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Dear City of Brookhaven Solicitor:

Despite the fact that I frequently flout the rules at the apartment complex pool, I am (generally) a law-abiding citizen. When I visited the Brookhaven Municipal Court yesterday to contest a parking ticket, I was reminded that many people are not.

I used to cover the cop and court system when I was a TV news reporter. Yesterday’s visit made me miss those days. Ah, the sordid lives of others are a nosy person’s catnip.

DUI? Check.
No proof of insurance? Check and check.
Driving without a valid license? Check, check and check.
Revocation of probation? Check, check, check and check.

One dude had been cited for running from the cops on two different occasions. He conveniently forgot about that second time. And that his girlfriend had been the one to call the cops on him.

Another had so many moving violations he had to be on house arrest for 90 days.

I counted more than $5,000 in fines from just five people.

How do people get themselves in these situations?

Maybe they were on Ambien.

I was almost embarrassed that I was just there to whine about a parking ticket — a ticket you dismissed. So thanks for that.

Anyway, it’s good to have a reminder that things can always be worse.

Lovely to meet you, but I hope I won’t see you again.
Beth

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Dear William Shakespeare:

May I call you Wills (like a famous best man)? I feel like I’ve gotten to know you better over the past few days. (And you have a beard, which I like.)

My university has a special week-long “school” for professors to do a deep dive into a text to help us better teach it to students. I signed up for “Othello,” as it is even more relevant today (and I hadn’t read it since I was at this university the first time as a student). (Best part: Watching the Mekhi Phifer/Julia Stiles/Josh Hartnett movie version as homework.)

Anyway, you wrote certain lines in your other plays that people really love and quote all the time. Yet I found some in “Othello” that I’m going to start using regularly:

“Being full of supper and distempering draughts, upon malicious bravery dost thou come to start my quiet?”

I plan to use Brabantio’s line (Act 1, Scene 1) the next time Darryl rings the doorbell after 9 p.m.

“O, gentle lady, do not put me to’t, for I am nothing if not critical.”

I’ll channel Iago (Act 2, Scene 1) with Miles’ mom at the pool this weekend.

“I have drunk but one cup tonight, and that was craftily qualified too, and behold what innovation it makes here!”

Cassio knows a good drinking line when he speaks it (Act 2, Scene 3). As do I. Speaking of drinking …

“I learned it in England, where indeed they are most potent in potting.”

Indeed. Iago speaks the truth (Act 2, Scene 3) about folks drinking in a big way.

“Ha, I like not that.”

Iago delivers a line (Act 3, Scene 3) that is perfect for a variety of occasions.

So thanks for putting words in my mouth. It may have been hard to be the bard, but your efforts still resonate more than 400 years later.

Yours in all kindness,
Beth

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Dear Music Lovers:

If you are like me, you have playlists for various occasions. In my case, these playlists correspond to very specific occasions. Here are some examples:

1. Playlist that keeps me from murdering my attitudinal oldest son and burying his body in the shrubs outside our door:

Notes: It’s hard to be mad at your 13 year old when 13-year-old Taylor Hanson is scatting. No, I’m not ashamed to have One Direction on a playlist. Yes, “1985” resonates (I too never got a hand on a member of Duran Duran. Yet.).

2. Playlist that helps me get ready for work when I spent too much time the night before bingeing “Santa Clarita Diet” and drinking wine.

Notes: I dare you to stand still when you hear any of these songs. “Thrift Shop” is one of my youngest son’s favorite songs.

3. Playlist that allows me to let my redneck freak flag fly (and those moments I can ignore over-the-top objectification of women):

Notes: This may surprise you, but my first date with Eddie was a Tim McGraw/Sawyer Brown concert. I was a DJ for a country music radio station at the time. As I also worked as a TV news reporter, I couldn’t use my real name on air at the radio station. I wanted to call myself Moonpie Jones, but my boss wouldn’t let me.

4. Playlist to offer when someone asks you your favorite song from the ’80s.

Notes: How could I choose? So many great songs for so many good reasons. It’s shocking how Bow Wow Wow is undervalued and underplayed.

5. Playlist for when the kids are not in the car:

 

Notes: All great. All NSFW and NSFC. It’s surprising there’s no “E” next to “Crazy Bitch.” It’s definitely “E.” (Sarah K., don’t say a word to me about Buckcherry.)

6. Playlist for stress cleaning your habitat because your house in your old city STILL hasn’t sold.

Notes: It’s been a year. This is better than drinking.

7. Playlist for cooking complicated dishes like Mexican tamales, Puerto Rican pasteles and Japanese gyoza while wishing regular life could be as easy as following a recipe.

Notes: If I’m going to cook, I’m going to COOK (i.e., go all out). All-day cooking makes me feel very counterculture — counter to my usual routine — hence this throwback playlist.

I’m open to new bands. I promise! (I’m just too lazy to go searching.) Send me your top playlist and its best occasion!

Thanks for the recs,
Beth

 

From Instagram. Change 2000s to 1980s.

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Dear Union EAV:

Thank you for being the bright spot in an otherwise dim evening. Mistakes were made.

Mistake No. 1.
Going out on a school night. My friend Kalen and I thought the Star Bar would be hopping with people grooving to DJ MP3PO and Quasi Mandisco. Yeah, not so much.

Mistake No. 2
Thinking 529 or The Earl might be more lively. They were as dead as some of my favorite GoT characters.

Seen in the Star Bar ladies room

Mistake No. 3
Investigating Mary’s. It was voted Best Karaoke in Creative Loafing but I’m not sure why. We walked in the door then right back out.

But you, Union EAV, lured us in and salvaged the night. I never would have chosen a rap open-mic night, but there we were, packed in a 20-by-20-foot room with about 30 30-something black men. I’ve never felt so white. But also I felt welcomed, as we all were there to see young artists perform.

The first rapper we saw was this guy:

It was like “Showtime at the Apollo.” He introduced himself in a thick Eastern European accent. The crowd was prepared to boo this dude. But then he began rapping and earned respect.

Me: Where did he say he was from? Belarus?
Kalen: Bosnia!

This woman was one of the best of the night: a true master of the form:

Everyone was clearly having a good time. It could have been the performers. Or it could have been the result of something that formed a cloud with a distinctive odor. Or it could have been the effect of what we suspect was in the container guarded by the Punisher.

Didn’t matter. Still chill. Great fun. Like “8 Mile” without the conflict.

Then the Lyft driver for my ride home turns out to be a Peruvian opera singer.

I always have the best time when I say, “Yes, and …

So thanks, and maybe I’ll see you again.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear MTV Programming Honchos:

I was sick for days, but now I’m cured. You get the credit.

Without you, I moved slowly through the five stages of illness (yep, just like the stages of grief).

Denial
My throat is not sore. I’ve just been running my mouth too much.

Anger
I refuse to get sick.

Bargaining
Please, I can’t get sick right now. I have too much to do. I’ll take NyQuil tonight and be fine tomorrow.

Depression
Why now? Why me?

Acceptance
This is where you come in. I cancelled all plans and did what I should have done in the beginning: Curl up on the couch and binge-watch “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.”

Yes, y’all: Almost 10 years since the debut of “Jersey Shore,” but some things haven’t changed (including Pauly D‘s hair).

I’m your target audience. If it’s reality TV, I’ll watch it. As you know.

In case you gave the green light but stopped paying attention (and shame on you, if you did), let me recap my favorite episode of the marathon:

Ronnie was grinding on slop tarts all night, but in a 2018 development, there is Instagram evidence. His girlfriend isn’t answering the phone. He assumes she is pissed off at him. He finally gets her on the duck.She hasn’t seen the photos/videos and isn’t upset. He instigates a fight. The rest of the guys can’t believe it.

Then they act it out in the interview room like The Roots do “The Bachelor.

I’m on the edge of the couch, phlegm forgotten: Will they work it out? We’ll see when she comes to visit.

In the next episode, Deena crashes guys’ night out, gets drunk and starts falling like she does. Best line from Vinny, who did not want her to come with them:

“She’s a drunk little meatball. You have to contain her or she’s going to roll off the plate.”

I love this show. So much.

Trish, who stayed with us this weekend, was mortified.

Trish: How can you still be smart when you watch crap like this?

Me: It’s because of crap like this. It’s a palate cleanser!

So thank you, MTV people. I wouldn’t say I’m mint, but I’m not jacked hideous.

Yours in neutral,
Beth

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Dear Bearded Men:

I love you. Every single one of you, apparently. And that, in fact, was news to me.

I was at a club with my friend Clair not too long ago, fangirling over one of the hairy members of the band that had just played — mostly because I was having a great time out and loved their music.

He thought I was hitting on him. I think Clair did too. (I told you: I’m a Golden Retriever when I like someone’s work.) She said, “Ah she just loves tall men with beards.”

I paused. I was about to disagree, then I thought, “Oh. That’s actually true.” I had never really identified that as a thing for me before.

And then I remembered that time when I nearly cried when my BFF Royce shaved off his glorious mustache and goatee.

Even married straight men could not get enough of The Royce’s furry face.

So, yeah. Clair had me pegged.

At my son’s baseball game Saturday, I complimented a fellow mom’s date:

Me: “Your beard is lovely — quite lush.”

Him: “Thank you!”

Me to the beard’s lady: “I love beards. I’ve been begging Eddie to grow his back, but he complains that he doesn’t have the connection or anything beyond the chin area. I told him that’s the same for Johnny Depp but he doesn’t care, nor do the thousands of women who love him.”

Beard’s lady: “I know that’s right.”

Going back to Clair’s comment, I want to point out that the owner of the beard doesn’t have to be tall. Johnny Depp is 5’10”.

Beards hide all kinds of things: weak chins, thin lips, acne scars, a mole shaped like China, etc. (Note that women do not have this option. We have only makeup and plastic surgery. And the distraction of boobs, where applicable.)

So, in honor of Man Crush Monday, and my own particular fetish, feast your eyes on this collection of hot men — some famous, some friends, some with full facial hair, some with just scruff (in first-name alphabetical because I am Monica):

 

Also, I realized while compiling this that I totally have a type. (Yeah, I know. Some things are not immediately obvious to ourselves. Like a beard fixation in general.)

Anyway, I raise my glass to you hirsute hotties. Keep on growing!

Your not-so-secret admirer,
Beth

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Dear Sun,

I’m glad you exist, but we need to talk.

I spent a week at the beach but DELIBERATELY tried to avoid you. You may have noticed that I’m a white girl. Very white. Milky even. And I try to stay that way.

I’m married to and have birthed brown people. Go hang out with them. They love you and have no adverse effects.

I, however, am traumatized by my experiences with you.

Remember how you harassed me in the Dominican Republic when I tried so hard to escape you? I was in the shade of a building, wearing sunscreen, a one-piece bathing suit AND a cover up. Somehow I still got burned. On my stomach. (For real.)

There are two kinds of people who go to the beach: People who want to “lay out” to worship you and people like me, who enjoy the scenery and experience but need a cave.

Here are examples of the first:

And here’s my cave:

My chair is the one completely in the shade.

Here’s a lady who is in the second category but thinks she is in the first. (Lily White is going to be in so much pain.):

And here’s a velvet bikini, because I didn’t know such things existed:

Anyway, despite my best efforts, you attacked me again. My arms and chest are red. HOW? The only time I emerged from my shady haven was to visit the loo.

I probably should have set up camp UNDER the pavilion like these people:

Now I need aloe.

Thanks so much, friend.

Warm SPF 100 wishes,
Beth

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