Thursday, December 15, 2005
TRUMP AND GRIND
Another fine Hen and Bunny reenactment can be found on Video Dog, this one a probing character study of The Donald. My dogs have a nice cameo at the end. As you can see, the yellow one isn't shy about her desire to rip Bunny from limb to limb.
Speaking of the yellow one, she happened to stumble on a half-dead pigeon the other day when we were walking, and now she thinks that stretch of the walk must be some kind of a refuge for small, wounded animals, because her ears perk up and she gets a skip in her step that says, "My, I'd like to sink my teeth into a varmint right about now." Ahhh, it's so nice to cohabitate with savage beasts who spend their waking hours daydreaming about ripping helpless, pathetic little animals to tiny bits. It's probably good practice for marriage.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
HEN AND BUNNY
I know I've already pimped video dog today, but if you're looking forward to tonight's "Amazing Race" finale (even though this season has pretty much sucked), you can't miss the latest Hen and Bunny reenactment.
Oh, wait - what's that? You aren't familiar with the Hen and Bunny Theatre? That surprises me. I sort of thought you were the cultured, educated sort who would know your way around the finer thespian troupes in the city. Well, Hen and Bunny have been studying their craft for quite some time, and they're widely known as masters who only tackle work that's sure to challenge them and push them out of their comfort zone. These two are provocative, thoughtful performers that you really don't want to miss.
Anyway, don't listen to me - go see for yourself.
WHAT DO YOU WANT, A TOOKIE?
Sweet Jesus, this footage from last night's coverage of the execution of Tookie Williams really takes the cake. Watching it will make you feel like a peasant, standing in the town square, waiting for the guillotine blade to drop on some poor bastard's neck. You'd think Rita could dampen her gushing enthusiasm and blood lust just a tad for the sake of appearances.
Monday, December 05, 2005
ONE MORE THING
A few people have written to me today and said, "Yeah, screw that guy Tom!" This makes me feel bad, because apparently my last post appears to be aimed at Tom. Not so! Tom just thinks the use of foul language is lazy. Lots of people feel that way. Let's not hate on Tom, OK? Tom may be a self-serious honkwinder, but he's alright in my book. He expressed his opinion nicely, I just happen to disagree with it.
No, someone else wrote me an email calling me a sexist this morning and it made me think it was necessary to clarify my position. Yeah, I know - what's wrong with me? I think I might be coming down with something...
AHEM HEM HEM!
OK, let me be a little more clear. I don't think the wife described below is exactly throwing plates at her husband's head. I think she's feeling bad, and he's acting flinchy about it, and she's stewing instead of talking about it. On the other hand, I think he's doing more work around the house than is really fair for someone with a full-time job. Most of all, I don't think their current pattern of stomping around, stewing silently is doing them any favors - I think it makes them both feel like shit, and then she brushes it under the rug by chalking it all up to acting "funny."
When I say women are a pain in the ass, I mean women are a pain in the ass. Are men not a pain in the ass? Come on. What do you think I'm going to say? But we're pains in the ass in different ways. I can't believe anyone would suggest that it's sexist of me to state something so obvious.
My personal feeling is that people don't speak their minds. They go into couples therapy and learn to talk in clipped tones and tread lightly, mincing around with pre-fabricated phrases that rarely do the passion of their emotions justice. Now, lots of people need this in order to avoid wringing each other's necks. But personally, I believe that most people are incredibly afraid of words, afraid of negativity, afraid of strong statements.
I can only speak for myself, but I think that when you share your life with someone, you should be able to speak your mind to that person instead of either a) stomping around and pouting, or b) uttering neutered phrases from between gritted teeth. To me, pouting is far more irritating and childish than saying what you feel. Ugly silences can injure a couple far more than words. And those endless exchanges of "I" statements - "I feel hurt because I feel you were being inconsiderate." "Well, I feel frustrated that you're hurt, because I feel that I'm the one who's hurt, here!" - are laborious and can lead you in little circles, for hours without end, Amen.
That's my opinion. Anyone who feels more comfortable coloring within certain lines of politeness? Look, whatever works for you. It just bothers me that so many people are so judgmental about saying anything, ever, that sounds negative or odd or over the top or even remotely emotional. I think we're all absurdly repressed, and if a couple can manage to be very direct with each other, to speak plainly, to acknowledge and accept each other's shortcomings, to have a sense of humor about each other? My opinion is that, in order to have a relationship like that, you have to cut each other some slack and give each other the room to speak freely.
Anyway, we're going to have to take a break from the relationship stuff for a while, because it's starting to bore me.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
YOU MAY ALREADY BE A FUCKWIENER!
