Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The Ironclad Marshmallow is moving on. Thanks for having read my stuff.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A preview of my headstone

"Oh, it was so tiring sometimes, this business of
engaging with other human beings."
--Liam Pennywell, in Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Borderline personality disorder

"In my next life," I told my therapist last week, "I want to come back as an idiot who is completely oblivious to her feelings."

"You already did," she replied.

And I thought I was a bitch. This is the woman I referred to as Annie Sullivan? [Note my use of the past tense.]

With images of my sister-in-law flooding my mind, I asked, "Excuse me? I'm an idiot now?"

"No, of course not," she answered.

"But you know I believe I have enough feelings for everyone in the universe."

"Yes," she answered. "I know you believe that you have a lot of feelings."

Bite me. I hate that "reflecting" shit. Makes me fucking nuts.

"But," she continued, "you only fully let yourself feel one emotion."

Let's take a wild guess, shall we?

According to Our Lady of the Couch, I cannot tolerate psychological discomfort of any kind. Apparently, I trot out my go-to emotion--anger--every time I start to feel sad, stuck, frustrated, powerless, irritated; in short, every time I inhale. Think of me as Sibyl, except with only one personality.

As the session ended, Our Lady told me she would fax me some homework. The next day, 16 pages of "distress tolerance" exercises showed up. I noticed they are adapted from the Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder.


On the cover page, she had included a handwritten notation: "We'll have to talk these through. You are not a borderline personality." Yeah, whatever.

So my new goal is to become better at tolerating distress. According to the manual for people who may or may not have borderline personality disorders, I can do so by (1) distracting myself, (2) using my senses to "self-soothe" or (3) improving the moment.

The one about self-soothing makes me laugh for lots of immature reasons. As for improving the moment, I give the probability of my succeeding a solid 0%.

But you never know. Each of the aforementioned methods has many different strategies. Maybe I'll try a new one every day [or every day I feel like it]. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Think of it sort of like "Julie and Julia" but without a deadline, publishing contract or movie deal.

One caveat. If I feel like I'm losing my edge, the experiment is over.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Fun with Tourette Syndrome

Disclaimer: I believe that Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a heinous disease and I couldn't feel sorrier for those who have it.

That said, let me state my thesis: People with TS should be barred from movie theaters.


Last weekend, I missed most of a movie because an older man with TS sat directly in front of me. (Okay, fine. That and my immaturity.) He didn't have the fun kind of TS characterized by random outbursts of curse words, so I wasn't tempted to befriend him. No, this guy had frequent vocal tics that I can best describe as gutteral gurgling, punctuated by burps. Also, he had a motor tic--sudden arm raises that reminded me of "Heil, Hitler" salutes.

The couple sitting next to him immediately slid over two seats. Like that was going to help. A woman seated in front of the TS guy turned around and screamed, "Would you just stop it?" Clearly, she lacked my insight and sensitivity.

I caught on to his TS gig fairly quickly and began laughing uncontrollably. I tried to do it really, really quietly, and I think I succeeded. But try keeping that shit up for an hour and a half. It's fucking exhausting.

Despite my best efforts, I could attend to little else besides his tics. I tried to focus on the movie but for the most part, I failed. I began timing the vocal tics and pretty soon, I was predicting their arrival with the precision of a Swiss clock. Trying to get the timing down on his arm tics? That part was hard.

Seriously? Has no one ever told him his tics are annoying? Does he not have a doctor...or a therapist...or an honest friend?

It could have been worse, I guess. Given that it is virtually impossible for me to go to a movie and not be annoyed by something, I left feeling like I got my money's worth in entertainment, even though I missed the movie.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa Saws

I just received the most disturbing holiday card I have ever seen. It is a postcard with a picture of my cousin's two daughters, posed oh-so-carefully in a dreary wooded area. The oldest child is five. She's holding a chainsaw, staring down at it with utter fascination. So mesmerized is she that I'm relieved she doesn't know where I live.

Inches away, the younger daughter is sitting on a tree stump, sans chainsaw but wielding a substantial stick. She is only three years old but uber-intimidating. Clearly, what she wants most for Christmas is a small animal to beat the fucking life out of.

The little psychos are wearing matching jeans and white fleece hoodies, most likely from GapKids. On their feet: adorable pink and white polka-dotted wellies, the choice of juvenile delinquents everywhere.

"Enjoy the Holidays" is printed on the bottom of the card. I guess "Or Else" was cut off.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pillsbury says it best

The Bitch and I had an argument Monday night. I was waiting for biopsy results that were MIA somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle of laboratories, so I was off my game and forgot to check caller ID. My bad.

Arguments with The Bitch have a blindingly bright silver lining: She won't call me for at least four days. Normally, that's a big fat slice of heaven, but this time was different. I got the biopsy results [which were good] on Tuesday. But it took The Bitch five days to ask about the them.

Five days.

I thought about calling her to tell her the news, but the masochist in me was still hoping she could shed her narcissism and........wait for it........be a mother.

Pathetic. Embarassing, even.

For some bizarre reason, this latest lovefest reminded me of Pillsbury commercials from the 60s. A mother served her kids piping hot cinnamon buns, drizzled with a sugary white topping, as this catchy little jingle played:

"Nothing says lovin'
Like somethin' from the oven
And Pillsbury says it best."

Seriously? At this point, I'd be satisfied with a crappy piece of pastry.

Choose incivility

Every time I see one of those "Choose Civility" bumper stickers, I ask myself "What the fuck for?"