Toddler in a Toy Machine

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A missing toddler was found unscathed in a claw toy machine in Nebraska. This raises many questions.

Why are toddlers allowed at bowling alleys (it seems like there should be a 4 and up rule…toddlers can’t bowl, and even I feel unsafe at bowling alleys, although I’m bigger than most everything there)? How insecure are claw toy machines? Why aren’t the rest of us trying to steal all the teddy bears we can right now? How many toys did the kid take? What is “Nebraska?”

I think the most important thing is that the toddler was found unharmed. The second most important thing is that someone took this amazing Twit pic. I mean! That kid is having a blast and also hates his mother. He’s going to be a nightmare.

All told, this story had a pretty great ending. Things might not have ended so well had he been found in certain other parts of the bowling alley:

1. Behind the bar. The risk of being behind the bar wouldn’t be the possibility of the kid consuming alcohol. Honestly, he’s probably no stranger to Bud Light, and that’s all they serve at those places anyway. But bowling alley bartenders are typically unresponsive, often borderline comatose. The police might scour the place, while the leather-skinned bartender stands there chomping on some Juicy Fruit, shaking her head like “no idea where that lil guy could be.” Meanwhile the kid plays with a toy truck by her feet. He runs the truck over her foot, and she’s like “ah, keep forgetting to put out those mouse traps.”

2. Through the ball return-y machine. There might be a group of office workers on a team building outing. They’re nearing the end of their first game, everyone is finally starting to loosen up, when Charlene bends over to retrieve her 6 pounder. She’s on a roll. But instead of her ball, the machine spits out a toddler. Totally kills the mood. Charlene is like, “does this belong to someone?”

3. Outside smoking with the bikers. This would just be a terrible place to find a child.

4. At the end of a lane before a strike. The kid is chilling behind the pins, and Charlene has finally gotten back into the groove after that other incident. She’s feelin’ real smooth and does a fancy leg behind the other leg bowl, and everyone is all “Yeah, Charlene! Strike!” And Charlene is like, “Oh my god, is that a child!” The drunk guy at the lane over goes, “Hey, anybody seen Lil TJ?” Everyone screams. Charlene decides not to have children.

I’m not a parent, but I’ve obviously got lots of good advice for those with children. If you’re going to bring your wee ones to a death trap such as the bowling alley, try and keep an eye on them. My guess is that this was gone for a solid 10 minutes before anyone noticed. He probably made the rounds before ending up inside that machine, and it probably took him a while to get in there once he’d arrived at his destination. And if a kid can get in that thing, God knows what else was floating around in that pool of dusty toys. I actually can’t even think about it. So, the next time you bring the baby to bowl, put a leash or something on him, or expect to be put on Twitter blast.

Unusually Thicke

UT_ShowPage_640x300_PremApr16_v1-2I was walking home when I saw Dr. Jason Seaver staring at me from atop a taxicab. Oh, I was pleased. TV dads and in-your-face advertising are two of my favorite things. But then I read the text above Dr. Seaver’s (aka Robin Thicke’s dad) head and nearly got sick on the sidewalk.

Apparently, Alan Thicke has a new reality show called “Unusually Thicke.” Gross, I know. It’s the most disgusting thing I’ve heard all day. The show, like all reality shows, is about nothing, and it airs on TV Guide Network, which I don’t think is real.

Now, the more that entertainment changes, the more I realize how out of tune I am with what people find entertaining (I don’t think I could watch any Housewife for more than 10 minutes without calling my mom to thank for…for everything). But I’m pretty sure my feeling that this show sounds a) super boring and b) very misleading, is shared by many. I mean, Alan Thicke played Dr. Seaver 20+ years ago. Who even cares about him? He’s only famous now because his son is a chart-topping sleaze ball. But Robin Thicke can’t be on every episode of the show. He’s got a lot of sunglasses shopping and strip-clubbing in Miami to do. The elder Thicke better think of a few ways to make this show interesting if he wants a second season on “TV Guide Network.” Below are a few tips, Mr. Thicke:

1. A marriage on the rocks makes for great TV. Consider dating Vivica A. Fox. I’m sure she’d be down, and I bet your son has some connections (maybe don’t tell him what you need her number for…or do. Weak moral fiber makes for a great wingman!).

