Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Dead To Return



The first typewriter I ever had was an IBM Selectric that weighed nearly half of what I did and made a sound that would cause the dead to return. I got into the habit of typing every morning, early, and my roommate said that I was to write LONGHAND and longhand only before ten in the morning, saying that if it was good enough for Shakespeare, it was damn well good enough for me. Point taken, I kept the Selectric monster for the night hours and took to morning writing without the benefit of typing. I did not want to cross my roommate -- she was in the last stages of an extreme weight loss regime and suffering from the kind of meanness that partial self-imposed starvation produces. She'd lost nearly sixty pounds on Weight Watchers and had lots of brochures featuring the skinny, unattractive president of Weight Watchers, a woman who looked as if she'd suffered a slightly disfiguring burn, but in fact, was merely aging prematurely because of all the yo-yo dieting.

I felt her pain. Given my years as a gymnast, I had dieted for sadistic coaches that kept us in outfits too small to make sure that we always felt pressure to lose weight. I had long given up the hope that I would be small enough to compete (height and weight both) and had resigned myself to the writing life, one that, if the pictures of other writers were to be examples, didn't require a strict attention to one's appearance. I tried to explain how I knew what my friend was going through, but I didn't. I weighed a little over a hundred pounds total; she'd just lost sixty and had twenty more to go. In a show of restraint, I'd wait until night to eat any candy or chocolate, but to no avail. "I hear you eating M&Ms, you skinny bitch. I hate you," she'd say as I hid in my twin bed across the dorm room, trying to stuff down as many as I could. If we'd been thrust into the future by ten years, I would have been typing on my computer into all hours of the night. I'd offer her an M&M, given that I was busted and sometimes she'd take it. The next day, I'd pull out the old typewriter and start to write a story about a woman who was suffering. I didn't know where I wanted to go with it, as was my wont in those days, but I felt I understood something about the subject.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved." - Iris Murdoch

Cocktail Hour

Drinking music suggestion: Buenos Nochas From A Lonely Room, Dwight Yoakum

Benedictions and Maledictions

Thanks for all the Halloween suggestions! Feel free to add more as we move toward the great day.

14 comments:

Big Weather Girl said...

My father was a consultant to Weight Watchers, but he had a falling out with Florine Mark. He wanted bigger points on the total lbs. lost. She weighed his proposal, but decided it wasn't within reason.

The Quotist said...

The cry of equality pulls everyone down.--Iris Murdoch

Special said...

Ever notice that M&M's DO melt in your hands?

Kelly Ripa said...

I weigh myself with my clothes off. Earings weigh a pound and a half.

Dwight Yoakum said...

So what if I drink tea? Ever heard of Okinawa?

Rosie O' Donnell said...

I had a roomie like yours in college. Flattened that bitch right out.

Ellen DeGeneres said...

I got along well with all my college roommates because I taught them all how to do the Funky Chicken.

AP said...

I had a college roommate that upped the ante on sleep walking. He was on the track team and he ran in his sleep. He ran into a wall while asleep and woke me up. Drove himself to the hospital with a broken nose.
Later, he was drafted into the Navy. One night, somewhere in the Mediterranean, he was found running asleep on the deck of an aircraft carrier while jets were landing. He was discharged. All of this happened about a year before I'd heard about Leonard Nimoy. None of us had any weight problems.

The Ghoul said...

Halloween suggestion: Start a Macomb C.C. "Lurch Project" a la Anomaly's Oz lurch project. Please, no comas allowed. No V's allowed. Only lol's allowed. lol








Lurch Project.

r's musings said...

IBM Selectrics...making corrections with goopy white-out on carbon copies was NOT fun! Handwriting seems so much more personal, but it can slow your writing down too much, then the nasty editor creeps in before the words even make it onto the page!

Jamie said...

I suppose that having roomates was supposed to expose us to diversity, but it was really just a pain in the butt. I hated my first 2 year roomates, and got a single for the next 2 years.

paul said...

Cajun Lady Queen, Foxy rockin' one, fine looking street shot. Carbon paper and your roomie equal bummers both I'd wite her out good you got computer now Hell even I do now Ridin Storms street floods Mighty Isis Nile Shazamm! R2 C2!

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
I see your beautiful Medusa look is back in time for Halloween. Lovely view and post, as always. I enjoy imagining you clacking away at a Selectric, a charming image and ta ta to the roommate. Bravo to your determination!

JR's Thumbprints said...

My uncle gave me a heavy old IBM typewriter from Dow Chemical. It had a ball with letters and symbols on it. I used to break the clutch mechanism on it from typing too fast.

As for weight, now that I've been unable to exercise, I'm fattening back up. I've heard telephone conversations about me, "Well, he didn't go about it the right way. His body was in starvation mode, that's why he's gaining back the weight." It's so nice to have someone criticizing whatever I do.