“No Salt” Hubris

A single salt shaker on white background.

It’s no secret that I like to eat.  I love trying new restaurants and I can’t really diet because I just enjoy food too much.  I think the fact that I enjoy eating is a relief to my mother, who spent the first 17 years of my life practically begging me to eat something.  Back then I just wasn’t hungry.  Now, I’m famished.

Something that really bothers me at restaurants is when there’s no salt on the table.  I really don’t understand the thought process.  People who cook and people who like to eat know that salt doesn’t just make things salty but, rather, brings out the flavor in food.  So when there’s no salt on the table at a restaurant, I assume that either the chef thinks his food is perfectly seasoned or he doesn’t understand what salt is used for.  Either way, it’s not a good look.

Friday night, my husband and I went for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We always go the day before so that we can avoid special menus and couples getting engaged.  The food at the restaurant we went to was very mediocre, and nothing spruces up mediocre food quite like salt.  Alas, there was none on the table.

It may seem untrue, but I really don’t like to offend people.  I’m very sensitive so I assume that everyone is as sensitive as I am.  I’m so sensitive that I even hesitate before asking for salt at a restaurant, and if I don’t finish the food on my plate I either force my husband to eat it, spread the food between our two plates, or try to hide it under something that wasn’t meant to be eaten in the first place, like the skin of a baked potato.

It took awhile for our waitress to swing by to check on us.  She was one of those very bubbly, struggling actress types*: always smiling, wanting to show off her memorization skills, more enthusiastic than necessary (the shrimp toast has HUGE chunks of shrimp, it’s DIVINE), begging to be discovered.  At least that’s the backstory I created.  When I asked her for salt she actually looked a bit deflated.  And also a bit surprised.  The fact that she looked surprised led me to believe that she had never actually tried the restaurant’s food before.  Either that or she was on a low salt diet due to high blood pressure and didn’t know the difference between food that was seasoned well and food that was…not. So, she begrudgingly brought over the salt.

When our entrees came (my lamb chops were severely underdone and had to be sent back–again, I hesitated to tell the waitress, mostly because I believe that if you send food back it comes back out to you with a little something extra) I reached for the salt and was surprised to find that it wasn’t on the table anymore.  Huh.  So not only was there one layer of hubris in thinking that we wouldn’t need salt in the first place, but there was another layer in thinking that, although we had needed it for the appetizer, the entree would be fine.  Or perhaps the waitress had severe OCD and just couldn’t tolerate the look of the table with something out of the ordinary on it. Suffice it to say, we’re not going back to that restaurant.  And I really just don’t understand why every restaurant can’t just provide salt.  Maybe I’m trying to get hypertension.  Or maybe I just want my food to taste good.

*Gross stereotype

Ironic Side Effects

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Have you ever noticed that certain medications have ridiculously ironic/disturbing/hilarious (but only if it’s not happening to me) side effects?  Check out my list below.  Seems like some of these drugs needed a little more tweaking.  I’ve obviously changed the names of the medications but the rest is accurate!

1. Hairbackon: Uses: Hairbackon is prescribed to treat male pattern hair loss on the vertex and the anterior mid-scalp area. Potential Side Effects: Decreased interest in sexual intercourse; inability to have or keep an erection; loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance.  Commentary: So, let’s get this straight.  A man is balding and feels that if he could just grow some more hair he could attract the woman he’s always wanted.  He begins taking Hairbackon, grows a new head of lustrous hair, and meets a great girl.  Problem is, he has no interest in sleeping with her.  So now they just spend their time together discussing his amazing hair and the hair products they have in common.

2. Bloodclotsaway: Uses: Used to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation. Potential Side Effects: Stopping Bloodclotsaway increases your risk of having a stroke.  Commentary: I’m not getting clots today, but I may get them tomorrow!

3. Bigmoneybigmoney: Uses: used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as stiffness, tremors, muscle spasms, and poor muscle control. Bigmoneybigmoney is also used to treat restless legs syndrome. Potential Side Effects: You may have increased sexual urges or unusual urges to gamble. Commentary: If you combine this medication with Hairbackon, you can have a full head of hair and the desire to have sex with your girlfriend.  The downside is that you might be arrested in an FBI sting targeting illegal gambling.

4. Headachesbegone: Uses: The first and only preventive treatment approved by the FDA for adults with chronic migraine (15 or more headache days a month, each lasting 4 hours or more). Potential Side Effects: Headache.  Commentary: Really?

5. Nopeepeeinpants: Uses: Treats overactive bladder symptoms such as a strong need to urinate with leaking or wetting accidents.  Potential Side Effects: loss of bladder control.  Commentary: Really?

6.  Breathebetter: Uses: Breathebetter contains a steroid that reduces inflammation in the body and a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways to improve breathing.  Potential Side Effects: Breathebetter may increase the risk of asthma-related death or breathing problems that require you to be in the hospital.  Commentary: You can’t make this stuff up.

7. Any antidepressant: Uses: Affects chemicals in the brain that may have become unbalanced and caused depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Potential Side Effects: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, feeling impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed or thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.  Commentary: Really?

8. Icannotsleepawink:  Uses:  Treats insomnia, a sleep disorder that makes it difficult for you to go to sleep, stay asleep, or both. Potential Side Effects: Rarely, after taking this drug, people have gotten out of bed and driven vehicles while not fully awake (“sleep-driving”). People have also sleepwalked, prepared/eaten food, made phone calls, or had sex while not fully awake. Often, these people do not remember these events. This problem can be dangerous to you or to others. If you find out that you have done any of these activities after taking this medication, tell your doctor right away. Your risk is increased if you use alcohol or other medications that can make you drowsy while taking Icannotsleepawink. Commentary: Wow.

The Freudian Nip

Ultrasound Machine And Bed In Hospital

Sorry if this post qualifies as TMI, but this anecdote is a perfect example of me and the ridiculous things I do on a daily basis, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it.

Yesterday I went for my annual bubbie* exam.  Not a mammo, a sonogram.  Most of you probably haven’t had one of those but I have “a family history”, so….I won’t give all of the gory details but I think both men and women can imagine the degrading, mortifying, terrifying and uncomfortable scene of a bubbie exam.  Now stop trying to imagine it, you sickos!

So there I was, lying on my back while the sonogram technician (a woman) did her thing.  My nose started to itch, and it was the kind of itch that just wasn’t going to go away.  The more I tried to ignore it, the itchier it got. Standard predicament.  Every few seconds the technician  paused and snapped a picture on the computer.  I was left wondering if the fact that she was taking so many pictures meant that she had seen something  suspicious or whether she just had to take x number of pictures in x positions.  I started to analyze her facial expressions and she looked concerned.  Oy.  It’s also really uncomfortable to be staring into the eyes of the person performing the sonogram.  Double oy.

At this point my nose was really itchy and I didn’t want to move my arm to scratch it lest I should somehow disrupt the tech’s process and cause her to miss something.  But, eventually, I couldn’t wait anymore so I gently and slowly raised my arm to tickle my nose and on the way back down…I grazed the technician’s bubbie with my hand.  Oy.  For the third time.

I apologized and she said it was ok, but she looked more than a wee bit embarrassed.  I wondered if she thought that I did it purposely, as a way to even things out.  Then I wondered if I DID do it purposely (subconsciously) as a way to even things out.  DEAR FREUD, WHAT’S THE STORY HERE?  IS MY SUBCONSCIOUS ABLE TO CREATE AN ITCHY NOSE SO THAT I CAN EVEN THE SCORE WITH THE ULTRASOUND TECH???  What is wrong with me???  Why can’t I just keep my hands to myself???

So there you have it.  If you thought the sonogram in and of itself was awkward, trust me when I say that going to mutual second base with the technician was even more awkward.  Maybe next time I’ll have a male tech.  🙂

*You know, “bubbies”: a less clinical way of saying “breasts.”

My Moment with Jay

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This is one of those times that I wish I’d paid more attention in technology class.  What?  We didn’t have technology class back in the 90s?  And there still isn’t such a thing as “technology class”?  We’re just supposed to know how to do things?

Anyway, the reason that I would like to know how to use technology is that last night I went to Caroline’s on Broadway to see Jay Pharaoh of SNL and he brought me on stage as part of his act and I almost died of: HOLY SHIT IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?  MY HAIR ISN’T CLEAN AND I’M WEARING UGGS, DEAR GOD WHY DIDN’T I PUT ON REAL SHOES AND SOME LIP GLOSS OH MY GOD.

I was at the comedy club with two good friends, one of whom took a video of my “performance”, and I would like to share it with you but I can’t figure out how to do it.  But, if you picture me staring straight ahead, shaking like a kid who’s just done the polar bear plunge, mouth as dry as the Sahara but attempting to smile nonetheless, while a comedian does a performance  behind my back so I can’t see what he’s doing but can only see and hear everyone in the audience laughing, that’s what it looked like.  Suffice it to say, I will think twice about how I look if I ever go to a comedy club again (which I will likely do because they are awesome) because you just never know.

And here’s when I got my big break and became famous.  Throughout Jay’s  act, he used the name “Karen” to refer generically (and insultingly, but in the least offensive way possible) to all white women of a certain ilk, of which I am probably one.  Such as (paraphrasing terribly), “If you’re a black man and you go to a white person’s party, if you say that you’re “friends with Karen”, they will usher you right in and provide you with the best food, drink and service available.”  “Karen” is the key to all good things, but she’s kind of a gross person.  At the end of my time on stage with Jay, he asked my name and I replied “Karen” and he looked surprised and said “Really?”*  And then, as a result of my quick wit, and after having uttered only one word to him, he told me that ever since Tina left SNL it hasn’t been the same and he asked if I’d like to join the cast!  It was AMAZING and now I am about to be FAMOUS.  Wait, what?  Oh…my friends that I was with last night said that Jay never told me I could be on SNL or that it hasn’t been the same since Tina left.  It seems I heavily embellished/completely fabricated that last part of the story, and now they’re calling me Brian Williams.

*This part actually happened.

That Place on the Cliff

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House Hunters.  Watching that show is my favorite ritual right before bed.  I pop on the TV and take a journey with people searching for homes in the U.S. and abroad.  I find it soothing and entertaining to see parts of our country that I’ve never been to as well as how people live in other parts the world.  Then I invariably gag because a six bedroom mansion with an ocean view in Costa Rica costs the same as a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan with a view of a brick wall and a family of rodents.

Although it’s a reality show, House Hunters is also comedic.  Invariably, the husband wants to live in the city in a loft-like apartment with exposed beams and a view.  He wants to spend no more than $500,000, wants all of the upgrades, and doesn’t want to do any work.  The wife wants to live in a traditional two story home in the suburbs, thinks they can spend up to $750,000 and is open to doing work.  The realtor is in a pickle.  How can he satisfy both of them?  They will have to compromise, he warns them, especially given their budget and the limited number of properties available.  Could it be that the show is fictionalized?*  I mean, how many couples can possibly be in this identical bind?*

Last night’s episode was more humorous than usual.  In it, a husband and wife from Chicago, together with their 18 month-old daughter, were looking for a house in Grenada where the husband was going to attend medical school.

That’s it. That’s the funny part.

That was terribly mean of me.  I’m sure the medical school in Grenada is fantastic.  And that wasn’t actually the funny part of the episode.  The actual  funny part came when the husband and wife were recapping the three properties they had seen and were discussing the pros and cons of each.  Of the third property, the husband said “That place on the cliff seems like the perfect place to live‏.”  Really?  With an 18 month-old child, the “place on the cliff” seems “perfect”?  Maybe you had to see it, but trust me when I tell you that it was literally on a cliff.  The backyard looked like an infinity pool and just beyond the edge was a long drop into the sea.  I hope this guy exhibits better judgment as a doctor.**

*Rhetorical question.

**They didn’t end up taking the “place on the cliff.”  I’m sure they were never even considering it and that the guy has excellent judgment.

What do you watch before bed?  Do you find House Hunters as amazing as I do?  Interestingly, I’ve never correctly predicted which house the family will choose.  There’s a one in three chance that I will be right and I never am.  How’s that for odds?

Dear Neighbor (A Rant)

Girl with a gesture of shh isolated on a white background

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for banging on our door at 8:45pm during the Super Bowl to complain about our noise level.  We happened to have had the loveliest group of children over who, while being extremely sporty and enthusiastic about the game, were not wild or aggressive in any way.  It could have been a lot worse.  Your behavior last night, coupled with the time you came up on a Saturday night to scream at our 25 year-old babysitter at 10:15pm because our kids were making too much noise WHILE THEY WERE SLEEPING, proves what a meshugganah you are.

