Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Would Give Anything...To Do Nothing

Seven years ago today, I was screaming like a Costa Rican howler monkey, crying, puking, bleeding, and shitting what felt like a 1970's Zenith brand television set straight out of my asshole. In other words, I was in labor.

My first child and daughter Paige has always had her own agenda, and her debut into the world was no different. Still, notwithstanding a childbirth experience that was way--WAY--worse than any sixth grade health class video ever depicted, I loved Paige for choosing this day to be born.

Through a delirium of opiates, epidurals, measured breathing, and more wild shrieking, I still felt unmitigated joy, knowing that I would never, ever again need to have a plan for New Year's Eve. I would always have an excuse to do nothing--you know, in honor of my child's birthday. Think of the children!

It's not that I don't like to have a good time. Anyone who knows me knows that. It's just that I simply CANNOT with the "forced revelry" situation. It's why I stopped having birthday parties at age 7 and why I refused to have a wedding and why I hate New Year's Eve.

I don't like the pressure of "having" to have fun. Because most of the time, whatever you do, it feels anti-climactic and disappointing because there is this whole culture of pressurized forced revelry. That defeats the purpose of fun to me. A good time is supposed to be organic. It's supposed to arise naturally. Like when you run into a clown on Coney Island with an iguana on a leash and he asks you to drive him to see his cousin in prison on Riker's Island...Oh, nevermind. Story for another time.

Point being: I've been a lot more relaxed about New Year's Eve ever since I crapped out a kid on this most high-pressure partiest of all party nights. Or at least I will be, until Paige gets old enough to double-party. As long as she doesn't get knocked up too soon and start the cycle all over again, it'll be a Happy New Year for yours truly.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

2015 is just around the corner, which means it's once again time for my two annual New Year's resolutions. They're the same every year: (1) be less judgmental; and (2) be more inner-directed. Clearly, I fail miserably at these each year. So for 2015 I have five more modest resolutions, which I am announcing to the world in the hopes that I'll be more motivated to stick to them:

1. Read Less About Chris Christie: This oily, bombastic, Jabba the Hutt doppelgänger is the governor of New Jersey and presidential hopeful, and he embodies everything that is wrong and depressing about America. He has rigged traffic patterns in highly populated cities out of spite and personal vengeance to the detriment of millions. His latest coup is selling municipal water supplies to the highest bidder, all while blasting Bruce Springsteen at top volume. Every time I read anything about the salami stain on the crotch of humanity's pants known as Chris Christie, a little piece of me dies inside. And Lord knows, the older I get, the less I can afford to have little pieces of me die inside.

2. Stop Sitting at My Standing Desk: I have a standing desk for a reason, presumably so that I can stand at it. Yet almost all day every day, I lower that mother fucker down and put my ass in the chair for hours on end--just like I did before I had a gizmo that made me feel even worse about sitting my ass in a chair for hours on end.

3. Get a Fit Bit and a Size 6 8 Dress: For $100 or so, I can get a nifty, slick little computerized bracelet that tells me how few times I have put one foot in front of the other each day. Much like the standing desk, it will be another gizmo to remind me that I need to quit being a quivering mass of protoplasm, pouring myself from one sedentary location to the other each and every day. The size 6 8 dress I will buy to accompany the fit bit will hang in my closet until I ultimately jettison it to a clothing swap for failure to ever wear it and breathe in and out at the same time.

4. Set 25% of My Possessions Aflame in a Controlled Conflagration Outside My Home: In addition to reducing my waist line and exposure to Chris Christie, it's time to cut by at least 25% the volume of useless possessions in my life. Among the prime (but by no means exclusive) targets: a juicer from 1980; a broken basketball hoop; six bags of styrofoam packing peanuts and bubble wrap; a tote full of VHS tapes; and several used text books about modern culture and the media. All of these must feel the merciless wrath of a blow torch and fire accelerant by 2016.

5. Be a More Attentive Parent: Which parents don't have this resolution? I'll tell you which ones: The ones that make cupcakes for their kids' school for every holiday; always listen when their kids talk and talk so they will listen (as opposed to screaming at the ceiling, which is my favored means of communication); never fiddle around on their iPhone or lap top when their kids are in the room; and read the label of every food and beverage that crosses their kids' lips. My resolution is to do at least one of these things every day until 2016. Or every week. Ok, maybe every month. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Where Are They Now?

I think there was maybe once a reality show on VH1 by this title, about what happened to washed-up stars of the music industry.

Well, I must have missed an episode, because I've just discovered something amaaaaaazing. Through pure happenstance, I stumbled on the fate of Jermaine Jackson, founding member of the 1970s rock-pop boy band, The Jackson 5.

I had to take a picture to prove it, but Jermaine Jackson is now the station manager of the Bergen Street F/G stop in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn! Obviously, he changed the "J" to a "G" both to remain low-pro and to maintain solidarity with the trains of the station he manages.

The MTA is probably a waaaaay better work scene for G/Jermaine than toiling in semi-legal child labor under the thumb of his notoriously draconian tiger dad who was allegedly meaner than The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and beat the living shit out of all five Jackson kids whenever they missed a note or a beat.

Now G/Jermaine probably gets to go home to his wife and kids at 5:00 p.m. after making sure the turnstiles and Metro Card machines work OK, and it's a good day if he doesn't have to call the NYPD to disband a posse of drunk, obstreperous hipsters coming off a Smith Street microbrew pub crawl.

This is definitely an improvement in my opinion. I need to go on Hulu and find this missing episode. Also, I wish I could be at the MTA station manager Christmas party. You know G/Jermaine rocks the fuck out of the karaoke machine at that every year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Anger Management

No matter how old you are, when you get really pissed off, there's nothing more satisfying than channeling your anger and frustration into the destruction of an inanimate object. I realize there are people who do this to animate objects, such as fellow human beings and animals. These people are called psychopaths and sociopaths and they belong in prison. 

For the rest of us, though, tearing up a book or a deck of cards; smashing a remote control against a wall; or bashing a Caboodle (tm) brand carrying case onto the wooden floor of a cabin at sleep away camp will do just fine. I know, because I've done all of these things and enjoyed each one immensely!

Once when I was about 12, I lost a round of the card game "spit" to my aunt. I fuhhhreaaked the fuck out and proceeded to tear up each and every card and throw the tiny little pieces up into the air, letting them rain down on my head and the carpet while stomping my feet and screaming and crying.

