February 27, 2014 § 22 Comments
See, when you have money, you have options. The world is your oyster. You’re the one calling the shots, making the decisions, setting the course. Not fate or circumstances or need. You. Because you, my friend, are free — not trapped in a crummy job taking all kinds of crap.
Now, there are legions of well-intentioned, well-meaning people who will argue that you can’t buy happiness; that’s a falsehood. Oreos make me happy and I can buy those by the bagful. Often at a discount with double coupon savings. Happiness is indeed for sale, everywhere you look.
It may not be the kind of deep and fulfilling pleasure you’ll find in a good marriage or a rewarding career or an altruistic life, but fleeting, superficial happiness still counts as happiness. Even if it didn’t, wouldn’t piles of money provide for a pretty comfortable misery? I believe it would and I’m prepared to test the theory as soon as I find an investor, someone with the resources of, say, Mark Zuckerberg and the judgment of Homer Simpson.
To quote Dorothy Parker, ‘I’ve never been a millionaire but I just know I’d be darling at it.’ Truth be told, I’d probably be darlinger as a billionaire. Although darlingest as a zillionaire. Hey, I know, let’s find out how much it takes to make me darling. A million? A billion? A zillion? A swanky beach house in the Seychelles? A Rolls Royce Phantom? The family size Double Stuff Oreos? What?
Please send a big, fat check to me, Lisa, at publikworks. In return, I’ll send you a lovely, sincere thank you note, handwritten and everything — suitable for framing. I’ll include pictures of me being darling at posh, luxurious locations around the globe. Aw, heck, I’ll throw in a free publikworks t-shirt besides.
Because if there’s one thing of which I’m certain, it’s this: being broke is a drag. And I’m beginning to suspect part-time, minimum wage gigs aren’t the road to riches we’re being told they are. Quelle surprise, eh?
Copyright © 2014 Publikworks
February 14, 2014 § 6 Comments
February 11, 2014 § 27 Comments
Everyone who’s anyone has a Word of the Year. Oxford Dictionaries has selfie ¹. Merriam-Webster picked science ². The American Dialect Society went with because ³. Somewhere in there, an unknown entity called the Global Language Monitor (GLM) piped up with their selection: 404.
Okay, bzzzzzzzt, that’s incorrect. 404 isn’t a word, it’s a number. And if you can’t tell the difference you should be disqualified from participating. Who let those people in, anyway? We need to set some standards. Until we do, every Tom, Dick, and Harry will toss out words in a shameless bid for media attention.
Me, for instance. And why not? I’m just as qualified as the GLM people. No, I’m more. I can spot the difference between a word and a number like that, snap. Plus, I have a lifetime of experience with words. I know body language, too, but wouldn’t nominate the extended middle finger for Word of the Year. Since it’s not a word (although it does speak volumes).
Come to think of it, I’m a little suspicious of science in that role and I’m not entirely sold on because. There’s nothing new or inventive about either one. Science is science; the meaning hasn’t changed. Usage hasn’t changed. The fact that more people looked up the definition doesn’t make it interesting or unique. So, since this is my post, I’m disqualifying science. It’s gone, outta there. As for because, probation for now. Selfie can stay, a legitimate choice in my opinion.
Want to know my nominee for Word of the Year? I don’t have one, I love so many. There’s quark and petard and dingleberry, apricity and fiduciary, kerfuffle and Pooterish and louche, demimonde and a zillion more. Pick one? No can do, Bub.
Here, I’ll tell you what word I absolutely loathe. Utilize. I hate it. When that term pops up in conversation, my eyes roll and the fancy talker gets all offended and huffy. Well, sorry, I can’t help myself, you pompous doofus.
Utilize — see, there go my eyes, a full circuit — ought to be stricken from the lexicon. People should be fined for uttering such a pretentious, feeble, overblown term. It’s totally unnecessary. What’s the matter with ‘use’? Huh? Is that not good enough anymore? Not la-di-da enough? Please. Simple is more eloquent than complicated. Every time.
This unfortunate trend toward the senselessly verbose must be stopped. Far too many twenty-dollar words are being thrown around when a ten-center would do just as nicely. And usually by somebody trying to sound like a scholar. With their memes (style) and tropes (figure of speech) and paradigms (model) and dystopias (think Chernobyl).
