Undeniable Proof that I Cannot be Funny on Purpose

I am a failure. At comedy.

Seriously, if I was a sitcom, no one would watch. Something about me just makes me un-funny. I try so hard. I know that you’re not supposed to try to be funny. But I do. Which makes it even sadder when I try to channel my inner David Sedaris.

I don’t know what it is about me. But here are some examples of my experiences that have taught me just how un-funny I am.

At a staff meeting:
At our staff meetings, which occur every Wednesday, I am usually one of the first to sit in my seat (which are not assigned, but we keep going back to the same ones every week). Someone will come and sit next to me, and then the next person, etc., etc., until we are all in our places. Before the meeting is called to order, someone will make small talk. I will react with a facetious clause that I know is HILARIOUS. And everyone will ignore me. Until the person sitting next to me says the exact same thing that I just said. The one that no one laughed at. And everyone will double over, guffawing with joy.

With my girlfriends:
I think that one of my biggest challenges is that my sense of humor tends to be depreaciative, so we’ll all be joking around over ice cream and coffee, laughing until our stomachs hurt with humor. Until one of us goes too far. And it’s usually me.

In the street:
I may be funny in the street. But it is not on purpose. Definitely not on purpose.  

Witty banter:
I really wish this was one of my strong suits. I love the english language so much that I wish I was able to cant and recant every statement with something full of hilarity. Give me a glass or two of wine, and I will be sure to knock your socks off with my intelligent remarks. And make you laugh with every syllable that slips…oh wait, what’s that?

You laughing. And it’s not with me.


Computer Blues

My lack of blogging for the past few days can partially be blamed on the weekend (hey, who says writing isn’t work!), a headache that I can’t seem to shake, and lots and lots of sleep (I never said that my excuses would be good ones!).

In reality, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection, including writing 8 pages of what I hope will be the beginning of a childhood memoir. Not about all of my childhood — who would want to read that! A memoir of the five summers I spent at camp, which I picture as something much more like a series of short stories interspersed with some rambling. Or that’s what it looks like it will be to me.

Hey, write what you know – right?

Anyways, I can’t see straight from looking at the computer all day, so I’m going to keep this short.

But I just wanted to check in to say hi. how are you?

The Space I’m In

Don’t you wish that our brains had a magic “off” button? One that you could just hit when you wanted to sit in silence and just be without the stream of thoughts rushing by? For some reason, my thoughts always take the persona of the New York Stock Exchange in Times Square — digitized digital words flying by faster than I can put them into sense. Digital is so much more…severe than analog.  Letters lose their curves; words lose their softness when they are forced to confine to boxes; pixellated particles of thought.

Sometimes, usually at the worst times, my brain just turns on and won’t stop – I can’t make the thoughts slow, or change, and as soon as I break one thought’s downward or side-ward spiral, another one takes over and sweeps me away again.

But aren’t my thoughts what separate me from my body? What forms the bridge between the two? Without them, would I be able to engage my body, ask it to move, or stretch, or breathe deeply?

For me, associating with my body is somewhat…painful. Difficult. Irritating, to say the least. For as long as I can remember, I don’t remember my body every really working the way it was supposed to work. Looking the way that it’s “supposed” to look. Fighting against illness the way that my mind wanted it to.

The challenges associated with my body led me to take medication that poisons it — it was working too well, fighting against itself. Failing to recognize the “good guys” from the bad, and putting up equal ammunition against both of them. The overachiever inside me given flight.

In reality, my body functions, albeit not at full capacity. It does what it’s supposed to do (slowly), absorbing nutrients, creating new cells, discarding waste, pumping blood, taking in oxygen, releasing carbon dioxide.

It does what it’s supposed to do.

But it doesn’t explain why my best friend, mother, and husband still need to stop me every once in a while to say, “Ani Lo Guf.” I am not my body. I am thought. I am air. I am something divine, taking up space in a protected shell. What I am does not have physical confines. If we could just take off our bodies like we do our shoes…..

It would all make sense.

The Torah tells us that Adam and Chava didn’t have skin or bodies the way that you or I do. They had light. Light covered by a sheer substance most clearly resembling our fingernails – but not adult fingernails. The soft, malleable, baby fingernails that bend and shine and reflect light. They didn’t require tissue and muscle and blood to keep the light in their eyes alive — they were souls wearing shoes made of translucent fingernails.