Fast forward about 10 years, when I was studying for the LSAT and failed to get a single logic "game" right on my first practice test. I guess I couldn't figure out what happened when six blue horses put on four red saddles and galloped into seven green rooms. But I knew it meant I wasn't going to Harvard Law School. So what did I do? I buckled down and studied harder. Just kidding. Come on. Of course I didn't do that! I tried to tear up the book, but it was too thick. So I sort of crumpled up parts of it and tore other parts out and threw them around every corner of my boyfriend's apartment while he looked on in horror and confusion.

Flash back about 3 years, when someone I had wanted to be my boyfriend while working as a counselor at summer camp had other plans, so I took my Caboodle (tm) carrying case and all of its contents (Q-tips, lip gloss, hair brush, lotions, etc.) and slammed it as hard as I could onto the floor of a bunk I shared with ten eleven year-old girls and two other counselors (one of whom had successful designs on my not-boyfriend and was therefore at least half the source of this epic tantrum). It was a beautiful thing to see that Caboodle crack into several pieces and everything in it go skitter-scattering across the floor and underneath cots, never to be retrieved.

Nowadays I don't throw tantrums that are quite as passionate, and I haven't had one in awhile. But when I do, they usually involve malfunctioning remote controls, which are especially fun to throw against a wall because the batteries go spraying about the room in a most dramatic fashion. 

What's my point? My point is that anger management is for pussies. Take a good look around you and take stock of the inanimate objects within arm's reach. One of them might make a handy and satisfying target for annihilation in the event of a future tantrum.

Four Songs that Make Me Vomit, and Why

Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton: This classic rock ballad is about Eric Clapton watching his blonde trophy wife---who happened to be Patti Harrison, formerly George Harrison's wife until Clapton swooped in---get ready for a party. She keeps fishing for compliments, and he keeps telling her how hot she is. Then he walks around the party all night, very psyched with himself because he now has a blonde, super model trophy wife whom he convinced to leave a Beatle. Flash forward twenty years, and the song is put on mix tapes and used by frat boys at Emory to try to impress girls and get laid. The end.

Wild World, Cat Stevens: The lyrics to this song send the most condescending and misogynistic message imaginable: it's a big bad world, stupid, childish ex-girlfriend! Only I know how crazy shit is out there. You are a naive idiot, trying to skate by on your looks, so good luck to you! Yeah, whatever Cat Stevens. There are probably like a zillion and one undiscovered species of insects living in your beard. Get back on the peace train and go suck a dick! Seriously, what an asshole.

You're Beautiful, James Blunt: This vicious ear worm by British singer/song-writer James Blunt broke the radio a couple of years ago. It's the story of a guy who sees a girl on the subway and they have a five second soul connection. But it's not meant to be, because the aptly-named James Blunt is "fucking high" and the subway hottie has a boyfriend. It takes five minutes (which is four and a half too many) of maudlin, cloying crooning about how beautiful this stranger is to relate the most cliche "love at first sight" narrative of all time.

No Such Thing, John Mayer: This sophomoric breakout hit by the douche nozzle known as John Mayer tells the tale of how John Mayer's high school guidance counselor would not let John Mayer be GREAT, and was holding him back from his destiny as a rock star by telling him to study for his SATs and apply to college. The moral is that people with college degrees and jobs are sell-outs and suckers, and that only someone who has recorded a duet with Katy Perry and jizzed all over Jessica Simpson's boobs is worthy of society's esteem.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

As it Turns Out, Humanity is Even More Reprehensible Than PreviouslyBelieved!

While visiting friends near Boston this weekend, I was alerted to a news item that had somehow fallen through the cracks of my online research into the origins of the North Korean dictatorship and the status of Keisha's lawsuit against her record label.

My friends told me it was true, but I didn't believe it. So I had to do an independent investigation. Sure enough, I easily confirmed the veracity of this story in several locations, including in a piece from the Today Show's muck-raking expose, an excerpt of which is reprinted here:

It's made headlines recently. We all know how frustrating it is, waiting in those long lines at Disney. But now some families are cheating the system. They're hiring disabled tour guides so they can cut right to the front. We went undercover and caught it all on tape. The rides, the characters: Disneyland is "the happiest place on earth" -- except if you're waiting in those long lines, you and your kids, waiting hours in the heat. So how did one family get to skip past everyone? They did it ride after ride after ride, escorted to the front every time. It's the outrageous business few even know about: families bypassing the lines by hiring disabled tour guides with special passes. At most theme parks like Disney, they have great policies: The disabled get speedy access to rides. But now healthy families are abusing the system, paying disabled guides to get them in with up to five guests.

This is proof-positive that, in fact, humanity is even more reprehensible than previously believed. There are so many things wrong about this, I don't even know where to begin. Actually, I do. Let's start with Disney World/Land. 

I realize a lot of people love Disney World/Land, but I'm not one of them. Have I been there? No. Do I plan to go there? No. Did I go there as a child? No. Have I survived to be a normal, productive adult member of society? Also, no. 

However, my in-laws live in California and have jumped on the Disney grenade on my behalf, so I don't believe I'm risking the happiness and normalcy of my kids' childhoods too egregiously. The crowds, the heat, the commercialism, and now this.

The level of sociopathy required to recruit and hire a disabled person to escort you to the front of a line at Disney World/Land is basically unfathomable. You have to be like, a really, really, really terrible person to do this and be able to put on your socks and underwear the next morning. 

But here is the most horrifying part of all: There were enough people doing this that it became an actual problem for Disney, meaning that there is a critical mass of sociopaths engaging in this practice. In short, this is a story that makes me want to go out and buy one of those little cyanide capsules that astronauts allegedly carry in the event of an irredeemable emergency in outer space. You know, just in case something happens to make you realize that there really, truly is absolutely zero hope for humanity.

Friday, December 26, 2014

This Just In: Sabra is the "Official Dip Sponsor" of the NFL!

For anyone who's been on the edge of their proverbial seat wondering who the "official dip sponsor" of the NFL is, I'm happy to report it's Sabra, best known for its many varieties of hummus and other healthy and delectable Mediterranean spreads.

Sabra recently secured this coveted sponsorship, vanquishing top contenders like Tribe, Lilly's, and Athenos, whose defending red pepper fire roasted hummus was dethroned by the Israeli brand.

Now, it might seem strange that the NFL would have a dip sponsor at all, much less one best known for its smooth, vegan, hummus best served on organic multigrain sandwich bread with alfalfa sprouts and a slice of havarti. Last time I checked, the majority of NFL players and fans prefer Budweiser and bratwurst to olive tapenade, wasabi white bean dip, and basil pesto hummus. I can't say I've ever seen a Jets fan holding a hummus and pita in one hand and a foam finger in the other while screaming down at the gridiron.

But maybe I'm simply out of touch with modern marketing for the NFL, especially as the league tries to reverse its reputation as a haven for rapists, batterers, and greedy sports executives who would rather see every player in the game suffer the irreversible effects of constant concussions than lose one red cent on ticket sales.

Something tells me that next season, Summer's Eve, Tampax, and Monistat will be the official douche, tampon, and yeast infection remedy of the NFL, respectively. Now THAT would be a real marketing coup!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dispatch from the Trenches

Trying to get four kids under the age of 8 to fall asleep at the same time is like trying to get some dude who's just sleeping with you to be your boyfriend. The desperate cajoling, manipulating, and head games required to achieve this basic function of human physiology is shocking and unparalleled.

This is what I am discovering, anyway, while visiting my college roommate in Boston at this very minute. All we want is for our collective offspring to pass the fuck out so we can eat our Jumbo Blow Pops and watch "This is 40."

But our kids have other plans. One was displeased with his position in the mattress arrangements. The second one wanted water five different times. The third wanted the light to be a different level of dim. The fourth wanted to hear an absolutely excruciating book about the Mexican monarch butterfly migration.

Really kids: Is it too much to ask for the women that gave you life and who see each other once a year for six hours and who anticipate and meet your every need 24/7 to be able to eat candy out of your sight and watch a stupid movie before we both fall asleep ourselves?

As I write this, I am finding that the answer, apparently, is yes. Oh shit...the final sneak out is underway...please, please, please don't wake up...

The Awkward Media Experience

There's a certain phenomenon that I think everyone has experienced, but no one ever really talks about: The phenomenon of experiencing the wrong media with the wrong person. This mismatch and its psychological consequences can be profound.

For example, several years ago, I made the mistake of attending a matinee of Brokeback Mountain in the theater with several family members, including my father-in-law and mother-in-law. It was right about the time that Heath Ledger told Jake Gyllenhaal, "I wish I knew how to quit you," that I knew it was time for me to quit going to movies uninformed, sight unseen, and with whomever happened to be around.

There's something uniquely awkward about watching sex scenes in movies or listening to racy songs on the radio with the wrong generation. As another example, a song called "Habits" has been on the radio lately. The song is basically some woman singing about eating Twinkies in a bathtub; binge drinking; vomiting; getting high; and watching live sex at a nightclub. I probably don't need to explain the volume and nature of questions that this song has provoked from my children.

So why have I not learned my lesson? Why, to this day, do I do things like watch The Crying Game with my dad and let my kids (albeit inadvertently) listen to songs about watching live sex and vomiting in a bathtub?

There's only one possible explanation, and it's the same as the explanation for all of my many other flaws: laziness, indifference, and a fundamental disavowal of censorship. That said, I never--and I mean never--will watch Brokeback Mountain with my in-laws again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"A Visit from St. Neuroses": A Merry Christmas Poem from One Hot Mess

There are a million parodies of this poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," by Clement Clark Moore. Since it's Christmas Eve, I thought it only appropriate that One Hot Mess have her own:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through my mind
The hamsters were running, as they oft are inclined;
Benadryl was consumed by the handful with care,

In hopes that unconsciousness soon would be there;
My children were nestled all snug in their beds; 
While scenes of calamity danced in my head; 
My husband in slumber, and I bolt upright,
Tried to pass the fuck out, reading Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
When up in my brain there arose such a clatter,
I did not need to look to see what was the matter.
Away to neuroses I flew like a flash,
Opened Pandora's Box like a raccoon does trash:
The lump on the breast of a friend diagnosed
Ceded to GMOs, hormones, and gluten-free toast
When what to my wandering mind did appear
But a personal slight and belated pap smear
With a familiar old driver so strong and persistent
I knew that my triumph would be nonexistent.
More rapid than wifi, neuroses they came
And they whistled, and shouted, and called out their names:
"Now, assholes! now, douche bags! now bigots and trolls!
On, collapsing bee colonies! on, cancerous moles! on, so-and-so-hates me
For no reason at all! To the brief with a typo! to the car seat recalled!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!
As registered sex offenders, living nearby,
And a loan from the bank that was promptly denied;
So along with neuroses I could not avoid
A sleigh full of fears, packed by one Sigmund Freud
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
That I'd just failed in court on my burden of proof.
As I buried my head, and was tossing around
Down the chimney more anxieties came with a bound
They were dressed all in black, from beginning to end
And their clothes were too slutty to give to a friend
A bundle of fears they had flung on their back,
And they looked like my nightmares arranged in a stack:
Kids with pertussis, or hit by a car;
Catching Ebola from places afar;
College tuition I cannot afford;
A battle of wills on the local school board!
A social faux pas and those five extra pounds,
Flood waters and droughts and fracking the ground!
With a frightening scowl and a sly little sneer
My neuroses made sure I had plenty to fear.
No refill of Prozac, a twist of the head
Soon gave me to know I had plenty to dread;
They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
Holding sleep hostage like a mad postal clerk
And wrapping their tentacles 'round in my mind
And giving a nod, up the chimney they climbed
And they sprang to their sleigh, to their team gave a whistle
Oops, they almost left ISIS and nuclear missiles!
But I heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight--
"You sure are one hot mess, good luck sleeping tonight!

Falling Through the Bulkhead

On the tip of Cape Cod where my family used to vacation, wooden bulkheads separated and protected beachfront homes from the high tides of Cape Cod Bay. The bulkheads, which ran the entire length of the beach, were made from ten-foot tall, evenly-spaced wooden pylons layered with wooden slats. The slats were a few feet apart, like the rungs of a ladder laid flat. You could walk across the slats while stepping over the gaps, and look down to the sand (or water) below, depending on whether the tide was in or out. The bulkhead wasn't dangerous enough to avoid walking across, but if you weren't careful, you could fall through.

Starting from about nine or ten years old, I was pretty boy crazy. I had a million puppy-love crushes. There was a sinewy nineteen-year old lifeguard named Randy who worked at the pool in the Bronx where my mom swam laps. He was friends with my babysitter and I used to follow him around in what I can only imagine was a most annoying fashion. There was a chubby boy named Niles on Cape Cod, about five years older than me, whose mom had died of cancer, I think. He could ride a bicycle through the streets of Provincetown with no hands and fly a kite without any help from a grown-up. I was totally in love with him and he tolerated my admiration with a puzzled amusement.

