Category Archives: crazy people

How to make enemies and alienate people

We’ve discussed here before how to win social media, both on Facebook and Twitter. Most of the advice boils down to Wheaton’s Law, which is:

Surprisingly, this is very, very difficult for a lot of people. I’m not sure if this is because they truly like being dickish, or they don’t REALIZE they’re being dickish, or it’s too hard to think, so therefore they just say whatever crosses their minds the minute they sit down at a keyboard…but whatever the reason is, the dicks seem to outnumber the people with something real and helpful to say online, most specifically in the comment sections.

Most people I know are, for good reason, aware that if you read an article online, you don’t, under any circumstances, read the comment section. Why? Well. Because here be dragons, of course.

For every kind, helpful and relevant comment online, you have to wade through people being racist, sexist, or just downright weird, and it starts to turn your stomach and despair for the human race.

But what about if you CAN’T avoid the comments? What if it’s your job to be the one to POLICE the comments?

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLTICIAN EVER!

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLITICIAN EVER!

One of the aspects of my current job is social media. Five days a week, I’m in charge of the work Facebook page and Twitter account (along with my other multitudinous tasks, of course. I’m a busy bee. But I am a HAPPY busy bee, so there’s that, then.) I not only schedule the posts our readers see, I’m in charge of reading their comments for a few reasons – to see what they’re saying (it might come in handy in the future); to see if there are problems (sometimes they tell us about typos/errors in the article or on the site, which we can hopefully quickly fix); and to make sure things aren’t getting off-topic or squirrelly.

Things often get off-topic and squirrelly.

Twitter isn’t bad, only because people in this area don’t use Twitter as much as I wish they did. (It’s a great resource for a newspaper – we can get the news out almost immediately and have a constant stream of it going to our readers. It just hasn’t taken off around here like it has in more populated regions. I think it will, eventually; we’re just late adopters.) The people who follow us on Twitter are respectful and polite, for the most part, and I never feel like I’m wading into The Princess Bride‘s Fire Swamp when I check our Twitter page.

fireswamp

The Facebook page, however, is a very different beast.

Now, please don’t go into this thinking I don’t appreciate – and even enjoy – a vast majority of our commenters. We’d be nowhere without our readers, and I love that they’re out there and paying attention.

It’s the fringe contingent that worries me. And keep me busy hiding their comments. And sometimes shaking my head and thinking, “oh, I don’t…oh, oh no.”

SO. For those people, I’d like to give you a quick list of pointers. You are very quick to complain when your comments disappear, vocally and angrily; you are very quick to shout “CENSORSHIP!” and “THANKS, OBAMA!” when you think you’ve been silenced. Hopefully, this will help you navigate the waters of our social media more successfully.

HOW TO NOT BE A DICK ON PUBLIC SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

  • Watch your language. I don’t know if you’re aware, but Facebook has a helpful function for those of us that moderate a public page. We can choose to have comments with swear words immediately hidden, so only we can see them. We very much utilize this function, as we have every intention of being a public page, and the last thing we want is some hapless child stumbling upon you cussing the hell out of a news story. Also, you kiss your mother with that mouth? Good grief, yo.
  • Stay on topic. Of course, there’s leeway here. I’m not saying there’s one path to greatness, people. But if we put up a post about, say, a fundraiser picnic, and you start rambling on about how angry you are that there are so many mosquitoes this year and there’s no global warming because of that LIAR AL GORE!, that’s just confusing and you might be a conspiracy-crazy. I’m not saying I’m blocking it, but people are going to think you’re a looney.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

  • Remember: since it’s a public page, everyone on your timeline, as well as anyone in the world, can see what you’ve said, and hover over your icon and see your profile. It’s just the way Facebook is set up, my little chickadees. You give up your anonymity when you comment on a public page. If you’ve got your page locked down, when they go to look at you, they won’t see much…but you’re still not anonymous. Your name is there. EVERYONE NOW KNOWS YOUR NAME. And your comment shows up in your friends’ newsfeed. I have a friend of a friend who’s very involved with commenting on social media sites. Every time he comments on our paper, my friend says, “I see So-and-So commented on your work Facebook page again!” Everyone’s seeing what you say. Keep that in mind when you comment. If you’re not being a jerk, you have nothing to worry about. If you are, however…well, your mom’s probably seeing that (assuming your mom has Facebook. My mom doesn’t. I’m one of the lucky few.) Do you want your mom seeing that? Are you sure?
  • Personal insults? Really? What grade are you in? We have had to take down entire posts because people randomly started insulting the other commenters, the people in the article, random politicians (seriously, if I never see another non-ironic “THANKS, OBAMA!” it’ll be too soon), and, in one weird thread, God. (Yes, some guy started really insulting God, like, over and over. SO MAD AT GOD.) That counts as off-topic, and it counts as just downright mean, people. STOP IT. I get it. You are filled with all of the hatred. You are ready to explode like a hatred volcano. Sometimes *I* am the target of the hatred volcano. Sometimes my beloved coworkers who wrote the articles are (and it takes every bit of my precarious self-control to not respond with a very biting “WE ARE RUBBER YOU ARE GLUE!” rebuttal, because when it comes to my coworkers, I am such a Momma Bear.) But if you go too far, I’m hiding your comments, buckaroo. I don’t like meanness. I don’t like the idea that people are walking around with a stomachache because someone was mean to them for no reason on our social media. Make a new plan, Stan, and screw off home.

