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

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What the hell IS that shiny thing?

I say that I have ADD. Parts of me actually believe that to be true. But do I, really? Maybe not. Have I been tested and diagnosed by a medical professional? No. Do I plan on ever being tested by a medical professional? Probably not. Am I asking myself questions and then answering them? Yes. I am a human Magic 8 Ball. It is decidedly so.

I’m convinced (and this is going to get me into a world of shit) I’m convinced that some labels are just bullshit. Just excuses. Nobody wants to just admit they are a jerk, so they find a convenient label to excuse their jerk-off behavior. I have a hard time concentrating on things that aren’t super shiny and sexy, but I don’t necessarily suffer from ADD. In all likelihood I’m just an asshole. BUT it’s hard for me and people in general to face facts and say maybe I’m just wired this way. Maybe it’s not a medical disorder; this is just my crappy personality. And there isn’t jack anyone can do about it. Come on, people. Take responsibility for your douchebaggery.

It doesn’t stop with ADD. How many self-proclaimed kleptomaniacs are just little rat bastards who want a new pair of earrings? Or hypoglycemics who are just really lazy and emotionally unstable? It seems like people need to brand every little thing that may be wrong with them. Do you get an itty-witty tummy ache after eating a loaf of Wonder Bread? It just might not be a gluten allergy, smartypants; you probably just have a shitty diet and no willpower. Take it from me – I’ve eaten an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in one sitting. And it was glorious. Until it wasn’t.

Nobody can blame us for being this way. We are all a product of our environment. Our Google-WebMD-Yahoo-Instastuff-FaceSpace-YouTubes-Bullcrap environment. There are no more questions, no more mysteries. Everything we want to know is instantly accessible, whether it’s true or not. Unless we have to wait a minute or two while our tiny, handheld device beams information through time and space, like some sort of science fiction shit. Then we’re pissed, because we want it NOW. In this world, we all have Lupus or AIDS or Bipolar Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. In this world, we all NEED to know what color we are or what Walt Disney film we are. We comb through Buzzfeed lists in search of evidence that there are others like us out there. OMG this is so me! I, like, totally recognize myself in these gifs. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Are we becoming ridiculously huge basketcases?! I’d better take an internet quiz to find out.

How to be a great dinner guest

I’ll let you in on a little secret about me. I figure we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well by now. And by gotten to know each other I mean you’ve read the ridiculous crap I post and I know absolutely dick about you. Anywho, the secret is that I cannot do anything at all completely on my own. I need a manual for nearly everything I attempt. A damn manual. How to Win Friends and Influence People, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, How to NOT Eat the Entire Freaking Box of Krispy Kremes, etc. Give me step-by-step directions and maybe an Adderall and I’m off! And I’m in luck here because there is a how-to ever so diligently written about anything and everything you may want to do in your life. Whether in paperback form, an e-book or just a wikihow entry, you’re covered. And for some oddball reason you cannot find the help you are looking for, just ask your crazy neighbor who vacuums her garage at midnight.

Speaking of not being able to find what you are looking for, I’ve lately realized there are not many solid articles on how to be a good dinner guest. I mean, there’s all sorts of crap about throwing the best parties, but when it comes to how to successfully attend these parties for maximum awesome impact, the well is kind of dry. So, ever motivated to serve the public, I decided to carefully put together a little something. I’m sure I missed some stuff, so feel free to fill in the blanks. You know I love to hear from you.

First things first: don’t come empty handed. Showing up without a small token of appreciation screams ignorance and thoughtlessness. But whatever do I bring, you ask? A small animal like a pet or something: kitten, hamster, African Grey, doesn’t matter – people love animals. They love the companionship. Obviously they’re lonely – they invited YOU over for Chrissakes. Or how about a collage of Styrofoam peanuts and used needles you found on the beach that day? A gift like that says, “I recycle. I care.”

Flerpty flerpty shmerpty floo

Flerpty flerpty shmerpty floo

Make sure not to inform anyone of your dietary restrictions until the meal is served. You don’t want to put anyone out. Plus everyone will feel badly for you when you can’t eat anything because you are a gluten free vegan. Pity is awesome.

