My Bloody Valentine

Megan:  so..apparently it’s valentine’s day?

Erin:  wait.

today

no

Megan:  haha

i can’t keep track of the date, but everyone on facebook says so?

Erin:  oooooh that’s what all that’s about

i am but a poor single person

i believe ritual suicide is expected of me today

Megan:  yes, have you ordered your red heart-spotted suicide stationary yet?

Erin:  i planned to make my own. with my blood.

before i drink poison while listening to “One is the Loneliest Number” on loop

have you taken any suicide measures yet?

Megan:  my bathtub is prepped for a romantic soak with a tragic ending

Erin:  nicely done

Megan:

and also

Erin:  bahahahaha

that last one sums up my feelings

Megan:  we win!

The Curse

The Scene: New Year’s Eve, 1999.

I was 15 – the high water mark of my teenage angst. I wore lots of black, drew on my hands with Sharpies, wrote (exceptionally literary) vampire novels in spiral notebooks til 2 am, and nursed unnecessary suicidal thoughts and unrequited loves (Why won’t you look at me Chris Saylor, whyyyyyyy? Your Jnco’s are the widest.). You might have called me a nerd, but you wouldn’t have called me openly emotional. Irish blood courses through these steely veins, repressing all feelings until a perfect storm of alcohol and family gatherings unleashes them. This is important to remember, given the tale that follows.

Image

Honestly Chris, it blows my mind that you managed to rock these.

That New Year’s night I was a combination of John Keats + Anne Rice – dangerous territory. While everyone else was setting off fireworks and listening to that FINALLY RELEVANT Prince song, I stared down the grim barrel of The Millennium, the history and future of the world spreading before me, knowing for the first time that everything was the worst and would only continue to go straight to hell, that God was dead, that all the computers would explode and plunge us into darkness (Y2K!!!!), that I was completely mediocre and should just roll up in a ball in the attic and die. They would find my mummified remains months later, unrecognizable because the rats ate my face off. Hibernating emotions stirred. Rising throat lump….tears brimming….my mind vice didn’t activate. I became, to put it mildly, loudly overwrought.

The next day I was puffy-eyed and embarrassed, but otherwise fine. No computer explosions, no death in the attic. Only confusion as to why I had dissolved into an unrecognizable mess for a few hours. The hysterics shamed me, and I spoke not a word of it to anyone, thrusting the experience deep into my subconscious (mind vice fully functional now), until the next December 31st…when I repeated this noisy existential crisis in a new basement, with a whole new set of sorrows with no basis in reality. Every New Year’s since has become an iteration of that first nervous breakdown, with the awful additions of jungle juice and champagne, friends having good times just begging for me to ruin them, dubious men lurking in frat houses or bars. As a result, 12:01 a.m. usually finds me doing something that warrants an apology the next day.

Fact Analogy: full moons are to werewolves as New Year’s Eve is to me. One night of the year I will disgustingly eat my feelings and inflict physical/psychological damage to anyone around me. The only option I have is to quarantine myself.

But of course I’m not doing that this year.

Still, there’s hope here, readers. Objectively, and for the first time in twelves years (Christ.), I’m better off this year than I was last. I’m employed, doing something I actually like and continue to enjoy almost a year later. I don’t need to bother with bullshit Lose That Weight! Resolutions everyone is so fond of making this time of year (Zumba? Really?). I’ve succeeded in getting my extended family to believe that my sexual expiration date is not anywhere near approaching, so it’s cool that I don’t have kids. I’m writing lots, I’m traveling all the time, I’m putting stuff back IN to boxes instead of living OUT of them. I have plans, I have prospects. I’ve got a glorious move on the horizon where there is beer, music, friends, bearded men and never ever any snow. I could break into song about how fucking rad things are right now.

But just in case, if you live in the Denver area, I urge you to stay indoors this New Year’s Eve. Your city is mine, and you can never be too careful. Play me out, boys.

Dear Man at Grocery Store

Dear Man at Grocery Store,

It was so kind of you to help me yesterday with my pumpkins. Being that the store was hellishly crowded with pesky Broncos fans and there were no carts to be had, I was forced to choose two pumpkins sized-to-carry, one in each arm. I know I looked a bit foolish standing in line behind you, as though I had not thought any of this through. Which is why when you so generously moved your things up on the conveyer belt to alleviate my discomfort I was impressed.

Meet my child, Megan Jr.

Even more impressive was when you took the pumpkins from my arms and set them down for me. At this point, I thought you a real gentleman.

But then, as men often do, you ruined it.

“Buying pumpkins for the kids to carve?”

…..

Um…no?

