Tuesday, June 16


I got culture. On occasion, I have even been known to read things other than Star Weekly and Us Magazine. However, I do love anything that I can read cover-to-cover in 30 minutes flat. Plus, it makes me feel really smart, if not really fat and smart. Yet, I always find my way back to books. Most of mine are worn, torn and barely in one piece, but that's how you can tell that they are loved - like my cat. My Mom use to have this boyfriend that could never understand why anyone would read a book or watch a movie a second time. Besides being a huge douchebag, he didn’t have one book in his house. And frankly, I don’t trust people that don’t keep books around. Every time I move, I swear that I am going to purge my collection (really? I’m still hanging on to Blubber, really?). But somehow everyone always seems to make the cut.

Which brings me to one of my favorite books, Valley of the Dolls, just kidding. OK, not really. I love Dolls, but I am lucid enough to know the difference between Pop Culture and actual literary achievement. Lyon Burke aside, for some inexplicable reason I love the book The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I take that back, I know exactly why I love it; it’s like reading an Us Magazine from the 1870s. But for some reason, everyone considers it a classic and not the juicy, gossipy, cotton candy it is. Also, if you want to start a fistfight with me, let’s discuss the casting of Winona Ryder in the role of May Welland in the Scorsese film. Man alive, that girl couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag, but I digress. I enjoyed The Age of Innocence so much that I decided to check another Edith Wharton book, The House of Mirth. I kinda knew the synopsis, but I love Wharton’s dissection of societal expectations and its realities, so I thought that I’d give The House a shot.

Wow. I tried, I really did, but not only was it boring, it was sooooo depressing and bleak. I mean, frankly if I wanted to be that bummed out, I'd just balance my checkbook. But this chick in the book could not catch a break and after about 70 pages I gave up. So that was that, and it just sat there on my bookshelf mocking me.

They made a movie out of it with Scully from The X-Files, and it was one of those that perpetually floated at the bottom of my Netflix queue. Then one rainy afternoon I saw that it was going to be on We or Oxygen or one of the estrogen channels. Right as I settled in to fold some laundry enjoy the Mirthiness, a little person that lives in my house decided that it was time to stop playing with her dollhouse and come fuck around in the laundry basket. Well, naturally it ended in tears, and as Mark came in with the “Boo Boo Bear,” another stupid thing that I wish I’d invented, I noticed that he too was being drawn into the shit storm that was Lily Bart’s crappy life.

Unfortunately, for our TV viewing pleasure, Piper recovered pretty fast from her injury and started to un-do all the folding that I’d done. We tried to tag team it, with one-person paying attention to the movie and another watching the kid. The problem was Piper was being super loud and unless we wanted to create mass chaos in the house by raising the volume level of the TV to match hers, there was really no point in turning it up. As we tried to deal with the mess that our two-year-old had created, Gillian Anderson droned on next to a fire about hers. Also working against us was the death of our Tivo, so we had no pause or rewind to save us. At this point I decided to try and lip read, but that wasn’t going so well. “Did she just say something about an oral germ whore?”

Mark had been forced into dollhouse duty and he was making the daddy doll say things like “What just happened?” and “Why is she going in there?” All the while, I was trying to be nonchalant about watching the television. I’ve discovered that if Piper thinks you don’t care about something, you’re chances of actually getting to do it/see it/hear it improve dramatically.

When Piper's attention had shifted to terrorizing the cat, Mark escaped to join me on the couch. Expecting an update, I looked at him and said, “are you nuts? I can’t hear a thing. I think that she’s asking this lady for money but I’m not sure and she may be trying to marry this other guy, but it’s anybody’s guess.” The next thing I know, she's makin' hats and credits are rolling.

We tried to formulate plot points and figure out who characters were, but it was too late. Then, it was decided that to the casual observer, The House of Mirth looked like a historical drama, but it was actually a mystery movie. “It’s like Agatha Christie’s House of Mirth,” Mark said. I mean, I had an idea what the thing was about between the book and what little of the mystery movie I saw, but I my curiosity had been piqued. Did the movie version add robots? What about a car chase? Product placement? The mind reeled. I know what you're thinking, "just go read the book and all questions will be revealed." Yeah, you try reading that thing, I'll even exercise your arms and legs while you're in the coma.

Just about that time, I heard Mark yell from the other room, “I moved House of Mirth up on the Netflix list. I gotta find out what happened.” Now we just need to find a babysitter.