The Intern (me)
I know that not everyone reads to the ends of newsletters, so obviously I’m getting the most important stuff out of the way first. The Netherlands has a dog fart themed roller coaster.
It’s called Hundeprutterutchebane (Danish for “dog-fart roller coaster” and, coincidentally, also my Confirmation name.) Look, I’m just gonna quote the Wikipedia here:
The coaster trains are designed in the shape of a dog named "Henry Dog Fart", and the dog theme is pervasive throughout the coaster's course. Riders go past a statue of a defecating Henry the Dog, through a kennel, and past bones and piles of dog feces. There are also speakers throughout the ride which make "dog fart" sounds.
I have so many questions I can’t even get my fingers together to type them. If the dog is pooping on the ride, why is it not called Henry Dog Poop? How does the farting trump the pooping in the hierarchy of roller coaster bodily functions? Is Denmark even weirder than I thought? What’s going on with his ears? IS THE DOG’S MIDDLE NAME “DOG”?
Ahem. Moving on.
Albino porcupines. They’re a thing. That is all.
Next, a story: In high school and college I interned in Congress as a summer job. In high school I worked in the House, for Congressman Bruce Vento.
In college I worked in the Senate, for the then-Minority Leader, Tom Daschle. I’ll tell the Daschle stories later (Ask me about the day I found a red button under my desk! Or the day I hung up on Al Gore! Or how Senator Ford would prank call me from the Senate Cloakroom!), but today I want to tell you about my day as an intern in the House of Representatives:
First, I should be clear that I was terrified. I was a teenager, extremely awkward, and taking the Metro by myself to Congress FOR MY FIRST JOB. I wore old black pants that I got for band concerts and my mom’s oversized blazer from Maurice’s in the mall and called it a suit. (Did it have giant shoulder pads? Thank you for asking, yes it goddamn did. I am grateful every single day of my life that went to high school in a time where there weren’t constant pictures and videos documenting my extremely poor fashion choices.)
Most Congressional offices are actually tiny — especially for House members. This one had two medium-sized rooms, one for the Congressman and one for the entire rest of his staff. Which is what made it awkward when, during my very first assignment—collating and stapling papers with an industrial strength stapler—I stapled my finger. I don’t know how I did it. I just know that one second I was collating my little intern heart out and the next minute I was bleeding profusely and had a large staple stuck all the way through my finger.
I looked around to see if anyone had noticed. They hadn’t.
“This is fine,” I thought. “I don’t want to cause a fuss on my first day. I shall just quietly leave this staple in my finger till I go home in approximately seven and one-half hours, so as not to cause a fuss.” And I got back to work.
“Jill, is there blood running down your arm?” asked a kind staffer.
“Absolutely not!” said I, a person who still had an entire staple in her finger. “How can I help you serve America?”
Cut to 6pm.
One thing I forgot to mention: the day I started in that particular House office building also happened to be the day that then-President Bill Clinton was testifying in Congress (I believe about the Whitewater allegations which eventually led to the Monica Lewinsky allegations.)
So as I was leaving after a tough day of collating and bloodletting, I got a little lost in the House building. I couldn’t find the exit I came in, and I was sort of wandering blindly through the first floor of the building trying doors till I finally found one that opened to the outside. I walked out the door…
…to find literally a hundred or so cameras turned directly on me, and dozens of reporters screaming questions. Apparently I had walked out the exact exit that the President was expected to leave at the conclusion of his testimony.
After an exhausting day, I looked at the reporters, squared my fully shoulder-padded shoulders, held up my extremely-still-stapled hand to the camera, and said, “I have no comment.”
Finally, for those of you who were into the Revenge Novel™, I’ve attached two more chapters below. If you missed the first two chapters of my Revenge Novel™, it was the (fairly bad) book I wrote in a flurry directly after getting dumped over a decade ago. You can find the first chapters here: https://jilltwiss.substack.com/p/the-revenge-novel
You are, each and every one of you, great. Wear a mask! Pretend you are Batman and it helps you save the world, because also it truly does.
Jill “Skull Crusher” Twiss
p.s. A couple of charities I have found it helpful to donate to in the past few weeks:
Bail Funds for those demonstrating: https://bailfunds.github.io/
Meal Delivery for those who cannot leave home https://www.glwd.org/
p.s.3. My books are for sale here:
Everyone Gets a Say (pre-order)
But also it’s a great time to do this!
———-THE REVENGE NOVEL™—————-
by Jill Twiss
CHAPTER 3: WHEREIN NANCY TALKS TO GERANIUMS
“Wait, what do you mean?” says BBG number 1.
“I mean, Matt and I did it last night. Like, we had sex.” says Nancy slowly, as though she is explaining the concept of quantum physics to a geranium.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” This one is said in unison. That often happens when the BBGs catch on to something. They say “ohhhh” and then they squeal. They have a really special squeal, those girls. Seriously, dogs come running from miles around and every glass in a three mile radius is shattered each time it happens. If America only knew how to bottle that sound and use it to our advantage, the Iraq war would have lasted approximately 39 seconds and Abu Ghraib would be a home for the deaf.
Of course the BBGs want details (deeeetails!!!!!) This is typical in that both girls live vicariously through Nancy and her caked-on blue glitter shadow. Nancy doesn't know it, but sometimes the BBGs sit and home in front of their full length mirrors, put on several layers of glitter eye shadow, and pretend they are Nancy. The glitter has infested everything they do. Their roommates are convinced the BBG’s are either kindergarten teachers or strippers, but don’t care enough to ask which one.
“Well,” she says with a sigh that makes it clear the listeners are in for the long haul tonight, “I texted Matt last night asked him to come over to my apartment. At first, he totally said he didn't think it was a good idea because Jane would get all mad, but I told him there was something wrong with my stove and I was afraid the gas was leaking in my apartment. I told him that I might die and then the company wouldn't have anybody to answer the phones and say 'hold please.'”
“Ohmygod that's sooooooo genius,” says the BBG with a Chinese character of the word 'bagel' tattooed on her ankle.
“I know,” says Nancy. “I saw it on 'The Bachelor.'” The BBGs nod solemnly as though taking notes in their heads.
“Anyway, Matt was in sort of a bad mood,” Nancy continues. “He said that Jane was getting all mad because he forgot about their anniversary and that she just didn't understand all the pressure he was under what with his fantasy football team doing so badly this season.”
“Awww...” say the BBGs.
“So, of course, I told him that I tooooooootally understood how stressed he was. And how Jane just doesn't appreciate all the awesome things he does for her, like that time he took the flowers that were left over at his job from when that girl broke her ankle kicking the office vending machine and he brought them home to Jane. Like he could have just thrown them away since they were two weeks old, but he STUCK THEM IN A PAPER CUP AND BROUGHT THEM HOME TO HER.”
“Yeahhhh, that was so sweet,” sighs the BBG with the Chinese words for “Where’s the Beef?” tattooed on her ankle.
“So then I told him that, with all the stress and everything maybe he needs a massage,” she continues. “'Cause, you know, people have always told me that I'm really really good at massages 'cause I do them with my top off. So, like, I started to massage his shoulders and then....,” she trails off and licks her glossy lips expectantly.
More squealing. Pigs on a farm sixteen miles away are erroneously led to believe that they are about to mate.
“...and then we did it,” Nancy finishes with a grin. “It was pretty good. I even turned off 'General Hospital' for the second half.”
CHAPTER 4: WHEREIN MY BEST FRIEND GETS INVOLVED BECAUSE WE DON”T HAVE ENOUGH CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK YET
“Danny, it's Jane. I am on my way to your apartment and you damn well better be there unless you want me to have a nervous breakdown on your porch.”
I hang up and decide to stop for supplies. I'm convinced that people are looking at me strangely but I can't decide if it's because they can all tell that my boyfriend just banged another girl or because I left home in a onesie and two different colored shoes. I solve the problem by shouting, “I'm just dressed like this because my boyfriend is a whore!” in the produce aisle.
After a short debate as to whether to get beer or ice cream, I decide on both. Beer floats it is. I realize that alcohol won't make my problems any smaller, but it might make them fuzzier and I'll take what I can get.
At the moment I storm in to Danny's apartment, he's eating ice cream and smoking a cigarette while watching a Tae Bo video in his living room. This is why I love him.
Danny is my best friend. I know being a 30 year old single woman with a gay best friend is a cliche, but I embrace it. Danny is the best. What can I tell you about him? I'll just say this – Danny looks exactly like Tom Cruise, if Tom Cruise was a little pudgy and gay and just the beginning of a bald spot and...looked nothing like Tom Cruise. Sorry Danny. I tried.
As I crash into his open apartment, I grab a cigarette out of his package, put it in my mouth, and break into the secret stash of “Gilmore Girls” dvds that he keeps in one of those fake books that you're supposed to hide money in. I'm shaking a little.
“Oh no. Honey, what happened?”
I can't talk because I am diligently attempting to find a way to get the ice cream directly into the beer bottle while also lighting the cigarette.
“It's Matt isn't it?” he says.
I nod. The cigarette bobs sadly up and down in my mouth. I've never actually smoked a cigarette before and I'm not sure how to hold it in my mouth and breathe at the same time so I choke a little. It comes out as a whimper.
“Put in the episode where Rory and Lorelai do the dance marathon,” I demand.
“Don't you want to talk about it? Did he forget your birthday again? Oh my god, did I forget your birthday again? Is today your birthday? Happy Birthday!” Danny babbles nervously.
I grab a fistful of Chubby-Hubby and throw it at the television screen. “DANCE MARATHON!!”
I can tell Danny is really worried about me, because he doesn't even pretend he doesn't know which episode I'm talking about. He just grabs the dvd and puts it in, at the same time plucking the cigarette from my mouth.
“Hey!” I pout.
“You were smoking the wrong end.” he says. “Now tell me what the hell is going on.”
“Matt slept with Nancy,” I say. It only then occurs to me that I haven't cried yet. That seems sort of strange when I think about it, so I whimper a little just to see what it feels like. And once I start crying I just can't stop. I can't breathe either.
I talk anyway: “This is the episode where Dean breaks up with Rory because he can tell that she's really in love with Jess and Jess is terrible for her. DAVE. ROGOWSKI. IS. THE. ONLY. GOOD. BOYFRIEND. ON. THIS. SHOW.” at which point I collapse on the floor, trying to get in some air between sobs.
CHAPTER 5: WHEREIN NANCY'S GENIUS IS THWARTED BEFORE IT’S EVEN BEGUN
Nancy has stretched out a little, lying down on her bed while the BBGs remain captivated.
“This is SO romantic,” says the girl with “Where’s the Beef?” on her ankle. “Do you think Jane is gonna find out?”
“Of course she is,” says Nancy with a wicked grin. “I left my panties in the bed.”
“That's genius,” says bagel-girl, staring in awe.
“I know,” says Nancy.
“Wait, didn't you two do it in your bed?” says the beef BBG, as though she's working out a calculus problem in her head. I always suspected she was the smarter of the two.
“Dammit,” Nancy says. She gets out her phone: “Well then I'll have to text her.”