    Oh, is THIS who's to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

    Oh, is THIS who’s to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

  • Why you gotta be so dirty? SO MUCH NAUGHTINESS. I’m immediately hiding your comments saying female politicians got to where they are “on their knees” or that the local taco place sells “fish tacos that remind me of my ex-girlfriend.” Seriously? What are you hoping to accomplish with this comment? Like, cracking up your friends with a “HEE HEE DIRTY COMMENT ON A PUBLIC SITE?” or “UNGH I AM SO SEXY THIS IS LIKE AN OBSCENE PHONE CALL FOR *EVERYONE*!” I don’t even know. I have ALMOST the least tolerance for this. The LEAST tolerance is saved for…
  • On my watch? No racist, sexist, homophobic comments. Not going to happen. Don’t even try. And if they happen when the other people I work with are on social media, I’ll sometimes randomly check and hide your comments EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT WORKING. Yeah, you heard me right. I FEEL SO STRONGLY ABOUT THIS, I DO THAT SHIT FOR FREE, YO. You don’t get to have a public forum to spew your hatred. Sorry. I know, right, FREE SPEECH? Well, we run the page, and you lost your right to free speech when you commented on it. We have the right to moderate. And until the day my fingers fall off, I will not allow you to put hate speech on our site.
  • Acting too cool for school is actually the stupidest thing ever. We get a lot of “who cares?” or “slow news day” comments. Did you really take time out of your day to write that? Actual time you could have been spending on something else? YOU obviously care, because you took that time out of your day. And no, it’s not a “slow news day.” There’s no such thing. If we posted the article, we think someone can benefit from reading it; if it doesn’t resonate with you, maybe…oh, I don’t know, don’t feel like you have to comment? It’s not like you have to comment on everything. No! Really! You don’t have to! I know, freeing, right?
  • Maybe spell/grammar check? I’m a little more stringent about this than others. I hate ALL typos. It’s what I do for a living; you can’t really blame me. Most people don’t care if you make a few. But I’m talking about the people who write a comment like “For teh all people eat fodo there waffles, good yunger.” I don’t…what does this mean? Do you even know what it means? Is it a puzzle? If I solve it, what do I win? (Is it waffles? That’s a worthy prize. I’ll take it.)
  • Don’t try to sell me a car. We randomly get a Ugandan businessman who spams about 15 of our posts with a huge long “CARS FOR SALE!” comment. We block him; he comes back in another incarnation about a month later. We’re going to keep blocking you, buddy. No one wants your used Buicks. And how would they even GET here from Uganda? Logistical nightmare.

These all seem common sense, right? Yeah, you’d be surprised. If you’re looking at the comment section of a public site, know that most likely, even though your blood pressure is up? Most of the worst comments HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN DOWN. I know. Humbling, right?

So the next time you’re going to comment on a public page, take a deep breath, think, “Is this a dick move? Should I do this? Am I building someone up, or knocking someone down? Do I have a valid point? Is there even any REASON for me to make this comment?” If you can answer all of your questions and still look yourself in the eye in the mirror…you are welcome! Comment away! If not…maybe start a blog where you can say what you want, with no fear of The Powers That Be shutting you down.

...or you'll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don't want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

…or you’ll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don’t want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

And, to those of you with actual, helpful, intelligent comments to make? THANK YOU. You make my day/month/year. Keep on keepin’ on, you guys. You make what we do worthwhile.

Advertisements

Using your common sense and ignoring your heart: a how-to guide

Now that I am an expert on both the movie and the television show Catfish – meaning, I’ve watched the movie and all three of the episodes available to me on my cable’s On-Demand – I think we need to have a chat, people of the internet.

It seems that some of you are being very, very foolish about your hearts.

Now, I know. I KNOW. I’m not really the best one to talk. I’m a walking conundrum. I’m very guarded and very wary of people – all people, not just internet people – but once you win me over, I’m yours. And I’m rabidly loyal and I wear my heart on my sleeve with those few people that I allow myself to trust. Now, usually this works out just fine. Sometimes, as happens to everyone, these relationships implode. Then I am crushed, because, well, your sleeve is not the best place to wear your heart. It makes SUCH a mess on your best blouses, seriously. Blood just NEVER comes out.

I give everything my all. It’s both a curse and a blessing, sometimes. I know no other way.

That’s neither here nor there, though. From watching all the Catfish, I have learned the following about people, and it is horrifying.

THEY ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH LONG-DISTANCE PEOPLE THEY MEET ONLINE WITHOUT TALKING TO THEM ON THE PHONE OR SKYPING WITH THEM.

OK, listen. I can totally, totally understand the power of words. It is very easy to get swoony feelings over someone who gives good email. It absolutely is. I’m not even making fun of you for that.

I get it. You get something like this, you'd be all twitterpated. Totally understandable.

I get it. You get something like this, you’d be all twitterpated. Totally understandable.

