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.

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

In case you missed Part One, you can either scroll down the page, or if you are as lazy as I am and can’t even bear the scrolling for god’s sake, you can click here you useless so and so.

Let me tell you something else, soft-shell.  This is going to be difficult for you to hear.

You’re not Daryl.

No matter how much you think you’re the Daryl of your friend group, you’re not Daryl. 

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Judith, the actual infant on The Walking Dead, has a better chance of surviving than you do.  If someone gave you a crossbow, you would pick it up and be like, “How does this thing…where is the…how do you…” and then accidentally shoot yourself in the face with it immediately and you know it.  I can practically hear the “Fwoop!  AHHHHHHHHH!!!!” sound right now.

You know who you really are?  You’re Carl’s backup hat.  You’re not even the real hat.  You’re the hat they use for far away stunt scenes.  Know who you’re not?  You’re not Daryl.

Maybe if you had spent more time being a degenerate growing up and less time on your “thesis” you’d have a leg up, but noooo.  You decided that your late teens and early 20s would be better spent getting an education than being a dirtbag in the woods, albeit a dirtbag with a heart of gold.

That’s the thing, too.  Everybody wants to be Daryl, but nobody wants to put in the prerequisite dirtbag work to get there.  People are just like, “Oh, I have a feeling that I would be good at survivalism in the woods!” as they put a ramekin of artisan hummus into their smart-fridge and cozy up to a loved one on the chaise lounge they were finally able to track down from that Pinterest page.

You want to be Daryl?  That means you have to spend your formative and adult years living in the gutter with MERLE.  You can’t be Daryl unless you’ve done your Merle time.  It’s just not possible.  Just like you can’t hunt squirrels for dinner with a crossbow with such precision unless, prior to the zombie invasion, you actually had to hunt squirrels for dinner on a regular basis.  No amount of present-day zombie fighting is going to magically transform your liberal arts degree into 35 years’ experience of living in abject poverty – with MERLE.

What I’m saying, is that I’m looking into the zombie apocalypse future, and you’re definitely drying your tears with a diploma from a small college in Vermont, while the actual dirtbag grown-ups are trying to pull a crossbow arrow out of your face.

Also, just throwing this out there, but growing up as a dirtbag does not typically lend itself to becoming Daryl – Merle experience or not.  Daryl is an anomaly.

Daryl is, perhaps, the most anomalous character who has ever existed in the history of the world.

As a dirtbag myself, I knew many a potential Daryl in my youth.  Poor, dirty boys shredding at a flattened roadkill raccoon with their pocket knives and then chasing each other around with the raccoon dick bone.

Stinky-assed moppets covered with impetigo, with globs of snot perpetually underneath each nostril like slimy, green Chiclets hanging out of their nose, who always, always had that weird white stuff in the corners of their mouths.

Boys who were left to fend for themselves because their parents could only ever be found either at the bar or in lock-up.

Boys who ate their own scabs, who when asked what they would wish for if they found a genie in a magic lamp, would take a moment to glance around and study the squalor they lived in and then definitively answer, “I wish I could kick Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan in the nuts.”

Had the Walking Dead been on television back then, every last one of those boys would have told anyone who would listen that they most certainly, most definitely, most absolutely were the Daryl of their friend group.

***Spoiler alert! ***

They all grew up to be MERLE.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion in Part Three…

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

I saw a grown adult drinking a grape soda the other day so I ran outside, put both of my arms out to the side Michael Jackson-style and yelled, “Ahhhhhhh!” and waited for the onslaught of zombies to sweep through the city.  The world, clearly, was ending.

Hang on.  World’s not ending?  You mean you’re gonna drink grape soda with plans to live? That shit is a zombie apocalypse beverage!

Grape soda is the thing you drink either right as the apocalypse is happening because “screw it” or save for after the apocalypse when every other form of liquid on Earth has already been consumed.  You only drink grape soda if it’s your last resort before drinking Florida pond water which, by the way, is currently 90% zombie particles as of the date of this post.

I wouldn’t be around very long for either scenario, so I guess I shouldn’t really care.  That’s because any time I watch a post-apocalyptic zombie movie or TV show, the following fact is made abundantly clear to me: I have no will to live.

It’s not from an underlying case of depression, although my built-in, super deluxe, ultra luxurious, wall-to-wall nihilism is a fun quirk that makes me a real hit at baby showers.  Everybody loves it when they open a pack of bibs and some asshole says, “You should keep those around for when you’re old and frail and unable to feed yourself after this kid has zapped 10 years off your life when they decide to skip college in favor of selling hacky-sacks at Dave Matthews Band shows.”

The main problem can really be traced back to straight-up laziness.  Back when I used to watch The Walking Dead, before it got SO GROSS that I had to stop watching it, I was always amazed at how much work people were willing to do to stay alive.  And not “work” to stay alive in an awesome world that’s like a permanent disco with free waffles.  “Work” to stay alive in a world that thoroughly sucks.

A sucky world that’s like, “Oh, I hope I survive through this day of bashing in zombie heads and barely escaping with my life and eating rats and fighting factions of cannibal survivors with bad teeth and foraging for expired antibiotics…so that I can do the same shit tomorrow.  And the day after that.  And the day after that. And don’t even get me started on Carl’s hat.”

Did they kill Carl’s hat yet?  Please tell me they killed Carl’s hat.

Honestly, if you’re still alive on that show it’s only because you’re some kind of shitty, overly-optimistic Pollyanna.  You took that “Which Sex and The City character are you?” quiz in Cosmo and it said, “You’re a Charlotte!”  You refuse to accept reality.  You’re living in a dream world.  Everyone is tired of your shit.  Just die already.

And I tell you what else – I don’t do well with jump-out scenarios at all – and I imagine zombie world is chock full of jump-out scenarios.

Ask Bobby.  Even if I know he’s home, and he walks into a room and quietly says, “Oh, hey…” I scream and nearly jump out of my skin.  Then I have to sit down from the head rush.  The possibility of post-apocalyptic jump-out scenarios alone would be enough to make me go leap off the top of a tall building at the first zombie I saw, even if the zombie was just on the evening news and I was otherwise safe inside the building at the moment.  I’d be too jacked-up to deal with any of it.  I know this about myself.

I’m too soft and I’m too lazy and I startle way too easily.  I’m not going to burden you with rescuing me.  I will take myself out to save you the trouble.  It’s a gift to you.

I’d see the zombie on the TV screen, all wrangle-jangled up tearing the entrails out of someone, and I would be like, “Huh.  Well would you look at that.”  Then I would chug a bottle of copier toner, or whatever was nearby, and pitch myself off the top of the building, because no.  Not dealing with that.

Even if they said there were zombies in Guam that were nowhere near mainland U.S., I would still go sit on the roof of the building and pop open the cap on the copier toner just in case.  The moment the evening news said “At least one zombie has gotten out of Guam,” I’d yell, “It’s Go Time!” and begin my last meal of copier toner and eventual dessert of high-speed sidewalk.  Because I know my limitations.

Plus, on top of everything else, my sensitive skin would never survive the zombie apocalypse.  If I didn’t have access to clean water to wash my face twice a day, I’d be all splotchy and fugged just like *that*.  So besides dealing with zombies, now I’d be hideously ugly, too?  I’d have to start using my “personality” to make friends and influence people?  Fuuuuuuuck.  GREAT.  JUST GREAT.  This post-apocalyptic world just keeps getting better and better! Why don’t you just have a couple zombies chomp off both my ass cheeks while you’re at it and make me learn how to do math to survive?!

Stay tuned for Part Two…

It’s a Cruel. Cruel Summer.

Let’s talk about the kid with the pool.

Everyone knew this kid, and maybe you were this kid.  I’d be surprised if you were, because I rarely associate with demons from Hell.

At least not since I got out of the music and insurance businesses.

The kid with the pool could be a girl or a boy, black or white, rich or poor.  The kid with the pool could be anyone, anywhere.  The one common theme among all kids with the pool was that they never wanted to go in the pool.

I hated the kid with the pool.

Let’s call them KWP for short, because I am already tired of typing out “kid with the pool” and we’re only getting started here.

KWP never had a regular, everyday pool, either.  KWP had an awesome pool.  A pool with a slide and/or a diving board.  A pool with one of those hot tubs that spills over the side into it.  A pool that’s screened in so you don’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes.  A pool that had a sweet boombox on the porch where you could listen to your Beastie Boys License to Ill cassette all the live-long day and gloat about how awesome sixth grade is going to be next year.  An awesome pool.

