Minor Stressors

Happy Friday, world! It is I, Tori of Tori Dot Gov, and I want to tell you here and now that if you ever find someone else typing merrily away on this government-sponsored website, chase them down with a pitchfork, because this is MY SPACE TO SHINE. MINE.

Why yes, I will take a refill of that coffee, thank you.

The world very well may be collapsing around us, but I have never been one to fiddle while Rome burns. I do not take delight in chaos. No. Like a deep sea creature, I turn inward, focusing instead on the tiny grain of sand that is irritating my tender fins. I zoom in. I double down. I get petty.

In the spirit of solipsism, here’s a list of things that are stressing me out.

Deadlines of all shapes and sizes.

Oh, you guys. When will I learn? WHEN WILL I LEARN? I recently slashed my hours at an editing job from 30+/week to 15ish, because I wanted more time to pitch and write freelance articles. ALMOST IMMEDIATLEY after achieving that dream, sending out pitches, and getting some of them accepted, I remembered the truly terrible thing about freelance writing: the constant low-grade sense that you are falling behind on not one editor’s deadline, but TEN THOUSAND EDITORS’ DEADLINES. Do the math. That is ten thousand angry editors coming at you with pitchforks. QED, that is TEN THOUSAND PITCHFORKS.

Grants.

I have never gotten a grant for anything in my life. This is probably because I am always stretching the truth on my grant applications (“I have a team of trained theater professionals ready and waiting to build the set,” I write, figuring that if I do get the grant I will just force my brothers to fly out and build said set for me).

In the spirit of someone who yells “I QUIT!” just as their boss is explaining that they’re fired, I have decided that grants are an absolute scam. I mean, the money it takes to apply for grants. The time. And for a reward of what, $500? (No one wants to give writers more than $500 at a time.) Absurd. I could make $500 waitressing at a sports bar over the course of one weekend when the Blackhawks are in some sort of playoff situation. And then I could turn right around and spend that money on a sweatshirt that says “MacArthur Genius.” GOODBYE, GRANT WORLD, SEE YOU NEVER.

The accounts I now have on babycenter.com and momforum.com.

I’m looking for a few more mothers to interview for an article I’m writing, and I decided that posting in a mom forum would be a good way to get interviewees. Unfortunately, no one wants to join in the fun, AND babycenter.com made me PICK A DUE DATE in order to register. I clicked blindly and landed on May 24, 2017. The whole thing felt wrong.

Writing.

 I know that getting better at writing happens in peaks and plateaus. Sometimes you advance really quickly (like, when you literally learn the alphabet), sometimes you inch along writing the same damn “poignant ending” over and over. I feel as though I’m on a plateau right now, and I can’t get out of it because I ironically have too much to write and it’s all due too soon. I used to think that simply writing made your writing better, but now I’m not so sure. I think you also need time and mental space to think about what you’re doing and how.

Actually, scratch that, I have changed my belief system once again. Writing will make your writing better. Even bad, dashed-off writing. Doing one pushup will make you microscopically stronger, right? Unless you do it incorrectly and somehow horribly wrench a muscle and then you can’t move for weeks and meanwhile you’re losing muscle mass fast? 

The five minutes last night when I thought my computer was truly dead and I realized I hadn’t backed up my documents in months.

 Actually, file this under “true horror” and not “minor stress.” If my computer ever meets its Maker, you will find me wandering the streets, clad in my wedding dress, holding a soggy notebook, laughing madly. It will not be pretty. I am tethered to reality by this blessed piece of…plastic? (What are computers made of? Angel’s wings?)

Childhood and the Extinct Animal

I was in an airport when I saw the sign: there are only about 3,000 tigers left in the world. Actually, the phrasing on the sign was very diplomatic. It read something like, There may be as few as 3,000 tigers left in the world. Even as the tiger sprints toward extinction, it still defies the neat categorization of humans. We cannot be counted.

Still, the number remains, however approximate: 3,000. Point being that there are not very many tigers left.

I read the number and I immediately thought no, we can’t lose the tigers, but it wasn’t simply because the extinction of any creature is a tragedy. It was because the tiger stands for so much more than just an animal. “Tiger” is to “animal” as “red” is to “color”: a primary component of the category. One of the building blocks. A thing you learn about in kindergarten, for Darwin’s sake. After you’ve exhausted the creatures of the home and barnyard—cat, dog, pig, rooster, cow, horse, sheep—you level up to the animals of the jungle and the plain: tiger, lion, panther, zebra, giraffe. As a child, you don’t need to know—yet—about finches, anteaters, sloths, the mucus-covered stingray, the razor-toothed piranha. For a few years, it’s enough to know about the tiger and his compatriots.

The tiger was my brother John’s animal. Mine was the giraffe. I mean this literally: I had a tiny plastic giraffe, he had a tiny plastic tiger, both purchased in Rome. This dichotomy certainly shaped our taste in animals, if not our personalities themselves. I went on to favor graceful, vegetarian animals (the giraffe, the horse, the flamingo); John wore a pair of striped socks on his hands and was a tiger, John got a bike for his birthday that was decorated to look like a tiger. I collected small horse figurines, but there was always a tiger or two prowling around.

As a kid, you learn pretty quick that animals are mortal. Our family was cursed by a particularly gruesome string of pet deaths (ask my brother to tell you the story of the gerbils’ murder-suicide), but it’s not just about seeing a pet die, it’s about knowing that the animal world itself is in danger. I don’t remember the moment I realized that nature was not, in fact, a perfect biome that would go on forever and ever, but eventually I came to understand that it was grubby with human fingerprints—that it was burning out. Fireflies will die in a jar, no matter how many holes you poke in the lid; the baby bird you “rescued” is not going to survive off warm milk and crickets; the dog frothing behind the fence will never calm down, even after his owners have him neutered; the crisp shed skin of the snake is technically progress, but it will always look, to you, like a corpse.

Forever and ever, the primary animals of childhood march through our brains in a neat line: the dog, the cat, the horse, the cow, the lion, the zebra, the giraffe, the tiger. We owe them half of our personalities, three-fourths our strength of will. It’s sad that the dodo bird is extinct but the dodo bird did not teach us to snarl, to sleep in a tree, to devour, to embody power. That bird did not show us force, movement, menace, blood—the components of a passionate life. For that, we thank the tiger.

I know that time doesn’t go in reverse; what happens today can never affect what happened twenty years ago. But if the last tiger dies, I feel like hours and days of my childhood, too, will vanish from the earth. I won’t remember that there ever was a tiger. The little plastic tiger from Rome will never have existed. We’ll drift about, glib and unburdened, with no idea of the power that we’ve lost.

The Work of Writing: Week One Update

photo-4

In case you missed it, I’m embarking on a month-long project of trying a different writing work style every week. If you’re a non-writer who’s wondering why I’m doing this, STOP READING MY BLOG AND GO BACK TO YOUR FINANCE JOB. Just kidding, I ADORE you. I’m doing this not-so-glamorous experiment because nobody really talks about the pros and cons of different writing styles–people just talk about how Hemingway drank daiquiris. Oh, really? Writers tend toward alcoholism? LOOK IN THE MIRROR, SOCIETY. IT’S YOU. 

Ugh times ten thousand. This week was not only sickeningly hot, it was a study in everything that is frustrating about writing. If you recall, I was planning to write only new content for an hour a day at the same time each day. Some lowlights:

1. I couldn’t write at the same time every day because my schedule is different every day. Where’s the genius who thought up that parameter?

2. I didn’t write at all on Thursday because I was so sleep-deprived that I had to choose a nap over writing during the sliver of free time I had between jobs. I don’t regret it because I was near death, but I feel guilty about skipping a day.

3. On Friday, I began to get frustrated with the sloppiness of the story. The trajectory seemed off–as though I’d taken a wrong turn circa page 15 and was now careening down a terrible highway. As you may recall, I set a goal for myself to only produce new content–and I did, 20 pages of it, girrrrrl–but once things started feeling off-balance, I just wanted to go back and edit. Or drink myself to death.

4. Yesterday’s “writing” was just awful. I’d-rather-be-anything-but-a-writer-level awful. I was at Intelligentsia, it was packed with loud tourists, I have never felt less inspired. I left in a rage and stalked down Michigan Avenue with my best I’m-a-serial-killer-get-out-of-my-way-you-plebeian-scum face on and bought some expensive honey at Whole Foods.

Some highlights:

1. Despite the fact that I am now on the Chicago serial killer registry for kickstarting the Great Fruit Fly Massacre of 2013, I have 20 pages of a brand-new story that simply did not exist a week ago! I want to fling the pages around an Egyptian temple and make my acolytes strew herbs on them. WRITING A NEW STORY IS THE GREATEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. I KNOW YOU FEEL ME! Earlier in the week when I was young and the world was mine, I was feeling pretty high on the whole concept of creation. Coming up with something new can make you feel like you’re that elusive autopoietic machine or whatever it’s called. FREAKING COOL, RIGHT?!

2. I remembered that stories need to have an “inciting incident.” OH, RIGHT. As I wrote, I started asking myself questions as though I was in a bad relationship: where is this thing going? What’s the point? What am I doing here? Why is that man talking LOUDLY ON HIS CELL PHONE CAN’T HE SEE I’M TRYING TO WRITE?

The takeaway:

If you decide that writing every day is your thing, it’s probably going to feel like what it is: a grind. You won’t always feel like an autopoietic genius. There are a thousand things waiting to burst through the seams of your structured day and just overwhelm you. It’s hard to get enough sleep and make enough money for rent. It’s even harder to carve out time in the day to work on your own stuff when you’re constantly getting new emails, tweets, and texts, and the dishes are piling up, and you remember guiltily that you haven’t eaten a vegetable in days, and also you now have cholera and are skidding towards the grave.

Don’t let the frustration of general existence tear you away from putting in a little time to write. Some of what I wrote this week was awesome, since I am a MacArthur fellow. Some of it was stupid, since my brain is 40% 15-year-old boy. It wasn’t the greatest week of my life, but I put in a little time and I got results: a Frankensteinian baby of a story that needs drastic plastic surgery. Nobody ever said fiction was going to look beautiful without a few stitches.

The State of the Union [Video]

CHECK OUT THIS BUSH-LEAGUE MOVIE RIGHT HERE! I MADE IT ALL BY MYSELF! YOU CAN’T HEAR SOME OF IT BECAUSE I WAS ACCIDENTALLY PLAYING SPOTIFY IN THE BACKGROUND! I AM SUPPOSED TO BE DOING SOMETHING ELSE AS WE SPEAK! #recklessyouth #didn’twashmyhair #nopainnogain #SPAM

Part of the point of this video (which I accidentally cut out of the video cuz I’m an Oscar-winning cinematographer who just can’t be bothered) is that I got a new computer. I HAD NO IDEA THE WORLD WAS THIS FAST!

How to Sulk

Apparently I have an easy life, because something petty happened to me recently and I broke down crying and told my boyfriend I wanted to jump off a bridge. I’m almost too embarrassed to tell you about it, because then you’ll think I’m a spoiled, arrogant, delusional fool in need of a reality check. OK, I’M A SPOILED ARROGANT DELUSIONAL FOOL IN NEED OF A REALITY CHECK. Comrades, I have officially been internet trolled, and it doesn’t feel very good.

