That Time I Embarrassed the Whole Human Race

Here’s an embarrassing story,

So this one night, Dan and I were getting ready for bed and both boys were asleep. It was… maybe around midnight? I don’t remember the exact time, but I remember it was late because Dan and I were binging Hoarders and we both agreed that she shouldn’t have watched the last episode and were about to be exhausted the next day.

Anyway, it was late.

So I’m doing the nightly routine, I’m brushing my teeth, taking out my contacts, etc. etc. And I heard a familiar sound coming from the hallway outside of my bedroom. The sound that parents most dread in the middle of the night. The pitter patter of little feet. I was trying to make Dan go check instead of me. But he had ALSO taken his contacts out and is conveniently more blind than me, so it was my turn to do the dirty deed. I crossed my fingers and hoped that no one was sick and that this would be the only waking instance for the night.

I went into the hallway and it was kind of dim… but I could make out the outline of one of the kids. But they look so dang similar I wasn’t sure which one. Plus I had my contacts out, so I had to squint really hard as I inched closer.

And then I realized… this was not actually one of my kids in green pajamas… this was a teeny tiny green man.

I was like Okay… what in the actual H-E-double-hockey-sticks am I looking at here?? I blinked a couple of times. As if that would help. Eyes not working? Have you tried turning them off and on? That wouldn’t have worked for blind-as-a-bat Dan, he would’ve picked up whatever it was and put it in one of our kid’s beds.

So I’m face to face with this… whatever it is. I’m guessing a toy. But I had heard the footsteps. Distinctly childlike footsteps. So I get closer to the green thing, trying to see if my child is hiding behind it or something.

AND THE GREEN THING TALKS.

I jumped so freaking high it’s a wonder why I wasn’t immediately drafted into the WMBA.

“Hello?” Don’t know why I said that, I mean clearly it was a toy.

“Take me to your leader,” it responded.

Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy so obviously this was a weird ate-cheese-before-bed kind of dream.

“Take me to your leader.”

So after a a failed attempt at slowing my heart rate I was like, “Okay… so that’s gonna be hard to do…”

“Why?” it asked.

“Because, well, first off… there’s not exactly a ‘leader of Earth’. There are hundreds of leaders of different parts of the world.”

The little green man rubbed it’s chin and went, “So it’s compartmentalized? Like a mini-mall?”

“Wut?”

“Take me to the leader of this room.”

I blinked rapidly because OKAY WHAT EXACTLY WAS HAPPENING HERE. Finally I shook my head and was like, “Uh… okay… sorry, I was not prepared to have an encounter with an extra-terrestrial today.”

His jaw dropped and he slapped his hand on his chest. “You can’t say that! That’s an extremely offensive term to my people!”

“Oh sorry, sorry, sorry!! I’m not accustomed with Martian culture.”

“We’re not even FROM Mars! Wow. WOW.”

And then I watched him teleport onto my front lawn where he started recording a rant video about me on his smart phone.

Sooooo… if an intergalactic war starts… That was my bad guys.

That Time at Pandemic Panda Express

Here’s an embarrassing story I just remembered:

Sometimes (and what I really mean is everytime) I will get so flustered that I’m going to do something awkward and embarrassing that I END UP ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING AWKWARD AND EMBARRASSING. And this story was one of those times…

Once upon a pandemic we wanted Chinese food. So okay what’s the safest thing to do here? We have one Panda Express x miles away with a drive thru… but everyone and their convertible uses the Morris Farms Panda drive thru. So Dan put in a take out order for a different have-to-come-inside Panda establishment.

So we load up THE ENTIRE FAMILY in the minivan because THERE’S LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO GO AND DO. So family trip to the Panda Express it is. We drive up and park and then Dan hands me a mask and tells me to run in and get it.

I start PANIC SWEATING.

Not because I’m afraid of catching coronavirus.

But because I’m a giant woman-child who can’t do anything by herself.

“Wha-what? You want me to get it? But you usually get it! I don’t even know where to go! So where do you pick it up? Do you pay for it or… okay it’s prepaid… so it’s like just picking up the food and walking out!? Do I need my ID? How are they gonna know I’m your wife?? What if I do it wrong somehow? What if I get in trouble should I call you??”

Dan is getting seriously irritated at me because it’s not like I’m a navy seal securing the area, I’m literally JUST PICKING UP ORANGE CHICKEN AND WALKING OUT. 

