Thursday, September 30, 2004

Ten years of sweet, sweet freedom

I got an invitation to my ten year high school reunion yesterday. The five year was okay, and I'm not in prison or anything, so I guess I'll go. Also, it's only twenty bucks.

I'm tempted to reprint the whole invite for you, but I don't want to ask the president of my graduating class for permission to reuse his work, so I'll merely snark on the following things:

1) My reunion is at the Village Club in beautiful downtown Needham, which means that at 11:30 when the damn thing lets out, the streets will be crawling with twenty-something drunkards, lurching zombielike toward their parents' homes.

2) The president urged us to RSVP, either by phone or by "e-mail" (quotes his). Apparently, he thought some of us might be stuck in 1994, and only have heard tell about this newfangled "Internet" thing that the government is working on.

3) My reunion is at the Village Club in beautiful downtown Needham. Wait -- I said that already. Okay, how bout this: I'm totally sneaking in a dirt-cheap bottle of Blackberry Brandy and drinking it in the bathroom, just like I used to at the Village Club rock 'n roll shows in high school.

More importantly, who wants to be my date? I need to bring someone totally horrifying with me. Just being my same gender isn't good enough anymore, people. Please drop me a line if you have a pet pig that you can't bear to leave at home, or a 1970s era Dodge Charger with flames painted on it, or a lot of rather ill-advised elective surgery on your head. Thank you.

My brother John

My brother-in-law is going to Iraq in a few weeks. I don't know when exactly, because the army doesn't tell you these things, and I don't know where exactly, because every time I ask, my sister answers, "Muhfahbuhdadada" and I go "whah?" because I'm a stupid American white person.

I really like my brother-in-law, so I'd prefer it if he'd just get a nice desk job and hang out with my sister, but he wants to save the world, so off he goes to Iraq.

No, seriously, do you understand? He wants to go to Iraq. To help people. About a month ago, he started having terrible stomach problems, probably as a reaction to his anthrax vaccine, and he didn't want to tell anyone about it, because he was afraid they'd make him stay home.

I think my sister must have picked him as an antidote to growing up with me as an older sister. I am so, so shallow. I mean, like, seriously shallow. I don't even read the newspaper all that often. I spend most of my time thinking about boys. It's really hard for me to wrap my head around someone like John.

Sample conversation between me and John, to illustrate my point:

Me: Are you really, really going to Iraq?

John: I really am.

Me: Why?

John: (crickets chirping)

Me: Okay, I'll let you go, but on one condition: If they start shooting, I want you to grab the guy nearest to you, one who isn't my goddamn brother-in-law, and use him as a human shield.

John: (mouth hanging open in horror)

Me: No? Okay, how bout this. Let's work on your running. How fast are bullets? We need to make it so that you can run faster than that.

I am not happy about any of this.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ty Cobb Tee Ball

That rat bastid Derek Carpenter is not in the office today, and so he's missing out on my brand new bright orange "Ty Cobb Tee Ball" shirt. It's really something to see, too, let me tell you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

When I am Queen...

...Bathroom primpers will be executed first, before enemies of the state and people who carry puppy dogs in handbags. Honest to God, if it takes twelve tubes of unguent and spackle to make you presentable, just save up for the big sandblasting and have done with it. Some of us have a touch of Fenway Park Syndrome and can't go while you're standing there listening.

Bob ponders the changeable nature of Woman

I got a phone call the other day from my friend Bob. (Read his opinions on my opinion throughout this blog. He calls himself "Bob Fuckin' Smith." "Fuckin'", as you may or may not know, was an early surname prefix akin to "Mc" or "O'", meaning "bastard son of the cranky side of the family." No one knows why it disappeared, but all props to Bob for resurrecting it.)

But back to my phonecall.

"Hey, Bob." I said. "What's up?"

"One of chicks on Sex and the City just came out," he said, gloomily. Whenever Bob says anything, he says it gloomily. It's implied, okay?

"NO! Which one?"

"The blonde one."


"No, not her."

"Wait. Kim Cattrall?"

"Maybe. Listen, I don't know, okay? I don't watch the fuckin' show." (Nor does he watch the "O'Show", nor the "McShow".) "I just want to know one thing."


"Is female sexuality just like, this totally changeable thing? Can you just switch at any minute? What gives?"

"Oh, yes. We're like parakeets that way."

"Shit. That's what I thought."