One day at low tide, I was making my usual trek across the bulkhead to my friend's house several houses further up the beach from where my family stayed. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a couple of cute boys tossing a football around. I turned my head, and in that instant, I lost my footing and fell through one of the gaps to the sand below. In addition to looking stupid in front of these kids, I got the wind knocked out of me and had to sit there awhile composing myself. My dad, who must have seen me fall, came rushing over to see if I was OK. Physically, I was fine. But I was scared and embarrassed and too proud to cry.

This relatively uneventful fall through the bulkhead remains one of my most vivid and enduring childhood memories. When I ask myself why, I think it's because it represents something I continue to experience. Not literally, of course. But on several occasions, I have walked across some figurative bulkhead, turned my head for a second, and in a moment of distraction and preoccupation, fallen through the proverbial slats. When this happens I feel pain and humiliation. It sucks. No one rushes over to see if I'm OK, because most of the time, no one saw me fall. And even if someone had, they couldn't help me anyway. I just have to sit there awhile, hoping I can stand up and walk out through the pylons to the beach before the tide comes back in.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

People Watching

Big cities are good destinations for "people watching." But let's face it: "people watching" is just a euphemism for staring without getting caught. Really, "people watching" is to staring what "enhanced interrogation" is to torture. (There's a modern analogy for the SAT).

I spent a lot of my youth here trying very hard not to stare, because the only way a city of 11,000,0000 people can peacefully co-exist is if each of them pretends that the other 10,999,999 don't exist at all. But this, like many things about life in a big city, can be challenging.

I was routinely told "not to stare." You simply avert your eyes from the hordes of humanity, if you can. Easier said than done. There are punk rockers with bright blue hair; ranting semi-homeless schizophrenics at my mother's clinic; beautiful models whose heads scrape the ceiling of a subway car; old ladies doing naked calisthenics in front of an open window.

And that's just the sights. Forget about the conversations you can't help but overhear: A guy from India begging his girlfriend to leave Mexico for him, even though he can't afford to pay her way to the States; A douchey sounding father of three in workout clothes, rocking an infant stroller and exchanging fantasy football stats over the phone with his stock broker buddy; The neighbor who just got a drum set AND an upright bass and insists on "practicing" at all hours.

Privacy (and her twin sister, quiet), are the unicorns of a big city. This is perhaps why New Yorkers have the reputation--undeserved in my view--of being cold and unfriendly. In reality, true New Yorkers fall all over themselves to give strangers the best directions or recommendations for food and entertainment. The vast majority of them (us? formerly "us?") are friendly and want to engage. It's just an effort to get your own little piece of peace and quiet. It's why people have to plug into mobile devices, books, newspapers, and magazines: to avoid being both overstimulated and rude.

"Humans of New York" is one of the best, most interesting, and most popular blogs on the internet for a reason. It gives tiny porthole-sized windows into the lives of the 11,000,000 living, working, breathing, sleeping, crying, fighting, laughing, souls that make New York the unpredictable, remarkable, and endlessly fascinating city that it is.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Oh Wait! I Almost Forgot: Everything I Hate About Myself is ALSO Embodied in One Other Thing . . .

The New Yorker magazine. Why? It's just an innocent magazine. Much like the holiday card, it's just another piece of paper depicting beautiful people and their beautiful words. It never did anything to me.

So why, then, does The New Yorker embody almost everything I hate about myself and more? Well, perhaps it's because every time I pick up The New Yorker, be it here in New York or at home in Juneau where I am foolish enough to have a subscription, the following thoughts run through my mind at a breakneck pace:

--Why do I have a subscription to this magazine? It's killing trees and I can't keep up with it. I can't even make it through one tiny little feature during one crap on the toilet. Is it because this is not a one-crap type of magazine?

--Why can't I keep up with this magazine? Is it because I am slow and stupid? Maybe this magazine is for smart people and I am not smart?

--Why am I not writing for this magazine? I could write a Shouts and Murmurs! This Shouts and Murmurs sucks! Why are they not asking me to be the editor of Shouts and Murmurs?

--My 11th grade English teacher Mr. Pahlka said he fully expected to see my work in this magazine one day. He wrote it in the margin of a term paper one time. Why was he wrong? Have I let him down? Is he even still alive? If he is, what will happen in the very likely event that I fail to fulfill his prophecy?

--Why is everyone in this magazine so smart and beautiful and interesting? Why am I dumb and ugly and boring by comparison?

--Why do I not understand this cartoon? What am I missing? It's just a cartoon. I am clearly not getting something that the editors of this magazine believed their readership would readily understand. I am not in this club.

--Why do I care? Didn't I leave New York for a reason? Doesn't every issue of this magazine reflect the effete, snobbish bullshit that I am supposed to eschew by not living here anymore?

--Look at everything I am missing. Some installation at The Frick and some other thing at The Knitting Factory next Tuesday that is surely the cutting edge of the next whatever-it-is that I need to know about. How can I have done this to myself and worse, my children?

--How can I subscribe to a magazine that advertises Rolex watches and Prada bags? What does this say about me?  What kind of person am I in league with here? I must have something in common with people who buy Rolexes and wear Prada. Something terrible. It can only be something terrible. Holy shit. What is it?

--How can I continue to have all of these thoughts? Am I really that much of a narcissist? What does it say about me that I think I'm a narcissist in the first place? That I really am one? What could this mean?

Again, nothing good, I'm afraid...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Almost Everything I Hate About Myself Is Embodied in One Thing ...

The holiday card. Yup, I said it! Yeah, I know some of you sent me one. And don't get me wrong, I liked it. In that, "this is-cute-for-a-minute-and-I'm-glad-you-sent-it" kind of a way. Even though some of them actually misspelled both my name and the names of the other three members of my family. Just saying. Not saying I didn't think it was nice. Even the ones from people who have my address but still don't know how to spell my name, apparently. Not saying I didn't save these for a few days before guiltily recycling them in no particular order. Also not saying I won't happily return home to a few more of these in my mailbox. My cup/mailbox runneth over with holiday cards. I am grateful!

Except for the fact that each of these cards kind of secretly makes me want to kill myself like, a teensy tiny little bit. It could have something to do with the fact that I am writing this blog post from the toilet while crying for unrelated reasons. But 'tis the season for gastrointestinal distress, self-reflection, and tears, isn't it people? Come on. WHAT. You think shitting-blogging-crying simultaneously (Shcrygging?) on literally the darkest day of winter at your parents'  house is "over-sharing" and "TMI?" Sorry, hombre. You are dead wrong.

