I’m Dreaming of a White Plains Christmas




9 year old boy is lying in bed. Mother is sitting in a chair next to him.

MOTHER: (bored) So what do you want for Christmas?

BOY: A working kidney would be nice.

MOTHER: (rolling her eyes) Besides that?!

BOY: Well, anything else would be kind of pointless since the doctors don’t think I’m gonna make it to Christmas.

MOTHER: Do you have to be such a downer? Can’t you show a little Holiday spirit?

BOY: I’ll try.

MOTHER: (looking at a notebook) What’s the name of your disease again? I want to put it in the Christmas letter.

BOY: It’s just kidney failure.

MOTHER: I don’t like the word failure. I’ll just put cancer. That pretty much covers everything. Well, goodnight. Sweet dreams.

BOY: Good night mother.

Father and mother in the living room.

MOTHER: Look, Timmie’s asking for the kidney again. Can’t you just let up and buy him one?

FATHER: We’ve talked about this.

MOTHER: Frank says he’s already arranged with a seller in India. It’s not like you can’t afford it.

FATHER: It turns out that guy already sold one of his kidneys. Greedy fuckers.

MOTHER: So. He’s willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his family.

FATHER: He probably already sold the better one. If I’m gonna pay 20 grand for someone’s kidney I want to pick which one.

MOTHER: Well, I’m sure there are plenty of other kidneys for sale in India.

FATHER: Forget it. I’m sticking to my policy of only buying American.

MOTHER: Well, that always costs more. But Frank can probably find you one in Kentucky or somewhere.

FATHER: Look Alison. If I get him the kidney now, next time he’s gonna want a liver, then a heart. Where does it stop?

MOTHER: I think it would stop there. At the heart. Why couldn’t you have just given him your kidney?

FATHER: Because, if I only have one I’d have to cut down on my drinking and you know that’s not gonna happen. Why don’t you give him one of yours?

MOTHER: I’m saving mine since it looks like you’re probably gonna need one eventually.

FATHER: Well – what about his sister? Why didn’t that work out?

MOTHER: She’s not a match.

FATHER: That doesn’t make sense. Same parents.

MOTHER: (acting cagey) It’s just not gonna work – that’s all.

FATHER: Oh – I get it.

MOTHER: Well, as long as we’re going there. You must have a few other kids kicking around somewhere. I’ve seen the cancelled checks. Can’t you hit one of those mothers up?

FATHER: I’m not giving another penny to any of those vultures or their brats. They’re bleeding me dry as it is. Look – he needs to learn to fend for himself. I’m trying to make a man out of him. If he makes it to manhood. He’s never been very healthy anyway. Maybe it’s time to give up on this one.


SISTER: I think Timmie’s dead.

MOTHER: How do you know?

SISTER: I just walked by his room and he was kind of choking and then making this gurgling sound and then… (making a dead face) Nothing.

FATHER: Oh for Christ’s sake. I’ve had enough. I’m going out.

MOTHER: Oh, and leave me here to deal with this.

FATHER: The housekeeper will be here soon. Let her handle it.

Father leaves

MOTHER: Great. Just great.

SISTER: Can I have his room?

MOTHER: Aren’t you going off to college soon?

SISTER: I’m only 14.

MOTHER: 14? Didn’t you just have a birthday?

SISTER: Yeah, yesterday. Remember the party? Oh, you probably wouldn’t. Well, to refresh your memory, You left with my friends Lincoln and Dylan. Not sure where you three went but we were all happy to see you go.

MOTHER: (remembering fondly) Oh yeah. Anyway, when I was 14 I’d already left home and was making my own way – as a dancer.

SISTER: Dancer, ha! You mean stripper and I’d be fine with that if you had given me the titty job I wanted for my birthday.

MOTHER: OK. OK. You’ll get implants for Christmas. Oh. Maybe you can have mine. I’m thinking of going with something smaller and perkier.

SISTER: I don’t want hand me down boobs! And besides – yours are so out of style. More natural looking is the way to go now. Nobody gets those blow-up-doll basketballs anymore. Yours are such “mom boobs”

MOTHER: Hey, these “mom boobs” got me this house and everything else we have.

Doorbell, mother answers door. A man – a stranger is standing there, smiling.

VOLUNTEER: Hello. I’m wth the Christmas Fund. We’re collecting used toys and clothes for kids in need.

MOTHER: Your timing is perfect. There’s a whole bunch of stuff down the hall. Second room on the left. Take whatever you want.

VOLUNTEER: That’s very generous. Thank you.

MOTHER: I’m heading out. Just close the front door when you leave. It’ll lock behind you.

Volunteer exits towards Boy’s room.

SISTER: I’m not staying here alone. With him.

MOTHER: He looks harmless enough,

SISTER: Not him. I mean him.


Volunteer comes back out

VOLUNTEER: Excuse me, Um.

MOTHER: (snapping) He’s sleeping. Don’t worry. He doesn’t need any of that crap anymore.


Volunteer exits again.

MOTHER: Go cover him up with a blanket or something

SISTER: Eww! No.

MOTHER: All right. Do you want to come Christmas shopping with me?

SISTER: Uh. Yeah.

MOTHER: All right. Here’s my Christmas list. (looking at it) I guess we can scratch that name off.

MARIA enters

MOTHER: Oh, Maria. Good. We’re just going out. (starting to leave, then turning back) Oh, and Maria. Just remember it’s your people’s favorite time of year. Christmas Bonus Season.

MARIA: Yes Miss.


(Maria looks confused by mother’s comment as she heads into the apartment)


Happy Mother’s Day


This is an old post but I thought I’d revive it for Mother’s Day. In case you couldn’t guess, I don’t have any kids.

WHAT WAS I THINKING? (a work of fiction)

When I woke up post-delivery in the maternity ward, and a nurse came in to present me with my baby, my first thought was, “Really? Is that it? All of that for this?” I asked the nurse if she was sure it was the right baby. She laughed a little – nervously – and assured me that this was, in fact, my baby, then left me alone, a somewhat concerned look on her face.

I hadn’t made a very good first impression with the hospital staff. There had been a bit of a scene in the delivery room. But I’m sure that I’m not the first mother in labor to scream out, “Just cut me open and get this damn thing out. Alive or dead. I don’t care. Just put me out of my misery.” Well, maybe I was the only one. But I’m sure I was just expressing – loudly – very loudly – what other mothers were thinking at the time.

Anyway, once I had recovered from that trauma and was sitting up in bed, I held the baby and stared at it for a few minutes. Nothing. No love. No maternal feelings. Just indifference. I wanted it out of my way so that I could order lunch. Finally I put the baby down, got out of bed and snuck out of my room. I turned at the door for one last look. “This can’t be mine,” I thought. I crept down the hall to that baby viewing room to see what else was on offer.

I was hoping that upon seeing my real baby all of the hormonal juices would start flowing and I’d know right away that there had been some sort of mix up. Didn’t happen. There were five or six babies lying in bassinets. Some looked a little better than mine. Some worse. But none evoked any kind of response. I scurried back to my room before anyone could tell that I’d left my baby all alone. They tend to frown upon that sort of thing – leaving babies unattended – as I would eventually learn.

The baby was right where I left it. Making some little noises which I did not find adorable. “Well,” I thought. “I’m stuck with it.” The nurse came back in to ask if I was planning on breast feeding. I shot her a dirty look like she’d just asked me if I’d like another epidural. “Why don’t I take the baby so you can get some rest?” she suggested. I couldn’t hand it over fast enough.

Maybe it’s just a matter of time, I thought. However, days went by with no change in my attitude. No emotions – besides feeling more than a little let down. This was so anti-climactic. All that build up for what? Talk about overrated.

I shared some of my thoughts with a few choice friends. I approached the subject cautiously, not divulging all of my misgivings, just expressing it as a sort of mild disillusionment. The response was always the same. “You’re just suffering from post-partum depression. It will pass.” The problem was, I didn’t feel depressed. Just annoyed. And it didn’t pass.

It didn’t help that my husband J.J. showed no more enthusiasm than I did. He basically just ignored the baby. Sometimes he would grudgingly hold it for a minute while I was trying to do something, but generally his attitude was like that of a parent who has given their child a pet for Christmas. “You wanted it. Now you take care of it.” I don’t remember either J.J. or I wanting a child. But we must have. Right?

