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Category Archives: stories

Son, be a dentist; people will pay you to be inhumane

I have a whole post I’m working on but I don’t have the time to do it justice because it’s just now 8pm and I’m only sitting down to blog. And at some point, I would like to get some sleep. Because sleep is a good thing to get, sometimes, or so I hear.

So instead, let’s talk about my trip to the dentist. That’ll be good times, right?

What is happening here? This would not make me want to go to this dentist.

What is happening here? This would not make me want to go to this dentist.

First: I have excellent teeth. MOST excellent. They are straight and mostly still white (shut up, MOSTLY, I’m not a teen anymore, age makes your teeth lose their pretty luster eventually, you know) and I never needed braces and I only have one cavity and it’s WAY in the back of my mouth so you’d never know if I didn’t just tell the whole internet.

This is due to the fact that my parents both have terrible teeth and they didn’t want me and my brother to have terrible teeth, so they insisted we take fluoride pills all through our childhood and visit the dentist religiously every six months. This obsessiveness over our teeth led to us having all-American mouths of teeth. (Well, my brother less-so, only because some kid knocked him into a sink with his face in grammar school so one of his front teeth is a cap that you can kind of see, but that’s hardly my brother’s fault. And I totally got together a group of kids and we walked past that kid a couple days later and gave him the stink-eye and he never bothered my brother again. Because I am PROTECTIVE. And, as you can see from this story, always have been.)

My mother said if I talked about dentistry on the internet I had to say, “THANK YOU MOM FOR TAKING SUCH GOOD CARE OF MY TEETH.” So I am saying it. THANK YOU MOMMY. (And peripherally Dad, who I’m sure drove us to the dentist at one point or another.)

So I went many, many years without cavities, until about 5 years ago I had a SNEAK-ATTACK CAVITY way in the back of my mouth and I was so mad because that meant I could no longer say “BAM, PERFECT MOUTH, MOFOS!” and I felt like I’d failed at life. But it was actually kind of an adventure because my dentist is sort of crazy and her dental tech didn’t show up the day I went in to get it filled and so she made me be her assistant and hold all the tools, and why didn’t any of you people tell me how awesome that numbing stuff is? It made the side of my whole face numb and when I tried to drink water when I got home I was all dribbly and that made me giggle.

I sprung for the white filling. Because it was CLASSIER.

I sprung for the white filling. Because it was CLASSIER.

Anyway, my last dental appointment was supposed to be at the end of last July. But, who remembers what happened right before that? Yeppers, fired from my terrible soul-crushing job. Which had dental. And if I wanted to keep the dental insurance through my COBRA coverage, it was like a kajillion extra dollars a month. (I think it was like $50, but when you’re unemployed, that seems like a kajillion.) So I called the dentist and cancelled the appointment because who can afford tooth-care when you can hardly afford foodstuffs?

So since then, I’ve kind of put off going to the dentist because I’m a lazy person who sometimes doesn’t do things in a timely fashion. And also because I can’t figure out my new job’s healthcare to save my life. IT IS VERY CONFUSING. I almost started crying all over friend A. at work over the whole thing. Who is like the levelest-headed person ever, and he was all “Um…there there? Don’t cry?”

How I feel friend A. is mentally looking every time I lose my shit.

How I feel friend A. is mentally looking every time I lose my shit. (He’s much more attractive than this, just as a side note. But also engaged to my wonderful friend K. So HANDS OFF, ladies!)

So I called all the health care places (we seriously have four, one for regular healthcare and one for REIMBURSAL for healthcare, and one for dental, and one for vision. THAT IS TOO MANY PLACES!) and tried to unravel the mess that is my office healthcare.

Mainly what I learned is that I don’t HAVE vision care, because, according to my HR lady, I opted out of that when I started there. (Why the hell would I have done that? That seems suspect. I have glasses! And wanted new ones! But she just gave me some papers to fill out and said she’d take care of it. I hope she meant it. I REALLY need new glasses.)

So the dental place was all, YES YOU CAN GET AN EXAM! ALSO FREE X-RAYS! And I was like, THANK YOU LADY ON THE PHONE! And friend A. was all “See? Why are you crying at work, you are sometimes scary.” (OK, he didn’t say that, but that’s the look he gave me.)

So I called my dentist and at first the receptionist said, “No appointments until September!” but then she said, “Oh, wait, we had an cancellation, can you come in Wednesday?” and I was all YES! Because I hadn’t been to the dentist at this point for a year and a half and I was pretty sure I was going to start looking like a gap-toothed hobo.

OK, I might be exaggerating. Just a little.

OK, I might be exaggerating. Just a little.

So I went to the dentist today.

FIRST, you see the tech. You don’t actually see the dentist. When did this start happening? When I was a kid, I always saw the dentist right away.

So, as mentioned, my dentist (and the people in her office) are a little kooky. I think that’s why I like them. They keep me entertained.

The tech decided she needed to take a kajillion X-rays. She wanted to put me in some sort of gigantic dental X-ray sarcophagus thing but she said I had to take all of my earrings out. Now, listen. I have a LOT of earrings. And they’re really, really hard to take out. So I was all, “I need a little time to PREPARE for the X-ray sarcophagus” and then she decided to do a ton of SMALLER X-rays which took a lot of time. And she had to leave the room for every one, which seemed both time consuming and also if she had to leave, how dangerous were these X-rays for me? (I did like that she put a lead thing on my neck to protect my nonexistent thyroid, though. That was thoughtful.)

So she left the room and came back in and was adjusting the X-ray thing (which, BTW, HURT LIKE HELL, it was all digging into my gums and lower-mouth-area, why are things so hurty?) and this glass table in the room FELL APART ALL ON ITS OWN. Like, with no impetus. No one was walking or shaking anything. The glass on top of the table just FELL RIGHT OFF and BANGED ON THE FLOOR. And all the things on the table went smacking all around, including what would be my little samples of toothpaste and floss and my new toothbrush. I sure do like free shit.

Oooohhhh, I AM HAUNTING YOUR DENTAL OFFICE! By TIPPING OVER YOUR TABLE!

Oooohhhh, I AM HAUNTING YOUR DENTAL OFFICE! By TIPPING OVER YOUR TABLE!

So I was all, “that was disconcerting and this room is potentially haunted” and the tech was all “JUST A MINUTE” and ran out and then ran back in with ANOTHER tech and the secretary and the dentist, WHO WERE ALL WORKING WITH PATIENTS, so those patients were…just…sitting around waiting for them to get back? I don’t know. And they all WONDERED OVER THE GHOST TABLE. And the dentist got on the FLOOR to see why the glass fell off, and hauntings were discussed. And I was sitting in the recliney chair just laughing because it was all so bizarre.

So the dentist finally put the glass and all the things back and gave the table a VERY stern look and left and the tech finished my ouchy X-rays. And an ADDITIONALLY ouchy scaling. Scaling is the worst. That’s when they scape the hell out of your teeth. I don’t care for that. They’re really aggressive about that scratchiness. I’m always afraid they’re going to break one of my teeth off.

Oh, the billion of X-rays? They turned out perfect. As I knew they would. VERY GOOD TEETH BABY!

Then the tech cleaned my teeth and THEN she said some very bad news.

“You’ve been grinding your teeth,” she said. “That’s what this little ridge here is. And your teeth are showing wear. You’re probably doing it in your sleep.”

Heh, bruxism. That sounds naughty. And totally like something I might have.

Heh, bruxism. That sounds naughty. And totally like something I might have.

I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WEIRD! My top two teeth have this little…I don’t know, crease along the bottom. And my bottom teeth are wearing down a little. And sometimes my jaw hurts when I wake up. (NOT A EUPHEMISM!)

So she said I should go to the drugstore and get a mouthguard and try that for a while, and they’d also contact my insurance company and see if they’ll pay for a custom mouthguard.

Yes. You know what’s sexy? A MOUTHGUARD, baby. I’m gonna be on a lot of people’s shortlists for lovin’ with this thing in.

GRINDGUARD! I think it's going to guard against anyone grinding me, that's for sure.

GRINDGUARD! I think it’s going to guard against anyone grinding me, that’s for sure.

“Most people who grind their teeth have stress. Are you stressed?” the tech asked.

If I wasn’t so stressed about my RAPIDLY RECEDING TEETH that I am GRINDING AWAY IN MY SLEEP I would have agreed.

Then the dentist came in for .000001 seconds and said I had amazing wonderful excellent teeth and make sure to use a soft toothbrush and concurred on the sex-ay mouthguard and said, “Ooh, you’re a FLOSSER, aren’t you?” and I nodded that I was but that was totally a lie. I’m not. And it worries me that she thought I was. Shouldn’t she know such things?

Then I got my bag of goodies (fine, I don’t think you can really call dental supplies “goodies” but, as stated, I sure do like free shit) and went back to work.

What have we learned today?

I AM GRINDING MY TEETH DOWN FROM INNER TURMOIL AND TORMENT.

GHOSTS LIVE IN MY DENTAL OFFICE AND ARE THROWING GLASS TABLES AT ME.

X-RAYS ARE OUCHY.

BUT YOU GET FREE STUFF AT THE END OF THE TRIP!

Bye, dentist. See you in six months. I will totally floss in the meantime.*

(*No. No, I probably won’t. But I will go buy, and take a photo of myself depressedly wearing, the mouthguard for you guys.)

