Deaths • 02.10.12

Obit.Wade.Petrick

Petrick Wade

Wade Petrik, 52, aka “Dixie Normous” of Dallas died peacefully at his home on Newton Avenue in Oak Lawn on Feb. 3, 2012.

Petrik was born Sept. 8, 1959 in Burlington, N.J., to Marianne and Bill Petrik. He grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas.

He loved his co-workers at Kroger on Cedar Springs, where Wade was a floor supervisor and an impromptu entertainer.

Blessed with an extraordinary sense of humor, Petrik always had an audience. Some may even remember his debuts at “The Does Your Mother Know Show.” He also worked the back door at the Round-Up Saloon, so if you tried to sneak in, he probably busted you.

Petrik is survived by his best friend, Rudy Leal; sisters, Dr. Trish Dodd, and Jessie Klein and her daughters; and a long list of wonderful friends in the gay community, who were truly family.

Services will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Wade loved his furry friends, especially his beloved companion, Randy, so please make donations to your local animal rescue group.

—  Kevin Thomas

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain,’ by Portia de Rossi

Atria Books (2010), $26, 308 pp.

There’s a fine line between “want” and “need.” When you were a kid, you didn’t need another cookie, or that creamy glass with holiday garnish. And definitely, you didn’t need the calories. But oh, you wanted them.

So imagine denying yourself those and almost all other foods. Imagine living on 300 calories a day. Then read Unbearable Lightness, Portia de Rossi’s remarkable memoir.

Amanda Rogers was a smart kid who aspired to become a lawyer in her native Australia, until the modeling bug bit her and she quickly decided that the runway was the way to run. She convinced her mother to drive her to an interview, and she convinced executives that, at age 12, she could handle the world of high fashion. Though she felt uncomfortable and self-conscious about perceived body flaws, she persevered, changing her name to Portia de Rossi.

Later, when given the chance to be in a movie, de Rossi was surprised that she loved acting, though she wasn’t confident about her beauty. She thought her face was too round, her cheeks too fat, her thighs too chubby. Her weight yo-yoed. Wardrobe tailors on the Ally McBeal set were kept busy with alterations. De Rossi was mortified.

But that wasn’t her only source of personal loathing. She had always known that she was gay, but it wasn’t discussed. She married, but the union ended when he learned the truth at couple’s therapy. Co-workers weren’t told because de Rossi feared for her job. She denied her feelings and lived in terror of being outed.

Embarking on a nutritionist-recommended low-calorie diet didn’t quell the diet demon in de Rossi’s mind, so she went on a program all her own.

She meticulously weighed each ounce of food, fretted over “hidden calories,” and obsessively avoided anything that might add to her daily intake.

On the day she hit 82 pounds, she said that celebration was in order but, “first I had to silence the drill sergeant that reminded me of that extra inch of fat. First I had to get rid of that.”

As with many memoirs like Unbearable Lightness, I had two very dissimilar feelings while reading it. First, this book reeks with pain. De Rossi is very clear about the bruising thoughts and negativity that she felt in hiding so many personal aspects of her life, and though this book has a make-you-grin, wonderfully happy ending, getting there hurts.

Second, it hurts to read not just because of the pain de Rossi relays, but because it can be slow. In the end, de Rossi’s pantry held a paltry handful of items, for instance, and that fact was hammered home in many ways, many times.

Still, if you’ve ever lived too long with a secret that ate you alive, read this. You won’t just want Unbearable Lightness, you need it.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Least appetizing ‘treat’ of day: Onion ring mints

I can’t tell you how often people tell me, “I wish I had your job — you get to see movies and plays and eat out at fancy restaurants all the time!!!” Now, I like my job, but it’s not all as glamorous as it may seem. I do eat at fancy restaurants, but I eat a lot of other stuff too. And low on the “other” list is the “favor” sent to me by a local restaurant.

“Delicious” Onion Ring Mints aren’t as advertised. In fact, they’re pretty disgusting.

When they arrived, I thought, “Maybe they are shaped like onion rings,” or even, “Maybe they are specially formulated to fight bad breath caused by onion rings.” Uh… no. They just taste like onion rings.

Which you only really get when you tell someone. I passed them around the office incognito, asking for people’s opinions. I prefaced it with, “this is not good,” so it’s not like they expected a mist of wintergreen. The consensus was, they taste like old meat. Or maybe old greasy onion rings. Or maybe Funyuns. Point is, they don’t taste good.

So before you think you could do my job, ask yourself: Would I spend an hour tasting nasty bits of sugar and alienating my co-workers to write a blog post as a profession? Cuz that’s my job, too.

OK, off to eat some new Pumpkin Pie flavor Pinkberry that was sent to me.

As I said, I like my job.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Living in an electronic world

Way back in 1995, Sandra Bullock starred in a movie called “The Net.” I watched it back then, and will still watch it again whenever it comes on TV. I am like that with Sandra Bullock movies.

Anyway, it’s about a woman, Angela Bennett, who lives practically without any personal, face-to-face interaction with anyone, other than her mother who has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t ever remember who her daugter is. She works from home via her computer and the Internet, so her co-workers don’t even know what she looks like. So when she accidentally and unknowingly ends up with a floppy disk (remember those?) that contains information about an evil plan to take over the government, it’s easy for the bad guys to steal her life — just by manipulating information on the Internet.

I enjoyed the movie (that whole Sandra Bullock thing again), but back then I thought the premise was really far-fetched. Now? well, not so much.

Now, I keep up with family and friends that live in distant cities through Facebook. Even my mom and dad, both in their 70s now, are in Facebook. Hell, I even keep up with my closest friends who live in the same neighborhood through Facebook.

And texting has become almost the primary form of communication, even with the people who live in the same house with me. My two best friends (who live within 5 miles of me) and I “watch” “Ghost Hunters” together each Wednesday via text. My partner and I talk via text throughout the day. We can be sitting in the same room and will hold a conversation via text if we don’t want the children to hear what we’re talking about.

It’s kind of frightening, really, when you think about how “social media” and electronic communication have replaced actual, human interaction in so much of our lives.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting we go back to the Dark Ages when Facebook and Twitter and texting and so on didn’t exist. But maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea, if every now and then, we made the effort to step away from the computer (or the cell phone or the iPad or whatever) and took time to have real, live, face-to-face conversations with people. Hell, we might even reach out and actually, physically HUG someone!

After all, we don’t want to end up like Angela Bennett now, do we?

If you are wondering what got me started on this little semi-rant, then watch this video from YouTube about the omnipresence of social media in our lives today:

—  admin