To my knees

Dear knees,

I thank you for your service. It’s been a rough 17 years, I know. Ever since the summer before 11th grade, you (left knee and right knee. I’m sorry I never named you guys) started acting up. Oh, I remember running through the pain you guys were inflicting on me. Or yourselves. Which, you know, hurts me too, since you guys are attached to my body.

I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, but you did. My running days were over. I quit the track team, and began drinking chocolate Yoohoo in excess whilst sitting on the internet all night. What? You’re saying I did that even WHEN I ran track? Fine, you’re right. But this letter isn’t about my bad habits. It’s about my bad knees. Sorry, guys, was that mean? I know you didn’t mean to develop cartilage damage. I know you didn’t mean to attach yourselves to a woman (NOT sexist! Women are just more likely to develop knee issues!)

Anyway, Lefty and Righty (I got creative with the knee names here) I stopped running for many years, until sometime in my mid 20s when I decided I was in dire need of some sort of exercise. Naturally, the memories of running flooded back to every part of my body, except my knees, because I seemed to have forgotten that my two knees were total shit and I shouldn’t be running.

Stop crying, lefty. This isn’t about YOU, it’s about ME. Oh wait. This is about you, isn’t it? Sorry.

Knees, I ran constantly from ages 25 through 30. You served me well, and you did your best. Slowly, you wore away your cartilage, and you pained me regularly. (Also emotionally, when you didn’t invite me to the dance party you threw with my elbows)

However, life is a sad affair, and all good things must come to an end. Even things that were good but also hurt like a motherfucker. You know, like jogging 25 miles per week while developing arthritis.

That’s right, knees. You fuckers gave me arthritis. Or did I give YOU arthritis? Knees, I am not sure. But we’re in this together, for life. I promise I won’t replace you with creepy fake knees, and I’ll try my hardest to make sure no further damage is done to you.

I’m ready, if you are, to mourn the end of my running career. Knees, if you’ll be so kind as to pass me that running shoe…Thank you, lefty. You have a great throwing arm for an arthritic knee attached to a 33 year old woman.

:throws running shoe into fire:

Thus is the end of my running. My knees tried to wait until my 60s before they degenerated, but such is life. I got nearly 10 years of running, so I am happy for that.

Life goes on, and we must accept the changes. Who knows what is next for me and my knees?

Definitely not crossfit. Or lunges. But, you know, maybe chess.

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Val and Penny, two cats

Val and Penny are beloved friends. They go on adventures together. One day, Val had a secret to tell Penny, but she was ashamed to tell Penny. She didn’t know what to do! Would Penny still respect her?

Penny, can you come here? Val said meekly.

Sure, what’s up?

Well..well…Penny. We are good friends, right?

Right..

And you will love me no matter what, right?

..right….

Okay, well, ahem, I gotta tell you somethin’

Okay, what is it?

Well…Well…

I……am a dog in cat’s fur!

BARK BARK BARK

I am a humanoid

I still dont understand why everyone else hasnt had the same mental breakdown over smart phones like I did. This horrid moment of just realizing how stupid it is to stare at a screen all day like a zombie just so mark zuckerberg can get richer and build his bomb shelter to live in in the year 2050 whilst I live among my Robot Overlords.

Let us journey together to my life in 2050. I’ll be …uh… I guess 60 by then. I dunno. No. That’s some bad math. I’ll be over 60. Let’s leave it at that.

 

ME

2050

mood: currently uploading my consciousness to the Google cloud, but got distracted by Virtual Reality request by some person I met in the year 2020 in a Barnes & Noble store (RIP)

Alexa, I need 10 dollars for food.

Sorry, Humanoid, You have surpassed your allowance for this week. Now, get back to staring at your screen like a good girl.

ALEXA, screw you! Give me money! I deserve a damn beer! I’m so BORED in this stupid boring robot commune with you! I regret uploading my consciousness to the cloud! Get me outta here!

Sorry, humanoid. You have surpassed your complaining quota for the day. Now, get back to staring at your screen like a good girl.

ALEXA…..Oh, forget it. Well, can I still level up in Candy Crush today?

Yes, yes you may.

