Throughout my life I have worked in various customer-service positions, ranging from waitressing to hotel work to movie theater attendant. As nearly every single person in the world has some sort of experience being at the consumer end of a customer-service transaction, most of you probably know some variation of the old adages keep the customer happy and the customer is always right. But as a seasoned customer-service rep, I’d like to let you in on a secret:
It’s all a scam.
Ha! You fools! Did you actually think that we the employees are there to help you and that we’re doing our very best to make sure you have the most enjoyable experience possible? WRONG! Customer service is merely a vast conspiracy designed to make you, the consumer, miserable. Every time that you’ve tried to order a product but it was “sold out”? It wasn’t. There were actually a gazillion left over, and after a customer-service rep like me hung up the phone, we rolled on the ground laughing and cursing your children and then swam in all the leftovers, Scrooge McDuck style. And every time your food was burned or undercooked? Ha! Evil strikes again! It wasn’t because the restaurant was over-crowded and understaffed. No, no, all a sham. I, your waitress, and others just like me, stood in the kitchen smoking and gambling on cock fights as your meal was left to char. And don’t even get me started on cold showers or broken air conditioners in your hotel room. When I said I was reporting the problem? I was really listening to my daily horoscope off a 900 number. In fact, much as you suspected and even insinuated, the problem was entirely my fault. I, Elizabeth Gilliland, personally crawled into your room in the middle of the night and meticulously pulled out hundreds of hairs to clog your air conditioning unit; then I stood in wait until the moment I knew you were about to shower and simultaneously flushed every toilet in the world. Diabolical!
But why? you might ask. What possible reason is there for a person to behave this way? Quite simply, there IS no reason. I’m just that evil. I kick puppies and spit on babies. I stand in front of weight-loss clinics eating brownies and swerve to hit deer on purpose. I started a letter-writing campaign to NBC asking them to keep Whitney on the air and push Community to the spring. I’m EVIL.
This is the first thing you must understand when you are dealing with customer-service representatives. There is no reason or logic. In fact, we’re hardly human beings at all. So you must disregard all rationality and come in yelling. If you suspect that we’re attempting to “help” you but that “there’s nothing we can do”, you must become increasingly irate and hostile. Assume that we don’t have feelings and insinuate that we’re stupid and lazy and worthless– especially if our manager is nearby. Blame things on us that are entirely out of our control, like corporate policy or the weather, and refuse to take any responsibility, especially if the problem is clearly your fault. If all else fails, throw a temper tantrum and do your best to get us fired. It may sound extreme and completely bizarre, but trust me, we deserve no better. In fact, we will probably thrive off your rage because there is nothing we enjoy more than the torment of a human soul, except for maybe the tears of a virgin.
I am a reader. Given the choice between doing just about anything and reading– except for maybe eating and popping bubble wrap– I will choose reading. So far since Christmas, I’ve read eight books in their entirety; it’s the 15th of January. I say this not to brag (or, alternatively, to give light to the sad, antisocial life I lead) but rather to preface the strange frame of mind in which I currently find myself.
When I love a book, I get totally lost in it. I start speaking like my favorite characters and sometimes even make semi-major life decisions based off what those characters would do. I usually fall in love with at least one of these people and find myself dreaming that I’m actually living my life in the pages and then feeling ultimately disappointed when I wake up and realize it isn’t true. Weird, right?
As you can imagine, this sometimes becomes a problem when real life doesn’t measure up. For example, I have a promising job lead that could allow me to really make a difference and do some good. But all I want to do is learn how to swordfight (because I feel that is a valid life skill, and also because it is awesome) and make my living as a cutthroat. Problem. So for instances such as these, I’ve created a handy little guide for myself to pull me back to reality and remind me of the less glamorous side of my favorite novels.
1. Why I Shouldn’t Live in a Castle
No central heating. No air conditioning. No indoor plumbing. And– here’s the biggie– no toilet paper. But wouldn’t it be worth it if I was hanging out with Inigo Montoya or tending to the wounds of Jamie Frasier? Maybe, until I died of some awful untreatable disease. Because not only was there no toilet paper back in the day, but PEOPLE DID NOT WASH THEIR HANDS after using ye royal privvy. Even if they were making your bed. Even if they were cooking your food. And furthermore, people didn’t bathe that often, and… well, actually, I’m okay with that one. What I couldn’t handle? No tooth brushes. And if I need any further dissuasion, all I have to do is read the Song of Ice and Fire series because (although they are awesome) there is nothing glamorous about living in those books. Unless you find decapitation and rape glamorous, in which case, we’re gonna need a bigger list…
2. Why I Shouldn’t Live on the Prairie
See many of the above and add snake bites, outlaws, yellow fever, and Indian attacks (not politically correct, I know, but this is assuming I’m using the lingo of those times). Also waking up at the crack of dawn every day and working from sunup to sundown? No public libraries for hundreds of miles? NO ICE CREAM?? But surely getting to spend the 4th of July with Captain Jack might make up for a thing or two. And if anything ever got really dire, I could always send for Sully (okay, not a book character, but who can resist that sweet tomahawk action?) But then… what if Sully’s off an a vision quest and Captain Jack got detained at the fort and I’m all alone on the ranch with my nine babies (yep, that’s another important thing they didn’t have back in the day… babysitters) and it turns out Angel the prostitute really didn’t have a heart of gold and sold me out to Jesse James and on top of that a passel of Indians finds out my baby daughter was stolen from them and they’ll stop at nothing to take her back…??!! Okay, maybe the wild west isn’t for me after all…
3. Why I Shouldn’t Become a Pirate
Okay, so there’s the whole killing thing, which I’m sort of opposed to… and the fact that women were considered wicked bad luck and that I’d either have to be in disguise or end up walking the plank… added to the fact that sharks are my absolute worst fear and that parrots are a close second… and the fact that I like having all of my body parts and teeth… and that I would hate to sleep in a hammock every night and that I’m absolutely rubbish at tying knots… Okay so it’s actually hard to remember why I wanted to be a pirate except that I like to say “yar” and look pretty good in an eye patch. Also, despite previously mentioned fear of sharks, I actually love the sea and ships and dolphins, and I still feel like swordfighting is a skill I could use in everyday life– like if someone cuts in line at the grocery store or answers their cell phone in the movie theater– but I guess I can see how the bad outweighs the good. Sort of. Maybe.
4. Why I Shouldn’t Fall In Love with a Jerk
But he has a heart of gold under that rough exterior! He had a terrible childhood! His mother never loved him! He can change!
Ha! This one is even bigger fiction than traveling through time or exchanging a magical pair of pants with three of my closest friends. Actually, I usually don’t need much convincing with this one because I don’t like mean people, but on those rare occasions when I think to myself: maybe there’s more to him than meets the eye… maybe Fanny should give Henry Crawford a chance… NO! Stop in the name of pants!!
Look, maybe a guy does have a troubled past. Maybe he does have some issues. Maybe there is some good buried deep down inside. But if he isn’t nice to you? You don’t have to put up with that, no matter what his childhood traumas were (and that’s vice-versa to you, guys. Don’t let some girl treat you like crap. Unless it’s me).
And you know what? Maybe he can change. In fact, I’m a big believer that people can turn their lives around. But they have to do it on their own, and until they do, you don’t have to be the one being treated like crap. You’ll notice Lizzie didn’t give Mr. Darcy the time of day until he got his act together and started treating her right, and neither should you. Which leads to…
5. Why I Shouldn’t Marry Mr. Darcy
…Actually, I got nothing for this…
6. Why I Shouldn’t Wander the Moors
This one is pretty self-explanatory, too, especially after revisiting #4. But if I ever become a ghost or get locked away in somebody’s attic– I’m sorry, when, not if– I’m so doing it Bronte style. I mean, if you’re gonna go for it, you might as well go for it. Heeeeeeathcliiiiiiifffff…..
7. Why I Shouldn’t Sit Around Waiting For My Owl
First off, I’ve been waiting 10 years and it still hasn’t come, so either Dumbledore is still annoyed with me for implying that he and Minerva were having a thing– or, as I have long suspected, my owl has gotten lost in transit (possibly shot and eaten by my redneck neighbors… poor Hedwig…)
Second, I’m pretty sure if I were to be sorted I wouldn’t be a Gryffindor because I can’t even swim by myself in a pool for fear that a shark might suddenly appear and eat me (see #3) so I don’t think I qualify for the whole “brave and courageous” thing. Which leaves me Slytherin (no thanks– see #4), or Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Which begs the question, what on earth is a Hufflepuff?? (For some reason, I imagine those little guys from Despicable Me only furrier. I guess I can get on board with that…) Unfortunately, I can’t think of a single important character in the series who was Hufflepuff, at least not one I’d like to hang out with. I mean, there was Cedric Diggory in the books who was all phwoar, hello salty goodness until he got cast as R-Patz in the movie. Now every time I read his name all I see is sparkly vampire. I’d kind of love to be a Ravenclaw and hang out with Luna Lovegood, but then I’d have to be in the same house as Ho Chang. Excuse me, typo– Cho Chang. MAJOR drag. Also, I guess the imminent threat of danger and dismemberment from Basilisks and giant spiders and He Who Must Not Be Named would also be a deterrent… but mostly Cho Chang. Slut.
Well, I think that pretty much covers it for now. I guess I shouldn’t live in a book. I guess someday I’ll have to become a real grownup and start eating fiber and paying mortgages. Unless I find my way to Neverland or Narnia, or the Tardis lands in my back yard (again, not a book, though it should be), in which case all bets are off. But until that day, I’m still gonna be a reader. Tonight I only have 60 pages left of my book, and methinks it’s time to see what my good friend Petyr Baelish is up to…
So remember how I said that occasionally there would be very silly random things posted here? This be one of them. I, um… found this website… yeah, that sounds good, found… and it’s written by a complete stranger, whom I have heard third-hand from a friend of a friend of a friend is actually quite attractive and smart and not at all weird, who maybe wrote this strange series of stories about her friends in high school that are a good distraction from the things she’s actually supposed to be doing. That being said, any resemblance to actual persons is entirely false, except for the flattering ones. Of which there are few.
People– men in particular– prefer a romantic conquest who is hard to get. In practice I know this to be true because every guy I have been rude to, ignored, or filed a restraining order against just can’t seem to get enough of me. Whereas the men whom I shower with affection, wit, charm, and my undivided (and some might say stalkerish) attention are too busy drooling over the girl who won’t give them the time of day to acknowledge my existence.
Now, a wise person might learn from this and develop a strategy on how to become harder to get and therefore more appealing to the opposite gender. But let me offer an alternative which I think we can all agree is slightly more appealing: that I do absolutely nothing to change my behavior, and that everyone else adapt to suit my needs. Or, in other words, gentlemen of the world, stop falling for that uber-hot stuck-up girl who every other guy wants and who– through if some miracle you manage to actually nab– will only treat you like dirt anyway. Maybe it’s time to take a look at her frumpy but sweet friend who likes to read and may or may not tell too many fart jokes. For the sake of having a name for our example, let’s call her Elizabeth.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking– why would I want Elizabeth when I could have her super-hot friend? Granted, Elizabeth’s clothes aren’t as cool, her hair always looks kind of messy (and not in a hipster messy-cool kind of way but a legitimately hasn’t-been-brushed-all-day-and-there-is-something-chocolate-stuck-in-it kind of way) and she has a guttural, cackling laugh that has been known to frighten small children and animals. But here are some things about Elizabeth you might not know:
1. Unlike her super-hot friend, Elizabeth is always happy to see you. She will never pretend to ignore you or flirt with your best friend to make you jealous or cancel your dates because she gets a better offer. There are no better offers! Elizabeth is all yours! She likes spending time with you! She’s grateful for the attention! Which ties into. . .
2. Elizabeth will not twist your words. If you give her a compliment, she won’t overanalyze it and get mad for no reason because she thinks you might be implying her dog is fat. In fact, Elizabeth will even take things not intended as compliments and will inexplicably feel flattered! She might even write about them in her journal. For example:
* Your skin isn’t as bad as it used to be.
* You’re kind of funny when you’re not trying.
* You’re almost as pretty as your sister in that light.
* That outfit makes you look really thin.
* You aren’t the kind of girl who gets noticed, but that doesn’t mean you’re not special (thanks, Dad).
It’s win-win all around! With little to no effort, she will be putty in your hands!
3. Elizabeth does not take hours getting ready! In fact, some days it’s hard to tell if Elizabeth even bothered getting ready at all. You will never be late to a movie or have to sit around making idle chat with her parents while you wait for her. Chances are, she will be the one waiting for you, answering the door before you even knock! What a gal!
4. Elizabeth, as has already been mentioned, likes fart jokes. And action movies. And the Simpsons. Someone (a professor) may have even told her she has the personality of a 14-year-old boy, which for some inexplicable reason (see point 2) she took as a compliment. Elizabeth is so easy to be around, that’s why she’s easy to get! Elizabeth likes to laugh and have a good time. No drama. No tears. Elizabeth is probably way funnier than you are, but you’d never guess it from how hard she laughs at your jokes. Elizabeth wants to make you feel like a million dollars because that’s how she feels when she’s with you.
In short, gentlemen of the world– except for the ones Elizabeth has already rejected, because as completely hypocritical as it may be, Elizabeth won’t settle for just anybody– take another look at the girl who snorts when she laughs but will always answer your texts. She may not be a beauty queen, but– from a completely unbiased perspective– it sounds like she just might rock your world. And will be more than happy to do so.
New Year’s day has come and gone, and that means it’s time for the Post-Christmas Good-Heavens-Why-Did-I-Eat-So-Much-Fudge??? diet and exercise regime. In order to ensure that I actually follow through with my goals this year, I the cheapy-cheap-cheapskate of the world decided to invest some money in a gym membership. Half an hour later, after signing over a chunk of cash that still hurts my heart a little bit to think about, as well as the soul of my firstborn child, I have officially entered that elite circle of People Who Work Out in a Gym.
Gyms, as we all know, are a modern invention created with the purpose of gathering a bunch of people into one room and forcing them to smell each others’ sweat. This is a fact proven by both history and science. Although everyone is there under the pretense of ‘working out’ and ‘getting fit’, what we are actually there to do is half-heartedly cycle while chewing on a power bar and surreptitiously eying the hottie lifting weights across the room. Occasionally in order to look more impressive to the person on the next treadmill, you might up your speed until you get unnaturally red in the face, and– depending on the attractiveness of your treadmill neighbor– might over-extend yourself so much that you throw up. On a very good day, you might get to see someone else throw up or possibly fall off a machine, the resulting laughter causing a calorie burn that will more than make up for the candy bar in your gym bag. (Laughter, as we all know, is the best exercise, after all… or something like that…) As a reward for all this physical exertion, you will then feel legitimized in stopping for fast food on the way home (because it’s already been burned off! sort of…) and spending the rest of the night on the couch in front of the TV, secretly lording over all the other fat tubbies who did not go to the gym that day.
Believe it or not (which given my history of lying for funsies is a bigger gamble than that phrase might usually suggest), I actually worked at a gym for four summers. In the daycare, but still. Gyms, in theory, do not scare me. I know how the machinery works. I know that although there might be some intimidatingly buff people, male and female, who look like they could very easily kick your trash, they are usually the nicest people you’re going to meet. And I also know that along with these ridiculously sculpted persons are the regular schlubs like you and me, who like to get exercise but maybe over-indulge in the chocolate-chip cookie dough every now and then.
The gym I have signed up for seems to be appallingly unaware of this notion. Today was my seventh day there and so far I have seen an alarming lack of regular people. Have I signed up for the supermodel gym by mistake? I of course have no problem being surrounded by ridiculously attractive men in various states of dress but cannot help but loathe the Barbies who for some reason feel the need to jump onto the treadmill next to mine even though there are 20 others open. As if the comparison was not clear-cut enough, I have to see myself side-by-side with all the size zeroes in a gazillion different mirrors.
Which begs the question– why have so many mirrors everywhere? I know in theory it’s so you can make sure you’re doing the exercises right, mark your results, bla bla bla, but I don’t buy that for a second. Gyms want to shame you into being thin. How else to explain the unflattering flourescent lights and the scales at every turn? Even the cardio equiptment now requires you to put in your weight and then blinks it across the screen at random intervals for the entire world to see. I bet they even pay the Barbies to come stand by you so you feel awful about yourself and want to spend more and more money in the hopes of someday looking like them. Well, joke’s on you, gym. When I feel awful about myself, I don’t get motivated to work out, I get motivated to eat! So, ha!… oh… wait…