Crap I’m in my thirties

So I recently celebrated a birthday. My birthday if you couldn’t figure that out.  And it was just as uneventful as any birthday after 21 should be. I mean, some people use their birthday as an excuse to drink more alcohol; but I’ve never required an excuse or reason or day of the week, really. (It’s Tuesday soooooo…drink.) All my birthday meant to me was that I was one year further into the icy, desolate, unforgiving waters of the thirties. A place where youth and joie de vivre and the ability to successfully utilize new phone apps float helplessly, until they finally freeze to the driftwood and Kate Winslet is forced to tearfully send them to their final resting place at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Next time you won't draw my nose so big, you sonofabitch

Next time you won’t draw my nose so big, you sonofabitch

At least this is how I understand the thirties. Am I right? I nonchalantly flip through enough People and Cosmopolitan to know that society would prefer women to begin a sort of reverse metamorphosis in our thirties – to slowly but surely make our way to a safe tree or shrub and build a cocoon around ourselves from which we will never escape. And as our species continues to evolve, this just might happen. But it’s going to take a while.

In the meantime, younger folks are obliged to figure out what to do with our stupid, wrinkly faces. And compassionately enough, they choose to impart their infinite wisdom upon us. In this era dominated by social media, this wisdom comes to us in the form of articles on our Facebook feeds about how to properly care for our aging skin and organs, how not to act in public and, most importantly IMHO, what not to wear. Over these articles I have pored with a most fevered diligence, hoping to pass something worthwhile onto my readers.

Even these kids know we're useless bags of dried up uterus.

Even these kids know we’re useless bags of dried up uterus.

But I have to say I was a little disappointed with these twenty-somethings. OF COURSE I should not wear hoop earrings or graphic tees. I’m not a fucking savage in the rainforest. Even my warped-ass thirty-something brain knew that. So I decided to compile my own list – what not to wear after age 30. Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything.

– A barrel with suspenders. People will think you’re poor and poor is not on trend right now. Unless you’re a hipster. Exception to the rule: if you’re planning on going over the Niagara Falls, then wear this.
– A live animal of any kind. Don’t wear them, that’s mean. And you might get rabies. Find them injured in the wild and nurse them back to health and welcome them as part of your family and YouTube it like normal people.
– Ed Hardy anything.
– A snake as a scarf. That’s pretty much a repeat of the live animal one, but I wanted to stress the importance of this one in particular.
– Saddle shoes.
– A novelty poncho and sombrero because people will accuse you of cultural appropriation and/or will not want to sit with you at your office’s weekly boozy lunch.
– A dozen hotdogs strapped to your chest in a row. That totally looks like dynamite and when people find out that it’s not dynamite, you’re fucked.
– Your children’s teeth as jewelry. Apparently this is frowned upon. Color me surprised.
– A t-shirt you made with an iron-on picture of your neighbors. Once again – frowned upon.
– A full body ghillie suit. Unless you’re prepared to be in lots of strangers’ pictures.

I hope this helps. I like to help. Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments. That’s pretty much my only contact with the outside world.

If I hear thigh gap one more time

So, please, someone explain this to me like I’m a four year old. Why is everyone hating on models these days? People are suddenly angry that models look like, well, models. Of course these women are not representative of the general population. That is exactly why they are paid stacks of money to walk back and forth in clothing that nobody would ever wear ever. If I went to some New York fashion show expecting Iman and saw Julie from Customer Service and Charlene from Accounts Receivable walking the runway, I would be freaking pissed. I see people that look like me every day: yelling at the cashier at Target about an expired coupon or sleeping it off in their car behind the bar I frequent. When I crack a Vogue, I’d like to see a seven foot tall woman with 1% body fat who can contort into the letter R, essentially wear pots and pans and make it fashionable. That’s art. I’ve watched enough America’s Next Top Model to know how goddamned hard it is to smize.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, so many people have their panties in a bunch over dumb crap. Do we really need models representative of every single type of person out there? The short answer, no. Do we take random dumbasses and give them jobs at NASA? Hell no. Now come on, in what parallel universe would I ever want to see fashion models that look like ME? An oompa-loompa with scoliosis, an unfortunately shaped rib cage, a short torso and extra-large calves. She’s not going to do shit to sell that designer fragrance. Imagine replacing Christy Turlington with this science-experiment-gone-wrong in those Calvin Klein Eternity commercials. Suddenly it’s not some sensual ad noir but instead some fucked up Robin Hardy short that will haunt your nightmares for years to come. (Hey Millennials, do you even know who Christy Turlington is? Are there any Millennials even reading this blog? Does anyone else fucking hate the term Millennials?)

