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
Enter ZIP Code:

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009  
A kinder, gentler, humaner, healthier holiday.


12:37 PM

Monday, November 23, 2009  
Soooooo, my metaphoric blanket of forgiveness plan is being given the ultimate test.

Holiday travel.

I’ve spent a good majority of my life in transit. Literally and metaphorically. Crack of dawn departures. Late check-ins. Delays. Last minute changes. Lost luggage. Forgotten toothbrushes. Detours. Closed roads. Confusing signs. Dead ends. Bad food. Unsavory public bathrooms. Overpriced necessities of life. Surly employees. Jetlag. Smelly taxis. Challenges in communicating with people who speak differently. Long nights in strange places in lonely beds. Strange local customs. Foreign currency. Places that don’t live up to the hype. Getting lost. Finding yourself suddenly in a bad part of town. Waking up unsure of where you are. One generic room after another. One generic rental car after another. One generic broken passenger seat after another. Longing for home. Desperately trying to remember why you’re on this trip. Annoying fellow passengers.

And the literal transits are worse.

The literal transits include all that as well as screaming children. And other travelers who only travel once a year and are either frustrated, overly-anxious or hopped up high on holiday anticipation.

Just a rhetorical question to the Universe: Why does the guy who takes off his shoes and incessantly rubs his sweatsocked feet together for the entire duration of the trip always sit next to me? Am I really expected to give these guys sympathy and forgiveness, much less wrap them in Snuggies® of compassion? Really? Really?


You know I’m not actually Jesus or Ghandi, right?

Okay. Fine. Fine. I’ll do my best.

Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Duh.

But I mean really, why, why the incessant rubbing of the feet? Why? Why must That Guy always sit next to me?

Okay. Fine. Fine. Sympathy. Forgiveness. Glowy orange metaphoric blanket, a full body Snuggie® of for the man with the sweatsocks. But only because I’m not only trying really hard to use positive gray matter and spread it into the Universe. Good thing I’m still sprinkled with Pixies guitar dust.

I’m still ridin’ so high on that stuff that you might want to be careful – you might get a contact high off me just by reading my blog. We know I’m biased but really, they were swutting incredible. I don’t think Kim Deal has ever sounded better. My girl crush on her is kicking in again. I’ve been fantasizing about us being friends, hanging out, ordering pizza and drinking a couple bottles of wine, listening to music, watching movies, talking about boys, having some really good laughs at our inside jokes, trading books and clothes, going to galleries and laughing at the pretentiously affected people pretending they get it, her trying to teach me to play bass and laughing good naturedly at my ineptitude and patiently coaxing me to try again… yeah. I know. I gotta get a life other my fantasy life. And Frank and Joey did things with guitars that is simply not of this world. They took me places. Good places. Disturbing yet satisfying places. Scary places, places over the brink but leaving me with a feeling of contentment the likes of which I haven’t experienced in, well…a very long time. This monkey went to Heaven and thinks perhaps still has a one foot there. Music. Ahhhh. It’s going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay. I’m tellin’ you, that Pixies dust is good stuff. My drug of choice.

Okay. Back to reality. Sadly.

I have a lot of travel planned for the next six weeks of the holiday season. It’s going to be a loooooong six weeks. Trains, planes and automobiles.*

Kicking it off with the Mother of All Holiday Travel Hell: Thanksgiving week.

There’s a reason why Trains, Planes and Automobiles takes place over Thanksgiving week. More people travel through O’Hare during Thanksgiving than any other time of the year. More people ride Amtrak during Thanksgiving than any other time of year. More people hit the highway on Thanksgiving weekend than any other time of year. In America, we all just pack up, pick up and switch places for four or five days at the end of November. To think this all started when the Pilgrims (read: Religious weirdoes) invited their new neighbors over for a party. The native Americans were probably like, “Oh crap, they invited us. We can’t not go. We really wanted to just take a day off and relax and now we have to pack up and travel across the fields. And you just know they’re going to serve that canned weird cranberry jelly loaf stuff. Sigh. Okay. Fine. Fine. But we’re taking booze and we’re drinking it.” We have many debts of gratitude owed to Native Americans, but none deeper than for booze at Thanksgiving dinners. Sure, booze can make Thanksgiving gatherings, um, “difficult,” you know, like in the case of Aunt Miriam who’s going through a nasty divorce and nasty Uncle Bob, the mean drunk. But. I wonder how many domestic homicides have been avoided thanks to people passing out drunk instead of lacing the sweet potatoes with arsenic? I don’t think it’s all the family togetherness that causes all the stress, anxiety and intolerance. I think it’s because by the time you get to the Thanksgiving dinner table almost everyone in attendance has had to endure Holiday Travel Hell. Even the most patient, tolerant, level-headed people are pushed to the brink of losing it during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

And yes, yes. I know. That’s all the more reason why I should be ready with extra Snugges® of compassion during my travels this week.

But I’m not sure I have enough to go around. (See above, not actually Jesus or Ghandi.)

And so it was that I headed off to Union Station. Sprinkled in Pixies guitar dust, determined to Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Duh. and dole out sympathy and forgiveness. I packed extra metaphoric Snuggies® of compassion, took a deep breath, smiled and hailed a cab.

I tipped the driver more than I usually do. This is my long-standing custom during holidays. My parents taught me this. “It’s the holidays, Trillian. These people work hard dealing with holiday traffic so we don’t have to…they’re making our lives easier during this hectic time. The least we can do is give them a little extra tip.” They’re right about that. Do you want to navigate Michigan Avenue or Lower Wacker the day before Thanksgiving? Yeah. Me either. A couple extra bucks is the least I can do for the guy who got me to Union Station in record time. I gave him a Snuggie®, too, even though he seemed pretty good natured, I figured the next few days would be rough on him and that compassion Snuggie® would come in handy at some point.

Okay! So far so good! On leg of holiday travel down, one Snuggie® given, we’re off to a good start!

Unfortunately one of the worst legs of my holiday transit was upon me. Navigating Union Station for a departure during the early morning arrival commute is difficult under normal circumstances. I always feel like a giant multi-tentacled squid swimming upstream in a river packed with lemmings moving with a hard current. They’re trying to get to work on time and I’m trying to get to the train platform on time and we’re in each other’s way. They’re angry and stressed because they hate their jobs and resent the fact that I am obviously not going to work, obviously (thanks to my suitcase) heading away from the drudgery of work and bosses and deadlines. What they don’t know is, now that I’m unemployed, it’s me who has the resentment. I’d give anything to be one of them, a lemming going to work with all the other lemmings. Even to a job I hate with a crappy boss and difficult deadlines. Anything. I’d give anything to be one of them.

But instead I serve no useful purpose in society. So I’m lamely doing the only thing I can think of to do…stay positive, give them some positive gray matter and be an oasis of acceptance and forgiveness and healing and peace and love (duh) in their Universe. Deep breath. Smile. iPod in place with La, la love you softly playing in my ears. Braced for the coming current of lemmings I headed into the station. Boy oh boy was it bad. Lots of lemmings, I must have hit it right as several suburban trains arrived. The holiday stress level was palpable. People juggling relatives, travel, and grocery shopping lists around work and coworkers and bosses and deadlines. And me.

I felt in the way. I felt apologetic. And compassionate. I must have handed out 30 Snuggies® in a 10 minute period. “La la love you, don’t mean maybe…” echoing in my ears. I know, right?!

There was already a line-up at the platform. Uh-oh. This is going to be a loooong train ride. Lots of bleary-eyed parents with eagerly excited young children imagining they’re on their way to Hogwarts.

Ya know, I love the Harry Potter books. Good ripping yarns. But. One bone of contention I have with Ms. Rowling is the ruddy train platform scenes. For those of us who travel by rail, especially in traditional stations like those featured in the movies, those scenes are a constant source of irritation thanks to children pretending to be on their way to Hogwarts and running around the platforms and occasionally even crashing a luggage trolley into a support beam. I mean, you know, I’m all for a little creative play but this is an actual train station with actual passengers and actual giant locomotives on tracks. I have witnessed a couple of near catastrophes at Union Station thanks Harry Potter. I watched helplessly from the window of my train, I couldn’t look, I closed my eyes while the evening news story flashed before my eyes, “A family visit to the city turned deadly when an 8-year-old boy fell onto a track at Union Station into the path of an oncoming train. He was reenacting a scene from Harry Potter when he lost his footing and tumbled in front of the 12:45 from Waukegan.” Fortunately an Amtrak agent swooped him up and away from the edge of the platform before a horrendous fate befell the kid. Oblivious parents had no clue their son was nearly flattened by a Metra train. (These irresponsible people get to have children and I don’t? How is that in any way fair?)

So yeah. I kind of shudder when I see a lot of children lined up on the platform at Union Station.

I also shudder because usually the girl children are armed with several red bags. American Girl Place red bags. The equivalent of a Tiffany blue bag for the under-12 set. I’m going to expend some precious negative brain cells on American Girl Place. I hate that swutting temple of conspicuous consumerism masquerading as “educational” and “empowering” for girls. Bull shit. It’s about selling ridiculously overpriced merchandise marketed more to parents trying to assuage some deep sense of longing within themselves rather than to little girls who want to read books and play with dolls. Very, very rarely do I see a girl actually in possession of, much less reading, one of the books. It’s all about the dolls and copious amount of high-priced accessories. An elitist microcosm of society. Urrrrrrgh. I mean. You know. If they just called it what it is and didn’t try to pretend it’s in any way educational or empowering I’d be okay with it. Well. More okay than I am. If the dolls and accessories were less expensive I’d be a lot more okay with it.

The platform was lined with children and most of the girl children were armed with loads of red bags. Crap. This is gonna be a looooong train trip. Snuggies®. Snuggies®. Accept. Forgive. Accept. Forgive. Accept. Forgive.

I was lucky. I got a seat to myself. I set up my little cocoon of solitude. All the “Do not disturb” signals in place. iPod. Laptop. Glasses. Hair pulled back and held up with a pen. Sheafs of paper and forms that look like work.

Sure enough, the sweatsock guy took his place across the aisle from me. Natch. Accept. Forgive. Accept. Forgive. Accept. Forgive. Accept. Forgive. I mean, you know, at least there’s something reliable, unwavering, right? I know to expect this. The Universe never, ever let’s me down. I suppose there’s some comfort to be found in it. There’s so little stability in my life, the sweatsocky guy is at least something I can expect, something reliable. Snuggie® of forgiveness and sympathy.

Before the train even departed I was sorting out some forms for my mother, lost deep in health insurance paperwork and Surfer Rosa. Even through Part B explanations and Vamos I was distracted by not one but two American Girl dolls staring at me from above the seatback in front of me.

Okay. It was kind of funny. I mean, I used to do that with my Barbies when I was a kid on long flights with my parents. Who among us hasn’t? And it’s not the little girl’s fault that her parents are elitist victims of marketing with issues tied to their longing for acceptance and love and toys when they were children. Accept. Forgive. Accept. Forgive. Snuggie®. Snuggie®. Sure enough, as the dolls bobbed up and down I started laughing at the pantomime playing out in front of me. Next thing I knew two little be-bowed pigtails on a real girl’s head started poking up above the seat back. Little by little the be-bowed pigtails gave way to a forehead of newly trimmed bangs. And then finally two big blue eyes curiously peeking over at me. I smiled at her. She ducked back down out of sight. An American Girl doll reappeared. Then another. I laughed. Out loud. The big blue eyes popped up in front of me. And then a hopeful and slightly timid smile of baby teeth.

I smiled back at her. She batted her lashes coyly. “I have new dolls.”

“So I see. What are their names?”

“I don’t know, yet. This one’s Jessica, I think. But I don’t know about this one,” she said apologetically.

“It’ll come to you eventually,” I said.

“You have green eyes,” she announced in that little kid of just blurting out the first obvious thing they notice about a person when they just meet them.

“Yes I do. And you have blue eyes. And pink bows in your pigtails.”

“Uh-huh. We’re going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house tomorrow.”

“That sounds like fun. You can show your Grandma your new dolls.”

“Uh-huh. We have to take squash and pumpkin bread. I don’t like pumpkin bread.”

“Yeah, me either. It’s kinda gross.”
“Uh-huh. I can spell elephant. E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T.”

“Very good. Can you spell giraffe?”

“Ummmm. No.”

“I can. G-I-R-A-F-F-E.”

“Wow,” disappears from view. “Mommy! She can spell giraffe!”

Impressive, apparently.

And just like that I had a new BFF. Not exactly Kim Deal, but hey, any port in a Thanksgiving holiday train trip storm. She let me hold one of her precious new dolls. (The as yet unnamed one) We played school and shopping and career. Her doll was a a) a good speller, b) liked to buy sparkly clothes and C) lawyer (like the little girl’s aunt) and mine was a a) struggling in math class, b) liked to buy sneakers and vintage records, and c) an artist and musician.

After an hour of playing dolls over the seat back it was time for a break. The café car was open and I was allowing myself Diet Pepsi on this trip.

Okay. So. I took off my glasses, tried to compensate for my lack of make-up with a liberal coat of crimson lipstick topped with a lacquer of gloss, swept on coat of jet black mascara, released my hair from it’s pen-held knot, grabbed my purse bag and stood up.

My new BFF’s mouth dropped to the floor in wide-eyed awe and shock.

“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy look, she’s a Super Hero!!!! Like on TV!!! She took off her glasses and grew her hair and got tall and look, Mommy, look, she’s a super hero!!!!”



I mean.

You know. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life. Most of them not very flattering or not suitable for children. But. Super-hero? Yeah. That’s a new one.

Maybe I should mention that I have these boots, riding style boots, that seem to evoke “Super Hero” feelings in people. I’m not sure why. They’re just a really old pair of brown riding boots, kind of beat up and worn into that perfect relaxed condition that a pair of riding boots should have. They happen to have braid trim down the side and a buckle at the top. I think it’s the braid trim and buckle that take them from riding boots to Super Hero for some people. I don’t see it, but over the years this comment has been made. “Those are like League of Justice boots or something,” “If those were red or blue they’d be Wonder Woman boots.” I was wearing those boots. And black tights. And a flippy little circle skirt. And a short sleeaved sweater jacket hoodie thing. Over a shirt my niece gave me, dark grey with a large abstract fuchsia heart craftily stitched all over the boob area.

Oh. And. My bag is old. It used to be kind of silvery but most of the silver has flaked off and it’s kind of black with a hint of silver patina. Oh. And. A large star embossed on one side. I dunno. Don’t ask. I got it on sale in Paris years ago. I thought it was kind of ironically grunge chic. Or something. I dunno. But it turned out to be a really handy size and shape and has great compartments, perfect for traveling. And now that I’m an unemployed slacker traveling just for me, not for work, I’m using it again. It seems somehow dingily apt. It used to be somewhat credible, or at least viable, but now it’s old and beat up and long-since out of style but still functional and practical. Kinda like me.

