A Post with Pictures of Me and a Bunch of Famous People That I Recently Met

I spend a lot of time with celebrities. I’m constantly surrounded by them, and they’re constantly trying to get selfies with me.

I try not to brag about it too much because I don’t want people to be so jealous of my life that they start to hate me.

But everyone has been begging for me to release some of these images, so here they are.

I apologize if I sound boastful, but I had to share.

Brad ❤ He asked me on a date but then I remembered all those kids that he has so I declined. He took it well.

I asked Rihanna about Chris Brown before taking this photo which is why she looks so mad. It had nothing to do with me, she likes me a lot.

I forgot all of the things that Zac Effron had been in besides High School Musical. I asked him what he’s done since then, and this is a picture of him trying to think about it because he couldn’t remember either.

Then I met Al Roker and we had a great time getting to know each other!

Then he interviewed me and I told him a really sad story which he loved.

For all of you that thought Elvis was still alive somewhere out there, you were right! AND he lost all that weight, which I congratulated him on.

He was like, “Rachel I have a dream that you’ll take a selfie with me,” and I was like, “Did you just quote yourself?” And then we both laughed.

Justin Bieber was sucking in his cheeks so he would look skinnier. I told him he didn’t need to do that, but then he told me to hurry up and take the picture because he couldn’t breathe.

Oprah and I spent most of our time reminiscing about the time I appeared on her show.

Throwback to 2012! Said I was her favorite guest of the year!

He tried to interview me but I had to remind him that that’s not what this is, it’s just a selfie, Larry! Boy, some people just can’t get out of work mode, you know!

Then I met Jackie Kennedy, who I at first called Sandra Bullock even though she was standing right next to JFK and it was so embarrassing! But she was a good sport about it.

I asked him if he remembered the time he got assassinated. He didn’t remember. Then I asked if he remembered the time he had an affair with Marilyn Monroe. THAT he remembered! Men, am I right!

Malcolm X looks confused not because he was having a bad time but because he didn’t know what an iPhone was.

I saw Bill Clinton and told him how much I missed him.

Then he grabbed me because he wanted another selfie so badly!

I asked Dwayne which he liked better, being a professional wrestler or starring in the hit movie Tooth Fairy, and he couldn’t decide!

Anyways, bye, gotta go to war!




A very special thank you to Madam Tussauds of Washington, D.C. Without you, none of this would have been possible.


¡Bienvenido, Amigos!

Pedro’s weather report: Chile today, hot tamale!

You never sausage a place! You’re always a wiener at Pedro’s!

Pull over for sommtheeng deeferent, Señor!

“Look, another one!” My brothers and I pointed.

Just a leetle bit longer, amigos! Pedro so happy!

Our excitement billowed as the billboards became more and more frequent, the miles listed on the bottom of each sign dwindling in number.

Then we crossed into South Carolina. We pulled off the highway. The welcome sign glowed. The mustache glimmered. And we had reached our destination.

South of the Border.


It all started with a trip to Florida in 1996. My family was driving down to Jacksonville for a vacation with our relatives, and we stopped at the South of the Border roadside motel for a night on the way down. Instantly entranced by the radiance of neon cactuses and endless string of souvenir shops, my brothers and I asked our dad if we could stay there instead of driving the rest of the way to Florida.

“Dad, do we have to go to the beach?” we probably asked.

“Yes,” my dad probably responded. “But don’t worry kids. We’ll be back,” he probably said after that.

But I can’t remember the exact conversation because I was too busy looking at the statue of a cartoonish Mexican bandito named Pedro.

Five times the size of an average man, Pedro lit up the night with his jovial smile and prominent stature. Even though he stood at around 15 feet tall, his amiable aura made him feel approachable and down-to-earth. He had a playful glimmer on his face, and the sprightly spark in his eyes made you want to know exactly what kind of mischief he had up sleeve.

He seemed like the kind of person that loved frivolous shenanigans but could still wrap you in a warm hug at the end of the day.

We were enamored.

So true to his word, every summer we’d pack our suitcases into the station wagon and my dad would drive my brothers and me the five hours to Dillon, South Carolina, our anticipation rising with each passing Pedro sighting. As the billboards became more and more dense, we knew we were getting closer. Finally, we’d pull off the highway and see the revered Pedro statue, who seemed to get happier about our arrival each year.

The week that followed would be filled with activities entirely exclusive to the South of the Border area: swimming at the motel pool, video games at the arcade, and putt-putt at the Golf of Mexico. We’d hop around the seemingly endless souvenir shops for gems that we knew we’d never find anywhere else, like wind up maracas or straws in the shape of rattlesnakes. We’d eat authentic Mexican foods, including hot dogs from the ¡Hot Tamale!, Fun Dip from Pedro’s Candy Fiesta, and pizza from the diner shaped like a sombrero. Then we’d stock up on “South of the Border” bumper stickers for our bedrooms, planning to one day put them all over our future cars.

We’d wander through the life-sized animal statues – armadillos, coyotes, donkeys, a polar bear – spread among the green metal cactuses and plastic tumbleweeds, commenting to each other that we felt like we really were in Mexico.

To finish off each of our adventure-packed days, we’d ride the elevator up to the top floor of the sombrero tower, standing at the railing that looked over the entire property while soaking in our most cultural life experience yet.

Then we’d walk by the Pedro statue and silently wish him a good night, filled with anticipation for the next day.



Let me just take a minute here to explain South of the Border to all of you who haven’t heard of or experienced it yourself.

South of the Border was created in 1950 as a rest stop for travelers driving long distances on I-95. It’s an attraction-slash-resort (and I use the term “resort” very, very loosely) with a feebly executed (and mildly controversial) Mexican theme. It’s recognized for its hundreds of billboards dotting the highway all the way between New Jersey and Florida, many of which feature Pedro and his childish Central American accent. After complaints from the Mexican embassy themselves, saying that the depiction of Mexicans was culturally insensitive, South of the Border rebranded to make Pedro sound less…well, ignorant.

It has remained a common stopping point for travelers, with one motel, a few restaurants, and somewhere around twelve gift shops. People will stop there for a bathroom break, a cheap lunch, an occasional overnight stay, or a carload of debatably legal fireworks.

But it is not – I repeat, it is not – an intended destination point.

The employees, managers, owners, and even Pedro would agree with this openly.

So I’m not really sure what it was that my brothers and I saw in the South of the Border roadside attraction that inspired an annual tradition, but we sure saw it. And each vacation ended in a tearful goodbye to the resort, whispering promises to Pedro of our return the next summer.


The last year that we went to South of the Border is the year I remember most vividly.

I don’t know if it was because we were getting older, or because it was getting more touristy, or maybe a mix of both; but that year, South of the Border had abruptly and completely lost its charm. Suddenly everything seemed cheap, kitschy, and exceedingly outlandish.

Why are there a dozen souvenir shops that all sell the same things?

Why are the cactuses the color of pistachio ice cream? And – tap tap – why are they hollow?

Why does everything have a sombrero on it?

Why is there a polar bear statue?

Even Pedro had lost his allure, his wide, mustached smile appearing less inviting and more racist every time we looked at him.

It felt like going to see Santa after you’ve stopped believing in him. What was once blanketed in magic and frosted with fascination is now just a lonely old man with too much white hair surrounded by kids waiting to sit in his lap.

That year at South of the Border, when it was time to pack the station wagon and head back to Richmond, my brothers and I couldn’t get into the car fast enough. My dad returned the motel key, and we started the trip home.

A few miles into the drive, we passed by a billboard. Back up Amigo, you going the wrong way!

No, Pedro. We going the right way.

Turbulence Is Worse When Caused by a 4-Year-Old

I used to think there was nothing worse to have on a plane than the dreaded “B” word.

I’m not talking about a bomb.

I’m talking about a baby.

Many poor infants spend their term on a flight confused, uncomfortable, and crying inconsolably. Parents will try to find some sort of solace for their restless child, but they just end up bothering different passengers on the other end of the plane.

Yes, yes, the “B” word is something we all cross our fingers to avoid on every flight…

…but I’m here to tell you that there are worse passengers than babies.

Heaven forbid you ever end up on a flight with…

A four-year-old.

Recently, I was getting ready to take a flight to Boston.

While waiting for the boarding call, I noticed the family at the terminal.

Everyone noticed the family at the terminal.

They were hard to miss: a pair of rambunctious boys who didn’t know how to handle their energy, plus a pair of exhausted parents who didn’t know how to find more energy for themselves.

I feel bad for whoever ends up on a flight with them, myself and probably everyone else in the terminal was thinking.

Imagine my shock…and the shock of my fellow passengers…when the family lined up at the gate during the Boston boarding call.

They got on with the rest of us.

There was a six-year-old, who I deemed the whiny one, and a four-year-old, who I deemed the even whinier one.

They all found their seats, which, to my dismay, was in the row right behind mine.

And to my further dismay, the even whinier one and his mother decided to take the two seats directly behind me.

The even whinier one, who I learned was named Tyler like a loser, just haaad to sit by the window so he could see the stupid clouds.

I was sitting by the window.

Tyler was going to be behind me.

My feelings were that of the emoji that has lines for its eyes and its mouth.

Well…maybe it won’t be so ba­—ouch.

The first back-of-the-seat kick confirmed it: Tyler and I were not going to get along.

The second back-of-the-seat kick removed all doubt: he didn’t care.

Tyler had no interest in being my friend.

“Mommy, I think the airplane is fun.”

No one asked you, Tyler.

“It is fun, Tyler,” said Mommy who was obviously not listening because no one who can’t drink alcohol has ever had fun on an airplane.

“Mommy, are we in the air yet?”

We literally just sat down.

“No, not yet Tyler.”

A few minutes pass.

“Mommy, I like this airplane. Are we in the air yet?”

Tyler, why don’t look out the damn window that you were so eager to sit next to in the first place. See how that window is clear? See how it being clear allows you to see what’s going on outside?

“Mommy, are we in the air now?”

Mommy, as a favor to everyone on the plane, gives Tyler an iPad and headphones and turns on a TV show for him to watch.

We take off.

Tyler doesn’t even notice.

Oh, what is this beautiful silence! (Says myself and then the whole plane too probably)

Then suddenly—

“Mommy, I want to watch a different show.”

Mommy explains to spoiled Tyler that he can only watch this probably stupid show because there’s no WiFi on the plane and it’s the only one she downloaded and don’t worry we’ll be landing soon anyway.

Pretending like he didn’t know the words “WiFi” and “download” and “shut up we’ll be there soon,” Tyler repeated his request to watch another show.

Mommy explained all those words again.

Tyler kicked my seat.

Don’t start with me Tyler…

And then.

The song happened.

“Waffles in the morning! Waffles late at night!” Tyler sang as loud as his voice could go.

“Tyler–” Mommy foolishly attempted to get him to stop singing his song.

“I love waffles!” Tyler sang as if it was a cool song that literally anyone else in the world wanted to hear. “I love waffles in the morning!”

No one cares.

“I love waffles late at night!”

Still no one cares.


Then the flight attendant came around with snacks and drinks.

Okay, thank god, a snack. Maybe that will keep him quiet for like a second.

I asked for a soda water politely and selected a bag of Cheez-Its out of the selection of cookies and crackers.

“And what would you two like?” The flight attendant asked Tyler and Mommy.

Oh, here we go.

“Do you want some juice, Tyler?” Mommy asked.

Tyler requested grape juice.

They only had orange and apple.

He asked for grape juice again.

They told him it wasn’t available.

He asks for it again.

Goddammit Tyler.

Then came time for the snack selection.



The flight attendant kept showing Tyler the different options.

Exasperated, she offered to give him all three.

Listen, lady, at least this is the only time you’ll have to talk with him.

“Do you want some Cheerios that Mommy packed?” Mommy asked.

Tyler, in attempts of wasting everyone’s day, waited a little longer and then eventually decided to go for the snack that was in Mommy’s bag the whole time.


Tyler kicked the back of my seat.

Mommy reminded him not to.

You’re wasting your time, Mommy.

“I love waffles late at night!”

And then the tray table was discovered.

Tyler pulled it down.

And then the tray table’s push-and-pull mechanism was discovered.

The tray table was connected to my seat.

Mommy reminded him of that.

She said, “Tyler, this tray table is connected to someone else’s seat. Someone really kind and patient and undeserving of this treatment.”

Well she said something like that.

Tyler told Mommy that “it was okay” and continued playing with the tray table.

Oh, it’s okay, is it Tyler? Will it be okay when I…

The end of that sentence is “when I sit here and do nothing because you’re four years old and I’m thirty and even though I would technically win in a fight, a court of law would not see it the same way.”

“Waffle waffle waffles never boring!”


“Waffles for lunch and school and dinnerrrrr!”

Shortly after the waffle song had gone through its nine-hundredth chorus, and my questions about Tyler’s feelings towards waffles were confirmed, the plane finally landed.

And the taxiing process began.

And just when I thought my time with Tyler was coming to an end, we were informed that all of the loading zones were full, and that we would have to wait a few more minutes to get off.




“I love waffles late at night!”

Seat kick.


“I want to get off the plane.” (Tyler and his idiot statements)

“We’ll get off soon, Tyler.” (Mommy and her lies)

“I want to get off the plane now.”






If this was a DVD, for some reason, the above three paragraphs would be an “Extras” menu alternate ending, with me saying those words out loud – instead of in my head – sticking up for myself like any good American, followed by the rest of the plane applauding because they’ve felt the same way during the whole flight.

Hold on, do DVDs still have alternate endings?

Do DVDs still exist?

But in the real ending, I keep all of those thoughts in my head. Because any adult verbally attacking a four-year-old is suddenly the bad guy, no matter how many seat-kicks and waffle song lyrics occurred prior to the attack.

And so, in the end, we all got to Boston safely and in one piece, which is all the airline really guarantees anyway.

And I finally exited the plane, my only souvenirs from the flight being a slightly sore neck and a sudden craving for waffles.

Because, as I recently learned, they’re good any time of the day.


Where We Becomes Me

Accidents happen, including religious ones

In the summer of 2015, my roommate Kathleen and I decided to do the whole “quit your job and go backpacking through Europe” thing. We wanted to “find ourselves” and “expand our worldview” and “meet foreign men with sexy accents.”

Over many nights and many travel guides, we plotted out our two-month European stint: we’d fly in and out of Ireland, and make our way through six other countries in between. We mapped out our routes, booked our plane tickets, made packing lists, and created an hour-by-hour itinerary for our moms.

During those two months, in between the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Alhambra, we’d decided to get un-touristy for a couple of weeks and volunteer for an organization called WWOOF. This organization connects travelers with farmers seeking light daily assistance on their land, in exchange for free room and board.

We thought volunteering for WWOOF would help us “become one with the earth” and “connect to a culture in an entirely different way” and “lose all the weight we’d inevitably gain in France.”

We chose Italy, since it was our halfway point, and joined WWOOF Italia months before our trip to start searching for farms. We perused through hundreds of profiles, very similarly to the way you would on OK Cupid if what you were looking for in a relationship was running water and someone who speaks conversational-level English. We filtered through the ones that met our needs, and sent emails to the ones we liked best.

After hearing back from multiple farmers, we finally settled on a place in Cuceglio, a town two hours outside of Milan. It had reasonable work expectations, a private cabin for volunteers, and (cue heaven sound effect) electricity.

We were also drawn to the farm’s heavy emphasis on community. There were multiple families living there, from individuals to couples to full-on families with kids. All units came from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and everyone helped out with daily chores and meals.

Oh my, what a bohemian lifestyle we were about to be part of!

So one afternoon, after four weeks in Europe traversing through castles in Ireland, vineyards in France, museums in Spain, and coffee shops in Amsterdam, we boarded a small bus in Italy heading to a tiny town we could barely pronounce. After a bumpy two-and-a-half-hour bus ride, we got off and walked up a long dirt road to the farm entrance, shrouded in naïve anticipation.

One of the first things I noticed, between the cow pastures, fields of corn, and tomato vines, was the Tree. I capitalized the “T” because any object adorned in thin gold chains and prayer beads, and coated in multicolor paints, deserves a capital letter.

They must be really artistic here.

I brushed it off.

We eventually found Leone, the person that we’d been coordinating with the months before arriving. With the small bits of Italian that we knew, we politely introduced ourselves while taking in the wide open space of the farm. He provided us with one diplomatic handshake apiece, and, in broken English, offered to show us around.IMG_3862.JPG

That’s when I saw the spiral. Approximately the circumference of one of those above-ground pools that were really popular in the nineties, this stone-spun spiral rested dead center in the middle of a large, otherwise empty field just outside the main house. Still clouded with the enchantment of being on a lush Italian farm (“Look, Kathleen, a pony!”), I quickly forgot about it and continued on.

Leone led us into the main building, the building that housed the kitchen and dining room, the place where all of the meals were cooked and shared together. He left us there briefly while he checked on something out back, but invited us to roam around and scope out the space on our own before finishing the tour.

The dining room was decorated like you would’ve expected: large tiled floors, big oak table in the middle, couches off to the side. Then we looked to the left; small painted animals adorned an entire wall in a unified mural. Above them, in bold, black, committed letters, was scrawled: Where We Becomes Me.


Puzzled and pretending we didn’t notice it, we wandered into the kitchen and met a German woman named Angela chopping peppers for dinner. She was overly enthusiastic, and we chatted briefly while we waiting for Leone. “How has your trip been so far?” “Have you ever worked on a farm before?” “Have you met anyone else in the house yet?” “So did you know we all have animal names?”

She continued cutting the peppers nonchalantly as if she had just asked if we knew that it snows in Italy sometimes.

Kathleen and I looked at each other.

Animal names?

Leone returned shortly after, and led us down the path to our cabin. “Here is the cow field to your right,” he pointed. “Your cabin has running water that you can use, but don’t drink it straight.” Also, “There’s a small kitten living there for the time being.” A pause while we continue walking. “So do you know much about the Federation of Damanhur?”

It hit us like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense when he finally discovers he’s been dead the whole time.

The giant field spiral, the Tree, the animal names, the mural…

We had entered into a cult.

I had that thought that everyone says as joke whenever they’re staying in a remote cabin, driving down an isolated highway late at night, or are home alone during a dark thunderstorm.

“This is how horror movies start.”

This time, however, it wasn’t accompanied by nervous laughter, but instead was followed immediately by the very serious thoughts of “Will we ever see our parents again?” and “Are we going to be in the news?” and “Does this mean we’re going to miss Oktoberfest?”

Over the next few days, these fears were not assuaged. The farm saw rain that seemed like it would never end. The WiFi was down for a suspiciously lengthy amount of time. One morning while trimming tomato vines, Kathleen and I stumbled upon a pancake-sized spider with – and I’m serious – FANGS. Fangs.IMG_3870.JPG

In our downtime, because this seemed like a good idea, we looked up everything we could about Damanhur. It has its own Wikipedia page, if you were wondering, that explains exactly how they turn an entire community of individual “We’s” into a singular “Me.” It also has hundreds of supporters, and, like any good cult, many critics as well. Which worked well in enhancing our fears considerably. We spent hours in our private cabin, its tin roof loudly pummeled by rain, discussing the “what ifs?” of leaving early. We were, after all, cold, wet, miserable, and terrified, and still didn’t know what kind of weird religious commune we had stumbled into.

The next day rolled around, our bags on the verge of being packed and our bus tickets nearly booked. And then something amazing happened.

The sun came out.

And on that day, we had finally started adapting to our living situation. And to that random kitten in our cabin.

And it was also the day we’d forgotten about the fangs.

And, with the sun, adaptation, and fang-forgetting came the realization that…regardless of its Yelp reviews, no one on this farm wanted to kill us – or worse, convert us. We weren’t going to be in the news. Eventually we realized that…well, we hadn’t landed in the black-and-white Nikes, Kool-Aid kind of cult. And perhaps, dare I say, this was not even a cult at all, but simply a commune that followed a very unconventional spiritual belief system and an overly-zealous leader.

When I understood this, and when I let myself get to know the residents and their society and their rituals, I finally allowed myself to stop judging them. I allowed myself to appreciate the diversity of ethnicities and backgrounds that surrounded me. And I allowed myself to ask about their stories.

As it turns out, no one joins a cult without a beguiling story to precede it.

Finally, I allowed myself to integrate into their lifestyle. I prayed to the Tree (that I later learned was called the “Tree of Life”). I walked the spiritual spiral. I was even asked to participate in some of their annual Olympic events (…a story for another time).

I FaceTimed with my mom one evening, and told her about this epiphany. She jokingly suggested that perhaps I was just becoming brainwashed.

…I knew she wasn’t actually joking.

After our volunteer time had come to an end, we said a very sorrowful farewell to the community that we’d gotten to know over the past two weeks. We would miss the communal meals, the yoga lessons, the culture.

And you know what? Maybe their ideas weren’t actually so crazy. Maybe there was something to that spiral. Maybe those animal names were very meaningful. And maybe I did feel a certain awakening while praying to the Tree of Life.

Maybe I did want to turn “We” into “Me.”

Now this is the point in the story where I turn to you with a plastered-on smile, hold my hands out, and tell you that I’ve got some Good News…


Things I Wish People Would Invent and Then Bring to Shark Tank So That the Product Could Be Better Funded and Distributed and Then I Could Buy It

Have you ever been going through your day, reach an inconvenience, and then think: I wish someone would invent a product to make this thing less inconvenient? And then you wish that person would take the product onto Shark Tank so that it could have hundreds of thousands of dollars – plus the support of a billionaire – backing it, allowing it to multiply in production, and also improve its overall quality due to its sudden increase of funding, ultimately giving you access to purchase it and improve your life?

I’ve thought about that too.

And in fact, I’ve made a list of not-yet-invented products in my life that this applies to. So I thought, on the off-chance that a current or future inventor reads this blog, I would share those ideas for guidance and inspiration.

  • A car that texts for you because texting and driving can be really difficult at times, particularly during a rainstorm or rush hour
  • A phone charger that unplugs from your phone and plugs into a different phone overnight so that you and your partner can both have fully charged phones in the morning instead of having to decide who gets the charger that night
  • Spaghetti noodles that cut themselves into bite-sized pieces so you don’t have to do that whole twirling thing on your fork
  • Cars that blow heat immediately when you turn it on instead of waiting like five minutes
  • Actually, same for sinks and hot water
  • A Christmas tree that goes invisible after Christmas so you don’t have to deal with it when the holidays are over
  • Raisins in cookies that turn into chocolate chips when you think that they’re chocolate chips
  • A vacuum cleaner that sounds like babies laughing instead of the end of the world
  • A device that kills each cockroach the moment they’re born
  • Weather that turns into spring when it’s supposed to be spring
  • Transition lenses, but for contacts
  • A tiny angel that emerges from your TV whenever Netflix asks “Are you still watching?” while yes, you are still watching, and tells you not to feel bad about yourself and reminds you that it’s okay to stay home and watch TV for a socially inappropriate amount of time
  • Canadian geese that turn into small kittens when they approach you
  • A toaster that just comes to your apartment when you need one, because I don’t have one
  • A pillow that whispers positive affirmations in your ear when you can’t sleep so you don’t lie awake thinking about your insecurities and failures and things you have to do tomorrow that you don’t want to
  • A basket for sorting socks with eight separate cups, which rotate around for the user’s ease, in which you can place one sock on each cup and then push into the basket upon finding its match, because let’s face it, families lose on average 60 pairs of socks per year and the tragedy needs to end
  • Oh wait, that already exists!
  • A printer that prints out quesadillas when you get hungry. But still serves as a printer when you need it
  • A GPS that takes you to your destination no matter where that destination is instead of taking you to a field in the middle of nowhere and saying you’ve arrived, which is wildly inconvenient because you thought you’d be right on time but instead now you have to figure out where you even are
  • Ketchup juice that’s actually just more ketchup so ketchup juice stops existing
  • Something that puts a Snap Chat smile filter onto the faces of Post Office employees so it looks like they actually like their jobs and you have a more pleasant experience there
  • A friend that gives you their Hulu Plus account information so you can use it at your own home (any friend, any friend at all…)
  • A device that tells you if your Uber driver is talkative so you can know whether or not to pretend to be deaf
  • A giant Jenga game set that turns into dust whenever somebody tries to play it so that nobody can ever play Giant Jenga
  • A president that turns into Obama when he takes office

I would also like something to be invented that destroys all of those XLERATOR hand dryers.

A Post Dedicated to the Post Dedicated to My T-Shirt

I rarely (never) repost things I’ve written, but I have absolutely nothing to say about St. Patrick’s Day this year.

So I figured I would dig back into the blog I had while backpacking through Europe; back to  the time I went to Ireland and embarrassed myself at the most touristy location in the country, while wearing a shirt I found at Five Below the day before St. Patrick’s Day circa 2015.

Just to make sure everyone knew I was an American experiencing Europe for the first time.

August 5, 2015

A Post Dedicated to My T-Shirt

I found you on a shelf at Five Below, stuffed behind other t-shirts of your kind, unfolded and wrinkled by shoppers that were disinterested by your size or color.

You were manufactured as a St. Patrick’s Day prop, designed to be worn underneath light-up green necklaces and tall green hats with fuzzy orange beards attached to them. But you had one desire, Shirt. It was simple and straightforward, and printed in bold letters across your front. Your words didn’t say “Take Me to a Crowded Beer Festival!” ” Wipe Your Artificially Green-Colored Throw-Up On My Sleeve!” “Throw Me Away On March 18!”

You said that you wanted to “Kiss My Blarney Stone,” and the moment you were mine, I was determined to help you accomplish that mission.

And although I did once put you through many rounds of Guinness and too many Irish car bombs, I also eventually assisted you in fulfilling your destiny.

I tucked you safely into my suitcase before trekking to Europe. You and I flew across the world and once we got to Dublin, we took a three-hour bus ride to Cork, Ireland. We explored the Blarney Castle, sought out hidden passageways and learned about the history of its royal inhabitants. We climbed further and further up the stone staircase until we got to the roof of the castle.

At that point, Shirt, you were revealed from under my jacket (because, let’s face it, I was way too humiliated to be showing you off in the middle of Ireland) and we slowly slid down to kiss the Blarney Stone, the focal point of your only desire.

From this point forward you will either be worn inside out by me or on St. Patrick’s Day by a fun-loving Goodwill shopper, but no matter what, you will forever be blessed by the luck o’ the Irish stone.


The Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services

I haven’t paid for an oil change in almost a decade, and now I think I’m going to have to.

This is a very big deal.

For years, I mean years, I was a regular participant in the Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services. The Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services offers all individuals a free oil change voucher if they donate blood at select Midas of Richmond locations on select days throughout the year.

I love free stuff, and I love donating blood. This blood drive was basically made for me, is what I’m saying.

I used to put the Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services events on my calendar, cancel plans with friends, and call out of work to make sure I could be present for each and every one.

The rate at which I was getting oil changes wasn’t nearly equivalent to the rate at which I was donating blood, and the Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services free oil change vouchers were piling up rapidly.

Which is totally fine, because they’re eligible to redeem for a full year after your original blood donation (or longer than that if you get a pen and change the date yourself).

Now, even though the Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services is a fantastic arrangement, I’m not saying that Midas is the greatest place to get an oil change. In fact, sometimes it’s a very unpleasant experience. In addition to an oil change, the mechanics offer to do a complimentary inspection of your car; which, if you’ve ever been offered a “complimentary inspection,” you know it translates into them finding very minor repairs on your car, and explaining that these repairs need to be done as soon as possible. Like, today. And then they kindly offer to do them for you while you’re here, all they need is one easy payment of like a million dollars.

Last time I was at Midas getting my free oil change from the Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services, the mechanic pulled this number on me, and it’s possible I cut him off snippily and told him I wasn’t interested in hearing it.

In my defense, I never asked them to do a complimentary inspection of my car.

In his defense, he was probably extremely accurate about all of the things he found wrong with it.

In my defense, I went online later and wrote that particular Midas location a very tender-hearted Yelp review. Mostly out of guilt.

Anyway, all this is to say, I’m out of oil change vouchers, and I simply don’t know what to do. Eventually I had to stop donating blood at the Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services for tattoo-related reasons. But I’ve gotten so used to having this service done for free, I just don’t think I can go back to the life of paying for oil changes.

And I’ve just recently hit the 5,000-mile mark – which, yes, I know that technically you don’t have to get your oil changed that often, but my car is on the verge of antique-plate status, plus there’s so many other things wrong with it that getting an oil change every 5,000 miles is the least I can do. Not to mention the oil light flashes at me very quickly every few days. Which, based on the light’s sporadic, unpredictable, and brief nature, is probably more of a wire shortage than anything else.

And yes, it has occurred to me that the light is my car’s way of telling me that this is just its time and that I should just let it die in peace, thank you for asking.

Anyway, if anyone has any ideas as to how I can get a free oil change (by, say, tomorrow morning), please let me know. Otherwise I’ve started a GoFundMe page to give you all a chance to help ensure that I still don’t have to pay for my next oil change.

Another option would be for any of you to go to the next Midas of Richmond Blood Drive with Virginia Blood Services and obtain a voucher for me. The next one is March 31.