Uniting In Fury: Vol. 4

The fourth installment of Uniting In Fury is upon us, which may have you thinking I just sit around mad all the time. I don’t.

I’m usually standing.

1.
When hair is anywhere but on a head. Healthy hair is a beautiful thing, until it’s on a table—or in your ravioli. It goes from, “Your hair is gorrr-geous; I just want to run my fingers through it!” to “Eww, eww, eww, it’s on my glass! Get it off. GET IT OFFFF!”

In all fairness, I’d feel the same way about an arm or a finger that came loose.

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2.
When men call their wives “bride” LONG PAST THEIR WEDDING DAY.

Example: “Taking my bride out for cocktails!” and “Loving beach time with my bride!”

Yes, Reader, I know I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but it bears repeating—because I’m still catching whiffs of it online. Guys, STOP. Women don’t say “My groom cleaned out the gutters today” or “Holla! It’s date night with the groom!”

What is it about “bride” that makes guys enjoy saying it? It must be something, because I’ve heard some seemingly normal guys say it.

A mom of a 5-year old doesn’t say, “Taking the embryo to Chuck E. Cheese!”

3.
When I’m at a light, admiring the new Jaguar beside me—taking in its sexy lines and sleek curves; dreaming of how one day it will be mine—then it takes off and I see it’s a Hyundai.

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4.
When I’m riding a bike and I’m close to an edge, then really close, then so close I can’t make myself turn away from it—so I just go off the edge. What is this phenomenon? It’s been happening since I was probably nine. Do I have a defect?

5.
When I take my receipt from a cashier and say, “Thank you” and they say, “No problem.” What? How about, “No, thank YOU” or “Absolutely—thank YOU for shopping with us.” They should thank customers in any way other than, “No problem.” This tactic is picking up speed, which makes me wonder if it’s part of the training. Surely not.

Side Note: While we’re on cashiers and grocery store clerks, let me tell you about a recent experience that was nothing short of delightful. The other day I was feeling especially unfit for human interaction, so I chose the self checkout line. I started scanning and got to the bananas. I was pretty sure the code was 4011, but wanted to check, so I picked them up to peep the sticker, when I heard an impatient, “FORTY ELEVEN” from a gruff, female voice box. I thought, nah, that’s not directed at me, I’m in self checkout … which means I do this by MYSELF. I went back to look at the bananas and she barked, “FORRR-TYYY-EEEE-LEVEN!” Holy cow, it was the self checkout watchdog … “assisting” me. I looked up and she was standing there in her smock, arms crossed, crotchety and know-it-all’y as could be. We made eye contact and she jutted her face forward and said, “FORRRTY EEEE” and I snapped back, “Yeah, Chief, I heard you. The whole store heard you.” She sucked her teeth and looked away, 100% unbothered by my irritation. Crap, she was wearing the pants in this relationship—which I could not abide—so I purposefully picked up the habaneros and waved them in the air, as if to say, “What’cha got for me here, PLU Queen?” She looked from the peppers to me and back to the peppers, cocked her mouth in loathsome defeat and walked away. I said loudly, “3125 … THIRRRRTY ONE TWENTY FIIIIVE!”

Look, I told every one of you I was unfit for human interaction that day. You had fair warning.

6.
When people push the ottoman you’re sharing. Jesus take the wheel. It’s 10x worse when they claim it was you who pushed it.

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7.
When someone uses the “Looking for Recommendations” feature on Facebook, and asks for something—like the best landscaper or the least stuffy cruise line—and ends the request with, “GO!” As in, “Wanting to lay a stone border around garden. Need landscaper recs. GO!”

I’ll go do something—anything—to not “GO!” right away. Polish the silver, clean some grout with a toothbrush, make a labor-intensive risotto recipe that requires me to drive to the store for saffron.

Side Note: The GO! tactic is a second cousin to this nuisance: the person who goes on Facebook to ask for suggestions, but doesn’t really need them, just wants people to know what they’re up to.

Example from an asshat:

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Example from a normal person:

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8.
When people back into parking spots—for no reason other than to not have to back out. It’s simple math that even I can grasp. You either have to back in (which seems to take exponentially longer and annoy far more onlookers) or you have to back out (which is usually done in one try and seen as very normal behavior.)

Backer-Inners, please explain your rationale to me so I can let this agitation go. I’m assuming—since it’s a 50/50 thing that cannot be rationalized—that maybe you’re trying to show off? You’re highlighting one of your strengths? I haven’t been on a dating site to confirm this, but I’m assuming it’s a box you can check as one of your best attributes?

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I mean, it’s a little bit impressive to see someone back a big ol’ Dually into a parking spot (when I’m not the one waiting), but it’s also pretty impressive when someone just, you know, doesn’t do that.

9.
When honey mustard sneaks into my mouth. I love mustard, but you know what honey mustard is? Ruined mustard. Might as well try to sell me on Sweet n’ Low olives. I wish these delicacies could just be their acidic, tart selves—and not get pressured into hanging out with disparate flavors. Some people just aren’t boss enough to appreciate the power of vinegar and tang. To them I say, “Oh hey, Little One, let me show you to the door—to a special room away from me, where you can eat all the foods that are in the throws of an identity crisis. Go on now, figure out if you want dinner or dessert, then we can talk.”

Side Note: Mango salsa, I’m looking at you, too, kiddo.

10.
When people don’t keep their trees trimmed. I have to restrain myself from sneaking over to snip some branches real quick—especially if it’s a place I’ll have to see again.

Since we’ve established that I love chores where I can see a marked before and after difference, you can imagine that mowing, edging and trimming trees are all fulfilling “jobs” for me. That must be why—when I go for walks—I find myself plotting ways to circle back to particular properties to give them a good detail. I want to walk with some long pruners by my side and snip the hanging branches from the trees we walk by.

The “problem” (as Jocelyn puts it), is that it’s not a fleeting thought. I actually plot ways to make it happen—and get lost in planning the caper. I’ll be deep into mentally mapping it out when Jocelyn says, “Hello? What are you thinking about?” I usually say, “Oh, just how good babies smell.” But really, I’m just biding my time until I can hit up Amazon for a sling satchel to carry my pruners in.

BONUS FURY:
When I find out someone I thought I loved enjoys stuffed bell peppers.

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Not ready to stop Uniting In Fury? Great—here you go:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Holler at me on Facebook and Twitter!

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She Made Me Do It

I’m a relatively private person, but have decided it’s time to share some text exchanges between me and a certain someone I’ve known—and disliked—for years.

My disdain for her centers around the unequivocal thoughtlessness at play—but her controlling, bullying ways are equally problematic.

She’s a phenomenal fun-ruiner, and a perpetually unwanted third wheel. She loves weekends and traveling—and bullishly inserts herself where, and when, she’s least wanted … and even knows she’s not wanted.

Doesn’t stop her. Doesn’t deter her one iota.

She’s hateful, catty and short-fused—demanding we get fast food, making me cry over an All-State commercial, planting seeds of doubt in my mind, pressing me to think super-mean (not-fit-for-repeating) things about people I encounter throughout the day.

Her name is Flo.

Some call her Aunt Flo. Some call her Cousin Red. Gross. She’s just Flo to me—or sometimes #$%&*@! Flo.

It’s time I put her reprehensible conduct on blast.

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She even ADMITS to premeditated timing. Can you imagine being so ill-thought of and still coming around again and again and again?

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Gee, thanks for the heads-up. Some months I feel her all around me—know she’s made her displeasing descent—but have no proof, because she’s yet to show her dumb, stupid face.

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Great. Thanks. I love running into door facings, dropping things, and feeling generally swimmy in the head. You’re a real treat, Flo.

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So she’s Flo Angelou now? Ugh. Silver lining? She’s actually here, which means the clock has started and she’ll be gone soon. Ish.

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For reasons unknown, this heifer LOVES McDonalds. Is it the grease? The salt? I’ve basically accepted that when she’s here, I’ll be in a McDonald’s drive-thru at some point—hating myself and loving life, all at once.

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Oh my gosh—they look so sad! They just sit there kinda humped over and dejected-looking, usually with their back to the camera. Why? Why are they so sad? Why have they turned away? WWHHHYYYY????!

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As if I needed any extra help being annoyed by people and their noises. She will NOT let me ignore anything. I try to buckle down and forge ahead, and she’s just there, nudging me, poking me, “Listen. I know you hear him chewing. I know you do. It will make you feel better if you get annoyed. There you go—feel that undiluted agitation? That’a girl.”

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Uncommon sleepiness, abnormal hunger and astronomical agitation. Every month. Of every year. For decades. What’s not to love?

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Grrrrr. Where did you go?? You were gone! ANSWER ME!

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Women + Ibuprofen = BFFs 4ever.

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Ohhh, Bubba and I are mad-mad-mad. How you gon’ roll up in here and wreak havoc and then stay extra days when I have fun plans?

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Cut to me with orange fingers, crumbs down my shirt and an empty bag of Takis—looking lost in a haze of regret.

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The name-calling is especially pleasant; but at least she’s gone and I can get back to a normal routine—and normal behavior—for 28 days.

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No problem, Florence. Come on back. Disrupt everything I do, boss me around and call me names. Nothing would please me more than getting another day with your rotten face.

Several years ago, one of my guy-friends said it was weird to him that girls faced her every single month, of every year—but hadn’t figured out how to deal with her. As in surely at some point, we just go, “Oh, hey, ‘sup old friend—make yourself at home!”

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This was my response.

Sorry. Flo made me do it.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

What Would Louie Think?

Complaining was a lot more fun before I read the book Unbroken.

If you’re not familiar with the book or movie, just know that Louis “Louie” Zamperini (a real person), had his Olympic track dreams cut short when, in 1941, he was drafted into the air corps to serve as a bombardier. Louis then proceeded to:
1. survive an airplane crash in the Pacific Ocean (after being trapped in its wires deep in the sea)
2. survive being stranded at sea for 47 days
3. survive a series of POW camps (despite being targeted by a sadistic guard named Mutsuhiro “the Bird” Watanabe)
4. survive multiple brutal beatings and canings (one time, the Bird ordered more than 200 other POWs to punch Louie in the face, one after the other)
5. survive losing 68 lbs at sea and arriving at the first POW camp weighing 87lbs (and then getting severe dysentery, while enduring extreme starvation)

Side Note: You need to know that the 47 days at sea, also included 47 NIGHTS at sea. I’m gonna give you a few moments to really go there in your mind. I don’t particularly want to be in my own home in the dark—and neither do you.

Before we get into why this story really cramped my style, you need a few more facts. Louie and the other survivor, Phil, had to deal with sharks circling their raft daily. The sharks made their presence felt by rubbing their backs along the bottom of the raft, and as they became more aggressive and intentional, Louie would have to punch them repeatedly in the snout. Again, I’ll give you a moment.

Also worth noting, the emergency raft contained ration-D bars—a bitter chocolate designed to replace their daily caloric intake. Louie woke up in the morning to find all the chocolate gone … one of the initial other survivors had woken up and eaten them all. This meant they had NO FOOD left whatsoever. Imagine how you feel when someone eats your chocolate—and you have a store just down the road. But wait! Louie and Phil did get a little something to eat … the raw liver of a shark and the raw meat of an albatross. Sit for a minute with this disturbing information. Whenever you’re ready, we’ll move on.

Dinner.

Dinner.

The story, while magnificent, is a real fun ruiner. I read it a year ago, but it still monopolizes my thoughts at every turn.

I think: I’ll never make it to the end of the day if *insert co-worker’s name* doesn’t get her loud ass off that personal phone call.
I hear Louie:
So, now what is the problem? I’m confused. I’m really asking here, because regular canings didn’t stop me from making it to the end of my day, where I slept with rats.

I think: I really want to try on some new pants during lunch but, grrrrr, ugh, I don’t want to have to take my boots off.
I hear Louie: I wore the same clothes for over two years.

I think: I really want to go to LYFE Kitchen for lunch, but I never get totally full there.
I hear Louie: I ate raw bird parts while lost at sea.

I think: Ugh, I wish I had some lemon for this water.
I hear Louie: I was surrounded by nothing but salt water for 47 days and had to wait on rare rainfall to open up the hatch and grab a few drops.

I think: It’s FREEZING out here; this sucks.
I hear Louie: Oh, are you referring to the 3-minute walk from your heated car—that’s in covered parking—to your heated building? Yeah, your life is nearly impossible.

I think: I wonder if the mattress needs to be flipped? It seems to maaaaybe feel slightly more caved in right here by my torso.
I hear Louie: Your super plush mattress MIGHT need to be flipped? There MIGHT be a miniscule dip by your torso? Mine didn’t have that issues BECAUSE IT WAS A SLAB OF CONCRETE.

I think: Ugh, my sister won’t text me back—I texted her nearly 15 minutes ago.
I hear Louie: I had no contact with loved ones while imprisoned, and never knew anything. Never knew when someone got married, got sick, died, had a FUNERAL … and all you need to know is if your sister got the same weird friend request on Facebook?

I think: Sigh, I wish I didn’t have commitments this weekend.
I hear Louie: Yeah, it’s rough having plans with people you care about.

I think: You’ve got to be kidding me. Another meeting? For TWO HOURS????!
I hear Louie: You poor thing. Two hours in a temperature-regulated room, where they provide you with drinks and snacks—and pay you for your time—sounds downright dreadful.

I think: Ugh, I dread going to the store; we need so many things.
I hear Louie: Yeah, it’s hard having plenty of money to buy all the food you love most.

I think: I’m freezing!
I hear Louie: You’re in a home you love, that’s fully secure from drafts, with access to a thermostat, fireplace, a cord of wood, hot shower, hot bath and an endless amount of clothes, hot chocolate, hot tea and coffee. Shut your shameless noise hole.

I think: Groan, these thicker socks make my foot fall into the wrong grooves in my UGGs.
I hear Louie: I will strangle you with sheepskin.

If you want to be less ass’y and ridiculous, always consider what Louie Zamperini and the rest of the Greatest Generation would think.

Side Note: When I was younger, I’d tell people that the way I stayed out of trouble, was to imagine what my parents and coaches would say or think. It’s simple, but highly effective if you have a shred of pride. I obviously still did some really stupid stuff—but very few terrible things. Of course, as I grew up and got through grad school, I cared a little less about what some of those peripheral people thought, because I was a coach and teacher myself; but I still kept (and keep) the basic premise in tact.

I believe firmly that we can live less embarrassing, regretful lives if we simply consider the reactions of various people.

What Would Martha Stewart Think?
When you’re about to wad up a fitted sheet, stop for just two seconds and imagine Martha standing in the doorway, watching your every lazy move. I hope you’re imagining her arms crossed and the disgusted look she perfected way before she spent time in the clink.

What Would Your Future Child Think?
When you’re considering posting a pic that’s 75% cleavage and 25% duckface, tap the brake and imagine the look of confusion on your toddler’s face.

What Would Great Grandmother Esther Think?
When you’re about to purchase this:

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Take a minute to imagine what your Great Grandmother would have to say. Hopefully you’re realistic in your mental inquisition, because Great Grandmother Esther is not going to be pleased.

What Would Your Guardian Angel Think?
When you have the opportunity to do some dirt, grab a little time from planning that mess, and figure out if it’s something that’s going to make your Guardian Angel look away. If it is—like if it’s something that’s gonna embarrass him among his Angel friends—back that truck up. *beep-beep-beep* This includes, but is not limited to, ALL THINGS SHADY.

What Would Oprah Think?
When you’re about to make a suspect life decision, ask yourself if it would jive with Oprah. Even if you’re one of those people who boldly claim to hate her, I bet you’d get your sorry act together if you met her.

Yeah, I know these things are just mental games—sort of like setting your alarm 14 minutes fast to trick yourself into getting up. Deep down, you know the score and know you have 14 free minutes; but shockingly, it still works the majority of the time.

It’s the same with this; because, of course there are times when you’ll just say, “Well guess what, the Greatest Generation ISN’T with me,” and you’ll go ahead and complain about your Keurig making piping hot coffee in less than a minute, but it being too hot to drink for another 10 minutes.” There will also be times when you say, “Eh, my Guardian Angels have seen it all,” and you’ll go ahead and throw your gum out on the sidewalk or create a fake account so you can do some cyber stalking.

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What we’re shooting for here is not perfection. We’re just trying to live a life with less complaining and better decision-making—things that contribute to a harmonious world.

So let’s wrap up with some best practices.

First, run every complaint through the Louie Zamperini Filter—and imagine he’s in the room with you. Do this and you won’t be so quick to announce you’re freezing or famished or exhausted–when you know dang good and well you have access to all the things made to combat those issues. It might also keep you from claiming an inability to be civil before coffee or nice when you’re hungry.

As for the rest of your day, only you know who influences and motivates you. Only you know who makes you want to be better. Think of them. Consider their reaction. And if that person’s name rhymes with Dill Dosby, Dama Dune or Day Dice, then you’ve totally missed the point and upset me greatly. Run, don’t walk, to get a copy of Unbroken and consider doing a quick re-boot on the hard drive that is your life.

Shoot. I just imagined Joyce Meyers reading that last line, and felt her disappointment. Man, this stuff really works.

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