Thursday, March 31, 2005

Your blog sucks!

There are few hard and fast rules for bloggers, but one of them seems to be "never address an anonymous post from someone who thinks you suck." But we're all about breaking the rules here at the Smash, so let's tackle my latest piece of hate mail, shall we?

This morning I got up, rubbed the sleep from my pretty pretty eyes and stumbled over to the computer as I usually do. (Yes, I do this before I pee. Yes, I should probably see a cognitive therapist of some sort.) In my inbox I found, along with the usual come-ons from manufacturers of cut-rate Viagra, a notification of the following comment:

This site hasn't been good in months. What the hell is wrong with you? Sporadic posting, impersonal ranting, list after list after list after list. What happened to the self depricating [sic] story telling? When did JS turn into Spice World the blog and why?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Girl Power!

Now, I have no idea what this means. My friend Ilisa has suggested that perhaps this poster thinks I dress up in stupid outfits and very tall shoes and sing bad pop songs poorly. Also that I am stuck in, what, 1996? But underlying the head-scratching metaphor is a pretty simple idea: your blog sucks!

I'd love to sit here and tell you that I'm a big girl and it didn't hurt my feelings, but let's be honest: if I were a big girl, I probably wouldn't have a blog in the first damn place. One of the interesting, or at least universal, things about bloggers is that we seem to be fairly sensitive souls. The question of what, if anything to do about negative comments, is a tricky one, and we deal with it in a variety of ways:

1) Turn off comments. This won't work for me, as I am part of the breed of blogger that is doing this at least in part for instant gratification. I hate the mean comments, but I love the compliments. Go on and scoff if you must.
2) Delete the mean comments; keep the compliments. This seems like cheating to me.
3) Ignore the whole thing, compliment and comment and just let it go. Too mature.
4) Obsess over negative comments, deciding that they are in fact a signal of the decline of your site as a whole, that in fact you've never had any talent at all, and that what little you had is now used up. Also, your friends who say otherwise? Just need that paycheck that your parents send them to be friends with you. I like this option. I think it's the one for me.

Anyway, my real point is that I don't actually think this anonymous commenter is full of shit. The quality has dipped a bit, but what can you do. Many of the things that are going on in my life right now aren't ready for public consumption. So that leaves lists and stories about the weather and general rants about people's bathroom behavior and so on. But if you stay tuned, I'm bound to get my heart broken or get fired or decide to move to Alaska. And then we'll really have something to talk about.

In the meantime, here is a suggestion: Post your blog topic ideas in the comments below. I will either handcraft you a hilarious true-life anecdote about them, or I will mock you roundly for your stupid suggestion. Either way, I think we have comedy gold here, people.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Do-over day

When I was a kid, I used to think sometimes about how much I'd like to be able to have a day where I could just do whatever I wanted, and then do the whole thing over. At the time, I was thinking of cutting class to go to the Crest and buy gumballs and Garbage Pail Kids and stickers and fake dog doo, but that doesn't mean that it was a juvenile wish. No, recently, I've realized that I could still use a do-over day. It's just that I'd use it a little differently.

Here are some of the things I'd do if I could just erase a whole day when I was through and start over:

1. Cut off all my hair immediately and go back to my cute (but difficult to grow out) Rosemary's Baby haircut of a decade ago.
2. "OK, I can meet with you briefly, but I'm going to have to jump off this call at 2:30. I have to call my friend so that we can talk about boys."
3. Lie in bed til noon. Don't call anyone to tell them that I'm going to be out. Don't explain to anyone when I get up.
4. "I'd love to go out, but I'm terribly fickle and not good at confrontation. So what do you say we date for, like, three weeks?"
5. Eat an entire block of cheese as it were a sandwich.
6. "I'd love to continue talking to you, but I'm afraid that I just don't care about anything important. Please go away."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Poor old Popey

Catholic pals of mine, clear something up for me: the Pope can't quit, can he? I'm only asking because apparently he missed Mass today and seems to be nearly dead and I feel sorry for him.

I mean, for reals. Airline pilots have mandatory retirement at age 60, but we can't phase the pope out at, say, 80? Are you really telling me that the spiritual leader of EVERY CATHOLIC IN THE WORRRRLD has to keep on going and going and going like some kind of demented Energizer Bunny? Is this wise? He'll be crushed to death by his hat soon. Have mercy.

I have known her for four years

Me: Ha, ha, Jules. Did you see the "from" bar on your e-mail? Those bozos you work for think your name is Julie.

Jules: That's because it is.

Me: Oh.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In other news, I will soon stage the 'Running of the Fully-Clothed and Actually Sorta Prudish Pinkos Who Nonetheless Find PETA Amusing'

PETA is totally turning into an excuse for hippies to get naked.

No bull: animal rights group to stage 'running of the nudes'

I don't quite get this. I mean, if I'm remembering correctly from my college days, hippies aren't exactly casting about for excuses to doff their clothing.

The meanest girls in the world

I've been thinking a lot lately about how crabby everyone has been, including me. It seems like we're all pretty tired and worn out these days. I don't know if it's the long winter, or the oppressive political climate, or just some sort of global bitchiness, but dang. I feel like hell. How 'bout you?

Anyway, while I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that one of my problems with extended cranky moods is that I always feel guilty when I'm not cheerful. That's just dumb, of course, but what can you do. Hardwired stuff like that often is.

The thing is, I come from nice people. I don't mean, like, my-parents-are-married nice, or we-had-money-growing-up nice. (First one: True. Second one: Not so much.) I mean that we weren't a yelly, whiney house, and that just about the only thing that could shake my sainted mother (say with an Irish accent for added fun) from her usual kindly disposition was to say that you were bored, or to start a fight. The result of this was that my sister and I were about five and eight years old, respectively, before we understood that most people yell. She was always quicker on the uptake.

And we were always very nice to each other, even when we were fighting. Our worst fights, the physical ones, were farcical. She was a pincher and I was a biter. She'd dig into me with her pinchy little fingers and I'd angle for a good spot to sink my choppers into her arm. It was all fun and games until Mom came in to see what the shrieking was about. Whereupon, we'd assure her that nothing was going on, and then go right back to biting and pinching each other as soon as she'd left.

Nowadays, of course, we're adults. We don't bite and pinch each other. We still fight nicely, though, especially in comparison to most other grown siblings.

Here is a re-enactment of a fight between me and my sister, now that we are adults.

Mrs. Piddlington: (Nothing.)

Me: What?

Mrs. Piddlington: (Mumbling.)

Me: Jesus Christ, what?

Mrs. Piddlington: (Sigh.)


Mrs. Piddlington: Nothing's wrong. Jeez.

Me: Well, obviously something's wrong.

Mrs. Piddlington: (Whistling to herself, internally. Regarding the ceiling.)

Me: You don't have to look so bored.

Mrs. Piddlington: I'm not bored. I'm just thinking.

Me: I think you're mad at me.

Mrs. Piddlington: No.

Me: You're not mad at me?

Mrs. Piddlington: (Nothing.)

Me: You are mad at me.

Mrs. Piddlington: No.

Me: Then what's wrong?

Mrs. Piddlington: You're driving me crazy.

After that, I usually just bite her. I am kidding.

I (heart) snow

So, it's going to snow again tonight. I'm tired of listening to myself complain about the weather, so I'm going to present you with a short list of reasons why snow is a positive thing, and not at all a reason to develop (or continue developing) a personality disorder:

1) It's an excellent excuse for a bad mood. Feeling cruddy? Experiencing malaise? Actually just a total bitch? Blame it on the snow. (Also an excellent, little-known song by Milli Vanilli.)
2) We're getting eight inches of snow, apparently, which means: snow men. In the interests of remaining gender-neutral and PC-friendly, I think we should make Empowered Snow Persons of the Feminine Persuasion.
3) Sudden changes in air pressure make animals go crazy. This will make your cat even more entertaining than usual. Go out right now and buy a bag of catnip, wait for the snowfall, and then dose the poor little bastard.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The two-stall rule

Today, I was in the ladies room, peeing, as you do, when two women came into the bathroom, and took up residence in the stalls on either side of me. This is bad enough. Everyone knows about the Two-Stall Rule: when you go into a multi-stall bathroom, and there's one other person using the facilities, you must, at the very least, leave one empty stall between you and that person. Preferably two.

But no. These ladies plunked down right next to me, on either side. Worse: They continued their conversation.

First Lady: (Over my head, to her friend.) Remind me that I have something to show you back at my desk.

Second Lady: Oh yeah? What?

Me: (Well, I know it's not any sort of an etiquette guide, you trashy thing.)

First Lady: Oh, you know. That thing we talked about.

Second Lady: Hmmm?

Me: (What? Weed? A dildo? A pink slip?)

First Lady: It's a picture of my daughter, from her recital. She's first violin!

Second Lady: Oh! Cute!

Me: (Jesus Christ. I need a new job.)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Update on my smartitude, attitude, etceteratude

I am retarded and cannot do my taxes. This is particularly disturbing, because I did them last year, no problem. This can only mean that last year, I did them wrong, and the IRS will eventually catch up with me and throw me in the hoosegow. And you know what that means, don't you? No Internet access.

G'wan and laugh, but this is how they got Al Capone. And you know the federales have been after my ass for years. By the way, it is now perfectly OK to hit me about the head and neck area, because I used the word "federales." (TM George Carlin.) I've probably even spelled it wrong, but I'm too freaked out about my impending prison sentence to look it up. After everything I've done for you people, you can let this one slide, OK?

Anyway, it's been nice knowing you.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wax on, wax off

Hello, all. Please to go to the Black Table, where one of my favorite tales of drunken humilation is on display for your reading pleasure:


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Spring fever and all that

It's warm today. My Internet pals who live in warmer climes probably don't understand what that means to the average New Englander, so let me explain: perhaps, at some point in the near future, someone will ask me to hang out and I'll be inclined to look for my shoes instead of scrambling feverishly for excuses to hide under a blanket and read bad mystery novels. Perhaps. I'm not making any promises.

I turn into such a hermit in the winter. I wouldn't mind, if only I got something done during my hermitage. I mean, for reals, if you totted up all the hours I've spent watching TV this winter, I could've written a novel by now. But no. I'm not built that way. I am fantastically productive or completely slothlike. Full-tilt or stop.

I've had enough stop, though, so maybe full-tilt season will cooperate and arrive at last. I could use some sunshine. I'd like to go for a walk outside. It'd be nice to smell that spring smell in the air.

It's almost here! Any second now. I should do some sit-ups and rediscover vegetables. I should up my SPF, and make sure to put sunglasses in my glove compartment. Spring is coming.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

All power to the (crazy) people

I have crazy-person pride.

Gone are the days when I would feel guilty about my obsessions with my health, my weight, other people's opinions of me, and so on. I haven't gotten any better: I've just accepted my own neurotic self. I say, "Up with crazy people!" Who's with me?

Here's how crazy I am: When I can't locate an ache or pain to worry about, or torture myself with my insufficient bank balance, or obsess over whether or not I hurt a friend's feelings, I like to listen really carefully to the noises my car makes when I'm driving around. Have you ever done this? Really listened hard to your car? Do you hear all those rattles and shimmies and hiccups? Sounds like it's gonna blow, doesn't it? Well, it probably will. And think how awful you'll look, with your eyebrows burnt off. Just like David Bowie during the Aladdin Sane period, only with no excuses or groupies.

In the old days, I'd think about this kind of thing, and then I'd feel bad. "I'm really crazy," I'd think mournfully. And then I'd wonder if my parents were paying my friends to listen to me ask them, again and again, if they were sure that I'm not dying, if my car really does sound okay, if my ass looks fat in these pants, or why such-and-such a boy is acting in such-and-such a way.

Now, however, I have developed a more charitable attitude toward myself. I catch myself thinking about these things, and instead of thinking, "Jesus, I need therapy," I think, "Aw, there I go again. Worrying about nothing. That's just like me." Chuckle, chuckle. And then I worry some more.

But that's OK! I'm completely fine with that now. However, I will require you to come here and tell me if you think this hair I just found along my part is really gray. I think it's blonde, but I'm not sure. Look at it. Look. Is it gray? I think it might be.

Oh my God, it's only a matter of time.

Friday, March 11, 2005

So, I joined MySpace...

...And rather than tell you a long, boring story about how perverts stalk me all over the Internet, let me just treat you to this brief snippet of IM conversation:

JennieSmash: Um, OK.
JennieSmash: MySpace? Is clearly a porn site.
HiC: What?
JennieSmash: Some dude with the unlikely name of "BodySpray" would like to know if I want to chat.
HiC: Hah!
JennieSmash: Oh, excellent. He's writing to me from Karachi. All my dreams are coming true!

Double your post, double your fun

OK, so Blogger hates me, apparently, and won't delete my double post (which was once a triple post, but no matter). Or maybe it's deleted both my posts by now, and you have no idea what I'm talking about. Anyway, my point is that you shouldn't hold it against me. I'm not Cletus the Slack-Jawed Blogger, I swear. I'm just, er, better at complaining than I am other, more practical things.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Quick question for you

When did George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton become BFFs? Clinton was on the news last night, talking about his upcoming surgery, and Bush was standing next to him, looking all concerned, like, "Gee, I hope my pal will be OK." In fact, he seemed markedly more concerned than Clinton did.

I know they've been doing tsunami relief work together, which is great. But then they were at the Super Bowl. And now, it appears, they're trading slam books and stickers and braiding each other's hair. I kind of think that this is adorable, I'll be honest with you. But it also shows that Bush Sr. has some class. I'm not going to lie to you: In Bush's position, I can't really picture being pal-sy with the guy who kicked my ass in a national election.

But then, I never really hated Bush the Elder as much. He always struck me as a pretty nice guy, with very different political beliefs than mine. No big deal. I've got lots of pals at all points of the political spectrum. I don't want any of them to be president, but hey.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

I'm very fond of complaining...

...But lately, it's occurred to me that I might actually be addicted to it. I've found myself wracking my brains for something to whine about. This cannot be normal.

Be that as it may, I have a bone to pick with a specific type of office worker, and I just thought I'd share. I work in an open office, as many people do, now that companies have figured out that it's cheaper to build partitions than it is to build walls. This is no big deal to me, most of the time. I'm good at tuning out noise and the normal bustle of office traffic, and if worse comes to worst, I can always put on my headphones and listen to some music.

But there's a social contract involved in working in an open office that I feel many people are not acknowledging. Here's what it is: We all pretend that we're in offices, with walls and doors, etc., and we all respect each other's space, just as if that space were clearly delineated by a physical boundary. POPPING over the PARTITION like a PRAIRE DOG does not respect this social contract.

Thank you. You may now go about your business. If you need me, please knock.

Monday, March 7, 2005

Fake lesbians in advertising

HiC: Can we talk about the lady?
JennieSmash: Yes.
JennieSmash: We sure can.
HiC: She is disturbing.
HiC: I agree entirely.
JennieSmash: She bothers me.
JennieSmash: And I don't know how to tell her that I don't love her.
HiC: Well -- I think it is best for her to find out on her own.
JennieSmash: You're probably right.
HiC: I think so.
HiC: Though -- her advertisements are such an overt cry for attention.
HiC: I mean COME ON.
JennieSmash: I don't even believe she's gay.
JennieSmash: I think she's just working the whole fake lesbian angle to get guys.
HiC: Yes.
HiC: I agree.
HiC: It is sad.

Friday, March 4, 2005

The lady is stalking me

I worked at home today, because I'm lazy and my toe is blackened and I was feeling sorry for myself. At lunch time, I turned on the TV, and soaked myself right up to my sorry little eyeballs in commercials, because I love them more than real-life murder TV shows. True story. They reinforce all my favorite stereotypes: Women are extra-capable supermodels with shiny hair and wry-sexy-bemused eye crinkles! Men are buffoonish adorable cartoon characters who can't do anything for themselves! Old ladies love sex! Old men love sex! Americans love sex! Wait, where was I?

Oh, yes, I know. The lady. Have you seen this person? She's making me mental. For those of you who have lives, allow me to recap. The lady is a 40ish sexy-eye-crinkle TV ad person who wears all white (with occasional splashes of red) and looks earnestly and a bit too intently into the camera while she exhorts you to purchase things from the website The site itself, I gather, is some sort of clearing center for fashion and accessories, and, I don't know, tampons and scented candles and aromatherapy lotion. My point is that women are the obvious core audience here, so I'd really like for someone to explain to me why it is that the lady keeps looking at me like she's seen my underpants. It makes no sense and it's really starting to make me uncomfortable.

"It's all about the '0'!" The lady says, winking so I don't miss her meaning, and then she's magically lost all her clothing but a gold "O" necklace.

I'm sure she's a lovely person and all, but I just don't feel that way about her. Maybe I should tell her how much I hate shopping? Even online shopping makes me itchy and nervous, as if I were being required to slouch around a Delia's while my sister felt the same sleeve for half an hour, like she does, as I feel my knees lock and blood pool in my feet and my will to live slowly, slowly sap away.

This reminds me. Here is the best statement on shopping ever. Mrs. P's brother-in-law Stephen and his lovely girlfriend Jenny (her name is my name, too) came to visit a few weekends ago, and we all went to Newbury Street, which is a shopping mecca in Boston. After we took poor Stephen to his third shoestore, he collapsed on the stoop and declared, "That's it. You guys go on ahead. I'm just going to sit right here on the cold cement and bash my nutsack with a hammer."

Whereupon, his lovely girlfriend Jenny said, "That sounds nice, Stephen. Let's go find you a hardware store."

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Blackened Toe

So, yesterday I broke my toe and today it's black and gross and twice its normal size. It's Blackened Toe. A delicious low-cal salad prepared by the residents of Borneo.

Anyway, because of the Blackened Toe, I'm limping around my office today, wearing a stablizing brace, under an ACE bandage, under a sock, under a leopard-print slipper. You might think this seems like an awful lot of care and precaution for one small toe. You would be not nearly as crazy as I am, apparently.

The Blackened Toe hurts a lot, but that's OK, because I'm really enjoying everyone's reaction to my leopard-print slipper and limp. By which I mean, I'm enjoying the fact that there is no reaction to the leopard-print slipper and limp. It reminds me that I take myself far too seriously at work in general. No one notices anything in an office. I could show up wearing pasties and a cowboy hat, my eye blackened and my front teeth missing, and no one would blink an eye.

Which reminds me of a story. This one time, I had quite a bit to drink and fell off my high heels at a bar in South Boston. I hit the floor face first, as you do, and shattered my glasses frames, cutting my eyebrow and producing an astonishing amount of blood. I had to get four stitches to close up the gash, and I still have a slight scar. My Mom is a nurse, so naturally I had her pals at the emergency room stitch me up. Because they're real cards, they chose bright blue thread for my stitches. I looked like Frankenpunk.

The following Monday, I went to the office, and no one said a word. Not one word. I was starting to think that it wasn't as noticeable as I thought, until my coworker Matt remarked, in the most casual manner possible, while preparing his coffee in the break room, that he'd hate to see the other guy.

It was all very Fight Club and a good thing to bear in mind, when I start thinking that everyone is looking at me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Jennie, sans grace

This afternoon, I broke my toe by stubbing it. I was on the phone at the time, giving career advice, believe it or not, to one of the junior editors at my company. I managed not to scream, "Fucking fuckety fuck-fuck aaahhhh!" into the phone, but just barely. Instead, I contorted my whole face, to the point where I was seriously afraid I'd sprain my eyebrows and dislocate my jaw and wind up in full-body traction because of a phone call. Such is my life.

I've never been a graceful person. I injure myself about once a year by tripping up the stairs, and my shoelaces are always untied, and I drop things constantly. When I was ten years old, my mother scrimped and saved to send me to figure skating lessons, which I loved. I was one of those crazy horse girls, but even then, allergies kept me on the other side of my plastic bubble from all living creatures, so figure skating lessons were the next best thing, on the girly mock-sport continuum. I learned to skate backwards, and do little spins, and I learned that it is totally possible to break your tailbone in more than one place. As a result, I was the only little figure-skater with a pillow stuffed into my snowpants. I had no idea that this looked strange, but I really wish I had a picture now, because really.

The only upside of this whole toe business is that I now have an excellent excuse to skip the gym. Because I can't put on any weight on it. So stupid. It's a little toe. Who knew it was so important?