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:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
Create Your Badge





www.flickr.com





Instagram






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
Enter ZIP Code:

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.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







Archives
<< current
ARCHIVES
4/27/03 - 5/4/03 5/4/03 - 5/11/03 8/3/03 - 8/10/03 8/10/03 - 8/17/03 8/17/03 - 8/24/03 8/24/03 - 8/31/03 8/31/03 - 9/7/03 9/7/03 - 9/14/03 9/14/03 - 9/21/03 9/21/03 - 9/28/03 9/28/03 - 10/5/03 10/5/03 - 10/12/03 10/12/03 - 10/19/03 10/19/03 - 10/26/03 10/26/03 - 11/2/03 11/2/03 - 11/9/03 11/9/03 - 11/16/03 11/16/03 - 11/23/03 11/23/03 - 11/30/03 11/30/03 - 12/7/03 12/7/03 - 12/14/03 12/14/03 - 12/21/03 12/21/03 - 12/28/03 12/28/03 - 1/4/04 1/4/04 - 1/11/04 1/11/04 - 1/18/04 1/18/04 - 1/25/04 1/25/04 - 2/1/04 2/1/04 - 2/8/04 2/8/04 - 2/15/04 2/15/04 - 2/22/04 2/22/04 - 2/29/04 2/29/04 - 3/7/04 3/7/04 - 3/14/04 3/14/04 - 3/21/04 3/21/04 - 3/28/04 3/28/04 - 4/4/04 4/4/04 - 4/11/04 4/11/04 - 4/18/04 4/18/04 - 4/25/04 4/25/04 - 5/2/04 5/2/04 - 5/9/04 5/9/04 - 5/16/04 5/16/04 - 5/23/04 5/23/04 - 5/30/04 6/6/04 - 6/13/04 6/13/04 - 6/20/04 6/20/04 - 6/27/04 6/27/04 - 7/4/04 7/4/04 - 7/11/04 7/11/04 - 7/18/04 7/18/04 - 7/25/04 7/25/04 - 8/1/04 8/1/04 - 8/8/04 8/8/04 - 8/15/04 8/15/04 - 8/22/04 8/22/04 - 8/29/04 8/29/04 - 9/5/04 9/5/04 - 9/12/04 9/12/04 - 9/19/04 9/19/04 - 9/26/04 9/26/04 - 10/3/04 10/3/04 - 10/10/04 10/10/04 - 10/17/04 10/17/04 - 10/24/04 10/24/04 - 10/31/04 10/31/04 - 11/7/04 11/14/04 - 11/21/04 11/21/04 - 11/28/04 11/28/04 - 12/5/04 12/5/04 - 12/12/04 12/12/04 - 12/19/04 12/19/04 - 12/26/04 12/26/04 - 1/2/05 1/2/05 - 1/9/05 1/9/05 - 1/16/05 1/16/05 - 1/23/05 1/23/05 - 1/30/05 1/30/05 - 2/6/05 2/6/05 - 2/13/05 2/13/05 - 2/20/05 2/20/05 - 2/27/05 2/27/05 - 3/6/05 3/6/05 - 3/13/05 3/13/05 - 3/20/05 3/20/05 - 3/27/05 3/27/05 - 4/3/05 4/3/05 - 4/10/05 4/10/05 - 4/17/05 4/17/05 - 4/24/05 4/24/05 - 5/1/05 5/1/05 - 5/8/05 5/15/05 - 5/22/05 6/5/05 - 6/12/05 7/24/05 - 7/31/05 7/31/05 - 8/7/05 8/7/05 - 8/14/05 8/14/05 - 8/21/05 8/21/05 - 8/28/05 9/4/05 - 9/11/05 9/11/05 - 9/18/05 9/18/05 - 9/25/05 9/25/05 - 10/2/05 10/2/05 - 10/9/05 10/9/05 - 10/16/05 10/16/05 - 10/23/05 10/23/05 - 10/30/05 10/30/05 - 11/6/05 11/6/05 - 11/13/05 11/13/05 - 11/20/05 11/20/05 - 11/27/05 12/4/05 - 12/11/05 12/11/05 - 12/18/05 1/1/06 - 1/8/06 1/8/06 - 1/15/06 1/15/06 - 1/22/06 1/22/06 - 1/29/06 1/29/06 - 2/5/06 2/5/06 - 2/12/06 2/12/06 - 2/19/06 2/19/06 - 2/26/06 2/26/06 - 3/5/06 3/5/06 - 3/12/06 3/12/06 - 3/19/06 3/19/06 - 3/26/06 3/26/06 - 4/2/06 4/2/06 - 4/9/06 4/9/06 - 4/16/06 4/23/06 - 4/30/06 4/30/06 - 5/7/06 5/7/06 - 5/14/06 5/14/06 - 5/21/06 5/21/06 - 5/28/06 6/11/06 - 6/18/06 6/18/06 - 6/25/06 6/25/06 - 7/2/06 7/2/06 - 7/9/06 7/30/06 - 8/6/06 9/10/06 - 9/17/06 9/17/06 - 9/24/06 10/8/06 - 10/15/06 10/29/06 - 11/5/06 11/5/06 - 11/12/06 11/12/06 - 11/19/06 11/26/06 - 12/3/06 12/3/06 - 12/10/06 12/17/06 - 12/24/06 12/24/06 - 12/31/06 12/31/06 - 1/7/07 1/21/07 - 1/28/07 1/28/07 - 2/4/07 2/4/07 - 2/11/07 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 2/18/07 - 2/25/07 2/25/07 - 3/4/07 3/4/07 - 3/11/07 3/11/07 - 3/18/07 3/18/07 - 3/25/07 3/25/07 - 4/1/07 6/24/07 - 7/1/07 7/1/07 - 7/8/07 7/8/07 - 7/15/07 7/15/07 - 7/22/07 7/22/07 - 7/29/07 7/29/07 - 8/5/07 8/5/07 - 8/12/07 8/12/07 - 8/19/07 8/19/07 - 8/26/07 8/26/07 - 9/2/07 9/9/07 - 9/16/07 9/16/07 - 9/23/07 9/23/07 - 9/30/07 9/30/07 - 10/7/07 10/7/07 - 10/14/07 10/14/07 - 10/21/07 11/4/07 - 11/11/07 11/11/07 - 11/18/07 12/9/07 - 12/16/07 1/6/08 - 1/13/08 1/13/08 - 1/20/08 1/27/08 - 2/3/08 2/3/08 - 2/10/08 2/10/08 - 2/17/08 2/24/08 - 3/2/08 3/2/08 - 3/9/08 3/9/08 - 3/16/08 3/16/08 - 3/23/08 3/23/08 - 3/30/08 3/30/08 - 4/6/08 4/6/08 - 4/13/08 4/13/08 - 4/20/08 4/20/08 - 4/27/08 4/27/08 - 5/4/08 5/4/08 - 5/11/08 5/11/08 - 5/18/08 5/18/08 - 5/25/08 5/25/08 - 6/1/08 6/1/08 - 6/8/08 6/15/08 - 6/22/08 6/22/08 - 6/29/08 6/29/08 - 7/6/08 7/13/08 - 7/20/08 7/20/08 - 7/27/08 8/3/08 - 8/10/08 8/10/08 - 8/17/08 8/17/08 - 8/24/08 8/24/08 - 8/31/08 8/31/08 - 9/7/08 9/7/08 - 9/14/08 9/21/08 - 9/28/08 9/28/08 - 10/5/08 10/5/08 - 10/12/08 10/12/08 - 10/19/08 10/19/08 - 10/26/08 10/26/08 - 11/2/08 11/2/08 - 11/9/08 11/9/08 - 11/16/08 11/16/08 - 11/23/08 11/30/08 - 12/7/08 12/7/08 - 12/14/08 12/14/08 - 12/21/08 12/28/08 - 1/4/09 1/4/09 - 1/11/09 1/11/09 - 1/18/09 1/18/09 - 1/25/09 2/1/09 - 2/8/09 2/8/09 - 2/15/09 2/15/09 - 2/22/09 3/29/09 - 4/5/09 5/3/09 - 5/10/09 5/10/09 - 5/17/09 5/17/09 - 5/24/09 5/24/09 - 5/31/09 5/31/09 - 6/7/09 6/7/09 - 6/14/09 6/14/09 - 6/21/09 7/12/09 - 7/19/09 7/19/09 - 7/26/09 7/26/09 - 8/2/09 8/2/09 - 8/9/09 8/9/09 - 8/16/09 8/16/09 - 8/23/09 8/23/09 - 8/30/09 8/30/09 - 9/6/09 9/20/09 - 9/27/09 9/27/09 - 10/4/09 10/4/09 - 10/11/09 10/11/09 - 10/18/09 10/18/09 - 10/25/09 10/25/09 - 11/1/09 11/1/09 - 11/8/09 11/8/09 - 11/15/09 11/15/09 - 11/22/09 11/22/09 - 11/29/09 11/29/09 - 12/6/09 12/6/09 - 12/13/09 12/13/09 - 12/20/09 12/20/09 - 12/27/09 12/27/09 - 1/3/10 1/3/10 - 1/10/10 1/10/10 - 1/17/10 1/17/10 - 1/24/10 1/24/10 - 1/31/10 1/31/10 - 2/7/10 2/7/10 - 2/14/10 2/14/10 - 2/21/10 2/21/10 - 2/28/10 3/14/10 - 3/21/10 3/21/10 - 3/28/10 3/28/10 - 4/4/10 4/4/10 - 4/11/10 4/11/10 - 4/18/10 4/18/10 - 4/25/10 4/25/10 - 5/2/10 5/2/10 - 5/9/10 5/9/10 - 5/16/10 5/16/10 - 5/23/10 5/23/10 - 5/30/10 5/30/10 - 6/6/10 6/6/10 - 6/13/10 6/13/10 - 6/20/10 6/20/10 - 6/27/10 6/27/10 - 7/4/10 7/4/10 - 7/11/10 7/11/10 - 7/18/10 7/18/10 - 7/25/10 7/25/10 - 8/1/10 9/19/10 - 9/26/10 10/3/10 - 10/10/10 10/10/10 - 10/17/10 10/17/10 - 10/24/10 10/24/10 - 10/31/10 10/31/10 - 11/7/10 11/14/10 - 11/21/10 11/28/10 - 12/5/10 12/5/10 - 12/12/10 12/12/10 - 12/19/10 12/19/10 - 12/26/10 12/26/10 - 1/2/11 1/2/11 - 1/9/11 1/9/11 - 1/16/11 1/16/11 - 1/23/11 1/23/11 - 1/30/11 1/30/11 - 2/6/11 2/6/11 - 2/13/11 2/13/11 - 2/20/11 2/20/11 - 2/27/11 2/27/11 - 3/6/11 3/6/11 - 3/13/11 3/13/11 - 3/20/11 3/20/11 - 3/27/11 3/27/11 - 4/3/11 4/3/11 - 4/10/11 4/10/11 - 4/17/11 4/17/11 - 4/24/11 4/24/11 - 5/1/11 5/1/11 - 5/8/11 5/15/11 - 5/22/11 5/22/11 - 5/29/11 5/29/11 - 6/5/11 6/12/11 - 6/19/11 6/19/11 - 6/26/11 6/26/11 - 7/3/11 7/10/11 - 7/17/11 7/31/11 - 8/7/11 8/21/11 - 8/28/11 8/28/11 - 9/4/11 9/18/11 - 9/25/11 9/25/11 - 10/2/11 10/2/11 - 10/9/11 10/9/11 - 10/16/11 10/16/11 - 10/23/11 10/23/11 - 10/30/11 11/6/11 - 11/13/11 11/13/11 - 11/20/11 11/20/11 - 11/27/11 11/27/11 - 12/4/11 12/4/11 - 12/11/11 12/11/11 - 12/18/11 12/25/11 - 1/1/12 1/1/12 - 1/8/12 2/5/12 - 2/12/12 2/19/12 - 2/26/12 3/4/12 - 3/11/12 4/1/12 - 4/8/12 4/15/12 - 4/22/12 4/29/12 - 5/6/12 5/13/12 - 5/20/12 5/20/12 - 5/27/12 6/24/12 - 7/1/12 7/1/12 - 7/8/12 7/8/12 - 7/15/12 7/15/12 - 7/22/12 7/22/12 - 7/29/12 7/29/12 - 8/5/12 8/5/12 - 8/12/12 8/12/12 - 8/19/12 8/19/12 - 8/26/12 8/26/12 - 9/2/12 9/2/12 - 9/9/12 9/9/12 - 9/16/12 9/16/12 - 9/23/12 9/23/12 - 9/30/12 10/7/12 - 10/14/12 10/21/12 - 10/28/12 11/4/12 - 11/11/12 12/9/12 - 12/16/12 12/23/12 - 12/30/12 1/6/13 - 1/13/13 1/13/13 - 1/20/13 1/20/13 - 1/27/13 1/27/13 - 2/3/13 2/3/13 - 2/10/13 2/10/13 - 2/17/13 2/17/13 - 2/24/13 3/3/13 - 3/10/13 3/17/13 - 3/24/13 3/31/13 - 4/7/13 4/7/13 - 4/14/13 4/21/13 - 4/28/13 4/28/13 - 5/5/13 5/5/13 - 5/12/13 5/12/13 - 5/19/13 5/19/13 - 5/26/13 6/16/13 - 6/23/13 6/23/13 - 6/30/13 7/14/13 - 7/21/13 8/11/13 - 8/18/13 8/25/13 - 9/1/13 9/8/13 - 9/15/13 9/22/13 - 9/29/13 10/13/13 - 10/20/13 10/20/13 - 10/27/13 11/10/13 - 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



