Lost In The Supermarket

As much as I hate to admit it, I am what is called a “loyal shopper” at one of our local grocery stores.

It wasn’t planned. It very much happened by accident. I used to shop at the store that was closest to me, not just out of laziness, but also because the chain is local to my state in particular. It was just a grocery store, beyond that. Nothing special.

I had experienced several mishaps in that store, including, but not limited to:

  • burned by oil from rotisserie turkey that hadn’t been closed properly by the employee,
  • served raw chicken from the “Ready To Go” “prepared” foods section, and
  • sold expired meat.

So, mostly meat related, as you can see.

My first instinct, was to buy everything except for meat there, and then just hit the butcher shop for that stuff. That worked out. Briefly.

Long story short (this is short, for me), I ended up switching to a different grocery store altogether, which only turned out to be 1/4 mile further from my house. They do sales and coupons and all that fun stuff, where the old “local” grocery store doesn’t (my understanding is that they now have a loyalty program, which started right after I left – ironic), so I was already interested, because I fuckin’ love saving money. Right away, I began saving money, and it wasn’t two weeks, before I was hooked to the fullest extent of the (grocery) law.

Or so, I thought.

One day, I walk up to the register, and my favorite cashier, “Ginny,” says to me, “Hey, man.” (nods at me) “Do you do the preferred pricing program?”

Guh??? Preferred pricing??

Why on Shaq’s flat green earth, would anyone pay anything other than the preferred price??? It reminded me of that episode of King Of The Hill, where Hank finds out he’s a dumbass for paying the “preferred price,” which actually was sticker price the whole time, and he thought he was getting some sweet deal. Why was I paying sticker price for my asparagus?!

I immediately joined the program that day, and the addiction only got deeper. I imagined myself on Extreme Couponers, talking about ten cases of popsicles that the store needs to go get from their deep freezer out back, so I can pay 14 cents for them. I don’t know why I chose popsicles for that scenario. I don’t even like popsicles. I guess there’s still time to change this part, though I may just go with this.

So, I get this preferred pricing, and each week, I get my “frequently purchased items” at a discount, because it shows that I’m predictable, and they like that. One of my most frequently purchased items is Brown Success Rice (shoutout to Success Rice!) so I usually get a special deal on that. In my case, anything is considered a special deal, as long as it’s less than whatever you’re paying.

I put the rice on the list, and prepare myself to pay the preferred price of $2.48 per box (wooo!) for my tasty brown rice, which I did do. But when I looked at the regular civilian price, it was literally only one cent more. I saved a whopping ONE FUCKING CENT, on something that I’ve purchased TWO OF, every week, for the past 156 weeks. Not seeing how that’s a deal, but I did set the bar pretty low, so technically I got a deal. God damn ass loop holes.

In addition to special pricing, I also get freebies from time to time. Usually, they’re in the form of reward points, which I can then convert into free items, but that’s not too much work for me to do, so I do it. The free items are always something I need. Butter, eggs, shit like that- so even though they’re Store Brand, I get them.

Here’s where things get tricky with the Store Brand.

I get a coupon for Store Brand British Muffins (I think you call them English Muffins). I go to the store to get the Store Brand British Muffins, and I get to the bread aisle, and they only have Store NAME British Muffins. They have Store Brand BAGELS, but no Store Brand British Muffins. Only Store Name. Needless to say, they didn’t honor the exchange, despite the fact that they had given me a coupon for a product they didn’t even sell. Dealio!

Sometimes, they give me a coupon for a free item that is out of stock, even though I get there at 7:00 AM on the first morning of the sale. That’s a fun one. I’ve completely given up on asking for those items, because the store employee generally doesn’t return from that fact-finding mission.

Last weekend, I went to buy spinach pasta, because I like to trick myself into thinking Alfredo won’t undo any nutritional benefits brought on by the pasta. (I can see the green through the sauce, so the veggies are still alive, I feel like.) The package says there’s spinach in it, so that counts.

The store didn’t have my brand (Delverde, if you’re wondering), so I went with a different brand that looked pretty similar, and was delicious, just not as delicious as my normal brand. Out of desperation for spinach-laden pasta, I went with the large, inconvenient box of spinach pasta nests, that dwarfed everything else in the cart. When I got to the register, and unpacked my groceries, the cashier- who sees me in that store every single week– asks me the question I absolutely hate:

“Did you find everything okay today?”

Fuck you. I’m literally here every 168 hours, and never have questions, so unless the store has completely remapped itself, I could probably tell you where to find shit. Don’t ask me that.

Another thing I hate, on a side note, is this shit:

Cashier: “How are you today?”
Me: “I’m doing well. And yourself?”
Cashier: *crickets fucking*

Why can’t you answer me? I am right in front of you, and I have never once been accused of being quiet, so I guess it’s just down to you being a rude-ass, isn’t it? I realize dragging a bottle of dish soap across a laser beam is demanding of your focus, but surely you can spare a second of attention for the consumer?

Let’s get back to this weird checkout shit with the pasta, because I’m not done yet. The cashier picks up the big awkward box, clearly confused as to what it is, and makes an attempt at the Small-Talk-About-What-You-Bought game; another thing I absolutely hate.

“Is spinach pasta really better for you than white pasta?”

I looked at Matt, as if to ask him, “Are we on a hidden camera show?” But we weren’t. We were in real life, and this woman, who is around all the food, all day, every day, was asking me if the addition of a vegetable that is known to have some of the strongest nutritional benefits, would make a food healthier.

I told her, “Not the way I use it!” And then I ran out of there, without my stuff, just for dramatic effect.

The newest frustrating obsession this store has cursed me with, is the Monopoly game. If you’re one of those people who hands me their tokens after you shop, because you don’t play the game, you must take it from me: don’t even start playing. 

Most of the things I win, are either more tokens to play, or free donuts from the bakery. Last year, I won a whopping $5, but the whole thing was so convoluted and annoying, that I didn’t even cash it in. I haven’t thought about what the threshold would be, as far as making something worth the effort to redeem the prize, but it’s probably not in my future, so that can just go unsolved. At this point, the answer is: big.

A relative on my stepmom’s side is one of those extreme couponers, and I see her at the store all the time.  She doesn’t really say hi to me, and tries to avoid me, even though that’s dumb. I guess XC (extreme couponing) really turns you into a turd. While I admire her savvy spending, I can’t help but realize that I also could probably feed my family on $30 per week, if I still thought a diet of Honey Buns and Hot Pockets were a good idea. I’d rather just pay full price for the real food (like Success Rice!)

One of the funniest things I see at the supermarket, is how unorganized some people are. Their cart is all mixed up, and shit is getting squished, and their raw meat is stacked on top of their bread and fruit, and they just pile everything on the conveyor belt. No plan. I’m hard-focused when I shop, complete with a legal pad of every item I need, down to the price I am expecting to pay. Not everyone is like that, and that’s cool. Some people don’t have a list, and don’t care about the brand they’re buying, and don’t have any sort of agenda, so they don’t come unglued on their partner in front of everyone.

Sometimes, when I snap at Matt in the store, other ladies will laugh, and encourage me. Especially older ladies.

Other times, when he’s in the way of someone else, I tell them it’s okay to hit him. Then, when they laugh, I act like I’m not even there with him, and I’m just encouraging random acts of violence.

A lot of times, I just straight-up leave him at the store, if he doesn’t win me something in the skill crane.

(I’m just kidding about some of that. I’m not a mean partner, and I don’t condone violence. I mean, really, it’s Matt’s fault that he’s always in the way.)

One thing I DO like about grocery shopping (all shopping, really) is the part where they want me to give my customer feedback in a survey. Oh, honeychild, I fill out the surveys. I complain. I call the corporate office, if I feel so inclined. But the fact that they’re asking me to give my ideas on what would improve my shopping experience, is a bonus I always expect, but never get tired of.  I think I have my own folder in my store’s customer service inbox.

If stores could do one thing to improve my experience, I would definitely say the number one thing would be, “Shutup.” Just shutup. Just stop talking to me, and offering me things, and asking how my day is. I promise, you don’t want me to engage in some fake-ass conversation, because it’s going to probably look like this:

Cashier: “How are you today?”

Me: “Fuckin’ terrible.”

Cashier: “Oh no! Well I hope it gets better.”

Me: “Yeah, I thought it was going to, but then I got stuck in some dumb conversation, and now, here I am …”

Cashier: *weird nervous laugh*

Me: “Are you laughing at me? I had a step-uncle who used to laugh. He’s dead, now.”

And that’ll be that, because there’s no way any cashier has enough in them, to shut me up once I start down that dark, dark road. Nobody can. Not even my step-uncle.

Improve my shopping experience by letting me bag my own groceries. I want to. I tell the baggers to get lost, when they try to come help me. “I can do it better than you.” I should start telling them other stuff, like, “Yeah, they fired you. Nobody told you? I just heard them talking about it over there. I think one of them was the manager.”

There is one major upside to bagging your own stuff, and that’s knowing that your alcohol won’t be thrown willy-nilly into the bag with your canned vegetables. It also means you won’t be bitterly surprised once you get the groceries to your car, to discover that there are a ton of singular items that are bagged alone. Has no one told them about microplastics? Or about how my Bag Hutch is dangerously close to 12 bags, as it is??

This post has taken me about a week to write, which is not as much sad, as it is pathetic and sad. I go grocery shopping every Saturday, and I have been shopping twice, since I started this. (Matt said to stop it with the self-deprecating posts, because nobody is as tired of my writer’s block crap as I am.) I rolled up to the checkout yesterday, and my favorite cashier (“Ginny” from before) was there. There was nobody in line, so that was a bonus, and when we brought up our cart, she says, “Yes! It’s my favorite couple!”

My motherfuckin’ money skills are bringing her joy. She knows I’m going to save money, and she absolutely loves that shit. She also knows I’m going to tell the bagger to fuck off, so she just ends up telling them how great I am, as soon as they try to “help.” She tells them I could teach them how to do their job better. She’s fully behind my skills and opinions.

I always feel bad for the next person in line behind me when I go to Ginny, because they watch her be so excited and engaged during our interaction, and then she turns to them, and the smile fades from her face, as she says,

“Hi. How are you? Did you find everything you were looking for today?”

 

-jg

This Is All Very Normal

I was grocery shopping the other day, and while I was trapped in line at the checkout counter, I fell into the subsequent trap within the trap, of reading tabloid headlines. When I get to this point, there is only one thing left to do, and that’s to make fun of everything around me.

Those magazines are fuckin’ popular, let me tell you this. In the age of the internet, how the fuck are these magazines still making money off anyone who isn’t a doctor’s office? I see so many people holding them, clutching them, if you will, in their tiny little talons, and you know they just can’t wait to get home and read about what Jennifer Lawrence did at the Oscars. The internet can be a tricky place, so you know “Ok!” magazine is going to give you the straight dope on Kim Kardashian’s seven pink leotards she wore in Miami, and you don’t have to worry about fake news. The only fake thing, will be Kim Kardashian.

One magazine said, in big, bold letters: “CELEBRITIES ARE JUST LIKE US!” The inset photo had Charlize Theron throwing her garbage in a can, and another one showed Bradley Cooper going -gasp!- FOOD SHOPPING, in a pair of sweatpants … just like us.

These are things I do. How in the world can a celebrity do them too?! I was under the impression that skills were delegated to people, at birth, based on their future ability. Some people are garbage men, some people are movie stars. Never both. Time isn’t unlimited, and you can’t shop for your own food, if you have scripts to read!

I saw Tootie from The Facts of Life at an airport in Atlanta, once. She was flying coach. Just like us (unless you’re too fancy for this rant, in which case, what the fuck are you doing here, if not to discover me!?)

“Celebrities are just like us! They throw up that bad-choice Chinese food out the car window, on the freeway!”

