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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Meant To Be

Have you ever thought you were destined for something? Do you possess unconfirmed, yet irrefutable knowledge that a certain existence is meant for you?

Me, too.

Through all the iterations of life, I’ve never shaken the idea that I’m meant to be BFF’s with a celebrity. And when it happens, it’ll be so organic—and that’s why it’ll work.

I’m not positive how it’ll go down, but I have a pretty good idea. I’ll be using the restroom at a random Starbucks or Vitamin Shoppe and just as I’m wrapping up and about to flush, I’ll hear, “Ouch! Oh no!” coming from a few stalls down. Then I’ll hear whimpering and some pretty ambitious swearing.

cubedoubletake

I’ll be able to tell no one’s around but me and I’ll contemplate asking if she’s OK or just slipping out without washing my hands—ever mindful that wiping my hands on my jeans doesn’t actually kill germs—but knowing it might be worth the risk, since I just can’t be sure what I’m walking into. Is there some sort of embarrassing pain going on in there that I’ll never be able to un-see?

Then the swearing will become so impressive—in both creativity and delivery—that I’ll have to know more.

“Hey, uh—you OK in there?”
“I … don’t really think so.”
“How can I, I mean, do you want help?”
“Uh. Yeah? Could you maybe crawl under the stall door? I’m a little … I’m stuck.”

I’ll look around, trying to glean to the best of my knowledge, if I’m on the Ellen-Cam. I’ll see nothing but a fragrance shooter and decide I’m going in.

Once I complete my acrobatic entrance, I’ll see that this woman is stuck in the only way someone could get stuck if it was her worst day on Earth. She’ll be facing the back wall, left foot firmly on the ground, with her right leg submerged and her 4” heel fully wedged in the base of the bowl—toilet water up to her calf. Her purse will be draped embarrassingly tight around her neck—though safely suspended above the water.

I’ll laugh to myself because I do the same thing when there is no hook.

Her head will be down as she tries to avoid eye contact.

I’ll press my lips together to stifle a laugh, while deciding the best way to extract her.

She’ll begin to speak without looking up, “I always knew that karate kicking the flusher would bite me in the ass one day. Please, please—I’m begging you not to tweet this.”

Her request will interrupt the tweet I’m constructing in my head. I’ll reply quickly, “I’m only mind-tweeting. Why would I actually tweet this?!”

And she’ll look up … and it’ll be Tina Fey.

tinafeyyep

I’ll actually jump backwards a bit, hit the stall door and automatically say, “Blurgh!” Then I’ll spring into action and never stop talking while I attempt to loosen her from the grips of humiliation. I’ll no longer feel the need to laugh because I’ll have gone into protection mode.

That is, until we hear someone come in, making us keenly aware of our scene behind the stall door. We’ll both realize the utter absurdity of it all and know we’re going to explode with laughter (hers from stress hysteria, mine from regular hysteria), so we’ll cover our mouths, silent shake laughing until we have tears running down our cheeks.

Once we’re alone, I’ll finally get her loose by breaking the strap on her heel.

And this is how it’ll start. I’ll find out she’s filming a movie in town and on an afternoon break. I’ll offer to run her to my house or the mall … and for reasons we’ll later laugh about, she’ll accept.

I’ll joke about my Ford Escape—telling her to get ready for a pretty sweet ride and let her know we’ll be rollin’ on 16’s. I’ll ask her to keep her envy levels locked down when she sees bird droppings all over my windshield.

I won’t even have the chance to pretend I’m anything but super average, because as soon as we get in the car, I’ll remember my gas light is on. Yes, QuickTrip will be the first stop with my A-lister. Fantastic. I’ll pop my head in as I pump gas and ask if I can get her a Slim Jim or some pretzels. She’ll say she’s good and I’ll offer to get us Lotto numbers, impressing upon her the importance of getting in on the 14 million dollar jackpot—before I remember she’s worth 45 million. I’ll then ask her to get me Lotto numbers. And some Funyuns.

Once we’re gassed up and ready to rock, I’ll ask her how I can help.

“What size of shoes do you wear?” I’ll say, “7.5” and she’ll start clapping and light-squealing with the knowledge and relief that we share a shoe size.

“Uh, tap the brake there Liz Lemon. I don’t own any Louboutins.”

“Oh please,” she’ll wave, “Any heels will do!”

I’ll stare at her in an “we’re at an impasse” kind of way.

“I’m serious! Any shoes will do, promise!”

“If you say so. I hope you like Sperry and Nike. I also hope you’re good at living with regret—because I’m probably the only chick who won’t have something you like!”

“Um, Anna? You rescued me from public toilet water. My regret level is none percent. Besides, if I had my choice, I’d live in Chucks, so I’m sure we’ll be fine!”

She’ll let me know she doesn’t have to be back to the set for three hours, so we’ll fish around for something she can wear and spend the rest of the time talking over cold beers. One of the things we’ll recall down the road, that solidified us as friends, will be me reaching for wine (assuming it’s her poison) and her asking, “Actually, do you have any beer?”

I’ll take her to the garage to show her our beer fridge.

Yes, we have beer.

Yes, we have beer.

We’ll talk and sip for a couple of hours and what will touch me the most is how equally interested she is in my very average life as I am in hers.

We’ll bemoan having to get her back to the set, but we’ll also just “know” we’re friends now. We’ll have clicked and it’ll be as natural as anything—the connection, the tenor of our conversations, the ebb and flow, the similarities in our likes and dislikes. She’ll ask if I like to travel and if I’d be up for somewhat short-notice trips to various things. I’ll say, “I don’t know. Let me check with my secretary.” Then I’ll say, “Yep!”

We’ll carry on a decades-long friendship of her coming out my way for fuss-free time off and me meeting up with her for occasional premieres and annual get-aways with our families. I’ll teach her how to cook and she’ll teach me how to pose for photographers. I’ll show her what a beautifully normal life looks like and she’ll give me peeks into the fascinating, yet a-little-goes-a-long-way, Hollywood scene. She’ll even use some of my lines in her movies, then remind me of it when I don’t want to let her pay for my airfare.

I’ll get to meet Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph. I’ll tell them about a movie idea I’ve been sorting out for years and they’ll exchange a bona fide look of genuine intrigue (Amy with her chin-down-head-tilted look and Maya with her chin-up-looking-down-the-bridge-of-her-nose look) and I’ll know I’m onto something. Little Alice will take a shine to Jocelyn and begin mimicking her every move and calling her Aunt LaLa—for reasons we’ll never know.

Tina's Mini.  photo cred: INFDaily

Alice—Tina’s Mini.
photo cred: INFDaily

I’ll always marvel at—and appreciate that—she’ll seem just as interested in the new content management system we’re rolling out at work, as I am in her stories about Jason Batemen’s practical jokes on set. She’ll say things like, “Some of those gaffes are his buddies from his Silver Spoons days and he just torments them in every way imaginable. Like the other morning, he …” and I’ll say, “Shut. UP. That’s freakin’ hysterical. It reminds me in no way of the conversation I had with an assistant buyer today, where she wanted us to add inseam measurements to 4,000 pairs of jeans by Friday.” I’ll be teasing, but then she’ll ask, “What’s up Katie’s ass?” and I’ll smile at her remembering her name.

Since we text a lot and I’m her number one get-away-from-it-all friend, I’ll put her in my phone as “Granny” … so as to not shout my good fortune or blow her cover. She’ll tell me repeatedly that she doesn’t even care anymore; but, I’ll be so into the game by then that I refuse to change. I’ll love getting a spectacularly funny text from her when I’m at a baby shower with co-workers, because they’ll be curious and I’ll just say, “Oh, it’s just Granny. She’s a hoot.”

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Would You Rather

I think I’m hard-wired to make a game out of nearly everything.

If Jocelyn asks me to grab a new roll of paper towels, I will, but only if she yells, “180! Set! Hike!” and I’m able to hike them across the kitchen. Like, why would anyone just hand over something they can hike?

I’m also not interested in dropping something in the trash when I can just as easily juke around a bit before executing a banana peel jump shot.

When I’m waiting in the ice machine line at work, I peruse the vending options to the left and make myself choose the three items I’d live on for one month, if I had to. I thoughtfully scan and ponder, immediately ruling out anything sweet (I’d rather eat a sock than a honeybun.) It never fails; I always pick pretzels, beef jerky and anything with “Flamin’” in the name.

Or these. I'd exchange vows with Takis if I lived in Vermont.

Or these. I’d exchange vows with Takis if I lived in Vermont.

Sometimes on my commute home from work, when my mind is wandering, I’ll tell myself that triplets will be on my doorstep and I have to figure their names out NOW. I’m not giving any of you free-loaders my ideas—you can name your own triplets—but I will tell you that my three cuties would not all share the same first letter.

I’ve found that others aren’t always as eager to play my random games.

“So which Property Brother would you pick?”
“For what?”
“I don’t know. Just in general.”
“But why?”
“Because I need to know.”
“Well you have to tell me what for because obviously I’d pick one for my realtor and the other for my builder.”
“Not for that! I mean, like, if you were gonna play Twister with Baby Oil.”
“Oh—Probably Drew.”

There is really no wrong answer here.

There is really no wrong answer here.

I also like to spend time thinking about whether I’d rather be an Olympian or a professional athlete—and what my specialty would be. A quarterback? Pitcher? Wide receiver? Golfer? Tennis player? Would I want to do the uneven bars? Synchronized diving? I weigh out the pros and cons of each, considering travel schedule, chance for failure, injury rate, income and possible endorsements.

Side Note: I also consider uniforms, and because female Olympic swimmers have been saddled with unflattering suits (and unsightly swim caps), I’ve ruled out trying to medal in the 400 butterfly.

Allison Schmitt is awesome—this gear is not.

Allison Schmitt is awesome—this gear is not.

It’s disappointing to play with someone who just blurts out an unthoughtful answer.

“NFL quarterback for sure!”
“Really? Have you considered all the hours of film you’ll need to watch of other teams? Will it bother you to snug your hands up to that big’ol booty 100x a game? Are you prepared to take the blame for the failures of an entire multimillion dollar organization?”
“Oh. Ok then, I guess golf.”
“Yeah? Are you sure? Are you willing to endure a lifetime of shoulder and hip issues once you make your millions?”

Side Note: Actually, now that I think about, maybe I’m the one who is disappointing to play with.

babynaya

My desire to play games goes back many years. I used to get my teammates—in high school and college—to pay me to eat concoctions at team meals. They could not believe what I’d ingest or how often they were swindled into handing over their money. They’d mix together Ketchup, sugar, salt, Dr. Pepper, ice cream and then dunk a half-eaten hamburger bun it in.

No problem. GULP. Pay up, Losers. I was very good at this game until about five years ago.

We had a big family dinner at our house, and one of the appetizers was shrimp cocktail. We arranged it on ice, in a circle, with a bowl of cocktail sauce in the center.