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

Slanglish

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?!)

CellStories

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.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




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.


< chicago blogs >





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
Single/Zero

 
Wednesday, August 28, 2013  
Well, that's it. Summer 2013 will henceforth be The Summer of Death for me. It started Memorial Day weekend when a friend/former coworker died in a freak accident. Since then I've either received a "hey, did you hear ______ died" email/call, or a family member calling with bad news about another family member every 10 days.

Yep. Today I realized that I'm on a 10-day death cycle. I calculate Summer as 98 days this year (Memorial Day - Labor Day) so that's 9.8 deaths. So far the .8 is rounding down to 9 and I want to keep it that way.

Last month a very close older relative died. I've been in a grieving funk since her death. She was elderly and she lived a great, long life and it was "time." But. I'm sad she's gone and I miss her.  I was asked to speak at her memorial. Public speaking + grief = very difficult for me. Trying to encapsulate someone's life into a 5 - 10 minute speech is not easy, especially when it's someone you've known your entire life. Especially when it's someone with whom you've shared a lot of landmark experiences. Especially when it's someone who's a kindred spirit. Very often, at least in my case, we don't relate to relatives. She was one of only a couple relatives to whom I related. Unlike the nonsensical dissimilarity between most of my relatives and myself, it made sense that we were related. We're cut of the same jib. When I was a kid, she didn't treat me like a kid. She either didn't know or didn't care that I was just a kid. She always talked to me as if I had a functioning brain with the capacity to reason, learn and form my own opinions...and she wanted me, expected me, to express them. She was interesting and inspiring. And I miss her.

