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joe said write a column....
further (if somewhat gushy) thoughts about unification
by tracey l. kelley (@TraceyLKelley)

It seems like my husband and I have been fighting for three months straight. Mind you, we come out of the corner fair enough. Our gloves aren’t weighted with name-calling, punches aren’t hurled from past hurts and most of the time, jabs are rooted in fact, not conjecture. We also try not to fight round by round for the championship. When the crowd goes for popcorn and we fold on opposite stools from one another, a calm draw is often reached and neither of us feel like we “lost” by forfeit.

Yet fight we have. Overloaded with work stress. Crushed by unexpected debt. Frustrated over home projects. Infuriated by family. Dark clouds loom as the wind gathers strength while ours is siphoned away. The loads usually shared divide and, because of adverse body chemistry, summer heat, the resurgence of 80’s pop music...or whatever, both of us picked through our baskets and said “Hey, why do I have more of this filthy crap than you do?”

In any partnership, the hope is that each will carry a fair lot. Barring that, one will sweat the heavier load for a time and without tabulation, assured the role will reverse when necessary. This is but one advantage of a committed union.

What else makes a good marriage? And for that matter, why should you care? After all, you can just quit if things don’t work out, right? (I don’t think so, but that’s another column.) I do think finding a person to marry is easy. It is possible to just “know” when a person is right for you. Call it the hand of God or kismet or plain luck, but most people “know” who they’re going to marry.

The hard part is working on the union for the rest of your life.

Most humans have a variety of strong relationships, not just romantic ones, so I don’t believe “fear of commitment” is the cause of marital distention. I think people just plain forget it takes a little elbow grease to keep a relationship happy and progressive. While each individual has his or her own definition of what makes a union successful, there still seem to be similar Legos used in the construction of positive, life-partner relationships. Now, available exclusively and for a limited time on intrepidmedia.com, is a workable schematic.

1) Abuse in any form – emotional, physical, mental, financial, chemical – is not a strong foundation on which to build a union. So if you think the X-popping, shopping-addicted control freak who monitors your phone calls will “change” because of your love and guidance, both of you need therapy, not co-habitation.

2) Shared interests and values are important. You don’t have to agree on everything or both like Peruvian limbo music, but what you do have in common will bind you to the mast when the storm hits.

3) If the party of the first part doesn’t communicate well now, the magic marriage fairy won’t change that characteristic. Either understand how the other processes information and communicates and try to adapt or move on, otherwise you’ll both be frustrated.

4) Compromise isn’t hard to spell. If you don’t like football, but your partner begs you to join in on the “big game,” grab the Funyuns, curl up next to him/her and read a book. If your partner quotes every line from Grosse Pointe Blank and wants you for a laugh track, there are indeed worse things in life to experience. Smile at the enthusiasm displayed and be glad they want to share it with you. These “little things” will keep you lubed for the major issues down the line.

5) There are times when you are madly in love, there are moments when you love your partner, and every so often you only kinda like him/her. That's just the way it is, baby. Like stocks, you’re supposed to be in this for the long run. Try not to dump everything all at once, but examine the investment for potential revamping. Surprise! It could be you that needs a variable rate of adjustment.

I hate it when that happens.

6) Sex is great. Honest commitment gives you creative license you may have never believed possible. But it’s not everything. You’ll be surprised at other things (gasp!) that take precedence from time to time. Make sure you can also laugh, talk, and even enjoy the silence together, too. After all, when is the last time you saw “Kama Sutra for Arthritic Octogenarians” on the news rack? There will come a day....

7) Remember if you criticize or highlight the frailties of your partner to everyone you know, eventually they’re going to be unfair to your partner and question your judgment...especially when you continue to stay with him/her. Who you've chosen is a reflection of you – be proud of who they are. If there are problems, go to an objective counselor.

8) The whole toilet seat up or down/who cleans the toilet/which way the toilet paper roll should go and other such household maladies are nonsense. Don’t pick a fight over it. Talk about it, joke about it, find neutral ground. My husband now just accepts that it will take me at least four days to put my folded laundry away, and I have resigned myself to the fact that I will always be the one to refill the soap dispenser and buy toothpaste.

9) Find elements to like in your partner and reinforce those positively. Often. No, your partner is not a performer at Sea World, but he/she is also not psychic. It will be up to you to demonstrate and commend the behavior and activities that matter. (After all, you want to make your partner feel as good about himself/herself as possible.)

10) Laughter is paramount to any relationship, but even more so to a marriage. Who else will add sidebars to the same tired stories told in new circles, giggle when you burp like a hyena, and make rude hand gestures while Uncle Eugene talks about opossums mating in the backyard? Life is indeed a roller coaster and the hills, curves, and speed at which we move are daunting. Laughter makes the ride easier to handle.

Unfortunately, my husband gets sick on roller coasters. (Sorry honey, I laugh at your expense.)

