Monday, May 25, 2009

The most thankless job in the world OR Teach your children well

Life is funny. Just when I get idealistic and foolhardy enough to think something like, “Maybe one day I’d like to settle down and have a family,” is when I go home.

I’ve written about this before, but every time I come home I get reminded of what a crappy job it must be to be a parent. I’m the oldest and my parents have a lot of kids. They still have four children, ages 5 to 16, at home. It looks like the most thankless job ever. I think there are garbage men, interns and I.R.S. agents that get more thanks than any mom or dad ever will.

Here are just four things parents have to deal with. First, kids are deceptively cute. Sure, they start out cute, but that doesn't last long.

Second, say goodbye to hobbies, social life and money. Kids take up all of your time and money, but unlike other investments you never get any sort of return whatsoever. Nothing. You’re just pouring in time and money and you will never get a second or cent of it back.

Third, kids are annoying. I have two brothers who are age 12 and 9 and that seems to be their main objective: annoying the crap out of everyone. They fight, they whine, they break stuff, and most of their time is spent following my mom around asking her questions like these:

“Have you ever hit a fish with a bat?”

“What does tin foil taste like?”

“Can I catch a skunk and write on it with a permanent marker?”

“What would happen if I put my hand in the garbage disposal and then turned it on?”

They don’t want answers, they just want to drive my mom crazy and they won't rest until she is in a straight jacket in a padded room. This is how I realized that my mom is a saint, because I would’ve smacked them long ago. I would’ve been looking for the receipts to see if I could return them. But not my mom, she’s too good at being a parent. Instead, she’s just gradually losing her mind.

Also, my 5-year-old sister is a kleptomaniac, and incidentally she likes to lie. too. She stole my mint gum and when I figured it out I asked her, “Did you take my gum?” Then, with a mouthful of gum that reeked of mint, this child had the audacity to say, with an angelic straight face, “No. I don’t know where your gum is.”

She will steal anything that is not bolted down or locked in a safe. Then she flushes it down the toilet. And when she’s not stealing things, she’s destroying things, which I’m sure is typical for her age, but it’s mighty annoying. If my parents turn their back a for a second, any blank surface will be covered in crayon, any family pet will get choked and any available scissors will be used to cut chunks out of her hair.

And I don't even want to talk about teenagers. My 16-year-old sister just might think she’s the center of the universe, but I guess that’s typical.

Fourth, kids come back. If you think 18 years of your time and money will be enough, think again! Those leeches come back to “visit” (especially if you have a washer and dryer) and, if you’re not careful, they’ll come back to live.

Good thing I am living at home and can put off this whole “family” thing for a while.

Monday, May 18, 2009

50 ways to love your liver OR Binge drinking is AWESOME!

A while back I decided I wasn’t going to drink alcohol. Ever since that day people that do drink alcohol insist on telling me that I’m missing out. But it’s not true.

I work for my university’s newspaper and a few weeks ago I got to go to San Diego for a journalism conference and I was way excited. I got a bunch of per diem money to spend and I figured it would be cool to see California.

My per diem got spent, all right, but I didn’t get to see much of California. Why? Because the co-workers who went with me are raging 20-something alcoholics, that’s why!

See, people can drink all they like and I don’t care. It’s their business. I just thought it was funny that for my co-worker friends the trip revolved around alcohol.

These four guys drank every single day for five days straight. Their poor little livers. As soon as we checked into the airport they went straight for the airport bar. They drank on the flight. As soon as we checked into the hotel the first order of business was to locate a liquor store at which to purchase copious amounts of liquor. They spent the whole first night buying liquor and stashing it in our hotel sink with a bunch of ice so there was never a place to wash your hands.

When they’d wake up all hung-over they would take a few drinks from the hotel stash, which is a very productive way to start the day.

When they weren’t drinking from the hotel room booze cache, they were finding all the cool places in San Diego to go drinking. Sometimes they would go to three places a night and just drink and drink and burn through their per diem money like a Hummer burns gasoline. I would just sit and wish I could go home. Whenever we voted it would be four to one, so I always got voted down. It would be a bright sunny day in San Diego and they would want to go sit in a dark bar and drink. We could have been at Sea World, the zoo, the beach or a thousand other sunny, awesome places but instead we were stuck in a bar.

Most of them were so hung over that they missed most of the conference. They were worried that they might get in trouble with our editor-in-chief, but it turns out that our editor-in-chief does the same thing when she goes to conferences.

“Partying,” as it turns out, consists mainly of drinking and talking and doing stupid stuff and then trying to remember the stupid stuff you did and said the next day. Hilarious.

And then there’s the puking. It looks like loads of fun.

One of the guys got super drunk one night and asked me, “Why don’t you drink?”

I said, “Well, remember how you puked all over the balcony and spent last night on the bathroom floor?”


“And then the day before you hooked up with that freaky chick from Wisconsin and then were all embarrassed about it the next day?”


“And the day before that you got super drunk and started telling everyone you were labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez?”


“That’s why.”

I’m still not convinced I’m missing out on anything.

