Buzz off, Bubbles

This is what’s gotten the most attention in last week’s Vice Presidential debate, though you already know because, well, it’s gotten the most attention.

It was the moment when that fly landed on Mike Pence’s head and stayed there for a full TWO MINUTES, during which time he did absolutely NOTHING.

Like, he didn’t even flinch.  Could you imagine doing that?  What a circus trick.

Same, fly, same.

I kept thinking of that scene in the movie Ordinary People where Conrad, the emotionally repressed, suicidal teen played by Timothy Hutton, bemoaned in therapy how much effort it takes for him to actually feel something.

To which his spirited Jewish psychiatrist, played by Judd Hirsch, replies, and I’m paraphrasing:

Do you know how much effort it takes NOT to feel something?

This is harder, and more delicious.

This seemed the perfect analysis to me of Pence, the religious conservative former governor of Indiana and current Vice President. The man who is said to not eat alone with another woman or be in a place that serves alcohol unless his wife is present. 

The man who, for decades, has also been simultaneously dogged by rumors that he’s a repressed homosexual, with stories from the past claiming that as a kid even his own father once gave him the nickname of Bubbles on a car ride with the family because he was so, um, effervescent. 

Don’t act like you didn’t giggle #bubbles4ever

Well, all I can say is I would’ve preferred Bubbles compared to the things said about my own queer self at various times growing up.

Though never by my father.  At least to my face. 

That, in itself, could explain a lot about the differences between us.  I watch the debate alone with my husband of 32 years (Note: Well, technically only 5 years of marriage but 32 years together.   We weren’t able to legally marry for the other 27 and, if Pence had his way, we never have been able to) and together we root for the woman of color positioned 12 feet away from him beside that thick shield of Plexiglas.

Yes, you are Senator Harris.

Meanwhile, Pence sits up on the stage purposefully and unapologetically interrupting her as the running mate and chief cheerleader of the first openly white supremacist POTUS in modern times.

Pence and I may be close to the same age but as far as I know, that’s where the similarities end.  Unless you believe the now disavowed comments a college roommate of his once made that Pence used to like looking at muscle magazines back in the day.

Okay yes, I will admit to occasionally being tempted by a publication or two like that in my youth.  But I got over that phase once I realized that revering a man who appears muscular on the outside is not necessarily as desirable as it seems.

Though it can be.

It often feels this ridiculous #YESILIFTBRO

Nor is it a representation of who he is on the inside.  Though certainly it could be.

But you never learn any of that stuff when you stiffly refuse to feel the various stimulations on and in your head that almost everyone else watching you can so easily see.

When you are so pursed and controlled that you can’t even admit there’s a fly on your head, or perhaps worse yet, can’t even feel it, God knows what else you’re missing.  Or choosing to miss.

How much hairspray? Seriously

Or, well, allowing to happen so as not to face the reality of who you are, what you’ve become and, most importantly, what you now represent.

And what people are truly seeing when they look at you.

Idina Menzel – “Let It Go”

Bully Beware

You’re the meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful…..

Jees, what exactly did I say on the playground to that sixth grade schoolgirl back in the 1960s that her insults still ring in my ears to this day?

We didn’t have political correctness back then so it might’ve been awful.  Likely, she made a remark about something I did or said that insulted my masculinity or smarts or ability to succeed at something and I couldn’t take the criticism.

Oh no she didn’t!

Likely it was all three, but if you put a gun to my head it’d go with masculinity. For pre-pubescent boys,  it’s ALWAYS about masculinity.

Well, that’s the way it was back in Queens when I was 11 years old.  You say this, I say that, the insults escalate and suddenly one kid is called the meanest, the most horrible and the most disrespectful simply for fighting back.

Don’t mess with grandma

This is the world I grew up in and, even though he’s more than a decade older than me, that’s the world our American POTUS Donald Trump grew up in.

So when he said those very school girlish words about Sen. Kamala Harris the very day she was named by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to be his running mate for vice-president each immediately tugged at my memory.

The meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful.

Grade school, playground, bully, man, camera, Queens.

Check, check, check, check, check  and…checkmate!

I think she can handle it

Full disclosure:  If I’m being totally honest I won’t swear that  the above-mentioned 11-year-old girl actually said those words to me.  More likely they were said to some jerky guy saying something awful and likely sexist to her and I simply stood by and let him.

Picture 11-year-old pre-pubescent Donnie Trump brazenly spewing insults through the space between the swings and in front of all the younger kids, loud enough for all the teachers to hear, and you might begin to understand why that little girl had nothing left to do but to call him the meanest, most horrible and most disrespectful.

Then understand this —  that little girl is HIM.

Yeah, he wishes he was as good as me

You know… that senior citizen and just-filed-an-absentee-mail-in-ballot POTUS Trump. He actually opened his latest fundraising letter to potential Republican donors with it.


The first few lines literally read:

It’s soooooo 1956-1966.

Forget politics, forget red state vs. blue state and forget conservative vs. liberal. Instead, whenever you think of Trump from now through Election Day remember that desperate little girl on the playground.

Because if you get into the intellectual or political weeds trying to prove that to anyone on the other side that former California Attorney General Kamala Harris is NOT as liberal of a senator than, say, BERNIE SANDERS, you’re playing at the wrong game.


See, the real game is:  I’m rubber, You’re glue, whatever bounces off me sticks to you.

Or:  I know you are, but what am I….

There is no reasoning with a playground bully appropriating the words of the bullied 11 year-old girl who was bullied by him.  Or his merry gang of bully supporters.  Sure, you can try to tell the teacher or someone else in a position of authority but if your school was anything like mine, they were nowhere to be found at times like these.

Just like the Congress. (Note:  Well, at least the Senate).

The Senate’s Summer 2020 plans revealed

So it’s up to us to do the policing and not be side tracked by bully-speak.  Even though it’s tempting.  Very tempting.  So much so that whenever the insults get the best of me I picture 11-year-old Donnie in pigtails and a dress, carrying a giant swirly sucker (nee lollipop), as they did back in his day, and all quickly becomes well with the world.

Sure, we’ve all got Kamala’s back even though I suspect (note: know FOR SURE) that she can take care of herself.

Maya will help too! #moreofthisplease

But we need to worry more about our absconded mailboxes, walking our mail-in ballots to our local Board of Elections office, donating money, and talking up the Biden-Harris ticket to anyone who will listen through our MASKS.

MSNBC’S Rachel Maddow, my personal oracle, wisely tells us almost daily to: Watch what they do, not what they say. 

I would only add to that: VOTE – and make sure you do it in or deliver it to the place where it is most likely to be counted.

Shirley Temple – “On the Good Ship Lollipop”