Movies ruined my future career.

Movies have given me an unrealistic idea of what to expect out of possible career paths.

Paleontologist
(Jurassic Park)

jurassic park expectationYou battle Evil T-Rex — no, really, T-Rex was so evil he even got nominated for Best Villain at the 1994 MTV Movie Awards — and save a couple of white kids from getting lost in an amusement park.  You’re also really good at climbing trees, wearing aviator sunglasses, using seatbelts incorrectly, and never smiling.  You carry around a real dinosaur claw with you at all times, just in case you need to threaten fat kids who make disrespectful jokes about dinosaurs.  Only you’re allowed to do that.

jurassic park reality

From what I’ve gathered, being a paleontologist actually has nothing to do with dinosaurs at all.  It just only involves squinting a lot, wearing brimmed hats, and constantly poking at piles of dirt with the tools of a dental hygienist.

Small Town Sheriff
(Jaws)

jaws expectation

You get to battle Evil Shark — no, really, Evil Shark is so evil, he is the only animal to be named on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list.  Your one and only friend is a nerdy marine biologist who is 90% beard, but you also get to become frenemies with an absolutely insane sea captain who is constantly drunk and only might speak English.  One night, as you hunt Evil Shark on a leaky boat, the sea captain tells you that Evil Shark killed his best friend during World War II — or at least that’s what you think he told you.  It could have been anything, really.  In the end, you make Evil Shark explode.  By shooting him with a gun.

jaw realityThis is an actual call log taken from the “Sheriff’s Report” section of a small town newspaper.

Meteorologist
(Twister)

twister expectation

You get to battle Evil Meteorologist Dr. Jonas Miller — who is not on anyone’s Villains list anywhere ever — and outrun tornadoes every single day.  You drive a truck, which is just butch enough to be independent and sexy but not definitively lesbian, and have lots of sexually-charged fights with your ex-husband.  Also, you can’t die.  No matter what happens, you just cannot die.  You literally get eaten by a tornado, and live.

meteorologist realityYou are currently best known for shitting your pants in the White House.

Courtesan
(Moulin Rouge)

moulin rouge expectation

You get to sing for a bunch of gay guys in top-hats who sing and dance in unison, people constantly give you diamonds for no reason, and your waist is — at most — 23 inches wide (because you’re dying of TB).  You live in an elephant-shaped-castle-windmill-thing, and even though there are whispers that you make out with people for money, mostly you just sing duets with them while it rains glitter.

cortesan reality

You get a reality TV show.

A Toy
(Toy Story)

toy story expectation

You live your whole life knowing your main purpose: love.  You spend every day with your best friends and playing make believe with Andy, the boy who loves and takes care of all of you!  Sure, you and your friends have lighthearted romances here and there while Andy’s at school, but when it comes down to it, you’re all non-functional smooth plastic down there.  Life is simple.

toy realityWhen Andy gets infected with Scarlet Fever, you’re suddenly considered a germ sack and sentenced to life in the nursery with an aging porn star named Skin Horse.

Valentine’s Day sucks always.

It’s here again, and it’s going to suck.  But let’s be honest, it’s always sucked.

WHY VALENTINE’S DAY SUCKS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

valentine's elementary
Nothing in elementary school should suck.  It should be all recess and arts & crafts and snack time and not being trusted to use scissors unsupervised.  Elementary school should be that one time in your life when you don’t want to nap, because the world is so rife with possibility and opportunity that sleep just seems like a waste of time.

But Valentine’s Day in elementary school still sucks.  Every year, you’d have your mom bake cookies for your class, and once they were out of the oven, you’d pick out the biggest one.  You’d take that big, puffy heart cookie and slather it in pink icing, crust it in those little crunchy sprinkles that gave your baby teeth micro-cracks, and put it on top of all the other cookies.  That was your Crush Cookie.  You were going to give that cookie to the boy in your class who looked the most like Nick Carter, and he was going to take it, and kiss your cheek, and then you’d be married.

Every year, you’d take the Crush Cookie, and just as you were about to give it to Nick Carter, he’d whip out his own Crush Cookie — and his was way better because he had no creative skills and had his mom decorate it for him — and give it to the girl who always wears spaghetti-strap tank-tops even though it’s against the dress code rules.  And you think, “Will this stand?  Will this sort of disregard for authority stand?  Someone just snap those spaghetti straps, give me the scissors, I don’t need supervision to use them! It’s the middle of February for fuck’s sake, it’s just common sense!”

