A few excerpts from:
It’s Never Too Late to Get a Life
Obviously, I never should have gotten out of bed that morning. When the alarm went off I should have squinted one eye open, hummed a chorus of Happy Birthday to Me then scuttled right back under the covers. But I wasn’t psychic enough to know that my three so-called best friends were about to lure me into disaster. Nor that I’d be on the brink of ruining my reputation, losing my family, and wetting my pants while wearing a rented GI Joe costume (in which case I’m sure my deposit would have been forfeited). Of course, these same best friends did finally form the Save Angie Crisis Intervention Team to rescue me from the whole mess. But maybe I wouldn’t have required rescuing if I’d simply stayed in bed that day.
Of course based on the hide-under-the-covers-and-it-will-go-away theory of life, I can think of many mornings I should have slept through. For instance the morning eighteen months before, when I walked into the kitchen to find my husband of twenty-six years making kissy kissy noises into the phone.
“Bob, what are you doing?”
“I was just talking to Clarisse. You know, the Neighborhood Watch Captain.”
“The one who makes those Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies? But why were you doing that kissy kissy smoochie thing?”
“Well, Angie, it’s probably time you knew. Clarisse and I are an item.”
“An item of what?”
Perhaps you’re thinking that I’m a little dense but then you’ve never seen Clarisse. Clarisse looks like the before picture in an ad for I Lost 180 Pounds in 30 Days. Isn’t there a Middle-Aged Cheating Husbands Credo somewhere that requires the other woman to be one of those nubile, half-dressed Bay Watch bimbos? Someone whose youth we can never recapture and whose boobs we can’t afford?
“Angie, how do I put this delicately? Clarisse and I have been sleeping together for months now.” That was delicate?
“You’re having an affair with the Neighborhood Watch Captain?!?”
“It’s not an affair, Angie.”
“Are you nuts, Bob? You’re married to me. You’re sleeping with her. That is absolutely, by definition an affair!”
“Okay, Angie. Let’s cut to the chase.”
To give you a little background, Bob typically used that “let’s cut to the chase” phrase to signal the end of sexual foreplay. When we were first married, I thought it was cute and kind of sexy. But over the years, as our foreplay progressed from fleeting to non-existent, “let’s cut to the chase” had become more than a little aggravating. I didn’t understand the appropriateness of the phrase in this particular context until months later: I was about to get screwed.
“Angie, we’ve made some bad investments lately and, well, getting a divorce might be the only way to avoid bankruptcy. I’m moving in with Clarisse.”
See what I mean? Definitely another one of those days I should have stayed in bed.
But life moves on, right? So 18 months later, I’m enjoying a birthday breakfast with my friend Jessica and...
“Oh, my God, Angie! You’re a virgin!”
“Last I looked, I’ve got two children, both in their twenties, and that did not happen immaculately. I am NOT a virgin.”
“Oh, Angie, don’t you know anything? Energetically, if you have not had sex for over a year, you become a virgin again! We can’t let this…this…premature, unnatural celibacy go on! You need to have a One Night Stand.”
Do you think Dr. Laura, Dr. Phil, or even Dr. Suess would have agreed? My friend Gwen did...
“Jessica’s right, Angie. This might be the perfect way to gain back your power, the very act of sex with an anonymous male to symbolize all the males in your life who have ever betrayed you.”
“Anonymous? I can’t even know his name?”
“Don’t be dense! Anonymous as in someone that you don’t really have a relationship with, that you don’t really care for.”
“Gwen, I can’t do that! It’s too…too cold hearted, too callous for me. I can’t imagine hurting a guy’s feelings that way.”
“You are truly lame sometimes, Angie. A man who gets a chance to have unencumbered sex will feel absolutely blessed, not wounded. Don’t you know anything?”
Well, no, apparently I don’t. But my buddy Marie really nailed it on the head...
“So, Angie, what I heard was this: You are frightened about moving out of your comfort zone. You have some anxiety about your age and attractiveness. You are worried about what other people, especially your children, might think. You have some housekeeping issues. And you need some tutoring on dating etiquette. Did I get it right?”
“So, Angie, those are all issues we can address. And we never know what we’re going to find when we open up to a new experience in life. Like that ‘box of chocolates’ saying.”
“Who said that? Gomer Pyle?”
“Forrest Gump. Have some more wine, Angie.”
You know what they say about free advice? It’s about as reliable as the rhythm method...
A few excerpts from:
It’s Never Too Be A Bridesmaid
So there I was being interviewed by Paris Hilton on Paris Hilton Live!.
This, of course, was not merely dream but a ghastly, nasty nightmare. Because if Paris Hilton is ever given her own talk show, that would certainly signal the end of civilization as we know it.
“So, um, Angie Hawkins, is it? So, is your life always this crazy?” Ms. Hilton raises a perfectly plucked eyebrow, runs bejeweled hand through hair. Audience laughs appreciatively.
“No! Not at all! Before I left town, everything was fine. My daughter Jenna was self confident and single. My son Tyler was rational and grounded. I had a few eligible men in my life. Well, actually, just one guy really, but I was keeping my options open.” Hilton tosses her hair and directs significant look to camera. Audience murmurs. “As for my best friends, Gwen was smart, Marie was nice and Jessica...okay, so Jessica was never quite normal, but at least she was her own Jessica-self before I left.”
“Uh huh. So, you’re saying that it was mere coincidence that everyone totally flipped out when you, Angie Hawkins, callously left town and abandoned them!” Hilton turns to audience with appalled look. Audience gasps.
