It’s just me, right?

Youtube sends me weird emails about videos they think I would like and when I looked at this one I thought…what the shit?  Is that even legal?

shark blow job

Then I realized I might be the only person in the world who automatically assumed this was a video of a shark blow job.  Both because I have weird personal issues, and also because sharks would give terrible blow jobs.  I would assume.

It’s just me, right?

Better than bare walls

I’ve been thinking that I needed to update the guest bathroom because it feels pretty 1970’s but I’m not good at design stuff so nothing ever happens.  But then I got a gift certificate for Walls Need Love, which specializes in removable wall decals and posters and I was like “Can you make me a full-sized bear sticker?” and they were all, “Yes.  Yes we can.”

So now my bathroom is renovated.  Victor says I’m using that word incorrectly but I don’t think so.  Plus, I think it’s only fair that we’re always saying “Does a bear shit in the woods?” and now there’s a bear in our bathroom watching you do your business.  It’s especially nice when we have visitors and they don’t realize they have company until they’ve closed the door and see an angry bear behind them in the bathroom mirror.  A lot of yelping happens and some people have claimed it was so unexpected they practically shit themselves, which I think it just another affirmation that I totally picked the right room to install a bear.

bear walls

PS.  Also, he’s perfect for taking selfies with because even if you look kinda blah no one notices because THERE’S A FUCKING BEAR BEHIND YOU.  So you look fierce and/or about to be mauled and no one says, “You should really start wearing make-up” because they’re too busy saying, “What is happening in your house?  Do you need help?

PPS.  The bear has his paws down in front of his body and I thought I could get a cute picture of him playing leapfrog with me so I bent over with my hands on my knees like he was about to leap over my back.  Then I saw the picture and realized it totally looked like the bear was violating me.  No one wants that.  Do not play leapfrog with bears.  It doesn’t end well.  This is my advice to you.

PPPS.  This bear needs a name and at first I was thinking of “Bearnstein” in homage to those bear books I loved when I was a kid, but then I looked it up and turns out the bears were named “Berenstain” which seems weird because I always assumed those bears were Jewish and now I don’t even know anymore.  Then I thought I’d call him “Beowulf” because I once read that “Beowulf” is a kenning of “Bee” and “Wolf” and I always thought a Bee-Wolf would be the scariest animal ever.  (But last week someone sent me a link to a half-spider/half venomous snake and I reassessed.  Do not look at that link if you ever want to sleep again.)

PPPPS.  A “kenning” is an Old Norse compound that uses figurative language in place of concrete single world nouns.  Like, instead of using the word “sword” Old Norse poets would call it a “wound-hoe,” which is the best term ever.  “Can you pass me that butter knife?”  “You mean this wound-hoe?”  We need to bring this shit back, y’all.  From now on kneecaps are “leg-elbows” and colicky babies are “scream-satchels”.  A NEW LANGUAGE IS BORN.  THANK YOU, KEVIN BEOWULF.

PPPPPS.  His first name is Kevin. The bear, I mean.  I can’t relax enough to pee in front of a bear named Beowulf.  That’s way too much pressure.  “Kevin” is much more non-threatening.

PPPPPPS.  How many addendum’s can I add before this gets ridiculous?  Six.  Six is the answer.

PPPPPPPS.  Victor disagrees and says this was already ridiculous before the first PS.  Kevin and I respectfully disagree.

Fifth Argument I Had With Victor This Week

Fifth Argument I Had With Victor This Week

Victor:  Hey, slacker.  If you have time to lean you have time to clean.

me: I’m not “leaning”.  I’m watching Mythbusters.

Victor:  Same difference.

me:  No.  Plus, your leaning phrase doesn’t make any sense.

Victor: If you have time to lean you have time to clean.  In other words, if you have time to goof off then you have time to organize the closet.

me:  Right. So you’re punishing people for relaxing.  So every time I’m relaxing it means that I have to work.  That’s never going to catch on.  It should be “If you have time to lean then you’ve obviously planned your day really well and you should probably reward yourself with a cocktail and an electric blanket that has pockets filled with baby kittens and fried cheese sticks.”

