And it seems to me you lived your life like a bourbon in the rain...


It's 11:07pm on November 23, 2012 and Sir Lawrence Hagman...is not alive. He's dead. Larry Hagman died. And I wasn't there. I WASN'T. THERE. Patrick Duffy was! Linda Gray was! Why wasn't I?! Why didn't anyone call me??!! I would have quit school, shoved a handful of FAFSA money down my bra, booked the first available plane ticket to Dallas and sat my ass down next to that man for as long as it took for him to NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT.

Sigh. I g
uess now is where I say I'd like to thank everyone from their Twitter/email condolences during this extremely difficult time. Man. I don't know how I'm going to tell Ex Co-Blogger Eddie. I feel like the news should come from me, but I just don't know how to break it to her. That and it's midnight on a Friday and she has a life, whereas I was just "night napping" in and out of an episode of Tanisha Gets Married when my phone started blowing up. I thought I had perhaps won a prize of some sort (I was still semi-asleep at the time), but NO. JR is in heaven with Jock, wearin' gold medallions and pattin' the rumps of God's secretaries. "Jay-Are!" they say with a coy smile, feigning indignation. Hagman just laughs that little Hagman laugh of his and gets some dap from John Forsythe. 

Remember how happy JR was when the Asia deal went through?
That's how I like imagining him in heaven. Just drunk and jovial and successful in Asian markets for all eternity.

So, where do we go from here? I think we both know the answer to that question: LARRY HAGMAN JPEG/GIF GRIEF PARTY!!!!!




Goodnight, you prince of Dallas, you king of Southfork.


Then Again, They May Have a Point

Well, okay. I just finished writing that post being snippy about people not hiring me, and then… well, here’s what happened.

Giant Camel, who has “marketable skills” and “a pleasant demeanor,” is at “work.” Supposedly “work” is a place where you perform tasks for money. Frankly it sounds too exotic for me, but he seems to enjoy it.

I decided that I would be a good little wife and make dinner, so I got a chicken out of the freezer to thaw this morning. I thought it was probably ready, so I decided to start cooking. And that’s where we went off the rails.

The chicken is sealed in plastic, like everything else in the world. I don’t want to use the household scissors to cut it for two reasons: one, salmonella, and two, Giant Camel. He is “artistic” and I can only guess what bloody craft scissors will inspire in a person who keeps bleached oxtail bones on the toaster oven “just in case” and who once said to me: “Oh, I was saving my hair from my comb in a Ziploc bag to make a little decorative bird’s nest for you, but I think I left the bag in the car when you gave it to charity. Oh, well.”

So I get a steak knife out of the dishwasher. This steak knife is special to me because one Easter, my grandmother sent me a box of household goods and two sweaters. On top was the steak knife, attached to a note: “I thought you could use this for something.” You know, something. Maybe steak, maybe not, you know how people are up there. Something. Now, I put silverware in the washer business-end-up, so the eating surface is more exposed and more likely to get clean. This means that occasionally you stick yourself with a knife, as I did this evening. I proceeded to yell, drop the knife so that it skittered into the back floor of the dishwasher, and then realize I wasn’t really hurt. No, I actually hurt myself leaning into the dishwasher to get the knife out.

So the knife and I are finally ready to free the chicken. So off we go. Do I pierce the plastic so that a little jet of chicken blood shoots out at me? Of course. Do I startle and drop the chicken into the colander? Of course. I eventually get the chicken out and go to extract the giblets. When they’re at work, they’re organs; when they’re shoved back in and left in a pile, they’re giblets. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could avoid getting to eighth base with the chicken and kind of gloosh the giblets out by shaking the bird, like with canned goods. Well, watery chicken blood sprayed further but only something I assume was a pancreas flopped out. I showed to my own pancreas as a cautionary tale – “if you stop working, you end up like this!” Of course, the remaining giblets were still frozen into the bird, so I had to reach in and peel them out with that two-fingered come-hither/g-spot motion.

