Clear Your History: My Funniest Google Searches Examined

If you’re not making fun of yourself, you’re passing up some great material.

Girl using laptop computer and laughing

– How to tell when meat’s gone bad/What does rancid meat smell like? –
I have a bachelor’s degree in HOME-EC… and bee tea double ewe: if you’re Googling it, it’s gone bad.

– Paranormal erotica –
“As his wings rose above us…”

– Requirements to join the Air Force –
I was freaking out and needed a backup plan in case I failed my graduate portfolio again… cuz you know… librarian/soldier. Tomato, tomato:  a phrase that totally works in print.

– Penis drawing –
If your best friend is having a tough day, use Android apps to design adult bookmark suggestions. “Suck my dick. I’m reading.” Fo’ sho’.

– Adult thumbsucking –
It’s the INTERNET. You’re never the only freak. Oh, wait. Until you are.

– Can’t eat polar bear –
It is, too, common fucking knowledge, GAIL.

– Hot actors –
Who shall don the wings in this paranormal erotica?

– What happens with Daniela and Murdoch? –
I don’t know if I should address the laughable cheesy paranormal romance names or the fact that I’m too impatient to see how a 100 page novella turns out. Spoiler alert: Murdoch realizes that if he goes through the painful process of feeding from Daniela, his body temperature will drop to hers so that he can have sex with her without burning her skin with his. Also, at one point, he fucks her with an icicle. For realz. THIS is the smut I read.

– Funny grieving E-cards. –
I wasn’t accidentally being insensitive. There was actual research involved.

– How long has Elena been in high school? –
– How many people did Rachel sleep with in friends? –
Over-analytical my butt, Jay. I can SO watch something without tearing it apart. Also, I’m as much a fan of Vampire Diaries as the next gal who secretly has werewolf porn on her Kindle, but it’s been like twelve freaking years, Elena. Maybe if you weren’t so caught up in your double brother penetration, you’d be able to pass a freaking English class. Also, little known fact: Ross was one of the sluttier in the group. Not surprising. He was relatively good-looking, loyal (they were on a break), and had a PhD. SWOON. Rachel was an idiot.

– Levar Burton –
Internal monologue: DO NOT tell your customer he looks like the guy from Reading Rainbow. Do not. It will come out like the time you tried to tell the waitress she looked like Lucy Lui, but not just because she was Asian.

Not so sure these thoughts are worth your penny…

Scene: a dressing room. Insert intermittent laughter.
Me: “What size are these bras?”
Gail: “36 D’s and DD’s.”
Me: “You have enormous areolas.”
Gail: “That might make me self-conscious if I hadn’t had hundreds of men compliment them.”
Me: “Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.”
Gail: “‘Ooooh, look. It’s a full moon.'”
Me: “Did any of them actually say that?”
Gail: “No. But who do you think would?”
Me: “Cam. Definitely Cam.”
Gail: uncontrollable agreeing laughter
Me: “Do you ever lick your own nipples during sex?”
Gail: “No. I can’t reach them.”
Me: “Seriously? How?”

Only now do I realize that there were probably other people in the dressing room to hear that exchange. We tend to overshare.

I once sat quietly at the vet with tears endlessly rolling down my face. I lost three pets in a day years ago and blame myself (though the ex-husband with the matches might be a better target) and that day my Judybug was hurting and I couldn’t fix it. Gail rubbed her hand over my back as I tearfully joked about how we definitely looked like lovers. We decided we could pull off sisters, both being white and brunette, so we said it like 11 times when no one had asked. It was super convincing. We should be spies. Codenames: Flamingo and Whore.

sexy flamingo whore costume

When I was 5 years old, my grandpa died of lung cancer. I thought it would be a nice idea if we just propped his body up and pretended he was still alive. I think I suggested it, because someone told me it was illegal. I decided I’d hide him in the hamper, because that’s where I hid during hide-and-go-seek. Gail hears super-human skills for denial at a young age in this story. I hear the tale of a selfless child who would break the law and give up her favorite hiding place to keep her grandpa near.

I have three different customers who look astoundingly like Levar Burton, Vincent Van Gogh, and a chihuahua. I want to tell them so, terribly. I don’t. None of those are compliments. I kind of want to hum the Reading Rainbow theme song just to see if he joins in enthusiastically. I get told I look like Velma from Scooby Doo all the time. I’d be thrilled to hear someone randomly exclaim “JINKIES!”

