The Trump Presidency: A Look on the Bright Side

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(Warning: I get political here, but don’t worry, I’ll go back to normal posts soon.)

If I had to describe the feeling of watching the 2016 election results unfold in a slightly over-dramatic, self-important way, the best comparison for me would be To Kill a Mockingbird.

I’m talking about the court scene where the jury declared Tom Robinson guilty, and he was given a death sentence for committing a crime he so very clearly did not commit. I felt like Scout did in that moment, with the confusion, the disappointment, the injustice of it all. I didn’t, and still don’t understand how 60+ million people could vote for such an obvious Bad Choice. How they could turn away from a flawed, yet undoubtedly smart and qualified woman and instead vote for a man who, amongst other things, lied about muslims in New Jersey cheering at 9/11.

I give this example, instead of all the countless other awful, reprehensible things Adult Joffrey has said and done, because I think it’s one of the worst and it doesn’t get enough attention. The man went in front of a bunch of angry, gullible people, and he gave them an excuse to hate and discriminate against another group of people, people that he knew for a fact were innocent in this regard.

Also, and I feel like this should be focused on more, he has a very punchable face. Not at the Ted Cruz level of smug grossness, but he’s definitely up there.

But I have to remember that To Kill a Mockingbird ended on a hopeful note. (I think. It’s been a while.) And as Atticus Finch once said, “it’s always darkest just before the dawn.” (He did not say this.) So for the sake of my mental health, let’s focus on the bright side, shall we?

1) The next president’s going to seem amazing in comparison.

Literally all he has to do is not throw twitter tantrums at three in the morning, and everyone will think, “Damn, what a classy guy. So glad he won the 2024 election.”

(Too dark? I feel like that was too dark.)

2) We’re probably going to get at least one really badass woman out of this.

I’m talking Joan of Arc levels of awesome here, or someone like Susan B. Anthony. Someone who goes down in the history books as just an all around great person. Personally, I hope its Tammy Duckworth.

She’s an Asian American senator, who’s also a disabled veteran, and I hope she runs for president in 2020, because she’s already done and said some things that made me say, “hot damn that was cool.” Like during a midnight vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, she said, her voice filled with emotion, “On behalf of the 1.2 million Illinoisans who will lose health insurance with this repeal of the ACA, and for all those with pre-existing conditions, I stand on prosthetic legs to vote NO.”

If you want to watch the video where all the democrats in congress fought and failed against the Obamacare vote a few weeks ago, here it is. I found it incredibly moving.

But to get back to Duckworth and why I think she’d made a great candidate:

  • She literally lost her legs while fighting in the Iraq War, so it’s going to be tough for her opponent to claim she hates the military.
  • “What was that? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my awesome prosthetic legs, which I got from risking my life for this country.” —what I would say in a debate, if I were her.
  • For the most part I approve of her voting record.
  • She doesn’t have any email scandals that I’m aware of.
  • She has a goofy, but likable name. It’s the type of name that sticks with you, and in the early stages of campaigning, name recognition is always important.

3) When bored, you can always play “Find the minority!” during Trump’s speeches.

It’s a depressing game, but it’s still a game, and games are fun. Whenever you see a crowd of his supporters on TV, look around for someone who isn’t white and see how long it takes before you find one. I played it during his inauguration the other day and the first black person I saw was actually, in fact, a horse. (I gave up after five minutes.)

Or you can play that drinking game where you take a shot every time he lies about an easily provable fact. You’ll be dead before the game ends, so get your arrangements in order first.

4) The Republicans have sort of lost the moral high ground.

I’m biased, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I struggle to see how the Republicans could possible continue calling themselves the Family Values party, or the Party of Personal Responsibility. I don’t think this has been the case since at least 2000, but it’s never been more obvious than it is now. They also shouldn’t be allowed to condescendingly call liberals “snowflakes,” considering that they just nominated the world’s whiniest snowflake as the leader of the free world.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t a good thing for any Republicans reading this, (sup guys), but they can rest assured knowing that they have a super-majority, so they don’t actually need the moral high-ground anyway. And if public support wanes, they can always just gerrymander some more, or maybe just keep on gutting the Voting Rights Act, as they’ve already done in several states. And they’ve successfully stolen a Supreme Court Justice, so they’ll be just fine.

