Gypsy Games

Red Flavor

Hello! Did you miss me? Sorry I’ve been gone for so long, my world imploded and I was hiding in the bunker with bottled water and SpaghettiOs (Hi, Mom!). But the clouds parted, the sun came out, and I’m finding my sea legs. Don’t get too excited, I still have a full plate of deadlines, but I promise not to go dormant again…

That said, follow along if you can—since I haven’t had enough coffee and there’s a good chance this could ramble all over hell! See today’s image? What flavor is that? Can’t tell from the color can you? Yeah well, with that particular color, you sometimes can’t tell with your tongue either. When it comes to treats: purple is grape, yellow is lemon/banana, green is lime, and red is, well, red. And I’ve been referring to it as that for as long as I can remember.

But green does have a flavor, right?

So #bestbossevah is the reason for this week’s post. My boss is a smart ass. A loveable smart ass, but a smart ass nonetheless, and he knows it. Whenever I’m stopping on the way to work I text and ask if he needs anything, smokes for him, donuts for the crew, whatever. Lately, he’s been on this kick. When there’s nothing he needs he responds with things like “sunshine” (sure, I’ll see if it’s on sale) or his new favorite “world peace.” Yesterday, after getting “world peace” constantly lately, I was a smart ass back and replied with “what flavor?” To which he, in true smart ass fashion, responded “green.” Which—after I shook my head, giggled and flipped off yesterday morning’s bad driver of the day winner—got me thinking off and on during the day.

My family assigns flavors to things that don’t have flavors. We ask people for flavors instead of favors. We’re slightly demented, but that’s ok, because normal is boring as hell. Still with me? Ok.

Maybe it’s only my family, but I’m pretty sure there are more crazy people on the planet than just us, so since it’s Thursday and I have coffee, it must be coffee talk, garage talk, hmmm I need a new one, how about gypsy games? This week, let’s play with flavor. Do you assign flavors to things that don’t have a flavor? Like what? And if you don’t, for the purpose of this post, please do. Twist your imagination and sanity for a moment and let me know: what flavor is world peace? 

Off the top of my head, I have one that I use a lot. Forever tastes like strawberries.

Your turn… Let’s see what kind of insanity is in the group of people that read this =)

 

Suck my WHAT?

Yeah yeah, I know it’s Monday. But I don’t have a pithy anything for this week. Between #LS deadline and promising myself not to have any more nervous breakdowns online (with apologies to all those that have had to experience that freaking joy), I’m sharing this instead. It’s more of a Thursday question post, but I don’t care…

The radio station I listen to on the commute to work has dual purpose. First, it plays the music I prefer 99.9% of the time. Second, the DJs are insane and I adore them for it… and often bring home stories they’ve shared (i.e. the old man stuck to the shower chair that some of you were told about).

Saturday’s amazingly awful story turned into a comedy routine when the Hippie was asked to imagine the scenario with a handful of our shared friends. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself… First the story:

Two male friends were in the Australian outback on vacation. One dropped his drawers to relieve his bladder… and was promptly bit on the ball sack by a poisonous snake. *waits for the boys to stop wincing* His friend refused to suck the poison out…*

When I shared this, the Hippie entertained the hell out of me while I tossed different friends at him and he tried to imagine not just the outcome of “would you suck out the poison?”, but the conversation that would go with it. Which turned into giggling hysterically over the game of choosing two other friends to be in the situation (“ok, ok…. Tomo and Coop?”) and deciding whether the bitee was going to live or die because the other would or wouldn’t suck the poison out, and the exchange of words and reactions that would take place.

When the giggling finally died down, he asked me to answer. And that turned into a surreal conversation filled with more tears of laughter. At one point we wondered if it was better or worse that as a female there were still people I wouldn’t save simply because of where the poison that needed sucking was located. So it’s not a male-only kinda question, girls, and you can answer too!

You and a friend are in the Australian outback when this happens. Help, hospitals, etc., are too far away to help…

  1. If you’re bit, do you ask them to suck the poison out?
  2. If they’re bit, do you suck it out when they ask?
  3. If they’re bit, do you suggest it if they can’t bring themself to asking you to do so?

Run this scenario through your head with several friends. Start with your nearest and dearest and work your way out from there. Be the bitee and the suckee. Try to keep a straight face…

Answer on here if you want (I’ll never say no to free entertainment), or just giggle your way through Monday humdrum at work, while you walk past people at the office and imagine them in this situation. You may love and adore and be willing to “take a bullet” for ______, but are you willing to suck poison out of their balls?

*end of radio story: after much arguing about it, the guy tossed the snake-bit buddy into the truck and hauled ass to the nearest hospital (a bazillion miles away). They made it “just” in time and the guy lived… with one helluva vacation story.

Count to three

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
~ Dr. Seuss

I’ve been gone. I know. I apologize. And of course I pick the week of Xmas to pull up my big girl britches. So rather than throwing a question out on Thursday this week, and risk it getting lost in the weekend rush of Santa & Satan, we’re going to do it early… welcome to Garage Talk, Coffee Talk, the-questiony-thing-I-post-on-Thursdays-that-I-need-to-rename-again. (Yes I’m taking suggestions!)

“How are you?” Dumbest question ever. Period.

No one really wants to know the truth. They neither want nor expect to hear, “I lost my job, my kid was expelled from school and my husband has been diagnosed with early onset knufflebunny.” No. They want to hear, “Great! How about you?”

Not only is that what they want to hear, it’s all we’re usually willing to offer. We downplay the things going on in our world, out of shyness or restraint or shame or whatever, until it boils over the edge, and then we spew to friends or family about everything that was really running through our heads when asked, “How are you.” (It’s not run-on Jack. It’s long and complicated to show excitement and/or frustration)

So let’s play a game. We’ll call it “How are Were You, Truthfully.” It’s kind of like “I Am”, but this time it won’t be five pages. This time it won’t be pretty flowing sentences and the opportunity for metaphors. This time it’s short and sweet. This time it is a list and nothing more.

The challenge: For each year of your life, choose 3 words that define what you were or felt that year. Count to three. (No more. No less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.) If you don’t remember a year, skip it. For a visual, it should look something like this:

7. scared. confused. secretive.

11. nervous. untrusting. excited.

17. depressed. lost. angry.

The point is to think back. Remember when you were X. Recall the events and people important enough or whom had enough of an impact for you to remember them now. You’ll be surprised how you jog your memory doing this. And in the end, after you’ve thought about that year, choose three words to describe it.

Just three little words.

As usual, you may share with the class if you choose, but this is really for you—to create a bullet point of your life, before you get old and forget it all…

 

 

Say… Something!

Boy’s are dumb. No. Wait. Not that I’m wrong, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

I’ve been watching a lot of silly chick flicks lately for research and I’ve have found myself yelling the same thing to the screen over and over. And it occurred to me that perhaps a blog was in order. I mean, why not? It dreary outside, my cough is bruising the hell out of my ribs, and I can’t seem to locate an address for Murphy—so I can give him shaken baby syndrome. Thus, you all win. Let’s start with this…

Dear men of the planet: life is not a chick flick! Do not, I repeat, do not do what they do in these movies. They had writers and test audiences. They had dress rehearsal and script changes. You get one shot.

But I know boys. I’ve spent my life hanging out with them and shaking my head at them when they ask me what to do and then ignore what I tell them. Psst… boys? Are you listening? I’ll give you a little tidbit. You can choose to listen or ignore it, but don’t come bitching at me if you ignore it and what you chose to do instead doesn’t work.

So the scene that I keep yelling at? Yes, let’s explain that one! In every single one of these movies the boy hurts the girl and the girl walks away. That’s not the problem. That’s not even the mistake. The mistake came before that scene. Caused that scene. But people are human, they make mistakes. It happens. Shit happens. And even a shoe smeared with the smelliest dog shit can be cleaned. Forgiven.

That’s where the mistakes happen—forgetting that things can be forgiven. In every one of these scenes the camera shows the boy’s face, the girl’s face, and you hear or somehow know one or both of their thoughts, their desire to turn back around. She can’t. Sorry, I can’t explain that one to you—characters may turn and run into your arms, but real life women will not. They can’t. Oh, they want to, trust me on that, but they can’t. It’s weakness. It’s caving. It’s forgiving without it being earned.

And therein lies the mistake. The boy. The dumb boy. See, now I can say that. I’ve looked at those scenes. I’ve thought about every relationship I ever walked away from. And ninety-nine percent of the time, if the boy had grabbed the girl’s arm and turned her back. Fought for her. Showed her he cared. Rather than letting her walk away… she would have cried and smiled and wrapped her arms around him and forgiven everything in a moment. Because he didn’t take no for an answer. Because he fought not only her need for the strength created in walking away, but his own stubbornness and fear to show weakness. He made the effort she needed to see. Which he then of course follows with whispered apologies and full explanations and promises of never doing it again and following through on those promises by showing not telling, complete honesty and love in the form of actions rather than words.

But they never do…

So tell me, oh stupid boys of the planet, how many times have you let her walk away? Now you get to sleep wondering which of those were the ninety-nine percent that would have cried and smiled and wrapped their arms around you.

Of course, please remember, this advice is only good if you hurt her. Wounded her heart, broke her soul. If you pissed her off… well, then you’re on your own. And I highly suggest a boombox outside the window for starters.

Rejection

As a writer, I was told a million times by others around me—and as I climbed the ladder, I turned and told another million behind me—one thing over and over again: learn to love rejections. Get them. Earn them. Take from them what you can. Move on. Because (say it with me kids…) they’re just one person’s opinion.

And while it’s true, it strikes me that by the time we’re old enough (read as brave enough) to submit something to be rejected, we should already be fully aware of what that feels like and how to handle it.

We’ve experienced rejection in a number of ways throughout our adolescence, let alone lifetime. Rejected at that school dance by the dreamy girl/guy we’d been eyeballing all night. Rejected for the pep squad or cheer leading or drama try-outs. Rejected by the cool kids, the smart kids, or in some cases, all the kids. Rejected from who knows how many colleges you applied to, or jobs you interviewed for, or people you attempted to hit on in any variety of locations (notwithstanding really bad pickup lines in bars which deserved rejection, if not pointing and laughing, and/or slapping). I mean really, think about it. If you had to count how many times you’ve been rejected (outside of writing/submitting or similar masochisms) you may be surprised when you really think about it.

They didn’t kill us. We’re still here. Scars sometimes shown off for cool points and other times hidden underneath like trackmarks hidden by longsleeves—what people don’t see they won’t know, right? But you’re still here. Rejected or not. And, well, it also happens to be thursday. That’s right, there it is… garage talk.

So, tell me about the worse rejection you’ve dealt with—whether real life or writing. I took a few real life rejections a bit hard this week and could use it, so give me a pick-me-up. Make me laugh. Make me groan in empathy. Tell me about the job you moved crossed-country for and didn’t get. Tell me about the girl you gave up everything for only to find out she didn’t like you “that way.” Tell me whatever you’ve got, big or little, they’re all rejections and they all count. And yes, left at the altar is an automatic winner. Cuz damn…

 

How the Leopard got its Spots

Tigers die and leave their skins;
people die and leave their names.
~Japanese Proverb

My whiteboard is a hot mess right now. Sure it’s a lot of deadlines, but I’m excited about every one of the stories. I love seeing how it unfolds. I love watching characters come to life.

But I hate naming characters.

Which got me to thinking. It’s just like choosing a name for your kid. You’re going to brand its personality and attitude if you call it Wilfred instead of Mark. You’re going to make it the first permanent thing attached to the child and everything that comes after will be in the shadow of that name.

But parents have nine months to argue and debate and buy silly books full of too many names to choose from and answer phone calls from relatives that want the baby named after them or their best friend from high school. And authors? We’re on our own for the most part. Oh sure, I’ve thrown a white flag out on twitter or facebook for names to use, but that was never for main characters.

And there’s the bread crumb for the day… you are not a sidekick. You are your own main character. So hey, how about we grab a cup of coffee, go to the green couch in the garage and you tell me a story! Where did you get your name? (Me? Several doctors told my mother I was twin boys. She spent nine months naming me… only to have “surprise!” force its way into the world without a penis, let alone two. My name was decided on the spot due to my birthdate and heritage.)

That’s right. That’s it. Simple garage talk question this week… maybe. Because I’m betting some of you might not know where your name came from and you’ll have to ask. You may learn a funny story. You may find out you were almost named Moondust or Poppy. And you’ll smile and laugh and have a new part of you to color in the name you walk around with.

Now scoot… go ask if you don’t know and then come tell me. If you know, start spilling!

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Altoona, PA

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