Musical Chairs

Remember that game we played when we were kids? The teacher – Mrs. Pace, in my case, the sadistic long term sub who absolutely hated children, but had a penchant for inciting drama among them – would play some little song on the piano with this wide-eyed crooked smile on her face as her gaze darted around at each child in the room. She knew – she made it her job to know – which of us was weak, which of us embarrassed the others, which of us the rest of the herd wanted picked off and eaten so as to increase their strength, power, and pride. So, we, her “little munchkins,” marched dutifully around that tottering circle of cheap wooden chairs – some kids brimming with confidence and glee, some with that straight-ahead gaze of obedience, and some with fear and trepidation betrayed always by the sweaty little paw prints they left behind.

Maybe you did not have a Mrs. Pace. But you do know the drill, I’m sure?

Musical Chairs.

There’d be 16 or so of us, but only 15 chairs. When the music stopped, you had to be lucky enough (or conniving enough – I’m looking at you, Laurel Ladds!) to have a chair right behind you so that all you had to do was propel your little kid ass so forcefully down onto that seat so that you and only you could claim it as your own, at which point you could then look up and smile victoriously at the one little loser child still standing, forlorn and forsaken, as she is thrown out of the game.

It occurred to me that this pandemic – not to be too lighthearted about this whole thing, y’all, but if you’re anything like me, I know you could use a laugh right about now – this pandemic is kind of like that sadistic Mrs. Pace from 5th grade. I mean, there we all were, wandering about, some importantly with heads held high, some Happily as voluminously documented on their socials, some vacantly like lost little automatons, and then BOOM!

The Microbe did a Mic Drop.

Suddenly, the music – or, you know, the whole fucking world – stops on a dime. Everyone races tout suite to secure their adult bums down on their adult chairs – to shelter in place with their partner, their kids, their matching cookware, and the newest member of their happy family, the rescue puppy.

Me? Well, I happen to be (ahem, again) the gape-mouthed girl standing there looking around, like, “Wait… wait… wait!! Oh shit, I don’t have a chair! Noooo! It’s happening again!”

I may as well have a big f’n L on my forehead. Remember back around that same age, the bully type kids in the class would corner you if you were doing something too dorky and they’d put their hand up to their forehead in the shape of a big “L” and glare at you until you knew you were the biggest loser the whole school – the whole universe – had ever seen, and so quickly shrank back to the very smallest version of yourself you could muster? (An aside: back then, when I was trying to act cool and would try out that “L” gesture on a friend, just to be in on the joke you know, I somehow always managed to put the wrong hand to my forehead so I had nothing but a big backwards “L” projected to the world… which was kinda perfect, now that I think about it – it’s like it was clear that even I had to admit that I needed the label facing in, not out. The friend would always just laugh then and roll her eyes and prettily mouth the words, “You loser!”).

Welp. Here I am again. The music suddenly up and stopped, and I.Am.Alone. Some of us didn’t seem to get the memo. (MAKE SURE WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS YOU’VE GOT A CHAIR TO SIT DOWN ON!). Make sure you partner up so that when the world screeches to a halt you won’t be in your apartment with your cat bingeing that show “Married” choking to death either on the burnt microwave popcorn kernel or on the irony, but either way with grease running down your chin.

I know. I know. I can imagine what you are thinking: “You are an abhorrent person, Pollyanna Savage. Did you not tear your gaze away from your navel to read the news this past month? This is serious business. People are sick. People are dying. People are losing their livelihoods. People are losing their entire savings. People are losing their minds. People are stuck in houses with abusive partners. Parents are overnight now in charge of not only full time childcare and playing teacher for all subjects and all grades for all their kids, but, oh, also trying to keep their jobs while #wfh and hoping the internet doesn’t actually break. And don’t get me started about the tireless grocery workers and pharmacists and delivery folks putting themselves at risk day after day, and the frontline doctors and nurses who are so out of supplies they’re essentially relying on bake sales and Etsy folk to send them crapshoot cotton masks to try to save their lives while they work grueling hours to save everyone else’s lives every single day. So, Pollyanna, what do you have to say about that?”

Hmm, <insert embarrassed face emoji>, I guess what I have to say about that is: SNAP!

Thank you, Dear Reader. Now, that is what they call a



<insert ghost emoji>

Post Script: Mrs. Pace just popped in, a little glint in her eyes; listen up, she wants to let the whole class know, “Ms. Savage has left the building. Musicless, partnerless, childless, heartless, useless, and without a chair to be found.”

“Wait, Class, what is that on her forehead? My, my! Ms. Savage has a large L on her forehead. What’s that Laurel Ladds? Yes, you are correct, you little munchkin: Ms. Savage’s L is on backwards.”

dating, humor, personal writing

sponge animal

So in a land far far away there once lived a girl who had big dreams. She drew rainbows. She looked for unicorns. She sang on top of coffee tables and did questionable cartwheel dismounts. She loved the smell of crayons, and the look of all the colors lined up in the crayon box. She got chocolate on her nose every time she ate chocolate and it was Glorious. She knew life was just bursting with joy.

Later on, life got hard. Life – her life, to be precise – MY life to be very precise – was hit hard and fast, shattering into a million jaggedy little shards. Like Humpty Dumpty, you can’t just put that sh!t back together again. No, in fact, you gotta make peace with the mess your life has become. Well, no even before that, you must just sit amongst the shards and cry. Sob, really. Oh, you know the kind, where you’ve got more fluids and mucus and sounds coming out of you than you thought possible for a little lady such as yourself.

They call it ugly crying. But ugly crying implies a witness – doesn’t it? It implies it’s ugly cuz someone else is there to see it. Sometimes it’s ugly crying but you’re all by your lonesome. (Then again, if no one is there to see – ALSO, DO NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR – can it still be ugly crying?…)

In any case, all this crying by yourself on the kitchen floor can just make matters worse, when you think about it – funny. Absurdly, hysterically funny.

I think one night after I’d done a bunch of that kitchen floor sobbing business (some day I’ll get into all the crap that went down that made life go off the rails – no, off the rails makes it sound like it had been on, no more like off the rails of the already-off-the-rails-rails), I was suddenly struck by how ridiculous this situation was.

A grown a$$ woman on the floor, clutching the newly-arrived ashes of her just cremated, first ill suddenly dead three year old cat (baby) and she’s sobbing like it’s her job. Then I remember having the thought, I wonder whether the upstairs neighbors jokingly call me “The Weeper” cuz I’m sure that’s all they ever hear from me (and in my head, I totes register on the neighbors’ radar so prominently that they nickname me, DUH).

And just like that, I’m like – this is actually a wee bit funny.

And I legit started to chuckle, through the sniffling and snorting mucusy mess that I was.

And then I wondered if the neighbors could now hear me laughing and how crazy I must sound – which, you guessed it folks, just made me laugh more, which, yes, then made it all funnier still.

And pretty soon, I wasn’t sure if I was Resilient or flippin’ nuts.

Don’t think I can’t hear you, dear Reader, and I know – maybe you’re right: it is a both / and: resiliency and a touch of insanity (Insanity Lite?). Maybe one needs a bit of nutso to be sanely insane or insanely sane in this nutsotastic world.

Anyway, a couple years ago, when I was starting to date again after being in a long relationship, I remember talking to my bff about what I wanted and didn’t want going forward. And I had the weirdest analogy for it (#shocker): namely, you know those toys for kids that come in those tiny little capsules, but when you put them in water they expand into big sponge animals – dinosaurs or elephants or octopuses (octopi?)? I felt like a sponge animal who kept trying to put herself back into that tiny little capsule, or more to the point, I’d find relationships that made me feel I had to capsule myself up, rein myself in, be something small and tidy just to be loved. (I know, cue the tiny violins.) Cuz really, I was the one doing all this re-capsuling of myself.

You know what, people? I don’t wanna do that BS self censoring, self smallering anymore. (#makingupwordsisfun) I want to be my sponge animal self, soaking up life till I get all big and drippy with it – maybe even unruly and untameable!

Dating again, after a long spell of being all squished back up inside the capsule, I felt suddenly free and sort of massive, spreading my spongey octopi arms out, being all like:





(Wait, does an octopus have a butt?)

All my dates – those poor unconsenting souls – were like little mirrors that showed me all these arms and tentacles and reach that I didn’t even know I had. (Like when a truck is so big it needs those little mirrors to know how big it is and just where it is in space.) I got kinda addicted to all the little mirrors because it was exhilarating learning how big I really was.

My friends called that my Summer of Love. I just kept on unfurling and unfurling, not wanting to get smaller all over again. I was so happy I felt downright sparkly!

But right at the tail end of the Summer of Love, me and my sparkles fell in love goddamnit – head over octopi arms in love. And slurrrrrrpppp – in I rolled my unfurled limbs and in I rolled my unfurled self, and bit by bit, the re-furling and re-capsuling began. (See, I promised in my first post that I’d give you lots of mixed metaphors, and I DELIVER, People.)

Which is why it was a cruel irony that one reason the guy I call Tornado left me is because he felt I’d made my life and self too much about him.

Okay. So you were right, Tornado. Still a Jerk, but correct on that one thing.

Point is, to circle my octopi arms all the way back around to my point (wait, did I have a real point or just a bag o’ mixed metaphors?)… I feel a new Summer of Love coming on. Maybe this time though, I will remember I am kinda claustrophobic and don’t like tiny capsules. Maybe this time y’all can help me remember. And maybe when the “tragedy” of my life became just a little bit funny to me – when the mucusy snorts turned from cry-snorts to laugh-snorts – is when I remembered my mojo. Like, Ohhhhh yeah! I AM A BAD A$$ SPONGE ANIMAL. Stand back, all you tiny capsules and capsulators, and HEAR ME ROAR.

(Wait, do octopi roar? Do sponge animals? #mixedmetaphorsarefun)

No matter, this is me, roaring.

dating, humor, personal writing

heart mouthguards

Third date with Professor Cute Butt was really nice. He did NOT wear loafers. He DID come straight from work… wearing a BOW TIE. Come on, dude! Not helping. SMH.

No, in all seriousness, he seems like a real prospect. IN SPITE of the LOAFERS and, you’re killing me, Prof. CB, BOW TIES, he seems like a decent guy. I don’t mean “decent” like “meh” – I mean decent, like a Good Person with a Strong Moral Compass.

He also knows all about the job out of state. (Update on job: they can’t decide between me and the other guy, so they’re calling every reference so as to hopefully come to a decision soon. Hmm. Pins & Needles, meet Waiting.) He said, “I looked it up – it’s not actually THAT far.”

Third date saw more talking talking talking, and more laughter. More holding of hands (and not unintentional or non-mutual hand-holding) and – are you ready for this – massaging of my head. He did that, I think mindlessly, while we hung out on a bench in a random lobby (it’s f’n COLD out) before his train came. Did he know that the key to my heart is through my scalp? How did he know this? *I* did not even know this. Till he did it. Then I was like, Whaaa? I’m putty now. Can’t talk. Can’t – nope, not now. Putty. Putty doesn’t talk. Or think. Putty just kinda laps up head massages.

So that’s how that went down.

Here’s the thing. Remember how I told you about my heart having bit the dust so many times in the past it’s missing teeth? And how I therefore need to find little heart mouthguards, just to protect myself even a wee little bit, or at least, to give the illusion my heart has some protections in place? Well, that plus that fact that, in this new era of dating, and much to my own dismay, I’ve suddenly started to Date like a Dude. So what we have here is this:

I have a date tonight with a different guy.

I know what you’re thinking.




Oh, wait, what? You’re probably not quite as vicious as my inner voice? Inner voice is like YOU LITTLE LYING BITCH. Professor Cute Butt could be starting to have Actual Feelings for you, and you go and have yet another First Date? What’s wrong with you?!?!

I will just tell all of you this: heart mouthguards.

Inner voice, don’t look at me like that. Prof. CB and I are not exclusive (yet). Just gonna slip this one date under the wire. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

dating, humor, personal writing

professor cute butt

God help me if we end up in a real relationship because it shall be here-forth known to all of the interwebs that I had a GREAT date with a man whom my BFF and I are calling “Professor Cute Butt.” If you saw his picture on Bumble, you’d understand immediately. (Why am I hearing some crass teenage voice in my head saying, “yeah, don’t look at me like that, you woulda swiped right on his a$$ too.”)

Professor Cute Butt is a professor. Prof. CB does have a cute butt. He is not a professor of buttology or anything, but he could be. That’s what I’m saying, people.

So here’s how it goes down: I have a big interview for a job I am a finalist Friday – the job is OUT OF STATE. Professor Cute Butt is IN STATE, oh yesiree. We met Tuesday, and BOOM. Almost seven hours later, we forced ourselves to part, promising we’d have a second date the day after my interview. It felt like when you try to split a taffy candy with someone. You pull. They pull. The taffy just hangs there, laughing in your face, all “you can’t split taffy, you wanker!” If neighbors were watching us say goodbye, which they very well could have been (DAMN, URBAN LIVING!) they might have had one of two thoughts: 1) Aww, those two! So clearly fond of each other they can’t even say a successful goodbye! 2) GET A F*CKING ROOM.

But what would I do if I got said job AND it actually went somewhere with Professor Cute Butt? You know why I ask this question, don’t you. Yep. That is, just in case you were starting to wonder, how the Universe rolls: “I’ll send you a promising man in one state and a promising job in a different state, all in the same week,” she says, maniacally rubbing her Universe hands together and letting out her Universe cackle.

I see you, Universe, and I am not going to be laughing.

Actually, you probably know me well enough already, dear Reader, to know I actually will be laughing. Because I am quite often finding things very funny. I mean, LOOK AROUND. IT IS ABSURD.

Speaking of laughter, part of the reason I liked Prof. CB so much was because he made me SNORT with laughter. And I made him almost SNARF his beer. I felt more accomplished than I have in a long time. I mean, it wasn’t a successful snarf… yet… but very promising, indeed.

On the other hand: Have I just jinxed both job and man?

I will report back. Maybe I’ll bring the Universe some taffy from the gift shop.

P.S. I do have a nickname, and preferably an emoji too (e.g., glasses + peach), for all the guys. It’s what I do. It’s not something I am super proud of. But guess what, the world is rough and if a man’s gonna make it he’s gotta be tough, and I knew I wouldn’t be there to help you along, so I gave you this name and I said — Oh WAIT, that’s Johnny Cash. Never mind. In any case, you’ll know it’s serious if I drop the nickname. It’s just a handy way to give your poor heart a little buffer and way to laugh and dust itself off if and when it bites the dust hard, again. My heart has bit the dust so many times it’s missing teeth. Nicknames are just little mouthguards for the heart.

Yeah. Uh-huh. Mouthguards for the heart. You heard it here first.

dating, humor, personal writing

like a big yellow umbrella

It’s a big yellow box of condoms. It’s enormous, really. Like someone whose eyes are bigger than her – well, you know – but the problem is as soon as it arrives in its nondescript Amazon cardboard box with its entirely unnecessary internal plastic air filled bubbles (I mean, really, we gotta protect the rubbers?) I realize the gravity of my error. The tragedy in this hubris.

Point is, I have made a HUGE mistake. I have, in essence, just f*cked my sex life, if you will. I have done the sex life equivalent of breaking a damn mirror.

I am 43, nearly 44. In what earthly paradise was I imagining myself to live when I purchased a box of 36 condoms? I mean let’s be real, I have only recently gotten back online after another humiliating heartbreak. I am older, flubbier, wrinklier, and Jesus knows more banged up than my last rodeo. So to think I’d need – and, pronto! via Prime shipping, no less! – a box of Three.Dozen.Condoms (ribbed for *her* pleasure, mind you), implying I would have sex 36 times before these things expire? If nothing else, I certainly am an ambitious online dater!

All the same I realize must return these bad boys, stat.

Gross, don’t look at me like that. I mean untouched, still plastic wrapped. Bubble protected. And as soon as possible, before any curse takes hold.

I mean, everybody knows that if you leave the house without an umbrella you are virtually ensuring heavy rains. If, on the other hand, you finally remember the damn thing, “just in case”, then we all know, especially if you find you have to carry said umbrella with you wherever you go all day like the telltale sign of your stupidity that it is – that, my friends, will be a gorgeous f*cking day.

So. Big yellow box of 36 woefully hopeful Trojans stare me down – No, sorry boys, gotta return ya. So back onto Amazon we go – yeah, I know, I suck – and initiate the returns process. Only here’s the thing – Amazon has determined it’s not worth their time to have me return the things, they tell me to keep the box and they’ll refund me anyway.

Can you hear the scary Psycho music in the background right now?

Yup. Does this mean what I think it means? I cannot reverse the curse even if I tried?

I text my best friend. I’m going to try to see this as a good thing, I say. Like the gods – or Amazon – or, same diff, if I can be frank here – have decided I get to have all kinds of sex, for free, ON THE HOUSE. Like okay. I like this interpretation. I’ve had a hard year. An almost comically bad year. Maybe this is the Universe telling me, you go girl! You earned this! This is on us! This will be the most fabulous year of sex you’ve ever had -ribbed for your pleasure- and you don’t even have to pay for it!

Wait, that sounds wrong. The Universe just knows it’s high time I have a good time. Right?

Yeah. You know what? I’m going to go with this interpretation. Free sex. Lots of it. Coming my way, you know. Soon. Not just to a theater near me. But right here, baby. These Trojans are going to RIDE!

I am not going to go looking this box of gift horses in the mouth. 

Unless that’s just what this post is doing….?