To a True BA

I feel compelled to write today despite drowning in a viscous liquid composed of my shriveled brains (ew) which have been liquefied by midterms. I feel compelled because of a death. Wow, buzzkill. Wait. Just wait.

Let me give you a little background first: I went to school for three and a half years on the east coast and to say those years were a festival of struggles only touches on the ridiculously bad luck I had. It was truly the Coachella of fail, the Burning Man of missteps and the Electric Daisy Carnival of disappointment. The problem stemmed from a series of health problems that seemed to occur one after another to a point where I was mostly composed of casts, injuries and illnesses. But there were a few people who really made my experience at school worth all the struggle. One of those people, my major advisor, died today.

Las Meninas, only art historians understand, yo.

Las Meninas, only art historians understand, yo.

I wanted to dedicate this post to her because she was an amazing dame who was as intelligent and sharp as they come. She owned the history of art department at my school. She was a legend. Part myth, part woman and 100% USDA verified badass. She was also the person who was most vested in my personal and educational success at college at a time when I could barely muster the motivation to take care of myself, much less worry about school. Her generosity and warmth touched me and I won’t forget that she was there for me at a time when I needed support.

But enough about me. Let me give you some examples of her badassery:

- She got rejected from Harvard. So, naturally, she got drunk, wrote a letter explaining why Harvard should let her in, and they decided to let her in because her letter was so convincing.

- She was the first woman at her graduate school to wear pants at her mostly male graduate school. PANTS. She set fashion trends like some sort of French revolutionary, sparing NO ONE. She guillotined the hell out of dresses and skirts.

I’m in total shock that she passed away and although she’s gone from this world, I know she’s somewhere around rocking pants with her sunglasses on. Because the sun NEVER sets on a badass.

-Daughter

In loving memory of Gridley McKim-Smith.

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That Moment When the Dullest Tool in Shed in Class Interrupts the Dude with the PhD

Disclaimer: I don’t think people who have a doctoral degree are better than plebes or anything, this particular student (who is an older, Dad-ish-aged guy) just kills me.

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

I try to call upon Buddha and Jesus and Mohammad (sometimes I need all three, okay?) to calm myself and center my chi (?) but…THIS GUY. I didn’t pay money to listen to his inane drivel (“inane drivel” is also how I describe my blog coincidentally) when there’s a person with 20 years of teaching experience and stories and PhD-ness in front of me giving a great lecture. A lecture that I need to hear so I know what will be on the tests. So, I, and everyone else, can pass the class. SO DO NOT INTERRUPT HIM CONSTANTLY TO SAY THESE THINGS:

“I think Confucianism goes real good with Buddhism.”

“Well, the Mongols are basically terrorists. They strike fear in MY heart, that’s for sure. *laughter that extends for too long*”

NO. STOP.

There is no hand-raising. There are no thoughtful contributions. This person only shouts out baaaarely related information that are mostly his personal reaction to historical events that we cover and causes a class-wide epidemic of second-hand embarrassment.

The professor, clearly the consummate professional, is always able to turn around this person’s (who, for our purposes today, shall be christened, “Jim”) comments into something relevant while also steering the conversation back to his actual lesson.

Just so you know, Jim, when the professor asks a question, unless he says the words, “Does anybody know…,” IT DOES NOT WARRANT A RESPONSE. There is such a thing as a rhetorical question.

But he will never understand. And so I will continue to close my eyes in pure frustration when, for the sixth time in ten minutes, this student interjects with ignorant or silly comments.

Here’s more things he’s said:

Professor: “But there are also controversies surrounding the Ming Dynasty. For example, there onc-”

Jim: “Well, in my mind, I think that-”

Me, in my head while cringing in real life: Please, please. This time, Professor, just shut him down. Just say no. Just ignore him. Just tell him to raise his hand.

—-

Professor: “Taizu had a positive impact on China but he was also considered a tyrant.”

Jim: “THAT’S RIGHT HE WAS!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!”

Me: *SWEAR WORDS* Why is he laughing???? What? 

—-

Ohhhhhhh Jim.

For the record, I had a guy in his 80′s take a class at my “fancy” college and HE WAS AMAZING. So intelligent, so smart. So friendly. So respectful. JIM, GET ON HIS LEVEL.

- Daughter

Well-Behaved Women Never Made History

katharine-hepburn-6-the-philadelphia-story

Ah, children.

Their ability to take the finest parental notions and twist them to meet their own needs knows no boundaries.

Take my own Daughter.*

Please.

After spending countless hours and thousands of dollars researching, saving for, and funding one of the finest university educations we could afford (at a foo-foo Lesbian Cult College, no less), it has all come back to haunt me.

But first, a little context is definitely in order.

As the father of two girls (we also have a son, but he doesn’t figure into this particular diatribe), I am well aware of the pitfalls they will face in this male-dominated world of ours.  In my simple Muggle mind, I calculate I have exactly two options regarding their preparation for life outside of the family home:

1)  Nurture, encourage, coax, and beat it into them to think for themselves, and become independent and strong.

2)  Buy a burka and call it a day.

That simple, homespun formula success for Daughter fortunately included a post-secondary education that focused on the developing Strong Minds and Strong Bodies.  I was somewhat heartened to note the abundance seemingly “leftist” feminine bumper stickers that adorned many of the vehicles around campus.  Yes, there were a few “Imagine Whirled Peas,” but there were also many “Well Behaved Women Never Made History” ones, too.

“Yes, this place will be good for Daughter,” I thought.  “When she’s finished here, she’ll be well-equipped to handle herself, even when I’m no longer around.” (Sobbing sound added for effect here, please.)

I suppose a few cracks began to appear in the foundation during our Road Trips (read any of those blogs for reference), when it began to become clear that common sense navigation was impossible without the assistance of an iPhone app — “The Starbucks is supposed to be right here!  It’s right here on GoogleMaps.  I don’t know where it is.  Let’s just keep going.”

You know.  That kind of thing.

So lately, Daughter has taken it upon herself to lower her standards somewhat while she stalks around the house.  Her recent references to etiquette notwithstanding, she occasionally descends into behavior more suited for an “All Men Are Pigs Locker Room” than the family living room.

And her excuse?

Well-behaved women never made history.

Repetitive belching?  No, that’s too polite.  Mega-Burping?

“Well-behaved women never made history, Dad.”

General cleanliness and helping out around the house?

“Well-behaved women never made history, Dad.”

Passing gas (some children do read this blog), in public (in the home).

“Well-behaved women never made history, Dad.”

Keeping her car clean?

“Well-behaved women never made history, Dad.”

Okay.  I get it.

When I was her age, I literally couldn’t imagine any sort of fate worse than having to move back home with my parents.  After all, it was very difficult trying to explain to my mom on Saturday afternoon why there was a completely frozen can of beer in the freezer (left over from the night before).

No one needs that kind of grief.

But there is one saving grace in this entire dilemma, and I keep reminding myself of it.

That is, though well-behaved women never made history, neither did well-behaved men.

Therefore, I have license, at a minimum, to walk around without a shirt, wear my shorts hiked up as high as I deem fit, and act like a Visigoth whenever the mood suits me.

Kids.

Don’t you just love ‘em?

- Dad

*(Daughter Number One, not Daughter Number Two — she has her own issues, after all.)

My School Found Me

Since I had no vision of furthering my career in academia while still in college many years ago, I decided for purely financial reasons to obtain my master’s degree at the same institution that conferred my bachelor’s degree.  It was a straightforward way to delay entering the Real World for at least two years and, besides, the school foolishly gave me a teaching assistantship, which translated into a completely subsidized Master of Arts degree.

All I had to do in return is read the over 400 books on the Required Reading List in just under two years and pretend to know what I was doing by instructing three classes of Basic College Writing every two semesters.

Cake!

In fact, it was the first time since I began attending my alma mater that I considered myself relatively well-funded — regular meals, gas in the car, and enough extra cash for beer money.

What could be better?

Rather than retrace the gory details of graduate school, suffice it to say I somehow miraculously was awarded a master’s degree, and I left my campus home in the summer of 1983, never to return.

Actually, I’ve been back one time that I can remember, but it’s so far out-of-the-way that I haven’t really made the effort over the years, to be honest.

Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, I received a survey from the College of Arts and Sciences which was an effort by the school to determine how I’ve made out in life (Warren Buffet, Tom Selleck, and Peyton Manning have nothing to worry about), and how the school either did or didn’t prepare me for the Real World.

I was impressed that they took the time to track me down for my input, but I was less impressed by the avalanche of donation solicitation letters that flooded my way after I made the mistake of returning the questionnaire.

As either luck or fate would have it, I was something of a vagabond at the time (due to my job), and we moved frequently.  In those pre-internet days, I think it was easier to become lost, especially if you changed addresses with any regularity, and the letters from my school soon stopped.

Until last week.

They somehow found me again.

And they would like me to send them money.

It’s an insidious time in my life to solicit donations.  I’m not so old that I’ve completely lost my marbles, and I’m supposedly in the prime of my earning years (sigh).

I figure the school has done the math and paid some unsuspecting graduate student to research and create a database of their middle-aged, long out of touch alumni, like Yours Truly.

But I’m really making an effort to remember all the crappy things that the administration did while I was in school, to include towing student cars for really minor infractions, closing the cafeterias on weekends, and not air conditioning the dorms (let’s just say I attended a large university in the Southeastern Conference — it’s hot there, man!).

That’s a short list, I know, but I always resented how the school seemed to favor taking care of big-spending, loud-mouthed alumni at the expense of us lowly students.  It rankled me then and I haven’t forgotten.

And now I’m one of those stinking alumni.

So what do I do?

One the one hand, I kind of want to support my school.  On the other, it seems that every available dollar they spend these days is focused on the football program.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like football, and I’m glad we’re playing well, but. . . . absolute power corrupts absolutely, and I saw how athletics ruled the roost, even when we were crappy during my student days.  There’s no telling what’s going on there now, but I suspect I wouldn’t be that happy about it.

Luckily, the reality is that I’ve recently spent most of my “disposable” education income on Daughter’s Lesbian Cult College and Son’s California Dreamin’ University.

I’m all donated out, to be completely frank.

So what I’ve decided to do is throw the donation letter away, and focus on the PBS preview for Season Four of Downton Freaking Abbey that’s airing tonight.

As ironic as it might seem, I do believe Lord Grantham (and PBS) probably need my money more than my alma mater.

Ain’t education a bitch?

- Dad

I Will Not Be Playing in the US Open

merion

On Friday morning, I rushed through what little work I had at the office, so that I could make a 9:51 a.m. tee time.  The problem with that plan was I failed to adequately prepare the night before so that I could make a quick getaway.

Yes, the previous evening I loaded my clubs in the truck, somehow found my golf shoes in the Hoarders-like domain that is our garage, and even remembered to throw a ball cap into the cab to further discourage the ongoing process of my ears turning into cauliflower.  What I failed to address, however, was that I was almost completely out of gas.

So, there I was, sitting at my desk on a conference call I was hosting that started at 9:00 a.m., and trying to figure out how I was going to stop by the service station and still make the course.  I was kind of listening to the phone discussion but decided to hand off to a co-worker and bail without saying anything.

I guess I’ll find out Monday if anything important happened but, because it’s work, my guess would be no.  Plus, no one called my cell phone subsequent to the meeting — always a good sign.

I don’t know the capacity of my truck’s gas tank, but I do know I had never filled it with anything close to nineteen gallons before; not even on the last major road trip with Daughter.  Now I know.  It takes nineteen gallons.

First bullet dodged.

Next, a quick scamp down the freeway to the links.  What would traffic be like?  It was now 9:27 a.m.  What the heck,  along the way I managed to eat a day-old doughnut that someone left in the kitchen at work, so I was sure to have that necessary sugar rush to get my round started.

As Fate and the Traffic Gods would have it, traffic was somewhat light, and I thought good thoughts and tried to remember if I’d ever missed a tee time in my life and, if I had, did the world stop spinning?

I couldn’t remember, so I pressed on, rolling into the clubhouse parking lot at 9:38 a.m.

Second bullet sort of dodged.  It would have been nicer to have more than thirteen minutes before teeing off.

Final potential barrier:  What kind of line would there be in the Pro Shop?  I knew a tournament was scheduled for the north course, but as we were playing the south, I hoped for the best.

No lines, mon!  Paid my money and skipped over to the first tee, where three of my equally scurrilous co-workers were waiting for me.

It was now 9:50 a.m.  I had made it.

“All right, you go second.”

“Are we ready to hit right now?” I asked.

“Yep, and you’re second off the tee.”

No worries, I thought to myself.  After all, these guys I’m playing with really suck aren’t that good, and I played about a month ago, so that’s good enough warm up for me.

The first player in our foursome drilled his tee shot about 50 feet (not yards).  That was simply confidence inspiring for me.  These dudes really are bad.

I took approximately two practice swings to loosen up, stepped up to the tee box, and shot a bullet right down the center of the fairway about 25o yards (not really, but it was something over 200 anyway).

This game’s got nothing on me!  I felt pretty good, and eagerly looked forward to yet another my first a low-scoring round.

My approach shot to the green was, of course, short and left.

Then it came time to chip and putt.  The below illustration gives you some idea how the rest of the round went.

putting

Just like Tiger Woods, the Dog Scientist had trouble gauging the speed of the greens. Plus, he was looking forward to eating lunch later.

