November 25, 2009

My dad is totally normal

Recently my father tells my sister, “I think I’m gonna start writing a blog”. Oh, really? You probably don’t see what’s happening here because you didn’t grow up in my house. But underneath his innocent declaration is dig on me. That’s how he does shit. Sneaky. The thing is, I’m all for the idea of my dad writing a blog - my god, PLEASE, start writing a blog.

There are many reasons why my father’s blog would be pricelessly entertaining – a lot better than that fag on twitter who writes about “shit my dad says”. My dad would easily crush his dad in a heartbeat.

Here’s a typical conversation between my folks (they YELL a lot, mostly because they’re NEVER in the same room during a conversation):

“NADINE!” My dad yells from the kitchen.

“YES, CHAMP?” My mom is so damn patient it makes me sick to my stomach. And yes, that’s my father’s name.

“I’M MAKING SOME TOAST.” He makes it sound like he’s preparing a three-course meal.

“And?” See what I mean? By this point, I would have told him to stop acting like a caged gorilla.


Hmm… Not only did he say the product name grammatically incorrect, he also said the grammatically incorrect word wrong.

Another thing he loves to do is instigate fights between family members even though most of us live approximately 3,000 miles apart…

“You talk to your brother and sister?” This is the 6th time he’s asked during our conversation.

“Yep. Yesterday.” I’m totally lying.

“Why’d your sister hang up on you?”

“She didn’t. I was joking.”

“You should be nice to your sister. She loves you more than anything in the world. Be careful, ain’t gonna happen, take it back.”

“Take what back?”

“Just say it.”


You’re probably wondering about the whole “be careful, ain’t gonna happen, take it back” nonsense.

You see my father honestly believes that if he has a bad thought it will happen, so he makes people repeat this phrase to eradicate any threat of apocalyptic doom. When he’s alone, he calls my mom to say it. Seriously, we’ll be out shopping and I hear her mumbling these words, that’s when I grab the phone and yell, “I’m NOT going to be careful. It IS going to happen. And I’m taking everything FORTH”. My sister came up with “take it forth”. God, I love that.

He blames the nuns at his Catholic school for his neurotic behavior, and says his crazy Italian-Catholic aunts made him superstitious. What he calls “superstitious”, I call Tourettes. That’s what it’s like… you’re sitting around minding your own business and out of nowhere he bursts out some shit like, “be careful, take it back, ain’t gonna happen, take it back” – while making the sign of the cross and spitting three times into the air. What the fuck’s with the number three, dad?

Then there’s his name… I suppose my father didn’t stand a chance with a name like “Champ” – that’s a lot to live up to, but he pulls it off and most people are in awe with him. You simply HAVE to hear what will come out of his mouth next.

“Simone, these ‘vagan’ cookies taste like cardboard horse shit.” I’ve been vegan for 4 years and he still can’t say it right.

“That’s because they’re DOG BISQUITS, dad.” Didn’t he read the clearly marked box before shoveling strangely shaped cookies into his mouth?

I keep trying to get him to move out to Los Angeles where it’s sunny and warm… and mostly because I’d have a continuous supply of material.

“Come on pop, don’t you want to move out to sunny California? We can write blogs together and eat ‘vagan’ food every day...”

“Oh, honey, I love you, but that hain’t gonna happen. I hate all of that beach shit.”

I’m begging you, dad, please start writing a blog – I’d be your number #1 fan.

Keep writing. It saves lives. 

November 16, 2009

Would you want to date me?

Lately I’ve been picking on my boyfriend for not being more like Edward Cullen. If you don’t know who Edward is, let me explain… He’s a vampire. That’s right - a fictional character from the Twilight saga - a book series for teenage girls. Teenagers.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I dream about Edward taking me away to some desolate bat cave for a good old fashioned throw down... He’s so romantic - he’s the type of guy, or vampire, who’d sacrifice his life for his girl. That’s pretty friggin’ cool. Although, he’s a vampire, so that I’m not sure how that works. Still, he’d go to the ends of the earth to make his woman happy. So, I ask why Peter? Why can’t you be more like Edward?

