One Girl, One Cup

Due to my mom’s hatred for wild and ruthless confrontation, she never exposed me to the toothless sport of hockey.  The one time I attempted to watch it, I experienced so much trouble following the puck on our 32” rounded screen TV, I gave up instantly and turned on another competitive activity, Iron Chef.

For me, I liked other easier-to-follow sports and simply stuck my thumb up at any band wagon that would pick me up on its way to the playoffs.  You see, growing up we moved plenty and clicking my ruby slippers to take me to a “home” meant Maui, Albuquerque OR Simi Valley. Try picking a football team with those choices.  It’s impossible!! But eventually the fair weather way of fandom became embarrassing and my reluctance to settle down turned lonely.

The solution: place two quarters into a dispenser holding NFL team stickers and whatever team slid out had my heart.  I’ve been a Philadelphia Eagles’ fan since.  Ugh.

Many many hockey seasons passed before I took another shot at watching a game and when I started dating a guy who lived for it I needed to lace up and learn to love it.  It took grave patience to teach me the rules, point out the fast-moving black speck (“or is that a bug?!”), and tell me the deep-rooted traditions of the coveted Stanley Cup. Stanley…What a namesake.  He helped me turn over a new leaf (type: maple) of embracing MY OWN HOME team from inception.

The team: “under major construction” Los Angeles Kings.

Winning never seemed so out of reach and the reality of becoming a true fan to something backhanded me right in the face. It pained me to follow a “rebuilding” team…

“How long does it take to rebuild?!” I questioned after every loss.

“Years, Danielle…YEARS!”

Slowly, after grasping the intricacies of this new sport and also an understanding for the necessity of forgiveness, I developed an emotional attachment for the team…as individuals.  When someone got traded, I shivered at the image of him in some other uniform.  When someone got checked, my heart cringed and my body coiled.  When someone made a horrible play, I shuddered.   Suddenly, I found myself punching the air when they won and punching a pillow when they lost with actual sentiment behind each follow through.

As they rebuilt their team, I built my loyalty from the ground up in a different way than the Eagles because Los Angeles was home now…and the Kings, my home team.

My new investment once took me to Costco where I opened a membership in order to get Bob Miller’s book signed; it drove me to Fan Participation Day to watch the players skate around casually for their fans; and after my boyfriend and I broke up, my journey with the team continued and sat me behind Alexander Frolov’s family at a game.  They made me drink with them.  I don’t remember that game, but I do remember it being warmer than usual.

Now, as we are all aware, the Kings brushed off the dirty ice and transformed into a polished team that made it to the 2012 playoffs as the 8th seed.  If you don’t know sports that means there are other bandwagons with far more appeal.

I watched every game either at a dumb sports bar (the sports bars in the West Hollywood area are actually dumb) or my friend’s house, where we made salads, punched the air, a pillow or on occasion, each other’s fists.  As the wins tallied up, the dream of a Stanley Cup Championship became a tangible reality.

“Ok. So each player gets the cup for a day or two if their team wins,” I recalled this particular tradition to a friend.  “They do whatever they want with it.  What would you do?”

“Hmmm…My uncle got me into hockey,” (everyone has a reason for loving a team or a sport, don’t they? It’s incredible.)  “I would visit his grave with it.  Then I’d drink ’61 Monfortino out of it.”

“Oh, that’s a good one!! I think I’d find a way to wear it as a hat and go to the races.”

During the finals, my anxiety boiled for many reasons:

1)    The need to be around a large group of like-minded fans who will chant and hug

2)    The thought of losing

3)    The thought of winning

4)    The debate of whether or not to contact my ex-boyfriend.  We are and will always be on good terms, but he’s married now.  Is it necessary?

5)    I plucked three chin hairs and immediately after, they lost.  Everyone blamed me for getting rid of my playoff beard.

6)    The absolute desire to go to a game ..but tickets? A FORTUNE

Once it came to game four the city KNEW the Kings would win the cup.  We knew it.  We felt it.  We tasted it. I began googling how to create a fastener out of a 34.5 lb trophy. (Note: it’s not possible.  Also note: I bet it is. Also note: I’m bad at googling.).  I left work early to bare the chaos and met friends deep in the rumble of LA Live and suffered numerous anxiety attacks, for I figured the celebratory riots would end my life.   After the forgivable loss we all agreed that if they make it back for Game 6, we would not endure downtown Los Angeles again.

Game 5, I watched with my friend Lauren and her dedicated family whose 5-yr-old grandson became my student.  I taught him how to yell at the TV during crucial moments.  He later asked, “Do you sleep alone?”

They lost and an insufferable stress tapped me on the shoulder, reminding me of the pressure to watch Game 6 somewhere spectacular.  Good god, it’s the last thing I wanted but if they won the cup, it would be history.  First time for them.  First time for the fans.  First time for an 8th seed to hoist the damn thing above their banged up heads before gently kissing it and passing it along from player to player…

The day before game 6, I received a text.

“Would you pay $500 for a ticket? Let me know, I’ll try.”

My heart stopped, then very rapidly started again and I ran straight to mommy for advice.  She recalled the time she witnessed the Angels take the World Series.

“It is something I will never forget.  No other event I’ve ever been to can match the energy in that stadium.  I hate hockey, but I advise you to go to that game.”

My mom is the most frugal person on the planet.  If she says yes, so do I.  I texted, “YES!”

The day of the game, my ticket fell through but my friend was still going.  I HAD to also go.  My face burned with adrenaline and my heart pounded like the glass bordering the rink being hit by fans during a fight.  I refreshed StubHub all day until prices began to drop…As they did, so did my heart because I had feelings of buyer’s remorse before the purchase even happened.

“MOM! They’re $600.”

“BUY A TICKET,” she kept strangely encouraging.

I had ten minutes to decide after a day of the most unrefreshing refreshing.  While reading a piece by Bill Simmons I was touched by the line, “Of the 75 greatest moments of my life, sports were involved in at least 20 of them” and made a deal with myself to buy a ticket. $565 later, I had a single seat  in the premiere section. “I am sitting alone but will make lifelong friends tonight,” I figured as I packed my purse with pepper spray and deodorant, held my relentless heart and headed to the Staples Center with a Kings’ fan of 30+ years.

I entered the venue in a tizzy, my smile anything but toothless, and took my seat.

I sat next to Greg, also alone but gregarious and open to hugging and high-fiving.  I know this because I asked if he minded my embrace during moments of excitement.  Unfortunately, he moved down five rows to hug his friends instead and I had to force high-fives with the twerps surrounding me.  After the Kings’ second goal, and tapping my heels with jittery delight I joined Greg, who almost knocked me down with enthusiasm.  “SIT BY ME!!!!!! YES!!! DANIELLE!! YES!!!”  I felt at home. At home.

Payton, my new buddy to my right bought me a cocktail to calm my nerves and the man behind me dictated the entire game with the emotion of a proud mother and the passion of a man who’s watched this team for years without regret. As the goals pelted the scoreboard, the crowd realized we all were about to witness something special.  Edges of seats remained occupied only on the rare moments when it wasn’t a standing room only.  My hands shifted from my cheeks to the top of my head to the shoulders of my new friends all in a state of shock, joy and craze.

We held nothing back.  Sports do that to people.

View my video of the 16-second countdown to the Stanley Cup win…

I witnessed a sea of grown men’s tears drip to the floor when that buzzer sounded.  They patiently supported, forgave, questioned, and watched this team for up to 45 years with a hope that they would someday hold a magnificent trophy called the Stanley Cup.

As the team handed the glorious goblet from one to the next, I watched a room of boisterous dreamers melt into silence:  the players, once young boys, chose to devote their whole lives to vie for this cup.  And the fans, dedicating this phenomenal energy to them in hopes of one day feeling overwhelmingly proud.

There is something about sports that brings out the best and worst in people.   Lauren and I morph from dainty ladies to foul-mouthed sailors, spilling beer and obscenities everywhere when we watch games together.  Other people cry, fight, break tables or won’t date someone because they like the Red Sox.

I live for the palpable and addictive vitality of sports and although buyer’s remorse can be fixed; it’s the “what ifs” that can’t.  GO KINGS GO!!!

Greg and Payton

Once Upon a Dangerous Mind

Little Danielle

My rocket scientist father and my social worker mother produced me, a rocket brain social idiot.  People could blame it on “middle child” syndrome or the fact that I ride on the cusp of Leo/Virgo, but judging on predisposed factors isn’t fair, right?  Until a quick Google search determines that “middle child” attributes to identity issues and empty feelings, which sums me up nicely.

During grade school these qualities affected my academics and focus, leaving my dad with a child who never cared for –brace yourselves– science or Star Wars or Space Camp.  My third grade teacher caught onto my scattered brain and taught me vocabulary, like “nuisance” and “be quiet or I’ll throw this eraser at you.”  With words like these, I excelled at homework!  One evening, while my dad cooked grilled cheese, I sat on the countertop with my 3-year-old sister, Michelle.  Poor thing waited giddily for her sandwich, while I bounced at the site of the tempting flesh on her right shoulder.  As she watched the sandwich flip from pale white to golden brown, I pounced and gnawed into her skin, glaring while it transformed from pale white to a supple punctured purple.

She wailed as I sat shocked that my action could result in such a reaction.  I felt so bad, but I also felt so good.  My father punished me, but not enough to stop me from my spiraling conduct- I grew out my finger nails and started deep pinching, learned how to chuck objects in honor of my fast-pitching teacher and dabbled with psychological abuse.

Like most siblings, I hated mine and did anything to make their lives miserable.  Michelle had a pink stuffed rabbit she creatively named, “Rabby.”  She lived her life attached to this toy- in family pictures, Rabby sat; at family dinners, Rabby ate; on family road trips, stupid Rabby fastened in.  The thought of destroying this inanimate family member filled me with fabulous anxiety, yet posed as quite the challenge due to their annoyingly unbreakable bond.

In my first attempt, I snatched the fluffy idiot while Michelle slept and hid it in the laundry room behind the machines.  The next day, I heard her wailing that tearful tune I loved immensely, as she wondered what happened to her best friend.   Unfortunately, I got dragged into the search and rescue effort, and had to perform as a worried search member, which felt like a chore.

“It’s not in the oven, dad! Or underneath the couch! Where would Michelle put that thing?  I’ll look in the backyard, next,” I yelled and ran outside to sit in my playhouse while everyone continued the search.

An hour later, Rabby and Michelle reunited after everyone tore the house apart.  They lived merrily together until the next month when I noticed our neighbors had a moving truck in their driveway.  I asked my mom for details and she explained that The Wilsons were moving to Arizona.

“Oh, that’s sad.  I liked them.  Mom, can I play outside?”

“Sure, but don’t cross the street.”

Immediately, I tiptoed into Michelle’s room where she napped.  When I reached for Rabby, she moved and I kissed her forehead carefully,  gently whispering “I love you, my sweet sister.”  I snagged Rabby, stuffed it under my shirt and proceeded to the front yard.  For a few minutes, I danced around in the grass and waited for the movers across the street to return inside.  I looked back to my home with a smile that ensured my mom’s careful eye everything was bright and sunny.

The second the working men vanished, I ran across the street, pulled Rabby from under my shirt and pushed it deep inside one of the boxes.  I ran back with a rush of nerves because I forgot to look both ways before crossing, but once I arrived I commenced my solo dance routine until Michelle woke up.  Her cries upset me so much this time because I knew they wouldn’t stop, for Rabby had moved to Arizona.

Bye Bye Rabby

We banned together once again to find the bunny, but to everyone else’s shock it never resurfaced.  I acted as surprised as they did and snickered to myself in bed, prideful as Ursula after stealing the voice of Ariel. Michelle’s recovery took a long time, but I offered up my Rainbow Bright doll I named Bucky D to appear as innocent as possible.  She attached to that thing quickly because she had to hold onto something for comfort, and it wasn’t going to be me.  I sure felt guilty about that…Sorry Bucky D.

On my way home from school three months later, my mom mentioned she received a phone call from Mrs. Wilson.

“Danielle,” she said.  “They found Rabby in one of their garage boxes.  Do you know anything about this?”

“The WILSONS found Rabby???” I was utterly shocked and lost the ability to conjure up an excuse and rather than acting innocent, I wailed the way Michelle always did, begging for sympathy.

In light of the pinching pain of getting caught coupled with the strange new feeling of regret, I chose to relieve my sisters from torment and focus on subtler abuse, like making them refer to me as “Danielle, Queen of the Universe” or using them as slaves followed by empty threats like, “I’ll murder you if you’re not back with my water in 30 seconds.”

In fourth grade, we moved to Hawaii and acquired two cats from the previous residents of our new home.  Cats are the worst.  They infiltrate fresh air, clean furniture and walking paths everywhere.  Although I acclimated to living on a rock, I never quite adapted to living with cats.  I hated them the way I used to hate my sisters and decided to victimize one of them…Shoopa, our black cat.  I heard a tale once that no matter what, cats always land on their feet.  Shoopa loved and trusted me, probably because my heart matched the color of its coat, so I knew when carrying her to the second story balcony she did not suspect a thing.

