Drama queen

Happy Garden
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS I did think about drinking myself to death, I admit, but it wasn't a serious thought. I just thought, I can drink and drink and drink ... but everyone knows I can't. I fall asleep after one. Sometimes I don't even finish it.

Still, you like to pretend, and there's a certain mystique to drinking oneself to death, like Billie Holliday. Or working oneself to death, like John Henry. Or crying oneself to death, like lots of people.

Mystique is good.

I know what you're thinking, but it won't work. My stomach is cast iron, and very well-seasoned at that; my metabolism, miraculous. I have, in fact, a pretty incredible body to live in. If I have an Achilles heel — and the anatomy experts among us are going, "You do!" times two — but if I have an Achilles heel, it's the roof of my mouth. Or, the insides of my cheeks and lips where I'm constantly cannibalizing myself, by accident, because I eat like a wolf.

I am prone to mouth ulcers. Hmm ...

It's decided! I am going to eat-only-acidic-things to death. Tomatoes. Vinegar. Hot peppers. Grapes. Orange juice. Lemons. Tomatoes. Reckless rebel that I am, I shall henceforth bite the pizza the moment it arrives at the table! I don't care. Already the sides of my tongue hurt when I chew. The roof of my mouth feels gritty like an inside-out worm. Soon it will shred, then crumble, then fall away and I'll die, on the floor, an empty jar of peperoncini next to my head.

And everyone will say, "Whoa, she peperoncini'd herself to death. How mysterious, exotic, and, and, mystique-y!"

There will be a rush on my books and albums, so I better get busy. Tell you something about life, real fast: It sucks. Everyone knows this, because it's wired right in. Life sucks, and rocks. What you may not know is that the split is exactly 50-50. And I don't need a very big chalkboard to show you the math. One plus one = two things: the miraculous kick-ass fact of your point-of-view, and the sadly inescapable fact of its total cessation.

Now, life happens off of the chalkboard. Thanks to the decimal point, one of our tiniest and most powerful inventions, there are an infinity of possible percentages between none and 100. If you would describe yourself as 51 percent happy, you are 1 percent kidding yourself, or deluded, or lying, or repressed; at 49 percent happy, you are 1 percent whiner. If you're 100 percent happy, you're a spiritually enlightened new ager or religious zealot. In which case you may not even eat bacon. End of conversation.

My goal is 50-50, because that's where you laugh the hardest and cry the most, and therefore where bacon tastes best.

My sister asked if I thought it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. I said I sided with Alfred Lord, which is, to me, a no-brainer. Since loss is a given, you may as well love your socks and panties off getting there.

On a day when I never even made it out of my pajamas, I also talked for hours and hours with a friend in Bakersfield who is coaching me on dating married men. We knew each other only slightly and for about a year, many years ago. Apparently, we were sleeping with all the same guys at the same time, although I never knew this until she recently e-hunted me down and told me so.

I was, like, cool. A coach! Because, unlike me, she never digressed, and continues to this day to go for the enigma. Me, I digress. I have a problem, I know, and it isn't depression so much as digression. Probably it isn't even a problem. It's just that —

Never mind.

Another person I talked to that day was my brother, who is in Ohio. I asked him if I was a drama queen and he hesitated.

My new favorite restaurant is Happy Garden because I didn't get sick when I ate there.

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