Elizabeth Warren, Winona Ryder, and me

So, about Elizabeth Warren and the DNA test that says she has a Native American ancestor from generations ago: she thought she was of Native American ancestry and it’s what she believed. It was lore that was passed down by family and over the generations it got older, but it is what she believed to be true.

And it’s personal for me because…I just had my DNA done. I am adopted by Jewish people and self-identify as a Jew, but I also have this Catholic-Jesus thing, so I call myself Jatholic. Now, my birth mom was Catholic, but one of her (my) relatives told me my father was Jewish, and that all fit for me. It was my ideal. Catholic and Jewish.

Then I get my DNA done, and I am 99.9% European, but only 0.2% Askenazi Jew. There are like 2 drops of Jewish blood in my body.

So this is sort of an existential crisis for me, but I am prone to saying, “Oy Gottenu” and “it’s a shandeh and a charpeh” and around my neck I wear two Catholic miraculous medals, a hamsa, a Star of David my daughter bought me, and the Icelandic Viking bindrune for the word love.

As far as I’m concerned, the two drops make me enough of a Jew to take Yom Kippur off and feel bad about all the shitty things I have done in the previous year.

And as far as I am concerned, Elizabeth Warren is Native American.

Remember what Cher said to Winona Ryder’s character in the movie “Mermaids” as she prayed before the statues of Mary and Jesus on her dresser: “Charlotte, we’re Jewish.”


A shout-out to Al at Shop-Rite

Our work picnic is tomorrow and I needed to pick up fried chicken to contribute. On a cash economy until payday, and I counted out about $65 in the car so I knew what I could spend.

So I got fried chicken and grabbed my necessities for the week–cream for coffee, toothbrushes, Chobani key lime, peanut butter crackers en masse for snacks at office, – frozen mac and cheese–and everything came to about $50. Got in line, and while the person before me was being rung up, I got my money. All I found was $41.

As the cashier started to ring me up, I asked him to hold on and only ring up what had to be refrigerated because I must have left money in my car. He asked me if I wanted to go to my car, and I just started blathering: “I had cancer this year, I am freaking out at the moment and having a hot flash, had radiation and surgery, I am so sorry, I can’t go back out to the car because I am really sweaty…” Like a total hot flash nervous breakdown and I could feel myself turning red.

And the cashier, Al was his name, tells me he is a Christian and it’s all going to be all right, and he hates to see someone upset on his line, and I have clearly had a bad year. And he says he will only ring up the cold stuff, and it will all be okay. And the woman behind me says that she likes Al, that he is a good guy.

And as he is ringing just the cold stuff, I am digging in my purse yet again, as I had for the past 5 minutes, and I find another $40. And Al tells me things work out when you don’t get upset. And he wants me to have a better year and maybe we will all feel better after November, anyway, because of the elections.

So I bought my toothbrushes and peanut butter crackers and all I had planned to. And Al said he wanted me to feel better and he will keep me on his prayer list.

When I got to the car, I was still shaken because that incident reminded me of so many broke single mom incidents when I was trying to pay for stuff for my kids. I guess they are never far from my thoughts. And then it struck me that Al, a stranger to me, was kinder to me right then than some people I loved and trusted were to me during my cancer and treatment. And that is sad in a way, too, maybe, but I sure am glad that there are people like Al out there in this world.

Thank you, Al at Shop-Rite.

God bless my elderly neighbor

I have a sweet neighbor downstairs: an 80-year old woman who speaks primarily Spanish and not much English. She’s got nice children who come to visit her and a cute, little chihuahua.

I know she is a great cook because when I come home from work, amazing smells are coming into my apartment from my stairway, which is near her kitchen.

My neighbor must be part of a government senior program because she receives frozen meals from SunMeadow, which provides food to senior programs. I know she gets these senior meals because she gives them to me. Every couple of weeks, I find a bag of 10 or so frozen SunMeadow meals by my front door, and I Googled SunMeadow to figure out why she had all this generic-looking frozen food to pass to me.

Years ago, we used to visit my ex-husband’s grandma. (We can’t now, as she has passed away and she wouldn’t want to see me if she were alive, anyway, BECAUSE I DIVORCED HER GRANDSON.) She, too, received free food from the government. She was always cutting large pieces of American cheese off the massive slab she’d get from the government and send it home with us. Imagine a slice of American cheese that tasted like it had a full teaspoon of salt in it. It really was disgusting cheese. No wonder she wanted to get rid of it.

I think the government was trying to give my ex-husband’s grandma high blood pressure. (If you met her, you might understand why.)

Anyway, salt content rules must have changed because SunMeadow meals taste saltless. Whether it’s the chili or applesauce or chicken, there is just no flavor. I find them inedible, so I cut up the entrees and give them to the dogs. They don’t mind flavorless breaded fish. I sometimes eat the vegetables. The dessert always goes in the trash.

I know my neighbor is doing this to be kind because she does not want these frozen meals and her kids know I was really sick for a good part of this year. So God bless her for this kindness to me. But now I have a freezer full of SunMeadow senior meals that I am never going to eat and that I microwave to give to the dogs.

I got a ticket on Wednesday morning

On Wednesday morning, I rolled a stop sign. Okay, I simply did not stop. In my defense, a turning lane turns into its own little turnoff street, and I was turning right onto another road, so I looked left, saw nobody was coming, and turned right when I’d only slowed down. And, also in my defense, there wasn’t always a stop sign there. They just put one there. So I wasn’t used to having to fully stop at this turn.

But a police officer pulled me over and gave me a ticket. I have to pay $85 for not stopping. Not real happy about it, but life goes on.

The police officer was nice-looking, around my age, and not wearing a wedding ring. He was also very pleasant. But I Googled him when I got into the office, and he is married…

So that was Wednesday. On Friday, I’d gotten letters from 5 or 6 lawyers for representation. Today, I got another 5 or 6 more. For rolling a stop sign.

So, when you get a ticket, does your name go into some instantaneous database that says you are a scofflaw and you need representation? And then lawyers write to you that very second?

I did not beat anyone up, steal from an elderly person, or rob a convenience store at gunpoint, folks. I rolled a stop sign. I am going to pay my ticket and move forward with my life. Please stop with the offers of legal representation.

If they keep bombarding me with this shit, I may miss the letter from Publisher’s Clearing House telling me I won $5000 a week for life. And missing that would piss me off way more than an $85 ticket for rolling a stop sign in Lawrenceville.

Sometimes you just have to lie

Some six months ago, my very dear friend, “John,” moved from the northeast, where people are pretty normal, to Florida, which is, you know, different than here.

John had the audacity to FaceTime me tonight, and I don’t like these video Skype/FaceTime apps because I don’t want anyone to see my face or my messy place. I don’t usually pick up but I did for him, but only because I love him.

Anyway, I noticed John’s nice new short Florida haircut, and he told me he just got it at the very convenient barber shop he’s been going to that’s just a few blocks away. Likes the barber, who does a great job on his hair. But, he tells me, the poor guy has been having a hard time finding reliable people to work in his busy shop. When John showed up for his haircut, he asked about the guy who used to work there, and the barber said he had to let him go. “And I have a new guy now, and he was supposed to be here 20 minutes ago, but he’s late,” he said.

So, John was sympathizing with this barber about the lack of good help when the barber’s cell phone rang, and he said he had to take it. And while John is sitting there, he heard one side of the conversation, which involved statements like “What?” “Oh,” and “Um, okay,” coupled with some perplexed facial gestures.

When the barber got off the phone, he said that it was the other barber who had just called and that he was not going to be able to come in that day because — and this is exactly what he said to his boss — he had been fingerbanging his wife the night before and his hand was all cramped up and he was unable to hold a scissor.

He did not say he had food poisoning or the flu or that he had a fever, but that his hand was cramped from fingerbanging his wife.

I guess I’d like to know what other human being in the world would tell their boss this. Under what circumstance is this something you’d say to your boss when calling out sick?

And I have more questions. How does the boss ever shake this guy’s hand again without thinking of fingerbanging? How does he shake his hand, period? Forget ordering lunch and sharing French fries. That’s not going to happen. What does the boss say if he ever meets this guy’s wife? How do you look a woman in the face knowing she was recently fingerbanged so rigorously that her husband could not hold a scissor the next day? I mean, do you think to yourself, “she’s got a vagina that really likes a beating”? How do you avoid thinking that?

Look, I have to be honest: I am not a wise person. I make a lot of mistakes. I am overly emotional. I have anxiety. I take medication for it. I am not one to be able to offer anyone useful advice.

Still, I think I am doing you all a favor by telling you that if you ever need to call out for work, do not use the excuse that you were fingerbanging your wife so hard the night before that your hand is all cramped up.

Say you have diarrhea, Ebola, huge clots from your period, or that you lopped off some toes in a tragic farming accident. I would not lead you astray. Any of those, all of those, are far better than telling your boss you have cramps in your hand from fingerbanging your wife.