Ranty McRanterSauce And The Magical Rant Pants.

I’m going to be vulgar, children.  Automated call menus can fuck RIGHT off.  I’ve had to call three different companies this morning to get some personal business in order, and every single one has had a cluttered, hair pulling automated menu to start the day.  As opposed to just going on a tirade about the evils of these menus, I’ve decided I’d give a demonstration of what goes through my head every time one of those dulcet, robotic voices kicks in, prompting me to press a number.

Thank you for calling __________.  We’ve created this menu to guide you to the proper department.  Please enter your social security number!

*__-__-1234*

Know this Robotic Voice, I smell your lies.

Thank you!  Did you say __-__-9644?  Press 1 for Yes, 2 for No!

*2*

But 9644 sounds nothing like 1234.

We’re sorry.  Could you re-enter your social security number, please.

*__-__-1234*

I ENTERED IT SLOWLY SO YOU CAN’T SCREW IT UP.

Thank you!  Did you say __-__-1234?  Press 1 for Yes, 2 for No!

*1*

ALLAH BE PRAISED!

We’re sorry.  We didn’t catch that.  Press 1 for Yes, 2 for No!

*1*

-Pause after no response from automated menu-

*1* *1* *1*

You have selected too many entries.  Please re-enter your social security number!

Oh fuck you, you cock goblin.

*Re-enters social, presses 1 only once like a good American*

Thank you.  Please select what you’d like to do today.  Press 1 if you want to wax a flaming cat.  Press 2 if you want to see your local Congressman naked.  Press 3 if you’d like to eat a live porcupine.  Press 4 if you can braid your leg hair.  Press 5 if you want a pedicure from RuPaul.

*Presses nothing, waits for the option that says none of these*

We’re sorry, we didn’t catch that.  Please select what you’d like to do today.  Press 1 if you want to wax a flaming cat.  Press 2 if you want to see your local Congressman naked.  Press 3 if you’d like to eat a live porcupine.  Press 4 if you can braid your leg hair.  Press 5 if you want a pedicure from RuPaul.

. . . but I’ve met Barney Frank, and I don’t want to see him naked.  Where’s the OTHER option?

*Presses 4 out of desperation, even if it’s a lie*

You have selected “you can braid your leg hair”.  Is this right?  Press 1 for Yes, press 2 for No!

*Presses 1*

Thank you.  What can I help you with today?  Press 1 if your leg hair is thick and black.  Press 2 if it’s sparse and looks like squid tentacles.  Press 3 if it’s curly and red.

What the fuck . . .

*stares at the phone like it’s grown a head, fangs, and a pointed tail*

We’re sorry, your selection timed out.  Press 1 if you want to wax a flaming cat.  Press 2 if you want to see your local Congressman naked.  Press 3 if you’d like to eat a live porcupine.  Press 4 if you can braid your leg hair.  Press 5 if you want a pedicure from RuPaul.

*Presses 0 out of desperation, hoping for a real live human being to get me out of this unnamed level of Dante’s Inferno*

We’re sorry, that’s an invalid selection.  – Dead Air –

What do you MEAN that’s an invalid selection?  It’s 0.  For operator.  EVERYONE HAS A GODDAMNED OPERATOR.

Thank you for calling __________.  We’ve created this menu to guide you to the proper department.  Please enter your social security number!

It’s right around then that I start throwing cats, declaring myself Mongolian for the day and scaling all of the walls in my neighborhood, and making Van Gogh-esque murals with my bodily fluids.  I will never – ever – understand how frustrating the public with stupid robotic menus gets anything accomplished other than ensuring that by the time the the caller gets to a customer service rep, they’re an utter cockbag.  It’s crappy customer service.  Period.

/pulls my rant pants off, walks around naked.

And this?  This is oddly liberating.  So there.

Bring The Noise.

A couple weeks ago while driving from . . . somewhere (I have a mind like a sieve), Dave and I had the radio on.  It may have been August for all I know, and the presence of Christmas songs on at least two stations doesn’t really help identify the season anymore, now does it?  I heard next year they plan to just skip Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving and wind up the Bing Crosby around April.  You can have a White Christmas when it’s 112 and you’re sweating your mammaries off.

Before I find myself neck deep in a Christmas rant – and really, let’s save that for another post – back to the topic at hand!  The Beatles came on the radio, as they are wont to do fifty trillion times a day, and Dave and I started talking about “Yesterday” as the quintessential, perfect pop song.  Something to keep in mind:  David and I generally don’t agree on music.  We meet up here and there, but it doesn’t happen all that often.  In fact, usually when we start talking music a slap fight ensues with words like POTTY HEAD and DOODY FACE flung back and forth.  These hurtful things take days to overcome, as they tear our confidence down and make us hollow shells of the craptastic people we were before.

The Yesterday thing made us realize, though, that if two assholes like us could agree it’s perfect, other normal people might say so too.  Of course, from there we went on to talk about other perfect songs, and how genre effects what might be considered perfect.  We both said Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” would probably be a perfect rock song, for example (no, not hard rock or metal, but just old fashioned rock.  Put your horns away, Reuben).  It’s catchy, it’s got the essential rock guitar solo, and it’s stood the test of time.

The logical question is “What makes a perfect song?”  Before I get into identifying “the rules”, keep something in mind:  the topic is subjective, so the rules are subjective as well.  You may not LIKE my rules, but these are the rules David and I played by, and as such, they’re the rules I’m laying out for this post.  That said, onward.  I don’t want to cop out and say “you’ll know a perfect song when you hear it”, but you probably will.  It’s a combination of catchy melody, a great singer, a balance between vocals and music, and lyrics.  If a retarded squirrel wrote your lyrics, it probably isn’t perfect.  If it’s one of those songs where the band just spits out the same section of lyrics on repeat fifty times?  It probably isn’t perfect.  It’s a song that even if you’re not a fan of a genre, you can say “yeah, I can see why you’d say that’s perfect”.  It’s a song that will stand the test of time, and will be played fifty years from now when we’re all old and crumbly and pooping ourselves in the Old Folks Home (which sadly, negates obscure/Indie stuff because it didn’t get radio play in the first place).

Obviously, music is one of those things based on opinion, so I’m sure people won’t agree with my list.  Better yet, I’m sure they’ll think of songs that should be added that I didn’t think of.  If that’s the case, share in the comments.  What I’d ask is if you want to put a song up there as perfect, you tell me which genre and why it should be there.  If you feel that the damn thing warrants a perfect label, you should be able to say why.  Oh, and if you’re feeling crazy, link the song.

Without further ado:

Hillary’s Perfect Song List

* Added later as I remembered them

** Added after a recommendation by other people and I begrudgingly admit other humans have good ideas too

All right.  I know I’m missing things, so I may update as the list comes creeping back into my brain, but it’s a good starting cluster.  Now gimme more, folks.  Tell me those perfect songs.  Or, if you don’t agree with one of these songs as perfect, feel free to say why (reasons like RAP IS SHIT don’t count, btw).

Bring it!

Musings From A Fruitless Womb.

Decision time:  Team Edward or Team Jacob?  Okay, Team Edward fangbangers head to the left, Team Jacob furry freaks to the right.  See that line in the sand?  That line separates you.  You can talk about what you once had in common with the other side – a love of all things sparkly and emo, DUH – but there’s a divide between you now, and unless one of you wants to cross that divide by becoming like the other, I’m sorry to say this is how it has to be from here on out.

This, sadly, is my example of what happens to those who spawn nublets versus those who do not.  The Team Edward faction – let’s call them the fruit bearing folks – head over to their corner and do their thing which inevitably includes Crayola, lots of glitter, poopy murals, and Playskool.  The Team Jacob childless crew go to their corner and have a beer, stay up too late, watch a soft core porn on Skinemax, and actually have time to write a blogpost wondering where the crap all of their friends from ten years ago went.

Oh right, they had children.

What are YOU looking at?

Before I get started on the challenges of being a shriveled up pair of ovaries in a sea of breeders, I want to say to those who have children “I salute you”.  Because I do.  I get WHY you guys go away, and how busy kids are, how much of your time they take, and how it’s way easier to befriend Tommy’s mom because you go to Tumblebugs together and for the twelve minutes you’re allowed adult conversation for the day, it might as well be with another beleaguered, overworked parent who can understand your gripes.  If you talk to me about little Samantha swallowing a penny, I might say COOL!  I SAW THAT ON HOUSE LAST WEEK.  That’s probably not the answer you’re looking for.  At least another parent would understand why it’s a bad thing and react appropriately.  Another parent, too, might not spend a half hour straight saying the word “leper” to your two year old in hopes of expanding the child’s vocabulary early.

True story, I did that.  And yes, she said leper.  I’d apologize to Melissa, but I don’t mean it.

So I get why folks with gut goblins go form their own gut goblin brigade.  Children are time consuming, and it’s probably pretty goddamned hard to muster up a lot of enthusiasm for a bar crawl with someone who can’t relate to your kid stories beyond a chuckle and a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.   When you tell me your offspring laid on the floor and talked to the ceiling fan for a half hour, you probably want me to say your baby is brilliant and funny.  I’m secretly thinking “he’ll make a good drunk”.  At least I’m smart enough not to vocalize that.  Unless I’ve had two or three drinks, then all bets are off.

The easiest way for me to express my Team Jacob perspective on how I lost my friends to their children would probably be to follow the chronological progression of events, so let’s rewind about five years ago or so.

Phase One:  Congratulations, your friendship at this juncture survived its first major hurdle already – someone got married before someone else, and yet here you are!  Conversing together!  One of you might not even be married, but at least you’re dating someone and that’s LIKE marriage, so you can talk about who left the toilet seat up, the crazy furniture breaking sex you had in the dining room, and how you should do more couple things together (ALL THE THINGS) like go to dinner and a movie, and maybe travel.  And who cares if your friend’s husband has nothing in common with your boyfriend.  Boys don’t have feelings.  They’ll just bond over the fact that they both have jangs and deal with it, cause your BEEEEEST Female Friend married that other guy and thaaaaaat makes him awwwwwwesome, and if your boyfriend ever wants to get laid again, he better figure it out faaaaaast.

Phase Two:  You’ve done lots of cool things with your friend and her husband, and made your boyfriend play nice under controlled conditions with the other male in the mix.  They didn’t even fight to the death like cocks in a hen pen.  Your double dating has become a wonderful staple of life!  And then there’s the announcement:  Friendzilla who was once Bridezilla is now going to be Momzilla, and isn’t that great!  At this juncture, you don’t quite understand how everything is going to change, so you express glee and give hugs and order a Diet Coke to show your support of your friend’s alcohol free ways, though secretly you’d like nothing better than to celebrate by opening a bottle of Pinot.

Phase Three:  This is where you start to figure out something might be off.  It’s not SO bad yet, but the things that made you friends in the first place – certain personality quirks, conversation pieces, hobbies – none of those things are discussed anymore because everything is about what your friend’s baby is going to be like, look like, and what it’s like to puke non-stop for days at a time because morning sickness is SHITTY.  You’re still in the early stages of denial about your friendship, though, so you nod and say “that sucks” and try to be supportive, even though you can’t relate to a dream of parenting an astronaut, and really, you miss ordering wine at lunch but doing that would make you a dick, so . . . more Diet Coke.  Yay?

Phase Four:  She’s big pregnant now, like having trouble navigating around furniture pregnant.  You’ve stopped trying to talk about what life with her was like before because this is very, very hard for her.  You can see that she’s uncomfortable, and talking about that time both of you were ass up and puking in shrubs in Tahiti is probably sort of disrespectful of her condition.

Phase Five:  It’s BABY SHOWER TIME.  This is a breaker for some people, largely because you go to this party with little booty party favors, and everyone around you is talking about babies, birth, labor, toddlers, teenagers, and sometimes if you’re really unlucky, placenta and vaginas.  You have nothing to contribute here beyond “I saw a baby once!”  You’d actually take the vagina conversation over what comes next, though, because it seems like every eye in the room turns to stare at you as your hugely pregnant friend asks “SO WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE MY BUTTERCUP A LITTLE FRIEND?”  The pressure is on.  If your mother hasn’t asked you that question already, she’s psychically bombarded you with it, and now this gaggle of strangers is expecting you to commit to spawning more overlords.

If you’re me, you say something creepy like “I’d devour my own young, so for now it’s best I wait” and eat a cocktail shrimp, maybe pointing out “hey look if you turn it this way it looks like an embryo.”  If you’re someone else you make a feeble excuse about a full bladder and lock yourself in the bathroom until the baby shower is over.  You weren’t going to muster much enthusiasm for a diaper caddy, anyway.

Phase Six:  The baby has arrived, you brought your friend flowers and a big, ugly stuffed toy for the astronaut-to be.  She decides to share with you the experience of thrusting this wriggling watermelon from her loins, and you learn things about your friend’s body you never wanted to know.  Even if you drunkenly made out with her at one point, there’s limits to the “hot factor” of her anatomy lesson.  It doesn’t help that she’s sitting on the couch with a tit hanging out.  It’s not like breastfeeding isn’t natural, it’s just . . . not something you ever wanted to get this close to.

If the baby shower didn’t freak you out, this experience will, as you figure out that you have a major decision to make regarding this kid:

A)  You can choose to become one hundred percent entrenched in this child’s life and become Auntie _______.   You’ll change diapers, offer to babysit, share birthday cakes and get vomited on.  You’ll be invited to family parties.

B) Back the fuck off and pretend the baby changes nothing, though this path will lead to disappointment.

There’s two challenges with option A.  The first?  Is if your friend wasn’t that close to you in the first place, trying to BE Auntie ________ is just plain awkward and probably not welcome.  The kid’s probably got real aunts, after all.

The second challenge is that you weren’t ready to dive headlong into having your own baby, so how the hell are you emotionally mature enough to commit to being a positive role model to someone else’s?  What if you decide that the drunken Tahiti parties are more your style, but you’ve already been playing at the whole Auntie _______ thing and failing spectacularly?  The answer is you’ve potentially fucked your friend’s kid up.  Well done, Asshole.

Not that it matters.  Most people will unconsciously decide that B is the better choice anyway.  Your friend will eventually be comfortable getting a babysitter and having drinks, right?

Phase Seven:  If we were talking about the stages of grief, this would be the acceptance phase.  The baby’s been around for a year or so and your friend still isn’t keen on babysitters, which means your delusion of martinis on Friday nights and talking about the good old times has dissolved into a pile of smoldering ash.  The few hours your friend CAN give you during the month is likely mid-day, when Grandma’s got junior, and all your friend talks about is how tired she is and what junior did that was spectacular that week, like grow a tooth.  You cheer for the tooth, and then announce that you did something awesome yourself – like beat Assassins Creed:  Brotherhood.  Your friend says something like “when are you going to grow up” and you realize that somewhere along the journey, your friend joined Team Edward.

This will sound fatalist, but the cruel reality is, the real life meet ups will probably dwindle from there on out, maybe until Astronaut is in first grade some years later.  Friend-Mom will take stock around then, see that she now has the time she didn’t have before to rekindle her friendships (and man, she could really use that martini now).  She’ll make a friendly overture, usually by a digital medium as it eliminates that whole pesky “having to have inflection in your voice” thing.  The fleeting promises on facebook to “get together soon!” begin, but soon roughly translates to “never”.  Inevitably even the cursory digital messages will one day end with your friend asking “so ARE you ever going to join Team Edward?” and despite it being years after the baby shower, you’re still hoisting a cocktail shrimp and comparing it to an embryo, hoping this will buy you enough time to change the subject.

I understand that my experiences being the “fruitless womb” are not everyone else’s, and I don’t try to speak for the non-breeder crew everywhere, but I can say that the scenario I’ve outlined above?  Has happened to me more than once.  And I suppose I could be less of a dick and actually go through with the promised Facebook meet ups, but having done that, it’s like you’re visiting a bizarro version of your old friendship.   You’re both different people than you were, and reliving drunken shrub puke stories five to ten years after they’ve happened is pathetic, sort of on par with the 50 year old guy that can’t stop talking about all the tang he got in high school.  It doesn’t work anymore, and as much as you can feign joy for a glowing report card or sports prowess story?  You’re so far removed from your friend’s kid’s life that it’s hard to react with anything remotely earnest, and that makes you feel like a shitty person.

Do I resent my friends going off and having their lives and letting their children become the all-consuming things they are?  NO.  No because that means they’re doing the parenting thing right, and I am all for loving the snot out of your gut goblins.  We want those kids to become productive members of society, and if we’re shooting his ass up to the moon in thirty or so years (ahem, if we have the /funding/) I want to know that kid is as mentally and emotionally stable as (s)he can be.  On the other hand, do I miss the drunken Tahiti makeouts and the martinis?

Hell yes.   You bet.

Nostalgia Under The Plastic Stars.

I spent Wednesday night into Thursday at my mother’s house so I could help assemble the Thanksgiving day meal.  I wasn’t so much a cook as a cook’s helper; I peeled a shitload of apples and potatoes, washed some counters, cut up some vegetables, stuffed some celery, and did all of the other time consuming grunt work that would have bogged my mum down from making what will inevitably be my death row meal request:  her New England style sausage stuffing.

(Does threatening to commit a death row scale crime in jest constitute announcing intent?  If so everyone reading this has just become an accessory, SUCKERS. ).

Later that night, after wrestling with the dogs to take a fucking chill pill and sleep despite our strange surroundings, I was really surprised when I shut the guest room light out to see the ceiling start to glow with little plastic stars.  I have to admit I had a zen moment staring up at them:

I’d put those stars up when I lived at home, and more than ten years later (going on fifteen, I think?) they’re still there.  I told my parents I was glad to see them, and my stepfather said he liked them there, that it was a nostalgia thing having them on the ceiling.  His son had them, I think his daughter had them, and I had them.  It’s a small reminder of what we were like when we were little people as opposed to the quasi-but-barely-functioning adults we’ve become.

Of course, the nostalgia bit prompted my mom to share a doozy of  Hillary story that I figure I’ll blab about for your entertainment.  As a miniature, I had a Cabbage Patch doll named Lyle Bailey.  I mentioned him before in the Creepy Doll post, though he was not THE creepy doll.  He was just your standard, run of the mill Cabbage Patch with a big bald dome and a blue onesie pajama.

At Least He Didn't Look Like This

Now, keep in mind this was the early 80’s, so Cabbage Patch Kids were the “stand in line for hours and kill your neighbors if they cut in front of you” toy.  To get one, you had to know someone in the industry (Child World employees were all the rage in ’82), threaten others with severed horse heads, or trade your prison cigarettes and first born male child.  Possibly all of the above.  Every kid in the universe wanted a Crappage Patch doll from Santa, and some parents had to take offers they simply couldn’t refuse to provide for their needy spawnlings.  My parents were no different.

The good news was, their mafioso level antics of procuring me a Cabbage Patch kid paid off.  I loved the damn thing.  When Laren wasn’t being dragged around, Lyle Bailey was, and to this day I remember the weird baby powder perfume smell they chemically infused his head with.  It was too sweet and slightly plasticky, and I’d sniff him almost like I was huffing paint.

