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Like many of my fellow twenty-something females, I’m guilty of having a pop culture obsession. As inundated as we are with social media and real-time updates on the web, it’s near-impossible to avoid. 

“Keeping up with the Jones’” is now “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

Staying abreast of Taylor Swift’s love life can easily be a part-time job.

Thanks to the watchful eyes of the paparazzi, we can see what groceries celebs load up on from Whole Foods (kale is the new black, in case you were wondering).

And OHMYGOD did you see who Gwyneth Paltrow was spotted having lunch with five minutes ago?

While doing some educational reading in CVS earlier, I saw a photo spread in Us Weekly featuring some pictures of Oscar winners running errands, fashion designers eating ice cream and an award-winning TV anchor pushing her two-year-old on a swing, all under the headline: “Celebs: They’re Just like Us!”

Um, what?  I can’t really agree with you, Us Weekly.

I don’t wear Manolos to the park. I don’t own Manolos [yet].

I don’t wear my sunglasses into the store to shield my pupils from flashing cameras following me around.

I’m also not certa-freaking-fiably insane.

Hear me out: is it just me, or have celebrities recently been a particularly special breed of cray-cray?

Exhibit A: Paula Deen. Go figure the woman whose Southern twang necessitates subtitles, whose main ingredient to life is butter and who openly flirts with her son on television is a raging racist.  But seriously: are you insane, woman? Do you not know people are listening to you and to apply a filter if you don’t want to offend the masses and not lose the majority of your multi-million dollar endorsements. Normal people don’t do this.

Exhibit B: Kanye West. This guy’s kind of a regular on these sorts of “WTF, bro” lists. I mean, he performed in a leather skirt for the Hurricane Sandy fundraiser for crying out loud. But despite the fact he recently entered fatherhood and is supposedly “humbled by his new role as dad,” Kanye compared himself in an “artist and activist” class with Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Howard Hughes. Some lyrics off his new album, Yeezus, actually draw comparisons between Kanye and God. So I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most men don’t sport leather womenswear and most humans aren’t comparing themselves to Higher Powers terribly often.

Exhibit C: Amanda Bynes. Right, OK. Again, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most of us haven’t tossed a bong out our apartment windows, racked up three DUIs in one year, pierced our cheeks, gone on Twitter rants threatening to sue the media for “mind reading” and planned to launch a rap career recently. I could be wrong, but going to go ahead and say this celeb is not scaling high on the spectrum of normalcy. Also, the whole pouring bleach in hair, vomiting in public places and planning to launch a rap career? Not sure us normals are picking up what this celeb’s throwing down.

Exhibit D: Miley Cyrus. So yeah; watch that “We Can’t Stop” video on YouTube (viewer discretion advised. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.). Closest to pornography these baby blues have seen and I’m sure Billy Ray’s proud of his little girl. So I guess sister gets herself this fancy, new P!nk-inspired haircut, has a new lease on life, is getting down with her badass-self (throw in some taxidermy for good-measure) and spends 3:34 twerking in front of a camera and calls it a day. She says it “reinvention.” Others call it “art.” Color me prude, but I’m calling it “%^&*&.” Miley regularly complains of being “stereotyped by the media” and claims to be a “normal woman figuring herself out.” Yeah, you’re right Miley. At 19 I was totally shaving my head, tattooing myself, grinding all over the Internet, wearing see-through apparel to events and “shaking it like we at a strip club.” Normal…definitely normal. 

Exhibit E: Alec Baldwin. I’m fairly certain that anyone with a normal level of common sense knows better than to Tweet homophobic comments to a news reporter and expect to just…let it slide and go UNREPORTED. Then you can factor in the whole “tens of thousands of followers,” a high-profile and regular Tweet-ranter, and commentary along the lines of…oh something like “I’m gonna find you George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna f**k you… up,” and you’re going to come off as a loon.  Not really normal reasoning there, Baldwin. 

I rest my case.  There is “normal,” and then there is vomiting in public, a new and slightly offensive level of “discovering womanhood,” flaming bigotry and comparing oneself Christ. 

In the words of The Holiness himself, “that sh*t cray.”

 

Retool Preschool

 

 

Fifteen years ago, Robert Fulghum’s simple (but true) credo, that “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” put into words what we all needed to hear: that some of life’s most important lessons are what we learned at the ripe ages of five and six (or seven if you were that kid).

As a college sophomore, one of my British Literature professors had us translate excerpts of the book into iambic pentameter.

Fact: this was an enormous waste of time and did absolutely nothing to benefit my understanding of the book existentialism, nor the adaptability of the essays’ messages to real-person life.

Now five years into the working world, I looked back and reread some of the essays from English 320 and know now that Fulghum was totally onto something (go figure. Seven million copies and New York Times bestseller was legit). Although I doubt Fulghum spent time working in Corporate America, we can all draw from our experiences as esteemed Kindergarten Alumni (I mean, I hope) for some of our own, personal “Keys to Surviving the Nine to Five.

Remember: Funny Kids are the Cool Kids

I remember the coolest girl in kindergarten. Her name was Sarah Stanley, she had a dog named Fred and a baby brother born on Christmas.

You were pretty much the luckiest person ever to get paired with her as your Break Buddy for the week. Why? It wasn’t because she was tall and blonde and pretty.

Nor was it because she had football star boyfriend or the hottest pair of this season’s Marc Jacobs pumps (I mean, we were like, five).

It was because that Sarah? She was freakin’ hilarious and made all girls AND boys laugh really hard.

In kindergarten, it wasn’t the looks or the stuffs that made one “awesome.” It was the jokes you had and the ability to proudly fly that freak flag and make other laugh.

For some reason, this element of awesome takes a major hiatus once you hit middle school and lasts through high school and a good portion of college. Once you’re working long workweeks and under pressure that humor becomes a saving grace to you and your peers, and keeping others’ smiling becomes the coolest thing ever. Fly that freak flag, people. Funny is the coolest.

Get Some Nap time

Back in kindergarten, teachers carved out mandatory Nap Time for students. After all, coloring inside the lines and crafting complex macaroni necklaces really takes a toll on a human’s energy level, right? Right. At that time in life, Nap was the worst.

Like, the absolute pits.

I mean, WHO? WHO IN HER RIGHT MIND wants to lay in silence (in the DARK) there are way more mission critical items to attend to, like putting the final faux fur touches on her bunny ears for the Mrs. Rabbit school play NEXT WEEK WHEN SHE IS THE LEAD BUNNY IN MRS. RABBBIT’S GARDEN??

You expect me to NAP?

“Napping is important. The mind needs to rest to keep the bodies busy,” Mrs. Butler would tell us. At the time, this seemed like a load of crap.

Well color me corrected, Mrs. Butler, but these days I’m pretty sure I’d try and kiss my boss if she instituted mandatory afternoon Nap Times. I know I’m not alone when I say that beneath-desk-spaces of cubicle space are perfectly designed for us fetal-position sleepers. That Michigan State snuggie of mine is dying to make its way to the office and would serve as an awesome conversation-starter. You know, when I finally emerge from Fort Napspace

Sharing is Caring

How nice was it when your Break Buddy let you use his/her fresh-to-death pack of 64 Crayolas because your wimp-ass set of 32 were just not cutting it?

That was really nice. Because Forest Green and Jungle Green are so different.

The agricultural realism of my artwork was infinity improved due to the generosity of aforementioned Break Buddy.

Fast-forward and we cannot thank our gal pals enough when they spot us a $5 for a cab fare, or loan you a last-wedding-season dress because you just don’t want to splurge for another. They share a Netflix login so you can catch up on a show and not wait for it to rerun or rent yourself. It might be someone at work who has an extra iPhone charger to share when you dip to that dangerous point and fear cardiac arrest if you can’t thumb through Facebook on your way home. Maybe a co-worker shares some of his/her archived work for you to learn from. Whatever it is, sharing is caring and makes life just way easier.

