The Blog Hop Starts Here!!!

In case you missed the Blog Hop backstory, you can read about it HERE.

The goal was to demonstrate that an episode of either Anxiety or Depression can in fact have an application:  awesome, and sometimes downright hilarious fiction.  Why not laugh at the quirks?  Sitting around and crying into a bowl of chicken noodle soup never did shit for me personally.  Everybody on the tour has had some kind of experience with either, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we also know how to write some kick ass fiction.  Screw the label.  Screw the stigma.  At the source of it all is an active imagination, and a fabulous fictional tale awaits.

There are twelve writers ahead of me today, with each of them featuring the next part of this highly outlandish tale, and each post is around 200 words. Here’s a double shot of humor to go along with your morning espresso.

*kicks door down Chuck Norris-style*

Set.  GO!

The Most Outlandish Tale About Anxiety and Depression Ever Told

So anyways, I was meandering around the mall the other day, bags in hand, when I accidentally ran into this little elderly lady with white hair.  We literally ran into each other.  Clumsy me.  We were both very apologetic toward each other after the bump-in however, and immediately went our separate ways.

A short while later, I accidentally bumped into the same elderly woman while in a different outlet store, only this time I was in a hurry, so I ran into her pretty hard – like, she was on one leg at some point and almost kicked me in the face as she was tipping backwards.  The woman was less apologetic this time as she adjusted her knee-highs, but managed to eek out a half-grin before we again parted company.

I was starting to grow a little bit paranoid at this point, hoping that I wouldn’t accidentally run into her again.  I started thinking about all these crazy what-if scenarios, and my head turned into a washing machine of bad thoughts…

What if she had a contagious skin infection?  Maybe I should find a bathroom and scrub my arm?  What if we keep bumping into each other for a reason?  What’s the reason?  Maybe she’s my soulmate? WHAT IF SHE WORKS FOR THE MOB AND SHE’S GONNA FUCKING KILL ME IF I BUMP INTO HER AGAIN?!

I had to get out, and quickly.

My fragile existence was now at stake and…

…THAT LEG WAS PRETTY HAIRY TOO NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT!

I dashed out the mall entrance door and threw my bags in a nearby bush…

Continue the story by clicking here

Blog Hop: The Most Outlandish Anxiety Tale Ever Told

Have you ever had one of those moments where suddenly, out of nowhere, you felt really nervous for absolutely no reason?  Maybe, like, you’re standing in line at the grocery store, staring at someone’s bananas on the conveyor belt…

…and then you begin creating this catastrophic what-if scenario in your head in which you all of the sudden FREAK OUT and hold up the register with a banana under your shirt, which leads to some kind of hostage situation, which leads to police helicopters and news reporters and swat teams, which leads to your mugshot being flashed on CNN headline news everywhere, which leads to getting hit in the head with one of those bean bag guns, which leads to you going to prison, which leads to having to share a cot with some guy named Dimples who likes to cuddle, which leads to a terrifying stroll down the death row corridor with a potato sack over your head, which leads to being strapped into the electric chair…

…and then the very polite girl at the register timidly says, “your total is $4.99″, sir, and you’re all like,

“PLEASE DON’T SEND ME TO PRISON IT’S JUST A BANANA LOOK!”

And then everybody looks at you with weird looks on their faces, and probably thinking to themselves that that’s exactly where you belong…

I will...smash...this...or something...in your face if you don't give me money.

I will…smash…this…or something…in your face if you don’t give me money.

That’s called Anxiety. I do that sometimes.  Well, sorta..

But it got me to thinking (irony) about how much anxiety (and depression) have helped me write stories. After all, that’s basically what anxiety is, right?  I guess it’s all in how you look at it.  Are you a “poor, helpless anxiety sufferer”?  Or, do you have the gift of being a fucking great fiction writer?  When you think about it, having a freak out episode, or an anxiety or panic attack, or a grey matter meltdown, or whatever you wanna call it, is nothing but a series of creatively fabricated events that never happen. It’s fiction.  A lot of the time, it’s really good fiction.

So I thought it would be a cool idea to celebrate our varying degrees of mainstream neuroticism by kicking of a BLOG HOP starting HERE this Thursday.  Anxiety deserves a laugh, and for that matter, Depression does too.  Rather than sit around and cry about it, why not recognize these things as gifts?  They are weird gifts, yes: “Gee, thanks for this, um, gift stuff…”

The point I’m trying to make is this: Apply it to Something.  Many already do, and just don’t recognize it.  Maybe you’ll learn to recognize it beginning today?

The blog-hopping story – similar to the one told at the intro to this post – will mozy on down a long trail of other crazy people – all with the ability to produce great anxiety-inspired fiction.  If it works (it’s already working), you’ll get a chance to read a really funny, highly outlandish story, collectively told in very small parts by a lot of really talented writers.  You’ll get to visit all off your buds, click the like button, fart, and move on to the next blog in no time flat.

Sound like fun? It will be!

Want to join?  You should!

Sign on the dotted line in the comment section!

Oh, and Psst!  Ericka Clay is playing along at some point along the story path, so you know it’s gonna be 2 legit to quit.  Nothing like a good old fashioned name drop.

Salute \m/

 

Stepping in a Huge Pile of ‘Should’

Good Sunday Morning.  I should probably be in Church right now absolving my sins, but I have to clean and stuff.

See what I did there?

You probably missed the keyword in the second sentence unless you were looking/listening for it.  This is already starting to feel like a grammar lesson…

*Grabs pointing device and slaps chalkboard with it*

The word I’m talking about is should.

Or, if you’d like me to make it sound a little more intense, I can add a broken German accent to it:

*Grabs pointing device and slaps chalkboard with it while speaking in a broken German accent*

Ah!  Zis vurd vright he-are!  Dus is eine vurd, “Shood”

"Zees right he-are is eine very important lesson too"

“Zees right he-are is eine very important lesson too”

It’s such a shitty word – a shouldy word – and whether it’s spoken with a broken accent, or fluent English, it’s a bad word.  It’s worse than fuck, shit, bastard, moist, or snow, and that’s because it has guilt smeared all over it like cream cheese on a bagel.

When you break it down, it seems like should  implies that you’re not doing something that you’re supposed to be doing, or that you’re doing something that doesn’t meet another person’s standards, or that if you don’t do something, you’ll miss out on something great.

It’s like a really subtle form of controlling somebody via the guilt trip, or a take-away of personal power.  It’s one of those trigger words that PISSES me off whenever I hear it, and yet, I’m aware that I also use it too. Break it down, and it’s like being conditionally accepting of somebody else’s current state of nirvana.

I have a folder full of preachy-sounding articles sitting on my desktop right now, and none of them will ever see the light of day because I’m not qualified to be handing out ‘life advice’.  I have my own pile of dirty dishes to attend to.  But I thought this might be an interesting conversational piece, and I’m curious if it has the same effect on you.

How big is the should pile in your life?

Talk to me.

LAP Featured on WordPress News

For the first time ever, this is not a spoof LAP news announcement: The entire Long Awkward Pause cast is being featured on WordPress News today, so please join us for an insightful interview into the underworkings and underwears of of this marvelously disorganized humor mag of sorts!

CLICK HERE to read the full interview

We will also be offering a very simple (very late) complimentary breakfast buffet for our guests, which will consist of Coffee and bagels, and also muffins if you prefer.  We also have cream cheese for you bagel buffs. Oh yeah, and we also have whole grain cereal and oatmeal, and a toast selection for the fiber people, and flapjacks with chocolate chips and/or blueberries, and a variety of high-grade maple syrups to choose from.

Oops!  Almost forgot to mention the poached eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs , the grits, the standard bacon, turkey bacon and Canadian bacon, the sausage links, the Kobe beef sausage sampler (haven’t tried it yet, but sounds pretty good), and the imported tropical fruit spread that came from some warm island, too.

Waffles!  Forgot to mention the waffles with powdered sugar and strawberry toppings.  How could I forget about the waffles?

Oh yes, geez, and there will also be orange juice, mango juice, papaya juice, cranberry juice, Juicy Juice, Banana juice, some green juice stuff that looks gross so probably don’t try that one, and also spring water with ice and straws, and those little umbrella toothpick things (…if you want to look important while you’re eating).

Tea, goat cheese and croissants too. And cinnamon buns. There might be something else I'm forgetting here...

Tea, goat cheese and croissants too. And cinnamon buns. There might be something else I’m forgetting here…

If that isn’t an incentive to join us this afternoon, then you probably hate the shit out of breakfast.  Or maybe you just don’t like breakfast in the afternoon, which is understandable.  Fair enough. Hope to see you there!

Salute \m/

The Real Meaning Behind Inspirational Pinterest Posters.

I might get myself into a heap a shit today with the some of you this morning, BUT!  Just another routine day at the office…

Today it’s time to do some ball-busting, and those cheeseball inspirational posters that everybody plasters all over their social media pages are due for a call-out.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Those really sappy quote posters about “climbing to the top of the summit and blah blah blah..” and “You’ll never know what you had until you blah blah blah…”

These things:

Pinterest Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only thing this inspires me to do is stick my finger down my throat and tickle that hangy-down thingy until I throw up…

There is a subliminal message in each of these too, and I’m pretty confident that I’ve cracked the code.  I think.  So grab your Friday Java, and make sure you don’t drink any of it while you’re reading this list, because I cannot be held liable for coffee sprayage all over your high-def Samsung computer monitor.

CLICK HERE for all the action happening over at Long Awkward Pause today.

I promise it’ll deliver.

Or it will completely suck.

One or the other.

 

Salute \m/

There’s Nothing Worse Than That Moment When…

Life is funny.  It seems to always find creative ways of throwing metaphorical curveballs at your face the same day that you metaphorically got your braces installed.  I’m talking about those “oh no, not now” moments – those things that happen at the most inopportune or inappropriate times, and you find yourself shaking a clenched fist at the sky. 

We all have those moments.  It’s part of the cosmic joke.

So I guess I’ll preface the list by saying that there’s nothing worse than that moment when…

It's happening.

It’s happening.

…You’re exactly halfway into your morning commute, and you realize that the fiber bar, apple, three cups of dark roast coffee, and bowl of oatmeal with flax seed sprinkles on it is close to winning the battle.  Red light.

…You drop a dime on the floor while standing in line and are suddenly unsure whether or not to embark on a recovery procedure for it.  The guy behind you picks it up.  You’re suddenly filled with regret.

…You’re cleaning out your fridge, and as you’re dumping the pork roast leftovers from three months ago into the garbage, you carelessly miss the hole.  Not only does it smell like Satan’s armpit after a long afternoon of racquetball, but you’re out of paper towel.  You wash your hands twice just to be safe.

…Somebody in the Netflix movie that you’ve never seen before that you’re watching with your Grandma says “masturbate”, and then you pretend you didn’t hear it.  You think to yourself that hopefully Grandma doesn’t know what that word means.  And then you think that she’s probably hoping the same thing.

…The same guy in the Netflix movie that you’ve never seen before that you’re watching with your Grandma that said “masturbate” is now humping somebody, and the chair you’re sitting in feels like it’s going to start on fire.  And the channel changer is so…far…away right now.  But that would only intensify the awkwardness.

…You’re a dude and you have a Freudian slip in front of another dude in public, which is unfortunate because you’re straight, but you can read his mind and he’s thinking, “I think this guy is gay” and you’re thinking back, “no I’m not you fucking dickhead.  I’ll kick your ass.” and he thinks back, “Ok, maybe you’re not gay and we’ll pretend that it didn’t happen, bro.”

…You’re walking through a busy grocery store with nothing but milk and toilet paper and you’re trying to find a cool way of holding the toilet paper, like, under your arm, pretending that they are math books or something.  And then you’re thinking to yourself, “It’s just toilet paper.  Everybody buys toilet paper…”

…You’re walking through a busy grocery storing holding your milk and toilet paper in your ‘try to be cool about it” fashion and you notice somebody approaching you at the twelve o’ clock position not paying attention.  They are walking in the English driving lane (the wrong fucking side), and then they do that awkward dance thing with you.  They look at the toilet paper.  They look at your face.  You lose.

"Oh no.  That's terrible.  I'll be right there."

“Oh no. That’s terrible. I’ll be right there.”

