It seems that a good chunk of reality shows are competitions—people
vying for some questionable title or prize. Bottom-line...generally money.

Participants are willing, encouraged, and rewarded, to behave badly.
Everybody’s cool with it.

Other shows are portraits of people who lead lives very different from
the norm—an idea illustrated at both ends of the taste spectrum.

Chatters: One bad day

I came across this story some years ago, I believe it took place on the South side of Philadelphia. I’ve long since forgotten the name of the victim, so for the sake of the story we’ll call him Chatters.

This particular day, the bad one, Chatters spent the afternoon intermittently sunning and resting his eyes high atop a balcony railing. At three o’clock in the afternoon, cruel fate and a group of street toughs happen upon our resting hero—air gun in tow. For the sake of humanity, I’d like to think the ficus tree was their target, but dear Chatters was the unfortunate victim of an air gun shooting.

Knocked from his slumber, the gunshot caused Chatters to lose his bearings.
Chatters was

Perhaps it was luck, or a quick prayer to Saint Gertrude
of Nivelles, patron saint of cats, but Chatters was able to land on the sidewalk below—bloodied and shaken, but alive.

At this point, one final unfortunate act betook
dear Chatters. It’s hard to tell exactly what happenedmaybe he was startled by a passerby, maybe he was just unaccustomed to being outside of the home, regardless, poor Chatters stumbled into the street and was struck by a passing car.

With the help of superb veterinary care, Chatters survived this ordeal, and it turns out a cat’s memory generally spans about ten minutes
—he probably has no recollection of it all. I hear that he can still be found on that very same balcony sunning—blissfully unaware that tragedy could potentially strike at any moment.

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of long-time
Mean Cards contributor and friend, Cat Catman.
He had been battling cancer for two years.
This was one of his favorite stories.
He is missed.

I’m walkin’ on sunshine

I’ve decided to save the upcoming sequels to The Flashing for a later date, lest all this testicle and anal bead talk make me appear less than lady-like. Instead, and in the spirit of my upcoming birthday, I’ve decided to share a recently rejected Mean Card. (see above) Strangely, not everything I create is solid gold.

You see, I developed an instant fascination with huffing (glue, paint, gasoline, what have you…) after I saw an episode of the television show Intervention on A&E. The episode featured a young woman ad
dicted to inhaling cans of computer monitor cleaner--she was a wreck.

It was truly one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever witnessed, and the idea just sort of stuck in my craw. For a minute there, I thought it’d make a nice birthday card. I figured I write something on the inside like this:

Upon further reflection, and I hate to be so business-business--so bottom-line, I just don’t feel there’s adequate demand for huffing-related greeting cards. It’s a very niche market.

And, I don’t know, it seems a bit cold--even for Mean Cards. Despite appearances, I’m actually quite sensitive to the feelings of others. Perhaps the horror of addiction is best left without my ridicule.

Finally, there’s the whole “damnation” thing. If there is a Hell, it could potentially put me one step closer to it. Who wants to spend eternity with the likes of murderers, people who made fun of Scott from American Idol, and pedophiles?

So…Happy Birthday to me.

The Flashing: In Three Acts


This is one of my favorite storiesI’ve been
presenting it to audiences for many many years. I'll be breaking it up into three acts, as the enormity of this peculiarity is best savored over time.

The story takes place in Philly, about five or six years ago.
I was living at 15th and Fairmount and going to school full time. It was a Wednesday night,
Karaoke Night at McGillin’s, and my friends and I were enjoying some drinks and talking about life. I remember somewhere in the course of the evening opening the topic of "flashers" for discussion. I felt no one was flashing anymore, and perhaps it had fallen out of fashion as a crime. Everyone concurred, we laughed, and moved on to the next random topic of conversation.

Act One:

Now it’s Sunday...I'm rollerblading along Kelly Drive in Fairmount Park, something I do with frequency. In addition to being an excellent cardio workout, it is perhaps the only sport where I show any aptitude. My usual route is to travel from Boathouse Row up to the Falls Bridge and back again—an absolutely lovely ride through a forest of sculptures.

I was on the last leg of my journey, I'd just passed the Playing Angels, and was just about to hit the Spirit of Enterprise when things went terribly awry. At a rapid rate of speed, I turned a curve and spotted an old man standing just off to the side of my path. He was shirtless, wearing a pair of very short cut-off jeans. His hands were in his pockets, and he was laughing hysterically.

As I passed, he hiked up his shorts, revealing a testicle, perhaps both, from his left pant leg. Albeit slightly unorthodox, make no mistake of it—I’d been flashed.

mind was filled with shock and disbelief as I sped away. As is my way, this soon turned to rage. "How dare you!" and a bevy of four-lettered words sprang from my tongue. I had briefly toyed with the idea of picking up a stick and returning to beat him downI quickly reconsidered.

"What are the odds," I asked myself, "We were just talking about this the other night!" The irony of the situation began to calm me down, and soon the humor began to materialize. I couldn't wait to tell my friends.

Little did I know, this was merely the beginning
just the start of what would later become a bonafide phenomenon.

please stay tuned for Act Two


...I forget the year, but I was living on the corner of Clark and Belmont. I was renting a small one-bedroom apartment in a four-storied apartment buildingconveniently located atop the L & L Tavern. Terrible parking, the constant thump of base, and the overwhelming stench of urine and pigeon feces cut my stay to just one year, but it was a fun place to be in my early twenties. It is there, in Chicago, that I set my first tale.

I was on my way out one day when I spotted something unusual in the gutter. Drawing closer, I realized it was a beaded necklace.

My “good Samaritan” instincts kicked in, and I picked the object up to see if it might be valuable. Upon further inspection, I determined it not to be any sort of precious material, and therefore didn't warrant a LOST & FOUND posting. It was mine for the taking.

It had a really cool designlarge soft rubber balls set on a simple and sturdy cord. It had a very “Wilma Flinstone” quality to it. I immediately mentally paired it with my black studded belt--throw in a black t-shirt, and that’s what I was calling an outfit in those days.

The only thing my newest acquisition was missing was claspsthis was, of course, no feat to someone at my crafting skill level.

I place
d my new necklace in my purse, and set out on my way—pleased.

Several of you, dear and clever readers, may have picked up on what became all too obvious as I was walking away. It was then that the truth my mind had denied me became overwhelmingly clear...anal beads.

I spent a good portion of that day in quiet reflection.