Two days ago, this article of mine was published on Thought Catalog, and with the flushed enthusiasm of youth, I scrolled down to the comments section, hungry for praise. Any powerful female celebrity could have told me that that was a huge mistake: never read internet comments, people! My article was called “atrocious” and other adjectives that I can’t remember because I WILL NEVER LOOK AT THAT HORRIBLE COMMENTS SECTION AGAIN. The small silver lining is that I’m pretty sure all the insults were from people who took the article literally (which blows my mind: you think I’m serious when I say that one of the 10 Places You Must Go Before You Die is PASTA WITH PARMESAN? DID YOUR BRAIN FALL OUT?). But that didn’t lessen the sting.

I guess it’s human nature to be upset by negative feedback, and no one likes to hear that their BRILLIANT jokes are ATROCIOUS, but I’m still ashamed at myself for sobbing my eyes out and not laughing all the way to the bank with a gin martini in one hand and my leopard-print Louboutins dangling from the other because I’m way too cool to actually wear shoes during the daytime I just prance around like I don’t give a–hold on, this image is misleading, I didn’t actually get paid for the article. EXCEPT IN INSULTS.

To rub salt in the wound, so to speak, these comments came on the tail-end of a day that featured a lengthy emotional email exchange with a close relative, the revealing of a secret to several friends, and general sleep-deprivation. The result? Tori in the Evening: Sulky Misunderstood Self-Pitying Edition. Shockingly, though, my evening turned out to be really awesome. Why? BECAUSE I SULKED RIGHT.

Has the world beaten you down lately, beloved Freudian figment of my imagination? Here’s how you deal, baby. Here’s how you pick up your debit card and deal.

1. Get some sympathy.

Who cares how petty your grievances are? No one likes to feel alone. Make your friends take your side. You’ll feel much better.

solidarity

2. Get some perspective.

Are your loved ones in danger? Are you locked in a serial killer’s basement? Do you have any limbs missing? Is the apocalypse currently taking place? No? You’re basically fine then. I’ve found that it helps to lecture yourself until a droplet of perspective seeps into your stubborn little brain, something along the lines of This means nothing in the grand scheme of things, you’re not going to care about this in the morning, PUT DOWN THE SHOTGUN, TORI, PUT IT DOWN RIGHT NOW, STOP TRYING TO DROWN THAT KITTEN!

3. Then get some alcohol.

Dash to the nearest grocery store, preferably while wearing short-shorts and riding your bike super-fast down hills while blasting Michael Jackson. Aesthetic is everything, even in your darkest hour.

4. And also get some other delicious things.

IMG_2308

5. Clutching at your only true friend (A CHOCOLATE BAR), allow yourself to genuinely feel.

IMG_2315 IMG_2316 IMG_2319

6. Crawl into bed, duh. Turn on a feel-good art-house flick.

edward-and-bella

Gnawing at your chocolate bar like a mouse, console yourself with the idea that no matter how low you sink, you will never be the author of Twilight, nor will you be incriminated in the creation of the awful gene pool that resulted in Kristen Stewart’s acting abilities. Voila! Things are looking up already.

In Defense of Babies’ Rights

babiesrights

In this day of hyper-stylized political sensitivity and outrage over perceived “income gaps” and “gender inequality,” it is truly appalling how willingly society turns a blind eye to the terrible plight of a huge portion of our American population. I refer, of course, to babies. These silent sufferers are objectified, victimized, and discriminated against on a daily basis. How long will we ignore their high-pitched cries? If the following list of outrages moves you to tears, please consider signing this petition.

babiesrights2

STOP THE MASS EXPLOITATION OF BABIES!

We, the undersigned, urge the Government of the United States to CEASE its SHAMEFUL conduct toward the infanta americana, colloquially known as BABIES. We hereby protest the pervasive and unjust treatment of this valuable people-group as demonstrated in the following abusive societal trends that are TO THIS DAY unrecognized by those in power:

1. Babies are victims of sizeism and unfair beauty standards.

Our society professes to accept alternate shapes and sizes, yet babies are glaringly absent from this dialogue of tolerance. If you are unfortunate enough to be an American baby, you live under crushing social pressure to be “chubby,” “roly-poly,” or a “butterball.” Woe to the skinny baby who just wants to drink green juice! A baby who does not conform to our outdated, narrow-minded beauty standards (characterized by offensive adjectives such as “cute,” “squirmy,” “squishable,” and “drooly”) experiences blatant discrimination, while his/her chubbier compatriots receive the preferential treatment that has characterized the privileged class from time immemorial.

2. Babies are denied access to higher education and better-paying jobs.

There is a shocking dearth of federal laws in place to protect the educational and employment rights of babies. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin–yet what of the ambitious baby who applies to Lehman Brothers? No law prohibits discrimination against him. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older–yet even this so-called “progressive” law turns a blind eye to the plight of those 2 years of age or younger. The situation in colleges across the nations is much the same: while it is federally forbidden to discriminate against a college applicant based on disability, race, gender, or a host of other qualifiers, Harvard has existed for 377 lauded years without once admitting a baby.

3. Babies are forced to learn the dominant language of the privileged heteronormative white Western male.

Generation after generation of monolingual Americans have ignored this issue for long enough. It is time to implement the study of Baby in language programs across the United States. Not even Rosetta Stone has addressed this problem.

4. Babies are objectified by the Adult Gaze.

Babies are presented in film, music videos, Anne Geddes photo shoots, and family gatherings as little more than passive, to-be-looked-at objects. The figure of the baby is fragmented into “tiny fingers,” “squeezable cheeks,” “dimpled thighs,” etc., fragments whose sole meaning is derived from and dependent on the viewing pleasure of the despotic Adult. Babies are clothed in useless accoutrements such as headbands (when they have no hair) and socks that imitate shoes (when they cannot walk). What benefit does the baby receive from these shallow signifiers of adulthood? They are nothing but tools to advance the scopophilia of the Adult Gaze.

5. Babies are subject to a restrictive, reactionary dialectic w/r/t  “crying.”

When a baby screams or cries, society reacts as it has for millenia: by naively assuming that the infant is expressing a basic human need. Politicians, social theorists, psychoanalysts, and biologists have purposefully and consistently refused to give the matter the scientific and academic attention it deserves. Perhaps a baby’s cry signifies more than the prevailing patriarchal/matriarchal interpretations of “hungry,” “tired,” and/or “dirty diaper.” Perhaps these babes in the woods are shrieking in existential terror as they gaze into the depths of the abyss.

6. Babies are forced to be nude in public.

Societal outrage abounds at the unethical actions of Dov Charney, the founder of American Apparel, who infamously demeans his models. But when a baby is placed naked on the beach by his or her parents, the world blinks nary an eyelash. We demand that the baby is first consulted about his/her willingness to appear nude, and then asked to sign a Nude Model Release and Agreement contract. This exploitative parental behavior must be stopped.

babiesrights3

Suitable Thoughts While Eating Quinoa

1. I am an ancient Aztec!!!!!!!!!!

2. Wait, is quinoa an ancient grain? Or is that farro?

3. I’d Google it, but opening up another tab just makes me want to die of Internet over-exposure, given that I already have open tabs for Gmail, Facebook, screenwriting competitions that I will never apply to because of the $60 entry fee, a Google search for “cheap easy free meal,” and 5-10 different pop-ups at any given time that promise to find me “aggressive Russian babes in Bloomington, IN.”

4. Does the Pope eat quinoa?

5. Gosh I’m being so healthy by eating this ancient grain. If it is indeed an ancient grain. Just think of all the terrible things I could be eating instead: Brie, champagne, chalk, mud, baby powder, shampoo, eye serum, anti-wrinkle face mask, noncomedogenic sunscreen.

6. I just poured raw sugar all over my quinoa. Now it’s crunchy and sweet. Just like carrots (or so I hear).

7. Man, the Aztecs really got screwed over by the Spaniards. (Feels sad about it for one second.) (Moves on.)

8. I’m saving sooo much money by eating this bowl of quinoa instead of doing what I really want to be doing, which is starting a start-up for start-ups in deepest Africa. (Snickers.) Oh I’m sorry did I just subtly mock naive idealism? I could have sworn I typed “…what I really want to be doing, which is guzzling coffee and sour cream coffee cake while engaging in a terrifying stare-down with a local baby.”

9. True, true, quinoa is super cheap, but something about it feels so…yuppie.

10. Does this make me the 1%? On a global scale? Granted, I have less than $6 in my checking account, but there are people who will never even have the resources to Google “quinoa,” let alone eat a whole bowl of anything except for perhaps RANCID LAKEWATER.

11. I KILLED THE AZTECS.

Advice from a Younger Sister: On Schoolwork

Dear everybody, welcome to the best part of your day. After much cajoling, bribery, and sheer brute force, I managed to wrangle my younger sister Anna into accepting the much-coveted position of contributing writer for toridotgov. Anna is a) a hilarious genius and b) currently conquering the world as a high school junior in gorgeous Southern California. When she’s not busy starring in musicals and running 30-second miles, she will deign to answer your most urgent questions with all the wisdom of her 16 years (and a lifetime of tutelage under the best: me). Got boy problems? Need career advice? Wondering what the square root of pi is? Like a Euripidean deus ex machina, Younger Sister is here to help.

rumpel

All magic comes with a price, dearie.

Dear world of readers who should probably be at the gym or doing work rather than sitting, glued to their computer/iPhone/other-type-of-technology-that-I-can’t-afford-or-know-nothing-about, reading the increasingly interesting blog of Tori Telfer,

I am the unfortunate, misunderstood younger sister of said blogger, and I’m here to help you all with life’s most pressing problems, including how to cope with Chicago weather and how to start a business. I consider myself an expert on all things from aardvarks to zythum, and everything in between (except, of course, technology). Now before you all jump to judgments before getting to know the real me, I should begin by telling you a little bit about myself:

My favorite font is Century Gothic and I love all things Downton Abbey.

Anyways, a lot of my fans have been asking me for advice lately, so I thought I’d begin with my absolute favorite subject, SCHOOL.

WELL, I for one see no point in education. I came out of the womb reading Sophocles, and have found no use for anything else ever since. I see no reason for the tiring hours everyday one must devote to pursuing a “higher education.” The only thing high about this education is the teachers. WHEN WILL I EVER USE sinx= 1/cscx ?! Now you may be thinking, “I should stop reading now, this girl clearly isn’t an accountant or a triangle-activist.” And you’re right, I do not pride myself on either of those fine ambitions. All I’m saying is that cavemen survived without calculus, didn’t they?!

I advocate for a simpler world.

Concision is advisable, too.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please keep them to yourself, because this is not a federally-run website and no one cares. Just kidding: if you feel the urge, go for it.

That is all.

Today the Sky is Gray: A Compendium of Scientific Theories

image(16)

1. It is a direct reflection of Freud’s “melancholia,” from which I am currently suffering, and the grayness is actually emanating from me as I sit here, staring out the Megabus window, driving farther and farther away from a land where coffee is made with care and buses run down literally every street, although they do smell terrible (both the buses and the streets), but then again Chicago in the winter is not New York in the summer, odor-wise, not even in the same ballpark, so I rescind that last complaint.

2. All across the globe, fish are dying. Instead of reflecting the blue ocean, the sky is now forced to reflect the gray, scaly underbellies of dead fish as they float silently on the surfaces of rivers and ponds across America, reeking slightly, glimmering moistly. This is because of global warming and/or Obama’s presidency.

3. By referring to Borges as my soulmate, I have created some sort of space-time continuum rupture and, in a totally Borgesian turn of events, I am slowly becoming Borges–and losing my sight.