The longer answer: we need to propagate a culture of self-acceptance and self-esteem. We’re not all models, ok? We’re not all NASA-level scientists. Instead of whining when the world doesn’t include us or when it’s unfair, we just work that much harder at what we ARE good at. For example, I’m very good at evenly distributing butter or jelly or what have you on a piece of toast. I’m fucking awesome at that. And that’s about it so I embrace it. I try and make toast daily. The moral of this mind-numbingly dumb story is stop demanding that the fashion industry change and start improving yourself, and teach your kids how to do it better, too. Stop wasting your life bitching about things. Maybe eventually we can get to a place where we see a tall, thin, pretty person with pointy collarbones and a ridiculous thigh gap in a movie or on a magazine cover and say, “Well, that’s just fine.”

Elf in a pine overcoat

The holidays are a hectic time for everyone. So much binge eating and drinking and shopping to do, preparing the house for guests, sobbing violently into your eggnog and screaming in closets for hours on end. A magical season, indeed. With all of these things to check off our to-do lists, why would anyone want to add even more? Not me, that’s for damn sure. And this is why Elf on a Shelf is forever banned from my household. All that being creative, finding shenanigans for the elf to get into, just to have a pair of tiny eyes watching me all day? No, thank you, sir.

In my opinion, instead of adding more crap to my list of things to do this time of the year, I’d rather put something on my shelf that could be of some use to me. Here are some of those ideas:

P.I. on a shelf: follows your no-good husband around and documents how many hoes he tried to bone throughout the day.

Samurai on a shelf: quickly and silently dispatches intruders.

Itamae on a shelf: for when your samurai gets hungry.

Migrant worker on a shelf: especially handy if you have a farm to which you tend or even if you just need help painting the exterior of your home.

Acquaintance with no filter on a shelf: for those times when you really want to know how your new haircut looks or if you should return those leather pants.

Dirty hippie on a shelf: happily dispenses small amounts of decent quality marijuana and will also spontaneously go into uncomfortable detail about your aura.

Rick Astley on a shelf:  will serenade you with one of his many [sic] hits. And because he really needs a place to stay for a couple weeks. A month at most, he promises.

Person with way too many uplifting quotes on Pinterest on a shelf: Handy if you need an uplifting quote to get you through a rough day, or if you need to aggressively berate the customer service clerk at Target.

Little person on a shelf: because that’s way more politically correct.

Overnight fitness guru on a shelf: they can show you how to use tires and pots and pans and even bigger tires to get physically fit all in the comfort of a cold, abandoned warehouse. Only a 47% chance of getting horrifically maimed or injured.

Frequent LAN party-goer on a shelf: so you feel better about yourself. Instantly.

Down on his luck neighbor on a shelf: in case you feel compelled to give a little back at this time of the year. Give him a few things to do around your house and then pay for his Christmas goose.

And last but not least, my personal favorite, giant, novelty-size bottle of Irish whiskey on a shelf.

I’m me, I think

In a world not very unlike the one we live in today, an old friend and I were chat-chat-chatting about how long we’d been friends and how much we’ve changed over the years but still remained friends like no time had passed at all. I realized then how much I truly have changed over the years – priorities, tastes, mannerisms, etc. I’m a different person than I was two years ago than I was two years before that. So this got me thinking: how much of our personality is actually OUR OWN? Like, really ours and not borrowed from this person and that one, from the myriad people we come into contact with on a daily basis? Are we just patchwork quilts of boosted characteristics, a little from him a little from her? Are we each Frankenstein’s freaking monster?! Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

He wore those glasses before it was cool.

