• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Sketch the Trees and the Daffodils

I love these ads for medication where cartoons or puppets go from being slack to sunny. Better are the side effect warnings: extreme high blood sugar, seizures, impaired judgement, stroke, hypertension, shortness of breath, high white blood counts, loss of memory, loss of life. Guess you gotta weigh the odds Pinocchio. May result in loss of fertility, hair loss, extreme rash, or webbed feet. I take four pills a day. I’m told that long term effects are thickening of my heart and weakening of my bones. I fully expect to die of a heart attack while on line at St. Dunkins, my weak bones crumpling beneath me, but my mood will be GREAT. Unless of course I die of anaphylaxis from my nut allergy, my throat closing while my Epipen is in my other purse. I hate when that happens. I’d prefer a literary death: poison, pistols, quill pen. For fuck’s sake I’ve left all these damn diaries. And I’d like a great big funeral where all my writers say great shit and afterwards drink scotch at dive bars with paper coasters.

How about you?

30 Responses

  1. Who knew I’d still be alive at this age! Seriously!

  2. I’m on way too many meds for someone who isn’t expected to die in the next few days, and I love the commercials. “May cause sudden death” is one I always like to add. So is it worth it? Do I care if I die suddenly, or would I rather be less anxious? And am I less anxious, or do I just think I’m less anxious? I never thought I’d live much past high school. Then I finished high school and wham! I was still alive. I had no idea what to do next because I never expected to get that far. And each year I discover I’m still here. Meds may kill me. Or I might get hit by a truck. Or run over by a bus. Or fall out of the sky with a bad parachute, should I jump out of any more perfectly good airplanes. I dunno. Someday I’ll die, and I’m sure however it happens, it’s going to be a surprise.

  3. Having attended the funeral for a kick-ass writer today, I will tell you that people did not remember her for the placement of her commas or semicolons; they remembered her for her wit. And her love. but mostly for her wit.

  4. So far, no meds.

    I’m hoping Death and I can come to an accommodation.

    And it doesn’t involve a bridge. Hate bridges.

    • Is there anything better (or worse) than a Viagra commercial? Last year I wrote an essay with the subtitle, “Erections Lasting Longer Than 4 Hours.” It was big a hit, my most popular piece. Go figure.

      My wildest meds are Vitamin D and B-Complex. I’ll probably go down with cancer, like everybody else in my family, and I hate to even write that shit out loud. When I go, there better be lots of liquor and laughs and storytelling, and people standing on tables singing Me and Bobby McGee.

  5. According to the newspaper, lipstick is riddled with lead. I remember hearing years ago the average female ingests two pounds of lipstick over her lifetime. That’s not too appetizing, but I don’t plan to give up my tube of Chanel anytime soon. Anyway, according to an early 20th century marketing piece from The American Lead Association, lead is pure and harmless.

    I think psychotropic drugs are the greatest thing since sliced bread. The drug companies just throw that scary stuff into their ads to cover their asses in case somebody decides to sue them. I plan on sticking around the planet for awhile if I have anything to say about it. When I travel to the other side, I’d like to go blissed out on morphine.

  6. How about me? I’m fine. How about you?

    Those side effects and others like them is why I won’t get myself onto any of that well-engineered shit, no matter how desperate I might get from time to time for some sort of psychic gelding. When life first started undoing me, I found the all-natural marijuana plant, liberally applied, could help paste over the days and hasten me down life’s byways. Alcoholic beverages, though shy by comparison and more damaging if overused, could function as a backup when weed was rare. They’ve all got side effects–life is nothing if not a series of side effects of one kind or another–but I prefer side effects that haven’t been engineered by really smart people.

  7. I want to go drunk on fine red wine and full of chocolate and French bread in the arms of a naked twenty year old Swede or other golden haired type, either sex, but preferably a boy, listening to Bowie or possibly some aria, maybe Mozart, on a beach in Australia, in late summer, at sunset or dawn, wearing Manolos and nothing else, except for Chanel #5, and a smile.

    • Fair go Gabrielle !
      Apparently Aussie beaches are already full of prospective couples from internet dating sites, strolling hand in hand with stars in their eyes, their eyes on the prize, and the prize hopefully well hidden in their rather expensive designer undies.
      We just don’t have room for crazy old naked broads grappling with the innocence of blonde backpackers and dying all over the place.
      It’s bad enough walking down the beach and finding a bloated dead fish without seeing dead writers rotting there with their story oozing out of them.

  8. Betsy don’t take that bone density stuff like Fosamax. Horrible.Even my titanium bones hurt.

    But my sister-in-law said it didn’t bother her.

