Race for Space

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here!

Well…almost here.  It’s in the vicinity.

That’s right.  I’M GONNA BE AN ASTRONAUT!!!

But first – I need your help.  ALL of you.  Go here and vote for me :

The Last Drop in the Bucket (List)

via Race for Space.

And tell your friends.  Tweet about it.  Share it on Facebook.  Get me in that spaceship!!!

A Message for My Secret Santa

Dearest Sneaky MacSneakerPants :

In all the years that I have known you and worked with you, you have always been the quintessential keeper of secrets – a master spy if ever there was one…a veritable vault.  And now it has been brought to my attention that you might  perhaps, maybe,  just possibly know the identity of my Secret Santa.  Though I know you will be a hard nut to crack, I feel ready for the challenge.

My  source (who is very sneaky indeed, but not quite sneaky enough) has also let slip several hints about the alleged Secret Santa’s purchasing history (I know that someone as super-sneaky as you would never be so reckless with such sensitive information!)  But the hints are as follows:

A)  the gift is wearable;

B) the gift is actually two of something;

C) the gift is neither gloves nor socks.

Although I am known to be a profoundly patient person *ahem*, I cannot help but ponder this great mystery.

I have a feeling that if I should guess correctly and my Secret Santa was made aware, however sneaky and secretive he (or SHE) may be,  he (or SHE) might crack under the pressure and come clean.

So, although I have NO IDEA who that Secret Santa is, you do work in the same office, so I was thinking you might have connections.  Therefore I am sending my list of guesses to you in the hopes that you can do me a solid and pass it on (secretly and sneakily, of course).  My guesses are as follows:

Drea M.’s Top Ten Potential Secret Santa Gifts

  1. False eyelashes [already own some, but can always use an extra pair]
  2. Breast implants [don’t need these, thanks – trust me]
  3. Moon boots [REALLY REALLY like these!]
  4. Knee pads [might need these while using the moon boots]
  5. Wrist casts [might need these after using the moon boots]
  6. Nipple rings [I enjoy a good exotic piercing, but might be kinda weird to show off at the office party]
  7. Shoulder pads [the 80s are coming back]
  8. Ear muffs [can never have too many]
  9. Dentures [….]
  10. Pasties [there is a surprising amount of wearable things that involve boobs – ever notice that?]

Please tell my Secret Santa that I shall have no problem at all in waiting until Christmas, but I would hate for him (or HER) to have to suffer beneath the burden of keeping such important information to him (or HER) self, so he (or SHE) should know that I would be willing to share the load.

I know I can trust you with this message.

Thank you, and Happy (Early) Holidays.

Your friend, co-worker, and confidante,

Drea M.

On the Importance of Always Remaining Just a Bit Out of Touch with Reality – Part VI

It was late at night as the Girl drove through town.  The lights were red at the intersection, but as she pulled up to the line, the light quickly turned to green.  The same thing happened at the next stop, and the next.

Though she had a vague recollection of some nonsense told to her by a member of the public works commission about the lights being controlled by sensors, she knew the real reason for her good luck.

As each light transformed its hue from angry crimson to welcoming emerald, the Girl saw, in the periphery of her vision, the flashing of dozens of cameras as an unseen doorman consulted a V.I.P. list before lifting a red velvet rope and waving her through.  Liveried guards raised their spears and bowed their heads as she passed.  Fans cheered and threw flowers.

The Girl blew a kiss into her rear-view mirror.   It felt good to have connections.

Just another night in the head of Drea M.

[Click for Part I, Part II]

Dirty Little Secret (in A-Minor)

*DISCLAIMER:  I am not, nor do I claim to be, anything even remotely close to an expert on the subjects broached in this post (with the possible exception of the bit about spit puddles).  I am a total amateur in every single possible sense of the word, so take your snobbery elsewhere.

Most people, if asked what kind of music I listen to, wouldn’t hesitate – I make no secret of my obsession with, er…loyalty to certain musical brands.  (The Killers and The Cure, for instance…and not just because I enjoy the wordplay.  Which I do.)  Yeah, alternative/indie/goth/rock, mostly – I’ll even admit to the occasional momentary lapse into the Carpenters (usually in the shower, when I am still half-asleep and being primarily controlled by some lower part of my reptile brain).

But what people don’t know is that I’m a closet classical music freak.  (If you are one of the many, many members of the population who find classical music like nails on slate, you might want to bow out now.  You will not be judged.)  In fact, being judged is why I don’t usually tell many people about this.  People who rhapsodize about their love of classical music sound like assholes.  And many are lying.  Many are probably also basing this claim on their familiarity with samples from Carmina Burana in the soundtrack for [insert random movie title here], which is not necessarily a bad thing.

But I – I currently have Mozart’s early symphonies on auto-repeat in my car.  And as I write this, I am listening to a compilation CD of some of my favourites (and oh, yes, there are many clichés there, too – sometimes things become overrated because they are Awesome.  It’s just how things are.)  I was surprised at work the other day by my boss, who caught me listening to Wagner as I worked on my reports (she looked at me funny.)

And music truly does soothe the savage breast.  I can be in full-tilt moonphase demon mode, and three seconds of Vivaldi and I’m all better!  (And if anyone posts a comment giggling about me misspelling ‘beast’, there’s going to be a whole new post tomorrow about classical theatre.)   An ordinary day, full of ordinary dullness and the chores of everyday life…can be elevated to fine art by the simple addition of some really beautiful classical music.  It’s like getting a brain massage while doing the dishes.

And there is music for every mood!  Dreamy?  Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.   Need empowerment?  Peer Gynt by Grieg.  Tense and need to sort out the chaos in your mind?  Pretty much anything by Mozart (except…)  Miserable and want to wallow?  Mozart’s Requiem.  Jaunty and feeling like doing a silly walk?  Ravel’s Bolero.  Daydreamy or in love?  Bach’s Suite No. 3 (also very nice for setting the mood during an afternoon nap in the sun).  Bipolar?  Much of Beethoven’s body of work will suffice.

I don’t know if you can ‘acquire’ a taste for classical music, though.  Most people either love it or hate it, I think, and for me it truly was love at first listen.  I loved a lot of music as a kid, which was kind of weird, because there was never really much music in my house.  My parents had a small collection of eight-tracks (er, should I be admitting that?  If you don’t know what 8-tracks are…well, piss off) from their teen years, and I would commandeer the machine for whole afternoons of listening to Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens…but I also had this tiny little glass music box with brass cogs inside that played ‘Für Elise’ and I would wind that sucker up over and over, pressing my ear to it to listen to its tiny tinkly sounds.

Even so, I was never exposed, really, to classical music until I was around 10 years old.   I was in sixth grade and because we would be in junior high the following year, the junior high band came to perform a concert for us in an attempt to recruit future band nerds.

Now, of course, looking back, it seems quite laughable.  I can only imagine what the junior high band must have sounded like.  Trust me, I know.  But because I’d never been in a room of any size with a live orchestra, I had no idea what to expect.  As I sat cross-legged on my coat on the gym floor that day, I fell in love.  Watching those kids – those ordinary kids – looking all dignified and serious with their dainty little flutes and impressive-looking brasses and the timpani (just like in The Catcher in the Rye!), I felt myself lifting out of my body and floating up and up, out the open skylights and into the atmosphere.  I’d never felt anything like it.

I begged my parents to let me join band the following year.  But I was already heavily into skating and they really didn’t think I should spread myself so thin, plus the added expense of an instrument…so I entered seventh grade without joining band.  But don’t worry – by eighth grade, they were sick of me whining, so I was fitting myself out for a clarinet a bit late, but there I was.  In my grey skirt, white blouse and burgundy crested blazer, my shiny silver and black woodwind in hand.

Oh, I loved it.  Yes, I hated the feel of the reed on my lip.  I wasn’t crazy about the mutually-accepted nonchalance of musicians regarding spit puddles.  Being too keen moved me up to first chair before I was really ready for the responsibility of having to put in extra practice time for solos, which led to the occasional ‘Oops, I just split my last reed, sorry!’ moment.  But I loved the comradery, I loved the special occasion feeling of backstage before a concert, I loved being surrounded by and a part of the music during a performance, I loved getting out of class for rehearsals.

