Saturday, January 31, 2009

please speak clearly, into my right ear

PART ONE: clothes given to you, previously worn

megan grabbed my arm as we were passing backstage. "quick, go to the hair table and look at the word puzzle book," she said. "page four, number 37. look at the answer chris wrote."

she was talking in hushed, hurried tones, so i knew it had to be good.

i rushed to the hair table and there it was: super word puzzles part 3! in bright, bold, primary colors. i turned to page four. one sentence clues with spaces for each letter of the answer. number 37: clothes given to you, previously worn by another member of your family, a sister or brother. there were 11 spaces below that sentence for the reader to write an answer. chris had already been there. and had written in an answer.


hammie downs. was it two words, did he think? or one: hammiedowns.

PART TWO: i don't know any zabows

tim grabbed my arm as we passed each other in the hallway near the dressing rooms. "do you who is here tonight? at the show? alan zabow."

i searched my cranky, rusty memory bank. the virtual rolodex flipped. zahn, zappola, zurawski. nope. no alan zabow.

"i don't know alan zabow," i told tim. he looked at me like i'd admitted to war crimes.

"of course you do! you met him in nashville -- tall, dark hair, good-looking. greek, i think."

"greek. alan zabow?"


"i don't know any zabows."


i don't know anyone named zabow."

"what?! zab..."

"i don't know anyone..."

"NO," tim said, and then continued as if talking to a very old person or a foreigner – loudly, slowly and deliberately – "ELLEN'S BEAU."


ellen's beau.

ellen's new boyfriend. yes. i had met him. in nashville. greek. nice looking fellow, i thought.

alan zabow, i did not know.

PART THREE: for all intensive purposes

my friend and former high school prom date anne touched my arm in the middle of brunch. "you know, isn't it funny? i just learned this, maybe two years ago..." anne, a former fulbright scholar, was in town with her boyfriend and daughter. someone had said something brilliant (probably not me) ending with the phrase "for all intensive purposes," when anne had touched my arm.

"'s not 'for all intensive purposes'," she said, "it's all intents and purposes."

anne learned it "maybe two years ago," i had just learned it in that moment. intents and purposes. huh. makes much more sense. i never really thought about it, but for all intensive purposes? what the hell could that mean? only for purposes that are intensive? or...for all purposes that are intensive? what about purposes that are less intensive? what about purposes that are, in fact, quite laid back?

i don't know what it's called, but there's an unwritten rule that once you learn a new word or phrase, you'll see it or hear it at least two more times within the next 24 hours.

and now, i can't stop seeing it, hearing it, or reading it. it's everywhere.

for all intents and purposes. for all intents and purposes.
for all intents and purposes.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reminding me about "Hammiedowns", and Alan Zabow. Two of my favorite stories. And my stomach hurts from laughing so hard.... again.


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