An awesome pool that they “weren’t in the mood” to go swimming in when you came over.

On any summer day in South Florida, it gets so hot that you literally contemplate suicide.  Then you think, “Nah, it’s not that bad” and decide to go on living, and then take one step outside and think, “I wonder how much carbon monoxide it would really take to kill me?”

The fact that we didn’t have air-conditioning in my house growing up made this red-hot strife approximately one billion times worse.  We were so miserable inside that ramshackle sweatbox, a slow gas leak in the kitchen would have done wonders for morale.  I bet at least half of the fist-fights in my house would have never happened if we had just had stupid air-conditioning.  And also if we weren’t born mean assholes.

You would wake up on any summer morning, drenched in sweat from sleeping in a 90 degree room all night, and call up KWP.  The conversation would go like this:

“Hey, it’s Maggie.  Wanna hang out today?  It’s supposed to be really hot so I was thinking we could go swimming and lay out.”

KWP:  “I don’t know.  I may feel like swimming later.  You can come over now, though.”

You don’t want to seem too eager when you show up at KWP’s house, because the more you let on that you want to swim, the more KWP will resist the idea because, as I may have mentioned earlier, KWPs are demons from Hell.

In an effort to not appear too eager, instead of showing up in just your bathing suit with a beach bag full of stuff, you just tie on your bikini top and then put a t-shirt over it so that the strings hang out the top of the collar in the back.  Bikini bottoms go on under your regular shorts.  No pressure, KWP.  The bikini top strings hanging out the top of my shirt are merely a visual hint that pool-partaking might be a fun thing to do.  KWP did, after all, say that they may want to go swimming later.

Then when KWP opens the front door, they look you up and down and say, “Oh, hey.  Come on in.  I just put on The Goonies.”

Then you say, “Oh, wow.  Haven’t you already watched that like fifty times?  I just rewatched it for the tenth time last night!”

This has no effect on KWP.  Nothing doing.  You’re sitting through that whole movie, in your bathing suit, eyeing the glistening pool just outside the sliding glass door behind you.  KWP will pause the movie to take phone calls, make a sandwich, play an Atari game, and stretch out this 51st viewing of The Goonies to a three hour affair.

As the credits roll, you stretch out a little when you stand up and say, “Man, the pool looks really good today.  Wanna go jump in?”

Then, naturally, KWP says, “Oh, my mom said nobody’s allowed to use the pool for a few days.”

Damn you to Hell, KWP.  You could have said that way, WAY earlier.  But no!  Heavens no!  KWP has to string you along all day.  And to top it off, when KWP’s mom comes home, she asks why you’re not in the pool on such a hot day.  KWP looks away and says nothing.  Oh ho hooo, KWP!  On top of being a pool-tease, KWP is also a filthy liar.

Hey, look.  I’m not an idiot, despite what “college admissions officers” may tell you.  I know that KWPs are afraid that everyone is just using them for their pool and they want you to prove your friendship to them before they’ll agree to go swimming.  I assume all KWPs were emotionally damaged by having a pool as kids, and grew up to be those non-committal types in relationships who never trust anyone’s motivations and they eventually turned their angst into one of those awkward early Sex and The City episodes where people still talked at the camera.

Here’s the thing, though, KWP.  I’m going to save you a ton of time in therapy:  People can like you and still want to swim in your pool.  The two things are not mutually exclusive.

So let me in your goddamned pool.  How can you live in that house and look at that pool all day long and not want to get in it?  What are you, sick?  Are you SICK?  You get some kind of cheap thrill off of dangling pool time in front of people and then snatching it away?  What is the big deal, KWP?  LET’S JUST GET IN THE POOL.  It’s not like I’m going to get in the pool and then ignore you.  I’m going to get in the pool and then we’ll play Marco Polo or some shit.  I’ll even let you be Adrock when we pool-rap to “Brass Monkey”.  We’re still hanging out together!  We’re having fun!  Why do you slam the door in the face of fun, KWP?  WHY DO YOU REFUSE TO BE HAPPY?

If you don’t work this stuff out, you can probably count on dying alone, KWP.  I don’t want to have to be the one to tell you that, but it’s true.  Let me be your friend.  Let me be your pool’s friend.  Learn to trust people again, KWP, because you deserve it.