Then, I do the Salmonella Dance, a feisty little Latin number involving turning the faucet on with my elbow, rinsing my hands, getting the bottle of detergent without really TOUCHING it, washing hands, washing bottle, washing everything. It carries through the entire chicken preparation process – get the cooking sherry, pour it on the bird, pour shake the pepper on, smooth the pepper across the bird, reach for the cooking sherry, remember you have salmonella literally all over your body, wash everything, forget if your hands are wet with water or bird juice, rinse, repeat.

So I get the damn thing herbed. I yell at Giant Camel – who is not here – for using all of the special seasoned salt I got for my birthday. This more than anything may be a sign of my coming crack-up. I got upset because we were almost out of the special seasoned salt. This is even worse than being the kind of person who gets seasoned salt for his birthday and is pleased. I add a little chug-a-lug of cooking sherry, then seal the bird into the pan with foil. I have to wedge it in because it’s a little round cake pan and tuck the foil around the bird like it’s bedtime. Then, of course, I have to do the Salmonella Dance.

I did preheat the oven. I did not check the racks before I preheated the oven. The bird won’t fit so I decide – 1540 on my GREs, ladies and gentlemen – I decide the best thing to do is fold up a tea towel, take the top rack, extract it, run into the bathroom while chanting “no whammies no whammies no whammies,” and run the shower on it cold. Then I can, you know, just set it aside. Did I note where the shower head was pointed? No. Did I turn it directly on my head? Yes.

I leave the now-cool oven rack in the bathroom and drip my way back into the kitchen to put the bird into the oven. I do a final round of the Salmonella Dance. I forget to move the giblet-heavy colander out of the way and get suds all over the pile of organs, nixing the potential for gravy. Having forgotten the tea towel in the bathroom, I dry my hands on my pants and then wonder if that’s “sanitary.” My boyfriend and I share underwear because medium Hanes boxer-briefs all look alike, but God forbid I get germs on my jeans.

I then proceed to tell thousands of strangers how goofy and Lucille Ball-like a cook I am – and I haven’t even started on the carrots! Join me next week, when I plan to somehow drown while trying to make baked fish and green beans.


Fuck Work, Unless You’re Hiring

Weeeeeeeell, I’ve got some good news and some not-so-good news. And then some more not-so-good news. Let’s go in reverse order:

I did not get the job I thought I was going to get. During my interview, it was strongly implied that I would get a second interview. Instead, they’ve elected not to acknowledge my emails. So, there’s that.

So now, having run through all my friends who have friends who might be hiring, I’m ready for the next rite of passage for this generation: I’m moving back in with Dad after Giant Camel’s and my lease in Philadelphia is up at the end of July. So, there’s that. I’d talk about how I feel about all of this, but since most of our readers are within five years of my age, I’m going to assume you know how I feel.

Now, the silver linings:

-       I’m going to keep looking for jobs, mostly so I can say I’ve been looking, BUT having already mentally processed the defeat of having to move in with family I’m going to concentrate on writing during my last while in Philadelphia. I have my eye on a couple of moneymakers (greeting cards and the much-discussed romance novel), but I also plan to do more blogging, and I have a few more projects in mind. This will be good for me, in that a) I won’t go crazy, b) one of these might make money, and c) then I can hold my tattered little manuscripts out to my father, stepmother, readers, and potential employers and declare, “See? I wasn’t just playing Playstation and crash-dieting and crying! I created.”

-       I get to go to the Texas State Fair in the fall, and to the Chickasaw Indian Casino for my birthday. I’m pretty sure that for my eighth birthday my father took me to an arcade and gave me some money to feed into loud machines covered in blinking lights for a minimal shot at reward. Twenty years are as an evening gone…

-       I get to dish about the crappy temp job I had last winter. I withheld it because I didn’t want prospective employers to find the blog, read me aggressively sassing a job, and decide I was unfit. Now I am exponentially less sanguine about prospective employers even looking at my resume, let alone my cover letter, let alone checking to see if I even HAVE a blog and wrote three books, so what the hell. For months I’ve had little bits of paper floating around with notes about that job, and now I can throw them away.

