Monday, January 25, 2010

Last Wishes

One Sunday morning after breakfast, my husband and I were lounging around the living room and he was telling me that if he should die, he would want to be cremated and have his ashes spread on top of several different mountain tops. He’s a geologist, and started telling me why he loves these mountains, and why he wants his ashes there, and so on and so on.
I stared at him, and then blurted, “who is going to put your ashes on top of all these mountains?”
He stared at me over the top of his coffee cup. “Um…you are.”
I snorted. “Honey, I really don’t want to be climbing all those mountains- how many did you mention, like three? Four? You know I don’t like being outside. The sun is no good for my skin.”
“But…” he frowned and trailed off. “Somebody has to do it,” he whispered, scared that his ashes are going to end up in our trash can, next to a used tissue and an empty jar of almond butter.
“I’ll get a boy scout troop to do it,” I said, eagerly. “Maybe they’ll get some sort of badge for it, even.” I thought that was a great idea.
“Fine,” my loving husband said, and then sighed. “Where do you want your ashes spread?”
“The mall,” I answered, with no hesitation. “Put the majority of them around Forever 21, The Gap, Banana Republic, and the Nordstrom shoe department. And then sprinkle just a tiny bit at Cinnabon. I just love those goddamn cinnamon rolls.”
My husband looked horrified. “The mall?! You want your ashes spread at the mall?!?”

I don’t know why he looked so surprised. I love the mall. That’s where I’m happiest. At the mall, I can sip a latte, people watch, try on designer dresses I can’t afford, and use fake accents on salespeople. Being at the mall is like heaven, except with price tags and the occasional screaming baby.
“YES. The mall,” I said firmly. Jeez. Whatever happened to respect for the dead?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Biggest Bitch

My childhood dog, Yogi, sucked major ass.

She was literally the worst dog on earth. Looking back now, she may have been the worst dog in the entire fucking universe.

Before I go into too much detail, I will admit that my sister and I did not even ask for a damn dog to begin with. We were never the kids that begged their parents for the puppy in the store window. I remember when I was very young sitting in class when my teacher, Ms. Snow, brought in her Labrador puppy to show us. A resounding “Ahhh…” echoed through the classroom and the kids rushed to the front of the classroom. I took advantage of the distraction and stole money out of my neighbor’s backpack. I just was not interested.

It was our mom who wanted the dog, and she brought it home. I think it was something about teaching my sister and I how to love and care for another living creature. But we weren’t buying it.
“It stinks,” my sister said, holding her nose.
“SHE stinks,” Mom corrected. “Her name is Yogi- and we’ll give her a bath.”
I thought Yogi was a dumb name for a female dog, but really, I didn’t really care either way. They should have named her Unwanted.
“Yogi has creepy eyes,” I stated, and she did. They were black and vapid. Her hair was matted and dark, her breath reeked. Where did my mom get this dog? Hell, perhaps?
“She’s just hungry,” Mom said, and she was right. That dog ate everything in its path for the next ten years. Missing a shoe? Yogi ate it. Left a bag of Hersey’s chocolate kisses on the coffee table? Gone. We really loved it when she would eat her own shit, too. Real classy, Yogi.

The dog was disgusting.
Our friends all hated her. “Your dog sucks,” my friend told me.
“I know,” I agreed, and shrugged. What was I supposed to say? The dog DID suck. She barked constantly, shit everywhere, and kept staring at us with those creepy eyes. Eventually, we all started to hate her.
“Is Yogi outside?’ I asked Dad one Christmas. It was about 5 degrees and snowing like crazy. I could hear her annoying, piercing bark from the backyard.
“I don’t know,” Dad mumbled, turning up the radio to drown out Yogi’s cries. It occurred to me that Dad was hoping the dog would die out there, that her body would freeze solid. I thought about Yogi dead in a block of ice, and the thought pleased me.
“Okay,” I said casually, and acted like I wasn’t aware the dog was 20 minutes from death in our backyard holocaust. I turned and went back upstairs. Fuck, if Dad wasn’t going to let the bitch in, I certainly wasn’t.

Mom was the only one who carried a torch for the goddamn animal. “She’s family,” Mom protested, all teary-eyed when I asked her if we could get rid of Yogi. “How could you say that to me, really?” Mom sniffed. “Plus, Yogi just loves your Dad,” she continued.
That was always Mom’s argument when we complained about the dog, that Yogi just ‘worshipped’ Dad, loved him with all her heart. I think Mom made this up to get Yogi on our good side. But I knew that Yogi didn’t love anybody except herself- and Satan. She never played with us, never snuggled with us, never did cute dog things like all the other happy puppies running around the neighborhood. No, when she wasn’t eating her own excrement, she just sat there, and stared at us with those satanic eyes.
“I think Yogi is going to kill me,” I whispered to Dad one evening, Yogi’s eyes boring holes into my skull. “I’m scared.”
“Hmm…” was all Dad said. He did not seem concerned. That being said, he was watching Monday Night Football, and had I said “I’m pregnant,” I probably would have gotten the same reaction.

