Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Bourbon Blogging

A lotta lotta years ago, but after the end of Star Trek: TNG (this is a necessary qualifier and not just another nerdy Trek reference... well, and not JUST another nerdy Trek reference), I had this dream where I was walking through LAX, and from far across the terminal, I saw Jonathan Frakes walking towards me with this big grin. In the dream, we'd worked together on Star Trek. In the dream, I was so glad to see him. I was filled with a sense of pleasure and happiness at this meeting; consumed by an entirely comfortable joy at the prospect of reconnecting with my past; equally satisfied with both my past and present.

I woke up depressed. I couldn't think of anyone in my own life I'd have been so glad to see. It felt like most of what I'd done had been hallmarked by plodding effort and insincerity and it would be tedious and arduous to muster up that long since cast away persona. God, what would we have to talk about?

That dream has stayed with me. It seemed so sad that of all the people I've loved, I wasn't eager to run into any of them walking down the street. My own past was just too murky and disconnected to invite it into my present.

And then tonight. I was dining al fresco with LaneyBon, chatting about this and that, when a friend from way back in the day suddenly appeared at my side. And, what do you know? I was just as happy to see him in the waking world as I'd been to see Riker in my dream world. I was filled with this totally comfortable joy at the chance to reconnect, however briefly, with someone from back then.

I'm not sure what happened, what shifted. I suspect this is one of the happier circumstances of aging. It's easier to be who you are, generally less awkward. And you grow forgiving of any inauthenticity or discomfiture of the past. Because, after all, they were good days.

Aw, it was just so good to see my old friend. I hope I run into him again one day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Let me begin this blogpost with an absolutely true anecdote from the files of Megbon. On May 5, 2000 at 5:00 in the afternoon, I was standing at the back of St. Stanislaus Church in Chicago's Wicker Park absolutely scared shitless. I looked down the aisle, spotted Donbon, and said to myself "eye on the prize, Rhem, keep your eye on the prize." And then I walked down the aisle and got married and haven't regretted it for a day. Not the marrying Don part (although: that too), the having a wedding part.

When you're planning a wedding, you'd be surprised how many people tell you that you should just go to city hall because it's stupid to spend all that money "for one day." Once you're married, if you have the wedding, you'll be tempted to bewail the money spent, wish it back, regret the finery and the pomp. But, me? I'm all about the ritual.

Here's the thing: marriage is work. It's an awful lot of work. But that's not a bad thing; what thing of value do you have that isn't work? Marriage is an endeavor and an adventure and I think it's best to anchor it with a little ritual.

We made real promises to each other that day. We made them publicly and that gave them some heft, some durability. I have, for example, left a dry towel in the bathroom for Don every day (that was a vow). Don has had pizza with me every Sunday, in spirit if not in fact (that was a vow). We have been faithful to each other, we have been interested in each other (we promised that too). We have kept on loving each other, even when we had to remind ourselves to do that.

Throughout the course of my marriage, I've fallen in and out of love with Don thousands of time, sometimes in the same day. And when I'm picking up his socks for the eight millionth time and thinking what a grind, what a challenge it is, I remind myself to keep my eye on the prize. And then suddenly, before I know it, that cute guy in the terrible tuxedo (I lied, I have one regret about my wedding: that goddamn, stupid stud he wore in lieu of a tie) shows up again. And I remember what I promised. And I'm glad I promised it.

And, don't kid yourself, I've seen that same look cross Don's face. I've seen him look at me with renewed fondness, with an "ah, there's my girl again" face.

Finally, don't forget the party. Never underestimate the value of a truly great party. Our wedding remains the best party we've every thrown (and we've thrown some wang-doozies). We drank and danced and ate and laughed and we did it in a roomful of people who were, honestly, happy for us and happy to be there. That alone was worth the price of admission.

Shoot, y'all, I'd do it all again if I could.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yeah, That's What You Think

So I stumbled across a comment thread on Facebook that began with a status update from the airport which went something like "Too many wild children in this airport! Parents, it's your job to control your kids!" And then there were a string of comments mostly along the lines of "my Mom would NEVER have let me..." and "when I was a kid I knew better than to..."

At first blush this seemed reasonable. I mean, my daughter has thrown some wild fits out in public and I don't remember ever throwing wild fits out in public. Ipso facto, our parents were better disciplinarians.

And then I thought a little more and un-ipso-ed that facto. My daughter is 6 and is at an age where I can nip a tantrum in the bud in a public place. When she was two or three or even four, it was a little trickier. Like a bolt out of the blue it hits me: all of us, every last damn one of us has acted like a miserable little cuss in public and made one or both of our parents' life hell. But the good lord that I don't believe in has arranged it so that our rotten behavior happens in our own personal prehistory.

