I’m Your Charity Case, So Buy Me Something to Eat…

…I’ll pay you at another tiiiiiiiiiiime.

Who are we kidding?  That dude’s not paying you back.  If he were into things like paying people back, he’d have a job, not a band.

There are good musicians to date (accordion players) and there are bad musicians to date (all the rest of them) but, just like any other study in stereotypes, the bad ones generally stick out the most.

The one thing guy musicians have in common is that you will always, always, always come second in their lives.  Get used to it.  Your smile’s got nothing on bright lights and a roar of applause from strangers.  Nothing.

If he were given the opportunity to play a show in front of 10,000 people, but it would require him to amputate one of your toes and then eat it in front of you, guess who’s about to have only nine toes?  He will yell, “Thanks for the snack, babe!” as he runs down the hall from his dressing room to the stage.  You will hobble on a tiny bloody stump.  The next day he will be annoyed that you now walk so slowly, and will loudly sigh when you ask him to slow down.

A musician will refuse to call you his “girlfriend” unless you let him move in with you.  If he hasn’t moved in yet (which would be surprising seeing as he’s homeless), you will instead be referred to as “I don’t like labels.  Can’t we just hang out and have sex at my leisure?”

Him calling you his “girlfriend”, by the way, does not imply exclusivity.  “Girlfriend” is more equivalent to “Benefactor”.  He will absolutely still have sex with other women.  He’ll have sex with you, too, but you’ll also have the good fortune of being the one he chooses to put gas in his car, food in his belly, and clothes on his back.  Lucky you.

So he gets it on in the bathroom at the bar with some random skank?  Big deal!  Don’t you get it?  His passionate soul can’t be tied down, baby!  The heart (dong/ego) wants what it wants.

He will say, “Mmm-non-mon-pom-wall” and you will say, “What?”  Then he will spit out another woman’s underwear from his mouth and say, “It’s nothing personal!” Then he will ask you to wash the underwear along with the rest of his laundry.

As the girlfriend, the only way to prevent such things from happening is to make sure you attend every single show his band plays.  Because if you ain’t there when he walks off the stage, trust me, there will be plenty of girls who will be.  Even if it’s on a Tuesday night at 1:00am, it’s a three hour drive away, and you have to be at work the next day at 7:00am.  Even if your best friend is marrying a British royal and you’ve been invited to be in the wedding party.  Doesn’t matter.  Your ass better be there at whatever shitty bar he’s playing in Lakeland, Florida on a Tuesday night.  Your devotion and paranoia will be rewarded by maybe not getting an STD.

If you have a problem with any of the above, you are “uptight” and you “don’t understand” him.  If you actually break up with him over it, he will tell everyone that you “went psycho” on him.

Here’s a handy tip sheet to help you make an informed decision the next time you’re thinking, “Oh my god – he was totally staring at me through that whole last song!  Damn he’s hot!  Should I give him my phone number?”

Narcissistic Personality Disorder I mean, Singer: The worst, worst, worst.  Master of the Gaslight, Keeper of The Ego.  No one can convince you they’re madly in love you, then have sex with your sister, then make YOU apologize for it, then convince you to give them $300 for their car payment better than those guys can.  I’ve known many smart, level-headed people who have been reduced to insecure, suicidal wrecks at the hands of the singer.  Stay away!  These guys propose to you within a week, and fall desperately in love with you – for about two months.  Then it’s onto the next one.  Do a Google search for “love bombing”.  Expect to find a large cache of John Mayer photos.  Then he’ll be like, “I really consider myself a guitar player…”  Shut up.  We all know that you can actually play.  We get it.

And, yes, I was a singer.  And an asshole.  I get the irony.

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Extra Spanx were required just to keep the ego from jiggling.

Lead Guitar Player:  Requires an incredible amount of patience.  Your relationship will consist of listening to him play scales, pretending not to notice that he’s stealing all your skinny jeans, and riding on his bike handlebars to buy him McDonald’s.  He uses the words “LITERALLY!” to describe anything that is not literal, to the point that you will eventually start to involuntarily cringe when he says it.  Also, he is approximately as smart as a potato chip, but he will tell you that he’s “street smart”.  Also, he is not street smart.

