From the category archives:

Everyone is Insane


by Marinka on January 6, 2019

Happy New Year.

I seldom make New Year’s resolutions anymore (no more than once a year!) but this year I made one and I’m determined to follow through. It’s to stop being so nice to people.

If you’ve ever met me, you probably did not realize that this is a problem that I have, but that just shows how wonderful and thoughtful I’d been in hiding my natural niceness so as not to worry you.

But no more.

I made the resolution because I realized that I’m a misanthrope masquerading as a… non-misanthrope, and what’s the good in that. Also, I was talking to the Guy I Went to Ireland with and he said something totally insane and offensive that made me question life and his sanity. He was telling me how he was on the subway and started talking to someone and when I gave him an “ARE YOU INSANE?” look because I don’t understand why anyone with anything resembling sanity would voluntarily speak to another person without a subpoena or a substantial bribe, he sort of shrugged and said “I find people really interesting.”

I implore you, before you fall in love with someone, have them checked out for insanity markers, like voting for Trump or “finding people interesting.” Because once you’re in love, it’s sort of too late and then you’re stuck with a freak show who find “people really interesting.”

I have no idea what he finds interesting about them, and I’m not interested enough to find out.

But I do notice that at parties, he’s always talking to people while I’m always making sure my mouth is appetizers-enriched as an anti-talking aide. And on the subway or any other place where I may be alone, I always have a book and a DO NOT TALK TO ME sign pinned to my shirt.

So this year I decided to make it official.

“I decided to be less nice to people that I don’t really like,” I announced. To a room of one because apparently not a lot of people really like me either.

“That makes sense,” the one person said. “Like who?”

And then I spent the next three days trying to figure out who I was going to be less nice to. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with anyone, but that’s how they get you to break your New Year’s resolution.

Finally I solved the riddle and decided to go out and make some new friends and then I will cut them loose and not be nice to them. Good thing I thought this through.



by Marinka on January 28, 2018

No, those aren’t my measurements.

If you must know, that’s the combination to my new combination lock which comes with its own set of problems.

I started going to the gym recently, the local Y, because it’s less than two blocks away from me and because apparently according to “science” exercise is good for the human body and my newest goal is to live for a really long time and be in good enough shape to fully enjoy Trump’s incarceration and by “Trump’s” incarceration I mean Donald’s, Donald Jr.’s, Eric’s, Ivanka’s, Jared’s, and any and all horses that they may have ridden in on and by “incarceration” I mean “jailed.”

So going to the gym is all sorts of complicated because first you have to find the ID card that was issued to you during happier times. And by “happier times,” I mean when Barack Obama was President and the United States was a superpower instead of a super embarrassment.

Fortunately, my ID card was attached to my keychain, so I was obviously distraught that I didn’t have that excuse to stay out of the gym for another decade or so. But then I couldn’t find a combination lock, or, more accurately, I couldn’t find a combination lock to which I knew the combination. I have plenty of locks that are locked forever because I have no clue what the combination is. I asked my kids if they knew the combinations, in case they were secret savants, but they had no idea and then when I asked my sixteen year old son if I could borrow his combination lock, he said “sure, but I don’t know what the combination is” which was an excellent way to lay to rest any questions of whether I am his biological parent. This may be a good time to tell you that one time, many years ago, I actually went through the whole rigamarole (whoa! That’s a real word, apparently) to retrieve the lost/forgotten combination which involved sending a signed and notarized statement to the MasterLock company swearing that you are the proud owner of the lock and cannot remember the combination and then, a few weeks later, they send you the combination. This is a wonderful time in a lock owner’s life and leads to much rejoicing, and if you’re me, an almost immediate loss of the combination that has been so recently reclaimed.

So I did what any normal person would do and for a while used a locker at the Y without a lock. This was a risk, I knew, but I am nothing if not devout and I just couldn’t imagine a world where the Lord would permit both (a) Trump to be president and (b) my locker would be burglarized. Although this is totally sound thinking, I still spent most of my workout session in fear that someone would open my locker and steal something or throw my keys away or something. And I had to bring my keys with me because my YMCA ID is on the keychain. What, you already forgot that?

The whole experience was absolutely nerve wrecking because how could I enjoy a workout that would launch my career as a fitness model when I was about to lose my keys and my YMCA ID as well as membership loyalty cards to various superstores that were attached to my keychain? This led to my checking in on my locker throughout my workouts with a frequency that signaled to the locker room attendants that I was storing a small child on the top shelf.

It was exhausting and unsatisfying and not just because no one bothered to try to steal anything from me, which in and of itself is offensive.

And then a miracle happened and I bought a lock:


I bought this one because it was different and I thought that since my history with the traditional locks wasn’t great, I would give this one a shot.

In the days that followed, I had to field a number of questions, including, but not limited to the following:

Why would you ever buy a lock without numbers?
Are you a complete idiot?
I know you said you tried twice to the right and twice up, but did you do it in the right order?
Are you sure you’re not a complete idiot?
Were they out of normal locks?
Is it possible that you’re a partial idiot?
You just picked it because it’s purple, didn’t you?

The problem was that no matter what I did, I could not get the lock to open, which, it turns out is a big negative where locks are concerned. But equally as worrisome was the fact that other people that I showed the lock to were able to open it, so it raised a whole bunch of questions about my well-being that no one wanted to address without professional assistance.

Finally after a few weeks of this nonsense, which were so stressful that I could not even think about exercising, I bought a real lock.

And then I started to come up with smart ways to remember the combination.

“Let’s see, 5-35-13,” I thought out loud, “Well, the 13 part is easy because I live on 13th street. And 35 is not a great challenge, because, hey, I’m not 35 anymore! And come to think of it, I’m not 5 anymore either, so done and done!”

Can you think of a problem with the “not a certain age anymore” memory trick? Because I couldn’t until I pushed the lock shut which was the moment that I realized that having celebrated my 50th just last March (gifts still being accepted, but don’t wait too long!) there are forty nine ages that “I am no longer.”

So the only solution is to post my combination here. And hope that Mueller hurries up.

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A Tale of Two Tables

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Everyone hates my new old table. That sounds like hyperbole but in fact it’s the opposite because in truth everyone despises it. And to make it worse, it’s not hate at first sight. At first sight, it’s a table. But after you sit or what approximates sitting at the table that everyone hates, the table […]

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Dating After Divorce

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I had it all figured out. After my divorce, I’d start dating again and then I would write the definitive work of great wisdom about dating after divorce. I even had the title all picked out, “Dating After Divorce”! Everyone would read it, immediately get a divorce and start dating, while I counted the royalties […]

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Mysterious Ways

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A Scene in Front of a Fountain

June 28, 2015

A while back, Papa was telling me about an argument that he had with Mama. “We had real scene in front of fountain,” he told me, in Russian, which I am indicating by writing in English but nonetheless leaving out all the articles, so you can feel the Russianness. Let me know how that’s working […]

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June 11, 2015

Last week I met my lovely daughter’s handsome boyfriend which is one of those things that I file under “about damn time” since they’ve been dating for over a year which is like a decade in teenage years and who knows how long in dog years, although I suspect it depends on the breed, at […]

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D and E

June 5, 2015

The other evening I was having dinner with a friend and she mentioned that at our age, we have to do more than just exercise or just diet, in fact we have to do both. There are many things that I hate about this, starting with that she said “at our age” even though she […]

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