Monday, March 31, 2008

For I Have Measured out my Life in Dubble-Bubble

The true extent of the economic downturn, as it is politely called but really translates as the end of our world as we knew it, is not the $4.00 gallon of gas but the 50 cent piece of bubble gum. I got through most of my intellectual(such as it was) growth by balancing all my esoteric studies and learning and yearning and striving by reading Love Comics at Bryn Mawr while chewing Bazooka bubble gum or Fleer's Dubble Bubble.
Although this clearly, as I was to discover later in life, played havoc with my teeth and gums, it did handle the fact that I was always in love with the wrong narcissist(George Segal in college, Tony Perkins in my early days in H'wood, before they or I knew what gay was and it might not have mattered anyway, I so adored how smart and gifted he was, and was grateful for his pride and admiration for my creativity.) Chewing feverishly eased my frustration and thwarted lust.
As I wandered the world which I did even as a young striver I went to a-- I cannot quite call them a bevy, as they were none of them particulalry comely with the exception of Pattie in her youth, --fortune tellers, none of whom had the answer to my destiny, as the answer is usually in yourself or destiny, which is very mysterious.-
. Nonetheless wherever I wandered I had my fortune told, which is more exotic in Hong Kong than most places where you toss sticks in a temple. But it is none of it as satisfying even though incorrect as it is when you open the fortune cookie that says 'Your luck has been completely changed today' on the Fleer's Dubble Bubble Fortune in 4 different languages which it used to be if you you traveled far enough or wide.
Once I took a ship from Italy to San Francisco hoping to find out what my fortune was or if, indeed, I had one, and when I got to the last night of the voyage on which everyone on the ship except me was violently seasick-- I think it was the President Wilson on which I was traveling coolie class- I went to the Banquet that was to be the finale, -- with everything roped, chairs, tables, food, as the seas were so violent everything was sliding, including the people who were all in their cabins throwing up, except me-- and there before me were several hundred tables with roped crystal and roped china and nobody eating the Oriental feast, but all the tables laid with piles of fortune cookies. At last! I cried inside myself, enough fortunes! and nobody to go through them, but me. So I went to every table and opened all the cookies, and they were all homilies and bullshit except for the very last one that I opened with shaking fingers: 'You will go on a long voyage," it read.,'to no advantage.'
SInce that time I have resorted to colorogy, my own form of numerology, where you put the money in the machine and the gumball rolls down, and whatever the color is is what you can expect. Red is passion,(not very likely) yellow is luck(one can always hope) Green is money(ditto) orange is lust( still?) white is purity(what choice does one have?) and blue is spiritual growth. Today, on the heels and toes and instep of our latest disastrous figures, I went next door to my sushi restaurant,-- where the Dubble Bubble gumballs are. What was, when last I gumballed,, a quarter a ball, is now 50cents. Not to be deterred(I have no plans to go to France what with the euro and how stupid and ruined we are) I thought I could at least get a piece of gum. The pinlk one(love) rolled directly onto the street, and the man who owns the market felt compassionate, so he put 50 cents in for me. It was yellow, but that one, too, fell directly onto the sidewalk. He indulged me in one more, and I caught it in my hand. Blue. Spiritual growth. Well, I guess that's the only option we have. All the same it caught in my teeth and I have to go to the dentist.
It doesn't really matter that T.S. Eliot was an anti-Semite. He wrote really good poems that Jews can read.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


So as I strolled through the streets this early afternoon, having read the financial section of the NY Times, with all the bad news and the worse/amusing notice that the dollar is about to be bailed out by Japan, I heard in my ears the strains of the burning boys of Sherman's army singing 'Marching Through Georgia." It is beyond fiction, which I may have to give up writing, that the combined destructive talents of Attila the Hun, Charlemagne(to whom my friend Nancy is related), General Patton at the height of his messianic metaphysical warriroring, and Douglas MacArthur when he didn't want to stop, could not have accomplished the cumulative damage done to our country by our vacant-headed Prez. Those of us who believe in Karma wonder what past evil could have been done, including slavery, that could have earned such a sad and idiotic payback and fall. The greatest country in the world it was, for all the years of growing up, war, anguish, but always (almost) steadfastly principled and smart. That this great nation should be brought to its spiritual and monetary knees by a moron defies belief and understanding, except that we must have waterboarded God.
I have been accused by Harris Wofford, an old president of my college, Bryn Mawr, of having an apocalyptic mentality. But he is on board Obama's team, and I do believe that the minister's curse on the US will have undone Obama, and it is my fear, deep and strong in my apocaplyptic heart, that Hillary heading the ticket will elect John McCain. Oh, fearful New World, that has such creatures in it.
What the hell are we going to do? Answers welcome.

The Forty-Three Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding

I don't know how many of you are as old as I am, but I remember a novel that made a sensation in my still-youth, about a black(it was all right to call them then) hooker and a kind of hoosier, straw-chewing john who didn't realize there was a price to pay. In my less-than-youth but-still-naivete-except-for-my-prose, I wrote a novel with its central character a dominatrix based on Vicki Morgan, Alfred Bloomingdale's mistress, except I loved the character and through mine own compassion made her deep and complex and very touching, so I hated it when she got killed and even more when Dominick Dunne wrote a book on the same subject and made her cliche and superficial but that was his problem, as well as mine, probably, because not only did I feel he had killed my character but also his was a huge bestseller and mine had a struggle, as most everything I have written does except The Pretenders because it was so dirty. Oddly, Silk Lady, the one about Miranda as I called her, was not that dirty at all, even with its subject matter, but I did have to research dominatrixes, which led me into some adventures. I answered an ad in the LA Free Press("want a little discipline? call Mistress Victoria") so I did and told her I was writing a book and she said "Yeah, sure," but invited me to come anyway. Her 'dungeon' was in a little house behind the LA County Museum where I am going tomorrow(the museum, not the dungeon) its windows draped with red velvet so nobody could see in. She took me in to see all her gizmos, which included an Iron Maiden and a leather swing, told me how she had gotten into the business and how proud her parents were of her. Then she invited me for Easter Brunch, which my darling friend George-Anne, nursing her baby Nick at the time told me I had to go to, if only to see what they were serving, if they had bagels and cream cheese, fruit, etc.(as it turned out I think they had Hot Cross Buns, but it is possible I made that up as a pun.) Anyway, I figured unsound counsel would not come to me through a nursing mother, especially George-Anne, so on Palm Sunday, after going to Quaker Meeting and getting people to sign a No-First-Strike petition and taking my children to the airport to go visit their grandfather, I went to the Brunch. The details can be found, much prettified, especially the people who were in real life gross and pathetic, in Silk Lady, which except for that chapter is a fairly literate read. But I did learn from Mistress Victoria what it was that drove her clientele, mostly, according to her, high-powered executives under a lot of pressure so they needed women in spike heels to step on their genitals or paint them with mercurochrome, etc. as a release from having so much control. I was to go back to observe a private session with my lawyer, a woman of some caution and a most unsatisfactory sex life who insisted on accompanying me for my own protection(Ha!) but Mistress Victoria called me just before we set out to tell me the meeting was postponed as "two of her slaves had board meetings." When I called to re-schedule, she had disappeared, and I suppose the rest of her adventure can be found through CS!.
All of this brings me to Eliot Spitzer, for whom I cannot help but feel compassion, because compassion is my thing now more than it ever was, and I think I understand why he did it, if I can believe Mistress Victoria. So much pressure. And yet, such a lovely wife and such a smart law professor(Dershowitz) and so many hookers in DC. WHy did he have to bring anybody in? And why the Mayflower Hotel? It is all very Bill Clinton whom many people say always wanted to get caught but I think he was just a hubristic pig.
So to me it is not so much puzzling as suicidal and spendthrift. Surely he could have gotten someone for a hundred dollars, or, as things go nowadays, a few gallons of gas. I am brought in mind of Hugh Grant whom as we all may remember got a blow job from a street hooker around the corner from Grauman's Chinese, and when caught was asked by Jay Leno on TV, "What were you thinking?" Especially as there must have been multiple thousands of women who would have done him for nothing.
Well, "Men," as Sadie Thompson said. "They're all pigs." Of course I don't mean you or yours.