Welcome back to our monthly comic series, Doofus and Darling. If you had Highlights for Children magazine when you were young, you’ve seen Goofus and Gallant. If not, it probably doesn’t matter anyway.
Tag: paper diary
We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers.
I love describing my dynamic with cchris to anyone who has a moment to listen, because I never have been able to understand it. I even mention it on here as much as I can, partly because it’s part of my character makeup, and partly because I really am that bewildered by it. Over the years, things have shifted and changed. When I realized that he is very mysterious, my imagination occasionally will step in and try to figure out WHY. Who is so good at not giving out personal facts? For this many years? Is it villainy? Is it because there’s nothing there? Is it to appear more interesting? What is there to hide, and if there is nothing to hide — WHY.
The irrational fear depicted in the comic has OMGJeremy to blame. Apparently he thinks that cchris and I write similarly, and maybe it is HIS irrational fear that I am pretending to be this whole other person. When he first told me of this, I did have a little while where I might have been horrified and fearful at the possibility. That would be world-shattering to realize. But I guess I don’t fear it, exactly. If it turns out it’s all been in my head, that’s almost impressive. I could live with it. I could live with having made a little Canadian Tulpa. That’s fine. Whatever. I would just like to know for sure before I die of old age.
First came the tentacle rape.
It was the beginning in a long line of horrors that OMGJeremy has subjected me to in his articles since the very beginning in 2002. (OMGJeremy.com was the site that most of us used to write for.) But you know what they say: what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Well, I must be invincible by now. And not only have I seen a lot, but I’ve written about a lot too, articles that have been lost to time mostly, including a review of a site that teaches women how to rape their husbands. But in 2003, I found something that managed to combine all of those and more. It’s as if all my nightmares Go-Go-Power-Morphed into some unholy Megazord and returned to feed me my own ass.
“What is it?” you’re probably asking as you close the door and open a new browser window. Why It’s none other than Furcadia — an online game that let you take on the role of an animal and interact with others in a series of dream worlds. And not surprisingly in the least, it contains the three big staples of the internet diet: furries, cybersex, and MMORPGs.
Clear communication is extremely important to me. I try to maintain a large working vocabulary so that I can choose the precise word I need for any given moment. If I don’t explain something clearly then that is time wasted and I can’t live like that. Being able to express myself to another person in a concise manner is possibly my most valued skill, in myself and others really, and I can’t overstate this enough.
But then some days, I can’t do it at all. On the day of this comic, not only could I not find the right words, I was actually saying the complete wrong words. I was WRITING the wrong words. I couldn’t hear or see, either. It was a mess. I was a mess. It was making me all in a tizzy. I still sometimes have these moments and I still worry. What does it mean? Am I okay?
You find yourself in a maze filled with edible orbs, and you are not alone. Monsters lurk in this place, is it a dungeon? Is it a castle? Is it a level of HELL? You must run from these evil things — oh! You catch a glimpse! They’re g-g-ghosts! Vengeful, doomed spirits chase you, wishing to devour your soul. So you run. You dodge them by darting into unused corridors! Oh god but there are more! Mindlessly being forced to eat orbs as you run in terror, you stumble upon one that causes the ghosts to flee from YOU. Ha ha! Who’s chasing whom NOW, you fiends?! You gobble them up for a few seconds, not nearly enough seconds. Then their fear is over. You didn’t kill any of them. You do not kill ghosts. The chase is on again, and again, and again until you somehow eat all of the orbs. Then it all starts over.
No, I didn’t write out an entry from my Terrible Dreams journal. I just described the basic plot of Pac Man, an early video game from the otherwise glorious 1980s. It was released on this date in 1980, and I was never the same again.
I have been drowning myself in video games, lately. This is quite unusual as I generally try to avoid them. Modern video games tend to nauseate me with the way they move; even the good ones will give me a mild headache. I am having a mild headache right now, actually. I am on a break from this one game I found in my friends’ old stack of games. It is called “Fable.” I am playing it miserably, and am not good at quests and keeping track of what the plot even is. But I enjoy the ways you can interact with the other people. I started out being very Good, and people would cheer for me as I walked along. But then, my good pal Brian influenced me in terrible ways.