However, if you find yourself falling in mutual crush for someone you only know through email/Facebook/Twitter/some other text-based service, you owe it to yourself to do the following two things:

  • ask to speak to them on the phone;
  • ask to Skype with them.

If they refuse to do these things repeatedly, and give you excuses like “I don’t have a cell phone” or “I don’t own a computer that has Skype capabilities” THERE IS SOMETHING HINKY GOING ON.

You have to be wise about these things. I am completely emotional, and again, I am not the right person, probably, to be giving you this advice. I understand being all, “BUT I LOVE HIM HE DOES NOT HAVE TO PROVE HIMSELF FOR ME!” and I understand when your heart tells you things, it screams louder than your head, sometimes. I get that.

But you have to listen to your head. YOU HAVE TO.

If the person you’re internet-dating and telling all your secrets to and falling in love with and such says they don’t have a cell phone – well, think about this. They’re online a lot, I assume? If someone lives their life online, odds are very good they have a cell phone. And therefore, they are lying to you for some reason. Now, if they tell you they have a cell phone but limited minutes or something, maybe. I had that plan up until recently. But if that’s the case, they probably have a land line, and could talk to you on that. People in this day and age have phones. I’m sorry to break this to you. If they say they don’t, they are lying to you. And if they’re lying to you, they’re hiding something. (My mom, when I mentioned this to her, said, “NO! I don’t have a cell phone!” and I said, “Yes, Mom, but you aren’t exactly catfishing people online, now, are you?” and she said, “Most of the words in your sentence there were gibberish to me”  so she’s not a good example of people who don’t have a cell phone. Dad has a cell phone but it isn’t a smart phone and sometimes people text him on it and he refuses to text them back because, per Dad, “I have old fat fingers and I don’t know how to use that tiny little keyboard.”)

See? Everyone has a cell phone. EVERYONE.

See? Everyone has a cell phone. EVERYONE.

And, piggybacking on this, if you ask them to Skype (and you should, because listen, pretty words are awesome, and yes, you can fall in love with someone’s words, you absolutely can, but you don’t know you’re in love until you see the person; you can say you’re not materialistic until the cows come home, my darling dearests, but it’s not materialistic, it’s common sense. We are attracted to some people and we are not attracted to others. It’s just the way of the world. It doesn’t mean you’re an asshole. It just means you are human) and they say they can’t because they don’t have a computer, or don’t know how, or various other reasons, blah blah – well, again, most likely, that person is a liar. Now, I didn’t have a webcam for the first year or so I was blogging. So I couldn’t have Skyped. I suppose there are SOME valid reasons for not being able to do so. But I GOT a webcam. (I still haven’t really Skyped. I tried once. It was disastrous and I think I broke Skype, seriously. It froze a LOT. Why does it always seem to work so seamlessly on television?)

See? Look how much fun they're having. That seems unfair.

See? Look how much fun they’re having. That seems unfair.

Also, the Catfish-guy taught me a very smart thing (BAM, Mom, who SAYS the television won’t teach me things?): if you are friends with someone on Facebook and they only have a few friends, that’s a red flag. Also, if you take their photos and put them into Google image search, you can see if they ganked them from someone else’s profile and used them as their own photo. (I might be naive, but had no idea people were doing this shit until I saw the movie Catfish. It just seems like the shadiest thing alive. But it seems a LOT of people are doing this. THIS IS YET ANOTHER REASON TO LOCK YOUR SHIT DOWN, YO. If you put your Facebook profile to public, PEOPLE WILL STEAL YOUR PHOTOS AND USE THEM TO NEFARIOUSLY WOO LADIES AND/OR MENFOLKS!!!)

Listen, I’m going to tell you a secret. Probably it’s something you’ve heard before, but you need to pay more attention this time.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

This cat is lying to you, yo. Also, it has crazy eyes.

This cat is lying to you, yo. Also, it has crazy eyes.

If you meet a super-hot person on the internet who says all the right things and seems super-into you, well, that’s awesome, sometimes things like this happen, I’m not telling you they never ever happen. But if they refuse to talk to you on the phone…and aren’t always where they say they’ll be…and won’t Skype with you because they have plenty of photos online, isn’t that enough for you?…well, listen.

There’s going to be a little voice inside your head telling you “something is wrong here, sunshine.”

And your stupid, stupid heart, which is probably a little lonely and broken like many of our hearts are, is going to shout back, “Shut up, head! He/she is perfect and wonderful! He/she loves me! He/she is perfect for me and the exact person I’ve been waiting for my entire life! Head, you are NOT going to screw this up for me, he/she has a perfectly good reason for not being able to do these perfectly normal things SHUT UP HEAD!!!”

I know. I KNOW. It’s not what you WANT to do? But you need to listen to your head.

