Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Take a Kid to a Car Show

I like cars, new, old, not so old, but especially really, really old, and the more original the better. However, I get bored at car-related events. After two hours, I am ready to leave. Then again, I bore easily. Sometimes, during sex, I am ready for a sandwich before my pants hit the floor. As I said, I bore easily.

Recently, I have been to two big car events, one was a swap meet and car show, and the other was a car show, and I observed some really odd behavior at both. Well, for those of us who go to car shows, the behavior may not seem so odd, but for those who have never been, you would immediately notice how self-absorbed some car collectors can be.

I, for one, am not self-absorbed, which is why I have a blog where I talk about myself all the time. Only one thing holds my attention for a reasonable amount of time – Milton Stern.

For the first time, I went to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the 2012 AACA Eastern Regional Fall Meet, but for those in the car world, we simply say “Hershey.”

“Did you go to Hershey?”

“I didn’t see you at Hershey this year?”

Before I go on, Pennsylvania seems to have more car-related events than any other state in the region. They have Spring Carlisle, Chrysler Carlisle, Simon Carlisle, yet they have the worst roads in the country. When I was doing the research for my book, Harriet Lane, America’s First Lady (shameless plug), I remember crossing the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania and immediately hitting a pothole. Even the color of the pavement changes from a lovely black to a sort of beigy-gray – the same color of a cadaver that has been refrigerated for more than three days.

How do these guys in pre-war cars stand it? My father said that if you ran over a nickel in a car from the 1930s, you could tell if it was heads or tails – the nickel not the car. Can you imagine driving a car with a solid axle, leaf-spring suspended front end over a highway in Pennsylvania? They do it; they drive from near and far. Ironically, when they arrive at the car show, they will not park on grass or let anyone touch their cars. I am surprised they make it there without knocking off the headlights and all the trim or losing a few fillings. But, don't go near that car!

Back to Hershey. Now, Hershey as we in the know call it, is held in a Giant Supermarket parking lot that is about twelve acres square. Actually, it is Giant Center, but I swear that looked like a supermarket. You park across a highway in a field that belongs to a man sitting on his porch holding a shotgun. Police direct you as you park your car, but that old man doesn’t take his eyes off you or let go of that shotgun. His bloodhound sleeps through the whole affair.

Then you walk across the street to the world’s biggest vendor fair and car coral. OK, it isn’t the biggest, but to me it was the biggest I had been to in a long, long time.

While many car nuts love vendor fairs, I don’t. They are like giant flea markets selling crap I don’t need and cannot use. The problem is I am an independent car guy. Yes, big surprise that the kid whose mother said, “Why can’t you be like everyone else?” is more interested in independent makes like Nash, Hudson, Studebaker, and Willys, and the older the car the better. I especially like cars from the late 1920s to early 1930s. Therein lies the problem. Ninety-nine percent of the vendors deal in GM, Chrysler, Ford parts, and a great deal of them sell Mustang parts. Oy vay.

Want to turn me on? Tell me you are into cars.

Want to turn me off? Tell me you always wanted a Mustang.

How original. How creative. How nice for you.

A lot of thought went into that choice. You want to piss off a Mustang guy? Tell him after driving his Mustang that it rides and handles just like a Falcon, which in reality it is. For the record, I love Falcons. I have owned two of them. And yes, I told a Mustang guy that once after driving his car. He still is not speaking to me, and that was thirty years ago.

I have a friend with more than thirty Cadillacs along with several Lincolns and Imperials, and one Nash Rambler. The first time I went to his house, I walked past all those luxury cars and toward his car port to see the Rambler. When asked why, I said, “Any queen can own a Cadillac.”

So, I managed to see the whole vendor section in about forty minutes. I know people who walked the vendor section for eight hours a day for three straight days. Oh my God! You know how quickly I shop (and if you don’t, buy my book). If I go to a vendor fair and stay for more than an hour; it means I died in there. Call my brother. He has all the paperwork for my pre-arranged funeral. As they clean up after the event, they will find my skeleton the same way they find every hoarder’s cat skeleton.

I then walked over to the car coral, where every make of car is available for sale. This is also where all the weirdoes are. Not the spectators, the owners. Naturally, I walked past every Ford, GM and most Mopars, and walked right up to every independent make. If you think spending eight hours a day for three days looking at vendors is a bit much, these people selling their cars sit either behind them or in them for the entire event, so they won’t lose a potential sale. They don’t move. You have to tap some of them to see if they are still alive.

You have to be pretty fucked up in the head to sit in your car or on a lawn chair behind your car for three consecutive days. I wouldn’t do that for Barry Manilow tickets, and I absolutely love Barry Manilow.

Let me tell you about a couple of them. Please, allow me. There was the guy with the 1963 Rambler American 440 Hardtop. This is a one-year only and very rare survivor. I looked inside his car then proceeded to ask him a few question since I own a 1959 Rambler American (or at least I think I do since it has been in the process of being restored for last three years). He answered every question with a grunt. Granted this was Friday, and he probably hadn’t moved from his car the entire time, shitting and pissing himself in the process, so he wouldn’t miss a sale, but he had serial killer written all over him. For once, I did not ask to look into the trunk.

Have you ever noticed that when someone with a luxury car opens the trunk the first thing people ask is, “How many bodies can you fit in there?” Why is that? Do all of us have a secret fantasy about committing a mass murder and stuffing all the bodies into the trunk of a 1958 Lincoln? Apparently, so.

My favorite, however, was the family in the Studebaker Scotsman. This was a car Studebaker manufactured in 1957 and 1958. Today, a name like that, especially for a totally stripped down car, with painted bumpers and hubcaps and paper upholstery that sold dirt cheap, would be considered offensive, but this was the age of the Dodge Royal Lancer La Femme, a car that came with a lipstick holder, matching pink umbrella, and maxipad dispenser, or something like that. To see a Scotsman in person is a rare occurrence indeed, and everyone who walked by wanted to check out this car for sale, but no one would dare go near it. Why? Because the entire cast of Deliverance was sitting inside the car looking at everyone with suspicion. I swear I heard banjo music when I walked by that car.

Now, I will forgive the Hershey folks for sitting next to their cars and never looking at anyone else’s cars because this was a used car lot if you will, but the next event was unforgiveable.

The Rockville Antique and Classic Car Show is an event that draws more than 500 cars a year, and while there is a car coral area with some vendors, the main focus is the show itself, and here is where I get annoyed.

My car was one of two AMCs at the show, one of which is always an AMX. Being a vintage four-wheel drive and an independent and not a particularly pretty car (yes, it’s ugly, clean but ugly), it generates a bit of attention from the some of the more curious and dubious attendees. One guy actually insisted he have his picture taken next to it. He was pretty hot and made my car look a little more attractive. However, I don’t sit by my 1983 AMC Eagle waiting to give its history and thanking its many adoring fans. I have to look at my wagon every day, and I drive it at least twice a week. I have seen my car. I know what it looks like – a tarted up Concord in stilettos. I don’t even bring a lawn chair.

I go to Rockville to see all the other cars. Have you noticed I have not referred to Rockville as the armpit of Maryland? That is because for this one event, Rockville shines brightly. It reverts back to armpit status the following weekend.

I like to spend a couple of hours walking down the aisles, looking at all the cars and taking pictures. I managed to get pictures of every car, mostly group shots. What amazes me is how many people never leave their cars. Seriously? Are you that self-absorbed? Do you really think your 1978 Dodge Coronet is that special that everyone will ask you about it? I like your Model A, but there are sixteen others just like it.

Want to teach your kid how to be a narcissist? Take him to a car show.

Of course, these are the same car people that know no other makes except their own. Walk up to a Corvette guy and ask, “Did you see that 1962 Studebaker Lark?” He won’t even answer you. How can he? He's been sitting in a lawn chair next to his yellow Corvette for six hours. Never mind the fact that there are five other yellow Corvettes parked next to his. I will bet he doesn't even know what a Studebaker is. I’ll tell you this. A Studebaker is a far better built and easier to drive car that is less expensive to maintain than a plastic sports car with transverse leaf springs.
Oh no, she didn’t!

Do you really want to have fun. Say in your loudest voice, “I don’t understand the appeal of Corvettes. All of them look alike. I’d rather drive a Falcon.” No need to run. Corvette owners have bad knees and backs as a result of driving a car that sits two inches above ground with the visibility of a turtle shell covered by a shower curtain.

Before I sign off, I have to share the funniest thing we heard all day. A guy around my age looked inside an absolutely gorgeous custom bodied 1931 Cadillac (yes, even I liked this Caddy) and said in a voice whose volume would make Ethel Merman proud, “What do you know? This car has a manual transmission.”

For the love of God, buy that guy a book on the history of the Hydra-Matic, and don’t let him attend another car show until he reads it and passes the quiz!

Do you sit by your Chevrolet Cavalier all day hoping someone will ask you about it? If so, follow me, join me, and buy my book about a home with axles and wheels.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We Will Flush It for You

As Mrs. Carmichael said to Mr. Mooney on her way to London in 1965, “Oh the age we live in. Jetting here and jetting there.”

If she only knew …

I am old enough to remember when one had to remember phone numbers. Remember when you had to remember phone numbers? Now, I have to look in my contacts to remember my own number. The other night, I called to order Chinese take-out, and I could not remember my home phone number. Seriously. So I said, “What number is showing up on your screen?” They told me, and I said, “Are you sure? I guess that’s right.”

What is happening to us? I am all for progress, but soon we will be like the humans orbiting the earth in WALL-E. We will no longer have to do anything for ourselves.

Mrs. Carmichael, Mr. Mooney and WALL-E in one post – now that’s progress.

For me, the beginning of the end was the introduction of the automatic sink. This was also the moment when I discovered I was a vampire. I was shopping at the White Flint Mall, and I had to pee, which is no surprise since I always have to pee. My mother always called me the Official Bathroom Inspector. I once went for two hours without peeing. It turned out my kidneys had shut down, and I was experiencing multiple organ failure. I’m kidding.

Where was I? Oh yes. Well, I went to wash my hands. I pressed the soap dispenser, lathered up my hands then looked for a handle on the sink. There was none. There was a sign that said, “Hold your hands under the faucet, and water will automatically cascade down.” No, there was no sign. There were no directions at all. I witnessed someone else washing his hands, so I held my soaped-up hands under the faucet in the same manner. Nothing. I tried another faucet. Nothing. I tried three more before I asked someone to show me how to make it work. I did what he did. Again, nothing. I ended up dry rinsing my hands with paper towels. Needless to say, I was pissed.

Apparently, vampires cannot see their reflections, nor can they make automatic sinks work.

Following this wonderful invention was the electric paper towel dispenser. This I could make work. The problem was I couldn’t make it stop. I have large hands, which as you know means … large gloves. So, when I grab the electrically dispensed paper towel, another dispenses immediately, and this keeps happening until I walk at least ten feet away from the dispenser. I feel like Lucy Ricardo in the chocolate factory.

But, the worst of all is the electric toilet. These were installed in the building where I worked previous to where I work now. I remember the first time I sat on one. I sneezed. It flushed. Then I shifted my large ass I inherited from Nana. It flushed. Then I reached for toilet paper. It flushed. It sounded like fucking Niagara Falls in that bathroom. To make it more annoying, the toilet would splash up on each flush. I thought I was sitting on a possessed bidet.

ATM touch screens are another enemy of mine. As with electric sinks, my vampire hands apparently do no generate any human electromagnetism, so I end up punching the screens with my thumbs in an effort to get cash. This does get me a lot of free meals. “Can someone spot me on this? I couldn’t get the ATM to work, so I am a little short right now.” However, when I drive up to an ATM at the bank, I hear beeping from the cars behind me for the ten minutes I spend trying to get twenty dollars out of the machine. It would be easier and quicker to rob the bank.

Why do we need touch screens? I miss the buttons. The other issue I have with touch screens is how they are not convenient for those of us who suffer from gigantism. You should have seen me the first time I tried to use a GPS. “954 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD” became “980546435 Ghfibvsd Wsttyreet,, Rpocxkjvbiolllw, MNSD.” Would you believe the Garmin found that address? It was in Chechnya. The weather was a bit cold, and the food was bit heavy for my taste, but I never tasted vodka like that before or since.