Everyone devoured the shrimp pretty early and then moved on to other foods. The night went on and right before everyone left, my dad said he’d give me $20 to take a big drink of the ice that had melted into water. I was like, “You’re going to PAY me to drink melted ice?”

I felt kinda bad for him, wondering why he was just wanting to give away money with no real pay-off for him. I chalked it up to him being less seasoned than I and just not knowing the scope of my capabilities—poor guy.

I moved the bowl of cocktail sauce, picked up the platter and tilted it to my mouth, still feeling sorry for my sweet dad who just didn’t get it.

I took a big swig and immediately started aggressively heave-gagging and fighting with all my might not to throw up the surprisingly warm and shockingly pungent FISH WATER. My eyes were running with tears and my dad—oh so victoriously—handed me $20.

I couldn’t eat shrimp until last year—and it’s still not a sure thing.

I thought my dad loved me.

I thought my dad loved me.

Most of my friends know that if we’re going to spend time together, there is going to be some game-playing. “Would You Rather” is a shoe-in because it can be big fun in its G-rated-niece-and-nephew-version or its X-rated-my-friends-are-perverted-perverts version.

“Hey Sweet Pea, would you rather have super lush, gorgeous hair, but it’s cobalt blue or two noses, but one is on your tummy?”

“Hey Dirty Bird, would you rather …”

Side Note: Ok, what I nearly wrote is not fit for upstanding citizens or a blogger whose mom teaches Sunday School.

Bonus Side Note: If we’re playing WYR and you answer “neither” to my question, you are dead to me.

My brother and I decided that people will do anything for the right amount of money. We, not very creatively, call this game “How Much.” The idea is that someone will hand you the exact amount of money you demand for a particular task or activity.

A couple of easy examples:

  • How much would it take for you to swim across that swamp at dusk?
  • How much would it take for you to get a tattoo on your shoulder—in comic sans font—that says, “Soaring On The Wings Of A Gluten-Free Diet?”

You can learn a WHOLE lot about people when playing this game—sometimes to the detriment of your once-high opinion of them.

Where you might demand $1,200 to reach into a garbage can and eat some tossed out french fries, your friend might wave it off like, “Oh please, I’d do it for twenty bucks—I’ve eaten stranger’s left-overs off a room service tray at the Hampton Inn.”

All I’m saying is, make sure your friendship is strong before you dive into “How Much.” You are likely to find people are much grosser—and way more sexually adventurous—than you once thought.

shock

Often times, in bigger work meetings, I try to decide who I’d pick as my conjoined twin (if I had to). My first thought is usually, “Uh, none of them.” Then I remind myself that I have to play the game or lose two fingers. Next thing I know, I’m staring a hole through Jake and wondering if he’d be handy around the house.

After the meeting:

Lauren: You were looking at me funny, were you wanting me to bring up our issues with the new system?
Me: The system? Oh, no, I was just wondering if being attached at the neck would hurt our friendship.
Lauren: Huh?

Playing games alone isn’t as much fun as playing with a close co-worker.

Me: (quietly and discreetly) Who, from that whole row, would you kiss—if you had to?
Co-worker: Ugh, I don’t know—gross! I don’t want to kiss any of them!
Me: Of course you don’t—none of us do—but you have to.
Co-worker: So, the row that Gina’s on?
Me: Yep.
Co-worker: Ugh, really? Why … why them?!
Me: Because this PowerPoint has about 90 hours left, so GO.
Co-worker: Grrr, I guess Craig.
Me: CRAIG?! Why?!
Co-worker: I don’t know, he seems tender.
Me: Tender? Gross. You’re not a porcelain figurine!
Co-worker: I don’t know—I guess he has nice lips.
Me: Oh. My. Gosh. You’re in love with Craig!
Co-worker: Well it’s not like I planned it—it’s news to me, too!

Honestly, I can’t imagine not finding ways to make each day more fun. Life is too short to not use your turn-around jumper to get socks into the dirty clothes hamper … or see if you can shave five minutes off your morning routine. Why go through a day without asking someone, “Would you rather have a hearse for a car or a tree house for a home?” Just don’t ask suggestive questions about Judge Judy or Bill Clinton unless you’re really prepared to hear the answer. (Please trust me on this one.)

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

Dream On

I have ridiculous dreams.

They’re vivid and memorable, but mostly insane. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a very active dream life, recalling details with spectacular clarity.

I know people who don’t remember their dreams and don’t really understand how profoundly certain ones can affect you. They’ll listen to me describe a dream, making “Are you speaking English?” faces and reply, “You have weird dreams.” Guess what? That offers exactly NO comfort to me when I just told you I dreamed my nephew grew a vestigial tail an hour before his prom, leaving his mom scrambling to find a tailor specializing in those types of alterations.

I’ve learned the hard way not to go into great detail about a crazy dream until I first ask if they’re a dreamer. If they say, “No, I never remember my dreams” I say, “So, do you have any good kale recipes?” If they say, “Oh yeah, my dreams are insane” then I know I’m safely in the company of a like-minded dreamer who can appreciate hearing how I met the inventor of Pretzel Crisps at a pool party, where the pool had no water, but instead had Bill Clinton skate boarding through the deep end, wearing nothing but headphones and a toe ring.

I know people who want to learn how to master lucid dreaming for the sole purpose of hooking up with celebrities as they catch some zzz’s. But it was always more important to me to figure out how to wake myself up from bad dreams. I was forever falling off roller coasters, being chased by extremely bad guys and actually dying in a variety of ways. I’m not sure how, but finally I began to recognize a terrible dream when it was happening, and wake myself up. Not every time—I still ran into lots of knife-wielding hoodlums with ill-intent—but it got better.

To the experts who say we dream in black and white and die in real life if we die in a dream, I say NAY. I’ve been shot several times, seen the red blood and faded clear to my death … and here I am. Holla!

One particular dream I’ve never forgotten: I hailed a cab, he pulled over, I slid in. As soon as I did, the guy who was already in the backseat pulled out a silencer, put it to my temple and shot. It made this soft pphhffww sound. I felt no pain, but thought, “Uh-oh” as my head fell softly to the window. I fully knew I was a goner … but not before I prayed to God to bring comfort and peace to my loved ones.

For those of you feeling a little down right about now, you need to know something. I am blessed with the ability to dunk in my dreams. And I dunk HARD. It brings the crowd to its feet in unified jubilation to see this bad ass 5’6″ chick snagging alley oops out of thin air and throwing them down like I’m the spawn of Lebron (and with that unintentional rhyme, a spawn of Jay-Z, too—man this life is good).

I’ve also flown in my dreams. I’m one of the more fortunate ones who only have to flap a few times per mile, enabling me to enjoy the journey rather than feel like I’ve been to an all-day crossfit class. I rock a few big sweeping flaps and off I soar, high above the ground, wind in my birdlike face (my eyes are the same, but I have a beak—fortunately it’s a pretty spring salmon color, making me more special than a finch or sparrow).

I distinctly remember the first time I flew, my predominant thought was, “Oh my gosh, I’ll never pay for another flight in my life!” But on the flip side, if I never flew commercial again, I’d never have the joy hilarious horror of a gloved security guard frantically rubbing me down until he found the dangerous offender—my Fitbit pedometer—clipped to my bra.

So yeah, I get murdered sometimes, but I also get airborne a lot.

The market is flooded with studies, articles and websites dedicated to dream interpretation. But my dreams are often less “meaningful” and more just like my brain wanting to do “Mad Libs” based on my recent thoughts and experiences.

madlibs

Let me explain.

In a recent dream, I walked down a boardwalk.
I walked on a beautiful boardwalk on our latest vacation.

I saw my mom squatting in a cove of sand.
My mom was the last person I text before I fell asleep that night … and I, myself, was squatting by a cove of sand we saw while on vacation, watching a little crab moving around.

She pulled a baby seal out and his face was a real baby’s face.
I was watching and loving the baby seals around the coves on this trip … and actually just dream about babies a lot. (although usually I’m in the hospital for what I believe to be terminal stomach cancer, only to find out I’m actually pregnant, dilated to a 10 and confused as to how babies are made.)

She handed him to me and I cradled him but realized when she scooped him up, he got sand caked in his little throat, causing him to become still and start to die.
Recently, my mom had asked me if I’d heard about all the baby seals shoring up dead or malnourished in California and I’d also read a tweet from Anderson Cooper about the same phenomenon before I went to sleep.

The people walking next to me started telling me he was mine now and I needed to care for him and love him back to life.
I’d just had dinner with a friend who was talking about their journey with IVF, embryo transfer and embryo donation/adoption … and I told her I would never have a problem accepting and loving a baby I hadn’t created myself.

I started cradling and snuggling the baby seal boy—kissing his smooth head and giving him all the warmth and love I could transfer to his little body.
The day before, I’d come across a picture of my mom cuddling up her grandbaby who was wrapped like a burrito in one of those little towel robes.

He started coming back to life and stretching in my arms. He then opened his eyes, grinned and reached his little pointer finger up to touch my cheek but accidentally poked my eye.
Kellie Rasberry, from Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, recently told the story of their puppy trying to show her love and inadvertently scratching her eye.

Then I came to a gate at the pier and they wouldn’t let me by until I presented my credentials.
We’d been at the Indian Wells tennis tournament on vacation and I tried to get into a certain part of the stadium to take a picture and the guard asked for my credentials.

Someone said they’d take the baby from me while I pilfered through my bag, but they actually took him and put him back in the water where they thought he belonged.
A similar thought that crossed my mind as I heard about embryo adoption.

I finally got to the cove and spotted him happily swimming with colorful koi.
A brewery we visited on vacation had a bunch of koi in their fountain.

See? Mental, subconscious, dreamland Mad Libs. My mind piecing together a story from random activities and thoughts of the day.

Side Note: This doesn’t explain why my next dream consisted of me on a big yacht, watching my sister jet ski in our wake—doing tricks and flips and eventually sticking a perfect landing on the deck of the ship—as we all cheered uproariously, helped her out of her wetsuit and fed her fresh mango.

And of course I still have these typical anxiety dreams:

  • Realizing I’m at the end of semester and I have never been back to my math class since the first day.
  • Trying to text someone something important and my phone is either dead or changing each letter I type to an unwanted emoji.
  • Being back on my college basketball team—but every time I receive a pass and turn to shoot, the ball turns into a throw pillow or a book and I can’t set my hands right or get the proper rotation.
  • Not being able to find what I’m looking for—a loved one, a place, my phone, my camera, my clothes or my high school locker.

Hmm, reading through this has made me realize a couple of (now) apparent things.
1. I need to spend more time figuring out how to hook up with celebrities in my dreams.
2. I need a baby seal boy embryo … preferably from Stephen Curry and Alicia Keys.

dreambaby

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

Time to Rhyme

Sometimes I just have to rap.