Now, listen. If you’re just friends with the person, it doesn’t matter as much, really. I have internet friends I haven’t spoken to on the phone or Skyped with. I trust that they are who they say they are and not lying to me. But I’m also not in love with them. I *love* them, sure, but I’m not making plans to spend the rest of my life with them in a sexual way, you know? If I’m going to invite someone all up in my business I want to know they’re who they say they are. I’m kooky like that. I also have fairly good radar. Or, if not “good” radar, I’m very mistrusting. So since it takes me a super-long time to trust someone, and if they do even the SLIGHTEST thing that makes me think, “NO THIS SEEMS WEIRD” (even if really it probably isn’t) I don’t bother continuing on with the relationship, I’m usually not overly fooled by crazies and/or loonies. Hopefully. Maybe. Who knows, though, I could be getting catfished left and right and probably wouldn’t know it because according to this show THESE PEOPLE ARE VERY GOOD AT THIS. And there are SO MANY OF THEM ZOMG.

(Also, I object to the fact that the Catfish show makes it look like all of us who live on the internet are crazies who lie for a living. I’m only PARTIALLY crazy and I don’t get paid for lying, thank you, TV show, I do it for FREE. Dad said, “Of COURSE you’re all crazy. I love you, but I think you might be crazy.” But this post is already mondo-long so that’s a story for another day, now, isn’t it?)

I know. It all seems very exciting and very romantic to have a long-distance internet boyfriend or girlfriend. (I’m specifying long-distance here, because if they’re local? MEET UP WITH THEM, YO. It’s like Skype but BETTER. There can be HUGGING. And other things. That I will not go into. Ahem.) And I know quite a few people who have met their significant others through the interwebs and guess what? They weren’t even stabbed to death. I KNOW! SHOCKING REVELATIONS!

Just use your head. That’s what it’s there for. It’s amazing to me that you’re not doing this. Don’t sell yourself short just because you think it’s finally your turn to have a super-romantic time. That’s ridiculous and how you get either murdered or your identity stolen, or in the smaller-scale of things, you just feel like a total asshat when the person you fell in love with turns out to be a mentally-unstable teenage boy or a lonely gramma or something.

Also, people who are catfishing others, just stop it. I think you’re probably insane, so you don’t understand what you’re doing is wrong, but IT IS NOT FUNNY IT IS HORRIBLE. You don’t earn someone’s trust and piss all over it. You just don’t do this. Ever. If you do, you know what they say about karma, right? YOU ARE GOING TO BE EATEN BY KARMA’S SHARP SHARP TEETH YOU ASSHOLE.

Just be careful, ok, internettians? It’s wonderful to fall in love. It’s the best thing in the whole entire world, followed closely by really, really good chocolate. And also maybe delicious pudding. Shit, now I want some pudding. But if it seems weird…IT PROBABLY IS.

This is common sense. You all have it. Please use it. Thank you. I worry, you see.


Vote Jack the Ripper for a Better America!

I’ve been saving some most-excellent news stories that we have to discuss but I haven’t had the time to talk about. I KNOW! SO BUSY! What with the punctuation and the stats and such. So many things going on here, whoo! Today, for example, I had to go to the doctor. But I forgot I had to go to the doctor this morning so I forgot to go to bed in a timely fashion last night so I am SO SO TIRED today. Blergh. I had to go to the doctor because all my prescriptions were running out and the doctor apparently needed to add to her vacation fund so she wanted to see me instead of just refilling them over the phone like she usually does. I’m not really sure what function this served other than I had to say “yep” a lot. “Yep, I’m still taking the migraine medication.” “Yep, I still have trouble sleeping unless I take medication to help me fall asleep.” “Yep, I still have crazy allergies.” Why I couldn’t just say these things over the phone is kind of a mystery. I long-ago decided that the whole visiting-the-doctor thing was a scam to make money. I’m the most jaded, aren’t I?  Well, mostly I’m broke so I don’t want to have to pay the doctor for something she could do for free over the phone. Anyway, I got a NEW sleeping pill which is supposed to be MAGIC KITTEN RAINBOWS so let’s see what happens. Maybe I will sleep for SIXTEEN YEARS! That’d be nice. (SIDE NOTE! She tried to give me Ambien and I’m totally freaked out by Ambien. Isn’t that the sleep-murdering drug? I don’t want to sleep-murder anyone. So I was all, um, let’s put a kibosh on the Ambien idea, what else ya got? Turns out, she had lots of other options. Apparently, no one can sleep, if we go by all the different sleeping pills in the world. Also, isn’t Ambien the giant-green-moth sleeping pill from the commercial? Oh, shit, no, I think that’s Lunesta. Either way, I don’t want to sleep-murder or see giant green moths.)

Get up offa me, moth.

Anyway, today, we are talking about something that will freak out the fellas, and how if you want to be president, you need to be a psychopath, and how (sigh, AGAIN) people are being idiots about Facebook.

First: PSYCHOPATH PRESIDENTS!

Apparently, presidents and psychopaths are QUITE SIMILAR. This probably surprises no one. I like that science backs this up.

Psychopaths have a bunch of traits (like “criminal versatility” and “parasitic lifestyle” and “glibness”) and through MUCH SCIENCE, sciency science types have discovered that the most successful presidents share a trait with psychopaths: fearless dominance.

Fearlessly dominant!

What is fearless dominance, according to the sciency types?

“An easy way to think about it is as a combination of physical and social fearlessness,” says Scott Lilienfeld, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at Emory University. “People high in boldness don’t have a lot of apprehension about either physical or social things that would scare the rest of us.”

