Things That Are Like Other Things

This Christmas, Ken put something amazing in my stocking. We’ve always given each other stockings full of socks, chocolate, wine, and other small cool stuff, and this year I was excited to receive a pen. That might sound less cool than I’ve made it out to be, but wait! It’s not just a pen—it’s also a screwdriver, a level, and a ruler. It is, in fact, a “4-In-1 Pen Tool”, and if that isn’t the best thing that is like another thing, I don’t know what is. Now, no matter where I go, I can measure something, check if it’s level, repair it, or write down an interesting fact about it. Because multi-tasking is an art, and things that are like other things are a multi-tasker’s best friend.

 

For example, if you’ve been here before, you know that I LOVE gummy vitamins. They’re multi-coloured, taste just like gummy bears, and are the best of both worlds. The first thing I get to do when I get up in the morning, even BEFORE I eat my yogurt, is have some candy. And it was recommended by my doctor! I NEVER used to take vitamins before, on the grounds that they tasted bad (except for Vitamin C tablets, which taste like oranges, or just like the baby aspirin they had when I was a kid. I used to sneak baby aspirin every so often because they were so delicious–I could fall off my bike and bleed half to death because my blood was so thin, but it didn’t hurt at all), and I didn’t really care about thiamine or niacin or dioxin or whatever. But now, I take vitamins every day because it’s fun AND healthy.

And that got me thinking about a) things that are like other things that make me happy, and b) things that SHOULD be like other things. So here is my list:

1) My newest favourite thing which is like another thing is ‘Pants That Are Pajamas’. Now that I’ve been working from home for almost a year, I have several pairs of these. Some people call them ‘Yoga Pants’ but I don’t do yoga, unless you count a vigorous stretch to grab a wine glass from the cupboard. ‘Pants That Are Pajamas’ allow me to easily transition from Business Casual to Nightwear with very little effort at all.

2) If you’ve ever flown, you know that your seat cushion turns into a flotation device. Which begs the question (which I think I heard first from Jerry Seinfeld) ‘why doesn’t the plane just turn into a cruise ship if it lands in the water?’ I know this is totally possible, because my next favourite thing which is like another thing is a bus that turns into a boat. We went on a bus tour in Ottawa a few years ago, and after we’d driven around for a while looking at the Parliament buildings and whatnot, the driver suddenly announced that we would also be cruising the harbour. Then we drove down a ramp, STRAIGHT INTO THE RIVER. I was totally freaking, but Ken was like, “Don’t worry–the wheels turn into propellers and there’s a ring underneath that inflates.” I responded very calmly with “Liar! We’re going to drown!” and Ken said, “They ADVERTISED this. Why are you acting all surprised? Don’t you remember?”, but I reminded HIM that first, I thought they meant we would get OFF the bus and get ON a boat, and second, I may or may not have been enjoying a very nice Sauvignon Blanc the previous evening when he pulled out the brochure and was waving it around, saying, “Ooh, this will be fun.” But you know what? Once I got used to the idea that my bus was now a boat, and the bus driver was now a sea captain and I could refer to him as ‘Skipper’, I really enjoyed the whole experience. Kate, of course, remained calm throughout the entire tour. Or maybe she was bored. Mainly because the tour consisted of just looking at buildings. But still, the Bus-Boat was very cool.

3) Canes that become swords. Okay, technically, they don’t BECOME swords, they just have swords in them. It would be awesome to be hobbling around, all decrepit-like, then suddenly whip out that sword like a superspy ninja when the need arose. I also love canes that double as flasks for alcohol, because who DOESN’T want to crack that bad boy open when no one’s looking? It would have made my Bus-Boat trip a hell of a lot more interesting once we were on the water, that’s for sure.

4) Sporks. This is two handy things in one–a spoon and a fork. Take it one step further by sharpening the plastic edge, and you have a sporfe: a spoon, fork, and knife all in one, which I just invented. Actually, this might have already been invented, most likely by a prisoner, who stole a spoon from the canteen and turned it into a weapon to shank his cellmate with first, then ate the guy’s pie and ice cream after. Wow, that got dark kind of quick for a fun plastic utensil.

5) Closed Captioning. This allows you to watch TV and read at the same time, so all those people who think reading is a more intellectual pursuit than Netflix can get stuffed.

Okay, so I’ve listed some things that are already other things, so here are some ideas about things that I WISH were other things:

1) Protein shakes that taste like Bailey’s Irish Cream. Wait, does Bailey’s have any protein in it? If so, we could just cut out the middle man, drink the Bailey’s, and then go work out. Many years ago, I had a recumbent cycle, and I used to pour a big glass of wine, turn on the TV, and cycle for a few kilometres. It was hardly like exercising AT ALL, and I broke even on the calories.

2) A bookshelf that is a door. I’ve been bugging Ken about this for a while now, trying to get him to think of a place in our house where we could put a bookshelf that is, in reality, the door to a secret room. There are a couple of spots where we could do it, but Ken thinks it would be really complicated to build. What a baby. I mean, I’m no engineer, but I do have a 4-In-1 pen, and I think it’s definitely possible.

3) A pen with a Tide White Stick on the other end. This is great for people like me, who are fairly clumsy and wave pens around for emphasis, inevitably getting ink on their clothes. But see, with my invention, all you’d have to do is flip the thing around, erase that blob, and you’re good to go. Combine it with the 4-In-1 Pen and you wouldn’t be able to keep them on store shelves—they’d be snapped up faster than toilet paper in a pandemic.

Ultimately, I am the QUEEN of multi-tasking. Whether it’s eating, drinking, working out, or just relaxing, I’ve got a pen for that.

Take Your Vitamins

I love vitamins. I know that sounds weird, but you probably need to know that most of the vitamins I take are gummy vitamins, and it’s like starting your day with candy. Candy that’s GOOD FOR YOU. And yes, I’m a “past-middle-aged” woman (unless I’m going to live to be one hundred and ten) and I’m too old to care if you mock me because they’re delicious. Every morning, I come downstairs and start my day with fruit-flavoured multi-vitamins, orange vitamin C, citrus-y Vitamin D and strawberry-vanilla Biotin. I take two of each, not because I have to but because I WANT to. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever cared about vitamins—even The Flintstones couldn’t tempt me to chew the grape sawdust that passed for a treat when I was a kid. Of course, I was an extremely picky child—you know how some parents puree vegetables into spaghetti sauce to disguise the taste? I wouldn’t even eat spaghetti sauce. Or pasta. In fact, the bulk of my diet was peanut butter on white bread and plain hamburgers. As an adult, I have a wide palate, and I’ll try, and eat, almost anything. I still draw the line at beets and peas, but everything else is fair game. Yet, like a child, I still need to have my vitamins disguised with copious amounts of sugar and gelatin. The only thing better than gummy vitamins would be if there was some kind of vitamin powder you could put into white wine, then I’d be the healthiest lush on the planet.

But despite my passion for vitamin candy, there IS one thing I hate about vitamins, and that’s shopping for them.

1) It doesn’t matter what time I go, or what store I go to, the vitamin aisle is always crowded by at least half a dozen people, all perusing the selection like they’ve never seen vitamins in their lives and are astounded that they exist. I’ve seen people take less time at art galleries or puppy parties than they do in the vitamin aisle. (Slight tangent—wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we could go to puppy parties once a week? How many puppies would we need? I’m thinking 6 minimum). Anyway, there I am, trying to find my vitamins, surrounded by people who are like f*cking ENTHRALLED by Magnesium. Even now, with Covid and stores limiting the number of people in them at any given time, the vitamin aisle is still the most popular hangout in the place. The other day I went grocery shopping at a store with a twenty-person limit, and TWO OF THEM were in the vitamin aisle, blocking my way to delicious health. Seriously, go look at margarine. That’s where the really big decisions need to be made if my recent experience watching people scrutinize margarine tubs is any indication.

2) There are way more brands and types of vitamins than are necessary. The vitamin aisle at my drug store is over 50 feet long and four shelves high. You’d think it would be alphabetical but it’s not, at least in no way I can discern. Some places group them by brand, some places by purpose, some by colour, some by flavour…

Vitamin Shelf Stocker: Where should I put the Vitamin C?
Vitamin Overlord: Next to the Echinacea.
Vitamin Shelf Stocker: Why? I thought it should go next to the Calcium…
Vitamin Overlord: Echinacea and Vitamin C are both immune system boosters. Put them on the bottom shelf where no one can find them. Screw your immune system, Brad!
Vitamin Shelf Stocker: Who’s Brad?
Vitamin Overlord (mutters): No one important.

See, and this is why the vitamin aisle is always crowded, because no one can find anything thanks to Brad.

