Imagine you are the hiring manager at a company that I didn't want to work at anyway and you google an applicant's name looking for topless Mardi Gras booze cruise photos from Facebook cause that's how HR rolls now and you stumbled across this completely hilarious blog written by the girl from the interview who described herself as an "organized team player" who is "focused and professional at all times."
And since the hiring manager only reads People magazine in the break room while waiting for her gluten-free "food" to heat up in the microwave she has never heard the term "creative nonfiction" so as soon as she scans this particular blog--
the only media she's seen that doesn't have an interview with the hot guy from that teen vampire movie or photos of some vapid, useless actress displaying her new offspring----
she is horrified, dropping the applicants resume in the trash and red flagging her in the secret HR database that lists anyone who mentions Jesus on their application and men who want flexible hours so they can spend time with their newborns.
So sometimes I take it down. I drop out, but I always come back, because like diabetes-narcissism is a treatable but incurable lifelong condition. Which is why Facebook will never die.
In hindsight-using my business name in my blog might have been an unfortunate choice. But that was three years ago-when my book was languishing on the desk of a famous literary agent who told me that if I built a "media platform" and rewrote my manuscript as a young adult novel he would represent me.
"Famous writers can say whatever they want," I thought.
Which is true.
But regular people can not.
Just try sharing a charming anecdote from your youth with the admin waiting for the fax machine -
"After I got kicked out of business school I went off my mood stabilizers and stabbed a hobo down by the docks. It was cool though, I burned the body in my mother's chiminea and sold dime bags of his ashes to the guys in my frat. I guarantee you have never been high like that. Unless you ate the brownies I brought to last years Team Building Exercise."
You will be emptying the contents of your desk into a cardboard box within an hour. They won't even let you go look for your Eat,Pray,Love coffee mug. Even though you totally saw the new temp take it yesterday.
But-if you write a memoir about that same experience-Ellen DeGeneres will call you a literary genius while having a cup of tea with you on live TV.
This phenomenon only occurs when your confessions are printed on actual paper books.
( Books are the rectangles full of paper that line the walls of the store where you go for 6-8 hours a day to sit by yourself at a table for four and scowl at anyone who speaks above a whisper while they are in line at the tiny in-store Starbucks because you need absolute quiet to use the free wi-fi to work on your "graphic design" or "marketing" business.)
If you write about anything personal online it falls into the same category as sexy talk in chatrooms and girls who strip on webcams.
Since I never had a secret yet chaste love affair with a hot adolescent vampire or dropped out of Wizard school to defeat Voldemort I couldn't rewrite my book as a young adult memoir. And I was too scared to make any of that up, because Oprah will call you out and she's mean. Look at what happened to James Frey.
Now it's too late, and my mother has decided to just avoid Googling my writing.
"I don't understand why you have to use so many cuss words," she told me the other day. "How would you feel if Ruby's teacher at church school read this?"
"I would feel freaked out," I told her "Because it's creepy to internet stalk your students parent and shouldn't she be putting stickers on things or cutting herself to relieve the pain or whatever it is that people who have to spend eight hours a day with twenty preschoolers do in their spare time?"
So it goes up, and down, and up again. I'm probably not really fooling anyone anyway. Because even all dressed up, you can never really hide that kind of crazy.
We've been watching this TV show about the zombie apocalypse. I love zombies and I love the Apocalypse-and now there is a tv show about both-which means instead of being sad when my zombie movie ends I can look forward to an hour of shuffling and face eating every week.
I love any kind of post apocalyptic movie. The one about the giant meteor, the one about glaciers attacking New York City, the supervirus,the Terminator; if people say things like "There is no government anymore!" while shaking someones shoulders then it's the movie I want to see.
That is because I actually believe it's going to happen.
I won't say why because it's depressing and we all already know all of that shit anyway. Plus people think you're crazy when they find out you are preparing for the end of civilization.
"What did you do today?"
"I met a friend for lunch and went to the Sprint Store. You?"
"I watched a youtube video about how to hot wire a car and read a book about how to recognize edible plants in Texas."
And then they change the subject.
Which is fine because the more people who wander aimlessly around empty Starbucks parking lots panicking over their dead iphones chirping "There is no App for this!" until they finally starve to death the less people there will be competing with me for scarce and valuable resources.
Because I am the kind of girl that would appreciate a hunting rifle and a spare bottle of Cipro as a Christmas gift-I have thought through multiple End of days scenarios.
What would I need to survive if I had to walk out of the city today?
I ask myself this- then take mental inventory of the house, or the car if I'm driving.
--air freshener shaped like a tree hanging from the rearview mirror(will mask your scent from predators)
--18 empty cigarette packs(kindling)
--a watermelon jolly rancher(temporary cure for hypoglycemia)
So I'm good.
The only person who shares my enthusiasm for Apocalypse Preparation that doesn't wear a cammo jumpsuit and spit tobacco on the ground is my Dad. He's had thirty more years to think about it than I have. He's like Macgyver.
So when I'm up at four AM curious about the best way to make a homemade generator out of a car engine and the pipes on the back of the fridge I have someone to call.It's our favorite thing to talk about.
"Whatever you have in your head is a tool you don't have to carry in your pack." he says.
End of the World movies are my favorite because I can critique the characters survival skills and feel superior. I do this in a loud voice because I am mad at them for being so stupid.
"Never leave your weapon in the back seat!" I will yell, pointing at the screen, half off the couch.
Pedro will just nod and give me that little smile that says "that's nice, now shut the fuck up"
He is very patient, even though I've told him that I'm on the fence about taking him with me when it turns into Mad Max.
"If you want to stay with me you need to learn how to take down a deer. And skin it"I told him.
"I'm not really into killing things" he replied.
"Just wait until the cash registers at McDonalds become self-aware like Skynet and all you've had to eat in three days is peeled cactus.That deer is going to start looking delicious."
"You do it." he sighed.
"Don't be the weakest link in the group. I'll have to take you out."
"What do you mean by that?" he asked.
"You know what I mean."
I can think of multiple reasons why it's smart to be accompanied by a man when fleeing a ruined city, so I will probably let him tag along, if only to rub my shoulders after a long day of reloading my assault rifle and taking sniper shots at the Undead.
Gender role reversal can be charming. By 2012 it will be even more common and accepted.
I will spray bullets into the crowd.
You will make a delicious risotto by the campfire.
Here are some things to consider when the fragile Industrial Food Chain falls apart and it turns into Mad Max-
1. There is no dental care available after the Apocalypse. I never see anyone brushing their teeth or offering to share their floss with the other refugees. It's a good idea to have some in your pack anyway. You can double it up for a clothesline or use it as a minty alternative to traditional ligature wire.
2. Instead of wandering around, find an abandoned building and make it your fortress. A hidden place no one ever goes, like the library. It will probably have thick stone walls, minimal windows and one easily defend-able entrance because the librarians have been worrying about people trying to get in and burn The Catcher in the Rye for decades.
Or you can take refuge in a church. The new, mall sized mega churches would be an excellent place to base your headquarters-there is plenty of wine and a large supply of nutritious wafers to feed your family.
Also, there will never be a better time to start a new religion. Grow a beard, loot the Gap for a white linen shirt on the way, and walk into the chapel like you own the place. Anyone who is still sitting in the pews instead of out scavenging Power Bars and Gatorade is already expecting you. Plus they are weak from kneeling and lack of food. Now is your chance to influence countless future generations.
Anything goes. I would say keep all of the old Testament, and the New, but write your own Bible 2.0 revision. Be creative. If the Mormons can have magic space underwear then you can make it a mortal sin to take up an entire lane with your bicycle instead of just using the god damn bike lane. Or draw on mythical characters you are already familiar with-the way early Christians incorporated existing pagan holidays into their calenders to make it seem familiar to the masses.
"On the third day Squidward ate an apple that God was saving for his mid-morning snack so God smote the entire Island of Lost, even the polar bears, and that's why he put it in the New Ten Commandments that anyone who swipes my lunch from the dorm fridge or steals my Eat,Pray,Love coffee mug will surely burn in Hell forever, Amen."
( Yes, I will have a working dorm fridge-because I learned how to build a generator out of car parts and a refrigerator, remember?)
Which brings me to my next point-
3. Don't come to my house when the world ends. You can't come with me.