Fast forward a little to a grocery store adventure with mom, me, and Lyle Bailey. I  was four, and thus old enough to not have to ride in the carriage if I didn’t want to.  How foolish I was, opting out of that awesome little shopping cart seat.  I wish they had adult sized ones now.  I’d make Dave push me around.  AHEM.  ANYWAY.  So yeah, mom was pushing the carriage and doing the aisle sweeps thing people do when they’re grocery shopping, and I was tottering behind her actually quiet for once.  That was when she noticed the people walking the opposite way from her, as in those who could see past her to the small Hillary behind, smiling and laughing.

Slow motion spin, the knots forming in the pit of her stomach, because she just knew I was doing something awful.  And oh was I!  I’d tugged my shirt down to my navel and had shoved Lyle Bailey up to my four-year-old booblet.  My mother’s eyes bugged out and she shriek-asked what I was doing, and in a very loud, very proud voice, I announced to all of Shaws Supermarket that I WAS BREASTFEEDING LYLE BAILEY.

I had an aunt who’d recently had a baby, and I’d seen the breastfeeding bit, and . . . yeah.  I think I had the luckiest Cabbage Patch Kid in the world.  I took real good care of him, yes I did.  The studio audience at Shaws was wildly entertained, and I don’t know if Mom laughed or was utterly mortified, but I was told very firmly that that was not an appropriate thing to do with my doll in public.  I don’t really remember how I took that news, but I was sort of a shithead as a kid so I probably Hulked out and screamed or something.

I think Mom still has the Lyle Bailey doll upstairs in the den closet.  At least, I think I spied him when I was in a search for a laptop cord sometime last year.  I leave him with her, because I’d hate for one of my dogs to accidentally maul a 30 year old doll, and by all accounts, Lyle Bailey went through a lot under my ministrations.  He deserves a peaceful, quiet retirement.  At least I can confidently say now that I’d never ever breastfeed a Cabbage Patch Kid in public.

At home?  Well.  I can make no promises.  And that’s why Lyle Bailey has to stay away.

Hillary’s House of Fears.

I figured Black Friday was a good time to talk about my fears. One of them would happen to be bargain shoppers with aggressive carriages, frenzied looks in their eyes, and a To Do list taller than I am. I will not tarry with these people, because I am quite aware that my life means nothing next to a forty percent off flat screen TV with two HDMI outputs and a seven year warranty. Accidentally stepping between a shopper and their prized goods could end with me writhing on a Walmart floor, a Bic pen wedged into my jugular and a lake of blood beneath me.

In all seriousness? That level of crowd freaks me out, especially when people have adrenaline shoving its way through their veins. Herd mentality is a No Can Do. I don’t trust group think in the slightest. It’s why you won’t ever see me at a political rally or a protest, either. It’s not that I don’t – care -, it’s that the idea of being lost in a sea of intent, fixated people who believe passionately about something? I just see too many ways that can go wrong. A zillion tweaking folks could be inspired to great heights under such circumstances, yes.

. . . but they could also be too easily caught up and plummet to new lows, too. “Lost in the moment” is what they call it. I’m quite comfortable not being lost, thanks. I’ll be over here sipping a latte (and not one of those cheater soy ones, either) while other people go change the world or kick a puppy because Glenn Beck told them to.

Another fear? Heights. Even looking at picture of heights can destroy me. Chicago has this torture room called Skydeck. Skydeck is a glass veal box jutting out from the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower. You pay money to stand in it and look down so you can see exactly how far you’d fall if someone hated you enough to make you a human lawn dart from 18 zillion feet up. I was going to post a picture of it here, but I was afraid of vertigo every time I clicked on my own site. I’ll pass on that one, methinks.

Now there’s a story that goes along with my fear of heights, and it involves a long-dead amusement park in Rhode Island called Rocky Point. I’ve always had this hang up about tall verticals, and like most normal people I don’t particularly like being afraid of something. Even at thirteen years old (when this tragic event occurred) I was cognizant of how stupid it was to be afraid of heights, especially since I lived in a one story ranch through most of my formative years, and the furthest I went up in high school was to Miss Snipas’s science classroom. So I ventured to Rocky Point with my family and one of my friends. They had this ride there called the Free Fall. It launched you nearly into orbit, let you look around at the park for about three seconds, then let gravity do its thing. I’ll give you the abbreviated version of this story’s ending because I’m sure you can all see where this is going . . .


Add in more tears, snots, quivering legs, nausea, and a ruined day. It was not one of my brighter moments, and also the last time I attempted to “conquer” a fear.

Next on the list of “things Hillary DOES NOT WANT” . . . wood ticks. This stemmed from a really gross nightmare I had, and though I probably shouldn’t share said nightmare, I’m going to. If you don’t like “icky nasty bogus visuals”, don’t read this paragraph and skip past the next image. In fact, skim for the paragraph starting with the word “Snakes” and you’re good. There, a warning for our home audience. And now back to the fears!

You know how sometimes dreams don’t come back to you until you stumble across an unfortunate trigger, and the next thing you know you’re wide eyed because you recall something you really wished you hadn’t? Maybe you don’t know that feeling,and consider yourself lucky if that’s the case, because this happened to me very unexpectedly when I was at my uncle’s house and saw one of these:


A seeded sunflower gave me a Vietnam-scale flashback of a nightmare in which I shaved someone’s head and it was covered with ticks. You probably already know that blood engorged wood ticks become this really gross beige color. It’s nasty and scary and skeevy and yuck, and my mind correlated the sunflower seed casings with the nightmare and yeah, I was done. Sick, yes? And that’s why I’m terrified of ticks AND . . . sunflowers. Yep. About ten years ago EVERYTHING was sunflowers. I think there was a hugely popular perfume released under that name, and the correlating marketing storm of sunflowers all over every piece of merchandise ever made me froth at the mouth and convulse.

Snakes are another one of my “things”, though I can’t actually tell you where that started, only that I resent this phobia because I understand logically how cool snakes are. A few years ago, me and a sweltering tide of estrogen (Lauren, Sarah, Melinda, Melissa, and Erica) went to New Orleans on vacation. During our adventures, we made a trip to the Audubon Zoo. The Audubon Zoo is one of the coolest places I have ever been; the animals have gorgeous exhibits, there’s flowers and trees everywhere so you almost feel like you’re walking through a park in between seeing the animals. New Orleans in September can be a lot like Florida in that you get these super powered rainstorms that will appear out of nowhere, piss on your head for ten minutes straight, and then simply evaporate. We got caught in one of those storms, and ran for the nearest building that could offer us shelter until the rain stopped.

Why no one noticed it was the Snake House, I can’t say, but it was an ugly realization. On the ceiling of the exhibit they had a stuffed version of the world’s longest anaconda. It spanned two or three rooms and was as wide around as a tree trunk. There were poisonous snakes behind glass all around us, and I nearly started hyperventilating on the spot. I dug my fingernails into Lauren’s shirt and she was good enough to guide me from one end of the exhibit to the other, my eyes closed the entire time. We were doing pretty good there for a while! I managed to get to the last room, my back to the snakes so I could look straight out the door instead of having to turn around and face my scaly nemeses.

Thud. Thud, thud.

You know how the girl in the horror movie should never turn around because inevitably the serial killer is standing right behind her? I never should have turned around. Directly behind me was an albino rattlesnake, its evil red eyes staring at me as it bashed its head off of the glass. To this day Lauren says the thing smelled my fear and that’s why it started to go apeshit in its snake cage. That was it for me. I freaked out and ran outside in the rain, opting to wear wet, soggy pants all day (and actually get a rash for my efforts) instead of standing around in that snake building for one moment longer. The rash was worth it.

So tell me, Studio Audience, got any hang ups you want to share with the class?