Look sir, I can tell by your white hair, sunglasses and unnatural October tan that you are “old-school”, but please. Please answer me this:

1.) Since when is pumpkin carving relegated solely to children? The only Halloween activity I see as exclusively kid domain is Trick-or-Treating. Scary movies, haunted houses, parties, costumes and CARVING PUMPKINS are still fun for grown-ups. Don’t try to take away the only part of Halloween I still voluntarily participate in.

And 2.) more importantly, what about me and my pumpkins exactly suggested that I have children?

Consider for a moment that a lone 27-year-old woman in a suburban grocery store buying pumpkins a few days before Halloween might NOT be married and strapped down with 7 children. And consider that the very notion of having children of pumpkin-carving age is quite alarming to this woman, even though she is well into her childbearing years (despite the fact that she’s confident maturity-wise she’s only 18-21). Consider that you’ve not only inadvertently insulted her youthful appearance, but you’ve confirmed her pariah-status in this suburban cookie-cutter community and reignited her concerns that living in said suburbs without friends has aged her exceedingly. Consider that because of your innocent question, now she will spend Halloween binging on chocolate, lamenting the loss of her youth and questioning all of her life choices that led her to this sad, solitary, carving-pumpkins-without-children existence.

-50 points Grocery Store Man. And -10 points Halloween just because.

Yours,

Lady With Pumpkins But Disturbingly No Kids

Preparing for your Office Halloween Party in 16 Easy Steps

Note: This article only pertains to you if you are an Erin, not a Megan, and therefore enjoy Halloween, costumes, candy, drinking, winning costume competitions, winning in general and being better at everything than other people.

1. Remember that there are prizes and prestige to be won by participating in your Halloween party. And booze. And maybe flirting with the dude that’s been doing the construction around the office. Also remember to ask about the theme of your office Halloween party before you begin assembling the various elements of your extravagant costume, which costs money

2. You’ve just found out your party has a theme. What is it again? Brand icons? Hm. Strange perhaps, but you do work at an advertising agency. Brand identity is your bread and butter. Do not be stumped by the strangeness! Brainstorm time. The only brand icons you brainstorm, however, are black.

This…..cannot end well

3. Educate yourself. Google the shit out of every synonymic phrase for “corporate mascot” that you can. Your options are now characters on cereal boxes, animals or spokespeople for Geico. Be disappointed in the results.

4. Enlist your friends. They will all tell you to be Flo, of the Progressive commercials. Reject this idea. You know at least four people are going to show up with red lipstick and Bump-its at your party. Not creative enough!

5. Discover a recognizable, but obscure enough brand icon that only you will have thought of. She is human and can be constructed cheaply. Everyone will marvel at your ingenuity.

Behold!

7. Spend three days combing the town for a yellow, long-sleeved dress, shoes and perfect gold wig. This is harder than one would expect. Justify increasing your costume budget. Determine that the internet is better suited to your needs. Pay extra for the expedited shipping because your party is at the end of the week.

8. Strike up a conversation at work regarding the party. Learn in passing that someone else has also found your brilliant, obscure idea and will be coming to the party as the Morton Salt Girl.

9. Stifle rage.

10. To Google!

11. Find a less unique, more elaborate idea. Increase your budget. Pay for next day shipping. Reason, you can always return the last costume of course.

12. After this second costume is bought, remember that all purchases from Halloween costume stores are final after Oct. 20th. Fucking shit.

13. Stew. Stare at discarded, expensive costumes balled up on your closet floor.

14. The new costume arrives. Fret about how intense it is. Consider the ramifications of looking like an overeager weirdo among your office peers. These are, after all, the same people that don’t understand what you’re doing when you “raise the roof” in status meetings.

For truly it is an evil to be a douche, but it is still a greater evil to be full of douchiness and unwilling to recognize it…

15. Too late. Your party is on Friday. It’s all or nothing, and everyone knows that not wearing a costume to a Halloween party is the most intentional asshole move in the world. You have no choice. Suit up.

16. Drink throughout the party to assuage the weirdness. Oh wait, your costume covers your face? There’s no mouth hole for beers?

….shit.

Halloweenie 2: The Rebuttal

Two days ago, my colleague, whom I respect deeply, posted an incendiary article on this blog regarding the shortcomings of a certain beloved festival in 20 ludicrous points. We haven’t spoken since, so deeply was I effected by her cutting remarks and scrooge-ish attitude to a day that brings joy to so many, including myself. To make her see the error of her ways, I have no choice but to deconstruct her points, and smash them like pumpkins in the streets.

                                                                        Justice!

Believe me when I say that my passion for Halloween would allow me to write lengthy pamphlets addressing each of Megan’s 20 points. But I think really they boil down into four big issues:

  • Candy
  • Scare Culture
  • Costumes
  • The Nature of Fear & Pleasure

This shit is about to get academic.

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