Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sleepover Part 1

Sleepover Part 1

Every time I watch Grease and it comes to the sleepover scene my stomach starts to get queasy, my palms sweat a little and my eyes glaze over as I lose myself in the past for a few minutes. Sleepovers were a pretty big declaration of status but for me they were just another event that I had to go to that caused me a great deal of anxiety. I dreaded them for a minimum of three days before, imagining everything that could go wrong: I could fall asleep and someone might do something mean to me (Third graders didn’t generally need bras so that fear didn’t even come into play until junior high, but they might draw on my face with a permanent marker or stick my hand in warm water, making me pee.) I might get sick from the food and throw up all over the Birthday Girl or worst case scenario, I might have the poops on the night of the party and have to run to the bathroom multiple times with everyone suspecting what I was doing when I went in.

Then the big day would arrive. Sleepovers were always scheduled for Friday nights. This meant that the school day on Friday would be full of secrecy, deceit and some bit of excitement swirling around amongst my classmates. First of all, not everyone was invited so I had to be careful about who I spoke to about the sleepover because with one seemingly innocent conversation I could easily become the pariah of the third grade. One mis-step and the social standings I worked so hard to achieve on the playground would come crumbling down around me. Those first few years of grade school are essential in determining ones social status for the rest of their life. Scratch the tip of your nose a little too long in kindergarten and you will forever be labeled the Nose Picker. Get a little bit of dirt and sweat on your face on the way to the bus stop and you will always be the Dirty Sweaty Kid. Come to school with a giant cow lick and smelling like maple syrup and you will never shake the stigma of being the Kid Who Always Smells Like Maple Syrup. (Why was there always one kid who smelled like maple syrup every day?)

Navigating the school day on Friday was like walking through a social faux-pas minefield. If you spoke to someone about the sleepover and they weren’t invited, they got their feelings hurt and the rest of the girls who were invited were mad at you for the rest of the day because you caused such awkwardness. By the end of the day, your stomach hurt, you felt incredibly alone and you just wanted to go home and have your afternoon snack. But you were stuck going to the party because you had already said you would be there. Now you had three hours to sit and dread the party because you started your day with friends and ended it with enemies that you would be spending the night with.

If you were lucky enough to have survived the school day without committing social suicide, you left school giving all of the other party-goers that knowing goodbye that said “I’m saying goodbye to you as if I won’t see you until Monday but we both know we will be eating pizza and singing Sister Christian in your living room in three hours. See you then!” You walked home, threw your stuff on the floor and headed straight to the table where your mom already had a snack waiting for you to eat while doing your homework. We always did our homework as soon as we got home from school to get it over with. I hated this ritual on Friday but as I sat with my chocolate chip cookies and watched the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday evening I was glad that I wasn’t hunched over the kitchen table fretting over long division.

The next three hours were torture. It was that moment of limbo, wherein I didn’t want to really do anything at home and wear myself out for the party, making me more vulnerable to permanent markers, but I was also bored to death just sitting and waiting to be chauffeured to the party. So what better way to idle away those last hours of freedom than by sitting and worrying about the upcoming festivities and the multiple ways it could go wrong?

Finally my dad would tell me it was time to go and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I would take my Big Red chewing gum sleeping bag (I loved this sleeping bag. It looked like a giant pack of gum), my fastidiously gift-wrapped Rainbow Brite paint by numbers and my little overnight bag containing my sleepwear (shorts and a tee) extra underwear (you can never be too prepared) and my toothbrush and toothpaste, and head to the car.

After a long and gut-wrenching car ride in which I blazed a spectrum of being excited about being popular enough to be invited, to begging not to be left alone at a sort-of stranger’s house, we would arrive. My dad would walk me to the door and be greeted by the chaperoning parent, working out all of the emergency contact number and pick-up time information while I squeezed past the boring adults and joined the already raucous party in session.  The adults would finish their discussion, I would say my goodbyes (never hugging because that labels you as the UnCool Kid Who Still Says Nite-Nite to Their Parents) and head back over to the gaggle of girls in the living room. For a moment, my worries subsided and even though I was still a little nervous, I would begin to relax just a little.

