Mighty Life List
Dec 29 2004

Ebay

Electric Chair Goggles

“I was told that these are a pair of restraint goggles for the unlucky inmate that was strapped into the electric chair – they are very old and made out of leather and metal – they were affixed to the person after he was locked into Ol Sparky – just before the switch is thrown the spring loaded flip lens is closed so that he sees nothing.”

Big Bag of Hair

“This item consists of a tall kitchen bag full of human hair! The hair was collected over the course of a few weeks at Famous Barber John’s of El Dorado Hills California. There is no telling just how many people contributed to this bag.”

Human Remains Body Bag

“Use for whatever you like.”

Paper Baby

“This is a Similac die cut card Baby model dated 1958.”

Elvis Water Cup Used Onstage

“I’m sure that many of you have read or heard about my recent Elvis water from his onstage cup auction which was a sealed GLASS bottle with water from Elvis’ cup that he drank from while onstage in Charlotte,NC 2/21/1977..

3-4 tablespoons sold for $ 455.00 on Christmas Day…

During the past week…there has been nationwide interest in the water….but even more interest was shown in the cup…”

Jane Masfield Hot Water Bottle

“She has, as to be expected, some wear on her high spots…”

KKK Robe

“A nice collectible of the KKK”

(I shit you not. It says “nice.”)

Brothel Locating Compass

“Founded in 1844, the Chicken Ranch operated in peaceful coexistence with the law and the small town of La Grange, Texas throughout its entire 129-year history. In fact at the time of it’s closing, it was the oldest continually operating brothel in the nation. The real-life brothel got the name The Chicken Ranch during the depression because, when the men couldn’t afford the $3 cost of a visit to the house, the girls began accepting poultry as payment for their services.

The Chicken Ranch continued operating successfully until mid-1973, when consumer-affairs reporter Marvin Zindler from KTRK-TV in Houston ran a week long expos� on the ranch and what really went on behind closed doors.

The doors were finally shut forever on August 1, 1973 however because of its former reputation customers showed up for more than two years still looking for the place.”

Dec 14 2004

Santarchy

There were hundreds of us. We were inebriated, dressed like Santas, and getting ready for a game of dodgeball on the green. Then the church bells started to ring.

All of us looked up. A new bride and her groom were making their way across the park. En masse, we stumbled toward her and her $3,000 gown.

“HO! HO! HO!,” we chanted menacingly. “HO!HO!HO!”

At least a year of planning, seven bridesmaids with seven updos, perfect lipstick, perfect nails, and hundreds of willful Santas. The photographer was giddy. The bride bared her teeth in a rough approximation of a smile; fear radiated from her eyes. We were not part of the plan.

She eventually realized we were harmless. You’ll find a photo of the happy couple amongst this batch. (She’s the one in white.) I also posted some photos to my flickr photostream.

Dec 13 2004

Devil in the Details: Virtual Book Tour

So, I’ve told you before that my friend Jennifer Traig just wrote a very amusing book called Devil in the Details — my favorite excerpts are here. Today is her virtual book tour, and because this site is totally virtual, and because Jenny’s book is amusing and deserves to be very successful (buy it!), I’m posting a brief interview with her.

I met Jenny at 826 Valencia, where we both volunteer. She was wearing a suede skirt with a colorful, yet tasteful, suede village affixed to the front. She has great big hair and great big eyes, and a little tiny voice.

MG: I had no idea you that you suffered from OCD until I read the book. Has it been strange telling the world?

JT: Oh, heavens yes. I wonder what I was thinking almost every day. It�s very odd knowing that people are watching me for little obsessive-compulsive quirks now, even though I�m pretty much all better. I�m very self-conscious about what I do with my hands in public these days — does it look like I�m washing too often? Will people think I�m trying to avoid touching something? But ultimately, I�m not really embarrassed about it. OCD is a disease like diabetes or any other and there�s no shame in it. Though needing to tap doorknobs is slightly weirder than needing to inject insulin.

MG: How has your family reacted to having their lives on display?

JT: They�ve been amazingly good sports. Really, unbelievably great. At one reading they all sat on stage with me and then offered a rebuttal. I keep saying I�m going to get them great holiday presents this year to thank them. I better pony up.

My sister, meanwhile, has her own book coming out in February. You can see a preview here.

MG: How did you manage to get your OCD under
control?

JT: My senior year of high school was spent in pretty intensive therapy. This was before drugs like Prozac that would have made the process much easier, but I got better anyway. By the time I started college I was ready to let go of the few little compulsions I still had.

I thought I was completely cured until I started doing the research for this book. It turns out that some of my charming little habits, like needing to walk on the left side, aren�t charming habits but compulsive behaviors, little remnants of the disease. They don�t really impact my quality of life, though, so I let them go untreated.

MG: How did you learn to laugh at your idiosyncrasies?

JT: I took myself pretty seriously at my obsessive-compulsive worst, but even then I�d sometimes make a joke at my own expense if I thought it would get me out of trouble. That was sort of how things worked in our family: A great one-liner would really mitigate any parental discipline. Then as I got older and healthier it started seeming funnier and funnier. Paper towels on my head? Oh, yes, I could see the humor in that.

MG: Tell a story about one of your readings.

JT: There have been a few funny ones, like when a whole high school class came for extra-credit and I had to sign everyone�s homework to prove they�d attended. But the strangest one — and I think you may have been there — was when this lady, who clearly hadn�t heard of me or my book, kept charging the podium to have one-on-one discussions with me in the middle of my reading. It was very odd.

MG: You’ve written a memoir in your 30s. Where do you go from here?

JT: Oh, there are a whole bunch more things wrong with me. I�ve got plenty of embarrassing conditions left to write about. Next up: skin rashes!

MG: So, would you like people to buy your book?

JT: Yes, I would like people to buy my book.

You heard the lady, friends. Amazon beckons.

(Thanks to very organized Kevin Smokler for putting all this together.)

Dec 8 2004

Specificity

B: What’s in that thing?

Me: What?

B: What’s in that thing?

Me: What’s in that thing?

B: Yeah.

Me: Stuff.

Dec 6 2004

Role Reversal

You know how a roomful of adults can be struck dumb by a baby in the room? Babytainment is better than fireworks.

The Dance Along Nutcracker is the only event I’ve ever been to where the roles are utterly reversed. The kids stand frozen and slack-jawed, mesmerized by the adults capering around in rented tutus.

Dec 2 2004

Competitive Sports

This girl in yoga class is impeccable. Her body is aligned, her hands touch the floor, her head rests on her knees. The instructor aids everyone else, adjusting their position, giving them tips, but he leaves her be. That is, until the portion of class where we lay down and cover ourselves with a warm blanket. Then, he leans over her gently. “You’re holding some tension in your shoulders. Yes. Let the muscles in your face go…”

Apparently, she sucks at laying on the floor.