A coworker once yanked my Kindle from in front of me (THE HORROR!!!!!) to look at the print, exclaiming “Wow, I wish I could read print that small!” I don’t. I had an explicit sex scene on the screen at that very moment. We’re talking key terms like “errection” and “tight sheath.” I once tried to show the same coworker a picture on my phone, only to have forgotten about the picture of Black lesbian sex I’d sent one of the guys as a joke. Let’s hope she couldn’t see a thumbnail picture that small either.

A woman recently declared that her son did not have a library card, though it was in her name and had the correct birthdate. I tried to suggest a situation in which someone may have used her name.

Me: “I really don’t know. It may have been an aunt or maybe dad’s girlfriend or something.”
Customer: defensively “Okay. I am dad’s girlfriend.”

She was clarifying that she was indeed with the father of her children. I understand that I work in a lower income, highly diverse area, but this was not a sterotype. I suggested two random situations we’ve had repeatedly. I did not say “I don’t know. Why don’t you axe yo’ baby daddy?”, though the look on her face said differently. I can try with all my might to be P.C., but people have really got to try and meet in the middle by not taking everything so damned personally.

When I was married, I would ask my ex-husband to clean, since he wouldn’t work. He wouldn’t do it no matter the methods I used (leaving him alone, nagging him, screaming at him, encouraging him) so I’d do it myself. Then, he’d grab the trashbags from my hands yelling that I never gave him the chance and was just manipulating him. I just wanted a clean fucking house. For the longest time, after the divorce, my house was spotless. Today it’s clean enough, but clothes are scattered everywhere. I think it’s a sign that I’m healing. Then again, I went to sleep cradling my gun in its sock like a stuffed animal a week ago. Maybe not. LOL my pain!

Coworker C was trying to be friendly last night as I read a paranormal romance book. I’ve shared this interest with a couple of the female employees, but that’s all. I’d just finished another and he asked:

Cowork C: “What’s the name of that one?”
Me: “I don’t even know.” I did fucking, too. It was Pleasures of a Dark Prince and I was not saying that.
Coworker C: gestures for me to turn it over. I do and there’s a receipt taped to the front so no one can see the cover art.
Me: “I just… uh… it’s part of of… um… it’s just some series… the uh… dark immortals… or immortals dark… or uh something… um Immortals After Dark. Yeah that’s it. It’s paranormal romance. Not something you’d be interested in.”

It was the verbal equivalent of tripping over a chair and I rocked it.

“Marry me, eh?”: Post-Christmas Empowerment

How long until the Christmas tree can just be considered to be up really early? I mean, it’s a new year. Christmas 2013 may be a long way away, but Christmas 2012 was last year. I’ve just got a jump start.

I have this really loud laugh. Gail calls it a cackle. My guys compare it to the sound of a dolphin. It’s my dad’s laugh. Fucking bastard. I say that in jest. I love my daddy.

Guy in bar: “I love your laugh.”
Me: drunk and aware that this is a line “Really? Because no one else does.”

Twice this week, I’ve laughed loudly and uncontrollably in restaurants. Both times have been with Gail and about things that we shouldn’t discuss in public.

discussing anal sex, which I’ve told Gail she only likes because it “makes her grandma cry”/is tabboo
Gail: “You know… the thing that makes my granny sob.”
Me: “You call it your granny?”

This lead to maniacal giggling and disgusting jokes about how you could create euphamisms for not having sex, such as “My grandma has a nose bleed.”

The second time was at McDonald’s. Both of us are nervous about this country’s future and I was looking up the requirements to move to Canada the other day. Gail talked about it as well, because we’re oddly attached to one another.

Me: “I highly doubt I’ll ever move that far from Gail and if she moves away, I imagine I’ll follow and I don’t care if everyone in the family thinks I’m a lesbian because of it.”
Dad: “Hey, I don’t care either way.”

My redneck daddy told me he doesn’t care if I’m a lesbian. Awwww. I mean, I’m not, but still…

So, I told Gail that Americans always say “I’m moving to Canada” as a threat (not so much me, as I’m actually intersted in Canada), because we’re stupid. It’s  apparently really difficult to move to Canada.

Me: “I imagine if I wanted to, I might be able to get a visa based on my education, which is apparently a thing. Otherwise, I’d have to find a job where they want me badly enough to go through the trouble to help me get a work visa.”
Gail: “Which means it would be really difficult for me to work for their postal service.”

