Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Don’t Believe in Killer Clowns

Forget Donald Trump, forget drugged Halloween candy, forget climate change – everyone knows the real threat this Halloween is killer clowns.
Or is it?
People have been reporting alleged clown sightings all over the country, including one woman who lied about a killer clown attack so she wouldn’t get in trouble for being late to work. I should totally use that excuse to cancel class some morning. “Dear students: I’m writing to let you all know that we won’t be having class today because I was attacked by a clown, and I threw my back out beating him to death with his own arm.”

Let’s be real – everyone’s afraid of clowns. A University of Sheffield study of 250 patients at a children’s hospital found that the poor little sick kids “universally disliked” clowns. The researchers went out of their way to point out that “even the older children” professed a dislike of clowns, as if they, the researchers, were baffled by this result for some reason.

Given the state of America today, I think if people were really dressing up as clowns to scare their neighbors, there’d be some dead f&cking clowns by now. You can get shot in this country for literally no reason. On a scale of “went to the movies” to “attended school,” dressing up as a creepy clown comes in at about eleventy-three in terms of “reasons to shoot somebody in America.” And yet, there’ve been dozens of “creepy clown” news stories and not a single “dead clown” report.
Supporting this argument is the fact that the clowns have now spread in West Virginia. I saw a screenshot of a Facebook status purportedly made by a woman who lives a few miles away from me. Allegedly, a clown walked into her kitchen while she was eating with her family. When it (she used the word “it”) saw them it supposedly ran back outside and hid behind the neighbor’s tree, peering at them. I was skeptical, and so was the manfriend, because the post didn’t end with, “And then I shot it.” I mean, this is West Virginia we’re talking about here. People take their shotguns to the dinner table in West Virginia. You have to, because at literally any moment, there might be a bear.

Besides, as the manfriend pointed out, a clown costume isn’t something you just throw on in five minutes. It takes time and a certain level of skill to paint the tortured features of the damned over your own. That’s not something you do just so you can skulk around in the woods and probably get shot.
Or is it?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Adulting Wins to Be Proud Of: Putting the Trash Out on Time

There was a time, when I was young and the world was new, when I could never manage to put the trash out on time. Sure, I managed to sort the recycling and put the non-recyclables into the big green curbside bin provided me by the city. The part I consistently failed at was the part where I was supposed to drag that bin to the curb on the designated morning of the week so that the trash man could come and collect its festering contents. Fortunately, it was a big bin and it could hold like two months’ worth of my trash, so this wasn’t as much of an issue as it might at first appear.

Then, there was another time, when I was not so young and the world was getting on a bit, that I didn’t have curbside pickup because I lived in an apartment building in France where I was expected to perform the herculean task of carrying my trash down the hall and putting it in a bin in the rubbish room. Circumstances at that time were such that I was regularly far too overwhelmed to tackle that oppressive chore, so I lived with a pile of trash in the kitchenette of my not-quite-200-square-foot (17 sq m) studio apartment.

“You’re going to get rats,” somebody almost certainly said to me at some point.

“It’s okay, I have a cat,” I almost certainly replied.

But now that I’m old and the world is just falling apart, I get up every Tuesday morning to put out my trash before the trash man comes at 9:00 a.m. to collect it. As far as Kitchen Trash Pile Me was concerned, 9:00 a.m. may as well have been the middle of the night, but she didn’t know how I would swell with pride upon seeing that bag of trash fly into the back of the garbage truck every week.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Reputation Always Precedes Me

Recently, I was talking to an old friend and he reminded me of why I’ve always had a problem making new friends. It's not just because I’m an asshole, it’s also partly because I’m a five-year-old in a thirty-three-year-old's body. That means I go around doing weird things, like leaping into the air for no reason, or breaking into a run, or walking around muttering to myself and giggling. I sing in the shower at the gym. Last week I ate a Fruit Rollup in class and believe you me, it was noticed.

My mother wouldn't buy them for me when I was a girl, so now I buy them for myself. What.

