* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where on some days more than others, we are very glad we are not in the insurance business. Let our good friend Abby Byrd explain.

A Letter From My Insurance Company Denying Coverage Of Mental Health Services For Show Choir-Related Trauma

By: Abby Byrd

Dear Ms. Byrd,

We regret to inform you that upon evaluating your appeal, we stand firm in our decision to deny coverage of the services in question. While we do cover mental health services, we do not consider “show choir-related trauma” an eligible condition.

We have received the photo documentation you have provided as proof that you were forced to wear a unitard.

We have received the (slightly mildewed) turquoise jumpsuit and accompanying gold-sequined overlay.

We have also received your video documentation. It does indeed clearly show how what should have been clapping in unison during a performance of Three Dog Night’s “Shambala” degenerated into two warring factions of clappers, causing intra-choir strife and consternation in the audience.

We have reviewed the footage of your singing “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast while dancing with a giant cardboard teacup.

After viewing the incredibly awkward dance sequence during the fiddle solo in “Down at the Twist and Shout,” we understand your argument that radio stations should not be allowed to play Mary Chapin Carpenter without a trigger warning.

No, “They’re Playing Our Song” is not Marvin Hamlisch’s best work, although your assertion that it “ruined [your] life” seems to us a bit of an exaggeration.

We do not dispute that Andrew Lloyd Webber has suffered great injustices at the hands of your high school choral music program.

We acknowledge the torment that is “Jellicle songs for jellicle cats! Jellicle songs for jellicle cats!” on endless loop, and we feel the agony in your plea: “For the love of God, what the f*** is a jellicle cat?”

We also acknowledge your insatiable desire to initiate starburst formations during social gatherings.

Yes, we are aware that there is nothing sadder than getting felt up while wearing lamé.

While we appreciate the circumstances that led you to threaten us with an interpretive dance to “Memory,” know that security is tight at our headquarters, and it is unlikely you would be able to sneak in a fog machine, let alone construct the entire set from Cats.

Do not show up here wearing a leotard and a headband with cat ears taped to it.

Do not threaten us with a performance from another musical.

While we cannot assume financial responsibility for your mental health care, we wish you the very best on your healing journey.

Our jazz hands are raised in solidarity.


Kind regards,

Claims Department

LifeThrive HealthPartners



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we may not know how to define pornography, but we sure know it when we see it. So does Abby Byrd in her first piece for us.

Passive-Aggressive Erotica

By: Abby Byrd

He dug and dug, clearing the way for a new gate. With each thrust of the shovel into the soft dirt, he cursed her. How dare she launch that tirade against him? Just who did she think she was? That gate I’ve been asking you to fix for weeks has completely broken, she’d said, and the dogs got into the garden! He continued thrusting and began to sweat, remembering the irresistible way she’d admonished and belittled him. God, her voice was piercing. He could feel it all the way down in his gonads. And her tone dripped with condescension; he could imagine catching it on his tongue as he knelt down to supplicate himself before her ample bosom and psychopathic mood swings. He focused on the memory of her spiteful little mouth: If those asshole dogs dig up my garden, I am going to lose my shit! She needed to be taught a lesson, he thought. A dirty, sweaty lesson.

She returned a few hours later, in a swimsuit and still damp from the children’s pool party she took the child to alone, which was totally fine. Even though the child yelled something that sounded remarkably like “Bullshit!” while careening down the slip ‘n’ slide and then ran into a thicket of poison ivy. It was totally fine. When she saw the repaired gate, she threw her arms around him. She could feel his muscles through his t-shirt. She caressed them and began to moan softly, moans that said, “Thank you for finally fixing the damn gate, you irresponsible cockmonkey.” She ran her hand down the front of his body and gently cupped the bulge that apparently rendered him incapable of cleaning the inside of a toilet. As he began to nibble her neck, she felt a stirring in her bitch parts. Suddenly, she wanted nothing else than to be repeatedly and rhythmically penetrated by someone who insisted on loading the dishwasher in the most illogical way imaginable.

She wrapped her pale, veiny legs around him and he carried her to the kitchen, pressing against her doughy midsection. Hopefully he could keep her attention before it strayed to the freezer and she devoured another pint of ice cream that she claimed she’d bought “for him” — but it was never for him, was it? He sat her fat ass on the nearest surface, the kitchen counter, and knocked over the sugar jar — because after getting his last cup of coffee he’d left it sitting right in the middle of the counter instead of pushing it six inches back, out of the way. Of course.

She seemed uncomfortable. Perhaps he was supposed to know what she wanted, like when she suddenly spoke aloud in the middle of a thought with absolutely no context whatsoever and then expected him to know what the hell she was talking about. He paused to look into her eyes. They were two endless pools of mystery from which he longed to drink as he plunged his manly tumescence into her sadly ordinary but adequately elastic vagina. He wondered if he should carry her to the bedroom and deposit her on the bed that he was sure was still unmade, despite repeated requests for her to take two seconds and just pull up the fucking bedspread.

Alas, there was no time. The child was yelling from the hall bathroom that he needed a butt wipe.

She guessed she’d be the butt wiper. Again.