Thursday, March 19, 2015

Survive High School! A Pragmatic Approach.

I recently aged into being the parent of a high-schooler. As if just the thought of going back to high school isn't horrific enough, the thought of my precious oldest daughter going there sends me into the shakes (no need for the speedball, which I hear is still a "thing" in high school). Now before you argue, "I LOVED high school!" or "High schools are safer now than they were in 1979!" let me just add that I'm not frightened for her nor do I worry she'll come home one day and announce that she's made the cheerleading squad (heaven forbid). No, I just feel sorry for her is all. Knowing that she has to get up at least 180 days of the next 365 and face all that crap? Hey, I'm extremely glad it's not me. I'll take sitting in rush hour traffic, missing lunch to make a deadline and listening to my neighbor swear/sing/fart/burp all day long…hands down. 

This daughter of mine who was accused of being "pensive" when she was only hours old has survived over half of freshman year already and is turning 15 this week. But I haven't really given her any advice about high school. I've been sitting back and seeing how she does. I might have thought about it last summer, but the day we went to sign up, she came downstairs in a Nirvana t-shirt and walked out the door in front of me. It was then I nodded to myself and said, "Yeah, baby!" And I knew she was going to be alright. She won't read this because she doesn't read anything I write, but I'll write it anyway. It'll sit out on the interwebs and someday be found by a prospective employer of mine who won't hire me then because they'll know how f***ed up I am. 

Here's what you need to know to survive high school and make it to college:

  1)      The Corinthians didn't get it all right. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Hear it, file it away. But know that it's okay to play with beloved toys and do the crafts you always loved to do and giggle like a schoolgirl. You can set them aside too if you prefer, and bring them out later. You're too young to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders; let the world carry you for now and enjoy living off your parents and making rash decisions with almost no repercussion. It won't last.

2)      Believe that you're not "less" because you're too young to vote/drink/drive. Learn then, that adults are not "more" because they can. At the risk of shocking everyone, I will tell you that you don't have to respect a teacher or youth group leader or any adult just "because." They have to earn your respect; their position buys them nothing. I'm not saying "don't be respectful" – there's a difference. Even when they're not respectful to you. Hey kid, wrong plus wrong does not equal right. But if you're not getting a sense of a person's worth or quality or ability, MOVE ON. There are plenty of adults who are worthy. Remember that some teachers are teachers because they weren't smart or ambitious enough to become scientists or mathematicians. 

3)      Worthy teachers, youth group leaders and other adults can really help you out. I don't mean just to finish your homework or get good grades. I mean in LIFE. Latch on to those people and hang on tight. Don't let them get away (not that they would try, if they're truly worthy). You need referrals and recommendations. You need an objective adult ear to listen when you want to complain about your parents. You need someone who's not close to you to tell you when you're being stoopid. Not all of your girlfriends can or will do this for you (see below).

4)      It's okay to be the DUFF, or the one who brings the snacks to the sleepovers or the one who has the car. Really. Don't put forth extra effort just because you think it might get you "in." You won't see or keep in touch with 99% of the people you meet in high school anyway. Even your so-called "friends." Hang out. Laugh. It doesn't matter if you're laughing with them or AT them. Just laugh. See, because 90% of what those 99% of people do on a daily basis is completely ridiculous anyway and you know it.

5)      So you're an introvert? Consider yourself lucky. That means you don't depend upon the acceptance of other people to feel good about yourself. Feel sorry for those who do, but it's okay to laugh at them too (see above). I will apologize to you right now for all of the teachers who will mark your grade down because you don't shout out the answer, nearly shit your pants to be called on or ask them questions even when the answer is written on the board. And I'm sorry for every time people call you shy, quiet or stuck up. Lastly, I'm profusely sorry that some adults are so f***ing thick they make "small-talk" with you because they think you're not having a good time, they accuse you of "bringing down the group" with your stoicism or call your attitude "poor" because you stick to the edge of the crowds. Introverts are serious, successful and smart! Your best friends know that you are also loyal and that you would gladly give them the shirt off your back, though they might think that's weird for a high-schooler (and they'd be right, of course). Most teen girls favor their ne…SQUIRREL!