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And Then Everyone Was Dead

BFF emailed me the other day and sent me the following. He knows I am obsessed with the following things:

  • Death
  • Fairy tales
  • Weird, warped, twisted things
  • Dark humor (even better when it’s not on purpose)
  • Animals

And this has ALL OF THE ABOVE.

This is most definitely why I have the best BFF in ALL THE LAND.

Also, SIDE NOTE!, BFF and I have made a VERY GRAND PLAN. This year I am all vacationed up, and next year, most of my vacation time (and money) will be spent making the most exciting trip ACROSS THE WHOLE WORLD and going to FINLAND, but the FOLLOWING year, I do NOT have plans (well, not DEFINITIVE plans) and I said, “BFF! Do you want to make a plan where we will do something in 2015?” and BFF said “YES I DO!” so we talked about what we should do and it was decided that WE WOULD GO TO MAINE. Maine is on my list of places I have never been and have always wanted to go. This is because I grew up on a steady diet of Stephen King books and read more about Maine than anywhere else in the whole world and have always wanted to visit it and see if the Maine in my head matches the Maine in the real world. Also, Maine has forests and oceans and seafood. These are all things I enjoy on a vacation. (I do not enjoy mosquitoes, but I can learn to adapt, I suppose.)

Ooh, look at all our CHOICES! This is very exciting.

Ooh, look at all our CHOICES! This is very exciting.

VACATION WITH BFF IN TWO YEARS!!! IN MAINE!!! Oh, well THIS is exciting. I’d better make sure my job doesn’t fire me before then, I’d really like to go on this one.

So today we’re going to talk about possibly, in the words of BFF, “the saddest Brothers’ Grimm fairytale I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”

Ladies, gentlemen, and whatever you are, Ding Dong Joe, I bring you:

The Death of the Little Hen

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

One time the little hen and the little rooster went to Nut Mountain, and they agreed that whoever would find a nut would share it with the other one. Now the little hen found a large, large nut, but — wanting to eat the kernal by herself — she said nothing about it. However, the kernal was so thick that she could not swallow it down. It got stuck in her throat, and fearing that she would choke to death, she cried out, “Little Rooster, I beg you to run as fast as you can to the well and get me some water, or else I’ll choke to death.”

The little rooster ran to the well as fast as he could, and said, “Well, give me some water, for the little hen is lying on Nut Mountain. She swallowed a large nut kernal and is about to choke to death on it.”

The well answered, “First run to the bride, and get some red silk from her.”

The little rooster ran to the bride: “Bride, give me some red silk, and I’ll give the red silk to the well, and the well will give me some water, and I’ll take the water to the little hen who is lying on Nut Mountain. She swallowed a large nut kernal and is about to choke to death on it.”

The bride answered, “First run and get my wreath. It got caught on a willow branch.”

So the little rooster ran to the willow and pulled the wreath from its branch and took it to the bride, and the bride gave him some red silk, which he took to the well, which gave him some water, and the little rooster took the water to the little hen, but when he arrived, she had already choked to death, and she lay there dead, and did not move at all.

The little rooster was so sad that he cried aloud, and all the animals came to mourn for the little hen. Six mice built a small carriage which was to carry the little hen to her grave. When the carriage was finished, they hitched themselves to it, and the little rooster drove. On the way they met the fox.

“Where are you going, little rooster?”

“I’m going to bury my little hen.”

“May I ride along?”

“Yes, but you must sit at the rear, because my little horses don’t like you too close to the front.”

So he sat at the rear, and then the wolf, the bear, the elk, the lion, and all the animals in the forest. They rode on until they came to a brook. “How can we get across?” said the little rooster.

A straw was lying there next to the brook, and he said, “I’ll lay myself across, and you can drive over me.” But just as the six mice got onto the straw, it slipped into the water, and the six mice all fell in and drowned.

They did not know what to do, until a coal came and said, “I am large enough. I will lay myself across and you can drive over me.” So the coal laid itself across the water, but unfortunately it touched the water, hissed, and went out; and it was dead.

A stone saw this happen, and wanting to help the little rooster, it laid itself across the water. The little rooster pulled the carriage himself. He nearly reached the other side with the dead little hen, but there were too many others seated on the back of the carriage, and the carriage rolled back, and they all fell into the water and drowned.

Now the little rooster was all alone with the dead little hen. He dug a grave for her and laid her inside. Then he made a mound on top, and sat on it, and grieved there so long that he too died. And then everyone was dead.

There’s a lot to discuss, here.

First, the little hen. The little hen was a HUGE PIG. I’m not saying she DESERVED to die or anything, but they CLEARLY had an ARRANGEMENT and she broke it immediately. When my brother and I used to put more food in our mouths than was advisable, my mother would VERY SERIOUSLY intone, “GREEDY GUTS AND PIGGY TOES.” Which was the most annoying and now I hear it in my head every time I sit down to eat, thanks, Mom, but ANYWAY, this little hen was most definitely BOTH a Greedy Guts AND a Piggy Toes.

Don't ever show my mom this, she'll say it proves her point.

Don’t ever show my mom this, she’ll say it proves her point.

Also, “Nut Mountain.” A whole MOUNTAIN of nuts! I’m pretty sure this isn’t a euphemism. Except for the line “so thick that she could not swallow it down.” We all know THAT’S totally a euphemism.

Also, “the” little hen and “the” little rooster. Were there only two of them in all the land? AND, whoever FOUND a nut on Nut Mountain? I’d assume there would be billions of nuts there. THE WHOLE MOUNTAIN IS NAMED AFTER NUTS.

This whole story is already fraying at the seams.

I have to assume that “kernal” is how they spelled “kernel” back in the day, yeah? It’s disconcerting to me to see it spelled that way over and over like that.

Now, I think we all know from health class if little hen can still talk, little hen isn’t choking to death. Little hen is being a liar and I think little hen just wants a drink to go with her stolen nutmeats, you know?

What's it say right there? IF THE PERSON CAN SPEAK, DON'T INTERFERE!

What’s it say right there? IF THE PERSON CAN SPEAK, DON’T INTERFERE!

But little rooster is really the kindest, or maybe he’s in love with little hen, I’m not sure. I would like to say I think she’s not good enough for you, little rooster. She bogarted the kernals; she pretended to be choking to death, I can only assume for attention; and now she’s sending you off to get water on some sort of whim. She seems really high-maintenance to me. Dump her now, before things get so much worse and you’re all “Oh, Amy, this is TERRIBLE” and I’m like “I told you so, little rooster, but you chose to ignore me, so whose fault IS this, really?”

Then comes the worst murderous cockblock (no pun intended, little rooster) in the history of anthropomorphism.

First, we have a talking well. WELL (no pun intended), isn’t that something! Only for some reason, the well not ONLY refuses to give up the water, it (or is it he or she? Does a talking well have gender? This is really an interesting discussion best held by college students all in black smoking clove cigarettes, don’t you think?) says it WILL give up some water for SOMEONE WHO IS CHOKING TO DEATH (I mean, the well doesn’t have any idea little hen is a lying liar who lies, so that means the well is, in essence, holding back something that can save a life; there are some states in which that is a jailable offense, talking well) if – and ONLY if – the little rooster brings it “some red silk.”

WHY THE HELL DOES A WELL NEED SOME RED SILK.

Nice job, talking well. Well-thought-out.

Nice job, talking well. Well-thought-out. No pun intended.

Water just ruins silk. Does the well want to be pretty? This makes no sense in the entire world. Not even a LITTLE bit of sense. The well is just screwing with the rooster. I think maybe the well hates the lying little hen and WANTS her to die. Maybe there’s a love triangle going on with the well and the rooster and the hen, I don’t know. Maybe the rooster isn’t ALL little, if you know what I mean, and the well IS female.

So the poor little rooster ran on over to the bride, who apparently is the one with all the red silk? I don’t know. And was all, “ok. So my friend/girlfriend is DYING, and the effing WELL won’t give me WATER which is WHAT IT IS THERE FOR unless I, for SOME reason, bring it SILK, which it will just RUIN, but anyway, bride, please, for the love of all that’s holy, DO YOU HAVE ANY RED SILK.”

Well! Of course the bride has red silk. I mean, what bride doesn’t! But she’s not giving it up that easily, no no. She needs her “wreath” (I don’t know, I DON’T KNOW) which is apparently caught on some TREE. This whole town cares very little about the well-being of a fellow denizen, right?

So the poor little rooster zips on over to the tree. Gets the wreath. Brings it to the bride. She hands over the silk. He runs back to the well. The well gives him the water. He RUNS BACK TO THE LITTLE HEN…

…who is so, so dead. Not ONLY dead, but SO dead. So dead that she “did not move at all.”

WELL OF COURSE SHE IS. I mean, all these tasks and all this talking HAD to have taken this poor guy like most of the DAY.

I am having just the worst day, you guys. Just the WORST.

I am having just the worst day, you guys. Just the WORST.

OK, so out of respect, let’s not talk about how she got what was coming for being a greedy-guts-piggy-toes, or what REALLY killed her since we know it’s not choking since she was talking while she was supposedly choking to death, and if little rooster had paid attention during Heimlich classes, she’d be FINE now, and just mourn a little with little rooster, who’s super-sad about the loss of his greedy, lying ladyfriend, who probably would have ended up breaking his heart and leaving him high and dry one of these days, anyway, and was probably only in the relationship for his money or his kernals or to mess with his head or something like that. Let’s not speak ill of the dead, even if they were the worst.

So then things really get interesting. (Interesting in this sentence means “weird as hell.”)

