Thursday, July 8, 2010

If Mama Grizzly Bear Ain't Happy, Ain't Noooobody Happy

Okay, I think I understand where Sarah Palin was coming from on the whole Mama Grizzly thing. But for me, what that phrase really conjures is the image of a weird hybrid of gay "bears" and a drag queen. Like a really big, hairy dude in a tiara and kitten heels. Or a drag queen who goes for "butch lesbian realness"with flannel shirts layered for a 1997 Lillith Fair t-shirt.

And then, of course, there's the whole thing where this could all be a clever ruse on Sarah's part to flush a bunch of mama grizzlies out of the woods. Cause, ya know, she hunts stuff. From a helicopter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Justice may be blind, but she's not stupid

Okay, so today was my first time to ever serve jury duty. I’ve been called before. But not very often. And have never actually had to report. This time I made a critical tactical error in showing up early. They just had us sit in order of appearance. And they only needed six jurors. I was lucky number 7. And the only woman in the front row. If I wasn’t sporting a Mohawk or wearing a “Roswell is for illegal aliens” t-shirt, I was pretty much going to get tagged. It’s all good. I wanted to actually see how it went down.

Not that the traffic violation we heard was the crime of the century. And not a supervillain defendant either. If you’re going to actually fight a traffic ticket (chose to fight a traffic ticket, I should say, cause you could just pay the fine), it would behoove you to show up on time. Not 15 minutes into voir dire (and I just lurv using the legal terminology – sustained!). Second, one might choose to not show up in a t-shirt with a giant skull on it. And it cannot have escaped this guy’s notice that he is a black man. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying. Even Lindsay Lohan dresses for court.

So, anyway, halfway through the trial, I have this total The Good Guys moment. The defense attorney is this good ol’ gal, who was really, really passionate about trying to get us to throw out the conviction based on the laser gun not being a reliable. She built a lousy case, but I got where she was trying to come from (Denny Crane she wasn’t). And she really put her back into it. A for effort. D for legal argument. But as she kept arguing, her accent kept getting more and more twangy. And eventually, she referred to the “laser machine.” I kid you not. And she did it again! That’s just not fair. I nearly lost it in open court. Evidently, no on told her the correct legal terminology is that “speedin’ doohickey.”

Anyhoodle. They let me be the presiding juror (yes, yes, thank you, it’s such an honor). And a good thing too. Because the guys on the jury would have sat around and chewed the fat over this one all afternoon (2 electrical engineers on that jury, no less). C’mon now. I let them circle the airport a little while, but we needed to land this bird. Guilty. $100 fine. That’s lunch.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Echoes & Flashbacks

Okay, so yesterday, I’m walking around JC Penney. I pass 3 little kids together. I hear a littler one say to a bigger one, “Is that a boy or a girl?” Jesus. Talk about spinning me right back to my childhood. One second I was having a nice shopping day. The next I was reliving my worst pre-pubescent insecurities.

For background, I was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and Chuck Taylors. Pretty gender neutral. But my hair mid-length hair was down. And I was carrying a purse. Now, the hair, I’m going to call out teenage boys, because young guys have been wearing their hair pretty girly in my opinion (I submit Justin Bieber into evidence). But a purse? Come on. A purse? What do I gotta do here?

Not the kids’ fault, but “hello, shame spiral”. I spent a lot of my tween years fairly gender ambiguous looking. Tall, skinny, short hair, tomboy. I got a lot of “is that a boy or a girl?” And not just kids. A hairdresser, had the clippers out and buzzing before I was able to clarify the issue. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Pixie! Not buzz cut! Boobs would have helped, but what little I do have wouldn’t show up for another 7 or 8 years. Makeup might have helped, but even if my Mom had let me wear it, I suspect it would have confused the issue more – I’d have probably looked like a junior transvestite.

And it was the late 70s, so there were plenty of unisex clothing options. In fact the 70s and 80s were kinda gender bendy decades (David Bowie, Annie Lennox, boys grew their hair long, women wore power suits, people actually used the word “unisex”). But those were outliers. Most people wanted boys to look like boys and girls to look like girls (and still do), especially in the very conservative areas I lived in. And they could be pretty cruel to someone who wasn’t classifiable at a glance. Would I have been a girly-girl if I’d actually been curvy, fluffy and pretty? Maybe. Nature really didn’t give me that sugar and spice option. I kinda played the hand I was dealt. Unfortunately, some people really wanted me to stop being a square peg. And I wasn’t willing to jam myself into a round hole just to make them happy.

So, yeah. One simple question (simple!) from a little kid and, even at 41, I’m reliving my Vietnam. Tween PTSD. Little do we know those tiny, stupid battles we fight at 11 can come back and haunt us.

The Jerk

I’ve seen a couple of things where Jeremy Piven is coming out and speaking about his struggle with mercury poisoning. I think he’s figured out that people don’t think he just plays a jerkwad on TV. He’s all method, baby. Actually, I don’t know that he’s a jerkwad in real life. He could be all kinds of sweet in the real world. I doubt it. But it is in the realm of possibility that he just has a talent for playing the less noble among us. And isn’t actually King Douchebag. Again, doubt it. But if so, hand the man an Oscar.

Here’s the thing though. I don’t actually object to douchebags on general principal. Some of my favorite people in the world have been pretty jerky. Jerks usually tell it like it is. They don’t sugarcoat their words, or play the game so that you’ll like them. They don’t care if you like them, so why bother? It can be kind of relaxing to hang around a jerk. We all usually have the “act” made up of our little social skills and diplomatic phrasings that make it possible to get through all that interaction. Lord love a jerk. They usually have a thick enough skin that you can just say it. No varnish needed.

Some of my jerkwad friends have been just straight up jerks, with few redeeming qualities. But they’ve had one or too that have been not incompatible with the jerky that have made them at least casual friends. Like a wicked sense of humor, or mad computer skills. And those are not assets to be discounted lightly. Of course, you don’t introduce them to your single friends without major warnings: you will live in a world of regret if you attempt to date this hot mess.

Then there are some that are jerks with a heart of gold. Sometimes the douchey exterior hides the actual sweetheart that resides within. Perhaps they want to appear tough. Perhaps they want to be accepted on their own terms. Perhaps they’ve had their little marshmallow insides squashed too many times and have grown a hard candy shell. Again, you don’t introduce them to your girlfriends without a warning. But it’s usually along the lines of “I guarantee he will say something schmucky. But stick it out. He can be really worth the effort."

TIME: Quotes of the Day