Reverse Therapy

Sitting comfy-cozy cross-legged sharing secretz with mah sistah/grrlfriend/BFF-style on the couch in the living room, I had just gotten off the phone with a bosom buddy of mine when my priceless mother walked over and asked completely innocently, “Remember when you used to complain to me about not having any friends?”

Aw gee. And I was doing so well trying to forget.

Tune in next week for another heartwarming to the point of blood-boiling episode of “Living With Parents!”

Feelin’ (op)pressed.
photo courtesy of Flickr and boboroshi

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Craigslist

Dear Craigslist Potential Purchaser of My Brand-New Size 8 Purple Classic Cardy Ugg Boots,

Um, where to even start?

I have a wishbone to pick with you.

[It’s a wishbone and not a regular bone because I really wish that you would take things between us a little more seriously. So along with my grievance, I am also sending some well-intentioned hope and goodwill that we can come to a place of mutual understanding.]

When you decided that you wanted my impulsively-bought purple corduroy Ugg boots which I put up for sale solely on the basis that I did not want to be rocking yarn legs for the summer plus I did not know they were made with sheepskin, just how urgent exactly was your desire for them?

At the time, I thought you were for real. Yeah, that’s right, for real.

I offered the boots at half off the sale price at which I originally bought them. Already a serious bargain. You offered me your genuine interest in owning said boots and 80 percent of my selling price. This is not a word or logic problem. It’s just the facts. As far as I could tell, the boots were as good as yours.

Except something went awry, didn’t it?

Where exactly?

Oh, I don’t know.

How about that you never responded when I asked for a good time and location to make the exchange? You just somehow expected the boots to magically teleport into your possession and my wallet to simultaneously fill with chump change.

The travails of “communicating” on the Internet.
photo courtesy of Flickr and CarbonNYC

Then, a few days later, apropos of nothing, you wrote me again asking if I still had the boots and quoting a price even lower than your first price and offering a location for the drop-off.

Scare tactic or just plain gumption?

Sadly, I still had them as you were the only person who expressed any interest in purchasing winter boots in the summertime to begin with. I did appreciate that about you. We did share that quality.

Then the gears ground to a halt once more because I agreed again quite naively, asked for your original offer, and put forth an acceptable time frame and place. Again, you did not respond.

If anybody would believe it because I can’t at this point, about three weeks later, you wrote me again asking about the boots. This time, it was like I had won a little of your trust. You not only gave a location, consistent price, and date for the exchange, you also went ahead and gave me a time block.

Aha! The wary stray pup is finally eating right out of my hand.

But alas, I got too confident. I put the boots in the trunk of my car and expected the best possible outcome.

But when push came to shove, you just couldn’t deliver, could you?

I had the boots, the time frame, the location, the vehicle, and the date in aligned harmony. All that was left was an exact time for the physical exchange of goods for money.

But you, you left me hanging! You let those poor woven feet-n-calf-clingers melt in the back of my car.

It was all over as far as I was concerned.

It is like a frustrating and lonely game of Whack-a-Mole, in fact.
photo courtesy of Flickr and CarbonNYC

And now, two months later, the coup de grace, you write me again just to “check in if I still have these boots! Let me know! Thanks!”?!?!

As if it’s no big deal! Dishonoring everything that has already happened between us! What do you take me for? Probably the guileless naif that I am, but camman.

As far as I can tell, the sacred vendor-seller covenant has been violated not one, but copious times, with your dubious behavior. Please desist with your tomfoolery and pull-over-eyes-woolery!

In fact, I think the boots leave all that is left to be said, plain and simple: Ugg.

I just want a clean break.

Sheepishly & Anonymously,

Candid Scamera

I just got scammed by a door-to-door salesmen! I feel so dirty and ashamed.

The weird thing is even as my mother was telling me I was clearly getting scammed, instead of being a child and saying, “Mommy. Help me! I’m scared!” or being an adult and saying, “Mother dear, you indubitably make an infallible point,” I went with petulant teenager and pulled a “You don’t know me, lady! I got this!” sort of bravado that I have never before possessed in my life up until this specific situation in which I clearly did not, in any way, shape, or form, have the upper hand, or even, the upper hand-me-down (i.e., collective wisdom from the ancestral spirits).

