Category Archives: humor

Kick The Shit Out of Life

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Maria Semple, total badass & Yours Truly, lipstick-wearer

“Maria Semple has a total boner for your writing.” So said Katty, far and away the best part of the writing workshop we finished last month. Tom Skerritt was a fellow classmate, too, because my life is just a series of What The Fuck moments held together by carbs and decorative washi tape from the dollar store. I want to say meeting Katty was nice, a word that describes nothing and leads to other nothing-words like interesting or cool, but really, it was a relief. There is so much weight lifted when you meet a kindred spirit, someone you don’t have to be anyone else but yourself around, loudly and without apology; someone who gets your language and likes making fun of the same people. Our friendship was forged rather quickly — a satirical shotgun marriage, if you will, pregnant with a friendship baby who likes yelling fuck over various dessert items. She is a curly-haired, barely-contained East Coast tornado, which works since I’m a West Coast weather system trapped in a supermodel’s body.

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A Cool Ranch of Marikas

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The other day I was in bed around 2 p.m. and wondered what the collective noun for a group of Marikas might be. This alone should tell you a few things:

1) I’m amazing

2) I spend much of my day in fleece pants

3) I need more friends or hobbies or maybe a reason to live

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My favorite animal collectives are:

a murder of crows

a shrewdness of apes

a crash of rhinos

an unkindness of ravens

an ostentation of peacocks

a glitter of hummingbirds

a covert of coots

a bloat of hippopotami

 

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Deconstructed Burns

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WHAT AM I

Even as a child, Pee-Wee Herman’s “I know you are but what am I?” just seemed really lazy, until no doy and the unfortunate “Not!” craze came along. “Not!” is the first popular phrase I remember both kids and adults overusing, which made me hate it even more. I guess it was the 80’s version of today’s “Fake news!” so no wonder it tastes like rancid orange soda in my mouth.

I know you are but what am I? starts off strong by psyching out your opponent with TOTAL AGREEMENT. I know you are. Then it naturally morphs into passive aggressive existential confusion. But what am I?

What am I?

JUST TELL ME WHO I AM.

I know you are but what am I? relies too much on who you’re talking to. Whatever they say – you’re a dink, you’re a pickle, you are way too fucking tall – you just agree (I know), lob back their insult (you are), then demand another round (but what am I?). I KNOW YOU’RE A PICKLE BUT LET’S FOCUS ON ME.

Your opponent gains style points for making you sound like a self-centered, unoriginal asshole.

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The Adults In The Room

mrmessy

Mr. Messy

When I was little, I used to watch my mom or dad after dinner, doing adult stuff in the abstract. Mostly tidying up in that tired way adults do when the consequences of not tidying up will catch up to them later. Wiping down counters, straightening magazine piles, folding laundry, getting papers ready for the next day, taking the garbage bins out, checking homework, sorting through mail, feeding the cats. Every evening, someone called on the phone, but it was before Caller I.D., so it was like being surprised by friends or family on the regular, and not like now, where I see someone call and wonder in anguish butwhy. Sometimes, the phone was handed to me and I answered aunt and uncle questions or told stories to curious grandparents.

As I got older and watched this nighttime ritual of the North American adult, I realized there was a rhyme and reason to the seemingly random clean-up. Garbage was dealt with, leftovers packaged, outfits picked for school and work, slight order restored to a house that exploded every 24 hours with life and human progress. Neither of my parents seemed to enjoy doing these menial daily tasks, but when they were done, one or both of them would turn off the kitchen lights and sink into the couch with a satisfied, weary sigh. I would come to know this as The Ceremonial Sigh of Adulting, where your next move is something you actually want to do: read a book, watch TV, talk to a friend on the phone while matching sock mates, have that much-deserved glass of wine before bed. The sigh signaled a surrendering to what would surely be another night without enough sleep, a tiny white flag waving in the flickering light of our television. Then my parents got up the next day and did it again, and again, and again. The same determined, tired tidying up, every night after dinner; the same sigh of release and ready-preparedness for the days to come.

It was all so goddamn boring.

When I was still a single digit, and filled with BIG IDEAS, I decided my parents were foolish to waste all their time on these menial tasks. Clearly they were doing something wrong if they were stuck in this Groundhog’s Day-like nightmare where your life is just doing chores. I decided I would skip doing all that crap and congratulated myself for coming up with a better solution to living life than my mother. Why didn’t my parents just eat McDonald’s for dinner every night and then do whatever the fuck they wanted? They were ungrateful adults who’d traded what power and freedom they had for nighttime vacuuming. I WOULD NOT BE LIKE THEM, I WOULD ENJOY MY FREEDOMS AND NEVER TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED.

Can you imagine? The fucking audacity of children. So new and dumb and precious and totally unqualified for personhood. Somehow, I knew how to do life better than my 39-year old parents after nine long years on this planet — and absolutely thought I had my shit together when I couldn’t do long division or eat soft cheese. Now I’m older than they were when I decided to do things differently, and even though I don’t clean the house every night, I always wish I had. It sucked when I finally got it, finally understood, and could see – stretching out a thousand miles in front of me – all the tidying up and sighing I would do in the months and years to come.

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The Dealbreakers of Adonis

 

beachbun

This supremely hot friend of mine once listed off what he looked for in a girl. At the time, we were on my bed and he was getting a secretly-erotic-but-totally-platonic massage from Yours Truly. Did I mention the supremely hot part? The man was a living Adonis rising from the ocean right into my bedroom. No matter how many cheap beers I’d had, I was not going to fuck this up.

Definitely someone down to Earth. Sense of humor. Loves dogs, the outdoors, cooking, travel, also football. Wants a big family. Enjoys exercise and staying fit. Equal parts girly and tomboy. Great laugh. Easygoing. 

Besides ‘sense of humor,’ I resembled none of these things. That was fine, as we were better as friends, but I was curious what men like him – the shiny, top shelf standard in America – looked for in a life partner. So far, the list held zero surprises.

No smokers, no drug users, no Atheists, and definitely no pancake boobs.

Here was a list that was even less achievable for me. I was most surprised by the Atheist thing since I’d never known him to be religious. “You can’t believe in nothing, you have believe in something – and if you don’t, that’s just crazy!” he sort-of explained. This side of him was new to me, and not that interesting. I found it ironic that he couldn’t date some cancerous, godless druggie with delicious tits, when here he was getting a free massage from that exact woman.

“What the hell are pancake boobs?” I asked, picturing actual pancakes where breasts would normally be. If it was bad, it was probably something I had, and if I did have it, knowing that information wasn’t imperative. I always thought people said “Ignorance is bliss” in this condescending way, but really they meant it as discovery. It was a shout-out, an invitation, a proud bumpersticker. In that moment before he answered, I realized ignorance was a real-life solution to real-life problems.

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