With touch screens, automatic toilets and possessed paper towel dispensers come more gadgets, devices and programs that do for us what we use to do for ourselves.

My favorites are spell check and grammar check. As an editor (and you wouldn’t believe I am one by what I have written so far), I laugh at spell check and grammar check. How many times have you typed a word and MS Word underlines it in red? So you try every which way to never to spell it, and you can’t. In my day, we consulted the dictionary, which is ironic because if you cannot spell the word, how can you find it?

Look up epitome. When I was ten years old, I spent three hours looking under “o.”

Now, you go to Google, type in the word, and Google corrects it. How many of you can spell “hors d’oeuvres”? I just had to go to Google to figure out how to spell it.

But, this is what most people don’t know. Spell check and grammar check are only as good as the person who inputted (is that a word) the words in the first place. Yes, a human typed in all the words, which is why in MS Word, grammar check incorrectly replaces “its” with “it’s.” For example, MS Word thinks this sentence is correct: “Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” And this one, too: “It’s smell is worse than Milton after he visits an all you can eat spaghetti bar.”
If you have the latest version of MS Word, they finally corrected it. However, it’s correction only took two decades, and they are convinced its right now.

There are a host of other problems with grammar check, and the sad thing is even I, a former English teacher, will second guess myself when a sentence is underlined in green. By the way, MS Word does not understand the use of the reflexive pronoun, so myself is underlined in green in the previous sentence ... and this one.

Now, I have my second smart phone. I had a Droid for two weeks. The problem was my vampire fingers could not unlock the screen. Literally, I couldn’t answer calls. No matter how many times I did the drag-queen-finger-snap-in-a-Z-formation over the screen, it would not unlock. I returned it for a regular cell phone with a keypad. Apparently, touch screen technology has improved because I can unlock the screen on my iPhone. But, the iPhone has another feature I am beginning to loathe. Autocorrect.

Yes, Mark Sleith, you were correct – it is all about Autocorrect!

But, let’s back up. Why do we need Autocorrect? I remember my first electric typewriter with spell check. It was a Brother, and there was a tiny screen above the keyboard that would display the words you were typing as you were typing them, which was kind of redundant. Every time it thought you misspelled a word, it would screech. If you were typing up term papers, that was OK. But, I was writing a screenplay with character names and Yiddish words, so it was like having your work reviewed while in process. Then Rona <screech> walked across the room and said, “Oy <screech> kevault <screech>, vas <screech> machst <screech> du <screech> dorton <screech>?” I would have been better off with Rex Reed looking over my shoulder.

When MS Word first came out, you had to run a spell check to see what you missed. Now you get those lovely red and green underlines I mentioned above. The drawback is everyone thinks their documents are error free if they have no red or green underlines, and you should see the crap that gets published on blogs these days … Ahem.

Back to the present, my iPhone has the ever lovely Autocorrect. Now, Autocorrect is as far from correct as you can get. It doesn’t correct; it suggests and changes words to the point where nothing makes sense.

For example: The other night, a friend texted me to see if I could chat, and I was in the middle of something, so I texted back what I thought was, “Give me five,” meaning give me five minutes. Autocorrect changed it to “Give me fibrous.” Needless to say, he was very confused.

Remember, Autocorrect and any of these functions were first inputted (still, is that a word?) by a human. So, somewhere there is a person who thinks when one types “five” he means “fibrous.”

According to my friend, Ed, “song” is changed to “thong,” which explains why my friend, Devon, is still wondering how I intend to write him a thong.

Let’s just hope these aren’t the same people who programmed those cars that drive themselves.

And yes, MS Word just underlined themselves.

Do you thing a thong, thing out loud or thing out throng? Follow me, tell your friends, or buy my book!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We Have You, So Screw Yourself

If there is one thing we will all learn in life, the fun is in the hunt. Once you nab your prey, well, all you have left to do is feed the entrails to the dog and chow down on the flesh, eating the face first of course.

You may think you know where this is going …

This morning, I was thinking about how much easier it was for our grandparents, or even our parents. They had a gas bill, an electric bill, a water bill, a mortgage, a car payment on the 1967 Mercury Monterey, and a bill from Ma Bell. That was it. Now, we have a cable bill, a cell phone bill, an internet bill, a landline bill, a creepy neighbor named Bill, etc.

Nana and Grandma leased their phones and kept them for at least twenty or twenty-five years. We buy a phone and traded it in every time Apple announces a new iPhone. What are they up to now? iPhone 9? If not, they will be by the time you finish reading this.

The only disadvantage Aunt Min and Uncle Is (yes, his name was Is) had was paying per call, both local and long distance, whereas now we have unlimited calling. Remember the days of scrutinizing the phone bill?
"Who is Feel Good Fanny? And, why does it cost $2.95 a minute to talk to her?"

Another thing they did not have to ponder was “bundling.” Bundting yes. That is when you bake a Bundt cake. I like Bundt cake. Good luck finding a Pillsbury Bundt cake mix with the the cream filling these days. I love baking a Bundt cake … then eating the whole thing in an hour. I don't even pop it out of the pan.

I learned the curse of the bundle a few months ago, when I had to replace my modem, which also brought up the question of how breaking up Ma Bell was really a benefit to any of us.

I have Comcast for my home phone, internet and cable. They have the worst customer service of any company. They cannot outsource to India because even in a country with millions of people needing a job, they cannot find anyone who wants to be associated with Comcast.

My modem went on the fritz, so I drove over to their office and exchanged it. When I got home, I followed their instructions then sat on hold for two hours while I waited for them to connect my new modem remotely. However, reconnecting the landline would require my setting up an appointment with a technician. Or, so I thought. Nineteen phone calls later, no two people gave me the same answer.

“We can connect it.” “No, we cannot connect it.” “We can connect it.” “No we cannot connect it.” “You need a technician to come out.”

I received three phone calls – on my cell phone because my landline was not connected – asking if I was pleased with my experience with customer service. When I relayed the situation with no one being able to connect my landline, they hung up on me. Seriously, they hung up on me.

I considered going with someone else, but apparently where I live nothing else is available except for the Dish, and only in a limited capacity because you have to use Verizon for a landline and internet, which is DSL, not Fios.

Explain to me why Ma Bell was broken up? Apparently, Comcast has a monopoly where I am. Competition means there are other companies offering comparable services, not other companies offering compromised services.

Are you still with me?

Meanwhile, I still had no landline. The technician finally made it to my home two weeks later, and do you know what he did? He wrote down the number from the back of my modem, called headquarters, stayed on hold for two hours, and the phone was connected – remotely!

Do you know what he told me? They can connect it remotely, but for some reason, they send out a technician because no one knows that, yet the technician calls the same stupid number customers call and goes through the same process of being on hold and punching random numbers and speaking to a flaming moron for two hours.

Were they serious!?! For the two weeks I didn’t have a landline, I could have had a landline. What do they care? I am already a customer. As far they are concerned, I can go fuck myself.

During that dark two-week period with no landline, I called Comcast and requested that the landline be disconnected (ironic when it was dead anyway), for I did not want to pay for a service I did not have. Get this, thanks to bundling, if I disconnected my landline (which was dead anyway; yes, I know I said that already), I would pay an additional $50 a month. In other words, it costs more to shoot a dead horse than to let it rot in your living room.

What the giant fuck!

Did Aunt Honey with her rotary dial phone go through this bull shit?

The only person I knew to have this much trouble with the phone company was Doris Day when she shared a party-line with Rock Hudson. Then again, who wouldn’t have wanted a party-line with Rock Hudson, or for that matter, Doris Day, in 1959?

In 1973, we upgraded to call waiting, and with call waiting, we got beige a push button phone, which was required if you upgraded to call waiting. Not the color, the push buttons. However, if we discontinued call waiting, they didn’t charge us more, and we kept the push button phone.

Ma Bell may have been a monopoly, but unless Ernestine was your operator, you didn’t get any bullshit. An itemized bill, yes, bull shit, no.

Which brings us to my cell phone provider.

I was the last of my friends to get a cell phone when I went wireless in 2004. I started with T-Mobile, and thanks to new phones every two or three years, I have been with them since. Again, every two or three years, I have needed a new phone because the old one broke or couldn’t keep up with the limited technology of a cell phone.

I would have been better off hanging a rotary dial phone with an antenna around my neck. At least it would have lasted a couple of decades. And yes, it would be a princess phone. Did you get a visual?

Being the last to get a cell phone means I am also the last to get a smart phone. Here is where that other aspect of communications today bites you in the ass.

“Special Offers.”

Have you noticed that once a company has you hooked and in a contract, they have no more reason to make you happy? Think Cuntcast.
Curiously, it is like any of my relationships.

T-Mobile advertises new smart phones for $1.99 as well as other promotions for new customers, but God forbid a customer who has been with them for eight years wants something. I wanted a smart phone, so I went to their store to ask about one of these offers. While waiting, I looked at smart phones ranging in price from Free to $199.99.

And, this is what I was told. “Mr. Stern, the offers are not available to existing customers. You will need to pay full price for a smart phone, and the service will be an additional $39.99 a month.”

Full price was more than $500. The additional $39.99 a month would be $50 more than a new customer would pay for the complete service.

In other words: We already have you locked in a contract. We have no reason to make you happy anymore. Roughly translated: Go fuck yourself.

I asked when my contract was up. They said eleven years. Do you know how old I will be in eleven years? Not forty-nine!

Then the salesman said, “You could buy another phone from another provider and have a new number, taking advantage of one of their offers and pay an early cancellation fee by ending your T-Mobile contract.”

I couldn’t believe it. I have been a loyal customer for eight years, and the salesman is telling me to go elsewhere?!?

Imagine if the salesman who sold me my truck said, “While this truck suits you perfectly, you should go across the street to that other dealer because he can make you a better offer, and we really don’t want your business. Besides, I was watching the game in the back room when you interrupted me to test drive that truck, and I don’t feel like doing the paper work today.”

Fortunately, I have overpaid my T-Mobile bill every month, and my early cancellation fee equals what is the credit on my account plus a month.

I left the store. I went to AT&T’s website and bought an iPhone for $0.99. And get this. My monthly bill will be twenty-five percent less than the one from T-Mobile for a cell phone … until it starts creeping up after a year the way they always do. But by then, they will no longer work to keep me as a customer, and eight years from now, I will cancel their contract …

For now, T-Mobile can bundle this!

Now, if I could just find a suitable replacement for Cuntcast.

If you are bundled or stuck in a lifetime contract, follow me, get on my mailing list or just buy my goddamn book.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Drinking Game

I have always had a strange relationship with alcohol because I grew up around alcoholics and other addicts. While some with my background become alcoholics themselves due to the addiction gene that Liza talks about, others take the opposite path. I took the opposite path. I am the Lorna in the family – without the voice or the talent.

For years, I feared that I could easily become a drunk if I took that second drink. So, if I ordered a drink, I would nurse it all night. As a result, my Jewish liver never developed fully, and now it only takes two drinks to make me three sheets to the wind.

Nana, my maternal grandmother, whom I look like in drag, would drink a Miller High Life with her dinner because her doctor wanted her to put on weight. I guess he never noticed her big tits and ass, two physical traits I also inherited from her.

Don’t get me wrong. I did get falling over drunk once. In 1982.

My friend, Chris, took a bottle of Scotch from his father’s liquor cabinet, and we mixed that whole bottle with a Big Gulp of Coca Cola. I was a mess. The next morning, I felt as if I had slept in a rat hole, and my brother suggested I drink a big glass of milk. That was one of the rare occasions when I threw up. I had food from my bar mitzvah coming out of me. I also swore that day never to get drunk again.

And then, I became a drink counter. Well, actually, I was always good at counting drinks – a talent I inherited from my diet-pill addicted mother. My brother and I were on a fishing trip with our father in Cape Cod in 1973 (my brother loves stories about Dad), and we watched as he went from sober to drunk via two six packs of Budweiser in two hours. I think that was the first time we saw the progression. By his own admission, my father started drinking at age fifteen, and he didn’t stop until age fifty-six. His drink of choice was Scotch, but he was not adverse to beer, wine, rum, crème de menthe, etc.

