Monthly Archives: August 2014

The douchebaggery series: how to screw a friend without really trying

It’s really a warning post. From me to you. Because the next time you decide to reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a decade, for goodness sake, don’t act like a doormat.

Which isn’t to say that I usually act like a doormat. In fact I haven’t acted like one since I wore braces and, believe me, that was a very long time ago. So I am not really sure what happened. Maybe it was too much sangria.

Or too much humidity. Summer heat in Boston could do that to anyone.

But anyway, here is what happened. I paid $70 for two salads – one for me and one for my daughter – and a couple of glasses of sangria. Sure the salads were great, all locally grown, sourced, and whispered-to but there were no truffles involved and I wasn’t eating at the Mandarin Oriental. The sangria too, although deliciouzzz and made with berries, didn’t come with gold dust.

So why did I pay what would be the equivalent of several movie tickets for two salads? Because my friend Anna* and her daughter Emily* asked the waiter to split the check. And because they had an oyster starter, a main dish, and a dessert. Each. And because even though I suggested that we split it more along the lines of what we all ate, I must have suggested it very quietly. Or else they pretended they didn’t hear me.

And I didn’t protest. Which honestly ticks me off a lot more than subsidizing other people’s dead mollusks. Because it was wimpy of me and I hate being wimpy. Also I hate being screwed.

Sure, what happened wasn’t that unusual. People split checks all the time and sometimes you go out with douchebags that like to take advantage. Even sitcoms have been made on the subject and I am pretty sure George Costanza complained about it on Seinfeld. And maybe I didn’t speak up because I didn’t want to be George. Because, let’s face it, no one wants to be George. Jerry – maybe. Elaine – definitely. Kramer – nah. But George? Definitely not.

I digress though. Once the damage to my wallet and to my faith in both this friendship and my guts was done I wanted to punch so many things. But mostly I wanted to punch my own face. For being stupid. For keeping quiet. For allowing an asshole to be an asshole.

 Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.59.41 PM

 Nothing like a douche for a friend to remind you of having a voice. It’s a good system, totes recommend.

* Names changed. Most likely.



Humanity… err, are you there?

This month of August hasn’t exactly been the kind of month that makes you sit back and think: Yeah, you know, humanity’s got it. We’ll pull through in the end. We’ll stop killing each other, hating each other, destroying the environment, and we’ll go back to watching cat videos, shopping at co-ops, and discussing the latest twerking by Miley Cyrus.

Nope. Instead this month of August brought us this:

  • Isis (and not the Goddess kind)
  • Hamas
  • Ferguson
  • Russia
  • Robin Williams
  • The guy who uses the beach as if it were his personal ashtray
  • The woman who was about to wash her feet in the Jacuzzi I was using at the time

I mean, seriously? What ginormous amounts of decency do you have to lack to actually think that a Jacuzzi is there for you to wash your dirty feet? Especially since there is a shower literally a step away especially for that?

And then there was this:


And this:


To be fair these billboards have probably been up the entire year. And to be even more fair, I saw these in South Florida, a part of the world known as Vanity-Central where having a Barbie body, a Rolls Royce, and apparently a better sex life trumps all other aspirations.

But still, huh?

How are we supposed to set the world straight and stop everything that’s horrible when we throw cigarette butts into the ocean while spending a fortune on lifting our butts?

I’d like this August to be over please.

Name that file (and not in a creepy way)

I would like to begin by stating that I don’t buy Russian children. I don’t buy any children, in fact. And I am pointing this out in an event that a certain Carbonite Customer Service Representative is reading this post. Or if the FBI is already on the case.

Several days ago my Carbonite and the files it was supposed to have been backing had a disagreement. That resulted in the revolving beach ball on my screen—the same beach ball that appears whenever my Mac thinks it’s gone Windows and gets stuck. The beach ball situation lasted for a few days at which point I decided to contact the customer service support.

After I described the issue to a very helpful agent, she asked if she could take control of my computer to see what’s going on. I always hate when they ask that. Not because I am paranoid about someone I never met taking over my computer by Internet magic. But because I am concerned they might think I am paranoid about it. So I usually launch into a huge effort to prove that I am not. And that I am totally cool with it. And that I trust them. And that, really, they can have a key to my house and come over any time to fix my computer without me even being there.

So after giving the customer service agent access along with my house alarm code, my social security number, and the account information on all my investments, I sat back and stared at the little arrow that was my mouse, moving around now entirely on its own. All was going according to plan until the agent clicked on the finder and started looking for Carbonite files. And there it was, staring right at me – and probably right at that agent. A file name that should have never been born.


I began to hyperventilate and break into a Bikram-yoga-worthy sweat simultaneously. Where the fuck did this file come from? I couldn’t remember naming it, making it, or even knowing what was inside. If I could take control of my mouse without arousing suspicion that I was some sort of sick pedophile or child trafficker, I would have. But I sat there paralyzed with fear that my friendly customer service agent was now suspecting me of horrendous deeds and maybe even speaking to the authorities as she fixes my back up system.

That paralysis lasted for the next twenty minutes as she worked on fixing whatever needed to be fixed and I worked on getting my mouth back into a working condition so that I could offer a somewhat coherent explanation to the police that was probably now on its way to my house. When I finally got the control of my mouse back, I immediately opened the offensive file and discovered that it had a list of Russia-based publishers of children’s books. Since several years ago I wrote four bi-lingual picture books, it was only fitting that I should have a list of publishers to sell them to.

What wasn’t fitting was the name of that file. So, people, watch your file names. Because sometimes technology is here to make us look like assholes (except for when it’s here to expose assholes such as racists, homophobes, and dick-pic-sending douchebags).

Writing While… Part VI — writing while having a migraine

I spent the last few hours in a fetal position on my daughter’s bed with a strapless black bra over my eyes. A strapless black bra because it was the first thing I could grab to block the obnoxious sunlight which seems to be everywhere in South Florida. I usually don’t mind the sun especially when on a beach vacation but today the combination of its happy yellow rays and no-dark-blinds-anywhere-in-the-apartment were not welcome.

I had a migraine. And when I have a migraine I cannot have light. Or sound. Or any sign of any life anywhere around me. Instead I need a dark place where I can be left completely alone while I focus on happy thoughts and hope the contraband Canadian pills I just took will kick in sooner rather than later.

The worst part about migraines is, of course, the pain as other migraine sufferers would tell you. But the next worst part about migraines—at least for me—is that I lose all ability to function. And with that I lose my ability to write. Which is why writing while having a migraine isn’t actually writing at all. Instead it’s agonizing over everything you want to write but cannot and, thus, developing an even bigger migraine.

This is what it looks like when a migraine arrives.
                          This is what it looks like when a migraine arrives.

More from the series WRITING WHILE:

Writing While Writing a Query (Part V)

Writing While Receiving Rejections (Part IV)

Writing While Submitting (Part III)

Writing While Trilingual and While Not Being a Native Speaker (Part II)

Writing While Walking or While in the Pool or Any Other Body of Water (Part I)