Good Luck Never Smelled So… Bad

I wouldn’t consider myself an extremely superstitious person, but I’d be lying if I didn’t believe in bits and pieces. I don’t know whether walking under a ladder is really bad luck or not, but for some reason I just find myself avoiding it whenever the situation arises. I mean, if Looney Tunes has taught me anything, it’s to avoid ladders. And anvils.

Another famous superstition in regards to luck refers to the misfortune that will befall anyone who breaks a mirror. Not your short term misfortune either. We’re talking 7 years of nothing but bad luck. Just thinking about how expensive mirrors were during the time this superstition was likely conceived can help shed a bit of light on its origins. If I were a mother back then, I’d definitely say things like that to my kids if they were horseplaying around with expensive fragile items.

“Hey, get away from that mirror! If you break that you’ll have 7 years of bad luck, you know!”

Then in my head, “ha, that’ll teach those little whippersnappers to play ball in the house.”

They say that a broken clock or a cracked crystal on a pocket watch or wristwatch is also believed to be a bad sign. Not surprisingly, these are also very expensive items that are as old as the superstitions themselves. The story even goes on to say that a broken watch symbolizes failure to progress in one’s work. Which would make sense… cause you’d be late to work and all sorts of bad luck would no doubt ensue. So again, the origins of such superstitions somewhat make sense. Some superstitions about luck aren’t as easily explained though.

Tell me if you’ve ever heard this one. Originating somewhere in the UK, it’s believed that by saying “rabbit” right after you wake up on the first day of the month, you’ll bring yourself good luck for the next 30 or so days. No matter how you say it; rabbit-rabbit, rabbits, white rabbit, run rabbit run, etc., it’s supposed to work.

What about knocking on wood? Another dumb superstition that I find myself doing from time to time. Okay fine, often. Do I necessarily believe in it? I have no idea, but at risk of jinxing myself, it’s easier to just tap on the table just in case. There are two big theories behind this one. One is that pagans believe spirits live in trees, so it was kind of used as a nod to them, for lack of better words. The other theory comes from Britain and mentions a popular children’s game called “Tiggy-touch-wood,” where the only way you were “safe” from the other children chasing you was when you were touching a piece of wood. Could the whole concept of knocking on wood for luck have really stemmed from a kid’s game? I wouldn’t be surprised. Though I favor the tree spirits myself.

From blowing out birthday candles, lucky horseshoes, throwing salt over your shoulder, breaking wishbones, and even picking up pennies (not tails up, that’s bad luck!), superstitions on luck abound. It’s hard to keep up with them all, and sometimes I just think people are having me on with some of these tales.

A bird pooping on you is supposed to be good luck. I know, I know, but it’s true. Or so I’m told. I don’t believe it. And I’ll tell you why. A bird pooped on my hand the other day. There I was, minding my own business, walking around the neighborhood, trying to get some air and exercise, and a bird decided to just poop on my hand. Cause, you know. That’s what I’m here for. Oh look, my friend said, a bird pooped on your hand! You’ll have good luck! No, Sharon, I have germs. Germs are what I have. You’re so lucky! No, I’m not lucky, I’m disgusted. And for your information, there was no luck to be had here. No luck at all. I mean, I guess it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been my head. Or my face as I turned it upward to see what the hell that freakin’ bird was doing. Maybe the bird just had bad aim. Maybe that’s where the good luck came in.

So, yeah. Superstitions stink.

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 56502

Stardate 20220505 – Time: Thursday Night Hell

I’m not much of a people person and those close to me know this. Even those not so close to me know this. So at the last minute when two of my friends that I made plans with for a random Thursday night said they were bringing some other friends that I never met along, that little anxiety-riddled part of my brain quickly looked for a way out of the ordeal. I seriously considered buying a plane ticket to anywhere that was not here and simply starting a new life under an assumed name.

But alas, moments later I found myself in the back of an SUV that I’d never ridden in before on my way to dinner at a place I had never eaten at before. Oh yes, I said to myself. This is hell. I’m in hell.

Everyone was going on and on and having a great time, and there I was, just trying to survive the outing long enough to get back home to the safety of my tea, favorite book, cheesy TV, and my cats, and wondering what the hell was I thinking to ever go out in the first place. I mean, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But then, doesn’t it always? And it’s not. It’s never a good idea.

Oh, here comes the waiter. “Can I get you ladies anything else this evening?”

Me screaming in my head: “Just the check, thanks.”

My mouth: “oh, that lava cake looks good.”

Me in my head: “Damn my weakness for sweets. Ah the hell with it. What’s 10 more minutes in hell anyway, right? At least there’s cake.”

Shopping, Lunch, and a Baptism

Mobile prayer and baptisms are a thing. Did you know that?  I did not. However, there is a mobile prayer and baptism RV and trailer that sets up shop most weekends in the parking lot of the local strip mall in my town.  So, it’s gotta be a thing, right? It’s not every weekend though. Perhaps they have other locations they visit as well. An evangelical tour of sorts. Now, I’m not going to judge anyone for their beliefs… okay fine, maybe I do judge a little. Listen, don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m doing the best I can here! But seriously, does this type of proselytizing really work? I mean, do they see a lot of foot traffic in these pop-up prayer shops?

The gentleman who was apparently in charge of the “mobile prayer” today was using a microphone attached to a bullhorn to garner attention, singing and preaching his heart out about fire and brimstone and eternal damnation. So you get a show whether you want it or not, when all you’re trying to do is go about your business at the Dollar General Store. But I come back to the same question, is this successful?  Do people look at this RV with its accompanying trailer and say, you know what I need today?  A baptism.

To me, it looks like an obvious (to the audience anyway) trick you’d find in a horror movie where they trap the teenagers who are just a little bit too curious for their own good and then sell their organs on the black market in a gruesome plot twist.

I’m not a church-going person, but even if I were, I’d be hesitant to enter an RV and a makeshift trailer with only one way in and one way out and no windows, no matter how badly I needed to confess or save my God forsaken soul. I’d be more afraid of becoming yet another statistic in the missing persons’ department.

I’ll just stick with Hell, thank you very much. After all, I have a special place waiting for me there.

 

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Love and Craigslist

I know I’ve talked about online dating and Craigslist a few times before, but I couldn’t let this new opportunity go by without saying at least something.  Let’s just take a look at Liam here… wait, my fault, Severin. Because he wants to be called Severin.  Be still my heart.  Seriously though, I don’t know about the rest of you women out there, but when a guy introduces himself and insists that you call him some strange nickname that is in no way a variation of his regular name, it comes across as kind of … odd. Hi, I’m Steven but you can call me Spider-Man. I think this approach worked better in the 50s when you’d come across some greaser named Ace, Scarface, or Ponyboy, and the next thing you know you’re wearing a leather jacket and riding on the back of a motorcycle. But that’s a different post for a different day. Back to Woman-Slayer Severin here who had his Friday night all planned out to the tee. Severin’s big Movie Night! Co-starring some skinny short girl! Hey, I don’t make the rules. Severin does.

Did a grown man write this ad? Perhaps a teenager? I don’t know what to think here. If it weren’t for the clear misogyny, I might’ve been on unlucky Liam’s, I mean, Severin’s side but instead, I’m left standing here feeling like I just read an ad that should be titled, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Speaking of Severin. I couldn’t figure out if he was referencing some fictional character in his preferred name, like from a book or anime or something so I did a little research. Well, I typed the name into Google at least and came up with nothing substantial. However, I was instantly reminded of Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series and Severin is a masculine given name derived from the Latin word severus meaning severe, serious, strict. Hmm, maybe there is something in a name after all? A little look into the mind of this lady killer perhaps?

