Sunday, January 30, 2011


Colder than an icy drink thrown in your face, without a word your “friend” de-friends you on Facebook.

My first de-friend came from a guy I was dating. Since then, we have friended, de-friended back and forth a myriad of times. Yes, we are no longer “friends”.

Then there was one of my best girlfriends from back in the day. She urged me to join Facebook, and I did. Two days later, I was friended by the guy I ended up dating, and de-friending, and friending again. But a year and a half later, my girlfriend who had urged me to join Facebook became angry with me. We were interacting on another marvel of modern communication technology – texting. She was getting hysterical about a situation. I urged her to calm down, in ALL CAPS. Now, all caps can seem like screaming, but my intention was to call attention to my message, to break through the steady stream of panicked texts she was firing my way. I fired off the ALL CAPS – “CALM DOWN”. The texts suddenly stopped. I tried to call her that afternoon, and the next day, but she wouldn’t pick up.

Finally, I decided to check her Facebook page, to see if her panic had made the journey from text messages to a status update, but when I clicked on her page – the page was blank. She had changed her privacy settings so that I couldn’t see anything on her page. All that was left was her grinning face, with her crocheted chapeau – the one an old boyfriend of hers had seen her wearing on Facebook and advised her looked like a flower pot atop her head. But I let it go, thought I’d let a couple of days go by and see if she’d let me back into her world of updates, which usually revolved around daily newsflashes about how many cigarettes and glasses of white wine she’d consumed that afternoon. A week later, I scroll through my friends, and she was nowhere to be found. My friend had de-friended me as a further ramped-up passive aggressive slap in the face. Still, I ignored it, I had tried to call her several times to discuss my all caps offense prior to her de-friending me, I wasn’t going to inquire why she’d de-friended me. I thought, this too shall pass.

Another month goes by, I check to see if she is still donning the flower pot crocheted cap, but my search for her on Facebook yields nothing. I check the pages of our common “friends”, zip. Suddenly I realized, she used the ultimate passive aggressive Facebook fete accompli – she’d blocked me from Facebook completely. I attempted to email her and as I suspected, she’d blocked me from contacting her at her two addresses. I did a search on Google, she no longer existed on the internet, therefore, on the planet - as far as my eyes could see.

I much preferred the days of open confrontation. Disagree, have a fight, hash it out, slug it out, whatever. But Facebook is the new ultimate silent treatment, the new anti-social de-networking tool. I’d love to tell my friend to “suck it,” to “grow the f’ up,” but I have no way to reach her. Facebook de-friending trumps all, if you want to send someone a message, there’s no better way than to block them on Facebook. The trick is try to de-friend them before they de-friend you, or beat them to the punch metaphorically - the good newfangled Facebook way.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Trying to fit in with the scooter club reminded me of why I dropped out of Girl Scouts: girls in clubs can be so mean.

It started when I finally decided to go to a meet up of my local scooter club in the meatpacking district. I had read a lot about them online – the club heads urged new scooterists to come by, “don’t be shy”. “Everyone’s welcome.”

It’s not easy walking into a place alone, especially when you're ascending on a club where everyone is already old friends. I rode up on my scooter and parked alongside all of the other member’s Vespa’s and “the like”. A bunch of the members were standing around outside the bar with their pints of beer. No one greeted me but what was I expecting, a marching band? I figured I’d give them a chance to warm up to me, so I made my way into the bar and got myself a beer. I looked around inside and much to my delight I noticed a woman who had been selling her scooter on Craigslist, I had met her a couple of weeks before when I’d gone to check it out. She was standing next to another girl rider. It was great to see a familiar face in the crowd, I walked over to the two women to say “hi” but was taken aback by their mean girl glances. I was back in the 4th grade, only the mean girls were close to forty, dressed as Mods, and instead of drinking school milk slighly through straws, they were sucking Screwdrivers through tiny cocktail stirrers and red stained lips. I mustered a feeble “hi”, they briefly glanced my way but abruptly turned their backs - apparently attending to some private club agenda - pressing their Betty Page heads together to make sure I couldn't hear.

I’d been meaning to go to this weekly meet up for months, had kicked my butt to take a shower, to fight rush hour traffic over the Brooklyn Bridge. I took another swig of my draft beer and went outside where the other members were gathered. Soon enough, the president of the club came over. “Hey, you’re new here,” he said warmly. He was a big, nice looking guy, he was into scooters, but also rode a motorcycle. He called a couple of guys over and introduced me, they were equally friendly. I was glad I’d come. Finally, the president called over one of the few females in attendance there at the weekly meet-up. “Honey, hey, this is Claudia – this is her first time here.” She muttered a “hey” without looking at me as she trailed over to join the amoeba of scooter club regulars.

Soon, the mean girl I knew from Craigslist appeared outside, she’d walked up to her new scooter; a red modern Vespa that she’d fitted with a black and white zebra print seat. Her red and black outfit color coded precisely to her pride-n-joy Vespa. “Hey,” I said, “I met you a couple of weeks ago, you and your husband, I came over to look at your LXV.” “Oh, yeah. How ya doin,” she said, not looking up from adjusting the zebra shower cap that donned her scooter’s seat, “can we get out of here, please,” she admonished her husband who looked equally unimpressed when I reintroduced myself as the woman he’d spent 40 minutes talking bikes with but a couple of weeks before. Within ten minutes or so, the scooter club members buzzed off in groups of two or three, hootin’ and hollerin’ in wild ingin code, leaving me there alone to find my way out of the tangled streets of the West Village.

By the time I found my way back to the bridge, I realized I would probably never take the time to make it back to their bar. The guys were cool, but the mean girl’s cold facades had eclipsed their efforts – hell bent on keeping their female membership down near the single digits.

I’ve since spent some time on their forum. I jumped in on a couple of topics, even posted a couple of question of my own, all of which went unanswered. Seemed all the comment threads were dominated by about 10 key members, peppered with back and forth ribbing and private in jokes. These senior club members were all crowned with the badge, “Scooter Royalty” by their names. At the top of the club’s forum page was an invitation in bold type, “Join us on Wednesday nights, we’ll make you feel welcome,” yet I’d felt anything but. Whether it’s lunch tables, Country Clubs, or Scooterati – the dynamic isn’t so much about who’s in the club, it more about who’s not.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I had a crush on him for way too long. I felt like the lame 12 year old girl pining away at the boy in class who doesn’t know she’s alive. But the thing was, I was quite a bit older than 12, and the grown up boy did seem to know I was very much alive. Every time I went by the bike shop he would put his wrench down, walk outside and strike up a conversation with me, to the point where the shop's owner had to come out and break up the tete-a-tete. He was a working class guy but had plenty to say, his sense of humor was an eleven – me, often being fodder for his material. “She’ll be knee draggin’ by the end of the month, we’ll be seein’ her in all the bike mags by October - holdin' a trophy 4 times her size.” It was true, I was a little obsessed with riding, I had just started riding that Spring and had upgraded my scooter 3 times by that Fall. The guys in my little local scoot shop seemed amused by my enthusiasm and Aidan ribbed me on a regular basis. And I was pretty sure he had a crush, shuffling nervously as he inhaled his Marlboro, getting a few inches from my face as he checked to make sure my brake caliper was nice and tight. There was another mechanic who would sometimes work at the shop, a weight lifting, off the boat Italian that used to work on his Harley and would chat me up every time we both happened to show up at the same time. “Hey, keep away from her, Scumbag,” Aidan would say half jokingly, positioning himself between me and the handsome Italian, executing the perfect cock block much to my delight.

Months had gone by, it was getting ridiculous. Each time I called the shop and Aidan would pick up, he’d be like a chatty schoolgirl, when I’d run into him on the street he would stutter and blush. Only thing was, he hadn’t asked me out.

“Do you know if he’s actually single,” my friend Deb inquired in her boarding school Aussie accent, “It does seem strange, if you are, in fact, reading the situation correctly.” It was strange, inexplicable, and incredibly frustrating. But I couldn’t bare the thought of asking, “hey, do you have a girlfriend?” It felt pushy, like I was tipping my hand. I stopped asking boys out in high school, and found it was always better to let them take the lead. I had way too many girlfriends who would ask guys if they wanted to get married, to have kids, it always made me wince. And years later, these same girls never seemed to get past a second date. Yet, something had to give, this crush had gone on much too long.

A couple of days later I stopped by the shop to pick up my motorcycle after an oil change. As usual, Aidan didn’t rush to get my keys, but grabbed his smokes and stood with me for our traditional chat. He looked great. At first I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. His goatee was trimmed precisely, his hair looked like it was cut at some premier salon in the city, not a barber shop where I suspected an Irish boy from Queens would go. “Aidan, you look great,” I was wowed. He took a long puff from his butt, looking into the distance. “Really, you look really good. Your hair looks terrific,” I continued, trying to elicit a response. I felt smooth, I was letting him know I thought he was cute, and I had the new haircut to use as an excuse. He shuffled his feet, saying a muffled, “um, thanks.” He looked over towards the water, exhaling the light grey smoke, I checked out the back, it was really nice work. When he turned back to look at me I noticed the goatee was really on point. This wasn’t the handy work of a mechanic at home with an electric razor. “Aidan, seriously, you look amazing. Where’d you get your haircut,” he'd stomped on the cigarette mid point, I was following him back into the shop now, he had picked up a wrench without the -get back to work- goading from his boss. “My girlfriend. My girlfriend cut it, I usually go to a regular barber, but she cuts hair so ,” his voice trailed off as he started to tap at some metal piece he was locking onto the bike in front of him.

“Oh WOW!!!,” I said, my response came out as more of a shriek than the casual tone I had intended, “she’s really good!!” I was hoping my enthusiasm would shroud my disappointment. But moments later the disappointment was eclipsed by a feeling of relief – I would never have to struggle with -does he like me, will he ask me out, does he have a girlfriend- again. He had a girlfriend. He probably did like me, and now I had a reasonable explanation I could tell myself why he hadn’t asked me out. It was all wrapped up in a nice pretty package, albeit a package filled with engine grease, cigarettes, and a good measure of “what if.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011


driving and driving
all coming clear the further away she got
square jawed, carved-from-marble
holding her tight to hurt.

today it was her birthday
let’s go somewhere nice
taking her hand like Prince Charming
into that dark depressing place.
“Happy birthday, Babe,” he grinned
with startling perfect teeth.
Champagne toast to another year -
flat beer poured in a glass.

It never crossed his mind that day
she wouldn’t be coming back
never gave it a thought
to be kind or clear the dishes
or to show up when he said.

driving and driving
she drove til he was gone.
Who woulda thunk it.
Not him. Not her.
But it was her birthday
and she would never go back again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I just spent some time on FB, a guy who is a little-known (I’m being generous here) actor was ruminating on Seth Rogan’s career. He said it could have just as easily been him in Mr. Rogan’s position.

First off, let me say that I doubt that Seth Rogan’s “position” is horizontal on a sofa that is in dire need of a spritz of Febreze. He’s probably on a press tour, or in a hotel room hammering out some ideas for his next screenplay.

The couched actor on FB was also scoffing at Mr. Rogan’s “big money” “Hollywood formula” choices.

Yes. Why accept a role as the first anti-hero super hero, be #1 at the box office, when you can maintain your artistic “standards” by eating Chinese take-out on the sofa watching Inside the Actor’s Studio re-runs, having imaginary “what-if” convos with James Lipton while stroking your cat.

Don’t mistake Seth Rogan’s career as a blunder, or a happy mistake. He is not spending his days taking his mental health temperature with a rectal thermometer, and then reporting every downturn on Facebook. He’s not taking pot-shots at other actors who have greater success than he. He’s not a man who seems to get caught up in negativity and probably prescribes to the credo – no matter where you are in your career – you have no business looking down at anyone else. Or looking way way up, then down, in the case of our FB actor.

Does Seth Rogan ever ask himself, how did I get here? It could have just as easily been Dan Jerkin. Probably. That’s because he’s humble, has a sense of humor and irony. But the opposite scenario of Dan Jerkin thinking he could have just as easily been Seth Rogan makes Dan vain, humorless, with a self-fulfilling prophecy to be “undervalued” (read: not cast). Seth Rogan got swept up by a magic carpet, rode it well, stayed on it, and keeps riding. Dan Jerkin’s carpet isn’t magic, it simply lies there, peppered with potato chip dust, hairballs, and spilt milk.

Watch and learn from Seth Rogan, as you would Pacino, or Marlon Brando. None of these men busied themselves talking down about other actors, they dedicated themselves to perfecting their craft. They didn’t announce to the world, I could easily be Paul Newman, or Sir Lawrence Olivia, or Seth Rogan. They wanted to be the best Pacino, or Brando they could be.

So, Dan, forget about Seth Rogan, it’s time to leave the pity party and be the best Jerkin you can be. You may be repulsed by the red carpet, scoff at the award show after parties, and wish to avoid the “Hollywood scene”, and in that respect, your career is firmly on track. Bravo!

No one said being an actor would be easy – it isn’t dumb luck, or eating sour grapes, or thinking you could have done a better John Adams than Paul Giamatti if given the chance, because the truth is, "chance" has very little to do with the business of success.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


She was cheating on him but he was completely in the dark. Her strategy was genius, accuse him of cheating on a regular basis – one day she found a blond hair on his Men’s Warehouse jacket and made him account for it. It turned real CSI, she wouldn’t let it go. She taped the blond hair to the refrigerator and drew red arrows pointing to it with her lipstick from Duane Reade, he owed her an explanation. He racked his brain to account for the thin blond strand – he prayed that it would deteriorate under the cellophane tape, but it was there every time he went to take a sip out of the two liter bottle of Mountain Dew. Was it someone from the job, a woman at the bodega? She made him jump through hoops, sniffing at his collar every time he came through the door. Going through his phone, his emails, tracking every move he made. He didn’t know why she didn’t trust him. He had only slept with one other woman, and that was at the very beginning before they talked about being monogamous. They didn’t use that word, she said “I don’t want you fucking those whores anymore,” he took it as a sign of affection. She didn’t exactly have a way with words, but her proclamation made him feel special, loved, “no more whores” was her, “I love you”. They had gone from the No More Whores stage to moving in to his small house, he already had a ring on layaway at Sears he looked forward to the day he made the final payment, he would get down on one knee, then a nice wedding at The Grand Prospect Hall, her mother had a CD that would be maturing, she’d pulled him aside one Sunday after church to tell him she had 8 grand to kick in for the reception.

But that day seemed very far away. Rarely a day went by when he wouldn’t find the pants he left on the floor with the pockets turned inside out. But it was all part of a strategy, she was the one having the affair. She was an RN at the local hospital, a cop came in one night with a kid who’s finger had been shot off, it was her high school sweetheart, and it was back on like no time had passed. He had a wife, and four kids, and two black labs – he didn’t want to rock the boat, but he had a libido for Godsakes and his wife only fucked him on birthdays and New Years Eve – a man has his needs. With all the stress on the job, the cockroach crack heads, the gang bangers, his hard assed Lew gunning for him, even the fucking hipsters rubbed him the wrong way, talking down to him like he was an idiot or something. The affair was so easy, he didn’t look out of place strolling into the ER, they could slip into an empty room or a supply closet where they could fuck, or he could get a world class BJ, it was working for him. She treated him like a man, for fucksakes, she didn’t get all over him about getting to every fucking soccer game, or ask him where he was every second of the day or night. And she didn’t mind having sex, she actually loved it, needed it, why else would she be texting him every twenty minutes or so. He had to wipe that grin off his face.

She would get home for work and immediately jump into the shower to get the smell of her cop off of her. She had to cover her bases. She would start right in, he had peeled the yellowing tape of the refrigerator, and Windexed off the accusatory red lipstick arrows which she immediately escalated into a fight. He’d made another payment down at Sears that afternoon, but it was all for nothing, he couldn’t seem to win. He didn’t dare reach over and touch her at night, she’d shove him away so hard sometimes he'd found marks in the morning on his chest.

He tried everything in his power to please her, he would cook his special spaghetti with three kinds of meat, use the fabric softener when he did the laundry, nothing seemed to help. One day he was washing and waxing her Ford, he liked to keep it nice for her, he had started to clean the inside, too, carefully removing all the fast food wrappers from the back window that the wind had blown back there, then fishing around under the driver's seat with his head pressed against the ridged upholstery that smelled of cigarettes and tacos, it was her perfume. One day, he found an envelope down there, it was a Valentine, not the cheap kind you got at the drugstore, but a Hallmark card that cost $3.75. It was four days after Valentine’s day, had she forgotten it was there? He’d bought her a dozen roses from the side of the road, and picked up a white teddy bear holding a red satin heart, she had said she hadn’t had time to reciprocate, it had been a full moon that week and the ER had been bursting at the seams. He wondered if she had forgotten, the card was very romantic, and she had signed it in magic marker, and made a smooch mark with her lipstick, the same red stain she had used to draw the blaming arrows on the fridge.

He gathered all his courage, she angered so easily, as he walked into the kitchen, she slapped shut her flip phone and said, “what’s up” like she didn't even care. He walked towards her with the peach colored envelope – the cat had her tongue. Maybe he ruined the surprise, she snatched the envelope from him, and disappeared from the room, he followed her into the bedroom, she had locked herself in there and was speaking in hushed tones, no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t crack the code. He wasn’t fucking whores, or any of the nice girls that would smile at him at Friday’s where he would go on all those nights she had to work OT. He had a few more months to pay off the solitaire, maybe he would throw in the necklace to match. She was a stunner, the only woman for him, he couldn’t bare the thought of losing her, he would do whatever it took. She came out of the bathroom saying, “spray the f'n bathroom after you take an f'n crap.” It was her way of saying, “I love you,” he thought as he gathered the towels from the hamper to put in the next load of wash.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Marcel Marceau, the world’s most famous mime was coming to perform at my high school, and I had snagged a free ticket through the drama department. There were a handful of free tickets available to those of us in the Drama Club, Mr. Pia, our director, called them “Meems,” I winced every time he said it. “Meems,” “Mimes,” whatever, I would be going that Saturday night, for free.

I put on a dress and some eye-shadow and made it to the high school theater, excitement filled the air. The stage was usually reserved for high school productions, but occasionally world famous talent would appear. The house was packed, I took my orchestra seat next to a pretty girl with long blond hair accented with a black velvet headband. I couldn’t tell if she was a girl or a woman, she was somewhere in between. She spoke very eloquently about Marcel Marceau’s talents, she was a long time fan – so much so that she had become almost a friend, she explained – she had been to so many of his shows that she had lost count. I listened and nodded, I wondered where she’d learned to speak so prettily; maybe at some private school in Switzerland or someplace like that. She sat with her hands folded in her lap, securing her program ever so lightly, as not to mar or bend the pristine cover that was graced by the great Marcel. I told her that I had only seen mimes on 5th Avenue in the city, that they scared me – how they would follow you, making fun or you without your knowledge. She scoffed, shaking her head with an adamant, “no.” There was only one Marcel Marceau, she assured me, I was in for a night I would never forget. She seemed to be warming up to me – her haughty tone relaxed a bit as she offered to take me backstage to meet The Master, himself. Luck was with me, first the comp. ticket, and now being seated next to a personal friend of the greatest meem of all time. As the theater lights dimmed, she reached over and squeezed my hand in anticipation, and ssh’d the audience who had not yet piped down.

The show was spellbinding. Marcel was much better than those hacks in New York City, you could hear a pin drop between the audiences “oo’s and ah’s,” chuckles and eventual guffaws.

As the lights came up, my new friend beat everyone to the punch of the standing ovation, carefully balancing her program on the seat’s edge as it sprung back to its folded position. She was the last one to stop clapping, and gestured that we take our seats again as the audience lolygagged out of the theater to find their cars.

“What a treat,” she said breathlessly! “I have seen him a hundred times, and could see him a hundred times more.” She sounded like a fairytale princess, her eyes were fixed on the closed curtain as though he was still standing there. “Let’s give him a moment, and then I’ll take you backstage,” she finally turned to me, eyes full of anticipation. “Where’s your program,” she said in an urgent, panicked voice – her eyes nervously scanning my lap. I opened my purse and showed her I had tucked it away to safety. “Oh, thank GOODNESS,” she exhaled, “you’ll want to save that forever.”

Soon, we were the only ones left in the theater, it seemed the time was right. She looked around from left to right, and a quick check behind, then turned to me and whispered, “NOW!!”

She gracefully led me to the stage door, and opened it quietly, waving me inside. One of the tech people was busy sweeping the concrete floor.

“Excuse me,” she said as though addressing a servant, “we’re here to see Monsieur Marceau, I’m a personal friend.” The backstage sweeper was casually attentive and told us to wait as she put the broom down to deliver the message to The Great Marceau. My new friend smoothed her perfect blond hair with one hand, while the other hand held her program in its pristine state.

Mr. Marceau appeared out of the darkness, his whiteface eerily glowing as he walked gracefully towards us until something froze him in his tracks.

“Monsieur Marceau,” my friend exclaimed, “what a triumph, as always!” The King of Mimes looked nervously around him, he spoke with a slight voice, as he quickly started to back away.

“Oui, oui,” he said stepping back, being careful not to have his back towards us, “oui, Merci,” he grabbed the arm of another Frenchman who had appeared out of the darkness where Marcel had emerged. The chalked-faced mime scurried off behind the folds of curtain, his manager said a brusque, “Bonsoir, Madame,” to my velvet headbanded friend. “Eef you wait here une minute, Monsieur Marceau will sign your programs!”
My friend nodded gracefully, looking over at me to see if I was impressed.

“How about that,” she said, “you have met The Great Marcel Marceau, now he’s off to fetch a pen!” The manager had rushed off in the same direction as Marceau, we stood there in the wings, I would have wandered out the stage door and out to my car if it weren’t for the fact that we were told to wait right there.

After a few minutes two Police Officers came through the stage door. They flanked Marcel’s fan, each taking an arm as though escorting her to a procession or formal ball. Marcel’s moonglow face peered out between the curtains at the activity, seeing if the coast was clear. The officers walked her out, she didn’t seem alarmed, “Gentleman, I will ask you to wait, Monsieur Marceau will wonder where I’ve disappeared to,” she was insistent as they gingerly walked her out the door. “What a momentous evening,” she heralded in my direction as the metal door slammed shut behind her and the men in blue.

Marcel’s manager appeared again, demanding to know how I knew the refined young woman. I told him that I had just happened to be seated next to her, and that she was kind enough to extend an invitation backstage. “She is an unfortunate young woman, we have had many encounters before. We have been assured that she is not dangerous, but she has escaped the facility many times to see Monsieur Marceau,” He gave a polite snap of his head bidding me adieu.

Apparently, the refined escape artist had traveled far and sometimes across state lines to catch Marceau’s show. This time being the shortest voyage, she had left the great mansion, the local mental institution where only the wealthiest mental cases were welcome. She had dressed herself prettily, snuck out a window, glided across the great front lawn of the impressive estate where they shocked people’s brains back to some state of sanity. From there she had a quarter mile stroll to the high school where Marcel would be delighting the Connecticut locals, with more than enough time before curtain to secure herself a program, take an empty seat, and to compose herself before The Great Master Mime would take the stage and give us a night we would never forget.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I ran across a profile on a dating site of a man that I encountered at a restaurant bar a few years ago. A working class bloke who was versed in Brooklynese, I suspected that he had stopped paying attention in class around the 3rd grade, his vocabulary was limited to two syllable words and under, his grammar appalling, his thick bridge and tunnel brogue didn’t help matters much.

I clicked on his photo, I was curious to see how he would present himself in a medium where prose is king.

Clearly, he had enrolled in a writing program at Columbia or some such school. His sentences were well-constructed, his charm was jumping off the page. “They’re”, “there”, and “theirs” were as they should be. He didn’t stop at periods and comma’s, there were semicolons and m dashes, too!

Clearly a case of Cyrano – it was a charming profile, but the plan was clearly flawed. A bait n switch scenario, how would he get past the first email exchange? A pipe and smoking jacket by night, a Sanitation worker by day, I’m sure these guys existed, but with this guy it surely was not the case. His gift for sparkling conversation was limited; the only four-syllable word I heard him use at the bar, “Jagermeister”.

Perhaps he would supply a phone number and nothing else in a first email for some unsuspecting copy editor, lawyer, or Wall Street gal to use. The first few seconds of the conversation would be cut short. Why set yourself up for such embarrassment?

The same applies to men or women who post a photo from a decade or two ago, or of their body before the ravages of time or too much pizza had taken their toll. It may get you to an email exchange, even a phone call or two – but the face to face meeting can only be put off for so long, eventually you have to show up ¬– it’s hard to hide the extra pounds, the missing teeth, the lapsed education. I knew a man who had exchanged emails with a beautiful woman from New Jersey. When she rolled up in her steel wheelchair and excess weight. He still took her to dinner, then sent her a brief polite goodbye the moment he arrived home. Misrepresentation front loads hope, but the end result is the self- fulfilling prophecy that inspired the fraud in the first place.

How do we best sell ourselves online, in a medium where visuals rule, and words play a close second? People of all shapes and sizes, and all levels of verbal dexterity deserve love, and in the real world, they find it. Are some people just better off staying away from dating sites, and Facebook where witty repartee and decent spelling are the price of entry? It doesn’t seem quite fair, but does this medium exclude the underachievers, the less than picture perfect, or those who simply can’t type? Misrepresentation is one of the inherent tools available to us on the internet, but it only gets you so far – when the buyer receives the fake Rolex – whether it be watch or perspective date – it’s game over.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


It’s a new year, and heck if I can figure out what to write about. I was struggling with an addiction in 2010, a full-on monkey on my back that goes by the name of “Drama”. My main supplier, this blog: claudtalks. It was stirring up all sorts of trouble. Pissed off boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, bikers, cops, many leaving threatening comments on the claudtalks threads, or sending text messages alerting me that trouble was on the rise. A lawyer friend advised me to keep a log of comments and characters, I was watching my back, the president of a biker crew was taking meetings with another crew to tell them the back off or there would be trouble. Up to this point I had used my writing skills to sell shampoo and dog food to consumers, I had definitely upped the ante. Blogging became an addiction, and a dangerous one at that. The drama that spun out of it resulted in increased heart rate, fear, excitement, power, and validation, a powerful elixir that would lead to no good. I had people reading claudtalks from NYPD computers, pissed off girlfriends of ex’s checking claudtalks 2 or more times a day – I made a vow not to write stories about anyone who carries weapons legally or illegally, anyone dressed as a pirate, cop, or any other costume designed to instill “respect” in others. There had to be some gripping story matter involving those who wear cotton, silk, flannel, or denim, those never diagnosed with mental health issues, plagued with prison records, or restraining orders.

There was a harmless story about a guy I had worked with – the fellow had removed the period at the end of the sentence on a print ad I was doing at work. I was amused at how much of a to-do a little period had caused, I wrote about it on my blog. A couple of weeks later an innocent bystander on the project read the post and left a comment, a lone frown-ie face. She was just starting out in the business, and although she had just been following orders when she removed the offending period, she took my blogpost to heart. She didn’t threaten me with bodily harm, a speeding ticket, or legal action – her shamed expression when we ran into each other on the street still stung hard. I still hadn’t gotten it right.

Later, I wrote a story about a friend of mine who had found happiness in an extramarital affair, it had helped smooth things out at home between her and her husband – which I found to be curious and amazing. She had been coaxing me to write her story, after refining it – switching out names, locations, time frames – it hadn’t been up more than 8 minutes when alarming emails, incoming. Her boyfriend “happened” to come across my blog, he was livid. The fact that I had spun their affair into a quick fix of her marriage sent him into a tailspin of fury, she was annoyed that I had mistaken the new calm in her home as any sign of a romantic rekindling. Claudtalks helped precipitate the end of the year-long affair. The damage was done – I deleted the piece from the blog, I had done this too many times before – I had already removed over a year of blogposts in the interest of freeing my blog of any drama inducing content, and here I was again. Drama school was back in session.

What to write about? Stories about me and ex-boyfriends – out. Stories about me and co-workers – nix. Ditties about me and friends – N.O. Claudtalks power to offend had rendered it frozen, I was sitting paralyzed in front of my keypad wondering where to take it all next.

Claudtalks taught me a lot, seeing my life play out in black and white. I realized that I have a penchant for screwed up guys, that I was addicted to drama, and could actually feel it deliciously coursing through my viegns. It taught me that what’s good for claudtalks, isn’t good for Claud – I had to part ways with drama – it won’t be easy, we’ve been dating for years. I heard a shrink on TV tell an addict, “you need to embrace boredom” – it struck a chord, so Boredom, come to Mama. Don’t wink at the bad man on the motorcycle, don’t start wars over punctuation, don’t catch up with the driver that cut you off at the light. That stuff’s not you. And while I figure out who exactly “you” is, the blog will have to be patient. It’s been over a month, and I still don’t know what to write.

When drama peaked on claudtalks, my readership was through the roof. People getting pissed off seemed to go hand-in-hand with increased hits. I wasn’t the only drama addict, I had a readership that thrived on it as well, I left them all back in 2010. The question remains, what’s in store for 2011? And will anyone give a hoot?

I woke up this morning, made some coffee and checked if anyone had visited claudtalks besides an occasional friend, or a random blog surfer from Czechoslovakia. And there it was, a hit from an NYPD computer – just like back in the old days – my blood started rushing, I felt “alive” again – sitting sipping coffee from a hand made mug, all toasty in my flannel PJ’s,– that delicious drama gave a little “you hooo!!” to me before I reminded myself that I have a date with boredom today – and I’m actually looking forward to it; and if I’m doing everything right – it won’t be anything to write home about.