So, as you might remember from my post about Dawn Davenport being my spirit animal, I worked at a large, poorly run tech company. To cover my ass I won’t name it, but the name is as stupid as “CompuCom,” so should you draw any conclusions from that… My job was to load mobile phone apps onto mobile phones, see if they crashed and were in the correct language, rinse, repeat. Theoretically, this might have been a fun job, but. Most of the apps weren’t in English, resulting in a lot of “fun” with Google translate trying to find the keyboard shortcut for those letters only one language uses, a la “Ѭ.” Even before I began, random layoffs raged – the guy who trained me went a week before I did, which is incomprehensible. So there was a strong slasher-movie aspect – every day you’d show up and someone else would be gone. And most of the remaining people were either assholes, lunatics, or some new and exotic combination. So imagine me getting up at 4:30, taking a two-hour bus ride, then sitting quietly in a freezing office writing up, in extreme detail, why an application (we did not test APPS on PHONES but rather APPLICATIONS on DEVICES) to find a nearby bus station in Stockholm didn’t seem to work, but I couldn’t be sure because it was all in Swedish, all the while having no job security and the worst English-speaking coworkers I’ve ever had. Also, we had to flag things that might offend Islamic sensibilities or annoy the Chinese government. I can honestly say I find both of those things extremely difficult to predict. So you can see why I needed to try to mine it for humor.

Some of the best apps:

-       A body mass calculator that, if you typed in the information wrong, gave the reading “INFINITE BMI LOL YOU ARE OBESE”

-       An ovulation tracker that you could set to text your husband when your eggs were ready: “Honey, get home quick!” I got in trouble for not flagging this as potentially offensive to Islamic sensibilities.

-       A numerology “thing” that told me that, according to my name’s numerical value (verbatim), “looks like you should be peep-year-old aunt bath bar next door.” No clue about Islamic sensibilities, as usual, but this offended the hell out of me.

-       I plugged something in wrong and got an error message reading “OPERATION ATTEMPTED ON SOMETHING THAT IS NOT A SOCKET.” Of all the metaphors for my sex life…

-       A soundboard of clips and sound effects from “Young Frankenstein.” I thought I had my headphones in while I was testing it – turns out they weren’t pushed in all the way and Madeleine Kahn was just screaming away for fifteen minutes. The fact that no one mentioned this to me tells me all you need to know about that office.

And my co-workers: One guy wore a purple-and-leopard-print Santa hat around all day, indoors, in January; on guy ostentatiously backed into a parking space in a VOLKSWAGEN JETTA (if you’re parking in a LOT, your car isn’t good enough to do that); and my supervisor typed interoffice messages in this font. Everyone was queer for sanitary wipes and used them many, many times daily – on their hands, on their workstations, on each other for all I knew – as though they knew I was deliberately not washing my hands after I peed. A poster in the breakroom (it had no chairs in it, but hooray for posters!) advised us that we could donate blood at the nearby Fluid Processing Center.

Fluid. Processing. Center. That’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? Crazy John’s Discount Fluids. Flow-n-Go EZ Fluids. Fluids r’ Us. And then when it gentrifies: the Fluidry.

So in short: fuck work, unless you’re hiring in the North Texas area. I’m available August 1st.



First and foremost, I have no idea why the last star isn't filled in all the way. Why don't you tell me? Second and secondmost, I wrote this really unnecessarily long introduction about how I discovered this on Netflix and how it was obviously a very emotional find for me, and it just kind of went on and on from there and somehow and my five-year plan came up, but you know what? Fuck it. Because sometimes a gif is worth a thousand words:


That is how I felt. And that is how I hope you feel when you play...

The Up in Smoke Tour Drinking Game!


I suppose you could switch things up and take a hit from your preferred smoking device instead of taking a drink, but I feel like that would lead to an award-winning panic attack or eating 10,000 calories in under 30-seconds. If you're me, probably both. So, please proceed with caution.