Serious question though, are there women out there that would respond positively to this ad? And by positively, I mean would you give him the time of day, let alone trust this post? Twitter is having a ball with this poor sod, but after publicly placing an ad like this, I’m not too sure what he expected. Well, I guess he expected a short skinny girl that was in the market to catch a vampire-themed superhero movie with a stranger that prefers to use a fictitious name at 9:15 p.m. at the Veranda Luxe Cinema. And now here I am, sometime later, and I can’t help but wonder if it worked. To be honest, If the archaic language he apparently uses to try and be cute isn’t enough of a red flag, perhaps his description of the perfect woman (or rather, the imperfect woman) or the, I’m waiting, line at the end will prompt you to say, no thanks! No thick or tall girls, really? I almost felt bad for you Mr. Severin. Almost. And unfortunately for you, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

There’s someone for everyone, as they say, and perhaps the same holds true for ol’ Severin here. Love can be very strange as we all know. After all, someone even had the heart to marry Charles Manson while he was in prison, so there is little doubt that there is someone for everyone no matter how high their freak flag waves.

But can you just imagine him telling the story to his kids about how he met their mother? We met at the movies. Well, um, on the way to the movies. Okay, fine, I put up an ad looking for a woman who wasn’t too tall or too fat who might be down to watch Morbius in IMAX on Craigslist and the rest was history. Real love at first sight kind of stuff, right? Maybe I should get some sort of trademark or copyright on this love story before Hallmark blows the roof off this thing.

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Still Waters

I know I’ve been talking cats quite a bit lately, but what can you do? They’re such great subjects. Recently, I found that someone, who shall remain nameless, is failing at their job as servant to the almighty feline overlords. It’s me. That someone is me. I’m someone. Take note of the accompanying picture. This is Shaylee, one of my personal feline overlords, and she will remain locked in this very position, oozing contempt and staring at her water fountain until someone, like me, a trusty servant, turns it on. Even though she has a bowl of non-moving water right next to her heaping full bowl of food. But does that matter to her? Nope. I’ve heard some people say that it’s not good to leave big bowls of food out for your fur babies, but in the case of Shaylee, if it’s not full, she will annoy you until it is. Trust me on this.

Don’t even get me started on cat litter brands. A friend of mine was telling me that he tried a few times to switch cat litter brands, but his cat, Archie, wasn’t very keen on the idea. This orange bundle of joy decided that pooping in the bathtub would work much better than the new litter. While some people might think this cat was just being a dumb animal, perhaps his actions were far more genius than given credit for. Hear me out. Archie found a litter that he was very content doing his business in, it felt good on his paws, and didn’t have that overly perfume-y scent… but due to the lack of that product’s availability at the local store, his owner opted for a similar brand. Similar is not the same. Similar is different. Similar will not do. Archie checked it out, scratched it up a little, and then left. It wasn’t until the next morning that his owner was greeted by a fresh pile of cat poop while stepping into the shower. Well, at least it was in the shower, his owner thought, easy cleanup. Until it happened again that evening to his wife. That didn’t go over nearly as well. So, where’s the genius in this? Well, would you rather step in cat crap (or worse, be on the receiving end of your spouse’s rant about stepping in cat crap) or just drive the extra 20 minutes to get the litter your cat likes? That’s exactly what happened in this case, and needless to say, Archie got what Archie wanted. Dumb animal indeed.

Of course, I could have saved my friend a lot of grief if he had just reached out prior to making such an ill-conceived decision. I must say though, I’m impressed with his brave, albeit failed, attempt at asserting his … dare I say… ownership. Shaylee trained that out of me long ago.

Sometimes I think it may have been easier to raise kids than it is to keep these furry little hellspawns happy. For instance, Shaylee’s favorite place to be in the entire house is the bedroom. Unless the door is shut. Then, in that case, she wants to be in the living room. If nobody is present to act upon the ruling command of her highness, she will constantly rub up her paws against the door. Which is better than scratching it I guess, but it still produces a rather horrendously annoying sound. Think nails on a chalkboard but squeaky. Sometimes I just sit there and attempt to wait it out. However, my patience proves to be no match for Shaylee’s unrivaled determination. And I start thinking, “Hey, she won’t keep it up for long,” but time and time again, she proves me wrong. That god-awful noise will continue to resonate through the house until I answer the beck and call to let her out or in. And don’t even dare close the door after she leaves… or enters, depending on how this whole game started. Because the entire process will just start all over again. There are times when I sit down and think, she hasn’t noticed that the door is shut, maybe she’s occupying herself with other things or perhaps she’s conked out taking a cat nap, and I’m rewarded with a moment of precious quiet.  No sooner do I start a project or, God forbid, put my feet up, then BAM! The infernal sound of Shaylee’s paws against the door pierces my ears once again.