11) Dating in a long-term relationship is just as important as when you were courting each other. The big “R” is the first to go when your daily interaction includes this month’s property taxes, little Belinda’s piano lessons or Spot throwing up on the new Berber. Schedule at least two nights a month where you and your partner see each other as friends and lovers, not as financial advisors/carpool attendants/trash compactors. When you do go out, instead of repeating your concern over an impending mother-in-law's visit, replay the dinner scene from Flashdance or something equally innovative. I assure you, Mom won't get the one up on this issue.

12) Say “please” and “thank you.” When you rise to get a drink, ask if he/she would like one as well. Really. These and other nuggets of common courtesy are a simple way to show appreciation for the other person, but it’s the first thing most couples forget.

13) You can - and will - experience great freedom, support, and joy within a marriage, providing that is also what you give your partner. This benediction comes with a clause of terrific responsibility – but no other work you do will reward you as well.

There’s nothing wrong with the institution of marriage. What’s wrong is when people go into the arrangement and don’t consider it a major priority. You won't lose yourself in a marriage – if it’s a healthy union, you'll add to yourself and to your happiness. If you can’t fathom that then yes, marriage isn’t for you. Don’t become another statistic.

My husband and I will celebrate ten years together the end of this month.

He hangs his clothes up like Mr. Rogers, which makes me look bad when I throw mine over a chair. He’s such a light sleeper he wakes up when I enter the bedroom and asks “What are you doing?!?!” like I don’t belong there. But I think his hands are sexy and when he hugs me I feel safe.

Sometimes he won’t let me nap on Sunday afternoons and forces me to go outside and play Kooshball instead. I’m a cat person and he’s allergic to cats. But there’s no one that listens to me the way he does and he believes I can accomplish anything.

He gets really “intense” on occasion, doesn’t cook very often and rarely goes to the grocery store. But he’s witty, intelligent, curious, loyal, and real, and puts the dishes away 95% of the time.

No, I don’t always like him because he seems “luckier” than me. Yes, I’m sure I drive him crazy with my “circular thinking.” But not only do I love him; I love being married to him. He's my best friend.

Why have I spent so much time mentioning all this? For the final point: no two people will ever be "perfect," so don't expect that from your union. Yet because of what we believe about each other and our commitment, we’ve made it through this recent storm with our hands clasped in triumph over our heads as we laugh into the wind. That's close enough to perfect for me.


Tracey likes to shake things up and then take the lid off. She also likes to keep the peace, especially in a safe, fuzzy place. Writer, editor, producer, yogini, ('cause yoger or yogor simply doesn't work) by day, rabid WordsWithFriends and DrawSomething! player by night. You can follow her on Twitter: @traceylkelley or @tkyogaforyou

more about tracey l. kelley


arms around the world
what the hugging saint is trying to teach us all
by tracey l. kelley
topic: general
published: 1.31.05

thankful, part two
and the list continues
by tracey l. kelley
topic: general
published: 11.29.06


adam kraemer
8.13.01 @ 10:16a

What's a Berber?

juli mccarthy
8.27.01 @ 12:13a

It's a kind of carpet.

(BTW, I love this column.)

russ carr
8.27.01 @ 1:16a

Um...You could wipe out an entire section of books at Borders with this column.

This is perhaps the most concise, no BS treatise on good marriage that I've read. If I can add anything, it's a couple of cliches which are no less practical for all their triteness: 1) Don't go to bed angry with each other. If you can't manage that, then there are other issues lurking, because no one thing is more important than your spouse.

2) Wake up each morning as if it was your first day together. You'll anticipate more.

mike julianelle
8.27.01 @ 9:50a

This column makes me want to cry.

Shut up.

tracey kelley
8.27.01 @ 10:13a

Juli, Russ - thank you.

Russ, you bring up two excellent points.

Mike - well, I just don't know about you. :)

matt morin
8.27.01 @ 12:46p

You left out honesty. I believe that if above all else you're honest with your partner, you can figure anything out.

Honesty gets small issues out on the table where they can be solved before they become big issues. Honesty lets each person truly know where they stand and how things are. And every time you're honest with someone, it adds one more piece to the trust you've built.

tracey kelley
8.27.01 @ 1:35p

Matt, honesty to me is a "given" characteristic. My last name is not Condit. :)

I left out a few things, actually, because 1) the piece is looooooong anyway! 2) Some individual characteristics and opinions (in my opinion) can't be dictated by an outside party. Things like faith, thoughts on fidelity, whether or not to have children, and so on are major individual elements. For me, these, along with honesty, fall under the "shared interests and values" category.

But you made a great point. :)

matt morin
8.27.01 @ 2:10p

Maybe it's because I'm not married. But it's amazingly hard to find someone who will tell you the truth about how they're feeling. I would love it if honesty were a "given." But way too many times when I specifically asked a woman how she's feeling I get an answer that shortly thereafter turns out to be a total lie. And it's because it's much easier for them to say everything's fine than it is to say something's wrong and try and deal with it.

I try to be very honest in my relationships and it seems like most women don't want that. They'd rather have the drama.

matt morin
8.27.01 @ 2:12p

What? Me? Bitter?

jael mchenry
8.27.01 @ 3:40p

Matt, as you find most women to be averse to your honesty, I find most men to be averse to it. Yes, what they say turns out to be a lie, because they don't tell me the truth. They tell me what they think I want to hear, which is not what I want to hear, which is the truth.

Mike, it wasn't the Grosse Pointe Blank reference, was it?

juli mccarthy
8.27.01 @ 4:02p

Maybe it's just me, but I have noticed that when people run out of other options, they discover the power of honesty. Could be that it's simply a maturity level thing, could be it's the realization that nothing else is going to work in the long term, could be both. Don't give up, Matt. Eventually, the "one for you" will find herself tired of the games people play, and when she finds you, she'll be ready for the real thing.

matt morin
8.27.01 @ 4:08p

That's actually what I've always thought Juli. In my 20's I thought way too many women play games and it probably wouldn't be until my 30's when I'd find someone who was tired of all that. I'm still looking...

Jael, I didn't mean to single out women. Men are the same. I just have no experience with men saying they love me, then breaking up shortly thereafter.

tracey kelley
8.27.01 @ 5:17p

Like Juli said, I think honesty has a lot to do with maturity. In order to be honest with someone, you first have to be honest with yourself. That's a level of exploration that many just can't face. Yet.

I don't think its gender-specific either. Many of my nice single male friends tell me tales of woe similar to Matt's and many wonderful single female friends tell me the same as Jael.

'Course, it's funny. Whenever I have a mix of single friends over for a party or whatever, they are never attracted to one another. Go fig.

jael mchenry
8.28.01 @ 7:59a

Yeah, I think it has more to do with maturity than gender. That's why I hate those dating books. Whoever you date, of whatever gender, you should communicate with -- honestly -- and treat with respect. Pretty basic ground rules. And violated just about every day.

It's maturity but also courage. I recently ended a relationship, and let me tell you, it would have been a whole lot easier to lie. It is, in fact, easier to tell people what you think they want to hear (I love you) rather than what they don't want to hear, what you know will hurt them (I don't love you, get out.)

So much of what I want to say on this topic is easily summed up thusly: it's hard to be a good person.

tracey kelley
8.28.01 @ 12:32p

In general, it's easier to lie, because that way you always look good.

Not that I would know.

Which puts us back on the courage plate: it's brave to show someone what you're really thinking, no matter how sticky and ugly it is.

Sorry about the breakup, Jael. You could try the be-bop approach (I told you I love you, now get out!) next time. That way you both win.

Any other marriage thoughts? Anyone? Bueller?

tracey kelley
8.28.01 @ 12:38p

Or relationships in general?

adam kraemer
8.28.01 @ 1:19p

Yes. Much nicer than the "It's not me; it's you" approach.

matt morin
8.28.01 @ 2:10p

Talk about timing...

I had to break up with my girlfriend last night because she said that while she was completely in love with me and thought I was "the one" she was also still in love with her emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend from 8 months ago.

Tracey, I almost told her read your point #1. Unfortunately, by that time it was a moot point.

jael mchenry
8.28.01 @ 2:22p

Matt, we could cry on each others' shoulders except that your shoulder is in San Francisco and both of mine are in DC. Accept my sympathy, though -- it sounds like your situation was much more unpleasant than mine. Mine a) was my choice and b) makes me happier.

Intrepid Media: bringing troubled people together, kinda.

matt morin
8.28.01 @ 2:36p

If it makes you happier, you definitely made the right choice. (I know that's still easy to say and hard to do.)

Jael, I'll settle for a virtual shoulder cry (even if it is in front of our entire IM family...)

Joe, when are you going to create the IM personal ads? Looks like some of us need it.

tracey kelley
8.28.01 @ 3:37p

I know there's a tissue dispenser button somewhere on this page....click....click...

Matt dear, a higher entity's thumb and forefinger just flicked you out of the way of a speeding bus driven by Sandra Bullock. Be thankful man. Sorry, though.

Adam - do you speak from experience?

tracey kelley
8.28.01 @ 3:42p

Jael, I have an aspiring screenwriter friend, hysterically funny, sensitive, 6'6" (hey, it *matters* to some people), former Chicagoian, who thinks Ebert is on the take and just had his heart broken by Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back ....oh, well, never mind. :)

adam kraemer
8.29.01 @ 11:07a

Hmmm...I never exactly got "It's not me; it's you," but I was once the victim of "I'm just not happy, and haven't been since around Thanksgiving."

tracey kelley
8.29.01 @ 11:28a

and you were told this, when, 4th of July?

adam kraemer
8.29.01 @ 11:30a

A few weeks before New Year's actually. The day of my grandparent's 50th anniversary party.

tracey kelley
8.29.01 @ 11:39a

Niiiiiice. Way to steal the thunder of a grand, romantic day. Heartless

I had a loverboy break up with me on Thanksgiving day. It was a long time before I could eat mashed potatoes....

and I love mashed potatoes.

And I can never listen to REO Speedwagon again.

But no great loss there.

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 8:12a

Backing up... Tracey! 6'6", you say? A tall movie-obsessed person is like the Holy Grail -- or catnip -- to lil ol me.

And Ebert's problem is that he always gets at least one thing wrong in his reviews, and always gives away at least one thing that he shouldn't.

mike julianelle
8.30.01 @ 9:09a

I wouldn't say that that's Ebert's only problem, Jael...

adam kraemer
8.30.01 @ 12:11p

I like Ebert, but I'd argue that his problem started when he decided that he could be a movie critic and write "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." My brain is still exploding from the cognative dissonance.

tracey kelley
8.30.01 @ 12:24p

Oh yes, Jael, he's very familiar with catnip. He has two cats. :)

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 1:16p

A single guy with two cats? Jael, I'd steer clear of that if I were you.

In a slightly related note: There's a 5' 11" movie-obsessed, funny, cute, smart, single guy in SF if you're ever out this direction. (Ask Lee Anne for references.)

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 1:41p

Humble. You forgot humble.

Intrepid Media: where we make jokes about personal ads and then immediately proceed to follow through on them.

Given that our entire staff is drop-dead gorgeous it was bound to happen sooner or later. Only I thought if there was a guy from SF looking through our staff photos he would be a guy who would appreciate Roger's spectacular abs, Michael's smoldering gaze, and Jack's adorable mug a bit more than my snakeskin dress.

So, Matt, how do you feel about The Princess Bride, Grosse Pointe Blank, and Memento?

mike julianelle
8.30.01 @ 2:21p

The similarities between people at this site are seriously beginning to frighten me. And, of course, I'm probably not the only one who feels that way...

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 2:30p

Roger's abs gave your snakeskin dress a run for its money.

Princess Bride: Own it on DVD. Genius. And easily Andre the Giant's best work ever.

GPB: The cheeseball romantic in me prefers Say Anything. And I'd have to say The Grifters tops it too. But an apartment I grew up in was torn down and replaced with a K-Mart. So I can kinda relate.

Memento: Awesome. It's rare you see something that original.

How do you feel about darker stuff like You Friends and Neighbors or Happiness?

Oh yeah, I forgot humble.

mike julianelle
8.30.01 @ 2:41p

Not too rain on your parade, here, Matt, but if I may speak for Jael: "Grosse Pointe Blank is a modern classic and your dismissal of it leaves me no choice but to turn you away." Man, she's a tough one!

Humble? What is this, Charlotte's Web? Zuckerman's, Zuckerman's, Zuckerman's!!!!

russ carr
8.30.01 @ 2:50p

The similarities between people at this site are seriously beginning to frighten me. And, of course, I'm probably not the only one who feels that way...

And this is the literary arm of "Project Mayhem," and the staff are really all aspects of the same person. But who?


jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 3:09p

Russ: we figured it out in a staff chat once. I'm joe, Michelle is me, Adam might be Michelle, and all Jeffs are the same Jeff. Or something like that. But of course we're ALL Tyler Durden.

Mike is my virtual Bodyguard. (Cue cheesy Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"... on second thought, DON'T.) Yes, Matt's feelings on GPB do set him back a step, but it can be made up for. How? That remains to be seen.

Matt, I like darker stuff, but neither of the examples you mention. I don't like darkness for darkness' sake. I did very much enjoy In the Company of Men, if we're fishing for LaBute.

mike julianelle
8.30.01 @ 3:13p

I enjoyed In the Company...too, but Friends and Neighbors, like you said Jael, was just misanthropy. I also like Nurse Betty, but it's one joke premise wore thin on me after while. And Solondz-wise, I love Welcom to the Dollhouse, have a frightened respect for Happiness and am cautiously intrigued by the upcoming Storytelling.

Why am I getting the feeling my thoughts aren't solicited?

My favorite dark stuff, albeit a different kind of dark: Fincher and Polanksi.

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 3:24p

Fincher (Fight Club) was what I had in mind when I complimented darkness, along with Being John Malkovich. I like things that are brooding and intellectual and ambiguous, like Memento and L.A. Confidential and the like.

mike julianelle
8.30.01 @ 3:33p


Jael, have you seen A Simple Plan?

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 3:48p

Saw it, loved it, and am rereading it this week, actually. Was so impressed the complex plot of the book could be compressed into an equally complex but shorter plot for the flick.

And I don't like Paxton or Thornton (and not too fond of Fonda) and still liked the movie.

mike julianelle
8.30.01 @ 4:12p

I shouldn't have had to ask! I never read it, but man that movie packs a wallop. I don't like Paxton either (this is easily his best work), I am not a huge fan of BBT but he can act!!, and I like Fonda in the right role. I thought her character's progression, along with BBT's, were just fascinating.

LOVE that movie. Great character development. I even got my short-attention span friends to appreciate it. Slow does NOT equal boring. I CANNOT stress that enough.

adam kraemer
8.30.01 @ 4:45p

I am Jack's overdeveloped sense of déjà vu.

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 5:02p

Jael, I've been known to be brooding, intellectual and ambiguous. (I need to admit I'm kidding before Adam jumps on that one...)

Fight Club - another one in my collection. I'm a big Fincher fan. Although I wish he didn't have Brad Pitt in all his movies.

I prefer films that make me feel something. Friends & Neighbors made me feel repulsed. But it did make me feel something.

Moving to documentaries, anyone see American Pimp?

Jael, I'll make it up to you with dinner at a great french place here in SF which shows silent movies on the wall during dinner - Foreign Cinema.

See you soon, Tyler Durden.

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 5:04p

BTW: After America's Sweetheart, John Cusak dropped a little in my book.

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 5:28p

Ooooooh... them's fightin' words, Morin.

Dinner will help.

Perhaps the... what was it? cheeseball romantic in you will prefer Serendipity, which should be out in October. John Cusack. Kate Beckinsale. Meeting and falling in love and then not meeting again for 10 years. Sounds vapid, but entertaining, kinda like Legally Blonde. Which I will defend to the quasi-death, by the way, that was a damn entertaining summer movie.

Mike, I think we have a potential convert to the Royal Tenenbaums fan club.

mike julianelle
8.30.01 @ 5:37p

Jael, I'll make it up to you with dinner at a great french place here in SF which shows silent movies on the wall during dinner - Foreign Cinema.

I am Jack's seething jealousy.


tracey kelley
8.30.01 @ 5:39p

knock knock...hello? Mentioning Ebert is not code for "okay, let's just talk about movies now!" Setting Jael and Matt up was much more fun...

...although still waaaaay off topic. :)

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 5:41p

There is no way you could possibly defend America's Sweetheart. It was written by Billy Crystal for God's sake.

The dinner offer is a standing one.

Why do I feel like I'm in a gang initiation, where all the boyz jump me and beat the shit out of me? And if I survive, then I'm in.

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 5:52p

Tracey, everything is code for "let's just talk about movies now." Reminds me of a Buffy quote (as do many things):

Cordelia: Looking at guns make you want to have sex?

Xander: I'm 17. Looking at linoleum makes me want to have sex.

And setting me and Matt up is kind of on topic, in that our respective relationship woes were on topic, since this column is about relationships (in the context of the marriage, a particular type of relationship.)

And you did mention Grosse Pointe Blank in the column, too.

(I'm waiting for joe to come around and lightly bitchslap me for using Intrepid as my own personal fern-filled singles bar. Somebody keep a lookout!)

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 6:18p

I've got a feature article that's supposed to be run someday soon.

As arguable as it is that we're on topic, maybe we'll resume this conversation after Joe posts me.

tracey kelley
8.30.01 @ 8:50p

fern-filled singles bar. hahaha...!

I mentioned Flashdance too, but I don't see any deep discussion about Beal's amazing progression from shoulder-baring scamp to beguiling temptress in Devil in a Blue Dress.

Yes, setting you up with Greg (6'6") or Matt (5'11") was relationship oriented. I concur. :)

Intrepidmedia: Where everything we discuss has revelance... at some point or another.

greg cunningham
8.30.01 @ 9:43p

What was the quote from Matt?

"A single guy with two cats? Jael, I'd steer clear of that if I were you".

Of course you would, Matt. Competition is a b.....

I see why you're forcing the restaurant thing with Jael, if it's too hot in the kitchen for you.


tracey kelley
8.30.01 @ 10:16p

*Ding - Ding!*

My work here is done.

tracey kelley
8.30.01 @ 10:19p

oops, no wait, it's not. The word is relevance. Damn. Joe! Spell check please!

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 10:19p

No. Not too hot in the kitchen. It's just that the smell from the cat litter box gets to me.

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 10:33p

Boys, boys, boys. First of all, in Iowa, we have to make our own fun, so two cats is like a minimum.

And although the restaurants are no doubt better in SF (where have I eaten in Des Moines? The Waterfront, the Olive Garden, and Big Daddy's) I have more occasion to find myself in Iowa.

Tracey, was that the "ding ding" from the end of the round, or the start of the round??

Beals' performance in Devil in a Blue Dress was quite good. Actually that's a very good movie, period. One of Denzel's best, and I own the soundtrack. Noir. I adore noir.

I got a west side baby, she lives way 'cross town...

jael mchenry
8.30.01 @ 10:35p

I should also point out this is now the second most discussed column ever on IM.

matt morin
8.30.01 @ 10:40p

What do we have to do to make it first?

Greg, we could fight after school behind the bleachers and Mike could write a story about it.

russ carr
8.30.01 @ 11:00p

insofar as the column is being discussed.

well, it *was* on "thoughts about unification."

lee anne ramsey
8.30.01 @ 11:03p

Geez - I don't know why it never occurred to me before. Jael - you send Sheinkin over to SF and I'll kick Matt to DC. They can do an apartment and job trade (They each have good ones) and then we'll all be happy.

Problem solved.

I printed out this column because other than the eerie thing where my worlds starting colliding (and picking up on each other)... it made me really think about what I want in a relationship. And there is so much essential truth here, but said in a really good way.

lee anne ramsey
8.30.01 @ 11:04p

And don't feel too bad for Matt, all of those who haven't met him. Some of his friends (ahem) at the risk of banishment, tell him when he's headed for disaster and he sometimes chooses to ignore us. I mean them.

matt morin
8.31.01 @ 12:00a

I have learned that Lee Anne is always right. And I'm not being facetious.

tracey kelley
8.31.01 @ 12:43a

Jael dear, allow me to invite you a wonderful noir place in DSM - Chat Noir. Their shrimp bisque will make you dance nekkid under a spotlight while humming along to Charlie Parker.

Or maybe Greg could take you there. Nekkid dancing optional.

After that, I'll show you some of the more, ahem, appropriate eateries in town. (Big Daddy's scalding your face off notwithstanding.) After all, who's your food mama? That's right.

Denzel. Purrrr.

I believe it is the start of the round. Aren't new beginnings exciting?

tracey kelley
8.31.01 @ 12:45a

Lee Anne, I am flattered. It's out there, baby. Go for it!

greg cunningham
8.31.01 @ 1:12a

Be honest. Would you be more, um... 'concerned' about a guy from Des Moines who has cats or a guy from San Francisco who uses the word "facetious".

Just curious,


matt morin
8.31.01 @ 1:43a


Apologies if my big words "concern" you.

I would be more concerned if someone didn't know which were inch marks and which were foot marks.


greg cunningham
8.31.01 @ 8:35a

Um...Matt, regarding your invitation to "fight after school behind the bleachers", if my (High School) memory serves me correctly, the BLEACHERS was where people went to make out, the PLAYGROUND was where people went to fight. What exactly did you have in mind?


mike julianelle
8.31.01 @ 9:08a

This is the best discussion of all time. Can I please offend someone so we can have a tongue-in-cheek war of words?


jael mchenry
8.31.01 @ 10:17a

I am laughing out loud at work and I'm sure everyone up and down the hall is wondering what the hell's so funny.

Tracey, you're my food mama. Oh yes. Bisque, baby, gimme more. Also I must point out the spotlight is not the best place for nekkid dancing, unless you're really proud.

As for what we can do to make this the most discussed discussion of all time, I'm not going to tell anyone, because one of my columns has the top spot, and I don't want to be knocked out. But I'm positive that 40 posts in a 24-hour period sets a pretty unbeatable record.

(That last sentence was brought to you by the letter p.)

matt morin
8.31.01 @ 12:38p

Greg, come on now. You can do better than that. Leave the sexuality innuendo to heavyweight boxers who want to fight each other during ESPN talk shows.

jael mchenry
8.31.01 @ 2:17p

Lee Anne, it's a deal. I'll trade you a 5'6" for a 5'11" and a player to be named later.


matt morin
8.31.01 @ 2:35p

That'd be like the Chris Webber for Mitch Richmond deal in reverse.

michelle von euw
8.31.01 @ 5:13p

WOW. I can't believe I let my new job distract me from Intrepid for a few days...I feel like I missed so much! I was going to say I could provide plenty of Jael references, but it looks like she doesn't need my help!

But I do have to say -- Matt, I agree with you about Say Anything. That, IMO, is the best John Cusack movie ever. "I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen."

matt morin
8.31.01 @ 6:35p

No, Jael doesn't need any references, but embarrassing stories would be greatly appreciated.

jael mchenry
8.31.01 @ 8:15p

On that note: Michelle, shhhhhhhh.

I like Say Anything a lot ("Joe lies/When he cries") but it's the dark, bright humor of GPB ("What a piece of work is man/How noble... ah, fuck it, let's have a drink and forget the whole thing") that really appeals to my essential contrariness.

lee anne ramsey
8.31.01 @ 8:25p

"I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen." is one of my top five movie quotes of all times. Sums up certain relationships perfectly.

5'6" and makes me laugh so hard my stomach hurts... 5'11" and makes me laugh so hard my stomach hurts.... I guess I don't know which is better, but grass is always greener on the other side of the country.

lee anne ramsey
8.31.01 @ 8:26p

On a separate note, I discovered on tuesday that I am... and always have been... 5'3 and 3/4" and NOT 5'4" like I've been telling everyone for years. Oh the drama.

jael mchenry
8.31.01 @ 8:31p

I rarely have occasion to measure. I'm actually rounding down from the 5'8 1/2" figure I got when I was being measured for my high school graduation gown.

Man, was that thing purple.

jael mchenry
8.31.01 @ 8:34p

Stat update: this post -- the 80th on this column -- officially ties the column for First Most Discussed Ever. I'll have to content myself with a close second. (Or an immediate fifth?)

It's also Sixth Most Read. However, those figures can be inflated by people checking to see if there's new discussion without logging in first.

Joe, thanks for the spy machine.

matt morin
8.31.01 @ 9:04p

But Lee Anne, you present as 6'6".

tracey kelley
9.1.01 @ 12:07p

Well, all 6' of me is just a-quiver over these latest stats.

russ carr
9.3.01 @ 11:12p


I let my wife read this. She had two reactions.

1) She wanted to know if you were selling Legos. (she never had any as a child, poor thing)

2) She laughed so hard she peed her shorts. No lie.

I only tell you these things because I love her.

russ carr
9.3.01 @ 11:12p

edited because I just noticed, 23 months later, that I double-posted.

my bad.

and boy, you wouldn't believe the additional change of perspective on all this that parenthood brings.


tracey kelley
9.3.01 @ 11:29p

Russ, Russ, Russ, point #7 may not clearly state that you shouldn't openly discuss your spouse's challenges with incontinence, (at least, not while he/she is still young enough to understand what you mean) yet I think it's safe to assume talk of tinkle is a tad tacky.

I do like to get a reaction from readers though, so please extend to her my deepest gratitude.

sloan bayles
9.4.01 @ 1:02a

Hey Trace,
Wonderfully written (as usual). Keep up the great work!!

mike julianelle
9.4.01 @ 9:01a

Back off-topic for a second: I LOVE Say Anything..., but I LOOOOVE Grosse Pointe Blank.

Bitches, man. (It's a quote from SA people, it's ONLY a quote!!!)

adam kraemer
9.4.01 @ 2:46p

Hmmm...I'd tell embarrassing stories about Jael, but the monthly payments are still coming in on a regular basis, so I really can't say anything. No cross reference intended.
Facetious is one of two words in the English language that contains all five regular vowels in order (or "facetiously" if you're a "sometimes Y" person).
If we're talking 5'6", hysterical, and from the Philadelphia area, can we at least make some sort of hand signal to let me know if we're talking about me or not? Thanks.

jael mchenry
9.4.01 @ 2:53p

Strangely, Adam, I have never confused you and Sheinkin. Even when I tell the Zima story that you're both in. Which isn't even embarrassing enough to consider telling Matt (and if he does tell you, Matt, none of it is true.)

adam kraemer
9.4.01 @ 3:11p

Actually, now that I think about it, that story's much more embarrassing to me. Let us never speak of it again.

matt morin
9.4.01 @ 3:22p

Anything involving Zima is embarrassing. Period.

tracey kelley
9.4.01 @ 3:41p

Sloanie - thanks....

Adam, Jael, Matt - after all we've shared and meant to each other, I find it hard to believe that this story can't be told.

jael mchenry
9.4.01 @ 5:18p

Can't and shouldn't are two very different things.

But the predicate that really matters here is "won't."

matt morin
9.4.01 @ 5:43p

As in "Tracey and I won't rest until we hear that story.

jael mchenry
9.4.01 @ 8:03p

Or as in Tracey and Matt won't be hearing that story anytime soon.

Or as in that story won't appear on this board.

You're right. The subject matters at least as much as the predicate.

(This lesson brought to you by Jael and Matt's Grammar Rodeo.)

matt morin
9.4.01 @ 8:58p

I'm assuming that makes me the Grammer Rodeo clown.

greg cunningham
9.4.01 @ 11:04p

Just a suggestion.
In keeping with the boxing metaphor you ended with earlier,
don't leave yourself open to a knockout punch like that. Hell, my CAT'S coulda creamed you off that last line. BUT, in the interest of being a new comer, I'm going to let that line slide.
You owe me one.
Jael: See. I got cats AND heart.

greg cunningham
9.4.01 @ 11:09p

I've got HEART, But I ain't got GRAMMER CHECK. It shoulda been 'cats', no apostrophe.

Former English Major in my past life (1988).

matt morin
9.5.01 @ 1:59a

Thank you Greg. I owe you one. I hate leaving myself open for devestating knockout punches.

tracey kelley
9.6.01 @ 2:27a

I am twirly and amazed at the over-the-cliff detour this discussion has taken.

