Words

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A good friend of mine recently posted as her Facebook status the question, “What is your favorite word?” What a great question. But in the moment I panicked. I thought, how can I pick just one favorite word when there are so many wonderful words to choose from?

Let’s face it. I love words. Yep, I’m a word nerd.

Not wanting to commit to a single, solitary word at the time, I offered up a few of my least favorite words instead. I couldn’t commit so I deflected. I needed time to think. It felt like I’d been asked to select a favorite child or film or song from the 80s. I mean, there are too many really good ones.

Also, much like sexual positions, doesn’t it kind of depend on my mood?

If I’m feeling happy, I might lean towards words like love or yellow or sunshine. On the other hand, if I’m angry I might drop an F-bomb or 2 or maybe even a C-U-Next-Tuesday. I’m not afraid to use either.

I thought long and hard about my favorites and least favorites. Unfortunately I still couldn’t commit to just one in either category so, rather than force it, I decided to compile a Top 10 list for each.

Here you go…

Faves:

  1. Fuck – It’s the best word to get my point across in any given situation. Fuck you. Fuck me. Fuck the world. Fuckin’ A (old school). Fuck yeah! Fuckedy-fuck-fuck.
  2. Awesome – Because it’s awesome. That’s why.
  3. Mommy – This one melts me on a regular basis. Any sentence that either begins or ends with mommy is a good one. Fact.
  4. Thank you – While technically 2 words, it deserves a spot in my top 10. I use the phrase frequently and honestly believe everyone should. There are infinite reasons to be thankful. We should make it a point to say so more often.
  5. Laughter – Perhaps my favorite activity also.
  6. Love – Who doesn’t love love?
  7. Monosyllabic – I love that a word that means 1 syllable is, in fact, comprised of 5 syllables.
  8. Mulch – Come on, it’s so much fun to say. Say it! MULCH!!
  9. Yay! – Because you can’t say it without the exclamation! It kind of makes you want to clap too, doesn’t it?
  10. Uranus – Did you know that Uranus is currently retrograde? Better eat more fiber!

Least Faves:

  1.  Lover – Ick.
  2. Bestie – Unless we’re 16 and splitting a BFF charm, do we really have to be besties? Can’t we just be really good friends?
  3. Ants – I don’t like ants. The word makes me itch.
  4. Rape – This is one of those words I feel gets thrown around too lightly. It’s a serious word for a serious matter. And, in my opinion, any alternate use is reducing the severity of the offense. For example: While you might not enjoy paying your taxes, the government is not raping you so get over it.
  5. Moist – Unless you’re describing cake, it’s probably best to leave this one alone too (OK, even if you’re describing cake!)
  6. Finger – Even when used innocently, this word strikes a vulgar chord.
  7. Phlegm – Ew. Even the word sounds phlegmy. Doesn’t it?
  8. No – I like yes much better.
  9. Pecker – Can we please resolve to leave this word in the 70s or 80s or wherever, whenever it was born? Every single time I think it has died, I lower my pecker guard and then someone manages to bring it back to life and smack me in the face with it (so to speak). In a nutshell, if I never-ever-ever again hear some idiot refer to his own penis as his pecker, it will be too soon. Ugh.
  10. Flan – Thanks to the warm, oozy, day-old flan I was forced to consume back in high school Spanish class on the same dreadful day I coincidentally came down with a rather volatile case of stomach flu, the look, the smell, the thought and, yes, even the word flan still gives me the cold sweats.

Thank you to Jennifer Sexton Riviezzo for the inspiration to blog about this!

Word!

April Fool

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Today, we celebrate two groups of people: Those who prank and those who get pranked!

Admittedly, I have fallen into both categories. Here’s my advice…

  • If you don’t want to get pranked, this may be a good time to cash in a vacation or sick day. There’s no shame in hiding. I’ve done it.
  • Even if you love a good prank, keep your guard up. You may have planned the best prank ever, but it might not matter if they get you first.
  • Try not to hurt anyone. Before you go yanking a chair out from under someone or wiping out the back of a knee, please be sure they aren’t suffering from a previous injury or disability. You don’t want to cause permanent physical damage, and you will look like the biggest A-hole on the planet when you find yourself being sued or serving prison time for a poorly planned April Fool’s joke. Remember: it’s not nice to use your friends’ allergies against them! Sure, it’d make a great story but is it really worth it??
  • Consider the consequences. Certain people may not want to play along, and others may not take a prank in the good nature it was (hopefully) intended. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings… especially someone who has serial killer potential. I’m just sayin’. I highly doubt the Dahmers and Bundys of the world are very good sports.
  • Above all else, always remember that whoever you prank will definitely prank you back! And, we all know, payback is a five letter word that rhymes with witch (need another clue? it starts with “B”).

If you still want to play, keep in mind that truly great pranks tend to take time and patience to plan and pull off. And, you get extra credit for originality. You don’t want to be the guy (or girl) who pulls the same old pranks year after year. Whoopy cushions are fine, when used sparingly (say, every 5 yrs).

These days, money is tight for most of us so why not take a peek around your home and get creative. Typical household items make great pranks and they can save you cash. Think of all the fun you could have with any or all of the following: aluminum foil, plastic wrap, flour, duct tape, baby oil, Crisco, diaper rash cream, Jell-o, super glue, food coloring, pickle juice, the possibilities are endless…

Much like theme costumes at Halloween, theme pranks can be fun too. Why not develop a theme or pull the same prank on everyone at your office? Cover all your coworkers’ keyboards in powdered sugar or Saran Wrap their phones. It’s slightly less risky than going to war with one person since people tend to take things better when they’re not alone. On the other hand, you might manage to piss off a whole company, and that has its downsides, too. If you can get involved in a group prank, they’re great because you can share the credit and the blame (the latter being more important obviously).

It’s probably not a great idea to prank your boss or the head of your company (unless he or she is a prankster too, or really deserves it!), especially in this economy. If you decide to do so anyway, take a few extra steps (1. Clean out your desk  2. Draft your companywide goodbye email  3. Consider scheduling a consultation with an employment rights attorney). I wonder how many folks will wind up in the Unemployment Line post April 1?

If you’re still not sure who to prank, I highly suggest pranking friends and relatives, not because they are easy targets necessarily or because they deserve it more than coworkers or complete strangers, but because they are more likely to forgive you. Pranking your mom may not make you look cool to your friends, but part of her job is to love you unconditionally (even if you’re the jerk who super-glued her tush to the toilet!). And, there’s something to be said for that!

If you fall prey to a prank, I hope it’s all in good fun and that you are able to appreciate it. If you are the prankster, I wish you luck! Hopefully, whoever you prank will be a good sport, laugh gracefully and wait until next year to unleash their wrath of revenge. You can always move away or switch jobs between now and then.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Writing Class

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I’m taking an online writing class, and so far so good. It isn’t my first writing workshop, but it is the first one I’ve taken online. So far, it’s been great, informative and worthwhile. While I’ve been learning a lot, I’m not sure my favorite things about the class have much to do with the class itself. The fact that it’s online might be the coolest part actually.

These are my favorite parts, in no particular order:

  • Wearing PJs during class chats. Priceless! Not having to wear a bra? Even better!
  • Watching American Idol in the background. The live chats take place on Thursday nights, during the AI decision shows. I half pay attention to those shows anyway. Since 24 ended, I don’t have much to live for – in regards to TV anyway. American Idol and Food Network are practically all I have left! Last week, the instructor switched days to Wednesday, and that’s AI performance night. I almost dropped the class. Thank God, the move was only temporary!
  • While I’m learning stuff, my husband, Jason, plays with our daughter, Lyla, for a whole hour without me. By the time the chat time is over, they’re both exhausted. Plus, he brings me drinks during class! So, it’s a win-win and sort of like being on vacation.
  • Not having to smile and nod in a room full of people, pretending I remember everything about everything they wrote. I have mommy brain. Some days, I hardly remember what I wrote!
  • I can sneak in extra minutes to write during class chats. Every minute counts! I’m writing this blog during class just to prove to myself that I can do both simultaneously! Mommies (and former event planners) are phenomenal at multitasking.
  • Getting to read some truly excellent work from other writers struggling to get published, while getting their feedback on my writing. It’s like a support group! Lord knows, I need one of those!
  • The teacher is a real editor at a major publishing house (read: the mother ship of all publishing houses). I know! I was excited too. She’s big time. Plus, she’s really nice! Her insight and professional feedback are just as important to me (probably more, but it’s a close race) as the not having to wear a bra part.

It’s only been a few weeks, but the class has been fun, interesting and definitely worth the time and the price of admission. Plus, this is so much better than how I remember college actually being. Well, the learning portion anyway. Lecture halls, prerequisite courses, labs and studying through the night? Those parts were dreadful. The other parts were awesome, if my memory serves me right.

This class has inspired me in so many ways, and I will definitely take more classes in the future. I might even consider going back to school at some point to get my MFA in Creative Writing… online, of course!

If you want my opinion

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I broke up with a credit card company last week, and they sent me a survey. It was your basic ‘how did you like our service?’ type survey. Um, I would think it should go without saying that if I liked it, I wouldn’t be dumping your sorry ass. Do they really want to know, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much I hate them?

The world is inundated with surveys. Telemarketers call us at home, asking for just 15 minutes of our time… always during dinner, or at least that’s the excuse I use to get off the phone.

They want answers for everything: market research, political opinions, customer feedback. I don’t recall the last time I walked through a mall without someone with a clipboard approaching me for just a few minutes of my time or trying to corner me in the food court. Product surveys, service surveys? How about surveys about surveys and your survey experience? I’m sure those exist too.

Who takes the time to fill these out? Someone must, or why would they be so popular?

I’m constantly getting emails asking me to take surveys from home, promising I’ll make millions. I’m sure you get those too. I signed up for one, in my early 20s, and quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. It takes more than time; it requires stamina to fill out survey after survey on every topic imaginable. To this day, I still receive the occasional email begging me to come back and take another survey.

This got me thinking. Since we’re already such a survey friendly society, wouldn’t it be fun, or at least funny, to have a survey ready to go for other situations?

How about…

1 – First Date Survey: A first date survey would be an excellent opportunity to get feedback on your dating skills, and there’s no better way to show that you care about your date’s feelings and opinions. Of course, you’ll want to choose your moment carefully. And, no matter what you’ve been told, waiting a whole three days is not a good idea! For accurate and timely results, I recommend picking a moment near the end of the date. The question is do you hand it to your date before or after the big first kiss? Before, and not only can you find out if they’re ready and willing, but you can ask about style and technique preferences (Q: on a scale from 1 to Niagara, how much tongue is too much?), while you take time to pop a Mentos. After, and you can get feedback on the kiss itself. Either way works.

2 – Jury Duty Survey: Jury duty takes all day and they ask so many questions. Why not hand the judge, lawyers and fellow jurors a brief opinion survey and ask a few questions of your own? But keep in mind: you snooze, you lose. Different states have different rules. There’s no way of knowing if or when you’ll be randomly chosen again. And, who knows? Maybe this will somehow alter your odds of getting selected. Surely, you won’t be getting sequestered. You certainly don’t want to miss the opportunity!

3 – Neighbor Survey: If you rent, why not corner your neighbors by the mailboxes or on their way in/out of the building. If upscale is more your cup of tea, have your doorman hand the surveys out for you. Ask questions about noise level concerns or weird smells. You may be the weird, noisy, smelly neighbor, and you’ll never know unless you ask. While this would work best (or maybe worst) in an apartment building setting, homeowners can do it too. Why not hand out surveys on your block or around the neighborhood? How do you like my parking? How annoying is my dog? Or, rate my Christmas decorations.

4 – Parenting Survey: If you’re lucky enough to have your kids move out or go away to college at 18-ish, why not pass them a survey while they’re packing? Ask your son or daughter’s opinion on your parenting abilities or how they’ve enjoyed their extended stay. It’s a great opportunity to get an additional opinion on whether you should turn his/her bedroom into a home office or gym. Remember, nothing says I love you like a survey.

5 – Relationship Break-Up Survey: You get the old “it’s not you, it’s me” line. Instead of crying, pleading for another chance, begging for breakup sex or wasting your breath asking a ton of why me? questions, why not whip out a survey instead? Imagine the look on your new X’s face. Priceless!

I’m sure there are plenty of other examples.

With the economy in its current state, maybe this is an untapped job opportunity?

Personally, I’d love to sit around all day and write surveys! Wouldn’t that be fun? If you’re the one writing them, you could make them about whatever you want, and even sneak in a few subtle jokes, double entendres or subliminal messages here and there just to see if anyone’s actually paying attention. I mean, why not? You could corner the market on all sorts of surveys.

But, please don’t ask me to take your survey. On a scale of 1 to 10, they’re such a waste of time.