The Friend Card

batman-312342_640Among any group of really good friends, you will always find some version of the Friend Card.  The Friend Card is sort of like the Bat Signal; you can only use it in an emergency, but when you do, your friends have to drop what they’re doing, get in their bat-mobiles, and come help you however they can.  They don’t have to show up in a superhero costume (although bonus points if they do), but they do have to show up.

Not all Friend Card-worthy emergencies are harrowing tales of woe, of course.  A lot of them are the kind you eventually end up laughing about. For me, the memories of times I’ve played the Friend Card have turned into some of my favorite stories to tell.  For instance, there was the time I went on a date and had to have a friend come to the restaurant to rescue me:

The Time I Went On A Date And Had To Have A Friend Come Rescue Me

It’s not that the date went badly, it’s that I’d worn an old pair of pants that split down the back seam halfway through the night. Yes, it was hilarious.  Are you done laughing yet?  Okay, how about now?  Good.  So, in the Not Great column, I was in a crowded restaurant with my “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” underwear on full display (stop judging me).  In the Could Be Worse column, I was in the ladies’ room when it happened, which I’ve always taken as proof that God is a chick.

After I got done freaking out, I called a girlfriend who was about my size, invoked the Friend Card, and skulked in a stall until she could bring me some pants that didn’t violate public decency laws.  It took a comparative eon and a few months off my life, but my friend finally got to the restaurant and headed discreetly to the bathroom, where she handed me a nice pair of her own pants to change into and then immediately left so I could continue my date.  She even snuck my ripped pants out with her so my date wouldn’t see them—star power!

The rest of the night went very well, and I’m ashamed to say that my friend’s pants got pretty badly wrinkled by the time I returned them the next day.  No, that’s not true.  I’m actually not ashamed at all.  So, under the circumstances, I think that was a solid use of the Friend Card and a fine performance by my friend.  She still makes fun of me for it, but she gets to because she came through in the clutch.  And because I wrinkled her pants.

Then, of course, there’s the time I decided it was a good idea to skip the salon and bleach my hair at home:

The Time I Decided It Was A Good Idea To Skip The Salon And Bleach My Hair At Home

I was trying to save money, and I’d thoroughly researched home hair bleaching techniques on the internet.  With what I now realize was undue faith in YouTube tutorials, I followed the instructions exactly, settled myself by an open window, and tried to ignore the way my scalp had caught fire.  When it was time to check under the hood, so to speak, I looked in the bathroom mirror and omigod my hair is orange panic panic panic ask google what to do

black-1299077_640I followed my Google search result’s instructions for mixing and applying a violet-colored toner to cancel out the (pumpkin freaking orange) brassiness, though with a little less faith than I’d had in the YouTube tutorials from the previous step.  I washed out the toner, looked in the bathroom mirror and omigod my hair is purple panic panic panic why does the internet hate me panic panic just shave it all off and buy a wig–

Before I went completely V for Vendetta, I figured I might as well try playing the Friend Card.  To set the scene, this was 5:40 on a Sunday evening and the stores all closed at 6:00.  My friend took me to the drugstore, said nothing about the three scarves I had wound around my head, and calmed me down long enough to grab some hair dye in a fetching shade of normal.  It worked thank you sweet baby jesus i’ll never bleach my own hair again and, although my hair was basically straw for the next two months, it was straw of a normal color.  I’m calling that a win.

Of course, I’ve also been the one upon whom the Friend Card was played, and I think I’ve come through pretty well when it was my turn.  I mean, not everyone would be willing to pry the nails out of a coffin-sized wooden box her friend found in the basement of her new house and open it up to see if there’s a body inside:

The Time I Pried The Nails Out Of A Coffin-Sized Wooden Box My Friend Found In Her Basement And Opened It To See If There Was A Body Inside

The problem with living in a big city is that, when you move into your new home and find a large wooden box nailed shut and stowed in a dark corner of the basement and you call the police because the box is just the right size to contain a body, they tell you to open it yourself and not to call back unless the box turns out to, in fact, contain a body.  My friend learned this the hard way.  She couldn’t bring herself to open the box, though, so she friend-carded me— and then I got to learn it the hard way, too.

My friend had tried her best to work up enough courage to open the box on her own. However, in a case of what turned out to be monumentally poor planning, we had just celebrated her last night in her old house with a horror movie marathon that included Nosferatu.  After several hours of staring at the creepy mystery box and clutching a hammer that she was more ready to use as a weapon than as a tool, my friend finally caved and called me to come over and open it for her.  By then, it was closing in on midnight.

