Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Updates on My OKCupid Profile


I'm switching my OKCupid profile again, so let us take some time to reflect upon the 80s Bethany profile.
I just found out that the Facts of Life are all about you.

Oh my god! Best birthday ever!
Michael Jackson is what?
Is this the Care Bear Stare yet?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tractor Driving, Candy, and My Grandpa

"This one is definitely old enough to drive. Put her to work."

My grandpa's 91st birthday is coming up on Tuesday, and although he is dead and cannot personally enjoy it by eating all the cake and ice cream, I still like to celebrate it by looking back fondly on my grandpa, who was the best. And eating candy. Because my grandpa was really into candy. As all grandpas should be, if they know what's good for them. (No, my dietary restrictions do not allow for candy, but I can still look at it and remember.)

My grandpa was my first real coworker and remains, to this day, my favorite coworker ever. No offense to the coworkers I've had since then. You are all [mostly] awesome. But have you ever called me in the middle of the workday to tell me I need to stop everything and meet up with you so you can give me a half-frozen Milky Way? No. Case closed.

When I was 12, it was decided that I would get to start driving the tractor to help out with the field work.

"How much did that tractor cost?" I asked my dad when he announced this to me.

"Ohhhh, a hundred thousand dollars or so," he responded.

"And the piece of equipment I would be hauling behind it?" 

"Another hundred thousand dollars, give or take a couple thousand," he replied.

"I'm 12," I reminded him.

"Yep. We'd better get started teaching you. Planting season is coming soon."

So, my dad taught me how to drive a tractor. Here is a transcript of our first lesson:

My dad: Now, the pedal on the left is the clutch. Step on that to stop when you're in the field. If you're on the road, you'll want to step on the brakes, which are on the right. But whatever you do, don't step on the clutch when you're on the road, especially on a hill, or the tractor will just go faster. Now, see these gears over here? This one lifts the equipment out of the ground. Don't touch this second one whatever you do. And the third one is for folding up the implement. But remember that on the tractor you'll actually be driving, these are all reversed. Got it?

Me: No.

My dad: Okay, now this is really important so listen. Whatever you do, don't run into any power lines or you'll probably be electrocuted. If you do happen to run into any power lines, reach over and lift the implement out of the ground, using the first lever. TOUCH ONLY THE RUBBER PART OF THE HANDLE. You'll be grounded by the rubber tires that way. But remember that it will be the third lever on the tractor you'll be driving. Then, you can call me and tell me that you ran into power lines. But don't run into any power lines whatever you do.

A week or so later, my dad decided I was ready for a solo run.

"You'll be fine," he said, "But if you get into any trouble, just flag down your grandpa. He'll be in the field with you all day."

My grandpa, because he was old, got to drive the newest tractor with the best air conditioning system. My dad got the second-best tractor, and I got to drive the oldest tractor. If you turned on the air conditioning in that one, it shot dust directly into your nostrils and eyeballs for five minutes.

"It has a tape deck!" my dad said. "It doesn't work, but it has one!"

My dad always thought that was a really funny thing to say.

Now, I'm sure you want to hear all about the excitement that is driving a tractor back and forth in a field for 8 hours, carefully working to the edge so you don't miss any patches. Just know that on my first day, I was really apprehensive. In fact, I was so apprehensive, I screamed myself hoarse saying things like, "JESUS SHIT," and "AAAAAAAAA!!! AAAAAAA! AAAAAAAA!"

Needless to say, I ran into trouble no fewer than 3,421 times and stopped my grandpa every thirty seconds to ask him something. But the best coworker in the whole world was also the most chill person ever about handing the wheel of a $200,000 piece of farm equipment over to a 12-year-old. He thought the whole situation was hilarious.

"You're doing all right," my grandpa would say, but because his mouth was always full of chewing tobacco, it sounded like, "Youredoonallraht."

Finally, at around 4 PM, Grandpa stopped his tractor and got out and waved at me until I stopped. I thought I had done something terrible and wrong.  I shamefully trudged over to see him, expecting him to tell me I had broken the tractor beyond repair and he and my dad were definitely going to sell me into slavery to make up for it. All he said was, "Yawannacandybar?" and opened his cooler.

My grandpa? For lunch, every day, would pack a sandwich, about six candy bars, and five cans of pop. At noon, he would eat his sandwich and one of the candy bars. The other candy bars were just so I could have a selection to choose from at the end of the day. This happened every day for as long as I worked alongside my grandpa. It was a lot of candy bars.

I'm not going to end this story by telling you about his slow decline due to Alzheimer's and how sad it made me. There are a million stories about that, and I hate sad stories. Here are some other things I could maybe tell you about instead.

