George Weaver thought I was in Mensa. Mensa’s that group where people with high IQs commiserate about explaining stuff to those of the dumb. I basked in the glory of being seen as somebody really really smart, but I don’t want to mislead anybody, so I immediately told George that I was dumb. My About page says that I’m published in Calliope, a journal printed by Mensa. That’s how she got the idea that I was a genius. This is her fabulous photography site.
I went to Columbia University and got an A minus average. I feel like I can tell you that because I was old (25) when I went back to school after a drunken stint at community college; and also because I dropped out after two years of credits. Once, I asked this girl what college she went to. Embarrassed, she cast her head down and said Yale. I gathered that it’s bad taste to brag about going to an Ivy League school. But only if you did it when you were supposed to do it. It’s okay if I tell you where I went to school since I’m one of those handicapped cases who goes back when they’re old.
Somebody said I probably got into CU because I was black and at that time black people were ‘in’. Maybe. Plus during my college interview, I had a platinum afro, a nose ring and my college essay was about being an alcoholic. They thought, Aw the freaky black chick’s trying to improve upon herself – let’s give her a chance. Besides, I’d give them diversity. They wanted to throw somebody freaky into the mix y’all!
I got a scholarship and took out a loan to pay tuition. After the second semester, I decided to work there because they offered tuition remission. This was 1988 when you could get jobs anywhere you wanted. For the youngins — back then, you could have three jobs, jobs coming out of your ass – nowadays, you can’t buy a fucking job. Anyway, after working there almost five years, I was laid off at the same time I was offered to be published in an anthology. I would get leverage in my field of interest. So my anti-establishment ass says, ‘Fuck it, I don’t need no degree to be no writer, plus, it’s more romantic to be a rogue writer. Why, I’m an auto-didact, I am!’ You see folks, why I could never have been in Mensa? These are the kinds of backass decisions that those of the dumb make daily.
Okay look I need $50,000. My teeth are rotten. I’m being dramatic — they’re not ALL rotten, but I do have teeth issues from a childhood illness. I’m lucky since my teeth have always looked okay, and I don’t have halitosis. Ironically, when your teeth are really fucked up you take good care of them, flossing and brushing constantly — I should probably say, that after you find out how fucked up they are, you scramble to ‘make it right.’ But as I say, mine aren’t like this because of neglect, they’re like this because of the achalasia that I had as a child, the disease that I was given because that’s the way life is — fuck! Okay so achalasia is when your esophagus closes up, and it’s a rare disease. This is a great. I have this distinction. I won’t get into details because I might have to take out that self-pity violin. But couldn’t the hell I have been some other rare GREAT thing, like a rare talent or genius???? (I discussed this in another post.) When you spend a third of your life in dental surgery, it puts more focus on your teeth. I tell the dentist ‘Why don’t you just yank ’em all out — give me fake ones? I’m sick of this shit.” The dentist says, “Oh but you take such good care of your gums.” You see too, I thought if I had them yanked out, my boyfriend would favor that — ya know ‘ot ay mean? Wink wink. For now I just fancy myself as a 19th century street whore, or a pirate. Arrgh! You see back in the day if you had weak teeth and no money, while you were essentially fucked, you just kept on hooking, kept on pirating.
Send donations to repair Auntie Grandma Sandee’s rotten ass teeth to:
The Land of Make Believe
New York City, New York
P.S. I’m off to the dentist on the morrow! Wish me luck mateys!
I thought of writing a short story, an essay about my three aunts. They are my mom’s sisters. They have their own children but they made me feel special growing up, still now. When I had crisis a few years ago, they all helped me. One flew up from Georgia and stayed with me for a few days.
My family was pretty tight when I was growing up so we spent a lot of time together, my aunts their husbands my dad all my cousins, grandma and grandpa. Grandma and grandpa were actually separated but showed up for all the family events anyway. This was all on my mom’s side. Even though I don’t speak to my aunts all the time, I still feel a bond because of those early days. They also had a brother, the only male, who was schizophrenic.
Shit I had a special relationship with him. When I was unemployed back in 2000, I would visit him at the institution every couple of weeks with one of the aunts that I mentioned. We picked him up, and ate out, usually at the same diner. He smoked several cigarettes and would impart nuggets of insane genius which I loved. I generally enjoyed talking to him. He passed away in 2004. Maybe I’ll come up with something to write about my beautiful aunts and uncle. I’ve held off because anything I come up with is just too maudlin.
Some of your insights are really brilliant. Genius I think. You write better than Doestoevsky! The way you capture a character, the depth of it requires rare talent. Very, very good Sandee! That’s my wittle Sandee boo boo! Who’s a good girl? Who’s a litowawee genius? That’s wight, YOU are! That’s a baby girl! YES! Woo woo woo!