So I go inside the Panda with my mask on… okay, I don’t know if you’ve been inside a Panda Express in the past year, but they have this military set up. They use their own tables and chairs to BLOCK YOU into the line. And then they very clearly have where you’re supposed to stand marked out on the floor. So as soon as you walk in through the door you’re ushered into the line.

But… okay… I just want to get my take out.

I can literally see the white plastic bag all tied up on a rack WAY at the other end of the line. Like a cheese at the end of the maze. But how am I supposed to get there? Am I really supposed to CUT THE LINE to pick up the food that’s already been ordered. Get my germs into everyone’s personal bubble as I push past them? The idea of cutting the line is basically spiking my blood pressure. I can’t even ask for extra napkins at most places because I do not want to bother anyone. I mean just the very idea that I could be SLIGHTLY inconveniencing someone. Or NOT OBEYING THESE PANDA SAFETY RULES.

So I wait in line.

I can see the food over there getting cold… Dan’s texting me like “R U SERIOUS WHAT’S TAKING YOU SO LONG YOU JUST HAVE TO PICK IT UP.” So now I’m having double anxiety about slightly inconveniencing the Panda Express patrons or slightly inconveniencing my husband by making him wait five minutes.

ALRIGHT FINE. I slide past people in line with about a thousand apologies, get the take out bag, run out of there as if I’m a Pink Panther robber with a briefcase full of jewelry. And I’m dying in the most dramatic way you can think of. And if you’re super annoyed and confused reading this… what’s it like to not have anxiety? Is it nice? Is it peaceful? Can you just walk into stores and pick up Orange Chicken at your leisure? How is that kind of power? I bet you sleep great.

I’m so flustered that I’m just power walking through the parking lot, having a pre-argument with my husband inside my mind. “Yeah, well, you shoulda SEEN IT. The tables and chairs were BLOCKING US ALL INTO THIS ONE LITTLE LINE.”

I get to the car and pull on the handle. Locked. I’m flustered and irritated by my pretend argument so I tap ferociously on the window and point down at the car lock. THEN HE STARTED TO DRIVE AWAY! And I chased him down so angrily. Tapping harder on the window. HELLO! DON’T BE A BUTTHOLE JUST BECAUSE IT TOOK ME A SOLID MINUTE TO WORK UP THE COURAGE TO CUT THE LINE.

And then a stranger rolled down her window. BOISTERIOUSLY laughing.

“I’VE DONE THAT!” she yelled at me.

I really just tried to get into the wrong car. Um. It didn’t even look like my car. Hardly even in the same color palette. So not only did I just spend X amount of minutes FREAKING OUT over the Panda Express rules. (As if the Seinfeld Soup Nazi works at Panda Express.) BUT I ALSO TRIED TO GET INTO A STRANGER’S CAR AND GOT IRRITATED AT HER AS SHE PULLED AWAY.

I slunk back to my ACTUAL car with my tail in between my legs. Dan is laughing and probably also like… k… I’m married to this hot mess wtf.

And yeah.

So, that’s it. I could hardly function before the pandemic. And now it’s just one weird social distance freak out at a time.

The Parking Meter Dork as told by Alex Ness

What happens when you meet a poet on the internet and he tells you some random guy’s embarrassing story? YOU POST IT ON YOUR BLOG OF COURSE!

 

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THE BIGGEST DORK a Twitter DM composed by Alex Ness

“The biggest dork ever was a guy who refused to believe he was a dork.

He would go to lectures (this was back in college) and after a guest lecturer would discuss a famous epic movie, he’d get in line to ask questions and he’d drop the “Where do you get your ideas from” bomb. People would groan any time his hand would go up, and tell him, “You dork”.

So, despite his being called a dork he didn’t see it.

We were walking downtown on a Sunday night in late summer (before the new semester was to begin.) The roads are nearly empty and he starts asking why he was a dork. He perceived dork to mean clumsy, which of course, fits but is by no means the complete example. So he looks at the three others of us, and says “Could a dork do this?”

And he starts leapfrogging road parking meters.

Every five feet he’d leap and do it well. He had a rhythm. It didn’t look dorky at all. Until he leaped before he looked and on his way down to his normal landing position he saw a former parking meter shaft, cut off, at about 4 feet tall, and about 2 inches from his crotch. He screams in a child’s most high pitch fear voice, he can only slightly adjust his descent, and he gets hit straight in his family jewels. And for the next two hours his voice was high pitch, and he was crying.

I didn’t laugh, much, because I thought he ruptured his scrotum or individual nuts.

I offered to take him to ER. He cried for two days almost and told everyone how he was so great leaping the meters. Well, he neglected to tell the whole story, and while I avoided laughing at him and others finished the story, he couldn’t see how he slam-dunked the last chance to not be seen as a dork.

He was not only a dork, he was the Dork King.”

 

Alex Ness is a writer of prose, poetry, and sequential fiction (comics). From the state of Minnesota he shivers and writes in the basement of his home, covered in cats, and drinking Diet Mountain Dew. He loves myth, legends, and the power of words to tell epic and universal truths. His work can be found here https://www.amazon.com/Alex-Ness/e/B00TYW7724

New Schedule for the New Year

It’s that time again! The time when I randomly throw you for a loop by changing the basic format of this blog. Yay! …

No, but for reals. 2019 is going to be WHAT’S UP!!! I am so excited for this schedule NO JOKE. You should be too! It’s basically a whole year of story time and a TON of craziness.

So each season has its own theme. Here they are as follows:

JANUARY & FEBRUARY: THEATER HIJINKS AND SHENANIGANS

What you can expect this season is lots of mishap stories from my years as an actress. I LOVE live-theater-gone-wrong stories, so I’m dedicating a whole two months to it. You might also see a cameo from a stage play writing sample of mine.

MARCH, APRIL, MAY: TALES FROM THE SCHOOLYARD

Basically what the name implies. Here you’ll get lots of childhood stories. I’m going to talk about my family and how I grew up. And I’m hoping to put in some writing samples from the single digit years.

JUNE, JULY, AUGUST: SUMMER OF LOVE

I don’t know why whenever I write “Summer of Love” I get “Jungle of Love” stuck in my head… like that’s not even the lyrics, but okay.

My five year anniversary is coming up so I felt like I wanted to be annoying and talk about that. To offset the cheesiness I’ll also throw in embarrassing stories, “Crush themed” of course!

SEP, OCT, NOV: ALL THINGS CREEPY AND CRAWLY

So next fall you’ll read about my experiences with ghosts and the paranormal. How I make a fool of myself by being scared of everything. Chilling writing samples (obviously!) And whatever crazy thrills I can think of.

DECEMBER: A SURPRISE…

This may or may not be a surprise to me too.  But I have some pretty cool ideas…

This year is special because I’m gathering tons of outside crazy stories from others and hope to do a “collective storytime” at least once a quarter. And then regularly I will give you updates on my life, my little boys and my authorly efforts. Feel free to subscribe to be notified every time a new post comes out.

Stay tuned and Happy 2019 everyone!

Trying to Recreate the Parent Trap IRL

So, here’s a thing that happened.

It was 1998. A beautiful time of matching windbreakers over mom jeans and boy bands with frosted tips. 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Boyce had just blown everyone away in the school talent show by singing “My Heart Will Go On”. And while all the adults were laughing at There’s Something About Mary, the kids were all about Lindsay Lohan in the remake of Disney’s The Parent Trap.

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If you’ve never seen it, first off – shame on you because it’s a real treasure. Secondly, the idea is that two twins separated as babies by a divorce meet at a summer camp. After camp, they pretend to be each other in an effort to rekindle their parent’s love. To this day, my sister Natalie and I are still huge fans of both the old movie and the new movie. In fact, when it first came out we were so enchanted by it that we decided, Hey, let’s switch places…

Here’s the problem. Um… we look nothing like each other. I was a super blondie and Nat had really dark hair. We didn’t even really look like sisters, let alone twins. Also, we were three years apart. My sister was in the fifth grade and I was in second grade…

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Nevertheless, we were sure that this was a good plan.

We planned it out for weeks. We each had a notebook with tons of important tips jotted in them, where my desk was in the room, where I kept my markers, nick names I called my best friends so they would be none-the-wiser.

The day came and we went right to each others classrooms. Natalie went to second grade and I went to fifth. My sister, haha, recognized RIGHT AWAY that it wasn’t going to work. She stepped into class and the teacher was all like, “Can I help you?”. She just kinda shuffled back out the door, “Uh, no. I’m good.”

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I, on the other hand, was still so sure about this. The teacher had kind of the same reaction.

Teacher: Do you need something?

Me: Nope. I’m Natalie.

Teacher: …. wut?

Me: I’m Natalie.

All the other kids started laughing so hard! And they were big kids. And it was scary. So I started to cry. My sister’s teacher had to walk me back to my second grade classroom. Ah, man.

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Anyways, coincidentally! Utah Children’s Theatre in Salt Lake is putting on The Parent Trap. How fabulous is that? Doesn’t that sound like the most fun ever? Come and see it! Tickets and showtimes can be found at uctheatre.org I can’t even tell you how excited I am to check it out! I’m definitely bringing Natalie with me.