And because you’re annoying the shit out of everyone.

Kickstart My Face

Have you ever had an old car that you’ve driven forever and then had this conversation with someone when they went to drive it for the first time?  

“Okay, so before you get in, you have to kind of toggle the door handle up and to the left, then pull, then push, then open the door.  When you put the key in the ignition, wiggle the steering wheel side to side while slowly kickstarting the gas pedal five times as you turn the key.  Then take this screwdriver from the center console and tap it on the crescent-shaped notch on the steering column, pump the brakes eleven times, then you’re good to go.  Oh my god, I forgot to mention – do NOT try to start the engine with the air conditioning on or the entire engine will melt onto the tops of your feet through the holes under the dashboard.”  

When did your car become so difficult, and why hadn’t you noticed?  Ten years ago, you didn’t used to have to do anything special to make it start.  Then after a couple years, you had to do one thing.  Then a few years later it was five things.  By the time you get to the ten year mark, you have to do the Electric Slide to get the damn door to even open, and give a voodoo handjob to a Michelin Man doll to keep the tires from exploding when you drive over speedbumps.  It just all happened so gradually that you didn’t notice it.  It takes so much work to make it work these days. 

This is an analogy.  I am old.

When I was 21, in order to get ready for work in the morning, I would oversleep, drag myself out of bed and touch-up the $3 eyeliner that I had slept in, brush my teeth, and go.  The men-folk swooned.

This morning:

I woke up two hours before I had to leave for work.

I took off the sticker that I wear on my forehead overnight so that I don’t get those unsightly “11” lines between my eyes (Frownies).

I showered, using three different kinds of soap (Ocean Breeze in toasted coconut, vanilla body wash, Noble Zinc face soap), the shampoo that I use specifically on Fridays (Redken Color Magnetics), the deep conditioner that I specifically use on Fridays (Everpure Hair Mask), and the hideously expensive but highly effective rechargeable sonic cleaner device-thingy that I use to wash my face (Foreo Luna in Normal/Sensitive), because nowadays I can assure you that when you see a electric device on my bathroom counter that is pink, made of silicone, and has raised, vibrating nubbins on it, it is a device that is used strictly on my face to reduce the amount of gunk in my pores.

Then I got out, dried off, sprayed canned French spring water on my face (La Roche Posay, Thermal Spring Water), and let it soak in while I use my special detangling brush for the first brushing of my hair, to be followed by the second brushing using the round brush.

Then on go the face serum (Ole Henriksen Truth Serum), first moisturizer (Ole Henriksen Transform), second moisturizer for redness relief (La Roche Posay Rosaliac because fucking hormonal rosacea), and eye cream (Avon, current free sample).

Then I use a refrigerated de-swelling iron on my under-eye area – the kind that they use on boxers when their faces are all swollen from being repeatedly punched in the face.  That is to say, I have to shop at specialty sporting goods stores in order to find products that will make me appear “awake” in the eye area, because I am so puffy that it appears I have been beaten up by Buster Douglas in the middle of the night.

Then flossing and toothbrushing.  Then, after the hair air-dries about ¾ of the way, I spray hair serum on it (It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum), brush it through, and blow-dry it using the round brush.  Then the pomade (Glossier The Balm.com, actually a skin and lip treatment, but works great on hair).  Then the hairspray (Old school L’oreal Ellnet).

Then the face gets concealer (Benefit Boing Moisturizing Concealer), eyeshadow primer (Urban Decay Primer Potion), foundation with SPF 50 (It Cosmetics CC Cream in Fair), four colors of eye shadow (miscellaneous brands), eye liner (Revlon Colorstay liquid in dark brown), eyebrow pencil and tinted brow gel (L’Oreal Brow Fantasy) , two coats of mascara (Maybelline Falsies in Black/Brown), contouring powder (Cargo), blush (Tarte), shimmery highlighter (Benefit Dandelion Twinkle), and a touch of pressed powder on the corners of the nose (Maybelline FIT). Then lip balm (Tony Moly Liptone), lipstick (miscellaneous brands and colors), and lip gloss (same).  JESUS CHRIST.

You have to go easy on the gloss, because it will seep upwards above your lip line, and you will frighten small children with your horror shitshow face.  The clown from “IT”, will be like, “Seriously, you need to tone that shit down.”