I had just returned from a tell-all visit with the dentist in which my gums begged for their life as they were poked, prodded, and asked insipid questions about their upkeep, and they squealed, or rather bled, all the sorry details or lack thereof while my teeth looked on silently in horror—wire-caged, ghostlike slabs that they are.

I was also in full sleep-deprivation mode in which I was too fatigued and disoriented to even lie down (bedrock bottom, folks). I was merely wandering from one section of the house to the next trying to make sense of this spatial domain in which I found myself, touching walls and faces (even the repair guy who was over was subject to my zomboid query grunts).

Anyway, so some ruddy-cheeked chap comes to our door with a fake fundraiser spiel and a dream of impressionable, naïve minds. 

I’m supposed to answer it because my dad is with the repair guy, my mother is ironing, everyone is fulfilling their antiquated societal roles, and I am supposed to handle the door business as the overgrown girl-baby/indentured servant of the house.

As soon as this guy opened his mouth, 67 percent of me knew that he was lying, and yet, the other 33 percent said, well, hold on now. Let’s hear him out. He probably has some great points to make, some things you haven’t even considered yet, some brand-new, still-in-their-packaging falsehoods fresh off the pathological press!

He had an alright story, but it had about as many holes as a bylaw involving Swiss cheese. He was trying to raise money for a trip for his fellow honor students by soliciting book donations to a children’s hospital. A couple questions ethereally flitted through my numskull: Why aren’t they raising their own money? Why is the money going to books for a children’s hospital instead of the trip? Why is this guy telling me he’s trying to work on his public speaking?

Plus the recession. What was I thinking? Well, I have tried to make it clear that I wasn’t.

So I tell him what anybozo would say and I declare, “Alright then, I’ll donate two books.” I don’t ask him any details, not about the trip, not about the books, not about the children’s hospital, not about his fellow students, not about (most importantly) himself, and I merely declare, “Let me go get my checkbook!” As if I’m supersold on this idea and he hasn’t even begun to expel any effort yet.

Meanwhile back at the ironing ranch, I go upstairs to retrieve my checkbook leaving that sun-blistered sop on the front porch with his stack of cajoling papers and my mother begins the biggest verbal eye roll of all time. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! I TOLD YOU TO SAY ‘No, Thank You!’ HE’S CLEARLY A SCAM ARTIST!!! DID HE GIVE YOU EVEN HALF A REASON TO BELIEVE ANYTHING HE’S SAYING?!? DON’T YOU THINK IN THIS ECONOMY PEOPLE WOULD DO ANYTHING TO MAKE SOME MONEY?! WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THIS COUNTRY, I FELL FOR EVERYTHING BUT I LEARNED THE HARD WAY, MOST DOOR-TO-DOOR PEOPLE ARE JUST TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU!!!!”

Instead of reacting, I just mused about whether she was including the Girl Scouts and their evil cookies in her damning diatribe seeing as how my sister and I were both, at one point, part of that famed, well-intentioned cult.

Then, in the time-honored tradition of mothers and daughters everywhere, I said, “LET ME HANDLE THIS. STOP BEING A BULLY. HE SAID [FAKE FAKE FAKE BLAH BLAH BLAH] SO IT’S FINE. IT’S FINE!!!” I even mimed a door slam for dramatic effect since I didn’t actually have one to slam.

Then as if it was no big deal, I went and paid him. And thereby signed away my dignity and self-worth to make a fake book donation for a real children’s hospital to somehow raise money for a fake student trip that this guy wasn’t even going on, but was merely raising money for to improve his public speaking skills. Um.

I’d even buy a vacuum from a squirrel! I would!

photo courtesy of Flickr and kthypryn

The weird thing is the repair guy kind of got in the middle of our transaction because he had to check the door while I was writing a check and the scam artist was trying to look earnest and less sweaty, and in so doing, the repair guy gave the scam artist the evil eye-cold shoulder one-two punch combo.

Then my dad, one of the world’s top 10 cynics, came over and asked the scam artist for the breakdown, and then chose to believe him also. In retrospect, I think he was trying to defend my shaky honor, but I’m too sheepish to ask for an official statement.

Anyhowser, as I held the fake receipt in my hand, which much to my delirious realization said in big letters on it “This company is in no way affiliated with any students, schools, fundraisers, or charities” and watched him walk away, an undisclosed amount richer (*shame game*), I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I would need to Google his “company.”