I always like to consider myself as “timeless.” I am Amanda Wood no matter what decade or location I am in, and that’s fine by me! Sometimes, though, I do feel like I might be very “90s” about things. It was the ten year span that I was an impressionable teen, so it makes sense that it would leave its stain on me for the rest of my life. And really, with hindsight making things clearer, it is probably a symptom of the ’90s to feel as though you were alone, or in any way apart from the others. A generation of alienated youths probably didn’t have a solid cohort base. I know buzzfeed makes a lot of lists that only ’90s Kids Would Understand, but I often wonder which of us would even bother making that kind of thing?
As an old person now, I derive a little satisfaction seeing that my classmates don’t really want to bother setting up class reunions. We kept the friends we wanted to keep. No one really wants to put forth that kind of effort, anyway. None of us really wants to awkwardly see how much we’ve aged or discuss shattered dreams or whatever. It’s nice. Thanks, class of ’98. I probably like you all better because it turns out we were all as antisocial as I thought only I was! Bonding from afar.
With that in mind, I always planned to preface this article with a disclaimer saying that my impression of the ’90s is probably extremely personal and just one tiny rare facet that is nothing like anyone else’s experience. But, no. I had a teen time probably like everyone else’s, at least in rural Ohio. I’ve heard it suggested that rural Ohio is kind of surprisingly horrible in many ways, so maybe the rest of you dear readers had some sort of decade of playing in flower fields and volunteering your time to good causes. Well la dee da, sunshine. Good for you.
I had a lot of fun with my Grandma when I was young. I did small jobs for her, for $1 at a time, we spent all day together, for days. We also played word games! Our favorite was to choose 7-10 Scrabble tiles at random, lay them out, and write as many words as we could think of using those letters.
Today is the anniversary of the birth date of Alfred Mosher Butts, the American architect and creator of Scrabble. Mr. Butts did not just create a board design and think of putting letters on it, but also did some detailed analysis to devise the points system and distribution of letters. Adorably, he did this by reading articles and tallying letters by hand. In honor of Butts and this contribution to the world and especially lovers of words, today is considered Scrabble Day.
When I was a young lad, I was afraid of one of my uncles. I was never around him, seldom saw him, but I knew he was a monster. I knew from how the other adults spoke of him. Not of his misdeeds, of which there were many, but the word they used for him, in hushed tones. “Manic-Depressive.”
Mental illness runs in my family.
Both of my parents have been in mental hospitals. An aunt on each side has unspecified “problems.” My brother has crippling anxiety. Suicides crop up here and there. Always whispered about. Always hidden. Always stigma.
I have bipolar disorder. Approximately 2-7 percent of the US population over 18 does. They have to estimate because so many people hide it, try to drink it away, or are lost to suicide. More are men than women, because thanks to stigma, those who seek help are seen as weak. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed in 5.7 million Americans. Roughly half of us will attempt suicide at least once. Of those who do, a third will ultimately succeed. Almost a million Americans alone. Mental illness is real, and it is lethal.
Being a girl is one of the best things ever to happen to me. My gender allows me to live in a pink world filled with unicorns, kittens, pillows, sweets, and all manner of nice things. I get to Girl Talk, rely on boys to lift heavy objects for me, and to remove insects from my sight. Also, for a few days every month, I get to be a hyper-emotional psycho with very little in the way of consequences – whether I want to be or not! Other girls understand and allow it (unless they are also in that time of the Most Terrible of Cycles), and boys understand just enough to try to ignore it. This bittersweet reward is known as the P.M.S.
This article isn’t going to be a guide for helping boys to better cope and appease the women in their lives during this bleak moment. Every girl houses a specific, unique, terrible tapestry of physical and psychological destruction, and it changes with every month. So it is nigh impossible to write a comprehensive list on how you could meet your lady friends’ needs. It just isn’t going to happen, fellas.