Local Woman Refuses to Come Out of Fetal Position

Rejected by a famous documentary film director, this local woman refuses to come out of fetal position.
Rejected by a famous documentary film director, this local woman refuses to come out of fetal position.

Ruth Pennebaker, a local writer who felt she might actually make the big time in an appearance in an Errol Morris documentary scheduled to air nationwide this Friday, has refused to come out of fetal position since learning her footage ended up on the cutting-room floor.  Ms. Pennebaker is in a “sad, kind of pathetic state,” according to her husband, who asked not to be identified by name, since he values his own reputation too much.

It all began several weeks ago when Ms. Pennebaker was approached by the producer of the documentary that will air as part of Friday’s Stand Up to Cancer special on all three networks.
“I’ve gotta be honest,” her husband said.  “She got a little manicky about the whole thing.  You know, unhinged.  She kept talking about how she was going to be a big star, finally.
“After she got back from Hollywood, she was all Errol-this and Errol-that.  It got pretty old.  Especially her wearing sunglasses 24 hours a day.  She kept bumping into the furniture and bruising herself.  I kept trying to calm her down and hide her sunglasses.  But she told me I was just jealous of her because she was about to become a real Hollywood bigshot.”
Ms. Pennebaker’s descent into fetal position occurred precipitously yesterday, when she learned she would only be a part of the eight-minute video that airs on iTunes and not on the shorter, considerably more select three-minute video that will air nationwide.  “She kept saying she thought she and Errol (Morris) had really connected and had something special together,” the woman’s husband said, shaking his head sadly.  “I guess she was wrong.”
Since then, the woman has only made occasional “moaning” and “whining” sounds, according to her husband, although she did dart out of her fixed state to eat a hearty dinner tonight, before retreating back into fetal position once more.  “For somebody whose heart is supposed to be broken, she sure eats a lot,” her husband commented.
Until her recent obsession with Hollywood, his wife was “fairly normal, but a little neurotic and self-pitying, like most writers,” the man said.  If his wife fails to emerge back into the world again, he said, he plans to “water her like I would any other household plant.”
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)
18 comments… add one
  • OH NO! You (and we!) were robbed! I was so looking forward to seeing you on the big screen. Boo, documentary filmmaker!

    But maybe all that celebrity would’ve changed you. Made you less funny. Less willing to dart out for a hearty dinner. You know, spoiled you. Made you worry about whether your hips were bony enough (never), whether your purse was the right one, whether your water was green enough (whatever).

    That would’ve been our loss, too.

  • Great hair color. When did you become a blonde. If you weren’t in a fetal position, I could see it better. But look at it this way, at least you can get into a fetal position. Go yoga.

  • rachelbirds Link

    I love it when my
    ego gets a hold of my
    ambitions. Big fall.


  • pjb Link

    Shaking my head and tssking, I ponder the number of times I’ve seen this very thing happen. It’s a story as old as…Hollywood, so, you know, not quite a hundred years old. The naive, small-town woman gets seduced by the smooth-talking Hollywood bigshot. She pours her heart and soul into his film, dreams of having her star in front of Mann’s–only to have those dreams end up on that cutting room floor, used up, like a Kleenex, and not that soothing lotion-y kind.

    Seriously, though, the man is obviously not nearly as smart as you thought 🙂 And take heart, I bet more people will see it on iTunes than on TV anyhow. TV is dead; long live the Internets!

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    Many, many positive things, when you think about it. Failure is so much more fascinating to write about than success (trust me: I’m an expert on this one). Fortunately, in the midst of the darkness of my total rejection, I had just gotten a haircut and color hours earlier, so look more attractive than usual.

  • johnny Link

    haven’t you heard of the “casting couch”??? my god it’s hollywood!!!

  • Lee Robinson Link

    Failure is…well, failure. The nastiest thing about it is that it makes you feel like you’re the center of the imploding universe. Meanwhile the world just goes on turning and your friends just keep loving you for who you are, never mind that you aren’t (yet) going to be a TV star. My mother would remind you to keep things in perspective….yes, I know, easier said than done. But think about the real downers of the day….like having a female VP candidate who once fired her town librarian for failing to ban “objectionable” books!

  • Jack Link

    By any standard, Ruth Pennebaker rates as a celebrity in the Austin Metropolitan Area bordered by Windsor Road, Hopi Trail, Pecos Street and Stevenson Street. It should also be noted that Jamie, her husband, rates as a minor celebrity in the same area.

  • mark lipson Link

    I know that failure is more tantalizing than success… but i must grab that failure from this arena. ruth you are a star, and you will be hounded by the paparazzi scouring robertson blvd. Your inspired tale of being hounded by an optimist is included in the 8 minute version of the Stand Up 2 Cancer film, now available as a download from itunes.. Sorry to rain on the parade of failure, I know that I am a killjoy… but I need to set the record straight, or straighter. Your limo is waiting.

  • Leila Link

    God, what would I do without Ruth in this world to make me laugh? Maybe now I can get out of my rut of self-pity, because Ruth has made “failure” (not that being dropped from any Hollywood project counts as failure) worth writing about.

  • Go to iTunes and download the Roches Big ‘Nuthin. It’s delicious cold comfort for times like these.

    No wait, don’t buy it. I will send it to you. Stand by.

    We still think you’re a star!

  • You wouldn’t want to be in that video anyway, would you? I think iTunes is so much hipper, though I don’t really know what it is or how to get it.
    I will put a link to you on Cancer Bitch.
    –C. Bitch

  • alana rosshirt Link

    Ruth, I’m so sorry for what you perceive to be failure but had to write that you succeeded perfectly, though presumably unwittingly, in telling me exactly where I should be—the fetal position. Had eye surgery yesterday and the fetal position is exactly the place for me–except that I am supposed to be flat on my back looking at the ceiling. Maybe there is some mammal carried that way. I know giraffes drop six feet at birth. Oops! the anesthesia has eaten my brain.

  • Pam Link

    Well, at least her hair looks fabulous in the fetal position!

  • Donna Link

    I need you to come out of that fetal position, no matter how good your hair looks.
    First I panic at the sight of all those smiling faces at the RNC and the mean-spirited speeches and chants. Were the Democrats as nasty last week? Then i feel a bit hopeful as I read about the Irish bookies changing their odds on McCain dumping the hockey mom. Help! I need you! We all need you!

  • Thanks for the laugh!

    I think it will be cool to see you on itunes!

    Don’t go “all Hollywood” on us now!


  • Well, too bad. Now snap out of it and write some funny stuff that induces cute single guys to post on your website. You have others to think of, for Pete’s sake.

  • What you can do on the page is far more effective than on screen. Really. You have a gift. A wicked, delightful gift of wielding words and stirring the pot. It is their loss. Keep writing, my friend. Someday, you will be recognized for the talent that you are.

    Oh, and with those legs…fetal position or no, I don’t know WHAT they were thinking. Lovely gams!

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