However, I still sort of sucked, and I eventually learned I preferred listening to performing.

The best was yet to come.  In university, I was enrolled in the core acting program and since we acting students were always around anyway and usually hungry, the performance hall that shared the theatre school space gave us first choice of ushering jobs.  That’s right – I ended up getting paid to sit in the back of a darkened theatre for symphony performances, operas, music recitals, ballets, letting the music wash over me…oh, my god, it was HEAVEN.

It was in those years that the music crept into my soul and I’m still as smitten as I ever was.  But I can’t help but wonder if my neighbors love it as much as me, ’cause I’m playing it kind of loud today.

Oh, well.

The Nut Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

My last name at birth was Hepburn.

My grandfather used to tell me, when I was too little to be suspicious or question what he meant by it, that I was “a true Hepburn.”

I also really, really like books.

How do these facts relate to one another, you ask?

Well, I was re-reading ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brönte the other day (because the last time I read it, I was seven…and funnily enough, a lot of it didn’t really stick with me).  And guess what???

One of my ancestors is mentioned in it!!!  (My Great-Uncle Firth keeps track of the family tree, and this dude is on it – and up until now I was marginally ashamed to be related to what seemed to be a long line of witches, murderers and horse thieves…BUT NOW I THINK IT’S AWESOME!)

Here it is (and if you don’t believe me, click here to go to the actual text):

“I like black Bothwell better: to my mind a man is nothing without a spice of the devil in him; and history may say what it will of James Hepburn, but I have a notion, he was just the sort of wild, fierce, bandit hero whom I could have consented to gift with my hand.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

So it’s hereditary.

Awesome.

Bad Boy, 16th Century-Style

The Sweet Smell of Freon in the Morning

I had a skating dream last night.

Skating dreams are frustrating, because unlike most of my dreams, my skating dreams do not stray far from reality.  (My skydiving dreams, for instance, are nothing short of epic – skydiving in real life is pretty freakin’ awesome, but in dreams I am like a superhero.)

In my skating dreams, I am usually in the same dingy small town rink that I spent most of my youth in.  It’s still cold, and I still can’t land a triple anything.  But for some reason, I wake up feeling nostalgic – which is interesting, because I sort of hated skating.

You see, I was forced to start skating against my will.  I was (yeah, I know) pathologically shy as a kid.  My parents thought it would be healthy for me to have some extracurricular social contact, and since we lived in a small town with limited choices, it was either girl scouts, a church group of some sort, or figure skating.  Figure skating it was.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t totally hate it at first.  I may have even been kind of happy after my first lesson, even though I was confused because I couldn’t tell if my instructor was a boy or a girl.  (She had a bowl cut and was wearing pants.  Gimme a break, I was seven.  I figured it out…eventually.)

And then I moved through the badges really fast and made some friends – one of whom would turn out to be my best friend when we both wound up at the same school for junior high.  Then it was suggested to my parents that I continue on to the group mysteriously known as ‘Juniors’.

I had no idea what ‘Juniors’ was.  But I became one.  And made a total ‘tard of myself on the first day.

In addition to being really shy (and therefore unlikely to initiate conversation even to ask a question which really should be asked, like, say, “So this Juniors thing…what’s that all about?”), I was also a pretty easy-going kid.  I was happy to live my life on a need-to-know basis.  I mean, I trusted my parents not to subject me to anything that would be bad for me (boy, did I grow out of that!), and so I figured ‘Juniors’ was where I was supposed to be and that was that.

The first day of Juniors was a Saturday.  Instead of just an hour in the evening once a week like the badge program, I would now be skating all day on Saturdays and would have private coaches.   When I came out of the dressing room, the other juniors were out on the ice.  There were only a handful, and they were scattered all over the ice.  I spotted my friend and made a beeline for her…and immediately got smacked-down.

Apparently there was this thing called ‘patch’, where each skater gets a patch of ice to work on their figures (yes, that means figure-8s, and…well, fancy figure-8s).  Patches are sacred.  You don’t skate across another skater’s patch.  I’m just lucky Tonya Harding didn’t skate out of my club.

Well, I caught on.

Yeah, I went on to ‘Seniors’ eventually and even got my coach’s certification – though I hope none of the little brats I taught ever wondered if I was a boy.  And the great thing about these hierarchical activities is that you eventually have others below you that you can act all high-and-mighty around and pretend you always knew not to skate over someone else’s patch.

I spent the next 10 years in rinks.  All sorts of rinks.  Nice ones, heated ones, big ones, ones with mysterious drips coming from the ceiling that formed icky yellow slush puddles on the ice.   I remember my dad picking me up in the Jeep on dark winter nights, so exhausted I couldn’t even speak, stretching my throbbing feet in front of me and dozing off on the drive home, where I would eat the supper my mom had kept warm for me before crashing hard.

It’s not just the dreams that make me sentimental now – it’s other things, too.  Like music.  Even now, hearing “Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry” takes me right back to freestyle practice – that tinny, cheap 80s rink music.  Or “The Stray Cat Strut” – from the year my precision line group dressed in cat suits for the year-end carnival.  Any kind of waltz, and I’m right back in Tommy’s arms (Tommy was only boy in the club and had the burden of partnering everybody for their dance exams – poor Tommy), or worse, if Tommy wasn’t around, the arms of one of the two very-very tall girls in the club who had to stand in for him in a pinch.  I remember very clearly protesting to my freestyle coach when she assigned me the song for my first solo choreography – “Tea For Two” and a bunch of cutesy footwork was waaaaay too baby-ish for a nearly-nine-year-old.

I remember other sounds, too.

Like the sound of Mrs. Gilmour – she was a sort of house mother that babysat all of us, sitting in the dressing room sewing our costumes and knitting us Lopi sweaters.  “Get off that telephone, young lady!  Do you know how much your parents are paying for your ice time??”  The ooohs and aaaaaahs when our new dresses were finished – particularly my first dress with double ruffled skirts that flew out and looked like a tutu during a spin (custom-made by Mrs. G., of course).

The sound of skate blades scraping sideways to produce snow to pack on a fellow skater’s injury after a bad fall.  If you think skating is a dainty sport, think again.  I once put the end of my blade right through my shin-bone during a jump…not pretty.

Then there was the clack of hockey sticks on the hollow seats of the stands as the players filed in for practice after our session, and the hockey players bitching about us skaters leaving divots in the ice with our picks that even the zamboni couldn’t repair.  (Blah blah blah.)

Oh, the hockey players.  For some of us, that was about the only exposure we got to boys, other than school.  We only saw them at a distance, from our lonely isolated patches of ice, though.  I, of course, developed a long-standing crush on one, a boy with dark hair, dark eyes and a big smile.  We actually became friends later on, and in fact, he may or may not have been my first date.  Never did figure it out for sure.  He started asking me to dance for all the slow songs at the high school dances, but I figured it was just because I was short and so was he.  He used to joke around and eat popsicles over my shoulder while we danced, so I never took it seriously, even though I was mad for him.  Then one night he asked me if I wanted to (what else) go skating with him (I figured he wanted the practice).  He picked me up in his mom’s car and invited himself up to my room afterward.  But I was a 14-year-old four-eyed dork whose entire social life so far consisted of hanging out in a cold rink with a bunch of other girls and I’d never had a boy in my room ever …so when he came and sat next to me on the bed, I figured he needed more room, so to be polite, I went and sat in the chair.  He’s happily married with kids now, I hear.  Still cute, though.  Wonder if he still plays hockey?

And then there are the smells.  Freon.  Oh, the smell of freon, that cold ozone-y taste of the air in a rink.  I will never forget it.  (Or maybe I will – have there been any long-term studies on what those fumes to your brain?)  Boiled canteen hot dogs.  Vending machine hot chocolate and Lime Crush.  White shoe polish for your boots before a show or competition.  Band-aids (yes, they have a smell).

But it’s only now that I have these fond reminiscences.  When I turned 17, I rebelled.  I discovered booze and boys (yes, finally) and threw a tantrum and declared that I hated skating, hated the cold, and never wanted to skate again.  I got rid of all of my equipment except for one pair of skates (my best ones).  And then I didn’t hit the ice again for many years.

