life

RIP Bully McMully

Bully McMully is dead.

That’s not his name. His name has been changed to protect the living–mainly me. His name was something that didn’t rhyme, but we changed it so that it did. We thought it was clever, the “we” being me, my brother J and my two cousins K1 and K2.

Bully McMully had a strong presence in our lives in the late 1970s. If I was anything like Angie Z, I could tell you a blow-by-blow account of our dealings with Bully McMully and provide photographic evidence, but my memory is just a giant sinkhole of bits and pieces of things I likely made up or saw on after-school specials, and should not be trusted. It took a lot of therapy to realize I had not grown up in a little house on a prairie. The only way I know for certain that Bully McMully existed is because his obit ran today in our local newspaper.

It’s an odd feeling to see a childhood bully’s name in the obituaries. But there it was.

And it was so sparse. No mention of what he did or what and whom he loved.

He lived in a house that bordered a section of my grandparent’s backyard. J, K1, K2 and I would play there unsupervised. Where were the parents? It was the 1970s. No parents, no car seats–heck, no seatbelts. Halloween? Go wherever. Take that candy from strangers.

Bully McMully would yell things at us. His bratty little sister Bully-in-training would yell things at us. He appeared to be 100 years old, but was likely in his teens. As anyone knows, for a child, anyone older is 100.

He looked like this:

Must. Crush. Children.

One day, we yelled back at his little sister. He was nowhere in sight. Possibly we felt protected by the invisible barrier of the yard or the fact our grandparents were somewhere in the same city if not the same vicinity as us–when suddenly Bully McMully appeared behind us, and grabbed my much younger brother by the throat and hurled him through a tree. That very last part might not have happened.

I asked my brother today what propelled us to yell things at Bully McMully’s sister knowing full well we could be in for an ass-kicking. He had no idea. Nor any memory of the throat grabbing. He’s more useless than me.

I think the main reason we did it is because we were odd. We invented strange games like “Drug Dealers.” I pushed weed, and had a hefty supply since maple samaras were the stand in for my chronic. I collected fistfuls in my sweaty hands just to get one eensy weensy black beauty, the red, likely poisonous berry found on a yew tree, which was hawked by my cousin K2. Let me be the first to say that none of our parents were actual drug dealers.

We played “Slaves,” a game that consisted of me and K2 doing whatever our older siblings ordered. “Stay on the back porch.” Why? “Do it slave!” We spied on the Baptist church that also bordered a section of the backyard. My familiarity with church was as such: It happened on Sundays. It lasted 15 minutes. You got there late, stood in the back and left early. K1 & K2 didn’t attend.

These people went to church all the time(!). Obviously something was afoot. It’s a cult, announced K1. Being the oldest, K1 knew everything so we decided her plan to infiltrate the church made sense. We lied down in the grass to conceal ourselves, and waited until the people entered the church. Then we ran to the door, gave it a half-hearted tug, and ran shrieking back to the grass.

So we likely thought taunting a bully’s sister was a good idea in the same vein a worm circus is a good idea. It seems to make sense to throw a bunch of worms on a slide on the hottest day in July and leave them be so they could “practice” their circus act, but really it just gets you shriveled or choked by someone much bigger and stronger.

I guess now I will never know the cause of our cantankerous relationship with Bully McMully, but one thing’s for certain.

It is never too late to investigate a church.

A Gift from the Direct Mail Gods

As you know, I received a non-pink pink slip the other day. At first, things seemed bleak, but as the saying goes: “When one door closes, a mailbox opens and in that mailbox is a barely glued flyer containing the most important documents on earth.”

Evidence:

This arrived yesterday. I got the feeling that it was extremely urgent (I’m psychic) so I threw the mail on the table, ate five Reese mini-eggs and flipped through Entertainment Weekly. My heart pounded in anticipation when I remembered nine hours later that I received something important in the mail.

It was like a gift from the gods of direct mail mass marketing. Their names are Bob and Gennifer:

I could win a car or a 3D TV or an iPAD 3 or a Kindle (not a Kindle Fire? Boo!) if I just matched three like symbols. Amazingly I had two of each….what could the center spot be???

This was nearly as thrilling as the four to five chain emails I receive weekly from work colleagues that tell me unspeakable horror will befall me if I do not forward to 10 “lucky” “friends”.  This was almost as exciting as the day I received a paper prayer rug from a post office box calling itself “Saint Matthew’s Church.” The helpful letter told me I could use a placemat bearing Jesus’s face to pray for a car just like Jesus did when he fed the masses at Walmart.

Was my prayer answered?

Bingo.

This is the American Dream, my friends. Why just a mere two days ago, I was adrift.

Now I can go to some random mall parking lot, and insert a key with metal the consistency of a yogurt top, into an American Dream Machine™.

I wonder what it will be?

Could it be this, and then I could have a new profession of delivering prayer rugs and credit card applications to others?

Could it be a hog, and then I could have a legitimate midlife crisis a few years early?

Could it be a real hog?

Will it help me compensate for my unusually tiny penis?

Will it be a gas guzzler?

Will it even be a car??

So much incredibly urgent excitement.

Yes, I may soon be unemployed, but I will have a dope ride to park in the driveway when I stay inside and become the shape of a Reese mini egg due to the constant eating of said eggs.

You can have this too. Simply forward this to 10 friends or else the world will explode.

All the best,

Speaker7

A Pink Slip Isn’t Pink

So you’ve just been handed a letter. You may be confused at first. You thought pink slips were pink. That’s what television has taught you–that, and when you stand up to someone, someone else will inevitably start a slow clap, which builds to thunderous applause.

This slip is white, and it’s not a slip, but just a piece of high-end letterhead. Wait, shouldn’t we use random scraps of paper, preferably used coffee filters and toilet paper toss offs, especially since we are in a budget crunch? Let’s focus. The pinkish-hued white letter slip reads that your employer may not meet be able to meet its contractual obligation for the next school year with regard to your employment. Huh?

You might be fired.

Like this:

Oh, and I just bought a $702 toilet, you say. The man who gave you the letter looks at you strangely. You realize that wasn’t the response you wanted to give even though you did just purchase a $702 toilet.

These are bad economic times, and you are in a profession that many people think is irrelevant because of the Internet, so you knew this was coming. That doesn’t mean that you can’t handle the news with panache.

Here are 10,000 or maybe 6 (it depends on how tired I am and/or how much wine I drink) tips to follow when given a pinkish-hued white letter slip of laid-offness:

  • Try not to throw yourself on the ground and thrash about. This could cause rug burn or floor burn if your floor is sans rug. You might get a staple embedded in your back or someone’s toenail. Toenails fall off at an alarming rate. If you feel compelled to thrash, go outside and roll around in the grass, unless you’re wearing white. Who wears white after Labor Day? When can we wear white? The day before Labor Day, and then never again? So many questions. Look out for dog crap
  • Don’t cry. What are you John Boehner? He cries when he runs out of a tissues, which is hourly, friend. If you feel the tears brimming and the bottom lip shaking, excuse yourself by saying “Oh, I think a bee just flew up my nose” or “I just saw kids running” or “I just heard Danny Boy.” Whatever, just think of something to get you out of the room. “Hey everybody, half-priced toilets at Target! Let’s go!”
  • Sure it sucks, but this is not the time to tell the world what you think of it–that’s reserved for when you are delivering a drunken toast at a wedding. You’re still not technically fired so going through a bullet by bullet list of why the person who gave you the letter sucks bees is not the way to go–unless someone else is around to give the slow clap. Do anything and everything to get the slow clap.
  • Don’t post on Facebook that your boss is Satan. Yes, your boss is Satan but your future Satanic boss will ask you for your password to Facebook.
  • Do buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket. If you win $540 million, you can call anyone Satan.
  • Don’t plan a Twilight wedding and changed your surname to “Cullen”. This has nothing to do with this post, but in general, just don’t do it. The world thanks you.
  • Do use your laidoffness as an excuse to not do anything like cook. We’ve been eating out a lot, and it’s been fantastic.
  • Do plan for the future, e.g., I plan to drink this second glass of wine, cry while watching Dance Moms and pass out.

Slow clap.

Will Work For Job

I have a knack for entering a career at the exact moment that career begins to decline. I worked as a newspaper reporter in a bureau that currently no longer exists. I got out at the right time (after the second buyout and before the first furlough) to start my new career as a school librarian. Right around 2008. Something else happened in 2008….what was it? Hmm.

Oh right, the financial meltdown.

My school district is in a financial hole, my position is unmandated and my administrators (who make 4 to 5 times more than me) think “well, she just reads books to kids, couldn’t a toy monkey clanging cymbals together do that?” (Answer: yes)

So there’s a 110 percent chance I will be laid off the end of this school year.

Now I have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle, one where I can buy food and have shelter. You’re likely thinking “Speaker7, get off your high horse.”

So if I want to continue this lifestyle, I need to start planning for the future. Maybe I’ll open a bookstore, one that also sells CDs.

