And that’s why you should never read over someone else’s shoulder.

Whenever I’m sitting next to a stranger on a plane who insists on looking at whatever I’m typing I usually feel very uncomfortable, so I immediately write something that makes them feel just as uncomfortable, and that’s why so many of my book chapters end with murder confessions that need to be deleted before I send them to my editor.  An example of the one I wrote this month:

“Note to self: The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at Disneyland is littered with bones and decaying skulls.  Possibly a good place to dispose of the next body?  But then you have to carry a bag of dead body around Disneyland and that would be hard to explain.  But Disney would probably would want to avoid bad publicity and maybe Security would just confiscate the bones and let you go free?  Does it count as ‘disposing of a dead body’ if it’s confiscated?  Would that make the security guard an accessory to murder?  Maybe I could just tell them that it’s my grampa and that he wanted to ride Space Mountain one last time.  Everyone loves Space Mountain.”

End result?  I got the armrest.  Win.



And in other news, it’s Sunday, which means its time for the weekly wrap-up:

What you missed in my shop (Named “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What you missed on the internets:

This week on shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

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103 thoughts on “And that’s why you should never read over someone else’s shoulder.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. At least you ended on a positive note.
    And you’re right – everyone does love Space Mountain, so please don’t dispose of your dead body there. It will only ruin it for everyone.

  2. And tell me that Tom Sawyer’s island isn’t the ideal place to bury someone?! I mean, hey, grandpa could be stuck in a cemetery somewhere where no one ever visits him, OR he could be part of the magical experience of thousands of Disney consumers each day! (I was going to say “People will be dying to get in” but that’s really at the level of Family Circus and aren’t we all just a bit better than that?)

  3. You have to wonder if the stranger ever told anyone about this … and if so, what he said.

    Really, that’s the only question I have about any of this.

  4. That is one scathingly brilliant idea.

    When I flew to Florida a couple of weeks, I got recognized on the plane by my seatmate. No work occurred on the flight; I was enjoying the gushing and adulation way too much.

    Standing at baggage claim with the kids, he came over again and gushed some more. Junior son rolled his eyes, daughter-in-law beamed, and senior bluesman son said, “Why can’t that ever happen to me?”

  5. Dear Bloggess, I totally dreamt that I met you last night. You were part of a traveling choir, and we had friends in common. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog, but you already thought I was a bit creepy, so I didn’t. Now that I’m awake, that reminded me that I should tell you how much I enjoy your blog. And that we have never met, but you know that anyway. You had a nice voice, by the way.

  6. I had an extremely nosy coworker once who was very open and unapologetic about her snooping into people’s business. One day she was reading over my shoulder whilst I was trolling about on Facebook, so I opened a chat with my Caveman saying, “Oh hey, just wanted to say that was some amazing anal last night, how are you walking today? My legs are so chaffed from the strap-on, I really need to remember to lube up with some Vaseline next time. Is the cat still hiding under the bed?” Hasn’t bothered me since. I fucking love being an asshole.

  7. I think the Disney security dumps all of the dead bodies that they confiscate in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and that is why there are so many bones and skulls in there.

    I frequently can win the armrest by flashing my boobs. Breast-feeding or not, it usually works.

  8. Because I believe you care about this stuff. “One side says you’re weird.” If you don’t care…well…I’d apologize for correcting your grammar, but I’m weird.

    (You are weird in the best way. Thanks! ~ Jenny)

  9. the soon-to-be-ex used to try to look at whatever I was writing… it makes me stop altogether.

    Isn’t it weird how we write for other people to read but it’s SUPER-uncomfortable to have it read while we’re writing it?

    For me its like I am waiting for the person to blurt out “OMG why are you writing that?! No one wants to read about that!”
    I just know its going to happen. So I freeze up

  10. OMG that is awesome. Also, that’s the ride my husband and I thought we could coerce our four year-old to go on, even though he thought it might be scary. Unfortunately, we ended up stuck for 25 minutes in the part where the prisoners are trying to coax the dog to bring them the keys. My kid sat on my lap and screamed bloody murder the whole time. I still only have partial hearing on the left side. The way the rest of the passengers acted by the time we left the ride, our kid was lucky not to end up one of the dead bodies hid in the bowels of Disneyland.

  11. sadly, your method would not work since whoever would be looking at my writing would probably think its cool as hell and the next thing you know, I’ve made a creepy “friend” I really dont’ want to have

    that’s just the kind of places I hang around and write in…

  12. Regarding Weird & Proud – one of my students referred to my daughter as “hot but weird” – in our home, that’s a compliment!

  13. I’ve never understood those people who feel compelled to look at whatever I’m doing on my Kindle. Suggestions on inappropriate things I can download for these nosy assholes?

  14. Those are the kind of conversations I have with my coworkers. And when I say conversation, I mean I say things like that, and at least one of my coworkers says “what is wrong with you?” It’s like a game. I see how many I can get in one day.

  15. You are the best thing that’s happened to me today.

    (That may not be quite the compliment it appears. But still.)

  16. I wouldn’t be reading over your shoulder, I would be trying to talk about the back end of cows, or ‘magic squirrels’ or other craziness out of the excitement of sitting next to THE Blogess. You could have the arm rest though.

  17. Jenny, I want the seat next to you. I promise you get the armrest if you just let me keep reading your stuff. Love it.

  18. thank you. I hate flying and live with a continual hope to never have to. and sitting next to strangers is so uncomfortable, especially when you know they are peering into what you are doing. but this, this is a wonderful idea.

  19. I’m going to try that next time people read my screen as I write. And I hope they try it too when I read over their shoulder in return.

  20. I’m going to try that next time someone looks over my shoulder. And I hope they do it too when I look over theirs in return. It all makes life more interesting.

  21. I find that when someone (especially a male someone) is eavesdropping, which is more or less the same thing as reading over your shoulder, talking about things like cramps and cycles does the trick without, you know, getting airport security involved.

  22. Awesome on solving people reading over your shoulder. My problem is it’s usually one of my kids reading over my shoulder. Not sure what I could start typing that wouldn’t scar them for life. Not that they aren’t scarred already seeing as how they are *my* kids. 🙂

  23. I like to do the same thing with eaves droppers at Starbucks. All of a sudden my phone conversation gets very creepy and I no longer have to share the last table. Winning 🙂

  24. You can see the baby duck water slide at the South Carolina State Fair. We have it every October. Message me & I’ll take you!

  25. Considering that poeple dump the ashes of loved ones at the Haunted Mansion ride I doubt security would bat an eye at a bag full of body parts.

  26. I was reading “Let’s Just Pretend this Never Happened” on a plane to Salt Lake City and sitting next to very sweet, young, Mormon girl headed to SLC to training for her mission. She was looking over my shoulder, and I was laughing hysterically, and finally I became so nervous that my tears of joy at the labia story might ruin her ability to be a good Mormon that I put the book away. It’s the only time I’ve been so considerate of another persons chance of getting into heaven.

  27. Wonder if the guy went home and told his wife about your paragraph and she called him an idiot for not recognizing you

  28. Sometimes people on the train next to me seem interested in what I am writing, I think maybe they think I am writing notes on them? It is a shame my writing is so messy, because I am actually writing a novel about murder, and other terrifying things! 😛

  29. It totally does not count as disposal of a dead body if it’s confiscated. It was taken away from you, and you don’t get to pick Grampa’s placement on the pile.

    I do the same thing, though usually not on an airplane as I have three children to yell at to stop eating things off of the floor. However, the same thing happens at work and on the rare occasions that I get to go to a coffee place without the minions. I’m not even famous, yet I’m constantly amazed at how nosy people can be.

  30. I absolutely hate it when people read over my shoulder! I must remember this for the next time it happens. You are the guru of weird Jenny and I wouldn’t want you any other way 🙂

  31. I can’t help but wonder if a google search for “dispose of a dead body” is now going to lead to hits on this blog post. Again, total win.

  32. If I was next to you on a plane, I’d only want to talk about our mutual love of Texas and how your huge metal chickens have spread to Oklahoma. I’d probably ask for your autograph and tell you how much Juanita resonates with me, more so than any other rodent. Other passengers would look at us strange, but I’d have already bought us a round of drinks and they would simply assume we’re hammered.

  33. I sat next to this fat lady on a plane once… so fat her fbutt oozed under the armrest and was tight up against my thigh no tmatter how far away I tried to get. Then she started farting. Recycled farts for two hours. THAT will get you the arm rest. Haven’t flown since.

  34. I’ve learned the fine art of typing diagonally — that’s when I angle my laptop so that it’s facing almost 45 degrees away from those with no sense of personal boundaries. If I start getting carpal tunnel, then I type the normal way…but I angle my screen down so that it can’t be read. When I take a look at the screen again, it’s always a crapshoot what I’ll find. I know it’s stupid to inconvenience myself due to lurkers — I do the same thing if I go to a casino and people stand behind me, watching me on the slot machine (I will push the button veeerrrrrryyyyy slowly with loooonnnngggg pauses between each movement). Or, if it’s apparent they are waiting for me to get off, I’ll keep feeding money to that thing….even if I’m loosing…just because it bugs me that they are in my personal space (I have a rather large personal space bubble). Could be that I’m a bit anti-social 🙂

  35. I just want to randomly add here:
    Thanks for sharing your interest to Kelly Vivanco’s art! I discovered her art through your page, and gawd, I love it!
    I actually figured out this amazing idea to use one of her favorite artworks of mine as a background wallpaper on my iphone! It accentuates it perfectly! I can just stare at it all day!
    Thanks again, Blogess!
    Please share more of your cool interests! I like your style!

  36. In this instance, I’d just start mumbling to you about better ways to dispose of the body. I think I’d either end up winning the arm rest or getting pepper sprayed…

  37. Ron Burgundy isn’t alone in his confusion of Doctor Who. I went to Wizard World in Austin this weekend and attended Bruce Campbell’s panel. He too was confused by Doctor Who. I wish I could remember all his funny one-liners about it, but basically Bruce said he had just learned that there were 12 Doctors (at which point the audience yelled “13!”) and thought that was weird. He asked one guy which was his favorite and then told the guy that his favorite must not have been very good since he had obviously been fired and replaced with a newer one. Hmmm…that’s not so funny typed out…trust me, it was funny in person.

  38. That is probably the best idea ever for getting rid of those lurkers who like to see what you are writing…. I find myself in that situation often. But then again I do also find myself often being the person trying to see what other people are writing….. and I think if I saw that, I would just silently congratulate them on how awesome they are.

    Unless it was true. Then maybe less congratulations, more alerting the police. Hard to say.

  39. My most awkward situation on a plane involves me when I was 17 on a transatlantic flight stuck between an Indian guy who spoke very little English and was reading what I’m pretty sure were Indian romance novels, and a couple on their honeymoon who had been drinking too much champagne and the guy wouldn’t shut up about a fresco of a guy with a giant penis in Pompeii. It was an awkward 8 hours. And then in the next 12 I ended up in the middle of a riot in Athens (Greece) but that’s another story.

  40. This has nothing to do with your very amusing post, but I watched it and I thought you would enjoy it. Remember to turn on closed captions to get subtitles.

  41. Love the mug. Just watched Boy Wonder on Netflix, which makes me want this mug all the more.

  42. Actually, Stuff You Missed in History covered the placement of human remains on Disney Rides pretty thoroughly in their 2-part podcast on the Haunted Mansion – and again in the followup emails they got in the next episode (the one about vaccines which has all kinds of icky things that may or may not be trigger for some people, including needles and pox and bodily fluids so consider yourself warned, and just skip to the end if you want to miss all that stuff because they have letters from actual cast members, and see Jenny, you’re not the only one who can do really long parenthetical statements) . I don’t know if I can place links in this comment section so just search for “stuff you missed in history class podcast” and it will be the first result (unless Google has gained sentience and also spite in which case I’m already doomed. Run. Save yourself.)

  43. That’s too funny 🙂 I always check out what people are reading or writing but I’m very sneaky about it. I don’t like it when people do it to me though, especially when I get to a raunchy part in a novel.

  44. In a semi-related vein …. Rick Steves, the Seattle area travel guru (he has a PBS show about traveling in Europe and whatnot) advised how to go about securing a train compartment of your very own. Put your hand down your pants, recline on the seat and put on a blissful smile. No one will want to share the compartment with you, oddly enough.

  45. I once watched the movie Airplane! on my laptop on a flight to California. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the guy next to me watching over my shoulder. It was funny to see him quickly look away every time I turned my head.

    I was also envious of the people in the movie. They had so much more leg room.

  46. I am the worst person in the world to sit next to on a plane IF there is turbulence.

    …because I fucking love turbulence.

    I have even been known to cheer, or quote the Lieutenant Dan scene from Forrest Gump – the one where he is yelling at god from the mast of the shrimp boat.

    On one occasion the guy next to be moved ENTIRELY.. so I got a whole extra seat.

    Try it out.

    Good times. Good Times.

  47. It’s more obvious in other videos of the slide, but there’s food in a trough above the top edge of the slide–the ducklings stretch to reach it and fall down the slide. They rush back up to get more food, and fall all over again. They might be having fun? But also, it might be a Tantalus-style thing for them and maybe also kind of scary?

    I’m sorry to be the person who ruins everything adorable today.

  48. I did this recently with a girl who was rudely reading over my shoulder on the bus. I wrote a text to my friend saying “The rude girl next to me is reading over my shoulder. I wonder if she’ll comment on the fact that I’m now describing her as rude and bitch-looking, or if she’ll realise that will have to entail her admitting to reading over my shoulder while I type. This is a conundrum. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word conundrum before.” The girl said nothing, but watching her battle it out with herself was priceless.

  49. I used to read true crime on planes to keep people from talking to me. One of my friends suggested that if that didn’t work, I should make margin notes and giggle manaically from time to time. I like your style.

  50. I told the Thanksgiving Threesome story in a Cracker Barrel and almost got thrown out. But I saw the ears listening so I just got louder. As I do when you judge me and my mistakes. I did not, however, win the armrest.

  51. Don’t try to dump bodies at Disney – they are already watching for that, particularly on the dark rides. Everyone wants to dump grandma’s ashes at the Haunted Mansion!

  52. When I worked in NYC I would sometimes catch a glimpse of someone’s notebook — once I had to keep peeking because it was a memorably scary almost-apocolyptic treatise. A few weeks later Colin Ferguson* shot up the same train on a night I didn’t ride it. I haven’t read over anyone’s shoulder since.

    (*No, not the actor, the mass-murderer. And don’t believe Google’s pictures because they show the actor for both. Apparently their disambiguation software is broken.)

  53. i don’t like space mountain at disney world. it’s too small and annoying. i can say it is against the rules to scatter remains anywhere on disney property. i may or may not have smuggled some of my mom’s ashes on pirates of the caribbean at disney world for her last right. i may or may not have also scatter some of her ashes there too, so my mom may or may not permanently be part of pirates of the caribbean, her favorite disney ride.

    but no one ever reads anything over my shoulder. except maybe my cats. if they can read. which i bet they can.

  54. Yes. I think I’m going to definitely do that next time someone’s reading over my shoulder. Or maybe start hurriedly scribbling a to-do list of notes to self:
    1- Get place cards for family for dinner.
    2- Defrost turkey.
    3 -Make up spare bedroom.
    4 -Google how to get blood stains out of carpet.
    5 – Hi nosy neighbor!

    Thanks for the laugh!

  55. I love the fact that half the time I read your blog and I’m “Thank goodness it’s not just me” and the other half I’m “Oooo good idea, that’s aawesome ”

    Never change 🙂

  56. Last time I flew I had a nosey girl sitting next to me. So I pulled up Let’s Pretend This Never Happened on my Kindle and started reading. She left me alone after that. THANK YOU for putting swear words in the chapter titles!!!!

  57. So, I read somewhere that Disney World keeps a band of feral cats to eat all of the mice in the park– this could also be helpful for disposing of a dead body. Just a thought.

  58. There was a ducklings waterslide thing on a kids show called “Playschool” in Australia when I was a kid in the early eighties. They would bring in different animals to the studio each week, and sing to them, make things for them and educate preschoolers about simple biology. “Playschool” is still going, by the way.

  59. Ari, I noticed that too. If you look up other videos of duckling slides it’s the same thing, there’s a trough of food at the top and when the ducklings reach for it, they eventually lose their balance and go down the slide. I commented on this when the duckling video was posted on Cute Overload, but they didn’t post my comment. I don’t think that annoying animals is cute (I wouldn’t call this animal cruelty because they aren’t actually hurt). I just think people need to know that these ducklings aren’t going down the slide because they think it’s fun.

  60. For reals: All of the skeletons in the Pirates of the Caribbean used to be real. Now only one skull is real.

  61. You’ve probably seen this…heck, I probably GOT IT FROM YOU. In case anyone else would like to check it out: David Blaine: Street Magic (NSFW, cussing) Funny shit.

    Weird and Proud, LB4L 3>

  62. My bro celebrated Dr Who day with a fez wearing party. But they didn’t have actual fezs so they wore solo cups on their heads. My question is…was he doing it wrong?

  63. Recently the woman that checked us in was not listening when I said my husband and I wanted to sit next to each other. We only saw the seats when we were boarding. The air host was very sweet and said he would find us seats together but we first had to wait for take off. I was so glad that I was moved after take off because the women next to me was eating strange things that smelt terrible.

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