Why We Must Ban Jen Mann's Book

If you know me, you know that I'm a tireless warrior in pursuit of an improved society. The first step should be requiring people to pass a simple written test before they are allowed to reproduce. The test would include such questions as:
  • Is it okay to sell drugs while running an in-home daycare?
  • Does appropriate parenting include yelling at my child to "Get me a fucking beer!"?
  • Is the best way to keep a baby from screaming to shake them really hard until they stop?
If the applicant answers yes to any of the above questions, then the answer is: No, you may not reproduce. In just a few generations, we could have a vastly better world.
But here's another thing that might help - we need to ban this book...


If we don't, here are the penalties we'll face for our lack of vigilance.

Swingers will take over the world.

Everyone will want to become a swinger, which could result in an additional population from people who shouldn't be spawning. That's what will happen when people read this book, because the irresponsible author makes swinging sound irresistibly attractive. Example from page 48:
Holy shit! This was no ordinary Fourth of July party with co-workers. These people were swingers! And not hot ones. God, why are swingers always so gross? Why is it always fat old men with ponytails and wrinkled women with fake boobs? ... I ran into the house and quickly found the Hubs hoovering appetizers off the food table. "They're swingers! They're swingers! Red alert! They want to have sex with us!" I grabbed the Hubs' plate and threw it in the trash. "Stop eating their food! We can't owe them anything. We cannot be in their debt. They will want to be paid in blow jobs!" 
"What the hell are you talking about, Jen?" the Hubs asked, starting another plate of food. 
"Put down the food and listen to me! I just got invited into a threesome with Maryanne and some old douchebag who isn't wearing a swimsuit!" 
"You did? Is there anyone good for me?" the Hubs teased me. 
"Shut up. This is serious. We need to go! These people might rape us!" 
"No one is going to rape us. They're too old and too drunk. We can totally fight them off. Besides, this pasta salad is delicious."

Fashion will die. 

The author's confused and ill-suited outfits will spread like disease. In this excerpt, she finds herself dressed in "full-on fleecy jammies with matchy-matchy top and bottoms... Pink with black bunnies" while face-to-face with stylish moms and her child's principle:
Now I was frantic to get away. I couldn't let the Dolce moms see me in my fleecy jammies. I didn't have much of a reputation to uphold. I'm usually up at the school in ill-fitting cargo pants and shirts with permanent food stains across my bosom - it's like a shelf where I can store leftovers I'll never eat.

Mommy drug rings will grow.

In this passage, Mann practically provides step-by-step instructions for how to incorporate an illegal drug distribution business in with your regularly scheduled playdates:
I've only met one superuser. Adolpha broke her arm when she was five, and it required surgery. She was prescribed something fairly heavy-duty to numb the pain and help her sleep. After a few weeks, I received a text message from a mom I know (aka the superuser). 
Superuser: How is Adolpha feeling? 
Me: Much better, thanks. 
Superuser: Oh good! Did they give her anything for the pain? 
Me: Yes, we have a prescription to help her sleep, but she stopped needing it a week ago. Tylenol is doing the trick now. 
Superuser: Oh good! Any chance she has any leftovers I can buy from you? I have a terrible migraine and I could use something to help. 
I was stunned. I wanted to write back: What the fuck, lady? Did you just offer to buy my child's pain meds? 
I chose not to respond to the text. I just ignored it. Then a few days later I got another one. 
Superuser: I don't know if you got my last message. I need to buy Adolpha's leftover pain meds. I've got an awful toothache and I can't get to the dentist this week. My dentist would totally prescribe something for the pain, but I just can't get there, so it's just easier if I pay you for Adolpha's. Would fifty bucks work? 
I ignored her again. I didn't know what to do. Luckily she wasn't someone I see on a regular basis, so at least I didn't have to see her in the parking lot at school and have her ask me face-to-face to sell her drugs illegally. After another few days passed I received the final text message from her. 
Superuser: Hey, just so you know, I was totally kidding about buying Adolpha's meds. It was just a joke. You can stop being all weird and judgy now.
Worst of all, the spread of this book might promote logic and a sense of humor within its readers. It needs to be banned.

Let's stay safe, people. And whatever you do, do not READ THIS BOOK.

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Jitter Glitter. Or, Shitty Things to Give to the Parents of a Kindergartner

Last week I was introduced to Jitter Glitter. I’m sure compulsive Pinterest crafters already know what this is, but I was a Jitter Glitter virgin until a recent kindergarten orientation. My husband and I accompanied our five-year-old to her elementary school before the official start of the school year. She had the opportunity to meet her teacher, explore her classroom, and see the environment in which she will spend the next nine months learning, laughing, crying, and giving and receiving a variety of germs and ailments. But hopefully not lice. I’m just not ready for that.

We were sent home with welcome packets and what I thought was an impressive amount of swag for a five-year-old in the public school system. I was less impressed with the Ziploc full of glitter that was stapled to a crappy poem called “Jitter Glitter”.

The night before school is exciting and fun
With so many things that just have to be done

No shit. And why do I get the feeling this is going to add one to the list.

Your clothes are all ready, your backpack is, too
And your classroom is waiting with fun things to do
There are so many questions that go through your mind
All types of thoughts, some of every kind

I can’t argue that. My kindergartner asked me how to keep a baby from growing in her belly. This lead to a conversation even more awkward than when she asked me what she should do with my body when I die. All types of thoughts, indeed.

The day before school, we all get jitters down deep
Making it hard for us to fall asleep

She’s not going to have any trouble falling asleep unless I read her this stupid poem.

So here is some jitter glitter – it’s really quite cool
It’s something to help you be rested and ready for school

Way too many syllables in that last line. And now I feel like this is a baggie full of drugs. Take the jitter glitter, it’ll make you feel good, it’ll get you through.

Just sprinkle the glitter under your pillow in bed,
The night before school starts, when you lay down your head

Wait, what? Did you really just tell my five-year-old to dump a bag full of glitter on her bed? Who do you think is going to have to clean up that shit?

The glitter will help you to sleep through the night,
Letting you wake up feeling fresh and bright

I have my doubts. I don’t think anyone would feel well after inhaling a pound of glitter throughout the night. Is this to prepare kids for that treasured experience we all remember fondly of kindergarten – their first time huffing glue?

I’ll sprinkle the glitter under my pillow, too.

I’m going to call bullshit on that. Let’s see some video footage.

I can’t wait for the first day of school, so I can see you!

Oh, barf. I mean, that’s very sweet. No really, worst poem ever. And worst idea ever. Sure, the first day of school can be tough, but when it comes to Shitter Glitter, I think we’ll pass.



Not happening.

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An Open Letter to DB

Dear DB,

Please don’t think that by referring to you as DB, I’m calling you a douchebag. That’s not the case at all. I just thought you would want your identity protected, and what a happy coincidence it is that your initials are, in fact, DB.

When I saw a Facebook message from you, I wondered how we know each other. I clicked on your profile to find that we have no mutual friends and no geographical connection. Normally I don’t accept friend requests from such people, but I think at the time I thought you looked like a nice older lady who wasn’t trying to engage me in some sort of online sex cult. I figured you were a fan who sent a friend request to my personal page, which happens from time to time, so I accepted. A closer look at your personal page would reveal that you are a fan of the Raiders, Bruno Mars, Nascar, and Bingo. And by the way, your post asking God to teach the parents of mentally ill and disabled children to be patient and show them how to love their kids was more than a little offensive. So many red flags. Such colorblindness on my part.

 And then I read your message…



And I still thought you were a fan and just confused about my husband’s name. Mike, Steve. It’s easy to confuse those monosyllabic common male names. Though let’s be honest, Mike is a much better name than Steve. Unless your last name is Buscemi or Zahn. So I tried to delicately correct you with my response…



And that’s the point where you started to get creepy…



But still I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this was an inside joke I’d forgotten. Had I written about a character named Steve to whom you were referring? See how my ego still wants to turn you into a fan and not just a random looney? I came up with nothing and decided to just come clean with my confusion.

So you elevated your creepy factor with this...



Here's the thing, DB. I've only been married once and my husband's name is Mike. We had exactly four guests at our wedding and you were not one of them. I'm not sure which Amanda Turner's wedding you stood up at, and possibly made an ass of yourself, which is why you're trying to search her out now and reconnect and, I have to add, failing at miserably, but it's not this Amanda Turner. But what did you do when I told you that you had the wrong Amanda? You just got creepier...



"No I dont but thats ok"?? Are you kidding me? Not only have you gone from creepy to condescending, but you also can't bring yourself to use one tiny bit of punctuation? I've been known to slack on punctuation here and there. I realize I failed to capitalize "Mike", but your blatant disregard for our language is unforgivable. For this and many, many other reasons, I have unfriended you. I'm setting you free to go find the real Amanda Turner. But be prepared, DB. If she knows you as I now do, and I think she does, she might not accept.

Good luck with Bingo,

Amanda
(but not the one you're looking for)

Listen to a the podcast with more about Psycho Pseudo Friends HERE. If you're not a DB, connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads.

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First Grade Field Trip: A Story of Survival

When I agreed to chaperone my daughter’s field trip, I hadn’t quite thought it through. My initial reaction when asked was, “Ooh! Field trip!” But that was me channeling my inner first grader, not the adult me who fears chaos and dirt and is therefore less than an ideal pick for this type of situation. And I assumed that the field trip would be to one of two destinations, the zoo or the aquarium. I made this assumption because those were the places I most wanted to visit.

I didn’t ask for too many details, even when I heard the word “farm” being thrown about. Because a farm is just a less exotic zoo with no concession stand, right? And maybe I’d get to pet a bunny or a baby pig.

A few days before the trip, I fell ill. I’ll omit the gory details, save for the fact that I was on a steady diet of Dayquil, Nyquil, and Imodium. “You should cancel,” my husband said. I ignored him because as craptacular as I felt, there was no way I would let down the first grade teacher. If the woman ever needs a kidney, I’ll be first in line.

I arrived at the school, put on my happy face, and suppressed panic as I boarded the bus. It was a crush of children and snot and noise. Stifling hot.

I looked at all the tiny faces and pictured their families and thought of every school bus tragedy I’d heard of. Heads brushed up against me and I surveyed them for lice. Children tattled and taunted and I managed to croak “Sit on your bum, please” while inside I screamed “Hands to yourself and sit the fuck down!” I looked to my daughter who looked up at me with adoration and joy. She was having the time of her life.

After thirty excruciating minutes, we pulled into the Kuna High School.

“I thought we were going to a farm,” I said to another parent, a burly dad with daggers tattooed on his forearm.

“We’re touring the Kuna Ag Program,” he corrected me. “It’s one of the best in the country. They win all kinds of awards. You haven’t heard about their Ag Program?”

The term Ag would occur many times. And at each instance I lamented the abbreviation. Agriculture includes culture. Why on earth would you omit culture? But in the Ag industry, if you insist on saying Agriculture too often, you come across as snooty. I was determined to keep my snootiness in shadow.

The prospect of exiting the bus brought relief. But when we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a dozen other school buses, cars parked on curbs, masses of children everywhere. I felt the same level of panic as I do at the idea of going to K-Mart at midnight on Black Friday, which I think is sick and stupid and why on earth would anyone do such a thing?

Teenagers greeted us. The tour guides for the Ag Program. The Future Farmers of America. Ours was a fifteen-year-old who admitted, “I’m just doing this to cut class. Now who wants to watch a video about milk?” It was a 1980’s production with girls in floral vests. A farmer in one scene donned a mustache and became the milkman in the next scene, then added glasses and a lab coat to become Louis Pasteur.

We shuffled through exhibits on beef and wool and trees and trout, trying not to lose children in the process. Our guide asked the first graders where pork comes from. Hands shot in the air and hopeful six-year-olds guessed “Steak?” and “Fish?”

We saw fowl in wire cages. Ducks, chicks, and chickens. And then there were bunnies. Our guide tried and failed to remove three different rabbits for me to pet. I mean, for the children to pet. It was not to be.

We saw tractors. “This one is a…” our guide trailed off. “I don’t really know. It might be a combine.” The dagger-decorated dad took over and explained which tractor was which. The wind picked up and I looked at my watch. A hay ride took us around the school and the guide made us sing songs, which did not endear her to me.

We saw horses and miniature horses and goats and sheep. There were baby pigs which the children pet. I tried to elbow the children out of the way so that I could have a turn. This, too, was not to be.


Steers and cows and a llama. My fingers froze, my stomach churned. How long since my last Imodium? My nose ran until I was as snotty as my charges. I took seconds of hand sanitizer, looked at my watch. Mercifully, it was time to go. The bus ride I’d detested now felt like a bit of heaven. I kept the kids in line, again without using the word fuck and felt deservedly triumphant. Back at the elementary school I said goodbye to my daughter and suppressed the urge to run to my car. My daughter couldn’t stop hopping. “This is the best day ever, Mama,” she proclaimed. “Thank you so much for coming on my field trip.”

I kissed her on the cheek and said, honestly, “Any time.”

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