Saturday, July 18, 2009

That was zen, this is tao

The new me

Yesterday I took my son to the Social Security Administration to get him a new card, seeing as how he lost the first one. As I expected, there was quite a crowd, so we took seats in the back row. A couple of minutes later, a disheveled man came in, looked over the available seats, and decided to sit next to me. They always do. After he settled himself, he took out a container of doughnut holes and began to carefully examine each one. Perhaps he was looking for defects or maybe he was counting them--it wasn't clear.

I tried my best to ignore the guy and his aroma, but I made the mistake of sneaking a peek at him. He caught my eye, smiled a gruesome smile, and said he knew a "a real pretty lady over to Gibson City" who looked just like me.

"He's trying to pick you up," my son whispered, trying not to laugh.

"I've never been to Gibson City," I said.

"Oh," the disheveled guy said. "Well, you sure look like her." He went back to inspecting his doughnut holes.

My son and I, with a long wait ahead of us, decided to use the time by coming with a nickname that would help my writing career, something that would grab the attention of an editor or the reading public. Here are some of the nicks we evaluated:

Missy "Tourist Hater" Neal
Missy "The Inkinator" Neal
Missy "The King of Pop" Neal
Missy "Get Down with Your Own Bad Self" Neal
Missy "Gonzo" Neal
Missy "Melissa" Neal
Melissa "Missy" Neal
Melissa "The Italian Stallion" Neal
Melissa "Read or Die" Neal
Melissa "Dr. J" Neal

Well, you get the idea. Coming up with a good nickname, especially one for use in literary circles, turned out to be quite difficult. In the end, we decided on... (drum roll)

Melissa "The Enforcer" Neal

I need to tell my agent of this new moniker, if she would only answer her phone. I think she will be quite happy, telling editors that she has a new manuscript from... The Enforcer. "Whoa," the editors will say. "A new one from The Enforcer! Break me off a piece of that because I am hungry for some great reading!"

After a long wait, we didn't get a new Social Security Card because my son forgot his school ID. So, we went over to Barnes & Noble, where I stood near the front door and pretended I was having a book signing. "Hey," I said to customers entering the store, "The Enforcer is here. Have pen, will sign."

Most of the customers shied away from me. One woman started to cry. A big, nasty looking guy glared at me and said, "Who do you think you are?" I replied, "The Enforcer." After that, the cops showed up and we had to leave.

Email of the day

Dear Dr. Missy,

I am a children's author but my children (Augie, Robert, Kristal, Gwen, and Petey) refuse to eat cauliflower no matter how I prepare it. They say it looks like brains! Do you know of a way I can get them to eat this most important vegetable?

Bev (My real name is Dotti)

Dear Bev and/or Dotti,

What the heck does this have to do with children's writing? Never mind. As it happens, here is my recipe for cauliflower:

Take one pound of lean ground beef
Three tablespoons butter
One pound sharp cheddar cheese
Six slices of English muffin bread
One pound of cauliflower
A nice bottle of merlot

Shape ground beef (ground sirloin is best) into three patties and cook over medium heat until the meat is slightly pink in the center.
Break cheese into pieces and melt over medium high heat in a double boiler
Toast English muffins in toaster (duh)
Place each ground beef patty on one slice of muffin and cover generously with melted cheddar. Cover with second slice of muffin.
Throw the caulflower out the back door and hope the danged squirrels will eat it because it does look like brains and it tastes horrible.
Return to kitchen and invite two friends over for burgers.
Wash down burgers with merlot.
Put butter back in fridge since you never got around to using it.
Optional: Serve chips next to burgers
Also optional: Put ketchup or mustard or mayonnaise on burgers

There. I hope that helps.

Dr. Missy