1. The time I drove my grandpa's pickup into a ditch because I was trying to catch a glimpse of a boy I had a crush on, and my grandpa just laughed and told me to "Quitlookinatboys."

2. How whenever he called on the phone, he always said, without fail, "Whatareyoudoing?" as if he was trying to catch us making mischief.

3. How my grandpa could not talk without laughing. Even when he told stories about the war.

4. Or I could tell you about the time that, during one of our daily candy bar breaks, Grandpa and I just stood in a field and looked at the wheat and didn't say a thing. And I thought to myself, "I will never forget this moment as long as I live. Just me, a candy bar, this wheat that I helped put here, and my grandpa." And I haven't.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

10 Tips on Saving Your Romance from a Crazy Person

Joan Crawford is sick of your shit.

Do you have to check to make sure the person sleeping next to you has a pulse? Do you secretly fantasize about men in infomercials? Do you think your dad is a squirrel? Maybe the fire has gone out of your relationship.

NEVER FEAR! HAHAHAHAHA! I am here to help you get the fires going in your relationship again. Fires.

Read on for some great tips.

1. Buy some sensual lingerie. Hang it in the closet. Now there is a beautiful silk ghost who talks to you when nobody else will.

2. Leave notes that let him how you feel. Sign the note with the names of all of your personalities...but especially Brenda.

3. Be more adventurous. Climb to the top of things and jump off. Wheeeeee!

4. Set aside time for me time. Figure out who me is. Ask Jerry. He'll know.


6. Be more nurturing. Breastfeed those orphaned raccoons that are living behind your trash cans. They'll grow into big unicorns one day.

7. Schedule a date night. Climb a tree across the street from where he lives, and watch him get ready. Be prepared for danger. It's coming. It's always coming.

8. Step away from the electronic devices and just be together. Is that a webcam? Is it watching me right now? Is it reading my thoughts?

9. Take a vacation together. Maybe try Hawaii or France or the bottom of the ocean.

10. If none of those other things work to bring the spark back, light your man on fire. Nothing gets the spark back in your romance like watching the love of your life run around frantically searching for a fire extinguisher or a large pool of water in which to dunk himself. And as he recovers in the burn unit, who will be by his side? That's right. You.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I'm depressed. Are you depressed, Karen?

Do you ever have one of those days where you're like, "I just fucking give up"?

You know when you're having one of those days, and someone jolly says to you, "Chin up! It will get better"?

And you're all, "Shut your face, Mary Tyler Moore! I don't have time for your fabulous hats and spinning around lampposts."

And before they can respond with something else that's stupid, you run away, glowing with pride over that Mary Tyler Moore line?

I'm having a day like that today.

But don't worry. It'll pass. It always does. I'll do something productive like take all of my nickels to the bank and get cash for them, and being able to go directly to the grocery store afterward and buy some more stupid vegetables does distract me from the constant screaming in my brain. 

In honor of the dark rain cloud that has settled over my head, here's a story about being utterly depressed and hopeless.

The Most Depressing Story in the World

Far out in the middle of the loneliest part of the ocean, there is an island. Nobody of any importance goes there because if anyone in a boat or an airplane or a submarine or a helicopter even gets close, he or she starts to feel depressed and hopeless. Rumor has it that Amelia Earhart once flew over it and suddenly looked around and said, "What am I doing with my life?" and crashed directly into the ocean in despair.

The only thing that grows on this island is a sickly crop of rhubarb, and as everybody knows, rhubarb is the most depressing plant of all time. And before you say, "But rhubarb is delicious," you're thinking of rhubarb that has been sweetened with sugar. Sugar does not grow on this island. Nor are there any honeybees, so don't even think finding a sweetness loophole. There's no honey, no agave nectar, no stevia, and certainly no packets of Equal. Also, rhubarb leaves are poisonous, in case you forgot about that part. Rhubarb is flat out depressing. Far more depressing than beets. Way more depressing than okra. And definitely more depressing than mustard greens.

What kind of beings live on this island, you might be asking, hoping that at least one of them is an adorable frowning puppy? Well, give up your hope for that because the only living creatures on the island are vultures. What do the vultures eat, since vultures are scavengers who feed on dead animals? Not much, I can tell you. Occasionally, the formerly depressed victim of a shipwreck will wash up on the shore and the vultures will have a sad banquet. But, beyond that, all of the vultures are pretty hungry and hopeless. And all of them know that flying to a different island where corpses wash up all the time is simply out of the question. Remember that this island is far, far out into the ocean, and these vultures lack the ambition because they are so depressed and so hungry.

