Weekly Shocks' Blog


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Being Catholic and Other Reasons Why I’m Going To Hell category.

A Query:

What does it say about a person if her response to a six-foot (quite literally) pile of garbage on the elite Upper West Side of Manhattan is a giggle and a quick blog post? Oh, and a link to an article in The Times about how most other people are pretty effin’ pissed at this bullshit, and Bloomberg better get his ass in gear, that bitch.

Please note in the article that the trash also saved a potential suicide victim. And you think all NYC public works officials are hopeless, heartless incompetents. Hah!

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A Slice of NYC Life

Not to brag, or anything, but I live two blocks from Penn Station. It’s an easy stroll to Times Square. The Macy’s Day Parade ends about twenty feet from my apartment. I saw Alec Baldwin outside a McDonald’s not far from my Upper West Side office not too long ago, and last week, a man in a pink tutu and a tiara told me he liked my hat while we waited in the subway during the massive and utterly lovely post-Christmas blizzard.

Yeah. I kind of like it here.

That said, there is an oddness to New York City that I can’t always wrap my head around, and part of it is happening as I type this blog entry.

The man who lives next door to me is currently engaged in what I can only describe as wild monkey jungle sex. He seems to be enjoying it, as is his partner. Good for them. It’s hard finding love in the city, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to criticize the joys that these two have found (quite literally) in each other, even if it’s frankly all kinds of awkward for me, and, gosh, these walls are outrageously thin.

But here’s the can’t-wrap-my-head-around-it part: I’ve met this guy. He’s over 60. He gets dialysis twice a week. He is on more drugs than Keith Richards and his death rattle snores have woken me in the dead of night more than once. (Like I said: thin walls.) The guy is in a wheelchair, ferchristsake.  How he’s accomplishing what he is accomplishing at this very moment defies the laws of physics. And yet, somehow, someway, there he goes. And goes and goes and goes. It’s gotta be a New Yorker thing. It’s gotta.

I’d like to know how he does it, but a mild-mannered, soft-spoken white girl doesn’t ask those kinds of questions of her elders, no matter how sassy her hat is to the drag queen strangers she meets in the subway. Nevertheless, if this old guy keeps it up (thatswhatshesaid), I’m pretty sure the structural integrity of the outrageously thin walls will be compromised, leaving me with a picture perfect view of the proceedings. I suppose I could just wait.

Or I could go try the new sushi restaurant down the street. There are always options here, thank God.


Hubris in the Snow

*checks weather forecast for Washington, DC*

Haha! Suckers!

*checks local weather forecast*

Oh. Shit.


WalMart Headline of the Day

I have to open this with a shocking, punch-you-in-your-face-and-knock-you-on-your-hinder confession. So, please: sit down, preferably with a bottle of Scotch handy and some smelling salts if you’re an antebellum Southern belle or otherwise prone to fits of “the vapors.” Ready? OK.

I have never been to a WalMart.

I know! I know! I’m a freak of nature and an elitist snob and a sorry-ass excuse for an American. The worst part is I didn’t even realize this sad fact about myself until very recently. I mean, shit. How the hell have I managed to avoid the obligatory WalMart experience? And not even realize it?! Christ on a bike. I’m going to have to put ‘Visit Shrine of WalMart’ at the very top of my bucket list or else I’m surely destined for a violent and invasive examination by stern-looking Homeland Security officials, not to mention a cozy seat of fire at the hand of Satan, deep in the pits of Hell.

WalMart is making those trips to Hell even more convenient by getting into the coffin-selling business. You can order one online. And have it delivered in 48 hours. This new venture of theirs just shrieks all kinds of trouble if you ask me, but you won’t, because, again: I’ve never been to WalMart. I am deeply ashamed of my shortcomings. Forgive me, capitalism, for I have sinned.


Some scary thoughts on this spookiest of days!

1. In Florida, some kid got her wildlife officer-dad to bring a five-foot alligator to school for show and tell. The ‘gator escaped. It’s still on the loose. Oops. Trick or Treat!

2. I got a job offer from a car dealership in Manhattan, having never applied for it. I have never sold a car. I have never owned a car. I don’t even have a license. And who the hell buys cars in Manhattan? Perplexed. Intrigued. Convinced it’s a cover for a prostitution/drug ring.

