Tag Archives: personal

Cringe n’ Purge: The Rise of Islamophobia and a 9th Grader’s 9/11 Diary


“Osama, Saddam, you guys are messed up. You can kiss my ass.”

We all know things in the United States haven’t been going so hot. Between the imminent dismantling of the ACA, threats to abortion rights, and Sean Spicer eating entire packs of gum, every day has started to feel like the movie Groundhog Day, if the movie Groundhog Day was about Bill Murray waking up every morning and getting punched in the balls by a billionaire megalomaniac with lips like a bleached sphincter.

The current political and social atmosphere has made it hard for me to come up with ideas for posts. I want to be entertaining, but I also want to be relevant. Moreover, I want to keep my head above the sewage waters of current public discourse and help others do the same. So I started to think: When was the last time it really felt like the world was going to hell?

And I answered myself: 9/11.

And I just so happen to have a written eyewitness record of that most pivotal era in American history. Some of it is fairly prescient. Some of it is exactly the kind of stupid bullshit you would expect a 9th grader to spout. Meanwhile, some of it shows that the more things change…

Well, you’ll see what I mean.



This morning started out normal. I did my hair, put on my jeans, blue tanktop, and blue hooded sweatshirt. Mrs. Ellerby, my neighbor, Zayne’s mom, gave me a ride to school since she was going there anyway.

I went to 2nd hour, laughed at a diagram of a fish’s anus, and got annoyed by the dumb jocks. Daniel and Jenny Deville kept fighting and wouldn’t shut up.

Then, in 3rd hour, it all started. Mr. Miller came in and said, “Today is a day that will go down in history as, um…a very strange day. The Pentagon and the World Trade Center have been attacked by terrorists.” Continue reading


Cringe n’ Purge: Excerpts from My Middle School Diary

Between the ages of 12 and 18, I kept a regular diary. Well, diaries. When I dug them up out of my mom’s basement this past Christmas, they comprised at least 15 volumes.

Box of teenage diaries

Pictured: a box full of shame

As I peruse these snapshots of a misspent adolescence, I realize I had a lot to say, and absolutely none of it was good. I evidently fancied myself a bit of a rebel, when I was really something closer to the anime-addled offspring of Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way and a Livejournal meme. I was the human embodiment of a t-shirt reading “You laugh because I’m different, I laugh because you’re all the same.” Witness Exhibit A: Continue reading

Boston Underground

My apartment building was erected in 1890, which means it has some architectural idiosyncrasies. For one thing, there are no closets. Either Victorian Bostonians kept everything in wardrobes, or they just threw shit on the floor like animals. Also, there’s a bricked-up fireplace in my bedroom. I have nothing funny to say about that–it’s just really cool.

The most important feature, for the purposes of this post, is the basement. It’s creepy.

Actually, the whole back half of the building is a little off-putting. It’s completely cut off from the front half and hasn’t been updated in god knows how long. It consists of little more than a steep, curving staircase, a few dead cockroaches, and a miasmic cloud of unease. When you get to the bottom of the stairs, there’s a basement “storage area” that I swear must be haunted. The worst part of it is a massive hole in the drywall through which you can see decaying wooden framework–and beyond that, darkness. Part of me wants to look inside the hole, but I just know I’d see a ghost or a man-faced rat or something. I don’t have time for that noise. I’m a graduate student.

I’ll do a more detailed post on my spooky basement in the future. For now, let’s look at some of the graffiti I found down there.

Canadian nuts

“CANADIANS ARE IMMUNE to shots in the nuts!!!”

Gosh. You learn something new everyday. If I had to guess, I’d say that Canada’s intemperate clime causes her people’s testicles to withdraw into their abdomens. You can’t hit what you can’t see–thus, immunity. I’m submitting that theory to all the scientific journals, by the way, so please don’t snipe it.


“I bet you vote for Donald Trump,” a commentator remarks, but I think that’s off base. This person won’t vote for Donald Trump–this person is Donald Trump.

fuck politics

This person, meanwhile, won’t be voting for Donald Trump or any other candidate. They’ll be far too busy fucking politics and/or burning shit down. Hopefully they start by burning my creepy basement.

I wanna be on you


I assure you, anonymous vandal, you do not wanna be on me. It’s ninety-seven degrees outside, and I don’t have air conditioning. I stink worse than a charnel house right now. Hit me up in February, though, and we’ll see if we can arrange something.

There’s a Lot of That in Boston

First off, a heartfelt apology for the extended hiatus. I was in Japan in June, nannying in August, and in July I was…well, mostly sitting around and watching anime with my husband. In my defense, it was my last opportunity to spend time with him before I moved to Boston. Which I’ve done now. This will be my first post from my apartment near Boston University, where I’m pursuing my master’s in communication.

And what better way to kick off this chapter of my life than with a post about some of the things I’ve seen in my new hometown? Here goes nothing!


Pissed Off Moms
Every mom in Boston is extremely pissed off and isn’t ashamed to show it. Here are three of the conversations I’ve overheard between mothers and their offspring. For maximum effect, read each of them in a thick Boston accent.

“The sun’s bright as shit out here.”

“Toughen up!”

“Are you deaf?”
Then get in the freakin’ car!”

Having recently made my exodus from the heart of helicopter-parent, upper-middle-class yuppie-dom, I find a certain amount of firmness exhilarating. That said, such displays do make me worry–chiefly about the mothers’ blood pressure.


I’ll be straight with you: I don’t know what the hell mesclun is. I do know that it goes in salads. I also know that, no matter how I choose to pronounce it, it comes out sounding like “mescaline.” There is literally no way to say the word “mesclun” in a Northern Midwestern accent without sounding like there’s a Fear and Loathing situation unfolding at the salad bar. And yet everyone at Four Burger seems completely sober? It’s puzzling.

According to some poll, the source of which I jettisoned during an epic bout of source amnesia, Boston drivers are ranked worst in the country. I can’t really blame them, though. The roads here are a maddeningly Byzantine network of old cow paths overlaid with half a dozen freeways and the occasional set of trolley tracks. There are places in Boston where one-way streets abruptly become two-way at busy intersections, which means you halt at the light and are suddenly faced with three lanes of oncoming traffic. If you had to contend with something like that on your way to work, you’d probably drive like an asshole too.

People with Mental Illnesses
What do you think of when you hear the words “Cambridge, Massachusetts?” Harvard? M.I.T.? The guys from Car Talk? Unless you live in Cambridge, you probably wouldn’t say “mentally ill people.” And yet Central Square is awash with them. I don’t know to what we can attribute this unfortunate circumstance–unfortunate because it leads to some dicey situations, but also because these people obviously aren’t receiving the care they need–but it’s hard not to notice. Especially when a very erratic man stumbles up to you and your cousin, shouts “WHAT’S HAPPENING!!,” requests a one-night stand, and then wind-sprints toward the horizon, never to be seen again.

Oh well. We probably got off easy.


A Cemetery Next to a Grocery Store
There’s a cemetery next to a grocery store near my cousin’s place in Somerville. It’s a historic cemetery, too, which is why it looks extra weird nestled up against a Market Basket. I assume Market Basket bought that lot fair and square, without any legal tricks or old-eyed crones screaming at them to “leave this place.” But, man, it’s kind of creepy. I don’t need to be buying toilet paper while the ghost of Augustus Weevil III looms over my shoulder, criticizing my use of one-ply instead of two.

Stop calling me “poop fingers,” Augustus. We all have our own preferences, okay?


Haunted Squash
Because the Market Basket in Somerville sits next to a historic graveyard, many of the products there are haunted, especially the squash. Last time I was there, a two-pound butternut speaking with the voice of my deceased grandmother asked why I’d never finished medical school. The time before that, an acorn squash told me that there was Nazi gold hidden under my neighbor’s azaleas. Three shovels and a restraining order later, I’m still empty-handed.

Thanks a lot, Market Basket.