You're probably wondering right now why someone would write about such a sad, depressing place. "Are you just trying to bring us all down, Bethany?" And the answer to that is, quite simply, "Yes." I'm tired of your smiles and cheerful whistling today. Take it down about six notches. What are you, an Olympic ice dancer or something? Your face is giving me diabetes.

Anyway, back to the story.

Now, I said that the only living creatures on the island were vultures, but I did not mention the nonliving creatures who exist there.

The nonliving creatures consist of zombie Amelia Earhart and what I'm eating for lunch today.

"How is that second thing a creature?" you might be asking. It just is. Trust me. The vultures won't even eat it. They just keep looking at it and saying to themselves, "Is that thing even dead? I don't want it if it's not dead." Then, they fly back up to their depressing roosts on top of some of the taller and more stable rhubarb plants.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my lunch today is terrible. Really, really terrible.

But I suppose right now I should actually get to the storytelling part of the story and stop describing how horrible this crappy island is.

So, here's the story part of the story.

On this very depressing island, where lived several depressed vultures and some very sour, sickly rhubarb and where didn't live zombie Amelia Earhart and what I'm having for lunch today, there was a cure for a terrible disease. But because nobody ever bothered to go to this island because it was so depressing, nobody ever found it.

That's it. That's the ending. Are you depressed yet? No? Fine. If you want to be that way, go right on and continue being happy. You bastards.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Will Kill You, lol

This is the face I was making as I wrote this.

Hey, I'm benevolent for an editor. Often, when I'm with someone whose job isn't nitpicking grammar and spelling mistakes, they say, "But you're a total grammar Nazi, right?" And I'm like, "Nah, it's cool. I mix up 'its' and 'it's' all the time if I'm not thinking about it. We're all human. And also, stop throwing the word Nazi around willy-nilly. You know they killed 8 million people, right? Now, go sit in that corner and watch Schindler's List again until you can think of a better term for people who are super into correcting people's grammar." 

What I'm trying to say is that I don't really care how you spell and punctuate, as long as you seem to have a pretty good grasp on the basics and I understand what you're trying to communicate to me. I don't expect a guy who works at the gas station to know his lay/lie/laid/lain from a box of rocks. As long as he is a happy, productive member of society and isn't waving his penis around at children, I'm good.

But, you guys. YOU GUYS. Flames on the side of my face.

Whoooooooo.....breathe out, Bethany. Thaaaat's it. It's okay. Just lie down and think about the ocean.


If one more person punctuates a sentence with "lol" in front of me, I will destroy that person. I'm not talking about "LOL," which is in caps and says to me, "I am laughing out loud at what you just said." That is on a plane in a borderline acceptable universe somewhere out in space with "Amiright?"

I'm talking about "lol." That lower-case piece of shit that says to me, "I don't know how to end this sentence, so I'll just pretend I laughed or something." If you don't delete that right now and use a period there, I will destroy you.

Do you want me to destroy you? Do you?

Being destroyed by me isn't fun, I can assure you.

How will I destroy you, you ask? Well...

I will invent a time machine, travel back to the day you were conceived, and tell your parents they are being audited. Then, I will spend the next 36 hours sitting between them on the couch in the living room of your childhood home, forcing them to watch re-runs of ALF, and picking at my foot warts. In short, you will never exist because your parents will never be in the mood again after that. They'll probably get divorced then and there. Your mom will move to Seattle and get one of those "I'm a divorcee now" super short haircuts, and your dad will exist on a diet of microwaved baked potatoes and Slim Jims until he finally meets a woman named Karen who already has two kids and doesn't want any more. That's right. Your dad will be someone else's dad, and your mom will do macrame and attend poetry readings. All because you wanted to use "lol" like it's the proper way to end a sentence and not a ball of human turds.

So, next time you're writing a quick note on Facebook, I want you to think of me. I want you to think of how I will destroy you. Then, roll up your sleeves and USE A FUCKING PERIOD. I'm watching you.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Peace, War, Tragedy, and Uni-Kittens (with a Special Appearance by Uni-Pandas)

Let me comfort you.

I have always had trouble dealing with tragedy. On 9/11 my roommate came out of his bedroom and asked me what was going on and I burst out laughing when I told him. He looked at me like I was a total monster.

He was naked from the waist down, if that explains anything. (Kind of a weirdo, that roommate.)

What can I say right now? I'm bad at bringing people comfort and reassurance. I'm even worse at saying the right thing. And I'm positively abysmal at not hiding under all of the blankets on my bed until it passes, using a snorkel to get oxygen so I don't suffocate.

So, instead of doing my best to pat you on the back and say "There, there," in a super awkward manner that makes you wonder if I'm actually hitting on you, I wrote you a story about uni-kittens. I recommend putting on some fleece pants and making yourself a nice cup of cocoa before you read it, so that you can enjoy the completely comforting experience.

