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Dress to Obsess

My initial title for this post was “What (Not) To Wear Today,” but then I realized that made me sound like I was contemplating being a nudist. Excuse me…naturist. And based on a guy I saw in a park the other day with his junk hanging out…I’m never going down that route.

So, I have a certain way of dressing myself. I don’t just roll out of bed in the morning and throw on whatever doesn’t smell bad, like one of my classmates did once because she overslept (actually, she came to class in her pajama top and jeans…and she was giving a presentation). I usually walk out of the house looking like a million bucks. Actually, not really, I probably look really terrible most of the time. No one usually ever comments on what I wear, so it must not be too spectacular, or too tragic, for that matter.

As I was picking out clothes to wear this morning, I had a flashback from Pop Culture class, junior year of high school, when we talked about what clothes we felt comfortable in and why we wore them. Everyone else kinda gave a lame, noncommittal answer, but when it was my turn, I started talking about “dressing for my emotions,” which is probably one of the reasons I never had any friends in high school.

But anyway. I have certain unwritten rules about what I dress myself in each day. Well, actually after today they’ll be written rules, but here goes:

That’s So Jacob’s Rules of Fashion, Part I: General Rules

1. No wearing of the same color two days in a row. I have no idea why I do this. Maybe it’s so I’ll confuse potential attackers who are looking for the same guy in the same color shirt. Exceptions to this are on same-outfit days, which usually occur on weekends where I’ll spend so little time in real clothes on Saturday that I will deem them wearable on Sunday.

2. TSJ Tznius: cover those arms and legs. I have never owned nor worn a tank top or wife beater in my life, so why start now? Also, who really wants to see that? T-shirts have worked fine for me so far. With shorts, the secondary reason I don’t wear them is because I don’t feel the world needs to see my legs, even if it is a hot day, unless I am going swimming or doing some sort of water activity. The primary reason is because I don’t like the way my legs look, and shorts lengths change yearly, meaning my shorts are always too long or too short.

3. Casual at all times, except when doing something academic-y. I am not the guy who dresses up for class every day in a suit and tie. I don’t even wear nice sweaters or anything. I’m always in a t-shirt, usually a fun one because I only wear awesome fun clothes, and sometimes a polo, and that’s usually when I’m meeting with a professor or have a presentation to do. Otherwise, I’m in the classroom in my stained UMass hoodie and jeans, looking completely out of place. And I like it that way. Well, not always, but fortunately I now live in a place where dressing for comfort rather than style is perfectly acceptable. My dislike of collared shirts comes from high school, when we were forced to wear them for reasons unknown – so what, you can see a tiny bit less of my neck? So my itching will keep me awake in class? So I can look preppy even when I’m not feeling it?

4. Matchy-matchy? That’s me. Okay, this is where it gets weird. I blame my mother, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I love to match my clothing with my day. For example, I wore a blue shirt today, and I had a mini-crisis when I couldn’t find either of my blue jackets to leave the house in. Red hoodie + blue shirt = bad news bears. I must match all my layers with similar or opposite colors. And though all-black is OK, blue shirts never go with blue jeans. Also, my accessories must match: in the winter, if I wear my green jacket or anything red, I must wear my red scarf. If I wear my blue fleece, my blue jacket, or my alpaca jacket, I must wear my blue scarf. Same goes for hats: green hat goes with green coat, black hat goes with the others. And no conflicting patterns, ever. When my mom picked out my clothes as a child, she had no concept of color: if you gave her a bright red shirt with a tiny blue dot in the middle and a pair of blue shorts, she’d hold them up and say “see, they match.” I also accessorize: I have canvas bags in just about every color, so I always match my bag with my attire. I need a hobby.

That’s So Jacob’s Rules of Fashion, Part II: Types of Clothing

1. Shirts. I am a t-shirt person. I think I will always be a t-shirt person simply because I have so many, and they’re all awesome. The one I’m wearing right now, my blue Film Fest t-shirt, is not the best example of this, but at least it’ll go in the hamper. Polo shirts, as stated above, on special occasions. I will, from time to time, do the Jared Leto in My So-Called Life and wear a patterned short-sleeve Oxford over a t-shirt. But NO HATS with that combo, or else I’ll look like either a crazy rainforest explorer or someone’s dad at the beach. Also, as stated above, some sort of sleeve. I have a few v-neck shirts, but I don’t usually wear them, because who wants to see that? Being a hipster is inner, not outer.