Victor: That’s…not at all what I’m saying.

me:  Too late.  Now I’m just going to watch even more Mythbusters in order to fuck up my day tomorrow so that I never have time to clean again.  So basically, more TV and less cleaning.  I win.

Victor: And everyone else loses.

me: Well, time management is a tricky mistress.

Winner: MythBusters.

PS. I feel like this post needs a picture but I don’t have one that matches this post so here’s a random picture of my desk:

rolly3

Also, that fucker ate all the hot pockets.

An imagined open letter from the justifiably disgruntled wife of poet William Carlos Williams, the man who wrote this famed poem:

This is Just to Say 

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

 

Dear literary critics:

You guys are assholes.

Did you even read the poem you claim is so brilliant?  First off, my husband ate all my fruit, and then instead of apologizing in person he left a post-it note admitting that he did it, but that he had a good reason which was basically “I wanted to“.  And not only does he eat all my plums, also he ends the post-it telling me how goddam delicious they are.  I know how delicious plums are.  That’s why I was saving them for breakfast. 

You people read this poem and love it, but really it’s just a not-very-apologetic-apology from a man confessing to mild burglary.  And who do you think had to go out and buy more plums for breakfast because someone promised his parents I’d make plum pancakes for everyone?  Not Mr. I’m-far-too-poetic-to-go-to-Walmart, I’ll tell you that.  Frankly, I don’t even think plum pancakes are a real thing.  They tasted terrible and I’m guessing he just made them up because he’s “poetic and whimsical” and so I ended up having to apologize for the shitty pancakes that I didn’t even want to make.

And then the whole world is like, “DID YOU SEE THIS APOLOGY LETTER?  IT IS THE GREATEST MODERN POEM EVER!”  Just – what?  No.  IT DOESN’T EVEN RHYME.

Frankly, I expected that people reading the apology would be more sympathetic, like, “That guy stole your fruit and then told you how awesome it was?  What a dick“.  But instead everyone is all “GENIUS!  ENCORE!” and now my husband is utterly out of control.  This morning he climbed up into the tree in the front yard wearing only a bathrobe (my bathrobe – because he’s not content to just steal my breakfast, apparently) and he refused to come down because he claims I “purposely” destroyed his latest poem.  It was not a poem.  It was our grocery list.

I told him that no one wants a poem about kitty litter and two-ply toilet paper but he said I don’t understand poetry and that he couldn’t hear me anyway because he was too busy writing a poem about how “trees are very scratchy” and at this point I don’t even know anymore.  Apparently everything is a poem now.

Here’s a poem I just made for you :  There once was a girl from Nantucket.  I wonder if she has some plums I can borrow.  The end.

Oh, Christ.  I just found a leaf on the table with a note scrawled on it reading: “This is just to say that I broke the cat when I fell out of the tree.  Forgive me.  I fell so fast and Mittens was so old.”  

Jesus, people.  Just stop encouraging him.  

Hugs, Mrs. William Carlos Willams

************

And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

sid

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

  • Mugs are 40% off if you enter SAVING4TAXES code at check-out.  I recommend this mug or this one.
  • People always ask how to see the newest stuff.   Click here.

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the lovely and funny Dave Tank, whose new memoir The Year of the Roses is available right now.  I just bought a copy myself. It’s the true story of Dave spending his thirties traveling the world, always one step away from grasping success and happiness. When his mother dies unexpectedly, he has to leave his life in Paris to return home to face an unsure reality without his best friend.  Dave walks away from his career to take a year to put his life back in order. In that year, he finds the most unlikely of teachers – his mother. Through the journals of her life she had left behind, Dave learns how to see life through her eyes and find true happiness. This was the year two lives became one. The Year of the Roses. Go buy it – one for you, and one for your Mom for Mother’s Day. Details here.

Bravery by any other name.

Last week I posted a video of me face-planting into the water.  I thought I’d dip my toe in but then I realized how cold it was so I tried to back out but the water was not cooperating because it was all “I’m a not solid, idiot.  You can’t push off of me” and I was like “JESUS LIED TO ME”.   (Turns out I just wasn’t reading that part of the Bible well enough and I guess only Moses and Jesus could keep from falling into pools.)

Hailey recorded my ridiculous plunge and insisted I share the video online, and since she’s always letting me post pictures of her it seemed only fair.

I tried to embed it here but it doesn’t work so you have watch it here.  Or here’s a series of stills if you can’t watch videos of children laughing at their parents:

faceplant

But what was weird was that someone called me “brave” for posting a video of me in a bathing suit.  First I thought they were just trying to insult me but then I realized that they weren’t.  I asked twitter, “Did we change the word ‘brave’ when I wasn’t looking?  ‘Brave’ is for saving orphans from a burning building made of bees.  Wearing a bathing suit to swim is ‘normal’.

Most of twitter agreed.  My friend Popehat added, “Honestly I think it was questionable judgement to house the orphans in the bee building in the first place.”

Other’s disagreed.  Like Justin Gibbs who countered, “Please use more realistic metaphors.  Everyone knows buildings made with bees are fire resistant.”

And then I went on to talk about diseased popsicles (later renamed Poxiclespatent pending) but later I was dragged back into the conversation by a few women who pointed out that to some, posting a video of themselves in a bathing suit would be much less frightening than running into a burning bee building.  This sounds a bit insane.

But they were absolutely right.

We all have weird fears.  Some of them are universal.  Some of them are odd.  All of them are valid as emotions even if they are irrational.  I don’t have a problem with a video of me in a bathing suit because I’m old enough to not care anymore…but I have an anxiety disorder sometimes makes me terrified to leave the house.  It’s completely irrational, but it’s me.  But sometimes the thing that gets me out of the house is seeing how easily everyone else does it.  They leave their room.  They talk to people.  They come home.  No one laughs at them.  They don’t think what they do is brave, but to me it’s inspiring.

So maybe that’s the way it is for some women in bathing suits.  I could tut-tut at them but being afraid of having your flaws exposed isn’t nearly as crazy as being afraid you might have to make small talk with the mailman, so I think we’re probably even.  We’re all a little crazy.  We’re all irrationally afraid of something.  We all project our own fears onto others sometimes.

So I’ll keep wearing my bathing suit if you keep leaving the house.  And maybe with time you’ll realize that posting an awkward faceplant into the water while your child video-tapes it and laughs hysterically at you is way more embarrassing than being an imperfect woman wearing appropriate swimming attire.  And maybe in time I’ll realize that strangers aren’t going to eat me, and that leaving the house is fun and good for me even when every molecule in my body screams otherwise.

Let’s go outside.  And talk to the mailman.  In our bathing suits.  And set bees on fire so we can rescue orphans from them.  Pick one.

We can work up to the scary ones together.

Looking for happiness

Yesterday I had a shitty night and I was starting to fall into the darkness.

This morning I woke up to see slightly more positive and happy news on my Facebook thread than bad news and it reminded me that things are not as bleak as my head sometimes says they are.

Thank you for sharing your lovely, happy moments as well as your hard ones.

I often see an apology that’s added with the happy or proud announcements – as if we’re embarrassed to admit good things have happened to us or that we’ve accomplished something or that we’re proud of ourselves or our family.  I do it myself.  It seems like tempting fate or bragging to share those happy moments.  But it’s that good and positive news that adds up and makes such a profound impact to battle back the negative and the scary and statuses that remind us how fragile and broken we sometimes are.

It would be easier for me to write the things that I feel are wrong right now, but instead I’m going to write the good, because that’s the best way I can practice self-care right now.

  • Dorothy Barker is finally going to the bathroom outside slightly more than inside.  If you don’t recognize how awesome this is, you’ve probably never had a puppy.
  • Last week when I was sick my daughter insisted on putting me to bed.  Then she brought in a book and read me a bedtime story.
  • Your amazing response to my new book turned me into a puddle.
  • We’re working on surprising Hailey with tickets to see Matilda this summer.  She’s wanted to see it for years and we know all of the songs by heart.

Your turn.  Tell me something good.  Something you’re proud of.  Something that makes you happy.

No apologies.  Just goodness.

I was considering teaching this dog to dance but she already dances better than I do.

I was considering teaching this dog to dance but she already dances better than I do.

Toilet Leprechauns: Probably the Pandora’s Box of our Generation. (I added the “probably” so they can’t sue me for libel.)

David Sedaris once wrote that he often asks people waiting for his autograph questions like, “If you saw a leprechaun on the toilet would you run away or know that he meant you no harm?” and now that question haunts me.

Personally, I’d be pretty sure that anyone standing on the toilet meant to harm me because why else is he waiting to jump me in the bathroom, but I think I’d still stay because when else are you going to get the opportunity to hang with a leprechaun? Even if it murdered you it would be awesome. Not for you, I guess, but for your descendants. “DEATH BY LEPRECHAUN” it would say on my death certificate. I’d star in our family legends for decades.

The problem is that I don’t actually know what death by leprechaun looks like, and you never see a leprechaun fingered for murder so I suspect no one would know the magnificent sacrifice I made. My guess is that leprechauns just make your death look like a heart attack. We’re probably spending all this reasearch money on heart disease when really we should be focusing on leprechaun prevention.

In fact, my grandmother might have died from leprechauns. They said she died from hepatitis but who’s to say she didn’t get that hepatitis from a leprechaun? Who knows where diseases come from? Flu, hantavirus, yellow fever, leprosy, anthrax…we might have gotten the whole lot from infected toilet leprechauns.

That’s probably why my mom always made me put toilet paper on the seat before sitting on a public toilet. Because you never know how many infectious leprechauns just came out of it.

I’d like to think David Sedaris and I would be friends. Or that he’d put a restraining order on me.

Either way, we’d have a real connection, and that’s all that matters.

PS. Spellcheck is trying to tell me that “leprechauns” isn’t even a real word.  Nice try, leprechauns.  I don’t know how you infiltrated spellcheck but I’m not falling for it, assholes.

Home is where the brain stem spoons are.

Small missives from the house I grew up in, since we’re visiting for Easter:

Last year my dad designed a special spoon so he could pull brain stems out of animals to check them for diseases. It’s pretty glamorous. He does it after they’re dead, obviously. Otherwise that would be a pretty cruel and pointless test. I told my mom that he should sell them but she said there wasn’t much of a call for brain stem spoons. This is exactly why we’re in a recession. Because people don’t have enough faith in their inventions.

Speaking of inventions, my dad had to style a bear’s hair so he made a blow-dryer out of a leaf-blower, duct-tape and PVC pipe.

bearstyling

My father is the MacGuyver of Taxidermy.

Happy Easter, y’all.

************

And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

sid

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the amazing minds behind the Unpodcast – the business show for the fed-up.  Go check it out now.  I recommend starting with this one, about the importance of paying your creatives rather than ripping them off by asking them to work for free.  I second that motion.  Go check it out right now.

FURIOUSLY HAPPY. And scared. And back to happy again.

If you’ve been here long enough you know I’ve been working on my second book for the last three years.  I’ve carried it with me every day, adding a paragraph here, deleting another there, reworking a sentence for the eleventieth time because I want it to be perfect, always feeling like a loser because Stephen King and cocaine set unrealistic expectations about how easy it should be to write a book.  If you know me in real life you’ve seen me lugging around a giant manuscript and scribbling furiously in it when inspiration strikes.  You may have asked me why I don’t just use a laptop and then nodded in what you hoped passed for understanding when I explained that I was afraid I’d lose everything I’ve written when the robot revolution happens and computers become self-aware and refuse to humor me anymore because I wasted their potential watching videos of baby hedgehogs in bathtubs.

When I was deciding what to write about for book two my first thought was “SPARKLY MALE VAMPIRES WHO ARE PRETTIER THAN YOU versus ZOMBIE FAINTING GOATS, IN THE BATTLE FOR BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH’S HEART”.  Then Victor was like, “What are you, crazy?” and I thought, Well, sort of.  And that’d probably be easier to write about since I have slightly more experience dealing with mental illness than I have dealing with goats.

And so began a terrifying and incredibly daunting task of writing a very funny book about a very terrible thing.

This book was hard. I wanted to be honest about my struggles — and that means opening up about things I’ve never really discussed before. And it was hard. But luckily, I had help. From you.

When I came out so many years ago about my depression and anxiety disorder I was afraid you’d all run away screaming. But you didn’t. Instead, thousands of you said “Me too,” and “I thought I was the only one,” and “It’s not just me?” You gave me the strength to be honest about my flaws and the support to realize that I was more than the broken parts that make up me. And you did something else you might not even realize…

In the years since I started writing about mental illness I’ve received so many letters from people who were affected by this community, but there were special ones I kept in a folder that I named “The Folder of 24.” – It was called that because it contained 24 letters from people who were actively planning their suicide, but decided to get help instead. And not because of what I said…they did it because of you. Almost every single one explained that what convinced them that depression was lying to them was the amazing response to my posts. They could look at a single person like me and think it was still a rare illness or something to be ashamed about…but when thousands of strangers shout out into the darkness that they are there too, it makes ripples. And those anonymous strangers saved lives without even knowing it. If you ever left a comment or a kind word you may have been the cause of someone’s mother or daughter or son being alive. Being thankful to be alive.

When I was on tour with my last book I’d sometimes talk about the Folder of 24 and how that folder is the best reason I’ll ever have for writing. And then something strange happened.  After a reading people would lean in close and whisper “I was 25.”

There were so many 25’s.

This was what I went back to whenever writing this new book got too hard. Because I knew that to truly write about what it’s like to struggle with mental illness I’d have to go deeper and talk about things I haven’t written about, for fear that everyone would back away if I talked about self-harm, or mania, or the personality disorder that pushes me from “normal” crazy to something a bit scarier.

I wrote and deleted and rewrote passages, and I’m still afraid of how people will react. I’m in the exact same place I was seven years ago…afraid to share but unable to tell my story without laying it all out. And so I’ll do the same thing I did before. Because I don’t have any other choice but to be myself, and hopefully you’ll still be here in the same wonderful way you have been.

I hope you’ll come with me on the next step of the journey. I hope you’ll see yourself, or someone you love, in these pages and learn to love them better. I hope it shows people that laughter and joy can come from chaotic bizarreness. I hope you know how much you’ve helped me to become my own 25.

This is a humor book and I’ve been told that it’s funnier than my last. Most of the people who’ve read it don’t have mental illness. Certainly none of them have my specific diagnosis, but they still loved it because I think everyone can relate to the ridiculousness we bring on ourselves, to the fact that laughing at a dangerous, terrifying monster is the only way to make it small and easier to hide in your pocket.

I think everyone can relate to the fact that a ton of bullshit happens every single day and the only way we can battle that bullshit is choose to be furiously happy whenever we have the opportunity. That means different things to different people, but to me it’s about making clothes out of live ferrets, making the best of it when you get kidnapped by an actual funeral, and occasionally balancing your taxidermy raccoon on the back of your cats to create a Midnight Raccoon Rodeo in your kitchen when you’re having one of those weeks where you’re afraid to leave your house.

It also means celebrating the fact that I HAVE FINISHED THE BOOK.   AAAAAAHHHHHH!  Sorry.  Just happy.

Step two was choosing a book cover, but my last book cover had a dead mouse on it and that level of sophistication is pretty hard to top. How do you get a book cover that captures the celebration of being broken in just the right way? My suggestion was to use a model who literally went from being road kill to being the star rodeo rider during my recurring bouts of insomnia.

Any you know what? I think we nailed it.

furiously happy

(That’s Rory, by the way. He’s in the book.)

I hope to God you love it.

Rory and I love you.

PS. Want details on when it comes out and where to order it right now? CLICK HERE.

PPS. Thank you.  Again.   Seriously. You made this happen. (Which I guess sort of means it’s your fault if you hate it. Just saying.)

Just…no.

I got out of bed at 2am to pee but it was cold so I hurried back, but when I jumped back into bed the blanket got caught on something when I tried to yank it up toward me and so I ended up accidentally punching myself right in the face.

And I just sat there, stunned for a minute, and then I tried to see what the blanket was caught on but it was wadded into a ball and I didn’t want to get out of bed again because I was cold and I’d just been assaulted and so I turned on my phone to use as a flashlight and turns out it was Hunter S. Thomcat.  And he was like “Yeah.  I did that.  I made you punch yourself in the face.”

And I believe it too because look at this face:

hunters