my twenties. What a waste!. I got involved in all these lousy, dead-end relationships. All were abusive in so many ways. I drank too much….did everything too much. But I guess I can’t completely blame you for my screwed up life. Your leaving was probably impetus for everything evil in my life, but no one put a gun to my head, either. I chose to live a wild life because running wild was easier than being responsible. Then again, you know a little about bucking responsibility, don’t you, Dad? Your lack of it constantly forced me to remind myself that I even had a father!”

I was getting angry.

“Allow me to break down what life was like for Mom, Michael and me after you left. We had no money and moved from that five bedroom home into a cramped two bedroom apartment. Mom practically lost her mind. She’d never worked before. She was the wife of a successful businessman, she never had to work. You never wanted her to. She was 39 years old when you left and she had nowhere to go and no money to take her there. She took menial job after menial job trying to support two children. She’d cry for hours sometimes, never leaving her room, except to retrieve another bottle of Vodka. God Daddy, back then, I always thought Mom was such a silly, spineless woman because she wasn’t handling the reality of your leaving very well. I would always say to her, “Come on, Mom. He left and he’s not coming back! Get your shit together!” I had no idea what she was going through; I didn’t know hard her life really was until I lived it myself after Joe left me”.

A large truck with a broken muffler drove by the highway and broke my concentration. Another breeze blew a strong whiff of the truck’s exhaust in our direction.

“Did you ever know why Joe and I broke up? History repeated itself, Daddy. Like you, he cheated on me. With a woman who worked in his building. According to Joe, she was everything I stopped being—thin, young, sexual and apparently, she was willing to put up with his shit. Imagine, that’s what he liked about her. Her tolerance? Well, by telling me that, he was damn sure right about one thing…she definitely did things I wouldn’t do! I wouldn’t put up with his crap. I kicked him out of the house the night he told me that. I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of leaving on his own accord. In the end my defiance didn’t matter. He had the last laugh, I suppose. The bastard married her the day our divorce was final”.

I shifted my weight on the bench and continued the one-sided conversation.

“Men break your heart and Daddy, you broke mine. No two ways about it. When you walked out that door, I stopped feeling safe. In some ways, I still don’t. It didn’t help that you wanted nothing to do with me or Michael after you remarried”.

I brushed my hair out of my eyes then folded my arms across my chest. I shivered. Suddenly, a sunny June morning in South Texas, turned cold.

“Holidays, special events, school plays…we never heard from you. For my 14th birthday, all I wanted was a picture of you because I’d forgotten what you looked like. Of course, Mom didn’t have one to give me. She ceremoniously burned everything you left behind, including pictures and her wedding dress. She put everything into a metal barrel, doused it with lighter fluid and lit a match. You, your memory and all your stuff went up in a ball of fire that really, was fueled more by anger, than anything else. Mom made us roast wieners over the flames. She called the whole process her “rebirth”; a second baptism, this one by fire. I understood the symbolism involved and felt if that helped her move on, great. But it hurt me–more than I knew. For years after that, every hot dog I ate–regardless–tasted like burned taffeta”.

I winced at the memory. The only response was the breeze rustling through the pines. I took a deep breath and looked around me.

“Well Daddy, the kids want to take Robert to brunch this afternoon and I’ve got get back into town for that, but I’m glad I came here today. I think we both needed this, at least, I know I did”.

And that’s when I lost it. Admitting that released a floodgate of emotion. I started sobbing.

“Being here makes me realize how much I miss you. I miss you. It wasn’t that I couldn’t forgive you–I did–years ago. I just couldn’t forgive myself for thinking that I hated you as much as I did, but in reality, I never hated you, Daddy. I just didn’t understand. And no one bothered to explain. Mother made the fatal mistake of talking so badly about you in front of Michael and me. We heard about what a bastard you were day in and day out! She negated our existence by damning you and in our minds, that made you the enemy. To hear Mom wax about what happened, it was as if you stole her money, her youth and her dignity. It was as though you all but murdered her. But in some ways maybe, you did. You killed her spirit”.

I shook my head.