If you don't believe me, call your mother. I bet she has at least one story about you acting like a total toddler asshole in the grocery store or a restaurant. Probably more.

Friday, July 24, 2009

HL Gates, Some Other Thoughts

Anyone want to talk about Henry Louis Gates? It's eerie how SILENT the media has been on the whole thing, isn't it? Here's my take: from witness accounts and police reports, I think we can all agree that Skip Gates was acting like an asshole. He did handle the situation poorly. He was obstreperous, rude, entitled, an asshole. But it is not, as Atrios would say, illegal to act like an asshole in your own house [can't find link....] .

Personally, I try to avoid acting like an asshole. I am often acted like an asshole TO. Most of us are. We get yelled at, berated, condescended to. And usually, we're grown ups about it. We accept that assholery happens and move on. I do software support, which is a career that really lends itself to asshole behavior. But no matter how much of an asshole my customer is being, I don't think I have the right to tell them that the only fix is to erase their hard drive (and, y'all, I have customers doofy enough to believe that).

Once this cop assessed that it was the homeowner who was acting like an asshole, he should have walked away. Instead, he chose to haul Gates away in handcuffs largely to show Gates that he could. Stupid.


That said, an anecdote: When I was about 19 I went out with a girlfriend to the local liquor store and bought a case of beer. On our way out, we walked past a young black man who was fiddling with something. As we walked past, he looked up and said "Can you help me? I'm going to my girl's house and I can't get this necklace on that she bought me. She's gonna kill me if I'm not wearing it." So, my girlfriend and I stopped and I did the clasp on the necklace for him and we carried on.

Seconds later a cop yelled in our direction "Hey, Tyrone!" When no one responded, he repeated, "Hey, Tyrone!" The necklace guy turned around and said "My name's not Tyrone." My girlfriend and I tucked our heads down and kept walking because we were carrying some seriously illegal beer. Also, we were chickenshit. As we walked away, the necklace guy was up against the cop car getting cuffed.

It's entirely possible that necklace guy was getting arrested for entirely good reasons. It's just as possible, though, that he wasn't. The cop started yelling for him after our exchange. He'd been there the whole time. I think there's a whole history of black men and police that cannot be discounted. Sometimes we act like assholes for cause.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back to Work, So What's Up with the Mommy Wars?

Yesterday it hit me like a bolt out of the blue that I was walking around, drug-free, and nothing hurt. When something hurts for a long time, it's hard to explain how frickity fracking AWESOME you feel when it stops. I am a big bag of energy. I'm celebrating with my first bourbon in like two months... which may have a somewhat deleterious effect on that energy, but totally worth it!

Tomorrow I'm heading back to the office. And I got to thinking how much I'm looking forward to going back to the office, what with the makeup and high heels and grown-ups. This in turn made me think about how nice it was to be home with Laney all this time and how much I'll miss spending the whole day with her, even when she drove me up the razzafrazzing wall. Which, in turn, got me to thinking about the topic-du-jour of a few months ago: the Mommy Wars.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the battle that wouldn't end : Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms.

Which was, of course, a ginormous, media-fomented fabrication. In my world I've got women friends who work outside the home and women friends who are stay at home moms. Sometimes I envy the stay at home mothers and sometimes they envy me. But what we don't do is assume the other side has it wrong, is selfish and is on the way to raising damaged, fucked up kids.

Here's the thing about feminism: it's all about choice. And these days, most of us are mature enough to recognize that you never choose to do anything without choosing not to do something else. There's no such thing as having it all and none of us are free of doubt and self-recrimination about what we've chosen. This keeps most of us too humble to judge people who've made different choices. "Most of us", of course, excludes your average TV talking head which loves nothing more than a good cat fight. The love of a good cat fight (also known as, from this moment forward, bellofelinophilia) is really the root of them there Mommy Wars.

The great thing about living in this modern world, and the thing that I assume will keep on getting greater, is that our range of choices open up. It's hard to choose, but a lot easier than having the choice made for you. Soon enough, we may even get to a point where men will be subject to the same kind of media-driven, cultural judgment about their choices to go to work or stay at home as women. Plan on this happening sometime after our media-driven culture recognizes that women may actually think of beer as something to drink and not something to point at with their breasts and also that men sometimes do laundry.

Not in this house, but I hear they do!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Post Racial America

Yesterday, I bought some Crayola Sidewalk Paint at Target. I hate those damn plastic bags, so I eschewed it and walked out with just the toy in my hands. It occurred to me as I was strolling past the security guard and out to my car that if I didn't look like me, that guard probably would have asked me for a receipt.

