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I’d Rather Be Drunk at the Alibi than Following Politics. Wouldn’t You?

October 13th, 2008

When I was young and drunk, I dated a large Irishman, who was 6’5″ and, like me, an English major and writer. He also liked to drink. And have conversations that were apropos of everything and nothing at the same time.

On his desire to have a large family with me: “We could have 10 babies, and they’d wear shoes sizes 2 to 12.”

On his desired career: “Butt-duster for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.”

On our shared love of Raymond Carver: “We’re okay writers, but we’ll never be as good as Carver.”

On his need for a piano: “I’d like to learn to play piano.”

So I gave him our family’s old piano, since none of us knew how to play. He learned to play, and play well. Then he freaked out when I gave him some New Orleans voodoo sheet music. Something about Zora Neale Hurston and this:


A zombie is an undead person in the Afro-Caribbean and Creole spiritual belief system of voodoo. These folkloric zombies are human bodies re-animated by supernatural means and shamanistic medicine to create dread among the living. Other more macabre versions of zombies have become a staple of modern horror fiction, where they usually engage in human cannibalism.

According to the tenets of voodoo, a dead person can be revived by a bokor or mambo. Zombies remain under the control of the bokor or mambo since they have no will of their own. “Zombi” is also the name of the voodoo snake god of Niger-Congo origin; it is akin to the Kongo word nzambi, which means “god.”

In 1937, while researching folklore in Haiti, Zora Neale Hurston encountered the case of Felicia Felix-Mentor, who had died and been buried in 1907 at the age of 29. Villagers believed they saw Felicia wandering the streets in a daze thirty years after her death, as well as claiming the same with several other people. Hurston pursued rumours that the affected persons were given powerful drugs, but she was unable to locate individuals willing to offer much information. …

Whatever. You think a person would be happy to get voodoo sheet music but nooooooo, he was all superstitious and Irish and a little drunk, to boot. So he left for New Orleans to shake off my hex and that was that. I did run into him when my daughter was about four-months-old, teething and crazy. (Teething: her. Crazy: me.)

All he said was, “Nancy, your daughter — she is so beautiful.” Then he got all choked up. It was very sweet, and I was all, you know, totally forgiving about his voodoo freak-out, I was happily married, with a brand-new sweet little daughter. Albeit a pissed-off one, but whatever. We let bygones be bygones and all that. (What the hell does that expression mean, anyway?)

I was just fine, settling into this new life of mine, Married With Children and all that. You know why I fell for Steve? He wasn’t a jerk. The Irishman wasn’t a jerk, either. But let’s just say, I dated my share of jerks. Then a male co-worker, who was the coolest dude, happily married with three great sons, told me, “Just date the nice ones, don’t date the assholes. How hard is that?”

I saw Steve and I thought, Tranquility. I did. It was the absolute first thing that came to mind. He didn’t have any 1) ex-wives (although there were a number of his ex-girlfriends roaming around) 2) children 3) alimony or child support payments 4) drug or alcohol addictions. He seemed like a SNAG. You know what that means?

Sensitive New Age Guy

Fast-forward a decade. Now comes the election, which is the ugliest one I’ve ever seen in my life. The politics. The blogging. The meetings. The phone calls. The incessant pleading on the other line, at the door, and through the mail for votes, donations, time, time and yard signs. Mas y mas y mas.

And… we have in the thick of it, the force of nature that is my husband, Hockey God.

You know who calls for him, in addition to the politicos, the school district, the newspapers, the Society of Professional Journalists, the rest of the riff-raff? That’s right. My girlfriends. Buncha tramps. (No, you cannot have him, ladies, thanks for asking.) The others? They want him live-blogging, speaking at conferences, they want him at the meetings, and on and on and no, I am not jealous. It’s just that he mis-represented, okay? Or more like, I mis-represented, in my own little head. Hockey God is many things, including a snag, but he is no SNAG. Sigh. He is Big Deal. He is even more complex than Drunken Irishman was, he of the hexes, the fears, the mixed messages, the randomness. Who knew?

So girls, when you’re asking me, “How did you snag such a great guy as Hockey God?” (Which really, is akin to “How did the two of you get such a cute baby?” or some other backhanded compliment.) Well. Just remember — we are all complex individuals.

I’m certainly not saying I’d rather be back in the olden, golden days of my drunken youth, working unintentional hexes and getting drunk at the Alibi… but goddamn, I am ready for the political season to be over.

Just in time for hockey to really get going.

What’s your take on marriage, or lack thereof? Is it all you’ve ever dreamed of? (smiles.)

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