Scenes from My Drunkalogue: Kiwi Bull Terrier

Late September, 2008

I woke up around 7 AM.  When I opened my eyes, I found myself looking directly into the egg-shaped face of a strange bull terrier.  He was laying about ten inches away from me and I felt his hot breath on my face.  His pink tongue was sticking out of his mouth.

“Howdy!  Welcome to your nightmare!”

  I started–“Whaaaa..?!”–and drew back.

   I was laying almost halfway off the bed.  My knees hung off the side.  And I was laying on top of the sheets, without any covers.  


    I was unclothed.  

    I was in a strange apartment.  I didn’t recognize it at all.  

    I looked around, blinking owlishly in the light of the dawn.  Except for the Spuds MacKenzie dog, I was all alone.


     I rolled out of bed and got on my feet.  An ice-pick pain of a headache was stabbing just behind one of my eyes.  I registered the hangover, and then immediately classified it as “the least of my problems right now.”  

      I turned my head and looked out the window into a strange patch of NYC skyline.  I didn’t recognize it at all.  

      I looked down at the bull terrier.  He just lay there on the bed, staring up at me.  At least one of us was mellow.  

      My looked down at myself, looked over my shoulder to see the backs of my legs, ran my hands over my torso and the cage of my ribs.  I was thin.  Not quite as thin as I was eventually going to get, but thin.  

      I looked for damage, ran an internal diagnostic assessment of the body I inhabit.  

     I didn’t see any signs of damage.  Besides the pain of the hangover, my insides felt okay, too.  I cautiously lowered my emergency stress level from a 10 down to a 9.  

      I peered around the room again, searching.

     There was my dress, a puddle of black sequins laying on the floor by the bedroom door.  

     My dress from the night before.

     Then I remembered: I’d gone to a party.  Met someone.  A youngish guy, around my age, wearing a hipster fedora.  Dark-haired.  He was from New Zealand.  He did some financial sector Wall Street bullshit.  

     I remembered leaving the bar with him in a taxi cab.  We were both trashed.  Or at least I was.  I think he was too, but I can’t recall for sure.  My impression is that he was.  My memory from around the time I met him gets foggy. From the time we left the bar, I remembered only snapshot images.  Only a few.  Not contextualized.  

    Something wrong with the elevator.  Walking loudly up the stairwell of his apartment.  Him messing around with his stereo system.  Him snorting cocaine and offering some to me, and I say (ironically enough): Sorry, I can’t.  I can’t get in trouble at school. Go ahead, though.

     I knew that I’d had sex with this person, but I remembered almost nothing about it.  

     I picked my dress up off the floor and shimmied into it.  Then I ran to the doorway and poked my head out.  There was a bathroom, with the door open, right across the hall.  

     I ran inside and shut the door.  Locked it.  The tile floor was cold underneath my feet.  I raised my dress and looked at my body in the mirror, front and back.  No signs of damage.  

     I’d slept in my contact lenses, and they felt dry and grainy in my eyes.  

      Then I heard the sound of the man’s voice, coming from another room.  Sounded like he was talking into a phone.

     Who is this person?  

      I opened his medicine cabinet, frantically rummaging for a prescription meds bottle that would have his name written on it. No luck.  There were a few magazines on top of his toilet.  I picked them up and searched the backs for subscription labels.  Nothing.  

     Then I bent to the little waste basket.  It was mostly empty, but I clawed through the tissues and cardboard soap-wrapper packaging, searching.

    I went to the toilet and lifted the lid, searching the water.

      Searching for evidence we’d used a condom.  

     From the time I’d become sexually active, I was always religious about my use of condoms and contraceptives.  I have been extremely responsible about my sexual and reproductive health.  Except for the times when I was in a monogamous relationship with a man (and we’d both been tested for STIs), I was consistent–militant, actually–in my use of  both latex barriers and birth control.    That is not an exaggeration.  I never had unprotected sex.

      Except, possibly, for the times I don’t remember.

      There were not many instances of don’t remember, blackout sex, thank God.  

       But there was more than one.  

