Tuesday, December 28, 2010


When I started Toolbag Tuesday, I opened with the story of Peter, who put a dead baby shark under our apartment because he was mad at my roommate/his ex-girlfriend, Amy.

I said I’d do another post specifically about him, because life with Peter was absolutely nuts. Nuts to the point that I didn’t give any guy from his hometown a chance because I was convinced that the small South Carolina city must breed nothing but crazies.

Peter and Amy met in high school. They dated for four years, throughout his entire college career while she was still in high school. They did the long-distance thing, a 2-hour drive away, and they broke up and got back together a lot.

Peter really lost it when Amy broke up with him three months into her college career. I lived with Amy at the time, and witnessed the crazy firsthand.

I remember the returning of the stuff, which back then used to be things like CDs and VHS tapes before everything was downloadable.

Peter came over to return some clothes and a handheld back massager from Brookstone. But he also brought a stack of photos they had taken together over the past four years: homecoming pictures, prom pictures, graduation pictures.

He didn’t need to return the pictures to Amy, but he was trying to be hurtful and dramatic.

I heard them shouting outside in the driveway and peeked over the balcony to inspect. I heard him say something like, “have a good LIFE!!!” and I saw him throw all the pictures up in the air at her, so they were floating down on top of her head.

He made it rain with memories, y’all.

Then, he took her back massager and RAN IT ALONG THE SIDE OF HER CAR, making a while line appear, and dropped it on the ground and got in his car and drove off.

Fortunately, Amy was able to rub the white line out of her car. Unfortunately, they continued to hang out/get back together/break up/fight/make up for the next several months, and he wreaked havoc on our house.

I told Amy that the day he broke our door down should have been the last straw.
Yes, Peter BROKE OUR DOOR DOWN. I had a friend visiting me in South Carolina from New Orleans at the time and was very embarrassed.

Of course, we all thought that our house had been broken into and ROBBED when we got home from the bar that night and saw the wood door had a piece carved out of it, à la judo chop.

We didn’t live in too safe of a neighborhood, so it wouldn’t have been entirely surprising that our house was broken into.

As we instructed the only male with us to go in first and look around, with a crowbar, our neighbor came over looking distraught.

“Hey, the guy that broke your door was tall with dark hair and drove a pickup truck,” he said.


“He kept screaming ‘Amy, Amy!’ and I didn’t want to call the cops because I figured he was your boyfriend or something.”

We looked at Amy, who would always say, “That couldn’t have been Peter.”

“Well,” the neighbor said. “The pick-up truck had a construction company logo on the side of it.

Peter’s dad’s company.

“YOU BEAT OUR DOOR DOWN??” Amy yelled at Peter when she called his phone.
“Noooo, I wasn’t even downtown tonight,” Peter said.



Amy had to call Peter’s mother to tell her the story so he would come over and repair the door. (The landlord was fine with that arrangement).

His mother profusely apologized and sent us an “I’m sorry” bouquet of roses, which made me think it wasn't the first time Amy had to call her.

Peter and his buddies spent the next four days replacing the door, and the four of us who lived in the apartment became increasingly infuriated having to step over them and their beer cans on our way to class.

The day the door was completed, we found a handwritten note on looseleaf paper next to the bouquet:

Dear ladies,

I’m sorry about my blatant disregard for your property and privacy.



No one ever ID’d Peter for putting a dead baby shark under our house almost a year later (Amy dismissed the idea), but we all knew it was him because he was that crazy.

And, since we still needed to get even with him for beating our door down anyway, we decided to blatantly disregard his property and privacy.
With dog shit.

Peter had recently moved into an apartment two blocks away from us, which was absolutely intentional.

One day, as one of our roommates walked her dog, she picked up his droppings in a plastic bag and walked the few blocks to Peter's car that was always unlocked with the windows down.

She smeared the poop all over his cushioned seat and on the window.

We figured it couldn’t smell any worse than the rotting shark.

I don’t remember a backlash from Peter for that deviant act, no angry door-banging, no accusations from Amy about it.
Perhaps Peter has enough enemies with dogs that he wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint it on us.

Which is good, because I wouldn’t want him calling my mother to make me clean it up.


Saturday, December 25, 2010


When my twin sister, Joy, and I bought a house in South Carolina, our parents and brother started a tradition of driving from New Orleans and flying from Los Angeles (respectively) to visit us for Christmas.

This turned out a very dysfunctional and forced lesson for us about how to be grown ups and host and make a scrumptious dinner for five.

Our first year as hosts didn’t pan out well (no pun intended) because we didn’t shop for food until Christmas day. Seriously. I don’t know what we were thinking.
We were genuinely surprised that all the major grocery stores were closed.

Thank God there is a small, yet well-appointed 24-hour grocery store on the beach near our house that never closes. We bought up its entire produce in 15 minutes at 10a.m.

I had already bought the turkey, and felt accomplished. It was sitting cold and naked in the bottom shelf of the fridge with its legs tied together with string.

Neither Joy nor I had considered that we needed to get food for side dishes before Christmas morning.
Joy also needed to figure out what SHE was going to eat as her main course because she’s a vegetarian and hates eating animals, and she especially hates when animals’ legs are tied together.

One year, my mom got Joy a TOFUrkey from Whole Foods, which was made of soy and we all agreed it looked greasy and odd and Joy pushed it around her plate and doubled up on mashed potatoes instead.

“I don’t like it when it LOOKS like an animal,” Joy said. “It’s disgusting.”

The next year, mom got her a “Field meatloaf” from Whole Foods, which was pretty much a brick of buckwheat.

“CARDBOARD!” Joy declared. It had the same fate as the TOFUrkey.

Yet, as we frantically ran around the beach grocery store, specialized vegetarian dishes were the least of our problems. We had to figure out what we were going to do with just five potatoes the grocery store had left, and most of the five were all wonky and mis-shaped.

“BROCCOLI! WHAT ABOUT BROCCOLI??” We yelled to each other, looking in our baskets at the colors of the food already represented. (Our mom told us there should always be something green in every meal).

Wine! Canned cranberries! Butter!
We spent close to $100 that morning (F.Y.I. no one usually spends more than a case of beer and cigarettes $20 at that place). Because we spent so much, we were entered to win a drawing for $50 worth of groceries.

“Good luck,” the cashier said as we left, and I don’t know if he was talking about the drawing or us assembling a meal with the food we just bought.

Joy and I high-tailed it back to our house and had our brother, Franklin, come over and we (plus Google) got the turkey dressed and in the oven and boiled potatoes while Joy put up Christmas decorations and cleared off the dining room table.

Joy and I kept getting irritated with one another, because that’s what twins (couples) do when they live together and get stressed out.


I sulked as I buttered day-old bread, while Franklin peered into the oven to check on the turkey, pouring chicken broth over it. Our parents were set to arrive in fifteen minutes.

“Those tied-up legs are HORRIBLE!” Joy said.

Our freak-out wasn’t necessary because our parents aren’t the fancy types that would turn their noses up at a NON-TABLECLOTHED TABLE or anything.
I think we just realized the responsibility of being hosts WAY too late and really wanted to make up for it in the thirteenth hour. (This is what procrastinators do).

Our parents arrived right on time and made very nice comments about how it smelled great, and we tried to keep them in the living room so they wouldn’t see how little food we had to serve.

We were waiting for a Christmas miracle, like when Jesus turned the fish and loaves of bread into…way more fish and bread.

My dad dropped wrapped presents under our under-decorated tree and then picked up a non-descript plastic bag and said he was going to go to the kitchen.

“UM…why are you going in there dad?” we asked. “What do you need? The bread is already buttered, if that’s what you were wondering.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he told us and we followed him into the kitchen. It was then when we saw the Christmas miracle we were waiting for.

He pulled out a pan from the cupboard and poured some oil into it. (He politely ignored the wonky potatoes on the stove, looking dry.)

“What are you doing??” we asked again. “We don’t have anything else to cook.”
He gave us a “don’t worry about it” stare and pulled out of the plastic bag an entire bag of fresh, large Louisiana shrimp.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” we shrieked. “Where did you get that???”
“I drove it up here, on ice,” my dad said. “Now do you have any crab boil?”
Being native New Orleanians, we did. And Tony C’s.

Our dad whipped up a shrimp and onion dish that was better than anything they serve at Acme Oyster House and it became the most delicious appetizer, and main meal for Joy.

In fact, it was so filling that by the time all the rest of the food was eaten and our Duncan Hines boxed cake was iced, everyone was too stuffed to even eat a piece.
“Well, here’s to a successful first Christmas in your house,” my mom toasted at the end of the meal.

Joy and I were friends again and that point, and said, yes, well, it was totally not a big deal. Franklin rolled his eyes.

The turning-a-little-food-into-more-food theme continued throughout the holiday, when we got a call saying that OUR NAME WAS PICKED FOR THE $50 GROCERY GIVEAWAY.

JESUS CHRIST!” we shrieked.

We redeemed the $50 the following week. We didn’t buy potatoes.