The foregoing routine does not include the non-daily items, like shaving, tweezing, dealing with foot callouses, nails, cuticle work, scrubs, acid masks, mud masks, and snail slime masks.  It also fails to include the olive oil that I drink every morning as a beauty supplement, and the black currant oil that I take at night so that my eyeballs don’t dry up and white-over like a dog turd that’s been left on a dewd’z carpet for a week.  It also does not include my fitness routine, where I have to work out TWICE a day in order to keep from looking like Rodney fucking Dangerfield.

This is the part where you tell me that I am high maintenance, that I have bought into the beauty industrial complex, and that I would probably look “just fine” if I didn’t engage in all this rigmorole.  If that is the case, then this is the part where I respond by giving you a glimpse of what I look like without all of this stuff:

Imagine that this emoji is a photo of the Crypt Keeper from HBO’s Tales From The Crypt ——————–> 😐

I assume that in another ten years, my beauty and grooming routine will take so much time that I never get to actually leave the house for the thing I’m getting ready for, which will be bittersweet, because it will also mean that I never have to put on pants again, which is clearly the ultimate life goal.

Happy Friday, you high-maintenance bitches!

The Six Hundred Dollar Orange

As a young lass, I was thoroughly under the impression that men had very, very high dating standards when it came to women.  You often hear men describe the kind of woman they’re looking for as “5’ 10”, 105 pounds, model-type, no baggage, no high maintenance”.

Women hear that description and laugh so hard it makes their heads hurt, and then, unfortunately, on a deeper level, they immediately feel inadequate, like there’s something wrong with them for not meeting those requirements, even though they know they’re ridiculous.

For starters, if you see a thin woman who is 5’ 10”?  She probably weighs at least 160 pounds.  Women can’t tell you that, because men hear “160 pounds” and immediately close their eyes and picture the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.  I once heard a guy describe a woman as “pretty freaking chunky”, and when his friend asked how much he thought she weighed, he said, “Oh man, she probably weighed like 120.”

Sorry, I just guffawed so hard that I choked on this Weight Watchers ice cream bar, not to mention a bucket of hopes and dreams.

Also, when I was 13 years old, I was 5’ 1” and weighed 105 pounds, and people accused me of being anorexic or having some kind of terminal disease.  My head looked like a lollipop with my body as the stick.  You could play xylophones on my ribcage, front and back, and I couldn’t lie flat on my back because my spine dug into the mattress so hard that it would leave a bruise on me.  So, no, barring some weird supermodel whose bones are made of paper, nobody is 5’ 10” and weighs 105 pounds.

And “Model-type”?  Really?  Unless you, yourself, are the equivalent of a male model, then no.  Juuuuuuuust no.

“No baggage” means you should have no problems of any kind.  You know, like all those scores of people in the world who have no problems?  I’m sure the person who’s requiring you to have no baggage certainly has no baggage himself!

That sound you just heard, was me rolling my eyes until they fell out of my head and onto the floor.  I know you may live 5,000 miles from here, but I’m sure you still heard it.

Related, anyone who tells you that they are “drama-free” will always, without fail, every time, be the most dramatic motherfucker you’ve ever met in your entire life.  Count on it.

“No high maintenance” means you should wake up in the morning and look flawless.  Fuck you.  I’m not even going to dignify that one with a response.

It’s funny, because you would think that since men’s standards are so very high, that only one out of like every 100,000 women would have a boyfriend or husband and the rest of us would be toiling the nights away alone, crying in a house full of cats and collecting cobwebs in our hoo-hahs.  Look around and, obviously, you’ll see that’s not the case.  Not even close.

As I have become a dusty old hag, I have realized that these men are not highly discerning at all.  They’re just attempting to be shrewd negotiators. These types of men, the ones who state this ridiculous laundry list of standards, are usually the same ones who will turn around and stick it in anything that moves.  They’re just starting off the negotiation from what they think is the highest asking price, which is for some reason, a supermodel with the body of a praying mantis who also has no problems and wakes up looking flawless.  They know that woman’s not showing up.  They figure there’s no harm in throwing that asking price out there.  It’s a first offer.

So what do you do?  You do what you do with any first offer.  Reject it and counter.

If he says, “5′ 10″, 105 pounds”, you counter with “5′ 3″, 220 pounds”.

