Thursday, October 9, 2008

How to Take Offense

No offense to anyone who says it, but I only take offense when people say “no offense.” The thought never crosses my mind that someone might be trying to offend me until they tag their comment with “no offense.” When they do so, I start to think, “Hey, they just said something offensive! I think I’ll take offense to that!” This might be related to my Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Look it up: it’s a real thing. And it’s pretty self-explanatory. Whenever someone issues a demand, I want to do the exact opposite. My mom had to employ reverse psychology when I was younger. She would say, “I don’t want you clean your room because then your friend Kelli will have to come over and I don’t want Kelli to come over.” I would immediately clean my room with the satisfaction of “knowing” that I was making my mom mad. In reality, I had fallen into her trap. But at least I believed that I had the control. This oppositional defiance can similarly be applied to my reaction to the tag “no offense.” The speaker is demanding that I not take offense, which in turn makes me want to take offense.

“Now, Toni,” you may say. “You started this blog post with the very two words that you are speaking out against!”

“Oh, reader,” I may reply. “I wanted you to know that my words were meant to offend you. I wanted to set my opening sentence apart as scathing words of fury. I wanted you to look inside yourself, to the core of your very being, and find that I was truly offending the essence of who you are. And when you had done so, I would have thrown back my head and laughed. Because then, I would have controlled your reaction. And I would once more have the control.”

Now, no offense, but I’m going to have to give you a moral.
Moral of the story: Don’t not give offense, for when you don’t not give offense, the other person doesn’t not take offense. Or something like that.
Moral of the moral of the story: Toni doesn’t always understand that a negative times a negative is a positive. Just follow Thumper’s rule.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Paragon of Masculinity

Yesterday, my lovely co-worker and I were discussing something (very related to work, I assure you) when we came across an interesting page on Wikipedia. The name of the article: Heracles or, as we know him in the Western World, Hercules. As we read, we discovered the interesting part, and I quote: “He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity….” Ooh. My co-worker and I stopped. That phrase—it intrigued us. And it rolled off the tongue so nicely. Paragon of masculinity. I want one of those!

So we started throwing the words around in casual conversation. “Hey, did you see the paragon of masculinity on TV last night? Yeah, he won another gold medal in the Olympics.” Or “I think I just saw a paragon of masculinity walk past our door.” Or “I belong with a paragon of masculinity because I am a paragon of perfection.” It is now a consistent part of our vocabulary in the Freshman Academy office.

At one point, as suggested above, “the paragon of masculinity” became a title for a specific person: Michael Phelps of Olympic fame. After all, Hercules was Greek, and so are the Olympics. By right, Michael Phelps should have inherited the status of a paragon. Someday, his Wikipedia article will read, “He was the greatest of the Olympic athletes, a paragon of masculinity.” And I will be the one who wrote it.

Upon mentioning this newfound phrase to my friends, I was introduced to another fine English phrase: superfluity of naughtiness. It’s in the Bible—you should look it up. This one doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well (in fact, I have quite a difficult time saying it), but I think it can also be used to describe a paragon of masculinity. Like so: “Oh yes, Christian Bale is a paragon of masculinity with a superfluity of naughtiness.”

In the infamous words of Mulan’s grandmother in the Disney picture Mulan upon seeing such a man: “Woo! Sign me up for the next war!”

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Narrarator

I distinctly remember a time when I was younger and I was convinced that the word “narrator” was actually “narrarator.” I always got upset when someone said “narrator,” including the strange British punk in George of the Jungle who said, “Are you arguing with the narrator?” Because “narrarator” was such an integral part of my childhood, I have decided to keep it alive in the form of a super-robot called The Narrarator. Of course, this is all in the fun spirit of the announcement of the new Terminator movie. I saw the preview for it at the Batman movie. It will be coming out next summer. Christian Bale is in it. Mmm…Christian Bale. My movie, the one about The Narrarator, will also be starring Christian Bale.

