....but i'm not

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Character Building Cars

I grew up in a family that drove what one might call "character-building cars." Translation: they were revolting. Whatever everyone else drove, the Hoffs chugged around in the model that was cool 10 years earlier.

First there was the Escort we drove while we lived in Kentucky. It was puke colored. Like I'm pretty sure if my dad was going anywhere, my mom would say "Hey Bill, you taking the puke car?" Of course he was.

Sadly, this car bit the dust after, during an evening commute, the drivers seatback decided to give out leaving my 6'4", 250 pound dad laying down in the front seat. Why my family of giants got the smallest car we could fit our gams into remains a mystery.

Then came "the boat." It was a white Cadillac or Chevy Oldsmobile or something. Driving this car was super convenient because now I know how to parallel park a yacht if the need ever arises.

For a while, we were driving my grandpa's old car, which I'm pretty sure was a major upgrade in our eyes...until the ceiling fabric started to come loose and my dad had to take a staple gun to it. The staples didn't stick that well so he would have to position the hanging fabric behind his head in order to drive like a real person. Grandpa was generous enough to also pass along his pee jar, which was a rusty coffee can that my little sister found rolling around in the back seat.

Shortly after these guys kicked the bucket, my parents came home and excitedly informed my sister and I that we would have the good fortune of choosing the color of our new mini van. Yay!

"Red or Blue?" my dad asked.

"Like maroon or fire engine red?" we asked.

"I don't know, it's red" my dad replied, like a dude always replies.

"Like navy blue or robins egg blue?" we asked.

"Girls, it's blue."

"Ok, fine. Blue."

Biggest. mistake. of our teenage. lives.

The first lie was that this was a mini van. It was no mini van. When I hear mini van I think Dodge Caravan, orange slices, sweet TVs that magically appear on the back of seats, me hopefully making out in the backseat with that summer camp counselor. What my parents had so proudly purchased was a Chevy Astro Van....a box on wheels. On more than one occasion I'm pretty sure I got that thing to ride on two wheels.

The second shocker was the color. Pops wasn't lying, it was most definitely blue...a blue I had never seen in my life. This blue could melt your eyelids to your pupils. If you took fifty smirfs, melted them down and threw in a bunch of toxic sparkly shit, that's what our van was covered in. To their credit, my parents did succeed in something - buying the one van on the planet that guaranteed the absensce of back seat makeouts.

To us, a car was and always will be a way to get you from point A to point B. It wasn't about status, or speed, and it sure as hell wasn't about safety, as exhibited by the top heavy Astro van. The truth is that I really wouldn't have wanted to be carted around in anything else. Some of my best memories growing up took place in these cars. They shuttled my buddies and I back and forth to many a field hockey, basketball, and softball practice. They carried my sister and I and our friends down the Taconic and back to spend weekends exploring New York City. And they toated my mom, dad, two sisters, and me and everything I owned from West Hebron, New York on a 900 mile drive to Chicago, Illinois where I started a new chapter in my life...and then vowed to stick with public transportation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lips...The Asian Bistro Kind Obviously.

I've always been a fan of nicknames. From 4th grade to senior year I'd look at my classmates Meatball and Doober with some serious envy of their affectionate identifiers. It is my firm believe that you know you are doing something right in life when your namesake is a ball of ground up beef and a doober, whatever a doober may be.

My nicknames, on the other hand, haven't really been anything to write home about. I usually end up with a "Jord", or "Jordie," or "Johhh-rdie" (the Midwest version of Jordie), or "Jawdie" (the Long Island version of Jordie) or "that tall broad" or "you there."

Thanks to one oddly named sushi restaurant, I finally have a SICK nickname, and I mean that in every sense of the word.

It's Lips, at your service (and you don't even want to know how badly I wanted to say "Lips, at your cervix" right there. Hey, Tina Fey didn't get famous by thinking about her mom listening to her stand up now did she?)

Here's how it happened - One second I'm walking down the street talking to a very perceptive young man and I'm saying my usual profound thoughts out loud like "Ew sick, who would name a restaurant that sells raw fish LIPS?" The next thing I know that same young man is on the phone with his mom saying "Yeah, Lips and I will be over for Easter dinner on Sunday" or introducing me to people as "Lips, this is Doober, Doober, meet Lips."

The best part about this nickname is that there is no meaning behind it and no personal reference to any lips of mine (I know not a single person reading this is going to believe that).

What I will defend to the end is that this is simply one man's successful attempt to capitalize on a humongous language barrier. How were the Lips owners supposed to know they were dealing with a bunch of pervy Americans, not one of whom thinks of the intended lips when they ask "Hey, Lips tonight?"

Sadly, Lips has closed, but I will do my best to ensure that the name lives on in full lipped glory. Now get your mind out of the gutter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Money Tree Guilt

I'm feeling a little guilty this morning. My boss just came to my desk to tell me that she "took back my tree."

Talk about a loaded statement for a Tuesday morning.

A few months back I decided to spice up my desk, took a trip to that horticultural haven known as Ikea, and bought myself a cute little flower pot and put a money tree in it (with the hopes that a growing money tree on my desk may translate to a growing paycheck). Given my track record with fish, I should have known this was a terrible idea. I watered the tree every few weeks, then I over-watered the tree, and then I eventually stopped watering the tree because I thought I had over-watered it. But damn did it look nice for those first two weeks (see below).

Apparently it's been depressing the shit out of everyone in my office for the past month.

In their defense, it was an incredibly pathetic display of life. The leaves were crispy and brown, and the soil dried up so the poor thing slumped over all wimpy and depressed. But in my defense, I did what I thought needed to be done...give it some space, like a month of dark, dingy, space. So my co-workers "Take-Back-Jordan's-Dead-Plant Movement" must have gained enough momentum that my boss swooped in undetected, moved the plant to the living plant community located on another file cabinet where happy plants go to thrive, watered it adequately and brought that sucker back to full fruition.

It's basically my cubicle's version of Jesus' Resurrection. A true Easter miracle. And if there's one positive to come from this semi-humiliating conversation, it's that this money tree is right where it's supposed to be...about five cubicles away from me.