THE FRENCH BAKERY THAT'S NOT FRENCH

french%201.jpg

If you want to know more about this bizarre oddity, you'll have to don your North Face and hike down to the newspaper dispenser on Sunday and read my sketchbook. It's only $1.25, you deadbeats, and it'll make me look good. Okay, Sparky, you ask, what if I don't have the pleasure of residing in that earthly paradise known as Hampton Roads? Jeez, do I have to do all your thinking for you? If you live in a great metropolis such as your Brooklyns or Torontos or Azeitaos or whatnot, just go to an international magazine and newspaper stand like they have at every corner, and tell the alcoholic degenerate ex-con behind the counter that you'll hold your breath until he delivers a Virginian-Pilot. What could be easier? At the very worst, you will have fainted and been given mouth-to-mouth by said alcoholic, thus earning yourself a little tongue action. Huh. I just realized how close the words "degenerate" and "DeGeneris" are. Kinda ironic, huh? I remember the first time I looked up the word "lesbian" in a dictionary. My parents used to have a worn old paperback copy of "Rally 'Round The Flag, Boys" by Max Shulman, author of "The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis", and because it featured on its cover a cartoon illustration of wolf-eyed men chasing buxom redheads in circles, my parents kept it buried in the bowels of a massive piece of furniture they insisted on calling a "hutch", behind the martini glasses and swizzle sticks and all the other cocktail-party accessories, because cocktail parties were all the rage back then. And in this book were words like "lascivious", which propelled me to the dictionary, and inevitably to disappointment, since when you advance to the dictionary level, the titillation factor drops precipitously. But at least it supplied you with information that was valuable in clinical discussions with your peers. "You don't have the slightest idea what a vulva is, dickhead!" "Yes I do, shit-for-brains, it's the colored area around the nipple!" Our science teachers should have been proud of our intense scholarship in the discipline of female anatomy. We couldn't understand why our intellectual curiosity wasn't reciprocated. "Don't you even want to know what a scrotum is?" I asked Gwen Miller. "Oh, I know exactly what one is," she answered with a piercing, relentless gaze which let me know that, in her eyes, I was the embodiment of the word in question. So that's why you should go out and buy Sunday's paper.