Adding extra syllables is another irksome development. Preventative, instead of preventive. Orientated, instead of oriented. Connotated, instead of connoted. Come on, what does that get you? Nothing but a longer, more complicated word. Connotated isn’t even a word, but I heard some Poindexter use it on, of all places, NPR. I wasn’t impressed with his improvisation. In fact, his misstep made me distrust everything he’d said — before and after.
You know what we need? Word Police, a mighty platoon enforcing the rules with clear-eyed, impartial vigilance. And for folks who mispronounce the words they throw around with such cavalier abandon? Five years of vocabulary rehab. No plea bargaining, no reduced sentence, no time off for good behavior. Case in point: it’s specifically, not pacifically.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fussbudget. I take my share of liberties, big, fat ones. I like breaking rules and creative usage and all that. I like how the Internet and digital technology are changing things with new words, such as squee, vom, tweeps, binge-watch, srsly, and apols. I love those. They keep language interesting and fun. Curiously, though, I’m not a fan of buzzwords, such as epic and out-of-the-box and big data. They’re yawns.
You want to look smart? Buy some eyeglasses. You want to sound smart? Avoid talking like a thesaurus.
Copyright © 2014 Publikworks
¹ Usage was up an impressive 17,000%.
² Lookups increased by 176% in 2013.
³ No longer needs to be followed by ‘of’ or a full clause.
February 6, 2014 § 14 Comments
All right, already. Enough with the misery. Seven inches of this white crap came salting out of the sky last weekend — mere days ago. Now it’s back for another go, with ten more inches (if you believe the weather forecast, which I flat-out refuse to do) and more subzero temperatures. I’m living in a damn snow globe.
But that’s not the worst part. Oh, no, The worst part is: work was canceled. I can’t believe I said that, but it’s true. I’d rather have been at work, sorting screws or stuffing envelopes. Instead, I was trapped inside with the human equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Her name is Betty. You wouldn’t like her.
She lives in the apartment above me and spends her day — 22 ½ hours of it, anyway — in an old, broken down recliner. Except she’s not reclining. She’s squirming and grinding, writhing and wriggling, thrashing and shifting. ¹ I’m guessing she has worms or else lap dancing.
I’ve seen the woman, so my money is on worms. Picture a Sneetch or maybe a character from The Far Side; someone short and pear-shaped with strangely bent hair and a perpetually startled expression. That’s her, every man’s dream. Just ask her ex-husband, a dashing gentleman in his own right, who lives next door to me. Can you believe my luck?
He can’t keep his hands off her. They would rendezvous in her recliner and, oy, the noise was enough to make my ears bleed. I longed for deafness. I stuffed my ears with cotton balls and earplugs and thumbs; covered them with headphones; buried my head under pillows. Nothing blocked out the cacophony, not the vacuum cleaner or the shower, not my weeping nor my wailing,
Finally, after a year, the ex was forced to curtail his visits. Undaunted, Betty soldiers on alone and the racket continues unabated. She doesn’t sleep. She doesn’t leave. She just twists and wiggles and shimmies.
I’m bleary-eyed and loopy from the lack of sleep, sure, but the real victim isn’t me; it’s the recliner. There should be a law prohibiting that kind of abuse. Furniture can’t fight back; it can’t protect itself from the indignities visited upon it by thoughtless, inconsiderate louts.
That’s our Job, America. Yours and mine. Write to your congressional representative (speaking of thoughtless. inconsiderate louts) and let’s put an end to this senseless cruelty once and for all. Thank you.
Copyright © 2014 Publikworks
¹ There’s no physical or medical cause for these gyrations. None. I asked. Two previous tenants complained about the noise and were eventually relocated. Countless others have chosen to simply up sticks altogether. The lucky bastards.
January 27, 2014 § 12 Comments
I know, because my shoes are the same way, the tread is dotted with bits and shards and slivers of common, everyday road salt. And I don’t need a jeweler’s loupe to tell the difference. I’m an expert; all I need is the naked eye. I must’ve pulled billions of sharp, pointy nuggets out of my shoes in the past couple of months. Heck, it’s my new hobby.
No longer slick or smooth-soled, my loafers have turned into golf spikes. Seriously. After a short walk from the car, they’re studded with salt and have the grip of Velcro with the traction of snow tires. Heck, I could navigate icy, mountainous terrain with sure-footed ease. While that’s nice outside, it’s treacherous indoors. My feet snag on carpets and rugs and I stumble over nothing. People think I’m drunk, which is better than stoopid, I suppose.
My entire world is bespangled; it sparkles like a diamond mine. Sidewalks and roadways glitter, parking lots are starry firmaments, winking and glinting like nobody’s business. It’s unsettling; all those glowing, blinking pinpoints make me feel I’m being watched. Look away, I mutter, scram, shoo. But they don’t.
Folks have gone crazy with the salt this year, using no restraint whatsoever. If it’s on the ground, we pelt it with salt. Bombard it. As a result, everything is stained with those awful white rings until it’s as desiccated and pale as sun-bleached bones. Life here resembles a colorless, joyless Georgia O’Keeffe painting, the one with the cow skull.
This is what happens when otherwise reasonable people are assaulted (no pun intended) day after miserable day with a harsh and unsparing winter. We throw things at it, to make it go away. But our strategy isn’t working. Nothing’s working in these sub-zero temperatures. The ice doesn’t thaw, the snow doesn’t melt, the temperature doesn’t rise. Still, we don’t stop. No, sir. We just throw more and throw it harder. Road salt is hope, it’s our only weapon.
Unless, wait, how about Tabasco? Or, ooh, wasabi. Hey, duh, why not try pepper? No, I’ve got it … jalapeños … !? And an antacid in the spring.
Copyright © 2014 Publikworks
January 20, 2014 § 8 Comments
Granted, no one’s chasing me with a stick, but give it time. That will be next in the cavalcade of misfortune. Right now, though, I have my hands full with the newest calamity: a flooded apartment. A stoopid pipe burst, boosh, and water rolled in like the tide. What pipe and why it exploded are strangely murky, I’ve heard conflicting accounts.
What’s clear is the fact I’m cursed. I am, I’m bedeviled. I don’t know who put the whammy on me, but they did a bang-up job. Really top-notch. It’s been one setback after another for nine long years: I’ve had two lay-offs, one health crisis, a financial meltdown, a broken arm, a car accident, eye surgery, a protracted and unrelenting blog funk, the polar vortex — well, you get the point.
Jumping Jehoshaphat, give me a break.
This latest mischance was fairly subpar, as adversities go. There was only minor damage, with the most troublesome aspect being the chaos. I hate chaos, it’s my bête noire. I like order, tidiness, but that’s in very short supply. Nothing is where it should be, things lie strewn about in piles and stacks and heaps, instead — atop counters and tables and couches, my version of higher ground. Heck, just finding clean socks requires an expedition, a tedious dig through layers of clothes and books and dvds and papers and linens …
Then there’s the ambience. The place has the atmosphere of a locker room: humid and damp. My shoes squeak and squelch on the spongy carpet. The walls are sweaty. The windows are opaque with condensation, but that has its advantages, you know? I can’t see the crusty snow or the stark, blackened trees outside. Winter is mercifully blotted out. That, my friends, is a silver lining.
Truthfully, I got off easy. Since I’m a minimalist (read that as poor), there wasn’t a lot of paraphernalia lying around to get waterlogged. I kept shoes on the floor, of course, but big deal. They survived. My computer, thank goodness, was high and dry on the drawing board. That was lucky — a rarity in my world. My cell phone, the television and dvd player, my portfolio and important papers, all unharmed. Books, for the most part, were unscathed.
I lost a digital converter for the television, some luggage, a backpack, but nothing important or valuable. Until I noticed the battered and scuffed leather suitcase that had belonged to my grandfather, a man I adored. My heart broke, it’s the last reminder I have. He was my hero, the one who came to the rescue when I was sick or hurt, needed stitches or vaccinations or, once, a blood transfusion. His was the face I sought in the scary times.
He was a doctor, but I thought he was Superman and Mr. Wizard and Albert Einstein rolled into one. He could do anything. He wrote amazing letters in secret code; drew enchanting cartoon characters; showed up bearing popcorn in brown wax paper bags; hid dollar bills under my plate at breakfast; and stood as straight as a flagpole.
Gosh, would you look at that? I have an abundance of memories, each one a powerful and vivid reminder in its own right. Best of all, they’re safe and dry and unfaded — I carry them with me always. I’ve let that be the lesson in this — keep the important things close to your heart, put everything else in a Ziploc.
Now, shall we move on to the next disaster?
Copyright © 2014 Publikworks