The funny thing about it, though, it’s like riding a bike, I guess.  Some years back, I went skating and I had been a bit nervous that I would fall on my ass.  It came back instantly – along with all the memories of alllll those hours.  It was awesome, despite how sore my feet were afterward from squishing them into my teenager-sized skates (which sadly, I hadn’t cleaned properly when I stored them in my fit of angst and it took the guy at the shop forever to get all the rust off the blades, amidst much ‘tsk’-ing over my treatment of such expensive gear, blah blah blah).

But as many hours as I spent there, I never did land anything great, like a triple-anything.  So wouldn’t you think the least my subconscious could do would be to give me that in my dreams?  But no.  In my dreams, I even have to coach the wee ones and make them learn basic choreography to impress the parents (which, if you’ve ever seen a bunch of 4-year-olds in snowsuits on a slippery surface, well, you can imagine the challenge).  I have not once done a back-flip combination á la Scotty Hamilton.  And the music is still canned.

It’s so unfair.  I really expect better of my imagination, you know.

A Good Stiff Breeze

Feelings, man.  I’m gonna talk about feelings today.

Remember in high school biology, where you had to cut open the worm or whatever and pin its skin back so all its guts were hanging out?  Yeah, that’s about where I’m at today, emotionally.

Why, you ask?  Why the angst, for someone normally so *ahem* clear-headed and rational?

It’s been a hell of a week.

My emotions have been running a little high lately anyway, I’ll admit.  A former flame has rather unexpectedly made a reappearance in my life, tossing around the ol’ L-word and scrounging up old aches and pains and generally leaving me feeling a little raw.  And feeling a bit too old for the dramatic times of my youth.  And causing me to fear that perhaps I’m not entirely over my last involvement, which was a long-distance thing and tragically doomed from the outset by no fault of either party, which makes it so much crappier than if you just hate each other’s guts.

And speaking of aches and pains….  In an incident of calculated recklessness, the nature of which will not be disclosed here because my boss is already wary of my extreme lifestyle and I really don’t need to egg her on – I somehow managed to dislocate my knee.  (Did you know that it  makes a noise like a gunshot if you do it right?)  I’m healing nicely, I suppose, but, well, it was a rough few days and I’m still not entirely sure I shouldn’t have taken more than four days off in regard to working out…given the strange spongy squishiness which seems to be occurring in the joint when I run, despite its radioactive-material-quality wrappings.

This follows a recent death-scare where I decided one of my cats absolutely was showing signs of the kidney disease that killed her brother a few years ago.  (I am strangely neurotic about animals, given my nonchalance about human injury.  You may have noticed this.)  With Balloons (the cat) on the threshold of death, I resolutely drove her to the vet clinic, pulling over periodically to wipe the torrent of tears streaming down my face and to poke my fingers through the bars of the cat carrier to give her nose what was surely one last stroke.

Two hundred and thirteen dollars later and after every conceivable test available, I had a very miserable feline and a firm diagnosis of Human Worrywart.  The drive home was decidedly anticlimactic.  The cat didn’t speak to me for several days.

Then I saw a photo and write-up in the paper of the son of my last live-in boyfriend – a little boy with whom I bonded pretty hard, but haven’t seen since his dad and I broke up and they moved away.  He was nine the last time I saw him.  Somehow he’s morphed into this big handsome grown-up teenager who speaks in articulate sensible sentences totally devoid of anything Harry Potter or Spiderman and I have no idea how it happened, but I can’t wrap my head around it.   I’m nearly certain it has nothing to do with my own mortality issues or my own immaturity.

And the kicker – are you ready for this?  I mean, I don’t think your heartstrings are nearly as worn out as mine yet, because really, none of that other stuff really means anything to anyone but me.  But this one will get you.  Oh, yes, of that I am certain.

Yesterday I limped out to my mailbox and found a letter telling me that the little girl in Africa that I’ve sponsored for the past six years has disappeared and that it is “very sad and unexpected” but the charity organization cannot locate her or her family anywhere.  I mean, what do I do?  If this was a movie, I would heroically fly to Ghana and start tearing the place apart until I rescued the child and her family from whatever certain horrors had befallen them…but this being me – in reality,  I would probably get there and find out that some distant relative had won the lottery and they had relocated to the Bahamas or something.  (Remember the cat story.  *see above*)  Oh, my heart is riding the roller-coaster this week, oh, boy, yes it is!

A good stiff breeze is all it would take to send me bawling into my pillow right now, I swear to god.  But maybe a good stiff drink would be a quieter choice.

I mean, seriously.  Come on, Universe.  If you wanted to kick me in the balls this hard, you might have thought to have given me some.

“No, Really – Writing that Tuition Cheque was JUST as Much Fun as a Trip to Paris.”

I love school.  No, really – I do.  I’m very pleased with my choice to upgrade my education.  I plan on being the kickassingest holistic nutritionist on the planet – and by ‘planet’, I mean whatever tropical beach I wind up conducting my practice from.

But as I made my mark on my ‘Support The World Wildlife Fund’ designer cheque made out to the amount which supposedly guarantees an increase in intellect, my gaze drifted toward the window.  As I watched the sun beaming down on the summer day, I couldn’t help but let my mind drift as well…

THINGS I COULD HAVE HAD INSTEAD OF HIGHER EDUCATION:

  • as previously stated – a week in Paris.  *sigh*
  • 28 bottles of Dom Perignon 1998
  • one-sixth of a brand-new Toyota Prius
  • 43 skydives
  • enough gas to drive across Canada and back (with enough left over for pancakes if I was driving a fuel-efficient brand-new Toyota Prius)
  • at least one reallllly pretty dress…like, reallyreally pretty
  • four years’ worth of cat food for my household (the good stuff)
  • a down-payment on a very small house
  • 8 months’ rent
  • 185 seconds of J.Lo performing at a shindig (I don’t really want Jennifer Lopez performing for me, but I read in the news today that she charges 2 million dollars to perform at weddings and such.  Maybe she’d screw up and you’d get, like, an extra $10,000 worth of performance by accident.)
  • 812 dollar-store Che hats *at the rip-off dollar-my-ass price* (or the Jesus ones, if you swing that way)
  • 61 mirrored disco balls
  • 1.5 Einstein robots
  • 18 pairs of Oakley ‘Over-the-Top’ sunglasses

    I know, right?

But alas, the deed is done.  The books are here, waiting for me to absorb them – waiting for me to spill wine and chocolate all over them as I study how to encourage good health in others.

I’ll just have to hold off on the disco balls for now.  For now.


Decisions, Decisions…Accessorizing Can Be Such a Chore

So I was on my way to a birthday gathering the other day and I realized I’d forgotten to sign the card.  Of course, being the super-organized woman that I am, it was a simple task to pull a fresh, fully-inked pen from my glove box and…

Yeah, anyway.

But hey!  Look!  It’s a:

“I’ll bet they have pens!  And I’ll bet they’re only a dollar!” I said to myself.

Little did I know that my world would be rocked in the next three minutes.

This is what I saw on my way to the pens:

The Hat Rack of Awesomeness.

I was stopped dead in my tracks.  Was it the swirly pink love?  Was it the gold studs?  Was it the elderly cashier in pink bedroom slippers giving me the stink-eye as I stood there giggling to myself in Aisle 3?

There is just so much awesome, it’s hard to pinpoint its origin.

In case you can’t see exactly what the hats say, here’s a few close-ups:

Milk, Jesus, whatever.

Jesus would love this hat

And in keeping with the theme (?):

Che, naturally

I can’t help but picture the board room:  A group of executives sitting around.  “So who do you think would sell well?  Who, of all the people throughout history, shall we choose to commemorate with our sturdy, economically-produced headwear?”

Because, you know, there is a fine line between the dude that 2/3 of the world will kill someone over, citing religious reasons and/or Broadway freedom of song (‘Jee-sus Chriii-st Suuu-per…Okay, moving on.  Sigh…) and the dude that caused the Cuban Missile Crisis.

[Am I the only one who thinks this is funny?]

Okay, I know.  I am SUCH a cheap thrill.  Guys, seriously – some chicks need diamonds, I just need a dollar-store hat.  (I would like to take this moment, however, to point out that all of these hats retailed for FOUR DOLLARS apiece.  Despite the signage.  I’m just sayin’.)