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The Time I Tried to Teach Myself How to Yodel

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I can’t get enough of the video of the yodeling Walmart kid. Buuuut at the same time, it’s been kind of bringing up a lot of repressed memories…

Mostly this one.

I just randomly ‘get into things’. Like when I tried to memorize Hamlet. Or when I tried to teach myself how to dance to house music. Or when I spent like two months watching Cleopatra documentaries every day. I just get really excited about niche stuff.

So one day I was like, yo, I’m going to learn how to yodel.

I hadn’t really imagined the Hank Williams covers at Walmart. Mostly, I wanted to do like an Appalachia mountain kinda thing that I could use to call my kids to dinner with.

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Anyways, so in case you didn’t know… yodeling is switching back and forth in between your lower register and falsetto voice. Your voice makes a “break” and that’s where the yodeling sound comes from.

So basically, the way to practice yodeling is to do these weird freaking scales and strain your voice like Scooby Doo after he’s had some bad Taco Bell.

eeeeh EEEH! eeeh EEEH! eeeh EEEH! And you can’t do it quietly either or your voice won’t break as well. Okay… yeah…

Well, around this time I was asked to help clean my local church building. It was like eight in the morning on a Saturday and the other people they asked were young single adults with lives. So obviously, it was just me that showed up.

Just kidding. It was me and the guy who asked me.

So I got to work cleaning my half of the church building. The classrooms. All by myself. But hey! That wasn’t such bad news. I mean, golly gee, what a PERFECT time to practice my yodeling scales.

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I straight up practiced yodeling for an hour. THAT – IS – NOT – A – JOKE. I started to lose my voice before I finally finished up.

I wound the cord up around the vacuum and hauled it out into the hall… when I saw this other GUY. This effing latecomer that had UNBEKNOWNST TO ME been helping me clean my side of the church building. The whole time. The. Whole. Hour.

Oh my gosh, can you imagine this poor dude waking up early to clean a church and having to listen to this girl go “Eeeeeeeeeeuugughghh! Eeeeeeeeeuuughghghg!” for an entire hour. OH MY GOSHHHHHHH.

I think I honestly could have just buried down into the ground like a mole. I DIED.

Stopped yodeling after that traumatic experience I assure you.

Trapped by a Parade of 2,000 Naked Bicyclists (No Joke)

My parents had this fun incentive that every time one of their children graduated from high school, that graduate got to pick where we went for our summer vacation. And while the limit of my imagination was California, my little brother chose to go to Europe.

June 2014, we were in London: me, my immediate family, a couple of my brother’s friends and my then fiancee Daniel.

We were scheduled to tour the River Thames, which I was particularly excited for because we were going to float past the recreation of the Globe Theater. And, hey, Shakespeare is sorta my thing. I was even IN an award winning Shakespearean play that summer so *sniffs and tosses hair over both shoulders like a snob*.

I was in the hotel getting ready to leave. When Dan calls me from outside.

DAN: Hey… There’s something really weird going on out here.

VAL: Oh, yeah?

DAN: There’s a big crowd of people… I think it might be a protest or something…

DAN: … … You should come down here.

When my family and I stepped out of our hotel we were greeted by a huge crowd of butt naked people standing around with bikes.

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So I guess the World Naked Bicycle Ride is a thing. (Don’t click on that unless you want to see nudies. NSFW. You’ve been warned.)

Us kids had a pretty good laugh at it, as my conservative parents were trying to herd our wandering eyes down to our river boat tour. We were only one crosswalk away from the dock before we found out that the streets were completely closed off.

So here we were caught watching the craziest parade ever. Thousands of naked dangling bodies zipping by us. Some were on rental bikes, which was… not something I wanted to think about too hard.

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(You know. In a weird way it was a confidence booster. In our society we never really see any ‘average-looking’ naked people. If you feel like you don’t look that great naked. Hey. Neither does anyone else. And I’ve seen a small towns worth of naked people to know. Everyone’s got rolls and flab. Guys are pretty much the same size… well okay, there was one guy that was “particularly brave”.)

Anyways, my mom is SUPER pissed off that we can’t cross the street. We’re about to miss our river boat tour because we can’t get around this moving wall of butt-cracks on bicycles. She WIGS THE FREAK OUT and just FLIPPING steps out INTO the middle of the parade.