3. Along a similar line, I took a freebie ‘what-career-best-suits-your-personality’ test, because the whole witty blogger thing just doesn’t seem to be raking in the dough the way it should these days. I blame the Obama administration. Where’s my bailout, damn it? Anyway, my test results are in. Apparently, I have all the skills and interests necessary to be a coroner. Seriously: it’s my Number One Career Choice, according to this test. And my first thought was, “Well, yeah, that makes sense.”

4. Someone is systematically going through this blog and reading every single post I have ever made. And he/she/it is reading these posts more than once. Um, hi! Thanks for stopping by. You’re lovely. I don’t know whether to cheer or grovel and plead and beg for mercy, but still. Thanks again, please wipe your feet on the way out.

Keep it real, homedawgs. I’ll catch you in November!


Fore (play?)!

I’ve spent most of the last hour watching golf on TV. It’s been that kind of day.

I’m not really a golf person. I regularly confuse Jack Nicholson with Jack Nicklaus – truth be told, I’m still not a hundred percent sure which one is the golfer and which one likes to smash through bathroom doors with a pickax. Beautifully manicured lawns give me the chills – I always imagine pitching forward onto one of them, scuffing up the grass, and being summarily shot. I’ve had exactly one golf lesson in my life and it ended with my instructor in the hospital with a concussion. She was clobbered by an eight-year old’s rogue, hyperactive golf swing. Or, more accurately, she was clobbered by my rogue, hyperactive golf swing. She was nice, though, and didn’t press charges. Still. Golf suggests violent, terrible things, and really goofy-looking shoes as well. So it’s best that I avoid it.

Every once in a while, though, I need a reminder of why golf and I should stay far, far away from each other, and this morning’s festivities were quite helpful, thank you very much. The first young man who teed off saw his opening shot end up in the sand. His second shot ended up in the sand, too. His third shot ricocheted off the sand and landed somewhere in the woods. I have a feeling he snapped his club over his kneecap after that third shot and punched his caddie in the face with the business end of his golf shoe, but I could be making that up. I was too busy giggling over this poor sap’s miserable plays to notice much of anything by that point.

I’ve heard people say that they play golf because it relaxes them, which generally makes me wonder what kind of lives these folks are leading that make hacking away at a tiny ball with a skinny club and ultimately guiding the damn thing into an even tinier hole relaxing. Then the dirty part of my Freudian-soaked brain whispers all kinds of naughty things about sexual frustration and masculine inadequacy and I get the giggles again. But, really, people: I am a grown up and am quite mature and dignified. Seriously. I swear. Stop looking at me.

Speaking of frustration, I admit that the only reason I’m watching golf at the moment is because the Sox are down to their last playoff hope this season at dear old Fenway, and watching them play through the last six weeks is enough to make any lifelong fan reach for her blood pressure medication. In the not-too-distant past, I was pleasantly hopeful about the Sox and their strong opening half of the baseball season, but really, it’s been a limping, downhill mess since the All Star Break. I’m almost kind of hoping that they get slaughtered today so we can finally put this season out of its premature, peaked-too-soon misery. It’s ok, honey, we can just cuddle. No need to be embarrassed; it happens to everyone.

I bet all of the Red Sox will be spending a lot of time on a golf course real soon.

And I am a dirty, dirty girl.


Please explain the following bit of societal nonsense:

Why is it entirely acceptable (albeit ill-advised) to eat a chocolate doughnut at 7am, yet scarfing down a chocolate Klondike bar at the same time is considered puerile and sickening?

First person to explain this to me in small, easily understood words gets a cookie. The cookie will be freshly baked, filled with gooey chocolate, and served at 7am with a side of ice cold soda.

On a completely unrelated note, guess what I had for breakfast this morning? It was good, too.


Reason Number 45789 to Love Boston

The Sox just dropped their second straight game to Satan’s League of Mincing Creeps in the Bronx. I think the Sox were momentarily disoriented playing so close to the gaping maw of hell and subsequently forgot a slight detail of baseball: in order to win games, teams need to, you know, score a run or two. Oops.

Anyway. We’ll toss that sadness aside for the moment. The Red Sox are not the reason why I love Boston today, although they usually are about 65% of the time.

I love Boston today because in Union Square, there was a celebration of Fluff.

You may not know what Fluff is because you may not live in or around Boston. How sad for you. Fluff is pure, sweet, gooey, sticky, marshmallow goodness packaged in a friendly white and blue tub large enough to stick your entire head in, if you’re so inclined, and sugary enough to leave you bouncing off the walls, giggling and drooling, for days at a time. I had a friend in college – who may or may not be the author of this particular blog, but don’t tell her I told you this, because she’s kind of unstable and might hit me if she knew I was spilling her dirty secrets online – who once survived a sophomore year finals’ week on nothing but Diet Coke, Milky Way bars, four hours total of sleep, and a tub of Fluff. The stuff is viscous, miraculous crack.

And it was created right here. Well, technically, it was created in nearby Somerville. Somerville is not-for-nothing nicknamed Slummaville. It’s the kind of place where all the girls are named Krystalle and they all smoke by the age of ten and they all go to the packies to buy beer for their dads when it’s their weekends with the kids. Everyone is Catholic, everyone smokes Marlboros, everyone drives a car referred to as “the Shitbox,” and it’s a safe bet that your Shitbox is gonna get stolen someday if it hasn’t been ganked already. In short, it’s exactly the kind of place where you’d expect a product like Fluff to be created.

And I love it. It appeals, deeply and profoundly, to my inner sanctum of white trashiness, a trait that Oxford tried so hard to beat out of me and failed.  Massachusetts – the Great Commonwealth apparently has nothing better to do – is currently debating a bill making the Fluffernutter, a combination of Fluff and peanut butter, its state sandwich. Now, I personally think peanut butter is quite possibly the most disgusting food product on earth besides cilantro, but I’m all for this move. It’s about time Fluff got the respect it deserved, even if it does have to be paired with something so obviously revolting and inferior. But, hey, Massachusetts is brilliantly skilled at condescension already, isn’t it? Did I mention who the Sox had to go visit and play and LOSE TO this afternoon? For the second day in a row? I mean, Christ on a bike. The horrors we suffer.

Fluff as the state treat. Yes. Perfect move: fitting in so many ways, I say. Let’s do it.


Weekly Shocks’ ADD strikes again!

A few shots of liquid rubbish that I simply must share with you fine people when I really should be writing something else:

1) Every time I take a vitamin pill, I vomit. Sometimes, for good measure, I vomit twice. I bet you’re super psyched to find that out, right? Bitchin’! Anyway. Aren’t vitamins supposed to be good for you, though?  Or something? What the hell, body? You suck.

2) This blog has received more than 80,000 hits since I started it back in January. Thank you. Really. Thank you. And I’m so sorry.

3) I got my first American cell phone today. I had a mobile in England. It was blue, shaped like a brick, the texting function didn’t work, I had no calling plan, and I really only turned it on when one of my undergrads got so drunk he was puking up several key organs and needed to be carted off to the hospital for new ones. I loved that phone. I named him Gunter. My new mobile is sleek and stylish and way too hip for me. I’d name him, but I need to figure out how to turn him on first. I’m giving myself three weeks to complete that task before I get so frustrated with the damn thing, I throw it against the wall.

4) You know, I’m only on Point 4 of this blog post, and I’ve already mentioned puking twice. Three times if you include this current bit. Sigh. I need to diversify.

5) The Patriots lost on Sunday. Who cares?

6) True story for you:

Sometime last year-ish, my flatmates and I came across a devastatingly heartbreaking tale in our otherwise laughably terrible university newspaper. It was a story of an undergraduate at our inflated, pompous, but really quite excellent Oxford. The student had developed a nasty addiction to heroin in his second year. His College, like most Oxford colleges, was extremely supportive of him while he sought treatment, but his addiction, like most addictions, pretty much took over his life and kicked his ass. So the kid dropped out and was now homeless in the city, selling the Big Issue to his former academic colleagues on the streets.