"I’m not feeling a connection,” I tell Peter, as I frantically type away on my laptop.

“What? Is the internet down?” He knows exactly what I’m talking about.

“Come on. I’m being serious. We seem disconnected.”

“This again?” He stands up when he talks to me, I think it’s so he can see over my laptop screen.

“I’m just sayin’, I want to be swept off of my feet.” I mean this in the literal sense. I want him to pick me up and carry me around the apartment.

“Are you still reading that damn Twilight series?” He never curses. So I know he’s pissed.

“I’m on the last book.” I send the email and start on another one. It’s constant work trying to get people to love me.

“You’ve been on the computer for 3 hours. We’re late.” He walks outside.

“Wait. Can we please talk about this?” I follow him carrying my laptop.

“Put the laptop down. Let’s go.” He heads to the car.

“Alright! But we’re talking about this in the car.”

“You bet.” This is his answer for everything.

And I mean, everything…

‘can you take me somewhere really cool this weekend?’
‘you bet’

‘will you pick up some toothpaste?’
‘you bet’

‘is my new song any good?’
‘you bet’

“did you like my last blog?”
‘you bet’

‘I know you love me, but are you IN love with me?’
‘you bet’

How can I argue with ‘you bet’?

He gives me nothing to go on.

Sometimes I wonder why, or how, he is still with me. I’m not high maintenance, but I’m definitely an attention whore who requires constant recognition and adornment. Most of my exes clued into this bullshit within the first year and got the hell out. Is it my fault that weirdness always ensued after they left? No. The answer is a resounding no. Well, that’s not entirely true. I think Peter might be afraid to break up with me because he doesn’t want to suffer my aftermath.

Crazy happens.

Things like me ‘friending’ my ex-husband on myspace and making sure he reviewed every scathing blog I wrote about him... “Yep. Saw that one. Seems like you’re, uh, healing?” Then I’d de-friend him, for the hundredth time.

On a side note, ‘de-friending’ in the social media realm is a lot of fun. I get a surge of power when I delete an asshole from my friend list. Call it passive aggressive. I call it fucking cool. Seriously though, if you pull that shit on me, I will hunt your ass down and make you write a ten-point argument on why you removed me from your list.

Where the hell was I going with this? Oh yeah, the aftermath...

My favorite ex-boyfriend ended up with two restraining orders against him, and my wannabe mobster Italian father flying across the country to 'rip his goddamn lungs out of his cocksuckin’ throat' (is that even possible?).

One dude got a police escort out of the building we both worked in together.

The guy before him ended up moving back to Iran because he was happier THERE.

Another fellow ended up coming out of the closet after dating me.

My high school boyfriend became a male stripper and later got into the porn industry.

Like I said, crazy happens.

So, Peter, if you’re reading this - and I know you are because I make you read everything I write - I’m sorry, in advance, for all of the horrible shit that will happen to you after you dump my ass. Your best bet is locating Edward Cullen and setting us up. I’m pretty sure only a vampire could survive dating me.

Keep writing. It saves lives.

November 10, 2009

Freedom's just another word for... filing for unemployment.

This morning I woke up 99.3 % positive I was going to call in sick. I had the cramps and felt like an elephant-shaped water balloon. Can you even conceive how uncomfortable that is? Well, it sucks and all I wanted to do was eat a brick of chocolate, curl up into a ball and feel sorry for myself. I did not want get dressed and answer emails from assholes I hate. Screw you for not understanding, or caring.

I drifted asleep and goddamn it if I didn’t start dreaming about work… something like I forgot to call in sick and it was 5:30 p.m., I had 23 voicemails, 43 emails and my boss put out an Amber alert for me... In its typical evil fashion, my super-neurotic brain ruined it (fuck you, brain). So I rolled out of bed, grouchy and pissed off, took a half-assed shower and drove the 1.73 miles to work (I will never complain about this commute, and I’ll be sad when this freelance gig ends next week. Sort of. Well, no, not really, at all).

I made it to work and between cups of tea I did a little internet stalking and read some really fucked up shit about squid sex. That grew old, so I decided to focus my attention on riling up the angry co-worker sitting next to me. You see, he got laid off and he is PISSED OFF at the boss lady. I get a real kick out of egging people on and writing down the shit they say when they’re upset. It’s priceless.

After fucking around with that guy for while, I came up with the best Facebook status ever, but I was rudely interrupted when the boss lady suddenly appeared out of nowhere like a vampire in the night. Damn, I hate it when people sneak up behind me, especially when I’ve been talking shit about them. I quickly F11-ed all of my internet pages and started shuffling some loose papers into piles – it’s all about appearances, people. By this point, I totally forgot what I was going to post for my best Facebook status ever. Bastards. Nobody seems to understand how hard it is to come up with this crap. Am I crying? Holy shit, my bottom lip just quivered.

Boss lady plopped down next to the angry co-worker, and politely asked if he could help her figure out some stuff. His face turned into stone. Hilarious. God, why do angry people crack me up? I turned my good ear toward their conversation, but try as I might I couldn’t hear what the two jokers were mumbling about, probably because it was so utterly boring my brain put up a protective shield. Rather than stretch my neck closer in their direction, I decided to concoct a conversation in my head – I do this a lot, sometimes out loud.

This is their conversation, with my specialness mixed in:

Passive Aggressive Boss: Can we go over this workflow doc so I can re-assign your projects?

Angry Dude: Sure! First, can I shove this staple gun up your ass and rip out your pubs with this here packing tape?

PAB: Oh, you’re so funny. I’m really going to miss your sense of humor (she just scooted her chair a few inches away from him).

AD: I’ll bet you’ll miss me, especially when you’re stuck cleaning up the colossal shit storm I’m leaving behind for you cock suckers.

PAB: Ha ha. That’s a good one. We know you wouldn’t do that to us (she just grabbed a pair of scissors out of his office caddy - I know, who the fuck uses office caddies anymore?).

AD: Look, I’m kinda busy. I’ve got an appointment with your boss to let her know what an awful person you are.

PAB: Wh-hhat? (she just turned white, well, whiter)

AD: That’s right. You don’t even deserve to work in the mailroom (this is not a slight against mailroom workers - he’s obviously angry and not thinking clearly!).

PAB: You’re kidding right? (she just stood up and is aiming the sheers at Angry Dude).

AD: I wish I were. I wish I were.

PAB: What if I gave you your job back?

AD: Screw you and this shit hole job. I’m going viral on your ass, and posting every last one of your 2nd grade-level emails for the world to see. You fucking retarded, egg-shaped, flat-assed moronic lazy pig brained, twat. You’re dead to me (a bit dramatic, I know).

That’s as far as I got because I had to run to a meeting. Suffice it to say, Angry Dude will eventually realize that being laid off was the best thing that could’ve happened to him… approximately 12.4 seconds after he leaves the building. He'll be restored to happiness when he steps into the fragrant breeze of freedom and those unemployment checks start rolling in…

Now, where the hell can I get a jumbo bag of triple chocolate fudge macadamia nut brownies layered with peanut butter cup icing?!

Keep writing. It saves lives. 

October 24, 2009

Keeping the Day Job

On career day in elementary school I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I “grew up” – I wanted to work in advertising, like Darren Stevens on “Bewitched”. As a young girl I’d sit inches from the television screen, waiting with great anticipation to see what kooky double entendre or pun Darren would pull out of his ass (always with Samantha’s help) at the last minute to sell in the “big idea”. I especially loved the applause Darren would receive at the end of his half-baked pitch. It was not the selling of unnecessary products to unsuspecting consumers that turned me on, rather it was the creative process – and Samantha’s magical powers were pretty dope. Once my little girl creative juices began flowing, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to be a writer, just like those people on TV.

Years later, still very much on the warpath of becoming a copywriter in advertising, I graduated college with a degree in Communications –the closest thing to Advertising the University of Maryland offered. Shortly after accepting my diploma, I took a train out west to follow my advertising dream (and a guy… always a guy). Unfortunately, I graduated smack dab in the middle of a recession and jobs were scarce – more like nonexistent. After sending out over 300 resumes, the only thing to show for my effort was a tall stack of rejection letters (I just dated myself with the reference to paper letters, didn’t I?).

