Quick. Think of a list of your top five strengths. Congratulations! There are probably some really good, legitimate strengths on that list! Strengths that make you an adult! Like “math” or “filing your taxes on time” or “not eating fried oreos” or “making the bed every morning because I’m a fucking crazy person”. Because seriously. Why do you make the bed every morning, you fucking crazy person? YOU’RE JUST GOING TO SLEEP IN IT AGAIN. Who are you?! Marc Summers?!
|I double dare you to not have OCD.|
Anyway. Here is the list of my top five strengths:
1. Super Mario 3 besides the ocean level. Because fuck that giant red fish and all of her stupid babies.
2. Knowing all the lyrics to the Humpty Dance
3. Accidentally setting the stove on fire while not putting anyone in direct danger.
4. Identifying celebrity voices in cartoons
5. Making lists
I think we can all look at that list and realize two things pretty quickly. First, all of those things are bad ass. Because when I say Super Mario 3 besides the ocean level, I mean ALL of the rest of the levels. Even the ice level, WITHOUT the Tanooki suit. And that shit is impossible without the Tanookie suit. Second, precisely zero of them help me in any way in a real life situation. I cannot think of one plausible situation where any of those things could save my life or win me five million dollars.
Now think of your weaknesses. Are they pretty normal, like “I leave wet towels on the bed sometimes” or “I don’t multitask well”? Or are they all mentally and physically crippling examples of why you’ll never be a real grown up?
|Not you, Adam Sandler. I’ll keep watching whatever movie you put out because I love you. Just please keep talking in that weird voice.|
Long story short, here’s the list of things that I am terrible at, which inadvertently reveals how terrible I am at life. The fact that I’m still alive and functioning at any level is actually pretty impressive. Where’s my trophy, motherfuckers?
1. Making grilled cheese.
Seems pretty easy right. Butter the bread. Put cheese on it. Stick it in a pan. Flip it once. Don’t burn it. Make sure it’s done. Lenny from Mice and Men could do this. And Lenny is a giant idiot manchild. Like Glenn Beck (If you're reading this, Steve Poore, I'm totally sorry about that. Sort of.). And I bet even Glenn Beck could do this. Which makes me more sad than the time I bought a Ninja Turtle ice cream from the ice cream man and, not only did I get Donatello, who was my LEAST favorite turtle, but Donatello was also missing one of his bubblegum eyeballs. Because here’s what this means: I may be worse than Glenn Beck. What’s that you say? You’re being too hard on yourself, Jen? No one, not even people who use the word “preventative” (which is NOT A GOD DAMN WORD), are worse than Glenn Beck?
Because here’s what always happens when I try to make a grilled cheese sandwich:
|Exhibit A: underdone, pale, soggy and disappointing. That’s what she said.|
|Exhibit B: found in the uncovered remains of Pompeii following the Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD.|
Those are two sides of the same sandwich. Scientific proof that I am worse at life than Glenn Beck. Or at least as equally disappointing as a Cyclops Donatello Ninja Turtle ice cream.
You know how adults have these things called “conversations” where they “talk” about their “feelings” and “things that are important to them” with other adults? Me neither. I actually just assumed it was a myth like Eskimos or genies or people who say they “love Alabama”.
|Roll. Fucking. Tide.|
When someone close to me tries to talk to me about something serious, I immediately feel hot and nauseous and start counting the total number of sides on all of the squares in the room. Seriously. Try to have a conversation with me about something important in a room where there are ceiling tiles.
If I have to talk to someone I love about something serious, I write them a letter, leave it in a notebook, put that notebook under a stack of books, put that stack of books in a box, duct tape that box shut, stick that shit in a closet and hope that they find it someday. I’m not really exaggerating. I once found a letter I wrote to an ex boyfriend about how I thought we should break up five years after we broke up. My thought process? “See? That one sort of worked itself out.”
Remember, this is how I treat people I love. So please imagine trying to have a serious conversation with me if I didn’t love you. It is exactly as bad as you think. I can’t be serious, so as a defense mechanism, I either turn the entire thing into a joke, or I’m the bitchiest bitch that ever bitched, totally out of the fear that comes from talking, which, by the way, is something I do every fucking day anyway. That I have any friends or a job at all is amazing. For example. A couple years ago, I had an employee that was plagiarizing some of the work they turned in. Did I say some of it? I mean all of it. Which is sort of a big fucking deal because I was a newspaper editor. It was caught by a really amazing news editor before the stories ran, but obviously, I had to fire him. First, I sent him an email asking him to meet with me the following day. This is the actual conversation I had with that employee, who I will call Gabe for what I assume could be serious legal repercussions:
**Gabe enters the room and sits down**
**I hand him his assignments, and the original stories he plagiarized from a competing newspaper**
Me: You’re totally fired.
