Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Final four words: Amy, we need more!

The return to Stars Hollow is what we’ve waited for. Since it was announced, super fans and newbies alike have waited through what feels like a thousand silent Friday night dinners. Let’s face it, 2016 can pretty much suck it. If we didn’t have Lin-Manuel Miranda in our lives, we probably would not have survived at all. We were only able to get through the dark night of Nov. 8 because we knew a new day in Stars Hollow was coming. Now, here it is, and we have the last four words. But we need more.

More, I tell you! Amy Sherman Palladino, my spirit animal, give us more!

Several people have asked me what I think of the Gilmore Girls reboot. I’ve been ruminating on it since our family binge-watched it on Sunday. I was confident that it was in good hands with my bff, A.S.P. It’s her baby, and no one knows how to care for her baby like the momma, right?

Speaking of babies, how about those last four words, huh?

I mean, I’ve spent some time trying out different scenarios since before the reboot, and this one HAS entered my awareness before. I’ve also considered the possibility of a mom/daughter duo pregnancy a la Father Of The Bride II, and a Brady Girls Get Married double wedding sitch featuring a Lorelai/Luke and Rory/Jess combo (from our lips to God’s ears!)

So, was it satisfying? Yes and no. I thought it was a satisfying ending for Lorelai and Luke. I’m glad Mr. Hayden didn’t sneak in at the last second and “pull a Christopher.” That’s worse than “getting Totsied.” I’m even one of the few who actually likes Christopher. He gets Lorelai, and I believe he loves her, but it’s Luke, Luke, Luke. It’s Luke.

I liked the night before elopement of Luke and Lorelai. It was beautiful. I will admit to a good cry when Sam Phillips struck the first note of “Reflecting Light.” Oy. If you don’t get the significance of that, go back and watch the series, and think about your choices. Also, Kirk finally did something right. Bless you, Kirk.

However, a Stars Hollow where Kirk gets significantly more air time than Paris, Lane, and JESS is a Stars Hollow I need to confront. And, Michel was at this midnight elopement ceremony, but not Sookie? Not in my Stars Hollow. (And don’t go trying to explain stuff about the actors’ schedules and all that crap. Just shut your face and Copper Boom your attitude down a notch.)

*Big sigh*

Rory. Rory, we will never NOT love you, no matter what the interwebs try to tell us about your awkwardness, your privilege, and your bad choices. (I mean, ok. A quick side eye in your general direction for sleeping with a man affianced to another. Again.) We do understand that it’s Logan, though. We know that his gross family--and he--may have been butt-faced miscreants more than once, but whom among us could honestly say we could resist that delicious hunka Huntzberger? Anyone?

I’d like to call your attention to this next paragraph, as it is one of utmost importance:

Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. #alwaysacontender. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess. #ifeeltheearthmoveundermyfeet Jess. #amirightladies? Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess.  Jess.  Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess. Jess!

Whew! Now that I have that off my chest, let’s address a few things, in no particular order:
-I wasn’t sure about the extended steampunk scene with the Life and Death Brigade, but I’ve rarely seen A.S.P. without a top hat from the closet of the vampire Lestat, and she’s the Mommy, so she gets to say.
-What, except for that last song, which was genius, WAS that business about Stars Hollow: The Musical? Was it so we could love Sutton even more? Fine. We do. Now, Taylor, sit down and let me give you an extensive playlist of songs you’ll need for this musical. Go work on something at the Twickham House and let us handle this.
-Don’t sleep with Wookies, Rory. Especially when you have Logan (aka D.D.?) across the pond, apparently at your disposal.
-Lane, congrats on having a dad. But it took me a while to realize the pool boys fanning Rory and Lorelai were, in fact, not Steve and Quan. We needed more, like what Mrs. Kim thinks of Twitter and how Book of Mormon affected bible studies, even in 7th Day Adventist circles.
-Not meeting Michel’s husband killed my soul.
-I really thought Rory would end up being the surrogate for the Gilmore/Danes reproduction heist.
-Paris and Doyle 4-evs. We just need to see it. Do their kids have names? What is upstairs? Madeline and Louise?
-Will there be more? What is Babette eating for breakfast these days, if not oatmeal? Who will handle the kitchen at the Dragonfly? Will Logan be involved with this child we assume is his? (My hand to God, Chewbacca can. not. have sired this child.) Will Jess be around?
-Emily Gilmore slays everything 100%.
-Go away, Paul. You don’t belong here. Rory would have dumped you sooner, but she didn’t. We don’t know why.
-Jess. Beautiful, smart, helpful Jess, peering in the window longingly after using your #biceps to help steer Rory back in the right direction. We collectively love you, Jess. We are so glad you lost that porn-stache they keep on you over at NBC.
-Writing the book is a perfect idea.

