Tagged: blogging

Fictionary: Preventing The Extinction Of My Muffin Top

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What Is Fictionary?

It’s a clever word coined by my blogging buddy, Kylie, over at The Life of Kylie, that refers to new words, phrases, or new definitions for existing words or phrases – often punny in nature – created by people like me who have way too much time on their hands. What’s more, she’s turned it into a game. More accurately, a contest for which the prize is muffins or cupcakes. How could I not participate? Due to recent weight loss, my muffin top is shrinking at an alarming rate. A win, on my part, could help me regain my title as the Muffin Top Queen of the Blogosphere.

Will You Help?

Sure, images of starving children in Africa or pitiful pups in cages shown on television accompanied by any Sarah McLachlan tune are probably the triggers for the heart strings attached to your wallet. However, I totally want don’t need your money; I need your likes. Just one like and a comment celebrating my Fictionary genius from each of my loyal readers is all that is standing between this:

A Starving Muffin Top On Its Way To Extinction

A Starving Muffin Top On Its Way To Extinction

and this:

My Goal: Queen Muffin Top Of The Blogosphere!

Muffin Top Queen Of The Blogosphere

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Once my muffin top has gone the way of the Dodo Bird or the Saber-tooth Tiger, there’s no bringing it back. As I’m sure you are aware, the future of Miss Snarky Pants’ muffin top has been threatened recently by the destruction of its natural habitat (i.e. encroachment of high-waisted, stretch jeans), climate change (i.e. Bikram yoga), and, most critically, an interruption in the food chain (i.e. I’m out of vodka and lard!). Will you allow your children to grow up in a world devoid of Miss Snarky Pants’ spare tire? I didn’t think so.

Miss Snarky Pants’ Fictionary Entries

Adorababy: (adj.) The point at which an infant stops looking like a potato and begins to resemble a cute homo sapien.

Ex: A few days ago, the sight of little Katie’s squinched-up eyes and crimson cheeks made me recoil in terror, but now she’s adorababy.

Opression: (noun) The mark left on one upon whom Oprah Winfrey has fallen.

Ex: Though my broken arm has finally healed, the opression that the talk show host left on my wrist will never disappear.

Litterate: (noun) The score given to various forms of litter.

Ex: On a litterate scale of one to ten, a cigarette butt rates only a three, whereas one of Lindsay Lohan’s used fire crotch tampons is a ten.

Shampoo: (noun) 1. Faux fecal matter; 2. Non-Disney approved Winnie the Pooh merchandise

Ex: The old lady nearly shat herself when she discovered she’d been sitting on the shampoo that I placed on her seat.

Middlebrow(noun) The third brow which typically connects the left and right eyebrows.

Ex: Though many people think Michael Stipe was the driving force behind R.E.M., insiders claim that it was drummer Bill Berry’s middlebrow that inspired most of their hits.

Not Only Am I Losing My Religion, I'm Losing My Lunch Just Looking At Bill Berry's Middlebrow.

Not Only Am I Losing My Religion, I’m Losing My Lunch Just Looking At Bill Berry’s Middlebrow.

Nexus(proper noun) Blood supply store popular with vampires.

Ex: Forget that True Blood crap; I’m heading over to Nexus to stock up on some O negative.

Microwave: (noun) 1. A small salutation made with the hand when one is unsure as to whether or not the recipient is someone he or she knows.

Ex: He looked familiar, but after last week’s tequila binge, I wasn’t sure so I just gave him a microwave.

Nativity: (noun) The percentage of Native American ancestry that a Caucasian claims to possess.

Ex: I’m at least 1.25% nativity since my great great uncle’s sister’s friend once shook hands with a Cherokee.

Melodrama: (proper noun) Any situation involving alcohol, profanity, verbal rants, racial slurs and actor Mel Gibson.

Ex: Due to the number of recent complaints of Melodrama, the LAPD have assigned a police scanner code specifically for incidents involving Mel Gibson.

Not Another Melodrama, I Hope!

Not Another Melodrama, I Hope!

Mangrove: (noun) A nightclub or bar regularly frequented by single men.

Ex: Now that Bruce dropped that tranny he was dating, he’s been prowling every mangrove on the strip in search of a sugar daddy.

Collide: (past tense verb) The act of two people lying about the same thing simultaneously.

Ex: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan collide about the details of Ryan’s tax plan during yesterday’s press conference.

Vulcanic Eruption( proper noun) The physiological response that occurs when Spock engages in sexual intercourse.

Ex: Oh, Spock! You’re hot and all, but if you have a Vulcanic eruption in my mouth, I’m going to bite your dick off.

Spock: My Vulcanic Eruptions Register A 12 On The Richter Scale.

Spock: My Vulcanic Eruptions Register A 12 On The Richter Scale.

Now What?

1) Take a moment. 2) Like this post. 3) Comment on my sheer wit and your favorite Fictionary entry. 4) Visit Kylie’s blog and tell her that you want to ensure that Miss Snarky Pants’ muffin top lives to see another day! 5) Pat yourself on the back for being such a lemming do-gooder.

Start baking those Recrimination Muffins, Kylie…

***

If you enjoyed this blog, stop being so friggin’ selfish and SHARE it. It’s easy; just click on those little buttons below. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit – everyone deserves the opportunity to see Miss Snarky Pants’ muffin top in the wild.

Is That The Bog Of Eternal Stench Or Your Face?

Some Poor Boob With A Zit On Her Chin Posing As Miss Snarky Pants With A Blemish

The other night, a small, erm, blemish appeared on my chin. Miss Snarky Pants does not get (shiver) pimples, but sometimes she talks about herself in third person, which is equally creepy. Fortunately, all superhero bloggers have their gear – and so do I. Just as Wonder Woman used her golden lasso to extract the truth from the lying liars of the world, I have my tube of Lumene Deep-Cleansing Peat Mask to extract impurities from the bastard blemishes that dare mar my facial perfection.

The Tolland Man – Someone Took The Old Adage, “Live Fast, Die Young, And Leave A Good Looking Corpse” A Tad Too Seriously.

For those of you who don’t live next to a bog somewhere in Ireland, peat is a basically decomposing vegetation that, when dry, can be burned as a fossil fuel. It’s also a natural preservative…if you’re a corpse. In fact, over sixty years ago, two Scandinavian men were harvesting peat near their home in Denmark and discovered a male cadaver, buried in the muck, that was so perfectly intact, the men initially believed that it was the body of someone who had recently been murdered. Scientists later determined that the Tolland Man, as the poor stiff was eventually named, was nearly two thousand years old. And damn, if he didn’t look good for his age.

The use of moor mud to beautify the skin has been well-documented over the centuries – by whom, I’ve no idea. This is a blog, people, not a Wikipedia entry. Legendary beauties like Cleopatra and…erm, I’m sure a lot of other reasonably attractive people have happily coated their cheeks with mire muck because of its mild antibiotic properties which help evict the free radicals that have staged a coup deep within in their pores. I’m not sure what free radicals are or who emancipated them, but I’m pretty certain that I don’t want them having an oozy, goozy shindig on my chin – particularly since they didn’t even bother to bring their hostess a bottle of wine. Who shows up to a pore party empty-handed?

So, naturally, I  smear this mire mud all over my face because:

1) Tolland Man looks amazeballs – like he’s just taking a little nap after having spent the afternoon mudding with Honey Boo Boo and her kin folk. Since I’m losing weight, I can’t rely on fat molecules to continue to plump up my wrinkles – and I suspect swimming in formaldehyde could be dangerous;

2) I clearly don’t want to get laid for the next few hours (I’d have to don a bikini, hire a similarly-attired call girl, fill a child’s inflatable pool with gallons of bog poo, then wrestle said call girl in my pop-up swamp in order to merely distract Hubby from killing zombies on his PS3);

This Might Get Hubby’s Attention

3) Lumene’s advertising claims that their peat mask contains aromatic rosemary that both opens the pores and provides “a refreshing fragrance.” Erm, if by refreshing fragrance you mean the putrid odor of rosemary rotting in The Bog of Eternal Stench, then, sure, I guess that’s the case. However, when you’re a blogger who spends most of her day in her pajamas and only bathes on the morning of her annual gynecological exam, you tend not to be bothered by a stench that would normally cause flocks of empty-bellied buzzards to nest on the roof of your home;

“I’m Telling Ya, Clyde. Something’s Rottin’ Away In This Here Apartment Building. Can’t You Smell It?”

4) It seems like a girlie thing to do – and any act I can engage in that causes Hubby to remember that I am a female and not just some stanky person pattering around his apartment wearing sweatpants and gimongous concert t-shirts whilst concocting vegan-lite fare and tapping away at a keyboard is a good thing; and

5) Who doesn’t want to douse their face in something that’s more flammable than Richard Pryor? Those of you who got that joke, please slap two pair of Depends together so that I know you’re out there.

After applying my peat mask, I entered the bedroom to find Hubby tucked beneath the sheets with the remote control in hand, waiting for me to join him so that we could watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on the telly. Reeking of marsh poo, I pulled back the quilt and hopped into bed.

As Hubby caught sight of my peat-caked skin, he snickered and asked, “Are you seriously going to watch a movie about Abe Lincoln while wearing black face?”

If Anyone Calls Me Al Jolsen Or Hums “Mammy,” I Will Dump Their Body Into An Irish Peat Bog And My Ancestors Will Smear Them All Over Their Faces A Few Thousand Years From Now

Oops. Erm. “Yes?”

Note: I did not get laid that night and I still have a fucking ZIT on my chin. However, the vultures have moved on to a spa down the street.

***

If you enjoyed this post, please share it (and the love) with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or your favorite form of social media. You can also follow this blog by clicking on the blue button in the right hand column that reads, “Follow This Blog – It Leads To Treasure!” Miss Snarky Pants accepts no responsibility for the fact that the blue button is lying to you; she refuses to micromanage the buttons who work her. They’re grown buttons, for chrisssake!

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Photo credits: 
Big Ass Zit: Acnetreatmentreport.com
Tolland Man: Mesh5.com
Mud Wrestling: Cineplex.com
Buzzards: Uglyhedgehog.com
Miss Snarky Pants in Black Face: Miss Snarky Pants
 

Jon Stewart Called Stephen Colbert A What?!?

Every once in awhile, Karma smiles down upon you and grants you the opportunity of a lifetime. In my case, her gift was two tickets for a taping of The Daily Show in Tampa, Florida during the Republican National Convention. Now, some of you may be snickering or rolling your eyes because you’re complete and utter morons I think watching Jon Stewart doing his gig in person can only be surpassed by an event that involves me sipping Moët from the Holy Grail while David Sedaris reads aloud to me and Johnny Depp massages my feet. Sure, I realize his show shoots five days a week for most of the year up in Hell’s Kitchen, so you’re probably thinking that  filming The Daily Show isn’t exactly rare like, say, a sober Amanda Bynes or a pale Donatella Versace.

Donatella Versace: “I’m Not Skinny; I’m Tanorexic.”

But you would be wrong.

Shooting Comedy Central’s top–rated show in Tampa is extraordinarily unusual. And after Stewart and his team openly lambasted the city in which I reside with embarrassingly accurate observations about the heat and humidity (describing Tampa as the ideal environment for “a struggling strand of streptococcus”), the casual attire of the indigenous population (“the city where flip flops are considered evening wear”), and our fondness of clothing-optional gentlemen’s clubs (“Jon, I’m here in Tampa’s famous strip club district or as they call it here – Tampa.”), it’s unlikely that the program will ever be filmed in the Peninsula of Death again – unless a palmetto bug decides to run for President in 2016.

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Headlines From The Fluffington Post

I enjoy reading The Huffington Post. It delivers my news in the crunchy-granola, tree-hugging, Obama-loving, non-homophobic, NPR-listening, organically-grown, Jon Stewart-worshiping, ballet-flat wearing format that makes me feel happy, informed and secure. If The Huff Post editors eat meat, I’m sure they feel guilty about it later. For years now, reading my news online delivered me from the hell that is local, conservative news programming – or worse – vapid, syndicated morning shows, which make me nauseous with their bright, Crest-strip smiles and regular visits from the local zoo. Meet Nagini, the albino python or a horde of hissing cockroaches. Please – not before I’ve eaten my oatmeal, okay?

Kill Me Now! (Image via msn.com)

But then things changed. AOL came into the picture and acquired The Huff Post. Suddenly Arianna Huffington was in the hot seat on every liberal media program mumbling her way through interviews in a Greek accent thicker than a tub of Chiobani. Despite the fact that AOL is a true bastard bastion of news organizations, up there with The National Enquirer and US Magazine Time, The Economist and The Atlantic, recent headlines have been less than compelling.

Now I’m not going to blow bullshit dust up your ass; I love my pop culture and I pepper my posts with references to the Kardashian Empire (now which one is Anastasia?) just as often as I defend Obama’s birth certificate or my desire to own Vladimir Putin as a guard dog.

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Salt Is The Spice Of Life And Other Tales Of Chef-Induced Woe

Salt And Pepper’s Here And We’re In Effect (Image via Cristy Lewis)

Thomas Edison legendarily tested potential employees by inviting them to dinner. If they sprinkled salt on their food before tasting it, he refused to hire them, viewing their thoughtless salting as a sign that their preconceived mindset would prevent them from analyzing a situation thoroughly before taking action. To be fair, this method of eliminating job applicants has also been attributed to Henry Ford, IBM, and General MacArthur, to name just a few.

And I think it’s bullshit.

I love salt. A dash brings out the subtle flavors of food. Salt is to the beefsteak tomato what Matt Damon is to Ben Affleck – the ingredient that makes it worthy of notice. Though I often taste my food before sprinkling it with salt, I like to think that my decision to pre-salt my bowl of Fly Bar’s truffled macaroni and cheese doesn’t make me incapable of critical analysis, but rather demonstrates that homo sapiens are able to learn and make choices based on previously acquired knowledge. Sure, it’s possible that the restaurant could hire a new chef who knows how to properly season food with what I affectionately call The White Devil, but an extra dash of  salt never hurt anybody.

And pepper – make mine freshly ground and applied as liberally to a dish as Donald Trump’s self-tanner is sprayed onto his Oompa Loompa orange face. Black pepper is fine, but a gourmet combination of black, white, red and green peppercorns is sublime. If I had a dick, fresh ground pepper would make it hard.

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Award Posts Make Me Want To Become A Ward Of The State Penitentiary

What Do Brad Pitt And I Have In Common? As A Result Of Fame Coming So Quickly And Us Being So Attractive, We’re Missing Our Sensitivity Chips. (Image via Wikipedia)

I’m a terrible person. If Jennifer Aniston had married me (which would have been creepy because she doesn’t have a penis), when we finally divorced and I posed for photos with Angelina Jolie (not nearly as creepy because I’m pretty sure she does have a penis), she would have told the press in that whiny manner of hers that I have a sensitivity chip missing. Blog success came early, along with the accolades that often accompany this lowly profession (erm, if profession means something I do to while away the hours after I’ve completely emptied my bottle of Ketel One each morning) and, as a result, I’ve been uninterested remiss in acknowledging and responding to some of the lovely awards that have been bestowed upon me by my fellow bloggers.

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Where’s The Love, Mark Zuckerberg?

Mark Zuckerberg, Where Are You? (Image via Wikipedia)

Remember MySpace? Justin Timberlake and his $35 million dollar investment seriously wish you would. Though I didn’t spend much time in the social networking world during the mid-2000s, I did join and was thrilled to discover that I immediately had a friend in Tom Anderson. You know, Tom – the cute guy in the white tee who grinned over his shoulder at you with a whiteboard behind him. True, my excitement deflated a tad when I discovered that Tom Anderson was cozy with literally everyone on MySpace – apparently, he automatically became your friend the second you signed up. But still, just seeing his smiling face on my page made me feel better about the fact that he was the only smiling face on my page for awhile.

MySpace’s Tom Anderson – My First MySpace Friend

Fast forward to the year 2008. After being needled by our friends incessantly, I finally broke down and joined Facebook. For a day or two, my Facebook page just sat there. Lonely. Drinking hard liquor. Thinking dark thoughts. Finally, I asked my soon-to-be Hubby to friend me. My page couldn’t take the solitude. Then the friend requests and acceptances started rolling in, until I began deleting the friends whom I still couldn’t remember from geometry class and the ones who posted quotes by Ann Coulter without a hint of irony. For awhile, the banter was fast and furious. I played Scrabble with online friends, posted puns in a private Facebook group, reconnected with school chums, and ignored 18,000 requests to water my friends’ tomatoes or milk their imaginary cows.

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Part Deux – Yoga Is Not A Character In Star Wars

Yoda Yoga – Demonstrating That Yoda Was A Jedi Yoga Grand Master.

This is Part II of  my two-part post, Yoga Is Not A Character In Star Wars. If you haven’t read Part I of this series, click here now. Or what? I’ll kick you, that’s what!

***

When I saw my reflection in the plate glass window of the lawyer’s office, I immediately knew that I should have stuck with the Ikea pajama bottoms. Or perhaps starved myself for no less than 7 weeks before deciding to take a yoga class that required me to parade my ass around downtown in a clingy tee and a faded pair of black workout pants. One glimpse out the corner of my eye confirmed what I had suspected back at home: my camel toe was no regular camel toe. It was a camel toe of Sally O’Malley proportions. My only hope was that my muffin top would shade my crotch area sufficiently to hide this fact from bystanders.

Sally O’Malley – Queen of the Fifty-Year Old Camel Toe

Note to self: Must stop writing about my vagina. Damn you, David Sedaris!

If only I’d run out and purchased a yoga mat. It is true what they say: No adolescent boy should be without a notebook and no 43 year old woman wearing the equivalent of black Spanx with a racing stripe should be without a yoga mat. Preferably a yoga mat that is unrolled. And wrapped around her body.

Brian Setzer – This Is My Idea Of Yoga Music (Image via Wikipedia)

But there I was, sweat waterfalling down my neck and off my shoulders, sauntering down the historic streets of Wouldn’t-You-Camel-Toe-Fetish-Pervs-Like-To-Know on my way to my very first Flying Asana Anti-Gravity Swing Yoga class. I know…what yoga newbie wouldn’t sign up for a class with a name like that. As soon as I had read the class description, memories of Disney World’s Flying Dumbo ride merged with images of Brian Setzer jamming on a vintage Gretsch surrounded by people doing the jitterbug – in space.

Make that people with camel toe doing the jitterbug in space.

The accompanying photo had looked so nurturing. Alluring. Supple bodies cradled in mid-air by a swath of white silk dangling like cocoons from the ceiling. They had looked so relaxed just hanging there. Perhaps I could crawl into one of those magical exercise hammocks as a vodka-swilling, Splenda-sprinkling, callus-shaving, head-sweating, stanky feet-stinking, cynical caterpillar and emerge as an decaf tea-sipping, corporate coffee-banning, organic granola-munching CYC (Cool Yoga Chick) with perennially-tanned feet, a green thumb, lush sun-streaked locks knotted on top of my head and feet always smelling of freshly-mown grass, rosemary and sunshine. How could I resist desiring the pedal appendages of the only people who can provide restorative powers to Chuck Norris?

Flying Asana Anti-Gravity Swing Yoga or Napping? (Image via believefitnessstudio.com)

And yet, these people were essentially lying on their backs. Perhaps my secret hope that I could sleep whilst doing yoga wasn’t just a pipe dream.  I mean, I’m exceptionally good at lying on my back. Hell, you should see me on my side in a fetal position – and these swings were certainly womb-like. Maybe I would be one of those savants who strolls into a yoga studio for the first time and leaves an hour later as a Jedi Master? I’d carry a lightsaber to class instead of a yoga mat because I wouldn’t need a mat. Yoda never sat on a mat. Perhaps the Yoda of yoga I was. See! I was already doing it.

I clutched my no-name denim bag nervously as I rounded the corner and the studio came into view – with an image of Buddha on its sign. Though Buddha wasn’t lying on his back in a swing, I had to admit he looked extremely peaceful with his eyes closed and his hands resting gently in his generous lap. Then it hit me. Buddha was fat! Yet there he was – maybe not as chubby  or undressed as I’d seen him previously – sitting in a lotus position exerting no effort at all. Hell, I could practically hear him snoring. This was definitely the place for me. Squaring my shoulders, I strode like a rooster down the sidewalk, owning it. Soon I would be enveloped in a cool, dark space hung with silken cradles. Wisps of patchouli smoke, and the sound of crashing waves mingled with the haunting, hollow clickety clack of bamboo wind chimes would sooth me into a meditative state of REM sleep, and when I awoke, I’d have biceps and killer abs.

Sssshhhh! Don’t Wake The Sleeping Buddha (Image via ashtarcommandcrew.net)

As I entered the building, I immediately removed my shoes and stashed my belongings in one of the cubbies provided. Closing my eyes, I breathed in deeply. Hmmm. No patchouli. They probably wait until class starts so that the students don’t zone out before they even sign in. I craned my ears, listening for sounds of ocean waves lapping on a tropical sand beach. Nope.

But I did hear something.

“Could you help? Get the door! Get the door! We’ve got a bug,” screeched a woman, poured into a pair of tie-dyed leggings. After stamping an industrial-sized dust mop down on top of a frenzied cockroach, she pushed it towards me. There was fear in her eyes. I opened the door and stepped onto the sidewalk on my toes – not because I was concerned about coming into contact with the roach, but because I was afraid that I would dirty the soles of my carefully grated, cleaned and moisturized feet. As the poor critter was swept over the threshold and out into the cruel world, it staggered and squinted in the sunlight, one antenna bent at a precarious angle. Clearly, there were no Jedi Masters inside this establishment. I would be the first.

Yoda Wouldn’t Freak Out At The Sight Of One Of These (Image via pestcontrolcoralsprings.com)

Once the danger had been allayed, Fern, the instructor and studio owner, asked me to sign two waivers absolving the studio of any and all liability should I be injured, be maimed or die during the Flying Asana Anti-Gravity Swing Yoga class or any of the other classes. Die? Did people die doing this? Funny, but the glossy website didn’t mention anything about death. “Excuse me,” I said. “These, uh, waivers mentions the word death – more than once. Is there something I should know?”

Fern smiled and rolled her eyes in a way that said, “Pshaw!” Leaning towards me as if she was about to share a deep, personal secret, she asked in a breathy whisper, “There’s nothing wrong with your ticker, is there?”

“Erm, no. No, my ticker is, uh, ticking along just fine, thank you.”

Throwing her hands up in the air, she released a laugh that seemed to have crawled from somewhere deep in her gut. Must be that yoga breathing technique I’d heard so much about. “Then you’ll be fine.” She nodded her head knowingly. “Sometimes, we get an old fogey in here who just wants to check out the girls. And sometimes, their hearts ain’t so good, if you know what I mean.” She winked. Somehow, my imagined yoga experience never included winking.

The former contract attorney in me cautioned, “She’s just covering herself. Then again, maybe this is danger –“ But she was quickly interrupted by the soon-to-be-Jedi-Master in me who snapped, “Don’t be such a fucking pussy! It’s a piece of paper. What’s a piece of paper to one who carries a lightsaber? What’s a piece of paper to one who has harnessed the powers of The Force?” Yes, my Jedi Master sometimes cusses like a sailor and, I suspect, smokes a cigar. I scribbled my signature on both forms, then followed Fern into the studio.

One student had already nestled herself into a silk sack that was swinging slightly, as though she was rocking herself to sleep. Oh, why hadn’t I worn those pajama bottoms? And maybe some fuzzy socks? But all the CYCs had also chosen tight fitting yoga pants and tanks. Didn’t these people like to be comfortable when they rested? Obviously, none of these women were the type who immediately removed her bra the second she got home, unhooking it under her shirt and pulling it out through an armhole. Perhaps wearing a bra all the time was the reason for their exceptional posture? Other CYCs were attaching their swings to chains dangling from the ceiling, adjusting for their height, while two other students lay on their mats and used the low hanging fabric as a mechanism for stretching out their impossibly lean and toned bodies.

Not My Yoga Classmates (Image via Newyorktimes.com)

Come to think of it, everyone in the room was thin. The kind of people who sink right to the bottom of the pool if they try to free float because there’s just nothing to keep them aloft. The kind with BMIs lower than their ring size. Not one of them remotely resembled the double-chinned Buddha on the sign outside. Perhaps that was my power. Maybe it was my muffin top that would guarantee my position as the first Jedi Master this studio had fostered? But a nagging little voice in the back of my head whined, I don’t want to be a fat Jedi Master. Obi-Wan wasn’t plump. Yoda may have been short and his prominent ears might have prevented him from becoming an official CYC, but he certainly wasn’t portly.

After Fern introduced me as a newbie and provided me with a complimentary “first visit” mat – which she placed directly next to hers – I plopped down. And waited. But Fern had wandered off to help other students. All around me, my peers were stretching muscles that, not only could I not name, but I doubted I’d ever actually utilized in my two score and three years. To my left, a petite brunette CYC, whose upper arms were browned and ropey like strands of hemp twine, bent herself in half, the tips of her fingers cradling her unpolished toes, her chin resting on her knees. Not knowing what to do, I followed suit and also touched my toes – an act made simpler by the fact that I was sitting cross-legged.

Feeling adventurous, I uncrossed my legs and stretched them straight out in front of me. Certainly, I could touch my nose to my knees. I mean, it’s not like it’s an act that involves lifting barbells the size of my Camry’s tires. Really, you just have to let the upper half of your body fall. Presumably, my knees would catch my head before it hit the ground. It’s just gravity, if you think about it.

Except nothing in my body agreed with the principles of physics. In fact, I’m fairly certain that as I leaned forward at the waist, I heard my hamstrings hiss, “Fuck off, Sir Isaac Newton!” Nope, about 16 degrees into the stretch, my body came to a jarring halt. Sorry, but this is as far as you go, my tendons and muscles said, kicking my goal of uniting my nose and knees for the first time in history to the curb like a creepy hitchhiker. Perhaps, I thought, my hamstrings just needed a little bribing. Reaching down, I gently massaged the undersides of my thighs, but they were rigid, taut as guitar strings just on the verge of snapping. As a general rule, I like to avoid the snapping of body parts.

Sir Isaac Newton – My Hamstrings Say “Fuck You And Your Silly Rules!” (Image via ultimateuniverse.net)

To placate my angry muscles, I pulled my feet towards me, allowed my soles to touch and my knees to drop, forming an attractive diamond shape in front of me. I like diamonds. As I blissfully permitted my thoughts to meander into the realm of gems and how lovely they are in general, the CYC to my left suddenly said, “Look at you. You’re like an old pro.”

What? I knew it. Even when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, my future as a Jedi Yoga Master was apparent. “Thank you,” I responded with a brilliant smile, “but I really don’t know what I’m doing.”

Reassuringly, the CYC said, “Well, you sure look like you do.”

Ha! This class was going to be a breeze. For a moment, I considered leaving. I mean, why embarrass all the other students who’ve probably been studying for months, maybe years? Then again, I couldn’t help it if I was a prodigy. And my place was there. In the studio. I had to be an example for others. The lightsaber that would brighten their path to enlightenment.

Bobby Fischer – Chess Prodigy

Dr. Sheldon Cooper – Theoretical Physics Prodigy

The Taller Than Average Woman – Jedi Yoga Master Prodigy?

“Okay, class. Let’s get started with a few simple stretches.” Fern walked us through moves I’d seen before and could easily emulate. I started to wonder why I was paying for this class. I could do this at home. For free. While watching reruns of Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis on Bravo! Stifling a yawn, I glanced around the room, expecting to see multiple pairs of eyes staring at me in awe. But there were none. Dear, lord…I had already attained super star status. Everyone knows that you don’t look directly at the talent. It’s in every entertainment rider in the universe. It makes them – erm, I mean us – feel uncomfortable. You don’t speak to Angelina Jolie. You don’t make eye contact with P. Diddy. You don’t even glance at Mariah Carey. I knew it must be hard for my classmates to stretch whilst trying to catch a glimpse of me in their peripheral vision, but what could I do? It would be rude to ask Fern if I could relocate my swing to the front of the class where everyone could ogle me freely. Not during my first class, anyway.

Once we were warmed up, Fern instructed us to place our stomachs on the swing and lift our appendages as though we were flying. As I complied, I began to wonder when she was going to take this class out of the playground and into gravity-defying space. C’mon. We were playing airplanes, for chrissake. Next she’d be telling us to sit down criss-cross applesauce and would hand out store brand, vanilla oreos and Dixie cups filled with apple juice. “Now, I want you to place your palms on your mat and wriggle forward until the swing fabric has moved from your abdomen down to your ankles.”

Wriggle? That didn’t sound very yoga-like to me. Not wanting to be accused of being a diva, however, I began to wriggle. As the fabric slid away from my mid-section and down my legs – which had suddenly become a good three miles long – I began to feel a burn in my shoulders and arms. My lower back started to ache as my belly sagged towards the mat.

“Cristy, tighten those abs. Hold your body erect while wriggling,” Fern directed me. Easy for her to say. Her stems were only a block in length while mine ran all the way out to the freeway. And she had a six-pack under her tank top, while I was storing blubber in preparation for a long, cold winter. The more I wiggled, the more my upper arm muscles began to shudder. “C’mon, Cristy. You can do it,” Fern urged.

“But I think my arms are having an epileptic seizure,” I whined. “Someone must have turned on a strobe light when I wasn’t looking.” However, just at that moment, I felt the cool silk envelop my ankle bones. I had done it.

Vampire Spider Prepared To Attack – Not The Worst Thing That Could Happen To Me During Yoga Class (Image via deadlykingdom.blogspot.com)

“Great job, Cristy!” Fern cried. I could feel every set of eyes turn to appraise my achievement. Except by then, my entire body weight had been redistributed to my spaghetti arms – and when I fell, my knees weren’t there to catch my nose. As I tried to roll to break my fall, my feet became hopelessly twisted in the fabric. I half expected a giant spider to crawl out of the ceiling, encase me in silken threads as strong as steel, then drain the blood from my body.