He adds, “It’s often a kind of resilience because you don’t show lot of anxiety or frustration in the face of everyday life challenges.”

This trait helps presidents deal with big things like terrorist attacks and smaller things like public speaking. It’s the same trait that helps psychopaths ignore others’ feelings and negative consequences and do things all weirdly impulsive-like.

According to this study, the presidents that tested highest on this scale were JFK, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan, and Clinton. Aw! Bill! Not you, Bill! NOT YOU!

Not my Bill! Aw, Bill.

SO! When you are voting in November, I guess you want to vote for the candidate who’s most like John Wayne Gacy because he would be most successful? I don’t know if I’m comfortable with that. Wouldn’t someone who has psychopathic tendencies need to be good at hiding them? So if you KNEW the person was a psychopath, they obviously wouldn’t be a very good psychopath. So I’m going to say vote for the person who seems LEAST like a psychopath. In this case, VOTE FOR OBAMA. (No, seriously, vote for Obama. You saw the “47% of Americans are lazy slackers” Romney quote, right? And the “why can’t I open the windows on an airplane?” quote? And the fact that in order to talk to a Hispanic audience, he put on gobs of self-tanner and went out in brownface so he would be easier to relate to? THIS MAN IS OUT OF HIS EVERLOVING MIND.)

Oh, yes. Very relatable. Not at all offensive. Nice. Oompa-loompa-doompety-doo.

OK, moving on from psychopaths, we have people who are very stupid about Facebook.

OK, I’m sure you’ve all heard about people who got fired because of Facebooking, right? Like, people who will friend their boss, call in sick, then post photos of themselves getting super-drunk when they’re supposed to be home with soup and tissues? (There are also people who get fired for Facebooking and I don’t think they should have – like I read about a teacher who was on vacation, had a photo of herself at a table with a bottle of beer in front of her on the table put up on Facebook, and the district let her go. That can’t possibly be legal. How can they even prove that was her beer? And she wasn’t even drinking it? I feel like this might be a falsehood.)

What? What’d I do? HELP HELP I’M BEING OPPRESSED.

But apparently there are some people who don’t understand that once you post something on the internet, it’s on the internet, even if you post it “friends only.” Here, I will give you a quick tutorial. Even if you have all of your settings locked down on Facebook and it’s friends-only, if you post something, your friends can share that with anyone they want. Who can, in turn, share that with anyone they want. It isn’t locked down. Once it’s posted, it’s out of your control. If you don’t want people to see something – DON’T POST IT ON FACEBOOK. Use a little discretion and common-sense.

Apparently, a gangstaaaaa in New York City was talking about the thug life, yo on Facebook. But he thought he was being all circumspect and marked the more sensitive posts, like the ones with drugs and murder references, “friends only.” But apparently the FBI is allowed to talk to your friends and ask your friends to share your posts with them, and your friends can do that. So the gangsta’s friends shared the info with the po-po (well, the Feds, I guess, what’s that, the fe-fe?) and now the guy’s going on trial for gangsta-ism.

So, we could argue for a while whether or not this guy’s friends were assholes (or, like a lot of people, he just randomly friended pretty much everyone – WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS?!) or if they were upstanding citizens who wanted to help make the world a better place, but that’s not really the point. The point is that this guy thought he was being secretive and he was just being a jackass.

Rule of thumb: if it’s illegal, don’t post it on Facebook. If it’s potentially embarrassing to someone (yourself, others, whatever) think about it before posting it. Yes, yes. Your profile is marked private. But once it’s out there, your friends can share that with anyone, jellybeans. Use your thinker for thinking thoughts.

Finally: this one’s going to make you cringe, fellas. Sorry.

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that science has discovered a way to perhaps extend your lifespan so it is equal to a woman’s lifespan! The bad news is that the way to go about it is…well…maybe not something you’d be willing to do.

Researchers in Korea discovered that, after studying the genealogical records of the Chosun dynasty, eunuchs tended to live almost 20 years longer than intact males.

Lord Varys is very pleased with this development.

Yep. Eunuchs. So, in order to earn another twenty years, all you have to do is undergo castration. What do you think, guys? Worth it? Good tradeoff?

Now, before you’re all “that’s because eunuchs lived this totally sheltered and cushy life!” the sciency types are onto you and compared the eunuchs to other men who lived a similar lifestyle. Don’t mess with the sciency types. They know what they’re doing.

I guess this leads the sciency-types to believe that male sex hormones may be to blame for men’s shorter lifespans.

I don’t know that I know too many men that would give up the fellas for a chance to live another couple of decades. But maybe the men I know are all obsessed with their man-junk, I don’t know. I suppose some men have to do this when they get testicular cancer, right?So what’s the thought, men-readers? If you were promised another 20 years on your life, would you become a eunuch? I’m honestly curious about the outcome of this one.

This is a real eunuch. He seems shocked by what’s befallen him.

ALL THE NEWS! OK, off to toil away at the night shift. It’s late-shift week this week for Amy. All the late-night crazies are all mine! All for me! I’ll let you all have some if you want them. I’m not greedy. Happy day, all!


I’ve come this far, but even so, it could be yes, it could be no…

Whew! Auditions are done, show is cast, most of my crazy week is almost done! Auditions are always kind of exciting, you know?