Soooo…

Can you guess which one I bought?

And the rest of y’all are getting Jesus hats for xmas.

Say ‘Meh’ If You Think ‘The Fountainhead’ Was Overrated

I recently joined a Facebook group called ‘Plugging the Gulf oil leak with the works of Ayn Rand.’

This was a bold decision on my part, as I love books and the thought of destroying them, even if I thought the oil leak could actually be stopped in this way, makes me a little dyspneic.  [I probably should be blogging about the oil disaster instead of this, but I’m finding it difficult to think about right now – it actually causes my heart to ache. ]

But the decision to click ‘Like’ on this group was simple once the realization hit me:  I’m not alone!

Now, the main thing you need to understand is that I not only love books, but I know good literature.  I minored in Russian studies at university and wrote my final thesis on ‘Anna Karenina’.  I have over 2,000 books in my own personal collection, mostly classics.  I have been reading since my mother taught me at the age of three, after finding me sitting on my bed with a stack of books in my lap, sobbing, and when asked why, I wailed – heartbroken – “When am I going to be able to reee-addd???”

For years and years, I’d heard of this elusive, exclusive book, “The Fountainhead.”  Reading it was somehow considered a badge of honour among intellectuals.  It was apparently huge, and the impression that I developed was that it was a sort of Everest for literati.

Now, I have a weird thing when it comes to books.  I rarely seek out books to read.  I have this self-created superstition that books, like people, come into your life when you need them, and so when I need something to read, I browse and let the books find me.  But that being said, I do have a mental list of ‘should-reads’ – books to keep an eye out for should they cross my path.  ‘The Fountainhead’ became one of them.

Never has a book on my list been so long in coming.  Years and years went by.  I mean, I spend hours upon hours browsing book shops – I’m talking chain stores, second-hand shops, even the book racks at the drug stores.  Never did I see even a single copy anywhere of this book.  So you can imagine now the hype that had built up in my head.  I began to imagine that the book was so wonderful that stores were unable to keep it in stock; people were refusing to part with their copies, so they never turned up in the used bookstores.

Well, finally one did.

Okay, just so I don’t sound like a complete asshole, let me make the following concessions.  To give credit where it’s due, Ayn Rand is at least a published author, which I am not.  Yay, Ayn!  (Of course, so was O.J. Simpson, but whatever…)  And I admit, my judgment may not be the highest marker of quality – after all, my favourite characters in literature are Humbert Humbert and Holden Caulfield (which should tell you both how warped and what a cliché I am, respectively).  And I’ve certainly read worse.  At least the story was fairly straightforward, it made a certain amount of sense, the font was very nice…

But did it live up to the hype?  It did not.

It was too long, too boring and unmemorable.  In fact, the only things I remember clearly now, after several years, are:  [SPOILER ALERT]  Howard Roark’s red hair, the scene where the chick (whose name I forget) breaks her fireplace hearth and instigates the workman-rape-fantasy scene, and something about pretty buildings.

I’m sure there was some symbolism or deeper meaning in the rhetoric there somewhere, but frankly, why would you want to bother to look for it?  Well, I suppose if you really had nothing else better to do, you might appreciate the challenge.  But frankly, I’d rather read Thomas Hardy’s grocery list than spend another minute with ‘The Fountainhead.’

That’s all I’m going to rant about the book itself, since I could probably go on for days – and then potentially be inspired to begin re-reading the damn thing just so I could insult it better.  Because the real point to this post is that I’M NOT ALONE.

All this time, I’d been hiding my shame, displaying my tattered copy of ‘The Fountainhead’ on my shelves for the world to see.  I even wrote my name on the flyleaf to show I’d read it.  I even – even – began to sort of look down upon anyone who hadn’t read it, like those before me had made me feel before I had read it myself.  SHAME ON ME!

But now I see, through the miracle that is Facebook, that it’s okay to feel smarter than the pedants who boast that they enjoyed the book.  I will hide no more!

More than 42,000 people agree with me.  If Facebook says it’s true, it must be.