JJA buys a quote mug

ImageJulie bought an inspirational quote mug the other day. However, the mug would only be inspirational to someone who understands the feeling of creating something. The joys, the fear, the pride, the fear, the hope that comes from making something original with your bare mind.

This mug lists the first sentence of several classic novels. And they are thrown on it like a key to greatness that’s missing the piece that lets you turn the lock. Which initially pissed me off.

When I came across the mug, the object stared at me like an all-knowing pair of eyes that said, “We got you to feel some type of way in one sentence. I’d like to see you do that to someone.”

But the quote mug didn’t piss Julie off. She picked the porcelain ornament off of the shelf, and her greenish eyes brightened like a searchlight making it’s turn around a lighthouse. She held it the way you hold an interesting looking flower. Something about it just made her value the unique mix of seemingly insignificant words that came together to form this other seemingly insignificant language that somehow makes its presence known as something extraordinarily beautiful. I watched her twist it in her hands for a minute until she looked up, and said to no on in particular…

“This mug is inspirational. I want to be inspired!”  – Julie


She walked away and I was pregnant with fascination, and the baby daddy was the lilt in Julie’s voice when she declared what she wanted.

“Is it that easy?” I thought.

She made is sound that way.

Julie is the kind of girl who surprises you all of the time. When I first met her, I saw a pretty girl with a big smile. A smile that swallows you whole and makes you feel like friendship is just liking someone enough. There were no barriers, no tests, no prerequisites. Julie is the kind of girl that can find something beautiful within anyone.

When we would study together in her living room, I’d watch her reading sometimes. She’d slouch into the curves of her sinking beer-scented couch, relaxed in every way except for her eyes.

Julie has the eyes of poet. They don’t just move from left to right, but they follow the curves and waves of whatever she’s reading. Julie makes it look like you’re supposed to consume life through levels and frequencies. She breathes in knowledge with her intelligent eyes and her pupils dilate into saucers when she reads something worth the extra space.

These are the same eyes that looked at the mug, and the same eyes that stare off into space when all of our friends are fighting to be heard in a conversation, and the eyes that look at me sometimes – all with the same distant musings of unspoken understanding.

I’m one of the saps that still believes that everyone has a purpose in life and that Julie’s purpose is to be an inventor. Not the cheap sort that I desperately grasp and fight to be every waking moment of every day, but a natural one. She’s someone whose existence creates a world where you can do no wrong. So unlike the other consumers of overpriced quote mugs, Julie didn’t turn the mug into a means to help her get through the morning or remind her to be inspired. She bought the mug to celebrate the value of the little things that come together and make your eyes grow wide with wonder.

Cause at the end of the day, a quote mug is still just a mug. No matter what you fill or cover it with.


How Girls Play Vicious Mind Games Using Pizza


Sometimes girls do weird things

Like try to play psychological mind games because of pizza.

sad pizza

So on my way to the library on one unusually cold night in April (aka last night), my friends [lets call them Betty & Veronica] called to see if I’d like to get “half-off” with them at Fuel & Fuddle. For those reading who may not be familiar with what that is, “half off at Fuel & Fuddle” means, after-hours, half-priced, greasy gastro-pub treats that make you feel bloated and wish taking laxatives was an appropriate way to deal with binge eating.

Anyways, quirky and fun-loving Betty calls me and says, “HEY COME TO FUEL AND FUDDLE”. Mind you, it’s past midnight and the week before finals week. Which means that everyone is brooding like they’ve just watched “Donnie Darko” for the first time, are constantly questioning their existence and are pretending that #YOLO is still an exceptional way to deal with insecurities and stress.

Consequently, I drop everything that I’m doing and immediately join Betty and Veronica at this establishment.

LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT [let’s call him Archie]… was ALSO joining us at Fuel & Fuddle. Archie is Veronica’s sort of boo thang, but Veronica can’t really decide how she feels because 1. She’s a bad bitch and 2. She’s been reading a lot for her LIT class and it’s making her crave a dark and stormy Heathcliff and not a lame bread and butter Edgar. (Not that Archie is lame, but I’ll get to that later).

As soon as we sit down in the dimly lit den of fried wonder, I can tell that something is amiss. Archie has the posture of a seventeen year old girl who has tagged James Franco (yet again) in an Instagram post and is perpetually waiting to receive her personalized direct message. And Veronica has the posture of Alanis Morisette after she just finished writing “You Outta Know”. [Betty’s just sending snapchats of her face contorted in the usual white girl ways, in case you were wondering]. As soon as I realize that this is the situation, I immediately begin to join Betty in her snapchats and ignore the dramatic side of the table.

Eventually, we get around to looking at our laminated menu’s; which are filled with dishes named in a way that emphasize the fact that they’re made completely with lard. Our waitress comes by, notices that we are struggling college students, and aggressively asks what we would like to order. Betty and I somehow find the mental strength to order salads. Brooding Veronica orders nothing, angstily turns away… and then sighs. And ARCHIE, orders the “Smashed Potato Pizza”.

Little did he know.. this decision would be his ultimate demise.

After ten painstakingly awkward minutes, the frazzled waitress brings us our feast. Betty and I pick at sad looking walnuts and apple slices, but ALL OF OUR MINDS are on Archie’s glimmering slices of mashed delight. Betty, Veronica, Archie and I continue to eat our late night treats with a side of pleasant conversation HOWEVER, the moment that Archie looks down to take a bite of his buttery slices, all our eyes subconsciously direct themselves to his small prim mouth.

Eventually, I lose all control and in mid-conversation scream “GIMME A BITE OF THAT”. Archie, being the sweet polite young scholar that he is” hands over the triangular challis of cheesy carb-filled glory. As my teeth enfold the “smashed potatoes’ my mind soars into the Atlantic oceans and discovers the lost city of Atlantis. I swim down to the depths and meet mermen and sassy Jamaican crabs, but just as I reach out to touch them… I’m jarringly RIPPED back into Fuel & Fuddle as my esophagus steals the moments of ecstasy away from me. Sadly, I move to hand back the slice to Archie, but Betty CLAWS it away from me. I watch as she takes a sweet chomp and see her also have a religious experience and fall into the fifth dimension. I almost want to cry tears of joy and understanding for her,  until I notice the light leave her eyes as she hands the oily crumbs back to Archie.

Archie continues to tear away at his prized conquest, and I can’t help but notice a strange silence from Veronica. Usually, during moments like this, Veronica (like Betty and I) would jump at the chance to have a prolific moment via a food product. I am taken aback by her behavior and a deep sense of reverence comes over me as I wonder how I too, can tame and harness such will power.

But then, as Betty and I grasp at our last shreds of balsamic drenched arugula, I notice an unsettling darkness forming over Veronica’s face. As Archie, progresses on through his pizza, it’s as if Veronica is morphing into a different sort of human… a creature. like a ghoul… or a banshee. As the happy and engorged young man nears his last slice, Veronica’s demeanor becomes more and more sinister.   A cold chill begins to settle over me and I feel as if I’ve never understood happiness or love. I start to sink into myself and feebly grasp at the last tendrils of heat radiating from my core.

Finally, Archie takes the last bite and licks his fingers and proclaims, “OHHHHHHHHHH GAWD, I”M SO FULL. I SHOULD”T HAVE EATEN ALL OF THAT. OHHHHH LAWWWWD. NAHHHH.”

I see something snap behind Veronica’s cold dark eyes and, she slumps back into her chair like a defeated dad watching his daughter date a guy named Brad and turn into a stripper….

Soon, we exit the establishment and follow the fluorescent lighthouse that is our campus library. As we walk, Veronica treats Archie like you wish you could treat your aunt that just told you – you look like you’ve gained some weight. I’m confused by the behavior and so is Archie, who continues to trudge onwards and crawl into his skin until he has almost completely morphed into a primordial soup.

We settle into the library and hours pass before Archie leaves and I can inquire into the details. Once I see his grasshopper like physique walk off into the distance, I cautiously turn to prod the beast.


Me: “So what the hell was that?”

Veronica (snarls): WHAT

Me: “I mean why did you just treat that boy like he was Gollum after he ate all your bread on a mountain of doom?”

Veronica: Cause he did….


Then it hit me. Veronica had not been possessed by evil pub ghosts, she had felt personally victimized. This woman was wronged! Wronged by the treasures that Archie had the misfortune of hoarding to himself. Veronica felt as though she need not ask for a slice, she felt that it was her right! It should have been offered to her! On a silver platter inscribed with her biography and family crest! While we were sitting in the dark greasy pub, Veronica felt that, as Archie’s boo thang, she was ENTITLED to those smashed potatoes. She DESERVED them. But Archie did not even offer. NO! Not only that, but he had the audacity to REVEL in his gluttony and then proclaim (and I quote)… “I shouldn’t have eaten all of that”.

Veronica was not merely upset because she didn’t get a taste of pizza, she was thinking about her rights! Rights for boo thangs everywhere!

Once I realized that this was the case, I felt that I could find peace again. Because, although I’ll never completely understand the male mind, I do understand the female one. And it is a rubix cube that’s had one of the squares re-arranged. UNSOLVABLE.

And that here is the lesson kids. Girls and boys are different species (e.g. girls will be personally offended if they feel that they are entitled to your ish and you don’t know to offer it to them).

This concludes the story of how one girl used a delicious pizza as a pawn for psychological power and destruction.