2004 Bellview Awards, Part III
Most Popular Bellview Essay--"Not
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
"Vegetarian Fried Rice...with Bacon" (another wild wedding
Family of Bellview"
"The Date Auction"
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!'"
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!"
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!"
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
"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 bladder....now we have reached a new high in
cell phone etiquette. We are not even safe in the confines of a
"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
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...
Comments? Drop me a line at