Now, not to belittle this poor kid’s miserable fortune, but this is my blog, after all, so the punch line is as follows: I’ve realized that I would be in far less debt right now if I had developed a heroin addiction instead of succumbing to the far more expensive habit of formalized education. The federal government of these glorious United States pretty much owns my soul, my ass, and the souls and asses of any and all future children I might bear. I can’t decide if this fact is ridiculously funny or just ridiculous. Probably both. Hooray!

7) Bill Corbett of MST3K and Rifftrax fame just responded to some goofy comment I made on his Facebook page. He pretty much ordered me never to leave the country ever again. That totally made my year.

8 ) Speaking of, those Rifftrax geniuses are at it again. Encore Presentation of the RiffTrax Live Event of Plan 9 From Outer Space on October 8. I’m seeing it, because God loves me. Does God love you? Then you had better be there.

9 ) I may have sold a story to a legitimate magazine. May have. Oh my.

And on that mysterious note, back to the grindstone. Hoo hah!


How can I contact this sexy beast of a man?

I’ve decided that I’ve been single too long. This decision comes quickly on the heels of hearing this charming specimen of manhood.

Dimitri, baby, call me. I’m not on any psychological medication. I’m completely normal and very elegant. I’ve played your message for all my girlfriends who are currently wrestling with me in an attempt to lay their greasy paws on you first. Of course, they’re just jealous. I’m very forceful and independent and will chain you to my radiator after our first date and beat you repeatedly with a lead pipe. But I suspect you may be the type who just loves that sort of aggressive affection. At least I’m hoping you are. You better be, or I won’t be interested.

Rrrrrowwwwwwr.

This could be the start of something very, very special.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Guilt Trip, Successfully Vanquished!

The alert and hyper-observant (or at least the sober) readers of this blog are probably very familiar with a certain oft-repeated admission of mine: I am a multi-slacking, lazy, procrastinating hack. Sad, but true. This used to bother me quite a lot, but the older I get, the more accepting of my failings I become, mostly because I can’t be bothered to come up with half-decent excuses anymore. Isn’t that awesome? I’m too lazy to explain my own laziness. I should have been a hippie stoner, man. What the hell am I doing in grad school?

Oh well: my baffling life choices aside. Today, while pretending to be at least somewhat cultured and socially aware, I skimmed through The New York Times and came across this article. Oh shit, son, here comes the guilt trip and, boy, is he ever ready to whoop some ass. Even though I’ve become less ashamed of my own smothering indolence lately, I can still muster up enough self-respect to blush when I see stuff like this which reminds me that everyone in academia – everyone! – works harder than I do. These kids are simply revising for their university entrance exams and already they’ve put more time and effort into their studies than I’ve done throughout the entirety of my post secondary-school career. The first kid they interviewed apparently spends 14-16 hours A DAY studying. Holy cow. I don’t spend that much time on anything in a single day unless there is a guarantee of a nap, tasty snacks, and a hefty bundle of cash at the end of it. So, in summation: I don’t spend that much time on anything. Ever. Never have,  never, ever will, God willing.

As I’m reading this article, I’m all set to ride the guilt trip of my own comparative laziness through to its natural, soul-shattering, ass-kicking conclusion and return to my own revision (which is going just swimmingly, by the way: I’ve done absolutely nothing all week), but then I came across this, and all is right again in the World of Lazy Bums:

“In Sichuan Province in southwestern China, students studied in a hospital, hooked up to oxygen containers, in hopes of improving their concentration.”

Dear sweet Mother of Jesus and holy dog crap on a dipstick. That just transcends all your typical levels of hyperactive over-achievement bullshittery and heads straight into the Land of the Blubbering  Batshit Insane.  It gives me a raging case of the heebie-jeebies just thinking of it. Can you imagine the scene? Dozens of trembling, sweating, nauseated kiddies taking hits off an oxygen tank, pouring over books and pages and pages of scrawled, desperate notes, and their parents are probably standing only inches away, ready to smack them with rulers should their attention flag for just a second. And what the hell kind of hospital ward are these kids sitting in, anyway? Are there test prep ICUs in China? If so, I bet they’re right next to the morgue so the kids never forget what awaits them should they fail to get into university. Seriously. It baffles the addled and sluggish brain.

Well, that does it. Clearly these kids are working too damn hard not only for themselves but for me as well. Someone has to compensate, and the task has fallen on me. I shall take it up admirably. I will start with a long, drowsy nap. I will then read a trashy novel that has nothing to do with my exam. I will play video games for at least an hour. I will stare off into space for a good 45 minutes, thinking about nothing in particular. I will refuse to get out of my pajamas all day. I will not be hooked up to oxygen for any of this. I know. This is madness. This is almost suicidal. I’ve taken on a very difficult task and may very well cause myself serious bodily harm in completing it, but it must be done. For me and all those poor, oxygen-drunk kids in China. I’ve got your back, my friends. You just keep on studying for both of us, ok? My exam’s next Monday. And no, you can’t bring in the oxygen tank with you. Sorry.


Another Facebook Rant

Oh, Facebook, you conniving man-whore. Will you never cease shaming  me to tears? This is an abusive relationship, my love. I’d leave you, but we both know I’m not strong enough. So you’ll continue to use and abuse me with all your salty, bitchslapping bitterness and, God help me, I’ll continue to love every minute of it.

We all know Facebook, drunk on his ever-growing popularity and meteoric rise to world domination, fell in with a bad crowd about a year ago and started smoking crack and shooting heroin. In order to pay for his various addictions, he first allowed high school students to partake in his naughty goodies (oh, bad, Facebook, bad, bad) and then began adding hundreds and hundreds of hopelessly inane “Applications” to his daily menu, “Applications” he bought from disreputable foreign sources. These goddamned “Applications” make me want to peel my own skin off and eat it. 99.9% of them are so pathetically pointless, you can’t help but add them just to waste even more of the precious little time you have remaining before your dissertation is due. (Have I mentioned my dissertation before? It’s due Friday. It’s not done yet. I’m dead.)

Every once in a while, though, I summon every ounce of self-control I have left in my fragile, beaten body and I ignore a friend’s invitation to partake in some silly application. These rare and precious moments are major triumphs for me, testaments to my unfailing good sense and taste, or at least evidence of my basic apathy toward discovering which is more badass, a pirate or a ninja (bunnies could kick either of them to shreds, so it’s a moot point anyway), or giving a flying rat’s ass which of my Facebook friends supposedly has a crush on me (all of them do, obviously, if they have any sense at all). One friend, in a supreme moment of post-existential angst-y irony, sent me an invitation to partake in “The Most Useless Application of All” which does, as you might expect, absolutely nothing. This might have been modestly clever had I not already received an invitation, just moments earlier, from another friend to join a group enquiring, ever so politely of me, “Which Useless Facebook Application Are You?” It’s enough to make me sob, but that’s ok, because I’m sure Facebook probably has a “Shoulder to Cry On” application, too.

Regardless. I’m getting better at saying no to my Facebook friends and their incessant demands for me to try their hot new life-wasting addictions. Facebook is on to me, though, and every time I hit that glorious, self-actualizing, empowering IGNORE button, a little message pops up, damning me to hell:

“You have just ignored a request from one of your dearest, loveliest friends, a friend who was simply thinking of you fondly and wanted only to amuse and please you. You are a heartless bitch. God just murdered a kitten because of your selfishness. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.”

OK, it might not say exactly that, but it’s pretty damn close. I have thus been shamed by a faceless cooparate entity, a freaking website, fer cryin’ out loud. Bugger. I’ll have to add this to my ever-increasing list of reasons of Why I’m Going To Hell. I better start packing, for I hear sweet Satan’s dulcet tones. Bet he has tons of applications on Facebook.


AWKWARD!

Last autumn, my sedate, gracious family (enormous numbers of pasty, raucous Irish Catholic hams) donned its Sunday best (jeans, white T-shirts, no beer stains, please), drove merrily along the highways and byways in our limousines and convertibles (minivans and pickup trucks, breaking many speed limits along the way), and assembled together at an elegant locale (a local nursing home, prompting a severe case of  “WTF?!” syndrome), and posed for a number of beautiful, graceful photos for our lovely matriarch (mugged mercilessly for a number of cheesy, goofy-grinning pictures for our lovely Nana).

Today, I found this site.

Am very tempted to submit.


That’s it, I’m switching to diapers.

A friend and I intermittently play a sick little game in which we try and freak each other out with the creepiest news story imaginable. I usually win, because, although he is lovely, he is basically a girl and has a soprano-like shriek to prove it. Yesterday, I sent him this, because, really, who doesn’t love a good story about toilet snakes? This morning, he countered with this, playing off (rather unfairly, I must say)  my vomit-inspiring fear of toilet rats. I think I’m correct in saying we’re both terrible people and we’re both going to hell for this. In the meantime, I’m utterly traumatized and am switching to Adult Pampers until I can circle my toilet at a radius of ten feet without sobbing and wretching, which, I imagine, is also the radius you’ll need to keep from me before my bodily stench causes you to do the same.


ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US

Can’t talk at the moment, there’s a war on, damn it! (Forgive the questionable taste of this joke during an actual war: the photo was simply too good to pass up.)

our_base


Yet another reason why I’m going to hell.

I cannot stop watching this or laughing my ass off at it. Poor dog. Given the number of YouTube hits he’s got, though, I suspect he’s got a multi-million dollar movie deal in the works. Hope it’s worth it!


Wipe That Grin Off Your Face Before Someone Breaks It!

I tend to smile a lot. I can’t help it. I took part in a bizarre, very illegal experiment a few years back when I was a wee bit broke, and I now receive a series of small electrical shocks if the forced, mildly-hysterical grin fades for even one second from my twitching, sweaty  face. Little advice, folks: those “medical experiments” you see advertised on rickety old subway trains at 6:30 in the morning? Scams. ALL SCAMS. UTTER AND COMPLETE FRAUD! RUN, RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN!

In all seriousness (or as serious as I ever get), I’m a pretty cheerful person. If you can’t tell by this blog, I’m easily amused, and, as a result, I have a running commentary of rollicking weirdness trawling through my head most of the time, which results in the perpetual, goofy grin, and an occasional, ill-timed giggle. The giggling thing is a problem, actually. Of course I giggle during the obviously comical moments in life, like when sloshed people fall off the drunk bus in Oxford, or during academic seminars when the lecturer starts howling like a dog whistle as she rants away on rape and slavery in the Old South  (oh, I am so going to hell). But I also have the very bad habit of giggling when I’m nervous or uncomfortable or wishing I had a jetpack and could fly away from awkward situations with the touch of a button and a few thousand pounds of fossil fuels. My concern for the environment ends where my social ineptitude begins, folks, and, damn it, I’m ok with that.

I went on a date once with a guy who seemed to lack serial killer tendencies and had no discernible body odor, which are pretty much my only requirements for a first date these days. About five minutes into our little outing, he began a twenty-minute exposition/rant on his theory on how sex with thirteen-year-olds was a completely normal, natural event and he just didn’t understand what the big deal with pedophilia was. At this point in the evening, I probably should have quietly excused myself and then run screaming for the hills, stopping only to give Chris Hansen a call. But because I am incurably polite even in the face of horrific creepiness, I did the next best thing. I giggled. Loudly. For several minutes. And just to ensure this weirdo that I found what he was saying unbelievably offensive and disgusting, I blushed, too. And can you BELIEVE this freak thought I wanted to date him again?!  I mean, yes, of course, I was kind and threw in another six months of dates like these, like any nice girl would, but come on! How come these perverts are always the ones who are incapable of taking a bloody hint?!

Oh, I am pathetic.

Anyway, yeah. The smiling thing kind of defines who I am, but don’t be jealous! Keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m happy or I like you! I could be wishing you dead at this very minute! Oh, that was mean: I’m sorry. No, really, I am: you’re lovely. Seriously. Do you need me to lend you a few bucks? Need a place to crash for the night? Spare kidney? I’d love to help.

Where the hell is my jetpack?


Camping (aka, Spending Money to be Voluntarily Homeless)

One of the dangers in living in a country as beautiful and temperately mild as the UK is that you occasionally run into people who think spending lots of time sleeping on the ground outside and fending off wild animals is just the most brilliant idea in the whole wide world. I seem to know all of these weirdos. Most of my friends know better by now, but when I first moved to this country, every six weeks or so one of them would drop acid and then suggest six of us pile into a tent designed for two small children, hike through the wilderness until pus-filled blisters oozed through our socks, and then ended up wishing each and every one of the others were dead, eaten by wolves, and roasting in hell. Ah, good times.

I may not have made myself clear: I am not a fan of camping. Seriously, what’s the point? I’m spending a bloody fortune to educate myself so I won’t have to be a homeless bum burning leaves for warmth. Why do it “for fun?” Judging by the number of camping enthusiasts out there, I sincerely worry that there are large swaths of mankind who actually enjoy going days on end without showering, peeing and crapping in the woods, and getting dysentery from a half-raw, half-burnt dinner of moldering hot dog buns and roadkill. A love of camping suggests dark things, my friends, very dark things, indeed.

I think my view on camping may be tainted by the fact that I lost a good portion of both my soul and my sanity the first time I went and have yet to retrieve either. I also lost many of my toenails as well. Those, luckily, I got back, which I should be grateful for, I suppose. Still, it was an utterly traumatizing experience. One day, when I was eleven, my parents decided they wanted some quality time to themselves, so they sent their three pre-teen daughters off into the woods of New Hampshire, along with a pair of well-meaning but woefully unqualified camping guides, six other inner-city girls, and a Ziplock bag filled with trail mix. It was times like those when I questioned whether my parents really loved me. I think the entire trip lasted only a weekend, but I seem to remember slogging up the White Mountains for months, perhaps years, wondering if there was in fact a merciful God and what I had done to deserve such punishment at His hands. Really, there are only so many ice storms you can endure and only so many times you can sink in mud up to your waist before you start thinking maybe that eternal pact with Satan in exchange for a warm bed and a shower isn’t such a bad deal after all.

On Day 7,435 of our Journey Through Hell (or Day 2, I can’t really remember) I decided halfway through our afternoon death march that a change of socks was in order. My feet were soaked, either because of the previously mentioned Mud Pits of Doom or my blisters had finally broken and a lovely combination of blood and pus was now filling my boots. These boots were ever-so-slightly too small for me, which isn’t much of a problem if you’re a city girl and have no intention of hiking, but “ever-so-slightly too small” turns into “instruments of unmitigated torture” when you’re on a dirt trail twelve hours a day, trudging up a bloody goddamn mountain. (Did my parents love me? Seriously?) Anyway, as I slumped on a boulder, peeling off my filthy socks and wondering how this could possibly get any worse (WARNING WARNING WARNING IT GETS ALL KINDS OF ICKY AWFUL WORSE), four of my toenails responded by committing suicide and peeling off entirely from my foot and onto the sock!!!!! Holy Mother of GOD!!!!! I mean, honestly, what do you do with yourself when you’re eleven, your parents clearly hate you, your boots are too small, you’re covered in mud, your toenails have shuffled off their mortal coil, and you have seven hundred years left before you can go home again, take a bath, and change your underwear?!

So, yeah, thanks anyway, but I’ll take a pass on the camping if you don’t mind, freak. You go right ahead without me, though, and have yourself just a lovely time getting a rash, pneumonia, and Lyme Disease. Just make sure you take a shower or three before you come see me again, ok, buddy? Enjoy!


Sloth: American Style

garfield

Important stuff first: despite rumors to the contrary, I had nothing to do with this.

Now that we’ve dealt with those heinous accusations and slurs against my good name, sincere apologies for falling off the grid the past couple of days, folks. I’ve been rather busy with my loving family, visiting the poor of my parish, tending to the sick, concentrating on my prayer life, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, and, in general, being full of crap.

I actually have been busy, sort of, but mostly I’ve spent my time happily readjusting to American life, which for me means delicious laziness. Part of this is obviously because I’m on vacation at the moment (don’t tell my supervisor that), but, really, life in the States offers all kinds of modern conveniences that make day-to-day activities so blissfully easy it paradoxically becomes difficult to do anything at all. Seriously, compared to America, living in England is like being on an episode of Survivor, only with stranger accents, more beer, and, thankfully, fewer body lice.

I never expected this when I first went to England. It’s not as if the country is some Third World hell-hole. Oxford, for example, is a jaw-droppingly lovely city, rich in history, culture, architecture, and traditions, a place where you can feel confident that students and locals alike will stumble out of pubs at 2am, bellowing about the football, and then vomit all over themselves and each other before brawling in the streets and passing out in pools of their own blood and urine. True, glorious civilization, as it were. And thank God I live there, because there are only so many American yokels I can take before I go utterly mad and disown my entire redneck family! Haha!

(My mom is totally going to kick my ass.)

Anyway, England. There are all sorts of things about England I didn’t expect. Like windows without screens. Which is fine as long as you never want to get any fresh air without every bug in a fifty-mile radius coming into your room and draining your body of all its blood while you sleep. But, hey, not having any blood is actually a benefit in the UK. Partly this is because everyone there looks as if they wandered off the Twilight set, but mostly it’s due to the fact that the British have yet to master the grand technological wonder of mixed faucets. This annoys me to no end. It is impossible to wash a damn dish in that country without either burning off all the skin on your hands or having your fingers turn into icicles and snap off into the sink. But, again, because you have no blood, at least it cuts down on the clean-up. And you’ll need every bit of help you can get in the clean-up department, because the English don’t seem to like garbage disposals either. I found this out the hard way. After a hearty meal of hiding bits of blood sausage under a giant, oozing pile of mushy peas, I was appalled to discover that the hole in the kitchen sink was simply a hole without any sign of the friendly, waste-grinding machine I had taken for granted all my life. Nothing makes you long for a garbage disposal more than digging around in a kitchen sink hole and bringing out fistfuls of greenish, black-flecked gunk that reminds you of a gangrenous wound, or, worse, that revolting meal you were just forced to eat. It’s enough to make an American weep for home.

Ah, beautiful American living. It really is a glorious place, but it does turn me into a drooling cow. When I’m in Oxford, for example, I walk three to four miles a day, easy, just because I have to – there’s really no other way to get around the city unless I want to get squashed under a lorrie while riding my bike or wrestle with the drunks on the bus. And walking in Oxford is wonderfully pleasant: the city is so conducive to strolling around, I can’t imagine navigating it any other way. I always wonder if the people trying to drive in its impossibly narrow and curving streets are either high on crack, insane, or both. On the other hand, when I’m back in Boston, which is supposed to be one of the most walkable cities in the US,  I cannot be arsed to walk the two blocks from my house to the mailbox. I swear this is shamefully true. This is partly because Boston drivers are, in fact, both high on crack and very, very insane, and view sidewalks as simply the far right lane, so getting mowed over while on a peaceful stroll is more than a remote possibility. But it’s also because no one – NO ONE – in the city would even think of walking to a mailbox and if I were seen doing so, I’d either be shot or carted off to a looney bin.

So, really, it’s much safer for me to stay indoors, enjoy my home filled with mixed faucets, lovingly caress my garbage disposal (this wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had, by the way), and do nothing. Sweet, sweet nothing. I know, I know, it’s not much of an apology for my lack of blogging over the past couple of days, but frankly, it’s all I can muster on the limited pool of energy I’ve got left after all the conveniences of American life have sapped me of my will to move. God bless this country. Moo.


Brawling And Beer at Funerals: Good Times. What Else Is New?

OK, so if you’ve hung around this blog long enough, you’re probably well aware of the fact that I have a penchant for goofy news stories. Yes, I know, it’s a bad use of my time, education, and intellect. And yes, I know that most of these stories are idiotically puerile, but hey, so am I. And, besides, who are you to judge me, damn it, the court at Nuremberg?! Back off, buddy!

Sorry. I’m off my medication.

Anyway, yes, I love the Dumb News. It saves me the trouble of reading the real stuff, which is mostly just doom and gloom anyway, and I frankly don’t have time for that nonsense. I’m too busy teaching my dog to use the toilet for her messy business so I don’t have to carry around Ziplock bags when we troll the neighborhood for cute guys. I’m a busy girl, you know.

Regardless. Today, Dumb News profoundly disappointed me. That’s because I ran across a story of a woman holding a beer can at a memorial service and subsequently starting a brawl. Come on! How is this news? Have these people never been to an Irish Catholic wake before?! Bugger it all to hell, when my great aunt died last fall, we all took shots of Miller High Life in her honor! (I swear by all that is holy, this is true.) It’s just sad to see journalistic integrity and profundity slip so far.