     This time–waking up with Mr. Spuds MacKenzie dog panting in my face–was one of those times.  

“Did you contract HIV last night…?   WHO KNOWS!”  

     I got down on my hands and knees on the cold tile floor and peered around the toilet and sink basin, hoping for an empty condom wrapper.  Or anything, actually.  Any clue.  

     (For the record: this guy’s bathroom, and apartment, was very clean and tidy.  Even stylish.  He had a really nice spider plant hanging in the bathroom.  Spider plants are awesome.  So in the highly improbably event that you read this and recognize yourself, Mr. Kiwi Bull Terrier, I want to reiterate that I appreciate the calmness of your dog and the squeaky-clean bathroom.)


     I pulled myself up off the floor and washed my face and hands. Then I ran across the hallway again, back into the bedroom.  The dog was still there, panting happily.  I looked around for my underpants and my stockings.  And my shoes.  And my coat.  And my purse.  And a condom, or a condom wrapper.  I got on my hands and knees again and peeked underneath the bed, searching.  

    I found my underwear and my hosiery.  The hosiery had a run, so I rolled it into a ball in my hand.  Full of fear–but knowing that I had to do it–I padded out of the bedroom and into the living room, where I heard the man’s voice coming from.  

     He was up and partially dressed to go to work, wearing his suit pants and an unbuttoned shirt.  His cufflinks were in, though.  He was pacing to and fro, frantically, in his living room, screaming into his Blackberry:


     The bull terrier rubbed against my leg, snorted, and ran past me.  

     My eyes looked around the living room and I saw my fake-fur glamour coat and my purse draped over a chair at the bar.  

     I darted over and retrieved them.  I immediately covered myself in the coat.  My sparkly cocktail dress was decent, but not very modest.  Nudity doesn’t bother me at all, but I was self-conscious in front of this person.  

     The man saw me and lowered his Blackberry.  Frantic voices screamed out of it.  

   “Hi, how are you?  Do you need anything?  Want Coffee?” he asked. 

    “Uhh, no thanks.  Just don’t want to forget my bag!”

     Hey, I had a good time last night.  It was nice to meet you. Your dog is really cool.  We exchanged numbers.  I gave him a fake one.

     He did not speak my name, and I did not use his, until we were entering the data on our phones.

      I hustled out of there and down the (newly functional) elevator as quickly as possible.  When I emerged from the small building/apartment complex, I stood on the street and looked around at my surroundings.  I had absolutely no idea where I was.  

    I blinked in the bright autumn sunlight and tripped up and down the block, looking for street signs--any street signs!  

     When I found them, I couldn’t recognize them. Where was I? Manhattan?  Brooklyn?  Queens?  I could have been on planet Mars.

      Then, in the skyline, I saw a little slice of the Brooklyn Bridge.  That grounded me; gave me some perspective.  
     I approached a few Latino gentlemen who were hustling boxes of produce downstairs into the cellar of a deli.  In my high heels, I was taller than all of them.  I saw them giving me the up-and-down. I asked them where the nearest subway station was.  When they told me, I walked towards it. 

    When I got there, I opened my purse and looked for my MetroCard–the plastic/paper card used to pay the fee in order to ride the train.  

     Gone!  Where…?  No idea!  Maybe Kiwi Bull Terrier used it to chop his coke.  

       I opened my wallet to take out money to purchase a ticket.

      Wallet is devoid of cash.   NO MONEY FOR YOU!!!

      But I took $80 out of the ATM last night.  Where’d it go…?  No idea!

      I had plenty of change in my coin purse, so I used that buy the first ticket I needed to get back to my apartment. 

      I felt self-conscious while I was riding the train, and kept my eyes mostly on the floor.  I was clearly still dressed from the night before.  I was doing the proverbial “walk of shame” back home. 

      Except that I wasn’t 20 years old anymore, walking fast back to my room at the girls’ dorm.  I was a little older than that.  This behavior, this situation, was no longer “cute.”  I couldn’t chalk it up to some youthful learning experience.  

    My phone beeped.  A text message from my roommate, because I hadn’t come home last night: ARE YOU OKAY? 


     Except that I was not “okay.”  Nowhere near to being “okay.”  And things were going to get worse before they got better.  

    Then: going to the drug store to buy Plan-B, the emergency contraceptive. Just in case. $45 out-of-pocket I don’t really have, since I’d just shelled out $300 for Fall semester textbooks.  

     Then: making an appointment and going to my local Planned Parenthood at 3 weeks, and then again a little later, to get tested for everything.  All of this–while very reasonably priced–was paid out-of-pocket, too.  

    No pregnancy.  No disease.  All tests negative. Thank you, Jesus. 

    To be clear: I have no shame whatsoever about having sex with a  man, and I don’t think that there is anything necessarily wrong with “casual” sex.  I think sex is a natural biological function.  Not strictly necessary, but optimal for human functioning.  Since I quit drinking, I haven’t exactly been a nun.  

    But one should be cognizant of their behavior–especially sex!  It is a responsibility, and it holds one accountable to one’s actions.  Everyone.  

      I paid for that night with Kiwi Bull Terrier–in anxiety, humiliation, and money.  

       It could have been worse.  But what sort of shit platitude is that?  

Apparently, Miss Margo has “Man Hands”…

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Update 3/29  7:15 AM:  Interestingly, this blog post has proved to be very popular among my 8 readers.  Why?  Is it the topical subjects, my sense of humor, or the inclusion of the hater hatemail comment?  Inquiring minds want to know!  

    Also–Seinfeld gets props for making me want to move to New York City.  The show really captures the weirdness of this place.  I’d catch the re-runs sometimes as a teenager and think, “That’s the city for me!”

     And here I am.  I escaped!

     Here, gentle reader, I will tell you something that is very Seinfeld-esque NYC about my apartment: it’s a hundred years old, and Jacob Riis was probably here to take photos of the fourteen Italian kids who once slept on the floor and worked all day to make silk flowers.

     The wooden floors of this place are not even.  It took me a little while to catch onto this fact after I moved in.  I knew something was off, but I couldn’t identify it.  I figured it out when I noticed that the water level in my big aquarium was uneven (I had to jack up the stand on metal coasters to prevent a water leak from uneven distribution of pressure).  If I sit in my computer desk chair very still, and raise my feet off the floor, my chair starts to roll.

     Ah–this will be another topic for my Things I Don’t Understand about New Yorkers series: bizarreo apartments.  For some reason, a lot of them are constructed strangely.  My kitchen has nonfunctioning drawers.  I have seen apartments without closets.  I have seen apartments with a bathtub in the kitchen.  Apartments where the front door opened up into the bedroom.

     My own apartment actually has a huge amount of space for what I pay for it–like, it has a functional living room in which I can entertain guests, and the bathroom is practically spa-like for Manhattan poor-person standards.  But it has trade-offs: my living room has NO WINDOWS.  ZERO WINDOWS.

      Good thing I’m not claustrophobic!

      I put my birds in my bedroom sometimes so that they can see sunshine and sky.  That denied inheritance of theirs.  They must ache for it.  They are emotional creatures (but not like mammals).  My shy little Parrot wants me to watch her all the time.  When I leave, she calls for me.

                                   *                                      *                                  *

  Remember that episode of Seinfeld in which Seinfeld was dating an otherwise attractive woman who had masculine hands…?  Seinfeld was in reruns by the time I grew old enough to appreciate it, but when I caught that episode, I thought it was hilarious.

    Okay, I found the link to the video on YouTube (God bless you, YouTube!), but “embedding has been disabled” for some absurd reason–doubtless something to do with money and bourgeois property rights…please click here to watch the scene on their site….

    Here is another scene from the same episode.  While not as good, it summarizes Seinfeld’s “girlfriend manhands” dilemma:

      Okay, so–perhaps you are wondering: What the hell does any of this have to do with anything, Margo? 

     Well, I’ll tell you what!

     Last night I get an email from some dude who wants to purchase my worn-out ballet flats.   What a fascinating life I lead!   

     Because shoe fetish does not fall into the “torture and profound mental distress” categories, I think: Okay, whatever, Mr. Shoe Wackadoodle!

     Seriously, though–he wants my old shoes, he can have em!  Hopefully, this will be a lucrative and rewarding activity for both of us!

     I write back, outlining the deal and asking whether he’d prefer my black flats or my red flats.

      Black flats!  He immediately responds.  His email is ecstatic.  May I have a pic?

     Okay.  A reasonable request, and it behooves me to take ten minutes out of my day to take a few photos, wash them, and send em his way.  I’m estimating that the odds that he is a time-waster are 50/50.

      Here is one of the SIX personal, candid snaps I took of my feet in the black ballet flats (FYI, I remember buying these shoes at a store called “Shoeforia” in Hoboken, New Jersey.  That was a pretty awesome store–I got a nice pair of caramel suede Italian flats there on clearance, and an awesome pair of Camper boots that I ended up losing in a hotel room on the Upper East Side.  Oh, hotel rooms I have known!).  This is the photo which caused all the trouble:

    Yeah yeah, I know my heel could use a little attention from the Ped-Egg and some vasaline.  I’ll get to it today, I assure you.  But whatever–still a nice thing to send photos, right?  Dude said he liked high arches!  I have high arches!  High arches for days! 

      The man writes back and says that he is alarmed because I have “masculine hands.”

      I have to tell you, I was stunned.  Nobody has ever said that to me before.  I get compliments on my hands, actually.  If I put in the work to wear fingernail polish, they’d really be pretty (alas, I usually can’t be bothered–for some reason, wearing fingernail polish makes me feel silly and infantile.  It’s special-occasion only.  And don’t even get me started on the phenomenon of fake nails!).

     I wrote back: “Wow!  For real?  But I actually have weak, small hands!  They don’t even wrap around a can of diet coke!  Want a pic of me holding a coke can?  I assure you, I was born xx-chromosome female.”

     For whatever reason, I was actually defensive about defending my femininity and my weak little female hands from this random stranger off the internet.  Why?  Why?  It’s only just occurred to me now, as I type this, that he could have been setting me up.

     That’s it!  Today I am going to the nail salon and I am going to get long, fake, airbrushed Fritoe talons that rattle the keyboard when I type and I am going to wear cubic zirconia cocktail rings and nobody will ever think that I have man hands again!  My nails will look like this:

   Man hands no more…!

The Exiled: “This Graph Drips Greed, Mass Murder, and Shame…”

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(Miss Margo note: this graph, and the article, are taken from The Exiled website.  It is the work of journalist Mark Ames.  Please read it in its entirety by clicking this link.  I hope I don’t piss anyone there off by reproducing this on my little blog–if I do, I’ll take this down in a heartbeat.

For my money, there’s nothing else like The Exiled on the internet.    You’ve gotta read this stuff.  These people are unapologetic 24-karat Pure-D haters, and everything and everyone they hate deserves to be hated.

The articles are also funny, in a black sort of way.  And I don’t know about you, gentle reader, but I like my humor as dark as I can get it.

And that graph–“Figure 1”–holy shit!  I’ve been staring at it, owlishly, for hours, and I can still barely wrap my head around it.)

This article was first published in

A little over a year ago, while researching the Confederacy’s economy, I stumbled across this unnerving graph charting the value of America’s “stock of slaves” in the last decades before the Civil War.
This graph tells the real story behind the South’s secession: the value of the South’s “slave stock”—the property of the ruling class — soared as secession approached, reaching an almost 90-degree angle in those final years before Harper’s Ferry. The South’s ruling class seceded to protect their riches, period:

From afar, if you didn’t know that human “slave stock” was the asset being charted, you could easily mistake this graph, and its parabolic trajectory, for one of the many destructive asset bubbles this country has suffered right up through our own time.

Up close, this graph drips greed, mass murder and shame — it strips away the historical revisionism that falsely ascribed the South’s “cause” to an almost selfless, tragically romantic attachment to “tradition” and “culture”; it gives lie to the myth that slave owners kept their slaves to the detriment of their own bottom line.

Like the worst wars and the worst of history’s villains, the Confederacy’s one percenters seceded and fought in order to continue profiting from their most valuable investment properties — their human slave stock.

The graph comes from a grim working paper, “Capitalists Without Capital”, written in the late 1980s by a UC Berkeley economist, Richard Sutch, and a UC Riverside historian, Robert Ransom.
As they showed, slavery produced huge profits for southerners who invested in slave capital — to the detriment of all other portfolio investments, as the value of slaves soared in the mid-19th century. By that time, by far the largest cotton-growing states’ wealth was in slave stock, not in real estate or other investments.

The slave trade was outlawed in 1808; but the slave population quadrupled from 1 million in 1800 to 4 million in 1860 — encouraged by slaveowners who “bred” their human stock, thereby multiplying their profits as the value of each slave rose.

Slavery is often portrayed by revisionist historians as somehow antithetical to market capitalism; in reality, slavery was a winning portfolio investment, the very incarnation of just how evil “free-market” capitalism can be.

The Lead Gift in the Twilight

(Miss Margo Note:  I loved this poem from the first time I read it in my childhood, and I love it today.  I think that what makes poetry unique is its ability to provoke strong emotional reaction.  If I read a poem and it makes me want to throw up, or raises the hair on my arms, or makes me cry, or makes me furious, then it is, in my estimation, an effective piece of poetry.  In this way, poems are like music. ) 

Hurt Hawks


The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,

No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons.

He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.

He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head,

The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.

You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.


I’d sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;
but the great redtail
Had nothing left but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.

We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
Implacable arrogance.

I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising
Before it was quite unsheathed from reality. 

Robinson Jeffers

Hawt Pumps from a Lipizzaner Stallion

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    Check out these awesome shoes an awesome Austrian gave to me!

    He came in to the Superstudio and wanted us both to pretend that he was a horse.  While we were chatting in the consultation room, he told me that he was from Austria.  In my mind, I immediately pegged him “The Limpizzaner Stallion,” but I bit my tongue and managed to refrain from making jokes.  

   He was pretty good-looking, too.  Youngish, strong, bushy sandy brown hair.  I really don’t care if they’re handsome or not–they get the same quality of performance from me either way–but it’s a fun little bonus for me when they are.  

    Three cheers for you, Herr Lipizzanner Stallion!  Thanks for these lovely leather pumps.  Usually I don’t care for platforms, but these are plenty pretty.  My first new shoes in a year!  Danke!  

I (heart) toe cleavage!

The Dread Diagnosis (or, The Tale of the Meddling Psychiatrist): continued

 How is it that I went to the store to specifically to get milk, and while I was there I bought five other items forgot to pick up the milk?  What is up with that?

   Anyway, I went back to see the meddling psychiatrist, sheathed in a new layer of fat like the glaze on a Christmas ham.  I would have drank a liter of water beforehand, too, but I was worried that they’d hook me up to one of those electric body fat analysis machines and accuse me of water loading.  I know all the tricks, and I know that they know the tricks, too.  Have no fear, doc, I gained it the honest way.

    “You look a little better,” he said.

    Fuck you! I thought, but what I said was: “Thanks.  I got my period, too.”  This was, in fact, the case.  I wanted to hurl my bloody kotex at him.  Ha!  Take that!  Happy now?

     “How are those bruises?”

     “All gone!” I chirped, like a bright little bird.

Portrait of the Author as a Young Sparrow

    “How are other things in your life?”

    Compared to what?  Compared to the incredible amount of stress you’ve forced me to endure the last two weeks?  Compared to that, everything else in my life was gravy, and that includes my ex, The Surgeon, calling me up and leaving long messages on my voicemail about how he’s worried he might have cancer. (note to readers: The Surgeon does not have cancer.  He has hypochondria.  Just trust me on this one.  I’ve been through this before with him.).

    “Okay.  School is hard.”  I talked about about my scholastic woes, my mother’s upcoming visit, the life changes of my friends.

     He seemed mollified.  Wants to see me again at the end of the semester.  I was agreeable, but in my mind I thought: No way in hell.  I know what to do.  The place will be a zoo of students trying to get out of their final exams with a doctor’s note and getting their prescriptions for medication renewed before they go away for the summer.  I’ll call the office a week before my appointment and cancel, promising to call back later in the day to reschedule.  Then I’ll never call back.

     Unless the shrink remembers me with urgency and personally gets on my ass to come back and see him, I should be able to just…fall through the cracks.

     Intentionally, this time.  

    Well, this blog post doesn’t exactly portray me in the best light and the last one in this series was truly a shining example of intentional deceit  and irrational thinking.  Actually, let me revise that.  What I wrote on this blog is the truth.  I manipulated the psychiatrist to avoid the diagnosis, but I admitted to doing it here.  Does that make me honest?  I lied, but I think that circumstances forced me to.  If I’m justified, does that mean I am not dishonest?  I’m so confused.

    I mean, you’d have to be blind to miss the rationalization, justification, minimization, and flat-out dishonesty and denial that I was practicing in my last post on this.  You could substitute drinking for the eating disorder and it would be a textbook example of active alcoholic thinking: I’m fine.  I have this under control.  Why are you hassling me about it?  I know what I’m doing.  How dare you tell me to stop.  This is none of your business.  Why are you doing this to me.  I’ll fool you!  

    Of course, when I was drinking, nobody ever told me to quit.  I avoided that my terminating most of my relationships.  Ha, ha.

    Well, what can I take away from this?  I guess what I knew all along.

     You quit when you’re ready.  You quit when you’re ready, and not a minute before.

Assault with Hairbrush

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The Dread Hairbrush of Doom–surprisingly effective at a weapon!  Only $13.99 at your local pharmacy!

       I met a man today.  We sat in a plaza and had a casual conversation, getting to know one another.  Then we took a stroll to the nearby Duane Reade, where he purchased a bar of Ivory soap and a wooden hairbrush.

     I brought him back to my space.  There, my demeanor changed all at once, as if by alchemy.  I became stern, I spoke in a very precise fashion.  You know that “voice of GOD” you use on dogs?  I used it on him.  

    I beat the holy hell out of him with that hairbrush.  It proved to be a fearsome implement.  I was impressed (though of course I couldn’t tell him that–he asked, “Did I take it well, Miss Margo?”  I said, “Yes, pretty well.  You’ll do better next time.”).  I am a pretty very serious masochist, and I do not think that I could endure what he endured.  I beat that man to pulp.  My arm hurts at the elbow.

Hairbrush, where have you been all my life?!

      Then I washed his mouth out with soap.  He hadn’t cursed or used profanity in my presence, so I had to fabricate a pretext for the punishment.  I said that I knew he was bad.  Bad, bad, bad.  Incorrigible and in desperate need of consistently applied maternal discipline.  Don’t drop that soap out of your mouth while I’m hitting you.  Don’t you dare.  You keep that soap where I placed it.

     He left floating on air.  

     Some days, I love being a sadist.  I gave him my card–my secret job card–it says, “M. Margo: Oppressor for Hire.”  I love it.  

The Dread Diagnosis (or, The Tale of the Meddling Psychiatrist)

   I am alive and wealthier (what a wonderful way to be!).  Don’t get too excited–wealth is relative, after all.  A few days ago, I had zero money.  While I am not yet basking in the warm glow of solvency, I get the feeling that it’s just around the corner, and that feels great.   It also feels great not to be a headless corpse under a futon frame!

    So, moving on, let me tell you about this douche canoe of a psychiatrist who’s been breaking my balls for the last few weeks.

    Readers of this blog will know that since I dried out, I’ve struggled periodically with insomnia.  It sucks.  Well, I decided so consult a professional about it.  Maybe a doctor could hook me up with some Lunesta or something.

    So, I made an appointment and rolled in to the campus health clinic.  In retrospect, this was a really bad idea.  I have never received competent medical services there.  Not once.  They fuck up a pap test.  I’m serious.  I get my OB-GYN tests at this ghetto Planned Parenthood down the street, happily paying out of pocket, because the campus health clinic has done it wrong or lost the results repeatedly.  Every time I’ve had blood drawn there, the nurse collapses the vein.  It goes on and on.  It’s astonishing.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to catalog my dismal history with the health clinic…just trust me on this one: the level of service is very poor.  Why?  The clinic at my last university was fantastic.

   I’m in the office with the physician, talking about my sleep problems.  He looks at my chart, looks at me, looks back at my chart.  His brow furrows.  I get the feeling that he’s not listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth.

   He wants to weigh me.  The nurse already weighed me, but whatever.

   I hop on the scale in the scale.  Why did I hop on the scale?  Why didn’t I just walk?

   The number on the scale corresponds to the number on the scale outside, where I’d just been weighed.

   The physician sticks his head out of the door and calls for an assistant.  When she comes in, he asks if I would remove my shirt.  Like a fool, I do, lifting my t-shirt over my head and then folding it into a square and placing it by my side.

    More furrowed brow.  Two furrowed brows, this time.

    “How did you get those bruises?”

    Aw, doc, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.  I forget, I honestly forget, how bad my marks look to non-sadomasochists.  And I was hardly even banged up!  They were just a few leftovers from my last trip out of town (the Corvette).

     “The gym,” I say.  This is what I always say when queried about my bruises.  It’s mostly a lie, but I really do, in fact, get bruises at the gym.  I’m clumsy, I run into stuff, weights are heavy.

      “How often do you work out at the gym?”

      “Depends.  Four days a week.”  I lift weights in my living room, too.  “I don’t do it before bed, though, because it wakes me up.”  I naively assume we are still talking about my insomnia.

      “What do you do there?”

      Like a fool, the details of my precise routine trip off my tongue.  Get this, gentle reader: between that and  the news that I’d quit the booze, I expected a pat on the back. Ha!  Ha!  Joke’s on me!

      He puts the blood pressure cuff on my arm.  It wraps around and around and around.  More brow-furrowing.  While he’s up close and personal, I see him eyeing my bruises.  But I’m telling you, there were just a few!

     “Did you do that to yourself?” he asks.

     Well, in a manner of speaking… But what I say is, “Huh? No.”

    He pumps the little rubber squeeze-ball.  Looks at the reader.  “Your blood pressure is pretty low.”

   “Yup!”  And here I thought it was good news.

    “You’re underweight,” he says.

     Uh-oh. It finally starts to dawn on me that the good doctor isn’t thinking about my sleep problems.  He’s not thinking about my sleep problems at all.

     “Always been thin.  Runs in the family.  My mother still weighs what she did in high school.”

     “You saw a counselor at the clinic across the hall regarding an eating disorder.”  It isn’t a question.  I can’t deny it–he’s got the file.

     “That was a long time ago,” is all I can say.

      He goes to the drawer and takes out his book, his psychiatrist book.  You know the one, gentle reader. Then he takes out his charts.

      “A woman your height should weigh at least 137 lbs,” he says, holding his laminated charts in his hand.

     Well, I got news for you: that is not going to happen.

     I can’t say that, obviously.  Saying that to the psychiatrist would be insane.

     I shrug.

     He opens his book.  I’m starting to get pissed off.  I see where he’s going with this.  He takes out his calculator and punches some numbers.

     He looks up at me.  “I have to tell you: you meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa.”

     Oh, for fuck’s sake.  You’re late to the party, Doc.  You missed it.  I’m not sick anymore.  I don’t do all that crazy shit I used to do.  Those behaviors–I quit all of them.  All of them!  I eat now!  I eat all the time!  I eat every day!  HOW DARE YOU?

       I can’t say that, obviously.  Saying that to the psychiatrist would be insane.

       What I say instead is: “I’m physically healthy.  You know it.  There are women on the college track team with lower body fat than I have.  Look, I’m just thin.”

        “You need to gain weight.”

        Don’t roll your eyes and don’t get belligerent.  Play along.  “Sure, no problem.  Look, I lost a little weight when I quit drinking.  That was a lot of empty calories I used to consume!  I’m better now.”

       Asshole wanted to see me again in a few weeks.  “Sure” I said!  “No problem!”

      This motherfucker–I want to murder him.  How dare he fuck with my life?  I can’t get in his face and tell him what I really think.  Such as: what good, pray tell, could possibly come from diagnosing me with anorexia?  What are you going to do–treat it with a pill?  You cannot help me, all you can do is cause me harm.

      So, go see a doctor for insomnia and almost get slapped with the diagnosis of anorexia.  Great!  Thanks for nothing, asshole!

       It is critical that I avoid this diagnosis.  Critical.  I was never diagnosed with alcoholism and never went to rehab, so it’s off my record.  Dodged that bullet.

      Anorexia is even worse.  It’s a major mental illness.  That fucking diagnosis would follow me through life like a tin can tied to a dog’s tail. Insurance companies would get their hands on it.  I could be discriminated against and not even know it.  I don’t know much about the law, but I’m pretty sure that medical records can be subpoenaed.  This could be thrown in my face and used against me any number of ways–in a divorce, in a custody battle, God knows what else.  It would cause me to flunk background checks for certain jobs that require security clearance.  I mean, I never intended to work for the Secret Service, for instance, but a diagnosis of anorexia would ensure that I never would.  Fruitcakes can’t be trusted.

     I have to go see this asshole again this week, and I have to convince him that I’m fine.  Which I am!  It also pisses me off so much that he’s threatening me with this now, at this late date, after I’ve practically recovered from the goddamned thing!  I want to shout in his face–you should’ve seen me before!  The things I used to do to myself would make your hair turn white!

     But of course, I can’t tell him any of those things.  Saying that to the psychiatrist would be insane.

     I’ve gotta smooth this over.  Appease him.  At any cost.

     And that means…I’ve been eating since the last time I saw him, in preparation for our next weigh-in.  Eating a lot.  I sure as hell am not going to hit 137 lbs, but I’ve got to get above 85% of that in order to avoid the dread diagnosis.  And so I have.  Ha!  Take that, you meddling psychiatrist!

     I’ve added eight lbs. of lard to my ass.  There!  Happy now?  Happy?

     Actually, it’s not on my ass.  It’s on my face.  I hate looking like this.

     I can’t wait till I get this guy out of my hair.  It’ll take me two weeks of hard, cruel, painful starving to get back to how I was.  God, it’s such…hard…work.

     Why couldn’t he diagnose me with something FUN, like ADD?  At least then I could get adderall!

    Of course, I can’t say that to him.  Saying that to the psychiatrist would be insane.

    Saying all this stuff would be crazy.

    What’s really crazy, though, is thinking it.




(Independent) Oppressor for Hire

    I am going to try something new this weekend.

    I, Miss Margo, oppressor for hire, am going to (try to) go independent.  

     I’m anxious about leaving the protection of the Studio, where the only things to fear are the ferocious Russian manager, the jaundiced eye of the senior women on staff, and the (possible but highly unlikely) knock of the NYPD.  

      I have only worked outside of a House a handful of times–the first time, I guess, was when the Surgeon wanted to see me on the outside, in the very beginning of our relationship, before things between us became…personal.  

    Other people in this business have told me that the men are a lot more afraid of you than you are of them.  There might be some truth to that.  

    Could it really be any more dangerous than, say, internet dating? I ask myself.   I’ve certainly done my fair share of that!

     Craigslist Killer!  Craigslist Killer!  The panicking part of my mind shrieks.   

    Will I be raped?  Robbed?  Beaten?  Strangled?  My headless corpse left underneath the futon frame of the space I’m renting (cause I sure as hell ain’t letting anyone into my home)?  Ah, I can picture the scene in my mind as we speak…my lifeless body surrounded by the debris of my secret life, an unwashed dataset flickering on the screen of my open laptop computer…

     Enough, enough!  Don’t be crazy!  You’ll come home hauling your suitcase up the stairs with hundreds and hundreds of dollars in your wallet, and then you can write the rest of the weekend! At worst, everyone will cancel and it’ll be a wash.  

     We’ll soon find out.  Wish me luck!