A Note to Pat Robertson


Dear Pat,

I have it on good authority that a fan wrote to you following your February 25th broadcast because she’s concerned about finding demons in clothing she buys at Goodwill stores. You wisely advised praying over the garments, just in case. Here’s my question: If I get a sudden urge to do something devilish as a result of wearing a pair of Goodwill pants, should I strip down to pray over them, even in public? Here’s my second question: Will I also need an exorcist for stuff I buy at the Salvation Army thrift store?

Thanks in advance,


No [Dental] Exit


My dentist performed one root canal last year so I assumed a second one would be a breeze. Despite drugs and drilling, that pesky root remained elusive, so I sought an endodontist. It’s never a wise idea to let one’s fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages — even to stay in the neighborhood: The personable “endodontist” I found wasn’t a specialist. He couldn’t find the root either. This must be how Jean Paul Sartre felt when conceiving “No Exit,” minus drill bits and hypodermics. The dental maze looms, but if tooth be told, I remain hopeful and undaunted.

First Robin of Spring?


I can’t vote in Chicago’s 2nd District, but I’m sending up a few prayers today on behalf of Robin Kelly, a candidate seeking to fill Jesse Jackson Jr.’s congressional seat, now that the infamous fan of Rolex watches and Michael Jackson memorabilia faces the prospect of joining Illinois’ political jailbird roster. Like me, Robin was born in New York City. Like Obama, she was a community organizer, working with at-risk kids. Unlike her current opponents, Kelly wasn’t given an A+ rating by the NRA, so she likely has the right stuff to help do something about Chicago’s horrific crime rate.

Eat. Pray. Shoot.

buns & guns

I’m always on a budget, so if I visit Virginia and need to entertain guests, I’ll schlep them to the All Around Pizza and Deli in Virginia Beach where diners toting guns or concealed weapon permits get a 15% discount. I will need a sponsor once I arrive because I’m a Midwest liberal and don’t have weapons of my own, but my son packs in Texas, so I’ll bring photos of him and his arsenal. Makes perfect sense. Some people carry photos of their cats. Others, pix of their grandchildren. I’ll carry around proof that today’s typical family is diverse.

The Beginning of the End


Having finished draft one of “Exposure,” I feel bereft. Sure, I’ll cavort with my characters more as I edit and polish, but having birthed the 62,000-word manuscript and shaped each character’s destiny, I’m now metaphorically an empty nester. No longer will part of each day be devoted to fleshing out the randy details of each make-believe person’s world. Now, it’s time to be ruthless and shape the manuscript into a better version of itself. “Time to kill your babies,” a writer once said of the editing process. It’s true. But like discipline, the end result is worth the tough love.

U.S. Government Gives My Draydels a Spin

sports draydels

When my attorney helped me file claims following a bitter copyright infringement battle, we went to the trouble of doubling up on the drawings and documents substantiating my ownership of the art. Lulled into a sense of security, two years passed before I was informed that one rendering (submitted December 10, 2010) is missing. Say what? Three of us witnessed their transmission to D.C. from Chicago via cyberspace, so I know I’m not hallucinating. I tried correcting the problem, but my password appears to be in the Witness Protection Program. Bureaucracy is a fascinating dynamic. I just wish it worked.

The Doctor Is In [My Fantasies]


Having recently chewed off at least five fingernails watching the UK TV series, “The State Within,” I can officially announce that Jason Isaacs is competing with Ryan Gosling for my affections. The brooding, masculine hunk of British manhood has a law degree and speaks fluent Spanish, but he won my heart when he said, “In real life, I am a cringing, neurotic Jewish mess.” Add mensch to his bio: he’s been happily married to Emma Hewitt for 25 years. Isaacs is set to star in an upcoming CBS series pilot called “Surgeon General.” Oy! So now, he’s a doctor, too.

50 Shades of Going Postal

Post Ofc

I don’t use many stamps, but I love the pretty ones, so I visit the Post Office. The line is short, but the dude at the front shoves a stack-O-boxes toward the lone snail masquerading as a postal clerk. They’re all going overseas. We wait. The line grows to seven. Staffers peek out, survey the crowd and shrug. At last, we’re rewarded: the last box disappears. Or not. Could he please see all of the postal-themed stuffed toys for the grandkids, he asks? Could I just strangle you now, I murmur as I leave the building without any pretty stamps?

In Search of My Roots

root canal

Though a previous root canal went smoothly, my dentist couldn’t perform a second one last week because those particular roots are AWOL. Perhaps they’re wintering in Palm Beach or cavorting at Mardi Gras. All I know is that he can’t find them, so I need a specialist to sleuth them out. My dentists already know what to expect when I degenerate into a wimpering infant in a dental bib. Breaking in a new tooth doc is scary, but I have no choice. If you know of an endodontist who’s not intimidated by uber-wusses, you know where to reach me.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving


Each year, senior accounting students at College of DuPage, under the supervision of CPA-credentialed professors, tackle returns for county residents willing to take a number and wait. I’m happy to do so and usually stay busy reading magazines and books until my name is called. This year, I received a gift in addition to my completed return: My tax preparer’s cold. I should have known those germs would wander my way after bragging about escaping the winter unscathed. I’m now coughing, wheezing and blowing my nose as I remind myself that lunches aren’t the only things that don’t come free.