2. Get a pet. Cat’s are internet-funny, but only when they can play the piano or something. You could have a camera out all day, and a cat might just sit behind the couch staring at the wall. I’d go for a dog if I were you. They’re cute and lovable, and they make big messes that you’ll get really angry about (TV gold!). If you can’t get your hands on a canine, try to find a parrot that can sing “Blurred Lines.” Guarantee there’s one out there.

3. Come home one day with hair extensions that are only like two inches long, just at the ear. This will really confuse and upset your wife, and make things even steamier with Vivica A!

4. Try to learn a new language. Not only will this expand your mind and open up opportunities for you, but it will make for some hilarious (if terribly, terribly offensive) restaurant scenes.

5. Throw a birthday party for Robin. This will undoubtedly be the highest rated episode of the season. Invite Paula, but don’t tell Rob. Also invite the cast of “Growing Pains,” because it’s been FOREVER. Do you have other children? No one cares. Invite them if you want, but make sure those others are there. And have plenty of mixers on hand.

6. Babysit your grandchild. You don’t know anything about kids these days! You’ll probably learn what Molly is. Your grandchild is three.

7. Dump your wife and marry Vivica A. Fox. It’s tough decision, but you know. Ratings. Invite Mary J. Blige to sing “Be Without You” as your bride walks/body rolls down the aisle.

Oh what fun this will be! Will things work out with Viv? Do you secretly like your extensions? Your wife is pregnant! Did Robin come up with the name for your show? Everyone will have to tune in to find out!

Dance Floor Dealer

Last weekend, I went out with some friends. It was nothing compared to the night I wrote about a few months ago (in the cave of young people singing Miley Cyrus). This time, we only went to Franklin Park after having a nice Thai food Shabbat at Heather’s apartment, as we do. She lives directly across the street from FP, and it’s a 10 minute walk home for me, so I figured I may as well do it while I was right there and fulfill my seasonal “going out” quota.

Things were fine at first. The DJ played decent music, and we found a corner where we could pile our coats and dance without making contact with other people. We worked it out. I mean, my friends broke it down. It was a blast. Until something strange happened.

In the middle of some really great Nelly song (which one? so many to choose from!), we all looked at each other. There was a terrible smell in the air, reminiscent of the stink bombs people set off in high school. But this was no stink bomb. This was a fart. We had no qualms about waving our hands in front of our noses, making it clear to whomever had “dealt it” that we did not approve of this behavior. We did not accept it.

We looked around to see who it might be. We were really the only people occupying the corner, aside from some friends chatting in a booth, and a semi-scruffy dude with a drink in his hand. He was jus bobbing along, wasn’t with anyone, didn’t really know what was going on, definitely more suspect than the friendly group in the booth. We were pretty sure it was him. But as I said, the jams were decent, and we were really burning some cals on the d-floor, so we proceeded.

A few minutes later, it happened again, the crippling stench. Still, the only viable culprit seemed to be the dude. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We decided to relocate to a more congested area. It wasn’t an easy choice. The heart of the dancefloor is typically filled with a number of unfortunate characters: drunk girls who dance confusingly, creepy arm-grabbers, and “fun guys” who like to sing along with the lyrics and dance all crazy. But as a group, we determined it was safer to be in the midst of these folks than to have that guy break wind in our vicinity once more.

Things were alright for a while, but went rapidly downhill. First, the song selections began to decline. Instead of late 90s/early 2000s hip-hop, the DJ began to play the original 70s tunes from which many of the other songs sampled. Unacceptable. I just can’t with the 70s. Then, gassy fellow reappeared next to us, his drink either refilled or still un-sipped. He held it up in front of his chest, as he rocked back in forth. The songs began to creep up from the 70s to the 80s to the 90s. “Everybody Dance Now” came on, and the guy said “Awwwww yeah,” and I just wanted to be home. I think that was literally the only song he recognized. “Everybody Dance Now.” This wasn’t the night it could have been. I leaned into the group of girls (as Sheryl Sandberg would want) and announced that if the guy did the deed again I’d be heading home. Everyone laughed, but I wasn’t kidding. He’d gone too far, and his terrible taste in music angered me even more.

Obviously, he farted immediately thereafter. It was sour, and despicable, and all of us cringed. I threw my hands up in surrender, then flashed the deuces.

“I’m out,” I said, and two others agreed. It was time to go. We went to get our jackets and made our way out the door.

I don’t know what kind of black bean burger or kale salad the fellow had for dinner, but he should have just stayed home. He would have felt a lot better in bed, and he’d have saved us all a lot of strife and heartache. Thanks to that stinker, nobody was dancing now.

Sticker Shock

David and I were walking home after a lovely dinner of Thai food and white wine last Friday, when I remembered we didn’t have anything at home for dessert. And we needed dessert. So we went into Bob & Betty’s, the gourmet grocery store in our neighborhood, to find a little something. I headed straight for the ice cream section and got my peruse on. Bob & Betty’s is great, because they have really delicious, all-natural products. Bob & Betty’s is the worst, because everything is crazy expensive and they don’t necessarily put price-tags on everything. But the Associated closes early, and I felt like treating myself, so I was fully prepared to drop a few bucks on a fancy pint.

As I looked through the ice cream section, a brand I’d never tried before caught my eye. Jenni’s. There was a pint of double chocolate, which sounded like just the right combination of rich decadence and disgusting fat. I picked up the pint and walked to the counter.
Now, before I go any further, I want to explain something. I don’t necessarily know how much everything is supposed to cost. I once had to get a boot repaired. It cost $11. I had $11 on me, so that seemed like a fair rate. But if the cobbler had handed me a ticket that said $95, I would have shrugged and said “Boots! What are you gonna do?” and paid the man his outrageous fee. But ice cream, I know how much that should cost. I’ve been eating and buying it my entire life. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve being at Dierberg’s with my mom and filling our cart with 2 for $5 pints of Ben & Jerry’s.

“It’s such a good deal!” she’d say, pushing the Chunky Monkey aside to find a pint of fourth pint of Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. And a deal it was.

I also know that sometimes things cost more in New York City than they do in the midwestern town where I grew up (I mean, if a $900 bedroom in an apartment full of shifty-eyed strangers in a seedy neighborhood isn’t a steal, I don’t know what is!). I was feeling a little sassy that night. It had been a long week, and I felt I deserved a really delicious treat. David and I had once spent $8 on the most delicious pint of ice cream I have ever eaten, to this day. It was mint chocolate cookie, and we’ve never eaten again, obviously. But tonight I was prepared to spend $8. I put my game face on and walked to the register.

“$12,” said the cashier.

“$12,” I repeated back at her. My eyes must have grown wide, or maybe I began foaming at the mouth, because the girl responded,

“Do you still want it?”

There’s nothing like having an 18 year-old cashier at a fancy grocery ask you if you “still want it.”

“No,” I admitted.

I walked away from the register, back to the ice cream section. I needed to re-asses the situation. I was sweating.

“What’s wrong?” asked David.

“$12,” I answered, showing him the measley pint of Jenni’s. Enough, Jenni! Enough!

After another five minutes of searching, I settled on a classic pint of Haagen-Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough, which seemed to be a deal at just $5.

We left, but I couldn’t shake the sticker shock. A pint of ice cream is, in my food-obsessed mind, supposed to be around the cost of an ice cream cone at a shop, maybe a little more depending on where you like to buy your cones. Buying ice cream at a shop is a treat, and there is nothing like walking around NYC in the summer with a cookies ‘n’ cream cone, vanilla dripping all down your arm. So, sure, I’ll spend $4-5 on it a few times each summer, but I’ll buy a pint or half gallon the rest of the summer, because it’s so much more cost effective. But a $12 pint? I can buy three cones at Ample Hillls (AMPLE HILLS!) for that price. A $12 cone would be beyond a treat. If you ever see me spend $12 on a single ice cream cone, pistol whip me. Seriously. Because it means I’m on a lot of drugs and need an intervention post-haste.

David and I went home and ate our Haagen-Dazs while watching some Hulu. It was a lovely evening, and I’m certain that there is nothing about the double-digit priced ice cream that would have made it much better.

I still think about the $12 ice cream sometimes, and I wonder what kind of person ever buys it. Are the people who buy this ice cream Dapper Dons who are chauffeured about town in limousines, wearing top hats and Rolex timepieces? Or are they the new Brooklyn mommies who take yoga twice a day, and wear clothing made of hempseed, and whose one true indulgence, at the end of a long week, is a $12 pint of ice cream? I’m guessing it’s the latter. Either way, these people are out of their minds. You can get a boot repaired for that price.

Wink-Ease

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Soooo, heeeey….It’s been a while. I know. I’m sorry! I guess I’ve been “busy,” and “focusing on other things,” and maybe haven’t quite figured out how to “use” WordPress on my newfangled iPad. But let’s not worry about the past. I’m here now, and there’s something I need to talk to you about.

Tonight, I was at the gym (it was Pizza Night, and the hordes of people who’d vowed to get into shape in 2014 were scarfing down plain slices like bloodthirsty beasts. I resisted, but it was hard. It’s like that story in the bible when, like, Johan and his family go hungry, and the farmer promises him rice for all of eternity if he sacrifices his eldest daughter, which defeats the purpose of obtaining the rice…okay, I don’t really know what happens in the bible, but the pizza feels like a trick). Anyway, I was fighting my way through, physically and emotionally, when I noticed a new product behind the counter: Wink-Ease. The box featured a picture of a pretty blonde woman wearing what seemed to be pasties over her eyes. I wanted to know more, but the lobby was too crowded, so I hypothesized what this “Wink-Ease” might be all about.

Anyone who’s spent time with me when I’ve been feeling flirty knows that I’m not a good winker. A wink should be neither slow nor belabored, but that’s what my winks are. My right eye is particularly resistant to the wink, and I can’t close it without subsequently opening my mouth. Really. I’ve tested this. It’s like a pulley situation. When I saw the Wink-Ease box, I thought maybe this is just what I need! I didn’t know how putting pasties on my eyes would teach me to wink better, but I thought it was worth a try.

Sadly, upon returning home and Googling, I learned that Wink-Ease is of no use to me at all. According to Eyepro.net (World Leaders in Eye Care), Wink-Ease is a type of eye protection. They say: “Night vision loss is caused by UV over-exposure and no drug or surgery can repair the loss. Wear Ultra Gold Wink-Ease or Viewkeepers EVERY time you tan!” I had to read this twice to fully understand.

I’ve always been baffled by tanning beds. Granted, I’ve never needed one, but even if I were of fairer complexion I think I’d at least want my sunburn and irregular moles to come from the actual sun, not from some future-coffin. Plus they make you all Tan Mom. No thank you, sir! But I never thought about eye damage as a result of tanning beds. People who toast in those things are at risk not only of cancer, but also severe eye damage? I just can’t.

Then I read the first sentence another time (I was an English major, you’d think my comprehension would be a little better). “Night vision loss is caused by UV over-exposure.” Night vision? Do I even have night vision? I looked out my window. I could see stuff, but it didn’t feel like night vision. Everything looked darker, like always. Then I got nervous. Am Isupposed to have night vision? I thought. Does everyone else have night vision, and this whole time I thought it was only raccoons?

I poured myself a glass of seltzer. Things were moving too quickly. I went back to Eyepro.net. The Wink Eye stickers were a shimmery gold (quite pretty, in fact), and disposable (always a plus). There was a 50 pack on Amazon for $20. Should I give Wink-Ease a try? The woman in the picture seemed to be enjoying herself, and even though I have never been in a tanning bed and never plan to, I may one day find myself in a super sunny situation or in a very brightly lit hallway. I wouldn’t want to lose my night vision, if I even had it anymore. The Wink-Ease stickers might come in handy.

In the end, I decided that my $20 would be better spent on 4 $5 footlongs or 10 bagels with cream cheese. But to those of you who tan artificially (and I think that’s a vast majority of my readers) take heed. Do you want carcinoma? No. And do you want to lose your night vision? Definitely no! So do yourself a favor and buy some Wink Ease to stick on those pretty blue eyes. And always wear sunscreen. Except when you’re in a tanning bed, I guess. I really don’t get how it all works.

PS
I realize my intro makes it sound like I got a nose job or joined the CIA or something, but I actually just didn’t have the patience to figure out WordPress on my iPad, and I got access to someone’s HBO Go account, so you know. It was a nice fall.

King Sauna…the king of saunas

My friend Laura is extremely selfless, and decided that her “birthday party” would be a girl’s day at the spa. Everyone wins. Except the guys. On Sunday morning, six of us met on a desolate street in midtown to board a Mercedes shuttle bus to a Korean spa in New Jersey. Obviously. We knew things were good long before the luxury shuttle came into the picture. The original tip was the message on the coupons we’d all end up using:

KING SPA E-COUPON
***MUST BRING THIS PRINT-OUT AND FILL OUT THE QUESTIONNAIRES.***
$10 of overnight surcharge will be added for checkout after 2:00AM and check in before 2:00AM.
$35 surcharge will be added for every single 24-hr staying.
YOU MUST BRING THIS PRINT-OUT…Email forwarding will NOT be accepted and your Email MUST shown on the eCoupon.

So many questions. Do I have to print this coupon? If it’s an e-coupon, shouldn’t I just be able to show them on my phone? Can I LIVE at King Sauna and Spa?

I never learned the answer to any of these questions. Instead, the lot of us piled into the shuttle bus, and the guy gave us little tickets. Coupons, if you will. He began to speak in his native language to the girl sitting beside me.
“I don’t speak Korean,” she said. He kept on keeping on. “I’m not Korean!” she said, obviously annoyed. She’d just heard him speaking decent English to us, but he just assumed he could get comfy and kick it Korean-style with her. She was not having it. It was a very awkward instance of ethnic tension. We all needed to get in a steam room. Now!

Luckily, that’s just where we found ourselves after a 25 minute ride and smooth check-in. We were given a roll-up of big towel, mini towel, and pink pajama set/Barbie prison uniform. One size fits…most. Soon, we were ready to roam King Sauna and Spa in style. Our first stop was a mineral salt room. It was really hot, and humid, and we sweat a lot. The next stop was another mineral steam room. It was really hot, and humid, and we sweat a lot. Etc., etc., for about five hours. It was magnificent. There were also warning signs outside most of the rooms, suggesting that people who had consumed alcohol not enter, as, oh you know, you might have a heart attack. A breathalizer at the door might be the way to go to prevent any mishaps, but what do I know about running a sauna/spa?

We did a number of fun things along the way including, but not limited to:

-Napped in the Amethyst Lounge (this was a giant room with two dozen Lay-Z-Boys and TV a showing a football game on silent…they also played relaxing music, such as “Everywhere” by Michelle Branch and “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson.)

-Sat in the floor-y chairs in the general lounge, while people around us played chess, checkers, mahjong, and the like.

-Ate bibim-bap (and say “bibim-bap” over and over again) and a giant bowl of rice slushy

-Discovered what a “hip bath,” which was offered on the spa menu, is (it has to do with hemorrhoids…no one got a hip bath this time around).

Eventually, we ventured down to the sauna and baths. These areas were Women Only and also Naked Only. Super naked. It was awkward at first, but we all got used to it after 50 seconds of giggles trying to discreetly cover ourselves. We first hit the sauna, where we sat for more sweating and rock walking (I don’t even know if the rocks were hot…my body temperature was like 300, so I was probably pretty close to death). Then we got in four different baths (really cold, cold, warm, and hot). My favorite was warm, not surprisingly, although hot better than it should have to a healthy human.

Finally, we showered and began to get dressed. Laura’s friend Lena was the first to get to the bus, and she texted us as we changed. Hurry, the bus is filling up! We were like, F. The worst part was that the next bus wouldn’t leave for another two hours (I certainly would have died given two more hours in that hothouse) and that Sophie was still napping in the nap room. We got dressed as quickly as possible and ran to the front desk. The manager had to page Sophie. That was a low point. Then Lena texted that she was on the wrong bus. She’d gotten off just before they departed for Flushing. Close call! Our bus wasn’t even boarding yet. But it was just as well. Sophie made her way down eventually (she’d thought the page was part of her dream, at first). So, after five hours (there are few windows in the place, and it’s rather difficult to tell the passage of time…I can see why they have the $35 rule), we bid King Sauna and Spa adieu.

We packed into the Mercedes shuttle bus for the trip home, and were lucky to be the first ones seated. A couple of women came just before we left, and it seemed there was nowhere for them to sit…but there was. The driver opened the back doors of the shuttle, where two folding chairs lay. He pulled them open, and sat them facing the same way as the other seats.