Not my theater. Just A theater. But this is kind of what our auditions look like so I’m STEALING it.

Everyone shows up, all excited and bright-eyed, and you get to watch them (hopefully! usually!) putting their best foot forward, and then you get to cast some of them in a show! And that’s the best thing, you get to tell people they’re cast. (SIDE NOTE! The only time I ever got to call someone and offer them a part, I was SO EXCITED. See, it’s the director’s job to do that. Because it’s a kickass job. It’s fun, the person’s all excited, etcetera, etcetera. So my friend K. asked me to call someone and offer her a part. I WAS SO STOKED! I got to call someone and offer her a part! And I was all YES I WOULD LOVE TO! So I did, and guess what happened, no seriously, guess what? SHE DID NOT WANT THE PART. No! I am SERIOUS! It was an AMAZING part, and the funniest part in the show – not the biggest, but totally the comic relief – and she was all NOPE. You could HEAR the sneer in her voice.

SNEEEEEEER.

She wanted one of the bigger parts. Which she was too old for and wouldn’t have worked for her at all. Also the part was a lesbian and she was like, “my husband’s a big deal in the community so people wouldn’t like it if I played a GAY PERSON.” So I had to call K. all, “she said no?” and when I told her why, K. was all, “UGH DEAD TO US” and I agreed – K. and I are very simpatico, yo – and we offered the part to someone else. And listen! Sometimes the stars align. Because the person we gave the part to? WAS that role. She was PERFECTION. She was hysterical, she was sympathetic, she was gorgeous, she was a joy to work with, she totally lit up the stage every time she walked on, and she’s still one of my favorite theater people and when I see her she gives me these huge fierce hugs. Oh, also? SHE PLAYED A LESBIAN WITHOUT BEING ONE! I know ZOMG, right? Heh. She had to eat a BILLION TONS of food onstage every night. Like, a BILLION TONS. I’m totally exaggerating. But lots. Her character was supposed to be nervous, so she had to eat all the finger foods at this wedding. So every night, I had to make this huge plate of like olives and berries and brownie bits and cheese and things that wouldn’t crunch and she could eat quickly and say her lines.

EAT ALL THE THINGS, A.! (Her name was A.) EAT THEM ALL! While ACTING! (She truly and well rocked my face off every single night.)

[SIDE NOTE WITHIN A SIDE NOTE: due to some terrible experiences, K. and I, every year, look at the list of shows we’re going to do and are all, “UGH THIS ONE HAS FOOD.” We hate shows with food in them. Seriously. All you have to say to K. is “remember the eggs?” We had TWO shows with eggs. We have MULTIPLE BAD MEMORIES OF SHOW-EGGS. Eggs, left even a day, SMELL, you guys. Never do a show with eggs. Also, if you are watching a show and eggs are involved, please give kudos to the stage crew; they deserve them.] She didn’t even complain! Not at all! Except she asked for more fruit and less brownies, because she was worried she would get fat. Hee! She’s about as big as a minute. I love her. ANYWAY! This isn’t even a side note. It’s like a whole blog post of its own. I tried to offer someone a part once, they declined in a weird way, and we ended up winning in the best possible way, so it ended ok after all. END OF THE STORY.)

Let’s start a new paragraph. Palate-cleansing-like. Anyway, the WORST part of auditions is sending out the regret email. Because then you’re crushing people’s hopes and dreams and I hate that part.

I hate making people sad-clown. Also, I hate sad-clown. SORRY YOU GUYS.

I mean, yeah, sure, not everyone in the world can get a part, I know, I KNOW IT, but it still is my least favorite. (I hate it especially much when I have to send regret emails to people I’ve worked with before and I love to death. That kills me. Because I LOVE them. And they are WONDERFUL. And I want to HUG THEM UNTIL THEIR HEADS POP OFF and they are JOYS to work with and they are SO SO TALENTED. But it’s not my call, it’s the director’s call…and who am I to say who he picked isn’t right for the show? The cast he picked is absolutely wonderful. There aren’t enough parts to go around. It’s the nature of the beast. I hate hurting my friends, is what it boils down to.) There are three types of people who audition (well, other than the ones we cast, of course): a., people who are very good and almost make it, but not quite; b., people who are kind of middle-of-the-road, but not delusional, and they know they’re not going to get the part when they see the talent they’re up against (this was me most of the time I acted, I can admit it); and c., people who are DELUSIONAL AND THINK THEY ARE THE BEST ZOMG.

Luckily, this time around, we didn’t get any Delusional Diedres. Or Delusional Dereks, I guess. Everyone was calm. We’ve had some weirdos in the past. I don’t want to…um…what if they’re reading…I can’t call ’em out. Rude rude rude. Um, well, what can I say. We’ve had crying in the lobby. We’ve had people who DEMAND to read for another role after we tell them we’ve seen everything we need to see from them and they can go home. We’ve had people send me mean, mean emails in reply to my VERY NICE regret email. (Yes, yes, I know it’s still a rejection, even though it’s a regret email…but be GRACIOUS. There aren’t as many parts as auditioners. There never are. And even if there are, some people aren’t right for roles.) We’ve had people show up for auditions who are forty years too old for the part and be SO UPSET when they weren’t cast. We’ve had people show up blitzed-off-their-face drunk and almost fall off the stage. Once someone (who I think was…um…home-challenged? FINE I THINK HE WAS HOMELESS HE HAD A SHOPPING CART FULL OF CANS AND ALSO FOR SOME REASON CARPET REMNANTS, NO, I am NOT making fun, I am AWARE I am almost homeless myself, thank you very much, I AM REPORTING JUST THE FACTS) showed up with a bunch of weeds and was all, “here are some flowers, cast me!” and they were CRAWLING with bugs and I was all immediately bug-covered and I was trying SO HARD not to scream and was like “thank…you?” and when he went into the theater (after asking me to watch his cart) I threw the weeds into our backyard and washed my hands a billion times.

Here are some purty flowers for you purty lady I am a cast member now?

Oh, and once a lady body-checked me into a wall because she was walking into auditions but not auditioning, and I didn’t know if that was ok with the director, so I asked her to wait a second while I ran in and asked, and she was crazy with lipstick that went outside of the lines, and she said “I WAS TOLD IT WAS OK BY THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR!” (I’m the artistic director) and body-checked me into the wall and ran in. Then came back out a few minutes later with a handful of gum-papers and rolled-up programs and tissues and said, “I found this on the floor in there; it is trash. Hold out your hands, I’ll give it to you,” and I was like, “Um. No. Garbage can. There,” and she was all “HUFF HUFF TRYNA DO A NICE THING HERE.”

This woman needed to go into the penalty box. What, you think I don’t know it’s called the penalty box? I totally surprised you. You’re WELCOME.

So…yeah. I know you’re all thinking I’m super-glamorous and I’m wearing all black and a beret and oh, I don’t know, snapping to show approval like a beatnik and shit, but really we sometimes have to deal with a lot of lunacy. And the BEST part is we have to be nice because we can’t piss off a potential patron because theater is not rolling in dough, you know. So you deal with the craziness and you paste on a smile. A BIG OLD SMILE. And then sometimes you run into the kitchen and you hide behind the fridge.

NOT ME. Except for kind of the glasses.

But also let’s say 98% of the time it is totally awesome. And I do own a beret. I don’t wear it, but I own it. I got it at this awesome thrift store and it was totally brand-new and it’s wool and it has a little dragonfly on it and it was three DOLLARS. I mean, even to never wear it I had to buy it. I WANT MY THREE DOLLARS.

I WANT MY THREE DOLLARS!!!!

Anyway, I sent out the regret emails and we’re all cast with a great cast and the show’s going to be wonderful. And I so so SO hope that some of the people come back and audition for our next show which I’m stage managing because this show only had 4 people, and our next show has LOTS of people, and also I’m stage managing it and there was a LOT of talent at auditions and I’d like some of that on my stage in February!

OK, this is getting long and I have things to do like watch Project Runway and eat a popsicle and pet Dumbcat who got a billion times needy for no apparent reason today and also hid in the pots and pans cupboard and meowed from INSIDE there today and made me think my kitchen was haunted. Happy day, cactus flowers! Do something fun!

(Title from “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line…which has one of my favorite auditioning songs, “Dance 10, Looks 3.” Hee!)


You could drive a person crazy; you could drive a person mad

Want a Dad conversation? Sure you do.

Dad: Hey, I can’t say what I want to say.
Me: Hmm. That’s going to make this a really awkward conversation. Lots of guessing.
Dad: Because…the person…I am talking…um…about…
Me: Do you want to say something about Mom?
Dad: YES.
Me: Is she right there?
Dad: YES.
Me: Awesome. This is like being a Navajo codetalker.


Dad: NO.
Me: You don’t have to say Navajo codetalker in code. Mom won’t know that’s about her.
Dad: OFF-TOPIC.
Me: Fine. What’s up, Secretive Sam?
Dad: Remember once there was talk of people trying to drive you insane?
Me: Um. Oh, like gaslighting? Like my friend Chris said his wife did to him?


Dad: YES THAT.
Me: Is Mom trying to make you think you’re insane?
Dad: YES.
Me: What happened?
Dad: A person came to me today and asked if I took little white pills.
Me: The person is Mom? She’s going to know you’re talking about her now.
Dad: No. I am hiding by the back door.
Me: Oh, that’s not at all suspect.
Dad: She’ll think I’m checking the satellite dish.
Me: Because…you often check the dish? For…what, tampering?

TAMPERING!

Dad: STOP OVERTHINKING I DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME.
Me: Fine, fine. What happened with the pills.
Dad: So I said, “Yes, of course I take little white pills. I take a lot of pills.”
Me: OK. That’s not tricky. So far, so good.
Dad: You’re sticking up for her. Stop that.
Me: I am not. I don’t even know the story. Go on.
Dad: So she said, “Do you keep your pills in the freezer?”

What, you don’t keep your pills in here? Also, what’s up with this freezer? It’s so OCD-neat it’s making me itch.

Me: Well, now I’m curious. Do you?
Dad: Of course I don’t. Pills are not ice.
Me: No, no they’re not. Why did she ask that?
Dad: That what I said! And she said, “Is this one of your pills?” And gave me a little white pill.

MYSTERY PILL!

Me: And? Was it one of your pills?
Dad: Well, at first I was not sure. So I took out my magnifying glass, and I compared it to one of the pills from the bottle. IT WAS A MATCH.
Me: Um. OK. That was certainly thorough of you. Did she find the pill in the freezer?

What, you don’t have one of these around for handy freezer-pill identification? FOR SHAME.

Dad: You are jumping ahead.
Me: Sorry. It’s just that we’ve been talking for like a month now. About freezer-pills.
Dad: You don’t even know they’re freezer-pills, because I didn’t get to that part of the story yet!
Me: I used my powers of deduction. Go on.
Dad: So I said, “Yes, this is one of my pills. Where did you find this?” and she said, “It was in the freezer.”
Me: Aha! The game is AFOOT, Watson!
Dad: How come you’re Holmes? Watson’s a dummy. I don’t want to be Watson.
Me: Yeah, you should see the new Sherlock. Watson’s not a dummy at all. You’d be HAPPY to be Watson.

Is it time for more “Sherlock” yet?

Dad: What I found mysterious about the whole thing is that the pill? WAS NOT EVEN COLD.
Me: Dad, it’s a little tiny pill. It’s not metal or ice. It’s not going to retain the cold. That’s not how physics works, I don’t think.
Dad: Always sticking up for your mother. Is it because you’re both women?
Me: SIGH. Go on.
Dad: So she said, “I found this pill stuck to a cheese bag. Why was this pill stuck to a cheese bag?”
Me: Well, why WAS it stuck to a cheese bag? Hee, cheese bag.

CHEESE BAG!

Dad: I DON’T THINK IT WAS. SHE IS GASOLINING ME.
Me: Gaslighting. Is there any way you could have dropped it in the freezer? When do you take this pill? In the morning, or at night? Do you hold it in your hand when you go to the freezer for ice or something?
Dad: STOP TRYING TO FIGURE THIS ALL OUT. She is TRYING TO MAKE ME THINK I’M INSANE.
Me: This is a very nefarious plot she’s hatched, buddy. I mean, way to start small, right? A tiny pill, stuck to a cheese bag. Heh. Cheese bag.
Dad: I think the words “cheese bag” are making you laugh more than anyone should. It’s not that funny.
Me: It sounds like an insult. “Get away from me, you stinkin’ cheese bag.”
Dad: Yeah, it kind of does. Heh. Cheese bag.
Me: Listen! I have a story about things in the freezer from when I was in college.
Dad: Is this a sex story? I don’t want to hear about you having sex in college.
Me: …I don’t even…what about “freezer” makes you think I’m going to talk about my sex life? You’re so weird.
Dad: FINE TELL THE STORY. But if there’s sex in it I’m hanging right up.
Me: When I was in college, my roommate S. went out one night. I did not. She came home super-late. Or, early, I guess. I was asleep, I didn’t know what time. Anyway, she was super-drunk when she came home. I woke up and she was still asleep, but her shoes were in the bathtub and her skirt was in the living room and stuff. Super-drunk. These things happen.

Nope, never made my bed next to the toilet for easy vomiting access. Nope nope nope. Not me.

Dad: Not to my daughter!
Me: Yeah. Heh. Never to me. EVER. ANYWAY, when she finally woke up, she was tearing the house apart looking for something. All over the place. And I said, “What are you looking for?” and she said, “I can’t find my keys, I had them when I got home last night, but now they are GONE.” And we looked for a while, but they were nowhere to be found. So it was hot, and I went to get a popsicle, and in the freezer? Her keys. So I was all, “S.! I have found your keys. Did you get something out of the freezer last night?” and she was all, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DID LAST NIGHT.” And that sums up college well, I think.
Dad: What does this have to do with me? I’m not drunk in the mornings when I take my pill.
Me: I know. I’m just saying, sometimes things end up in freezers. It’s not without precedent.
Dad: Someday, your mother is going to call you up and say, “I had your father committed, because he was crazy.” When that day happens, please come spring me out of the pokey.

My dad’s going to the cuckoo’s nest!

Me: I don’t think you call the mental institution the pokey. I think it’s the nuthouse or something.
Dad: It’s the same thing. You have to come get me out. You know I’m not crazy. I did not put a pill in the freezer. Why would I do that?
Me: OK, Dad. I promise. I’ll bake you a cake with a file in it.
Dad: THIS IS NOT FUNNY.
Me: It’s a little funny, you cheese bag.

When I talked to my mom, she said, “Your father said those pills are so small he drops them all over the place and he probably had one stuck to his hand when he reached into the freezer for the bread. He makes everything a huge story. I can’t even IMAGINE where you and your brother get your storytelling tendencies. Not from the NEIGHBORS, that’s for sure.”

I think the funniest part of this story is that Dad went on and on and ON about how Mom was trying to drive him crazy but then he told her that he probably did it after all. Or maybe he just told her that she she wouldn’t think she won the gaslighting?

Sometimes I think it was a very good thing my life didn’t lead me to marriage. I would be extraordinarily bad at this.


%d bloggers like this: