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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

The Tulsa Diaries

Submitted by on March 11, 1996 – 9:06 PMNo Comment


My father woke me up at 5 AM and we trucked to Newark Airport.I boarded the plane and fell fast asleep despite a pre-flight cup of coffee that had the potency (not to mention the thickness) of molasses.

Nothing noteworthy happened until O’Hare Airport, where I had an hour layover.Well, nothing really noteworthy happened there either, but while I was waiting, I checked out the husbands standing around.Not just men, mind you.Husbands.Their wives had dressed them, I could tell, and they all had The Haircut — that finger-sheared sidewall number with a feathery cowlick in the back.All of my male friends vowed that they would never knuckle under to The Haircut, and then they submitted, whoring themselves out to the pressures of Boeing and Chemical Bank.One guy promised me (swore on his pinky, no less) that he wouldn’t get The Haircut, but has since announced to me that he would adopt a “conservative, but not hideous” style for his job interviews.Conservative??Hie ye to Dubuque, blackguard.The Haircut will suck out thy soul!I decided right there that my husband will wear his hair wild and stomp around the house, over dog and mat and roller skate, muttering about machines and the next Ice Age.He will view me, I imagine, as some sort of android experiment, which I will permit in exchange for full control of his follicles.

Back onto the plane.The annoyance of flying, I find, doesn’t lie in the actual travel but in the boarding and deplaning.Glaciers move faster than this.Attention, passengers — your mother-in-law just won’t fit in the overhead compartment, so check the bitch and get this damn line moving, okay?

Arrival in Tulsa — 68 unbelievable degrees.Tulsa looks like Dallas, but flatter, duller, more devout.(A quick note on why I went to Tulsa in the first place: basically, I serve as a digital voodoo midwife.I help to conceive the CD-ROM, and then I help the design firm give birth to it.)I found it hard to picture S.E. Hinton’s Outsiders here, but evidently this was where the Greasers and Socs rumbled.Then the CEO picked me up and we headed to the office.

The office…let’s just say that talking to these people on the phone gave me no inkling of the bizarreness that awaited me.Unfortunately, I can’t reveal any more about them since I have to work with these people quite closely for the next several months, but I will say two things.First of all, I do not find 55-year-old men who wear wigs and stand too close to me a turn-on.Secondly, you haven’t lived until you’ve gone to a Tulsa Oilers hockey game with an Orthodox Jew.

I watched Melrose, and during the show I saw three ads for SuperBull ’96 (sponsored by Bull City and Wrangler Jeans).Help.


Well, I did it again.I went on a business trip, and someone died — Charlie O. Finley, father of the designated hitter rule.I found this out during my morning dose of The Today Show, which also included an interview with former vice-president Dan Quayle.Dan-o tried to sound contemptuous of Pat Buchanan, but his persistent mangling of the English language made him look foolish instead: “I don’t want to lower myself to that area of the discussing of those issues.”Then current vice-president Al Gore made a speech about the importance of preserving the Florida Everglades.Gore looked much fatter than the last time I saw him on TV, which led me to believe that he may actually have eaten part of the Everglades.

But Gore looked svelte — nay, even exciting — next to Senator Bob Dole.Dole has all the charisma of an overcooked turnip.His wounded hand seems to symbolize his campaign, stiff and kept hidden.Who cares, in the end?They all have The Haircut, right?

At breakfast, Balal, my Bangladeshi food service engineer, informed me that I was wearing several Muslim talismans.He also brought me up to date on the status of a recent chest cold, the weather in Bangladesh, the weather in Tulsa, and his least favorite of the Republican candidates (Lamar Alexander.I had to agree with him on that one: Lamar, dude, ditch the plaid).I picked up my USA Today and started reading it; Balal, like Led Zeppelin, rambled on.

What is it with me?Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, God’s chosen people — what’s next?Amida Buddha asks me for a light on First Avenue?I eat my pancake with Allah, I work on the design document with a guy wearing a yarmulke, and on my way back to the hotel I drive past the home of a 900-foot Jesus, adorned with a ten-story pair of praying hands: Oral Roberts University?What the HELL?Is the Big Guy trying to tell me something?Hey, they changed the strike zone as I slept.Maybe I should have taken that as a sign.

I escaped from Balal and went to work.I could tell you about it, but then I’d have to kill you.


USA Today had a front page blurb in the “Life” section about the results of a recent study on heavy marijuana use.Evidently, smoking a lot of dope makes people forget stuff.This is news?

The temperature today hit 80 degrees.At breakfast, I didn’t see Balal, but I did overhear a fascinating discussion of testosterone at the next table.Once again, I went to the office.I went my mysterious work.I lunched with the marketing department.I cannot disclose what transpired therein, except that the phrases “black-on-black” and “in the demo” were used.

Heather rescued me after work and hauled my ass to the Tulsa Brewing Company, which makes a mean peach beer.We played Three Man, and I’m sorry, Senator, but I just can’t recall anything else.


I hauled my hungover self to the office.I worked.I went to the airport.They delayed the plane.I wedged myself into my seat to find at least a dozen cranky toddlers in the coach section with me.They kicked and cried.I kicked and cried too, in my head.Neither flight served dinner.I ate some fat-free pretzels to kill off any saliva that might have resurged since this morning and turned up Bob Marley really really loud on my Walkman.The plane landed.I greeted my yawning father and went home.



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