Turn Your Head and Cough.

This won’t hurt a bit! (Is that a shot or a suppository?)

So. Here’s a “cough” for ya. I got a cease and desist letter this week from a group of lawyers calling themselves Merchant and Gould, “Guardians of Great Ideas!” Barf. You know Don Draper didn’t come up with that one. In murky legal-eze they demanded I shut down my blog, edible cville… Seems they have trademarked the word “edible”. Okay……..wait a minute. How in hell do you trademark a WORD? Supposedly they represent a magazine franchising company, Edible Communities, Inc. which owns over 40 publications around the country with names like Edible Buffalo, or Edible Austin. You get the idea. They promote local sustainable agriculture from an office somewhere else. Oxymoronic. Kinda like Wal-Mart selling organic apples. Wish I had known about it when I still taught 8th grade English, I woulda used them as an example like “jumbo shrimp”. Edible Buffalo! Straight from…………Minneapolis.

They feel my little operation, an operation of one woman trying in vain to gather more than five subscribers to her little blog about Charlottsville restaurants, will confuse readers of a new magazine being launched in March, Edible Blue Ridge. Okay. I’m flattered. But really?

I wouldn’t even take their letter as gospel except I remembered an article I had read recently. Seriously, at first I thought I was being punked. But then I remembered the article. And I remembered I had commented on the article. As a joke. Crap! Had my little attempt at humor turned into a Plaxico Burress episode? Mayhaps.

My first thought was to fold, but then I remembered the HOURS of work I had done. Designing. Registering. Learning the ins and outs of search engines. Come to think of it, just shutting down is not really befitting of a woman calling herself, “Feisty Bourbon Girl”. How can you OWN a word? And so I called the guy who had written the article. And told him my story. And about 500 other people through email, and places like Foodbuzz.com where I post pretty regularly. And you know what? They put *me* in the paper. What a whirlwind. All for a blog nobody reads.

As all this was rolling out, I tried to remember if I had ever been bullied in such a fashion. Heck, bullied at all! In not so many words, certainly, but I have had a few incidents, a few indelible memories. People have *tried* to take my feisty away.

I remember the obnoxious kid next door hurling rocks at my sister and me as we tried to play Barbies in the side yard. When he wouldn’t stop, I picked up the biggest rock and chucked it at his head. The sound it made was very satisfying I will admit. And the sound of his wails as he screamed for his mother were even better. God, that kid was a little shit. He had it coming. I was probably what? 10? 11? Not sure. Makes me sound a little weird I know, but if you were there you would’ve cheered just as loud as we did.

I remember *another* obnoxious neighbor boy (Jeez, where did we live anyway?) pushing my sister down in the snow. She’d get up, he’d push her down. She’d get up, he’d push her down. Over and over. I watched from the window, willing her to stand up for herself. I was probably 12 by this point. Sis was 10. The boy maybe 8. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I strode out into the snow, stood in front of the boy, hands on hips, and asked, “You wanna try and push ME down?!?!” He didn’t.

I’m in 10th or 11th grade, walking to Color Guard study hall. Six months of the year were spent in Color Guard practice for the school’s marching band, the other six months were a study hall. I’m dressed like a punk, all in black, down to my black Granny boots that laced up and were cut out on the sides. Cut out like a latticework fence. Purchased from The Wild Pair with money I had made working at Chuck E. Cheese. I wore bright orange fluorescent socks with the shoes so they showed through. Blindingly-bright fluorescent socks. I thought I was cooler than cool, but the girls walking behind me didn’t think so and started talking trash. When I couldn’t stand anymore I let them have it. Turned around and called them every name in the book, stuff a sailor would blush to say. What’s that saying? Cursing a blue streak? Heck, I was in the purple zone by the time I finished with them. They avoided me after that.

And then there’s the punch. The only punch I’ve ever thrown in anger. A *real* punch to the face. I was dressed to the nines, probably 22 years old, and walking up the stairs at Fielden’s at 2 in the morning on a Saturday. Or maybe it was 3 in the morning on a Wednesday. Or 4 in the morning on a Tuesday. At that point in my life I can assure you it could have been any or all of those days or times. Those of you who even know the club I’m talking about and graced its hallowed halls during the late 80’s and early to mid-90’s are probably shaking your heads in agreement. For the late-late-late night set, it was the place to be. Or at least, the only place open.

Anyway, I was climbing the stairs in my short skirt and heels and a guy grabbed my ass. No apologies, just a big ol’ grab. So I turned around and threw a big ol’ punch. His surprised look said all there was to say. He lost his footing and went sailing down the stairs, knocking down the people behind him as well like a set of dominoes. Did I neglect to mention it was the TOP of the stairs? It was. It was also frikkin’ awesome. It felt strong. I remember my buddy Mike was ahead of me and wondered what all the commotion was about. “Oh, I just punched some asshole down the stairs,” I replied nonchalantly. Definitely something a Feisty Bourbon Girl would do.

At this point, I have no idea what will happen. Maybe I should change the name to “Incredible Edible Cville…” and have the egg people mad at me too. Hell, with this blog entry, I may have just shot myself in the other leg. This is a fork in the road in my new guise as a writer who actually WRITES that my brain hasn’t been able to get around. I’m still reeling something so small and insignificant has garnered so much attention. If it’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that my deepest, most gutteral reaction to bullying isn’t to back down right away. And this is bullying of the highest order make no mistake. No I’m not a back downer. But nor am I a push backer. It’s not in my Buddhist nature to push back. But I will stand my ground.

And smile.

Just keep smiling.

Smile inside.

Because when you allow people to anger you, it means they’ve conquered you.

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