Monday, June 18, 2018
Human Interest

'Obitchuary' excerpt: Tourism marketers won't come calling obit writer

"Before I became a murderer, I led a relatively dull existence." So claims Penny Perkins, "mild-mannered journalist, mild-mannered bleacher of hair in the bathroom sink, mild-mannered connoisseur of midnight macaroni and cheese," in Obitchuary, by Times staff writer Stephanie Hayes (Stephanie Hayes, Sept. 26, 2013). An obit writer for the (fictional) Tampa Daily Register, Penny lives in the aspirationally named Valencia at Sagamond Lake, in a dreary condo that's far removed from the designer-decorated model unit, in detail if not distance. It's all strangely appropriate for a petite blond whose Goth sister resents her for being too perfect. Yet under Penny's mild manners lies a snarky self-awareness.

Before she becomes a murderer, Penny and her best friend Tallulah sit outside brainstorming how to find a date for Penny to bring to her cousin Ashley's wedding.

It was a gorgeous Florida morning, without the humidity that normally gave me a sweat mustache. Days like these were worthy of the hype we get from other states.

See, everyone who lives outside of Florida assumes it's a perfect tropical paradise, with really tan people walking around toting surfboards and wearing bikinis. People with long, stringy, sandy hair. People who are well-rested. People who have great sex in hammocks. People who live in beach cottages with painted seashells on the bathroom counter. Truth is, Florida is a lot like anywhere else, with suburbs, fields, trees, a large helping of Mickey Mouse and an unfortunate tectonic situation. And a good many Floridians are pale and chubby and don't go outside for fear of being bullwhipped by humidity. Tallulah, for instance, had gorgeous, curly hair that turned into the wire scraping pads janitors use to clean commissary sinks on barbecue night. Together, we usually looked like victims of a shipwreck.

Comments
Kate Spade’s creations showed us adult life doesn’t have to be boring

Kate Spade’s creations showed us adult life doesn’t have to be boring

I made two major wardrobe purchases in the summer of 2001, the year I graduated from college. The first was a tailored black pantsuit for interviews (picked, mostly, by my mom and the department store sales clerk). The second was a Kate Spade purse, ...
Published: 06/08/18
Why does every Florida Publix have a big scale?

Why does every Florida Publix have a big scale?

If you were making a collage of Florida things, you’d certainly include an alligator, some mouse ears and an orange. You could throw in a car bumper splattered with love bugs, some spaghetti models (because you, Floridian, know what those are) ...
Updated one month ago
Professional wrestlers are telling their stories through comic books

Professional wrestlers are telling their stories through comic books

Due to its salacious scripted story lines mixed with choreographed violence, professional wrestling is often referred to as a kind of soap opera. But Palm Harbor’s John Crowther sees it differently. Professional wrestling, he said, is a comic book st...
Updated one month ago