Wednesday, October 03, 2007

On Fakes, Faking and Toast

Who can spot a fake?

Not everyone.

But, I can.

And, maybe you can too.

I can spot a fake smile, a fake nod of approval, a fake boob job, a fake prosthetic limb (in the nude), a fake offer to help excavate dog doo from my shoe sole, a fake claim of rational non-fallacy, and a fake Virgin Mary outline on a piece of toast, given the right lighting conditions.

After all, this is the age of faking… we have to be prepared.

Our peers, children, neighbors, government and media work hard to ensure that we see enough fakeness everyday to acquire sufficient fake-sensing, personal radars.

I mean, just imagine how much fake-ological evolution had to take place in order for us to get to the point we humans have reached today. How many of our ancestors had to ooh and aahh at the seeming miracle of toupees, drop jaw at the magician who cut a woman in two, fear death and anguish for coveting a neighbor’s really cool four-wheel drive before we could recognize the bright orange hue of a FAKE sun tan?

Yes. We should be much better at spotting fakes by now.

In a time of fake fantasies, fake fur, fake beef, fake weapons, fake Rolexes, fake teeth, fake evidence, fake IDs, fake memoirs, fake lips, fake Louis Vuitton bags…
We should definitely know better…

BUT, I sincerely hope we haven’t learned yet.

And, I say this because, I myself, am on the verge of embarking on an adventure of “faking,” and I whole-heartedly hope that nobody notices.

I have just moved to a new city and taken a new job for which I feel myself completely unqualified.

If anyone spots this fake in the act of faking, I will be pressed to conclude that the theory of fake-ological evolution is indeed true.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Job Position Available: Ruler of the Universe

/Geek Confession

I’ll be looking for a new job soon. I’m pretty sure I want to be Queen of the Ants.
Well… that, or Big Blade of Grass among all the grasses...

In any case, I’m not the only one looking for a job with high aspirations.
A friend I met a few years ago in Nepal sent me an e-mail today, divulging his ambition to get a job as ‘Master of the Universe’.

And, it struck me that he might not be the only one with this desire.

So, in hopes that I might help others out there with a similar goal, I am posting the following job opening that came to my attention through secret channels of cosmic networking and job-searching:

Job Title: Chief Executive of the Universe

Position Summary: The Master of the Universe or CEU is responsible for implementing the strategic goals and objectives of the Universe, and is accountable to the Scientific Laws which currently govern the Organization of the Universe (as well as to the Board of Organizational Chaos). Working with the Chair (whose dark matter-infested offices in the Small Magellanic Cloud Galaxy are in the process of relocation), the CEU is responsible for giving direction and leadership toward the achievement of the Universe’s philosophy, mission, strategy and universal light year goals and objectives (whatever they may be).

-Advanced degree in Confusing Little Life Forms (or related field)
-Minimum of 10 billion years of administrative/managerial leadership experience related to planets, pulsars, quasars, comets, binary stars, neutron stars, globular clusters, OR confusing Little Life Forms
-A history of responsibility for multi-galactic matter profit and loss
-A sense of humor

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
-Earned reputation for creative ‘big picture’ thinking, reasoned problem solving, and capacity to put good ideas into practice
-Ability to manage processes of creation and decline while simultaneously confounding the Little Life Form
-Evidence of success in securing planetary, stellar and galactic support
-Strong networking, conflict resolution, space-time dialogue and subatomic communication skills
-Untaught natural capacity to laugh, create and inspire organic and comedic evolution
-Ability to speak and write persuasively with passion, lack of clarity, beguiling purpose and de-emphasis on meaning (multilingual skills required)

Please send cover letter and curriculum vittae to any address you feel like. Please no phone calls or emails. We will contact you if you are right for the job.

Editor’s Note: I’m not sure, but I think if you tell them your best friend is a dwarf star, it might help your diversity standings among the competitors...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cosmic Holes, PMS and Perspective

It’s that time of the month again.

It’s that time when blood flows from me, and I stick spongy cotton up my entrance way in an attempt to thwart threats of panty paint scribbles and menstrual malodors. It’s that time when the haphazard viewing of a wailing baby and the sing-song intonation of a bee zzzz-ing around a flower fill me with purposeful understanding of an interconnected world- cyclical, alive and fertile.

But, more importantly: it’s that time when I have a socially-acceptable excuse for being unpredictable, socially intolerant and seemingly uncaring of the petty, personal plights of others.

This month, the timing couldn’t be better.

It just so happens that over the last few days I have been feeling abnormally unsympathetic towards the woes and tiny traumas of my fellow humans (…or, hu-people, as we feministically-correct like to call us).

I pity every emotion-exposing soul-bearer who has shared their problems with me recently only to get a slow shrug and a “so what?” eyebrow flick in response. Each and every one of the confiders deserves better…

But what can I do? I have been busy. I have been busy braiding my thoughts into rastafarian dreads, trying to contemplate the vastness of the universe and the immensity of potential nothingness.

Yeah..., it sounds like philosophical hopscotch on a bed of psychedelically-altered, eastern-religious rice, I know, but it’s pretty sane stuff. Really. Especially, considering what we are learning these days…

Astronomers just recently released their findings of an enormous expanse of universe devoid of anything…er… everything… (See this and do some googling). Basically they just found a huge patch in the universe’s quilt that has NOTHING on it. This means that grandma didn’t embroider any holiday prints there, didn’t glitter-glue any decorative sparkly stars, ringed planets or any visible, shiny sequins. She didn’t even spill any tea or release any scented, dyspeptic gases there. It’s a big, empty patch in our universal quilt with NOTHING on it.

And by big, I don’t mean like the size of your rich neighbor’s pimpin’ new Sports Utility Vehicle with GPS and automated pubic hair-drying capacity. It’s not big like the size of your ex-lover’s thighs, your continent, this planet or even the Milky Way galaxy. It’s more like 1 billion light years in diameter big…

Well, let’s try this. Have you ever spent a romantic night under the stars and wished that you could take your sexy companion to the brightest star in sight for an evening of nefarious debauchery? If you had the right travel agent who could book you a flight traveling at the speed of light, you could get to your destination of passion and unbridled euphoria in no less than 2 years. Yes, that’s 2 light years, minimum.

However, to cross this patch of recently found, grandma flatulence-absent cosmic nothingness would take you I BILLION years, traveling the speed of light. Business class.

Yeah, it’s pretty damn big. And pretty astoundingly vacant. And pretty thought-masturbatory.

So, this week, when people told me about their malfunctioning iPods, bedbug infestations, childhood traumas, psycho boyfriends, and parking dilemmas, I had to giggle at the insignificance of their perceived catastrophes.

Luckily, I could reference the socially-accepted ‘woman’s bloody time of the month’ excuse for my lack of sympathetic decency.

And then, I could go back to worrying about my apartment deposit and Lindsay Lohan’s cocaine-anaesthetized rhinoplasty…

Monday, August 20, 2007

Beard Confessions

I’ve never understood why criminal confessions were so hard to get.

I mean, why does getting the truth out of someone always involve some torturous combination of physical brutality, psychological attack, inhumane intimidation, threats on family, sleep deprivation and ridiculous good cop/ bad cop routines (at least, in the Hollywood films and in U.S. off-shore detainment facilities)?

I just don’t get it.

Getting someone to confess their most hidden, unspeakable inner secrets is easy.

I do it every day.

All you need is a broth of new culture, a pinch of mild alienation, one heaping fingernail full of introspection, and a foreign language to translate the flavor. That’s it.

I mean, if I can do it, anyone can. I was never trained in the art of interrogation. I’m just a high-poverty-line ESL teacher. And, yet, just this week, I learned about a Taiwanese man’s forbidden liaisons with a Chinese woman of royalty, a Korean gal’s botched reconstructive facial surgery, and a Saudi Arabian’s story of claiming his wife upon first sight at age five and ‘re-having’ her at age 14.

And, it’s true. Speaking a second language allows you to say (and even think) things you would never feel comfortable or permitted to express in your own language.

That’s why I wasn’t at all surprised today by any of my students’ summaries of their respective childhoods. (We were practicing the form: “I used to…”)

“He used to jog, but now he watches 'American Idol'.”

(Aww… that’s cute.)

“When she was young, she used to collect stamps, but now she doesn’t. And she used to love 8-Man. He was a power magic cartoon hero. But now she doesn’t like.”

(Aww… that’s cute.)

“He used to use scissors cut worms. He used to pretend like he famous cooking chef… But, now he doesn’t cut worms. However, he is good at cooking.”

(Aww…that’s cute… in an I-used-to-fantasize-about-sea-urchins kind of way)

“She used to have a beard. She used to feel embarrassed because of beard.”

(Aww…that’s what? A beard? Why, that’s just trauma with fewer calories.)

“Yes, uh, she used to have a beard. This beard it was very dirty and it make.. uh.. made many problems. It is- was very noisy and it sometimes make-made messy. But now, she doesn’t have a beard.”

As a compassionate teacher aware of the unintentionally-revealed secrets exposed when conversing in a foreign language, I nodded and smiled, thinking to myself what an adept extractor of buried confessions I was. Yes, I had uncovered a poor Turkish woman’s young struggle with facial hair. So there, Guantanamo Bay questioners! Eat my graceful, torture-less tact!

Of course, now as I’m beginning to get my resume together for the secret service interrogation job I have always dreamed of having, I’m beginning to doubt my super-extraordinary, clandestine intelligence-unveiling abilities.

After all, when a Mexican from Guadalajara says “beard,” he probably just means “bird”….

And… unfortunately, I can’t think of a single Intelligence Agency that would be impressed by an interrogator with unmatched ability to expose past pet information.

(“Yeah, he might be planning to simultaneously detonate bombs in every Starbucks around the globe, but I’m not sure. What I do know, though, is that he had a guinea pig named Poinky when he was eight.”)

I’m ready to admit that I might not meet the qualifications to become a successful interrogator.

My aspirations of becoming an animal psychiatrist, however, are not yet squashed.

(“As a young parakeet, he was once called a mustache. That’s when all of the psychological abuse began…”)

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I just turned 29 years old.

And I’m pretty damn happy about that… though not overly zealous. I mean, to me, a birthday is just another day; or more precisely, another day I am alive and in awe of the universe, and a day I can ‘cry if I want to’ and contort my face in otherwise unacceptable positions while blowing out flaming wax sticks. It’s pretty special, yes, but no more special than any other magnificent day when I scrunch up my facial muscles and purse my lips in the privacy of my own bathroom.

That’s why I was surprised at how many birthday-wishers plummeted into well-intentioned, graceless verbal acrobatics around the apparently dismal and scary fact that I had almost spent 30 years alive and healthy:

“Happy Birthday, -c! Don’t worry, though: you have one more year before you’re Old!”

“Happy B-day! It’s amazing you’ve led such a full life! Soon you’ll be shaving your nipples and chin!”

Call me a liar. Call me a fake. But, I swear, I have never been afraid of growing old. I have never suffered from gerascophobia, as it is medically called. If anything, I think getting old is an evolutionary sign of strength and virility.

In my opinion, getting old is sexy. I think gray hair, wrinkles and experience are the hottest attributes anyone could have. I think an intelligently expressed opinion over a racing, over-heating heart is more vagina-moistening than any unexamined proclamation from a physically-fit, wrinkle-less youngster on a treadmill any day.

That’s right: I’ll take man-tits and nose hairs over ignorance or stupidity, hairy hands down.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Just because I’m not a sufferer of gerascophobia (fear of getting old) or rhytiphobia (fear of getting wrinkles), doesn’t mean I don’t have other irrational fears.

I’ll admit I am slightly ergophobic (fearful of work and responsibility), plutophobic (fearful of wealth), emetophobic (fearful of vomiting), and apiphobic (fearful of bees). (*Honestly, if I were a character in Orwell’s 1984 and were trapped in a cage with work responsibility, a bunch of bees, a stack of Hamiltons reading ‘In God we Trust’ and the threat of lunch regurgitation, I would not only admit that 2 and 2 were 5, but also that the Earth was flat and that George W. deserved to be elected supreme Dictator of Positive Progress for eternity.)

I’d say I got off pretty easy with my fears, really. To think, I could have been one of the unfortunate souls who has a paralyzing fear of ticking clocks (chronophobia), a debilitating and antidisestablishmentarianistic fear of long words (Sesquipedalophobia), or even worse a fear of opinions (Allodoxaphobia), a fear of erect penises (Medorthophobia) or -most horrific of all- of thinking (Phronemophobia).

Yup, I'd say I'm pretty lucky. Not only am I excited by the fact that I am growing older, but I do not have an irrational fear of chickens at dusk or of toothpaste tubes taking over the world.

And, those, I'm sorry to say are not claims everyone can make.

*Edit/Update 1: I sometimes feel angst about dinner conversations. Could I be

Friday, June 29, 2007

Jail the Jaywalkers!

Many a dangerous criminal and violent psychopath go undetected for years. They have no criminal history, no outstanding warrants, no accusations of sodomy or ferret-fucking made about them over the water cooler. They are, in the law’s eye, safe and ideal citizens: kind, normal, acquiescent and predictable.

You can see them buying broccoli, bananas, detergent and milk at your local supermarket. You nod to them in front of your house as you are taking out the trash. You smile at them as they pass you on your way to work.

They are entirely indistinguishable from other ordinary folk, working 9 to 5, trying to survive, raise families, and understand the meaning of life. They have clothing preferences and movie favorites, opinions on politics and thoughts about music. They eat, sleep, love, breathe and count stars just like you.

They are lawyers, bus drivers, artists, propeller makers, seatbelt engineers, writers, migration workers, waiters, water pipe salesmen, NGO organizers, marketing specialists, yoga instructors, volcanic tour guide leaders, financial specialists, aspiring script play writers, physical therapists, dildo mold makers, sex therapy doctors, grad students, ship-in-bottle builders, and educators.

Sometimes, you don’t even know they’re criminals until you catch them red-handed in vile acts of abominable law-breaking and terrorism.

Luckily, authorities caught one of these two-faced, deviant devils this morning. Now, we can have a better picture of the felonious transgressors who commit some of the most deplorable and dubious dick-slaps to societal law.

At 7:44 a.m. today, a white female English teacher was observed walking across the street on her way to work. One of Seattle’s finest motorcycle cops noticed that the ‘Don’t Walk’ signal had begun to flash just as the sinning teacher placed her heathen sneakers onto the road. Although the signal remained green as she safely crossed the street, and no driver or pedestrian was inconvenienced or harmed by her crossing, the esteemed officer luckily captured this national threat.

Though the suspected terrorist subversive has not been detained, she has been issued a $56 traffic infraction for crossing the street while the ‘Don’t Walk Red Hand’ flashed.

We can all, now, feel safer because justice has been served, and Seattle has been immunized against the impending national security threat that this jay-walking, terrorist teacher posed.

Sigh of relief…

Editor’s question: Should I fight the infraction or allow justice to be served and my country made safer? I mean, it's only $56... but, it's $56! And... can I use the: "It's the principle of the thing!" argument here?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Delusions of Invisibility

We were talking about invisibility cloaks.
As people often do…

in multi-national ESL grammar classes
(when they are not discussing conjunctions, prepositions, declining bee populations, nuclear contraception and global cucumber size standards).

The class was divided, and a civil debate raged in broken English. Half of the students believed that we would never gain the ability to make objects invisible to the human eye, while the other half claimed we already had the technology, and it was only a matter of years before exploration of the military applications decreased government masturbation time by fifty percent.

I, of course, being the objective teacher, sat straddling the proverbial wooden fence. I moderated, asked provocative questions of each side and poked holes in faulty arguments, pausing only occasionally to pluck fence splinters from my crotch.

I was in Teachers’ Paradise. You’ve heard of the place, I’m sure. It’s a mythical land of plenty where critical thinking skills play games of lacrosse with social skills, and hillsides of curiosity sing with the laughter and debate of mentally inquisitive students. Newly gained knowledge seeps into lively conversation, and beneath every tree of suggestion, new ideas sprout.

I tell you, it was spectacular. Assertions and rebuttals made in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense were flying around like child porn round a minister’s hard drive, and Conditional Passives were mobilizing more quickly than child therapists round a military base.

But, even the finest persimmon rots.

And when I returned from skipping through the knowledge field of flowers in my day-dreamed Teachers’ Paradise, I was forced to hear the REAL discussion going on in my classroom. At that moment, I was flogged by a splintered plunger handle of reality, and any engorged pride I once had in my own teaching skills was immediately deflated.

“If I be indivisible tomorrow, it’s means every soldiers can’t feel me. He don’t touch me and I can murder him not justice.”

“Yes. And I think by 2050, we will have been being make indivisibility by government. This we will have been become a lot of dangerous.”

What? So much for my perceived idyllic debate of logic and insight, and so much for my sanity…

While I thought we were talking about the scientific possibility and potential ramifications of creating a Harry Potter-style Invisibility cloak, we were in fact discussing whether or not humans could be chopped up and divided into little pieces by the government and ‘touched’ and ‘felt’ by soldiers.

Hmmm. Yup, it’s time to call the Nuthouse recruiters. We have yet another delusional ESL teacher to catch.

P.S. For the record: I don’t exaggerate the English skill of my students for comedic purposes. I don’t have to. They really talk like this.

Plus, I've met a few native English speakers who dream of this level of literacy.

And, although they are patriots, these honest souls are still not quite sure if their nation is indivisible, invisible, miserable, commiserable or even liveable...