DOLPHINQUEST 2005

February 3rd, 2005

Wow. Thanks so much for the hundreds of birthday messages and greetings. I don't know how I will ever get through them all, there are so many, but I will certainly try. It's very reassuring to know that there are so many people out there whose moms are older than I am. Thank you. I was starting to think I was the oldest mom (well, of a cat, anyway) in the world.

I actually had a very nice birthday. I called our fisherman friend, Captain Bob, and told him that he had to take me out on his boat to see some dolphins, pronto, because I have never seen a dolphin in the wild (or even in an aquarium).

In return for this favor, I bought Captain Bob beer, which is the standard way you return favors in Key West.

I have to admit, as the hours on the glistening blue water ticked past, and Captain Bob took us from channel to channel, looking for dolphins, and we still didn't see any, I became worried. How much would THAT suck, not to see dolphins on your birthday, when that was your ONE birthday wish?

It didn't help matters that we almost got arrested by the Homeland Security coastal patrol when we went onto this one island because we wanted to read what the sign on it said. It turns out the sign said, “Unauthorized Entry Prohibited.”

Which was why Homeland Security came cruising over.

But we didn't get arrested, because I was wearing a cowboy hat, so they could tell we weren't Al Qaeda.

I had almost given up hope of seeing any dolphins at that point. I thought I was going to go on being the only person who lives in Florida who has never seen a dolphin in the wild.

But then suddenly Captain Bob cried out, “There they are!”

And there they were! Live, non-tamed dolphins, frolicking in the sun! One was a huge brown boy dolphin, about eight feet long, and the other was his grayish brown girlfriend. The boy dolphin showed off, leaping all around Captain Bob's boat, snorting out of his blow hole and chattering to us. Then he caught a fish and gave it to his girlfriend! Seriously! It was so cute!

Although not cute enough that I was ready to jump in there and swim with them. Because the truth is, while dolphins on TV look very cute, up close, in the ocean, they are HUGE, VERY POWERFUL animals, and you do not want to get too close to them. Or at least, I didn't want to.

Besides, I already knew I could rest easy, my birthday wish satisfied.

Anyway, I do want to report that, in between birthday wishes, I got some emails about my reflections on Lauren and Jackie and their Super Sweet Sixteen $100,000 birthday party on the new MTV reality show, 'My Super Sweet Sixteen.'

One reader commented that I seem pretty comfortable telling people in La Jolla how to spend their money, and asked if I'd like it if people told me how to spend mine.

Um, hello. PEOPLE ARE ONLY TELLING ME EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF MY LIFE HOW TO SPEND MY MONEY. Some of them are people I hired to do so. But mostly, they are just my husband. And the TV.

Of course I feel comfortable telling people–not just in La Jolla, but in the WHOLE WORLD–how to spend their money. That is what I do for a living, after all. Tell people what to do. I mean, come on, what do people think writers do all day? Do they think we are just making up funny stories for their entertainment?

NO. WE ARE TRYING TO TELL YOU ALL HOW TO LIVE.

Which is why I so often get emails from people asking me to please keep my personal feelings about things like politics and religion and the environment and stuff out of my writing, because “books are not an appropriate place for that” (!!!!!!!!!!!!).

I just want to get one thing out of the way right now: it is a writer's job to write about his or her personal beliefs and feelings. If those things are not in a book, you know what you get? A BAD, BORING BOOK. You know what kind of book I am talking about, because you have read them. And immediately regretted it. Because they were a waste of your time and intellect.

Telling a writer to keep his or her personal feelings out ofhis/her writing is like telling a painter to please only paint pictures of clowns. And who would want to live in a world filled with nothing but clown paintings? Scary!

So, anyway, in my on-going quest to tell people how to live (and poison my books with my personal beliefs and feelings about things), I would like to suggest to the parents of La Jolla and the world in general that, if they have $100,000 to throw away on their 16 year old, they at least do it WISELY. Instead of spending $100,000 on a PARTY, spend it on real estate, or possibly some art or jewelry…something that will appreciate with time, so that when their 16 year old graduates from college with absolutely no skills, like I did, he/she can sell the real estate/art/jewelry for a profit, and live off the proceeds for a while, instead of having to work at (shudder) Rax Roast Beef.

Which leads me to Ava. Ava was the teen featured on last night's episode of “My Super Sweet Sixteen.” Ava makes Lauren and Jackie look smarter and more concerned for the good of mankind than Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant combined.

And Ava's parents make Lauren and Jackie's parents look like Ma and Pa Ingalls.

Because Ava's parents spent TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS (yes, you read that right–$200,000) on her super sweet sixteen at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills (which is where I had my flu last week, by the way. Only I didn't get to see Ava being carried into her party by four semi-nude polo players while I was there. Much to my chagrin).

Not only did they spend $200,000 on Ava's party, but Ava's mom and dad also bought her a brand new Range Rover.

I had two favorite parts of tonight's episode. The first was when Ava said she's a good student, but her number one priority is having…fun!

And my second favorite was when Ava says she needs to marry a rich man, who can keep her in the style to which she has become accustomed. Not, “I need to get a great job so I can make a lot of money.” No. “I need to marry a rich man.”

If there was ever a girl who needed to be given a copy of Destiny Child's “Independent Women” for her birthday, it is Ava. Here is how the song goes, Ava. Learn it. Love it. Live it:

The shoes on my feet
I bought it
The clothes I'm wearing
I bought it
The rock I'm rockin'
I bought it
'Cause I depend on me

If I want it
The watch I'm wearin'
I bought it
The house I live in
I bought it
The car I'm driving
I bought it
I depend on me

Notice it does not say, “I bought it and sent the bill to my husband.” No. It goes, “I depend on me.” ME. Not Daddy. Not your husband. ME.

(Special Note: Have you ever noticed that Beyonce is ALWAYS telling people what to do in her songs? Like in Bootylicious–'I don't think you're ready for this jelly'—and Independent Women—'All the women who're independent/Throw your hands up at me/All the honeys who make your money/Throw your hands up at me.'

I wonder if Beyonce gets letters from people asking her to stop telling them to throw their hands up at her and to please keep her personal beliefs out of her songs. Hee.)

See, Ava? You don't have to depend on a husband to buy you nice things. You can get a good job, and buy them for yourself. Dr. Phil has shows on how to do this all the time. He always tells people to just find the one thing you have to contribute to this world that is unique and that people will pay you for—whether it's a skill, like singing/songwriting, or computer programming, or operating a
laser, or an invention, like The Princess Diaries—and sell it. That is how you make money.

So please, those of you out there who know Ava: put her in touch with her inner Beyonce. Because she so needs it.

In the meantime, I can tell you one thing—and yes, it's just my personal belief, but I know I'm right:

I had a better time with the dolphins than Ava did with those polo guys, and my party only cost me a twelve pack of beer.

Thanks again for all the birthday wishes, and special thanks to Captain Bob!

More later.

Much love,

Meg