The Secret to Happiness
I think I was happier when I drank Diet Coke.
For years, it was the first thing I consumed every single day of the week. When I worked at Southern Living, I would stop off at the ice machine for the rabbit-pellet ice (or Sonic ice) – best ice ever – fill up a cup, take it to my desk and pour that fizzing goodness to the brim. The ice machine is the thing I miss most about that job. (That and direct deposit.)
Sure, that daily Diet Coke was filled with artificial sweeteners that studies show can cause weight gain, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease. Sure, diet soda consumption can erode teeth as much as crystal meth or crack cocaine.
But goddamn it was good.
Two years ago, I decided to give it up. It was horrible. I felt like I had the flu for the first few days. For the next few days after that I felt like I’d lost a dear friend. After about two weeks, I felt slightly normal again. Eventually, I didn’t crave it at all and, on the few occasions I sipped a soda, it tasted way too sweet.
So, OK, yay for me and my healthy choices.
Except for this…the past two years have sucked ass. I’ve spent a large amount of time questioning my decisions and my judgment. Has my health changed? I don’t know. I didn’t have diabetes before and I still don’t. I didn’t have heart disease before and I still don’t. I had awesome teeth before and I still do. I didn’t smoke crack cocaine before and I still don’t.
I’m thinking I should go back to starting each day with an ice-filled glass of delicious carbonated poison. I suspect it is the secret ingredient in making my dreams come true. It is the key to finally writing hit songs about everyone I’ve ever dated. Revenge is a dish best served in liquid form over Sonic-style ice in a glass. Drink that, douchebags.
To quote someone who is really quite wise, “Life’s too short to worry about aspartame.”
What wise person said that?
Sixth Grade Mix Tape
One day a couple of years ago, probably about the same time I was in heavy Diet Coke withdrawals, my sixth-grade boyfriend found me on Facebook and told me a truly horrifying story. I want to state for the record that I don’t remember this incident ever happening. I probably blocked it out because I want to die of embarrassment thinking about it.
He approached me after math class one day and asked me to “go with him.”
(“Where are you going?” my mom would always say. “God! Nowhere, Mom!” Now, when Kate tells me she’s dating someone, I say, “But you never even see him in person! Doesn’t dating require going somewhere?” To which Kate responds, “Geez, Mom! You don’t know me! You don’t know my struggles!” And the world spins on…)
I said yes, of course, because I do remember his little sixth-grade self was adorable. He’s still pretty damn adorable but with a lot more facial hair. In fact, a friend of mine has started jokingly pointing out good-looking guys in public and saying, “Look, there’s somebody’s sixth-grade boyfriend.”
Anyway, that day after I said yes to going nowhere together, I went home from school…and then…what in the hell was I thinking…apparently, I called him and said, “I want to play you a song.”
Seriously, I’m about to burst into flames of shame right now. My inner 12-year-old just ran into her yellow bedroom to hide in the closet.
I played him “Crazy for You” by Madonna.
“So I sat there for the entire 4 minutes or so, during that fateful moment in a young boy’s life, fending off constant ridicule and harassment from my mother, my brothers, and my neighbor friends (all boys), who just so happened to be there,” he said, “I tell you, Amy, it certainly was a defining moment in my short and nearly innocent life.
“I don’t know what, if anything, was ever said after that between you and me, but I certainly vowed to never ask another girl out ever again.”
Can you blame him?
Recently, he told me it’s still his favorite story to tell people, and I said, “WAIT! YOU’RE TELLING THAT STORY TO PEOPLE?”
So I’m telling it, too. Because someone who is really quite wise once said, “The greatest antidote to embarrassment is to immediately tell someone, ‘Holy shit, I just did the most embarrassing thing.’ Own your experiences. Those are your dumb, embarrassing stories. Don’t let anyone else take them away from you.”
What wise person said that?
When I was 12, I spent a lot of my time in my bedroom listening to my mother’s old albums on my bright blue plastic record player. The Beatles’ Rubber Soul. The hits of the early ’70s. I also listened to cassette tapes on my boom box. Rick Astley was my first cassette. I was obsessed with Rick Springfield. I asked for a Belinda Carlisle tape for my birthday. Yep. The passage of time is a cruel bastard.
So, Derek, here are some more songs for your sixth grade mix tape. I hope you’re sufficiently embarrassed now!
One Last Embarrassing Thing
And, finally, in ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME news of the day:
This is the couple from The Bachelorette. If you’ll recall, Chris wrote Desiree quite a bit of poetry while he was on the show wooing her. You know, stuff like:
Just kidding. His shit isn’t nearly that good. (Credit for that poetry goes to the sick bastards of the Internet.)
Anyway, the couple has published a book about their great romance formed during six weeks on a reality show when Desiree was in love with this other guy who broke her heart and bowed out, leaving her sobbing at the end of a dock, so she settled for Chris. True love.
Chris is the true poet of the couple (“true” in that he insists on writing stuff and calling it poetry), but Desiree contributed some classic works to the book as well, and she writes, “This is a poem I wrote for Chris after our time we spent together in Germany. Relationships were developing and I knew Chris and I had something special so I wanted to share my feelings with him in writing. There are many hidden metaphors here so I hope you can find them and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!”
Charming and handsome, instant attraction was found.
At the dodge ball game, it was apparent-no shame.
On top of that roof, overlooking that view,
That was the moment, I knew sparks grew.
As our hearts are open, thoughts expressed,
Memories of lederhosen create a beautiful picture-
I must confess.
Still the twinkle in your eye, reflects your heart that’s alive.
Never ponder why, trusting your every line,
Keeping in mind love can come at anytime.
The strength that you show, is the patience I know.
At times can be hard to withstand,
But I’m here holding your hand.
As the clock ticks, timing never late,
For the connections to form from each and every date
And the rose to one day grant us our fate.
I look forward to the unknown
Appreciate the emotion you have
And hopeful to see if in your heart,
I have found a home.
Oh my god, I hope you can find all the metaphors!
The first review on Amazon gives high praise to the authors for not wasting her time.
Because when it comes to identifying good books, you know it’s good if your ass didn’t have time to go numb while you were sitting down reading it.
And with that, my friends, I wish you a very happy Friday, and a wonderful Labor Day weekend that brings you all the Diet Coke, embarrassing declarations of love, and mediocre poetry you can stand. You know you want it.
Related link: Dear Diary – Middle School Is the Worst