He wore those glasses before it was cool.

Well, I can’t answer that for you. But for me, personally, I’d like to think I base about 96.4% of my personality on Jennifer Aniston’s character in Along Came Polly. She’s just. So. God. Damned. Quirky! You just look at her and you know that she has an innate ability to decorate a room. And not just using neutrals, oh no, she would fucking combine different patterns. Chevron and awning stripes or whatever and make it work. If you asked her, she would pick out the perfect throw pillows which would completely change the feel of your ugly and outdated living room. She probably paints for fun and knows exactly how and when to wear fashion scarves. And she never talks behind someone’s back ever because she is too busy eating spicy ethnic foods and trying new spicy ethnic things. (Ethnic – is that word over? Are we not using it anymore? It seems like it should be over, like Nana calling people Oriental.)

So, back to the important stuff. In a nutshell, pretty much none of that crap I went on about above describes me whatsoever. And sometimes that makes me sad, namely when I’m watching Along Came Polly. So like once every four and a half years or so. But regardless, I am convinced that I’ve stolen (adopted, acquired, other thesaurus suggestion) personality traits from people throughout my whole life, whether consciously or not. Don’t you think you have? Admit it. Don’t try and make me feel all Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female here. If you notice a quality in someone that you admire, it’s human nature to want to try it on for size, right? Go ahead and call me crazy, but your college roommate told me that before you two lived together senior year, you preferred Backstreet Boys and Amaretto Stone Sours to your current selections of Neutral Milk Hotel and at least 10 year old rye aged in charred oak barrels.

Quitcher bitchin’

Everyday it’s the same thing as I scroll through Facebook (I can’t quit you, Facebook!) Someone is upset about something. Someone is offended and enraged and indignant and literate enough to write an entire article about it. I am being attacked, my deeply-held beliefs are under attack, I am being shamed. Shame, shame, shame – it’s everywhere! Fat shaming, skinny shaming, short shaming, slut shaming, smart shaming, poor shaming, woman shaming, mime shaming, puppy shaming, whale shaming I am so fucking sick of these terms aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!

Let’s all agree on this one central idea, this keystone of the human condition: it’s no mystery that there are a lot of d-bags out there. I encounter several just on a five minute trip to Starbucks. Very much like a moo-moo on Old McDonald’s farm, they’re here, they’re there, they’re everywhere. And because it’s our right afforded to us by the Constitution of this great nation (which everyone seems really, really well-versed in these days) we have the unique freedom to say whatever the hell it is that pops into our d-bag brains. Isn’t that magical? I can spout off all day long about economics, thermodynamics, thigh gaps, carbohydrates, the military, the common core, Creationism, evolution, whatever it is that I may know little or nothing about. I can do that and create a hashtag for it and link to an article on Upworthy and attach a picture of a sad, abused animal. That’s some 21st century shit right there.

And what are you going to do about it? I bet your blood pressure is going to go up a little bit when someone says that you have no idea what religious liberty ACTUALLY MEANS or that the Earth has only been around for a few thousand years or that Bill Clinton was the best president we’ve had in decades. What are you going to do about it? You’re going to waah waah waah all over a piece of paper and pitch it to Thought Catalog. Or how about, HOW ABOUT we stop allowing ourselves to become offended? How about we control the only thing we can in these situations, which is how we react to the billions upon billions of opinions everywhere in the world? Right?!

Anybody want a peanut?

Anybody want a peanut?

I’m working on it, I truly am. And I hope others will, too. Think of the shitload of free time you’ll have when you’re suddenly not compelled to write all those angry articles or rude comments or hateful letters to faceless corporations. All that time you spent furrowing your brow and foaming at the mouth could’ve been spent drinking moderate amounts of whiskey and catching up on The Walking Dead before Season 5 premieres. Sounds like more fun to me, especially since those new people they met at Terminus are totally cannibals. Plus that’s really going to free up my Facebook feed for more videos of cats trying to jump onto things and failing.

These are all the secrets

Boy have I been unproductive lately. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been busying myself with a buttload of unimportant and superfun things out of doors, which people are wont to do this time of year. And that is a big part of it. No, really. But I also have this tiny voice inside my head that tells me that I shouldn’t even try to do anything of importance because I will fail. It tells me I have nothing to offer anymore and that I’m out of material. That voice makes me sad inside. That voice is actually not so much in my head as it is from all my friends and family collectively.

But I refuse to go out like a chump, Mom! You can’t hold me down forever! So in retaliation I’ve been reading many-a self-help book to unlock the secrets of successful, motivated people. Some of it is crap, like always showing up on time and not wearing clothes that expose your belly button. But some of it is pure gold. I thought I’d share these tips and tricks with you, my best friends in the whole wide world. Let us rise up and taste the sweet nectar of triumph! Here goes:

Make one major change in your life right now. Like Splenda instead of Equal, or take the long way to work or start smoking. Start engaging in conversations with animals. You’ll be glad you did these things.

Do push-ups every morning. Christian Bale did that in American Psycho and look how successful he was in that movie.

Find a pair of pretend glasses. Horn-rimmed or the like. And wear them – but only when you’re trying to be taken seriously by yourself or others. People will really think you’ve got everything figured out. Contrarily the glasses can also aid you in becoming “goofy guy with glasses” or “sarcastically funny guy with glasses” or “asshole with glasses”. Carry a sketchbook.

What's in Mad Scientist Cat's bubbling potion of success? Tuna.

What’s in Mad Scientist Cat’s bubbling potion of success? Tuna.

Use the digital voice recorder feature on your smartphone often. Whenever a brilliant idea or snippet from your next novella pops in your head, you’ll want it at the ready. Especially in mid-conversation with people. Maximum impact.

Become proficient in Microsoft Word.

Switch to a raw, vegan, paleo, caveman diet. Only allow yourself to eat things you have grown in your urban garden OR things you have killed with your own hands. Since you won’t be wasting so much time eating, you’ll have more time to spend accomplishing important things. And you’ll be super angry, which I find helps to fuel the creative process.

Vacuum your garage on the regular and make a spectacle out of it. Your neighbors will see you doing that and wonder how clean the inside of your house must be. Then they will start to feel badly about themselves. One of the most important ingredients in the recipe of success is making others question all the decisions they’ve made in their own lives.

And finally, when you’re at a shitty bar late at night drinking shitty beer wearing a Gap button-down shirt and a Fantastic Sam’s haircut, and your friend asks, “What should we cheers to?” your answer should always undoubtedly be, “Success.” Clink! Tee-hee!

An open letter to closed letters from open letters

Dear Closed Letters,

Oh, hi there. How are you doing? I am doing pretty great. Let me introduce myself, although I’m sure you’ve already heard of me. I am an open letter. And I am all the rage.

I know it’s hard for you to grasp that people prefer me these days, but just look at me. Take a good, long look. I’m young and I’m hip.  I don’t have a handkerchief and three Werther’s Originals in my pocket. There is also no chance that I will get lost in the mail, eaten by a dog, stained with coffee rings, nor will I yellow over time.

I feel your resistance, but the people are tired of the iron shackles of closed letters! These people demand freedom from pen and paper! Freedom from privacy and tact! You are the cocoon, closed letters. A sticky, suffocating, tiny coffin of doom. I am the butterfly. Do you see where I’ m going with this fucking awesome analogy? If that guy over there wants to write an angry letter to Gwyneth Paltrow, I CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN! I am his vehicle of bitterness and fury. At a stranger. Had that guy over there just written a wrinkly, smelly, old-timey epistle, I’m sure the proper authorities would have intercepted it before it had reached its intended target. Failure. I know these are harsh words but someone needed to break it to you.

Don’t feel so bad, closed letters. You’re not a completely dead medium. I am sure some hipsters and the elderly utilize you on a semi-regular basis. And since all things are cyclical, eventually you may be relevant again. Perhaps after the apocalypse, when technology is history and people have to build fires with sticks and use fashionable scarves and Stephenie Meyer books for first-aid purposes.

Sincerely yours,
Open Letters