Wash Your Hands

Teachers would remind us of this all the time. In 1990, this was probably to get the sticky snack residue off of my hands and not onto books.

Today, this is SERIOUS, PEOPLE. The 2012-2013 flu season has officially been classified by the CDC as an “epidemic,” with emergency rooms overflowing, Tamiflu wells running dry and doctors having to turn anyone not elderly/pediatric/handicapped away.

The flu is miserable. We’ve all had it. Not everyone gets an annual flu shot (guilty as charged); and if you go out in public, touch anything at all, engage in human interaction or…you know..breathe, you’re basically at-risk. The best we can do is wash out hands to be as germ-free as possible.

For real. As the Bubonic Plague of 2k13, washing your friggin’ hands is kind of important.

Others? Share your knowledge.

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With a New Year comes new beginnings and fresh starts. Many set resolutions and goals to improve areas in their everyday lives and become “better versions of themselves” (so what if these typically result in failed gym memberships, empty financial planning spreadsheets or unread books on bookshelves. The effort’s there! Right? Right.).

A New Year is also an opportunity to leave some not-so-fresh things behind. From questionable trends to an unpredictable fiscal future, 2012 was a little bizarre if you ask me. Looking back on the last year, there’s plenty we can all agree upon that can be left behind.  I’ve suggested some 2012 head-scratchers to which I’d like to bid adieu – and doubt I’m alone on any…

Honey Boo-Boo

Listen, I feel like someone owes us all an explanation for the phenom that is “Honey Boo-Boo.” Having never forced myself to sit through a full episode of the TLC show, I cannot delve terribly far into the [what I’m sure are complex] characters in the Boo-Boo family or [what I’m sure are intellectually stimulating] plotlines. But based on what I’ve seen from clips reels, this show is weekly hour-long mockery of a family that has issues with basic manners, makes a varsity sport out of bobbing for pigs’ feet at their town’s “Redneck Games,” practices extreme couponing and fine dines on “sketti:” butter and ketchup-topped pasta.  This needs to go away.

Gangnam style

More than 2 billion people have viewed and “liked” the “Gangnam Style” music video on YouTube since it debuted in July, and I can firmly assert that I am not among them. I appreciate a good earworm; I’ve been caught humming “Call Me Maybe.” But I see no benefit or up-side to the irritant that is PSY. The dance moves are unflattering, the melody nonexistent. His pants are outright offensive. And then it gets stuck in your head. Please: no more

Neon

Seemed like 2012 was the year for highlighters to explode across humankind. From clothing to hair tips, fingernails to makeup, neon shades of color took over and blinded us all (unless you were wearing your neon-framed sunglasses, of course). For the sake of optical health, this one can stay in 2012.

“Baby Watch”

No offense to the pregnant ladies out there (I know you’re hormonal or whatever. Please don’t hurt me.), but the degree to which “Baby Watch” spiked in 2012 was overwhelming. My fellow pop culture enthusiasts were lambasted with coverage of celebrity baby bumps and “pregnancy practices.” Seriously, real-life preggo people loathe the nine months of child-bearing and would rather be on a sofa with jars of Jif and a spoon – not sipping a skim organic grass seed smoothie while doing mommy-and-fetus-bonding-time yoga.  Not every issue of weekly rags need to track the circumference of a woman’s stomach – especially when she’s like Jessica Simpson and pregnant for like, 100 months. And I know social media channels were established to engage and share personal news, but I’m relatively certain that not all of Facebook needs (or wants) to see every single ultrasound picture. We still can’t tell it’s a baby in that blurry picture. Draw a few lines in 2013, ladies.

 

Donald Trump Political Commentary

I suppose Donald Trump proving himself a giant idiot via political opining wasn’t specific to 2012, but far more “in yo’ face” given the November elections. Though endorsing the same candidate as he, I nearly face-palmed each time The Donald opened his mouth to spew right-winged pearls of wisdom, provide enlightened election commentary, have one-sided debates on the major policy issues at stake and share totally sane  perspectives and opinions on our current legislatures and leaders. Near as I’m concerned, he should just focus on a better Celebrity Apprentice cast for all 2013.

