Dispatches from the Cusp of Greatness

Beyond the Hyphen: Alternate Punctuations for Incorporating a Second Surname Upon Marriage
November 16, 2010, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Jocelyn Jane Cox-Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox, Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox…Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox: Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox/Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox = Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox + Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox “Strati”

Jocelyn Jane (Cox) Strati

Jocelyn Jane Cox Strati!

Jocelyn Jane Cox Strati?

Jocelyn Jane Cox Strati.


Memo of Clarification to my Older Brother, “Builder of Igloos”
February 23, 2010, 4:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

by Jocelyn Jane Cox

First of all, you are not an Eskimo, despite the convincing claim you made to this effect from behind a scarf in the winter of 1979. Eskimos are in fact indigenous to a region known as Alaska in the Northwestern quadrant of North America, not a small suburb of Madison, Wisconsin (though it is true that, occasionally, snow accumulation was comparable.) Furthermore, “eskimo” is not a status to which you can spontaneously convert.

For your information, the official method of constructing an igloo utilizes basic rules of masonry and involves balancing tightly-packed rectangles of snow in a circle, each layer slightly inside the other to gradually sculpt the dome. It does not include shoveling snow onto a red wagon from excavation sites all over the driveway and lawn then dumping these loads onto a stationary pile until it is of adequate height in your estimation. It also does not involve digging snow out from inside this large mound with frostbitten hands (despite mittens) until there is a human-sized cavity within. However, you are to be commended on the dumb luck success of this haphazard engineering.

Let it be known that forcing a person of smaller stature, limited resources, and (let’s face it) inferior intellect to transport snow in the manner detailed above, out in the cold for more than eight hours at a stretch with very few hot chocolate breaks, is an infraction of numerous OSHA regulations and, in some jurisdictions, could even be considered slave labor. On a similar legal note, records indicate that you failed to apply for the requisite building permits and fines may very well be administered retroactively.

Moreover, encouraging your “assistant” to crawl inside this highly unstable structure and wave with you from the igloo’s “front door” so that our mother could take a Polaroid picture not only subjected me to extreme danger, but also put our mother at unreasonable risk of losing both her children to a tragic and needless roof collapse.

Finally, it is of some small consolation that the combination of Global Warming (ergo, less frozen precipitation), my own dignity, and the busy nature of our respective careers will heretofore prevent you from subjecting me to your ambitious and, okay, in retrospect, I guess somewhat entertaining Eskimo aspirations.

Seven Possible Responses to the Question, “Hot enough for ya?”
July 25, 2009, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

by Jocelyn Jane Cox

1. Even though your shirt is obviously soaked through with perspiration, answer, “No, it’s not hot enough. Can I borrow a sweater?”

2. Fall to your knees á la Wicked Witch of the West and dramatically screech, “I’m melting!”

3. Spontaneously combust.

4. Get out your fanciest note cards and your quill pen then write the words: Yes, as a matter of fact it is hot enough for me. Thank you so much for showing interest. I will never forget this kindness.

5. Quickly whip up a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade. When serving it, lean forward so that your glistening cleavage is in view. Then put on your best southern drawl to seductively coo, “Why, I reckon it is.”

6. Vigorously swivel your head left and right so that your sopping head resembles a sprinkler system, therefore showering Mr. Inquisitive with your copious scalp perspiration. While he’s toweling off with disgust, say, “Does that answer your question?”

7. Angrily ask, “What do you think?” and keep on walking.

Products I Will Never Endorse though I’m Certain I’ll be Approached Soon and Offered Piles of Money to Do So
November 24, 2008, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Humor

By Jocelyn Jane Cox

Frisée: Yes, I believe the beauty of salads is in their diversity. And I appreciate the descriptive name of this type of “lettuce” because its appearance is rather frizzy. But please don’t ever serve me any of these unbearably bitter weeds, especially in a fancy restaurant: they hate it when you retch. 

Glitter Cards: Not only does glitter from these sparkly greeting cards stick to your hands, it eventually transfers itself onto your face, onto everything you own, and even onto people you meet on the street. I suspect that each one of these tiny particles is actually an alien and this is their quiet yet thorough way of taking over. 

Cellophane: Sure, it’s transparent and therefore allows you to see what is stored within, but peel it back, and it transforms into a limp, wet, sheet of slime best described as: Downright Icky. Forget werewolves and monsters, it is the villain of my worst nightmares. I’ll instead take the opaque, reassuring crinkle of tin foil any day. 

Foodstuff Flavored to Taste like Bananas: Apparently, artificial flavorings are often manufactured in perfume houses. Nowhere is this more evident than in the ever-disappointing yet oft-ordered Banana Muffin. If I want to ingest perfume, I have a whole bottle of it on my dressing table.  

Evidence You Might Be Drinking Too Much Coffee
June 16, 2008, 10:18 pm
Filed under: coffee, Humor

By Jocelyn Jane Cox

The caffeine makes you so jittery that your hands flap faster than hummingbird wings. In fact, when hummingbirds pass you on the street, they temporarily stop flapping in order to point, laugh, and even capture you on video. 

People can hear your heart beating from miles away. Your neighbors on every side are constantly banging on the walls of your apartment yelling, “Turn that crappy Techno down!” but you don’t own any Techno music and never have. 

