Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Few Ways to De-addict Yourself From Tarjay Until They Reconsider Their Stupid In-store Open Carry Policy

If, like me, you don't like shopping for miniature deodorant alongside people with assault rifles who didn't get the memo about wearing pants on the Internets, you may want to enact a survival strategy for the coming weeks. Sure, it will be tough not to leave work 197 minutes early for necessities like toilet paper and printed palazzo pants. Sure, you will miss the crap-scented coolness of that first step inside the bullseye-marked doors. Finding new sources for harmless addictions like The World's Biggest Goldfish Container and nesting plastic bins will take time, to be sure. You'll probably even miss the mom-mobile shopping cart pretend truck things that don't actually turn, and sometimes knock down stacks of candles with the old pope on them or cut off your heel.


Either way, you will feel good knowing you're supporting the right of shoppers everywhere to not have their heads blown off. Or their kids' heads. Or to worry about those unfortunate possibilities. Or to have to look at really bad tattoos. Or really big Underoos.

Here are some ways I've found to help you feel less dependent on Tarjay and less jittery about doing your civic duty during this difficult time.

Your new favorite retailer is called Costco, bitches.

What, you think Tarjay invented big boxes and frozen pizza? Far from it. Costco owns that tiara, honey, and it also has free tastings, your readymade dinner, really big TVs that will keep your husband out of your fun hatch when you're tired and cheap girls-weekend packages to Cabo. So what if you have to fight off a dozen aggressive grannies for a bite of frozen dim sum? Costco is to Tarjay what Canada is to the US: a big, beautiful, unspoiled paradise whose paltry few inhabitants don't make you feel claustrophobic and don't seem to know quite how to rape the land. You show them, girl!

Buy organic milk at the supermarket.

There's this crazy secret those in the know hold close to their pocketbooks, ladies: Supermarkets sell milk. The organic kind that won't give your son tits. Uh-huh, that's right -- you can buy your giant urns of bovine opium along with real food and -- get this -- it actually costs less. Because Tarjay -- Goddess of Slave-made Cheap Shit Forgive Me -- has figured out that they can get you to spend more on that ivory ambrosia when you're desperate for those $1 Ground Hog Day-themed herb planters and the kids are screaming because the Mom-mobile Truck Cart Thing has cut off their heel.

Toilet paper works just as well when it isn't purchased in packs of 80.

You can totally wipe your ass with that shit. Totally.

Hit the bars early and often.

We know why you really spend hours upon hours stalking Tarjay's hallowed aisles, girlfriend. Ain't no secret. Like your 5x-daily dumps (see: Faking a Case of Irritable Bowel) it's your time alone, right? Your getaway from The Forces That Would Eat Your Brain (AKA, your children, job, husband, terminally pukey cat)? C'mon, you can tell us…it's ours too! Let me guess: you're panicking inside because now there's only that cherished locked-bathroom time standing between you and your family's  continued survival. But there are other options, honeychile. Better ones, in fact. Bars, for example. You know, those places with alcohol, fun and men who don't want you to make them dinner? So next time you feel your inner crazy lady clawing to get out, head over to the nearest watering hole and order a [insert favorite cocktail here]. So what if it's 10:30 a.m. -- nobody there will judge you, I promise.

Think what a bullet could do to a Crackle Glaze Ceramic Wild Mushroom Lawn Gnome.

'Nuff said.

Class it up by being a cheapskate.

Your other best friend? eBay. Forget about stupid stuff like work, cleaning the house and feeding your family. Your new job is to replace all your cheap-ass Tarjay baubles with belongings you can feel good about. Because they have gold plaques on them with the first names of classy-ass gay designers. Or were not made by slaves. Or were made by slaves but still have the gold plaque. You will do this by spending every waking minute with your finger hovering over the Bid Now button on eBay. Like methadone for heroin addicts, you will find eBay shopping a close second to the Tarjay buzz.

Think about all the money you'll save.

How many times have you headed over to Our Lady of Mass-produced Crapola to invest in "necessities" and returned with your wallet $768 lighter, your trunk stuffed with fiesta-themed plastic pool party tableware (you don't have a pool), $1 Elf makeup that slides off your crepey lids in minutes (is it designed for actual elves, with magical powers that make the makeup stay put?) and sweatpants with words on the butt no one over thirteen should wear? STOP THE MADNESS. You don't have to feel those feelings anymore. Make do with what you have. You have enough. Except the toilet paper and organic milk, and I've already told you how to get those. (Lest you argue that Tarjay also markets fun, life-affirming, age-appropriate stuff like graphic t-shirts for your age group with not-quite-accurately-rendered Rolling Stone tongues and Beatles tropes on them, I will remind you that you don't need those things to feel 45 either.)

I hope these suggestions help you like they have helped me. Remember: You might be able to shop there again someday. Until then, pretend you're Canadian, with all the poise and non-rapey goodness that portends.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It Happened To Me: There Are Mostly Annoying People In Yoga Classes and I'm Suddenly Feeling Like I Need a Manhattan and a Meat Stick

It's been an interesting week in Self-indulgent, Racially Provocative Il-advised Commentary Aimed at Getting a Self-indulgent, Racially Provocative Writerish Person a Book Deal.

First, there was this.

Then, there was this.

Finally, there was this and other things like that.

I am intrigued.

Full disclosure: Skinny White Girl could have substituted every instance of "heavyset black girl" with "Kim Green" and the piece would have captured perfectly how she would have perceived my (short-lived) yoga engagement. ("Kim Green" is code for "chubby white 40something meat-eating wine-swilling anachronism who didn't get the memo about what middle-aged women are supposed to look like nowadays.")

I'll just say it: America's collective obsession with yoga is to early 21st-century America what aerobics was to the America of the 1980s.

Yep--I'm talking about that oh-so-noble canon of stretches, of any yogic pedigree, with or without sauna, or shirt, or see-through pants.

I'll say it again: yoga is the Jane Fonda-jazzercise-buttfloss-wearing-skinny-deifying-self-righteous-cultish-vaguely-annoying-vaguely-puritanical aerobics of our time.

This, too: Just because some brown guys in Depends did it for a couple of centuries doesn't make it a noble exercise when you do it.

It just makes you deluded and annoying.

I think the essay that caused all this trouble missed the point. It's not so much that heavyset black girls are causing existential crises for both themselves and emotionally porous skinny white girls when they integrate the pristine sanctity of the SWGs' neighborhood yoga studios with their unsightly muffin tops, unpleasantly scrunched up face juju and tight shoulders--it's why would anybody fun and not desirous of joining a cult and not into self-flagellation want to do so in the first place?

Yeah, okay, I skipped ahead there. I suppose I should explain what's wrong with yoga, exactly.

Here's what's wrong with it:

It is desperate.

It pretends to be about health and mind and mindbody shit, but, for most of its cult members, it is really about what you look like.

It is ponderous.

It is self-aggrandizing.

It is cultish.

It is elitist.

It is pretentious.

It is boring.

It is narcissistic.

It is a liar.

It is addictive.

It is painful. (Okay, I'll admit there are many painful things worth doing. Yoga just isn't one of them.)

It is all those things to me...and I'm not even a heavyset black girl!

Mind you, I'm not saying all yoginis (shudder) officially subscribe to or endorse the shallow views of some of its practitioners. Certainly not. In fact, some of my best friends* are yog(insert pretentious suffix here). But by perpetuating the silly idea that yoga is (a) the best exercise ever; (b) the best meditative activity ever; and (c) the best meditative exercise for anybody and any body, ever; and (d) a thing we should spend every waking minute doing, at the expense of doing anything else, especially if it doesn't make your abs show, because how can whatever else you might be doing be better than yoga?, they are party to its proliferation.

But why listen to me? Maybe I'm just one of those contrarians who doesn't like things everybody else likes, because they, you know, like them. Maybe I don't look good in yoga pants. Maybe I have tight hamstrings. Who knows? All I know is, life is too short to waste on joyless, skinny-white-girl masochism.

*Well, we used to be best friends, before I wrote this. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What do you love about Bostonians?

I love that when I was there for a family medical emergency last fall and staggered into a dank-yet-inexplicably-positive bar* for a desperately needed alcoholic beverage, the bartender did not look at me askance when I ordered a pint and a glass of Merlot at the same time. (He did look at me askance when I asked about the provenance of the wine, however. But, hey, I am a fucking Northern Californian and it is my job to reaffirm his stereotypes about Northern Californians.) He also charged my cell phone for me, snark-free.

*Boston has a lot of those, proof alone of its greatness.

So...what do you love about Boston and its people? #bostonstrong

Monday, April 01, 2013

Facebook Fetches Big Ad Dollars With Petco Deal

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 31, 2013 – Facebook today announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in leading pet specialty retailer Petco. Driven by the need to strengthen its advertising platform, Facebook plans to monetize its social network by optimizing it for pet-related ads and content.

“PetFace is in very, very early beta,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says. “Our users love their pets—sharing photos, buying products, trading tips on their care—and we think PetFace will integrate seamlessly with our new personalized Graphic Search platform, benefiting Facebook users, consumers and advertisers alike. With our redesigned News Feed now accommodating larger and more dynamic ad formats, you’ll be seeing a lot of relevant content for Fluffy and Fido lovers.”

Director of Engineering Mike Schroepfer says Facebook and Petco are a natural fit. “Petco leads the market in providing resources for humans to be great pet parents. Facebook is the world’s premier social media sharing site. This partnership gives Facebook users the power to dig deeper into a topic they care deeply about. Pets are part of millions of people’s families. We share Petco’s commitment to humane animal care, including its Think Adoption First™ philosophy.”

The partial acquisition is Facebook’s second this quarter. In March, Facebook acquired Hot Studio, an experience-design company based in San Francisco and New York. The Hot Studio acquisition was the company’s largest to date, bringing with it 114 employees.

According to Zuckerberg, the synergy is intentional. “Our newest designers [from Hot Studio] are experts in building tools for brands and businesses. Petco is the world’s leading animal-friendly brand. As much as 83% of Facebook users have or will have a pet in their lifetime. We anticipate that about 78% of the brands served on our new advertising platform will be pet-related,” he says. “The PetFace team will be spending time at Petco’s corporate headquarters in San Diego. We’re very excited to be part of the Petco family.”

About Facebook
Founded in February 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook is a trademark of Facebook, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

About Petco
Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice
that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,150 stores nationwide, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $100 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 8,000 local
animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 250,000
animals through in-store adoption events every year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Official Unsanctioned Outlaw Maverick Clenched Buttcheeks Wassergreen Holiday Newsletter 2012

Some family members were busy displaying their anuses at press time.
So, first: I now eat an almost completely Paleo diet. Okay, so more like 80/20 Paleo. Ish. Definitely Paleo except for all the sugar, wine and late-night bowls of Lucky Charms. So that's news.

Gabe and I did not divorce, though he threatened a few times. Yeah, I know, right?

2012 clarified for me that if I could only bring one of the kids on a lifeboat, it would be Lucca. Unless the lifeboat was anywhere near a sushi joint, and then it would be Zev.

I wrote a book. Okay, technically it's not yet published, no one has read it but me and it includes the word spokesdolphin. But I'm feeling bullish: it's a book. Ish.

Paleo almost killed my ability to run. That's why I had to bring back Lucky Charms.

I am ripped.*

Gabe almost got shat on by a dragon.**

Thanks to Spanish immersion school, Zev now knows that pene and peine are not the same thing.

Evil comes in all shapes and sizes
Tween hormones are a scary drug, and should be regulated by the federal government. In fact, I'd like to see DEA drop all those stupid meth cases and cartel investigations and focus on what's really important: incarcerating small female children until the estrogen onslaught has passed. Stinky armpits, Silence of the Lambs-ish "collectibles" and chimpanzee-level aggression are just a few of the pleasures we have enjoyed this year, as parents of a fourth-grader.

Also on the crime beat: I was the victim of an egregious conspiracy culminating in the extortion of significant monies. Fair warning: If anyone who calls herself an optometrist or the pretentious version of same but with that tricky "H" stuck in there utters these words to you, they just might be out to fleece you of your rightfully earned income by pathologizing what is really just simple eye fatigue brought on by trying to write a bestselling novel or any publishable novel: "So you're 44? Yeah, that's about when it happens. It's called presbyopia. You're at the very beginning of the process, so you'll get the weakest prescription. Walgreen's? Oh, no -- those affordable ones won't work for you." Be on the alert for these con artists, who often wear white lab coats like that mouthless muppet and have good Asian hair.

Gabe is still skinny.

Zev's teachers all like him. Actually, they like me, and fear what might happen if they express dislike of Zev or Zev's idiosyncracies [see below]. This highlights a learning I have gleaned in my years as an elementary-school parent: For all intents and purposes, there is no difference between teachers liking -- or disliking -- your kid and liking -- or disliking -- you. This can swing both ways for you. Do with that pearl what you will.

Zev's 2012 idiosyncracies, in no particular order: bending over and displaying his butthole, bending over and displaying his butthole for up to an hour without any observers present; picking boogers and eating them; picking blood clots and eating them; picking boogers and blood clots and talking about eating them; collecting and pocketing garbage; complaining about his teachers' dislike of him collecting and pocketing garbage; sucking rocks; kicking his friend Jack in the nuts; asking Jack to kick him in the nuts; drawing pictures without a top and bottom; sleeping in his neon green belt and quiver; yelling "I hate you!" with relish and then immediately asking for dessert; running until he faints; performing karate kicks at inopportune times; tiny boxes...just tiny boxes.

Zev also became a crack shot with a bow and arrow this year.

"You can stab each other in a minute."
Lucca qualified for an audition-only dance troupe in the hip-hop category. This means that she is either a brilliant hip-hop dancer or that they accepted all the applicants.

Lucca still plays the piano. It's mostly unpleasant.

Gabe enters his 17th year of bringing home dotcommish shwag and paychecks and has developed a fondness for Facebook-sourced coconut water. Gabe was an intended victim of the same conspiracy that ensnared Kim, but Gabe managed to evade the perps by not returning to the crime scene and trying on eyeglasses. Gabe is currently working on having his name changed legally to The Trifecta, reflecting his mastery of the three qualifications of the Eternal San Francisco Hipster Who Has Not Lost His Edge & Sends His Children to Public School: (1) attends at least one dance or spoken-word performance/year in which there is a Flemish, Haitian, burlesque or clowning component; (2) takes a class in underwater pole dancing, cardio-stripping or trapeze (flying or stationary), commuting to said via bicycle or plug-in car; and (3) ate at Mission Chinese before anyone ate at Mission Chinese, with an actual Chinese person.*** 

Kim had copywriting work.

Actually, the last tidbit is worth elaborating upon: What Kim had in 2012 was the Greatest Failed Job Interview of All Time™. 

Let me explain.

Kim does freelance copywriting because she hasn't written a saleable book since she had two fallopian tubes. Some of her gigs come from friends, some from people who possess unspeakable habits that are known to Kim, and some from LinkedIn. One day in 2012, an earnest young man contacted Kim via LinkedIn and asked her to begin an interview process for an anemic freelance gig. The interview process was excessive -- a red flag to someone of Kim's  professional caliber and dedicated unwillingness to don clothing for trips downtown -- but Kim rationalized that the otherwise intelligent young man was blinded by his passion for bringing Yet Another Useless Content-Stuffed Interwebby Gadget™ to market. So what if the earnest young man didn't realize his mission from God would end within the year, not in triumph, but in a lackadaisical corporate acquisition and perfunctory liquidation of fleshly assets?

When it comes to relevance, Kim takes the long view.
Kim gamely interviewed, aced the copy test, answered stupid questions about her "commitment" and wrote pithy emails displaying the requisite levels of Red Bull ingestion.

Then there was the panel interview.

Because every measly 2K project requires 300 hours of candidate inquisition, right? That's how companies achieve profitability. 


Kim wore her Professional Smart Pleasant Undemanding Punctual & Punctuational Copywriter™ costume. It involves a cleavage-masking black shirt, unbuttoned dark trouser jeans and a laptop case with Rorschach splatters on it in the shape of a hipster beard. The panel of earnest young interviewers consisted of Earnest Young Hiring Manager Man in White Tennies Who Thinks Kim Is The One, Excessively Good-looking Guy, Prematurely Balding Funny Guy and Frigid Unfunny Threatened Girl. Within minutes, Kim's confidence, levity and incisive grasp of the project's Unprecedented Except When Precedented Obstacles™ won over the boys (okay, except maybe Good-looking Guy, who was too busy texting his hookups and hairdresser to pay much attention).

Then the Clenched Buttcheeks Incident™ occurred.

Millenial females' greatest professional nightmare
It is a fact that when and if you choose to use the phrase "clenched buttcheeks" during a job interview, you should carefully weigh the potential benefits against the risks of issuing this utterance. If the opportunity is contextually relevant, go for it. If not, well...go for it. If there is a young female ambitious tights-wearing Marina-dwelling un-orgasming postfeminist millenial present who is threatened by your 40something MILFy muffin top-acceptance-y burned-out profanity-muttering mojo, you might want to reconsider.

Who needs sexual liberation when there are high-waisted Laura Ashley skirts?
Why? Because young female ambitious tights-wearing Marina-dwelling un-orgasming postfeminist millenials have no fucking sense of humor, that's why. Also, they are threatened by 40something MILFy muffin top-acceptance-y burned-out profanity-muttering mojo'ers.

Little did Kim know she had walked into a generational minefield.

The IEDs were officially defused a day later, when Earnest Young Hiring Manager Man in White Tennies Who Thinks Kim Is The One told Kim that "some team members weren't sure if Kim had shown sufficient commitment to this project." (Kim immediately interpreted this as "some team members who wear girls' tights and fake eyeglasses don't think that clenched buttcheeks are funny.") Kim replied that his lack of trust in the face of ample evidence that Kim was the best candidate was a Major Worky Work Red Flag and she didn't think his company met Kim's rigorous requirements for Engaging in Worky Work™ together. Also: Frigid Unfunny Threatened Girl is frigid and unfunny.

All this to say that Kim had copywriting work this year and younger women don't want to fuck your husband so much as they want to stab you in the muffintop and steal your job.

Frigid bitches.
Zev successfully completed a soccer season. He did not urinate on the field. He did not quit. At the end-of-season party -- at which Kim consumed eighteen glasses of champagne and ranted about something that currently escapes me/Kim -- Zev was awarded the best ball-handling skills certificate by Coaches Mario and Jorge. 

Balls. Were. Handled.

As we greet 2013, the Wassergreens wish you much happiness and mojo. We want you to know that should you feel the urge to utter "clenched buttcheeks" or, yes, even clench your buttcheeks in our presence, we will forgive you the impulse. As 2012 squeezes to a close, we clench our buttcheeks in solidarity with buttcheek-clenchers and buttcheek-clench-mentioners everywhere.

Happy holidays.


Kim Green & the Other, Lesser Wassergreens

*By Mississippi standards.
***The censor objected to the original form of this statement on the grounds that it is patently false. Kim objected to the censor's objection on the grounds that it is falsely patented (and that any colleagues who purchased whores with the censor while "at an industry conference" in Scottsdale would know satire when they see it). Nevertheless, the fact that the censor brings home considerably more bacon than the writer at the present time and is generally regarded as a better person by the writer's family and the writer, and the writer's dentist and therapist, convinced the writer that she should remove the following statement to spare the censor undue angst: The same employment factors that provided Gabe with high baseline levels of self-esteem and satisfaction last year are all sources of creative oppression and demoralization for 2012.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not by Salman Rushdie

These snapshots from the marvelous DC Comix series Air capture my current state of mind as both writer and human. Thank you G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Steve-o

Steve-o with his primary love interest
The festivities are underway. The Greens have gathered 'round. Our mandate? To honor the father. The one and only. The legal nomad. The Rambler Rasputin. The Prunetucky Patriarch. The Czar of Soccer. The inestimable Steve-o.

We Greens (and hangers-on, otherwise known as significant others...emphasis on "other") started the weekend the way every 68-year-old straight dude with high blood pressure and a penchant for sourdough bread likes to start his birthday weekend: a drink in the Castro. BJ suggested Moby Dick, but I thought that was a little retro, so instead we queued up at Chow on Church. Steve-o passed the time with the grandkids in the queer bookstore browsing coffee table tomes featuring big glistening cocks and choke collars, occasionally muttering things like, "That's a big one."

The night was full of fun and love. And loving fun.

There was a moving moment at 8:28 p.m. when Steve-o slugged his third glass of Merlot down and yelled at my brother over the artichoke, "Are you and Jill ever going to fucking get married and give us fucking grandkids?" Luckily, BJ and Jill were prepared for such genteel inquiries and they fended off further interrogation with a subtle proffering of the bread basket. 

Prior to departure, my sister Dana, who sadly resides in Clovis/Fresno and has therefore been demoted to Runner-up Best Daughter of Steve-o, called and filled me in on the week's earlier developments. 

"Are you by yourself?" she asks me. I could hear her six-month-old, who weighs 27 pounds and is forced to wear adult farmer coveralls, eating the family dog in the background.

"Yeah," I lie. 

"'Cause I don't want to hurt Dad's feelings or anything, but he's fucking crazy."

"Dude, really?" I say, widening my eyes at my mother, whose sixth sense for when people are talking shit about her is so creepy good they should drop the bitch on Afghanistan and just let her stare the Taliban to death.

"Yeah. I took them to the JCC preschool fundraiser. Dad got drunk and insulted the director. He asked her if she had 'shit' on me. What the fuck?"

"Totes. What the fuck?" I mumble, mouth full of the kids' Halloween candy, which I had told them was stolen by the neighbor's gardening crew.

"And Mom! Jesus Christ, Mom! Mom is fucking psycho!" My sister emits a little moan. I'm not sure if it is because of our mother's extreme cray-cray, or because the baby has started to gnaw her foot off. Dana proceeds to share a really funny story of how our mom fumed and sulked all weekend because my sister and her husband took down a crafty confection my mom made for the nursery. "It was like a fucking guillotine," Dana says. "Probably weighed about 80 pounds. She hung the motherfucker over the crib. One slip and--bam!--goodbye baby head." I hear Dana's dog, a husky-shepherd mix who specializes in biting mentally challenged and undocumented individuals, issue a long tangled howl and wonder if my brother-in-law is finally ushering Riley toward his (well-deserved) final solution. "So, get this," Dana continues. "The room has a beach theme, right? So Mom puts a picture of Delilah in the collage guillotine, but she cut off DeeDee's head and stuck it on, like, Laird Hamilton's body. Fucking weird, right?"

I agree that it is weird.

"Don't you dare tell Mom any of this," Dana says, and hangs up.

I turn to my mom, who was a cop briefly in the 1960s, and sometimes looks like she remembers how to kill someone with her bare hands. "What's with the ugly wall hanging?" I say. "Dana told me all about it."

"Shadowbox," she says, hazel eyes shooting sparks behind Tootsie glasses that do something weird and myopic-serial-killer to her expression. "It's a goddamn shadowbox. It goes with the beach theme."

"Dana took it down."

"Why do you children treat us like this? When all we do is give you everything but the clothes off our back?" Mom futzes with her "fancy" outfit, which is purple and maroon and black and involves various textures and textiles, patterns and colors that should not be seen together outside a crayon box.

Gabe, my husband, walks in. He looks lean and sane. "We have to catch the next Muni bus. It's coming in 6 minutes," he says, calm as always. He leaves, probably to take mood-altering drugs so he can watch my family eat without puking.

En route, I compliment our 5-year-old son on his fashion selection of a Gryffindor scarf.

"Mom, can you kick someone in the asshole?" he replies.

"Sure," my dad says. "But you have to take off their pants and your shoe first."

A normal-looking couple gets up and migrates to another tram car.

Fast-forward to the cock bookstore.

"Did you hear about Delilah's tests?" Mom whispers, referring to my niece's bloodwork related to a chronic health problem. She has already emailed, phoned, snail-mailed and sung the results to me on at least a half-dozen occasions. Mom is the sort of Jewish mother who believes you invoke protection against disease by worrying vigorously about disease. 

"Yes," I say. "She has no adrenal function, but her bones are great." I explain that I was standing with two actual medical doctors the first time she called me to discuss "the tests." Like all Jews, she gets excited at the mere mention of doctors (and bacon). "What did they say?" she asks, apparently unconcerned whether the doctors in question were podiatrists, proctologists or astrologists. I report that the results were expected and not necessarily dire.

"San Francisco," Steve-o interjects over Shellbells' reply. "Where you can't park your goddamn car." 

"Salinas," I volley back. "Where you get carjacked even if you drive a skateboard."

The J hurdles to a stop. The Greens integrate Chow.

Things pick up again when Greg, my brother's childhood Greek-American friend, shows up looking drunk and relieved.

"Dude," BJ says. "You're fucking anorexic." He turns to the rest of us. "Dude won his company's weight loss contest. It was just like the Biggest Loser." I recall that Greg is legendary for eating tacos violently enough to actually produce sweat.

Gabe greets Greg in a civilized manner. "How many kids do you have now?"

Greg's eyes glaze over.

"Two girls, right?" Gabe says helpfully.

"Yeah!" Greg smiles happily.

"Are you drunk?" I ask.


We get down to the business of telling Steve-o stories from the family canon. 

"Remember when you locked your parents in their room during that party?" Greg says.

"It was great when you started going out with human girls and stopped kissing Willy," Steve-o tells my brother, referring to one of our many untrained and untrainable Basset hounds, one of the few who did not have elephantiasis of the testicles. "It's funny how you've moved on to mini Schnauzers." Steve-o sighs.

The ride home was uneventful. As the taxi pulled away from the bookstore of glistening cocks and we waved to Steve-o and Shellbells, standing sentry on the street corner with their hands gripping their matching cell phone holsters, I felt a great surge of affection for my dad. Steve-o.