Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Dispatch from Reality, Especially for Mr. Romney

Dear Mr. Romney,

Can I call you Mitt? I think using country club nicknames gives us a sense that we are chummy and such, even though I would never, ever vote for you. My name is Snarkshelf, but you can call me Bunny, OK? I never went to boarding school or anything, but I am certain that if I had, that would be my boarding school nickname.

Anyway, I am writing to you because my father cannot. He's very busy not paying taxes. He's a resident of that crucial swing state, Ohio. Not that he would ever, ever vote for you, but I thought I would drop you a line on my monogrammed stationary, the one with the family crest, to tell you what I thought of the video of you speaking at the $50,000-a-plate dinner in Boca Raton.

I am EN-TITL-ED to think you are a douche.

I am pretty sure my father did not see the video that has been going around the Internet the last 24 hours.  The one where you said that 47 percent of Americans - I think you called them  "those people" - Good one! - don't pay taxes, and are eternal takers of handouts.

I especially liked the way you emphasized "ENTITLED" when you said they believe they are victims and that they are EN-TITL-ED to health care and food. Those bastards!

Anyway, dad lives in a nursing home, and while the TV is on a lot, it is often tuned to Lawrence Welk Show reruns, I Love Lucy and  the Lifetime Channel. It's true - the women do outlive the men- and it shows in the octogenarians' viewing choices over there.

I am pretty sure a good number of the residents at the home are exactly the scourge to whom you are referring. They don't pay taxes (too poor!). And they have their grubby little hands - you know the ones that survived the Holocaust or spent 40 years working as a tailor or in an Ohio steel plant - on all those entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicad.

Actually, I am pretty sure most of them are like my dad. Good people who worked hard for years, decades, a lifetime. My dad was a salesman who was pretty successful and a pretty good taxpayer for a long time. At his earning peak, let's say 1980, he probably earned over $100,000, or about $279,000 in today's dollars. And paid lots of taxes.

We had a nice house in a nice suburb. For a time, we had a vacation house and also a motorhome. He paid for college for his two kids. He left every waitress from Toledo to Steubenville a 35-percent tip because he liked people who also worked hard.

Then, when he was 66, the company where he worked for 25 years was taken over, Bain Capital style. Mass layoffs ensued and the manufacturing part was shipped overseas - stop me if you have heard this one before. But the CEO landed in Darien with a golden parachute, thank goodness. Perhaps he was at your fancy dinner in Boca?

My dad made it work with some retired guy jobs for about six more years. Then he had a stroke. Then he had another one. After a slow downward slide into dementia,  he ended up at the nursing home a few years after that. That was over four years ago.

Have I mentioned the rack rate over there is about $10,000 a month?

Now, I know you said people should borrow the cost of college from their parents. Next you will probably tell me that we should take care of seniors right up until the end, whenever that may be, right there in our living rooms. Both are easier said than done.

We're talking a profound level of disability here. As in depending (EN-TITL-ED?) on others for every basic need. Ever try and lift a 170-pound man into the shower, Mitt? Didn't think so. You know who does that for the good people at the home? A staff of workers who probably make $12 an hour.

Some of these (mostly) ladies take two buses in the snow to get out of inner-city Cleveland to the Eastern suburbs to change adult diapers and spoon mushed up foods into the mouths of the residents. Indeed, I am sure a few of them still don't pay taxes because their income is not high enough. That doesn't seem like they are victims to me. Seems like they are doing the best they can in a crappy Rust Belt economy with limited education and more mouths to feed at home.

As for my dad, even if he planned perfectly and saved and saved and saved, he likely would be exactly in the same spot. It's been over four years at the home now. That's $120,000 a year times 4. Which equals almost half a million dollars.

The nest egg would have been well cracked long ago. Thank God for Medicaid, one of those nasty EN-TITL-Ement programs.

You may call it entitlement. You may call all of us, as you did in Boca, "those people who believe government has a responsibility  to care for them" or someone you can never convince "to take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Except we did. And we do.

But life happens. So I call you "completely out of touch with obstacles that face most Americans" whether it is for a generation or for a rough retirement.

Hopefully, on Nov. 6 I will also call you a loser.

See you at the regatta,


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Some Things Need No Bling

I have this friend. Let's call her Fabulous Nancy.

Her real name is not Nancy, but she is totally fabulous. I look to Fabulous Nancy for all things high style. She is high maintenance (on the outside. Really, she is quite fun and low maintenance, which is why she has been my friend for 25 years) and she will laugh about it.

When I want to buy an expensive purse, I look to Fabulous Nancy. She blazed a trail through spa treatments and injectables for me. At 40whatever, she is beating back the march of time with the help of a cadre of professionals. She has sculpted arms, nary a wrinkle, professional highlights, white teeth. She has more secrets to looking good, but I won't give them away. Some of those secrets I have filed away to a spreadsheet where I can calculate exactly how I can afford them should I want to upgrade or replace entire body parts.

Recently, though, Fabulous Nancy told me about this. That, Fabulous Nancy, is where I draw the line.

I will get the Chanel bag. I will try Juvederm. I may hire your trainer. I may even spring for a brow lift.

But some things need NO BLING. First of all, you must start with an, ahem, clean slate. That's where a laser or a Brazlillian comes in. To review: hair, gone. In its place: Glue on crystals!

Now if I were 22 and running around in a hot tub mostly drunk and naked, I might think differently. I am nearly 48. There are some things that don't need to be seen in daylight --- and don't need to be lit up like a Christmas tree, for chrissakes..


No. Not Fabulous.

Luckily, the Vajazzling website answers my some of my many questions? Where holds the crystals in place? (glue). How long does it last? (a few days). Does it hurt? (no).

I have some more rhetorical questions, though (answers my own): Is the women's movement dead? (maybe). Should I remove all the hair on my head and replace that with crystals too? (If you want to look like a disco ball). Do you think my husband would like this? (oh, good god no. He is from New England). Also, WTF? (beats me).

The crystals are available in cute designs like a heart or stars or a peace sign or a flower. Also great if you are in Vegas and hot tubbing.

I may reconsider if they come out with an over-40 line. Designs could include Spanx; a thin line that could change an old C-section scar into a smiley face; a map of Orion; a multicolored Volvo; The Last Supper; a bottle of Skinnygirl margaritas; a stop sign; Angry Birds; and the cover drawing from "Fifty Shades of Gray."

Or this.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tony Luvs Maria #Jetsrule #2012

My son is in the stage crew for his high school's production of "West Side Story." It's a fabulous production, with a huge cast and cute Sharks and Jets and re-created a sweet brick tenement fire escape.

When the junior who plays Tony was climbing the ladder the other night (during my second viewing of the show - third and final time tonight. I think I have most of the lines memorized. I could totally step in and play one of the Sharks) I was thinking, this play still holds up after 50-plus years, but if this were 2012, our hero would NOT be going over to Maria's apartment to declare his love. He would be texting her. Maybe G-chatting. And her friends would have dissed Tony for the booty call.

So I am thinking - this story needs to be updated for 2012, told through social media.

I bring you WSS2012:


@Riffbudboy: Jetssssss rool!!!!!

@Bernardoz: @anitasababe Que pasa, sexy? Whatch u doing

@anitassfuego: chillin w/@maria. Docs later? #cantwait

Facebook - Tony: @ work @ docs. So bored. I feel like Somethings coming. Could be? Who knows?
   (Riffbudboy, Action, Anybodys like this)

@Anybodys: The principal says I have to wear a dress. F that. #igottabeme


@maria: @work and so bored. I sew all day and sit all night. #america problems. Can't wait for dance at the gym w/@bernardoz and @anitasababe #tonight.

@anitasfuego: @ the dance with BFF Maria. Cute white dress!

@Bernardoz: Mambo! #jetscantdance

Facebook - Tony: I just met a girl named @Maria. #truelove

Facebook: - Maria: @tony I know you are not someone else. We have zero friends in common. Text me later QT! :)

(Tony is now friends with Maria and 4 other people. Suggest friends for Tony).

Facebook- Anita  - Checked in at America
   I like to be in America!!!

Twitter: @anitasfuego @maria - where are u? U didn't answer my text.

@bernardoz: I am going to kick some Jet ass. #dontlookatmysister

@riffbudboy: Did you say #Jet #ass? RUMBLE!

@berndardoz: YEssssssss. I am bringing #sticks #bricks #fists.

@tony - Buenos noches.  can't we all just get along? #12feetofftheground.

@maria @tony - meet me at the bridal shop tomorrow. @anitasfuego is cool with it. #theresaplaceforus #idontmeaninthisneighborhood.

Riff: The Jets are gonna have their way TONIGHT!

West Side Police Official Page: Our community police officer, Officer Krumpke, says there better not be a rumble on his beat. Click here for more playground rules and regulations.


@Bernardoz: uh-oh. trouble. #fightouttahand.

@Riffbudboy: I need backup

West Side Police Official Page: Disturbance reported at 57th Street playground. Possible two stabbing victims/ More info later.

@anitasfuego OMG OMG @maria

@maria: whats wrong??!?!

Tony checked in at Doc's Drugstore

Doc's Drugstore Official Page: Repost this as your status if you think the world has gone to hell. What's it gonna TAKE with you kids? #RIP


@Tony - CHINO! Come and get me!!!!!! #idareyou.

@maria - @tony hold my hand. We're halfway there, Anton.

@tony - @maria!!!! They told me you were dead.

Facebook - Maria: Descanza en Paz, Tony, mi verdando amor.