“Even so, I’m mad at Mom too, because for the longest time, she knew I thought I was the reason you left and she never made any attempt to correct it. Why did she do that? She let me think it was all my fault. I agonized over this. I thought if I would have made all A’s or if I would’ve won all my tennis matches or cleaned my room better, you would’ve stayed. The little girl that still lives in the woman I’ve become is only now beginning to fully grapple with everything. I mean, can you blame me? You represented my very first relationship with men. What happened with you set the tone for every relationship that followed. And my God Daddy, you never had any idea what you left behind. Look at your legacy. It’s represented by disappointment and abandonment. And all that pain. I stupidly thought if I failed as a daughter, I’d surely fail as a girlfriend and wife and I believed that.

I bit my bottom lip and just stared at the ground, kicking at a pebble.

Want to hear something odd, Daddy? There’s a part of me that’s looking for a Genie. Yeah, a Genie and I want him to grant me one wish. That’s all I want; one wish. I’d ask him to give us more time. See, I don’t want more time, I need more time. But I can’t have that, can I? That’s my biggest regret. So many years went by and we hardly spoke to each other. Geez, why was there so much anger, Daddy? Were we really that mad at each other? Were we? Or was I more mad at you? I guess so because I wouldn’t respond to your letters and I wouldn’t even answer the phone when you’d call”.

And then it hit me…he had actually written. He HAD called. I realized that my mother’s rage and anger distorted everything, including my point of view, but that morphed into something very convenient and sinister. I used this horrific father/daughter relationship to my advantage. It became my excuse; remaining a victim suited my agenda. That was easier than admitting my culpability in my own unhappiness. Pointing fingers at the son of a bitch father absolved the wounded daughter from all blame.

I buried my face in my hands, then sat on the bench, shaking.

“Daddy, I have to know if…if you can forgive me? Please? I can’t leave without knowing we’re OK. Do what I never could or would do for you–please release me, liberate me from this heartache! Free me from all the pain that’s kept me from living my life.”

That’s when I noticed it was there again. The silence. But this time, I welcomed it. No words were spoken. Really, at that moment, nothing needed to be said. Something was different. I then realized this is what Deliverance must feel like.

I don’t know how long I’d been sitting there. I looked up. The breeze felt cool against my tear-stained face. The sun caressed my entire body. I shivered in it’s warmth. It was incredible. I felt very much alive. I stood up, emotionally drained and weak physically, yet strong in my resolve. I wiped a few remaining tears from my cheek.

“Well, I’ve got an hour-long drive ahead of me, so I better go now if I want to make brunch”.

I paused.

“Daddy, before I go, I want you to know that I miss you. I think about you all the time and please know that I love you, in spite of everything. I wasted so much time harboring all this pain, but I didn’t know what else to do! Hurting was the norm and I’m so sorry for feeling that way. More than you know. I’ve squandered so many years because of it, so please….help me try to get a few back if I can….let’s start over, OK? Today, let’s begin again. We’ll do that by visiting more. I’ll come back soon. I promise. I mean, after all, you are my daddy, right?”

I stood there for a second, allowing the moment to imprint on my memory. I wanted to remember everything. Every detail.

I mustered a smile and whispered, “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy”.

I placed a small bouquet of flowers beside his headstone and touched it briefly before walking back to my car.



The Funny Thing About Aging

First of all, IS there anything funny about aging?

Probably, I just can’t think of anything right now.

I can tell you this much—the aches and pains associated with aging are no laugh riot.    The weird smells and certain odd little hairs that start growing in the damnedest places don’t warrant a chuckle.     There are other issues…balance problems, visions and hearing impairments, the napping which you so LOATHED as a child, but crave past age 55 are all interesting phenomenon, but not funny,

I have an arthritic knee that hurts me every second of the day.   I have injuries from  a severe car accident 26 years ago that time has only made worse.   I have sclerotic lesions in/on my hippocampus within my brain, I tire more easily, I have balance issues, I can’t hear as well as I once could,  can no longer drive at night, I can’t drive without glasses during the day and the thought of driving long trips alone scare me .  I’ve lost very close friends.    Death knows aging well because from the beginning of time, aging co-opted with death.    It doesn’t own the rights exclusively.    Death takes the young, too.   But those of us at a certain age may not obsess over our mortality, but the changes we feel mentally and physically, make it hard not to realize it’s a ever closer eventuality.

