For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been researching/writing the history of burlesque for a friend’s burlesque troupe’s website. Something about the word “history” kicks me into term paper mode, and that’s what I came up with the first time out. I knew I was in some minor trouble when my friend told me she didn’t want a treatise. Fortunately, my friend is very forgiving, and after coming up with a new intro and sending the piece back to me, I was sorta kinda able to gin out what she wanted – namely a non-treatise-y social history of the gorgeous ladies of striptease, complete with double entendres and come-ons. My friend is far better at those than I; childhood conditioning is a stern master, and whenever I try to talk sexy I imagine the prick guys from junior high pointing at me and laughing, because fat chicks shouldn’t want to have sex because we’re gross or whatever.
Many lessons were learned, chief among them that writing, even about Gypsy Rose Lee and Dita von Teese, is like pulling teeth out of one’s dick, as the saying goes. And that I’m still way too fucked up and repressed to feel comfortable pulling off a burlesque show (ha ha), because junior high pricks/fat chicks gross et. al. ad. nauseam. And that I really, really, really need to lose some weight, goddammit, because while I love Marilyn Wann and the Fat! So? movement, I am not one of those who is able to feel confident about-slash-love her body when it’s toting around excess tonnage. And no, this is not an invitation to tell me to love my body no matter what or any of that plastic ready-made self-esteem bullshit. I can’t, and I don’t, and if you keep tossing platitudes at me, I will retreat further and further into my lair, listening to Joy Division albums and eating deep-fried Oreos slathered with Crisco just to spite you and your generic silliness. Told you I was fucked up, didn’t I? Yes, I did! I really, really did!
So…yeah. On a lighter note, and sort of along the lines of pulling teeth out of one’s genitalia, I’ve started reading The Sound and the Fury. It’s actually nowhere near as bad as I’d thought it would be in terms of netherworld tooth extraction, even though the first 75 pages or so are told by a severely mentally retarded thirty-three year-old. I think it helps that I had fair warning. A college friend of mine admitted in his Facebook “25 Random Things” list that he’d tried to read The Sound and the Fury in high school, but stopped after the first fifty pages. Faulkner is one of those authors I’ve always wanted to read but didn’t because I was afraid I wouldn’t understand what in the name of gourd he was trying to say, thus giving us all further evidence of my “stupidity,” but goddammit, I am thirty-two and I need to, need to, need to get over that shit. So I asked my friend if he had any tips or tricks for approaching The Sound and the Fury, and he told me to just keep going, keep at it, keep plugging away, because it does get more lucid and it’s a beautiful book. And what do you know? He was right! Thanks, College Friend, whose name I won’t mention because he hasn’t given me permission! I wonder how many other intelligent people with no self-esteem and the attention span of a gnat tried to read The Sound and the Fury and failed because they thought they were total dumbasses, and I wonder how many high school English teachers made them feel like shit because they couldn’t figure out what the fuck was going on in the first chapter. We never actually read Faulkner at my lameass high school, but I can totally see my hateful eleventh grade English teacher dispensing with its incoherence and starting in immediately on the goddamned theme, leaving losers like me to sink or swim. Bitch.
Anyway. That’s what’s going on here at the Flatbush Ranch. That, and dicking around on Facebook, and checking out graduate programs in theater, until the hateful eleventh grade English teacher in my amygdala starts in with her smirky litany about what a waste of space I am, and it all gets to be too much and I have to lie down with a cold cloth over my eyes and fantasize about punching her out.
Oh, jeez – one more thing. My grandpa just had heart surgery. He’s fine, all things considered, and is threatening to sign himself out of the hospital, and my awesome Grandma Vera (who is technically my step-grandmother, a term I try to avoid because Vera is way too fucking cool to be marginalized like that) is threatening to chain him to the bed if he pulls that shit. So let’s all send him our curmudgeonly, yet deeply sentimental good vibes. He’ll need ‘em, because he has to go back for more heart surgery in another couple of weeks, and he just had all his teeth pulled. Don’t worry, he’s not knocking on heaven’s door or anything – it’s just a whole bunch of seams are falling apart at once. Get well(ish)(esque) soon, Grandpa. You are much loved.