Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Am Not a Survivor

The only competition I have any chance of winning is one where I am asked to name all the Food Network personalities, because there is nothing else even remotely interesting on television between the hours of 10am and 8pm most weekdays. But that doesn’t stop me from imagining myself as Survivor Season 1 winner Richard Hatch, minus the incessant propensity for nudity.

Here are five reality television game shows that I would never win and why.

Fear Factor

I was obsessed with Fear Factor when I was younger, because I was a sadistic monster who reveled in watching people fail. I now recognize that there is no way I would pass the screening process for this show, so kudos to the contestants who did – especially the ones who made it through to the second stunt. This is the part of the show where the contests are typically forced to eat something vile like live Madagascar hissing cockroaches or twelve million year old wooly mammoth balls. Imagine suffering through the pain of drinking twelve pints of warm rat blood and still being an entire third of the way away from the $50,000 prize. Once you get past the mental anguish of the second stunt, you are forced to almost die performing the third. You have to be Bruce Willis’ stunt double because the task typically calls for you to do some inane fuckery like jump out of a car that has been filled with carbon monoxide right before you speed off a cliff that plunges into a sea filled with eighty Great Whites that haven’t been fed since the Triassic age. This is made all the more difficult because you are chained up like Houdini and the only key that can free you has been swallowed by Joe Rogan and shat out into a burning pit of lava on the other side of the country. Also, you’ve been drained of one fourth of your blood supply. $50,000 is not going to cover your therapy bills when you win.


The best way to win Survivor is to form an alliance with the dumbest players and then stab all of them in the back until you’re the last man standing. Your best bet is to outsmart the biggest threats on the show and then turn the remaining contestants against each other. To do this you must be charming, charismatic and a sociopath. Unfortunately, I tend to make poor first impressions because of my unfriendly face, so unless I make it far enough in the game to worm my way into people’s hearts I am screwed. Plus, things like shaving lotion and chickens become extreme luxuries, and I refuse to be in a situation where I must be willing to eat iguana feces for some off-brand shampoo.


I am too stupid for this show. It took me years to figure out the article placement. (What is ‘dumbass' …or is it who?) The only time I ever came close to getting more than 30 percent of the answers correct was during the most recent Kids Week, and that was only because Harry Styles was one of the answers. (Note: I got the Final Jeopardy question wrong anyway: “The last entry in Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is used to represent this annoying sound.” I guessed the same as the eleven year olds on the show: zzz. But the correct answer was “snoring,” so I suppose I am not smarter than a fifth grader.) I would maybe do well on Celebrity Jeopardy because the questions are significantly dumbed down since celebrities cannot read, but I would rather crawl into a hole filled with gasoline and light a match than deal with the public embarrassment that would come with appearing on this show. Jeopardy is a more painful version of Trivial Pursuit: the moops, I don’t know.

The Hunger Games

This isn’t a game show or even reality, but the movie was on TBS a few days ago so I am counting it as television. According to the only fact I remember from my eighth grade science class, the strongest drive in the human body is its will to live. You may think my body and brain would work together to survive this fight to the death as long as possible, but I know better than to trust my eighth grade science teacher. When I think about everything surviving the Hunger Games would entail (killing other people, skinning squirrels, being surrounded by nature), I realize I would rather walk straight into the Cornucopia and get stabbed in the throat with a hunting knife as soon as the Games begin than suffer all that effort and torment. My will to live is no match for my spinelessness and fear.

The Amazing Race

I’ve never actually seen a full episode of The Amazing Race because the premise is too stimulating for my senses. The idea of ‘racing,’ or ‘running,’ or even moving at a speed faster than a glacial pace is unappealing and disgusting to me. On top of the physical exertion is the mental exhaustion from having to figure out where you’re supposed to go next. One of my favorite lies to tell people is that I work well under pressure. What is more true is that I have conditioned myself to begin projects hours before they are due, instead of days or weeks. I am an idiot procrastinator who does not know how to properly manage her time. The one time I spent two days working on a paper in college (as opposed to two hours) I got an A+. So, yes, pressure causes me to get things done – because the only other option I have is to fail and I would rather be mauled to death by a dog with butter knives for teeth – but my work is mediocre at best. Add in the complications of unfamiliar territory, a language barrier and public humiliation? I would rather stay home and pluck my bikini line, hair by hair.

Originally written for Greasy Mag.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer in the City Is Bullshit

Perhaps it is because I grew up here, but the thing I understand least about New York City is its summer tourist. Like, why? Why do you do this to yourself? Why do you do this to me? If I had the money to take a vacation somewhere I would invest in an air conditioner instead, because heat and humidity cause me more anger and misery than the final season of Lost. Summer here is the absolute worst; here’s why.

1) The Subway

I should not complain, because I went to school in Boston and am aware of how useless other transit systems can be, but when I’m paying 5 dollars round-trip it would be fantastic if the MTA could get its shit together. Oh, the B train doesn’t run on weekends? 1 train service past Rector Street is suspended again? The second avenue line is actually an urban legend less believable than the Jersey Devil? Luckily, the subway is a piece of shit year round, so no matter when you decide to visit New York you’ll experience some bullshit setback -- be it that your train is stuck in train traffic for 20 minutes or your bus goes out of service without warning. But if you want to experience the NYC underground at its absolute worst, make sure you attempt a ride in a crowded train car with a broken air conditioner during a 100+ degree heatwave. The only things I know about science are whatever I’ve learned from Breaking Bad, but isn’t heat supposed to rise? Why is it so fucking hot in the subway? Can I Google this? Am I too lazy? Do I need to answer any of those questions for you? Take a cab, bitch.

2) The Cost (...of Movies)

I am joking about the cab, unless you are rich. I am joking about a trip to New York City in general, unless you are rich. Speaking of rich – you know what activity people love to suggest on hot but rainy days? Going to the movies. Movie theatres are cool and museums are for nerds. Want to know how many times I go to the movies? Two or three times a year. Because they cost 14 dollars. If Netflix didn’t exist I would be so uncultured. I would also have more of a life.

3) The People
I don’t really mean ‘the people,’ as though they are some mass conglomerate of Unbearable Terror. I mostly mean the sheer volume of people that exists within a single space in New York, because when you are confronted with throngs of sweaty masses all day, everyday for three to five months straight, even the most innocent of children will piss you off to the point of googling tubal ligation during your lunch break. Most of the rage I feel toward people during the summer (and always) is irrational or misplaced, because so much of it comes from the speed with which they walk or don’t. Since so many people actually are on vacation, they make the decision to walk slower than a bale of dying turtles. This allows them to take in the true beauty of our native wildlife (including but not limited to: roaches, rats and pigeons), while expending as little energy as is necessary – understandable when you consider the oppressive heat and humidity that grows more unbearable with every passing year here. Thanks Global Warming. Speaking of which…

4) The Heat 

This might be an annoyance exclusive to me because, for the most part, I just hate summer. I hate sweating, I hate melting, I hate making the transition from boots to sandals. My legs are pasty white to the point of seconding as a reflective surface, and, honestly, no one wants to see my bare arms. But summer is as good a time as any for me to avoid all mirrors because no matter how good I look when I first leave my apartment, I begin to resemble a microwaved stick of butter a few minutes after emerging from my apartment: gooey and disgusting, with pale yellow undertones. I wake up sweating; I go to sleep sweating; I spend my showers crying. Heat has an amazing way of magnifying everything terrible everywhere. When I was growing up I never understood the idea behind a summer home. Now that my senses have had time to develop, I can finally smell the many layers and nuances of garbage and human waste that send rich people to the Hamptons every summer. There’s nothing like getting hit with a strong whiff of B.O. or dog shit while you’re enjoying a half eaten, overpriced ice cream cone. Fans are bullshit, summer is bullshit, this world is bullshit.

5) The Crime
Just like anywhere else in the world except Canada, you may be murdered if you come here, so just don’t. Please.

Originally posted on Greasy Mag.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Last Goodbye

We got Buster a week before my 6th birthday - 18.5 years ago. Aside from my family, I've known him longer than anyone. That's a stupid thing to say; he is family.  I'll start over.

We grew up together, both puppies with boundless energy and trust and love.  It's cliche because it's true: dogs are totally limitless in their loyalty.  He was my alarm clock every day, urging me awake, prodding at me with his paws.  He would tug on my school uniform before I left, begging me to stay with him. I wish I could have brought him with me, I wish he wasn't leaving now.

He loved me even when I left him.  He waited by my door when I left for college, four long years of 'why did you leave?'  and 'you're finally home!' Even after the arthritis kicked in and he could barely hold himself up, he was always the first one to welcome me back. Weak limbs be damned. 

When he was older, calmer, I would hold him, swaddled in a thick blanket, and he would fall asleep on my chest like a baby - his belly rising and falling with ease and comfort, his breath coming out in soft wisps as he slept. This was peace.

Now there are no more false alarms or false hope. My dog, my little bear, my Buster, once so filled with life and energy, has been reduced to only moments of wellness, short bursts of clarity.  He can no longer walk; instead, he howls, he sleeps. It's time.

And so I say goodbye to my oldest companion. My heart isn't heavy so much as it is hollow. Times like these I pray for an afterlife, for some sort of Heavenly world because any other reality is too much right now. I need to trust that I will see him, see all of them, again someday.

I know he's held on so long for us - his love is that selfless - but it's finally time to let go.

Goodbye my little bear, I love you. I'll see you when I see you.