Sunday, February 26, 2006

To commemorate the anniversary of her birth, here are nineteen fascinating facts about Mel:

-- She’s the rare kind of friend who will actually tell you when the pants you’re wearing make your ass look like a baggy monstrosity.

– You probably cannot defeat her in a belching contest. Don’t even try.

– There was a time when she thought it was amusing to make fun of me for having sheets with little happy ducks on them. Once, she even thought it would be a hilarious prank to steal these ducky sheets and cook them in her microwave. It was a long and difficult process, involving a great deal of expensive psychotherapy and grievous emotional setbacks, but I have forgiven her for this.

– A few weeks ago my mother saw a picture I had recently taken of her and gasped, “Oh, that Mel, she just gets prettier and prettier!”

– Back in Iowa, she used to be in one of those ubiquitous, low-budget late-night commercials. It was for a diamond store, and I remember part of it involved her getting ready to sky-dive. I had seen it about a hundred times before I turned to my roommate Greg, and asked, “Is that Mel?”

– Small children adore her.

– She makes exacting demands on those she deems worthy of giving her a foot massage.

– No matter who else might come along, she owns the role of “Saucy Reporter” in Pal Joey.

– Dentists all across the world fantasize about having patients who floss and brush as thoroughly and regularly as she does.

– She can sing beautifully. She’s also pretty good at faking a Russian accent. However, when she decides to combine the two, the results can only be described as “horrifying”.

– One day soon, she will be western Washington’s premier massage therapist

– I cannot say this enough: I am sorry about our bathroom in Brooklyn. It was disgusting and filthy and utterly unsanitary. I am sorry that the bathtub was black with mold and I am sorry that the greasy shower curtain would sometimes stick to your skin. I am also sorry that you had to sleep in a corner of the living room. That was bad. Please forgive me. It was all Greg’s fault.

– She’s the one, more than any other, who I credit for helping me get over my hypochondria. And, for that gift, I owe her more than I can ever repay.

– I recall a time in Des Moines when she woke me up to drive her to the drugstore because she had fallen asleep with her contacts in. I groaned, rolled over, and looked up and there she was, staring at me with these enormous, bright- red, blood-filled eyes. “Eeeeek!” I said. For a second there, she was really, really scary.

– I also recall a time in Duluth when she very nearly convinced me to go and sit in a hotel hot-tub with two necking strangers. The idea was that my presence would unnerve them so much they’d leave and then we could use it.

– Finally, I recall a time in New York City when I fell behind her in the subway tunnel and, as I hurried to catch up, I saw a big city tough guy spin around to watch her go by. He looked her up and down, blinked his eyes, squeezed his hands into fists, and then he yelled “DAMN!” at the top of his lungs.

– For a couple of weeks, she lived with my parents in St. Paul. In that short time, she managed to disabuse them of the notion that girls are tidier than boys.

– Cats? She doesn’t really like them.

– I’d give up my CD collection, all my books, my computer, my cell phone, my left kidney, most of my right kidney, my liver, my pancreas, my spleen, my duodenum, my radius, my ulna, my Circle of Willis, and my full and lustrous head of hair for her. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without her. I have a thousand happy memories of her and I know I’ll have a million more before we’re through with this world. She’s a treasure, that Mel. If she was in Minneapolis or if I was in Seattle, I’d give her a hug. And then, when we were finished having our “moment”, I’d tell her she still owes me an apology for microwaving my ducky sheets. Because that was mean.