January 12th, 2013Uncategorized
I like to play tricks on people. It adds a little zest to my life. Unfortunately I’m not that creative so my tricks don’t usually amuse anyone other than myself. One April fools Day I called my best friends mom and told her that her daughter had been hit by a car and was in critical condition. I realize now why that wasn’t so fun. Many of my tricks involve me hiding in a cabinet and then staying there because I’ve waited too long to come out and it got weird. One time I hid in a closet during a social science class in high school. My friend knew I was there and knew that I wasn’t coming out after the teacher had been lecturing for 20 minutes so she started asking all of the people around her if they had heard that I have AIDS. She was a good friend. Also, better at trickery. It was really awkward when the teacher caught me coming out after class was over. He just didn’t understand what the hell I was doing in there. It wasn’t even my class. Whatever. I’m an artist.
I attribute my mean tricks to the time my friend gave me a fake lottery ticket while I was working a job that I hated. According to the lottery ticket I had won 10,000. This is a lot of money to a 19 year old who grew up eating government cheese. I was so happy I was shaking and jumping. I had dreams, I was going to do stuff, important stuff. The look in my friends eyes as she told me the ticket wasn’t real. I will never forget it. She knew she had gone too far. My strategy is to go the other way. If you trick someone into believing something bad happened, they will be so relieved and happy when they learn it was just a prank. You will all share a laugh, high five and sit down to a lovely brunch. I will never forget what it is like to suddenly be rich and lose it all in an instant. Never.
I think that with age my trick playing skills are becoming more sophisticated. For example. The other night I was having a beer with some friends. We wanted to play cards so I went to the corner store to buy a deck. While I was there, I noticed that they were selling butter sticks, the only food item in the store, out of the package, not dated, no information. Juts free roaming butter. I figured “why not buy a stick? It could be useful later”. And that’s what I did. My original idea was to butter a friend’s cars and stick toilet paper to it. But then it occurred to me; the perfect trick. I called the Thunderbird market to tell them that I had been in about an hour ago and purchased a stick of butter to eat. I was concerned because I wasn’t feeling well and I wanted to know the expiration date on the butter. The clerk was surprised to hear that they sold butter, but agreed to look for the package. When he came back to the phone he sounded a little concerned. It seemed he couldn’t find the original package anywhere and therefore, had no way of knowing the expiration date of the butter. “What?” I cried. “You mean to tell me this butter could be from the 90′s?” He immediately recommended that I call Jeff on Monday because he would know more about the butter. “I can’t wait until Monday, sir. I feel sick”. At that I hung up. An hour later, after some coaxing, a friend agreed to take a ride on the trickery train. He called the Thunderbird to ask if they had found any information on the butter. They again said that we would have to call Jeff on Monday, but my buddy wasn’t satisfied with that. “look, my friend is in the ICU because of this butter and we need some information on it.”. Long pause. “I guess I will just have to call Jeff on Monday”. That’s as far as it went. Either they knew we were full of shit, or Jeff got a freaked out letter on Monday. They have since removed the butter from the case.
The other day I got a holiday card in the mail from our mortgage lender, Randy. It contained a scratcher with the phrase “Have a lucky new year”. I am trying to convince Ethan to call him up and yell at him for causing me to relapse from my gambling addiction. I want him to say that after I opened the card and found the scratcher, I completely lost control, drained the bank account and abandoned the kids for Vegas and that he may as well have sent a loaded gun in that holiday card because I am as good as dead. When Randy comes over to bring an edible flower basket, I will jump out from behind the couch and scream”FOOOOLED YOU”.
When we really get down to it though, nobody beats my dad on the trickery scale. Is that a phrase? I don’t think so. Anyway, he is a master at fooling the people in charge of enforcing the “No shirt, no shoes, no service” rule. My dad likes to gamble. In fact, he likes to participate in many activities that generally require the wearing of shoes. Yes, you must wear shoes in order to gamble at Win River Casino, FYI.
When my dad finds himself up shoe creek without a paddle -I’ve been drinking- he pulls out his Sir Marks A-Lot and draws fake shoe laces on his socks. For some reason he will wear socks but not shoes. He has also taken two pieces of electrical tape and fabricated Tevas over his socks. He is a master.
October 19th, 2012Uncategorized
If the phrase“But I’m an artist” were an acceptable thing to say to people and could keep me out of jail, oh the things I would do. For beginners, Urah would have lunches not of food per-say, but of artfully arranged sawdust, cut up poetry and wet wigs. On Friday she would unfold the wrap that usually contains her special Friday sandwich and find a tear stained copy of Everyday Etiquette. Her water bottle would provide her with nothing but the sigh of someone who has just realized how sad life really is. Her teacher would call to complain. The other parents would give me the stink eye in the hallway. “But I’m an artist” I would shout.
Homework would be easy because I would always hand in representations of the process of my having completed my homework, rather than the finished product. In place of my analysis of Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life, a video of me slogging through a child sized swimming pool full of gravy while wearing shoe boxes on my feet.. “You can’t fail me. I am an artist Goddamnit! “
When someone catches me shoving pistachio shells onto my fingertips, I won’t have to explain that it’s because I like to pretend that the shells are my perfectly oval shaped beige colored fingernails and I only have 10 minute to decide what permanent color to paint them. I can just say. “Because I’m an artist, betch.”
April 27th, 2012Uncategorized
Because my mother reads and responds negatively to my blogs, I have developed a complex around bitching about people. But guess what mom, I’m going for it today and I don’t even give a care. I lived through the 80′s on nothing but powdered milk, mayonnaise, and guidance from Danny Tanner. I’ve paid my dues. Let the judging commence.
* Cracks neck * First of all, how fucking hard is it to not smoke while you’re pregnant? Jesus fucking christ. Sometimes I lie awake at night going over my failures as a mother: I didn’t read enough books with the kids tonight, I forgot to have Urah use the water flosser, I got mad and threatened to melt faces with hot spaghetti. Then I take the 43 bus and see pregnant ladies smoking and moms with thin crispy noodle hair blowing smoke into strollers while they dig through a diaper bag for their iphones and I think “I am the greatest mother ever”.
Speaking of the 43 bus, why is it that in every city everywhere there is someone brazenly displaying the most swollen ankles you have ever seen in the walkway of the bus? Get those shits out of my way!
Other things and people I dislike: The guy who plants himself outside my Mon/Wed class and loudly eats Doritos. It doesn’t matter how far away from the door I sit. Once he starts fondling that clattery bag of tortillas it’s all I can hear.
Clearly mother of the year, fat ankles and Doritos guy are all victims of my displaced anger.
Where was I going with this…
Did I mention I’ve been drinking?
November 10th, 2011Uncategorized
Ethan and I went to see David Sedaris at the Hult Center. He is just as charming and enthusiastic about turds as he can be. After the show, we waited in line to meet him and have him sign our books. He spent a few minutes talking with everyone he met, which made me nervous because I knew I had to think of something cool to say.
Luckily I was planted smack in front of the open bar and was able to have a few quick drinks before the molasses-paced line moved on. I planned on asking him how he manages to come across as cool and collected when speaking in public, but instead, when I finally got up to him, I asked him what he eats for breakfast and told him a joke he didn’t think was funny.
“What do you eat for breakfast?” What the hell, Ami? And I did that thing where I pull my lips up over my teeth when I asked. It looks threatening, like I am baring my canines and challenging an enemy: “I won’t ask you twice, David.”
Things got a little fuzzy for a minute, but I bounced back with my story of the time I tried to take a discrete dump in a friend’s shower because I didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing. It was topical, and the story was invited. It came on the heels of him telling a story about a friend who shits in her hand to avoid the splash in the toilet. He asked if it’s something I do and I said, “No, but I pretend to be showering.” He replied with, “Well a lot of people do that,” and I said, “Yes, but I actually shat in the shower.”
He looked horrified and delighted, pulled out his notebook and asked me what I did next. I thought, “What the hell do you think I did, David Sedaris?” and I told him how I had to smash it down the drain; that it crept between my toes. It was disgusting, but I didn’t know what else to do. I was young then and have learned a few tricks in my old age.
He looked at me and said, “The fact that you didn’t realize you could just run the shower and shit in the toilet— it’s solid gold.” “Thank you,” I said. As I turned aside, he repeated “Solid gold.”
I walked away, beaming from my comeback. Then two things hit me: 1. I just gave away some of my best material, and 2. David Sedaris now knows that I’m the kind of person who smashes turds down a friend’s shower drain.
I suddenly felt deflated. Whatever chance I had of being invited over for Sunday brunch was gone now. And if for some reason I do make my way into his home and feel the urge to defecate, he’ll know exactly what I’m doing when I jump up suddenly and announce that I “just need a quick afternoon shower.”
I’ll have to be creative with the disposal of my droppings. I’ll roam his halls looking for the perfect cover. He’ll get anxious and come looking, and there I’ll be, perched on the edge of a houseplant in the guest room. “Just admiring your lovely ficus,” I’ll say, while his boyfriend demands that David stop me; I am, after all, his guest.
March 21st, 2011Uncategorized
I am amazed by my ability to annoy, irritate and be creepy. I’m also surprised by my inability to make and keep new friends. I think I’ve pinpointed the problem: I make inappropriate jokes to people I barely know and I get stalky when I learn that they are not, in fact, charmed by my antics.
It starts with a little innocent spying on Facebook, but before I know it, I’m stealing their pictures to e-mail to friends with subject lines like “Get a load of this bastard.” I start going to the bar where they work to order the drink I’ve named after them. I tell the other patrons that this Big Red Travis is the best drink I’ve ever had and insist that they too order one. Swarms of people flock to the bar for a Big Red Travis—or they would if I were half as persuasive in real life as I am in my head.
I start obsessing about why a particular person doesn’t like me, convinced that if they only knew me, we’d be the best of friends. I decide there’s got to be some way of showing them how cool I really am. I think about breaking into their car and hiding in the back seat until they get off work. When they slide into the front, I’ll say in a low, menacing voice, “How was work? and they’ll get that it’s a joke and they’ll say “Oh, Ami, I was all wrong about you!” Then we’ll both laugh and hug and go out for a brewski.
One day I realized that the people who don’t get or don’t care for my jokes all have one thing in common: red hair. I don’t have anything against red hair in general (unless it’s long and on a guy); there just seems to be a pattern.
The only exception I’ve found is a red-headed friend who always keeps his head shaved. When I realized this, I mused that it was all so simple: To get them to like me, I simply need to remove their hair. Ethan happened to be around and, without quite the same enthusiasm, agreed that, yes, of course they’ll like me after I scalp them.
I started to plan the specifics of the event, but then I saw myself, the electric hair-clippers jerking around on the floor while I’m being dragged away in handcuffs, clutching a dirty sack full of red hair, mascara smeared, shirt ripped, screaming, “You don’t understand—I have to shave that hair off or she’ll never get me—you don’t understaaaaaaaannnnnddddd…” It made me a little sad.
So I decided to fall back on Plan A. I’ll create fake Facebook accounts for the people who don’t want to be my friends, and I’ll constantly leave lame comments on my page from “them”: “Hey, Ami, had hella fun last weekend—your moves are so fresh!”
I’ll use outdated slang and poor grammar to make them look like jerks. I’ll continue to do this until they see the mistake they’ve made. And if that doesn’t work, one night I’ll wait until they’re fast asleep and I’ll just crawl into bed with them.
February 25th, 2011Uncategorized
Anyone who knows me well (or has spent a few minutes standing behind me in line at the market) knows that I am afraid to sleep naked because a fire might start, and I could end up outside without any clothes on. A few weeks ago, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just before getting into bed, said to myself, “Screw it, Ami!” and stripped down.
At 3:00 a.m. I woke up to a fire truck parked outside our house. Sirens blazing, lights flashing…
” I knew it!” I thought, “I fucking knew it! I’m not crazy—everyone else is crazy!”
Someone had lit our trash cans on fire, and though I didn’t have to run outside nude this time, the evening put an end to any remaining inclination toward a carefree existence.
December 16th, 2010Uncategorized
Because I have low self-esteem, I demand recognition when I do things that most people consider to be ordinary activities of daily living and just plain civilized behavior. I expect to receive a compliment whenever I put my dirty dishes in the sink or wash both of my hands after using the bathroom.
I’ll ask Ethan, “Did you notice I’ve been putting my dental floss in the garbage?” So you can imagine my disappointment when I was not chosen as Volunteer of the Month at work today and went home with nothing more than a breakfast burrito and a deflated ego.
Instead, Megan was awarded the prestigious title, the 8×10 certificate and the movie vouchers: Megan. I like to pronounce her name Meegan because that’s what I do when I’m threatened by someone — I mispronounce their name.
Though she’s six years younger than I am, Meegan is a senior at the university, while I’m only a junior. Meegan is also competing in a beauty pageant, and she’s a finalist.
One day she came to work without the avalanche of beautiful hair that usually escorts her head around town. When I asked her about it, she let me know that she had cut it all off to donate to cancer patients.
Immediately I started thinking of ways to one-up Meegan. I could come into work with my legs tucked beneath me in a wheelchair. I would act casual, and when she asked me about it, I would nonchalantly reply, “Oh, it’s nothing. I donated them to diabetic amputees.”
I could show up with bandages over my eyes and explain that I had given them to a blind homeless man so that he might have a chance at a full life. Or best yet, I’ll tell her good luck and goodbye; I’m donating my heart to a sick puppy because I just can’t stand to see any living thing suffer.
Meegan loves Dutch Brothers for the very same reason I hate them. She seems to be constantly posing and she baby-talks — all reasons I should have been awarded the Volunteer of the Month award.
Ethan says I’m too critical. He says I complain often and that it gets tedious to hear me be so negative about people all the time.
I had thought that he was exaggerating, and if anything, that this was one of my most endearing qualities. But today I found out, through the genius of computer spyware, that my most frequently used word when communicating with friends is stab.
How can one fancy oneself worthy of respect and adoration as a pillar of one’s community when one’s most frequently used word is stab?
I suppose I need to do a better job of pointing out when I am not being maladaptive, negative or threatening.
“Hey, you notice how I didn’t tell Tracy I was going to stalk her? Pretty good, huh?”
“You see that? I didn’t punch or kick just now. Boo-ya!”
“Guess who didn’t smell your dirty laundry while you were out?”
Then maybe I’ll finally get the recognition and the certificates I deserve.
November 27th, 2010Uncategorized
One of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen in my life was my stepdad chasing two ponies down the freeway. The ponies, Shadow and Blackie, were bequeathed to us from a couple my parents used to do drug deals with, so I can only assume they came to live in our walnut orchard as the result of a deal gone awry.
Ordinarily, any preteen girl would be thrilled to have not one, but two ponies of her very own. But there was something surreal and depressing about seeing the creatures amid the remains of other desperate payments from deals gone bad: the broken-down go-cart, the mini motorcycle, the crossbow and target. Our walnut orchard was the final resting place of a bounty of ill-gotten treasures.
The ponies lived there until the day they moseyed on up our driveway and found themselves smack in the middle of Interstate 5. Oddly, they ran a few laps around our house before my stepdad realized what they were up to. He then started to chase them. Just him. No backup. One man—two ponies.
I remember watching from the porch and thinking, “What the hell is he going to do when he catches them?” and wondering how you’d catch not one, but two ponies. Around the neck? Sleeper hold? He was yelling a lot, but that wasn’t working. You just haven’t lived until you’ve seen a screaming man galloping down the freeway after two ponies.
Ultimately, the ponies ended up in the pound, and my sister and I missed them, along with our happy days sneaking out to take turns at the salt lick. But the memory of the two carefree animals trotting down the interstate as a wild-eyed, red-faced man ran after them, cursing and screaming, is worth all the salt licks in China.
November 11th, 2010Uncategorized
I don’t know who the hell Ethan thinks he is. He walks around with this sense of entitlement: falling asleep, farting, leaving dirty underwear balled up behind the rhododendron at work. He sashays down halls full of people, stinking up the place like there’s no one around, while I am left to carry the burden of shame.
He also falls asleep at totally inappropriate times, like when we’re talking to doctors or negotiating with professionals. One time he fell asleep driving and crashed into a cement slab. Since then, when we take long trips I watch his eyes like a hawk. Every time he blinks, I panic, screeching, “Are you falling asleep?”
Secretly, I am envious of his ability to act as if societal rules are beneath him. He takes his pants sans crotch, thank you very much, and will announce to people that he’s going to the bathroom.
The other day at parent-teacher night, he left me standing in the eye of the storm, in a cloud of what I first mistook for a dog fart. There I was, surrounded by parents, red faced and guilty, not because I had issued the foul thing, but because I knew who had.
He’s just so infuriatingly relaxed about everything. Meanwhile, I can’t even get into bed without my pants on because I’m afraid the house will catch on fire and I’ll end up outside in my underwear.
Here’s the dialogue in my head just before I retire:
“Oh, I love these sheets! It would feel great to sleep without my pants on tonight…”
“Don’t be a fool, Ami. What if there’s a fire? What if you can’t get into your pants in time? You know what could happen! Now—pants on!”
And there’s Ethan. Spreadeagle, snoring and naked as he came.
September 22nd, 2010Uncategorized
Recently I was taken aback when a random woman apologized to me. “I hope you don’t mind my missing teeth,” she said. Actually, she wasn’t that random. The Texan mother of a gal I hired from Craigslist to paint our trim, she had come to take pictures of her daughter painting and decided to snap a few of the kids. “I lost my teeth somewhere and I need new ones, but I’m saving up,” she reassured me.
“No problem at all,” I replied. “It could happen to anyone.” Once my stepmom lost her teeth in the lake and everyone spent a good two hours looking for her keys as she moaned, “I lost my keeth! My goddamn keeth aren’t here!”
When did I start to look like the type of person who needs an apology for a few missing teeth? Missing teeth are a pivotal element of the Jerome dynasty. Not only are they usually missing in my family, but once they’re out of the skull, we do unseemly things with them: threaten, harass, smoke. If it can be done with a tooth, a Jerome has done it.
But of course I couldn’t explain all this to her. I was just coming in from work, dressed in my best, and here she was in floppy, torn dungarees, naked as a jaybird without her teeth.
Perhaps I am exempt from the family curse that dictates, “No Jerome shall walk among them unnoticed.” Maybe I blend in as a regular person; the kind of person who deserves—no, demands an apology when faced with a toothless mouth.
My work trousers get the credit for the unwarranted self-consciousness. Had she arrived at any other time, I most assuredly would have been in my going-nowhere clothes, hair all greasy. She would have taken one look at me and gotten the impression that I’d cut her for a chimichanga.