Puke-Associated Things I Cleaned Today

1. The sink.
2. The front of the sink.
3. The floor in front of the sink.
4. My pajamas.
5. The shower curtain.
6. The glass of water I meant to drink, but instead dumped all over me and the bed when I passed out fell asleep Friday night.
7. The dog. In all fairness, she was not puke-associated, but since I was cleaning the tub anyway, she did have some previous ketchup stains I wanted to get after.
8. A shot glass.

Also, I should say that many of these things were already cleaned once by the Butcher yesterday (Thanks, Butcher), but you know how sometimes you’re just convinced you can still smell it? I was convinced I could still smell it. But I bleached the shit out of everything, so nothing organic can possibly have survived.

Cleaning the shot glass, though, alerted me to another problem. I now have half a bottle of Gentleman Jack that cannot possibly be opened in our house without causing me to gag.

I thought about having a contest and the winner would get the rest of the whiskey. But then I thought about how I probably should just give it to the man who had to “enjoy” the first half of the bottle as it ran around his house making an ass of itself Friday night.

And so, that is what I shall do, as soon as I can bring myself to look at it again.

The Books Meme

Sarcastro tags me to play this little game and, since I’m grateful to learn that he’s still speaking to me after Friday night*, I will oblige him.

[1] Name 5 of your favorite books

The Poetic Edda. What can I say about this book that I haven’t said before? It’s the little-acknowledged reason for every nerdy Saturday night spent across this great world playing Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the spiritual ancestor to The Lord of the Rings and it’s full of magic, sex, adventure, and wisdom. Except for the part where most everyone dies, even the gods you love, it’s a wonderful gift from our ancestors**.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Everyone should take the time to read “Song of Myself” out loud, once. I think you can love it seeing it on the page, but hearing it out loud? Good god damn. Whitman is bold and crazy and his sentences meander across the page like long rivers he’s traveling down, coaxing you with him. Whitman knows America, sees us in our Sunday best and sees us in our dirty underwear and loves us at both moments equally.

Plus, there’s a barbaric yawp at the end. I’ve never told anyone this before, but it’s a secret dream of mine to have the libertarians read that stanza to me (I don’t know under what circumstances that might transpire, but I guess you never know) and to watch them barbarically yawp. That would delight me. Do libertarians read poetry outloud? I don’t recall there being any rule against it in Libertarianism: A Primer.

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. This may be my favorite book ever. I can’t find my copy, which makes me heartsick. But here’s the premise: Marco Polo is in the court of Ghengis Khan, telling him stories about all of the cities he’s seen. If you aren’t familiar with Calvino, he’s incredible. He writes this experimental fiction that, unlike most experimental fiction, is light and playful and beautiful and dream-like. I don’t know that Invisible Cities is his best work, but it’s my favorite.

The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry. I quote from this all the time, so I think my love for it is already apparent. It’s just full of good stuff.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It’s a good thing most writers are idiots, because if they weren’t, they couldn’t read this book and still set out to write “The Great American Novel.” Here is it, America. Here it is. What more can you say about how wonderful this country is and how deeply, deeply fucked up the ways we treat each other are? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the fact that we’re still, 150 years later, missing the central bitter joke of this book–that Nigger Jim, a piece of property, is the only real man Huck knows–just proves that Twain knows us better than we care to admit. Yes, the ending sucks. Is that a “problem?” I guess only if you think that the answers to our problems are easy and within reach–Twain knows better than that. That’s the second central bitter joke of the book.

[2] What was the last book you bought?

Shoot, I haven’t bought a book in so long… I think it was Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a book I just adored.

[3] What was the last book you read?

Libertarianism: A Primer as you well know.

[4] Name five books that have particularly meaningful for you.

The Redneck Manifesto by Jim Goad most recently. Sarcastro lent this to me and it blew my mind. Yes, I think his anger is scatter-shot in ways that dilute his point, but his point–that it serves a particular group’s purpose to make sure that poor people are unaware of their own history–is really important.

Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard. If any book could have kept me Christian, it’s this one. God, baseball, the Midwest, and World War II. At the end, when the baseball players throw the game for the women, I cry and cry every time I read it.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. Wolf is a nut and she’s got some issues. But she makes this point in this book that haunts me–that we women talk about ourselves and our relationship to food in religious terms and we rarely think about what that implies. When we have dessert, we’re being “bad.” Foods are “sinfully” delicious. When we lose weight, we’re being good. So, how we look is not just an aesthetic issue, but has become deeply tied into whether or not we feel we’re worth-while at a soul level.

Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism by Jenny Blain. I’m sure many cultures are tired of white folks showing up to study them and participating in their rituals and bothering their dead folks. Blain bothers her own dead folks and talks in a scholarly way about how she does it.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I read this book in middle school and felt like a whole world opened up to me. I had no idea that people like me could write books and that they could write them about ordinary folks. Then I read this book and decided I was going to be a famous author before I was 20. Oops.

[5] Three books you are dying to read but just haven’t yet.

Love and Theft by Eric Lott. Yes, in part, because it shares a name with the Bob Dylan album.

Race, Rock, & Elvis by Michael Bertrand. I have a huge intellectual crush on Bertrand’s chapter on Elvis in A Boy Named Sue so I’m dying to see what he says about him in this much space.

A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones.

[6] Tag five people to go through this same ordeal.

Whoever wants to do it, feel free to claim to be tagged by me. I’ll never say any different.

*Though I’m not sure the Boy Scout or Sarcastro’s Sugar Momma are…
**Christianity gets blamed, rightly, for a lot. But, in this case, as in the case of Beowulf, I’m glad some literate person at least put this shit on paper.

How It Went

I wasn’t nervous, probably because I was just so relieved to not feel sick. The Butcher had asked me earlier if he was going to have to put on a dress and pretend to be me and go out there and read my lines. For most of the day, I was afraid that might be the case.

Here’s the thing, folks–in real life, I’m awkward. I feel awkward. And the women who were in The Vagina Monologues are extraordinary. And I kept feeling like the coolest stuff, for me, was happening behind the scenes, just getting to hang out with these women who kick so much ass.

I just had two small parts, a happy cooter fact and a sad cooter fact, but these women were getting up on stage and telling long cooter stories, and then coming back stage and laughing and talking in hushed voices and everyone was constantly hugging each other and smiling and I just felt incredibly honored to be there with them.

Any one of them could have read my two cooter facts and no one would have missed me. And so that made me feel deeply honored, too, that they would give me a little room on the stage.

Even so, it didn’t really hit me until I stepped out on the stage to give my happy cooter fact and there I was, bathed in light, and I couldn’t see anyone else. Just darkness and a spot of light to stand in and a microphone with that waffle of silver wire over the head.

And that’s when I was awe-struck.

Here I was, your lowly blogger, on the stage at the Belcourt Theater, once the home of the Grand Ole Opry*, where Miss J. and I saw Gillian Welch, and, according to the sign on the dressing room door, Raul Malo had been recently. It seemed pretty silly, frankly.

Not in a bad way, but just in one of those “Wow, how the fuck did this happen?” ways. Weird things constantly happen to me, but it’s been a long time since something really pleasantly strange has.

And it felt good. I am all for the return of some happy fortuities around here, let me tell you. So, shoot, you want to throw me out on a stage used to bearing the weight of people I admire, and if that audience wants to laugh at and with me**, I’m not going to say no. It was amazing. And I feel very lucky.

Then, afterwards, I was standing in front of the stage and I heard a familiar voice shrieking “B.! B.!***” and The Big E and the Butcher came running over to give me hugs.

Then, I went back stage to get my stuff and I came out and said good-bye to folks and hugged everyone I could find and looked around and there was the Butcher standing in the back of the house, wearing his big brown leather coat, with a big smile on his face, and he lifted his hand to wave at me, and I walked up to him and he said, “No, that was really good.” And I said, “I’m really glad you came.” And he said, “I liked it.”

And I felt lucky to have him, too. I can’t help it, y’all. Even when he drives me crazy, I feel like my brother is one of the best happy fortuities in my life.

*Though, in all fairness, before the Opry settled at the Ryman, it seems to have made its home for a short time in just about every place in town.
**Though, to the person who whooped when I mentioned that having your clitoris cut off can lead to death… Did you not get that that was a “not-so-happy fact”?
***Well, actually, she was shrieking my whole name, which most of you now know, but you know, in the beginning I was “Aunt B.” and all of my readers knew who I was and it became a funny little joke after a while. And so, I reckon it’s still a joke, just now everyone is in on it. It’s probably better that way.