I’ve met a bunch of celebrities, and I’m not name dropping any other ones, besides my near-encounter with Tootie. I will say, however, that I have seen some of them doing some incredibly normal shit. I went back to meet a music group that I love, and they were way too cool to come say hi to a fan. We were literally the only two people out there, and they sent one guy out to shake our hands, while the rest of them said “fuckit.” That’s a pretty average thing to do, I think. Some people just don’t even come out and tell you that their friends couldn’t stand the thought of getting sucked into a conversation with you. That might classify this as going above and beyond, but I’d say it’s more of an “above OR beyond” situation. I wonder how they decided which of the 7 of them would come out and break the news that we weren’t gonna burn a doob together? I bet it was a rock, scissors, paper shootout, because that’s totally what normal people do, and what celebrities would do, when they’re being just like us.

Another time that I met famous people, it was at a comedy show that I hauled ass for hundreds of miles to see. I did some pretty uncharacteristic things in those moments, but it was totally worth it. One of my comedy idols told me I was the coolest person in that crowd, so I had to appreciate not only his honesty, but his absolute accuracy in that truthful statement. He doesn’t say that to every fan, I’m sure of it. He was connecting with me on that normal, regular person level. I can tell when celebrities are schmoozing, and when they’re being just like us. This was definitely the latter.

I went to a festival, where the celebrity in question left the show right after their set. They literally only showed up to perform, get paid, and get the fuck out of there before the midnight rave in the forest started spilling over into the main stage. I probably would’ve done that, too. And some celebrities wouldn’t do that, but this one did. It took me by surprise, how normal it all was.

I saw a celebrity on TV, walking their dog. I was like, “What?!” Shouldn’t a celebrity have a dog walker?? How are they going to influence people, if they’re out doing things like walking? I know, as soon as I get famous, the first thing I’m buying is a dog walker, and I’ll never take part in peasant activities such as poop-scooping or jogging, ever again. I won’t even waste time playing with them. Heck, I might not even give them their own Instagram account!

“Celebrities are just like us! They buy their kids a car when they turn 16!”

Aside from the fact that celebrity kids don’t even know how to drive, I don’t know if they’d want to, unless they had to. You certainly could drive while dicking around on your phone, but that would be stupid, because why the hell would you want that kind of distraction from your phone?! They ride with Mom and Dad, like normal people (us), to the Cartier store.

Do you think celebrities are getting in fights with their kids, about how to plunge the toilet effectively, so it doesn’t overflow? I feel like they’re not. Not when there’s always the option of hiring someone to deal with that whole bathroom action for you, but I’m way too broke for that. I might be able to afford someone to just yell at my kids, but I can just do that for free.

“Celebrities are just like us! They yell at their kids in public, and say they’re not afraid to look like an asshole in front of everyone in the restaurant!”

I think if a celebrity saw some of the “normal” things in my life, they might try harder to stay famous. My new car just made it through its first winter, and it now rides like a horse-drawn carriage on a cobblestone street. And that’s AFTER getting it double-checked by my mechanic, AND ALSO having the tires rotated and balanced. This is just my life, now. It’s normal to feel like your vehicle is playing tricks on you. James Dean was a celebrity, and look at his car. Mine’s normal.

So, if celebrities are just like us, could we then also assume that the inverse is true? Are we just like celebrities??

“People are just like celebrities! They wake up at 4:00 AM, to get in full hair and face, and Vaseline their teeth to shine and sparkle, while scotch tape holds their eyes open, and they suck in their gut, while flashbulbs send them directly to temporary blindness!”

I saw someone do some celebrity shit, once. She was sitting in her car, taking some pretty dressed up photos of herself. She kept changing the light in the car, and adjusting the mirrors and windows and her seat and her hair, and she touched up her makeup, and then ran the fuckin’ gamut of poses. She got the southern light, and the western light, and the northern lights. At one point, the inside of the car was glowing. I think it was the Black Hole filter, which is so easy to click on, accidentally. It’s right next to the Black Culture Appropriation filter, on most devices.

I saw a guy at the ice cream place we go to, and he was definitely on some kind of hidden camera show that we didn’t get to know about. I can sense when a celebrity is around, and I think he was it! His outfit was magically delicious, first of all, in a way which doesn’t happen much with us non-celebrity folk. The outfit, I need to stop talking about, because I want to move onto the ice cream. This guy ordered a Fluffernutter Parfait. He talked endlessly about college football, and then steps up to order a Fluffernutter parfait, which I have to guess is probably mostly marshmallow fluff. Did that guy not eat enough Fluffernutter sandwiches as a child, or at least as a college student, that he just had to go to a famous ice cream stand, and order the fuckin’ chicken nuggets of ice cream?? Only a celebrity could be dazzled by such a juxtaposition of novelties, as college football, fashion, and a Fluffernutter parfait. Not in my town, Hollywood.

Perhaps, one day, I’ll be a celebrity. And when I am, I’m going to revisit this article, and I’ll write a new one, where I’m like, “I’m just like I used to be.” Only, more people will be reading those words than now, and most of those people won’t actually have a connection to the words, but they’ll probably act like they do. That’s the normal way. The normal way, also, is to swear you won’t change. So, I’m already living my truth.

What if celebrities started being so much like us, that we didn’t know how to tell the difference? Maybe Luke Wilson is my brother (he is), and I just didn’t know it (I did)? Maybe my neighbor is Larry The Cable Guy, and all the signs are obvious? I’ve confused a lot of people for Gary Busey, now that I think about it. Is this The Matrix??? Oh no, I think I incepted too far …

_EOF_

Vacation, By Accident

I’m taking a break from writing, which was completely unintentional. I’m at such a loss for writing inspiration right now, because I’ve been doing this for so long, and I still feel like I’m writing only for myself. If I’m writing for myself, there really is no reason to commit anything to page, because I probably will never find the time to read it again.