If you can eat the meal for some reason, be sure to give the host/ess some tips on how to improve the dish for next time. Maybe a little more salt? Maybe a little more thought? Dinner party hosts are constantly looking to up their game, and how can they do that with no criticism? That’s how we grow. Spitting the food out into a napkin helps to prove your point. You know they can do better.

Come up with a short routine to perform during downtime: choreograph a soft shoe or improvise a dramatic skit. While the hosts are busy preparing the meal, you will come to the rescue and entertain all the bored as hell guests. Then make sure you talk a lot about all your travels. While smoking indoors. Do you play guitar? Play guitar incessantly.

Don’t bother saying please or thank you. These people are serving you. Serving YOU. Would you say please or thank you to a waitress? I didn’t think so. Save your manners for someone who deserves it, like your surgeon or your alderman.

I hope this little tidbit sheds some light on this very important topic. And just in time for barbeque season! I am topical, after all *pats self on back*.

There is no ‘I’ in friends

Do you remember high school? Sometimes I find myself fondly reminiscing – to be young, carefree, roaming the halls and laughing with friends and oh, wait. High school fucking sucked. It was a burning, blistering, scorching hell on Earth. An obstreperous, endless, raw and throbbing social experiment. Okay, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it certainly was not a walk in the park for an awkward introvert like me. I was lucky to have a great group of friends, but outside that safety zone it was all lava. I’ve worked very hard since then to become more outgoing; to enjoy casually meeting new people and having little problem engaging in conversation. It’s become easy for me. Especially after a drink or two I love to work the room. But there is a huge, gaping difference between making a few witty remarks over martinis and forming real friendships. And I am finding that in certain situations, like the ones I get myself into being a mom, take the drink out of my hand and I’m the same ridiculous teenager I was all those years ago. Plus some crow’s feet.

There’s a certain amount of pretending that goes on in the larval stages of a friendship, right? Or have I been doing it all wrong? I can’t necessarily reply to a casual “how are you?” with “I feel like peeling the skin off of my face and screaming at the top of my lungs for hours and hours”, now can I? That type of honesty is probably not the keystone of a successful acquaintanceship. And most days, especially at the 9am preschool drop-off, I don’t feel like doing a whole lot of pretending. I just want to be quiet. Why doesn’t anyone appreciate being quiet anymore?

I hope none of these people are lactose intolerant

I hope none of these people are lactose intolerant

As I reread this snippet it is becoming clear to me why I can’t make friends. I belong in a loony bin. But even crazy people need buddies. Not necessarily for camaraderie, but mostly to borrow things from. I really need a handheld steam cleaner for my window sills. But you know I’m not going to pay for one, no sir. This is where a wide circle of friends comes in handy. OR what if I need someone to watch my kid so I CAN scream for hours and hours on end in peace? Circle of friends. An actual circle of friends, not that crappy Minnie Driver movie. Please feel free to share your friend snagging advice. I know you have a lot of friends. And my window sills are in desperate need of a steam clean.

Burn in hell, Pinterest

I think. A lot. Too much, really. I think the shit out of a thing and then never actually do it. Probably because I thought so hard about it that it shriveled up and disintegrated, powerless against the intense heat of my brainpower. Call me a procrastinator, call me lazy, whatever. In my humble opinion, there are plenty of people out there who should’ve thought a bit harder about things before just hauling off and doing them. Mark Wahlberg accepting the role in The Planet of the Apes, Counting Crows covering “Big Yellow Taxi”, whenever Michele Bachmann opens her mouth, etc.

Anyway, the other day whilst doing all the thinking, I started thinking about Hell. Does it exist? If so, what is it like? Is it all fire and brimstone and narrated by Vincent Price? OR does everyone get their own customized slice of it? Replete with everything that you loathed on Earth? How absolutely awful and kind of morbidly fun to imagine. If the latter is true, then I know exactly what is waiting for me on the other side: Van Halen, separating coffee filters, close talkers, public pools full of used Band-Aids and PINTEREST.

I’m pretty sure Pinterest was released into this dimension when some poor bastard unwittingly solved the Cenobites’ Lament Configuration. And it has been the source of pain and suffering and silly DIY ideas for millions ever since.

