Last night I had a dream that my sisters Wendy, Alison and I found an old trunk in the attic of our old house and discovered that our entire lives have been a sham of a mockery of a fraud. We are not in fact the product of English immigrants – we are in fact Hawaiian. Who knew? Suddenly it all made sense, my lack of English charm school skills, my hatred of clotted cream, and my love of pineapple upside down cake. It does bring in to question my hatred of pineapple with ham pizza because that is just not right at all. I think that’s an atrocity that should never be allowed. I have spent most of my life questioning my parent’s real move from England to Staten Island just after they were married. Who in their right mind would do that? I have always been angry that they didn’t at least have us in London and let us develop terrific and sexy British accents and then move us to the armpit of the earth. But this whole Hawaii dream made it all make sense to me. I don’t even like Hawaii so I was thrilled that they left and raised us in the land of the first shopping mall and home to Jewish and Italian gangsters. Living on a landfill seems more charming to me than living in the land of the fat white American tourist and the frequent location of Law firm retreats. If you don’t want to hear old white men make Lei jokes then stay away from Hawaii. It doesn’t surprise me that this is one of the few close vacation spots for Californians – it looks like a movie set – and is America. We don’t need to experience other lands and languages – we have Disneyland and It’s A Small World.
I have always lied about growing up in Staten Island. I always tell people I was raised in Paris and figured the fact that the Statue of Liberty was delivered from France made it almost a truth. When people ask me where I grew up I tend to say New York. I feel more New Yorky than Staten Islandy. Nothing great happened to me on Staten Island. I was not a popular kid, a cheerleader, a boy magnet, or for that particular matter – very smart. I didn’t fit in to any one particular group and I always knew the second I could I’d flee the area like you read about and I did. But now I see that Staten Island is in dire straights and in the past while I would totally make fun of a hurricane wiping out the 22 miles of hideousness – I am suddenly remembering what was great about Staten Island – the people. I remember the amazing family who owned The Roadhouse that made the best clam pizza in the world. I remember Pal Joeys, and the Chinese food place we went to every Sunday night. I remember my friend Jody and her spectacular parents who cooked me massive meals and welcomed me in to their family. I remember all the cool kids I went to high school with who to this day are still with the boys they met back then. I remember cheerleading at the JCC and smoking pot before high school and getting drunk way too soon with some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I remember riding the ferry in my blue eye shadow to my first job in the big city and all in all – I remember that the people of Staten Island are tough as shit and they aren’t going to take Sandy crap sitting down. So today – I am not from France or Hawaii or New York. I’m from Staten Island bitches and damn proud of it.