As more girls arrived, we surrounded each new arrival, showering her with attention and praise for the new teddy bear sweatshirt she was wearing, until someone new arrived and the whole process started over. As soon as everyone had arrived, we would turn on MTV and dance around the living room while watching the videos. I didn’t have cable at home so I alternated between dancing like a fool and sitting slack-jawed in front of the tv as Lionel Richie stalked a blind girl who was sculpting his afroed head out of clay, Toni Basil jumped around in a cheerleader uniform or Michael Jackson didn’t stop til he got enough, dancing in front of giant cubes of clear Jell-O.

Suddenly the doorbell would ring and Birthday Girl’s Mom answers it, trading a few crisp twenty-dollar bills for four steaming cardboard boxes of greasy pizza. She carries the boxes to the dining room table as we all fall in line behind her like a parade of baby ducks following Mama Duck into the water for a mid-day swim lesson. The dining table was covered in pastel vinyl, matching paper plates and cups and glittery confetti. A few streamers had been haphazardly taped to the wall to let us all know that we were indeed at a party. And the buffet along the wall was covered in brightly wrapped birthday presents. A few of us at this point would head back into the living room to get our neatly wrapped Rainbow Brite or ET toys and place them the already highly stacked pile.

After inhaling two to three pieces of pizza each we head back to Birthday Girl’s (BG for short) bedroom and sit around talking about the newest elementary school gossip: Who was “going out with” who (where were they going exactly?) Did you know that Jeff kissed Amy on the playground? Jacob told me so. Jeff told him because they’re best friends. BG, always a trendsetter, already has a VCR in her room and pops in her very own copy of Grease. We are all impressed.

The phone rings. BG is super cool because not only does she have a phone in her room, but it’s a plastic Mickey Mouse figurine that stands with an outstretched arm perfectly cradling the phone. Birthday Girl answers it. But there is no one on the line and all she hears is some breathing and a few quiet giggles followed by the distinct sound of someone being shushed. Then click. We all think that this is odd but quickly resume our conversation which has now lapsed into discussing the merits of wearing leg warmers over our jeans.

Mickey rings again.

Same thing; giggles and shushing. Except one of the gigglers mistakenly pops out a few words before she is shushed and our entire party then remembers: Tricia Lewton, who lives across the street is having a sleepover tonight too. MaryAnn Coyle, who has a very distinct voice, was the one who didn’t shush.

We are being prank-called.

 This means war.



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Job Interview Q & A

Job Interview Q & A

One of my favorite things to do is to go to St. Louis Bread Company (Panera Bread Co. for those of you not in St.Louis) and listen in on job interviews. I love to watch the interaction between the nervous applicant and the prospective employer.  It’s a totally different experience when you have nothing to lose.

Which made me start thinking that I would love to set up job interviews just to have fun with them and do my own little experiments.  I think that this would make a great hidden camera reality show.  Most interviews usually ask typical questions. I would love to see what the potential employer’s responses would be to atypical answers. Most of these answers require the interviewee to answer very abruptly and then sit in awkward silence after speaking.

Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m five two. I like seafood and long walks on the beach. I’m single but looking.(slow wink at the interviewer)

What are your long-range goals and objectives for the next seven to ten years?

I’m hoping to have the entire collection of dogs that you see in those quarter machines. I have almost all of them but there’s one with a fire hydrant I just can’t seem to get. Also, I would like to have a career at this company.

What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?

I like it when I get one of those Employee of the Month certificates, really makes me feel like I’m needed.

How do you think a friend or professor who knows you well would describe you?

Life of the party.  Fun to be around.  Skipped a lot of classes or showed up drunk. Tells you when you got a boog.

Describe a situation in which you had to work with a difficult person. How did you handle the situation? Is there anything you would have done differently in hindsight?

My way of dealing with difficult people is to turn all of the lights out in the office and hide under the desk when I hear them coming.  What would I have done differently? I would have been in my office instead of theirs. Live and learn, huh?

What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?

Fear.  Fear of being fired when my boss figures out that I don’t know what I’m doing. Also, I really like Scratch and Sniff stickers.

In what ways have your college experiences prepared you for a career?

My experiences in college made me realize that I work best under pressure.  I am truly amazing when I wait until the last-minute to throw something together.  Not.a.planner, AT ALL.

How do you determine or evaluate success?

When I leave Dave and Buster’s with a giant stuffed animal, then I know I’m a success. Or at the end of the day, when I walk out knowing that I can return the next day, I feel successful. Really feel like I pulled one over on “The Man,” you know what I’m saying?

What have you learned from participation in extracurricular activities?

I have learned that I am very good at kickball and Nerf sword fights.

In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?

I am most comfortable in an environment where the boss is not breathing down my back, telling me how to do my job or really ever talking to me at all. No eye contact either.

How do you work under pressure?

I crack. I totally crack under pressure. Usually I let out a shriek of terror and then I curl up into a little ball and rock back and forth and sing myself some Natalie Merchant tunes.

Why did you decide to seek a position with our organization?

You’re hiring, right? Oh, and this is really close to my mom’s house so I won’t have to buy my lunch. She really knows her way around a ham and cheese.

What two or three things would be most important to you in your job?

Location, location, location. (let out sighing chuckle) but seriously, I could go to my mom’s for lunch.

What have you learned from your mistakes?

I learned you can get pregnant your first time. Oh, do you offer on-site childcare?

What is your greatest weakness?

I’m super lazy. I will spend a good forty-five minutes in the morning trying to get someone else to do my work. Then the next forty-five minutes I use to play Jeopardy online.

What is your greatest strength?

I can speak in the form of questions. I’m sorry. What is “I can speak in the form of questions.”

How will your greatest strength help you perform?

I will always be in control of every conversation I have because of my ability to phrase things in the form of questions. For example, in this instance, I could have said “How do YOU think my greatest strength will help me perform?”  Boom! I’m in control again.

Describe a typical work week.

I try not to schedule anything for Monday mornings because I am not worth a hoot on Mondays. It’s my low energy, back to the grind day. Then Tuesdays after I play Jeopardy, I really get into the swing of things so much so that I need at least a two-hour nap that afternoon. I spend most of Wednesday planning the happy hour we always go to, sending out e-vites, responding to queries about where we’re going, that kind of thing.  Thursdays, I start my pre-weekend clean-up, get everything ready so that come Friday at five pm, I am out the door!

Do you take work home with you?

No, I leave my work at work. I do however, take a few rubber bands home each night. You should see the rubber band ball I’m working on. It’s massive.

How many hours do you normally work?

Do you mean how many hours am I in the office or how many hours do I work?

Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?

I like to work independently while on a team. I can work well with people but if someone comes up with a better idea than me, I usually sabotage the team’s project because it makes me so angry. So while I’m working on a team, I secretly am working on my own to bring down the team. Win win.

Give some examples of teamwork.

I am a leader. And once when I didn’t like the manager’s way of handling an issue, I organized the employees as a team to mutiny against him.  We all really came together to get that guy fired.

Describe a time when your workload was heavy and how you handled it.

One time, and I’m not proud of this, but one time, when I missed about a week of work and came back to see that my inbox was overflowing, I just shredded some of the documents I needed to do one of the projects.  That way, when my boss came to me asking where I was with a certain task, I told him that so-and-so didn’t get me the papers I needed so I couldn’t complete it.  That other guy got fired.  But,  better him than me, am I right? You feel me?

Why are you the best person for the job?

Have you been in the lobby? If those are the other candidates, I believe that your day of interviews will answer this question for me.

Are you willing to travel?

I’m willing but unfortunately, I am unable to leave the county due to some pending warrants.

What will you do if you don’t get this position?

I’ll cry at first. But then I’ll probably be really mad. I mean, SUPER MAD. You drive the blue Corolla out front, right?

Why did you leave your last job?

I didn’t leave voluntarily or without force. Unfortunately I can’t speak about it until after the trial.

Do you have any questions for me?

Yes, I do. Would you say that we were AT LEAST two hundred yards away from that school over there?


Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Random


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I’ve Decided to Become a Personal Trainer

I’ve Decided to Become a Personal Trainer

I went to Forest Park to get out of the house in hopes that I might daydream myself into a blog topic.  I sat on the very plush grass below the World’s Fair Pavilion and started writing. I sat there for about ten minutes before I realized that sweat was dripping into places that I had forgotten that I had.  I gathered my things and headed up the hill to the cool shelter of the pavilion to try to hatch some brilliant ideas to write about.

I hadn’t expected to have the pavilion completely to myself because you are never alone in Forest Park.  There’s always someone around even if it’s just the guys tooling around on those dangerous stand-up lawn mowers. (Sometimes I can’t help but stare at them as they whiz around on them because I’m quite sure that there will be one time when one of them hits a bump or a pebble or a shoe and goes flying directly over the handlebars and ends up being chopped up by his own mower. And like my certainty that one day I will find a dead body in a public restroom stall and not know what to do, I am not sure what I will do when I am the only witness to a lawn care specialist in Forest Park being eaten alive by a lawnmower.  But when I moved up to the pavilion, I discovered that I would not need to think myself into a stupor in order to have a topic.  The topic appeared before me.

