I’m not really sure what the fuss is about Thanksgiving. So many people I know dread having to be with their families for a whole meal. Despite my family’s divorce (two generations of it on one side), Thanksgiving has never had that tension looming over it. I would have loved to be home with my family, either side of it, to remember all the little weird things about Thanksgiving at my house, like the way the twins and I used to create holiday centerpieces with our toys. For a few years we had Caltech grad students over; I always enjoyed the crowd and the opportunity it afforded to move in and out of circles of adults, surreptitiously hanging on the stories they told about people I didn’t know, both living and dead, to make themselves laugh.
I do vicariously enjoy others’ disaster-Thanksgivings, though. One guy in our improv troupe at Hampshire– short, barefoot in all seasons, with a predilection for pajama bottoms and flaming shirts– would use the first practice after a holiday as his own private primal-scream-therapy session. You could bet that when he came back from vacation you were more likely to be jumped on, screamed at, humped, or bitten in a rehearsal than in subsequent weeks (though the risk was always there). His parents came to a performance once. They seemed like perfectly normal people. I have no idea what could possibly have gone on in their house.
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My own Thanksgiving this year was nice, a standard dinner-out-and-political-argument-over-dessert affair with the Edels, a pinko family down the block who were my Ellis Island into this city. Then we had an awful Victorian movie based on a Wilde play, and then we ended up watching some ostensibly-not-p0rn on a free trial of HBO. It was a documentary about str!ppers. I say ostensibly-not because a) of the documentary format and b) it was during such hours that I don’t think they were supposed to be showing full-front^l nud!ty, but they were. It was an interesting piece, despite the fact that the camera took these bodies in as leeringly as the men in the audience did. I was really absorbed in what these women were saying about themselves and their work and in the shots that were occasionally thrown in of the men watching. It’s not the kind of thing I usually get to see.
You should go to a str!p club sometime, if you’re interested in this, Gareth told me. He and Steph know girls who do it all the time. The str!ppers talk more to the girls than to the men in the audience. Apparently having women in the audience makes a place feel less sleazy for all concerned. I don’t know, though… I think I need the mediating influence of the camera there to be able to really get a good look at what was going on. Gareth didn’t seem to pick up on the fact that visiting a str!p club might be a different experience for a 130-pound woman than for a 190-pound man.
The documentary made me contemplate bre^sts. (yes, I feel the need to modify that word to get it past the NetNannies… I know AOL blocked it in chat rooms at one point, so I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone else was. Heck, the Scient0L0gists won’t let you view a site which uses the word “p00dle” if you’re using their browser…look guys! p00dle p00dle p00dle! that should just about fry your brainwashed ^sses… but I digress.) There are other eras and other situations in which I might be more likely to see more of other women’s bre^sts, but I don’t end up in locker rooms much and I’m not bi enough to actually act on any of my impulses, so I don’t. Other women’s bre^sts are funny, is the conclusion I came to. They’re not nearly as big or round as you might be led to believe. Not even the str!ppers’ bre^sts.
I went home and took a good look at my own. I lean forward and they hang down separately, like pit bull teats. So much for bre^sts.
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While I’m on the subject of bodies, I might as well say: Nobody wants to hear about your pen!s, Mr. Lopate. There are those who get paid to write p0rnographic material, and those who masturb4te publically, and do it with brio; there are those who write medical manuals, and those who write diagnoses, and do it carefully; you are none of the above. For having the audacity to be paid, as an Essayist In The Grand Tradition Of Montaigne, to coolly contemplate your navel, fingers, legs, and penis (and then your divorce) in public, you’re being called an important writer of our time?– ok, ok, so I have some lingering resentment over being assigned to read Portrait of my Body at one point–
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Either I’ve just been too dumb to find it, or websites really do spring up in the dead of night like mushrooms– there is an official David Byrne website, right in the heart of Luaka Bop Land. There are albums I haven’t heard of, despite my frantic scrabbling for something new to listen to on Napster, and the site also has a clip of his interview on Space Ghost, something I saw in a bar at one point and had forgotten I needed in my life. (The .mov file is heinously long and difficult to download– if you manage to get it into someplace I can FTP it from and let me know, I will love you forever.)
Yes, Mr. Byrne, I download your songs on Napster. I apologize. In my heart I feel this is revenge on the radio, which never EVER plays anything at all that I like, and I like good music. I will continue to steal from the six corporations which are choosing to clog my airwaves with as many Michael Bolton tracks as they can dig up until they wise up. I hope that artists like yourself and They Might Be Giants who have expressed displeasure with this system will find some way of circumventing these behemoths which do not want to play your music and getting it directly to those of us who do not want a 24/7 IV drip of N’Sync. You have more power in this matter than we do. All we can do is steal.