If he says, “Model-type”, you counter with “I am good at my accounts receivables job.”

If he says, “No baggage”, you counter with, “You first, asshole.”

If he says, “No high maintenance”, you counter with, “I don’t often leave skidmarks.”

Then tell them to take it or leave it.

It reminds me of this episode of Designing Women where MaryJo is complaining about how when she lived in Mexico, there was no such thing as a price tag, and when she would ask a shopkeeper, “How much is this orange?” they would size her up and say, “Six hundred dollars”.  Then she would put the orange down and walk away, and the shopkeeper would chase after her and yell “Thirty cents!”

All this fretting over whether some guy doesn’t want to date you because your eyebrows aren’t perfectly waxed, or because you have cellulite or weigh more than 105 pounds.  And OMG what if he finds out you have problems?!!  All the emotional strife because you’re not the kind of woman who can roll out of bed looking perfect.  I’m here to tell you it’s all for naught.  I’ve never encountered any man whose standards are actually that high.  And if they are?  They can go jump into a dick-shaped volcano.  You don’t want to be with someone like that anyway.  Those are the guys who will never, ever stop looking for the bigger, better deal.

Slow your roll, women.  Take a deep breath.  You don’t need to meet somebody’s ludicrous requirements, because their requirements are exactly that:  Ludicrous.  They are as ludicrous as asking someone to pay $600 for an orange.

Welcome to FlavorTown

The only two varieties of Hamburger Helper that have ever been worth a damn are Lasagna and Cheeseburger Macaroni, in that order.  Trust me – I used to be an expert.  A real “white trash foodie”, if you will.

Anything that first requires you to brown one pound of ground beef is firmly in my culinary wheelhouse.  Anything outside of that is dark magic and is not to be messed with.  That’s how you end up becoming a whore gypsy – all those “herbs” and “spices”.  Next thing you know you’ll find yourself in a bus station in Istanbul trying to trade sexual favors for saffron.  I won’t lose another friend to it.  I just won’t.  It’s easier to just eat the Hamburger Helper.

Besides ground beef as your leading protein, I also know all the boxed starches you can successfully cut hot dogs up into and bake under a layer of crushed Fritos.

If you wrap a Pillsbury crescent roll around anything, you have officially baked something “for company”.  If you make the entire can and eat them all by yourself, you have something I used to call “Soft Dinner”.

“Crunchy Dinner” was when I would take an entire cookie sheet of Ore-Ida Crispy Crowns, burn them nearly to a crisp, and then cover them on both sides with Tom’s Barbecue Sauce and eat them over the course of an hour while I watched The Love Boat at 3am in the same t-shirt I’d been wearing for two weeks.

Fruit = canned fruit cocktail, and if you have enough money left over after getting your electricity turned back on, you can buy a jar of maraschino cherries and dispense a dozen or so into the fruit cocktail can and instantly turn it into a party in your mouth instead of settling for the two sad half-cherries the cheap motherfuckers at Del Monte tossed into the can at the factory.  I used to refer to this as “Going Off-Road”.

Do you care for spicy food?  Something exotic, perhaps?  Then allow me to go over to my packet drawer where I can retrieve your choice of either Hot or Fire Taco Bell hot sauce packets to accompany your meal.  Have as many as you want – Taco Bell makes it a point to give me 100 packets of both varieties for every single taco I’ve ever ordered, even after I have emphatically specified that I only need “Two Hot, please.”  I’ve said it so often I should have a license plate that says “2HOT PLZ”, but then I imagine that would get me more attention in the way of “strange wang in my car window” than I really wanted.

Hashbrown casserole contains two different kinds of canned soup AND a vegetable.  That means it’s health food, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t eat it at every meal.  If you want to change it up, put it on a piece of buttered Wonder Bread toast for breakfast, sprinkle crushed Funyuns on top of it for lunch and then, using your fingernail as the knife, julienne some bologna slices over it for dinner.

Green beans and all other vegetables are purchased at the peak of their canned freshness, cranked open and dumped out into a pot with a half a stick of butter and then turned up to a boil.  If you want to make it for a special occasion, you can add a little pickle juice to the pot and call them “Dill Green Beans”, and dazzle all of your friends who just got out of lock-up on a technicality.

^^  The above scenarios refer only to the times when I felt like cooking.  Most of the time I would just eat dry cereal out of my fist and call it a meal.  That old school gigantic biscuit version of shredded wheat can easily be eaten like an apple, but without all those gross “fruit vitamins” getting in the way of your enjoyment.  The dog will clean up all the millions of wheat-string-leavins that will run from one end of the house to the other.  Fiber is good for everybody.

All that aside, you should know that I’m a reformed white trash foodie now, since I was fortunate enough to marry a man who not only doesn’t consider Velveeta a fancy dairy product because it’s “brand name”, but also makes things like basted eggs over curried riced cauliflower, doesn’t tear open a paper packet to make gravy, and makes his own salad dressing.

I don’t mean “makes salad dressing” as in “takes the bottle of Kraft Zesty Italian that has half an inch of dressing left in it and dumps it into the half-empty bottle of Kraft French dressing”.  He’s got a spice rack and and fancy vinegars and oils at the ready.  He mixes, shakes, tastes, adds things, mixes more, tastes.  It’s amazing to watch.  His attention to detail, his desire to make something that actually tastes good.  It’s like watching someone paint a masterpiece.

Prior to our getting together, I had reached a point of culinary laziness that was so rich and so deep, I had convinced myself that I actually preferred my salads with no dressing at all, because that would mean I wouldn’t have to get up and go get the bottle out of the fridge.

Yes, I am that lazy.  Pre-Bobby, any time I would actually get up off the couch and go get a bottle of dressing out of the fridge, I would inevitably discover that it was a new bottle, meaning I would have to break the outer seal, unscrew the cap, and pull off a foil-protector disk to get into it.  This discovery would cause me to loudly sigh, drop my shoulders, and proclaim, “WHY ME?” and then put the unopened bottle back in the fridge.

I would gladly pay for a service at the grocery store where they remove all the tamper-safe packaging from everything in my cart before I leave the store.  I’m just putting that out there, universe.  Work your magic or something.

Now I’m just rambling.  I bet Guy goddamned Fieri is going to sue me for using the term “FlavorTown” and then use all of my money to buy more thumb rings.  Happy Monday.

Por Favor No Molestes a Mi Perro

We were leaving Mellow Mushroom a few weeks ago following a particularly successful happy hour, which means I was filled to the brim with discount meatballs and Crown Royal.  (It’s a fantastic happy hour, by the way.  7 days a week, 3:00 to 7:00.  Get the Meatball Trio.)  As we walked outside, a woman was standing on the sidewalk nearby waiting for a table, with the cutest, roundest little fat sausage of a French Bulldog on a leash.  My heart!

Now, even in a sober moment, I would have been swooning over this stubby little character, but being that I am a drunk of the friendly (slutty) variety, and I have much, much love for dogs, I was all over that dog like a flea dip.

I asked if it was okay to pet Frenchie, because I’m not an asshole, and owner lady said, “Of course!”.  So I began petting Frenchie, while secretly plotting how I was going to push owner lady out into traffic and run away with Frenchie (not really) (yes, really) (noooo, kidding!) (not really kidding).  You should have seen this dog.  Trust me – it would have been a justifiable dognapping.  This dog was totally into it, too.  He dog-smiled at me and I turned into well-accessorized goo.  And nobody else saw it happen, but he totally whispered, “You complete me.”

I started my friendly dog interrogation on her, what’s his name, how old is he, is he some kind of toy variety because he looks so much smaller, etc.  The usual questions.  I’ve had the privilege of caring for cute dogs before (R.I.P. Tallulah Joy, best Boston Terrier in the world), I know it can get tiring to answer the same questions over and over, but that’s just the price you have to pay for having a cute dog.  And I gotta tell you, there are worse things in the world than having a cute dog that people want to hang out with.

Beyond letting me pet Frenchie one time, the owner lady was pretty cold and seemed mostly annoyed by me, eventually turning away and pretending I wasn’t there.  How rude!

As I walked away, feeling lowly and rejected, something horrific happened.  I thought the thoughts.  The worst thoughts of all.  The kind of thoughts that force you to take a good, hard look at who you really are and what kind of screwed up entitlement issues you have.  I honestly hesitate to share them with you, because you will be like, “Ohhhhh snap, RAPIST!”

So here it is.