If you can't take the heat, get out of the shcrygging kitchen, because EVERYONE in Brooklyn is shcrygging now, even in their parents' houses, and actually, especially at their parents' house on the winter solstice. I should know: I just took four different subway lines (M to the F to the A to the 1, and no that is not a line from a Beastie Boys song) from Williamsburg (SO COOL) to Riverdale (SO LAME). And I can report that schcrygging is like, the coolest thing since artisanal craft beer and having a tomato farm on the roof of your building in Bushwick.

Oh come on. WHAT. What about shcrygging would suggest that the name of this blog is at all apt? Besides the fact that I just admitted that I get a microscopically bit suicidal when I receive a beautiful, 4x6 piece of embossed card stock in the mail whose worst offense is to depict children and puppies and freshly-showered parents sweetly wishing me peace, joy, and love for the New Year from the whatever family to mine?

And yet . . .  and yet . . . I just cannot with the holiday card. I am too lazy, cynical, and just plain disastrous. The idea of culling through photos of my family, selecting a template, making the card, asking people for their addresses, addressing the envelopes, licking the envelopes, buying stamps, affixing stamps, and putting the cards in the mailbox seems more daunting than creating an entire second family to generate more holiday cards. And what does this say about me? Nothing good, I'm afraid. Which is why the holiday card embodies almost everything I hate about myself and more.

But don't worry. This isn't a cry for help. It's a cry for the zillions of trees who fell in the name of holiday cards that just inspired a blog post about shitting, crying, and tomato gardens in Bushwick. Because really. No tree deserves that.

Catastrophic Fears of Child Rearing, Compared

My family's apartment is on the ninth floor of a 12-story apartment building. My bedroom faced a parking lot in the back of the building where my mom parked her car. All the windows and the balcony had screens, but I was always sternly warned away from any open windows. 

One day, the screens were being cleaned so they were off the windows. I climbed up on the ledge and hung out of the open window to shout down to my mom as she got out of her car after work. I don't think I was anywhere close to falling, but it must have looked otherwise from my mom's vantage point, because she screamed bloody murder from 90 feet down at ELIZABETH to GET OFF THAT WINDOW SILL! 

A relative once warned me ominously, "you don't know fear until you have kids" (See prior post titled: "Ambivalence, Identity, and Choices"), and boy, ain't that the truth. Bringing my kids to New York City each year, I worry (who--me worry?) about them being unprepared to face the dangers of a big city, and I find myself... well ...helicoptering over them a little/lot. 

People in Alaska have asked me what it was like to grow up in New York City, but I don't know another childhood, so I can't really answer. I do know that it's actually probably not much scarier than growing up in Juneau, as the following helpful comparative chart will illustrate:

NYC: Falling off a train platform onto the tracks
Juneau: Falling off the bow of a skiff into 38 degree water

NYC: Bare naked man marauding around the subway
Juneau: Bear naked bear marauding around your garage

NYC: Falling out of a 9 story window
Juneau: Falling off a 90 foot cliff

NYC: Guns (1977-1995, generally)
Juneau: Guns (Always)

NYC: Drunk street crossing
Juneau: Drunk driving

NYC: Stranger bad touch
Juneau: Stranger bad touch

NYC: Falling through an elevator shaft
Juneau: Falling through a hole in the ice

NYC: Drugs
Juneau: Drugs

So you see, it's possible to be completely horrified by all of the pitfalls of reaching adulthood anywhere! I feel so much better about all of my choices now.

Friday, December 19, 2014

You Can't Go Home Again

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory." 

That's what Thomas Wolfe famously wrote in his 1940 novel, You Can't Go Home Again. It's true. A Cabbage Patch doll. A VHS copy of "Wayne's World." Buttons from the observation deck of the World Trade Center and the 1986 "Hands Across America" national charity event. These things are, quite literally, dusty relics of history now.

My parents have lived in the same apartment since 1975. It's where I came home to, from the hospital at NYU on East 33rd Street in Manhattan, where I was born. It's where I stay when I go "home" to New York City. 

Any adult who has ever returned to their childhood home knows this feeling well, I am sure: The strange brew of nostalgia, emptiness, and regressive emotions stirred by each room and its trivial objects. I find myself lost amid the ghosts of these things. Each one revives a memory of some long-gone time in my childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood, and the various people and places that defined it. 

This apartment is relatively big by New York City standards, but it feels way too small for all of my overwhelming thoughts and memories to inhabit. It seems a little sadder and smaller each year, almost as though it and everything in it is literally receding in the rear view mirror. 

It makes me feel unsettled about the past, and worried about the future. But it also makes me feel good about where I am in life. It feels right, if a little painful in some way, that I don't live here anymore. It's hard to imagine that one day my kids might come home to Juneau and have these same feelings.

The experience of "going home" as an adult is singularly adept in its ability to whisper in your ear that life is finite; that nothing (and no one) lasts forever; and that no matter how hard you try, you really can't go home again.

Things a Mom Like Me Does Not Like to Hear from Her Kids, All of WhichI Heard This Week

"Mom! Can you come here? This is going to require adult supervision."


"You know, this whole thing is actually a lot easier without mom."

"When I have babies, I'm going to live in your house with you."

"When you look Medusa in the eye, you turn to STONE."

"Can we make lemonade?"

"Where are the instructions to this? I think I built it backwards."

"I think we lost it."

"Mom? I have to poop." [while outside, far from a bathroom, in a snowsuit, gloves, jacket, and hat].

An Entirely New Flying Experience

Not to belabor the flying and airline theme, but this is what Alaska Airlines promised in its new promotion, "Alaska Beyond." I don't need to tell you that this promise was somewhat "beyond" hyperbole.

Granted, they have some new planes in their fleet that are pretty nice. You can plug in your phone or lap top on board. And you can buy some food that is not 100% nauseating. Only like maybe, 50%. As the comedian Louie C.K. has observed, though, it's silly to complain about things like broken wifi, considering that you are in an aluminum can flying 500 miles an hour across the country in under five hours. Which is pretty amazing in and of itself. So that's a given.

That said, for Alaska Airlines to proclaim that they are about to deliver "an entirely new" flying experience is a bit of a stretch, I think. After all, an "entirely new" flying experience would include the following, at a minimum:

--Not having the person next to you pour over into your seat and snore with their mouth open while drooling on your shoulder.

--Not thinking the last 20 minutes of the flight are also going to be the last 20 minutes of your life.

--Not being herded like cattle to the point where you wish you could actually shoot yourself in the forehead with that cattle prod thing from No Country for Old Men.
--Not having to spend $6 for a plastic cup full of shitty wine.