(I’d like to interrupt to clarify that we’re not packing our bags for Canada. We come up with these schemes all the time. We’ve already moved to North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon, and New Zealand in our heads.)

Me: “Not necessarily. You see, I was thinking, gay marriage might be legal in Canada. They’ll allow you to move there with a spouse. So… I move to Canada and then…”
Gail: “I think I would rather stay here under The Regime than be your wife.”
Me: “Come on. It’s not like we have to be practicing lesbians. We’d just be lesbians on paper. Marry me, eh.”

Then Gail tore the corner off some trash and gave it to me like a ring, as she once had a dream where her ex-boyfriend proposed to her that way and I make fun of her for it all the time. She then told me that she thinks that vaccinations are possibly just the United States government running experiments on us and she’s aware that she’s completely paranoid, but still. I interrupted her for my faux crying panic impersonation of her.

Me: mock hyperventilating “Oh, my gosh! We didn’t land on the moon! We didn’t land on the moon and now I’m going to have to move to Canada and be your lesbian wife because of it! Do we have to consumate this marriage? Is that even possible with lesbians? Does that even count? How do lesbians even consumate anything?!?!?!”

When we joke around, there’s always this point where we’re giggling like crazy over something that’s not even funny, because we’ve both gone off the deep end. We call this a Rice Cubes moment, not because we’ve ever giggled like maniacs over the phrase, but because we would. Once, when I was heartbroken over some mommy issues, she tried to cheer me up by mentioning this.

text message
Gail: Rice cakes!
Me: Um… I think it was rice cubes.
Gail: Oh. You’re right. I was trying to cheer you up, but I guess that was just a snack.

Surprisingly, that worked.

I’ve been writing this blog on and off through the day while taking breaks from taking down my Christmas tree. At the moment, I’m lying in my living room floor, surrounded by Christmas lights and storage boxes, struggling to type with a Band-Aid on my finger so I don’t get blood on the keyboard. This shit is hard, y’all.

When I put up the Christmas tree, there was a point where it was on the floor in pieces, along with a lot of broken glass. I ended up crying on the couch texting Chad to come help me put it up, because I’d accidentally broken the stand and couldn’t get the new one on. I was pretty pissed that I couldn’t get the tree up on my own. I also knew I’d pay for that glass. But you know what? I got my tree down all by myself. You wouldn’t think that would be empowering, particularly since I injured myself multiple times doing it, (and at one point dropped it on the dog) but I’m still getting the hang of this Solo Woman single girl thing, so I’m pretty fucking proud. One day, I’ll surely find a nice boy to help with my Christmas tree, but on that day, I won’t doubt that I could’ve handled it alone. Go me.

christmas tree on judeHe did not even care.

decorated judeSo I pushed the tree aside and decorated him.

I have this stuffed bear…

Me: “Okay.. so you’re poised over your ex-husband’s sleeping form…”
Gail: Interrupts with choking laughter

We have this thing, where we can’t deal with adult emotions on the things that hurt too much, so we giggle instead. It’s really pretty awful if anyone overhears a good rape joke… in a Target… with their seven-year-old… at 9:45 on a weeknight? Sir, I really think you should be more concerned about your child’s sleep schedule than my quiet discussion with my best friend about her vaginal trauma (he hadn’t actually heard the joking portion).  Fortunately the above was just a phone conversation.

Gail’s answer was that she’d do nothing.

Mine was that I’d be so threatened by his presence that I could kill him.

I think hers was healthier.

Me: “Every time I see this kind of thing on the news, I worry I’m going to see my ex-husband’s picture. How fucked up is that and how broken am I?”
Gail: “Yeah, I could see him doing something like that.”

I have this stuffed bear. It’s in a box in my storage closet.  I kept it out of spite after all of the things he stole from me, literally and figuratively. It’s covered in soot from a fire I can’t bring myself to discuss. I’m not sure why I keep it. I’m too afraid to contact him to send it back. It feels hateful to throw it out. So it’s just there… in a Wal-Mart sack to keep the soot off of things.

I haven’t woken up with my wallet and keys in my pillowcase since I moved to this apartment. I don’t lock the bedroom door and can usually get through the night without getting up to check the patio and front door locks more than once. I rarely sleep with my gun anymore.

I still can’t sleep without my purse and wallet next to me.

I still have nightmares.