During this conversation with this friend, he confided that when we first met, “Everyone told me to stay away from you.” I took this confession with a lump of salt because, let’s be real, the “everyone” in that sentence refers to a bunch of ass-gaskets.
I was like, “When I was in the fifth grade there was a rumor going around the school that I would bite anyone who got too close to me. Nothing you’ve heard could be worse than that.” Of course, I didn't find out about this rumor until my freshman year of high school, so who knows if it was true, but I would be heartbroken if it wasn't.
So, I asked my old friend why “everyone” told him to stay away from me, and then I immediately regretted it because I realized it would be something really weird and insulting. All my life people have been hearing weird rumors about me and then they actually get to know me and they're like, shocked to discover that I'm a regular human being and not, for example, an escaped mental patient or a mad scientist. Several months ago I was talking to a girl I know in France and she asked me a question, I can’t remember what, and I replied, “Because I’m crazy – haven’t you heard?” and she laughed entirely too loudly and I realized that yeah, she had heard.
I expected my old friend to tell me he'd heard I kept a shrine in my closet covered with locks of hair taken from everyone I'd ever sat behind in class, or that I peed into Mason jars at home and kept the jars under my bed, or that if you pissed me off I'd borrow a cup of sugar from your mother and use it to put a curse on your entire family for seven generations, or that instead of eating normal food I went out on rainy nights to catch live toads and bite their heads right off. But instead of saying anything remotely bizarre, my old friend told me, “They said you were easy,” and I was taken aback. l literally told him, “OMG HA HA HA THAT’S NOT EVEN A CHARACTER FLAW!” I mean, everyone knows that’s just something a man says when he's pissed off that you slept with some other guy and not with him. But even now, when I meet someone new and they say, “I’ve heard so much about you,” I can’t help but wonder if they're worried I'm going to bite them.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Decorating Isn't My Thing

I heard someone say recently that the way you decorate your home is a reflection of your personality. If that’s true, I found my personality in a dumpster and it has seen better days. Some of my personality was left here by the previous owners. The cats are doing irreparable damage to my personality, and I give zero fucks.

Decorating has never been a big priority for me. My own mother decorated her home with cobwebs, ninja weapons, dirty dishes, and cats, so I feel like a vintage tin sign advertising fishing tackle is a step in the right direction, even though I don’t fish.
I guess you could say I don’t get emotionally invested in material things. When you put it that way, it sounds very Zen. I promise you, I am not enlightened. I was feeling anxious yesterday so I scarfed down an entire bag of gummy bears and also some other stuff. I sob inconsolably when I have too much to drink, and also sometimes when I haven’t. I have a habit of dating people who don’t have jobs. I have been known to get snappy when I am feeling irritable. These are not the actions of an enlightened person.
But in the swiftly receding days of my wildly misspent youth, I lived out of a Dodge Neon for six months. That Dodge Neon was better decorated than my house is right now, but only because my artist boyfriend drew on the headliner with a Sharpie. I have also lived out of backpacks, tents, vans and RVs (not all of which ran, I feel compelled to add), squat houses, and for one memorable two-week period, a cave. A CAVE, YOU GUYS. It was in Wisconsin. I don’t exactly regret it – all things considered, I have surprisingly few regrets – but if you’re going to live in a cave, take my advice and don’t do it in Wisconsin, in October.
All of which is to say that if there is one thing I’ve learned in my many travels, it’s that there are more important things than having nice furniture.
Like having furniture, for a start.



Thursday, January 7, 2016

Adulting Wins to Be Proud Of: Taking Down the Christmas Tree Within a Reasonable Amount of Time

Even though I don’t really celebrate Christmas, I still wind up with a Christmas tree every year because I throw an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party and it wouldn’t be a Christmas party without some festive decorations.


When I was a girl, my grandparents bought real trees, but my mother and I owned an artificial tree that she kept in the attic along with a box of ornaments. Each year we’d put up the artificial tree, decorate it with our beat-up plastic ornaments, and smother it in tinsel, because my mother was no Frank Costanza. Catholics, you may or may not be aware, celebrate Christmas until 6 January, the Epiphany, the day when the Wise Men are said to have finally reached Bethlehem and recognized that Christ was the Son of God. Each year, on Boxing Day, my mother would say, “We can’t take the tree down until January 6.”

And then it would stay up until March.

Christina Majaski once left her Christmas tree up for at least a year, until she had to put it down because it attacked her dog. It even had its own Twitter account and its own Facebook. I hear tell that Crazy Christmas Tree went so far as to sign up for Plenty of Fish. Ten thousand years from now, scientists of the future are going to dig up our Internetz and who knows what they’ll think.

But I digress. I was talking to a cousin from the other side of the family last night and she was all, "I haven't even taken my Christmas trees" (that's right, more than one!) "down yet," but she was pleased when I explained that you're not supposed to have taken them down yet because Wise Men, Bethlehem, etc. 

"That means I can put it off until next weekend," she said, happily.

And that's adulting done right.

Friday, January 1, 2016

It Wouldn’t Be a New Year Without Some Resolutions

Those of you who are still reading along at home despite my frequent periods of blog neglect will remember that I have a somewhat mottled track record when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, who doesn’t. As previously established, only eight percent of those who make New Year’s Resolutions keep them. But I’m not a quitter, and I’m not going to let year after year of failure stop me from failing again.

But wait! I don’t always fail! In 2012, I resolved to quit smoking for the umpteenth time, and I actually did it! For real this time, not one of those “quit smoking for two months and then start again because everyone else is doing it” quit smoking attempts. Even if I sometimes sit in traffic and daydream about smoking the hell out of a cigarette, it still counts.