(Man, being a Republican must be so nice right now. Maybe I should switch sides.)

5) No matter what happens, there’s no happy ending for Trump.

I think he ran for office with the idea that a) he wasn’t going to win, and/or b) that being president wasn’t actually that hard. I remember back in November hearing him say how surprised he was at just how big of a scope his new job entails, and I recall him making a rather unhappy face when he realized he’d won the election.

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Couldn’t find that photo, so here’s another one.

Trump’s going to be miserable with this job, and part of me hope he crashes and burns. That he resigns in disgrace with single-digit approval ratings and he goes down in history as an utter failure. Then we can all look back and say, “hey, remember that time Donald Trump was president? That was weird.”

The only way Trump does get a happy ending is if he does a good job as President, and in that case, we all win. In fact I hope he does so well I end up voting for him in 2020. Do I think this will happen? Nope. But never have I wanted to be proven wrong as much as I do now.

Though let’s be real. If it’s Duckworth vs Anyone, I’m choosing the Duck.

QUACK!

Goals for My 2017 Spring Semester

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My spring semester of college starts today, and while my fall semester was fine, there were a few things I wished I’d done differently. And now that I have a good sense of what college is like, and how much of a workload I could handle, I’m going to start making goals for myself that will straddle the line between Reasonable and Overly Optimistic. Let’s see how it goes.

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1) Get Back to a Normal Sleep Schedule

Last semester I had to wake up early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for an 8:30 Chemistry lecture, and I did not handle it well. Back in August I’d figured that this would be easy, considering how I woke up around 6:00 AM in high school and it wasn’t that hard. But as it turns out, waking up early in college is so much worse.

“That’s it!” I thought as I planned out my spring schedule, “No more early classes. I’m never waking up earlier than nine again.”

But I ended up getting screwed over by technical issues, and now I’m stuck with an 8:00 Calculus classes on Monday Wednesday Friday and an 8:30 Intro to American Politics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So yeah, that’s rough.

And thanks to late shifts at Mcdonalds and nightly poker games, I’ve now gotten used to falling asleep around 4 AM and waking up around noon.

This is not a fun adjustment.

And yet, I’m looking forward to this. Because while I hate getting up early, I do love being up early. It’s nice waking up and having the whole day ahead of you. Plus the air smells nicer in the morning. Not sure why.

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2) Get at least a B+ in Chemistry.

Ah, chemistry. My Achilles’s heel, if you will. I got a C in it last semester, and I was pleasantly surprised to get it. I do hope to improve next semester, and the odds are in my favor this time because:

  1. My lectures this semester are in the afternoon, so I won’t be tempted to skip them so I can sleep in.
  2. I actually started to use all the extra resources available to me near the end, and it helped a lot.
  3. Hopefully, my TA this time won’t have a heavy, indecipherable accent. My last TA was a nice guy and all, (he didn’t even take points off when I handed in a late lab, God bless him), but he grew up in China and still has trouble with English. It’s understandable, considering that I took four years of Spanish classes and still can’t speak a word of it, but it’s frustrating when he has to explain important stuff to the class. I don’t know much about my new TA, but I know his first name is Brendan and his middle name is Patrick, so I’m gonna go on a hunch and say that English is probably his first language, (*fingers crossed*) so learning things should be a bit easier this year.

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3) Join more clubs

This is still going to be difficult for me, because three of the clubs I wanted to join last semester, (a book club, a sign language club, and a literary magazine thingy), were not only all at the exact same time, but also at the same time as my chemistry recitations. Chances are the same thing’s going to happen this semester too.

But I can still join the bowling club (turns out I’m good at it), as well as racquetball. Plus my school has a student-run website that’s basically like The Onion, and I would love to get an article or two posted on that. I think I could pull off satire. The key, as I see it, is to write about a completely ridiculous event as if its normal, such as this, or write about a completely normal event as if it’s extremely significant, like this. Or, of course, you can actually put some effort in.

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4) Be better with money.

