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Rage Is My Super Power

Hormonal Surges Fuel Temper That’s Uncontrollable — but Could Power Gotham

At my son’s summer camp, the kids get to know each other by answering the age-old question: If you could have any super power, what would it be? Flight and invisibility are popular answers. Some kids say teleportation or time travel.

I’ve never liked that question. While I have unwavering responses to the Desert Island Album question (Beatles, white) and the Celebrity Sex Freebie question (Harrison Ford, any age), I’ve never had a solid super power at the ready. Are you supposed to choose from powers that already exist in the comic-book oeuvre? Or be creative and say, “Parthenogenesis. You know, so I could make babies without male involvement”?

The question actually irritates me. But to be fair, everything irritates me just now. I have begun spasming in and out of what The Google tells me are fits of perimenopausal rage — defined as “outbursts beyond your typical anger level” brought on by “fluctuations in hormones that typically begin in the mid-forties” and which “can be unsettling.”

I mean, sure. You could describe it like that. Personally, I’d say it feels like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors and D’Artagnan, the Stranger Things Demogorgon, have mated and their bloodthirsty hell-spawn offspring is clawing its way out of my soul in order to tear the face off whichever human being had the misfortune of interacting with me last.

On the upside, though … I think I’ve found my super power.

Continue reading Rage Is My Super Power

A Cart … Apart

Debate over Returning Shopping Carts Mirrors Political Divide

But in these polarized political times, I’m noticing how the stories we tell ourselves ​— ​or were told once upon a time and never bothered to fact-check ​— ​can have a profound impact on the way we carry ourselves through the world. And the assumptions we make about others.

You see it in the current immigration debate, as otherwise reasonable Americans shriek at one another, “They’re here to take our jobs!” “No, they’re criminals in the drug- and sex-trade!” “Nonsense, they’re asylum seekers escaping treacherous lands!” Surely the folks knocking at our borders include all of these archetypes and more ​— ​but our inner narratives, once written, resist editing. So the shrieking persists.

I saw this Story Scenario play out in another fascinating fracas recently. I happened upon a friend in the always-perilous Trader Joe’s parking lot. Having loaded groceries into her car and loath to lug her shopping cart all the way back to the store, she asked my opinion on the Age-Old Grocery Store Debate: Must we always return the cart?

Like … every single time??

Continue reading A Cart … Apart

Oh, Say, Can You C-Word?

Notes on a feckless country

The word couldn’t have gotten more buzz if Trump’s stubby thumbs had tweeted it from his golden toilet.

The once-verboten, inarguably vulgar C-word has been on everyone’s whispered lips after funny gal/political commentator Samantha Bee hurled it at Ivanka Trump. The First Daughter earned the ire for tweeting a tender and utterly tone-deaf photo of herself snuggling her son during a week when migrant children were being torn from their parents at U.S. borders per her dad’s new “zero tolerance” immigrant policy.

Predictable reactions followed: 45 feigned offense, though we’ve all heard him refer with equal crudeness to the same body part and saw him welcome Ted Nugent to the White House after that courtly gentleman used the same epithet on Hillary Clinton. Bee apologized. A couple of companies pulled their ads from Bee’s aptly named Full Frontal show. And even liberal women who applauded her message mumbled to one another that the jab was uncouth.

But as the entire incident erupted at the intersection of my three favorite things ​— ​debating over language, insulting a Trump, and alluding to vaginas ​— ​I rather enjoyed it.

Continue reading Oh, Say, Can You C-Word?

Secrets of a Very Catholic Daughter

‘Hiding Out’ Author Talks Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives

He used to leap around naked in front of thousands of people weekly while touring the nation in Hair, a rock musical about sex, drugs, and draft-dodging. On my first day of 9th grade at a snooty prep school, my 70-year-old history teacher proclaimed to the class that my father had sat naked on her lap during a matinee in Baltimore. I never quite recovered.

But then I met Tina Alexis Allen and discovered I had it easy. Really easy.

Continue reading Secrets of a Very Catholic Daughter

One Space. Period.

Foes of Formatting Want Us to Take
Double-Spaced Step Backward

For months on end, I’ve been watching in shock as seemingly impossible things keep happening: The most innovative nation on the globe elected an actual imbecile. Hooded Klansmen marched proudly in our streets. Regulations aimed at slowing our environmental doom were casually reversed.

Now researchers are making a scientific case for using two spaces between sentences in typed communication, instead of one. Two profligate, puffy spaces. Instead of just the sensible single space.

And this, my friends, is where my head explodes. This is where I say, By god, you animals, no more. No more will I stand idly by and watch barbarous, maniac-manned bulldozers ram at the pillars of our human progress. Feh, ye foes of formatting! We have come too far from the clomping Smith Corona Sterling and the humming, ham-fisted IBM Selectric dumping unsightly utilitarian gaps in the midst of our otherwise pretty paragraphs, to ever — nay, ever! — go back.

Continue reading One Space. Period.

My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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