You get a second sink installed in your kitchen that spouts only coffee. When the fawcett of your more-conventional sink breaks, you don’t bother to get it fixed since you haven’t used it in a long time, anyway.

You google key words “coffee” and “intravenous.” 

During the rare nights that you fall asleep, you have fantastical dreams about rivers of coffee, walking toward them, kneeling down, and slurping from cupped hands. You have similar dreams about caffeinated waterfalls and geysers.

When your friends invite you out for drinks, you order coffee. Or you order coffee and a drink. Or worse, you order coffee with a drink poured into it. Furthermore, you are unfazed by the bartender’s obvious annoyance.

When you have trouble falling asleep, you get up and drink a cup hoping it will give you that extra boost of energy you need to close your eyelids.

You plan a trip to Columbia. 

Due to the expense of this habit, you fall behind on your bills. You receive an eviction notice. You decide that your only solution is to date a barista or become one yourself.  Of course, making and serving coffee would severely interrupt the ingestion of it.      

Your friends orchestrate an intervention. They hold a mirror up to your face so you can see how brown your teeth have become. 

Your mother lectures you about the benefits of green tea.


How to Survive a Particularly Buggy Summer
June 10, 2008, 2:51 am
Filed under: bugs, Humor, weather

By Jocelyn Jane Cox

This summer is supposed to be a particularly buggy one. Here are some things you may want to take into consideration:

  1. Do not apply Chapstic right before jogging down by the river. It will act as an adhesive and your lips will get covered in a layer of gnats.
  2. Make sure your air conditioner is flush with your window frame. If there are gaps on either side, mosquitoes will sneak in to hold a dance party on your ceiling and your body will serve as the open bar.
  3. Do not open your fire escape door even if it’s the only way you can get any cross breeze. This is an invitation for obese flies to congregate in a lethargic ball above your coffee table, so that you cannot see past them to the TV.
  4. Always lock your front door. Water bugs have been known to climb stairs, fill tubs, and they are notoriously wasteful when it comes to designer bubble bath.
  5. When your adorable little niece comes over, don’t let her spit out a half-sucked butterscotch on your front stoop. Starving ants from six surrounding counties will hitch rides to your place for the feast. 
  6. If you leave your door open too long while bringing in groceries, wild horse flies will gallop in behind you, then stampede all over your famous pasta salad. 
  7. Be sure to replace the broken window in your bedroom. You don’t want bumblebees to fly in and pollinate the flowers on your bed sheets.
  8. Moths? Don’t even think about turning on any lights until after Labor Day.  
  9. If you’re sitting on a lawn chair at a friend’s barbecue and you don’t tuck your feet up under you, red ants will march up your leg and quickly transform it into a military zone.
  10. Similarly, if high winds have compromised the integrity of the tiny metal grids of your window screens, wasps will strong-arm their way through and shoot you. 

Remember, it’s going to be particularly buggy this summer, so, in addition to all of the above considerations, it’s recommended that you sleep with your eyes open, your mouth closed, and your earplugs in. 


Please help your fellow citizens: contribute any advice you may have by clicking on comment below.


The Ways in which I Resembled Neither Thelma nor Louise During my Recent Road Trip
June 3, 2008, 4:15 am
Filed under: Humor, road trip

by Jocelyn Jane Cox

My car is not a turquoise Thunderbird convertible, but a black Hyundai Elantra GT with a hatchback, purchased five years ago for its sensible 10-year warranty and excellent gas mileage.

I was not subconsciously or consciously trying to escape a dissatisfying marriage or an indecisive boyfriend named Jimmy, but going to visit my mother down in Delaware who had the same two days off from work as me. We were planning on eating some of her homemade lasagna and stopping by T.J. Maxx.

I was not wearing a white sundress, a sleeveless denim shirt strategically tied at the waist to reveal my midriff, or a Harley Davidson T-shirt. I was wearing a green fleece, a pair of jeans, and the sneakers I usually wear to the gym. Halfway through the trip, I took off the fleece, under which I had on an orange T-shirt I’ve owned since high school.

My route did not start in Arkansas, then zigzag through Oklahoma and Colorado to end at the Grand Canyon. I started off in the EZ pass lane of the George Washington Bridge’s tolls to get to the New Jersey Turnpike, then the Delaware Memorial Bridge, then Route 141, north. I really needed to pay extra attention to that final step because I missed that exit, once, and had to drive about 15 miles south on I-95 before I could turn around.

I did not stop to do Tequila shots then dance with a nothin’-but-trouble married man. I did, however, pull over to a service station to get gas, then bought a bottle of water and some almonds.

My traveling companion did not shoot someone in order to protect me, prompting her to flee to Mexico. I was accompanied by a human-sized bag of laundry that would turn out to be four loads, which I would wash in cold water with all-purpose liquid detergent. I would put most of that laundry in the dryer and hang some of the nicer garments on a drying rack my mom has, so they wouldn’t shrink.

I did not blow up a tanker truck filled with gasoline, but I did fish around in my bag to find a piece of gum, and then I chewed it. 

I did not pick up Brad Pitt then have a night of revelatory sex with him in a rundown motel. I did think about him, though.

I did not get chased, then surrounded by a flank of cop cars, leaving me no choice but to drive straight off a cliff. I did spot a policeman on the other side of the Turnpike and therefore slowed down from the posted speed limit of 65 mph to 62 mph, just in case.