I asked my boyfriend what to blog about this week, and when he didn’t have any ideas, I probed further: 
  • Me: “What have I been yapping about lately?” 
  • Him: "Well, yesterday you were all about pooping, but I don’t think that’s a good blog topic.” 

Which leads me to this week’s blog topic: "I got 99 problems, but a poop ain’t one." Or "let's talk about poop, baby."

Let’s talk about poop, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good poops
And the bad poops that may be
Let’s talk about poop
Let’s talk about poop
Let’s talk about poop
Let’s talk about poop


Okay! Let's talk about it!

Pooping in public: Do it. Don’t hold it in. Just wait until the last minute, use the last stall, check for toilet paper and then poop. Also, courtesy flush to cover up noises.

Best public pooper in Vancouver: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The bathrooms are on the main floor, which is open to the public, and the stalls are completely private. Also, they have good toilet paper.  

Worst public poopers in Vancouver: City Centre Mall. I have seen poop on the walls above the toilets there. Also, Parallel 49 Brewery. Oh. My. Just disgusting. Trucker's wouldn't poop there. 

Poo smell cover-ups:
  • Best – light a match.
  • Worst – perfume. Because now your perfume smells like shit. 

Poop excuse to get off the phone: This comes from Tommy A, circa 1988, who told me the very best way to get off the phone with someone was to tell them you had to take a shit because: “What can they say, Shan – you gotta go when you gotta go.” This is pre-cell phone days, obviously, because now we can poop-n-chat. 

Poop thing people never admit: That they read while pooping. Except for this one couple who keeps all their magazines in a basket in the bathroom which led me to admit that I love pooping at their place because I got to read their trashy People/US Weekly mags. 

Funniest poop story I know: When I was about 10 and my bother 12, he took a huge log of a poop, a huge lumber jack’s arm of a poop, and it wouldn’t flush down.
  • My brother: What should I do, Shan? 
  • Me: Flush again?
  • My brother: I tried. Didn’t work.
  • Me: I don’t know, then.
  • My brother: Come look at it. 
  • Me: No!
  • My brother: It’s huge.
  • Me: How big can it be?
  • My brother: Come see.
  • Me: Ok.

For some reason, we were both immensely worried about this giant poop. Like wild animals, it was imperative that we hide the evidence. So, after some thought, we decided to get the big kitchen knife and cut it in half. Genius! But it still didn’t flush. In for a penny in for a pound, we cut it into smaller pieces. And when that still didn’t work, even smaller pieces until it finally flushed.

Success!

But then we had the gross poopy knife to deal with. Less success. I wasn’t washing it. He wasn’t washing it. We agreed to throw it out and feign innocence when asked about it (sorry Mum!).

Best poop book: The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his business. It’s a book filled with mystery and revenge and poop. : )

I asked my boyfriend to read this article and to let me know if I had forgotten any poop stories or ideas. He read it.
  • Him: That is so gross.
  • Me: What?
  • Him: The story about your brother’s poop.
  • Me: Ya. But it’s funny, right?
  • Him: Sort of. 

I hope everyone has a great poop today.

 
 

Walk a mile in my shoes
… and then shoot me in the back of the head.
… and bomb the city where I live with my family, friends, neighbours.
… and teach my child to hate.
… and steal my peace.
… and steal my future.

Walk a mile in my shoes
… and then tell me my feelings are irrelevant. 
… and tell me my belief is false because it is not your belief.
… and tell me how to raise my child.
… and tell me the way I suffer is trivial.
… and tell me my life doesn’t matter.

Walk a mile in my shoes and tell me you are more human than I am.




 
 
Picture
This guy's big headed.
There’s a lot of this talk: “If people like me, good; if they don’t, that’s their loss.”

It is? A loss, I mean. If you meet someone and you don’t like them, do you go home and write a sad entry in your diary:

Dear Diary, I met a real jerk tonight. I didn’t like her at all, yet I feel this void …

No. No, you don’t.

I agree with the first part – it is mostly good when people like you. But assuming it’s a loss if someone doesn’t like you is, frankly, a little narcissistic. Just a little big headed. Just a little you-centric. 

I think what we might want to say is this: “If people like me, good, and if they don’t, that’s okay, too.”

Right? Because it is okay if people don’t like me. Or you. Or that guy. It really is. And it’s not at all a loss for them.

And if you truly believe that their life without you is a lesser life, well, then you might lack a little self-awareness and empathy and you might be a little hypersensitive, so I can kinda see why people don’t like you. 

 
 
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Turtles are part of a balanced breakfast.
My boyfriend is a patient man. His chores include making coffee* and taking me seriously. It’s taxing, I’m sure. Especially when I wake up, roll over and, instead of saying normal things like good morning or asking how he slept, I ask: “Why do turtles live so fucking long?”

He looks at me as if to say seriously?
  • Me: “Seriously.” 
  • Him: “I don’t know. Cockatiels, too.”
  • Me: “Dinosaur throwbacks.” 
  • Him: “Yup.”
  • Me: “Do you think they get bored?” 

Because I would. And then he made coffee, which was a wise choice.

Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers, for example:
  • Me: “Why is pee yellow?" 
  • Him: “Something to do with the liver.”
  • Me: “Oh.” 

Because even though I always ask, I don’t always care. That’s a bit weird, I know. But I hope you are comfortable with that because I haven’t looked up the answers for this article. Lazy? Sure. I’ll take the blame, but how can we really know anything anyway (see below)?

Maybe you are thinking that by avoiding me in the morning hours, you can avoid this behaviour entirely. Wrong. It’s not always morning. It’s just always.

Recently on a walk home from a night of drinking:
  • Me: “Do you want to play Yahtzee when we get home?”
  • Him: “No.”
  • Me: “Not even a little? We can play a lightening round.”
  • Him: “No. What’s a lightening round?”
  • Me: “It’s super fun – ”
  • Him: “Never mind. It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to play.”
  • Me: “How can you be sure? You didn’t let me explain.”
  • Him: “I just know.”
  • Me: “But how can we really know anything?”

Silence. In this silence, I like to think that he was thinking something like: “Shannon is so smart. I enjoy how she goes from wanting to play boardgames to discussing philosophy. I love her so much.”

But probably he was thinking: “Oh god – I hope she shuts up.” 

I didn't. 
  • Me: “Seriously. How can we know anything? We can’t. Not for sure. We don’t even really know what knowledge is, never mind how we acquire it. We believe we know things. That’s faith, not knowledge.”
  • Him: “It’s late and I’m tired. I don’t want to talk about this.”
  • Me: “And for sure you don’t want to play Yahtzee?”
  • Him: “Yes. For sure.” 

Silence. And in that silence, I was desperately trying to remember a quote from Immanuel Kant about how silence provides meaning, but I could not. And the irony was completely lost on me at the time.

*Other mornings, the first thing I say to him is this: “Coffee doesn’t make itself, honey.” He never suffocates me with the pillows, either. Ever. It’s like a miracle.

 
 
I have a terrible search history. I could get arrested in some States (but not provinces, so I’m probably okay). Certainly fired. No kidding. If my company wanted cause to fire me (and being a smartass to everyone and telling awkward jokes to HR wasn’t cause enough), they need look no further than my Google search history.

Maybe you’re thinking: “Oh, you mean, like, because you look at Facebook and your personal email?” No. No, I don’t mean that. And, FYI, you are boring.

Maybe you’re thinking: “Porn. Were you looking at porn?” No. Not that. I’m not trying to get fired.

I was tricked, people. Tricked!

Get Fired 1
I’m at work talking to Alona about which clothing steamer might be the best for me to buy. Innocuous enough, no? Yes. Then along comes Bryan. He joins the conversation.

He helps: “Have you heard of the Cleveland steamer? I’ve heard it’s pretty good.”

So I looked it up. On my work computer. In the office. I typed Cleveland steamer into the Google search box and in less than a second a picture of a guy taking a shit on a girl’s chest popped up. Because that's what a Cleveland steamer is -- someone shitting on your chest. 

Get Fired 2
I’m at work talking to Andrew and Jaime about this cute video I saw on YouTube. It’s parents rapping about what it means to be a good parent.

It’s really cute, I say.

Wanna see it, I ask?

They do. But I can’t remember what it’s called, so I Google “parents rapping.” The first link that comes up is “how to rape your kids.”

What. The. Fuck. WTF?  

No. No, Google. Wrong, Google. Parents rapping. Not raping. That second P is integral to my intent and to any possibility of my running for office one day.

There is no Get Fired 3. I smarted up.
But Fired 1 and 2 are in my history now. Forever. In ten years someone could fire me for looking at people shitting on each other and wondering what might be the best way to rape kids. And the only thing worse than getting fired will be knowing there are people in the world who think I’m into that. Ugh.


Dear Bryan: I will get you back for that one day. Also, you are gross for knowing what a Cleveland steamer is. I guess I am, too, now. Love a sad, gross Shannon.

 

 
 
  1. Cats don’t understand pointing. You point at something and they smell your finger. I think that’s funny. 
  2. I think hugging is dope. This is scientifically proven. Or not. Whatever. Let’s not argue. Hug?
  3. Tricking people into believing a false story for no reason at all is fun. I just tried to trick someone into believing that a local school closed for the day because an ice-cream truck crashed into the gymnasium. Didn’t work. It’s hard not to laugh when being that ridiculous.
  4. The funniest joke I’ve heard in a long, long time is this: "What did the fish say to the actuary? You’re a loser." You had to be there. There was a stuffed fish involved. Also, I co-wrote it.  
  5. I both hate and like hot-dogs and it works like this: Hot-dogs are gross and have a weird, unappealing smell. I suspect they are made of floor sweepings from the meat factory, which includes rats, rat shit and factory worker DNA. But they taste good with mustard. See? 
  6. I want to plan my own funeral. There would be live music and delicious tapas and good wine. I would like it to be held on a boat. Every once in a while I think to myself: “Damn. I wish I could go.”
  7. I often think about whether Michael Jackson diddled those kids or not. I think not. But maybe he did. It’s weird that he spent so much time with other people’s kids. But it’s also weird that he had a chimp. It really bugs me that I’ll never know. 
  8. I think online dating is the bomb, and when I finally met someone, I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t shop for boys online anymore. 
  9. When I post strange FB status updates, I sometimes judge the people who “like” them. 
  10. My mother used to joke that she wanted to call me Shannon “Magic” Wand and I really, really wish she had. I also wanted glasses and braces when I was a kid. A lot. 
  11. My least favourite word is nostril. Who the fuck came up with that one? Nose hole would’ve sufficed. 
  12. Terrible outfits fascinate me. What were they thinking, you know?  
  13. We think it’s silly that people used to think that cameras were magic. But I think they kind of are. Especially Polaroids. Also, why would anyone use “roids” in part of their name?

FYI: I highly recommend making a list like this. It’s a great reason to drink wine. 

 

Grow up.

06/08/2014

1 Comment

 
What does it mean to be an adult? By law, it means to be a certain age. In the animal world, it means to be fully developed. But when talking to friends, the definition is much more convoluted. It seems to be less “to be” and more “to feel.” And as loose as the definition “to feel” is, the flexibility around being an adult makes the whole thing seem more a choice than a rite of passage.

Change is good.
When I was growing up in the 70s, I watched TV programs that explained what a grown-up was in the 50s. They were married, owned their own home, had secure jobs and had kids. That’s it. It was a very simple path and a very simple definition.

Like most things after WWII, life was boxed into manageable bits and the advent of the common TV brought on the advent of the consumer approach to being an adult – having things. The house, the car, the lawn mower, the spinning globe bar, the Tupperware, etc. But the things were all about home and family because the definition of adult didn’t leave a lot of room for deviation.

And then came the swinging 60s, the rocking 70s, the greedy 80s and so on until everything about our 50s-2.5-kids-lifestyle had changed. Both men and women are in the workforce, we’re over-educated, we’ve moved back into the cities, we don’t have to have kids (and we’re not), we’re divorced and we no longer define adulthood by marriage and bungalows. In fact, we no longer define it at all.

Feeling grown up. Sometimes.
Ask people now, and they will say being an adult is not about age or physical maturity. It’s certainly not settling down in your early 20s with a family in the suburbs. It’s more about how they feel when they perform adult-like activities: moving out, getting their first corporate job, paying their own bills. But like most feelings, they fluctuate between adult and other emotional states.

They can feel adult when paying the rent, but then feel like a kid when using their credit card or going out for drinks. They feel adult when getting to work on time, but then feel like a kid when they call in sick to go to a ball game. Adult today seems to equal adult-like things, which is a transactional approach and doesn’t help define what it means to be an adult, but rather just lists some of the things adults do. It’s more like pretending to be an adult to get the perks.

Or avoiding being an adult altogether, as I’ve learned from my 30- to 40-year-old friends. We seem to be afraid of being a grown-up. We have Peter Pan complexes. We have this pre-defined idea that being grown-up is boring: you suddenly have to wake up and go to bed early, eat fiber, do crossword puzzles and the scary bit – you have to have your shit in order. And a lot of us don’t. But the idea is based on that old 50s version of what it means to be an adult. 

It's okay to grow up.
It’s not so bad. I promise. It's actually one of my favourite things to be. That, and being slightly tipsy, driving fast and eating delicious food (not all together). You don’t have to have all your shit together. No one does. No one. After all, we are a work in progress. At no time are we done changing and growing.

Just this weekend, we changed our definition of what it means to be an adult. We started with a pretty basic, self-centered definition and developed a deeper, more profound definition.

In the end, we agreed that to be an adult meant you were capable and willing to take care of yourself and the immediate people and places around you. To be a great adult, you have to be responsible for more than just your immediate surroundings – you have to be responsible for the people and places in the world we all belong to. That means reading about, understanding and talking about what’s happening in the world – it means being responsible for more than your own backyard.

And for me, though we reached no consensus on this, it includes age. I don’t think we get to choose if we’re adults or not. I don’t think being an adult is a feeling. I think it’s a rite of passage, and I think it’s a right – one that we shouldn’t take for granted.  



Image credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-4I6eqC988z4/UGSRHMmyIDI/AAAAAAAAChc/avG6XVpwzuA/s1600/big+kid.jpg

 
 
I watched you on Sunday walking down the street with your two cute kids skipping along beside you. It was a warm spring day – the warmest yet this season – and everyone was out and about enjoying the sun and the fresh breeze. I watched you sip the last of your iced-coffee before tossing the plastic cup to the ground between two garbage cans.

I watched you watch the cup land on the ground. I watched you do nothing. And I thought: What the fuck? Who the fuck litters anymore? What kind of backwoods, redneck, hillbilly, under-a-rock-living inbred son of a bitch litters anymore?

You do. You with the two kids and the minivan majority sweater set and the excess income. You who threw your garbage on the street and walked into a goddamn jewelry store because sure it’s okay for the street to look like a filthy piece of shit, but momma's gotta get her bling.

And you. You with your bus fare jingling in your pocket as you struggle to peel the wrapper away from your prized ice-cream cone. You who shoved the icy treat into your mouth like it was your first French kiss. You who stood beside the garbage bin on an otherwise clean street and let the wrapper drift from your fingers to the ground like nothing happened. You, you piece of lazy, thoughtless shit, you.

And you. You with your finished cigarette remains flicked to the ground as you walk away not caring one tiny little bit about the dog that might eat it or that it can take up to 10 years for a cigarette butt to decompose. You who force your cigarette stench into our shared air, terrorize our medical care system with your sickliness, and still don’t have the decency to throw your debris into the garbage.  You, you smelly, inconsiderate bastard, you.

And you. You fast food eater. You who mash disgusting quasi-foodstuff into your mouth, wipe your slimy hands on your jeans, take a slug from your oversize soda and then let it all fall to your feet as you drift away into a caloric dream state where you don’t have Type 2 Diabetes. You, you fatty-artery-building future stroke victim, you.

For all of you, I wish that I could go take a steaming dump on your living room floor while you watch, and when you complain about what a pig I am, I’ll say: “What? It’s job creation.”

If you care so little for the outside world, dear litterbug, stay the fuck home. You are not welcome anywhere else.

Love, Shannon. 



Image credit: http://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Sea-litter-620x350.png


 
 
While I believe the world is mostly filled with good people, there are a number of jerks out there. There are corporate thieves, political bullies, violent offenders, racists, liars and day-to-day jerks who feel it’s totally okay to say whatever they want whenever they want to whomever they want.

I’ve met this last jerk many times (mostly walking down the street because I don’t have a car. I am entirely unsure whether or not I need one so I’ve signed up for car2go to see if I use it a lot and I’ve started to bore my friends on the topic, but I digress):
  • Walking down the street on a warm spring day. I pass a guy who says to me: “OMG, she’s wearing a scarf. It’s a million degrees out and she’s wearing a scarf.” And then he laughs. 
  • Walking to work in the drizzly rain wearing my UGG knock-offs and a woman passes me and says: “What an idiot – who wears UGGs in the rain?”
  • Walking along a busy downtown street with my mom and a dude starts mocking us: “Ohhh. Look at me! I’m a fancy lady. Look at me with my fancy clothes.” 
  • Walking down the street and a homeless guy asks if I have any change. I say: “No, sorry.” So he says: “What the fuck do you have to be sorry for, bitch?”

WTF?
How do we engage with these people? What are we supposed to do or say in these situations? Those of us with normal social skills are usually baffled by random acts of jerkness. 
  • We’re often scared and scuttle away out of harms reach. 
  • We sometimes take it on ourselves, and wonder: “What did I do to deserve that? Should I have given him some change? Maybe it is too hot for a scarf today?” 
  • Or we’re just so mystified that we wonder: “How do these people function in society? How are they allowed to have jobs and friends and to purchase items from stores?” 

Fuck ‘em
For the longest time, I was too afraid to say anything. But in the last few years, I’ve pretty much had it up to here (here = eyebrow level) with random acts of jerkness. I’ve seen it ruin people’s days. I’ve seen it scare people. It’s completely unfair.

I don’t feel sorry for these jerks. I don’t care if they are homeless. I don’t wonder what kind of childhood they had. I don’t give them a free pass because maybe they’re having a bad day. Don’t take your shitty life or day out on me.

So now, instead of walking away upset, I react. With confidence and volume, I say: “Fuck off!”

To the scarf and UGG commenters, I said: “Fuck off!” To the mocking dude, I said: “Fuck off!” To the guy who called me a bitch for not giving him my money, I said: “Fuck off!”

And guess what? It worked. In fact, when I told the mocking guy to fuck off, he turned in the other direction and walked away. Like any bully, once you stand up to them, they back down. It’s been so liberating! Granted I love to swear, so that always feels good, but it feels even better to stand up to random acts of jerkness.

If I could take the time to sit these jerks down and talk deep into the night about social skills and personal choice/responsibility, and if I thought for one second that this would work, I might try, but I don’t so I won’t. I’ll just keep telling them to fuck off in the hopes that they might.

Dear Mom: I will continue to scuttle away from truly scary people. Worry not. Despite wearing my fake UGGs in the rain, I’m not actually an idiot. : )

 
 
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CNN's world news page includes stories about Japan, India, China and, oddly, Nicole Kidman.
In the wake of the Solonge/Beyonce/Jay-Z media blast about an elevator scuffle, it might be time for us to reflect on what is and what isn’t worthy of being considered news and why the distinction is important.

Entertainment news = entertainment
Sure. Many people will say that entertainment news is just that – entertainment. They like to know where famous people went and what they wore and with whom they went when they went there. 
  • The pro entertainment argument: people want to know and therefore it is news. It’s just harmless fun. Besides, world news doesn’t impact them – they don’t need to know what’s happening outside of their respective backyards. (To these people I say: Have you heard of elective sterility? Try it!)
  • The con argument: It is harmful. It makes us feel like we’re keeping up with the news, when in fact we’re not. For example, we should probably know what’s happening to the people of Sudan rather than knowing anything at all about Honey-Boo-Boo. 

World news (real news) is of great relevance. As we increasingly become a global society, what happens elsewhere matters. In the same way the hipbone is connected to the knee bone, our political, cultural and business decisions are connected to the political, cultural and business decisions made in India, China, Greece, etc.

Entertainment news, on the other hand, does not impact our decision-making on any level – not global, local or personal. News about who kicked who in an elevator is not news. It’s just old-fashioned gossip and it’s boring and worse than that it’s a distraction from what really matters.

Entertainment news = distraction
A New Yorker article, Why We Don’t Believe in Science, stated (based on a Gallup poll) that “46% of adults surveyed believed that ‘God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years’ but only 15% agreed that ‘humans had evolved without the guidance of a divine power’.”

Problematic for sure, but more problematic is that these numbers haven’t significantly changed since 1982 when they began asking the question. Why is this important? Because it indicates that we are resistant to facts.

Andrew Shtulman at Occidental College led a study that was outlined in Cognition explaining why we’re so impervious to new information: “people are not blank slates, eager to assimilate the latest experiments into their world view. Rather, we come equipped with all sorts of naïve intuitions about the world, many of which are untrue.”

In another New Yorker article, Why Smart People Are Stupid, we can read that even intelligent people take mental short-cuts: “When people face an uncertain situation, they don’t carefully evaluate the information or look up relevant statistics. Instead, their decisions depend on a long list of mental shortcuts, which often lead them to make foolish decisions.”

So we’re dumb and lazy, then?
Yup. We’re dumb and we’re lazy. Essentially, it’s not enough to learn about new ideas; we have to unlearn previous ideas. And to do that, we have to expend time and energy, which we don’t want to do. We’d rather lean on our untrue but existing information than take the time to unlearn or learn. When given the choice, we watch entertainment news instead of really thinking about anything.  

We’re dumb, we’re lazy and we partly control the media.
The media has a responsibility, according to Wikipedia, “to work as a gatekeeper and instrument to disseminate necessary information." 

Unfortunately, the media works on viewership/readership numbers, so whatever we read and look at the most, we get more of. That’s good, though, right? That’s democratic, right? Wrong. The masses should not be choosing what is considered news. News content should not be based on a popularity contest. Why not? Because Nicole Kidman ends up on the front page of CNN’s world news page.

Do you see the problem now? The media is meant to educate and inform; not let us eat cake.  

If we’re impervious to new information, lazy to truly understand past information and we want more Honey-Boo-Boo, shouldn’t Honey-Boo-Boo be taken away from us? If our demand for entertainment news means Nicole Kidman is a main "world news" story, we’re fucked.

Have you guys seen Idiocracy? Watch it. It’s a comedy on what would happen if we let the average citizen take over. Here’s the write-up from IMDb: “Private Joe Bauers, the definition of ‘average American,’ is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.” It’s funny because it’s true. It’s also scary because it’s true.