Fucking shit up

Conversation with me and Victor:

me:  You know, I fuck shit up a lot, but I think I’m getting better at it.

Victor: As in, more proficient at breaking things?

me:  That too, but really I think I’m just getting better at knowing my abilities.  Like, I don’t know how long it takes to cook a turkey, but I know exactly how long it takes me to set fire to the kitchen.

Victor:  Huh.  Wouldn’t that mean you were better at knowing your inabilities?

me:  Depends on what you want done, really.  I’ve never actually cooked a turkey and yet we’re still alive.  But I know exactly how to get out of work, or how to avoid talking to real people, or how to sabotage any effort to organize.  It’s almost a science.

Victor: It’s not a good science.

me: Most science isn’t.  It’s all baby-killing cyborgs, and gas-that-turns-people-into-zombies, and infected plague-monkeys.

Victor: That’s not…really what science is about.

me: Well, it would be if I were involved.  I’d be giving monkeys accidental contagious-zombie-rabies without even trying.  And I probably wouldn’t even know it.  Which would come in handy later when I had to testify in court.

Victor: I’m not sure where you’re going with this.  Except in proving that you should never work in science.

me: I guess I’m just trying to say…play to your strength.

Victor: Yeah.  Maybe lead with that next time.

me:  And infect as few monkeys as possible while doing it.

Victor:  Well, as long as you have goals.

165 thoughts on “Fucking shit up

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I also am strong in the arena of how to efficiently sabotage all forms of coherent organization. My life is sorted into piles, and if the piles are left alone, I can generally find everything. But if you hand me things like file folders and multicolored post-its and index cards, I’m all “What is this shit?”

  2. Why is Victor trying to steal your thunder? I personally consider it a “win” if my husband walks in the door and I am able to say (honestly) “I didn’t kill anyone today, I thought about it a few times but my self control is WAY stronger than I thought it was… GO ME!”. I think that he too considers that a “win” because that means he doesn’t have to stay home with our 6 children and do what I do every day. No, a parade isn’t necessary but a cookie or two sure would be nice.

  3. Imagine how many kids would not drop out of school if you taught science. Then no one could say science would be boring or unnecessary.

  4. There’s nothing wrong with being “special”, Jenny.
    It’s worked out pretty well for the X-Men so far.
    Victor just needs to embrace the, shall we say, “uniqueness”, of your gifts?
    By the way, you need to take a science course or two -STAT! Contagious-zombie-rabies sounds cool – if only applied to monkeys or the Kardashians, of course.

  5. Oh my god Kathleen – flying zombie monkeys… As if marathoning The Walking Dead hasn’t given me enough effed up dreams! Thanks for THOSE nightmares.

  6. Boy, both my brothers are in science and I don’t think either of them have infected any monkeys lately. Have to tell them to get on that soon or who knows how much grant money they will lose out on?

  7. ANd with you its really not ONE strength is it? Unless you consider yourself a caped crusader for entropy, spreading disorder daily. Dunno. I can burn shit with the best of them…but you have a super knack for animal excellence.

  8. I can so see this going the direction of X-men, as The Hook pointed out. As in, what’s your (fabulous) mutation, and the all-important choosing of a name. The outfit(s) can be designed later.

  9. Does setting yourself on fire a couple times count? Seriously, I had to strip naked in a second floor kitchen window on a main street in Brooklyn, NY because I had set my bathrobe afire while cooking breakfast. Then, not to be outdone by that story-maker, I was out to a romantic dinner, leaned across to kiss my date, and caught my hair in the flame of the candle in the middle of the table! So I think I have an idea of what you mean…

    P.S. great read for a Monday morning; i come here when the world and i don’t seem to align — you straighten me out and put everything in perspective. Thanks!

  10. Well, in the history of science, you would probably be the dude that left the cheese sandwich out which led to the discovery of penicillin. So, you know, there’s that. Thousands of people who are allergic to penicillin now hate your guts. So, go ahead and infect those monkeys with zombierabies. One day, the scientific community will THANK you, when some guy wins a Nobel prize for curing monkey zombification.

    Plus, monkeys are overrated anyway. And I’m pretty sure half of them are already zombies.

    I am also proficient in getting out of doing things that require putting on pants and leaving the house. I just unlocked PRO STATUS.

  11. Oh Jenny. How I love your conversations with Victor! Sometimes shit just NEEDS to get fucked up. I think it classic that you know how long it takes to set the kitchen on fire, thus giving you the ability to avoid doing so! Cooking turkey is way overrated. (obviously as I have never cooked one either) Infected plague monkeys…hmmmm… mad cow disease? I don’t think you are too far off my dear…
    I used to think I could make a fortune if I could only sell vacation time inside my head. I would pay to vacation in your head Jenny.

  12. Good to have goals, and to know your strengths! And if you’re an agent of Chaos, it helps to be good at it.

  13. “Play to your strengths.” Fucking pearl of wisdom right there, that is. You should get certified as a Life Coach. Or maybe a match.com advisor. I’d leave the rabid zombie monkeys off the résumé though.

  14. Well, if you accidently start the zombie invasion, there probably won’t be a court at which to testify. The building might still be there, but the people will all be zombies, right?

  15. Cooking a turkey is overrated. I admit I have no idea how long it will take me to set fire to my kitchen (so far, any count must start with at least 8 years, since I haven’t set fire to my current kitchen yet) so I think that would be a much more useful skill to have. Knowing how to cook a turkey just means I’m stuck hosting Thanksgiving each year since no one else is capable of reading a cookbook.

  16. Well, the cast of The Walking Dead would love to have you! You can cure their almost zombies, or kill them, which is still a cure, of sorts.

  17. “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former,” said that famous science guy, Albert Einstein. And I’m pretty sure he would have said “fucking-shit-upability,” rather than stupidity, if only we’d invented the term earlier.

  18. It’s more than playing to your strengths, it’s also navigating the fires. I think you explained it perfectly.

    Also, cooking bags are great for turkeys. Everything is better when cooked in a bag. Or on a stick. But don’t put your turkey on a stick.

  19. Thank goodness you wanted to be a writer and not a scientist; or we could all be living in a prison hoping Zombies don’t figure out if you put enough weight against a chain link fence it will fall down.

  20. Anything you’re proficient at is a strength…and if you can’t do it, it’s a weakness. I might not do well with healthy relationships and the whole deal-with-the-world-like-a-grownup thing, but I kick ass at denial, procrastination and depression-triggers.

  21. It’s good that you know exactly how long it takes you to set fire to the kitchen; that might come in handy now and then.

    I agree, you should zombify as few monkeys as possible – good goal!

  22. I am proud to say I’ve always known my limits, and have never, ever, even attempted to cook a turkey. Hell I wouldn’t even be able to pick it up without hurting my elbow or something.

  23. INVADER ZIM: I put the fires out.
    ALMIGHTY TALLEST RED: You made them worse!
    INVADER ZIM: Worse, or… better?

  24. Have you considered that maybe why humanity has plateaued in the 21st century is precisely because there’s not enough science dealing with cyborgs, zombies and plague-monkeys? Just sayin’.

  25. Everybody’s good at something. 😀

    I’m good at doing saying really stupid stuff, usually at the exact.worst.moment. The rest of the day, I’m like a Martha Stewarty goddess of organizing, cleaning and parenting. Or at least, that’s the goal…

  26. The problem with cooking turkey is that then you have turkey. One turkey dinner, freshly cooked, is nice. A week of turkey dinners then making stock out of the bones is nauseating. So basically, you’re better off starting a fire!

  27. I think fucking science up is much better than setting fire to turkeys. After all, if you were ever asked to explain yourself when all the rabid zombie monkeys are running around you can just say ‘they are the one messing shit up, not me’ – what do they call it? Plausible denaibility – that’s the one!

  28. I think that if you ever manage to cook a turkey to perfection WITH the fire that is burning your kitchen down, you’ll have mastered the entire universe. Even zombie-infected monkeys would be in awe.

  29. If you’re going to be good at monkey-rabies-zombies, then you should definitely be good at WHILE YOU’RE IN AUSTRALIA. If you screw something up, you’ve done it on a big freaking island and your oopsie is self-contained.

  30. I think your life skills are more important than turkey. Turkey is overrated anyway.

    Ok… That’s a lie. It’s fucking delicious.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

  31. Don’t let Victor get you down. You should TOTALLY do science, the kind where you run out of a smoking room with your hair on end and hold up a glowing test tube with a blood-curdling cry of “SCIENCE!!!” The trick is just to not use too many monkeys, to reference Jonathan Couton.

  32. Speaking of “avoiding talking to real people”, are you aware of an app that gets you out of talking to people?!?! I just found out about it, it’s not exactly new, though. It’s called TalkTo. You can just pick any business, so long as they’re listed somewhere, and text your question. Or your request for an appointment (I wonder if Dr Offices would allow this? Probably not, but it would be awesome). If the company doesn’t use any SMS feature, the people at TalkTo WILL CALL FOR YOU.
    I tried it out a few times since downloading it, and it’s worked. No awkward moments! YAY!
    I really, really hate calling places, especially to ask if they carry something and the price. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because half the people around here who answer the phones at retail do not have any fucks to give, and so they leave me on hold forever, act dumb, etc.

  33. Today, I got mad and threw a plastic baby spoon across my kitchen. Usually, my husband laughs at me because my attempts at throwing things fizzle and just wind up looking stupid…like one time I threw a box of triscuts, and a shit you not – the bag came out and plopped unceremoniously on the floor, while the box spun and dropped about two feet behind the bag.

    So today, I threw the plastic baby spoon – and when it broke one of my planters, I thought…wow, I’m getting better at this.

    It’s kismet.

    (How are BABIES allowed to eat with SPOONS THAT BREAK PLANTERS??! I’m suing.)

  34. LOL!! I would so be with you when it comes to science. We have decided that the only thing I can cook, and still have everyone eat, is french toast.

    Thank you for giving me something to laugh about today.

  35. Well, we all need our special abilities. It makes us unique. I think it’s a fine idea to have the goal of infecting only a few monkeys while cooking a turkey. Wait, maybe I didn’t read that right. 😉

  36. Everybody has their skills! You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

  37. I’m commenting on a previous post about how many successful days you have every month. 3 mostly, 5 would be great. With one good week I could take over the world. I cleaned the tub today because it was so gross I didn’t want to give my son a bath in it. I also made one phonecall I was putting off. I’m considering today a success. I have considered starting a crystal meth habit because I heard they have really clean houses.
    I suck at housekeeping, talking to moms at school, and remembering to check the calendar to find out if it’s “brown day.”
    I found out two days ago that my dad had a facebook account for two years and is friends with my brother and not me and I was actually RELIEVED because I was sad for an ACTUAL REASON.
    I am also a pretty good artist and only recently felt I may have earned the right to call myself one, possibly. I am, however, a fantastic bartender. Which is really the only way I feel comfortable talking to people. There’s always two feet of space between us.
    I am also the most normal person I know. I read your blog because you make sense to me. You’re honest and that is next to impossible for a lot of people.
    Dirty is the new clean.

  38. I just sat there nodding, yep, I understand perfectly, and yes, it all makes perfect sense, especially that science part. And the fact that you think like that and that so many commenters agree gives me so much more faith in the world.

  39. My husband thinks it a good idea to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving each year. Turns out that it’s kindof important to know the weight of your turkey prior to this procedure, lest you accidentally vaporize that same turkey (…in all it’s lingering and wondrously pungent aroma) to your garage, house, car(s), etc. Thankful for the back-up vegetarian lasagna. Amen.

  40. I’m good at fucking shit up too. It is a very rare science that takes a lot of fucking up to perfect.

    Freaking love your posts, Jenny 🙂

  41. Oh how I love your blog! It’s been a rum old couple of days in the UK parenting blogosphere of which I’m part, but one click onto The Bloggess and I feel a smile creep across my face and my shoulders return to where they should be!

  42. Never having a disease named after me has been on my un-bucket list for years. Gotta have goals!

    They sell whole, cooked turkey in the grocery store deli. I get the entire meal in a sturdy box with handles. Happy Holidays!

  43. haha funny way of getting into the whole point of the story.. playing your strengths.. I guess you’re right… we should stick to what we know how to do best.. like we say in México “zapatero a su zapato”… which would translate to something like “let the shoe maker stick to its shoe”… kind of.. anyway… the way I see it is like everyone has a super power..and no matter how tiny or relevant that is.. it doesn’t make it less of a talent, and it is something you rock at doing… I have a talent of creating drama out of anything.. I guess I could destroy cities with my drama bombs super power…
    cool blog, just found it and loving it!
    http://www.littlemoonlover.blogspot.com

  44. This is exactly why I never took chemistry in High School. I figured if I didn’t trust myself with the chemicals, why should the teachers? I’m kinda a home town hero in that sense. I had enough brain power to know that I should not have accidentally blown up/melted down the school by being all like “so this green stuff is turning red….and smoking…..I’m going to pour this tiny bottle of blue powder in it! (you know, the vial of powder with the skull and crossbones floating over a picture of a bomb torn Nagasaki) Because in the spur of the danger seeped moment, shit like that seems logical to me. This is why I sew people, no one ever blew up anything with a sewing machine…….I think. Oh god, now I’m afraid of my sewing machine………..

  45. I sucked at science and on occasion, I screw up that mixing chemical thing at home. I never can remember why you don’t mix ammonia and bleach, until I do and it’s like not good and then….well let’s just say, I feel ya!

  46. I’d love to put you together with my ex-flatmate (who once set my microwave on fire while cooking chips – or rather, fries, to you guys – SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO BE COOKED IN A MICROWAVE).
    We could call it My Drunk And Fiery Kitchen. It’ll be a youtube sensation. I only want a small cut of the profits, and to be at least 3 miles away when the filming begins… for, um, safety reasons.

  47. Did you know that a spagetti squash can explode when cooked in a microwave? It’s like a large yellow grenade that showers your entire kitchen with stringy brains. If you don’t have to clean it up, it is TOTALLY AWESOME.

  48. I always wanted to get one of those Squirrel Monkeys they advertised in the True Stories. They were 19.95 and I am still pissed my Mom wouldn’t let me have one. Now you can’t get one because all the import laws so my monkey-lovin’ dreams were crushed forever.

  49. again, please don’t publish this comment: thank you!!!! not to be stalkerish, but do let me know if i can write a profile of you on my blog — i would love too. i’d have to speak to one of your parents to discuss how you turned out the way you are, while lisa seems normal enough!!! feel free to use the email address above to respond.

    i can’t wait for your next book. i’m an absolute huge fan and have been reading you umpteen years.

    heather

  50. In reading this, I read the last line as “as long as you have goats.” Of course. It made sense in the whole realm of science and animals and stuff. Then I realized that Victor said it, so I should double check. Oh. yea. Goals. Sure.

  51. The lady thinking of developing a crystal meth habit to clean her house reminded me I was supposed to print out the public records showing my nephew has a warrant for failure to appear on his drug case. My mom says, “But he says he took care of it” because she is that stupid and gullible and of course drug addicts would never lie. That’s not my point though. My point is meth heads have clean houses because they’ve pawned everything for drug money.

    And for the lady who wants to figure out how to get out of cooking turkey I say serve undercooked turkey one year and you’ll never be asked again. Not that I know this from personal experience. My personal experience is you cook the turkey and every freaking member of your fucked up family comes up with an excuse why they can’t come over for the very dinner they talked you into cooking.

    Yeah. Now I just make reservations for Thanksgiving. At a restaurant. For one.

    This has nothing to do with zombie rabies infected monkeys, but after you develop them I’d like to order one. Delivered. To a relative. For Christmas. Gift wrapping optional.

  52. I’ve always thought that cooking was too much like science, which is why I suck at it. But hey, not infecting monkeys with zombie viruses is always a win.

  53. I feel that I must point out that new science is sometimes accidental (penicillin, anyone?) or taking another study of what looked like quackery (new organ discovered this week was theorized in the late 1870’s, but the paper was largely ignored). A lot of science and inventions were triggered by sci-fi.

    I going to steal from Issac Asimov. “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!” but, ‘That’s funny’.”

  54. When I get back to working in a lab I’m DEFINITELY posting this conversation in the room for everyone to read.

  55. Lately I seem good at putting my foot in my mouth and accidentally revealing what I REALLY think. The non PC version. I think I need to run away and work in science.

  56. @Marietta #87,

    Well, look at it this way. By now, the squirrel monkey would be dead, and you would have given away all the stuff you bought for it. So the only real difference between having had a squirrel monkey and not having had a squirrel monkey is your memory of whether you had one or not.

    Now you KNOW how unreliable memory is, especially as you get older. So my proposal is this: if that’s the only obstacle to having had a kickass pet with amazing adventures and stories you can dine out on the rest of your life, then you TOTALLY had the best squirrel monkey ever, and you can get to work on manufacturing the stories and memories you need to back that up. Memories that are totally, one hundred percent authentic.

    As far as you can recall.

  57. Hey you’re pretty fucking good at corrupting my inner monologue & that’s a skill! Until I found you I would be all “oh for goodness sake” and “bother” when things stressed me out (I’m English with a posh accent) but reading your blog has changed all that; I’m “oh fuck off you bloody fuckwit, you’re s fucking fucker” in my head ALL THE TIME now.
    I work with children so it has to be in my head but STILL it’s a start.

  58. I wanted you to know you are special in more ways than not having caught your kitchen on fire. You were a Halloween costume in my neighborhood. She said she was supermom, but she had curlers in her hair and a red coat on (dont ask me why i always envision you in a red coat, maybe the robe?)…With your glasses, too.

    So, YOU ARE A HALLOWEEN SUPERHERO. Cross that off your bucket list!!

  59. “infect as few monkeys as possible.” THAT is science. at its best. that might even be deductive reasoning? or inductive reasoning? regardless (or irregardless) – it’s pretty brilliant. and words to live by.

  60. I wish a rabies infected zombie monkey would bite me. I feel the holidays coming and I don’t think I can handle it. I feel like a failure as a Mom.

  61. Your definition of science is spot on!

    I just finished Mira Grant’s new book – Parasite – and I loved it! I wanted desperately to tell my coworkers about it but as soon as I started in on “everyone in the world hosts a bioengineered tapeworm, their Intestinal Bodyguard” – they groaned and ran away looking green.

    Then I thought – I *bet* Jenny’s readers would like it 🙂 And lo – here is a post regarding creepy science things!

    Everyone – go read Parasite! It’s awesome and creepy and full of scarily-real science!

  62. My tag line is “I make shit happen…good shit!”
    I had to add that last part after my husband used the original against me a few times.

  63. How long does it take to set fire to the kitchen. Don’t know why I need or want to know this other than the day I play Bizarro Jeopardy and Trebek asks me.

    Won’t he be surprised when I have the answer.

  64. Recently at work we had to do this “Strength Finders” exercise where you identify your strengths and focus on THOSE instead of wasting time trying to improve your weaknesses.

    Clearly you’re discovering super powers here…as long as you avoid monkeys.

  65. There is something wonderfully disturbing about your blog. When you post something, I have a thought and post a comment. Then, a day or so later, I realize I’M STILL THINKING about you starting the zombie-monkey-apocalypse. If any of my college professors had been more like you, I probably would have finished in four or five years instead of twelve.

  66. Science, schmiece, it’s all about ball bearings these days anyway. I don’t care about accidental contagious zombie monkeys as long as it works on my wrinkles. Thanks for another hilarious post!

  67. My boyfriend is a lot like Victor. You know…dream crusher. Yesterday my boyfriend told me I was weird. Just because I stomped through the movie theater parking lot like The Hulk proclaiming that I was Thor and eat babies for lunch doesn’t make me weird.

  68. To: Me (up at #107)

    I’m pretty sure, even though I don’t know you, that you’re NOT a failure as a Mom. I don’t believe the ones who really ARE failures ever stop to wonder if they are.

    Hang in there! Post more if you feel like it…
    Gail

  69. I tried to tell my mother that science was about infected plague monkeys, but she STILL didn’t let me drop that class.

  70. Look-our American cousins who celebrate Thanksgiving very late, so you’ll barely be finished the leftover turkey before you’re cooking it again for Xmas. . .

    the rule of thumb is that the turkey much be completely thawed,
    and, it must be stuffed with a combination of breadcrumbs and sausage meat, either loose or sausage,
    and it must then be cooked 1/2 hour per pound @ 325F

    and then left on the counter for ~1 hour.

    And that’s how to perfectly cook a turkey, tasty and no risk of disease.

  71. Setting fires is an important survival skill.
    You’ll need that skill after the zombie monkeys take over and the power goes out.

  72. I just have to say that I would absolutely love an opportunity to hang out with you because I think you’re wonderful. I would also love very much to interview your husband. Because seeing you through his eyes is pretty awesome too!

  73. I have a degree in science…I am certified to teach science…and that, Madam, is science. And, might I add, a hell of a lot more fucking useful than organic chemistry.

  74. You know… Some careers rely on the ability to fuck shit up. Application testing, for example. Wish I could put Sr Fuck Up Shit Specialist as my title. Best business card evar!

  75. Fucking shit up should be an Olympic sport. Every item should be plastic, childproof, and indestructible. All contestants will have are their wits, whatever clothing they’re wearing, and the amount of crazy they walked in with.

  76. Playing up my “strengths” = you just helped me win every argument I will ever have with the hubs. You and your epiphanies are the best thing since killer cyborgs. You’re a genius!!

  77. Zombie monkeys are cool, but glow in the dark monkeys with a giant ear growing on eat butt cheek…phenomenal scientific achievement.

  78. Shit totally happens. In fact, I’m just welcoming it in at this point. Bought a bird feeder for the cat this morning so birds and shit are on their way. But, hey, the cat is entertained.

  79. I only ever liked Thanksgiving because of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I went and watched it with great attention and awe on my grandparent’s color tv. ( I’m old, it was exciting, as exciting as the PS4) But, I never got the turkey thing.
    Turkey vs. a big chicken? Turkey tends to be dryer. The bigger the bird, the dryer the meat.
    As a young American wife, I thought it was my duty to serve turkey for Thanksgiving. That’s what you do, right? Whether you like or it not? So I did that.
    Then, I didn’t.
    I was trying so hard to do what was right, what was expected of me. Then I went to my Aunt’s house for a Thanksgiving Day meal and she served roast prime rib!
    Crusted in rosemary and so delicious!
    I was really thankful for that one meal and remain so.
    I am the cook. I do it every day. I see turkey as just a big chicken. I cook that meal so many times, it is boring to me.
    So this year, I am doing bbq duck. I have no idea how it will turn out. I plan a raspberry sauce, and steamed green beans.
    If it doesn’t turn out okay, we have Ramen.
    Which goes great with duck.

  80. You crack me up. But yes find your strengths and build on them.

    And hey if I can cook a turkey so can you. Yes even You. But no monkey’s or squirrels

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