As for me, I can’t remember things.   I’d rather be home and watching TV on a Saturday night And I’ve become extremely confrontational.   I’m talking well beyond shouting things like, ,  “And I would have gotten away with it to if it hadn’t been for your meddling kids!!!”.  No, it’s beyond that.     In the past six month, I’ve made three people cry……one was a Marine.

With a few exceptions, I didn’t experience any these things as recently as five years ago.   But here I am.    It’s because I’m older and with aging

But as much as life physically hurts every single second of every single day, I wouldn’t go back.   Even well before the pains caused from my accident. If I had a Fairy Godmother and in a poof of glittery dust and smoke, appeared before me, magic wand in hand and said she’d  grant me the ability to go back and relive my youth starting at any age,  I’d politely decline.    I would ask if she could completely remove certain people from my past, and even if she could, I wouldn’t go back.

My niece is turning 35 tomorrow.   She’s a college educated woman,  married to a man not afraid to be a good husband and father to their six and eight year old children.     She says she’s content in life and as far as turning one year older, she says what everyone says about birthdays…..”it’s only a number”.

Well, it is…..and it isn’t.        My heart bursts with joy for the 94-year- old (a number) who can still swim two miles everyday,    My heart aches for the 79 year-old (a number) to enduring the awful ravages of Alzheimer’s.

When I turned 35, it too was just a number, then fast forward 24 years—another number.

Aging is a slow process that acts rapidly.     I’m not bouncing off the walls with glee about being 58, but the thought of having to repeat everything that got me here,  galls me so that it makes being here worth it.

My life was graced with a certain flaw that ironically, has proven to be rather beneficial.   Failure wasn’t always an option….at times,  it was a necessity and with each one came new knowledge.      I’m not saying I failed on purpose, most of mine came in the form of bad decisions.    Entering into bad jobs or relationships perhaps subconsciously knowing I was repeating a cycle.    But with each failure came new knowledge.    With knowledge comes wisdom and wisdom, serves as a doorman for gratitude.    And with gratitude comes a better life, whether it’s  lived out in a mansion in the Hamptons or in a dilapidated two room hovel in Compton.     It’s all about gratitude concerning who you are and what you have…..but not the stuff you have.   It’s about your contributions, the good you do….the satisfaction you get from doing something worthwhile.

And then you keep quiet about it.    Keep it to yourself.      I’ve learned that the hard way.    It can be very unfair to proselytize one’s gratitude or happiness….even the ability to do good.   You keep quiet about how much money you have in the bank, or the  “perfection” of your marriage, your wonderful, superhuman children, your terrific body, your health, that oh so glorious trip to Bali that’ll take you ten years to pay off.    You know, things like that and basically, every other lie on Facebook.

It’s like being in high school…..we’re not all Seniors.     Some still have to go through our Sophomore and  Junior years to reach that level of matriculation.   Everyone has to go through their lives as youngsters and middle agers… inevitably, as very old people.

So, I urge you to embrace your present, the right here and now, dear niece,    I urge that of everyone.   I do  that because you’ll go to sleep tonight and wake up 30 years from now.  Aging happens that quickly.    See?   A second has already passed since reading that last sentence.    And in this life there are a very limited number of do-overs, providing you have the awareness to even try to redeem yourself should the situation arise.    Some  can walk blithely through life unaware of the disruption they’ve caused, the pain they’ve inflicted.     But then again, one person’s need for privacy and solo down-time might be deemed as neglect and abandonment by someone else.     Death for some (suicide) is the only solution for what’s thought  to be an extremely desperate situation.    For others,  it’s the scariest abaract on earth.    Man, life isn’t only short, it’s also extraordinarily confusing.

So, for the self- conciliatory belief that birthdays  are only a number well, they are, but it depends entirely depends on the number.   I would never say “it’s only a number” to someone turning 43 (a number) who has Stage 4 (also a number) liver failure.    Like your Facebook embellishments, please keep that to yourself.

As for anything being funny about aging?     Well, how about this:     Three old guys, all hard of hearing, were playing golf one spring afternoon.   One says to another, “Windy, isn’t it?” “No,” the second man answers, “it’s Thursday.” The third guy, listening in, pipes up, “So am I! Let’s grab a beer.”






Let’s take a break shall we from my many personal woes, all the geo-political horrifics that keep getting worse, the Never Trumpers and Hillary and other masculine women and focus on a topic much lighter–like teeth.

Great strides have been made in dentistry and orthodontia in recent years,     If you’ve got time, discretionary income and a dentist with a script pas, you too can you have perfect Hollywood teeth like this:


Was she born with these choppers?      I’m no dental expert, but I’d say no.     I’m thinking veneers.

What about the dental Chiclets on this cat?


I’d say natural….all his original issue toofies but with some professional dental and orthodontial sculpting.

Teeth are interesting.    If eyes are the windows to the soul, then teeth are the fence that’s keeps stuff in it and stuff from getting out of it.

Teeth and eyes are what I look at first when meeting a potential Mr. Kendrick…at least that was my M.O. years ago when I still on the hunt.       Now, I just peruse  WEb MD looking up symptoms of fatal age-related diseases.

But teeth are vital to our existence.    They’re also indicators of life threatening diseases and are indicators of referred pain.   A toothache can mean indicate a sinus infection or as Niles Crane on Fraiser learned, a heart anomaly.

We must take care of our teeth.  For aesthetics if nothing else.

For example:


Yum, yum, gimme some.   Nice.

How about a little kiss from this half- man/half-front end loader?

Teeth can be glorious things and some teeth can star in their own horror movie..    There is NOTHING  more gross than gross teeth,     But weird, strange, vile teeth aren’t limited to man and womankind.

Animals of all kinds have some very funked up pearly whites…and  browns, blacks and grays.  Check this out…..’twas pilfered from some Pinterest page.   This lovely array of dental love is from the mouth of something called a Frill Shark,


The teeth look like tiny antlers.

This next pic is a squid with teeth


I now feel fried calamari is a justifiable appetizer.

This next set of choppers is brought to you by a Star Nosed Mole.


This next photo is courtesy of Mother Nature on a day she was feeling bitchy,


Baboons.   Colorful asses.    Horrendous teeth.

And finally, a sheepshead.   A fish with more perfect human looking teeth than Steve Buscemi.


In the top photo of the Sheepshead, did you notice that there were teeth all over The upper portion of the fish’s mouth?      Well, that’s because of their diets.    They eat nothing but oysters  and barnacles and once  the front incisors have bitten through oyster or barnacle shells, the fish crushes the rest of the shell with the rows and rows of inner teeth and there you have it….dinner.

This treatise on ugly teeth on humans and beasts, both water and land based, has been posted by me as a public service message.    According to the good folks at Colgate around  nine to 15%  of Americans of have dental phobia, which means they’ll avoid seeing a dentist at all cost.   Why?      Pain.    What is it it an inch or two between a rotten molar and the brain–the real house of  instantly recognizable pain?

And it’s that  damn drill.   It is shrill and horrible sounding and if you’ve ever seen the movie, The Marathon Man, you’ll understand.   The way if feels, the pressure  you feel applied to get to the deeper part of the cavity…..the smell.    I know dentists day drills are much more quiet these days and treatment is less barbaric and blood-letting and leaches are just holdovers for shits and giggles. .

Still for me, it’s the drill.    I don’t mind the numbing shots at all.  Just the damn drill,   Treatment might have changed  butnwhyncsntntheynjudtndop,some specialized liquid into a cavity?   Can’t Colgate-Palmolive get more creative?   The folks at Ultra Brite?        Join forces and think  outside the cavity box?     Remove the fear, anxiety, fear and pain.     Making dental procedures cheaper wouldn’t hurt either.

Plus, dentistry is invasive.    I don’t like having a strangers’  masked faces inches away from mine.    God, I’d make one bad prostitute.

And gen there’s the cost of exams and treatment but and it’s  hard enough finding insurance much less ax decent dental insursnce ptogrsm.

So yeah, I’ll admit I have  dental phobia…….I don’t know why,    I’ve had gynecologists all over my hoo-ha and have had a proctologist partly standing in my rectum excavating it, but a dentist’s gloved hand in my mouth?

Still NOTHING hurts worst than a cavity, or abscesses tooth       Or maybe a kidney stone  or a comminuted fractured bone or about 100 end stage diseases,    This makes me feel like an ass.

Ok, so if you’re like me and dislike dentists depsite their honorable professions and tthe great work they do……on others……. then we need to learn to avoid the dentists by taking better car of our teeth. Brush, avoid sweets, use a nice mouthwash.

And I’ll end this with a vivid reminder:  don’t forget to floss.





































IRA? ISIS? What’s the difference?

I’m watching the horror unfold in the U.K. once  again.    Well, they’re calling it horror….I’ve yet to see any evidence.  But the Bobbies  are in full warfare regalia and ready to take down whatever comes down?     This  time, London is the target once again and while the investigation  is still early and not all that much is known in terms of what’s happening.  I’ve heard unconfirmed reports of a car running over people, the inhabitants getting out and stabbing people and there have been gunshots.

FOX started calling it Islamic terrorism right off the bat.    Everyone else is calling it an “event of some sort”,

Please!    These these aren’t the antics of pissesd off Lutheran Missouri Synod  members.

I watch all these attacks over too many years and I still wonder what makes these dreadful people do what they do,  believe what  they do.    What the hell is it with Religion and terrorism?    London is no stranger to deadly religious zealot.   Remember the IRA?

So, despite obvious  geological, religious and even ethnic differences. what’s the  what’s the difference between the Irish Republican Army and ISIS?

Helluva question.

I remember being in High School (news geek that I was then) and being absolutely horrified by the actions of Irish terrorists carried out in the name of Catholicism, well sort of.  .     I was raised Catholic and I was repulsed.   Other Catholics, family and friends, even our priest condemned the bombings as acts of terror and ‘murder.    Catholicism had  nothing to do with it.     The perpetrators just happened to be mostly Catholics.  That didn’t make their actions any less heinous.

I don’t know which  is older—-The Irish Republican Army had little to do with religion.  In fact,  Unlike ISIS, whose existence is predicated on strict religious tenets, the IRA’s fight was never religious. Ironically, the IRA fought for principles that ISIS finds abominable: human rights and equality.

The IRA never wanted a Catholic state, nor to purge the country of non-Catholics.    It was quite  the opposite, really, with its main objective was to expel a foreign force that had openly engaged in anti-Catholicism: Catholics in Northern Ireland had substandard education, scant employment opportunities and saw many of their rights eliminated.   The IRA’s primary goal was to force the British to negotiate a withdrawal from Northern Ireland, using guerrilla tactics against the British Army with lots  and lots of bombings.   And they bombed and killed a British Royals, too.

As for the terror that been compelling Islamist extremist to “misbehave” these days is probably as old but the how’s and why’s aren’t as clear-cut.  They’ve been killing  different sects within their own religion  for eons,

But let’s be real honest here, no one can or will ever proclaim Islam or Catholicism as pacifist religions.     I can cite a long laundry list of senseless murderous attacks s to prove my point for both religions AND. for both religions, the question then  become under what circumstances is the use of force is moral and justly applicable?

Do they even care?.

Ranking authorities in both faiths have denounced terrorism, whether by the Irish Republican Army and related groups made up of some Catholics..some merely pro-Catholic or by extremist minority Muslims in factions like the ISIS, but then they’ll go  conduct some bullshit  terror attack on a soft target a few days later.   ISIS must mean relentless in some language  somewhere.

Yeah, with both were formed with religious identity has been merged  with power, politics, and ethnic solidarity.

Are there differences?    Aye.   The IRA pretty  much ended their era of death with the  1998  Good Friday Agreement’s power-sharing between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.        ISIS?     Still,    active even as of an hour ago.   Islamic terrorism  and IT IS Islamic terrorism is an ongoing, large, well-organized and seemingly ineradicable movement, especially where democracy is limited.  ISIS also covers more territory :  Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen, Syria, the Philippines, Lebanon, Libya and apparently,  in parts of  London as well.

They do seem to have a jones for the U.K. though.  Three horrific  attacks in  as many weeks!!!     Can we expect another MOAB anytime soon, Donnie?        I’d say ready aim, fire!!!

Getting back to thecrux of the post, unlike  ISIS, whose existence is predicated on strict religious tenets, the IRA’s fight was never really religious. Ironically, the IRA fought for principles that ISIS finds abominable: human rights and equality. ISIS wants a caliphate…an Islamic state.    The IRA never wanted a Catholic state, nor to purge the country of non-Catholics. Quite the opposite, its main objective was to expel a foreign force that had openly engaged in anti-Catholicism: Catholics in Northern Ireland had substandard education, scant employment opportunities and saw many of their rights eliminated.

Other similarities  include their minions.  Supporters  for the IRA and the  Islamic  both represent minorities in divided communities. The IRA’s support base lies in Northern Ireland’s Catholic/Nationalist community, whilst in Iraq the so-called Islamic State draws support from the minority Sunnis.   Speaking of ISIS has succeeded in convincing Sunnis, who are oppressed by the Shiite governments of Iraq and Syria, that they have taken up their cause.   They get willingly brainwashed and believe the warped version of religion shoved down their throats and then that makes them myopic  jihadis zombies, pawns and shills all at once.

But there’s one other very significant difference between the NRA and ISIS.   The NRA we’re no angels by any means, but by and large they didn’t didn’t normally videotape the beheadings of their  victims, throw homosexuals from tall buildings, stone women or place  infidels in a cages with tigers.  And they were civil was war mongers  go.   Like the Israeli army currently does, the IRA , would often issue warnings before a bombing.

But does that offer solace to a mother who lost her son in the process–arranged bombing?    It doesn’t matter.

So, really, if the question asked is there a difference between the IRA and ISIS, then the answer is yes, in that the IRA is no more, but the answer to the question is also no.   If in the end game, elimination of all enemies is the main goal, what’s the difference?

And if I  want a MOAB to blow the hell out of every ISIS mainstay on the planet, then I guess that makes me a one woman terror organization.













Listen Up, Third Wave Feminists

She was obese….I only mention that to set the scene and sadly, it’s a common one….and dressed in a way that only emphasized her size.   She had  short hair and as best as I could tell, simply by observing her behavior,  she was a terribly sad, angry little girl.     She was seventeen, 18…maybe.

She created a huge scene in my local grocery store because she had 26 items in the 20 items or less lane.    And when she was asked to move her cart to a proper check out lane, she went crazy.     She started screaming about injustice, misogyny and   white male entitlement and what was so hilarious here about this was that the poor checker at whom she was screaming, was neither, white, entitled or even male as best as I could tell.    Management came running out of nowhere to calm her down and she kept mentioning the word trigger…as if this  experience triggered something At her age, age what?     What??????  A negative experience while standing  in line at the lunch room?

Now, I’m probably going to take a lot of heat for the post you’re  about to read…if you even read it at all…I know most of you don’t And frankly, I really don’t care.   But, if you do read this post and leave nasty comments, you’ll get them back.     Verbally, I will get all ISIS on your ass because these days I’m mad, mourning the loss of a dear friend, I have a mother who’s ostensibly dying. I’ve got brain lesions which have completely eradicated any filter I ever had, if I ever had  any.      So, you’ve been  warned….you’re  taking your chances if you leave a mean comment.    Logic and , reasoned arguments are welcomed,  but being mean will have you seeking a  proctologist.

Here goes:    to  all you asinine third  wave feminists (I refuse to capitalize your title)  SHUT THE  FUCK UP!!

Wikipedia  defines your movement  as follows:    It encompasses several diverse strains of feminist activity and study. Though exact boundaries are a subject of debate, it is generally marked as beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to the present. It is an “individual movement” in the sense that its purpose includes redefining what it is to be a feminist.    It arose partially  as a response to the perceived  failures of second-wave feminism ( Second Wave Feminism??? ?     Where were those feminists when a young, but obviously ambitious  Monica Lewinsky was getting regularly Cohiba’d by President Clinton???)  )  It attempts to expand feminism to include women with a diverse set of identities that women are of “many colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, cultural backgrounds and lotsa, lotsa angry Lesbians”

Nothing against my Sapphic sisters, but I have to be honest here.

Despite who or what you  are,  I find your whiney ass nature so embarrassing.  I know you’re young, you think you know everything, and you think that the entire world gives you credence.   Well, sweetie, no they don’t.   They either feel sorry for you or are so annoyed by you to the point they look away, more than likely embarrassed  for you   So really, you’re defeating your purpose.

I spent an afternoon recently reading your third wave dribble and reading  your measages and watching videos of the message you’re trying to convey (and by the way, you are SO going  to be humiliated by those videos in a few years).  Frankly, I don’t get it.     What is/are your problems?

Now, by large, I’ve deduced by what I’ve  watched and read is that the bulk of you are obsese, short -haired, age 18- to 20 something girls with no boyfriends but you probably have broken -hearted desires to have one,     Unless you’re a Lesbian and  third wavers include  many.   You have sublimation down to a science,  you  eat and eat and to fill the void where love dares not enter….and love dare not enter because you’re also mean, angry, caustic bitches.    Men, you claim, are creeps and horrid creatures  because of a million reasons when the  only the real reason is that they want nothing to do with you.   Well, look  in the mirror , but more importantly, look in the mirror that reflects what’s within.

I know you’re not all of you are adipose bipeds.  Many of you are attractive  women, feminine too, but you’re  bat shit crazy andYOU’RE man repellent.  What’s happened in your life to make you hate men so much  to blame them for every wrong in the world?

Look, I understand the nature of all the forms of abuse,   Pedolphilic Daddies who shoould be shot, the same with lunatic brothers, cousins, uncles,….devious boyfriends.     Narcissistic mothers.   A toxic friend.     I know much more about these things  than you can imagine.  If that’s the cause of your anti- man anger, my heart goes out to you, but I don’t have a helluva lot of sympathy.   MY question to you is, if it’s so bad as to cause a scene in a crowded grocery store for the silliest reason, why didn’t you seek help?

And if you did receive therapy, why didn’t you adhere to or apply what you learned?     Hate your male abusers,  but not all males.    But that’s different for you, right?  Because your from a different world where reasoning only applies if you Maggie with it,   If yiunoffocse it, its wrong, stupid, insane and will kills us all.   For you,  it’s  wrong for Kate Steinle’s family to disregard all illegal aliens, especially the one who shot and killed their sister, daughter, Brice, best friend for no apparent reason…the illegal alien murederer,  by the way, one who was deported  countless times.  Lock him up…he’ll castrate him…but those politics don’t jive with yours, so her case doesn’t matter that much, right?    Identity politic are such bullshit.     I can tell and will never tolerate  this bullshit notion.

And as for portly 3rd femme waver with the bad haircut and thighnkles,….(thigh, knee and  ankless all linked together by fat)  at the grocery store, I know you better than you think.   I’ve struggled to get into your exhausted, over-worked elastic  waistband jeggings,.  I’ve stepped on your scale.     I too have dated  a cupcake and  bags of donuts.  I’ve driven through fast food counters pretending to order for three people when I fully intended on eating the whole damn thing all by myself,.    Like you, I could barely scratch the depths of a deep itch in a sweaty stomach wrinkle.  I get it completely.   Your miserable and  too damn  unenlightened  or self-aware to deal with it  than any other way than a tantrum.

But I also got help.    And  if you would have gotten help, you would have learned  that you can’t blame all men because you’re  lonely and hell-bent on blaming your pain on anyone else but yourself.  And using “man splaining” and  male entitlement of all colors, of all cultures is so silly.      Yes, it’s a patriarchal world …always has been,  but there are ways for us to co exist with just as much leverage,  if we approach it wisely.   I also know women  play vital roles in life….we incubate life and more often than not, we nurture it, from  it and hopefully produce productive teens and responsible adults.   Women who like men and respect  themselves.  Dignity accomplishes so much more.

You third wavers, you’re too young to even be flirting with feminism,     Put down the plate of carbs and approach your real problems.  Argue what you want, but I’ll argue right back,     YOU have no experience with classic misogyny.   This isn’t 1964, where rude and crude remarks were made in the work force.    And what recourse did these woman  have?   Go to Management?   In girdles no less???    .  That office was filled with men and if you complained , you were often told one of three things: consider it a compliment OR……consider it part of the job and get over it….orb leave.   It was a horrendous   A true Occupational hazard back then.    These woman were pinched, patted, grabbed, forced in closets and groped.  If not worse.

And then, some gutsy tough, old broads got tired of hearing these stories.   Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Gloria Steinam and brave women from centuries earlier, such as Mary Wollstonecraft decided to do something about it.    And it was risky, but she wasn’t sitting there crying after  triggered by a Hershey bar.

Inlike th vulgarity mewningnless march after tarynpmwaa inaugurated, back in the  60’s, three were real movement.. These women organized marches, met head to head with male executives for better pay.     They used their strength in numbers and cooler heads to get the birth control pill into the medicine cabinets of any American women who wanted them.   Abortions, too,     They established winen stufurs ans proved the feminine mystique  was real, as were our smarts,.    They burned their bras as a symbolic means of liberation.

They worked.    Hard.     They were smart,   They didn’t shout down men and women who didn’t share their ridiculous identity politics. then run to safe spaces filled with coloring books.   They weren’t triggered by things though God   knows they should have been .   Did you know that during then the civil rights era, the legendary Rosa Parks who refused  give up her seat to a white man, also felt it wrong to have to give up her seat to any man, regardless of color or culture.

And I haven’t even talked about our other true heroines, in other countries.   Women  who have been killed fighting for real..REAL equal,rights.  Such as in the Congo,  where female genital mutilation is an every day occurrence.   In other  lands, women  risk jail time and hard labor just  to own land, to own their own businesses.    They fight the legality of child marriages and laws that say it’s perfectly fine to rape nine-year old girls sans any  retribution for the rapist or rapists.

I’ll never deny women have had it harder.  We still have it harder.     I had it harder.   We aren’t paid as much.  But we have options.    We can get what we want without being contentious.  By being the smart, women we are.   There are women who  relentlessly fought for equal pay and got it.      Persistence and effort pay off.  They knew how to fight with men.     And it ain’t what you little idiots are trying to pull off.    Your melt downs over getting  less whipped cream on your milk shake than the huh in standing in front  of you, are making enemies for life.   Enemies of both genders.  And giving women a bad name.   Do you realize  that?   You’re  setting us back a century .      Setting us back for all the work so many woman before us fought tooth and  nail for.  Please stop embarrassing the martyrs  who fought before for you well before you were even you.   They fought to allow you act like assholes today.  So, show them  little gratitude.    And if any of this ridiculous mindset comes from your mom raised on PC cartoons,…..who were punished with time outs as opposed to real censuring, the real kind you learn  from,  then she’s wrong too and I assure you she hasn’t lived long enough either to have ever had it bad enough to raise you so pathetically….with so much misguidance.

So, all you fat, skinny, pretty, homely, lonely straight,lesbian feminist wanna be’s, do something constructive other than cry and whine and scream nonsense.  Make a difference, change your narrative without forgetting your cause.    Quit acting like immature shit biscuits, alter your paradigm and make every effort to be damn sure your worthy of  the many sacrifices you will have to make in order to make vital changes, of which your obviously still not aware.   You’ve so much to learn.

It’s either that, or grow a pair of balls.