Yes, this means I use extremely bad language to explore wildly inappropriate topics. I’m sorry. I’m not especially proud that I’m a walking Urban Dictionary—capable of going toe-to-toe with Kanye and Jay-Z.

When I need to rap (and it is a need), I’d prefer it to be in the booth, with one headphone held to my ear. I’d take a minute to feel the beat, before saying to my mixer, “Turn me up in my headphones a lil’ bit?”

booth

But typically, I’m just in the car when the mood strikes. And for drama sake, I still ask my invisible producer to turn my mic up.

It’s best after the sun goes down so there is some measure of privacy, but if it’s the middle of the day—and a particularly dramatic number—I’ll just pretend to be on the phone. That way I can hit my verses with a vengeance while other commuters are none the wiser. They might think I have anger issues or feel sorry for whoever is on the other line, but that’s not something a real rapper worries about.

The only potential downfall of using my iPhone as a decoy for my performance is the ever-present fear that I’ll accidentally call my mom and be well into the second verse of an old Eminem song when I hear, “Honey? Anna? Sweetie, what’s wrong—did you say someone at Burger King spit on yo onion ring?! Why are you saying that kids eat up albums like valiums?!”

I also have a fear that I’ll be pulled over. Can you imagine?

Officer: Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?
Me: Public cussing?
Officer: Excuse me?
Me: Because I was using foul language and flubbed the hook?
Officer: Ma’am, I have no idea what you’re talking about—but I pulled you over because this is a no-cell-zone.
Me: Oh! I wasn’t talking on my phone.
Officer: Ma’am, I saw you with my own eyes. You were not only talking, but yelling and possibly fighting while on your cell phone.
Me: No, Officer … this is a misunderstanding! I was … rapping.
Officer: I’m sorry?
Me: Yeah, I was, uh, I was performing a Tupac song. Not yelling, just trying to do it justice—it’s very intense. He had a hard life.
Officer: Ma’am, I don’t care if you were rapping, singing or reciting the constitution, this is a no-cell zone.
Me: But that’s the thing, I wasn’t ON my phone. I was just using it to conceal my performance from other drivers. I had a rough day and I needed to rap. I figured if I had my phone to my mouth …”
Officer: Mind if I look at your call log?
Me: Not at all—you’ll see I haven’t made phone call since 2010.”

Needless to say, rapping in the car is not without its problems.

Stacey Warnke PhotographyIt’s a good thing I went through a little ventriloquist phase growing up. Per my request, my parents bought me an Emmett Kelly, Jr. dummy to see if “this thing could really go somewhere.” I unwrapped him for my birthday and was admittedly scared of his permanently sad face, but it afforded me the opportunity to hone my crafty speaking skills through puppeteering.

To this day I can rap relatively well in public without moving my lips much. The F-word poses problems, understandably, but there are some tried and true work-arounds.

One of my best rap memories was with my friend, Louis. We listened to all kinds of music together. We met at work and lived in a town where the highlight of our week was eating his famous hot wings and then cruising around town listening to music.

Side note: He had such a clunker at one point that every time he made a left turn, his car would honk. We soon learned to stop fighting it and just wave.

Anyway, one day he wanted to play me a song by Notorious B.I.G. and Lil’ Kim. He clearly didn’t know this wasn’t my first rap rodeo. He was low-ridin’ slowly through town with his wrist draped over the steering wheel when it happened. I became Lil’ Kim. I’ll never forget the look of absolute and utter delight on his face when I never missed a beat. He jumped right in and became Biggie. I’m pretty sure that was the moment that sealed our friendship for life.

Side note: I’m dying to meet his beautiful wife in person but fear he’ll want us to perform that song for her. And as it turns out, I still know every word.

Just yesterday, I heard Drake on a verse of someone else’s song, so I “Shazamed” it. After I got the info, I went to iTunes and downloaded it, but the “explicit” version came up first. Since I tend to get the worst of the worst lines stuck in my head (on a loop), I opted for the edited version, to keep my mind slightly more clear of explicit lyrics. I knew Drake’s part would still be pretty much intact, so I wasn’t worried.

When I went to play the edited song I downloaded, so much of the chorus and hook were bleeped out that I literally did NOT know what the song was about. What I’m saying is … I have NO IDEA what I was bobbing my head to because it was just a constant stream of truncated, bleeped words.

For all I know, it was about kittens lapping up milk. It might’ve been a song about the ever-present battle between Lowe’s and Home Depot—and which days we’re supposed to wear blue or orange to prove our allegiance. That’s just it, I don’t know what it was about. I’m relatively certain it was about getting girls, but what if it wasn’t?

What if it talked about some important Mayan predictions or a surefire, proven way to live longer? I mean, I’d want to hear that. I don’t like them bleeping out health tips that might help me retain less water or strengthen my heart. I don’t even care if they’re swearing about it. If they need to spew the F-word before giving a great blood pressure tip, then that’s OK. Don’t deny me info that could keep me from having a colonoscopy just because you want to call me a B. I know I’m bitchy when I’m hungry, so this isn’t news to me. Your words don’t wound me, but denying me sound medical advice does.

What’s that you say? It really is just a song about getting girls? Ahh, I see. Fair enough.

My brother has given me a hard time for years and years over my affinity for rap music. In fact, he’ll be none-too-happy I just added “music” to the word rap. I don’t think he lets a single time we’re together slip by without asking how Snoop Dogg’s doing.

But I can’t help it—it’s in my blood—hip hop, R&B, soul. When I want to zone out during my commute, I’ll put the radio on an old school soul station and know nearly every song. When I want a little more current version of that, I listen to R&B and can’t get enough. When I’ve got energy to burn and beats on my brain, it’s rap to the rescue—for a total escape.

And if you pass me in the car and think I’m chewing someone out? I’m not—it’s just me’n Missy Elliott hangin’ out—doin’ what we were born to do.

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

Guilty As Charged

It should come as a surprise to no one that I’d like to do a little time.

behindbars

I’m not talking about Rikers Island or anything. A medium-security outfit is more my speed. I’d say minimum–for the simple fact that the other felons and I could watch Golden Girls in the evening–but I’m not overly interested in special treatment.

What I am interested in is approximately six months of food from a mess hall, push-ups, writing, reflection and time in the yard.

Would I miss my loved ones? Absolutely. Would I long for tex-mex and sushi? Without a doubt. But would my new svelte physique and School of Hard Knocks degree make up for all that? I think you and I both know the answer to that.

I won’t pretend to know from where this longing comes. Perhaps I come from a long line of crooks. But I can no longer turn a blind eye to my desire to be confined–i.e. comforted–by an 8×10’ space.

If I played my cards right, I wouldn’t miss Christmas or summer. In fact, if I got locked up in January and released in June, I could parade my banging new body at a Fourth of July BBQ. Barring any disciplinary action for unavoidable altercations–which are most often caused by a barter gone awry–this is a plausible timeline.

I know it would be hard on my family–hearing the jury read the verdict. But I hope they would feel better when they looked up through their teary eyes and saw me looking like Surprise Party Sue, biting my jumpsuit to mask my elation.

sps

In the same way some people read books about Tuscany and daydream of vacationing there in the autumn, I see movies about prison or read novels where someone has to do some time, and my mind soars at the possibility of six months in lock-up—where the only real decision I have to make is which gang to join. Although that’s really not a decision, because I already know I’ll join the one that break dances.

I’m also oddly at peace with the fact that I’ll become a smoker. I know I can quit when I’m out and it’s no longer a form of currency. Sure, I’ll miss the nicotine and I’ll occasionally reach towards my shoulder for a pack of smokes, but I’ll steadfastly stick to my resolve to only smoke on special occasions, like an NSYNC reunion tour.

In daydreaming of the opportunity to be put away for awhile, I’ve realized something slightly troublesome. I think I sort of want to get my ass kicked. I don’t want any fractures or damage to my retina, but I wouldn’t mind a black eye and busted lip. I’ll be on the ground after getting whipped–gravel embedded in my skin–and I’ll touch the back of my knuckle to my lip. Seeing the transfer of red will prompt me to spit out a mouthful of blood like a bonafide welter weight. I’ll look up at Big Roz, my assailant, and say, “Nice left hook.” She’ll see I’m not so bad and stick out her hand to help me up. This will not go unnoticed by the inmates or the throng of guards rushing in to stop the madness. In just under five minutes, my street cred will shoot through the roof. I’ll have a chipped tooth and Big Roz’s gangster arm flung around my shoulder. Win-win.

I could be mistaken, but I feel like I would become a guard favorite. If not for my adherence to all rules, then my willingness to attack my chores with a fervor not often seen in the female prison ranks. I’d find my daily work assignments refreshing in their simplicity–favoring a directive of “wax all floors” over “create compelling copy to drive our core customer to the store.”

I believe the favor of the guards would garner me a few extra phone calls per week and the occasional cherry sucker, slipped through the rails. Rawls, my favorite guard–for our shared loathing of the UCONN Huskies–would know cherry was my favorite, but that any red flavor would do.

I’ve never heard that prison food is fantastic, but I’ve always liked things like oatmeal and cream of wheat. So if what I imagine is correct, and porridge is their best offering, I’ll be delighted. If, on the other hand, I’m served less filling things like stuffed bell peppers, I’ll lean on my guard comrades to supplement my diet with late night Twinkies.

Some might worry that the partiality of the guards will put me in harm’s ways with the other ne’er-do-wells. But I assure you, most of them won’t be too keen on jumping the only girl in the yard who can do one-arm push-ups with a Marlboro Light dangling from her lips. And that’s just the reality of life at the correctional facility–as inmate number 455319.

I foresee a time–maybe a few weeks into my sentence–when I’ll get a tattoo. If I opt out of permanently inking my inmate number along my collarbone, I’ll go with something a fellow criminal draws for me. Her graffiti on the Brooklyn Bridge may have been frowned upon by city officials, but her brilliance will be treasured as an eternal impression on my forearm. I’ll tell her the illustration needs to include a cross, a hummingbird and a serrano pepper. I am certain she’ll create something appropriate and tasteful.

The friends I’ll make in the clink won’t–at first blush–seem to be the ones that will endure. First, we’ll simply share snacks and trade smokes, but in time, we’ll promise to name our children after one another. When the time comes to part, I’ll promise the girls I’ll write–and I will.

One of the best parts about my time in the pokey will be the cool nickname the girls give me. I think it’ll be Ace or Quickswitch–the latter for reasons no one on the outside will ever be privy. It’s how I’ll sign my letters to them. I’m already seeing a prominent “Q” with the remainder illegible. This will lead them to calling me “Q” once I’m away. “Hey yo! I got a letter from Q!” Just hearing the gang say this in my head will make me want to go back.

But I won’t. I’ll never return to my criminal ways. At most (and this is but a pipe dream) I’ll speak to seemingly normal, well-balanced citizens about their latent desires to spend time in the pen. We’ll discuss Orange Is The New Black, the pros and cons of life behind bars, and—because I’m not a dream crusher—the benefits of prepping for some “totally and completely unforeseen time away.”

