Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Thursday, June 18, 2009  
Father’s Day.


I’ve been dreading this.

The conventional wisdom is that all the firsts are the hardest. “They” say it gets easier after the first year.

Oh. Okay.

Great. Grief is like drinking shots of Jagermeister. And prostitution. And serial killing. The newsbites always show a dead-eyed, remorseless perp – an alcoholic out of control, a prostitute, a serial killer – confessing and saying: “After the first one it was easy.”

It gets easier after the first one.

I knew Father’s Day would be the rough one for me. I mean, it’s all rough, but Father’s Day, well, that’s different.

The holidays sucked. My mother and I were numb. Like lost children we hesitantly took one step at a time through the holiday season and we made it. We did it. I won’t say we were unscathed, it sucked, but, we did it. My siblings have children. They said they could put aside their grief and celebrate for the sake of their children. That’s admirable. They said that’s what Dad would do. That’s how Dad would want it. I agree. But I guess my lack of children prevents me from understanding how you just “don’t think about it” when the holidays were our dad’s favorite time of year and everything, everything holiday related is conspicuous with his absence.

Even though I anticipated Father’s Day angst and woe, I never could have predicted the complete meltdown I had at Target a few weeks ago. I mean, Mother’s Day was barely over, I thought I had at least a week, or two, before the Father’s Day merchandising affront would power up.

So that fateful day in May when I innocently, even glibly, walked into Target for toilet paper and laundry detergent and got hit with CELEBRATE DAD!!! banners festooned from the ceilings and aisle displays showcasing GREAT GIFTS FOR DADS!!!! was rough for me. Really rough.

I soldiered on past the entrance thinking, “Just stick to the household goods aisles, get your toilet paper and laundry detergent and get out of here. Keep your gaze down. Don’t look up. You can do this. It’ll be over in a few minutes.”

It wasn’t. It was awful. They had Father’s Day stuff everywhere. Everywhere. Even in the household goods aisles. I’m sure it must be my heightened sensitivity to it this year, but I don’t remember this much hype and merchandising for Father’s Day in the past. I recall Father’s Day being lumped in with graduations, weddings and Summer barbecue season. “Dads and Grads” sales, “Barbecues and Dads” specials, that kind of thing. But this year everywhere I go it’s “Celebrate DAD!” “Father’s DAY!!” “Don’t forget Dad!”

It was a “Don’t Forget Dad!” display that brought me to my knees on that fateful day in Target. “Don’t forget Dad. Don’t forget Dad?! How dare you, how dare you even suggest that I would, or could, forget Dad?!!!”

After that my memory is a little fuzzy. I remember my heartbeat getting really loud and feeling like it was going to beat out of my chest and I remember feeling disoriented and then I don’t remember anything until I realized a woman in a red shirt was talking at me in broken English. And I was crouched down on the floor of the aisle. And I was crying. Okay. Sobbing. Okay. Doing that choked breathing, snot spurting body jerking in wracks kind of sobbing. The woman had her hand on my shoulder. Some kid at the end of the aisle, a young tyke, was saying, “But Mommy, why is she crying?”

That kid made me snap-to. Pulled me into awareness. The awareness that I was crouched down on the floor in a Target, sobbing, with a woman in a red shirt talking at me in broken English. I fumbled in my purse for a tissue, wiped my eyes and finally looked up at the red-shirted woman. She was a Target employee. She was being nice but firm. “Djew better now? Djew canna stay here. Security will come.” She pointed to a round globe in the ceiling. Security cameras.

Oh swut. Security?! Seriously, security? Has it come to this? In spite of my incredulousness, the innate fear of authority kicked in and I stood up, trembling, fumbling for my purse and shopping basket. I was acutely aware, then, of the security camera which of course made me more prone to odd looking behavior. I had difficulty steadying myself on my feet – which I have trouble with under the best of conditions thanks to my injury/surgery – and the harder I tried to stop the tears, the more they came. I did want to get out of there, ASAP, pronto!, but I couldn’t make my body respond as quickly as my brain wanted it to respond.

I heard the bleep of the red shirted woman’s walkie talkie. And then a pubescent boy’s voice. “Khhhschk, Esmerelda, come in. bleep” The red shirted woman pulled the walkie talkie from it’s holster. “Si? bleeep”

“Khhhschk. Have you started recovery? bleep”


In my disoriented (and somewhat paranoid) state I thought recovery was code for “removing the sobbing woman from the store.” That set a fire under me. I said, “I’m going, I’m going, I’m okay, I’m all right.” Then, “My dad died.”

