Wednesday, October 27, 2004

If I was Mayor McCheese, I'd have the Hamburglar put to death!

According to the local news, several of the folks who helped collar Seattle's Lamest Mugger were given an audience with the mayor and little certificates of good citizenship or whatever. (Check the video links for "Citizen Heroes Capture Would-Be Robber," if you're so inclined.)

Sis must be feeling better, because she's pissed off: where is her commemorative plaque for administering the beat-down? Not to mention, the opportunity to sound off ON TELEVISION...dang! Plus, of course, the opportunity to, you know, thank all those other folks. Apparently she remains unidentified due to being CARTED AWAY IN AN AMBULANCE as intrepid reporters arrived. The cops did call and leave a message at her home, but too late for her to attend the ceremony. "Maybe Mayor Hoss Cartwright will give you your Special Award later," I said.

I am dying to know, however, what the certificates say exactly. What do they Hereby Proclaim?--that you are a member of the community in good standing? An ass-kicking , crime-fighting mutha? What? I hope it at least comes with a couple of Dick's gift certificates or something. That would be awesome. Thank you, Seattle Citizen Hero! Have a cheeseburger, on us!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

You should see the other guy

The karmic dump truck continues to unload on my sister: Thursday, she managed to get herself violently mugged, at 9:00 in the freaking morning, at a cash machine on Broadway (a neighborhood renowned for its hipster squalor--junkies and students and street kids, oh my!).

Some background: A year ago last August, Sis was injured in a random freak accident that's an entire Whole Nother Story, so I won't get into it here; suffice to say she's had three surgeries so far on a badly crushed ankle. She's mobile, but not 100% recovered yet; she was in this particular neighborhood for the express purpose of consulting a new orthopedic specialist for a second opinion.

So. Some doubtless crack-addled fuckwit jumped out of his truck at the curb, and just grabbed her around the neck from behind. Had the shithead seen her limping? I don't know. But he chose her, got her in a headlock, demanded her money. It was so sudden, broad daylight, that at first she thought it must be a friend, someone she knew, goofing around. She said "No!" He tightened his grip around her throat, jerking her backward.

And she turned, twisting around in the circle of his arm, and punched the fucker twice, dead in the face.

Ladies and gents, let me introduce my baby sister, one bad. assed. bitch.

Because next, she hooked her foot--the bad one!--back around his ankle, and when he tried to knock her down, he fell too: she dragged the hapless dumbass down with her, punching and screaming and hanging onto her purse all the while. When her mugger (at the end, wailing "Okay! OKAY!" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) tried to get away, Sis actually had the presence of mind to wrap her legs around his and hang on, as other people fought to grab him. He did get loose, scooping up the cash dropped in the struggle, and ran...but a pack of concerned citizens gave chase, and by the time the cops arrived, a crowd had the guy pinned under a car, several blocks away. Boy did this guy make a bad, bad choice. "You did a good job today," one officer told Sis.

She was hurt in the fall, jamming her back and tailbone hard on the concrete, wrenching one finger back...whether in the fall or the fight she's not sure. Her boyfriend called me from the hospital; "Her Irene came out," he said of the battle--referring to our late maternal grandmother, a woman who slept with a nine-iron beside the bed and carried an ice pick in her purse, just in case someone was fool enough to mess with her...sort of the Bad, Bad Leroy Brown of the under-five-feet-tall senior citizen set. Anyway, Sis's injuries will heal...though she's pretty shaken up.

I don't know. I keep vacillating between seeing her actions as insane, over $30, in the please-don't-EVER-do-that-again-are-you-CRAZY? vein...and seeing them as heroic, because: girl is BAD. ASS. It got a write-up in the local paper; I was reading the article to her over the phone yesterday and she broke down, sobbing "Why did this happen to meeeeeeee?" And I can't blame her, of course. It's scary, it hurts, she's had a shit-shellacked 14 months already. Why did it happen to her? But I tried to impress upon her the complete bad-assedness of what she'd done, encourage her to see the good in it: look what you accomplished, look how pissed-off and tough and strong you are, in spite of your injury, in spite of feeling still "fragile" from the accident.

I mean, what would I have done? I'm a wimp. I imagine I'd have gladly surrendered my purse, my car keys, and my latte, if I'd had one--and did you need anything else, Mr. Mugger? Could I give you a ride, help you pick out some other weak-lookin' victims, maybe? Sis said that, had he shown or implied a weapon, she'd have reacted differently. ("No she wouldn't," chuckled Holly, later, when I related the tale. She's known Sis since she was nine.) But I don't know; who can tell how they'll respond, in the feverish swamp of adrenaline?

Thankfully, Sis later called me back, yesterday: she'd fielded about 20 "d'ja know you're in the paper?" phone calls, given her official statement to police, received flowers from work, and had at last consumed some sweet, delicious Percocet and was engrossed in an episode of Little House on the Prairie.

All's well that ends well, ain't it?

And I gotta say, I love her, the ferocious little shit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Ba-dum bum

Found this while looking up assorted Yiddishisms. So timely!

Four friends are sitting in a restaurant. For a long time, nobody says anything. Then, one man groans, "Oy."

"Oy vey," says a second man.

"Nu," says the third.

At this, the fourth man gets up from his chair and says, "If you guys don't stop talking politics, I'm leaving!"

