Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut
By Jill Kargman
A collection of stories from the girlfriend you have always wanted. The Playboy Club, anorexics, Don Henley, Phish-listening-J Crew wearing WASPS, Eastern European hookers, fat pregnancy ass and cancer are all better with a glass of red wine, a blow out and a great sense of humor.
Jill Kargman's newest book, Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut, a compilation of essays and observations, might be filed under the comedy section in the bookstore. Oh, wait, I mean, under the category of "Comedy" on Amazon or iBooks or whatever because no one goes to bookstores anymore except to read the magazines for free.
But it is so much more than just a funny book. It is the story of a woman who dares to be different, who rejects the status quo and who uses humor and a strong sense of self not just to get through life but to have a side-splitting good time doing it.
Most of her stories and observations are completely outrageous and entertaining on their own. But it is her totally unselfconscious narrative, her vivid descriptions, her loud opinions and her colorful use of the English language that make me wonder why the "Kargman show" is not syndicated on three hundred channels instead of Seinfeld.
In one chapter, we learn about her childhood sitters. An anorexic, whose "thighs you could floss your teeth with" to the morbidly obese one who "dysoned" her mom's dinner for eight. And my favorite; the sex fiend who got a part time job at the Playboy Club where she would set Jill and her brother up in the backroom with VHS tapes of Flash Gordon and Kit Kat Bars. As she says, "You can't make up that sh*t."
As a child, she went to an SNL party and met Don Henley who told her to "Please. Go. Away."
He so royally pissed her off that it gave her strength to stand up to her loathsome science teacher the very next day. He never f***ed with her again nor has any other guy. My takeaway is that the Eagles are off my playlists. Take that, Don Henley and the dark desert highway you rode in on.
She writes about boarding school where everyone was pretty much a Patagonia wearing, Phish listening WASP and she was a Jewish Wednesday Adams. And you love her for being different and being okay with it.
Jill adores the Gays. She writes, "I love me a diva." Me, too! Me, too! She writes that it's not that all her friends are gay guys, "well, yes, that too, but I also weirdly think that I am a queen." I hear you, Sister. I mean, Goo. That is what my gay guy friends call me. Goo. Combo of Gurl and Boo. What is better than a gay guy friend? Um, a gay guy friend who can do your make-up for you.
"Gorgeous. And tasteful. And interesting. We like the same things," she writes. Showtunes, glitter, sequins, all of it. I might add that whom else but your gay guy friend will say, "Those heels are EVERYTHING. Work it, Goo." Well, maybe Jill. Because she is kind of a queen.
And as a result, her kids are "color-blind and little unknowing rainbow flag wavers." In an age of breaking news stories of kids bullied into suicide for their sexual preferences, I take my sparkly, sequined hat off to Jill.
Here is the other thing about the book. It is like staying up late, drinking wine and/or eating raw cookie dough with your best friend. Or the best friend you wish that you had. With every chapter, you are thinking, "she gets it."
"It was almost as if the moment I peed on a stick, I got fat. Like, literally as the plus sign appeared, my ass hit the plus-sized rack."
She gets to the hospital too late for an epidural. Check. Oh, and even if you got one, we all know it still sucked.
The first four months, "like Brooke Shields, down came the rain." She cried over Volvo ads. Check. Though, being a Washingtonian, I cried over Meet the Press.
And as a new Mom, she encounters the "Momzillas," the hyper-competitive Moms who make you feel like crap because you're not teaching Mandarin to your two-year old.
Check. Check. I think she is my "gay guy trapped in a girl's body" soul mate.
When Jill's oldest daughter graduates from nursery school, she does something different from all the other kids at the ceremony. Go figure. I am not telling you what; you have to buy the book. But this is her take on her daughter not following the directions: "The assets for life are not the ones that are wonderful for grammar school." It is just one more piece of wisdom that makes this more than just a humor book.
For the first chunk of her adult life, Jill Kargman had a mantra: "There is Nothing that a Glass of Red Wine and A Blow Out Can't Fix." Love it. But don't jump to conclusions. Girlfriend had a nightmare job (for like, a long time) with an anorexic boss who threw a tape dispenser at her head and she lived in one apartment with rats and another one above a brothel. As in, Eastern European women servicing married men. Okay, you cannot make this stuff up. So it was not all Easy Street. But even on Lousy Lane, a good blow out can do wonders.
Until she got stage two cancer and was told she had a 15 percent percent chance that she could die. Or as she wrote, "one in six." She takes us on a brief tour of this experience with strength and laughter and she comes out of it with even more wisdom. One of the most meaningful "scenes" in the book is her realization when she encounters an eight-year-old girl in the hospital for the same procedure. Not going to tell you anymore. Buy book.
I think my favorite part is the chapter on the Seder in Aspen, which she describes as "New York with snow." Totes. All I am going to say is that Lady Gaga's song, "Poker Face" was remixed as "Kosher Face" and there was a disco ball, purple and red lights and everything that a queen would love. And she "took home the lesson that sometimes the things that we dread the f-ck out of turn out to be our most treasured memories."
Actually, maybe my favorite part of the book is the chapter on her spinning class. I simply cannot chose. She hates exercise and she hates people who talk about exercise. Check. But I am a third wife and we are required to both work out and be blonde. Anyway, it is a great anecdote on how an exercise-aphobic found something that she does for her head and not her ass but works out well for both.
Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut is one of those books that you cannot put down but you also do not want to finish. What is there not to love about life lessons wrapped in the most amusing essays that you have ever read? Nothing. Well, except that it is only 175 pages.