Because you’re a raving lunatic, it’s almost impossible to feel bad for you.  But, in a way, I do, because you are so out of touch with reality.  Here’s the thing: we don’t bounce basketballs, we don’t wear shoes, we don’t play the drums or allow tackle football.  All we do is walk around barefoot or in socks and sometimes the kids (ages 7 and 5) run a little.  Basically, we’re living our life.  Our floors are 80% covered, as required by the building.  My guess is that even if they were 100% covered, you would still find us to be noisy. I promise you that we’re not trying to be insensitive or intentionally loud.  We’re just living our lives.  You should invest in a white noise machine.  Or a house in the suburbs.

I’m not good at confrontation, so when you came up the other night I ran away and asked my husband to deal with you.  But here’s what I wanted to say:

  • Don’t come back or I’ll have to get a restraining order
  • Move away
  • I have friends at the U.S. Attorney’s office
  • We have a doctor here and she’s worried about you because you seem to be out of your mind
  • Move away
  • Stop calling me a liar.  I really believe that our floors are 80% covered.  If they’re not, we can get an additional rug.  But then I will be commence stomping so loudly all the time that the noise level will be worse than it is now.
  • I’m a lawyer and your behavior is considered assault as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress (my favorite tort; note that intentional infliction of emotional distress is inflicted upon me daily, by various people and circumstances)
  • Are you hungry or tired?  My kids act crazy when they’re hungry and tired
  • Move away
  • Did you leave your baby alone in the apartment in order to come up here and scream at us?
  • I can’t wait until your baby is 2 and you keep telling him to be quiet as he bounces balls,  runs around like a chicken with his head cut off and rides on toys with wheels.  I’m sure he’ll listen to you.  Two year-olds are known for their listening skills.
  • We’re going to be starting a roller derby league that will practice twice a week in our apartment on the 20% of our floors that aren’t covered.
  • I just wanted to alert you to the fact that, tomorrow, we’re going to be–wait for it, wait for it…living in our apartment.
  • You know what they say about the squeaky wheel?  It has no friends.
  • I’m pregnant with twins.  Boys.   
  • Move away

An Exclusive Interview with Old McDonald

I sat down in our news studio to interview Old McDonald about the changes that have taken place in the farming industry over the years and how those changes have affected him. Below is an excerpt from the interview.

Me: So, Mr. McDonald—

OMD: Call me “Old.”

Me: Ok, Old. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself for the benefit of our viewers who might not be familiar with you?

OMD: Well, my name is Old McDonald and I had a farm.  E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm I had some cows.  E-I-E-I-O. With a moo moo here and a moo moo there. Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.

Me: I see.  Did you have any animals other than cows?

OMD: Of course!  What do you think, it was a meager operation?  It was a full- service farm!  I had sheep, ducks, pigs, goats, lambs and horses. Any animal that made sounds a child could replicate.

Me: It sounds lovely.  Tell us when things started to change.

OMD: Everything was going great until people decided they only wanted grass-fed meat.  Two people got Mad Cow disease and everyone panicked.  A lot of supermarkets decided to only sell bison meat and I didn’t have any bison.  Overnight I was expected to run a sustainable farm where the animals were raised  in a “stress-free” environment and treated with care and respect.  Before I knew it, I was sharing my bed with the cows, the lambs were hogging the remote, the pigs were getting daily massages and the horses were in therapy and stealing my Xanax.  It was untenable! E-I-E-I-O.

Me: Well that sounds terrible. It must have been very traumatic for you.

OMD: It was! But thank God I still had my chickens. With a cluck cluck here and a cluck cluck there.

Me: But then something else happened. Tell our viewers about it.

OMD: I never thought it could get worse. But it did. Supermarkets would only buy eggs that came from free-range, cage-free (NOT the same as free-range), antibiotic-free, organic, vegetarian, hormone-free and non-GMO chickens. It was so confusing!  I couldn’t keep up.

Me: So have you decided to shut down the farm?

OMD: No siree! I decided to anticipate the next fad and I developed the first vegetables raised on a diet solely of vegetables.

Me: How is that different from vegetables getting food in a traditional way, i.e. from the soil?

OMD: I developed and patented a way to actually feed vegetables to the vegetables.

Me: So, the carrots, for example, eat carrots?  Are they cannibal carrots?  Are you saying you’re raising cannibals on your farm?

OMD: I hadn’t thought of it like that.

OMD’s Mom (from off screen): I told you you should have gone to med school!

OMD: I’m half Jewish.