Okay, so have you heard about the snack zone? Let me tell you about the snack zone. Cat treats are kept in a pantry aka closet. The cats know this. But then again, MY food is kept in the pantry as well. As are my towels (hey, it’s a small condo, mind your business). If you open the door to the pantry, a treat is required every time. Every. Time. I feel like I have to pay a toll just to get into the closet. It has crossed my mind to try and break the habit and just not give her a treat whenever I’m getting stuff out of the closet but then I get to thinking. As intuitive and intelligent as cats can be, it may not be in my best interest to mess with her demands. It’s maybe a vicious and unforgiving cycle, but I feel it keeps me in her good graces.

You know, people have been training animals for years but with cats, I sometimes wonder if they’re actually training us. Who am I kidding, they are definitely training us. And, if that is the case, I don’t want to do anything that puts me on Shaylee’s shit list.

Zoom Zoom

Question of the day: Are Zoom training sessions better or worse than in-person training sessions? Personally, I thought in-person training sessions were the worst, but Zoom is making its way to the top of the list. The future I imagined that we were heading towards slightly resembled that of The Jetsons. Flying cars, fully-automated homes, and living in condos above the clouds. Instead, we have Zoom training.

When the Covid pandemic hit, social distancing came about, and this complicated a lot of things for a lot of people and a lot of businesses. Some businesses thrived in these trying times, and unfortunately, many of them were forced to close their doors forever. It came down to “adapt, evolve, overcome” for those who stayed in the game, and one of the ways businesses stayed in the game, such as it is – cause it’s not really a fun game if we’re being honest, unless you’re Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos – was by transitioning to remote work and with remote work came the world of Zoom.

Ah, Zoom calls. Where individuals can attend work meetings, educational courses, job interviews, and more, all from the comfort of their home. Since only your upper half is in view, you can do all these things without having to put on pants, pick out shoes, or match your socks. Just like everything else in the world, there are pros and cons to everything, Zoom included. One benefit that I found is that you can mute Hank from accounting when he starts telling one of his “blonde” jokes. I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing someone go to answer their door, only to have their Labrador Retriever expertly steal the sandwich they left by their computer. To make this even funnier, the stealthy pooch was gone by the time their owner returned, and I got the privilege of seeing them legitimately search for their lunch for nearly 2 minutes before they realized that Rover pulled the old dine and dash on them. None of us told on Rover, by the way, and I feel proud about that. Snitches get stitches, or so they say, and we had Rover’s back.

It goes without saying that there are a few perks to Zoom World, but I will admit, the streaming delays that last just long enough to make you think your system is glitching, the actual glitches – you know, the ones you don’t notice right away like when you’ve been talking for 10 minutes into a frozen screen, and people constantly repeating themselves because someone wasn’t listening, or someone was muted, or people were talking over each other, can be exceedingly frustrating.

The monotony of a 70-page training deck and a Zoom trainer that sounds straight out of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as they read each slide word for word is made all the worse when you remember that the in-person meetings always had donuts to make up for the torture that is workplace training. Pajama pants or no pajama pants, I like a good donut.

But, on the plus side, the errant toddlers suddenly showing up in the background and the cats jumping on unsuspecting laps always make it worthwhile… bonus points if the owner of the unsuspecting lap was drinking a coffee at the time.

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Glutton for Punishment

I’m no stranger to dating apps. I’ve had the pleasure, or rather, displeasure, of using a few. After all, I’ve been single for a while now and if I’m being honest, I like it this way. But while I’m on the topic of being honest, I do get the urge to download an app or two and take a dive into the proverbial dating pool. I don’t know why. To just window shop if anything. A glutton for punishment perhaps. I mean, my experiences have been far from graceful and usually by the time I realize it’s a futile exercise, I already have a migraine from banging my head on the wall in frustration. It’s kind of like scratching poison ivy or eating an entire half-gallon of Ben & Jerry’s before bed. It may feel good at first, but you’ll wish you hadn’t later.

When it comes to men, especially on these dating apps, I feel as if I’ve seen it all. I’m not a gamer, but if you’re familiar with those old role-playing games where you get to choose what “class” or “build” you start as, it’s kind of like that. First up we have the Alpha Male. This grizzled outdoorsman can land a pike with a shoelace and some bubblegum or skin a deer in 6 minutes flat with nothing more than his trusty pocket knife. The Alpha Male is always keen on showing off any recent kills, focusing on that trophy buck or legendary lake bass he roped in last summer at the cabin with the boys. Don’t get me wrong, I like a man that can handle himself in nature, but it’s 2022, so drop the whole Alpha Male thing already, and I’ve never done the whole swooning over the big strong hunter/gatherer thing. You’d have better luck if you posted a photo of that ridiculously cute squirrel that visits your patio every day begging for peanuts. If you consider “matching” with me lucky that is… and if you do, that’s on you. Just so we’re clear.

Next on the list, we have the Fuckboy, or Poolboy build. This is the kind of guy that could have been trouble before I was wise enough to know better. They come in all ages and are generally the kind of guy mothers hide their daughters from. These “boys” usually sport clean-shaven faces and never miss an opportunity to take a picture without the annoying restriction of a pesky shirt. Sometimes they even go as far as shining up with a little baby oil just for a little added extra effect. I’m wondering who takes their profile photos?  Professional photographer?  A friend? Their mother?

Neither of those types do it for you? Maybe the blue-collar typical single dad build is the one? Still a little bitter about the divorce, but he got to keep the boat! Yes, I know what tailgating is, no, I don’t think we should do it every week, and neither of us has any kids in little league, why the hell are you grilling hot dogs in a Denny’s parking lot?

Even with these great “builds” or “classes” to chose from, I’m still confused about some of the other profiles I see. I’m not a sheltered person and I wouldn’t consider myself a prude, in fact, I’d say I grasp the whole dating scene rather well, but here’s the thing… do men understand women at all? Like, seriously?!

Ironically, the three dating app types I just described make a touch more sense than what I’m about to say. There’s a word I see thrown around a lot in men’s profiles that is quite perplexing. Open-minded. For example, a single 50-something male seeking an open-minded woman. Like what does that even mean? Open-minded. Do you mean you like to collect half-dressed anime dolls?  Are you into dressing up as a fox who moonlights as a police officer? Somehow, I just don’t think they mean it in a social consciousness sort of way.

Adventurous is another personality staple that men seem to be looking for. And again, I’m overcome by the feeling of uncertainty. Are they looking for someone to ride the scariest roller coasters with or should I show myself to the gutter for a more accurate understanding? Chances are it’s the latter because I seriously doubt it’s in a let’s go hike Mount Kilimanjaro way.

Okay, but wait! This one I get. Man seeking a woman who is the selfless nurturing type. Okay. Great. I get this reference. But to put it in your eHarmony profile?

For those who may not know, eHarmony is one of the sites that pride themselves on helping lonely souls find long-term relationships. Tinder, it’s not, which is more for fuckboys and thirst traps. I am just baffled by the way certain men approach their quest of finding a potential significant other. Selfless? I can definitely see where that one’s going. Their profiles seem to be more of a list of requirements for a mail-order bride. It reminds me of that disturbingly catchy song on Tik-Tok called “Build-a-Bitch.”  Sweetie, this ain’t that.

One divorced guy said he’s looking for someone with “no big mood swings” and he prefers someone who “doesn’t complain too much.”  Oh, and she “must be selfless and giving in the bedroom.” Again with the selfless. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how this man’s wife just left this stud go. Perplexing how his marriage didn’t work out isn’t it?  Unfathomable.

So anywhere from a few hours to a few days after downloading a dating app, things like this happen and I’m reminded why I’m single and deleted the app last time. Wish I could say it gets better over time but either everyone’s getting weirder or perhaps it’s me?  I also find the algorithms of these sites to be suspect. After forcing me to take an hours-long quiz, I’m still paired with men who think posing with dead animals is the way to a woman’s heart.

I will say this, I have had some minor success at deciphering the secrets of the male species. One of the codes I’ve cracked is when older men describe themselves as “young at heart,” they mean they prefer to date out of their age group. Or if an older man says he’s a “bad boy” chances are he listens to Five Finger Death Punch, owns a Harley, and watches old war movies.

I’m still looking for an app for folks like me. A place for people who’d rather binge Netflix with their animals on the couch than have to sift through a ridiculous montage of phony, celebratory bios that don’t mention how they chew with their mouth open or smoke menthol cigarettes like it’s the mid-90s.

A Hallmark Moment

Ah, the good ole’ class reunion. We’ve all tuned into the Hallmark channel a time or two just to find some sappy retelling of the classic “class reunion rekindles forgotten love” story. Just gag me already. I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. Maybe I’m just a bit too far removed from that scene. I mean really… do any of us actually care about the same shit we cared about back in high school? If I wanted to see all my classmates again, I would have kept in better contact over the years. All the personalities, the cliques, the stress, it’s not really something I care to revisit anytime soon. Could you imagine?

“Hey, Billy! Remember that time you pissed your pants on the bus during the dairy farm field trip and the entire class laughed?”

“Why no Jimmy. I’ve spent years in therapy and thousands of dollars on a psychiatrist trying to repress that memory, but how fun of you to bring it back up!”

Let’s see, we had the jocks who seemed to just cruise through their four years with that “too cool for school” mantra. There were the cheerleaders, which I tended to avoid. The rich kids who could do no wrong, probably because mommy and daddy were boosters for the local sports clubs, and then you had the rest of us. I guess you’d find me in the Freaks and Geeks section. If you don’t get the reference, check out the show here.   It was a short-lived one season masterpiece from the ’90s based around a unique group of kids in high school during the 80s. Great stuff!

Back at the reunion, you’re having more fun than you can safely stomach. At least, something is making you sick and it’s not the smell of gym socks left in a locker for two semesters.  Perhaps it’s the sheer awkwardness that comes with seeing your teenage crush who is now balding, on his third marriage, and running a failing used car dealership. Or better yet, you could reminiscence with some old high school bullies who completely gloss over ripping your schoolwork to shreds on the daily or shoving you in the aforementioned gym sock filled locker.  Or maybe it’s being asked to dance by that kid that smelled like milk and pulled on your hair in the middle of class every freakin’ day.  I mean, why wouldn’t we want to subject ourselves to such a blissful evening?

All sarcasm aside, I wouldn’t be completely against a walk down memory lane again, but it’s not at the top of my list. And yes, I’m completely aware that there are quite a few people out there that absolutely loved high school and would waste 1 of their 3 wishes from a genie on having the chance to relive the glory days that were those 4 fateful years. To say a lot of people peaked in high school would be an understatement. Okay, yeah, so that walk down memory lane may not be worth the calories after all.

I mean, what about the people who simply couldn’t wait to get out of high school? For these folks – and by these folks, I mean me – reunions are a whole different animal. And seriously, back to the Hallmark movie thing. Do those moments ever really happen? They’re always the same. Way back in high school, the jock is dared to ask out the ugly duckling girl, and she accepts just to have it blow up in her face. Then 20 years later she’s on the cover of Cosmo and he’s managing a Waffle House in small-town South Carolina. They meet up again at the famed reunion just to have him profess his true feelings. He was a victim of peer pressure back n the day, you see, and he’s pined after her all these years. She looks deep into his eyes as they dance and is hypnotized by the depth of his feelings and the beat of his heart, and well, the rest is Hallmark history with a wedding in the works before the weekend is out. I guess if you put it that way, I can kinda see the appeal of these reunions. I mean they’re just the conduit to one’s true love and a happily ever… nope, I’m sorry, just can’t say it with a straight face.

More likely that whole scenario would play out with her getting drunk and mocking the people who realized too late that in the “real world – adult version” they’re no longer the “in crowd” and she ends up going home with the bartender. To be fair though, he was awfully cute.