What to do with lotions and crossbows


Something happened in my “notions” drawer when I wasn’t looking.  It exploded with moisturizers, and one sad little case of pale, sparkly eyeshadow that, when applied to my “crepey” lids, mocks me.  Is there any worse word than “crepey,” by the way?

Suddenly I need a lot of face cream. I was always kind of a moisturizer slut but it’s gotten out of hand simply because every season there’s a new magical ingredient or potion. Pomegranate!  Soy!  BB cream (which I still don’t understand)!  Coconut!  Minerals from the Sea!  I should back off Mr. Halfstory and his cache of secret-sports-related items currently stored in the back of the Hybrid Silverado (I like typing that because if you saw the size of it you would, a) ask me to refill the nearest silo, or b) slap your knee and guffaw).  I have no leg on which to stand, even if I know the $500 worth of extra batting gloves, extra turf shoes, extra “Vegas Gold” socks, extra wrist tape and extra rolling coolers are not secret at all.

Why? Because there are always free samples.

I found myself driving south alone at exactly 2pm several weeks ago and luckily Zadie Smith was a guest on NPR.  I adored White Teeth, liked On Beauty and am having focus issues with NW.  As always, Smith captures the souls of her characters really well.  There are just so many of them.  I am going to stick with it, though, because with her you can sit back and enjoy the chaos and stream of consciousness endeavors; her writing is fluid, and her insight into each conundrum is backed up with dry humor.  Many would say she needs editing, and that would be all right, too.  Best to read her after someone really starchy and spare, like maybe Stewart O’Nan.  But…if you ever have the chance to hear her speak, jump at it.  She was at the top of the literary heap at age 21 while still in school, and had a bit of a sophomore slump with her second book.  Now she’s a mother, teaches at NYU, does work for non-profits and is that rare beast: a lively, friendly intellectual without a huge ego.

I re-read both Catching Fire and Mockingjay (sequels to The Hunger Games), as well, over the Turkey Day break.  Then the family went to see the movie because after all our blessings we had to go see the latest dystopian epic and eat 2 pounds of Skittles.  Actually, all of us save Halfstory (who is still plowing through a biography of unknown origin) have read the books.  Wait, I stand corrected.  Yvette has not, on principal, also of unknown origin, and did a lot of heavy sighing throughout the film.  I think she was offended by “the predictability and stupid romance.”  I loved those books – and I still do – but, upon re-reading, found them to be incredibly tragic.  These kids are damaged, and should be, post-war, post-atrocities, post having to kill other kids and leave their families.  Suzanne Collins, the author, has done an amazing job bringing her own experiences as the daughter of a Vietnam vet, and the horrors of modern war, to teen fiction.  As a matter of fact, if there’s a chance to hear her speak of her childhood, tune in.  She has a picture book out right now, Year of the Jungle, in which she writes of her own experience waiting for her father to come home from Vietnam.  It’s quite moving.  I would not, by any stretch of he imagination, recommend The Hunger Games trilogy for anyone under 14.  My own kids read them too early, (as they did with the Harry Potter books), and they missed some vital nuances and concepts.  Also: they are truly frightening, which becomes appropriate if you can grasp the bigger picture.