Amy, where you lead, we will follow.

In Omnia Paratus!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I remember

I remember things.

I can recall people and events, conversations and song lyrics. I remember what my brother wore on the first day of 6th grade and the phone number of my best friend from elementary school (what’s up, 2925?!) It’s the details of things I remember, and the vestibular stuff—how it smelled, what songs were playing, how it felt. It makes for excellent stories and tender memories.

And so, I remember, on this day after summer solstice as time shrinks just a fraction and days begin to shorten, that on this day 30 years ago, I had my first kiss.

30 years. June 1986. The summer of Ferris Bueller and Top Gun and Jams and Howard Jones. It was a sweet kiss from a cute boy wearing a TransWorld t-shirt and smelling of April Fresh Downy. He was adorable and smart. I remember his phone number, still.

We were 14, so our romance, as it was, pretty much followed the vernacular of the times. He asked, “Will you go with me?”

I answered with an unequivocal, “Yes.” I did not bother to ask, “Where?”

That’s the thing about memories and time—just like after summer solstice, the days get shorter and there isn’t as much light. Last week, I was driving my daughter to the DMV to get her learner’s permit and NPR featured a story on the music of Finding Nemo. It was in preparation for the opening of Nemo’s sequel, Finding Dory. The sequel comes twelve years after we learned that Nemo was capable of navigating through the entire ocean to return safely where he belongs. Nemo was the first movie my daughter saw in a theater. She was three.

She drove us to the same theater to see Dory.

But I remember. I remember that tiny, fierce little one 13 summers ago, and I never dreamed the far away day would come when I would worry about her getting lost and navigating the entire ocean, even though I’ve always known I would search its depths endless times to find her.

What I don’t remember is how it happened so suddenly that I’m the parent, when just a brief moment ago, I was the one listening to V-100 radio and the boy dedicated a song to me. It was Glory of Love by Peter Cetera. I remember. (Kids, dedicating a song to someone back in 1986 was tantamount to “liking” their posts on social media.)

We’ve lived a lifetime in 30 years. God only knows what our paths have uncovered, what our journeys have brought. We lost touch during college, but through the miracle of Facebook I’ve reconnected with that boy who changed my summer of 1986, and changed me. He is married to a lovely person who adores him. She suffers from an autoimmune disease and he is her primary caregiver. They seem happy together. It makes me glad.

Anne Lamott says, “Remember, you own what happened to you.” And I do own every bit of it, each thing that happened to me.

Because I remember.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wild and wonderful: the best Virginia

Recently, my hometown newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail, printed a letter to the editor from Iowa 5th grader, Zoe B., asking for information about West Virginia. Zoe’s class is studying the geography and history of the United States and she is seeking information about our great Mountain Mama. Here is what she wrote:

Hi! My name is Zoey B. I am a fifth-grade student at Harlan Intermediate School, in Harlan, Iowa.
My class is studying the geography and history of the United States.
I am excited to learn more about your state of West Virginia. I would really appreciate it if you would send me pictures, postcards, information or souvenirs on your amazing state.
My teacher, Mrs. Newlin, would like a car license plate, if possible, for a school project.
I really appreciate your time and look forward to learning more about West Virginia! Thank you!!
Zoey B.
Mrs. Newlin’s S.S. Class
Harlan Intermediate School
1401 19th St.
Harlan, IA 51537

Well, Zoe B., I’m glad you asked.

Any internet search or old timey library book can give you adequate information about West Virginia. Start there. You will find that our state flower is the Rhododendron. That was decided in 1903, and students like you helped make that decision. The state bird is the cardinal. I remember those things from my civics classes. The state colors are gold and blue. Incidentally, every school I attended K-12 featured gold and blue, too. If you're really interested, I will sing you my school fight song.

