Share If You Agree

I’m not afraid to say I’m sorry—and some of these apologies are long overdue. Facebook has done all it can do to help us declare our love, devotion and allegiances; but I feel like I’ve not only let them down, but scores of others, due to my unwillingness to share what I’m told to share. Let’s go.

brother

I have this brother, but I couldn’t—in good conscience, hit “share,”—not because I don’t have the best brother in the world, but because it’s one of the most poorly constructed memes my feed has ever seen. Since when did ellipses become two periods? Oh that’s right, just up until the 11th line. They had to warm up, I guess. Where is the apostrophe on the complicated contraction “can’t?” The worst part? It doesn’t even complete the thought it ramped up to. It started out as an if/then, and left us hanging.

It was like saying, “If you like food and love meat and adore spices and can’t wait to eat it and enjoy it and savor it and can’t be without it !!” Don’t even get me started on the space before the two exclamations. Sorry—I can’t share ill-designed memes.

dad

Again with the atrocious sentence structure—but anyway, Daddy, I didn’t post this (like I was ordered to do), even though you fit the criteria stated in the meme. I am truly sorry. I hope you weren’t on Facebook the day it made the rounds, because I’m quite sure its absence on my wall made you second-guess every parenting decision you ever made. Maybe you even looked back with regret, the day you came home from work to hear of a fight Jeni and I had—and proceeded to ask HER if I deserved a spanking. That was a pretty bad misstep—which not surprisingly led to me getting spanked, but I assure you it’s not why I didn’t post this horribly written meme.

Jesus

Jesus, I wasn’t ashamed of You; I didn’t ignore You; and I do love You. I just wasn’t too keen on the rendering of your beautiful face—the eye shadow seemed excessive, and far too much time was spent on the chisel of your already perfect cheek and jaw. The red border around the green background also threw me off, as did the out-of-character exclamation point. That’s all—that’s why I didn’t share. Because I do totally love You. I’m sorry for possibly seeming like a heathen when I didn’t share this.

lies

I almost agree. The thing is, sometimes we need to fib out of kindness. There is just no way to always tell the truth, if you have a considerate bone in your body. You don’t agree?

“Your new baby isn’t very cute. She almost is, but those thin lips and that scaly skin are super off-putting.”

“I’m gonna pass on meeting you for dinner this weekend. It’s monumentally more important to me to get this bra off and eat cereal while standing up.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you’re responsible for the low-life deviant your son has become.”

Sorry I didn’t share what was intended to be a character-proving meme, but was actually a short-sighted, inconsiderate theory.

pets

I don’t own a pet, so this wasn’t directed at me. However, even if I did have a boxer named Rookie or a bulldog named Shakes, I’d never be able to share this meme—I’m sorry. It’s in need of some punctuation and some grounding in facts. Dogs ARE pets—and that’s OK, because pets are certainly family. We needn’t split hairs here. While we’re on it, “Like” and “Share” have incorrect punctuation around them—and there are two exclamation points in a 3×3 space. Again, I’m sorry, but no.

prison

I’m sorry I didn’t share this gem. I totally should have, because if I believe anything with fervor, it’s that declaring my own personal, possibly divisive and inciting opinions on Facebook is a wonderful idea and an excellent use of time.

proud parent

I’m mostly interested in why this meme came to pass. I want the back story. And not unlike so many of these head-shaking calls to action, the punctuation and “your” usage is dreadful, so I’m gonna scroll on by without apology here.

gym

Sorry I didn’t share this riveting sentiment. I was lost, broken and lonely—and doing some lunges at the g.y.m. And now I’m s.o.r.e. And still quite lost trying to find the nearest Chipotle.

daughter

I don’t have a daughter, but it’s such a relief to know how I’d hold her in my heart for a lifetime—just by sharing this meme on my Facebook page. This mom seems to have a particularly large heart area. No need to do things with my beloved daughter when it’s so much more efficient and lasting to post about my undying love on social media. I’m sorry I don’t have a daughter so I could circumvent all the bond-building with a simple share.

daughter 2

Again, I don’t have a daughter, but you know who I just realized does? MY MOTHER. What the hell, Moma?

Heaven

I love someone in Heaven, but I couldn’t share this because I didn’t connect with the chosen image. Heaven is everything good and perfect, so I know it doesn’t have hard benches. If the designer had gone with a big leather chair from Restoration Hardware or maybe a polar fleece beanbag, I’d have hit “share” immediately. I’m sorry your choice of imagery kept me from sharing.

family

The sentiment is probably fairly accurate, but again, I couldn’t share this because of the sheer number of design and punctuation flaws. “No family is perfect we argue, we fight.” Really? Even people who hate all things composition know that’s a pitiful attempt at a sentence, right? And what happened to the poor “will” towards the end? The previous serif fonts were like, “You’re not one of us! You’re san serif, so just get away from our family, you freak!”

Pure love

Pure Love doesn’t pay the AT&T bill. Being a mother is the most important position in the world—agreed—but let’s work on our word choice here and maybe more “likes” will follow. First of all, let’s aim to be less cheesy than a crock of queso. Second of all, let’s bring home some bacon so we can feed the children. Do those two things and I’ll share with abandon.

sizes

I agree, but I didn’t share, sorry. The image chosen was too limiting for the sentiment. I’d have shared if they’d chosen four beautiful things—all varying sizes—like they purport to believe. Preferably—this lady, a Jaguar XJR, a quarter-pounder with cheese, and an itty bitty jungle frog.

lady friends

I didn’t tag my lady loves like the meme recommended because of one simple reason. I’m not seeking confirmation of their devotion. I’m not unsure of their loyalty. Except Ellen—I’m not all that confident she’d repost and tag back. Or Maya Rudolph. If history is any indicator, I’d be waiting on that validation for quite some time. Better to just go on not knowing. Ignorance is bliss when you’re forcing the hands of true friends you’ve never met. Sorry.

sister

Sorry I didn’t share this, but I had a good reason—and it wasn’t because I don’t love my sister. It was because I’d just told her I loved her in a text. It was also because I knew she saw this in her Facebook feed and didn’t share it for me. I’m the little sister, and little sisters can be kinda bratty—sorry.

children

I should’ve shared this, because I agree, but I didn’t and I’m sorry. It just seemed too remedial—like saying, “Cold beer should be sipped and enjoyed, not used to wash the dishes.” It was the captain-obviousness of it that kept me scrolling right through.

arms

Yeahhh, the day I share a fear-mongering political post like this is the day I renounce my love of guacamole. Not. Gonna. Happen. It should’ve said, “Unfollow me if you don’t agree” because that’s what I did.

I hop on Facebook to see cute babies, unlikely friendships between animals and killer sushi spreads. I also pop in to see what interesting things my friends are up to. I’ve never once thought, “I just can’t make my mind up about immigration—let me log on to Facebook and see what my high school friends think.”

Side Note: No offense, high school friends. Y’all are the best. Go Bulldogs!

creepy eyes

I’m sorry I didn’t share this, but quite frankly, I found the eyes just a wee bit crazed and creepy. I didn’t think it painted an accurate portrayal of my deep and abiding love for my mom. I’ll try to snag and share the next one I see that has kinder, more childlike eyes. I love you, Moma—which means I love you enough to not creep you out with eerie-eyed smiley faces in your Facebook feed.

stray

Happiness is feeding a stray if you want that stray to be YOUR stray. And many of you do! More power to you and God bless you (sorry, God, I’m not bossing You around—You totally don’t have to do that … only if it was in Your plans and You want to … I mean, I think it would be swell of You, but that’s Your call. Next time I’ll say, “May God bless you.”)