I was pulling his leg of course. I don't think female sexuality is any more mutable than male sexuality. The only difference being that if a girl thinks she might be a little bit gay, everyone in the world (except for real lesbians) throws a parade for her, whereas if a guy voices any confusion, he gets stoned to death or at least stuffed in a locker in the boy's room.

Also, I didn't know it was Miranda who came out of the closet. Let's just say that I don't think anything's changed for her, sexuality-wise. If anything, she's just thrown up her hands and declared, "You know what? Fine. You guys were right. I'm totally, totally gay. Man, that's a relief. Now who wants to go to Meow Mix?"

Monday, September 27, 2004

I knew this already:

Study: Living in the Suburbs Can Make You Sick

Case in point: Did I ever tell you about the time I went to visit my high school guidance counselor, a semester after graduating? This is the woman who had made my life a hell all through school, asking me why I wasn't taking more math classes and trying to get me to apply to schools far away when I could barely drive to the post office without having a panic attack. She had a bleached blonde moustache and a weird sour body odor, like bad milk or yogurt.

Anyway, I went to UMass and did really well. My GPA was a 3.9 my first semester, and I was really happy and felt well and successful and young and pleased with myself. So I went back to visit my guidance counselor, to show her that she'd been wrong.

"Good for you," she said, pursing her mouth beneath its moustache. "Now what are you doing for ... extra-curricular activities?"

I should have said "drinking", but instead I just cried.

I know you'll probably say that she was just one asshole, an isolated incident, nothing, certainly, from which to extrapolate an entire set of values. But I swear to you that she was emblematic of my high school, and in some ways, the snootier aspects of my town. Whatever you were doing, it wasn't good enough.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I should've mentioned this earlier..., say, when I first got back from my trip, but I loved Chicago. Everyone was so friendly there! For the first time in my life, I didn't feel like a weirdo. (In Boston, the fact that I say "please" after every separate item in my sandwich order is considered somewhat strange and maybe a little creepy. "With tomato, please. Yes, please. A little mayo. No, thank you, not toasted.")

The first thing I did after arriving was run out to a dive bar around the corner and eat an astonishing amount of meat and watch a Bears game. Then I called up my cousin Rolfe, who is from Chicagoland originally (although, if you want to get persnickety about it, Deerfield is just as close to Milwaulkee), and tortured him over it.

"You can smoke everywhere," I hissed into the phone. "And everyone leans on their vowels for half an hour. Come hooome, little Hubley, come hooome."

Which brings me to my next point, which is that Rolfe has been trying to tell me for years now that I'm essentially a Midwestern person who sprang up in New England by mistake. After my trip, I think he's right. Although, then again, big hotels are their own sovereign nation, like Luxembourg or Monaco. We were at the Hilton, and we could have been in Chicago, Atlanta or Kuala Lumpur. People bring you things and clean up after you. I love it. It makes me think that I'd make an awesome rich person.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The boss around here

I'm not a pet person. This always embarrasses me, the same way it embarrasses me that I don't like small children or know how to cook. It seems, I dunno, sort of Cruella De Ville of me. I don't like to feel a kinship with characters that Glenn Close would play just for the paycheck.

It's not that I don't like animals. It's more that most of them make me sneeze. And I haven't grown up with them, so I don't know how to hold them or pet them or make them behave. This last problem is sort of a silly thing to worry about when it comes to cats specifically, as no one, but no one can make them behave.

For some reason, though, I seem to date a lot of guys who have cats. Why? I dunno. I also like to take up with Republicans right before major elections. There's got to be some deep-seated psychological reason for all of this, but I'm afraid to go poking around in my psyche looking for it.

Not too long ago, I was seeing a guy who had maybe the cutest cat in the world. His -- the cat's, not the guy's -- name was Boss and he was an elegant little orange gentleman cat with a teeny little face and a big mouth. He yowled all the time. The guy liked to do tricks with him, holding him up in the air and smooshing his little face up so his fangs stuck out and saying, "Look! Boss is a vampire!" The amazing part about this is that Boss let him do it and didn't scratch the shit out of him. He didn't even seem to mind all that much.

Theirs was a special relationship. Ours -- mine and Boss's -- was not as special.

The first time I stayed over, I passed out on the couch, only to wake up and find that Boss had peed on the rug right by my shoes. I got off easy. He could have peed on me. When I woke up, he was sitting on my chest, batting my right boob with his paw as if to say, "Let's get one thing straight, okay? I can hurt you." Anytime I stayed at the house after that, he'd spend the night walking up and down my inert form while the guy snored blissfully away unhindered. "I am the cat here," Boss said with his unblinking kitty eyes. "This is my boy. Do you hear me? Mine."

