Mary Panza

Hey. I hope everyone had good holidays no matter what you celebrate. Looking back on the last four months, I have impressed myself in many ways. I have been dealing with the ongoing mouse problem. My first exterminator ripped me off to the tune of $500. I was trying to support a female-run small business only to realize that even with the best intentions, I trust too fucking much. She even yelled at me. Yeah, the bitch had the eggs to yell at me in my own fucking house because I couldn’t figure out where the mice were coming in. I am impressed with myself because when I hired the second exterminator, and he showed me a hole (left by the jerkoff company that did my new furnace) where the mice were coming in, I didn’t hurt her. Not only was there a hole, she (the first exterminator), threw down some regular mouse poison at the hole. She then took my money, yelled at me for not figuring out where the fucking mice were getting in, and expected me to pay her for each return visit. That’s correct, I didn’t black out with rage, I didn’t wish a terrible unforeseen accident on her or call her a rat-faced hag, and I just fired her. I figured whatever she took from me it cursed money and no good will come of it. Why is it cursed? I cursed it. All this brings me to my point which is I am done. I am not making resolutions or promises. I’m telling everyone what to expect for the next 50 years from me. I don’t want there to be any surprises.

Yes, I turn 50 in May. I am middle-aged. Yes, I plan on living to 100 just to piss some people off. That’s right, if I can’t find a better reason to do something I am just going to do it out of spite. I know how harsh this sounds but you can only be pushed so far and I am at as far as I can go. Here are the other things to expect of me in the next 50 years:

  • I am not wearing a bra more than six hours a day. Done. I am giving the heads up to anyone who shops at the Price Chopper in Slingerlands between the hours of 2pm-4pm any given day of the week. My tits will be loose and free. I am telling all of you this because I don’t want you to be surprised. I have had tits since I was 9 years old, about the same time I was told I had a curvature in my upper back. This has caused me great annoyance over the years as both careers I have had (bartending/waitressing and massage therapy) have made it worse. I am constantly playing with the straps and things hang off my one shoulder, a la Flashdance, the movie. I am releasing my tits each day with time off for good behavior. The only exception to this is I promised my nieces to wear at least a sports bra to family events. I told them I would but am leaving after dinner and taking my bra and dessert to go.
  • Which brings me to my next thing; I don’t want to be invited to formal events. I am not going anywhere where Spanx are necessary. With Spanx comes the bra and I am over it. Not happening. I will RSVP right now and say I am not going. I love you and I will send a gift. My days of dressing up (such as they were) are over. Like I said, I will send a gift.
  • This next thing is something that has been bothering me for years and I was just talking about it today: respect for experience. I never thought in all this time that I was so special. I’m not Bukowski. Just not going to happen. I do have some experience with things like this local poetry scene. If you are around me and feel like bragging about what wheel you are reinventing as far as poetry goes, or the local scene goes, save it. I don’t care. If you need my help with stuff like networking, or editing or an informal, no Spanx charity event, I am your girl. I will help with anything. Why? Look, I am not going to be the next best thing in the written word. I came to peace with certain doubts I had thanks to a wonderful conversation with a dear professor friend of mine this past year. I asked her if she thought I could even consider myself a poet and writer because I don’t have degrees or books or the fact that I don’t enter contests. She told me that yes; I am a poet because I live my life. She said that poets live. They don’t get caught up in nonsense and that some of the greatest writers she has ever read or heard are not part of that system. They just live and write. She told me all I had to do was live my life. Done.
  • This next one is a biggie for me. Almost as big as the bra thing. Please, no matter how tempting it is to do this to me, please don’t tell me about how great Troy is. The blood that runs through my veins is South Troy. It is why people don’t understand me. They didn’t grow up like me. I am a South Troy girl until the day I die, in 50 years. I love Troy for everything it is, and was, not just all the hip, overpriced crap going on now. Don’t text me “one Troy” as far as events go. I am One Troy long before the fashion. As a matter of fact, before it was fashion. My love for Troy is true. It is a hard place. It always was before someone saw fit to put a smile on it. I love that it is a hard place because it makes the fight for it sweeter. Its hardness is its beauty. My favorite view in the world is that brick wall that faces down from the old market/Troy news. It still makes me cry when I stop there to look. From the minute I get off the bridge until I get to Snowman can name families that lived in houses, events, who got arrested where and why, and what has become of all of it. Don’t fuck with me about Troy or will show you why South Troy is Against the World. Sans bra.

I am aware of how cranky I sound and frankly, so what. I am done with being impressed with stuff or worrying about shit that doesn’t matter. I didn’t mention that I lost one of my first friends in early December. He was 49 and probably one of the gentlest souls I have ever known. I am dedicating this to him. I hope our families were there to greet you on that big stoop in the sky. You have given me a reason to stop worrying about bullshit and just live. And so I will, again, sans bra.