The meme that started out promising, but then everything went wrong—just like life.

I have been tagged, as they say, to do this “meme” that everyone speaks of. But, well, you’ll see.

Four jobs I was really, really bad at:

Bank teller. I was the worst bank teller since the creation of bank tellers. I was fired from the first bank I worked in after one and a half days. Then, in a cruel twist of fate, another bank hired me, and every day I doled out the wrong amount of money to people and chatted everyone up about how I was only doing this for the summer because I went to Wellesley and I was going to be a writer. One day a truck hit the drive-through section of the bank and tore it off, injuring the bank teller who was sitting inside it. Later that day I heard one teller say to another, “Too bad it wasn’t college girl in there.” That’s how assy I was.

Cocktail waitress at the men’s bar in a country club. The men’s bar. As in no women. I wore a red bow tie, a satin shirt, a short black skirt, fishnet stockings, and a grimace.

Salesperson at Saks Fifth Avenue. I was in the gifts department, which no one ever visited. I stood there and dreamed of sitting. If someone came in and asked if there were any more, say, silver-plated candlesticks in stock, I went into the stockroom, waited a minute, then came out and announced that there were none. I did this not out of malice but rather a frightened ignorance of the workings of the stockroom.

English tutor for intensely charming Japanese businesspeople. One day in early September, one of my tutees told me, “Already I feel autumn flavor completely,” and how could I correct that?


Four movies I could watch over and over:

Love and Death

The Ten Commandments

All About Eve

A New Leaf (If you haven’t seen it, and I’m sure you haven’t, you must.)



Four childhood memories and/or dreams. Guess which is which!

1. I am getting a bath in the sink.

2. I am playing peek-a-boo with my sister and another girl. I’m in my crib, which is covered with a large pink blanket, and my sister and the girl are peeking in at intervals. I am beside myself with joy and terror.

3. King Friday pops up from the space between my bed and the wall and asks me where is his castle, what have I done with it.

4. My entire family goes on vacation and leaves me alone. With a monster. Who’s trying to kill me. Geez!


Some celebrities I worshiped when I was little, and names I wanted instead of Alice (also, you know, when I was not an adult)

1. Tony Randall. I think this was a father thing, as my dad is similarly (desperately scrambling to find a word other than “prissy”) refined.

2. Cassandra.

3. Sandy Duncan (but why? Was it the glass eye? The Triscuits commercials? I really can’t say)

4. Veronica.

Four injuries I have sustained:

1. Concussion. Take one giggly teenager at a beach party, then add a cute boy chasing her around the first floor of the beach house where said party was being held. Put glass door between her and the beach. And voila! Luckily my enormous skull bore the brunt of the impact. And also the door didn’t break.

2. Broken tailbone from falling and landing on my knees. Apparently I fell so hard that my tailbone was dislodged, or was rebroken after a alcohol-related ass-landing from years before ( this was extraordinarily painful and necessitated the humiliating purchase and then use of the “ass donut”; avoid this injury at all costs)

3. Broken front tooth (just as that permanent tooth came in! I have always had excellent timing). I tripped on a shoelace and fell on my face.

4. Sprained ankle while at Disney World with my high school chorus. The bad part was that I had to be wheeled around. The good part was that I went straight to the front of the line! Whoever wants to see the Teddy Bear Jamboree, better come with me! The other bad part was that the only person who wanted to see it—including me--was my chorus teacher, who somehow got control of my chair and took me to see it twice.


Four celebrities I have bothered:

1. I was working at a magazine launch party, because I worked for the magazine and didn't have a choice. For some inane reason I am giving out our goody bags at the beginning of the party, such that everyone has to carry around these little plastic bags with our stickers and etc. in them. So Spalding Gray walks in, with a man who looks exactly like him. He says, “Do I have to carry these around at the party?” I think, “OH MY GOD SPALDING GRAY SPOKE TO ME.” Then I say, “Why don’t I save yours for you.” He says, “But won’t it get lost? With all these other bags?” I say, “Well, maybe, but you know they’re all the same.” He says, “I just think you might run out.” I say, “Why don’t you write your name on the bag” (like I couldn’t write his name for him?) and he does; in very careful letters he writes SPALDING across the top. And then he eats all the hors d’oeuvres and goes home.

2. I am on the subway across from some guy I can’t stop staring at because he looks so familiar. Did I know him in college? Is he my neighbor? He is trying to read his magazine but is clearly intensely aware that I’m studying him. I am fascinated by how far down he is able to shrink into his jacket. He looks so horrified that I'm beginning to feel insulted and so I stare more aggressively. Something wrong with me looking at you, buddy? I'm not good enough for you? Then I realize it’s Steve Buscemi. Ah.

3. Walking down the street, staring at an insanely attractive man who is walking with another man, I run directly into the other man. It is Lou Reed.

4. In college, I meet Gloria Steinem at a friend’s birthday party. (My friend has a father who is somewhat fabulous.) All I can say is, “I love you. I mean I really love you and everything you stand for. If I had known you were going to be here I would have read Ms. or something first. Oh my god I’m so drunk. I love you.” Actually I have no idea what I said; I was too drunk.