Fish Heads

Photo by Mizuho MizumotoFive years of OC Weekly, of truth with a human face. Yes, the Weekly keeps me younger as I get older. Also, life at the beach and the summer dresses . . . none of it hurts.

So what does hurt just a little? The beauty of that redhead or blonde and OC Weekly's acerbic honesty amidst OC's comforts and complacency.

Honesty breeds shock. When not running or grading papers, I walk. And one night, searching for a Weekly, I cruised Newport's Dory Fleet, sidestepping fish heads.

Fish heads.

An omen? To be named one of “OC's 31 Scariest People” when you had convinced yourself you were normal is nothing short of cataclysmic.

All for pushing poetry—push, push, push; like birthing or obsessively turning your pages or compulsive sex. Finally, stuck with it, you just kind of grin. I mean, who could possibly be normal (doing what you or I do)? Washburn? Commie Girl?

Still, under the lurid covers, truth embedded in the sheets and ads you take to bed, there are real people, real folks behind the pages: Victor D. Infante (a.k.a. “this writer”) will appear with the features and beloved Matt Coker (when I met Matt, he was . . . ).

Case in point: one night I was reading—actually, I was screaming—at Club Mesa when I mistook the Weekly's Rebecca Schoenkopf for a snotty, big-paper reporter who had interviewed me on poetry years before. I remember Miss Big had had a cameo at her throat and finished by half-stating/half-asking, “What's the use of poetry, anyways?”

A real drag, and in the worst case of beer-maddened mistaken identity, I confused Rebecca with the haughty, prissy Miss Big, ranting and raving at her and splintering a stick. Or was it simply a shtick?

But Rebecca kept her cool, cool maybe, then even lukewarm, when she compared me with an actor and just tagged me as “obnoxious.” It all seemed so forgiving.

Meanwhile, my fun with the Weekly and all else will be eclipsed on Sept. 22, which marks the first anniversary of the loss of my beloved daughter, Misty. Still, I recall that among the hundreds of bereavement cards, one of the first came from the OC Weekly staff. That's their honesty and understanding—always with a human face.

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