The Groans of the (P)uninspired

Jenny Lawson’s husband enjoys pun wars, and I’m a tad envious.

When I pun, Paul looks at me as though he’d like to time-travel back to our wedding day and stuff a sock in the officiant’s mouth so she can’t say a word. Many would say this is reasonable, and I suppose there’s some valid argument there.

The post below encourages me to write one I’ve been thinking of this week. When I mentioned the topic, Paul started digging through his sock drawer.

Owl aboard the pun train

Note: Merriam-Webster’s site defines a pun as follows:

“the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound”

How chicken-shit is that? Own it, M-W. Drop the “usually.” Puns are great. Most of the time. Okay. You’re right. Never mind.

The Malicious Mind

I’m starting to wonder if my brain has a vendetta against me. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to fears it can invent.

Paul knows that when he leaves the house in the morning and I say, “Be safe,” what I’m really telling him is:

Please don’t get into a massive fireball of a car wreck. Generally speaking, come home alive, preferably not maimed.

He’s pretty cool about it because he’s a freak who sees the positive in life. He always gets the great parking space, so why wouldn’t he see sunshine everywhere? It’s irritating.

I might be pushing my luck, though. The other day I finally confessed a new paranoiac low that may include a trace of the psychotic. He headed out the door to go rowing, and of course I said, “Be safe.”

Then I told him what I really mean:

Please don’t be murdered by a sniper hiding in bushes along the canal.

I know, right? But this fear seems reasonable to me. All they’d have to do is lead him a little.

My mind keeps telling me this is a legitimate concern despite the fact that I’ve never read a news report involving snipers and rowers. So whatever I did to piss it off, it’s not done punishing me. Bastard.

Paul’s finally shocked. Well done, me?

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Bonus: fewer snipers

Accepting my Inner Slob

I just lost another round of Compare Yourself to Someone Else: You’re sure to win this time!

Yesterday one of our condo board members was distributing new building keys, so I went to his unit. I like this guy, but I hate his place. Everything is impossibly aligned with everything else. Knickknacks are set askew with perfection, and I think he organizes his shoes in the entryway with a T-square.

And everything’s so clean. It’s blinding. Even the floors. He could employ a five-day rule in the kitchen.

Then I come back to our place, with the empty plastic litter bins lined up in the front hall, judgmentally waiting for someone to recycle them.

There’s the occasional piece of kibble that bores into my heel when I step on it, sixteen feet away from the food dish because Molly enjoys her dinner to go.

I accept that I’ll never be like Martha Stewart, even if I had a rap sheet, but I’m afraid of dying in this mess and somehow still managing to be embarrassed when people discover my body nestled between a mountain of dirty laundry and a pile of clean, unfolded clothes.

Serenity is just a Word to Me

The other day Paul met a cheese he didn’t like. I never expected this. I’ve seen him savor cheese platters that smell like an autopsy being performed in a college locker room during a natural gas leak. My world suddenly made much less sense.

Just as I was recovering from the shocking cheese aversion, he made the bed. For the first time in twenty-two years. I panicked and asked, “Why would you do that?” in the same voice I’d ask a home invader, “Why here?”

Paul said, “Because the people across the street can see our bedroom.”

I blurted, “But they’ve been able to see our unmade bed for five years. Why is this important to you now?”

He shrugged and ambled away, leaving me reeling in confusion and anxiety, somewhat like when my surgeon told me I had cancer. The fact that I’m reacting at all similarly to a bed-making crisis and life-threatening health news may surprise you, but not me. I have a long track record of overreacting.

Like that time in Buffalo, New York as it was approaching Christmas during our first year there. I heard a fire engine siren a couple doors away, so I chucked Muriel the cat into her crate, jammed my arms into a coat, and shouted at Paul, “Fire! We have to evacuate! Now!”

Paul complied, taking what felt like an ice age to get his coat and shoes on.

