Thursday, June 16, 2016

Guns, Gays, Gods

What happened in Orlando last weekend was an act of hate and terror. I've been trying all week to stay out of the fray. Not because I don't care, but because I care too much. This tragedy, and the (social) media response, has gutted me on so many levels. As a sister, friend, and ally to the LGBT community. As a wife to the son of Muslim immigrants from Iran. As a mother, who sends her children to school every day - schools that should be safe havens for children to play and grow, that now hold active shooter/shelter-in-place drills every month. As a mother who cannot imagine getting a text from her 19-year-old son, "Mommy, I'm gonna die." As a citizen of the United States of America, a country I thought stood for liberty and justice for all. As a human f$%&ing being.

Photo cred to my little bro - from the vigil for the Orlando victims in the Castro.
Forty-nine innocent lives snuffed out. This man shot up a church on Sunday. It's gut-wrenching, wicked, wretched.

The thing is, once I commit emotional bandwidth to something, I'm all in. All my chips are on the table. I feel it to my core. It seeps into my every waking thought, into my dreams. Or rather, nightmares. Last night I had three separate dreams where I got shot (two of them while I was watching Hamilton. WTF?!) There was a second that felt like minutes, between actually getting shot, and realizing that I was going to die. There was a minute that felt like a lifetime, when I realized what that would mean to my family, my husband, my children. I cry in the shower. I feel over-caffeinated and sweaty and fainty and vaguely nauseous. I'm a woman possessed. I don't think this is normal. But it would be fine, except, I have a job and a family and stuff. The despair of this bird's-eye view is just too much sometimes. I need to zoom back in, to my little life, and focus on this tiny slice of goodness I can actually put my hands on.

My sister and brother got sucked into the vortex of hateful, ignorant Facebook swill after Orlando, but I tried not to get dragged down. This is the exact purpose of Facebook's "unfollow" and "hide" buttons. Spoiler alert: If we're "friends" on Facebook and you're writing pro-NRA, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT stuff, I have hidden your bullshit from my timeline. Because it literally drives me crazy. "Out of sight, out of mind," right?

But then I remembered how, in law school, we learned that silence is consent in a situation where a reasonable person would be expected to speak out. If this isn't that situation, I don't know what is.

Look, I've already written about my feelings on guns. If you're interested, you can read it here. Just a few thoughts to add.

To the people that say "If the Orlando shooter doesn't represent all Muslims, then why does he represent all gun owners?"

First and foremost. THE GUY WAS AMERICAN. He was not "Born in Afghan," as Agent Orange claims. He was born in New York. Yes, his parents were from Afghanistan. Yes, he was (probably) Muslim. Yes, he (apparently) sympathized with ISIS. But I hate to break it to you, this terrorist was free-range, organic, and home-grown, as are the majority of them. Are you, like He Who Shall Remain Nameless, honestly suggesting that we should round up millions of people, immigrants and natives alike, based solely their religion and beliefs? Alright, Herr Fuhrer, how's that gonna work? People say "Oh, the Oompa-Loompa-to-Hitler" metaphor is messy and unfair. I'm sorry but it's not even a metaphor at this point. Are you actually listening to the words coming out of this guy's mouth???

Subsection 1(a): How come no one calls it terrorism when it's white guys doing it?

Second, correct me if I'm wrong... Maybe I'm missing part of the narrative... But, is anyone saying ALL guns and ALL gun owners are to blame, and that the only solution is rounding up EVERY gun in America and melting them into a lake of fire? Because I know I'm not saying this, and I haven't heard anyone else say it either. That's why it's called gun control, not "eradicate all firearms from the face of the earth." I mean, don't get me wrong, it's 2016 and the Internet is basically an all-you-can-eat buffet of nuts and cheeseballs. I'm sure there are people advocating a total ban on everything from AR-15s to BB guns. But they're just as clueless as their "Every American has a constitutional right to a grenade launcher" counterparts on the far right.

Who knows, maybe these nutty hippies have fallen prey to my tactical operations designed to protect me from rage-inducing hogwash on Facebook. From what I have read off Facebook, though, I believe the general sentiment is for smarter gun legislation, not an out-and-out ban on guns. This includes closing the loopholes on background checks to help ensure criminals, people with mental health issues, people with a history of domestic violence, or, gee, I dunno, people that are on the FBI terrorist watch list, don't have easy access to guns. Yes, I understand giving the government the power to say who has access to guns is scary. So is the fact of mass shootings every third Tuesday. We're smarter than we look. I'm certain we can figure something out.

"Gun control" would also include increased enforcement of existing gun laws. Improved communication between branches of law enforcement. Education and safety. Increased access to mental health care. Smart technology that would, for example, help prevent children from shooting themselves and others. Risk of gun death is twice as likely for those with guns in their homes. There has to be a way to get at the purpose you are trying to serve, while minimizing the collateral damage. Is this SO unreasonable and insane?

"Gun control" should also, just an idea, include a ban on military grade assault weapons.

Look, even Cheeto Jesus agrees:

Why does he need to meet with the NRA to pursue gun legislation? Oh, wait, I know, because the NRA has Congress in its pocket.
See also, "NRA Leader Warns of Rising Cost of Senators."

Will "gun control" eliminate gun deaths in the U.S.? Not even close. Will it curb mass public shootings, or at least, the death tolls therefrom? Evidence indicates yes.

Assault rifles like the one used in Orlando are a "common element" of mass shootings. The "vast majority" of these weapons were obtained legally.
"Comes with hand-crocheted shoulder-stock muffler." How cute.

I mean, they're called assault weapons for God's sake. These are weapons designed to kill as quickly and efficiently as possible. These are weapons of war. These are weapons that have no business in the hands of civilians. You don't need a "Black Mamba" to defend your homestead or sack a twelve-point buck (I'm talking about the semi-automatic weapon, not Kobe Bryant).

My favorite commentary on gun control so far is from Sarah Silverman:

"The right to bear arms refers to muskets. But if that shit ever goes electric, rethink & modify accordingly, obvs." - Thomas Jefferson.

Third, there's the whole Muslim = Terrorist trope. NOPE. Just no. Even George W. Bush knew better than to equate the Taliban and Al Qaeda et al with the greater Muslim faith.

There are over 1.6 billion Muslims on Earth (23% of the population).  Muslims around the world have an overwhelmingly negative view of ISIS. Best guestimates of the number of jihadist militants in the world is around 106,000 (though it is admittedly growing. Then again so is support for Donald Trump, so, who are we to judge?) My trusty cellphone calculator tells me that's .0066%. Other reliable sources estimate that less than one percent of the world's Muslim population is "at risk of becoming radicalized." I'll take those odds if the alternative is condemning a full quarter of the Earth's population based solely on the God that they worship.

Also? "Radical Islamic Terrorism is the problem?" No. Radical Islamic Terrorism is A problem. Radical Christian Terrorism or Any-Other-Ism is also A problem. The fact that untrained civilians can buy military-grade killing machines is A problem. Skeevy White Dudes with a perceived grievance, anger management issues, and easy access to semi-automatic weapons are A Problem.

Let me break it down for you. ISIS is to Muslims what "People on the FBI watch list for suspected terrorist ties with AR-15s" are to responsible gun owners.

Next (damn, I should've made a spreadsheet). There's the whole concealed-carry, "safe = armed" argument, which I've addressed before. The latest iteration goes something like, "I for one refuse to die in a blubbering heap on my knees. If I go, it's gonna be with guns blazing."

I understand wanting to protect yourself, your children, your family. That's a very primal desire. Admittedly, I used to think that the whole "Oh we have to protect ourselves against a tyrannical government" thing was a bunch of tin-foil-hat crap, but now that The Hitler of Oz is one step away from the White House, I'm thinking it's not so crazy after all. I mean, I personally can't even be trusted around preschool scissors, but I get where you're coming from.


1) You understand that by having that right, you are also giving that right to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet on the street? Do you trust Tom, Dick, and Harriet in an active shooter situation if your son, daughter, mother, or father's life were on the line? What about if Tom, Dick, or Harriet is in a classroom, at an airport, or on a date with your child, would you trust them with a concealed weapon then? What if Brock Turner had a gun? And again, my fallback hypothetical: Imagine a bunch of drunk "good guys with guns" at a Raiders or Eagles game (Or, God forbid, a Raiders v Eagles game ;))

2) Defending your homestead or overthrowing the government is not the same as an active shooter situation. The myth that these good guys and gals with guns will prevent or minimize the impact of active shooter situations is just that. See, e.g., data regarding active shooter situations in general, and effectiveness of the "good guy with a gun" response in particular. Also note that unarmed civilians have stopped more mass shootings than armed ones.

Okay. Last point. This was a hate crime. By its very definition. Referring to it as such is no more political or "PC" than Webster's dictionary.

What is not politically correct, or, in my book, acceptable behavior by a member of the human race, is the drivel spewed by this Baptist "pastor" in Sacramento: "Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um no, I think that's great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn't die." This man makes me sick to my stomach. Listen up: If your religion peddles hate speech as the word of God, you need a new religion. (I think this last verse is from one of the lesser known parts of the Bible, the Book of Obvious.)

This is a "Man of God?" Fuck this guy. He is celebrating mass murder. He wishes more innocents had been killed. Kind of like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blaming 9/11 on The Feminists and The Gays. These "Christians" are glorifying the loss of human life, calling it divine intervention. News flash: The religion of Islam hasn't cornered the market on crackpots who pervert an overwhelmingly peaceful religion for their own hateful agenda. 

I can't even begin to unpack this bullshit. Suffice it to say, if this is what God stands for? I do not have FOMO.

God had ten commandments. I only have one: Don't be a dick.

(Editor's note: Several religious friends and family members have denounced the hateful words of this small, ignorant man and others like him. I've been assured that they don't speak for all Christians. And I really appreciate hearing that from the horse's mouth, so to speak. The thing is, it's a given. In Christianity, a few bad apples don't spoil the bunch. A quick perusal of Twitter and the Internet reveals quite a lot of bad apples, actually. But for some reason the other 2 billion Christians aren't assumed guilty by association.)

UGH YOU GUYS. Donald Trump and #AskTheGays
Please note, if and when I ever write "The Gays," Sarcasm Font is implied.
As my friend X said, "Everything is fucked except burritos." How and why have so many Americans become allergic to reason? Why does everything have to be dumbed down to a misleading meme or a sensational soundbite or a click-bait headline? Why do we need our "news" cut into tiny bite-sized pieces, chewed up, and regurgitated to us (with a healthy dose of spit) like baby birds? America reminds me of my children - impatient, irrational, demanding, prone to whining and tantrums, with the attention span of a gnat. Every day I'm like, why am I cutting your grapes and peeling your oranges? Why am I helping you with your shoes? THIS IS WHY VELCRO WAS INVENTED!

So then I take a stand and say "Dress yourselves, feed yourselves, clean up after yourselves, I'm not your maid," (or, in this case, your intellectual butler). "This hurts me more than it hurts you. Trust me." But then there's a lot of crying and yelling and throwing things and then the food gets spilled and the socks are on backwards and they can't walk because IT FEELS FUNNY and I'm like, UGH, FINE, give me the knife and be thankful I'm cutting your dino nuggets into sixteenths and not stabbing myself in the eye with it. Aaaand we're back to our regularly scheduled programming of treating everyone like big, dumb babies. The problem with spoiling children, and, apparently, America, is that, eventually, they grow up into life-sized A-holes and those are a lot harder to deal with than the pint-sized kind.

Our nation's reaction to tragedy is rather child-like as well. When my kids are sad, mad, or scared, they lash out. They say things they don't mean. They're like baby scorpions, they haven't learned to control their venom. You know what doesn't calm them down? Facts. Rational discussion. "Getting angry on them" (as my son likes to say). You know what does work? Hugs. Hugs and snacks. Wait until everyone is well-fed and in a love-coma and THEN talk it out. See? Much better.

Anyway. To my LGBT family and friends who are literally afraid for their lives as they head out to celebrate Pride. To my Muslim family and friends being shamed and insulted for their beliefs. To anyone else drowning in a deep dark pool of despair. I see you there. I'm here for you. I will not silently condone the hate. I will speak up. I will bear witness to your pain. I will hold your hand between my sweaty palms in times of fear. Know that you are valued. Know that you are respected. Know that you are loved. Know that I always have hugs and snacks on hand. And none of them are made with kale. Someone famous once said something like, "Never underestimate the power of a lot of little things done well." I say never underestimate the power of a lot of little things done with love.

Okay, me and the Internet are taking a break now. Too stressful. Catch you next week, or on November 9th, maybe.

PS, I'm probably on the FBI's watchlist after all the "research" I did for this post, but don't worry, I can still buy a semi-automatic weapon.

On that note, since Americans love fake news:

Study: Americans Safe from Gun Violence Except in Schools, Malls, Airports, Movie Theatres, Worlplaces, Streets, Own Homes - Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker.

"'No Way to Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens." - The Onion.

Or if you're feeling frisky and want to flirt with facts-

Interesting/disturbing infographics from The Washington Post on U.S. mass shootings.

And this. Samantha Bee is my spirit animal. So good. "We can't, constitutionally, get rid of all guns. But can't we get semi-automatic assault rifles out of the hands of civilians? 'Sam Bee wants to take your guns away.' 'Yes! The ones that mow down a room full of people in seconds? Yes, I do want to take those guns away! These high-capacity penis substitutes are a shitty choice for hunting, and home protection, but perfect for portable mayhem."

 (You should also watch her thing on how easy it is to get a gun. And Seth Meyers' bit on Gun Control.)

ALL THE YESSES to this video by former undercover CIA agent Amaryllis Fox. This is the best thing I've seen in a while. I started to quote her but then I found myself basically transcribing the whole five minute video. You just gotta watch it. I feel like I need to write on the chalkboard 100 times, "I will not view Donald Trump as a subhuman psychopath. I will not view Donald Trump as a subhuman psychopath...."

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

On Nader and Nazis

"One word: Nader."

My friend JCW posted this on Facebook after the California Primary on Tuesday, and I think he summed it up perfectly.

Naturally, I'm going to add a lot more words, as I am wont to do. I know I "shouldn't." I know probably no one has been swayed by a political blog post in the history of ever, but I can't help myself.

I keep reading stuff like "I would rather swallow broken glass than vote for 'Shillary.'" Or "This 'lesser of two evils,' two-party system is what got us into this mess, we need to do something to change it, if not now, when?" And I just feel like the over-excited kid in the front row of the classroom jumping up and down with my hand in the air like "Oh, wait, I know! Me! Me! Pick me! I know! Me! Me!" If not now, when, you ask? How about WHEN THE ALTERNATIVE IS NOT THE FLAMING DUMPSTER FIRE THAT IS DONALD DUCKING DRUMPF!!!!!!!

Listen. I get it. I like Bernie too. I voted for him. And Hillary should take his message to heart. I mean, is she the magical rainbow unicorn of presidential candidates? No. But are you seriously telling me you'd prefer that spray-tanned shit-stain to her? Because those are the choices on the table. (I'm allowed to engage in petty name-calling because I'm not running for freaking president.)

Yes, the system with its super-PACs and super-delegates is super messed up. We should work to change that. 100%.

Yes, the "mainstream media" calling the vote for Hillary before anyone actually voted? That sucked.

But let's be real, she's bringing it with the popular vote. And she shellacked him in California.

No, she's not perfect. But since when is perfection a presidential requirement? On the other hand, not being a bigoted bag of hot air is a prerequisite. Or at least, it should be.

In my humble opinion, now is not the time to take some symbolic, ideological stand. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face, or, don't throw the baby out with the bath water, or, uh, don't cut off a baby's nose and throw it in the river for fish food, or whatever. Are you pickin' up what I'm laying down? Donald Trump, people. I am so completely dumbfounded by this well-heeled nazi orangutan's rise to the top that I can't even think of any witty repartee. This shit is serious. This is not the time to fuck around.

I still can't even believe this is happening. It continues to, and will forever and always boggle my mind that we are where we are today. I remember playing a particularly terrible basketball game in high school. I think we were losing, badly, to like, Waldorf or something. Anyway, at halftime, our normally good-natured basketball coach gave us a tongue-lashing. She was like, "You guys are embarassing yourselves. Pull your shit together." I feel like America needs that pep talk right now.

I know you can find "evidence" to support any position you want. (For real though, people need to calm the fuck down with this Google PhD, Professor Emeritus in Bullshit business.) But I really don't think Hillary's as bad as the haters make her out to be. It makes me wonder why we (myself included) have this knee-jerk negativity toward her?

Ezra Klein writes "There is something about Clinton that makes it hard to appreciate the magnitude of her achievement. Or perhaps there is something about us that makes it hard to appreciate the magnitude of her achievement." You can read the whole article on Vox: "It's time to admit Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily talented politician."

Look. You're allowed to be mad. Hell, you SHOULD be mad. "If you're not mad, you're not paying attention." Isn't that a famous quote? But be mad about real things and not things you read on PawPaw's Facebook page. And don't sabotage America out of spite. If you want to put some actual facts in your brain cage, here's some extra credit for ya:

Read this article on Salon - "Hillary's Amazing Achievement: Understanding the Magnitude of Clinton's Historic Win."

Read the Jill Abramson article in the Guardian - "This May Shock You: Hillary Clinton is Fundamentally Honest." 

Read the book "Game Change."

Consult Politifact, Snopes, and/or before you start regurgitating a bunch of shit the internet told you.

Read things from sources other than Facebook.

Or just skip all that and read, "Clinton and Sanders and the End of the Road," by John Scalzi on Whatever, which is basically everything I wanted to say, but better, and can be summed up thusly: "Jesus fucking Christ, the GOP is nominating Donald Trump. I would vote a lukewarm bowl of soup into the White House before Donald Trump." "He's the walking manifestation of Dunning-Kreuger." By the way, I swear I likened Trump to a "flaming dumpster fire" before I read "a rampaging goddamn trash fire" in this post. It's just too accurate to change. How better describe the man than an orange-hot pile of slime, filth, and putrescence?

Sidebar - All this baloney about how our country is in dire straights and we need to "Make America Great Again" really chaps my hide. I mean, obviously, there is room for improvement. See, Exhibit A, Donald Trump. See also, North Carolina, Westboro Baptist, Ferguson, Brock Turner, and that creepy Duggar dude, to name a few. If I could give Donald Trump one iota of credit, it is that he has revealed my naivete to me, because, up until recently, I mistakenly believed there were only a handful of bigoted trolls throwing stones on the interwebs from the comfort of mommy's basement. I didn't realize there were enough of them to nominate a certified ass clown for president. That being said, I still think we're doing better than most. Or, we were....

This whole America the Terrible refrain reminds me of when we lived in the Virgin Islands. We sometimes hung out with this friend-of-a-friend named Greggo, who, just to paint a picture for you, carried spare thong bikini bottoms in his backpack (new with tags, he wasn't a complete monster). He'd regularly haze female friends and acquaintances on the beach, pressuring them to get naked, and if they balked, he'd offer the thong-compromise. Good times, good times.

Anyway, whenever we were at one of a handful of the most gorgeous, calendar-worthy beaches on the planet, he would (repeatedly) make the same dumb joke, saying "I hate this beach! This beach sucks!"

Actual beach. Did not suck.
And that's kind of how I feel about people who whine about how poorly America is doing. Let's take a closer look, shall we? Gas is $2, unemployment is below 5%, ten million more people have health access to healthcare, someone other than a dead white guy is going to be on our currency, my little brother and countless friends and relatives can legally validate their love, a woman is the presumptive democratic presidential nominee...

All things considered, Obama didn't do half bad for himself. #CuzObama, but like, in a good way. I swear to God if this overgrown oompa loompa becomes president, President Obama is going to look like goddamn George Washington over here. But that won't be my problem, because I'll be drinking pina coladas on the shitty beach pictured above.

P.S. - Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" hats are made in an LA garment factory by Latino immigrants, because, of course they are.

To bring it full circle, I guess I shouldn't get too "fweaked out." As my boyfriend Lin-Manuel pointed out in his Rolling Stone interview, "Twas ever thus," In other words, American politics has long been a shit show and we've made it this far. Apparently, in the election of 1800, Jefferson accused Adams of being a hermaphrodite, and Adams attempted to spread the rumor that Jefferson was dead!

Anyway, the moral of the story is, Donald Trump is the fucking worst. Count me in, Hilly-Bean. (PS If you haven't checked out the #GirlIGuessImWithHer hashbrown on The Twitter, it's pretty funny.)

That is all.

Friday, June 3, 2016

You Are Not Allowed To Kidnap Lin-Manuel Miranda*

*Not actually a kidnapper. Promise.

Do you remember being a kid and being IN LOVE with Michael Jackson or Prince or NKOTB or Mark Wahlberg or Kurt Cobain or Dylan McKay or Brandon Walsh or Justin Timberlake or whatever other beautiful face you tore out of your Teen Beat magazine and taped to your mirror? I'm talking legit obsession here. These were the men (or women) you were going to have 1-4 kids and own a Mansion/Apartment/Shack/House with one day. (You remember MASH, right???)

The funny thing is, this never really happened to me. I didn't watch Saved by the Bell or Melrose Place or MTV like 99.3% of my peers, so most things pop culture flew right over my head. I did go to a New Kids on the Block concert, and I dutifully chose my favorite "Kid," (Joey McIntyre, obv). I was "Team Brandon" all the way (brooding bad boys aren't my style), even though I'd never actually watched 90210. Kind of like how my son memorized the entire plot-line of Star Wars two years before he'd even seen it. Faking the currency of cool.

Honestly, I just wasn't that into it. I think the closest I came to "fangirl" status was over sports stars. I had panoramic posters of Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice and Joe Montana plastering my walls. My girlfriends and I played football and basketball at lunch and fought mercilessly over who would get to be which player from the Bulls (I was BJ Armstrong, my BFF always got to be Michael Jordan - she was much, much better than me ;)), the Niners (my Montana to her Rice), or the Sacramento Kings (Spud Webb/Mitch Richmond, Peja/Webber). And of course, growing up in Sac, I'll always hold a special place in my heart for KJ, and forgive him his trespasses with the Phoenix Suns.

So yeah. I wasn't big on the teen heartthrobs... at least not in the typical sense. That is until I was 35 years old. Let me set the scene: September 2015. I was scheduled to do a presentation at the local high school on Constitution Day. On the way there, I heard a story on the radio about Hamilton. I could barely contain my excitement. I'd seen In the Heights years ago, and knew Lin had talent. But this - Broadway + Hip Hop + The Constitution? This is the holy trifecta in my book. I proceeded to geek out to a bunch of apathetic high school kids: "Like, ohmigod, you guys! A rap-musical about the founding fathers!!! How super awesome is that?! Class field trip to NYC?! Anyone? Anyone?" For some reason, the students' reactions were less than enthusiastic.

Surprisingly, it kind of fell off my radar for a while after that. I wanted to see the show at some point, but I hadn't yet fallen down the Hamilton rabbit hole. I tried to get tickets when we went to New York in February, but they were outrageously expensive so we saw The Book of Mormon instead. BUT THEN. I bought the cast album. That was four months ago. I don't think I've gone a single day without listening to it since.

When I first drank the Kool-Aid, I tried to get Daddy Mack on board. I showed him a couple of YouTube videos but he didn't seem to get the appeal. He actually said, a la Larry David, "Do white people just pretend to love it because it stars black people and they want to seem progressive and PC?" Um, no. Duh.

ANYWAY. I fell. Hook, line, and sinker. I was HELPLESS. (I briefly entertained the notion of writing an entire blog post in Hamilton quotes, but that seemed hard and a smidge more stalkery than I intended.)

Despite his skepticism, DM recognized that my feelings for Hamilton were not to be dismissed. I'm not sure if it was because Hamilton was playing every time he came home and every time he got into my car, or because I said "I HAVE to find a way to go to this show" about three times a day, but he picked up on these subtle clues. I was bonafide bonkers for Hamilton, and he decided to do something about it.

I cried. He laughed. I said, "I can't believe you did this!" He replied, "Are you kidding? You've literally never wanted anything more in your life. Of course I did." Swoon. Best of husbands, best of humans, right there. <3

So we went. Across the country. With kids in tow. For 96 hours. If it takes 6,000 miles and an unmentionable amount of dollars to see Hamilton, it will have been worth it.

(Also, the kids were angels and the patron saint of traveling with small children was smiling down upon us when seats were assigned. Thank you, Jebus. Thank you, too, to my wonderful in-laws and also my adorable niece who provided free childcare and entertainment while DM and I escaped to NY for the night!)

First order of business: What to wear? Before we left DM said, "Is it cool if I just wear jeans and a shirt to the show?" (As we both did to Book of Mormon a few months prior.) I said, "That's fine. You can wear whatever you want. But just so you know, I am going to be the most dressed up person there. Gotta bring my A-game, baby!" He rolled his eyes and warned, "You are not allowed to kidnap Lin-Manuel Miranda!" I replied, "Of course not! His wife seems amazing. I mean, a lawyer AND a scientist? How could I compete with that?! Maybe just... a sister wife?" ;) I admit I refer to Lin as "my boyfriend" on occasion, but honestly, I'm not that picky. I'd happily enter a plural marriage with Leslie, Daveed, or Pippa or Renee for that matter (and yes, we're on a first-name basis).

Laughin' at my sister cuz she wants to form a harem.
I'm just sayin' if you really loved me, you would share 'im.

So. I bought a dress. Which, by the way, nearly killed me. Literally. It's really long and has a bunch of different panels in the skirt and there's no way to pick them all up simultaneously. I quickly gave up trying to be sexy and graceful about it and started desperately grasping all the pieces in my sweaty paws, like when you try to carry a pile of laundry upstairs and you leave a trail of socks and underwear in your wake. Add strappy heels and steep carpeted stairs and it was basically a slinky red death trap. It was like trying to walk with a rabid octopus wrapped around my legs. I tripped at least seventeen times. The last time a complete stranger actually caught me in his arms and prevented me from tumbling down the stairs to my paralysis and/or mortification. Thanks, man!

Let me have my Kardashian moment, please.
This picture actually kind of freaks me out a little. I'm getting an Inception vibe.
Alluring, yet provides ample space for my "I had a baby four years ago-bump," aka burrito belly (or, in this case, pizza-by-the-slice belly). Two essential requirements of any good dress, in my opinion.
For some reason, I thought maybe once I actually saw the show, after listening to the soundtrack non-stop for months, that would sort of provide some closure for my obsession. The bookend, if you will. Uh, NOPE! It has only intensified my infatuation. I am halfway scheming to get back again before July 9th. I actually just entered a contest to win tickets and a meet-n-greet. I WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED!

Kinda like this.
I was discussing this with a friend (my MJ ;)) and we were saying - Yes, it's amazing, but, WHY soooo goooooood? I wish I could put my finger on it. Is it the insanely good music? The ridiculous turntable stage and brain-busting choreography? The on-point casting? The picture perfect costumes? Seeing 8 Mile-style rap-battles on Broadway? Yes, it's all of that, but that's not all.

It's not just Lin, either. I mean, the fact that he wrote the thing BOGGLES MY MIND. It physically hurts my grey matter when I try to wrap my mind around him writing biting, historically accurate raps about the founding fathers. Still, I saw In the Heights. It was good, and I love me some Usnavi. But it wasn't "Listen to the cast recording on repeat for 120 days"-good. It wasn't "Sell your first-born-child for tickets"-good. It wasn't "HOLY HELL I think I'm suffering from an acute myocardial infarction"-good. You know?

It actually felt like I was experiencing a minor medical emergency. Not like, "Call 911" or anything. More like the "Lie down, take two aspirin, and call me in the morning." I'm getting heart palpitations just thinking about it. It was basically a two-hour and forty-minute asthma attack. I was sweaty and fainty and I white-knuckled whatever of DM's body parts were within arms-reach. I was holding on for dear life. We had good seats, but I literally couldn't see straight because my eye-cups runneth over the entire time. I shouldn't have been surprised. I can't even not-cry listening to the "Stay Alive" redux for the 243rd time in the quiet of my own car. I didn't stand a chance "in the room where it happens." It felt like my synapses were firing in double-time. Like I was about to overload my motherboard. It was a wild ride that I didn't ever want to end.

It just... took my breath away. And by that I mean, I think I literally forgot to breath for the first 3 minutes and 56 seconds. And I'm not the only one who felt that way. The whole place was electric. Incendiary. A packed house of kindling waiting to be set aflame. "Ladies and gentlemen, you could've been anywhere in the world tonight, but you're here with us in New York City!" It was like church, or a wedding, or any other place it's not weird to hold hands and share tissues with strangers. We were collectively mesmerized. "How lucky we are to be alive right now!"

By the way, I was nervous that DM wasn't going to love it. I figured he'd like it well enough, but he'd mostly humoring me. I was disabused of that notion halfway through the intro song, when he leaned over and whispered, "I can already tell, this guy's going to be my favorite." Gotta love Aaron Burr. #BroMance #ManCrush. DM fell half in love with Eliza, too (who wouldn't). Three minutes in and he was a bona fide fan.

From the first line, it felt like someone cracked open my rib cage, grabbed hold of my heart in their big meaty fist, and never let go. Sweet Jesus. My six-year-old buddy Miss V went to the show last month and reportedly said "I'm so excited I can't control my body!" I know EXACTLY how she feels. I had an almost overpowering physical urge to stand up and start fist-pumping at various times throughout the show. It felt like my heart was going to spontaneously combust. It didn't, thankfully :) That energy and emotion leaked through my eye-holes instead. But I sniffed and snuffled in good company.

Then, I wanted to cry because it was over!

As soon as the lights came up, DM said, "Lets come back and see it again tomorrow!" Luckily (for our credit scores), there wasn't a show Monday.

Oh yeah, also, I was interviewed about Hamilton for a Japanese television show. LOL.

I was going to make DM stand in the Stage Door line with me, but I had to pee SO BAD (I held it the whole time! The line for the ladies was INSANE at intermission and there was zero percent chance I was missing one second of the show. I'd just as soon pee in my Hamilton sippy cup. Anyway, by the time we got outside it was utter mayhem. Fuhgeddaboutit. (Though I found out after the fact that Lin did Stage Door and I have major FOMO.)

I've daydreamed about what I would have said to them, though. Conducting entire imaginary conversations in the shower with people I will never meet has, heretofore, been solely my husband's gig. But things change, apparently. Honestly people, I don't even know myself anymore! I don't usually get star-struck. Celebrities don't excite me, as such. If I was sitting next to Beyonce and Jay-Z at a restaurant I'd be like, "Neato." Actually, I might ask to move to another table because God forbid Jay-Z accidentally looked in my general direction, I wouldn't want Bey to skin me alive and wear me as a bodysuit.

On the other hand, if I encountered any cast member from Hamilton, I'd probably melt into a wheezing puddle on the sidewalk. But this is what I would like to think I would have said:

To Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr): How many times a day do people walk up to you and say, "Are you Aaron Burr, sir?" Also? Will you be my husband's boyfriend? ;) (Is there a way to say that without sounding creepy?) Seriously though, SO GOOD dude. I've heard Lin say he thought about playing Burr instead of Hamilton. I can't imagine. I'm so glad you followed your heart to this part. You were made for it!

To Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Jefferson): You were my fave! Purple velvet suits you. Also, I love "Small Things to a Giant!" A rap referencing Edgar Allen Poe and Beavis & Butthead? Who'd'a thunk?

To Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton): You are the glue. There wouldn't be a show without you. Swoon.

To Chris Jackson (George Washington): You should totally audition for the role of the 45th president of the United States! Central casting is presently fucking that shit up!

To Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler): Can we do a Choose Your Own Adventure version where you get the guy???

To Okieriete Onaodawan (Hercules Mulligan/Madison): Can we be friends? And make a music video together where you rap all DMX-style and we walk down the street in slo-mo? Cool, thanks!

To Lin-Manuel Miranda (The One and Only Alexander Hamilton): Who am I kidding. I'd definitely say something like "I carried a watermelon," or "Uhhhhhh.... *Starts ugly crying and babbling incoherently.*" Oh am I talking too much? Sometimes I get overexcited, run off at the mouth... Well, now, if I ever run into him, I can say "HI! I wrote a blog post about kidnapping you and/or becoming one of your sister wives!" That's sure to go over well :)

Anywho. I can't explain how or why Hamilton grabs you and has its way with you and leaves you saying, "Thank you, Sir! May I have another?!" But it's "a thing." It's not a moment, it's a movement.

The Bible says "Nor will they say 'Here it is!' or 'There it is!' for the Kingdom of God is within you." And I think that's kind of what's going on in Hamilton, too. It feels like, somehow, this super famous, twitter-trending, cultural phenomenon has something to do with you. Yes, YOU. Like, it's tapping into this shared history or some past life. "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together." The Beatles, I Am The Walrus. Or, if you prefer, Snoop Dogg: "He is I, and I am him, slim with the tilted brim... What's my motherfuckin' name?" ALEXANDER HAMILTON! (See what I did there??? ;))

I hope you'll forgive me the biblical reference. I'm probably being a tiny bit dramatic, but it really was like a religious experience. For me at least. (Or, so I've heard, anyway. Not ever having had an actual religious experience firsthand ;))

The moral of the story is, I left my heart in Richard Rogers Theatre. (And I don't even care that they spell it the asshat way.)

Mkay. I'm gonna go write the next Great American Novel now! Byeeeeee!

It's all happening!
"Slummin' in the city in my fancy heels." #TheSchuylerSisters. #Werk
Just in case you missed me squeeing on the interwebs...

Didn't actually sing out loud (I don't think?), thank God. But the girls next to me did, quietly and reverently, so it probably would've been okay ;) 
Also, my friend does this. The $10 Founding Father. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with an unhealthy Hamilton obsession! <3