  9. Go ask Alice, eh?

    My last words, if I die an accidental death, will surround the word “fuck” in some way. Holy fuck! perhaps. Or, Fuck me!

    If I die one of those lingering cancerous slow fade deaths, I’ll most likely lose my ability to swear — I’ll be confused and hideous and aphasic. Yuck.

    Then there’s that “just right” chair of death. The beatific slipping away in the night. I’ll be somewhat elderly–a recent widow–my as-yet unborn granddaughter will discover me when she comes by to see if I need anything from the store, since I can no longer drive. I’m signing up for that one. Who do I call?

    A tad morbid tonight, are we not?

  10. Best (legal) pill if you’re over 50: a Chinese herbal mixture called Release Constraint. It’s a mood thing. Think about it: releasing constraint. Weed without the spaciness. Go ask Alice.

  11. Fuck the pills. They make me want to kill myself. So, as that’s apparently what they’re meant to save me from, I don’t see the point.
    Besides. As Yellowbeard said:
    “Dying’s the easy way out. You won’t catch me dying. They’ll have to kill me before I die.”

  12. I fully support Betsy’s choice of definitive good mood over may-never-come-to-pass side effects. Everything has a side effect, opening your eyes in the morning has potential side effects. Mood over matter I say.

  13. I know this sounds horrible but I always imagined I’d drown.

    • my dad drowned
      his father was working underneath his car when it rolled off the jack and killed him (i hope) instantly

      there’s a lack of natural order deaths in my family; or, maybe that’s just our family’s natural order of things.

      i want a big bottle of pain pills with enough wine to make me happily sleepy followed by blissfully dead after i’ve lived long enough to be a prime candidate for youth-in-asia.

  14. AND don’t forget to seek medical attention if you have an erection which lasts more than 4 hours.
    4 FUCKING HOURS literally ?
    My husband would be dead after 4 fucking minutes and I’d be asleep.
    What was the question?

  15. I’m still taking the two pill mix of the appetite suppressant and the mood enhancer. They list the usual side effects, but so far I’ve only had to deal with dry mouth and a drop in libido which my husband took as a challenge. So maybe the mood enhancer’s side effects aren’t all bad.

    If heredity is any indication, I should live to be a very old woman with a bad perm, a wardrobe of mismatched Polyester, a lingering scent of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew and a hearing aid that doesn’t work. I’ll rule the nursing home where my children imprison me with a smile and the charm of angry badger.

  16. that would suck if you died before you got your doughnut and coffee.

    dark chocolate, swimming, sailing, a hike, 2 mile jog or playing w my dog, hanging out w loved ones are all the mood enhancers needed for this soul.

    is there a poet/writers cemetery somewhere? deep woods, profound headstones, old growth trees. pilgrims building tiny makeshift alters, leaving buttons, coins, mini sculptures, prayers on scraps of chinese paper.

    yes, no funeral unless its a party. wrapped in a cloth, put in a cardboard box, brought out to sea, or where the hudson meets the east river or at the tip of cape cod, plunged into water or set on fire. . or, here at Forrest Hills where e.e. cummings and ann sexton lie, in the shaddow of Shattuck Hospital for the criminally poor.

  17. I want the same funeral. Only put a cigarette in my mouth. Can’t be any worse than the side effects of Ambien.

  18. “The best thing for being sad is to learn something.
That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your
veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you
devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of 
baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the 
world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never 
exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and
 never dream of regretting.”

    T.H. White “The Sword and the Stone”

  19. Live now. A few too many close calls and lost friends to think that each day is anything less than a gift.

  20. I must get rid of those diaries.

  21. I love this blog and completely agree with its sentiment. Let’s play “Weigh the Health Risk”. Do I want my depression to go away, or do I want my heart to stop? Mmmm… must think about that.

  22. I think more about how I died in my previous lives. Was I swimming in a deep lagoon, my legs kicking and my hands making figure eights just before a massive shark shot up and snapped me in half? Was I seated in a plane, staring at the polyester weave on the seat in front of me and counting the seconds before it all went black? Was I a little, brown mouse scampering across a field, my tiny nose twitching one last time before the talons of a falcon swooped down and pierced my neck? Was I a gladiator in a Roman arena? Was I a microbe in a petri dish? Was I an asteroid throwing myself at the moon? Am I young or am I old?

  23. Am I the only one seriously craving some damn jelly beans now?

  24. “It’s not that I’m afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” –Woody Allen

    Sums it up for me.

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