Of course I came over, and I brought a crucifix, some garlic, a wooden stake, and my neighbor’s handgun (just in case).  The wooden stake was really just one of my mixing spoons held the wrong way round and the garlic was the kind you buy in a jar, but I hadn’t had much notice.  As I pried out the last nail, I wondered if this was the point in the movie when the entire audience starts yelling “Don’t do it!  Just run!” and then I shoved off the lid before I could chicken out.  My friend, who by this time had turned mint green, stood ready with the mixing spoon as I looked into the box to find….

potatoes-1183623_640Potatoes.  Dozens and dozens of potatoes.  Turns out the house’s previous owner liked to buy them in bulk and store them in the basement in a creepy wooden box because apparently that makes them “keep” longer.  He’d meant to take the box with him when he moved, which is why he nailed it shut, but that corner of the basement was badly lit and he didn’t see the box during his final walk-through.  Still, I didn’t know that when I looked inside, so I totally get the Friend Card win on this one.

Everyone has played the Friend Card, and everyone has had the Friend Card played on them, and I’ve never heard of someone not coming through.  In my opinion, it’s one of the better qualities of the human race, right up there with empathy, imagination, and the inability to throw out your kid’s crappy handmade presents.  It gives me hope.

And to those of you who like to store your starchy tubers in giant scary coffins in the basement:  LABEL . YOUR . BOXES!  Seriously, who does that?  Potatoes.  Good grief.

 

[all images are in the public domain via pixabay.com]

Johnny Depp Tarot

When I was a kid, I liked to play with tarot cards.  Sometimes I tried to do serious readings, but most of the time I’d just make up stories to go with the pretty pictures, which it turns out is more or less what you’re supposed to do in a serious reading anyway.  Then the nuns found me telling a boy’s fortune under the bleachers one fine afternoon, and my tarot cards met what I later learned was a fiery end.  Shame.  I’d paid full price for them.

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image in public domain via pixabay.com

That’s not what this blog post is about, however.  Despite all the holy hand-wringing over what I’m told was the Devil’s influence, I never lost my liking for making up fortunes based on pretty pictures.  I just learned to be more careful about what pictures I used.  For example, carrying around photos of cute celebrities also got me in trouble with the nuns, but it was the afterschool special kind of trouble where the grownups talk at you in understanding voices and tell you that you’re a special flower just waiting to bloom.  So, being possessed of a logical mind and absolutely no scruples, I stopped carrying around regular tarot cards and instead told the future using pictures of Johnny Depp.

In addition to being much easier to explain if discovered, the Johnny Depp tarot deck has the virtue of evolving along with the actor’s career.  When I first started doing this, over half the deck was represented by images of Edward Scissorhands (he’s still most of the suite of Swords, but that’s only to be expected).  I don’t do many readings these days, but I still indulge from time to time, and I thought I’d share the results of my most recent foray into fortune-telling.  It was for myself a friend, and my her question for the cards was, what should I my friend do about this cute guy who was flirting with me her the other day?  These are the answers the JD Tarot revealed:

First Card (represents the questioner’s current situation):  The Pirate

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This card represents an unexpected opportunity, usually one that is both attractive and risky.  A handsome rogue has captured your attention and now you feel like you can’t breathe.  Your life, previously so tightly laced, now seems full of intrigue and adventure.  You’re interested, but you suspect he desires only a night of plunder.  He may dance and sing with you while the rum lasts, but will he set his sights on another horizon when he feels a change in the wind?  If you follow “The Pirate”, you may find the treasure you seek, but be aware that what you get might not be what you truly value.

Second Card (represents obstacles in the questioner’s path):  The Mad Hatter

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This card represents what is not as crazy as it seems.  The handsome rogue currently using your heart for a mainsail met you at the bar on Karaoke Night.  His first impression of you is of when, after your fourth Long Island Iced Tea, you lurched onstage and gave a remarkably accurate—if slurred—rendition of “Sweet Transvestite.”  And, yes, you danced.  The entire bar thought you’d gone bat-poo.  Fortunately you can stay on key even while plastered, you managed not to fall off the stage, and it turns out that your guy is a fan of Rocky Horror Picture Show (as, luckily, was the bouncer). This obstacle is not as bad as you think.

 Third Card (represents advice for the questioner):  The Man Himself

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This card represents what is definitely as crazy as it seems—crazy awesome!  This guy flirted with you after you’d channeled Dr. Frankenfurter in front of a hundred strangers.  He already knows you’re bat-poo.  The Johnny Depp Tarot advises:  steer into the skid.  Show him your collection of Pixies memorabilia.  Tell him about the dream you had that was basically When Harry Met Sally, except it was When Bigfoot Met Sasquatch.  Play Strip Pictionary.  Be the inimitable, incomprehensible pile of awesome you are.  Just, maybe don’t show him the blog right away.  There are limits, after all.

Grapefruit Juice: Even God Hates It

juice-73768_640My doctor ordered me to drink a glass of grapefruit juice every day.  Sure, I could just pretend I’m doing what he told me to do but actually keep drinking Sunny D.  Aside from my fear of turning orange from the beta carotene, though (and, yes, that happened.  To someone else, totally not me), I’m also terrified of my doctor.  He was in the army when he was younger, and he gets this look in his eyes from time to time that makes me think he didn’t serve in a medical capacity.  So now I drink a glass of grapefruit juice every day.

This raises a problem that I can’t ignore, however, and it’s not that I’m more scared of my doctor than I am of finding out that Johnny Depp hates my blog.  My fear of my doctor is probably the healthiest thing about me.  The problem is that I hate grapefruit juice.  I hate it with the burning, white-hot heat of a thousand suns.  For those of you who’ve seen the movie Clue, which I highly recommend by the way, my feelings for grapefruit juice make me think of Madeline Kahn’s character saying “I hated her SO… much… it… it… the… it… the… flames… flames… on the side of my face… breathing… breathless… heaving breaths…”  That’s exactly what it’s like for me, except that I haven’t murdered my grapefruit juice in the study with a candlestick (mostly because I can’t figure out how).

Grapefruit juice hates me back, incidentally.  I’m staring at a glass of it right now, one I tried to make more appealing by serving it over ice in a fancy wine glass and throwing in some grapes and a couple of cherries.  Every time I do that, though, I eat the grapes and cherries first; then I put in some more grapes and cherries, and then I eat those; then I let the ice melt; then I put the glass somewhere I can’t see it so I won’t feel guilty while I do pretty much anything else; then I sullenly unearth the glass, pinch my nose, and drink the juice.  Then I tell the remaining citric effluvia how awful it is, with references to reality television and Fifty Shades of Grey.  It’s hardly surprising that the juice resents this a little bit, especially given what happens about an hour after I drink it.

non-judgment-801268_640 2My motto has always been, drink a glass of grapefruit juice first thing in the morning and nothing worse can happen to you for the rest of the day.  I’ve lived by that motto for years, starting every morning by not drinking a glass of grapefruit juice right after I get out of bed, no exceptions, no matter what.  Then, when bad things happen during the day, I’ll think, “At least I didn’t have to drink a glass of grapefruit juice this morning,” and it all seems a little easier.  It’s been a touchstone of my adulthood, a way to know if I’m headed in the right direction.  When I don’t know what path to choose, I ask myself, “If I take this road, am I more or less likely to end up drinking grapefruit juice?”  It’s the reason I didn’t major in Business.  It’s why I broke up with the guy who wore suits on weekends.  My hatred for grapefruit juice is essential to who I am.

I tried to explain this to my doctor so he would understand that telling me to drink grapefruit juice really means ordering me to contravene the dictates of my soul, and could he truly want such a thing?  That’s when he got that look in his eyes and said something I won’t quote directly because I like you and I don’t want to scare you, but the gist was this:  “Sometimes in life, we all have to do things we hate—things we can’t forget, things we still see when we close our eyes, things that will stay with us even as we lie in the sweet embrace of Death.”  He kept twisting the cord of his stethoscope as he said it, too.  I’m not saying that has any significance, it’s just the kind of thing you notice.

So now I have a new motto:  Do what your doctor says unless you want to gaze upon the ruins of your life and weep bitter, pink, grapefruity tears.  And then publish a blog post about it and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day!  I hope.  I mean, what are the odds that my doctor reads this blog, right?

 

[all images are in the public domain via pixabay, with modification]

My Cat Is A Furby

My cat makes a lot of the same sounds I do.  I squeak a little when I’m surprised or happy or in a funny position; so does she.  I grumble unintelligibly when I don’t feel like getting out of bed; so does she, and usually at the same time I do because she likes to sleep on my face.  I make rude noises at my computer when it freezes up; she makes the same rude noises at her toys when they go under the refrigerator and she can’t reach them.  It’s cute.  Or is it?

I was all set to write a post on how adorable it is that my cat imitates me.  It’s been ages since I wrote a feline-centric post, and I’ve been getting warning letters from the internet that I may be forced offline if I’m deemed “hostile to catz.”  But then I remembered my furby-974922_64012 3old furby–the one that started out irresistibly cute but turned out to be possessed by a demon, giving evil laughs in the middle of the night and spouting some kind of satanic smack talk even after I took out the batteries.  I started thinking about this because, before it became the phat new crib of an infernal being, my furby had started imitating me in a very similar manner.  Since that’s sort of the point of a furby, it still came as a surprise when mine dropped the cute act and revealed its true nature as a conduit for the Evil One.  Now that I can read the portents, though, I have to wonder:  can my cat be far behind?

Now, I don’t think my cat has gone full-on Linda Blair just yet, but she’s making a lot of the same sounds that my furby made in the time leading up to its possession.  In addition to imitating me, she also chitters, chirps, trills, and burps, and she makes this bizarre mechanical-sounding growl when I do hateful human things to her such as clipping her claws.  Like a furby, she’ll eat all the food you’re willing to give her and then immediately throw it back up.  Also like a furby, you can wake her up by flipping her upside down (though in fairness, that also wakes me up).  When she sits a certain way she even looks like a furby:  big ears, furry tail, indifference to all other beings.  A nervous human might start to worry.

cat-882049_640I wasn’t worried.  That’s how cats are, and my cat is Siamese and therefore never shuts up no matter who she sounds like.  Making all those strange noises doesn’t mean that she’s a furby, let alone a possessed furby.  Her impersonations are also not exclusively of me.  She does a very good imitation of my alarm clock when she wants to get my attention:  she yowls at an ungodly volume over and over and over until I want to throw her across the room.  This doesn’t mean that my cat is a furby, it just means that I wish my cat came with a snooze button.  She also has no off switch that I’ve been able to locate, just like with a…well, just like with a furby….

I did a little research on the subject, purely out of idle curiosity.  The fact that my once-affectionate lap kitty has taken to sitting in front of me and staring at me for thirty-minute stretches during which she neither moves nor blinks was not a motivating factor.  My research on furbies, much like most of my visits to WebMD, yielded grim results.  Common symptoms of furbitis (highly contagious, very aggressive, no known treatment) include:

  • personality changes that occur when its human forgets to feed it, pulls its tail once too often, or doesn’t pet it enough to make quota
  • talking at you in its own language (which it clearly expects you to understand) regardless of whether you are currently talking to someone else, studying for the MCAT, or even in the room
  • erratic movements with no apparent cause and serving no discernable purpose
  • staring at you with big, glowy eyes while you’re trying to sleep
  • being so adorable that you instantly fall in love with it and take it home, only to start wondering within three days if leaving it on a random doorstep, ringing the doorbell, and running like hell would make you a bad person

Looking at all the evidence, I can only conclude that my cat is indeed a Furby.  On the one hand, the realization is almost welcome.  It explains so much:  the bizarre behavior, the occasional clicking noises, why she doesn’t seem to understand that her tail is attached to her body.  On the other hand, it’s a well-documented fact that furbies are the devil’s familiars and conspire to bring about the downfall of humanity.  But my cat loves me!  She would never do anything to harm me.  She’s so comfortable with me that she sleeps on my face, right over my nose and mouth and…oh, no.

cat-1288972_640 1Screw it.  I’m not getting rid of my cat, even if she is a furby inhabited by Pazuzu that tries to smother me in my sleep.  I’ll still scratch that spot on the top of her head, I’ll still buy baby food as a cat treat and joke that she likes it because she thinks it’s really ground-up baby and that joke suddenly seems much less funny, and I’ll still let her sleep on my face.  She’s my cat and I’m her human.  Pazuzu the Demon King will just have to deal.

 

[all images are in the public domain via pixabay.com]

Where The Wild Blogs Are

(For the Sendak-deprived, this is a play on Where The Wild Things Are.)

The night the Little Blind Girl changed her avatar and made mischief of one kind

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and another

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her followers called her “WILD BLOG!”
and the Little Blind Girl said “ I’LL FILTER YOUR CONTENT!”
so she was made to sign out without checking her statistics.

That very night in the Little Blind Girl’s computer the social media grew

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and grew-

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and grew until her smartphone chimed with tweets
and her Pinterest Board pinned the world all around

and Tumblr scrolled by with a private blog for the Little Blind Girl
and she clicked through the pages and gifs
and in and out of memes

and almost over the cat videos

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to where the wild blogs are.

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And when she came to the place where the wild blogs are
they roared their anonymous roars and gnashed their anonymous teeth
and rolled their anonymous eyes and showed their anonymous claws

til the Little Blind Girl wrote “LMAO!”
and tamed them with the magic trick
of standing up to all the trolls without taking their bait once

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and they were frightened and called her the most wild blog of all
and made her king of all wild blogs.

“And now,” tweeted the Little Blind Girl, “let the wild blog-rumpus start!”

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“Now stop!” the Little Blind Girl tweeted and made the wild blogs sign out without checking their statistics. And the Little Blind Girl, the king of all wild blogs, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved her writing best of all.

Then all around from away across the blogosphere
she sensed good things to read
so she gave up being king of where the wild blogs are.

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But the wild blogs cried, “Oh please don’t go–
we’ll filter your content–we love you so!”
And the Little Blind Girl said, “No!”

The wild blogs roared their anonymous roars and gnashed their anonymous teeth
and rolled their anonymous eyes and showed their anonymous claws
but the Little Blind Girl logged onto her private blog and waved good-bye

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and clicked back over the cat videos
and in and out of memes
and through the gifs

and onto the home page of iliketheworldfuzzy
where she found her saved draft waiting for her

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and it was still good.

 

[all pictures are in the public domain via pixabay]

Rude Things I Wanted To Say, As Told By Cute Animals

Whenever I want to say something rude, I get this weird feeling like my grandmother is listening in from heaven, so I chicken out.  But if there’s one thing we’ve all learned from the internet, it’s that cute animals make everything okay, right?  Well, that and a few things about porn that I really wish I didn’t know, but “Rude Things I Wanted To Say, As Told By Porn Stars” would involve a lot of really awkward photo editing and would probably still end up being rude.  So here are the rude things I’ve wanted to say lately, as told by cute animals because that makes it okay:

1.   While in traffic:

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2.  While waiting in line:

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3.  While in the park:

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4.  While on a date:

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5.  While at a stoplight next to a driver who’s playing a song that’s mostly bass:

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6.  While in a meeting:

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7.  While at a family reunion:

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8.  While watching reality television:

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9.  While stuck in a waiting room with The Guy Who Wouldn’t Shut Up:

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10.  While on hold with my phone company for the fifth time:

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Whew, I feel much better now!  I hope this was as cathartic for you as it was for me.  If it wasn’t, I’d tell you what I think about that, but I’m out of cute animal pictures, so you’re just going to have to guess.

[all images are in the public domain and available on pixabay.com; text added by author]

Modern Dueling, Or: How To Use Up That Spray Cheese

retro-1310390_640 7I recently got into a debate over whether dueling could be considered ethical.  It was the kind of debate you only get into when you start discussing philosophy late at night with people you just met, which is one reason I like philosophy so much.  What else will get you in a no-holds-barred fight about the epistemological implications of reality television (translation:  are the Kardashians making us stupider, or do we just feel stupider for having watched them?).  But, really, dueling?  Surely we can all agree on that, right?

And then I got to thinking, which is an unfortunate side effect of philosophy, and I wondered–could there be a place for dueling in modern society?  And then I got hungry, which is another side effect of philosophy,  especially when done at 2 AM, and I sought revelation in that temple of modern worship, the refrigerator.  Even the knottiest metaphysical conundrum becomes easier to unravel when you’ve had a nice sandwich.  Left-over chicken breast with mustard, maybe, or a nice peanut butter and jelly…

Oh, no.  New and much more pressing conundrum:  all I had was spray cheese and whipped cream.  Oh, I also had all sorts of healthy ingredients with which I could have cooked any number of dishes, but that’s not what you want at two in the morning, is it?  You want something easy, preferably unhealthy, possibly something past its expiration date.  Or chips.  No self-respecting philosopher cooks at two in the morning!  What could I do with spray cheese and a can of whipped cream?

That’s when it hit me, an idea so big it answered both my questions at once.  Question 1:  Is there a place for dueling in modern society?  Question 2:  What could I do with spray cheese and a can of whipped cream?  Answer to both:  it’s obvious!  This is how we can fight modern-day duels:  with aerosolized edibles!  It resolves questions of honor while simultaneously helping you clean out your pantry.  So much quicker and less expensive than lawsuits, plus you’ve got a tasty snack for after.  Well, you do if you pick the whipped cream.

The entire code duello fell into place after that epiphany.  The person challenged has choice of foodstuffs, but the challenger can reject the choice if the challenger presents medical documentation of an allergy to the selection.  Seconds will ensure that the weapons have not expired (it is recommended, but not required, that all duel-related edibles be purchased no more than three days before the date of the duel and still retain all tabs and plastic rings).  Cooking spray may be used in the event of a post-holiday spray food shortage, and it is acceptable to use well-shaken cans of soda if both parties agree, but no person of honor should ever profane beer in this manner.  Unless it’s PBR, in which case, spray away.

When aiming the chosen comestible, one must avoid the face and neck.  The best practice is to wear about one’s person a set of appropriate agreed-upon targets, such as strawberries or crackers, the choice of targets being dependent upon what food will be aimed at them.  It is recommended against using ice cream for this purpose as the target items will tend to become difficult to distinguish upon melting.  The first participant to hit each of his opponent’s targets with the spray food wins the duel.  Either participant may forfeit at any time by eating his remaining targets.  It is considered bad form to continue firing while your opponent is still chewing.

I think this could revolutionize modern society.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a couple of supposed adults attacking each other with spray cheese?  We could televise the duels, have commentators discuss the relative merits of name-brand vs. store-brand and the strategic placement of crackers.  Then we could have late-night philosophy debates over what’s making us dumber:  dueling with spray food or keeping up with the Kardashians.  Any resulting quarrels could be resolved by dueling or, in the alternative, attempting to keep up with the Kardashians.

But if the Kardashians decide to duel each other with edible spray paint (in gold, of course, while naked), I’m not responsible for the resulting global collapse of meaning, logic, and reason.  In fairness to me, I’m pretty sure that’s already happened.

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Rules I Broke Before They Existed

I always thought my legacy would be something grand and inspiring, like discovering the cure for cancer or being the first person to read Naked Lunch while completely sober.  Technically, I suppose I could still end up doing either of those things, but that’s not how I’ll be remembered.  My claim to fame, the reason people will remember me after my death, lies in all the things I did in school that now have specific rules against them because some authority figure got ticked at me for doing them.  I’m surprisingly okay with this, so much so that I’m sharing a couple of my favorites:

1. You’re not allowed to defend your thesis before you write it

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Defending my thesis [image in public domain via pixabay.com]

I was pretty notorious in school for waiting until the last minute to write my papers, but even for me, this was pretty extreme. I’d done everything else I was supposed to do–gotten approval for my honors thesis topic, outlined my arguments, researched my secondary sources, done everything other than write the thing–when it came time for honors candidates to present and defend their papers.  In front of the entire faculty.  The day before they were due.  I hadn’t written a word.  Did I mention it was supposed to be twenty pages long?

In my mind, this wasn’t a problem.  I didn’t have to submit the completed thesis until the next day and I already knew exactly what I intended to say, right down to the citations.  So I blithely dashed off some speaking notes and made sure to lead off with a joke about Derrida, and my defense went very well due to my cunning strategy of a) picking an obscure topic only my thesis advisor really understood and b) going last.  I then had some dinner and went to bed early, meaning to get up at midnight and write my thesis, which was due at noon.

I recognize in retrospect that this was already a bad plan, but there’s no denying that it went from bad to flat-out disastrous when I overslept and woke up at 5:15 AM.  I remember seeing the clock, feeling undiluted panic, and getting tangled in my comforter with unfortunate results as I tried to jump directly from my bed into my computer chair.  After that, it’s a blank until about 10 AM, when I finished the first draft.  I then breathed, which I don’t think I’d been doing, and spent the next hour and fifteen minutes alternately editing my thesis and cursing my own name.

I’m sorry to say that I then coolly walked the paper over to my professor’s office to drop it off and stayed to snark with the prof about all the students who didn’t turn in their papers until 11:59.  I did indeed get honors, and I’m fully aware that this is one of those moments that’s getting played on the Celestial Jumbotron when I try to convince St. Peter to let me in.  At this point, my strategy is to end up with so many of those moments that St. Peter never gets a chance to make up his mind.  I think it’s my best bet.  But no one else from my school will have to wonder how to explain that particular offense while at the pearly gates because you can’t do it anymore.  They made a rule later that year, and that’s my legacy.

2. Wearing costumes to class on days that aren’t Halloween is strictly prohibited

I think there’s still some leeway for Friday classes when Halloween falls on a weekend.  What I did that you’re no longer allowed to do at that school was to go to class in costume in the middle of February.  I didn’t do this just for kicks, although I would have if I’d thought of it.  I had an evening seminar that ended at 9:30 and there was a costume party that night that I wanted to go to.  If I’d waited until after class to go back to my dorm, style my hair, put on the necessary makeup, and wiggle into my outfit, I would have missed my ride.  I therefore did all of that before class and went to my seminar dressed as Xena, Warrior Princess.

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Xena by Indy-Lytle on deviantart  http://fav.me/d8208ot (license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

I want to emphasize that no part of my costume was against the school’s dress code.  I also put on a jacket so I’d appear at least somewhat conventional in class.  The first problem was that, given the relative lengths of my jacket and the costume’s skirt, I ended up looking like I was wearing the jacket, thigh-high boots, and nothing else.  Focusing on the positive, the next problem actually fixed the first one: the seminar met in the basement of an old building, and it got a little stuffy and overheated.  During a break, I went to the parking lot outside and took off my jacket to cool down, at which point it became obvious that I was, in fact, clothed (and possibly a dominatrix).  I was in a school parking lot during school hours, minding my own business, and I don’t think it’s fair to blame me for what happened next.

The building my class was in shared its parking lot with an athletics building.  Now, I like sports as much as the next person who can’t see the playing field, but I don’t think I should have been expected to know that an Ultimate Frisbee tournament between teams from several schools had just ended and that fifty buffed-out, worked-up, 20-something guys were about to pour into the parking lot toward the giant buses parked right in front of me.  True, I didn’t have to pose for pictures with them, but it seemed like it would be rude not to, and I didn’t want to present my school in a bad light.  They were all very nice and most of them were perfectly polite, if a bit sweaty.

I was a little late getting back to class, and quick life lesson: it’s hard to slip into a room unnoticed when you look like you forgot to put on pants, but both class and life went on and I didn’t miss my ride to the party.  The lesson I took from this experience was, don’t wear a costume that requires body makeup because you’ll never get it off your sheets.  The administration obviously took something different from it (although it really is impossible to get that stuff out of your sheets), and now there’s a rule.  Sorry.  This probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d gone to the party as Bill Nye.

So that’s my legacy.  What do you think?  Icon for iconoclasts?  Symbol of all that’s wrong in the world?  Or just a girl who’s smart enough to know that she’s only got a small window of time when she can pull off a tiny leather skirt?  And let me tell you, I did pull it off.  Fifty guys have the pictures to prove it!

All The Stars In The Sky

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image in public domain via pixabay.com

One of the bad things about posting to a blog late on Friday, or at any point over the weekend, is that most people don’t read blogs on the weekend.  Blogs are for coffee breaks, or lunch breaks, or the-boss-isn’t-around breaks.  However, on the theory that when life hands you gators, you may as well make Gatorade, here’s the up side to that:  it’s Friday.  My blog post can be as bizarre and embarrassing as my little blind heart desires because no one’s paying attention.  As long as I publish another post early Monday morning, chances are my Friday post could be about how I think all the cutest kittens should have their fur shaved off and be shot into space (the kittens, not the fur) and it would pass without a single comment.

I don’t think cute kittens should be shaved and shot into space, by the way, just in case this no-one’s-looking thing ends up backfiring.  I think that’s what we should do with the CEOs of companies that use those full-screen pop-up ads that completely obscure whatever page you’re trying to see and have no apparent way to close them out. I’d shave those bastards myself.  It’s Friday, so I can say things like that.  Ironic side note:  while I was checking online to make sure I was using the right term for that ad, one of those ads popped up.  The real irony is that it popped up while I was viewing a site describing how to block pop-up ads.  Though you never know; maybe pop-ups have become sentient and that ad was just acting in self-defense.  The internet is a postmodern Neverland.

Meanwhile, back at my original point:  since it’s Friday and no one is paying attention, I’m going to tell you something about myself that I wish weren’t true.  Here’s where I usually chicken out and write something like “When I’m on a plane, I look at the other passengers and decide who I’d save in the event of a crash based on what book they’re reading and how annoying their kids are.”  This is true, but I wouldn’t waste a wish on changing it.  If I had a wish to spend, one I could only use for something selfish and fun (like with birthday money when you’re a kid), I would wish I could remember what the stars look like.

Let me explain that a little:  I’m surrounded by things I can’t see, but I know sort of generally what most things look like because I make sure to take a good squint at them when I get the chance.  In the event I don’t get the chance, there’s always Google Images.  It’s kind of nice, actually, because while it’s true that I can’t see any of the flowers in my neighbor’s garden, the garden I picture in my head has all of my favorite flowers in perfect bloom year round.  In the garden I see, there are no weeds, no bare patches where you can’t get anything to grow, no creepy garden gnomes, and (this is key) no chrysanthemums.  That’s the flower for the month of my birth, and I’ve always felt gypped in that regard because I think they look frumpy.  So when I walk by a garden, no, I can’t see it, but in my head it’s full of daffodils and roses and orchids and violets and tiger lilies and more daffodils, and no one gets pricked by thorns and all the bees are too happy to sting anyone and there are no chrysanthemums, ever.  It’s hard to call that a disability.

I’ve forgotten what the stars look like, though, and I can’t find a picture or video that does them justice–I may have forgotten what they look like, but I still remember how looking at them made me feel, and no image I’ve seen even comes close. Sometimes I almost remember them, or I remember being cold while I watched them, or I remember where I was one time when I saw them.  But the times when I saw the stars were too long ago and too many things have happened since then, and although I clutched those memories and hoarded them for years, one day they were just gone.  Dissolved or fell apart, or crowded out, I don’t know, but conspicuous to the point of indecency by their absence, and gone forever.

This is by way of an explanation to my friends (who will read this post despite its being published on a Friday), who have never understood how I can be afraid of heights but always want to live on the top floor.  It’s an explanation of why I kept climbing all those trees and convincing my aforementioned friends to help me sneak onto the roof of every building on my college campus, and by the way, I’m sorry about all the roof violations.  I just wanted to see if getting closer maybe jogged my memory or even helped me see, but I could never get close enough for more than a few faint gleams that in retrospect were probably airplanes and satellites.  What’s gone is gone.

Eventually I stopped climbing trees and sneaking onto roofs, and you can make whatever metaphor or broader theme you want to out of all this, but for me it’s simply the literal truth.  I wish I could remember what a starry sky looks like.  I’ve made my peace with my fuzzy worldview, and I made Gatorade out of all the gators I could get to sit still long enough, and I’m not asking for a miracle cure that lets me see again.  I just want to remember.  Sometimes I’ll wish so hard that I’ll dream about them, and I’ll think ‘It’s only a dream, you’ve had them before, this isn’t real.’  And then I’ll think, ‘No, this time it’s real, I can tell, I’m awake and I can see the stars.’  And then I wake up and I can’t even remember how they looked in my dream.  It’s cruel and it hurts, and I wouldn’t stop having the dreams if I could.

So if I had a wish that I couldn’t use for world peace or perfect vision or an honest politician or any other fairy tale, that’s how I’d use it.  Who knows?  The future is nothing but possibility, and I’ve learned to be careful about words like “never” and “always.”  I embrace the maybe and I keep hope alive.  I also still want to live on the top floor and I will always, yes always, keep looking into the sky at night, and I’ll never, yes never, stop trying.  For all I know, there will be a way in my lifetime for me to go and see the stars up close, and then I won’t have to remember.  And if that happens, let me just tell you how I’m filming the entire freaking thing in whatever they’re calling high-definition at that point, and I’m storing copies of the video in at least ten different locations, real and virtual, just in case I develop amnesia right at the same time that there’s a fire, a flood, and a tornado and also the entire internet gets erased.  I’m not taking any more chances.

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Van Gogh, The Starry Night [image in public domain]

Happy Friday.  I hope you enjoyed my confession.  Now, if it’s Friday night and you’re actually reading this blog post, do me a favor:  go outside, look at the stars, and leave me a comment telling me what they’re like.  Do it again tomorrow night, and the night after that, and just every single night for the rest of your life because watching a starry night sky is one thing you should never, never, never take for granted.  And after you’re done, put on something fabulous and go have some fun!  That’s what I’m doing.  It’s Friday night, after all.

And if you’re asking yourself how I’m going to make this wish when I can’t see a star to wish on: that’s what faith is for.  I can’t see the stars, but I know they’re there.  How’s that for a broader theme?

10 Things I’d Rather Do Than Go To The Gym

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image in public domain  (pixabay.com)

Any time I need motivation to do some chore I’ve been putting off, all I have to do is tell myself to go to the gym, and like magic, I’m suddenly cleaning the bathroom grout. I don’t know why I hate going to the gym so much. I don’t hate actually being at the gym. Once I’m there and I’ve started exercising, I usually get into it. I certainly don’t hate the self-satisfied glow I get after I’ve been to the gym. Plus, then I get to stop off for a post-exercise smoothie and say, “I always hydrate after I work out,” and watch everyone who wasn’t at the gym look guilty.

I’ve had to start facing facts now that I can’t fit into any of my jeans. I don’t know why, but as far as getting myself to put on gym clothes and head toward the shiny, pretty building with the shiny, pretty workout equipment and the shiny, pretty people, I’d rather chew off my own hand at the wrist and use it to punch myself in the throat. Heh. I’d rather tattoo my entire face hot pink than go to the gym. Ooh! I’d rather walk through a room full of clowns than go to the gym. Hey, this is fun! I wonder what else I’d rather do than go to the gym?

Top 10 Things I’d Rather Do Than Go To The Gym

  1. Give a bath to five feral cats, all at the same time.
  2. Prepare, bake, and eat a dirty-sock pie.
  3. Find that video of me from my fourth-grade school play, the one where I’m wearing some sort of metallic tutu and have glitter on my butt, and post it on YouTube.
  4. Take a selfie. Any kind of selfie.
  5. Find the source of that weird smell in the refrigerator and lick it.
  6. Trim my toenails with my teeth.
  7. Run a resort for obese exhibitionist nymphomaniacs.
  8. Tell my parents what really happened to the Mercedes.
  9. Go through natural childbirth.
  10. Write a blog post about things I’d rather do than go to the gym.

I’ll be honest, that got a little disturbing. But we’ve all got our dark secrets; some of us just choose to make them available to anyone with an internet connection and basic literacy skills. So what is it that you would rather eat a dirty-sock pie than do? Clean out the garage? Get a tetanus booster? Go see that play your significant other is in that you’re trying to be supportive about? Come on, leave me a comment with your shameful confession. It’ll be just between us! And if you believe that, I’ve got a truly impressive workout routine I’m going to tell you I did. Now, to round up five feral cats….