Are My Ripped Jorts Destroying My Life?

Last week, after having a few beers at a live fantasy football draft (which I dominated, by the way), I impulsively agreed to meet a random dude from OkCupid for an impromptu first date in the city before heading home.

Ordinarily, this would not have been a noteworthy experience. But on this particular day I had decided to wear ripped jorts to work.

Jorts, for those of you with taste and/or lives, are jean shorts.

jorts

Me channeling Miley Cyrus while wearing jorts in what appears to be the rainforest, which is a caption I never thought I’d write.

I’m not exactly sure why I love my jorts, but I do. Maybe it has a lot to do with Mariah Carey’s 1993 video for “Dreamlover,” in which she frolics through a meadow in a pair of her own; I don’t know.

In any case, below is the entire story arc of the date in which I wore jorts, as told through a truncated series of Facebook IMs between my friend Steven and I.

En route to the date…

  • Me: The draft is over, my team is amazing, I’m drunk
  • Me: now I’m meeting some dude for more drinks
  • Me: I’m wearing topped jean shorts so
  • Me: he’ll definitely think I’m hot
  • Steven: topped jean shorts?
  • Steven: omg do you mean RIPPED?
  • Steven: because if so, you must change
  • Steven: are you a twink in the West Village circa 1985?
  • Me: it’s too late!!!
  • Steven: you have an affinity for ripped jeans
  • Me: If he’s the One he would accept ripped jeans
  • Me: and or jorts
  • Steven: omg
  • Steven: you own jorts don’t you?
  • Me: I’M WEARING THEM NOW!
  • Steven: omg it didn’t even register I was so focused on the ripped part

During the date…

  • Me: Truly he is peeing
  • Me: RAPPER
  • Me: he’s herring us more beer
  • Steven: you don’t need more beer
  • Me: Shonda Rhimes

After the date…

  • Me: Ok I’m overrrrrr it with this dude
  • Steven: Why?
  • Me: we just parted ways
  • Me: it was just like very abrupt
  • Steven: sounds gross
  • Me: Haha idk I’m confused!!!
  • Me: this is the first date in a long time where
  • Steven: you were drunk from the start?
  • Me: no where he was clearly NOT into me
  • Steven: Which of course makes you want him
  • Me: Meh this guy was boring
  • Me: if I’m getting honest
  • Steven: Ha
  • Me: His only appeal is that he’s Italian and from Staten Island
  • Steven: OMG Mariah is on Twitter asking fans about songs for her tour
  • Steven: and tweeted: “Side Effects or Petals?”
  • Steven: I CANNOT
  • Me: Nooooiii
  • Me: I’m too impaired to deal with this
  • Steven: Hahahaha wait why? They’re both gems
  • Me: I mean what’s her mental state?
  • Steven: if she’s thinking about either of those songs, she’s clearly angry
  • Me: They’re so different
  • Me: [FACEBOOK STICKER OF CAT WITH DOUGH ROLLER]
  • Me: Like what kind of a weird a
  • Me: Ass match up is that
  • Me: [FACEBOOK STICKER OF CAT WITH DONUT]
  • Me: I didn’t mean to do those!
  • Me: /
  • Me: whatever it’s probably the jorts that made that guy not into me
  • Me: Your silence indicates that you write
  • Me: Age*
  • Me: Agree****
  • Steven: the ripped jorts have to go

SO IS IT TRUE?

Are ripped jorts a crime? Do ripped jorts ruin everything? Are ripped jorts the reason why Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola got divorced in 1997 and also why things are now on the rocks with her and Nick Cannon and therefore why she’s taken to Twitter to survey fans on their favorite jilted-Mimi songs? Are ripped jorts to blame for the fact that I went home alone after my date that night and ate an entire box of Annie’s Party Mix?

Maybe. But actually — you know what? Fall is soon to be upon us. So I can probably just shelve this discussion altogether until next year. Time to break out the full-length jeans with holes in them and continue evading the underlying issues that draw me to ripped denim in the first place! Yay!

ADDENDUM

Below are some highlights from the “Jorts” page on Urban Dictionary (followed by my thoughts in bold):

Jean shorts. Worn mostly by children and douchebags. Jorts are perhaps the easiest way to recognize people you will not like. If you wear jorts, you probably don’t talk to girls. (I mean, that last part is true in my case.)

Slang for jean shorts. These are most often worn by the fashion illiterate. (I prefer ensemble-y challenged, asshole.)

Jean shorts that are unusually short, generally worn on men, was fashionable in the 80’s not now. (Steven is this you?)

F*ck you, I can dress any way I want. (Right on, sister!)

Jean-shorts. mostly worn by queers and cute bus drivers. (OMG I’m both of those. Except I don’t identify as “queer” and I’m not a bus driver. But I am cute. When I’m not wearing jorts, at least.)

Possibly the ugliest article of clothing one can wear. Usually worn by people who do not have friends, because a true friend would tell you that you look like a faggot. (Listen, Urban Dictionary, your Eminem-esque homophobia is out of control. I’m beginning to think you’re the gay one. And BY THE WAY, the term you’re actually looking for is “twink in the West Village circa 1985,” so bye.)

 

Advertisements

Anyone Else Becoming as Unhinged as I Am Lately?

The past few weeks have seen me having more melodramatic breakdowns than usual, and it’s a problem. One second I’ll be all balanced and happy and zen, and then the next I’ll be spiraling into a black hole of fury: arguing that working forty hours a week is bullshit, telling myself that I’M THE SMARTEST PERSON I KNOW, and randomly IMing my friend Steven with nonstop pictures of Mariah Carey alongside her various love interests throughout the years.

Like, the other day I saw this beautiful passage on Louise L. Hay’s Facebook. Basically it’s all about how if we use a tomato plant as an analogy for creating the lives we want, we can be happy. Because we trust tomato plants to grow, and so when our personal tomato plant starts to sprout, we shouldn’t get angry and ask, “WHY AREN’T YOU BIGGER AND BETTER?” but rather we should keep watering it and say, “Woohoo! It’s on its way!”

I read it and thought, That’s how I’m going to live my life from now on.

Then this IM conversation happened after I randomly went off on a tangent to Steven about how I wish I had a year off to eat, pray, love, and finish the millionth third draft of my book:

  • Steven: i feel like you’re on the verge of a breakdown
  • me: dude it’s true
  • Steven: i can feel it
  • Steven: coming in the air tonight
  • Steven: i FEEL it. when your messages get short and sans caps and punctuation and proper capitalization
  • me: there’s just gotta be more to life
  • me: than chasing down every temporary hiiigh
  • Steven: oh god you’re breaking out the Stacy O
  • Steven: every time you do that, you have a crisis of faith
  • Steven: and then you throw shit and start crying
  • me: and the worst part is that I’m lucky to be employed where I am
  • me: and yet
  • me: WHERE’S THE MEANING?
  • Steven tomorrow you’re gonna be all, “we must reach for the stars with our highest energy and smoke our own poz toxins and look out of our third eyes and be the best versions of ourselves”
  • Steven: followed by quoting some zen writer I’ve never heard of
  • me lmao. true

Later that day…

  • me: the issue is simple
  • me: I just need to hold on through this rough patch
  • me: and continue to strive toward creating the life I want
  • me: I’m just getting so fucking impatient
  • me: like… fucking.. WHEN
  • me: but I mean, I know we mustn’t attack our tomato plants
  • me: WHY AREN’T YOU FUCKING GROWING YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT TOMATO PLANT WORTHLESS FUCKING PIECE OF GARBAGE
  • Steven BAHAHA
  • Steven: I’m dying
  • Steven: I think you need to work toward being your best self
  • me: I’d like to be handed everything on a silver platter
  • me: WHERE’s my platter
  • me: omg I’m a fucking abomination
  • me: that’s negative
  • me: I’m a radiant expression of God’s love
  • Steven: I. Am…Dead

So, I don’t know. I guess the one lesson, if any, I’ve gleaned from this whole thing is that if you’re lucky enough to have a tomato plant, don’t be an asshole. Be grateful. Be graceful. Let it grow. And then go make some marinara sauce, maybe? Or: schizophrenically unravel via IM and then blog about it later. That always works too.

tomatoplant

 

When It Comes to Altruism, America Might be Screwed

Every spring, the company I work for gives employees a paid day off to go out into the world and volunteer for pre-arranged community service projects, possibly on account of their awareness that New York is filled with career-driven narcissists who don’t give enough of a shit about philanthropic causes to volunteer their actual time to them.

This year, my work-wife Jenny and I signed up for a project called Walk and Play at the Humane Society. This was a major accomplishment for us, as the pet shelter-related opportunities are limited and always the first ones to get filled up. Because puppies.

Jenny and I were elated about having managed to snag not one but two of these highly coveted spots. It was like being awarded VIP status on the guest list to one of those super posh nightclub openings that used to happen on Sex and the City all the time but happen infrequently (and also, suck) in real life. (Remember the place with all the beds? There were so many beds.)

“WHOOMP, THERE IT IS! PUPPIES ALL DAY, E’RRY DAY!” I proclaimed to Jenny as we victoriously high-fived each other post-sign-up. “Or at least puppies from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 16th.”

“Okay Nic, let’s make a pact,” Jenny replied. “Neither of us is allowed to adopt a dog. No matter how much we may fall in love while carelessly frolicking with them through parks, we can’t afford to just be adopting creatures willy-nilly.”

“Deal,” I said, relieved that there would be a formal checks and balances system (did I just misuse that term?) in place to combat my probable impetuousness amongst puggles.

Friday morning came quickly, and Jenny and I found ourselves on the fourth floor of a rundown Midtown East building surrounded by donated doggy clothes (because that’s what rescue pets give a shit about) with nine other volunteers from our company, none of whom we knew personally.

The volunteer coordinator was a petite young brunette with leggings and a nose ring who instantly reminded me of delightful country breakout starlet Kacey Musgraves.

“Okay, so we need two volunteers for the kitty hospital room,” she said.

Everyone immediately looked down as if to say, “Hell to the no; I’m holding out for a hero the cute, non-hospitalized dogs.” But then two brave souls looked up and sacrificed themselves for the greater good and I pitied them a little but mostly just felt major relief because (a) I’m vaguely allergic to cats, and (b) I’m made up of twenty percent Selfish Asshole. (And eighty percent Mariah Carey.)

“Now we need five volunteers to play on the roof with the large dogs.”

At this, the remaining people threw their hands up in a tizzy. Not Jenny and I, though; we just looked at each other and came to a mutual telepathic understanding that we were going to be savvy and save our hand-raising for the small (or at least medium-sized) dogs. Ain’t nobody got time for large dogs, we told each other with our eyes.

“Great!” Kacey Musgraves said, selecting the first five volunteers to play with the large dogs. Then she motioned toward the rest of us. “Now you four will have the pleasure of cleaning literal shit out of cat cages for the next three hours.”

She didn’t actually put it in those words, but she should have because that’s exactly what ended up happening. WE WERE BAMBOOZLED. Why the dogs were qualified as “large” before is beyond me. THE LARGE DOGS WERE THE ONLY DOGS.

I considered sticking my neck out and saying, “Ohhh, sorry, I’m allergic to cats,” but then figured that that’s exactly what someone who’s not allergic to cats would say. (Kind of like in movies when the killer is all “I’m not a killer!”) Plus I didn’t want to face the possibility of them saying, “Well then why didn’t you raise your hand for the dogs?” and me instigating a whole argument over how Kacey’s categorization of the dogs as “large” was misleading and cruel.

So I just accepted my fate and planned to avoid directly touching the cats/my eyes.

We were soon escorted to a room filled wall-to-wall with cat cages. The cats were cute enough, but the stench in the room was gross and a problem. It smelled like someone had murdered a carnie, locked it in a closet, peed on the body every morning for approximately a full year, and stuffed its pockets with Gouda at some point around the five-month mark.

(Wow. That was some fucked up and macabre imagery, and I apologize. I hope I didn’t ruin Gouda for you. Or carnies, for that matter.)

We were instructed that every cage had to be cleaned, and it was best that we split into pairs so we could tag-team the cat piss. The cage cleaning process entailed setting the cats free to roam around the room while we dumped out the litter boxes, sterilized and refilled them, brushed hair off the cat beds, and cleaned/disinfected the messes on the floors of the cages. These tasks involved maneuvers like bending down. And reaching for things. And lifting things.

Also, getting dirty.

Jenny and I smiled enthusiastically as we put our disposable gloves on and prepared to get to work, but deep down we were both spoiled, ungrateful bitches who were not amused.

“I bet HR has diabolical intentions with this whole community service thing,” I later whispered to Jenny as she scrubbed a cage floor and I lined a freshly treated litter box with newspaper. “They’re probably all, ‘Oh, our employees want to complain about their cushy jobs? Let’s have them perform manual labor while locked in a sauna of broken dreams and cat shit for three hours! That’ll take care of that problem!’”

After I said this, I realized how ridiculous and first-world-problems-y of me it was to be wasting my words on complaints.

And I wasn’t giving the good side of myself enough credit – there was a part of me that truly didn’t mind the work and was genuinely pleased to be helping out. Like, it felt awesome to get outside of my ego for a little bit and put my energy into something that didn’t benefit me directly.

But then I also had to acknowledge that if I weren’t receiving compensation (a whole day’s worth, nonetheless) to do this project, there was no way in hell I’d have opted myself into it in my cherished free time – which I think makes me a horrible, entitled person and also what’s wrong with America.

As we neared the end of the shift, a charismatic orange-haired kitty named Felipe started eagerly sticking his little paw out of his cage and trying to latch onto my shirt/generally touch me everywhere. And so I promptly forgot about all the philosophical issues the day’s activities were raising in my mind and just fell in love with him.

I’m not much of a cat person, but Felipe was really cute and I’m not a heartless bastard. Felipe was precious. Precious enough to melt my heart and make me glad that I got bamboozled into the miserable cat sauna, even. As I lovingly gazed into his tiny cat-eyes, I thought about how much it would pain me to see him alone on the streets. Or worse, hungry. Or worse, abused.

It was in this Scrooge-at-the-end-of-A-Christmas-Carol-y moment where I realized why one might willingly choose to volunteer at the Humane Society. Because Felipe (and every other cat ever) deserves to be loved. They deserve to not live in cages. Or at the very least, they deserve to live in fucking clean ones.

Then Felipe got all scratchy on me, but I secretly liked it.

“Friiiskey, are we?” I said, masterfully replicating the voice of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. “Jenny! How CUTE is this little guy? Take a pic!”

10371392_875058025122_7128745751022172651_n

Because I’m a super authentic person, I immediately posted this on Instagram with a caption that was all, “Delighted to be helping out for a great cause! #community”

When Jenny and I returned to our normally scheduled lives in the office on Monday morning, we learned that as a gift for all our hard work on Friday, the building was going to transform into a funhouse of treats and refreshments – stations with free beer, margaritas, wine, tacos, fries, sushi, Pinkberry frozen yogurt, and hot dogs were being set up for everyone who volunteered. Because America is nothing if not dependent on questionable motivation techniques and absurdly lopsided reward systems.

“Well, they did bamboozle us into busting our asses and cleaning up cat feces in a stench-filled shitbox for three miserable hours,” I said to Jenny. By then I had forgotten what Felipe even looked like. “It’s the least they could do.”

 

Sometimes Life (and/or Oprah) Gives You Exactly What You Need When You Need It

Like many writers – cough, Cheryl Strayed, ‘achoo! – I enjoy taking long, meditative walks.

I used to walk all over my hometown as a kid, so walking all over my current town kind of reconnects me with my inner child. Plus something about being alone and surrounded by nature gives me the sense of space and freedom I need to contemplate shit that I might otherwise leave bottled up.

The results of any given walk are typically healing and awesome.

During my after-dinner walk on Sunday, though, things didn’t start out so well.

After thinking about my career aspirations for a few minutes, I found myself on the verge of falling into a spiral of self-pity over the fact that I want to do everything. I want to write everything. Book concepts, blog ideas, freelance gigs, ALL the essays, short stories – these things ganged up on me like a mental army of “YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO IT ALL!”-screaming assholes.

I started thinking about how beginning one project always feels a lot like neglecting another project, which, given the fact that I have a full-time job and a highly active social life, feels a lot like making a big ass commitment to something that might not be the best project – which then makes it really easy to just be like, “Okay, fuck it. I’ll do nothing.”

I approached a big hill and kept walking. As my elevation increased, I moved on to feeling pity for myself over the fact that I’ve already devoted two years to finishing a book which is still yet to be represented. Then I felt more pity for myself over the fact that it’s probably because I don’t have enough space or time to write (or edit, for that matter) to my highest potential, because again: full-time job and highly active social life.

These are ironic and silly things to be upset about. These things are blessings.

So then I went into angry, tough-love mode on myself: Why are you so fucking impossible to satisfy? Boo-frickety-hoo, Nic! You work for a great company and you’re just too popular? Man up and figure your shit out. Stop sleeping so much. Maybe don’t go to happy hour. Maybe write. You could be writing right now instead of walking. MAKE A DAMN SACRIFICE, ASSHOLE.

And then finally I gave in and was like, Yeah. I just need to write. Start something new. I’ll do that.

And then I thought about all the book concepts, blog ideas, freelance gigs, essays, and short stories I want to work on — and I soon found myself right back at square. Fucking. One.

This walk had set me off on a mental cycle of doom, and it was a problem.

I started picking up the pace and feeling extremely tight and anxious – sensations that are usually reserved for when I obsess over my career in less tranquil scenarios such as when stressing over my workload at the office and/or peeing in dirty commuter train bathrooms.

As I reached the top of the hill, I saw an intriguing piece of litter sitting by the curb outside someone’s driveway. As I got closer, I saw that it was a coffee sleeve.

I soon recognized it as one of those new green Starbucks coffee sleeves that are given out to promote Oprah Chai – the new Oprah-Starbucks-Teavana partnership that benefits educational opportunities for youth.

I immediately thought to myself, WWOD?

(Note: This means “What Would Oprah Do?” and I should mention that it’s unusual that it took me coming across a discarded coffee sleeve of hers to finally ask this question in this situation. Usually it’s the first thing that comes to my mind in periods of distress, sleeve or no sleeve.)

The timing of this query couldn’t have been better, as each Oprah Chai sleeve comes complete with an inspirational Oprah quotable.

I bent down and picked it up to read my fortune:

Live from the heart of yourself. Seek to be whole, not perfect.

IMG_20140512_201609

And THIS is why Oprah fucking WINS. AT. EVERYTHING.

Because of Oprah, litter is no longer litter. Because of Oprah, litter can now change lives. Or at least momentarily brighten them.

Because of Oprah, my anxious, existential crisis-y, mental-cycle-of-doom walk led me straight to an undeniable sign from God that everything is going to be okay. I can trust my intuition. I don’t have to be perfect. I do have to be myself.

Everything is going to be okay.

And then I saw a bunny.

IMG_20140512_201519

It was less blurry IRL; this is just what happens when I quickly take a picture of a moving bunny while my phone camera is all zoomed in. Is it just me, or does it kind of look like a Monet?

 

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received: “Be the Light”

Lately my spiritual journey has involved a lot of “Why am I here?”-ness.

Not the classic question of “Why am I here?” like, on the planet, though. Mine has been the other classic question of “Why am I here, ‘stuck’ in this place in life when I feel like I have a higher purpose and no matter how much action I take to try and fulfill that purpose NOTHING SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING, AND SO WHAT THE FUCK, UNIVERSE?

And then last week two of my awesome #SpiritJunkie friends and I had the honor of meeting the wonderful author/spiritual teacher/sassy guru Gabrielle Bernstein, whose new book Miracles Now is (a) like a big ol’ cup of chai tea for your soul, and (b) available here.

The energy in the theater during Gabby’s lecture was, in and of itself, a miracle. It was loving and open and just good and yes, I’m being sappy and trite right now because I can.

When the topic of feeling stuck in one’s current place in life came up, Gabby’s advice changed the game for me. She simply said, “Your job is not to be a [fill in the blank with your professional title]. Your job is to be the light.”

Be. The. Light.

gab1

Girlfriend is walking the walk.

I didn’t realize it until that moment, but this has been my mission statement in my writing (where I ultimately feel a higher calling) since day one. Whether it’s by sharing a funny story, opening up about something that really sucked for me, or simply making a weird/corny pun – the goal is always to inspire/heal/entertain/make someone’s day a little less shitty. In other words, the goal is to be the light.

While Gabby spoke, I realized that I’ve been saving so much of my light for some future moment that involves the title of “Published Author” that I’ve been missing out on opportunities to be the light in the present moment of my day-to-day professional life – because at some point I had declared the corporate/media world I work in to be totally void of meaning (which it kind of is, but that’s a whole other Oprah) and therefore decided that I didn’t need to show up with my best self every day.

But the problem there is that by sitting around thinking, Ugh. I’m destined for something greater than this, I was doing a few sabotage-y things to myself and those around me:

  1. Getting lost in anxiety over the future rather than cultivating gratitude for the present moment.
  2. Focusing on where I’m not rather than accepting where I am.
  3. Forgetting that every second is an opportunity to spread love.

In fewer words, I was basically an asshole.

I’ve learned that being discontented with the present moment is a sure sign that the ego is in control. Rather than setting aside personal concerns and doing whatever you can to enhance the lives of those around you (in other words, creating ripples of good energy, in other words, being the light), you’re focused on your own self-importance (in other words, creating ripples of crappy energy, in other words, being the darkness… and not the good kind).

So. I’ve been putting this whole “be the light” thing into practice since I heard Gabby speak, and I have to say that the change in my energy since has indeed been a miracle. Yes, I’m still working toward my long-term writing goals, but I’m also not tripping over the future anymore.

Instead I’m doing whatever I can to be a source of love and positivity for those around me right now. If that means addressing a work situation that I find to be ultimately purposeless in the grand scheme of life, I do it anyway purely because (a) it’s my job, and (b) not doing it would really make someone else’s day shittier – and do I want to be involved with making someone else’s day shitty? No. That’s not very light-y.

(Side note: I feel like normal people probably just stop at (a), which is a valid enough reason to do one’s job, really, but I’m obviously not normal. And if you’re reading my blog, chances are you aren’t, either. Which is a fantastically wonderful thing.)

In conclusion: BE THE LIGHT, NIC. BE THE DAMN LIGHT.

gab2

Gab + Nic = #Light.

 

Possibly the Best Unintentional Metaphor for Life as a Disillusioned Young Professional Ever

Every so often I get the brilliant idea to wake up super early in an effort to gain control of my life and make the most of my pre-work morning time.

Here’s what my living room looks like in my head on those mornings:

Room1

ESPN? Porn? What the hell am I, a straight man?

Here’s what my living room looks like in my head on every other morning:

Room2

Admittedly more common.

In both scenarios, I get to work at the same exact time.

But I mean, in Scenario A, there’s this whole illusion of freedom and choice happening. ”I’m an adult who is in control of how he spends his time,” Scenario A proclaims.

“Hey asshole, no you’re not. Shut up and go to work before you get fired and therefore have no living room to procrastinate in in the first place,” says B.

“You know what? You’re mean. Maybe I don’t need a living room,” Scenario A might reply. “Material shit doesn’t matter! What is money, anyways, but paper and energy and an illusion?”

And that’s usually I get all What-am-I-doing-with-my-life-and-if-money-doesn’t-matter-then-why-don’t-I-just-quit-everything-and-move-to-a-shack-somewhere-in-the-woods-so-I-can-focus-on-my-true-passion-but-then-how-will-I-pay-my-student-loans-and/or-Wu-Tang-Clan-Fan-Club-dues?-FUCK-I’M-TRAPPED and my brain short circuits.