Monday, May 11, 2009

So-and-so Strikes Back and other stories OR Facebook, car accidents and ditching graduation

Well my graduate school experience has officially come to an end, thank goodness, but a bunch of funny stuff happened the last week and it was an awesome way to end my college career.

First, my roommate and So-and-so got back together. Isn’t that tender? I gave him the heads up about the ugly shoe thing. He immediately traded in his unsightly kicks for some shoes that would not clash with So-and-so’s high maintenance lifestyle and she took him back. I think he switched his major to pre-med too, just to be safe.

Then there was a string of car accidents, three in one week! The first accident unfortunately involved me rear-ending somebody. It’s really embarrassing to have to say to someone, “I’ll have to call you back, I just rear ended somebody,” and then to someone else, “Sorry I rear-ended you, I was on the phone.”

But as far as car accidents go, this was the perfect car accident. Seriously, neither car sustained much damage and I couldn’t have rear-ended a nicer person. Her name was Ida and we got to talk some while the police were finishing up their accident report. It made me think that this would make a great premise for a romantic comedy. Boy meets girl by rear-ending her car, they fall in love and get married by the traffic court judge.

Next, one of my roommates hit a pedestrian. He wasn’t paying attention because he was arguing with his annoying new girlfriend and just ran somebody over, no joke. Fortunately the pedestrian is ok.

The day after that his annoying new girlfriend was walking and got hit by a car. Somebody ran her over, and they beat me to it, ‘cause I was this close to doing it myself. She is ok, though, and will be around to annoy me for a while longer.

And in other news, I’m on Facebook. Sad, but true. As trendy and dorky as it is, I’m on Facebook, mostly I like “tagging” my friends in compromising pictures. I never post my “status,” though, because I am not so vain as to imagine that people care what I am doing at any given moment, but late one sleep deprived, paper-writing evening I posted my Facebook status as, “I'm pregnant.” Some of my friends posted smart-aleck comments immediately, like, “Aw, who’s the father?” and “Have you picked out a name?” Next I posted, “Only a few days late. False alarm,” which alternately disturbed and delighted some of my friends. I crack myself up.

This week a person I’ve written about in my blog actually read my blog, realized I was talking about them and yelled at me for it. Oh well. At least they are reading, right?

And then there was graduation, which I refused to go to. I wasn’t about to listen to a bunch of speeches and sit in an auditorium for four hours just to get an empty diploma holder and have somebody mispronounce my name. All my friends said I was lame for not going, but to me it seems like the people listening to speeches dressed in Harry Potter robes are the lame ones.

Just saying.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I ain't saying she a gold digger... Oh wait, yes I am. She's a gold digger.

One of my super-awkward roommates just got a girlfriend and I’m trying to be happy for him. He’s 20 years old, but it’s the first girlfriend he’s ever had and I feel sorry for him.

When it comes to relationships this roommate is basically a toddler, and I have a feeling he’s about to burn himself on the Hot Stove of Love for the very first time and there’s nothing I can do to save him. I’ve been burned on the Hot Stove of Love approximately one million times, and that’s a conservative estimate. I know it’s hot and that I’m gonna get burned, but I keep going back.

Take this semester for example. First there was a girl I was interested in and I put myself out there and asked her on a date. She said, “I can’t that night. I’m, uh, eating… a meal… with… someone.”

I’m no genius, but I know when I’ve been blown off.

Next, there was So-and-so, who basically chased me down. I deserved to get burned, though. We are both in college but I played all her high school games, like when she would do everything through my friends. It was not uncommon for my friends to say things like, “So-and-so wants to know how much you like her. Just tell me and I’ll text her back.”

I even started to realize that So-and-so and I didn’t have a whole lot in common. Mostly So-and-so liked tanning and shopping. Enough said. Still I kept going on dates with her, so I deserved it when one day she told me that she didn’t want to be “serious” and that she “wasn’t ready for a relationship.”

This was all a lie, of course, because the very next day she was at my apartment, sitting on the couch, putting moves on one of my roommates. Within the week they were dating exclusively and consistently doing the make-outs on our living room couch where I had to walk by and see them.

That hurt a little bit, and to add insult to injury I got word through the grapevine that So-and-so stopped dating me for the following reasons:

1. I have ugly shoes.
(This is true, but I love these shoes! I decorated them myself.)

2. I’m majoring in social work and social workers don’t make any money.
(This is also true.)

Holy Crap. I thought shallowness that profound had been eradicated, like smallpox. I hope she didn’t really say that because that would make her an ├╝ber-shallow gold digger, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Anyway, I used to resent my roommate, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that he did me a huge favor. As you can see, this girl is bad news, and I really dodged a bullet, and that kind of makes my roommate my own personal relationship bodyguard! An evil witch was gunning for me and he jumped in front of me and took the shot. Now she’s his problem, and I couldn’t be more relieved.

But now I just found out that she dumped my roommate too. I was trying to figure out why, but then I saw her hanging on some pre-med student. And, incidentally, the dumping coincided with my roommate getting new shoes. His shoes look like this:

I wish I were joking, but I’m not. My roommate tried to save us all, but So-and-so is still on the loose. If you have stylish shoes and a good job, you better watch out, ‘cause So-and-so is coming for your wallet.

Consider yourself warned.