Peace, War, Tragedy, and Uni-Kittens

Once upon a time, there were some uni-kittens, and they just happened to live in the heart of the Sparkledarkle Forest.

Now, you might be asking yourself a few questions. The first question might be, "What are uni-kittens?" Read the next paragraph. If you already know what uni-kittens are, then skip to the paragraph marked "FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN'T STUPID" and go from there.

Uni-kittens are the most magical kittens of all time. Imagine a kitten. Now imagine that it has the glorious, magical horn of a unicorn poking out of its adorable forehead. Uni-kittens never grow old. They never stop being adorable. And 99.9 percent of them are the happiest, most joyous uni-animals in the land. The unhappy .1 percent is made up entirely of Uglyface, a uni-kitten who accidentally took two semesters of Russian literature one time and never recovered from it. He's kind of cranky.

The second question you may be asking yourself is, "Isn't that part of the Sparkledarkle Forest occupied by uni-pandas, the sworn enemies of the uni-kittens?" And I commend you on knowing the geography of Sparkledarkle Forest and for being versed in uni-kitten/uni-panda relations.

Now, those of you who asked the first question might now be asking yourselves a few additional questions. The first one might be, "What are uni-pandas?" And I must ask you right now to maybe stop being a complete nimrod and at least try to put two-and-two together and assume that uni-pandas are pandas with the horns of unicorns growing from the centers of their foreheads. The other question you nimrods might be asking is, "Why is Bethany being so mean today?" And it's because I don't deal with tragedy well, so shut your stupid face.

In response to the first second question, not to be confused with the second second question, which is actually the fourth question, the uni-kittens and uni-pandas had actually reached a peace agreement, thanks to President Snugglebottom's wisely-appointed Secretary of State, Tickleclaws, and Premier von Panda's wisely-enslaved Secretary of Making Nice, Helmut Frankfurter.

Now, you all might be asking yourself many questions at this point, so I made you a list of characters to reference, so that you don't have a namebolism, which is an embolism you have after reading many confusing names in a row. (I had one while reading Game of Thrones once, and it was extremely terrible.)

A List of Characters
1. Snugglebottom, the President of the Uni-kittens.
2. Uglyface, a character who is not in this story at all, but who is very unpleasant so avoid him if you can. (You can read more about the deeds of Uglyface here and here.)
3. Tickleclaws,  the wisely-appointed Secretary of State in the Snugglebottom administration.
4. Premier von Panda, the supreme leader of the uni-pandas.
5. Helmut Frankfurter, the wisely-enslaved Secretary of Making Nice in the uni-panda regime. Try not to make fun of his name. He's sensitive and will shred you like a piece of uni-bamboo.

So, by the time you are reading this story and have sorted out the characters and color-coded them in your mind, the uni-kittens and uni-pandas were living in peace and harmony in the heart of the Sparkledarkle Forest. But peace was not to be maintained because, as you know, there are dark forces at work in the world.

In this case, those dark forces were made up entirely of uni-penguins.

Now, if you're one of the previously-mentioned nimrods, you're probably asking yourself a single question right now, and that question is, "What are uni-penguins?" And if you are expecting me to answer that question without insulting you at the same time, then you are actually King of the Nimrods.

Oddly, King of the Nimrods was also the official title of the leader of the uni-penguins.

The uni-kittens and the uni-pandas were preparing for a great feast to celebrate peace between their great nations when the King of the Nimrods waddled into town, accompanied by his accidentally-appointed Secretary of Derp, Norman.

A Sequel to the List of Characters
1. King of the Nimrods, leader of the uni-penguins.
2. Norman, the Secretary of Derp, whose role in the uni-penguin monarchy is still unknown.

"What are you doing here, King of the Nimrods?" demanded Premier von Panda.

"Norman!" said the King of the Nimrods. "Give this stupid uni-panda our list of demands!"

Norman stepped forward and handed Premier von Panda a waffle, which as you likely guessed was not a list of demands. (He made a really good Secretary of Derp, by the way.)

"What is this?" demanded Snugglebottom.

"We hate peace!" said the King of the Nimrods. "Stop making peace and everyone go strap nuclear warheads to their backs and let's blow Sparkledarkle Forest to smithereens!"

"No!" cried Snugglebottom.

"No!" meowed Tickleclaws.

"No!" tutted Premier von Panda.

"No!" shouted Helmut Frankfurter.

"No!" said another uni-kitten whose name I did not catch.

"Nein!" said a uni-panda who I think said his name was Rolf, but I don't speak uni-panda so I cannot be sure.

Long story short, everyone in town said no to the terrible idea.

"Fine then!" said the King of the Nimrods. "We'll just have to do it ourselves."

And that was when Uglyface ate him.

I lied about him being in the story because I didn't want to ruin the ending for you.

The rest of the feast went fine, thanks for asking. 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Updates on My OKCupid Profile

It's not real blood. Or is it?

My adventures on OKCupid continue, and I'm actually changing the profile every Monday just to keep things fresh for all the available bachelors over there. But because last week's profile was one of my favorites, I wanted to post it one last time here. Never forget.

Here is the profile writeup. Click on it to see it larger.

And here are the photos to go with it. 

Examining a pencil for sharpness.

Examining some scissors for sharpness.

Examining a pizza cutter for sharpness.

But it's not all hard work when you're a sharpness inspector!


All better.

What? You try taking a selfie while wearing two eyepatches.

Also, in case you're wondering, yes, this does work. You do get dates by being a total asshole.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I'm Just Not That Into You: A Very Specific Self-Help Book

I'm into you though, Darill.

Hey, guy. So, you had one date with me specifically, and things seemed to go great. Right? But then you called and I never called you back, and you began to wonder, "What's going on here? I thought she liked me."

Well, have you considered that maybe I'm just not that into you?

Don't feel bad. It happens to the best of us, specifically you, as you are the only person this applies to. But I'm really glad you picked this book up from your local bookstore, where I left it filed under "Self-Help for James, the Guy I Went Out With Three Nights Ago." I know that you will appreciate how I wrote it all down for you on loose leaf notebook paper and decorated the cover with scented markers. I even dedicated it to you if you'll flip back to the second page and take a look. It says, "To James, who ate all the chips and salsa while I was in the bathroom and then lied and said the waiter took them away."

Just so you know, all proceeds from the sale of this book will be going to the "I'm Just Not That Into You Fund to Help Rehabilitate James, Who I'm Maybe Just Not That Into." So, the money is going to a great cause. I'll just be taking a small percentage to help pay for those markers.

I know that as you continue to read the material in the following pages, you will come to further understand how likely it is that I'm just not that into you. Let's talk about how to determine if someone, me specifically, is just not that into you.

So, you saw me at Starbucks, and I avoided your eye contact and then walked out briskly without ordering anything. Perhaps it wasn't because I suddenly looked at my watch and remembered a thing I had to do, which was maybe what I was trying to convey with my exasperated expression and swift departure. It was likely because I'm just not that into you and wanted to get away as quickly as possible. Lesson learned! Time to move on. There are other fish in the ocean.

So, you've left a few voicemails in this weird accent that you think sounds like the waiter at Pepe's where you ate that super oniony burrito. I haven't called you back! What gives? It's pretty likely I'm not going to call you back because it's possible I'm just not that into you.

So, you sent me a Facebook friend request, and I haven't approved it yet and you're starting to wonder if I even saw it. And now you're debating sending me a light-hearted email to be like, "Hey! Let's be friends on Facebook, so I can send you an invite to my nephew's second birthday party!" Instead of writing that email, take a moment to step back from your computer and consider the possibility that I'm just not that into you.

Well, that's the end of the book, as I've now run out of notebook paper. Did this help you determine whether I'm just not that into you? I hope so! If you take anything away from reading this, I hope it's that I am possibly not that into you, which is why you probably won't be hearing from me again. But there are other great women out there. Women who will be into you and will love all of your quirks. Even that thing where you kind of farted into my purse and told me to hang onto that for later.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I'd Like You All to Meet My Ex-Roommate, the Worst

Not my ex-roommate.
Sorry, Debbie, no Mercedes this year. We have to set an example. 

My ex-roommate's name was Negar, okay? N-E-G-A-R. Pronounced NAY-ger. And while I would never, ever criticize someone's non-American name or suggest I call her something different like "Nina" or "Associate whose name sounds like a racial slur," I often just called her, "Heeeeeey....buddy" because it made me a lot less uncomfortable.

Introducing her to people was a nightmare. I got a lot of, "I'm sorry, what?" when I attempted to just mumble it or cough mid-word. But, after a few tries, I developed a really good system for when this actually happened. I would just pretend to forget how to pronounce her name. I would say, "Everyone, this is Nay-GAR."

Of course, she would jump in quickly to correct me, but by then, my work was done, and I could just walk away in a manner that would make me look as not racist as possible.

The thing that makes this whole thing the worst, though, has nothing to do with her name. Because Negar was actually a pretty horrible roommate.

And she was a horrible person with a horrible personality.


At first, I was excited to live with a British person. People would think I was so cultural and European. I thought we would sit around and talk about the Queen whilst eating Cadbury chocolates and such and say things like, "Toodle pip!" when we left the apartment. But that was not to be.

Because, again, Negar was horrible. But it wasn't that type of horribleness that you can spot immediately.

Let me explain the difference.

Regular Horribleness 101:

Bethany: Hi, nice to meet you.
New Person: Oh. I'm sorry. Are you a person? I thought you were a piece of furniture with eyes and a stupid haircut.

Negar Horribleness 101: 

Bethany: Hey, nice to meet you.
Negar: Nice to meet you too! We're going to be the best of friends.

Did you see the difference there? Negar seems not horrible at all, right? I'll go on.

Negar was really beautiful in that way that made you feel inferior to be around her. But that by itself does not make a person horrible. There are many beautiful people in the world who are beautiful on the outside and beautiful on the inside and you are delighted to know them and be their friends and bask in their beauty that glows like sunshine. But there are also people who are beautiful on the outside who let their insides fester like garbage left in the hot sun. Negar was the second kind. The worst kind.

Because she was so beautiful and British, within two days of arriving in the States, Negar had a boyfriend. And, yes, I was jealous because I was going through one of those post-breakup periods where you sit around and hate everyone who isn't unhappy. But I got the feeling that she really enjoyed my pain. Like if my pain were a pair of bloodshot, exhausted eyeballs, her enjoyment of it is like when you accidentally rub your bloodshot, exhausted eyeballs after cutting up some jalepenos. Here is an equation for the math people: Pain + More Pain = SUPER PAIN

"I know you feel bad right now," Negar said, closing the door after her boyfriend left after they'd spent the entire weekend watching romantic comedies on the couch and making out, while I sat awkwardly in my bedroom trying to read. "But don't worry. I'm going to set you up with someone!"

"Oh? Who?" I asked.

"Let's have a party! I'll invite all of the single blokes I know, and you can have your pick. You'll just have to bake something, and they will all fall in love with you."

"All right," I said. "But you don't even know my type."

She laughed. "I know exactly what you'll like."

Here is where things take a turn for Horrible Town, so strap in and keep your eyes peeled for horribleness.

The day of the party arrived.

"I'm just going to pop out and get some plates and cups. I'll be back," Negar said that morning, dashing out the door.

"Okay," I said, cheerfully. "I'll be baking! And then we just need to finish tidying up."

Seven hours later, I had finished cleaning the apartment, made a playlist, and baked all of the treats. Negar was nowhere to be found. About half an hour before the party was set to start, she showed up with some bags of chips and some Solo cups.

Negar made her boyfriend get up on a stool in the kitchen and string some lights over the window.

"There! Now, we're all set. Are you nervous? I invited SO MANY SINGLE GUYS!"

The guests arrived.

"So," Negar asked, pulling me into the bathroom to talk about boys privately. "Who do you like?"

"Chris is nice," I said. "He and I seemed to have a connection."

"I'm sorry. Chris has a girlfriend," Negar said.

"Oh, never mind then. Uh......Seth is nice," I said.

"He also has a girlfriend," she replied.

"Huh," I said. "So, who among the guys in the kitchen is actually single?"

"I guess just Dave," she said. "So......do you like him? Isn't he cute?"

"Is Dave the guy who brought the guacamole?"

"Yes! So cute, right?"

"Yeah, he's cute, uh...buddy, but he's 22."


"I'm 28. I'm a whole first-grader older than he is."

She brushed aside my concerns. "But he's so nice! I know you guys will hit it off."

"I had a 20 minute conversation with him earlier, and it was just him telling me his guacamole recipe. I think our moment for a connection has passed."

Negar pouted at this and then retreated to the kitchen and didn't speak to me about it again for the rest of the night.

The next morning, I woke up to find Negar and her boyfriend trying to sneak out of the apartment without waking me up.

"We're just going out for a bit," she said. "I'll be back later to help you clean up."

She didn't come back until the next day.

By this time, I was beginning to see the horribleness starting to show through the cracks. I mentioned doing all of the cleaning up after the party by myself and how I was a bit upset with her, and I noticed a dark shadow cross her face, like maybe Lord Voldemort was trying to push his way out of the back of her skull for the first time.

"But it looks so great in here," she said, flashing her pretty smile. "There was nothing left for me to do."

"I....but," I sputtered.

"Don't worry!" she said. "I know the setup was a bust, but I'm going to make it up to you. I'll set you up with this other guy I know who gave me free tickets to a basketball game next weekend. He's just terrific. He works for the Nets."

"I don't know," I said. "I think I'm definitely coming down with something. It might be smallpox."

"Don't be ridiculous!" Negar said.

That weekend found me on a bus, heading to a Nets game with Negar.

"So, how do you know this guy?" I asked.

She shrugged. "I just met him," she said.


"I don't remember."

The guy came and found us about halfway through the game. He was cute and my age. I thought, "Wow, Negar really has done it this time."

He smiled at me as he took us to a private box where we could watch the rest of the game, away from the crowd. I felt myself blushing when he sat down next to me and let me ask questions about crazy basketball wives.

We were putting on our coats when he made his move.

"So, can I call you sometime?" he asked...Negar.

"I have a boyfriend," Negar giggled, batting her long, dark eyelashes.

"Oh, that's too bad," he said. "Well, it was nice seeing you."

"Sorry about that," Negar said, feigning embarrassment, as we boarded the bus. "I guess I didn't realize he was into me."

That was when I decided to give up trying to be nice and allow myself to hate her. My mom always said you should never hate anyone. Not even beautiful people who are secretly mean and hateful on the inside. But it was my hate that got me through six months of living with her.

Stupid roommate.


Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Get Your Friends to Help You Move

I'm putting this here just because.

I hate helping people move. If you're my friend, you get ONE. I'll help you once. If you move again, you're on your own. A lot of people I know have been talking about moving lately or are preparing to actually move. And while I don't remember when I started to write this or for what reason, I thought it was time I finished it. Just in case. Preparing to move and need help? Plug your name/location in where applicable and read this verbatim to your friends. I guarantee that you'll at least get a "maybe" out of them.

Please, Please Help Me Move

I stand before you today, humbled. You, my friend, are the very meaning of hope. Hope that in the America I love, those who are closest to me can take the place of my movers who canceled at the last minute, drop what they are doing, drive to Brooklyn in their incredibly spacious Land Rover, and help me move my belongings to my new apartment. I believe in the goodness of people. I believe in the goodness of you.

Do not say that you are busy with a thing you have to do. Do not default upon that favor you totally owe me. Do not tell me that your mom is in town. Instead, rise up out of your chair, put on your dirty T-shirt, and come to my house as soon as you can, preferably before noon today. And be sure to wear some comfortable, slip-proof shoes.

You may be asking yourself, "Can I really help my friend Mike with this? Am I capable of being of assistance?" YES YOU CAN. We can do it together.

YES WE CAN move these boxes from this apartment, down to a moving van, across town, and back up six flights of stairs to my new apartment.

YES WE CAN unpack them in an orderly fashion, polish my knick-knacks, and put them on shelves in the pattern I have drawn out for you on this chart.

YES WE CAN organize my shoes in my new closet by color.

And YES WE CAN be done by 8 PM when my old landlord said he would be having the locks changed.

Now you may be asking, "Hey, Mike, what's in this for me?" So many things.

I will not buy your assistance with money. I will not buy your assistance with beer or other alcoholic refreshment. I will not buy your assistance with a carefully chosen Hallmark card. Instead, the gratitude that you will feel after you help me move will be more than enough payment for your services. But if gratitude and friendship are not enough, I would be willing to make everyone a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the ingredients for which are definitely in one of these six boxes in the hallway.

Now, can I count on your assistance on moving day?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This Is the 300th Post on Welcome to Bethville!

AAAAAA! I just had a scary dream about ghost pirates!

Some people who know me really well would tell you that I have the attention span of a carrot, or a bottle of Gatorade, or a chimney. Which is to say, "Absolutely no attention span at all."

I like to flit from thing to thing to thing like a bee in a field of flowers or a fly in several piles of shit, depending on your preference for pretty imagery in similes. But there is one thing that is my number one true love forever. And that is writing funny things. So, it is kind of a big deal (to me) that I've managed to not only keep this blog going for over six years, but that I've reached 300 posts. I'm pretty excited about that.

How excited? Excited like a Great Dane who realizes you're giving him his very own pancake to take out to the porch to snack on. Or excited like an English Sheepdog at the Interesting Butt Museum. Depending on your preference for eloquence in similes. And dog breeds.

So, here's what I'm doing in celebration. First! I'm getting super seriously organized and trying to make it easier to go back and check out some old posts if you are so inclined. If you are looking for something in particular or just want to go back and read Frightening Friday posts until you throw up from terror, you'll be able to do that by clicking on the appropriate label under "Looking for Something in Particular? Look Here First!" on the right hand side of the blog. Second! I'm continuing to post a lot more often. Third! I'm going to check out the Interesting Butt Museum for myself. Today is "Bring an English Sheepdog You Kidnapped from Someone in the Park Whose Back Was Turned and Get Free Admission" Day. So, that's pretty cool.

Also pretty cool? The Welcome to Bethville Facebook fan page and Twitter feed. No pressure, but there is fun stuff in the photo galleries over there. And I will tell everyone how sexually desirable you are if you like/follow.

I guess that's it, you hot people.

Raise your glass of seltzer to another 300 posts!

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

All of my Dead Pets and the Time I Assassinated a Rooster Who Had It Coming

Okay, so I still get sad about this dog. But that's it.

For many years, I've tried to write about all of my dead pets without all of you thinking I'm a monster. This is my latest attempt. If you think I'm a monster after reading this, I'm okay with that. Because I think your face is stupid.

Growing up on the farm, when one of our pets got terminally ill or injured, the normal protocol was for my dad to take it out and shoot it. Now, before you call up PETA and tell them my dad is a barbarian, know that it was always either out of mercy or necessity. He never, ever skipped to his gun cabinet whistling a happy tune, wrapped his rifle in ribbons, and loaded it with gum drops. He always hated having to put one of our pets down.

Except for that one dog who kept killing all of the chickens. He hated that dog.

Cats and dogs come and go when you live on a farm. If they weren't being mercifully put down over in the pasture across the road from the house, they were run over by the mailman, killed by coyotes, carried off by owls, or just wandered off somewhere. When I was little, I mourned each dead one and begged my dad to take the injured ones to the vet. He always said, "If it's not a working animal, it will just have to get better on its own. We can't afford to take everyone to the vet." But as I got older, I came to accept the revolving door of dead pets. Because by the time the beloved animal would succumb to its injuries, there would be a new litter of kittens or a newborn calf wobbling around, and we would get distracted and forget about...what happened? Something died, you say?

Coming to terms with all of this was eased by the fact that my parents were not the type to dance around the subject of death.

"What happened to Socks?" we would ask.

"He died. Now, do you want waffles or French toast?" 

And, of course, getting attached to the cows was never a good idea either. One of our steers used to follow me around and eat grain from my hand when I was about 7, and I told my dad I loved it and named it Amos. A month later, Amos was in our freezer, wrapped in butcher paper.

But don't misunderstand me. This doesn't mean I didn't get attached sometimes.

I've raised lots and lots of calves from birth, feeding them milk from a bottle and then gradually introducing them to solids. Monitoring their poops. Giving them pills. Letting them suck on my fingers until they were raw and red. And, yes, kissing their fuzzy, enormous heads while they stepped all over my feet in an extremely painful manner that my toes still haven't recovered from. But the one I still think about the most is Dill.

She was the saddest little thing, born in a snowdrift and then abandoned. My dad carried her into the house and dumped her into the bathtub, so we could warm her up. (Trust that it was not uncommon to try to sit on the toilet in that bathroom while a calf was sucking on your knee.) It's rare they live through severe hypothermia, but this one did. Her ears were frostbitten and later fell off, so she had these little stub ears that made her look pretty pathetic. Even when she weighed well over 600 pounds, I could stand at the gate and say, "Dill! Come see me!" And she would run over to get her ears scratched and rub her head on me. When she had her first calf, my dad sent me a picture of it with the message, "Congratulations, Grandma!" And I think I cried a little. But in the back of my mind I knew that eventually she would get sold off and slaughtered. That's how it works when your entire childhood is Old Yeller.

And, of course, no Old Yeller story is complete without having to put an animal down yourself.

To be fair, I didn't love this animal at all. Or even like him. It was the rooster who kept spurring me every single time I went outside. I know it sounds silly, being attacked by a bird. But there is a reason that terrible people hold cockfights. Roosters are mean, and they aren't afraid of anything. So, one day he chased me around for the last time.

"Dad, I have to shoot that rooster," I said at lunch.

"Okay, just be careful," he replied.

So, I shot the rooster. And I was not the least bit sad about it. As I carried that asshole's body across the road to get rid of it, that was the moment I think I really came to understand my dad and the way he could just do things without letting it get to him.

As a result of all of this death, I am a very hard-hearted adult when it comes to animals. When someone is sad about a pet dying, I have to reconfigure my brain to allow myself to understand their pain. I've had my cat for seven years, and sometimes I look at her and say, "I can't believe you're still alive. Are you just going to keep on living like this? You're really messing up my plans to mourn you briefly and then get a micropig." Which is not to say I don't love animals or my cat particularly. I love animals so much, it makes my face hurt. It's just a different mind set that I definitely have to explain to people when they ask, "But didn't it make you sad to know that your cows were going to die?" The answer to that is yes...and no. I want to snuggle all of the cows in the world. But I also want to eat them.

I guess, now that I'm really letting you in past my thin candy shell of darkness, this is the time to finally confess that don't see what's so sad about Bambi. Deer are so hateful, they way they like to dart out in front of cars.

And in conclusion...