Smell The Disappointment

So I went on another date with my usual low expectations, which is a great approach for anybody who’s in the dating game, because that way, you don’t get too disappointed.

There’s a lot of disappointment out there

Before I go into my tirade, let me just say this: Men my age look like shit. I don’t know if it’s because they’ve had it so fucking good for so long they don’t have to try, because let’s face it, in this man’s world, they’re not required to do any upkeep on their looks because it hasn’t been demanded of them like it has with women, so they just let life happen to them… and it’s shows. Maybe it’s simply because they think they’re the cat’s dinner and still look hot. Either way, most of them don’t look hot, they look fucking disgusting.

They don’t know how to take selfies either, so their online profile photos are awful. They  look down into the camera, rather than from a more flattering upward angle, so their double chin turns into a triple chin while the shitty lighting enhances the dark circles under their eyes. Frankly, they look like serial killers, the creeps. When I see a photo like that, all I can think is: If he’s on top fucking me, that’s what I’m going to be looking up at…  *shudder*

Then I slightly throw up in my mouth.

Actually, that was my tirade. Let’s move on…

My date reminded me of one of my friend’s ex-husbands, whom I never liked, and who sported a round, doughy face; the type that begs to be slapped around like raw pizza, so I almost cancelled because I wasn’t sure I could move past it. But I figured it was only gonna take 30 minutes or so, which was the time I had allotted before meeting friends to do something that would actually be enjoyable.

We chatted for a while and I could tell he was nervous as hell because he thought I was hot, which I cannot argue with, so at least he had good taste. In the course of the conversation, he admitted he had only been with two women his entire life, so if there was even the slightest chance he could turn me around, that killed it right there. After we parted ways, he texted me… then a few hours later, he texted me again, which put the final nail in the coffin; it came off really desperate. He probably went home and wacked off thinking about me, then decided he should make his move.

Rookie mistake

You know how it goes, we’ve all done it: We meet someone we’re immediately attracted to and get scared the person will slip through our fingers, so we jump the gun because we’re desperate and believe if we move quickly enough, we won’t lose them. We try too hard… we call or text too soon and too often, which inevitably makes the person run in the opposite direction because they can smell the desperation a mile away. We’re left feeling lonely, confused and like the losers we are.

I get turned off by a guy with no game and no confidence. I texted him back and said “Look, call me when you’re an asshole.” Poor guy didn’t have a chance from the get-go, I mean, look at me. Okay, you can’t see me, but if you did, you’d say “Oh yeah, he didn’t have a chance.”

I’m not trying to toot my own horn, it’s just that I’ve taken care of myself and I’m taking this whole dating thing in stride… not desperate, in other words. I’m assertive and I’m confident… unless I’m bloated, then not so much. But my point is, he just didn’t have that cocky attitude that makes a girl’s panties wet. I’m an eighties rock chick, I’m used to rocker guys with swagger who are complete assholes; it’s a turn on.

Yeah, I realize rocker guys probably take the swagger and cockiness a bit too far, and they go through women like water… and they’re not necessarily the cleanest of the bunch; leather and spandex aren’t the most breathable fabrics, let’s face it. If they’ve been sweating in leather pants all week, they don’t exactly smell that great, but once they strip that shit off and let everything air out for a few minutes, it’s something a girl can move past. Anyway most of them will shower beforehand if you beg them to.

Plus they know how to take a damn good selfie.

 

You ever do something out of the ordinary… push yourself out of your comfort zone, and it changes how you view yourself and what you’re capable of? And in doing so, it strengthens that muscle and sets you on a course of discovery and reward?

For me, one of those instances involved a chicken sandwich.

I used to live in San Francisco, and for a short time, I worked as a temp on the fourteenth floor of the Citibank Tower downtown. I loved that office, everyone there was so quirky, and I was especially friendly with another assistant named Craig. He had tousled ginger hair and freckles all over his face; he was a ski bum trying to get serious in a financial career. We both liked the same music and had the same sense of humor, so we became fast friends. One morning, he told me there was a film crew outside doing one of those testimonial commercials for Wendy’s fast food restaurants, and they asked him if he wanted to be in it, but he turned it down. He urged me to go check it out.

I want to think I’d have no problem walking right up to someone and saying “Hey, put me in your commercial!”, but the truth is, I was scared out of my mind. What if they have me arrested? What if I drop dead right on the spot, or worse, they tell me I’m too chubby? But I saw an opportunity to take a chance to do something out of the ordinary and push myself out of my comfort zone, so I made myself do it.

I rushed downstairs and saw this large trailer with some people milling around. I searched for the most important looking person I could find and spotted a woman with a clipboard in her hand. As a rule, anyone who holds a clipboard is someone who makes decisions, so I walked straight up to her and asked if I could be in their commercial. I waited for the world to come to an end, then she said “Sorry, but we’re done here, we’re moving to another location.”

All the air went out of my balloon.

She must’ve seen the disappointment on my face, so she said “I tell you what, we’re going to Washington Square, meet us there.” and she handed me a map and walked away. I ran back upstairs to the office to grab my belongings and ask my super cool boss if it was it okay to leave for a couple hours. She told me to take as long as I needed, so I hopped on a bus to Washington Square and found the woman with the clipboard. She said “Okay, before we get started, I have to ask, are you a member of SAG?”

Fuck.

SAG is the Screen Actors Guild, it’s the union for actors and performers, and I was not a member. For a brief moment, I thought about lying and saying I was, which would’ve been really stupid, but I decided to be honest and told her no, preparing for the rejection to follow. She told me that was good, because if I were, I wouldn’t be able to film; this was a testimonial ad, they weren’t allowed to use professional actors.

YES!!

She had me fill out a form and sign my life away to whatever their contract demanded, then we waited for the director. A few moments later, he arrived, and he was organized, professional, and didn’t waste any time. He had me stand in front of the window of some music store, then told me he was going to ask me a series of questions as prompts, and to just be myself. There was a production crew of about ten people all watching me, and I was nervous.

A production assistant appeared and put a warm Wendy’s chicken sandwich in my hand (don’t ask me how they kept it warm), then the director told me to take a bite of the sandwich and tell him what the sauce was. I must’ve taken a bigger bite than I meant to, because I heard someone say “Whoa”. I nearly spit it out from laughter, but also because it tasted awful; I never ate fast food… and here I was, trying to hawk some on camera.

I said “Mayonnaise”… nope. “Uh…horseradish?” nope, not that either. “What is this sauce?” was all I could come up with. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the damn sauce was! Now I was getting really nervous because if I couldn’t figure it out, they were gonna give up on me. The director changed gears and said “Okay, I want you to say something about the sandwich, but I want you to sing it.” He was probably inspired by the musical notes floating across the storefront window I was standing in front of, and I was inspired by the prompt, because I never turn down a chance to ham it up.

I belted out a jazzy little ditty, right there on the spot. The entire crew started laughing and I knew it was a good take. I stood there with a shit-eating grin on my face because I managed to pull something out of my ass after blowing it with the sauce… which was Ranch, by the way. It was Wendy’s Monterey Ranch Chicken Sandwich… which I don’t recommend.    

The director said “It’s a wrap”, the production assistant took away the sandwich and woman with the clipboard handed me five bucks. I turned to the director, shook his hand and thanked him, then thanked the crew and walked towards the bus stop on a natural high. I had one hell of a story to tell my boyfriend when I got home. I didn’t go back to work, I was too giddy from the experience.

After a week or so of excitement, telling everyone I knew about my experience, it started to wear off, and I actually forgot about it. That is, until I received a phone call three weeks later. A guy who worked for the ad agency was calling. He had one question: Was the song I sang in my take something I made up, or was it a published song? I laughed and told him I definitely made it up. He said he figured that was the case but needed to make sure in case of copyright infringement, and with an excitement I could barely contain, I asked him if I was in the commercial. He couldn’t tell me for sure… company policy… but he did say that Dave, the owner of Wendy’s, loved me.

Holy crap, you’d have thought he told me it was the President of the United States, I was so excited!

A few weeks later, when I got home from work, my boyfriend said “Guess who I saw on t.v?” I started jumping up and down squealing with delight and prodded him with questions: How did I look? When did you see it? Was I funny? He told me he’d already seen it twice that day.

Then the checks started coming in. Every week I’d get one, and it continued for months. I think all in all, I made about seven thousand dollars in residuals. It ended up playing nationally and in Canada. Everyone I knew saw it.

Oh, in case you’re curious, I found it on YouTube:

I Wanna New Drug

I had to make a trip to the post office, so I prepared myself for the inevitable long wait by getting some delicious cookies. 

The post office is the wrong place to be jacked up on sugar

I don’t know why I thought it was a good choice at the time, but I’m not even in control when it comes to sugar anyway. When I think about eating sugar, a signal is sent to my brain that something delightful is coming. It reminds me of the anticipation I felt knowing I would be snorting some fat lines of coke on Saturday nights in the Eighties.

Yes, every Saturday night.

Go ahead judge me, I don’t give a shit. It’s not like I do it anymore… mainly because I have no idea where to get it, but also because sugar’s a lot cheaper.

Cheaper than sex too, turns out

Anyway, studies have connected eating excessive sugar to reduced performance in parts of the brain that deals with memory, so I really try to limit my consumption. However, these experts said the same thing about cocaine and that had zero negative impact on me that I can remember.

A couple weeks ago, someone gave me a gift of white chocolate peppermint dipped Oreo cookies, and normally, I never eat those things. I prefer really good quality cookies, something imported or gourmet. If someone handed me a bag of Oreos, I would say no thanks, but I decided to try one of these because there were dipped in peppermint white chocolate and who can resist that? It was ridiculously addictive. After one bite, I shoved the entire thing in my mouth then followed it up with a few more.

Sort of like shoving a line up my nose and immediately following up with more

As it happens, I was at this gourmet market and they had almost the exact same cookie. They were right near the checkout counter, conveniently packaged in a mini pack of two cookies, so I bought some before I left for the post office.

These particular ones were called unicorn cookies because they had multicolored sprinkles all over them, which I don’t give a shit about because it’s really just a marketing ploy; I don’t believe in unicorns, and even if I did, in my world they certainly wouldn’t be colored, they’d be pure white, like in fairy tales.

Does that sound racist?

I couldn’t get just one packet either, I had to get two… and eat all four of them at once. So there I was, sitting in my car in the parking lot, shoving these goddamn unicorn Oreos into my face… I must’ve looked like some crazed drug addict. Once I got inside the post office, I couldn’t help but notice how bland everything seemed compared to my unicorn cookies.

The postal worker who ended up helping me, was really bland too, and he was talking me through the checkout process like I was a friggin’ moron and had never done it before. He instructed me each step of the way in this annoying monotone voice: “Okay, now you can put it in. Okay, now you can take it out.” (referring to my debit card of course), and it sounded just as perfunctory him saying it, as it does you reading it. If I ever questioned whether postmen would be boring as fuck in bed, he put that to rest.

Thankfully the entire process was over in about fifteen minutes, which I imagine, is about the length of time this postal worker has sex… and the average time it takes for sugar to kick in…

…and the average time it takes to find the nearest coke dealer through my new coke app if I ever decide to get off sugar.

 

 

 

Cut It Out

I belong to this woman’s social group. Last weekend they decided to get together to make vision boards.

That’s where everyone gathers a bunch of magazines, large pieces of poster board, scissors and glue, and you all sit around a table and cut out stuff from the magazines, like photos or text, things that represent what you want to manifest in your life, then you glue them onto the poster board in a collage of personal dreams and desires. The purpose of making one helps you envision the life you’d like to create because the act of making a vision board starts a process of manifestation.

Supposedly.

When it’s completed, you get really excited because for a brief moment you actually believe your life will change by gluing pictures onto a board, so you proudly hang it up somewhere in your house as motivation. After a while it starts to taunt you because you realize it takes a lot more fucking effort than that, but you don’t do anything else to manifest those desires; you’re too damn scared and insecure to try, even though you realize death is imminent and you should do everything you can to squeeze every drop out of life. You know you’d have nothing to lose, but you still do nothing, so you go back to believing you’re a loser because you never do anything to change your life… except make vision boards with a woman’s group.

But it’s really uplifting.

I knew I wasn’t gonna go. How on earth would I find a photo in a magazine that represents I want to kill myself… or become a comic… either one. Then I started thinking about what these women would add to their vision boards; what a suburban housewife would want to manifest into her life. Like, could they put on there they’d like to tell that bitch Karen, who runs the PTA she can stick it up her ass? Do you think that could be found in a magazine? What would they put on there to manifest other than new hand towels and a trip to Cancun?

The more I thought about it, the more I concluded that it wouldn’t matter what the hell they put on their vision boards, anything would be a step up from their current suburban existence. Once they’ve popped their Prozac and had a glass of wine, new hand towels probably sound fucking amazing.

I haven’t participated with these ladies yet, because frankly, I’m scared the mundane will rub off on me. It’d probably be safe to assume some of the women in the group aren’t on hormone replacement therapy either, so the uteri of the ones who aren’t, would constantly be trying to sync up with the ones who are, causing a lot of emotional confusion and defying the earth’s gravitational pull. Then no one would eat the deviled eggs.

You just know there’s always one or two whack jobs in these kinds of groups, too. One woman, who probably took too much hormone replacement therapy and not enough Prozac, is always starting trouble on the group’s social media page, which I find immensely entertaining as long as I can view it from the safe distance of my smartphone; I wouldn’t want to have to interact with this lady face to face. 

Maybe when it comes down to it, I’m afraid I’ll have a good time at one of these things and then what’ll I do?

Naw… I’m just not cut out for these kinds of interactions.

Get it? “cut out” *snicker *snort. 

Snap

I was thinking the other day about anticipation versus gratification, and I was thinking about this specifically as it relates to taking photos: cameras we used to use that required a roll of film, as opposed to smartphones that take photos instantly.

Assuming some of you don’t know this, back in the day, all cameras were their own mechanism, they weren’t part of a phone, and you would have to load it with the film before you’d be ready to take photographs. Once you finished the roll of film, you’d have to take it to a film processor to get developed, which usually took about a week or so. If that sounds like a long time, it was. But that’s where the anticipation would lie. Rather than seeing them right away, you’d have to wait.

Also, what was great about these rolls of film, was they were sold in small, plastic canisters that ended up being the perfect sized container for stashing your weed, which wasn’t legal back then so you’d have to hide it. If you wanted to keep it in your purse or vehicle in an inconspicuous manner, you’d just pop some in a film canister and you’d be golden. Unless the cops opened it up, dumped it out, and crushed it into the ground with the heel of their shoe… goddammit!

There goes your stash, dumb ass.

When your film was ready to be developed, you would drop it off at the photos kiosks; small huts with one employee, and normally found in the middle of the parking lot. It was for convenience, so you could drive right up to either pick up photos or drop off  film instead of walking into the store to do it. They were always manned by some dude too, usually around eighteen or nineteen years old with long hair, maybe a few pimples, most likely stoned. Of course it was always guys who worked in those things, girls weren’t stupid enough to spend eight hours in a kiosk in the middle of a parking lot.

So the anticipation of using a film camera was the waiting to see what the photos looked like after getting developed, because most of the time, you snapped a bunch of them and never really remembered exactly what photos you took until you got them back from the lab.

Unless you took naked photos, then you remembered exactly.

Yes, I did. Look, there was some alcohol involved and it was with a boyfriend, big fucking deal. Lots of people did it. In fact, more people are doing it now than ever before, isn’t that right, Mr. Dick Pic? In fact I was just on Twitter last night and you wouldn’t believe how many assholes I saw!

You know how when you were younger and saw all these beautiful photos in a magazine spread, you wanted to take some of yourself and have them end up looking like the ones you saw in the magazine? Well, that doesn’t work with a shitty 35 millimeter camera; you have to have a professional camera with a professional wide angle lens and the right lighting and a backdrop and props and airbrushing (the Eighties version of Photoshop) and everything else… but how the hell were you supposed to know that when you were just a drunken little slut in a hotel room?

ahem

What you ended up with looked exactly like what they actually were: cheesy photos taken in some hotel room. I still thought I looked good though, comparatively speaking, meaning I’m comparing them with how I look naked today and I… well, I was a friggin’ Playboy Bunny back then comparatively!

I remember my boyfriend and I dropping the film off at the kiosk to get developed and being really nervous. We were leaving this roll of film in a stranger’s hands, and although photos at labs were mass processed, they could still be looked at individually for quality control.

Not only that, if you had the negatives, you could make as many copies as you wanted. Holy crap, that means there could potentially be naked photos of me in some fucking guy’s closet who used to work in the kiosk, and there’s a possibility he takes them out once in a while and pleasures himself while looking at me…

Jesus Christ…

…that’d be awesome!

 

Tastes Fine To Me

Last night I went to this Thai restaurant for a bite to eat. After I gave the server my order, she  commented “That’s a lot of carbs.” At first, I wasn’t sure if I heard her correctly, so I asked her to repeat herself, and she said, “That’s a lot of carbs.” I looked at her with an expression like, you’ve got to be kidding me? I got annoyed, and I almost blurted out “Oh yeah, well you’re just a fetish!” but decided against it because I’m no racist.  

What are you, a Tiger mother or something?

Instead, I found myself justifying it by reminding her it was brown rice and letting her know I was going to take the extra home, that I intentionally ordered extra so I wouldn’t have to worry about lunch the next day, and then I got more annoyed because there I was, explaining this to some L.A. server who’s supposed to just take my order, not make commentary on it.

After she brought out my food, I started spooning piles of rice onto my plate as I stared her down, just to show her who was boss. I think I made my point, because after I was finished eating, I felt quite full since it was a lot of carbs, but I wasn’t going to be intimidated by some skinny L.A. chick. See, what her problem is, is that her body is starved of carbs, so her brain isn’t working properly, making her do stupid things like state the obvious.

Don’t people understand that at my age the only thing I have going for me is carbs? I dream about carbs… I have fantasies about how I’m going to cook carbs and what I’m going to pair them with… I’ve got a giant tattoo on my ass that says CARBS… in cursive!

I’m a former member of Carbs Anonymous, goddammit!

It’s not enough that almost every person in L.A. is on some stupid food trend or diet: Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Raw, blah, blah, blah… now they’re going to count carbs for everyone else, too? Just because you’re stupid enough to avoid carbs, doesn’t mean everyone else has to.

Why do people feel the need to comment on your food, or on how and what you eat nowadays anyhow? It never used to happen before, this is a recent phenomenon. It’s like Asians, I mean, aliens, took over our planet and they’re all on diets and now they’re brainwashing us into all being on diets too.

It’s not just L.A., I was at a local store the other day buying some specialty and imported goods, and when I got to the checkout, the sales lady would pick up each item and make a comment on it, like “Ooh, this is really good.” and “I’ve never tried this one before!”, before putting my groceries in the bag.

Then she started giving me suggestions on how to eat one particular item, which was ludicrous; This woman with her Eighties suburban hairstyle and Lane Bryant outfit, working behind the register at a retail store, was gonna give me advice on how to eat imported food? Lady, I’m Italian, I am an import, I don’t need advice on how to eat one!

Although eating an Italian a day is supposed to be good for you… snicker*, snort*

Identifuckation

I got asked for my I.D. at the market. Now, you should know I don’t drink alcohol, I was buying kombucha. Yep, you heard that right… kombucha.

See, there are two types of kombucha from a specific brand I like: The original, brewed style that has a trace amount of alcohol in it (you don’t really get a buzz off it, but they have to label it as such), and the kind that has the alcohol taken out of it. The original brew containing alcohol tastes way better, which is the one I was purchasing, so when I previously said I didn’t drink alcohol, I was lying.

That’s what kombucha alcoholics do, we can’t be trusted.

I don’t like drinking regular alcohol, partly because of the after effects, but mostly because of the during effects. I don’t like having loss of control over what I say and do. Yes, I realize sometimes I write things that are, um… opinionated. Okay, so it’s more than being opinionated, I get it. Okay, so it’s not sometimes, it’s all the fucking time. No, I do not have Tourette Syndrome, but thanks for asking, asshole!

ahem…

Look, it’s a compulsion, the truth comes spilling out and I lose all sense of composure, it’s like taking a few shots of Kamikazes. The difference is the delete button… now if I could just find it *snicker* *snort*

I used to drink. Looking back, I acted like a real asshole; a funny one, but an asshole nonetheless. Thank God I’m not like that anymore.

I’m just glad there was no such thing as Facebook and Instagram and all the other stupid social networking apps, my reputation would be fucked. Nowadays, my idea of having fun and partying is to walk through a puff of second hand smoke while drinking a kombucha, which, now that I think about it, is also fucking up my reputation.

It’s okay, people still think I’m a slut. 

But back to getting carded: after the check out guy asked me for my I.D., I laughed, but he just looked at me with a straight face, so I said “You’re joking me, right?” to which he replied “No. It’s a new thing. We’re really cracking down on checking I.D.s now.”

… for kombucha. 

This is ridiculous, I’m not even close to being underage.

I’m old enough to be his never mind how old I am I’m fifty two and so goddamn what?

Then the lady bagging my groceries asked me “Isn’t that a compliment though, to get asked for your I.D.?” and I replied “No, it’s not.” because it isn’t, and I’ll tell you why: I’m clearly well over twenty one year’s of age, and one can ascertain that just by looking at me. So if someone’s asking me for I.D., it’s because they were told they have to, not because I could be mistaken for someone younger, and so they ask me just in case, complimenting me in the process.

It’s not a compliment. You wanna compliment me? Tell me how hot I look, how you love older women, that you know I’m not a slut and you love how I tell it like it is, then tell me the fucking chocolates are on sale and what aisle they’re on!

 

 

 

Flush It Down The Toilet

Some people think it’s more difficult for other people to act like assholes around the Holidays because of the holy aspect of it all, but I beg to differ.

There are plenty of assholes around this time of year.

You can find them anywhere, but they mainly hang around malls and shopping centers, or drive on the freeway. Well, the freeway’s a given, but they’re definitely at the shops participating in a feeding frenzy, like piranha or sharks. The one I encountered was a whale, and when I say whale, the person wasn’t nice like a whale is because whales are lovely creatures, and when I say one, there’s really been many.

Blowholes aren’t the same as assholes

My asshole (the one I encountered, not my literal asshole) resembled a whale in the sense that her presence was large; she wouldn’t hesitate to knock you over while she was gobbling up the whole goddamn store. Her jaws widened as she swam down the aisle,  absorbing everything in her path through her mouth, just like how a whale eats, but instead of plankton, it was garish, holiday crap.

The reason I was there was because I was invited to a Christmas party… or Holiday party… or whatever the hell the protocol is this year, and I needed to get a gift for the Secret Santa… oh, excuse me, a White Elephant, not a Secret Santa, according to my friend, who corrected me. Jesus Christ! Oh yeah, I’m not supposed to say Jesus Christ this time of year either. Listen, the guy was nailed onto a wooden cross, do you think he gives a shit if I use his name as an expletive? I’ll bet even he cried out “Jesus Christ!” when the first nail went in.

So after I found a gift, I was waiting my turn in the front of the line for the next cash register when these adorable Holiday cards caught my eye. Did I just say the words holiday and adorable in the same sentence? Holy crap, please slap me across the mouth next time you see me for saying that.

I took a quick second to look at them to decide which one I wanted, and as I turned to step back to my place at the front of the line, the whale shoved her way past me with her overloaded shopping cart, straight to the register. Apparently she was behind me, which I surprisingly missed, since she was exuding a pungent waft of self-entitlement. If you wanna know what that smells like, it’s anchovies. Then, get this: the woman waiting behind the whale tried to make her move ahead of me also, but I stepped in front of her, blocking her and showing my dominance.

Yeah, assholes.

But the important thing is I made it to the party that evening with gift in tow and an anticipation of the evening’s events. When I arrived, there were a bunch of people eating and drinking and having a great time, and there was a whole bunch of gifts just waiting to be opened for the White Elephant, so I thought, “Wow, this is gonna be great!” which is also incorrect. Get a bunch of people together, plow them with alcohol, then try to organize a gift exchange that involves keeping track of numbers and stuff. Go ahead… lemme know how it goes.