Nu, an entry

When I was a little girl, we used to go with my mom's friend Cookie and her kids to Matzoh Momma's, a deli in the funky post-hippie liberal enclave that the Capitol Hill neighborhood was in those mid-70s days. At first, the joint was hole-in-the-wall tiny, a space narrow as a bowling lane lined with deli cases and two or three rickety tables. The food,, the food. Toasted bagels slathered in real butter--could you get a genuine, decent bagel, anywhre else in Seattle at the time? (You barely can, now; round bread with a hole in the middle doth not a bagel make.) Kosher dogs on poppy-seed rolls. A perfectly golden chicken broth, glowing as if lit from within, afloat with the namesake matzoh balls. Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda, in bottles...I don't think it yet came in cans. I didn't know from "kosher"; my entire concept of Jewishness came from the All of a Kind Family books (and, thus, I also had a vague notion that New York City was still trapped in the early 1900s, with streetcars and tinkers' wagons). I remember puzzling over some of the Yiddishisms sprinkled through the menu: "Nu, a Sandwich" declared one section. But the food was classic comfort food, suited to a kid's palate, straightforward and pure without messing around. You could get the chicken soup with matzoh balls, or with pieces of chicken, or just a bowl of the plain, luminous, man. Excuse me while I get a little verklempt and drool on the keyboard. The proprietor of the place was a big guy named Pip, with a huge, wildly curly black Jewfro. He knew us all by name, at the time. Cookie would call him up, when one of her kids was sick, and he'd deliver, actually appearing at the door bearing soup. I thought of Pip like a superhero.

Matzoh Momma's expanded into a full-fledged restaurant, later, with a full bar and live music. I remember sitting there with friends from high school, still eating that translucent soup and listening to someone navigate "Imagine" on the acoustic guitar, pining madly for the sweet stoner boy I loooooooved who sat beside me but had a girlfriend, not me. (Amusing: a little Googling reveals that Pip Meyerson was a Garfield alum, 1967. Not as amusing: further Googling indicates sweet stoner boy is a strapping, bearded Mac geek who thinks my employer is the AntiChrist. Oh.)

But eventually, the restaurant closed up shop, replaced by a Thai place, which is great because Seattle has only 800 or so to choose from, whew. I grew up and went to college, had to go all the way to New York (which was NOT populated with horse-drawn carts, it turns out) to get my grub on at a proper deli. For whatever random reason, the core group of friends I fell in with at Sarah Lawrence all happened to be Jewish; they assumed I was, too, until someone asked me in our senior year if I was going home for Passover. Nope, sorry--Norwegian-Scots with a multiculti palate, that's all. (I became known as The Honorary Jew for the remainder of our schooling. It's true that I would make an excellent Jew or Catholic, since guilt and shame are pretty much my life's breath.) I came home to Seattle, resigned myself to inferior bagels, occasionally missed matzoh crackers scrambled with eggs but not quite enough to buy a whole box and make them myself.

Today, driving across the bridge to work, I noticed the vehicle next to me: Matzoh Momma Catering. A white van with a logo on the side, a woman, a Momma, lovingly stirring a steaming pot of The Soup! I edged alongside, peering. The driver took a call on his cell, steering with one hand; his hair was steely gray and closer-cropped but still mad curly: Pip. Unmistakable. I nearly drove off the bridge, wanted to roll down my window, shout and wave: Pip! Pip! You knew me when I was in kindergarten! I miss you! I miss THE SOUP!

I didn't, of course. But you can be damn sure I wrote down the phone number.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

One foot in the grave

The other night I had a standard-issue anxiety dream about my high school. This happens periodically: I'm wandering the building, unable to find my locker, my classroom, the exit, as the halls and staircases go all M. C. Escher around me...and tomorrow, always tomorrow, the term paper's due or the final exam is coming, and I haven't studied or gone to class in, oh, SIXTEEN YEARS. Pretty basic. They've lessened over the intervening decade or so, thank God.

Anyway. Today I stumbled across Garfield's Web site, inadvertently, and for shits and giggles decided to look at their daily bulletin. Turns out that next week is Spirit Week, culminating in Homecoming; each day of the week, pep-minded students are encouraged to dress according to an inane theme. Hence:

Monday, 10/18—Sports Day
Tuesday, 10/19—Neon Day (I do not know what this means. Bright colors? Clothes that light up?)
Wednesday, 10/20—Twin Day
Thursday, 10/21—70s/80s Day
Friday 10/22—Purple and White Day

Hold up. 80s Day? 80s Day? What happened to the 60s day we used to have? That was plenty, right? Countercultural? All soul-hippie-freaky? So, next Thursday, the kids are going to we did every day. Because now I AM OLD. Old like MY PARENTS old.

They'll get it wrong, of course. No socks, girls--I don't care if it's October.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Now we are six

When I was leaving Darcy's the other night, her son, a newly minted kindergartener I'll call...Pancake, flung upon the door and hollered after me:

"Bye, Butthead!"

Oh yeah? "Bye, Stink-Pants!" I shouted back.

"Bye, Dork Face!"

"Bye, Freaknut!"

"Bye, Jerk-Freak!"

"Bye, Fart-Breath!"

And I got into my car grinning madly, joyous all out of proportion at calling playground insults across the night-dark, leaf-turning neighborhood street. Love that kid.