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The guy has to squeeze his hand break and like skidded on his bare feet to stop from hitting my mom. Four to five people behind him are swerving and stopping and almost falling over. I thought for sure I was about to see my mother buried by an avalanche of a$$. She’s like waving us all to cross the street after she had just created the most awkward pile up in history.

That was embarrassing AF, but we made the river tour.

I feel like I can count that as one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me. I mean seeing a thousand lil’ Johnsons in one day is up there. I post crazy stories every month now, so if you haven’t subscribed yet, you may want to consider it.

 

The Girl Who Cried Celebrity

Keanu Reeves came up and talked to me at the Burger Bar, but no one believes me.

UNNECESSARY BACKSTORY

A couple of weeks ago, we went to California for a family vacation (all of which I will blog about next Thursday). The last time we went to Disneyland, there was *an incident* that Dan still teases me about everyday. It’s just that – ‘kay – I am the type of naive person that jumps to the most magical of conclusions, even if it’s not likely.

It’s summer 2015. We go out to eat at Blue Bayou with my family. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the restaurant that is inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Seriously, like people are riding past in boats watching you eat. When you go there, you’re basically cast as one of the animatronics.

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Just like everything else in Disneyland it’s very spendy and ritzy, probably even more so than other places in the park. (Not bragging, but this is important to the story, I promise.) My mom nudges me and points out a guy sitting in a really nice corner of the patio. She’s like OMG doesn’t that dude look like Walt Disney?

He did. Did I automatically think that he was actually Walt Disney? No. Did I automatically think that he was his nephew, Roy Disney Jr? Uh, yeah, you bet your childlike wonder I did.

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I am freaking out like this guy has to be Roy Disney Jr. Or family. OR SOMEONE. Because exhibit A) he was by himself. Um, okay. Who is ever at Disneyland by themselves? Eating at one of the most expensive places… like, I’m a sixty something year old dude and imma treat myself to a Disney day? Come on. Isn’t that just a little suspicious? Even if his family wasn’t hungry and decided to do rides, like how is he going to be at having a lonely filet mignon instead of like a giant turkey leg or a churro or something. Also it was the day before the sixtieth anniversary. So why wouldn’t the Disneys be there?

Well, whatever. He leaves. Never confirm who it was. Obviously it wasn’t Roy, because he passed away several years ago, but that was unbeknownst to me at the time. Later on after using the bathroom by the New Orleans train station, my dad very excitedly tells me that he saw that SAME GUY go into the illusive Club 33 nearby.

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I screamed at the top of my lungs,”I KNEW IT!!”… And then everyone started laughing at me. Ha. Ha. Very funny. Take advantage of my outrageously high hopes. Whatever.

Anyways, long story short (too late), I’m sort of the butt of the joke when it comes to stuff like that.

ACTUAL STORY

Okay, fast forward to now. January 2018. We had just finished up another trip to Disneyland and we were in the Long Beach airport about to go home. As we were walking the length of the airport I notice a guy in front of us. WHOA! This guy looked EXACTLY like Keanu Reeves. Like if you cut his hair and shaved off his beard, I mean- seriously he could get into movie premieres, you know what I mean? Total twin.

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I point him out to Dan who rolls his eyes so hard it probably hurt a little bit. Then I kind of forget about it.

Dan has the baby and I go up to get us food at ‘The Burger Bar’. I got chicken strips because whatever I order I have to share with Jack. They tell me it’s going to take 15 minutes to cook. So alright, I’m just standing there super awkwardly waiting for my food.

A guy steps over to me. “Hey, have you ordered?”

It’s the Keanu Reeves look alike. And oh my gosh, now that I’m getting an up close view, I’m like HOLLLLLLLYYYYY SHHHHHHHH- This could be him.

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I mean, yeah, if he bent one of the spoons I would have been less surprised. It would have confirmed that Neo was actually talking to me at least. Even the voice. That whispity flat voice, you know? (Descriptions and stuff. Don’t worry, I’m an author.)

We’re standing next to each other as we wait for our food. (!!!) And I’m dying to ask, “Has anyone ever told you you look just like Keanu Reeves? … like, are you?” The thing though, is that there are a bunch of other people around. I don’t want to out him. This guy is just trying to get a burger, he doesn’t want to get stuck taking pictures with people.

So I never found out for sure.

BUT-

The next day someone had posted a meme of him, and I was like waaaaait… I googled what he looks like currently. And guys. It was him.

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This guy at the airport had the same exact hair and the same patchy beard. Keanu Reeves talked to me and stood next to me. 100%. Even more convinced now after finding pictures for this blog post.

And of course, it happened to ME ONLY, so no one believes it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!