2. Pants. For awhile, I only wore khakis. Mostly because jeans were against school dress code, but also because I was never wearing the right pair at the right time. I got teased in elementary school for wearing skinny jeans; this was the 90s, when the “sagging look” was in. My mom refused to buy me too-big jeans, and I didn’t have any interest in showing the world my underwear, anyway. Jeans and I made up during college, when I realized that I was beyond that high school crap. Black dress pants are nice for fancy occasions like Shabbat or the theatre. For the gym, black track pants are my only option. I also own one pair of black non-dress pants which hang at the back of the closet and I always say I’ll wear them the next time I wear a black shirt but I don’t because they are stupid and itchy.

3. Shorts. No thanks. Especially not patterned shorts or anything in pastel.

4. Socks. Shamefully, I wear white ankle socks almost every day. Granted, I wear them with real shoes, not anything open-toed like that horrible picture of Adam Sandler walking through LA, and also, it’s too cold in Wisconsin for dress socks every day. Some of those are practically pantyhose; let’s hope I never have to wait outside for something in them.

5. Shoes. Tennis shoes, same pair, everywhere, until they’re falling apart. Some people have gym tennis shoes and regular tennis shoes; I should probably be one of them. Dress shoes are for dinner and dancing. I own sandals, but unless I am going to the beach, they don’t leave the closet. Feeling like I needed a pair of “grown up” shoes, I bought a pair of black loafers, which haven’t left the box, because “I’m not ready to grow up yet,” says me. I used to hate boots because they are messy and hard to get on/off, but now that I live in Snow-Land, I see their usefulness. My boots are brown and pretty and I got them at Marshalls. I salute you, boots; you kept my feet from freezing through many a storm. I still hate getting my feet in and out of you though. Rain boots? No, because I have never tried macarons, used Burt’s Bees, or done anything in Claire’s other than fetch my sister so that Mom could take us home from the mall.

6. Hats. I think hats are cool. Not baseball caps though; I already look like a twelve-year-old. In fact, when I played a dad character in a play (that I wrote) during my senior year of undergrad, I put the cap on backwards, to which my castmates said that I looked like I was going down to the video arcade. I’m no John Goodman. Even when I wear it forward, I still look like I’m on my way to day camp. I like winter hats, they are fluffy and wonderful. Ever since I’ve had my green winter hat with the puff-ball on top, my dad has called it silly, but accedes to the fact that it keeps the head warm during frigid times. I was heartbroken when the puff-ball fell off; I think he was secretly pleased.

7. Scarves. I really, really like scarves, though I only have two at the moment. Maybe that’s what I’ll do tomorrow, buy some scarves. No. Bad idea, Jacob. I wish that the “warm weather scarf” was more socially acceptable because I’d totally do that. Unfortunately, it’s in the same pretentious family as sweaters tied around the neck (what’s wrong with that?!) so in conclusion, I do not wear them in warm weather. At least not without a jacket.

'We're indoors, lose the scarf!'

8. Sweaters/sweatshirts. Hoodies are like a gift to the freezing. They are so functional and wonderful, and warm the hands and head too. I own five, though I keep only about four in my rotation (the black one is a little too depressing; sorry, black hoodie). And before you ask, the white stains on my UMass hoodie are from paint, specifically when I painted the walls of the community arts center I worked on with DAT in Quilotoa, Ecuador, so those are badges of honor. It’s nice that sweaters came back into fashion recently, and have been looking nice on the shelves at Kohl’s, especially patterned ones. I actually own two sweaters, and neither have Christmas trees or cats playing with balls of yarn.

That’s So Jacob’s Rules of Fashion, Part III: Colors

1. White. I’m way too messy to wear white. Sad but true fact. Every time I get a nice white shirt, I try so hard to keep it clean. When the moment something stains it occurs, I’m like…aww, man. Seriously. It’s like God does not want me to wear white. When I wear white, I can usually even remember the type of stain: pizza grease, peanut butter, lying on a dirty floor. Also, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a white Oxford, aka the Chabad penguin suit. I would totally be Chabad if I didn’t have to wear white every day of my life. I’d be like, that one Chabad guy who wears funky colors and patterns. Somehow, I don’t think that would go over that well.

2. Grey. The only good time to wear a grey t-shirt is at the gym, because in public, it gives the impression of either a) I really messed up my white shirt, or b) I’m so bad at laundry I faded my black shirt. Exception: gray Oxford shirt. Surprisingly elegant addition to a suit.

3. Black. Ahh, black. The go-to for the artsy or the ones who are too messy for colors. In middle/high school, I totally went through a black phase. It didn’t have anything to do with my depression; I just thought it looked nice. Of course, my sister called me a goth and made me change into a colored shirt for school, but I didn’t have painted nails, a dog collar, or a constant cloud of metal music around me, so you owe me an apology. Nowadays, I still like black but use it sparingly. Wearing black all the time is boring. Also – fun fact – remember Platinum, from like six months ago? One year he was quoted in the yearbook, about whether we should have school uniforms, he said “No, I like freedom of choice.” This coming from the kid who came to school in a black turtleneck and chinos every single day because that’s what rich people wear.

4. Pink. I currently don’t own anything pink. I used to have tons of pink in my closet as a kid, but then elementary school happened and it didn’t go over well on the playground. I find it amusing that it’s coming back into style for men now. One day I will try it, but today is not that day.

5. Brown. Brown and tan are two color that are way underused in fashion, in my opinion. They look great with jeans and khakis. I own a few brown t-shirts and a tan sweater, but nothing that’s the exact tone of my skin nor a UPS uniform.

6. Purple. Growing up with a sister who loved all things purple (never pink), I wanted to be like her. Eventually it evaporated from my wardrobe. Before it did though, I remember wearing this purple t-shirt all the time that said “New York Deli Potato Chips.” I guess I always thought that shirts with cool words or brand names made you sophisticated. I have a purple Oxford that I wear all the time, but no purple t-shirts…yet.

7. Blue. Usually a safe bet. Navy was super popular in the 1990s, so you couldn’t go wrong there. For some reason, I have no blue hoodies but 2 blue jackets (three if you count my alpaca jacket) and no red jackets but 2 red hoodies and 2 red sweaters. Blue presents a problem with some jeans, as you don’t want to have contrasting shades of blue or else you’ll risk looking like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake at some teen awards show.

8. Green. Another relatively safe color. Neon green = No go for me…that color makes my skin crawl. Dark or light, please. I currently don’t have a lot of green items in my closet at the moment. Maybe that should be my next color choice when offered a free t-shirt from somewhere.

9. Yellow. Yellow was my favorite color, until one day when I wore a yellow shirt to school and someone told me I looked like Big Bird. Kids are mean. No offense to Mr. Bird, but you’re not exactly a fashion icon. Maybe for Lady Gaga, but not for me. I have been noticing yellow making a comeback on the streets though. Wear with caution, though, it has been known to cause stares in the chest area, especially when paired with dark pants.

10. Orange. Huh? I think I have only ever owned one orange shirt, and that was a polo I wore sometimes in middle school. Orange died a slow death in my wardrobe and in fashion in general, and I don’t see it coming back anytime soon, at least for men.

11. Finally, there’s Red. Red is my go-to color. I started liking red in high school after my green-yellow-black phrase, and must’ve reallly liked it, because all the colleges I’ve attended for more than one semester have some variation of red in their logos/school colors. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get into NYU (undergrad) or Northwestern (grad); I should probably write them a thank-you note for not accepting me and subsequently becoming a Purple People Eater. But back to red, you really can’t go wrong with red. Fire engine red, blood red, red apple red, light red, dark red, maroon, crimson, scarlet, primrose, poinsettia: they’re all great. When I redid my room upon becoming a Real Person (aka my bar mitzvah), I ditched the baby blue paint with the soccer ball print border and painstakingly selected a very pale yellow with a red-and-brown Chinese symbol border wallpaper, which I thought looked awesome at the time (and I actually kinda still do…for a teenager’s color choices, it’s not awful) and found a matching bed set with a dark red duvet printed with bamboo in brown and gold. It went rather nicely with my light brown furniture and dark-brown carpeting, formerly an ugly swamp under a bright blue sky, but now transformed into an unobtrusive carpet that was still kind of ugly, but was at least less noticeable in a room of red, yellow, and brown things. The whole room has kind of a 1970s vibe to it. I should totally market that concept to hotel chains.

In completely unrelated news, when I when crossing the street, I walked past a woman who was doing the same thing, only she was knitting and walking at the same time. Is that like, future-cat-lady material? Or did I manage to time-slip into medieval Denmark?

 

0

Sign of a Bright Future?

