It’s all about you. And it’s all about me. Whatever we post— sunset, political article, opinion, kitty cat video, family photo, vacation itinerary, job description, artistic accomplishment, real estate, the ME factor is front and center. Whenever we announce where we are or where we are going and what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and with whom, it’s about ourselves, aint it? When we discuss our emotional deregulation, sleep apnea, allergy to peanuts, it’s about ourselves. For example, the sunset. For me to take a picture of the sunset means that I am there in front of it. It’s about me, being there. Me. You, on the other hand, are NOT in front of that sunset. Even when I am pretending to complain about something. It is MY complaint and not yours. Apparently if I’ve posted it, I feel that in some way the complaint is packaged in a positive context. “Gee, the weather was shit in Iceland” — “It’s a fucking shame that Madonna crashed my party. I hate her pop sell out ass.” If our posts are a confession of course it is about us, and the underlying message of any confession is one of superiority, or, at the very least, suggestive of a rare dignity and courage. Any negative implied in any posting is minuscule and in fact adorable. On the other hand, lack of a negative frame within a post suggests a blatant narcissism, a subversive insecurity, and being the Master of Insecurity I can see your agenda blindfolded and so can most everybody else, so stop with the bullshit if you want to be taken seriously. Stop with the fawning, the bragging, the reverse complaint. Stop with the territorial snobbery, the faux modesty, the overly anxious brou-ha-ha of life. Who gives a shit about your mediocre gig, or mine. Your ugly grandchildren, or mine? It’s wonderful that we all want to share our thoughts, opinions, dreams, plans, medications, successes, wit, knowledge… our “Me Maps”. And it’s generous that we all try our best to absorb the Me-Maps of those we care about. Beware, however, that as we post the stakes ever expand…and the whirl of our average sunset, child, vacation, problem becomes so tiresome as to send good souls to the feed trough of poetry.
I felt bad about my neck today and a few other areas of my face, but then I remembered that Nora Ephron felt bad about her neck and she wrote a book about it called ” I feel bad about my neck” and it became a best seller. Then she died. After she died I’m guessing she didn’t feel bad about her neck anymore, and right BEFORE she died, she probably felt bad about other things besides her neck, like the thought of not having a head to put on her neck. Remembering Nora, I no longer feel bad about my neck. I am thankful that I HAVE a neck and it’s alive and functional.
And how it creeps up on us…. the reality of age and what it really means…. for women it can mean never being fucked again… the thought… never being fucked again, ever…let alone touched with a
affection. It seems you’ve been dumped. They’ve had enough. Take up a spectator sport. Volunteer, push forward with an art project. Spew your ejection on a canvas. Chin up, chest out, keep that ascot straight. A pretty woman, the dentist’s wife, had her lip lines injected. Her skin is smooth. The dentist is happy. My mouth resembles an asshole. Can I handle it? The dentists wife encourages me to make an appointment with her dermatologist. I made the appointment today. Easy injections, for 1,000 bucks, rid me of this plague. I could be kissable again. It’s a gamble, this investment. I need a storage shed. I need to finish my book. It’s time to move towards crone with dignity and I imagine a man kissing each lip line as though it were a river, the river of my life, each smirk and frown and pout, a map imbedded. A biography.
Okay, at the last minute I went to a top Injectotron Dermatologist in Sarasota for a consult. This is the land of the Forever Old…. and yet being old down here seems to be an illness that can be cured with money. You can be old here, sure, but you can’t look old. To look old down here is to look poor because on every block there is a plastic surgeon, an implant dentist, a beauty parlor, massage parlor, health club, a make-up drive-through, a pre-embalming building. There is no fucking excuse down here to look bad unless you are a failure or dead. For example,The shit they inject in your lip lines to fill them in lasts for 8-12 months. It costs 1,500 dollars. Today, the doctor, glancing at my ripped shirt and plastic pocketbook, offered me a ten percent discount. So this means, I asked, that this procedure is basically 1,300 bucks a year, ongoing? There is a good chance, she said, that after a few injections your lines won’t return as fast as that and you might be able to get away with injections every year and a half. In other words, a person could take a trip to Europe every year or give a thousand bucks to a charity and simply ignore the lip lines, knowing, deep down in ones soul, that anybody who may judge you or alter their affection for you because of lip lines should be removed from your Rolodex and dance card immediately. My personal solution to lip lines? A Van Dyke beard and mustache. Will be ordering one on-line soon, until then, eyebrow pencil. Oh, and to prevent further wrinkling, I must stop talking, smiling, frowning or taking long, slow tokes. Fat chance.
Loved my gray hair, so why did I just dye it the color of old Teddy Bear fur? I was aiming for, I don’t know what, something other than gray. An experiment. I didn’t leave the dye in long enough, so it’s a monotone brown,a half assed brown, a Nice n Easy brown, a drab, dull, deletion brown. My head is brown. As though I’m wearing a brown helmet. It doesn’t look like hair anymore. It’s a bad wig. A cheap dime store mistake. On a scale of browns, it’s a five. Not a medium brown or a dark brown or a light brown. It’s brown. A color that doesn’t exist in nature except, as I mentioned, on tired, neglected Teddy Bears or a Crayola crayon. It is the color least often utilized in fashion, billboards or ad campaigns. It is the brown of a healthy, big shit in a pot. A nondescript brown so obtuse as to evoke fury. Fury at the brown-ness of a useless brown. A brown that gives brown its name.
Immediate tick sightings, easily folds into your garbage can when dirty, excellent for art projects requiring oil based paints, sun protection, no need for sheets or mattress pad, no need for birth control.
It’s ALIVE and must be seen LIVE.
Bits and pieces of a Laurel Casey Improvisational Happening can be found
on You Tube- but video can’t capture the energy of her live performances.
Hailed as an “Improvisational Mastermind” by New York Press
and “A Relentless Observer of The Human Condition” by the
Providence Journal, Laurel, also a writer and columnist, “Writes
on her feet”— and presents a one of a kind completely unscripted
stream of consciousness theatrical piece that interweaves satire, music,
audience connection, poetry, dance and comedy.
“Laurel enters the room, and a party begins!” – Doris Duke
The stories are legend, from a curtain catching fire during her song, Too Darn Hot,
and a seamless rescue with a throw of her martini, to her outrageous performances
on St. Bart’s at L”Hibiscus for Billy Joel and Liza Minell that included jumping
into the swimming pool in the middle of Beyond the Sea, coming up for air,
and continuing with the refrain.
Laurel started out as an actress: (Nunsense on Broadway, Jacques Brel is Alive
and Living in Paris, Off Broadway) Her work evolved to jazz
singing and touring with jazz greats Todd Baker and Kent Hewitt. .
She took a radical turn during her
Fellowship at The Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Symposium where I was
teaching cabaret technique with Margaret Whiting and Erv Raible.,
She began turning jazz riffs into comedy vignettes –
going in and out of characters that could expound on both the
song lyrics and whatever political and socially satirical connection
she decided to invent,including audience comment with the topics of the day.
A sacred standard from The Great American
Songbook became scaffolding for her work. This was jazz torn apart…
controversial and, sadly, for the most part, venue-less. Jazz Clubs saw a
comic, Comedy Clubs saw a jazz singer. Audiences
were riveted, but Laurel was often canned before they even knew where
she was appearing! Part of the legend became: showing up to see Laurel
only to find she’d been fired the week previous.
That pretty much explains why conventional fame eludes Laurel, no doubt
partly because she’s been in the USA too long.. but the fun continues.
I consider myself among the lucky- having experienced Laurel Live at
Steve McGraws when a loud argument broke out in the audience and
the police were called in. The fight had nothing to do with her performance, but
in Laurel style, the fight, the police, the audience and evening turned
cathartic and ended with the entire room holding hands as Laurel sang
“People” — Where does this kind of live, impromptu, edge-of-your-seat
radically honest experience occur in performance? Rarely.
Julie Wilson, 2009
It’s time for me to go, he said. I was nagging him about getting some exercise. Just a walk around the block. I’ve lived long enough, he said. He’d been sleeping hours during the day after a full night of sleep. A slow gait in slippers, to the cupboard for soup or tea and back to the television set. Couch lounging, intermittent reading, then back to bed under a throw blanket in front of another TV set. This is a man who doesn’t feel good but, in my estimation, aging is a new planet with an atmosphere of discomfort. The doctors said the diabetes was borderline, with diet and exercise, manageable. Depression, on the other hand, is unmanageable. It hides and if it is manageable, it isn’t depression. What a weak word for a devastating state. I alter my approach from nag to empathy. It only makes matters worse. I should know that. I’ve been where he is, as I cusp in and out of that purgatory and continue forward only because society doesn’t allow people to give up until at least age 70. He is 74, about to set himself free of the societal demand to endure. We barely recognize the exam…. pass or fail… We all want permission to enter hell or heaven with an honorable death after an impossible fight. – A man in slippers, a widower, sipping tea. He doesn’t need encouragement, judgement or empathy. He needs space in his mind and heart to conclude as he sees fit. To be left alone with his innate intelligence. I’ve had enough, he says, and who am I to argue?