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Dear Trish the Chicken (RIP):

A former graduate student of mine (now friend) sent me a link to this article today, and I immediately thought of you. And missed you, of course.

You would have made a great gang leader. You had a strong personality and did not suffer fools. You were never too chicken (har har) to go anywhere. You also were very loyal to me alone, much to Eddie’s chagrin.

I feel sorry for the little fox in the story, but the idea of a chicken gang is hilarious.

Anyway, I hope you are having a ball tearing up the landscaping and pooping everywhere in the great coop in the sky.

Yours always,
Beth

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Dear Aggressive Dudes on Words With Friends:

I’ve mentioned this to you before, but can you please not try to chat with me? I’m just there to play the game not THAT GAME.

I even changed my profile picture to stop the madness.

It didn’t work.

Here’s one of your brethren with his moves:

 

I continued to ignore him, so this happened:

 

People may ask, “So why do you accept the game request from someone you don’t know?” The answer is that sometimes it is a friend of a friend, and that’s totally fine.

But now I’m going to take every opportunity to mess with people like you. Witness:

Anyway, word of warning: I’m here to play, literally and figuratively.

No love and no kisses,
Beth

Dear Johnny’s Hideaway:

Until this weekend, I had heard of you, but never sampled your charms. I had no idea what I was missing.

This is a photo from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution write-up. Add 400 people to this photo, and you have a good picture of Saturday night.

Kalen, a recurring character here, made the recommendation.

There was a line to get in you. A line! I haven’t waited in a line to get into a club in … OK, a week, but still. This was the longest. Ever.

Once inside, it was clear why the bouncer had the strict “one in, one out” policy. The fire marshal must be on retainer. Sardines in a can have more fin room.

Also, I am intrigued by the demographics. The swath appeared to be 25 to 75. I’ve never seen grannies grinding grandpas on a dance floor before, but there they were in all their glory.

And what’s happening here?

She looks like she came straight from her son’s soccer game or a book club meeting.

Anyway, anyone who goes out with me knows my nurturing instinct kicks in hard at some point during the night.

A lady has a tag out? Let me help.

Looking sad? Let’s talk.

Separated from the herd? Join us.

Royce and Sarah call this phenomenon, “The doctor is in.”

This occasion was no different. My first stray was Tanya.

Tanya had clearly had too much of a good time. I brought her into our group, where she was able to safely live her best life. She left to go to the ladies room. We continued dancing.

By this time, I had picked up another stray: Mark. We had helped each other bulldoze a path to the bathrooms. He was alone, so he joined us.

We were all dancing and suddenly Tanya popped back into our group. We couldn’t believe it; we actually cheered. And Tanya thought this was a karaoke bar. Here she is with her invisible hot mic.

Finally, we decided it was time to go. Things were getting sloppy around us. And Thankgod our Lyft driver was close. Literally “Thankgod.” Look:

And if that’s not a funny story close, I don’t know what is.

So Johnny’s Hideaway, thank God for an entertaining night. In the words of that great thespian Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.”

Here’s to your drink-free dance floor. (Now get rid of the cigs.)
Beth

Jesse’s Divide plays Smith’s Olde Bar

Dear Close Family and Friends:

Have I mentioned how much I appreciate you? You put up with my — how shall I put this — “projects.”

You know my motto as a writer: Bad decisions make good stories.

Take, for example, one of my most notorious adventures: The now-defunct Redneck Games in Dublin, Georgia. My posts about that event still get plenty of hits.

And then there were the chickens. Trish was the best pet, though, and I was very sad when she met her untimely end.

So when I said I was trying to plan a Southeast tour for a U.K. band, Jesse’s Divide, that I had seen and loved, all of you did your thing: a shrug, an eye roll, a sigh — whatever fit your usual shtick. But because you love me, you came out to support these chaps at one of their shows. 

And every one of you said, “Beth! They’re really good.”

YES.

I KNOW.

Why else would I do something so crazy, so outside my comfort zone?

Don’t answer that.

Anyway, thanks to the JD guys and all of you for believing in me. I still can’t believe it really happened.

Here are Nick, Simon and Rob in my house playing Uno with my family and me. Surreal.

Now go listen to all their stuff on Spotify, iTunes, etc.

And just wait for my next adventure.

Your weird friend/relative,
Beth

How to have a great time in New Orleans around Mardi Gras without losing your money, mind or morals
By Beth, Bon Vivant

So you’re headed to The Big Easy, and you want to make sure your trip doesn’t end up going viral on social media for all the wrong reasons? I hear you. I’m here to help with a short list of DOs and DON’Ts:

DO:
• Go with a long-time friend who is very familiar with the area and has a hat you can borrow when you get cold.

Wendy, Beth and Wendy’s hat. And new bead necklaces. (More on those in a moment.)

• Fortify yourself with Char-Grilled oysters from Felix’s. (Don’t wait in the line for the inferior Acme across the street. And don’t wait in the Felix’s line on Iberville: Go around to the one on Bourbon.)

• Appreciate the wit of The Crescent City denizens.

• Take advantage of smaller parades when they pop up as you are walking down the street. People in the parade will force beads on you whether you want them or not.


• Blend in with the rest of the tourists at a packed dance place.

• Say “Oh HELL yes” when your long-time friend wants to go to the Chewbacchus parade, which features a multitude of Chewbaccas (Chewbacci?).

• Marvel at the coordination it took to get so many different groups on board — groups like the Leijorettes.

• Admire festive outfits.

• Make friends with law enforcement officials. You’ll want them feeling friendly toward you should you make any mistakes. (Not that I did. I was very well behaved. But Officer Cummings and I became chums anyway.)

• Sample season-specific cocktails.

 

DON’T:
• Sample too many season-specific cocktails. Or too many of any, really.

• Pay attention to certain calls for action. Everyone has a smartphone and social media account!

• Argue if anyone says the Saints got robbed (“Blow whistles, not games“).

Laissez les bons temps rouler, y’all!

Dear Friends Worried About My Sanity and My Son’s Life:

Thank you for your concern. I’m speaking to him again. Why? He said some magic words:

Can I have a hug?

And that was it.

(Don’t tell anyone that I have a secret soft side.)

In return for putting up with his bad behavior, though, I secured the rights to publish a ridiculous picture of him.

Before I show it to you, let me set the scene:

Eddie is picking up Gideon from track practice. It’s only Dominic and me at home. I guess he doesn’t realize I’m home because he calls me on the phone. (And you all know how I feel about talking on the phone.)

(The call is coming from INSIDE the house!)

Mama! Can you come help me? I’m stuck!

Just then, Eddie calls.

Can you help your son? He is stuck in the bed.

Wait … what?

So I go in his room and I see this:

No child was harmed in the taking of this photo.

It’s an antique bed. This child slid off the end of it and trapped himself. I took the picture then helped him escape.

(For those of you wondering why I stopped to take a photo, it’s like you don’t even know me! In our family, if someone does something stupid, we laugh and/or document it first, then ask questions.)

Also notice his acid-washed jeans. Those are in style again, people (as are fanny packs).

Sigh.

Anyway, he’s fine. And we’re fine — until the next time the hormones take control.

I’ll be sure to update you.

Yours truly,
Beth

 

“The Omen 6”: Now filming in my house, apparently

Dear Satan:

I’m sure you think it was very funny switching bodies with my 14-year-old son. Hee hee. Ha ha. You’ve had your fun. Now I’m ready to have Dominic back.

What’s this? It’s not you? He’s just a typical 14-year-old boy. There’s more where that came from, you say?

Oh no.

A Dominic selfie: “Feeling cute. Might delete later.”

I was certain he was inhabited by a demon Sunday (the Sabbath — oh the irony). He was so unusually awful that I told him I was done speaking to him for a while so I could preserve my sanity.

I didn’t say one word to him for five whole days. If he came into the room, I left. I’ve never done that before, but honestly, it gave me such peace.

At one point, Eddie and I had this conversation:

Him: When are you going to start talking to Dominic?

Me: I don’t know. It’s been kind of great.

Him: Maybe for you but you not talking to him means I have to, and he makes me want to kill him.

I felt like I had failed as a parent though. It was going to be my dirty little secret. But then I told another mom about it in confidence, and she said, “Yep. I’ve been there. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do for your own sake. They suck at that age.”

Emboldened, I confessed to another friend.

She said, “I’ve totally done that. I’ve even packed a bag and left the house to stay in a hotel for the night.”

That’s some Big Mom Energy right there.

It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Or is it?

Do you have a special treatment (i.e., tranquilizer or the like) for such creatures? Or do I need to take that up with another entity?

Let me know. Things are tough here, which you might love, but remember that the 14-year-old might even be too much for you to bear.

Yours truly from HOTlanta (tee hee*),
Beth

* No one in Atlanta uses this term for real. It’s cringey. And we all immediately know “you ain’t from ’round here.”