I mentioned conspiracy theories today in a conversation with someone, so I’d like to address another that recently came into my mind, both while shopping at Marshalls and then later when I was bored because of course, I have a million things that I have to do but end up slacking on.

Sunglasses.

I never liked sunglasses growing up, because I had actual glasses and could never wear real-person sunglasses until I was a teenager and contact lenses saved me from hating myself forever. I kind of have a thing for really funky, almost girly sunglasses, but never granny glasses, never. Actually, I really like the free plastic ones they give away at events – I have one on my dining room table that says “I ❤ ISRAEL” on the side – but I’m a little too old to be wearing them in public and be taken seriously at the same time. Ever since I moved to a very sunny place (Houston) followed by a place that’s not sunny but when it is, it’s blinding due to the snow (Madison), so sunglasses have been nice for things like driving and walking and avoiding eye contact with certain people. Sunglasses are also probably useful in Vietnam and Guyana, the two newest countries on my traffic (welcome!) There are so many cool kinds out there, and they’re usually pretty cheap.

The problem?

Every time I buy sunglasses, just as I start to really love them, they either a) break, or b) disappear. Usually it’s the first one.

I could give you a rundown of every single pair of sunglasses that I ever bought, but suffice it to say that they’ve been stepped on, sat on, crushed in a bag, and of course, forgotten somewhere. It’s almost to the point of laughter – every time I’ve taken a big trip, my sunglasses have been the first thing to go. I lost them early on in Ecuador, someone sat on them when we got to Slovakia, and I sat on them my first day in Israel. Occasionally I acquire new ones before the trip is out, but usually, I wait until I’m like “gee, now that was a situation where sunglasses would have been helpful, and I didn’t have them.” And then I get them, start to really like them, wear them everywhere, only to have something happen to them. And since the cheapest ones at the west side Marshalls (yes, I actually went to both) were over $15, I think that I have solid proof that I have, indeed, purchased and lost/broken all the $10 and under sunglasses in the world.

Anyway.

Just bought soap.

2

That’s So Random: Myths, Misconceptions, and Mind-Numbing Cold

Quote of the Day:

“So, how about this cold weather?” – Every single newscaster in America.

Seriously. It’s cold. Really cold. Almost every state had record lows today. It was way below zero in Madison, so I’m glad I was in Baltimore, which was…15 degrees, the coldest January 7 since 1994. That’s more than the number of miles I traveled today (about 1, if that) and hot beverages I consumed today (2; 1 coffee at home and a caramel macchiato from Starbucks). I went to the gym yesterday, but the thought of returning just chilled me even more, and not for any sort of dislike of exercise. It’s mind-numbingly cold. It’s just about too cold to think, so I came up with this idea based on a book I found at The Book Thing the other day.

But first, my post about Africa yesterday attracted more hits than ever, and brought readers from two African countries that were new on my blog counter, so welkom to South Africa, and karibu to Kenya. In addition, I also received a visitor from Denmark, so valkommen to you.

Back to the topic of the day. I picked up this book entitled The Book of Myths & Misconceptions. So I’m going to pick a random page, learn something new, write a hundred words or so on the topic, and top it off with a funny animated gif.

So…here we go.

Page 325: “It’s Over There: The Real Battle of Bunker Hill.”

The story: June 1775 – a violent battle occurred in Charlestown, Massachusetts, just across the “dirty water” of the Charles River from Boston.

The misconception: The battle occurred on Bunker Hill, hence the name.

The real facts: The battle did not occur on Bunker Hill. (Go figure.) American soldiers under the direction of Col. William Prescott started out on Bunker Hill, digging into the side of the hill, when Prescott discovered a hill that was easier to defend, so he moved the whole shebang to Breed’s Hill, a slightly lower hill about a half mile away. The next morning, Col. William Howe and his redcoats attacked, and won – but due to bad maps and the tide, lost a thousand British soldiers in the process, more than double the number of American casualties.

My thoughts (pretty much unfiltered, stream-of-consciousness, first-thing-that-comes-to-mind:)

The Revolutionary War. Something I haven’t thought about since probably high school. Seriously. I don’t think I ever took an American history course in college, at any level, and haven’t studied American theatre in that era. There wasn’t that much to speak of, except Aphra Behn’s The Widdow Ranter, the first play written with an American setting. But Aphra Behn was British. I used to live in Massachusetts. I spent a few years going to college there, at UMass Amherst. I love Amherst. I miss Amherst. Our mascot was Sam the Minute Man. Probably no other school is known as the “Minuteman,” which is why UMass is the awesome school that it is. The only thing that annoyed me was when I came home and everyone, my family included, asked me how Boston was. I was like “I don’t know, how is it?” because I did not live there, or anywhere near there. In fact, I’ve been to Boston a grand total of four times in my life: once on my first road trip with Dad, once to visit Boston University, once to catch a plane after my dreadful Brandeis University visit, and finally, for the 2008 APO National Convention. In June, LMDA will be in Boston, so that might warrant my fifth-ever visit. It still makes me cringe when people asked me what going to college in Boston was like, because I actually didn’t do that, unless you count going to the boy scout reservation in Sudbury twice for camping trips, including the first one when my big, Yukie, took us on an “alternative” route through tiny, winding roads that I later learned were along the New Hampshire border. Oh, Massachusetts, you with your deceptively long roads through nowhere. And your boring license plates. Because the spirit of Massachusetts is…

Oh, and here’s a picture:

There you go. Not much fun to be had at such a bloody battle.

This was also where Col. William Howe coined the famous phrase “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” 

Oh, that image search at least yielded a comic strip, so enjoy:

2

Take This Snow and Shove(l) It

It snowed yesterday.

It snowed…a lot.

Well, here in Baltimore at least.

Granted, I haven’t seen any massive snows yet in Madison (or none that I think are that massive) but this snow is pretty deep for the East Coast. Driving back from dinner last night, we saw some religious family’s car in a ditch; no, I’m not generalizing, they were transferring stuff to another car and all the men were wearing black hats. It was pretty to watch it fall as day turned to night, but when I woke up in the morning it hit me. Not the snow, but.

THE SOUND.

Plunk. Plunk. Plunk.

My sixty-seven-year-old father, out there with the broken brown snow shovel that belonged to my grandfather. The first thought that hits me is that how does a snow shovel have that much value either monetarily or sentimentally to be kept around for this long without us buying another. The second thought is usually interrupted around this time by –

“…go outside and help your father/come here and help me.”

Begrudgingly, I usually put on my coat/boots/hat/gloves/scarf and head outside to help. My brain sends out messages like, “why, snow, why?” and “why have I been appointed, no, relegated, to being the snow shoveler?” and “couldn’t the parents have hired someone to do it, like they usually do when I’m not around?” and “why don’t we live in a warmer climate?” and “is this the only reason that people have children?” and “why is there stuff blowing at me when it’s CLEARLY NOT SNOWING ANYMORE?” All these thoughts were going through my mind this morning as for the first time in a very long time, I shoveled snow.

In Massachusetts, it snowed, but I lived in a house where shoveling snow was not my responsibility. When I lived in Israel, it snowed just enough to mess up everyone’s schedule for a day, all for some frost on the ground. Ironically, the winter I spent there was that of Snowmageddon here in the USA, and I reveled in that joy, and now that I’m forced to live in a cold climate, Israel actually got pounded with shovel-worthy amounts of snow, so I reveled a little bit. When I lived in Houston, I remember getting blank stares after explaining what an ice scraper is when a friend found mine sitting in the backseat of my car. In Wisconsin, I live in an apartment, so the only snow removal I do is wiping the car and scraping the ice, which is a little annoying but once you make a dent and heat up the car, nature does most of the rest.

But getting back to this morning, I bundled up against the cold, initially wondering how hard could it be. I don’t know how long I lasted – it was probably around fifteen minutes – but it felt like hours. It sucked. So much. Just because we live in a house with a driveway that isn’t even that long. I did a few hard squats and lifts here and there, but I spent more time pushing the snow with the back of the shovel to pile it up on the sides, doing one REALLY tough ice scrape and then chipping away lightly at that spot for a little bit, and even kicking the snow out of the way. I have to give him credit, my dad did do most of it, and granted, I should help out around the house now that I’m home for a few weeks, but does the outside of the house operate under that same clause? By the time I’d finished clearing some semblance of a path and had run out of thoughts, that feeling emerged beneath my gloves; that lovely feeling of being so cold that if your fingers were to be cut off right now you really wouldn’t even notice because they are so numb that oh my God I need to go inside RIGHT NOW because I’m losing it. And them.

So, I put the shovel back, went back inside, took off my gloves, and wondered if my fingers would ever be functional, again, or if I’d have to type from now on using the Voice function on my new iPhone and if so I need to practice with that. But then, there was the glory of making the magical drink called coffee and slowly getting the feeling in my fingers back again, with each revitalized digit sending waves of joy, pleasure and accomplishment.

At least I got some exercise…question mark?

Anyway, on a happier note, I chose yesterday afternoon to drop my car off at the shop to have some things fixed on it, and when my mom took me to pick it up this morning, it was all shiny and clean from sitting inside a garage all night. As I drove home, I tried not to make eye contact with any other motorists; not everyone wears mittens these days.

2

In A Pickle

After spending a good portion of the last three days in the house (and most of that time asleep), I actually got out of the house and went to Corner Bakery for a sandwich, and then over to Starbucks for a caramel macchiato. Opening the plastic bag, I took out the sandwich I ordered, which came with a bag of chips, and wrapped in a thin, paper napkin inside the plastic container containing the sandwich, was a spear of a pickle.

Most sandwich orders (in America, at least; well, save for Subway) include chips and a pickle. Usually if those items are listed on the menu, I say, no thanks. Most times, they are not, and it’s only after you’ve ordered, received, paid for, and eaten part of the sandwich, that you realize that the pickle is there. Sometimes it’s a whole pickle, but usually it’s just a spear, and usually a mushy spear. I don’t know quite where this tradition originated, but it was probably at a delicatessen somewhere in New York City.

I have mixed feelings about this.

First off, I have nothing against pickles. Yes, they’re high in sodium, don’t really have much in the way of nutritional value, and are about as close to the vegetable family as popcorn, but when pickled correctly, they can be tasty. I’m not too fond of sweet pickles, but dill pickles can be a nice snack once in a while.

But the juicy dill pickle is a far cry from the average deli pickle, which is usually mushy, gross, and tasteless. I am almost convinced that every sandwich shop just has a bucket of these awful, soggy pickles, just like every pizza place has the same tasteless salad, with huge tomato chunks too big to fit in your mouth and tiny shreds of carrots and red cabbage that either get stuck in your teeth, or, if you’re on the go, end up in your lap or on your shirt. Sandwich shops don’t even bother to present the pickles nicely; usually they’re wadded in either cling wrap or a soggy paper napkin.

Taking it out of the sandwich container with contempt, I contemplated what to do with it; eat it, or do something else with it? Eating it has its disadvantages, as I’ve stated above. There are a few things you can do with that undesirable pickle. You can throw it away, but like I previously stated in the plastic cup lid conspiracy post, that would be wasteful. Unlike the lid, this pickle is actual, edible food, so it makes the act a bit more wasteful. On the other hand, who would eat that pickle? If you have a friend that enjoys eating them, and they’re sitting at your table, then you’re in luck. If not, there are very few options. Waving it in the air and yelling “My pickle’s up for grabs!” will get you more than one blank stare, and may get you kicked out of the restaurant. You could always give it back, claiming that you didn’t order it, thereby getting it off your hands with a clean conscience, but somehow I think that it’ll end up in the garbage, even if it is still wrapped in plastic. Any way you slice, you’re either going to have to face that briny cucumber and make a decision that you can live with.

Anyway.

I unwrapped the pickle from its soggy napkin, some of which tore off and remained stuck to it, resulting in me having to peel it off with my fingertips. Trying to forget the sodium content and the bland taste, I sucked it up and sucked it down.

Wow, that is a terrible ending to a story.

Deli pickles are gross and should cease to exist.

But you can always have mine.

Take it.

Please.

1

What’s in the Box?

In my never ending pursuit of procrastination, so far today I have dropped off my parking space rental check, chatted with a friend at the department for an hour, gotten coffee at Memorial Union (where not only did I pick one wrong lid but after picking the right lid, I realized that THEY HAD ALREADY GIVEN ME A LID AND I HAD TAKEN IT OFF TO PUT IN SOME SUGAR AND SET IT RIGHT NEXT TO THE CUP), walked home and hung out with a friend, gone back out for Lao cuisine for dinner, ate (but in my defense, spent the whole time reading and came out with a paragraph), went to College Library to get a book (but in my defense, wrote two whole pages), then came home and talked to my dad for a while before watching Family Guy and doing today’s crossword puzzle.

So, obviously, it’s time for a story.

It was…well, I can’t tell you the year, as well as some other details in this story.

Wow, great start.