I’ve only said that a few times since my dad, well, died. Stating that fact, that obvious truth, is difficult for me. I hate the euphemisms “passed away” “lost”…I hate those stupid euphemisms, always have. And I don’t use them. I like the absolute certainty, the finality, the undisputable factuality of the verb died. Die, dies, died. Dead. Deceased. See? I can think it, type it. But. Even though in my head I say it, use that term, come to terms with that verb, saying it, hearing the words from my mouth, is hard. Understandable, right? Yes, of course it is. But. It’s something I’ve been trying to deal with, manage, a conclusion I’ve been trying to reach. Saying it. “My dad died.” I mean, it’s just three words. A statement of fact. My dad did die. I was there. I saw them lower the casket in the ground. I’ve seen the gravestone. He is dead. See? I can think about all of that, type it, and while it’s not “easy” I can do it. But saying, “My dad died” is supremely difficult for me. My mother and I went to grief counseling. There I learned that I’m not in denial, I’m not repressing anything (or, well, anything more than normal during the grief process). And yet, I don’t make the words go from my head to my tongue.

And yet again, there, in Target, under pressure and threat of security removal, out came the words: My dad died.

After I got out of there I realized that I didn’t blurt it out as an excuse in hopes of calming the store clerk and regaining some credibility as a “normal” person. I blurted it out for me. I needed to hear it. I needed to validate my hurt and sadness and resentment over the intrusion of merchandising on my bereaved sensitivities. “Don’t Forget Dad!” hit a nerve. Believe me, I will not forget dad. How dare you insinuate that I would? Saying, out loud, “My dad died” wasn’t an excuse uttered to hopefully recoup my sanity in the eyes of store security. It was my “SHUT UP!! LEAVE ME ALONE!” to Father’s Day merchandising displays everywhere.

I high-tailed it out of there. I feel bad. I left my laundry detergent on the floor. Esmerelda probably had to put it back on the shelf during recovery. The merchandising displays in the store weren’t her fault. My grief isn’t her responsibility. It’s mine, I have to manage it. If I can’t then I shouldn’t put myself in situations I can’t handle.

Since then I’ve run the merchandising gauntlet a few times. It doesn’t get easier. But. At least I expect it. I know what I’m facing and if I’m not feeling emotionally strong enough for it I avoid it. I haven’t been out much in the past month. And in just a few days it will be over and it will be safe for me to venture out to buy toilet paper and laundry detergent and whatever else I need again.

I told my grief counselor about the Meltdown in Target. (MIT, as we call it) She doesn’t believe in the terms normal or okay, because there’s no such thing as normal, or okay behavior when it comes to grief. I’m down with that. But she calmed me by saying it happens to people more than I realize. Triggers are everywhere and at any given time, any given place, something will touch a deep, raw grief nerve and set off a meltdown.

Here’s what I’ve learned. We’re all teetering on the brink of emotional distress, a meltdown. If you’re sitting there thinking, “Nope, not me, I’m not emotionally volatile. I keep it in check. I’m cool under pressure. I know how to manage my emotions, there’s a time and a place and do my breaking down in private or I go to the gym” oh boy, do I pity you. I thought that, too.

And then my dad died.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing this on anyone. And I know there’s nothing I can say that will make you understand what “it” is really like. You have to experience it for yourself. Because it’s very personal. But. I will say this: If you think you can handle it, if you think “it’s part of life, it happens, I’m prepared for it” please consider a revision. For the sake of your own sanity I strongly suggest that you at least consider the possibility that you are not prepared for it and that it will hit you in different ways than you anticipate. It will kick you so hard in the ass, when you least expect it, that you’ll be stymied to figure out what “it” even is.

It’s weird. Sometimes I can write or talk about my dad without a single pang of sadness or despair. Other times I can’t even think of the concept of fatherhood without welling up in tears. Grief.

After the MIT my grief counselor gave me an assignment. It’s the same assignment she’s been giving me for several months. I keep neglecting it. She’s been “okay” with my undone homework assignment. When I meekly admit I haven't done it she says, “When you’re ready." I’ve done other assignments, but not this one.

The concept is to examine, embrace or come to terms with what you got from the deceased. Literally, figuratively, whatever. It’s a big heady topic for me. What did I get from my dad? Sheesh, you name it. And that’s the problem. It’s too overwhelming – I mean, what a question! While it can be a literal gift, I don’t think “He gave me a pen from the Henry Ford Museum.” is really getting to the point of the assignment.

One time we had to take two photos to our session. One was supposed to be a favorite photo, the other was supposed to be a good likeness of him. Surprisingly, those are typically two very different photographs for most people. I could see the counselor looking at the photos of my dad for similarities, some likeness, some genetic indication he’s my father. The evidence is not immediately seen in the blond, blue eyed man staring out of those photos. She looked at the photos. And then at me. And then at my mother. And then at the photos. And then at me. My mother finally chimed in, rolling her eyes for the bazillionth time at the unspoken insinuation.

“No, she’s not adopted. Trillian, smile.”

I dutifully did what my mother told me to do.

“Ahhh, yes, yes, oh my yes, the resemblance is obvious when you smile,” the counselor gushed. She seemed a little too relieved. I think maybe she thought she opened Pandora’s Box with this whole photo assignment, that there was another issue she’d have to tackle along with “just” the death of a father. “Whew, she’s not adopted” was the palpable sentiment in her response.