At the last minute before I left for this trip I remembered my mother was hinting that I should start wearing some of the jewelry I’ve inherited. I don’t like to wear jewelry when I travel. But. Nor do I like to pack it in my suitcase. And nor do I like to leave it at home while I’m gone for extended periods of time. Not that I have so much expensive jewelry that it warrants that kind of worry. But. You know. It’s all I’ve got and it’s the sentimental value that gets to me. So I thought, “I’ll show up at the train station with the biggest honkin’ ring in my great-grandmother’s jewelry box.” An emerald-cut deep-violet amethyst the size of a small island. Seriously. An island. An Orkney island to be exact. It was allegedly harvested in the Orkneys many generations ago and then carved and polished for my great-gran. I’m the only girl in my generation with fingers long enough to support the rectangular amethyst island set in gold. And even I struggle to support the darned thing. It should have gone to my aunt’s son’s wife, but in a vengeful fit of spite my aunt gave it to me literally on her deathbed. (Ahhhh, family. What was I saying about booze and homicides during the holidays?) My cousin’s wife doesn’t like it and didn’t want the ring, anyway, so no bad feelings there. And I do like the ring. It does make me feel, well, I dunno, kinda, I dunno, empowered? No, that’s not it. I dunno. I just like it. I suppose it makes me feel connected to my family, to Scotland, to the long-dead women who wore it. But. It’s more than a bit showy. It’s literally a rock, I mean, literally. It’s not just large in surface area, it’s deep, thick. It rises above my finger almost ¾ of an inch. The thing tips the scale at 9 ounces. I kid you not.

I didn’t think about my ensemble. I just put on comfortable clothes for the trip, a couple things to appease my mother and show appreciation (the ring) and gratitude for my niece (the shirt), loaded up my practical but dingy bag and off I went. Since I was laid off all regard for style and appearance have gone straight out the window. Let’s be honest, just wearing underwear is a big deal clothes-wise for me. Anything else is just bonus material.

Given my 5’11” height and verging on DD boobs and giant purple ring I suppose I can see how a four-year-old girl hopped up high on American Girl Place enthusiasm might take me in and think, “She’s not like Mommy. She’s not like other women I’ve seen in real life. And she was nice to me. She plays with dolls. She was wearing nerdy glasses and now she’s not. She had her hair pulled back and now it’s all wild and messy and curly. She has bright red glossy lips and green eyes. She has a star on a silver bag. She’s almost 6’ tall. She has a bright pink heart stitched across her chest. And a giant purple ring. She’s wearing a short flippy skirt. And boots. Therefore she must be a cartoon super hero.”

I guess I can see how the transformation of my above the neck appearance and first sight of the rest of me, at full height, could be a bit, um, “impressive” to a four-year-old.

Awe-inspiring? Not so much. But I remember how the mysteries of make-up and hair were so intriguing to me when I was a kid. I used to watch my sister go from “just my sister” to a ready for the runway model. I’d see photos of her modeling gigs and I didn’t recognize her. I’d study the photos for some trace of my sister, some trace of a connection to me. My mother said under the makeup she was still my sister. I never believed my mother. I thought it went a lot deeper than makeup. I thought my sister knew some magic trick that turned her into someone else. So yeah. I kinda get that a four-year-old is easily awed by what lipstick, mascara and different hair can do to a woman. But super hero? Like on TV? Yeah. That’s a stretch.

Still, I caught myself affecting more of a puffed up strut than usual down the train car aisles. I know. I know. She’s four. It’s easy to impress a four-year-old. Let’s not get carried away, here.

The café car attendant was not the Yummy guy from a few weeks ago. I was kind of disappointed. And kind of relieved.

When I got back to my seat my new BFF watched me as I walked by her seat. I could feel her studying me. Her mother asked me if I could retrieve a bag from the overhead shelf for her. I get that a lot on the train. The overhead shelves are kind of high and deep and often bags slide far out of reach for more diminutive passengers. My new BFF never took her eyes off me while I fished around the shelf above their seats. When I got their bag and handed it to her mother the little girl shyly tugged at my skirt. She motioned for me to come in closer. I bent over farther toward her.

