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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Don’t read this. | Main | Needles and the damage done. »

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.

Reader Comments (80)

Gah! Steve Buscemi - I love him, in a sexy way. I'm weird like that. Oh, Jerkflix doesn't have New Leaf, jerks. I'll actually have to go outside to get it.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonkey loves Kitten
Knowing you went to Wellesley makes me want to say "sorry" instead of just flat out hanging up on the class of 2009ers (DEAR GOD THERE'S A 2009?) who call begging for dough!

February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commentershirky
Melissa I already tagged you, you loser. Make up your own categories. :-)

Sassy! Alice, you are totally sassy. And your categories are way better. I think the entire internets should re-do this meme.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterjenB
At least you were a bank teller who told people that. I was a cashier at a grocery store who had to LOUDLY remind the customers that I was just there for the summer before I went off to my prestigious college.

Except ... er. I didn't. I met a boy and went to a *ack* Division II school and worked at that grocery store for 4 years. Ahh, the arrogance of youth.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLoocy
I had forgotten all about Sandy Duncan and the Triscuits until just now. See? You think something is gone from your head forever, and just like that, it's back again. Thank you, Veronica.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTB
That's it, I'm moving to New York!

I would have kissed Spalding right then and there, I don't care if he was holding that bag or not.

Same with Buscemi. And Lou Reed.

James Earl Jones DID check out my ass once....
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMona Buonanotte
Sandy Duncan. Man, you can learn a lot about people from their childhood idols...
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwordnerd
I am so sad that I do not know who any of those celebrities are, and now I must research them.

February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjes
“Already I feel autumn flavor completely." You're right--it's perfect the way it is. (And I concur: thumbs up to your new and improved categories.)

Tracy, I too worked at a Pizza Hut; I was 16 and it was my first job. As it was in a dry county, it didn't even provide the benefit of beer. What it offered was endless rednecks who'd leave me two quarters for a tip and think they'd done the cute little girl a favor. One night I made $32 and thought I was rich.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMidwestern Deadbeat
I once wrote a fan letter to Spalding Gray. He never wrote back. I was actually kind of crushed.

Time for the meme to die! Die! Die!
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Kennedy
I so hope you actually DID declare your love to Gloria Steinem. I really do.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
Um. My tailbone broke when I pushed out my first child. You're right- it's an injury you do not want, especially when your cooter is stitched up, you're learning to breastfeed, and you're completely exhausted.

So who was the attractive guy with Lou Reed?
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKellyH
Ah yes, Alice. But didn't you see Dan Rather while in Labor? That was the best.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa
Totally peed my pants over King Friday. I had Mr. Roger nightmares too. Never even tried to show him too my kids. Brrr....
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterclickmom
You didn't say that to Gloria Steinem, silly. You said that to me the time you ran into me and A at the park.

Oh, wait. Maybe I said that to her after you left. Why was I drunk at the park again? Damn.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlis
Has everyone been smacked by the clever stick? Everyone is so funny today.

I once nearly ran over Robert Redford's foot with my machintosh computer (it was one of the originals and on a luggage dolly) because he was kind enough to hold a door open for me on the Paramount lot (I was working on a convention for Paramount Television). Didn't realize it was him, until I was out the door and trying to say, "Oh, I'm sorry..." Me, slack jawed as the door swung shut. He had on nice cowboy boots too.

February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKel
Great blog! I would like to point out that while I haven't actually seen it, I have heard of "A New Leaf" and knew that it was a Matthau movie.

My husband saw Harvey Keitel in an airport. Harvey asked him if he was done with his luggage cart and so my husband gave it to him. Harvey still owes him the $1 rental fee...
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie
A New Leaf! Elaine May and Walter Matthau. Can't believe anyone else on the planet (younger than me) knows about this movie. Yes, it's wonderful. Haven't seen it in forever, though.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwordgirl
I've seen A New Leaf. But let's not tell anybody about it or they'll just remake it-- badly.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNeil
Ah, A New Leaf. It used to be on TV when I was a kid... I must've watched it half a dozen times. I made a TiVo wishlist for it last month, and there's absolutely no sign of it coming. Sigh.

(And yes, there is almost certainly a piss-poor remake in the works as we write. How could there *not* be?)

Love & Death also gets very high marks. My college roomate and I took profile/WHEAT photos together, in homage...
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjenny
Aww, your experience in a lost department of Saks reminds me of "Shopgirl"--also, I believe that all salespeople do that thing where they go in the storage room, stand there for a minute, and then come out and shrug their shoulders apologetically.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAngela
"assy" and "tutee"-here I go again laughing outloud all alone!
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkb
I always thought 'Sandy Duncan's Glass Eye' would make a great name for a punk band.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGraceD
You seem to have forgotten the last sentence to your Celebrity-Spalding Gray notice..."And now he's dead."
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterother sweetney
My fifth-grade English teacher looked just like Sandy Duncan, and I've been wondering lately (too idly to google) which of them had the glass eye. You're really doing a public service here!

February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNora

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