In other news, I received an email from Amazon the other day about something I might be interested in based on my “current activity”. It was a recommendation for The Dome. I wrote back and said, “Thanks. I AM very interested in this because I WROTE IT. Lol.” They wrote back with a very snarky and passive-aggressive response that I shouldn’t have emailed them back because there was no one there to respond to me. The email was signed “Brad”.

Ever The Optimist

Every so often I buy a lottery ticket. There are several different lotteries here, and the prizes are starting to get really big, so I figure, Why not? I mean SOMEONE has to win, and what are the odds that one day I might? Pretty astronomical actually, but still, a girl can dream. And the best part is that you don’t even have to wait to find out if you won because there’s an app you can download onto your phone that lets you scan the barcode on the ticket and find out almost right away, which completely satisfies my need for instant gratification. Like, you know those obnoxious scratch tickets with 3 separate play areas that advertise themselves as “hours of fun”? All you have to do is scratch the barcode, scan it, and you’ve saved yourself a hell of a lot of time, which is a win all on its own. Also, because Canada is a bilingual country, if you DO win, you’re told by a very excited woman’s voice in both official languages, and I think it’s some kind of Pavlovian thing that if an Ontarian ever hears someone say “Winner!”, their immediate and automatic response is “Gagnon!” If you don’t, you’re a spy or an alien or an alien spy or whatnot.

But as I was scanning my ticket last weekend, I discovered something interesting. As I was waiting for the results, I realized that I was pretty sure I was going to win, and when I didn’t, I was genuinely disappointed, like What? Really?, and that I feel that way EVERY SINGLE TIME. What does this mean? Is this the true irony of my life that I, the Queen of Worst Case Scenarios is, at heart, an eternal optimist? That the woman who has mentally laid out, in painstaking detail, plans to survive bear attacks, bouncy castle misadventures, high speed train derailments, cars plunging off bridges into icy water, and thousands of other potential disasters, is secretly convinced that there is a BEST CASE SCENARIO?

(Side note: Speaking of Worst Case Scenarios, the other day some of us met with a group of people who came to the secret agency to do some research. They started by going around the table and telling us who they were and what their backgrounds were. It went like this for the first 5 people: Accountant, IT Support, Accountant, Business Analyst, Programmer. Then the last person, a man who looked about 25, said, very casually, “Before I came to Canada, I was a Colonel in the army, responsible for training other military units in confirmation and identification of biological warfare agents as well as combatting potential nuclear strikes.” There was a pause, then I said, “OK, this guy wins.” Everybody laughed except me, because I was IN AWE, and also if I was single and about 25 years younger, I would have dropped to one knee and proposed right then and there.)

But back to my point—if anyone remembers what it was. Oh right—I’m always certain in my heart of hearts that I’ve won the jackpot, and when I haven’t, I console myself by saying, “Next time” and “What would you do with 50 million dollars anyway? It’s just too much for one person.” But that is, of course, bullsh*t. I could very easily enjoy that much money, and could find numerous things to spend it on. Once, Ken and I were talking about winning the lottery:

Me: If I win the jackpot, I’m buying a helicopter to take me to work. F*ck the train. I could get there in like 15 minutes by helicopter. The only problem would be where to land.
Ken: If you won the jackpot, why the hell would you keep working?!
Me: Ooh. Good point. Can I still buy a helicopter?

One of my friends at work has an article pinned up in her cubicle about a woman who won millions of dollars and the headline is the winner saying, “I’ll Keep Flying Economy”. And my friend was like, “See? People like that don’t deserve to win the lottery. If you’re not going to change your life AT ALL, you shouldn’t be allowed to keep the money. There should be a quiz, only instead of a skill-testing math question, you should have to describe the things you’re going to do to make life better” and I was like, “There’s a F*CKING MATH QUESTION??!!”

Still, I agree with my friend. If you’re not going to at least fly first-class and sleep in one of those cool pods, you don’t deserve the money. Stop being all humble and sh*t and just go around screaming “I’m rich!!” I’ll be checking my lottery ticket from last night very soon, and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m going to be writing about next.

Update: I just checked my ticket and you won’t believe this!……

……I just found out that the word “acai” is actually pronounce “ass-eye-ee” and if that isn’t something to giggle about every time I see a bottle of Blueberry Acai Vitamin Water, I don’t know what is. Also, I didn’t win the lottery and I’m really shocked. But there’s always next time.

Oh, by the way, I found out a couple of days ago that a site called Feedspot has my blog listed in their Top 100 Humour Blogs, so thanks Feedspot! I’m currently number 93 but that’s better than not winning the lottery.