I’ve spent the past few days grappling with what it means to be a soul wearing a body. To dissociate myself from the size of my thighs or stomach and to realize that I need to feed my soul more than my body needs to be fed at the same exact time. And to feed my soul, I need to realize what it feels like just to occupy this space. To get to know my body from the inside out, rather than from the outside in. That looking in a mirror won’t teach me what it feels like to let the light leak out.

The Heart of the Matter

I have started to write two substantial blog entries and deleted them both. On purpose. Everything I try to write is coming out wrong today.

I spent a long time last night working on my manuscript – taking out entire lines of poetry, throwing entire poems into the trash. I have some more to add; things that were written after I compiled everything — but the truth is I’m not sure there’s a market for poetry anymore. I’m not sure that people want to learn or read or do poetry the way that they did before.

All the greats are gone – Vonnegut was the last of them, and the last to go. I’d like to picture him at a great table, somewhere with Hemingway, and Orwell, and Shakespeare, and Hunter S. Thomas, drinking mead and wine and doing shots of tequila, laughing at the nuances and language of today. Shakespeare, who penned so many of the words  we use today, created them just from their sounds — hearing people say things like, “LOL” and “GTG” – can you imagine? He’s probably thrilled he’s not here to see it – but laughing uncontrollably nonetheless. Waiting to see who will come up with the “next great idea.”

Many people describe my generation as the “Lost” generation, but the truth is that we should probably be called the “invented” generation. Children of baby-boomers who care about nothing more than money and cars – driving fast, dying young, devaluing the dollar, the law, and life itself.

A reality I live every day at the job I do is about the insane amount of young people who take their lives as a result of the constant tormenting they face every single day at school, on the computer, and at home from their parents. NJ Governor Chris Christie just signed a bill to enforce support groups for young people contemplating suicide, and all I can think about are the kids that were killed because they were hated. The kids that didn’t want to die – and the kids that kill themselves anyway.

I know that there’s so much to blame, but I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of generous stimuli surroudning us 24 hours/day and a lot of it has to do with the lack of imagination young people have today. There’s no need to want anything. Kids don’t need to play with refridgerator boxes anymore — there’s an app for that. Don’t have to build using wood blocks because they can build houses and roofs and community centers on the computer. They can create false realities and identities and actualize them using the computer.

And I can’t even think of characters to put into a damn novel.

I don’t know if I have it in me to write fiction. So much happens in the world surrounding us on a daily basis, and while I love to jump into a novel and escape from the world – I don’t know if I can create my own. I was always told to “write what I know” – but if I’m not sure if I even know anything…where does that leave me? A blank sheet of paper?


my current dilemma

About one month ago, I left facebook. I hit delete, and never looked back. I also hadn’t blogged in all of November or December, and didn’t think about how my lack of facebook-ery would cause my blog’s traffic to deplete to almost nothing. In fact, in the past four months, I have had less blog traffic than I had in one week in August. I blame Facebook.

The first two days after I deleted my account were brutal. Every morning, I’d get to work and open two tabs in explorer – gmail and Facebook. For days, my routine was disrupted as the withdrawal commenced. I’d open gmail, open a new tab, and I swear the keys started to type http://www.faceb– before I’d frantically hit the backspace button. I broke out in a cold sweat when my laptop signed me in and I had to re-delete my account. But I did it; which means I was really serious, right? I didn’t just delete facebook once, I did it twice! I was committed to living life away from the computer screen – from breaking the shackles of stalkery! Over time, it got a little bit easier. Yesterday, I even wrote a personal email to a friend because we’d mainly communicated via facebook messages previously. And it felt good.

Until I looked at my blog stats.

I have had 11 visitors in the past 48 hours, and assuming that 4 of those visitors were the same person (thanks, mom!) I’ve had a pathetic 7 visitors who still care to remember that I’m still here in the blogosphere.

So what do I do? Do I go back and SWEAR not to check, just to let my blog update my status? Do I link to Jonathan’s facebook so that people will still know I’m here? Or do I just keep trucking, and hope that people catch on to my words?

