WORDS BY MARY LUCIA
Whenever someone I know moves, I ask how many bathrooms there are in the new house. Imagining two or more household members simultaneously having food poisoning is a big thing with me.
People attending NFL football games appear to be the most carefree human beings on earth. Joyous and unrelatable, as if they have never had to pay a hospital bill or tell a family member to eff off at a holiday dinner.
No matter how great a movie plot, I completely tap out when there is a simulated protest scene. The overacting, shouting sign-wielders categorically are the worst display of acting. I don’t blame the extras because I know, off-camera, someone is yelling “Angrier!”
While walking my dogs I force myself to imagine the scenario of getting jumped and wonder if pent-up rage and lifelong anxiety will be enough to thwart and fight off attackers.
I say bless you every time one of my animals sneezes.
When meeting someone new, I’m immediately drawn closer if they swear randomly.
I once lived in a Victorian round room apartment. It didn’t take long to acclimate to its uniqueness. I just needed to accept that no furniture was flush against any wall. Everything was jutting out awkwardly, ready for the perfect midnight toe stub. I thought and behaved in a less linear way during this time in my life, and I attribute it all to living in a spherical funhouse.
I can understand the difference between someone who says, “I don’t dance” and the person who says “I don’t know how to dance.” I want to hug the latter.
Realizing a person who is reserved and economical with their words is not an a-hole has helped immensely in my career.
I once had a great shrink who taught me never to start a sentence with “If I’m being honest with you.” It implies you’re normally an insincere, big honkin’ liar.
I’ve been playing lots of Insomnia Jeopardy at night. “I’ll take people who’ve wronged me for $500, Alex.” I know the best revenge is living well, but in the real world, healthy doses of spite never killed anyone.
I’ve used the expression “Touch ’em all, Kirby Puckett” in a sexual manner.
I will always find humor in the explainer, “I’ll have my pie later.”
Only once in my life did I get a spray tan, which is maybe the most compromising physical position to be in in front of a stranger. When she began to make chit-chat—which I’m certain they’re advised to do when you’re dropping it like it’s hot—she asked if I had plans for the Fourth of July, which I found irrelevant and funny. I started in on a story about how a group of friends and I do historical reenactments at Fort Snelling. Powdered wigs, homemade musket rifles, etc. All this frivolity in a paper thong!
I would rather have COVID again than eat chow mein. Water chestnuts. Why? Just why?
I never memorized any license plate number of any car I drove. But I can remember my childhood landline phone number: My mom was creative enough to set it to music on the piano and I sang it.
I would rather spend money on the highest-quality bedding than see a dentist about the raw nerve ending that’s throbbing in my molar. I’ve been chewing on the right side exclusively going on four years.
When giving my best friend Jess something off-the-wall like Biggie Smalls highball glasses, I obsessively ask, “You don’t already own these, do you?” which she finds amusing. It should be noted that once, during a paralyzing bout of depression, she let herself into my house with zero fanfare to clean my bathroom while I laid on a chair with my winter coat on.
I can do a spot-on impression of Robbie Robertson’s speaking voice, thanks to a memorable phone interview in which every measured answer he gave started with “Well Mary… this was the 1970s… a very different time.”
I’m proud that I’ve maintained a sense of being game. By that I mean I am still up for trying something ridiculous. I grew up in a household where someone was frequently daring you to throw your wallet in the fireplace or eat dog food for $20. It all seemed pretty reasonable.
I once auditioned for a voiceover job where the written direction from the producer was “Think Mary Lucia-ish.” I didn’t get booked. I think I nailed the Mary Lucia. It was the “ish” where I stumbled.
When choosing lemons from the grocery store pre-COVID, I instinctively took the top ones closest to me. It feels rude to dig around, putting my hands on the hidden, and upsetting someone’s fruit pyramid.
I love the unnatural voice people adopt when talking on the phone to an automated system asking for their spoken preferences. The same strained voice is used when speaking into the TV remote. “In a few words, tell me what you need from Apple Support”: There are never a few words that come coherently to mind—other than “Kill me now.”
Jumper cables terrify me. I still handle them like a nuclear reactor.
The last text message exchange with my mom after I sent a photo of me and one of the pugs.
Mom: What’s on your head?
When asked, as a child, what my plans were for a Saturday afternoon my usual response was “I’m going to pretend.” Nothing’s changed.
Catch Me Up, Gomez
Down to the Market, The Kooks
Girls Who Play Guitar, Maximo Park
I Start to Run, White Denim
The Midnight Special, Billy Bragg, Joe Henry
Shadow of a Doubt, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Silicone Grown, Faces
Blue Jay Way, The Beatles
Dirty Water, Low Cut Connie
I Wonder, Rodriguez
Strong Feelings, Dry Cleaning