As we approached the ledge, my petting became very attentive, assuring her of the nonthreatening situation to come.  With each careful stroke, I calculated the time I had to catapult the cat before she realized her fate AND how to toss her without compromising my safety.  I understood that if I didn’t chuck her quick enough her reaction would result in clawing.  I also understood that if I didn’t flip her while tossing, the experiment would be deemed useless.

While holding her hind legs close with my left hand and petting her head with my right, I suspended her from the balcony and just like that pushed her head down and her hinny up with quick enough and hard enough force that she flipped wildly on her descent.  Her wailing cry, reminiscent of my past repertoire of activities, satisfied me.  However, she landed on her feet, which made me hiss.

I tried that experiment several more times throughout the years until we moved again, leaving the cats to the new residents.  With each move and each birthday, my cruelty became more sporadic but still remained… like the time I threatened to push my eldest sister, Melinda, off the Hoover Dam with a face of burning fury or when I told the youngest, Nicole her birth was a mistake.  I mean, my mom had her tubes tied and bang!  Out came baby.

Ah! It hurts me now to think I once had a black heart that pained my sisters so dreadfully. But like my rocket scientist dad who once buried his brother next to a red ant pile like the Indians used to as torture and Joseph’s brothers who sold him to the Egyptians, I matured and my siblings eventually pardoned me, despite the scars. And after years of wildly flipping out, I turned to endless afternoons with Oprah and therapy to help me land on my feet on some solid ground ..like cats do..  God bless cats.

 

Til Death Do I Part…

Four of my friends planned their owns deaths. Two of which acted as my mentors, encouraging me to be the best I can be, to follow my dreams and to live to my fullest potential.  The irony alone could kill me.

The certainty of death has slapped me across the face and the gross realization that we will be the main attraction at a funeral one day is the cloud that hovers over my daydreams.

While avoiding the stresses of a sluggish commute, I often visualize my friends and family standing at the podium of my local church saying extraordinary words about me and praising my living efforts to please the earth.  (It’s funny that we do that- save the best words for last)

I also let other thoughts drudge through my mind…

  • What type of alcohol will they douse on my coffin?  (Note: It can be Svedka.  Save the Kettle One for the after party.)
  • Will the church be standing room only? (I hope so!)
  • Will the guy who acted as my booty call for three years show face?  He told me he loved me once…I guess my funeral will be the true testament of that, right?

Such details of my funeral, along with wondering what will occur during my immediate after-life, is a part of me now- I’m my own funeral planner (reminder: not my own death planner).  I want everything to run smoothly upon my departure, like it doesn’t now.  Life gets crazy and unorganized, but after-life does not need to fall in accordance.

Currently, my friend and after-life coordinator, Meredith, has my e-will, which we exchanged via email.  My e-will contains passwords to my online accounts, like my banking, Facebook, and Twitter.  It also has phone numbers to people I want to invite to my funeral that other people don’t know, like the booty call.

I even drafted the first two tweets I want posted immediately following my departure:

1)    #RIP @daniellebernabe

And then another one instantly following…

2)    That last tweet was a SERIOUS TWEET!!! This is @mkstrodel.  I will now manage @daniellebernabe’s account. Please RT.

Please note, again, that I’m not sending out save the dates here, I’m simply coordinating certain affairs; I’m the type of girl who plans her funeral rather than her wedding.  I may never get married, but I will… you know…

If I die before I wake, I request the following things:

I don’t want an open casket.  The enlarged picture of me standing proudly next to my coffin will suffice (use whatever my Facebook profile picture is at the time, I’m sure I thought very highly of it because I’m a narcissist and would never display something unflattering).  Since no one will see my outfit, I plan to wear a Ralph Lauren black Jackie O’ styled dress that my boss gave me years ago.  I will never wear it alive because I’m too afraid of ruining it, so since I love it so much, I can wear it for eternity six-feet under.

J. Crew has a wedding line, but does anyone know when/if a funeral line will hit the stores?  My pallbearers are a pretty important aspect and I want them to look clean and uniform.  But I can’t decide if I want them to wear the same outfit or just the same color and fabric. Suggestions?

Speaking of, if you have any interest in becoming one of my pallbearers, leave a comment underneath this story.   I really don’t want my father walking me down the aisle on this one.  Thank you in advance.

My eulogy readers will wear cotton taffeta in sage.  Let them pick the design.  My eulogist-of-honor, however, should wear a long dress, not strapless, though.  Please!!! Strapless dresses are too risky and overtly distracting.

Oh! And since I will wear black, I request everyone in attendance wear any other color aside from black because, how rude!  This is MY day.

Other misc., but crucial, details:

  • Plus ones are allowed and encouraged.  I want the church billowing with mourners.
  • I don’t expect anyone to gather at the gravesite for the actual burial.  It’s my least favorite part, but I would appreciate if someone released vultures as they lowered me into my new resting place while “Eleanor Rigby” played in the background.
  • There needs to be a champagne toast at the reception, for sure.  And every time someone clinks on their glass with a fork, blow kisses at my picture.
  • Food can be buffet style, just make it gluten free for my sisters.
  • The first dance needs to be either to “Sweet Caroline” or “Don’t Stop Believing.”  Not because I like those songs, but because I HATE them and I want everyone to be sadly reminded of my funeral for the rest of their lives when they play.  Eventually, I hope people will stop listening to both…in my honor.

If the cause of my death warrants a cremation, I want a worldwide honeymoon, starting with Jones on the corner of Formosa and Santa Monica.  Tell the bartenders, they’ll understand and most likely participate in the service.  Sprinkle a little of me in front of the door so when people walk in they inadvertently bring me with them to for the good times.

Stash me in your purse or wallet and dine at Mozza where I’ve eaten some of the best Italian food in my life.

Take a run with me in Brentwood around the three mile loop I like to call the “path of hope.”  Watch out for wayward golf balls.

Fly me to New York and leave a pouch of me under a seat in a taxi so I can ride around the city.

Hop on a plane to Florence and have at it.  Start with my old apartment on Via San Gallo, stop by the central market and buy blood oranges and kumquats.  Walk down the center of the city and eat pan di stele gelato. Then pull out a map and point to a new city, board a eurostar and let’s go!

With my ashes, embrace the life I lived and create a legacy that is the pulse of your own.  If I don’t get cremated, do the same.  You live once, don’t fuck it up.  Absorb the greatness that surrounds you and recognize that life goes on, if you let it.

