How to Survive a Successful Suicide!

Completely overhauling and thoroughly cleaning a room is difficult enough: What stays, what's trashed? Is there room for this stupid thing I really wanna keep? Which boyfriend gave me this memento and did I like him enough to keep it? Size 2 jeans can go straight to the donation box! Etc., etc. But then come the pictures and letters and oh, to hell with this.

Five of the loveliest, most beautifully designed greeting cards sent from Daddy throughout the last year of his life2011 through spring of 2012and one Saint Jude prayer pamphlet blessed by his local bishop, imploring his God to heal his chronically ill daughter. While he was slowly dying a prolonged, agonizing, tortuous, memory, mind, and dignity-robbing death, he just continued sending these cards, as if I was the one in that god-forsaken nursing home 1500 miles away, alone and terrified.

"Just another note to let you know...I'm thinking of you. All my love, Lily Glirl. Get well soon! Daddy."

I could barely make out the handwriting in that card, as it was his last and his penmanship had deteriorated to scrawls and scratched-out first attempts. The cards had been boxed up, hidden away, forgotten. During the time period he sent them, I was such a mess they likely weren't appreciated when received. So, it's actually like... I don't know. Waxing poetical, it's like the skies rained down the most precious gifts I didn't know I needed, right when I needed them most.

There were cards from Mom, too, ancient (my first birthday!) all the way up to now. They're each perfect, as Mom is a greeting card master, always lasering in on the best ones. During my early days at Publix, she started quietly leaving bright, encouraging cards on the kitchen table, the foot of my bed, or by the coffee maker. That was a tremendously precarious period. Not only was I petrified and anxiety-ridden over returning to work after a five-year lapse, but as a cashier, all I did was stand for 6-8 hours a day: it crushed my knees, ankles, and back and the pain was unbearable; was unfathomable. Tack on that I was also fresh as a delusional daisy from the nutty greenhouse and we had all the ingredients for another breakdown. "Here we go," I thought. "Chalk up another failure."

A few days later, I came home to a darling card with four little ballerinas lined up at the barre, but the fifth one's hanging upside-down on the barre looking bored stiff and ready to cause trouble. The cover print: "There are two kinds of people in this world—YOU and everyone else." Mom filled out the inside with:

"Never forget all the ways you are different are what makes you so special. You are NOT ordinary—you are special because of those very 'differences'! Never settle for anyone who cannot appreciate that, my extraordinary daughter!
After the cards, I found Mom's handwritten notes. All are from 2012 onas in, post-suicide attempt and the period of rebuilding my life (very quickly), getting a new job, and adjusting to this new thing called living...and happiness? But Christ, please believe me, it weren't no cakewalk. So if things got particularly stressful or I still felt like the ultimate failure, I'd come home to these handwritten, block-lettered notes on my desk:

"You are special and I am PROUD of all that you have accomplishedand that you WILL accomplishone day at a time. Love, Mom."

There's also a note about fixing the bathtub on the back of that paperbecause that's my Mommy, and why waste scratch paper?

Christmas, 2012 note—6 months post-suicide attempt:

"There was not a single card that even came close to saying what I wanted to tell this Christmas of 2012.

You have been re-born this year in every way that matters.

You have taken everything that was broken and, piece by piece, step by step, you have repaired what was broken in ways that make the broken places stronger.

I am proud of you in ways I cannot find words to express...

I love you always—I will always want to kiss the broken places and make them better, but you have learned how to do that yourself. Love, Mom."

This is the last, I promise, and it's very short. Here's a pic of the cover:

This one arrived during another attempt at getting clean.
The inside Hallmark greeting:

"Hey, whatever gets you through the day."


"Scream, yell, punch the pillows, it's all okay—anything to get healthy! I'm here for you. Mom."

Who does this?! What kind of parents DO this? I gave up the caps-lock a few years back but Christ, who DOES these things? I've fucked up in almost every goddamn way possible; I was a horrible daughter, horrible child. Even in my mid-30s, there were times I'd get so frustrated, so...annoyed when my dying Daddy called me every hour, almost on the hour, every single day, rambling on incoherently about how the nurses were trying to kill him and his second wife was evil (factsorry, had to say it) and I had to get him out of there or he would die. All I needed to do was steal a Hyundai and drive from Florida up to where he was—Wisconsin—and bust him out! But to be sure to bring a coat, maybe a red windbreaker, because it was very, very cold up there right now. Can't I please do this? Can't I save his life? Because he'll die in there if I don't do this. Annie, please get me out of here!

When I'd carefully point out that the rheumatoid that had been eating away at the cartilage in his knees (his entire body) for over 20 years had recently rendered him unable to walk, he would pause...then brightly respond, "Sure I can! These doctors don't know a thing!" My estranged older brother had told me how Dad tried to stand recently and immediately hit the deck. He would never be ambulatory again—but I'm supposed to steal a fucking Hyundai (a Hyundai?! The guy was a Cadillac man his whole life! That, dear friends, is dementia), drive to Wisconsin, shanghai him by way of wheelchair, I guess, windbreaker zipped to the collar, and off we'd go, back to safe and warm Florida, where those who loved him best and most so desperately wanted him.

I'd see his number on caller ID sometimes and ignore it. It was too much. Fuck, it hurts. He didn't call another person: certainly not the estranged brother who lived about 4 miles away from him, as he honestly didn't seem to care; he did call my little brother about half as many times as he did me, which I'm sure was so difficult and stressful for such a young guy trying to finish college and start a life. But I was Daddy's operator...and I let the fucking line go dead. Who—you tell me who in their right fucking mind—would do such a thing, commit such an atrocity, to a man who not only thought nearly singularly of his ailing daughter as he day-by-day wasted away like a rotting fruit carcass, but who also spent 68 years acting as the greatest daddy any daughter could ask for, could love? Who?

Me, this human being right here—that's who.


My mother and I have had a bipolar/borderline disorder relationship since time immemorial. Seriously, before I was even born, there was conflict. (Ask her about being in labor with me and how I ruined her bladder.) It heightened in my twenties, simultaneous to the development of my bipolar and, later, drug abuse, which escalated things just a tee-bit. Mom was the easiest target for my rage—because I knew she was absolute living, breathing, walking, talking, unconditional love, and no matter how fierce our fights—even the one that led to the suicide attempt, which was the fault of issues, not people—she'd still love me. She'd still sit at my bedside for three days while I was in a coma, a ventilator snaked down my trachea—just like you used to see on E.R., with the silver tube rapidly but very, very precisely shoved down your throat into your pharynx and suddenly, oxygen. Then she sat there for another week or so while I recovered; while I babbled like a 3-year-old, unable to get the right words out of my head and into my mouth; while, as the nurses and Mom tried to sponge bathe me, in a delirious fit I screamed that Mom was trying to stab me in the throat and send me to a padded room. She just continued scrubbing my armpits, completely unphazed. However, my outburst startled one nurse who perhaps thought I was backsliding, so she asked me what year it was and who the president was. I remember screaming, "Noy shtoopid! 2012! And Olabama. Obadama. Obamamama." Pause. "The black guy."

She found me dead in my bathroom. Dead. Not unconscious or comatose, but dead. My mother saw her baby girl dead on the bathroom floor, right before her eyes. I don't know how I ended up in there, considering the veritable prescription panacea I'd eaten a day-ish beforeand we're talking heavy duty psychiatric drugs and, oh my god, so very many of them—significant triple digits in total number of pills taken is my wager, knowing what I had at-hand and my sincerity to get. it. over with. But somehow, at sometime, I pulled a temporary Lazarus and toddled to the bathroom—where I proceeded to eat all of the OTCs I could find and successfully unwrap. (I can't open those damn blister-packs when awake and aware, but it would seem I function better mostly unconscious.) No recollection of any this...or of Mommy looking for me, calling my name, opening the bathroom door, or feeling it thud against my motionless, insensate head. I don't recall the paramedics' arrival, or if it was one of them or a physician who left the giant, fist-shaped bruise on the middle of my chest (which makes me think the administration of pre-cordial thumps followed a lot of CPR).

Mom doesn't know, either; too much chaos. What she did get to experience during the week or longer I was hospitalized was being told—repeatedly—there was zip-zero chance of survival, but hey! If I did live, I'd be a vegetable! Mercifully, and because my mother knows me, she begged whatever universal forces power this planet to either let me survive and come back whole—to come back as meor to let me die rather than exist and not live.

Once I got out of the loony bin (only a week's stay, but the best experience of my life—and that's not sarcasm), Mom and I didn't speak much for about two-ish months. Then one day she asked me to lunch and when we came home, I stopped dead in the middle of the family room, grabbed her by the shoulders with all the ferocity a newborn daughter withholds for her life-giving mother, buried my head in her delicate clavicle, and sobbed, "I'm so sorry, Mommy. Oh, god, I'm so sorry!" until all of the strength left my body. And my mother held me, soothed me, rubbed my back, held me so tight my arthritic joints ached but I didn't care.