Me: Because you’re an idiot. And unless you’re an idiot who also possesses the magical powers of a warlock who can erase my memory, you can’t work here anymore. No idiots at a newspaper.
At which point the sales manager proceeded to have kittens and sort of took over as I walked out of the room, knowing that there were exactly 192 sides to the tiles on the ceiling.
Bonus! Imagine being in a relationship with someone who communicates juuuust about as well as I do… I’m sure it’s fine...
3. Riding a bike
So here’s the thing. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was like 15. Just kidding. I was eight. See how that doesn’t seem so bad when you originally thought I didn’t learn until I was 15? No?
If you’ve never met my brother or sister, you may not realize that they can handle simple tasks like walking, or jogging, or riding a bike, or standing completely still without falling down. I, on the other hand, cannot. Here’s a few examples of how unathletic I am: I fell down standing perfectly still at the San Jacinto Monument, I have sprained my heel, I have fallen down the stairs, I have fallen up the stairs, I cut myself with foil, one time I was running to third base and tripped and just sort of bounced there because I can’t slide, I gave myself a concussion when I tried to flip my hair out of my face and hit my head on the roof of my car, I tried to look cool in front of a dude I had a crush on by not breaking eye contact while I was drinking a drink and I accidentally stuck the straw up my nose, I was on crutches for like a week when I tried to jump over a tennis net that was TWO INCHES off the ground and I tripped over it and fell. There are lots more. I just don’t think I can bring myself to list anything else.
|I asked my sister for a list of all the times I hurt myself because she’s a jerkasaurus. This is what she sent back. Mostly because she’s terrible.|
Long story short, for me “learning how to ride a bike” was much more similar to “my dad throwing me pretty relentlessly into a pitching backstop”. I’m pretty sure I learned how to ride a bike out of fear that I was just going to die of massive head trauma if I didn’t.
And you know how people say that you never forget how to ride a bike? A couple years ago, I was riding a bike and my pants got caught in the chain and my sister had to rescue me before I fell into a ravine and died. The end.
4. Writing blogs
So here’s the thing. Writing terrifies me. Unfortunately, it’s sort of the only thing I can do that also carries with it a legally employable element. Prostitution is out. I’m not great at chemistry so making meth isn’t going to work. Math isn’t my favorite, and I hate negotiating, so drug dealing is out. The thought of sitting at a desk all day makes me throw up in my mouth a little. But again, writing terrifies me. Especially trying to write anything funny. Because here’s a secret: I’m not fucking funny. I’m just really weird and awkward, which may translate ok in print, but in person, you’d probably be like “why is she drinking tequila out of a big gulp? Why isn’t she sitting in our wicker furniture? How come the only time she talks, she says ‘that’s what she said’? Did she just call me a jerkasaurus?”
There it is. I’m so shy in person, that I overcompensate by pretending not to be shy. So when I tell people “I’m shy around people I don’t know” they immediately think “wow, this bitch is a total bananasandwich liar.” A lot of times, you’ll hear dumb writers who have ten bajillion dollars say things like “you should write for yourself! That way you’ll be happy!” Well, shut your bajillionaire mouth. I like to write for other people. It’s sort of the only contribution I can make to society, that doesn’t involve me singing each of you to sleep at night with beautiful Paula Abdul songs, which is a little impractical. But writing is pretty scary. I’m basically saying “Here. Here’s this stuff I wrote. Now go to the comments section with your second-grade writing abilities and tell me that you bet I’m probably ugly and that I have a tiny brain.”
I have started writing three books. One of them is half finished. Two of them are just plot summaries. Here’s what happens in my head when I read over them:
Ok. That’s sort of funny. Wait. No it’s not. Is “gigantic” or “giant” a funnier word? This is terrible. Maybe it’s ok. Nope; it’s not. Is “fuck-ton” a word? Lewis Carroll invented words. You are not Lewis Carroll. Wait—maybe this is ok. Ok; nope, not at all. Everyone is going to hate you.
I spent, like ten hours, trying to decide in one post whether I should say that roaches were my “arch nemesis” or “most formidable rival”. Ten hours. On that. Because there is something wrong with my brain. Writing is scary. And it’s the only thing I can do. And if it’s the only thing I can do and you hate it, what the hell good am I? That’s right. I’m as useless and terrible as Lindsay Lohan. And I did not have to debate whether or not to use Lindsay Lohan’s name. Because seriously. She’s useless and terrible.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my very long excuse for why I haven’t written a blog since December.
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