I probably hit the driver as well as I’ve ever done so in my life.  Translation:  I had only one really crappy, embarrassing tee shot that disappeared laterally into a water hazard almost twenty yards to my immediate left.  Everything else was in the general vicinity of a fairway.  Sometimes I even hit the fairway on the hole we were playing at the time.

But as the old saying goes, “Drive for show, putt for dough.”  You could also add, “If you can’t chip, what good does putting do for you?”

After about three or four holes that featured (for me) amazing, consistent drives, and absolutely horrific chipping and putting, I settled in for a wonderful round of gold with my friends.

The highlight of the day turned out to be lunch after the ninth hole.

“I’ll have a hot dog and a bag of jalapeno chips, please.”

“I just put them on the grill.  It’ll be about five minutes,” the attendant said.

Five minutes, I thought.  I don’t have five minutes.  We’ve got to get to the tenth tee and quick, before that group of guys behind us jumps in front. 

“Just throw it in the microwave.  That’ll work,” I said.

And when she handed me that steaming, tasty dog, I loaded it up with relish, ketchup, mustard, onions, sauerkraut, and peppers.

Man, it was good, and fueled me plenty for the back nine.

After the round was over, the results were:  Three lost balls, one hot dog and bag of chips consumed, one bottle of water drained, one near-death experience because a jerk behind me almost hit me with his tee shot, and My Humility Soundly Restored.

As we sat in the clubhouse post-match, we tallied the scores and determined that I had the lowest number which, technically, means I won.

But winning is relative, as is my chipping and putting.

The US Open?  I’ll leave that to the professionals.  Turns out that Merion Country Club (where the tournament is currently being played) is five minutes away from Daughter’s Lesbian Cult College.

That’s the closest I’ll ever come to getting in, I suppose, and I’m okay with that.

Namaste!

- Dad

Graduation, Sort Of.

grad

“Where’s the tassel? I’m missing the tassel!”

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was sitting through my high school graduation, way back in the late spring of, gulp, 1977.  My graduating class numbered all of about 200, as we sat in folding chairs in the middle of the football field that evening in late May or early June.  I can’t remember what month it actually occurred, to tell you the truth.

But to give you an idea of the zeal and academic purity of my youth, I had actively shunned as a high school senior several full athletic scholarships that would have paid my way through at least one top tier institution and multiple other institutions of more questionable standing.  Instead of those full rides offered, I was able to snag a merit award of approximately $100 a semester at the specific big school I wanted to attend.  In the end, I even had to turn that one down, too, as I really only could afford community college right out of the high school gate.

On the positive side in this regard, I can happily report that today, many of my tendons and ligaments are mostly undamaged, and I can walk and run relatively pain-free most days.  I don’t think that would have been the case if I had pursued college athletics.

At least that’s what I tell myself now. . . .

And though I finished very near the top of my high school class in terms of grades, it wasn’t nearly enough to warrant serious attention from anyone remotely associated with an institution known for post-secondary excellence.

So there I sat, rather dismally watching the parade of my peers (though I didn’t consider them as such, really) walk by to receive their full and partial scholarships, while I settled for a now-bruised, haughty idealistic perch that would eventually translate into many minimalistic weekend meals when I eventually made it to my four-year school.  Those Saturdays and Sundays in the future were frequently punctuated by collecting bottles (glass ones; not plastic) around campus to redeem for deposits (food money) as well as by other degrading necessary financial activities I won’t go into here.

It was a life.

But I do take solace in the memory of the speech given by our class valedictorian on that long ago evening.  He was not a bad guy, I suppose, and I never even knew he was the cream of the crop in terms of grades, but his address that evening — wow.  It started off weird and went downhill from there.

One thing I am certain of is that I cannot remember a single thing that he said.  Maybe that’s because what was unique, after all, was not what he said, but how he said it.

At first we all thought he was simply nervous.  He stuttered and rambled and warbled and intoned in the most whacked out of ways.

We sniggered and looked at one another, but as he carried on, it became clear (at least to many of us) that whatever was going on up on the dais was more than simple anxiety.

I mean this dude never sounded like this.  Ever.

Eventually I think most of us there witnessing the spectacle came to the conclusion he was sloshed or high or both, as well as frightened out of his gourd.

These things happen, I supposed, but what did I care?  He was on a full ride somewhere, so screw him I mentally wished him good luck and was thankful it was him up there and not me.

The rest is history.  I know where I wound up (here), but I don’t have a freaking clue where he is now.

I bring all this admittedly ancient history (and histrionics) up because today I had the opportunity to attend the college, not high school, graduation of one of my co-workers.  He has been attending one of those schools that specialize in catering to working adults, and I personally know that this guy has killed himself to complete his studies over the past three years. *

*Note to Daughter:  It is possible to complete your studies.

And as I took my place this afternoon on a hard metal folding chair among many friends and family members in a room that was not exactly an auditorium and a little too hot, the unfolding scene around me was like a bad circus.  The pianist who was providing prelude music played a little too long for the liking of the Dean, who looked over to her multiple times to try to get her to wrap it up, which she eventually did.

The Dean himself was Sikh, I think, as he wore a turban and looked like a Sikh.  He had a teleprompter, which for this occasion, which was akin to bringing a refrigerator on a picnic, instead of a cooler.  And he still stumbled through his (thankfully) brief remarks.

Then the procession of the graduates began, and they were accompanied by recorded music.  I can’t be 100% sure, but I swear it was exactly the same recording that was used at Daughter’s graduation a few years back.  After the students had dutifully filed in, one of the school officials popped up and fiddled with some equipment and the music abruptly halted mid-stream.

Perfect and, yet, appropriate.

As I scanned both the graduates and the audience, I realized it was a very diverse crowd.  In attendance were all shapes, sizes, colors, and clothes.  The only similarity was that everyone was both proud and happy, and they all had iPhones (except for me, of course).

There was a bit of confusion when the diplomas were being handed out, as the founder of the school who had been released from the nursing home for the afternoon actually draped the graduation stoles (google it) over those so honored.  The problem was that, being 95 years old or so, he couldn’t reach up to put the darn things around the students’ necks.  So the graduates had to genuflect (I really wanted to use that word today) directly in front of him so that he could kind of lean over and drop it on them.  Unfortunately, rather than ending up around their necks, the stoles frequently wound up around their mouths, and another faculty official had to jump in with each student and straighten out the entire affair.

It was entertaining, if not a little awkward.

The entire ceremony only lasted about 40 minutes, and then the assemblage adjourned to the adjoining cafeteria for a reception.  I begged off at that point, but not without wishing my colleague congratulations and complimenting him on not wearing his graduation cap like a yamaka.

