How to Turn $120 into $10,020

In no particular order, here is a list of things that don’t come naturally to me: fashion, being nice, sports of any kind, teaching things. There are more but those are the main ones. I was horrendous at these things before but quarantine has made me practically allergic to them.

In regards to fashion, I’m currently rotating between four shirts. I use ‘rotating’ loosely because what’s really happening is I change my shirt only when absolutely necessary. And it’s only getting worse. This morning I went to put on shirt number three (my favorite) and discovered it had holes in it. I wore it anyway. In my defense, I had already taken it off the hanger.

TJ120

My already non-existent fashion sense isn’t the only thing in decline: my patience is now in the negative. I didn’t even know that could happen. I can predict when I’m going to be annoyed. It’s easy because it’s all the time.

So it’s never been a better time for me to have to teach something.

I take back what I said about my things being in no particular order. Teaching things is actually 1 through 4. A few weeks ago I had an appointment to teach someone how to use their Facebook business page. The lesson is still ongoing. The questions haven’t stopped and at this point, the only way I know how to make them stop is to just delete their page and tell them Facebook went out of business.

I’ve known I could never be a teacher since I was in grade school. During a math lesson, my 3rd-grade teacher, Miss Guerra, requested that I work with a fellow peer named April on our assignment. It made zero sense. Nobody else was teaming up and on top of that, April wasn’t even a friend of mine because she didn’t know who the Power Rangers were. I didn’t get it but I, begrudgingly, grabbed my shit and sat next to her.

4 seconds later, I got it.

April couldn’t understand why the number 23 wasn’t written 203 because 20 and 3. Miss Guerra thought she would get it if another 8-year-old explained it to her. I couldn’t even teach myself how to properly brush my hair but I was somehow qualified to teach math. (I’m not kidding on the hair thing. That same year my parents had to cut a knot out of my hair that was the size of a golf ball. I’ve only slightly improved since then.)

The situation made me want to drop out of school. My explanation of “that’s how it is just write it” wasn’t working and it was the only thing I had in my arsenal. Eventually, I gave up and told her to keep writing it the way she thought was correct. In my defense, I wasn’t the teacher. My teacher wasn’t even the teacher. To this day I think about that time and wonder if April ever figured out how numbers work. In case she hasn’t, I would like to formally apologize to every bank teller she’s ever dealt with. She doesn’t want to withdraw $10,020. She wants $120. I know.

Believe it or not, this story has a point. In the time of the corona (we’re on a first-name basis now), we all have an opportunity to figure out what we really want to do. I’ve always thought that one of the dumbest questions kids get asked is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I know people in their 30s that are still trying to figure that out, how is a 6-year-old supposed to know? The answer is: they don’t. That’s why they come back with stupid shit like mermaid, or Nemo, or robot (which, I guess if you really think about it, isn’t a bad response considering robots will eventually replace us all).

Instead of asking “what do you want to be?” to a bunch of know-nothing first-graders, let’s start asking “what do you like to do?” when they get to be a bunch of know-it-all pre-teens. I’ve loved and have written since I was a kid but no one ever talked to me about what I loved doing. So when asked the career question, my answer was always something that sounded like a grown-up job (my 8-year-old answer was “Judge” so I could throw everyone in jail, and the reason for that is coming up in another post).

Now’s the time to ask yourself: “what do I like to do?” “What makes me happy?” If you don’t know the answer then go backward and ask yourself what do you hate doing. I have nothing but respect for teachers (although I’m still on the fence about Miss Guerra) and parents who are temporarily filling that role right now. I could never do it, fuck that.

Things suck right now. Things are tough and they’re shitty. But if you felt this way before the pandemic, and you’re in a position to change it, then go for it. You might as well. If April can make $10,020 out of $120, then you can do anything too.