Years later, the day finally came when Yogi got real sick. We were all praying for it.
“She’s not doing well,” Dad told me, over the phone. He tried to sound grave, but I detected glee behind his voice. My sister and I were away at college at that point, and they were stuck at home with the beast.
“Maybe you should put her down,” I suggested helpfully. I was coming home for spring break in a couple of weeks and was hoping she would be buried by then.

The next day, Mom called me to tell me Yogi had passed away. She seemed giddy as she shared this news, and I could hear Dad pop a champagne cork in the background. They were blasting the Rolling Stones.
“Thank god,” I said with relief.
“I know,” Mom agreed, and took a sip of the champagne on the other end of the phone. “That dog,” she said, and paused. “That dog fucking sucked.”

In Yogi’s final years, Mom had ended up hating her too. And in the end, that common hatred of Yogi, the family dog, brought us all closer together.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hmm.....

Why don't the owners of 'Babies R' Us' just call their store 'Broken Condoms'? Might as well be honest about it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pig in a Blanket

There is one perfect food out there. It's juicy, it's warm, and it's wrapped in a bed of flaky pastry. This wonder is called Pig in a Blanket, and it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is, without a doubt, the most delicious food ever created by God, or at least ever created by the public school system.

Perhaps you are dumb and have no idea what I am talking about, so let me enlighten you. Think elementary school, hot lunch. Think about pushing your tray down the lunch line, and there, behind the steamy glass, lay hot dogs wrapped in dough and then baked into a perfect meal. I remember them stacked, side by side like soldiers, their soft juicy insides hugged in the warm crispy pastry. I would hold my tray out, hands shaking, as the Pig in a Blanket was placed on my tray. I wolfed it down and then begged my friends for theirs. It was always the highlight of my week (next to throwing gravel at Laura, the fat girl, during recess of course).

Now, it is hard to find a Pig in a Blanket. Once I found the mini-version at a cocktail party, on a silver tray. Each of them were stabbed with a glittery toothpick. I ended up eating about 35 of them and then throwing up. Or like yesterday, trying to recreate it, I wrapped a piece of ham in a tortilla and put it in a microwave for 3 minutes. It was gross, but I ate it anyway, because it was either that or stale Fiber Bran.

Tonight, while I sleep, I will dream of them. I will dream of sleeping on them, rolling around, naked, rubbing myself in the grease and the fat and the warmth. I will dream of tossing them up like gold coins in the sheer joy of their existence. Finally, I will I eat them, one after another, until I throw up. And only then will I be truly happy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A History Lesson

I can one-up almost anybody by stating a random, unprovable, 'fact' based on incredibly vague historical 'knowledge'.

For example, I was at the mall the other day, and this rude saleswomen at the cosmetic counter was like, "You could really use some liner around your eyes to help them stand out a bit." Now, what was she saying? That I had ugly eyes? That I look like a man? Or was she just mad at me for testing out all her lip glosses with a (glaringly) large cold sore on my face?
So I casually said, "You know, back in Egyptian times, they put coal around their eyes for makeup, and like, they all ended up dying because it sunk into their blood streams and killed them."
She stared at me, dumbfounded. Mostly because what I said made absolutely no sense and was incredibly stupid, and YET- it made just enough sense to be somewhat credible.
I could see her mind working- I think I've heard something like that before....that Cleopatra lady did wear makeup I think....will my eyeliner kill me?!?
"So anyway," I said and shrugged, like, what you gonna do? I smiled kindly and I think, smartly, at her and strolled away toward handbags. I couldn't wait to educate the next salesperson on leather-making processes of the 1800's.

Jr. High

Jr. High was a total blur- I don’t know about anybody else, but the memories for me are few and far between.

I mean, there was that one time when I had a steamy, 2-month affair with my biology teacher. Short, steamy moments in the girl's bathroom, a secret kiss between classes, our weekend getaway to Vail, the doctor visit for the abortion, the 3-year trial when he was accused of statutory rape, our 6 week trip to Mexico to escape authorities and live the rest of our days on the beach selling thread-woven bracelets, the moment he was gunned down by Mexican police for drugs, and then the 5 year stint I spent in a girl’s home.

Other then that, though, I really don’t remember anything else. Jr. High was just real dull.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Still Got It

The other day, I was running through the park, regretting the two donuts I had inhaled but hours before. Not only that, but I had fought with my friend- she told me I was a cold-hearted bitch. Something about laughing hysterically when she accidentally hit a bird with her car on our way to breakfast. But really, I could see the beak sticking out from the radiator when we got out to inspect the damage- what did she want me to do, cry?