Last year, I resolved to start eating better, which…I mean…I stopped eating chocolate spread. That’s got to count for something.

This year, my friend Melody texted me two days before New Year’s and was like “let’s get drunk on New Year’s Eve so we can resolve to drink less next year” and OMG you guys, let's never drink again.

I also resolved to amass a collection of awesome cat T-shirts, because I’m 33 years old and it’s time I did something with my life. I already have one, so that’s a headstart:

It's a men's T-shirt, so it actually covers my entire torso when I lift my arms. Who knew?

But those aren’t the resolutions you came here to read, and they’re not the resolutions I came here to make. Those resolutions are just the icing on top of the determination cake.

In 2014, I resolved to write a book. I complained that I struggle with writing stories because I can’t think of any plots. Lots of people gave me some really unhelpful advice about how I should “just start writing and the rest will come, honest” because I guess they must have skipped over the part of the post where I explained that I have tried that strategy already several dozen times. One genius suggested that I just write non-fiction, which is of course what I decided to do.

If you read my 2014 Year in Review post, you’ll know that I only finished about 17,000 words of that book in 2014. So, technically I guess that still counts as a fail. And I didn’t even bother making any resolutions this year, but I kept plugging away and now I have 47,500 words. This is the year, guys, I’m really gonna do it. I’m gonna finish the book I resolved to write in 2014!

Or at least the first draft of it, anyway.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: My Year in Review

I began last year’s year in review post by apologizing for not having blogged enough last year, and it looks like I’m going to have to begin this one by again apologizing for not having blogged enough last year. I’m sorry I didn’t blog enough last year, you guys. I know I’m only hurting myself by allowing my readership to drift off, but running a blog is hard and unlike some blogs I write for, it’s not like anyone is paying me for this one.

Unlike last year, this year has been really interesting. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

I Spent Three Months in France

As I mentioned in my 2014 post, I spend the first few months of the year in France. My plane landed at Geneva seven minutes before they closed the airport for the night, and I missed my Easybus shuttle transfer to Chamonix, so I had to spend the night in the airport. When I finally arrived at like noon the next day, I discovered that there was no power in the apartment because the previous tenant didn’t pay his bill and the landlord hadn’t got the shutoff notice because he lives in the UK and never goes to the flat. It was a real clusterfuck. Luckily I was able to get the power turned on after only three bitterly cold nights in the French Alps in the middle of winter. 

I guess I shouldn’t complain, though, I did get to spend three months in France. But while I was away, ants built a nest in one of the burners on my range. I didn't realize this until I put something on the stove to boil, turned away for a minute, and turned back to find the top of my stove swarming with ants. They were even falling off the front of it like teeny-tiny September 11th victims. It was an exciting five minutes.

I Dumped a Guy

Many moons ago now, I ended a relationship and decided that I needed some time alone to figure myself out. I told myself I’d give myself a year. A year went by, but I still didn’t feel like I’d adequately figured myself out. So I gave myself another year, and then another, and then before I knew it, six years had gone by and I was all, “Shit, I forgot to start dating again.”
So while I was back in France, I got together with an old friend. He’d wanted to date me before, but I turned him down on the grounds that I didn’t think it would work out between us. Unfortunately for all involved, I was correct in that initial assessment.

I Got Dumped

This is notable because I hadn’t been dumped since like 2009, and I had forgotten what an ego blow it can be. Sure, I was upset that the guy didn’t want to date me anymore, but it was more because it hurt my pride than because I actually liked him all that much. He was kind of an odd duck, to be fair. He didn’t know who Neil DeGrasse Tyson is and he once brought me a potholder for no reason.

I Started Grad School

And this, Dear Reader, is why I haven’t blogged in a while. I’m working on a Master of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing at WVU while teaching two sections of English 101, freelancing on the weekends, and working on that book that I resolved to finish in 2014. So, blogging hasn’t been a big priority for me over the past few months, but I’ve got high hopes for next year.

I Found a Snake in My Kitchen 

It was a baby rat snake, about three inches long. I had to catch it in a plastic cup and slide a manilla envelope under it and then do that thing where you turn the cup over real quick, except I kept fucking it up and dropping the snake and then Fatty saw the snake and then it became a kind of race against death for the snake. I prevailed in the end and was able to release the (probably traumatized) snake into my flowerbed, and then I only spent like a month worrying that there might be a whole nest of baby snakes under my fridge or something.

I Didn’t Finish the Book

As I mentioned above, I resolved to write a book in 2014. At the end of 2014, I confessed that I had only written about 17,000 words. I still haven’t finished the book, but I’ve made a lot of progress – I now have a little more than 47,500 words, or about 200 pages. Up until five minutes ago I was all, “I’m making terrible progress on this book I’m supposed to be writing,” but then I wrote this paragraph and now I’m actually quite pleased with myself.