Pour one out for:
- Easy E
- Big Pun
- Roger Troutman
- Biggie
- Tupac
- Nate Dogg
- Chevy Chase Bank

Drink when: 
- There's an uncomfortable shot of a frat bro who clearly has alcohol poisoning being hauled away by security down a nondescript hallway during the opening montage...
- Pot leaf
- Hood rats
- Your eyes well up with tears because you'll never be able to turn back time and see this concert live
- Ice Cube has a farcically elaborate stage intro
- Ice Cube asks, "What the fuck is up, Massachusetts?"
- Ice Cube pronounces "Massachusetts" as "Mass-a-two-cents", which, if I were from Boston, would abso-fucking-lutely be my stage name and I would just go around rapping my opinions on various topics, whether you asked for it or not
- White girl in a halter top
- Ice Cube plugs Next Friday, and frankly, you don't mind
- Blue bandana (drink twice if it's being worn as, or incorporated in a shirt)
- UH, Ice Cube introduces you to the phrase "crazy as cat shit" and you feel like you owe him a steak dinner for such alliterative gold
- Crip Walking
- You watch a youtube tutorial on Crip Walking, try it because it looks like a good core work out, and then immediately feel like an asshole
- 2001 Eminmen makes you sad. Just really, really sad. Because 2012 Eminem exists and he looks like a heavily photoshopped/untalented cat.
- You wish Eminem would have a yard sale so his 10-foot inflatable stage middle fingers could flank your bed
- HA HA HA HA HA. "Stan".
- You feel conflicted:
- The thought of Dr. Dre getting his dick sucked makes you incredibly uncomfortable because you view him as a sort of father-figure. But you'd totally have sex with him. It's just a very confusing situation with a lot of gray areas.
- "The Next Episode"
- It's just so good
- Call and response
- Tricycles
- Basketball
- You could deal with about 60% more Xzibit in your life
- Snoop Dogg demonstrates a very PETA-friendly attitude towards insects
- Conversely, you claw your own flesh off because watching Snoop Dogg feed a cockroach a french fry on a restaurant wall makes you feel like you just smoked an entire salad bowl of meth
- The stoner skull is honest-to-god terrifying
- Eminem really didn't like boy bands. It comes up a lot. Like more than it should.
- TRL reference
- Unfortunate flashback to eighth grade
- No disrespect to Snoop, but you kind of wish a little more of the behind the scenes action was devoted to Dre
- Again, Xzibit seems like the best friend you've never had
- Vag...
- Because yes, there's straight-up vag...
- You weep because it's over
- THE SHOW, that is. Not the vag. The vag being over felt like a win. A big, unkempt, unfortunate win.

Have a great weekend, son! <--- Love, Meghan "Incapable of Leaving on a High Note" Rowland


The Turner-Neal Awkwardness Index

In all the talk about Wikipedia’s effects on academia, how people consume information, and the internet at large, I feel like one point gets consistently left out: it makes weird people weirder. I have obsessions I could never have imagined without Wikipedia. I wouldn’t have read a book about the Burgess Shale, and if you asked me what it was I would have said, “oh, wasn’t Burgess Shale a fixture on the Borscht Belt? Why, did he just die?” Actually, it’s a Canadian fossil bed that preserved what are politely referred to as “the weirdest fossils hell-damn-ass ever.” I could talk about how fascinating I find this for hours – which would be a mistake, since no one would be listening, largely because they’d want to tell me about the Nestorian Schism or myxomatosis, which they had just learned about on Wikipedia.

One of my favorite obsessions – and what previous generation even had the capacity to have enough obsessions to pick favorites? – is the Schmitt Sting Pain Index. An entomologist named Justin Schmidt had dozens of venomous insects sting him, ranked and ordered the level of pain on a scale, and added zesty descriptions. The sweat bee, at 1.0, has a sting that is “light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.” The yellowjacket, doubling down at 2.0, is described as “hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.” The tarantula hawk is doubly disturbing, since not only does it eat tarantulas but has a sting that is “blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.” I can’t find the full index online, sadly. I don’t have the words for why I think it’s wonderful. It just is. It’s so aggressively weird and one of the most genuinely creative things I’ve ever seen.
So, of course, I decided to ape it, tailored for my area of expertise.

