The Leather Pants

An old favourite… 

My parent’s house is in the middle of nowhere, 17 kilometers from the nearest town in the middle of nowhere – nowhere being a small town in Northern British Columbia with a higher than the National average cancer diagnoses for its residents, and three pulp mills to prove it.

Every Christmas, my dad puts up thousands of lights on the house: on every post, beam, eave, window frame, and around the garage door. Their electricity bill skyrockets for the month of December ($364.69 in 2008), but he thinks it’s worth it.

He’s sentimental about the holidays, and he isn’t the only one. Our entire family (dad, Stan; mom, Linda; sister, Michelle, and me, Kim) is very sentimental and it isn’t just one thing, it’s everything: the Baby J (Jesus), the Spekuloos (a Dutch cookie made with ginger and almonds), the Christmas tree (with an electrified angel on top), the music (Boney M’s ‘Mary’s Boy Child’), and the smoked turkey (regular turkeys are put to shame). It’s everything.

My sister and I always return home for the holidays, bearing gifts and revelations from the city (‘Global warming is real’ and ‘Pork is the other white meat’). My mom greets us at the door with a long hug (14-19 seconds) and a wide smile rimmed with mauve lipstick.

My dad plugs in the Christmas tree and declares, ‘Christmas time is here.’ Occasionally, (but only very occasionally) there would be ‘difficulties’ upon our return. There would be an argument or disagreement or some other ‘ment’ that would cause tension and tears.

The Christmas of 2004 was one of those.

‘O, come let us adore him.’

My sister and I sat on my mom’s bed as she pulled my dad’s Christmas present from the back of her closet. She had got him a Leatherman tool (an all-purpose tool for the very handy man) and my sister was about to wrap it, scotch tape at the ready.

‘What’s that?’ I pointed past my mom to the closet contents that were mostly beige and neutral. There was a glimmer.

‘What?’ My mom pointed at a few blouses but I shook my head.

My mom pulled a hanger from the closet, and on it hung a pair of black leather pants. ‘You’re not serious.’

‘Your dad bought them for me.’

My sister and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. ‘You can’t be serious,’ we were in unison this time. My mom unbuttoned her jeans, let them fall to the floor and reached for the hanger. She pulled the leather pants up over her calves, but they held fast at her thighs. ‘They don’t fit, mom.’

‘They do.’ My mom didn’t sound convinced. She struggled and then flopped down on the bed. She looked like a fish out of water, flipping and flopping as she pulled the leather pants up over her hips and fastened them.

‘Can you even stand?’ My sister poked my mom in the thigh. Her finger left an imprint on the leather.

‘Yes.’ My mom pulled herself over to the side of the bed, let one leg drop and forced herself upright. ‘So there.’

‘O, come let us adore him.’

We were heading out to a Christmas eve carol service at church. My dad stood at the door jingling his keys, my sister was checking her lip gloss in the hall mirror, and I was standing at my mom’s bedroom door watching her scour the closet.

‘Let’s go Linda. It’s ten to seven,’ my dad called up the stairs, knowing full well that it took 15 minutes to get to church and we would most certainly be late.

‘Just a minute,’ she replied as she pushed the clothes from side to side, the metal hangers screeching on the metal bar. She pulled several pairs of pants from the bar and threw them on the bed. ‘I can’t find them.’

‘Can’t find what?’ I said, but I knew.

‘My leather pants. They were here.’ My mom got down on her hands and knees and reached to the back of the closet.

‘Just wear something else,’ I suggested knowing that the leather pants were folded neatly in a Safeway (Canadian grocery chain) bag in my mom’s rolling suitcase, down in the basement storage room.

‘Your dad wanted me to wear them.’ My mom stood there, staring into the closet, hands on hips.

‘Linda!’ my dad called, louder this time. He meant business. He hated being late.

‘I’m looking for my leather pants.’ As my mom uttered those six to seven words (depending on whether you count I’m as two words, ‘I’ and ‘am’ or one word, ‘I’m’), she caught my gaze. ‘Where are they?’

‘What?’ I sank down the stairs and moved closer to my sister. There is strength in numbers. ‘I don’t have them.’

