No Man’s Land

Everyone dreads the grocery store before a holiday. Maybe not everyone, but everyone I talk to does. The issue is not Meemaw writing separate checks for all 7 items that she purchased, the issue is the husbands who have taken the week off from work to wear a Guinness shirt that has a hole in the armpit and is about a half a size too small and gym shorts under the guise of “family time.”

And what better way to be with your family than at the supermarket? So come on kids, Aiden, Addaline, Andrew, Anthony, and Arthur, let’s get into our gas guzzling SUV and make a day of it!

I simply cannot believe that all of the husbands in Publix chose today of all days to finally put their foot down and have a say about what kind of yogurt they eat. Men simply have no self-awareness when they enter the doors of a grocery store. All of a sudden they are bombarded with colors and smells and free samples and they cannot cope. It takes careful planning and practice to understand the layout and the flow of a grocery store. This cannot be done 3 days before Christmas.

I actually got caught behind a broad yet short man at the entrance to the dairy aisle with his arms spread wide and his hands like starfish, he was mouthing to his wife at the other end of the aisle, “WHERE?!” Perhaps couples need walkie talkies when they go to a big scary grocery store so that they can communicate about crackers and yogurt without breaking a sweat.

This issue does not stop with Christmas and Thanksgiving. Men can strike without any given notice at the grocery store. Somehow, I don’t even know how, but somehow they can place their cart in the absolute center of an aisle, sideways and wander off. One time some guy did this and when he came back, he came back from another aisle. Carts, my friends, have wheels. I’m pretty sure that’s what makes them carts.

Ok look, if you want to shop, go to a mall. Nobody likes going to the grocery store just to walk around unless you’re in a Judd Apatow film, then maybe. We are all at the grocery store because we need to be. Your family bonding over which bread is the softest is harshing my mellow for the next week. So please, family time is best enjoyed in your own home, much like masturbation.

Lonely Sock

I’d like to personally express my deepest and most sincere condolences for the mens no-show off-brand sock that was discovered without a mate on a cold and wet sidewalk this morning. Losing a mate is the hardest thing that one can live through. The heartbreak of being left behind stings. Perhaps some underclassman was hauling his laundry from one place to another. Surely it was an accident. It had to be, right? Who would throw a perfectly good sock away?  The future of this sock is going to be very different than the future of his mate. Sure, his mate will go on, have other mismatched mates, but the sidewalk sock will leave an indelible impression on the still wanted sock. Sure, they were off-brand, but they were off-brand together. Purchased by some penny-pinching mother in a time of duress. Her baby boy was leaving the nest and then he discards one like it means nothing to him. His mother means nothing to him.

What cruel human being would split up two socks that are clearly made for one another?

My poor, dear sock, I cannot adopt you. You are too broken. On the sidewalk you will remain until perhaps, and hopefully your mate comes looking for you. You were once useful and loved as much as an off-brand sock could be.

Good luck, mens off-brand sock. God speed.

Panel Interview at Benefit City

Hey Mike! Thanks for coming. I know our interview process is just really crazy. This will be the interview where we decide if you’re a good fit. Going from left to right you will see Zack, Mike G., Brad, Zach, Owen, and then myself, Mike M but as you may have noticed the guys just all call me Mikey.

Your last interview, you said your favorite beer is Pabst Blue Ribbon, solid choice. We usually let the new guy choose what’s on tap in the lounge. Since most of the guys we have working here also like PBR, that really worked in favor for you during that interview process. We really feel like you fit well in our culture. Come everyone, let’s walk. You said you were in what fraternity again in college? We have a lot of Kappas here at Benefit City so you may recognize some faces. Watch out for the flying helicopters in the hallways. Oh yeah, the foosball table was donated by Google we try really hard not to let the fact that Larry Page himself assembled it go to our heads.

Women? Yeah no, we don’t hire those. It’s not sexist, our HR team did a study and it proved that women are inferior and we’re the best so we can’t have any team members with uncontrollable bleeding every single month or an individual who could be out for periods of time due to a parasite. Bitches, who needs ‘em?

So you got a computer science degree from an uppity overpriced school in in the southeast? Cool man. We hire most of that school’s CS degree students right when they graduate and then we pay them a butt ton of money to sit in meetings all day.  What do we make? I really don’t know but somehow venture capitalists want to give us money. But it’s cool. Most of the guys on the team where you will be placed are making over $100,000 a year to respond to email and fix typos on websites. Are you still interested? Great! Let’s keep walking!

The reason we haven’t already offered you the position is because we have one final interview. We have these things called Healthy Points here at Benefit City. You can track them on your Apple Watch. You get points by doing physical activity, like running.  Oh this? This is just a storeroom. We call this a trust exercise, come on in. We are going to strip you naked, tape your mouth and put your head in a garbage bag. This is actually how you will meet our CTO.

I know it’s cold, just follow sound of my voice. We are going to round up the rest of the teams and we’re going to put on our sacrificial hoods now. I’ll take the bag off so you can see. Do you see what you have to look forward to?! We’re going to an open soccer field surrounded by woods. Our goal is for you to get away from us, if you do, you win and get the job. If you lose it means that you have been injured and you will be left to bleed out on the field. The one who killed you gets a new BMW.

On my count…1…2…GO!

My Husband’s ADHD

@jaredwsmith used to work together a lot.  When we moved to CHS that kind of stopped, and it really stopped when I went back to school because when I do school work I usually need to be left alone, and I find when Jared is with me and I am trying to do school work he tends to distract me.  Well this was proven true yet again yesterday at Starbucks when he was working on something and I was writing a paper.  I said to myself, sure, we can try working in the same room together again. Why not?

I have been telling Jared that he needs ADHD meds since I met him. I was formally diagnosed ADHD last year but I had been on meds for some time for it.  Now that I am on drugs for it though, I notice his….ADHD-ness more. Here is a list of observations that I had from the 60-ish minutes we spent together at Starbucks:

  • air drumming
  • forced focus and failure
  • ooo! a lady in a purple dress!
  • more air drumming
  • door
  • bouncy leg
  • phone
  • phone
  • phone
  • bouncy body
  • is my phone on?
  • phone
  • air drumming
  • nodding
  • phone
  • bouncy both legs
  • window
  • door
  • *sips coffee*
  • puts cup down pensively
  • adjusts where the cup is on the table with great care
  • window
  • phone
  • drums
  • drumming on the table – we put an end to that real quick
  • air keyboard – like the musical kind. yeah, that’s what I married.
  • door
  • door
  • door
  • phone
  • music
  • phone
  • nodding/”jamming out”
  • “whhhyyyyyy can I noootttt foooocuuusss????” head in hands
  • phone
  • window
  • window
  • window
  • dancing – and pointing at screen? wut?
  • air guitar

Needless to say, we did not stay at Starbucks very long because his distraction made me distracted so neither of us got anything done.

Excuse me?

I found this in my drafts. 6/15/2017.


I am an English major (hear me roar). If you know me, you know that I don’t like spending time on things that don’t directly relate to my goals. My goals do not include any knowledge that I would obtain in a biology sequence. I have legit shit in my life, but most of it I can get through. I came to class with a gnarly cold this semester that took my husband out of work for 2 days. My biology 102 teacher does not know this.

Let me defend myself, this class could be taught online. She sits at her desk and reads from powerpoint slides that we all get ahead of time.  And honestly, its 3:30 – 4:45 every Monday and Wednesday at the campus that is located 0.9mi from the main campus, where I park. And I have 15 minutes between classes.  And then I have to sit in traffic on the way home? *whines*

Here is a brief list of excuses that I have provided my instructor this semester to get an excused absence:

  • I peed my pants – I actually used this twice for this class, I dare you to try to trump incontinence
  • I have a headache
  • I have a migraine
  • I overslept – for a 3:30pm class
  • I am dehydrated
  • Traffic
  • My dad was having surgery
  • My mom got in a car accident
  • My husband is sick
  • My dog is sick — I have 3 dogs, and this imaginary disease is contagious
  • I forgot
  • There was a train and I was afraid that it would take too long to past, so I just went back to the main campus and went home
  • I had a wardrobe malfunction
  • I forgot my laptop at home so I had no way to take notes
  • My group member said we didn’t have class today! Weird!
  • I am having an anxiety attack
  • I threw up
  • I couldn’t find parking
  • My 2012 still-in-warranty Passat broke down…again…
  • I feel like I have a fever which means I may be contagious
  • I have a bladder infection
  • I have a UTI
  • I have cramps
  • My washer/dryer/AC broke down and I have to wait for the guy to come fix it
  • Someone is blocking my driveway and I don’t know who so I can’t get out of my garage
  • I tested positive for a pregnancy test and I didn’t think I was, so I really freaked out and I called my husband at work and he came home then I called my OB/GYN and went in…LONG STORY SHORT! I am not pregnant, but that’s why I missed class today

At midterm, I was still passing and enrolled.  I learned today that I only have to keep making excuses until 4/27, then I can stop feeling guilty about skipping class.

**Written in biology 102 4/8/15**

Addlestone Library

I have this project due at the end of the semester.  Part of the requirement is that we have 7 sources, and 2 have to be physical sources.  We collectively groan and sigh and carry on like 9th graders learning that the cafeteria is serving sloppy joe’s again today.

Being that I am the opposite of a procrastinator, I start my research the day after the we get the assignment, and I find my 2 paper sources. Apparently these sources do not exist at the College of Charleston library and they need to be loaned from another library somewhere in space. Fine.

I get an email, “Dear Stephanie, your book is ready to pick up at Addlestone Library! Hooray! Love, The Book Fairy”

So the friday before fall break, I gleefully skip into the library to get my book so that I can successfully complete my project (early) over fall break.

There is a man at the counter, “Hello Library Man! Please! Assist me on my quest for academic knowledge and procure the book for which I have ordered and was told is currently on the premises!”

Then, Library Man sighs and says the following:

Library Man: “Name?”

scoccaro: “My! Name! Is! Stephanie! Ann! Coccaro! YAY!”

LB: “No, your last name…”

scoccaro: “Coccaro. c-o-c-c-a-r-o. Coccaro.  Used in a sentence: my name is Stephanie Coccaro”

LB: “You have nothing here. Be gone with you now, you’re annoying.”

scoccaro: “But you see, Library Man in the cut off sweatshirt and ponytail, I got an email and it says my book is ready for checkout”

LB: “Look, this is not Macy’s ok?  We don’t go pull books for students.  We are not elves. You need to go back and find the call number and go upstairs and find it yourself. All of you think that we have some magic bank of books and that all we do is go find books for students.  We don’t.

scoccaro: “…I…um…ok..I’m really sorry…”

LB: “What was the name of the book?”

scoccaro: “I don’t remember, something about magic and faustus.  f-a–”

LB: “we have nothing like that here.”

scoccaro: “ok? thanks?”

He was already walking away as I thanked him.

What a fucking prick.

But now I know.  The library is not Macy’s.

Senior Citizens and Coupons

Today is senior citizen day at Publix. Are you surprised? Senior fucking citizen day.

So I never remember senior citizen day at Publix until I am in Publix. I should remember because it’s every Wednesday. Its not until I am through produce that I notice there are a lot of elderly couples at the store and there are a lot of carts left unattended in the middle of aisles with old lady purses in them. It is only until I get to the cereal aisle that I say to myself “motherfuck. Its Wednesday, isn’t it?”

Today I arrived at Publix to buy two things. I bought a bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley and a pint of heavy whipping cream. My total was $4.65.

Checking out is always fun on fucking senior citizen day because senior citizens come in pairs. Apparently when you get old and your faculties start to go you need your life partner with you at all times to pick up the slack. Either that or its like that old people dating site “Our Time” and they feel they spent the last 50 years of their marriage “apart” so now they need to make up for lost time by pissing everyone off around them. I have actually explored this with my mother, she told me, as my father gets older he has gotten more clingy to her and can’t do anything by himself. Maybe it’s the drop in testosterone? Maybe I don’t give a fuck.