Will my blog be the catalyst that will make me crawl back with my tail between my legs? If I really want to write when I quit my job, I need traffic. So maybe I can buy my own domain, and start to make money from this little experiment. But it’s a double-edged sword! If I’m on facebook, I’ll spend more time stalking my ex-friend’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s favorite kind of potato chips than I will on my blog, right?

I’m voting against FBO (Facebook official), because Facebook and I have officially ended things, and I’m determined not to go back! Help my blog get traffic before I get desperate!


No sooner did I commit to the pen than it dissapointed me. I have just spent the better part of an hour talking to support people from www.bluehost.com, the domain host I used (and paid for) for over two years to breathe life into my old blog, www.indulgentgirl.com (don’t even try to click on it; it will break your heart just as much as it broke mine.)

It’s all gone. Everything is gone. Remember the old adage that our parents, sorority and fraternity advisors, and employers spew at us? Once it’s on the internet, it’s there to stay? Well, the entire contents of my blog have been wiped from the interface. They are absolutely and completely gone – lost in cyberspace, never to return.

I know I sound dramatic, but I had some really good stuff on that blog. Stuff that I’d really like to read to give myself perspective about my “being a slave to the pen” mindset that I’m trying really hard to give in to. Stuff that may make me want to write. But there’s no going back.

The frummie in me wants to say “Gam Zu Letova” – it’s all for the best – maybe there’s something on that blog SO embarassing I would be humiliated if people had access to it once more – maybe something that would make me sad. I know both are true. My blog annotated the ups and downs of my life, living situation, and relationships. I wrote an entire entry in yinglish (Yiddish-English) just to prove that I could. I published laundry lists, grocery lists, and bucket lists on it. I loved that blog because it helped me commit to write again. It helped me grow personally, professionally, and emotionally. I got fired from google because of it (who knew that just writing “google” ruined my chances of hosting ads!?) But what I had was beautiful. It was a short-lived love affair between me and the computer, and it’s gone without a trace.

CALLING ALL COMPUTER GEEKS! There has to be some way to recover my work, right? If not, calling all writers — any advice?

Scratching Ink-Notes

Something happened on Friday. Something that jolted me out of a type of slumber I’ve been zombie-ing in, something that made me want to reach for a pen and to just purge my thoughts from my mind.

Something happened.

I started stringing words together in my head again — I started plucking them out of the depths of my mind — words about words, and about dictionaries and thesauruses and words that made me giggle just because of the way that they sound.

The truth is, I’m going to be leaving my job soon — at the end of February, to either take a break from work to focus on class (if I get into UPenn) or to get ready to go to Israel. And I think I’m going to try to substitute teach for those few months in-between, but I think that more than that, I’m taking off to write. I’m going to write like I used to – force myself to do exercises and just make the words flow.

I just read The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, and while I’m a little bit uncomfortable when authors write autobiographical works about people who cannot speak for themselves, McLain’s novel was well-researched and beautifully written, and it made me want to write. And any book that makes me want to write is worth reading over and over again.

Writing, for me, used to be a kind of addiction. I used to carry a notebook and pen everywhere and even if I never wrote in it, I always felt better knowing it was there if I needed it. Because lines of prose and poetry are fleeting — they soar into my brain one second and if I don’t jot them down (like I didn’t on Friday), they disappear and only reappear later, and only sometimes. Existing apart from writing is painful, and I’m not sure if I like what it makes me.

So I pulled out my manuscript. I needed to remember the poetry and I still can’t believe that it’s mine. Reading one poem took me back to the firehouse where I read it to an entire room of people and only saw Jonathan. Took me back to laughing and choking on crackers in my favorite teacher’s classroom as he tore apart my work.

It’s so interesting to read about who I used to be. The me that’s still inside, somewhere; the poems about my best friend as our frienship fell apart; the love I had with Jonathan. I thought it was so desperate. I thought I needed him so badly. Now – the type of love we share is so much more…real. It’s more mature and developed and old and comfortable. And so much more desperate. Like if he wasn’t anymore I would cease to exist. There is no me without him anymore and just the thought of that makes my stomach flip upside down and turn in circles in a delirious delicious flood of emotion. I never knew that kind of desperation could be good. I thought that it would mean I was weak. Unsubstantial. But since Jonathan is the one that makes me real, it only makes sense.

And it makes me want to write again.