Freelancing for Dummies: When first world jobs collide with real workplace problems

Well, well, well, what do we have here? It appears we have a couple of “influencers” who’ve experienced a real world dilemma, bursting their dream job fantasy. Welcome to my world, it’s a bit of a pisser.

The other day while scrolling through Buzzfeed during a busy day of work, I came across a story on influencers not being paid by an influencer marketing agency (Christ, man) called Mediakix. My first thought was “that’s because it’s not a real job”. My next thought was “sucks to be them because this could potentially turn into a thing.”

If you’ve been following me you know how I feel about influencers: I don’t consider “influencing” – the act of getting people to follow you and do things you do or like because you appear cool but didn’t we get past this in high school I swear to god we never leave high school – to be an actual job. I don’t see what the appeal is over someone who’s only talent is posting different versions of the same photo with stupid captions.

HOWEVER, as stupid as I think it is they also get a tiny bit of acknowledgement that it is something and here’s why: there are plenty of gigs that started out as something that at one point probably didn’t make sense. If you go back to the beginning of typicaljenn.com, you’ll find posts where I’m ripping into social media marketers. I believe I referred to them as people who are really just unemployed, sitting on their couch playing that farm game on Facebook. Jump to about 6 years later and it’s part of what I do for a living (social media marketing not building a pretend farm).

I’m not above eating my words, I actually enjoy eating thank you very much.

Anyway, as fairytale as their job is, what’s not is their money problems and the fact that this isn’t anything new. Just like every meme on the internet, this bit has been done before. And unfortunately, I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

Back in the early 2000s, I was preparing to move and part of that process involved job hunting. I was moving to a bigger city than my hometown so instead of looking for a boring desk job, I sent my resume to a bunch of local talent agencies – and one actually called me back.

I interviewed for the receptionist position, got hired, and started my new, exciting, sure-to-make-me-famous job a week after moving. My first day began with me meeting the 3 people who worked in the office and being given my first important rule of the job: never let anyone talk to the bookkeeper.

For everyone out there, this is a red flag for ANY job you’re starting. But I was 20 at the time so I was like “ok cool”. I just figured she was busy doing number things. She was and those number things happened to be helping the owner of the agency embezzle from herself.

About a month after I started this job the bookkeeper quit without notice. I don’t know how long she’d been there but red flag number 2 is when the person handling the finances abruptly leaves. That left the owner to handle the books and that’s when things got really bad.

I would get, at minimum, 3 calls a day from talent asking where their money was, and this was after they’d waited standard 8 weeks for payment. I knew we’d gotten the money in but the owner was using it to pay her bills. And it’s not like we had talent booking feature films. They were booking, like, local modeling gigs and Church’s Chicken commercials. We weren’t making that influencer money.

At one point I had a woman tell me that our agency owed her over $10K. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. I know that’s chump change to some of the popular Insta-people but back then (shit, even now at least for me) 10 grand was a lot. And that was just ONE of the individuals we represented.

Every week the owner tried to get caught up but it wasn’t happening. On top of that, overhead was insanely high. I understood we needed to have some sort of presentation but I thought what effected our reputation the most was, you know, stealing from people.

We did have alternative ways of bringing in money but they weren’t anymore credible than the way the money was handled. The owner would convince people that they could be a model if they got head shots and took her modeling class, which people actually paid for.

I know we’re all about not body shaming but I’m telling you right now, you ain’t walking the Victoria’s Secret runway if you’re built like me (5’3″, thick legs from CrossFit, looks like a baby deer walking for the first time in heels – me and the deer). Watching the owner tell every person who came in our office they had a shot was disheartening at best, fucking criminal at worst.

To me, it’s no different than the assholes selling you on the MLM of the week, convincing you that you can actually make a decent living selling their shit online. You can’t. No, you can’t. End of discussion.

Anyway, in the article Buzzfeed reached out for comment and were told that Mediakix would no longer take contracts until the money was sorted out. I’m not sure how that would work for them. At the agency I was at, we constantly had to have money coming in to try and compensate everyone we owed. So if things are that bad off at Mediakix, I don’t know how you catch up not bringing anything in.

Again, I don’t know shit about this company or what got them into this conundrum so I’m not in a position to say if these influencers will get their money or not. I don’t work there, thank god because I looked at their website and it reminds me of the advertising agency I worked at where I once got in trouble for having a meeting in the “game room” because it prohibited 2 employees from playing ping pong. All I know is I’ve seen this before and it’s pretty shit cycle for everyone involved.

I myself have, on more than one occasion, been stiffed and it was a bag of bullshit. It even happened to me when I worked a for real job that required a W4. What I didn’t have that influencers do is a large platform with a huge following (for reasons I’ll never get – there’s no delineation between influencer accounts, they all look the same, people!).

So speak up. Put that shit out there. This goes for anyone who has a job, real or pretend. If you made an agreement and somebody owes you money, don’t let them skate on you. It is not your problem that they are bad with money management. It’s no different than promising someone work and not being able to do it because you couldn’t manage your time (something I’m also guilty of but that’s for another day). You’d be held accountable, right?

They should be held accountable too.

So go on. Use your social media power. You know, the same way you do when you convince people to buy that face serum that doesn’t work or when you make people think your life is glamorous because you posted a pic on a PJ but you actually just rented the PJ for an hour to take pics on. Like that. Go get ’em!

Adventures in Senior-Sitting: When Spring Break Goes Bad

I’m not sure what traumatized me into never wanting kids. Maybe it was realizing that kids equaled zero fun time. Or, that you had to be responsible for them forever. Or maybe it was something my grandma said: “your kids will be 3 times as bad as you.” No thanks. I was a nightmare, so bad that I didn’t even start liking myself until I was 30. I don’t need “younger me” amplified. So I opted out of having kids. Karma, however, found me and opted me in like every e-newsletter I never signed up for.

As most of you know, I inherited a teenager in the form of my 66-year-old father-in-law and it’s been a real barrel of laughs. One after school special after the next.

About a month ago, my FIL was sick but like most kids that have plans for spring break, he wasn’t about to suffer from FOMO. So off he went to Daytona Bike Week, coughing and wheezing his way there. Upon settling in his camp spot, he realized that, uh oh, the cable box in his motorhome wasn’t working. You see, the cable company didn’t shut off his box in his RV when he cancelled his subscription prior to moving in with us. They ended up fixing the glitch and it worked itself out on day 1 of his vacation.

Well, you know kids and their screens. He was so desperate for television he tried to get a box added to MY account (which I actually consider payback for the time I added my own land line to my parents account without permission). When the cable company declined, he called my husband and asked him to MAIL HIM THE BOX FROM HIS BEDROOM. We did not.

He managed to survive his lack of Matlock reruns however, when he arrived home there was something else that he was suffering from.

Yes. He came home with the VID.

And so began the great sickness of 2021. He was coughing non-stop and had zero energy, but he was pushing through. Now, if you asked every friend that he miraculously found the energy to call while he was being quarantined, he was on his death bed. Each night was sure to be his last. He couldn’t lift his head without going comatose from exhaustion. He could only breathe once an hour.

And eating? Forget it. If it wasn’t KFC he couldn’t keep it down, which I don’t remember reading on the CDC website so I suppose they’re due for an update. At one point I had my husband ask him if he needed anything from the grocery store. Grapes and orange juice was his request. Did my husband ask my FIL or my 3-year-old niece because that’s totally something she’d want as a snack.

A week into his illness, things took a turn in a matter of 2 phone calls. That morning my husband checked in on him and informed me my FIL was feeling a little better. Less than an hour later, my husband received a call from one of his dad’s friends. Apparently, he was about to die and another friend was on the way to our house to take him to the hospital, which didn’t make sense to me because I work from home so why wouldn’t he ask me?

So I call my FIL to find out what the deal is and was pretty surprised by how terrible he sounded. What also surprised me was that he actually did not have a friend coming to take him to the hospital. He ended up asking me if I would take him but I suggested calling an ambulance which he agreed to.

A few minutes later I could hear sirens so I went outside to flag them down. Outside I could no longer hear the sirens but I could hear something else: “I guess they missed our house, hee hee.” I turned around and there stood my FIL, giggling. “What the fuck are you doing out here?!” I yelled. I’ve just told 911 that my FIL is on the outs and here he is practically dancing in his driveway.

I. Was. Mortified.

As soon as the paramedics got out of the ambulance I began telling them MY side of the story: he tricked me. They check him out and nothing. Nothing is wrong with him. Are you sure? I asked them. There’s nothing in that ambulance that you can shove down his throat?

No.

The paramedics loaded back into the ambulance and by the time I turned around to ask my FIL “what the fuck was that?!” he was already back inside. That was the last I heard from him for about a week. I didn’t check on him because I didn’t have to. Our neighbor kept me in the know. She also informed me that, according to my FIL, he in fact was dying that day and had the paramedics not given him oxygen for the 3 minutes that they did, it would’ve been over.

This story of almost seeing the light has made its rounds and every time I hear it he was nearer and nearer death. Not long after standing at the pearly gates, he recovered.

BTW, it isn’t lost on me that I once put my mom through a similar situation. When I was in 6th grade I experienced a level of embarrassment I’d never felt before after I tripped over a pipe in front of about 30 kids (out of a class of almost 500). 30 may as well have been everyone. I couldn’t take it. So I faked being sick for about a week and a half before my mom finally took me to the doctor where I was outed as a fraud and had to go back to school.

The moral of the story is I was terrible well into my 20s and my comparisons to my FIL are only up to 11-year-old me so I’ve got a lot more of this shit to go.

Review: Girl With No Job | Claudia Oshry

I think the goal of just about everyone is to eventually become a person with no job, living comfortably without a care in the world aside from future plagues, a failed economy, unreasonable living prices, American Idol being renewed for 40 more seasons, and the possibility of running out of retirement money before dying. Thanks to the rise of the “influencer”, this is the goal for just about everyone aged 12 and up. But if you’re thinking that reading Girl With No Job by Claudia Oshry will give you insight as to how to make that happen, don’t bother. I’ll just tell you…

She was already rich. Yes, the Girl With No Job didn’t have to have one, so she spent all her time creating (but primarily repurposing) content on her Instagram and voilá, she became an influencer and even wealthier. Unfortunately, her knack for reposting other peoples memes (which I didn’t realize was considered a “talent”) does not translate when it comes to writing books.

First, Claudia has lived a privileged 26 years which doesn’t really afford much in the storytelling department. With the exception of the tragic passing of her father, there’s not much substance to anything in this book. She literally has a chapter on the types of fans. Not the ones with blades (hopefully), the kind that follow you on social media. She even breaks them down into categories. It’s mind-numbing.

She talks about how famous she is and how ahead of her time she was and how she was cutting edge for having a blog in 2013, something everyone with a MySpace account in 2005 had. She also wants you to know she’s funny. In fact, she reminds you that she’s funny in every chapter of the book, although she doesn’t actually tell any jokes in her book to substantiate her claims (unless you count the Lindsay Lohan reference she makes in chapter 5 to which my response is “um, 2009 called…”).

She also talks about the time she got canceled thanks to her failed mention that her mother is a right-wing conspiracy theorist – something she didn’t really need to mention, quite frankly. What does it matter who her mother is? That shouldn’t be the reason you abandon her. The reason should be that she’s openly admitted to having a hatred for reading and now she has a book that she also openly admits is because she has an audience to sell it to (let that sink in for a minute all of my fellow aspiring authors).

The worst part? It’s horrendously written. Think of all the tricks you used in middle school to make your essay longer. That’s this. Bigger font. Repeat sentences that are just restructured. Reading this book is like having a conversation with someone you have nothing in common with because you like a lot of different things and they only like themselves. It reads as though it was dictated by Siri onto a Google doc.

Aside from the fact that she’s one of the hundreds of Instagram accounts that reposts other people’s memes, I knew nothing about Claudia and now, I still don’t. If I’m going off of this book then I have to say there’s just not much to her. And even then, I can see that there’s a market for this shit. She’s living the dream of anyone trying to become “Internet famous”. If that’s you, you’ll probably like this book as you’ll get to fantasize what your life will be like if you “make it”. If that’s not you, anything with a reading level of 2nd grade and up will be better than Girl With No Job.

But what do I know? I’m a Geek With an Actual Job Who’s Writing This For Free. Book probably not coming soon. Size 12 font.

Dreams Do Come True: Part 2

If you or someone you know is currently trying to change their life by being more positive and letting the past go via Instagram posts or a 25-year-old life coach, this story is for you.

First, the backstory. It all started when a bunch of grown assholes ruined my childhood dream of meeting the Green Power Ranger (you can read about it here if you need to get caught up).

You see? Assholes. Anyway, I stopped being mad about it a few weeks ago and it’s because… I finally met the Green Power Ranger. I’d been waiting for this day since I was 8. Yes, since I was 8. For 29 years I’ve imagined what our meeting would be like. When I was 8, I thought he would ask me if I wanted to be an honorary Power Ranger (the brown one I’m guessing since I’m part Mexican and they were color-coordinated back then. Go ahead. Google it. See?)

As an adult, I thought he would still make me an honorary Power Ranger. Or at least feature me in his IG stories. Here’s what actually happened.

I arrived at 11am ready for my one-on-one time with him, ready to hear him laugh about my vendetta and tell me how cool I am. By the way, all of my daydreams include someone telling me how cool I am. Anyway, at noon, the time the event was supposed to start, he’d yet to arrive which was not cool. By this time, a crowd of people had gathered outside and I was starting to have flashbacks of McDonald’s. Immediately I thought, “oh my god, he’s outside doing kicks and I’m going to miss him again.”

Fortunately, we now have social media and based on his IG stories, he was stuck in traffic, driving while staring at himself in his phone. My competition was no longer tall people crowding around me. It was Instagram Live.

He did manage to avoid a fiery wreckage and make it to the event, where he walked in wearing a mask and a hat. Look, I’m not a poet. I can’t just look into someone’s eyes and know it’s them, not unless I can see their entire face. On top of that he was a little frantic, probably because he was over 45 minutes late to the event he watched himself drive to.

After he pulled himself and merchandise together, I got my shot. I introduced myself, told him about the McDonald’s event, reminded him about the email, and….. nothing. He had a meet and greet to do and as far as he was concerned, I needed to take a number and retell him that story when it was my turn. He headed towards the door and I stopped him: I was getting that picture. He obliged but was still wearing his hat and mask.

He may as well have been wearing his Power Rangers helmet. This was a mountain of bullshit that was about to get bigger. Because my friends were nice enough to give me free access to the event, I volunteered when Jason’s assistant asked for help with it.

In an ironic twist of fate, my job was to photograph Jason David Frank AKA Tommy the Green Power Ranger with other fans. This was nothing like the scenarios I’d made up in my head.

The only thing weirder than how this was turning out was his fans. Oh my god. If you thought I was mental, you should’ve seen these people. A few of them showed up with the Power Ranger sword for him to sign, which made me think of Step Brothers – you’re not going to not get Randy Jackson’s autograph.

One lady showed up with what looked like a normal reusable grocery bag but what turned out to be a clown car of memorabilia. It was like that scarf trick where they never quit coming out of the pocket. 2 people came in dressed up as the White Power Ranger.

One guy showed up, had Jason sign all the crap he brought, walked out, came back in, asked Jason for his mask, walked out, came back in, asked me to ask Jason to sign the mask, walked out, came back in and handed me a brown bag that he claimed to contain Jason’s favorite candy and asked me to give it to him which I did not because I’m not trying to go to jail for spreading Covid or anthrax.

A super fan came in and asked Jason why Zordon couldn’t help the Green Power Ranger to which Jason replied, “it was in the script, man.” Touché. All of these people by the way, were well into their 30s like me except my infatuation was inspired by revenge, not insanity. The most normal people were the fans in their 20s.

In total there were maybe 7 kids that attended the event, none of which missed their opportunity to meet him. Yet another struggle they will never understand.

At about 4 the event finally wrapped up. I was over it. Up until that point I’d gotten my picture and you couldn’t even tell it was him.

BUT…

After the event ended, he took his mask off, and finally, FINALLY, I got my picture.

So there you have it. A true story about dreams coming true thanks to staying angry. So don’t give up on your negativity just yet. The possibilities are endless as to where your anger will take you, like to a warehouse to meet a child star from the 90s and his weird fans. #winning

Dreams do come true

Like everyone on the planet in the early 90s, 8-year-old me and my 5-year-old cousin were super fans of the Power Rangers. Both of us were Kimberly the Pink Power Ranger because she could do backflips but also because she was Tommy the Green Power Ranger’s girlfriend and we loved him.

My aunt also loved him, so when we saw an ad that he would be at our local McDonald’s she was more than happy to take us. Per the ad, the event would be capped at 250 people so my aunt made sure to get us there early. We arrived about 3 hours prior to the event only to find that the line was already shit tons of people long. Fortunately, “shit tons” to an 8-year-old is only about 150 people so we made it into the group. 

But then…

My hometown has grown over the last 30 years but back then it was considered small, so Tommy the Green Power Ranger was the biggest celebrity next to Selena to make an appearance. We were prepared for that. The rest of the town was not, made evident by the fact that a shit, shit ton more people showed up after we did.

As the manager of McDonald’s was preparing to let us responsible people in, the crowd of late-asses bum-rushed the door. So, in an attempt to appease everyone (except for the kids this entire event was for) the manager had Tommy do his Power Ranger tricks outside while every jerk over 5’0” stood in front of us. 

My cousin and I couldn’t see shit except for his mask and a leg whenever he’d throw a kick. We. Were. Pissed.

I was so pissed that for a minute I wanted to be a judge – my plan was to remember their faces and send them to jail should they ever end up in my court (the plan went to hell when I failed to memorize anybody’s face so then I quit caring about sending people up the river). 

I didn’t become a judge but 20 years after this I became an MMA promoter. You know who else was involved in MMA? Jason David Frank, AKA Tommy the Green Power Ranger. In addition to fighting, he also owned a clothing line called “Jesus Didn’t Tap”.

Well neither did I, so I tracked him down and emailed him my entire story like I was completely mental.

And you know what? HE RESPONDED.

His vendor fee wasn’t too expensive but because our company was in its growing stage, we really didn’t have the extra money to pay it. 

I don’t remember what the rest of his email said because when I read that it wasn’t him at McDonald’s, all that mattered was that not only did I not get to see him but nobody else really did. 

However, that feeling lasted for about 22 seconds.

I still wanted my revenge so I set a goal of meeting him at some point in my life. 

And ladies and gentlemen, a full 29ish years after this whole thing started, it’s happening.

Jason David Frank, AKA Tommy the Green Power Ranger (who later became the White Power Ranger) will be at my friend-owned business, MMA Overload, tomorrow. I will be there to meet him and I will document the entire thing. 

In Typical Jenn fashion, my hometown no longer has a newspaper so there’s nowhere for me to send a press release detailing my accomplishments. I’ll just have to settle for social media posts. That’s fine. 

Anyway, the moral of the story is this: Dreams really do come true. 

So never give up, my friends. Never give up on your grudges.

See you tomorrow.

Freelancing For Dummies

People will pay for the weirdest shit, and I’m not even talking about that one chick on TikTok who sells weird things like her used IUD. Or a former friend of mine who sold a picture of her tonsils to a guy on the internet for $30.

I’m talking about things like bot followers on Instagram or “life coaches”. You’re probably tired of hearing me bitch about that alleged vocation but I can’t help it. Why are you paying a 20-year-old with a trust fund $500 a month to give you life advice that they probably just regurgitated from one of Brene Brown’s bullshit books? It would be cheaper to just read those books yourself and furthermore, if that’s where the life advice is coming from then Barnes and Noble or Amazon can be your life coach.

Actually, support indie bookstores. Thank you.

I’m getting off track. The point is people pay for weird shit. And this is our gig economy. No credentials. No experience. Just tonsils and life advice from someone whose mom pays their phone bill. But guess what? It turns out that I’m a part of the very thing I mock (minus the tonsils and IUD and bamboozling people), and I’ve been trying to be a part of it since I was old enough to work (legally).

It all began when, at 16, I had aspirations of becoming a famous singer and making millions believing that if Britney Spears and Mandy Moore could do it, so could I. So I sent out hand-written essays to a bunch of record companies but when 2 weeks went by without a response (I can’t imagine why), my parents threw in the towel and made me get a job. Shitty stage parents if you ask me.

I worked for the local movie theater and then as a telemarketer before deciding that I needed a job that didn’t require my presence. That’s right. I was trying to freelance before it was a thing #trendsetter. I began looking in the paper for jobs that I could do from home.

*Side note: We did not have social media or Indeed back then and posing as an “expert on living” hadn’t been invented yet.

Anyway, I ended up finding a WFH job: selling Mary Kay make-up. Yes, kids. Younique didn’t invent that. Mary Kay and Avon did. The problem was it was door-to-door sales. None of this harassing people on Facebook and Instagram, NO. You had to do it in person. Like actually get off your IKEA sofa, put something other than yoga pants on, and go door-to-door, business-to-business and talk to people. TALK TO PEOPLE. IN PERSON. I barely like getting texts much less talking to someone. It didn’t work out.

The next want ad I came across was for a job stuffing envelopes. Perfect! All I needed was $399 and I was in. The problem was I did not have $399 and getting a job to pay for an envelope stuffing job seemed counterproductive. There was only one choice left: I had to own my own business.

20 years later I did just that. I’m fucking terrible at it. I started doing freelance digital marketing and because it’s not writing stuff like this, I’m not very good at it. Since starting my “business” I’ve picked up a few clients but instead of collaborating (which, ironically, I hated doing when working with a team) they want ME to figure out their goals and how to make them more money. Why do I have to do everything?!

The clients I’ve wrangled up are all small businesses which means they don’t have the biggest budgets to work with so I can’t do a lot and then feel bad for charging them for the work that I do complete. I’ve really only been successful with one of my clients and that’s only because I love the industry they’re in. So I guess I’m only good at things I care about. Well what other way is there?!

