February 23, 2007

Henry Winkler is not my cousin.

(Title to be sung to the tune of "Billy Jean" for maximum impact.)

I grew up watching "Happy Days." It wasn't that I particularly liked the show, it just always seemed to be on when I got home from school. When I was 7 or 8, my grandmother (whose maiden name was Winkler) told me that Henry Winkler was a distant cousin of ours. This was fascinating news.

"Really?!" I cried. "How do you know?"

She explained that his father was a second cousin (or something like that) of her father back in Germany.

I was totally excited, and for years this was the most interesting thing I had going for me. (Well, aside from eating boogers and obsessively counting things. Henry Winkler totally won the prize.)

As I got older, occasionally converstions would come up about encounters with famous people; other times there would be little ice breaker activities at various functions where you had to tell two true things and one lie about yourself so that other people could guess what you were lying about. Of course, I worked The Fonze in at every opportunity.

The first time I went to Hollywood (I was 24), I took a picture of Henry Winkler's star on the Walk of Fame and sent it to my grandmother. I couldn't understand why she wasn't more excited.

Chris always doubted my story. "Henry Winkler's Jewish," he said. "You're family's not Jewish." For me this wasn't a deal-breaker.

"So what? Maybe there's some Jewish branch of our family that never came over from Germany," I defended.

One day I saw him being interviewed on TV, so I decided to look up some information about him and his family on the internet. His dad was the president of some big company and his family had money. Certainly no one in my family had any money. I started to have my doubts, and expressed them to my aunt.

"She made it up," my aunt confided. "But don't tell her I told you!" So, of course, I confronted my grandmother.

"I'm starting to think that Henry Winkler is not our cousin," I told her pointedly. (And keep in mind this is my grandmother for whom cussing consists of "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!")

"Oh, Jesus Christ!" she snapped. "I just said that to entertain you kids! None of the others ever cared! You were the only one who remembered and you just kept on and on and on about it!"

I pretended to be really wounded. "How could you lie about something so important?"

"I didn't think it would go one for 20 years! You just wouldn't let it go!"

So. My grandma's a liar. I love that about her.

February 15, 2007

February 14, 2007

Love and all it's harrowing travails

When I was in my early 20s, I asked my Grandmother what it was like to be with someone longer than you'd been without them. My grandfather had passed away several years earlier, and we were reflecting on their 40+ year marriage.

She responded that sometimes it had been really hard. "There were whole decades of our marriage when we barely saw each other, barely spoke. We were both working hard to raise six children. There was no time to just sit around and talk and learn about each other. We didn't get to do that until all the kids were gone and we were both retired. He didn't even know I liked baseball until then."

I found that pretty depressing.

Then she went on to say, "But you know, even after all that time, I still got excited to see him. When I'd hear the garage door open and his footsteps coming up the stairs, my heart still beat faster. Even after all those years."

I loved that part.

Over the years since that conversation, I've often thought about those two ends of the spectrum of their relationship to try to figure out if it seemed worth it overall. The younger I was, the more it seemed that it was absolutely worth it. Now I find myself thinking that its not. I don't feel like I have the strength or the stamina.

That really bothers me. I hope I don't always feel this way. I don't want to end up completely bitter and jaded and cynical about love.

Today its pretty easy to feel that way, though.

February 13, 2007

The cure for loneliness

Dan Savage recently suggested a cure for loneliness: "Masturbate. Hang out with friends. Repeat."


February 11, 2007

Big, clumsy feet

It turns out that I need to be careful when wandering around my backyard in the dark when its raining. I end up unknowingly stepping on squishy, delicate creatures that are left for me to discover and mourn in the harsh morning sun.

Some days, like today

I feel completely and unbearably crushed. It's all I can do to keep bitter and hateful little comments from overflowing out of me.

I hope Natalie Portman DOES taste like heaven.

(Oops. That one slipped out.)