(Side note: I’m totally kidding about the Wu-Tang Fan Club thing. I have no idea where that random gangster rap reference even came from. Actually, wait. I do. I was going to write Mariah Carey Fan Club, but coming from me that just seemed far too predictable at this point. So then my mind was all, “Okay, well Mariah did that ‘Fantasy’ remix with Ol’ Dirty Bastard in 1995… and he was a part of the Wu-Tang Clan… and sure! I’ll say ‘Wu-Tang Fan Club’ and it will be funny.” But now that I think about it, I could have done better. I mean, I wasn’t even a Wu-Tang fan in the nineties, let alone today. Also, I highly doubt they would have had a formal fan club for me to join in the first place. I mean, would that have even been legal? I feel like drugs and guns would have been involved in some capacity, and I’m assuming that the post office would have had something to say about that. And then arrests would have probably been made, and then I wouldn’t even be able to write this right now because I’d be too busy wasting my days away IN JAIL, WONDERING WHY I CAN’T HAVE CONTROL OF MY OWN LIFE.)

Holy shit. Did the Wu-Tang Clan just prove my entire point for me? I think they did.

 

How to Make ANYTHING Healthy (Yes, this Post Contains All the Secrets)

(Alternate Title: True Life: I Use Healthy Substitutions to Rationalize My Binge Eating – Part Two)

Every Friday at my company is “Wing Day!”

It’s kind of like Casual Friday, except instead of wearing non-professional attire, employees come to work dressed up as winged creatures – bees, pterodactyls, slutty angels – anything, really, so long as it can fly.

(Side note: Can we talk about how I just managed to spell “pterodactyl” right on my very first try? I swear. This kind of thing never happens, and frankly, I think it means I’m brilliant.)

Okay, so actually, I’m lying. (About the dressing-up-as-creatures thing; the getting-pterodactyl-right-on-the-first-try thing is completely true, and I’m standing by my brilliance.)

Wing Day is, in reality, just an excuse for everyone in the company to pig out on Buffalo wings for lunch, as they are the Friday special in the cafeteria.

And so here’s a conversation that occurred in the lunch line between my coworker JaJa (this pseudonym was her choice, by the way, and that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how much of a delight she is) and myself the last time I indulged in this obesity-fueling ritual:

  • Nic: I can’t believe I’m doing this. I have a date tonight. A date. I’m now forever going to be The Guy Who Ate Wings for Lunch On the Day of a Date.
  • JaJa: Oh, stop. It’s fine.
  • Nic: Hold on! [Dramatically sprints to the salad bar. Returns ten seconds later, panting.]
  • JaJa: What did you just do?
  • Nic: I had to grab some fresh baby spinach.
  • JaJa: OMG.
  • Nic: Yes. I am having my chicken wings on a bed of spinach.

In related news, I sometimes add broccoli to my macaroni and cheese:

IMG_20140302_134134

I also like to add about a third of a packet of additional shredded cheddar, but that’s neither here nor there.

Did I mention that the macaroni is made with fifty percent whole grain? I mean, this meal is basically a power smoothie. That is, if power smoothies were all carb-y and cheese-laden, which, aren’t they?

STOP LOOKING AT ME THAT WAY.

Am I doing power smoothies wrong?

P.S. In case you missed Part One of this series, because apparently my reprehensible eating habits are steadfastly becoming an epic trilogy similar to The Godfather and/or Star Wars (and/or the nineties horror gem The Leprechaun… that was a trilogy, right?) you can find it here.

P.P.S. The folks over at Kashi have actually read Part One, and they told me to eat their cookies “in moderation.”

Screen shot 2014-03-05 at 10.18.57 PM

FOOLS.

Initially I was super offended by this tweet, but then that wink-face changed the game. So I’m willing to brush it off. Also, does the wink mean that they’re asking me out on a date? Because… yes. Kashi, I’ll date you. I mean, I’m already in a borderline-sexual relationship with your cookies (PUN!) anyway, so everything about this scenario just feels right. And yet so wrong.

The Definitive Rule for Using Exclamation Points in Work E-mails

We can all tell from the name of this blog that I love a good exclamation point. I mean, they’re fun. They evoke a sense of, like, “Yeah! Life is good!”

Or at the very least, a sense of “I’m perky and approachable and I don’t loathe you.”

Exclamation points say that you’re breezy for you, so you don’t have to say it yourself – because we all know from Friends that explicitly stating you’re breezy totally negates the breezy. So really, exclamation points are an essential communication tool, maintaining the awareness of all our collective breeziness and soothing the egos of probably a million-ish neurotic people per minute.

But what happens when exclamation points become a source of contention, jealousy, and betrayal?

I’m writing, specifically, of exclamation points as employed (no pun intended) in work e-mails.

IMG_20140301_093817

Desktop background courtesy of Tiny Buddha. Exclamation points courtesy of an outlandish young professional with access to wine and a smartphone.

To give you an idea of where I’m headed with this, here’s a conversation that recently took place between my work-wife Jenny and I:

  • Nic (pointing at an e-mail she had open on her computer): What is THIS?
  • Jenny: What?
  • Nic: He wrote “Thanks!” at the end. “THANKS!”
  • Jenny: And…
  • Nic: To me, he always writes “Thanks.” WITH A PERIOD. He hates me, doesn’t he? I knew it. Is it because I never returned his three-hole puncher to him that one time? Tell me everything you know.

Jenny, unwilling to sing like a canary, was just like, “Don’t be silly! He gives me periods all the time. This e-mail was an anomaly.”

Her response was a nice attempt at assuaging my pain, but the damage was done.

Now, I totally get that some people just don’t do exclamation points. Most of these people are men (myself notwithstanding). For whatever reason, women have no problem feigning excitement – in e-mails, texts, the bedroom, etc. – but guys tend to be more direct and stoic in their communication styles. (Do you love how I’m setting progress back fifty years right now by totally generalizing male-female social patterns? You do, don’t you?)

With the above in mind, I can totally get down with a dude who uses periods (or even semicolons)… but the guy in the e-mail to Jenny was different. While I had previously put him in the category of “straightforward man who never uses exclamation points,” seeing his e-mail to Jenny destroyed that identity altogether and indicated that he DOES indeed use exclamation points — but that he’s highly selective about it. He’s the pretentious NYU of exclamation points. (Note: I’m allowed to make this joke because I’m alumni.)

I never thought of myself as someone whose emotions could be dictated by punctuation, but apparently I’m hypersensitive and have too much mental time on my hands.

Or is this just the mark (no pun intended again! Okay, maybe a little this time) of the twenty-first century? Assumptions abound and communication suffers because no one wants to actually talk to anyone out loud anymore?

At the end of the day (because I don’t really feel like trying to explore that last question) I think it all just comes down to consistency. I clearly like to keep people in boxes, so here’s what I have to say to all working professionals: If you’re going to be a period person, then please, for the love of Mariah Carey, stay in your box! And exclamation point people, try to do the same.

Let’s all do our part to prevent emotional meltdowns in the workplace.

P.S. For the record, I will continue to always take the exclamation point route myself. Mostly because my biggest fear is being interpreted as a disgruntled misanthrope by those around me. Plus it leaves open the option to occasionally use them in a passive-aggressive manner when someone says “Do this” and I say “Sure thing!” when what I really mean is, “If you were attacked by a large, aggressive bear with poop on its paws right now, I might be okay with that.”

P.P.S. It just occurred to me that maybe the aggressive-bear-with-poop-claws exclamation point is actually exactly what Jenny received in the e-mail in question, which would mean that that guy is in fact not selective in an NYU kind of way, but more so selective in an angry-evil-bear-poop-whisperer kind of way.

P.P.P.S. In light of that last postscript, I’ve just realized that my entire argument in this piece is ludicrous and baseless and unfounded — pretty much everything but “definitive.”

P.P.P.P.S. WHY CAN’T I EVER MAKE AN IRREFUTABLE POINT? I guess this is why we should never try to keep people in boxes. Run free, everyone. Follow your heart. Use whatever punctuation you desire. Just be breezy about it.

 

%d bloggers like this: