Raging Dull

By all reasonable accounts I should be on Cloud Nine* today. The Kansas City Royals, my lifelong team, bereft of a championship for 30 years, won the World Series on Sunday. All I have to do is think of Eric Hosmer’s mad dash home to tie Game 5 in the ninth inning, and I get a huge smile on my face or start to tear up. Instant happiness. Last night I went to see Jim Gaffigan in concert with my husband, oldest son, and BFF. We had a great time. He was fantastic. Quote from one of our favorite bits, “Is this worth it?”

But someone today served me up a full-on slice of rage with a side of loathing and an indignation chaser. Literally everything is pissing me off. Granted, even when I’m even-keeled I don’t easily suffer fools, but that’s not usually something that turns my day upside down.

Alex had some questions about the show this morning. “What did he talk about?”

Me: “Hot Pockets.”

Alex (eyeroll): “Did he talk about airline food?”

Me: “No.”

Alex: “Good. Because that is getting REALLY old.”

Eight years old, going on…me. I think that sort of sums up what’s wrong with me today. I don’t have any patience for anyone who is rehashing the same old shit. What set me off started before I’d even left my house this morning – a fairly innocuous comment on a post about the Gaffigan show my friend tagged us in on Facebook.

“…looks like youre hanging out with a bunch of Weiners!”

Har.

For the record, my name is Jennifer Weiner. Pronounced “WINE-er.” When I write I use my maiden name for my byline so I’m not confused with the relatively prolific author of the same name. Jennifer Weiner has done rather well for herself, so it wouldn’t be terrible, but no need to create undue confusion. Receptionists at medical offices often ask me if I’m her. Note to Jennifer’s publisher – receptionists at medical offices must be very into “chick lit.” I sense a marketing opportunity. You’re welcome for that free bit of insight about a key demographic. I read Jennifer Weiner’s first book, Good in Bed, a title for which I suffered a fair amount of grief. It was okay, and that’s not a knock against her, but it’s a genre that’s just not really my thing.

I digress. The “weener/weiner” comment is just so ridiculously unfunny. I mean, could you pick any lower hanging fruit than making an obvious joke out of someone’s name? It’s not my name. I wasn’t born with it. My kids get mocked for it constantly. My oldest son, now a sophomore in high school, used to be terribly bothered by it. A baseball pitcher, he intentionally hit a kid once as a 12-year-old when he heard the kid call him “weener” before a game. When I found out why he hit the kid I wasn’t even mad. I was impressed with his control and situational awareness. He’d cleanly retired the first two batters, then plunked the kid with precision on the first pitch with two outs. Now he embraces the taunts, lets his friends call him “penis,” which has taken away all the power of the chirp. You can do that as a 15-year-old who lifts weights and is unafraid of anyone. It’s a little different for younger kids who haven’t developed any coping mechanisms.

I don’t know this person. She’s probably perfectly nice, but her comment annoyed the hell out of me. Not because I was offended, but because of how fucking immature and stupid and preposterously unclever it was. If it were a good joke, I probably wouldn’t have cared. I respect a well-timed and funny insult at my expense. But I have no tolerance for the trite and cliché. I later replied to her comment with a single word. “Hilarious.” She “liked” it. That angered me even more. Because that remark was dripping with sarcasm. And it went completely unrecognized.

The check-out lines at Target over my lunch hour were long. And things went from bad to worse because when it was my turn, the slow cashier handling my lane was replaced by the chatty cashier. I always purposely avoid this woman’s lane. She’s worked there for eons, and she insists on commenting on every item you purchase. I plastered a smile on my face, and prepared for her shtick. As she slid the pizza crusts, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese across the scanner, I assumed the crash position, bracing for impact.

“Makin’ some pizzas?”

Oh. My. God. Are you some kind of fucking psychic? How the amazing Kreskin did you know that? No. Way. That was. FAN-Tastic. Seriously, chills.

“You know, there’s a recipe for a cauliflower pizza crust. I haven’t tried it, but I need to. I need to stay away from the carbs. The cauliflower is low-carb. I’m supposed to be on a low-carb diet, but everything is made outta carbs! I’m a diabetic. My sugars are just way out of control. Crazy high. I see you got that 25% off apparel coupon on Cartwheel. Lady in line earlier didn’t know about it and I told her all about it. She didn’t have the app and went over to customer service and set it up. I used mine the other day.”

This is a test, God. Right?

Mercifully that exchange ended. In the parking lot a cute two-year-old boy was not being controlled by his mother, and slowly walked right in front of my car as I was trying to leave. Move out of my goddamn motherfuckin way, you little bastard. (My God I’m watching too much Veep. I have Selina Meyer mouth.) Before going back to the office, I decided I needed a little pick-me-up, so I stopped at Starbucks for some iced tea. Ran straight into a brick wall of upselling purgatory. 

Barista: “So are you having anything for lunch? A hot sandwich? Fruit parfait?”

Me: “No, just tea.”

Barista: “That comes sweetened, but we can make it unsweetened by special request.” 

Me: (Special request? That sounds overly complicated. Do I have to fill out a goddamn form or something? We’ll leave the sugar out of your tea, but only after you complete Schedule 2530-IT in triplicate.) “Unsweetened, please.”

Barista: “For only 50 cents more you can upgrade your Grande to a Venti.” At this point she’s waving cups at me.

Me: “Fine.” (If that will end this transaction. Please.)

Barista: “Anything else for you? We have fresh gingerbread cookies out of the oven!”

Me: “No thanks, I’m good.”

Barista: “Do you like music? We have the new Andrea Bocelli CD.”

Me: “That’s ok.” (I haven’t listened to a CD since 2006. Do they still make CD players? You don’t grind the coffee with a mortar and pestle, why are you selling CDs?)

Probably I should not be allowed around anyone for the rest of the day, for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Unfortunately I have a meeting tonight, and I have to deal with my own children, which is always interesting. Thank goodness it was dark when I drove home at 5:00 in traffic. That’s always a mood booster.

Sarcasm.

*What is Cloud Nine anyway? What right does Cloud Nine have to be so damned haughty? I bet it just kissed ass all the time, and probably backstabbed the hell out of Clouds Five and Seven to attain its exalted position. Cloud Six is all, “That was my idea, bitch. Thanks for sharing the credit.”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2015

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Special Circumstances

Here’s what I’m thinking about tonight. There should be penalties for crimes that inconvenience me or piss me off. Something similar to “special circumstances” that make a defendant eligible for the death penalty or harsher sentencing in a homicide case.

I might not go as far as considering capital punishment for “Jennifer circumstances.” I’d have to take into account prior offenses, chance of recidivism, and whether the person is an asshole anyway before committing the act.

  • Telemarketers who call between 4:45 pm and 6:45 pm, or at my kids’ bedtime. This may be harsh, but I’m including charities (I’m talking to you: Lupus Foundation, Arc, Vietnam Veterans Association, Courage Center, Archdiocese of the Twin Cities, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts.). In addition to my special penalties, there is a nice little corner of hell for TruGreen Chemlawn, and the Star Tribune, where they will be eternally sleep deprived because robo-callers from the Minnesota DFL party will ring their phone just when they start to nod off into REM sleep, then make them hold for five seconds before mis-pronouncing their name and asking for a donation.
  • People who throw cigarette butts out of their car windows. Penalty is to pick up every discarded butt at every intersection between my house and where the offense is committed. Any flack and they get to eat a bowl of soup melted down from the mélange of roadside jettison that has marinated all winter long in a big chunk of Minnesota snow that I scoop up from a freeway off-ramp around March 1.
  • People in the bank drive-through lane who are trying to cash a third-party check in someone else’s name from the Bank of East Westillpissinclaypotsistan. You belong on Lake Street. They’ll cash it for you. For a “nominal” fee.
  • Kay Jewelers and the entire ad firm responsible for the “Every Kiss Begins With Kay” campaign. Their holiday spots have only been running for about two weeks now, and I already wish that every couple who buys or receives any of that cheesy micro-diamond pseudo-bling would go on a romantic snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef, and then miss the boat back to shore. G’day mates!

There is more. There is always more. But I’m tired right now, so I’ll leave it at that.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011

Kein Krieg Im Golf!

This Occupy Wall Street business is interesting. What I enjoy most are the signs. The ones I’ve seen are half-assed and misspelled messes with some rambling thought scrawled with a Sharpie on a piece of cardboard.

The Soviet-inspired architecture of the Studentenwohnungen of the Munich Olympiazentrum.

For some reason it reminds me of when I studied in Munich, Germany. The building I lived in backed up to a retail area, and to get there you’d go under kind of an alleyway between buildings. Every time I went to the shitty little grocery store back there, I’d pass a support beam with some graffiti on it.

“KEIN KRIEG IM GOLF!”

That translates to “No war in the Gulf.” Just below it, written in pencil (undoubtedly by some smartass American or cheeky Brit), was:

“What about the Ryder Cup?”

For some reason I chuckled every time I passed it. Even now it makes me grin. Something about the righteous seriousness juxtaposed against the light-hearted silliness is funny.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011