Monday, April 29, 2013

'Gunpowder and Lead' and Other Anger Management Tips from Miranda Lambert

Kelly blew her bangs out of her eyes and threw the Allen wrench down in frustration.  “Are you freaking KIDDING me?”  she cried, gesturing to the pile of wood and screws before her, “How did you ever convince me to help you with this shit?”

“Umm, have you forgotten how much of YOUR living room I single-handedly assembled?”  I replied, pointing a screwdriver at her for emphasis.  “You owe me.”

“I hate your face,” Kelly pouted, plunking herself onto the floor. “and IKEA can eat a giant bowl of lingonberry-flavored dicks.”

I chuckled and tossed her a package of bedding.  “Here, Bob Vila. Make yourself useful and put the sheets on the bunkbed.”

Kelly sighed sadly and hugged the bedding to her chest.  “I will. . .in a minute.”

Knitting my brow, I slid down the wall to sit beside her.  “Why the sad panda face?  Todd?”*

*Todd is Kelly’s ex-husband.  Words cannot fully describe the myriad things I would like to do to his genitals.  So.  Much.  Hate.

Kelly nodded and made that weird Ross Perot face she makes when she’s trying not to cry.  “I knew he was cheating on me. . .I mean, I couldn’t prove it, but I just. . .knew.  But still, when Sophie told me her dad and Tits McGee were getting MARRIED it was like a horse kicked me in the chest.  Todd swears they weren’t seeing each other while we were still together, but. . .”

“Ha!”  I interjected with a laugh.  “Of COURSE they were seeing each other when you were together.  Women get divorced for a million reasons; men only get divorced for one.”

Kelly drew a ragged breath and brushed her hair behind her ears.  “I’m just so. . .mad.  And I don’t know why!  I don’t want him, but at the same time, I want to rip that bitch’s hair out for fucking my husband.”

“Totally understandable.”  I shrugged, handing Kelly a rag to dry her eyes.  “When Gil started shacking up with his girlfriend while we were still married I flipped my shit.”

Kelly chuckled wryly.  “Jesus, I wish I knew you then.  It would have been magical to watch you go all Lifetime Movie of the Week on that chick.”

“Lifetime?  Oh, Bitch, please.  More like ‘Snapped’. I was just two drinks and a handgun away from going all Betty Broderick on both their asses.” Kelly smiled weakly and I nudged her with my shoulder.  “You’re allowed to go a little postal, Kell.  It’s a totally reasonable reaction to an unreasonable situation. Just don’t get arrested; I’ve seen you in orange, you totally couldn’t rock the prison jumpsuit.”

“How did you get over it?”  Kelly asked tearfully.  “How did you stop being angry and get so goddamned zen about the whole thing?”

I shrugged and picked at a flake of paint on the carpet.  “I don’t know.  Time, I guess. When we were together I was just so profoundly sad all the time.  I was starving myself all day and getting drunk every night just to be able to tolerate the sight of him, but at the same time I was terrified of being without him.  It was like Stockholm Syndrome, except with more bulimia and less Patty Hearst.”

“Sounds magical.” Kelly drawled.  “How did you survive that level of crazy for ten years?”

“Vodka.”  I nodded sagely. “Copious amounts of vodka.”

She smirked at me.  “As your best friend this is the part where I should be telling you to feel your feelings and reflect on how you could have made better choices, but as your psycho/sober friend I understand you’d stab me with an Allen wrench if I 12-step your ass, so I’ll refrain from commenting.”

“Good call, Bill W.” I said, standing and extending my hand. “C’mon, let’s ditch the furniture for now and go get pedicures.”

Kelly grinned and grabbed my hand, pulling herself up.  Twenty minutes later, we were seated side-by-side in massage chairs, our softly pumiced feet soaking in lavender-scented water.

“Much better than constructing obscurely named Swedish end tables.”  Kelly sighed blissfully.  “I’m still angsty, but at least I’ll be angsty with ‘Lincoln Park After Dark’ on my toes.”

“That’s mah girl!” I cried, whacking her arm with a copy of InStyle magazine.  “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, it’s bad for your complexion.”*

*Once again, my encyclopedic knowledge of all things ‘Sixteen Candles’ proves fortuitous.  R.I.P. Mr. Hughes; you defined my generation.

“So, you never really told me.” Kelly countered, rubbing her arm where I smacked her. “How did you stop being angry at Gil and Bachelorette #3?”*

*My friend Jess was the one who suggested we simply start numbering Gil’s wives.  It seemed more expedient than trying to remember their names.

I thought for a moment. “I got sober.”  Kelly squinted at me cynically.  “I know, that sounds simplistic, but it really did make all the difference.  Once I had some clarity I was able to see how horrible we really were together.  It wasn’t that I hated Gil, I just hated who I was when I was WITH him.  And as for her, she was just one in a long line of ‘other women’.  If he hadn’t moved in with her it would have been someone else eventually; Gil and I were like bleach and ammonia: separately, pretty useful and effective, but together we were just one toxic hot mess.”

Kelly widened her eyes and gave me a high-five.  “Look at you being all mature and shit!” she laughed.  “I’m embarrassed that I’m still Facebook-stalking Todd’s skank.”

I waved my hand dismissively.  “You’ll get over that.  I don’t even think about Gil and the women in his life anymore.  It’s not anger, or annoyance, it’s just. . .not even on my radar.  You’ll get there; try to understand that Todd’s girlfriend obviously has some pretty severe self-esteem issues.  Emotionally and mentally stable people don’t destroy families by sleeping with married men; turn that anger into pity.”

Kelly gaped at me in astonishment. “You want me to feel sorry for that whore!?!?”*

*For the record, yelling the word “whore” in a crowded nail salon in downtown Portland?  Ill-advised.

“The first time I met Gil’s girlfriend I was shocked by how much she reminded me of myself when he and I were married.” I told Kelly.  “Same hairstyle, same Amish Sister Wife wardrobe, same kicked-puppy expression."

Kelly snorted with laughter.  "I would pay good money to see you dressed in the Eddie Bauer spring collection."

I rolled my eyes dramatically.  "Yeah, I'd pretty much embraced the softer side of Sears.  Suffice to say, that dog doesn't bark in this fashionista's yard anymore.  Anyway, when I saw Gil's girlfriend I suddenly saw what I’d escaped and what she was deep in the heart of.  I know how this is going to end for her and it won't be pretty.  It was bizarre, but in that moment I just stopped being angry and started feeling really sorry for her.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever get there.” Kelly said with a shake of her head. “I still want to cunt-punt Todd’s slut into next week.”

“Funny, I don’t remember ‘cunt-punt’ being one of Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief.” I mused. “But if you need to get your Miranda Lambert on and be a little psycho for a while then go for it.  Let it out, Sistah!”

Kelly scowled.  “She looks like an old racehorse: ridden hard and put away wet.”

I grinned maliciously.  “She’s been picked up and fingered more times than a bowling ball.”

Kelly snorted with laughter.  “She fell out of the whore tree and banged every guy on the way down.”

“Her cervix has been invaded more times than Poland!” I cried, earning a malevolent glare from the woman to my left.

“She’s like a vacuum cleaner: she sucks, blows, and gets laid in the closet!”

“If she was a dinosaur she’d be a ‘Tramp-a-whore-us Rex!”

“She’s rubbed more wood than Murphy’s Oil Soap!”

“I’d kick her ass but I don’t want to get slut all over my Jimmy Choos!”

“If her vagina had a password, it would be ‘password’!”

Kelly and I chortled like a couple of coked-up strippers and high-fived each other with glee.
"Better?"  I asked.

"Better."  she agreed with a smile.  "But I still want to cram a Molotov Cocktail in the tailpipe of her Prius."
I patted her hand comfortingly.  "Send her a thank you note instead."  I said.  "You may not know it yet, but she did you the biggest fucking favor of your life."

Be well.  Be forgiving.  Life is too damned short to waste on hating people that aren't worthy of your attention. . .you're better than that.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Country Girl, Shake It For Me

"The juice fast?"  I said with gravity.  Kelly remained unmoved.

"The two-hour hike, uphill both ways, in the mud?"  She shook her head slowly.

"The goddamned vegan diet that I stayed on for a solid MONTH?"  Nothing.  It was time to pull out the big guns.

"I went to a Michael Moore documentary with you and not ONCE did I loudly express my desire to jam a copy of the Bill of Rights up his fat ass!"

Kelly had to laugh.  "Yeah, but only because the crowd would have smelled Republican and been all over you like E.Coli on McSnack Wrap."  I opened my mouth to state my case further, but Kelly dismissed me with a wave of her hand.  "OK, Ann Coulter, you've made some valid arguments.  However, none of them come CLOSE to proving that I am indebted enough to actually attend a country music festival with you."

For those of you unaware of my musical ADHD, my tastes run the gamut from Leonard Cohen to Whitesnake to Justin Bieber.*

*Shut up.  "Boyfriend" has a totally slammin' backbeat and until the boy went batshit crazy apres-Selena, I had high hopes for the wee lad.  Sadly, as things now stand he's only one bong hit away from going the full Lohan.

But while I am one who doesn't believe in bedazzling their bullshit, and is therefore quite open about my complete lack of musical sensibilities, I am still loathe to admit my love for country music.  While I know it is a genre that has come into it's own over the years. . .*

*Thanks for that, Garth Brooks.  Although I think you're an adulterous douchecanoe with the morals of an alleycat in heat, you ARE the one who brought country to the mainstream in 1989, so, snaps for that.  But I still hate your face.

. . .there is still a miasma of shame that surrounds it.  As such, I know that despite my mad love for House of Pain and old school Dre and my eerie ability to quote Tupac and Snoopp, I'm duly aware that my collection of Miranda Lambert and Sugarland CD's makes my gangsta street cred sink faster than a mob informant in the East River.  But, I'd been offered free passes to the Willamette Country Music Festival in August and to be honest, the only thing I value higher than my dignity and self-respect is free shit, so hi-ho, hi-ho, 'tis off to the Country Fest I go, y'all.  But only if I could find a willing accomplice.

Kelly squinted at me skeptically.  "They aren't going to make me line-dance, are they?"  

"Umm, hi.  1992 called, they want their scrunchies and their Billy Ray Cyrus mullet back"  I said, rolling my eyes.  "Are you shitting me? Nobody line-dances any more!"

"Thank God!"  Kelly cried.  "Line-dancing always seemed just a little too much like masturbation: sure, it might feel good, but it's fraught with shame and should never be performed outside the  privacy of your own home."

I nodded in agreement.  "Personally, I never liked line-dancing because of my natural aversion to following instructions.  'Step left, then right, then kick, then stomp...'  Yeah, you know who else liked dressing up in matching hats and stomping in unison?  Nazis.  So. . .fuck you."

"Wow."  Kelly said in astonishment.  "only you could turn 'Achy-Breaky Heart' into a statement on protofacism."

I grinned smugly.  "And my parents thought those political science classes were a total waste of money.  Who's laughing now, yo?"

"Oh, SURELY not YOUR parents."  Kelly snorted.  "I doubt a day goes by when they aren't thrilled to have subsidized your highly marketable degree in political science and art history.  But, hey!  At least you learned how to do the Boot Scootin' Boogie, so that was money well spent."

I snorted with derision.  "What makes you think I know how to line dance?'

Kelly shrugged and flipped her glossy dark hair over one shoulder.  "You went to a land-grant university that's walking distance from a Mennonite community, what else is there to do?"

Oh, HELL to the NO she did not just start talking smack about my alma mater.  "ExCUSE me!"  I cried indignantly.  "Not all of us went to some hippy-dippy hairy armpit liberal arts college.  I'll have you know that Oregon State University has one the top pharmacy AND veterinary programs in the country, is the very site where alumni Linus Pauling did his seminal research on vitamin C, and also boasts such graduates as the founders of E*TRADE, U-Haul, as well as four state governors, five U.S. Representatives, and two U.S. Secretaries of the Interior!"*

*BAM!  Suck it.

Kelly acknowledged this silently.  "Isn't Oregon State where the maraschino cherry was invented?'

"Yeah," we're not as proud of that one."  I shrugged.  "My point is, we weren't just sitting around drinking PBR and tipping cows on a Friday night, so you shouldn't just assume that I know how to line-dance."

Kelly smirked.  "But you totally do, don't you."

"Pfft!  Like a boss."

Kelly hooted triumphantly.  "OK, Taylor Swift, let's see you bust a move!"

"I'll do you one better,"  I grinned, standing up and gesturing Kelly toward the middle of the room.  "C'mon, you're getting your first lesson."

"Ha!"  Kelly snorted.  "You are higher than Charlie Sheen snorting Amy Winehouse's ashes if you think my boots are scooting ANYWHERE across that floor."

I rolled my eyes and stared down Kelly's stubborn gaze.  "You owe me after talking smack about my alma mater."  She twisted her lips remorsefully and I grinned with triumph.  "Yeah, that's right, feel the guilt."

Kelly sighed and shook her head sadly.  "I'm not getting out of here until I do this, am I?"

"Nope!"  I smirked.  "So, in the immortal words of the great poet, Jay-Z:  'Get out your seat, 'ho.'"

Thus resigned, Kelly slowly rose to her feet.  "You DO realize that this level of shame is what caused me to start drinking in the first place, right?"

"Ooh!  That reminds me!"  I cried, Kelly's humiliation sliding to the back burner.  "Obviously we won't be drinking but you need to be 21 to get into some venues at the Festival, so don't forget your ID."

Kelly stared at me as one does a mentally challenged toddler.*

*But I get that a lot, so, you know. . .no big whoop.

"Jen,"  she said slowly,  I'm 40 years old and have crow's feet deeper than a Nietzsche tenet. Unless Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli are manning the door, I really don't think that lack of ID will be an issue."

I bounced up and down in excitement.  "No!  That's the best part; they card EVERYONE! Their security is so tight the make the TSA at Tehran International Airport look like freaking Wal-Mart greeters!"

Kelly squinted at me judiciously.  "So, for the honor of being asked to prove my age of majority, all I have to do is put on some boots and pretend I don't want to punch Darius Rucker in the neck for the whole 'Hootie-to-hoedown' debacle?"

"Yup."  I said with a nod.  

I watched as a slow grin crept across Kelly's face.  "Well then, slap my ass and call me Loretta Lynn."  she cried, following me to the center of the living room.  "Let's do this thing!"

5. . .6. . .7. . .8. . .

xoxo, y'all!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Autism: It's How We Roll...and Spin...and Rock...and Whine...

The woman at the desk smiled at me as I came in, then her smile wavered.  I saw myself  through her eyes; a gaunt, hollow-eyed woman balancing an overstuffed diaper bag and a beautiful eighteen-month-old child in her arms.  As she rose to speak I stepped forward and 
interrupted tearily.

"My name is Jen.  Please don't tell me I'm overreacting, please don't tell me I'm a nervous mother, and please don't tell me you don't test children before they are three.  This is my son M and we are NOT leaving until he is tested."

The woman stared at me blankly and then slowly backed into the outer offices.  As I settled into the scratchy chairs with my sleepy son I could hear the anxious whispers behind the door.  Four and a half hours we waited, until finally a diminutive woman with a lilting voice and a gentle smile came out to greet us.  Her name was Dr. XXX and she was the one who first spoke the words aloud:  "Your son has autism."

        Oddly, the first feeling I had was one of relief.  FINALLY someone believed me!  For months I'd been told how lucky I was to have such an easy child; content to rock in his swing and hum as he gazed at the ceiling fans and rain-streaked windows.  In my heart I knew there was more to it than that and at long last there was confirmation.  I walked out of the office armed simply with a pamphlet for Early Intervention services and a reassuring hug; from then on it was all up to me to rescue my baby.

Immediately upon returning home I loaded M and his twin brother J into the stroller and headed to the library where I proceeded to check out every book on autism that had ever been printed.  I spent long hours rocking the boys in front of the computer as I gradually earned my PhD in autism research from the "University of Google".  My husband and I quickly 
learned  spending $100 an hour on RDI and ABA therapists would not be an option so I taught myself everything I could; staying up until 3am listening to Stanley Greenspan lecture online and printing homemade PEC's on my computer.  

Not all of our endeavors were successful.  A friend told me how her daughter increased her vocabulary after supplementing with anti-virals and EFA's but this combination only proved to make M more "stimmy".  There were times that I felt I could almost see him slipping further and further away.  Those were the times when I would think to myself, "Stay with me, M. . .just stay with me a little bit longer til I can figure this out.  Please."  I threw every conceivable therapy against the wall to see what stuck. Speech therapy proved meaningless initially while occupational therapy turned my introverted little boy into a laughing, playful child.  The hours I spent with M kneading dough and digging in piles of rice and dried beans helped his sensitivity issues more than anything else, and we soon learned how to make even the most meaningless daytime tasks into an opportunity to practice and learn.

As happens often with families of special needs children, the challenge proved to be too much for my husband, and he sought a "less complicated life" with another woman.  My divorce was emotionally and financially devastating, but opened doors to me as well.  I researched schools which would better meet the needs of my sons (exceptional services were woefully lacking in their present district) and we moved to a neighboring district that had a flagship program directed at children with high-functioning autism as well as music and art for my creative son, J.  The rent was higher here, but if it meant taking the bus and living on Ramen for a while, I did what I had to do to get them into this district! I also knew that it would be impossible to raise my children on the paltry child support I received, so it was time to take my experience with my children and my passion for education to the next level and return to school.  I completed my Masters degree in special education last year and am planning to start the doctoral program next year.  But nothing I learned from a book or a desk has taught me more than the simple act of being a mother to two such miraculous children.  And nothing I know as a professional can do jackshit about the day to day confusion, frustration, and misunderstanding surrounding mothers of children on the autism spectrum.

     First of all, let me set the record straight.  Mothers of children with autism are not perfect, selfless angels.  We are not martyrs.  We are not saints. Although any mother will tell you in all honesty that she loves and accepts her child, if you asked if she loves the fact that her child has autism she'll probably look you in the eye, blow her sweat-stained hair out of her tired face and say "Are you fucking KIDDING me?" I didn't choose to be a mother of a special-needs child.  I am not heroic and brave.  If I could go back in time and make a choice, you can guaran-frickin-tee you that I would not have said, "Why yes, God...a child with autism would be delightful".  But it was not my choice, nor was it M's.  Together we have learned to navigate the maze of autism and let go of the guilt and the blame and trust that maybe, just maybe, there was a reason why God saw fit to intertwine our lives so intricately.  And parents of children with autism are not "stronger" or "braver" than any other parent; we are simply doing the best we can with what we're given, and sometimes that's enough, and sometimes it isn't.

     And contrary to shows like "Touch" and craptacular films like "Mercury Rising", children with autism are not all altruistic, ethereal beings with cherubic smiles and pristine intentions.  Children with autism are simply that:  They are children. . .with autism.  And like any other child, they can lie, and tease, and annoy the ever-loving shit out of you; so most of the time parents find themselves asking "Is this an autism thing, or it this a typical 'my-kid-is-being-a-pain-in-the-ass' thing?"  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, Freud.

      Autism and myriad other emotional and intellectual disabilities have their own unique set of challenges; largely because autism  is what's known as an invisible disability.  Because my son is not in a wheelchair, or holding a white cane, he is simply viewed as "odd" or "weird" and as such, others view his behaviors as a direct reflection upon my OBVIOUSLY sub-par parenting skills. . .which they are quick to point out to me. . .three guesses how well THAT shit flies.  But, you learn to choose your battles wisely.  They old lady rolling her eyes while my son goes postal in the middle of Target?  Meh. . .not the hill I want to die on, Soldier.  But the two grown-ass men teasing and mimicking my son's high-pitched laugh at the community pool?  Oh, it is ON like Saigon, motherfucker.  You don't MESS with an autism mommy.  We are tired.  We are angry.  And we have nothing to lose.

        But while each of these slights and hasty judgments cut me to the quick, all s well in M's world.  He is a happy-go-lucky, carefree child.  I carry the weight of M's diagnosis as I willingly carry every burden passed onto my child; with a strong back and a loving heart.  If it is I that spends sleepless nights worrying about the latest "stim" or tic or behavior or weeps in the shower because of an unkind word or negative report from school then I will gladly embrace that in exchange for the honor of being the mother of such an exemplary human being.  It is enough.

        Being a mother of a child with autism means being ever-vigilant of any new stimuli in your child's environment.  It means spending your days and nights hunting down just the "right" brand of peanut butter he'll eat, or cutting the tags out of her clothing because the feel of them sets her off.  It means listening to the ham-handed advice and latest Witch-Doctor-Quick-Fix-Jenny-McCarthy douchebaggery some well-meaning soul passes on with a smile.  It means being flexible every single second of every single day because even with the best of intentions and the most intricate planning, a fire alarm or flickering light can turn a simple trip to the mall into a child's personal Vietnam.  But most of all, it means you never take anything for granted: not a smile, or an utterance, or even the briefest moments of eye contact.  You recognize the small victories, and celebrate them with all your heart.

      My son M is bright, and empathetic, and has manners that would make Emily Post look like Larry Flynt.  He is a prolific artist with the singing voice of a choirboy and a natural affinity for sports.  He loves math and meteorology and airplanes and classical violin and memorizing Bible verses, and I truly believe that this world is a better place simply because of his presence.  There were many times I wished for a "cure" that panacea that would make M "normal" and then I realized that most "normal" kids can't recite the entire libretto from 'Wicked' from memory, or do long division in their heads, or create a map of the United States freehand after seeing it once.  Trust me, "normal" is highly overrated.

      Today my son M and his amazing twin brother J attend fourth grade together. M has an aide throughout the day and receives daily assistance in speech, social skills, and behavioral management. We still struggle with his ability to interact with other children and his echolalia (reciting SpongeBob episodes verbatim is a favorite past time!), but with 
love and guidance he is blossoming into a happy, outgoing child.  I am finally able to relax a little and know that M is progressing at a slow and steady rate.  I am finally able to pursue my own interests, independent of my children, without fear that I am depriving them of precious therapeutic intervention.  And I am finally able to look away from my son M for a moment without that paralyzing fear that when I look back, he'll have quietly slipped away.

      Just as the first step toward my sobriety came with admitting I had a problem, so did my acceptance of M's autism.  Are there still days when I'm jealous, angry, scared, confused, and frustrated?  Absolutely.  But I accept those emotions.  I own them.  And that is the first step toward fully accepting my unique child.  For me, the journey with M has been enlightening.  It has taught me patience. It has taught me to trust my instincts.  It has taught me that I am the greatest advocate for my children. It has taught me that what works for one child with autism may not work for another and that even if something works one day you may have to reinvent the wheel the next. It has taught me that differences exist all around us and that acceptance and love will conquer any adversity.  But most of all, it has taught me that M is not a problem to be solved; he is a life to be celebrated.  


Monday, April 8, 2013

The Four People You Meet On Facebook

According to the latest study, the average American spends 7 hours and 45 minutes a month on Facebook.  That is the equivalent of a typical work day, a good night's sleep, or a trip to IKEA.*

*If you've ever made it out of IKEA in under 8 hours and $500, then you're clearly a witch..

Facebook, Twitter, "Hipster-Gram" and their ilk seem innocuous enough, but let's face it; they are just a socially acceptable form of stalking.  And for someone like me who is so goddamned nosy I make Gladys Kravitz look like Boo Radley, well, let's just say that Facebook is my raison d'etre.  But there are limits, y'all.  Scrolling through someone's vacation photos?  Fine.  Commenting on their witty Grumpy Cat meme?  Perfectly OK.  But when you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time trolling the Facebook page and Twitter feed of your significant other's ex, or downloading pictures of other people's children, then your life is probably about as empty as Charlie Sheen's wine cellar and it's time to step away from the keyboard and onto a therapist's couch.*

*It's lonely out there on the grassy knoll, yo.

I know a lot of people (a few of them QUITE well) who use Facebook as a free version of; flipping through the photos of their friends' friends, hoping to stumble across that one profile pic that has their nether regions quivering with joy.  But Facebook can be deceiving, y'all.  I have two words for you:  Manti T'eo.  Be ever vigilant to the fact that the 23 year old Victoria's Secret model with whom you are chatting could well be a 57 year old Best Buy employee with a beard and an overbite.  Unless you want Nev and Max knocking on your door with their camcorder and faux empathy, then I suggest you keep your correspondence PG-13, Catfish.

But for all it's foibles and douchebaggery, for the most part, Facebook is what Zuckerberg intended:  Social Media.

"Demented and sad. . .but social."

And as with any other social gathering, you will find that most people fall into very specific subtypes.  For example. . .


God knows, I love animals, and I am the last one to wish ill will on any living being. . .*

*Except for snakes.  Because. . .fuck snakes.

But when I'm sitting at my desk, about to take a bite of my pork belly sandwich and dirty fries from Lardo, the last thing I need to see is a color photo of Babe getting cornholed with a taser.  Yes, I know there's cruelty and mistreatment of animals, and I understand that every time I take a bite of chicken or order a Denver omelet I am just one more cog in the Orwellian industrial machine, but in my defense animals can be real assholes.  Have you ever seen an episode of 'Animal Face-Off'?  Trust me, after you've watched a gorilla go all Wes Craven on a tiger you won't be so quick to start signing with him over banana daquiris.  Do I think animals should be protected?  Absolutely.  Do I think they should have rights?  Not so much. When we live in a world where women are still not allowed to vote or own property, where people die of curable conditions simply because they lack access to medical care, and where children are abused and neglected because there is no one to advocate for them, then the fact that L'Oreal is testing Frost-n-Tip on bunnies just isn't on my freaking radar.  I choose my battles wisely, y'all.  And if it's a choice between a possible cure for a child's cancer and liberating some lab rodent, then Ratatouille can go pound sand.


I know that these cartoons and sites like "Mommy Needs a Cocktail" and "I'm Going to Flip the Susan Smith Switch If I Don't Start Doing Jager Bombs" are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but when I see you post nine times in a six-hour time frame about your desperation to start binge-drinking at soccer practice then I'm gonna throw down more 12 Steps than a contestant on 'So, You Think You Can Dance'.*

*And, on a side note, enough with the goddamned yoga pants in public.  If you have time to go on Facebook and post about how you don't have time to put on real pants, then YOU HAVE TIME TO PUT ON REAL PANTS!  Don't make me go all Tim Gunn on your Lycra-clad ass.

If the internet is to be believed, all mothers are so consumed by sturm and drang that the only possible relief comes from ingesting enough alcohol to anesthetize a yeti, lest we go upside our children's heads like Bobby Brown on Whitney.*

*R.I.P. Ms. Houston.

Personally, I find this sentiment to be offensive.  Are my short people annoying?  Sometimes.   Are there times where I think I'll lose my shit if I play one more game of 'Go Fish'?  You betcha.  But 90% of the time (well, maybe closer to 80%), I genuinely like hanging out with my kids; they are smart, and funny, and self-sufficient, and usually they smell pretty good.*

*Except when they smell like ass and cheese.

Trust me, I understand the urge to drink.  I made a solid ten year commitment to bitch-slapping my liver, but my children were not what made me drink, my children were what made me sober.  So, if you're REALLY that driven to beer-bong that bottle of Turning Leaf Chardonney at 3:00pm, you might want to do a little self-actualization. But before I start spouting out random nuggets of lifestyle advice and Big Book adages like some autistic Dr. Phil, let me simply state that it is a slippery slope from posting eCards about vodka and minivans to being the hot mess on the bench in stained yoga pants screaming "Peyton, NO!  That's Mommy's 'special' juice!"


Stop.   Seriously.   Just. . .stop.


Attention.  Approval.  Adulation.  It is a substance so addictive it makes crystal meth look like Splenda,  and whether or not we choose to admit it, the majority of us spend a greater part of our life in pursuit of that one moment when someone beams down and assures us that "we is kiiiiiind, we is gooooooood, we is important".  The quest for attention has led people to such spectadular act of douchebaggery as auditioning for "The Real World", marrying a Menendez brother, or starting a blog.*

*Please like me.

And nowhere is self-aggrandization more fully embraced than on one's Facebook timeline.  We all have that one "friend".  The one who posts Instagrammed iPad close-ups of their face every. Damned. Day.  You scroll through their timeline photos and it becomes like some circa-1950's Disney flipbook as picture after picture of their beaming visage stares back at you, regardless of the accompanying post. 

"Lunch with the girls at Cafe Blase.  Yummers!"

"Jake and Chloe just made junior varsity soccer!  SO proud of my kiddos."

"After nine grueling surgeries, Grandpa finally died after bleeding out on the operating table.  His last words were that he wished he could have made amends with his children.  Today we are all reeling at the fragility of life."

I'm not saying you shouldn't feel free to post the occasional picture showing off your sassy new haircut or proving to the men in your life that those nasty cold sores have cleared up, but when you're more over-exposed than an albino at Club Med then it's time to stop and smell the neuroses, my friend.  Remember, there's no 'I' in 'Facebook', but there are three in 'narcissistic'.

As aforementioned, I love Facebook like Rihanna loves Chris Brown: blindly, passionately, but with a healthy dose of fear and trepidation.  For me, Facebook has been a means of connecting with old college friends, keeping in touch with my grad school homies as we start our careers in many and sundry ends of the earth, and reminding myself (whilst reading late-night posts so incoherent they make Courtney Love sound like Margaret Thatcher) exactly why I no longer drink.  But every now and then I have to step back and reassess exactly what I'm putting out there in the world.*

*Hence the reason people are no longer able to post directly to my wall without approval.  Suffice to say, some "friends" in the past have abused the privilege and I'm just not sure I want my family clicking on my page to see a cartoon of some dude getting his salad tossed by a Japanese schoolgirl.
Urban Dictionary-dot-com: TOSSED SALAD.  My apologies in advance)

So, every now and then, stop to reassess. . .clean house, if you will, and look at your Facebook page as though you were your grandmother, or a potential employer.  And remember the cardinal rule:  If you don't want anyone to know about it, DON'T PUT IT ON FACEBOOK.*

*Or. . .you know. . .just don't freaking do it in the first place, Dipshit.

And every few months or so, stop to look at who your "friends" really are.  If you're like most of us, 30-40% of them genuinely care about your life and your well-being.  The rest are just curious.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stupidest Crap Ever Spoken: Conversations at New Seasons

CURTIS:  Have you ever watched the York Peppermint Patty ads and wondered how many of those things that poor bitch had to pretend to enjoy?
ME:  They spit instead of swallow, like a good little marketing whore.
CURTIS:  I like Peppermint Patties, but I can't imagine eating THAT many of them.
ME:  Meh, I've put worse things in my mouth for less money.
CURTIS:  . . .
ME:  That sounded a lot less slutty in my head.
CURTIS:  It always does, Sweetie.

ME:  Holy CRAP!  Gas prices are ridiculous right now!

KELLY:  Yeah, but when you think about it, gas is made from fossil fuels; so you're really buying liquified pterodactyls and velociraptors and Jurassic Park shit like that.  
ME:  Dude, that's totally worth it. 
KELLY:  I know, right?

ME:  Why do people say "sleeps like a baby" meaning you sleep all night?  That's a crock.  I really do sleep like a baby: irrational, drooling, and waking up hungry every three hours.

JODIE:  Did you get my Facebook message?

ME:  No.
JODIE: was a group message to you and Noelle and Beth.
ME:  Nope, never got it.
JODIE:  I wondered why I didn't get a response from any of you.
ME:  Oh, THAT message.  Yeah, we got it. . .but we all hate you.
JODIE:  Well, clearly.
ME:  In fact, just last night, Noelle wrote "Jodie is a fugly slut" in our Burn Book.
JODIE:  Well, I wrote that she was a grotsky beeyotch.
ME:  At least she never made out with a hot dog, like Beth.
JODIE:  We quote "Mean Girls" far more than any women our age have a right to.

ME:  Boo, you whore.

GINA:  Last week my doctor asked me if Alex and I are sexually active.  Umm, hello!  I just had a baby, for God's sake; no we aren't sexually active. .we're not even socially active. . .Jesus, we're so tired we aren't even active, period.

KELLY:  Euw!  Some guy on keeps sending me messages and he's 65 years old!

ME:  What did he say?  "Girl, you'd better hand me my oxygen tank, 'cuz you take my breath away."
GINA:  Or, "Someone hit my Life Alert button, 'cuz I've fallen for you and I can't get up."
KELLY:  I hate you both.

JAMES:  I totally wasn't worried about the Apocalypse because the date on my cheese said "Expires in January, 2013".  Ha!  Laughing Cow:1, Mayans: 0.

LYNN (referring to 'Toddlers & Tiaras'):  What's the difference between 'Universal Royalty' and 'Universal SUPREME Royalty'?
ME:  The addition of sour cream and tasty guacamole?

CURTIS:  If a 'cockblock' is when a girl's friend keeps her away from a guy who's trying to get some, what do you call it when the guy's friend is keeping him from a girl who's trying to get some?
MICHELLE:  I don't know. . .a 'beaver dam'?

ME:  Ben & Jerry's needs to get away from these cheesy, PC names like "Cherry Garcia" and "Phish Food" and start naming their flavors something more applicable to their target market.  Like. . ."Alimony Cone-y".
KELLY:  Or, "Spumoni On Your Own-y"?
ME:  Or, "He's Just Not That Mint-o You"?
KELLY:  I prefer the classic, "He Can Go Fudge Himself".

ME:  Want to hang out with me and the short people this weekend?  We're going to the Children's Museum.
HOLLY:  I would, but I hate the thought of seeing all of those children on display in those glass cases.
ME:  Which, of course, begs the question: if you go to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum, is it just really empty and breezy inside?

ALEX:  What the hell?  When did they stop serving the deep-fried buffalo wings here?  ((sigh)) Guess I'm just going to have to go back to killing myself with alcohol.

ME:  They need to update some of these cartoons.  Like, "Dora, the Internet Explorer".
CORY:  Pfft!  That crazy bitch would just go searching in all the wrong places and crash before she hit the troll bridge.