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2004-04-13 | 11:02 p.m.

corduroy licorice hated the watery lemonade his mom always made for their family picnics. he wondered why she refused to pack a punch, even after all his nagging.


i'm developing a new allergy. the irritant? shallowness. i keep detecting it in the world around me with greater and greater frequency.

sad thing is, i'm a carrier.

i can be as shallow as the next name-dropping star boffer, which makes my allergy even more of an interruption in my daily life.

my symptoms became more noticeable gradually. i had a big reaction this week while reading a blog that is supposedly being written anonymously by a top male actor.

when i started perusing his entries, i was all up in his ish thinking it was so much fun to read a snide report from behind the celeb curtain. but after reading a smattering of the wading pool-deep entries and some of the butt-kissing comments sycophants had posted in response, i got so turned off i had to stop. so turned off, in fact, that it made it even more embarrassing that i had just a moment earlier been considering posting my own comment--hoping to be recognized as the one witty, eviscerating voice pointing out that the emperor was naked--thus winning the emperor's attention and maybe getting put on the list for his next film premiere party.

i suddenly realized that i was as pitiful as the other chirping baby birds wanting to be noticed by someone a facade-driven industry had arbitrarily--and probably temporarily--annointed as desirable and influential.

more symptoms erupted this week while i was waiting in the doctor's office for my annual check-up and overheard a grandfather telling his senior-in-high-school grandson about what college to attend.

"if you are looking for drop dead gorgeous girls, and i mean drop dead, go to usc. yep, they're all at usc. much more so than ucla."

way to go, gramps! thank goodness there was a box of tissue by the threadbare magazine stack within arm's reach of me, because i felt another allergic reaction being provoked by the pathetically pulchritudinous priorities you were hoisting upon your young charge.

i hope this new allergy is a sign of a maturity upgrade in myself. thing is--if my immunity weakens to the point of showing outright disdain for the shallowness i'm soaking in, i may be run out of l.a. county on a rail. tar and feathers, plus one.

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