I sat in the living room, the babble of the television filling the space. I wasn’t really listening. I watched her chest, making sure it was rising and falling as it should. Her hands were folded softly on her lap as she slept.

“You’ve got a huge decision to make,” some overly coiffed handy-man said from the screen. Immediately I was filled with anger. That happens a lot. The anger, it’s my least favorite emotion. I suppose it’s necessary.   The people on the T.V., their huge decision: picking out drapes.  My huge decision: I may have to pick out a dress for my mother to be buried in.

I haven’t allowed myself to fully accept that there is a very real possibility that I may lose my mother until this week. It’s debilitating. I really haven’t been myself. The waves of nausea that come and go as they please make it difficult to concentrate.

This isn’t fair.

Tears welled in my eyes, making everything look like a watery kaleidoscope. I cursed myself.  All I wanted to do was look at my beautiful, sleeping mother through clear eyes.  I was trying to mentally photograph her and my body was sabotaging me.

I wanted to look at her hands.

Her favorite story to tell me is how she knew she was having a girl.  I was born before a time when expectant mothers had sonograms.  And way before a time when expectant mothers had 3-D sonograms at baby showers.  Stop it, you weirdos. It’s creepy.  It’s like looking at a vacuum bagged frog. Really.

She’d look at me lovingly and say, “Your brothers bounced around in there like they were playing basketball; you played the harp.” She’d flutter her fingers to demonstrate my in utero musical skills.  “Your Grandma Carpenter was really worried about me” she’d always pause to laugh.  “I was so sick of blue, I told her I wasn’t bringing home another boy!”

“Then we brought you home, in a lace dress so stiff you couldn’t move.  And we looked at your hands,”  If my father is in the room when the story is being told, she will always turn to him and say, “Joe, remember how beautiful her hands were? How long her fingers were?”

My mother has beautiful hands too.  They are soft and full of love, I am not ready to let them go.

She is little. She is mighty. She is stupid.

“Hi, I’d like to make an appointment to get my dog groomed.”

“I’m sorry, what?” The voice on the other end sounded annoyed.

I repeated myself. This time she heard me.

“Please hold,” the woman said tersely.

“I don’t think I like this broad’s attitude,” I mumbled to Betty.  As I sat on hold I wondered what other people said when they called there.  Even if she didn’t hear me, there’s probably a 90% chance that most of the people that call are asking to get their dog cleaned.

It is after all…a dog grooming place.  Linda’s Classy Canines or something.  The name of the establishment isn’t the slightest bit misleading. I didn’t call there under the assumption that they were going prepare my taxes or refinish my kitchen cabinets.  “If they’re gonna be rude we can take our business elsewhere,”  Betty didn’t seem to care.

It’s not like there are a lot of words in the English language that sound like “appointment”.  Sure, maybe “anointment”…but Linda isn’t the high priestess of clean dog butts. I was really reading too far into what the tone of her voice meant.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong?  Maybe there’s some kind of lingo I’m supposed to be using?  I’m not so good at industry inspeak. Should I have asked her to pimp my puppy?  Did I just expose myself as some kind of fledgling nuevo-yuppie?  I’m not used to paying for services I should do myself.

I realized I had been on hold for a very long time after that last thought barreled through my brain.  My phone tallied my call time as 5:15.  But, I call bullshit.  It was way longer.

I ended the call, thoroughly convinced that Linda has abandoned us and I have issues with asking for help.  Betty was asleep on the pile of dirty clothes in the living room, blissfully unaware that the state of her fur is causing me such inner-turmoil.

I come from a long line of dog lovers.  It pains me to see her go from Betty White to Betty Bathwater Grey with Black Spots.  I know I must stop the metamorphosis before she goes full on Barry White.

I come from a long line of Do-it-yourself-ers.  It pains me to know I am paying someone to do something I can do myself.  I’m the same way when it comes to oil changes, lawn maintenance, and cleaning people.  If I can do it myself, I should. My brain can’t grab hold of the concept.

I come from a long line of people that do not like to be bitten by little, fluffy dogs.  It pains me…to uh, be in pain. Therein lies the problem.  She never breaks the skin, but she makes it clear that she is displeased.  No one likes to be growled at through the whole lathering process or given the silent treatment.

I may not have said this in so many words before, but Betty isn’t exactly a Rhodes Scholar and she’s…an asshole.  She’s the only dog I’ve ever owned that has her own slogan, “She is little. She is mighty. She is stupid.”  What she lacks in brains, she makes up for in cute.  She’s very, very cute. Like, seriously…she might be the cutest dog on the planet.



It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this.  I used to defend her zest for life, now I find myself apologizing for it.  She’s not extra zesty, she’s a jerk.  Our last walk confirms this.  First, on the way downstairs she walked into the neighbors apartment and barked at her.  After that she picked a fight with a dog twice her size.  When I’d finally had enough of her crap, we came back upstairs and she proceeded to shit on the floor while making eye contact with me.  Who does that? The size of the chip she’s got on her shoulder should crush her tiny frame.  Kanye West probably would have been a much better name for her.

You really don’t have to do anything to become the target of her ire, you basically just have to be a creature that doesn’t reside with her and be within barking distance.  Dogs, cats, ducks, squirrels, alligators…they all trigger an eruption of aggression.  She snorts and paws at the ground, raucous yipping quickly follows.  Whatever she’s barking at is initially stunned, but that doesn’t last long…I imagine it’s a lot like being yelled at by disgruntled, tumbling bag of cotton balls.

Since she is such a problem child, I was apprehensive about taking her to the groomers.  But, we took her anyway.  Surprisingly when we picked her up, she was very clean…and also not dead.  Why is that surprising? Well, she’s my dog…and there are times when I’ve wanted to strangle her during a bath.  They didn’t utter the words, “Don’t come back.” In fact, they said she was “Hilarious”.  I’ve never found having something angrily gnaw on my pinky to be the least bit humorous, but to each their own.

“Let’s face it Betty, Linda…or whatever her name is…is our only hope!  Everyone else thinks you’re obnoxious,” I said as she provided a chorus of sleepy puppy sounds. I put my tail between my legs and called back. This time Linda wasn’t such a bitch, so I didn’t say anything about being left on hold long enough to question my ability to be an effective human being.  It’s a small price to pay for a fabulous looking and undead dog.


“If we ever go to war with Russia, I’m aligning myself with the Cephalopods.”

His face was hidden in the shadows. “Um, what?” she said, because…well…anyone would say that.

As a whisper of smoke spun before her left eye, a human figure emerged from behind the dumpster. His eyes said, “I really trust Cephalopods.” His pants said, “I just pissed myself.”

The orange rind stuck on his cheek indicated he slept on his left side. She showed no fear as he approached her, mainly because she was still trying to remember what the fuck a Cephalopod was.

“Who will you follow?” he asked. She looked around. She was at the end of a driveway that lead to a very busy hospital. There were people everywhere; deciding he was harmless, she spoke. “Um, yeah…Communism isn’t my thing…so I’m on Team Cephalopod. You have some shit on your face, Dude.”

She, being the kind of broad who feels people should know when they have shit on themselves, didn’t hold back. She made the international “you have shit on you” rotating hand/pointed index finger gesture around the perimeter of her face.

He didn’t acknowledge her, but never took his lifeless eyes of off her. She thought he might need a smoke. She opened a white and gold box adorned with the Philip Morris family crest, and removed one of her remaining 20 Class A Cigarettes.

Her arm was outstretched in front of her…she held the cigarette. She posed like a runner preparing to pass the baton. He shuffled towards her. It was the slowest, and most pointless, reversed relay race known to man. There would be no winner.

She admired his shuffling skills. She could not recall a time where she’d ever seen someone move so fast without lifting their feet from the ground. The air temperature was nearly 85 degrees. He wore a sweatshirt and long pants, she wondered why…but who was she to question.

He moved past her, grabbing the cigarette. She thought of Arlo Guthrie, she had no reason for doing so…except for Arlo Guthrie has evoked the stench of urine in her mind since she was a child. No offense meant, Arlo.

They would never cross paths again. Slowly wandering away from her, his inner soldier prepared for war…while she Googled cephalopod.

Can I help you?

There’s something about me.  Something about my face or the way I carry myself. Something about my clothes.  There’s just something…always has been.

I guess we all have a certain je ne sais quoi that dictates how other humans interact with us. My “I don’t know what” says, “I work here”.  Moreover, my “I don’t know what” says, “I work here, and I’m not doing my job”.

Even when my mouth says, “I don’t work here,” the “I don’t know what” always finds a way to scramble the message.

It happens all the time, even in places where the employees wear uniforms. A few weeks ago I was shopping sans small child. Shopping without the constant chorus of “I want that” is like a vacation. I was wearing my favorite green t-shirt and green cargo pants. This particular shirt has a picture of a moose and bear on it, and says “Nature and shit” below the picture. Definitely not the red and khaki garb of the staff.

As I stood in the aisle browsing, I was approached by an older guy. He was preppy looking, and wore clothing that indicated he was into golf. His outfit was wonderfully coordinated, right down to his stupid looking visor. He had a cocky, better than you, my wife picks out my clothes air about him.

I have no idea how long he was standing there, but was made aware of his presence when he rudely cleared his throat. “AHEMMM. Are these disposable?” he barked at me, clearly annoyed. He was holding a box, but it was an item I was not familiar with.

As he glared at me, he let out a sigh. It was a sigh that indicated he was unhappy. His attitude was interrupting my mini retail vacation, and I was briefly confused by his aggressive behavior. “Technically, everything is disposable. It just depends on how much you like it,” I responded, smiling.

I went back to my browsing. I could still feel his presence. His eyes were burning holes in the back of my head. From over my shoulder his voice boomed “All you damn kids think you’re so damn funny! Well, it won’t be so funny when I call your manager…WILL IT?

Normally, if a person is polite I offer assistance; even though I will not be compensated.  I could have just turned around and said, “Why don’t you ask someone who works here?” correcting the surly moron, but we all know that’s not what I did.

I turned and faced him, again smiling “May I?” I asked, as I took the box from him. “Oh, sure! NOOOW you’re going to help me???!!! You think I won’t report you!? You’re all the same. You only WORK when you think you’re going to get fired! Well, you’ve GOT another thing COMING, MISSY!!” Yes, he called me missy.

He went on for what seemed like an hour…talking about why people like me are the reason the country is in the state it’s in, and how I’ll work minimum wage my whole life because I have no work ethic.

I let him ramble, while humming “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” in my head.  He kept getting louder…about the time I got to the “his truth is marching on” part, a woman in a red shirt, khaki pants, and a name tag appeared out of nowhere.  “Can I help you?” she asked the almost screaming jerk.

“YEAH, I’m glad SOMEONE who works here does their JOB! You need to have a little CHAT with your EMPLOYEE! It seems she missed the part about COURTESY when she did her training course!!! She’s a DISGRACE and should be FIRED IMMEDIATELY!” His visor was now visibly moving because the veins on the side of his head were pulsing.

I was still smiling, this displeased him even more. “Look at her, she’s just smiling at me like some kind of MORON!” The employee was confused, her expression showed she was trying to choose her words carefully. I handed her the box, and softly said, “He wants to know if these are disposable.”

“Yeah….that’s ALL I asked her…after I stood behind her for five minutes, waiting for her to acknowledge me! And do you know what she said!!???” he paused, I’m assuming for dramatic effect. “Everything is DISPOSABLE, it depends on HOW MUCH YOU LIKE IT!!!!”

“C’mon, you have to admit. That was hilarious,” I said to the bewildered employee. “This is what you call customer service?” he snorted, while throwing up his hands. It was at this point that the employee finally spoke again, “Uh, Sir. She doesn’t work here,” she half-mumbled.

“WHAT!!!??” the golf dork exclaimed. “Not even on the weekends,” I replied, laughing. “Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” He was speaking through a clenched jaw. “You didn’t ask me if I worked here. You sounded pretty passionate, I thought it’d be rude to interrupt you,” I continued.

“Well, that’s just not funny,” he stammered. Clearly this guy doesn’t know funny.  You would think he would have stopped there, but he didn’t.  Self-important jerks never know when to leave well enough alone.  “You know…I’m not here to entertain you. I’m a very busy man,”. There’s a lot of personality traits I despise, he seemed to have them all.  He couldn’t just sit there in his wrongness and be wrong.  “Well, Muffin. I’m not here to assist you, so I guess we’re even,” I replied almost singing.

I probably could have stood there in the dental care aisle and exchanged barbs with this dude all day.  But, I decided to excuse myself before he could say anything else…I had things to do. I’m a very busy woman.

This is what I think of you.

*In my world we say what’s on our mind.  This won’t change anything, but I feel a lot better for having written it.

Dear Asshole,

This is not an attempt to open up any lines of communication.  I want nothing to do with you.  I have made that very clear.  I am not looking for a response.  This is my way of getting closure. I know that you’re reading this.  I know that you ask about me.  You should stop.

You can defend yourself to the people that listen to you and still believe the bullshit that flows from your mouth like…well, the bullshit that flows from your mouth.

You are the scumbag.  You are the liar.  You are the philandering (that means cheating, you stupid fuck) piece of shit that you constantly accused me of being.    You went to great lengths to deceive me, why? Why didn’t you just leave me alone?  Why did you think I deserved this?

I already know the answer, because you’re mentally ill.   You play games with people’s emotions for your own entertainment. You get your jollies from deceiving people, it makes you feel superior. You aren’t, you are the lowest life form on the planet.  I’ve coughed-up mucus with more integrity than you.

You wasted my time.  You pretended to be someone you aren’t.  Did you think I wouldn’t find out?  Did you think you could threaten and intimidate the whole world into silence, like you did me?  If you wanted to snort cocaine and screw guttersnipes, you should have done that and left me out of it.  I bet it was great fun running around behind my back and making a fool of me, while trying to control my every action.

Do you realize who the fool is now? Did you use your food stamp card to cut your lines?  How do you look at yourself in the mirror every morning, or afternoon when you finally drag your worthless carcass out of bed, and not become nauseous?  I have never seen anyone so brazen (that means bold, numbnuts) and unapologetic for taking things they have no right to.

People tried to warn me about you, I should have listened. Maybe I would have spared myself the fantastic experience of being relentlessly stalked.  I saw you, you aren’t very good at it.  But, you should be used to hearing that by now…you aren’t very good at anything tangible (that means real, shit for brains).  You’re awesome at creating your own little world, where you are always the victim and everyone is out to get you.  You also excel at being selfish, dramatic, and violent.  Good job, buddy…those skills have gotten you where you are today.

Everything you said you aren’t, you are.  “I’m not a cheater,” lie.  “I wasn’t doing coke,” lie.  “I’m a good man,” lie.  You aren’t a good man, you are a waste of human flesh.  One seriously fucked-up individual.  The more time I spent with you, the more I became like you…boy, am I glad that’s over.

You moved in with me, and then lived off me like a parasite.  You played sick mind games, because it made you feel better about your pathetic existence.  You were jealous of my son, you didn’t love him like he was your own.  He was a nuisance to you.  He took the attention off of you.  He deserves my attention, you do not.  How dare you use him to make people feel bad for you, as you ranted like a lunatic about me on Facebook.  You didn’t care about him, why pretend you did? Did that get you laid?

How dare you tell people you had to leave Florida because of me.  You had to leave because you ran out of people to live off of, you exhausted your supply of trusting people of which to mooch.  I’m not on some committee that gets to decide who lives in the state and who doesn’t.   You make your own decisions.  I can’t make you do a damn thing.  If I had these magical powers you’d be reading this from under a rock in the Hudson River.

People like you are hatched, they aren’t born.

How many women have you done this to?  In case you were contemplating (that means thinking, jackwad) telling your next victim that you improved my life and helped me as a person, like you told me you did with all of your previous girlfriend’s…I recommend you don’t.  I am a better person now as opposed to when we met, but I did all that work on my own.  You deserve and will receive absolutely no credit.  You did nothing but try to break me.  You didn’t succeed.  Through your torture I learned what a strong, intelligent woman I am…and what a weak, miserable prick you are.

I hate your fucking haircut, you psychotic bastard.  Since you sent me about 900 text messages asking me if I liked it, I figured I’d give you the answer.

It’d be nice if you stopped trying to damage my character and reputation.  For someone that hated my blog, you sure read it a lot.  Did you start your own?  “The World According to Bullshit” wasn’t that what you were going to call it? At the time it was an insult, but now it seems like an appropriate name.  Maybe you could put offensive, horribly misspelled cartoons on it?

The demanding that people not associate with me, that was a nice touch.  Were you afraid I was going to tell them what you really are?  It’s hard to elicit (that means get, Mongo) sympathy from people when they find out what a giant douche you are.  Well played.

There’s a lot more I’d like to say to you, but I’m not going to.  I’m going to move on with my life and forget I ever met you.  I was going to say “knew you,” but I never actually did.  I just spent a lot of time with a monster.

I don’t burn bridges, fucker. I blow them up.

Drop dead,

Sara Carpenter

Cinco de Mayo.

My grandmother will have been gone for one year on Sunday, May 5th. It figures she’d have picked my second favorite designated drinking holiday to die. If you’re thinking “Gee, Scarp! That sounds heartlessy and bitch-tastic,” these are two qualities I learned from her. You really had to know the woman to appreciate the depths of her douchebaggery. Yes, she gave me a lot. I appreciate her contributions, but she didn’t do it because she loved me. She did it to control me.

Some people find control far more fulfilling than love. I’d like to invite all of those people to drop dead at the count of three. Ready? One…one-and-a-half, twoooooo…two-and-three- quarters…Three! Dammit, why aren’t you dead? Well, I suppose it’s just as gratifying knowing that your life is miserable; always has been, always will be. How do I know this? Because, I know things, lot’s of things…almost everything. I’m pretty smart.

My life has been a juggernaut (that means: an overwhelming, advancing force that crushes or seems to crush everything in its path, just in case you don’t understand words with more than two syllables. Yes, I’m being condescending (that means: I’m treating you like you’re stupid)) of activity that I have not been able to escape, since she passed. Recently, things have started to calm down. Calm is awesome.

My grandma spent her final years living in my apartment, with her nurse, and her nurse’s daughter. Several of my neighbors have approached me and said things to the effect of “I miss your grandmother, she was such a wonderful woman. So sweet…God rest her soul,” this always shocks the shit out of me…as I wasn’t aware she had a soul. The lady living in my apartment, I don’t know who in the hell she was….but she wasn’t my grandma.

My grandma was the love-child of Hitler and Zsa Zsa Gabor, not literally, I’m giving you a visual here. She got Zsa Zsa’s looks and Hilter’s Canasta playing skills. I know there is no historical record of Hitler or my grandmother actually playing Canasta…but just work with me. In both of their reigns of terror, everything had to be “just so”. It didn’t matter who you were on the inside, as long as you were perfect on the outside. Had my grandmother had a larger oven, I’m pretty sure she would have been known for something other than baking a delicious ziti.

I watched her manipulate my mother my whole life. I watched her hold things over her head, I saw the enjoyment she got from giving and then taking things away. Recent (unrelated) events in my life have helped me identify just exactly what my grandmother was:  a narcissistic sociopath (Google it, if you identify with more than two of the characteristics…please follow the instructions written above in paragraph two.)

The strangers my grandmother encountered would describe her as warm and caring, that’s because they weren’t aware that underneath the expensive clothes, diamonds, and perfectly styled hair…lurked a giant asshole. She cared what the rest of the world thought of her, she didn’t really give a shit what we thought of her..because she was in a position of power. Anyone that defied her power was excommunicated and sent to live in New Jersey.

She had a lot of things, expensive things. She traveled. She bought enough anti-wrinkle cream to fill the Adriatic Sea. She was never happy. Nothing was ever good enough. Her life was a perpetual state of misery because she lacked the ability to give and receive love. Instead of people, she loved inanimate objects. She grew frustrated when the things wouldn’t return her affections.

I find it very hard to bite my tongue when people say nice things about her. I do it, but I don’t like it. I’d like to announce to the world how she went out of her way to make people unhappy and then played “helpless victim” when shit didn’t go her way.  When my neighbors say, “I miss her,” my first reaction is to laugh, really hard.  I say, “Me too,” but what I’m really thinking is “I miss her spaghetti sauce.”

Her last years of life were lonely, that’s what happens to jerks. They end up alone, because nobody likes them. The people they got so much pleasure out of torturing get to watch as they fade away. The problem is, another jerk is born every minute.

Why is water blue?

The boy and I had an interesting day of bonding. He was my lunch date on Saturday, although he didn’t really want to be. “I don’t like food anymore, can’t we just go to the toy store?” I had promised him a reward, he was determined to collect it. “You can’t toy shop on an empty stomach, dude. This is serious business,” I said, instead of trying to debunk the “I don’t like food” defense. “I guess you’re right,” he sighed, as we pulled off the road and into a restaurant parking lot.

As we got out of the car, he began to crawl on his hands and knees peering at the undercarriage. “Um, what are you doing?” I asked, as I think any reasonable person would. “There’s a can under there, I wanted to see if you crushed it when we pulled in. You didn’t, can you try to smash it when we leave?” “I’ll try my best,” I responded. I helped him up and led him into the restaurant. We sat outside on the patio, it’s starting to get ridiculously hot here, again. I knew it wouldn’t be crowded and we could quietly chat. He touched the table the way old ladies do when you take them someplace to eat they’ve never been before. “This is nice,” he said, smiling and inspecting the children’s menu.

“Hi, my name is Chris. I’ll be your server today,” the waiter was cheerful and eager to bring us things, I like those qualities in a waiter. “Hi, I’m five. I can ride my bike without training wheels,” my son said with the confidence and demeanor of a politician, while throwing his elbow over the back of his chair. “I don’t wet the bed anymore and… I have a Puffle named Willie. I’m just throwing that out there. What’s your Puffle’s name?” The waiter looked at me, I could see he was taken aback by the little dude. I waited for him to respond, when he didn’t, I wasn’t sure what to say.  I figured things couldn’t get anymore awkward than they were at that moment, so I went with, “Hi. I’m 34. I don’t wet the bed anymore either. I helped name the Puffle, and I’d love a rum and coke in the biggest glass you have”.

“What is a Puffle?” Chris asked. “The thing that makes me want a drink,” I responded, hoping he’d walk away without any further questioning. It didn’t work. My boy might have a future as a Jehovah’s Witness, as he insists on spreading the good word. “Willie is Jr. Flappers’ pet. Jr. Flappers is my Penguin. Willie is red and fluffy. He doesn’t have any arms or legs…but he still rides a skateboard pretty good. I play with them”.

For anyone keeping track, my little nugget of awesome is claiming we are harboring an arctic creature in the simmering heat of Florida, and are forcing a long-haired, quadriplegic, life form to entertain us by riding a skateboard. No, I haven’t replaced his nutritious breakfast with frosted LSD and please don’t call PETA.

All of these things take place in the virtual seventh circle of hell known as “Club Penguin”. Disney thought it would be a great idea to create a social networking site, infused with games, and of course…Puffles. “I have a membership card, wanna see it?” Yes, they sell membership cards. Yes, he carries it with him. “Jr. Flappers has an igloo, you should stop by sometime.” Yes, he just invited someone over to his igloo.

“That’s awesome, I have a daughter. We haven’t reached the Puffle stage yet, I guess.” I was thankful that the waiter had experience wrangling small children and I didn’t have to try and explain. You can’t control what they say, resistance is futile. You can either be embarrassed or embrace it. I want him to be able to carry on a conversation. These are the things that are important to him, so this is what we talk about.

Sometimes, admittedly, he throws me a curveball. “Mommy? Why is the water blue?” he asked as he was getting ready for a bath. I tried to pull up all the long forgotten Earth Science information I still had stored in my head. I said something about reflection from the sun and depth of the water, but I was clearly just making it up as I went along.

He stared at me blankly for a minute, “No, I mean in the toilet…why is the water blue? Everyone knows why the sea is blue.” Apparently,  my long-winded explanation about the ocean bored the hell out of him. “Oh, I put stuff in there to help me keep the house clean,” he thought about my answer and then, “Does it help you concentrate?” I laughed and responded, “Uh, sure.” I still haven’t figured out where that one came from, I guess he must do most of his thinking on the potty.

The toilet cleaning tablets went in the tank on Sunday, but had they gone in on Saturday…I’m sure the waiter would have heard about that, too.

Where have all the lunch ladies gone?

“Brandy said she was praying to a book of matches or something,” he said in that slow, surfery Californian way. We were talking about Mary Ann. I wasn’t asking about her in gossipy, water cooler chatter way; I was concerned for her well-being. Up until a few weeks ago, Mary Ann ran the cafeteria in the Shipyard. Apparently, behind the smile and the friendly demeanor…Mary Ann was hiding something.

I’d seen her the day she allegedly started asking for forgiveness from the fire-making implements. She walked around the parking lot, with her arms raised towards the sky…mumbling something about God to herself. I didn’t really think much of it. Her boss is a dick; I thought maybe he’d insulted the Chicken Pot Pie or something, and she had stepped out for a breather. No, she was having a nervous breakdown.

Lucky her, it happened at work. Everyone got to watch as the cheese slid slowly off her crackers. Brandy had been given the assignment of running the cafeteria and making horribly transparent excuses for why Mary Ann was out. I found out today that she wasn’t coming back, I can’t say that I blame her. I wouldn’t want to come back either.

Everyone has their theories, like a giant game of Clue for the stupid and insensitive. “I think she’d been out with Mark, you know Mark? The chubby guy with the Mustang that the doors don’t open on…” I did know Mark. I also knew that the doors on his car didn’t open. It’s hard not to notice a 50 something year old man with plumbers crack, hoisting himself into a bucket of rust outside your office window…everyday. On rainy days I place a little wager with gravity, betting that his orthopedic sneakers would lose their grip on the peeling paint, and he’d take quite the tumble. He is strange, most boat Captains are. He’d been inviting me to Mexico to see his Yacht on a regular basis since mid October. I’m not special, he does this to all the young women. I’m also not going to Mexico to see his Yacht.

Mark’s being accused of taking the lunch lady out on the town and slipping her ‘shrooms. I don’t think this is true. Not because I don’t think Mark is capable of drugging someone without their consent or knowledge. Mostly, because the guy telling me this story is a moron. I had to stop him a few weeks ago from trapping and hugging a wild racoon. I don’t know why I felt the need to emphasize that the raccoon was not domesticated, there. It’s not like people have visions of throw pillows and carefully arranged furniture when you say the word “raccoon”.

I didn’t really want to talk about the wild and crazy personal life of Mary Ann. She was obviously under a great deal of stress and lacking the proper tools to deal with it. It doesn’t matter to me what caused it, it’s really none of my business. I was more or less asking because I thought she and the guy I was talking to are friendly. I guess I was wrong. He wasn’t speaking about her as if she was a friend. He was trying to distance himself from her, like the CDC recently released findings that insanity is spread mainly by droplets made when people with it cough, sneeze or talk. I found his behavior to be, for lack of a better term, shitty.

But, I guess human nature is shitty. Hell, it’s not just human nature…it’s nature in general. The British guy that does the voice overs on the nature shows where animals eat each other; you know, “As night falls on the Serengeti plain…”?  He always points out that, “the weakest members of the herd are stalked by the hungry Cheetah”. For all I know, racoons surreptitiously plot against the members of their um…(flock? gaggle? pride? Forgive me, I never learned the proper term for a group of raccoons. You never did either, so don’t try and get all intellectual on me ) for not having the best paw/eye coordination.

We naturally distance ourselves from people with ailments that we don’t understand. I guess we’re afraid or deep down inside we’re assholes.

Psy is a moron.

Sometimes I have tunnel vision.  I get so focused on what I’m doing that the rest of the world ceases to exist, then something happens that makes me take a look around and say “What the fuck is going on?”.  I had one of those moments today.  I was watching the “Today” show.  I use the term “watching” very loosely here…I mean it was on and I was walking past the TV.  I find it to be the least obnoxious of the network morning news shows.  It has nothing to do with what they report or how they report it, I think I just prefer the sound of the voices. That, and I really enjoy Willard Scott trying to coherently wish octogenarians a happy birthday.  I can’t decide whether the suits at the Today show have a really sick sense of humor and they get their rocks off by making us watch his brain slowly deteriorate into the consistency of strawberry jam…or he pre-games with Kathie Lee and Hoda every morning…and they all get Smuckered before the cameras start rolling.  It gives me great pleasure to know that even on the days when I can’t get my ass in gear…I’ll always be more alert that Willard.

Anyway, so it was usual mindless drivel, videos of dogs howling, and the anchors doing their best not to talk about the Middle East going to absolute shit. Then, they all started talking about the musical guest of the day and how excited they were.  They were raving about this dude, his name is Psy.  Have you seen him?  You have to have seen him. Well, if you haven’t..you’re very lucky…unless..of course you’re blind…and in that case…yeah, I’m an asshole.

The only way I can accurately describe Psy is…he’s what happens when a laboratory unsuccessfully combines the DNA of Richard Simmons, Fun Dip, and a nameless, rejected Pokemon character.  He was performing in “The Plaza”, as they call it, for hundreds of adoring fans (whom I would like to nominate for immediate euthanization).  I think he’s supposed to be a singer or something, but it sounded to me like he was reciting the P.F. Chang’s menu over a muzak version of “Who let the dogs out?”.  Psy is evidently spearheading a national movement to dress like Liberace while channeling the dance moves of your drunk Uncle Chuck at your High School Graduation party.   If you don’t have a drunk Uncle Chuck, you know someone that does. He’s the guy that brings his own beer coozie to every event and tries to mesmerize the ladies with his “shopping cart” swag once the Natty Light kicks in.

Every so often America goes through a strange, foreign, dance craze thing…it may be because I’m getting older, but this one is really painful to watch…more so than the Macarena.  What’s even more painful is the level of production that goes into a Psy performance.  He has an intricate wall of lights flashing behind him. I advise you not to look directly at the wall o’ lights…because…I assume that’s how he gains control of your mind and makes you believe he actually has talent.  There are also back-up dancers, I legitimately feel bad for them.  Can you imagine having to go through life knowing that your 15 minutes was riddled with the ugly shame of being “Psy Back-up Dancer # 3”?