They’re not usually violent. Sometimes he’s texting… counting down the minutes until he breaks down the door. Usually, I’m just still with him. I never did it. I never left. My life never turned upside down to right itself in a completely different universe. I’m still fat and alone and hateful. I lie in bed and can’t breathe. Sometimes I wake up crying. I cuddle the dog and promise him I’ll never let anyone hurt him again. I kiss his paws, even though they’re dirty dog feet, because I’m so happy they aren’t caked with blood. I think the dog has nightmares, too. He’s yipping in his sleep right now.

jude in chair

Maybe I’ll set the bear on fire.

Why am I writing this instead of my final? I suppose I get a nice divorce rant every now and then.

Money Management for the Little Miss

When I was four years old, I remember my mother driving us somewhere, even though my dad was going. Wait. What?!?! Women can drive even when a man’s available?!?! When I was five, I realized that there are actually women who drive pick-up trucks and they don’t belong to their husbands!!!!! Incidentally, this was around the time I decided to give peeing standing up a go and my brother kept getting yelled at for his aim. No joke. I felt a little bad, but I also giggled.

It’s no real secret that the Midwest is a sexist place, but it was only in the 90’s that I thought penises operated F150’s, the man always makes more money, and was shocked to find my third grade teacher was a boy. I don’t live in the middle of nowhere, people. I can see my suburban town’s water tower from where I sit and I am only about 25 minutes away from several major cities. The Midwest just happens to be the land that equality forgot.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a girl. I like traditional men and their pick-up trucks. Not having to ever open a door, due to a combination of my genitalia and geographical location is the shit. My undergraduate degree is in home ec. For the most part, when my dear, dear, feminazi best friend goes on a Vagina Rant, I just pat her on the head, tell her she’s cute, and ask her why she isn’t in the kitchen. My Gramma fought for my right to make my choices so I wouldn’t have to do so. I’m pretty content. However, even I am still appalled by the photo Gail sent me of this local technology center’s curriculum advertisement.

math for women
Could y’all, like, use some pictures instead of words… and maybe a little pink glitter?


OH! It’s like money, but for girls!

It’s hard to type over the distracting sound of my own retching.

“A Woman’s Perspective”
I don’t like math and that is apparently the fault of my clitoris. However, from what I understand, those people (I mean men) who do like it, find it appealing that there is only one answer. It’s all the same… whether or not it’s done on a Hello Kitty calculator. What precisely will I get from “Money Management: A Woman’s Perspective” that I won’t get from “Money Management”? Based on this advertisement, I can only assume it’s shorter columns of smaller numbers.

“Designed Especially for Women”
Okay. Let’s get one thing straight. If I sign up for this class and I don’t get a choice of pink or purple feathered pens on the first day, I am going to be pissed. If you Google the above phrase, you know what you get? Medicine and shoes, both of which must be designed for women, because their bodies are different from men’s. Math is 114% about the mind. Get it? I said 114%, because I have boobs and I’m stupid. Is this class physically designed for women? Are there special ergonomic chairs built for the female form? Or is it just that the problems themselves are more feminine?

Q: If the average menstrual cycle is 28 days long and Maria’s period began on day 1 and ended on day 7, on what day will Maria need more tampons?

Now ladies, I know you want to answer “chocolate”, but really think outside the box on this one.

“Understand the Basics”
Is the class for women, because it’s rudimentary? Does the men’s class start with division and multiplication while the women start by counting the horn on a bedazzled purple unicorn? Were we just too busy giggling about boy bands over our copies of Teen magazine to learn about that math stuff?

“Learn Where You Stand Financially”
Well, you’re apparently $29 in the hole for this ridiculous Numbers for Your Vag course.

I can only assume this is referring to the money coming in versus the money going out. That’s budgeting, y’all. Even an incredibly specific budget is going to be categorically gender neutral and the amounts vary from person to person regardless of genitalia.

Oddly Specific Budget Categories for Women
Body glitter
Gynecological Appointments

“Where to Put Your Money”
“Why, that’s just silly! I put my money right here, in my purse!”
“No, no, sweet thing. We’re talking about investments.”

Why would a woman’s best investment choices differ from a man’s? As Gail put it, in what tampon company should I invest? Money is money. It doesn’t matter if you make it off of Women’s Apparel or Viagra. It doesn’t matter if you’re using it to buy lipstick or tools.

“What to Do Right Now!”
Apparently, these little ladies might start thinking about funneling some of that babysitting money into their daddies’ dowry funds. One goat just won’t do these days.

Again, what choices should a woman make about her money right now that a man shouldn’t? She should plan a budget. Oh, wait, so should he. She should have three month’s income in savings. Oh, wait. So should he. She should start thinking about retirement. Oh, wait…

That Condescending Exclamation Point
Let’s get these ladies excited about numbers!!!!!! If there’s one thing the women understand, it’s lots of exclamation points!!!!! Can we maybe heart the i’s as well?

“You know what? How’s about we cut this short and she can just let him take care of the money?”
“OH EM GEE! That’s totally what my final paper was about!”

I know that men and women are different. Not only do they differ physically, but they tend to think differently and act differently. I don’t have a problem with that. How much of that is biological and how much is environmental, though? Does any woman benefit from being taught a gender neutral subject in a gender specific way? Is telling a woman that she needs to enroll in “Math for the Gals” any less harmful than telling a little girl that it would be more realistic to play nurse than doctor? I understand that you have to split the contact sports up based on stature to even the playing field, but should my old high school still be calling our girls’ teams the Lady Broncos before we send them off to take Calculations for Chicks?

I’ll help you broads out, here.

It’s unknown, but this isn’t helping
Absolutely not.

Why are we reading this crap? (What Twenty-Somethings [I] See in Christian Grey)

Working in a library, it is impossible not to recognize the title Fifty Shades of Grey or the name Christian Grey. Frankly, living on planet Earth in 2012, it is impossible not to recognize either. Never in history, has any book been more overdone. Don’t get me wrong. I want to be a librarian. I do not care if you read smut. In fact, personally, I encourage it as a healthy expression of your own sexuality, in which no actual person is degraded in any way, unlike in pornographic films and magazines. In short:

Me: “I don’t care if Christian Grey wants to string Anastasia Steele up from the ceiling and gut her because it’s sexy. It’s still pretend.”
Gail: choking on soda “I DO!”

They’re make-believe. No real daddy issues are present. More power to you. End disclaimer.

The sex in 50 Shades of Grey is redundant and dry (pun fully intended), the writing atrocious, and the entire premise of a well-hung over-protective billionaire is just, for lack of a more fitting word, silly. Reading reviews for this title is a far more entertaining venture than actually reading said book. There are also much better ones out there than I could bother giving that much thought to, so I’ll avoid competing and address another issue all together.

What exactly is Christian Grey’s true appeal for women in their twenties?

I know that the primary audience for 50 Shades is women in their forties, but I also know a number of women my age who are reading it and swooning. So what’s the draw?

Women who’ve never been abused seem to consider Christian’s psychotic obsession with Ana appealing. He wants to protect her… by controlling every move she makes. He puts tracking devices on her phone pretty much from the moment he learns her name. Guards follow her everywhere once they begin dating. That’s insane, but whatever. Women who’ve never had someone manipulate and control them probably just don’t see this as manipulating and controlling, so they can continue reading with one hand under the covers. Protective is clearly not the only motivator here, however, or pretty much any romance novel would do. I, myself, read plenty of paranormal romance, in which the lead male character is usually some powerful alpha male, so this is hardly specific to Christian Grey.

50 Shades of Grey is erotica on a good day, plain Lady Porn on a bad one. I don’t care if there’s a picture of a tie on the cover; erotica is the nicest and most accurate description for this book. So, clearly, the sex would be a consideration of what makes Mr. Grey so perfect. However, not only is the sex redundant, unrealistic, and awkward, but the actual mechanics of it seem to be so… specific… that it’s unclear why this would appeal to such a wide demographic. I, myself, do not want someone to stick his thumb in my bloody vagina and then into my mouth. Nor do I want to be strung up like a deer and denied orgasm as punishment for disobedience. Soooo, for women in their twenties, who were probably subjected to better sex scenes than this as tweens secretly watching Sex and the City, Christian Grey’s stamina and technique probably just seems unrealistic, weird, and even inconvenient.

Even outside of the bedroom, Christian Grey is talented at everything. He’s a concert pianist, he flies gliders (didn’t know those were a thing until this book) and actual planes, has a taste for art, is multilingual, knows every martial art ever, is extraordinarily well-read and well-dressed, dances, and I think even sings. If there were a way to make it sexy, I’m pretty sure we’d have seen Christian Grey knit himself a sweater from the fur of the angora rabbits he raised from birth. However, I’m not so sure this level of skill is attractive to women in their likely competitive twenties so much as it would be daunting. If he’s better than me at everything, then what do I bring to the table? Why am I even here? That’s not sexy. That’s threatening and makes me feel insecure.

He’s protective, he’s well-hung, has the stamina of a Mack Truck, is a connoisseur of everything, but most of all, Christian Grey is unrealistically wealthy. I’m pretty sure he sells Black Market unicorn blood, because at 26-years-old, he owns Seattle and apparently most of the geographically scrambled Northwest. He has a plane, 43 cars, eleventeen houses, all the clothes ever, several salons, and oh yeah… a publishing company. Now we’re getting somewhere.

I cannot speak for every twenty-something out there, but I can speak for myself. The only thing I see in Christian Grey lies in his ability to give Anastasia everything… particularly her dream job. Anastasia graduates college with a generic degree and no basic knowledge any 21-year-old should possess. She wants to do Something With English, but she doesn’t have her own computer or E-mail address. She’s spent the last few years working in a completely unrelated position at a hardware store and has a few hundred dollars in the bank. She has no future, when along comes Christian Grey with the gift of a new car that is apparently pretty needed and tons of fancy gadgets. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t really care that much about the car and the technology. I’m an easy gal to please when it comes to physical possessions. Christian, however, doesn’t just buy her every new toy she wants (and some creepy ones she doesn’t), he buys the entire publishing company that hired her… then promotes her… and gives it to her. That is FUCKING AWESOME. I’d let a man string me up and stick anything in my ass he wanted if it meant he’d give me a library to run. I totally get it now. She graduated college with a pretend degree and no concrete plans and now she gets an entire publishing company? Keep your damned car and that British Library on iPad. I just want the dream job.

Security. That’s what I see in Christian Grey. It’s not the protectiveness, the sex, the talents, or even the luxury for me. It’s a girl with the murky future that always accompanies the end of college (particularly with no skills or specific goals) and a man who is going to give her total control in the career she most desires, with no experience at all. Later she gets a husband and kids and that’s all fine and well, but my greatest envy is a permanent position in her field. Considering my entire generation grew up swooning when an abusive Beast gives Belle a library, I am seriously doubting I’m alone here.

I had this jacket specially tailored to cover the handcuff bruises.

Last night’s late night internal ramblings…

“I really shouldn’t have stopped talking to that guy just because he ended a sentence in a preposition. I’m going to die alone. I think I’d rather be a shapeshifting wolf than a shapeshifting cat, because I’d rather curl up in a den than climb a tree. The tree seems far more out in the open. But cats are so stealthy. Maybe there’s a cross between a cat and a dog. Giles from Buffy said that’s what hyenas were. But hyenas are ugly. I really need to get off this paranormal romance kick. Holy shit, I’m not going to get this assignment finished in time. Maybe I should get up right now and work on it. It’s 1:00, though. If I was going to work on it, I should’ve done so rather than watching Netflix. Maybe I could get up and watch Netflix. Fuck I should go to sleep. I think this mattress really is growing on me… even if that guy did swindle me to make a sale. Do people say ‘swindle’ anymore?”

The First Circle of Hell

At 16, it was really important to me that people knew I was smart. I had a 4.0 when I graduated high school and would have liked to have been in more Advanced Placement classes, because it would have sounded more impressive. I’d have made lower grades, though, so I stayed where I was. Nine years later, I have a master’s degree, so I no longer feel I have to prove myself… as much. In the tenth grade, however, I used to read deeply complex literature of my own accord. While I enjoyed it, the aforementioned reason was probably the greater motivator. See. Look at how I speak by default? Clearly, it’s just ingrained in me today. Who the fuck just says “aforementioned”?

Anyway, after reading and loving The Bell Jar, I recalled hearing that The Inferno was just an impossible read. I never told anyone that I “heard” this from the young adult book series with which I was completely obsessed just a year earlier. I’d like to call your attention to the proper use of “with which” in the previous sentence. I think I’ve made my point. As a Catholic going through Confirmation, I decided I was up for the challenge. I did understand the story, but that was, in part, due to the brief synopsis that preceeded each chapter. It’s a great book and it’s really stuck with me, which is why I am constantly relating things I don’t like to Dante’s Seven Circles. This is my view of the first Circle. I won’t go past that, because I’d rather not discuss baby rape.

