Let’s Build A Sand Castle - A Guest Blog Post from the Black Sheep Theorem

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 

Many many eons ago (This was back when I was a kid in the last century) I was idly sitting at my grandparents home doing what I usually do best. Eating chocolate. 

Good times. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon with clear blue skies and a gentle breeze flowing. So I was rather enjoying the day sitting out front on the patio.

This is too good to be true. In comes mom to disrupt what would be the last few moments of peace that I would enjoy that day. Apparently, mom and the other ladies of the town had decided it would be “take-your-kids-to-the-beach-day!”

Unsurprisingly, I was not quite thrilled about this invitation. I said NO. I grew up in a beach city, used to holiday at my grandparent's town which was again a beach town. So a trip to the beach does not really fascinate me. The allure of something very precious is lost when you have easy access to it.

Mom was growing concerned that I would grow up to be this fat hermit, who hates social interaction and is incapable of the mundane conversations. (I liked to think I would grow up to be a fucking lone wolf)

She threw my sand sculpting tools (which I had bought a few weeks ago…... because reasons) at me and told me that I shouldn’t have bought the tools if I was never going to use them. Well fuck. I was being guilt tripped. It worked. 

I reluctantly got dressed picked up the tools and met mom at the patio. The gang was all there. 

3 other women who I couldn’t care to know (even today) and 8 other kids whose names I still don’t care to know. I mean 8 other evil little boys. I don’t know if they were really evil. But somehow I judged them to be evil the moment I saw them.

Anyways, we commenced our walk towards the beach. Me clutching my tools and those 8 little assholes being as loud and obnoxious as possible. I did not understand why were they so excited about going to the beach. So most of the walk to the beach was spent me judging them and the other ladies trying to rein them in.

After few minutes of walking, we reached the beach.

The boys were onto business. They immediately removed their little flip flops and started using them as tools to somehow mold the wet sand to resemble a sand castle. Amateurs. 

Not one to be subdued, I made a suggestion that we could use my tools to build this sand castle. It would turn out better and possibly even prettier. 

One by one each of them turned their heads towards me. There was a look of disapproval in their eyes. This was intimidating. I felt like this is some kind of a board meeting wherein I made an objectionable opinion.   

I knew I had to be strong. I looked each one of them in the eye daring them to overrule this suggestion.

At last one of boys who was the tallest and the skinniest of them all spoke. “or maybe you could remove your flips flops and help us. It would be faster this way.”

I was appalled. As a child, I was told that hygiene and quality were of utmost importance. And this rabid monkey had just suggested I do something that completely defiled those sacred rules. Naturally, It was getting clear that we were having creative differences on this project. Our philosophies did not align.

This was a matter of quality vs speed. It’s what you believe is the right thing to do. And I was being horribly outvoted 8 -1. 

I did what I believed was the right thing to do and to this day I stand by my decision. I walked out. 

I set out building my own perfect sand castle a few feet away from the boys. It was a solo operation and it was very, very slow. I had to first decide on the structure of my new sand castle. After being reasonably satisfied with the image that I had built up in my head I set off with building the foundation.

I looked over at the boys. Naturally, they had built a huge form of deformity that resembled what I thought looked like an ant hill. Heck, even ants build better shapes than this monstrosity. They were now trying to pile up the sand higher and higher. I assumed they were trying to make the structure bigger than it already was.

After some time sun was near setting and the world was covered in a soft orange hue. The ladies told the boys and me that it was time to wrap up and leave. 

The boys meanwhile had built this monstrosity.

I had pretty much finished building my castle and was really happy with it. I thought it was perfect for a first attempt at building a sand castle. 

I was proud of my accomplishment. It would stand tall like a monument for the next few hours for the visitors to look and marvel at. It was a welcome reprieve from the monstrosity that the boys had built.

My suspicions were true. The rabid monkey was really evil. He got intoxicated by the power of his followers and the castle he had built. He became the mad king. This always does not end very well. He announced to his followers “You know what would be a great idea, destroying the sand castle we built by kicking the shit out of it”. 