Side note: Sometime during my freshman year of high school, I was at a barbecue with my parents and my dad’s friend showed up with his new girlfriend: Miss Guerra. She looked at me and said, “Hiiii, I remember you”, and I said, “I remember when you made me try to teach April math”. She giggled and then walked away to go say hi to other people that she hadn’t tried to make do her job. I haven’t seen her since. The End.

Did I Dream That or Did I Do That?

Happy day after Easter everyone! I’m hurting. Nothing emotional, just pride-wise. Here’s the thing: I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a time or two but… I’m Mexican. And do you know what my people do on Easter? We drink, A LOT. Too much and now I’m here, playing my favorite hangover game “did I dream that or did I do that?”

Here’s how it works: you get really wasted, pass out on the couch then, wake up and try to piece together the events of the previous evening all while riddled with anxiety and nausea. It’s a barrel of laughs.

Did I really do the Chingo Bling dance to his song “Bolis on My Wrist”? Oh God, did I send a drunk Marco Polo video to all of my workout buddies? What happened to my leftover wings?

This game allows for calling a life line, which I did. My sister (a woman I grew up with who exceeds best friend status) came over last night so this morning I called her to get a recap of the evening. It turns out that yes, I did do the Chingo Bling dance. And not just once. Multiple times, each time looking dumber than the time before. And yet I kept going. Watch me dance! Why was I not in the music video?! I’m AMAZING! I was not. I was Elaine from Seinfeld: arms and legs everywhere.

Miraculously, it’s not on TikTok or YouTube, I think.

I, fortunately, did not send a drunk Marco Polo video to my workout friends. I did, however, watch the “Happy Easter” video I sent earlier in the day repeatedly. I could not get enough of myself but can you blame me after I nailed that dance routine?

And what happened to my wings? What happened was I ate them. I guess. I remember wanting to eat them and that’s about it. But they’re gone and no one else touched them. The important thing is, I didn’t choke on the wings I have no recollection of eating and I didn’t burn anything down.

All-in-all it was a fun night, probably.

Anyway, that’s how you play “Did I dream that or did I do that?” It’s loads of fun, if your idea of fun is wondering if you still have a job, friends, or life the next day. Enjoy!

 

 

The Typical Jenn Experiment

Did you know there are perks to working a job you hate? There are very few of them, mind, and some people may think of them as “reasons to not set the boss’s car on fire” as opposed to “perks”, but they do exist. One is a paycheck. Another, for me at least, is sometimes a client of mine will host an event that buys them another 3 months before I start flipping desks.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of doing marketing for their first big comedy show. Their special guest? Jamie Kennedy. Some of you may remember him as the nice guy from Scream or as B-Rad from Malibu’s Most Wanted. Some of you may remember him from his show, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. Some of you may have no idea who I’m talking about. If that’s you – congratulations – you’re basically 90% of the people who saw my advertising.┬áTo be fair, I didn’t even know he did stand-up comedy which I think technically puts me right up there in that 90%.

The turnout was less than ideal, which was a shame because he was actually very, very funny. I can’t speak for everyone but I was surprised, primarily because when I was looking for clips of his stand-up to promote his show, I couldn’t find anything that even slightly made me giggle. Leading up to the show I thought we were screwed. On top of that, I’m in a pretty conservative town so images of people getting pretend offended were constantly swirling around in my head. Well, I was wrong.. kind of.

From beginning to end, his show was hilarious but, more importantly than that, it served as an odd source of inspiration for me and my writing. One of the first jokes he made was about the low turnout; he ended the joke by asking “who did the marketing for this?”

Yeah, that would be me who did the marketing.

I laughed so hard because you know what? When you’re right, you’re right. I probably could’ve done a better job promoting the show but I didn’t because the fact is, I’m not good at marketing. I don’t even like it. I got into marketing because I didn’t know I could make a career out of writing this kind of stuff and I wasn’t sure what else to do. (BTW, I still haven’t figured out how to make a living with my writing so it turns out I’m also bad at making progress.) Marketing is what I do to pay the bills but I know I’m just not very good at it. I can’t even properly market my blog. It’s true. Look at my follower count, I’ll wait….. Yeah, and this blog has been up since 2015.

Anyway, Jamie Kennedy’s comment made me realize that I need to be more aggressive about figuring this out because there are plenty more “who did the marketing for this?” where that came from. That’s a bleak future.

The laughter continued, and just when I thought “hey, there hasn’t been one ‘boo’ yet, this is great!”, Jamie Kennedy made the mistake that every comedian makes: he made a joke that offended someone. “Here it goes”, I thought.

Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Jamie didn’t make a mistake. He was doing what we paid him to do: tell jokes. And watching him explain to this heckler that everything he was saying was a joke and reminding her that she was at a comedy show was a fucking downer. He shouldn’t have had to do that. Luckily, her bullshit didn’t ruin the show; he even got a standing ovation when it was over.

I could debate about situations like this all day but that’s not the point of this post. The point is, I wrestle with posting some of the things I write about all the time, and it’s a bit of a problem. I’ve refrained from sharing some of my stories because I worry about how they’ll be perceived, even though I actually put a lot of thought into what I write. I was even hesitant about writing this.

Then I heard Jamie Kennedy asking “who did the marketing for this?” and I thought, fuck it. If I’m going to figure this out there’s only one way to do it, and that’s to write.

Not every story I share will be great, I know that, but I’d rather put them out there than risk the possibility of losing any opportunity to do what I’ve set out to do: make you laugh. Because in a time where everything seems to be going from worse to horrendous, I think we can all agree that laughter is one of the bright spots. So I hope you’re ready to read about my fucking TERRIFYING trip to Jamaica because that story and more are coming. And who knows, maybe I had nothing to worry about in the first place. It’s not like I’m attracting hundreds of thousands of readers. I do my own marketing after all.

Im Your Therapist

As a kid I always thought my strict Mexican/Native American parents (and grandmother) were a huge pain in the ass. As an adult I’m very thankful they didn’t hold back from their parenting style which included hitting us with chanclas (sandals); telling us “you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about”; and giving us “the look” which meant cut it the fuck out or I’ll take you into a bathroom and whip your ass. There was no such thing as a time out, and my siblings and I were definitely not allowed to be “our own person and find ourselves” at the age of 2.

My parents weren’t about to raise idiots, or raise a bunch of sensitive, whiny assholes, which is why it cracks me up when I come across articles discussing tweens and teens going to therapy because they’re not getting enough likes on their selfie posts. Yeah, I’m not talking about bullying. I’m talking about kids getting butt hurt because nobody “liked” the 167th selfie post that looks identical to all of the other selfie posts. I read an article that featured an interview with a therapist who had seen quite a few of these cases and I was blown away by the fact that parents actually found this a dire situation – your kid is sad over pictures and you’re taking them to therapy? Does that not sound ridiculous to everyone else?

When I was in high school one of my biggest problems, other than not getting beat up, was trying to find the chemistry book I lost like the 3rd week of school so I wouldn’t have to tell my mom, which terrified me because that book was a good $70 and my mom does not waste money. (Luckily I found it 2 days before school ended.)

My mom didn’t have to worry about me being such a vagina about things that really didn’t matter but I was curious to know what her response would’ve been to something like this, so I called her and asked what she would’ve said/done if I told her I was depressed over a lack of “likes” on my pictures. Her response was, “I would say ‘Jennifer, why in the hell are you posting pictures of yourself all over the goddamn internet. Don’t you know that freaks look at stuff like that! Is that what you want? For freaks to like your picture and come find you and kidnap you? You want to get kidnapped?! Goddamn it. And I’m not wasting good money on therapy because you’re sad over stupid shit. Get over it. You don’t need a therapist, I’m your therapist. I don’t even know how you have time to take pictures of yourself when I asked you to clean your bathroom 3 days ago, that’s what you need to be worried about. Because if I have to go in there and see it dirty again I’m going to start throwing your things in the garbage, starting with your toothbrush.’ That’s what I would’ve said”.

My mom, so full of piss and vinegar, still loves to throw the bathroom debate in my face, even in hypothetical conversation. And in case you were wondering yes, she did throw my toothbrush in the garbage. I was like 14 and 17 years later I’ve kept my bathroom immaculate everywhere I’ve lived.

The point is my parents, particularly my mom, didn’t baby me which I like to believe helped me in the social media movement. You see kids, I faced social media rejection years before you were crying about not being Internet famous. And we didn’t have your fancy YouTube or ways of making our nonsense go viral in an attempt to get strangers to like us because that’s what matters, what a stranger thinks of you. Not us. My people had a little thing called Myspace, or as I like to call it, the beginning of our decline.

In the early 2000s, Myspace was leading the way in online narcissism. I recall a few other social media sites at the time but none were as popular as Myspace. This site had it all: music, Lisa Frank-ish decorative backgrounds, mood indicators (that’s right, this is not a Facebook original), a section to write blogs, and more importantly, it had accomplished something that my teenage self could’ve only dreamed of: it provided an impersonal way to communicate with a guy I was otherwise to self-conscious to talk to in person.

This invention for the self-conscious girl (or boy) came along at the perfect time. I had just gotten out of a crappy relationship and as a woman in her early twenties, I believed that the best way to get over the break up was to get back on the horse, and Myspace was going to be my trainer.

I started going through my friends list to see who I could casually flirt with. I came across a guy I went to school with that I always thought was out of my league but because we had since graduated I figured all the social statuses that plagued me in high school were now non-existent. Also, I had run into him a couple of years earlier and because he was so nice and appeared happy to see me, I thought he would be delighted to hear from me and we would hit it off. With my plan in place, and an entire scenario worked out in my head, I typed a friendly yet flirty message that I believed was subtle and would reel him in without him realizing it. The goal was to make him see that he liked me, he just didn’t know it yet. I really did think like this because when you’re in your early twenties you’re stupid.

I sent the message while I was at work but made sure to send it right before I left to prevent me from checking my profile all day. Later that night I checked my Myspace expecting to see a very excited reply from my rebound but instead, was greeted with 0 notifications. Myspace didn’t have messenger yet so in those days you had to wait for responses while your self-esteem was chiseled away at little by little. The messages didn’t have read notifications either but they did show login dates on profiles so, like social media intended, I turned into an Internet stalker and looked at his profile to see if he had logged in that day. Fortunately, he hadn’t. I gave Myspace a rest for the evening but checked it the minute I got to work the next day only to find the same amount of notifications as the day before: 0. Like a psycho I checked his profile again only this time it showed that he had logged in. Fuck.

Before I gave rejection a chance to set in I gave myself a pep talk: “he’s probably really busy”, “he only had time to read it and he’ll probably reply later”, and my favorite “he probably checked it at work but didn’t reply because he doesn’t want to get in trouble because not everyone is a rebel like you and he’ll reply at lunch so he doesn’t lose his job which is probably what you should consider, too”. The pep talk worked until I checked again at lunch with the same results.

I waited to check my Myspace again until I got home – it was my last hope. While still reeking with the stench of rejection, I logged in hoping to find a surprise in my inbox… and I did! Actually, he did something better than respond with a lame message. HE DELETED HIS ENTIRE PROFILE. You see children, back in the Myspace days you couldn’t block someone, you could only unfriend them. Well, he one-upped that and took it a step further by simply DELETING HIS ENTIRE PROFILE.

So take that you titty babies with your “no one likes my picture” problems. The next time you begin to throw a tantrum or cry over social media bullshit, just remember that not only did I not get a “like”, I MADE SOMEONE DISAPPEAR FROM SOCIAL MEDIA ALTOGETHER. Share that with your therapist.