--Getting to your destination within five hours of the scheduled arrival time.

Now THAT would be an "entirely new" flying experience on Alaska Airlines, my friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Creativity and the Joy of the Shared Experience

I'm an only child, so I've spent lots of time alone. I've had good insights in solitude, both then and now. But my best and most memorable experiences have always been shared.

Growing up, I spent the end of every August in Provincetown, Cape Cod. The second we arrived, I would jump out of my parents' car before it had even fully rolled to a stop, and immediately hunt down my friend who lived year-round next door to the place where we stayed. 

We had a series of "traditions" we HAD to do every summer: put on plays for our families; make spaghetti carbonara; shop for penny candy and cheap souvenirs; share a Peanut Buster Parfait at the Dairy Queen; collect hermit crabs in a bucket at low tide, turn them loose, and watch them scatter; trek up impossibly high sand dunes and leap down them as fast as we could.

Each of these things would have been perfectly fun to do alone. But there is a big difference between doing something and experiencing it. The reason these things were experiences, and not just things to do, is because they were shared with a beloved friend who created the fiber of their memory.

The same thing is true of creativity in general, at least for me: it's best when shared. An artist friend laughed when her mom suggested that she simplify her life by making less art for awhile. Her work was routinely displayed, sold, and given to others. "That's like asking me to stop breathing or eating," she remarked. It struck me then that humans are creative both for ourselves and to nurture ourselves, but we also create to make an impact on others.

That's how I feel about writing generally, and writing this blog in particular. I do it for myself, my own ego, and my own need to create something. But I also do it for others, who in reading it hopefully realize they are not alone. And in hearing reactions to some of what I say, I realize that I'm not alone, either. 

Whether it's creating a painting, a song, a delicious meal, a quilt, or a silly blog post, it's better when it's a shared give and take. I've even had the same feeling working on and creating intense and difficult work projects with colleagues.

So in the end, it's not just what we do, but who we do it with--and for--that brings depth and joy to the things we do, transforming them from just "things" into creations and experiences.

"I'm Sorry Ladies and Gentlemen, We're Going to Have to Return to theGate."

"The hula girl bobble head doll on the dashboard is bobbling a little off kilter."

"The lightbulb over the sink in the aft lavatory that's supposed to be on is off, and the bulb that's supposed to be off is on."

"First class is out of warm nuts and we need food services to provide a refill."

"The mechanic left his wrench under the starboard wing and needs to take a ferry back to the Tarmac to retrieve it."

"Our paperwork is missing a page and has a typo in the load balance column."

"We have a passenger who forgot his labradoodle's chew toy in the boarding area."

"We need to spray 18 more gallons of de-icer on the wings."

"Several passengers slept through the safety lecture and need a refresher course."

"The crew is over its legal hours and needs to go sleep at the Travel Lodge for awhile."

"Someone failed to switch to airplane mode and will be met by security."

"We've got a mechanical."

Paper Thin Science

Continuing on the theme of self delusion--and a long trip involving many public restrooms--my dad's article below says it all. I've never suffered the delusion that a paper toilet seat cover is a barrier to disease. Well, at least not a biological barrier. Perhaps a psychological and delusional one. 

So I might or might not hover, but I will never, ever use one of those toilet seat covers. Wait. That's obviously the hook to the next big Taylor Swift hit single! Get her agent on the phone, stat!

For anyone who can't access the link, the article basically debunks the myth that public restrooms are actually any dirtier than your bathroom at home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Top 6 Most Douchey Mid-90’s Frat-Boy Anthems of All Time: A Primer

Time for a lunch-time stroll down memory lane. No offense (OK, fine, some offense?) to all my ex-frat boy friends and those that love them, myself included. You know who you are. Good thing I love you and know you can take it. But let’s be honest: You would never have survived college without these tunes:

Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond: This is the lights-out song for every keg party and at every sports bar. C’mon suckahs: you don’t have to go home, but just remember: there’s no going home at all until you BAH BAH BAH it with your fists raised at the top of your lungs.

Satellite, Dave Mathews Band: Throw this one on when it’s time to strip down to your boxers, turn the halogen lamp to dim, pull that tapestry over your window, lock the door to your single, and get busy with your girlfriend (a.k.a. the sorority girl you had sex with sober a couple times in a row).

Hooked on a Feeling, B.J. Thomas, from the Reservoir Dogs Soundtrack: Perfect for “kegs and eggs.” Nothing says “rise and shine dirty white hatters!” like this tune blasted all over a college quad at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning! Am I right, boys? HOOGASHAKA HOOGA HOOGA HOOGA SHAKA!

Touch of Gray, The Grateful Dead: Pack that metal bowl full of dirt weed you just bought off the least shady hippie you could find, and jam out to the only Grateful Dead tune ever to appear on mainstream radio. Earn yourself some serious cred with your bros. You just got 'em stoned! Heh heh. Aweeeesome.

More than a Feeling, Boston: Somewhere between a butt rock power ballad and a regular ole 80s anthem, this tune is PERFECT for throwing the lacrosse ball around on the lawn or pre-gaming it with a sixer of Natty Ice on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The Whole World, Outkast: You gotta throw some hip-hop in the mix if you wanna roll legit. And just like Sweet Caroline, this song has a great BAH BAH BAH BAH-DA-BAH moment where you can really rage it bro!

Thanks for Inviting Me!

Hi! Thanks SO much for inviting me to stay at your house for the weekend!

A few little questions first, though: Do you have a cat, dog, rabbit, guinea pig, or anything else with fur? Yes? Why? Uh oh. Well . . . see . . . how do I say this ... well . . . that means I can't be inside your house for more than ten minutes or I'll basically stop breathing. It's actually not just the fur itself. It's also the dried-up spit ON the fur! Who knew? I fucking love science! 

Also: have you heard of dust mites? No? Weeeeell . . . they're like these little itty bitty microscopic bugs that live on every particle of dust no matter how clean your house is. They are pretty cool looking. See? I even found a picture of one. Anyyyyywayyyy, it might help if you washed and vacuumed every surface in your house. But I don't want to impose and make you get your whole house professionally steam-cleaned, specifically every single fabric surface. Because that costs a lot of money and usually doesn't work anyway. That's why I say it "might" help.