My mother said, “And when she doesn’t style her hair you can see her curls. And she didn’t get those broad shoulders and strong bones and muscles from my family.”

So we’d already covered the genetic ground.

Rogue curls in my hair. Strong, sturdy bones and muscles. A tendency to put on belly weight. Long fingers. Long feet. Broad shoulders. The ability to curl my tongue. A full, pouty, downward turned lower lip that morphs into a wide smile. Prominent skyscraper high cheekbones. A hearty laugh. A high tolerance for physical pain.

Curiosity. Ethics. Love of language and words. Loyalty. Family above all else. Compassion. Music. Humor. Responsibility. Professionalism. A sense of adventure. Commitment. A stubborn determined streak. Respect for nature. Duty to animals, the environment, the community and those less fortunate.

He gave me a warm, safe stable home in good school districts, food, clothing, health care, orthodontia, college degrees, big Christmases, birthday parties, road trips, vacations, summer camp, toys, books, music, rock tumblers…I mean, what more could a kid want?

He taught me how to swim, ride a bike, sail a boat and drive a car. All before I was 13. And he taught me how to tread water, hold my breath longer under water, fix a flat tire, repair a spoke, tighten a bike chain, wear a life jacket, tie an Anchor Hitch and a Sheet Bend (and when to use them), wear a seat belt, put gas and oil in a car, open a stuck choke, change a tire, keep $20 stashed in the seat spring and where the local cops set speed traps. All before I was 13.

Thanks to my dad I can start a fire without lighter fluid or propane, but also thanks to him I know it’s a lot more fun, and easy, to do it with lighter fluid. And I know to have some sand and/or water handy when open flames are present.

I know that Scotch doesn’t taste like it smells and that beer tastes worse than it smells, and both aren’t worth drinking if they’re cheap. I know how to make a martini and sip wine. And I know when to say when. Thanks, Dad.

He taught me that education is a life long process and stimulating your brain is what separates humans from animals. And that learning is not only good for you, it’s fun. Though, in spite of his valiant efforts to try, oh how he tried, to teach me math we learned that education is not always fun. In that process we both learned a lot. He learned that he sired a child with no cranial capacity for numbers and that he would have to teach me how to rely on words, cunning and wit because I would never be able to rely on math skills. I learned that my dad was the smartest man on the planet because he knew multiplication tables all the way up to his nineteens. In what became a test of wills, an epic struggle for understanding, we spent agonizingly tense evenings learning a lot about patience and humility and how very, very different we are. And how the mere mention of the term “multiplication tables” makes my head hurt so badly I have spasms like those kids in Japan who had seizures watching cartoons. And that in end, no matter how stupid I am, no matter how much temper he lost trying to get it through my thick skull that math is fun, dammit, in the end, in spite of my numeric inabilities, he still loved me. He eventually learned to accept my lack of numeric acuity but didn’t cut me slack on my homework and grades. “You’re going to have to work harder than the other kids.” We came up with creative work-arounds, ways to get the most out of math classes in spite of my numeric handicap. He taught me that acceptance is good, but giving up is not acceptable. (See above, stubborn determined.)

I learned some really, really good naughty words from my dad. The good ones. The ones they’re talking about when they say, “make a sailor blush.” And I learned that it’s usually not okay to use those words because there are much better, much more intelligent, much more powerful words. But should I ever find myself in the company of longshoremen I’ll be able communicate like a native. (Thanks, Dad.)

He gave me the gift of navigating the world of leading men. James Bond, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Indiana Jones are the go-to men of action and cool. Peter Sellers and Bugs Bunny are the supreme comedic geniuses. Cary Grant and Gregory Peck are what every man should aspire to be and what every woman should expect in a man.* He and my mother introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick and protected me from Old Yeller and Bambi.**

What is the point of this assignment? He gave me so much, I mean, where do I start and where do I end?


There it is. This is what I got from my dad.

On long car trips when I was a kid I would inevitably ask, “When are we gonna get get there?” or “How much farther?” or “Are we there yet?” My dad had a couple answers at the ready. A) He’d toss a map into the back seat at me and tell me where we were and then, “You figure out how much farther. And let your mother and I know. We were wondering the same thing.” or B) “There? And then what? There’s always a new there. As long as the sun comes up tomorrow there will always be a new there. We’ll never actually be there because there is not a fixed constant. It’s a dynamic abstract variable.” or C) “Yes, Trillian, we are there.” “Then why are we still in the car?” “There is wherever we are. No matter where you go, there you are. This is there, make the best of it.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. My dad threw out dime store philosophy to us kids with a “Wrap your feeble little minds around this for a while. That oughta shut you up for a couple hundred miles” attitude.