Maybe the meme should say, “KINDNESS is feeding a stray.” Because, like, I’m sure it makes you happy to do it—I know how happy it makes me to give homeless people food—but are you going to stay happy when you’ve got a new member in your family and your 4-year old wants to name him Tooter? Anyway, that’s why I didn’t share. I thought the word choice was suspect.

bitching

I didn’t share because I already know bitching burns calories. So does complaining and so does whining. These are facts. We wouldn’t do them so often if they didn’t help us work off french fries. #sorrynotsorry

idiot

With all of my being, I hope I don’t need to explain why I didn’t share this handmade sign. I have four reasons, but I’ll be happy if you just know the main one. Are cyber-friendship depends on it.

one eye

I’m sorry to be so picky, but I couldn’t share this since I actually have two eyes. It felt wrong to act like I only had one—like I was fishing for sympathy. I also could really use some past tense on “love” … “because I LOVED my mom.” Combine those two dilemmas and that’s one big non-share here. I also vividly recall my first thought upon opening my eye(s), and it was more along the lines of, “Feed me, Womb Lady!”

Anyway, you know how, when you check out at Target or Banana Republic, they say, “Do you want to save 15% on your purchase today? And you feel so dumb saying no? It’s that whole “Yeah, but” thing. Yeah, but I don’t want a credit card.

It’s the same with all these incriminating memes on Facebook. Do you love your mom? Yeah, but I don’t want to share something where “your” and “you’re” are treated as the same word. Do you believe that guns don’t kill people—that people living in a culture of glorified violence with unfettered access to firearms kill people—with guns? Yeah, but I don’t do politics on social media.

I can’t help but think I’m not alone, so if you want to get more likes and shares, proofread your work, put thought into your imagery, and … you know what, scrap that. Stop posting things and asking for shares and likes. It’s obnoxious and it ruins Facebook for people who want to see this:

friendship

and this:

sushi

and this:

tinyfrog

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Nip Tuck

Cosmetic surgery is overrated. While smaller noses and bigger boobs have their place in society, neither contribute directly to the mission of creating a harmonious, cooperative world. A co-worker with calf implants won’t make the work day easier, but you know what will? A co-worker with common sense implants. Enter: Character Surgery.

Imagine the possibilities.

A little nip here for tempering those passive-aggressive tendencies; a little tuck there for improving a woeful sense of humor.

Doctor: What brings you in?
Girl: Oh Doc, it’s my level of self-importance. It’s reached an all-time high.
Doctor: I see. Tell me what you’ve noticed.
Girl: Well, for starters, my selfies have become a real problem. I used to come up with clever ways of getting a selfie posted—under the faux self-deprecating guise of ‘this is what 3 hours of sleep looks like,’—but now I just post them without shame. I’ve even started hashtagging this fact.
Doctor: What do you mean?
Girl: Like I’ll hashtag #shamelessselfie or #overgrammer or #selfiesaturday, when I know it’s Friday.
Doctor: I see. We can fix that.
Girl: Good. I knew I needed help when I was making fun of someone’s selfies the other day and people were looking back at me in total silence and with big eyes. It was a real turning point for me. I even took a selfie to commemorate the moment—and because I love how blue my eyes get when I’m about to make tears—and posted it on Instagram right away.
Doctor: Did you post an explanation of the image you shared?
Girl: Just a simple hashtag #thesebabybluestho
Doctor: I see. Well, I believe we’re looking at a pretty minor procedure with no overnight stay.
Girl: Really? Even though I’ve noticed that things in my life no longer mean anything to me if I don’t post them?
Doctor: Oh. Well, now we’re looking at a moderately invasive procedure—requiring a full week of at-home recovery and drainage bags.

Wouldn’t it be cool if Botox could fix little nagging things that sometimes hinder good relationships? You’d make an appointment (hopefully with a Groupon) and 30 minutes and one syringe later, you’d be a much better listener.

Oh, I'm sorry—did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?

Or we just don’t listen at all, because, you know, the game is on and the Twitter feed is fast.

What if a few cc’s of Juvederm could curb your woe-is-me outlook? Botox parties would take on a whole meaning. You could invite that one friend who is late to everything and talk her into an injection for punctuality. You and all your lady friends would roll up to that party and sip a little Pinot while perusing the menu. Each party-goer would simply figure out which characteristics applied to her (with a little constructive wine-induced nudge from a true friend), and check the corresponding box to indicate “help wanted.” The menu might look like this:

botoxparty1

And one for the fellas:

botoxparty

I used to tell all my friends, “Hey, if you’re ever with me when there’s an accident and I have to quickly go under the knife, tell the doctor to fix my nose!”

Side Note: My nose has had a few major collisions with spherical objects—the best/worst happened when I played college basketball and was defending a very tall, super mean Jamaican girl (I tell you her nationality only so you can picture her accent when imagining all the means things she yelled at me for no good reason.) Anyway, I was guarding her and she was looking to get the ball up the court. She enjoyed expending the least amount of energy possible, so she cocked her arm back—Payton Manning style—for a full court pass. The timing of my jump was so immaculately perfect that I full-on intercepted the pass WITH MY FACE. Actually, it was less face and more nose. A direct hit. Please take a moment to note the velocity necessary to pass the ball full court.

But if Character Surgery was an option, I’d tell my friends that if I’m in an accident—and need surgery and can’t speak for myself—to tell the doctor he is under strict orders to also fix my sensitivity to external noises. I’d come out of surgery with repaired ribs, a new nose, and blissfully unaware of nearby chip eaters, loud breathers, change jinglers and pen-tappers. I’d never notice anyone’s bracelet scraping the desk back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, as she used her mouse for eight hours in the cube next to me. Thank you, Character Surgery!

If Character Surgery was a real thing, I could imagine this conversation and similar:

Girl 1: I feel like Abby is never at work.
Girl 2: What? Why? I see her all the time.
Girl 1: Well, she’s always posting pics from places other than her house.
Girl 2: You mean like … restaurants … on the weekend?
Girl 1: Yeah, and other places, too.
Girl 2: Like concerts at night … or something after work?
Girl 1: Whatever, she’s always … at … places. And I can’t believe she doesn’t get fat. She’s always eating … food. And like, posting it.
Girl 2: That’s not even true—I follow her and she just posts once in a while!
Girl 1: Yeah, but it’s ALWAYS this great food.
Girl 2: Right, but it’s like 1-2 meals out of probably 21 meals a week!
Girl 1: Right, but she’s not a whale like I’d be.
Girl 2: But how do you know the other 15 meals aren’t apples and salads or something? Should she post a picture of her oatmeal or cottage cheese? Do you want an Instagram of her workouts? A pic of all the donuts she passed on?
Girl 1: Whatever, it just makes me feel bad and hate my life. She’s always eating and on vacation.
Girl 2: Girrrrrl, you gotta get something for that. You should try that procedure Lisa got last month. She said she was back at work the next day with no swelling and couldn’t believe she suffered so long with these ludicrous thoughts.

zd

Doctor: Well, Kacie, everything looks good. If you don’t have any questions or concerns, we’ll see you back here in one year.
Kacie: Great. But actually, I was wondering if I could get a referral to the Character Surgery Clinic on Westchester Ave.?
Doctor: What’s going on?
Kacie: I came across a quote from Betty White recently and it said, “I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.” It hit me pretty hard. I’m so exhausted from my anti-everything ways that I can’t keep my outrage straight. Is it Chick-fil-A I’m disappointed in? Am I for or against them? Can I have a chicken biscuit or not? Is it Target or Walmart whose policies worked me up into a frenzy last month? Which NFL team didn’t even request the video surveillance of Rice knocking his fiance out cold and then dragging her body off the elevator? Anyway, I want that procedure they’re offering because I just need to take care of my own affairs like Betty suggested.

I just see so many benefits of Character Surgery. Do you know someone who turns everything into a political discussion and creates a negative divide any time possible? That person is a real gem and delight, huh? Wouldn’t it be nice to send ’em in for a little day surgery?

opinion

Have you ever wondered if you’re a bad judge of character? Have you noticed that you fall hard and fast for people (platonic or romantic) you’ve just met or that you love-love-love a person/friend/co-worker, but then aren’t even speaking in six months? Do your relationships and friendships start out super intense and exciting, only to end poorly?

Then you, my sweets, might be a bad judge of character. But that’s OK in my perfect world—where Character Surgery exists—because you’d be able to fix that little flaw with a local anesthetic and a few stitches.

Perhaps not the best judge of character.

Maybe since we all have so many character flaws and such fluctuations in moods and circumstances, there could be a rule. The rule could be that once you’ve been told something three times, by three different people, you have to get a Character Surgery procedure.

August 2012: “You drive like you own the road, Dan.”
October 2013: “Danny! You don’t own the road, you know.”
May 2014: “Daniel, there are other drivers out here—stop acting like you own the road!”

Boom. Bang. Character Surgery. You did it to yourself.

See how quickly we could shape this place up, with just a few well-placed rules? A harmonious, cooperative world, People … are you with me?

Please join me on Facebook and Twitter!

I Peel Bananas Wrong

The internet recently brought to my attention that I peel bananas wrong. I watched the video intently, as some guy demonstrated the right way to do it (i.e. the way a monkey does it.) I made a mental note to try this method ASAP, as I’m not in the business of purposefully doing things wrong.

Side Note: Actually, sometimes I am. I really do know that when someone asks how I’m doing, I should say, “I’m doing well” … but I just can’t. I’m a, “Doing good!” kind of chick. So the other day, an unmistakably pretentious woman rang up my bill and asked how I was doing, and when I responded, “Doing good, how about you?” she made a big point of saying, “I’m doing very well, thank you.” I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “Good, good—glad you’re good. That’s good.” I could literally see how repelled she was—and it delighted me.

Anyway, before I had a chance to test run the new (right) way to peel a banana, the internet told me I also fold fitted sheets wrong.

You don’t say? So, good intentions, plus a half-hearted attempt at a 90-degree corner, followed by frustrated, hapless rolling isn’t right? I had no idea.

sheets

Just as I was mumbling to myself, “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here,” a new article popped up and informed me that I wash my hair wrong.

I do?! If it’s because I don’t wash, rinse, repeat, then I reject that. What a racket.

That’s not all. I breathe wrong. I eat chicken wings wrong. I shower wrong. I open Tic Tacs wrong. I eat pomegranates wrong. And just to add insult to injury, I pack my suitcase wrong and I boil eggs wrong.

Getting called out hurt. And since misery loves company, I think I need to call some of you out. I’ll try to be gentle, but sometimes the truth is a little painful. Let’s dive in.

You use Facebook wrong.

If you don’t see a striking distinction between Facebook and Google, then I’m talking to you.

Example #1:
Status Update: Hey Facebook Family! Do suppositories help nausea?

Google actually welcomes this inquiry.

Google actually welcomes this inquiry.

Example #3 (I didn’t label this one #2 because that’s too easy)
Status Update: Crazy Mom concern … Tanner’s deuce nuggets are green. #momprobs #help

Oh, look who has answers!

Oh, look who has answers!

Example #4:
What time do The Oscars start?

Wow, who knew Google was so all-knowing?

Wow, who knew Google was so all-knowing?

You use your imagination wrong.

You let your imagination run wild with the calamity that will “surely” ensue if you chase your dream job. You imagine failure and ridicule. You see all your naysayers patronize you with condescending head shakes. You rehearse an exit plan before you even take one step.

Yet.

There you are, walking out of a public restroom—that other disgusting humans have used—without washing your hands. I’m convinced that people who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom, simply are not using their imaginations properly.

The sooner you accept that human beings are disgusting, the better off you’ll be. If you think each person who used the public restroom before you, walked in with pristine hygiene, didn’t touch anything, hovered carefully, then made a crisp, clean exit, you are not using your imagination right. PEOPLE ARE GROSS. Know this. Accept this. Use this information to make yourself less gross.

You also give your imagination sole jurisdiction over your love life. You’re in love with someone but too scared to confess your feelings, because you imagine losing the friendship or being rejected. You go to all the terrible places in your mind where humiliation and abandonment live.

Yet.

There you are, angrily tailgating a car at 70 mph. Where is that over-active imagination now? Why isn’t it reminding you that a single wrong move by one of the other 20 drivers—also speeding down the freeway—could end it all?

You exercise wrong.

You might not realize it, but all those kettle bell and crossfit workouts you do in the gym aren’t properly preparing your body for the rigors of real life.

If you have ever said or heard one of these statements, then you already know that you’re as wrong as a hairless cat.

  • I made the mistake of bowling at my son’s birthday party and was then unable to feed myself the next day.
  • We picked weeds on Saturday and I feel like I should be in a full body cast.
  • I sanded and refinished a dresser this weekend and I’m sore in places I didn’t know existed.
  • My daughter wanted to practice pitching after school, so I played catcher and my lower body is so sore I can’t sit down without a cane.

You save time wrong.

If you believe in your heart of hearts that typing “ur” instead of “your” is buying you precious minutes, then you don’t understand clocks.

Also, to the married guys, replying to a thoughtfully written out text with “k” saves a second or two in the moment, but later costs you dearly when you’re sleeping on the couch.

If you take your clothes out of the dryer and throw them into a laundry basket or the “clean clothes pile” (because it takes too long to fold and put them away), then you have an unsound comprehension of time. Yes, it takes only three seconds to toss them in a basket, but then it takes a million frustrating minutes each morning to find what you’re looking for and make it presentable to wear. I know you can grasp simple cause and effect!

math

You ask for attention wrong.

I’ve talked about Vaguebooking before, but have yet to see a reduction in these blatant cries for attention on my Facebook newsfeed:

Status Update: What else could go wrong?
Status Update: I have to stay strong; it’s the only choice I’ve got.
Status Update: One more week!

Side Note: Sometimes I see “Unspoken prayer request, please” but I don’t consider that vaguebooking, because it’s relatively overt. People needing privacy for certain matters doesn’t negate their belief in the power of prayer. But I’ll be honest, until fairly recently, I was pretty inept at handling these vague prayer requests—that is, until I realized a prayer doesn’t have to be perfect to be blessed.

But before I honed my generic praying skills, I pretty much sounded like, “Dear Lord, please help Lacy to … no wait, please keep Lacy from … ugh, please show Lacy the … crap, please don’t let Lacy … dang it, please reveal to Lacy … OH, FOR THE LOVE OF YOU, PLEASE FREAKIN’ HELP LACY!”

I think most of us know that what happens in Vegas doesn’t really stay in Vegas. Probably the only place that slogan is true is here, “What happens online stays online.” So go on an attention-seeking voyage across the interwebs by telling the world everything you do and think (highlighted by how much you drank, how stupid your boss is, and who all was involved), but just remember that the internet is not a diary you can toss into a bonfire when you grow up, wise up and sober up.

OK, last Facebook thing (for today). Changing your profile pic back and forth between two pics is like telling the same joke again so you can re-hear the laughter. To the friends of the frequent-profile-pic-swapper-fishing-for-likes-with-an-undisguised-lure, please don’t take the bait. It’s up to us to end the attention-seeking cycle!

Side Note: I have such an aversion to attention seekers that I’ve crowned myself “Attention Seeker Destroyer.” I felt pretty good about my abilities until last year when one of my younger nephews taught me a lesson.

He’s extremely bright and a very early reader. I talked him into reading me a book, but when I curled up with him, he proceeded to change nearly every word in the precious story to some form of bodily function. And this is tough for me, because I don’t like or say the p-word, but allow me to give you an example:

“Dexter rode his poopy bike to the poop store so he could buy some poop for his poopy family. He pooped all the way there and had a wonderful poopy day making poop sandwiches to feed his poopy brother.”

After the third p-word, I realized what was going on, so I pretended to love his rendition, nodding in affirmation and encouraging him audibly. I figured I’d stop that little rascal in his tracks. Nope. He elevated his game by bringing in every other form of bodily grotesqueness known to man, and combined them in such a way that I was nauseous and had to call our reading session off a bit early.

I guess I aunt wrong.

What do you do wrong?

Please join me on Facebook and Twitter!

The Thoughtful Olympics

I love thoughtful people.

To me, it’s one of the best qualities a person can have, so it’s not surprising that most of my favorite people are very considerate.

My idea of thoughtfulness goes well beyond the usual stuff. It’s a given that you should consistently do the remedial stuff: pick up after yourself, say please and thank you, hold doors open for people, remember and acknowledge people’s birthdays (especially people you love), never miss Mother’s Day or Father’s Day (not only because it’s inexcusable but it’s also disrespectful to those who’ve lost a parent and don’t have the utter luxury of celebrating it).

These are absolute-no-brainer-givens, among a multitude of other non-negotiables (like not interrupting people when they’re talking—even if you’re certain your story is better or more exciting. Life isn’t a contest to land on the best version of every story ever told, so be thoughtful and let people talk).

rude

But there are many other—perhaps more creative—ways of being thoughtful.

1. When you cross the road in front of Target, cross it in a straight line. For the love of all that is good and right in this world, do not make cars wait as you saunter across at an angle. This involves such simple math that even I understand it—the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Cars are waiting on you. I’m waiting on you. And now I’m doing angry geometry in my head. Your walking angle is thoughtless. Given the extra time I have on my hands, I’m deducing a few things about you as I wait.

  • You think it’s your world and we’re all just passing through.
  • You are controlling (just because you can make people wait, lest they plow you over, doesn’t mean you should).
  • You are passive-aggressive, long winded, inefficient and take the circuitous route to tell the simplest of stories.
  • You and I cannot be friends.

2. Be less descriptive when ordering at Subway. Professor Detail, look behind you. There is a line of people—likely on their short lunch break—trying to get in and out with a turkey melt on flatbread. Here is the interesting thing … if you want most of the veggies, you really don’t need to list them all with the addition of an adjective.

“Purple onions, black olives, green peppers.”

While colorful, three of those words are unnecessary. In fact, if you want 3/4 or more of the veggies, just say, “Everything but onions and olives” because again, we’re not just passing through your world; we’re actually hungry and on a schedule, too.

3. Don’t bring Whataburger into an area where people might be hungry. There are two known camps out there—one faction thinks Whataburger smells like a steam room of construction workers and the other thinks it smells like Heaven on a platter. Personally, I’d scale every wall to get to it—even if I’m not remotely hungry—but that is neither here nor there.

With one inconsiderate move, you’ll upset everyone—the ones with the sensitive noses, the ones trying to diet and the ones who already ate at Subway and are unable to rewind time and make a more scrumptious decision. You can’t win with that thoughtless move, so please eat your Whataburger somewhere void of humans.

4. If I let you and your car in front of me, I really, really need a quick wave from you. Whether it was a logical allowance or I had to go out of my way—and risk making people behind me mad—you’ve got to offer a quick wave of acknowledgment. It’s an extremely simple gesture that goes a long way. When you don’t recognize that kindness in any way, I’m forced to think terrible thoughts about you and your stupid car.

Side Note: The best of the best? When someone lets me in and I wave and they wave back! That’s some sweet harmonious living that gives me chills every time.

simon

5. Paging all drivers who make wide turns. Please take some time and familiarize yourself with your car and get a handle on your turning radius. The two of you can practice together in an empty parking lot somewhere after dinner. And for the love of mankind, if you’re in a little nugget car like a Ford Focus, you never, ever need to take anything wide. Period. No, ssshhh, you don’t—please stop talking.

6. Retail associates … if I track you down and say, “Hey, do you know if you have water bottle filters?” please—I BEG YOU—don’t get a confused look on your face and start guessing. Please don’t say, “Well, if we did, hmm, they’d be over here in the water bottle section.”

Stare.

The simple phrase “if we did” makes me want to challenge you to a chicken fight, pin you down after I win and explain in hushed, aggressive whispers that I know the basics of store arrangement and I’ve looked on all logical aisles and don’t need your patronizing head-scratching guesses.

By no means do I expect every associate to know where every miniscule item is. What I do expect and yearn for—across the board in all of life—is for people to just say, “Actually, I’m not sure. Let me find someone who knows.” Not wasting people’s time is super thoughtful.

Lastly, if we’re out to dinner and I say, “Backhand me if you see me reaching for another bite” … that literally means BACKHAND ME IF I TRY TO TAKE ANOTHER BITE. I wouldn’t have laid down the edict if I wasn’t ready for the fallout. Please be thoughtful and do as you’re asked.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.

Clouding The Issue With Logic

Do you have a problem solver in your life? No, I’m not talking about someone who tackles the logistics of a trip or troubleshoots a circuitry problem with your garage door opener. I’m talking about the person who—when you say, “Brr, I’m cold!”—suggests you put a jacket on.

You do, don’t you? So do I.

My dad was my first problem-solving specialist. “Daddy,” I’d say, as I slowly rotated my arm backwards, “it hurts when I move my arm like this.”

“Well don’t move your arm like that.”

Stare.

I guess I was hoping he’d say, “I’m sorry, Sweetie” but no, he chose to cloud the issue with sound logic.

Similarly, when I say I’m cold, I’m just seeking camaraderie. Because, as it turns out, I actually know my options for warming up.

camyeah

I used to think it was a guy thing—that they were more hard-wired to be solution-oriented and less inclined to devote time to seemingly idle chit-chat. Most guys never seemed to put much stock in volleying corroborative observations just for the sake of interaction (i.e. I’m tired … Me, too! I’ve been hot all day … Right? Bring on fall. I’m starving … Same here, I must have a tape-worm.)

But lately I’ve come across more and more women who have multiple solutions to my problems.

Me: I’m so sleepy today.
Problem-Solving Guru Girl: Have you had any caffeine?

Me: The weekends just don’t seem long enough anymore.
Problem-Solving Guru Girl: Do you have any vacation days to tack on to the weekend?

Me: I feel like I’ve been so forgetful lately.
Problem-Solving Guru Girl: Are you sleeping enough? Sleep deprivation can really affect your memory. So can low levels of B-12.

My new theory is less gender-centric and more brain-specific. I think people who are literal are the ones most eager to impart helpful solutions.

I’m not very literal-minded, so I tend to think my conversation partner is just wanting to converse—you know, banter back and forth with no real intent to wrap things up quickly. If she says, “Ugh, I so hate Mondays.” I’m pretty sure she just wants to know the feeling is mutual.

By no means do I assume she wants to hear, “You do? Are you unhappy in your job? Have you considered doing something you look forward to rather than something you dread? Do you have an updated resume? One that’s not comic sans?”

I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, unless I preface my statement with:

“Hey, let me get your opinion”
or
“I could use some advice”
or
“Tell me how you’d handle this”

… then I’m not actually requesting your nifty problem-solving skills. Anything short of the aforementioned prefaces is just the two of us shooting the breeze. It’s not a covert ploy to get advice.

If we’re hanging out and I say, “I’ve been thirsty all day”, you absolutely have to know that—AS A FULLY GROWN ADULT WHO IS STILL ALIVE—I know how to hydrate myself. So saying, “You should get something to drink” simply isn’t needed. Telling me that “unquenchable thirst” is the #1 symptom of type 2 diabetes is overkill. I was just looking for a friend who wanted to make a Sonic run.

Hey, I like solving (real) problems as much as anyone. The difference is, not being very literal-minded, I don’t hear things like, “I need a pedicure in the worst way” and feel I should spring into action with the remedy, “Day spas offer those—you should book one.”

look at me! I've got answers!

look at me! I’ve got answers!

Of course it goes deeper than this, too. I had a friend tell me about going home after a particularly terrible day at work and just letting loose with everything that went down, why it upset her and how she would properly reflect her feelings on Facebook—until her husband interrupted her—not with exasperation, but with … wait on it … solutions.

His suggestions were logical, on point and precisely fitting—but she wasn’t looking to solve a problem. She was hoping to vent. She was looking for a listening ear.

Operative word: LISTENING. Guys, if you can stomach sacrifice a little chunk of time to just nod and actively listen with your eyes, you might escape with uttering only a handful of words. If you can be present and listen, once she takes a breath finishes, just nod and say, “I hear ya. That would ruin my day, too.”

Bang. You will be amaaazed at how quickly she can wrap it up if you just listen and commiserate with a short, heartfelt, “Yeah, that sucks, Honey—I’m sorry.”

Problem Solvers … if you are even half-way plugged into your partner, you will KNOW when she wants advice or solutions. If you don’t see inquisitive eyes or hear something like, “What should I do?” then always, always opt for simply uniting in fury or disgust or shock with her. Save your commercial-grade problem-solving skills for a time when they’re truly needed—like exacting revenge on people who post/pin pictures of animals with baby-talking captions.

even posting in jest makes me despise myself

even posting in jest makes me despise myself

Non literal-minded people … help out your brethren. They’re not trying to upset you by offering up (obvious) solutions, so let them know—before lift-off—if you just need to vent.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Ok, look. I need to talk, so just let me talk. I’m not asking for a game plan, I just need to vent.” It works. And if, in the middle of your unleashing, they get all Literal-Linda and forget to NOT HELP, shoot them a quick reminder look or press your index finger to their lips. People love that.

ssshhh

ssshhh

The truth is, we all think differently and have unique brains. So in the same way, “You should eat” in response to, “I’m famished” makes me want to hurl a boulder through a window … that same literal-minded person is exhausted by the constant stream of rhetorical banter that flows so freely from my aggravating lips.

Side Note: I think the best, happiest couples are a mix of both types. No matter where we fall on the scale, we all need someone to balance us out. Imagine a world where everyone walked around saying: I’m exhausted. I’m full. My skin is dry. I don’t like to eat broccoli. Ugh, no thank you! But on the flip-side, you can’t have a planet of problem-solvers with no problems to solve.

So, if you’re single, perhaps you should stop looking at what a potential spouse does for a living or how he or she treats the wait staff. Look for your opposite. Somewhere in the middle of your first date, tell them you don’t like your new toothpaste. See if they say, “You should buy a different brand” or “Don’t you hate that?” It might be all you need to know.

Advice To People Who Are Constant Recipients Of Unsolicited Problem-Solving: Be patient and be kind. No one is trying to harm you with help.

Advice To Problem-Solvers: Most people over the age of 3 understand their options for regulating body temperature, quenching thirst, satiating hunger and acquiring rest. For you, in simple terms, that means less trouble-shooting and more nodding … even if in your head you’re thinking, “put a sweater on, drink some Gatorade, eat a corndog, take a nap” … please, just nod and make a supportive noise of some sort.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m thirsty and hungry and need to go tell someone all about it.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.

I’m Judging You

I’m judging you and really do feel a little bad about it.

I think we’ve all read articles, blog posts, status updates and tweets with commentary on the misuse of words like “your” and “you’re.” Some people say it’s their #1 pet peeve.

youhadme

My feelings are a bit different. I’ll paint you a picture:
When I’m reading along, imagine I’m actually strolling down a beautiful tree-lined street, joy in my heart, gratitude in the air. Then I come across, “Your not going to believe there response to my request”, and it’s like Demarcus Ware blind-siding me with a form tackle after he’s reached his maximum 40-yard dash speed—and he’s got his helmet on.

It’s more than a pet peeve or annoyance. I feel assaulted.

To the offenders: I’m judging you. I’d like to say, “I’m judging you and I’m NOT SORRY!”, but I am sorry. I know it’s unkind to wish you’d go play in traffic until you learn simple contractions. It’s not right or OK that I want your entire Facebook page to burst into flames when you can’t figure out the difference between “to” and “too”. So, I’m sorry.

If you write as your status update:
“You guys, I saw the most awful thing today. This sweet old lady offered to help this rough-looking guy pay for his groceries because he’d forgotten his wallet and then that son of a biscuit tried to jump her out in the parking lot and take her purse! Luckily some other guys took him down and everything was OK. What is this world coming too?!”

I’m out. You lost me. Consider yourself mentally roundhouse kicked into next week. I’m sorry.

You could save a precious litter of puppies (even shar peis) from being swept down a rushing river, but if you write about it by saying, “There precious wrinkly bodies were just being whisked away so quickly!” … I’m out. I’m now picturing you being the one swept away by the rapids. I said I’m sorry!

comeon

Without the basic understanding of simple contractions like your/you’re, their/they’re and its/it’s, you become Public Enemy Number One in my grammar world—and all kinds of things happen to you in my mind. Sshh, there-their, I’m not killing you, but you are absolutely the recipient of some bad luck. Some faves:

  • your child sleep-kicking you in your unprotected face at 3:00am
  • tripping with your arms full (and not on carpet)
  • not being able to pull the baskets apart at Target (with people watching and waiting)
  • hang nails (that you make worse because you can’t leave them alone)
  • dirt in your eyes (and under your contacts)
  • stubbed toes (that are so swift and forceful, you can’t even get oxygen to cuss)

I’m not finished. If you say “anyways”, we can’t be friends. I’m hesitant about this announcement because I’m fairly positive I have current friends who use “anyway” in its non-existent plural form, but it’s out of my hands and I have to cut you loose.

Uh oh. Light bulb. You’re also gone if you haven’t figured out lose vs. loose. This one takes years off my life.

Facebook status:
“Dear Cop Who Pulled Me Over, your sunglasses and night stick don’t make you that cool—you can loose the attitude.”

Nope. I’m now firmly Team Cool Cop and feel very good about your citation. I’m sorry. I wish I was a better person—but I’m not and you made me this way.

One Facebooker wanted to know why Fitbit hadn’t released their new Flex band, so she posted, “Seriously Fitbit, I’m loosing patients with you!” I’m sorry, are you a doctor? NO. And now I’m not only losing my patience with YOU, but I feel 9x the exasperation because 9 home skillets just “liked” your comment. Even if you’re equally upset with Fitbit, do you really want to be an accomplice to such offensive grammar indiscretions and incriminate yourself by “liking” the status update? Because that’s what you just did—you just endorsed a grammar catastrophe.

