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2004 Roundup
2005 Roundup
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2004 Bellview Awards, Part III



The finale!

Most Popular Bellview Essay--"Not Fuckin' Around"

This one, regarding people I know that seem to take it up a notch at every opportunity, seemed to hit people the hardest in 2004, both positively and, well, see below

  1. "Vegetarian Fried Rice...with Bacon" (another wild wedding party)

  2. "Potpourri 11: Family of Bellview"

  3. "The Date Auction"

  4. "Family Day"


The Ten Best Bellview Responses of the Year

Yep, if you ever respond to one of the essays, not only do I read them, I almost always keep them.  Out of literally hundreds of responses, here are the ten best ones, with the title of the essay appearing before each response.


Random site response

10.  Aaron Katzman, your friendly neighborhood racist:  "Congrats on the promotion!  I didn't know black people were allowed to get promoted...what, no Jews at your company?  Oh yeah, and to add insult to insult, 'Letís Go BoSox!'"


"Family Day"

9.  Jen Carter, in full agreement:  "Hey!  Iíve been getting your e-mails for about three years, and I think they rock.  But recently, you really outdid yourself with the 'Family Day' essay.  It was awesome!!  And I just had to say, WORD!  I am a social worker for the elderly so Iíll admit I donít see many children around the workplace, but at my church...I am just another young, single, baby target!  'Jen, you donít have any kids...why donít YOU work in the nursery?' or 'Jen, you donít have any kids, so...YOU can lead the middle school puppet ministry!'  Hey, I tolerate kids, and actually, I would even admit to loving them...BUT!  I donít have kids right now for a reason, and here it is (I will actually tell people this, if they actually stick around long enough to listen after I turn them down)...

"'Youíre right that I donít have kids...and one day, as every parent I know tearfully promises, I will.  But until then, I donít want to get burned out on kids before I can have any of my own.  And wouldnít THAT be sad?'

"Then I send them off to find an elderly lady obsessed with babies who would be PERFECT for the job!  Keep up the great work!"


Potpourri X

8.  Dave Storm, a former Marylander:  "I agree that trying to convince Arlingtonians to cross the river to go to Rockville (when we lived there a couple years ago) was humorous. They struggled to decide if they needed vaccinations, passports, and where they could get some Maryland Money, in case their Virginia currency wouldn't work.  And please don't get me started on the difficulty of dragging people the whole two hours from the Beltway down to Charlottesville. At least you made one trip that didn't involve my bribing you with free tickets!"


"Family Day"

7.  Melinda Benanti, chomping at the bit:  "Getting two seconds after feeding my own child, I was able to take time to read you latest and greatest essay [Family Day].  I can tell now from experience, that when it is your own child, it's different.  Everyone said that to me before I had Sophia, but I definitely know it's true now.  When your 7-week-old is in your arms lying with her sweet little squished face on your shoulder, it is easy to forget that she was crying like a banshee earlier that morning.

"Rewind a year ago before I got pregnant.  When I was thinking about kids, I too was one to 'tolerate' children.  I would even sometimes get on the floor and play with them, but there were times when they were jumping over my couch, screaming at the top of their lungs because their milk was not warm enough, or knocking each other over the head with whatever toy is in contest.  All I could think is, 'Good Lord, do I really want to do it?'

"Right now, I'm happy I did.  Even though in three hours I know this child is going to be latched onto me like a cute little parasite and chew on my nipples until they are ground meat, you especially appreciate it when you receive a scare from the doctors and they tell you that you precious little one may have Cystic Fibrosis, you have to wait two weeks to find out if she really does or not, with tears and pulling your hair out you pray to God that she doesn't.  After having the appropriate test we found out she is going to be fine.  But what a scare."


Random site response

6.  Darren DeBlasi, with strange awareness:  "By the way, I just entered my company's bathroom and as I am face front to the urinal about to conduct my biz, a guy in the stall adjacent to the urinal doing his biz answers a cell phone call and continues to have a conversation while I concentrate on the emptying of my we have reached a new high in cell phone etiquette.  We are not even safe in the confines of a men's room!"