The Turner-Neal Awkwardness Index

0.0 – You are alone at home, with the door locked, asleep, fully clothed, in a dignified position on the bed.

0.5 – You can’t open a jar of pickles manually and have to pry open the edge with a butter knife that’s already bent from doing this yesterday on the jam. The cat sees everything.

1.0 – During a visit home, you’re watching a Very Special Episode of Roseanne and start to cry. Your father makes an excuse to leave the room, and your mother leans over to you and stage-whispers, “Are you still sad about Todd? You’ll find someone!”

1.5 – You trip and fall in front of several strangers who do nothing to help.

2.0 – You trip and fall in front of several strangers, all of whom rush over to help pick you up and dust you off, and one of whom insists that you take some ointment and a Life Saver from her purse.

2.5 – You forget to wear deodorant to a job interview and spend the whole time with your upper arms rigidly locked to your sides. The heat and pressure exacerbate the problem, so at the end, instead of shaking the interviewer’s hand, you wink.

3.0 – The same wave that tore off the ironic loose neon Jams you wore to the beach flings you several feet ashore. The next wave delivers a dead gull onto your head. As you hop about trying to get all the dead bird parts off, you overhear a discussion of why your pubic hair distribution is so markedly asymmetrical.

3.5 – Midway down the aisle, your body gives the signal, and you have to about-face and RUN to the ladies’ room. A bridesmaid and a washroom attendant have to hold your dress up as your wedding-jitters Taco Bell binge exits gracelessly. Since your dress has no pockets, you cannot tip the attendant. As you reenter the sanctuary, you realize that the odd marriage between the Lutheran Synod and particle-board construction means that everyone heard.

4.0 – Having mistimed the contractions, you give birth in a subway. Fortunately, your husband is by your side; unfortunately, the child is very apparently not his. Everyone on the subway feels free to comment on this, and two debating sides emerge as you try to rescue the situation by delivering the placenta into your purse. Too late, you remember your passport and keys are in there.
I thought of writing a 4+ to match the bullet and (“Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel”), but awkwardness is finite. Eventually it either develops into a genuine crisis or you die, although at that point you may not care which.


A Complete List of Things That Make Me Nauseous, by Meghan Rowland

- Riding in cars backwards
- Riding on trains backwards
- Not riding on the metro backwards (it can’t be explained it)
- My dad’s “city driving”
- My “I’m late driving”
- Driving on winding roads
- Driving on hilly roads
- Boats, slow-moving
- Boats, speed, driving over another boat’s wake
- Standing on a dock for 20-minutes+
- Bicycling over cobblestones
- Watching moves in the first 10 rows of a movie theater
- Watching movies in 3D
- Watching movies in RealD
- 99.9% of all amusement park rides and attractions
- Airplane turbulence
- Cars with plastic interior
- Cars with velvet interior
- Gym, arc trainer, 60-minutes+
- Gym, ERG machines, 0-minutes+
- Gym, elliptical machine, if not looking at the horizon
- Gym, elliptical machine, watching mounted TV screen
- Gym, reading
- Gym, writing
- Heights
- First dates
- Lobster rolls
- Crab Rangoon
- Burritos
- DiGiorno pizza
- Jelly beans
- Maple syrup
- Flavored lattes
- Raspberry Zinger tea
- Bubble Tea
- MiO Liquid Water Enhancer
- Splenda
- Percocet
- Blood
- Images or video footage of surgery
- Highlighters in any color other than yellow
- Waterbeds
- Swings, sets
- Swings, tire
- Swings, seesaw
- Slides, twisting
- Slides, 45-degree angle+
- Slides, water
- Men with long fingernails
- Alcohol, vodka
- Alcohol, gin
- Alcohol, whiskey
- Alcohol, Jagermeister (it was inevitable)
- Alcohol, mimosas (my new campaign: Mimosas—there should be a bottom)
- Alcohol, Disaronno (I discovered one night in college that it tastes like a liquid almond croissant and there was an incident)
- Beer, Blue Moon
- Beer, Chimay
- Reading while moving. Period.
- Loud patterns
- The scrolling feature on Netflix’s homepage
- Watching The Deadliest Catch on a TV screen larger than 20”
- Vanilla-scented perfumes
- The major motion picture The Killing Fields
- Snorkeling
- Trampolines
- Magic Eye posters (1994 was a long year)
- Ski lifts
- Dairy
- When the metro stops and you look out the window and think you’ve started moving again, but it’s just the train adjacent to you moving and you realize you’re still stopped
- Heat
- Confrontation
- The smell of Bumble & Bumble thickening shampoo and conditioner
- Pogo sticks
- Moon shoes (Seriously, eff 1994)
- Certain anti-inflammatory medication
- Planetariums
- The Guggenheim
- Dance, Dance Revolution
- Taylor Gourmet’s website
- Ferris wheels
- Corn mazes
- Doing a swimmer’s turn
- Peanuts
- Making this list


