Love Thyself

It seems very trendy lately to “love yourself.” I’ve noticed an influx of headlines, quotes and articles that tout the importance of putting yourself first, and loving who you are—seemingly above most other things. I’ve seen, “Love yourself first and everything else falls in line,” and “If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never be able to love anyone else.”

Yeah, I’m not really into this “movement” at all. First of all, as we’ve discussed, I think it would repulse our forefathers. Second of all, you—above all others—know what a jackass you can be. Even when you have the restraint to keep it to yourself, you still know you’re kind of a tool. You know the wretched things you think about people:

“Ever heard of a little thing called ‘exfoliating’? Let’s get on that.”
“Nice blinker, Turd-Waffle …” (as you speed up to see if they look as fill-in-the-blank as you expect) … “Yep, just what I thought.”
“Blech! Her breath smells like sewer and hot socks.”

Love yourself? I can barely tolerate my thoughts, much less my self sometimes. Do you understand what I’m saying here?

Why is no one saying it’s OK—actually quite normal—to hardly be able to stand yourself? Can’t you be quite selfish? Petty? Hateful? Snide? Shallow? I’ll answer for you—YES. So you’re not actually all that lovable sometimes.

You know it and I know it.

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Deserve? I deserve to be slapped upside the head for the grace I don’t always extend and the hateful thoughts I sometimes have.

“Is that cat pee I’m smelling? I smell cat pee. Why do I smell cat pee? WHO IS ALLOWING CATS TO PEE ON THEM?!”

But as always, the most offensive part about this meme is the design itself. Appalling kerning, leading and spacing.

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It’s a project? Loving myself has been elevated to an actual project? Is it gonna take time away from loving someone else?

“Wow, I’m having so much fun—thank you for a perfect night.”
“Of course! I love spending time with you. Let’s go find dessert and coffee—maybe some bread pudding?”
“Gosh, I’d love to, but I have this project I need to work on. Rain check?”

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OK, maybe eventually. But we needn’t be too hasty in our forgiveness. Sometimes we need to let ourselves sit in the selfish mess we made, and take a hard look at our less-than-honorable motives.

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I’d much rather read an article titled, “50 Easy Ways To Get Rich That Involve Pizza.” But as it is, I did click into this piece—and promptly went on an eye-rolling marathon.

Side Note: I got online to order myself a 26.2 bumber sticker, set in the image of a rolling eye, but sadly, my search came up short.

One of the ways to supposedly love yourself more is to wear red lipstick and heels “just because.” I know I’m only 80% Girl, but that’s the best way to get me to break up with myself.

Another one was, “Put your fork down between bites.” I’m sorry, but are you trying to cause a divorce?

Another, “Buy yourself roses on Valentine’s Day.” Great, now I’m single, pathetic,  broke—and not into myself at all.

Also, “Give yourself a day off.” Well, that pretty much completes it—I was supposed to be loving myself, but have instead found myself fired and in need of couples’ counseling for all my bad choices.

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I’m sorry, what? What does this even mean?

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This meme lists seven ways to love yourself. This list also contains seven pieces of fiction.

1. Some negative thoughts should be accepted. More than likely, you really are a lazy sack—at least some of the time. It’s OK to accept this thought.
2. You should apologize for what you like from time to time. Case in point:

rawpasta
3. It’s a misnomer that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Comparison isn’t always the “thief of joy,” as they say. If done maturely, it can be a healthy motivator.

Monkey see; monkey do. Please.

Monkey see; monkey do. Please.

4. No; try to work on them. The shape of your eyes is uniquely you—but, being a guilt-tripping gremlin or a judgmental jerk is just you being a total turd.
5. OK yes, fine—but if you reject the media’s expertise in that arena, please also reject in it in all the other super-suspect ways, too.
6. Perfection is unattainable even with acceptance.
7. Some acceptance happens even quicker than overnight. It took me approximately 30 seconds to accept that I like food and fun more than dieting and deprivation.

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This is abjectly false. Sometimes bad thoughts about yourself come from your subconscious—because your subconscious knows what a petty, self-serving slime you can be.

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No. No I don’t. I think God thinks, “That a girl; way to recognize how deplorable that thought was.” I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God would never be so neglectful in His punctuation.

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Be proud of mistakes?? Accept your mistakes and learn from your mistakes—yes. But be proud of them? I’m barely proud of the actual good things I do. And now you think I should be proud of choosing my own comfort over someone else’s need? Or gossiping about someone being off her meds? Or getting into a battle of wits with an unarmed person? And what’s with the unnecessarily awkward slanty lines? I hope you’re not proud of your design skills.

love thy self 12

Eww. I’m beyond tired of this phrase anyway, but now I can’t even tolerate it.

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So now we need an acronym for loving ourselves? How about this one: GOYA (get over yourself already.)

love thy self 14

OK, sure. Right after I finish throwing up in my mouth. Do people do this? Do people halt—mid-thought or mid-task—to appreciate how awesome they are? If you’re sitting there nodding and thinking, “I do that,” then please make a quick mental note to stay far away from me.

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Michael Masser? Was that Whitney Houston’s pen name? Never mind—loving yourself isn’t the greatest or even second greatest love of all.

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I wish people who don’t care about punctuation would stop making memes. Regardless, is it really the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Have you ever put on your own bracelet? Refrained from replying to a Facebook post that ran counter to every belief you have? Gotten too cocky in a pepper eating contest?

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This isn’t even 1% true.

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How does one do that? I don’t know how I’m supposed to be a hero. The most heroic thing I do on any given day is bite my tongue to keep my uncensored thoughts from spilling into the world.

Side Note: I also feel pretty heroic when the coffee is over—and I don’t cry.

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Is now a good time to puke? Who thinks this thought and documents it in a meme? I’ve eaten by myself in public many times, but I can assure you it wasn’t a date—and I certainly didn’t stroll around a museum falling in love with myself. If anything, I was like, “I’m not sure about your taste.”

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That’s not true. I don’t always listen to myself. “Eat a salad.” Not listening! “Lock down that sarcastic remark.” Not listening! “Stop wishing you could write that co-worker out of your story.” Not listening!

bekind

I am. That’s why I give me tacos. And beer. And permission to love the Biebs.

affair

An affair? So I’m a side piece? The other woman? Is guilt associated with this affair? Do I hide it? Do I text myself under a different name, like, “Dry Cleaner?”

“Well look at you! You sure are glowing these days! What’s the what, Lady?!”
“Oh nothing” (coy and coquettish)
“Oh come on! Tell me!”
“It’s just … well, I met someone and … oh Becky, it’s going really well!”
“What?! Oh my gosh! Who who who!”
“Me.”

Gross.

gag

happiness

That’s what happiness means? Hmm, I was unaware. So you’re saying that if I just walk around smitten with myself, I’ll be happy? That seems plausible. Just knowing that even though I screwed up at work—as long as I love myself—it’s all good. What a comfort. I wonder if everyone else knows? This type of sound logic seems like good info to have very early in life.

loveyourself-beach

Whoever found themselves at a beach—and opted to write this in the sand—is a top level clown. “Guys! Come on, let’s go! Let’s get down there while it’s sunny and beautiful! I want to get profound in the sand! Come on!”

I guess I’m just looking for some balance here. Let’s try to equalize loving ourselves with also being a little disgusted. That’s more realistic, right? Otherwise we’re living pretty inauthentic lives—because we’re all flawed, and sometimes unlovable. I’m not proposing a turn towards sef-loathing—or memes filled with woe-is-me negativity. Please no!

balance

Let’s start a movement to be this person. One part awful; one part awesome. 100% real.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

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.

eatingcontest

text8

crybaby1

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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rihanna

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

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Women + Ibuprofen = BFFs 4ever.

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bbad

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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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britcry5

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!”

dexter

This was my response.

Sorry. Flo made me do it.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

I Kid You Not

Kids fascinate me. Their cuteness; their grossness; their individuality. I love watching nature—not nurture—in all its glory.

Recently, I imagined what it would be like if little ones never outgrew their weirdo ways—namely in the work place.

Scene 1: Reese, our man-child, getting his boss’s attention.

“Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren!”

“LAUREN!”

Lauren rushes to wrap up her conversation with Chad and says, “Yes, Reese?”

Reese then balances on one leg and pretends to blow a horn using his thumb.

Lauren stares at him, unamused, and walks away.

Scene 2: A human playground.

Reece runs full speed towards an unsuspecting Tina and jumps on her back—sending them both face-first onto the floor.

Scene 3: Morning needs.

Reece barges into work and declares, “I’m hungry! Lauren, I’m thirsty! Lauren! Hungry! Juice! LAURENNNNN!”

Scene 4: Who’s the boss.

Reese gallops into a meeting on a broomstick—uninvited—and unplugs the projector, disconnects the conference call, and gallops out.

suckas

Scene 5: Clothes are for punks.

Lauren calls Reese in for a meeting.

Lauren: Reese, you have to wear pants. You also have to wear underwear. You have to wear both. This is not up for discussion.
Reece: But whyyy?
Lauren: Because you have to. You can’t run around the office naked from the waist down. Do you see anyone else doing that? We’re not debating this. Clear?

Reece’s chin hits his chest and he crosses his arms as hard as he can while pushing his lips out.

Later, during an afternoon meeting, Reece seems to have complied with Lauren’s orders, though not without over-dramatized pouting. But when the meeting wraps and everyone pushes away from the conference table, Reece emerges with no pants or underwear—and a creepy grin as he runs away from Lauren.

Scene 6: Color commentating.

Reece walks around the office, seemingly normal, then assumes a snow ski stance, lets one fly and yells, “Silent but violent!”

Scene 7: Such a melodious sound.

Reece, as a means to expel energy—and generally annoy everyone—unhinges his jaw and unleashes a long, ear-splitting scream.

Lauren tells him, “NO. NO SIR.” Reece complies for just under two minutes, then does it again. Lauren tells him, in no uncertain terms, that screaming is neither appropriate nor acceptable. Reece manages to keep the next blood-curdling scream in for about 10 minutes.

britbigeyes

Scene 8: Sudden, unexplained shyness.

Reese is talking, making noises and doing anything he can to get attention, so Lauren says, “Reese? Did you want to elaborate on the new process?” Reese then dips his chin and pretends to talk, but all you see is his shifty eyes and moving lips—but absolutely no sound coming out.

Scene 9: What’s yours is mine.

While sitting at the lunch table, Reece grabs the glasses off of Alice’s face and shoves them onto Nathan’s—poking him in the eye.

Scene 10: An answer for everything.

Lauren: Reece, were you able to run that report?
Reece: Blaaaaaaaah, poop!
Lauren: What? Reece, come on. Yes or no? We need it for the 2:00 meeting. Will you please get it done so we can inform the team?
Reece: Poop! Booger poop! You eat poop boogers!

Scene 11: Reece the boomerang.

Lauren and Reece wrap up their weekly meeting and Reece leaves. He comes back into Lauren’s office 15 minutes later.

Lauren: What’s up?
Reece: I’m thirsty.
Lauren: Okay, go get a drink—but then I need you back at your desk.

Ten minutes later, Reece slinks back into Lauren’s office, with an insecure, semi-creepy walk.

Lauren: Reece. What is it?
Reece: I can’t work.
Lauren: WHY NOT.
Reece: I’m scared.
Lauren: Scared? Scared of what?
Reece: I’m scared Sara is hiding under my desk.
Lauren: Sara? Sara Lawrence? Why would she be under your desk? Why don’t you just look under and see that she’s not there?
Reece: No, you.

Lauren gets up, exasperated, and leads Reece back to his desk. She makes a big production out of looking under the desk and proclaiming, “Nope. No Sara.”

Fifteen minutes later, Reece is back in Lauren’s office. Lauren just stares, defeated.

Reece: My chair is uncomfortable. It feels funny.

not_amused

Scene 12: Working lunch.

Lauren: Thanks everyone for tolerating another lunch meeting. Hopefully these sandwiches make up for having to stay in. Let’s go ahead and get started. As you all know, we …

Cut to Reece purposefully dropping his sandwich on the floor, staring right at Lauren and saying, “Uh-oh.”

Lauren gathers her patience, hands Reece another triangle of sandwich and returns to her intro. Reece holds his hand high outside his body and drops his can of Coke, “Uh-oh.”

Scene 13: The highest form of flattery.

Lauren: Hey Reece, stop by when you get a sec.
Reece: Hey Reece, stop by when you get a sec.
Lauren: What? Really, I need another set of eyes on the graph I’m showing Will next week.
Reece: What? Really, I need another set of eyes on the graph I’m showing Will next week.

grrr

Scene 14: The heart wants what it wants.

Sara: Hi-ya, Reece. Here’s your copy of the report for the meeting.
Reece: But I wanted my copy on blue paper.
Sara: Um, blue paper? We don’t make copies on blue paper.
Reece: But I wanted it on blue!
Sara: Look, it has the information you need—that’s what’s important.
Reece: BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scene 15: Adventurous palate.

Lauren: I’m so happy we could all get away from the office and celebrate an amazing quarter. Here’s to eating, drinking and being merry!
Waiter: What could I get you, Ma’am?
Sara: Hi. I’ll have the filet, medium rare, asparagus and the Dijon mashed potatoes.
Waiter: And you, Ma’am?
Lauren: I’ll have the Portobello gnocchi, and a salad with the house dressing.
Waiter: Nice. Sir, what’ll you have?
Nathan: Let me get the pork shank, risotto and the bacon jam Brussels sprouts, please.
Waiter: Great choice. And you, Sir?
Reece: Chicken strips and a large chocolate milk.

Scene 16: Say Cheese!

In every picture taken, Reece’s fake smile looks like someone told him to show all 32 teeth and look as surprised as he would if an 18-wheeler was heading directly at him.

Sweet Sam. This phase will last a full year.

Scene 17: Let’s GO.

Nathan: Say, Reece, you ready to go down to the presentation?
Reece: Yeah. I mean no. I’m a helicopter.
Nathan (5 minutes later): Reece, come on man, we need to head down or we’re gonna be late.
Reece: Yeah, ‘k. (continues being a helicopter)
Nathan: (2 minutes later): We have to go. Now. I’m leaving, so come on if you’re coming. And get your notebook.
Reece: (stands there, slumped over, with his arms hanging all the way to his feet) I’m cominggggg, ugh! (continues to stand)
Nathan: That’s it, I’m leaving. Do what you want. (walks off)
Reece: WAAAIIITTT!! NATHAN WAIT! NATHAAAAAAAAAAAAN! (runs for Nathan and lunges, throwing his arms around Nathan’s mid-stride leg)

Scene 18: Storytelling.

Lauren: Hey gang, good meeting. Before we head back to our desks, I wondered if Reece and Claire wanted to tell us about their experience at the conference this week. Guys?

Reece: Yeah, so, so, so, so when, when, when we, we like – like it was yesterday and we, we had, we went, when we went to …
Claire: Yeah, we headed into Stratton Hall and …
Reece: ME! I’m telling it! I’m telling the story!
Claire: Fine, tell it.
Reece: So like we, we, we went and when we went, we … Stop Nathan! Nathan’s making faces at me! Stop it! Stop making faces!”

Scene 19: Name calling.

Lauren: Thanks for coming in guys. I understand the two of you are having some difficulties relating to one another and I thought we’d see if we can come to an agreement today. Nathan, why don’t you tell me a little about the circumstances that led to yesterday’s confrontation.
Nathan: Sure. I approached Reece about the email he sent to …
Reece: You’re stupid. You’re a dumb stupid-head.
Nathan (hands in the air): See? This is what I’m dealing with—and he’s done this in front of clients.
Reece: Because you’re an idiot dumb-dumb poopy diaper face.

Yeah, so the next time you want to throttle a co-worker for making your work life twice as hard as it should be, just be thankful they wear pants and don’t ask you to nurse them during a meeting.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Girl Fight

I am neither proud nor ashamed to tell you that I almost got my ass kicked at Chick fil-A last week.

I’d made, what was supposed to be, a quick Target run at lunch—but 45 minutes and $100 later (I’d gone in for a green Sharpie), I needed to grab a bite and get back to work. For the most part, I can take or leave Chick fil-A, but considering how close it was, and how their spicy chicken sandwich is actually kinda spicy, I headed that way.

I joined the drive-through line, and that’s where the trouble began. It’s one of those poorly planned lots, where the drive-through line prohibits the cars parked there, to exit easily. If drivers aren’t consistently aware of people needing to pull out, it can get dicey.

It got dicey.

But not for the reasons it should have. There I was, sitting contentedly in line, listening to Jason DeRulo, and looking forward to some unhealthy, spicy goodness—when I spotted a car, in one of the bad slots, with its reverse lights on. I saw their intent and delighted in patiently awaiting their exit—happy to make it simple and undramatic for them. I was in a cocoon of happy and wanted to spread good cheer. They were sitting in their car, reverse lights on, waiting on the car in front of me to move up in the line so they could squeeze through us.

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Just as that was about to happen, a new car pulled up to the right of me and aggressively angled in at my front, right bumper—as if to say, “That spot is MINE”—to which I thought aloud in my car, “What are you DOING? I don’t want that spot and you need to let her out before you can take over, you greedy, impatient nit-wit.”

Then, she inched even CLOSER to me, like centimeters from my car. In hindsight, I wish my car had a nice, friendly warning horn, but like every other car on the planet, it only has the loud, yelling kind. Regardless, I had no other recourse, so I honked.

Side Note: If horns could speak, mine would have said, “Hey pretty lady, that spot is ALL yours, but you’re about to get hit, because she’s backing up—so save yourself!”

CFA lot1

In much the same way she maneuvered her car in for her anticipated lunch, things took a sharp left turn.

She swiveled her head to me and threw her hands up—while her mouth made reptilian yelling motions. Because I was still on a Target high, and within minutes of my sandwich, I stayed calm and pointed to the car wanting to come out—and made a motion that I thought said, A: I come in peace. B: In your haste to dine, you must not have seen the Corolla’s reverse lights.

It was instantly apparent that she mistook my friendly warning as something far more hostile, because her neck veins and eyebrows joined her mouth in the yelling motions. Then she rolled down her window to, I assumed, tell me a thing or two. I Penelope’d her and rolled mine down faster.

Side Note: An angry confrontation with a Looney Toon—in a fast food parking lot—is not my idea of a good time, but I felt it was important to meet her aggressiveness step for step. I’ve also never been afraid to do a little time.