That was the most difficult death for me this summer. The others were sad, a some were surprising, and a few brought back old friends and long forgotten memories. I got The News, got in touch with old friends/coworkers, reminisced about the deceased, shared a few memories or stories, sent the sympathy cards or pitched in for flowers when appropriate, and grieved the way you do in these situations. In a few cases I keep forgetting the person died. I think of them in the present tense and have to remind myself they are now very much past tense.

I received a LinkedIn reminder for one of them...eeep, that was maddening and kinda creepy..."Endorse Jane Smith as marketing manager!" Uhhhh, okay, well, you know, I suppose it's possible Jane Smith has a new job in an afterlife of some ilk, but I am not qualified to endorse her abilities for that job. That made me think: I really should a) figure out a program/app that tracks obituaries and notifies social networks of deaths of members so that sort of thing doesn't happen and b) you know how they say it's "good" to write your own obituary? I need to write my post mortem social network profiles, something like: "Tricia McMillian has been promoted to creative services manager at Devil's Advocate, located in the 4th Circle of Hell."

A couple weeks ago I was visiting my mother in my tiny hometown. While there my mother received news that an elderly friend died. My parents were good friends with this older couple, my dad golfed with the (deceased) husband. They were always one of those "kindly older couples" in the community. The woman was going to be 100 next month and everyone was bummed out for her that she didn't hit the milestone. My mother wanted to go to the funeral. I was in town. My mother's widowed. Everyone hates going to funerals, and everyone really hates going to funerals alone. My parents' friends who also knew the deceased woman were out of town when she died. The obvious and polite thing was for me to accompany my mother to the funeral. After all, I've known this woman most of my life. So, what's the big deal? Take my mother to the funeral and pay my respects. Wellllllll, there's a bit more to it than that.

Unfortunately, the deceased woman is the grandmother to Beth and Renée. Yes, that Beth and Renée. The girls who tormented me relentlessly in school. They're cousins who made it their mission to ridicule, tease, start rumors about and occasionally spit on me. They stole schoolwork, toys, mittens (a big deal in Michigan winters) and gym shoes from me when we were young, they started a rumor that I was so ugly my parents took me away to Europe for 18 months to have head to toe plastic surgery. (In actuality my father was working overseas at the time.) As ridiculous as it sounds, there were kids who wondered if it was true and asked me about nose jobs, lip jobs, boob jobs etc. Even at the end of high school the rumor was still circulating, albeit diluted to whispers and pointing, "She had plastic surgery that didn't work..." Also in high school when rumors about girls being pregnant started circulating, Beth and Renée got a lot of laughs from our classmates by making jokes about me. "We know who's not pregnant, no one will ever have sex with Trillian, she's so ugly she's going to die a virgin." So I then became the Ugly Virgin. Every so often a prayer card of the Virgin Mary with ugly features drawn on her in ball point pen appeared on or in my locker or in my book bag or passed around the lunch room for everyone to see, eventually landing at my spot at the loser table. That's when I started working in the library during lunch hour. Instead of eating I got a study pass and hid in the earth science section reading whatever book looked interesting. By senior year I was an expert in geology and well on my way to anorexia. The bastardized Virgin Mary prayer cards still appeared, but at least the other dorks at the loser lunch table weren't subjected to the ridicule aimed at me. Beth and Renée started the uglied up Virgin Mary prayer card fad, other kids joined in the fun, but Beth and Renée were always the kingpins. At first I threw the cards away, but then I started keeping them. I'm not sure why. By graduation I had a large collection of them, about 100 or so. I had a ceremonial burning the day after graduation. Labeling Beth and Renée as bullies doesn't do justice to the pain they caused me for most of my youth. Their personalities were so different from their kind, compassionate grandparents' personalities that it seemed impossible they were descended from them. My parents knew Beth and Renée bullied me and it put them in a difficult position. They weren't particularly friendly with Beth and Renée's parents, but they were friendly with their grandparents. No grandparent wants to know their grandchildren are Satan's Henchmen.

I moved away to college, lived my life and try to never think about Beth and Renée. I put them firmly in my past the day I burned those prayer cards.