Rooster starts audibly mourning; all the animals come to help. (Where were these animals when THE HEN WAS CHOKING TO DEATH?) Some car-manufacturing mice build him a carriage to bring his hen for burial, which is nice. Odd, but nice. Then they did double-duty and became horses to pull the carriage.

OMG WHAT IS THIS I CAN'T EVEN

OMG WHAT IS THIS I CAN’T EVEN

When rooster and his dead friend/lover/liar were on their way to the elephant burial ground, a random fox wandered up all “can I come?” and rooster was like, “sure, but sit in the back, you’ll scare my horses. Who are really mice. That’s how we do it here in Animalland.”

Then I think a sentence is missing or something.

So he sat at the rear, and then the wolf, the bear, the elk, the lion, and all the animals in the forest.

Where did all these animals come from? And how can the mice pull them? And it says it’s a SMALL carriage, how are they all fitting? ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE FOREST! And why were a hen and a rooster in the forest? Are they like wild hens and roosters?

Anyway, I feel we are missing information here, is all I’m saying. IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

So all these animals (being towed by SIX MICE, it’s not like they’re ANTS, who MIGHT be able to tow them, as ants can lift MANY TIMES THEIR BODY WEIGHT, come on, Brothers Grimm) get to the river.

How will they cross the river?

This is where I decided everyone involved in this story might be a complete moron.

OK, so this “small carriage,” loaded with 6 mice, two chickens (one dead, one alive) and ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE FOREST, decide to ride across the river ON A PIECE OF STRAW. I don’t think that’s going to work, buckaroos. Even if it does seem to be a TALKING piece of straw. Everything in this forest talks. Can you imagine sitting on the grass? It’d be all, “Get offa me, ya heavy turdmonster” and you’d be all “WHAT IS THIS?” and then you’d feel TERRIBLE.

Not all of these. ONE of these. ONE PIECE OF STRAW.

Not all of these. ONE of these. ONE PIECE OF STRAW.

Anyway, not to anyone’s surprise READING this, but to apparently EVERYONE’S surprise in the scenario, the straw didn’t work, and the mice all drowned. So now we have a dead hen and six dead mice, which is seven dead animals, in case you’re counting.

Then a TALKING COAL (I know, right, even COALS talk here) decided to GET IN THE WATER TO HELP THEM. But, surprise! THE WATER PUT HIM OUT. And then HE was dead! So now we have 7 dead animals and a dead coal, but I don’t know if I count the coal, because it was just a coal. I know, I’m a total coalist.

Then a TALKING STONE wanted to help. Boy, inanimate objects that are not helpful in water are really stepping up here, aren’t they? What about wood? There’s not like a really helpful piece of wood that might help? Because wood would be the best. Talking wood. WHERE IS THE TALKING WOOD ALL UP IN HERE.

So the carriage like 99% made it over the rock, but EVERY ANIMAL IN THE FOREST, remember, was riding all way in the back, making it totally back-heavy, and although the rooster, who at this point had taken the role of the mouse-horses, and his dead nefarious gal-pal had made it over the rock, the rest of the small carriage did not, and ALL OF THE ANIMALS IN THE FOREST FELL IN THE RIVER AND DROWNED.

(If you read that paragraph out of context it looks like I dropped acid before writing this blog post.)

Now, either that’s a really deep and fast river, or there weren’t many animals in that forest. I mean, seriously, what is it, the Amazon? It drowned ELK? And BEARS? Good gracious. What a river. I mean, you’d think that river would talk, right? Every other damn thing in this story did. I’d like to hear this story from the point of view of the river. Or the kernal. That totally girthy and unswallowable kernal.

Is it this river? You're not getting over this sucker with a straw or a coal, you stupid optimistic animals.

Is it this river? You’re not getting over this sucker with a straw or a coal, you stupid optimistic animals.

So the rooster, all alone in the WHOLE FOREST because for SOME REASON every single damn animal IN THE WHOLE FOREST decided to ride on a SMALL CARRIAGE and mourn a LYING HEN (well, I guess he’s not totally alone, considering all the things talk, except the river and the kernal) digs a grave for his hen, buries her, sits on it, and cries himself to death. He does not eat, he does not sleep. He cries and I think starves to death, I assume because he has lost his ladylove, no one in the forest would help him, and he is to blame for the death of ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE FOREST. I mean, that’s a heavy weight to bear, you know?

And then everyone was dead.

EVERYONE.

WAS.

DEAD.

(Can I just say, though, that NOT everyone was dead? Who lives? Well, the people who live are the talking well and the bride. And that means the moral of this story is to waste someone’s time who is trying to save someone else’s life by sending him on pointless errands and then you’ll live while everyone else in the forest dies, and I think that is a very bad moral. This would make a terrible Aesop’s Fable.)

Seriously, can you imagine reading this to a child with their little innocent eyes and such? And you’d get farther and farther along into the story and they’d be like “NO NO WHAT NO PLEASE WHY SO MUCH DEATH?” and you’d shrug and say, “That’s how the Brothers Grimm rolled, Little Lulu. AND THEN EVERYONE WAS DEAD. And someday, I will be dead. AND SO WILL YOU. Maybe even tomorrow, you never know when you might choke on a kernal. Sleep well, lemon tart!” and then you turn off the light and leave them alone WITH THEIR THOUGHTS.

...why momma why...

…why momma why…

Good parenting 101, am I right?

Have a happy Wednesday, MY little lemon tarts.

Watch out for kernals.

And lying significant others who break your little rooster-hearts.

And wells that want things before giving over their water.

And friends who want to tag along, but weren’t helpful when you needed it.

And inanimate objects that SEEM helpful, but will really just lead to drowning.

And mourning so much that you end up dead.

Otherwise, have the best day, you know? Just the utter best. Kisses. Love your faces.


Sue the bowling alley? Ja, das ist gut; they might pay me in chicken fingers.

I have many, many things to talk about. I’ve been hoarding links like a MISER. Now it’s just a matter of what to talk about today?

I think we need to discuss a VERY IMPORTANT NEWS ITEM.

There is a town in upstate New York called Chateaugay. (That means “gay house” in French. Or maybe “happy house,” I suppose.) In some places in town they use the French spelling and it’s Chateauguay. But as we’re MERKANS, we MERKANIZED it to Chateaugay.

I drive through Chateaugay to get to my parents’ house. It is a very small town but it’s kind of charming. Also, I have history there. It is where Amy’s Dad spent some of his childhood and where Amy’s Grandmother grew up.

Also, it has things like this:

Giant windmills for wind power!

Giant windmills for wind power!

A fading-out sign for a place that sold both hay AND furs!

A fading-out sign for a place that sold both hay AND furs! (Possibly both euphemisms)

A lovely waterfall called High Falls!

A lovely waterfall called High Falls!

...and a Sunoco station! Sorry, I was running out of things to talk about, here.

…and a Sunoco station! Sorry, I was running out of things to talk about, here.

So a few weeks ago, Mom told me the following story about Chateaugay on the phone.

Mom: We had quite a news story up here the other day.
Me: Did someone dress like a bear and attempt to kill their wife again?
Mom: Oh, no, that was just that one time.
Me: Good, I’d hate that to be a repeat occurrence.
Mom: No, this time, someone went to the bowling alley in Chateaugay and got drunk.


Me: Please tell me that isn’t the whole story, as I would imagine that happens on a daily basis.
Mom: No, there’s more. So on her way out, she fell on some stairs, and hit her head and passed out.
Me: Teach her to get drunk at the bowling alley. I mean, not that that isn’t totally classy or anything.
Mom: When she woke up, she had a German accent.
Me: Whoa. Wait. WHAT?
Mom: Yes. This is a thing that happens, sometimes.
Me: I don’t know that it is. How is that a thing that happens sometimes?
Mom: So she sued the bowling alley and just won a bunch of money.
Me: She SUED the BOWLING ALLEY for giving her a GERMAN ACCENT.

Did she wake up wearing a dirndl, too? Probably.

Did she wake up wearing a dirndl, too? Probably.

Mom: Well, for either serving her too much to drink or for the stairs, but, yes. And she won!
Me: People sue for everything these days. I have to investigate this German accent thing. It sounds suspect to me.
Mom: I don’t know, the paper said it was real.
Me: Mom. MOM. That paper also misspells ITS OWN NAME. On the MASTHEAD. It is not a trustworthy news source.
Mom: I think you might be exaggerating.
Me: What? ME? Surely you jest, woman, that doesn’t sound like something I would do.
Mom: No. Not YOU. Not my daughter of melodrama.

So then I promptly forgot about this because I forget everything and then Dad mentioned it a few days later.

Dad: Did you hear about this nonsense that happened in Chateaugay? Someone is GERMAN now.
Me: Ooh, I forgot to research that. Yeah, Mom mentioned that.
Dad: First, it’s your own damn fault if you are drunk as a skunk at the bowling alley.
Me: I’m in agreement. At least have the decency to do that at the Elks Club like a NORMAL person, sheesh.

ELKS!!!

ELKS!!!

Dad: SECOND, if you get SO DRUNK at the BOWLING ALLEY and then you FALL, you don’t SUE someone.
Me: People do that all the time. Remember I told you about that woman I talked to at work who wanted to sue the mall for putting cracks in the sidewalk that she tripped on and when I asked her if the sidewalk was broken she said, “you know, like how every few steps, there’s a crack?” and I said, “like where the sidewalk pavers come together?” and she was all, “yes, that’s irresponsible, people could be killed” so apparently she wants all sidewalks to be one unbroken expanse of concrete and I can’t even imagine how that would happen or what kind of machine would do that?
Dad: That was a very long story.
Me: Yes. Surely you weren’t expecting less from me?
Dad: No. Third, now that woman is GERMAN. Probably she’s a communist.