"Oh, sweetheart girl," she said. "I know you are—and it's okay. It's all okay, and it's all going to be okay."

And for two years, it really, really was.

After being fired from my job one year ago (don't even ask about it), I slipped into a funk, as anyone would. But as a bipolar being, depression is my go-to setting, so the funk easily slid into said depression...which has gone full-throttle mixed-episode of depression and anxiety. This is how that goes:

That's it! Literally, this is what I've been going through for the past, I dunno...eight months? Well, all my life but for now, it's active. Once in a blue moon, I'll visit like, a friend I'm extremely comfortable with. Otherwise? Sorry, I'm slouched in the recliner in my pajamas binge-watching the new season of Longmire. True, I feel like shit physically and the nausea is unfuckingreal and now I'm passing out due to weight loss and—you got a problem with it, too fucking bad—if it weren't for marijuana, I'd easily be fifteen pounds thinner and much, much sicker, not to mention I would have hospitalized myself at least 6 weeks ago due to the excruciating pain and nausea, as well as the inability to eat, which the weed helps with somewhat. Come arrest me, I don't care. The shit has kept me going for three months. Irony is, I hate the stuff. Regardless, thank Jebus I don't have to lie or make up excuses about not attending said invites: I'm sick, I can't make it. What I haven't told them is yeah, I'm sick, but the idea of leaving this house gives this fucking ulcer about 12 more ulcers.

How the hell did I get here?

Well, it is one of my writes, after all; no one expected anything more than my standardized stream-of-conscious-mess. But, honest to the confounding, profound, unending love of my parents, you could offer to grant me the greatest writing talent ever known and still, I wouldn't change my style. Nope, not even for Faulkner's ability and supreme talent. Not even for Ms. Virginia Woolf herself. Oh, you heard me. Juvenile and unpolished and poorly crafted as it is, I wouldn't write Annie other way. Because whatever talent I do have—what tremendous talent I once had that promised a future I cannot even conceive of, cannot even think of as it was filled with everything bright and proud and all I always wanted most and couldn't be further from, it hurts too much to consider—all of it came from my parents.

However different, extraordinary, special, "special" oryeah, "accomplished" I just can't accept at this point—my parents may have thought I was or think I am, I'm not. I became infuriated and annoyed with my father when he was dying; I ignored him. Those could've been precious words exchanged, but I'll never know. I suicided in my mother's house after giving her decades of unbearable grief and turmoil, then potentially terminated any future with her, with us, with me, with you.

That's the very definition of selfish. But I do not believe suicide is a selfish act—not always, anyway. But that's an argument—I mean, bookfor another time.

Aw, fuck it. We're goddamn human. I know this. But it doesn't change my feelings on the past. It doesn't make slinking out of bed in the morning any easier:

Then there's anxiety and body dysmorphia!

Ever.Single.Day. When the depression/anxiety is active, that is. Which is pretty much, just to varying degrees.
Side note: That's me at the computer each day, in love with you all...then after being asked to go outside and interact! With people!! But I digress.

I know I didn't really want to hurt my father. It was just killing me, that I couldn't do what he actually wanted me to: steal a fuckin' Hyundai, zip up some magical red windbreaker, and haul ass to Pewaukee, WI! You cannot fathom how much I wanted to, how I dreamt of it, tried to figure out an actual plan, asked a few friends if they had ideas, talked to my family for ideas... I just wanted to see my daddy one more time. No, that's not true. I wanted to save him. And as the person he turned to for saving, I should have been able to do that one thing. This didn't mean I had to save his life; I just had to get him out of that fucking hell-hole and back home with us, safe and loved and tangible, within arm's reach; so close, I could reach out and stroke his crippled hand; so close, I could reach out and throw our cell phones from the driver's window of the Hyundai as I drove us back to Florida and freedom.

It didn't happen. Of course it didn't. I never saw him again. That's okay, though, because I was told he looked nothing like his former, vivacious, sparkly-eyed self. He was shrunken, bedridden, stripped of dignity: a barely-breathing corpse. Last I'd seen him, he'd been far from well, but he was still, mostly, and in all the ways that counted, My Daddy.

My mama is in the other room, moving extremely heavy furniture she has zero—prepare for the caps-lock—ZEEE-ROOHH business moving. And all around the house! The woman is 68! I'm 38 but because of my stupid rheumatoid, she won't "allow" me to help. Now she's mowing the lawn. This is ridiculous. More so because she's like, 28 times stronger than me. 128 times stronger than me. God, she's a wonder. And I cannot wait to write my first book...all about the fascination, the enigma, the marvel that is my mother.

"I will always want to kiss the broken places and make them better, but you have learned how to do that yourself."

Like hell. If I learned how to do it, I learned this healing at the hands of a medicine woman who never had anyone, ever, kiss a single one of her broken places—whether it was her body or soul that suffered, it was my mother who treated and disguised every bruise, blemish, and break. It is how she first came to know nursing; it is how she was born to know it.

And of course, Daddy taught me how to laugh through the pain, and to never—not even at death's door—forget those you love, and to, in whatever way you can, continue caring for them. As of today, that lesson has been learned.

My parents. God I adore and worship them. They'll never, ever know.

God honesty sucks. I mean hurts.

But after the pain, after the seemingly endless tears finally dry up or wash away and you can see the world—see everything!clearly again, then sweet Jesus,'re breathing...on your own.

You beat every damn odd. They call you a miracle. You don't feel like one. 

In fact, you feel like a vegetable.

The most valuable lesson, which is also the most easily forgotten, is that whatever it is, honey, it's just one day—not forever. If anyone knows about looking forward to tomorrows, you can betcher' bottom dollar it's Annie. It's just today—not the rest of your life.


"You have been reborn this year in every way that matters."
Two people brought me into this world and shortly after, baptized me. They lit that baptismal candle together. That light...gimme a sec.

That's their song below, Mom and Dad's. If you can't spare literally 2 minutes and 30 seconds to listen, it's okay. Really. Know why?
You're human. And we each make choices, good and bad, that can lead us to the most remarkable journeys. Yes, the depression/anxiety is...well, my hands are shaking just thinking about it, but I swear, I see the smallest light. Yes, two days ago I told my shrink I feel like the utmost failure and didn't see a future for me—and this is true. But I honestly do see the smallest of lights.
That light at the end of the parents lit it. And without a hint of religious overtone, I say that light is them, just waiting until I need them most, in whatever form they can present themselves.

Perhaps via cards and letters.

Christ, here come another flood of tears. They can dim the light so easily... As do the contrails of smoke rising from millions of churches, where the devoted and the keening kneel and donate their dollar for a candle rental and a useless prayer. It's the grey cloud in my skull that dims the exhilarating shock of nature and the preternatural power of the world. But goddammit, there's a light; their light.

And if it grows too dim, I'll just follow the ghostly, beckoning wisps of their candle...and see clearly again.

For Daddy: Our favorite singalong song.
I'm so sorry I didn't answer.
I only wish my words could just convince myself that it just wasn't real...but that's not the way it feels.

The End of the Beginning.

Mid-December, 2010:

January 10th, 2011: The Beginning of the End.

Currently, too many friends watch, hear that video and see themselves: more than a nod of recognition. Rather, a break through reflection.

That was the beginning—the beginning of what should have been my end.

However, I survived. Barely, but survived, nonetheless.


Another entry, if I ever get there. Entailing the nightmare many months long…too sordid, terrifying, exhausting and, honestly, the details are mostly unremembered—foggy, at best; black wholes, at worst.

Survived, nonetheless.


Fuck if I know.


Today was, for me, a busy and tiring one, typical for any other body, but mine?

I took a shower.

Pin on me a flower!

All day, here, there, everywhere and while enduring day-to-day living, I thought of Lazarus.

"Laz, buddy, I feel ya'. No—seriously—I feel you. By God, did anyone, after witnessing the miracle, help you home or…bring to your…cave or street corner or wherever the flurk you lived, like, a bowl of chicken noodle soup or—I dunno—fluff your pillow, tuck you in, buy your groceries for a week or…shampoo your hair? 'Cause this waking the dead shit is killing me! Jesus wept!"

A body dead four days portends…catastrophe? A body bedridden three years tends to…atrophy?

Life don't give a shit 'bout health woes, thoughs, so at you it continues to throws fast-bitch after fast-bitch until…

Brain: blows.

Your Rye writer, however, was lucky, in that she had one helluva "Fielder" playing Catch-her.

For now, alls I want yous to knows…

I'm living proof:

You, too, can catch those fast-bitches…then strike the motherfucker out.

I'm living proof.

Waking the Dead is the beginning of an end.

"It's not up to you."

The downside to the upside:

The decision is one on which our upside-down minds cannot always depend.


This doesn't preclude waking the dreams of living the happy end.

Goddammit, I'm beginning, living proof.

Written in twenty minutes, first entry in over a year, no reread or edits—no coherence.

No apologies.

Dammit: I'm barely awake, half-dead, and written un-proofed.

