Welcome to Tech Support: Your FAQ

Welcome to the unofficial Support Section of the not-so award-winning, acclaimed, widely-read blog “The Letter T.”  We value your business, and to better serve you, we’ve compiled a list of the questions our clients most commonly ask our CEO. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, try someone else’s blog.

Why on god’s green earth did you write an FAQ for yourself?
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this post, like so many of my others, is the brainchild of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop.

What services do you provide?
Nothing of import, including:

  • Copywriting/copyediting
  • Social media updating
  • Search engine optimization
  • General corporate communications
  • Medical consults
  • Shoe consults
  • Cosmetic consults
  • Comedic relief
  • Hillbilly cooking
  • Stuffed animal foster parenting
  • Intermittent emotional comfort
  • Instant recall of trivial and random information
  • Defense of the Great State of New Jersey
  • Candy trafficking and dealing, sometimes within 200 feet of a school
  • Holiday party hosting

Where are your headquarters?
New York City, with regional offices in Scotch Plains, NJ and Dallas, TX.

Do you take credit cards?
With pleasure!

Do you have time to write and send an urgent email blast for me within the next hour?
No, but I will.

What happened to your chin?
The small scar on the lower right corner of my face is from my cameo appearance on Nip/Tuck ’86. That year, I had a dime-sized birth mark removed. Plastic surgery has come a long way, and if I’d had it removed today, I’d probably be scar-free.  But, as Karl Lagerfeld said, “There is no beauty without strangeness.”

What were you doing in Michigan and Philadelphia?
Very little.

How did you meet your husband?
My husband and I went to high school together. I knew him, because he was the class president and homecoming king, as well as an athlete
and a twin, which was still rare back then. He claims to have known me, but that is simply not possible. Obviously, we spoke nary a word between June 1990 and the summer of 2008, when we reconnected on Facebook. Yes, Facebook actually can do good.

How’d you sleep last night?
Not great.

Why do you look like a chipmunk when you eat?
I suffer from what my inner circle knows as “the swallowing thing.” Depending on who you ask, it may be a social phobia, and/or a severe form of globus
, and/or a conversion disorder, and/or the result of control issues that cause me to involuntarily clench my jaw so hard it will barely move. In any case, it is often difficult for me to swallow with grace and aplomb. It is embarrassing and unpleasant, but somehow, I am always able to get ice cream down with no problem.

On that note, you eat an absurd amount of cheese and junk food, yet are not yet obese. How is that possible?
With irritable bowel syndrome, everything is possible.  Any day now, I will wake up and suddenly weigh 400 pounds.

Where do you get your fashion ideas?
I stare creepily at well-dressed women on the subway; I copy my fashion-forward friends; and I cut out pictures of Rachel Bilson, Reese Witherspoon, Kourtney Kardashian, and Jessica Alba from US magazine.

Why are you so afraid of barfing?
Studies show it has to do with the trauma of a reversal of fortune in front of my entire second-grade class in 1980. Plus, barfing is horrible.

I find you and your blog to be more than a smidge irritating. What can I do about this?
Please try rebooting.

Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Yes, but I am lazy and uninspired, as evidenced by the irregularity of my blog posts.

I think you should try. Are you afraid of failing?
What part of “lazy and uninspired” do you not understand? I am not afraid of failing. I fail at least once a day and I am used to it. What I am afraid of is losing hope.  As long as I talk about writing a book but never actually do it, there’s still the possibility that it might one day happen.

Isn’t there ANYTHING that motivates you?
There are a few things, including:

  • Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Knowing John Taylor and Simon Le Bon are out there, somewhere
  • The mean girls in high school
  • Thoughts of appearing on the late night talk show circuit – and what I will wear
  • The idea of making my husband/family proud

What nail polish color is that?
Most likely, it’s Lincoln Park After Dark; Midnight in Moscow; Romeo & Joliet; or Chinchilly. If you enjoy diarrhea-colored nails (which I don’t), I recommend  Uh-Oh Roll Down the Window.

I have tried all the contact numbers I have for you and still can’t reach you. What the deuce?
“Deuce” is the keyword here. I am almost never without access to a landline or mobile device. If you are unable to reach me, it means one of two things. Either my shitty iPhone battery has died a moment after it claimed to be 100% charged, and/or I am doing the kind of business that shan’t be mentioned here.

Welcome to Tech Support: Your FAQ

Bag It

The innards of pocketbooks have always fascinated me. Much like strange pantries and medicine cabinets – neither of which I have EVER snooped in, of course – pocketbooks are a window into the soul of their owners. Did the bag contain prescription bottles? Tissues? Pens? Paper? Snacks? Was it well-organized? Messy? What was the nature of its edible contents? Grandma Ethel kept Velamints in her bag, for instance, while Grandma Hannah carried fruit-filled hard candy from Israel – who knew what exotic treats lurked in someone else’s grandma’s bag?! Jan carried a wallet and a change purse, but some moms had wallets with special change compartments attached. Some ladies pulled ornate silver mirrors from their bags and applied bright pink lipstick. Some kept plain plastic mirrors stashed inside and still others used the mirrors on their compact, which was just about as faaancy as you could get. The wonders never ceased to amaze me.

I remember how thrilled I was to pack my pocketbook for the first time. I was about three and Lew was taking me to the zoo. My “bag” at the time was a round pouch made of two pleather discs that zipped together, slightly lighter than smurf blue, with a clear plastic “window.” Creepily suspended in that window, somehow, was a tiny plastic doll. She was purdy. What does a three-year-old put in her pocketbook, you may be asking? We’ll I’ll tell you: the yellow-bunned Fisher-Price mother, who served as faux lipstick; an empty change purse covered in hideous orange and yellow beads; and a spare pair of Carter’s (it’s just good practice).

Even at my (ill-fated) bridal shower, this bag fascination came into play. The highlight of the afternoon was a rousing game of purse bingo, during which contestants had to produce from their bags such items as an authentic Louis Vuitton wallet; a Bobbi Brown lip gloss; a photo of a grandkid; and a Snausage, which we pre-planted for humor purposes.

And just last week, I could not have been happier when Loren told me she had ordered herself a Kangaroo Keeper – and one for me as well. How lucky could I be?

So it isn’t suprising that of all this week’s writing prompts from Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop, the one about purses called out to me. What’s in my adult bag? I’ll tell you, US magazine-style.

I carry no fewer than two kinds of gum and a tin of Altoid Smalls. I’m annoying enough. I can’t risk bad breath on top of that.

Paging Dr. Dermatologist
Some part of my epidermis is always itchy and red, so moisturizers and lip balms are vital. Right now I’m using Smith’s Rosebud Salve (thanks to my friend Katy) and Aquaphor (thanks to my friend Kiki).

Germs Stink
I get colds every other week, no matter what I do. But I try to be as careful as possible without adding a new obsessive ritual to my day; Purell, take me away.

Cosmetic Whore
Despite evidence to the contrary, I still believe there is one beauty product out there that will change my life. This week, those beauty products are a MAC lip gloss in Wildly Lush and a MAC, Wonder Woman-themed compact that is a bronzer, blush and highlighter all-in-one. It’s a three-toned powder with a delightfully creamy feel and while it hasn’t yet changed anything, I’m confident it soon will.

Ward Off Low Blood Sugar
You never know when starvation may strike. That’s why there’s always a semi-nutritious granola bar or other snack in my bag.

Technically Speaking
I am not addicted to my Blackberry. I can quit anytime. I can quit now, in fact, as soon as I send this one quick text …

The Key to My Heart
I carry my keys on a Louis Vuitton key- and change-holder that Keith gave me for Valentine’s Day.

CVS to Go
After getting stuck in Atlanta for two days with no luggage or toiletries, I started carrying around a pouch full of essentials. It contains, among other things, an eyeglass kit; nail file; contact lens rewetting drops; a mini-toothbrush; Advil; Tylenol: generic Imodium from CVS; little white pills; little blue pills; Band-Aids (for picked cuticles); toothpicks; boob tape; facial moisturizer; and Breath-Assure.

Et Al
Other items of little or no interest include sunglasses (Marc by Marc Jacobs); tissues; two Metrocards; an iPod and/or iPad; Marc by Marc Jacobs wallet; business cards; bank register; pen and Wite-Out (for crossword puzzles); stash of Lifesavers.

Bag It

Sole Mates

As I take stock of my vast but largely useless footwear collection, I can’t help but notice how much my pre-Keith relationships with boys have mirrored my relationships with shoes (and vice-versa). As a result, just as I have been shaped by countless boy woes, so too has there been permanent scarring (both literal and physical) from the various shoes in my life.  (You didn’t really think you were getting a post with no mention of childhood trauma, did you?!)

It started with the black patent leather Mary Janes everyone else in my kindergarten class had. Even the boys, I am still convinced.  One girl even had them in pink and white too. I remember thinking of her as “super lucky ducky.” Which is 5-year-old-speak for “total beeyatch.”

Would YOU want this on the bottom of your shoes?

How I longed to see them smiling back at me in the mirror, their shiny ebony goodness sparkling against pristine white ankle socks trimmed in lace ruffles. Sigh. Jan deemed them “impractical” (aka boy who was cute but not marriage material). So, in my class picture that year, you can see me sitting pigtailed and buck-toothed in a sailor dress and … dull red Buster Brown lace-up shoes (aka the dorkuses with names like Elliot and Howard who liked me … and who were in turn hated by me but of course, adored by Jan).

There were the clogs our slutty babysitter wore that I had to have. Dangerous to walk in (aka super-cute junior and lead singer in a band who, by some miracle, actually liked me, but whose failure to do well in French class earned him a reputation, in my house, as a bad seed).

The uber-cool lavender Kangaroo sneakers we were only allowed to wear twice a week.  Bad for your feet (aka self-centered, egomaniacal boyfriend who was totally unsupportive).

The Frye boots that another slutty babysitter and someone’s even sluttier older sister sported. Not available in kiddie size 12, which I was until approximately 7th grade (aka boy who was a senior when I was a freshman/ was way too old and mature for me).

The Minnetonka and later Bass moccasins that were too wide for my narrow feet (aka any number of boys who were just overall bad fits).

The faaancy satin kitten-heeled pumps that were beyond appealing in their natural pearly white state.  Forced at gunpoint to dye pink for use with heinous bat mitzvah dress (aka boy from the next town over who might one day be date-able, but who was in his current state a disheveled mess with no social skills).

Complete and utter lack of appropriate weekend shoe other than white canvas Keds in college (aka the duller-than-doornails boys I went to school with).

The backless Charles David stilettos that I refused to stop wearing on Saturday nights even though they left me almost paralyzed the next morning (aka the long-term hook-up I couldn’t walk away from even though his refusal to commit caused me a year of pain and suffering). I could go on.

Modern Vintage "Willhemena" boot -- aka Keith

Now that Keith is in my life, thankfully, it’s just the shoes I have to worry about. And I do worry. Just because I was eventually able to fit into shoes whose soles were not adorned with a creepily winking, giant hat-wearing blonde kid and his evil-looking dog (who clearly has canine Graves’ disease) doesn’t mean my shoe life is complete. The last few winters, it’s been a constant struggle to find boots that would work over skinny jeans and under non-skinny jeans. That had a heel, but were walkable. That could be worn with long-sleeve t-shirts or going-out tops. That didn’t cost $400. That didn’t have an 18″ calf circumference.  It’s a lot to ask for, my friends. I happened to find this very pair (thanks, Modern Vintage) within days Keith’s proposal. Coincidence? I think not.

With the warm – or equatorial Africa-like, I should say – weather upon us, it’s now the quest for perfect sandals that keeps me up and searching Zappos at night. I have the flats covered. The metallic Dolce Vita gladiators, the frosty brown Havaiana flip-flops, the faux crocodile-skin Sam Edelman thongs. It’s the heels that torture me. I’ve accepted that a platform wedge of some sort is the way to go – when done right, it’s the most manageable and versatile of the summer options. But all my research has come up short. Everything is either way too expensive, way too wrong colored, way too covered in S&M-ish studs and/or, most often, way too high.  So what’s a smurf-sized girl to do when she craves a little height but doesn’t want to end up in traction?

Frick on a cobblered stick.

Hello Luella. I so wish we could be friends.

On the subway, along Broadway, in the Times Style section, I watch as fellow ladies gallivant off to work or dinner in beautiful black and camel-colored four- and five-inch hoofery. They seem to walk effortlessly, their ankles unbroken, their knee caps still in place. They are not limping. They are not holding the stairway railing for support. They are not moving at an abnormally slow pace. I don’t get it. So my question to you, heel-wearing ladies of New York, is this. Are you simply anatomically better equipped than I am to walk in these shoes? Are these shoes really the ones for you? Or are you settling – faking it – like I did for so many years, suffering in silence for the sake of having a boyfriend fashion?

Sole Mates