Was I the best with money last semester? No. But did I learn from my mistakes and get better as the semester went on? Also no. This time, though, I hope to handle things better, and I won’t allow myself to make the same mistake regarding textbooks as I did last time:

Back in August I decided to save money for my classes by renting all my textbooks on Amazon for a cheaper price than was offered on the school bookstore. Look at me, I thought, saving money like a champ. This worked out fine for my Intro to World Politics course, but it backfired in math and science. Turns out, I had to get a code for an online site where 90% of the online assignments were due, and in order to get that I had to either pay $99 for the access code, or buy another textbook from the bookstore, because those were the only textbooks that came with the access codes. That’s two hundred bucks I’m never getting back. Do I sound salty? It’s my saltiness that’s making me sound that way.

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5) Check my grades as soon as they come out.

Sad fact: because I was so afraid I had failed chemistry, I did not check my grades for fall semester throughout the entire winter break. I just told my parents I had a 2.9 GPA, because that seemed to be on the optimistic side of realistic, and I spent winter break not thinking about anything school related.

Then I was told that if you failed Chem 107, you wouldn’t be able to continue with chem 108. Hmm, I thought, Maybe I should see how I did so I don’t get kicked out of chem 108 two weeks into the semester.

And so I checked my grades, and it was a lot better than I’d expected. C in Chemistry, B+ in Calculus, A in Intro to World Politics, and an A in my public speaking class. Not sure how that last one happened, (not false modesty; am genuinely perplexed), but I’m not going to argue with a good thing.

This semester, though, I’m checking my grades right away. ‘Cause there ain’t no way in hell I’m putting myself through that sort of stress again.


So, uh, yeah. What are your goals for this year? (School-related or otherwise.) And more importantly, does anyone know when Stranger Things is coming back? That show is lit.

Ten Books I Plan to Read in 2017

My last post like this was all the way back in 2015, and it’s funny because I still haven’t read most of those books. But this year will be different, I say, for the fourth year in a row.

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1) The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin.

That’s right, I’m calling it. This book will be published this year. I know I said this last year and the the year before that, but I mean it this time. I mean, he has to finish it eventually, right?

Right?

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What a boring cover

2) Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

I pick this book because it’s short, it’s supposed to be great, as well as an easy read. That’s what I love about YA books: they’re all quick to read, even when they’re bad. Plus, Emma Watson was in the movie adaptation, and come to think of it, I haven’t seen her act in anything since Harry Potter, so I hope to watch it after finishing this. 

Image result for extremely loud and incredibly close3) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathon Safran Foer

I remember seeing the trailer to this movie and thinking, “I don’t know what this is about, but I like it.” I never got to see to see the movie, but I heard the reviews for both it and the book were very divisive. It was either the most beautiful, heartwarming novel you’ve ever read, or a three hundred page piece of trash that belongs in the depths of hell.

I will get to decide which it is.

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4) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Fun fact, I actually read the first fifty pages or so, and found it fascinating. Sure, the main character was kind of a jerk to his friend, but I assume he’ll grow out of that. Plus I really want to learn more about the history of the middle east. The gist of what I know is this: Afghanistan got fucked over real bad in the 1970s, and I’m pretty sure the Russians were responsible, because the Russians are sort of awful like that. Although I’m sure the U.S. was also at fault in one way or another, because at one point in the novel Henry Kissinger was mentioned, and that guy’s famous for being a bit of a war criminal. Either way, I doubt this book has a happy ending.

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5) The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

I also read about 80 pages into this book, and I loved every moment of it. Although I do find it kind of arrogant of the author to just ignore the rules of punctuation. “Pff, I don’t need commas or quotation marks,” I can imagine him thinking. “My story is just that powerful.

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6) Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

I know, I know. It’s been over three years and I still haven’t read this book. However, I recently started getting back into King’s Dark Tower series, after putting it aside for a long time, so I think I’m ready to go back into his work. 

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7) The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith

It’s a romance novel about two lesbians in the fifties, which was recommended to me by Engie from Musings from Neville’s Navel. While I wasn’t a fan of The Maze Runner, I do tend to love most of the books she recommends me. Like A Game of Thrones, or Between the World and Me, or The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Or V for Vendetta.