Sometimes I could talk J.J. into watching the kid so I could run out to the store without having some sort of awkward encumbrance strapped to my body in some very unflattering manner. Inevitably I’d leave the store having remembered everything except baby food or diapers or any of the other baby necessities on my list. I’d get half way home, then turn around and go back and, more times than not, I’d get distracted by something like the surprisingly large selection of gum and I’d forget the baby items again. Possibly it was intentional. Staring at rows of chewing gum was more enjoyable than dealing with a helpless, mute human – 24/7.

It was worse when I took the baby with me somewhere in the car. You would think that after all the strapping in and fussing over belts, buckles, etc., I wouldn’t forget that the baby was there. But I can’t tell you how many times I arrived home and absentmindedly left it in the carseat. It usually only took a few minutes before I suddenly realized why I was feeling so relaxed and contented. “Shit, I left the baby in the car again.” My first impulse was always to leave it there for awhile, but I’d mange to resist that thought. Got to be a responsible adult after all.

One time I did leave the baby in the car for almost an hour – by accident of course. A neighbor knocked on the door to let me know that I’d left an infant strapped into the back seat. I tried to look horrified. “Oh, my God!” I screamed as I ran out the door. What I really wanted to say was, “If you’re so fucking concerned, why don’t you take it?”

Maybe someone will take it. What does one have to do to have her child removed by the authorities? I started drinking heavily.

I had thought that I might enjoy the extra attention. It had been kind of fun being the pregnant woman whom people indulged and strangers started conversations with. But I eventually got tired of having to stop the stroller while people oohed and aahed and asked the same questions – over and over again. “What’s its name? How old is it?” I always had to stop and think of the answer to that last one. Let’s see – how long ago was it that my life came to an abrupt end? Sometimes I also forgot its name. Occasionally I just made one up on the spot to avoid the embarrassment.

I started buying mother’s magazines to see if I could get inspired. Maybe if I thought of this as a hobby I’d take more of an interest. “It just takes a while to get into the rhythm of it all,” my friend Veronica said to me one day. She’d said the same thing about yoga. I persisted in that case. She was wrong. And I knew better than to believe her this time.

I tried to think of something good that had come out of this whole experience. The paid time off from work was nice. Or would have been, if I could have used it to go on a vacation. I thought about asking my mother-in-law to take the baby for the remainder of my maternity leave so that J.J. and I (or better yet – just I) could go to Mexico. Veronica said I absolutely could NOT do that. “The public never forgave Princess Di for leaving her newborn to go skiing. Plus, look at what turds her kids turned out to be.”

The latter argument was wasted on me. I didn’t care if my kid grew up to be a turd. I didn’t care if it grew up to be anything. Truth be told. I didn’t care if it grew up at all.

Oh, well. I’d look terrible in a bathing suit right now anyway. I thought about ordering one of those personalized tee shirts “I went through 9 months of pregnancy and 10 hours of labor and all I got was this flabby body.”

I started hanging out with other mothers. Those are the only friends you’re allowed when you’ve got a newborn. These women were SO BORING. All they ever talked about was all of the amazing things their kids were doing. Amazing? I don’t think so. Were they writing piano sonatas? No. Turning over on their sides unassisted, or forcing their cunning little lips into a vague semblance of a smile was more like it. God help me!

These other mothers would say thing like, “I can’t wait until she can walk.” or “Won’t it be fun when he’s talking.” For myself – I can’t wait until it’s old enough to send off to boarding school.

And – it will be pretty great when it can support me in my old age. Sort of like a long term IRA. Except there are no guarantees. Better make it a really good boarding school.

Dear Mr. President



You once said, “I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose votes.”

Well guess what Donald?

You could cure cancer or facilitate world peace and the majority of Americans would still hate you.

You could single-handedly rescue an entire litter of sad-eyed puppies from drowning and people would still hate you.

And nobody would adopt the puppies.

You could donate a kidney to a needy 6-year-old Mexican boy and the Mexican boy’s family would still hate you.

And they’d consider putting the kid up for adoption.

We’re all just waiting for you to slip on a banana peel so we can laugh at you and post the video on social media.

And banana sales will skyrocket.

That’s the real reality Mr. Celebrity Apprentice/Wrestlemania

I guess if anyone knows “fake” it’s you.

But we all wish that the news was fake

And that you weren’t our president

And that the fake news was real

And you’d been abducted by aliens.

(And by the way, now that you’re “Mr. America” you don’t get to go on to “Mr. World” or “Mr. Universe” so give up your global domination plans and focus on your “Make America Greedy” campaign instead. Seems to be working for you.)

Happy Halloween


Here’s my Halloween costume. I’m a sad clown whose dreams of becoming a ballerina have been dashed. Story of my life. Sort of.

The leather jacket wasn’t part of the costume but it brings the look to another level. In this pic I’m a sad clown who has failed as a ballerina AND a rockstar.

Doesn’t life just suck?!


Tales from the City – part I


This is the sort of stupid tidbit I should have posted on Facebook but I’m running out of material for my blog.

I was trying to fix a friend’s statuette – an angel with a broken arm – so I searched around and found a little tube that I thought was SuperGlue. I was about to spread it on the angel’s empty shoulder socket when I noticed the warning on the side of the tube: “Do not use on cats” Funny, I thought, did someone once try to stick their cat’s tail back on after a tragic accident? Or have people been known to glue things onto cats just for amusement?

It turns out the tube was some sort of dog medicine. Does the fact that I never threw it out after whatever ailment I was treating was cured (can’t remember what or when it was) make me a hoarder? I think it’s very possible.

Happy Mothers’ Day


I’ve realized that one of my favorite subjects is babies. Probably second in popularity only to Jesus. So, in honor of Mothers’ Day – here’s yet another baby post.

mothers day

The Last Crucifixion of Christ


As the title indicates, this will be my last Jesus joke (for a while at least) I am turning my attention from Christ to Trump (another easy target)

This cartoon was scheduled for Easter but – as Jesus said after emerging from the tomb on day three – “Better late than never”


Happy Birthday Timi!

Generation Selfie


This is me.

In front of the Washingon Monument

I’m on a school trip to DC

Exploring the question

How does history impact me today?”

In this case – Makes me look fat.


I’m writing a paper

On evolution

Did you know that what sets humans apart from all other species

Is that we have thumbs?

And therefore can text


Humans are superior

Because we have all the answers

To all of the questions

At our fingertips

Unless the question, is “where’s my cell phone?”


Therefore (this is the conclusion)

We should be spending all of our research money

On inventing a cell phone that can’t be lost


Here’s the opener:

The source of all knowledge.

The cell phone

With it, we’re at the top of the food chain

Without it

We’re totally vulnerable

Standing around helpless

You could starve.


That’s the basic idea of my paper on evolution

Here’s the “resolution of conflict”

We’ve reached the pinnacle of human acheivement


In a society where we can read people’s minds

Why can’t someone come up with a medically embedded cell phone?

Let’s evolutionize ourselves

Rather than leaving it up to God

Darwin was right

God needs our help


BTW I read that about the human thumb on the internet

No. I’m not sure if it was a scientific journal

Or a blog

And I prefer not to say

I heard that…” or “I read somewhere…”

You should always just state something as a fact

It shows that you have confidence

That’s really the bottom line

The key to success


My Spiritual Awakening – OR – I Sold My Soul for a Bunch of Stale Donuts


(True story – 100% true)

I didn’t grow up with religion. My parents were atheists. My maternal grandparents were practicing Catholics. My father’s parents were fairly relaxed Protestants. When I was three years old, my parents got divorced and my mother, brother and I moved in with my mom’s parents. My grandmother (who I terrified of) would occasionally drag me to church. She tried to make it sound appealing. I got to dress up and she let me put the dollar into the collection basket. That was the highlight for me. The mass was excrutiatingly boring. I tried to enjoy it but honestly, even at one dollar, the experience was overvalued.