I had stumbled upon the “In” spot at Forest Park for meeting up with your personal trainer.  There were several couples working out up there. The first group I noticed was two women. Both looked fit and aside from the trainee wearing what looked like a saggy diaper, there was nothing odd about them that held my attention for very long.

The second couple is who I spent the rest of my time in the park inspecting.  This group consisted of a scrawny looking young lady who was working out with a not-so-scrawny looking “personal trainer.”  I put personal trainer in quotes because I’m pretty sure that Scrawny is new to the world of physical fitness, looked on Craigslist, found someone really cheap who claimed to be a personal trainer and would meet her in a public place, and ran with it.

I don’t believe that this man is a personal trainer at all.  He had all of the equipment (He came with a balance ball and a ball with handles) He seemed to know all of the terms (kettlebell: formerly known as ball with handles)  He even has the right techno-beat music pumping from his portable boombox.  He was wearing the proper attire: a backwards baseball cap perched on top of his head, a blue t-shirt and a pair of black Nike running shorts and gym shoes. He even threw out a “Way to go, Kid!” at her while she curled the little two-pound weights to her chest.

The thing that clued me in that this guy might not be the real deal was the fact that if I squinted my eyes and looked at him, I could swear that I was looking right at John Belushi.  I could faintly see the traces of a ghostly “College” stretching across his shirt.  I’ve seen personal trainers. I KNOW some personal trainers.  This man had the physique of a personal trainer…if he was personally training someone on how to have birdlike legs holding up the pony keg that they wanted to hide where a six-pack should be.  His man boobs were less prominent because of the nine month old baby he was carrying in his belly.  His t-shirt hid his lack of upper arm strength but it could not hide his love of beer and pork rinds.

I know how Personal Trainer came to find himself leading Scrawny through a workout.  He was looking through the job section of Craigslist, one hand holding a forty ounce as he navigated the net with the other.  He realized that he was not qualified for any of the jobs.  He knew he needed something that is flexible in schedule. Something where he can be his own boss. And preferably something he won’t have to report to the government because his “clients” will pay in cash. Also, it must be legal. He can’t go back to prison.

It hits him: He will become a personal trainer!  So he writes and posts his ad and lurks around his apartment, snatching up his roommate’s portable exercise equipment.  He peruses his cd collection and makes a custom workout cd that includes C+C Music Factory,  Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and Technotronic, even though none of these people have been heard from since the mid-nineties. He does research on the internet and puts together an exercise routine based on Reader’s Digest articles such as “Firm Up Your Abs in Six Minutes a Day!” and “Better Butt in Just Two Weeks!”

And then he waits.

But he doesn’t have to wait long before he has his first potential client.  They email back and forth a few times, him sweating a little (more than he does in his non-existent workouts) between each response, thinking that she has caught wind of his scheme. Is she on to him? Has his personal training career ended even before it had time to begin?  Then her response comes and he breathes a sigh of relief.  She was just a little busy with her new REAL job.  “When can we meet?” she writes, excited to get her toned body back.

“Tomorrow. World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Ten AM. Be prepared to sweat!” is his almost immediate response.

I tried very nonchalantly to watch as he led her through the basics: stretching, breathing, and water breaks.  As I watch their routine I am completely at a loss of understanding as to why she needs this bozo to lead her through such basic exercises. I also try to make sense of why she, when she first caught a glimpse of him, didn’t pretend to be someone else out for a walk and keep walking right by him and eventually double back to her car.

In the middle of his leading her through a “plank” position, he receives a phone call.

Which he takes.

“Hey what’s up?  (pause)  No…No, I’m at the park with my client.  (pause) No, I told you I put an ad on Craigslist last week.  (pause) Since this morning.  (pause)  Twenty bucks an hour. (long pause)  No, you should totally do it.  (pause)  Reader’s Digest. Yeah, I’ll send you the articles.”

Ok, so I made that conversation up. But he really did take a call in the middle of her workout.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I have now decided that since I am currently not working, I am going to become a personal trainer.  I need your help to get my clients because word of mouth is the best advertising.

So get to it.

If you have any further questions, I will be home reading Women’s Day articles on tightening those abs in four days while I munch on my family size bag of Cheetos, washing it down with pineapple soda while I wait for my Dee-lite/Ace of Base workout cd to be completed.

Feel the burn!


Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Jenn's Adventures


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Brain Matter

Brain Matter

I wonder how much brain space is wasted on storing things we won’t ever need to remember. Why do certain things stick in our heads even if they haven’t affected us directly at all? (Why do I remember that Jeanie K.  had Fruity Pebbles in sixth grade on the same day that she was worried she didn’t use enough hairspray?) Why can I remember things like this but I stare blankly at the bank teller when they ask me what my account number is?

Things that I needed to know in school (at least until I passed the test) didn’t seem to stick in my head the way things I have no reason to remember do. I couldn’t tell you the fifty capitals but I could certainly tell you how I ate my Fruit Roll-Ups in junior high (They all got funerals before being devoured, of course. Duh.)

I’m not talking about events in my life either.  Everyone remembers events unless they were intoxicated or were heavy glue sniffers growing up. I wasn’t so much a glue sniffer but I did snort paste (Please do not send me emails on the dangers of paste sniffing as I was not really a paste sniffer, nor am I even sure that it is possible to be one.) I’m talking about this random stuff that no one will ever speak about again. One of my friend’s favorite way to pass time was to point to something in my house and have me tell her where I got it, how much it was and what else I bought (or did) that day. This party trick would cause her to stare, slack-jawed at me like I was a circus freak show act. It didn’t help my case that I, for the most part, could do that with fairly decent accuracy.

I don’t understand why my brain stores away this stuff. Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to click the “trash” icon in our heads and start over? Think of how many arguments that would end due to lack of mental evidence.

What is odd is that I could get my little mental file folder of interactions I’ve had with someone and remember a lot of what was said (Fruity Pebbles) but if you asked me to repeat something I said ten seconds ago, I honestly couldn’t do it.

How does that even work? Sometimes the stuff that I do remember ends up hurting me in the long run because then someone will say something and it doesn’t add up and then my brain decides to step up and say “Hey, remember when he/she said this but…”

I had more to say but I can’t remember. Go figure. Ask me ten years from now and I will be able to tell you what it was I was going to write, what I was wearing, what I had for lunch that day and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

I  think I just figured out how this happens. Maybe my brain was left so empty from all of the stuff I was SUPPOSED to learn over the years that it just started grabbing anything it could get its grubby little fingers around and it didn’t care what knowledge it was as long as it could fill that empty space. Maybe someday all of this seemingly useless knowledge will come together.

One day I’ll be sitting around and suddenly the memory of what I used to carry around in my purse when I was four will come together with how many notes I saw you pass to your boyfriend when we were sophomores and where we ate dinner after our weekly girls only poker game and lo and behold I will use that information in a MacGyver-like way and keep mankind safe from a harmless-looking-but-filled-with-explosives van in the parking lot.

Or maybe not. But for the record, my purse had one Lego person, a rubber band, a piece of Big Red, a gold plastic poodle from a box of Cracker Jacks, two pennies and a grape Scratch and Sniff sticker.

Let’s see you diffuse a ticking time bomb with that, MacGyver.

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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Random


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The Pina Colada Song

The Pina Colada Song

I was driving to the park today when the Pina Colada song by Rupert Holmes came on the radio. Soon I was bopping around in my car, tapping on the steering wheel and singing along. This is one of those songs that I know but I don’t know.  I know enough to sing along with the chorus and a few other lines but I couldn’t sing it to you from start to finish.

What I’ve always found peculiar about this song is that for the topic, it’s unusually upbeat.   If you look at the lyrics (which I did as soon as I got home) it has a story that doesn’t fit with the music. I think for content sake, it would be better as a country song.

If you don’t know the song, let me give you the in-a-nutshell version of it: A guy decides he’s bored with his marriage so he looks through the personal ads and finds an interesting one about a lady who wants a man who shares her love for pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain.) This piques his interest so he takes out his own personal ad telling her he likes pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain. The song is now stuck in your head. You’re welcome.) and he wants to meet her. So he goes to the bar he mentioned in the ad and in walks his own lovely lady.

And she says “Oh it’s you.”


And then they laugh about it. They both realize that they both like “pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, the feel of the ocean and the taste of champagne, making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape.”

