Jul 14, 2013

A Column I Wrote Last Summer...Enjoy

Tucker Takes Manhattan

For many New Yorkers, the love affair with the Tucker began with an article that ran in The New York Times on October 3, 1946. The piece, headlined “The ‘Torpedo’ Car Expected to Make Debut Next Year,” grabbed the attention of Big Apple motorists with a three-column wide photo of an ultramodern sedan.

Much of the national coverage the “Torpedo” received that year, such as the well-known Science Illustrated feature, emphasized the mechanics of the car. However, the NYT piece devoted the majority of its copy to information regarding the stock offering and Tucker’s corporate assets. This was undoubtedly intended to resonate with New York readers whose pulse was known to grow rapid more readily over the rhythm of ticker tape than the rumble of an auto’s engine.

But while the hearts of Wall Street wizards and auto aficionados alike were indeed captured, all that glittered wasn’t what it appeared to be in the most popular newspaper of the city whose streets were said to be paved with gold.

In fact, the photo —  a three-quarter rear view of a car on a tree-lined street — was not a “Torpedo” at all. It was actually a one-quarter size clay model of the avant-garde George Lawson design. It was a stunner, forgery notwithstanding: meticulously detailed, photographed against a bucolic background, and so skillfully airbrushed that not even the savviest of the “Old Gray Lady’s” readers could have been the wiser. Positioned on the printed page, the handsome, white-walled, futuristic auto looked quite at home on the “streets” of suburbia. And concerning the news of the impending IPO, production models being ready for testing and demonstration by January 1 of 1947, and the details of the plant lease agreement? Well, history would prove those paragraphs to be dubious as well.

Ad-ing It Up

The firm of New York ad legend Roy S. Durstine was hired by the Tucker Corporation in February 1947 to head their advertising and media relations efforts. Durstine and company made quick work to both counteract the negative press Tucker had recently received regarding the SEC’s Stop Order and to reignite the interest of the car-buying public. The March 2nd Sunday editions of both The New York Times and The New York Herald featured splashy, full-page ads with illustrations of the Alex Tremulis-designed “Tucker ’48.” New Yorkers were rapt once again.

Soon after the ads ran, Durstine’s hands would be tied by the SEC’s rules against conventional advertising during stock registration and sale periods. But if anyone could dream up novel ways to showcase the Tucker, it was seasoned auto-industry publicity guru Ellis Travers who was now a VP at Durstine in charge of the account out of the firm’s newly established Chicago branch.

The much-delayed stock sale was finally approved on July 15, 1947, and pressure was on to push shares. Based on the wild success of the world premiere of the prototype nearly a month prior, the Tucker publicity machine — directed largely by Durstine and Travers — decided to execute a full-scale tour for the Tin Goose. This series of demonstrations and personal appearances by Preston Tucker had the power to generate stock sales, public excitement, and media coverage that traditional advertising alone did not.

 It was with some irony that the prototype was not driven over the pavement during this whirlwind “roadshow,” but was transported by means of a Conestoga freight plane. A plane that eventually met a “victim of circumstances” fate completely befitting the Tucker saga: a crash in the mud due to a botched emergency landing during a storm.

During the summer of 1947, the demonstrations brought thousands of curious onlookers and prospective buyers of cars, accessories, and dealerships to exhibition halls in cities all across the country (and, with the help of the Conestoga, trips to Canada and Cuba). However, public interest in the stock was not as robust as Tucker executives had hoped due, in part, by regulatory stymieing. One of the best-attended showings occurred at Los Angeles’ Pan-Pacific Auditorium, where again circumstances proved unfortunate for Tucker as the sale of his corporation’s stock was indeed banned in California.

But New York offered Tucker Corp the perfect storm for success: a population keen on contemporary style and big on brokerage accounts as well as a major media market. As such, New York —  the financial and news capital of the world —  was the location of the greatest exhibitions of the Tin Goose where and when stock could be bought.

