Dysfunction = My Family

I come from a dysfunctional family. Now, I know that people are always saying they have one of these, but it really is not like having a BBQ grill or a car or a swing set in the backyard. A dysfunctional family can be a source of entertainment or the bane of your existence – I guess it kind of depends on how you look at the situation and embrace what you are given. After all, unless you have been adopted they are yours.

One side of my family comes from the South.. If you are from this region or know anyone from this area at all, then you will understand exactly where I am coming from. My mother has always been that woman that is smiling happily and making sure that everyone thinks everything is A-OK from how we look on the outside – Yet on the inside, we are all pretty much train wrecks. Now, I love my Mother and my family but admittedly we can all be quiet charming yet a frantic mess all bundled into one package deal.

My favorite example of this – And NOT my Mother’s I have to say – Is of a certain family member. (I promised my Mom I would not reveal how he was related or his name, so only if you know us and have heard the story will you know who this is.) I may be a turd for revealing a family secret, but I will honor my Mommy’s wishes or be left out of the will.

This particular tale is about a wonderful man in our family that many, many, many years ago decided he had just about enough of the “Man” or the system if you will. He made a conscientious decision to take part in making money the old fashioned way – counterfeiting. Now, you are probably either shaking your head or maybe going, “I get it, I have thought about it, too”. I guarantee for one thing that NO you have not. When I say he decided to counterfeit, I don’t mean paper bills. That would have been too easy. He went metal – Like coins. The man decided to counterfeit coins.

Yes, I had a member of my family decide it would be better to smoke metal than to cut up paper. Of course, I think as I smack my head, that makes sense! No one will ever know – It is not like you can smell molten metal or anything. He ended up in Federal Prison for a spell – but he was out in enough time to help head up the committee for the local county fair. Bless his heart.

Once I thought about all the good you old do with coins you had counterfeited, it all made sense to me – from parking meters to laundry-mats, for wishing wells or to just hand out at a soda machine…Maybe my far-off distant relative was onto something. Or maybe he was really just not thinking.

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Starting On Monday!

There is this person out there – We all know them. Once you hear my tale, if you sit there and shake your head and go “No, I don’t know anyone like that”, then you need to look in a mirror because I am obviously talking about you.

These people have a case of what I like to call the “Starting on Mondays”. Every weekend they gorge in some fashion – Gluttony in it’s finest form. From binge eating to drinking, to smoking to shopping….Really does not matter. They are in the midst of a crisis and this is how they cope.

I have sat across from this person at many a Sunday brunch – I have my fruit bowl and coffee; They have their Big Ass Bulging Breakfast Burrito – stuffed with eggs, and four cheese that drips down their arm, guacamole and salsa sliding together in a puddley mess to the plate surrounded by bits of sausage and bacon that has meshed with the tortilla bits that are flailing about. As I delicately eat my paltry meal(*), my companion is shoving a honking bite of food in their face going, “Starting on Monday…..I am SO going on a diet!”

The reality in this is that – Well, NO. No you won’t be starting any kind of stupid diet because that is just not life is it? I look back at some of the greats in history and wonder what would have happened if they had decided to start something on Monday? If Clinton had waited a few days for Monica to get busy, would we have had “BlowJob-Gate”? Or Hitler, if he waited and thought about what he was up to, would there have been so much ruckus? What about Jeffrey Dahmer? Do you think that one day he went to his fridge, gazed around at all of the severed limbs of the poor people he had slaughtered and thought, “ You know what….Starting on Monday, I think I am going to have a turkey sandwich. On whole wheat – little lettuce, little tomato, easy mayo. Some apple slices. Yep. Starting on Monday.”

No, my friend. No. The one thing these men have in common is commitment. Whether it is commitment issues or commitment to their cause, they had it in spades. The next time you think you are going to “Start on Monday” – Drop the Pollyanna act. Own who you are and just get over it.

I did. I am getting over it…Well, I will be. This Monday.

(*If you know me, you know I hardly start the day with a fruit bowl!)

Virtual Etiquette – Do We Need Rules?

As a child of this new age of technology – Well, maybe not as much a child as my inner child is finally embracing it – I have noticed the growing trend of PDA’s. Blackberry’s, I-Phones, phones that just link to the internet, Motorola’s – The list goes on. People are texting if they are driving or in a movie. They are sending emails at dinner or even while on the phone with you. I used to be a junkie. I could be on the phone in my office, working on a project, texting co-worker while “IM-ing” the corporate office across the country and be having a blackberry messenger conversation with the CEO. All this while helping his girlfriend to Google best places to get a massage. For reals.

In all of this new tech we have. one thing I did notice was that sometimes a messenger text, or an IM can come across…Well, not so nice. I would always re-read what I wrote a time or two to make sure it could not be taken the wrong way. I was not so fortunate to have people do the same with me. I would get nasty messengers on my Blackberry from the CEO or CSO when they were upset at 4 AM because of a flight gone wrong as they left town. Being the awesome Assistant, I always had my phone plugged in and next to my bed. (Plus it was my alarm clock.) I also had a Sunday or two interrupted at 10 AM by a certain girlfriend because she needs answers for her home/personal calendar (Line crossing is another story altogether. I was an Assistant, I have lots of good ones!).

In today’s corporate multi-tasking world, I really feel that there should be rules and regulations laid down in the workplace for how often and when someone should be able to communicate with you. People think that they can let off steam or that having you so easy accessible – damn PDA’s! – that it is all right to shoot an email off the cuff when pissed at a situation that you cannot handle off hours, or to text you if they think you have done something wrong, or to use the blackberry messenger (in my case) as a venting tool to cause hyper-ventilation and fear of job loss. One of my favorite’s was a dinner reservation gone wrong – I guess as an Assistant that at 10 PM at night I should hop on my magic broomstick and fly into Hollywood to make room for the extra guests you decided to bring? Making a note and will add to my to do list to be emailed to me in the morning, sir.

I did lose that job – Thankfully! I also broke my “Crackberry” addiction and am planning on getting another PDA in the future, but ONLY when I am good and ready for it! It will be for fun and minute communication. The only notes that will be typed, sent and received in my tech world will be positive. The rest can suck it.

Post Traumatic Lay-Off Syndrome…Gotta Love It!

I laugh when I am told that I make being laid off look good. People hear that I am traveling, and think that I am living this glamorous lifestyle. I am currently in the Caribbean, just spent a month in London and made a quick trip to South Africa.

The reality of this “Laid Off Lifestyle” is that I sublet my apartment to a good friend who is going through his own hard times, on St. Kitts I am sleeping on an air mattress in my nephew’s living room and I went to London as a nanny/tutor. I feel like the phoenix risen from the flames, or at least I escaped a small house fire.

I get my tickets from frequent flyer miles and am using my savings to support myself. I bury my head in my computer everyday to stay connected with the outside world. When the internet goes out here, I truly have a meltdown as it is the one way I can keep in touch with my old life as “Out On The Town LA Girl”. That girl went to fabulous parties all the time, premieres, art openings – Seriously think “Sex and the City” but West Coast. That and my apartment is waaaay bigger than Carrie Bradshaw’s. I also have never owned a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s and probably never will. Almost all of my “labels” are fake (God bless my trip to Thailand last November!). I would also like to thank Nordstrom Rack and Marshall’s – I have many a killer outfit from those two places.

I had a BlackBerry in that life and I worked for some celebrities. I got to arrange all kinds of fantastic VIP gatherings, got to do a ton of work with fantastic charities and felt that I was making a difference in some small way. Now, making a difference is helping my nephew to keep the centipedes at bay or teaching him to hard boil an egg.

These days, premiers and parties are replaced by a local dive bar, “Rocky’s”. It really is a dive bar because all the people that hang out there are Dive Masters and instructors. One of my favorite “it is what it is” people down here is a local captain of a dive charter group, who goes by the name of Captain Crabby. He is the type of man that when asked how he got here, he responds, “On a plane.” (Side note – Several of us think he is leftover from the days when St. Kitts was a haven for the Witness Protection Program. Well… it was, until a bookie for the mob decided he should tell people on the island he was here as a part of the program. Needless to say, that according to local lore, the program was relocated shortly thereafter). Crabby is the same man that still does not know how to use a computer and stares in awe at my Mac laptop when I have it out. He makes a mean Bloody Mary and knows all the good local bars to hit up . He will fill your afternoon with laughter, if you will just take a moment to open yourself up to it.

Yes, I am getting to experience a lot of truly amazing people and places. They have taught me much about life and how I see things. I am staying open these days for all the possibilities, because I am truly living a miracle everyday. Or maybe it is just pure and simple by the skin of my teeth luck. I’m okay with that.