6)      Fashion designers, buyers and sellers are purveyors of LIES. They do what they do to make money. They don't care how ridiculous you look if you wear it. If they trotted out the same thing as last year, who would buy it? So their job is to keep re-inventing something that's not broken to begin with (unless it was last year's fashion trend, haha). Marketers send that crap to celebrities for free because they think you're stupid enough to copy the look. Much of the time, they're proven right. The same goes for the magazines and websites which try to convince you that if you buy/wear this/that, you'll be special too. You're not, unless you're referring to the kind of "special" that rides the little bus or gets shadowed at school. If you like it, great! If it's riding up your butt-crack, giving you corns or making you stick to your chair however, I won't believe you.

7)    Know and live your math. The average life expectancy of the American woman is 81 years. High school is 4. So 4.9% of your life is spent enduring the torture that is high school. That's like an hour if you look at your whole life as one day. You spend longer than that in the bathroom. If it helps, just think of the days at school like being in the bathroom. You do your business, you leave. Heck, you spend 16% of your days having a period, so you've GOT THIS!

8)      Go to Homecoming. Or don’t. Go to Prom, or don’t. It matters not. The people who say, “If you don’t go, you’ll always regret it” are talking smack. The only adults who truly believe that are the ones whose lives stopped improving after they graduated high school.

9)      Remember the advice you were given recently from an adult you respect (not the counselors or the teachers who have neither earned your respect nor bothered to learn your name): "Success is more about what you do when you're there than the path you took to get there… But, be unique so they remember you. And mind your GPA." Advice from 10 people will come 10 different ways. It's really okay to sit back in your chair and think to yourself, "Why should I take advice from this person who clearly has not mastered his/her own?" Put your headphones on. Zone out.

10)   It IS about you right now. College is about you too, but you can drink there. So consider this a warm-up to great things.

11)   Laugh. For heaven's sake. Everything is funny.

I think about that last one all the time, and it's true. That's how we survive every day no matter if we're in high school or at our jobs or at a daycare where some little asshole kid stole our toy away. At some point that kid will have diarrhea and not make it to the toilet and we can laugh like hyenas. And if it happens to us, we can laugh too, because that shit's funny (see what I did there?). Get a big, fat F on your English paper? Say to yourself, "Shit, I'm such a f***ing idiot. How do I even remember my own name?" Then picture what my face will look like when you tell me.

Happy 15th to my "little" Lulu!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Is it Love?

Even though I know that Valentine's is a holiday created by the candy company, doesn't make it any less of one of my favorite holidays. One because it's about spreading LOVE and two because there's chocolate and I love chocolate. With those two things in mind the first thing I want to celebrate is love by telling some of the things I love (but I'm going to leave the mushy out, but know that I love my friends and family). I'm going to put it in list form because I also know one of my fellow bloggers love lists. See how I'm spreading the love. So here goes in no certain order...

1. Books. Best thing ever created. They allow me to escape, allow me to become an FBI agent or an alien and on and on.
2. Chocolate. Nothing is better than a piece of dark chocolate after a long day.
3. Heinz Dill pickles. Need I say more? No.
4. Movies. There is nothing better than seeing Leonardo Dicaprio or Chris Hemsworth larger than life. Mmmmmm :) Now, if they would just make a movie featuring David Gandy my life would be complete.
5. Fleece sheets. They are, well, indescribable all I can say is get a pair for yourself and you'll understand.
6. Bubble baths. Best time to relax, read and eat pickles.
7. Pen and paper. I could spend hours down the office supply aisle of any store. Nothing better writing that first word with the best pen.
8. Michael's (the craft store) I could literally spend an entire day inside one, just ask my hubby.
9. Barnes & Noble, again I could spend an entire day there. My goodness all those amazing books calling my name.
10. AMAZON. I love that I can find everything on there I can on Ebay only I can just buy it instead of having to bid. Thanks to Amazon my Dorrie collection is almost complete.
11. Lastly, Dorrie. She was a little witch that featured in my favorite series of books when I was kid. Those books are what started/inspired my love of reading, my desire to write and my appreciation for art. Patricia Coombs, THANK YOU.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wild Kingdom Fashion 2014

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We hear this all the time. The fashion industry is no different. What hangs on the rack at every store is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. The interwebs are full of advice to us: "copy this!" "you are not cool this season unless you're wearing what I'm wearing!" "be like me!" God bless the trendsetters, right? Or we would all go to the mall in last year's jeans. So as I say good-bye to 2014, I say thank you also, to this year’s style leaders…the trendsetters.

The Italians? No. The Kardashians? Er...No.

Fashionista 2014 Grand Supreme Prize – Adult Female Flemish Giant

These beauties are responsible for inspiring the year’s most prolific trend, the neck scarf. Though ours lack the functionality of Mama Rabbit's—like providing fluffy warm beds for her offspring—it serves to obstruct our view of where we are walking and could potentially aid a lost soul in want of our purse. Bravo to the dewlap!

Honorable Mention – Brahman Cow
Just as beautiful, but also less functional than Mama Rabbit’s dewlap. These scarves mostly remain in the Midwest this year, as word travels slowly here.

Fashionista 2014 Grand Prize – Gorilla
The full-figured gorilla inspired the year’s second most prolific style trend, the stretchy or yoga pant. These pants can be spotted on nearly every female from thin to fat, short to tall, and have the added benefit of looking exactly the same on EVERYONE. Universally unflattering on humans, these pants could be improved by covering them with something. At least some hair. Almost never seen inside a yoga studio.

Honorable Mention – Brabant Draft Horse
Even when these proud and amazing equines are bone thin, they have hefty and powerful butts. One advantage the Brabant has over the thin human is that their butts do not, as a rule, devour their pants. If I ever believe that I'm thin enough to get away with wearing these, I should think again.

Fashionista 2014 Congeniality Prize – Tamarin Monkey
This category spotlights our funny friends who inspire us to do stylish and ridiculous things with our hair. For its ability to make people laugh, this year’s Congeniality Prize goes to the Tamarin monkey. Thank you for the dip-dye, Mr. Tamarin. Well played.

Honorable Mention – Golden Snub-Nose Monkey
These somewhat rare monkeys have a knack for staying out of view. Yet the humans they inspire are everywhere, freaking us out and accepting food right from our hands! It just goes to show that introverts can be trendsetters too.

High fashion inspired by our animal friends is a heart-warming trend which appears to be continuing into 2015. Already there is evidence of cheetah-inspired prints and the persistence of high-heeled booties. At a time when our relationship with animals is fragile, it's wonderful that copies of copies grow from the seed of such pure inspiration. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thankful (adjective): Glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc.; Expressing thanks

Since it's that time of the year I feel an obligation to post some kind of  'Thanksgiving" sentiment on the blog.  Here it goes:

Of course, I'm thankful for my immediate family, my friends, my blog mates, shelter, food, yada yada, but let's go with the every day thankfulness...

--I'm thankful that no one is scheduled to come into my apartment in the next coming weeks so they can't see the piles of fabric, scraps, magazines, etc, that I have all over the floor trying to get things ready for the upcoming holidays.  Correction...frantically trying to complete sewing projects in order to get them in the mail before the upcoming holidays.  I'm not in the mood to clean up for guests.

--I'm thankful that I've made my last car payment three weeks ago and nothing tragic has happened to the car, now that is mine.. so far.  Usually something tragic happens when I have free and clear money burning a hole in my purse. (Knock on wood!)

--I'm thankful for coffee and any caffeine products. 'Nuff said.

