Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The breaking of the fellowship

It's true.

Lulu, my longtime companion, the purple-wearing, morbidly obese African American light in my occupational darkness, has cast me out.

I am not sure why.

When we returned from summer break, I noticed a gradual coarsening in her responses to me.

I felt shut off from her; no longer privy to her thoughts, her endless, giddy recitation of the film "Matilda".

In vain, I sought to rekindle our friendship by engaging her in the 
old games, the coded language of our once shared, secret world.

All I know about Dylan is that many, many years ago, Lulu passed him in the halls of her school and he said, "Look, Lulu, I have a yo-yo."

She has never forgotten him.

The details of the encounter I kind of have to free-form; pantomiming yo-yo tricks and using the voice of a young man just beginning to crest the first big wave of puberty: high, almost squeaky, but flecked with cracks here and there to suggest the smoldering teenager aching to be born.

I don't really know any yo-yo tricks, so I keep it simple.

I don't wanna talk about it.

That is all Lulu will ever say to me now.

She used to clap with such genuine joy when Dylan came around.

We used to laugh together at his antics.

I don't wanna talk about it, she says.

Have you ever heard "Lady Marmalade"?

Lulu has distilled the chorus down to a rough sound-alike, and excised the remaining fat of the song.

The catchy French lines have become, "Hoolay Hoolay Hoolay Hoo-ha, Hoo-Ha!" The double Hoo-ha is slightly shouted, and as she shouts it, she gives her upper torso a bit of a shake. 

It used to be that no matter how terrible the circumstance, how disruptive the behavior, you could always jolt Lulu out of it just by starting the Hoolay.

But that time has passed.

  Lulu and I have arrived at a moment in our history that is without precedent. 

Lady Marmalade can't even budge her from sullen, willful isolation.

When she acknowledges me, if she acknowledges me at all, her eyes radiate hatred before she slowly turns her head away in disgust. 

It is at once puzzling and demoralizing. 

Overall, I have managed to avoid making a true enemy among the cognitively impaired. 

In general, I am beloved.

Is it my good looks?

My short, inoffensive stature?

Or perhaps it is because I only set limits when a differentiation must be made between "my things" and, "where poop goes."

Not that I am overly permissive, but let us just say that the students know whom to ask when they want to waste time on Facebook or eat a potato chip they found on the floor. 

In fact, until this recent broofasa with Lulu, I can recall only one other client who actively disliked me.  

His name was Paul (no, it wasn't), and he was a resident at the facility for disabled men and boys where my journey into the world of special needs began. 

Ah, Paul.

Your sweaty flat top, your smattering of moustache, the crazy defiance you exhibited when I interrupted your attempt at sexual congress with the drain at the base of your bathroom sink.

 Paul had the resistant body language of a person too used to pulling away from offered help.

You would try to be nice and he would throw an elbow in your face.

Sometimes, when you announced things like "Hey let's get ice cream", he would get so excited that he would start biting the other boys around him, usually targeting the softy, chewy parts, like ears and noses.

He constantly asked me for batteries, and when I did not have any, he would tear at his clothes and yell about how he was Jesus.

All of those boys wanted batteries, all the time.

The well-meaning people of the community kept giving them unsustainable gifts: walkie-talkies, handheld games, radio-controlled cars.

What about solar-powered calculators? Those are sometimes kind of fun. Mostly when you write numbers that turn into cool stuff like "boobs" and "hell" when you turn them upside down.

But no, everything they got was always battery powered.

And when the last of the fuel was spent, their flashlights dimmed or cars slowed to a crawl, that was when the wolves came out.

Somedays all I did was hand out batteries and ask who farted.

I couldn't think of a hand gesture that would go with the question, "Hey, who farted?"

  The question 'Who farted?' is so pointless.

The answer is not going to make you happy, or smarter.

It bothers me that I keep drawing pictures of literally the sentences I just wrote. It's like double-dipping the idea.

And so I ate a chip.

Idiot! The pictures are supposed to enhance, or further, the narrative, not rob the reader of the chance to apply their imaginations to it.

Like this:

What a great story.

So Paul hated me.

The only men that had ever been in his life had abused him horribly, so it was no wonder that he wanted nothing to do with me.

Because I am a man.


This is what happens when you take too long to finish a post; you lose the thread of your narrative and get distracted by really dumb things.

Like I was watching my five-month old baby Oliver and it struck me how ridiculous of a person he is.

He just stares at my wife all day.

Really stares though, the stare of a person with absolutely no self-confidence, a person who lives solely for the attention of others.

He watches her, his mouth downturned and slightly open, and if she even begins to look remotely in his direction, an ecstatic, gummy smile splits his face and he begins to vigorously chew his hand like Lenny and Squiggy do when a foxy dame walks past.

It's really quite pathetic.

I wonder, though.