But the thing is, even though my dad really liked to make good time, put a lot of road behind us, mess with our young minds, he always stopped along the way. You know the beginning post card sequence of the original Family Vacation? I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants when I saw it the first time. Why? Because I’ve been to many of those places. He also was a back road kind of guy. Oh sure, he took the highways when he really wanted to make some good distance, but he liked the back roads. Liked to really see and experience what’s out there. Sometimes travel plans would change because something else was more appealing. Yes. At times we were wayward vagabonds. Eventually I figured out the whole “it’s about the journey, not the destination” aspect. I stopped asking “Are we there yet?” and grew to appreciate travel, the actual experience, as much as the destination. I’d gather my own maps prior to a trip and mark all the things I thought looked or sounded interesting and kept an eye out for them along the trip. He taught me how to enjoy the ride, the journey, to just roll with it.

And just like that I realized why I have difficulty saying, “My dad died.”

He reached a final destination. He arrived. There. There are no more journeys, no more back roads, no more dime-store philosophy on here and there, no more marked up maps with routes traveled and routes changed. No more wayward vagabonding. This is incongruous to him, his personality. This is a guy who never asked, “How much farther?” or “Are we there, yet?” This is the guy who said, “Let’s go!” and “Wow, look at that!” And the same guy who would get just as excited about returning home.

It bothers me, a lot, that my dad died while we were planning a vacation. We were making big plans for a big trip. We had maps with points of interest circled and highlighted. We were going to be wayward vagabonds, good little Vikings true to our heritage minus the raping and pillaging. Knowing we’d be content with whatever else we found along the way. Lately I console myself that there’s an aptness to him leaving mid-trip-planning. No matter when my dad died he would have been in the middle of planning a trip or actually on a trip. He didn’t know he was going to die. I mean, right then. He knew eventually, some day, he would die but he didn’t know he was there yet. He assumed there was a lot farther to go. He was thinking about the next adventure, the next journey, the thrill of discovery. And the contentment of returning home. (Please spare me the religious metaphor of “going home.”) It’s appropriate and it’s good and it’s a gift I am much more aware of these days.

*For years, and I mean, years I thought my dad actually knew Gregory Peck because he referred to him as Greg even though I only ever heard him called Gregory. The way my dad called him Greg, just like that, no big deal, Greg, implied that he was on close terms with Mr. Peck. I dunno. It’s kind of weird but funny now that I think about it. My dad wasn’t one of those guys who customarily got overly familiar with complete strangers, and he didn’t do it with other actors, Laurence Olivier was never Larry, for instance. Although… Robert DeNiro was Bob. Robert, Bob, if you’re out there, did you know my dad?

**One day, when he apparently deemed me “old enough” he asked me if I wanted to see Bambi. You might not understand the significance of this, but it’s akin to a father asking his son if he wants to go to go have a beer behind the garage. “Don’t say anything to your mother. But if you want to see it I’ll take you.” I knew about Bambi. I heard kids talk about it. My brother and sister told me the plot summary. I knew why my parents decided to prohibit me from seeing it. I was okay with that. But when my dad clandestinely asked if I wanted to see it, all stealth-like, I couldn't resist the temptation. Even though I was several years older than the other kids who would be in the audience I was scared of it. But I decided to do it, to grow up and deal with, grit my teeth and take my rite of passage.

My dad told my mother we were going to see Clash of the Titans (speaking of Laurence Olivier) and we then drove to a theatre 40 miles away so that we wouldn’t run into anyone we knew. It would be typical for my dad to sneak me out somewhere only to run into 10 of my mother's closest friends.

And, oh yeah, my parents were perfectly okay with me seeing Clash of the Titans but Bambi was off limits. I’m not saying my parents were logical people or conventional people. But my dad was a good dad.

He knew the movie so the plan was that just before things were going to turn fatal for Bambi’s parents he’d give me The Signal and I’d go get Milk Duds. He gave me money for the Milk Duds and everything. I was to look at my watch as I left the auditorium and make sure I stayed in the lobby 5 minutes before returning.

The anticipation of the signal was greater than the anticipation of the movie. I didn’t care as much about what I wanted see as I did about what I didn’t want to see. Ahhh, there’s a loaded life lesson.

But here’s the thing. I saw my dad starting to squirm and fidget. It was an old theatre, the seats were uncomfortable. But the next thing I knew my dad was grabbing my elbow and saying, “C’mon, c’mon, hurry up! Get out of here!”

So much for our plan and The Signal. My dad nearly broke a local track record up the aisle of the theatre, going so fast I struggled to keep up with him. He was practically dragging me. When we got to the lobby my dad did one of those big fake stretches and said “expletive seats, uncomfortable.” Then he blinked and rubbed his eyes, “Boy, it sure is bright out here after being in the dark theatre.”


“I forgot to look at my watch,” I finally said.

“[expletive] me, too.”

“Should I still buy Milk Duds?”

“Yeah, let’s have Milk Duds.”

When he figured it was safe to return we sat in seats close to the back. The next NC-Trillian scene approached and this time my dad gave me the signal.

And followed me out “to make sure I was okay.” [Expletive] seats. Bright lobby. Twizzlers.

The ride home was completely silent. All 40 miles. Not a word was uttered. No radio. Nothing. My dad drove about 25 MPH with the brights on the entire 40 miles. He sat much more upright and alert than he normally did when driving, darting his unblinking peer from the road ahead to the shoulders of the road all the way home. I knew he was watching for deer. So was I. Not a word. Complete silence the entire ride home. At 25 MPH. With the brights on. Watching for deer.

As we got out of the car in the garage all he said was, “Clash of the Titans. Medusa. Perseus. Andromeda. Big scary monsters. You know the story.”

Yeah, Dad, I know the story.

I never have seen Clash of the Titans. Nor have I seen The Scenes in Bambi. And yes, yes, I’m sure they’re on YouTube and no, no, I don’t need help locating them.


4:43 PM

Monday, June 15, 2009  
Okay. So. Yes. I’m a spinster. (I’m hoping the more I use that word the less offensive it sounds) Yes, I am up on the shelf. Yes, my youth is fading. Yes, I am fighting that. Yes, I am aware it is futile to resist molecular decomposition. Yes, aging gracefully is the preferred goal. No, I am not trying to pass myself off as a 20-year-old. But. Every now and then I catch myself looking at something (or someone) and I have to remind myself: “Age inappropriate, Trillian, age inappropriate.” It’s a weird place to be in life. Sometimes I feel really, really old. Other times I feel young. But rarely do I feel the way I think I’m supposed to feel at my age. I’ve been that way for a long, time, though, this is not a new phenomenon. I’ve never been able to get my mentality in sync with my physical age.

Which brings up another issue I find odd: No one’s ever accused me of being immature. And I don’t think I’m immature. Even when I was a kid people used to tell my parents I was mature for my age. And yet…I was one of the goofiest kids I knew. Sure, some people link intelligence with maturity and because I did my homework and got good grades that could account for some of the “mature for her age” comments. But not all of them.

Since I’ve never been able to figure it out, age - how it correlates to me and my attitude - has always been an abstract concept to me. Since aging is a fundamental fact of life I guess I just accept it and don’t dwell on it. Just go along being me. Damn the consequences or appearances.

Except lately when that little voice says, “Back off, Trillian, age inappropriate, age inappropriate. Step away from the skirt/look away from the hot young guy before you wear or say something that will make you look really, really stupid.”

Then I think about age. Then I wonder how many times I have not heard that little voice and looked really stupid. And then I remember that I don’t give a toss what anyone else thinks of me. Especially now that I’m a spinster up on the shelf. Or, I guess it’s The Shelf.

That’s a good thing about being sincere and genuine, unable to play a role or put up a front. You have to be you because you don’t know how to act any differently.

But it’s a bad thing, too. I’ve never tried to pretend to be someone I’m not – younger, older, whatever – so I’ve never tried another persona or attitude on for size.

Well, I mean, when I was young, in school trying to fit in, I made a few disastrous attempts. And quickly discovered how horrible I am at pretending to be someone else and learned the best thing for me to do was accept myself and never, ever try to be something or someone I’m not.

I have friends and family to “blame” my spinsterhood on this trait. I don’t try to be someone, another type of woman, in order to impress and ensnare a man. I cannot even fathom why someone would do that, much less how they do it, because you end up living a lie or reaching a day of reckoning. Either way it’s way too disturbing for me to contemplate.

But. Apparently people do it. A lot. So much so that my friends “blame” my inability to find someone to date me on my inability to “fake it.” Yet when I ask them who or how I should be, what I should be faking, how I should behave or what I should do, or wear, or say…they have no advice to offer.

A few weeks ago I had brunch with a friend who had a rare day of no husband or kids. After conversation about their vacation plans, the new house they’re hoping to build and the kids (the kids, the kids, the kids) she actually asked me how things are with me. Specifically: Men. Or, well, whatever this question means: “What are you going to do about a man, Trillian?”

“Well, let's see. I'm fantasizing about tall men. Exclusively. That's new. What do you mean 'What am I doing about a man?' I’m not ‘doing’ anything. I gave up, remember? I sent an email memo. I’m through trying to meet a man, I’m through dating. I did have one abysmal 'date' a few weeks ago, but it was a fluke, I only went because I was trying to be nice to my neighbors.”

Weird look from my friend.

“Don’t ask. You don’t want to know. Just assume the worst.”

Long silence.

Finally she said, somewhat accusatorily, somewhat searching, “I know you’re lonely.”

“Yep. That’s the adjective.”

“It can’t help that all your friends are married, and even going on second marriages, and having kids. (as if this is just now occurring to her) If that doesn’t make you feel lonely you’re made of Teflon.”

“Yeah, well, yeah, it hurts sometimes.” It’s weird, I’ve been longing for some sort of acknowledgement from my friends, some sign that they at least realize that I’m left out, that I’m not “this way” by choice. And now there it was, she was giving me that acknowledgement and I didn’t now how to handle it. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t know what to say. There’s nothing to say.

“You need a man. Really. I know what you’re thinking, but really, Trill, you need to be in a relationship. Life is too hard to go through it on your own. I hate how this sounds, but maybe it’s time to just settle for someone. Mr. Right isn’t going to come along so just find Mr. He’s Not Awful.”