Matt says not to give up, ever, and I can see why he would say that, but you can’t pull motivation out of thin air, and there isn’t exactly a ton of drive for me to write anything. I didn’t even know how to word that first paragraph, and found myself getting distracted by Matt’s singing. That’s how I know I can’t write.

When I started this blog, I had tons of shit to say, and now I feel like it doesn’t really matter what I say, because nobody is actually listening. I’ll never be paid to write, and even the people who used to say they loved my writing have stopped reading. So the inspiration is lacking, and thereby, I see no reason to write.

I think back to some of my old posts, and I am thrilled with how funny and insightful some of them are, and it doesn’t even seem like I wrote them. I’m an empty well of ideas, where I was once overflowing with thoughts and philosophies and perceptions. Those old posts were so beautifully written, that I would read them over and over, but very few people have even read them once. Why keep writing?

If you haven’t read my old stuff, here are some of my favorites. I figure, if I can’t entertain you at this time, I may as well entertain you from the past.

Feel free to share, if you enjoy them.

The Feverish Brain

“Why Now?” revisited

Hey! Stop Blowing Me (off)

Manic Depression Is A Frustrating Mess

I Wanna Dip My Balls In It!

Mothers’ Day… Just ONE?!

Last Day of School 2017

Covfefe

Why Women’s Empowerment Is Important To Me

Vacation… Nothing Like What I Wanted

WOMAN…Whoa, Man…

Can I Help, Or Be Lazy?

There’s some love, some satire, some truth, some messages, and some ranting. I hope you enjoy it all, and I hope to see you soon.

-jg

Too Many Pies (Not Enough Fingers)

It has been quite awhile since my last post, which has been driving me batty with anxiety, so I hope you’re happy.

The truth is, I’ve been extremely busy with all kinds of things I can’t tell you about now, but mostly it’s because I’ve been working. I know it’s shocking to think that I don’t make a living off my amazing writing, but I do have a day job, and with the opportunity to work as many hours as I fucking feel like, I tend to push myself.

So part of it is work, and part of it is recovering from working too hard, and a lot of it is also self-medicating to get through said work. I love my day job, though it’s sometimes way more than I can handle, but at least I am my own boss, so I can’t complain that much. Other than the complaining I’ve already done, of course.

Besides my day job, I’ve been working on a show that I’m writing, and I can’t get my mind off of it. It’s consuming me. Every time I stop thinking about whatever task I’m doing, a new idea pops into my head, and I just feel this smile start creeping up on my face, and I just know I have to get to a computer or some note taking app, or whatever, because those little hand held voice recorder things would look super fuckin’ weird these days.

Anyway, I still love writing. I still have the passion to entertain you, and educate you, and broaden your very horizons, but I just have too many things going on at the moment, and I can’t write 1,200-2,500 words that don’t have to do with my show. I’ve tried. Look. I’m trying now.

I did start a piece about a topic that I’ve chatted on before (sports) but I just felt like it would’ve taken my brain in a completely different direction than where I need it to be, so that’s going to be coming soon. If you hate big corporations, and you think they have too big of a hand in sports, that’s something you’ll want to read. I’m trying to make it funny, but I think it’s more of a satirical shredding of a widely accepted idea, than a string of jokes. It’ll be totally different from everything else I do …

That was sarcasm. I was rolling my eyes, but you couldn’t see me.

I mentioned a few years ago on social media, that I was working on a web show with Matt. This is not that. The web show is still being filmed all the time, and we have several episodes that badly need to be edited. That is the bottleneck stage for us, currently. Once we get over that hurdle, and all the editing is done, the shows will be released. Until then, I’ll continue to start projects and then leave them undone.

This show I’m currently writing, is basically writing itself. It’s a series, and I’m finding myself struggling to pack all of these brilliant ideas into 20 episodes, but there’s just way too much. And the more I think of ideas, the more I think of ways to expand those ideas. I am very excited about this, because it’s nothing like anything that’s out there right now, and I’m going to work my ass off to pitch it.

Before I can pitch it, I need to organize it, and that’s been a fun process. It’s like doing a Rubik’s Cube, and every time you turn a row, ten more rows pop up out of it, and you win a prize, and you become stronger and faster. It’s addicting. Hence, this has taken both of my front burners, for the time being.

I promise to have something special for you sweet readers soon. This article does nothing to really ensure that great things are coming, so I guess you’ll just have to trust me.

-jg

Concatenation Nation

cause and effect. intent vs action. will vs outcome.

Just because you have a good heart about something, doesn’t mean you can project that positivity in any way upon what comes next. (In fact, Word doesn’t even recognize the word positivity at all, so there’s that). There are countless examples of this type of cause and effect throughout history. I don’t have to name them specifically, I’ll leave that to you. But think of the pain, loss, betrayal, and chaos imparted in myriad ways, all riding on the tail of a comet made of altruism and benevolence.

How can we know when our well-mannered actions are going to be offensive? By waiting for the effect? Does that teach us anything? Make us more knowledgeable on how misconstrued intent can make us look like an asshole? Rarely, do people realize that you can’t ever know how someone will react to what you have said or done, until it has transpired. And at that point, it doesn’t matter how honestly you can claim ignorance or sympathy. What’s said is said, and what’s done is done, and you get to watch your intentions get filtered through that person’s brain, through their emotions, and then morph into whatever follows. You did that, good or bad. That was you.

I sound like Mary Poppins. I believe she also said, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” as she poured medicine down the throats of freckled British kids who just didn’t want to clean their fuckin room. Did she think that old school cough medicine was going to get them cleaning, or get them more obedient? I think about what I know about cough medicine, which is A LOT, and then I think about when Mary Poppins was supposed to have taken place, and I know that cough syrup was loaded with the good shit. Way to go, Mary Poppins, you pusher.

What’s that you say? That’s a bible quote (it’s not a bible quote) and you’re not religious, so it doesn’t relate to you? Well maybe you’re a woman or man of science? Newton’s Third Law states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” I always wondered why it had to be an opposite reaction (ex: why can’t a good intention end in a good reaction, and vice versa?) and, how can you measure the reaction as being equal or unequal? What is the quantifier? I know, I know, forces come in pairs, blah blah blah. I want to see the force.

Show me the forrrrrce!!!

Basically, if you do something, something will happen. What they don’t tell you is, when you do nothingstuff can still happen. I’ve tried it. I just stayed at home for three days, and then two days later, my boss said, “hey, don’t come in on Monday” like I even was gonna.

Also, I remember I didn’t pay my phone bill once, and the shit got shut off. You want to know a convenient time to have your phone turned off? Pretty much any, as far as I’m concerned, but when this example happened, I wasn’t quite in that mind set. I am now, and now I just wish I could afford the hassle of living without my phone. One day, the internet will go bye-bye, and we’ll be alright again. It’s just a matter of taking the choice away. I’ll be okay with that.

But you know what’s going to happen before the internet goes bye-bye? A whole mess of shit. And actions and reactions, and causes and effects are all going to be broadcast to the world, for all to see, and then you can all have your own reactions to that, and it’ll just keep grinding on that way, and oh yes, it will be televised.

The decline, that is.

The decline that was brought on by the good intentions of convenience. The convenience of the internet makes us think we need it, because it introduces micro-conveniences, one by one, until you have a whole pile of conveniences stacked up, all interwoven together, and it keeps you from leaving. It’s like strapping yourself down with bungee cords, until you can’t move. Sure, with one or two or three bungee cords, you could probably still get away. But once you have ten or fifteen of those fuckers, you’re probably not going anywhere. That’s the internet. Don’t fight it.

Or, do fight it. We’ll all watch it, streaming live on the internet. Hell, there’s a whole demographic of folks out there, who would pay to see that. There’s money to be made in everything, including the horrific effects of good intentions.

Good intentions such as wrestling. I mean, the people need to be entertained, don’t they? It’s the will of the people to be entertained, and the line of willing entertainers is not only neverending, it’s highly competitive. Why not let them fight it out? We like watching a fight, don’t we? It’s entertaining. Those are some good-ass intentions. 

One of my favorite ways to recognize cause and effect, comes in the form of expressing appreciation. I was raised to defy the value of people as anything but pieces of shit that didn’t matter. My father did a terrible job of teaching me how to behave around people, and he was way too strict to allow school dances or games, sleepovers, parties, school clubs, or trips to the movies or dinner with friends. He did a wonderful job, on the other hand, of teaching me to hate everybody, and to search for the fault in others; preferably the fatal flaw that could eventually be used to destroy them if I felt so inclined. I was not asocial, but quite literally anti-social, meaning I was against people… period.

As I’ve gotten older the effects of my father’s influence on me have worn off, and as a result, I have discovered what kind of person I am. I reflect on times when I brought people (who cared about me) to tears, because I didn’t fully realize they were a person – just like me. I feel shame and embarrassment when I think of how cruel I was to others, and so, I have worked consistently (though not completely) to be a better person.

People often get lost in their own shortcomings, and their biggest failure is the failure to recognize when they’ve done something good. But the flip side of that coin is, the lack of positive reinforcement. When you feel confident about something, and everyone’s reaction is underwhelming or non-existent, it becomes difficult to feel inspired to persevere.

I try to have the reverse effect on people, and overwhelm them with positive reaction to their work. Of course, no matter how hard I try to be friendly and eloquent, it’s just gonna come off as creepy sometimes. For example: I am not above writing an email to someone, to let them know they have affected me in some way, whether moving me to tears with a musical piece, or catching my eye with a photograph they’ve taken. A poem, or a piece of philosophy. An act of kindness I witnessed. And most of the time, these people don’t know me. They’re just getting a message from a complete stranger, about something they may not have put much thought into. I think celebrities get this all the time, just for being famous. Why should a regular person feel strange about getting an unsolicited Attaboy from me? I’m pretty great. And safe. Believe me, I don’t want to come kidnap you. I’m way too lazy for that.

But I will gladly freak out 100,000 people (give or take), if I make one person feel like they’ve made a positive ripple in the world. People need to know those moments exist. They need to feel like their presence on this planet is making a difference. There are plenty of opportunities that people will jump at ferociously, to point out the ways you’re fucking up. I say, as long as Participation trophies are a thing, surely we can spare a few words to let someone know they didn’t fuck up. This action rarely results in someone feeling worse about themselves, I promise.

I saw a young man give a speech about diversity at a rally a few months ago, and even before hearing that he was an aspiring journalist (yesssss), I was really feeling the connection to his speech. He spoke about the things that made him stand out, some of which I share, as if they were badges of honor in a world that doesn’t recognize that kind of honor. That kid is going into a field that will eat him alive, and he couldn’t have looked more confident. 

On another fairly recent occasion, I watched a young lady perform as Rizzo in Grease, and her rendition of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” was so emotionally charged, that it brought tears to my eyes. I saw it three times, and I cried each time. She was it. I bet that wasn’t an easy thing, and she was next level. I said, “giiiirrrrlllll…”

There’s an anchor on the morning news, who is consistent as hell  with her impressive wardrobe, and every day, I would see her and say, “look at that dress!” This woman had a fashion sense that I found to be more sophisticated and pleasing to the eye, than most people in our area could ever dream of. She most likely put a lot of thought into her attire, and I felt she deserved to hear some positive feedback on her style. So I sent her an email. (Most of my surprise appreciation comes in the form of something they can re-read, and feel good about more than once.) I don’t watch TV anymore, but she still wows ’em, I bet.

None of those people had any idea that I felt such a connection to what they were doing, and very likely (and understandably) were freaked out by my sudden praise. But it didn’t deter me one bit. Being freaked out is just another form of surprise, which I told you I was doing to people.

I wrote an email to my 3rd grade teacher, last year, because I just had to apologize for being such a little fucking shit when I first moved there. He was the first teacher I had in that school system, and even though he had a reputation for being a hard-ass curmudgeon, I still had no problem testing his patience (he failed). I was constantly disruptive: telling jokes, talking back to authority, and aggressively daydreaming to lure him into the idea that I wasn’t paying attention, only to “snap out of it” in time to answer his question correctly. Other students weren’t yet at the level I was, and I knew that, so I was also a show-off.

I was a dick. Like I was saying before.

So, I wrote the teacher an email to apologize, and to let him know that I appreciated that he had dedicated his life to educating children, and that surrounding yourself with 200 kids every day is a ding-dong move, if you value your sanity at all. I think he already knew that part, though. That age (3rd grade) is terrible, especially for boys. They have endless energy, and they want to scream it in your face, so you know about said energy at all times. That’s also the age where kids want to be a dick for no reason, and I’m trying to tell you that I was no different.

I’m different, now. I’m not a little shithead anymore. I’m way fuckin taller.

I appreciate when things look nice, when they smell nice, when things work out smoothly, when people are polite, when people are genuine, when something sounds pleasant, when someone has gone out of their way, when my time is not wasted, when I know I’ve done the right thing. I think recognizing these things has caused me to not be the person I used to be. I value kindness and simple things, even when it makes me look like an old corny person that I used to think was lame (and now know, isn’t).

I no longer feel the need to make myself look attractive, and rarely look closely at myself in a mirror. There’s no reason not to, but there’s no real reason to. It is not so important what I look like; I’m just happy my body is cooperative from day to day. Even that isn’t guaranteed, but as long as I can impart my will on the working parts to compensate for the broken parts, there’s not really anything wrong, is there?

I no longer strive to get the upper hand on people, or make myself look “good” by making someone else look bad. That competitive nature was hammered home in my childhood, and I used to delight in my victory being a lone one. This has caused me to try to understand where people are coming from, and think about what I could do to help, if anything at all. Sometimes, it’s nothing. Sometimes, it’s nothing to me, but everything to them.

I no longer value getting things handed to me easily. Not that I’ve ever had anything handed to me, but I no longer wish for that. Hard work has been more of a reward than anything else has been. I don’t think about taking away from someone else, to be able to have something they don’t have, because things aren’t important to me.

People are important to me.

Time is important to me.

Those are the two things which change us throughout life, and shape who we are. And once either is gone, you don’t get them back. Appreciate somebody, before it’s too late to tell them. Far too often, people think of what they should have said, after they can’t say anything. Don’t wait for that moment. Make the Aha Moment happen now. Cause some effect. Ripple that shit.

-jg

P.S. please don’t go stalking people, and sending weird messages. That’s not the kind of surprises I was talking about. I can’t express enough, that you have to choose how you approach people. Your intentions may be innocent, but there are more factors than just that. Consider how that person is going to receive your praise. I have changed my outlook to catch the things that evoke true emotion, and then present my appreciation in a safe way. Just to be clear.

 

 

 

Your Chocolates Would Have Been Discounted, Eventually.

You think you’re soooo special, don’t you? Just like everybody else. How can everyone be special, if they’re all doing the same thing? Of course, I’m referring to my least favorite annual tradition: Valentine’s Day, AKA Love Day.

This particular greeting card “holiday” has been long hated by me, ever since I was a smart-ass kid with no Valentine cards in my (expertly crafted) Valentine box. I hated it when I was in my first relationship in my teens, and I hate it as a 38 year-old woman in a committed partnership. To betray myself every year, I graciously receive chocolates from people who love me, and I eat them (the chocolates, not the people), and it’s a tradition I plan to uphold for decades to come.

But I won’t spend my money on anything that is marketed toward love in any way, on or around February 14th. Love is such a huge part of consumerism in this country, that I wouldn’t be surprised if the current generation of “First Loves” equates love directly with money spent. I have seen this be the case in many individual relationships (and fucked up people who are happy to admit it) and the more DeBeers and Hallmark and Victoria’s Secret make you think “more money = more love”, the more difficult it will become to find those remaining lost souls who still believe in true love, even without money.

I know, I’m just making shit up.

Basically, corporate America wants you to spend your money, and they have plans to go for the jugular when it comes to casting aspersions on your relationship.

Didn’t you get her chocolates and flowers the first year you were together?

It’s been a whole month and a half since Christmas… it’s time for the measurement of how much you love her.

How much do you really love your wife???

It’s usually aimed at the dudes, when it comes to the buying of chocolates and flowers and stuffed animals and jewelry, but it doesn’t work that way for the ladies. When you’re a woman, the gift for your partner is actually something that you buy for you to wear, for them.

I know you ain’t lost. The ladies are expected to go pick out some slutty lingerie, to display upon themselves as the present to their companion. That’s the gift. The woman’s body is the thing, and the lingerie is the wrapping paper that you are secretly trying on while she’s at work. Do what you want. Some people like to keep the gift box for future use, and you’re clearly no different.

I always thought it was super strange, to be someone’s gift, as an object for them to use. It has made me shudder since before I ever even had sex, and it makes me feel like a prude for not understanding the “logic” behind the gesture since being sexually active. It just feels weird. I don’t like to feel like I have only one specific purpose, and I don’t like to be vulnerable to someone’s desires, especially ones I may not have correctly anticipated.

Here’s your present! It’s my body! You’re in control of my movements and choices, now.

I am not sure my body would be a good gift like that. It has a few issues. I’d have to get some slick fuckin gift wrap for that present, and it still wouldn’t be exciting. Mine would be more like this:

Surprise! Yeah, I know you look shocked. This is your present! My body! Good luck.

Speaking of giving your body to your lover for Valentine’s Day, AND speaking of chocolates… there is apparently this dude named Magnus, who will take a mold of your asshole (outer portion only, I think. I don’t know for sure how far you can take it, with the right kind of money AKA love), and then he makes chocolates out of the casting of your sphincter.

For you to eat.

This Valentine’s Day, tell that special someone, “Eat My Ass.”

