So, now that we’re ten weeks or so into the new year, I finally sat my ass down last night and cleaned out the files in my desk drawer. I file things like receipts and utility bills and credit card statements in my lower left-hand desk drawer, and the idea is that at the end of the year, I’ll stick the stuff we need to keep (like credit card statements and utility bills) into a folder labelled with the year, and toss what doesn’t need to be saved (receipts from the grocery store. I believe I had a notion to save all grocery store receipts and then figure out where we could save money. I never actually got around to doing that, but I saved about two months’ worth of receipts).

After I cleaned that out, I looked through the big filing cabinet and went through it. And I found many things that made me laugh, which I now present to you.

Who does she remind you of?

Hee! Fred used to have one of those Far Side calendars with a separate sheet for each day. This one cracked us both up.

In a huge, stuffed folder, I found pictures that the spud had drawn for me, and stuff she’d brought home from school. Here’s a picture she drew shortly after we moved to Alabama.

She made a book for me, entitled A Book of Important Things and People. Inside the book:

This little girl just went swimming in a pond
"This little girl just went swimming in a pond."
I love the very coy way the girl is holding her finger up to cover her lips. Is she telling us to be quiet? Is she thinking of the goings-on that, uh, went on while she was swimming in the pond?

"This catapiller is looking for food for her youngs."
Food for her youngs! Hee! I laughed ’til I snorted when I saw that. Cute as hell, isn’t it?

I also found some of my love letters (emails) to Fred, back in our courtin’ days.

Remember when you told me last night that you’ve watched me sleep? Ages ago, when Untamed Heart came out, and Christian Slater was watching Marisa Tomei sleep, I said to Debbie, "How come I can’t find a man who’s so in love with me he’d sit and watch me sleep?" Freaky, huh? I love you, Christian. 🙂
PS: Debbie said "’Cause the drool puddle drives them away."
PPS: Well, she didn’t really say that, but I would have. 🙂

In a folder I labelled "To write", which was full of goofy story ideas, I found a small piece of paper with notes I’d scribbled while I was working at LL Bean’s. I’m not sure what I was planning to do with those notes, but I sounded very academic in them.

"I’m sorry" —> "That’s okay" – Humans conditioned to niceness? Are they hanging up and swearing at their spouses ’cause the item is backordered?

"Um…I don’t have the item #" — humans conditioned to helplessness? Am I supposed to be their mother?

Dither, dither – I haven’t a clue what I want, so please tell me.

"In a hurry" — People who are so rushed, you’re lucky to pry their billing information from them, let alone the fucking LL# (The LL# is the number on the back of your catalog near your name and address that the marketing people use to figure out how they got your name and address)

I don’t know which goes numb faster – my brain or my ass.

The beginning of a story I started writing and never finished:

I’m pissed. Way pissed. Majorly pissed. Not just, y’know, a little mad or a touch upset. I am wicked fuckin’ pissed off. In fact, I woke up that way, and now here I lay, grinding my teeth and glaring at the wall.

In his bowl on the table next to my bed my Betta fish who has no name is swishing back and forth. Every time he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror next to his bowl, he puffs up, ready to kill. Swish, puff, swish, deflate. He eyeballs me for a second then resumes swishing and puffing.

My cousin Janie, who at the age of twenty-seven is still living with us, is blasting her Brady Bunch cd.

If there is a hell, it no doubt involves the Brady kids singing "American Pie."

The fish gives me a look, like Do something!, and I decide I’ve had it. She started playing the damn thing at seven, which means I’ve had a whopping two hours of sleep. I’m not a happy camper.

I toss back the covers and stomp into the living room. Janie’s sitting on the couch, singing loudly and reading a ten-thousand page Psychology textbook. Nerd.

"Nice shirt," she goes in her usual laid-back drawl. I’m wearing an old Ugly Kid Joe t-shirt, and she loathes the band. I loathe the Brady Bunch. Musically, that is; until the age of nine, it was my goal to become Mrs. Peter Brady.

Without a word, I pop the cd out of the player, frisbee it at her, and stumble back to bed.

Remember back in November when I wrote about Brady James and her cousins Jimmy and Janie? Yeah, well, apparently I forgot about Jenny, who’s 19 and sells term papers to the local high school kids. The higher the grade you want, the more she charges for the paper.

This, of course, was written back before the internet was big and you could steal a well-written paper from lots of places online with barely any effort at all.

The funny thing is that both Janie and Jenny are very much me – I had a Betta on my bedside table. I had the Brady Bunch cd (and yes, they did sing American Pie, and it was BAD, and I don’t mean bad in a good way). I have the Ugly Kid Joe t-shirt, with the guy on the front with tape over his mouth and his middle finger bandaged, and "Censorship sucks" (or something similar) on the back. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what the hell Ugly Kid Joe ever sang, though. I’m sure they had one semi-hit that caught my attention before they faded back into obscurity. (I just looked it up – they remade Cats in the Cradle) The psych textbook? Mine.

I guess I was writing what I knew.

I found my small file of rejection letters, one of which was from Nicky Weinstock, who worked for Peter Gethers at Villard Books. I found my synopsis for the "novel" I wrote ten years ago, which does NOT stand up well over time, believe you me. The synopsis? Ten pages long. God in heaven.

I found a buttload of pictures of the spud from grades kindergarten through fourth (so THAT’s where those pictures went!)

I stayed up, in fact, until 1 am reading things I’d forgotten I ever wrote, or ever had. I had a pretty good time. Next, I suppose I’ll have to clean out my desk drawers.

Wonder what I’ll find hidden in there?