mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

like a baton


An acquaintance recently expressed “surprise” (that sort of disingenuous surprise that is really just a cover-up for judgmental dismay) that Nora owns a Nintendo DS and enjoys playing video games during her limited “screen time.”

1. I know for a fact that this woman allows her child to watch TV. Why is that preferable to video games? We call it “screen time” for a reason—Nora can choose television, computer, or DS, and I don’t really give a rat’s ass which one. Staring at a screen is staring at a screen, whether or not one’s thumbs are involved.

2. This past week Nora has attended karate classes, gone fishing (see below), run around outdoors, read three or four books, made a film with my little Flip video camera, worked on her Book Beast novel, and fashioned a flock of origami bats out of gum wrappers. Clearly she is a soulless dead-eyed robot whose creativity and joie de vivre are being sucked dry by video games.

3. The most hilarious part of all this is that the judgy person’s child is two years old. It is pretty easy to make all the lifestyle/media-consumption decisions for a two-year-old! I secretly hope her kid becomes a rabid Spongebob fan who saves his allowance to buy bright-blue Pop-Tarts.


That’s Montrose Harbor looking particularly splendid, and that’s Nora holding up one of her many invasive species. She caught eleven of these things, and they mostly got fed to gulls or chopped up as bait.

I sensibly stayed home and read a book. The only thing more boring than fishing is watching other people fish. I mean I love the joy on my child’s face etc etc, but that only goes so far.


1. There is a March of Dimes campaign poster up everywhere that says, “One day, all babies will be born healthy.” Good luck with that. Scientific progress is great and all, but shit happens. Also: unnecessary comma!

2. I use a chunk of my “screen time” for Real Housewives of New York and it has been a major disappointment this season. I want to see people buying hideous expensive clothes, redecorating their hideous expensive apartments, and generally running around being hideous expensive idiots. Now it is all just arguments, or really more like ONE screechy pointless argument that has lasted multiple episodes. Enough.

3. Nora and I went to the corner market last week and their meat department featured a whole skinned goat. Head, eyes, jaw, teeth, hooves, etc. We were crouched down staring at it from behind the meat-counter glass and some old babushka lady whapped me on the arm, tsked loudly, and said, “Don’t let her see that!” Dude, why do you think we came to this particular market? We also enjoyed looking at the shrink-wrapped chicken feet.

4. It is spring. And birds never shut up. I got up to pee at 3 am, and birds were already chirping and trying to sex each other.

5. I had a surly and brusque Trader Joe’s clerk the other day. Is that even allowed? I am assuming he was taken out back and shot by the Trader Joe’s Secret Police after I left the store.

—mimi smartypants will shelter any defecting Trader Joe’s employees in her attic.