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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

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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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.

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« Don’t read this. | Main | Needles and the damage done. »
Monday
Feb062006

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)

My godparents took me to see Sandy Duncan play Peter Pan on Broadway when I was a kid. My godfather bought me chocolate cigarettes and bet me a dollar that Sandy Duncan could really fly.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTits McGee
I laughed so hard at the Spaulding Gray encounter. It sounded just like him; I can't believe it didn't make it into one of his shows.

You were like living an interaction from one of his shows.

Man. What a damn shame about him.
February 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKrisco
Ah Alice, the Gloria Steinem incident. Good times. I'm sure she's rescinded the restraining order by now, and at least you weren't wracked with a raging fever while trying to sing I've Got A Crush On You to his father. That was some party. And you were druuunk.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterIrene
Delurking alert!

Steve Buscemi? He's so bizarre looking. How could you miss that? Actually I'm pretty sure if I was ever faced with anyone of any sort of fame, I totally wouldn't notice. I'm kind of oblivious like that.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
I did the "didn't i go to high school with you" staredown with Jon Stewart once for like 20 minutes at the Corner Bistro. (This was pre-Daily Show). My cousin was like "woah - jon stewart is here" when he went to the bathroom and I said, "yeah, did he go to highschool with us?" From that moment on I assume whenever that thought comes into my head i must be staring at a person who is on TV.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLetterB
Wasn't Sandy Duncan a Wheat Thins gal? I remember the glass eye--it was the decade of the glass eye what with Peter Falk and all...
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
The men's bar job had to be the worst. When I was 18 I worked at a similar place, in that I had to serve drinks to obnoxious men. I would commonly get very rude and insulting comments, my favorite being "Be careful you don't get your tits in my beer."Oh, yeah. That was a highlight of my young working career!I love, love, love your site. You keep me laughing insanely.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterApril
Spalding!!! You said Spalding!!!! I *miss* him! I got to be in one of his Interview With the Audience shows and it was wonderful {even though he was already in a lot of trouble emotionally} and I love it when other people actually know who he was.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Congrats! You have been nominated for a blog award at One Woman's World. Come on over and nominate some of your favorite women bloggers!
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Hey, I went to Wellesley too. Which means, nothing really, but hi anyway.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbad penguin
I worked front desk at a classy hotel in Birmingham, Michigan. I was cashing out my drawer one afternoon, when the bubbleheads that worked the afternoon shift popped her head into the back and said do you know anything about this woman.

I came back out into the front and there standing was Gloria Steinem recognized her immediately... Looking at the Reservation sheet there was her name Gloria Steinem.

Bubblehead said "she says that the maagazine is supposed to take care of her room and they have no record of it." ( all huffy) Ms. Steinem said ( very politely)"I was told the magazine would take care of the room." I pulled the key from the sheet and handed it to Ms. Steinem.

I looked at bubblehead and said " If Ms Steinem says that the room is supposed to be taken care of I am sure it is. If not we can clear this up later. Let's let ms. Steinem go up to her room." She left and the bubblehead was glaring at me. I looked at her and screamed " don't you know who that is!!!!! She is one of the reasons you can have a job you bimbet!"
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSaple
I went to the same college as you. A coincidence I will use as an opportunity to break into our famous fight song: "Wellesley Wellesley, only to be there, Drives away each melancholy care. She charms my heart my muscle tones and give me information rare. Alma mater fair since thou art mine, My heart is thine." And to think when I was there I never did any of those sentimental things like step singing, or hoop rolling. Sigh.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commentervictoria
So (correct me if I'm wrong) I think what you're saying is that you drove Spalding Grey to suicide?
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdoggerelblogger
You didn't say whether or not Spalding Gray actually took his goodie bag with him when he went home. Assuming he didn't, did you keep it? :-)
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
King Friday? And his wife who wears her blush thicker than Tammy Faye?

Now I think I'll have nightmares... {shudder}. Will that show never die?
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJustLinda
Beth: he did take it! Lord knows what he wanted with silly webzine stickers, but there you go.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Hmmmmm, sounds dodgy to me. Wish I had visited YOUR bank when you worked there. Might have gotten an extra dollar or two. Love your responses though.
February 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNattyChick
Well, as long as we're comparing celebrity stories... I worked for a dentist in Andover, MA back when Spenser: For Hire aired on TV. They did the shootings in and around Boston and Robert Urich and his family lived in Andover. His wife and 2 kids were patients at the office and supposedly, he was too, although he never visited when I worked there. We have our emergency slot right after lunch at 2 PM when the office reopens and one day it was particularly busy. In walks this guy, pokes his head in the window and says to me, "Um, do you think the doctor can see me? I don't have an appointment, but my crown came off." I glared at him, my obvious frustration that he had simply walked in, and on a bad day to boot. "Do you have the crown with you?" I asked. "Well, I superglued it back on," he tells me. Good grief. I sighed. "What's your name?" I asked him as I prepare to pull his file. "Urich," he replied. "Robert Urich." Man, did I feel like an ass! (Of course, all the other patients had to wait so we could wisk the famous actor in and unglue his crown and recement it with the right stuff. My one and only encounter with a famous person, unless you count his wife and kids, who came in for their regular visits. RIP Robert.
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKerri
Man, the only "celebrity" that I have ever run into was Wolf Blitzer, *twice*, long ago when I was a peppy young Washington intern and he was somewhat relevant. I physically bumped into him on the street near the White House and then again about a month later near CNN. That man does not watch where he is going and should have his cell phone confiscated for his own protection. There's just no one cool to collide with in DC.
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
I love your celebrity encounters...well, especially since I have, um, none. :)
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterangela mueller
Well my last comment is not really true. I've met Kevin Hagen. He played Doc on Little House on the Prairie. I know...you are all jealous.
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterangela marie
seen it. wellesley hee hee.
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterla_depressionada
What is that supposed to mean?
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Dude, I loved Sandy Duncan too, and I can say with absolute certainty that it was the Wheat Thins commercials. I, too, wanted to wander through fields of wheat in cute jeans and talk about nature and eat the end of a cracker. For money.

And I *wish* you could have seen when I realized/remembered it was Wheat Thins. There was screeching, "OH MY GOD! WHEAT THINS! WHHHEEEEAAAT THIIIIINSSS! SANDY DUNCAN!"

Thanks for the memory.
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJonniker
What? You didn't list Amelie among your four movies? EVERYONE LISTS AMELIE. That is the entire POINT of the meme. I guess that just went right over your head.
February 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

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