‘Where are they?’ My mom stood at the top of the stairs wearing a white sweater and a pair of Spanx (a body shaping undergarment). She descended the stairs slowly, pointing at my sister and I. I had never understood why pointing was rude, but right then – without any words or explanation – I knew. ‘Where are they?’

‘Gone.’ As soon as I said it, I wished I hadn’t. My dad’s head snapped in our direction.

‘Where are the pants?’ I had never seen my mom look this angry, ever.

‘Where are the pants?’ Dad moved toward the three of us. My sister and I were backed up against the wall, our family portrait hung just above our heads depicting the very best of times, thirteen years previous: my mom with no sag, my dad with a full head of hair, my sister with straight teeth, and me with an enthusiastic smile. All before time took it’s toll.

Dad repeated himself, ‘Where are the pants?’ I could tell he meant business.

‘We’ve hidden them,’ I said.

‘We?’ My sister jumped ship. I knew she would.

‘Where are the pants?’ My mom said as she yanked her Spanx up.

‘I’m not giving them back. They’re ridiculous, and you’re nearly sixty.’ I pushed past my sister and moved toward the kitchen. My dad looked at his watch and I saw his face flush red. He really hated being late.

‘Give the pants to your mom,’ as he said this he marched toward me. ‘Or, Christmas is cancelled!’

‘O, come let us adore him.’

We stood there for at least three full minutes. My dad staring at me, my mom inching closer, my sister listening to her voice mail.

‘Give me the pants, Kim.’ My mom put her pointer finger up in my grill and then repeated herself, as if I hadn’t heard her: ‘Give me the pants, Kim.’

My sister chimed in, ‘Give her the pants, Kim.’ I shook my head no.

My dad kicked off his shoes, walked over to the Christmas tree and began removing the ornaments.

‘What are you doing dad?’ I called, but he wasn’t listening. He unplugged the lights on the tree and pulled off the electrified angel topper. It was at this point my sister started crying.

‘Fine!’ I said, but it really wasn’t. I ran downstairs to the basement storage room, unzipped the suitcase, pulled open the Safeway bag and there they were: stiff, inky black, and smelling of the William’s Lake stampede.

I marched back up the stairs reluctantly and handed the pants to my mother, who slipped them on over her Spanx then and there.

I noticed my dad had placed the electrified angel back on top of the tree and was standing at the door again with his shoes on, ready to go.

Christmas was back on.

‘Christ the Lord.’

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Feel All the Feels

Warning: This isn’t my “usual” kind of post. 

Feel All the Feels

“I can’t even” is a regular phrase in my vernacular. Sometimes I say it to be funny, and sometimes I say it because it’s true.

Full disclosure: I feel overwhelmed (a lot).

Like everyone else in the world, I have a lot of stuff going on in my life. I’m dealing with health issues, family issues, and financial issues… I’m also trying to figure out my path and purpose in life, and sometimes it all just gets to be a bit much.

We all have different ways of coping with life and it’s challenges. When I have a headache, I’ll reach for an ibuprofen. When I’ve had a long day, I’ll open a bottle of wine. I usually take an Ativan on a trans-Atlantic flight so that I’ll forget that I’m flying over a giant body of very deep water, and I’ll be able to enjoy the in-flight movie.

Life can be overwhelming, and scary, and hard. Sometimes you just want to deaden, or forget, whatever it is you are feeling. You can’t even, you don’t want to, and you won’t.

But sometimes, it’s good to feel all the feels.

Hear me out.

Three months ago I booked a trip to Hawaii for the second week of November. I knew it would be welcome relief from Vancouver’s November’s gloom, but I forgot that it was also the week of the U.S. election, and the whole country would be in full fever pitch.

Aside from my election anxiety, I was behind on school and writing deadlines, thinking about upcoming medical appointments, and worried about the responsibilities piling up at home. I had also decided that my Hawaiian vacation would be the perfect time to figure out my path and purpose (no pressure!), because I would have plenty of time to think about my life while taking long walks on the beach and swimming with turtles.

I found myself sitting on a beach in Oahu, trying very hard to relax and enjoy the experience, but it just wasn’t working.

My mind was elsewhere.