…You walk into the only public guy’s bathroom that you’ve ever been in that doesn’t have a urinal, and also has a woman applying her makeup in it.  And you almost say out loud, “hey, get out of here, lady!”  And then you pull your coat over your head and casually avoid making eye contact with the security cams on the way out.

…You’re returning a shoping cart full of empties at the store and you’re dressed down.  And then you think that everybody thinks you’re a homeless person and you’re cashing in all of the bottles and cans you found in the woods.  But then you think to yourself, “I’ll explain that I party a lot if anybody asks.”

…You have to explain to your blind date that something via text message has unexpectedly come up that you must attend to very urgently.

…Your blind date knows that you’re lying about having to attend to something unexpected, and the waitress is having somebody in a foreign country hold your tab while she is taking an abnormally long cigarette break.

…You fart right before somebody enters the room.  They never enter this room.  You optimistically use your nose as a vacuum cleaner.  It’s not working.

It happens to the best of us…

Wait, does it?

Salute \m/

Life in the Express Lane

I’m a painter by trade, so that’s what I’m busy doing when I’m not pretending to be a writer or a graphic artist.  I’m not gonna front and say that it’s my dream job, but that definitely doesn’t mean that I don’t like doing it either.  Plus, and I don’t wanna toot my own horn, but ok yes I do, I’m pretty good at what I do. 

This is a picture of us working at the market.  Circa 2014

This is a picture of us working at the market. Circa 2014

There are a lot of perks, like, for instance, I don’t have to work inside of an office tackle box like 95% of the country; I get to work in a lot of different locations on a variety of different projects; I get weekly gratification because of the quick turn around on most of our projects; and I don’t have to wear Khaki’s and a Polo and listen to some passive aggressive guy named Greg tell me about his kid’s tap dance recital by the water cooler every day.

One of the coolest ongoing projects that I have the pleasure of working on is a ginormous upscale shopping market in an uber hipster region of the metro-Detroit area.

It’s a night shift-only project, which is awesome for the first couple hours of the first couple of nights.  It seems like every time I walk in there to do a job that Frankie Valli song from the movie, Grease, is playing on the overhead speakers.  I think they do that on purpose, and I always feel like I’m in the climax scene of a really cool movie about painters or something.

*Slow Motion Entrance*

However, by hour four of every shift, and about 150 doo-op songs later, I want to swan-dive off the roof head-first.

Hey, Pop Trivia Time:

What is the most frequently asked question that I get asked as a painter while working at the market?

*Jeopardy Theme*

Answer:  Daily Double.

The most frequently asked question that I get as a painter while working at the market:

“Painting, eh?”

The world is chalk full (<–blatant grammatical error) of observant people, and I tip my cap to all of you eagle-eyed lookie-lou’s.

But anyways, this store is huge.  If I had to conservatively guess, there are probably about 40,000 employees working there because I’ve never seen the same person twice.  There’s like an employee-making portal or something somewhere in the store that these people come out of before they promptly begin stocking shelves and crushing bulk pineapple slice boxes.

One person who I know for sure works there on a regular basis is Matt; a highly attentive, very slow-talking, Asian night shift dude.

"Yeah, any one of those will work, Matt"

“Yeah, any one of those will work, Matt”

Matt is a cool guy, but our conversations are full of too much information and they take a lot of time to complete.  Matt gave us access to the intercom system the first night, so that if we ever need him for any reason, like, to move somebody’s coat or something, we could send out a page and bring him to the break room area where he will promptly move the coat for us.

As you might have already guessed, we’re abusing this privilege:

“Matt to the break room; we have a thermostat question.  Not sure if 68 degrees is the preferred temperature in here or not.

“Matt to the break room;  we’re gonna need some imported beer up here pretty soon.  If that’s cool with you.”

“Matt to the break room; we ran out of coffee.”

“Matt to the break room; we’re gonna need some help finding a spatula.”

Tonight is the third night of the project.  My eyes are scratchy right now.  I feel like hammered shit.  I’m over-caffeinated.  I’m listening to my neighbor talk about her appointment with her podiatrist this afternoon on the front porch.  I’m crazy-laughing.

But that’s life in the Express Lane.  Cue the Frankie Valli.

*Puts on Shades*

*Pages Matt*

Salute \m/