My funeral is the last hoorah I’ll ever attend and until then, I’m listening to my deceased mentors by living life to my fullest potential, frequenting Jones, Mozza, New York, running outside with the breeze, living, breathing because I can and want to.

But I ask you one thing, when you cry at my funeral make the tears happy and let them dance down your face.  And whatever you do…DON’T catch the bouquet…

 

 

 

#tweetsthatinspire

 

So Emotional

When famous people croak, we unite and praise the person’s life.  When normal people croak, we do the same thing, but it’s not a worldwide congregation of condolences, because why would it be?  The world doesn’t know about Joe Shmoe.  The world, however, knows about famous people.  They entertain our lives and inspire us through their vitality and talent.

Whitney Houston’s death has affected us and despite her bouts of failures and misfortunes, she has been an incomparable force to our ears and souls.  And with most famous people, she probably didn’t hold a place in your daily “care about you” sentiments but I’m willing to bet she shaped memories in you one way or another. If she didn’t, you probably live under a rock or you are deaf.

At age 5, I attended my first concert: Whitney Houston.  My mother dressed my sister and me in our finest dresses, faux fur coats and on the way, we picked up a bouquet of roses as a gift for Ms. Houston.  We had front row tickets and paraded to our seats proudly, anticipating a flash of eye contact.  In the middle of the concert, she waved at my sister who held the roses waiting for that exact moment to occur.  Together, we rushed the stage and tiptoed until it strained our soles, she smiled her huge smile as she accepted the bouquet.  The adrenaline of the moment exhausted me and quickly put me to sleep, mid concert, on my mom’s lap.  The thought tickles my heart.

Now, in weak moments, when my soul is strained, I watch YouTube videos of her singing the National Anthem.  The prickly goosebumps that blanket my body never weaken and I’ve seen it 432 times.  It lets me know that I do, indeed, still feel things.

When someone like her dies it is, in the least, thought provoking.  I never had a conversation with the woman but she has impacted my life by creating memories, like the one when a friend and I karaoked “I Will Always Love You.”  We nailed it, and the crowd went wild, as the crowd usually does when something moves them.  It may not move them greatly, but the extent does not matter, does it?  To live is to feel…

When you watch Whitney’s National Anthem or listen to her isolated vocal track on “How Will I Know?” you will feel…something…

Shush!! The Game is On..

I am a lady, a lovely lady. I wear makeup, get pedicures, own a closet full of heels, cook, clean, giggle, flip my hair and sit with my legs crossed and my posture poised and dignified.  Here’s a real life picture of me:

My mother grew up in a family full of sports fanatics.  Her father and grandparents suffered from a deep obsession with the Angels, Lakers and Rams. In fact, my grandfather requested that he be buried in a Lakers shirt, which is an image I will never forget and it warms my soul to think about.

I grew up under the care of a mother who, due to her upbringing, encouraged me to watch sports, attend sporting events and join pools because “it’s the American way.”  She believes it is of grave social importance to understand sports because we live in a country that celebrates the Super Bowl in grandeur greater than the end of the Iraq War.  My mom owns season tickets for the Chargers, as well as the Clippers (ok, so the Lakers are a bit pricey, but go Griffin!).  She has commissioned a football pool for ten years and, when forced, is known to seek out a manicure place that plays the games on Sundays.  Her genuine appreciation has rubbed off on me, which has brought me a wealth of joy in my heart, a healthy count of lovely people in my social circle and stealth at sports bars.

My last boyfriend loved hockey and if I wanted to see him for nine months out of the year, I figured I would participate by attending games and high fiving or sobbing when our team (LA Kings) won or lost (usually lost, usually sob).  When we watched games, I didn’t blabber about my recent bout with a girlfriend, I didn’t dish about the drama between my sisters and me, I didn’t stand in front of the TV and whine; I learned the rules and the players and there we sat, watching games and conversing about one of his greatest passions.  Is there something wrong with this picture?  If he enjoyed horseback riding or needle point, I’d make an effort to support that too.

Since then, as a single woman, I continue to follow hockey because if you’ve ever been to a game, it’s one of life’s greatest events.  I also belong to a Fantasy Football league, which has enhanced my knowledge of football and has allowed me to converse about the sport and its infinite number of players aside from the usual suspects like Brady, the devastatingly handsome Aaron Rodgers and anyone who has appeared on Dancing with the Stars.

I don’t act like I know what I’m talking about when I engage in sports talk, because I DO know what I’m talking about.  I don’t rub it in; I simply discuss what’s going on in the sports world when appropriate.  Does this make me less attractive as a woman?  If so, why?

 

She likes sports? DIE!!!

It is my true love for sports that makes me unique.  I would never fathom standing in front of a TV during a game, threatening to turn it off because I need to talk or eat or watch Desperate Housewives of Wichita.  The thought makes me want to vomit the very homemade meal I made for dinner last night while watching Flacco get sacked seven times.

So why is it icky that a woman like me enjoys sports?  What is so wrong with having the ability to talk about a man’s passion with him?

Please, indulge me… Game on! Here are some recent comments that inspired this post:

“Guys (the cool kind) hate it when girls make it known they like football. We crave you for your womanliness, not for your unwanted opinion of who is the best team in the AFC. Shut up. Talk about that creep who stared you down at the mall; whine about having a splinter in your boob; bend over and check out your ass in the mirror, and then ask a guy if orange is a good look for you; complain about how the rain made your hat “all soggy”; carefully examine your new manicure and make a face; argue with us about irrelevant shit like who gets to sit the aisle, and why; banter like there’s no tomorrow. Be a woman, a bitch, a slut. Just stop talking about fucking football. No attraction will come of it.”

 

“And if you knew what men liked, you’d leave football out of your conversations. The guys you’re dating are simply going along with the discussion because they want to get into your pants, secretly thinking, “Oh Great, another one of these…but I guess I’ll act entertained. God dammit.””

 

“Female football fans can be very unsexy. Being an actual fan puts you in an unfortunate situation Danielle. I don’t want to talk football with my girlfriend. Baseball on the other hand….”

 

 

Twitter’s for the Birds

Six months ago, I became entangled with Twitter because my line of work demanded it.  Prior to immersing myself in the reckless cascade of mandatorily concise zingers, I’d stalked the world for 2,000-word story ideas, hoping to appease minds with my self-deprecating tales.  Now, thanks to Twitter, I diligently observe every human flaw, pop culture phenomenon and remote inkling of emotion that scuttles by me, all in search of the perfect 140-character explanation.

