Parallel Lives

Do you ever get the feeling someone else is living an alternate version of your life and is doing it so much better? Not that you’re not doing it well, but ok…hear me out.

Brook Busey aka Diablo Cody and I have been living parallel lives. Some times (obviously) the parallel bars were a little farther apart than others.

We were both born in June 1978…I on the third, she on the 14th.

She was raised in a suburb of Chicago. I, too am a Midwestern girl, and went to college in The Windy City.

I have a degree in journalism. She in media studies.

She worked for a paper in Minnesota. I worked for a paper in Missouri.

In 2005, I worked up to – and completed – level four of S Factor. My main goal was to be able to flip myself up onto the pole (dream big!) and once I was able to do that (once) I was all: mission completed. Mind you I paid hundreds of dollars to waste that workout.

Around that same time (a little earlier) Brook/Diablo was stripping for dollars, giving her incredible fodder for a book she would write. And again, she was getting the workout and making money. (Side note: I liked the book.)

At this point in my life I really didn’t have any experience to write a book about. There had been one opportunity back in the late 90s to do a little jail time for a really bad speeding ticket. I’m pretty sure I still have the email of my brother (who I lived with at the time) trying to convince me to do it.

Ok so I had to go back to my rocketmail addy to find this email from 1999. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

o girl!
u got the court results from your ticket today– i opened it.
u have to go to an approved 8 hour driving class and spend no $
(other than what the class itself costs- usually $25ish)
2 catches:
 1.  you have to have it done by 15april99
 2.  all the classes they sent info on are done over 2 four hour days (because it is too boring at once)
other option is three (3) days in st louis county jail.
i say phucket, and do the time.
it is free
you get food
you can do a paper on it for school
you’ve been to hawaii, but never jail.
it may be good for you.
think of the experience you would gain.
it’s only 72 hours.
you get free time to  play basketball in the yard
you can smoke ciggs.
you can catch up on sleep
watch cable tv
wear designer orange coveralls (maybe you can keep them)
possibly get out early for good behavior
do you smell what i am cooking?
on top of that, you can still (i think) get a phone call out of the deal.
i say you go for it
it is the admirable thing to do.
we will tell everyone  it was intentional so you could write a paper for school.
you would be so cool
(so long as you didn’t like it too much in there and become the next bonnie)
(will could be your clyde)
speak of the devil, he would be impressed!
sleep on it and let me know.
love matthew.


That is one of my favoritest emails ever. We joked about how it would be like that time Carol Seaver went to jail. But somehow I worked out the timing and did traffic school instead. I feel like somebody scared the crap out of me re the St. Louis County Jail.

(As a reporter in St. Louis years later, I finally got a peek at the inside of the SLCJ when an inmate committed suicide. (If I remember correctly, it was a big deal because he was on suicide watch and still managed to kill himself.) The jail itself didn’t look so bad.)

Looking back, it was clearly a missed opportunity for my early memoirs.

Fast forward a few years and around the same time Diablo was writing and shooting a little movie called Juno, a friend and I were writing a treatment for our own coming-of-age film. Brook/Diablo won an Oscar. My friend and I have yet to finish our screenplay.

She definitely has the whole follow-through thing down, as she went on to pen a television series and continues to write more movies, including Young Adult, out this wkend.


Brook/Diablo is married. Lives in a house in the hills. And has a young son.
I don’t know if you’re new here, but I’m single and don’t have any kids.

That’s not why I’m sorta jealous of her. (Jealous is a strong word, but there isn’t another one that seems as appropriate.)

I mean I’d love to one day write something so awesome that people give me an Oscar – altho I can’t imagine ever being able to get up in front of all those people and make a speech.

And I’m kinda oddly envious of the whole stripper/peep show in a small town experience. In my pole-spinning, floor-humping, lap-dancing heyday, I definitely threatened to do an amateur night. The closest I came was offering to dance at a club on Sunset so the owner/manager would let us park in his parking lot. True story. Truer story? He didn’t go for it. Truest story? The girls that WERE dancing there were yucky and bruised and I probably could have made bank.

No…the coup de grace is Brook/Diablo has an Airstream. And in that Airstream she does a little talk show. With celebrities. I like talking to celebrities. A whole lot. And I love Airstreams. It’s the greatest idea I never had. Although I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get celebrities to come to my driveway as easily as she does.

So you take the lead for now, Brook Diablo Busey Cody. It’s not your fault.

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