I should mention that he typically has them made in the shape of the butthole model they used for the prototype, but you can have special sessions in his apartment if you want. That’s not something I’m going to pay for. If I’m going to be ass-up in some strange dude’s apartment, I’d better be the one getting paid.

So the chocolates look strangely real. They might not freak you out, but I think if they were like, chocolate with any sort of liquid center, that would be a wrap for me. A cordial cherry would have me running for the hills, after the winter I’ve had. Okay, it’s not my aim to ruin chocolates for you, so picture one of those fancy soaps that are all delicate and detailed in their shaping. Molding can work that same way. They look a bit like those Chocolate Orange slices, really, but it’s supposedly a tight pucker that makes them look suh damn good.

Anyway, since I’m already giving a major shoutout, I may as well link his site www.edibleanus.com and yes, that’s real. He apparently didn’t want to leave any mysteries as to what he sells (I understand he goes through authorized sellers, so you might be redirected to lovehoney.co.uk; be prepared for that). As you can see, I wasn’t joking about the Chocolate Orange slices. Mind you, if you order from the website, you will be eating someone else’s starfish. Just to be clear.

Completely changing the subject altogether, there is a tradition in Japan (just stick with me, here) that began in the mid 1950s, and it’s a Feb 14 day just like Valentine’s. Except for a few things.

So, it starts on our traditional Valentine’s Day, Feb 14th, when women are forced/pressured/made to buy gifts and chocolates -called giri choco, or obligation chocolate– for the men they fucking work with. Not just guys they’re dating, or guys they can actually tolerate, but regular dickheads at work. It’s such an obligation, that they have extra shitty “ultra-obligation chocolate” called cho giri choco, which is reserved for the extra shitty coworkers you absolutely can’t stand. It’s still chocolate; just lower quality.

It gets worse. You may have noticed that I didn’t mention the part where the men do anything for that whole entire day, while the women of the company come in to work, and lay candy at their feet before continuing to work for less money. That’s because men “can’t” return the favor until a full motherfucking month later, on March 14. We’ll talk more about that in a second. I want to talk more about this workplace chocolate thing.

If I had to give chocolates to the males at my workplace, you’d better believe there would be some homemade ipecac chocolates being given, and subsequently eaten, and very immediately barfed up. No one would ever know I was the culprit, because of their sexist rules about every guy getting candy from every female. They’d have to shut that shit down, and I’d be a hero. Because that’s how I feel about forced relationships with coworkers, whether male or female. You don’t get my candy just because you’re a dude. Of course that was a brainchild of the 1950s!

And while we’re on the topic of gender, I’d like to know how the Japanese tradition addresses the issue of transgender, gay, and asexual people. Women are forced to give chocolate to men, regardless of their relation to them, and then a month later, the men have their gyaku choco, or reverse chocolate. And no, it’s not a promise to all women that there will be chocolate in their future.

No no. The men are forced to give chocolate to females, yes, but ONLY the ones they’re interested in dating (or are already with).

Let that one soak in.

The men get a choice, which… bully for you, men. At least you don’t have to give everyone the wrong idea that you’re interested in them. But what if you want to give chocolate to someone of your own gender? Can you? Are you then allowed to not give any chocolate at all on gyaku choco day? And how does the female-led choco-shower on giri choco day make you feel? You feel dirty, don’t you?

Speaking of dirty, Japan also has this “spa resort” where you can soak in steaming chocolate water. Just like you always wanted, you dirty girl.

When I was researching this asshat chocolate thing, I was pleased to see that a chocolate company had recently campaigned for women to boycott Black Thunder, which is apparently a popular candy, and not a porn star. How could I have known that? Word on the street is, they want the ladies to just start buying the chocolate for themselves, instead of the usual repayment to men for all the help they have given us women all year, because women just need saving, and men are the only ones who can save us.

I like the idea of the boycott. Anything that involves more chocolate for myself, I’m on board with.

The part that made me laugh, was their reasoning behind the campaign. It seemed perfectly fine in its obvious message to buy ourselves some chocolate, but they couldn’t leave it alone. The company took out full-page ads, because they so badly wanted to make sure everyone knew that “Valentine’s Day is a day when people convey their true feelings, not coordinate relationships at work.”

Well, we almost had it. I just can’t get behind the idea that people save their “true feelings” for one day out of 365, and either don’t show any feelings at all, or just show false feelings for the rest of the time. Or, most of the time. It did say “a day,” to be fair.

They convey their true feelings, not coordinate relationships at work! Workplace relationships are for other days of the year. Not this sacred one that is about love, and nothing else! Not revenue, not profit, not consumerism and demographics, not manipulation of the economy, and definitely not a weird mind trick being played on society. Just love.

So the ladies are buying themselves the chocolate at full price, and eating it in front of their coworkers who don’t get shit. Good. What the fuck is the deal with women being pressured to please the men they work with, so the guys can pick and choose which women are worthy? That’s fucked up. I’ve worked with some assholes, and I most definitely wouldn’t spend my money or my time, in trying to please them. I wouldn’t even buy them discounted chocolates at the end of the month. Not even if they were 90% off. I’d still just eat them, because to me, chocolates never go bad.

Imagine even having to do that. Imagine all the years women were stuck having to go out to the store to get candy, while thinking about all the dickheads they work with, and bring it back to their homes, while thinking about all the dickheads they work with, just knowing that they have to include every. single. one. Even the abusive ones, the ones that are on a constant ignorant power trip, the ones who have ten fingers to point at everyone else who is to blame for everything, the ones who go out of their way to embarrass you, and harass you, and make your life a living hell, just because they’re a natural piece of shit. And you have to walk up to them the next day, with the candy, and probably a smile, and you give them the fuckin candy, and you go back to doing your job, because that’s the real reason you’re even there to begin with.

And they may return the favor, a month later. But only if you’re worth boning, of course.

This Valentine’s Day, if I’m going to be around a bunch of assholes, they’d better be made of (or holding) expensive chocolate.

-jg

Are You Ready For Some Football (fields)??!