"Vegetarian Fried Rice...with Bacon"

5.  Ross Stephenson, with beautiful racist remark #2:  "What is it about third-party tales that involve Asians that always brings a smile to my face?  I'm not sure, but it might be that for some unknown reason I always find myself uttering the dialogue in a John Pinette-esque Chinese Buffet ('You Go Now!') type racist voice.  Ahhh...I can almost feel the warmth of hell.  Anyway, I loved the mention of Mr. Long popping out to announce random 'high-up's' in the Chinese society.  Why is it that there is always a Chinaman who's name is a d*ck joke?"


"Not Fuckin' Around"

4.  Kristin Hollingsworth, providing the occasional kick-in-the-pants:  "I don't respond to these very often (if at all), but I simply had to send an e-mail because my reaction was so strong.  I hate to say it, but I'm not such a big fan of this recent essay.  Do we all have to get drunk and party until 6 in the morning, or leave our jobs to try and 'find ourselves', to not be considered 'mediocre' in your eyes?  I do not look at these people and think to myself 'Man...what I really long to do is party my face off, spend $200-$300 in the process, and fall asleep in my own vomit...but only for an hour or two, because then I'm going to drag my drunk ass into work, smelling like a distillery, and spend the rest of the day trying to hide from my boss and remember at what point, through the course of the evening, I decided it would be a good idea to let a man write his phone number down on my inner thigh.' Nor do I ever think to myself 'I'm almost 30 years old, and what I should really do right now is live in a youth hostel (when the cops have already yelled at me for sleeping on the beach) and sell coconuts and sand poured into miniature bottles to tourists so that I can scrape up enough money for a sandwich and some sex wax for my surf board, all the while thinking about those poor bastards who have god-awful 9 to 5 jobs.' 

"So maybe what you call 'mediocre' I just call 'growing up and moving on.'  I don't need to live in a constant state of recklessness or flamboyance to be an interesting person and great friend/daughter/wife/lover/mother.  My life, to me, continues to be an adventure...even if you don't see it that way."


"Solo Negro Status 2: The Apartment"

3.  Charles "Chuck" Longer, vividly:  "Right now, it sounds like you're just getting accustomed to being by yourself.  There's one REAL test of living on your own--and it's something I've done MAYBE twice in my life--you're sitting on the bowl.  You take your shirt off b/c, well, like Costanza, you've got to take your shirt off when you sit on the bowl.  You get done, but since you don't really feel like pulling up your pants, you just step out of them, leave them neatly piled in front of the can, and strut out of the bathroom naked.  When you reach the point that you do that without even thinking about it, you've found the Zen of solo living."


"Boxer Briefs"

2.  Jenne McLeavy, earning her keep as a tenured Bellviewer:  "Your new site completely rocks the kasbah.  And a bunch of other places.  Like the house.  It fucking rocks the house.  Your 'Boxer Briefs' essay had me gigglin' out loud.  I love knowing the subtleties of men's fashion woes, along with what exactly it is you boys actually are concerned about.  Because foreplay is lower on the list, if indeed it's even on the list, it's nice to know you gents do worry about something...even if it IS simply swamp ass.  A treasure trove of mental images, as always, my dear sweet bigger-than-ever-in-boxer-briefs daddy.  And sincerest congratulations on your super-sweet website."


Random site response

1.  Ken "Dad" Bell, responding for only the second time in Bellview's seven-year career:  "I probably don't say enough how proud I am of everything you do, but I am.  Even though you are a Yankee, 49er, and Laker fan, I still tell everyone that I know how creative you are, and how hard you work to entertain your friends and family.  Sometimes I am sitting in my office and just start laughing about one of our conversations that just will not leave my mind.  And, even though I am still waiting on that UVA Trustee golf shirt, your sense of humor sometimes gets me through the day, and I forgive you for taking so long to get me that shirt.  I won't dwell on that because it is not a big deal (2XL).  Keep up the great work."


Damn, I have been doing this for a long time!  By the way, if you know of anyone that knows anyone that can get me a syndicated column, please help...I'll admit that I am no good when it comes to self-promotion, but when it comes to the writing, that's all I love.  I have GOT to figure out a way to make money doing this...



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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09