Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mark Twain GQ

So I'm looking at this picture of Mark Twain in the NYTimes. Black and white of course and Mark is dolled up in his white suit, the Tom Wolfe of his era. And I get thinking about the paradox. This shot is from 1907. He was in his later years with the big white hair. All around him are trees and grass and rural outcroppings--I wonder if this was in Elmira, NY. Anyway, people lived in the country then quite frequently. The REAL country, where it was miles from anywhere. We don't even have a concept of that any more because all we have are suburbs. The space is all taken. There is no more country.

But yet HE'S WEARING A SUIT AND TIE. They dressed up, those people. There was no one for miles, but they wore layers of linen and wool and god knows what encumbrances underneath those getups. I find it remarkable. If you look at most any snapshots from a hundred years ago and more, the men wore collars and ties, even just to sit around and read the newspaper. Boy, no one does THAT any more. A few years ago I used to say that the men in our company looked like they were going to a barbecue. And it's gotten worse. When I look at the dresses I used to wear to the office, I know that I would be laughed at now. I suppose it's fine really--what's the point of getting dressed up, but still. I love to see a man in a tie. Almost any man looks handsome in one.

Men are lucky in that way. I'm glad I didn't live in the 1940s. The hairstyles on me would have been impossible because my hair is so curly, and I would have been miserable. When you have your high school photo taken, you truly feel you look unique and unlike anyone else. Then twenty years later, when you page through the yearbook, you notice that every girl looks exactly alike. Why can't we see it when it is happening? What are we doing now that we don't know we're doing?

Profound for a Saturday night, huh? I've got a scratchy cough and the start of some weird cold. I shopped again for book signing duds and came up empty again. I'm going to have to settle on something soon.

A bientot

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Excuse me, Dr. Freud?

So anyways.

I promised you dreams.

I keep a dream journal (though I haven't added to it lately). I've been doing it for about a year and for absolutely no reason. Every now and then I read through them and shake my head over one or two. What the heck? What was THAT about?

The worst one I can remember was one where I had killed somebody and had their body parts cut up in a garbage bag UNDER MY BED. I was more or less sanguine about this situation until the darn thing started seeping and I knew I was going to get caught. I kid you not. It was a horrible dream to wake up from in some ways, but I like guilt dreams because later you can rest easy, knowing you haven't killed anybody and you aren't going to get "caught." That one was a doozy, though.

Honestly, I don't know why I feel so guilty. Raised Catholic, I guess. That will do it to anybody. Bless me Father, I may have had an impure thought. WHAT WAS IT, MY CHILD? None of your freaking business. See? Now that would be a mortal sin not to answer the priest. I couldn't take that risk, so I didn't tell. But if you have a mortal sin on your soul and you don't tell, you now have an additional mortal sin on the tally. I think I left the church because my math skills weren't up to the job.

Not all my dreams are troubling and/or indicative of mental problems. I dreamed I was imprisoned in a Rubik's Cube--trapped in a cage in one of those little squares, down on a lower level. This may be related to my job and my invisibility there, as I have discussed before. I do a lot of crossword puzzles, though, so it could be that.

Here is an actual entry:

DEC 30,2004 I am in a college hallway. I am taking two classes, not teaching them. A very nice man is the teacher of one and afterward he is pushing a kind of shopping cart in the hallway and I call to him I need to find [identity deleted--sorry, folks, do you think I'm totally nuts?] and then I am in an audition hall where students are already up on stage doing brassy “Golda” kind of roles in Oklahoma or Fiddler. Each one thinks she is the greatest. Then I find out that my PARENTS are evidently hosting or sponsoring the University of Arkansas basketball team (wearing red) and they are on television in my parents’ kitchen cooking. They are cooking a bag of onions. The onions haven’t been peeled and the bag hasn’t been opened, it’s just that kind of mesh bag that you can see through and there is general laughter over that.

I could do a YA title about camping Girl Scouts: THE SLEEPING BAG

and an adult thriller: THE SEEPING BAG.

I love possible book titles. I find them everywhere. BAG 'O ONIONS could be one. One week from tonight will be my first book signing. I really hope I don't get dizzy. Nah. It'll be like standing in front of a class, except they'll be friendlier. We did class presentations today, or the students did, and they were pretty good. One girl brought in a bunch of liquor bottles that looked real (they weren't). I could just picture the college president walking by my classroom--her office is just downstairs from our class. Hi, Madame President! We're just knocking back a few pops! This goddamn English is hard work!

A bientot


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The grass actually looks green now. Real green, kelly green, not just spearmint wintergreen. I saw my first dandelion too. Guess where? In my yard, of course. I still see black scarecrow trees out my window but in Worcester they are in full early bud. My favorite week of the year is last week of May, first week of June, when everything is that bright shiny green. Say what you want about fall, but spring is best. I love it when the white tent is up in the high school football field. Just looking at it and imagining the graduates can make me tear up. I think maybe I need to get a grip.

"April is the cruelest month."

"It was an uncertain spring."

"Whan that April with his showres soote...."

Okay, that's about my full knowledge of springtime Aprilish quotes. I wonder how far it would get me on Jeopardy.

I'm writing a little piece for Backstory, one of MJ Rose's blogs about authors and their books. I've written the first paragraph about six times. It's trickier than I thought it would be. It's very strange to see coverage about myself, but here is the lovely article written by Jennifer Lord in the Metrowest Daily News:


This makes me want to launch into a sincere discussion of the USA Patriot Act so that I don't have to discuss ME. Or a venomous diatribe toward Hanna--Hanna--[choke]--I can't quite say it, but Hanna---but that's about ME too.

Since I'm wallowing in self topics, I might as well report I had a very small weight loss this week, but I'm still plowing ahead. Total loss since Jan 17-----14.5 pounds. Not one person has noticed. You can't really tell ten pounds on a person, gained or lost. I know this. I know this. I know this.

For those who don't know, my book COUPON GIRL is in many stores right now (ME ME ME) and is supposed to be available next week (ME ME ME) but I think it is this week (ME ME ME). My wip is Victory and stands at 61,000 words. It's my grocery store book.

Next time we'll discuss my eight grade reports and high school report cards, then my dreams. Bring the Freud book!!

A bientot

Sunday, April 23, 2006

getting there

I hit 60,000 words today on Victory. It was a good feeling, though I still have some heavy thinking to do about where one of the plots is going. I know the very end, I think, which is always helpful. I was talking to another writer at the conference a couple of weeks ago and we were laughing about being at 50,000 words. Okay, so I have these people here. What are they going to do now?

In community theatre I always thought of it as self-hypnosis. You start thinking the show is good even if it isn't, probably because it's so much better than it was at the beginning. There's undoubtedly some self-hypnosis involved in fiction writing too. Whenever a writer says he cut a section or added a section or revised a section, he/she will always say IT'S SO MUCH STRONGER NOW. I mean really, who's going to say THE WORK IS TERRIBLE NOW. IT WAS GOOD BEFORE AND NOW IT SUCKS.

I noticed today that a piece of my roof looks bad. I have already sent an email to the guy who is supposed to give me an estimate. I live in fear that varmints and critters will be in here with me before long. I hate homeowning. I want to have someone take care of all that AND buy my shoes and handbags.

I'm going to stop at a Barnes and Noble tomorrow on my way home from work and see if my book is in there. It will be a thrilling moment if it happens.

Stay tuned.

Weigh-in tomorrow too.

A bientot

Friday, April 21, 2006

Q & A

Okay, so I'm officially nervous about the signing/signings. What will I do? I'm planning a short reading from the Bible...HAH, no, a short reading from CG. Then Q and A.






The skunks.




I tried my best not to look like a skunk or a dipshit.







Will this do?

Will I have to have probing, analytical answers?

I wrote the book with my heart and from my heart. It is me. I think many people will know this. I have said many times that if someone says it is funny and that it made them laugh, I am happy. That is all I hope for.

A bientot


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Good morning, Amazon!!!!

Someone I know got an email from Amazon today saying that customers who had purchased a certain other book also purchased my book and would he, the receiver of this message, like to join this select group? He did and god bless him. That made me think of further demographic marketing that Amazon could do.

Customers who purchased COUPON GIRL have frequently been identified as asylum inmates. Would you like to include ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST and/or GIRL INTERRUPTED in your shipment?

Customers who purchased COUPON GIRL have frequently been identified in police line-ups. Click here if you would like to include SERPICO or THE GODFATHER with your purchase.

Customers who purchased COUPON GIRL experienced good luck within ten days of delivery. Please circulate to ten of your friends.

Customers who declined purchase of COUPON GIRL frequently experienced bad luck within one hour, particularly in regard to septic systems, plumbing, and heartburn. We hope you will reconsider.

It's getting pretty exciting, this book stuff, I will admit. In case I would get too giddy, fate has seen to it that I must read approximately 80 student research papers. That will take the life out of me without a doubt. Unless any of my students are reading this--YOUR paper will be the one that turns me around and brings me to life. Please avoid using the following:

She was a women in love.

That's like believing in Santa Claus and the Eastern Bunny.

She was a women you could talk to.

My uncle unfortunately pasted away several years ago. [ed. note: HAR, too much Elmer's?]

When a student wants there grade to be high, they have to study more then they want to study so there grade can be higher then they thought before they started studying.

She was a women who could really spell.

I still need an outfit for the first book signing. I simply must have something chic for a change. As I walk through Filene's and even Lord & Taylor I am gripped with indecision. It all looks so, well, may I say ugly? I don't look good in orange or puke green. The only things I've liked have been beach cover-ups. Do you think I could wear one?

I did buy new shoes the other day and they killed my feet the first day.

As Jo says in LITTLE WOMEN, let us be elegant or die.

A bientot

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Patriot's Day

Ah, nothing like a little boondoggle on the state's nickel. Patriot's Day. We're celebrating the Freedom Trail, the midnight ride of Paul Revere,the Shot Heard Round the World That Killed Three People on the T. We're not sure, really. If it means I don't have to work, it means I don't have to spend almost three dollars a gallon for gas. THAT is going to bring me down eventually.

I attended Easter services at Hannaford's. Still no "thank you"s.

Good Red Sox win today. I'm not paying attention them yet, although the new pitcher from Florida looks quite good. Beckett? I wonder what it's like to have your whole life, your career, your income, the people who like you or don't like you, depend on how hard you can throw a ball. It seems rash. Sort of like the New Hampshire license plate--Live Free or Die. Now that IS rash.

I went to the mall today and saw a store called hollister???? It was dark inside and all the display tables were lit by overhead spotlights. Very CSI. Maybe you buy by size and/or DNA configuration. I was definitely not cool enough to walk inside so I didn't. I walked through J. Jill and marveled at how froufrou everything was. And expensive. I also walked through Filene's/Macy's (signage hasn't changed yet so I'm still clinging desperately) and marveled how everything is so casual. It used to be women wore dresses or at least pantsuits. Now they wear "activewear" which is code for "sweatpants."

I bought a pair of shoes. That's rather shocking for me. Don't ever look at my feet. You'll be disappointed.

A bientot

Saturday, April 15, 2006


The other day as I traveled west on Rte. 2, I saw a sign that said "Famous Ducks." Actually, it said "Famous Ducks crossing" and had a picture of a duck on it. Now I've seen the signs alerting motorists about moose, but in all the times I've traveled Rte 2, I've never seen the Famous Ducks sign. I wondered aloud about it when I got to class and my students all knew of it and said it's been there for years. Nobody knew why the ducks are called "famous."

Is it a specific breed? I raise Hereford heifers, Jack Russell terriers, and Famous ducks. Does Donald live there, I asked? What if someone painted "IN" in front of the present sign and it said "Infamous Ducks"? Yessir, there's that there duck that flew over the Town Hall and caused no end of infernal commotion. And there's the one that divebombed the White House. That one is REALLY infamous and would make a good duck a l'orange.

In other animal news, my yard is full of grubs. I think it qualifies as infestation. There are so many of those little goobers underneath my grass, it's an entire civilization. Atlantis Without Water. Subsidized housing for grubs. Low-income grub projects, that's what I've got. When you put your foot down to walk, it sinks. It's pretty icky.

I wrote over a thousand words today on Victory. It was a scene I enjoyed and actually it included the Famous Ducks. I have to write one more decent press release on CG and then compose one last giant spam e-mail to send everywhere I can think of and my preparations will be complete. Usually I get a massive toothache when big events come along. I pray that won't happen.

Happy Easter, ducklings.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

still strong

The morning after my candy post, I lost 1.5 pounds. I felt blessed from God, truly among the just and the virtuous. Of course I'm not going to say what I weigh, but I'll say this. I'm at a certain word count on my wip Victory and as that count goes up and my weight comes down, I wonder on what day the two will be the same. Know what I mean? That will be a mystical day and I don't think too far off, if I can keep walking through the kitchen with full motor control.

That half gallon of ice cream is still in there. I can't hear it right now, though, because some big-ass chicken breasts have wrestled it into the corner of the freezer.

So anyway, let's call this coming day VW Day: Victory in Weight. I promise to say when it is. And of course, I will still have plenty of weight to lose after that. It will sort of be like St. Patrick's Day during Lent. My mother always said that on that day you were absolved of your Lenten pledges. You didn't have to give up candy or ice cream or whatever you were giving up. It must have been 24 straight hours of hot fudge, swearing, impure thoughts, and Heath Bars. Now that's what I call the good old days.

I just realized I have a final exam at 8am the morning after my launch party. Maybe I can have an ambulance drive me to the exam. I have to start thinking about what I will say at the book signings. Good evening, ladies and germs. But seriously. Take my wife. I'm being held here against my will.

Oh dear, it's daunting.

Plus I'm still in the grip of crossword puzzles. I can't concentrate on anything else. My library books are so overdue, I'm avoiding them in the hallway. I can't look at them.

Tomorrow is Friday. I'm happy with my students again, unless of course they don't have their assignments and then they will irritate the living shit out of me again.

A bientot

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I'm moving ever closer to an eating binge. I can feel it coming. There is a leftover half gallon of chocolate ice cream in the freezer and it has started calling to me. It's calling now. I'm strong and have been for many many weeks. But it's coming. And don't get in my way.

Can you tell I didn't lose any weight this week?


Death and mutiliation.

The sad part about a binge is that it usually gets wasted on something stale or not that good. Like a three-month old open box of Wheat Thins. That makes one sorry binge, ladies and gentlemen. Ah, I just remembered. There is a heartshaped box of Valentine candy in the closet. I could have thrown it out. But I didn't, did I?

Here's how much I have always loved candy. When I was a kid in Peoria, there was a place called Thrift Center. I'm sure it was a total dump but to those my age it was paradise. I used to buy five--yes, that's right, FIVE--candy bars and one box of Luden's Wild Cherry Cough Drops as a chaser. I rode my bike and ate them all without a worry. It was heaven.

No one eats candy any more. People act like you're offering them poison when you hold out a box of buttercreams. OH NOOOOOO. NOOOOOOOOO THANK YOU. They actually hold their hand up in front of them up to ward off your offer, as if it were a silver cross to protect from vampires. Yeesh.

I'm getting pretty sick of constant zucchini.

CONSTANT ZUCCHINI is not a bad book title. I'm at 52,000 on Victory and feel alternately that I am a freaking genius or sad pretender at writerhood. Writerdom? Writerness? Yes, your writerness, I'll have your chocolate sundae ready in a moment.

A bientot


Monday, April 10, 2006


And so we come to the end of another semester and surprise, surprise, the very same things are happening that always happen.

People can't do the work.

They are happy and hopeful on the first day, of course, and I like some of them very much of course, but in the end, they can't do the work.

They know what the assignments are, and tell you every kind of reason for what they do, but in truth....altogether now...

They can't do the work.

It's disheartening sometimes and it was so today. 2000 words is the requirement for the final assignment and very very few students have reached it. Now of course they still have a bit of time. I understand that. But more than half have a tremendous long way to go and I wouldn't want to bet any money that they will get there. Honestly, a great many of them think all they have to do is show up. I think they learned this in high school. Just show up and you will be fine.

Uh, no.

I'm planning a fire-breathing speech for Wednesday. That reminds me, I had a hilarious email from a student the other day. I haven't seen this kid for three weeks, okay? He's gone. Disappeared. So I get this email from him on Friday saying that his mother just gave his father a surprise trip to Aruba for the whole family and he has to go. He won't be in class next week (this week), but he'll be there on the Monday following. Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, so where were you LAST week? and the week before that? I told him not to bother attending any more.

Sorry for being such a grouch today. It's not that I don't have sympathy for my students--most of them have jobs, etc. BUT I DO MY WORK. I'M PREPARED AND I'M ON TIME. I KNOW MY OBLIGATIONS.

It's a scrotum kind of a Monday, I guess.

A bientot,

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Even if away for only one night, it's great to get home. My trip was exceptionally fast since I bugged out early today. My knee was bothering me and I didn't want to go through hell again trying to get out of there in the dark.

I ordered postcards to support my book signing events. I refrained from strangling the poor man at Office Max, who kept waiting on other people while he was waiting on me. NO!!! IT'S STILL MY TURN!

"Excuse me, I'll be right back," he'd say. He was earning his pay. People come in there with cuckoo requests for ink stamps, posters, and I can't even imagine what. Plus the people clutching their documents to their chest, trying to keep anyone from looking. That makes me want to look, of course, and I try my best. Tax returns? Are you cheating? Oh, I saw that. It's a jungle.

I have just spent twenty minutes trying to get Microsoft Word to instruct me on how to make mailing labels. I CAN'T GET IT. IT'S SCROTUM!!!! I'm hoping my friend can help me tomorrow. As soon as I get these mofo postcards in the mail, I can concentrate on rounding up the Final Email Push.

I think I'm going to get into bed and do crosswords for a couple of hours and crash. That would be appendix and liver, right up my alley.

A bientot

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Getting Larger

No, I don't mean I myself am getting larger; hopefully, I am getting smaller by the day (12.5 total loss). I mean my computer screen. The computer viper must have snuck in overnight and changed the settings to LARGE because everything is TRES GRANDE. I went to the settings and it only says "normal." Normal for intergalactic nine-feet-tall space aliens, maybe. Normal for a giant quivering eyeball with bloodshot red veins that sits up in a chair and reads to itself, maybe, but not for me.

My son is trying to help, but he's not here. Is there a movie where the main character is swallowed by the computer? Should there be?

In other news, I was interviewed today by a charming young woman who looks a lot like Sandra Bullock, who would be perfect in the leading role of COUPON GIRL. She asked me good questions and I stumbled and stammered and pretty much blithered my way through. I begged her not to make me sound like a dipshit and she said she would. PRESTO!!! NO LONGER A DIPSHIT!! That's like the old joke, "will I be able to play the violin after the surgery? Yes? Oh thank god, I never could before."

I just set another booksigning at Hudson Art & Framing in Hudson, MA and I think it will, well, kick ass. I don't normally like to use vulgar words, but I was reading someone else's blog yesterday and noticed that she used the word "ass" in a hip very cool way. "It looked ass," which meant, I think, that it looked bad, really bad. That seemed so cool to me and it makes me wonder if I could use other parts with equal assurance.

"That dress looks scrotum on you. "

Or the alternate "That dress looks penis."

Or even the really insulting "That dress looks penis with ulcerated sores."

It may take me a while to get the hang of it.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I'm off to a writers' convention. I'm staying in a hotel with a nice shower!!!!! What a luxury.

A bientot

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


You may call them handbags or bags, but here's what it is. It's a purse. I understand the concept of a purse. But I don't "get" it in any real sense.

During all my growing-up years, my mother bought my purses for me. I never purchased a single one, and we're talking right into college and for years afterwards. Most of the ones she gave me were big plastic jobs from KMart, many of them huge and grease stain-luring. I grew accustomed to them. I like a big purse and one with lots of compartments and secret places. I also like one with a shoulder strap so I don't have to feel like I'm actually carrying a purse.

So now I am resentful that no one buys my purses for me. Even if they were ugly. Even if they were remnants from a warehouse fire. There's no queue in the closet of waiting purses, white for summer, black for winter. I'm actually going to have to buy one soon, although last time I thought I would have to, I stumbled across a bag of throwaway items from my daughter and in it was.....yes!!! A perfectly acceptable black nylon purse!! I thought black nylon would cross the seasons well, but turns out it looks a bit outre in the cold months. So I rummaged back in the coat closet and found an older black leather number and it is with me now, though summer is coming.