Merry Christmas, y’all.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

26 things you didn’t know about me

My twin sister, Joy, got me an US Weekly subscription for Christmas last year (best present ever!!!) and there’s this feature where they have celebrities write out “25 things you don’t know about me” lists and sometimes you learn things like how Nicole Kidman “gets the best sleep on planes” or that Kristen Davis has been off the sauce for 10 years.

Today, I’m going to list 26 things you didn’t know about me, because the "25 things" is totally US Weekly's deal and, more importantly, I can’t edit the list down anymore.

1.) I could literally watch the TV show The Office all day every day on repeat and still be entertained.

2.) I have a freckle on my right big toe and when I bend it, it looks like an elephant with a freckle eye.

3.) My college graduation was the best day of my life.

4.) Think about someone you know who is horrible at directions. I’m worse.

5.) If I ever have a daughter, I will name her Joy.

6.) My favorite beers come in green bottles

7.) I had a pet box turtle when I was little, and he ran away. His name was Roadrunner.

8.) I am fascinated by trains, yet have never ridden on one.

9.) I have distinct memories from pre-school, I don’t know if that’s normal.

10.) My favorite color is light grass green.

11.) I get really nervous when my car gas light comes on.

12.) I’m allergic to mushrooms.

13.) Almost every relationship I’ve been in has been long-distance at some point.

14.) My mom really hates Toolbag Tuesday

15.) I could have been a collegiate gymnast had I wanted it more.

16.) I was bitten in the face by a yellow lab when I was six.

17.) My childhood best friend who I haven’t seen in a decade told me this year over dinner that I’d always pretend to be the newspaper reporter when we’d play.

18.) My older brother told me when I was five years old that Santa Claus didn’t exist and I was truly devastated.

19.) For two years, Joy and I told our mom that our tattoos were Henna…and that we kept getting them redone.

20.) I’m a world champion jumproper. My elementary school team won fifth place in the 1994 Junior World Olympics. Joy and I did back flips into double dutch ropes and the finale included us jumproping on our butts. (I can — and still do — this trick at parties)

21.) I want to see a whale in the wild and travel to Canada before I die.

22.) I think Amsterdam is the most beautiful city I have ever been and actually looked into how I could live there permanently. (FYI: You have to prove to the government that you can provide a service that no Amsterdam-born person can provide…like make a good falafel).

23.) I think Folly Beach, SC, is paradise

24.) I am really good at naming cats. Shout out to Spinach and Marbles wherever you are.

25.) I am genuinely surprised that I made it this far in life with all ten fingers and ten toes still intact.

26.) I needed to get stitches in Tennessee on a family trip and the hospital wouldn’t take me because I am not an Indian, and we were on a reservation.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A week before Christmas several years ago, I was out with my best friend Holly doing some shopping when she got a text message from her boyfriend, Brian.

She read it, confused.“What?” she asked aloud. “Brian just texted me ‘Craig T. Nelson.’ What does that mean?”

“The guy from that TV show ‘Coach???’” I asked.

Holly’s high-pitched screams pierced the quiet in Barnes & Noble all the way to the self-help section.

“I knew he was going to get me a Coach purse!!!!” she squealed, as employees gave us a stern look. “Oh my God!!”

“Craig T. Nelson was also in Troop Beverly Hills,” I pointed out, quietly. “Kuuumbaya my Lord…”

Brian and Holly went out for six months after college. He was a cute bartender and (seemingly) loved to buy her things like jewelry, roses and dinner.

They took a winter trip together to the mountains around Thanksgiving and walked around a big, fancy shopping center where Holly saw her dream purse.

She put her hands and eyes up to the glass of the Coach store. It was leather, it was blue and it was…very Craig T. Nelson. It was also several hundred dollars.

“It’s in my hall closet right now,” Brian responded to Holly’s “REALLY REALLY???” text.

Holly was thrilled by the news. She had bought him equally extravagant items as well, practically buying out Banana Republic’s entire men’s collection.

I guess if you like someone enough, you have no problem dropping hundreds and hundreds of dollars on gifts for them.
But it turns out Brian did have a problem with the fact that he spent $300 on a purse.

He really had everyone fooled since he seemed to be so excited about the gift — remembering she wanted it, buying it well in advance of Christmas, even thinking of a riddle via text message to let her know he bought it.

You’d never think he’d throw it back in her face before the Christmas break was over. But that’s what holiday whiskey will do to a person.
(Maybe he just didn’t like the sweaters Holly bought him.)

They exchanged gifts on Christmas day and the purse was PURRFECT, and all was right with the world.

Two days later, however, Brian was singing a different tune, and it wasn’t a Christmas carol.
It was more along the lines of buyer’s remorse.


“It’s not ridiculous if it’s a nice, leather purse,” Holly said. “Why are you bringing this up NOW?”

“I jusss thought about it,” he said. “I don’t see why I had to get you something so expensssive.”

“You didn’t have to,” Holly said. “I didn’t ask you to, we were WINDOW shopping.”

“You just want to be treated like a PRINCESS,” he said, pouring more whiskey. “Do you even KNOW that in most cultures, PRINCESSES are treated like dirt?? They don’t get ANYTHING.”

Holly stared at him.
“What are you talking about?” she said. “Do you want to take the purse back? Is that what you want?”

“NOOOOO!” he shouted. “I want…to KNOW…why your HOUSE smells like a department store.” He picked up a scented candle off the table and sniffed it.

“What? What’s wrong with a house smelling like a department store? Department stores smell good.”


He kept repeating that line over and over.
(He was also wearing one of the sweaters Holly bought him for Christmas.)

Holly said she told him he was crazy and confusing her, and that she was going to bed and he was welcome to sleep on the couch because he probably shouldn’t drive.

(Before turning in for the night, she hid the whiskey and the purse) haha

Holly decided that maybe some princesses are treated like dirt, but she wasn't one of them. And, there was nothing wrong with anyone's house smelling like a department store.

She ended things with Brian right after the New Year, and never wished for Craig T. Nelson for Christmas ever again.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Landlords and high heels

Every morning this week, I’ve woken up and angrily flipped the bird at my ceiling with a tight-lipped frown on my face.

The “F you” is intended for the girl that lives above me, who wakes up at an infuriatingly early hour CLOMP CLOMP CLOMPing around the room above my head.

I have an extremely hard time getting up in the morning as it is, and thou hath no fury like getting woken up by CLOMPING 15 minutes before my alarm goes off.

She doesn’t just walk around the room. She messes with something in the corner, maybe a chest of drawers because it shakes and rattles, and holy shit I wish it was an anvil, and I wish it would fall on her head.

I haven’t met this girl yet, but I’m considering slipping her an Ambien, at least on the weekends, so I can sleep until noon the way I like it.
Perhaps I can put them in some neighborly brownies or something.

Aside from her PACING around the room every morning, I love my New Orleans apartment.
It’s in a safe neighborhood by the bayou, it has a dishwasher AND a clothes washer and dryer and the best part is the landlord isn’t bat shit crazy.

This is the fifth apartment I’ve lived in, and in my experience, bat shit crazy landlords are more common than not.

When my twin sister, Joy, moved to South Carolina after Hurricane Katrina, we rented an adorable apartment but the landlord was completely off her rocker.

She even admitted she was nuts, and blamed it on the medication she was taking for her arthritis.
We didn’t care; the apartment was in a perfect location, ridiculously cheap and it was only month-to-month. SCORE.

I remember sitting in the landlord’s front room at long table, before knowing she was crazy. She gave me and Joy the once-over and asked us a ton of questions that were supposed to prove we were responsible tenants. She had a big beehive and talked about Jesus a lot.

Even though the apartment was rented month-to-month, we were still given a lease agreement to sign with about 25 rules we were forbidden to break.
Rules? we wondered. Rules, like, no subleasing perhaps? No pets?

We scanned the sheet. There were no rules about pets.

Rule number 1, seriously, RULE NUMBER ONE WAS: don’t flush baby diapers down the toilet.


“Oh, Mrs. Thestakis,” I said. “Neither one of us has children.”

“Well I know THAT, dear,” she said, annoyed. “But when your friends with babies come over…you tell them they can NOT flush the diapers down the toilet.”


“Um, sure,” we said. “No problem.”

It became clear after reading the 25-point list that the list wasn’t general rules as much as a list of specific things that must have happened with tenants over the years that she wanted to make sure never happened again, even if they were a one-time thing and bizarre.

Rule 6: When you put potted plants on the floor, put a plate under it. (We didn’t have any plants).

Rule 11: When leaving a message with a question or concern about the apartment, you MUST leave your contact phone number. (We had to agree to this by initialing it at the top).

Rule 23: Do NOT use a Foreman Grill on the floor. (Haha)

Once we signed off on the list of “rules” with quizzical looks, Ms. Thestakis told us she was paying the water bill. Joy and I mentally high-fived, until we heard her reasoning.

“Because, I know just how much water two people use and if the meter is too high for your unit, I’ll know you have a third person living with you.”

“OK, great,” we said, realizing that responding to the accusation would be fruitless.

Ms. Thestakis would show up at the apartment about once a month, piddle around the four-unit building perimeter complaining to her hired “handyman” about all sorts of things, including the fact that her arthritis is bad and her medication is so strong and no one understands her.

My boyfriend at the time even got her wrath.

He had just walked out the front door going to his car when he said “some lady with a beehive” stopped him on the sidewalk and asked him who he was.

He told her he was my boyfriend, but that still didn’t stop Ms. Thestakis from embarrassing me.

“Are you using the shower young man?” she asked him. “Are you doing laundry? Because I pay the water bill you know.”

“No, ma’am, I think I just flushed the toilet once or twice,” he said, with his sweetest South Carolina accent, mocking her.

“Well, OK then,” she said. “You may go.”

Ms. Thestakis was quite frugal, and had a hard time agreeing to do anything that required money.
One night, someone knocked on our door and we weren’t expecting anyone. Joy and I nervously peered out of the front window but it was so dark and rainy, we couldn’t see anything.

We asked who it was, but got no answer, and then got scared and took our cat and hid in the back bedroom for the rest of the night.

“We really need a light for the front stoop,” I told Ms. Thestakis the next day. “It’s a safety thing.”

She loudly sighed into the phone.

“This is why I don’t like renting to girls,” she said.

We bothered both her and the handyman about putting in the light for a few weeks and one day it was finally installed.

“Don’t break it!” she told us. I could envision another rule being added to the list.

When Joy and I bought a house together a year later and moved out, we called Ms. Thestakis to say we’d be out by the end of the month (and we left our phone number).

She called back on the 5th, and we told her again, that we were moving out.

A friend of ours who was in medical school wanted to move in right after us, so we told Ms. Thestakis she didn’t have to worry about finding a new tenant. (We warned our friend about the rule sheet).

MAN WE ARE SO NICE, I thought.

…which is why I was especially furious when we only got half our deposit money back the next month.

“WHAT THE---!” I yelled when I looked at the check and called her immediately.

“Ms. Thestakis, this is only HALF of what we were supposed to get back from you,” I said.

“Oh, yes, well you didn’t tell me that you were moving out until the 5th of the month, and I require a full 30 day notice.”

“WE CALLED YOU ON THE FIRST!” I said sternly. “It took YOU five days to call back! And what does it matter anyway, we found you a person to move in the following month!”

She said she’d have to talk to her husband about this, and that she couldn’t deal with any “drama” right now because her arthritis was acting up.

I sent her a hand-written letter outlining all our points about why we absolutely deserve to get our deposit in full. (Also: we need closing cost money Ms. Thestakis!!!!!!)

A week later, we received a check for the difference, and she left me a long, sigh-heavy voicemail about how MR. Thestakis was the one who agreed to this.

She was the last landlord I’ve had, and this was in 2006. My current apartment, that I moved into in November, is the first time in four years I’ve had a landlord.

I was worried about dealing with a Ms. Thestakis lookalike. My concerns weren’t helped by the fact that my roommate and I were looking for places to live on Craig’s List.

Craig’s List? That fly by night website??? With its “BEWARE OF SCAMS” disclaimer???

But, the landlord was very nice and quickly responded over email and phone. She said she owns 17 properties in the neighborhood, and didn’t mention having arthritis.

We signed a year lease and even got to move in a week early.

And I love it, except for the CLOMP CLOMP CLOMPing before 8 a.m.

I am currently debating how to fix this.
So far, flipping the bird at the ceiling has done nothing to stop it.

I can’t very well tell her not to walk around her apartment, I can just see the conversation now: “Excuse me, can you please stay OUT of your front room until the sun is all the way up? Thanks.”

No, I have to do something more creative. Like break all her high heels. Or install wall-to-wall carpeting when she’s at work.

Maybe I can flush a diaper down her toilet and hope she gets evicted.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Oh, Facebook.
Such a wonderful outlet to catch toolbags being toolbags.

Back in the 90s, it used to be that if you were to catch your guy with another girl or being dumb, it was through multiple avenues, a lot of he said, she said.

To quote my favorite movie in the whole world, Friday:

Joi: Who the f*ck you go to the show with last night?

Craig: I didn't go to the show last night.

Joi: You ain't got to liiiiie Craig, you ain't got to liiiiie...

Craig: Ain't nobody lyin, I didn't go to the show.

Joi: Yes you did. Cause my sister-in-law's baby cousin Tracy. She told me that she saw you at the show all hugged up with some tramp. Now tell me whoooo she was.

Today, you don’t need your sister-in-law’s baby cousin. You can just go on Facebook to see that the guy who stood you up for happy hour drinks “checked in” at a bowling alley with “@Amanda.”

Joi: Oh helllllll naw, who the f*ck is that bi*ch?

…said my friend Leslie to me on the phone last month. She was drunk at happy hour with an emergency girlfriend who met her last minute.

“Wait, so, you NEVER heard from Jeremy?” I asked her.

“NO!” she screamed. “He said we’d meet at this brewery at five-thirty and he never showed up and I’ve been texting him. And I just checked Facebook on my phone and he’s bowling. With Amanda.”

I could almost hear his Friday-esque response: Quit trippin, that’s just Debbie from down the street.

Amanda, however, wasn’t from down the street. She was his new lady.

“Never be single!” Leslie wailed “MEN ARE SCUM.”

Leslie’s case probably isn’t the worst one you’ve ever heard about Facebook outing someone for being a liar or a loser or a creep.

There are probably hundreds and hundreds of websites about Facebook calling someone out. The interwebs never lies!!

My friend’s daughter found out that her boyfriend wanted to break up when he removed the “in a relationship with..” thing on his page. She got an email about it.
"Peter is no longer listed as being in a relationship with you. Thanks for playing."

But they were in high school.

We’re supposed to be more grown up than that, right?

Not Charlie.

My friend Gwen was in a six-month long-distance relationship with Charlie (don’t do it kids!) and hadn’t heard from him in a week.
No text, no calls, no surprise four-hour drive to see her for the weekend.

“Um, hello?” she texted. “Are you OK? Are you in jail?”
Then she became worried. Emails went unanswered, his phone went straight to voicemail. She even called his friends to see if he was OK.

“Haven’t seen him,” a friend replied.

Gwen didn’t have to wait long to see him. Before even hearing from him, she saw him — on Facebook — tagged in an album of a friend she didn’t know.
The pictures were date stamped that weekend, and Charlie was drunk, doing keg stands and smoking a bong.
Idiot. You gotta privacy that shit.

Gwen promptly ended their relationship, both on Facebook and in real life.

Charlie didn’t even know that Gwen had seen the incriminating pictures, because his response to her “it’s over” text was, “I’ve been so freaked out about how much I like you that I needed some time to sort out my feelings.”


Ain't nobody playin but you.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Small easy

A few months ago, my friend and I were at a bar on Frenchman Street in New Orleans, and didn’t have cash to pay the cover charge.

It was OK; it turns out the bouncer and I WENT TO SUMMER CAMP TOGETHER and he remembered me.

“SEBASTIAN?!?!?!?!” I screamed and gave him a big hug. He got us in for free.

I haven’t lived in New Orleans in ten years, since high school, and I was nervous when I moved back home four months ago because I left a ton of friends, and my twin sister, back in South Carolina.

“I’ve got, like, TWO friends in the city!” I wailed.

That’s not true. I see people from the past wherever I go.

It's partly because my brother, twin sister and I did a lot of things growing up in the city. We went to several schools, played on several teams, and, clearly made an impression at summer camp.

It’s helpful that I look the exact same as I did when I was in high school. Having a twin sister is also nice because the number of people that recognize me has doubled. And I don’t mind pretending to be Joy.

I’m equal parts impressed and grateful with people’s memory and face recognition skills, because I felt really lonely when I first moved here (Still do sometimes, life ain't peachy all the time). But, I have enjoyed playing the memory game:

One night, when I was out dancing, I ran into my friend from middle school’s little sister, who strangely enough, is now old enough to drink.

Another friend from middle school works in my building, I see her in the elevator on the ride to my office.
I also ran into her at a restaurant the other weekend, and we chatted while waiting for a table with our dates.

At a wedding I went to with my former boyfriend, I met his co-worker’s fiancé, a girl I used to do gymnastics with. Her name is also Jenny.

At an event at the park, the girl giving out wristbands was my best friend from elementary school, and we reminisced about how our social studies fair project about Cuban refugees made it all the way to the state finals, y’all.

And the other night, I went to a neighborhood bar and saw my old high school swimming coach. He bought me a shot.

I’m starting to see a (drinking) pattern.

At another wedding, I randomly saw a friend from high school who’s brother was the best man. We caught up the whole reception, I think she even taught me the dance for a Lil Wayne song.

For the newspaper I work at, I had to talk to a public relations person, who happened to have been on the high school newspaper staff with me.
“Yea, I totally stuck with the newspaper thing,” I told her. “How funny!!”

Speaking of high school, I’ve rekindled my Catholic High School friendships big time. My roommate is a friend from high school who I haven’t seen since our five-year reunion, five years ago. And she’s awesome.

