Tag Archives: weird finds

Surrealist iPhone Memos: When You Don’t Remember What You Were Trying to Remember

I didn’t get a smart phone until three years ago. Prior to that, I’d lived in Japan, where smart phones weren’t yet standard and every expat had the same cheap flip phone. Prior to Japan, I’d owned a brick that could make calls, be seized when I got grounded, and little else.

Old cell phone

“No phone for a week! That’ll teach you to call your grandfather’s dentures ‘fake and gay.'”

On that fateful spring morning when my dad bequeathed me his old iPhone, I felt like I’d finally caught up with the curve. At last, I could text, surf the Internet, and avoid making eye contact at dinner as easily as the next person. I could even type memos to circumvent my crippling ADHD. I’d never forget anything again!

Yeah. About that…

Scanning now through three years of memos, I realize this particular application has been a mixed blessing. Typing reminders is one thing–remembering what the hell you were trying to remember is another. Add to this my tendency to use one memo sheet for months on end without giving it any sort of title, and you’re left with entries that are completely useless at best…

Liberal Arts

Well thank god I wrote this down.

…and sound like creepy avant garde poetry at worst.

Negotium Perambulans

The pestilence that walketh in darkness (primarily along US 275 South).

For your enjoyment and befuddlement, I’ve compiled the strangest memos on my phone. Maybe you’ll be able to figure them out. I certainly don’t know what the hell I was getting at when I wrote this:

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Weird Finds: Ghosts from My Past at Grandma’s

I spent the past week at my grandparents’ house in rural Indiana, about forty-five minutes north of Louisville. While there, I was unexpectedly confronted with the sins of my past. Before we get to that, though, some exciting news.

My short story, “Diversion,” is going to be published in fall of 2015 by Shade Mountain Press in their anthology, The Female Complaint!

The story summary is as follows: On a commuter flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima, a young woman overhears two fellow passengers having a sexist conversation and decides to teach them a lesson. If you’re into feminism, Japan, or funny revenge stories, consider giving it a read. When it’s published. Er, in a year.

Now, to return to our regularly scheduled programming. My grandparents live in Vallonia, Indiana, an unincorporated community in Driftwood Township. It was a minor center of combat during the War of 1812. In 1853, it was legally platted. And while I have no idea what the hell ‘platted’ means, I’m sure it caused more of a stir than the town has seen before or since. It’s a quiet sort of place, is what I’m saying. Residents have to make their own fun.

Vallonia, Indiana

Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I suck at, it’s making my own fun. If I’m left unstimulated for even five minutes, I start clawing at the wallpaper, drugging myself for science, and walking around with my jaw unhinged until someone chucks something nutritive down my gullet. I once got so bored I punched a hole through my sister’s wall and then tried to cover it up with a poster from school reading SHOULD MARIJUANA BE LEGALIZED FOR MEDICAL USE? That ruse worked for all of twenty minutes before my mom took down the poster and realized what I had done–I still don’t know how she saw through my fiendish cunning.

My point is, I’m not good at remaining idle. Which explains why I spent an hour yesterday cataloging my grandma’s book collection. She’s a devout southern woman, so her literary holdings tend toward a certain theme…

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Puberty Books of the Damned: Butt-Walking Edition

Personal fitness can be a sensitive issue. In today’s hypertensive society, it’s more important than ever to teach young people about nutrition and exercise; but how do you prevent that instruction from shading into fat-shaming?

The authors of TEEN WORKS grappled with that very issue in the 1980’s. As is their wont, they farted out the worst, pants-on-head craziest solution ever.

No Butts About It

The woman in the fetching purple leotard is Tamilee Webb, a “fitness expert” whose expertise consists mainly of trolling teenage girls by getting them to do the stupidest exercises imaginable. When we first meet Tamilee, she highlights the singular dissatisfaction most girls feel with their butts.

In a recent survey, teen girls were asked which part of their anatomy they would most like to change. Among the top three was buttocks.

Butts was in the top three, you guys! That means butts earned at least a bronze in the Body Shame Olympics. Way to go, butts! Of course, there was stiff competition.

Many girls who are otherwise satisfied with their figures complain that their hips are too large or bulge in the wrong spots.

Move over, butts. Hips are here to knock you off your pedestal.

But wait–a challenger appears!

When asked which part of their body needs the most toning and shaping, girls often say their waist or thighs.

Whew! There sure are a lot of body parts vying for the title of Most Loathed. Hence the original title of this section of the book: Fitness! Why Every Part of You is the Worst Part!

For my part, I’m sticking with butts. If only because the page on butts contains the following phrase.

Many girls think their fannies are too large, too wobbly, or too lumpy.

The American in me sees nothing funny about this sentence. The Anglophile in me is laughing hard enough to bust a hiatal hernia.

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Weird Finds: Angelic Messages as Given to Tina Michelle

I’ve had this book for over a year, but I’ve hesitated to post about it.  I was bullied as a kid, so I have a hard time picking on specific people–especially people this crazy.  The turning point for me was realizing that “Tina Michelle” is almost certainly not the author’s real name.  Also, if she gets really upset about this post and tries to end it all, we can take solace in the fact that an African American angel will save her.  Read on to learn more!

Tina Michelle-cover

I bought this book for three dollars at one of those shops that has to be a drug front.  It has no customers, yet it’s been thriving for the better part of a decade.  Kind of like the store in my old hometown that was selling Buzz Lightyear novelty telephones in 2008.

Anyway, this is a book about angels.  More specifically, about angels as they’ve appeared to an Appalachian woman with the improbable moniker Tina Michelle.  I’m not referencing the Appalachian thing to drum up any latent prejudices against “hillbillies,” by the way.  Tina Michelle herself mentions it on the back cover.  Apparently “her Appalachian humor embraces her audiences, as her teaching technique unfolds their inner knowledge.”  That’s right, this woman is a motivational speaker.

Something else she mentions on the back cover (and countless times throughout the book): Tina Michelle has almost died four times.

Four near-death experiences

Tina Michelle has been snatched from the jaws of death by her guardian angel on four separate occasions.  That sounds nice until you really think about it–her guardian angel has almost let her die four times.  Wouldn’t that be a sign that her guardian angel kind of, well, sucks at his job?

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Puberty Books of the Damned, part 2

Several weeks ago, I introduced you to the wonders of TEEN WORKS: a set of 60’s/80’s-era puberty books I got for free at an estate sale.  These books are long, clocking in at well over a hundred articles each and covering every conceivable topic, from how to flirt to how to pretend to care about football to how to match your pink plastic belt with your oversized Mickey Mouse shirt-dress.  For this, our second foray into TEEN WORKS-dom, I thought we would delve into the most important topic of all: how to get a boy.

Step One: Identify Your Type

Everybody’s got a type.  For some, it’s the brooding guitar player.  For others, it’s the outgoing Big Man on Campus.  For me, it’s…well.  You know.

Exasperated SherlockI didn’t even say anything!
(from sherlock.tumblr.com)

But how can you pinpoint your type?  After all, there are millions of types out there, each clearly distinct from the others.

What Kind of Guy is Your Type?Psych!  There’s actually only four.  And the writers of TEEN WORKS, bless them, have provided you with a handy quiz to determine upon which of the four you should concentrate your amorous efforts.  Let’s look at some of the questions.

After school, the guy of your dreams is probablyFrom this item alone, we can see the broad archetypes they’re referencing.  There’s the jock guy.  The intellectual guy.  The artistic guy.  The, uh…likes-having-snacks-with-friends guy.  (As an aside, when I fantasized about my dream man during my hormonal teenaged years, he was generally snacking on me.)

Scandalized Gary BuseyAccording to Google Image Search, this is what “scandalized” looks like.

Let’s look at another question.

Your guy likes you best in...What the hell is a muscle shirt?  Are we talking one of those sleeveless t-shirts with slits all down the sides?  Because if any guy thinks I look best in that, he’s not a jock: he’s delusional.

Anywho, once you’ve muscled (muscle-shirted?) your way through this quiz, you receive one of four types, as personified by four hypothetical boys.

Ted, the Cool GuyTed here is the Cool One.  He knows what’s in and what’s not.  (And what’s in is “snacks with friends.”)

Jason, the JockJason is the Jock, and also the muscle shirt aficionado.

Ryan, the BrainRyan is the Brain.  He likes learning and (probably) giving jaunty salutes.

Bill, the ArtistBill is the Artist.  Should you choose to date him, beware–at some point, he will run off with Ted in search of an Excellent Adventure. Continue reading

Weird Finds: Puberty Books of the Damned

Last weekend, I went to an estate sale with my mom.  Between disappointing the host by not needing baby stuff and disappointing the host by not being able to cook, I managed to find a real gem: two ancient TEEN WORKS puberty books gathering dust on a book shelf.  The host gave them to me for free, which just proves that she doesn’t know a good thing when she sees one.

The TEEN WORKS books were first written in the 1960’s and were sporadically updated through the mid-1980’s.  They are outstanding–and by “outstanding,” I mean “alternately hilarious and deeply depressing.”  In this post, the first of an occasional series, I’ll examine why.

What If You Fall for a Nerd?
Some of the “information” in these books is legitimately heinous, but I thought I’d kick things off with a funny one.  Geek culture is so hip these days, it’s hard to remember a time where nerds were feared and shunned.  Thankfully, TEEN WORKS is here to remind us.


“I’m the amateur philatelist your mother warned you about.”

Sweet Jesus, look at that nerd!  He’s got a book!  And a pen!  And you just know his shirt was buttoned all the way up three seconds ago!  That young lady better run before he uses his magnifying glass to, um…examine…something.

Lest you think that picture is just an empty hypothetical, TEEN WORKS hastens to provide you with the narrative behind the image.

ImageLook there, behind you!  It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a guy who pays fractionally more attention to necklace clasps than might be considered typical by mainstream society!

Nothing about the bus stop scenario seems particularly shriek-worthy to me, unless Horace Stevens (fantastic name, by the way) was carving a crude effigy of Tom Selleck into his bare thigh at the time.  The only thing about poor Horace that makes my skin crawl is this:


I try not to swear on this blog, but a “jaunty little salute”?  Horace–what the fuck, man?

Anyway, now that you’re thoroughly smitten with this salute-throwing maniac, you need to figure out how to proceed.  And thank God, TEEN WORKS has your back on this one, too.

ImageI love that you’re supposed to ask yourself if your friend has a point, as if “green plaid shirts” might just be a valid reason to reconsider a relationship.  Also: radio-controlled airplanes and bugs are objectively great.  If your friend can’t understand that, it’s time to sever, dude.  You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.Image“Settling” is a real thing that happens, but the notion that dating a nerd is the ultimate compromise of your personal ambition is pure 1980’s.  Glorious.

All right, enough about Horace Stevens.  Let’s get into the really vile stuff.

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