For a little over an hour, then, I was presented with a reminder of the journey continues for many of us.  The emotions and pride in that room today were real, even if the degrees conferred don’t exactly rank up there with Stanford and the Ivy League.

And it seemed to me the ceremony was more about focus and dedication, rather than the end product itself which in many respects is how it should be.

It was a good lesson and reminder for me that, once again, Hope Springs Eternal, and there are a lot of more important things to worry about than work, money, classic Alfa Romeos, and the NBA playoffs.

Well, maybe not Alfas.

- Dad

I Was on a Boat

This week is *~Senior Week~* for my school, so naturally, I crashed it. REBEL ALERT: I’m officially a “junior” because of that whole “year off” thing – I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me. Anywho, today’s college-sponsored event was the BOOZE CRUISE!! Well, that’s the unofficial name. The politically correct name is the Harbor Cruise. Basically: 260 graduating women (from a lesbian cult), 20 socially-awkward faculty, 2 bars, 4 decks, and 1 giant boat. 

My friend and I started off the cruise in the ladies’ room. Not because we were seasick, it just happened to be when nature called. Unfortunately, this was the same time that the boat pulled away from the dock. Being a land-loving lass, I wasn’t familiar with the rumbling gurgles the engines made as they turned on in advance of our journey downriver. Nope, I had no clue what was going on. All I knew is that it sounded like the boat was exploding from the inside out and that the walls rattled like they would cave in very soon. I internally panicked. I really didn’t want to die but I especially didn’t want to die in a bathroom stall. I may or may not have run out of the bathroom. Eyewitness accounts are inconclusive. 

After that initial terror, I calmed down and spent a lot of time wandering around the boat and re-enacting scenes from Titanic on the deck. Unfortunately, being out on the deck and exposed to the elements had its limits considering the low temperature. It was 40 degrees and windy. Not exactly weather that allows prolonged re-enactments. Besides Titanic-related activities, there was also a good amount of questionable dancing and a general lack of voLUMe ContROL.

The highlight of the entire cruise was when one of my friends asked if she could drive the boat and stupidly surprisingly, one of the crewmen thought that it’d be a mighty fine idea. So, near the end of the cruise, he came down to get us and we got to sneak into the operating room (is that what it’s called? I don’t know, I didn’t graduate from college yet so these things are intellectually elusive for me). My friend took the helm and I helpfully stood  over her shoulder (mostly to assuage my own fears that she wasn’t steering the boat into other boats or the shore) and chatted with one of the crewmen who wore glasses. Naturally, I started calling him Glasses because I’m mature and a people-person. 

This is an actual conversation that I had with him, not a dramatization:

Me: “Glasses, did you go to school around here?”

Glasses: “Temple.”

Me: “Did you go to boat school?”

Glasses: “..No”

Me: “Did you go to optometry school, you know, because of your glasses?” 

Glasses: “No.”

Me: “Are there any icebergs we should be aware of, Glasses?” 

Glasses: “..um”

Another crewmen was chatting with us as well and he explained the different horn rhythms and lengths and their meanings. Again, maturity was at the forefront when I asked: “Is there a horn sound that means a swear word in boat language?” 

Eventually, I tired of watching my friend gently guide the boat along at a slow speed: “Glasses, where’s the turbo drive on this thing?” 

Shortly thereafter, we were ushered out so the crew could dock the boat without having inane questions being hurled at them every five seconds.  

A good night was had by all! In fact, my college president who is a 70-something lady who wears neon pantsuits, got down with her bad self on the dance floor. I am unsure as to whether the memories of her dancing will lead to humorous dreams or nightmares. Only time will tell. 

- Daughter

 

The End of an Era

Yesterday was my college’s end-of-term festival. As such, we did the usual things college kids do: commune with lesbians, dress up in all white, drink al juice, sing the songs of our foremothers bashing the patriarchy, bounce around in giant bouncey things, and just generally conduct ourselves like the  cult members we are and will forever be.

It was a hot day and the festivities attracted members of the surrounding community and even – dare I say it – boys. It was quite a scene. There was a circus performer (whom I was very weary of) who entertained the crowd during the day. He juggled flaming torches and made funny faces but mostly, he scared the living daylights out of drunk college students. Nobody was sure whether he was just some crazy old man who stumbled onto the festival or if he had been legitimately hired by the college (and, if that was the case, two words: BUDGET CUTS).

At one point, he was juggling his flaming batons and dropped one of them ONTO THE GROUND WHERE THERE IS FLAMMABLE, DRY GRASS. Luckily, this didn’t end in our entire college being burned to the ground as he swiftly picked up the baton and continued on his merry way like the consummate professional my college obviously thought he was.

There was also a lot of drinking games but they mostly made me feel bad about myself. Beer pong reminds me that I will never be an NBA star. (I’m sorry I’ve failed you, Dad.)

At the end a long day of running around and being an extremely mature young woman, I settled down at my apartment and wished upon a star that tomorrow would bring more members into the cult, so that it will forever brainwash the young. Carry the tradition, ladies! And may the flaming batons be with you always!

- Daughter

I Miss My Truck!

yakima

“Yep. I think that will fit.”

In about one week’s time, I fly back to the East Coast to retrieve Daughter and My Truck from college, in that order.

Before abandoning leaving Daughter at her Lesbian Cult School in January, we spent many hours together behind the wheel of my crew cab pick-up, which theoretically should have translated into a modicum of familiarity and experience for her with a larger vehicle.  Unfortunately, the master plan failed to deliver, resulting in episodes such as this one, and another, and another.

In other words, I try not to think about how my truck has fared in the hands of Daughter during the last five months.

I am hopeful it is in one piece, is relatively clean, and hasn’t begun to succumb to the salty winter roads of Philadelphia.

But then again, who am I kidding other than myself?  I’ll be very, very happy if it’s almost in one piece.

Upon my arrival, I expect:

1)  The gas tank to be empty.

2)  The cab to be filthy — choose your definition here.  To me, that includes lots of scattered foo-foo coffee stains, discarded paper products, hair, miscellaneous make-up items, and a fair share of unidentifiable, miscellaneous crap.

3)  The tires to be low on air.

4)  Other things to be wrong that Daughter “conveniently” forgot to mention during our many texts and conversations since January.

I guess I am anticipating disappointment, and I will be genuinely happy if I turn out to be overstating my anxiousness and fears.

On the other hand, since I have been without a pickup for quite some time now, I have been required to “improvise” when required to carry large and bulky items here at home in SoCal.

So without a proper truck, I have been required to improvise.