"But It Did Happen."

is it so wrong that i want my father to die?

am i a wretched, horrific, grotesque for feeling at this moment simultaneously nauseated, depressed and enraged that my father's slowly being extubated, is coming around, showing some small signs of — what? — activity? mumbling? drooling? i wouldn't call it "signs of Life," sure as hell wouldn't call it that because now that they're weaning him off the life-supporting nipple of the ventilator, the doctors, undoubtedly pleased they've "cured" him of the infection that rushed him into the ICU, onto the respirator, allowed, like a stealthy snake, a central line to invade his body, those doctors discovered:

whoops. Ray done had himself a series of small strokes while he was put under these past several days, that there machine doin' his breathin' for him. dang the bad luck!

an ambulance just screeched past the house, down the road, engine roaring like a semi-truck and i hope like hell that if they're on their way to the sickbed of some elderly, decrepit human goddamned being that, really, is no longer being, that ambulance speeds and squeals in futility; that they're too fucking late.

let's hope i'm a Sherwood Anderson-grotesque: worthy of sympathy and compassion. i doubt most of you consider me such, but here's to hoping. consider the Magnolia. consider the grotesques. consider sympathy and compassion: understanding.


what, in the name of my father's God, kind of condition is My Daddy going to be in now? fucking christ! his brain wasn't assuredly annihilated previous to this holy hell? how much longer? how much more? i've endured years of "everything happens in threes" and those threes — you can't fathom, i couldn't relay to you what triumvirate of kingdom come, what will was done — but i survived, i lived and i was either a child, a naive, innocent Lily of a Daddy's Glirl or a junkie, untreated bipolar, for fuck's sake.

but i lived. not sure how, not sure why, to what end or purpose, but....i live. i am, somehow, alive despite or, perhaps, in spite of, it all.

threes? threes? fuck your father, son, your whoring ghost — she caught the last train for the coast! bye-bye, Miss American Pie!

and today's Buddy Holly's birthday. you've gotta be.... completely forgot until.... was going to post "Everyday" with the caption "BUDDY HOLLY LIVES" but, no, no he doesn't, regardless of the cool graffiti testifying otherwise. Daddy loves Buddy, owned one of his greatest hits albums with that cool graffiti spray-painted on a whitewashed brick wall; i used to stare at that album cover for hours while listening to the spin, hiss and pop of Buddy and his Crickets.

whitewashed. every fucking thing. every goddamned day.

"....goin' faster than a roller coaster...."

why. can't. it. just. stop.

i cannot take one more thing; not. one. more. my friends — oh, what in the hell? — so many of them, you, are suffering, losing loved ones, struggling with your own health issues and here i am bitching and moaning—


i want for my father to die, peacefully; to go gentle into that good night. i want for this to happen right away, as soon as possible. when we last saw his mother, dying in a nursing home, i was fifteen; she was in and out of dementia (mostly in) due to her massive stroke (strokes?), one leg amputated due to years of ignoring or not treating her diabetes, horrible diet, and she'd been dropped by an orderly, her shoulder dislocated, had been trying to tell the physical therapists, nurses, everyone, "My shoulder....he dropped me...." but no one listened and they continued to put her through hours of PT every day, Buddy, every hellacious day, and she cried, moaned, begged them to stop, called out for her sons, but they rotated that arm, shoulder every fucking day, Buddy and when we flew in from Florida to see her in Denver, she immediately burst into tears and slurred, "My shoulder, Raymond....he dropped me. The man dropped me...." and my father knew exactly what she meant. she managed to garble out a bit more about the PT, the agony, how she tried to tell them but they wouldn't listen and my father, already five years into the crippling battle with arthritis, stormed to the nurse's station but had it been the 80s, his healthy days, that man, "The man" would've been found and hurt.

when we left that day, My Daddy stopped me on the sidewalk, turned me towards him, made me to look him in the eyes. i'd been sobbing at the sight of my dying Nana; Daddy, who i've seen cry four times in my Life, was teary, his face set and serious.

"Annie, promise me...."

"Promise you what, Daddy?"

"Promise me you'll never let me end up like that. Don't ever let me end up in a place like this — like Nana is now. Okay?"

"Okay, Daddy."

"I mean it, Anne Michelle. Never. Don't ever let me end up like my mommy."

"I promise, Daddy. I swear. I'll never let that happen to you."

why'd you make me break my promise, Daddy? why did you do that?

why is this happening? why does this shit continue to happen, this succession of bullets, this one after another of—

i want it to end. now. right the fuck now.

go back and read something not about me. i'm sick of me, my bullshit, my fucked-up, so-called-life. go back and read about true tragedy, about real sadness, about the lives of others, what i consider my best writing because it is, likely because it has absolutely nothing at all to do with self-centered, narcissistic, me, me, fuckin' me:

The Louder Actions: For Chelsea King

"I guess everybody has their own idea of fun."

better yet, read somebody else, their real lives, their unfiction, which is far superior to this, my above, before, too much, too much written shit: Kaplowitz: Tales From Dank Ct. Vol. 1

whatever the hell you decide to do . . . .

don't you dare judge me. don't you even think to do so.


i love you, Daddy.

now please — let go.

keep your end of the bargain, your promise and just....

give up.

A Smart-Taking Murk Of Blathering Sub-Genius.




A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

AKA: A Fine-Art-Making Shirk. Love, Gag-ering Wheeziness.

It'll make sense. Promise. It'll make sense.

Sort of.

It'll make Annie Sense, annieway.

I apologize in advance for taking your smart. You're about to lose quite a lot of it, and I do so sincerely apologize.

However, you cannot say you weren't forewarned. I mean, the cautionary light does blare yellow first-hyphenated-word (post-article) in the title. And it's not like I'm absorbing your smart. Ha! I wish! No. You're just going to lose your smart — by at least half, would be my guesstimate — so my thought is this: you'll read the following, losing a minimum of half your smart as you do, but given that by no means am I taking your smart from you by like, some reader-to-writer osmosis (Ha! I wish!), you'll more than likely regain your smart post-reading. Recovery time will invariably vary, depending on your original level of smart and how far into this blathering you actually read before throwing in the towel. Or, more likely, throwing at the monitor a towel.

Smart taken from you at this early point?

5.6 percent, depending on your original level of smart.

Which means I am now 5.6 percent smarter, multiplied by number of readers, depending on the invariable variable of their level of smar—

I mean—

Ha! I wish!


First of all:

I am tired.
I am true of heart!

And also:

You are tired.
You are true of heart!

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

Dave had me at "Hello," which is to say, the copyright page of AHWOSG. (Seriously—how many of us pause to peruse the copyright page?) For reasons unknown, I spied with my little eye a line printed in font so fine, it read nearly indiscernible, yet spied the line I did: "Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Random House is owned in toto by an absolutely huge German company called Bertelsmann A.G. which owns too many things to count or track. That said, no matter how big such companies are, and how many things they own, or how much money they have or make or control, their influence over the daily lives and hearts of individuals, and thus, like 99 percent of what is done by official people in cities like Washington, or Moscow, or São Paulo or Auckland, their effect on the short, fraught lives of human beings who limp around and sleep and dream of flying through bloodstreams, who love the smell of rubber cement and think of space travel while having intercourse, is very very small, and so hardly worth worrying about."

Dave… We live in a cynical world. A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. me.

And also:

I am MISTER Black People!

Just in case you were wondering What Is the What with…y'know, my feelings on all that.

I'm getting there, folks. In fact, I am there. You Will Know My Velocity. Now. Just remember:

I amas always—true of heart!

And also:

I am—now more than ever—so very, very . . . . tired.



A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

Don't worry. I'm not gonna do what you all think I'm gonna do, which is, you know… FLIP OUT!
Jerry Maguire, Jerry Maguire

Dignity is an affectation, cute but eccentric, like learning French or collecting scarves.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

Jerry Maguire: The fuckin' zoo is closed, Ray.
Ray: You said "fuck."
Jerry Maguire: Uh... Yeah… I…
Ray: Don't worry. I won't tell.
Jerry Maguire

DIALOGUE: This has of course been almost entirely reconstructed. The dialogue, though all essentially true—except that which is obviously not true, as when people break out of their narrative time-space continuum to cloyingly talk about the [blog] itself—has been written from memory, and reflects both the author's memory's limitations [which are severe] and [her] imagination's nudgings. All the individual words and sentences have been run through a conveyor, manufactured like so: 1) they are remembered; 2) they are written; 3) they are rewritten, to sound more accurate; 4) they are edited to fit within the narrative (though keeping with their essential truth); 5) they are rewritten again, to spare the author and the other characters the shame of sounding as inarticulate as they invariably do, or would, if their sentences, almost invariably begun with the word "Dude"—as in, for example, "Dude, she died" ["Dude, Dad's dying. This fuckin' sucks."]—were merely transcribed. It should be noted, however, that what's remarkable is that the [blog's] most surreal dialogue, like that with the Latino teenagers [the fucktarded health care workers, who are people from varying ethnic backgrounds/races/ages/genders/creeds/sizes, though a few were Latino and I'm 99 percent positive one was in her late teens] and that with the beleaguered Jenna [that with my beleaguered Daddy], is that which is most true to life.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers [with editing cloyingly manufactured and rewritten by Annie McDermott to make the excerpt most true to life].