This isn't, of course, a guarantee. But I really think he would have. As I said to my mother, I guess this is one of the benefits of being white in America.

Then I read this story. In a nutshell, Henry Louis Gates is this really famous (famous enough that I'd heard of him) middle-aged black professor. The door to his house is jammed and he's banging his shoulder against the door trying to loosen it. He manages to get into his house at which point the police show up, verify that he lives there and then arrest him anyway, for "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior."

There was a time when I would have read this and been one of those millions of Americans who, as they say at Pandagon, "think that this is just a black man screaming racism because he handled a situation poorly." But, honestly, it's hard for me to imagine a situation where my own door is jammed and I'm not exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior. The difference is, when the police show up at my house, they probably don't ask me for ID. And even if they do, I'll bet it's perfunctory. If they see a white lady in the house, they'll assume that I live here. I think this is the crux of the lie of "post racial America."

I've had this on my mind a lot, lately, having watched the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. We seem to have created this cultural discourse where "racist" means "cross burner" and nothing else. Thus, when you call someone out for racism, especially if you're a minority, then you're "playing the race card." It's a neat trick. It's how Pat Buchanan keeps getting booked on the teevee.

Racism comes in many forms and in many levels. None of it is right, but just because some of it is really obviously wrong, doesn't mean it's OK to ignore the insidious, culturally accepted kinds. I don't think Henry Louis Gates is wrong at all when he that this happened because he was a black man in America.

Friday, July 17, 2009


So, as I've been dealing with a redonkulously protracted healing time, I've adopted a constant and comfortable late night routine: I take a narcotic and watch Roseanne reruns.

Last night, my all time favorite episode came on. If you were watching TV in the 80s, you'll know what episode I'm talking about. It's the one where:

Becky cut the cheese.

That's up there with "As god is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly" and "Chuckles the Clown" for things that make me giggle without any context or setup.

So, anyhoo, I'm all stoned and chuckly last night on the couch watching it when I had a sudden grade school flashback! Picture if you will, a 7th grade Megbon, awkward, glasses, kind of nerdy. I was also a cheerleader (I know that seems weird, but it was a really small school and pretty much every girl was conscripted into the cheerleading squad). We cheerleaders were all lined up and doing that cheer that goes, "My name's Juanita. I am a Taurus. And I am h-o-t-t- hot." Or something like that. So, the girl in front of me did her little bit but before I could announce my name and astrological sign, I...

cut the cheese.

I farted in the middle of a line of cheerleaders. And immediately got the nickname Tootie.

Oh, the shame and embarrassment! For YEARS! See, I have significant bathroom issues. I carried that feeling of shame and embarrassment regarding Tootie deep into my 20s. As time passed, this memory faded from my mind. But the bathroom issues stayed with me. For example, I was married for five years (literally: five years) before I would use the toilet when Don was home. Which is CRAZY!

Ah, but time passes and we care less about things. I can't believe I was that wiggy about bodily functions. What a waste of time. That episode of Roseanne is hilarious and I am proud to have been a seventh grade Tootie.

Or was it Tootsie? Something like that. Wev.

Here's the promised vid:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Question for my Meat Eating Homies

The last time I was an Iowa, I overheard this exchange between my adult niece and Don.

Niece: So, does Laney eat meat
Don: Yeah
Niece: Good

This loses something a little in the transcription. Let's change the first two lines.

Niece: I understand that Meg has this hobby of painting swastikas on synagogues. Is Laney doing that too?
Don: No
Niece: Good

Imagine how you'd say "good" in the latter scenario. That's how she said "good" when she learned that Laney eats meat.

My brother, from time to time, lets loose with his bottomless disgust at my vegetarianism. For him, I think, vegetarianism is stupid and betrays a shallowness of thought and trendiness like if I were practicing Kaballah or trying to turn everyone onto Enya (there's probably a more current reference there, but I'm all stumped and forty).

I'm flummoxed by the passionate reaction people have to my vegetarianism. I don't get what vegetarianism means to the people who hate it. I promise I am not preachy about it. I don't look askance at you as you enjoy your steak (but I bet you do look askance at me when I decline said steak). Are meat eaters afraid that we vegetarians are slowly taking over the world and will deprive them of their god-given right to a burger?

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but there is as much stridency and intransigence on the meat eating side of the equation as there is on the vegetarian side. The thing is, and certainly because I am vegetarian, I get it on the veg side. Vegetarianism does more good than bad. It's better for your health, the environment and your soul (that last one is subjective and I can see how both sides could claim it). But why do the carnivores get so hot and bothered when confronted with vegetarianism? If it ain't a good meal to you unless, at some point, it walked the earth, what does my vegetarianism signify?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Away We Go: An Open Letter

Dear Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida -

An adopted child is not a consolation prize. When you adopt a child, you don't sit around grieving your lack of a real baby unless you are a really shitty parent. If you've adopted a child, especially if you've adopted FIVE children, and you're not too busy raising those children to go out drinking every night to sublimate your feelings of failure because you couldn't have real kids, you are an unbelievably super shitty parent. Finally, when you adopt a child, you officially "have" children. Real ones.

Other than that, excellent film.

MegBon, adoptive parent

Edited to add: This is an issue that's so near and dear to my heart. I wish people would understand that adoption is not some act of generosity made by sad people who can't have their "own kids." I wish people could get their heads wrapped around the fact that people adopt kids for exactly the same reason that lots of people give birth to them: you want a family. That's it. That's the only reason. There's nothing mysterious about it at all. I'm so disappointed that this otherwise lovely movie took that horrible misstep. I may write a real letter to Dave and Vendela and let them know that I love my daughter as much as they love their kid.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Ideological Divide

Through a series of facebooky events, I've friended a real live small government conservative. It's good to get outside your bubble. It's good to see what makes the other side tick. It's good to see how you come across to the other side. And I'm starting to get what makes them tick: that old Reaganism about government not being the solution but the problem has moved from opinion to aphorism. It's as true to them as "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." It is a truth so true it's self-evident, unquestioned and unquestionable.

To be fair, we lefties are as prone to converting our philosophies into fact as they are. The difference is, of course, we're right. [Can you smiley face a blog? I think you're supposed to rely on your skill as a writer to get across bloggy cheekiness. I, here, am doing what Senator Franken (god, LOVE how that sounds) calls "kidding on the square."]

As I've mentioned loads of time in this here blog, the function of government is to do the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. And, I've gone just on and on about how it's the second half that's so hard to do.

And right there is the crux of the divide: we lefties believe in protecting the rights of those minorities NOW. And we believe it is the sacred duty of government to do that. Conservatives believe that society will move toward social justice on its own.

Look, it's true that we probably didn't need the Civil Rights Act to start moving away from our ugly American history of Jim Crow and slavery. But, we sure as shit needed it in 1964. And eventually every state in the union would have acknowledged the right for women to vote without the 19th amendment. But that would have come a hell of a lot later than 1920.

And eventually gay people will have the same marriage rights as straight people. But they should have them NOW.

My theory is that conservatives tend to be straight white men because straight white men haven't really ever had to wait for anyone to acknowledge their rights in this country. They have no history of wanting it NOW.

For a lot of years, it's been politically vogue to claim independence. Poltickin' bona fides are established when a liberal votes republican or a conservative votes dem. But, y'all, I'm a proud liberal democrat because I believe in government and I believe that government, federal government, has an obligation to... well, hell, let's just go to the text:

establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

And, dammit, that needs to happen NOW.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Perptual, Sustained Confusion

I haven't blogged in a long time. Instead I've been watching a lot of TV. I've given the old college try to maintaining some level of productivity- I've been sorta kinda on top of laundry, done the dishes every day, kept reasonably ahead of my work responsibilities, Laney is still in one piece. But around 8:00ish, when the house is quiet, I've been doing that same thing: popping a Norco and passing out on the couch while watching Roseanne reruns. Tons of them. TV Land has been on a nonstop Roseanne loop since I was in the hospital. There's something soothing about those old Roseanne episodes.

This odd, latter day passion for Roseanne, however, is not whence comes my titular sustained confusion. This is:

This is the ad for Cialis that runs almost nonstop on TV Land. And I. Don't. Get. It. What is the point? What are they getting it? Is there some obscure connection between bathtubs and erections? Is there something inherently erotic about bathing next to your sex partner? In an entirely different bathtub? On the beach?

I do not protest befuddlement for purposes of bloggy amusement. I am actively perplexed by the point of the side-by-side bathtubs as marketing fodder for hard-on drugs.

I tell you what it it reminds me of: some leotarded Trekkian notion of exotic sex on the pleasure planet of Risa. Like Riker and some sexy blue lady with a weird nose-to-ear piercing are in side-by-side tubs on Risa (or Geordi and the same chick on the Holodeck.... poor Geordi).

In the real world, it's just more marketing bullshit isn't it? I'm convinced there are graduate level marketing classes out there called "How To Convince the Decision Makers that your Weird and Pointless Images are Effective."