So this one time, I was working in the costume shop of one of the 43981058 universities that I have attended. I wasn’t on the payroll, just a volunteer, so I got kinda the random tasks, but I never minded because they were always fun. Out of nowhere, a bunch of boxes appeared. They were, apparently, “donations.” It wasn’t just one or two boxes; it was about five HUGE boxes full of stuff. My task was to sort through them and “put like things together.” All I was told was that it was the belongings of a recently deceased faculty member, donated by her son. I opened one box, and out came blouses and lots of t-shirts referencing Frankenstein. So apparently she was either an English professor, or had a weird obsession with the macabre. The next box had skirts and dresses, including a beautiful red chiffon cocktail dress that I immediately put on a mannequin so that everyone could see it in the morning. It ended up replacing a dress in the upcoming show (unfortunately not The Dress From Hell, aka a lightly stained baby-blue lace dishrag that was so old and decrepit but the director loved and insisted on putting on the tallest and prettiest girl in the cast, who looked amazing in it, but tore at least three holes from dancing in it every night, so that by the end of the run was more a collection of stitches than a garment) so that worked out great. I was having a good time.

The next box, I reached in, and pulled out…

A FISTFUL OF PANTIES. 

Yes. Panties.

Not only that, but pantyhose, leggings, bras, swimwear, and an ugly neon sweatsuit from the 80s.

But seriously, panties? Who in their mind would donate something to charity that you can’t even return to a store even with a receipt? Obviously, this lady’s son, or whoever packed and sealed the boxes. I sure hope they washed everything. Just typing that sentenced made me realize that…::gulp:: you know what, let’s just assume it was all clean.

The other three boxes were of no consequence.

Then, I found out who the clothing belonged to. I’m not going to reveal her identity, but she was a very well-known member of the faculty who was not only a professor in the English department, but at one point the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and one of the world’s leading experts on Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. And just for kicks, I googled her about thirty seconds ago, and…she even has a Wikipedia page. She’s a real person, as far as the world’s concerned.

And that’s how I got in the dean of my school’s underpants.

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Lids

Today, I woke up and got a cup of iced coffee before heading to campus.

Then, I went to campus, and having barely taken a sip, I left it on the floor of the classroom where I took my final exam, and then ten minutes later when I realized that I didn’t have it anymore, I went back to get it and there was already another class in there taking a final.

So I went and got another iced coffee.

At most coffee places, the cup sizes vary. The same can be said of a lingerie shop. Unlike Victoria’s Secret, however, to transport the goods more easily, a lid is helpful, whether the beverage is hot or cold. At good places – and Starbucks – the baristas give you a cup with a lid already on it. Just grab a straw and you’re good to go. However, life isn’t always this cut and dry. A good number of times you order a cup of coffee, you get just the cup and the drink inside it, leaving you to face…

THE LID TRAY.

Sitting among the pitchers of half-and-half and the multiple varieties of sugar packets, are a tray of carefully factory-formed circles that threaten you with a look. These…are the lids. In most cafes, the lids come in different sizes. This may seem like a simple task, but you will choose the wrong one every time. You reach for it, put it on…and it’s too small. Or too big. No amount of stretching or wishing can change its size. No amount of spatial imagining can allow you to pick the correct one. As you admit to your failure, you have two options to rectify the situation.

  1. Put it back. No one saw you, and your hand barely touched the thing, which only came in contact with that and the lip of the cup. Nobody will ever know the difference, you’ll take another and continue with your life. But wait…did a drop of your drink get on it that may not be identical to the next person’s drink? Did it touch any liquid residue on the counter? Did you attempt to put it on the cup but had unknowingly taken a sip at the register, therefore potentially transferring your germs? Fear not: there’s another option.
  2. Dispose of it. Toss that thing in the trash. It’s dirty. In fact, it never existed. But wait…it did, and since it’s plastic, it’s probably not recyclable and will be another piece of some out-of-state landfill that is plaguing our planet and slowly obliterating our ozone layer, thereby endangering the air we breather and that your children will breathe.

You only have two options. Both are equally painful, but it’s like a bandage – just rip it off and deal with it, because crying in front of sugar and stirrers is not the thing to do in public these days. Besides, they didn’t ruin your life – their artificially created, non-biodegradable friends did.

So, in conclusion, there is none. You will always fail.

Oh well, at least you have an iced coffee to cheer you up.

Until you leave it in someone else’s kitchen later that day, and then realize that you’ve been drinking from your waterbottle and you didn’t buy a coffee at all.