July 9, 2002

Drunk rambles

My Kinda Captain Morgan

There you have proof positive that a drunk ass like myself should never go anywheres near Paint Shop Pro.

No worries, long time readers...I’m way past whining about what anyone says about me on the net, so we’re not going there.  Pffft.  I am a GOSSIP columnist, not a spoiler site and if someone wants to take their head out of their tight little ass long enough to bitch about how inaccurate my babbling gossip is or fuss heatedly about something I said, then we can “yeah, yeah, yeah” them until they bury their pointed little dome northward again and get back to the grownup talk.   ;)    So it’s not that and won’t ever be that again.  You’ve got Sage’s word on it and above all, I’ll never lie to ya.  I might and will make mistakes.  I share gossip with you and gossip is seldom set in stone.  But I won’t intentionally lie to you. 

I have made no secret of the fact that passionate, obsessed fan bases scare me.  They scare me for me because if I happen to honestly say something from my heart and it offends them, they go ballistic and my inbox fills up with hate and criticism.  You also never know when there’s going to be some whacked out nutjob who’s going to come gunning for Sage because he said Maurice Benard has greasy hair or that Kendall and Carly needs to eat a plate pork chops before they blow away or Linda Dano has a nappy-assed ‘do or Coltin Scott has funky teeth or Flea scrinches too much or Jen Rappaport is as smart as a bag of hammers or something adn then Sage meets an untimely demise.  You guys reading this might be normal, but there are some seriously insaney janies out there and they are the ones packin’ heat.  

It scares me as a society that we can have these little Nazi factions of people are so wound up about an actor, a character or a couple that they go nuclear on anyone who dares to affront their pet person/couple and invest so much energy into someone who is not directly in their lives.  It makes me wonder if they are so passionate about the “real” people who are in their lives.  It makes me wonder if there is anyone in their life who is deserving of that degree of passion anyway.  It makes me wonder if there is anyone else in their life at all.  Any of those things make me sad on one hand.  On the other hand, I’m glad that they do have a source into which to pour that kind of passion and devotion if it has nowhere else to go.  

THAT makes me wonder about the Internet itself.  Has having web relations, like my beautiful Ho’s and our fabulous message board family A) given a social life to people who would otherwise be ostracized, isolated and alone or has it B) made us (all) much more introverted and consequently, rusted out our ability to go out and put ourselves on the line in the real world, forming relationships that actually require our attention and don’t go away as soon as we press a button and “It is now safe to shut down your computer” comes on the screen.  Maybe both?  Will we lose our ability to interact with “real” humans in favor of a world where we can be whoever and whatever we want and only ever show people what we are willing to let them see?  Sure, we see the ugliness of the real bullies and violent zealots on the net, but in our hearts, we know that there’s a good chance they are, in “real” life, frustrated housewives who use up all of their nurturing on families who don’t give back to them and are totally depleted and in desperate need of venting their rage at not being nurtured on something, someone, before they implode and end up writing to people in a padded room on napkins with crayons rather than on cyberspace with a keyboard.  I believe that many are the quiet people who go to work, do their job, come home to a lonely apartment and a thankless cat who believes it’s God and a Lean Cuisine, then settle down to the computer to look for a place to invest all of the emotions that don’t find an outlet in their day-to-day life.  Some are the ones who believe that if they follow Steve Burton to enough fan events, he’s going to eventually lock eyes with them, stop speaking and mouth “You, I want YOU, you 230-pound hunka hunka burnin’ love,” dismount the stage and (try to) scoop them up and carry them out of the event while “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong” plays on the loudspeakers.  I know Katrina thinks that about Stephen Nichols, but is convinced it will only take two fan events (obviously two, since it didn’t happen at the first one she went to).  The difference in Katrina and Sage is that Sage really DOES get the star booty (winkers).  

Anyway, what I’m saying is that these people who are so passionate and defensive of their stars and characters and couples aren’t bad people and they aren’t wackos (only the ones with the guns).  They just have a lot of love and devotion and unspent energy, both positive and negative, that needs a place to land.  The really, really fierce and continually angry ones definitely have “issues” and are no doubt lashing out at the world where ever and however they can just to keep from picking off student nurses from a tower in Dallas with a semi-automatic.  The last year has taught me, and I didn’t really get this all strung together until my birthday night under the stars, that we all just do what we have to do to live in our own skin and walk this earth just one more day.  Putting all this down on a computer screen to you is like the final sorting of it all.   Damn.  My drink glass is empty.  Garcon!  A fill up!!  And float some of those olives and cherries and shit around in it!  Ahhhh.  No, really, it’s just me and the Captain (Morgan...I think his name is Captain Jason Morgan) and the night that draweth nigh...and you.  Thank God there’s you. 

Anyway, where was I before I ran out of rummy dum?  Ah yes.  My mom loves that old saying, “Screw me once, shame on you; screw me twice, shame on me.”  The closest thing we have to a modern day guru, Dr Phil, says, “Our life is the way it is because we set it up that way” and “Life rewards action” and “There are no adult victims, only willing participants” and “We teach people how to treat us” and “We don’t do anything that doesn’t have a payoff on some level.”  I love his empowerment of the person to take responsibility not only for where they are in their life and how it is, but also for changing what they don’t want any more.  All of that makes perfect sense to me and I agree 100%, but I also know that all too often, we get mired in compounded years of crap until we don’t know what’s normal and what’s not and we can’t find up or down or any way out of the mess and that makes it easier to just trudge on, doing the same thing day after day because it’s what we did the day before and because it’s so much easier to react than to act.  It’s easier to be in the audience of life than on the court playing.  It’s easier to accept the paradigm of what other people have created for you in regard to who and what you are than to stand up for who and what you know you really are.  Phil says that the litmus test for that is to really consider whether you are what someone says you are and if you find that you are and you’re not happy with that, change it.  If you find that you are not and they are full of shit, don’t buy what they’re selling.  

Too often, though, we sit and wait and wait and wait for change to come, for something to happen, for anything different to happen and then we wonder why it doesn’t, yet we continue to do the same things, day after day, year after year, cursing the change that never come to find us, to seek us out like Steve Burton’s eyes in that crowd and change our lives forever. 

It sure happened to me, though.  I was moving through all the same motions for YEARS.  They were good motions and I was happy.  Nothing ever changed and I felt that was a good thing.  I was safely and soundly moving day to day in my little hair cutting, mom-tending world, never extending myself beyond that protected little duck blind.  I had written to Katrina a few times and we were net buds, but when she suggested I write for the site, I was absolutely terrified at that kind of exposure to the world.  It took a lot of sweet talk, a lot of encouragement and a lot of in person liquor for her to convince me to write that first column.  My life was perfect!  Why muck it up?  I didn’t know that it would open yet another world of love and wonder and fun and laughs and joy.  Forget the bad stuff.  The good stuff is what matters.  What I’m saying though is that so often, we are afraid of change and resist stepping out of our comfort zones, whether things are good or bad.  When they are bad and we feel helpless, it’s sometimes even easier to get mired in the days that are ticking by like railroad cars on a train that moves faster and faster, gaining speed every day.  Pretty soon, you’re dead and you missed it all because when this is happening, your head is down, your back is curved, your eyes are downcast and your feelings are numbed.  You don’t see life, you don’t stand proud and you don’t feel life.  It’s hard to feel because if you start to feel anything, it’s all going to come flying out like the bad nasties in Pandora’s box and god help you, you’ll never get it back and you’ll be in that tower in Dallas or that padded room in nothing flat.  So you numb yourself to everything and keep trudging.  But hey!!  When you get to that keyboard, you can create a whole new world where you are no longer a humble librarian who says, “Yes sir,” and “No ma’am” and “It’s in 331.1 on the third aisle of nonfiction” forty-seven thousand times a day, 255 days a year.  You are Tawanda The Wonder Woman who slings her mighty sword at all who would stand in the way of a reunion of her favorite couple or has a cross word to say about her favorite star!  You can shriek obscenities and hurl judgments and eviscerate those who would subdue you like a cyber word version of Mortal Combat, then wipe off your sword, turn off the computer and start trudging again.  The tension is released.  You fought the good fight.  You can sit back and smoke a cig and bask in the afterglow of a really great thrashing and remember that you neglected to empty the book drop before you left work, let the cat out and crawl into a cold bed to wake up the next morning and do it all again.  