You see, the nice thing about a convertible is that with the top down, it has no roof.  Literally the sky’s the limit if you can fit something in.  In many respects, using Daughter’s Killer Cabrio for hauling has been a better alternative than my Spouse’s van.  Earlier this week, for instance, I picked up a used bicycle and retracted the convertible top so that I could neatly lay it over the back seat.  And in a fit of Middle Aged Bravado, I even went home via the Interstate, just to tempt fate.

I can happily report there was not a single instance of a flying bike, though I did notice I had very few people following closely behind me on the highways here for once.

Maybe I’ve hit on something.

But today marked the Mother of All Cabrio Hauls, as pictured above.  I have been looking for a large Yakima car storage box for months, and my  diligence was rewarded with a Craigslist purchase no more than ten minutes from the house.

I really didn’t put too much thought into how large the thing was.  The guy was selling it so cheap I had to hustle over to his house as quickly as possible and figure it out when I got there.

Well, the box was exactly what I was looking for, but it was big.  I mean Denali National Park Mount McKinley Big.

As I pulled into the seller’s driveway, he waved and said he’d already had three other emails about the carrier.

It was a good thing I hurried over.

“Well,” I said, “I’ll take it.”

“In what?” the seller replied.

“Oh, I’ll put the top down, and we’ll just wedge it in there.”

“I think you’re going to need some help,” he offered.

“You’re right.”

And we proceeded to scoot the front seats forward and cram the box between the back seat and the sky above.

“I guess I’ll head back home,” I said.  “Thanks.”

“That looks kind of funny like that.  You sure you’ll be okay?”

“Yep.  I’ve got experience with this kind of thing,” and I slowly drove away.

I can happily report there was not a single instance of a flying Yakima storage box on the way home, though I did notice very few people followed closely behind me once again.

I definitely have hit on something, I’ve discovered.

I definitely need my truck back!

- Dad

 

 

How to Build a Box

Well, don’t ask me. Look how mine turned out…

 

The saddest part about this box is the fact that I am so proud of it. The handles were cut with a jigsaw that I was terrified of using. It turns out that being terrified of the tools you’re using does not make for controlled cuts in wood. It actually makes your lines horrible and askew. Despite the failings of the box, it is a box I created with my own hands and carpentry prowess. My carpentry professor approved of my construction and even went so far to say that, yes, “it definitely looks less crappy than when you started.” That’s a success in my book.

So, while I have spent the last four years of my college education learning some pretty obscure knowledge about things I will (probably) not have to use again, this seems to me the most practical and humbling course I have ever taken in college. Who knew that five pieces of wood could take multiple hours to put together? Who knew that screws make a terrible nails-scratching-across-chalkboard sound when they go through a high density material? Who knew I was capable of using a saw without chopping off limbs? Well, I know now. Sort of.

Unrelated: I have decided to give up my dreams of a career in writing to become a carpenter and inspire others to build boxes.

- Daughter

 

The End is Nigh

It is close to one in the morning here as I sit looking at these stupid portraits of Lindsay Lohan that I chose to focus on for my thesis. I wish I could travel back in time those six months ago when I chose these images and give myself a nice slap in the face. (And also go back a bit farther in time to stop myself from dyeing my hair such hideous shades of blonde. Ugh.) I’m not sure why I thought Lindsay Lohan would be a good subject for a 30-40 page paper, but at some point, I was really into it.

That point is long gone.

My thesis is due Friday. Which is tomorrow. It has been a long, hard road to get to this stage. I have burned through a lot of ink and friendships have been put to the test by the bad mood that inevitably occurs when I have to work on my thesis (all of the time).

I like to think of myself as the Lindsay Lohan of thesis writers. I had so much promise in the beginning, then I fell into patterns of irresponsibility, and now I’m scrambling to put the pieces back together. I am hoping that my thesis turns out better than LL’s current life. I believe she is now going on a 90-day court-ordered rehab stint? I’m not going to rehab that I know of, so I guess that’s good! Hey, look at me, Dad! I could be Lindsay Lohan going to rehab but instead I’m really smart and am writing about her!

You done good, parents.

Also, I’m sorry that I burned through my money this semester. I blame Lindsay Lohan.

- Daughter

 

 

Liberal Arts Majors are Useful

When they make your coffee.

I guess that’s a tired, used-up joke by now. Yes, yes, liberals arts majors are going to live on the streets and slowly de-evolve back into apes because of their lack of practical skills.

Potential Employer: “Are you familiar with content management systems and SEO?”

Liberal Arts Major: “No. May I ask you a question?”

P.E.: “…Sure.”

L.A.M.: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

P.E.: “YOU’RE HIRED!!!!”

The above scene did not happen in real life. Nor will it ever. Unless you’re interviewing to become a Buddhist monk or nun, a potential employer is unlikely to be impressed with your knowledge of Zen Buddhist philosophy riddles. Usually, hiring managers are more interested in, say, actual skills.

However. HOWEVER. HOOOOWEVER. I find them useful. Especially because my dear old dad is one (and also because I’m one..). I know he secretly pines for the moment when his skills of the English language are called upon. Consider this your bat signal, Dad!

I called up my dad today and asked him to correct a sentence for my thesis that I had been reading for approximately an hour over and over again. I read it so much, in fact, that I started questioning what language it was in. The letters started morphing into crude shapes and then I fell down a rabbit hole. But that’s a story for another day.

Well, I read the sentence out loud to my dad and he immediately honed in on the grammatical error and discussed the structure of the sentence in a way that suggested he knew what he was talking about. He justified the correction using big words and it sounded authoritative so I went with it.

After all, if there’s one thing being a liberal arts major has taught me, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

- Daughter

The Last Monday I Will Ever Spend at the Lesbian Cult

It is raining which is par for the course at this point and fitting for the current state of my mood.

Me.

 

This is the last week of classes and as much as I resisted getting sentimental about the end of my time at the Lesbian Cult, there are telltale signs of emotions bursting forth. It started yesterday when I was in our school’s community art studio happily painting on a scrap of cardboard with a good friend. It suddenly hit me: I wouldn’t have this for very much longer. My friend is going to go on to live in New York and I am headed back to California. I slowly put down my piece of cardboard and looked at her. She was busy painting projects for a class but then she noticed I was staring at her with a sad expression.

Me: “EMILYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. OH MY GOD I’M NOT GOING TO SEE YOU AFTER THESE TWO WEEKS.”

And then we would both nod solemnly and continue on with our respective work.

Ten minutes later, another attack of the feels would come on and I would get quiet and then repeat with a whine: “EMILYYYYYYYYY. AHHH fkajfioaju98uraifhiasf.”

I am always pleasantly surprised when I feel real, human emotions  like a normal person (?). I was not expecting to feel emotional about leaving undergrad because my college experience has not been the most… traditional. Nonetheless, I find myself very attached to the people here (all lesbians, because obviously). I’m also attached to Philly because it’s in this city that my groundbreaking thesis about portraits of Lindsay Lohan was written. And my local town’s hidden gems I will miss too – whether it’s over-enthusiastic spin instructors or bars that are inhabited solely by jerks - it’s a cool little place.