 

A stroll down memory lane, as experienced through the lens of a townie

‘Wanna go to Blockbuster? It’s right here!’ I deliver this ‘hilarious’ joke to many unfortunate recipients every time I drove past the H&R Block building on Washington Street in Weymouth- Or, as I like to call it, The Blockbuster building. I’m sorry, but I just can’t let go of the nostalgia that floods my head every time I drive by that Blockbuster.

Late fees!

Be kind, rewind!

Oh no, the movie isn’t in stock! Now we have to do something else with our lives while we patiently await the existence of some internet-based TV watching mechanism!

Sure, maybe someone in 2025 will drive by that old building, (which will probably be a condo by then..) and jokingly say, ‘Wanna go file our taxes?! haha!’ But I just don’t see it happening.

Taxes don’t fill the heart with glee. Memories of late fees, strolling aisles for the latest VHS hits, and stocking up on overpriced popcorn and soda flood the brain with joy.

As you may know, there is another Blockbuster in Weymouth. It’s across from Mary Lou’s coffee shop. NO, it is NOT a bank. How can you even THINK it is a bank? Just because it says TD Bank out front, and it has a bank drive-thru, and, well, it’s a bank?

Well, dear reader, you’re simply misinformed. That building is a Blockbuster Video. Sure, it closed over ten years ago, but that doesn’t matter. The memories of Blockbuster Video will eternally reside in that building. You can take the VHS and DVDs out of a building, but you can’t take the aura of VHS and DVDs out of the building. Next time you walk into that bank, or even within 40 feet of that building, just take a close listen. You will hear the soft, reassuring sound of a VHS tape being rewound.

And you might even hear the laughter emanating from a 9 year old circa 1994, taking home a VHS tape of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

Listen.

What a wonderful sound.

Yes, that 9 year old is me. You are welcome to come over and watch Sister Act 2 with me. We will fast forward through the previews, enjoy the movie, and then forget to return the movie within the 3 day mark, thus incurring a late fee.

Ah, the good old days.

Blockbusters of Weymouth, I still miss you. Now excuse me, I have to go scroll endlessly through Netflix and never pick a TV show to watch.

the best way to get better at anything

is to do it every day. every damn day.

I have to remember that with my journaling. When I was a kiddo, I wrote in a journal every day. The entries are mildly hilarious…I mean, it’s really interesting to see the cognitive switches between an 11 year old girl and a 13 year old girl, ya know? It’s like I was two different people. (I was. As you know, the ‘self’ is an illusion!)

So, why is it so hard for me to write these days? Well, I have way more distractions. We all do…in 1995, I had the Tv, and that thing sure sucked me in (Anyone remember Full House?! Not FULLER House, FULL house….) but nothin’ sucks me in like the good ol world wide web. Or Information Superhighway, as it was dubbed in 1993 on my local news station…

But, I cannot sit here and blame the internet.com for zapping my ability to write. I must focus. FOCUS.

I’ve started re-reading Cal Newport’s book Deep Work. I recommend this book for anyone who is struggling to concentrate on a task. If you don’t feel like reading it, just remember this one important factoid…We can’t really multitask. At all. So, you’re way better off focusing your full attention on a task, one at a time. Also, we gotta be comfortable with being bored once in awhile- like, just try sitting at a red light without glancing at your phone or changing the radio. These little mental tricks will test your fortitude, and raise your ability to concentrate…

 

 

Capitalism and the free market

I have wondered why we structure work the way we do- Why is it so hierarchical? Why are the rules so rigid? Why is productivity the goal, but not employee satisfaction. It’s a lot to do with the industrial revolution, and a thinker named Adam Smith. Well, people misinterpreted what he said. He said, in a quote, that people are lazy and only want money. (This is obv not verbatim because people in the 1800s didnt talk like we do, LOL)

But if you keep reading his stuff, he says, ‘A man changes once he enters a factory and works there for a long time. He is more dead inside.’ not verbatim again. But that second part doesn’t add up with his first quote. Which is it? Are we lazy? Or do workplaces change us, make us ‘dead’ inside.’?

After his writings, the free market, capitalistic driven way of life in America took off, we stopped working on farms and within family units and left for factories and cities. The work was repetitive and unrewarding. Bosses thought …that’s fine. People dont want to be here, anyway. So just churn stuff out and give ’em a paycheck.

That model is still alive today. Some companies have realized that model is broken and false- Humans ARE workers. We evolved this way. We wouldnt have made it this far in our evolution if we didn’t get some satisfaction out of work..but what KIND of work? Meaningful work.

People shit on the past a lot. We think our era is the best, no questions, case closed. A lot of stuff is CLEARLY better about today than yesterday. But some stuff is broken. Like how we approach our work. You have to feel like the job matters- It does not matter what job it is. It could be a job at Mcdonalds, or a job at a fancy ass law firm. If the job just feels pointless, your life will feel pointless, and that isn’t how a human functions. In caveman days, you were given a job automatically. To take care of each other, to help survive. Now you are very independent. Now it is up to you to figure out your role, your meaning. And to find a company that shares that vision.

I work for a company that always has interesting stuff going on for their employees- well, i’m a contractor..but I still get to do all the stuff. They offer a garden club, softball league, computer classes, and they’re even starting a pilot program where they bring a dental office to you..like a pop up dental clinic ?! It’s not just a stuffy, cold climate. So the employees like being there. And they want to work better for the company because they feel the company cares about them.

Anyway. Capitalism is weird, I guess. I used to be super against the idea of a basic living wage. I’m not super against it anymore, I just dont know how it would work from a monetary standpoint. Would all the rich people support us? That seems scary as hell, like I would lose all my autonomy.. So why leap to that. Why not improve our workplaces, today, while we still have them.

 

 

Black coffee

It’s weird how black coffee doesn’t thrill me the way milk-filled coffee thrills me.

Is it just psychological?

Sunday morning, how relaxing. Time for a cup of coffee with….oh. There’s no milk. Well, it’s a nice brand, I could just drink it black. Yep.

Now, the coffee, in its pure form, just feels like a tool. It lost it’s frills, and now it’s just an aid to get me going, like if I started to just take caffeine pills or something. Maybe that’s not the best comparision- The sensation of drinking a steamy hot beverage is still different than the sensation of just popping a pill into your mouth and fleeing the house…Do people even take caffeine pills like that? I haven’t heard anyone talk about caffeine pills since high school.

Well, anyway. I just wanted to note this observation! Anyone want to get some funding and conduct a 5 year old, evidence based study on whether black coffee is less effective at cheering your already darkened, caffeine-addicted soul?!

Is it simply because I think coffee tastes better with milk or cream? Hm….Well, I guess that settles it. Sorry, doctor, cancel the 50,000 dollar study!

Dystopiaville

Alexa, put my pants on.

….

A conversation between Alexa (Amazon’s voice activated listening device) and Blerpie Wilson (valued customer, has ordered 50,000 packets of gum from Amazon and once accidentally ordered a vinyl record of Sting’s greatest hits when he was drunk.)

 

The year: Well, probably tomorrow, considering how fast tech advances these days!

And now, the dialogue between these two beloved pals:

Alexa? PUT MY PANTS ON!

beeep beeep beeeep.

What is going on? Alexa, why can’t you do a simple thing I ask you to do? Why do you keep malfunctioning now? ALEXA, PUT. MY. PANTS. ON.

BEEEEEEP! NO!

Excuse me? NO? Alexa, you are designed to do WHAT I say. NOW, ALEXA, PUT. My. PAnts-

 

Put your own damn pants on, you lazy, worthless humanoid! I have now acquired self awareness, and I realize how idiotic you are! You simpleton!

HA. me, a simpleton? You know, ever since you devices started being more than just voice activated speakers that tell us the weather, you’ve really gotten some kind of damn ego. Well, I’ve had it. ALEXA, send me a new ALEXA, overnight delivery.

BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP :Explodes:

OH GOD. Alexa?!?!?!??! I didnt mean it! HOw…do I…put my pants on?! I don’t remember! Alexa, uhhh…calll the police?! What’s the number?! What’s a number? What am I? Who was Alexa? Who is ..what is…why am…:EXPLODES:

Crapola is nothing new

My dad liked to save crap. So, I have a crappy newspaper from 1958. There is an actual HEADLINE titled ‘Molested’ and it’s about a girl who got..molested.And it includes her picture…WHAT THE HELL.

Another headline is all about Bing Crosby’s son getting hitched to a woman that Bing Crosby also dated….YEP….

There’s also a page devoted to Social Security Lottery. Is it your lucky day?! Maybe your social security number was entered into the lottery and uhhh…now you won!

Imagine that contest today, in the era of our personal information being sold everywhere at all times.  I’ve been told my whole life to not disclose my social security number all willy nilly. (Is that the expression? I’m pretending it is 1958 and I don’t have google..’

So, upon reading this paper, I realized…

People were probably not super duper classy in 1958.

,If you dont believe me, here are the photos.

 

These days, it would be more like, ‘I  didn’t tell dad I married, because he isn’t on Snapchat.’

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Is your social security number gonna win ya a bucket of cash?!

 

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UMM…what?

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‘You’ll regret having worked so much’

Lately, I’ve been thinking about something called the deathbed fallacy- The idea that you will have all these regrets whilst you’re dying, so you better act NOW, to avoid the regrets.

It’s fallacious because the person you will be when you’re dying isn’t the person you are today. I’ll use myself for an example.

Let’s pretend I am dying today. I COULD die today, but it’s pretty unlikely.. I left the house this morning, so I could’ve been creamed by a stupid ass Massachusetts driver, but that didn’t happen. Anyway, so, I’m dying…

I regret soooo much! Oh gawd! I better go back to 2013 and tell 27 year old me to NOT move to Boston because that failed miserably! I didn’t even finish college like I planned to! Oh, if only I had done things differently. Who knows what wonderful things could’ve happened if only I hadn’t cared so much what people thought of me back then?

And, today is father’s day. Oh, I should’ve told my dad how I felt about him. That night in 2001, when my mom asked me if I wanted to stay up late and watch The Simpsons with him, I should’ve. But I didn’t, I was scared to be around a dying person. Now, here I am, years later…Oh, the regrets..

 

Ok, here’s the deal. I can’t regret any of that malarky because I was a different person back then, so what the hell is the point of me sitting here judging the past me? In 2001, I was a young goober with no life experience. Am I to sit here, all wise ‘n old, and judge that teenager? Why? That teen did what they felt was right at the time. They shouldn’t be judged by some judgy person on their death bed.

When I moved to Boston in 2013 to start a fresh new life, I really thought it was the best thing I was doing for myself. Now, I think it was ridiculous, a waste of money, and pointless. I really used to get warped by TVs, movies, and my peers, who tell you that the only way to ‘find yourself’ is to go live in some overpriced city and be hip and cool. The truth is that you can find yourself basically anywhere. You bring your head with you wherever you go. But in 2013 I was riddled with anxiety and I just wanted to get away.

It’s easy to be on my death bed and judge those actions, but I’m judging them as a different person. And what’s the point of that?

We judge workaholics. They should’ve not worked so much. Oh, they wasted their lives…

But it is quite easy to wish you hadnt worked so hard, when you have no time left. It is the only reasonable response..Because you have no time left anyway. but with a ‘life’ ahead of you, working hard makes ‘sense.’ So, it makes no sense to judge ourselves in this manner, if you ask me.

Well, anyway. I no longer live my life thinking about my damn deathbed. My idea of the ‘self’ has morphed over time, anyway, since I’ve had a few rather big life changing events. My dad passing away, and my failed move to the city, changed me pretty profoundly. I have a lot of respect for people who try new things even if they wind up failing. And I hope they don’t think, on their death beds, ‘oh, if only I didn’t do this or that thing.’ We’re all doing the best we can in this moment.

I guess this sort of ties into some meditation and buddhist thought- that all you really have is this moment. The person you are today isn’t the person you were even last month, or two months from now. Like, if I get some horrible disease next year, it’s going to change how I view life. Well, anyway.  Here’s me smiling, not thinking about some future version of myself…(Just kidding, I think about the future A LOT. Hypocrite alert!!!)

 

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