Self-Reporting 1:
I used the phrase “fixin’ to” until I was about 28. I was, for the most part, unaware that it was regional slang. Someone from another part of the country asked what it meant and I just stared—confused—thinking, “What do you mean what does it mean? How can you be an adult and not know the definition of ‘fixin’ to?”

I eventually tried to describe it by explaining that it’s akin to “preparing to” … I’m fixin’ to take a shower … I’m preparing to take a shower … and you prepare food and fix food … and the more I talked the more I realized it’s just really not a word, and I stopped using it. Not an easy task after 20-something years.

Self-Reporting 1.5:
Once in awhile it’ll fly out of my mouth when I’m excited during a conversation. It’s more slang than anything and I definitely do slang—which means I just unnecessarily self-reported.

Self-Reporting 2:
I’m also forever tripped up by past vs. passed. Try as I might to differentiate them by considering “time” vs. “distance” I still become disoriented and often opt for bypassing the word entirely. Inner Dialogue: A lot of time has past us by? A lot of time has passed us by? Hmm, I’m talking about time so I bet it’s past, but I’m also talking about distance so maybe it’s passed? It is past or passed? Why is this so hard? It’s like harder than math. I think it’s passed. Passed sounds right. But what if? Oh never mind, I’ll just say the years have flown by or something.

Then I walk away, beaten and defeated. I cheer myself up by remembering how good I am with were vs. we’re.

I self-report to say that I make mistakes all the time—most people do. But there is a difference in occasional misspellings or accidental grammar mishaps here and there and the consistent misuse of words that shouldn’t be problematic. If you can figure out Black Ops and know every word to every song in your iTunes library, you can get a handle on their, there and they’re.

embarrassed

My prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the rain and the delicious recipes I find on Pinterest. Please bless this day and shield my eyes from improper punctuation and spelling. Please protect me from poor grammar online—especially when I get left-jabbed and uppercut by something like, “I should of known better.” Keep me from commenting that “should of” should be “should have.” Help me walk away from the travesty of “your so hot” comments on Justin Bieber’s Instagram pictures without swooping in with a lesson on contractions. But more than anything—if I do, in a weak moment, step in to make corrections—please help me to not misspell anything. Amen.”

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.

Adventures In Moderation

I’m a big believer in moderation. I shy away from just about all extremes—this includes, but is not limited to—sports, music, food, politics and personal comfort.

Quick examples:

  • I like Duke AND North Carolina men’s basketball (but Gonzaga is my team)
  • I like Coke AND Pepsi (and Dr. Pepper, but it’s all Coke where I’m from)

Friend: You wanna go get a Coke?
Me: Yeah!
(pull up to the drive-through)
Friend: What kind of Coke do you want?
Me: Dr. Pepper.

  • I like summer AND winter; sun AND snow
  • I watch American Idol, X-Factor AND The Voice
  • I like singer-songwriters AND rap/r&b/soul
  • I work on a Mac AND a PC

I like a little bit of a lot of things—even when they’re supposedly opposites or in competition. I rarely feel those pulls to the extremes. I do, of course, have some absolute NO’s on certain artists, politicians, etc. …  but I’m a fan of the “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate” mentality, so we will not discuss the UCONN Huskies or Redd’s Apple Ale commercials here.

no

I think one of the main reasons I happily live life in the middle is because I never want to utter the phrase, “And I’ve never been the same.” I live, somewhat, in fear of that notion.

When I hear enough people make similar statements about a particular thing, I’m ever-vigilant to avoid it.

“Derek got a flu shot in 2004 and he’s never been the same.”

Nope. About the 5th time I heard someone say that, I knew a flu shot wasn’t for me. I was already pretty sure, as I’m just not someone who gets sick often or catches other people’s illnesses (please don’t panic and tell me to knock on wood—I don’t even know what that means.) Oh that’s right … and I hate sharp objects containing the flu virus puncturing my skin.

“Girrrl, Tara got her eyebrows waxed last year and they’ve never been the same.”

Nope. Having to paint on artificial eyebrows every morning would send me into a downward spiral. I don’t want something that’s already pretty manageable to place me in never-been-the-same territory.

“My aunt did a cleanse a couple of years ago and I swear, she’s never been the same.”

Nope. Cleanses sound logical and intriguing. I’ll hear something about a new or popular one and think, “Well I don’t like Helicobacter Pylori any more than the next person. Maybe I should do a cleanse.”

I’ll read and research and inevitably circle back to the original fear: what if a cleanse encourages my body to never work another day in its life? What if the cleanse entices my digestive system to go on a sabbatical and it has such a good time, it never comes back?

I never want to knowingly upset the natural balance of my body and life.

So I suppose this is where “moderation” walks in. I’ll do what I can to stay well. I’ll avoid licking children’s palms. I’ll stay on top of my mostly-behaving eyebrows and I’ll make sure I’m not eating too many Vienna sausages.

Yes, I’ll put a hurtin’ on some hot wings, mexican food and craft beer—but I’ll also eat tons of veggies, drink plenty of water and workout. I’m just not the kind of person who is “all or nothing”—to me, that’s a formula for unhappiness. I prefer balance.

Admittedly, however, when it comes to personal comfort, it’s a slippery slope. I’m pretty patient and I usually acclimate quickly—but not when I let my guard down.

MommyKitten

For instance, when I write in my study in the winter, I sometimes turn on a little space heater to stay toasty. You wouldn’t believe how quickly I’m “freezing!” when I turn it off or step away. And yet, there is no way I’m freezing. I’m convinced that catering to those little comforts is a recipe for losing my acclimation prowess.

I don’t want to become dependent on anything I can’t always have (I’m looking at you, electric blanket.)

Yet, here I am, fully admitting I don’t want to own a car without seat heaters. I’ve had them for years and fear the day I’m denied them will be the day I lose my will to live. Do you see how these personal comforts are slowly chipping away at my wherewithal potential?

Side Note: You can imagine how horrified I am at my unrelenting Chapstick addiction. Truly despondent.

Also, we lived with my sister and niece for several months when we were building our house. Part of that time, we were living through one of the hottest summers on record, so we slept with an oscillating fan every night. Well guess who “needs” her White Noise App (with accompanying oscillating fan noise) at night now? I disgust us.

At work I was offered a second monitor. I actually turned it down a few times, simply because I knew I would become dependent on it just about the time it was ripped from my loving arms. Cut to present day—I accepted it, we exchanged vows and I cannot imagine how I could possibly work without it. I’m deplorable.

Regardless of whether I stay the course or falter at times—allowing myself frivolous comforts—I know deep down that it’s best I stay strong and travel light, so the fall from personal comfort is more like being dropped on a Sealy Posture-Pedic than taking a header off a skyscraper.

Is it any wonder I’ve never tried drugs and rarely self-medicate? I don’t have an addictive personality, but I do have an, “Oh, this is really nice and I want it forever” personality. I know this. So I gladly live a life of moderation.

Maybe deep down I’m systematically preparing for—let’s just say “worse days ahead.” If an EMP or natural disaster occurs and we’re back to bare bones basics—having to brawl with others for water and squirrel meat—the last thing I want is to also be at my wit’s end over not having Dr. Pepper or weed.

Yes, I triple love my morning coffee, but if it was pulled from my line-up, I’d just be sad—not helpless. I’ve been a morning person way longer than I’ve been drinking coffee.

A wee bit of self-deprivation now to soften the blow later … is this weird logic? Maybe. But planning ahead is what got me into a Justin Timberlake club concert with only 1,000 other fans. Case=closed.

jt2

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.

The Disappearance of Discretion

I value discretion.

But it seems as if this era of over-sharing and perpetual TMI has caused those around me to lose their privacy compass. I’m not paid to be the Decorum Police—just happily volunteering my time as a public service.

