how much for the rainbow?

Last week after work I found a twenty on the ground, folded around a few one dollar bills. I picked it up, turned it over, and saw that it had a post it note taped to it that said:

“If found please call:”

And then it had a number.

Okay, so what the fuck? Spooky, right?

I took it over to a couple of my co-workers. I said, “Should I keep this money?” I was answered with a resounding, “Hell no.”

So dropped it back on the ground as if it were crawling up my arm. A few of the ones scattered away, and before literally running away from the money to jump in a cab, I grabbed three dollar bills that weren’t touching the 20.

“Ma’am!” I turned around. A man was pointing at it.

“No thanks!” I yelled, around the same time as I heard my co-worker say, “We don’t want it.” At least I wasn’t alone.

There is no gold at the end of the rainbow. Only metaphors.

My very first therapist, way back in Chicago, once told me that it sounded like Misery was my comfort zone. My second to last therapist, here in New York, told me that she didn’t think Misery was necessarily the place I felt at home. She said it was the place I feel “safest,” because it’s free.

“Happiness costs something,” she told me, “it always does.”

And because money equals happiness, what would that twenty dollar bill have cost me, ultimately? I fleshed out the possibilities with my cab driver.

  1. I take the money and don’t call the number. There is a tracking device in the money. Someone comes to my house and murders me to teach me a lesson.
  2. I take the money and DO call the number. Someone rewards me for my honesty. I could have been a millionaire!
  3. I take the money, I call the number, I enter a psychotic game of cat and mouse, where I am warned not to hang up the phone or I will be killed, but then it turns out I was the killer the whole time.
  4. I take the money and I call the number. A sophomore in high school answers. They are doing a project for their psychology class on human behavior.

I also told my cab driver about the time that I found a ten dollar bill on the ground that was taped to a fishing pole and I had to chase it like in a cartoon, which was scarring.

“What would you have done?” I asked him.

“I would have taken the money!” He responded immediately, as if the words were burning his mouth, and he needed them to burn mine instead.

“Would you have called the number.”

“No!” He said, urgently, as if he had to go #1, all over my dreams.

A few blocks later, we saw a little black bus. He pointed it out. I saw the word “morbid” on the side, and a person standing next to the driver talking on a microphone.

“Oh,” I said, ” I bet you it’s a spooky haunted building tour.”

He sighed. “You need to get your head looked at.” By this point in the ride, we had become intimate friends, so I took it as a compliment.

I don’t spend much time with Misery anymore. It’s really just a place I go to when I’ve eaten too much dairy. And that’s called aging, people. I guess once you start to get control of your mind, your body peaces out?

So basically, whatever. Some people take the money, some people leave it and write blogs about being a little broke instead. I guess I’m the latter. After all, I can afford cabs now, so I’m doing pretty good.

 

Bad Raccoon

There is a raccoon in the pool and it’s not fair.

I’m stuck inside, and nobody is home. So, I’m lonely, first of all, and secondly, I’m really bored. There’s no food left, and I’m not tired, and I finished pulling all of the stuffing out of the throw pillows, so, now what?

All I want to do is go swimming but I can’t open the stupid door. But even if I could, Mae and Pearl won’t let me go in the backyard anymore because of The Body.

Lately all I’ve heard is, “Oh, don’t let Lester sniff the The Body!” or “No, no Lester leave The Body alone!” Like, come on, you can’t bring that kind of thing into the house and expect me not be curious! I have literally nothing else to do except for explore things that smell different, and eat stuff that smells crazy.

So I’m irritated. And the worst part is the raccoon can sense it and is acting super smug about it. At first I barked my ass off, so that we could maybe have a conversation about why the raccoon’s behavior was insensitive to me, but then I realized it was ignoring me on purpose. But when I actually howled at it to be like, dude you’re being a dick, it showed me its butt. I’m gonna keep barking anyway because I have literally nothing else to do.

“Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark.” I said.

If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I’m very focused, so this has been going on for maybe, like, 2 hours? I’m not bored, but I do smear my nose all over the sliding door so I could feel like I’m in some sort of control.

Eventually I bark so hard that I go into a zen-like state, and when I come out of it, I realize that the raccoon is not in the pool anymore, which makes me feel a tiny bit better, but until I know that it is completely gone, I won’t be able to calm down.

I run to the window behind the couch and look out over the part of the yard I can’t see from the door.

Shit.

The raccoon is sniffing The Body. The one that I have never been able to properly sniff! It’s just laying there, wrapped in a quilt, waiting for me sniff it, and there goes this fucking raccoon just walking all over it and sniffing and sniffing and sniffing while I am stuck inside this stupid house!!!

My tail wags so hard that a little pee comes out.

And then it happened. The raccoon looks directly at me. I stop barking for a second so that I can listen properly. Maybe we’ll come to an agreement.

Slowly, very slowly, it stands up on it’s two back legs and balances flawlessly on The Body.

“Come on, come onnnnnnn,” I think, but don’t say, because I need to be patient, “please don’t take all the smells!!!!”