Flash forward half a dozen years. Junior High School. This was a very difficult time for me. We had moved from Cambridge Mass to a small redneck town in the Poconos. I was the weird kid. I had no friends. I desperately wanted to have friends.

There was a group of Catholic girls who went to something called CCC every Wednesday after school. I knew about this because my house was on the way to the parish hall and I used to walk part way with the girls. I was intrigued. Not only could this be a chance to make friends, belong to a group, I had also found out that there were refreshments – hot chocolate and donuts.

One Wednesday, I bypassed my house and continued on to St. Josephs. The girls introduced me to the priest and I was in. The hot chocolate and donuts were great but CCC was a bit of a reality check for me. It was Bible class. Every week we read passages and discussed them. I sat in the back of the room and played a game with a type of candy called Tart ‘n Tinies. They were like itty bitty wheels that I could roll down the sloping desk, paring them off in races. I ate the losers.

Eventually the priest called on me to read. I mispronounced Job as job – as in Steve Jobs. This led to my first experience with wrath. The priest called me out in front of the entire class. “You know better than that,” he yelled. I didn’t. I thought it was job. This may have been the moment when the priest realized that there was an infidel in their midst. I was asked to stay after class and it was explained to me that the kids in CCC were preparing for Confirmation. “Are you planning on getting confirmed?” “Uh. Sure” “Have you been baptized?”

I got baptized. In preparation I had to take private instruction with the priest. I questioned a lot of the teachings but only attempted to argue with Father Frank once. Guess what? You can’t argue with a Catholic priest on matters of religion. I think if he had had a choice Father Frank would have barred me from membership in the Catholic church. But he couldn’t really. My godparents – the parents of one of my new friends and upstanding congregants – had been selected and they were beaming with pride. Their daughter had already scored a convert.

I read the Bible. This wasn’t requried but I thought I should check out the handbook. I got through the entire Old Testament before I gave up. The Bible is incredibly boring. I later found out that the New Testament is the way to go, but I didn’t know that then. As I recall, the Old Testament is just a series of laundry lists. But I soldiered through, all the time thinking “How the hell did this book make the bestseller list?”

Baptism is kind of a big deal. I had to buy a white dress. Fahter Frank dressed up in his special baptising vestments. The atmosphere was very solemn. I was fairly intimidated.

Hardly anyone showed up for the big occasion. My godparents, the Woods, were there, along with little Regina Wood. There may have been one or two of those old women who hang around Catholic churches. Church groupies. But that was it.  I know my mother didn’t come. I’m sure she was horrified. My father lived in California, but he most definitely wouldn’t have attended, even if he could have. He, no doubt, was thoroughly disgusted with me. Thinking back, this may have been the time when my father gave up on me. He didn’t like me for a bunch of years, but we eventually became very close during my adultood.

Anyway, the deed was done but my faith had already started to waver and the whole baptism thing was actually a bit embarrassing. If this was what sacraments were like, I wasn’t about to go through with confirmation. Plus, CCC had grown old. I had gotten into basketball.

I did continue to attend mass with Regina and my godparents. Dutifully – every Sunday. Standing, sitting, kneeling, praying, reciting, singing (sort of). I put my dollar in the basket every week – still the highlight. The Woods smiled at me all the time. But I just wasn’t feeling it.

St. Josephs was one of those really impressive trophy churches with spires and giant doors and a really high ceiling. There was a fair amount of not-too-poorly-executed artwork to distract me, but the services were just the same old monotonous marathons that I remembered from my early childhood. I did like communion but that alone just wasn’t making it all worth while. My faith was gone.

One Sunday, while standing up in church, Bible in hand, for one of the vertical ordeals of the mass, I was struck on the top of the head by something really hard. It was very sudden and very disconcerting. I rubbed the top of my head, looking around to see if anyone had noticed, or if any other member of the congregation had been similarly pelted. Nope. It was just me. A small pebble had become dislodged from somewhere way, way up in that stratospheric roof. By the time it hit me square in the middle of my skull the pebble had gained considerable velocity and the impact hurt – a lot. I had even been knocked loopy for a moment.

If this wasn’t a sign…

God was literally stoning me. That was all I needed.

I am now a lapsed Catholic. I still have a bump on my head.