Very quickly into the game I realized how crappy all the gifts were, which shouldn’t have been a surprise now that I think about it, and because everyone was getting wasted, it was taking forever to call out each person’s number and get them to focus. Mind you, I don’t drink, so I was witnessing all this with the disdain it deserved. I must’ve sat there for a good 40 minutes and still didn’t get my number called, and I was losing my patience, so I almost yelled out “Hey, who’s dick do I gotta suck to get my number called?!” but decided against it in case some asshole thought I was serious. I haven’t sucked a dick in ages.

Well my number was finally called, and as luck would have it, the gift I chose turned out to be a metaphor for the entire experience. It was a coffee mug in the shape of a toilet, complete with a crap skid on the inside of the bowl, and the crap skid was textured… I kid you not. Who in their right mind is gonna drink out of a mug like that?

Some asshole probably.

Growing up, my older sister could always kick my ass.

But not always as a physical ass-kicking. No, my sister could kick my ass mentally, too. She would do stuff to torture me, like take my doll and say she was gonna cut its head off unless I admitted to her I was a loser, or break something and threaten to tell our mom it was my fault unless I gave her money. So at a very young age, I was faced with having to make tough decisions: do I keep my dignity by refusing her cruel demands and risk getting my ass kicked, or do I succumb to admitting to being the loser she accused me of?

When you come to a crossroads like that, it’s the beginning of what is referred to as “character-building exercises”. It supposedly builds character when someone has overtaken you physically and mentally, making you feel like a powerless piece of shit, because there will be many instances during your lifetime where you will feel like a powerless piece of shit.

So there I’d be, held mentally and emotionally hostage, and facing a stand-off with my nemesis to see who could outlast the other. Of course my sister would always outlast me and I would have to go searching in the backyard dirt to find my doll’s head buried somewhere.

But there comes a point in time when you’re so sick of being repeatedly beaten down, that you just can’t take another loss; you refuse to. The thought of another mental beating is too much to bear, so you’re willing to take whatever is going to be dished out because you just don’t give a shit anymore

and that’s when you learn apathy.

No, courage… you learn courage.

I had reached that point, however temporarily, and summoned up the courage to do something I would never normally do: refuse to back down to my sister, show her I didn’t care what the consequences were, whatever it was she was going to do to me wasn’t going to matter, because the satisfaction of doing this far outweighed the repercussions… and I did this with a fork full of mashed potatoes.

Okay, not the most threatening of weapons, I realize… but remember, David took Goliath down with a stone.

We were sitting across from one another at the small dinner table in our equally small kitchen, and my sister and I were having a discussion about one thing or another. It was one of the rare occasions where we were getting along, just talking and eating together. I happened to look down at my plate, scooped up a pile of mashed potatoes with my fork and looked at it with curiosity, wondering exactly what would happen if I flung this forkful of mashed potatoes across the room?

But then I looked up at my sister and I thought about how funny it would be to fling them into her face instead. It was spontaneous… an “a-ha!” moment, if you will: why wouldn’t I fling them into her face instead of across the room, wouldn’t that be infinitely more entertaining and satisfying? I was armed with this forkful of mashed potatoes, aimed right at my sister’s face, and I thought about how thrilling it was to have the power! I could worry about getting my ass kicked afterwards.

My sister immediately understood what I was planning when she saw my fork, a creamy white cloud of potato resting in the curve of its tines, my fingers ready to release it like a slingshot… a devious smile on my lips. She warned me to not dare do what I was thinking of doing, otherwise, I’d be in big trouble, which made my smile grow even larger and I started snickering. I told her she had better not move, or these potatoes were going straight into her face. She warned me again, saying “You’d better not do it, or I’ll kick your ass!” but her aggressive dominance wavered… she must have realized she wasn’t in the position to make demands, and then she snickered because it was such a ludicrous position for her to be in, to have the tables turned against her.

She didn’t think I had the guts to actually do it, which made it even more satisfying. That was the first time my sister underestimated me. There would be many times in our lives she would be shocked by her underestimation of me, her little sister, the one she so cruelly dominated and mistreated. I often wondered at the way she refused to give me more credit, but she was a stubborn creature.

To know I could hold her hostage by a forkful of mashed potatoes was galvanizing. I was going to do this and I didn’t care one bit about the ass kicking. With a quick flick of my wrist, I flung the mashed potatoes from my fork straight into her face, and it landed with a soft plop squarely in the center of her forehead and stuck there. I never realized I had such good aim… it was a triumph! For a split second, she was in shock; her eyes widened and her jaw dropped open as an expression of disbelief crossed her face.

Fear mixed in with the triumph I was feeling, my heart pumping as adrenaline coursed through my veins. I prepared myself for the beating that would follow, but instead, something miraculous happened: we burst out into hysterical laughter together. All the feelings of fear and hurt and sadness I felt towards my sister melted away, and a genuine moment of camaraderie that was normally void from our lives took its place.

In one swift action I won respect from my sister and gained her friendship, however brief. In that moment I knew what it felt like to be fearless and relevant and included… and loved. It defined for me the meaning of having a relationship with a sister who could be accepting and fun, full of laughter and joy; elements that would continually be missing from our troubled relationship. 

 

Enlighten Me

One of the headlights on my car isn’t working and when I read the manual to figure out how to fix it, it didn’t seem that difficult.

But we all know how that ball bounces, don’t we?

Whoever writes these car manuals always make it sound so easy to find or fix something, but when you GDB (get down to business), it never is. It’s the headlamp bulb I need to change, so I followed the instructions and surprisingly, I was able to remove the headlight assembly fairly easily. I have to say, it was so interesting to see just how shitty my Swedish car is actually put together. Did you know the entire headlight assembly is held in with a single pin? Apparently the Swedish don’t have to worry about car parts flying off when driving because they don’t drive faster than 30 mph (that’s 48.2803 kilometers per hour for all you European trash) so they figure they can hold this shit together with pins. They pick up meatballs with toothpicks, so there’s that. 

Wait, Sweden is part of Europe, right?

Anyway, once the headlight assembly is removed, you turn it over and twist the dial that holds the actual headlamp, it unhinges and there sits the bulb. Then you’re supposed to gently pull the bulb out and replace it with the new one. Simple, right? Well, here’s where it gets tricky: it doesn’t fucking come out.

The thing is stuck. I’ve tried maneuvering it in all different directions, using minimal force of course, because I don’t wanna break the glass and slice open my finger. I need that finger to gesture to the people on the freeway. Although, a finger wrapped up in bandages widens its girth, making for a stronger statement, doesn’t it? No, no, no… that won’t work, I need it for typing. I’ve tried typing with a finger out of commission and it came out looking like this:

Ge t awy F.’o me yo#  Godaam idjits!

So I shoved everything back into the hole and stuck the friggin’ pin back in to hold it together, figuring I’d leave it for another day. However, when I used my right turn signal, something went wrong. You know how turn signals have a slow, even ticking sound? They go: tchk… tchk… tchk… Well right after trying to fix the damn headlight it started doing double time, so now it goes: tchk-tchk-tchk-tchk… like a turn signal on crack. It’s gone spastic like the neighbor’s kid down the street. You give that kid a sugary candy bar and he’ll mow the lawn of every house on the goddamn block. Hey, don’t get mad at me for calling it like it is, it’s not my fault the parents smoked pot in high school and then their kid hit every branch on the way out!

Now I’m really irritated that I have a short in the wiring somewhere. I realize it’s pointless getting irritated with an inanimate object, but I honestly didn’t have any irritating encounters with people this week.

I don’t get Swedish cars, I really don’t. They are some of the most boring cars on the planet. Mine’s about as exciting as a church music recital with a bunch of spastics. Although on the way to work this morning, I passed this souped up Volvo hauling ass down the road. It had all these No Fear stickers plastered on the back window, was slightly lowered, and the muffler was removed, which is about as gangster as you can get in the suburbs. When I got a better look at the driver though, I saw it was the neighbor kid, holy crap… he’s only ten. Go spaz!

 

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