We are making eye contact. The raccoon lifts its left paw. And then: gives me a thumbs up.

It is official. Not only did the raccoon get to swim in the pool, it has now fully experienced the plump aroma of the The Body.  MY plump aroma!

And so I really lose it. I feel absolutely out of control. I run in circles as fast as I can. I eat a shoe. I poop on the shoe. I eat another shoe. I eat the poop. I throw up. I eat the throw up. I tip over Pearl’s in-home dialysis machine.

But nothing makes me feel better. I am a prisoner inside this house, and I just can’t find a way to express this desolation, and bitterness and fear. Today feels like the opposite of Christmas. Not only am I not allowed to open the present, but I am also trapped inside the box.

I want to tear that pompous raccoon limb from limb, but I can’t open the door.

If only, I had thumbs.

Please RSVP!!

What’s not to like about a picnic?!

Unless you’re allergic to grass, perhaps. Or the flies bother you.

But other than those two things, what can you do other than just fully enjoy the day when you are at a picnic?

I mean, I guess if you have back problems, I suppose, and it’s hard for you to sit on the ground. Or if you’re prone to sunburn – I get that that.

But other than those four things, what’s not to love about lounging in the park on a sunny day with good friends and good cheese?

Unless you’re coming alone and you don’t know anyone to start, and you’re not really great at meeting people, especially in the daylight on a Sunday afternoon when everyone is sober, or only having one glass of wine, and there’s a distinct possibility that everybody will already know each other, and because of this, they will be too busy having fun conversations amongst themselves, and they won’t really want to take the time to make small talk with you, and if you show up late, there won’t be much room left on the blanket so your butt will kind of be halfway on the grass and you’ll get kind of itchy because it’s Brooklyn Grass and so it’s probably contaminated and you’re wearing short shorts so bugs might try to look at your hoo hah and perhaps you might bring the wrong cheese and everybody will say “awwwww thank you,” with a fake smile and then nobody will really eat it because you have generic taste in cheese and then the cheese will start to feel left out too and you will feel bad for it and you will get totally in your head about the cheese and you don’t belong and you never will and you’re too pale for picnics anyway and why did you even wear shorts what if people notice your cellulite what if they stare at it what if they think you’re weak why would you invite a redhead to a picnic at a treeless park anyway and what if someone brings nuts and you eat them and suddenly you become allergic to nuts or what if you don’t become allergic to nuts but at the EXACT MOMENT you find yourself warming up to someone and having a comfortable conversation, you get cocky and then you choke on one instead? And then you die?

Image result for social anxiety memes

So, if those things bother you, I TOTALLY understand if you don’t want to come to my birthday picnic.

But just so you know, if you don’t show up, I WILL overthink it, and I’ll probably send you an email asking you why you hate me, and then you’ll have to live with that for a couple of weeks.

Please RSVP so I know whether to bring GF crackers or not! Thanks!

Uncle Bill’s Will

Dear Katie,

I’m sure you remember the stories about my grandpa’s brother, Bill, who was a known prankster. Actually do you remember the story I told you the day we met? Your bag was caught in the subway door, and I had to pull you away from the train so that you would quit chasing it down the platform.

You made a little wisecrack about a meet-cute, and it reminded me of the time that Bill put raw goat meat in my grandpa’s boots. Do you remember that? Uncle Bill always had goats. Well, almost always.

My grandmother used to say that Uncle Bill got away with a lot because of his “spooky blue eyes” and his “noxious charisma.” He was a tall, crooked man, who lived in an old castle on a hill just outside of town. You never got a chance to meet him, but I’m sure you would have found him charming.

Anyway, that’s not important. I’m just stalling as long as I can to get to the heart of this letter. Hoping perhaps to make it so long, that if my circumstances do change, and I am able to come back to you, then you won’t have finished it yet. At least 350 pages. One page for every year of Bill’s life, since he’s the reason I have to go home. Ha, just kidding. He was only in his 90s, but it seemed like he was 350.

As you know, he disappeared about six months ago, leaving behind a limerick that hinted at a suicide.

“There was an old man from Northbrook,

who lived his whole life as a rook.

Now his body is gone

But his jokes will live on

So don’t even bother to look”

It’s been a strenuous legal battle, and one that so far, I have been lucky to avoid. Mostly, I think, because I live here in New York City with you, and so I’ve been spared from all the confusion and bad vibes back home. Thank you for being my rock. I’m going to miss you so much.

After months of back and forth, it appears that Uncle Bill has been declared legally dead. This wouldn’t really affect me at all (except the nostalgia I would experience at the memory of him, of course), but many years ago, when I was just a kid, Uncle Bill had a new will drafted, as a joke, in which I inherited the laundromat he’d owned and operated for almost 70 years.

He told me he’d take it out, but it looks like he forgot, and now I own a haunted laundromat in Northbrook, Indiana.

Ha, well it’s not really haunted. But I always thought it was when I was a kid, and I was terrified to go there. Once, I found this crazy secret room. The memory is a blur because I was so young, but it was painted completely red and there were all these scary tools. So anyway, he always got a kicked of how much I would cry when I went there, and so on my 16th birthday, he amended the will. We all got a kick out of it, because he said he would change it back.

But, he didn’t. And I’m sure by now you see where this letter is going. I have to go home, Katie, and I don’t think I’ll be coming back to New York City anytime soon. I can’t give you anymore details than that, legally, because the laundromat is under some kind of investigation, and now it’s my problem.

I truly don’t know the best way to end this letter other than to say, I’m so, so sorry. I’ll never forget you.

Forever yours,

Damien

Lizard Kisses

“I read online that you can give them stitches.”

The veterinary assistant let out a tiny yip. I had forgotten she was even there, because she was hiding quietly in a corner behind the computer, taking notes for the doctor.

“Yeah that would be an option if part of it was still attached.” Dr. J smiled at me, and wrote ’12 lbs’ underneath Calamity’s name on the whiteboard. He had very large, brown eyes and curly dark hair. I wondered where he was from, but it probably wasn’t a good time to ask.

“But since it was a clean drop, I’d say all we can do is keep everything disinfected and wait for it to grow back.” He was still smiling. Wow, his teeth were very white. I immediately felt better about accidentally ripping the tail off of my sister’s iguana. I felt like I did a good thing, actually, because it led me to the mouth of this beautiful animal man.

“Rad.” I said. And it was. It was super rad that the tail would grow back. But I immediately wished that I had said something more like ‘wow, what an amazing creature,’ or even just ‘sounds good.’

I felt awkward, so I turned to the vet tech to use her as a buffer. “Cool, huh?” I asked her. She nodded quickly. She was very nervous. I think she may have been about 20 years old, and this was possibly her first interaction with a tail-less iguana. Dr. J had noticed this too, and so we decided that I would help hold her during the checkup. I found the iguana repulsive and vicious, but after I accidentally pulled her tail off so that she would stay out of my closet, we had grown much closer.

“What do you think, Miranda? We don’t get many lizards in here.” He was trying to make her feel better, which was kind, but I kind of felt like he should be talking to me instead, because I was the one who was, just mere hours ago, scream-crying and holding a severed, twitching lizard tail in my hand. So technically I was the traumatized one.

“Do you get like, mostly dogs and cats?” I asked this very dumb question while he held Calamity’s mouth open and looked at her teeth.

“Oh yeah. Plenty of those. This is a rare treat. I love reptile visits.”

I was just about to lie about how much I loved animals, when the receptionist gave a little knock and then suddenly my sister, Paige, was in the room, in tears. Legit weeping. This did not surprise me. She used to take Calamity to get dialysis like two years ago so she’s definitely invested in this thing. But if she had done the research like me, then she would know that tail loss is totally normal. Like balding, only better, I would argue.

It was pretty alarming though, the little exposed stump with all the bones and muscles coming out of it.

Then before I knew it, I was kicked out of the room. It was all a blur. I thought if anyone would get kicked out it was Miranda. But nope, it was me.

I waited in the lobby for about 15 minutes, wishing I had accidentally grabbed the tail, so I would have an excuse to go back in.

Paige came out without Dr. J. Calamity was on her leash, and had a small pink cast on her stump.

“Everything okay?” I asked? And then more importantly: “Does the doctor need to come back out or anything?”

“Nope. We’re all good.” She was very clearly upset with me. The bill was about $1,500.

I let her pay this time. Because the second that thing grew back, I would be pulling it right back off.

Either that, or I was going to get a dog. That might be faster.

 

Boxing Lessons

Not everything has to be a lesson. I get so bored with myself sometimes for trying to squeeze meaning out of everything.

Today I had to carry a giant ass white foam box all over Queens for work and I was like, this sucks but at least I’ll learn something. I will find some sort of emotional takeaway and it will all have been worth it.

Okay, but what?

The box is roughly the size of two toddlers, put together, and then fused into a giant lego to make a square. So, 30x10x10. Older toddlers. Ones that can nearly outrun you.

All day people kept thinking that there was something in the box but the box was empty. Three Uber drivers tried to carry it for me and when they realized that it wasn’t heavy they put it back down and let me carry it myself.

And every time that happened I thought, ooh a learning opportunity! But, no. I learned nothing from it, regardless of the pattern.

I looked for ways to learn from the box all day, but nothing really happened. Even during morning rush hour when I hauled it on the C train, nobody got mad at me. Twice, I walked off without the box, because I thought it was a table. But I didn’t get far enough to really learn something about what it’s like to leave a box behind.

Maybe I was just destined to have an ordinary day. The sun was shining, NYC children played in small patches of dirt like always, and I carried around a box, swiping at the hours as they passed. I tried talking to the box, to see if the universe had anything to offer in the form of a Sign. I even shook it like a Magic 8 Ball. But nothing mattered. The box refused to be inspirational.

Eventually, the box and I got stuck in some bushes, because I was in a hurry.

It was then that a very clear learning opportunity finally presented itself: take a deep breath. And then locate and utilize a sidewalk. Not super poignant, but the practical messages are just as good.