Almost a year after graduation and my 457th resume out the door, I finally got a call. The shrewd lady with superior mind-control abilities miraculously talked me into taking a position as a junior account manager at a hi-tech agency, you know, to “get my foot in the door”. The position could not have been more polar-opposite than copywriter. In fact, there is a tacit war between the creative teams and account managers dating back to the late 1800’s. I was desperate and took the job. My hyper-neurotic tendencies kicked in and suddenly my goal was to become the best little account person those Silicon Valley geeks had ever seen. I plugged along, got promoted, and a couple years later I landed a management job (not copywriting) at the hippest, coolest, most creative agency in the entire universe (well, that was their mantra). In the blink of an eye, filled over with many salty tears, 16 years passed and guess what I was still doing? The smart ones reading this probably guessed correctly… management.

What? How in God’s good name did that happen? Trust me, I ask myself the same question every time I take on a new freelance assignment. I can safely attribute the decision to stay in management to that filthy 4-letter word – FEAR. It’s like a thief in the night, stealing away any inkling of courage and leaving behind a thick layer of denial. Fear caused me to break out in hives, or experience heart palpitations, and sometimes profuse sweating over the mere mention of a “portfolio”. Of course I didn’t have a portfolio of work – I was too busy busting my ass helping sometimes not-so-nice creative teams build their portfolios. Besides I was too terrified to have my work judged or worse, criticized. For those of you just tuning in – daily rejection is mandatory for creative people in advertising.

My dream of being a copywriter slipped further away as I matured into a well-refined account manager, until one day I realized it was too late to start over. With much angst, I came to terms with my sacrifice and started taking out my frustrations on the nearest innocent bystander, friends, spouses or inanimate objects… Finally after hitting rock bottom, I heard a little murmur telling me I needed to start writing again, and if I couldn’t be creative in my day job that I would be creative on the side, after work, on weekends and holidays… I listened to the voice (when I’m feeling really gay, I call that voice my heart) and made the choice to keep writing – no matter what.

Thus began the great divide… working in management and nourishing my creativity on the side. For years I felt like I was selling my soul to pay the bills… or I’d suffer not so much in silence, anguishing over the two voices inside of me - the dreamer and the worker bee - constantly fighting with each other to win the floor. I’ve learned to quiet the clamor by realizing that very few creative people are immune to this duality. If I really look into the eyes of one of those talented copywriters, I see that they aren’t completely thrilled. They’re under tremendous stress and have very little time to do what they truly desire – write about something meaningful, rather than cheeky headlines selling superfluous products to the herds. Looking at the big picture, my situation is not entirely horrible - I work for a few months and then take time off to focus on my creative work.

Most of my fears are absolutely false and utterly ridiculous, yet some have validity – warning signs or red flags that something isn’t right, or good or safe. I’m pretty sure if I ended up a copywriter, I’d be drinking copious amounts of scotch, pissing myself, screaming at young children and killing puppies. Nothing rolls off of my back and my sensitive soul would have crumbled up and withered away with all of that pressure and rejection. Fear swayed my decision to keep my day job in management, and oddly enough, playing it safe forced me to work more diligently and passionately on my writing and my music – even if it has been on the side. Very few people get to do what they love for the main course, and as much as I want to hate those bastard ass clowns, I give them props for finding a loophole.

I’ve learned to give my creativity room to grow, more than if I had been consumed with proving myself as a filthy, drunk, angry copywriter in advertising. After years of struggling, I’ve learned to find happiness on the journey. And I’m getting closer to accepting that where I am is exactly where I need to be until I get to the next place I’m supposed to be, and so on, and so on, and so on and so on… (yes, that’s an homage to Faberge Shampoo - one of my favorite commercials growing up – and the epitome the most effective advertising – word of mouth). The truth is, if I honestly wanted to be a copywriter, I’d be one.

Keep writing. It saves lives.