That may have been the moment when I became the Rain Man of drink counters. He’s had seven beers; must not take another; he’s had eight beers; I count nine beers; must watch Here’s Lucy.
There is a picture of us on that trip, and the looks on my brother’s and my face were priceless. You would think some wino asked to have his picture taken with two young boys in Virginia Squires t-shirts.

Do you watch Jerseylicious? On there is a character named Tracy, and she does this look that if it had a subtitle would be “what the fuck?” I invented that look when out with friends who were ordering too much booze. Did this stop them from hanging out with me? Hell no. I also became the designated driver, which in my car obsessed world is sooooooooooo much better than being drunk. Their parents have no idea I drove ALL their cars. Lincolns, Cadillacs, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and the occasional Chevrolet.

However, there were the few times when I drove my car, and someone got sick in the backseat. Our friend, Bob, got dirty drunk one night when his girlfriend dumped him and threw up all over the back seat and door of my 1965 Ford Falcon Futura. I had to power wash the inside of my car at 1:30 am at the car wash on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Harpersville Road in Newport News. I wonder if that place is still there.

As a mature adult, if I ever actually became one, I perfected my skills at dinner parties and other social gatherings. I could, and still can, tell you how many drinks anyone in the room has had. I am the Miss Busy Body if imbibing. And on your fourth drink, you get my Jerseylicious look.

Unfortunately, I developed a few hang-ups. As I got older, I quit hanging around people who got drunk regularly; though it didn’t stop me from dating them – which is between me and my therapist.

For years, I wouldn’t even have that one drink. I also developed this issue with people who drink alone. The thought of someone coming home and having a drink alone was a sign to me that he or she was an alcoholic. I dated a guy my friend, Christian, said looked and smelled like death. He would come home every night and drink a pitcher of martinis by himself in the dark. He was also a snide drunk. Not a mean one, just snide. He would say insulting things to you when he had a few and wasn’t happy until he made you cry. More fodder for the therapist.

I ran into him a few months ago. He still looks like death, and he smells like formaldehyde. Maybe he is a zombie now?

My father was a mean and sometimes violent drunk. My long-term ex was a mean violent drunk. Every time he got drunk, he would tell me to leave his house then pass out. I would just sit there and watch television.

My old friend, Mikie, was a happy drunk. But, even happy drunks get annoying after a while. How many times can you listen to, “I love you, man. I really love you, man. You’re beautiful.”

The only thing I knew about my being tipsy is that I start channeling Bette Davis and do quite a good impersonation. Not sure if that is a happy or snide drunk?

With all this concern over drinking to excess or drinking alone, at age forty-four, for reasons I would rather not divulge, I found out I didn’t inherit the alcoholic gene. The OCD gene, yes, but alcoholic gene, no. However, I still had the big tits and ass gene.

I was “free to be me” as Marlo Thomas told me long ago when I was just a little girl and obsessed with Doris Day.

It was at this time that I allowed myself that second drink (as long as I wasn’t driving), and I discovered that drink number two made me silly, drink number three turned me into Bette Davis, and drink number four turned me into Joan Crawford – in a good way. I have only twice gone to drink number four, which is a shame because I worship Joan Crawford and feel she did her children a great service. If she were a Donna Reed-like mother, Christina wouldn’t have made a dime on her book.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I still go months without a taste of the spirits or moonshine, and I never ever drink alone until ….

Something happens when you move into a trailer park. I always liked beer. I am not a liquor drinker, and wine, with the exception of Manischewitz, tastes like vinegar to me. I am trailer trash with class.

I always keep beer in my fridge in case a guest wants one, and I have thrown away a lot of beer because they just sit there for a year and go bad. Yes, beer can go bad. This past summer was very hot, and one day after mowing the grass, I was very thirsty. I opened my fridge, and there was a six pack of Sam Adams. I thought for a long minute before I grabbed one, popped the cap, and poured it into a glass.

You didn’t think I would drink it straight from the bottle did you? What do I look like? A lesbian?

Then, I hesitated, put the glass to my lips and took a sip. It was delicious and refreshing. I was drinking alone. Oh my God! One hang-up overcome.
But, not so quickly. I only had one, and I did keep looking out the window to see if they were sending over the shuttle from Betty Ford.


If you have a Jewish liver or you are a drunk, follow me, join me, tell your friends, and buy my goddam book.