All this thinking makes me sleepy

All this thinking makes me sleepy

Let me put it this way: I am an anxious person. Well, anxious is an understatement – I am a big, electric, glowing and sparking ball of nerves. Why did I ever think something like Pinterest would be a good idea for me? A site designed to make the ordinary, uncrafty, not-so-crunchy people of the world like me feel like defective a-holes. It’s a brand new world of ridiculous to-do lists. A whole slew of absurd tasks for me to fail at. I’m failing just fine at regular people life, like keeping my family alive and the toilet clean. Why do I need to introduce decorative paper folding into that equation? And I know if my origami cherry blossom forest doesn’t look just like the picture, I’m going to lose my shit and possibly burst into flames.

So you’re on Pinterest and you’re creating boards and pinning stuff and you realize you want to have a do-over wedding and become a party planner. You and your whole life suddenly suck. Why aren’t I converting my coat closet into an excruciatingly-hip mini collapsible office with ikat accents? Why am I not handmaking kitschy mustache straws for my swanky mustache-themed backyard barbeque that no one will come to/appreciate? And why in the actual fuck have I not made pistachio shell flowers and miniscule donuts with sprinkles and my own paper and my own ink to write on my own paper AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! If only there was a Pinterest project for cloning yourself I would do that and then slap the crap out of my clone for ever looking at Pinterest in the first place. Then I would make the much anticipated sequel to that awesome Michael Keaton clone movie.

Adults behaving badly

As some of you may know, I have a preschool-age child. This tiny person that I helped to create is the light of my life. She is also the bane of my existence. I never would have, never could have imagined that a human being who is convinced that birds shop at little birdy grocery stores would have the power to fill me with such joy and such a feeling of defeat and worthlessness pretty much simultaneously. We don’t give them nearly enough credit for being the itty-bitty super villains they are. But this post is not necessarily about kids and how they make us want to stick our heads in the oven sometimes. After months of astute observation, scientific experiments and YouTube videos, I’ve noticed that adult behavior is not a hell of a lot different than that of a three year old. Here are some bullet points! Everyone loves bullet points. Except for Roman numerals.

The pitching of fits. For those of you who have never worked in a restaurant or retail store, well, first of all, how did you do that, you lucky sonofabitch? And secondly, you’ve probably witnessed the person in front of you at Target have a meltdown if you never had to actually deal with it yourself. But I get it. It’s totally reasonable that a grown ass man or woman has to resort to red-faced, spit-flying, name-calling, finger-pointing-in-the-face rage monster sometimes. I mean, that Pepperidge Farm Distinct Cracker Assortment was clearly marked buy one get one free on the shelf. OR how else can I successfully relate to the server that she ruined my ENTIRE LIFE because the salad showed up and the ranch was on TOP OF IT instead of on the side? How am I supposed to just let that go? Legally, I cannot stab this person to death for ruining my salad and therefore my life, so I will pitch a big ass fit. In public. Case closed.

Thanks to daddydoctrines.com for this enlightening diagram

Thanks to daddydoctrines.com for this enlightening diagram

Being handsy. My good friend at Mixtape Mom and I like to talk about how magnificent and terrifying it would be if adults literally acted like preschoolers. Walking into a stranger’s home, shamelessly grabbing and touching and exploring, eating the food, peeing on the floor, kicking the dog and so on. Well, to a degree this kind of crap happens all the time. Stop touching me, people! Get out of my safety bubble! And don’t manhandle my stuff, either. It’s not okay to pick food off of my plate without asking. It’s not okay to poke me in the ribs. It’s not okay to grab things out of my hands. Common courtesy. You might as well pee on my kitchen floor.

No filter/no manners. This one is a no-brainer. There is no arguing with me here. Do I even have to waste my time and yours by elaborating on this? Didn’t think so. With the time I’ve saved us here, maybe we can pick up a new hobby or build a home for the needy.