There are a few different state songs, though when a West Virginian tells someone where she is from, the person always starts singing Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver. It is a lovely song, but John Denver was from Roswell, New Mexico.

But there are several famous folks who hail from West Virginia. Former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss and former NBA point guard Jason Williams both went to my high school and were excellent athletes. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and novelist Pearl S. Buck were both born in West Virginia. Your Wikipedia search will tell you Mrs. Buck was the first woman to win the Noble Prize for Literature, but, actually, she was the fourth. Still, the honor is one we are proud of, and happy to share with others.

You should know that there are important things that happened here, like West Virginia became a state on June 20, 1863, removing us forever from being lumped into Virginia. However, don’t be surprised when you talk about West Virginia (sometimes referred to by natives as The Best Virginia) to hear your otherwise seemingly erudite colleague say, “Oh, I have cousins in Roanoke!” Roanoke, of course, is in Virginia, about four hours south east of the Mountain State. But don’t worry: apparently, 153 years is not much time for some people to get used to change.

Certainly, you will find plenty of references to the coal mining industry. It has employed and sustained thousands of families for many years. It’s hard to talk about West Virginia without the images of miners sneaking into your awareness, their eyes looking at you from bituminous faces and dusty headlamps. My grandfather was a coal miner, but I never once saw in his face the hollow eyes I saw in the text book pictures of the miners on the page. He worked hard so that his family could eat. But who I saw was PaPa, who walked me to the ball field to watch games and always had chocolate ice cream in the freezer for me. He made the best homemade gravy you’ll ever taste, and played tireless games of hide and seek, pretending not to find me when I was in the same place every time.

Your search will surely reveal maps of creeks and rivers, that run through valleys and hollows (a West Virginian may call them “hollers.”) But it may not adequately express how you can sit on the creek bank with your bare feet immersed in the cool water that runs over rocks skipped a generation ago, or more. A map won’t convey the smell of mountain air, and the sounds of mountain life. The rumble of a coal truck rushing by becomes part of life’s soundtrack in the same way rippling water does.

Like any place teeming with community and family, life in West Virginia has, on the hilly landscape, ageless stories of hard-work and heartbreak, happiness and hazard. Neighbors know each other, mostly. I used to love to ride my bike around the block, passing along the way the homes of people who knew my name. I also passed my Maw Maw’s house, where her epic barbecue was made, and it still makes my mouth water to think of it. She always had strong coffee and stronger values, and Roman Meal and Tang.

Now that I have kids of my own, one of my favorite things about taking them to visit my mom is that the mountains are all around. Whether we’re on the front porch, or the back, the mountains are inescapable—they are everywhere. You will learn, in your research, that our state motto is Montani Semper Liberi, which means Mountaineers are always free.

I miss my home sometimes, and, even though I have a lovely, good, fulfilling life in the hills of Tennessee, it is the mountains that made me.

Just like on my mom’s front porch, they are inescapable.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Orange Is The New Green And Red

I found my Christmas cards the other day, in the bottom of a bag where I keep my hopes and dreams for becoming an organized person. They were addressed and ready to go. I went ahead and dropped them by the post office. It’s an election year, so I figure people will welcome wishes of good cheer, even if the wishes come months later than I meant for them to.
I love the holidays. I really do. There is a certain cheer—an ineffable magic—in the air that I can’t ignore. Children are excited, it’s scarf weather, and we get to enjoy all those delicious holiday beverages stirred all syrupy and sweet into red cups that may or may not be sending us straight to hell.
But, there is one thing about the holiday season that I can no longer stomach, and that is the Holiday Letter. Cards, I can handle, but those letters have to go.
They are long epistles on pretty paper depicting the Currier and Ives lives people want us to see.  They abound with stories of promotions, new houses, and accomplishments about how little Suzie made straight As (again) and Junior finally made the winning goal in the All Star regional soccer championship in Where-Do-They-Live-Again?, USA. And lest we forget that epic Memorial Day Family Reunion at Gulf Shores, they graciously include a 5x7 color photo of the entire clan emblazoned with “#blessed” across the bottom.
I vow every year to do an honest holiday letter:
Dear Everyone,
 I’m sorry this letter is 12 weeks late, but I couldn’t remember to get ink for the printer. We’ve had a decent year, but we were overdrawn in our checking account at least three times. The cat continues to pee on our bed, but we finally got a new vacuum (#doghair). The kids are fine. They are constantly on some type of screen and argue too much. They have donuts and Sprite for breakfast multiple times a week. Love, The Walkers
Maybe I’ll get to it next year. If I can remember to send them out.
The truth is, I haven’t been able to take a holiday letter seriously since our family Christmas dinner involved getting a pat down by a rather large corrections officer.
A few years back, my family gathered at the Tennessee Prison for Women. We weren’t there to do a Christmas meal for the inmates, or to participate in an act of holiday service. We were there to visit my sister. She was in the middle of a five-year sentence.
It turned out to be one of my favorite Christmas memories.
After our pat downs, signatures, and rule reviews, we stepped into a tiny room and a heavy door closed behind us. In front of us was an identical door, big and solid, waiting to be unlocked. For a long moment, we were left standing in between the outside and the inside, with only little windows to show us where we had come from, and a sliver of the room to where we were going. I remember thinking that must be exactly how it was for my sister—the constant awareness of being in a tiny space where all you can see is where you’ve been and only a sliver of where you are going, and not being 100% comfortable with either.
Eventually, there was a loud buzzing, then a series of clicks and tugs, metal on metal screeching, more buzzing, and the slow pull of the door sliding open. We stepped into the prison rec room and scanned it for my sister.
There she was, across the way and on the other side of yet another barrier, smiling, waving, excited to see us. But when they opened that door for her to finally come through, she was focused primarily on one person: her daughter. She quickly made her way over to my niece, picked her up and held her close. Soon, she was introducing her to the guards and the other inmates and their families. Prison doors and protocol seem to melt away when it comes to the business of proud mothers and their daughters. My sister may have made her share of mistakes, but she knew her sweet girl wasn’t one of them, and she was delighted.
The rest of our visit wasn’t unlike our usual family holiday gatherings. There was barbecue, even if it did come out of a vending machine. There were efforts to get my daughter and my niece to settle down, and quit climbing on furniture. Again, a typical family dinner. There was singing and loud laughter and stern looks from a guard. (And if you substitute a corrections officer uniform for a Cracker Barrel uniform, it felt like a regular Sunday.)
There was Uno and soda and story-telling and remembering. There were hugs, and a few tears, and finally, goodbye.
Each year, I think of that Christmas and how our family was able to be in that moment, even as the big, heavy door slammed behind us. I am struck by how my parents, in their sixties, are raising my sister’s child, and how, now that she is out of prison, gets to be part of her raising her, too. I’m struck by the fear that there are no guarantees, that the Currier and Ives moments of our lives are fleeting and imperfect.

It doesn’t sound good in a Christmas letter, but the truth is, we all just seem to be standing in that in between place of where we’ve come from and where we’re going, waiting for the door to slide open.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Farewell, Pat Conroy

Hey, out there.
That is how Pat Conroy began every blog. But last night, we lost our most affable writer, our wordsmith, our storyteller, our low country hero, whose narratives broke our hearts and told our truths in ways no one else could.
We gave Pat Conroy a lot of power. We allowed him into our core wounds, and let him use his pen to slay our dragons. His characters lived big, unwieldy, trauma-stricken lives in places where poetry was born, where God alone created beauty. If you finish one of his novels and don’t smell like a salt marsh during low tide, then you haven’t read it right.
I recently finished my first novel. The finishing was a powerful and moving feeling, but it was the writing it that proved what I could do. When I first got the idea for my novel, I sat in front of a blank screen typing and deleting pages of aimless words, paragraphs adrift in a story-less narrative. But somewhere along the way, I began to act as if I could write a story in the vein of Conroy’s prose. It is no secret that I hold him in highest regard, and that his prose has been my bible. I have learned much about my craft from him, and have been inspired to write what I was never sure I could. And, like other Conroy fans—who are legion—I find myself in the truth he is never afraid to speak.
Last fall, when I told Pat Conroy that he makes a cameo in my novel, and the protagonist asks him to join her at Fleet Landing in Charleston for a fish sandwich, he told me to send the manuscript to his editor. I haven’t yet. I will, but I haven’t. I regret that I will never be able to actually make good on that fish sandwich.
In my book, the main character explains that she loves Conroy’s writing, and in this thinly disguised fictional account, is reading The Prince of Tides, again:

I meandered to a bench by the rose garden and pulled out my worn copy of Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides. I had read and re-read the book many times since college and it was falling apart. I had recently duct taped part of the cover. Dog-eared pages marked sections that I had read over and over again, relating to protagonist Tom Wingo as he narrated the tumultuous history of woundedness that lead him to that inescapable encounter and conversion with Dr. Susan Lowenstein.
I loved to read new books—I had just finished one on the merits of whole-food nutrition— but I never tired of the ineffable beauty inherent in Conroy’s prose. I connected with it, somehow. I knew there was significance and value in hundreds of other literary giants, most of them more prolific and time-honored than Conroy. Literary types made careers of critiquing the works of bigger, more influential writers, but I found my muse in stories by a military brat whose move to South Carolina, and failed attempt at teaching, yielded stories of the human condition as experienced by a low country boy whose verbose yarns always moved something inside me.
– from The Water Birth

It is true. When I reread The Prince Of Tides or Beach Music (as I am wont to do every year or so) I find that I both make sense of my wounds and tenderness, and find the creative fire that lives in my belly, stories waiting to be told. Conroy’s stories do not skip over the pain of human existence; they do not lie to the reader about deep truth, profound sadness, or bottomless pain. But when the sun rises on them—when we see what beauty unfolds—we are awed by the power of his decent fountain pen and yellow legal pad.
In My Reading Life, Conroy perfectly explains the writer’s life:
Safety is a crime writers should never commit unless they are after tenure or praise. A novelist must wrestle with all mysteries and strangeness of life itself, and anyone who does not wish to accept that grand, bone-chilling commission should write book reviews, editorials, or health-insurance policies instead. The idea of a novel should stir your blood, and you should rise to it like a lion lifting up at the smell of impala. It should be instinctual, incurable, unanswerable, and a calling, not a choice...A novel is my fingerprint, my identity card, and the writing of novels is one of the few ways I have found to approach the alter of God and creation itself. You try to worship God by performing the singularly courageous and impossible favor of knowing yourself.

His writing helps us know ourselves, and more, it helped us to know him. It has been the great pleasure of my reading and writing life to have Pat Conroy as a teacher. If Thomas Wolfe ignited in Conroy the call to become the writer he was meant to be, then it was Conroy who did the same for me.
In the epilogue to The Prince of Tides, he says, “There are last things to say.”
It will take me a while to find the last things I need to say to such a champion of words. Perhaps I never will. I am grateful I had the chance to thank him for his work, his influence, and his vulnerability. He signed my copy of My Reading Life with To Kristi, for the love of story. And I do. I love the story.

Thank you, Pat, for every word.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Of Milk And Melons

Nothing says Mother’s Day like breastfeeding, and thanks to a University of North Texas student ad campaign supporting pro-breastfeeding in public, I get to discuss my favorite topic: breastfeeding in public!

The other day, I read an article about the assignment of junior graphic-art majors Jonathan Wenske and Kris Haro, which required them to design and ad campaign for a social issue or product, as though it were for a paying client.

Their campaign, “When Nurture Calls,” features images of three different mothers nursing their babies in public bathroom stalls. The ads include such catchy phrases as “Table for Two” and “Private Dining” and they ask the question, “Would You Eat Here?”

Well, OF COURSE you would not eat your lunch in a bathroom stall is the natural conclusion most of us draw from what I thought to be a clever ad campaign.

But, as usual, the issue of public breastfeeding raises the heckles of a surprisingly large population of folks who, in their feedback to Wenske and Haro, refer to breasts as “goodies” and “sex organs.”

Really, people? 

Can we get over vilifying mothers for using their breasts for their intended purpose?

Here is the answer:  No. We cannot. Not when women continue to be objectified and our body parts seen as commodities.

I get it— breasts are fascinating. They are big and mysterious and round and sexy. But their main function is to feed babies. Face it.

Yet, the pervading idea still exists that a woman’s breasts are better served up in an erotic way, where they can be ogled freely, without her cumbersome offspring suckling them. I mean, nothing ruins a good sexual fantasy like some hungry baby getting in the way of the object of your lust. Pesky progeny. Fellas, amiright?

Have you checked out a magazine aisle lately? They are besot with covers that seem, primarily, to be an advertisement for boobies. Airbrushed photos of Hollywood’s most luscious melons adorn the covers of practically every magazine. And that’s just the women’s magazines. The men’s mags are worse.

Does the word “Maxim” mean anything to you? A quick search of the magazine title immediately yields a library of images revealing so much skin it looks like a dermatology ad. Or possibly an orgy ad. It’s kind of hard to tell. Every single cover displays lots of boobage—several covers featured completely naked women. The Sports Illustrated swim suit cover, which is currently on display at a child’s eye-level at my Walgreen’s, depicts three supermodels, clad only in thongs and naked from the waist up.

Yeah. But they aren’t nursing babies, so, you know, no public outcry over the juicy doubles that jump out and smack you up side the head. I guess it’s only erogenous female breasts used to sell sex (or cologne, cars, make up, cheeseburgers) that we will tolerate in public. I mean, Carl’s Jr.and GoDaddy treat us to several minutes of soft porn every Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s a topic that continues to push my buttons, long after the last of my 11-year milk supply has dried up. But I still stand with any mother who wishes to feed her child without being accused of trotting out her “goodies” or “sex organs," when all she really aims to do is sooth, nurture and nourish her child.

I say, make yourself at home, Mother, whether you are in the lobby of your bank, the Target shoe department, or the Cracker Barrel. Most people will understand that you are feeding your child, not tempting other patrons with your milky, sore, tired breasts that you vaguely remember being second-trimester-perky.

There will still be those that stare at your chest, insulted by your brazen resolve to feed your baby. Don’t mind them. They’re just a handful of misguided haters.

And more than a handful is a waste.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

(Un)Happy Feet

I really need to get my self-care on.

The thing that really tipped me off is that all these other women are gallivanting around with fresh pedicures and new sandals, and I’m over here shredding paper with my ignored-all-winter feet.

Not only that, but I have some real old lady problems starting to develop south of the ankle. I’m talking bunions, calluses and—God forbid—warts. I also noticed a rather pronounced pronation when I tried to wear fake Ugg boots, ended up seeing a podiatrist, and left with orthotics.

This morning I tried to take matters into my own hands and use a callous remover to shave a plantar wart off my foot. This wart has become my nemesis. It causes me serious stress, standing in the way of me and a glorious, new flip-flop debut with a nice pedicure.

So I decided to fix it. Only I went a little too far, and, well, let’s just say the result was a blood bath akin to the shower scene in Psycho. It seemed innocent enough, but this one, tiny area opened up and I thought God was punishing me with some sort of blood-plague for judging the other pretty-pedied women while all I can manage to pull off by the way of sandals are Keens and Birkenstocks. That’s fine for a while, but this hippie stuff can’t go on forever. Eventually, Momma’s gonna need a sexy heel without my Achilles heel—this damn wart—bringing me down.

I’ve been avoiding treating the wart because it seems like a lot of work. Per my doctor, I should brush this smelly compound solution on it every day and—wait for it—cover the whole thing with duct tape. All the time. Unless I’m in the shower.

Am I being punk’d? Duct tape? I can’t wear a sexy summer sandal if I’m going around looking like the Tin Man from the ankle down.

At least now, for some reason, decorative duct tape is a really big draw for girls’, ages 7—14, who like to spiff up their lockers, notebooks, backpacks, and other belongings. A quick search of my 7-year-old’s junk drawer yielded two different rolls of duct tape, which I aim to use in the coming days: a pink and black zebra print and the Minions from Despicable Me. These stylish finds have me happier than Pharrell Williams every time he turns on the radio.

I’m committed to working on this religiously until I hit the beach in roughly five weeks. If it doesn’t work, you can blame my podiatrist.

She’ll be the one confined to her office chair with Minion duct tape while Pharrell’s Happy plays on a continuous loop in the background.