Saturday, August 20, 2011

Debbie Downers in your Life...

I love the Saturday Night Live character "Debbie Downer".

If you are not familiar with the character, here is a quick tidbit from Wikipedia for you: Debbie Downer is a name of a fictional Saturday Night Live character which debuted in 2004, and who was portrayed by Rachel Dratch. The character's name is a slang phrase which refers to someone who frequently adds bad news and negative feelings to a gathering, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around them. Dratch's character would usually appear at social gatherings and interrupt the conversation to voice negative opinions and pronouncements. She was especially concerned about the rate of Feline AIDS, a subject that she would bring up on more than one occasion.

I am fortunate enough to have a limited amount of Debbie Downers in my life, but every once in a while, an ANONYMOUS stranger likes to make sure they shit on my rainbow.

I don't mind it though...I've got a rainbow clean up crew that's always itchin' for overtime.

The fact that there can be so many different reactions to and interpretations of the same topic is fascinating.

It makes me wonder what it would be like to see the glass half empty, so to speak. I picture it being exhausting....and stressful. You're always eyeballing this imaginary glass, thinking to yourself, "DEAR GOD. WHEN, oh when...WHEN will the liquid run out?!?!" (said in a dramatic 40s style overdramatization...imagine a black and white version of me biting my balled fist)

Me? I much prefer the illusion of fullness. "Relax ya'll. There's plenty of wetness left in that there glass...we don't need to fret, child, there's bunches of refreshment for all." and "Chill, bitch! We gots the sauce..a plenty! Shiiiit." (To be said in a friendly, Julia Roberts style southern drawl and Gangsta' Easy E style, respectively)

It's like when you're sharing a pizza with someone, and you can tell as they eye the pizza, then your plate, then the pizza again, that they're doing pizza math in their head. They are mentally sweating as they calculate the number of people in the room vs. the number of pieces left. That's when I like to immediately say, "I'm full" whether I am or not...just to give the other person a break. Here's a few minutes of stress-free eating, buddy. Enjoy it. I guess it's just my magnanimous nature.

Recently, I had an encounter with a Debbie Downer Stranger...or maybe it wasn't a all. (to be read in a Keith Morrison ala Dateline voice) Cue taboo voodoo idol music from the Hawaii episode of the Brady Bunch...

Yesterday, a reader of my blog who would only identify himself or herself or shimself as ANONYMOUS pointed out my lack of mores and sensitivity in regard to our impressionable youth and the turbulent state of our economy.

(ANONYMOUS commented on a blog I wrote last week called "Flash Mob Mentality". The blog is still there in its original distasteful format and the comment is right below case you need to catch yourself up.)

I couldn't argue with this mysterious stranger. He or she or Shuh-he is absolutely right.

What a selfish viewpoint I have. If I were Catholic, I'd be doing 5o Hail Marys to make up for my harsh depiction of such obviously disturbed children. In fact, I'm booking a flight to the city of brotherly love right now. I'm going to get to the bottom of this. I need to personally help those kids that are only eleven-teen (which is most likely 5th or 6th grade). Maybe I could pretend to be Jonathan Smith from Highway to Heaven and show up at their doorstep! All I have to do is rent the spare room that is next door to them. Then I will casually become a part of their life so that I can help them through this difficult time, but first, I've got to make amends for what I've done!

Ok...for my first act of contrition, I immediately tried to regurgitate any residual Starbucks setting up camp in my stomach, but alas, it was too late.

Maybe I should go buy just one more drink...only I won't drink it. I'll give it to one of the homeless dudes I see standing by the freeway, waiting for spare change. Maybe it will give him the jolt he needs to start kickin ass in his life. Yeah...I could change someone's whole life! You've inspired me, ANONYMOUS.

From this point on, I'm only buying Starbucks for the needy... I might steal two to three sips per drink, but only when I'm thirsty or fully hydrated.

I'm also making big, BIG changes to my shopping routine. How could I possibly set foot in Nordstroms again, when I know that there are people suffering?

This DEFINITELY has inspired me.

ANONYMOUS is right...I'm turning over a new leaf. Big changes...they are a brewin'.

This is going to be a whole new life for me!

Fuck capitalism!

I'm going to sell all my worldly possessions.

I'm going to sell my, no...I'm going to set up a free shelter in my house...yeah, that's what I'll do.

Then I will go on a Starbucks run for the homeless guys getting back on their feet on my way to free any and all primates from captivity.

