The rabbit done died.

Dear Chicago,

It is my deepest regret to inform you that there has been a death in the family.  I extend to you my sympathies and, furthermore, my most sincere apologies that I have been unable to deliver, or even make mention of, this sad news until now due to an extreme heart-wrenching, tit-twisting depression over this tragic event.  The sadness over this loss has all but crippled me and my family.  The extent to which it will be felt on our pornography collection and my husband’s liver is almost immeasurable.  Even as I type this, my collection of tacky athletic wear is dwindling, never to be replenished.  The daily anecdotes of dildo beatings and cocktail slamming are now nothing but whispers on the wind.  A gloom has settled over our household like a cold mist coming in with the evening tide.  And bunny-shaped shadows flit about in the corner of my eye.  Ghosts.  Tanned, breast-implanted specters haunting us, never again to be seen in the radiant light of a Chicago winter morning.

Or something like that.

Playboy is dead.

Well, not dead exactly.  It’s more like a zombie.  A resurrected West Coast version of it’s once cosmopolitan self.  After 59 years in Chicago, Playboy yanked out it’s roots and moved to L.A. (the city we left almost three years ago) leaving me and my husband, Mike, throwing our hands up in the air and asking ”What the fuck, Universe?”

It was a dream job for him.  But almost as soon as Mike got the job at Playboy, the ship started to sink.  He wasn’t even in the digital content department for a month before some mysterious Germans came into the office nosing around and asking questions.  Soon after the online division of Playboy was given over to online pornography company, Manwin, to manage and Mike was lucky enough to jump onto the lifeboat that was the IT department — the department that ended up turning the lights out in the deserted building that had been the epicenter of Playboy Enterprises.

Based on anecdotes, photos, and even videos, I’m still undecided as to whether or not he did any actual work at this job.  But he came home happy every night (even if sometimes he smelled as if he had fought, and lost, a few rounds with Jose Cuervo and his sidekick, Mr. Schlitz.)

The IT Dept. was drinky headquarters. They had a hotline you could call to find out what the cocktail of the day was.

After working for several cruel years in educational publishing, during which he frequently came home in rotten, rotten moods (I can hardly blame him.  The only thing I loved about writing for textbooks was the money,) it was a fantastic change to see him actually liking his job and the people he worked with.  It was a great job and we’re both sad to see it go.

But we got a lot of ridiculous and awesome shit as consolation prizes.  Books, tons of new and vintage magazines, artwork, tacky clothing, booze, barware, porno movies (one of which, Burnin’ Love — an Elvis porno starring Ron Jeremy — made for a fun and emotionally scarring girls’ night,) Jesus nightlight, comics, two jade rhinoceroses, a poker set, a fez, and Christy Hefner’s crystal rocks glass engraved with her initials (now my special Scotch drinkin’ glass.)  Like anyone moving across country, they were giving away everything they didn’t want to move.  And Mike snatched up a lot of it, much to the dismay of our already overcrowded bookcases.

It was great while it lasted.  I don’t know if Chicago will miss you, Playboy, but we will.  So long and thanks for all the porn.

Modeling some truly awful active wear Mike brought home from a sample giveaway.  This awesome ensemble promptly went to Salvation Army to brighten some old lady’s day.

Taking down the Bunny sign.

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