Maybe he figured out that I'm not a pet person. But I like to think that he was threatened by my grace and sophistication and was afraid he'd lose his boy to me, just because I don't have tuna breath and rarely torture mice.

Actual message left on my friend Ilisa's voicemail just now

"Hey, Horowitz, it's Hubley. I'm just calling to say hey. And also, to ... I don't know, I feel fat. It might be these pants. Maybe I should wear a skirt. I know you can't see me or anything, so it's hard for you to tell. But maybe you can call me back and tell me if I, y'know, sound fat to you. Okay. Bye."

Thursday, September 23, 2004


I was never going to get one of those yellow rubber Livestrong bracelets. I'd see guys at the gym with them on and think, "What a tool. If you want to donate money to cancer research, just write a check." They seemed like friendship bracelets or charm necklaces or some similar jewelry trend, left over from the era of Trapper Keepers and sticker books. Now that I'm a grownup, I don't do sartorial fads. I never bought a white belt or a trucker cap. I know what looks good on me, or at least what I like, and that's what I wear. (I'm actually pretty particular, too. My Mom likes to knit. She makes sweaters for everyone, usually Aran style fisherman sweaters. But when it came time to make me my sweater, she presented me with a bunch of patterns from a Contemporary Knits booklet, and said, "Look! I got you some hipster patterns to look at. This one is a hoodie!")

But I have a Livestrong bracelet now and I wear it every day. And there is, of course, a story.

My friend Cathy is one of those people who always has a job and then about six charities that she works for, donating time and money and her not inconsiderable organizational skills. She's a much better person than I am, basically, and I have no idea why she keeps me around. I think it's because I'm fun at parties.

Anyway, about a week ago, Cathy had some people over to play poker. She fleeced me out of about twenty bucks, but I got some great chili out of the deal, plus this Livestrong bracelet, which was in a basket of about twenty of the suckers, sitting on her kitchen counter.

Cathy always gives stuff away at her gatherings. At the Sopranos finale, she gave out little squirt guns. I like free stuff, so I always take one of whatever she's giving out. So I reached into the basket and said, "Oh, hey. Livestrong bracelets. Can I have one?"

"Yes," Cathy said. "You can have one. But only if you're really going to wear it."

She added that mostly because she had to order these bracelets so far ahead of time, and because they cost a bit of cash. But I picked up something else from her tone, too, which was that my particularness might be ever so slightly irritating for my friends, from time to time, and that they shouldn't have to shell out for the privilege of having their gifts abandoned in the pile of crap on my coffee table.

So now I'm trying to be the kind of person who wears gifts. (Please don't give me any sweatshirts with kittens on them, or anything like that. I'm new at this, and you don't want to push me.) I've been wearing the bracelet for a week now, and I really like it. It's extra big, just like my watch, so it sort of fits the whole "I'm so smart, I can't be bothered to make sure my socks match" intellectual urchin thing I've got going on. But most of all, it's reminding me to try to be good instead of cool.

Leave it to me to turn a cancer benefit into a quest for personal growth.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Brilliant idea

I've thought up a new Web site.

I' The Web site dedicated to thinly disguised bitterness.

I think this is going to be huge.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Business trip: An introduction

I'm going on a business trip tomorrow. I am certain that I've forgotten to pack one or more of the following: my cell phone charger, my business cards, clean underwear, my toothbrush, my ticket receipt, my Xanax. Guess which item on this list is most important.

If you can travel without pills, all I can say is "good for you." Wait! That's not all I can say: "Go sit over there, in the Normal People Section." We don't need your kind around here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The entry about nothing

It's like Seinfeld! Only it doesn't make me feel like poking out my eyes.

That's right. You heard me. I hate that show. I also hate Curb Your Enthusiasm. I have no idea why I would want to watch people be mean and petty on television when I watch real people be mean and petty, for real, in real life, for free. Also? Most of my mean friends are funnier than Larry David. They just are.

My actual point is that I have no topic for my entry today, as I am swamped with crazy work craziness and can hardly carry on a conversation anymore, never mind write coherent things unrelated to technology. (You can go ahead and make the argument that I don't write coherently about technology either, and I won't argue with you. I'll just stare at you and giggle. Cuz that's what I do when I'm under pressure. It's very professional.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

The shopping in Brookline song

Brrrring. Brrrring.

Meredith: Hello?

Jennie Smash: Hey. Guess where I am.

Meredith: Um. I dunno. Still in bed?

Jennie Smash: Nope. Coolidge Corner. Outside the Booksmith.

Meredith: Oooh-kay.

Jennie Smash: I bet you wonder why I'm calling.

Meredith: (Crickets chirping.)

Jennie Smash: Well, I've been shopping for a whole twenty minutes now, and I've written a song for you that I think you'll like. It's called the "shopping in Brookline song."

Meredith: Oooh-kay.

Jennie Smash: Here goes. They walk so slow, they walk so slow. They walk so slow. Slow, slow, slow...

Meredith: Dude. Are you cracking up?

Jennie Smash: Yes. Slowly.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Fandom according to Ma Smash

The following is a transcript of a telephone conversation I had with my mother yesterday. And when I say "transcript", I mean "based loosely on my memory of the actual conversation, with my Mom's sillier comments emphasized."

Me: So, I'm pretty excited. I got Pixies tickets for Dec. 1. Three whole days before they go on sale at the box office!

Ma Smash: Oh! Pixies tickets! That's great. (Pause.) Who are the Pixies?

Me: The Pixies are the greatest band in the whole world. They're like our Beatles. Only there's a chick.

Ma Smash: I thought the Dixie Chicks were the greatest band in the world.

Me: (Laughing.)

Ma Smash: Aren't the Dixie Chicks your favorite band?

Me: Wait. You're kidding, right? Tell me you're kidding.

Ma Smash: No! You're always talking about them.

Me: The Dixie Chicks? ARE YOU SERIOUS? They're ... like, pop/country. They play arenas.

Ma Smash: Well, who are you always talking about then? La, la, la, greatest band ever, la, la, la, Amanda whatshername...

Me: Amanda Palmer? Do you mean the Dresden Dolls?

Ma Smash: That's it! The Dresden Dolls.

Me: Oh, Mom. Mom. That's ... so wrong.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Strident screed

About two years ago, I was telling my Dad a story about my then-boyfriend's psycho ex. This girl was a genuine nutter. She called him at work and screamed into the phone for hours. She broke into his house and went through his garbage. A real candidate for a daytime talk show.

My father listened to my story with a grave expression on his face. I mistook it for attention. I was playing the story for laughs, and figured he didn't want to miss a thing. After I was finished, he said, in his most serious tone of voice, "I just have one thing to say: You show me a crazy woman, and I'll show you the man who made her that way."

Now I know what he means.

In the past few months, I have had a number of guys pop up and disappear like whack-a-moles, which isn't odd. What is odd is the sheer number of filthy suggestions I seem to be accumulating these days, from men I don't even know, and from formers who seem to think that I am the fluffer around here.

Memo to all men: I am not the fluffer. I don't know who spread this rumor, but I bet she used to go out with one of you, and is pissed. I just have one thing to say: Never trust a woman who is going through your garbage.

More disturbing than any of this, I think, is the feedback I'm getting from my male friends on what they're looking for in potential partners. As near as I can tell, all men are now looking for a girl who depilitates her entire body, with the exception of the top of her head; wears thong underpants, even to bed; likes going to strip clubs and baseball games, and wants to have public sex in both places; is bisexual, and has a hot best friend.

Guys. It's called porn. If it were reality, it'd be called "documentary."

But seriously. Where have all the flowers gone? Somebody help me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004


People with OCD, generalized anxiety and other forms of culturally sanctioned insanity understand the mean reds better than almost anyone, I suppose. One way of dealing with this is to become religious. That avenue being closed off to me due to my dislike of being told what to do, singing atonally in groups while sober and getting up early on Sundays, I have adopted a number of weird fortune-telling fixations.

To wit:

I read tarot cards. I've been reading them for a solid decade now, since the summer before I went away to college. I had a friend named Janice at the time, who was a wiccan and therefore a genuine, certified frootloop. She wore lots of peasant skirts and pentacles and had several decks of tarot cards, wrapped up in the requisite silk hankerchiefs and sitting in places of honor on an altar in her room. All of her readings predicted doom for the women who were dating the men she was after. You kind of have to admire that.