I will also provide the primates with beverages, but NOT Starbucks. I hear that their social conscience is way too developed to indulge in such frivolousness.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Farts are funny...

I've met quite a few people lately who fart freely. They will let it rip whenever they feel like it, no matter where they are or who they are with.

I'm not hatin' on people who like to cut the cheese every once in a while. It can be a good ice breaker. It brings people together. It's humor everyone can matter their age, sex,'s a universal gag. That being said, I should probably say that I, myself, am not a free farter...and I am ok with that. I don't even let one go in front of Aaron, and we've been together for over eight years.

I've had friends and family members who like to let a peep out here and there, and of course, kids are always tearing it up, but professional gas is something I've not experienced very often. (When I say "professional gas", I don't mean pro as in 'experts on flatulence'....I mean gas in a business-related setting).

Ironically, Aaron and I both had therapy sessions yesterday with two different families that were free farters.

Aaron was seeing a kid for the first time, and right when he got there, he thought he heard some audible gas, but he shook his head, thinking, "No, that can't be it." He pretended that he hadn't heard it and kept working.

Then, about half an hour later, he saw out of the corner of his eye, the dad lift his leg ever so slightly.

There was no denying it that time.

What he heard rumble out of that man was unquestionably... a fart.

Not sure how to react, he ignored it again.

I must have looked unimpressed because Aaron quickly went on to say, "It was LOUD!" Then he imitated the sound by putting both hands over his mouth while blowing out. I burst into a fit of giggles. Aaron said, "Don't get me wrong, I LOVE farts. They're fun! I fart all the time! ...BUT not in front of strangers!!"

This was almost too much to take. I ran to the bathroom, and Aaron followed me. "Where are you going?!" I was already shutting the door in his face. "I HAVE TO PEEEEEEEE!!!!!! I'm laughing so hard...I'm afraid some is going to eek out!"

When I caught my breath, I said, "You know, this is so weird because I had an adult farter today, too! I have to admit, though, it kind of made me mad, not glad."

It was Aaron's turn to chuckle. In a rush of air, I went on, defending myself. "Well, they didn't have any air conditioning!" Now I was laughing, too. "The heat intensified the smell! It was just festering in there, Double! It smelled so bad, and I was so hot! I almost couldn't take it."

Hearing it aloud just made the situation all the more ridiculous...I doubled over, snorting and hiccuping.

We laughed so hard for so long, my cheeks and stomach are sore today.

The moral of the story?

Try not to worry about things that irritate you...because one day (...or even the same day) it may provide you and your loved ones with hours of entertainment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sometimes I can move things with me mind...

I got up early today to hit the gym, and I as I was pulling out of my driveway, I realized that I had forgotten my phone. So I turned off the car and ran back in to get it. When I started my car again, the air conditioning was not blowing.


I felt a panic slowly rising up in me.

(You may think I'm being overly dramatic, but this is Phoenix and it's do the mental math)

It was only 5:30 and it was already hot...really hot.

I drive around for work...I can't show up to people's houses a hot, sweaty mess! What am I going to do?!

As I was reviewing my options and pleading with Loretta (my old and *knock on wood* reliable Jeep Grand Cherokee) to be agreeable, I saw the light ahead turn yellow. At almost the same instant, I noticed a police car coming to a stop at the intersection adjacent to the stoplight. I slammed on my brakes. I heard all of the toys in the back crash as the car lurched forward. I glanced over at the cop. He was engrossed with his cell phone and hadn't even noticed me.

I let out a big sigh. I hadn't realized that I'd been holding my breath. I could feel sweat trickling down the side of my neck. I stared at the vents in front of me, willing them to work. I turned the A/C off, then on again. Nothing. Shit.

Just then, out of nowhere, the air conditioning started blowing out cold air full force.


Maybe I'm like Drew Barrymore in Firestarter!

After all, I was willing it to work with me mind...

(for some reason, I'm making this statement in my head like an old west miner...two teeth, bandana around the neck, scraggly beard, old cowboy hat, whistling s sounds and pitch breaks often when talking...hence the use of "me" instead of "my"...I use me mind! Seeeeee????)

I'm just hoping I won't have to use my powers again today...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My gum stuck to my lips today...

Have you ever had a day that you thought couldn't get much worse... but then it does?

Today, I popped a piece of gum into my mouth before I headed into a speech therapy session with an active little 20 month old boy. (Chewing gum is something I am addicted to...I like to have fresh breath at all times and mints are too much of a hassle. If I could brush my teeth every hour, I would...but clients might think it's weird if at the end of each session, I said, "Do you mind if I use your sink to brush my teeth before I go??")

My little friend really gave me a run for my money today. We jumped and climbed and ran and crashed and threw balls and kicked balls and squished balls! We were busy that I forgot to consistently chew my gum. Because of that and maybe partially because it had been in the oven on wheels that is my car for several days, that little nugget of gum was a nugget no more. Somehow, my gum had started to dissolve, and as it did, it worked its way out of my mouth and onto my lips. At almost the same instant I became aware of this situation, the timer was going off and it was time to clean up.

I sat facing an audience of family members who had been observing our session. Grandma had questions and so did Dad. It was then I realized that my lips were COMPLETELY COATED in sticky dissolved gum goo! Shit. I tried not to panic as I nonchallantly worked the residue off my top lip with my teeth. I wondered if it was noticeable. I took a sip from my water bottle. I was hoping the water would help, but no luck. I went back to my method of alternating discrete licks with fervent biting. I was desperate to get this shit off my mouth without anyone noticing.

It was useless. Getting this sticky goo off my face was going to take a good firm rubbing with some sort of napkin or cloth, preferably in front of a mirror. I didn't have any choice. I'd have to hope that the damage was subtle, and that I could answer their questions quickly without sparking more discussion. A little voice inside me said, "Maybe they haven't noticed it!"

I considered this. Yes. I decided, was possible I was the only one who knew! The more I thought about it, the more i convinced myself. All I have to do is just pretend nothing is there. I can do this. I'll just talk around it until I can get the hell out of here!

I took another sip of water and felt my top lip get stuck in a curled back position.

Fuck. This can NOT be pretty.

My lips made a loud smacking sound as the gum intermittently forced me to pry open my mouth with so much force that my jaw would lock in an open position for a few seconds. I barreled on, and I had one joyful moment when I thought I had made it. I had done the impossible.

No one noticed!

I was pretty pleased with myself until I saw Grandpa point to his own mouth with a perplexed look on his face as he whispered something to his wife.

Fuck. They totally saw it.

I cleared my throat. It was time to address the elephant in the room. "You probably noticed that I have this gum stuck to my lips." They looked at their hands. They looked at each other. They looked anywhere but at my face."Somehow when I was running around, my just dissolved....and well, now, as you can see, it's just stuck on my face." Everyone looked uncomfortable. With a note of pity in her voice my little friend's mom said, "Do you want a wipey?"

I accepted it gratefully and rubbed the shit out of my face as I walked to my car. I started the engine so the air conditioning would begin to blow and then immediately flipped down the visor so I could see myself in the mirror.

What. the. fuck.

I stared incredulously at my reflection. The dissolved gum particles still stuck to my face were neon green.


I broke into a big belly laugh as I pulled away. I flipped through mental photographs of myself running around the living room with a bucket on my head saying things like "Woohoo!" and "Yippee!". How long were my lips covered in that shit before I noticed??? I shook my head. I do not even want to think about the conversation that happened after I left that house.

I craned my neck to check traffic in both directions. I am never going to be able to make a left turn here, I thought. After a few minutes, I saw my chance and I stepped on the accelerator getting to the other side of the street seconds before a shiny red minivan zoomed by. In the process, some of the things in my car shifted...including the tall travel cup that had the remains of my morning coffee in it. I watched the cup helplessly as if it were happening in slow motion. It toppled and dumped into the driver's seat. I tried to avoid the light tan liguid, scooting quickly to the edge, but it was too late. I felt a warm sensation as the coffee spill spread out under me. In a matter of minutes, it had been soaked up by the butt of my light blue scrub pants. Awesome.

The rest of my day was more of the same. The GPS sent me in circles; a kid decided to sit on me with a leaky, poopy diaper (that was fun...), I burned my finger on the hot, silver keys at the self serve pump and I spilled gas on my foot.

Blah, blah, blah. Ok, I'm done complaining...for now.

Tomorrow is a new day. Today was too ridiculous not to laugh at. (Actually, on second thought, it might be the wine that is making it so funny...Yes, yes, now that I am reflecting, I don't remember feeling all that giggly when I was walking around in the hot heat with poopy, coffee pants...yeah, that definitely was not funny one bit...)

P.S. My lips are STILL sticky!!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Flash Mob Mentality

I just heard a disturbing little nugget on the news...the once joyous and entertaining "flash mobs" have garnered a new purpose.

No longer are groups of nerds organizing outings to surprise and delight unsuspecting onlookers with renditions of Michael Jackson's Thriller dance. These nerds have now joined forces for a new purpose...a more sinister and evil purpose, I'm afraid.

The general idea is the same...arrange a place to meet, get a large group together and move into action, in sync, at an agreed upon time. There is just one small difference....when you are done, the crowd doesn't give you a hand...usually because their hands have been broken...and/or tied behind their backs. These flash mobs are like swarms of killer bees....rising up and attacking unsuspecting men, woman and babies out for their afternoon stroll.

Apparently, there has been an outbreak of "violent" YOUTH flash mobs in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, and other ironic locales across the country. One reporter said, "Teenagers as young as eleven years old (apparently the word "teen" has been added to's not "eleven"'s "eleven-teen") are joining the stealthy cover of flash mobs..."

I am still trying to wrap my head around all this. I'm picturing myself in this kind of scenario: I'm in downtown Chicago with a Starbucks in one hand, a Nordstrom's bag in the other; chatting away to my sister as we walk down Michigan Avenue...when all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I see a flash mob forming. I exchange an excited look with my sister, and she takes out a bag of Garret's popcorn which we immediately start munching on as we settle in for the show...then....WHAP! "This isn't that kind of flash mob, bitch! This is a BASH mob!" I look up in confusion as an angry looking 5th grader in bad jeans and a Lord of the Rings t-shirt whips me with an old computer mouse....

This is the world we are living in, people. A new Planet of the Apes movie was released to theaters last weekend. I haven't seen it yet, but something tells me the idea of apes becoming more intelligent than humans may not be that out of the question...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My eyes are my major malfunction...

I went to the eye doctor on Monday, and I'm sorry to report that my eyesight has not improved since my last visit. In fact, it has gotten a little worse. As I sat in the waiting room, I saw a little girl with her mother also waiting, and it made me remember the sighted years...

When I was 5, my mom took me to our local optometrist to have my vision checked. After all, my dad was legally blind in three states and my siblings, ages 8 and 11, were already sporting spectacles on a full time basis. I can still remember the smell of disinfectant and listerine in the doctor's office, and the rows and rows of glasses. I sat next to my mother, waiting for the receptionist to call my name. When it was my turn, I patted my mom on the shoulder and said, "I've got this, Mom." (I was a tough kid. In my mind, I wasn't a baby anymore. I was in kindergarten.)

I followed the tall, thin woman back through a winding hallway until we got to a room with a masssive chair in the middle of it and a giant picture of an eyeball hanging on the wall across from that. I gulped. Maybe I'd been too hasty when I had decided to leave Mom back in the waiting room...

"And who have we here?" I turned around and came face to face with Dr. Gailmark. I introduced myself and he showed me where to sit (I was secretly thrilled that I got to sit in the gigantic spaceship chair I mentioned earlier).

I was eager to get started. I could not WAIT to get glasses. (I was already picturing myself taking them off during circle time and casually wiping them clean with my shirt before I replaced them on my face. I was thinking of getting purple, but I remember thinking that I might have to settle for pink because I had taken a quick peek at the selection and I hadn't seen any purple glasses...)

"Ok, can you tell me what you see up on the wall there, sweatheart?" I craned my neck, pretending like I was really trying to see the pictures and the letters. "Hmm." I squinted my eyes (I had seen my brother do this when he tried to watch the tv without his glasses). "Nope. Not a thing."

Ten minutes later, the eye doctor walked out to give my mother the news. "Well, based on the results, Erin needs glasses." (I immediately starting looking more diligently for those purple frames.) My mother sighed. The doctor wasn't finished. "But...I have a hunch that she may have been faking it." My mother raised her eyebrows. "If these results were accurate, I'd expect her to be having much more trouble." He lowered his voice. "She um...couldn't 'see' the big E on the eye chart." They both started laughing. "We can give her a fake pair of glasses if you'd like." My mom regarded him like he had just told her that she could set money on fire if the house got too cold.

Needless to say, I didn't get my purple glasses that day....but two years later, all of my wildest dreams came true. I guess whoever said, "Be careful what you wish for" ended up blind like me...

My vision gets a little blurrier each year...and each year, when I go in for my checkup, I keep expecting the eye doctor to look at me and say, "Well, Erin, I'm afraid your contact and glasses days are behind you, but I can give you this handy, dandy white cane here..."