Here is a drawing of a stapler: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.


Never have been a fan. Smells like preen spirit: uptight, pretentious squeak-farts squeezed out of puckered-up buttercup assholes and, pardon me, but… I laugh over the waft of an obnoxious, rip-roaring blast of gas shat from a genuine smartass; I fawn and fan over the indignity of that. You anal-retentives can keep your dignity. In fact, you can stick it and your collection of French scarves straight up your ass—thereby cutting, like so much cheese, your designation down to “you anals.”


Not a fan.


Master of The SBD: Silent But Deadly. Fucking hell, the man could annihilate a small army with one quiet slip-o'-the-cheek. There were many times even he couldn't stand his own stench — the stink so powerful, malodorous, he'd have to get up, move across the room — sometimes, out of the room, into another area of the house!

That's My Daddy: The turd was made flesh…and smelled among us.


Raymond J. McDermott, MD.


Annie: "The fuckin' zoo is closed, Ray."
Ray: "Here is a drawing of a stapler."

Read: The fuckin' zoo is not closed, Annie — not for Ray, it isn't.

I don't even know what zoo my father's being kept in at the moment, but here's the best I can summarize the scene: (Bear— ha—in mind, dear friends, that as of recent, my memory is mush and— Okay, I thought it was Thursday, but I just checked the computer calendar and it's actually Wednesday, so there you have it: exactness, preciseness, specificity of days, details, locales? I'll do my best, but the only person I can think of whose brain's in worse condition than mine right now is — yeah, that's right — My Daddy's.)

Almost three-ish weekends ago, my father was taken to the hospital for reasons that were, at best, ambiguous. Since late-February of '09, my dad's been hospitalized more times than anyone — even those with their faculties sharpened shiny-keen — can count or track. I cannot fathom the thickness/depth of his medical chart; envisioning something general to Ulysses. (Har.) He was already scheduled for a stay that week, a slew of procedures, tests awaiting him, relating to (I'm guessing on some of these): his brain (the man endured a succession of strokes commencing last October through, well, now, of which I've also lost count - no idea how many); his belly (he's been complaining of chronic, severe abdominal pain and nearly died in Feb. of '09 due to a bowel obstruction/perforation); newly discovered broken vertebrae (part & parcel of his severe rheumatoid, commenced 1990, or an injury withstood from a recent fall? Regardless, the man has broken parts of his neck); his decimated knee (the arthritis) — all of this, some of it? I don't know with absolute sureness what all was meant to be investigated — other than his stomach — because the treatment necessary for that ailment ended his stay at the hospital, removed him from their standardized care and landed him in....

The Critical Care Unit. Which is sort of a fancy, more-hospital-like nursing home for the not-so-with-it. How'd that come about?

Because he refused a colonoscopy. Now why would anyone, especially a physician, refuse the procedure most likely to cecum destroy the chronic colon culprit?

Annie: Daddy, why won't you let them do the colonoscopy? The doctors now think you're mentally incompetent because you've been complaining of this abdominal pain for months, but refuse to let them perform the best test to figure out what might be causing the problem. Now you're stuck in this "facility" or whatever it is and I really don't like that, and you're begging me to get you out, bring you back to Florida, so.... I don't understand what's going on.
Ray: D'you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?
Annie: Um, sort of. Is that the issue? Are you worried about your neck again? Like with the CT Scan, how they couldn't run it because they said it would break your neck and, well, kill you? Do you think they might hurt you with the procedure?
Ray: D'you know that bees and dogs can smell fear?
Annie: Yeah, actually Daddy, I did. But I don't think there are any bees or dogs in the fucki- frickin' hospital. I mean . . . . There aren't any, right? You — so what I think you're telling me is, you are afraid of being hurt by the procedures? Because you're in such fragile condition an—
Ray: D'you know that my next door neighbor has 3 rabbits?
Annie: Did you know that the career record for hits is 4,256 by Pete Rose — who is NOT in the Hall of Fame?
Ray: Yeeeeessss. Who d'you think you're talking to? I still have my autographed Louisville Slugger! Remember, silly? Pete Rose used to hang out at the dog track in Sarasota. He was an asshole! And everyone knows he gambled, bet on all those games. But he still deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. How could you forget that, Lily Glirl?
Annie: I.... I can't compete with that! I'm.... I'm gonna go now, Daddy, let you rest. Please, please keep me posted on what's going on. And take care of yourself. I love you so much.
Ray: I love you, too, Son. Sweet Pea. You said "fuck."
Annie: I know. I'm sorry. Trying to get better about that with you. Caught myself, though!
Ray: Bye-bye, Sweetie. I'm so hungry....

Did you know that Troy Aikman, in only 6 years, has passed for 16,303 yards?

The film came out in '96. I have no idea how many yards Concussion Case ended up passing for by the time he finally passed out and I sure as hell ain't gonna' look it up, but I do know this:

I genuinely feel for the guy and every blow to the helmet he ever took. I'm right there with ya', Quaker Cranium - oatmeal 'tween the ears. I genuinely feel ya'. And I fucking loathe The Cowboys and detest Ache-Man, so....that's sayin' something. What it's sayin', I dunno but it's....something.

A few days after my last conversation with Daddy (a week ago? Longer? Longer), the facility attendants were wheeling him somewhere (this is all third, if not fourth-hand news, so I'm relaying the details to you as accurately as I know them), Daddy was awake, alert, conversing and then — not. Lapsed into unconsciousness. Thankfully, the facility is either part of or adjacent to the hospital and my father was immediately readmitted, where the doctors had to make a quick assessment: yet another stroke? Sure looked like one. Or could it be anoxia? A sudden deprivation of oxygen supply to his system? Quick way to find out: hyperventilate him with oxygen. Thankfully, Daddy came right to, but remained somewhat altered mentally. Why did this episode occur?

Why is he currently battling innumerable internal infections? Has been for at least two weeks now, despite treatment?


Why did my little brother call me 10 minutes after I packed it up, called it a night, ended on the above "Why?" (all of which I had to go back and interject, as I'd forgotten about the "might be'a stroke...might be anoxia!" episode) to let me know the latest on Daddy, that the "episode" is actually lookin' to've been more likely a stroke than sudden oxygen deprivation — facial drooping, the usual shtrokey shtuff — or that the anoxic episode might've brought on a stroke — but when he spoke to Dad yesterday, Wednesday, our father was as mentally clear and lucid as a bottle of vodka — and as Absolut:


Where is Daddy?

Still unsure. Didn't quite get that info from my bro. Here's what I do know:

1) Ray wants — asked for — a divorce.
2) Ray is scared because his wife has activated his power of attorney, and her power, in-general, scares him.
3) Ray will find a way to sneak out, get a plane ticket and come back to Florida, live with Little Bro. (All of the aforementioned are impossibilities of such grand nature, to one-by-one detail the absurdities would be a blog unto itself.)
4) Ray wants another competency test. (This is almost as scary for us as the wife is to Dad, as his competence blows and breezes back and forth like a silent but deadly fart on the wind.)
5) Ray is broke, courtesy of s...omeone, and some time ago altered his will so that when he dies, s...omeone inherits all — everything. His children? Nothing. The money doesn't bother me in the least; the action, however, ripped my heart out. Now, Ray wants to re-alter his will back to its previous status. Unless he's labeled "competent" however, it is doubtful he'll be allowed to alter anything other than his mental state.
6) Should Ray somehow pass the competency test and gain control of his will, alter its terms, the fact is, Ray is broke and will need to live on what inheritance he originally intended for his three children and granddaughter for the remainder of his days, which, let's be honest, aren't many.
7) Ray is easily swayed, either by shtrokey shtuff or abject fear of s...omeone, when they come back into the picture. Read: When they actually decide to make an appearance, show up and sit at his bedside, he "forgets" all of the [REMOVED] things s...omeone's inflicted upon him [DELETED IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER] and, suddenly, Wisco is primo! and he's perfectly content to stay right where he is, with s...omeone. So there's a good chance that Ray will not today be of the same Absolut clarity he was yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday, "as when people break out of their narrative time-space continuum"? Speaking of that, let's return to yesterday, where I left off when I closed up shop, packed things up for the night, prior to The Phone Call of Maybe Absolut.




As of this moment, 5:26 pm, Wednesday, August 25th, 2010, I do not know where My Daddy, Dr. Raymond J. McDermott, is, nor what condition he is in, but I do know this:

Wherever he is, there's no dignity to be found in dying a prolonged, agonizing death; there's no dignity to be found within the powerless mind of a man who once outwitted electricity sparking Wilde, whose encyclopedic intellect enthralled all, just as his knowledge on pop culture, sports, music, cinema — everything, anything you can possibly summon — dumbfounded and dimmed even the brightest of bulbs into flickering awe.