But it does stand.  It will stand.  Because Valentine’s Day is the worst.  But it’s ok, because years later, you and Nick Carter become best friends in show choir, and you’re the first girl he ever comes out to.  Meanwhile, Spaghetti Straps is pregnant.

justice

 

WHY VALENTINE’S DAY SUCKS IN HIGH SCHOOL

suck zone
First, and most importantly, everything sucks in high school.  Valentine’s Day is just one more thing under the vast umbrella of suckage that is high school.  We all have our own high school V-Day horror stories, but yours are not as bad as mine.

My first high school boyfriend broke up with me the Monday before Valentine’s Day my junior year.  On Valentine’s Day, I found a red envelope under the windshield wiper of my car.  It was a Valentine’s Day card from him, with a pair of discount cotton underwear stuffed inside.  When I found him and asked him how the fuck he had managed to get a lobotomy in four days and not miss any school he said, “Well, I felt bad, I didn’t want you to not get anything on Valentine’s Day.  And you always said you don’t understand how girls can think thongs are comfortable, so I thought you’d like the underwear.”

My second high school boyfriend — who weighed 125 pounds — broke up with me the day before Valentine’s Day, because I had just met his grandmother for the first time, and she didn’t like me.

The day after my second high school boyfriend ditched me in the name of Freud, I went to a party with a friend.  There was a very tall, handsome boy at this party who was a year older than me, and was alluring and sexy because he was a freshman in college.  We had gone to high school together, and I always had a secret dream that we would one day touch faces.  But I knew he was really dumb — as in, perhaps his father was a rock — but he was so good-looking.  To my absolute shock, he told me I had a nice pair of boobs, and that he had always had a crush on me.  I was thrilled.  We talked about cars for a while, and then he said he had to go to the bathroom.  Twenty minutes later, I went to try and find the bathroom myself, and walked in on him making out with a 15-year-old girl.

 

WHY VALENTINE’S DAY SUCKS IN COLLEGE

gay

If you went to school in New York, you were in love with a gay man.  And he loves you, sweetie, he really does.  But just not like that.

 

WHY VALENTINE’S DAY SUCKS AFTER COLLEGE

hot bartender

Everyone who has recently graduated from college is incredibly confused and incredibly poor.  We are all so confused by our low-paying jobs, and our inability to secure apartment leases, and the allure of Brooklyn, that Valentine’s Day is just too much to even acknowledge.

No one has the money to do anything, and you’ve only made out with that bartender you work with a couple of times, but he did ask you to come over to his place once but you pretended like you had other plans because you’re trying to seem really popular.  Plus, he’s been flashing sex-eyes at the really hot Latina waitress whose name sounds like an exotic fruit. So what do you do?  Do you buy him a chocolate bar, as a joke? Or for real?  You already lied to him and said you were voted Prom Queen in high school, so there goes that potential relationship.  But you heard a rumor that his apartment has exposed brick in the living room, so he has to be loaded.  Maybe he’ll buy you something.

So you buy the chocolate bar, and you keep it in your pocket just in case, and then the dick calls in sick for the day.  Of course he isn’t coming into work today.  Because it’s Valentine’s Day and he has plans.  He’s probably off having sex with Guava or Chiclet or whatever her name is, and it’s the best sex in the world.

Screw it.  Go steal your roommate’s six-pack of PBR and watch Thor, because one day, when Thor comes down from the sky in a swirling tornado of love and tells you he’s been watching you from The Rainbow Bridge and thinks you’re a whole Valhalla of sex, you’re gonna look at your cell phone and realize that it’s all happening on Valentine’s Day.

thor

Hipster Cancer.

A month ago, I went to my first ever male gynecologist for my annual ladyparts check-up.  He was bald and non-threatening, and wore loose-fitting corduroy pants.  He also told me that I have a lump in my right breast that could be cancerous.

CANDYGRAM REAPERHe told me that I needed to schedule a sonogram.  I, being of the theatre, assumed that a sonogram was some kind of  somber singing candygram dressed as the Grim Reaper, and that he would appear at my doorstep and chant, “I hope your tit is cancer-free, so that we all can shout ‘yippeeeee!'” and then he would slaughter a pig.  Apparently a sonogram is an x-ray — an x-ray that is so popular, you have to wait two weeks to get it done.

I had two weeks to try to not think about cancer.  I told Ultraman that it wasn’t a big deal, and that really, it was ok, because I hear that chemo makes you really skinny.  He slapped me on the shoulder and made me a vegetable omelet.  Seemingly nothing will deter him from trying to grow a garden in my small intestine.