About halfway through the week I finally admitted to my husband that I didn’t think I was enjoying the vacation as much as I should be. He said that he could tell, and that he had been feeling similarly… Life is a bit hard sometimes, and you can’t necessarily push that out of your mind – even if you are in Hawaii.

So, in order to make ourselves feel better, we drank several Maitais and went on the hotel’s waterslide 66 times (my husband counted).

It helped a little.

The next morning, I got a text that a friend had passed away after a long battle with cancer. It was all just a bit much. I felt my throat tighten, my pulse quicken, and the tears starting to form in the corners of my eyes.

I wanted it all to stop. I didn’t want to feel this way (or any way for that matter). I wanted to forget about everything that was going on, and try to enjoy my last few hours in this beautiful place. I went to the window and stared out at the ocean. The waves were 20 feet high, and I watched as they rolled in, crested, and broke.

And then, I cried.

I finally allowed myself to feel all of the sadness, disappointment, regret, and heartache that had been welling up inside of me.

And then, I laughed.

I laughed because I had forgotten how much better it feels to allow yourself to have an emotional and physical reaction, and I wondered why I had tried so hard, for so long, to hold it all in.

When I allowed myself to feel, I started to feel better. Good or bad, joy or sorrow… Sometimes it’s good to feel all of the feels.

We are humans.

We feel things.

It is a gift.

 

That Time I Propositioned Jimmy Kimmel

It was an accident, really.

I would never purposefully proposition Jimmy Kimmel.

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Jimmy Kimmel – hunk

It’s not that I don’t find him attractive. I definitely do. And who wouldn’t? He’s a very handsome man, and he’s very funny which makes him six times (fact) more handsome than he already is (which is already very, very handsome).

I digress.

It all started one sunny Thursday afternoon. We had tickets to Jimmy Kimmel Live, which is filmed in front of a live studio audience in the sketchiest part of Hollywood. As we lined up outside the El Capitan Theatre, we were excited to see Jimmy and whatever celebrity guest he had on, and we were also a little scared (to be stabbed by one of the hundreds of superhero and film star impersonators that line Sunset Boulevard, and pose for photos with tourists, and then get very angry when they don’t give them a dollar, and just start stabbing).

I was relieved when we finally filed into the theatre and were directed to our seats. A few minutes later, Jimmy Kimmel himself walked into the studio and started bantering with the crowd. He asked if anyone had any questions, and not a single audience member put up their hand. Not one person. It was extremely awkward.

Full disclosure: I was embarassed for him. He’s a celebrity, and celebrities aren’t used to being ignored. He obviously sought out a life of fame because he has deep-rooted insecurities about being “good enough” and has a buttload of “mother issues,” so it was really hard to see him being treated with such disdain by a group of strangers**.

So I put up my hand.

And when he saw my hand, a look of relief spread over his face (obviously, he could once again supress his insecurities and self-doubt), and he said, “Yes miss?”

I stood up, and cleared my throat, “Are you single?”

The audience started wooing and clapping, as though I was propositioning Jimmy Kimmel!

(First of all, how dare they? Second of all, I’m a journalist – to some extent – and I was just trying to get the “inside scoop” for People magazine. And no, People magazine hadn’t asked me to get said scoop, but that’s not the point. I was trying to be helpful. Information is power.)

Jimmy smiled. “Are you asking for yourself?”

“No,” I said, and then I pointed to my husband, who was sitting next to me. The audience immediately erupted into laughter and wooing.

You see, I was trying to tell Jimmy that I was with the man next to me, but Jimmy (and the rest of the studio audience) thought that I was asking for the man next to me.

Jimmy said that while he appreciated the proposition, he was engaged to be married, to a woman.

Obviously, there was never really a “proposition.” I would never purposefully proposition Jimmy Kimmel.

And it’s not because Jimmy Kimmel isn’t handsome. He obviously is extremely handsome, and very funny, and rich beyond my wildest dreams… And he probably has a large swimming pool. Anybody would be lucky to be joined in holy matrimony with that hunk of a man.

But the fact is that I’m married.

Happily married.

 

 

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* It always does.

** Athough strangers are really just “friends you haven’t met yet,” aren’t they?

(Unless they are superhero and film star impersonators that want to stab you.)

The Whole Thing

So, apparently you’re a loser if you have a Hotmail account.

(That’s what “people are saying.” Who? People. “People are saying” that Hotmail is for losers. I shouldn’t have to back up these statements with facts, okay? “People are saying” that Hotmail is for losers, and that should be enough for all of us to accept it as fact and believe it, and trust it, and never question it, ok?)

Supposedly, having a Hotmail account is the equivalent of wearing mom jeans, driving a Corolla, and listening to Kenny Loggins – it is antiquated and unsophisticated, and if you use it people will think that you are also antiquated and unsophisticated.

But, here’s the thing: I have had my Hotmail account for 20 years. Every online store, every utility company, every banking login, every password is connected to this account. If I switched to Gmail it would be a whole thing.

Why do you think I didn’t take my husband’s last name when we married? It would have been a whole thing.

Why do you think I pretended to be asleep when I was caught eating a handful of bulk gummy bears at Bulk Barn last week? It would have been a whole thing.

So, here’s my plan… Let’s Make Hotmail Great Again

It’s a very exciting time for Hotmail. Your voices represent a bright new future for a great email provider, full of more opportunities to email for everyone, not just a select few. Together, we have created a movement that continues to gain momentum. Together, we are making history. Together, we are bringing back the emailing dream with Hotmail. The time is now. Together, we WILL Make Hotmail Great Again!

Or at least not as lame.

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That Time I Accidentally Joined a Cult

You know what they say… $#!* happens. And, yeah, sometimes you accidentally join a cult.

Before I continue, I should note: this wasn’t one of those pill-popping, incestuous, murdery cults. Obviously, I would not go and join one of those!

The particular cult I accidentally joined was just your standard, run-of-the-mill, garden variety religious cult. And who among us hasn’t accidentally joined one of those?

Seven years ago we moved to England, to a very small town 25 miles west of London called Maidenhead. I was going to school, and my husband was working at a film studio, and apart from my classmates and his workmates, we did not have any friends to speak of, or to speak to. In an effort to amend this, we decided we should check out our local church. That Sunday morning we were greeted with welcoming smiles, handshakes, and the community we had been missing.

We started to attend the church regularly, mixing and mingling with some local, devout, god-fearing Brits. The services were short, and they served tea and biscuits. It was a win-win situation**.

A few weeks later, we met Ed and Buffy*. Ed and Buffy were church leaders, and they seemed like a very friendly and pleasant couple. They said they wanted to get to know us better, and invited us to dinner at their house. We of course, eagerly accepted, excited to make new friends.

The following Saturday we went to Ed and Buffy’s house for dinner. They pulled out all the stops with wonderful food, plenty of wine, and great conversation. We were really hitting it off, and I kept nudging my husband’s leg under the table as if to say, “We did it! We made some friends!”

But, what is a cult, really? It’s just a small group with questionable religious beliefs. But the problem is that sometimes you don’t realize that someone’s beliefs are totally, 100%, bat-$#!* bonkers until you’ve agreed to have coffee and dessert.

We were a few glasses of wine in, when Ed leaned on the table and said that we had been “brought” to their church for a reason… Ed said that all church members needed to recruit 12 non-believers, and cult-ivate*** them, as part of a “ladder to success.” Meaning, we needed to find 12 non-believers, help them become “believers,” and then help them to recruit their own 12 non-believers to cultivate. Ed said that church members should always do as they are told, never question the leaders of the church, and that we should not google any of this because, “there’s a lot of bad stuff posted about it on the internet.”

I nodded my head, and smiled, and said, “Uh huh,” but inside I was like, “Oh, $#!*.”

We ate the dessert (I mean, it was sticky toffee pudding so…), drank our coffees, and then got the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of there.

When we got home, I turned to my husband and said, “I can’t believe we accidentally joined a cult!”

My husband was very quick to point out that he had never actually accidentally joined a cult. He had always maintained a safe and suspicious distance, but he thought it was absolutely hilarious that I had.

And then we googled it… And yep, it was a cult.

 

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* These were their actual names.

** Until it wasn’t.

*** I should have known – cult was right there in the word.

The “I Know You”

I have a problem.

Okay, to be completely honest and forthright, I have many problems (which I won’t go into detail about in this forum, but let’s just say most of them involve my body, brain, and extremities*), but without a doubt (okay, with some doubt because it’s actually really hard to assess the comparative importance of said problems), my number one (or two) problem is having total strangers come up to me and say, “I know you!”

I’ll be in line at the grocery store, or sitting in a waiting room, or hurtling through the air on an airplane, or walking down the street (always minding my own business, obvs) and complete strangers will approach me and insist that they “know me from somewhere.” They’ll stare at my face, tilt their heads, tap their bottom lip with their index finger (or, sometimes a pen), and hum and haw, trying to work out exactly how they “know” me.

Just to be clear: I never know them.

Last week I had a cashier at Fred Meyer say “I know you,” and then insist that we went to high school together in Bellingham, Washington… “Go Red Raiders!” I told her that I was a Canadian, and I had definitely attended high school in Canada. As she rang through my groceries, she occasionally glanced back up at me and shook her head dubiously – like she didn’t believe me.

There are four possibilities:

  1. I have a familiar, open, friendly face that reminds people of someone else that they have been previously acquianted with.
  2. I have face blindness, or prosopagnosia, a condition where a person has trouble recognizing familiar faces, and learning to recognize new ones, so I wouldn’t be able to recognize people the way that they recognize me.
  3. I have a twin that has seen it all, done it all, and attended high school in Bellingham, Washington with Candice (the cashier’s name was Candice).
  4. I am part of a Truman Show-type scenario, where I am the unsuspecting participant of a live reality TV show documenting my life, so people feel like they “know” me, when in fact they have only seen me on TV.

For a while I thought that the first possibility was the obvious explanation, but now I’m seriously starting to wonder if I am part of a Truman Show type situation – and if that’s the case, where’s the door?

 

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* If you must know, I have a thyroid condition.

The Discovery

I have not been this excited in a very long time.

Yesterday I discovered SPOON – the band, not the utensil – and I am overjoyed.

It has been a very, very long time since I found a musical artist, duo or group that played music that was pleasing to my discriminating ear (which, BTW – is the only part of my body which discriminates).

In fact, I thought that I had come to a point in my life (as all adults do) when they have extreme dislike for any music created within the last two decades and only listen to “classic rock.” My Sirius Satellite radio channel of choice is called Lithium, which is named after a Nirvana song and exclusively plays 90s Alternative and Grunge Rock. In other words, I have been on a slippery slope.

Yesterday I had a tickety-boo around iTunes and the algorithm (which I’m guessing is actually a guy named Al Gorithm who has a lot of time on his hands) suggested a song called, “Inside Out” by Spoon. I listened to the preview, and I was like, “OMG, Thank you Al, whoever you are.”

The song is unlike anything else I’ve heard in the last two decades. It is so melodic and sweet-sounding – it is as if angels from heaven had played a part in its creation. I might also mention that it sounds very similar to the marching music on the Wii, and that in itself is a win.

I began researching the band, eager to find out more. It turns out that they are from Austin, Texas and enjoy lying on their sides, closely nestled together – which I think is very sweet.

Let’s be clear: If I had just discovered the utensil I would have been equally, if not more excited, because can you imagine going through life eating soup with a fork, or ice cream with a knife? It would be extremely impractical.

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Luckily, I am now well-acquainted with all kinds of spoons.

 

The Shoes

Sometimes you just need to go for a drive, and this morning was one of those times. I was feeling a little bit blah, the weather was a bit overcast and dreary, and it was the first day where it was very clear that summer is officially over (sorry for the hard truths), so I donned a coat, grabbed a Christmas CD (no – it’s not too early), and hit the open road.

As I pulled onto the highway, I saw a single shoe – a New Balance tennis shoe – lying by the side of the road, and I thought to myself, “How does someone lose a tennis shoe on a highway? How does any scenario end with a tennis shoe being lost on a major thoroughfare?”

I quickly forgot about the tennis shoe, as I drank my coffee and sang along to Angels We Have Heard On High (really, it’s not too early). The clouds parted a little bit, the sun peeked through, and it felt like everything was right in the world.