There's the smell of preen spirit . . . . and then, there's the urine-soaked stench of a drooling fool's demi-god ghost.

Many people think it's wrong, that I want the zoo to be fuckin' closed, Ray — once and for all. I don't give a good goddamn what they think. Because this was February of 2009 and he was inches from Death; if you saw him now, you'd look at the image below and call it The Picture of Health.



At this point, she does not move from the couch.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

I'm finished — I'm fucked. Twenty-four hours ago, man, I was hot! Now...? I'm a cautionary tale. You see this jacket I'm wearing — you like it? Because I don't really need it. Because I'm cloaked in FAILURE!
Jerry Maguire, Jerry Maguire

"Hmm," she says, then turns, lifts her head to spit.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

You tell me to eat lima beans, I'll eat lima beans.
Rod Tidwell, Jerry Maguire

We lose weeks like buttons, like pencils.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

I'm not trying to make history, here.
Jerry Maguire, Jerry Maguire

Free health care, as it currently runs, runs slowly — but it does run.

The clusterfuckery of the past....two?.....months or so notwithstanding, we finally have a diagnonsense for my rapid weight loss, crushing chest pains, driveway-dropping, etc. And while I'm not exactly thrilled with the diagnosis, hell — it coulda' (and probably shoulda') been much, much worse.

A funny: I now have yet another illness of abbreviations, which just so happen to coincide with the letters of one of my other major maladies/malfunctions so whenever I address the newest sickness with which I am down, I have to pause and think. "Wait. Which one... What order do the letters go in...? SonofaBITCH. Just Google the goddamn shit."

Please allow me a moment to just Google the goddamn shit.

Emphysema with a side of COPD! There we go! Not PCOD (or PCOS, as some refer to it), which stands for Polycystic Ovarian Disease (or Syndrome). That ailment will, as of mid-October (should all go according to plan) be nothing but a ghastly, wretched, bloody, 23-year-long unforgettable memory. Yup! Hysterectomy set for October so FUCK OFF, MY WOMB JEEE-SUS CHRIST! You are soon to be a wound, a scar, nothing more; just a simple, snip-slash, take this non-babymakin' bloodbath! memory. That I will never, ever, ever be able to erase from my memory. You whorebag uterus. S'all good. You're gonna die. This makes me happy!

Emphysema? Ehhhhhh.... Not so much. Little frowny-face a-bouw-t thayu-t....

Y'know, you think they'd put like, I dunno, WARNINGS or something on the fucking cigarette boxes telling you, in plain, simple English: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health or Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.


"Though the United States started the trend of labelling cigarette packages with health warnings, today the country has one of the smallest, least prominent warnings placed on their packages.[18] Warnings are usually in small typeface placed along one of the sides of the cigarette packs with colors and fonts that closely resemble the rest of the package, so the warnings essentially are integrated and do not stand out with the rest of the cigarette package.[18] However, this is subject to change as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 requires colour graphics with supplemental text to cover 50 percent of the front and rear of each pack. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will design the health warnings in 2011, and tobacco companies will begin including them on their cigarette packaging and advertisements in 2012." (Wikipedia Truthiness)

Google the goddamn shit.


Okay. Truth?

I . . . . I don't know how to read.

"Hooked On Phonics" did not work for me.


However, "Hooked On Hydrogen Cyanide" worked like a charm! Like a voodoo charm you'd use to ward off rats, mice — all sorts of nasty vermin. Just ask the Nazis; they loved using the shit! In fact, I think one of their propaganda slogans was, "Zyklon-B vorked vor ME!"

What the heil is so wrong with a lil' poisonous gas sucked straight into the lungs? I azk zou, zeriouzly, juzt vhat een zee heil eez zwrong wif ZAT?

Nussing, obveeuzlee....

The Nazi's also invented Methadone.

Now, if I 'member 'terrectly, and I'm pretty sure I do, when Annie kicked off drugs over 2 years ago, it was off a 300 mg/day addiction to . . . . (waaaait for it) . . . .


Who said who to the what now?

The Nazis. Is there anything they can't do?

The answer to that question is, "Yes. There are multitudes of things they cannot do because we kicked their fucking ASSES all over the AXIS of EEEE-VIL! Suck it, fuckers!"

Speaking of "suck"....

Emphysema at almost-34 both sucks and blows. Metaphorically and literally. Breathing: It don't come easy, Ringo, no matter how big your schnoz is (trust me - I nose all about it, Buddy). Exhaling's the bitch. If I so much as walk across the patio over to Mom's and blurt out a sentence or two, I gotta' stop — ox-y-gen-ate and spit'some! Then I's is back with a brand new in-vent-phlegm!

No, it isn't really funny (seriously - that was terribly unfunny so go ahead and don't laugh. I cannot believe how much work it takes to be this unfunny) but the same rule applies as always: "Ya' gotta' laugh. Sure as hell beats the alternative!" Admittedly, even I, Slim Goodbody, remain in a perpetual state of astonishment at how quickly this crap continues to creep up on me. The good gnus when diagnosed? Could be early onset, potentially even reversible. Fuckin-A right! I'd already designated my quit date as Hysterectomy Day. (Actually, starting the quitting a lil' bit prior to, because dude - I'm gonna be sliced open surgically, not laparoscopically, Doc warned me it's gonna hurt a lot, I'll be locked in the hospital for a minimum of three days narcotics. So, yeah, quittin' time comes a'fore the actual day of surgery; I'll be in enough pain, thank you!) Speaking of, as of...a day...earlier this week, me and Ol' Doc agreed Hysterectomy Day will be on or near my birthday. Why? Because my birthdays SUCK. They suck ASSHOLES. ASSHOLES stuffed full of ZYKLON-B. I could think of no better day of the year to be locked up in a hospital, writhing in agony, sans cigarettes than . . . . October 19th. Damn straight! (Or damn gay! I don't discriminate. Just givin' a nod to Mr. Slim Goooodbody o'er there 'cause - dude - c'mon. That is not a straight man. Is it? Okay. Straight men who've ever worn neck-to-toe pantyhose-type unitards detailing their innards, not to mention exposing their unmentionables in rather, uh, pointed packaging, please - raise your hands! I SAID YOUR HANDS!)

That's what I thought. Damn gay! Which is to say, damn straight!

Or, damn bisexual!

Which is to say . . . .

However . . . .

Between now and then, I await a pulmonary function test that will finely detail precisely what and how much damage Annie hath wreaked upon her lungs o'er these past (almost) 21 years of smoking. May not be that I've got early onset; may not be reversible. I'm not sure how regular old emphysema is treated and I DON'T WANT TO KNOW. I emphasize that point, with all the wheeze my emphyseized lungs can muster, because I do not want to look ahead at any worst-case-scenarios. At this point, I do not move from the couch - because I cannot. Not unless I want to spend the next few days recovering from "over-exertion." But I'm also not going to sit back on the couch, on my non-existent ass, and pretend this is as bad as it gets. It can always get worse. However, I don't need to fuck up the weather of my Life with any additional shitstorms: "whether" or not this or that may or may not potentially happen. I'm also not going to say, "Hmm," then turn, lift my head to spit. Which is to say: I will not sit idly by and let the fucktarded system slow my progress. I am on this shit, on top of it like a rodeo whore on a cowboy; for every fuck-up the system has made, I have immediately been in. their. FACE and this is an act with which they are obviously unaccustomed.

Me: I'll go back to them.
Mom: And say what? "Please remove your dick from my ass?"
Me: Well, yeah. I'll improvise from there. I rock at improvisation.

Me (to any given health care fucktard): I am out here for you. You don't know what it's like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing-siege that I will NEVER fully tell you about, OKAY?!
Fucktard: Sorry we scheduled you to see the doctor on a day he's on vacation. You can come back to see him in . . . . his next available appointment is in 6 weeks. Is that okay?
Me: Help you. Help me, help you.
Fucktard: So . . . . There's an opening in 8 weeks - is that better?
Me: Cushlash. Cush-laash! Cushlash, Cush-lash! Cushlaaahhshh— Just, uh, sniff or somethin' if you're there.
Fucktard: What do you want from me? My soul?
Me: Why not? I deserve that much!
Fucktard: You know I don't do contracts. But what you do have is my word - and it's stronger than oak.
Me: I won't let you get rid of me.
Fucktard: Fine. Fine! FINE!
Me: Now, Fucktard: Before I go my mom's house....I think we should put something down on paper — y'know, something that says, "Hey, I'm with Annie McDermott."
Fucktard: Not right now, Amy.
Me: Annie.
Fucktard: Not right now, Angie.
Me: ....Do I know everything there is to know here, Fucktard?
Fucktard: D'you know the human head weighs 8 pounds?
Me: Ya' know—we're together on this one! Ya' know? Ya' KNOW? YA' KNOW?!
Fucktard: Thanks for coming, man.
Me: I missed ya'. What can I say? You're all I got. Oh - and please remove your dick from my ass.
Fucktard: You are Jerry Ma-FUCKIN-guire!
Me: No. No I'm not. I am Annie Mc-FUCKIN-Dermott but - hey! - almost, almost, you're gettin' there.
Fucktard: So we'll see you back here in 8 pounds.
Me: Weeks.
Fucktard: Shoooow....meeeeee....the MOOONEEEEEYYY!
Me: I have 100% coverage, like it says on my clinic card.
Fucktard: I'm incapable of small talk.
Me: You fuck this up, I'll kill you.
Fucktard: I'm glad we had this talk!