Pouty Professional Sports Leagues

Wishful thinking, I know. But between the NFL referee lockout of the Fall and the current NHL strike, I’m thinking that more grown men cried in 2012 than any other year over the professional sports franchises’ dollar-driven strikes and lockouts. With amateur stand-in refs calling the shots of the NFL games for the entire first quarter of the season, bad calls were made that resulted in skewed scoreboards and led to unjustified losses.  I’m pretty sure that Green Bay population was on suicide watch and the city on riot watch, while the ENTIRE beer-and-wing industry continues to suffer immeasurable losses as the 2012-2013 NHL season remains in jeopardy. In 2013, perhaps these guys need to accept the fact that multi-million dollar salaries are, in fact, ok and leave the wahh behind.

See ya, 2012!

So…

An update to a prior post.

Vinny [name has been slightly altered to protect the identity of parties mentioned] was fired.

Riddle me why?

Apparently, he was “making tenants uncomfortable with awkward conversation.”

Moral of the story: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE WHEN MAKING CONVERSATION.**

Hope he’s ok. And that someone else gets him Snickers bars.

———————-

** Unrelated news: I addressed the new doorman as “pledge” this morning.

 

 

@BrothersLuv

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I have, near religiously, been following the @BitchesLuv Twitter handle as of late. Not just because it’s hilarious (that’s about 41 percent of my reasoning), but more so to wait for an inaccuracy “Luv” that I may be able to refute.

Sadly, there isn’t much (though some inappropriate and targeting the CoEds out there).

Citing everything from “rain boots” to “house parties,” “lazy Sundays” to “taking ‘selfies,’” this handle pretty much nails all-things-B*tches.

Sure, we’re predictable. Despite our moodiness and incessant need to follow and change with the trends. But you brothers? Not so different.

As such I bring you: my take on a @BrothersLuv….

 

@BrothersLuv: Decorative Packaging.

Doesn’t matter if it’s the same brand, make or model – put that product into a new (colorful? Loud. Shiny? Athlete-endorsed? Easy to grab-and-go) packing and brothers be all over that.

@BrothersLuv: Reminiscing.

“Remember when….”

“Ha, dude – back in school when…”

“There was once, when…”

“A guy I knew back in…..”

“This time at ____ (insert former education, professional, personal interest affiliation)

Could be a job, school, a club, a sports team, party, an event, a former bro, a trip or vacation with their fellow comrades….

Doesn’t matter the site, scene or players: brothers love recounting stories from the days of yore.

@BrothersLuv: Updates

Saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

This saying does not apply to brothers.

Brothers love version 2.0 (also, 3.0, 4.0 and 2k12). They love sequels. They love re-watching old stuff replay with new commentary.

But it’s updates. So obviously, it’s better.

@BrothersLuv: Stats.

RBIs, voting records, little-known-facts, pointless digits.

Brothers love spewing numbers and statistics in your face. This bodes well for people like me who gravitate toward the written word as opposed to numbers and have failed for 20-some years trying to understand how to keep score in golf.

@BrothersLuv: Half-Full.

One could call it “subliminal optimism.”

Another may call it “hoarding.”

If there’s a plethora or extra resource within an arm’s reach, brothers help themselves before they’re close to completion with current stockpile.

Case in point: you’re seated at a group-dinner setting with a few pitchers of booze milk at the center of table, as well as a sharing-size appetizer. Before his plate or glass is half-empty, BOOM. Like magic, it’s FULL again before close-to-empty.

@BrothersLuv: Accessories.

Girls are all about accessorizing themselves with purses, shoes, jewelry and their spaces with pictures, knick-knacks and keepsakes.

Hate on our “collections,” of bags all you want, brothers. You’re no different.

You are the ones to whip out sunglasses inside at a moment’s notice.

You’re also the sucker who buys the random (pointless, likely noise-making) desk accessory by the cash register. Electronic accessories that serve no purpose (that is, unless you happen to have a ton of spare time on your hands to configure, charge, recharge, reconfigure, reset and restore)? You’ve got three!

How many keyrings are necessary for a like, three keys?

@BrothersLuv: Buttons

It’s as if all brothers have nervous ticks. Or, the natural reflex to see a button and feel a need to push it “just to see what it does.”

No, no one texted or called, or emailed, or tagged you since you last pushed the round/ Home Screen button on your iPhone…38 seconds ago.

@BrothersLuv: Picking Sides

There’s no such thing as neutrality to brothers (it’s like the concept of Sweden is lost upon them). Not necessarily to be confrontational, but brothers be all one-upping each other in nearly every aspect of life. Sports teams, politicians and political affiliations, views on culture, geographic locations, American versus foreign (anything), food…. I could go on.

Bottom line: a brother is always right.

Anyone in the world who disagrees with him? WRONG.

So…..

Others? Share ‘em.

Don’t get me wrong. Brothers are lovely people; yet, just as at-fault as us Bi*ches for loving the same…sh*t as the next.

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One full week into the Olympics and it doesn’t appear as though anyone, including myself, has grown tired of the 24/7 coverage. To have the world’s undivided attention quite rare, especially for Americans and our ADD-like culture that moves on from news and trends faster 100 mbs.

So really, what is it about London 2012 that’s kept us on the edges of our seats and hitting “refresh” on Google News all day for updates? In my eyes, it’s a few things:

  • Record breaks … Whether you love him or love to hate him, everyone was proud to see an American, Michael Phelps break the world-record to become the world’s most-decorated Olympian. Beginning the games with somewhat sluggish start, the world anxiously watched as he changed strokes (ha! See what I did there?) and kicked the competition’s youknowwhat out of the water. Celebrate responsibly, Phelps.
  • …and heartaches. On the opposite side of the coin is the disappointment facing athletes’ personal performances – keeping our attention to see if their fate would turn around. The greatest case of the “OHNO! Don’t worry, it’ll be ok! You’ve got another shot this week and we’re all rooting for you!” being Jordyn Wieber and the women’s gymnastics team. I haven’t heard one person say that he or she didn’t think Jordyn was blatantly robbed of a medal from the individual competition.  In fact, there was a near-public outcry in regards to the unfair judging and scoring system that left fans awaiting Jordyn’s redemption later in the week for the team competition.  It seemed as though Team USA became Team Jordyn and everyone was thrilled to see her blinged out with gold when the team rocked all-arounds. ILOVEYOUJORDYN!
  • #NBCFail. Ok, so any network with continuous coverage of the games, trying its best to accommodate a major time-change, is bound to have some “snafus.” But really? NBC has dropped the ball and it’s become almost comical to see where and how they’ll do it next. For instance, I was watching the [delayed] coverage of Men’s 400 meter individuals one night, having no idea [AT THE TIME, NBC] who would win. During a commercial break right before the race began, the network aired a preview for the Today Show, stating “and an interview with Men’s Gold Medalist in the 400 Medley from Team USA, Ryan Lochte!” A spoiler alert warning would have been nice. Thanks a lot, Al Roker. While on a commercial break today, NBC totally missed Japan’s second goal in Men’s Soccer.  Also, definitely heard a “HOLY SH*T” dropped during synchronized diving. Go on Twitter and check out the #NBCFail trend – it extends all week. Get it together, Peacock.
  • Athletes are babes. I’m not going to dance around this one at all and neither should you. It’s no secret that this year’s US Olympic team is stacked full of ridiculously good-looking athletes. Since that June Vogue came out with Ryan Lochte, Serena Williams and Hope Solo frolicking on the beach, people started to pay way closer attention to our team, their stories, what their statuses  were (you know, because we all totally have a chance) and when their events took place. The opening ceremony was more like a parade and the track became the US Team’s runway. Watching them was like watching a Ralph Lauren ad – and not a single person complained about it.
  • Learning experience. Um, there are205 teams competing in this year’s games. 205. I didn’t know there were 205 countries at all. Did you know there’s one named Vanuatu? Probably not. It’s in the South Pacific, there are fewer than 250,000 Vanuatuians (Vanuatus? Vanuatites?), they speak Bislama (what’s that?) and it’s basically a giant volcano. Boom, you learned something new today.
  • Ego. The USA rocks. I’m not going to dance around this one, either. I love ‘Murica and these games just make me realize how awesome our country is and what rock stars we have representing us. Sure, as it stands we might be a few medals behind [ugh] China. But, when watching countries competing, our guys look SO passionate about their sports, are honored to be there and so emotional and thrilled when they finish/win. That doesn’t happen with every country, and we’re proud of them. USA! USA!

There’s still plenty of Olympic glory to be had – and no one’s complaining about it.

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They say the two things you can expect in life are death and taxes. True.

They also say that the two most inappropriate things one should not discuss in casual conversation are religion and politics.

I beg to differ. Why? I actually think life’s two greatest expectations should be avoided at all costs in casual conversation. In fact, religion and politics these days seem more influenced by media and the latest WikiLeak than they do ideological beliefs.  I DIGRESS; BACK TO MY PONT.

MY POINT being that the best way to make a seemingly casual conversation the most uncomfortable few-minutes of a bystander’s life is to bring up death or taxes. Best way to do it well is to bring them up together. Within 40 seconds. When aforementioned bystander has no escape route. Also: a history of awkward conversations.

You might see where I’m going with this.

The scene of the crime: A certain vintage high-rise apartment in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. A Sunday afternoon, mid-summer.

The players:

1)      A friendly doorman/security guard (I use the term “security guard” very loosely as he oftentimes greets residents with lyrics from Motown classics or JaRule, practices fist-bump Fridays with his favorite residents, encourages double-parking, gossips about other residents’ late-night shenanigans and I DIGRESS AGAIN) who we’ll call “Vinny.”

2)      A twenty-something female resident who has loyally resided at aforementioned apartment a year a half, forming familial relationships with management, maintenance staff and “security guards.”  We’ll call her “Carrie.”

Of note, Carrie and Vinny have a friendly relationship, established upon banter during building entries and exits, their shared affinity for Motown…and the fact Carrie brings Vinny Snickers bars on Friday evenings when she makes a trip to stock the freezer with a supply of weekend adult beverages “because it’s the best vice of which you can indulge on the job without getting fired.”

Directly before the forthcoming “crime scene” Carrie was at the grocery store and running other similar errands. Holding multiple bags over her shoulders, she walked back to her building as quickly as tree stump-length legs could take her to prevent having grocery bags break and contents spill on sidewalk. Carrie enters building and is greeted by Vinny’s jam d’jour (“Living For the City,” Stevie Wonder…in case you were curious) and CRIME ensues [commentary italicized]:

Carrie: “Vinny! Good song today.”

Vinny: “Weeeelcome, home! How goes this fine af-tah-noon for you?”

Carrie rushes into building. It’s air conditioned and she’s been sprinting with what might as well be bags full of wet sand over her shoulder.

Carrie: “It’s going. Always could use a few more hours on the weekends though.”

Vinny:  “I hear ya, I feel ya.”

Vinny follows behind Carrie through the door and resumes his seat at the front desk where he appears to be reading Time magazine, when in actuality there’s a word search book hidden inside of the glossy pages. Carrie quickly pushes the elevator button to continue journey as grocery packhorse.

Carrie: “No complaints though. How’s your weekend been, sir?”

Vinny: “I’ll tell you…” [pauses, shakes head slowly and places had on cheek.]

At this point, Carrie knows she’s stuck for a few minutes for story time. And, that she’ll feel guilty about something mankind-related all afternoon

Vinny: “It hasn’t been the best weekend…”

Carrie: “Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. Because of the heat? You sick again?” [Vinny had “The Whoopin’ Cougher” for about a day in February. He kindly suggested to me that a Snickers bar would help it. Fact: did you know that Snickers is also an infallible antibiotic that cures “The Whoopin’ Cougher?”]

Vinny: “Naw, naw. This is more serious. I got my tax return back yesterday and looks like I owe for my mother’s taxes this year because she lives with me. Most of the time, I get back! Why is the President making my pay him taxes for my mother when I voted for him….and she did too!”

Carrie, an[ OPEN-MINDED] Republican chooses to not respond to the tax-portion of Vinny’s response exactly how she’d like.

Carrie: “Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m really glad that your mom is living with you though. She’s in safe hands!”

Carrie is wondering where the elevator is. Ah yes, it’s Chicago and 83 degrees. People are shuffling all the way from the roofdeck to their apartments’ floors before the elevators can reach the lobby.

Vinny: “Well yeah, she feels sad she’s living with me now. It was a bad weekend for her, too. The anniversary of my father’s death.”

Gulp. Where the hell is the elevator.

Carrie: “Oh Vinny, I’m so, so sorry.” [PAUUUUUSE. FOREVER-LONG PAUSE]

Elevator is in earshot. Help. Snickers will certainly not cure this.

Carrie: “I hope you guys are ok. How long ago did he pass?”

Elevator ding! As doors open as 46 rooftop visitors slowly file out. One. By. One.

Vinny: “Well, it was about 20 years ago and I was away when it did. Mother was home alone and got the call.”

Visitors still filing out and conversation clearly could not end here. There was no way to gracefully remedy this situation.

Carrie: “Oh, so he was in the hospital then. I’m so sorry and hope that she hung through this weekend. It’s always tough the day-of, isn’t it?”

Elevator doors close faster than any doors have ever before in history of elevators and head back up.

Carrie shrugs. Shoulders might actually fall out of sockets soon. Pushes ”up” button again.

Vinny: “Yes, I suppose it is harder the anniversary day. He wasn’t in the hospital though.”

Carrie: “Oh, I thought ‘the call’ would be from a doctor or something”

Seriously, are these elevators traveling through time to witness the Magna Carta signing?

Vinny: “No, no. Not exactly. It was….”

Wait for it.

Vinny: “It was homicide. Big ol’ gunshot.”

NATURALLY, this is the opportune time: CARRIE’S GROCERY BAG BREAKS. Personal items, groceries everywhere.

Carrie, mortified. Scurrying to gather items and not leave poor Vinny in the dark…or miss the next elevator.

Vinny: “Yeah.” [Vinny watches her, continuing with story.]

Vinny: “After he stole a car.”

Carrie: “Oh my word. I’m so, so sorry. That is so horrible and a sad memory for you. I’m so sorry. Your poor family.”

Sad as she feels, the depth of conversation rarely surpassed that of extracurricular activities, pop culture, the weather and topline current events. Nowhere close to taxes, IRS issues and firsthand experiences with homicide…whilst peppered with freefalling groceries and Walgreen’s purchases and a nearly severed shoulder. Which are all small potatoes compared to Vinny’s load.

Vinny: “He wasn’t a good man. It might have been God blessing us in a weird way.”

Well, there’s throwing religion in. You know, for good measure to cover all the bases: of politics, religion, homicide death and taxes.

Successfully shoving belongings in another bag, Carrie notices the glacial-paced elevator approaching.

DING. Carrie nearly throws one bag through elevator door. She has NO response.

Carrie: [entering elevator] “Ha! I guess that’s a good way of looking at it. God has an odd way of helping us sometimes, doesn’t he?”

Elevator door begins to shut. Slowly, but safety at last.

Vinny: [yelling behind Carrie] “He sure does! Have a blessed day. Jam on! See you soon!”

Close scene. I rest my case. Religion and politics worked their way in naturally, while death and taxes pretty much sealed the conversation as awkward and uncomfortable - and not to mention tragic and likely the premise of Carrie’s nightmare this evening.

And, I’ll take Snickers bars like, everyday (on Carrie’s behalf).

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