She barked out something about me honking and demanded to know what my problem was. I refrained from telling her my only problem was Chick fil-A’s decision to sell waffle fries instead of real ones. I calmly said I was trying to give her a heads-up about the car that was about to back in to her—and pointed out that they were still waiting to get on with their day.

She started to yell something else, then stopped and looked towards the Chick fil-A door. I turned to look the same direction and was met by the visual of Big Bubba, waddling out the door and also demanding to know what the funk I was honking at.

Side Note: 2 things. Funk is replacing its real-deal cousin in this story. Also, these two clowns probably have y’all thinking I laid on the horn like an instigator, and kept at it. No. It was the quickest beep a car can execute.

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Dang, was my quick horn that antagonistic? You’d have thought I blew a bullhorn in their ears.

Because I have good manners and cockpit-level skills, I rolled down my window for my discussion with Big Bubba—while simultaneously rolling up my window to shut out his little lady. I’ve watched enough crime shows to know not to leave an opening for a sneak attack by a woman who’s hangry. He stayed on the Chick fil-A entrance step, so he was far enough away from me that I had no fear of getting snatched out of my car by my hair—like I have no doubt he wanted to do.

So again, he insisted on knowing what the funk I was honking at—with animated arms. I said, “Are you being serious?” I asked this in reference to the surprising escalation of anger over something so inconsequential.

He said, “You damn right I’m serious! What the funk are you honking at my wife for?!”

I said, “First of all, it’s ‘you’re’ damn right, not ‘you’ damn right, and you need to chill out a degree or two. Secondly, I was only trying to let her know that Corolla was about to back into her. That was clearly not welcome—my bad—you can go rejoin your chicken nuggets.”

“Well don’t funking honk at her again. You need to move the funk on. Get funking moving.”

It actually was my turn to inch up, so I did, and said, “Chivalry really isn’t dead. You should be so proud.”

He said, “Oh I am! I am funking proud!”

At that point, I’d moved up probably two car lengths and I was two cars away from actually getting to place my order. Then I saw wifey walking toward me. I rolled down the window and she said, “WHY you were honking at me, and why you were flailing your arms like this and why you weren’t getting out of the way?” (She started doing some kind of wild-arm dance that was wholly unflattering and not at all representative of my simple pointing motion.)

“That doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever done with my arms … and out of the way? Where did you want me to go?! I already told you, I honked to let you know that car was about to back into you—it wasn’t appreciated—noted. Move on and get back to your hot date with that knight in shining armor.”

“Yeah, you move on. And funk you. And GOD BLESS!

She said it, y’all. She really said God Bless. It’s like for a fraction of a second, as she was wheeling around, she spied the Chick fil-A sign and wished to remain in good standing.

I laughed and said, “Classy. You and your husband are a delight.”

She flipped me the bird and stomped in. I’m sure they had a super romantic lunch.

The truth is, I have absolutely zero doubt that if I hadn’t been in my car, she’d have wanted to actually fight. Like, with fists. Or hair-pulling. Whatever it is that people who get mad enough to fight do. I just don’t get that level of mad.

Side Note: Years ago, Jocelyn, my sister, my sister-in-law and I took a boxing class. We mostly did it for exercise, but we also thought it was kind of cool to do something different from aerobics or kick-boxing. We learned all kinds of techniques and punching series—and got in decent shape.

One night at class, the instructor talked to me about competing. I wanted to hit the floor laughing. I knew I was pretty good at the technical stuff and picked things up quickly, but compete? As in, go into a ring and try to win a fight with another living person? No way, no how—I didn’t have the gene required to want to hurt someone or beat them, just for the sake of fitness. I just didn’t.

But someone did—my sister-in-law. We got to the point in class where it was time to spar. He paired us up and told us to get gloved. We were spread out around the mat and told we’d spar for three minutes. I was thinking, “Well this should be fun—dancing around, avoiding contact for 180 seconds.”

The bell rang and we bobbed around for no more than four seconds, before she punched me square in my mouth. Hard.

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Here is my point, I’m probably never going to want to physically fight someone. I think I could hold my own in a lot of circumstances, but it’s just comical to even think about it. But this Chick fil-A dope wanted to fight me over a horn! A horn that was intended for good!

I got back to work and was a little amped up. One of my co-workers was like, “Good lunch?” I said, “Yeah, considering I just avoided a beat down.”

I’ll now take this time to answer some FAQs that I’ve conjured up in my head.

Q: You know that could have gone terribly wrong, right?
A: I do.

Q: You know people get shot over stupid stuff like this, right?
A: I do.

Q: You know it makes people 10x madder when you greet their anger calmly—and with jokes, right?
A: I do.

Q: You know a lot of people actually love waffle fries, right?
A: I do.

The whole scene lasted about a minute and a half, and it ended with all of us getting our sought-after lunch. So all-in-all, it wasn’t such a bad outing.

chickfila

If either of you whiners are reading this, don’t bother looking for me. I now live in a remote corner of Alaska, where I have become a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I live near my uncles—Big Paulie, Fat Tony and Joe the Ice-Man Barber.

Honk-honk.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

Why I Have Trust Issues

Overall, I’m not a distrusting person. I actually trust people wholeheartedly—trust that they’ll annoy, dismay and fascinate me. I rely, with confidence, on my instincts, and feel I’m a good judge of character. But I can’t deny the fact that I do I have some trust issues—and I have a pretty good idea why.

1. Shazam.

I’ve never once gotten Shazam to think I’m the artist. No matter how perfectly in key I am, how meticulously my timing is or how precisely I rap 16 bars, the app has never once popped up with the original artist and title after hearing me sing. I just find that so sketchy. How is it absolutely certain it’s not hearing an acapella version of the song?

trust issues

2. Two-faced.

Sometimes I think a person looks like an entirely different person—with different temperaments and different insecurities—if I just look directly at their left eye or right eye. Yeah, I know everyone’s eyes are slightly different, but some people have a totally different look in each of their eyes—so different that I think one eye could have committed a crime while the other was writing a sonnet. When I have the chance (if the person hasn’t busted me staring), I’ll study their two personalities until I decide which one I like best, which one I’d trust to have my back in a street fight, and which one would make the prettiest babies.

3. DVRs are spiteful.

DVRs wreck my trust, because 99 times out of 100, when I hit pause, it freezes the absolute worst look any actor or athlete could ever have. I simply cannot take that call or run to the restroom while someone’s face is frozen like a drunk monster. I just feel so bummed for them. I’ll un-pause and re-pause a dozen times if needed, to find a suitable face we can both feel good about.

4. Makeup contouring.

Every single thing about this trend has my body in a cauldron of distrustful emotions. See the image below or simply Google “face contouring makeup” if you want a full dose of this madness—or watch here if you want to unite in head-shaking shock with me.

trust issues

Unless you’re a model or actress, why on earth would you want to look so vastly different from your natural self? I’d never want to set people up to be so sorely disappointed—not with contouring, not with lip injections, not with colored contacts.

Side Note: I think the only cosmetic surgery I’d sign up for is a thus-far-undiscovered procedure to replace my least important finger with Cherry Chapstick.

5. Discontinued.

How is it that certain flavors, candy and scents have remained for decades, but all my favorite things cease to exist at fairly normal intervals? So, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are still hanging in there, but my favorite spicy dish at Pei Wei was written off about a year ago? How do spicy veggies and noodles go out of style? My favorite Sephora lotion went bye-bye recently, yet original Noxzema is still in the game. My favorite Bath & Body bath scent was discontinued last year—forcing me to re-order it from eBay while it lasts—but they still keep pumping out Juniper Breeze (or as I refer to it: instant stomach ache.) All of it makes me distrusting of my life and my disposable choices. If normal, good things can come to an end, then what else can come to an end? Sunshine during the day? MY MOTHER’S LOVE?!

trust issues

6. Good sportsmanship.

I get choked up by good sportsmanship. Players helping up opponents—even in the heat of battle—ends me. Athletes checking on their competition when they look hurt—has me reaching for Kleenex. When both teams circle around an injured player like they’re all one tribe—I can barely deal. So why does this topic feed my trust issues? Because sometimes, those jackasses won’t accept the opposition’s offered hand when they need help getting up. And when that happens, I feel the rejection all the way in my own living room.

Then there is this … which is awful … ly funny.

trust issues

trust issues

7. Comic strips:

I’ll just come right out at say it, then shield my face from your swinging fists. I don’t like comic strips. I don’t care if they’re funny or smart or even borderline genius; my brain shuts off when I see them. Even if they’re just out-of-this-world awesome, I’d never know, because I simply can’t make myself read them. I have no idea why this is so, or why they look no more appealing than a sheet of algebra to me, but I’ve finally just resigned myself to the fact that they’re not my thing. Decades of consistently adverse reactions to them have forced me to accept their non-existent place in my life.

The trust issues surface when people, who I hoped were like-minded, walk up to me and hand me one, awaiting my certain laughter. I trusted you not to put me in the awkward position of pretending to read it/get it/like it. You’ve burst our trust bubble with your thoughtless assumptions and forced me into a scene of false camaraderie. Oh, you thought I’d get a kick out of it? Well I thought you’d pick up on my disdain for tedious stories told in squares with weird illustrations—so great, now neither one of us trusts the other.

8. Google’s attitude.

Have you ever googled something like, “womens dresses”—wait, me neither—how about, “womens jackets” and Google returns a list, but the top line says, “Did you mean women’s jackets?” When did Google get so high and mighty? What’s with the punctuation police? It’s such a passive-aggressive, condescending question—did you mean WOMEN’S JACKETS, Moron? The Google I thought I knew would return endless results with the header, “Got it! Including options for womens jacket, women’s jackets and anything in the female jacket ballpark!” I always thought of Google as this cool, accepting type who didn’t judge. I mean, it does fine with disasters like this:

trust issues

… but it’s gonna get all in my face about an apostrophe? #TrustIssues

9. Pizza gone rogue.

I love good pizza. I could eat it everyday. I’m pretty picky about crust, but not all that hung up on ingredients. I try to be a good pizza eater and not insist on only my favorite toppings; so, I feel completely bamboozled when I open up a nice, hot, fresh pizza box and the pizza is cut into squares. WHAT AM I LOOKING AT HERE, PEOPLE.?! Why would any reputable pizza place opt to cut pizza into … pieces … rather than slices? If a place cuts a rectangular pizza into squares, I’ll be upset and never go there again, but if place cuts a perfectly normal, round pizza into squares, I won’t even associate with anyone who speaks of this establishment.

trust issues

Side Note: I feel the same way about waffle fries. Get out of here with that child’s play. I can just hear some of you right now, “What?! Waffle fries rule! Hello—Chick fil-A?!” Yep, I know. And those weirdo potato waffles are a big barrier between me and their supposedly good chicken.

10. My own irrational thoughts:

When I spot someone existing in oblivion—in public—I feel capable and ready to take the hit. If they’re walking around unaware of the humans around them, and I can tell they might actually run into me, my adrenaline kicks in and I relish the idea of absorbing a good blow. I’ll sometimes even change my path slightly so they run into me. I know this isn’t normal behavior, but I feel like I need to teach them a lesson—and I don’t see any of you people stepping up to the plate.

Side Note: I have especially serious trust issues (with myself) because I’ve been known to consider taking a hit on the highway. Obviously not when trucking along at high speeds; but when I’m getting tailed too closely by some douche kabob … or see a ditzy teen on her phone, swerving around, I’m not above at least letting the altruistic collision play out in my mind.

Since misery loves company, I’ll wrap up with this image. You’re welcome.

trust issues

Trust issues at an all-time high … Taylor and Bruno.

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Sometimes I Want Funyuns

My eating habits aren’t too bad. They’d need to be better if I cared more about six-pack abs than general happiness, but I do not—so for what I value most, I do pretty well. For me, the quickest way to make life less lovely, is to wake up day after day with food restrictions.

food

I opt for a more doable solution, which is simply … moderation. I eat really well more meals of the week than I don’t. If there are 21 meals in a week, I go wheels off for probably 6-7 of them. That’s really all there is to it.

When it comes to the other 14-15 food decisions, I’m usually pretty good.

Although.

Sometimes I eat good and stay mindful of what I’m putting in my body—doing quick calculations of my veggie and protein intake, ensuring I have a well-balanced eating day in the works … but sometimes, I just want Funyuns.

Sometimes I want to take a short plunge into clean eating—really go all-out whole foods from the earth—and truly experience feeling light and good and full of energy. I want to blog about whole food recipes that I’ve tweaked for full flavor; I want to post on Facebook about a new spaghetti squash recipe that hit the spot … but sometimes I just want two dozen donut holes and a quart of chocolate milk from the “spudnut shop” where I grew up.

Sometimes I count calories and do my best to stay away from empty ones (or ones that are a total waste simply because they’re not shared with someone who’s fun to eat with) … but sometimes I count how many Takis I can eat in a single sitting without a drink of water.

takis

Sometimes I want to go home after work and make baked Dijon chicken, cauliflower mashed “potatoes”, grilled asparagus from the garden and a spinach and edamame salad with Meyer-lemon balsamic vinaigrette … but sometimes I just want to whip up some Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. From the box. And not share.

It’s really not much different in other aspects of my life. My intentions are usually good and I typically end the day feeling pretty happy with my decisions and follow-through.

Except.

Sometimes while driving, I’m deep in thought, pondering the gift of life and love, the importance of forgiveness, the beauty of hope and the depth of my gratitude for having all of them … but sometimes I’m just thinking about all the ways Stephen Curry lights up an often dark world.

curry2

Sometimes I’m listening to books and learning more about things like Aspergers or organic gardening or slavery, through the magnificent characters in the stories I choose … but sometimes I’m listening to my iTunes library on shuffle, which means—for reasons I can no longer recall—I’m listening to Barry Manilow singing Even Now, live at Madison Square Garden.

Sometimes I wonder what it will be like to be in God’s presence. I think about the depth of His grace and mercy and play out all the ways I imagine Heaven to be—full of everything good and happy, from love and peace to music and feasts … but sometimes I just wonder what it would feel like to drive a riding lawnmower.

Sometimes I want to extend grace to the driver who rushed past everyone on the shoulder, and now demands entrance in front of me … but sometimes I want to get out of the car, assume an athletic stance—with my knees shoulder width apart—and fully extend my arms in front of me to flip them a double bird. For a full 5 Mississippi count.

Sometimes I want to dive into the gazillion pictures I have on multiple hard drives, and take time to go through them and delete near-duplicates and ones I’ll never need again … but sometimes I end up watching YouTube videos of animals who became unlikely friends.

unlikely friends2

Sometimes I want to stop wishing for it, and talking about it, and wanting it, and just get online and register for Rosetta Stone and learn Spanish … but sometimes I end up on curious.com trying to learn how to start a fire in the wild.

Sometimes I want to be really patient with people who aren’t keeping up, (like when I’m deep into a great story, and building to the ending, and then I reach the crescendo and someone says, “Now who was this about?” voiding out the entire narrative.) I want to be kind and understanding and give them the benefit of the doubt that I wasn’t clear who the main character was (even though I know I’m not that inept) … but sometimes I actually just want to forbid them from being in my presence until they’ve taken some classes on keeping up.

jimhalpert

Sometimes I sit down to hand-write a couple of notes or letters … but sometimes I end up just practicing my autograph instead.

Sometimes I want to be more limber and get my muscles stretched out. I’ll read about an ideal stretching routine and all its benefits … but sometimes I just squat like a catcher for 6-7 seconds, then pour myself a cold beer and take pictures of the garden.

Sometimes I become resolute in my intentions to kick my Chapstick habit addiction … but sometimes I tell myself to calm down and remember that there are worse compulsions— then I reward my enlightenment by replenishing my stash in every spot I might spend more than 10 minutes.

Sometimes I’m good at dealing with difficult people at work and at Costco. I employ tactics like imagining them as a 6-yr old child, or telling myself everyone is fighting some kind of battle … but sometimes I watch them being their stupid, controlling, infuriating self and I want them to burst into flames.

Sometimes I want to finally go through old boxes and throw away some things I’ve hung on to, and no longer care about … but sometimes I end up reading my middle school report cards and college basketball stat sheets—and posting them on Instagram. #baller #3pointsforme #notalwaysanAstudent #basketballb4boys

Sometimes I have the patience of Job and enjoy the journey … but sometimes I have the patience of an itch and just want all of the guacamole in my belly.

Sometimes I want us to keep saving as much money as we do now—even more—so we can spend our retirement very comfortably and happily, traveling the world and decorating a second home bungalow … but sometimes I think surely all these blood moons mean something, and the end is near, and maybe we should just head out now.

Sometimes I get really antsy wanting to go back to Italy and spend two weeks looking at the Mediterranean, enjoying the Tuscan countryside, eating fresh pasta, eating fresh bread, drinking local wine, getting away from work, getting away from traffic and construction, getting away from a schedule … but sometimes I … no wait, I always want that. Those intentions are solidly in place.

Where do your good intentions take a sharp left turn?

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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:

digicup

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.

blake

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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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?

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Next Level Lazy

I follow some Pinterest boards dedicated to cool gadgets and interesting technology. Lately, a few of them have become overrun with devices marketed as time-savers, but actually, they’re just, “Things you’d buy if you were too lazy to deserve life.” I ask myself time and time again, “Are we that lazy?!” And when I say we, I mean you.

Let’s jump off with some food prep. I don’t go a week without seeing one of these gems pop up somewhere. Never once have I thought, “Now there’s a utensil I can get behind.” First of all—and this is a hard truth we’ll circle back to—you don’t have room for another outlandish gadget. You don’t. I know you don’t.

Why, world, why?

Why, world, why?

When did slicing a banana become so cumbersome that you tried to think of a workaround? Bananas are soft; you could cut them with the wrong side of a butter knife. You don’t need this task to be easier.

Knives make these same suer-unique cuts.

Knives make these same super-unique cuts.

Interestingly enough, an avocado’s consistency is similar to a banana. Who dices a soft avocado and thinks, “My life is hard enough without having to carve all these lines. Why does guacamole require so much elbow grease?”

Side Note: Introduce me to something that preps a pineapple or spaghetti squash in one motion, and I’m in.

The most unnecessary kitchen item ever.

The most unnecessary kitchen item ever.

Anyone who buys—or even wants—a gadget to crack eggs, needs to consider which life decisions led to this downward spiral. The only thing hard about cracking an egg is nothing. Save your money and enroll in a camp to toughen up.

Lazy x10.

Lazy x10.

When is the last time you thought, “The world would be pretty drama-free if we just didn’t have to slice butter”? Does anyone watch an injustice and nod to themselves thinking, “Oh, karma’s gonna get you, kiddo, and I hope you rot in sewer while slicing sticks of butter ALLLLL day.” The answer is no—no one has these thoughts.

Please don't let me see you doing this.

Please don’t let me see you doing this.

Do you honestly need to sit down to peel potatoes? The only possible time I could imagine this need is if you were peeling potatoes for the city of Los Angeles. And remember, you don’t have room for another gadget—especially this one.

My eyes can't unsee this.

My eyes can’t un-see this.

Don’t ever let me walk in and catch you doing this. I’d rather walk in on anything—yes anything—else. You could dedicate your life to training service dogs and teaching sign language to toddlers, and if I walk in on you using one of these, you are dead to me.

I'll not stand for this.

I’ll not stand for this.

Look at me. LOOK at me. We do not give forethought to how we want to sit at the beach, and make purchases based on its inherent discomforts. If you need help sitting this way—because it’s simply too demanding—then don’t sit this way. We’re not debating this.

Ages 5 and under. YOU HEARD ME.

Ages 5 and under. YOU HEARD ME.

If you’re not wearing Underoos or getting tucked in at night, you can’t use this fork (even if it’s available in solid colors). You’re going to have to actually move your wrist and manually twist the spaghetti on a big girl fork. Please don’t succumb to this level of laziness or tell yourself it’s neat-o.

Capital L Lazy.

Capital L Lazy.

I don’t care if you grill out seven nights a week—this grate-scrubbing gadget is unacceptable. You also have no room for it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it makes you an even cooler grill master; it actually negates your BBQing coolness. The only people who will tell you otherwise probably use the banana slicer. Be wary.

It's a kitchen, not a wood-working shop.

It’s a kitchen, not a wood-working shop.

No, Ma’am. If you’re prone to tears when chopping onions, a tool already exists for that—it’s called coping. We do not wear goggles to prep onions.

Nothing could possibly go wrong here.

Nothing could possibly go wrong here.

You will never convince me this is a good idea. The first reason has been established—you don’t have room for it. Beyond that, the list of issues inherent to this gadget is lengthy. Please just go with tradition and lift the milk out like a normal, non-lazy, not-crazy human. Oh good grief, I just saw what it’s called. Help.

I guess showers are just too taxing.

I guess showers are just too taxing.

A human washing machine, huh? There is a time and place for getting bathed by someone else—it’s called infancy. Obviously no one could afford this monstrosity (and you don’t have room for it, anyway.) But even if you could swing it financially, if I ever find out you looked at it longingly and did mental budgeting, we’ll be parting ways. Some call it tough love, I call it tough shit. I don’t roll with people who want to lay in a washing machine because they think showers take a toll on their energy level.

Technology gone wrong.

Created by a wayward engineer.

I can’t imagine any issues with this at all. Chicago O’Hare, no problem. DFW, what could go wrong? For goodness sake, bags already roll—is that not enough for you slackers?

Where do I start?

Where do I start?

A portable, inflatable bench? How often are you really in need of a place to sit, and it’s so dire that you can’t just sit on the surface that covers the planet—OR STAND? Is it enough to warrant shopping for, purchasing, owning and traveling with an “emergency inflator bench?” Agree that the answer is NO and we’ll all get out of here in one piece.

I'm furious.

I’m furious.

This is what it says: With the easy pull-on sock aid, you no longer have to bend down and struggle to put your socks on. All you need to do is to stretch the sock over the support, slowly slide your foot in and pull handles.

Raise your hand if this sounds 3x harder than PULLING ON YOUR SOCKS. Can you imagine how much our forefathers hate us? Well, I can.

#parentingfail

#parentingfail

Let me get this straight. You slather your child in anti-bacterial hand sanitizer—between organic snacks and range-free eggs—but you let him do your floors? You might as well slap a mop on his face, too, because he’s probably going to try to lick the tiles while he’s at it. Welcome to a world of crime—where your baby is now an accomplice to your laziness.

Side Note: Don’t let that sweet baby’s willing expression fool you. He doesn’t even know his name … you think he has a clue about the pound of dust mites he’s housing?

I’ll close with this ill-conceived idea, and hope I’ve caught you before you click “purchase scooter bag.”

You won't be smiling like this in the face of dirty looks.

You won’t be smiling like this in the face of dirty looks.

This idea is deceptive. You might think it’s slightly genius; however, trust me when I say you won’t feel good about yourself dork-gliding to the tarmac this way.

If you’re not scared of (and scarred by) the lengths people go to, to demonstrate their laziness, you should be. I am. We’re just not going to conquer life this way. When butter and bananas are causing us grief, we’re in capital T trouble.

Good news! I just got an email that my Pizza Slicer Fork shipped! I’m sure I’ve got room for it somewhere.

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I’m A Banana

If you’re like me, you have seasons of carefree living—and seasons of introspection. I think our soul knows that looking inward and facing hard truths is something we can only endure occasionally. That occasion for me, was last week—on a Tuesday of all days. After taking a short quiz, I found out that if I was a car, I’d be a Volvo Station Wagon.

It’s simply not true. I’m a spirited and reliable Volkswagen Beetle, and I’ve known this since I was a 12. I think the discouraging station wagon result came from my preference to read, rather than watch Hoarders—and to cook, rather than drive through Taco Bell. I guess favoring a clean house, and order in my life, automatically separates me from my spunky, resilient Beetle persona? Maybe my somewhat abnormal love of spring cleaning catapults me into this sensible, rule-following ride?

I guess buzzfeed—and its ilk—are all-knowing? Everyday I see a new quiz pop up on Facebook, letting me know my 5th grade boyfriend should have been named “Devin” or that my co-worker is “Bulda” from Frozen. And now this: I’m a station wagon?

That’s fine. But before you laugh at me, you should know this: the celebrity I’m supposed to get drunk with is Rihanna. Bang. If I was truly a Volvo wagon, do you think the internet would send me off to get liquored up with Rihanna? No. They’d have picked Bea Arthur or Nick Lachey and they didn’t.

rihanna

It made me wonder what kind of house they think I am. I already know I’m a bungalow. Of this, I am sure. But I bet my answer to, “What would I find you doing at a lively house party?” would result in them telling me I’m a boxy, characterless, 2-story track home in the suburbs, right? Not cool buzzfeed, not cool.

Don’t get me wrong, I found out some lovely things about myself, too—things I will hang on to. Things that will sustain me during those lonely hours cruising in my station wagon.

I, my dear friends, am a beaver. You heard me. I am “creative, practical and well-organized.” If there is someone in need, I will not hesitate to offer a helping hand.

Side Note: This isn’t entirely true. More than once I’ve skipped right by someone needing help with a jammed printer. I’m actually more willing to help people not be societal jackholes. I think the quiz tagged me as helpful because when I took it, I was an hour away from my favorite meal and I said that I would, indeed, help out a co-worker whose tire was flat. But that was just the promise of good food talking.

As for my spirit animal, (which is wholly different from my regular animal) you’ll be happy to know that I’m a wolf. The internet knows, based on ten questions, that I’m stealth—with a great sense of hearing and smell. When you’re a wolf like I am, “family comes first.” I form deep connections with close friends and loved ones and they know I’ll protect them at all costs. I’m “loyal, devoted and passionate.” They say I’m best matched with swans, otters and crows, so I’m assuming everyone I love is one of these three or … uh-oh.

Supposedly, as a wolf, I need to watch out for people who are spiders or foxes. Trust me, I know who these folks are, and I definitely watch out for them. I’m pretty sure there’s a fox in our mail room at work—and I know some spiders who bring their cart with them on the greeting card aisle at Target.

You decide.

You decide.

Now that you know I’m a beaver on the outside and a wolf on the inside, I bet you’re wondering what kind of dog I am. I know I was. I’m a great dane. The test specifically asked what my build and frame were like, so I’m not sure how I ended up as a horse-sized dog, but I can’t argue with the description of myself. Being a great dane means I’m “so humble” that I “don’t notice how much I stand out in a crowded room” (but it does not mean I’m too humble to tell you how wonderfully humble I am, and how I light up a room.) Also, due to my warm demeanor, I’m extremely smart, but still approachable (translated, I do logarithms for fun but still tolerate you and your fascination with Honey Boo Boo.)

Side Note: I barely know how to spell logarithm and sometimes don’t remember how I got to work.

Occasionally I wonder how I landed in my profession. With a Master’s degree in psychology and years of Division 1 college coaching, I’ve somehow found my place in creative advertising. Naturally, I took a quiz to see what my true career should be.

Because I’m a “dedicated team player” who values loyalty above all else, my results revealed that I should be an athlete. Supposedly, I intrinsically know that things work best when everyone works together. They claim I am excited by a challenge and love problem solving (interestingly enough, I actually prefer things to be simple and I like it when there aren’t problems that need to be solved.) It also said I should be a life coach—something I’ve known since the time I realized I was a Volkswagen Bug.

But wait, where should I be an athlete? I had to know, so I took the “What State Do You Belong In” quiz and found out I belong in Michigan—because I’m “smart, friendly and relaxed.” That’s so weird, because Eminem doesn’t seem all that friendly or relaxed. I bet if he took the quiz, he wouldn’t get Michigan. The test raved about how easily I got along with most people and noted that I don’t get involved in others’ business. It’s so funny that buzzfeed doesn’t know about the Facebook stalking or police records I searched the other day.

As soon as I got used to the idea of living in Michigan—which wasn’t that hard, because they have amazing craft beer, unimaginably gorgeous lakes and the Miller’s burger—I figured I should take the test to see exactly what city in Michigan we’d call home. All my plans were quickly derailed when it was brought to my attention that I belonged in Burkina Faso. It’s supposedly a land of honest people, located in the center of Africa. It “faces problems” but the quiz results assured me I’d find peace and beauty “in the simplicity of rural life.”

Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso.

The only way I could settle myself from the shock of belonging in Central Africa—and not near Kid Rock—was to find out which actress would play me in the movie version of my life. Well, this, I can tell you, was a breath of fresh air.

They said that because I’m “charming, bubbly, stunning” and “light up a room” (being told this twice in one day is a real treat), that Sandra Bullock would play me. They figured that since I can go from cracking a joke to buckling down when a task is at hand, I’d need an actress with range. Enter: Sandy.

Annnd, ACTION!

Annnd, ACTION!

Side Note: If you’re wondering what font I am, wonder no more. I’m Times New Roman. I’m “classic, constant, reliable and secretly sexy.” I resent the “secretly” part.

Last but not least, I want to tell you about all the colors of my vibrant, cheerful, dynamic rainbow. I’m seeing greens and oranges and Turks & Caicos blues. Wait. Nope. My aura is brown.

A bit of a letdown on the surface, but let’s take a closer look. It said I am the color of earth and “more grounded and reliable” than any other color (in your face, red!) I’m “concerned with growth and hard work”; I’m a protector of others and often a great builder (they’re right—I build the baddest taco salad this side of I-35.) My secondary color was violet, because I’m a “leader who is idealistic, thoughtful and charismatic.”

conan-bowing

Initially, the brown aura stung a bit—like I was carpet instead of hardwoods, dirt instead of the Mediterranean sea—but then I realized my aura and my color were two different quizzes! My color was … wait for it … blue! The result was blue because I “give love and friendship unconditionally”; I’m loyal and intuitive and enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality.

Side Note: I do enjoy long, thoughtful conversations about how Harry Connick, Jr. should join The Voice and complete my perfect singing competition portrait.

Last but not least, I wanted to share with you that “my element” is Earth. It’s supposedly Earth because I’m “strong and stable—a good leader and role model.” This quiz knew I didn’t really like a lot of changes and that I prefer knowing what’s going on so I can prepare. It noted that my adventurous side makes “my animal” a horse or an eagle—but as we’ve already discussed, I’m a beaver and a wolf, so I’m not sure this quiz’s algorithm was cranking on all cylinders.

It said that Earth people dislike people who talk too much. I’ve just realized this is rather lengthy, so I guess I don’t like Earth people. But I do like Sandra Bullock and athletes and Times New Roman, so I’m just as confused about who I am as I was before buzzfeed came into my life.

I think I’ll go take a quiz to see what my best coping skills are. If it says, “Drive around Burkina Faso in a Volvo station wagon with Rihanna until you find some proper moonshine” … I guess that’s what I’ll have to do.

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