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The Church of Menschen (See What I Did There?)

The “not cute one,” if you can believe them apples.

The great Eve Babitz tells a story of being out one night with a friend who had extreme cheekbones.

It is my opinion that people with extreme cheekbones make all other beauties look like children’s drawings, even if this latest batch of young people don’t seem to recognize this fact and I wouldn’t wish this level of beauty on anyone. I do not say this because I have extreme cheekbones; I have decent ones.

My mother has extreme cheekbones.

Anyway, Eve and this friend were sitting at Barney’s Beanery, because this is where Eve always could be found in her wonderfully misspent youth. And a man approached them. Even a block away it was apparent this man was just the strain of trouble that some extreme beauties seek because everything else is too easy. He was unapologetically drunk, for one thing, and he also had a lot of dark wavy hair and a very arrogant manner. Continue Reading →

This Alley Cat Thanks You

Once when I was 19, the summer after my first year of college, I made the mistake of going home again.

I’d been leaving home in one way or another since I was eleven–had been living with boyfriends off and on since I was 15–but at 18 had surprised everyone, most of all me, and got into a decent college and left the state.

What’s more, I went to a Quaker college in Pennsylvania, which meant I was surrounded by the kind of squares whose parents loved them and whose idea of fashion was Dockers and college logos. The music was Cat Stevens and Jimmy Buffett, the colors were grey and that green that has so much grey in it that it might as well go ahead and be grey. And I just about lost my mind.

I never really came around on that school socially–in my senior year, I was the butt of a class night joke in which they insulted my boyfriend’s taste in women–but that first year I hated the tyranny of their grey-greenness with such a punk-rock heat that they hated me with an equal fervor.

It was probably the least grey-green thing about them.

But I had been told by my grandmother that if I didn’t attend this particular school I’d be dead by 27. She told me six months after she died, which is how I knew she meant business. She hadn’t been that involved in my goings-ons while she was alive. Continue Reading →

SOS

I’m in trouble.

I don’t have enough money for my expenses in May. I’m not talking moisturizer and HBO. I’m talking rent and food. I’m already on Medicaid. That was super hard to admit I needed.

Since I was 35, I haven’t needed a resume. Jobs–research gigs and editing gigs, columns, commentating spots–have shown up when I’ve needed them. My reputation preceded me and for a long time that was a good thing.

In 2017 my NY1 show was cancelled the same week that my gig as the editor of a labor journal ended. I’d held the NY1 job for 6 years. I’d been editing the labor journal for 16 years.

I still had another job–the writer of essays and reviews for Signature Reads.

Then they went out of business.

I was living off my savings, but they weren’t small. I’d received settlements and I still had a dream. My dream was to write and sell a book.

It is still my dream.

But independence has also been my dream. To support myself with money from work I like and care about.

That dream is dying on the vine. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy