Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm So Hot! (Not.)

When I was in high school, there was a popular way to introduce a topic where the first person would say, "I'm so __________"  and the second person would say, "How _________ are you?" 

I was never hot enough to have a cool retort to the how-___________-are-you response. I wasn't funny. Instead, I hung around funny people. They made me laugh, or they made fun of me so they could laugh, which struck me as funny.

Me and my funny friends

Because they were funny, they could maneuver in and around the popular crowd (maybe they were popular) and on occasion, so did I. But I was way too into riding my horse and slinging plates at the local Pay-n-Save Coffee Shop to be cool.

I'm too bossy, or as one of my elementary teachers phrased it on my report card: "Debbie sometimes has too much leadership over others."

My diaphragm should have developed in the body of an opera singer (I can't carry a note) or a theatre major. Even my whispers are loud. If I were a child today, somebody would put me on Ritalin. Instead, I live with a cluttered brain and a voice that carries way too far.

I was never cool. I just never made the grade. I was never all that. When ragged bottom jeans were hip, I wore polyester double knit pants. When hot pants were rad, I wore pleated skirts. The one time in my life when totally out of control frizzed out hair was mod (thank you, Janis Joplin), my mom smoothed mine into sleek ponytails with Fabric Finish. The kind for ironing clothes.

When I grew up, my twins were happy to see me after work each day when they were small. But then they grew into teenagers, and weren't that thrilled with a bossy mom. Further, I filled our house up with so many children, it was often hard for them to get face time. The foster kids wished I'd fall off the face of the earth so they could have their real moms back. 

Sometimes, when one or the other of them was screaming, "I want my REAL mom!" I'd scream back, "What do I look like? A cartoon?" One twin would retreat to his bedroom, the other would say, "Mom! You need to take a chill pill." The dogs would bark, my husband would raise an eyebrow, and the parrot would shriek, "Get in bed, right now!"

Since the parrot did a really mean imitation of my husband's side of a phone conversation ("Hello. Yes. Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, G'bye.") and his deceased wife's CB chatter (10-4, good buddy!) I knew that evil shrieking get-in-bed command was a fairly accurate rendition of me.


I would never gain popularity with an evil avian critter mimicking my worst moments.  Years passed. Children grew up and left home. I had more free time with which to connect to the world. Still, I never watch television and rarely listen to the radio.  It's probably no wonder that I'm not a very good measure of current trends but I love to torment myself, so I decided to Google the top internet searches to see if I could guess what they'd be. I surmised:

Government shutdown
Breaking Bad

That's it. That's all I could get. I couldn't even come up with a third.

Then, I clicked on Hot Trends in Google Searches which gave me a list for today:

1. Banksy
2. Steve Bartman
3. Common App
4. DeMarco Murray
5. Ed Sheeran
6. Bob Costas

Of the six, I've only even heard of Bob Costas. Seriously. That's how uncool I am. I hate to admit that because I'm so out of touch you probably think I'm living in a partially buried culvert at the back of someone's property.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I clicked on the link that said Top Charts which brought up a list of the top Animals, Athletes, Books, DJs, Foods and so on.

I'm happy to report I'm familiar with all five top animals (dog, cat, horse, fish and bird), recognize three out of five names of the top athletes (although I'm not sure which sport they play), know four of the five top-rated books (didn't know "Under the Dome"), have never heard of any of the DJs (there's a top DJ rating? Really?), and I'm more than a little familiar with chicken, pizza, cake, wine, and apples.

What does this have to do with anything?

As a writer, you're supposed to develop a platform. I imagine that it's supposed to be comprised of fans and followers who are keen on your work. Kinda like being popular. And since, I'm not personally popular nor am I remotely in the know about popular culture, developing fabulous Facebook posts and titillating Tweets is gonna suck so much--

How much is it going to suck?

I need to find some funny friends.


  1. Your childhood sounds suspiciously like mine.... riding horses, not really in a crowd. I'll volunteer to be a "somewhat amusing" friend. You're a good writer so you can't be all that bad. :)

  2. I laughed out lout when I got to "I'm happy to report I'm familiar with all five top animals."

    I don't know about funny people, but are you familiar with the folks at Wordsmith Studio? They started as a challenge for writers to build a platform so the group is a useful platform. Here's the web page: But a lot of the action is in the Facebook group. I just added you. I meant to invite you, but Facebook apparently wanted me to be more presumptuous than that.

    1. It's good to get a laugh. It was damn fine that I knew all five in one category! Thanks for the invite--I'll stop by.

  3. I think you do very well at conveying humor---probably because you don't shy away from any truth. My favorite line that I have read any where this week-
    "I would never gain popularity with an evil avian critter mimicking my worst moments." I about howled!

    1. Aw, thanks, Terri. You would only howl if you've never heard a parrot saying things in your Mean Mom Voice that you hope company never hears. Of course, that's when parrots love to talk.

  4. Oh, I so identify. Definitely the most uncool kid in my high school, with a loud voice, too. I don't know a single one of those "hot trends" but felt better when you listed the animals - hey, I know all of those, too! I love the ending, "How much is it going to suck?" which ties in with your opening. Very funny. Deb, we have got to keep in touch after this challenge - I think you're cool. (This is not necessarily a good thing for you - see sentence #2 above)

  5. I for sure identify with this. Though I am totally opposite of you. I am the quiet one who blends into the wall. I always wished to be loud. I still do sometimes.

  6. I hear you, Angie. Each world must seem easier to occupants from the other land. I feel anxious about overtalking when I go to social events, so I often just don't go. The poet Molly Fisk gave me this advice: "Three compound sentences, Deb, and then say, "Gosh, I suddenly really have to pee. Will you excuse me?" That, she felt, would keep me from talking so much people's eyes glaze over. If I get the courage, I'll try it.

    1. Enter, yours truly. I have this fear all the time. I was a teacher for too long. No one really wants to know the ins and outs of every conceivable subject known to man, or at least, to my memory. I'll hve to remember that advice, Deb. Thanks.

  7. Ah, don't worry Deb. I mean, what is "cool" anyway? To me, it's an attitude. And I'm so unhip to the trends nowadays. I'm stuck in my cozy little time warp and listen to outdated music and love it better than anything my kids wanna hear on the radio. I'll be uncool to them no matter what, but someday, there world's will go beyond the limits of trends.

  8. Deb, I gotta tell ya. This reminded me of something that Erma Bombeck would have written. She was one of the funniest writers I've ever read. You have plenty going for you in this vein.

    Think about this, too. Parrots imitate us because we are cool. We get to walk around whenever we want to. They have to stay on their perches and just watch the world go by. It's a bit of revenge and, maybe, a bit of tried and true deliberate annoyance. And if you really want to take a parrot and its owner for a mental ride, teach it to respond to "Marco!" :D

    1. Thanks, Claudette. It's great to be in Bombeck country!

  9. Hah! This is so funny. You should collect these like Chuck Klosterman -- you have the same voice but the opposite views. You have such an original way of looking at the world.


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