And so I did. And, wouldja lookit that, it’s a scam. In fact, a scam that’s coming up on its 10-year anniversary! So really I was just paying tribute. Yeah, that’s it. The things we tell ourselves to stay passably human…*goes off muttering and sputtering into the sunset*

Retrospective/introspective addendum: Why did I do it full well knowing that it was the fakest fake that ever barely existed? In all honesty, I can’t quite say. One part genuine curiosity, two parts rebelling against mother figure, one part good-hearted gullibility, and one part incomprehensible disbelief. And I’d do it again! No sweat! Except the sweat on that guy’s guilty mug. I mean, wow.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wire some money to Nigeria.

photo courtesy of Flickr and Mykl Roventine

Oregon FAIL

So someone out there in this here great, beautiful Internet land was kind enough to share a link to a version of the old school Oregon Trail game that you can play right at the convenience of your very own computing system.

All uh, bored?
Photo courtesy of Flickr and CarbonNYC

Of course, I immediately wanted to toss my hat in the ring for a round.

Here’s a tip.

Don’t be so sure that you remember all the tricks of the trade of a childhood pastime you haven’t played in 15-plus years. Because hey, even the most prepared Girl and Boy Scouts among us will let something slip by us unnoticed.

And especially don’t name all your family members after pet names that your significant other uses for you because I guarantee you will have to helplessly stand by and watch as they each sicken and die off one by one.

I couldn’t even finish the game I got so sad. Dysentery, exhaustion, typhoid? More like severe depression.

(In fact, this deserves one more “more like” because I was so irrationally invested in it. So here goes everything…more like Oregon Trial because my heart was on that witness stand!)

Fittingly, this sign resembles a tombstone. History don’t play, son!
Photo courtesy of Flickr and bugeaters

I forgot the golden rule. When everything is going swell, don’t be quite so carefree! Go hunting. I ran out of food and I didn’t even notice for 200 miles!

I instead cruelly wondered why nobody was getting better with my stringent resting regimen. Oh, I don’t know, maybe because they were all sitting around staring at each other, licking their parched lips, salivating like leaky faucets, and poking at their well-defined rib cages. I’m a monster!!!

Burden of proof:

But no one truly has an easy go of it. It’s the flippin’ Oregon Trail, for exclaimin’ out loud!

Check out a stalwart compatriot of mine’s harrowing experience:

P.S. Don’t invest in two wagon tongues. I promise that one will suit you just fine.

Stand Up? More Like Run Around! Am I Right? No, I’m Just Late.

A PWNED SYMPHONY in three parts

PART 1: OMG U n00b

My entire attempt at executing my plans last night gets a small, irate FAIL stamp.

The instructions were simple, too simple maybe.

I had to be at an open mic at the University of Maryland by 7:30pm.

As I work in the south of Virginia, the trick was to cut through the District of Columbia real suavelike, and then get on some road that turned into another road that turned into the dead center of the University of Maryland campus. It sounded too good to be true.

It might still be. The fact remains that I didn’t get close enough to ever find out.

I mapped everything out using the Internet and then painfully transcribed the directions onto the back of a receipt. Ha! Little did I know my paltry measures would never hold up in the face of the cold, hard facts!

So I left slightly after 6:30, giving me an hour of time to get there (that’s a century in a chronic late person’s arsenal).

I missed the first crucial exit I needed and ended up circling the museums and monuments in Washington a coupla times. A worthy pursuit, but there was no time for sightseeing! Not at a time like that!

Then I thought I was going the right way but then it became the wrong way and then it became the oblong way and then it just became the long way. All of it was the bumpy way. Potholes, people! I’m telling ya!

At many points, I felt like this car: overwrought and alone, so alone.
photo courtesy of Failblog

I ended up crossing the And-uh-that’ll-cost-ya river (cost you time, that is!) into a shadier part of town. Said river also has a bad raw sewage pollution problem so no, it was nowhere near as glorious as the crossing of the Delaware. But thanks for hitting me where it still hurts.

After passing a naval base and an air force base, I finally got my “bearings” if you could even still call them that anymore.

I was even farther from my destination and a good deal south of my original starting point, but I was back on track.

I also had suspense movie-style sporadic phone conversations with Justin (AKA Night Hawk), the poor, trusting organizer at the open mic to which I was headed, to give him status reports and blow-by-blow commentary. Fittingly, he could only get phone reception outside of the actual basement lounge. So our communication was totally erratic. Edge-of-your-seat stuff! Top notch.

Here is a map detailing what happened:
I Family Circus-ed it just like Jeffy!


At about 8:40pm (70 mins late and counting), I pulled through the holy gates of the campus of the University of Maryland on a full ride charity scholarship for the directionally-challenged (I got stuck in two parking lots first).

After circling the entire campus in my car (see also: pretty but deserted) and ending up at the football stadium a few times (again, sporting events are good, old-fashioned fun, but there was just no time!), I finally parked my car in front of an innocuous enough place called the Benjamin Building.

I respectfully put quarters in the meter, two of which it ate with no gratitude whatsoever, and skittered off into the night, sticking to darkness so no one could see the wild, crazed look in my eyes.

No one can see me this way.
photo courtesy of Failblog

I had no idea where anything on that campus was, and Queen Anne’s Hall sounded like it could be anywhere.

Side Note: They should name buildings on college campuses based on the way they look (i.e., “Yellow and Round Student Union Center” or “Atrocious Concrete Trapezoid Library” instead of “Queen Ann’s Ballyhall” or “Ezekiel R. Lurgenberger’s Howzit Lab” because I have no idea what these people would look like in building form, geographically and spatially speaking.

I stopped at the Student Union Center, and asked a guy, walking by himself because I’m afraid to speak in front of groups without a stage present, for directions, and he said “I don’t know but I can check on my laptop.” He then proceeded to open up the most gigantic laptop I’ve ever seen. I’m talking 80s cellphone translated into a computer. I think the brand was Voltron. It could have doubled as a car/house. That big!

He then couldn’t log in properly to see the campus map (even though the buttons are each small islands in their own right), but after he finally got all of his wires uncrossed, he gave me the vaguest advice I’ve ever heard. “It’s behind the library.” I clearly didn’t have time to get into it with this guy (as in “get a load of…” with requisite hitchhiker’s thumb point) and his giant port-a-puter so I shimmied away.

Needless to say, I ran up to every slightly bookish edifice in search of the library, and I found one! The Hornslater or Hornbaker or Horntooter or something fitting-sounding.

I then made a huge perimeter around the library to ensure that I didn’t miss a single possibuilding that could be Queen Anne’s Hall. I realized pretty quickly that my parking meter had since expired and I was only wearing one shoe (a cute exaggeration) but I trudged onward.

I just wish stuff would be clearly marked and easier to find sometimes.
photo courtesy of Failblog

I avoided groups and happy people because my espirit de corps had dissolved somewhere along the journey. I had no animal totem to beg for help and the idea of telling jokes now seemed blasphemous. But Night Hawk told me he could still squeeze me on if I just SHOWed UP. That was it. Vengeance could still be mine.

I desperately asked another girl for help and she claimed having no knowledge of this mystical place, Queen Anne’s Hall. Because I had no choice at this point, I then asked a sad couple having a serious talk, and one of them turned to me slowly and gave me a sad, serious answer.

“Do you know where the quad is?”

“Yes, of course,” I said (meaning no, absolutely not).

“Well, it’s across the quad, way over there,” he said, pointing into pitch darkness as far as the eye could see.

I wanted to kick him in the shin and yelp for justice, but I merely nodded wordlessly and plodded away. He apparently had bigger problems than I did.

I crossed many streets and rivers, and got to this famed quad. There was no one there except one other girl who was far away enough that I still felt like the main character. It was just me in the middle of a grassy space that was ideal for showing movies on a giant projector or having joyous, memorable times, and I had a moment of inner peace quickly followed by a moment of indigestion all capped with an angst and frustration chaser.

After some more circling, I got a call from Night Hawk. He informed me the show was really just about over.

“Where are you?” He asked hopefully.

“I don’t know,” I said realistically.

We finally established I was near the chapel, which let’s be honest, I could have used at that point. Asylum and salvation sounded good, real good.

I told Justin that “Hey, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”

He said, “I’m sorry.”

Then I said, “No, I’m sorry!”

And then there was nothing left to say.


Then somehow I get back to my car, after a few near run-ins with cars and positive people…it was then 10:05pm, but it seemed like the year 2031. And a beautiful parking ticket sat on my hood as the final middle finger of the night.

The joke was on me.

Ultimately, even the law loses out…to the law.
photo courtesy of Failblog