The Real Lowdown on Napoleon

A totally 2% true history

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to popular opinion, it wasn’t Buddha or some other yogi that came up with the idea of mindfulness. It was none other than Monsieur Napoleon Bonaparte.

People say he was short. He wasn’t. He was of average height, around 5’6″ says the Internet. Some think he was crazy. Not so, according to my cursory research. And you know how he kept his hand tucked inside his lapel like a weirdo? He was stroking the One Ring to Rule Them All, stored in his watch pocket!

Perhaps the most important thing to know about this historical figure is that he was all about mindfulness. Before battle, he could be found strolling through his garden.

Someone once asked him, “Monsieur, aren’t you nervous? You’re soon to be in mild peril!”

“No!” replied Napoleon. “Smell the fragrant flowers, feel the sunshine beaming down upon us. I live…in the moment!”

Then that other person practiced living in the moment as well. 

“Hey, you’re really onto something!” he said, when his buzzing thoughts and worries disappeared.

“Yes, it is called mindfulness,” said Napoleon. “Tell all your friends. It’s the next big thing!”

And so that other fellow went on to regularly post photos of himself in a mindful state on Instagram. He attracted millions of followers, and the rest of us soon caught on that multitasking is the root of all evil, haste makes waste, and it is perfectly acceptable to wear black yoga pants to coronations and funerals.

Feminism vs. Domesticity

A rant

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I’ve got a full-time job, a husband, a kid, a house, a car. I’m living the American dream! So why is it that as I push the vacuum cleaner back and forth, I’m like, “Fuck this! I hate domesticity!” 

When I do laundry, I abuse the washing machine like it has personally wronged me. I’m slamming the lid down, knocking stuff around, growling — like primal growling. 

“I fucking hate domesticity! Every excruciating minute of it!” 

And I have to ask myself, “Is today the day I check myself into a mental institution? Am I crazy? Do I need more medication?” Then I soothingly stroke my own shoulder like Gollum, and I say, “This is just feminism. It’s feminism, right? Yeah, of course I feel this way!”

I like to think I have more important stuff to do. I don’t have more important stuff to do, but I wish I did. Like being Chief of Staff to a CEO, or better yet, the CEO herself. That woman doesn’t have time to waste cleaning house; she would outsource that shit.

Every time I do housework it makes me want to grab my go-bag — because, of course I’ve got one already packed — run to the car, and drive to anywhere that isn’t home. It is an undeniable “flight” response to household responsibilities. 

My 3.5-year-old was recently trying to get my attention, and I was like, “Yeah, yeah, quiet down. Mommy’s trying to write jokes.”

I was not cut out to be a housewife, a mother, or a cleaner. I don’t think I was cut out to be anything, but these things especially don’t come naturally to me. This is just feminism, right?

Our Disgusting Human Bodies

The human condition isn’t pretty

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The only hair on my head that is its original shade of brown is my mustache. The hair on top: dyed. Eyebrows: penciled in. But my mustache? Still going strong! Why do genetics hate us so much?

You’d think useless and socially problematic features like unibrows and hair growing on or inside ears would phase out of the human gene pool as we continue evolving, but NO! They hang on for generation after generation.

My husband recently told me my hair smelled like a goat. I don’t know how you would take it if your significant other said this to you, but as for me, I laughed uncontrollably for twenty minutes. After which a single tear formed at the corner of my eye as I thought back over a life lived without class. I momentarily wished I’d leaned into my femininity instead of refusing to wear high heels or lipstick, despising domesticity, and seeing how long I can go between hair washings before I develop a serious medical condition.

Laziness wins out for me every time. I’ve got more important things to do than comb my hair. OK – that’s not true, but even if I don’t, I wish that I did, which is basically the same thing. I’m sure I speak for us all when I say that I didn’t see a comb for two years during the pandemic.

I got so sick of brushing my teeth during quarantine. Even though it was just once a day, like everyone else (twice, if you’re anal), it felt like I was wasting the entire day at the sink caring for my teeth. Like it was always time to brush again. So boring! Don’t even get me started on showers; they’re the most boring of all.

By the way, I think some rebranding is in order for the anus. It’s a really unattractive word for your most unattractive body part. It’s an embarrassing word to say, probably even if you’re a doctor. I know they say a rose by any other name still smells as sweet, but an anus by any other name is an easier topic to tackle.

I think God made a design flaw with the human penis. No matter how one is presented to me, whether shriveled or erect, I feel like I’m looking at something I’m not mature enough to see. It just doesn’t look quite finished. It’s like when you’re driving behind another car, and you see that a part has come disconnected underneath and is dragging on the ground, and you’re like, “Ooh, that can’t be good!”

Lastly, I think feet are freakish. I pay someone else to care for mine, because that task is definitely best outsourced to the pros. My feet are so dry they make their own dandruff; so cracked, they’re constantly peeling. I have hair on my big toe knuckles, like a Hobbit. Jennifer Aniston would never allow her feet to fall into this state of disrepair. I know this because I once saw a photo of her in strappy sandals that boasted perfectly manicured toes, as soft and smooth as an infant’s tootsies. My feet could cure a man of his foot fetish in a hot second.

I’d do something to improve my condition, but I’ve got more important things to do.

Bizarre Thoughts

When my mind wanders

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever had a thought so bizarre you were like, “Thank God nobody can hear my thoughts! I would have invited scrutiny upon my mental health with that one.”

That’s precisely the kind that makes up the majority of my thoughts each and every day.

For instance:

While my 3.5-year-old was recently watching the Peppa cartoon about a family of talking pigs, I realized I have a little crush on Daddy Pig. It’s his cheerful personality I find attractive. And the British accent doesn’t hurt. Regardless of whatever shenanigans are going on in his home, Daddy Pig maintains a pleasant and patient disposition. These qualities are very attractive in a man. In this case, a pigman, but you get what I mean. If you’re not familiar with the Peppa cartoon, congratulations, you’ve made the right choices in life.

You know what else is attractive is when a tough guy carries his carton of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of his t-shirt. That is the hottest way to carry your future cancer.

When scientists announced that sitting is the new smoking, did all the smokers run out into the streets cheering and lighting up? “Take that, all you sitters! Smoking has moved down to #2 on the list of deadly habits.”

Have you tasted cough syrup lately? This stuff has come a long way! It’s like Capri Sun for adults. My favorite is the green nighttime syrup. Not only does this cure what ails you, it puts you into a euphoric state. I’m still taking shots of this stuff long after my cold is over.

My husband is like, “You’re an addict! You’ve got to get this under control!” I’m like, “Stop — you’re killing the vibe!” He’s on the phone with a drug counselor: “Hello, yes, I’m calling about my wife. She’s on…she’s on the syrup!”

This stuff is the perfect street drug. It’s legal, it’s highly available, and it’s cheap. You don’t have to go down to the street corner with a fistful of cash to buy happiness from your dealer anymore. You can find euphoria at your local CVS. Buy store brand green syrup to save yourself a few coins. Grimace now, thank me later!

You know that old tip to help you get over stage fright? That you’re supposed to imagine the audience in their underwear? Forget that — it’s useless. If I’m standing in a room where everyone else is in their underwear, that’s going to make me even more self-conscious because I’m overdressed. Here’s the real tip: The way to overcome stage fright is to imagine that the audience is more afraid of you than you are of them.

My mother always told me, “Three’s a crowd.” That was her answer whenever I wanted to have two friends over at the same time. This was a funny statement coming from the parent of five children. If three’s a crowd, then five is a carbon footprint that really got away from you.

Why is everyone a nervous pooper? Nobody wants anyone else to know that they have to defecate. I have a friend that used to leave work, go all the way home to poop, then go back to work because he felt too uncomfortable using the office bathroom.

Every living creature has to defecate, so why are we so bashful about it?

I can always tell when a woman in a public bathroom is defecating because the second I swing open the door and enter, whatever noise was just occurring inside one of the stalls immediately comes to a halt. Toilet paper was clearly being torn off the roll, but now there’s dead silence. I go into my stall, answer the call of nature, then go wash my hands. All the while, this lady in the other closed stall still hasn’t moved a muscle. She thinks I won’t know she’s there, or why she’s there if she doesn’t make any sound. But I can see her two feet under the stall door, so I know someone is there. And if there’s silence, it tells me everything I need to know. There might as well be an announcement over the loudspeaker: “Ms. Baker is now pooping in stall #4.”

Why not just let it rip, ladies? We’re all in this together.

I want my therapist to be like Google Maps. As you’re driving, a robotic female voice tells you to take the first exit in the roundabout, take a sharp right, keep left at the fork. This service is one I would pay for.

Instead, my therapist is like God: she works in mysterious ways. But I just want a straightforward answer! What should I do in a given scenario, how should I react, what should I avoid? She’s not telling!

I’m chock full of meandering thoughts and questions such as these, but I’m afraid I have very few answers.

Awkward Trip to Mars

Are we %@#& there yet?!

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rather than astronauts and scientists, I propose that it be the world’s most despised inhabitants that are selected for passage to Mars.

Every person across the globe would get to cast a vote for the twenty worst offenders — think those who are dangerous, rabble rousers, or just plain annoying.

I’m not naming any names. That is for the world to decide. What I am asserting is that Earth would be a better place without certain individuals.

There would be no media coverage of the journey; all communication would be severed. The Martians would have no access to their social media accounts for the duration of their lives, and no means to send messages back to Earth.

In space, no one can hear you tweet.

The only downfall to this arrangement is the missed opportunity for the greatest reality show of all time. The chance to see the interactions between the Martians during their journey and when they reach their biodome. Imagine narcissistic, bigoted, selfish individuals fighting for the top bunk, the best rations, the most time in the bathroom, etc. Hilarity would ensure. And surely, so would violence, but this is what makes it so compelling!

Astronauts undergo rigorous psychological testing to ensure they can co-exist in cramped spaces with the same people for long durations. But this group of misfits will comically lack the patience, tolerance, self-introspection and all other necessary qualities to co-exist peacefully and productively.

In ten years’ time, we would look in on them from afar, in much the same way you observe an ant colony in a clear container. You can see them, but they aren’t aware of your presence. We would be interested in knowing how they have gotten on, but, like God, will decline to intervene regardless of circumstances.

Should this plan to relocate the world’s most despised inhabitants to Mars prove too costly or difficult to enforce, here is my alternate suggestion: that this same group of people be placed under house arrest at Kevin Spacey’s residence.

Big Fork, Little Fork

The mysteries of dining etiquette

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I am nouveau riche. And by “new” I mean I’m on the more recent end of evolving from an ape to a human and by “wealthy” I mean I’ve got more than just a banana and fleas. In addition to walking fully upright, my bragging rights include having a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and a meal on my plate.

My upbringing was lacking enough to compel my former manager, who is British, to teach me the correct way to use a fork and knife. I’d grown up shoveling food into my mouth with a fork’s tines turned upward – like a scoop – and using the edge of that very same fork to cut food up into smaller bits. Who needs a knife?

The British way has you flip the fork over so that the tines face downward. My colleague then used her knife to push food onto the fork. So, that’s how you strategically stab bits of food with a fork, huh?

When done with a meal, etiquette dictates that you place your fork and knife in the shape of an X on the plate to indicate completion. Again with the tines facing downward, so that no one gets impaled when the server whisks the plate and silverware back to the kitchen.

Whenever I go to a fancy restaurant, I see a big fork, a small fork, and a knife lined up next to my plate. Sometimes there are even more utensils. I use the small fork to eat my appetizer. Afterward, I try to hide that ideal-sized fork under my napkin – which is still resting on the table and not across my lap. This move never fools the server, who inevitably finds my preferred fork and absconds with it, forcing me to eat my entree with a comically oversized fork clearly meant for a giant. I feel like I’ve got baby hands trying to wield that heavy utensil. I’m burning calories just lifting it.

This is how my imposter syndrome ceases being a private worry and publicly betrays me. Anyone from an upscale background can tell, just by sharing a meal with me, that I am recently descended from proto-human ape creatures.

When I eat in front of my colleagues – or anyone British – I use the etiquette I was taught. But in the privacy of my home, where no one is the wiser, I choose to eat with a spoon. Just like you see in prison movies. This beats an upturned fork, being the closest thing to an actual shovel. It’s all about efficiency.

Now if I could just get rid of these darn fleas…

Good Animals Gone Bad

Source: Wikimedia Commons

On our recent family trip to Hawaii, I planned an excursion to an animal sanctuary. I convinced the proprietor to permit my 3.5-year-old on the property, despite the minimum guest age being seven. I assured the hippie who answered the phone that my daughter poses no harm to animals.

At the start of the tour, we saw cats, deer, and ducks. It was in the pig pen when things took a turn for the worse. 

The hippie tour guide welcomed each visitor to place a snack in front of Mr. Pig. He, being two hundred pounds, was collapsed on the ground. When he smelled food, he labored to his feet and began munching. I was told I could pet him, and I approached cautiously with my daughter off to my side.

Mr. Pig did not want to be bothered. He whipped his head against my offending arm and propelled me backward with his snout. I yelped and hustled out of his space with my daughter in front of me.

“Oh, he probably doesn’t want to be touched while he’s eating,” the hippie tour guide said, unhelpfully. You think?

Next, we visited two massive free range male turkeys. We were told one of them was okay with having his feathers stroked, but that he tended to attack men. Sure enough, he pecked at my husband’s legs. Mr. Turkey hadn’t even asked us our pronouns, so how did he know how we identify?

Finally, it was in the goat pen when all hell broke loose. The hippie tour guide led us through a gated channel that had us — and the goats — leaving the main pen to some other unseen area where she said there would be snacks to feed the goats.

We sensed the goats’ impatience. One of them — a massive, brown, bristly-haired creature we were told was half goat, half sheep (whuh??)—had its creepy horizontal pupils trained on us. Without provocation, it repeatedly lunged in our direction.

The tour guide placed herself between that unholy hybrid and her guests, desperately trying to use her frail torso and arms to propel the hulking creature down the path.

With our focus on the trail ahead, none of us noticed the black and white goat keeping pace at our side. It suddenly bucked its head into my husband’s knee. He cried out in pain and surprise. The goat had rammed him so hard, it knocked my husband out of his flip flops!

At that point my daughter began to scream hysterically. With my husband limping, I lifted my daughter as high up my body as I could. She continued screaming anyway, her pitch rising each time a goat looked at us.

Screw these homeless animals, I thought. We’re not going to survive this tour!

I told the guide we wanted out. What’s the quickest way out of the goat pen I demanded to know.

“The goats know there are snacks at the end of this walk,” she said. “We’re moving too slowly for them so they’re trying to herd us along.”

But you’re the one setting the pace, lady! If you know these goats are a menace to society, why’d you put us in close proximity?

“So, how do we get out of the pen?” I asked again, my panic mounting.

“They’re just trying to tell us to move faster,” she repeated, still physically struggling to force the demon shoat into leaving us alone.

Are you saying there’s no way out of this horror movie? my thoughts screamed.

After completing the excruciatingly long walk to an exit gate, we obtained our freedom. We slunk back to our car, outraged and embarrassed.

When my husband later checked into a local urgent care, he found he was not the first but the second goat injury of the day.

This is why, when people ask me if I’m a cat person or a dog person, I’m like, “Neither! I’m a wildlife-outside-in-nature-taking-care-of-itself kind of person!”

Eating My Feelings

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I want to donate a kidney, just for the weight loss. 

I’ve gained 30 pounds since the birth of my daughter 3 years ago, which is more than I gained during pregnancy. It kills me to know that this food baby won’t be birthed, leaving me with a beach ready body.

(Let’s be real: I am always beach ready. It’s everyone else’s eyes that aren’t).

I support body positivity. I really do. Just not for myself. My belly doesn’t lie flat anymore when I’m on my back. Whenever I’m in motion it jiggles, like a bowlful of jelly. My fat cells get claustrophobic in Spanx. I have a panic attack every time I try to squeeze myself into those ridiculous outfits, so that’s not an option.

I want to be hooked up to a liposuction machine that’s pulling fat out while I stuff cheesecake into my mouth.

If I don’t eat my feelings, what else am I supposed to do with them, pray tell?

I complained to my younger, thinner sister about my weight. She goes, “Have you tried anorexia?” 

Oh, yes. I would like to, but that simply doesn’t work for a food motivated individual. The second I think to myself, “I’m never going to eat again! Food is not going control me anymore!” I remember the half dozen chocolate chip cookies I picked up from the bakery. I can’t let those go to waste! 

“How about bulimia?” my sister says. 

Believe me, I would love that! That is the perfect solution for me. Unfortunately, no matter how far I stick my finger down my throat, my body is not giving up its last meal.

I’ve tried therapy, diet pills, smoothies, cutting out bread, everything! Everything except exercise, that is. It’s exhausting worrying about weight issues. I think I need another cookie.