Tuesday, October 22, 2013

church grief

The church we left three years ago had an event the other day and my feeds are full of pictures from it and all the pain came back as I saw them. They're celebrating and people are talking about what a gracious and loving church they're so glad to belong to, and I said the same thing for years, and then I figured out that I was and am disposable to them. When they treated someone who worked there like an employee instead of a brother and a friend and fired him in a horrible economy and made up a very suspicious story about the circumstances for the firing, my heart broke. I sat in meetings with the elders and was one weeping woman in a roomful of stoic men each time. When they told me my intuition was wrong, I knew I had to leave. But there is so much pain and so much wrong that was swept under the rug, never to be revisited. I kept thinking the other night "blood still cries from the ground."

This should never happen to anyone.

Monday, October 14, 2013

stephy vs. sunday school

I taught Sunday school yesterday. I was nervous because Sunday school was so awful for me growing up and this meant re-entering those memories. As a kid I cried a lot at Sunday school. I cried on the way to church and faked sick every Saturday night throughout childhood, but was always made to go. Teaching Sunday school yesterday felt really good because the focus was on connecting with the kids and not policing them, and also not teaching them some kind of factual historical truth, but inviting them into a story. I told the story of Moses and the burning bush (so many that's-what-she-said moments). My daughter asked me "Did this really happen?" and I said "I don't know, but I think it's an important story. What could it mean? Why could it have meant so much to so many people for so long? You can decide what it means for you. It may mean different things to you over your life. It has for me."

I remembered too the ways that I tried to get out of Sunday school when I was little. I would hide outside or ask the teacher if I could go to the bathroom and then just never went back. I also remember hiding in the church balcony which was my favorite but I was busted pretty quick. Who else Shawshanked out of Sunday school or faked sick every Saturday night or cried en route to church?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

hugo schwyzer's suicide attempt, the feminist response, and the tension of holding horrible things alongside possiblity

I don’t know where exactly to begin. I’m frustrated with what appears to be a gleeful response by some feminists in response to Hugo Schwyzer’s recent suicide attempt, and I am especially raw with the way the core issues intersected for me last week when I emotionally broke down because of harsh words from feminists. I know for a fact that the triggering was as severe as it was because it came from women who purport to honor the humanity of women, and these women were shaming me for my healing process. I get that kind of treatment often from men, and I don’t collapse the way I did this time when it came from women. So I want to acknowledge at the outset that I am writing from this space.

The term that keeps coming to mind as I think about this is “fundamentalism.” I see it so often all over the place and also in myself. I grew up in fundamentalism and as a result it’s imprinted on me to some extent. It probably isn’t exactly in my DNA, but possibly on my bones or maybe some cartilage, and through all my years in therapy and through my grieving and raging and healing process, I became aware that fundamentalist tendencies in me are probably stronger than in the average person (though I feel the average person does carry those stripes as well, only because as humans we love rules that will keep us safe and protected, and we don’t like muddling in the gray, where it gets dodgy. No alarms and no surprises, please).

So for whoever is reading this, I need you to know that I feel that whatever healing I’ve managed and whatever rage I’ve connected with over my mistreatment/abuse has been informed by my becoming aware of my fundamentalist DNA (or bones or cartilage). I could never have healed without realizing that I myself carry those fundamentalist leanings in some way. And this has been an awful realization because it puts me in the same league as my abusers. (I am so afraid that at this point many people will stop reading. That's a risk, I guess.) But it’s also been a beautiful realization because it puts me in league with, well, humans. We all live in quiet desperation much of the time. We do bad things to others, and when we do, we need someone to say “what you did was wrong, and I am not minimizing how much harm you caused, but I think you have intrinsic worth so I’ll stick around if you make some changes.” That is health and that is redemptive.

I read a piece recently that said many people love a redemption narrative and will readily brush aside the abuse caused by the person seeking redemption in order to feel the good part of redemption. I think this is so true. I feel very strongly that there is something in human nature that wants to skip over the hard, ugly part and get to the fuzzy, copacetic part. But I also feel very strongly that we can’t have true redemption or forgiveness without exposing the bad part and bringing that to light. I have this thing where I am open to the possibility that we were meant for an ideal. I don’t know for sure that we are, but the idea resonates really deeply for me. And I feel very strongly that abuse separates both the abuser and the abused from that ideal. And honestly, the deepest and most euphoric freedom I have ever felt has been when I feel the effects of true forgiveness and restoration, mine or someone else’s. I could never put words to how it feels beyond saying I have the deepest sense that strong bonds of connection are being made and that something ancient and deeply purposeful is taking place. It feels sacred, I guess. It feels beyond anything concrete that I could come up with, and big changes have happened in my life and in my friends’ lives as a result.

Which is why I cannot, cannot get on board with hopelessness. I just can't. I feel it's antithetical to the humanist and feminist causes. I say this as a survivor of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and as someone who has been disowned by my parents after I set boundaries with them that they may not shame me anymore. I get really discouraged, but I work very hard not to lose hope because I have seen impossibly beautiful things come from the worst messes. I can never tell when exactly someone will have a change of heart and that redemption will take place, but I’ve seen it happen many times. Which is why I have been weeping over the response to Hugo Schwyzer’s recent suicide attempt. (I have been trying to rewrite that sentence for ten minutes now because first of all the word “weeping” is dramatic and feels indulgent, but there’s no other word for what I’m doing, I am completely gutted by it.) In case you've never heard of him, Hugo Schwyzer is a gender studies professor who writes for Jezebel, Salon and the Atlantic who has admitted to sexual assault and to attempting to kill his ex-girlfriend. He’s done horrendous things. He got sober and talked about wanting to make changes, and it appears he did make steps towards those. (I am saying all of this as someone who does not know him.) Many people take issue with the fact that he calls himself a male feminist and aligns himself with feminist causes. I completely understand why feminists, or any humans, take issue with this. Many people feel that he has sought out press in a way that feels self-aggrandizing and unrepentant. It really rubs people the wrong way, for good reason. It comes off as obnoxious (to put it very mildly) to have committed rape and attempted murder and then to give interviews about your reformation. AND YET. Hugo is human and he just attempted suicide. He suffers from mental illness. He has horrible things in his past that he is working to overcome. He likely has no concept of truly giving himself kindness. A very significant part of my own healing has been to give myself space to screw up. For 32 years I never let myself screw up. I mean, I screwed up constantly, but I internalized so much self-loathing surrounding it. I could not cut myself the tiniest break. And this absolutely informed my treatment of others. I couldn’t cut them a break. I saw myself in them and in their screwing up, but I looked at them and myself with contempt. They were weak and pathetic, just like me. I couldn’t get past how others couldn’t foresee their mistakes and circumvent making them. I had no space for their humanity, just like I didn’t have any space for mine, and I want to say very earnestly and dorkily with no hyperbole that I was living in a sort of hell. To not have empathy and compassion on myself or on others was a form of being tightly bound and enslaved. I had no means of breaking those constraints because I couldn’t fully see what was constraining me. I was angry, for good reason, and I was without hope that I could ever be anything other than angry. I lived this way for at least 32 years.

Here comes the redemption narrative that people aren’t so sure about. But it makes sense that some people are wary of redemption narratives. We are skeptical of them because the concept of grace has almost certainly been used against us if we grew up in fundamentalism. We were taught to excuse our abusers and “give them grace,” and then we were shamed if we did not want to or could not give them grace. That shame was placed back on US. That shame actually belonged on the person who harmed us, but instead it was transferred to us, the victims. I believe that’s called gaslighting: being made to feel as if you are the one in the wrong so your abuser doesn’t have to carry the consequence of what he or she did. As victims, we were conditioned to accept this kind of treatment. And when we finally woke up to the reality that we were being abused, we named it and attempted by whatever means we could to expose it, and were told to “just give grace” to our abusers. This excused the behavior of the abuser, and true grace and forgiveness were not able to take place. And I have to say that when this happened, evil won. Destruction won. We were crushed and we were owned and innocence was lost. That demands to be mourned. Our mourning turned to rage, very justified rage. And that rage had no outlet because we were trapped within the cycle fundamentalism.

A catalyst in my recovery was this perspective by Desmond Tutu:
“Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing….Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s actually remembering — remembering and not using your right to hit back. It’s a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”
This sentiment is so powerful and it is why I’m drawn to Christianity, even though I can’t call myself a Christian. I feel with my whole heart that this is a philosophy that can change the world. And it is a very, very tenuous thing to hold well. Excruciating tension is present in this picture. In order to truly enter into forgiveness, we need to name and expose the abuse, the awfulness, the hurt, and the truth. And it sometimes makes things worse. Bringing the horrors of abuse will almost certainly exacerbate the situation. Telling these truths humiliates your abuser, and they very likely will not want to own their part in your harm. I know this because I have abused people. I have been spiritually and emotionally abusive and have deeply harmed people. Being confronted with it drove me into denial. I thought I couldn’t possibly have harmed someone the way they say I harmed them. It was much too painful to conceive that I could have harmed as I had been harmed. I didn’t have space for that possibility. And when, by some means I still have no explanation for, I did make space for it, the effects were devastating. I went through all the stages of grief. Because that is really what it was about: the deep grief that I could have done what had been done to me. I was in the lowest space I may have ever been in, and what brought me out of it was kindness. I was told that I was forgiven. And I was more moved than I’ve ever been because I recognized the risk they were taking by offering me kindness and, well, grace. I had never known grace to be a healing measure. I had only known it to be another mechanism of abuse. It had been wielded against me and I had been shamed for not giving my abusers grace. But my abusers had only attempted superficial reconciliation. They did not acknowledge their abuse when it was exposed. When I received actual grace, when someone reserved their right to hit back at me when they had every reason to, I finally saw how healing was possible. They did not endorse forgiving and forgetting. They remembered my abuse towards them and they named it, but they also forgave and we moved forward and I was a changed person. I am a changed person.

This is why I grieve Hugo’s suicide attempt. He has committed vile abuses and he has done a lot of interviews about it that people feel are self-aggrandizing. This kind of behavior is extremely frustrating, to put it nicely, to those who have abuse histories and are desperate for true equality. We want so much for our humanity to be taken seriously and we are furious at the cycle of abusers being let off the hook. Here is where the tension lies with the Hugo Schwyzer situation: it appears that Hugo represents yet another instance of being given cheap grace and superficial reconciliation in widely publicized articles. As a victim of the same things Hugo has done to other people, the notion of anyone getting away with violent assault makes my stomach turn. It makes me scream how can we hold this tension well and perpetuate healing and true reconciliation and true redemption? Not cheap, false redemption for the sake of another white male redemption narrative that will get a lot of pageviews and make the abuser look like a tortured martyr. True redemption that exposes the awfulness, it does not forget, and it does not use the right to hit back. How can we hold this situation with full exposure, realism, and also possibility?

In articles on Hugo’s recent suicide attempt I keep reading this: “The prof says Twitter and article comments roasting him as a woman hater and regurgitating a 15-year-old suicide attempt and attempted murder of a girlfriend have taken their toll.” And I continue to find many responses that maintain that the feminists who “roast” Hugo are not actually bullies. I can see both sides. Hugo has done horrible things, and he has apologized for them and made what appear to be corrective steps. He is a father. He has sought help for his illness and addictions. I can state all these things as facts, but I cannot speak to his true motives. But I can speak to my experience: the futility I have felt when someone repeatedly brings up something for which I have apologized for is one of the most desperate feelings I have ever felt. I understand that many people do not feel Hugo is truly sorry, and I understand why many do not want him to have a voice in feminism. They are likely disgusted by him and never want to hear his name again. This is valid. And I don’t say “this is valid” in a quick, cursory way: these instincts are all truly, deeply valid. They are informed by these peoples’ histories, possibly with their own abusers and how they were violently wronged and their abusers were and never will be brought to light. And alongside that, while holding every ounce of pain caused by Hugo and myself and any other abuser, I feel that assigning motives can be very dangerous. I have no idea if Hugo is truly sorry and I will probably never know, but in order to perpetuate the dignity and humanity of all people (which I believe is foundational to feminism), I believe we must honor all humanity. This is implicit in exposing the awfulness of what they have done in order to have true reconciliation. Does there come a point where my questioning the honesty of an apology and assigning motives to someone’s actions puts me in the abuser’s seat? I don’t know. I’m still working that one out, but there is something compelling about it.. I do feel there are many ways to say “I do not think Hugo should be the voice of feminism and I feel he reads as narcissistic and oily in interviews” without removing his personhood and assigning motives. I've seen amazing redemption happen in other places in areas I have thought were hopeless. I feel that much of the writing I see about Hugo reduces him to being less than human. 

