I first started hearing about this “lizarmstrong” person about three or four years ago. I was getting to know a group of kids around the Wicker Park area at the time and lizarmstrong was a part of that scene. And that’s just the way they referred to her: “lizarmstrong this, lizarmstrong that,” and it started to annoy me. I mean, no one else I knew got their whole first and last name included with every reference. When I finally met her, it turned out I’d seen her around for a few years previous. Once even as “Misty,” where she would prance around in her underwear doing some kind of performance thing.

Then came her Antisocial column in the Reader. Yeah, I started reading it when it came out, and was hella-annoyed. I hated it, I hated lizarmstrong, and I hated the Reader for running it. (Hate is a little strong. I’m not a hater by inclination, but I was strongly annoyed and irritated by the tone and content of the column–and the subject, which seemed to be about nothing.) I complained to my friends. I was happy when people started sending in hate mail (or should I call it annoyed mail?) about it and when that kid started that “lizwatch” blog. Then one week I noticed that in the Halloween party trail I had followed the previous week, I had hit up three out of the four parties lizarmstrong mentioned. Who was following who? I wondered.

It wasn’t until shortly after this that I fucking noticed that I fucking picked up the fucking Reader every fucking week and fucking turned to fucking liz fucking armstrong’s fucking Chicago fucking anti-fucking-social fucking column first-fucking-thing every fucking time!!!!! Fuck! Boy was I fucking annoyed with me!

Oh my fucking god!

I had to admit that lizarmstrong had won me over. I had to admit that there was something there in her column which always seemed to contain a hint of mockery (and sometimes more than a hint) that hit a chord with me. We share that mocking take on all levels of society (and, I think, the ability to mock oneself, and to take good-natured mockery in stride) and antisociety she covered in her brief time here. She still annoyed (and annoys) me consistently, mockingly, with a wink to my annoyedness, but I was also consistently drawn to her column as the first thing to turn to every week and missed her when she wasn’t there.

So she’s going. There will be a hole there, in the Reader, where once mockery reigned as a legitimate viewpoint to consider, and look askance at, what goes on around us in the human drama of life. By the way, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that she is also a good journalist, who reports faithfully and with good sense and a good instinct for what matters in the events and personages she covers. I know this from first and secondhand sources of things she’s written about.

Good-bye, lizarmstrong, we barely knew ye!


Humboldt Park