2 Birds Investigates: An Evening of the Occult

So, I’m looking for a job. We’ve had this conversation. It’s miserable, I’m miserable, we’re all miserable. I’ve tried being myself, a la ex-co-blogger Eddie (“I wore a see-through camisole and talked about Kreayshawn! They’re giving me a raise!”), I tried not being myself, I’ve tried long resumes, I’ve tried short resumes, I’ve tried bursting into tears in a temp agency – zip.

So, I tried magic.
I don’t not believe in voodoo. I have a little grisgris bag or mojo I always have with me that I got from an actual voodoo lady in Louisiana. I lost the first one, so I had to send a check with $35, a note of apology, and some hair and nails for a replacement – and THE DAY it got here Meg and I found out the sample for Misanthrope’s got accepted. Frankly, I’ve believed in weirder things with less reason (chupacabra, etc.), so I’m willing to throw in for voodoo. And if I’m going to ask the supernatural for help, it’s either voodoo or the Episcopal Church, and going to an ornate, mostly empty sanctuary and politely asking God for help if he’s not terribly busy makes a weak blog.

Originally, Meg and I had a bigger idea. We were going to try to break our bad luck with a self-designed voodoo ritual, but after a short heart-to-heart about Meg’s condo board (“I’m on thin ice after Evie as it is, and if they find all that blood in the drain…”) we decided to lowball it and order a prefab spell from the internet.

St. Expedite is the patron of doing things quickly, which explains why we’ve never met. He likes red things and, apparently, candles with herbs sprinkled in the wax.
Before performing a spell, it’s considered wise to “cast a circle” of protection around yourself. According to wiccanonline.com (or similar), this is done by:

-       Giving the room a good cleansing smudge with sage. We did this by lighting sage incense and walking around the room chanting “Smudging… smudging…smudging…”
-       Getting in the north corner of the room, facing north, bowing, and saying “I cast this circle in the name of love and light, and ask that it protect me from all malevolent and unwanted spirits.”

-       Repeating the bow and love-and-light bit while facing east, south, and west.

-       Pointing at the earth and turning around three times, counterclockwise (if you do it backward the dead will absolutely rise)

-       Adding any other words you feel appropriate. I elected to add the spell Angela Lansbury used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks to make suits of armor fight the Nazis: “Treguna mekoides tricorum satis dee!”

Either from Hocus Pocus or an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? I have the idea that you’re also supposed to also make an actual circle of actual salt. Meg offered me my choice of garlic salt or sea salt in a grinder. I chose the grinder because I like the sound it makes.

Now that we were protected, we were ready to do the spell. It had an odd, Oprah vibe: we had to visualize what we wanted and then write it down in detail, including desired starting salary. Essentially, it was a cover letter to the beyond. I don’t actually know what rules govern this situation, so in case it falls under the birthday-wish rules, I won’t say exactly what I wrote. I bet you can guess – I relied heavily on the phrase “shit, anything at this point.”

