Archive Page 2

Foot Fault


August 8th, 2007

I tortured my poor feet for a very long time. Ten years ago they refused to take me where I wanted to go in the shoes I wanted to wear. Since then I haven’t worn heels measuring even one measly inch. Moreover, I can only wear shoes deep enough to accommodate orthotics-plastic molds that match the bottoms of your-that is to say my-feet to correct their imbalances. Such shoes do not win awards for pizzazz.

Details of what I did to torture my feet were seized by the CIA to use against terrorist operatives Here are a few from memory:

I wore high-heeled shoes.

I wore high heels shoes with pointy toes.

I didn’t take off my shoes when they were killing me.

I never soaked them or gave them the time of day.

I just took them bloody well for granted as perhaps you are
now doing yourself.

My mother hated her feet. “They’re ugly,” she’d wail, holding them one at a time and giving them the full force of her most disapproving look before pulling on her panty hose.

“It’s all those years on my feet,” she’d say as if most people had an alternate way of standing and walking about.

“It’s all those years on my hands,” perhaps some woman gymnast is now complaining to a palm-reader looking at the calluses on her mounds of Apollo and Saturn.

“Look at these toes!” my mother would command as if I hadn’t already observed them a few hundred times.

The toe next to her big toe on each foot crossed all the way over its two sister toes and snuggled up to the littlest one. In order to put her foot into a narrow high-heeled shoe she had to force the rambling toe back to where it belonged while moaning and looking up at me for sympathy.

Finding shoes that both feel and look reasonably good to me and pass muster in the eyes of my mother, as well as my two daughters is daunting; my mother does not approve of anything clunky or flat. On my last visit to see her I noted she was in a bad mood the moment I arrived from the airport exhausted from carrying luggage and grateful that my feet were still willing to support me–never mind that I was wearing clunky black running shoes.

“Are you going to wear those?” she asked before I could sit down.

I changed into other shoes somehow more acceptable even though they held my travel-swollen feet as if in a vise.

“Now that’s better, isn’t it?” my mother sighed, flashing, for the first time, a loving smile. “I’ve been worried sick about you.”

My daughters have pretty feet that do not hurt-at least not yet.

Both often wear sling-back, high-heeled numbers destined, were it not for my daily prayers to the Almighty, to catch on something and throw them flat on their lovely faces. Whenever I’m with them something disparaging comes up about my appendages or, rather, what I have elected to put on them.

“Oh my Goddd!” one or the other will say. “Don’t you have any nice shoes?”

I reassure them that as soon as a good percentage of boomers require orthotics, attractive, even stylish, flats will appear in stores and I will be able to look fashionable and move about comfortably at the same time.

A frown crosses each face. What did I say? Oh dear, I completely forgot. They’re on the cusp—call it a foothold—yes, borderline boomers—and if they end up wearing orthotics—it will be, like so much else, all my fault.

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Road Rage

nan.jpgOur mile-long dead-end road is not clearly defined on the local map. It appears to join another road of the same name, although they are separated by seven hundred or more feet of land and solid rock. It appears that way because on the map there’s a broken line attaching them in accordance with a long ago plan to make them one.

If they were joined, our quiet little road would become a thruway for trucks and traffic from the middle of town to an area now less easily accessible. No one on our road wants that to happen.

Agreement ends there, and we’re nose up against whether or not to pave our dirt road or not, and some residents on our quiet, neighborly road are up in arms about it. Lengthy letters with words in UPPER CASE appear in our mailboxes claiming dishonesty and scare tactics on the part of those who prefer to keep our road unpaved. If paved, say the pavers, the road will be widened and safer for pedestrians, cars and the bus one neighbor would love to see scheduled to pick up her children by her driveway rather than at the end of the street. It is probable she is the only one who looks upon this as a positive outcome.

The others want to keep it unpaved because an elected official has said if it is paved, the thruway will, lickety split, become a fait accompli.

A town employee insists this isn’t true–so what it comes down to is—whom do you believe?

The non-pavers believe the first, of course, and the pavers, the second but no one actually knows what’s true.

Work is afoot by the non-pavers to have the town abandon the property between the two roads making the possibility of their marriage moot. If that happens, the non-pavers will join the pavers and everyone will be happy assuming the measurable amount of ill-will now floating around disappears.

I am counting on an amiable resolution so that I can continue to hope Israel and Palestine, the Shiites and Sunnis and any other dichotomy on the front page of the morning paper will—someday, somehow—achieve the same.

Yours, a non-paver,

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On Another Note



Ever since Hollywood made such a mess of my book, “More Than You Want To Know About Me,”my life has been a closed pamphlet — and yet here I am writing an open letter just as if I didn’t respect my privacy and was about to let the calico cat out of the bag again. I am just so special and it really wasn’t fair the way Meryl Streep played me with a lockjaw upper Eastside NYC accent. I mean we never even met. “They” wouldn’t let me come out for a conference and a pedicure at the Beverly Hilton and if you’re at all interested — “they” are the director, the producer, the stars and that goddamn snotty little script girl who was sleeping with everybody (alternately I believe but you never know in tinsel-town) right after lunch on a daily basis. How, you may well ask, do I know these things? Well I have my sources and if I were to name names I wouldn’t have them any more now would I and then what? There have been rumors about my long term friendship with Dominick D. but there hasn’t been a murder connected with my movie yet so what our talking on the phone for two hours every night has to do with anything I’ll never know.

We’re just friends and he appreciates my brilliant, unique psychic predictions of future mayhem and — well I’m sorry to say — there is going to be another murder — big names, blood, a missing shoe and all that — and we’ve been going over the details. That’s ALL I’m going to say at this time. More later.

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Disclaimer: Don’t worry–not a word is true.


Presidential Philosophy 101


You can’t go wrong with W—not when he dusts off his philosopher’s cap and gets to thinking big-time, chin in hand. This is a pose to take seriously because it’s not a pose—it’s what you would call the position of compassionate realism. See–he’s compassionate toward insurance companies and realistic toward health care because it’s clear health care is not necessary for children or it would be in the constitution.

Anyway, they can go to the emergency room for every ailment, big and small, and we will all be glad to foot the bill their parents can’t pay. True, it will be more expensive than underwriting their health care but it won’t be in the budget and it won’t offend our national philosopher.

Besides–what else can W do when it comes to choosing between the children of low-middle-income parents and the ceo’s of high-upper income insurance companies? Is it fair to judge him when the the future of our nation has nothing to do with the future of non-affluent children but, rather, the future of rich ceo’s?

You might argue that it won’t damage insurance companies if W supports health care for such children because if their parents can’t afford to buy health or any other kind of insurance how could it cut into insurance profits? But come on, people–get real! W is our very own philosopher-king-president (are we lucky or what?) and as such should be supported whenever he’s philosophically for or philosophically against anything.

I shouldn’t have to tell you this.

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In Memorium


Although my Mother was nearly ninety-three when she died, she was never old enough to receive Modern Maturity, the AARP monthly sent to every member, like it or not.

“God damn it to hell,” she would shout when it arrived so as to be heard as far as the duck pond across from her townhouse in El Reno, Oklahoma and the cemetery down the block where her ancestors slept. The publication was so repulsive that several days passed before she could lay a hand on it. Then suddenlyshe would stub out her cigarette, rise from her prone position on the couch, pick up the despised magazine and toss it with extraordinary precision–considering she was not athletic, hated to walk or move about unnecessarily–from some distance into the wastebasket.

“I’m not mature enough!” she’d say and then, as if she’d heard a chorus of protestations. “No, and I never will be either. So there.”

She must have had her last cigarette on the evening of September 3, 2000, because the next morning I found her, via telephone which she answered as if nothing were wrong, by her bed on the floor where she’d fallen, following, as I later learned, a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). The only upside of this episode was that she never smoked again. Before this it was useless to protest her habit even though I found burns on tabletops and burned out cigarettes in ashtrays whoseinch-long ashes drooped menacingly. It also did no good to mention my throat got sore from second hand smoke.

“Why that’s not true, dear,” she said, disappointed at yet another confirmation that I had failed to inherit her good sense. “There’s no such thing as second hand smoke.”

One evening after I coughed and coughed twice more, she stood up, glared at me and said, “That’s just ridiculous and I don’t want to hear about it ever again.”

She was firm, confident, unyielding. I don’t recall her being in doubt ever about anything except once. After an evening when she said she’d had “a snootful,” a self-compliment because people who didn’t
drink were of no consequence, she wondered if she’d behaved quite as she should have the night before.

“Still” she said, upon a brief reflection, “I did it–so it must have been all right.”

When it came to politics or bias my mother never held back. At the height of William Jefferson Clinton’s undoubted scandal, my Mother said she had characterized the President to her younger sister, a woman as far to the right as she was to the left, as “that sweet, darling Bill Clinton.” Her sister allowed she wouldn’t be in touch for a long, long time.

“I don’t care one bit if she didn’t like it–that’s how I feel. Anyway,” she continued with accidental clairvoyance, “she didn’t have to make such a federal case out of it.”

The mini-stroke affected her profoundly, and, unable to be on her own any longer, I brought her home to Connecticut. Although she lasted another nineteen months I knew my mother had turned a final corner when she said nothing about the Florida ballot dispute or the ultimate determination of the election of 2000. As often as W appeared on the screen, I was never again to hear her say,”I don’t know what it is–but I just cannot STAND that man!”

A month after her death I went to get the mail across the street from the end of our driveway and found my Mother wedged in above the circulars, junk mail and bills, in a box. It was a shock despite the fact that I’d been expecting her. I thought she was going to be delivered by UPS, a dispatch I would have preferred as more dignified and less trivializing although there’s nothing dignified about having ashes delivered by any means, then to save, inter or sprinkle them, as I would do when I decided where. I thought it might be appropriate to take some to Park Avenue where she lived for many years although itdidn’t seem environmentally correct. What if everyone did that?

I could also have sent them down to Oklahoma where my mother was born, and where she lived fifteen of her last seventeen years. Courtesy of one of my many cousins, her ashes could go in the duck pond or around her parent’s graves. But mailing her again would have been “too macabre” as my mother liked to say–that always made me want to ask if there were such a thing as just macabre enough? Of course I knew full well that she just liked saying the word, glamorized with the “too” asin “too fabulous” while stretching out the second “a” in macabre for a bit longer than was endurable. It was also her way of not having to discuss something as unpleasant and, to us both, unlikely as her death.

She went so far, however, when lost for a more controversial topic, to remind me she did not want a funeral or a burial–that she wanted, never mind the disapproval it engendered among her siblings–my mother thrived on disapproval–cremation.I thought I might put her in the Atlantic Ocean where she’d sprinkled her husband’s ashes in 1980 off the Westhampton shore, their summer residence. That had to be the place because as soon as I thought of it I heard her come to life in my head and respond in five of the many voices that accompanied five of her many roles:

The baby, “Oh goody, swimmin’ with the fishies;” the grande dame, “Absolute perfection, darling girl;” the hillbilly, “Shucks, this old country gal’s not fussy;” the kindly gentlewoman, “Bless heart, what a sweet idea;” or herself, “Goddamn it to hell, I don’t give a shit!”

So my inimitable mother was reduced to ashes–as we will all be, one way or another, to be delivered–as we will all be, one way or another, back to earth. It is very ordinary. It is very strange.

Ho Hum—Millions Will Die

nan.jpgOr is it only thousands? Never mind–don’t make yourself crazy–the administration knows each and every one of them is expendable and you should know it, too. They are either collateral damage (cd) or soldiers (s) and either way they’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. War is hell (h) and this is what happens when you have one. Get real, folks. People die and people are horribly injured but they are brave and happy to pay the price and do whatever is necessary to bring democracy–or if not that– then stability or if not that–then a stand-off in Iraq. W and C know this. Didn’t they put their lives on the line in the 60’s–or if not–aren’t they suffering and unable to sleep every night agonizing over the troops–or if not–don’t they fast on Sundays?

If I remember correctly, wasn’t it the God of their choice (TGOTC) who backed their plan to take us down the high road of nation-saving and building? Clearly, TGOTC must be the old Testament God with an eye-for-an-eye mentality (Saddham tried to kill W’s father, for Pete’s sake). And, let’s be fair–doesn’t the Decider of yore have a tradition of overlooking, when He feels like it, just about anything including mendacity, incompetence even arrogance?

If He is, indeed, the One, He must be tickled to death to see his little earthling son, W (POTUS), give the Constitution of the United States (COTUS), outdated and irrelevant as it is, the finger? After all, there may not be a whole lot to laugh about in eternity, so He must find entertainment, however brief, whenever and wherever He finds it, since for Him this administration is around for only a nanosecond.

From His perspective to our moment in time.

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Cheap Tips

Thus far I’ve been unable to work out the cookie problem–meaning–if you don’t know what I’m talking about–when you try to leave a comment about this blog you are told to enable your cookies. A wild, mysterious phrase for non-techies and if by chance you are in any way a techie, please tell me how a visitor can have a cookie if it’s her first visit? Anyway I keep sending messages to those in charge at Word Press so with any luck I’ll know what to advise by fall. Stay tuned and if nothing else you’ll learn to speak computer.

Well I’ve messed this up big-time–While trying to fix something I just erased three-quarters of the post and now I have to remember what I said. Rats.

D. emailed me from Virginia and said: One thing you might want to share is a web site — This enables you to see where sex offenders are living. If they are near a school or home of someone you love. It’s very interesting.

I talked with Sidney in Connecticut who said she had two tips, the first she insists I told her about a while back but since I can’t remember yesterday, it’s new to me:

For leg or foot cramps put a cake of soap under the covers at the bottom of the bed. I know it sounds crazy but wait till you read tip 2.

For fungus under the finger or toenail do not buy the hundred dollar teeny-weeny bottle at the pharmacy. Instead apply Vicks Vaporub all over the tip of the digit. I’d cover it with a white cotton glove/sock or the sheets will be greasy and your dog asleep at the bottom of the bed on top of the soap may expire from the fumes. Do this for three days and you’ll be fungus-free.

When I was growing up or even when I was fully grown I don’t remember anybody having fungus. Maybe they just didn’t say. Today we say everything. Maybe it’s a good thing as long as you’re not too squeamish or in the middle of dinner. I hope I didn’t upset your stomach.

That’s all for now.

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