--I'm thankful that I have not had to shovel snow in twenty years.  I see snow storms on the news and get the shivers because I know how that feels. With the northern California weather, all I have to say is "Suckers!"...until the next earthquake comes and rock our world.

--I'm thankful that I live alone now and never have to worry about whether the toilet seat is up or down. When you start aging, it's the little things...

--I'm thankful that I have a part-time job to go to 40 hours per pay period because if it wasn't for that I'll probably be in my jimmy-jammies 24/7 and only leave the house to buy groceries.  Since all my hobbies are passive ...writing, reading, quilting, needlepointing...there would be no need to even shower most days. Talk about a stink-a-roo...

--I'm thankful that I woke up this morning, and every morning after this blog post (cross fingers).

--I'm thankful for Amazon.  Now this may be an unusual thing to put on a blog but because of Amazon I'm able to get books, and other products that I can no longer find, to my house within a few days.  Without Amazon, I would have never been able to publish  my own books.  I would have never met my beta readers through the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  I would never have made improvements on my stories due of the betas' suggestions.  I would never have been able to say, "I'm a published author.  You can buy my work."

  If I die in my paid-off car tomorrow because there was a freak snow storm in my city and I wrecked my car because I didn't have a morning cup of coffee as I was dressed and showered, driving to my part-time job, I could still say on my death bed..."I'm a published author."

We have so many things to be grateful for in our lives, but if you can accomplished just one thing in your under-lying dreams, the smile on your face every day shows people what a thankful person you are.

Happy Thanksgiving, Readers!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Abundance of Monikers

I can’t help it. I’m fascinated by GamerGate, yet I wimped out of blogging about it a few weeks ago. I figured there’d be plenty of bloggers going to town (and there are). Plus, not being a gamer I figured I wasn’t really qualified to comment. But just imagine if GamerGate was called BullyGate or MaleSupremacyGate instead. See what I mean?
      Gamergate is such a cutesy name that even the people confronting the issue head-on have a hard time not trivializing it. The moniker was a huge roadblock in my attempts to write a serious blog on the topic. I'm beginning to think we need to stop assigning these ridiculous labels to everything. But in the world of Google keywords and Twitter character limitations, not to mention hashtags (don't get me started on hashtags), fat chance of that. Fat, fat chance. Like Biggest Loser Fat Chance.
     Anyway, when I was done with my unpublished GamerGate blog, I realized I’d basically advised all women to steer clear of the gaming industry because they’re better than that. Smarter, too. Who wants to make a ton of money playing silly games when they can toil away in legitimate businesses for half the pay? I mean actually getting paid well to propagate one’s passion would put us on par with, say, professional athletes. Before long, we’d be experiencing head trauma and committing crimes including but not limited to abusing our significant others. Okay, so we’d be millionaires, but is it worth the grief? It is not. That’s what I told women in my blog. Far better to stay on the sidelines and wait for the male riffraff to self-destruct. Eventually certain frontal brain areas will shrink away to nothing—and we’ll be there, brains intact, to take over the universe. Muhaahahaha. See, that’s my evil plot to take over the world. Wait till everyone else dies off. Cool, huh?
Am I the only one who sees the resemblance?
      Besides, we all know the gaming community is a bunch of seedy guys wanking off in dark basements, right? Alternating between their plastic joysticks and the flesh-toned one. No, no, that’s not fair! I thought. (First off, in actuality a lot of modern game controllers are shaped vaguely like the female reproductive system.) A-ah! How can I be writing this stuff? It’s like my hand has gone off on its own. Stop, hand! (Hey, maybe that’s how the gamers feel in their dark basements!)
      I stopped typing then, and made an earnest attempt to envision the subculture that might be behind GamerGate. (Pretty nice of me, seeing male gamers very rarely return the favor, according to this interview on Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.) This time my mind supplied the crooks from Point Break, the movie where Patrick Swayze spearheads a criminal band of surfers. I don’t know if
it’s because they wear the masks of ex-presidents while robbing banks, the Nixon mask cementing the Watergate connectionat least the -gate partor because the movie was directed by one of my film-making idols: Kathryn Bigelow, who happens to be a woman as well as a Kathryn (although I'm pretty sure she is not one of the Katherines in that John Green novel). Maybe it's because they were surfers, widely recognized as the notorious wave-riding slacker brothers to gamers. (Aw, fuck! I'm thinking skateboarders. Skateboarders are the land-dwelling parallels to surfers. And I had such high hopes for that allegory!) All I know is that the bad-guy group that Keanu Reeves infiltrates came up when I started scouring the ol' neuro-pathways in search of visuals for the cryptic GamerGate crowd.