I’m only bringing this up because it’s what I believe is behind a lot of the internet hatred and maulings and I know that it’s a source of interest for people who are not in that place in their life.  Before the internet, there was no voice or pressure release for the pain and frustration and futile fury of what one’s life has turned out to be, regardless of whether you are 17 or 70.  The keyboard and phone jack allows a person to vent their rage on a faceless, surreal entity with an unlikely moniker like JasonsBitch42000032 and never even process that you are talking to a real human.  It’s a computer screen that spars with you.  It reminds me of this episode of (I think) The New Twilight Zone where a man shows up on a very poor woman’s doorstep and gives her a box with a button on it.  He tells her that if she ever decides to push the button, she’ll get $10,000 and that the box is totally entrusted to her until she pushes the button, at which time she has to surrender it to go to someone else.  There is one interesting addendum.  When she does push that button, someone she doesn’t know and will never meet will die.  She wrestles with the idea for most of the episode while things continue to compile to put her into even worse financial constraints.  Finally, she can bear it no longer and pushes the button.  The man shows up right away and hands her $10,000 and takes the box.  As he’s walking away, she says, “I have to know...where are you taking the box next?”  He gets a kind of crooked smile and says, “To someone who doesn’t know you and will never meet you.”  That’s how the internet is. 

One thing life has definitely shown me over the years and particularly in the past week is that we are never more than an event or two or ten away from the person that we scorn or ridicule or place under a microscope or whisper to our friend about as we walk past.  For instance, I was just talking to Katrina last night about people with babies versus people without babies and I was remembering a conversation one of my sisters (who had babies at the time) had with one of my sisters who was due to deliver her first child any day, any second.  We were in our living room and the MomSister (MS) bent over to pick up a pacifier that had fallen to the floor.  She automatically put the pacifier in her mouth, gave it a good suck, and then popped it back in the baby’s mouth.  The NotMomYetSister (NMYS) was aghast...agog...mortified.  The conversation went like this: 

NMYS:  “Wha...wha...?  I can’t believe you just did that!” 

MS:  “Did what?” 

NMYS:  “There’s so much, I don’t know where to start!  You pick up the pacifier off the floor?  You put it in your germy mouth?  Then put it in the baby’s mouth without sterilizing it?  That you’re using one of those nasty things at all to start with?” 

MS:  “Pfft.  Are you joking?”  

NMYS:  “Oh my god!  I can’t believe you can seriously condone any of that!” 

MS:  “What do you mean condone it?  Any of what?” 

NMYS:  “You put that nasty thing, filled with germs in your baby’s mouth!  It has your spit on it!!” 

MS:  “I’m a mom. My spit is sterile.” 

NMYS:  “Is not.” 

MS:  “Is too.  Plus, I’d kiss my baby on the mouth.  What’s the difference?” 

NMYS:  (fated words) “Well MY baby isn’t going to have one of those dirty things.” 

MS:  “HA!  We’ll see.” 

Three months later, I watched NMYS (who was then a certified member of the MS club) scarf the pacifier off the floor, jockey it into her mouth, pop in between her baby’s trusting, rosebud lips after lifting it in a “cheers” gesture to the senior MS.  Perspective, babies!  Don’t EVER tempt fate or you’ll be walking some long miles in those moccasins!  

It’s like that wonderful game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”  We are never more than a few degrees from the people we ridicule or pity or avoid eye contact with by smugly looking the other way.  “But for the grace of God, there go I,” is a pretty strong statement.  I have lived a very protected life and have been surrounded by a lot of love and validation, but I don’t take that for granted, because although I have my history, my future is not yet written and anything can happen.  I mean, look at my dad, Frank.  Or, you’d look at him if you could.  He died when my mom was pregnant with me.  He was a young man with a huge passel of kids, a beautiful, adoring wife and a bright future.  Unfortunately, he learned that he had an aggressive and particularly hungry case of lung cancer from the 2 packs a day he’d had since he was about 13.  When he tapped my mother and that magical moment occurred to give me life, when they sat in the doctor’s office together and laughed and embraced and found out they were having b-b-baby #7, they never either one imagined that there was a thief lurking in his body and in that blood-colored pack of Pall Mall’s that would rob him of ever seeing his only son...the best kid in the bunch.  

You just never do know when it’s all going to turn and all you can do is live each moment to the fullest.  You have to make sure that every day you love enough and feel EVERYTHING and smell enough wonderful flowers and incense and freshly mowed grass.  You have to run your hands through a vat of polished stones and wade in a creek and bask in the sun enough.  You have to hug the people you love enough and make sure that you NEVER, EVER are the one to break the hug first.  You’d be surprised how much more hug you get in your life if you don’t let go first, especially with little children.  You have to kiss your mom’s cheek enough and forgive enough and sit in a hot tub enough (well, ok, you can never sit in a hot tub enough).  You have to ride enough log rides and wear enough silly hats and dance under the moon enough.  You have to take enough chances to make your life full and rich and glorious instead of dull and gray and trudging.  You have to read enough books by Sark and use pens that are colorful and make enough snow angels.  You have to have played in the rain enough and performed in local theater enough and drawn on sidewalks enough and squished mud between toes enough.  You have to have lived enough. 

I’m very aware of how lucky I am that my fantastic mom has lasted as long as she has and graced my life with her magical presence and valuable wisdom.  I was lucky that she invested my father’s estate well and was able to stay home with me when I was growing up and provide an incredible education for me (both academic and experiential) and I will never cease to be grateful for those gifts.  I also know that at any turn, any zig or zag in the road, past or future, life could turn on a dime.  Pretty scary stuff. 

So what I’m saying, is that I’ve given people on the net a pretty hard time, those who are tearing each other apart on the message boards and writing nastigrams to me for crimes real or imagined.  What I want to say is I get it now.  I understand that while I’ve been wondering how someone could get to such a place in their life where all that anger and venom is spring loaded and ready to shoot at the least little thing that moves, I’ve always been as vulnerable to becoming that kind of person myself as the next guy.  If I buy into their world of anger and fear and attacks, then I’m a step closer to living there.  I don’t mind being catty, and honey, (two snaps up and around the world) I’m GOOD at it, but I know I could easily be pulled into the insanity.  What I’m saying is that if you go back and read the first paragraph of this drunken litany again, you’ll notice that my head is a little pointy itself.   I still think those people totally have their head up their asses, but I could be a contortionist as well if my life had been different or even changes now.  

So where does my responsibility come into play with it?  Where do those things mom and Phil said apply?  It begins and ends with my own life and my own behavior.  I’m not out to change anyone’s mind about any of the characters, the show, the couples, the actors or the stories.  When I write my column, you get my honest opinion and as I’ve said before, it’s just my opinion and I’m cool with the fact that not everyone is going to agree with me.  Yeah, it kind of pisses me off when people write to me and get all kinds of evangelical about convincing I should see things their way, but for whatever reason, they need to validate their beliefs by converting others over.  

Yeah, my column is just by opinion.  It’s just what I think and sometimes, I get frisky with saying it because I write like I talk and I talk like I’m in my old salon, ratting out some gawgeous lady’s mop into a work of art, while blabbing with her and 4-5 others about what’s on the tube.  So my job is to choose my own actions.  Even if I understand a little bit of (and I was only suggesting a few possible scenarios) why these angry, bitter people are doing what they’re doing, it doesn’t mean that I have to participate any more than absolutely necessary.  That’s why I stopped going to message boards other than mine.  That’s why I am a Nazi about how people treat one another on my board.  I don’t want that kind of crap in my cyber home.  Period.  That’s why I have a posse of beautiful tomb raiders who saddle up and go hunting if someone is being mean after a warning or two.  That’s why any more, I will seldom even respond to the letters that are mean or venomous.  They get deleted and I refuse to engage in an interchange with them.  As I delete them, I say a prayer that they got it out of their system with that letter and that they feel better.  My job is to stay out of what I don’t want to be in and that is where I’m going to operate from now on.  Crossin’ my heart.  

I just hope that anyone who is in that numb, trudging situation will not take as much convincing as I did in a good situation to make a change.  If they can only do one little precious thing a day to make their own life better, in a week, their life will have seven things about it that is better.  In a month, there will be 30 or so precious things better about their life.  In a year there will be...I dunno, a whole shitload of new and better things.  I think baby steps are the way out and I just hope that all of you are living the life you want to live and if you aren’t you start toddling along those baby steps to make it better. 

For the grace of God, we could all be in worse situations and could be just like those that we criticize.  Except Bender, that sonofabitch.  I could never be link him. 

Who loves ya, Baybee?

It’s the guy with the pink name...


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