‘The clit is just a big eyebrow to me,’ and more memorable quotes from the Reader’s Chicagoans column

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Anne Ford - DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
  • Danielle A. Scruggs
  • Anne Ford

Chicagoans is a first-person account from off the beaten track, as told to Anne Ford. This week's Chicagoan is . . . Anne Ford!

The great oral historian Studs Terkel called himself "gabby." I'm not gabby. Around strangers, I tend to resemble the way Virginia Woolf described herself and her sister at parties: like two deaf-mutes waiting for the funeral to begin. But years ago, I found the remedy—asking other people questions about themselves. If there's a better way to disguise social anxiety (besides booze), I haven't found it. That's how Chicagoans got started. For the 150th installment, here are a few of my favorite lines from this experiment in curiosity.

Martin Breiner, tutor: "One kid said to me, 'I don't have to learn this. It's on the Internet.' I said, 'You carry a computer up your ass?'"

Nora O'Sullivan, freelance effects artist: "If you stick white rice to a wound, it looks like maggots."

April Abbott, ex-matchmaker: "Women would come in and say, 'Oh, I'm so attractive, I spend so much time on myself, I'm so well-read, and I work out every day,' and I would want to say, 'Go fuck yourself.' "

Jennifer French, FBI agent: "We're doing surveillance, and unrelated to that, we come across a mob. Not mob like 'organized crime'; mob like 'a group of folks.' Which you have to clarify when you talk about Cicero."

Marty Couch, Wiccan: "You don't need to buy anything at all. The god and goddess are everywhere. I mean, we use an altar we got at Anna's Linens for $9.99."

Bryan Bowden, substitute teacher: "In the classroom I had, seven kids had their fathers shot to death. It was really hard to be like, 'Hey, math is important!' "

Albert Ekehor, minister and taxi driver: "God has instructed me that every church I build, I should have parking spaces in those churches, because I need to set them free from the bondage of parking tickets."

Bettie Luciu, waxer: "If you're trying to apply the wax to the inner labia, you have to take your finger and move the clit away. It's just a big eyebrow to me."

Steve Kudelka, formerly homeless person: "Whether or not somebody loves me isn't going to have any effect on whether I eat tonight."

Leslie Goddard, historical interpreter: "You can drive in a hoopskirt. In a pinch, you can."

Peter Spizzirri, tuxedo shop owner: "I was working here when I was seven, eight years old, picking up pins by hand. I think about it now: 'Man, you could have just given me a magnet.'"

Angie Morrow, collection manager: "I am not an adventurous eater, and for one dish, our translator was like, 'I don't know what that is in English. The best I can do is 'fish with many paws.'''

Linda Cassady, wheelchair user:
"I had thought being in a wheelchair was going to be horrible. But the first weekend after rehab, I went to a wedding, and I was like, 'This isn't that bad. I'm just short.' Plus I've always been kind of lazy and looking for somewhere to sit down."

Othman Al-Ani, former refugee: "For my security check, they asked me, 'Do you feel you are in dangerous situation in Iraq?' It's the easiest question ever. The person asking me is working in a building inside a building inside a building inside a very secure building. I'm thinking, 'If we are in a good situation, why are you sitting in here?' "

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