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    by Mary Beth Ellis
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    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
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Sunday
May112008

Eight Steps

Max is the cousin of Jim The Small Child Nephew's and Will The Baby Nephew. He has arthrogryposis, a deformity of the joints which forces his body into odd, painful angles.

When he was conceived and the syndrome discovered, the doctors told his mother to end the pregnancy. His father said, "I will carry that kid around on my back for the rest of my life if I have to."

When he was born, his hands and feet were clubbed and a recessed jaw left him unable to suck from a bottle. The experts decided that perhaps he might be able to walk one day. Maybe.

When he was a year old, his mother died. He dragged himself across the floor by the arms to get where he was going.

When he was one and a half years old, he had serious surgery which left him in tiny casts. He rolled to get where he was going.

When he was two, the physical therapist added heavy braces to his legs. He clung to furniture to get where he was going.

Yesterday, the braces cast aside, he walked eight steps across the middle of his grandparents' living room to get where he was going.

May this help you tired moms out there get you where you're going. Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday
May082008

The Air Up There

One of the major benefits of living in the DC area is the ability to at-will go stand next to a massive scale model of the space shuttle at the National Air and Space Museum.


It makes me feel skinny.


Standing next to C3PO, not so much. Very low body fat on the 3ster.

You will also notice that I'm seen with a different male of the species in each photograph. That's how life rolls at the NASM. Swingin' crowd.


For instance, this was this biggest clot of people I saw all day. What was the attraction? A bit of moon rock, perhaps? Vintage Mercury ware? The command module of Apollo 11?


...Or... Seinfeld's puffy shirt, on loan from the under-renovation American History Museum.

Well then. Let us repair to the gift shop! Surely there's some seriously space-minded material in there.


...or...not. If anyone ever sees an actual astronaut holding this in a non-ironic fashion, please contact me immediately.

FINE. I'll just go to the children's section. Doubtless studious, wide-eyed children are sitting quietly as the space program is presented in a respectful, forward-thinking manner.

 

Well...

 

 

...the parents, at least, can't be counted upon. Because I know that's the first thing l always think when confronted by a large vat of glass: "Wouldn't it be great to hurl Will The Baby Nephew in here! Small children and tiny breakable objects are always a magic mix!"

 

your tax dollars at work at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Wednesday
May072008

Necking

We need to have a very important discussion about giraffes.

How do you move them?

My home zoo in Cincinnati is building a new home for the giraffes, which means that they had to clear out for a while. They're crashing on a pullout couch right now in Cleveland's zoo.

How did they get there?

I'm thinking not standing up, like in an episode of Jim The Small Child Nephew's Curious George cartoons, which showed a giraffe on a train, its neck sticking out above the railcar. Which, initially, makes sense, but I foresee Serious Issues when it's time to go through a tunnel.

Maybe they use a truck and put the giraffe in a NASA-style payload cannister. But, again: Overpasses.

I've seen giraffes sit--I suppose this is their giraffe-casual, hanging out posture-- but I imagine it's difficult to get them to stay there for a five-hour journey to Cleveland. I wouldn't. I'd have to get up to pee at least twice.

I guess maybe the handlers tranquilize the giraffes, lay them down, and toss 'em in the back of an 18-wheeler. Which has to be quite the waking-up experience for the giraffe. "Well, this morning I suppose I'll get to eating those leaves over by the... Wait a-- What th--Am I in Cleveland?"

savannas at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Monday
May052008

They Never ID'ed Us At the Campus Bars, But If You're a 98 Year-Old Nun Trying to Vote, You're Screwed

Well done, alma mater.

Well done.

proudly sing out at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Monday
May052008

Tines

We need to have a very serious discussion about food touching, which sounds awesomely dirty, but is actually a matter of great national importance. I don't mean you touching food, or food touching you. I mean this business of food touching each other.

I am very, very into safe food sex. The potatoes are not allowed to touch the corn, the corn is not allowed to touch the chicken, and if the chicken gets anywhere near the chocolate cake, I will cut you. I've felt this way even before I saw Jim The Small Child Nephew dip a Peep into a pool of ketchup: Food must keep unto itself.

Josh The Pilot, he doesn't care. He mashes the potatoes with the corn with the chicken and he'd throw the cake in, too, if I didn't stop him on behalf of my own gag reflex. "It all goes to the same place anyway," he points out. He also once ate grasshoppers.

But I let my large intestine sort it out. That's what it's for. I don't check in with my digestive system to see what it's up to. I trust it. So I'm just going to fling dinner down to it one food item at a time. Mixin's for cocktails.

chicken and dreams at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com