So intend to get around to reading this book, and the pages will be soaked with my heart-shaped tears.

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8) Life, the Universe, and Everything, by Douglas Adams

This is the third book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and if it’s half as funny as the first two, I will be in for a good time. 

Seriously, though. You know how rare it is for me to laugh out loud when reading a book? Usually I just smile, or exhale out of my nose, but Adams sends me into fits. And then I find myself thinking about scenes from the books months afterwards and I crack up again, and then I have to explain to people why I just started laughing for seemingly no reason.

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9) I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson.

I remember seeing the Will Smith movie adaptation for this, and thinking, “meh, seven out of ten.” But apparently the book is completely different? Also, the book is currently sitting on a shelf in my basement, and no one knows how it got there, which adds quite a bit to its mystique.

10) Maggie Stiefvater’s new book, whatever it is.

Stiefvater’s become one of those authors whose books I would immediately buy the moment they were released. Other authors include John Green, Markus Zusak, George R. R. Martin, and Suzanne Collins. If any of them publish a new book this year, I guarantee I’ll be buying it, no matter what the circumstances.


So what are you planning to read this year? And if you’ve read any of the novels above, feel free to share your (non-spoilery) thoughts. Oh, and Happy New Year!

In Which I Unexpectedly Get Sunburn in the Middle of Winter

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This picture is physically painful to look at. Ow ow ow ow.

So now that I’m back from college, I finally have a room to myself. While my roommate was fine and all, there’s nothing quite as nice as getting home from work and knowing that nobody else will be in your room when you walk in. And knowing that I had a whole private room to myself, I did the only logical thing a person would do. I started sleeping in the nude.

I don’t recall doing this before college, but now that I was back home I tried to take full advantage of this newfound freedom. No roommate, no clothes. That was my new motto.

I did this for several wonderful, dream-filled nights, and I gotta say, it has its benefits. It’s how God intended us to sleep, I’ve been told.

Then the other day, I’ve noticed that my skin felt irritable. I put a shirt on and every part of my back it touched seemed to sting slightly. When I put on my jacket, the fabric touching my arms felt just as bad. What is this? I wondered. Why does my skin hurt?

I went the next few days like this, the conditions only getting worse and worse, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Was I having an allergic reaction to something? Did God actually intend for us to sleep fully clothed, with this being his way of punishing me? I only figured it out when I noticed that my arms were much more red than usual. (Not sure how I didn’t notice that sooner.) I pressed my finger against my skin, and when I let it go it left a white spot that I gradually returned to the surrounding pink. And then the explanation all unfolded in my mind within a matter of seconds. It felt like I had reached the big reveal in a mystery novel, and suddenly everything fell into place.

The light from my window gave me sunburn. 

The way my bedroom’s set up, the sun shines right on me each morning. I usually like that, because it keeps me from sleeping in too late. Except the last few nights I slept in until noon, meaning the sun was roasting its way through my back, arms, shoulders and potentially my nether regions without me even considering the idea that it would be a problem.

Let this be a lesson to y’all. Never sleep naked, or you will be roasted alive. Or at the very least, close the blinds.

On the bright side, you know how I’ve often talked about my failed attempts to get a tan? Well here is my chance to be the tannest white guy at Binghamton when I go back on the nineteenth. I just have to sleep on my back one day and sleep on my stomach the other, switching back and forth. Keep this up for a few weeks, and I’ll be like a human leather glove. 

There’s a bright side to everything, people. Remember that as you go into the new year.

15 Rants, One Post

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Dr. Cox, the king of rants.

1

I get that a lot of bad things happened in 2016, but this whole “Fuck 2016,” meme is getting old. (It’s been old since at least November, I think.) And really, does anyone believe 2017 is going to be any better? If you consider Trump getting elected to be horrible, do you really think you’re going to hate a Trump presidency any less? And with the baby boomer generation dying off, celebrity deaths are only going to become increasingly common. It’s sad, but so is life, so get used to it.

2

We’re at that time where bloggers are listing their favorite ____s of the year, and I keep seeing posts where people refuse to give an explanation for their choices. For example, I’ll see a post like, “My Five Favorite Books I’ve Read this Year!” and it’ll go:

  1. Book I’ve never heard of.
  2. Book I’ve never heard of.
  3. Book I’ve never heard of.
  4. Book I’ve never heard of.
  5. Book I’ve never heard of.

This list means nothing to me unless you can tell me what the books are about, or at the very least, explain why you liked it. Otherwise, this post is a giant waste of time, and you should be ashamed. 

3

I hate how my interest in politics has slowly turned me into a bitter, resentful person, so much so that I even find myself hating Bernie Sanders, who I used to love. Like, I hear in the news that Bernie’s going to “fight back,” against a Trump presidency, and I hear him saying stuff like, “the revolution is stronger than ever.” And I’m like, “fuck off, Bernie. You’ve accomplished nothing. Go back to naming post offices in your tiny little state of Vermont.” I admit this isn’t fair, but I’m so burnt out that I have no interest in being fair until at least 2018.

(Oh who I am I kidding? I’m not burnt out at all, and I will always love Bernie. May his days be long upon this earth.)

4

Also, why the hell does my candidate never win? In 2008 I wanted McCain to win, in 2012 I wanted Romney to win, (although by that point I was gradually starting to transition into the kale-eating* liberal I am today, so I wasn’t too upset), and in 2016 I wanted Bernie and when he lost I started rooting for Hillary, who cramped up just five yards from the finish line. That 0 for 4. Now what are the odds of that? I did the math and it’s one in sixteen, or 6.3%, which is outrageous. Is this punishment for that time I accidentally ran over a raccoon? I think it is.

* Just want to clarify that I’ve never actually eaten kale in my life.

5

I hate when people use the word “indescribable” to describe something. It’s the ultimate cop-out for writers who are too lazy to put together a decent description. Especially bloggers. Oh, your delicious sandwich had a taste that was indescribable, you say? Well I can’t even begin to describe how angry that sentence made me. Now excuse me while I unfollow your blog and never think of you again. 

(As you can tell, I’m in a bitter mood.)

6

Why does time fly when you’re having fun? That seems like the least convenient time for such a phenomenon to occur. Why can’t it speed up during car rides? Or when I’m at the dentist? Now that I think of it, why does it speed up at all? Time should just stay consistent, alright?

7

Why the hell does Dunkin Donuts keep putting cheese on my bacon egg croissants? I always ask for no cheese, and while the cashier always gets it right, (“no cheese” always shows up on the receipt), the guy making it rarely does. As someone who works in fast food, I must ask, why is Dunkin Donuts in particular so bad at this? Is my order so uncommon that is throws them off? Or do they just not like me because I seem like the type of person who’d bash them on my blog? The world may never know.

8

I’m gonna call bullshit on the idea that if McDonalds’ had to pay their employees fifteen bucks an hour, they’d just replace most of their workers with robots. If they could do that, they’d have done it a long time ago. Twenty years from now, this might be a legitimate concern, and even then, I doubt it; people would boycott the store, the robots would be malfunctioning constantly, and all it takes is one murderous robot rampage to stop the whole thing in its tracks. Trust me, this isn’t going to be an issue.

9

Speaking of McDonalds’, creepy guys everywhere should know that the girl at the drive-thru window does not want to give you her phone number. Just take your food, say thank you, and drive away like a normal person.

10

I loved The Catcher in the Rye, but I find it unnerving when people praise Holden as a rebel; as someone who calls people out on their “phoniness.” This was what I was told about Holden, and after reading the book, I found myself wondering just how the hell anyone got that impression. For one thing, Holden’s an idiot, (that stuck out to me from page one) and his criticisms of other people are almost always shallow and hypocritical. Holden is whiny, stupid and spoiled, but the beauty of the book is that you empathize with him regardless of his many, many flaws. If you read the book and think, “Wow, that Holden kid is a real hero,” then there is something seriously wrong with you.

11

I hate when children are used as props to further someone’s agenda, whatever that agenda may be. Like this photo:

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Now, I am very much in favor of having more diverse books for kids to read, but there is no way in hell that picture is in any way authentic. You just know for a fact that an adult handed the kid that paper and told him to smile for the camera. Hell, I doubt that’s even the kid’s handwriting.

I’m not sure why this bothers me as much it does. I guess it just feels … cheap? Unfair to the kid? Manipulative? I don’t know, but I’m still OUTRAGED.

12

Why do people try to talk all authoritatively over things they don’t know anything about? In high school I took a college-level course in Environmental Studies, and while that hardly makes me an expert on the subject, whenever someone tries to lecture me on how climate change isn’t actually that big of a deal, it becomes immediately and startlingly obvious how uninformed they are. (“But we just had a really cold winter!”)

The same is true for the conflicts going on in the middle east. I don’t really understand what’s going on over there, and I can guarantee you that 95% of Americans don’t either. But that doesn’t stop some people from becoming sudden experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict whenever the topic arises. Unless you actually know what you’re talking about, don’t pretend that you do. Instead you might learn something.

13

What’s up with old people and drinking from the hose? (Bear with me on this one.)

As a kid, I’d often hear adults complain about how spoiled and pampered my generation is, and bragging about how, “when I was a kid, we drank water from the hose!” And I’d be like, “Cool. Would you like a medal, sir?” 

Because there is literally nothing impressive at all about drinking from a hose. As someone who did often drink water out of a hose during my childhood summers, I must say that it tasted no different than regular tap water. Albeit, a bit grassier. Did I think I was cool for doing this? No. Will I be bragging to my kids one day for it? Possibly. Either way, this whole thing is stupid, and now I’m thirsty.

14

I hate grass. It’s the most useless plant. Flowers look pretty and smell nice, trees provide shade and comfort, but what does grass do? It just sits there, like a total bum. Go away, grass, no one wants you.

15

I support Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem, but I have one question that has yet to be answered.

Let’s say that America listens to his message, and we collectively take initiatives to stop systematic racism and police brutality and bam! Everything is fixed. My question is: how would he know? It’s going to take at least a couple months for the statistics to come back to show that his protest was successful, which I could imagine being a bit embarrassing for him when he finds out. “So for the last month or so, I’ve been kneeling for no reason? Damn. And my knee is so sore now.”

(This has got to be the dumbest perspective anyone’s ever taken on this topic. Whatever, I’m tired, and I because of my relative obscurity, I can afford to say stupid things.)

That’s all for me. I gotta say, this wasn’t nearly as good as my last 15 rants post.

 

More Than I Can Chew: A Look Back

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For those who don’t know, two years ago I started writing an interactive blog story about two identical twins, one of whom had made a business out of selling gum to his fellow high school students. When one of his gum-selling employees decides to go rogue, a series of insane, potentially life-ruining events go down. No one is the same.

At the end of each chapter, there’d be poll that would allow the reader to decide which direction they wanted the story to go in. It was a good writing exercise: to write a cohesive story while staying true to the characters, despite having little to no control over the plot.

It had been a long time since I’d so much as thought about More Than I Can Chew, and what reading it over, a few things surprised me. So I decided to write a post about my thoughts on the project, almost two years after it ended, partly for nostalgic purposes but mostly for shameless self-promotion.

Click here if you want to read it!!!

1) Kathy is still cool.

I’m going to be honest: I had no intention of writing an older sister into the story for the first three chapters. The thought hadn’t even occurred to me until I realized that Wyatt was only 15, and he’d need someone to drive him around for this story to work. So I created Kathy, who was technically a plot device, but ended up being the heart of the story. (Or at least, I thought she was the heart of the story. Remember when she took the blame for something Wyatt did, even though she didn’t have to? That was sweet.)

2) A lot of the writing needed work.

There was a bit more telling than there should’ve been, and too many adverbs. I kind of want to go back to those posts and just revise everything, but I won’t. Because the past is the past, and it should stay that way. (Could I sell it as an ebook?)

3) Adrien wasn’t particularly likable in the beginning, was he?

He kept going on about how much he hated his brother, and I was like, “Damn, Adrien. Wyatt barely thinks about you at all. Move on. Get your own hobby.”

Adrien’s unlikeability can be boiled down to two problems:

  1. He was a big ol’ Mopey Gus in the beginning.
  2. He didn’t really do anything, at first. He just went to the bathroom, then got captured. I think Past Me realized this, because Past Me started giving him as much agency as the circumstances would allow, and I think it helped a lot.

