Recently, I received a letter from the president and C.E.O. of Vermont’s largest hospitalregarding fundraising. Below is my response. Please enjoy.
Dear Dr. Melinda Estes,
Thank you for your letter dated September 16. I appreciate you thinking of me and taking the time to write. It must be tough for you to find a spare minute in your day, what with you being the president and C.E.O. of Vermont’s largest hospital and all. And running it well, from what I hear from friends who are doctors and nurses there. They quite like what you’ve done with the place since you were hired in 2003.
I’ve witnessed the high quality of health care at Fletcher Allen myself in the past few months. In the early part of the year, I went to Africa and came back with some nasty stowaways in my belly. Thankfully, FAHC was there for me in my hour, or rather months, of need. My intestinal tract will forever be in your debt.
Not only are my guts indebted to you, but I am as well. Well, I’m actually, like, in real debt. I still owe your hospital about $100 for all of the travel health clinic, gastroenterologist and colo-rectal surgeon visits I made from January to April. That’s why I can’t quite figure out why you sent me a letter asking me to donate to the hospital’s Annual Fund.
The photo to the right is an illustration of me trying to figure out why you sent me this letter.
I understand we’re in tough economic straits. Why do you think I still owe you guys $100? But really. You’re trying to bleed a stone and it ain’t gonna work.You should know that. You’re a board-certified em dee.
While I appreciate the “recent achievements” of the hospital that you outlined in your letter, perhaps a nicer tack to take would have been something along the lines of “Dear Lauren, Sorry we sent your name to a collections agent and sorry we destroyed your credit. We’re prepared to forgive and forget if you pony up some greenbacks to help us get a few new EKG units. Love, Mindy.”
If green is the new black and gay is the new green, then that must make New York City the new gay.
Whatever. Anyway, what I mean to say is that, according to an article in the inimitable, hard-hitting news org Time magazine, the Big Apple is greener than the Green Mountain State. But how is that possible? I mean, I’m no Bill McKibben or anything, but Vermont is the essence of green. We invented green. Green didn’t exist before Vermont cooked it up in a secret underground lab.
This is what environmentalists look like in New York City. Not really. It’s a giant rat.
Time gets this little morsel of highly inflammatory information from someone named David Owen, who apparently wrote a book smearing Vermont and praising New York City for being environmental stewards on par with John flipping Muir. Owen’s new book Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability posits that New York City is the greenest city in America. Um, has he ever been to Queens? Just wondering.
In a September 24 Q&A with Time transcriber Claire Suddath, Owen calls out Vermont for not being anywhere close to green. By Owen’s standards, we’re not even chartreuse or aquamarine. We might as well be soot colored.
…wherein Lauren waxes philosophical and crap about hanging with the haters.
Now that the charming and affable Phelps clan of Westboro Baptist Church infamy have finished up their whistle-stop tour of hate here in Vermont and have zoomed out of the state in their peppy little Kia minivan, it might be appropriate to reflect on the day. Other people more introspective and cerebral than I might offer some sort of analysis about hate and peace and love and all that junk, but I can only tell you what I took away from the day. And in order to tell you what I took away from the day, I have to tell you what the day entailed. So here goes. Apologies if you nod off.
I hauled my fanny out of bed at 6 a.m., which for a reporter is like being asked to do math or not make stuff up. I hit the road to Montpelier by 6:45 a.m. so I could make it to the high school in time to watch the Swiss Family Bonkers picket students as they rolled into school for their first day back from summer vaykay. Of course when I arrived I was the last media person on the scene. Everyone was there- radio, TV, the daily print papers from around the region. No one was going to miss the most exciting thing to happen to sleepy Vermont since gay marriage.
11:15 a.m.- After a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday outside of OZ Synagogue- “Happy Birthday to Kennedy’s death, Happy Birthday to Kennedy’s death, the Jews lost their favorite waterboy, Happy Birthday to Kennedy’s death”- the Phelpses piled into their sweet Kia Sedona and hightailed it out of town. Please indulge me in a few observations:
1. The Phelpses (and I say Phelpses because there wasn’t a one of them who wasn’t part of the clan. They like to keep in the fam, nomsayin?) are nothing if not law-abiding. There’s not a jaywalker among them. They hit every crosswalk and followed every directive they’re given by police. When they were told to stand in the greenbelt outside of Chabad, goshdarnit, they stood in the greenbelt. I bet they even drive the speed limit.
2. The Phelpses are really fast walkers. Shirls is a powerhouse. She could go to the Hate Olympics for speedwalking.
3. The Phelpses are really bad singers. No, like REALLY bad. Like braying donkey bad.
4. The Phelpses are not nice. Despite appearances, they’re actually pretty mean. Shirls told me I didn’t look like a professional journalist. Ok, what part of my jeans, T-shirt, sneaker outfit made me look unprofessional?
5. The Phelpses don’t really have their facts straight. Shirls called Seven Days a “fag paper,” which I take exception to since neither of the female owners of the paper are fags. They’re not even dykes. WTF!!! Factcheck, Shirls, before you make outrageous claims like that.
Oh, how I love college kids.
Nothin’ says get the hell out of our state like a little pie in the face.
10:22 a.m.- Phew, hating is exhausticating. I’m pooped from all this picketing. The singing and the running and the sign-holding- I’m not sure if they work out to train for all this hating, but I can barely keep up.
So here’s what’s happened so far- I sprinted from Montypee in my little Vibrator, passing a few cops along the way at 80 mph to catch up with the Phelpses at UVM. It’s not like anything new would happen- they’re still hating, only now they’re changing the words to John Denver’s “Country Road.” Their harmony is pretty beautious.
At the present moment, Shirls is outside the Chabad of Vermont wearing a bloody apron made from Israeli, U.S. and rainbow flags, is screaming at a man wearing a t-shirt that says “Super Jew,” telling him to wipe the feces from the corners of his mouth. Classy.
Now they’re heading over to Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, the last stop on the tour de hate. Stay tuned.
Somebody did some good preparin’.
Shirls, your apron is sorta gross.
8:32 a.m.- Ok, I’m freezing my sweet ones off with all this hatin’. I’m wondering if the Phelpses brought the chill with them from Kansasss.
Things have been pretty amusing thus far. Here are the highlights:
- As I was taking pictures on the sidewalk in front of the hate clan, I was called a brut and told to get off the sidewalk. Shirls was all like “Just because you’re a dyke doesn’t mean you can block the sidewalk.” Ok, so how did she know I was gay? She has some pretty finely tuned gaydar for a breeder.
- Props to the Montpelier High School students who came out to counterprotest, especially the fellow sans shirt and the girl with braces who called them “media sluts.” Love it.
- Many people have driven by and screamed out the windows at the Phelpses. They seem unfazed by it. Like when the guy in the pickup truck yelled “Fuck you and fuck Jesus, too” they didn’t even balk. They just kept on singing their hate tunes. Brills.
- Shirls is a pretty awesome lyricist. She’s like Bernie Taupin, only she hates fags. And she’s bankrupt. Anyway, she’s all singing up some craziness to the Beatles “Let it be,” changing the words to blah, blah, blah, thank god for dead soldiers or some such nonsense.
- Bake sale!!!! Some kids organized a bakesale outside of the statehouse during the picket. If I had more than two nickels to rub together, I totally would have noshed on one of those love cupcakes. It’d certainly be better than Shirls’ bitch burgers.
- Awesome quote from Shirls: “Whenever God smacks you, we’ll be there.” Um, how can God smack me? He doesn’t have any hands. Or arms.
What is Santa’s Little Helper doing on her sign?
This is what Vermont looks like.
Today the great state of Vermont is being visited by Kansian hatemongers, the Westboro Baptist Church. As expected, the morning got off to a rollicking start full of singing and hating and flag-stomping. Fun for the whole family, including 7 y.o. Luke Phelps-Roper, ringleader Shirley Phelps-Roper’s 11th child, who has been shivering his hate-filled socks off for the past 40 minutes.
8:03 a.m.- The Phelpses have just taken up their station in front of the Statehouse. They are joined by about 100 counterprotesters wearing everything from clown suits to God getups. It’s pretty sweet. I asked Phelps-Roper what a “Bitch Burger” is and she talked to me about p eople in California eating their babies eyeballs. Cool. Here are some pics:
This is what child abuse looks like.
This is what balls looks like.
Ok, I’m going to get back to the hating. More later.
PS- Shirley is a mad-good singer. I’m going get one of her albums.