Rhythm Guitar Player:  Generally easy-going, but is pretty sure he’d rather be the lead guitar player, and needs constant reassurance that he’s as good/needed as the lead guitar player.  You will come to recognize the sound of skateboard wheels on your driveway as him arriving for dinner, and gentle sobbing as the sound of him falling asleep on your futon, clutching a photo of Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam.  He owns either a ferret or a snake, but never both.  He gets haircuts regularly, which is good, but only because his mother still pays for it.  He is 35.

Bass Player:  Do you do drugs?  Would you like to?  Date a bass player.  He’ll only charge you for your half, oh, and his half.  The sound of a car door slamming and “Later, Grandma!” is your cue that he’s already eaten dinner before he arrived at your house, so now it’s time to smoke a bowl and watch some Adult Swim in his “crazy” boxer shorts.  Do not let this man bring pewter figurines into your house or you will never get rid of him.  He will pull out his Wizard Pocket Constitution and tell you that, legally speaking, a pewter wizard can’t be evicted until thirty days’ notice has been properly served.  He will ruin your clothes dryer with the 24-sided dice that he forgot to take out of his wide-legged jeans.

Drummer:  You have to question anyone’s motives for wanting to lug all that crap around and beat on it for hours at a time.  Perhaps he’s angry?  But he also wants to sit?  Sitting and being angry?  What a coincidence!  That’s exactly what you’ll be doing the whole time you’re dating him.  His ass smells terrible.  Like really, gut-punchingly terrible.  So bad that you store a dead buzzard in the laundry hamper to kill the smell.  He has a car, but he also lives in it, so at least you can kill rent money and gas money with one never-paid-back-loan-stone if you’re hesitant to let him (and his piles of crap) move in.

This is what happens when you let that happen:

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You could not envy my 21-year old decorating skills more, and I honestly can’t remember whose drums these were in my house

Keyboard Player:  Only if you can handle hours of stories about how he totally pwn3d all the noobz at computer camp when he was a teenager with his savant-like knowledge with regard to the more obscure works of Philip Glass.  If you’re into that scene, then please go forth and propagate with this man, and spare the rest of the world from his wiener.  You’d be taking one for the team, really, and someday your eventual spawn will probably be smart enough to crack enemy computer codes or something.

Any Musician Who Takes Off His Shirt Onstage:  Gross.  Just gross.  Nobody wants to see your weird spoon-chest, Topher.

Guys Named Christopher Who Call Themselves “Topher”:  Musician or not – just say no.

Butter Off Dead

There was this one time I didn’t brush my teeth in 7th grade.

For the entire school year.

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Any similar face that you’re making right now is completely warranted.  I’m making it, too.  As a responsible adult who enjoys things like getting regular dental care, brushing and flossing, and not having a dusty hobo mouth that bats fly out of at night, the thought of someone not brushing their teeth for that long is absolutely horrifying.

This has been one of my deepest, darkest secrets for my entire adult life, and it damn well should be, because it’s freaking disgusting.  You are actually the first ones hearing about it, sooo congratulations?  I bet now you’re happy you never got your birthday wish to make out with me in middle school, which by the way, I am certain nobody ever, ever wished.  Don’t make me remind you of acid-washed everything and the blonde perm.

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Merry Christmas from 13 year old me.  I know I look like Duff McKagan from Guns ‘n Roses here, which would have been really cool if I weren’t a girl.

I remember the exact day I made the decision that I wasn’t going to brush my teeth anymore.  I was getting ready for school, picked up the toothbrush and toothpaste that were sitting there at the bottom of the rusty medicine cabinet, sighed and thought, “This again?” and then I put them back down and walked out the door to catch the school bus, teeth unbrushed.  Somewhere between my front door and the bus stop, I realized what a time-saver I’d stumbled upon!

It also helped that I wanted to die.