Ah, yes. Feeeeeeeeeeelings.

Now I’m going to go put on Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” and cry for a bit.

- Daughter

 

Job Searching is Demoralizing

Oh gosh, I hope he calls me back. I would die of joy if he called me back. Literally, I might die so be ready to call 911 because dying is a distinct possibility. 

No, these are not the thoughts of a lovelorn person, this is me, waiting to hear back from a job. I am just waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Nay, not just waiting. PINING. Literally, pining. I’m pining so hard I turned into a pine tree. (That was so bad, sorry.) I have checked my e-mail every five seconds for the last week to see if the job people will tell me *thumbs-up sign here* or *thumbs-down sign here*. I sent a follow-up e-mail today with no response so far. I mean, seriously, this is the worst. THE WORST.

I have all these made-up plans in my head that just gets worse when I have time to daydream about what will happen in my life if I actually got the job. Psychological torture.

If the job people – you know who you are – happen to read this, I just want to say that I am super smart and have a way with kittens and homo sapiens. I am also adept at burning things in the oven and painting my nails. I successfully pulled out my own tooth twice at ages 8 and 9, respectively. I once saved four people from a life of boredom by showing them the wonders of YouTube cat videos. I can order takeout without messing up the order that much. I can almost follow directions half of the time. Sometimes, I pay attention. I am real, real good at grammar and such. I have a special fondness for really fancy water with bubbles and herbal infusions. I don’t know how to use a staple gun, but I try, and that is what counts. I’m a fun-first, safety-second type of person. I’m funny to some people on the internet. AM I HIRED, YET?

- Daughter

 

I Have Instincts

Or, rather, my body does. I swear, every time my body senses I am going to have fun or something like it, it shuts that sh stuff down so fast.

I was bouncing around yesterday, happily doing my laundry (“happily” = I had no clean clothes left so I had to) and, while I was folding my underwear, I realized I didn’t have that much to do on my thesis before the deadline next week. Therefore, I could definitely fit in time to go hang out with a friend at a bar that night. And then horror struck. My body, sensing that fun was imminent, immediately – and I mean, within the hour of deciding to have fun – shriveled up and receded into itself… like some sort of sick hermit crab.

I developed some sort of chest cold (although, I said “infection” to other people because it sounded worse and more worthy of pity) and was coughing all over the place. I cursed my lungs and the virus infecting them (?) (/I’m not a pathologist) and begrudgingly texted said friend and said I couldn’t go. I was very displeased.

So displeased, in fact, that I tunneled into my bed covers and sat there for a while, thinking dark thoughts about my lungs and their various treacheries.

Harry Potter gets me.

My new plan to have fun is to focus on achieving a surprise attack. I am only going to have unplanned fun so as to not tip off my body that fun is in the near future. I’m hoping that when I walk down the street I will randomly be pulled into a bar where I will proceed to fun.  (Yeah, it’s a verb now.) Or, maybe while I’m writing my thesis a llama and a mariachi band will pop in and again, unplanned funning will happen!! I’m really looking forward to surprise funning.

- Daughter

Witty Professors

I got a paper back today from my carpentry professor. The paper was describing a partner project in my carpentry class that involved lots of headaches and general stupidity (on the part of me and my untrusty carpenter pal). We had to build a device that dropped snow from the ceiling of our theater onto a hypothetical actor below.

My professor was there to witness it all. In fact, he was right there when I couldn’t figure out how to use a staple gun. In case you didn’t know, a staple gun consists of a trigger and an end where the staple comes out – that’s it. I guess my education in the liberal arts only gets me so far these days.

Speaking of education, and back to the main story, my carpentry professor SCHOOLED me via essay feedback today. He left this zinger on the paper:

“Oh, you two. Thanks for remaining enthusiastic during your many trials and errors.

Ultimately, you made something resembling a snow drop which somewhat effectively made snow fall. So congratulations!

Your collective senses of humor were, I think, your greatest asset during this project. MY sense of humor is your greatest asset to your grade. A”

I put a copy of the actual paper below so you could see the proof for yourself.

 

A for effort!! But really, it was an A for effort. It definitely wasn’t an A for execution.

You know, I may not have no dignity or real life skills, but I have an A and that counts for something. Somewhere. Maybe.

- Daughter

That Moment When Your History Professor Starts Talking About Star Trek

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

My history professor: “Well, let’s think about the production of history, you guys. Let’s think about travel. About exodus. About the ephemera of life. About the absences and silences in the system of history…. Has anybody seen Star Trek?… Any Trekkies here? Where are the nerds at?”

Class: *almost everybody raises their hands except for me and a few others.”

Prof.: “So, let’s talk about Star Trek. I’m a Trekkie.  Are we talking about colonialism when we talk about Star Trek? What does history mean in this scenario? Do the members of Enterprise feel obligated to explore and conquer? Are they colonialists? Are they the conquistadors of the stars?”

Me, in my head: “LOLWHATISHAPPENING.”

But actually, I am a fairly nerdy person. I enjoy reading. I enjoy nerding out with fellow students occasionally about different ideas. This? Too much. I wish I could have posted the rest of the lecture here from my professor but it was based on a particular episode of Star Trek and therefore, I didn’t listen. Because she was speaking some sort of alien language.

- Daughter

How to Interview for a Job

A company likes me a tiny bit! Enough to want to discuss a possible position over the phone. Is this what real life feels like? Is this aura and halo that suddenly appeared the mark of a True Grown-Up Person? I don’t know. I’m either a grown-up or Jesus.

Anyway, this is my plan for my interview, and one I recommend for all interviewees everywhere.

1) Don’t giggle uncontrollably unless the interviewer makes a joke. In which case, laugh. Your job depends on it.

2) Speak with a British accent. It is proven that people like accents (?). They will hire you just to hear you talk.

3) Sound educated. It doesn’t mean you HAVE to be educated, it just means you take out your folksy talk.

4) Do not pass out. It interrupts the flow of the interview.

5) Do not fall asleep. It interrupts the flow of the interview.

6) Name-drop. Preferably, work in some connection to Oprah.

7) Nod a lot.

8) Use the word “ambidextrous”. It’s provocative and thoughtful.

9) Do not say Ke$ha at any point.

10) Brag. “Yeah, I can really turn in some mean essays.” “Microwaves? Yeah, I guess you can say I’m an expert on them.” “I went to Canada once.”

And, hopefully, you will get a job. Because Canada.

- Daughter

The Hamster Wheel of Misery

I like to think of myself as a hamster sometimes. And the never-ending to-do list that has consumed my life and my very being is the hamster wheel that compels me to run, run, run and GO, GO, GO. My little hamster feet get tired but the wheel doesn’t care, hence: “The Hamster Wheel of Misery.” This sums up my life as of late.

Self-Portrait as Hamster.

Self-Portrait as Hamster.

I am constantly trying to just get one thing done at the expense of other things. Sometimes, that thing is a shower. Sometimes, it’s socializing with human beings. Sometimes, it’s calling your dad back …

As a result of pushing various things aside to give attention to more immediate concerns, mountains of undone work have built up until I give up and go to bed. (Usually, I stress-eat wasabi crackers and then sleep, actually. I digress) I’ve started to have nightmares from stress. And it’s the same nightmare every time: a favorite professor comes up to me and shakes her head slowly from side to side and says solemnly, “You are a great disappointment.” And then I wake up screaming until I comfort myself with the knowledge that I am a speshul snowflake.

I have also sprouted gray hairs from stress. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the salt-and-pepper look. I just thought I’d have a few more years before I rocked that. Apparently not! I got all excited when I first caught the extra shiny hair glittering in the bathroom lights because ALRIGHT, HIGHLIGHTS!! Upon closer inspection, it was a silvery hair. I pulled it out and examined it. In this little hair marked four nights of endless restlessness as I turned in one essay after the other in a rapid procession. It was a keepsake, really! But I try to avoid collecting  tsotchkes at this point in my life.

So, yes, Dad, this is my direct response to your post that I’ve been radio-silent. Well, yes, I have. But not without good reason! Your daughter has been attempting to fend off fire-breathing deans, thesis advisors, and professors. All of whom seem to have a personal vendetta against me this semester. I’m not sure whose death they are avenging, but they are pretty intent on killing me regardless.

Also, Pops, I’ve been, like, sending in job applications everyday. I’m trying to be a Real Person ™.

Yes, Dad, I know this is an entire post where I whine, justify it, and then whine more. It’s how I roll, Dad. Speaking of rolling, t-minus thirty days until we roll right on out of here! Couldn’t be a moment too soon. I’d rather not have to dye my hair to cover the gray…

- Daughter

No Rest for the Weary

The title of the post is a lie. There IS rest for the weary. Although, this wasn’t the case when I was a freshman in college. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (I’m a squirrel?), I walked onto my college campus ready to take on any academic work that came my way. I was going to do anything necessary to get my work done. And not only would I get my work done, I was going to do it well. I read every book, article, page, paragraph, sentence, word, syllable, and punctuation mark that was assigned. Literally, not a single semi-colon or essay was safe; I was all over it.

I pulled all-nighters so many times it became second nature. In fact, I’m pretty sure I grew fangs at one point and hid in dark recesses but that is a story for another time. The point is, I was immune to the effects of all-nighters. I was Night.

Fast-forward to yesterday when I had looked at the amount of work that needed to be done for my thesis and resolved myself to my fate: an all-nighter was necessary. I knew things were going downhill when 11pm rolled around and I was already at the point where my face was on my laptop instead of my hands. Typing with your face is not efficient. It’s good for laughs but doesn’t make for good syntax.

Somehow, I got past the various slumps and make it to 3:30 am. I decided to reward myself with a  “nap”. I knew this wasn’t a good idea but I lied to myself and decided I definitely had the self-control to rouse myself from a dead-sleep to finish a much-detested paper.

Turns out, I hit snooze and slept until I had a handful of hours of sleep under my belt. Whoops.

Luckily, I scraped by finished everything on time.

There is rest for the weary. You just have to hit the snooze button first.

- Daughter

Bad, Daughter! Bad!

20130116-135740.jpg

“Where’s the coffee? Give me coffee!”

Apparently, Daughter and I will be embarking on yet another Epic Road Trip in approximately 30 days. 

What goes to the East Coast eventually must come back. 

I have it on Good Authority (the AAA Route Planning Lady who provided TripTiks for our original journey) that we will absolutely, definitely not encounter snow anywhere along our path in mid-May, unless we take a detour through Canada — which, by the way, we may end up doing if we have to depend on either my defective Tom-Tom or Daughter’s defective iPhone Maps app. 

“Dad, this road doesn’t exist on my phone.  We’re in another dimension.”

Yep.  I’m looking forward to that again, all righty. 

And that AAA Lady?  To quote her words to me in early January:  “I’ve looked at the ten-day forecast and you will have smooth sailing all the way.”

Two snow day delays later had me looking for her business card to make sure I avoided her travel advice in the future at all costs.

But our return trip, no matter how exciting it may turn out to be, is in quiet jeopardy today, because it is completely dependent on Daughter’s planning and responsiveness, especially to Yours Truly.

We have texted (not talked) about tentative travel dates or, rather, Daughter’s determination to depart from her Lesbian Cult College as soon as is practical this semester, but I find it very challenging to make arrangements when the responses from the other end are episodic, at best, and completely absent, at worst. 

I’m not sure exactly what kind of higher education she’s receiving, but if her blog posts are anywhere near accurate, she has replaced the contact sport of Varsity Soccer with Muggle Bar Pinball.  Given the lack of overt communication with me, Daughter’s posts are a frightening scary pathetic insightful look into the workings of the Modern College Female.

So, Daughter, I’ve got a medical appointment on the 13th.  That means I can fly out on the 14th.  As far as I’m concerned, if you have the truck packed up you can meet me at the airport and we can launch from there.  If not, we will leave bright and early on the 15th, and we will stop for your last cup of East Coast foo-foo coffee on the way out of town. 

I have planned for you to read to out loud to me for most mornings, beginning with Paradise Lost, and ending with Heart of Darkness.  I have also chosen some selections from My Losing Season, my all-time favorite book about basketball, for those times we find ourselves in the endless plains of Kansas, dodging tornadoes and flying cows.

Because like good literature, basketball heals all things. 

In the meantime, Daughter, please answer my texts, or write me an email, or even, God Forbid, give me a call on a real, live telephone. 

I look forward to talking to you.  I think you know my number!

Namaste!

- Dad

Fool Me Once

I had this crazy idea that bars are supposed to be this grand social space where you go to have fun and chat with different people. I was wrong.

In case you don’t remember, during my first weekend back at school, I went out to a bar like college kids are wont to do. Unfortunately, it turned into a NFL tryout in which I had to spin-move, duck, and tackle my way through a crowd of people in varying states of inebriation. I’m pretty sure I got hit in the face multiple times. But it was fine. I mean, it wasn’t, but I pretended it was. Plus, I was with my friends I hadn’t seen for a year, which makes it easy to suffer through a night of shoving and pushing and drink-spilling and slurring.

Well, I made the mistake of going to the same bar again, thinking it would be different. Nope. It wasn’t… The only difference is that this time, I came prepared. I put on my 5 inch platform heels so I was hovering around the 6 foot mark. The key to pushing your way through the crowd is to be visible and man, was I visible. I was a giraffe in a sea of hobbits and other small fantastical creatures. I felt like a meerkat popping up out of its hole, surveying its surroundings. It was great feeling like all of these different animals!!

Sadly, my height did not stop me from having multiple drinks spilled on me, being shoved into a wall, and generally, getting beaten up pretty good. A guy did tell me he liked my bangs to which I replied, “I like yours.” Because he didn’t have any. He didn’t think it was funny. But I sure did. And if I can’t laugh at my own jokes, what can I do in this world??

- Daughter

Bad Mood

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m stressed out and my stress has been spreading like some sort of grumpy bird flu but my relationships have been… tense lately.

 

It started this Tuesday when my friend and I yelled our way through carpentry class. Even our professor was a little shocked at the way we worked together. Our M.O. is to criticize each other to get things done. And we do get our projects done and they happen to look amazing, it just takes splinters, frustration, and screaming to get there. Class is an hour and a half of this:

Me: “That’s straight.”

Friend: “That’s not straight.”

Me: “Fine, you do it.”

Friend: “Fine. See? It’s straight now.”

Me: “Now it’s straight but it’s the wrong angle and you chopped off my finger.”

I’ve also, admittedly, been absolutely miserable this week. And miserable to be around. Sorry. Public apology for being a Debbie Downer. And a Sour Sally. And a Negative Nancy. And a Dour Delilah. And a Grumpy Gertrude. And a Horrible Helga. And a Terrible Tina. And a Lame Lizzie. And…. we’re done here.

I guess I like to think I am a bubbly, glittery ball of sunshine that spreads happiness and fairy dust every waking moment. But, apparently, lack of sleep and pressure from school have chipped away at my sparkling personality until I became this horrible shrew. And not in some fun, Shakespeare-y way à la Taming of the Shrew, just someone you don’t want to be around.

I’m hoping that I still have friends after this week. And if not, that’s what crying was invented for: when you feel sad about having no friends. Crying also burns calories!* So, if I cry hard enough, it’s just like going to the gym. Positive thinking!!!

- Daughter

* This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

 

 

Public Speaking

Dear God. Is there anything more heinous than getting up in front of your peers and talking about some subject that you have vague knowledge of but are definitely not an expert on? That’s what I did today. I presented on my thesis. Most of the presentation went swimmingly but then, there were a few times where I started a sentence and the end just never happened. Poor Sentence, he had a tough upbringing and the odds were against him from the start. All he wanted to do was finish what he started, alas, it was not to be.

It was also embarrassing because, well, my thesis largely centers on images of Lindsay Lohan. So, I had to explain who she was to my class as per my thesis advisor’s request, which is in itself, very depressing. I do like to think my subject is entertaining. And it is! But I am never ever ever ever ever ever ever going to write about something that I truly despise in a lengthy academic paper ever again. I thought it’d give me some fire if I didn’t like the artist I’m working on or the model in the photographs, but instead, I just want to rip out my hair.

I think I basically blacked out the rest of my presentation because I don’t remember what exactly happened. I sounded half-way coherent, which, in my book, is good. I also didn’t throw up during it or cry or accidentally swear. Success!! Okay!!

A part of me does wish I had come in a red wig while smoking and crying while also re-enacting through interpretative dance the stages of Lindsay Lohan’s downfall, but that is something I will have to save for later.

Ah, well. I have my whole life to get better at presentations. Until then, I will haphazardly stumble through my thought process and hope that somebody, ANYBODY, will understand me.

- Daughter

Things That You Shouldn’t Say to Me in Bars

Nobody can say no to this. Nobody.

Nobody can say no to this. Nobody.

“I’m not actually that smart.”

I went out Saturday night and that was perhaps the quote of the night.

Before that quote was uttered, however, I had dinner with friends at a Thai restaurant. I ate enough for three people and a horse and a malnourished cow. It was one of the best meals I have had in my life. Unfortunately, the experience was marred a bit by a really mean waitress. She had a thick Thai accent and judging by the way she spoke to one of my friends, it was as if she had only learned English in order to insult people.

I, of course, initiated this interaction with the waitress by telling her one of our friends was “trouble.” To which she replied to said friend, “Why do you make trouble for your friends? This is why you won’t have any friends.” And I laughed. So did the friend. But then, it kept going. “You will have no friends, they don’t like you.” “I would give you a fortune cookie but it’s pointless because I know what it will say, ‘You have no friends.’” “You look like my great grandmother… she’s been dead for fifty years.”*It started to make everyone uncomfortable as the waitress went from being funny to being a bully. Thankfully, we left soon after and headed to the bar.

I was tired before we even got to the bar. I half-heartedly two-stepped to Ke$ha and reluctantly fox-trotted to Rihanna. I wasn’t feeling very social and I would have been perfectly happy sitting at the bar, observing the antics from afar. But I ended up being right in the middle of the throng. I got shoved a lot, which is par for the course, I suppose. I know it’s loud and crowded but there has to be another way to get around me other than pretending I am a bowling pin and you, the bowling bowl.

After a few pushes and shoves, I ran into a guy who looked like a Jersey Shore reject. Promising! But, he wasn’t nice so we chatted for a while. He was a local preschool teacher and in the world of small talk, I thought I had struck gold. Ah, clearly, he will be intelligent and articulate and I’ll have a normal conversation with someone in a bar for the first time ever!!!  However, this was the end of my enthusiasm. He proceeded to list his grievances like the Martin Luther of the Bar Scene. He complained about the kids he taught, girls who weren’t skinny, and then avoided answering my question, “What classic literature have you read?” (never a good sign).

I asked him if he was smart – mostly in a joking manner to which he replied, “Yeah, I’m smart…. Nah, actually I’m not that smart.” He could have just been being humble but as he said this, he allowed a bit of drool to escape his mouth and his eyes glazed over – something told me he was telling the truth.  He wasn’t the sharpest stiletto in the closet as no one says they say. I got up to leave after some more unsatisfactory conversation. He was confused as to why I was leaving and said, “…Wow, I put a lot of effort into this…”

I didn’t have anything to say to that. I was literally dumbfounded that he said that to my face, he could have at least pretended to think of me as a human being. He said I wasted his time with my presence. Ah, yes, clearly someone I want to see again. If there was ever a time for a hashtag in this blog, it’s now: #sorrynotsorry that I wasted your time, friend!

No, I’m not even sorry that I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry that I’m not sorry.

- Daughter

*The last two comments I made up. Because I can’t remember what she actually said. #sorrynotsorry

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