Americans love football. This is no secret. We spend TONS of money on football merchandise, paid streaming services, game tickets, gambling (the various methods would astound you), ugly interior decorating choices, and old fashioned general idolization of football teams and players. That dollar amount is only rising each year, and it makes me wonder how our ecominny can be so bad, when we’ve clearly got that dizzough to spizzend.

FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS.

That’s how much was spent on super bowl weekend last year. That’s a $6 BILLION increase over the course of the previous 10 years. Money that we claim to need, but are willing to throw away, for the sake of entertainment. That’s not to say I don’t have my share of frivolous spending, but FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS. 

Just to give you a little bit of a basis for comparison, I’ll give you some examples of what $15B could otherwise pay for (as referenced in an article I read, regarding the $15B requested for our dumb president’s Dumb Wall of Manliness and Big Dick Swinging Power):

  • 7,500 miles of new roads (from New York to Seattle, two and a half times). Are we in the early 1900s? Do we have to still negotiate paving some fucking roads to drive on?
  • 388,600 college degrees (for 4-year students). I mean, or we could just relieve student loan debt, and stimulate the shit outta this economy. That’s something else, though.
  • 21,500 families of 4, eating $180 in groceries per week, for 75 years. As much as I would love to see this as a benefit, I can’t help being torn over the fact that we have a disgusting amount of food waste in the US each year, and more food certainly can’t be our solution.
  • 150,000,000 ounces (or nearly 5 tons) of dank bud from my medicine man. It should go without saying that I won’t disclose his name, but rest assured, we get the diggity-dankest cannabis there is. We’re only known for a few things here, other than the Patriots, and we’re just as successful in the flower field as we are on the football field.
  • 10 years of police force in Chicago, or roughly 3 years in New York. Of course, this could also buy 5 billion boxes of hot cocoa, which would be much more valuable to our current president.
  • 45 new VA (veterans’) hospitals. Then again, the government would have to start giving a fuck about veterans first, and we know that’s not something, so that will never happen.
  • 27 years of Planned Parenthood funding. Hahahahaha, oh man, we must have entered the “jokes” section of this list, because that was a good one.

Oh, here’s something that Americans can get behind: $15B would pay for 12 Big Macs for every American!

As stupid as that whole thing sounds, it’s not even what I consider to be the dumbest part. The most embarrassingly “oh shit, I’m the same species as them” moment I can think of, is when someone tells you the length of something… and then follows it up with “That’s equivalent to the length of thirteen football fields!”

Kah?

Why are we turning things into football measurements, as if they’re a baby that’s 72 months old?

First of all, can you even picture in your mind what thirteen football fields looks like?? I’m pretty sure you can’t, because even taking into consideration that it’s an abstract idea, you’re not going to come back with, “Oh, wow, that does end up being quite long; I see what you mean about the extreme length of that mass grave you were talking about, now that you’ve put it into a perspective I can understand.”

And that comparison is thrown around, willy nilly, in mathematics, science, and a host of other statistics – AKA, things we should be taking seriously. And while we’re on the topic of official scientific methods and terminology, I’d like to sidetrack, and demand to know who gets to say if the length of the end zones even counts, when considering the length of “a football field”? Why is it even a question? The end zone is technically a part of the field, as it aids directly in the scoring of points. Big part of the game, right there.

Or maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know the specifics, and I secretly don’t give a shit. My point is, why are we perpetuating this cycle by dumbing things down, putting them into terms that “the lay-person” can understand? Why can’t the lay-person just try to think a little bit harder about what is being explained to them, instead of expecting that it will be turned into a football analogy later on?

Seems reasonable enough, but this is America: Land of the Foot, Home of the Ball, and sports trump everything else. We have to cater to the masses (them asses) with our comparisons, and Americans overwhelmingly want to use football fields as the standard of measurement. America is so big, it’s 47,168 football fields wide, from coast to coast! It would take 80 of us, lining up our Big Macs from end to end, to make up a football field, and another 16 of us in the end zones! That’s a lot of people on our team!

Our team.

That’s another thing I can’t fuckin’ stand, and I hear it every single time someone talks about football (which, around here, is the Patriots, because we’re in New England, and we only have one football team for all of us, but it’s the only one that matters, isn’t it buddy? Sidebar: this thought is much funnier, when read in the voice of the slack-jawed turds that live around here). They want to tell you who “we’re” playing this week, and what “we” have to do to reach “our” goal, and who “we” have that’s strong, and how far “we’re” gonna go!

Stop it. You’re not part of the team. You’re part of the fanbase, which means all you have to do to reach your goal is spend your money on football shit so players can get paid, and spend your time watching the games so networks can get paid. You’re not playing anyone but yourself, if you think otherwise.

Over 100 million people (ahem, I mean, “team members”) watch the Super Bowl now, and for many of those viewers, the measurements on the football field are the extent of their exposure to measurements, period.

But it’s never used in the opposite way: nobody ever says “That football field was huge! It was like, if you lined up 11 London buses!”

And so, I am here to offer you some alternative uses for the football field standard of measurement. Here goes.

“That football field was so long, if you stood it up, it would be the height of 8 and 1/2 telephone poles”

“… it was like 6 and 1/2 semi trailers long”

“… it was 5 bowling lanes long”

“… it was like, if you let the statue of liberty lay down, with the torch arm stretched out”

“… it was like, if a giant sequoia grew to its full potential, and then fell over, right next to another sequoia that only grew to about 20% of its full potential, and they ended up laying end to end. It was like that.”

“… it’s like… you know the Chicago Water Tower?”  “Yeah, I know it. why?”  “Well, it’s like two of those, stacked up, but sideways.”

“That football field was long.”   “How long was the football field?”   “Picture this: 9 brachiosaurs, laying down, sleeping.”

Next time you hear someone tell you “The runner then finished the race, limping a distance of 6 football fields, despite her broken leg,” you will have your choice of comparative imagery to choose from.

You’re welcome.

-jg