Since joining (@daniellebernabe), I regularly wake in the middle of the night with ideas for jokes, scrambling to save them as drafts:  “Simpsons are yellow;” “Birth control is hard to remember to take;” “Blind man using stucco to communicate.”  The next morning, my tired eyes struggle to make sense of the Christmas haul of ideas!!  I’m not alone in this:

 

After six months of tweeting, I find myself chatting about it with my 6-year-old cousin, my shrink, and bartenders alike. I justify this behavior as paying homage to my late grandfather, who once owned a bumper sticker business aptly named ‘One Liners.’ #runsinthefamily

I savor the ability to interact with those whom otherwise I might not have had the opportunity, among them celebrities (@juddapatow), fictional characters (@Lord_Voldermort7) and complete strangers willing to tolerate my venting about my fantasy football team via direct message (@tarahighman).

It is an aviary of birds fluttering about, tweeting their songs, creating creative and social opportunity. I love it and can’t get enough of it and the birds that occupy this cage of expression are diverse–each of them tweeting with a unique individual purpose, all trying to be heard– and motivate my creativity.

Parrot (The Celebrity)A parrot, or macaw, due to its ability to imitate human voices, is the most well-known bird in the world.  We gravitate toward parrots for their often infectious charisma, sociable nature and in many cases, intelligence.  Resulting from these extremely marketable traits, they are susceptible to prey and exploitation.  They vary in temperament, noise level, communication ability and relations with people.

Engaging with celebrities on Twitter is an exhilarating experience, a virtual autograph or handshake.  It also serves as reassurance that a tweet is being read, and gives a glimmer of hope that our existence is noticed by someone other than mom (and hello more followers!!!!).  More often than not, celebrities don’t tweet back because either their following is simply too massive (thus they can’t attend to each individual @ reply) or it’s not their style, so tweets to them fall by the wayside and we all feel like idiots for even trying. It takes timing and originality to be noticed, so think wisely before sending.

@TomHanks is an example of the scarlet macaw (rarely tangible), who appears to be on Twitter simply to keep pace with culture. One follows a celeb like him to view day-to-day photos of this seemingly other-worldly figure eating ice cream or shopping; thus vicariously experiencing mundane activities that makes them human, and therefore that much closer to themselves. You still love them for everything they do because they are a celebrity and that’s how we function.  Recently, Mr. Hanks tweeted daily pictures of his healing toe nail. (Fear not, his condition has improved.)

@MrHoratioSanz is the best, interacting with his followers constantly and even sending autographed Christmas cards via post! Who does that?!   (Other SNL alum- @AnaGasteyer… She’s a riot)

@GarryShandling is a sociable parrot- He makes Twitter exciting because he, like Horatio Sanz, tweets back! He tests out jokes for the sake of reaction and interacts with his “audience.”  His Twitter act is visibly comparable to a stand-up routine–sometimes he nails it, other times he doesn’t, but he ALWAYS manages to control his audience. It’s brilliant. Watch it.

 

 

Woodpecker (The Comedian or The Writer)An antisocial, solitary species known for loudly excavating hollow trees in search of sustenance and shelter.  These birds are opportunistic.

Comedians and writers on Twitter, much like in “real” life, hammer away at jokes in hope of unlocking a smorgasbord of laughter.  They seldom participate in conversation (unless with their inner circle of comedian friends) and tend to use Twitter as a space to finely tune their craft.

@JuliusSharpe, a writer for Family Guy, is my absolute favorite.  His tweets are nuggets of gold.  Just don’t expect any engagement on his end; he doesn’t tweet anyone. He is purely present to entertain.  His tweets are ironic and smart and unearth the sweet sap of life’s common threads, but he keeps to his own.

@RobDelaney, @TheSulk, @MichaelIanBlack @PattonOswalt, @jimgaffifan, @nealbrennan are obvious woodpeckers everyone follows.  My other favorites:  @corneezy, @joshcomers, @eddiepepitone, @Randazzoj, @albz, @kristygee

 

Distinguished woodpecker:

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (@meganamram) A bird of great mystery.  To bird enthusiasts, perceived as a myth and a legend.

@meganamram: A comedian whose tweets run the gamut of everything unfathomable by you or me.  She is, at age 24, an anomaly.

 

Bird-of-Paradise (The Overtly Shameless Narcissist)–  Known for its highly-overdramatic mating ritual, these colorful birds rarely go unnoticed.  They are also a monogamous species.

Many people–especially celebrities–like to use Twitter as a billboard with which to flaunt every product they touch (including themselves).  Seldom will anything they ever say enhance your well-being, creativity or purpose here on Earth.  They are monogamous to themselves, their brand and anything that will boost their visibility and/or earnings.

@KimKardashian indisputably embodies this category.  She vomits marketing garbage at an incessant rate to her 10 MILLION (how?!) followers.  Her dance is vibrant, loud and is clearly knocking her (brand) up.

This is a post at 8:55 am

 

Owl (The Information Sources)Messengers and goddesses of wisdom.

Twitter differs from Facebook in that it allows you to emit rapid information about anything, anytime (without irritating your friends & family).  If you want up-to-the-minute info, you follow the owls, sit back and let their knowledge rain upon your thirsty mind. There lies a vast selection of people/groups/companies that will provide you with whatever your heart desires: reliable news sources (@TheOnion); favorite fitness guru (@MyTrainerBob); sports services (@NFL); or life coaches (@PauloCoelho), all of whom offer the advice, motivation, or tips you crave to live a better and fulfilled life.

 

 

Morning Dove (The Lonely, OPENLY INSECURE Single Girl)These birds whimper in the night air, often mistaken for the sound of an owl.  They are loners with a shrill, distinct cry of desperation.

There is a plethora of these fluttering about in the Twitter aviary.  She’s the lonely, single girl who lives with cats, begging to be noticed.  She works as a writer in Hollywood and whines about wine, her cumbersome sweatpants, a rarely decadent hair day, Spanx and her unaccompanied drunken Friday nights.  She sees her desperate cries as “charming”–after all, she’s beautiful like a dove–but the only way any man will ever put up with her likely involves slipping something into her drink at a bar.

It’s easy to be lonely, but it’s even easier to cry about it–so if self-loathing and abandonment issues tickle your fancy, pull up on your couch with a  pint of fat-free fro-yo and join the pity party.

Seagull (The Nuisance)Recognized for its harsh wailing or squawking call.  It scavenges ruthlessly, often displaying signs associated with bullying, attacking and harassing.  It also shits on people.

One of the most unfortunately populous subspecies of tweeters who’ll pounce on any opportunity to aggravate the pleasantries of a tweet is the seagull. Should you find yourself being followed (stalked) by this type, you’ll also find he/she (usually a “he”) won’t let any grammatical or syntax error go unnoticed–much like a piece of food accidentally dropped at the beach, provoking a flock to recklessly descend upon it. They don’t know any better. As they fly off, they excrete further nuisances on you, leaving reminders of just how far from perfect you really are.

Fear not, they’re only acting out as a result of their own societal inadequacies. These creatures are clearly starving for creativity of their own, responding the only way they know how– hunting for solace in the mistakes, misfortunes or sullied happiness of others.

 

 

Dodo Birds (The Dumb)Known for their clumsiness and for becoming extinct due to their incapable brains, which prevent them from functioning in civilization.

Dodo tweeters add nothing to anything.  They aren’t funny, don’t make sense, ramble incoherently, and will eventually (hopefully) burn themselves out.

However, fluttering about in the Twitter aviary are a select few who are usually quite lovely, yet occasionally suffer from “off days”–and may be mistaken for a dodo if encountered at the wrong time.  Here is an anonymous example to spare the feelings of the real idiots:

 

 

 

Mockingbird (The Constant Retweeter)A bird that mimics the songs of other birds, often loudly and in rapid succession.

This tweeter will seldom add a thought of his/her own, existing solely to echo the sentiment of others via retweets. Often a friend or colleague you’ll hesitate to unfollow out of obligation (or fear of losing a precious follower). These are typically the same people who still send chain emails.

However, in some instances, mockingbirds can be a brilliant commodity, with the shtick of providing the masses with a common, amusing theme (@joemande and @EliBranden are real good at retweeting for the sake of mocking others).

 

 

HummingbirdThey can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12—90 times per second.

Certain people tweet way too much, forcing you to wonder how they sustain a decent following (or pay rent).  It’s exhausting. They can’t stop. They won’t stop. They’re obsessed. They will suck the sweet nectar from your very soul.

 

 

 

Orange Throated Tanager (ME)- Penetrating, deliberate voice. Represents those “birds without a name” and has been written about in a book titled “Parrots Without a Name.” Strikingly colorful and difficult to find, even within a narrow latitudinal range.

Then there is I, the tanager with a following of 256.  I tweet one-liners about everything from daily musings to mishaps. I observe the interactions of tweeters, meticulously strategizing when and whom I’ll tweet.  The whole psychology of Twitter fascinates me and I am engrossed in the never-ending ingenuity tumbling down my screen. (I follow comedians, and these other gems, also tanagers- @heybeccahey, @rsub27, @laurenne, @themikewhite, @zineelizabeth, @mkstrodel, @nbernabe, @laurenbruno, @korylanphear)

In this vast space, I simply adore the tweeting of other birds.  Whether it’s ruthless or not, Twitter lends the birds a place to sing together in whatever tune their hearts desire…

 

Literary Matchmakers

My life as a single lady has reached the 3 1/2 year mark and I am currently not putting forth any effort to change that.  You won’t find me on dating websites (Twitter exempt).  I live and work in West Hollywood (I’m straight). And I spend most of my free time inside my apartment watching football alone (Go Eagles?). Some say the latter of the aforementioned circumstances is a shoe-in to grab the attention of a man, but I’m somehow missing the conversion from football banter to a steady relationship and am instead collecting male besties all over Southern California (unless of course you’re a Raiders’ fan…I hate you and you’re my worstie—“worstie” and “bestie”…perhaps the story could stop here?).

After some calculations, I figure at the pace I’m going, and in the geographic location I’m living, I’ll either end up marrying someone from a fantasy football message board or becoming a beard to a gay man I meet at my neighborhood Trader Joe’s.  As long as my pops gets a grandchild out of it, it shouldn’t matter.

The truth is, my heart isn’t in any rush, but the recent influx of set-up dates by friends, family and/or members of my mother’s book club has me wondering if everyone thinks I am.

I love blind dates and actually prefer them because I appreciate a referral and the security that I won’t end up on Dateline Murder Mystery.  Other attempts don’t even make it as far as a date, like the time Luke (http://bit.ly/sAa14k) held a mystery dinner specifically to set me up with his friend.  The “friend” never showed up, and I became the seventh wheel. Story of my life. And title of my future autobiography, probably.

My older lady literary friends (aka my mom’s book club) are my number one advocates and try very hard, but never make it past the screening process.  A couple of weeks ago we held our meeting at the Getty Villa after reading Chasing Aphrodite, a novel about the Getty’s acquisition of looted art.  It’s fascinating.  On the way home, I started discussing a recent recipe I created that ended up in People magazine.

“Hold on a second,” a newer member said. “How are you not taken?”

“Because everyone in my local area is either gay or not interesting.”

“But you like to cook and you like football! It seems like they’d be swarming.”

“Well, they usually end up being my best friend.”

“I think you’d be perfect for my son.  He’s smart, he likes art, he’s a great cook, he’s so nice! Yes!  Sally, don’t you think they’d be great?”

“Oh yes! This is a perfect match!!!”

I stopped them.  “Wait, how old is he?”

“He’s 22.  But don’t worry, he has an old soul.  Oh he’s so nice,” his mom said.

“I’m 28.  Let’s set him up with my sister who is also 22 with an old soul.”

They discussed the two potential soul mates with my mother.  I let them cackle while I tweeted about it…

 

The next day, “Cougar Dates” started following me on twitter. Things are looking up…

Exactly a year ago, on another book club field trip, the same type of conversation occurred.  This time, the male in question had two years on me and sounded kind of lovely.  After I agreed that we could move forward with the process, the group giddily high-fived.

Four days later, I received this email:

Danielle,

I am Jessica’s friend; we met at Carolyn Wall’s lecture. And, I sent you the information about the Ventura County Writers Club. Well, this e-mail is from a friend, who has a 30-year-old single son. I can attest he is a nice guy from a nice family. He’s lives in Santa Monica right now, working and going to school. He told his mother he can’t find any “nice girls.” I immediately thought of you. So, contact him if you wish.  The email is below…

Ana

 

Merry Christmas Greetings to you!

Remember how we talked about Dave and the young woman from your Literary Club? Well, I casually discussed the idea with Dave and he was receptive of the idea. He felt, also, Facebook might be the way to go. Although I wonder because when I check out Dave on Facebook, it’s pretty zany with lots of pics, that don’t reflect a Monk. If you were to mention, that Dave is really a mild manner guy, it’s just that he does have a lot of friends that love to take photos and communicate via cell phone photos and Facebook photos. He appears to be a real party animal . . . but he truly is a gentle soul, caring, compassionate and has a good work ethic. So no harm no foul if you wish
to pass along his email address.

Cheers, Susan

p.s. I think the young woman can also contact him via Facebook . . come to think of it maybe it’s a better first impression if it’s by email, tee hee!