But something worse happened.

As I struggled to disentangle my feet, I farted.

By most standards, it was a small, harmless passing of gas. It didn’t smell. It didn’t last long enough for a child to recite the alphabet in sing-song manner. No one screamed, “Gas leak!” But it was there. Loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. How do I know this? Because as quickly as my classmates had craned their necks to check out my accomplishment, they’d turned away. Embarrassed. And rightly so. Yoda never farted. Considering Jedi Masters could harness The Force to prolong life and prevent decay, I’m pretty certain that Yoda was able to avoid floating an air biscuit in front of Luke Skywalker. I didn’t know what to do. Acknowledge it with a laugh? Shout Excuuuuuuuuuuuse me, thereby confusing the class with my Steve Martin impression and causing them to forget the fart? Perhaps I could use a Jedi mind trick: This isn’t the flatulist you’re looking for.

Before I could do or say anything, Fern had instructed us to rise and stand in our swings. “Wrap the silk around your wrists once before grasping the fabric above.” Following directions, I clenched my ass cheeks together tightly to ensure that I wouldn’t accidentally blow another butt bugle. “Okay, now lift your legs straight out in front of you, allowing your abs  and upper body to support the weight.”

Huh? Erm, I wanted to point out to Fern that after the debacle only moments earlier, my upper body had accepted a position working as one of those wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men, and my abs had abdicated any and all responsibility towards supporting my body, financially or otherwise, and were resting comfortably against my intestines.

My Arms’ Stint As A Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man – I’m The One In Yellow  (Image via Wikia)

Not to mention that I’m familiar with this particular exercise. It’s called a hanging leg lift. Typically, you hold on to an easy-to-grasp metal bar above you or your upper arms are bolstered by some kind of support system. People who can perform this exercise properly look like this:

Is He Naked? (Image via danavirsarria.com)

Not like this:

Not Me – She’s A Triple Muffin Top, While I’m Only A Single (Image via guardian.co.uk)

The second I removed my feet from the swing, I could feel my palms begin to burn as the silk fabric slid painfully through my hands.  Quickly, I lowered my feet. “Fern, I don’t think I can do this one.”

“Sure you can,” she chimed. “You just need to modify the pose.  Instead of lifting your feet straight out in front of you, just try lifting your knees up towards your chest.”

I wanted to tell her that I’d failed just trying to lift my feet – period. But there was Yoda, warbling in that annoying voice of his in the back of my head. No. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. Motherfucker. His legs only make up about a quarter of his body, whereas I’m built like a Japanese spider crab. I’ve got a hell of a lot more to lift. But then the fighter in me reared her stubborn head. I’ll show that bat-eared Jedi that I can do anything. And then I’m gonna rip his little gremlin ears off.

Gizmo the Gremlin Or Yoda Before Male Pattern Baldness Set In? (Image via gremlins.wikia.com)

With that, I mustered up every bit of strength that remained in my body and lifted my knees. As my feet cleared the fabric, I felt that familiar sliding sensation – the one that made my hands sting as though they were being sliced open with red hot knives. I clenched my fingers around the silk more tightly as my toes quickly inched up and away from the swing – only to plummet back down again just as rapidly. Essentially, I’d performed a mini-jump. As I relaxed my grip on the fabric, a strange tingling traveled up the middle and index fingers on my left hand. Then the sensation disappeared.

Along with all feeling in tip of my middle finger.

Holy shit! I couldn’t feel the top half of that finger at all. It must have gone to sleep. It was a rather boring class, after all. Hugging the upper portion of the swing with my underarms, I lowered my hands and began to massage the numb finger like a veterinarian briskly rubbing the life back into a still-born pup. And nothing happened. I continued rubbing. Then progressed to shaking my left hand back and forth as if that still-born pup had gotten some water in its ears. Still nothing. I could feel the panic rising in my throat. Fuck being a Jedi Master! I’m a writer, for chrissakes. I need that finger.

“Cristy, are you going to give it another shot?” Fern inquired, as I frantically smacked at my lifeless finger.

“Umm. I can’t feel my finger.”

“Did you try modifying the pose like I suggested?” She said the word “modifying” slowly, exaggerating each syllable as though I was both deaf and frantic.

“Yes, I modified the pose,” I spit through gritted teeth, “and now my middle finger is completely numb.” Then I showed her my middle finger. Really showed it to her.

My Husband Demonstrating How I Showed Fern My Injured Middle Finger (Image via Cristy Lewis)

“Okay, then. We all progress at different speeds,” she replied in that nobody-rattles-me-because-I’m-a-CYC-and-my-feet-smell-like-rosemary voice of hers. “After class, I can help you schedule some classes that might be more appropriate for your fitness level.

My fitness level! Was she insinuating that I wasn’t fit? Okay, maybe I’m not Jillian Michaels, but I’m no schlub either. After all, I did walk to the studio. Two and a half blocks. After jogging down a flight of stairs. And I spent a whole ten whole minutes on my recumbent bike last night – on level 2! I burned an entire 47 calories. Not to mention that this was supposed to be a swinging class. Their website mentioned nothing about clinging desperately to slippery fabric with your bare hands while performing acrobatics. Talk about misrepresentation. And now I was maimed. I was fairly certain that this was permanent nerve damage. My writing career was over. I couldn’t pen a blog without using the letters d, e and x.  Dammit! I would sue.

But I couldn’t sue. I’d signed two bloody waivers. Damn the soon-to-be-Jedi-Master-voice-in-my-head! It was all his cussing and cigar-smoking encouragement that got me into this mess. As far as Yoda went, I was ready to show him where he could put his damn lightsaber.  And Obi-Wan – he could just suck it!

***

It’s been a week and a half now and I’ve yet to return to the yoga studio. Though the feeling in my fingertip gradually returned after a week, my bruised ego remains the color of a sky that brings with it hail and tornadoes. The disappointment that came with discovering that I would not be the first Jedi Master to grace my studio was difficult to overcome, but throwing darts at my Lego Yoda was surprisingly cathartic. Okay, I don’t actually own a Lego Yoda, but I desperately want one. And if I did own one, I’m sure it would have made me feel a lot better about things. Particularly if I owned this one:

Available On Amazon.com For A Mere $474.88. What? Is That Too Much To Spend On Your Favorite Blogger?

On Saturday, I finally broke down and bought a yoga mat, and last night, I painted my toe nails again in anticipation of Monday’s class. A more traditional class called Vinyasa Flow. The word flow sounds pretty benign. I mean, I go with the flow all the time. Rivers flow and they don’t even try. It’s all downhill, right? I bet I’ll kick ass at it. It’ll probably be easy-peasy. Chuck Norris will be sniffing my shoes any day now. Hell, he’ll be polishing my lightsaber for me after this class.

Nama-fucking-ste!

A Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong – A Contest For My Followers

Dear Followers of My Paltry Meanderings:

As some of you may know, last week I hit a bit of a milestone. And not with my car. That was a wall and it’s really just a tiny scratch. I always thought four doors on a car was a bit  bourgeois anyway.

No, as of last week, over 1,000 kool-aid swilling lemmings beautiful, intelligent folks out there with fucking amazing taste in blogs have subscribed to read my paltry meanderings. This made me feel like a rock star. No, not like Rick Astley, Kitchen Slattern – not that there is anything wrong with a little  Rick-rollin’! And by “Rick-rollin’,” I don’t mean the You Tube meme; I mean dancing around the house in my underwear crooning “Never Gonna Give You Up” into the handle of my Swiffer.

But back to feeling like a rock star. I’m talking about someone like Pink. Especially when she sings the line, “So what! I’m still a rock star, I’ve got my rock moves and I don’t need you…” Except I do need you. It was you, my loyal apostles readers, who brought me to this point…dancing around in my underwear again, this time singing into my hairbrush while wearing fluffy pink pig slippers. And I just want to say, “Thank you!”

But people say “thank you” a lot. When they don’t really mean it. It’s just a thing you say when a store clerk hands you a receipt or someone holds a door open for you out of habit. It’s the phrase you spit through gritted teeth at your obnoxious co-worker who just pointed out a mathematical error you made in your TPS report during a meeting with your boss’ boss.  Worst is when it’s said really snarkily – “Ohhhhhh. Thaaaaaaank Yew!” And in a blog, it’s hard to know what kind of thank you you’re getting. Because you can’t hear me. You can’t see me. You don’t know if I’m sneering or smiling or cleaning out my toe jam to save in a jar for tomorrow’s breakfast when I say, “Thank you!”

So, in an effort to prove the sincerity of my thank you, I have decided to turn over the reigns of my paltry meandering brain to you, my servile lackeys subscribers, for a single post. Instead of writing about what I want to babble about for 2000+ words, I’m going to write about a topic that you assign to me. But there are over 1,000 of you.

There are so many of you, yet just one of me! (Image via pauljoyceuk.com)

Thus, the Tell The Taller Than Average Woman What To Prattle On About Next Contest has been created. Between now and Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 5 p.m. E.S.T., you can submit up to 5 topics in the Comments Section below for me to pen a blog post about. Topics can be broad (Kim Kardashian’s ass) or extremely specific (the amoeba who lives on the mole on Kim Kardashian’s left butt cheek). Nothing is forbidden, although any requests from Stacie Chadwick, my blogging bestie and uber-attractive author of the high-larious blog, Gemini Girl in A Random World, to write about her naturally gorgeous face and fit body will be utterly ignored.

Stacie Chadwick – Damn you, Chadwick! How did you manage to worm your pretty little face into my post! (Image stolen from Stacie Chadwick)

I will be the sole judge, though I will likely consult with my hubby and/or a psychic, the homeless drag queen who dresses to the nines while pushing her shopping cart down the street adjacent to my condo, and the bottom of my crystal wineglass. Especially that last one. I may have to consult it daily. Several times. Bottles of wine that mysteriously show up on my doorstep with a worshiper’s subscriber’s name attached will not be considered…a bribe. Particularly if they are bottles of pinot grigio or a nice, unoaked chardonnay with a high alcohol content.

The lucky winner, of course, will be featured prominently in my post with a link to their blog. And a photo should they opt to send me one. Unless they’re ugly. I mean, it really wouldn’t do either of us any good to have a photo of an ugly blogger included in my post. Unless, of course, the winner is unusually ugly. People are drawn to freaks like handcuffs are drawn to Lindsay Lohan’s wrists.

If you win and you look like this, DEFINITELY send a photo! (Image via strangecosmos.com)

And now without further ado, let the games commence!

Your Humble Blogger,

CCL

P.S. Part II of Yoga Is Not A Character In Star Wars will be published Monday morning. Set your alarm clock. It’s going to be a great day. Unless you’re me. I think I may have pulled something.

The Evil Truth About Grocery Store Cashiers

This Cashier May Look Innocent, But She Is Actually The Antichrist (Image via momsneedtoknow.com)

There are certain professions that have earned public scorn over the years – and rightfully so. Deep down, we all hate lawyers, realtors, drug-peddling doctors, used car salesmen, mimes, politicians, the talking heads at Fox News, mortgage bankers, and those bitches who work in a high-end retail stores for ten bucks an hour, but still look down their noses at you when you walk in wearing frayed jeans and flip flops. Having  been an attorney and a realtor, I’m a bit of an expert in the field of despicable professions and, hence, I’d like to add one more to the list: grocery store cashiers, hereinafter referred to as “cashiers.”

Before I get into the nitty gritty of why these seemingly innocuous people who merely slide food across a barcode scanner thousands upon thousands of time a day should be lumped in with the scum of the world, it’s essential to understand why we hate people who are employed in legitimate, yet contemptible, professions.

Attorneys have long topped the list of most despised people in the professional world. After all, it was Shakespeare who wrote, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” But what it is about the men and women whom we also refer to as counselors that irritates people more than Gilbert Gottfried’s voice? Is it because we perceive them as dishonest? Is it the scandalous fees they charge for services billed in six minute increments? Is it because they act like they were born with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything in the entire world and the rest of us weren’t? More likely, it’s because they pepper their conversations with words like hereinafter and quid pro quo. I know, I know – I’m the absolute worst offender. I did say I was an expert in this field. In fact, I have an encyclopedic knowledge about it…and a few other things.

Lawyers - Would You Trust These Tools? I Wouldn't! (Image via myspace.com)

Realtors – talk about wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Dressed to the nines, they’ll drive you around in a glossy Mercedes or Lexus, show you the home of your dreams, buy you lunch if you’re lucky and conveniently forget to mention that the shambling building next door to your new place is a half-way house; that the odor you smell is not the realtor’s fart as she claims, but the nearby landfill; and that US Airways’ flight path passes directly over your house – and will rattle your windows, send the fragile salt and pepper shaker collection your grandmother left you crashing to the floor and cause you to miss half the punch lines when you watch The Big Bang Theory.

Gregory House, M.D. - He'll Cure You But By The Time He Does, You'll Wish You Were Dead (Image via Wikipedia)

Physicians are one of the only professionals who are regularly rewarded for being mistaken. Thus, we dislike them because they keep their exorbitant fees – even when they misdiagnose us. Hell, if Dr. Gregory House was a real doctor and not a television character, I’d avoid the dude like the plague – even if I had the plague. He spends the first 50 minutes of each show being wrong. If an attorney was wrong that often, they’d be disbarred, forced to watch every episode of Matlock at gunpoint, drawn and quartered, then their body parts would be displayed on spikes outside the courthouse. Granted, I might survive if I let House treat me, but  before he cured me I would likely: (1) bleed out my eyes; (2) have my head shaved for unnecessary brain surgery; (3) be accused of infidelity with a monkey in a foreign country; (4) suffer through at least one round of chemo; (5) become so jaundiced that House begins to call me “banana head”; (6) have my home illegally rifled through by Chase and Foreman looking for an “environmental” cause for my illness, but the pervs are really just sniffing my panties; (7) be prescribed high doses of steroids so that my face bloats up and House begins calling me “spaghetti squash head” instead; (8) have a kidney, my appendix and gall bladder removed; and (9) tell House to fuck off, at which point he’d refuse to treat me, so I’d stomp out of the hospital, my bare, yellow butt on display to the world as my flimsy gown flaps in the wind. The following day, the nurse practitioner at the walk-in clinic would correctly diagnose me with the common cold, but I’d die anyway because my immune system would be shot from the chemo I didn’t need in the first place. So that’s why people hate doctors. That and the fact that they’re just so damned smug.

Mimes offer a unique reason for our loathing – they’re just so annoying. Yeah, we get it. You don’t talk, and yet you’re communicating with us. Sort of. Whoopdee doo. Most deaf people don’t talk either, but I don’t pay them for keeping their mouths shut. You don’t see them out in the park with a jar in front of them, signing to me a plea for my spare change with their rapidly moving fingers. And they don’t feel the need to paint up their faces like an effeminate goth to make sure I know that they aren’t going to talk to me. And what’s up with you guys getting stuck in clear boxes? What’s wrong with you? I’ve never been stuck in clear box. How stupid can you be? Maybe if you got a tan, ditched the striped shirt and the beret, and used your words, the people manufacturing the clear boxes would stop trying to capture you.

Use Your Words, Already! (Image via circusentertainers.co.uk)

Now that you have a general understanding of the reasons we abhor those employed in certain occupations, I again suggest that we add cashiers to the list. Why, you ask? They’re underpaid, forced to stand on their feet all day, and are often completely ignored by grocery store patrons – we should feel sorry for them, you say. I don’t think so. I agree that cashiers have a fairly menial job. It’s repetitive. It’s boring. There’s only so many times they can say, “So, did you find everything you were looking for today?” without gritting they’re teeth and suppressing the desire to jump across the register and rip our heads off. Still, when employed in profession so simple that you could, potentially, do it in your sleep, it really chaps my ass when cashiers do it poorly. And when it comes down to it, cashiers are as annoying as mimes, incompetent as doctors and deceptive as attorneys.

Example 1: Magazine Browsing

If you read my earlier post, Salman Rushdie Will Never Write For Cosmo, then you know that when it comes to magazines, any whorish rag with the skinny on Lindsay Lohan’s recently inflated face or the nookie that got Snookie knocked up will leave the grocery store with me and end up in my bed later that night. And I know I’m not the only one. By 2011, People was ranked the 11th most popular magazine in the country and had a U.S. circulation of over 3.5 million readers per issue, with US Weekly trailing behind with a U.S. circulation of over 2 million per week. Despite this fact, any cashier I get – brand new, experienced, young, old, male, female, black, white, mime – behaves as though no one has ever purchased a single trash mags from them. Ever. In fact, they act as though they have never seen one of these magazines before. It’s as if by buying a copy of Life and Style, I’ve opened up an entirely new world of pop culture for them. Suddenly, Earth is populated by starlets and boy bands and plastic surgery and reality television, when before it was a dull gray place, infested with dusty books to be read by candlelight.

KY Intense - This Didn't Capture The Cashier's Attention (Image via lipsticktocrayons.com)

Let’s take my most recent visit to Publix. I carefully place my four magazines on top of my BOGO cans of corn and watch patiently as they make their way down the conveyer belt, towards the mechanically moving arm of an experienced, middle-aged cashier I recognize from several previous visits. She slides my ice cream across the glass plate without even looking. Then my sour cream. A gallon of milk. Four boxes of Skittles. A bottle of KY Intense. Okay, three bottles of KY Intense. Not once does she pause. Not once does she look at me. In fact, her eyes have the same glazed look to them that I know mine take on during an episode of The View. Then her fingers graze the cover of Us Weekly  and it’s as though she’s received an electric shock. Suddenly, she’s pert and interested. Instead of sliding the magazine across the glass, she holds it up and pores over the cover intently.

“Who’s this?” she asks, turning the front of the cover towards me and pointing at the raven-haired woman with her arms wrapped around her three younger girls on the cover, directly under the headline “Scary Skinny Demi Moore To Divorce Ashton Kutcher.

Hmm. That seems self-explanatory. “Demi Moore,” I say.

“Oh. She’s pretty, “ she responds, “but a little on the scrawny side, dontcha think?”

Really? Was it the photo of her drinking straw thin arms or the headline proclaiming her “Scary Skinny” that gave Demi’s emaciated figure away? “Umm. Yeah. I guess it’s all the stress from the divorce.” I desperately want to jab at the words on the cover and say, through gritted teeth, “It says, right here, that she’s getting divorced. It’s all in the headline. Everything you need to know is right here in one convenient location.”

A look of concern crosses her lined face. She shakes her head in disappointment. “She’s getting divorced? What a shame. Kids just don’t know how to stay married these days. I hope it won’t get dragged out. It’s so hard on children. She does have children, doesn’t she?”

“Yeah. Three.” I stare at her hard.  Maybe she’s illiterate. But don’t you have to be able to read to get a job as a cashier? I mean, how do you fill out your application or read coupons? Just ring up the fucking magazine, I think, wishing I could reach across the space between us and perform a Vulcan mind meld on her.

“I wonder if she’s got a pre-nup. I sure do hope she gets to keep her kids.” She presses her lips together and furrows her brow, shaking her bleached-blonde do again. “She definitely needs to eat though. Can’t keep your energy up if you don’t eat. Poor thing.” You’d think she was talking about her neighbor or some lady she knows from church. Two seconds ago, she didn’t know who Demi Moore was and now she’s worried about the star’s weight and whether or not she’ll get custody of the kids. Finally, she drags the cover along the glass plate and I hear a satisfying beep come from the register. One down, three to go.

US Weekly - It Took This To Grab The Cashier's Attention (Image via Usweekly.com)

Of course, not all cashiers have been living in the Dark Ages, which makes buying my rags an even more arduous process as some of these men and women insist on discussing – ad nauseum (yes, I realize that is another obnoxious lawyer word) – their opinions about everyone on the cover. If I had a dime for every time a cashier said to me: “Insert Female Celebrity Name Here is one hot mess!” or “Now Insert Male Celebrity Name Here is all that and a bag of chips,” I’d have enough money to buy Time, Inc. and make the editors of People report all the celebrity news to me first – in person – while a masseuse rubs my feet as I lounge by my infinity pool situated behind my massive, ocean-front estate.

These are the same cashiers who possess the audacity to actually thumb through the magazine while I stand there. Waiting. Hello – that’s my magazine you are bending and creasing and (ugh!) licking your fingers in order to make the pages turn more easily. I am cautious to select virgin periodicals. If the cover is curling or has the tiniest of rips, I choose another one – usually from the back of the stack. And after watching a cashier rub her saliva all over the corners of my magazine, all I want to do is pluck it out of her fingers, toss it in the closest garbage bin and select another pristine copy to take home with me. To be clear, no one pops my magazines’ cherries but me. I love the crisp sound of the pages and the creaking of the stapled binding as I crack my copy open for the very first time. If I want a germy, beat-up-like-you-sassed-back-Chris-Brown copy of Us Weekly, I’ll steal it from my doctor’s office like everyone else.

Annoyance factor: 8.  Incompetence: 3. Deceitfulness: 5 (By mangling my magazines, they are encouraging me to steal from the doctor’s office).

Beijing - Seriously More Complicated Than Bagging (Image via en.wikipedia.org)

Example 2: Bagging Is Not A City In China

I have never been a cashier at a grocery store, nor have I ever bagged groceries professionally. However, I used to work in retail and there are basic rules to bagging any product that are just common sense. Cold, wet items are to be bagged with other cold, wet items. Canned items with canned items. Produce with produce. Heavy items shouldn’t be bagged with soft, squishy items.

For the record, I am an awesome grocery cart loader and unloader.  As I shop, I cluster dairy items together, canned and boxed items together, vegetables and fruit together, frozen items together and meats together. I unload them in the same way to make bagging my groceries as idiot proof as possible. In fact, it surprises me that not a single cashier has ever commented on this fact. I know other shoppers don’t unload as carefully as I do. I’ve seen how they plop a package of hamburger meat right on top of a box of laundry detergent or mix canned foods in with their dairy. I take the extra time to make the bagging of my groceries as easy and simple for the cashier as possible. Still, week after week, I see bagged combinations such as this:

1)      Sweating gallon of Breyer’s ice cream next to my mother’s Valentine’s Day card – make that stuck to my mother’s Valentine’s Day card

2)      Gimongous cans of stewed tomatoes on top of my Pepperidge Farms loaf of bread

3)      My untainted copy of People literally wrapped around a quart of milk like a Snuggie

4)      Oozing package of raw chicken on top of celery because who doesn’t like a little salmonella while dieting

5)      All fifty cans of cat food in a single, bag weighing approximately 18 pounds

6)      Four bottles of relatively expensive pinot grigio in a single plastic bag – with a hole in the bottom of it that won’t break open until I pull the bag out of the trunk when I get home

7)      Light bulbs sandwiched between two jugs of Ocean Spray cranberry juice

8)      Can of Raid roach spray packed with fresh produce (I rarely buy organic, so my veggies already have enough insecticide on them already, thank you very much!)

9)      Bakery department cake thrown into a bag sideways

10)   Ripped open bag of baby carrots (the cashier actually picked up the few loose pieces that had found their way onto the conveyor belt and threw them into the grocery bag), two basil plants and a bottle of bleach

Are cashiers not trained in the fine art of bagging? I mean, if you are skilled enough to remember the codes for hundreds of produce items, shouldn’t you have figured out that a gallon of milk is fairly heavy and, that while bread may have iron in it, it isn’t actually made of iron and, therefore, should not be placed beneath the milk? Perhaps they aren’t tutored in this skill because it’s assumed that every idiot knows the basics of bagging. Last I checked, a degree in physics isn’t required to obtain a cashier position, so bagging can’t possibly be all that difficult. After all, I know how to bag properly and I’ve never even studied physics. Heck, I haven’t even mastered the metric system and I’m still a little fuzzy when it comes to multiplying  numbers above 10.

Annoyance factor: 10. Incompetence: 10. Deceitfulness: 3 (Now they are stealing from me because I have to return to the store to repurchase items that were smashed or contaminated).

Einstein - You Don't Have To Be This Dude To Bag Groceries Properly (Image via Wikipedia)

Example 3: What Knot To Do

If You Didn't Stuff The Bag So Full, You Wouldn't Need To Knot It (blog.mlive.com)

Plastic bags are not sneaker laces. Do not – I repeat, do not – tie the handles of my plastic grocery bags into little knots to prevent items from falling out. Why? First, if you didn’t overfill the bags in the first place, you wouldn’t need to knot them. Second, do you have any idea how long it takes to untie 17 knots in 17 plastic bags – all of which were tightened into locks by the extreme weight of their contents? For-fucking-ever.

Third, after I struggle to untie the first few bags, I become frustrated and begin ripping the bags open. This is a bad thing because I actually reuse my plastic bags to dispose of kitty poo and litter each night. When you force me to throw away over a dozen bags that could have been recycled as poo holders, it makes me want to take the torn bags back to the store, place all of them over your head and tie them into a big knot. Have fun getting it untied in time. Fourth, by tying the handles into knots, you negate the purpose of the handle – to be large enough for me to utilize them as a carrying device. How can I slide the handles of the bags up and down the length of my forearms so that I can minimize the number of trips between my car and my kitchen when you’ve created new handles that are effectively the size of the eye of a needle? I am not Demi Moore and, thus, my arms are not that skinny.

Annoyance factor: 7. Incompetence: 6. Deceitfulness: 5 (Clearly, they are also working for the manufacturers of small animal poo bags and this is why they knot my plastic bags up so that they can’t be utilized for kitty poo disposal purposes).

Thanks To Bag Knotting Cashiers, I'll Have To Invest In One Of These (Image via kaboodle.com)

Example 4: Forgotten Coupons

I am not a coupon clipper. Hence, on the rare occasion when I do manage to make it to the store with a coupon and present said coupon to a cashier, along with the appropriate item, I expect to actually have the amount indicated on the front of the coupon deducted from my bill. It’s a proud moment for me. I remembered to bring a coupon to the store. I can’t wait to see that small portion of a dollar with a minus sign in front of it on my receipt. I shouldn’t have to ask, “Did you remember my coupon?” Nor should I have to remind the cashier to remove coupons from the tops of cans or the sides of boxes. It’s his or her job. And when the cashier forgets to ring up my coupon, being sent to the front desk to stand behind a long line of lottery ticket and cigarette buyers in order to collect my 35 cents really pisses me off. Waiting in line is right up there on my list of favorite things to do, along with peeling the cover of my magazine off a wet milk carton, and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on bread that’s been squashed to the height and width of a kid’s plastic ruler.

Annoyance factor: 5. Incompetence: 10. Deceitfulness: 5 (Do you really think that they truly forgetto use those coupons or are they just saving them for themselves or cheating the poor consumers as a whole?)

Denise Farley - Ohio's Bagging Champion. Seriously. See Link At The End Of This Post (Image via ohio.com)

The other day, I was shopping at Walmart and, low and behold, I encountered an amazing cashier. She didn’t flip through my magazines or waste precious minutes lamenting the loss of Whitney Houston. Everything was bagged perfectly. I watched in amazement as she grouped my cheeses and dairy together in one bag, deli meats in another and vegetables in yet a third. I didn’t strain my back lifting the bags filled with cans because she didn’t overfill them. My wine bottles were first placed in slim brown bags before being double bagged and handed to me so that I could set them in the child seat portion of the grocery cart. Not a single plastic bag was knotted – and she removed the $1 off coupons from my wine bottles without me reminding her and successfully subtracted the appropriate amount from my total. I could swear that the exposed beams above me opened up to reveal angels singing a beautiful melody and a golden beam of light shone down upon this plump woman wearing a blue Walmart vest.

“Wow!” I cried. “You really know how to bag. I’m so impressed. Do you have any idea how many cashiers can’t bag for shit?” It was ridiculous, really. It was like complimenting someone for breathing well or not falling down while walking in sneakers.

The cashier smiled and nodded her head. She’d clearly been commended for her skills before. “I know,” she replied. “I try to teach the new ones, but they’re just clueless. But you made it real easy too – the way you grouped your groceries together and all.”

Shirley The Cashier Is To Cashiering What Atticus Finch Was To Lawyering (Image via newyorker.com)

I knew it. Finally, the fact that I have mastered the art of unloading had been acknowledged. I cluster correctly. Cold with cold. Meat with meat. Produce with produce. And someone appreciated it. But most importantly, I’d found my perfect cashier – the Atticus Finch of attorneys, the Marcus Welby, M.D. of physicians, the absolutely nobody of mimes – and I needed to know more. Without hesitation, I asked, “Can I get a copy of your work schedule?” as I carefully jotted down the name on her badge – Shirley. She nodded her head and retrieved a Xeroxed copy from a stack at least an inch thick beneath the counter.  Shirley had obviously been asked for her hours before. I tucked the piece of paper into my purse, still marveling aloud at how easy it would be to unload my husband’s favorite Yoplait yogurts directly into the fridge since she’d bagged them all together.

“You certainly have an eye for detail,” Shirley observed with a smile. “What do you do?”

“Oh, I used to be a –“ I replied, stopping myself just before I uttered the word, lawyer. Shirley wouldn’t understand that I had been to attorneys what she was to cashiers – a reason not to hate an entire profession. As a lawyer, I hadn’t cheated my clients or lied…much (I was a contract attorney – it’s called bluffing when utilized in the art of negotiation). In fact, I’d worked for the government, which meant the average grocery store manager earned a hell of a lot more than I did in a year. Finally, I grinned back at her and said firmly, “I’m a writer. I’ve got a blog.” Now there’s an honorable profession.

If you aren’t sick of reading by now, here’s the link about Denise Farley’s win as a champion Ohio bagger.