This relationship has dysfunctional written all over it.  They both tried to cheat on each other, neither knows what the other one does and doesn’t like. (Seriously, they’re married. How have they not had conversations, and awkward moments where one of them says “Yeah, never do that again. I don’t like it.” How do two people who so obviously have distinct ideas about where they like to “make love” not know these things about each other or that the other one has strong hankerings for fruity drinks?)  And when they discover that they’re both trying to cheat they laugh?

The song ends with them making these discoveries and giggling….but does the story end? I’ve always wanted to know what happened to the couple after their moment of laughter in the bar. So I wrote my own ending.


So we got into therapy and we talked and we cried.

And we decided to quit drinking, for twenty days we were dry.

But then we got into a big fight, and she called me a cheat.

I said I’ve got someone who I’d like you, that I’d like you to meet.


Then I said “hello pot, you’re the kettle” as she ran at me with a knife.

I didn’t like being cut or being stabbed by my wife.

I had to get eleven stitches, on my neck at the nape.

And I barely got away, I just barely escaped.


So my lady’s in prison. She’s probably popular there.

Because of her big boobs, her long legs and her flowing red hair.

Now I can’t use my left arm, or feel my lower half.

And when they took out the stitches, I was infected with staph.


So now I can’t drink pina coladas, or raise my arm above my head.

Good thing I never liked yoga because below the waist I am dead.

I’ve got to park in a disabled spot, land in my wheelchair in a heap.

I hope my lady has a lady, one she cannot escape.


Much more realistic.


Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Musical Interludes


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Hoity Toity

Hoity Toity

When my family comes over to visit, we go out to eat. I can cook. I will cook. But it’s one of those things I have to be in the mood for and most of the time,  I’m not.  Being the highfalutin’ family that we are, we dine at the local Taco Bell. I love Taco Bell (and don’t call it Taco Hell, that’s so nineteen ninety-five, and even then it wasn’t funny.) Taco Bell is the only fast-food restaurant that will actually admit to using Grade F meat,  the lowest quality allowed for human consumption. Taco Bell meat is Alpo dog food with a different label, but I love me some Grade F torn-into-bitty-pieces protein.

The last time we went, we were waiting behind a woman who looked so out-of-place. She seemed confused and overwhelmed and maybe even a little fearful of the world into which she had just descended. From the tip of her salon-frosted tips to the petals of her delicately painted rose toenail art, this woman was tan. But not “I visit a tanning bed once a week” tan. She was more of a “I have my own tanning bed and I use it every day all year-long” tan. Throw some flour on her, fry her up in a pan and she could pass for the Colonel’s crispy chicken.  To show off her un-natural tan, she was dressed in all white with bright pink fingernails (To coordinate with her toenail rose art) and was covered in diamond everything: rings, earrings, necklace, nose ring…maybe not a nose ring. That would have been beneath her. But this Hoity Toity was dripping money all over the sticky Taco Bell cracked tile floor.

Hoity Toity had this little list in her diamond-encrusted hand, so she was buying for more than herself. She wasn’t dressed to work in an office so I have no idea who she was feeding but I’m fairly certain she wasn’t going to partake of this slop. She started to order and the first thing she said with very little confidence was:

“Do you have something called a “chicken quesadilla?”


How does someone NOT know what kind of food Taco Bell offers?  There are commercials everywhere, for the love of Peter, Paul and  Mary. She plodded through the rest of her list the same way, unsure of what she was ordering, how to pronounce the items (Burreedo? Is that right? No? It’s burrito? I need to roll my “r”s? I’ll buy a speech coach.) and sometimes even looking around to make sure that she wasn’t going to be mugged by one of us mutants waiting in line to order.

She finished her food order and began to place her drink requests.

“It’s Mountain Roo? Did I say that right?”

OK, I made that last one up, but I think the only reason she got the soft drinks right was because of the logos on the different fountains.

Then the kicker: everyone knows how the receipt with number order system works. Correction, ALMOST everyone. Hoity Toity wasn’t familiar with the process of getting her receipt and responding when her number was called, which could only mean that not only was she not familiar with Taco Bell, but it would appear that she had never stepped foot in any fast-food restaurant. She was baffled when they called a number and no one spoke up. She went forward and said,

“I don’t know if this is mine. I don’t know where to look for the number,” as she gave the ticket to the employee.

