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    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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I’m tryin to murder everything movin, feel me?!

A couple of letters asked to be filed in the Asshole File recently and what a pleasure it was! The last letter I put in there was over two years ago! Look, the bar is very high to make it into my Asshole File, and the reason is probably because I’m such a big Asshole myself. Or, perhaps, rejection letters don’t bother me as much anymore, nor do letters from world class narcies or arrogant pricks. Or break up letters. I can take it. Of course, more subtle affronts have also been known to qualify for the file. There’s even a business card from a high ranking lieutenant from the publishing wars with one word scrawled on it: lunch? I have this nursing home fantasy where I’ll be smoking Pall Malls in a screened in porch and reading the file, along with all the letters and scraps I’ve tucked away  in shoeboxes over the years, and I’ll laugh and cry as think about my beautiful launderette.

What’s in your Asshole File?

33 Responses

  1. “What’s in your Asshole File?”

    Nuthin.’ Wife and I just moved into a new and smaller place and I had to clean all the shit out of the Asshole File, there’s only room in there for me.

  2. I don’t bother keeping the opinions of assholes in a file.

    I keep them in my heart, to keep the cankers going.

  3. I burn my asshole files and put a hex on them 😉

  4. I know, I know! The guy today who said, upon hearing that my book is on a list of the 10 best memoirs this year (and I’m the only name on there that I don’t recognize), “I thought it was a boutique book, that you just wrote for your friends.”

    I’ll get over it soon, but it JUST HAPPENED, so he’s on my list right now.

    (Because, right, I’m going to spend YEARS working on a book for my FRIENDS. I LOVE my friends, but I don’t love them that much.)

    Asshat.

  5. Oh, yes, I’ve got one of those. Just filed a letter in it today, in fact. I call it the “pastoral file.” It’s where I put letters from people who for whatever reason cannot refocus their need to tell me how much I’ve pissed them off. Calling it the “pastoral file” reminds me that the problem is them, not me. And I can go on being my sweet self. Sometimes my sweet self even writes back.

  6. Nothing tangible-only phrases, settings and small details committed memory so I may reflect upon them at any time.

  7. My dad and his mother sparred through their epistolary relationship my whole childhood. About once a year my sister and I would get front row seats to the Oma-Gerry wars, where the two of them would pace the room, reading from their respective asshole missives–the slights! The petty grievances! The slings and arrows of outrage!

    My Oma is 100 years old and in her lucid moments she still sings the bitter anthem. My father is still trying to please her, and resents her for that. I, meanwhile, inherited the family asshole archives. It’s in a box, an arm’s length from my desk. I don’t need my own with this legacy of spite in the room.

  8. A story of mine rejected by The Paris Review which some asshole student put some desultory squiggles on – story found good home.

    A bad review by some woman I meant to hunt down with my three sons and Alsatian.

  9. Shocker…I don’t have an asshole file. This fact surprises me. I will think about it.

    Okay, I have thought about it. Just because I do not have an asshole file does not mean I have not dealt with assholes, I have, in fact, had more than my share, but I have placed them elsewhere. I put them in my disappointment file.
    In there is every dream I’ve held regarding the queries I’ve sent, along with the hopes for my writing future. I cannot begin to count the hide-thickening rejections I have gotten over the years or the tears I have shed while reading them. Of all of them only one comes to mind as I write this, and it was not from an asshole at all but from an editor who loved my SF short story and suggested I build-a-book around the premise he said he loved and called “quite clever”. I did, but never edited it to completion.

    Now that I have finished my first cup of coffee, my thoughts are beginning to trip over themselves as they scramble to my fingertips. I do indeed have an asshole file and in it only one, me.

  10. Have you ever really looked at an asshole? They’re gross looking, dry and wrinkled and with a strange brown hue from being full of shit nearly all the time. They can’t really be disguised. Washed often, they still stink, no matter how expensive the perfume or cologne. They’re loud and obnoxious at the most inopportune of times. They make us struggle and sweat, yet for some reason we strive to treat them well and smile contentedly when they’re nice to us. We just couldn’t live without them.

  11. File? Isn’t that the reason for writing a western, so stake someone out in the desert, peel their hide off in little strips, draw buzzard circles around them in the sand? Okay, I’ll stop. I will order a copy of Asshole Files for Dummies today. But there goes my chance for a Golden Saddlehorn Award.

  12. I come from a long line of angry women. I think a file wouldn’t be the healthiest choice for me. As it stands, I forget assholes and the assholey things they say and do and write. It’s probably some defense against my genetic code. Also, my husband is an asshole. Why keep a file when I’ve got the real thing?

    • All husbands are assholes — the stripper at our bachelor party makes us sign a pledge.

      • I just keep hearing Dennis Leary’s “I’m an Asshole!” in my ear. Sometimes I actually sing the chorus to him. Chanting “oh, de oh de oh,” at the end is the best. That’s when I get him to smile.

  13. I have no time for files. If I get dinged, I suck it up and sail on.

  14. Asshole files? We don’t need no stinkin’ asshole files.

  15. Don’t have one but think it’s a good idea. You put them in the file and file them awaaay….
    I want a place with a terrace in the West Village where as an old lady, I can wander out in my bathrobe, smoke Marlboros, eat chocolates and read. The asshole file might be a hoot.

  16. That’s what matches and fire pits are for.

    Though the last letter I got was so bad it wouldn’t even burn. She’d printed it out on some kind of slick paper that wouldn’t catch fire, that’s how much of a witch she was. I had to drown it instead — not nearly as satisfying.

  17. Mixed on this one. I kinda wish I’d kept an asshole file. Given all the half remembered putdowns that might make for a snippet of a story or essay. As an adult I’ve managed to be fairly good at the acrobatics of prospective. More like almost everyone I met before I turned 11 (grade school) lives forever in my asshole file where one flash of memory can make me bitter for days.

  18. Most recent addition — a letter from this guy I dated briefly 40 years ago who felt the need to purge his soul and apologize for touching my boobs, swarmy little teenaged bastard that he was. He didn’t even provide a return address so I could hunt him down and drown him.

  19. I don’t keep one. After Marine Corps boot camp, common assholes seem to lack creativity.

    I did take a stack of rejection letters to the target range, once. My fellow shooters told me, “It’s probably healthy,” but they acted a bit more paranoid than usual, and it appeared as if I’d lost their trust, even though they were blazing away at human silhouette targets.

    It was the personal touch, I suppose.

  20. Closest thing I have is probably my “shit list.” I inherited this from my mom, whose list I was on frequently as a teenager. It’s open to many more people than an asshole file would be I think. And you can move from bottom to top of the list and vice versa – even off the list all together. No one is on it right now, my husband just worked his way off of it.

  21. The way I see it is that the assholes have issues. That’s why they’re the way they are. They want to make me wrong, or to judge or dominate me. I don’t need to know what this comes from, or how it came about. I know they’re hurting but I don’t need to be hurt by them. That’s on a good day. On a bad day I smart!

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