And not a single admonishment from Joe.

joe procopio
9.6.01 @ 6:13p

Stop it.

matt morin
9.6.01 @ 6:43p

Thank you all for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts...

jael mchenry
9.6.01 @ 8:45p

The off-topic juggernaut will not be stopped! Even parting gifts can be turned into an ongoing discussion.

For example, among parting gifts I have received: electric toothbrushes, Hooked on Phonics, Nexus hair care products, Centrum Silver, Klondike Bars, and yes, the home game.

But most of you know that story.

tracey kelley
9.6.01 @ 11:12p

And for those of us who don't, I guess we won't be hearing that story anytime soon, eh?
Ya just better stop all this teasin', missy.

Joe! Welcome to the surface, buddy.

matt morin
9.6.01 @ 11:20p

Hooked on Phonics along with Centrum Silver? That's spanning the demographic globe...

I'm guessing she was on Jeopardy. Either that or the Dating Game. Anyone got a better guess?

tracey kelley
1.30.02 @ 12:01a

Okay, so I'm showing off here, but the discussion from this column still makes me laugh out loud. A lot. Many, many favorites, but when Joe pops up to say "stop it" I just howl.

In light of Matt's recent column, it's amazing:
1) How interested intrepidites are in relationships
2) How much Jael's circumstances have changed since this time period, hmmmm?!

russ carr
1.30.02 @ 12:56a

It's like Sex and the City but without the annoying cast and pretentious scripts.

jael mchenry
1.30.02 @ 9:14a

This is still my favorite discussion of all time.

adam kraemer
1.30.02 @ 10:10a

And, I assume still the longest?

So would anyone watch an HBO series based on the life of an Intrepid Media columnist and his daily search for both love and money in the city poularly known as The Big Apple? You could call it "Everything But Sex And The City."

russ carr
1.30.02 @ 10:54a

Maybe I should come out a couple of days early next month, bring the DV camera and follow you around, Adam.

jack bradley
1.31.02 @ 5:35a

Hey, Joe? I think we need another admonishment in here.

joe procopio
1.31.02 @ 8:36a

I'm powerless against this.

mike julianelle
1.31.02 @ 3:09p

Judging by the way you killed EVERY thread with your last post, apparently you aren't powerless.

matt morin
1.31.02 @ 4:37p

OK, I just re-read every post, and I agree that this is the best discussion ever.

Hands down.

I'm still laughing...

lee anne ramsey
2.2.02 @ 3:20a

Just did a re-read too.

Still funny - makes me miss the days when I could sit on intrepid for hours at a time.

Although, as it is currently 9pm on Saturday night for me... I should have all the time in the world. (first person to look at a international date map and figure out where I am wins a prize.)

lee anne ramsey
2.2.02 @ 3:21a

I see from the time date stamp, even my computer is confused.

tracey kelley
8.13.02 @ 11:14p

I just re-read this again (because I had a fight with Matt* and needed to be reminded why I married him. The importance of apologies. That's something I should have mentioned in the column. My way will be to print off the last few paragraphs of this column and leave them for him to find in the morning.)

...and realized:

1) the discussion is still hysterical.

2) so much has happened in the past year, it's really amazing.

matt morin
8.14.02 @ 2:56a

This discussion will always be my absolute favorite.

And sorry Tracey, let's never fight again. Oh wait...Matt* not Matt.

sarah ficke
8.14.02 @ 10:29a

Holy Shit this is funny stuff! Now everyone is wondering about the compulsive giggling coming from my cubicle.

heather millen
2.25.03 @ 7:02p

Much like Sarah back in August, I finally discovered this Intrepid Jewel. Across the years, you people are priceless.

And Trace, I love this column.

tracey kelley
2.25.03 @ 9:44p

Gee whiz, I didn't even know y'all had pounced on this. Thanks! Wow - 'twas a long time ago, wasn't it? Back in the old days, when Matt didn't have a da- no, wait....

Back in the old days, when ppeople actually discussed (sorta) columns in great detail...we didn't have the boards then, so we ran rampant.

"Stop it." - Joe. Damn, that's funny.


adam kraemer
2.26.03 @ 10:30a

Yeah. My favorite moment. I'd also point out that most of this conversation was a week before 9/11. And the day of my surgery. Nice of any of you to ask how I was doing.

juli mccarthy
8.9.03 @ 12:00a

Hey Adam! How you doing?

matt morin
8.9.03 @ 12:32a

I didn't think this discussion thread could get any funnier.

Then along comes Juli.

jael mchenry
8.10.03 @ 1:13p

I'd like to point out that I have now been to every restaurant mentioned in this discussion.

russ carr
8.10.03 @ 9:00p

matt morin
9/4/2001 8:58:32 PM

I'm assuming that makes me the Grammer Rodeo clown.

This is even better, now.

tracey kelley
11.4.04 @ 1:55a

In light of all the serious election talk, I once again bump up this column because the discussion amuses me greatly.

What. A. Hoot.

And still with the many changes. Many, MANY changes.

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