And then...their grandmother died and my mother wanted to attend her funeral. I knew Beth and Renée would be there. And yes, of course, the funeral is about their grandmother and no place for petty childhood issues. But the thought of attending the visitation or funeral knowing darned well they'd be there is not something I want to deal with right now. Or ever, really. Call me immature. Call me silly. Call me petty. Call me a coward. I'm guilty of all that and a lot more.

But let's keep it real. If my parents didn't know their grandparents I would not be paying condolences to their grandmother.

Let's keep it even more real: if I had my life together I would love to go and flaunt myself at Beth and Renée, be living proof that living well = revenge.

But.

I'm unemployed, unmarried, childless, losing my home and limping on a foot and ankle that are in desperate need of repair. I have hair that is way too long and shaggy because I go as long as possible between haircuts because I can't afford them. I have old clothes because I can't afford new ones. I look tired and weary because I don't sleep because of the anxiety and stress of my life situation. I look like crap. I feel like crap. My life is crap. I am exactly what Beth and Renée predicted I would be: An ugly failure in every aspect of life.

I didn't have to say anything about any of this to my mother. She told me she didn't want me to have to deal with Beth and Renée and that I didn't have to go with her to the funeral, she'd go on her own. And of course hearing someone else say that made me feel even more immature and silly and petty. And hearing my mother acknowledge the Beth and Renée thing was so awful that all these years later she didn't want me to have to be in the same room with them was surprisingly difficult. My mother was in the, "turn the other cheek" and "don't stoop to their level" and "just ignore them" schools of dealing with bullies. I always thought she didn't fully grasp how horrible those girls were to me and how the teasing and tormenting I dealt with because of them was brutal. I don't blame my parents - by the time we were in junior high school I stopped telling my parents about the teasing I got at school. I was embarrassed about it and didn't want my parents to know their daughter was such a loser she was being teased. I also thought I had to learn how to handle it on my own - I didn't expect, or want, my parents to come to my rescue. I knew that would only make the teasing worse, every kid knows that parents intervening in this sort of thing is just an open invitation for more teasing.

But apparently my mother knew it was more than typical schoolyard teasing because all these years later she didn't want me to have to deal with them.

In the end I went. My mother and I slipped in to the funeral at the last minute and sat in the back row. My mother said a few words to Beth's mother and we left. I don't know if Beth and Renée saw me or not, and I don't care. I was there on my mother's behalf and to pay respects to my parents' friend. That her grandchildren teased me mercilessly throughout my childhood and high school years was not a factor. I don't think I rose above anything. I didn't confront Beth or Renée, I didn't speak to them. I didn't even really get a good look at them. And I suspect they didn't see me, either. They may not ever even know I was there. So I was really just as cowardly as if I hadn't attended. In the words of my teenage self, "Whatever."

I was dealing with all the deaths and trying to squelch the drudged up memories of Beth and Renée and get myself out of the grieving funk, reminding myself to live. "You're still alive! Live!" When blam! the call you don't expect to get arrives.

I have cousins. But because my parents are the youngest children in their families, and I'm the youngest (by a lot of years) in my family, my cousins are all much older than I am, the lone exception being a cousin two years older than I am. Consequently I'm not very close to most of them. Far flung logistics play a huge role in our lack of closeness, as well. Some of us turn up at weddings and funerals. Some of us keep in touch with others of us and eventually news and life updates filter through the family's communication network. I suspect we're like other families in this regard. I'm not saying it's good, or even healthy, but it's how it is with a lot of families. When I hear about someone who is close to a cousin I look upon the relationship with curiosity. I'm not entirely sure what that relationship is like. Beth and Renée were cousins and they did everything together. They appeared to be best friends. Evil incarnate best friends. Consequently, for me, there's an air of something sinister about cousins who are close. (Thank you, Beth and Renée, for badly skewing my perspective on familial relationships.) So deep down I've always been kind of glad my cousins are older and far flung. No one forces relationships and no one pretends we're anything other than what we are: A bunch of people whose parents happened to be siblings.

But that's not to say we don't care. We do care. My oldest cousin had a long and difficult war with several types of cancer. At different junctures all of us cousins helped her in the ways we could. Visits, phone calls, cards, help with treatment care...from the oldest to the youngest, we were there for her. We do care, we do support each other. We're just...far flung, literally and figuratively.

Another older cousin, though, is a family legend. He's the kind of guy with just enough redeeming qualities to render his assholiness moot. He's so much older than I am that he's always been almost a mythical creature to me. If you read his bio you'd think it was made up. He was at Altamont and is captured in one of the famous (and infamous) photos of the concert-gone-wrong. He dodged the draft by living in Mexico working as an English speaking guide in the Yucatan. (His father, my father and my other uncles, who all did time in the military, all agreed that he was not armed services material and he wouldn't last a week in boot camp let alone in Vietnam...it was agreed that the US did not need someone like my cousin in its military ranks. It was also agreed that the US did not need to be in Vietnam, period, and therefore drafting the dodge was the only real choice and forgivable in their eyes.) He returned to (eventually) get a degree in architecture and worked his way through college as the lighting guy for bands in the '70s. He made a lot of friends in bands and amassed an impressive collection of guitars and clothes castoff from impressive music names. Speaking of names, he dated a Hearst. Yes, of those Hearsts. He went to Europe thanks to an offer from a friend in a band and lived there for a few years touring with different bands as the lighting guy, and, oh yeah, working on restoration and conservation projects at Versailles and the Louvre. When I was little he visited us for a few days. It pains me to admit this, but I had a castoff Beatles toy guitar one of my other cousins had long outgrown. I discovered the broken pieces in the bottom of my cousins' abandoned toy box and my aunt told me I could have it. My dad repaired the broken fret with glue and tape and replaced the strings with different weights of fish line so I could strum different chords. It also pains me to admit how long I played with that stupid thing. Anyway, en route to some adventure, my cousin visited us for a few days. He had a real guitar with him. In my childhood naïveté  thought he'd be impressed that I had a guitar, too, and he suggested that we jam together. I showed him my jumping off the hearth airborne windmill technique, and he taught me a few chords.

I know, you're thinking, "Holy crap! Trillian's cousin is either full of shit or the most interesting man in the world!" There's photographic evidence of all of this that lends credence to his tales. Every now and then he sent my parents a postcard or a few photos with a funny letter detailing his latest exploits. My dad used to read the letters aloud. They often contained a guitar pick for me, usually allegedly from someone famous. I was always fascinated by my cousin. The fact that we were related to him blew my mind. That we shared a gene pool was cool to me. I felt like I had a sliver of street cred thanks to him.

Eventually he settled down and got a steady job. And then there were some bad years, personal problems, marital problems...but he rebounded and was his old adventurous self. His holiday cards were hand drawn and hysterical. He chose a couple noteworthy weird news events from the previous year and mocked them, incorporating different family members in the drawing. He often sent me a guitar pick from some concert he attended during the previous year. Last year he sent me a pick from Wayne Coyne with a photo of him talking to Wayne Coyne. When I opened the card and saw the photo, I thought, "Huh?" but then all I could think was, "Of course he hung out with Wayne Coyne. Why wouldn't he?"

And then his sister called and told me he died.

After all his exploits and adventures, all his lapses in judgement and feats of daring, he just went to sleep and didn't wake up. Which is, of course, what we hope for everyone - a peaceful death. But not yet. He's older, but not old enough to say, "he lived a long life."

I know we're supposed to learn life lessons from death and blah blah blah. Two people, two family members I really liked, are gone. Of course I miss them, but the world is going to miss them, too.  They were the kind of people you want to meet in life - interesting and interested - and it makes me sad and mad that from here on out no one will get to meet them.

11:17 PM

 
This page is powered by Blogger.