It all started several years ago when I worked in an “open cube” environment, which meant our work cubicles were no more than a low border around our desk and work area. You could see the entire floor while seated in your chair. This afforded us no privacy whatsoever.

cubes

Because of the floor plan, the cutting edge thinkers of the department designated an open desk at the end of our row as a place where we could “make personal phone calls.” Since it was an exact replica of our occupied desks, it offered precisely the same lack of privacy. I never said, “I need to call and dispute this ‘shake weight’ charge on my debit card, but it’s a private matter, so I better go use the phone 6 steps away.”

Most of us didn’t use it—as we understood that its intended purpose was illogical. However, one co-worker (we’ll call her Jules) took it all at face value and proceeded to call her veterinarian about one of her cats.

I missed the first part of the conversation but gained full consciousness when I heard, “Yes, I believe it’s an abscessed anal sac.”

We were all looking quickly back and forth at one another with shocked, frightened eyes. Unfortunately, the person on the other end of the phone didn’t hear her, because she let it fly again, “Yes Sir, an abscessed anal sac.”

And now a beautiful third time, as she decided to go for broke, “ABSCESSED! ANAL! SAC!”

At this point we were all doubled over, silent heave-laughing ourselves into a solid ab workout. We were losing it. As soon as Jules hung up, we all corrected our posture and feigned concentration on our work. She was a crazy coo-coo bird, but very sweet and none of us wanted to hurt her feelings—so we covered ourselves pretty well.

And that is part of the problem. With all the other moments and experiences with Jules, this is really all that stands out in my mind when I hear her name. No, not the memory of her yelling it, but the actual visual of a cat’s abscessed anal sac. And guess what? I don’t know what that looks like, so this horrific visual, right or wrong, haunts me to this day. I probably have the sac part all wrong—but either way, it is not a sight to behold.

So here is the lesson. Medical issues typically do not have favorable names. If you feel yourself about to say something involving the words abscessed, fissure, polyp, boil or puss—and your audience is not someone with which you share an address or a mother—you back that truck up.

jbateman

Additionally, if you need to make a phone call at work (yes, even to your doctor) and any of the aforementioned words might see the light of day, put those two legs to use and walk away from earshot of any and all co-workers. This is non-negotiable. I don’t care if you share a wall with someone who seems to love discussing digestive regularity with you, go make the phone call in private. I can assure you that someone who is seemingly okay with excrement talk would draw the line at rectal fissures.

While we’re talking about what is and isn’t permissible at the office (and in public), let me tell y’all what—in my ideal world—a work restroom would be for. Ridding yourself of LIQUID, washing your hands and giving yourself a quick once-over in the mirror. The flossing, brushing, plucking and various other stuff would ideally be addressed in your home bathroom.

It might sound critical, but I just cringe when I walk in the work restroom and see someone leaning over the sink, brushing her teeth. To do something hygienic in such an unhygienic public restroom seems counterproductive. Dentists themselves recommend brushing twice daily, and I can think of two awesome times and places for that—in the morning AT YOUR HOUSE and at night AT YOUR HOUSE.

Worthy side note: My friend had an employee who used nail clippers in his cube … wait for it … on his toenails. That is a technical foul of the highest order. (notice I said “had” an employee)

This may shock some of you chronic over-sharers, but sometimes even talking about your cold or sinuses treads into TMI territory. A good rule of thumb: telling someone you have a cold or sinus pressure is typically enough to paint us a proper picture. I’ll have a good grasp of your snot situation without you actually quantifying it for me in measurable amounts.

The truth is, we’re already shoved together at work with people we’d probably not spend time with, if given a choice. We’re exposed to each others’ habits, sneezes and snacking. We hear about relationship issues, family feuds and financial woes. Do we really have to also hear about Carol’s bowel movements?

“You guys! Did you hear?! The African Roobio tea worked! Carol moved her bowels!”

You’re never going to hear me lamenting not being in-the-know on that nugget of information. “What?! Carol moved her bowels? When? Where? Why didn’t she tell me? Why’d I have to find out with the rest of the department? Carol SUCKS!”

Ah, the second-hand deliverer of TMI.

“Do you guys have any idea what Delores has been through with potty-training her new puppy? He has literally gone #1 and #2 in every room of the house. She’s at her wits end, you guys. They may have to rip out all their carpet. And this is on top of the issues she’s always had with Whiskers having accidents in the kitchen.”

Me: “Wait. You mean the Delores who who brings all the dishes to our potlucks?”

The second-hand deliverer of TMI—who also wants to be a hero:

“You guys, start sending good vibes now—Danny is giving a semen sample as we speak. He and Lauren think their infertility issues might be his low sperm count.”

Me: “I’m sorry, what? Are you sure Danny really wants us thinking of him at this moment and do you really believe he wants information about his swimmers making its way across our department?”

Look, all I’m asking for is a little discretion. We’re all human beings with issues and things that must be dealt with and tended to. Without a doubt, some things are unavoidable—no two ways about it. My problem with the disappearance of discretion is that 90% of the time it’s just laziness. Scoring a productive nose-blow at your table in a restaurant is lazy. Yelling at your ex over the phone at work is lazy.

Yes, please use Instagram and Facebook to share your life with us, but please don’t feel like you have to share your credit score, your post-colonoscopy side effects or anything involving anal sacs—abscessed or not.

Please join me on Facebook and Twitter!

Sweet Nothings

I was just trucking along, enjoying a nice day at work when it happened. A few co-workers passed me in the hall and excitedly announced there was dessert in the conference room, as they opened up their circle to usher me in.

“Oh, thanks so much—but I’m good.”
“What? Oh come on! A little sugar rush won’t kill you!”
“No, it won’t—I agree—I just don’t have a sweet tooth.”

britjudging1

You’d have thought I just announced plans to vandalize a nursing home or light myself on fire and run through the building yelling “Pain is weakness leaving the body!”

They continued the interrogation.

“But you work out! I’m sure one piece of cake won’t hurt you that much!”
“Oh, it’s not a fitness thing—I genuinely don’t like sweets.”

Then they exchanged accusatory, almost condescending looks.

I continued, unsure of why I even had to justify anything, “I’m serious! Trust me, if I liked them, I’d be sunk. I have very little self control when it comes to spicy or salty foods. Just ask every waiter at every Mexican restaurant we frequent—they’ve learned to just leave the pitcher of salsa at the table.”

Then the group leader—we’ll call her CathyCarrotCake—took this information as a personal affront and resorted to the move I’ve seen a dozen times. She copped the, “Hey Everyone, I’ve got a HUGE announcement” stance and paired it with an endearing snarky tone.

“Oh, OK! OK! Hey Everyone! Annnnnna doesn’t like sweeeeeets! (She put “doesn’t like” in air quotes to indicate fraudulence.) Isn’t she just the bees freakin’ knees?!!!”

What? Why?! I’ve never understood why my not liking sweets elicits such ire in certain people. They might as well clink their glass for a toast and announce, “Hey Everyone! Listen up! Annnnna hates the Constitution and animal shelters!”

I don’t get it. I’m not keeping anyone from their Krispy Kreme donuts. I simply don’t like desserts—or regular food that’s sweet (I’m looking at you, sweet and sour meatballs). I don’t even like sweet-smelling candles. When I walk in a room that smells like wax-created caramel creme brulee, I become disoriented and start flinging myself in circles, shaking my head no-no-no as I feel around for the nearest exit. I can’t help it—my body simply rejects sweets.

On an unforeseen rare occasion, a cookie or cupcake (without icing) will look relatively appetizing. I’ll think, “Hmm. Well this is unexpected, but I really think I can do this.” It’ll even taste pretty decent at first, but 2-3 bites in and I’m pushing it away—rejecting its very existence.