She put her hand up to my ear and whispered, “What’s your super hero name? I promise I won’t tell anyone. I keep secrets real good.”

I know. I know. I know. Okay? I know.

Laugh? Cry? Affect a Super Man valiant stance?

I mean, I don’t go around thinking about my super hero name. Do you?

“Well,” I stalled, “I can’t tell you my super hero name. We have pretty strict rules about that. But my undercover name is Missy Amore.” I pointed to my heart shirt and gave her what I hoped was an intriguingly knowing look. (I can’t wink. Drats. I rarely regret that I can’t wink without looking like I have something big and painful in my eye, but this is one time it would have come in handy.)

The girl’s mother cracked up. The girl didn’t understand why. She looked upset that her mother was inserting herself in her friendship with a super hero.

“Shhhhh, Mom, you’ll get Missy in trouble,” then, whispering to me, “Missy, you better put your glasses back on, someone might see you.”

I fell into my seat and dutifully donned my glasses. And sure enough, the dolls soon reappeared. I was kind of weary of the games, but, then again, there are worse ways to spend a train trip across Michiana.

The little girl kept calling me Missy. She occasionally cast me a furtive sideways glance that turned into a piercing stare. She was trying to assess the super heroine riding on the train with her. Every now and then she’d ask a timid question.

“Does your ring give you magic power? What can you do? Can you fly or run really fast?” and so on.

It got kind of old after a while. I can see why super heroes sometimes have breakdowns and turn mean.

Finally I said, “Sadly, no, I can’t fly or run very fast. All I can do is be nice.”

“oh,” she said obviously disappointed.

She had to think about that a long time. She was either bored with me or needed to contemplate "nice" as a superpower.

I was thinking about that, too. It is a kind of superpower. It shouldn't be, it should just be how we are. But. We all know that's not always the case. I'm certainly not claiming that I'm nice to superpower level. Far from it.


Since I've accepted and made peace with my "too nice"ness I gotta admit, I feel better, more me, more myself. And that's a good thing. It's not getting me a job or a man or even helping ease the anxiety I have about being unemployed and on the verge of foreclosure. But. I feel more me, more "hey, maybe I am too nice. So what? So swutting what? It's how I am. I have green eyes and I'm tall, too. It's just how I am." And trying to squelch it, to go against my nature, wasn't helping me in any way whatsoever.

Embracing it doesn't seem to be doing me any harm. And, as a bonus, a lot of people are walking around with a dose of forgiveness and sympathy heaped on them by a total stranger.

Who was that masked woman?

Why, it was Compassion Girl! Spreading acceptance, forgiveness, healing, peace and love (duh) throughout the Universe, one Snuggie® of compassion at a time!

So I ask again, is being "too nice" really a problem? Really a bad thing? No one's taking advantage of me. I feel more content with myself. In spite of ridiculously insurmountable problems I'm generally maintaining a positive attitude.

And I have a new undercover identity. "She walks among us, disguised as quiet, studious and quirky unemployed Missy Amore. But underneath that persona lurks the soul of Compassion Girl(!). Given the super power of 'nice,' Compassion Girl silently travels the planet bestowing metaphoric blankets of forgiveness, "Snuggies® of Compassion," to angry, negative and annoying people."
Her battle cry: "Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Duh."
Her mission: To cloak the world in a metaphoric Snuggie® of compassion.
Her theme music: La la love you.

My only question with this is: How do super heroes make money? Most of them have day jobs or are born into very wealthy families. Yeah. Um. Problematic.

My only concern with this is: How many sweatsocked travelers sitting next to me do I have to deal with before I'm allowed to slag them off for being rude?

*Speaking of trains, planes and automobiles…I carry a spare copy of that DVD with me everywhere I travel between Thanksgiving and December, it’s my travel companion and source of solace during “difficult” holiday travel. If you haven’t employed this holiday travel coping technique I highly suggest it. It salves even the most painful travel experiences.

5:56 PM

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