     My subsequent lapse in typing gave me opportunity to reread my previous document—and thank God I did before I posted it. Through a furious blush, I sent the thing straight to virtual Timbuktu. WTF, Jen? I admonished myself. You can’t pigeonhole men like that. You certainly can’t tell the female youth of society NOT to game (Seriously, is that a verb?) if that’s what they live for. After all the time you’ve spent in advertising, you should know that gaming with the CDs and ACDs is the surest road to a quick promotion. It fills a need.
     I have a film background (which is why I’m always going off on movie tangents). When I was in school I had a prof whom I considered the personification of Evil. He was my Snape, in other words. But, here’s the thing, deep down—in my collegiate naivete—I figured he had to have some core of goodness, seeing that he had likewise chosen to study film. Had in fact devoted his life to it. Somewhere, locked within that stony heart of his, was a love of movies, enough of one to keep said stony heart beating.
     I’m not a gamer, but I imagine what draws people to that particular pastime (or *shudder* career) is a deep belief that good must conquer evil. Gamers like to see this perpetuated over and over again (which they do instead of getting honest work), right along with the stereotypes of women as slutpaper (slutty wallpaper, always in the background. How do you like them apples, all you professional moniker-makers?) Subject to mens' whims of either rescue or abuse.
      So, I appeal now to the gamers of the world, including the gang from the Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves surfer movie that if you dare to diss it, I’ll come after you with this little game controller I like to call a taser (Repeat after me: The movie is a classic and Kathryn Bigelow is a pioneer. *runs off to picket the opening of the remake*). Let’s all delve beneath our surfaces, straight into our nougat-ty centers, and remember why we love video games in the first place. They give us the chance to be heroes. Simple as that. United by that revelation, let’s not, finger muscles making nasty, anonymous threats to people. Let’s not tie up the resources of law enforcement (if you want to support real heroes, btw--not that you aren't real heroes in the darkness of your basement, I never meant to imply anything like that--you could always donate to your local police fund). Let's refrain from doxxing enemies (sounds way cooler than it is) and calling in false crimes. In short, let’s end GamerGate for good. Or for the love of all that is holy, give it a less cheesy name.
     And for young women: Follow your hearts, work where you choose, make better video games. Just remember, when all is said and done, the ultimate object of the game—male or female, hobbit or wizard, weird video game icon or other weird video game icon—is: Save Yourself.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Erma Bombeck: Subversive Feminist

Nope, I’m not kidding.

Granted, hers isn’t the first name to jump to mind when you think of great feminist writers of the 60’s and 70’s. But for every one woman who plowed through The Feminine Mystique, hundreds LOL’d their way through her At Wit’s End columns. 

In case you don't know her, Erma Bombeck was a humor writer. She spent several years as a stay-at-home mother before beginning a small weekly humor column about housewifery. Her editor had his doubts about whether such a column would find an audience, but within a short time it was syndicated to over 900 newspapers. Erma became so successful, her husband quit his job to manage her career. In total, she wrote 15 books, most of which became bestsellers. If her humor feels a bit tired today, it’s only because subsequent humorists, including today’s crop of mommy bloggers, still work with updates of tropes Erma popularized.

But she wrote about being a housewife and mom. What's feminist about that?

1. Well, she said this: “Sharing responsibility is what the entire movement to free women is all about. If woman are ever to be appreciated, a husband should drive a car pool . . . just once.”

2.  She told the truth about cleaning. Advertisements and zen philosophy be damned, housework isn’t fulfilling work. It’s monotonous and boring and it's time away from more meaningful pursuits. “Housework,” Bombeck said, “is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop offs at tedium and counter productivity.”

She made it okay for women jump off that treadmill. Unfortunately, there’s been a pushback on this. With entire TV channels devoted to home improvement, it’s no longer enough to just keep your house within acceptable sanitation standards; it should be show home worthy.

3. She wrote honestly and humorously about aging as a female. The big kerfuffle about Renee Zellweger reveals how brutally women are still judged just for daring to have birthdays past 35.

4. And she wrote about just how hard it was (and is) for women to balance work and home life:

“Then one day in a leading magazine, I saw a story called, 'Today’s Woman on the Go.'”
At the top of the article was a picture of a well-stacked blonde at a construction site with a group of men around her while she read blueprints to them. I noted her shoes were coordinated with her Gucci yellow hard hat.
The second picture showed her in a pair of flowing pajamas standing over the stove stirring her filet-mignon helper (recipe on page 36) while her husband tossed the salad and her children lovingly set the table.
It made me want to spit up….
You have only to work once in your life to know that “Today’s Woman on the Go” is pure fiction. Maybe they got the captions under the pictures switched. Maybe she wore the long flowing pajamas at work and the hard hat at home. Heaven knows, home is a Hard Hat area.
Where were the pictures showing her racing around the kitchen in a pair of bedroom slippers, trying to quick-thaw a chop under each armpit….”

5. And she said this: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” Not I had a floor you could lick. Not I ironed my children’s jeans every day. But I used my talents. 

She helped a generation of mothers and housewives to know their personal dreams were legitimate and worth pursuing. That it was okay to want more than a husband and children and white picket fence.

Okay, okay, Erma was a feminist. But subversive? Really? Isn’t that a little… strong? We're talking housewife humor, here, not George Carlin.

Erma Bombeck let it all hang out, telling readers about her messy house, flawed children, body issues, imperfect marriage, and work/family balance struggles. She made readers laugh at her failures to meet societal expectations, using humor to reveal just how ridiculous the expectations were in the first place. “If you can’t change it, laugh at it,” Erma said. 

I'm willing to bet Sarah Silverman would agree: That’s a darned subversive idea.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dried Up Psycho Mommies

It begins when their children are infants, this period when women who were once perfectly (I mean, borderline) normal become candidates for Psycho-Mommy Hall of Fame. Maybe it comes from inhaling bleach (I mean, nail polish). During this transformative period, a writer (I mean, fellow Mommy) can capitalize on the opportunity to observe these Psycho-Mommy creatures in their natural habit. For every encounter with any kind of crazy is story fodder. And it doesn’t matter if that story is a novel, a post or a tweet.

Recently I attended an orientation night for my high school freshman. It was one of those near-pointless wastes of my fugging time but still I wouldn’t have minded it—except for one thing: the other parents. Educators can be annoying enough with their million dollar egos riding on fifty-cent ambition. And by no means do I include all parents: many are that perfectly normal I mentioned above. And I mean that literally: perfect and normal. Those are the parents who follow their student’s schedule when the bell rings by reading the hall signs and studying the maps. Maybe they even asked their student ahead of time (the school takes up an entire city block, after all, so finding a classroom can be more like a pilgrimage). They enter the classroom and quietly take a seat, acknowledging other parents they know. They listen politely to the 10-minute rehearsed speech. At the bell, they efficiently move to the next classroom.
Those are the parents to emulate, but not to write about. A good writer has to pick crazy. They don’t have to be bat-shit crazy either. If I see a parent with needle tracks, I keep looking. That’s too easy. I look for the ones who don’t actually know they’re Psycho-Mommies (or Daddies, but they’re more difficult to track). The Psycho-Mommy of a high school freshman who, after 14 years, still doesn’t realize how fuggin psycho they are…

The Vainglorious – This is the mommy who hung back (blocking the aisle) to loudly announce to the teacher, “Hi, I’m so-vain, so-gonna-be-embarrassed-tomorrow’s mother.” Now just to put some perspective on this… There are 1,344 students in this high school. There are roughly 25 students in the class just during that hour and 7 hours in a day. We all had exactly 3 minutes to get to the next classroom. I’m probably not the only one in the room who thought, “Who the fug cares who you are? Get your fat ass out of the aisle.” The look on the teacher’s face neared confusion. It clearly said, “I have no idea who so-gonna-be-embarrassed-tomorrow is.” She smiled and shook Ms. So-vain’s hand anyway. Hey, Ms. So-vain! You’re oversizing your own importance just a tad. And I know your daughter. She’s a slut with unlimited disposable income. She’s the one who beams when the orchestra conductor praises a performance. She’s the one who believes he’s talking only to her, not the other 74 musicians. Then she laughs too loudly. She’s the one who the conductor was talking about during parent-teacher conferences last year when he said he gets annoyed by a few brown-nosers in the group. But you go right on a-thinking that the whole fuggin world revolves around you and your precious daughter. Maybe it does.
The Scourge of Stupid Questions – This scourge is really more like a plague here in suburbia. Again, maybe it’s the bleach (okay, nail polish). Maybe it’s that you Psycho-Mommy only went to college to get your Mrs. Degree and no longer uses that thing that’s 3 feet above your ass. Just stop with the fuggin dumb questions already. Read the fuggin paper that’s on the desk in front of you, or the sentence written on the board up front or use the common sense God gave you for shit’s sake. How come your husband isn’t asking if the cafeteria pasta is whole wheat? Because it’s a stupid fuggin question, that’s why.
The Viper – I actually love these Psycho-Mommies. Not because they’re cool, or funny (at least they don’t mean to be funny). I sat in one classroom where a frosted-tips, plunging-neckline, dried-up-piece-of-toast Mommy was being oh-so-friendly to Ms. So-clueless. Two rooms later? Dried-up Mommy was dissing not only so-clueless to another dip-dyed Mommy, but dissing the daughter as well. See, I love her because she makes everyone else look good. Despite the fact that she just spent an hour on her hair to come to a lame school event and looks around the room with imagined superiority. She’s looking for something to gossip about at gymnastics tomorrow. And she has no fugging clue that she’s the worst sort of person. You’re so lame, Viper, that you can’t even stand yourself.
The Dueling Divorced – I debated whether or not to use this as a category. I decided to because it is definitely a treasure trove of good writing material. When both parents of another poor gonna-be-so-embarrassed-tomorrow teen showed up in one classroom, the way they competed with each other was comical. No one else even tried to raise their hands during the 2 minutes of questions at the end—the divorcees started raising theirs before the teacher even got halfway through the 8-minute presentation. Really, if you want to prove to everyone in the room that you’re an attentive parent, then stay the hell married. Don’t try to one-up your ex by asking repetitive questions regarding logistics of your fugged up 2 family schedules. Because people like me sit in the back and watch you with amusement and think: “So…you would take a bullet for your daughter, but you refused to keep your family together for her sake.” Nice. You’ll be in my next book, hypocrite.

So don’t get me wrong, I happen to love Psycho-Mommies. I don’t want to hang around them or be their friend, but they are ripe entertainment for when I’m sitting in a gym, rink, field, etc. Try it next time you’re bored to tears at an event. Even if you’re not a writer. Pick someone out of a crowd, imagine what is going through their head right then. What did they do to get here tonight? What will they say to their children when they walk out of earshot or to their spouse when he gets home? What aspirations did they (or their own parents) once have before they became Psycho-Mommy?