“Ha! In case you hadn’t noticed I don’t exactly have high standards. I’d be content with Mr. I Don’t Drown Puppies.”

She didn’t miss a beat and launched into an attempt at dating intervention: “Look, Trillian, I love that you’re honest. Genuine. That’s why you’re my friend, there’s no bull shit with you, you’re real. That’s cool and I’m cool with that. I love that about you. But I’m not insecure. I’m comfortable being around someone who’s genuine. Other people, insecure, shallow, stupid people…and men…you know, they don’t always like to be around genuine people. It makes them uncomfortable. They think you can see through their façade (and, yes, usually I can spot a phony at 20 paces, or more) and it makes them nervous. And what’s worse is that you’re so nice. For someone trying to put up a front you’re one-two knock-out punch. You’re genuine and nice, it’s real with you. Then you’ve got that whole smart thing, it’s not like you’re some naïve little nice thing ripe for the picking. That’s a powerful combination. That’s really intimidating and scary for a lot of people. Especially guys. Have you ever thought about, well, being more mean? I mean, right up front, right from the start, unleash that sarcastic smart ass tongue of yours right from the start? Some men love a challenge or like the abuse.”

“Um. Okaaay. So. Is this your way of telling me you bought me a ticket to a ‘How to Fake It: Personality Chameleoning for Singles’ seminar?”

“Hey, that’s not a bad idea. You should market that. I bet you’d make a lot of money. And you might meet a guy, too. You know, actually. It is kind of like sex. Sometimes you fake it for the sake of his ego. ‘Oh baby, you’re the man, my biiig man, oh yeah, do it, big boy, yes, yes, oh sweet baby Jesus yes!’ just because you don’t want him to feel emasculated. And go to sleep. It’s dishonest but the ends justify the means. He feels like a stud and you get to go to sleep. Win-win. It’s the same thing with your personality. Just don’t be quite so genuine, quite so you.”

“Wait. You scream ‘sweet baby Jesus’?”

“Yeah, sometimes.”

“Seriously? Even when you’re not faking it?”

“Yeah, I started it years ago because ‘oh God’ seemed so cliché.”

“And you found a man willing to marry you anyway?”

“I know. I’m very lucky. But you are not as lucky and we need to do something about that.”

“I don’t think ‘sweet baby Jesus, yes’ is going to roll off my tongue very naturally.”

“Trill, really, just try it. Just put a little effort into being less genuine, less real. Play games, be coy, be mean, be what men expect women to be. Men play games and pretend to be other people and they expect women to be the same way. Then you come along, all genuine and real and nice and they freak out.”

“So this isn’t about me and my inability to be someone I’m not. It’s about other people who are phony and not making them feel more insecure than they already are?”

“Well, yes.”

Trying to wrap my brain around this concept, exploring it, trying to glean some helpful advice, I said, “Let me get this straight. I should pretend to be someone I’m not in order to help people who are pretending to be someone they’re not feel less insecure?”

My friend sighed into her mimosa, “I know, Trillian, I know. Okay? I know. I get your point. It’s just that you’ve tried everything else, why not just, I don’t know, just try to be a little more, or a little less, something.”


“Yeah, just try to pretend to be a little less you and a little more someone else.”

“Who? Because I don’t think I can be the woman who screams ‘sweet baby Jesus’? Who else ya got?”

“I don’t know. Who do you want to be?”

“You mean literally or metaphorically?”

“Either. Both. It’s a literal metaphor.”

“Huh? There’s no such thing. It’s literal or it’s metaphoric.”

“See?!! See?!!! This is exactly what I’m talking about!!”

“What? I’m just trying to answer the question. A question I don’t fully understand because it’s oxymoronic. It does not compute.”

“Again. This is what I’m talking about. Let’s go with literal first.”

“Uhhh, literally? I want to be me. I don’t want to be anyone else, you know, literally. I just want to be a more together version of me. Me with a different job, me with money in the bank or at least without debt, me without a bum foot and ankle, me in a good relationship, me traveling, me unfettered by life.”

“Uh, Trillian? That’s you 10 years ago.”

“Yeah. So? What’s your point? I was pretty happy with me 10 years ago.”

“We all get older Trillian. Even you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Just because you’re not doing the things the rest of us are doing, living the life the rest of us are living, doesn’t mean you’re immune to aging.”

“Let me not-so-gently remind you that I’m two years younger than you.”


“You’re welcome. Not only do I keep it real, I keep you real, too.”

“Thank you. Let’s get unreal. You’ve been granted the super power of being someone else – literally - someone else. Here’s the metaphoric part: for a week. You can choose anyone. You’ll literally be them, living their life, seeing it through their eyes with their body, their job, their home, their everything except you’ll get to have your personality and theirs at the same time and you’ll get to remember the experience when your trial week is over.”