"Jump into my nightmare! The water's warm!"

Speaking of nightmares, which is to say, speaking of shitty health, and also speaking of yesterday, "as when people break out of their narrative time-space continuum"? Yeah. I don't know what the fucktard is wrong with me, but some kind of flu-like something overwhelmed, I even grew feverish which I never do because I run subnormal - 97.7, baby - just like a Foreigner — I'm as cold as ice! But for now I'm — hot-blood-ed! Check it and seeee! I... got-a-fe-ver of 99.3! Which means it's actually like, 100.3 normal-people temperature.

I. am. the. HEALTHIEST. human being. ON. THE. PLANET!!!!

Subnormal; Sub-Genius. See how this works?

Point is, I only got to write for about 37.6 minutes before I packed it up, called it a night — at 9:12 am. This displeased me, to say the least. The remains of the day were spent with Anthony Hopkins. In one of the many weirdy-ass dreams I dreamt whilst unconscious on the couch, coma-like, for just . . . . hours. Also: Beth, we need to have a serious sit-down about your continuing cameos in my cranium conjurations. Just sayin'....

Jump into my nightmare! The water is a roiling, 100.3 normal-people degrees HOT!

Speaking of that, let's return to yesterday, where I left off when I closed up shop, packed things up for the "night," prior to wet dreams.

Jebus O'Toole Faulkner. If you're still reading, you're sicker than I am. Which is a given, given that I. am. the. HEALTHIEST. human being. ON. THE. PLANET!!!!

And finally:


Because secrets do not increase in value if kept in a gore-ian lockbox, because one's past is either made useful or else mutates and becomes cancerous. We share things for the obvious reasons: it makes us feel un-alone, it spreads the weight over a larger area, it holds the possibility of making our share lighter. And it can work either way - not simply as a pain-relief device, but, in the case of not bad news but good, as a share-the-happy-things-I've-seen/lessons-I've-learned vehicle. Or as a tool for simple connectivity for its own sake, a testing of waters, a stab at engagement with a mass of strangers.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

Yeah. That. Just . . . . exactly that.

As I said while reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius back in 2001:

"FUCK, I love this book. Goddammit, the sonofabitch beat me to it!"

Emphysema. Really? I mean, don't get me wrong, you 3.14 pieple actually reading this: I am grateful. I don't have cancer. (That I know of, or yet. Cigarettes can come back to bite you in the lungs or ass or liver or anywhere it damn well pleases years and years after you've walked the fine line of quittin' time. I'd tell you to ask my great aunt, but she's dead from breast cancer courtesy of a 30-some year smoking habit she'd given up over 25 years before dying.) Emphysema = far preferable to The Big C. But, dude, seriously? Another old person's disease? The arthritis wasn't enough? Pretty soon, I'm gonna be strolling along Main Street in Venice — behind the wheels of a walker with one of those fancy oxygen-tank attachments, horrible breathing mask affixed to my face an—

Nono, this is good. I'll roll up to Midwestern tourists with children in tow, right up into their FACE, scare the be-jeezus out of 'em with a muffled, "Tell me, Tourister: Did you nurse those children yourself? Did you breast-feed them? Toughened your nipples, didn't it? Amputate a man's leg and he can still feel it tickling. Tell me, Mum, when your little ones are on the slab, where will it tickle YOU?! THUP-THUP-THUP-THUP-THUP-THUP-THUP!"

"(A) stab at engagement with a mass of strangers."


Meanwhile, I wish someone would remove this invisible elephant from my fucking chest because it goddamn hurts.

You tell me to eat fava beans, Doc, I'll eat fava beans.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.


ANNIE McDERMOTT, the founding editor of Unfiction: Everything In Its Right Place and contributor to absolutely no other periodicals, is now still the editor of Unfiction: Everything In Its Right Place, a periodical non-journal. She lives in Sarasota with her mother. This is her dog.

I think I'm watching my dog, My Son, My Baby Boy of 14 years . . . . die.

This is happening now, started this morning, Friday, August 27th, as I came back to this writing around 7-something; I've been back-and-forth with it, mostly editing, adding bits here and there. But I noticed Buster's strange behavior several weeks ago, watched it mutate into stranger breeds of action, and lack thereof, this past week. He took to crawling under this old wooden kitchen shelf — dishholder? — my mom bought back in the 70s, when we, the real family, lived in Wisconsin. Why it's still around is anybody's guess; my mother keeps strange relics, be they knick-knack tchotchkes, aged pictures of people we don't even know or useless furniture that no longer makes sense — likely never did, regardless of era.

The living room is kind of classy, actually—clean, neat, full of heirlooms and antiques.... But the family room, the only room where any of us has ever spent any time, has always been, for better or for worse, the ultimate reflection of our true inclinations. It's always been jumbled, the furniture competing, with clenched teeth and sharp elbows, for the honor of the Most Wrong-looking Object... In front of the couch is a coffee table made from a cross section of a tree, cut in such a way that the bark is still there, albeit heavily lacquered. [Mom] brought it back, many years ago, from [Miami], and it, like most of the house's furniture, is evidence of an empathetic sort of decorating philosophy—for aesthetically disenfranchised furnishings we are like the families that adopt troubled children and refugees from around the world—we see beauty within and cannot say no.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers [with editing written by Annie McDermott to make the quote most true to life].

We owned that coffee table; I know exactly what Eggers writes of. I think my dad took it back up to Wisconsin when he married the stepwoman because I recall my mother getting very, very pissed off about the MIA status of that table. It meant something to her, that awkward, ugly, ridiculously expensive, I-know-Hobbits-live-somewhere-within-this-thing, Half-A-Fucked-Up-Tree-Grows-In-Suburbanlyn, you can't pass it without clocking your knee or ankle against it, hence, The Most Cursed Coffee Table Ever To Have Tabled Coffee goddamn table. You can't blame the 70s on that. My mother's never touched drugs and she's been drunk maybe thrice in her life, so you can't blame intoxication, either. Or let's just say the odds that my mother was drunk when purchasing said blunder of decor nature are exceedingly low.

But, goddamn, she wants the ugly-ass thing back. Bad.

Buster is currently choking or seizing — I cannot tell which. He's been doing this all day. If he's seizing, they're petit mal: he chokes for a minute, then takes to the ground and locks up, a sort of gentle torsion, his neck pointed awkwardly to the left, and he stares up at nothing, his entire body pumping breath like a heart pumps blood — that's the precise image — my small dog, my only constant companion for these past 14 years, the worst of my Life, My Boy, the only - the closest - all I have that's as close to - My Son - he is a greying heart, lying on the ground, fiercely pumping blood.

I do not go to him now because every time I try to move him, Buster coughs and hacks in a ferocious attack of . . . . what? It borders on apoplexy. In fact, I do believe My Baby is suffering from congestive heart failure. I do not understand. The hacking started at least a year ago but he was fine yesterday and now this sudden — I wake up and I think My Boy is — I think I am watching him die. I think I am watching his prolonged death rattle.

Buster is Eggers' family room: classy, clean, neat — I call him Truman Capote as canine for he is as black and white as Tru's balls and just as gay. My Boy even crosses his inordinately long-for-a-Chihuahua legs at the paws when lying down, apple-head held high, as though scanning the room for something or someone more interesting than what trifle or company he's currently keeping. He, like Tru, is a snappy bitch. He, like Tru, was darling in his youth — but grew haggard, wizened and foul with age.

Like Eggers and his family were to aesthetically disenfranchised furnishings, so am I to my fugly little boy.

When we lived in Houston, flies swarmed about the condo and Buster took to full-speed chasing them; the hardwood floors provided little traction and My Boy lost almost all of his teeth, sliding and careening his ultimate smash-stops into walls. I think of Eggers and his little brother, Toph, making a game of sock-foot sliding across their new home, colliding into walls, laughing at newly granted youth, the inanity, this questionable, remarkable parenting. The tooth loss allowed Buster Bowden's underbite to gradually protrude further and further until — The Snaggletooth made its clenched and sharp appearance. Finally, almost 2 years ago, my mother couldn't take the sight of it anymore and implored me to allow her to rip it out. "Maybe it'll help his breath, too," she begged. I considered this. Once the teeth fell out, so did all semblance of standard doggy-breath. Even I, The Mommy, couldn't stand to let Bussie give me kisses on the face anymore — especially the nose, his favorite target (likely because it's my most prominent) because something sticky and lethal now grew within his gums and even the slightest tip of his tongue to the tip of any nose meant for the next 72 hours, you inhaled the smell of a garbage dump filled with baby diapers filled with diarrhea — all of which were wrapped in polyurethane, topped with infected dogshit, then set afire.

I considered this.

I looked at my mother.

She held in her hand a pair of pliers.

"Oh, you can't do it like that! For Christ's sake, Mom! You'll hurt him!"

"I will not! That thing is barely hanging on to his gums as it is! Look at it! It just....dangles oh, Jesus, just let me rip the goddamn thing out!"

"FINE. But if he ends up bleeding to death, I will rip out all of your teeth with pliers and a hatchet and drills an—"

"Just shut-up and hold him, dammit!"

She ripped the The Snaggletooth out. Bus looked like my dad post-stroke: his tongue lolled from the gaping space where Snaggletooth once loomed. Two weeks later: a new Snaggletooth snarled — this one, from the right side of his mouth. It still remains. I'm looking at it right now. Buster's looking up at the sky or - the pressure cleaner? I can't tell. His head is a sharp elbow, slowly, slowly relaxing, lowering, not quite to the pavement, hovering just above the cement and I wonder, watching these palsied shakes of his tiny apple-head: Does he want to rest or is he unable to put his head down? Is this just some something? Maybe he got a piece of food lodged in his esophagus or gut or - do dogs have an esophagus? Of course they must. Dummy. But what if it's just that? He inhaled his food too fast this morning, just like always, so maybe it's just that: piece of food lodged in his something.

But then there's the table, and how he's been crawling beneath, hiding under it for several weeks now. This is atypical Buster behavior. He's been wandering, taking little strolls, walkabouts to I don't know where, but I notice and Sport, the Lab, notices, follows him, which seems to annoy Buster, who does not wander, take strolls, make walkabouts.

Now that he does, though, he obviously wants to take and make them alone.

He is classy, clean, neat — never exhibits a bead of the heat's stroke, a pant of swelter; he is Tru to classy, clean, neat form — always.

So why is he a greying heart, lying on the ground, fiercely pumping blood?

He's choking again I must stop.


It's not that our family has no taste, it's just that our family's taste is inconsistent. The wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom, though it came with the house, is the house's most telling decorative statement, featuring a pattern of fifteen or so slogans and expressions popular at the time of its installation. Right On, Neat-O, Outta Sight!—arranged so they unite and abut in intriguing combinations. That-A-Way meets Way Out so that the A in That-A-Way creates A Way Out.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.



The Narrative Time-Space Continuum:

Friday the 27th of August, 2010, sometime in the afternoon

I spoke to Daddy today and he didn't remember experiencing one moment of clarity these past few daze. However, he somehow remains Absolut: has a lawyer on retainer and she's advised he gather his strength before they proceed, but things are "in the works." My mom and stepdad are making a trip up to Wisconsin in a few days to see my older brother and niece; Mom will be "stopping by" to see Daddy, ensuring everydamnthing is in its right place.

Saturday the 28th of August, 2010, 7:37 am

Buster died in his crate sometime between 8:30 and 10:45 pm last night. I'd already spoken to my ex-fiance's sister, a vet tech, about the possibility of putting him down this morning but less than two hours after our call . . . . My Boy was gone. I wish I could say Buster Bowden passed peacefully in his sleep, but when I found him his eyes were wide open, his mouth a gagging triangle of gasping agony, and I reached out with quivering hand to touch him, crying, pleading, "Buster? Baby? Please? Baby? Oh honey are you okay please?" and my quivering hand expected to meet with stiff rigor mortised cold ribs and fur and skin and apple-head but instead rubbed on soft, warm, barely gone Boy. I don't think he could've been dead for more than 20-30 minutes. That's how long I'd been feeling the tingle in my gut, the base of my neck, telling me to go outside and check because he was gone.

My Mommy came over, carefully wrapped My Baby Boy in a sheet and placed him in a long box, but not before asking me if I wanted to hold him. At first, I said yes, I did, but then I saw his face again and my sobbing spun into hysterics, wheeling into the late night driveway oh Jesus that was not My Baby that was some roadkill, a possum's mouth hissing its dying gasp and nonono no. My poor mother. She loved Bussie too. She cried. She did all of the work for me. He'll be buried today in the small island garden centered in our driveway, where our beloved family Jack Russell, Terminator, is also buried. Termie was not only Buster's best buddy, but his gay companion of almost a decade. I'm happy they'll get to rest alongside each other.

It's very hard to write this; it's very hard to see and breathe and oh fuck it hurts. D'you know I was going to write a silly bit about how my laptop died, up and died on me this week so now, I have to haul this entire desktop outside when I want to write because I cannot write without a cigarette in-hand and I cannot smoke indoors so the above was to be filled with a brief poof-trifle bit intended to make you laugh, lighten things up, a few "Ha ha ha!"s about how the stupid, barely-held-together-by-shiny-silver-duct-tape, claptrap-laptop finally went tits-up on me and I'm such a fuckwit addict, I now haul the entire gargantuan desktop, every piece of it, outdoors every morning — until the shitstorms come through and then I have to hurry and unplug every goddamn piece and haul every piece back indoors and it hurts my aching arthritic bones and it exhausts the last exhalation from my lungs but I do it over and over again because I have to I must this is all I have left and you can see this you know this because you can see this, now, here, in this present tense.

Did I kill him? Fourteen years, most of which were spent living indoors with a smoker. Did I cause his congestive heart failure, which is what looks to have been the cause of My Boy's death? I'm sure I didn't help with that. By putting him in his crate, and thereby forcing him to lay down, did I kill him? Crush his lungs until he couldn't breathe? I tried to pick him up once after I stopped writing yesterday and the pressure of my one hand under his ribcage, on his lungs, immediately sent him into a terrible fit of coughing, hacking, shaking and what could I do, what did I do? "Tell me what's wrong, Baby. Please please please tell Mommy what's wrong, tell me what to do, tell me how to help you I don't know what to do just please tell Mommy...." As ineffectual as this sounds, was, is, in the past, I always knew what was wrong with My Son, and we fixed it. And, I suppose, looking back on yesterday, I did know. I just couldn't fix it.

The mocking-homage to Eggers' AHWOSG jacket photo/authorial blurb — "Author With Dog - That May or May Not Be Theirs"—was already in the piece — at the end of the cautionary introduction. This original placement was not, as Life so rudely decided to inform me, correct; this thing was not in position; everything was not in its write place.

Now, it is.

Sport, the Lab, stares at Buster's empty crate longingly, sometimes hobbles and splays his way over to sniff around it, but most of the morning, my old, 100% heterosexual, gassy, not-so-bright but sweet as a Valentine pal stretches himself out to cover the distance between me and the chair a few feet away from me, where Buster's body rests, cradled in that long box, awaiting today's proper burial. Sport's a man's man, a man's dog: he doesn't cross his legs at the paws; rather, they are splayed out on either side of his huge brown head — pawmp-pawmp! — and that huge yet mostly empty noggin of his, also set firmly, chin-squarely to the cement, stares sadly at the makeshift coffin holding his lost friend, the one he never fully understood, that queer little old guy who, with one ferocious snaggletooth and a serious attitude, intimidated the Big Manly Man into cowering corners. I imagine Sport-O thinking, "What is that dude's problem?" Poor Sport. He kind of reminds me of the Brawny paper towel guy: lumberjacky, good lookin' - but y'know that man-toon is dumber than a box of rocks. So think of Sport as such: a fairly good-sized, good-lookin' chocolate Lab who means to do you well but — goddamn, that there's one fucktarded man! — who was every day emasculated, snapped at and bitch-slapped by "one of them-there gays, I dunno, never really met one a'fore in real life!" And a teeny, tiny gay, at that. Truman Capote-sized. Put'em-in-your-purse-sized. The other night during a phone conversation with The Boyfriend, I detailed all of the above and more about My Buster Boy, but opened with the Tru-man analogy, knowing My Writerly Guy would both "get" it as a writer-type and appreciate the humor (and, inevitably, from it, create more).

Me: "Bus never exhibits any signs of suffering from the heat; he doesn't sweat or even perspire. No panting, unlike Sport, who you can easily hear over the phone right now. I'm telling you, My Son is so gay, he would don a feather boa even if it were 120 degrees outside, just to, y'know..."

My Wonderful Boyfriend: "Just to show the world how loud and proud he is."

Me: "Exactly. He's got extraordinarily long legs for a Chihuahua, and he is so gay, he takes to crossing them at the ankles when lying down. So elegant. Like I said before, very Truman Capote."

My Wonderful Boyfriend: "Yes, but Truman Capote also had extraordinarily long legs for a Chihuahua, so...."

Me, laughing and simultaneously choking through cigarette smoke: "This — that is very, very true. Buster, Tru: Just - put 'em in your pocket!"

My Wonderful Boyfriend: "Or your sock. I like to keep Truman Capote in my sock."

Me, still wheezing: "I like to keep him in that super-tiny extra pocket of my jeans, the one that serves no purpose because you can't even fit a finger in there. That way, you're sure not to lose Truman Capote. He's safe in there."

I know. I'm rambling. The time for the burial is nigh and the above blathering of sub-sub-sub-genius that took at least 87 percent of your smart (of which I gained none, obviously) allowed me some time to collect myself, gave me some strength and happy memories to approach the site....and the sight.

When I began writing this mid-afternoon on Wednesday, August the 25th, I thought I was then, more than ever, so very, very . . . . tired.

I was mistaken.

I am now, more than ever, so very, very . . . . tired.

And also:

I am — as always, as I always will be, regardless of how very, very tired I am — so very, very true of heart!



If you don't want anyone to know about your existence, you might as well kill yourself. You're taking up space, air.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

Dave Eggers and his Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius are wholly responsible for Unfiction — for me leaving fiction behind, three yards and a cloud of dust, burn baby, burn, sigh-oh-nar-UGH — Annie's found her niche, her genre: her authentic writerly voice.

So there you are. Send your hate mail to McSweeney's. Unless you know where Dave lives in which case . . . .

I have a kidney. In fact, I have two! Would you like to buy them?

Hey — I just wanna' send the guy some letters expressing my deep devotion and undying love. For his WRITING! Sheesh, people. He's married! I'm....with someone....or something....whatever.

Truth: AHWOSG definitely served as my nonfiction catalyst numero uno, Public Enzyme Number One. Then came my first nonfiction workshop — that I wasn't too stoned to sit through or by the professor, intimidated by and made to feel less-than — so truth: it was my second nonfiction workshop, but for me? - first - and the only one that matters. FSU, I wanna' say fall 2005, and Bob Shacochis, you had me at: "All writers are one of two things: 1) Insane. 2) Narcissists. You all are insane narcissists." (That was the workshop's opening line, how he greeted us after settling into his chair. T'was love at first speak. I'd send him love letters, too, if the man ever stayed in one place long enough to receive mail. Hemingway-ing, Beardy Bastard...) Last but first: Kicking dope. When you leave unreality behind, writing about the fictional world seems somehow....wrong. No — not "seems" — is. For me, anyway. My mind would not revert back to fiction. I literally could not sit down and type out a fictional story; the voice was my own, the pages were truth, whether they related to me or others and the cleaner I got, likewise my writing. (This mess here isn't in any way helping me make that case, but other, more "essay"-ish work, I swear, it's — you people just shut the hell up.)

So, as you can clearly see — all of this is Dave Eggers' fault. If you like, place 15 percent of the blame on Sedaris, too, but I didn't read him until a few years later so, again, really, just forward the blame on to Eggers — along with my burning, passionate, never-ending love....

"There is a sensitivity thing that some people have. I don't have it. I don't cry at movies, I don't gush over babies, I don't buy Christmas presents five months early, and I DON'T tell the guy who just ruined both our lives, 'Oh, poor baby.' But I do love you."

Dave . . . .

I mean Matt.

. . . . Mick?


Mecca lecca hi mecca hiney ho?

. Phew! That was close!

Whatever his name is, he's the most re-Mark-able man I know, and he's endured all of this and so much more with me, always at my side, always listening. And I blather precisely like this whether via email or phone, so give My Guy his due propers. Be kind to him. Be gentle. Think of all the smart that's been taken from him these many months? Longer than you pieple know. Annieway, he somehow manages to keep me set on Cruise Control.

Baby, you had me at "Go Fuck Yourself." And that shit's permanent.


"Once, writing was fun. Then, I went way down deep and saw the hell burning at the core of my being and I cannot do anything else that comes close to satisfying the self-actualizing urge to reveal, over the course of whatever ends up being my lifetime, exactly what I saw and felt and smelled and tasted and heard down there. And if I could do anything else that vented that hellfire and maybe showed others how to see their own hellfire the way writing can and does, I'd surely do it." -Ryan Amfahr Longhorn (You can quote me on that shit)

"Don’t you know that I’m trying to pump blood to you, that this is for you, that I hate you people, so many of you motherfuckers — When you sleep I want you never to wake up, so many of you I want you to just fucking sleep it away because I only want you to run under with me on this sand like Indians, if you’re going to fucking sleep all day fuck you motherfuckers oh when you’re sleeping so many sleeping I am somewhere on some stupid rickety scaffolding and I’m trying to get your stupid fucking attention I’ve been trying to show you this, just been trying to show you this — What the fuck does it take to show you motherfuckers, what does it fucking take what do you want how much do you want because I am willing and I'll stand before you and I'll raise my arms and give you my chest and throat and wait, and I’ve been so old for so long, for you, for you, I want it fast and right through me
Oh do it, do it, you motherfuckers, do it do it you fuckers finally, finally, finally." -A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers; Unfiction. Annie McDermott — for a little while, annieway.

"You are hanging on by a very thin thread and I dig that about you, man!"
Rod Tidwell, Jerry Maguire

" . . . . it was just a Mission Statement."
Jerry Maguire, Jerry Maguire; Me, Unfiction, regarding this Unfiction entry.



We feel that to reveal embarrassing or private things, we have given someone something, that, like a primitive person fearing that a photographer will steal his soul, we identify our secrets, our past and their blotches, with our identity, that revealing our habits or losses or deeds somehow makes one less of oneself.

OMISSIONS: Some really great sex scenes were omitted, at the request of those who are now married or involved.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Dave Eggers.

I've had three lovers in the past four years, and they all ran a distant second to a good book and a warm bath.
Dorothy Boyd, Jerry Maguire; Me, Unfiction, revealing a true and embarrassing, private...thing. The statement is true, but the specificity of its truth re me hasn't been revealed. This quote is embarrassing enough.

On a different note, the author feels obligated to acknowledge that, yes, the success of a memoir[-ish kept blog]—of any [blog], really—has a lot to do with how appealing its narrator is. To address this, the author offers the following:
a) That, like Dave Eggers, she is like you.
b) That, like Dave Eggers, like you, she falls asleep shortly after she becomes drunk. [Or would if she still drank.]
c) That, like Dave Eggers and, oh, just admit it, you, sometimes she has sex without condoms. [If memory serves...]
d) That, like Dave Eggers and maybe you, she sometimes falls asleep when she is drunk having sex without condoms. [Once. Memory serves.]
e) That he, Dave Eggers, never gave his parents a proper burialand should her, Annie McDermott's, father remain where he is, under the "care" of the same person, and his funeral take place in Wisconsin rather than Florida, where he always intended to be buried, then she, too, will be guilty of the same impropriety as Dave Eggers, as she will not attend the burial. In fact, she adamantly refuses to fly up north to see her father—unless it's a final trip to pack him up and bring him home, back to the peace, comfort, care and love of those who desperately want and need him near—who desperately need and want to take care of him.
f) That, unlike Dave Eggers, she finished collegetwice overbut never worked to her full potential despite semester after semester of perfect scores, and slacked her way through grad school, stoned and insane, and barely remembers a word of any literature she's ever read, thanks to permanent damage done to her brain by drugs, a memory now worsened by the potentially reversible damage done to her lungs by smoking, the latter damage yielding poor oxygenation to same said brain. [If memory serves.]
g) That, like Dave Eggers, she expects to die young.
h) That, unlike Dave Eggers, her father did not smoke or drink—but, due to genetic fate, her father inherited a slew of autoimmune diseases, yet never took proper care of himself: prescribed preventive measures meant to slow the progress of the rheumatoid and the worst of its crippling effects, gentle exercise to build/maintain bone/muscle strengthand because her father also maintained a voracious appetite for Life, lived a gluttonous one and from somewhere around his late-teens/early-twenties until at least 2006, the year of the coronary, her father binged and purged with frightening frequency—and due to all of the above and more, he is dying as a result, and due in small part to the latter, she spent 3 1/2 years afraid of food.
i) That, like Dave Eggers, she smiles when she sees young black men holding babies. But, like or unlike Dave Eggers, she smiles at the sight of babies—all of them, whether carried, prone, toddling—babies in sight. She also tears-up while smiling when she sees babies. She often finds herself made to look away from babies, because smiling at the sight of babies hurts too much. However, she'll never turn away from holding a baby.

One word: appealing.

And that's just the beginning!

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
. Dave Eggers [with editing semi-cloyingly manufactured and rewritten by Annie McDermott to make the quote most true to life].

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you aren't completely embarrassed yet, but you glimpse tomorrow's embarrassment?
Jerry Maguire, Jerry Maguire




Thank you for being the one constant in my Life throughout these past 14 years, My Buster Boy; these 14 years that were, without a doubt, the worst and/or toughest of my Life. That's more than I can say for any human being. You were living unconditional Love. I saw the beauty within and could not say no; you saw the beauty within and could not say no.

Mommy Loves You, My Sweet Bussie Boy.