 

What would YOU do?

After much deliberation, I chose not to contact sweet Dave via Facebook. Despite his mother’s best efforts, he sounded like a Raiders’ fan.  And despite everyone else’s efforts, the inevitable is that I’ll keep nudging men for football picks or fashion tips because that’s just what I do and apparently my usage of the word “fuck” is keeping me single (according to a coworker)…Woopsy daisy!

Cheers to the odd wheels out!

Young at Heart…still

One year has passed since the declaration that I am a shadow boxer who frequents a corner bar named Jones, wondering if the man who after sending me drinks from across the way will politely follow through on a promise to take me to Mozza for dinner after wistfully discussing football and my talent as a harmonica player.

….and breathe…

There is a redundancy to my life that is eerily predictable.  The same occurrences reappear on a yearly basis presented in a progressed or an “aha moment” sort of way.  Last year my back ached and I blamed my adoration for the sullen girl, Fiona Apple. Admittedly, her songs off of Tidal narrated my everyday and inability to date a man with courtesy.  However, I grabbed the bull(shit) by the horns and converted my “mild” wellbeing and slouch into something more proud and less eerie.

Career– My run as a personal chef has since been fried.  The financial woes of freelance outweighed my passion to cook and my hunt for stability meant contacting my writing mentors, an old college professor and my uncle, for advice.  My uncle, a blunt man of great wisdom told me, “If you want to write, don’t write.  But writer’s write, so write.”  A quizzical reaction led to a further explanation that if I wanted a steady income I needed to find a job, but if I wanted to be a writer, I had to dedicate myself to writing.

My professor’s magic wand led me to a job as what my boss has recently called, “a floater.”  Technically, I am of value at my workplace doing tasks no one else can do…in the realm of writing.  I like to call myself a Writing Extraordinaire!

STABLE!

Love– With the job shift, I dedicated myself to myself refusing all free drinks and eye contact from anyone anywhere. After many months of this and a bout of misty-eyed loneliness, I bucked up and decided to test the waters again.  I recently went on my first “available to the public again” date with a nice lad who boasted at length about his laziness.  Then “the man who claimed he loved me” a year ago reappeared to then disappear and reappear and disappear.  My eyes would rather mist than roll, so I instead latch onto my girlfriends who delight me without annoyance (with the exception of the once-a-month bout of red-eyed darkness) and the painful “will he call back” or “should I call back.”

LOVED!

Travel– I travel to NYC once a year to rejuvenate my soul.  Last year, I lost my phone at LAX before departure and spent two days without it, essentially discovering the city without communication.  I hope one day this happens to all of you; life without a cellular companion is simply beautiful.  My next trip is Halloween weekend.  I plan to recklessly/strategically lose myself in the city once again, while sticking a fork into the richness of its culinary offerings.  (I’m now accepting ideas on Halloween costumes. Last year, I dressed as Erykah Badu)

 

Erykah Badu...peek-a-boo!!!

TRAVELED!

Residency– Currently, I’m writing from my red couch, which faces the direction of Jones, where a dear friend has invited me to join him.  I declined, with great detest, because “writer’s write” and I needed to write this doodah.  He’s eating the roasted chicken salad with fried chantarelles and goat cheese balls, sipping on a Macallan 12.  I know this because for a year, I’ve said yes to his invites along with many others and it’s a redundant routine that I adore.  Jones is the best and so is this stupid apartment with a useless kitchen.

SOBER!

Three weeks ago, I celebrated my 28th birthday at Mozza.  I almost cried twice- once due to overwhelming denial that I finally had the opportunity to dine at my dream restaurant and another because the veal tortellini reminded me of the first dish I ate in Italy.  Two days later, I had the great pleasure of seeing Ms. Fiona Apple live at a quaint arena here in Los Angeles.  I cried twice- once because overwhelming nostalgia got the best of me and the other because Chris Thile from Nickel Creek played, on his mandolin, a piano song that I spent all of high school learning.

With another year tagging along behind me, and another football season starting today, my heart dances like the nuisance, Deshaun Jackson because Matt Lang chose Peyton Manning in our Fantasy draft.  This time I’m overjoyed because Manning is injured and why would anyone pick him?  It’s moments like this and events like dinner at Mozza that fill me with billowing pleasure.  In one week, it all came full circle.  What’s the name for that?  A “call back?”

Oh sweet irony…

Oh! Twitter– @daniellebernabe

#OBSESSED!

Whine and Dine

Scenario:

A large group of friends wines and dines in merriment for a birthday, new job, a recent break up (let’s face it, most of them deserve celebrating), or a night of karaoke.  Everyone in jolly demeanor begins ordering, and two hours later, the booze is guzzled and every crumb served to the table is devoured.

What fun!!!

Problem:

The bill arrives and the guests scurry to find enough money to pay the astonishing total that shockingly NO ONE anticipated (the shock is shocking).  Nerves quickly rise and the mirth scuttles under the table to befriend a less awkward sticky situation that lies with the clump of gum.  What did people think when they ordered for an army?  The tax and tip alone adds almost 30% to the sum, yet no one ever accounts for it…especially those who leave prior to the arrival of the bill (they are usually the sneakiest/most conniving of friends who seldom contribute what they owe).

What a shock! (Are you kidding me? Grow up!)

The drunkards can’t remember offering to treat people to a shot or how many times they shouted, “I’ll have another!”  Therefore they can hardly recall their damage yet alone their required monetary contribution, which leads to several unaccounted items — never the opposite.

The shock dissipates after what seems to be an agreement over the bill and the insufficient cash wads presented initially are returned to the wallets replaced by 20 credit cards thrown into a pile. Everyone shouts their orders. “Put $20 on mine.”  “Yah, umm…how about $30 on my card. Ends in 3934.” And after a treacherous debate of “who owes what” the bill STILL doesn’t add up and is ultimately salvaged by the guest of honor who pays the equivalent of three of his/her “friends.”

Feelings are hurt and the night is left with a sour taste.

Solution:

Prior to the occasion, tell people to bring broken cash- ENOUGH for themselves and possibly for a group gift towards the jolly good fello/a.   Hard economic times loom over all of our pocket books, I understand.  If you plan on attending the soiree, please anticipate a dent in your budget- EVEN if you only order a $5 side of grits.

Ask the people who are ordering drinks to write a tally on their wrist every time they order another.  When the night is done, they can convert the tallies into a Stussy logo and everyone will be radical.  Or simply tell them to avoid the blunder by remaining responsible and honest by keeping track!