“I didn’t abandon them! I was out of town for a few days, but I was still there for them if they needed me!”
“Ha! But, you were not there there, were you? You were somewhere else there.” Hilton leans forward aggressively and moves in for the kill.
“Uh, well, yes. I guess you could say that but…”
“And when you finally came home, you realized that everyone had gone stark raving mad!”
“Uh, perhaps ‘raving’, but I don’t know about ‘stark’…”
“Admit it, Angie Hawkins: you were the only sane person left.”
“Well, ‘sane’ is a relative term…”
“And so you took it upon yourself to poke your nose into everyone’s business, thinking you could fix it all.”
“Well, that was the plan but…”
“But you totally screwed things up, didn’t you?”
“Well, I wouldn’t say totally…”
“Ha! But what about the wedding?”
“What about it?”
“Single handedly, Angie Hawkins, you nearly destroyed the wedding plans, didn’t you?”
“And almost got yourself squished to death in the process, right?”
“Then you landed in jail, right?”
“Yes, but that was another…”
“Got attacked by a vat of boiled icing?”
“Well, it didn’t really…”
“Then you ended up on your butt singing in that hayloft!”
“Yes, but it’s not like it sounds…”
“And all this from a woman who wears…” Hilton pauses dramatically and points to my shoes, “Naturalizers!” Audience gasps in shock.
Look, you can either hear Paris Hilton’s version (a woman who can’t manage to find the OFF button on a video camera) or mine (a woman who has flossed three times per day since Sonny first sang with Cher). If you want to hear mine, we need to start at the beginning. Can’t you just hear Rod Serling introducing this?
“A town. An ordinary town, like Sacramento. Where friends are friends, men are available, children behave, and bridal showers are not lethal. But imagine: Angie Hawkins, middle-aged, post soccer mom, leaves this ordinary town for one brief, innocent business trip. And when she returns, she enters... The Twilight Zone.”
(If this is ever made into a movie, do not let Paris Hilton play my part.)
A few excerpts from:
It’s Never Too Late to Look Hot
“Oh, look! She’s getting ready to throw the bouquet!” Gwen pulled me to my feet. “Who knows, Angie?” Marie’s eyes twinkled as she pushed me from behind. “You might be next.” The heat was becoming extreme. I felt my face flush and the sweat pour down my front. “Is it just me or is it becoming uncomfortably hot in here?” “Later, Angie!” Jessica’s face lit up with excitement as she yanked me into the crush of panting single females. “Get ready for the catch!”
Jenna, my beautiful daughter, waved her bridal bouquet like a matador’s red cape, taunting the herd of half-crazed bulls (uh, make that cows). She turned her back to us as the crowd shouted the countdown: “One! Two! Three!”
Jenna lofted the bouquet high over her shoulder. Up, up, up it went and landed with a soft plop in Jessica’s hands. “Eeek!” Jess squeaked in panic, swatting wildly at the flowers like they were Venus flytraps out for her blood. The bouquet flew with adamant trajectory into Gwen’s open arms. “Ugh!” Frantically, Gwen launched the hapless spray of roses into the air. It flew gracefully over the ceiling fan, pausing dramatically before it re-entered the stratosphere and headed straight for me. “Yaaa!” I pitched it back to Gwen instantly, a well-trained first baseman setting up a double play in the last game of the World Series.
For the next thirty seconds, the three of us batted that bouquet back and forth desperately, a good imitation of the US Olympic Volleyball team in a life and death game of Hot Potato. Suddenly, a huge purple rhino charged into the fracas with a ferocious body block. The force was great enough to send all three of us spiraling into Marie, who (though innocent of any bouquet batting) is one of our very best friends and therefore certainly would be thrilled to join us in the resulting pileup.
“I got it! I got it!” the rhino, Clarisse, yelled triumphantly. She held her trophy, the sadly battered bridal bouquet, high above her head.
Jessica, Gwen, Marie and I lay panting, arms and legs entwined, a tangled purple heap of middle-aged bridesmaids. “What on earth was that all about?” Marie demanded, her head mashed under Jessica’s left hip. She did not sound at all thrilled to have joined us in the pileup.
“Angie! For God’s sake, say something so I know you’re alive!” Tim exclaimed anxiously. He, along with Jack, Whatsis Name and Wayne, nervously sorted through the jumble of their significant others’ legs and arms, searching for a familiar limb to pull out of the purple wreckage.
“Angie! I’m coming!” Bob bellowed, muscling his way into the fray. (“Muscling” is probably inaccurate given my ex’s anatomy, but I’ve never heard of anyone “flabbing” their way through a crowd.) He stumbled over Tim, ensnared himself in the folds of Clarisse’s purple caftan, then skidded half-way across the dance floor before crashing into our new son-in-law and the remains of the six tiered wedding cake.
“Mom,” Tyler laughed, pulling me to my shaky feet, “aren’t you and the aunties are getting a little old for tackle football? How about taking up Tai Chi instead?”
In retrospect (isn’t it a waste to have such brilliant hindsight and such pathetic foresight?), I know that those bizarre moments were a forewarning of the year to come. Had I known this then, I would have left the party immediately and crawled into a cave to hibernate until the following spring (or until my gray hairs overpowered my most recent application of Nice ‘n Easy, whichever came first).
But I didn’t. Instead, I joined Gwen, Marie and Jessica in polishing off another bottle of champagne. Big mistake. Really big mistake.