Maybe you can find it.

I’m looking for a United Way poster from the past. I’ve been searching the Internet trying to gain access to archives, but I’m turning up nothing. It’s also possible that it’s not United Way, but it’s March of Dimes. It’s from the late 1950’s, possibly the early 1960’s, and it’s one of those posters featuring an attractive, smiling Poster Child who is either thanking you for your support or reminding you of where your donations are going. It’s possible that it’s specific to Stratford, Connecticut.

The Poster Child is my dad.

He did not have polio, nor did he have cerebral palsy. But at one time he was a budding child star with a burgeoning singing career, going by the name of “Little Johnny Ribon.” He told me he used to occasionally appear on a popular radio show singing alongside a young Wayne Newton.

And yes, this does sound like another one of Dad’s tall tales, like when he told me there were landsharks in Palm Springs, or how the reflective bumps on the road were so the blind could drive, or how he once told my sister the number of spots on a dalmatian puppy signify the number of months it has to live, but Mom insists she once saw this poster, many many years ago.

Dad told me a few times about the photo session, and I remember always being skeptical, but now that Mom swears she once saw the thing, I’d love to find a way to locate it. I have to imagine the poster is in somebody’s archives somewhere. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

a very quick play about my knee.


Okay, so how’s your knee?

Well, it feels really wonky. And after some consultations with Dr. Google, I think it might be my PCL.

(instantly skeptical)

Look, I know. I know. But my knee was injured here, like this, with the kneepad, and that’s like a dashboard injury. And I just, in my defense, need to say that the last time I self-diagnosed, I had to go all the way to a specialist putting a camera inside my urethra before they would admit that perhaps I had been right the entire time that the marathon training had caused internal damage, and that people shouldn’t mock me when my research includes the Internet and the consultants on House.

Then what do you need me for, right?

Alright. I get it. I’m sorry. Go ahead.


Okay, well, let’s schedule your MRI for next week. I want to see exactly what we’re dealing with here. The good news is I don’t think you’ll have to have surgery. But I have to hand it to you. I think it’s your PCL.

Oh, really?

If it is, I’m going to be impressed, because that’s not an easy thing to diagnose.

My dad would be so proud of me right now. Suck it, Med School!

I bet that move looks more impressive when you have two working legs.

Not really.


(Hooray for probably no surgery!)

truth and consequences

Thursday night. My husband is screaming at the television screen: “Fuck you, Oprah. Fuck you!”

This is not good. This isn’t something I ever thought I’d have to handle. This goes against the core of me, and my instinct is to push him off the couch and make him stop bad-mouthing my Oprah. It’s like he looked at Dan and said, “I never liked your face.” It’s like he said Jollibee fucked my mom.

He’s upset. Lots of people are upset.

…About books. It’s fantastic. Continue reading

Three Stories

LA Story

I felt my first real earthquake today. I mean one where I knew an earthquake was about to hit and then it did. I sat through lots of earthquakes when I lived in Palm Springs as a kid, but I don’t really remember them. We lived above the laundry facility at a hotel, so we often thought it was the machines rumbling when it was actually a quake.

One happened when Dan first moved here to LA, but I was drying my hair at the time and thought Ray was doing some dumb-ass shit underneath the apartment. By the time I realized the world was shaking, the earthquake had finished. Continue reading


I just finished watching Waking Life, which in itself is a trippy-floaty experience, an animated fantasy that explores our dream life compared to our waking life, asking what happened before we got here, what’s going to happen to us when we’re gone, and how has our process of evolution changed as we’ve become more aware of our surroundings. Continue reading

the name game

how i became pamie

My name was almost Amanda.

That’s what my mother wanted to name me.  Amanda.  Well, maybe I would have been called Mandy.  I knew a few Amandas growing up, one of which got the horrible nickname “May-May.”  (I’ve lived in the deep south, as you can see).

My father was the one who decided I would be named “Pam.”  I think that was it.  Just “Pam.”  When my mother asked why not Amanda he replied, “Because it sounds like a refrigerator.”

“That’s Amana.”

But there was no further argument.

Continue reading