I thought, “Well, why did you bring this cute dog out if you didn’t want people to love on it?  I mean, have you seen your dog, lady?  How can I be expected to look at your dog and control myself?  You and your cute dog are asking for it.”

I know.  Sound familiar?

It really struck me given how many, I don’t know, dozens (hundreds) of times in my life men felt it was perfectly fine to walk up to me and start groping me and interrogating me about my name, where I’m from, because I was dolled up for the night and they felt entitled to help themselves to my body.  Now I was one of those lecherous men.  I was the one making unwelcome advances towards a stranger.

I was a pervert.  A dog pervert.

I guess at least the difference between me perving on that dog, and dewdz perving on me, is that when I got the cold shoulder from owner lady, I walked away and didn’t call her the c-word or anything, you know, the way dewdz do when they walk away, nor did I spin around and shoot or stab her for rejecting my advances, so I guess I’ve got that going for me.

But, seriously, you should have seen this dog!

Vacation All I Never Wanted

Of the approximately one million things I am too old for, agreeing to stay with you at your place when I’m on vacation is pretty near the top of the list.  Near.  I don’t foresee it overtaking “having to endure long conversations with junkies about Jim Morrison” anytime soon.

It’s not just that I’ve become particular in my old age, I have just never enjoyed crashing at someone’s house.  It was different in my 20s when I was so full of hope and optimism, I was willing to give it a chance. Now I’m just too old to hold out any hope that it’s not going to be a living nightmare.  I’ve learned my lesson.

The main problem, as it turns out, is that I am an asshole, or rather, I have asshole expectations.

Expectations that you would mention to me, prior to my agreeing to stay with you, that you don’t actually have any room for me, but that’s okay, because you’re “sure I won’t mind just sleeping on the floor” (although this also falls under a general category of “You forgot to mention that you have no furniture”).

Expectations that include things like having a guest towel.  I don’t mean a towel that is fancy, embroidered, or professionally laundered – far from it.  I’ll take an old beach towel, no problem.  I mean a towel to use on my own body that isn’t the same one that you just used on your own body five minutes ago, and that isn’t covered in mold and poop spores from being stored on the wet bathroom floor curled up against the toilet.

While I am absolutely an animal-lover, I would generally expect that you would have mentioned to me that you had recently taken in a large, vicious, stray dog, and that it will growl and snap and bite at me and try to shred me and my belongings into dead meat the entire time I’m there, oh, and that you will do absolutely nothing to stop it.  You will sit there and pretend it’s not happening. That’s something I would have liked a heads-up on.  What can I say?  I’m an asshole like that.

Aside from expectations, I am also an asshole because I do not enjoy sleeping on someone’s couch only to have them come into the kitchen at 5am and start using an electric coffee grinder five feet away from my head and then when I wake up, look at me quizzically and say, “Wow – you must be a light sleeper!”

I do not enjoy the fact that you never mentioned to me that you were a drug dealer in your spare time, and that you deal out of the living room which is, coincidentally, the same room I am trying to not get shot in.

And even though we’ve known each other for years, I had no idea that you couldn’t sleep unless you had the local classic rock station blasting throughout the entire house all night.

Or that you are some kind of cocaine monster who only exists on two hours of sleep a night, and will never let me actually go to bed.

I also had no idea that your entire family was in town and were also staying with you, but that’s okay because your pervy dad only feels me up when he’s drunk, which is every night.

I realize all of this may sound like “Hey Maggie – take a hint!” and that people just desperately wanted me to NOT stay at their houses and were just trying to blast me out old school style like Noriega, but that’s not the case.  I have never, ever enjoyed staying at people’s places when I’m on vacation, and have only ever done it after the person has literally begged and pleaded with me to stay with them and eventually psychologically wore me down into saying yes.  By the time I very begrudgingly say yes, I have already said no so many times that I should have “No, really, I am much more comfortable in a hotel” tattooed on my forehead just to save my strength.

Yes, my own personal discomfort is the biggest factor in my not staying with you, but besides that, I think I’ve just reached an age where, as friends, I don’t really want to know how fucking weird you are.  The way you conduct yourselves inside your respective homes is weird.  So weird that there’s a reason you never show this side of yourself in public.  I enjoy the mystique of thinking you might not be so fucking weird because, seriously, you are so fucking weird.