Anyway, my point is that I was feeling a bit down. I slowed down to a walk, and as I strolled through the park I ended up passing two homeless men lounging in the grass.

The first one whistled. “Yeah, baby, gimmie some of that!” His toothless mouth grinned disgustingly, his pants were soiled with urine.
“Fuck yeah, baby, you’s a hot piece of pussy!” the other one shouted, the one who had a small animal (dog? rat?) on a leash. He was missing both his right shoe and his right eye.
I stared at them, in shock, ready to shout something rude back- until I realized I was blushing.
“Come over here and give Daddy a kissy!” the urine-soaked one yelled.
I giggled, like a little schoolgirl, and felt flattered. I put my shoulders back and stuck my chest out a little bit, showing off.
The animal on the leash was gnawing at the cardboard box they were lying on, and now they were both making obscene gestures at me. Still giggling, I waved, and started running again, like I was floating on air. I still got it, I kept thinking to myself. I still got it!

Yes, I had been sexually harassed by two incredibly vile men, and yet- they were still men, weren’t they? They were still men!

Still grinning, I continued through the park, both my chest and spirits high.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Power Trip

My boss went on vacation for a week and left me in charge. She said that I would be covering for her for the next 5 days, and instructed my coworkers to do 'whatever' I said. My eyes quickly glazed over with the thought of all that power. My fellow cube mates, previously my equals, were now the 'small people' I could step on. I was drunk with joy.

It started on a small scale. I asked Rick to get me a cup of coffee, extra hot, no sugar. When he brought it to me, I complained that it was warm, "like fucking bathwater," and threw it in the trash in a fit of rage. He ran back to the kitchen like a little bitch to get me a new one.

Mary kept complaining that she was too tired, and tried to cut corners when she was washing my car. Mary is 58, and I did appreciate the fact that her left hand is crippled with arthritis. She seemed to be in a lot of pain as she clutched the soapy sponge, but that just wasn't going to get her out of her duties. I was really disappointed- I just didn't see the dedication this company needs.

Joe did an okay job picking up my lunch, until I realized he got me Ranch Dressing on my salad instead of the fat-free vinaigrette I had requested. I told him if I wanted an ass as big as his mom's I would probably eat it, but since I didn't, I would have to throw the whole thing in the trash, next to the cold-ass coffee. Joe gave me his lunch and then massaged my shoulders while I ate it. I made sure to eat real slow- like for two hours. Joe kept complaining that his hands were getting tired, and as his thumb rubbed the knot out of my lower back, I wondered if he would get arthritis too, like Mary.

Eventually, my boss came back from vacation, and my power trip was over. I've lost a couple of friendships, but really, I didn't mind. I could never be friends with people who are this incompetent. If I really was the boss, I would fire all three of them- after they picked up my dry cleaning, of course.

Really?

Um...really? Like, I'm standing in this Target line, my shit laid out on the counter belt, ready to check out- and you, YOU are in front of me?

Seriously, half of your items don't have tickets? Is that even physically possible? And you are talking to the cashier (Shawn, the nameplate reads), the cashier that is trying to find the prices on his computer, and you are distracting him with stories of your kid's swim team tryouts? Really?

Okay, now, he rang everything up and wait- oh- you, you just decided you didn't want that? The anti-bacterial wipes- those, those you don't need anymore? So now he needs to credit those out of your item list- oh, yes, you are leaning over the counter, practically pressing your face into the computer screen, double-checking the prices? And then, oh my god, you pull out a checkbook? Really?

You sure are writing really slowly, aren't you? And still chatting. Cole, your son, placed first in WHAT division? Because, please, Shawn and I are DYING to know. And take your time recording your Target purchase in your checkbook. Take your time.

Yes, you DO need help out, with all the bags of kitty litter, plastic organizers, and enough apple-spice scented candles to fill a dumpster. Surely, they didn't expect you, you, in the 1994 haircut and pleated khaki pants to actually load all this shit in the back of your Ford Explorer, did they? They certainly did not.

And me? Me who just stood in line fifteen minutes waiting to purchase my tampons and mint gum? Me, who is irritated and annoyed beyond belief that you, YOU, would be the one that is in front of me? That there are 35 checkout counters and I picked this line?

Really?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Thieves

My sister and I decided to play ‘Robbers’ one afternoon. It was summer, hot, and we were bored. She was a naive six years old; I an evil nine.
“How do we play?” my sister asked me, her blue eyes wide and innocent.
“Well…we’re going to rob a house” I explained, casually, like I just suggested jumping rope or riding our bikes. “You know, like robbers do.”
We ended up in the garage looking for ‘robber’ tools. We found a saw and scurried over to our neighbor’s house. Their window was ground level and had a screen over it. We crouched down, saw in hand, and cut the screen off the window- the glass, in turn, opened easily. We slid down through the window and into the basement.

We were inside the house, and it echoed in silence.

“Let’s head upstairs,” I whispered, saw in hand. Naturally, we had dressed the part. I was in an all-black leotard left over from a tumbling class, and we had wrapped my sister up in a black trash bag and belted it. It crinkled as we crept upstairs into the living room.

We had the whole place to ourselves- it was like a giant playhouse, but REAL. We spent the next two hours goofing off in the house; watching TV, jumping on the beds, eating our neighbor’s food. Eventually, we found a huge coin jar- it was more money then I had ever seen in my entire life-there were five, even TEN dollar bills in there! Finally bored, we climbed back out of the basement window and raced home. Back in our civilian clothes and under the umbrella of innocence, we quietly played with our Barbie dolls until our parents called us to dinner.

(I think at this point some may be wondering where our parents were during this time. Well, that’s easy- mom was chatting with the neighbor on our back porch, and dad was watching sports on the television. They were probably thinking we were hanging out at a friend’s house. I assure you, they were definitely not thinking their two little girls were robbing a house.)

It was later that evening when everything started breaking down. My neighbor came home, realized his house had been ransacked, and called the police- that’s when the knock came at the door. I peeked behind my dad as the police officer spoke to him.
“Sir, looks like we had a break in next door- some items were stolen- did you happen to see anything by chance?”
“No,” my dad replied, baffled. “A robbery? In this neighborhood? Weird.”
The officer shrugged, thanked dad, and left.
“Weird,” my dad repeated, shutting the door.
“Some people are just bad, Daddy,” I said, comforting him. “It’ll be okay.” I was a phenomenal actress, even back then.
My sister sat silently on the couch and said nothing. I was extremely proud of her.

Later that night, though, she turned us both in. We were in the bathtub- I fantasizing about all the toys I would buy with our loot, and my sister pushing a boat around the water.
“Time to get out,” Mom called from the hallway.
“We have lots of money,” my sister answered in return.
I froze, and then desperately tried to shush her.
“What?” Mom, now curious, peeked in the bathroom.
“We have lots and lots of money,” she said, louder now and more forcefully. It was like watching a train wreck and not being able to do anything about it.
“Where did you get money, sweetie?” My mom’s voice now had a dangerous edge to it. I could see my toy fantasies start to crumble.
“We played robbers,” she answered.
By then Dad had joined this little party, and they both looked at me. “Did you two rob a house?”

At that point it was all over. I confessed and we gave them the money hiding under the bed. Dad went next door, gave the money back, and explained that his daughters were the culprits. Dad then made us go next door and apologize ourselves.

That was awkward.

Dad: “Kids, say you’re sorry to your neighbor, Mike.”
Us: “Sorry...”
Dad: “Why are you sorry?” he prompted.
Us: “We are sorry for robbing your house.”

We were grounded for months and had to pay for the ripped screen with our allowance money. Mom bought books like “Children without a Conscience” and “The Criminal Mind of a Child”. My sister was fine; it was me my parents were weary of. I, the oldest, had lead my sister into a life of crime. The knives in the kitchen were put on the top shelf. Thieves.

To this day, I still don’t understand why I robbed a house. Why ‘pretending’ to rob house doesn’t mean you actually ROB A HOUSE. Like, no light switch went on, the one that goes, “You are robbing a fucking house. This is really, really, really bad. You shouldn't rob this house. You should leave.” I mean, I was nine. Nine is not THAT young. What happened there?

All I can say is that it was summer, hot, and we were bored.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Parent's Basement

Sometimes times are tough, and sometimes you have to move in with your parents. I was fired from my job when I was 28 for "gross incompetence and offensive behavior", according to my now-former boss, whose condo I ended up setting on fire. I made sure he wasn't in it, of course.

So lack of funds meant my parent's damp basement became my home. Bringing guys home (through the windows) was no small task, and then they always asked the one awkward question- “why is your bed two blankets in a kiddie pool"? What, you expected the Hilton? Like stray dogs, I could always bring a man into my home, but never keep ‘em. I realized that maintaining any kind of relationship would be impossible.

Occasionally, one of my parents would open the basement door, throw a turkey leg down the stairwell, and then slam the door shut. Sometimes I would find notes taped to my cement walls- "Get a fucking job or get out"- and I appreciated how supportive they were. I wondered why they wouldn’t let me stay in any of the 4 empty guest rooms upstairs, and my mom told me, “No use putting quarters in an empty coke machine”. Not sure what that means, but she said it with love.

Eventually, I moved out, but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss my parent's basement just a little. I mean, the food was free, the blankets were warm, and really- who doesn't like hanging out with the two people who gave you life?