That particular period was really rough in our house, and it had reached a point where clean teeth just didn’t feel all that significant in the grand scheme of things.  I was so low, that the idea of having to unscrew the toothpaste cap, dispense it onto a toothbrush, and then commence brushing was just more effort than I could handle.  I secretly wore dirty clothes every day and my showers consisted of me standing still under the hot water for five minutes and then just turning it off.  Soap?  Who the hell had the energy for that?  Sometimes even just breathing felt like an effort.  Most of my breathing came in the form of involuntary yawns.

Nobody noticed that I had stopped brushing my teeth, which was about on par for how invisible and dead I felt inside.

I would later learn that this was Clinical Depression, something I’ve dealt with off and on for as long as I can remember.  Genetic?  Situational?  That shit doesn’t really matter.  Whether you have it because your mother had it, or because of raging teenage hormones, or because your life is a shit pile isn’t really the point.  Depression doesn’t want to know how you got there.  It’s just so happy you’re there.

It has so many things to tell you!

Depression wants to make sure that you know that you’re not equipped to deal with anything because you are a lazy coward.  It wants to make sure that you hate yourself.  A lot.

It wants you to know that you’re just a bag of broken parts that are beyond repair and you are a bother to everyone around you.

It wants you to know that things would be so much easier if you weren’t around.

Depression wants to make you believe that you deserve to be invisible.

“Why, look at all those people out there!  Climbing mountains and building skyscrapers and laughing with friends over lunch!”

“And look at you!  You can’t even be bothered to brush your damn teeth, you lazy coward.  You can’t even be bothered to brush your own teeth.”

“You should be invisible, you worthless piece of crap.  You’re getting exactly what you deserve.”

This ^^ is how depression bullies you and pushes you down the well.  The descent happens too slow to notice it when it starts and too fast to stop it once it’s rolling.  At the point I stopped brushing my teeth, I had already fallen so far down the well that I couldn’t see my way out of it.  The light at the top of it seemed like a pinhole in the sky.

Months and months went by after I stopped brushing my teeth.  Towards the end of the 7th grade school year, someone had brought a bunch of bagels into Mr. McKenzie’s science class.  As we grabbed them up and started pulling them apart to eat them, I complained to my friend Suzanne about how there wasn’t any butter to put on them.

Suzanne took a bite of her dry bagel, shrugged her shoulders, and said very matter-of-factly, with her mouth full, “Well, you could always just scrape some off your teeth.”

I started brushing my teeth again the next day.

I’m sure Suzanne didn’t know it at the time, seeing as we were only 13 years old, but what she did that day was see me.  See me and make fun of me, sure, but she saw me at a time when I was certain I was invisible and that nothing I did – or didn’t do – mattered.  It turned out brushing my teeth actually did matter, and she noticed it, and she said something.  She snapped me back towards reality with one quick jab.

Obviously, there’s more to being pulled out of depression than just being insulted by a friend, but it did at least get the ball rolling for me that time.  Realizing that you aren’t invisible is a step in the right direction.  Giving a damn about even the smallest part of yourself can be a real start.

Since that day in 7th grade, I have used “The Toothbrush Test” countless times to determine whether I’m in a good place mentally.  Any time in my life when I’ve gone to pick up the toothbrush in the morning and thought, “This again?” and started to put it back down because it seemed like too much effort, that’s when I’ve known that I’ve fallen down the well again and need to get help.  Because we all need help sometimes, and there shouldn’t be any shame in admitting it.

If you have a friend who looks like they need help, get nosy.  Ask them how they’re doing and what’s going on.  If a friend who you know used to spend an hour getting ready for work in the morning suddenly starts showing up to work every day with bedhead, no makeup, a stained shirt, and food stuck to their face, chat them up.  Find out what’s changed.  Hell, start with a joke.  “What’s with the pajama pants at work, Lady Naps-a-Lot?”

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, I always dress that way for work,” then congratulations on your job in Silicon Valley, you moist nerd.  I’m sure you’ll own all of us in no time, so I have to call you a moist nerd while I still can, before you have the ability to send an army of android mercenary sex dolls to hunt me down.  Nerd.  Moist nerd.

You want me to say moist again.  You know you do.

Moist.

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When a friend seems like they’ve lost their way, make it your business to let them know that you see them.  Don’t be worried about coming off as pushy or sticking your nose into their business.  If someone is your friend, then checking in on them when you think something might be wrong is your business.

Even if it’s just to tell them that they have butter teeth.

You’re Too Soft for That Hard Reality, Taylor: Part Three

Now that we’ve determined that you’re not Daryl, let’s talk about the lack of decent accommodations in the post-apocalyptic zombie world scenario.  No restaurants, no air-conditioning, no television?  What are you supposed to do all day?  Sweat?  Entertain yourself?!  WALK?  Ugggggh.  It’s like camping in Hell – and that’s before you even add the zombies-eating-your-face factor.

And even if the zombies all of a sudden died off simultaneously from some sort of disease, can you imagine the rebuilding process?  All that infrastructure that would need to be repaired or replaced before things got up and running again?  Who’s going to do all that work?  You know probably half the population got wiped out, taking out untold numbers of skilled service technicians.

As it stands today, when I call Comcast to come out and fix my high speed internet, they send someone out in three to five years.  I can tell you this much, it’s gonna be at least fifty years before you get streaming Netflix back, and I don’t care to even think about having to live in that kind of world.

Are you prepared for the return of dial-up internet?  Adjusting the tracking on your VCR?  Making your own avocado toast?  Because I’m looking at your wireless bluetooth earbuds and Starbucks Venti Mocha Lowfat Half-Caff Macchiato right now and I don’t think you are.

You couldn’t even deal with getting thrown back to 90s technology.  The zombie apocalypse?  Please.  You’re too soft for that hard reality, Taylor.  Own it.  Own it like a cashmere sweater wrapped in Charmin.

You don’t even know what a Motorola pager looks like, let alone how to work one.  You probably think Motorola is some kind of flavored seltzer made in Detroit that’s trying to compete with La Croix.  The kind that you’d drink with your “squad” while Instagramming photos of yourself wearing an ironic Dwight Schrute one-piece bathing suit, hanging out on the lake on a giant inflatable pizza float.  You woke up like dis, etc.

Even if you managed to survive the zombie apocalypse, you’d just be dead weight to the rest of the survivors.  You’d be too busy trying to break into the Sallie Mae office to destroy your student loan records to even bother helping everyone else forage for loose guinea pigs to eat.  Then, as previously discussed, you would shoot yourself in the face with a crossbow and ruin a perfectly good crossbow arrow.

Quit being so selfish and learn your limitations as a human being.  Take yourself out, Taylor.

Oh god – and the cleaning.  The cleaning!  Let’s just say they manage to get power back up and running to the local Cracker Barrel.  Do you know how much blood and guts and trash will have to be cleaned up in that place before you’d feel comfortable eating hashbrown casserole there again?

Okay, not actually that much for me, because that hashbrown casserole is so good I would inhale it from a possum’s belly button like it was a body shot on Spring Break, but for the rest of the people??

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People get uptight about finding an errant hair in their food.  Can you imagine how thrilled they would be to have to flag down a server to say, “Excuse me, but there seems to be half a rotting human face mixed into my hashbrown casserole?”

No thanks.

Finally, let’s talk about the catastrophe co-opter.  We all know this asshole!  This is the person who didn’t actually have anything bad happen to them, but still insists on interrupting everyone else’s actual grief so they can be upset about something bad that happened to their neighbor five doors down who they didn’t even know.

There’d be some poor woman with no legs, one eye, and 3/4 of an arm, crying and telling a reporter about how zombies ate her various appendages and all her babies, and the catastrophe co-opter would bust in like, “Oh yeah?  Well I lost my neighbor from five doors down! I lost MY neighbor!  You’re not the only victim here okay, Kathy?!”

The zombie apocalypse is so annoying.