“Just hold on to the bar when I turn,” he told the women. That seemed like a good rule.

Eventually we were back in NYC, disoriented as could be. It was a marvelous and strange day, and I can’t wait to go back for some sweating and maybe a quick hip bath.

Party Animal

Last weekend I did something that I never do anymore. I went out. Now, I realize this may be a commonplace activity for many of you. But do you know how much I love snacks, and Hulu, and chatting, and reading? I love those things much more than shoe-blisters, and $12 drinks, and guys in deep-Vs, and the Black Eyed Peas. And that is why I normally turn into a pumpkin just before the trains get weird.

But last weekend, my dear friend (and fellow grandma) Emily was in town, and she let me know of plans to “go out dancing,” so I accepted the challenge. I even put on heels (well, wedges, but you know). The night began well. We had a light dinner at S’MAC, an East Village resto that serves mac ‘n’ cheese in so many ways that some aren’t even appealing, which I thought was impossible. They also sell Lactaid tablets at the counter. I ordered the “Garden Lite,” which consisted of mac with broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and a cheddar/swiss combo. Let me tell you, there’s no better way to start a night of “dancing” than with a skillet of vegetables covered in cheeses.

Eventually, after sipping wine for hours at our friend Andrea’s, the group of us (5 deep, all hesitant) made our way to La Caverna. First of all, don’t go to La Caverna. It’s a bar on the Lower East Side that is underground and designed to look like a cave. Really. There are stalactites and such. It’s like a cheap Disney attraction filled with hedge funders. Secondly, maybe go to La Caverna. The DJ played a decent mix of old school (late 90s) and new school (pre-2009, when I stopped listening to the radio and knowing music), and about half of the crowd seemed like they were slightly embarrassed to be there and might too prefer finishing that novella over a cup of chamomile tea. You might even see friends from college who are like “oh, we don’t normally come here,” and you’re like, “me neither it’s my first time,” and they’re like, “yeah, we’ve only been here twice…well, three times including this time.” And you guys might go back and forth like that for a while, until you say you have to find your friends, and that you’ll probably only stay for like 30 minutes.

Emily and I, did in fact, both say we wouldn’t stay long. We both tire easy. So, we started bobbing. Feeling the groove (?) as the kids say. I thought, maybe I’m the oldest person here, but then they played “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop and Pharrell, and I thought, definitely not old! I know many of the words to this new song! I could tell that some of the college seniors around me were unfamiliar with the song, and I cried tiny chardonnay tears. After swinging our arms aimlessly to what we deduced was a Miley Cyrus song (the young Indian-American fellow behind me knew all the words and sang them emphatically), Emily and I went to the restroom. The line was two hours long. We decided, let’s do this like six more times tonight, so we did. But we were together, and that’s all that mattered.

Eventually, “Lose Yourself” by Eminem came on, and (fun fact!) this seems to be the song that I know the most words to out of all of the songs that ever were.  Perhaps inspired by the gusto of the Miley aficionado, perhaps by some subconscious love for Marshall Mathers, I began to rap the lyrics as though I were Rabbit and this was Salem’s Lot. But, as we all know, this was La Caverna. Cave, bros, and so on. I wouldn’t take back my performance, but I’ll be honest, it was a bit much.

By this time, the first of 5 decided to leave. I figured it was just as good a time as any to say my goodbye. Also, it was 3am, and I hadn’t been awake at that time of night/morning for anything other than to use the bathroom in about a year. So, the two of us walked together, but alas, she was heading to Queens. So, I found my way to the downtown 6 station where I was immediately told by the digital sign that the next train wouldn’t arrive for another 20 minutes.  Then I’d have to wait for the 4 or 5. So I sighed, walked out of the station, and hailed a cab. I never take cabs. I knew it would cost me $1,000, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of waiting with a bunch of people who did things like this all the time, and also crazy people, and not getting home until the crack of dawn.

When I got home, I had a snack of bread and brie, and lay me down to sleep.

All in all, it was a good time, but I don’t think I’ll be staying out late too often. I just have a lot to the next day, and I really can’t be wearing heels all the time.

 

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