Jill A. Davis
Published by Random House
February 2002;0-375-50514-8; 240 pages
I learned to be unfaithful from my parents. Not infidelity in the classic sensebut I was always prepared for the unhappy ending, which made me less willing to work toward a happy one. I was unfaithful to the idea of a well-adjusted future.
My name is Ruby Capote. Ruby Capote. I am Ruby Capote. Capote. Capote. Ruby Kiley Capote. Have you ever written your name, or seen it printed somewhere, and thought it looked unfamiliar? Like maybe you spelled it wrong or something? It used to happen to me all the time. But then again, Im only the strangest person Ive ever met. So much for a positive image, you may be thinking. But the truth is Im kind of happy with the way I turned out. I mean, things could be worse. I could be boring. Or unhappy. Or, like, I dont know, Canadian or something.
Imagine settling for a life you can have because you dont have the courage to go after the life you really want. Thats what made me do itmake one of those decisionsthe kind that bends your future in a whole new direction.
Every day the opportunity exists to change your life. But most days, the idea of having to change the big things in life just seems like too much work. Should I lie on the couch and watch a movie, or should I confront my personal demons? You get the point.
Anyway, Ive done it. So Im getting it down on paper, before the memory evaporates. Because thats what people dothey move into their new life and disassemble the old life in some ungrateful way and leave it out by the curb. Like it never served any purpose at all. Like self-preservation is some frivolous little thing.
He waited until we landed and we were safely at our gate and the seat-belt sign had been turned off before introducing himself. His cautiousness was completely sexy to me. And during the walk from the gate to ground transportation, he asked me to join him for dinner. That brings us to where I am now. Kind of. Thatmeeting Doughappened a few years ago. And now I feel like a refrigerator has fallen on me and Im pinned underneath it hoping to escape but in the meantime my life is sprinting ahead of me, assuming Ill catch up.
For a few years now, Ive been writing a humorous (their word, not mine) lifestyle columnsingle girl on the edge, ledge, verge kind of thing. I like it mainly because its all about me. When my friends get tired of listening to me, our readers get to read about me. A clear win-winfor who? Me! For the longest time I kept thinking, Wow, someone is paying me to write this? Ive hit the jackpot! Then, once the flattery wore offadmittedly, this took an embarrassingly long whileI realized that the someone who was paying me to write the column was barely paying me at all.
So I made copies of some of my greatest hits and sent them, along with my résumé, to The New York News. And heres the part that tells you all you need to know about me: The next morningliterally, not figuratively, the next morningI was disappointed that I was not awakened by a phone call begging me to come to New York to take a job at the newspaper. I mean, the letter probably hadnt even left the state of Massachusetts yet and already I was disappointed.
First, I know what youre thinking . . . since when does The New York News print humor? Exactly my point. They dont. This is the part where I fill the great void. No one even needs to be fired in order for me to start working there.
One of my favorites was about a fertility tea cozy that miraculously made six women pregnant. It raised all sorts of questions, and answered none of them. We put these stories in our paper when we have a two- or three-inch hole to fill. They are an afterthought. They are my favorite part of the paper.
For a while I saved these articles in an old Hermès scarf box. Then I got worried that Id die and someone would be cleaning out my junk and find the box filled with odd stories and that would somehow end up defining my life. So I threw them away. For a while after that, I was a meticulous housekeeper, just in case. Dead but scrupulously clean is not such a bad way to be remembered.
Four weeks pass. I cant bear to be hung up on again, so I dont call. Then a fifth week passes and I dont call. Im in temporary love with Doug again, so my ambition to leave Boston no longer exists. I know, I know. Im terrible.
I wait six weeks. Six weeks! No response. Im thinking the envelope is stuck in the mailbox. This strikes me as the only logical explanation. I believe it so much that I go down to the mailbox and take a look for myself. And I take one of Dougs golf umbrellas in case Im going to have to do some prodding. Of course, mailboxes are designed in a way that prevents you from seeing inside. What are they hiding in there anyway? I mean, besides my résumé.
Not even a phone call to tell me that they hate me and my columns. How rude is that? I mean, couldnt they at least call and say, Look, were sorry, we hate you, but at least you wont have to wait by the phone for us to call you and tell you we hate you because weve just told you. I could respect that. But its as though I just tossed the envelope into the trash can . . .Copyright © 2002 Jill A. Davis
Used with permission.
For fans of Elinor Lipman and Laura Zigman comes the hilarious and poignant tale of a cub reporter, her poker-playing sidekicks, and the devilish pas de deux of workplace romance.
Dissatisfied both with writing a "Single Girls on the Edge/Ledge/Verge" lifestyle column and with her boyfriend (who has a name for his car and compulsively collects plastic bread ties), Ruby Capote sends her best columns and a six-pack of beer to the editor of the New York News and lands herself a new job in a new city.
In New York, Ruby undertakes the venerable tradition of Poker Night a way (as men have always known) to eat, drink, smoke, analyze, interrupt one another, share stories, and, most of all, raise the stakes. There's Skorka, model by profession, homewrecker by vocation; Jenn, willing to cross state lines for true love; Danielle, recently divorced, seducer of at least one father/son combo in her quest to make up for perceived "missed opportunities." When Ruby falls for her boss, Michael, all bets are off. He's a challenge. He's her editor. And he wants her to stop being quippy and clever and become the writer and the woman he knows she can be. But what happens when you realize Mr. Right has his own unresolved past? Where does that leave the future you've envisioned? As smart as it is laugh-out-loud funny, Girls' Poker Night is a twenty-first-century His Girl Friday and a refreshingly upbeat look at friendship, work, and love.(back to top)
Jill A. Davis was a writer for Late Show with David Letterman, where she received five emmy nominations. She has also written several network pilots, screenplays, and short stories. Before moving to New York City, she wrote a humor column for a small metropolitan newspaper.