The First Circle of Hell

You have to comfort a crying person who you don’t know that well.

You’re forced to change into wet clothes over and over again. There’s not even the relief of taking said clothing off. It just goes away and more wet clothing appears at your feet.

The microwave beeps perpetually in the background.

Periodically, you just have to drive around lost.

Someone stands near you loudly smacking gum.

There’s a screening of every chick flick ever made… on loop.

Every time you snap at someone (you’re testy because you’re in the first Circle of Hell) there’s a guy you care about too much to punch responding with “you’re just being a girl.”

The place is filled with signs reading “could of” and employing the incorrect usage of their/there/they’re and your/you’re.

Everyone repeatedly uses the phrase “needless to say” and asks about the “libary.”

The only available food is Junior Mints or Hershey bars covered in toothpaste, which are the same thing.

You’ve just shaved your legs, but it’s too cold to wear a skirt, so you have to cover up and the effort was wasted.

You’re hungover, but you have to hide it or you’ll be demoted a Circle.

You not only have to read poetry, but discuss it, in-depth, with people who love it.

I have to listen to myself sing in an out-of-body experience.

Any time you take a drink, you lift the cup to your lips thinking it’s water and get milk.

You have to care for a small child who whines everything (which is why they’re in Hell.)

Everyone uses text speak (not ironically), saying “IDK” and “OMG” aloud, while periodically throwing in a reference to their “bestie boo.”

Gilbert Godfried and Fran Drescher are having loud and vocal sex just within ear shot.

Facebook is flooded with political opinions… oh, wait.

Silence is golden… when you say “masturbation” to your new boss.

I think as a general rule, most people can agree that the world would be a better place if we all acknowledged our faults and wrongdoings and politely and sincerely apologized. There should, however, be a mutual agreement between human beings not to apologize for some things, because the awkwardness of doing so makes everything worse.

Sunday was my 25th birthday. My choice of celebratory activities was crafting and over-analyzing 90s teen movies in my living room with my best friend. Because I’m badass. After polishing off a pizza together, I desperately wanted a piece of my birthday cookie that my grandmother gave me. My small birthday cookie bought from the Nestle place at the mall, cooked with magic and love and iced with unicorn blood (which is delicious). With anyone else, I’d have waited or tearfully sacrificed a piece of cookie as opposed to being rude and eating it in front of them without offering some. Gail, though, knows what color my vibrator is, because she was with me when I bought it. I just spoke the words “While you’re pooping, read my blog” to her. Normal manners do not apply. So I cut myself a slice of cookie and plopped back down with my yarn. Halfway through eating said cookie, though, Gail asked what it was. I felt guilty when I explained and continued to feel guilty as I ate. Finally, I apologized, because said guilt was ruining my cookie.

Me: “I’m sorry I didn’t offer you any of my cookie. I just really don’t want to share it.”

Gail: laughing “That’s okay, but you probably shouldn’t say that to people.”

This is a recurring problem for me and I’m only just learning to let it go, because…

“I’m sorry I said ‘you’re welcome’, when you didn’t say ‘thank you’. It wasn’t pointed or anything. I just said it out of habit. Not that I”m trying to… um… have a great day!”

doesn’t make things better. At best, explaining…

“I’m sorry I didn’t say hi before and now it’s been too long and it’s awkward to say hi, but I don’t want to seem rude, so HI!”

… is endearing. Just make sure you say that final “HI!” way to loudly. Scream at people. It’s adorable.

More than once, I have apologized on my way out of the video store for not saying thank you, while explaining that I understand it’s irrelevant three minutes later, but I’d rather be bumbling than rude. People tend to just look confused. Confusion, however, is relatively harmless. Thankfully, these small uncomfortable moments have been my lessons in holding the apology, because sometimes, discomfort is not the worst addition to the situation. Occasionally, if you plan really well, you can make an unprofessional comment or situation even more out of line.

For example, yesterday, when I passed my manager a stack of books, I did not apologize for unintentionally brushing her boob. I almost did, but clamped my mouth shut before the words escaped. Today, when the same manager explained that the Family Talk section in the library was a collection of books on awkward subjects, such as having two daddies, I didn’t stop myself before making a comment about teaching your child about masturbation. It was sort of a joke, but I immediately rolled my eyes at myself for making that comment to a superior. I, however, did not apologize, though I wondered if I should. I am slowly, but surely, learning that sometimes, acknowledging that what you’ve done is stupid, validates said stupidity. Not to mention, calls further attention to the M word or accidental caress. Both of these are best ignored. Worse, in my case, instead of a normal adult sentence, I get flustered and stumble over what should just be “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate.” I seem to think being more detailed somehow helps. It does not.

“I’m sorry I said masturbation just then. That was inappropriate, since you’re my manager. Though, I suppose it would have been inappropriate regardless of your status. Come to think of it, masturbation is a perfectly natural… um.. yesterday… I didn’t mean to honk your boob.”

Sometimes, silence truly is golden.

“What are you reading?”

“What are you reading?”

As a future librarian, this is the one question I, ironically, detest above all others. The fact that this is generally asked while I’m reading, yanking me from my imaginary world for an impromptu quiz, is a valid enough cause for the internal growl that meets this inquiry. However, it is not my primary motivation.

I’m a graduate student working two jobs. I read plenty for school and refuse to pay for cable television. As far as my understanding goes, all television is now comprised of sexy M&M dances and Liquid Plumber ads that make you horny. It just doesn’t hold my attention. So, when it’s time to settle down and relax, I read… the literary equivalent of Jersey Shore. As a general rule, I try to keep at least one classic novel on my Kindle. If I sense someone is going to rudely pry, I’ll open my copy of Little Women and claim to be engrossed in the tales of Amy, Beth, Jo, and the one that wasn’t interesting enough to remember. Sure, I could just claim I’m reading The Great Gatsby, but I take issue with lying. I’m terrible at it, probably because of this discomfort. Carefully negotiated truths and omissions, however, are not lies.

My mouth isn’t the only place I’m salivating…

No. Today, after reading chapter upon chapter on Children’s Literature and Collection Development, I want to read something that will slowly rot my brain, countering all that intellectual growth. For the same reason many women read Nicholas Sparks, I read… wait for it…

paranormal romance.

Yes, indeed. When I’m lost in my Kindle, I am likely reading about sexy winged men or hot vampires. Screw Fifty Shades of Grey. I want to read about controlling men who turn into dogs. I’m not making this crap up. I loved Beauty and the Beast when I was little. Sexy werewolf novels are apparently just the grown up application. Remember when you were five and you loved magic and witches, secretly wished you were Tabitha from Bewitched and spent obscene amounts of time staring at items in hopes they’d fly across the room Matilda-style? Yeah, that’s apparently still a thing amongst adult women and it’s manifested in paranormal romance. Only, you’re fighting the telekinesis and losing control until some hot telekinetic man comes and helps you get it under wraps. I’m not quoting any actual plot here, but I’m not exaggerating either. I’m floored that this is even a genre and I read it, myself.

While I’m just now realizing that there is this huge following and demographic for such storylines, I’m also realizing that many of us wisely lie about it. It’s one thing to read a PG romance where everyone has cancer, supremely mild daddy issues, and there are terrifying amounts of geese. It’s not deep either, but the cover art on that is a picture of a rowboat. The cover art on The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is a half naked man sucking a woman’s neck. How does one explain that to their coworkers? While I have had a customer assure me that she’s only interested in the plot and doesn’t intend to use it for masturbation, I didn’t believe her. I washed my hands after talking to her. Furthermore, as a graduate student and library worker, people expect me to have a better literary range than Eternal Hunter and The Mating. Web 2.0 for Library Professionals, however, isn’t it. I need to spend my downtime, the time most people spend absorbing some popular T.V. show I can’t actually name because I refuse to try new things in the television world after the aforementioned Liquid Plumber advertisement, reading more mainstream fiction that is just as much pretend as werewolf porn. I should do this solely so I can make myself sound as though I have any right to this Master’s degree I’m earning.

No, really… lots of plot.

In addition, I tell no one about my Good Reads presence, fully aware that my reading list is made up of memoirs, young adult fiction, and warlock smut. It’s never impressive, because I feel I get my real growth from my classroom reading and my brain hurts once I’ve done so. My point here is that reading material doesn’t reflect intelligence. I’m no less smart because my pretend stories involve sexy magic. It’s just entertainment. But I’m not going on that rant with a coworker. This is one of those situations where I have the uncontrollable urge to respond to the question with something entirely out of character and inappropriate. The sort of thing I could easily deny saying, because WHO SAYS THAT?!?

“What are you reading?”

“Why’s your mom so horny all of the time? Mind your own fucking business!”

They won’t ask again.