And then I saw a black rubber boot lying on the side of the road.

Again, I thought to myself, “What situation calls for a black rubber boot to be thrown from a moving vehicle? And if you were to accidentally lose one of your rubber boots from a vehicle, would you not pull the aforementioned vehicle over to go back and get said boot?”

I quickly forgot about the boot, as I focused on the road (I was not at all distracted by singing along with the Christmas music and doing actions with my hands and body).

Less than a mile later I spotted a single flip-flop, lying on the shoulder.

WTF.

Seriously.

I looked at the flip-flop and thought to myself, “What happened to the person who was once the proud owners of this flip-flop?! And what about the other flip-flop?! Did the owners toss it, thinking it would never be reunited with its wayward twin?!”

 

Life is full of mysteries – like, WHY ARE WE HERE – but I feel like I really need to know why there are so many single shoes lying along the side of the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Diamond

No, I’m not talking about the shape with four straight sides of equal length that forms two opposite acute angles and two opposite obtuse angles AKA, a “rhombus.”

Nor am I talking about the area on a field where the game of baseball is played.

I’m also not talking Neil, even though he’s definitely worth talking about.

I mean, come on.

 

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I’m talking about a pure and precious stone, consisting of a clear and colorless form of metastable allotrope of carbon that has been crystallized.

The other day I was just walking along, minding my own business (minding no other person’s business!), and enjoying Vancouver’s fair weather, when I spotted a brilliant flash on the sidewalk. I stopped, and bent down to get a closer look. It was the biggest diamond I had ever seen in my life.

I quickly picked it up, and shoved it deep into my pocket. Then I took it out of my pocket to get another look at it, and then feared it would somehow fall out of my pocket, so I put it in the change part of my wallet. I walked a few steps, and then thought the diamond would somehow get damaged by the change, so I put the loose change in my pocket, and left the diamond in the zipped pouch. I then called my husband and told him that I found a diamond.

“That’s great honey,” he said, while he, unbeknown to me, googled lost property Vancouver.

“It is great.” I whispered, hoping no one overheard. “I’m just ball-parking it*, but I bet this sucker is worth at least $10,000. It’s celebrity engagement ring big.”

I could hear my husband typing.

“I already know what I’m going to do with the money. I’m going to give half the money to charity, because that is the kind of wonderful human I am…”

My husband grunted his agreement.

“And then I’m going to use the other half for a vacation. I’m thinking Hawaii.”

The typing stopped, and my husband piped up: “You know you have to turn it in to the police, right?”

“What? No. Why?” I said, rather defiantly.

“Because it belongs to someone else.” My husband is nearly always the voice of reason.

“How can it ‘belong’ to someone else? It’s not a piece of jewelry. It’s not a ring. If it was a ring then it would be a real thing and somebody could say, ‘yep, that’s my ring,’ but this is just a loose diamond. It’s just a bit of rock, isn’t it? It’s essentially a worthless rock that someone, somewhere decided to assign value to. Who decided that diamonds are more valuable than any other mineral? Personally, I prefer a nice bit of quartz…” I took a breath. “It’s like a hundred-year-old bottle of scotch that someone has decided is worth $27,000. I would never pay $27,000 for a bottle of scotch… Never!”

The husband exhaled. “I’m just telling you what I found online. You have to turn it in, or make a reasonable effort to find the original owner.”

“First of all, who asked you to look online? Second of all, what did you google? Third of all, how do I make an effort to find the owner of what is essentially a rock? Should I make a ‘found diamond’ posting on craigslist so someone can say, ‘yep, that’s my diamond.’”

As soon as I got home, I started doing a little googling of my own: How to tell if a diamond is real.  

The fog test. It passed with flying colors.

The stone’s refractivity. This mother refracted light like nobody’s business.

The stone’s reflections. It sparkled like the night sky, except sparklier.

The water test. Real diamonds sink, and this bad boy sunk like Luke Skywalker’s X-wing in the Dagobah swamp.

I didn’t turn in the diamond in that day. Or the next, or the day after that. In fact, a whole week passed before I was even willing to discuss it again.

I put the diamond in a plastic Ziploc bag and left it on the kitchen counter.