Is this fanatical dedication to my wife's every step, her slightest gesture, his complete and unquestioning adoration of her, is this the type of devotion she secretly longs for me, her husband, to display?

Is this why marriage books authored by celebrity therapists line our bathroom shelves?

Is the son taking the father to school over how to treat a lady?

A good hypothesis must be rigorously tested by experimentation.

And how far should I take it?

Well, I forgot what this post was about.

In unrelated news, Marianne, over at We Band of Mothers has written a book.

If you go 'like' the!/epicmombook for her book, you can win a free copy or a million sea shells or something.

Though she is a bit more extroverted then I would like, Marianne is an extremely nice person and has always supported the rudderless stupidity that is Gweenbrick, so for that I am proud to endorse her book which I have not read, nor do I have even the faintest idea of the flavor of its contents.

Oh, and Paul and I never did work out.

He got the boot for starting too many fires.

I suppose I was a cog in the system that failed him.

I didn't mean to be.


  1. Yes, Marianne is a wonder, truly. She may be the glue that holds Chicago to ge th er, or at least part of the city.

    Hope your turkey day was wonderful.

    1. She is very nice.
      Hope you had a good thanksgiving as well, esb!

    2. I am so the glue. Crazy glue that is...hardy har har.

      Jeez I'm lame.

      You fellas are the cool kids at the party. I'm just the tall girl in the corner who laughs at her own jokes. But thanks for the kind words!

  2. I poop my pants for attention, too.

    1. I am having deja vu-have you told me that before? if so, I now believe that you really do do that. Accidental use of do do is high comedy round here.

  3. It sounds like your purple friend has hit puberty or something.

    1. Well maybe, though she is 24. But some students have it late. However, she still adores all the other staff-it is only me she hates. it's personal, man

  4. My husband uses the phrase "sexual congress" too. It's a guaranteed crack up for me. As is sexual congress with a drain pipe. Is it wrong that I wondered if he used lube? Ouch.

    1. I walked in on so much that was disturbing that I was unable to notice those kinds of details. Other things I walked in on: a boy floating in a bathtub of his own turds, letting the turds float in and out of his mouth; a boy performing fellatio on himself; a boy flushing all his christmas presents down the toilet while screaming that his mom was a bitch; I also got scared by my own reflection several times because of how the mirror was positioned in relation to the door.

  5. Okay, so reading "eat a potato chip they found on the floor" immediately made me want a chip. That's powerful writing.

    Sorry about your relationship problems.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Alan. Though making people want to eat chips off the floor through the power of the written word is like shooting fish in a barrel. ?

  6. Mmmmm. . . flavored contents. Sorry about your friend, Lulu. I have no solution nor do I have any words of wisdom. Just appreciating your fugue as usual. Carry on!

    1. Thank you. I am just glad you still read this blog.

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  8. This kind of made me sad. :( I hope Lulu comes around.

    1. That's funny to me that it made you sad. She probably won't; just yesterday I walked into the kitchen and she screamed at me to "GIT!"

  9. Sounds like poor Lulu is being held hostage by evil female hormones. Hmmmm... the antics of a raging evil hormone monster sounds like a possible Gweenbrick post topic... Anyway, give her a week or two and her happy self may reappear.

    1. Nice thought, Queenie, but this has been going on for months. She has very, how shall I put it-"public" menstrations, so I am quite familiar with her cycle. No matter the wax or wane of the moon, to Gweenbrick is Lulu a beast.

  10. Weird... I wonder why her behavior changed? Have you asked some of the other staff to talk to her to see if they could get something from her? Also, have you tried bribery? Maybe bring in her favorite cookies or cake...
    Great post BTW. Good luck! :)

    1. Hi Kevin! Lulu has loved me for years, so it is really strange. She still likes the other staff, but she lacks the self-reflective vocabulary to express why she hates me. I can't bribe her with food because she will probably die. She's real big. Thank you!

  11. My poise pad moments:

    The crying chip
    You looking super-happy at your wife
    The cover bomb

    Awesome. Totally stole your artwork for today's blog:

    Couldn't help myself. Your awesomeness needs to be shared.

    1. I can't believe I used two forms of "awesome" within 3 sentences. Somewhere out there, an English professor just died.

    2. Hi Marianne! I hoped that help you get the word out about your book. Glad you liked the post!

  12. I'm so sorry to hear about you and Lulu... In other news, I am now walking around singing "HOOLAY HOOLAY HOOLAY HOO HA, HOO HA!" I'm pretty sure it's going to become a thing.


    1. You have to do the torso shake when you sing it though. Think "momentary upper body seizure with occasional arm raise"
      or something

    2. I wouldn't do it any other way.

  13. I love reading your posts because I never know where I am going to end up, but I always know that I will laugh as I get there.

  14. Perhaps you have gone from Lulu's "funny acquaintance" zone to "comfortable with showing negative emotions to" zone. Progress!

    And we are all cogs in someone else's machine.

    Or spanners.