The Tin Goose Goes to Gotham

Two days after the approval of the stock sale, the Tin Goose made a brief showing in the Big Apple. It was displayed in the grand ballroom of the Commodore Hotel (now the Grand Hyatt), a luxury hotel connected to the bustling Grand Central Terminal. The New York Times reported on July 18 that “crowds of motor enthusiasts” attended the event, though exact numbers were not given. It also stated that Preston Tucker was presented with a “certificate of merit” at the reception by the New York Museum of Science and Industry for his achievement in the automotive field. (Sidenote:  The Commodore Hotel was named for one of history’s most successful transportation entrepreneurs “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbuilt.)

Consequently, The New York Museum of Science and Industry invited Mr. Tucker and the Tin Goose for an extended exhibition at the Museum the following month. The now-defunct tourist attraction was located at the alluring Art Deco skyscraper at 30 Rockefeller Plaza from the time Nelson A. Rockefeller became a Museum Trustee in 1935 to its closing in 1949.

The ad for August’s Tucker appearance at The Museum of Science and Industry promised the public a chance to view the technology they had read and heard about in the press, along with a few Tucker Corp marketing tricks not usually associated with science or industry: models from NYC’s famed Conover Agency (owner Harry Conover coined the phrase “Cover Girl”) and a revolving stage.

The August 8 edition of The New York Times offered a rousing review of the previous day’s opening festivities at the Museum, reporting a daily attendance at 15,000. For perspective, historical records state the Museum averaged just over 9,500 visitors per week at its peak. And the crowds never let up. According to the book The Indomitable Tin Goose, the Museum of Science and Industry enjoyed 100,000 total paid admissions for the 10-day run of the Tucker exhibit which meant attendance and receipts surpassed even the most popular Broadway shows over the same time stretch.

Among the novel highlights of the exhibit mentioned in the NYT was a “talking chassis where features of the car were explained through electrical sound devices.” Additionally, visitors were treated to motion pictures of the Tucker being driven around the Chicago factory. The latter was, no doubt, a clever attempt to showcase The ad for August’s Tucker appearance at The Museum of Science and Industry promised the public a chance to view the technology they had read and heard about in the press, along with a few Tucker Corp marketing tricks not usually associated with science or industry: models from NYC’s famed Conover Agency (owner Harry Conover coined the phrase “Cover Girl”) and a revolving stage.

The August 8 edition of The New York Times offered a rousing review of the previous day’s opening festivities at the Museum, reporting a daily attendance at 15,000. For perspective, historical records state the Museum averaged just over 9,500 visitors per week at its peak. And the crowds never let up. According to the book The Indomitable Tin Goose, the Museum of Science and Industry enjoyed 100,000 total paid admissions for the 10-day run of the Tucker exhibit which meant attendance and receipts surpassed even the most popular Broadway shows over the same time stretch.

Among the novel highlights of the exhibit mentioned in the NYT was a “talking chassis where features of the car were explained through electrical sound devices.” Additionally, visitors were treated to motion pictures of the Tucker being driven around the Chicago factory. The latter was, no doubt, a clever attempt to showcase both the car and the impressive enormity of the plant.

Steering (Gossip) Columns

The Museum exhibit and the resulting press coverage weren’t all about the “Car of Tomorrow.” In NY’s glossy magazines, style often trumps substance. And the Tucker demonstration packed style in spades. Nothing proved that more than the two-column recap of the exhibition that ran in the August 16, 1947 issue of The New Yorker magazine. As part of its “Talk of the Town” feature, a society column, attention was placed firmly on the more fabulous aspects of the premiere.

Despite the fact that the event was held at one of the country’s most popular venues for the showcasing of modern marvels of science, the column eschewed physics for physiques, specifically those of the models: how they looked while “affectionately patting” the luggage and “uncomprehendingly” viewing the engine. Also mentioned, at length, was Mr. Tucker’s choice of wardrobe, his blasting of the Golden State (“…I’ve taken a writ of mandamus against California.”), and the unintentionally humorous misspellings and malapropisms contained in the “164,000 Unsolicited Letters from Two Newspaper Ads in 26 Cities” (this claim was according to the Tucker Corp’s placard on a mail bin that accompanied the exhibit). But that kind of biting is par for the course in New York social journalism, even today.

While it wasn’t always the case for Tucker, the buzz around the prototype in NY was all GOOD publicity. The Museum of Science and Industry exhibit was a victory for Durstine, Travers and the other demonstration organizers. The people and the press of New York were atwitter with all things Tucker.

But, reminiscent of the NYT story of 1946, New Yorkers had once again fallen for a bit smoke-and-mirrors courtesy of Tucker Corp. Although Preston Tucker himself made it very clear during his visit to New York that production had not yet begun on the Tucker sedan, it didn’t seem to matter to the thousands who clamored for a glimpse of the Tin Goose. The public filled the halls from opening until close. The chassis “talked,” and nobody walked.

It was August of 1947. Exactly 65 years ago this month. And New Yorkers spun, just like a revolving stage, head over heels for the Tucker.

Jul 13, 2013

Cutting a Rug

Oh, how I love to dance. It's one of the few activities in life where I can pretty much let my soul be free and feel honest to goodness joy.

A bit of trivia...my dance partner is Lori, who is mentioned in the previous post.

May 25, 2013

Washed Up

Laundry. My friend Lori calls it the “bane of my existence.” She has a family of five. I’m just me, but I feel the same way.

For nearly ten years, my estranged husband did the laundry. When we lived in a rental apartment, he hauled the hampers to the communal washers or the town laundromat. It was a bit of a Sunday ritual for him. In between the wash and the dry, he’d bring home breakfast sandwiches and coffee.

When we bought the co-op where I still live, he rolled our laundry carts through the hallway and took them down the elevator to the coin-op washers and dryers.

Tonight, while doing my laundry, I realized I take a lot of things for granted. I now do the laundry on Friday or Saturday nights. Sometime around midnight. There’s no toasted bagel or fresh coffee waiting when I return. Just cold Chinese food and cheap red wine or bitter light beer.

I practice a lot more gratitude these days. John, if you are reading, please accept my thanks for a decade of toiling over soiled clothes.

The act of doing laundry is, theoretically, not all that horrible. Put the clothes in the machine, pay a small fee, pour the soap, and press a button. The pain in the ass part has everything to do with time. And rules.

See, I live in a building with upwards of 130 apartments and only eight washing machines. I live a frantic, wheel-spinning life. To set aside two fucking hours where I have to remain both contentious of time and fully clothed (I have a personal “no pants” in the apartment policy) is torture. I’ve tried throwing in a load and bolting to the store while it’s on, but I always run late and some “neighbor” ends up removing my wet clothes and putting them in a cart. That really pisses me off. Hence, my practice of midnight laundry.

I didn’t always hate it. Recently, another friend had got me thinking about my childhood: specifically, where I grew up. My family lived in the upstairs apartment of a two-family house in Wallington, NJ. A Polish town. My childhood smelled of boiled cabbage and smoked kielbasa. Smells that were weird and borderline repulsive at the time but, strangely, now make my mouth water.

Our family of six was allowed to use the single washer and dryer in the basement. We were also able to store a few items – bicycles, inflatable kiddie pools, etc. – down there. But, the area was mainly storage for our landlord, Ed.

For some inexplicable reason, I took to wanting to do the laundry at some point in my youth. My younger sister and I would sit on lawn furniture that we set up in the basement for the duration of the wash and dry cycles. I was a few years ahead of her in school, and would tell her stories that I had memorized from my reading lessons. At that time, I was ahead of the other kids in reading class and would either have private sessions from Sister Roberta, the principal, or go to the grade ahead of me for classes. I think it was all some weird act of favoritism since I declared in kindergarten that I had the vocation to be a nun. But I’m not in Catholic school anymore. In fact, Sister Roberta would have a fit if she knew what I was up to tonight.

Anyway, MB and I would sit in the undoubtedly asbestos-filled darkness until the cycles were complete. In addition to the story telling, we’d “explore” the landlord’s section of the room. There was the usual “basement stuff” – lawnmowers, garden hoses, housewares – but also fucked up shit like rusted machetes and personal items that we felt a bit guilty peeking into. But as curious kids, we did it anyway. We were adventurous/creepy (still are) and that was exciting.

I remembered of all of this tonight. And I thought: “Why shouldn’t laundry be weird and fun? Why should I let the constraints of time turn this into a chore?"

Taking a cue from the Buddhists, I decided to practice mindful clothing washing. Upon entering the laundry room, I noticed the “Van Gogh in Arles” print. I had recently made a crack about how all mental health practitioners seem to have a print from that period in their waiting rooms. It’s a symbol of madness to be had.

Then I noticed this odd painting over the top-loader that I had inadvertently caused to, um, go up in flames last November.

WTF? It’s hideous.

I tried to read the signature and date, but it was completely illegible. You figure someone who was capable of such a masterpiece would be able to write their own name and a date with a steady hand.

I poured my detergent, relinquished my modest fee, and went back to my apartment for 35 minutes. Chinese food. Beer.

Upon my return, I saw the one machine was done. The other still had 6 minutes on it.

I sat down.

The machine made a kind of rhythm and, as I was a bit drunk, kind of dug it. Two Filipino chicks with plastic red cups filled with rancid wine entered to pull their thongs and Daisy Dukes from the dryers. They were giggling incessantly and were over the moon about how the guy at the 7-11 proofed them for cigarettes. They must have thought I'm an old lady. They left and “my” machine STILL had 6 minutes on it. What the hell?

I’d been thinking a lot about the concept of time due to the influence of those same emails which made me think about my childhood. But fuck philosophy. I wanted to take my pants off.

Uggh. I had no choice but to wait.

The rhythm of the machine got me again. I silently started to recite A Tribe Called Quest lyrics to its thumps.

What was wrong with that machine? Something must wrong with that machine.

I unloaded my “done” clothes from the washer and threw them into an available dryer. Half-drunk, I tossed the lavender dryer sheets gaily into the dryer like rose petals before a bride and even did a few ballet moves. Shit. I’m glad there are no cameras in there.

But there is a ridiculous representation of roses in the room.

The washer was still on 6.

It was then that I became overwhelmed with the connection between my distant past, my recent past, my sort of present, and my now.

With one machine completing its cycle…and the other stuck on 6.

May 24, 2013

I Did this with My Mind

Now I have to go to my closet and pray...ask to be forgiven.

(Kidding, kidding...)

Apr 15, 2013

Measuring Up

There was an article on ScienceMag.org this month titled “The Final Word on Penis Size?”. Yes, it was phrased as a question.

The article explained the basics of an Australian (first problem) study in which researchers created 343 nekkid, computer-generated “men” who were comprised of various traits based on data of Italian men (second problem) associated with attractiveness and something called “reproductive success.” These included penis size, height, and shoulder to hip ratio. Women were shown a series of life-sized projections of these CPR-dummies with wangs, and asked to rate their attractiveness as potential lovers.

Just so you can play along at home, here is a sample of three of our CGI Casanovas:

As one might expect, the models who were more generously illustrated in the genital region fared better as a whole. But there were exceptions. As the author put it, “the penis doesn’t exist in a vacuum.” Apparently, he hasn’t been on Amazon lately.

Seriously, though. The vacuum comment was to make the point that gray drones with other traditionally attractive features, such as above-average height and v-shaped torsos, could get away with slightly smaller junk than those the article referred to as “shorter or potato-shaped” models.

This saddened me as I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the conventionally unattractive mock men. Hey, gray spuds, I’ll take ya any day over a stud…as long as you only have “eyes” for me. As a small-fry myself, I understand there may be more to your a-peel, lil’ silvery tater-tots.

Oh, but this is, erm, hard science, after all. Can’t let compassion get in the way.

Alright, I know I made fun of the fact that this was Australian research, but the most surprising comment in the piece came from one Dr. Jones, an American biologist who studies sexual selection and mate choice at Texas A&M University. Though since he is from Texas and, like their own state Board of Tourism says “Texas: it’s like a whole other country,” I’m not sure if his opinion is worth much of anything either. But here it goes:
“Just because a woman prefers a man with a large penis doesn't mean that she's going to find one. Outside the lab, there's greater variation and more traits to consider, so penis size might not be as important. That's good, because hurdles like competition with other women and her own perceived attractiveness could place her with a man who comes up a little short.”
Say whaaaaat? Is this fella saying that all the bitches outside the lab better check themselves because the “hurdle” of competition from hotties (cue the Victoria’s Secret underwear dance party that devolves into a feather pillow fight...ugh) and having inflated self-esteem regarding our looks will keep us from attaining a man with a monstrous member? Well, I looked up the good doctor and it turns out he is indeed involved in the study of sexual selection and mate choice…of fucking fish!


Yep, he is a marine biologist focused on “sexual selection, mating patterns, and gamete competition in seahorses and pipefishes,” as well as “the evolution of male pregnancy and the brood pouch” – whatever the hell that is.

Baffled by why ScienceMag.org would consult a marine biologist in regard to this human-focused “Down Under” research, I did some poking around the Interwebs. It turns out it wasn’t so far-fetched after all. In fact, landoverbaptist.org has published some shocking findings regarding male genitalia from the bustling undersea community of Bikini Bottom:

fig 1:
fig 2:

Ok, folks, this is just getting silly. So I’m gonna close with my usual advice that I’m not gonna take.

Size does matter, absolutely. But every person applies quantitative or qualitative measurement to something different, and that’s OK. For some sorry men and women, physical attributes are make-or-break. I try to avoid those types as their minds tend to be even narrower than the waists of those they chase. Others aren’t so much about the privates as they are about the Benjamins but, as we know, money can't buy intangibles. For me, it's certainly what’s behind the eyes – not between the thighs – that matters.

So, I guess the only thing we can do is be the best person we can be and hope that we find someone who uses a magic yardstick made to specifically measure that special something that we, personally, bring to this crazy world. And to hope that in those painful times when we feel that we don't or we can't measure up, we don't feel too beaten by a yardstick that wasn't made for us.

In the meantime, stay away from gray men, people who use the word "brood pouch," and that SpongeBob...as I think he may have ulterior motives.

Mar 15, 2013

Uncanny Progress

I promise, I'll stop with this stuff soon and write something proper. But this is just too weird.

Last month's "future" is now the "present," and my new future looks a hell of a lot more promising. Can't ever argue with the word "fabulous"...

Feb 14, 2013

Happy Endings

This surreally-romantic scene seemed like a nice clip to post this Valentine's Day. The YouTube version does not include the infamous "penis frame," but what the hell. That's not what today is all about...nah, not at all.

Anyway, if any lonely soul wants to (metaphorically) blast corporate greed and wax poetic about identity crises, come on over. I've got the Pixies on the iTunes and a killer view to boot.

Bonus points if you tell me "everything's gonna be fine."

Excerpted from the final script of...

Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk/Screenplay by Jim Uhls

You shot yourself?

INSERT: "Where is my mind?" by the Pixies.

Yes, but it's ok. Marla look at me. I'm really ok. Trust me. Everything's gonna be fine.

MASSIVE EXPLOSION...the glass walls rattle...Jack and Marla look -- OUT THE WINDOWS: A BUILDING EXPLODES; collapsing upon itself. Then ANOTHER BUILDING IMPLODES into a massive cloud of dust. Jack and Marla are silhouetted against the SKYLINE. Jack looks Marla, reaches to take her hand.

You met me at a very strange time in my life.




Jan 25, 2013

Not Down for The Count

There are many opinions on why the recent zombie fad has taken such a pop-culture foothold. The blogosphere offers profound theories suggesting that zombies personify such intangibles as humanity’s lack of spirituality, political disenfranchisement, and inability to face mortality.

Well, I think all that is overblown. I believe the zombie phenomenon is based on something much simpler and primitive – like that we all, to some degree or another, want to hit each other over the heads with hammers and eat peoples’ faces off. The “zombie-made-me-do-it” excuse offers the perfect cop-out.

While contemplating my own thoughts on the zombie craze – a single-sided skull session inspired by a commercial for a zombie romance (wha?) movie called Warm Bodies – it dawned of the dead on me that we shouldn’t fear the stereotypical zombie of the horror or (apparently, now) romantic comedy genres. Our real enemy is what I call the “creative zombie.” No, this is not an echelon of undead with exceptional artistic talents or outside-of-the-box thinking skills. Quite the opposite: they are fleshy vessels for ideas which should be long dead. Unlike traditional zombies, their pound of flesh is not physical; they kill all forms of progress and breed mediocrity. These automatons are not things of nightmares or legends...they walk among us. In fact, the creative zombie is even more insipid than its traditional counterpart because instead of wearing evidence of its cannibalistic nature on its tattered sleeve, they hide it. Under well-pressed clothes. Furthermore, in contrast to the zombies in the movies, the creative zombie survives at the end. More often than not, they don’t just survive, they triumph.

I’ve taken some downtime this week. And, though I’m not much of a TV-watcher, I’ve caught myself getting sucked in to some pretty mindless programming. And TV, of course, is one of the most powerful tools of the creative zombie.

One particularly stupid show I found myself glued to yesterday was a program on H2 called Counting Cars. It’s an absolutely absurd reality show about some guy who, oddly enough, does not enumerate automobiles. No. It centers around a restoration/kustomization/whatever shop owned by a fella who calls himself “The Count” despite his name being Danny and his ancestry comprising of no clear royal lineage. (In a bizarre coincidence, this nickname originates from his stint as a B-horror movie host on a network TV station.)

I have no idea why this show is on the History Channel except that it is a spinoff of another show that was already on the History Channel and the creative zombie craves convenience. I mean, The Count has absolutely nothing in common with H2 staples Hitler or Genghis Khan. Well…I guess all three had a penchant for accessorizing with skull motifs.

Anyway, I suppose the reason I am harping on this particular show – which, in all fairness isn’t the worst program on TV – is that it coughs creative zombie-ism from every exhaust pipe. The show is unoriginal, not particularly entertaining, and the personalities aren’t compelling in the least. Yet it keeps on comin’ atcha with the unrelenting brute force only a zombie can wield: sucking us in, one minute at a time, making our minds as dull and useless as the show’s premise. And I am ashamed, because I fell for it.

Can I use the “zombie-made-me-do-it” excuse just this once?

During a portion of the show where the zombie grip loosened (I think it was when one guy tricked another into sitting in a pool of lotion through some cunning involving a prank phone call), I actually began to thumb through the stack of reading material I’ve been meaning to tackle…but was stopped.

What is that? The Count made a regulation pool table out of a Ranchero? Sonofabitch…it has skulls on it!

The Count: 1; the written word: 0.

See? The creative zombie is so stealthy in its might that it transcends the heavy-handed tactics of the traditional zombie. With the power of the TV, they don’t even need strength to breach our homes. They’re invited in with a click of a remote control. The only strength needed is that which is necessary for us who are still living to pry our eyes from the screen, put down the remote, and walk away.

We can do this. Don’t let them win.

Jan 10, 2013

Have You Heard the Good News?

So, I was reading Ecclesiastes.

