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…

The Real Shannon Hamilton of Orange County

We have a neighbor who has a gigantic car that spills over into my reserved parking space to the point that I can’t even use my space or get into my car sometimes, and he also likes to let his overtanned, meathead jock friends and day-shift coked-up stripper castoffs park in my reserved parking space, you know, whenever.

He has actually parked his car half in my space, and half in his, so that the line is right down the middle of his car.  He has parked his car parallel across four people’s parking spaces before.

He once told me straight-faced that this was not an issue, because I could just go park in a guest space.  You know, instead of my clearly marked, reserved parking space.

I could just go park in a guest space if I had a problem with him parking in my clearly marked, reserved parking space.    

We can’t seem to break him of the habit, no matter how many “discussions” we and the other neighbors have had with him about it.  He’s probably too busy reminiscing about all the towels he snapped at other dewdz’ asses in high school locker rooms to focus on things like “being a decent human being” or “putting on a shirt for ONCE”.

Ohhhh.  Oh, I hate him so much.  To borrow a Jason Lee line from Mallrats with regard to Ben Affleck’s character, Shannon Hamilton, “The guy’s a walking hard-on just looking for a hole!”

In case you think I’m being unfairly harsh, this is a man who has actually referred to his car, out loud, as “sexy”.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  He should totally fuck his car.

So for the past year, every time I’m in my apartment and I hear his stupid gigantic car start up outside, I hold my middle finger up in the air, good and high.  Even though I am inside and he is outside.  Even though he can’t see it.  Even if I’m in the middle of eating or watching a movie and it is inconveniencing me to do it.  Sometimes I jump up and down and do a little dance while doing it.

I am dedicated to flipping him off every time I hear his gigantic stupid car, because even though I don’t believe that there is such a thing as “vibes” that I can shoot like lasers out of my middle fingertip, I like to cover my bases just in case and send a big ol’ batch of “fuck you” to him every chance I get.

I figure maybe one of those vibes will get through and he’ll come back home later with a haircut he’s not pleased with, or gonorrhea test results that are, yet again, not in his favor.

Maybe he’ll find out the hard way that just one too many tanning sessions causes irreversible wiener shriveling.

Or that someone he bullied in high school just bought out his company and now he’ll have to go work at that store in the mall where they keep the air-conditioning at like 85 degrees and blast House music all day, and he’ll get fed up with it and quit, and then eventually fall into a bottomless pit of despair as well as an actual bottomless pit, never to return.

Or they’ll change the formula of the wing sauce at Hooters and he’ll have an allergic reaction to it where his fingers will get all swollen up and his pinky rings won’t fit anymore.

Maybe his girlfriend, instead of calling out his name, will call out “Maroon 5!” the next time they’re doing it, and he’ll lose his boner because he’s the one who usually gets to call out “Maroon 5!” when they’re doing it.

Oh.  Ohhhhhhhh, I hate this guy.  Ohhhhhhhh,  STOP PARKING IN MY SPACE, DICK.

Shout-out to my one neighbor lady who called him a man-baby to his face.  ❤

Update since I originally wrote this post:  Someone in his building (I assume him) caused a plumbing backup at the property, the maintenance guy decided to try to fix it with a garden hose instead of calling a plumber, and flooded our entire apartment with raw sewage, so all our furniture and everything on our floor was destroyed and we just had to move to a new apartment and replace all our furniture at a moment’s notice.  Our landlord called us when we were out of state on vacation to tell us about it.

In short, on top of everything else, this guy shit on our house and our vacation.

At the very least, he is no longer our neighbor.

Old Man Yells At Cloud

I feel sorry for you Millennials with your student loans.  As a solid Gen-Xer, I was fortunate enough to not have to bear the burden of having student loans.  I know.  I’m one of the fortunate ones.

What’s my secret?  How did I manage to escape the burden of such heavy debt?  How rich are my parents?

Were my high school grades just that outstanding and I got a scholarship?  I mean, my extensive knowledge with regard to the 1982 NBC primetime line-up alone…

All good questions.  Every last one.

I managed to escape the student loan trap by being a goddamned dirtbag who never went to college.  I do not recommend this as an approach to avoiding student loan debt.

Not attending college was a “bold move”, in that I had no money to go to college.  Since nobody else in my immediate family had gone either, there was nobody to tell me how I could have even done it, anyway.  There was no internet to find this information.  We were poor as fuck, so nobody knew the first thing about crazy shit like “applying for financial aid”, or “talking to someone about your future”.  When you grow up poor, you are acutely aware that you don’t have a future.  It was just assumed that if you didn’t have $40,000 in cash lying around, then you didn’t go to college.  Go find yourself a jobby-job.  End of story.

As the brilliant Ted Knight so eloquently says in Caddyshack, “Well, the world needs ditch-diggers, too.”

When people asked me on my graduation day from high school what I was planning on doing after school, my answer was that I was going to, you know, hang out.  See some bands.  That’s exactly what I did, too.  I hung out.  I saw some bands.  I had no car and no job.  Had my mother not gotten remarried and moved out of the house, I would have had nowhere to live, either.  She let me live rent free in the old, falling apart house for six months as a graduation gift to me, thank god.

After lying around on the couch doing nothing for months on end and slowly descending into a flaming bout of mental illness which was akin to those scenes in “The Aviator” where Leonardo DiCaprio is crazy as fuck, manic with OCD, stops bathing, and keeps repeating the same sentences over and over while twitching, I finally pulled myself out of it and got an entry level full-time job that paid me $6.00 an hour, through a friend who could also give me a ride there.  My two-week paycheck, after taxes and whatnot, for 85 hours of work, was $373.00.

Anne eventually moved in and we split the rent at the house.  We relied heavily on the Burger King “Two Cheeseburgers and Two Fries for $2.22” deal for meals, and ate at our parents’ houses whenever we could.  I still didn’t have a car and instead had to pester everyone I knew to give me rides.

I was fortunate that my mother’s husband surprised me with an awesome used car one day when I was 21 years old, that he let me pay him back for over a five year period at $100 a month with no interest, otherwise I would have never been able to get a car on my own.  I was never able to put more than $5 worth of gas into it at a time.  The first time I could afford a full tank of gas, I was 26.

In the end, stuff worked out, and by “worked out”, I mean I spent decades of my life not even having $400 to my name.  If I had to estimate how much money I spent cumulatively in overdraft fees at my bank, it would be in the thousands.  Sometimes I overdrafted on purpose, and took the max amount of cash out as sort of a gonzo loan until payday, where I would deposit my paycheck at the end of the week and it would just take my account back up to $0.

After working full-time for 16 years, the first time my checking account had $1,000 in it, I was 34 years old.  I felt like a millionaire.  I opened my first savings account when I was 36, and didn’t start contributing to a retirement account until I was 37.

When the subject of my lack of higher education has come up at job interviews over the years, it makes me feel like I want to literally die right there in the interviewer’s office.

“You mean you didn’t go to college…at all?”

Then they make the face.  The face that, if I’m lucky enough to be hired, makes me feel like I have to work ten times harder than everybody else, just to prove that I’m worthy of the position.

That’s why it is incredibly insulting when someone asks you what college you went to, and when you tell them that you didn’t go to college, they say, “Good for you!  I wish I hadn’t gone!”

It’s like telling someone who has polio that you wish you could go back in time and not get vaccinated against polio.

Why am I regaling you with all this nonsense?  Because I want to impart one large piece of wisdom on you.  GO TO COLLEGE.  A CHEAP ONE.  FOR A DEGREE THAT WILL SOMEDAY HOPEFULLY MAKE YOU SOME MONEY.*

“Okay!  I’m thinking of majoring in philosophy!”

No.  If you tell me that, I will push you into a fire and walk away.

You can toss any arts degree in there while you’re at it, and I say that as someone who has both tried to make a living as an artist and is a huge, huge supporter of the arts.  Someone whose friends are almost all exclusively artists.  Someone who believes art is the most powerful language in all of humanity.

Had I had the ability to go college when I got out of high school, I surely would have majored in some broke shit like creative writing, or painting, or poetry.  You know, things you absolutely do not need a degree for in order to do them.

Get an accounting degree.  Major in international finance.  Medicine.  Science.  Engineering.  Something with computers and whatnot.  You can work your job and still write poetry in your spare time.  Also, your poetry sucks.

That was uncalled for.

I guess what I’m really saying is loans or no loans, nearly everyone is fucked unless they’re born with money.

 

*This is just one humble dirtbag’s opinion.  Your anecdotes where you fully disagree with me or show me your student loan bills will be printed out, put through a shredder, and then used as kindling for a drum circle bonfire, which I will not actually be attending, because “drum circle”.