In other news, I am going home at the end of this week! I am very excited to see my family, my house, my Daddy’s big screen TV, and my cat. Have I told you about my cat? He purrs to me over the phone. He sends me e-mails (they don’t make any sense—but that’s how I know he helped write them). He runs in place on the new hardwood floor. He fights with the cat in the oven. Don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post: my cat simply sees his reflection in the oven door and tries to attack it. What else does he do—oh yeah, he attacked Santa Claus last Christmas. We woke up and found presents strewn across the living room and other clear signs of a struggle. There were tufts of fur. The candy had been knocked over. And then there was the digital camera, sitting suspiciously by the fireplace. My sisters and I picked it up and checked the pictures. The first thing on the screen was a picture of the cat’s paw coming right for the camera! Santa had managed to take a picture of his attacker. Smart man. Not smart cat. We tried to give him a name to live up to. We called him Samwise. The Brave. Anymore, he just responds to Stupid Sam.

So that is what I get to look forward to when I go home. Yup, I have an interesting life. Be jealous. Especially since Christian Bale narrarates my life story.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Moonlight Logic

So, funny story (as if you didn’t already suspect it to be so). I would like to tell you the tale of how I came to believe I was dying when I woke up at 1:30 this morning. First of all, I woke up because the light in the vanity area came on, and I am extremely sensitive to light at night. Upon seeing the clock and discovering that it was 1:30a.m., I decided that one of my roommates was up. Disclaimer: understand that I have a hyperactive imagination as it is, but the hyperactivity is amplified when the sun goes down. Back to my story: as I sat up in my bed, I realized that I was feeling feverish and nauseated (note the correct form of the word!). I wondered if whichever of my roommates who was awake was also feeling sick. It’s not every night that two of us get up at the same time. I thought I was food-poisoned, but there wasn’t anything that my roommates and I had eaten together. We couldn't all be randomly food-poisoned. Then, I gasped. There was only one clear explanation in the middle of the night: we were being poisoned…by carbon monoxide. I knew that we had a carbon monoxide detector, but I deduced (with my great genius and vast intellect) that it was not functioning. And, having never before been poisoned by the gas, I had only a good guess at the symptoms: anything that involved discomfort. Besides, the only thing that my roommates and I had ingested in common was our air. That must be it, I thought to myself. What to do now? I opened both windows in my bedroom and pressed my face to the screen (that must have been an interesting sight from outside). “Air…” I gasped as I inhaled the fresh summer oxygen. As the breeze blew into my room, I started to cool down and stopped feeling so feverish. I yawned. It was now 1:40. I had lost ten precious minutes of sleep. I settled back into my pillow and got comfy again. As I drifted off to sleep, I stopped worrying about dying of carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, I thought, “Well, at least I will die comfortable.”

Clearly, I did not die comfortable. In fact, you might be shocked to find out that I did not die at all. Later today, I discovered that my roommates had simply been up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was a coincidence that we awoke at the same time. They weren’t afraid of dying of carbon monoxide poisoning. I was quite embarrassed, yet relieved that no one had witnessed my moonlight logic. The whole disaster was all in my head. I’m starting to wonder what else is all in my head. For instance, the bogeyman that lives under my bed might not be a bogeyman at all: he’s probably just some lost creature from the black lagoon. Yep, probably.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Revenge of the Teenagehood

I am officially twenty years old now. However, my teenage-ness did not want to die ungloriously. With its last surge of energy, it raised up a gihugic zit on my chin: no joke, I have never before had a blemish this large! I nicknamed it Mount Doom. The last thing I need to have on my face is a fiery, evil volcano with little hobbits running up and down it. I am starting to believe now that we, as humans, have truly been made from the dust of the earth. Earth has volcanoes, we have volcanoes, we are like the earth--there you go. I just hope this zit does not leave a scar. And I pray that my skin snaps back to its original elasticity.

Curse you, teenagehood! You have left your mark, but do not take my words lightly: you shall have your comeuppance. My face shall be avenged.

Friday, June 27, 2008

An Adventure to Appease

To appease the blogging gods (who knew they were so ruthless?), I am again posting on my blog. I am about to enter a new stage of life: the tweens of the twenties. Never to be a teenager again, but not yet an adult. It’s a between-stages stage. If that is possible.

But first, let me tell you of the adventure I had this morning. As I walking around Provo with my Relief Society walking group, a rodent of unusual size attacked my dear friend, Rachel. It grabbed her by the leg and started dragging her into the dense underbrush of the Provo wilderness. As we sat on the sidewalk, panting after the encounter, a crocodile the size of a UTA bus somehow snuck up behind us. I pushed Rachel to safety in the middle of traffic on 900 East. With a wa-cha, I karate-chopped the R.O.U.S. and pulled Rachel from its toothy grasp and tried to draw the large crocodile to the duck pond where it could harmlessly prey on the many makey-outy-couples who frequent the duck pond. As I ran just barely ahead of the crocodile down 800 North, a massive lion leapt across the sidewalk and swiped the back of my leg with its terrible claws. I faltered, but I kept running. I could feel cool blood from my ankle filling my shoe. Have you ever squelched your toes in blood? It’s not a comfortable sensation. At any rate, I got to the duck pond and distracted the crocodile, who proceeded to sweep through the area and rid us of those annoying whispering-sweet-nothings do-gooders. When I got back to the walking group, no one believed my story—until I showed them my bloody sock. A hush fell over the crowd.

Moral of the story: you best have a good story when you come home limping after only walking a few miles in Provo. Oh yes, please appreciate the pure whiteness of my legs. I think only my t-shirt could be whiter.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Booboo and the Beast

The other day in my history class, we were discussing the bubonic plague. Apparently, the bruises that were evidence of the plague were called "bubus." Thus we get the word used when speaking motherese to a child: booboo. When I learned the history of this term, I was shocked. It's like "Ring Around the Rosy," which also comes from the plague era. If you didn't know, the original ending was "we all fall dead," later changed to "we all fall down." I don't want my future children to remind me of the Black Plague every time they get a tiny scrape or play a childhood spinning game. I determined, therefore, that I will teach my children to say "wound" instead of "booboo." Interactions with my children will go something like this:

"Mommy, I have a wound on my finger," Junior says.

"Where, my sweet?" the beautiful mother implores.

"Right here," Junior responds.

"Oh, what happened?"

"It got caught."

"In what?"

"In Friedrich's teeth."

For anyone who recognizes that last line, you will appreciate how my life will be so much like The Sound of Music. The similarities between me and Maria are magnificent to behold. When I was an infant, my mom used to sing to me, "How do you solve a problem like--Toni?" Those closest to me can also vouch for how much I resemble Julie Andrews, especially my British accent and phenomenal singing voice. What was it I was singing the other day? Oh yes. "Part of Your World." At the top of my lungs. According to my mother, that was one of the first songs I ever learned. Ariel was my idol. . . until Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991. Then, I wanted nothing more than to grow up to be like Cogsworth. How great would it be to have a clock installed in your face?! You would never be late to anything. And the way Cogsworth sticks to the master's rules--I only wish that I could be so strict.

Fear not, faithful readers. Someday, I will achieve my dream. May all your dreams come true. And may all your booboos remind you of the bubonic plague. . . until they get kissed better.

Over and out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I can't look away

This is what I am reading right now: "A full body of fur, along with an extremely physical routine, also causes Cosmo a great deal of discomfort." It's part of a yellowed newspaper clipping I have taped to my wall. The clipping is directly behind my computer, and that particular sentence is just above the monitor, as though it were pleasantly sitting there. There is also a creepy picture of Cosmo the Cougar smiling, if he can smile. His eyes, hidden beneath brows the size of my fists, are empty as he gazes out from the newspaper, his mouth hanging stupidly open in an eternal drool. He watches me whenever I am on the computer. . . and even sometimes when I'm not. I can't bring myself to take the paper down, despite its creepiness. I'm under the spell of the Cosmo.

My roommates don't know it. My roommates can't see it. They don't understand the depths of those terrible, empty eyeholes. They wonder why I sit before the computer for hours on end. I explain it away with "essays" and "Facebook stints." But the truth is with Cosmo. He won't let me leave easily. He forced me to change the "turning on" sound on my computer to the BYU fight song. He made me put a BYU football calendar on my desktop. I am. . . spellbound.

I shudder to think that there may be duplicates of this newspaper clipping out in the world, waiting for the next hapless victim to come their way. One day, there will be babies wearing his face on their pajamas, thousands will throng for a ride on top of his stone replica, books upon books will be printed with his likeness on the cover. Wait--I am informed that these things are already happening. Mark my words: the Cosmos are out to get us!