I am writing in regard to your response to "Love her, but getting tired". I think it was good. I think you gave sound advice, particularly about the perfectionism, the not taking it personally - effective advocacy for the creation of a haven of expression within the relationship. You showed, without telling. But also I think you hid your meaning behind some distortions, and plain old profanity. You sound like a gunslinger on Deadwood. Who's coming after you? Are they really that dangerous?
You are a writer! You know the power of words. Do you really think that women are "a fucking pain", that he "cannot stand her" when she's being emotional, or that she feels like she's "dipped in shit" anytime she has an emotion? Naive readers might wonder.
I think that an investment in more accurate framing will pay handsome dividends. I remain a fan, and (I hope) a gentle critic.
You self-serious honkies really slay me. I wish I weren't a honky so I could call all you fuckers honkies in a way that's laden with much more spite and spittle. I'd like to hurl spitty insults at you self-serious fucking honkwinders until my goddamn spittle runs dry.
That's cool that you liked my advice, though. I think my advice was a little long-winded and myopic, now that I'm a few hours older and wiser. I'm a woman, you know, so I change my mind constantly. But anyway, as much as I'd like to back the fuck off with all the cussing and swearing and such, as a writer I do know the power of words, and I can't think of a word more powerful than "fuck." Fuck is a fuckload more powerful than any other stupid word I can think of, even when I repeat it fifty million fucking times in an effort to diminish its power, it just comes back stronger, like Kudzu, or the Olsen twins.
And anyway, are you suggesting that women aren't "a fucking pain," and if so, can you back up that assertion with hard evidence? Yeah, I thought not.
Furthermore, this is my blog and I'll write whatever the fuck I want to around heres, and nobody's gonna say me nay. Unless you want to pay me handsome dividends yourself, you'll have exactly zero fucking influence on my tastes, which lean toward reactionary outbursts, long-winded navel-gazing, and non sequiturs. Hey, by the way, have you seen "Syriana" yet? It's fucking fantastic. Go see it, gentle friend. Have some coffee and bring the big brain with you when you go, you're gonna need it.
BUILT TO SPILL
This morning I'll get an e-mail from my beautiful wife, saying "Sorry I was so funny last night; thanks for putting up with me" yada yada yada. I know this, because I get emails like this a lot. When she's "funny," it's never very funny for me; in fact it feels like it's crushing my soul.
Last night was typical. I got home around 5, took her in my arms and gave her a big hug and a kiss, and could tell she was tired and frustrated (I work, she stays home). I started dinner and we talked about her day - the baby had a hard time going down for her afternoon nap and it just took all the energy out of her. I listened, and sympathized, and told her what a great mom she is. She had a shower, and I had dinner on the table by 6, and somehow she had already become pissed off at me. No eye contact (except for the occasional glare), curt responses to anything I said (which wasn't much - because I could see she was obviously angry), and just generally treating me like a dickhead. She turned on the TV, I left her alone (I just didn't feel like being a hero at the time), and she went to bed before 8, without a word.
The crying baby thing is really tough, I know, but this shit pre-dates the baby by years. I leave for work before she gets up, so right now it's like I haven't spoken to her for days. We've learned to use our words (eventually), so like I said, I'll either get an email or a phone call this morning telling me how she was frustrated and tired (which I know), and how she's sorry for taking in out on me (I know), and what a champ I am for putting up with it. I'll tell her it's ok, that I understand why she was unhappy, but that I hate it when she takes it out on me. She'll say sorry, and I'll say it's alright, and she'll forget about it immediately, while I brood about it for days. We'll get over it, and go back to being great, and then in a week or two weeks, or a month, out of a clear blue sky, I'll be spending the evening with someone who acts like she hates me once again. This I will never understand in a million years.
I know I am far, far from perfect, but I do support my family, I'm faithful and attentive, I do all the shopping, all the cooking, clean around the house & do all the yard-stuff; I'm in shape, and smart, and fun, and a great listener, a good kisser, I send flowers, remember anniversaries, and I adore my girls. So why the hell does she turn on me so easily? I like the fact that she's complicated, and I appreciate having tough days. But when I'm having a tough day - I just want to be with her, and the girls. Being around them makes everything better. When she's having a tough day, she treats me like something she scraped off her shoe. She's more civil to telemarketers and perfect strangers than she is to me, sometimes. It absolutely kills me, I don't get it at all, and I'm getting increasingly tired of it.
I've told her how I feel, lots of times. We've talked about this so many times I could just run the whole conversation in my head. Living this way is such a terrible waste of time and energy. I am very aware that life is short, and very precious, and I hate that we are wasting so much of it feeling bad about, essentially, nothing. How do I fix it, Rabbit?