I got in checkout lane 10 right behind some wandery woman with a notepad and an open purse. She didn’t have a cart but she was old and old people ask a lot of questions, so I assumed she was going to ask the cashier where the soup aisle was or something. She looks at me, gives me a tight smile and MOUTHS “my husband” and points to some vast space beyond my vision. I walked away.

I got to the next aisle, Rich was checking out a couple of old people and he looked like he was finishing up. Rich is a nice guy, but I really don’t have the patience for him. Yo, fucking….I didn’t go to Publix for two months because of school and Jared was going or I was going to Teeter, I show up during finals week and he hugs me. Like we’re old pals. He bags my fucking groceries. What’s Publix’s motto? The friendly place? Where you can get sexually molested and pay 10% more for groceries? We got fried chicken? I really don’t know.

These people in front of me had two carts. It’s not a holiday, they didn’t have kids around them, what are these two people in their 70’s doing with two carts of groceries? He finishes checking them out. Apparently they had quite the rapport during this transaction because Rich keeps pausing between looking up their bags of green onions and their boxes of Triscuits to tell them jokes. All I want is to pay for my parsley and heavy whipping cream.

The she pulls out a baggie of coupons. I notice that the bagger is still trying to bag all 15 jars of their peanut butter. Rich dutifully scans each, and every one, of their coupons. They saved $17.37. For fucking $17.37, I will dig out the change from my bag and give it to them just to get them out of the store faster.  I understand why the elderly use coupons, fixed incomes et cetera.  But I’m also on a fixed income, its called a salary.

I don’t understand the allure of coupons. I mean, critically, yes, you can essentially pay $0.10 less for a can of hairspray than someone who didn’t spend an hour of their time hunting down the coupon and cutting it out and then remembering when to use said coupon thus pissing everyone off because sometimes the coupons don’t work. Or worse, you have to buy two of the same product in order for the coupon to be valid so you send your spouse or child back to the aisle to pick up another can of hairspray while you smile tightly to the people who already have their shit on the thing and are committed to being in this aisle and say “he’ll be right back.”

Being a small business owner I am constantly doing math. Simple math, relax. For instance, if I charge $100 per hour for my time that means that I am able to bill up to $2400 per day. Sometimes if I don’t take my medication, that actually happens. Let’s say I sleep for 6 hours, mealtime’s equal about 3 hours, 2 hours a day for miscellaneous things, that takes about 11 hours leaving me with 13 billable hours. The hard cost of a Sunday paper is $1.50. But let’s take into account gas and mileage to wherever I am going to buy this paper because I do not have a subscription to the daily newspaper. Let’s say it costs me another $1.50 in gas and mileage to get the paper and that’s if I don’t buy anything else. So we are up to $3. I am going to leave out the snarky comment about the Post and Courier and just say I get my news elsewhere, so the sole purpose of buying this newspaper is for the coupons. I am spending money to be advertised to.

Let’s say it takes me an hour to get through all the ads and cut out all the coupons, that brings my billable hours down from 13 to 12, and lets say round trip to buy the paper was another 30 minutes, so 11.5 hours. Now I have to make my weekly shopping list to accommodate all the coupons I clipped, factor in another hour for that. 10.5 hours.

What if I need to buy multiples of things in order for the coupon to work? The purpose of a coupon is not to make you save money, but it’s a way for you to betray your brand loyalty and try a new product. Do you think Johnson and Johnson really cares enough about you to have you save $0.15 on a bottle of shampoo? They don’t, they want you to try theirs and be utterly convinced that its superior to Proctor and Gamble’s shampoo and you will buy J&J’s shampoo at full price next week. It’s the whole “you have to spend money to make money thing.” Another way that corporations get you to spend more money is by convincing you to “stock up.” It’s why the old people in front of me bought 15 jars of peanut butter. That peanut butter will turn rancid (or they will die) before they eat it all and even if it was $1/jar, that’s $15 out of their pocket and into Publix’s.

Alright, I got my list, I am at the store, taking into account gas and mileage to my Publix, we will factor in another $1.50. The reason I am accounting gas and milage into this budget and not into another budget is because coupons expire, so I am assuming that I will need to make a special trip to the store to use them. Let’s also consider that sometimes not all coupons work at all stores, for the sake of this argument I am assuming that I will only go to Publix, but in reality I may end up at Earth Fare and Harris Teeter as well. Especially since I will only buy meat at Earth Fare or Whole Foods. But that’s for another time.

A lot of times when things are on sale, the shelves go empty and you have to flag someone down and have them look in the back, or give up. Both of these things take time. An average shopping trip for me is about 25 minutes. The reason it is 25 minutes is because I know there are some aisles I don’t go down and I know where the stuff I buy is so there isn’t a lot of wasted time. In the event that I were to use coupons I would have to find the items. So let’s say, for the sake of round numbers and arguments that I am using 15 coupons on my shopping trip for 15 new products I wouldn’t normally buy making my shopping trip 20 minutes longer bringing it to 45 minutes.

Coupons are usually for new products that are more expensive to begin with. For instance, if you usually spend $10 on a package of five razors, and you get a coupon for new razors at $2 off but they are also $10, but there’s only three, you are spending more even though it seems like less. One other way to look at this is that the new razors may have new technology thus making them last longer, so it actually could be a wash.

It’s time to check out, factor in an additional 5-10 minutes for coupons, also there is a lot of fine print, so you may not be able to use some of them anyway.

Where we at?

$4.50 hard cost

And about 3.5 hours billed at $100/hour for a total of $354.50 just to use coupons. Let’s say you save $10 using coupons ignoring that you may have purchased an inferior product or more product than you actually need that you will now have to store, your actual cost is $345.50.

I don’t use coupons not because it makes no sense fiscally but because I can’t get a coupon in the Sunday paper for produce or meat, only flyers which are free at the entrance of the store.

Anyway…Yeah…Senior citizen day.

It’s a small world, after all.

Summer 2007 was an epic summer.  I was house sitting an oceanfront home in Sea Pines on Hilton Head for about 6 months.  Apparently there were cats in the house; I think I saw them once.

Sometime in May, Heather (whose father recently passed away so she took that opportunity to get sleeves tattooed on both arms.  Who knew? She always seemed so stuffy), Teresa (St. Teresa), and myself were on a bike ride and wandered down a road near Teresa’s house and we found a little restaurant with a deck and all they served were sandwiches.  It was right on the water.  So we decided we liked it.  Well, about two weeks later they started serving beer so then we decided we really liked it.

I had a job at an agency on the island where I had just been made sales and marketing director.  When I asked if I could get an increase in my salary, I was told “when pigs fly,” and then I was given a wooden pig with gold wings that you hang from the ceiling.  It’s been in every office I have had since.

At this point in time, Teresa had a dog, and of course I had the Beagle, so we went to the dog park a lot.  One day we saw a girl about our age there putting flowers on the path, so we started talking.  Her name was Jen and her mom had died at the dog park about 4 or 5 months prior.  Apparently some big dogs knocked her down and she hit her head.  She seemed normal and nice, so we invited her to Up The Creek with us that afternoon.

At this point we would spend days at Up The Creek.  It doesn’t hurt that I was sleeping with a guy who worked there.  He would open at 10:00 in the morning so we would get there at 10:00 and start drinking until they closed at 2:00am. His name was Woody.  He was fertile.  At the time he had 3 kids from his ex-wife and he had gotten my friend (acquaintance, I never really liked her) pregnant.  We pretended like nobody knew.  Everybody totally knew what was going on. He has since gotten married (again) and fathered yet another child bringing the grand total of children for Woody (whose last name…I am not sure I ever knew) to 5 from 3 separate women.  My friend now has 2 children from 2 different guys, neither of which she married. I believe this type of lifestyle is called “blended,” or just plain “white trash.” Anyway. I was 22, give me a break.

So Jen becomes part of the pack for the summer.  But she is a little flakey.  I never really gave it too much thought because I was always drunk.

I don’t remember how it came up, but I told her that I wanted to go to Maine and go camping.

Ok, let’s define camping.

Camping for me is driving my very large, very fast Jeep into the woods, walking around, drinking some beer, and then when I am too drunk to be driving, I will drive anyway to the closest Holiday Inn because that is camping.

So she was like “yeah, let’s go!” Thinking the conversation was over, I didn’t give it a second thought.  A few days later she brings it up and tells me that she was going to go to Maine anyway in a couple of weeks if I wanted to go. Being 22 with a large amount of disposable income, I was like “alright!”

I went home and told my dad, who laughed. Then he told my mom and she told me to be careful not to break a nail.

So Jen calls me out of the blue, because she had been MIA for like a week. She calls me and is like “lets go tomorrow.” So, I told my boss I had to go to Maine to get in touch with nature for a week, and he just laughs and tells me to keep my cell phone on and to avoid trying to pet bears.

She shows up at my house and my dad goes out to meet her.  She too drove a jeep, a red one, that like myself, her dad bought for her.  The difference between her Jeep and my Jeep was that she had Red Sox shit everywhere. I have never had any luck with people who like that god awful team. More on this in another post.  Let’s stay focused.

I threw my new, expensive backpack, my 4 new organic cotton Patagonia t-shirts, and my running shoes in the back. FUCK YEAH! Let’s go hiking!

I thought we would alternate driving or like stop or something.  We were making good time, so we would just stop when we felt like it. She tells me that we need to stop in Massachusetts “for some family thing” for a day or whatever, then we would be off to Maine. I was like “okay,” we were already an hour from home, what was I going to say?

As soon as we get on the beltway in DC the sky starts shitting rain.  It didn’t phase her.  It was dark and we were flying through traffic.  At this point, she turns to me and says “oh my god, I forgot my medication.  Its ok though!” I suggested we stop at a Walgreens or something and get a refill. She insisted it was fine, and that bipolar disorder didn’t need medication.

This was before I was diagnosed. I had never met anyone with bipolar before and I didn’t understand it, all I knew is that there was some bitch next to me who is off her meds and driving too fast.

She was telling me about this guy she met in Charleston named Spencer (who worked at Blackbaud) and how they dated and then they broke up but she thought she still had feelings for him.  So around 1am, she calls him. And he answers.  She sobs into the phone about what an idiot she has been and that they should get married.  And he agrees.

That’s when I decided that this was a bad idea.

We drove all night, well she drove, I silently prayed that I would live to see tomorrow.

We arrived at her aunt’s house at like 6am. She promptly went upstairs to crash.  This was Thursday morning. I too, went upstairs to take a nap.  Around 1:00 in the afternoon I woke up and wandered downstairs in search of food.  Her aunt was there and she made me a sandwich.  Then she made me another one because I hadn’t eaten since before we left.

We hung out, watched TV, did whatever.  Then we did whatever some more because by 9:00pm my travel companion was still sleeping. By 10:00 I decided it was time to go to bed for real.

Friday morning, I wake up around 8:00, go back downstairs and her aunt makes me eggs and then we just sort of sit around until noon when Jen decides to wake up. I tell her we ought to be making our way to Maine because I have to go back to work on Tuesday and apparently I just needed to get some fresh air or some bullshit.  She whines, and her aunt tells her we have to go, at least for a day.

So she sucks it up and we go.  Here is a list of things we did in Maine:

  • LL Bean
  • The Burberry Outlet
  • A Micro Brewery

Here is a list of things we did not do in Maine:

  • Visit a National Park
  • Hike
  • Camp

We did, however, stay at a Holiday Inn.  So that is kind of like camping.

We wake up the next morning and she tells me she has a friend in Boston who she wants to see and if I wanted to go.  What am I going to say? Whatever, I said yes.

We are in our hotel room and he shows up.  He looks like a douchebag. I don’t even remember his name, it was like TJ or JT or something.  For the sake of this post, we will refer to him as BJ. He drove a BMW, but like he did stuff to it to make it fast or whatever.  I don’t even know, all I knew is we were driving around Boston at 60 MPH and I was sliding around the backseat.

That’s when they ask me if I have a trust fund. Who asks that?

They decide to be “all up in the club” or some shit.  I don’t do “clubs,” the only “club” I do is a country club. So we go, everyone is dancing and such, except for me. So I go to the bar and order 3 shots of Jack.  I figured if we are going to do this, lets do it right.  Well they don’t like Jack. So I did all 3. The booze was so watered down it had no effect on me.

Da club be closing.  So we left and went back to the hotel.  BJ was too tired to drive home so he crashed.  In Jen’s bed.

I wake up very early naturally, so when I got up around 6am, I silently packed my shit and got in a cab to the airport.  I paid far too much for a ticket from BOS to SAV and I never spoke to her again.

Until today.

I am out getting tacos and she walks in. I didn’t notice her at first, but her outfit was really cute then I saw her face, and I heard her tell the taco man that she was picking up for “Jen.” All of a sudden I got very hot and a little lightheaded.

People are picking up their orders and leaving and I was just hanging out…waiting.  I think she saw me, but how can she recognize me because I was staring at the floor with my sunglasses on?

She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.  She did send me a wedding invitation, and I didn’t respond because I never wanted to see her again.

It’s a small island.


Worst. “Meeting.” Ever.

Let me tell you a story. The story is about a man named Bill and his two friends.

I cannot accurately tell this story without first referencing what a MARTY is. Here is a down and dirty definition of a MARTY: “a MARTY is half party, half meeting. Complete with door prizes and a backdrop in which you can take pictures of yourself in front of hundreds of smiling LegalShield logos. Upon entering your MARTY, you will be given two drink tickets which you will hold on to for dear life and can be exchanged for beer or wine, both of which are a brand that would never cross the threshold of any respectable house. You will then be forced to talk to ‘entrepreneurs’ and alcoholics alike for the defined time of 120 minutes.”

So I’m at this fucking thing and I look like a gazelle on the plain, I was new, mostly sober, and not talking to anyone. That’s when I met Bill. He cornered me against some barstools where interrogated me about what I did and who I did it for. He proceeds to get a twinkle in his eye that says “sweet, a person who knows ‘computers’ and will probably talk to me.” In an effort to not be rude, I listened to him prattle on about LinkedIn and PowerPoint for about 20 minutes. Trapped against the bar, it’s not like I could excuse myself to freshen my drink so I loudly interrupted him stating that I needed another glass of wine. He then watches me turn around to order my drink and then he waits for me to turn back around to finish our one-sided conversation.

The LegalShield zombies were shutting the MARTY down and ushering everyone to the door because the bar had another party coming in (I am assuming there was no mandatory meeting associated with this party) and we needed to leave.

So Bill invites me to lunch to talk about some “work” he may have for us. Being that we were new in town and trying to get re-established, I agreed to meet him at the Holiday Inn some bullshit restaurant with a view.

The blessed day arrives. I’m wearing some semblance of clothing and I arrive early (of course) and he emails me to tell me that he is bringing a posse and he is running late but rest assured, he will be there. Thank god, because he said he would buy lunch.

I ride up in the elevator and decide to wander around and check out this view. It was nice, but the restaurant was filthy, that should have been my first clue.

Then Bill arrives with his fleet of people. He introduces me to the Smuckers Retard and the Guy Who Does Print.

We are seated. The waitress asks what we will have to drink. Bill responds with, “is tea included in the lunch?” The poor waitress says, “no, I’m sorry, it’s not.” Without consulting the rest of the table, Bill announces we will all be having water today. Without lemon.

The two other men grill me on what I do just like Bill, I’m assuming that’s why they are friends. Being that getting grilled is a hobby of mine, I was fine with it then subtly told them to eat a dick. I was already unamused.

The waitress comes back with our tap water and asks if we would like to see a menu. Bill, our leader, tells her that we will all be having the buffet today for lunch.

I don’t do buffets. If I need to eat something that has to be enclosed to protect it from your snot and saliva in the event that you sneeze, I will pass.

So we make our way to the buffet, which has fried chicken and other stuff that appears to be teeming with grease and cooties. I stick with fresh fruit. Fruit that at one time would be considered fresh.

We all get settled back in and Bill pulls out a stack of papers. It’s copies of a For Dummies book on Internet marketing. He brought copies for all of us. He then proceeds to spend the next 45 minutes reading us these pages and not taking questions.

He breaks to get more “food” and in the time he is gone, Smuckers Retard tells me that he is of the “Smuckers family” (he then recites all the brands associated with Smuckers) and that he is trying to raise money to ride his bike…somewhere. It looks like this dude has never rode a bike in his life. I will donate to a cause for him to ride a bicycle anywhere. Really. He also tells me he is a photographer and that he would like to sign me up for his email list in which he sends pictures of fucking whatever and an “inspirational quote” every “morning.” So, being that I am in a small and confined locale with this man-child and I don’t want to make waves, I agree to give him my email with the intention of unsubscribing immediately.

Bill is back. Father Time interrupts what could possibly be round 2 of Internet Marketing for Dummies: a Dramatic Interpretation, to ask me what my hourly rate is for “print design.” I explain to him that we have a blended rate, however we don’t do a lot of print. And that’s the end of that conversation.

Bill opens his mouth to speak again. I interrupt him, sort of, by telling him that I have to be somewhere (like my house. Alone) and that I should be going. He would have heard this if he hadn’t talked over me about some bullshit LinkedIn thing.

I believe this is what he wanted to do: he wanted to “harness the power of LinkedIn” and mass-mail all his connections or friends or whatever, a PowerPoint presentation. What’s in that presentation? One may never know. Also, if LinkedIn did this, there would be so much spam in the world we would all die. Literally, die. I told him that it could not be done, so he rephrased the question, I told him again, it could not be done automatically. He tried to rephrase the question again, like I’m an idiot and missed the first two questions. That’s when I changed the subject.

So I repeated myself that I had do go while standing up. I graciously thanked him for my mushy fruit and cold tap water and left while he was still talking.

This was two years ago. Up until a few months ago I have been trying to get off Smuckers Retards mailing list. He does some kind of BCC thing from his outlook and mass mails everyone without a unsubscribe link. Being that I am an asshole, and from the Internet, I Googled him. I found his phone number. So I emailed him to see if it was current because he wasn’t responding to all my emails about being removed, so I thought I could call him. The next day I was off his mailing list.

Reverse X-Ray Vision

I never wear my glasses during the day.  It is not because my deficient vision is magically healed with the rays of the sun.  It is because of a very real, and very dangerous reason.

Did anyone that did not play a character in the Little Rascals or Sandlot actually light ants on fire as a kid with a magnifying glass?  There are several issues that I have with this, and they don’t all circumvent around animal cruelty. The main issue is where does one find a magnifying glass in 2014? Also, how do children obtain them? It seems like an awfully large waste of money to buy a kid with kid vision a device to make text larger.

Furthermore, nobody really requires magnifying glasses anymore because everything is on a screen, pinch and zoom, motherfucker.

We are getting off track.

I don’t wear my glasses during the day because I don’t want my retinas turning into the ants that may or may not have been murdered in 1957 by Alfalfa.

Think of it like x-ray vision, but in reverse with a side of irrationality and terror.

I understand that in order to fry my retinas like eggs, and pancakes, and bacon, oh, bacon, I would have to look directly into the sun for a period of time. I have looked directly into the sun for a period of time, right after my mother told me not to, and I was fine.  I was not blinded and disfigured permanently, not even temporarily.  I lived, guys.  So armed with this knowledge, I know that I can look into the sun and my brain will not tell me not to. What if I forget that I am wearing my glasses?  Or what if I am driving and the height of my car is not high enough for the visor to block out the deadening rays of the largest star in our solar system because the sun is at the right angle?

This is real.

What if I have to wear really dark sunglasses after I am blinded so that I don’t scare small children? Or like…what if I have to get Dragon Dictate?

I could get prescription sunglasses, but I went through about 10 pairs of sunglasses in the last year alone. I am too irresponsible to have nice things. I could get Lasik, but the whole lasers going into my eyes thing kind of defeats the purpose. Instead I will wax poetic about how afraid of the sun I am.