Now this a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside-down…
Okay, that’s actually the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s story. I’ve been foiled again!
Do you know what I wouldn’t give to be able to say that just one time in my life for real? Like, pound my fist on the desk in my underground lair and shout, “I’ve been foiled again!” with possum-henchmen scattering from the room?
Someone should really offer some kind of formal villain training courses (besides the current Yale and Harvard business programs). I would absolutely sign up for that. One time I did get to yell, “Because they don’t get to win – THAT’S why!” in the conference room at work, and it may have been my greatest moment in life.
So! I had lice as a kid. More than once. As the judge tells Nicolas Cage in Raising Arizona, “A ree-peat ohhh-fender.”
This was mostly because I was a filthy little heathen, as were my friends, classmates, pets, and both of my Cabbage Patch Kids if we’re being honest, here.
I wrote a li’l flash humor piece about it and it’s on Cosmonauts Avenue this month. I know! Do they have the best name or what? You can read it here: Licehead Spa Day.
And then spend the rest of the day not scratching at your head. It’s not like you have lice or anything. Unless you do…
Shout out to Finesse Shampoo. You were the wind beneath my lice wings. VO5, on the other hand, can 100% go sit and spin.
Speaking of hair…thanks, as always, for reading and commenting and letting me watch your hair flowing slowly in the breeze.
“Don’t get on the scale. Ever. It’s just a number, and it doesn’t really correspond with your health or your fitness level. So throw it out! Never step on a scale again!”
I had an eight year period of my life where I embraced this philosophy. After being fairly small for most of my life, I gave up the scale in my late 20s and what do you think happened?
Did I feel unchained from watching my figure? Did I gain a newfound sense of confidence?
I put on forty pounds.
I know what you’re thinking. It was probably because I was putting on muscle! Was I really fit under that doughy layer of marshmallow fluff?
For some people, I’m sure that’s the case, but it was most certainly not the case for me. I personally chunked up for a few reasons, and none of them had anything to do with having too much muscle mass.
The first reason for My Own Personal Chunkening was that I ate anything I wanted, anytime I felt like it, until I felt uncomfortably full – and I mean packing it in.
Wendy’s Double Cheeseburger, fries, and a Frosty for lunch? Thank you! And not just as a treat. Every day. Then round off the workday afternoon with some cookies, maybe a bag of chips or two.
Dunkin’ Donuts sausage, egg, and cheese on a bagel as a midnight snack, after already having eaten three meals and two snacks that day? Please pull forward and pay at the first window.
Brownie sundae at every restaurant meal? I would order a brownie sundae and when the other person with me would say, “We’ll split it!” I had absolutely no qualms about giving them the look of death, saying, “No,” and then inhaling the sundae like it was my last day on Earth.
People loved this. Any time I shoved an entire slice of pizza into my mouth, my cheeks expanding out to those of a hamster, they practically applauded. People love to encourage bad behavior for some reason, I assume so they don’t feel so bad about their own?
The second reason was that I sat at a desk-job all day. I did zero exercise. Literally none. I was so unfit, I was constantly out of breath even just walking fast, and my joints hurt all the time. Knees, hip joints, even my finger joints. I wasn’t even 35 and I hurt all over.
The third reason was that I was perpetually very stressed out and under-slept. I was out playing shows with the band at night and still waking up at 6am for my 8-to-5 day job every morning. I dragged myself into work in the morning on 2-3 hours sleep regularly, and I was all kinds of messed up and constantly sick.
I was so exhausted that I felt I had earned the right to stuff my face and slowly become one with the couch. Hadn’t I suffered enough with my financial problems, stressful workload, and unsupportive boyfriend? The least I deserved was fresh-baked cookies and an episode (or eight) of The Golden Girls.
And I tell ya what, my thick ol’ body onstage with the band? People loved it, especially the women in the crowd. They couldn’t believe the confidence I displayed onstage despite my yuuuuuuuuge ass. They were encouraging, and sweet, and awesome, and always made me feel like a million bucks. I was never actually as confident as I appeared to be, but I felt like I owed it to women to show them that they could be confident no matter what size they were.
The reality was that deep down, anytime I saw a picture of myself, I would get very upset, delete it, and spend the rest of the day freaking out about my double chin. Clothes didn’t fit me unless I put on practically head-to-toe Spanx, and I had to wear biking shorts under my dresses so that my thighs didn’t rub together. I sat down at my kitchen table one time, and snapped a leather belt I was wearing right in half at the back.
I knew I’d put on weight, but I didn’t think it was that much. As someone who’s exceptionally skilled at living in denial, I made up every excuse in the book when I split a pair of pants that I’d had and worn on a weekly basis for ten years. “Oh, the washer must have shrunk these! On the 250th wash!”
I went to the doctor for the first time in a lot of years, and they made me get on a scale. When the little metal slider thing clicked into place and the number was read aloud, I felt my knees go weak. I could not believe how much I weighed. I had estimated that I weighed about 30 pounds LESS than the number that was staring back at me on the scale. Holy ballz. I’m only 5’4″. When you’re that short, every 5 pounds puts you up at least another dress size.
I had finally had enough of feeling like crap all the time, so I started working out, and kind of watching what I ate. I lost about ten pounds, and I was really happy with it. Then the ex-boyfriend dropped a nuclear bomb on my life and I lost ten more pounds in one week. (Related – I don’t recommend grief-rage vomiting as a diet.)
Then I straightened my ass up, decided I needed to get healthy, and signed up for a paleo local food delivery service and lost another twenty-five pounds. I started exercising just 15-20 minutes a day, six days a week. (That paleo diet made me lose weight like crazy. I literally could not stop losing weight on it, and eventually had to start adding stuff like bread and pasta back in to even maintain my weight.)
I wasn’t surprised at the people told me I looked great with the weight loss, but I was surprised at how many people were total dicks about it. I mean, really, really surprised. They would ask outright how much I weighed (something that would NOT have been cool when I was overweight), scrutinized my diet, accused me working out for hours every day, and there was even a rumor going around that I had developed an eating disorder.
When I was inhaling pizza and cheeseburgers until I was so full that it was physically painful and I could barely move, nobody accused me of having an eating disorder. They cheered me on. When I stopped eating pizza, people gossiped that I needed to go to a clinic. It was really weird.
So don’t let random unsubstantiated tips like “Don’t get on the scale!” take over your life. I get on the scale at least a few times a week so that I know when I need to tone it back on the pies, because it works for me. Do what works for you. Paleo worked for me, might not work for you. Running 10 miles a day might work for you, doesn’t work for me.
And the washer totally shrunk those pants. On the 250th wash!
Who would have thought such a little word could inspire so much rage? I mean, I would have thought that, but I fly into rage over someone misquoting lines from Caddyshack, so I’m a bad gauge of what’s rage-worthy. You should probably talk to someone who doesn’t have a vein semi-permanently bulging out of their forehead if you want calm and well-thought out commentary on the matter.
I mean, goddamn it. If you’re not gonna get the quote from the movie right, then don’t quote it. You can’t just replace Bill Murray’s line “Big hitter, the Lama” with “The Lama is a big hitter” because you will have ruined the line. RUINED IT.
As I will pontificate to anyone who will listen while I eat pizza: Comedy is as much science as it is art. Maybe more, even. The order of the words counts. Every word, change of tone, inflection, eyelid movement – it all counts. It is 100,000 times more complex than drama, and I will stand by that until the day I die eating pizza.
Drama is so freaking easy, it annoys me to noend how much credit people get for it. Oh no, they killed that character everybody liked and it was sad! A lone tear falls from a sad British person’s face. Cue violin music as people make stern facial expressions under overcast skies. Black umbrellas. HERE’S YOUR OSCAR.
Sad shit happens in real life all day, every day. Making a movie about sad shit where the main take is, “That was sad!” is not the work of genius. That’s just long-winded reality with a soundtrack.
You try killing off a character everybody likes and making it funny. Craft a touching death scene to kazoo music. Shoot Old Yeller with one of those guns that just unfurls a banner that says “Bang!” yet still preserve the integrity of the scene. That shit is hard. That shit takes finesse. Watch “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of The Desert” for further reference.
Where was I?
The person who texts you with the word “Hi” followed by nothing is the most obnoxious person in the universe (besides guitar players, which I try to cover in every other blog post. Try to keep up).
What this person has done with their lone “Hi” is start a conversation with you by immediately forcing you into an awkward silence, thereby drafting you to be the person who remedies it. They’re not being folksy with their “Hi”, they have given you a J-O-B.
My whole life, I’ve had this desperate need to fill the awkward silences in conversations to make sure everyone is having a good time. You might better recognize it as, “Good lord, you never shut up, do you?” but your better class of swap-shop psychologists would call it “codependency”. I always try to have at least three universally interesting topics on-hand just in case an awkward silence happens. I literally cannot take it when people seem uncomfortable. It makes my palms sweat and my heart race.
The person who just sends “Hi” is the same person who when you respond with:
“Hey, what’s up?”
Will respond with “Nothing!” and then continue to sit there in silence.
GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH. Why did you text me if you have jack jimmy squat to say???
Did you just want me to entertain you? Because if that’s the case, feel free to say that right up front. “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?”
Hey, schedule-permitting, I would be fine to tell you a knock knock joke.
Also, my schedule does not permit that ever, so if you want to be a wisenheimer and text me and say, “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?” your text will be deleted and you will be immediately put on “The List”.
Is “The List” a good list or a bad list?
You tell me. Do you think something that I refer to as “The List” is a good thing? Take a moment. Really think that over while you look at my prom picture:
I’m not filling awkward silences anymore. If you text me a “Hi” followed by jack jimmy squat, guess what you’re getting back? Jack. Jimmy. Squat.
I will wait you out, joke-a-cola. I will let that “Hi” lie there like a corpse if I have to. I refuse to participate in your senseless games. I won’t do it. The ball-rolling is now your job.
Unless a full ten seconds go by, and then my palms will start sweating and I’ll tell you about that time my best friend Anne and I went on a date with five Moroccan contortionists and fire-eaters at Epcot when we were 19 and when I called my mother beforehand to brag about it, she yelled, “DON’T YOU MARRY ANY OF THEM! THOSE MOROCCANS TREAT THEIR WIVES LIKE PROPERTY!” because that shit is universally entertaining.
So! To summarize:
Don’t quote the movie if you don’t actually know the quote.
Comedy is harder than drama.
There should ideally be a give-and-take in successful human communications.
Don’t tell my mother that you’re going on a date with Moroccan fire-eaters and contortionists.