I burst into the foyer of our duplex, wide-eyed and sweaty, Muriel’s cage dangling from my hand. Her eyes bulged with terror as Paul slouched behind me with his hands in his pockets.

The couple next door were standing just inside the main front door with their three young children, all relaxed and smiling. None of them were dressed to evacuate during an Upstate New York winter. I understood nothing at this point.

They turned from gazing at the fire truck, and I shouted, “Where’s the fire?!”

The littlest kid pointed toward the truck as the vehicle slowly made its way toward us. He said with glee, “It’s Fire Truck Santa!”

I looked again, and sure enough, that sadistic holiday bastard was waving his Christmas cheer at all the happy kids in the neighborhood.

The three of us slunk back into our unit (as much as a cat trapped in a crate can slink) to the sounds of laughter. I mumbled, “Merry Christmas” as my face turned a bright Rudolph-nose color.

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Yes, I am Chicken Little, although I’ve never been this adorable.

I suppose that wasn’t as bad as the escalator incident at Sea-Tac Airport. A tank-sized drunk guy passed out at the top and hurtled backwards, landing on a tot and his mother (they were fine).

Paul and I were standing nearby, and as I was unaware of the embarrassingly obvious red emergency stop buttons on escalators, I did the next best thing. I spread my arms out at an angle, and in my most commanding voice yelled, “Stand back! My husband is an occupational therapist!”

At six-foot-five, Paul did his best to be invisible as he slowly sidled away from me. Sadly for him, at this point there was no hiding. He came forward to help—which he would’ve done anyway—but his facial expression said, “Good God, I hope no one thinks I’m the guy she’s talking about.”

I probably should work on the overreaction thing, but I worry that Paul might be staying with me just for the entertainment value.

 

Hypocrisy, Self-Delusion’s BFF

For years I’ve chastised Paul for being careless with gloves and hats. I’ve been so certain that he’s lost and repurchased every item that I once threatened to sew his gloves to his jacket.

At this moment, I can’t remember a time when he misplaced any of these things, but in the last twelve months, I’ve lost two pairs of gloves and a hat. I think I can be a real asshole sometimes.

It’s like when I shriek in protest at the idea of Paul climbing onto the roof to fix something…because of my acrophobia.

Just one of many moments of self-awareness. Why don’t these ever happen in my favor?

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Me on the left, scolding Paul. Collectively me on the right, confessing that I’m the moron who can’t track her accessories.

 

Writing a Great Hook, or Hooking

I think I would’ve made a good copywriter for ads. Not that my writing’s so great (I mean, come on), but if I could use my sense of humor however I wanted, I’d go for it.

Recently there was a news article about a notorious madam near Seattle, self-named Rainbow Love. When I read that name, I feel as though I’ve been wearing a ball gag for three days. Not that I know what a ball gag feels like. In fact, I don’t know where I got that term. I don’t think I’m going to find my way out of this paragraph except to start a new one.

In the middle of the piece about Madam Rainbow, there was an ad banner I wish I could link you to, but I can’t find it now. Trust me, it was there:

Work from Home! $97 an hour!

Notwithstanding the cut-rate pricing, if I can do whatever I want, I should check into Craigslist for a position. A copywriter position, you filthy creature. I’m worth more than $97 an hour at home. $98.50 at least. Maybe with a $50 rebate. And I’ll buy dinner.

fancy-prostitutes
My search for images relating to “prostitute” just got depressing, so I decided to use this one. I call it Fancy Floozies and Dandy Dudes.

Virtue Smirchoo

I’m angry at my ass. It isn’t downsizing on its own. At least not anymore. After I gave up sugar last August, I lost eleven pounds and even kept them off for a long time.

It seemed true what no-sugar guru David Gillespie says. The pounds will just fall off if you avoid that evil, sweet, delicious poison. Plus he says that being off sugar doesn’t mean I have to totally give up wine or spirits. Just no sweet wine or mixers. This made my brain swoon.

Check out this site. Great message. Love the Sweet Poison Quit Plan Cookbook. (No endorsement paid here. You probably assume that. I mean, how successful and famous could I be at this point where people would pay to advertise here? God, what an ego.)

We’re eating whole fat everything now because—and you probably know this—“low fat” is synonymous with “We’ve dumped a shit-ton of sugar in this in order to make you feel great about avoiding fat. It’s going to turn you into a dirigible. Enjoy!”

I’m loving the butter, whole milk, and fatty-mcfat-fat sour cream. Plus the good-Lord-you’re-full-so-for-the-love-of-all-that’s-holy-stop-eating-now mechanism works again, so I don’t overeat. Well, I didn’t at first.

My translation of this new-to-me information is: Have all you want, as often as you want. It’s a party! Crush that baked potato under a brick of butter and wash it down with a half-liter of chardonnay. Every day. What could go wrong?

Then the weight loss stalled, and I even gained a few pounds back. Still. Off. Sugar. Except for that cake I ate last week, but it was for my birthday. So wisdom can just fuck off.

After a few months on my latest plan of action—Wait and See if Anything Changes, Part 654—I realize I might be missing a point in all this, but my hope remains: Magic will handle everything. I’m frustrated that this isn’t easy. And a little angry.

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My ancient ancestor, just as pissed about the weight-loss struggle. Evidently there’s a long family history of flipping people off. And floppy-gut.

 

All these months later, I see that my enjoyment of gallons of chardonnay, truckloads of butter, and nearly zero exercise have not transformed me into a super model. Now I realize effort is required in order to feel healthier and look better. Was that always a thing?

cleopatra_public-domain
I have to work for this?

Doing something good for myself just because it’s the right thing to do is in direct conflict with my assumption that I deserve nothing good. Paul goes rowing because it makes him feel good and keeps his weight down. It’s as though he believes he should be treated well, even by himself. I don’t get it.

I guess I’ll walk the whole block to the gym and do something. Tomorrow. For sure. My brain just hissed, “Liar,” which is fair enough.

I am a BLT

I have a confession about one of my biggest fears: becoming a bag lady, with cats. It isn’t like having cats is a fear, but combine that with bag lady, and there’s something disquieting and stereotypical happening there.

I can’t even look elderly female panhandlers in the eye because I’m terrified they’ll peer into my soul and see the future bag lady within, give a little wink, and say, “See you soon, dear. Just remember this is my corner. And I have a knife.”

Recently I told Paul, “I need a little wheeled cart for all my trips to the store.”

He freaked and blurted, “You’re not that old!” But when I assured him that he didn’t have to be seen with me and the cart at the same time, he started breathing again.

I’ve found a pretty stylin’ trolley that can handle the thousand pounds of cat litter we have to buy every week for Mimi, so I’ve been feeling kinda hip as I trundle around the neighborhood.

That is, until I came home from getting groceries and Amazon packages the other day. Then it hit me: I’ve become a Bag Lady in Training, and I might need to accept my destiny:

img_0775
Just need a hairnet and some semi-used tissue in my pocket for a complete ensemble.

* By the way, my cart is called “The Sholley Trolley.” I’m not getting anything for telling you about it, but I just have to share the info ‘cause it’s great for local shopping without a car: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S75L252/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Also I think some people assume I’m pushing a baby stroller around. I’ve noticed a little smile until they get closer. Then there’s a look of dismay as they begin to suspect I’ve got a child in there, and it’s not allowed to breathe. Just another bonus.

Toileting Choices

Every time I prepare a lesson plan for tutoring at the local college, I wonder if I’m making a positive difference.

Then I remember the sign that’s in every women’s bathroom I’ve visited on campus (and with my old-lady bladder, that ain’t no small number of visits)*:

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If maintenance has to post this, I think I should keep trying to help.

* I added the “women’s” because I was concerned you’d think I was visiting men’s rooms. Why does my brain do that?

 

"I've always found paranoia to be a perfectly defensible position." – Susan Lowenstein, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

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