Well, we visualized and we wrote, then lit the candle and put it on top of our papers. The spell goes like this:
"St. Expedite, I call upon you,
I ask for your powerful support.
You know what is necesary and what is urgently needed.
Please help me remedy economic problems.
That I may obtain ufficient money for necessities.

Please help me find gainful employment very soon,
so that this heavy burden of concern
will be lifted from my heart
and I will soon be able to provide
for those whom God has entrusted to my care.
By your grace, Blesed Saint"


When you're done Say:
"Expedite now what I ask of you.
Expedite now what I want of you.
Do this for me, Saint Expedite,
And when it is accomplished,
I will as rapidly reply for my part
With an offering to you.
So Mote It Be! Blesed Be!"

Afterward, I banged my fist on the table to make it official, then poured some of the melted wax on my paper. It seemed like the magic thing to do. The paper with the spell on it has a very strict warning at the bottom – apparently St. Expedite is touchy, and if he does you a favor and you don’t give a thanksgiving offering, he’ll pull the whole thing down around your ears. So be warned.

We already had candles lit and the circle laid, so we decided to have a séance. That previous sentence says more about my life than I wish it did.

The internet was less helpful than usual on séances. It seems like the kind of thing that would have a specific, involved ritual around it, but no: you just light a candle, hold hands, and wait for the ghosts. You’re supposed to give them an easy way to contact you: set out a glass of water to jiggle a la Jurassic Park, or just ask them to tap. (With what?) We had a hard time choosing someone to contact. I wanted to try to contact my recently deceased grandfather, but somehow waking him up so I could blog about it seemed disrespectful, so we settled on Nancy Mitford, the not-incredibly-famous British humorist I wrote my graduate thesis on. She wasn’t home, or whatever, so we moved on to Gerald Ford – I thought it might help to try someone with a tie to the Washington area. Well, Gerald apparently only contacts registered Republicans, despite our argument that after the Reagan realignment it’s really a different party than he remembers, and Betty wasn’t communicative either. So we did what you’d expect us to do and went after Bea Arthur. So much for not being predictable.

Meg: Bea? Calling Bea Arthur. Paging Beatrice Arthur.

Me: Bernice? Bernice Frankel? We know your birth name! We’re true fans!

Meg: Bea, if you’re listening, we want to thank you for being a friend.

Me: “Lady Godiva was a freedom rider, she didn’t care if…”

Meg: Shut up, or we won’t hear if she taps.

Me: Bernice?

Meg: We’d appreciate a quick hello, we know you’re probably busy with Estelle and Rue…


Me: RUE?!

Meg: Did you see that we dedicated our third book to you?

Rue: Tap.

Me: Were you pleased:

[Long pause]

Rue (playfully): Tap.

Meg: We weren’t kidding! We cherished you!

Me: We still do!

Meg: Feel free to drop back in anytime.

Me: We’ll make cheesecake! Presumably you can enjoy the smell, or something!

This is a dramatization, but I. Swear. To. God. We heard three distinct taps in answer to our questions. Either we contacted Rue McClanahan from beyond the grave or the air conditioner was on. I know what I’ve chosen to believe.

Also: Rue McClanahan can back from the grave to acknowledge that we dedicated a book to her before the book was released. Garry Shandling has had since November to acknowledge that Brainwashing was dedicated to him, and I mailed him a free copy. AND HE’S ALIVE.

All this happened Friday night. Today, Monday:

-       Got an ACTUAL JOB INTERVIEW for an ACTUAL JOB in ACTUAL NEW ORLEANS. 99% sure it’s not a prank.

-       Got called about working a polling station during the primaries, which will allow me to fulfill my lifelong dream of looking a first-time voter dead in the eye and saying “there is a wrong answer – you know that, right?” AND is a day’s work

-       Got the author copies of It Seemed Like A Good Idea…, which means Amazon will be shipping soon. It has an attractive cover and is filled to the BRIM with laughs. You should buy two copies and keep one in your panic room, just in case.

-       Got a free banana from the corner bodega, just because it was going bad!

St. Expedite and Rue McClanahan – fixing my terrible life for over three days.
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