It gets worse. Because I have a problem prioritizing anything that isn’t paying me a regular salary, I would fall behind on tasks and lose clients. Listen, it’s real hard working on tasks that you invented yourself for clients whose goals you had to set and when it comes time to bill them you don’t know what to charge because you didn’t discuss a rate because you didn’t know what the scope of work would be till you started and had to make it up and that pretty much mean you suck donkey dicks at freelancing.

My entire life I’ve either wanted to work for myself or work doing something I loved. I’ve never bought into having to work a job you hate forever. I’ve never thought something impossible. Difficult to achieve, absolutely. Impossible? Abso-fucking-lutely not.

When it comes to work, I want to be a published author, write and sell my screenplays, write for others, and work in publishing. Oh, and I want to work as Head of Content for the Alamo Drafthouse. I don’t even know if it’s a thing but I’ll figure it out.

How I’m not going to get there is freelancing for businesses I don’t care about. So, aside from the one client I love, I’ve gone back into the workforce. That’s right, I got a big girl job. Also, it’s a remote position. It only took 20 years but I finally willed legitimately working from home into fruition. ME. I did that. It was exhausting.

I need to pay my bills but, more importantly, I need to make sure that I’m not juggling a bunch of bullshit so I can work on my writing and getting in at the Drafthouse.

My journey as a freelancer isn’t a total loss, though. Along the way to achieving my dream of not having to go to an office (and also not having to dress like an adult), I’ve worked some pretty weird jobs and think I have some good unconventional business advice to offer, because who better to take business advice from than someone who was horrendously bad at it.

Get ready to get better at things or worse at things. I don’t know, I’m not a life coach. If I were, I would be way better at this “gig economy” shit, and that my friends, is how IRONY works.

Their names are Snoopy and Prickly Pete

I was a nightmare of a 14-year-old, or as I like to think of it, coming into my own. I’d had it with being a cheerleader so during a meeting I made a few of them cry then quit (my parents STILL remind me about that). I’d discovered D.L. Hughley and thanks to his comedy believed that everyone thought it was funny when you made fun of them (spoiler alert: when you’re a teen, they do not). I stole my parents cars including my dad’s patrol car and went joyriding around our neighborhood (I got caught when I locked the keys in my mom’s car – shout out to the inventor of whatever it is that won’t let you do that anymore!). And I got my first boyfriend. Unfortunately, like most girls in their adolescence, I had low self-esteem and because of that, told tall tales out of school in an attempt to make my boyfriend like me more.

We’re talking real whoppers.

Like being the opening act for semi-known singers and God only knows what else. Yeah, I was a TOTAL liar. We would eventually break up and I would eventually quit lying (except now I sometimes get in trouble for being too honest so I fucking can’t win) but not without really driving my parents batshit, particularly my mom. To scare me, my mom would tell me that my kids were going to turn out 3 times as bad as me.

Joke was on her; I planned on having zero kids.

And I had none until about 3 years ago when my husband and I inherited my father-in-law. Karma is a crafty bitch.

Currently we are in the terrible teens and the lying is in full swing. He lies about everything to everyone, one of those people being his most recent girlfriend who is also in her 60s and had no problem addressing his lies with me when she came for a visit.

I sang like a canary. And I laughed and I laughed.

Quick backstory: so after he broke up with JDF, he started dating a woman that my husband and I have actually known for a while – we’ll call her Faith. Faith is the opposite of JDF. She’s not an asshole for one and 2) she’s pretty well off.

A couple of weeks before Christmas she came down to see him, but instead of hiding in his room like a normal teen, she came over to our side of the house when he was out to ask me some questions. Interrupting the one day I get to myself, she started with “I just don’t get him”. Oh goddamnit. “What do you mean?” I asked, not really wanting to know.

She then proceeded to tell me that from the minute she’d arrived, all he could talk about was money. How much money he had, how much he’d paid for things, how much money his friends had. Apparently, he built us this house but then actually bought this house from a friend for us but no actually my mother-in-law had wanted it so he bought it but then she passed away.

He lied about the cost of the house, how much we put down, even how long our note is for. He lied about buying me and paying for my car which is interesting because I’m pretty sure I’m the one who gets nauseous every time I make that payment to the bank. He lied about owning the hangar he lived in prior to moving in with us, and he lied about building the apartment that was inside the hangar (a friend of ours did that).

The hangar lie pissed me off the most; he told her that he sold the hangar a few weeks after my mother-in-law died because he couldn’t stand to live there without her. Uh, he stayed in that hangar for 6 months after she passed and had his new girlfriend there all the time and only moved in with us because the actual owner of the hangar kicked him out.

Anyway, the lies didn’t quit; even my arch nemesis – JDF, his ex-girlfriend – got drug in. My husband checks my father-in-law’s work email so as not to miss any important work emails. One of those emails just happened to be from JDF. In it, she expressed her anger at the fact that we (my husband and I) didn’t know they were still seeing each other and a bunch of other bullshit. The email ended with the revocation of an invitation to her daughter’s graduation dinner.

The dinner was that night.

My FIL’s current girlfriend was still in town.

He’d double-booked himself. You know what? In that one Twilight Zone episode, all the old people wanted to do to reclaim their youth was go outside and kick a fucking can. Now they’re pulling some geriatric Saved By The Bell bullshit.

I never told Faith about that because I didn’t see the point – I’d already busted his story wide open. Like most teen romances, though, it did no good.

Let me preface this next story by saying that I’m not 100% sure what I did to my parents that made me deserve what happened next but whatever it was I think we’re square.

The night she went home, she came over to say goodbye and tell me another story.

I’m just going to rip this story off like a bandaid.

The night before, she’d tried doing it with him but he couldn’t, er, do it back and she said “I think it’s because he’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend.”

Time froze. I hadn’t been this grossed out since that one broad referred to 50 Shades of Gray as “mommy porn”. I have self-diagnosed tourrettes of the face so I’m not really sure what it did, but it couldn’t have been good because she tried to make a joke out of it.

But it was too late. I’d heard too much and there was no going back. And also, what the fuck? Did I just get a glimpse into the future? Do we still want to sleep with dudes, well into our 60s, who have feelings for other women and are compulsive liars? The future keeps looking more bleak.

Anyway, maybe some parents are happy when their children or children’s boyfriends and/or girlfriends confide in them but I’m not one of them. He went from a girlfriend that preferred to not talk to me to a girlfriend that didn’t know when to stop talking to me. I blame myself for the latter; I’m just too friendly.

After I managed to get her out of my house, I sat down and noted everything that had happened that weekend.

And I realized something: there’s no such thing as “the older, the wiser”. It turns out, the majority of us stay morons.

Don’t believe me? Well check this shit out. He’s already back with his ex-girlfriend, and the way we found THAT out was he updated his relationship status on Facebook.

Wait. There’s more.

My husband sent me a screenshot of it and not an hour later, I run into my FIL outside and instead of saying “hi” he says “did you hear what I did this morning?” He then proceeds to tell me that he was trying to change his status from Widowed and “accidentally” hit In a Relationship.

THEN to make the lie plausible, he called Faith and told her that she needed to tell people he knocked her up (why do these people insist on making me need therapy) because he “accidentally” changed his status.

As a parent, I would like to offer up some advice: quit telling your kids to not be in a hurry to grow up. They’re taking that shit to heart.

Faith did end up breaking up with him. You know how I found out? She sent me a text that just said “I did it”, like a hitman. I followed it up with questions so the FBI wouldn’t see it and raid my home.

Anyway, I got the whole story and, like any teen, she ended the conversation with a request for me not to say anything to anyone.

But I’m sure she didn’t mean you guys.

Review: What Would Keanu Do? | Chris Barsanti

Here’s a piece of trivia about me that might come in handy one day. My first adult crush was Keanu Reeves. I was 11 and because it was a simpler time, I was introduced to him via his movie Speed. I so badly wanted to be trapped on a bus that was about to explode if it meant he would save me. Unfortunately, the only bus I rode was the school bus and its biggest problem was it didn’t have air conditioning.

Anyway, I loved Keanu Reeves, solely on the fact that he was (and still is) hot. When you’re young, “being hot” is enough to think someone is perfect. When you get older, you realize (hopefully) that “hot” can only go so far. We look for other traits such as they’re loving, caring, smart, have a great sense of humor. Basically we hope they’re an all-around decent human being.

Well, guess what. It turns out, 11-year-old me was right. Keanu Reeves is perfect because he is all of those things. If you don’t believe me, then you should grab a copy of What Would Keanu Do? by Chris Barsanti and get ready to feel like the terrible human you are. I know I did.

Books like this tend to read like a self-help book but for the most part, it’s really just a collection of all of his amazing qualities and responses and good deeds put together in 142 pages that’s probably aimed at getting us to be better humans.