When the ticket arrives to the table, snatch it before anyone else takes a gander.  Add the total of the tax and tip and divide it by the number of attendees.  MAKE EVERYONE tack on the SAME amount to their total, even if they ordered an apple.  It will be a $20 apple, but it is the reality of the situation.  Before passing around the bill, rename “tax & tip” to “shits & giggles” then everyone will think they are paying for entertainment.

When the credit cards surface, write the last name of the holder and the amount owed on the back of the ticket.   Smile at the server and say, “You sure do look nice today, thank you for your kind help.”  Don’t apologize for the credit cards, just hand them over with a tender smile and a creepy wink. He/she won’t even notice the mountain of plastic and will instead be stuck with the mental image of your creepiness.

If for some reason the bill is still not accounted for, take a long minute to itemize who owed what and what they actually paid.  When you find the culprits, out them, embarrass them and make them feel like the weasel they are.  After the night is over, unfriend them from all social networks and your phone’s contact list.  They don’t deserve to partake in future events.

What a relief! (Life is simpler without idiots)

The Other Solution:

Avoid friendships and social events.  It will save you money and a lifetime supply of anxiety medication.

If you choose to savor your relationships and attend these fun gatherings, I hope it all works out for you.  If it doesn’t, find new friends or eat at McDonald’s (I hear the new Rolo McFlurry is extraordinary).

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Blink

I used to kiss five posters of JTT (Jonathon Taylor Thomas) every night before flicking the light switch on and off ten times, blinking 20 times at the clock before praying, wiggling my toes, toe-by-toe, until each one had its turn, and then finally closing my eyes  and dreaming about him.

 

This one was my favorite!

 

After waking up, I said good morning to the posters, jiggled the door handle for five seconds with each hand, brushed my hair with 20 strokes on the left, right and back sides, drank 10 gulps of water, and went to my grade school that sat next to a busy street.  Limousines flew by several times a day and I convinced myself that JTT sat inside.  As I saw each limo approach, I ran to the fence and waved in hopes he would see me, stop, scoop me and kiss back.  To call it an obsession would be an acute understatement.  To call it love, would be a fact.

These little customs and fantasies led me to write my first letter to Oprah:

 

Dear Oprah,

I live on Maui and love Jonathon Taylor Thomas.  He is my favorite actor and when I saw him in Man of the House, I realized he was the funniest actor out there.  I know he likes fishing and so do I.  I am his biggest fan and would be honored to meet him one day.  The next time he is on your show, maybe I can be in the audience?  Thank you.  I learn a lot from you.

Sincerely,

Danielle


Unfortunately, I never heard back from Oprah regarding my attendance to her show and in retrospect I’m content because I hated fishing.

When I decided to relinquish my door of the posters, I proceeded with my nightly habits without the kissies: flicking the light switch on and off ten times, blinking 20 times at the clock before praying, wiggling my toes, toe-by-toe, until each one had its turn, and finally closing my eyes.  In my head, if I did this wrong my body would croak and I would not live to see the next morning.

If I actually woke up, I forced myself to read the text on street signs on my way to school without an error before passing them, or else the car would crash.  My hangers had to be perfectly spaced, I avoided man-made cracks, I only ate things in increments of five (five goldfish, or ten…If someone gave me nine, I broke one in half in order to fulfill 10 pieces) and during soccer games, I touched the ball with each part of both feet as I dribbled.

I treated my body like an equal opportunist.  If my left hand touched a booger, my right hand had to touch it too.  If my left foot stepped in dog doo, my right foot also had to step in it.  I lived in a messy situation, but as a fifth grader I did not recognize the abnormality of it all.  I simply thought that mundane routines dictated every person’s lifespan.

One afternoon while watching Oprah during my after school routine, which also included cheating on my homework (my life depended on cheating and so did my grades), I witnessed something miraculous.  Mark Summers, host of the insanely messy shows Double Dare and What Would You Do, sat as a guest discussing what he called his “battle with obsessive compulsive disorder.”  I watched, with my jaw to the floor (well, near the floor I wouldn’t [double] DARE touch a floor with my mouth), as he straightened his hangers, stood in front of a billboard explaining his flawless reading dilemma, combed his rugs, flicked on and off light switches, washed his hands repeatedly, walked in and out of doors with precise footing, and ate his food in like increments.

My heart pounded relentlessly and tears drenched my cheeks as I discovered that I suffered from a disease.  I felt embarrassed, ashamed and bewildered.  Oprah’s soothing advice to Marc —and me–filled me with hope, “You can get through this.  You know this is a disease and we are here to support you,” the crowd cheered for him, and me.

After the redness dissipated from my eyes and face, I gathered the courage to tell my mom.   “Mom,” I said with grave concern.

“Yes, Danielle?” she replied calmly as she did daily when I approached her with grave concern.

“I think I have obsessive compulsive disorder.”

“No you don’t,” she disproved with a sweet chuckle.

My shame overpowered my willingness to share specific examples, so I shuffled off and began the healing process.  It took bravery, a lot of candy and another letter to Oprah to shift the belief that my life didn’t depend on repetitive blinking.

 

Dear Oprah,

Hi again.  I’m a big Jonathon Taylor Thomas fan, I wrote you before about it but it’s ok if you don’t remember. Now I’m writing because I watched Mark Somers talk about his OCD problem.  I’m in fifth grade and I have those problems.  I want to thank you for having a show about this because I didn’t know what I was doing was wrong.  Now I do and can help myself.  Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

Danielle

Falling asleep without the routines seemed too scary, so I started with my daytime actions-   I let myself out of my bedroom with one turn of the knob and stopped brushing my hair.  Surprisingly (or maybe not), my attempt to break my habit didn’t cause me to tumble down the stairs to my death, and very slowly, and 90% surely, I recovered from the turmoil of this debilitating sickness. Granted it still REALLY bothered me if the teacher missed a line of chalk when erasing the chalkboard and I still, to this day, eat in fives.  But all in all, I lead a life without fear of germs and repetition (Jone’s Cafe, exempt).  And now, I just wear dainty hats instead of combing.

My sister always wanted to write a book titled, “Oprah is Over at 4 P.M.: A Guide on What to do Next” …Well, it’s 2011 and Oprah is officially over and I know there is a grandiose amount of people who don’t know what to do; like Little Danielle’s struggling with OCD.  She never granted me the opportunity to meet JTT, Marc Summers, or later Adam Sandler.  She never invited me to be in the audience for Oprah’s Favorite Things or Oprah’s Oscar Special.  However, I learned how to write a great letter and conquered OCD at a rare age.

 

Thank you repeatedly, Oprah (in increments of five).  Go fifth and multiply.

Simply compulsive,

Danielle