4) Things went by a lot faster than I remembered.

So they were both in school, then Adrien gets kidnapped, now Wyatt and Kathy are driving to a park to pick him up. Now Adrien’s in the ER, Wyatt’s smashing furniture, and now Kathy’s managing to drive home, to the hospital, to the furniture store, and back home in record time. The whole story would’ve been about sixty pages long in book form, which is crazy considering just how much went down.

I’m not sure if this was a problem for anyone else, or if it only felt this way because I was reading it in on my phone, but things definitely felt like they were going by way too fast. Maybe that’s just my old age speaking. *shrugs*

5) The ending wasn’t as bad as I remembered.

It was a little abrupt, but not gonna lie, I think I’d be okay with this ending if I were just an unknowing reader. However, I’m a fan of ambiguous endings and most people aren’t, so I understand why some people may have been frustrated, and asking me questions like, “What happened to Diesel?” or “Was the money really counterfeit?” and “Is anyone going to jail? I feel someone should be thrown in jail.”

To which, I finally answer those questions, for those of you who are still around.

  1. Diesel was lying about his name the whole time. When he met Wyatt outside that hockey game back in ninth grade, he told him his name was Diesel because he wanted to see if Wyatt was dumb enough to believe it. Wyatt was. For several weeks prior to the start of this story, Diesel was quietly scheming his way to get the $10,000.
    • You may remember how, at the end, the characters decided to blame everything on Diesel? Well, the police were never able to find a Diesel, because no one in that high school had that name.
      • Basically, Diesel got away with everything.
  2. The money was not counterfeit. That was just Diesel being a criminal mastermind. It worked.
  3. Chances are, Fiona and Conner are going to have to do some community service. Fiona’s probably getting expelled, what with the whole, “organizing a kidnapping on school grounds” thing. I think James might be going to jail, because in order for Adrien not to get in trouble for almost killing him, he’d have to press charges on him for assault, and maybe kidnapping. The American legal system’s tricky, y’all.

All in all, I’m glad I wrote it; I just wish I had finished it within a reasonable amount of time. But hey, that’s my biggest flaw as a writer. I can’t finish. Even when I have the ending planned out, I end up losing interest and moving on to another project. Which, yeah, is a bad idea.

So I’ll end this post with some advice to all those beginner writers out there: finish your damn manuscripts. I don’t care how bad your first draft is, or if you just came up with a better story and you want to write that instead. Get it doneor you will be a failure, and you will die sad and alone in a tiny house in New Hampshire while everyone you ever loved will have nothing but contempt for you. Or your writing just won’t improve. Whichever’s worse.

Something that Happened Years Ago That I Need to Get Off My Chest

Okay, so this is something that I never really talk about, because no one ever believes me when I tell them. I’m starting to doubt if everything went down exactly as I remember it, but I know that something definitely happened and I can’t quite explain what it was. Even all these years later, I still think about it at night when I’m lying in bed. I keep trying to make sense of it all; to find a rational, scientific explanation for what happened to me, and every single time I fail.

I don’t remember how old I was when this happened. It could’ve been anywhere from five to eight. It’s strange how I remember that night so well but I can never quite place it within a specific year of my life. Memory is weird like that.

Up until I was twelve or so, my family didn’t have an upstairs bathroom. If I ever needed to go in the middle of the night, I’d have to walk downstairs, through the dark, empty kitchen and into the dark, empty living room. 

There was a glass door in the living room I’d always have to walk by, that lead out to the side of the house. Usually the curtains were covering it but sometimes they weren’t, and because I always turned the lights on with every room I walked into, I could never see if anyone was outside, peering in through the glass door. All I could see was the reflection.

Those walks to the bathroom in the middle of the night were some of the most nerve-wracking moments of my childhood. I rarely heard noises, but I always had this feeling that someone was downstairs with me, like someone would be hiding behind the couch in the living room, or someone would be waiting outside the bathroom door when I came out.

When I was finished I’d have to walk all the way back, turning the lights off behind me as I went. I’d try to keep calm but once I reached the staircase I’d always break into a sprint, and I wouldn’t feel safe again until I was back in my bedroom with the door closed shut.