No one seems to be wearing white the way they did years ago--you know, white shoes and white purse, white pants, etc.? They keep changing the rules on me. I did get some purse education in NYC last December when I accompanied a friend into the Coach store on Park AVenue or wherever it was. Purses are teeny-tiny now with lots of little gewgaws hanging off them, like pretend keys and charms and dingly dangly metal objects. They must make a heck of a racket while you walk. And let's not even talk about price. I wanted to burst out laughing.

"Two hundred DOLLARS? DOLLARS? Are you MAD?"

"No, maam, that's the price of this bag."

"Do you know what a purse costs at KMart?"

"Um, no I don't. I imagine much lower."

"And do you know I have always gotten my purses for FREE?"

That's when the sales clerks get this snotty embarrassed you-just-couldn't-understand look. And they're right. I can't.

However, I will say they were quite friendly and said thank you. Maybe Hannaford's should send their cashiers down to NYC to get customer training from Coach.

A bientot

Monday, April 03, 2006


What would we do without the weather to talk about? I would have nothing to say to my parents in most cases. Thankfully I haven't reached the stage yet where my kids and I are stuck with that as a topic.

Early spring weather in New England is like this. Everything is totally bare. Stark. Dried up tree trunks with evergreen needles interspersed between. Brown leaves on the ground, and in my case covering the ground totally becauseInever raked last fall. So let's call that brown as a pervasive theme, brown or black. Then when the sun shines it's like you're in an X-ray. Or a sci-fi movie, trying to hide from the pod people or Sigourney Weaver. I've never actually seen a sci-fi movie.

Imperfections are spotlighted on your house and car.Wow. Look at the nails coming out of the clapboards. You can see them in stark relief. The roof looks flimsy and the back porch brittle. The car is filthy.

Ah, now the temperature, that can vary widely. You may look outside and see the X-ray sun and think yes! Short sleeves it is. And then you do a 180 back into the house for a jacket. Or you think it is pretty darn chilly and emerge in your winter coat only to sweat your way through the day.

Tiny little crocuses do sprout up in selected gardens (the elite few who remembered to plant them, I guess) and their owners wax poetic about the beauties of spring. Yeah, okay. I guess they do look beautiful right next to every other brown thing.

Still, it's better than a sharp stick in the eye. Now that's agood book title. I am still in a quandary over mine. A friend whom I really respect has told me to keep VICTORY and for now I'm going to. I'm attending a writers' conference next weekend where they may attack it again, so I will have to see if I waver. I hit 48,000 words yesterday and may hit the big 50 this week. I'm at a very uncertain point in the story right now.

Laessez les bon temps rouler

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Still Invisible

I might be less invisible soon at my job. I have had calls so far from Worcester Magazine and Middlesex News for interviews. Wow. Although that may not be enough to penetrate some consciousnesses (I wouldn't let a student use that word), I'm still psyched. My father was once on an elevator with someone extremely familiar to him. As they went down or up (that information has been lost), my father finally apologized to the man for not knowing him. "I'm Bob Newhart," the man said. Not that I compare myself to Bob Newhart at all--I'm far less bald.

Lots of things are invisible to me. I don't know who most of the TV celebrities are. Who are the Olsen twins--am I supposed to know them? And Jessica Simpson--is she an actress or a model or somebody's daughter? Every time this is explained to me, I forget. I'm sure the lower rung of TV star especially feels invisible. Lke let's say there's this girl who came to Hollywood from the midwest, where she was the lead in every play ever produced, where she was interviewed over and over by the local press, such as it was. She gets to Hollywood and spends five years waiting tables at Chuck E. Sushi in some snotty town and gets zilch for acting roles. Then finally she gets a fill-in part on the worst rated sitcom. She's a secretary with one or two lines. Then it becomes a featured role. She has lines. She is able to quit Sushi Cheese. But here's the invisible part. No one ever knows her. Wherever she goes, Terri Hatcher cuts her dead, Important Sitcom People cut her dead, even the public is unimpressed. If she's on an elevator with my dad, he thinks she's a maid.

I don't know what this proves. Just that everyone is invisible in some way.Although in Hollywood you probably get scrutinized up and down first and then you're invisible. Ouch.

I heard Tom Brokaw say that in a commencement address he had just given, he'd warned all the grads that when you get out there and into it, life is pretty much like high school. Maybe Tom is invisible at the model train society meeting. We can only wonder.

On my way to the mall,