Life Lesson: Cookies Are the Food of the Devil

Life Lesson 6,119: Nothing is ever as easy as the Internet says it is.

Alternate Title: I Had Writer’s Block All Weekend and So You’re Getting a Classic Life Lesson

I tried very hard to have an amusing weekend for your benefit, but when I sat down to write about my adventures, it turned out that I wanted to watch Love Actually Instead. So now I share with you a classic life lesson, and the true story behind it.

In my previous job, I had to find interesting things on the Internet to lure people to our social media page. Really, that translates to: People paid me to stumble around the Internet looking for appropriate entertainment.

What I found, on one particularly tragic day, was a recipe for Pinata cookies.*

*Because cookies are not enough sugar for people, these are cookies filled with an abundance of tiny candies to contribute to your long-term goal of diabetes.

Pinata cookies are the devil

My artistic skills honestly do not extend beyond stick figures. But this time, colored markers were involved.

I decided in that very second that I would make those cookies. I mean, I have baking skills**, and there was a work potluck coming up. What better way to impress my friends and coworkers with my sweet domestic-skills dominance than with a cookie surprise***? I took the time to show all my immediate coworkers the cookie brilliance, and declare that I would be bringing this genius creation to the potluck.

**I decided this at that very second, too.
***Diabetes

The potluck was a week away from that point.

I completely forgot about the cookies.

My clocks are the real key here

Shop Smart. Shop S*Mart.

But don’t worry. I was, in fact, literally on my way out the door when my benevolent coworkers**** reminded me about my cookie-related promise.

****with their completely selective memories.

But don’t worry. I totally remembered my baking skills, and didn’t panic at all. In fact, I didn’t even bother to read the recipe before I went to the store and bought whatever I felt like as ingredients. And I didn’t read the recipe before I decided what time to make the cookies.

My hat!

Did you know my dad made me study College Algebra for like, three summers in a row? In middle school? This is relevant here. Because fractions.

And then I doubled it*****.And then I divided in into thirds******. At this point, I was still feeling very confident in my skills.

*****Maybe? Really I just threw some ingredients in a bowl, and then decided I needed more. That’s how recipes work, right?
******Ish. Thirds-ish. 

See? I took real pictures too

This is what “thirds-ish” looks like, represented by this here pink dough.

Things hadn’t even begun to get tense yet. Why should I be tense? It’s just cookies. Everyone loves cookies.

Every moment is made better with Journey

When in doubt, dancing alone in the kitchen solves every problem. Or makes everything worse. One of those two things is true.

I really did take a dance break. Because I was feeling like a winner. It just happened to be during my dance break that I caught sight of the clock. It was 10 o’clock. At night.

And I hadn’t even begun baking the actual cookies yet. The dough was still chilling.

But I did bake the cookies.

Pinata cookies are the devil

Seriously. They were everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

And then I assembled the cookies.

Cookie mountains are not as fun as you think.

As it happens, I don’t have a “burro-shaped” cookie cutter. I don’t even have a donkey shaped one. What I have is a single, circle-shaped cookie cutter. It’s called “a cup”.

I didn’t get to bed until 4 in the morning. For something that ultimately tastes like a sugar cookie and a handful of M&Ms.

The recipe had said these were “simple” and “fun.”

The Internet: Giant Liar

IT LIES!! IT LIES!!!!!

And also, I do all my artwork on binder paper.

It’s also probably required that I share with you the final product:

Pinata Cookies. Still Evil

The Final Product

They tasted like sugar cookies and a handful of M&Ms.

And nearly made me hate cookies.

But they were super popular at the potluck.

Life Lesson: Giving Advice Is Super Hard

Life Lesson 7,190: Quoting Journey songs in a serious tone of voice is not the same as imparting sage advice.

(Unless the person you’re talking to doesn’t catch on – then it’s totally the same as offering high-quality words of wisdom.)

Sorry Tom Cruise

How is this not the same thing as imparting sage wisdom?
I still haven’t learned my own life lesson.

I have an unhealthy relationship with Journey. Like, I really, truly love them. Their songs bring me joy rivaled only by small children on Christmas morning. I didn’t grow up listening to them – my Dad preferred the very essential musical education staples of Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd and Rush (which is probably why I have such excellent taste in music, and such an expansive knowledge about necrophilia-related lyrics.)

Sorry Mr. Cooper. I wasn't exactly an _artiste_.  It was totally true love, y'all.

Sorry Mr. Cooper. I wasn’t exactly an _artiste_.
It was totally true love, y’all.

But one day, late in my high school days, I discovered them.

The dulcet tones of their quintessential hit, Don’t Stop Believin’, convinced me that I could dance for a week straight. It was a really confusing week. Confusing and amazing.

But even more importantly than discovering that there was, in fact, music that a rhythm-less girl could move to, was learning that their lyrics are totally deep and multipurpose. By sharing such key statements as any way YOU want it, that’s the way YOU need it, and just not to stop believing, Journey’s lyrics transformed my young, impressionable mind into a fount of wisdom.

Love, True Love

Those faces are just so trustworthy and knowledgeable.
Click for the original image, which is mercifully free of MS Paint.

Or at least that’s what i thought. I’d like to share a few times I used Journey in the real world.

  • I advised strangers on the BART train not to stop believing when they looked sad.
  • I soulfully gazed into the eyes of conflicted friends and told them “Well, try and make up your mind” (A sweet lyric from “You’re On Your Own.”).
  • I confess, I lashed out during a particularly ridiculous breakup with “You make me weep and wanna die. Just when you said we’d try!” (From “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'”)*
  • I shrugged as I told a traveler friend “They say that the road ain’t no place to start a family” as she worked through a recent breakup.

*In my defense, I really just wanted to see if I could get away with it. If we were really meant to be together, OBVIOUSLY he would have recognized the sweet words of Journey, and trusted their wise advice. Needless to say, things were over.

I still think all of the above sound both applicable and wise. However, with the advent of Google, people started catching me in my words-of-advice-reapplication. And that is when I learned that you cannot simply reapply song lyrics – no matter how amazing – into sage life advice.

Apparently.

Here is a picture of a sunset to sooth your Friday woes:

Oops. I did it again.

Just remember: Love’s like a sunshower

This life lesson is old. In fact, it probably should be numbered somewhere in the 5,000s, but I learned it several times before I bothered to write it down.

Life Lesson: The DMV

Life Lesson 7,246:

The DMV does not actually have any customer service representatives. They actually just have a hold line. It’s a social experiment on patience. 

I have a unique relationship with the DMV. It goes beyond the traditional annoyances most people experience, for one simple reason: I have cartoon eyes.*

Over the course of the last 13 years (since I turned 15 and got my driver’s permit), I have spent more time dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles than most people do their whole lives. I send them documents from fancy doctors. I visit their offices and charm their employees (Read this as: inflict unrelenting sarcasm on their employees). Oddly enough, I’ve never before had to call them. And that leads us to today’s life lesson.

The DMV sent me a love note. It read:

“Hi ho, little driver.

Just so you know, we’ve arbitrarily decided your driving privileges will expire in a week. Because we never received the paperwork you sent in a month ago.

Kisses!

The DMV”

(I may be paraphrasing.)

So, obviously, I found myself required to call the DMV. For three days, I called and called, and sat on hold and sat on hold. It doesn’t matter what day you call, or what time of the day. No one will answer. You will find yourself having to dig up the local office’s number, call them, and demand to be transfered through eight different people in order to get this matter clarified.

Because there are no customer service representatives at the DMV.

The California DMV is even using robot terminals to avoid letting you talk to a real person.

The California DMV is even using robot terminals to avoid letting you talk to a real person. Tragically, NC doesn’t even give you robots.

If you find yourself in this position ever, I have provided a handy list of ways to entertain yourself and not waste any of your valuable time.

Things You Can Do While on Hold with the DMV

    • Blow dry your hair. Into three different styles.
    • Make a salad, a sandwich, and a tiny pie invention.
    • Doodle over six pages of mini notebook paper.
    • Draft four blog posts.
    • Quadruple overbrew a cup of tea.
    • Rebrew the cup of tea you ruined.
    • Have a philosophical discussion about doodles and lung cancer with a man smoking outside your office building.
My eyes do not sparkle like this.

My eyes do not sparkle like this.

*I’m not kidding. My eyes literally sparkle. Like a cartoon. It’s a condition called “synchronous rotatory nystagmus.” My eyes are constantly refocusing, causing them to shift like someone spinning a combination lock.One would imagine this to be very cool (and of course it is) but it also just so happens to make me entirely unable to take traditional eye tests.  It’s just one of many entertaining quirks that came with my baby-blues. It’s congenital and stable; it just means I’ll never see 20/20.

Life Lesson: The Rule of Halloween

Life Lesson 7,245:

If you’re a grown woman and your boss asks you what you’re going to dress up as for Halloween, do not say “a stegosaurus.” Just say “dinosaur.” Your specificity will undermine your professional adulthood.

I have a problem. It’s called “terminal honesty.” This is probably the result of being a chronic liar in the sixth grade.

Parents: “Daughter, did you do your homework?”

Me: “Yes, absolutely, loving parents. I have completely mastered long division”

Three Days Later, post parent-teacher conference

Parents: “Daughter, you have apparently not done homework for three months.”

Me: “…Oh. I thought you were talking about my homework four months ago. I did that homework. Were you talking about recent homework?”

The disappointment in my parents’ eyes eventually (it took awhile) guilt-ed the devious liar-ness out of me. And resulted in my horrendous honesty in the face of nearly everyone, including my overly normal employers.

Out at lunch yesterday, we were discussing my coworkers’ many children and Halloween. As the only employee in this group who hasn’t made any tiny people, I tried to avoid any awkward participation in this conversation. Until all eyes turned to me, anticipating my contribution of Halloween plans.

Devoid of children of my own to draw attention away from my inner child (who escapes often), I maintained my aura of expert cool by mentioning that I’m attending a party at a local art studio. (Sounds cool, right? Yeah, we’ll just skip over the fact that this is also the place where I go to watch movies like “Sharknado” and “Laser Blast.”)

“Oh?” said my boss. “What are you going to dress as? It must be a costume party.”

“Oh, I’m going as a stegosaurus. I made the costume this past weekend.” I replied.

And then, as the expressions of my boss and coworkers changed into frozen smiles, I realized something.

  1. It’s unacceptable to be a grown woman who dresses as a dinosaur for Halloween
  2. “Stegosaurus” is a really specific dinosaur for a grown woman to mention. This would only be eclipsed by something like “ankylosaurus,” but in your 20s, it is not socially normal for a non-archaeologist to differentiate dinosaurs.
  3. Adults do not make their own costumes. This implies too much dedication to dressing up.
  4. It’s always safer to say “a witch.”
One of the options that results from a Google Image Search for "Women's Stegosaurus Costume."

One of the options that results from a Google Image Search for “Women’s Stegosaurus Costume.”