What if we saw everyone as if they are in the middle of a redemption story? The world would change. The world would drastically change. It will take space and patience to pull this off. The eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth mentality is the same as the patriarchy, which says 'if you break the rules then you will get broken in half, and we will hold grudges against you until you look like us.' But mercy knows nothing of that. And when people are coming out of their abuse and are processing it they often can’t hear the words mercy and grace because those words were used against them as part of their abuse. And that is a stage we have to go through. I want to allow space for people who are in that stage. I want to make room for them to be in that stage as long as they need to. What does it mean to allow them to be in that stage, as I was in that stage, while I also hold hope for someone like Hugo? We all need help and mercy, we need to be told the truth, and we need to not be given cheap, placating treatment. How do we name harm done, while refusing to let our abusers off the hook, while refusing to be hopeless? This is my big question I am holding. It sucks. I feel pain in my chest and have been having anxiety responses all day as I've been trying to write this, but I honestly want to ask others to play with this question along with me and entertain it and wonder alongside me. It is much too big for me to hold by myself (that’s what she said) and I need others with me in this. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

tr*nnygate: i did something unkind and i wanna talk about it

I did something bad. The other day, on Thursday, I said the word tranny in a tweet and it upset some people. Then when these people said that was an offensive word my posture was "whatever, I'm going to say it even more." That wasn't nice of me at all. This was my tweet:

There are two elements of backstory on my part which are not excuses, not at all, but they might help inform some of my where I'm coming from: I only have four trans* (I'm using the term trans* because that's what these people on twitter said to use) friends but we use this word and we text each other "What's up, tranny?" if that informs a bit where I'm coming from. And those people's perspective doesn't mean that every person should have that perspective. Another piece of my story is that there are a few internet people in particular who have repeatedly had problems with things I say and because my story involves authority figures whom I could never make happy and who often critiqued my words, that sort of critique even now sends me to a primal place where I feel like my autonomy and identity are threatened and I feel like I need to assert the fact that I'm my own person, because some key players in my past were intent on silencing me. So when I started being told not to say tranny some of that panic came to the surface for me, that whole undercurrent of "this again, I'm being told to disappear and acquiesce." I didn't realize this at the time. I was like "eff that, I'm going to say it even more." It even encouraged me that no one expressing offense was an actual trans* person and that several trans* people expressed amusement and support. And here is another thing about me, and I am not saying this is an excuse for my behavior, but for some reason it's difficult for me when people who do not belong to a marginalized group take on that group's agenda and become deeply offended on that group's behalf. I wish I could explain it better and I know it's probably rooted in my story again as every last damn thing always is, and it also has something to do with the manner in which they take offense. @TwoFriars said it really well on Thursday, they used the terms "planting a flag of self-righteous indignation" vs. "encouraging virtue in each other." When someone acts out of what feels like self-righteous indignation and not in a way to try to make room for the backstory of the offending party, that is very difficult for me. It has something to do with my story and the ways that my motives weren't given credence but I was judged and punished based on my actions, and the people who did the punishing had boundaries that kept moving. I never knew where the line was. So all of that acts up in me when I see people who appear intent on being indignant for the sake of shaming someone without being interested in encouraging virtue in each other. And maybe the worst part is that I totally did this on Thursday. I didn't make any room for the offended parties' story. I only paid attention to my territory. I think this was a big part of the problem.

So when the tweets started flying all of this was acting up for me. I felt panic that my right to expression was being threatened in some way. It doesn't mean my right to express myself was actually being threatened but it felt to me very realistically that it was, because of my story. And this is what I think happened for the people who were upset by my tweets. I was reminding them of their abusers. I was being insensitive to them and to their story. I wasn't acting out of curiosity towards what they've been through and how my actions affect them. I was in survival mode, as dramatic as that sounds, because I was being strongly reminded of times I had to fight to maintain my sense of self. And this was happening on their side too. My words and my insistent posture were reminding them of when they had to fight to maintain their senses of self. It was a really bad scene.

I tweeted a question on Facebook and one of my trans* friends responded saying trans* people aren't offended by that word (the screencap of that is here). I felt affirmed and smug. Then a trans* ally tweeted me this:

and it contained a link to a story by the guy from MST3K about when he found out on twitter that the word tranny is offensive (link to that is here) and something clicked for me. I immediately felt the hurt I had caused these people and I kinda got it. And it had something to do with how self-sacrificing this Joe person was, he had every reason to be offended and yet he was so generous and really took it on the chin and gave me goodness and grace anyway. I tweeted an apology (here is what I tweeted across the space of several tweets: "I'm sorry. I was really insensitive and cunty. Can you forgive  me? I wish I could go back in time and undo those things I said. I want the best for you.  I just want you to know how deeply sorry I am to have  hurt you at all. I don't mean to imply you ever need to forgive me, I guess the main thing is I feel horrible I hurt you") and there was a Facebook discussion about all of this (you can see that here). Some of the people who had been offended said they wanted a direct apology so I gave that to them that and then I saw that one of them had a problem with the fact that in my apology I said my behavior was "cunty." This triggered another domino thing for me because part of my story is that my abusers would say it was my fault I made them harm me and then they would make me apologize to them, and then they would critique my apology. This was a pattern, so when I heard that this person didn't like my wording in an apology, that again made me feel panic about these old instances and they felt new all over again. So I tweeted some of this at this person and haven't heard back but that is okay of course, that's part of it. I mean, I'd like to have forgiveness but that's the thing about asking forgiveness, we can't demand it at all. I think in the space between asking for forgiveness and waiting for it to be received we feel the pain we caused, in a way, because that waiting is excruciating and if we're truly sorry we want that shalom so badly. An equally huge truth is that we all act out of what our story is, nothing is ever just black and white and cut and dried like that. So I want to remember to make room for this with all the people I interact with. And what really sucks is I know I'm going to screw up at this sometimes, I already did it this morning with my daughter, I got upset about something because I didn't make room for her context. This is one of the worst things about being human but I actually really think that because I've received grace that I'm able to give it. The past few years I've been working on soaking in grace people give me because on a base level I don't feel like I deserve it and I let goodness go over my head and don't let it sink in, there is something about me that feels like I don't deserve anything good, especially not sweetness and kindness. So when I am able to accept it I'm strangely able to give it. Well, I guess that's actually not strange, that kind of makes logical sense to receive something and then be able to give it. But there is some kind of paradox going on too which makes me think of the line from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and what Scott Peck said about it on the last page People Of The Lie: Hope For Healing Human Evil:
The healing of evil––scientifically or otherwise––can be accomplished only by the love of individuals. A willing sacrifice is required. The individual healer must allow his or her own soul to become the battleground. He or she must sacrificially absorb the evil.

Then what prevents the destruction of that soul? If one takes the evil itself into one’s heart, like a spear, how can one’s goodness still survive? Even if the evil is vanquished thereby, will not the good be also? What will have been achieved beyond some meaningless trade-off?

I cannot answer this in language other than mystical. I can say only that there is a mysterious alchemy whereby the victim becomes the victor. As C. S. Lewis wrote: “When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

I do not know how this occurs. But I know that it does. I know that good people can deliberately allow themselves to be pierced by the evil of others––to be broken thereby yet somehow not broken––to even be killed in some sense and yet still survive and not succumb. Whenever this happens there is a slight shift in the balance of power in the world.
I feel like this is what Jon Stark did when he could have responded with indignation but instead gave me softness and acted in good faith. I want so much to absorb evil sacrificially but it sounds so scary, and the idea of it makes me once again go into panic mode where I think "I've been the victim of so much bad stuff, I can't take on any more, what about boundaries? Where do those come into play?" I struggle so much with these questions and I think I will for a really long time, but while I have these questions I always think of the Mother Teresa quote: "I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." That's such a gigantic paradox. But I've experienced it and I want to go with it. I want to know the ways I don't love well and how what I do affects people and I hope they can have that space for me as well and maybe this ancient idea can spread a little farther and deeper. I would like that! Thank you guys very very much for hanging in there with me.

love, stephy

(I also talked about all of this on this episode of Dongtini if you want to hear more.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

advent 2012

Advent is hard for me. It’s the active remembrance of 400 years of silence and suffering squished into 4 weeks and it feels concentrated and heavy in parts. I was dong okay with it up until yesterday when we had a meeting at church saying that we aren’t going to keep being able to pay our pastor if things keep up the way they’ve been going and I can’t internalize that quite yet because it makes me so scared. This community has been the biggest gift for me after we left our church of 12 years. Leaving that church involved a lot of heartache and now the possibility of my lifesaving community going away is breaking my heart. The problem is everyone in the community is broke. And money shouldn’t even be an issue. We (Wits’ End is the name of the church) live really low to the ground. The pastor is abhorrently underpaid of course and has three small kids (of course) and today I’m sitting with the memories from the church situation two years ago in which a family was removed from staff and treated as if the church didn’t want them to be their problem anymore. That's not what's happening here at Wits' End; quite the opposite - the pastor and his kids are very much wanted but we can't even afford to underpay them. It's a trauma stressor I suppose and is reminding me of the spiritual and emotional fallout from the church stuff two years ago that has been devastating for everyone who’s had to watch, and it makes me wish very much I was in the position where I didn’t have to see any of this if I didn’t elect to. I hope I would still elect to though. But these realities are ugly and I am feeling Advent heaviness even harder today. This Wits’ End community has been a livesaving godsend for me and they’re my only family nearby and I hate that their existence is at risk so this is what I’m sitting with now.

Now that I’ve said all this I feel better, thanks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

things uncle richard said during thanksgiving 2012

“It would be freeing for you girls to walk around in a burqua so you’d get to be appreciated for your minds. Maybe.”
“I have no idea what my wifi password is. Don’t ask me. Why do I even need to have a password? Anyone who wants to use my internet is welcome to.”
“I’m just trying to make you uncomfortable till you get out of my seat.”
“See, because they don’t have Obama’s birth certificate they aren’t sure he was born.”
“You’re writing down what I’m saying again? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff?”
“I was getting concerned that I have empathy for Mitt Romney, but I could tell he has Aspberger’s too.”
“I don’t look people in the eye. I can tell you all about their teeth, though.”
“I don’t want to get on Facebook. I’d feel like a traitor to my race.” Me: “To the Jewish race?” R: “No, the human race!”
“I’m not good at it (sex), and it’s as simple as that.”
“So that law passed! Are the streets of Seattle all filled with dope smokers now?”
“I’ve always known I wanted to be old. You don’t know anything till you’re old. I want to have done everything and have nothing left to do.”
“You never tell the truth when a woman asks certain questions. I mean, come on.”
“I’m an Asperger’s survivor. I feel great, but it’s how other people feel about me that’s the problem.”
“We haven’t locked our front door in 36 years. I wouldn’t live in a place where I had to lock my door. But I did stop leaving my keys in the car after it got stolen twice.”
“If you read your bible carefully, you’ll learn that Botox adds to your time in purgatory.”
To Conney Mae: “I’m not going to get that platter down, I just got up from my nap!” Whispering to us: “I just defused a volatile situation.”
“Two things I did in my life I did right: I got the right bathtub and I got the right TV.”
“You know how it excites me when you say whipped!”
“We need a designated coffee fetcher.”
“They make stuff badly on purpose so it breaks and you’ll actually say ‘Oh good, I get to buy another!’ It’s vicious.”
To Judah: “Commercials allow people to make money off you, which is the only reason you exist.”
“I can’t imagine what kind of pervert would want chocolate ice cream on their pumpkin pie.” (this was said by Conney Mae)
“You guys are making me want to be religious. You’re so hateful about religion that it sounds fun.”
“Just pack that gluten in.”
(looking at the remnants of pizza) “Boy, what a bunch of rapists.”
“I was confident Obama would win but at the end fear overcame belief because the prospect of Romney as president is horrifying. 48% voted for Romney? That’s a hate vote if I ever saw one. You think the Civil War has ended, just look at the election results.”
“You should reserve daviddruryisanasshole.com.”
“In the ‘50s I’d go to the annual charity game on the polo grounds in Manhattan. There used to be little bridges you could walk across the river from the Bronx to Manhattan. Roy Campanella was my favorite. Played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was a catcher. He was in a car crash and was paralyzed. Ended his career, of course. Man.”
“I’m good! Well, I’m grumpy but that won’t affect you. You just asked how I am.”
(Sets down an orchid from his greenhouse in front of me.) “This orchid just opened today, so this is in honor of you guys. Look at that guy. He’s got a little purple lip. Not all orchids smell, but some smell like the ocean to me.”
Me: “Judah was 9 lbs 12 oz when he was born.” R: “That must have smarted.”
“I used to get sick to my stomach after kissing girls because I was allergic to their lipstick. I was worried! What’s wrong with me? I’d kiss a girl and get nauseous.”
“I always wanted to die on the pitcher’s mound.”
“Well, I’ve decided that you can’t go. I’ve always wanted a biographer.”