She keeps up with more friends from high school than I do, girls I also haven’t seen in five years. I ate fondue with them the other night. Effing delicious.

Last Saturday night, my roommate and I hung out with the guy who was my HIGH SCHOOL WINTER FORMAL DATE, who randomly hung out with us all night long. All we needed was some corsages and boutonnieres.

At a Saints game, a friend who went to a different high school and her boyfriend coincidentally had seats right across the aisle from me. WHO DAT!

Another odd connection: A guy on my kickball team was the second person my twin sister ever kissed. (He called me Joy for the first two games.)

Speaking of second kisses…seriously this happened…I was a wingman for a friend of mine, and the guy I was stuck talking to was the second guy I ever kissed.

“No effing way,” I said.
“Didn’t we used to make out in middle school?” he asked me.
I was suddenly embarassed.
“I think that was my sister,” I said. Haha

Two weeks ago, I ordered a second beer from a bar and told the bartender my last name so he could put it on my tab. He said he already knew who I was.

“We went to elementary school together,” he said. “And, I work at the pharmacy near your house and get your parents their prescriptions.”

“Of course,” I said.

Small Easy. Gotta love it.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go finish some work because I need to get out of here on time so I can go to a Christmas party tonight…with a friend who I used to swing dance with in high school.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I can never remember which historical figure declared, “I can not tell a lie” and admitted he chopped down the apple tree or the cherry tree or whatever.
Was it Abraham Lincoln? George Washington? George Washington Carver??

Well, whoever said it probably lied again in his lifetime.

Everyone lies, right? I've written about toolbag liars before.
I'm not talking about little white lies, like when you say you’re on your way but really, you’re really running ten minutes late, or telling the server that the beet and goat cheese pizza was good when it was…NOT.

Elliott was a liar and he didn’t just tell little white lies. He was an amazing liar, and would tell the most ridiculous, asinine stories I’ve ever heard.

How did I know Elliott was lying? Because in these stories, he developed super powers.
Like the ability to breathe underwater.

I was over at his house with one of my college roommates, who he had a huge crush on. We were sitting around watching TV when he casually mentioned that he was surfing on the South Carolina coast and got sucked under a big wave, maaan.

He said it was totally scary and the waves kept crashing over him and crashing over him and he was underwater for FOUR MINUTES before he was able to surface.

“You can hold your breath for four minutes?” asked my roommate. (She was a biology major.)

“No, I didn’t hold my breath,” he said, annoyed. “I took in little sips of water and used that for oxygen.”

We both gave him a quizzical look.

“Um, Elliott, you’re not a FISH, you can’t turn water into usable oxygen to breathe,” she said. “You don’t have gills.”

(Biology snap.)

“Yes I did!” he exclaimed. “I totally did, I’m not going to argue about it anymore!!!”

We sat there starting at the TV, awkward, and then I remembered a story Elliott told where he was in a car accident and flipped his car and calmly got out and turned the car rightside up by himself, with just his bare hands, and continued on his road trip to Florida.

"YOU'RE SO STRONG, ELLIOTT!" I'm sure he wanted me to say. I used the word "crazy" instead.

We decided to leave Elliott's house during the next commercial break and caught him in another lie on the way out the door.

He spent the first part of our visit talking about how his brother died and nobody knows why or how he just disappeared total conspiracy theory, and then we saw a letter addressed to his brother, stamped, on Elliott’s front table next to the electric bill and cable bill.

“Isn’t Gary your brother?” my roommate asked. “Why do you have a letter going out to him? In San Diego? You said he lived in Florida.”

“I can’t find the strength to throw it away,” Elliott said from the couch.

We found out later from a mutual friend that Elliott’s brother was alive and well IN SAN DIEGO and WTF is wrong with Elliott??? He has a problem. No one called him again.

I thought about Elliott yesterday when my friend Alyssa told me about an amazing liar she dated.

He was a doorman at a bar in the French Quarter but somehow had a huge, loft apartment and two expensive cars and never explained it.

He told her he had three brain aneurysms, and that he was lucky to be alive, and that she was lucky to be dating him.

“I feel like if he had three brain aneurysms he’d be dead, or at least not be able to drink alcohol,” Alyssa thought. She considered that he had lied to get sympathy.

Joe called Alyssa from his cell phone one night out of the blue and told her he was in London, at a “pub” with his friends.

“What?? When did you decide to go to London?” she asked. They had hung out two days before, and he didn’t mention it.

“Oh, you know, just spur of the moment,” he said. He said he was pretty drunk and hung up quickly. Then he called her the next day.

“I’m back!” he said.

Alyssa googled “world clock” and did the math. If he had really been in London, he would have called her at 7 a.m. his time, and it sounded like he was at a loud, crowded bar. Like one in the French Quarter. At midnight.

“Do you really expect me to believe you were in London last night and are back today?” Alyssa asked. “That 8 hour flight went by really, really fast then?”

He laughed and then said he had to go, and their relationship collapsed, much like a brain artery…during a brain aneurysm.

Or one’s lungs if they try to hold their breath for FOUR minutes.

George Washington would be so disappointed.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

She’s so cold

My dislike for cold weather is aggravated by my lack of proper winter clothes.

As a New Orleans native and former resident of the South Carolina coast, fur-lined boots, puffy jackets and socks aren’t a necessity as much as fashion statement, and those types of items bought at Marshall's have little to no warming powers.

Of course, quality doesn’t really matter when it never gets colder than say, 30 degrees, and when it’s that cold, I don’t leave the house.

I used to think Patagonia and North Face jackets were for the rich and name-conscious — the Louis Vuitton of outerwear, if you will — and never thought that something actually made for cold weather would make a difference in body temperature.

But, when I visited a friend in Boone, North Carolina in college, IN THE MOUNTAINS, Y’ALL, PEOPLE REALLY LIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS!!!, I was so cold, I couldn’t think.

It was such a traumatizing chill, an annoying bite all over every inch of exposed skin, I’ll never, ever forget it. And this was in the fall.

My feet were cold, my face was cold, my arms were cold. My three layers and Marshall’s “fleece” sweater, were pathetic.

I tried to enjoy staring at the fall colors of the leaves changing and peering over RAVINES down into GORGES, but I couldn’t stop shaking.

“Can we pleeease go back to the car??” I asked, stamping my feet to get blood flowing.

“Here, put this on,” said my friend, Jason, who lived in Boone and had an extra Patagonia fleece in his car.

I didn’t argue. The minute I put one arm into it, I felt at least 10 degrees warmer. I zipped the Patagonia up completely and was able to keep my short arms and hands completely inside the long sleeves.

I stared at Jason, wide-eyed.
“This is the warmest thing I’ve ever worn in my entire life,” I said. "Thank you. Thank you, I think you saved my life."

And that’s when I discovered the need for a good sweater, one that’s not on the sale rack for $9.99, no matter how cute the buttons are.

I learned about another cold-weather necessity when I studied abroad in Spain during college: Boots.

Not cute, knee-high boots that you wear over (Marshall's) skinny jeans with your striped "fleece." I’m talking about boots that you wear because OH MY GOD it’s below freezing outside and tennis shoes don’t cut it.

Who knew that tennis shoes weren’t warm?

The Nike’s that I tried to pass off as winter shoes in Spain literally felt like they had big, gaping holes in the toes, and with each step I took, more cold air would blow THROUGH them up to my ankles.

I’ll never forget that freezing feeling either.

“Necesita zapatos otros,” my Spanish “mom” told me when she saw my dirty tennis shoes and saw me shaking at the kitchen table one day.

She wrote down the name of a store in town and instructed me to get some “botas.”

“Botas? Ya tengo botas!” I told her. I ran and got my boots out of my bedroom (the ones that I wear over my Marshall’s skinny jeans) with a chunky heel that was most impractical on the stone and brick streets and sidewalks.

She shook her head and frowned.

The next day, I went to the store she suggested and found these tall, light brown suede boots, practical AND cute, and they became my first legit pair of warm footwear.

(Sure, they were way too big because I didn’t want to let the shoe salesman down because he kept saying “Perfecto! Perfecto!” but I figured I could just wear them with two pairs of socks because IT WAS THAT COLD.)

They didn’t let me down. They kept my feet warm for the rest of the semester, and I could even walk in them through PUDDLES without the water soaking through to my toes.

What a concept!!

Now that it’s SUPER COLD in New Orleans, (49 degrees at 9 a.m. makes me want to hibernate like a bear until May), I’ve been reminded of my inability to dress for the season.

Other people have reminded me too.

The biggest critic was my late grandmother, who lived in New York. When our family would visit for the holidays, she would pitch a fit if I left the house without a hat.

(It wasn’t that I was against hats, it’s just that I didn’t own one. What do you mean by “hat,” Nana? Like a Mardi Gras hat??)

“I don’t have a hat,” I told her. She didn’t believe me.

“Look,” she told me sternly, pointing her finger. “Everyone in town ALREADY KNOWS you have PRETTY HAIR. Now put a hat on, or you’ll get sick.”

My twin sister, Joy, and I laughed at the hair comment, how she somehow thought I was so self-absorbed that I would forgo wearing a hat so “everybody in town” could see my hair.

I dug in her front closet and found a knit hat and slapped it on my head.

“Happy? I got a hat now,” I said. This was several years ago.

Yesterday, almost the very same thing happened.
It was cold and rainy and I did not at all dress for the occasion.

I did have a raincoat, as that IS a necessity in New Orleans, but I was wearing a short sleeve sweater (from Marshall's, yes, a short sleeve sweater, it exists.)

I was eating lunch with a friend in a fancy grocery store’s dining area, when an old woman literally stopped her grocery cart on the way out of the store and stared at me.

“Look,” she told me when she approached. “You’ve got pretty hair and all, but you need to cover your arms!” She pointed her finger at my pale, exposed biceps.

I was confused at first. I had been in the middle of an animated conversation, and my arms had been halfway raised at that moment, so I thought maybe there was something dangling off my sleeve.

“You’re going to get sick!” she said to me. My friend laughed.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got a coat!” I told her pointing to the long-sleeved raincoat on the back of my chair.

“Well, cover those arms,” she said, and walked away. My friend and I both remained confused about the hair comment.

I thought about it on the drive back to work.
Maybe she made a mention because my hair is really long, and can provide an extra layer of warmth in this DEATHLY cold winter season.

Maybe she meant it as a “props to you for wearing something that resembles wool on your head, but extend that shit down to your elbows!”

I should have asked her to buy me a Patagonia sweater.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving five days ago, I hope you had a good one, I HIGHly recommend Paula Deen’s “Not yo mamma’s banana pudding.” This dish would be included in my last meal on Earth.

Both my siblings came to New Orleans for the holiday, both by plane, from opposite coasts, on the busiest travel day of the year.

I’ve flown on many airplanes. I’ve been asked for ID (at age 23) for sitting in the exit row (minimum age: 16…FML).

I’ve lost luggage, I’ve gone through FULL BODY SCANNERS (what’s the big deal people??), I’ve peed in tiny stalls, I haven’t been able to fit my overstuffed luggage into the overhead bin and held up the line and had to “check it” à la Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents.

I’ve even met a B-list celebrity at an airport.

But I’ve never been too drunk to get on a plane. Probably because airport alchol is too damn expensive. Airport Chili’s in ATL? JETWAY HIGWAY ROBBERY!

My twin sister Joy’s ex-boyfriend, Mike, was too drunk to get on a plane, but he got on anyway.

Joy was dropping him off at 5 a.m. and he was still drunk from the night before and Joy had to give him specific instructions not to talk to anybody.

I wasn’t surprised. Mike loved vodka and he’d come over with a Jansport backpack with a big bottle of cheap vodka (FLEISCHMANN’S….UGH) and soda water and make drink after drink after drink.

You’d think a 5 a.m. flight would change this routine. I mean, I think it should have, because flying hungover suuuuuucks.

Not even SkyMall can help you when you’re nauseous and breathing recycled air and SERIOUSLY WHO EATS A TUNA FISH SANDWICH ON A PLANE?? (uh, for example).

Mike missed his 5 a.m. flight one Saturday morning to go home for his birthday, a flight his grandfather had paid for.
He got way too drunk the night before and slept through his 5 a.m. alarm clock. He called Joy at 11 a.m. or so to whine about it.

“Grandpa is sooooo pissed!” he said.

Joy called him a retaaaaard, helped him switch his flight, and told him that she would personally make sure he’d be up the next day for the Sunday 5 a.m. flight.

But Saturday night was a reggae festival at the park, and Mike snuck in vodka Fleischmann’s and got too drunk to even walk in a straight line back to the car.

Joy was furious with him, told him that he OBVIOUSLY didn’t care about grandpa’s feelings, and she let me and our friend, April, walk on either side of him, balancing him as we walked back to Joy’s car.

Mike spent the night at our house, so Joy could drive him to the airport, and when she shook him at 5 a.m. to get up, he got right up, wearing no shirt, put his backpack on and said, “Ok, LET’S GO!”

Joy stared at him.

“OK, you can’t go to the airport without a shirt on.”
“Yes I can.”
“No you can’t. You need to put on a shirt. Where is your shirt?”

I guess Mike didn’t feel like putting on the shirt he wore the night before, and didn’t think to open up his packed suitcase to get another one.

So, he walked over to Joy’s dresser and pulled out one of her small LSU T-shirts and put it on.

Joy laughed as Mike’s arms bulged out of the constrictive sleeves, and the shirt rode up like a midrift. The bottom of the shirt hovered around his belly button and you could see his nipples through the fabric.

“You’re really going to wear that to the airport?” Joy asked.

“Yes, let’s GO!” he said, clearly, still drunk.

Joy became concerned when he was incoherent all the way to the airport, so when they pulled up to the terminal, she instructed him not to talk to anyone.

“Don’t talk to the security people, don’t talk to the ticket agent, don’t talk to anyone,” Joy said.

(She’s very good at imitating Mike’s response to this request):


Joy blinked. He tried again.


He took a breath.

“Joy,” he said very slowly, controlled. “I don’t know why you shink that I’m hammered.”

Then Mike got out of the car, walked inside the terminal and Joy came home to go back to sleep. She saw a text message from him when she woke up hours later.

“Made it on the plane, but security took my sunscreen,” he wrote.

“Well of course they did, it’s a liquid dummy,” Joy said aloud after reading it.

How Mike ended up flying halfway across the country working off a 12-hour drunk, wearing an uncomfortably small LSU T-shirt, is beyond me.

I forgot to ask him if he was still wearing it when grandpa picked him up at the airport, because that sounds like something I would have LOVED to see.

Threat level purple and gold.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


If I had an extra thousand dollars lying around that wasn’t already designated for something totally boring like paying off credit card(s) and outstanding parking tickets, I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t do with it: I wouldn’t loan it to my boyfriend.

Especially if he wanted money for something completely unnecessary…like braces.

I’m totally serious. I learned recently that this deal actually happened to a friend of a friend.

This girl took out $2,500 in extra student loans for her now ex-boyfriend to straighten his teeth.

When I heard this, I had several questions. Did she require that his teeth be straighter? Was he in a fight and needed emergency dental work? (And I’m not just suggesting that because he works at Chili’s.)

The answer was no to both, this dude just wanted his teeth straighter and figured his girlfriend could just keep borrowing and borrowing with her gold mine student status.

The two have since broken up and he has yet to repay her for the braces, although the friend noted that he was recently at dinner with 10 or so people and picked up the entire tab.

And then he asked her AFTER they broke up if she would co-sign a car loan.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Chivalry is dead! Guys today have no problem using their moneybags girlfriends’ moneybags.*

Three of my own friends have loaned their boyfriends a significant amount of money and by significant amount of money I mean more than $500. (Speaking of…payday Friday hurry the eff UP!!)

-One friend paid off her boyfriend's credit card so they could get a better deal on a house she envisioned them buying together in the future

-Another loaned her boyfriend money to buy furniture.

-A third paid for her boyfriend's portion of the rent for several months because he couldn’t figure out how to save up a lump sum by the first of the month.

All three ended up breaking up, and two out of three friends haven’t seen a dime.

The third eventually got back the rent money she paid for him, but it wasn't fun being a nag and it came in sporadic $20 here, $45 there, here let me buy you five beers at the bar and take off another $25 – increments.

Beers I could live with. Other indebted boyfriends tried to make stupid deals in lieu of paying back actual cash.

Take my friend Sally. She and her boyfriend Daniel had just broken up and I was helping her move out of their shared apartment one Saturday morning.

“Do you think this desk is worth $200?” she asked. “Because Daniel said I could have it and take that much off the money he still owes me.”

It looked like a school desk I used in third grade, very short with synthetic wood and a half table that you slid in and out of. I didn’t even know they still made those.

“Um, HELL no,” I said. “That’s not worth $50. That’s a ridiculous deal.”

“Yea…” she said, walking over to the kitchen, looking at the furniture that once held so many hopes and dreams.
“He said I could have the kitchen table for $300 off his loan and we only bought it for $150.”

“Exactly. Don’t get hosed,” I said.

Of course Sally did end up getting hosed, because the majority of the money Daniel said he’d use to pay her back was his security deposit, and he wasn’t completely moved out by the 1st of the following month so the landlord kept it. TOOLBAG!

Now $800 isn’t anything to sneeze at, so Sally did what anyone would do: She called his mamma. (She still didn’t recover the money, but at least she got some sort of apology.)

Then, one day Sally figured out how she’d get him back for it. It wasn’t $800, but it would still hurt his wallet, and she’d benefit too.

She cancelled her cell phone contract before it was up, which was linked to his account.
(They had one of those shared minutes plan. Domestic bliss, right??)

“You know what, I don’t even want him to be able to see who I’m calling or texting anyway,” Sally said. She cancelled her plan and he was stuck having to pay for the $250 charge.

Sally fully expected Daniel to call her about it fuming mad, and I think she was kind of looking forward to her calculated (no pun intended) response about how this was JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET, BUDDY.
But he never called.

Maybe he doesn’t know about the charge yet. Maybe he doesn’t care.
Maybe he’s looking for a new girlfriend with an excellent credit score to take care of the problem.


*Ok, yes I know some girls that also have no problem taking large amounts of money from their boyfriends, but it’s not as funny.

One girl I know let her boyfriend buy her a used car (that was much nicer than the one he drove) and he stupidly put it in HER name so when they broke up he couldn’t even get it back.
She reasoned that he put her through so much hell during their relationship that she “deserves it.”

Another friend bought his now ex-wife fake boobs and gets pissed off routinely thinking about other guys…um…enjoying them.
But, still. Not as funny as braces.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughts while running through a cemetery (Neurotic stream of consciousness)

I ran a spooky 5K race through a cemetery on Sunday, which not surprisingly, reminded me that I haven’t exercised since before Halloween.

(For the record, I wasn’t stepping on plots or anything. It was a New Orleans cemetery, so all the tombstones were above ground and very old and fancy. Some were bigger than the size of my bedroom in my apartment, those lucky bastards. Just kidding.)

I wasn’t able to read the tombstones as I ran past them, of course, because I was too busy trying to stay alive myself, huffing and puffing and trying to ignore the fact that my socks were WAY TOO THIN and rubbed the instep of my foot in a terribly obnoxious way.

Are people buried with socks on? I wondered.

We ran loops around the brick path, and I saw the Mayor running about 50 feet in front of me. He didn’t seem to be struggling with the run at all. (He must have had normal socks on.)

If the mayor died, where would HE be buried? I wondered. I bet CNN would cover it.

The first mile was easy because I was all adrenaline-filled about the run and distracted looking at my surroundings and the backs of people’s T-shirts.

I was also busy making sure I didn’t trip on the brick path because that’s definitely something that would happen to me.
I then thought how terribly ironic it would be to fall and fatally hit my head right next to all these tombs.

Would that automatically allow me to be buried in the cemetery? I thought. Because some of these tombs look really roomy.

Mile 2 was the worst. Breathing became harder, my feet became heavier and have you ever had to burp during a run? It’s…awkward.

It was also that time when I realized that about half of the songs I added onto my MP3 player the night before weren’t as motivating as when I was jamming to them on the couch, ahem, Eminem.

Then my face got really, really hot and red and it reminded me of high school cross country meets where I used to wonder why I signed up for hell every Saturday morning.

Feeling desperate in the middle of mile two, I tried to motivate myself by breaking down my 10-minute pace into number of songs.

Only three more songs until the end of the race! I told myself between panting (and burping.)
Wait…are songs three minutes long apiece?? I was starting to panic. Does 3 x 3 = ten? I don’t think I can run further than three songs worth!!

During a two-second silence between songs I thought about walking, just for a second, and then shouted to myself internally, NO! YOU ONLY HAVE TWO MORE SONG LEGNTHS LEFT! THE TIME IT TAKES TO BOIL A POT OF WATER FOR KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE! mmmmm mac and cheese...

I then noticed that the mayor wasn’t slowing down, he was actually running faster and faster.
What's he thinking about? I wondered. “What music is HE listening to? I envisioned a Susan Boyle album.

Against my leg’s wishes, I didn't walk at all, and followed the pace of a muscley girl with HUGE calves in front of me who was wearing a red, white and blue striped Lycra outfit.

I then remembered that one year my roommate was an American flag for Halloween. Cheapest costume ever, I thought.
Then I looked around at the tombs.
I wonder if anyone buried here was a solider.

Now, I’ve made the mistake before that just because I see the finish line doesn’t mean I should sprint towards it, because it’s usually much further away then I expect, and I burn out and let everybody my cross country coach down.

And I bet the newspaper is here to take pictures! I thought, and then got panicky.
I’ve seen pictures of myself at plenty of finish lines, and half my face looks droopy, like a stroke patient.

Smile dammit! I told myself as I saw people on the sidelines clapping and cheering and TAKING MY PICTURE as I approached the finish line. Look like you’re not about to keel over! You’re having fun!! Weeeee!!!

I almost punched somebody when I thought I crossed the finish line, but I had another 20 yards to go, SURPRISE! and I awkwardly sped up and then almost tripped.

I bee-lined for a tree and laid down onto my back under it, which my cross-country coach told me never to do.
Blood flow, schmlood flow! I can't move!

My throat hurt, my feet hurt, my eyes hurt. I was immediately uninterested in the pots of jambalaya and the crawfish bisque at the after-party going on around me.

The grass was itching the back of my arms and legs, but didn’t have energy to do anything about it.
The music from the band was clashing with The Who’s “Baba O’Reily Teenage Wasteland” still playing in my earbuds.

I wonder how long I’d have to lie here motionless before someone came over to see if I was OK? I thought. I wonder if anyone has sunglasses I could borrow.

How cool would it be to be buried with sunglasses!

When my friends finally passed the finish line (slow and steady doesn’t ALWAYS win the race) it took literally all I had to stand up and walk around the parking lot.
I ate three bites of some jambalaya and a bag of popcorn.

The daiquiri screwdrivers were another story.
I would have been SO popular during cross-country meets with these things! I thought.

After ten minutes, I didn’t feel like dying anymore, although I looked and smelled like it.

I went home, showered and laid down in bed still wrapped in a towel, closed my eyes and felt like I could sleep for 100 years.

This is how Egyptians were buried in the pyramids! I thought. A mummy! That's a good Halloween costume, too…



Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Sometimes persistence can pay off, like when you open a jar of salsa all by yourself or detangle an obnoxiously long necklace.

Persistence can work in relationships too. Just look at Lisa Turtle who accepted Screech’s offer to be her prom date after a ga-gillion requests. (Saved By the Bell! Best DVR recording ever!)

But sometimes persistence can fall flat.

This was certainly the case with Brandon, who had recently broken up with my college roommate and called our landline 27 times in a row before we unplugged the phone.

Brandon and Meghan dated for four years off-and-on from high school through college, and this particular breakup wasn’t his decision.

He needed her back right away, and thought that calling incessantly would be helpful.

“STOP CALLING!” Meghan and us other roommates would yell into the phone and hang up.

You’d think he’d be embarrassed getting yelled at by his ex-girlfriend’s roommates, but no. Two seconds later? Ring ring ring

Brandon even went a step further and got a job as a bouncer at the only bar that we could drink at without a fake ID.

He was over 21, and strategically kicked out any guy that talked to Meghan. She told him over and over that they weren’t going to get back together no matter who she was talking to, but he didn’t listen.

“Why did you throw Mark out?” she screamed when Brandon booted her guy friend from the bar.
“Because he’s an a**hole.”
(That was always his response.)

Meghan scowled at him and walked away when he came up to her at the bar, cock blocking preventing her from meeting anyone else.

I was with Meghan one night at the underage bar when an attempted conversation with a boy was ruined by Brandon’s lurking.

Fed up, Meghan decided that we were leaving RIGHT NOW, and we left out the back door and walked to her car.

She started the engine and we were reversing out of the parking space when Brandon came out of nowhere and THREW HIMSELF ONTO HER WINDSHIELD.

“MEG!” he wailed, trying to make eye contact through the windshield. “MEGGGGG!” DON’T GO! WAIT!”

I screamed as Meghan continued to reverse the car, not caring that he was hanging diagonally onto her hood, obstructing her view.


If that wasn’t enough of a hot mess, a college bike cop was nearby and saw all this. He wheeled right over.

“Is this man bothering you?” he asked.
“Yes, actually, he is,” Meghan said. (Another clue the relationship is definitely over: she sells you to the cops).

Once Brandon was removed from the hood, Meghan sped off, and we agreed he was out of control. Five minutes later when we got home, the landline rang.

“What was the ticket for?”
“A nuisance thing. I’m going to come over and show you.”

He came over anyway — bouncer job be dammed! — and stood outside our apartment. Meghan didn’t let him in.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT MY TICKET!” he cried from the front porch.
“Put it through the mail slot," Meghan instructed.

Brandon went to his car and then shoved a crumbled piece of paper through the slot. Meghan looked at it and frowned.

“Brandon, this is a parking ticket from last month,” she said. “I can read.”


He was persistent, but it didn’t work out for him and Meghan. After a few more months of crazy, he met someone else and moved on. We got rid of the landline.

Perhaps if there were no landlines, there would be less toolbag behavior.

Also: throwing yourself onto a moving car is not (always) the romantic grand gesture to win your ex-girlfriend back.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


This may sound more like a “Guy confessions” item from Cosmopolitian Magazine than a Toolbag Tuesday, but for the record, “Jonah” DID turn out to be a toolbag and…tis the season for a good oyster roast story.

Do you know what an oyster roast is? It’s a big, delicious deal in South Carolina. People down here in New Orleans, however, have no idea what I’m talking about.

They only know oysters as raw, charbroiled or mixed in gumbo. (nothing wrong with that by the way).

Oyster roasts, common on the East Coast, consist of oysters steamed in a pot and then dumped onto a wooden table where people pick them up and shuck them on the spot.

Although it's dirty and you get mud under your fingers, it’s very social and a piping hot steamed oyster on a cold night totally hits the spot.

(I just got back from a wedding this past weekend in South Carolina and they had steamed oysters at the reception, and it was effing awesome).

In addition to being DUH-LICIOUS, it’s also really easy, since the only accompaniments to the oysters are a stack of Saltine crackers and cocktail sauce.
(The saltine crackers are important to note here, since they were ultimately Jonah’s demise.)

It was Jonah and my friend Annie’s first date, after meeting the night before at a party.

It was November, it was cold, and he was cute. A restaurant happened to be having a huge oyster roast that next day, and they agreed to meet there.

(Also, important to note that they MET at the restaurant, so there was no Jonah bringing Annie home business and goodnight kiss or anything like that.)

Hundreds of people go to the restaurant for their bi-annual roasts, and people filled up all the wooden tables that lined up on the side of the building. The tables had holes cut out the middle with garbage cans underneath to throw the opened shells into.

Annie and Jonah grabbed a beer and waited around for a table to open up, and when they saw one, Jonah told her to stand at it while he bought several buckets of oysters and got crackers and cocktail sauce.

It was a lot to carry, two buckets of oysters, little containers of cocktail sauce and all those crackers. He did his best to consolidate the items on the walk back to the table.

By this time, my friends and I had spotted Annie, and set up shop on the other side of the oyster roast table.

We were pointing out how cute Jonah was when he came up to the table with the goods, carefully placing the cocktail sauce on the table.
“Where are the crackers?” Annie asked, rightfully so.

He took all the little packets out of his front jeans pocket. He must have had 30 individually wrapped saltines in there, seriously. I remember someone made a joke about it.

It was getting dark in the evening at that point, as is the problem with STUPID DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, and everyone was so busy chatting and scarfing down oysters that Annie didn’t even notice when she picked up a cracker and made a tear in the side to put her oyster on top of it.

It wasn’t a cracker.

Annie had ripped into a condom.

“What the--?” she looked down and, either out of disgust or shock, threw the condom onto the table and then everyone paid attention.

“GROSS! Is that from the people that were here before us?” asked another friend at the table.
(Jonah should have used that as an easy way out.)

Instead, he AWKWARDLY said, “ummm…ohh….uhhh…”
Annie looked at him.

“Is this yours?” she asked. “Did this come out of your pocket?”
We all stopped shucking.
“Yea,” he said.
We all looked the other way.

Annie was insulted by the presumption.
“Um, is that for you and me…or is that for someone else?” she asked. “You keep condoms in your front pocket?”

Jonah didn’t say anything, and we quickly left the table to let them discuss it.

When she said goodbye to us not much later, she whispered that he had no explanation. He waved bye from a distance.

After the roast, they went to a house party as planned, and both separately drove to the grocery store to buy beer. Annie said right in the middle of the beer aisle, Jonah brought it up again.

“About that thing earlier…that was weird huh?” he asked.
“I mean…yea,” Annie said.

They stayed at the party for exactly one half hour and Annie left.
Neither of them called the next day.

“I can’t believe I almost put an oyster on top of a condom and ate it!” Annie said, the next day.

What if it had COCKtail sauce on it, too?? we howled. Then we made a joke about words that rhyme with shuck.
Oysters are aphrodisiacs you know. You can never be too careful.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Toolbag Tuesday

Last year, I read an article about a bar in Australia where they were having a problem with the men peeing all over the walls and mirrors and missing the urinals completely.

To solve the problem, they put urinal cakes with a BULLSEYE on the center of it into the bowl, and, prolem solved.
It turns out drunk guys need something to aim at.

Now, I’m not going to act like I’ve never been drunk and peed where I shouldn’t -- like squatting between cars (uh, waaay down the block) from a Mardi Gras parade -- but I’ve never peed somewhere odd.

Like onto my shoes. Or into a trash can.
Or on my significant others’ laundry pile.

But boys are…special. And when some of them get drunk, they have problems figuring out where the indoor plumbing is.

I’m not talking about being drunk and being outside and peeing on a fence (like during kickball or someone’s Christmas Oyster Roast...uh, for example);
I’m talking about the type of drunk boys who get out of bed in the middle of the night and decide the couch is the best place to take a leak.

I’m sure there's a psychology book about why boys don’t pee in the right place, and according to my friends who have male children (thanks Facebook!) boys are super stubborn about pee pee-ing in the potty from the start. More than girls.
My advice: put Cheerios in the training bowl and tell them to aim. It worked in Australia.

This "drunk boy peeing in odd places" is more common than you might think.
Below are the top toolbag peeing stories I’ve ever heard and one, witnessed.

(P.S. When questioned the following day, none of them had a good answer for their behavior.)

1.) TRASH CAN. I didn’t think my roommate’s boyfriend, Jesse, would ever wake up from his drunk stupor, considering we had to literally carry his lifeless body up two flights of stairs.
But he made his way out of his girlfriend’s bed hours later, went into the bathroom and peed into the trash can that was RIGHT NEXT to the toilet.
He literally aimed less than a foot to the left of the toilet rather than into the toilet.
He then proceeded to walk in our OTHER roommate’s bedroom, and jumped into bed with her. She woke up and yelled at him, and then he got out of bed and yelled for his girlfriend, and I was the one who noticed that he had peed in the trashcan and his girlfriend/my roommate had to wipe up the pee splatters.

2.) HOTEL ROOM. Hotel rooms are probably way more disgusting than any of us realize (and I’ve envisioned how disgusting they are, because I get bored.) So it didn’t help that my friend Laura’s boyfriend, Randy, got out of bed during their weekend getaway and peed right on top of his boots that were in the corner of the room.
They had both been drinking the night before at a concert and she woke up to an odd “streaming”-like sound, and saw him aiming at the corner near the floral couch.
“Randy! What are you doing??” she screamed.
“Huuh?” was all he could manage, his leather boots saturated.

Laura dragged walked him, haha bottomless, to the bathroom and “pointed” him at the toilet, but he was all done by then.
“And, those were the only shoes he brought that weekend!” Laura laughed. “Haha. Dumbass.”

3.) LAUNDRY. Louis was a big camper, and Alice was really excited to sleep in a tent and look at the stars and make s’mores with him.
Not so much camping fun? Waking up to Louis, DRUNK, PEEING all over their clothes inside the tent. Both of their clothes. (He didn’t even leave the tent to pee, y’all. That’s laziness right there.)
I didn’t even ask Alice what they did about dressing for the rest of the trip. Perhaps they found a nice river and some soap? Because I feel like urine would likely attract bears.

4.) BEER PITCHER. When I was a junior in college, there was a bar that had a game called “bladder busters” at this pizza place downtown (See: a game not made for boys.)
You paid $5 to get in, and you had unlimited supply of the bar’s keg until someone who paid the $5 either went to the bathroom or left the bar. Then, the unlimited supply would be null and void for everybody. It was a commitment.
Thus, we would all yell at people that went to the bathroom first and we’d yell at the people that left the bar first, most of them on their cell phones to ignore the jeering.
No one wanted to get booed.
One time, my friend Sarah and I were at “bladder busters” night with a group of boys (one of whom she went on two dates with) and we saw one of his friends who was sitting next to me in the booth, hunching over it, oddly talking close to his friend across from him, looking unnatural.
“Uh, what’s up, weirdo?” we teased.

Shhhhh,” he said. “I’m peeing. In the pitcher.”

“WHAT!” I looked to the right at him, and DOWN, in AWE and saw he was serious, and turned my head as he pulled the beer OF PEE from under the table and put the pitcher on the table.
It was more than halfway filled and it looked exactly like beer. Bubbles and everything.
Sarah and I stared at It.

My eyes widened, and Sarah made gagging sounds and we finished our glasses and left the bar. (Peeing in a pitcher? That’s disgusting.)

We definitely got booed for leaving, but I didn’t hear anything, since I was thinking the whole time about what percentage likely it was that the pitcher Sarah and I had been drinking out of had previously had BOY PEE in it.

And, even though the guy who Sarah was dating wasn’t the one who had actually peed in the pitcher, she was completely turned off, so she booed him never called him again.

- Jenny

Friday, October 29, 2010


The worst Halloween I ever had was the time I dressed up as Bob Marley and everyone thought I was Whoppi Goldberg.

“But I’m wearing a RASTA HAT!” I protested. “I’M WEARING WHITE LINEN!!!

“But you’re a GIRL,” people said. That was a poor argument. People cross dress all the time during Halloween; that’s part of the fun.

I was so angry since I spent more than I wanted to on a stupid dreadlock wig and RASTA HAT only to fail as the reggae legend, that I proceeded to get drunk and tell people that, “If I was Whoppi Goldberg, then I would be wearing round purple sunglasses and have a “Celebrity Squares” cardboard box around me! DO YOU SEE A BOX?? GAW!!”

That was the only time I left Halloween early to go home.

I tend to have non-mainstream costumes for Halloween, a combination of:

a.) trying to be original and funny
b.) really liking wigs and
c.) being too lazy to go to the costume shop a MONTH in advance, before everything is picked over and sold out.

This turns out some odd costume choices year after year, some successful, some not. A major success was an ELECTRIC jellyfish.

(clear umbrella + glow sticks bought on Ebay, bubble tape from the post office)

A failure was the tooth fairy gone bad. (goodwill dress + lace "gauze" headband, odd, ablong “tooth” shapes cut out of construction paper+ scary hair roots, uh, part of the costume)


Yes, it was an artistic fail, and I ended up losing the “teeth” pliers throughout the night but I still think I looked better than Paris Hilton’s boyfriend, ThankYouVeryMuch).


Two weeks ago, I was talking to someone about my Halloween costume history, including the “Whoppi” disaster, and he said I should think about “just being a witch.”

NO! I told him that I had planned to dress up as Vodka this year. Yes, vodka, my best friend.

I envisioned this costume as a potato sack dress (vodka is made from potatoes after all) and I would have arm floaties that were filled with vodka (and soda) and I’d put a straw in it and offer people sips all night.

And then I’d have an “air mail”-type stamp on the potato sack that said, “Smirnoff or Bust” and I’d pin little love notes on me from “Orange Juice” and “Red Bull,” like “can’t wait to screw” and “Frat boys are waiting for you” (respectively).

But, alas, the vodka costume will not make its debut this year, for a variety of reasons:
a.) I am flying back to South Carolina from New Orleans this Halloween weekend and I’d have to have the costume assembled by, uh, today
b.) I’m lazy
c.) Whole Foods doesn’t have any potato sacks because their potatoes come in boxes (no fun.)
d.) I’m too lazy to call anyplace else for a potato sack

So, I’m going to just repeat a costume from three years ago. Shhh don’t tell.

It’s a cute one — a Broadway dancer — and all of the pieces are still in South Carolina so I don’t have to pack anything other than tights and shoes.


And since I’m not wearing a mustache or pants no one will confuse me with someone else…like Charlie Chaplin.

Or, uh, Hitler.
Which may or may not be better than Whoppi. ha


P.S. Looking forward to seeing some Chilean miner costumes!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I got a funny email forward entitled, “why boys need mothers” and there are all these pictures of little boys doing stupid dangerous things like scale the refrigerator with a rope, light a firecracker from their butt hole and put a dirty toad in their mouth.

A few days later, I got another funny email forward entitled, “why women live longer than men” with a bunch of pictures of GROWN MEN doing stupid dangerous things like work under a car that had a ghetto-rigged “jack” made from crates, someone drunkenly asleep at a bus stop…upside down...

and oh, a guy lighting a firecracker from his butt hole (never gets old!)

This is all fine and good when the guys put themselves in stupid danger.

It’s quite another thing when guys put the girls they are dating in stupid danger by association.

This happened to my friend Katie when she dated idiot Rob. They were in a long-distance relationship and she was visiting him one weekend.

They had been, uh, rolling around in bed and later, as she was dozing off to sleep, she readjusted her position which required her to put her hand under her pillow, and she felt something cold and metal.

“What the?---” she lifted the pillow and saw a gun. A GUN! Chillin right there under her head!
She was shocked, and horrified.

“WHAT THE?—“ she pushed Rob, who woke up with a start. “Why is there a GUN under the pillow?” Katie demanded.

“Oh, there were sketchy new tenants at the shopping center I supervise, and they had to come drop off rent here the other day, so I wanted to be prepared,” Rob said.

“I guess I forgot to put it away, haha.”

Katie wasn’t amused.

“Is it loaded?”
“Hell yea it’s loaded!”

“Ok, that’s GREAT, Rob, we’ve just been messing around and rolling on pillows, what if it had GONE OFF and put a BULLET through my head?”

“Oh, no, it wouldn’t have done that,” he said.

“Why not?? Is there a safety on it??”

“No,” he said. “But guns just don’t go off like that. It’s not how they work. Now let’s go to bed.”

(Rob, meet Plaxico Burress)

And how about Tom? Tom, who thought Lisa was lying when she told him she was allergic to dairy products.

Lisa had an odd form of lactose intolerance where she could have some food like cheese and ice cream, but not others like milk and cream cheese icing.

But, it doesn’t really matter what her dietary restrictions are. Tom shouldn’t have tested her intestinal limits.

Tom, in a most non-Toolbag move, had cooked Lisa a very large and extravagant lobster dinner for her at his house. There was corn on the cob, there were perfectly crisp chopped potatoes and there was cake.

“With vanilla icing,” he said.

Lisa said the dinner and dessert were glorious and (ok, sometimes girls look at reciepts) expensive and they had just settled into watching a movie when Lisa’s stomach started…jumping.

She didn’t have time to explain what was going on before running toward the bathroom and RAPLHING up all the expensive dinner, sweaty and panicked.

Tom, in another non-Toolbag move, went to go check on her and get her a cold washcloth or whatever you do with people when they throw up (I don't know, I’m a non-puker, normally).

Lisa profusely apologized for the grossness. “I’m so sorry I ruined our dinner, I don’t know what’s going on,” she said, embarrassed and scared.

Tom then hesitated and said, “I know what’s going on. The cake had cream cheese icing, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I’m so sorry.”

“WHAT???” Lisa said from the porcelain throne.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think you were serious about being allergic to cream cheese,” Tom said. “I thought you just didn’t like it.”

Lisa yelled and screamed and told him that he was an EFFING A-HOLE and asked him how HE would feel if she knowingly poisoned him.

The worst part was that Lisa was so sick, she couldn’t even leave his house, and had to spend the night, most of it in the bathroom.

Puking: made possible by boys.

I bet she wished for a loaded gun under his pillow. ha


Friday, October 22, 2010

Who framed Robba' Rabbit?

I just got off the phone with an actual detective, who I imagine sitting in a little room with a wooden desk and small window, drinking hard liquor coffee, looking at pictures of criminals with a magnifying glass, whose name may or may not be Detective Eddie Valiant.

I need to stop watching HBO late night.

Unfortunately, it was NOT Eddie Valiant and we were NOT talking about PATTYCAKE, although I did mention cake, since THE PEOPLE THAT BROKE INTO MY HOUSE ATE CAKE OUT OF THE FRIDGE before (or after) stealing a laptop, camera and diamond ring.

Not only did they eat the cake, but they also drank — and then threw on the floor — the Brita water dispenser (No one ever refills that thing!!!)

The perps then LEFT THE FRIDGE DOOR OPEN, a thoughtful “EFF YOU,” and by the time my twin sister, Joy, got home, all the food had spoiled. Joy said the stick of butter had turned to liquid.

Total nightmare.

I’m talking about this from an absent homeowner stance. Joy, who is still living in South Carolina in the house, has had to deal with an extra large helping of shit over this.

I’m just trying to help the best I can from way down here in Toon Town New Orleans.

Have you ever had your house/car broken into? It’s much more common than I realized. Tell someone your house was broken into and you’ll hear story after story about home and car break-ins, the occasional gunpoint robbery and even a grocery store holdup (America! Fuck yea!)

I had heard about these experiences before, but this was my first time (that’s what she said!!!) Sorry, this is no time for jokes.

It makes you feel completely violated (that’s what she said), and it fills me with RAGE just thinking about the piece(s) of @$%#^&$*#&@#* rummaging through my stuff, which, yes, is still all over the house in South Carolina.

In addition to rage, Joy and our roommates are also scared for their safety.
I mean, what would have happened if Joy had come home on her lunch break to take a nap and seen people eating cake out the fridge? It’s frightening and gross, to think about.

And what’s with this security breach, anyway?
Our house is in the suburbs! Near the beach! In the four years we’ve lived there, we haven’t had so much as a chair stolen from the backyard.

Which is exactly what I told EDDIE VALIANT today.

Just kidding.

But, for real, this nightmare is ongoing. We’ve gone from Pleasantville to CRIME SCENE. We had to buy new doors, new locks, new butter for the fridge AND an alarm system.

But the thieves don’t care about the alarm system. It’s been going off every other day from someone or something trying to get in the back door.
Obviously these @$%#^&$*#&@#* aren’t scared of the alarm or the poo poo police.

Take me seriously!!!

Eddie Valient didn’t really have any answers for me, other than to say they’ve arrested six people (six??!) and the “rash” of break-ins is caused by people “affected by the economy.”

Oh, they’re “affected” by the economy? Well, who isn’t?? I can only afford happy hour prices for God sake!!! And I haven’t had cake in months.

It’s infuriating that people can get away with taking things from other people’s houses like it ain’t no thang. I wish I would have thought to rig up the house with nets and thumbtacks, Home Alone style.

Like, have the TV prompted to the old movie with the gangster:


OK, let’s not downplay the situation into something childish. Clearly, this calls for THE DIP.


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