Don’t worry, it was the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible.

The book of Ecclesiastes is, in the simplest terms, an autobiographical account of a Truth (yes, the capital “T” kind) seeker. Some say it was written anonymously, others claim it was written by Solomon in his last years. I’m sure there are other theories, but it’s late and I don’t care. Whoever it was does refer to himself (“Koheleth”) in the third person à la modern-day philosophers Mike Tyson and Jesse Ventura, which is always the mark of a sound mind. Oh, and there is the matter of when it was written…another minor mystery that remains “open.” But none of this matters.

What does matter, according to the words of Koheleth is, well, also nothing. This will come as excellent news to those of us who have long suspected such. In fact, this ancient text reinforces such gems as: nothing is fair; good shit happens to good people and bad people while, on the same hand, bad shit happens to bad people and good people; no human knows how to provide for the welfare of themselves or others; the more knowledge people have, the more miserable they become; greed is bad, but; smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, because; we are all going to die.

Aside from no specific mention of the Fiscal Cliff, mass shootings, or the fact that NY Met catcher Mike Piazza didn’t make the cut in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, it seems things really have not changed much since approximately 450 BC. This is despite Koheleth’s overarching message that – again, paraphrasing – nothing is permanent and that there is a season for everything. (Ecclesiastes, of course, served as the inspiration for the folk tune "Turn! Turn! Turn!”).

So, Natalie, what is this all about? Well, you do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around, and that's what it's all about. Wait, I think Natalie is on a tangent. Focus, girl.

Ecclesiastes, yes. Yes, there was one verse that struck Natalie as particularly relevant to her life at the moment. Hold your breath, kids; Natalie is about to quote the Bible:
Ecclesiastes 1:15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered (King James)
Or another way:
What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted (New International Version)
Or the way I interpreted it (note: for optimal effect read it aloud in a Sling Blade voice – preceded by an “I reckon” and followed up with an “umm…hmm”):
Ya can’t make a twisted thing straight, and ya can’t make somethin’ outta nuthin’ 
Why this verse? Well, it turns out I’m ready to admit I’m a twisted thing and I’m fucking done trying to make imaginary and futile things add up to shit that, well, just doesn’t add up.

Why now? You see, one of the most confounding characters I’ve ever had the chance to chum up on this mortal coil called me “weird” last week. Now, I’ve been called “weird” (and worse) many times before, but this was different. I was out of my element and feeling particularly sensitive. Plus, we are talking about a pretty big pot throwing labels at little ol’ Ms. Kettle, if you catch my drift.

I thought about it for a while and wondered why I was so bothered by the comment. It took some time, and a drink or two, but I think I understand now. I’ve spent way too long trying to make this twisted thing straight. I’ve tried so hard to live a certain way, act a certain way, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (that last part sounds best when read in a Yul Brynner “King of Siam” voice) according to the situation.

It was like I was living as some unfortunately-proportioned Barbie Doll. There was a professional Natalie, a gym Natalie, a perfectionist Natalie, a fun-time Natalie, and then a Natalie that seethed and defied and either spoke too little or too much because she couldn’t figure out what the fuck Natalie she was supposed to be. And that last Natalie kinda-sorta took over. Slowly, she became Unisom Natalie who stayed up all night nursing fears and self-loathing like the wounds they are. She'd ponder all the injustice that she never had and never will have any power over. She'd fret over knowledge she thought she didn’t possess and wisdom she thought she’d never attain. She'd covet all the meaningless shit that she can’t afford and won’t be able to take with her in the end. And she did all this while forgetting that she indeed embodies strength, love, and an intangible uniqueness that may actually linger after she’s gone.

So yeah, the words of Koheleth and my sugar-huffing pal have made me see the error of my ways. I am not “weird” because I’m a twisted thing; I’m “weird” because I’m trying to fix myself. And fixing twisted shit just doesn’t work.

It says so in the Bible.