Three donuts after the veggie omelet, I was in a dark place. I started thinking about the futility of life, and the process of natural selection.  Was I being selected by Nature to die nope omelebecause I am a hypochondriac?  I had never actually had Scarlet Fever like Beth/Claire Danes in Little Women.  I had never actually contracted TB from wearing a damp hoodie all day like Satine/Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge.

Despite a lifetime of self-diagnosed life-threatening diseases, I had never actually caught one.  I have the thick hair of a horse’s tail, hips that are woefully perfect for childbearing, and thighs that could choke a small-necked man.  Cancer attacks small-boned prostitutes on crime dramas and old men who smoke in their offices.  I am neither small-boned nor in the possession of an office.

And then it just hit me, mid-bite of the third donut:  I absolutely have cancer.  Because cancer attacks anyone.  My therapist, a perfect goddess with an asymmetrical haircut — seriously, who can pull that off? — almost lost her life to cancer.  A beloved family friend, a beautiful radio show host in my hometown, a friend’s seemingly healthy mother was gone within three months because of cancer.

I decided that I had mere months to live, and in those months, I was going to write a book:

Hipster Cancer (Small)

It would be a much more clever title if I owned more skinny jeans, or lived in Brooklyn, or had cancer of the hip.  Regardless, the book would touch on the irony of being sentenced to death so young — is that what “irony” means? meh — and begin with a list of cancer pros and cancer cons:

THE PROS OF CANCER

  • Chemo will definitely take off extra pounds.
  • Hair loss can open up a world usually only open to drag queens: wigs.
  • If I’m not into wigs, wearing a bandana on my head will make people think I’m a pirate, and then I’ll be less likely to get mugged.
  • My friends will not flake on plans because they’ll be afraid I’ll die pissed at them.
  • I will get so many free drinks.
  • All of my ex-boyfriends will have to forgive me for all the horrible things I did to them.
  • I will be able to wear pajamas all day, every day.
  • I will not be judged for napping.

THE CONS OF CANCER

  • Chemo might make me skinny, but I’ll be too weak to go out to any bars to flaunt the skinniness.
  • An IV is an inconvenient accessory.
  • For Halloween, I will only have two costume options: Jean Luc Picard, or Vin Diesel.
  • Muffincat will sense my weakening health and probably try to kill me.
  • My best friend will shave her head out of solidarity with me, and end up looking really hot.  People will see her and say, “Wow, you look like Natalie Portman!” And then they will look at me and say, “Wow, you must have cancer.”
  • I will never know if I could have successfully followed a diet for more than three weeks.
  • I will miss the musical adaptation of Mean Girls.
  • I’ll never see all those postmortem Facebook notifications.

The book will then continue with how I deal with treatment, the many ways Muffincat tries to murder me, and most importantly, directions for my funeral.  I have had my funeral planned for a very long time — Y2K wasn’t a joke, people — and it will be carried out exactly as I have outlined.

THE FUNERAL

  • The ceremony will be held at a roller disco.  (I have never been to one myself, but I imagine they’re a great time, and very colorful.)
  • My coffin will be placed at the center of the skating rink, and every person is required to jump over it during some point in the evening — even if you’re really afraid of “hurting yourself,” come on.  It’s my funeral.
  • No one is allowed to sing.
  • No one is allowed to play an instrument.
  • No one is allowed to think the words “Time of Your Life.”
  • The only song that will be played, throughout the entire evening is a slightly altered version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”  It is called “Don’t Stop Bereavin’,” and I will have the CD burned and ready to play on loop
  • Alcoholic cotton candy will be made available.
  • Muffincat will be strapped into a backpack that Ultraman will be wearing the entire evening.  Any final words you’d like to say to me, you can say to her.  She’ll see that I get the message.
  • My best friend has been given the farewell speech I wrote.  She will read it out loud.  It will elude to a great lost love, that I am a better writer than Shakespeare, and that I have perhaps faked my death.
  • Everyone will receive a gift bag which will include a burned CD of “Don’t Stop Bereavin’,” and some firecrackers.

The funeral — and book — will end with a poem read by my best friend’s fish, Spaceship.

spaceship

EPILOGUE

One week ago, I had the sonogram done.  I had to wait for over two hours and watch Planet of the Apes twice while I fidgeted in the waiting room, but I finally got the exam.  I found out that I don’t have cancer.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t make a joke about it or try to brush it off with humor. I was just grateful.  I was so grateful to the technician who told me I was going to be ok, and to Ultraman for his disgusting  omelet, and to Muffincat for shelving her murder plot, and for every single person who would have showed up to my roller disco funeral.  I am so grateful for you.