Oh, you're so sweet! But seriously, you don't need to keep saying "bless you." You can dispense with that formality. 'Cause I'll be sneezing a lot. Does this happen to me everyday? Oh yes. Definitely! Yes, I take medicine for that, all day and night. Like, way more than the recommended dose. I actually can't believe my liver still works. No, the medicines don't work. Yes, really. What exactly am I allergic to? So glad you asked! No one's ever asked me that before and I've had the answer on the tip of my tongue all these years, and have been dying to explain it. Does it grow or live? Is it microscopic? Does it touch my skin? Yes? Well then I'm allergic to it. Oh and here's the kicker: new things are added and deleted all the time. It's like my immune system is a biological version of Microsoft Word track changes. It keeps things interesting though, because you never know what's gonna happen next! Wouldn't trade it for the world, seriously.

Anyyyhoooo, whatever it is, it makes me sneeze, gives me hives or blisters, makes my eyes water and swell up into two little balloons, and causes my throat to slowly constrict until I start to wheeze and panic and reach for my inhaler. Yes, I've gotten shots. Yes, I have an epi pen. (It's super fun to jam an epi-pen into your thigh, by the way. Remember when you waited tables back in college? Well, the adrenaline rush of an epi-pen is JUST like that feeling you get right before you're about to drop a huge tray of dishes during the dinner rush, except it lasts a little longer). Yes, I've been to an allergist (or five). Yes, I've tried acupuncture and yoga and elimination diets and essential oils from Tibet. They are all completely awesome. Except for the one teensy tiny problem that they work approximately zero percent of the time.

Oh. I almost forgot. Are there down feathers anywhere on or near the bed I'll be sleeping in? Hmm. Uh-oh. Ok. Well  . . . you'll need to take all of that out. And also wash all the sheets that touched the feathers because, well, hahaha,  you've gotta see it to believe it, but those feathers sure make me sneeze! And also: if I could just ask you to please encase the mattress and pillowcases in these special plastic sheaths that feel like you're sleeping on a diaper? You can find them at a medical supply store. That helps too.

Groceries? Let's see. Well, I haven't really eaten gluten or dairy since 2009, although I have no idea if that's even helping. I basically just desperately experiment with my diet to see if I can get my skin to stop cracking off my body and breaking out in blistering rashes all the time. For the past few years, I've been pretending that not eating wheat and dairy is making a difference. So far the placebo effect is totally working! Thanks SO much for supporting my delusion. I also generally stay away from shellfish because like every third time I eat it my whole body explodes. Everything else is totally fine.

Oh no thanks, I don't need a tissue. I'll take a paper towel though. Thanks again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Why did the dinosaurs go extinct?
Why do grown-ups’ armpits stink?
Why are we out of eggs today?
Why do people like to pray?
Why is that man so big and fat?
Why does the earth feel like it’s flat?
Why do we have to go to school?
Why is there doody in the pool?
Why is the garbage truck so loud?
Why has the snow not yet been plowed?
Why is Venus in outer space?
Why are there eyebrows on my face?
Why are all sharks vertebrates?
Why can’t I stay up extra late?
Why can’t I do an experiment?
Why can’t we light candles in a tent?
Why is England next to France?
Why is there a hole in the knee of my pants?
Why do worms live underground?
Why can't that toy I lost be found?
Why are nickels bigger than dimes?
Why are you sighing all the time?
Why can't men wear skirts to work?
Why did you call that guy a jerk?
Why do pickles taste like salt?
Why was the Holocaust Hitler’s fault?
Why is my Bandaid coming off?
Why do puppies sometimes cough?
Why is throwing up so scary?
Why is mom's vagina hairy?
Why are subways fast as lightening?
Why is Finding Nemo frightening?
Why did my classroom turtle die?
Why is that woman wearing a tie?
Why is a man sleeping on the street?
Why is that kid allergic to wheat?
Why can’t I have more Lego sets?
Why do people smoke cigarettes?
Why don’t Jews have Christmas trees?
Why don’t you buy us processed cheese?
Why are they singing about getting high?
Why does rain fall from the sky?
Why do parents get divorced?
Why do police use too much force?
Why do soldiers fight in wars?
Why don't we knock on strangers' doors?
Why do we need to brush our hair?
Why do we have to sit in this chair?
Why do kids lose all their teeth?
Why did they name their baby Keith?
Why does mom love vodka sours?
Why does this plane ride take six hours?
Why is there vanilla in macaroons?
Why do caterpillars make cocoons?
Why did Martin Luther King get shot?
Why is this lasagna hot?
Why are people politicians?
Why doesn't grandpa become a magician?
Why is Alaska wet and cold?
Why do people shrivel up when they're old?
Why do volcanoes sometimes explode?
Why are we driving down this road?
Why do people make big bombs?
Why do some kids have two moms?
Why do pigs play in the dirt?
Why is there nothing for dessert?
Why are we going out for dinner?
Why can't I be the "Go Fish" winner?
Why is Newark in New Jersey?
Why are camels never thirsty?
Why is a zillion such a big number?
Why are there seeds in a cucumber?
Why does cottage cheese have lumps?
Why do eagles like garbage dumps?
Why is the ocean deep and blue?
Why does three come after two?
Why do you look like you want to cry?
Every time I ask you . . . “WHY?”


Last night, it occurred to me that the universe of TV and movies I can watch before bed without being traumatized is shrinking in direct proportion to my age. I used to love scary movies like Friday the Thirteenth, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween (starring rumored-hermaphrodite Jamie Lee Curtis). Now I know that life is scary enough without seeking out gratuitous, recreational sources of fear. 

There's a reason moms gravitate toward shit like Jerry McGuire and Love Actually, and not so much Saw 5 and Hellraiser 3. I already feel like the Grim Reaper is stalking my family as I watch my kids conquer basic life skills like riding a two-wheeler and crossing the street in front of their school. So I'm not as inclined as perhaps I once was to watch people be tortured, dismembered by chain saws, and fed to a chipper shredder one after the other in quick succession.

Still, I'd have thought a nature documentary about Vietnam was a safe bet. Well I was wrong. Apparently, there is a species of bat in Vietnam that makes its nest and breeds up to 25 young per litter in a hollowed-out stalk of bamboo. Yes, my friends. I'm here to tell you that entire families of flying mice are reproducing INSIDE bamboo stalks in the jungles of Vietnam, hiding from poisonous snakes until they can squeeze out of the little slit they poked in the stalk and embark on their nightly quest for a blood meal. I've always had a dark fascination with bats (see prior post titled The Nutcracker: A Retrospective). But 25 squealing bats stuffed inside a bamboo stalk--the existence of which was satisfactorily proved through advanced infrared night vision nature cinematography--crossed the line, even for me.