It haunted me.

“Okay, seriously what should I do?” I said, after having agonized about the moral and legal issues for the past seven days.

The husband stood firm. “You should turn it in.”

“Ugh. I knew you were going to say that.” I flung the Ziploc in his direction.

“The good news is that they hold the item for 90 days and if no one claims it, it’s returned to you.”

“Fine.” I was so not fine. “But we should probably check if it’s real first. We don’t want to get all the way down to the police station, which is in a very sketchy part of town, to find that its just a rock. Even though a diamond is actually just a rock.”

My palms were sweating as the jeweler looked through her loupe. She looked up and smiled at us, and I smiled back.

“It’s cubic zirconia.” She handed me the loupe, and I stared through the little circle, not exactly sure what I should be looking at. “You can tell it’s not real because you can see right through it.”

“Ahhhhh.” I said, but I was really like, “Damn.”

As I left the jewelry store my disappointment quickly turned to sweet relief… I didn’t have to drive to the sketchy part of town to turn in the diamond, or meet anyone from craigslist.

Things always seem to work out. 

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* Another way to ball-park it.

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That Time I Was in a Sketch with Amy Poehler

Yes, it’s true… I was in a televised sketch with Amy Poehler.

Yes, that Amy Poehler.

Let me paint a picture for you…

(It’s a sad clown holding a drooping flower, and it took me about three hours. You’ll probably want to frame it and then display it in a place of prominence in your home. You’re welcome.)

Okay, now let me paint a metaphorical picture for you…

As I describe the location and time frame of the particular event that changed many people’s lives forever.

The month was February. The year was 1999. The city was New York. I was on a school field trip with 20 or so wide-eyed dreamers, all looking to expand our horizons.

I was young, headstrong, and a delight.*

I had dreamed of visiting NYC, the city that never sleeps, because some of my favorite television programs were filmed there. Before the trip, I wrote a letter to Late Night with Conan O’Brien requesting tickets for some members of the group, and several weeks later I received eight paper tickets in the mail.

(Things to keep in mind: this was before 9-11, before Occupy Wall Street, and before the internet was really even a “thing.”)

On February 24, we showed up to 30 Rockefeller and we were escorted onto the elevator (with its NBC peacock-print carpet), and up 30 stories to the studio. We were ushered to the front row, where we made chit-chat with Max Weinberg and his Max Weinberg 7. Conan and Andy came out to chat to the audience before the show. I put my hand up and asked for a hug, and Conan said, “no.” I don’t remember much about the show itself, except the guests were Howie Mandel (OCD comedian) and Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons).

The thing that I remember very clearly, was that as the audience began to clear out, a Producer approached a few of us and asked if we’d like to be in a sketch that would air the following night. “Uh, yeah.”

(This is the magic of NYC… Anything can happen!)

The premise of the sketch was that Late Night wasn’t a very popular TV show, so they had a hard time filling the audience. They were having a draw for a dinner out with Conan and Andy, but every time they drew a ticket there was no one in the corresponding seat, until they finally drew a ticket and it turned out to be, “Andy’s little sister, Stacy,” who was wearing an upper body brace because of an unexplained injury.

“Andy’s little sister Stacy” was played by a little-known actress by the name of Amy Poehler.

“Wistful and wise audience member number 5” was played by yours truly.

Full discloure: I took my performance to a new level that day, first looking pensive, and then plaintive, and then mixing in a bit of nostalgic contemplation. I shifted in my seat, and gently rested my chin on my fist. I wasn’t Kim Manky that day, I was “Audience member number 5.” And when the Director yelled “cut,” I knew that I had nailed it.

I don’t want to brag, but I think it’s safe to say that working with me obviously and unequivocally elevated Amy’s acting game as we “treaded the boards” together (I sat a few rows in front of her, and we definitely made eye contact.)

This was before Saturday Night Live, a string of hit movies, and a best-selling memoir (all Amy’s).

Would she have gone on to become a well-known, award-winning actress, comedian, director, writer and producer if she hadn’t had the opportunity to work with me on that fateful day?

We’ll never know.

(But probably not.)

 

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* It’s not important. I just wanted you to know.