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Liz Farrell is the editor of Lowcountry Current. She is a native Bostonian and a graduate of Gettysburg College. She is excellent at wasting time, loves to drink coffee and read, and has made Google-Image-stalking Tom Selleck a real pastime.
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Twenty-eight years ago, around this thrilling back-to-school time of year, I was able to set the bar really low for not only my future behavior but also that of several generations of first-graders by purposefully and forcefully biting my principal on the hand during the first minute of my first day in a new school. (You should know that when I use the term “principal,” I actually mean “principal who was a 12-foot-tall nun with a head like a butternut squash and a frown that prompted our ancestors to invent the phrase ‘Uh oh.’ ”)
I'm no expert on paleontology or what caused dinosaur extinction, but I'd like to think at some point the lady dinos had had it up to their ear holes with the slim-pickins, so they all got together and decided to say "no way, José-a-saurus" to any further mating with the remaining, lazy, no good, non-earning males — who, I'm guessing, spent their days hanging around half-clad sabertooths at the local pterodactyl wing joint till the wee hours of the prehistoric morn instead of providing for their hatchlings.
I know, I know. I'm just being a silly archaeopteryx. This isn't at all how the dinosaurs died off.
First, it was socialized medicine that did it. Don't argue with me, I've seen the commercials. Second, as I'm sure it was during dinosaur times, there are a lot of females out there who apparently think there's nothing sexier than male vertebrates of the big, old loser deadbeat variety.
Not to name-drop like some scarlet-letter-worthy people and/or governors I know, but God (yes, the God) and I were chatting about life the other night when I asked him this very significant and philosophical riddle: What’s the difference between Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. John Ensign, former Rep. Chip Pickering and the swine flu?
Answer: The word “flu.”
As a resident of a certain state where a certain You-Know-Who did a certain something in Argentina, I think it’s time that a certain someone — fine, I’ll do it — use the opportunity to offer a little guidance to any gals out there who might be considering some married governor dating of their own.
Have a seat right next to me, ladies, and listen closely:
Back in 1984, on the night before hosting my very first sleepover, secret mid-level negotiations took place between me, age 9, and my mother, age 137, regarding a little thing called Please Don’t Embarrass Me, Not Tonight.
“Dad has to wear pants when he gets up to go to the bathroom. Every time. No tighty-whitey sightings.”
“No bodily functions.”
“I’ll try. You know how he — ”
There’s a special place in hell for me and not just because I stole a daisy bracelet from The Limited in junior high school or lied to my father by telling him that an “E” in health class meant “excellent” instead of the new-age “F” it really was.
The thing is, I don’t like saying hi to people. See? Hell.
I was born without the ability to be casually friendly. I cannot wave, smile or make small talk without feeling like a babbling, misprogrammed spaz with a bad case of Crazy Face.
Obviously, this inability to spread sunshine is not the worst problem to have, but in case you hadn’t noticed, we live in a very pleasant part of the country where people smile at each other and give genuine, jaunty waves for no other reason than they’re happy to be alive — as well they should be.
Sick of hearing about “Jon & Kate Plus Eight” yet? Yeah, me too, except I can’t stop reading about it. I have visited People.com and USmagazine.com no fewer than 55,000 times in the last two weeks. Every time anyone gets even the tiniest bit of insight into Jon’s $5-a-day allowance or Kate’s ability to neuter things with a flick of her ever-sharpening asymmetrical haircut, I’m clicking on it. Sometimes twice.
Some days I feel like my lawn chair is literally parked in their front yard, and I’m just sitting there with popcorn and soda, watching and waiting for another fight, or to catch a glimpse of what’s in their shopping bags or to maybe, I don’t know, see a 23-year-old schoolteacher tiptoe out of Jon’s doghouse in the early hours of the morn.
It was the summer of 1995. I had just seen the movie “Clueless” and believed that two things would vastly improve my existence: a French manicure and this thing called a “cell phone.” So I drove immediately to Staples and signed up for one. I knew my mom would be so mad at me, but ohmygod, I was so excited.
Sure enough, that woman made me return the 4-pound phone the very next day, because spending $55 a minute to say, “Guess where I’m calling you from! A CELLULAR TELEPHONE! ... Hello?” apparently put my ability to stay in college at great risk.
During that one glorious night, though, I stood in front of my mirror posing with my thick Motorola Flip Phone and laughing at a very flirty but imaginary conversation with a cute boy, thinking about all the awesome social possibilities that my cell phone would have brought me if only my parents would just stay out of my business. I mean, how much damage could a phone really do?
I was recently in the middle of e-mailing my husband from the next room over when it occurred to me that perhaps something wasn’t entirely right with the situation.
I could see him from where I was sitting in the living room. I easily could have called out, “What do you want to do for dinner?” and then listened to his response with my ears. But somehow, typing it in an e-mail and then eagerly awaiting a reply felt more natural. And it turns out that “I don’t care. What do you want to do?” is just as annoying whether heard out loud or read in an e-mail.
Last week, it finally clicked that I might have a real problem here. I was at an event on the island, eating the most delicious salad with an incredible but unidentifiable dressing, thinking “I can’t wait to go home and Google the caterer’s menu to find out what they used on this. It’s fantastic!”
No sooner had Susan Boyle finished her stunning performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" on "Britain's Got Talent," than the adoring public made the collective decision that she should remain the frumpy surprise that endeared her to us in the first place.
Knowing that a makeover would be the next logical step for someone of Boyle's general bushiness and sudden fame, the world cried, "No! Don't change!" and "We like you just the way you are!" — which is a very nice thing to hear these days, considering our most popular singing stars seem to think talent is what happens when you push them up and together.