“Hmmm, I dunno. I never really thought about stepping into someone else’s being. Okay, well, let’s see…the Holy Trinity, of course, Chrissie Hynde, Kim Deal and Shirley Manson. If I could experience everything…that opens a lot of possibilities…someone with an awesome job like a Blue Angels stunt fighter pilot, that would be cool. Or a marine biologist who gets to roam around undersea in one of those mini-submarines. Or an astronaut. Yeah, an astronaut on a deep space mission. And I suppose for the sake of understanding I should choose someone who really enjoys taking drugs, I mean, that’s something I’d never do so this would be a good opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about. And I’d like to be a woman who men like and see how it feels to be the object of desire, to have to shoo away men and to get to be as choosey and as slutty as I want. See what it’s like to be a normal girl just to see what it’s like to be desired, to have men want me, maybe try out the ‘sweet baby Jesus’ line. And for the same reason I’d want to be a guy. On a date. With me. I could see and feel what he sees and feels on a date with me, and I’d get to see me, and then I’d have a lot of insight. Probably scary insight, but, worth it. But how would that work? Because I’d have to be two places, and two people, at once, together, but separate. That’s a lot of quantum physics to calculate.”

“Stop! Stop right there. You’re getting all Trillian. Just stop. Let me get this straight. You want to be a hot slutty rock chick who travels under water and in space and does drugs. Or a guy on a date with you?”

“When you say it like that it sounds a lot more lame that it looked in my head. Crap. I’m lame. I knew it. Even on my own Fantasy Island I’m lame.Everyone wonders what serious narcotic drug trips are really like, and everyone wants to be a rock star or an astronaut or a sea explorer or the hot chick. Then again…not everyone wants to go on a date with me, so, you know, any points for originality?”

“Just be that person. Pretend to be a hot slutty rock chick who travels under water and in space.” Ah finally, eureka. My friend unlocked the door to my new dating universe.

“You make it sound so simple. Basically I just pretend to be Ziggy Stardust. And drugs? How do I fake that? And do guys honestly like women who do drugs? I mean, guys I’d actually want to date, that is. And would these guys be into Ziggy Stardust?”

“Did Ziggy go in a submarine?” my friend inquired, as if to qualify men’s desire for women who do drugs and are into dating Ziggy Stardust.

“Not that I recall. But given the opportunity I’m sure Ziggy would go in a submarine. (pause as we both mulled the plausibility of a submariner Ziggy Stardust) Ziggy played guitar.” The mimosas kicked in and we cracked up.

“Awww, Trill. I just don’t get it. I'd date you. You're exactly what guys say they want. I mean, okay, sure, you’re not most typical beauty, but lots of women are way uglier than you.”

“Aww, gee, thanks, buddy, you always know how to make me feel better.”

“You know what I mean, some really ugly chicks have men fighting over them. Seriously, watch Jerry Springer sometime. You’ll feel so much better about yourself and your life you won’t believe it.”

“Sweet baby Jesus you watch Jerry Springer?”

“Every now and then. It’s an ego boost.”

“You’re getting off on schadenfreude, now?! Maybe you need to consider making a few changes. Life in the suburbs is obviously taking a toll on you. An unnatural, unhealthy toll.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Because working your ass off, selling every ounce of your talent to a company who couldn’t possibly care less about you, struggling to pay bills and never dating is sooooo much more admirable than getting an ego boost from Jerry Springer.”

“Touché. You are right about one thing, though. I am having a weird phase in terms of age. I know there are things, clothes and men mostly, who are off limits to me now, and generally I’m not that interested anyway, but, yet, the stuff for our peer group, the things, and men, I should be attracted to, just don’t, well, attract me. I’m not hung up on age, but maybe I should be.”

“You need a Jerry Springer. If not Jerry, something else, something to make you feel good about yourself. Something to make you feel smugly superior for a few minutes.”

Yadda yadda yadda I went to an Aerosmith concert.

And yes, I feel smugly superior.

And yes, I am, in fact, not ashamed to admit that I feel smugly superior.

I’ll start by stating for the record that I am not a fan of Aerosmith. Toys in the Attic has its moments. Especially compared to its peer group, the crap-strewn musical year it was released, 1975. But. Apart from a bi-annual itch for Sweet Emotion Aerosmith is not a band I enjoy, much less like enough to see live.

But the tickets were free. And my friend’s words were echoing in my head. I think she has a couple reasonable points to consider. If I could pretend better, play games, be disingenuous, it might be beneficial to me to do that more often or at least try it. And I dunno, maybe one day I’ll try it. I figured stepping out of my version of normal would be a good exercise in attempting to be someone other than me. And hey, why not? (I don't think I'll ever learn...)

But the schadenfreude thing. I mean, that’s just mean. And so not me. I’m too compassionate, to empathetic to derive real pleasure from other people’s misfortunes. It’s mainly why I hate the Three Stooges. I just sit there thinking, “ouch, watch it! Ow! Oh, ouch, poor guy! Stop picking on him!”

And then again…maybe I’m not as compassionate and empathetic as I think I am.

Aerosmith fans are, um, well, ya know, I mean, see, just trying to articulate this makes me feel uncomfortable. But I’ll just spit it out: What a sorry bunch of people.

Not exclusively. But. Ask yourself this question: What sort of person pays for Aerosmith tickets in the year 2009? BIG, die hard fans, that’s who. And who are big die hard Aerosmith fans? Skanky men who were 17 in 1975 and skanky girls who were 16 in 1989.

Interestingly, it appears that in spite of the 16 year age difference a lot of those men and women have found each other and formed relationships. Relationships built on their love of guitars, Jack Daniels, spandex, mullets and scarves. Or maybe the guys aren’t as old as they appear, maybe they’ve done a lot of drugs and hard livin’ and they’re the same age as the women.

I mock but it’s tinged with jealously. Not of looking old and haggard, but of the fact that in spite of their best efforts to repulse the opposite sex, these people have found someone to date and marry. And breed. They brought their young children to an Aeorsmith concert. Have I used up all my WTF passes for this year?

But. On the other hand. Do I want to date/marry/take our children to Aerosmith concerts with one of those guys? Well….I mean, see, here’s the thing, I’m not saying I’m too good or better. I’m just different than them. I have a different set of priorities. Mesh tank tops, snake print spandex leggings and bullet-case studded belts are not a high priority for me. I mean, you know, hey, if that’s your thing rock on. But at 51+ years old you might want to consider modifying the look. You know, tweak it a bit to accommodate the march of time and ravages of drugs and beer on your body. Then again, they’re the ones with the girlfriends, they’re doing something right. And I am very single, so maybe I need to learn from them.


If these people are so happy why are they such heavy drinkers? And drug users? Seriously, I’ve been to a lot of concerts. I’ve been in some really dingy bars. I’ve known some hard livin’ people. I saw Sid and Nancy. But sweet baby Jesus these people, en masse, were by far the most drunk and stoned group of people I’ve ever shared a concert venue with.

The term “strung out on drugs” usually makes me giggle. It sounds so Dragnet. Or something my dad would say. I dunno, it’s just one of those terms that strikes me funny because of the people who usually use it and their earnestness and depth of gravity.

Well. Apparently I am old. Apparently I’m turning into my father. Because all I could think about for most of the evening was, “Sheesh, this is just sad. I’ve never seen so many people strung out on drugs in one place.” And worse, I think they thought I was an undercover narc because they all kept their distance from me. I realize I must have looked slightly out of place, what with my lack of mesh, spandex and bullets casings, but I did rock up my hair a little, I did wear black and cool boots even though my foot was killing me in them. And I have black eye liner and I know how to use it. I wasn’t a fish totally out of the water. I was flapping around a lot trying to breathe but I wasn’t totally out of water. Nonetheless, in spite of my black eye liner, I clearly do not have the aura of an Aerosmith chick. Whatever I’m lacking, I apparently repel Aerosmith fans.

Which is fine with me. It would be more difficult for me to feel superior if they were nice to me. No, they weren’t mean, but they weren’t exactly buddying up to me, either. A few disdainful looks were shot at me when I dared to make eye contact. Some women in the bathroom steered their 6 - 7 year old daughters away from me as if I was oozing puss. Yes, women who took their young daughters to an Aerosmith show gave me snide looks. I kid you not.

Usually at concerts a few people will buddy up to me, share the experience, if only for a song or two. But nope, not at this show, not Aerosmith fans. Nope. I repelled them like a 9-to-5 job.

I’m proud to say I survived the experience with a renewed sense of dignity. Not because in comparison I’m sooooo much better or younger than them. (Although...)

My dignity got a shove up because they reminded me that I’m okay with being me, being genuine. I have been to rock and punk shows where Aerosmith-esque fans show up and get a full set into the gig before they realize the band on stage isn’t actually Aerosmith. Funnily enough, in that situation the Aerosmith-esque guys make a bee-line for me. Not so repelled by me in that situation, they seek me out like a safe harbor. And usually I’m nice to them in spite of our differences in age and music preferences. I acknowledge them and buddy up for a song or two, just as if they weren’t sticking out like a sore thumb and strung out on drugs.

But there I was, in their natural habitat, and they shot me looks of disdain and kept their distance. I suppose some of them assumed since I'm younger than they are I'm a fan of the "new" Aerosmith, the '80s-'90s era Aerosmith. (Really, Aerosmith snobs???!!) But the vibe I got was that since I looked younger and wasn't wearing spandex, mesh and bullet casings I wasn't real, I wasn't good enough. Or, just unworthy of anything other than a smirk or look of disdain.

I don’t do that to them when they’re not among their kind. I don’t change my attitude about people depending on who else is around. I’m not fickle.

Thank you, Aerosmith fans, for giving my dignity and self esteem a nice boost. And don’t worry, the next time you mistakenly show up on the wrong night at a punk show I’ll still be nice to you. Just don't bring your 6-year-old daughters.

3:47 PM

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