4. The entire globe is on fire and what I take to be “clouds” is actually “smoke.” Signifier/signified/what is reality/what is meaning/etc.

5. Someone has colored the sky gray with a crayon. Probably Mary Poppins. Did anyone actually read the book Mary Poppins? That biddy has some serious superpowers and sticks the stars onto the sky with glue. She is way creepier than in the Disney movie.

6. The heavens have grown so bored with everyone’s petty Tweeting that they refuse to be a color anymore. Or maybe it’s not Twitter that’s the problem, maybe the universe is still mad at Anne Hathaway for refusing to embrace her total smugness and instead pretending (note that I didn’t say acting) to be surprised at her Oscar win.

7. The lead singer of Counting Crows finally got that gray guitar and played.

8. The gray, leafless trees and the gray, foggy, slowly-descending sky are in some sort of agreement, possibly whispering to each other behind all of our backs. Trees know, okay? Trees know. If you’ve read Tolkien you know this; if not, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

9. Zombie apocalypse.

10. Someone is holding a large piece of fabric over this Megabus with cornfields, farmhouses, and very realistic semi-trucks painted on it in order to deceive me into thinking the day is cloudy. This seems the most plausible explanation, but WHY? I will muse on the motivations behind this horrible  simulacrum while looking for small tears in the fabric.

Minor Horrors

It’s beautiful outside today and I feel misanthropic. I think this has to do with the mounting stress in my life. This is my last week at work and I’m going to California to visit my family and I’m moving and my days are colored with a general sense of upheaval that is not helped by the fact that I read The Sound and the Fury faster than a speeding planet and now everything I see is tinged with incest. I have lots to do. And every time I move a book I sneeze. Dust is everywhere. The universe is expanding. Soon we will all explode.

Here are some minor horrors currently bothering me:

Kendra Up Top. Everywhere you go in Chicago, you’ll see posters for this audiovisual atrocity, feat. Kendra of Girls’ Next Door infamy. What drives me insane is the plasticine Photoshopped quality of her smile. Yeah, I said plasticine in a sentence, although I’m not even sure it’s spelled correctly. But I refuse to spellcheck it. I’m not dependent on Google for my sense of self-worth, I’m dependent on heroin. Anyway—Kendra, why are you smiling like that? You have a beautiful life, girlfriend! You’ve slept with Hugh Hefner! If that’s not a thought that’ll bring a natural smile to your face, I give up.

Protein Bars. Why must you always taste so fake? Luna bars, if you really cared about women, you would be delicious.

Stress. Can you go away? I’d like to return to the halcyon days of my youth when all I did was send angry/hilarious emails to Meriwether and listened to the Talking Heads at my boyfriend’s apartment while bemoaning the weather.

Intelligentsia Iced Coffee When the Ice Melts. You taste like whiskey. I don’t like this facet of your expensive personality.

Bank Account. Grow, baby, grow! Little sweet innocent child. I WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN.

Poetry. Sometimes you are good and sometimes you are bad. Why is this?

Music. You are boring lately.

Culture. Shrug.

English Majors Who Are Pretentious Toward Other English Majors. Yo yo yo, any serious English major has probably read the same amount of books as any other serious English major. Why must we compete? You’ve read everything Tolstoy has ever written, I’ve read everything Marquez has ever written, clearly I win when it comes to sheer coolness but I mean IT’S NOT A COMPETITION, BRO.

Bros Who Take Up Too Much Space. I get that your fragile ego needs lots of room to bloom and grow but when you sit next to me on the train and your elbow is in my face and you’re sitting on my skirt, I resent that. Why are you so entitled to SPACE, young bro? Does it have something to do with your massive paycheck? Or did you just discover the Beat poets and feel that, as a young bro, you have something to say that the world needs to hear, and you will say it not with writing (like a square) but with your elbows? (Alright: I really gotta stop hating on bros; I think I may be related to several.)