What. The. Fuck. 

He was the first one to kick. Something must have snapped in him. His followers were obviously enchanted by him. They followed suit. 

One by one each one of them participated in this debauchery and I saw them tear down the mountain of sand. 

The demolition was nearing completion when a little boy ran towards my sand castle. 

I only saw madness in his eyes. He had gone insane by the sudden rush of adrenaline by destroying something.

It took me a few seconds to register what he was about to do. He was about to destroy my sand castle.

I wanted to put myself between him and my beautiful sand castle.

I was a hair of a second late and the damage was done.

Rage consumed me and I quickly shifted gears from wanting to be a roadblock to wanting to ram this zombie with full body force onto the floor. 

I used all my might and pushed him as hard as I could. I don’t know where all that strength came from. There is something about you wanting to protect what you love. He staggered a few feet back and lost his balance and fell butt first. He wailed in agony. I screamed. I was half annoyed that he hadn’t got hurt or had a nosebleed or something. The rest of the boys looked at us as if in a trance. One of the ladies who was apparently this little asshole’s mom ran towards her son. 

I charged at the boy once again.

Someone caught me mid-action. I thrashed and wailed while they furiously tried to constrain me. I was blind with rage. I did not care.

The kid’s mother was by this time comforting him who was by now sobbing uncontrollably.

I felt no remorse. I yelled  “let me go! he shouldn’t have done it!”

Anger filled every bone in my body. I don’t think my body had known this emotion before to such an extreme degree. Tears welled up in my eyes. I continued to thrash and try to break free. I hated that I was restricted by the strength of my little frame. My body was weak. 

I gave in after few good minutes of struggle.

The boy’s mother looked at me with disgust like I am some sort of feral creature whose place is supposed to be in the zoo. I looked back at her channeling the same disgust. 

Mother looked at me, her face fuming. She told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t apologize to the kid I would be sent packing back to our home in the city and it would be the end of the vacation. 

I did not apologize. I was not the one at fault here after all. I merely tried to protect my little kingdom. 

As if on cue the kid wailed even louder. He knew that would make everyone even more sympathetic to him and his mom looked at my mom like “well what are you going to do about it now?"

I knew his evil game. I was not about to give in. I looked at my mom like  an adult. Eye to eye. I calmly said, "I am not apologizing to this monkey.” Warning laced in every word as I spoke. 

With that, I picked my tools and kept walking away like a champion with my head held high. Gracefully. 

I do not remember a lot that happened next. I have a vague memory of my mother profusely apologizing to the lady on my behalf. I don’t know. 

Needless to say, we are not friends with this mother-son pair anymore. If I ever came across this asshole again, I might challenge him to a duel 'til death, because this is the war that lasts for generations. 

There was supposed to be a lesson in here somewhere I think, but I can’t seem to figure it out.

P.S: I may have exaggerated the story a bit. Okay, a lot. If there is some zombie youth welfare act or something please don’t sue me.

TheBlackSheepTheorem.com is a blog illustrated by zany ridiculous drawings and the posts are often the result of being

high on caffeine. This blog was also started on a whim during one of the caffeine-fueled nights. These are one of those mistakes that are often regretted after coming down from the high.



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Humor or Beauty? Or Maybe Just Awkward and Peculiar - A Guest Post from Tom Lagasse

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 

When Emelie asked if I would post on her blog while she and Fiancé Husband were on their honeymoon in Scotland (re-enacting scenes from Braveheart?  Searching for Nessie?), I asked if I should focus on humor or beauty, since I noticed a slight shift from the former to the latter after she posted about how to live with dog hair – well, that’s not quite the way I wanted to say that.   

I’m afraid I’m not qualified to offer insight on either topic.  As a pudgy, middle-aged bald guy (and that’s assuming I’m going to live past 105), I am not licensed to provide the secrets of beauty – inner or outer.   And humor?  It’s one thing to be a smart ass.  It’s a whole other thing to put something in writing with a coherent beginning, middle, and end that consistently makes a total stranger recognize herself, find the humor, and laugh, let alone to amuse Emelie’s millennial audience.

My hope is I can string together enough paragraphs to complete Emelie’s request and fulfill my requirement, which sounds like I’m approaching this more like an assignment on the Peloponnesian War than how happy I am to help my friend.

So here goes:

Having known Emelie and subscribing to her blog for about a year, I not only read what it’s like for her to be awkwardly alive and pleasantly peculiar, but I witness it several days a week at the bookstore as her co-worker.

And, I have to admit – like most, although less publicly than Emelie – I, too, consider myself awkwardly alive and pleasantly peculiar.  Perhaps this is why we get along so well.

Naturally, in trying to meet this life force, I had to ask myself - What have I done lately that was awkwardly alive or pleasantly peculiar or both?  

It’s been a little over a year since I was nearly literally (yes, literally) murdered by my cat (short version: he bit me; overnight the infection spread up my arm and traveled towards my heart; I went to the hospital and where I received a two-day stay), and the week following my release, I accidentally wiped my eyes with poison ivy covered hands (short version: I looked like I had been punched in the face by a mixed martial fighter).  And it’s been more than a couple years since I almost set the house fire:  Once by doing some electrical work I was ill qualified to do (obviously), and twice by trying to start a fire in the fireplace.  I’m now banned from both by the lovely Teresa (my version of Fiancé Husband who supervises Emelie’s use of the oven).

Sure, recently, I may have taken a Charlie’s Angels gun pose while wearing a promotional Captain Underpants cape on a bland Tuesday afternoon.  My surprise move made Emelie laugh.  The store was empty, and none of this was recorded.  You’ll have to take my word on both – except if Fran and Pat from the bookstore are reading this – then it’s a complete fabrication for the purposes of humor.

I may been more than happy to play with dinosaur hand puppets or read Dragons Love Tacos 2 to dragons, well, stuffed animals, at the children’s table.  And recently, Emelie and I posed for selfies in full Anthony Horowitz Magpie Murders in full Magpie regalia.  A murder of magpies?  I thought it was a murder of crows.   For the record, it’s a parliament of magpies.

However, I view these as neither awkward nor peculiar but as marketing – we’re fun people at the bookstore (just ask us) and not just complete book nerds (we may be those too) even if we’re reading Nietzsche or John Green in our off-hours.  

Otherwise, for me, I have nothing, nada, zip in my accounting for being awkwardly alive and pleasantly peculiar.  The fact that I can’t recount a single other event of being awkwardly alive or pleasantly peculiar, signals to me I need to be more courageous and keep pushing towards authenticity.

However, it’s not that I’m advising everyone be more awkwardly alive and pleasantly peculiar.   For example, I don’t think our President should be, although he seems to be not so much awkward or peculiar but just plain crazy.   There are certain places normative behavior would be greatly appreciated.

There is one beauty secret I can offer:  embrace your inner peculiarities.  There is nothing more attractive than people being utterly themselves.   However, I think a working definition would be helpful.  Being awkwardly alive and pleasantly peculiar is one thing.  Embrace that.  But when those unpleasant peculiarities like bigotry or misogyny or just plain hatred, we could all use a lot less of that from you and on behalf of the rest us, we ask you become more mainstream and vanilla.   

Working my way towards being a little more awkwardly alive and a little more pleasantly peculiar has been invigorating.  For that, I hold Emelie responsible.  I’ve learned Millennials can offer wisdom to us older folks besides simply showing us how to use the latest apps like podcasts, Angry Birds, and Pokeman Go.  

Thank you, Emelie and Fiance Husband for your help and friendship.  Best wishes on a long life together filled with all the love, awkwardness, and peculiarity you can handle!

I’m a freelance writer and work with Emelie at The Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, CT.  In July, I will have an article on climate change that will appear in Edible Nutmeg.  A short story “Beyond the Finish Line” was published by The Feminist Collective (www.femininecollective.com)  in March.   In January 2017, I was interviewed by Tracy Mumford for Minnesota Public Radio's segment "Ask A Bookseller."

I live in Bristol, CT.



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Love and Friends and Family and Mawwiage - A Guest Blog Post from Cole Campbell

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 

Hello everyone!

My name is Cole and I’m here to do a guest post for Emelie while she’s getting married and gallivanting off to Scotland for her honeymoon with Fiancé/Husband. (I’m not 100% sure where in the line up my post will fall so I’m being purposefully vague with times whether or not you’re reading this before or after she’s actually married. But hey, it kinda makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Doctor Who a wee bit. Yeah, I know that does not actually makes a whole lot of sense but let me have it, okay? Okay.)


When Emelie first asked me if I wanted to do a guest post for her I was like, “Sure! Of course! That’s Awesome! I’ll totally do that!” Then we hung up FaceTime, I thought for a short moment and was like, “CRAAAAAAAAAP WHY DID I SAY YES TO THAT?! I WRITE FICTION. I DON’T WRITE ABOUT MYSELF HOW WHAT WHY DO I DO THIIIIIIS?!”

I took some time to calm down.

Later, when I asked Emelie if she had any topic or idea she wanted me to cover, I was much more subtle about my trepidation (I hope). She responded with, essentially, “Lighthearted and fun is good but be yourself and do you!” I was like, “Thanks, that helps!” (Translation: That was not helpful AT ALL). I’m very much ad-libbing this from memory right now but you get the idea. So I started pondering. And I realized that recent events in my life combined with Emelie’s impending/already-happened nuptials mean a very specific topic is rattling pretty consistently around in my brain. And that, dear readers of a blog that is not mine, is Love and Friends, or the Family You Choose.

I mean, it’s not a shocking revelation or idea at all really but friends are just pretty freakin’ awesome, aren’t they? You meet someone and go: You, good person, are just amazing and I want you in my life forever, okay? Sometimes it’s a longer, slow process. Sometimes it’s snap-of-the-fingers quick. Emelie, for instance? She and I were friends for about a month(ish) before she moved out to Connecticut. And yet, despite time and distance we have become even closer. It just clicked. Insta! Done! Boom! Friends for life and there was little choice.

Except, technically, we did have a choice. We could not have skyped regularly, texted and kept in contact. We could have drifted apart and I wouldn’t have gotten excited updates about this guy she met, who became Boyfriend, wouldn’t have gotten an excited FaceTime reveal-of-the-ring when he became Fiancé and wouldn’t be going to/have been at (seriously this not knowing where in time my article is existing is CONFUSING) their wedding to see him become HUSBAND.

We made a choice to be friends. To be Family By Choice. AND THAT IS A TRULY AWESOME THING.

But seriously, though.

You meet certain people and they just stick to you like glue, or tree sap or those little foam packing peanuts, and they help you navigate life day by day whether they are in the same house, same town, or states or oceans away. Maybe they are family by blood, or maybe not. Maybe it was a romantic relationship that became a friendship, because you look at that person and go: The friendship at the heart of all this is too ridiculously valuable to set to the side and this is gonna hurt like nothing else but it’s worth it. Maybe you’ve known each other for more than a decade. Or maybe you just met. Connections between people are really, super-duper weird and random and varied I’ve found.

AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES THEM SO GOOD. LIKE DOGS AND CATS. (Don’t know if that makes any sense at all. It does in my brain).

I guess, basically, what I’m trying to say, (however badly, drawn-outly and incoherently) is to love the people in your life, that Family of Friends. Celebrate them in the every day because that is where they are rooted, in their weirdness, in their flaws, in their strengths and all the reasons you love them unconditionally.

And if they are someone who does the same back, keep them around, okay? So that one day, when you’re old, you can sit on a porch, with a nice breeze wafting by, rocking in your rocking chairs, and crack dirty jokes and trade bad puns because you’re still as awkward, nerdy, awesome and in love with each other as you were in your twenties (or whenever it was you met).

Because I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty amazing future to me.

Cole is a writer and bookseller with a background in theatre based out of northeast Ohio. He (controversially) does not drink coffee but loves tea, hiking, and animals of all kinds. You can read/see what he's up to @colehcampbell (Twitter) and @colehollander (instagram).



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Diary of a Wimpy Mommy - A Guest Post from Merima Trako

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 

I am a mother of two boys. They are healthy and happy, cute and smart, which is probably the most dangerous combination you can have. Many would say that I am lucky, which I am, but what they don’t know is the shenanigans that can come out of the two little monsters I brought into this world.

Case in point, last year when my older was six and younger four, my husband texted me a picture of the older with a massive cut on his lower lip. I was at work, and as every mother would, I panicked. I packed up quickly and rushed home. By the time I got home, the bleeding had stopped, and I managed to pull the wound together with two small band-aids to help it heal without too much scarring. I gave my son a hug, and I asked him what had happened. He told me how he and his brother had found a bungee cord in the garage and they were pulling at its ends on a hill behind our house. At one moment my four-year-old let his end go, and it rebounded to hit the six-year-old on the lip. After a lecture that they should not be playing with adult things, I asked my son what he’d learned from the experience. He said with a solemn look on his face: “ I learned that I should let go of the bungee cord, FIRST.” Not what I had in mind little buddy, not-at-all.

There were other incidents like this, mainly two of them trying somehow to hurt each other, unintentionally and mostly due to some not-so-smart decisions they both made. I am sometimes surprised how they both managed to stay in one piece.  

Another important thing to remember is that little kids will not hesitate to embarrass you in public.  Recently I went to the store with my now five-year-old. I bought a cake for my birthday and two candles (numbers 2 and 5). It was supposed to be a joke ( I am not 25 years old, but a decade older). The cashier scanned the cake and asked if it was my birthday. I said with a grin, “But of course, I am twenty-five, can’t you tell?” I was happy with my little quip. My little one turned and pronounced aloud so that the entire store (and maybe even people in the parking lot) could hear that I am certainly not twenty-five, but thirty (something) years old. We all laughed, some shoppers looked at me suspiciously, though, judging this deceit of cake candles.

So having two kids taught me to always be on a lookout for an object that could potentially become a dangerous toy. I don’t understand this notion that kids nowadays have no imagination. Mine have too much of it, they will think of all sorts of ways to use the most innocent inanimate objects as torture devices on each other.

I’ve also learned that my kids are not my friends. I cannot tell them any secrets, even the simplest ones, like my age. They will tell everyone. They’re the worst friends ever. If I were in high school, I would not invite them to my birthday party.

You also cannot say to your kids that you love them, they will use it against you. “But mommy, you cannot punish me, you love me.” They have no shame, these little monsters.

They are little divas. They want specific haircuts; shirts tucked in a certain way and pants of only one certain length. Girls are divas you say, well, you have not met my boys.

In a few years if you meet me on the street and I am muttering to myself about dirty socks, and muddy shoes and the smell of dirty feet and soccer uniforms, do look kindly on my disheveled mom-look and remember: I am raising two boy-monsters.


World According to Blam is a collection of opinions, poetry and short prose, written by Merima Trako. She lives in Connecticut, USA with her husband and two children. An Engineer, a mom, an ex-refugee, Bosnian, she views the world in a unique way, exposed to various settings and experiences in her life.




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Sometimes I Make Things Weird - A Guest Blog Post by Breann Griffin

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 

The other day I was going home and I got into the elevator at the same time as one of our more serious security guards. We stood in silence for a few seconds. Then I tried to strike up a conversation, because not doing that felt too awkward. Me: Thank goodness it's 5 o'clock. