Monthly Archives: June 2011

Reason No. 513 why I shouldn’t quit my day job

Hey kids,

Wanna play a fun drinking game? Then listen to my dear friend Dennis interview me on his Blog Talk Radio show and take a shot every time you hear me say “um” or “like.”

I guarantee you’ll be wasted by minute seven.

And if you can’t manage to make it through my Mid-west, Valley Girl way of speaking, you should at least check out his other interviews with other writers and creative types. They’re fun and insightful and not chock full of awkward giggles.

Luckily, I am not a public speaker by trade, so you can check out the much less annoying edited and censored me via my latest post on DigBoston.com (edited by REAL professionals for your reading pleasure).

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I’m really starting to hate you, Mark Zuckerberg

Well, it finally came. My 30th birthday was Monday (meaning when people now ask me my age, my go-to response henceforth will be “vintage”…and for them to “stop being so damn nosy”).

It ended up being a really good birthday. Well, except for the morning, which was spent trying to clean up a VERY BAD dog who thought a wonderful gift to his owner would be rolling around in some other dog’s fresh poo (consequently, he is now on canine probation).

But the afternoon was spent with my friend Patrick, where we had a shamelessly nerdy time drinking at coffeehouses, perusing used book stores and discussing “Battlestar Galactica” over beer (or to sum up for fans of “The Office”: Books. Beers. Battlestar Galactica.). And the evening was spent drinking wine with my husband and watching a penis-shrinking chick flick.

And then, as night rolled around, I spent the next three hours on my laptop, frantically trying to respond to the 900 million or so posts I received on Facebook.

See, it used to be that on your birthday, you’d get a couple of cards in the mail, a phone call from your mom and maybe a good friend, and, if you were lucky, perhaps a free shot or two at the bar from some random, who deduced it was your birthday after you climbed on the bar and yelled “It’s my birthday, bitches!!!”

But now, everyone knows it’s your birthday. Facebook announces right there on your profile whose birthday it is that day, basically passive-aggressively telling you “don’t be a schmuck…wish this kid a happy birthday, huh?”

On one hand, this is great. Nothing makes you feel quite as special on your special day as having 1,034 of your closest virtual friends wishing you a happy birthday. This is especially true when you’re spending your birthday in a new city where you’ve only made a handful of real-life friends so far, like me.

But my problem is that I don’t know what is proper Facebook birthday etiquette. Do I have to respond to each post individually? Or can I just make a blanket “thanks, everyone” post? And if so, how many exclamation points after “everyone” do I use?

But if I do that and someone wrote something really funny, like, “in honor of your birthday, I’m going to bong a Natty Light”, is it ok to “Like” that post, or do I have to like all the posts then?

And what about the posts that go beyond the standard “happy birthday” message and include a follow up message? Or even a question, like “Happy birthday! Crows feet really suck, huh?” Is it rude not to write back?

Is a free e-card on the same level as an electronic gift card to Starbucks? And where do someecards fit in? What about the guy who made a hilarious JibJab video featuring me? Do I need to reciprocate? Not to mention, for everyone who wrote on my page, am I expected to write on their page for their birthday? What if I don’t know them? Or did know them at one point but totally forget who they are now? What about the ones that sent me an actual message, instead of a wall post? Does that deserve a response?

I JUST DON’T KNOW. AHHHHH!!!

Where’s Emily Facebook Post when you need her?

Death in a small town

So far, I’ve been approaching turning 30 in my typical fashion, which is to mercilessly make fun of growing older.

But this past weekend, I realized it’s all fun and games until someone your age dies.

It all happened so fast. One minute I’m out having drinks with friends and the next, my Facebook newsfeed is filled with “R.I.P.” messages and I’m frantically calling friends on the phone to figure out what happened.

Yes, it’s true. Motorcycle accident. Late Friday/early Saturday. That’s all we know right now.

His name was Benji. Classmate. Neighbor. Third-grade crush.

Only 29-years-old.

This is the dark side of getting older (and social networking…nothing is quite as jolting as finding out about someone’s death via a “R.I.P.” message on your newsfeed). Suddenly, you are no longer invincible. Nor is anyone else.

By Sunday, friends were calling me to see if I was OK. I kept giving the same answer. “Yeah…I think…I just feel…I don’t know…weird.”

From the outside, his death probably doesn’t seem like something that should affect me this much. Sure, we ran around in the same circles, used to live on the same street and the last time I visited home this spring, I ran into him and we had made tentative plans to meet up later with those aforementioned same circle of friends.

Not exactly the stuff BFF’s are made of.

But for those of us closer to the inside, those of us who, just like me, spent 13 years going to the same school together, it makes more sense to be shaken by this tragedy.

My graduating high school class was comprised of barely 70 people. And 90 percent of that 70 had gone to kindergarten together. And with that comes an intimacy that only a small town can provide. Regardless of whether you had ever actually talked to Benji, chances are you knew his parents, siblings, where he lived, his dating history and his preferred brand of beer.

And only in a small town like that can you have anecdotes like the time I mowed down his mom’s mailbox while driving home late one night (something which became neighborhood lore and something which he never let me live down).

So, I’m not really sure how to grieve. I haven’t cried. But am I supposed to? I’m sad and confused in that way that only a senseless tragedy can make you feel. But am I sad and confused because Benji died or more because we’re the same age and this could just have easily have happened to me? Or a combination of both?

Should I be sadder? Less sad?

It’s the same way I feel anytime someone from our close-knit community passes away, including parents. These people are intricately linked to my past. And even though I haven’t actually lived in Ohio in over five years, I still feel that connection.

But at the same time, its been over a decade since I saw any of them on a regular basis.

I think what it comes down to is that we lost one of our own. That’s how it is in a small town. No matter how close you were or weren’t, no matter the last time you talked, no matter whether you got along in school or not, the overwhelming feeling is that this person belonged to us. We all belong to each other.

And losing one means losing a small part of ourselves.

30 is the new mid-life crisis

You never think it could happen to you.

Oh sure, you know it happens to other people. You’ve heard the stories. It may have even happened to some of your closest friends. And yeah, you feel bad for them.

But you?

Impossible.

That is, until the day you wake up and realize that you, too, are on the cusp of your 30th birthday.

Yes, dear readers, I am about to turn 30. I have officially been alive for three decades.

Three decades.

Three decades?

Three decades!

If I were clothes, I’d be considered vintage. If I were a boy band, I would already be staging my pathetic and ultimately doomed comeback. If I were Scotch … well, I’d already be drunk by me in order to help me cope with turning 30.

Oh, how I want to be one of those women who approach 30 and aging in general with grace and confidence. But no. No, I am one of those women who approach it kicking and screaming and clutching my anti-wrinkle cream to my chest as I rock back and forth in the fetal position (and then burst into tears because I just did the math of how long it has been since I actually was a fetus).

Oh sure, I know that people say 30 is the new 20. And deep down I realize that 30 is still incredibly young in the grand scheme of things. But certain ages are considered milestones in our society and 30 is by far the most notorious. It is the unofficial age when youth ends and “serious” adulthood begins.

Like, “401k and watching Charlie Rose” adulthood.

Granted, there is some good news. With age comes experience, and experience translates into wisdom (although that equation isn’t completely universal judging by the number of times I’ve given myself orange hair highlights). As much as I’ve tried to fight it, my three decades have given me some valuable insights.

For example, my first decade was spent as a child of the ’80s, in blissful ignorance of just how bad I looked in neon, mismatched socks and permed poodle hair.

So innocent...and so unaware of the link between sun damage and premature wrinkles

But in between amassing permanent scars from Slap Bracelets and reading Judy Blume, I took away some very important life lessons.

Lessons learned:

Tomatoes are icky (but Elmer’s Glue is delicious).

Becoming Maria from “Sesame Street” is not a viable career option.

Your face actually won’t stay like that.

Cursing in front of your grandmother is NOT advisable.

Getting sent to go stand in the corner on your first day of kindergarten is highly traumatic and something you will still be bringing up 25 years later.

My second decade was spent as a teenager of the ’90s, in blissful ignorance of just how jaded I really wasn’t, despite what my uniform of purple lipstick and facial piercings projected.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm the bitchy-looking one on the left.

Lessons learned:

Parents just don’t, like, get it.

The really deep thoughts you have that no one else does (and no one else understands, man) need to be written down in really lame poetry form in a notebook covered in Nirvana stickers surrounded by scribbles of Fiona Apple lyrics.

Being a poser is totally the worse crime you can commit.

Sometimes people are just so … ugh.

Boyfriends come and go, but the Ramones T-shirt you stole from them lasts forever.

And my third decade dawned at the age of the Internet takeover and blonde, gyrating, interchangeable pop stars.

This was me for most of 2004...and 2005-2009. And most of 2011 so far.

But despite the inexplicable rise in popularity of former Mouseketeers (and hobbits), I slowly became an adult, learning some of the most important lessons of all.

Lessons learned:

Tomatoes are still icky (but now, so is Elmer’s Glue).

Your face may not stay like that, but evidence will be left behind in the form of wrinkles.

Any lame poetry you kept in a notebook as a teenager should be burned, else your husband discover it one day while spring cleaning and then continue to quote it back to you for the next six months (“There’s a calm over the rage/In the burning hollow of my bloodshot eyes/Eternal blue haze forever in the way”).

Speaking of husbands, (hopefully) they don’t come and go, but regardless, at least they are legally required to share at least 50 percent of their Arctic Monkeys T-shirt with you.

Turning 30 means you now officially have 10 years to prepare for turning 40

Hoo-wee! Guess who’s writin’ for a fancy city publication

It’s official. I’m syndicated. I am now writing for two…count ’em…TWO publications.

Granted, I’m barely getting paid for either, but then again, you pay what you get for (or something like that).

So now, just in case this random blog that I sporadically update with posts that have absolutely nothing in common, and my bi-weekly Victoria Advocate columns (that also have absolutely nothing in common), aren’t enough for you, you can catch my new weekly column, The Trolley Trollop, at DigBoston.com (which is all about my fun adventures in Boston…or, at least the ones I can somewhat coherently remember).

And to think my high school Spanish teacher told me I’d be barefoot and pregnant and not worth a thing (even though it was much more evident I’d be a boozy unemployed writer).

You can read my first column, “New In Town” here.