A Couple Walks Into a Store . . .

. . . they each put on a Santa hat . . .

. . . and walk out.

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Viva Manuary!

I learned of this annual tradition a couple nights ago from some friends we bumped into at the grocery store. Here’s what Urban Dictionary has to say on the subject:

Manuary:

The month of January, whereby men partake in a month long celebration of masculinity with activities enshrining masculinity: Unadulterated violence, booze, meat, and chivalry. Exact reasons for this are unknown, yet theories have arose as it being in response to the high stress nature of the holiday season, thereby men resorting to mantastic* facial hair to compensate for seeing their in-laws.

The growing of facial hair in a full out bearded style, to represent the rejection of aesthetics.

The consumption of meat and/or beer (bonus points for both) with/as every meal.

The masculine duty of protecting women in need.

Partaking/instigating fist fights with those who are deemed combat able. Combatants include: Douche bags, consenting MEN, and Douche bags. No hair pulling, biting, or other feminine behaviours are acceptable.

Other masculine behaviour. All acts must be witnessed by fellow MEN partaking in MANUARY.

Girl: “Why did you get in a fist fight with that greasy guy grinding on every girl in sight?”
MAN: “Because he was a douche and it’s MANUARY”

Girl: “Why don’t you have some salad?”
MAN: “It’s MANUARY”

Boy: “By golly! She looks like she’d be easy, and she has cute friends!”
MAN: *Left Hook* “It’s MANUARY. Hello ladies, how is your evening?”

*It’s MANtastic! Almost as good as good as the Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year Award.

On Passion

Some people ask, “What if I haven’t found my true passion?”

It’s dangerous to think in terms of “passion” and “purpose” because they sound like such huge overwhelming ideas.

If you think love needs to look like “Romeo and Juliet”, you’ll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly.

If you think you haven’t found your passion yet, you’re probably expecting it to be overwhelming.

Instead, just notice what excites you and what scares you on a small moment-to-moment level.

You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you everyday, not by trying to find your passion.

– Derek Sivers, What Matters Now

Feats of Strength

For the past year or so, we’ve been suffering an increasingly debilitating case of atrophy. Or, well, our car has. Our hatchback, to be specific. The StrongArms have been slowly losing their strength, resulting in quite a bit of frustration and hilarity.

At the supermarket: Use one arm to prop open the hatch, while using the other to load groceries into the back of the car. You can’t actually do that if you’re loading large items, say like a case of water. So you let go and move really really quickly to grab the case of water with both hands, while the hatchback thinks about collapsing. You turn around, you reach inside the car, the hatchback bonks you on the head. And laughs.

See? I’m getting frustrated (and bruised.) And the hatchback thinks it’s funny.

So. We talked to our mechanic about it, and they want to charge us a couple hundred bucks to replace two hatch lifts. We come home and consult Dr. Google, who tells us we can buy two new StrongArms for under $40 total, plus we’ll need an extra special $5 screwdriver with a star-shaped screw head. (This is where that math degree comes in handy.) $200 versus $45. Easy to see who wins this match-up.

We order the lifts and super-special screwdriver. And this past Tuesday night, we did it ourselves. Let me tell you about that.

We pop the hatch, and I’m given the enviable job of holding up the back while Handsome handles the tough stuff, like unscrewing a couple odd-shaped screws. Anyway, I’m standing there, gently holding up the back, when he finally wrenches the screw free from the body. And that’s when then the full weight of our hatchback fell on my back. Arms straining, sweat pouring, back muscles crying in pain.

Do you know how heavy a hatchback is? Friggin’ heavy, people! Heavy like there’s a reason we call them StrongArms. Because they’ve gotta be. They’re even gas charged, says so on the label. I am not gas charged; I am weak. I am not powerful enough to hold up a giant chunk of metal, over my head, without moving lest I crush my husbands skull.

And you do know what happened next? Well. We may be weak, but we’re not stupid. And by “we,” I mean “I.” I grabbed a rake and used it to help prop open a giant piece of my car. So me and the rake, we’re holding up the car while Handsome reads the instructions to figure out how to install the new StrongArms.

We’ll pause just a moment while you read that last line again.

Anyway, after a few minutes, he finally gets all the bits and pieces arranged in the proper configuration and attaches the first shiny, new hatch lift. And lo, the weight was lifted and I was free, or almost free. Because you know what? It takes BOTH lifts to hold that sucker up, and the crushing weight returned the moment he got the second dead StrongArm free. But this time, we’ve got a system, and it works because in less than a quarter of the time it took to install the first one, the job is done!

And then we spent the next half-hour opening and closing the hatchback for the sheer pleasure of seeing a hatch hold itself up. (Sorta like the first time your toddler figured out how to flush the toilet.)

It was a Christmas miracle!

My Inbox Overfloweth

Dear Retailers,

Just because it’s Christmas (or as I like to think of it the Great American Consumer Extravaganza) you do not have the right to spam me relentlessly EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF EVERY SINGLE GOD-BLESSED DAY with your deals and specials and perfect last-minute gift ideas. I used to like you; now I hate you. HATE. YOU. Because you’re harassing me!

So stop harassing me already! You thought that clogging my email box would lead to more sales? Seriously? Well. You’re wrong about that little hypothesis. There’s not a chance in hell that’ll I’ll buy what you’re selling. If anything, I am now not only less-inclined to patronize your store in future but will probably actively avoid you altogether. Because you suck at advertising, though you’re world class at aggravating the hell out of people. At least that’s something to be proud of.

I hope Santa brings you switches and coal. Merry Christmas!

You suck,
Jennifer

Words To Live By

We are the strivingest people who have ever lived. We are ambitious, time-starved, competitive, distracted. We move at full velocity, yet constantly fear we are not doing enough. Though we live longer than any humans before us, our lives feel shorter, restless, breathless…

Dear ones, EASE UP. Pump the brakes. Take a step back. Seriously. Take two steps back. Turn off all your electronics and surrender over all your aspirations and do absolutely nothing for a spell. I know, I know – we all need to save the world. But trust me: The world will still need saving tomorrow. In the meantime, you’re going to have a stroke soon (or cause a stroke in somebody else) if you don’t calm the hell down.

So go take a walk. Or don’t. Consider actually exhaling. Find a body of water and float. Hit a tennis ball against a wall. Tell your colleagues that you’re off meditating (people take meditation seriously, so you’ll be absolved from guilt) and then actually, secretly, nap.

My radical suggestion? Cease participation, if only for one day this year – if only to make sure that we don’t lose forever the rare and vanishing human talent of appreciating ease.

– Elizabeth Gilbert, What Matters Now

Go ahead and download the free eBook, What Matters Now. It’s worth your time.