Google Something Clever 2.0: December 2013

Dec 31, 2013

New Year's Eve is the Absolute WORST.

Can someone please explain to me why we’re still celebrating New Year’s Eve?

I really don’t understand why it’s exciting to anyone over ten. When you’re little, and you have a bedtime, the Big Deal is that you get to stay up until midnight. How exciting! It’s a world you’re excluded from 364 nights a year, but on this one special night, the grown-ups are letting you join them! Hooray!

And then you grow up. For adults who normally go to sleep before midnight, New Year’s Eve is an annual night of torturing yourself and portioning out the caffeine just right so you can conform to societal norms. For those like me, who usually stay up until midnight or later, the whole point is completely lost. Oh, look, the clock says some numbers. Now it says some different ones. Why did you drag me away from Twitter for this, again?

Why is a party on this night better than a party on any other night? Because you get to kiss someone at midnight? Don’t tell me what to do with my lips, man. I have someone who I’m allowed to kiss on the regular, and I’ll kiss him when I damn well please, not because a clinking glass, a Jumbotron camera, or a clock told me to. Stay out of my business, inanimate objects.

For those who don’t have a designated set of lips to which they’re welcome, that’s a whole different can of awkward worms, leading to full-blown panics about whom they do or do not want to be standing by at midnight. You know, come to think of it, Awkward Worms would make a really cute web comic. But that’s neither here nor there. Moving on!

Now that you’ve been awkwardly kissed, you have to make the treacherous drive home, with snow banks to the right of you and drunk drivers to the left (or vice-versa for my British friends). It’s terrifying! Why did you even go out in the first place?

It’s even worse when you’re the host, as I usually am. Midnight comes, and I start desperately hiding people’s shoes and shouting, “Hey, guys, just because it’s midnight doesn’t mean the party’s over!” Whose brilliant idea was it to center a whole holiday (two, really, if you count New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day) around one split second in time? When Halloween’s over, you still have your candy. When Thanksgiving ends, you’ve got turkey for miles. Hanukkah and Christmas pass, and you’ve got all your new toys.

But the New Year isn’t something that you savor. It’s literally over no later than 12:01 am. You yell, kiss, pound two ounces of champagne (because nobody ever buys enough), maybe blow into a vuvuzela if you’re terrible, and then it’s over. And you’re left feeling as empty and dead inside as Ryan Seacrest on your TV screen. Only with the millions of dollars.

Fuck that. New Year’s Eve, you are the absolute worst.

This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room

Dec 24, 2013

AAA Tipsy Tow is Kind of a Hoax

If you've been here before, you probably know that I'm all about busting Facebook hoaxes. One of the most dangerous hoaxes, the "AAA Tipsy Tow" hoax, is due to make its annual return any day now.This year, rather than try to fight against the idiots reposting false information, I'm going to try to prevent it from happening in the first place.

AAA does not offer a universal "Tipsy Tow" program. 

Some regional AAA clubs offer a service on New Year's Eve where they will give you and your car a free ride home if you've had too much to drink. Again, only some regional clubs. Some offer it in very limited areas. Some of these programs are available to everyone, free of charge. Some are only available to members.

Dec 20, 2013

Oh, hi. I'M OLD.

Lately, I've been trying to pinpoint the moment when I finally felt like an adult. Was it when I got a mortgage? Had a child? Voted? I can't really remember. Sometimes, I still feel like an impostor. Maybe it's because I have pink hair and I do nail art and I've never owned a pair of flats.

The other day, I was thinking about how my son will be starting kindergarten next year, and I'm sure to feel like a grown-up by then. Then, I magically skipped from adult to old person in about a week.

Dec 16, 2013

I'm Anti-Santa (sorry, not sorry)

I'm in the Christmas section of Target with my son when he strikes up a conversation with a random guy. The man asks him, "Is Santa coming to your house this year?"

My son switches from animated to visibly uncomfortable. He looks down at the ground. "No," he mumbles.
"No? Why not?" asks the incredulous stranger. The boy doesn't answer. He doesn't know what to say.
"We don't do Santa," I tell him. Then, I feel compelled to add, "But he still gets presents!"

Our new friend walks away without a word.

