This is a simple column by a complex woman.  
Dumb-asses need not apply.
If you flatter yourself to be
a bright spot in the universe
and aren't offended by "psychotic breaks," welcome.
If you're a little frightened, well, all the better.
We kinda like you like that... with hot sauce.

“Ten bucks a day?!" 


I can thank IBS-D for at least one blessing in my life: No jury duty. 

Others aren’t so lucky. My husband, for example. He was served just prior to visiting his retired parents in Florida, to help expedite their nursing home and home care needs as both are suffering worsening health symptoms from a heart condition to emphysema. This after being laid off at the end of September and right smack dab in the middle of my birthday/Thanksgiving/wedding anniversary/Christmas holiday season. 

Being a working musician, who often books gigs months to a year in advance and gigs when everybody else is at home toasting the New Year with spiked eggnog, and now, ONLY a working musician, Eddie can ill-afford jury duty for God knows how long. 

Luckily, he didn’t have to serve for longer than two days in a state trial involving a misdemeanor of malicious property damage (he was also the last hold-out on a guilty verdict, but that’s for my book later on, heh heh), and learned a few interesting facts of courtroom life (it’s no “Law & Order,” folks, far from it), not to mention bonded with his fellow jurors. 

When I asked him how much he was earning to fulfill his civic duty, he replied, “Ten dollars a day.” 

“You can’t even get a decent Super-sized meal at McDonald’s for that amount! Couldn’t they spring for lunch and dinner, give you a Buick, something?!” 

He shrugged and went back to his phone calls, booking more gigs. [I’m available on the 21st!] 

This injustice made me ponder the subject further, still fuming. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) tried to get out of jury duty herself, and not even her status as an actress on a daytime serial did much to sway the judge. Of course, being human, even a liberal, she complained, while acknowledging civic duty and all that. 

American citizenship is a privilege. With voting and driving your Buick anywhere on the continent, comes the responsibility every citizen must embrace with open, committed, sacrificial arms. 

Like hell. 

I already pay and pay and pay to another governmental arm, the IRS. Don’t forget Washington’s insane sales taxes. Its shitty roads, constant roadwork, more shitty roads. Funds wasted on yet another library renovation, or a new stadium. Bleeding hearts bleating for shelters, art centers, crap like that, when it seems more homeless go without every year, and all the cops can do is write tickets. And, how’s tort reform workin’ for ya? 

Unemployment here is amongst the Top 20, and not getting any better. There are technical professionals with several degrees waiting tables. No, scratch that. They can’t even score interviews with restaurant managers TO wait tables. 

In a bit of personal irony, the cost of living in Washington state has grown worse comparatively to any other, including Hawaii, the paradise I’d left over seven years ago TO ESCAPE THAT STATE’S HIGH COST OF LIVING. 

I can’t escape. I’m stuck here in the Northwest, a favorite playground for all things virally fatal, bills up my ass, holiday cheer a prison sentence, with only the occasional Sunday morning Dilbert comic strip (this past one kicked ass, graphic designers!) to distract me from an annual spiraling malaise against the human race. 

With life sucking ass as bad as it has been for many Americans, why not make it easier by adding incentives to jury duty, for starters? Ten dollar a fucking day does not cut it. Try enough money to compensate for the equivalent of a day’s worth of good solid work; minimum wage earners take in more in 10 minutes... maybe $300, including all meals out, the latest video games and high-speed dsl connections in the jurors’ lounge. Frequent time-outs during trials for bathroom breaks. The latest box office hit on a big plasma screen for overnighters. Damian Lewis making a guest appearance to sign autographs and pose for pictures between summations. 

If the government of these United States treated jury duty as a high-paying job offer, nobody would refuse. You’d have me with a catheter and a bedpan in there, munching Cheese Doodles on the side. There’d be such a demand as to rival the flu shot lines at the nearest drugstore. 

It’d be better than the crowds in Time Square before the tree lighting ceremony. 

While I’m kinda sorta on the subject of life sucking ass especially during the over-commercialized holidays and the government making such a life sucking ass even worse by not giving an inch or a damn... How ‘bout we forego the gift-giving tradition of store owners altogether? 

Store owners concocted the tradition to start with, several hundred years ago to boost lagging end-of-the-year sales. It wasn’t Santa Claus or his elves, or any of that other mystical bullshit. It was the mystical bullshit of Santa and his elves being used as marketable tokens to lure millions and billions of potential customers into stores, to buy, buy, buy what they couldn’t afford until the IRS came around in May to wreck further havoc, and take the rest. 

The unemployed Washington residents don’t really want your Martha-Stewart-wrapped trinkets of affection (read: Just get him anything, there’s a ball game on in 15 minutes), anyway. 

A recent “Seattle Times” article in the features section reported that such unemployed residents would prefer cash, or other useful, practical gifts to help them land a real, bonafide, permanent JOB. So fuck your clocks and your cat posters and your stupid empty Hallmark sentiments, and give these people a break. Better yet, your IRA. 

Give to the less fortunate, as well. I mean, doesn’t your wife have enough goddamned Ben Bridge diamond pendants, your son enough XBox games, yourself an endless supply of blackmarket porn?! Christmas is about the spirit of giving, not an excuse to add materialistic, self-important asshole to your resume, you complaining jerk, you’re lucky you’ve even BEEN invited to 20 parties much less one! 

Besides, nobody wants your homemade toilet seat covers, either, grandma, you penny-pinching tightwad old bat! Take those disgusting Russian teaball cookies and stick ‘em up your tightwad old ass! 

Stop hoarding your million-dollar savings, and share with the rest of us sad sacks. Maybe help pay the rent, the down payment on the repossessed car, $15 for a lousy bus pass? Huh, hah? 

We don’t want your “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” and “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for taking care of the nursing home for mom while I wasn’t doing my job as a father and was never there for you when YOU needed a few bucks or else you’d have to declare personal bankruptcy and ended up turning to a friend instead to get you out of a jam I’d only have added to my growing list of failures you’ve committed because you never listened to me!” 

Fuck you, old man, and just give us the inheritance now, when we actually need it! 

Uh... ::nervous cough:: ... Where was I? 

Oh yeah, $10 a day is not enough to survive on when I could be out pounding the pavement for a job I might lose over the holidays anyway and... please, please, do not give me any fruitcake.


“Is it too late to change my major?” 


"docked in tinsel"


“God blessed us all with gifts. Or... did He?” 

“cancer as aphrodisiac”

"you in the choir?"

"14 years"


"lake bluto"

"la lucci"

"heart's desire"

"rhythmic drops"

“AMC, kinda sorta maybe better”

“an audience of one” 

“add a real dose of reality-TV to soaps” 

“Bianca sucks, let’s rape her!”

"5 nuns"




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