Don’t worry, I will let you know what I choose the moment I choose it so you can leave that career path immediately before it begins its inevitable decline.

Possible career paths

TV Loudmouth

There is a lot of money to be made in being loud and being on TV. The key is to say something really awful to get someone to pay attention to you, interview you and ask why you say such awful things to which you respond “Typical gotcha question from the liberal media elite.” Possible loudmouth scenario: “Bomb Cameroon! You heard me. Why? They’ve got gorillas. A gorilla once ignored me at the zoo even when I banged as hard as I could on the glass to get her attention away from nursing her baby–which is gross. Breastfeeding is child abuse and if you don’t do it, you are a monster, and if you do do it, you’re no better than a gorilla. What’s my point? My point is women are whores.”

Upside: Crazy uncles parroting my phrases at family gatherings. Coffee mugs with my name on them.

Downside: Having to live with myself.

Haberdasher

Look on any street corner and what do you see? Pawn shops and stores that buy gold. Okay, yes those, but look at some of the other storefronts. Tattoo parlors and furniture rentals. Yes, yes, but keep looking don’t you see that haberdasher shop? No.

Upside: Redemption. In high school, I tried to snag the part of the beloved haberdasher in  The Taming of the Shrew. The part had one line. This was the line: “Here is the cap your worship did bespeak.” I recited the line as if I was the top haberdasher in Verona. I didn’t get the part. The setting is Padua. Completely different haberdasher.

Downside: What is a haberdasher?

Child Star Manager

My 2-year-old son is very cute and game for anything. Me: “Want to go throw pinecones at a tree?” Him: “Yes.” Me: “Want to go throw pinecones at a bush?” Him: “Yes.” I taught him the infamous haberdasher line from The Taming of the Shrew and he totally nailed it.

Upside: Carvel Ice Cream card and other perks.

Downside: I love my son.

Public Librarian

I’ve already got the MLS–seems like a good transition if you discount the reduction in library aid, the zero job openings, and the patrons who only go to the library to look at porn.

Upside: Dewey!

Downside: The public. Cleaning up the public’s bodily fluids.

Paid Blogger

Bwwahhhhhahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahaha!!!!!

Happy Birthday to the Superior Sibling

This blog post is dedicated to my brother who turns 175 today. I like to make cracks about his age because it’s all I really have up on him, the fact that I’m younger.

My brother is smart. I mean he is really, really smart.

This is what he looks like:

The Mona Lisa

smartypants

He’s the kind of smart that people like Sarah Palin hate. She would say something like “Oh so you’re one of those gotcha elitists who like to smear blood libel in the great liberty bell of Paul Revere’s house.  Your kind is just.. um.. is just reprehendiculous.”

You know how there’s only one tenured college professor job for the thousands of people out there looking? Well my brother got that job. He first book of poetry won some big poetry award. I’m not really up on my knowledge of poetry awards, but I think it was something like the Shel Silverstein Ickle Me Tickle Me Award of Excellence. I, on the otherhand, have this published blog. My blog has 9 readers, and I know or am related to about half of them.

Like I mentioned before, I am younger–way, way younger like a little baby duckling or a Courtney Stodden–so I would inevitably get teachers who already had my brother as their student. It would go something like this:

“Oh! You’re ___’s sister! Well then I expect great things from you.” Whoa…hold on. Let’s not all get crazy here. Let’s just calm the #$@! down for a second. Can I put my pencil case in my desk, please? Can I just do that before we all lose our @$&! minds?

As the school year progressed, and their expectations dropped to the lowest pit of despair, they would occasionally reaffirm my relation to my brother. “You’re not adopted, right?”

So okay I’m not as smart as my brother. He got a 1580 on his SATs. I got a *cough* 990 the first time I took the test, but the next time, I studied my little head off. . . and I got a 990.

When I applied for college, my guidance counselor wrote a recommendation that perfectly encapsulated my experience growing up with a much smarter sibling. This was the first sentence: “As a freshman, [Speaker7] was a shy student in the shadow of her brother who was an exceptional student.” She went on to extol his brilliance and the accomplishments of my parents, “pillars of the community.” It was a nicer way of saying “[Speaker7] is pure crap. Maybe her brother or parents can do her classwork for her?”

For the record, I did actually get accepted into a college. I managed to eke out a living as a reporter covering landfills, wheat festivals and crow invasions, and now write a rarely-read blog. It hasn’t been all rainclouds (see: brother’s shadow).

So Happy Birthday brother! You don’t look a day older than 293!