A Tale of Two Sarcastic Rants

Sarcasm: it runs in my veins. I remember “getting” sarcasm from a really young age, and it just stuck with me. I can’t stop myself. I mean, I guess I could, but I also find myself exceedingly entertaining, so I kinda don’t. Due to that lack of restraint, every now and again, I wander into the dark, arid lands of Too Much Sarcasm. And it’s…awkward.

For instance, there was this guy standing outside the grocery store trying to get signatures for a law about animal abuse. Now, I like animals as much as the next person, but I DON’T like people harassing me just because I needed orange juice. Don’t they realize that perhaps that’s not the best time to talk to me? When I’m rushing around trying to complete my to-do list, thinking about how I’ve generally failed at being an adult? Isn’t that the wrong time to approach someone?

But this poor sap either couldn’t recognize the crazy in my eyes, or was just feelin’ like he wanted to dare the edge that day, so he thrust his clipboard at me and said, “Stop puppies from being abused?” to which I replied, “I hate puppies. They deserve to be abused,” and I stared my crazy right into his soul.

Several awkward moments passed between the time I closed my lips on the word “abused” and the time I realized that, perhaps, this particular sarcastic performance was not being interpreted as such.  Instead he was just looking at me as a puppy killer, which we all know is gateway killing to human killing. Oopsies. Too much. “Scale it back,” I said to myself, and then proceeded to sputter out a lot of reasons why I would say such inappropriate things and how I’m generally pretty sarcastic and it just keeps getting worse like an infection except that there’s no medicine for it and now I’m chronically sarcastic and he should probably be taking donations for me. None of this actually had an effect on the fellow, so I just slinked away to my car, adding, “Have a great day!” like that would fix it.

Then, years later, I was at the grocery store again. (What is with me and the grocery store?) Now, in addition to whatever petition-signing, cookie-selling hordes have gathered outside, all the checkers have been turned into panhandlers. This is much trickier to avoid, because it’s typically 50 cents and you don’t even have to dig in your purse or man pocket for the money because they just add it to your juice and wine and beef jerky (or whatever you buy. I don’t know your business.). Also, because there’s a line of people behind you that can hear your answer to “Would you like to donate 50 cents to save sea life from oil spills?” or “Would you like to give a dollar to fight breast cancer?” or “Would you like to donate 75 cents to help your community teachers?” Answering “no” to any of these questions makes you look like a heartless she-devil, and everyone behind you is already mad at you because their ice cream pops are melting and they want to get home to watch “The Biggest Loser.”

When I feel like things are being said a specific way just to manipulate me (which, after all, is the whole point of marketing) it makes me want to punch someone in the giblets. I’m sure they design the questions to make you feel like a gremlin if you don’t fork over the money. And sometimes when I get pushed, I push back. Just a weensy bit. The question on that day was, “Would you like to donate 50 cents to help sick babies?”

Sick babies? How are you supposed to say no to that? I could have, I guess. I could have just said, “Screw it, I don’t care if everyone thinks I’m the Grinch. I’ll donate to whom I want to, when I want to, thank you.” but that didn’t exactly happen. Instead, I said, “All the sick babies? Or just a select few?”

The checker was not amused. He replied,”You want to make sure it only goes to the good ones, huh?” but not in a fun, playful way. In a, you’re-a-heartless-she-devil way. So I just said some combo of “kidding” “sarcastic” “all babies are the best” and “sure, take my 50 cents, I have no dignity”.

The moral of the story: if you have a propensity to express your humor in a way that is drier than ash, try saying things in your head before they come out of your talk hole. Sometimes, it’s a tad too much.

Like Pulling Teeth (Also, Baby Animals!)

Big yawn

Photo by afsheen @ Flickr.

Sometimes writing—or being creative or doing things that are important to you—is like pulling teeth. Like pulling teeth out of a cranky dog’s stinky mouth. That is what this week is like. Doodie. That’s what I have to say about that. It’s doodie.

That happens sometimes, right? You think that you’re going to come up with something spectacular and earth-shattering. You’ll write the perfect blend of funny and poignant and everyone will read your post, laugh, wipe teensy tears from their eyes, and say, “Aaaaaaahhhhh…that was perfect.” And then each and every one of your readers will go to the store, buy a single, delicious bottle of beer, wrap it up and send it to you in the mail.

That’s what you THINK you’re going to do. Instead, you write 14 sucky drafts, look at Pinterest for an hour, then Facebook, then you browse through all your RSS feeds, go for a walk, juggle for a while, and come back to the same, insidious, blinking cursor that was mocking you two hours ago. (Curse you, cursor! With your continual, “What’s next? What’s next? What’s next?” Eff you, is what’s next.)

I checked out this thing called SuperBetter, a website that helps you get better at things you want to get better at. It’s like a game. And they talk about emotional resilience, and how it’s really key for all kinds of important things, like being awesome and opening jars (I’m paraphrasing here). I have the emotional resilience of a wet tissue hanging from a tree on a windy day. Hmm. Trouble.

I also read an article a while back about how positive thinking is really important for creativity. This is a challenge for me. My name means “blackness” or “dark”—what do you want from me?

Perhaps I (& maybe you too?) should work on these things.

To help strengthen your emotional resilience, SuperBetter said that for every negative feeling you have, you should try to create or experience three positive feelings. They recommend looking out the window, or doing an image search for cute baby animals. Since I’m also supremely lazy, I went for the animal search option. Not wanting to keep the treasure trove of tiny baby animals to myself, I’m going to share them here with you. Let’s watch these little cutie-wooties prime our creative pumps and next week we’ll take over the freaking world. Or maybe just you will. If you do, can you send me a beer? Thx.

And Now…Cute Animal Parade!

cebuella pygmaea

Photo by Joachim S. Mueller @ Flickr

A baby marmoset! And it’s like, “Whhaaa?” They’ve got one (two, actually) at the San Diego Zoo if you MUST! SEE! ONE! now.

Marmoset

Photo by Jessica Merz @ Flickr.

This guy lost his mustache trimmers!

baby_pygmy1

Photo by juliez_pics @ Flickr.

Awww…the wittle baby is cuddowing.

baby chinchilla

Photo by Greencolander @ Flickr.

It’s a teensy, artsy chinchilla.

everybody loves me baby

Photo by timsnell @ Flickr.

Looks like we can expect some monkey business…(wah, wah). The photographer says this guy “generally like[s] to stir the shit.” Awesome. Unless that was literal. You never know with monkeys.

And that’s the last one. I was going to include a picture of a baby kangaroo, but those guys do not leave their mama’s pouch, and, I’m not gonna lie, the pouch thing kinda freaks me out. So we’ll stop there. Share your favorite, positive mood-inducing photos and creativity-inspiring activities, too, okay? Sweet.

Like Bees in My Head

My mind is like a hive of bees.

I do this thing called neurofeedback because I’m epileptic. (Isn’t sharing fun? I’m a veritable cornucopia of fun facts.)

Here’s the thing about epilepsy—there’s too much shit going on in your head. Just way, way too much. So neurofeedback is kinda like training your brain to calm the hell down. I get hooked up to a bunch of wires, then I watch a screen with a line graph that shows me exactly how crazy active my brain is being. If the line graph goes up, it’s bad. If it goes down, that’s good. So, I watch the line and I try to get my brain to shush a little.

I move the line with my mind.

Now, this is a totally personal thing, and there’s no way for anyone to show me how to do it. It’s not like picking a lock, or doing the moonwalk, or charging an iPod using an onion. No, I just have to try. Try to not try. Try to not think. Try to shush all the little neurons having a rager in my brain. Calming your brain is actually really, REALLY hard. So hard that it makes me feel like I have bees in my head.

Shed a Tear, Have a Seizure

I heard a story on This American Life a while back about a man who goes catatonic when he feels emotion of any kind. He just grinds to a halt and checks out of life for a while. Even thinking about looking at a picture of a happy time in his life will make him black out. When I heard that story, I thought how terrible it would be for someone to be at war with their own emotions. I was so sad for him. And weeks later…I was sad for myself.

My (brilliant) neurofeedback practitioner and I made a discovery the other day—emotions are a no-no. And here’s what I mean by that: when I get frustrated, or excited, or happy, or nervous—when I have any emotions of any kind—my brain doesn’t handle it well. So, I’ll start out my practice and I’ll see that I’m not doing so well, so I get frustrated. Which makes me do worse, which makes me get more frustrated, which makes me do even worse. But then, somehow, miraculously, I’ll do better. I’ll shake myself out of it. And then I’m doing great, which is exciting so I’ll get happy…which makes me do worse. And then I’ll get frustrated. Worse still. And then…the bees come.

I had seizures since I was around 4 years old. But I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 18, because my seizures are mostly just an eye flutter and if your only education about epilepsy is an after school special that shows a clown convulsing on the ground, then you can’t be expected to know that something is wrong.

This discovery was like seeing my childhood from high altitudes. There were days, as a kid, that I had hundreds of seizures a day. And it would make me upset. And no one believed that I wasn’t doing it on purpose. Which made me more upset. And, truthfully, I was already a bit of a mess emotionally, which made me have more seizures. Do you see the pattern? Isn’t that insane? I had an unknown seizure disorder that was made worse by my unaddressed emotional problems. A kid like that, well, she’s kinda toast.

But things could be worse. I’ll count my blessings that while, clearly, unchecked emotions are not great for me, at least I don’t black out every time I get upset or frightened or ecstatic. Turns out, my neurofeedback practice is enough to have a radical impact on my seizure activity and I can continue on in my usual, if slightly nutty, manner.

Life…it’s weird, no? It’s weird and mysterious and sometimes we get a glimpse of the big picture and it’s magical. Even if also bizarre and seemingly unfair. I’ll take it. Bees and all.

Truths of the Universe

If we know anything by now, it’s that I am a wealth of handy information. Continuing my function as a cicerone for your life’s boundless adventures, I present you with…

Truths!

(truths…truths…truths…)

Of!

(of…of…of…)

The Universe!

(verse…verse…verse…)

I even put the truths in a handy bulleted list. I’ve started with ten. Ten at a time is a good pace for revealing the underpinnings of life, don’t you think? I’ve also started with a dog/motorcycle/women’s clothing/drinking theme. You know, for Easter.

  1. If you own a loud motorcycle, everyone hates your loud motorcycle.
  2. Mustaches are gross. There is one, and only one, exception to this rule.
  3. After the age of 14, women will find that all clothing is made for people 10 years older, or 10 years younger than their current age.
  4. No one knows what the appropriate age is for a woman to start, or stop, shopping at Forever 21.
  5. If you own a loud motorcycle, you will always start it up when someone is just drifting off for a nap.
  6. There is no possible way for you to seem smart after admitting that you like to drink Chelada.
  7. Ashley Judd is a badass.
  8. Listening to a lone dog barking rhythmically is a slow but steady way to go insane.
  9. If you own a loud motorcycle for too long (i.e., any period of time), your neighbors will start to hate you.
  10. Whether you’re a cat person, or a dog person, you’re still giving free rent and food to someone who makes you pick up their poop.

Blammo.

%d bloggers like this: