let’s talk about awkward moments, shall we?

My life has always been embarrassingly awkward. However, I was never self-aware of being embarrassingly awkward until one day in seventh grade, when I tripped and frantically reached out for something to hold onto, and successfully grabbed onto my teacher’s butt. Yup. Right before I smacked face down into the ground. And then he said something like, “You know, there’s easier ways to get my attention.”

And then I forgot about my disability until the rehearsal dinner at my wedding, where my best friend from childhood busted out a secret notebook she’d been keeping for the last fifteen years and discussed all of the terribly nerdy things I’d ever done, in front of 100 of my closest family and friends. Like how I’d worn Doc Marten boots to every middle school dance. Or how I wore the same two shirts from 5-7-9 every day of my sixth grade year. Or how I danced with my two index fingers out and my head moving nerdily side to side (yes i still dance like that). Yep.

oh, oh, or how about this one? First day of college, sitting in general chemistry next to a nice looking young boy:

Me: Hi, I’m Melissa

Brad: Hi I’m Brad

Me: oh, look at that guy’s funny little hat <points to the back of another boy’s head sitting a few rows in front of me>

Brad: <stares incredulously> Are you joking?

Me: no, look, it’s such a funny little hat! I wonder why he’s wearing it?

Brad: <continues to stare incredulously>

Me: what?

Brad: That’s a yarmalke.

Me: What’s a yarmalke?

Brad: <double take>


And..now, I won’t fill you in on the background, but allow me to recount a conversation I had with my father on the phone about an hour ago.

Dad: Hey Melissa, how’s that hurricane treating you?

Me: Oh, nothing’s happening. Just some wind, couple of rain showers. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Dad: <disappointed> Oh, that’s too bad

Me: well I’m pretty happy about it.

Dad: I thought i was going to call you and it was going to be all crazy and your power would be out and you’d be running around all frantically…

Me: well, you don’t have to sound so disappointed that i’m okay.

Dad: i was just hopin’ for some action. Texas is all dry.

Me: <hopefully> I felt the earthquake.

Dad: WOW! That’s so awesome! Did anybody get hurt? <super excited>

Me: Uh, No. No, nobody got hurt.

Dad: oh. <pause> You know, your brother and I have a bet that the hurricane is going to pick up Obama-long-a-ding-dong and whisk him away to sea and drop him in the middle of the ocean.

Me: …

Dad: so, did you go to the doctor?

Me: no, dad, it stopped. it went away.

Dad: you know, you should really go to the doctor. Your Grandpa has really bad hemorrhoids, your mom has really bad hemorrhoids. Oh, it is just awful.

Me: uh..well, yeah, i mean, it went away, so I don’t think I need to go.

Dad: your grandpa’s hemorrhoids used to be so terrible. When I was growing up, anytime I ever sat down, he’d be all like, ‘boy! don’t sit down on that rock there! You gonna get hemorrhoids!’ and then I’d get up and move to another rock, and he’d just say it again, ‘boy! you gonna get hemorrhoids! move!’ And you know, I never got hemorrhoids. And I was always sittin’ on rocks. But man, your mom…she’s got ’em real bad. Real terrible. Nothin’ she can do about it. Never went away. Real terrible, those hemorrhoids.

Me: Dad I really don’t want to hear about Grandpa’s hemmorhoids.

Dad: Boy oh boy his hemorrhoids were terrible. Yup. Your grandpa’s got em, your mom’s got em, you’d better go to the doctor. Even if they went away, you should probably still go to the doctor, cause you’ve probably got ’em. I don’t, though. I never got hemorrhoids. Even though i was always sittin’ on those rocks. Man, Grandpa had ’em somethin’ awful. And your mom – <breathes out heavily> it’s just terrible. Hemorrhoids are terrible.

Me: Okay Dad, i’ll go to the doctor

Dad: yeah, even if you don’t have ’em, they can probably load you up with creams and gels and stuff, you know, to prepare yourself for when you do have ’em.

Me: okay

Dad: and even if it’s not hemorrhoids, you should still go to the doctor and figure out what was going on. Cause it’d be scary if it wasn’t hemorrhoids.

Me: uh huh

Dad: but hemorrhoids are pretty terrible, so it’s probably be just as scary if it was hemorrhoids. Woo, you’d better go to the doctor. Promise me you’ll go to the doctor.

Me: I promise I’ll go to the doctor. So, Dad, as great and fun as it is talking to you about my butt health, what you say about switching the topic?

Dad: <silence> <clears throat> <decides to forge ahead> Your grandpa’s hemorrhoids are real bad. Real bad. So, Evan still in California?

Me: <extreme relief at the change in topic>…



that is all.


A Radiolab Advertisement

(You guys, my neighbor asked me what my secret was for my tomato garden. This confirms it. I am a locally famous tomato raiser.)

Occasionally when I’m at work, doing something that requires minimal brain concentration, I’ll put on the ol’ headphones and listen to Blitzen Trapper or some other hipster artist on grooveshark or pandora. At some point last week, I realized that I could be listening to the news. So I headed over to NPR, where they stream all of their content on their website for FREE (NPR is one of my favorite things, right behind brown paper packages all tied up with string), and I started listening to the news. The News gets me all riled up, and it makes me sweat, and sometimes it makes me cry. So it’s not a good thing for me to listen to, as I just tear off my headphones and rage around the office. It’s very unproductive.

Then I discovered Radiolab.

And the Heavens sang. The great thing about Radiolab is that it is completely politically neutral. 100%. And it’s as rewarding as reading The Onion, or a passionate article on the NY Times, that is all about how Republicans are destroying the country in the wake of failed leadership by Obama.

Here are some mindblowing things I’ve learned on Radiolab:

If you tell people to remember a two digit number, and then tell them to go to another room and repeat that number back to an experimenter, and then a nice lady interrupts them in the hallway and asks them if they would like a snack of fresh fruit or chocolate cake, they are more likely to pick fruit. If you tell people to remember a 7 digit number, and then tell them to go to another room, and then a nice lady interrupts them and ask what they would like, they pick chocolate cake. WHAT! That story is here. They also show that people who lie to themselves more often tend to be happier, better functioning people than people who are more honest with themselves.

And then I learned that the nation’s best ultra runner (ultra runners are crazy people who run for days without sleeping. Ultra-runs range from 30 to 100+ miles) is a woman who is recovering from epilepsy. She had part of her brain removed by doctors to prevent seizures, and after that, she became a champion ultra-runner. Incidentally, the part of her brain that was removed is the part that deals with visual-spatial skills, and also deals with time. Yep, ladies and gentleman, when she’s out on a run in the Yukon, pulling dog sleds through the snow, she has no idea if she’s on day 4 or day 9. So she just keeps goin’. Basically, she doesn’t know when to stop.

There was this very, very, very cool story on how language shapes thought, and I can’t even begin to explain how awesome this podcast was. Even my grandpa liked it, and my grandpa and I can not agree on ANYTHING. Nothing. It was the most awesome thing I’ve ever listened to.

And there’s this musician who can memorize and replay symphonies in their exact tempo back in his head. He can keep track of four musical symphonies at once. Mind blowing.

Meanwhile, Bachelor Pad is going to be very satisfyingly trashy. Vienna is a horrible human being.