This was obviously a fish-out-of-water cry for help. The Taco Bell Chef looked at her for a second with disbelief and then patiently he explained the process to her, sometimes glancing at other customers to see if Hoity was for real or if someone had a hidden camera trained on his face ready to let the joke surface. Hoity looked around too, but probably just to make sure no one was going to cut her while she waited.

I didn’t know whether to laugh at the situation or not because if the tables been turned and had I somehow ended up in one of the fancy restaurants that Hoity Toity probably frequents, I wouldn’t have known how to act either.

Lucky for me, with my income, this will never be an issue I will have to face.


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Back to School

Back to School

This time of year always puts me in a “what can I share with the younger generation” kind of mood.  I see the school supplies popping up on the shelves (I will buy massive amounts of Crayola crayons after the back to school rush is over.)  I smell the diesel of the buses as they drive their routes a few weeks before school starts.and I can almost feel myself slipping in the puddle of urine pooling at the feet of the scared kindergartener.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t take away a lot from my textbooks. Oh sure I got the basics down: reading, math, basic science and “don’t touch yourself in public” but there were a few key things that really have stuck with me. Since my education was probably very different from yours, we may not have learned the same things,and you may now have kids that need some advice,  here is some of what I learned.  I hope in return, you will share with me, some of what you learned:

* Don’t swallow the fluoride treatments.

* Don’t eat Oreos before the fluoride treatments.

* Don’t put stickers on the inside of your desk.

* Don’t punch your best friend in the stomach in front of the teacher.

* If you have to choose between two sleepovers, stay home. It makes your life easier on Monday.

* Stay away from the mean girls.

* Don’t swing on the girls’ bathroom stall doors like Tarzan. Someone will tell.

* Don’t give someone a best friends necklace when someone else thinks they’re your best friend.

* Always be ready for a pop-fly.

* When playing catcher, stay low.

* Don’t get sent to the hall for talking when the principal is coming down the hall.

*Don’t knock down the school Christmas tree.

* Stay with your class when you go on a field trip. They may leave you behind.

* Don’t quote Rainman. You will not remember that year of your life.

* Unless you enjoy the sound of your knees and ankles popping every time you bend, don’t do a lot of slapstick falls.

* Don’t wear tear-away pants around the college theatre group. It’s too tempting and too drafty.

* Always have finger puppets in your backpack for easy re-enactments.

* Don’t be sorry, be better.

* Fake it ’til you make it.

* The lady talking in the booth behind you at Denny’s IS NOT the voice of Piglet.

* Don’t try to roast Nerds candy over an incense stick (I don’t know why I tried either…but it was nasty.)

*Don’t show your irritation towards the lady who is testing you for kindergarten when she asks you what you consider to be stupid questions.

*The wiffle ball game is NOT over until it’s too dark to see the ball and someone starts crying because they were conked in the head with it.

*Don’t panic that you don’t know all of the continents before you’ve even learned about them.

* Never eat corn dog nuggets and Twizzlers all day. You WILL throw up.

*If you forgot to wear your jewelry, Pizza Hut forks bent around your wrist are not a good substitute.

*Unless you want a smooshed nose, keep your eye on the ball.

* If you’re going to draw on your walls, don’t use Chapstick.

*Standing on your chair while your English teacher is writing on the board is not a good way to make your peers laugh.

*Never fall down stairs unless you mean to.

*Don’t punch the neighbor kid in the gut for standing on “your property.”

*Being offered pot on your very first day of sixth grade in a new school is indicative of how the rest of your year will be. CHANGE SCHOOLS. FAST.

*Do not giggle when your teacher stands between you and your best friend with his hand down the back of his pants during math class.

*Wire coat hangers do not make good toys.

*Enjoy fried cheese for lunch. Later on in life, your body will plump up if you eat this way.

*Leading the cast in a rousing game of spoons backstage will cause some of them to miss their cues.

*If you get bored in a conversation, you can always just fall down to stop it.

*Junior College is like a second Senior Year.

* If you mix gum and Starburst and try to blow a bubble you’re going to have a mess. And, it doesn’t clean up easily.

*If you are President of your Student Government at Junior College, go fishing with your dad instead of giving the commencement address. The school will frown upon this but later in life, you’ll be glad you spent the time with your dad.

As you or your child heads back to school, you may want to go over this list, or even print it out to share with him or her.

Or you might not. It’s probably best not to give them any ideas…



Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Jenn's Tear Out Pages


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