ADD. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a small child? You talk and talk and feel like hey, I’m freakin’ Mr. Rogers. I’m really getting my message through to this kid. The world is that much better of a place. And just when you think you’ve had a breakthrough, the kid starts talking about what the cat did this morning or will ask you the same question you just finished so eloquently answering. It’s a lot like what I imagine a chat with a goldfish would be like. Adults are no fucking different. Do you think your neighbor is really listening to your dumb anecdote? They’re too busy planning what they’re going to say once your mouth stops moving. And I’m pretty sure it will be the same story you’ve heard the past seven times you ran into them at the mailbox. People are way too wrapped up in themselves to pay any attention to the story of your injured ankle/fender bender/promotion/what have you. If you want someone to respond to you, put it on Facebook.

Yelp me yelp you

Over my many years, I’ve acquired quite the list of pet peeves. People who hold their mug of coffee with two hands cupped like they’re ravenously scooping fresh water from an oasis after several days walking through the desert, small animals who look me dead in the eyes like they’re challenging me, the term pet peeve, the list goes on and on. I could probably fill up an entire post with this crap, and maybe I’ll do that at a later date when I’m completely out of material. You have that to look forward to. But for now I’d like to talk about the peeviest of all my peeves, yelp.com. I hate you, yelp.com. I hate you so hard.

For those of you with your heads up your ass, yelp is a website where everyday people (just like you and me!) can go to write reviews about local businesses. In theory, this website would help us poor, confused consumers as we search for places to eat burgers and get manicures and buy power tools. But in practice, just like pretty much everything else internet related (except Popular Science) yelp.com is just a platform for d-bags to plant their d-bag seeds in our eyeballs. Then those seeds travel to our brains and take root in our amygdala where they grow and grow unchecked; and if there is just enough exposure to Axe Body Spray and various programs on E!, we are in danger of becoming d-bags ourselves. I know a guy who knows a guy who became a d-bag from too much yelp. This is an epidemic. I’m terrified.

I bet he still picks the one the waitress doesn't recommend

I bet he still picks the one the waitress doesn’t recommend

In all seriousness, it boils down to two types of people contributing to this joke of a website: self-important people who think what they say is very important to everyone everybody listen to me please right now because I am the most important person in this room or any room ever AND angry, entitled morons. The internets be filled with people who write and think they can write and think they are the next freaking F. Scott Fitzgerald. And before you say it – YES I AM ONE OF THEM. I write a blog because obviously I believe that I have something to say that other people might want to read instead of say, sticking a fork into a light socket. But I’m just trying to make people laugh. What’s this guy doing:

“I hope the owner reads this, makes changes and keeps the overall theme of the place.  We are desperate for fun new places…and this place certainly has the potential.   Step one:  Fire the chef or whomever picked the food choices/tastes!”

I bet the owner in question read that 600 word heap of crap and immediately got on the horn to fire the chef. Fire them all! They all deserve to writhe in hellfire and damnation for eternity for your bad meatballs! I mean, not everyone knows how to use “whomever” correctly in a sentence like that guy does. Then there’s this rube:

I will never go back and I have made sure to tell all of my friends and family to do the same.

Man I’m sure glad I’m not a member of his friends and family circle, because I generally like to make my own decisions. Hey guys, family meeting. Crazy Uncle Larry has blacklisted yet another small business in our metro area. So now we’re down to one place to eat food for now and no places to do anything else. It’s just a matter of time before we all starve to death. May God have mercy on our souls. Here’s my favorite:

Pity my partner’s Shrimp Scampi were dead, as they no doubt would have enjoyed swimming around in their vast garlic butter reservoir as though performing in a nightmarish gustatory ballet (Prawn Lake).

Is this for realz? Had the rest of the review been written in a light-hearted sort of fashion, I probably would’ve been able to laugh at this (he’s using big words and big words are usually funny.) But nay, homeboy is serious. And he’s probably also a hoot at parties. Gustav, shall we discuss Hunter S. Thompson, mustache wax, which county in France produces the finest brie, or how you think everything mainstream is drivel? On second thought, let me drown myself in this vast garlic butter reservoir so I never have to listen to you speak ever again ever. If too much garlic butter is wrong, Mr. Wordsmith, then I NEVER want to be right.