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.
alt titles: “Blum, Blum, Blum, Blum, I Want You In My Room”, “Max Blum: Feels Like Homo”
Today is Adam Pally’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Adam. To celebrate we dedicate today’s article to the one and only Max Blum from Happy Endings. We are going to celebrate by also celebrating me because that is how things are done when they are done in the spirit of Max.
Habbo Hotel has done it. It has trapped our favorite Sneerists in its greasy claws. They were able to sneak some letters to the mail room to update us on their dire situation. Will the obsession ever end? Probably. Everything ends eventually. But until then, there will be….
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.
This is one of those installments that sound like I am making it up, but there have certainly been times in my life (one of the times I was probably legitimately being insane and the other times probably can be blamed on not getting enough sleep) where I have feared simply opening a door. Doors to the outside world were basically never to be opened unless I was leaving with someone, but even doors inside my own home would cause me some amount of scare. I started to wonder, a little too vividly, what would happen in this infinite universe if I opened the door and someone was standing there, where someone should not be. Or what if things were rearranged? What if there was an actual monster or a murderer? What would happen in this infinite universe if I suddenly slipped into a reality that seemed totally the same, until I opened the bedroom door and instead of seeing the living room, I was in an alien world? Then I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to make it in that plot twist. I wouldn’t be able to assess this new situation and be capable and brave. What if I instead just went blitheringly insane?
The joke was on me of course because I pretty clearly had lost my mind already.
Looking back on our own childhoods is like looking back at the lives of entirely different people sometimes. For real, there are like segments of time that seem separated by a black curtain. Seven year old me seemed like a different life to me at sixteen, and both of those seem completely different to now. I imagine it is the same for everyone, right? We all had interests that we were way into which now seem laughable or awkward. Is it possible that in twenty years, I will look back at me in 2017 and feel uncomfortable? Haha not a chance!
Chances are you are like me and you take a lot of modern conveniences for granted. There isn’t really anything wrong with that, I guess. I mean, here in 2016 [Editor’s note: remember to change the date when we are low on content and re-post this in a year or two] we just assume such things as sanitary products, electronics, and other assorted things are our God-given and rightful property. We feel a great sense of entitlement, and therefore have really stopped appreciating these simple pleasures that keep our world up and running smoothly. It’s just hard for someone who has grown up with such things to understand…
Until you have to do without.
My friends, I had to do without recently. I didn’t have to part ways with my cell phone, or microwavable food items, or anything like that. If that was the case I’d JUST DIE! No, I had to do without something that plays a rather large role in our lives. I had to do without a goddamn shitter: the unsung hero of household items. That’s right, I had to use the toilet without having a toilet to use. You might have trouble wrapping your head around this, because really, the toilet is always there. It’s like a good, dedicated friend. You can always find comfort in its consistency. Cold, white, incredibly heavy but blissfully unaware of just how big it is, and usually full of shit. Now that I think about it, it really is just like a lot of friends I’ve had (and you have probably had as well).
But imagine briefly, that when you need that friend the most, they are nowhere to be found! That when you reach out and expect that helping hand you’ve grown so accustomed to grasping you and pulling you to safety… it doesn’t happen. Of course, I am completely to blame for the incident I am writing about. Looking back I can clearly see where I went wrong.
The thing about Major Medical Issues is that they don’t always set in suddenly with a dramatic collapse or an important body part waving a sign that says “I AM BROKEN.” Often it starts small, subtle, slowly escalating below your radar until horrified loved ones take you to the ER and you realize that you’re the proverbial frog in the boiling water.