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook and Twitter … we could toss around some ideas to get you locked up.

Crazy For You

I can’t flip through channels and see the San Francisco 49ers without thinking of him. I can’t even see any of their memorabilia because the colors alone take me back. Starting in 7th grade, my entire existence revolved around Coach Scott McCahon and his red and khaki Ford Bronco.

Why his Bronco? Simple—where it was, he was. Why did I love this mustached man? Only the Good Lord knows. But if I had a nickel for every time I mentally slow danced to Madonna’s Crazy For You with him, I could own a small island in the Maldives. With a chef. And an island boy who fanned me and kept me hydrated with top shelf mojitos.

Who knows why young love is so fierce and undying? It’s also a little blind and nauseating—I now realize—as I flip through my journal and read page after mortifying page about each of our “encounters”. I use that term incredibly loosely, as a typical reaching-for-my-journal-interaction would include brief eye contact and a “Hello” or “Hi” of some sort. He was clearly not spending his days and nights lamenting the cards we were dealt and wishing we could be together. I bet he didn’t even test drive my name with his last name in his head.

That aside, I thought he was beautiful—or “SO FINE” my tween self declared. He was lanky and fit and taught history. I’m also sure he was brilliant. Of course he was—he was a football coach who taught history. Hello.

The best part of the crush, aside from occasionally getting to see him in jeans (Wranglers, no less), was that one of my best friends lived two houses away from him. Knowing I was getting to spend the night at Dusty Jordan’s was like looking forward to a trip to Disney World. I’d fixate on it for days on end, unable to concentrate on school in any way.

Looking back, it makes no sense that I’d get so excited about those sleep-overs. The absolute most that would happen is we’d see him driving up the hill in his Bronco—and get to wave. That’s it. My gosh, I was easy. We did attempt to pay him a visit or ten, but shockingly, he never answered the door. “He’s not home,” I’d turn and tell Dusty. “We just saw him pull in his driveway,” she’d reply. “Yeah. Well, he’s probably really caught up in working on next week’s lesson plans. He’s really devoted.”

The worst day I recall as a 7th grader was finding out he was moving to the high school to teach and coach. It was unfathomable that I could endure 8th grade without him. In all likelihood, you’re reading this and jovially thinking how cute that is. But no. When I say I was despondent, I mean, on the inside I was inconsolable. If I’d been able to speak of my love for him as it really felt—and not some truncated “he’s so cute!”—people would have suggested professional help. Ok, that just took an unnecessary dramatic turn. But at a minimum, they would have pointed me to the school counselor.

In fact, there were two particularly dramatic entries in my journal from that time. One is about the “horrindus” fight Dusty and I got in because she told me I was ridiculous about him. I don’t know if I’m more wounded over the memory of the fight or my poor spelling describing the gravity of the confrontation.

The second journal entry was about how Holly Holt was “probably my best friend” because we “really get each other” but that it might be time to reassess the situation, due to the fact that she “no longer loves him the way I do.” I actually wrote (and this is gross, so skip ahead if you have a weak love stomach), “I mean, all we ever do is make up fantasies about him! NOW WHAT WILL WE DO?!” I’m sure I flung myself face-first into my pillow after writing that last all-capped part.

You’ll be happy to know that I did survive my 8th grade year; but, not without the help of the few visits he paid the middle school each month to have lunch with his coaching buddies. I’d be in choir, barely carrying a tune, but feeling like Streisand, when I’d see from the corner of my eye, his red and khaki Bronco. I’d have to just start mouthing “w-a-t-e-r-m-e-l-o-n”—something we were taught to do if we forgot the words—because all my focus was gone, gone, gone. In my head was this very elaborate running commentary, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.”

Would I get to see him and catch up on all the latest goings on? Nope. But my glimpse of him from the choir room and an extremely fortunate, “Hi!” as I passed by him later and got to smell his Polo cologne was all it took to fill me back up.

Speaking of said cologne, the aforementioned journal from those years contained a special page. As shown, I glued his picture in the corner and added some declarations. I finished it off the only way I knew how—with a couple of spritzes of Polo cologne. To this day, it’s retained its scent. I don’t know if that’s incredible or terrifying.

Once I got to high school, my crush remained strong. I think I was more at ease with it because I was able to see him regularly and not spend an inordinate amount of time lamenting the dreadful moments in between sightings. I pretty much knew where I could see him or “incidentally” pass him most moments of the day. We had fairly little contact, although when we did, he was decently nice. He clearly did not share my intense feelings of love—or even seem aware of my allure—but he was usually pleasant.

It wasn’t until I started seeing the types of girls who did get more of his attention that my love for him gradually began to wane. The same few upperclassmen would hang around his classroom or outside his door with him as he monitored traffic between bells. These girls were not athletes or in theater or even choir. They were the ones I’d labeled “extracurricular whorebags”. I know that’s harsh, but when you’re a scrawny tomboy who thinks of two things—basketball and slow dancing with Coach McCahon—the big breasted partiers with their Texas Aquanet bangs, hanging on his every word, really hits below the belt.

I’d lay in bed listening to Hard Habit To Break by Chicago and wonder why he’d be interested in girls whose chief talent was looking sexy and fake laughing at every boy’s joke. Wouldn’t that get old? I couldn’t figure out why their big breasts mattered so much. All they did was sit there, looking like the buoys at Lake Meredith. Wouldn’t it be more fun to play with me in the gym or throw around the football?

Of course, looking back, it all makes perfect sense. And I highly doubt he was truly interested in them, other than enjoying their girly laughs and consistent attention. Who doesn’t appreciate a little adoration? Also, it was best that these girls helped me move beyond my adolescent crush. At the rate I was going, who knows where I would have stopped? Shoe polishing “Anna McCahon” on his Bronco?

I even wonder where he is today or if he has any clue how many of us crushed him so hard. I have a feeling it would come as quite a shock. He might even be mortified to see a picture of the page I dedicated to him in my journal. What he would not experience is the knockout punch of decades-old Polo wafting off the aged page. You’re welcome, Coach McCahon—you’re welcome.

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

remember-the-time-blog-hop

Fielding My Tribe

I love to sit in meetings and field a team. If it’s a smaller meeting with a mix of people I do and don’t know, I’ll just determine who I want for a flag football team. Easy enough. It’s not difficult for me to peg a great defensive tackle or crafty wide receiver. Not much more to picking this team than looking for athleticism, a little endurance, a good attitude and a willingness to have a good time.

If, however, the meeting is bigger and I’m encircled with strangers, I prefer to up the ante and imagine I’m stranded on a deserted island with a group of people and we have a finite amount of time to escape if we want to survive.

Time to pick my tribe.

blogquote1

This is no joke and must be treated as such. At this point, I will mentally check out of the meeting and embark on a mission to assess the strengths and weaknesses among the group. I will begin to decipher, to the best of my ability, who would surprise or disappoint me. I enter a world of scouting out skills, strengths, hidden talents, stamina, attitude and desire.

Only an amateur would think this could be done by looking at physiques, current position or hierarchy. No. Sometimes the lowest person on the career totem pole is actually the only one in the entire tribe who could squat for hours on end, rubbing sticks together for fire without having a total meltdown. I’ve even been in meetings where a senior admin or detail assistant was my number one pick, based on what I perceived to be an invaluable ability to set up camp efficiently and dole out rations, without fanfare or need for recognition.

Most often, the leader of the meeting or the one who has the floor is not anywhere in my line-up. Deep down I know that she has grown soft and lost the necessary skills to actually survive. She’s accustomed to merely sounding knowledgeable, rather than being a true expert. She’s become dependant on delegating; however, underneath it all, her house is a wreck, her children are terrors and her husband is getting loved on once every two months, begrudgingly. This is not a woman I want in my tribe.

We’ll have many needs as a stranded people. Basic survival skills are incredibly important, but so are brains, logic, attitude and determination. I never know what kind of challenges my tribe will face during our unknown time on the island, so I’ll need to assemble a cornucopia of talent that can handle any task.

I like to believe I have the ability to spot people’s hidden talents. I have thought more than once, “I bet that lady can spear a fish with acute accuracy.” It is not uncommon to imagine that a particular woman could survive on very little sleep while maintaining the focus of an elite quarterback in the 4th quarter, down by 14. I realize these are gifts that many others don’t posses and I’m thankful I can peg the babies of the group and the brats who wouldn’t step up when faced with adversity or even death.

Another thing to consider is body temperature. This one is tricky. Sure, the island is tropically comfortable by day, but it’s bitter cold at night. I’ll need a group that is well-balanced with cold-and hot-natured people. About the only way to assess this is by looking for people doing extreme things in a temperature-regulated conference room. The lady who is fanning herself with a notepad will be a problem during the heat of the day, but an asset at night, as people can warm themselves next to her. The woman who has on a cardigan but is still hugging herself and rocking rhythmically will be comfortable during the day and have an excess of energy to use towards being productive. She will be a go-getter and not off in the shade for hours trying to cool herself. The importance of balancing these types of people cannot be measured, yet a rookie might overlook it and end up with a vastly insufficient tribe.

Let’s discuss smarts. I’m extremely careful about the I.Q.’s I choose. Inevitably there will be people I lean towards because I know and enjoy them, but I make absolutely sure I’m using my head more than my heart. If I pick a dim light, she could very well end up covered in poison ivy, rendering her virtually useless for a few precious days. Imagine the travesty of her becoming overjoyed by the abundance of coconuts, realizing all too late that they’re a natural laxative. Nothing puts someone out of commission like foolishly tanking up on a diuretic. Therefore, in scanning the room for possible tribemates, I try to remember that the person I love to discuss American Idol with may also be the one who will drink salt water.

Here are a few random things I’m mindful of as I scan potentials. When I see a self-soother—someone massaging her own hands, knees or ears—I promptly place her in the yes column. She is self-sufficient and she is a survivor. Additionally, I always choose one or more of the rare guys attending the meeting. More than likely he’ll have a utility knife (and tweezers, bottle opener and wrench) as well as natural strength and an innate ability to hunt and keep watch for a good portion of the night. I never pass up a male tribemate—ever.

I’ve come to grips with the fact that some bug eating will take place. Marooned folks never know what fruit or berries the island will offer and bugs are a wonderful source of protein—something everyone will need in order to maintain the energy to escape. Because of this disgust-inducing fact, I make sure not to choose anyone too girlie or easily grossed out. No one wants to eat bugs, so the last thing I need is someone squealing “Eww! Eww!” and recoiling in horror as I reluctantly chomp on a beetle’s thorax.

I have been in meetings where I knew the group I assembled would make it out alive—whether from an exotic island in Fiji or snake island in Brazil. But I’ve also had to choose from inferior groups where I did the best I could with what I had and still knew in my heart of hearts we would perish. I do not leave those meetings with a good feeling—or with any idea what the meeting was about.

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