Love her, but getting tired
Your letter has been sitting on my desktop for over a month now and every now and then I'll read it, and start to think about how to respond, and then I get all confused and have to give up. I've run through a bunch of different approaches to this in my mind, but there really isn't an easy answer. Basically, there's way, way too much to say on this subject (which should be clear from the volumes to come).
Here's the main thing I want to say to you: Most women are fucking moody and weird, particularly the smart ones. I don't know a smart, interesting woman who isn't a big, complicated pain in the ass, myself included. I do know one woman who's relatively low-maintenance, but she sits on her feelings for months and gets depressed and sulks and eventually implodes.
I don't want to make women out to be terribly handicapped. God knows men have their own shortcomings. But women are built like nuclear reactors. We're constantly marinating in a volatile soup of hormones that's poised and ready to form a new, living, breathing human in nine months flat. Think about having that kind of power under your hood. It's awesome, and it fucking sucks.
Women are different from men, and not just because we'd rather stop and ask for directions. Jesus, the way the gender differences are portrayed by most people, you'd think they all boiled down to a handful of superficial preferences. You like sex, I like hugging! You like baseball, I love to shop! Try this on for size: You're a walnut, I'm the Mediterranean Sea. You're a two-by-four, I'm a cloud. You're a hand gun. I'm a fucking nuclear bomb.
Every aspect of our natures is different. If you want to be with a woman, you have to accept that. Complain all you want - Lord knows I complain about men, and women, and my own weird nature. I think it's healthy to complain. I hate the notion that complaining is "being negative." Complaining is just being, period. It's recognizing what's there. Why judge it? It's good to let off steam.
Remember, when a nuclear reactor can't let off steam, widespread destruction is in store. That's the trick: it's not just the engineer that's going to pay for a mistake - everyone within five or six miles is going to pay, big-time.
This is what I think is happening with your wife. She's getting riled up over nothing, or over every little thing, but she doesn't let herself ramble on about any of it. I'm not saying you should take the fall for her bad mood or hormonal flux - I don't think that's even what she wants. My sense is that she knows you're not interested in hearing about her woes, real or imaginary, and that in and of itself makes her pissy. Sure, you might say, "Oh yes, yes, the baby, I see," but she knows how little of this talk you can stand. So she has nowhere to put any of her feelings.
This is what I think might work: Instead of getting self-righteous and pissed off every time she's in an eat-shit mood, instead of wondering why you must suffer through this, why you must waste your time on such foolishness, you consult a little blackboard in your mind, which says, in huge letters: TOUGH SHIT. You wouldn't react that way, ever? That's not surprising, since you're not a woman. She's a woman. That's how she is. She has a built-in hair-trigger device that can rain holy hellfire down upon the wicked and the weak-minded and a half dozen innocent bystanders, to boot.
Do you take way, way too much shit, given the fact that you're a great guy and a great husband and you're fit and you love your girls and so on? Maybe. But mostly it sounds to me like you take an average amount of shit, and you take it way, way too seriously. You feel that it just shouldn't be this way, that it's not fair, that it's a total waste of time. But you need to remember, it is this way, marriage is by nature unfair for both parties involved, and married people waste lots of time, no matter what. You can't manage the care and feeding and training of little humans without having occasional crises that involve blame and misunderstandings and irrational resentment. No amount of idealism will save you from the nasty little bumps in the road.
I think your inability to take shit from her might arise from the fact that you're holding yourself to too high a standard. You're the perfect fucking husband, so she has to be the perfect fucking wife. Look, I don't doubt that your wife has bad days, and needs a lot of help around the house. But that doesn't change the fact that you may be doing more work than you can stand. You do all the shopping and cooking? That's a lot of work. And you spend your free time with the girls, and that's swell, and you don't need anything else, that's all you need? I don't know.
I'm not saying anything about your wife now, I'm just talking about you: What do you need? Maybe you need an afternoon out of the house, away from it all. Maybe you need to ask her to cook one night, while you sit and drink a glass of wine and relax. Maybe you two need to order pizza or Thai food one night a week, and no one has to do shit. Maybe you should hire a babysitter one day of the week and spend the day apart, with friends, doing your own thing.
My hunch is that you're going to need to cut yourself some slack, and then maybe you'll be able to cut her more slack. Because part of the way she's behaving, I guarantee you, has to do with her sixth sense about how much you resent her when she's having one of her meltdowns. She's probably angry at you because she knows you can't fucking stand her when she's emotional, and that makes her feel like she's dipped in shit every time she experiences any kind of emotion. She feels crappy, you offer support that telegraphs "Hey, that's fine, the baby can be difficult, but don't take your shit out on me, lady, don't waste my fucking time," and the next thing you know, she's in her own little rage world. She can take responsibility for all of it after the fact, but that doesn't mean that every last part of it is just her being a nutjob in a vacuum. She's just having trouble owning the fact that she's a motherfucking nuclear reactor and she needs to let off some motherfucking steam occasionally.
The woman stays at home with kids all day. Jesus Christ, I mean, we were made to do that job in so many ways, but in other ways we were made to take a little time out from doing that wonderful, fulfilling, life-changing job by murdering people with our bare fucking hands. It's kind of amazing that women don't murder people with their bare hands more often. I guess we should all feel thankful that women aren't built like Andre the Giant, or people would be dropping like flies.
So. This is what I would do if I were you. First, give yourself a break in some very tangible way - take some time for yourself, stop trying to be perfect daddy and perfect husband. Second, challenge yourself to detach a little, and then invite her to tell you more about what's happening with her. Tune in to her feelings the way you might tune in to Rush Limbaugh just to see what insanity he's brewing up these days. You don't have to understand anything. You're just a walnut floating on the Mediterranean Sea during particularly stormy weather. You're a two-by-four laying down in the grass, gazing at the crazy clouds floating by. Keep one thing in mind: This is what women do. This is the way women are. Observe from a great distance, with endless patience. Think of the Buddha. If you can't do it all the time, that's fine. But push yourself a little. Try to give her some space to be a whining. complaining, angry bitch occasionally. Let her put all of her swirling, volatile feelings into words, without allowing it all to make you mad. You know, from many years of experience, that it's not really about you, not really.
Ok, above "Tough Shit" on the blackboard, you have my permission to write "Women are a fucking pain in the ass." You have a right to be annoyed. Just don't say it out loud. No. This is a process. You're helping her let off steam in order to save the local community from death and destruction.
Women flip out occasionally. That's how we're built. It's unpleasant for us, too, believe me. We're fine, fine, fine, fine, and then suddenly, out of the blue, it seems like the walls are just CAVING IN AROUND US. We have to do SOMETHING something has to CHANGE, EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE! NOW!
And then we're fine again. It's even kind of funny, HAHAHAHA! "The walls were fucking caving in! HAHAHA! I swear to god! Ha. Oh my god, so hilarious. Should we get another round of drinks?"
Your wife will never change. You can go out and find someone else, a woman who flips out to a different soundtrack, but the chances of finding a woman who never, ever flips the fuck out are pretty slim. All you can do is stop flipping out every time she flips out. That's like buying a Ford Focus and then freaking out when it breaks down. You're the one who bought the stupid Ford, you fucking idiot.
I know, I probably shouldn't have called you a fucking idiot. I'm sorry for being so weird. Thanks for being so patient with me, honey!
Honestly, I do have sympathy for you, in the same way I have sympathy for all men with wives. Women are tough. They can really be exhausting. I wouldn't want to be with one, personally. Yuck. What a fucking pain. But I really think you need to take care of yourself a little better, and then see if you don't feel a little more generous with her. If you need to, tell her it's an exchange: You're going to listen to her ranting and raving with an open heart and without getting defensive or taking it all personally (even when it sounds personal), and in exchange, you're not cleaning anymore, you two can cancel cable and get a cleaning lady once a month instead. I don't know. I just think that you both need a little bit more of something: She needs for you to be present and listen even when she's weak and moody and lame, and you need a break from the constant hero husband routine.
Just stop expecting her not to act like a woman. She's not trying to fuck with you, she really isn't. Stop taking it so personally and just accept it. If you have to call someone and bitch about the insanity of women twice a month, do it. Look, write me another letter the next time it happens. and I'll post it here and all the honky and non-honky men who read this stupid site can sigh and say, "I hear you, man." For fuck's sake, though, stop thinking your marriage should end because one of you is a woman.
Friday, December 02, 2005
TODAY IS THE DAY
I will post to my blog to-day. I will post to my blog to-day. (Think Annette Benning in "American Beauty.") I've been meaning to post for weeks, I mean it. I even have a few letters I want to answer. One of the letters is that kind of hauntingly good letter, that universally applicable sort of letter, and because I know how good it is, I keep thinking that I should be in top form to answer it. It sits on my desktop, crying out, "Give me your best! Come to me with guns blazing!" Then, when I put off dealing with it for a few weeks, it cries, "Spend a day with me! I demand nothing less than your full attention!" Then, when a month goes by, it cries, "You are a soggy, half-assed chump! The sight of you makes my gums bleed! The thought of you chaps my lips!"
But I will post to my blog to-day. I will. First, I finish my column. Then, I return to these parts, armed with... something or other.