We do celebrate Christmas, sort of. We're atheists, but I was raised Catholic. The one childhood Christmas memory that really stands out is when I found out about Santa. I don't remember how I found out, but I remember hiding behind the drapes, crying hysterically. I wasn't sad because I'd "lost" Santa, or fearful that I'd receive fewer gifts. I was devastated that every single person I knew had been lying to me for my entire life (maybe that's why, years later, The Truman Show hit so close to home).

When I grew up and started my own family, I took the parts of Christmas that I liked and cobbled them into my own Secular Winter Gift Holiday. We watch A Christmas Story, but we have no Elf on the Shelf. We have lights outside, but no manger. We pile gifts under a tree, but the "from" tags all bear names of actual people.

Here in Massachusetts, most people are willing to forgive the atheist thing, but skipping Santa is akin to child abuse. I've had more than one coworker actually yell at me about it. Let me reiterate: multiple adults in a professional setting have become consumed with rage when I told them of my plans to not lie to my kid.
"Oh, heavens to Murgatroyd, you've stolen his innocence!" Dial it down, honey. I'm not buying him porn and heroin for Christmas.

I think that most of the people who take issue with my choice aren't truly concerned for my son's well-being; rather, they feel that I'm judging them. "Wait, are you calling me a liar?" No, not exactly. But you are lying. And that's okay. I'm reasonably certain that your kid will be fine. I'm not a serial killer, and I still love my mom. It's not my place to tell you how to raise your kid, any more than it's your place to tell me how to raise mine.

Yes, I've robbed him of the "magic of childhood." But I've given him a few more things in the process.
He knows that his gifts were a result of his parents' hard work, so he has no sense of entitlement.
He knows that nobody is watching his every move, so he behaves because it's the right thing to do, not in exchange for a reward.

And in place of magic, he has something far greater: a thirst for knowledge. He understands that there's an answer for every question, a cause for every effect, and that if you want something, you must act rather than wish.

I'd say that's a pretty good trade-off.

Oh, and one more thing: Justin Bieber's mom didn't do Santa, either. And look how he turned out! Wait. Don't.

This piece originally appeared on In the Powder Room.

Dec 12, 2013

No Shaking The Gifts! An Interfaith Holiday Tradition

The first time I celebrated Passover with my husband's extended family, his great-grandmother pulled me aside to tell me that she thought it was wonderful that I was celebrating with them, "even though you're not of our religion." (I was not the first shiksa to join the family.)

Captain Uncle, another married-in gentile, taught me to season my matzo ball soup with salt and pink horseradish (it's gotta be the pink one) in order to stomach it. (I'm sorry, Hebros and Shebrews, but if you didn't grow up with it, it's not good. It's just not.)

I even learned the blessing for the wine in Hebrew, all on my own, because I wanted to impress them, and also because wine.

Dec 10, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Christmas is coming, and I'm dreading it. Don't get me wrong; I love the lights and the trees and the old cartoon specials, but I hate giving gifts. I'm not cheap; I'm just an uninspired gift giver. And worst of all, my search for the perfect gift will invariably lead me to that ninth circle of suburban hell: the dreaded shopping mall.

Why do I hate malls so much? Pull up a chair.

First of all, I've noticed a growing trend of malls not having a Starbucks. Are you kidding me? How on earth am I supposed to function without Starbucks? Why don't they just take out all the bathrooms, too? Oh, wait, it looks like they did. How is it even legal for malls to be as big as they are, and still only have one or two public restrooms, which are always the filthiest restrooms I've ever seen?

Just once, I'd like to walk past a kiosk without someone screaming in my face, "Ma'am! Who's your wireless provider?" I've even had these jackasses step out in front of me to block my path. Who is teaching them this technique? Does it ever work? Is there really someone out there who switched to AT&T because they were worn down by some aggressive 20-year-old harassing them in a mall?

Variety is supposed to be the benefit of a shopping mall, but it can get really irritating when you're in and out of twenty different stores, never knowing whether the next one will be bright or dark, hot or cold, or if you've accidentally wandered into that one store that sells $90 t-shirts.

And can we get the smells under control, please? I can't walk past Abercrombie & Fitch without gagging, Yankee Candle seems to be actively pumping neurotoxins into the atmosphere, and Bath & Body Works may as well just send their employees out to slap people in the face with Fruit Roll-Ups. Then you have Cinnabon and Auntie Anne's hypnotizing me with their cinnamon magic until I'm grinding my teeth like a meth addict.

Also, do we really need eight different stores that sell sneakers? I'm sorry, who is buying all these sneakers? There should just be one store that sells Chuck Taylors, Vans, and whatever giant-ass high tops the kids are wearing these days. Air Jordans, probably. Or Reebok Pumps. Are those still a thing?

Then there are the rides that eat your quarters. They always have five or six rides, and there is only one that is actually in service. Your best bet is to hang back and let other parents make the mistake of feeding the wrong machines. Take note until they find the one functional for you. Maybe if you let your kid ride the fire truck, you'll be able to weasel out of taking him to the dreaded playspace, which is clearly some mad scientist's experiment to see if polio can spontaneously be reborn.

Every year, I tell myself that this is the holiday season I'll do all my shopping online, but it never is. Please wish me luck; I'm going to need it.

This piece orignally appeared on In the Powder Room

Dec 7, 2013

Here's What You Missed This Week 12/1/13 - 12/7/13

Well, we're really in the thick of it now, aren't we? The lights are up, the specials are on, and there are a million gifts to buy and wrap. Ugh. The holidays. Expect a post (or five) coming very soon, where I complain about the hap-happiest season of all.

Dec 3, 2013

The Stuffed Animals of the Future-- Today!

Every time I turn on the TV lately, I’m being barked at by some commercial, pleading with me to purchase the latest in stuffed animal technology. No longer are children satisfied with stuffed animals that are merely snuggly; they now must have a second function.

There are Flashlight Friends (stuffed animals with a flashlight in their stomachs), Seat Pets (stuffed animals that attach to a seatbelt and have a pocket for iPhone storage), and even Tummy Stuffers (an unholy turkducken of a stuffed animal that you fill with other stuffed animals).

I’ve come up with a few more stuffed animal innovations that are sure to catch on. If I start now, I think I can have them ready to ship in time for next year’s holiday season.

Boring mittens are a thing of the past. Slip on some Mippets and have a blast! Introducing Mippets! The only mitten that’s also a friendly puppet! Choose from six fun styles, including Armand the Armadillo, Wanda the Weevil, and more!
Yes, this is really just two puppets. Don’t worry; kids are easily fooled.

Potty Snuggles
Using the potty is such a bore. Now, here’s a potty that’s a whole lot more! Potty Snuggles is a stuffed animal with a potty inside! Kids, are you scared to leave your bed in the middle of the night to pee? Now, you don’t need to! Cuddle up with Potty Snuggles at bedtime, and when you feel the urge, simply open the discreet Velcro flap and let loose!
Potty Snuggles is not machine washable.

Nuke ‘n’ Love
When you’re cuddling on the couch, any toy will do, but here’s a friend who will make lunch for you! Hey kids, stuffed animals are fun, but what happens when you get hungry? You can’t eat them, right? Nuke ‘n’ Love is a stuffed panda with a compact 500-watt microwave built right into his belly! Snuggle away while he prepares your popcorn with ease. Comes in five fun colors!
Keep back 15 feet while microwave is in use. Not recommended for children with pacemakers.

My Tressed Friend
Drying your hair is no fun at all, but My Tressed Friend will make it a ball! Moms, do you struggle with your daughter after bathtime? You need My Tressed Friend, the plush toy with a built-in hair dryer! Choose from Princess, Unicorn, or Ducky styles.
May become hot during prolonged use. My Tressed Friend is absolutely not a bath toy. Not even the duck.

Little Tinkler
A baby doll that comes with a golden shower will have Mommy excited for happy hour! Moms, are you tired of cleaning up after baby doll messes? “More diapers? Get me out of here!” Well, Little Tinkler’s got a special secret just for moms. Her pee is actually white wine! Now your kids have a baby to love, and you get through the day a little easier. Order now!
For the love of god, do not fill Little Tinkler with red wine.

This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.