The bamboo bat documentary resulted in a dream (sorry, I know there's nothing more tedious than a recounting of someone else's dream), that a large family of bats was living in my dresser, and my mom was helping me (in vain) to exterminate them via a highly specialized set of bat-eradication procedures. It was vivid enough to stick with me hours and hours later. If I was walking through a Vietnamese jungle and saw a family of 25 bats fly out of a hole in a stalk of bamboo, I would drop dead on the spot, and all of my problems would be over. But I went to Vietnam just last year to visit a friend, and unfortunately, I didn't see any such thing. So I guess I'll have to find some other way to solve my problems.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Script of a Fight that Actually Happened

Here is the verbatim transcript of a fight that actually happened, and it's merely illustrative of the type of fight Paige and I have at least once a day. (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm the adult):

Paige: When are we going to New York?
Me: Thursday.
Paige: No we're not.
Me: Yes we are.
Paige: No we're not.
Me: Yes we are.
Paige: No we're not.
Me: Well you're getting left behind then because the rest of us are leaving Thursday.
Paige: No you're not.
Me: When are we going then?
Paige: Friday. 
Me: Why did you ask me if you already know the answer?
Paige: Because I wanted to make sure.
Me: We're going Thursday, I promise.
Paige: No we're not.
Me: OH MY GOD! Fine! We're not.
Paige: Yes we are.

Guilt's Sweet Salvation

More common than peppermint bark, yule logs, and the sight of Christmas lights this time of year is the relentless clang-clang-clanging of a 45-75 year-old quasi-derelict dressed like Santa Claus (or at least bundled up in winter attire and coincidentally looking like Santa Claus) banging a bell for nickels and aggressively shouting "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!" on every street corner and in every public vestibule in America.

Everyone's got their hand out for donations trying to capitalize on the spirit of giving and goodwill that comes with the holidays. What these bell-clangers don't realize about me, however, is that I'm susceptible to these solicitations at ALL times of year. I will give to almost any charitable cause, in at least some amount, 24/7/365. Oh, it's not because I'm kind and generous. Please. It's because I basically hate myself at a very fundamental level, am perpetually wracked with guilt, and can't say no to anyone or anything. In fact, someone once gave me a book called "How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty." I have no idea what happened to that book. Needless to say, I never read it. Also needless to say, I feel guilty about losing it before I could ever read it.

Still, even I am relatively immune to the pleas of The Salvation Army and its maddening bell-clanging. I'm sure they do plenty of good work, but as far as I can tell, they are also sort of creepy and homophobic (not to mention very, VERY annoying). And who knows where my nickels and dimes are going. Certainly not where I would like them to go, I am confident. So I frankly can't deal. And while I don't carefully vet any of the zillions of charities to which I presently give peanuts weekly out of sheer guilt, it's enough for me to read that "The Salvation Army is a Christian denominational church and an international charitable organization structured in a quasi-military fashion" to know that somehow, I can look at myself in the mirror after failing to drop a quarter in that red metal bucket nine times out of ten. (The tenth time I have a hard time with, though).

O.H.M.'s "Let's Pretend It's All Okay" Guide to Self-Delusion

I've written before on this blog about the power of self-delusion. Self-delusion, (a.k.a. "sticking one's head in the sand") remains a VERY effective coping strategy, both on the micro scale of one's personal life and on the macro scale of greater sociological and environmental forces. 

For convenience, I present to my readers O.H.M.'s "Let's Pretend It's All Okay Guide to Self-Delusion," or, "The Top 20 Things You Need to Tell Yourself Every Day to Pretend It's All Okay":

1. Hello! It's not torture, dumb ass. It's "enhanced interrogation!"

2. America is a meritocracy where regardless of race, gender, sex, financial status, or other forces beyond a person's control, everyone has the exact same opportunities as everyone else. The American (pipe) dream is alive and well, people!

3. Ever-increasing droughts, floods, hurricanes, summer in December, and winter in July have nothing to do with people belching toxic fumes into the air for the past 150 years. It's all part of the natural cycle of earth. You know, like during the age of the dinosaurs.

4. Creationism, evolution, and intelligent design are compatible and equivalent scientific and intellectual theories, all of which should be given equal airtime in public schools.

5. Don't worry about anything. God/The Universe will take care of you. And whatever God/The Universe doesn't take care of, you can control yourself by being good and virtuous.

6. Closely related to #5, you both deserve AND can control the bad and good things that happen to you in life.

7. If you do all the right things with diet and exercise, you can totally avoid cancer and other diseases.

8. Don't worry: he/she is totally into you. They're just not calling you back/returning your email/text message, etc. because they are just super busy right now.

9. If you do all the right things and take all the right precautions, you can protect your privacy and identity from advertisers and the internet-industrial complex.

10. If you buy lots and lots of shit, you will be super happy and so will everyone else in your life. Happiness is just one more material acquisition away. Seriously, like one more. Until the next one.

11. Other people are talking shit about you/thinking about you all the time.

12. Those pants never fit you anyway.

13. A cupcake for lunch and cake for dinner is totally OK.

14. Never going to the gym is totally OK.

15. Social media is a realistic portrayal of people's lives and you should rely on what people put on there to judge what they are doing, thinking, and feeling.

16. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. 

17. Vaccines cause autism. Jenny McCarthy said so.

18. Women who get raped and sexually assaulted totally deserved it, like, at least a LITTLE bit.

19. Violence in America will end as soon as our culture stops glorifying violence through media and video games. Censorship is the answer. If we just censor enough media, everyone will be totally protected and safe.

20. 9/11 was an inside job.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Turnip, Vol. 3: Area Mother Hypnotized by Grocery Store


Area mother Jennifer Smith, who works outside the home and rarely does her family's grocery shopping, became hypnotized by the bright lights, vast selection, and puzzling organization at the local Fred Meyer Super Store last Saturday.

Armed with a list of six items with which her husband had dispatched her to the cavernous retail chain, Smith found herself entranced by a palette of two-for-one strawberries and a rack of blockbuster DVDs on sale for the low low price of $19.99 each.

"Where the fuck is the organic peanut butter?" Smith mumbled under her breath, while alternately glancing down at the highly specific list and becoming dazed by a five pound bag of Sour Patch Kids. "I really don't understand why they need to put peanut butter in three different aisles."

At press time, Smith was observed leisurely comparing diverging accounts of Kim Kardashian's ass size and stability of marriage to Kanye West in "Us Weekly" and "In Touch" magazines, while ignoring a text message directing her to make sure the eggs were cage free.