I’ve never seen AUSTIN POWERS (!?)



I know you won’t think this is funny. But often no one gets it my jokes.

I know the look. I know you’re nervous at anything not suitable for chat at the office Presidents Day party. Nervous. Squeamish about reading something too private, too personal, too out-of-the-ordinary? Stop reading. I’ll forgive you. Really. Be a little sad, but not hold it against you.

All over the web, Flannery O’Connor is quoted, “The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.” I’ve never seen a reliable citation for it. I think it’s drifted over into the category of an intellectual urban legend.

But without doubt, it sounds like something O’Connor might have said. She stared.

The doctor’s waiting room, which was very small. . . Mrs. Turpin, who was very large, made it look even smaller by her presence. She stood looming at the head of the magazine table set in the center of it, a living demonstration that the room was inadequate and ridiculous. Her little bright black eyes took in all the patients as she sized up the seating situation. There was one vacant chair and a place on the sofa occupied by a blond child in a dirty blue romper who should have been told to move over and make room for the lady. (Flannery O’Connor. “Revelation.”)

You couldn’t write that unless you had stared at large ladies and crowded waiting rooms. “Stood looming?” Popular fiction writers don’t stare. They exposit. Halfway through a bestselling novel and I still don’t know what the protagonist looks like. So much for staring.

I can stare if I want

I can stare if I want

So Thursday afternoon I was staring. At myself, I guess you could say. Trying to find someone else to stare at and write a short story. But as usual on Thursday afternoon I was alone. Nothing to stare at but me and the TV. Rerun (they’re ubiquitous) of “The Mentalist.” Tell me you’re not in love with Simon Baker. Almost as goo-goo-eyed over him as over Guy Pearce.

I’m staring at myself. And Simon Baker. And I’m sobbing. Stop!!!! You think that’s sad. I think it’s pretty funny. Staring and sobbing. I’m supposed to feel bad about that. And I sure as hell am not supposed to talk about it. Not in private or–for God’s sake–here!

Apparently in one of the Austin Powers movies, Dr. Evil says to his son Scott, “You’re quasi-evil. You’re semi-evil. You’re the margarine of evil. You’re the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough.” So I’m the margarine of Bipolar. You can make whatever you like of my staring at Simon Baker and myself and crying. But I’m writing about it at 5 AM two days later, and you don’t think that’s funny?

The opposite of crying over Simon Baker is grandiosity I can’t control (that’s what the “Bi” means). Mine is as harmless as my crying. As Therese Borchard says in her article about Catherine Zeta Jones, “my form of ‘grandiosity’ is simply not needing to solicit so many affirmations to feel okay about myself.”

I keep good company. Austin Powers and Catherine Zeta Jones! I don’t need to

Bipolar Too?

Bipolar Too?

solicit affirmations. Staring at Guy Pearce and Simon Baker.

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