I also keep up with my horoscope. I'm a Gemini, which means I have a split personality or something. Half of me thinks this is bullshit. Ha ha. Anyway, according to my horoscope this month, I'm supposed to fall in love. Which I need like I need a case of the flu. I'm just a little busy now, is all. If you could hold the falling in love for about, oh, two months, that'd be grand. Thanks ever so much, horoscope.

Tarot cards and astrology are fairly normal, though, as these things go. My favorite fortune-telling avenue so far is Google. Now wait a second, you say. Google isn't a divination method. It's a search engine. That's what I thought, too! But just the other day, I was trying to figure out what to do about some problem or other, and typed "what the hell should I do?" into Google, and all kinds of interesting suggestions came up. I love Google. You don't even have to wrap it in a hankerchief.

A little Monday morning whimsy

Okay, so it's Tuesday. But it's a Monday-Tuesday. So it still counts.

Anyway. Ah-hem. Here you are:

Wind From Hurricane for Sale on eBay

I love that. That makes me so happy. And I need happy, because I either have allergies or the beginning of a Stand-quality summer cold. Hoo boy. Do I ever feel like crap this morning. You have no idea. But if you worked with me, you would. People are sort of backing away from me in horror. It's fun.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

A heckuva guy

My stalker is back in action, over at my other favorite time-wasting site friendster. I logged on this morning, and he had sent me another note: "I just posted some new photos, Jen......"

Ordinarily, I love a man who isn't afraid to use a double ellipsis (she said sarcastically), but I feel that while one photo of a penis could be seen as a witty and post-modern courtship gesture, five is just plain excessive.

I'm not writing back to him, obviously, which is too bad, because I have a number of questions that I'm dying to ask him. The first one is: "Does this ever work for you? Do you ever send women pictures of your penis, and have them respond, 'Holy smoke, that's just what I've been waiting for! Forget gerber daisies and a nice night out on the town; what I've been longing for all this time is someone who will mail me photos of his dick'?"

I'm really wondering.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

RNC update: Toodle loo 'em

Laura Bush: On the dolls.

Dubya Bush: Still stupid. Although he did manage to make it through twenty minutes of blather before hitting his first malapropism, which must mean that he's dipping into Laura's Xanax.

The blonde Bush twin: Cannot keep her girls in her shirt for even half an hour. Good lord. You're on TV, woman. Put on some clothes. Your daddy likes to pretend he's for family values, and that doesn't mean renting out his daughter to delegates. So far as we know.

Rage ... boiling...

Oh, how dare they. How dare they show a montage of presidential photographs and put John F. Kennedy in with Bush? What was the theme? Presidents who stole elections? I'm going to kill someone. Oh. God. It's like I have prickly heat. My skin has come right off my body and it's waiting for me out in my car like forgotten dry cleaning. I'm going crazy. I won't live through the RNC. Send help. So angry. Oh.

Friendsterly fella

A gentleman contacted me on Friendster today to express his opinion that I am a cutie, and to ask me to go look at his very special pictures, which he hoped had not been edited yet by the staff. Because I didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, I was able to deduce that the pictures would most likely be dirty. And so I clicked over to them right away.

There, on my screen, bold as you please, was a rather large, uncircumsized, distinctly purple penis. It was clearly this guy's penis. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but it wasn't a professional penis. It didn't have its own makeup artist, or anything. Is there a job like that, on porn shoots? Professional penis wrangler? I bet there is.

Anyway, my point is that men are just crazy about their dicks and won't shut up about them. The average guy is more fond of his penis than female comedians are about menstruation jokes. It's a headscratcher.

I used to babysit for this little kid who was so crazy about his penis that he ran all over his house with it hanging out his pants. Sometimes he'd hold it out for us to see. At arm's length. I don't even have a penis, and I felt sympathetic pain. He was kind of a pervy little kid altogether, come to think of it. As one point, he ran up to me and slapped me on the ass while I was talking to his parents about their plans for the evening.

"Now, ha ha, son, you know we don't do that," his father said, nervously.

"Yes, we do," the kid scoffed. "You do that to Mom all the time."

Ah, kids. Precious little lambs.


Did you know that I'm such a grownup that I have toilet paper almost all the time now? Well, it's true.

I like to take minor data points like this and infer conclusions with almost no basis in fact. I have toilet paper: therefore, I am a grownup.

I can't help but think that this is just a more advanced version of the weird OCD games I used to play as a child. "If I don't get to the curb before the walk light changes, then God doesn't exist." What kind of an eight-year-old thinks that way? Answer: A crazy one.