Friday, April 9, 2010


It was a print ad I wrote, I don’t remember the product or the headline, the only thing that sticks in my mind was the missing period.

How glaring, I stood in my art director’s office, looking at the proof. The ad was soon to be released in magazines nationally, and it was possibly good enough to end up in my portfolio; but not like this: Initial cap., comma in the middle, zero period; such an appalling error.

But it wasn’t an error. My supervisor was miffed when I called it out to the brand team asking that it be fixed before it was released to publications, headhunters, my Grandmother, for god sakes.

He called me out in the hallway, wild west style, what the fuck did I think I was doing, alarming the whole team. "I took it off," he boasted. “It looked like shit just hangin' there under the ‘r'." "But it's incorrect," I corrected him. He remained steadfast. “I've always said, I’m not a fan of punctuation,” said the writer/supervisor, what do you say to that. “But it’s just incorrect. It’s clearly a sentence, a long one at that, initial cap, comma, then nothing, it looks like we screwed up,” I said, trying to communicate my point in a non-threatening manner with an undercurrent of you are a total jackass.

His face reddened, his voice began to shake, a crowd was gathering, it was only the young art director on the project – quiet, eyes a-bulge under her shaggy bangs – waiting to see who would throw the next punch.

He spewed irrationally, like a child, or a lawyer who was losing their case, “Well,how would YOU have it? Why settle for a period, why not go for an exclamation mark?! Hell, TWO exclamation marks, a period, and QUOTATIONS.” His head looked left and right and left again, as though there were more me’s flying in and around him like incoming fighter pilots. He continued on about the disaster I had created, how ridiculous my point about the period was – his blood pressure rising, face twitching, eyes darting, voice warbling. “Doug,” I soothed him feignedly, “calm down, it’s only a period," I walked away, acknowledging defeat.

And to this day that missing period still haunts me. It’s the one that got away.

That period represents my pride as a wordsmith, the period is the only punctuation I truly understand its proper use and placement, please – do not take that away from me. Secondly, there are few times in your life that you can claim absolute correctness about anything; a period at the end of a sentence is one of them. And when this man took away my period he took away all sense of control. It was only after that little period went missing that I realized just how big it really was.

Monday, April 5, 2010


More than one person has said to me, “how do they find you?” These screwed up men with issues that make such good blog material yet such bad boyfriend material.

I always say, “they don’t find me, I find them.” It’s way to simple to blame them, blame the city you live in, or the universe. It’s you. You get what you seek, but yesterday, I swear that me or my subconscious was seeking nothing of the sort. My friend was having a lovely picnic in Red Hook. I went stag, after asking Cal who said he was too tired or something. I was crazy about Cal, he’d indicated as much to me in ways too various to mention. I wanted to go for a ride on his bike, go to flea markets, I adored spending time together, I even asked him if he wanted to go away for a few days, but in spite of the warmth he regularly bestowed upon me but he seemed to steer clear of pretty much any and all invitations. His no’s were starting to sink in as an overarching message and break my spirit, which made me mad not so much at him but at myself. So I set out for Red Hook alone, it was a good thing, you never knew who you could meet. Hope springs eternal, especially when it’s actually Spring.

He had me at “pashaw,” – it was the first word I heard come out of his mouth. I mean, who says “pashaw” other than someone with a great sense of irony, an expensive college education, and a deep appreciation for all things 1800’s. He was cute, probably late thirties. Tanned skin, longish shiny sun streaked hair, nice upper bod, perfectly weathered t-shirt, I thought I hit the motherload when he poured me a white wine and asked me to join him on the cozy slatted bench overlooking the water. I hadn’t been there four minutes.

God, he was cool. Funny, smart, used my name a lot, which I always find as an indicator of general attentiveness, either that or a tool of a confidence man. He was all things maritime; he worked on a ferry, and was working his way up to Captain. There were certifications, approval processes, these were coveted positions, and Luke was well on his way to getting promoted to the top. He was a fisherman, and told me what you could catch, what was swimming when, if they were just swimming through, mating, or here to stay for the season. He knew Buttermilk Channel like the back of his hand, and told me it’s history, complete with why they call it “Buttermilk,” the real reason, as well as the myth that most people bandied about. The real reason according to Luke involved cows being herded during low tide between Red Hook and Governor’s Island and their udders dragging low on the water and leaking thick milk into the channel. It sounded more like lore to me, but he told it with great finesse as he stared out on the water, smelling like wine, sun burnt skin and Ivory Soap.

Things were going well for Luke, up until the accident, that is. Things went downhill from there for him. The car didn’t see him or his bike, it pretty much crushed the bottom half of his body, he pointed to all the parts of him that were now cored of metal; I wondered how his penis had fared. He told me he didn’t have a dime to his name or so much as a penny in his pocket. This would have explained why my friend Sam who was throwing the picnic was looking over at me frequently with great concern the whole time I was seated next to salty Luke on the bench. Turns out Luke had just stumbled, literally, on Sam’s picnic, and was helping himself to generous portions of booze, roasted chicken, and now some of the women.

Luke went on to tell me how he was a rich kid, but was no longer speaking to his dad who was now married to some hoochie young Hispanic woman. The dad and the hoochie were raising Luke’s son, who had been plucked from Luke's ex’s apartment after she was busted dealing meth. “I hear meth is a tough one to beat,” I said, trying to sound sympathetic as I planned my escape from the bench. “It is,” Luke nodded like a wise man, “I speak from experience,” he said in unison with the voice in my head. After listening to his future plans to sue the city for 22 million dollars with his personal injury lawyer who he now considered to be his true dad, I excused myself and drunk dialed Cal who is always kind no matter what the circumstances. We both tolerate a lot from each other so I guess in some respects it's almost like being married even if the boyfriend/girlfriend didn't seem to be panning out.

So with Cal in my never-say-die heart, I travel forward into new frontiers like Red Hook, Jersey, and the other random places I fell upon this holiday weekend to get out of my neighborhood, my head, and away from damaged guys like Luke. Still, he found me. I swear, I was headed in the complete opposite direction.