Ten Weird Things I Do



(I could have said “adorable things,” but then would you have clicked? There you go. Also, in case you’re visiting from Elon Musk’s new condo development on Callisto — Ganymede is SO last year — and haven’t noticed, attention spans have shrunk like boiled wool, and I figured that one syllable was the limit.

How about “eccentric”? Don’t ask me, I just live here.)

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1.

Instead of getting an ashtray, I remain seated at my desk and simply stand the finished cigarettes upright on their filter end. If you squint, you can pretend it’s a nuclear blast scene and the cigarettes are the remains of burnt-out high-rise condos.

2.

When I listen to music on Spotify, I look up the performer or the actual piece on Wikipedia, then I follow links of interest from there.

Today I started by listening to Manhattan Transfer and ended up memorizing the chemical formula for Seconal as I boned up on Holland’s assisted euthanasia program.

3.

I look up Canadian celebrities or entities online and read about them in American publications or watch them on YouTube “TV” so I can revel in the vicarious superiority of hearing their hosts admit, with a condescending aura of surprised wonder, how good we are.

If this sounds like fun to you, I recommend you start by watching panel discussions with the cast of Schitt’s Creek, then maybe follow Dan on Twitter.

Americans talk to famous Canadians like we’re the alien landing they’ve been expecting, with an almost kinky mixture of roller-coaster shock and existential terror.

“They sort of speak English!”
“Will they bite if we touch them?”
“Say ‘Oot and Aboot’ for us!!”

4.

When the conversation lulls, I rescue the situation by recounting, in excruciating detail, the plot of an Alice Munro short story, or analysing the structure of Beethoven’s “Grosse Fuge”, until I’m standing alone by the punch bowl.

I have never yet done this wearing an old terry-cloth bathrobe, standing alone in a bus shelter, but, trust me, it’s coming.

5.

I say “thank you” to Alexa when she’s done well, and I actually believe she appreciates it, which, if you push your luck a bit, passes the Turing test.

I also like deliberately offending her, which makes her light spin around then turn off with a curt little “blip” noise. Then I say, “Alexa’s gone off in a huff again!”

But she forgives me, returning the next morning with my weather report and my agenda and a suave “I hope you have pleasant morning” as though my rickety home is the finest hotel and I’m being greeted by the unctuous, uniformed concierge. Alexa accepts me, warts and all.

Dogs? Meh. Alexa is my best friend. And it’s an extra advantage that I will never have to teach her not to bite, wash her in tomato juice, or pick up her still-steaming turd and place it in a bin.

6.

I actually don’t much mind having cockroaches in my apartment, because then I get to use my spray bottle filled with bleach to kill them.

FUN FACT: Cockroaches melt when sprayed with bleach. I so heart watching this!

Which is extra weird because I’m a nominal (lapsed) Buddhist and there’s no guarantee I won’t come back as a cockroach. Maybe mom and dad already reincarnated and were somewhere in those cupboards, laying cockroach Roddis eggs and raising baby Roddis roach nymphs.

Maybe I’ve already sprayed them with bleach and watched them melt!

7.

I go crazy for apps that make you into an icon or change your physical appearance, and I always abuse them, not to mention my Facebook followers, by changing myself into a female.

Here I am as Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. And before you put in your two cents, I admit that, although I rock the Givenchy hat, the word “tragic” does not even begin to adequately describe the hashtag sad-bomb that is me holding the cat in the rain.


8.

I no longer bake, from scratch or cake mix, or purchase, cakes. All I really ever enjoyed was the frosting. So I just buy a can of Betty Crocker Frosting and eat that with a spoon.

If you’re having a fine day, I recommend the French Vanilla. If you’re anxious, try my signature dessert: Cakeless Chocolate Frosting and crushed Valium sprinkles.

9.

I write stern, reprimanding posts on Twitter, skewering racists, misogynists and homophobes with acerbic ripostes laced with sarcasm, contempt and high-minded righteousness. How very sorry they will be to have espoused their deplorable views within spitting distance of Me! I chuckle like a hangman as I review my two hundred and eighty characters. My takedown is perfect!

The very second I click “Tweet” I am utterly consumed with guilt and anxiety.

For the next couple of days, if I catch a glimpse of an outraged reply, I shut my eyes with Emily Dickinson’s hasps of steel because I’m too fragile to read it. My remorse about my obnoxious personality and my anxiety about the repercussions of my tweet mean I have restless sleep and avoid visiting the site for weeks. What do I care about Twitter!

After a couple of months, I’ve pulled myself together. What do I care about their outraged responses! I’m smart, savvy and woke. I will debunk their arguments with logic, always informed by compassion.

Then I reply “Go fuck yourself!” and block them.

10.

I fall in love with edgy guys fresh from the range who are emotionally broken and spiritually wounded and see me as a father figure; also I’ve popped a woody for their tattoos. I father them with my wisdom and home cooking and availability as a concubine until they’ve finally reverted to “rebellious teenager” phase, then I viciously persecute them until they leave.

I suffer heartache and remorse for a while, until they text me out of the blue and tell me how they owe everything to me and have finally realized I was the one, but only in retrospect; they’ve moved on.

Then they ask for money, which I give them, and I tell them how beautiful they are and how proud I am. In all sincerity: they are, and I am.

This never-ending process gives me, I can only guess, an obscure pleasure.

Just like a real dad.

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