Me: Dad. We’ve had this conversation and not all Europeans are communists.
Dad: MOST are. They’re just pretending they’re not because that’s how they get you.
Me: I don’t know how she’s German now. Like, if this happened to me, I couldn’t be German now. I don’t even know what a German accent sounds like. I know what a British accent or a Canadian accent sound like, but I don’t think you could start talking in an accent that’s not something you’ve HEARD. That’s like your brain accessing memories you don’t have and it’s WEIRD.
Dad: I don’t know, but now she’s rich and also German so nothing good can come of that.
Me: DAD. She isn’t really GERMAN. She’s AMERICAN. Just with a random German ACCENT somehow.
Dad: It’s the communists. I’m telling you.
Me: Yes. Yes, you are. Telling me. You sure are.

So right after this, I had to investigate this situation. Of course I did. First, there was nothing news-wise about it. Of course there wasn’t. I don’t know if Chateaugay has a newspaper, and the Malone newspaper isn’t online (or, it IS, but you have to pay for it, and I’m not paying for misspellings and stories about murdered llamas. That is sadly not a joke.)

But I DID find a Wikipedia article and the German accent thing is TRUE!

It is called Foreign Accent Syndrome and it is REALLY REAL!

OMG this made me laugh so hard. "Apparently is a real thing!" Hee!

OMG this made me laugh so hard. “Apparently a real thing!” Hee!

Here’s the skinny in case you don’t want to click through to the link because you might lose your place and not see what else is going on here today, like you might not know that TODAY, I learned that some dinosaurs had TWO BRAINS. Two BRAINS, you guys! One in their HEADAREA and one in their TAILAREA! Because they were so big they needed a brain to control their TAILS! (Andreas totally verified this fact, so that’s how I know it’s TRUE FACTS!)

So apparently, sometimes people hit their heads and damage the part of their brains responsible for linguistic function. This affects the way they speak, so it SOUNDS like they have a foreign accent, but really they don’t.

Some people start dropping their “r”s, so they sound like they’re from Boston, for example. Some people sound German, or British, or Russian (COMMUNISTS!) Apparently one woman who was from Norway started talking like she was German and then NO ONE TRUSTED HER AGAIN. (BECAUSE COMMUNISTS!)

Now, listen, as foolish as I find suing a place for something that is CLEARLY your fault (if I sued every place I made a poor decision when I was drinking too much back in the day, I think I would be a BILLIONAIRE) I think she’s overlooking a very important factor here.

SHE SOUNDS FANCY NOW!

I mean, come ON! She’s from this little teeny tiny town in upstate New York where the most exciting thing that happens is when a Burger King opens. (No, sadly, I’m not kidding. A Burger King opened a couple of years ago and there were traffic jams for MONTHS. Dad was all, “You can’t even get CLOSE to that Burger King! I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A WHOPPER! Sigh, fine, I’m going to get a Big Mac, no one’s over THERE.”)

So now she’s from this small town where everything’s always the SAME and nothing ever HAPPENS except sometimes people get attacked by their exes dressed like bears (true story) and sometimes people murder llamas (true story) and sometimes buildings fall down into the street and block traffic for days (true story.) What’s going to make her stand out? What’s going to make people say, “OMG, we’ve GOT to invite Susie Chateaugay to our party, she’s the COOLEST?”

HER KICKY GERMAN ACCENT, is what!

The internet is really being the best about graphics for this syndrome, seriously.

The internet is really being the best about graphics for this syndrome, seriously.

She’ll show up and say all of her “w”s like “v”s and her “th”s like “z”s or “s”s and then they would look at her and say “WHOA. This chick is INTERNATIONAL. And therefore she is INTERESTING. And perhaps she is WORLDLY and would let me get to THIRD BASE if I tell her how much I like Rammstein.” And there you have it! She will be POPULAR! And FAMOUS! And the whole town will LOVE her!

You can’t really put a price on that, can you? I think not.

Also, don’t get drunk at the bowling alley; those shoes are SLIPPERY, yo. I totally almost slip when I HAVEN’T been drinking. Speaking of which, I haven’t been bowling in way too long. Who wants to take me bowling? I’ll even fake a foreign accent for you if it helps. I’m thinking Australian? Or maybe Italian, I’m totally flexible.

Happy Monday, people of the interwebs! Remember: if you get injured, SOMEONE IS TO BLAME. And? IT IS NEVER YOU. Be sure to pick someone to blame with the deepest pockets, is all.


There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.

I told my dad I was going to write this post and he was all, “I wouldn’t do that.”

OF COURSE YOU WOULDN’T, Dad. You wouldn’t do ANYTHING online. YOU HATE THE INTERWEBS.

(Dad thinks “I wouldn’t do that” is funny and says it a lot about many things. Pretty much the only things he would do that I do are work, sleep, eat, and watch television, but not the particular shows I watch.)

This is a very prestigious day in Amy-land, and in Lucy’s Football-land. Therefore, it gets a whole post ALL UNTO ITSELF.

I was thinking the other day, I’m pretty sure November’s an important month, but I can’t figure out what DAY, exactly, is the important DAY in November. But THEN I was talking to sj (it was sj’s bloggiversary the other day, HAPPY BLOGGIVERSARY MY SJ!!!) and realized that, by searching through old blog comments, you could figure out when exactly you started talking to someone, and therefore you could figure out WHAT DAY YOU FIRST MET THEM.

So therefore using this logic I figured out my sjversary is February 25. I told her I was expecting roses.

So, I did some investigative research, and it actually ended up that my timing could not have been better, because I did the search on the 12th, and the day I was looking for was the THIRTEENTH. If I had waited just ONE DAY TO DO THIS, I would have been too late.

I like anniversaries. I like to know when things happened and to celebrate accordingly. I like to look back on the time that has passed between THEN and NOW and think, huh, a whole year has passed, isn’t that something?

So. Here is a story. Ready?

Once upon a year ago today, in a kingdom nowhere near the sea, lived a blogger named Amy. Amy the blogger didn’t (doesn’t) have any idea what she was doing, but she had many lovely readers and wrote posts that seemed to be received well and she was having a hell of a time and people seemed to be laughing at what she wrote so that was nice.

One day, her Twitter friend Lisa, one of the funiest humans she knows virtuallyinspired her to write a post about how to not be an asshat on Twitter.

Now, this is a very funny post. The blogger named Amy just re-read it and laughed all over again. Someday the blogger named Amy hopes she will regain her mental stability enough to be that funny again, or at least the free time to THINK of things that are that funny again. She holds out hope that she will.

Anyway, the post is not the point. (Although if you haven’t read it, the blogger named Amy totally still stands by that advice. It’s still sound advice.)

One year ago today, from what the blogger named Amy can tell based on VERY scientific research, is the day that two people who have become two of her most nearest and dearest friends in the entire world first commented on her blog, which, in that magic way that sometimes happened, led to them talking more and more and the rest, as they say, is HISTORY.

Now, these two people (I think, it’s not like Twitter keeps track of such things) were her friends on Twitter before they started reading her blog and commenting therein. Thereon? There. Commenting THERE. Anyway. From what the blogger named Amy can remember, she became friends with these people around this time on Twitter, so the date might not be EXACT, but since this is an actual date she can pin down, and it just happens it seems to be the EXACT FIRST TIME that BOTH of them commented (what are the odds that the two of them would comment on the same day? Huh) then this is the day we’re celebrating.

One year ago today?

Andreas and Ken day.

IT IS MY ANDREASVERSARY AND MY KENNIVERSARY.

Shut up, I’m totally sentimental, when I realized that it made me all KINDS of weepy.

Now you can tune out if you want to, but this is a VERY important day, so I’m totally going to sap it all up in this joint about the two of them, so if you don’t like to get the sappy all over you (YES that is probably a EUPHEMISM) then you can come back tomorrow, we’re talking about…um, wait, let me see…awards and cats and work, I think.

But right now, we’re sappin’ it up. So let’s sap it.

I’m starting with Andreas. He commented first.

Andreas is wonderful and one of the most intelligent people I know and funny and kind and caring and considerate and he SAYS he hates people but for someone that hates people he really is very good with them. (I don’t know if he so much hates people. He just, like me, has very little time or energy for stupidity. I can appreciate that.)

I liked Andreas from the beginning, which I think would surprise him, because, much like me, he doesn’t immediately assume people will dig him. I liked how he spoke very intelligently and I liked how he would think about things before replying and I liked that he always knew (KNOWS) the answers to things, but is never rude about telling them to you. He’s always very kind about telling you things, even when I’m sure he’s thinking “man, THAT’S a stupid question.”

Andreas is a scientist. How many scientists do you know? Probably not very many. He’s not currently PRACTICING science, but I don’t think you just STOP being a scientist. Also, randomly, I will find out amazing things about him, like he one time discovered a new species and then got to name it, or spent time in…now I’ve forgotten, Andreas, was it the Amazon or something? Bolivia? Something exciting like that. And he just throws it in there. “Oh, yes, that year I spent in Bolivia…”

Andreas has lived eleventy-billion lives and he’s only barely older than I am. I find that utterly fascinating.

Andreas, when I met him, was living on the Isle of Man, but somehow I got in my head that he lived in Finland (he probably said he was Finnish somewhere and so I used my Jumping to Conclusions mat, I do that a lot) and so for the longest time I told everyone I had this new friend in Finland, but then he said he lived on the Isle of Man so when I told Dad that, he decided Andreas he was a spy and he was lying about where he lived and WHAT ELSE MIGHT HE BE LYING ABOUT. (He has since started to grudgingly trust “the spy” which makes me happy.)

Then Andreas moved BACK to Finland so I could OFFICIALLY say I had a friend in Finland.

Andreas has a lovely fianceé and two beautiful children and he lives on an island and he has a fancy job where they give him ice cream on Fridays and sometimes they fly him to Helsinki and he promises to send me photos so I can see Helsinki because I love to vicariously bon vivant with my people. He also said I could come live on his couch if Romney won and I don’t even think he was kidding. And he wants me to move to Scandinavia, which I will never do, but is that the nicest thing you’ve ever heard? Someone who wants you to move across the world so you will live closer to them? Yes. And he sends me email that makes me smile and he used to have Klout in typos and he only minded a LITTLE bit if I picked on him about that and he writes one of the most intelligent blogs you’ve ever read in your life.

Also, he is very handsome and has a wonderful smile. Sorry, Andreas, I’m stealing this from you, people need to see your handsome mug.

And he is my Science Fellow. And he always answers my science questions and he comments on my blog and his comments make me smile every single time.

And before a year ago, I didn’t even know him, and that makes me both sad and happy; sad that I haven’t known him longer, and happy that I know him now and get to know him for the rest of my life. (Oh. Sorry, Andreas, you’re stuck with me now. Hope that’s peachy with you.)

Andreas is one of my most favorite people. Happy Andreasversary to you, Andreas! Thank you for commenting on my blog which led to me reading YOUR blog and then the magic of friendship happened. If you weren’t here, I don’t know what I would do. My life is meant to be lived with you in it.

Now let’s talk about Ken. It’s Ken’s day, too, you know. Who could forget about Ken? Certainly not me.

I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t WANT to be friends with Ken. Ken was the tea-guy and Ken was the jaunt-off-around-the-world guy and what the hell was I going to talk to THIS guy about, anyway? But, sometimes, people surprise you. That’s the best kind of surprise.

Ken is my secret sibling. I could probably end this post with this sentence and it really would totally sum up the past year of knowing Ken, but since when have I ever quit while I’m ahead? I have all these WORDS in my BRAIN and they have to get OUT.

However, for all the words I have in my brain, I don’t know that I have the words to talk about Ken. Well, not and do him any justice. There aren’t words that can describe Ken. Ken is…Ken. Ken is secret sibling. That’s all. Well, no. That’s not ALL. That’s…a lot. That’s more than a lot.

Luckily, I have permission to steal from Ken. This is EXCITED Ken. I assume he’s excited it’s his Kenniversary.

What can you say about someone like Ken? I don’t even know where to begin.

Ken is one of the greatest writers I know. Without the slightest bit of hyperbole or exaggeration or any of those fancy vocabulary words I like so much. Ken uses words like great artists use paint or musicians use instruments or actors use their voices and their bodies. And the best part is? HE HAS NO IDEA HE’S THIS GOOD. No, I’m very serious. He really doesn’t. Every time I tell him he’s just so pleased. And then he tells me it’s just because I’m biased. (And he’s always saying how he’s not so humble but that’s a total lie.)

Ken can, I’m quite sure, do absolutely anything, if he decides he wants to do it. He is a wonderful musician and photographer; I’m fairly sure, if he decided tomorrow he was going to start carving a life-size statue or something, it would be kind of the most brilliant thing. They have a name for that, right? Renaissance man. I think Ken might be one of the last remaining Renaissance men.

One time Ken went to the zoo and made a lion-face. HE MADE A LION-FACE. Is there much better than this? I don’t think there is.

Ken is the kind of person who, if you email him what you THINK is a completely off-the-wall scheme, will respond with, “ok. Yes. Absolutely. Let’s do that.” AND HE MEANS IT. He thinks about everything he does. This is what makes him the best bon vivant; everything is an adventure with him. He’s got the best sense of childlike wonder I’ve ever encountered in an adult. It makes you just utterly gleeful. It makes you proud to know him. It makes you proud that he chose you to know.

Ken has also lived a million lives before the one he’s living now. He’s like a puzzle box and he’s like an apothecary chest and there’s always something else opening and there’s always something more coming out. He’s like a book you’ve never read and more and more and more story keeps adding to the story you already know making the current story richer and better and what’s best is, I’m quite sure the story doesn’t end. And it’s the best book ever.

Ken and I are quite sure we’re secretly related; we find a million things all the time that are kind of spookily similar and it’s always one of those “oh, well, holy shit” moments, or, at least it WAS, for a while, but now it’s just become kind of one of those things. Like, “oh, well, of COURSE Ken’s always done this one thing and I have too. Because, well, secret siblings.” But it always gives me that happy chest-thrill. I’ve always wanted a secret sibling. And now I have the best one ever, so sometimes you DO get what you want, you know?

Ken makes me laugh until I cry and sometimes just cry until I cry and challenges me to think about things that I’ve never thought about before and listen to music that I didn’t know existed and shows me cities I never thought I’d get to see and he is THOUGHTFUL and he is KIND and he is GOOD and he is INTELLIGENT and he is one of the bravest people I know and he deserves every single happiness in the world and he is of the goats and he knows about euphemisms and he knows when I need things before I even know I need them and he understands that you can’t carry things alone and he got me through tax season last year by being the most supportive human being alive and he was the first person to email me after I got fired telling me everything was going to be alright and I am so, so blessed to have him in my life.

Haven’t we had a year, Ken? We so have.

And the winner of Amy’s favorite Ken-photo ever is: this one. And listen. LISTEN. There are a LOT of them. Like, I’m not even exaggerating when I say there might be thousands. This one makes me happier than happy.

And here’s the thing: I could have missed him. I could have just decided, no. No, I don’t think I’ll spend the time necessary to get to know this person; I have a lot going on in my life, and, as mentioned, what could I possibly have in common with this person? Nothing. Or, even MORE horrifying: he could have not liked me at ALL. There might not have been that click and we’d just have gone our separate ways. That happens, too, you know. It’s not like you’re best of friends with everyone you meet online. That’s not how online works.

And that makes me sad, and also makes me think that maybe, just maybe there is a plan at work in the world that we are not privy to, and why would we be, because we are small, and we are insignificant, because what are the odds, in all the world (no, most sincerely, Ken’s just about on the opposite side of things), that I would somehow find my secret sibling all that way away? Without a little push? Without a little bit of help?

A year ago, I didn’t know these two people; a year ago, if you had said either of these names to me, I would have just shaken my head with a blank look in my eyes, because they’d have been strangers to me.

Now: well, now. I have my Andreas, and I have my Ken. And I am a very lucky woman. And (shh, you thought that was squishy? Look away now, then) I just love these two men so much. They are so, so special to me. They make every single day better, just having them there, just knowing they’re there, and that they get me.

Here’s to many more November 13ths, guys. Here’s to a whole lifetime of them. Someday, how about we do this friendship-thing in person, yeah? I’d like that. I’d like that a lot. Let’s do some real-life bon vivantery one of these days before we become too old for it and we have to do it from Hoverounds or in walkers or something.

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I say often I have the best friends in the world. Here’s the proof.

I’m not ever letting either of you go now. Just prepare yourselves, ok? Good. Good, good.

(Title is from Jim Henson; I discovered it about six months ago, and ferreted it away like a shiny thing and saved it for today. True story.)


More Adventures of Our Fancy World-Traveling Bon Vivant (yes, with jaunty hat in tow)

You of course all remember the continuing adventures of our favorite bon vivant, right? What’s that? Some of you are new around these parts? Well, you’re going to want to catch up before you read this, otherwise you’re going to be coming in in the middle of our stories, and you won’t know who the characters are, or have the rich backstory we’ve worked so hard on around here. First, our bon vivant went to London, saved all the tea and his BFF-ship with Kate Winslet, and foiled that dastardly L. Ron Hubbard; then our bon vivant went BACK IN TIME to hang out with J.S. Bach and Kate Winslet, and save music as we know it, and ran afoul of his NEMESIS, Jeff Goldblum DUN DUN DUNNNN; and most recently, our bon vivant went to Japan, where he rescued all tea from becoming obsolete with the help of Rachel Weisz and his most amazing dogs, Ella and Louis.

Are you all caught up? Good. As you can see, Ken (the bon vivant in question) has many adventures. MANY adventures. These adventures, were they not documented by The Person Who Writes These, might fall by the wayside. Which would be a crying shame, really. These things are GOOD. They are WORLD-RENOWNED. However, The Person Who Writes These has been busy. She has been SO BUSY. So she doesn’t always get to document them in a timely fashion as nature intends.

But the other day, our bon vivant made an offhand comment on a blog that The Person Who Writes These likes very much – THIS VERY BLOG RIGHT HERE – and it made her head-wheels turn so she decided, yep. It’s time. Time for another tale of high bon-vivantery. Wait. That makes it sound like someone’s smoking weed in this story. NO ONE IS SMOKING WEED IN THIS STORY. Oh, wait, yeah, later someone might be smoking weed in this story. I take that back.

So…without further ado (with me, there’s always ado. You know that. I bring ado wherever I do. I am awash with ado) I bring you…

The latest tale of bon vivantery…complete with jaunty hats…

THE INVASION OF THE BON VIVANT SNATCHERS (aka DOPPELGANGER AHOY!)

One day, our bon vivant went on the internet. Listen, bon vivants go on the internet, much as anyone might. It is a good way to keep up with far-flung friends. Bon vivants have MANY far-flung friends. They make them as they bon vivant, you see.

“Huh,” said Ken. “This is strange.”

Where he had had many, many bon vivanty friends on Facebook only a week or so ago, he noticed the number had dropped. Substantially dropped. There were many notifications; he clicked on the little red number curiously.

“What the hell is wrong with you? UNFRIENDED,” said one.

“I can’t believe you would say that to me. We’ve known each other for YEARS,” said another.

“Last night was great! CALL ME!” said a third. (This one was worrisome, let’s be honest. FLATTERING, but worrisome. Because he didn’t THINK he’d had any sort of “last night” with this person.)

One of the messages was from his good friend Helen. Helen lived in Taos, New Mexico. The bon vivant likes Taos very much. He also likes Helen very much, and they had many cups of tea together back when he was a much younger bon vivant.

“This is a very destructive path you’re on, Ken. I don’t think we can be friends anymore if you’re going to act like this,” her message said.

He sent her a message. “Helen! What are you talking about? What happened?” Since Helen was online, she responded.

“You know what you did, Ken,” she said.

Oh, no! People don’t say “you know what you did” to Ken! That’s what KEN says to HIS NEMESIS JEFF GOLDBLUM! Well, THIS couldn’t be more worrisome if it tried!

“I’m sorry, Helen, but I don’t know. Did something happen?”

“I don’t think I can talk about this,” she said. “It’s too fresh in my mind. Too raw. Maybe someday we can rebuild our friendship, but you really need to work on you first.”

Then she logged off, and would not respond to Ken, no matter what he wrote.

He looked at his faithful dogs, Ella and Louis, with a worried look.

“This is not good news, Ella and Louis,” Ken said. “Something’s going on in Taos. I think I’ll have to go there to see what’s happening. What do you think? Want to go to the States with me? I think I will need your help. You’ve been such help in the past.”

Louis was very excited and ran in circles. Ella blinked once, sagely, to show her approval.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Can a person just BRING dogs from GERMANY into the UNITED STATES? Because SOME people (who are writing this) thought until VERY RECENTLY that was NOT ALLOWED and there was some sort of insane quarantine period and the dogs had to sit in doggy-jail for like ever until the quarantine period was up. But NO! It is a TRUE FACT that isn’t the case at all and if you tell a bon vivant you think that they will chuckle at you (but most politely, of course, I mean, the bon vivant is nothing if not the most kind person ever) and say, “Um. That’s an urban legend, you know that, right?”

No, I’m pretty sure they don’t get to ride like this. But this photo makes me laugh like a moron.

So Ella and Louis are TOTALLY allowed to come along for the U.S. bon vivantery. Don’t even think they’re not. Which is good, because listen, this story was going to be a lot less interesting without happy red dogs. I mean…um…not that this is a STORY, this is TRUE TALES OF BON VIVANTERY AS TOLD TO THE PERSON WHO WRITES THESE BY THE BON VIVANT HIMSELF.

So off to the States the bon vivant went! With Ella and Louis! And with many worries, because WHAT WAS GOING ON? Oh, also, well of course he brought many hats. Why would you expect otherwise? I mean, he is the bon vivant, of course. You don’t just TRAVEL across the WORLD without HATS.

SO.
MANY.
HATS.

When Ken landed in Taos, he realized something was going on. Everyone was looking at him. But not in the way they usually looked at him. Listen, Ken is used to being recognized. He’s the bon vivant. He goes places and people say, “Oh, it’s you! Ken! The Bon Vivant! I recognize you! And your hat!” and although that’s always a little humbling, he’d gotten used to it by now. I mean, you have to. As a bon vivant. If you ever become a bon vivant, you’ll understand. But people weren’t looking at him in a bon vivanty way. They were looking at him in an ANGRY way. Ella looked at him, worried. Louis tried to eat an empty Mountain Dew bottle.

“I think I need some tea,” Ken mused. “This is all very worrisome.” He pulled his jaunty hat down a little further over one eye very rakishly and walked toward a tea shop he remembered from his youth. “I will try to find Helen after I have my tea. Maybe she can shed some light on this situation.”

“KEN!” he heard from behind him. He turned and a women grabbed him and kissed him. KISSED HIM ON THE MOUTH! Oh, well this was unexpected. He managed to extricate himself from her clutches. She smelled boozy. And was wearing way too much lipstick. Ella did not approve.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” Ken said kindly.

“Oh, YOU,” she said, and slapped his chest as brazen hussies do. “You’re such a KIDDER. Like you could FORGET. WINK WINK.”

“I don’t…” Ken started, but then a very large and VERY shady man came up and put his arm around the lady with too much makeup, who pretended immediately she didn’t know who Ken was.

“You hittin’ on my lady, buddy?” the large man said. He was very scowly. Louis hid behind his sister.

“Oh. No. No, sir, I assure you I am not,” Ken said. “I was just going to get some tea. I have no designs on your lady. Please excuse me.”

“NO DESIGNS?” the lady said, who had no idea what that meant. “He TOTALLY has designs, babe. He designed ALL OVER ME last weekend!”

The large man lunged at Ken. Ken does not like to fight. Bon vivants aren’t FIGHTY. They are ADVENTUREY and they are FILLED WITH A LUST FOR LIFE and they like to THINK THEIR WAY OUT OF SITUATIONS. Luckily, at that very moment, Louis flopped down on the sidewalk to scratch a VERY stubborn itch and the man tripped over him, giving our bon vivant an out so he could make a timely escape. (Listen, I don’t want you to think that our bon vivant couldn’t have won that fight. I’m quite sure he could have. I have no doubt that our bon vivant, faced with any obstacle, would find a way to overcome it. He’s kind of magical like that.)

“What is going ON, Ella and Louis? I don’t know that woman! Why is everyone looking at me like I am their nemesis? This is very much like the time I was not welcome in London because of L. Ron Hubbard. What could be going on?” Ken said as he darted down a back alley. Ella looked pensive. “Good boy, Louis. You know just when to stop and scratch an itch.”

Just then! A door opened in the alley and a very beautiful woman came out! Ken stopped short.

“Well, Ken! Is that you? Ken, the World Traveling Bon Vivant? I’d recognize you and your hat and your dogs anywhere. What are you doing in Taos?” she said, and laughed.

It was Grammy award-winning jazz singer Diana Krall!

“Hello, Diana Krall!” said Ken. “I’m a big fan! What a pleasure to see you!”

“Where the hell is that hat-wearing son of a…” they heard from behind them. Diana looked at Ken curiously.

“Sounds like you need to make a quick exit,” she said. “Come on, my dressing room’s in here.”

The alley was the back entrance to the Taos Center for the Arts! Diana whisked Ken and Ella and Louis neat as you please in the back door and closed it quietly behind them. They heard the man run by, then nothing.

“Well, Diana, it seems I owe you,” Ken said. Louis licked her hand exuberantly. Louis does everything exuberantly, you see.

“I can’t imagine why anyone’s chasing you,” she said, “but come on, I was just making some tea. We can chat.”

Ken was very pleased with this turn of events, as you might imagine.

As Ken and Diana Krall enjoyed a very nice cup of oolong (Ken was pleased to see that Diana made her tea the CORRECT way, WITHOUT teabags) he explained the situation, from the beginning to the end. She handed him a Kleenex. “You’re absolutely covered in lipstick. It’s very unseemly for a bon vivant,” she said, and laughed winningly. Ella seemed to agree in a very wise dog-like way.

Diana was in town for a concert, which was happening in a couple of days. She was just checking out the dressing room in a very lucky turn of events, because otherwise, there might have been fisticuffs for our bon vivant.

“So what do you think is going on, Ken?” she said. “This is all very mysterious.”

“I’m not sure,” Ken replied. “I want to go talk to Helen, but on my way, I was accosted by that unsavory woman and her consort. She seems to think I had relations with her. I am quite sure I did not.”

Diana nodded. “I wouldn’t think so. That was a very ill-advised lipstick color. I would assume a bon vivant would choose his companions more wisely. So, let’s go see your friend Helen, and find out what she knows. Ooh, this is VERY EXCITING. I’ve always wanted to have a bon vivanty adventure. My husband Elvis Costello ran into Kate Winslet just the other day at a royal event, and she told him about some of the capers you two have pulled! This is a dream come true for me. I’m so glad I was in the right place at the right time!”

Ken smiled. He was very pleased to have such an intrepid companion for this adventure. Ella and Louis were already quite keen on her, and she had a very melodious speaking voice. Plus, such excellent taste in tea!

Diana had a limousine waiting outside for her, so she and Ken and the dogs darted into it and directed it over to Helen’s house. Ella and Louis were big fans of the limousine and sniffed every single surface twice. Ken was less impressed. I mean, you’re a bon vivant, you’ve seen one limo, you’ve seen ’em all, I guess.

Helen answered her door, saw it was Ken, and tried to close the door in his face. “Please, Helen, I’ve come all this way, can’t we talk?” Ken said. Helen glowered at him from around the door, then nodded curtly and waved him in. He and Diana and the dogs went into her house. She was quite impressed to see Diana Krall, but even MORE impressed to see Ella and Louis.

“I wondered where these two were when I saw you last week!” she said, getting many pets and many licks from the happy red dogs.

“Wait, what? Saw me last week?” Ken said. “Helen, I haven’t seen you in years! I haven’t been back in New Mexico for over a decade!”

“Very funny, Ken,” she said. “Just last week, I was walking out of the library and you were hanging around outside with some very shady people. I saw you and went over to say hi, and you GROPED ME IN PUBLIC. It was very unlike you and not at all bon vivanty. When I asked you to stop you said I wasn’t cool, man and then you and your friends laughed.”

“Oh, Helen,” said Ken, giving Diana a very worried look, “I hope you know I would never do that. This person looked like me?”

Helen nodded. “Yes. He even had a very jaunty hat! And mutton-chops!”

Ken managed to convince Helen that it had not been him last week by showing her many photos of him doing bon vivanty things in Germany like having tea with Angela Merkel while discussing his thoughts on the debt crisis…

and playing much fancy music in the park with his partner-in-idling, Jarrod.

“I’m so glad it wasn’t you, Ken,” Helen said. “It made me very sad, to think you’d become some sort of weird street-groper.”

“I solemnly promise I will never become some sort of street-groper, Helen,” Ken said.

“Wait, what about Twitter?” Helen said. “You’ve been saying all these things on Twitter!”

“What? I have? No I haven’t. Well, yes, I HAVE, but…wait, what kinds of things?” Ken said.

Helen showed him her Twitter timeline. “See?”

There was his profile picture! And his Twitter account! But the things that were being said WERE NOT THINGS HE’D SAID! Like “Just saw a girl with a monster rack, yo” and “Where can I get some action up here in this joint?” and “Hang in there, kitten.” Ken would NEVER say “hang in there, kitten.” KEN HATES PLATITUDES.

“Wait!” Diana Krall said. “This is not your Twitter account! Your Twitter account is @lahikmajoe. This Twitter account is @lahikmijoe. IT IS A TRICK!”

Well, now this was just getting WEIRD.

Helen explained that a lot of people in Taos were very mad at Ken because he’d been groping people in public, cussing loudly on the streets, yelling out loud things like “baby got back!” at passers-by, and hanging with an unsavory crowd. “People don’t even like to go into the public library anymore,” she said. “You…well, the not-real you…and your friends…I guess HIS friends…are always out there.”

Diana and Ken exchanged a look. They knew that they’d have to go to the public library to track down this doppelgänger. This not-Ken. This bon-vivant wanna-be. WHO WAS DOING IT WRONG.

Diana and Ken and Ella and Louis said goodbye to Helen and went back to the limousine. “How can we go to the library where these seedy types hang out?” Ken said. “They’ll recognize me, especially if I look just like this dastardly foe!”

Diana laughed. “Oh, Ken. I have the forces of the entire staff of the Taos Center for the Arts on my side! There are MANY costumes there. We’ll just go in disguise, and no one will recognize us!”

“Will I have to shave my beard?” Ken asked skeptically.

“No. No, you will not,” Diana said.

“Well, then this is an excellent plan,” Ken replied.

Ken was impressed with this high level of bon vivantery.

BUT WAIT!

“What about Ella and Louis? If this person is pretending to be me, he’ll have done his homework. He’ll know about my dogs,” Ken said. Ella and Louis looked worried. Well, Louis did. Ella looked like a LADY. She always looks like a lady.

“Don’t worry. I have a plan for Ella and Louis, too,” Diana said.

They got back to the Center for the Arts and Diana threw herself into the preparations for their adventure. She dressed herself and Ken up as the kind of shady people who might be hanging out outside of a library. Ken got those terrible low-riding pants that the kids are all wearing nowadays and one of those douchey Ed Hardy t-shirts. Diana wore a tube top and very tight pants. They both got makeup so they were in TOTAL DISGUISE. Much mockery was made of one another. If this was a movie, a music montage would happen here, I’ll have you know. Ken thought the disguises needed some shady hats, so he found some in his bag. Ken has hats that cover all eventualities, don’t even think he doesn’t.

Ella and Louis got dog-safe water-soluble fur-dye. Ella became a pointer with very dashing brown spots over her eyes…

and Louis became a Weimaraner. Louis liked his new getup very much and pranced around looking at himself in mirrors. Ella gave Ken a long-suffering look and sat calmly. She was aware, you see, that the disguise was NECESSARY, but didn’t think it was very DIGNIFIED.

“To the library we go!” Diana said. She looked like a totally different person. “No one will recognize us for who we are now!”

They went off to the library to confront the false-Ken. No one looked twice at our bon vivant! The disguise was just that good! (Well, the classier people in Taos looked at him with disgust. An Ed Hardy shirt will do that to you every time.)

When they arrived at the library, there were unsavory types sitting on the stairs and laughing troll-like laughs. Some of them were smoking MARIJUANA CIGARETTES! (The Person Who Writes These TOLD you someone would be smoking weed in this story.) They looked at Ken and Diana and the dogs, but not for long. They blended right in!

“There he is, Ken!” Diana hissed.

Ken looked to his left. And there he saw…

HIS DOPPELGANGER!

He looked just like him! The same hair! The same beard! The same type of clothing! The same rucksack! And…what’s this? A VERY JAUNTY HAT! “Wait,” thought Ken. “I recognize that hat.”

“WELL HELLO!” said the False Bon Vivant, who had seen the new arrivals. “Welcome to the Library of Decadence and Bon Vivantery! My name is Ken!”

Ken wanted to out him then and there but Diana stopped him. “Yo, Ken. I’m Gina and this is my main squeeze Hank.”

“I don’t think people say ‘main squeeze’ anymore,” Ken whispered. “Also, ‘Hank’? Really? Huh.”

“I PANICKED!” she said.

“Nice to meet you! Would you like some illegal drug substances or perhaps gambling? Also, probably later we will have hookers or maybe gin. As Ken, the very famous bon vivant, I support all of these things!” the False Bon Vivant said.

Well, that’s inappropriate. Ken couldn’t stand for this a moment longer. “TRUE BON VIVANTS DO NOT CARE FOR THOSE THINGS AT ALL!” he roared, and pulled off his shady hat to reveal his true countenance. “TRUE BON VIVANTS ARE ALL ABOUT BON VIVANTING FOR THE SAKE OF BON VIVANTERY AND ALSO DRINKING TEA AND GALLIVANTING! SOMETIMES ALSO IDLING! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, SIR, SULLYING MY GOOD BON VIVANTY NAME!”

The people on the steps got very quiet. The False Bon Vivant looked at Ken with anger in his eyes. “NO,” he said. “I’M Ken. You can’t be here. YOU CAN’T BE HERE. This guy’s pretending to be ME, everyone! GET HIM!”

There was much hubbub. The shady people lunged at Ken and Diana and the dogs. The False Bon Vivant disappeared into the crowd. “Don’t let him get away, Ken!” Diana said. Ken was trying to get away and could see the False Bon Vivant and ALMOST HAD HIM when he heard Diana cussing. “Let me go, you bastard!” she said. Well! If there’s one thing a bon vivant hates – a TRUE bon vivant – it’s when someone shady grabs their lady-friend. Ken immediately turned around and went back for Diana. He heard the False Bon Vivant scream, once, and Louis bark. He got Diana away from the ne’er-do-wells using various bon-vivanty techniques learned in many bon-vivanty locations that I can’t really go into here because they’re for bon vivant use only, and called to Ella and Louis, and off they ran in the general direction of the False Bon Vivant – but he was gone.

“What do we do now?” Diana said. She was none the worse for wear for her manhandling, but her tube top was all askew. Tube tops are very impractical when faced with a group of unsavory characters.

HIGHLY ill-advised.

“Let’s go back to the Center for the Arts and regroup,” Ken said. “There’s tea there. I think we could both use some tea.”

Diana most wholeheartedly agreed.

They went back to the Center for the Arts and put on NORMAL clothes (and threw the Ed Hardy shirt and the tube top in the garbage, where they belonged) and washed the dye from the dogs together and had much fun with water and soapsuds and two wiggly red dogs who made many wet footprints all over the dressing room. To keep their spirits up, they sang a rousing duet of “Mustard and a Piece of Bread,” which of COURSE Diana Krall knew. Everyone knows this song. Don’t be absurd. It was very nice for Ken to sing with Diana Krall and Ella and Louis liked it very much as well. After much tea and much singing and many shenanigans they went to sleep, because tomorrow they had to figure out what to do about this False Bon Vivant. This kind of chicanery cannot stand.

The next morning, Ken was awoken by the sound of Louis gnawing on something and Ella sighing heavily. “Louis, what do you have there, old boy?” he said. Louis looked up at him and gave him a doggy grin. He had a piece of cloth hanging out of his mouth. “Bring that here, Louis. Good boy.” Louis brought it over. It was a piece of pants-fabric. Very bon-vivanty pants-fabric. But it wasn’t KEN’S pants-fabric.

“Louis, did you try to stop that false bon vivant? Did you tear off a piece of his pants?” Louis wagged his tail so hard he almost fell over.

“What’s going on, Ken?” Diana said. She had very sleepy eyes. Not a lot of sleep happened the night before for the two bon vivants. She handed him a cup of tea. “What do you have, Louis?”

“I think I have an idea,” Ken said. “That’s a piece of that False Bon Vivant’s pants. We can use the dogs to track him. Ready for our next adventure?”

Diana was ready. Diana was proving a very capable bon vivanting companion!

Louis and Ella passed the piece of Bon Vivant pants back and forth as they tramped through the streets of Taos. Louis got distracted by many good smells along the way. Ella did not. Ella is very single-minded when she is concentrating on a task.

“Where are you bringing us, Ella and Louis?” Ken said. They stopped in front of one of the old pueblos in Taos and looked at Ken expectantly. “In here? Is he in here?”

“Well, let’s go in and see!” Diana said, and they snuck into the old pueblo.

The dogs assiduously led the way while Ken and Diana followed. There was a light burning behind one of the walls. When Ken and Diana went around the corner, they were dumbstruck.

“These are all…photos of me!” Ken said. “And printouts of my blog posts! And pictures of my Tweets! And pictures of the dogs! And pictures of my friends! And many drawings of jaunty hats! What is going ON here?”

“How could one man DO all this?” Diana wondered, as she looked around with wide eyes. “This is INSANE!”

Louis sneezed and knocked over a stack of papers. Ken picked them up because bon vivants hate messes. “Wait. These are…these are printouts of my crazy-eyed blogging friend’s blog! There’s one phrase highlighted and circled and highlighted and circled over and over and over and OVER. It’s…”

“IT IS DING DONG JOE!” they heard from behind them, and when they turned, the False Bon Vivant was there! With a crazy look in his eyes! “SHE HAS MADE THE WHOLE WORLD LAUGH AT ME! But you. YOU! The whole world LOVES you, Ken, with your HATS and your BON VIVANTERY and your HAPPY RED DOGS! So I knew what I had to do. Ding Dong Joe had to become Lahikmajoe! It really wasn’t so hard. WE ARE BOTH JOES! AND NOW I AM THE BON VIVANT!”

“You’re not the bon vivant,” Diana said. “You can’t just DRESS like a bon vivant and BE a bon vivant. It’s more than clothes or facial hair, Ding Dong Joe.”

“DON’T YOU CALL ME THAT!” Ding Dong Joe screamed. “My name is KEN now!”

“Um…’Ken,'” OUR bon vivant said, “just be calm. I’m sure if you let people get to know the real you, they would love you, too. We can call Lucy’s Football and ask her to stop calling you a pervert on her website. She will, if you want. I’m sure she will. She only pretends to be crazy online. She’s really very nice.”

“NO! It’s too LATE!” Ding Dong Joe began to pace around the room frantically.

“Ken, I think he’s lost it. Also, Ding Dong Joe is real? Huh. That’s a twist I didn’t anticipate,” said Diana.

“He couldn’t have done this alone,” Ken said. “He had to have had help. But, who?”

Ding Dong Joe kept pulling his jaunty hat on and off his head as he paced. On and off; on and off. “I know that hat,” Ken said. “Why do I feel like I know that hat? It’s the most real part of his costume. For some reason, it reminds me of…penguins? Wait. WAIT.”

“Well, hello, old friend.” The oily, unctuous voice coming from the dark hallway chilled Ken to the bone. “So, you’ve stumbled upon my little protegé, have you? How astute of you. How utterly SCRUMPTIOUS.”

“Dammit. DAMMIT. Goldblum. WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE GOLDBLUM?!?!” Ken said. It was the hat Jeff Golblum had stolen from him in Japan, of course. What other hat could it have been?

Jeff Goldblum came out from behind the wall, as high-strung as ever. He put his arm around Ding Dong Joe’s shoulder. “Oh, Joe. What happened, my good friend?”

“HE FOUND ME, JEFF!” shrieked Ding Dong Joe. “You PROMISED I could be the Bon Vivant! YOU PROMISED!”

“I know. I know. We’ll figure this out, buddy. We will. I promise.”

“What was your plan, Goldblum? To have Ding Dong Joe pretend to be me? To what end?” Ken said. He waved Diana toward the exit. She shook her head resolutely. She is stubborn, that Diana Krall. But she doesn’t know how nefarious Jeff Goldblum is, now does she?

“Once everyone hated you, KEN, it would be only one quick step to make them love and respect me. Nature abhors a void! I would take your place as the most beloved international icon. You don’t deserve it, Ken. You’re just a MAN. I’m a CINEMATIC IDOL. I was in JURASSIC PARK and EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY. Your fame should be MINE. WHY CAN’T IT BE MINE?”

“What about me?” Ding Dong Joe asked, a shocked look in his eyes. “You said I could be the bon vivant!”

“Yes, what about poor Ding Dong Joe? Why don’t you tell him he was just a pawn in your ongoing war with me?” Ken said.

“That’s not true, is it, Jeff? You said we could be BFFs! You said we were a TEAM!” Ding Dong Joe whined.

Jeff laughed. It was a terrible, soulless thing to hear. “Oh, Joe. Sad, foolish Ding Dong Joe. I’m sorry. I have one BFF; that BFF’s name is…JEFF GOLDBLUM.”

And with that, Jeff Goldblum screamed an utterly maniacal scream and ran from the pueblo.

Ding Dong Joe collapsed in a puddle of weepery on the floor. Louis looked askance at Ken. Ken nodded. Louis went over and nuzzled Ding Dong Joe. Listen, this wasn’t all Ding Dong Joe’s fault. He’s just a pervy little dude who wants to be liked, is all. Isn’t that what we all want? Well, other than the pervy part. We don’t all want that. At least, I hope we don’t.

“What should we do with him, Ken?” Diana asked.

“Nothing,” Ken said. “He’s learned his lesson. He knows what he did was wrong. He was led astray by Jeff Goldblum. He isn’t the first to have been; he unfortunately won’t be the last. That Goldblum. He’s insidious. Let’s go, Diana Krall. You have a concert to get ready for!”

“It’s amazing, Ken, how far he went to try to be you. You’re in high demand,” Diana said, as they walked back to the Center for the Arts. “And how badly he failed, too. It’s sad, really.”

Ken chuckled. “Well, what people don’t understand is that being a bon vivant carries with it a heavy responsibility. You can’t just bon vivant all the time. You also have to live up to the bon vivants who have come before, and you are a model for those who cannot bon vivant themselves. It’s not all traveling and eating exotic cheeses.”

Diana nodded. “And that is why you are the one and only World-Traveling Bon Vivant, Ken. Because you understand that. I believe maybe a person isn’t just a bon vivant; they are CALLED to be a bon vivant.”

“Diana, you can bon vivant with me anytime. That was very wise,” Ken said.

Diana blushed. It’s not every day the bon vivant calls you wise.

Diana got Ken a front-row seat for her concert. It was an amazing show, and Ken was so glad he got to see her perform. She even got the Center to allow Ella and Louis to watch with him! If you are the headlining act, you can do such things, I would assume. Elvis Costello joined her on stage for the encore, and she hushed the cheering crowd.

“I had the honor of spending time with someone very special for the last couple of days. He’s gotten a bad rap here in your lovely town for the last few weeks, and it was unwarranted. He is still the bon vivant you all know and love. I’d like to invite him up on stage with us to sing one very special song. Ken, the World-Traveling Bon Vivant, would you join me and Elvis?”

Well, of course Ken would. How could he turn that down? And did he have his ukulele with him? Of course he did, don’t be foolish.

So that is how Ken, our most favorite world-traveling bon vivant, got to sing “Mustard and a Piece of Bread” with Diana Krall and Elvis Costello in Taos, New Mexico while everyone forgave him for the events of the past few weeks and Ella and Louis watched. Well, Ella watched. Louis was sound asleep, dreaming, no doubt, of something utterly joyful and guileless.

In the parking lot, in a very long stretch limo, gritting his teeth as he heard the cheers and the music drifting out of the side doors, Jeff Goldblum talked to the only person he trusted in all the world. Jeff Goldblum.

“He always wins, Jeff Goldblum.”

“I know. Jeff Goldblum. I know. It hardly seems fair.”

“It is MOST unfair. We never can seem to beat him. He has these amazing FRIENDS! And he’s so SMART! And those DOGS! THOSE HAPPY RED DOGS!!!”

“I know, Jeff Goldblum. Listen, don’t frown too much. Your face is your living, you know. You can’t afford frown lines.”

“I know. Thank you, Jeff Goldblum.”

“We just have to try harder, Jeff Goldblum. There has to be a chink in his armor. There has to be a hole. A way in. A way to win.”

“Heh. You said ‘hole,’ Jeff Goldblum.”

“This is hardly a time for sophomoric humor, Jeff Goldblum. Really. I expected more of you.”

“I’m sorry, Jeff Goldblum. It’s been a tough day.”

“I know. I’m sorry I jumped down your throat.”

“We just have to BELIEVE, Jeff Goldblum. One day. ONE DAY, we will beat him. We will. We will be victorious.”

And with a “Driver! Onward!” Jeff Goldblum drove off cackling into the New Mexico night.

THE END!

(Only, of course, not really the end. These things never really end. Not as long as there’s breath in the bon vivant and there’s power in the laptop of The Person Who is Writing These. Stay tuned, my little blueberry muffins. Stay tuned.)

(Psst: thank you thank you, my real-life bon vivant, who totally lets me mine your life for bon vivantery and turn it into blog fodder and never ever gets huffy when I bug you for details or photos or random crap. How empty would all of our lives be without you? I don’t even want to think about that. THANK YOU.)


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