Reluctant full disclosure of the week: I have found, for reasons that elude me, that I can put away some bread pudding—go figure.

It’s just that by and large, I never crave sweets and I’d never pick a danish over a salt bagel, a brownie over buffalo wings or cake over chips and salsa.

noms

I could understand people’s irritation if I claimed oxygen was overrated, but to get bent out of shape because I don’t want a snickerdoodle? I’m at a loss.

Tell you what—omit the sugar and replace it with wasabi and I’m on-it-like-a-bonnet. Bake a cake with Sriracha and I’ll polish it off without breathing or looking up. But hide your children because it won’t be pretty.

“Hey, wanna run to Sonic and get a milkshake?”
“Do they have pickle shakes?”
“Gross, no.”
“Olive shakes?”
“No—gag.”
“Then probably not, no.”
“They have chocolate and vanilla, stuff like that.”
“Can they replace the vanilla with Tabasco?”
“Get away from me.”

This reminds me of the time Jocelyn walked in the kitchen and I had my head back, slamming the last bit of pickle juice from a jar of baby dills.

“You know that’s disgusting, right?”
“Yes. If by disgusting you mean Liquid Heaven.”

All I ask is for some common courtesy or basic manners. I don’t go around saying, “What did you just say? WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? You don’t like habaneros or anything above 8,000 on the Scoville heat scale? Why don’t you just stick an ice pick in my ear canal because I don’t want to hear this crap!”

Like, just be normal. We don’t have to like the same stuff. I won’t relegate you to an outer circle forever simply because, unlike me, you have met an olive you don’t like. If the most heat you can handle is ketchup—no problem—more heat for me. I’m not gonna pin you down and make you explain yourself to the group.

That would be awesome though. Imagine me physically pinning you down—yelling, “Say it! Tell everyone why sodium and cayenne aren’t in your diet, CathyCarrotCake!!! Tell them what you said about Frank’s Hot Sauce! Explain to this lovely group why you don’t like your bloody marys spicy!”

You laugh, but that’s sort of what it feels like when someone gets all haughty about sweets and dessert. For some reason, they assume I’m being prim and proper. But really, I’m pretty sure eating fresh serrano peppers is more badassy than eating macaroons. So who’s really the goody-two-shoes here?

And on that note, it’s time for our monthly birthday celebration at work, where I’ll go pretend to eat a brownie, while actually just chewing on cinnamon gum.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.

Game Day

I love sports. I’ve been involved in them since I was very little—played for fun, played on scholarship in college, coached for fun, coached in college as a profession. And I’m excited to watch the Superbowl Sunday—despite My Cowboys falling short this year.

But I’m here to talk about a different sport. Costco.

Costco

What’s that you say? Costco isn’t a sport? Oh sweet, sweet reader. When something necessitates all the requisite preparations—like carbo-loading, mental imagery and a proper game plan—it’s a sport. In fact, it’s a contact sport on weekends. Don’t get me started.

If you aren’t a Costco or Sam’s Club member and think this doesn’t apply to you, I implore you to stay, read and learn—as preparation for the day you do join the team. You will be ten steps ahead of the game, which will expedite your acceptance on our aisles.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a shopping partner, take a little time to assess each of your strengths and play to them.

Let me offer up a few examples.

Carts. It should not come as a surprise to any of you that my electrifying presence causes the cart to shock me from here to Kingdom Come; therefore, we’ve established that I’m never the official cart-pusher. Don’t be a hero—if you’re a sub par cart-operator—allow your Costco date to take on those duties. It will hasten your store visit and keep you pain-free and available to grab monstrous quantities of short-grain rice and Greek yogurt.

Checking out. Under no circumstances are you to opt for self-checkout if you’re not up to the task. What does that mean? It means that you and your shopping partner need to know who is passing and who is scanning. My assist skills are second to none, so I’ve proudly taken on that roll at self-checkout. I strategically hand the merchandise over in a way that makes it easy to scan. I’ve got the next item on deck as soon as the pass is complete.

I don’t look around, I don’t get distracted, I don’t coo at babies. I do my damn job. People are waiting and I’m not about to let them down. Even if the guy behind me is the joker who nearly back-ended my achilles by the protein bars—I still execute a speedy checkout.

Full disclosure: I’ve called an audible and steered us to a human cashier when I didn’t feel I was up to the task of getting us in and out of the checkout line. I don’t beat myself up or hang my head. I do take some time later to assess what led to the breakdown. It’s this kind of awareness and desire to always bring your A-game that separates the Costco JV squad from us Varsity Elites.

Newbies and unknowing veterans alike, please don’t hang around the food sample tables. It’s not a trough and you’re not a cow. Take your freebie and get moving. Don’t shuffle around as you take in the flavor and pretend to be contemplating a purchase. You know dang good and well what Parmesan croutons taste like. Accept your small meal and move along.

For the love of all that is good, go in with a list and a planned route. Mentally plot your path before you step through the doors. The more you roam aimlessly, getting distracted by shiny objects, the more you disrupt the flow of cart-traffic. If you see a 60-lb bag of mulch you can’t live without, you can deviate from the planned path—but try to keep these variances to a minimum.

And please, I plead with you, please maintain awareness. The carts are big and everyone is counting on you to maintain focus. You can’t just pause in the main aisles and look around nonchalantly. Take all the time you want on the product aisles—peruse the luggage or Clorox wipes at your leisure—just don’t hang out obliviously on the main thoroughfare.

I love Costco and all that it offers and how it simplifies my life—that’s why I’m speaking on its behalf, as well as its patrons. I know not everyone “gets” it and I can’t stand love the person who (like clockwork when anyone mentions it) says emphatically, “Yeah! Like I need 10 bottles of Ketchup!” M’kay, well maybe you don’t, Sweetpea, but the owner of a restaurant does. I know this is shocking, but they’re not catering JUST to you.

That’s the beauty of it—some people need dog food and olive oil, while others need diapers and king prawns. It’s the size of a football field for a reason.

And why wouldn’t you want to get things like paper towels and laundry detergent? Do you ever really foresee a time when you won’t outfit your bathroom with toilet paper? What is it about milk or bread that makes you think its place in your life will eventually run its course?

“Shampoo? Yeah, like we’ll need that in 2017, Suckas!!”

It’s not like I’m going to wake up in February and decide vitamins are for losers. And I’d much rather buy all these things a few times a year, rather than once every two weeks. No, thank you.

My sister loves to go in our pantry and say, “Sure you have enough green beans? You’re cuttin’ it pretty close with just 9 cans left.” She derives great joy from opening a cabinet and questioning if we have enough toilet paper to get us through winter.

I used to get semi-offended when the workers at the exit door checked our receipt against the items in our cart—as if we were thieves—until the day I accidentally shoplifted a $130 container of chlorine for the pool. YIKES. Thank you, Costco Constable, for ushering me back to the cashier but please stop looking at me like I’m Winona Ryder and Lindsay Lohan’s love child—it was an honest oversight.

The last point I’d like to touch on is the shopper who is spatially unaware. That’s fine if you’re snuggled up with your wife watching Stranger Things, but you need to get off my back at Costco. We’re not in the pit at a Rihanna concert or a crowded New York subway—we’re in a 150,000 square foot warehouse—back up.

I hope this has been an eye-opener for old and new Costco members. If you’re willing to put a little forethought and effort into it—and treat is as the sport it is—we’ll all get along so well. And one day (fingers crossed) we’ll all be on Varsity, buying in bulk and not stealing chlorine.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.