From charitable contributions to random acts of kindness, his actions prove that if we are all a little more Keanu, the world would be a little better.

What Would Keanu Do? is a quick read and is great for anyone who is still recovering from the nightmare that was 2020. Enjoy!

Next book: Little Weirds by Jenny Slate

My favorite book of the year and some other ones I liked: 2020 Edition.

There’s never been a better year for books. Books were the escape we needed from this prank of a year and luckily, there were a few good ones to keep us occupied. Now, I don’t always read what’s new but I do try my best to keep up with what comes out and in 2020, there was one book that was so good and cry-laugh funny that it made my “I’m going to read this a lot of times” list.

A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost

A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost is my pick for my favorite books of the year. It’s hilarious, really funny, and made me laugh out loud a lot. If you haven’t read it, add it to your 2021 list. It’ll be on mine!

I did read a few books that, even under lockdown, I didn’t have time to write about so I figured now was a good time to mention them.

Bare Bones and Fight. Grind. Repeat. by Bobby Bones. Fun Fact: back in like 2003, Bobby Bones – who’d just launched his show – hosted his own version of American Idol in Austin, TX. I auditioned. I sang something by Evanescence believing that I sounded like Amy Lee and as you can probably tell by the fact that I’m sitting on my couch writing this instead of getting paid to make singing Cameo’s, I did not advance to the next round. I did however get to meet Bobby Bones and he was such a sweetheart. His books are both amazing reads and incredibly inspirational. From his very rough upbringing, to his determination and the grind to become a radio personality (something we can all agree he’s done pretty well), his books are real page-turners. Whatever your goals are for 2021, I suggest adding both of his books to your “to read” list for some great motivation.

Yes, I Can Say That by Judy Gold. OK so this book isn’t for everyone, particularly those who offend easily or pretend to be offended. It’s hard to make people laugh these days because it seems like people just want to be mad. Not that they don’t have a reason, everything sucks but take it out on the shit you’re mad at – not someone who made a joke. The biggest problem is people take jokes personally because, thanks to social media and helicopter parents, they think everything is about them. Newsflash: it’s not. You’re making yourself feel bad, not the joke or the person who said it. And that’s why I love this book. Judy Gold nails this trend of getting butt-hurt beautifully and explains how it’s come to this and why everyone needs to bring it down to about a three-and-a-half. And if this is starting to make you mad, I wasn’t talking about you! You see what me and Judy Gold mean?!

Another comedian who’s addressed this before is the man himself, Mr. Jerry Seinfeld, who also happens to be the author of the last book on this list: Is This Anything? If you’re a fan of his then chances are you’ll enjoy his book. Is This Anything? is a collection of his notes that he’s written over the years for his act, accompanied by a backstory for each decade. I’m a huge Seinfeld fan; believe it or not one of the things I love about his comedy is he’s a clean comic. I have to use at least 3 curse words per post – I’m not as entertaining without them. Additionally, I can relate just about any real life situation to his show (I’ve got a Snoopy and Prickly Pete story in the works!) even today. If you’re a fan Jerry Seinfeld, I highly suggest picking up a copy of Is This Anything?

I’ve got an ambitious goal of reading a book a week in 2021. First up: What Would Keanu Do? by Chris Barsanti.

What book are you kicking your year off with?

Review: A Very Punchable Face|Colin Jost

“To my mom and dad, and my brother, Casey. You’re like family to me.” It’s Colin Jost’s dedication and the very first joke of his book. Simple, absolutely hilarious, and sets the tone for the entire book.

In reading his memoir, A Very Punchable Face, it’s easy to see why Colin Jost is the head writer for Saturday Night Live as well as holds the coveted position as one of the hosts of Weekend Update. Simply put, Colin is one hell of a writer. It didn’t even feel like I was reading his book – it felt like I was listening to someone tell ridiculous stories about their childhood, how they got their dream job, and getting punched in the face.

His stories are awesome, particularly the one about his MOM WORKING AS A FIREFIGHTER DURING 911 AND BEING A HERO. There are no stories of hardship but his account of the events that unfolded that day tug at the heartstrings, and is an incredible story.

Aside from his 911 story, my favorite of his accounts are the ones that involve the development of his writing career. His work ethic is something to be admired and mirrored. Careers like his don’t just happen. He worked hard to earn his spot at SNL and continues to work hard as one of the top comedic writers in the business.

The world is a shit show, and it’s time we start laughing at legitimate things. Let one of those things be Colin Jost’s memoir, A Very Punchable Face. You will not be disappointed.