Seriously?  What is wrong with people?  Yes, yes…we all need a little brevity now and again.  This isn’t brevity, this is stupid. Hey, fun fact: “Gangnam Style” actually means “dance like a jackass” in Korean.

I move that Psy and Kim Kardashian get their own reality show, where they are sent to a remote island in the South Pacific and we get to watch as they forget how to breathe.  So say we one, so say we all.

Wednesdays with Rodney

Rodney called again today, like he does every week to check on me. Such a nice boy. I became acquainted with him about three years ago.  Every Wednesday morning, like clockwork, my phone rings. Recognizing the number on the caller I.D, I usually answer it  “This call is for Say-ra Car-pin-tar,  if you are not Say-ra Car-pin-tar, please hang-up.  If you are Say-ra Car-pin-tar, I need to ad-vise you,” blah, blah, blah.  My name is a grand total of five syllables, it’s not exactly a tongue twister, yet Rodney always seems to fuck it up.  The way he pronounces it makes me think he learned everything he knows about diction from a Speak & Spell. I have never actually seen Rodney, but if by happenstance I struck up a conversation with him in a smokey bar, I might assume that he had a different profession. His deep, monotone voice, automated personality and strange speech patterns are reminiscent of…someone who makes a living…I don’t know…sucking dicks in exchange for crystal meth.

Rodney has been my “account advisor” on a credit card account gone horribly wrong for quite some time.  He works for a law firm in the area that has been given the posthumous assignment of trying to get me to pay the money back.  I’ve always been incredibly honest with him.  “Yeah, I can’t pay you, Rodney.  It was looking good for a while, but not so much anymore.” I said this week.  I’m not lying, things were looking up.  I was given a raise and full-time hours at my current place of employment.  The raise I was planning on, the full-time gig was quite by accident.

The month of May has taught me many an important lesson, the most poignant? Humans are extremely flammable, especially when they are coated in gasoline.  I have a co-worker, who is a lovely woman with a charming British accent and two grown children.  Both of her children live halfway across the planet, one of them owns a farm and I assume, also has a charming British accent.  While working on the farm a few weeks ago, she decided to clear some brush by burning it.  The ground was moist and to speed up the process she added an accelerant,  everything was going to plan until the wind shifted, thereby causing her and the brush to burst into flames.  Can you say ouch? Yeah, it’s a terrible situation. I was asked to fill in for my co-worker while she tended to her daughter.

I’m not a monster, I was in no way doing a happy dance because someones life took a turn for the suck.  I wasn’t sitting around thanking the heavens that I was going to be able the capitalize off of misery, but I was glad that I’d be able to help out the nice people I work for and put in a few more hours.  I was kinda feeling like I was going to be able to get back on track, save some money and pay some things off. That feeling lasted all of 96 hours, it ended abruptly when my grandmother died.

My grandmother, in addition to being the woman that birthed my mother, was also my tenant.  She lived in my condo with her full time caregiver.  In exchange for not having to live in one of those boarding schools for old people, she helped me with the bills there.  Her passing has put me in a financial situation that “fucked” can’t begin to describe.  Thunderfucked doesn’t even cut it.  Yeah, it’s pretty bad.

I dealt with deafening sonic boom of reality crashing down on my face the way every 33 year old woman living in my body deals with stress, I drank a bottle of wine…then decided to file bankruptcy.  It seems like the cowards way out,  I don’t particularly like the thought of this.  There just doesn’t seem to be any way around it.  I keep reminding myself it’s like every event in life. Millions of people have done it before me. Millions of people are doing it right now, but for some reason I feel like it’s a private psychosis.  Weddings, babies, divorces…most of us have been through something like this…but we all tend to act like these events are life experiences that only we’re having when we’re going through them.

After speaking with an attorney, I found out…that I don’t have enough money to file for bankruptcy.  How fucking hilarious is that? I’m so screwed that I can’t even legally claim that I haven’t got a damnthing [intentional omission of space for comic effect]. I have to save money to claim I have none…is anyone else laughing at the irony here?

I probably should have kept this to myself, but then that applies to a lot of things in my life.  I decided to share.  For the past few years, I’ve been making myself sick worrying about financial obligations.   I’m tired.  I want out.  I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.  I concluded, in the company of both Ernest and Julio Gallo, that this is bullshit and I shouldn’t have to spend my whole life worrying.   While I will miss my Wednesday’s with Rodney, I know he’s only calling for one thing.  He’ll have to find someone else.