When Art Imitates Life & Who In The Hell Is Art?

On the off chance that I’ll soon meet the future Mr. Kendrick, I’ve started preparing my “nest”, so to speak.

What I’m doing is textbook, “The Secret”.

I’m living my life as if he’s already in my life. I have pretend conversations with my pillow (which serves as the boyfriend proxy). Don’t laugh! I’ve had many wonderful conversations with the queen-sized Ralph Lauren fiber-fill and he/it is a brilliant conversationalist. I feel certain that we’re close to devising a solid plan to successfully withdraw all troops from Iraq, solve world hunger AND find a fast and easy way to squeeze my ass in a pair of size 5 Levi’s.

But one must do what one must do and I am doing what I must.

And part of the process of readying myself and my life for the the next man in my life, takes vision. Well, I’ve got loads of that! I envision everything: what our house will look like, how we’ll interact on a Sunday morning, our family, the dog…even what we’ll eat for dinner.

Yeah….ooh yeah, I can see it now. Wait a minute. What the___! Hey! Wow. I’m so dizzy. Man, I think I can even FEEL it now! What’s…what’s happening???


Wait…I uh…I…I can barely see through the haze. Purple haze. Something is coming into focus…it’s….it’s a woman, I think. Yeah, it’s a woman….oh my God!!! It’s me!!


There I am.

I’m in a starched, blue polka-dotted, shirt-waist house dress…a vision in cotton. My hair is perfectly coiffed;, a choker strand of cultured pearls around my neck and comfortable AND oh practical for housework ankle strap pumps adorn my feet. My husband, (insert generic masculine name here), still in his tie and white, button-down Saville Row, walks through the front door. He’s a working man and a fine provider. He’s had a hard day at the office:

“Acme Insurance.. Covering Anytown, U.S.A. Since 1917″

He stands in the foyer of our tastefully appointed home at 416 Maple Avenue, a quaint street which runs through a delightful, upper middle class, all-white neighborhood.

I’ll waltz in to the foyer like Loretta Young with my flared skirt still twirling and all flouncy. I’m graceful and lithe–hardly restricted by my diminutive, 5’1” stature. While short, I’m still a great piece!

His eyes will lock on to mine and we’ll kiss. Nothing suggestive mind you– just a peck, certainly worthy of a Hays Code thumb’s up!

Wow. We even love according to governmental controls and guidelines!

Golly, is there anything better?

I’ll hand him the daily newspaper, “The Anytown Gazette”, his slippers and his favorite mohair sweater, replete with two patches on each elbow. I then tell my man that the splendid, four course meal I’ve been preparing all afternoon will be ready soon and that (insert male name here) should wait in his inner sanctum–his oak paneled study where his pipe full of Toasted Cavendish tobacco laced with Mountain Latakia, awaits him.

I go back to tending the stove when in through the back door and in walks our two healthy, happy and well-adjusted sons, Paulie and Winslow (we call Winslow by his nickname, Muskrat). They wipe their Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops (all white–as if there was any other color!) on the special mat in by the door. I don’t want them harming my freshly waxed floor.

“Spic-n-Span Floor Wax practically polishes your kitchen floor all by itself. And look at that shine! Ask for it…by name!”

The boys stop short in the kitchen and take deep breaths through their noses….they savor the enticing aroma of the pot roast with roasted potatoes, candied carrots, peas and mushrooms in butter sauce along with beef flavored “Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat”, which I’m preparing.

Oh yes…I’ve made chocolate cake for dessert, ” thanks to Gold Medal flour, ALL my cakes come out as prize winners!”

I tell them to wash up for dinner and that homework must be done immediately after we eat.

“Yes Mother” I hear them say in unison. They run upstairs to the room they share–a little horseplay as they descend each step. I hear a stern shout from my husband, “Boys behave yourselves or you’ll get no dessert”.

We sit down at the yellow Formica table for four, “courtesy of Broyhill, by way of The Speigel Catalog–Chicago…60609” and we have our dinner. As the head of the household, my husband/their father prepares each plate with a generous portion of pot roast with vegetables. I plug in the Proctor Silex percolator with the easy pour spout and three adjustable settings and place it at the corner of the table.

The conversation is light and breezy. Our youngest son, Muskrat talks about playing baseball at recess with his friends Blackie and Lanny Mondalvo. Paulie talks about the gang’s plans to meet at “Pop’s Choklit Shop” after school tomorrow for malted milks. He hopes that Mary Beth Sue Jane Ellen Peggy Lynn will be there. I think my 15- year-old son might be in the throws of his first crush!

I certainly hope that (insert male name here) will have that special father/son talk with him. I decide it’s time we give our son, Paulie his very first bottle of big boy cologne. I’m thinking British Sterling. I’ll engrave his name on the bottle to make it even more special! “Give him British Sterling, when you want to give him the best!”

Just then, my husband asks for a second cup of coffee.

I put a finger up to my chin and gently tilt my head and wonder (and as I do, a cartoon like balloon appears over my head and inside you can see the words I read. My voice has slight echo effect on it)

“That’s odd! (insert generic masculine name here) never asks for a second cup of joe at dinner! Could it be he likes the new brand of Folger’s Coffee I bought at the market today? Good thing it’s mountain grown!  That’s the richest kind!”

Dinner is over and all three of my menfolk rush out of the kitchen, reminiscent of the time when Pharaoh issued the expulsion order following the tenth plague, thus beginning the Exodus of the Jews.

“That’s odd”, I think to myself once again. “How would I know that??? We’re Methodist! I don’t even know any Jews. Certainly, there aren’t any here in good ‘ol Gentile controlled Anytown U.S.A!!!

I don pink Playtex rubber gloves…during my last manicure, Madge told me to wear them to protect my delicate cuticles…NOT that the Palmolive Dish Washing Liquid I’m using to remove the grease, grit and grime from my dishes, would hurt my any of my ten metacarpals.

I cock my head yet again and think to myself, “How do I know that word? I’m just a woman. I have no formal education!!”

I finish washing the dishes by hand, confident that my family is well fed and safe and happy. I put the last plate back in the cupboard, wipe my hands then apply “Jergen’s lotion…because I CERTAINLY DON’T want dry, cracked, dishpan hands!”

I then hear scratching at the back door. It’s Scraps, our generic looking, golden-pelted dog ready for his dinner. I’ll call Muskrat into the kitchen to do the honors. Feeding the dog is one of his daily chores. Good thing “Ralston Purina makes a dog chow that Rover likes. It’s all beef and beef bi-products, no fillers. You just add water and the chow makes it’s own gravy. That just HAS to be a canine winner, for sure!!”

I then make my way into the living room, where Clyde, Muskrat and my husband are watching the “$63,000 Question” on our lovely 19-inch Curtis Mathes black and white, TV/Hi-Fi console.. This is followed by the always compelling “Playhouse 90”. I hope it’s sponsored by Bristol Meyers and Birdseye…I just love their products.

I pick up my knitting and attempt to make some progress on the mittens I’m making my three handsome men.

The time flies by and (insert generic masculine name here) and the boys continue to attempt to answer questions on the game show, but they’re not having much luck. The questions are just so gosh darn hard!

Then, the host asks the the last question…the one for ALL the money: “What is a lepton?”

As I knit one and pearl two, I blurt out, “Any of a family of particles, neutrinos or muons that have spin quantum number 1/2”.

I look up and my husband and sons are staring at me.

I put down my knitting and with furrowed brow and I say, “It’s just a guess!”

As it turns out, the answer was correct and I once again, tilt my head and wonder, how I knew that. In addition, I somehow knew that a lepton could also be small Greek coin. How did I know that? What do I know from Greek? I’ve never even heard of anal sex!!!

I haven’t, right?

Well, fortunately, no one makes a big deal about my knowing the answer. Boy, that’s a relief. Whew! Sub-atomic particles be damned!!!

It’s now time for bed. We all make our way upstairs and into our respective rooms. I tuck in Paulie and Muskrat, listen to their prayers that include one for the country.  They pray that the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks with the Soviet Union go well, but they also include a prayer that the good ‘ol U. S. of A. will beat the darned Ruskies in the space race.

I make my way into our bedroom and I see my husband is wearing his flannel pajamas (matching bottom and tops). He’s in the bathroom, brushing his teeth with “Colgate, the dentifrice that four out of five dentists recommend.”

He then goes to his twin bed and lies down and looks at me with a slightly raised eyebrow….the look that tells me it’s “time for me to do my wifely duties”. He wants me to read to him.  Tonight, it’ll be a chapter from “The Kinsey Report”. This is a very adult book–one we keep hidden from the boys. It uses words like “sex, orifice and vas deferens”.

Pure smut.

Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I hear the HARP GLISSANDO again, which either means segue, a scene change or my impending death. Things get blurry. I feel odd…dizzy. What’s happening???

Suddenly, my eyes adjust…I’m back in my apartment. Linkin Park is playing on the stereo, my hair is a mess, I’m sweating profusely..last week’s make-up is finally caking off.  I look down and I’m wearing a an old T-shirt and shorts.

It’s present day, 2008.

“Ah yes”…I sigh. Everything is right again.

A cold chill comes over me. I shudder and make a vow that I’ll never, EVER drop acid again on a week night!



  1. You must watch too much Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, and Andy Griffith oldies. No one dresses or acts like they do in real life. I don’t think our mother donned pearls and heels to do house work in (oh yes, I forgot- mother had hired help).

  2. As always, a great piece, Laurie! My God, it’s my mom!!….sez Hillbilly Cyberstar

  3. Outstanding! I love all the extremely vanilla and generic imagery! Heehee…
    I also have have conversations with my fake significant other at night…we have almost come up with a resolution for the crisis in Darfur and have discovered a renewable power source with no emissions or toxic content….

  4. I suppose it should bother me that I remember every. single. one. of. these. things from, um, personal experience, but it bothers me more that I didn’t know what a lepton was.

    Did (insert name here) use Bryl Creme? A little dab’ll do ya, you know. Use more only if you dare. But watch out, the gals’ll all pursue ya; they love to run their fingers through your hair.

    Stop me before I use your comments for a post of my own.

  5. I loved the product references–it was like I was 6 again and watching a full Hour Power episode of the Price is Right. I loved Bob Barker–until he became a raging liberal and a womanizer and sex-addict, but I digress….

  6. You’re a sick disgusting freak Laurie, but that is why we love ya 🙂 Just like the ancient dinosaurs – we will never forget you and your contributions to humanity and the arts.

  7. JP,

    I you’re head wasn’t so FREAKISHLY large, I’d crush on you big time. But alas, I cannot. I have a rule about guys and hydrocephali….sorry.

    But you’re sweet just the same.


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