The walk got easier during the Christmas season, because that was when the decorations were always up. We had a Christmas Tree covered in lights in the living room with stockings set up around the fireplace. We had this weird toy with a foot-tall plastic Santa Clause, whose head moved around when you pressed the button on his leg. I think he was supposed to talk, too, but he never did.

It was the night before Christmas Eve when I woke up again, needing to pee. I turned on the lights as I went downstairs and walked into the bathroom in the living room. The curtains to the side door were closed this time, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone looking in. 

The bathroom had a fan that turned on automatically with the lights, making it so it you couldn’t hear anything going on outside. That’s the only good explanation I can think of for why I didn’t notice any noise. If it wasn’t for the fan I probably would’ve locked myself in that bathroom for rest of the night.

Instead I walked out of it, as usual, and I immediately noticed a few things were off. It seemed colder than it had been just a minute ago, and the curtains to the side door were no longer drawn. They’d been shoved to the side, away from the handle, and in the reflection of the door I saw something moving around in the kitchen. I saw the light of the refrigerator turn on and heard the sound of glass clinking, and when I looked in closer I saw a man in a large red suit.

I thought I’d be excited to see something like this. I’d been one of those kids that loved the Christmas season and whole-heartedly believed in Santa, but seeing his back as he rummaged through the fridge sent nothing but doubts down my spine. I think it’s because, for all my willingness to believe in him and for all the arguments I’d gotten in with classmates over his existence, deep down I knew that Santa Clause wasn’t supposed to be real. At the very least, you weren’t supposed to see him. 

I watched as he took some orange juice out of the fridge and chugged it straight from the carton. He gasped for air when he was finished and wiped his mouth, and when he walked over to the trash to toss it out he glanced at the side door and stopped in his tracks, and I realized right there that he had seen me through the reflection. It was the longest moment of my life. He stared at me through the door and I stared at him. He lifted his finger to his mouth and smiled.

He continued searching through the fridge and eating our food. As I watched I realized he wasn’t as old as Santa Clause was supposed to be. From his face he seemed younger than my parents, now that I think of it, and his eyebrows didn’t match his beard or his hair.

After a couple minutes he walked into the hallway, out of view. I heard a door close, and footsteps going downstairs into the basement. 

I ran back to my room. I wanted to wake my parents and tell them what happened, but I didn’t know what I’d say. I didn’t think they’d believe me. And most of all, I didn’t know what to think of the man who’d just rummaged through our kitchen. I kept going back and forth from ‘he’s Santa, he’d never harm anyone,’ to ‘he’s an intruder dressed up as Santa and he’s going to rob us and kill us in our sleep.’

I don’t remember sleeping that night. I remember sitting up in my bed and listening to the noises from downstairs. Occasional bumps and mutters, the creak of the side door sliding open and closed, and at one point I heard the sound of slow, heavy footsteps making its way up the stairs to the upper floor. The steps grew closer and closer, until I saw the shadow of the man from the light under my door.

For a moment, I heard nothing but the man’s breathing. Then he started yanking the door handle. Violently, up and down. I kept expecting the door to swing open at any moment, but it never did. He just kept shaking the handle. I sat perfectly still, terrified to move or to make a sound, and it’s at this point that I should clarify that none of this happened, and I’m just messing with all of you. I know that if I were to come across this post, the first thing I’d do is scroll down to the last paragraph to make sure this wasn’t a joke story, so I’m just going to continue from here as if these last two sentences were never written: after who knows how long, the handle stopped shaking and the shadow disappeared, and I listened through bated breath as the footsteps shrunk in volume and the man descended down the stairs. I heard the side door open and close again, and the house was silent for the rest of the night.

Nothing was missing the next day. Even the orange juice carton was back in its place. The curtains were drawn again, and everything in the basement was exactly how it had been the day before. I told myself the whole thing was just a dream, because I didn’t know how else to deal with what I saw. The whole memory’s been tearing at me ever since, and I’m glad I have an outlet here for me to get this off my chest. If anyone has any similar experiences, or they can think of an explanation for what happened here that would put my mind at ease, please comment below.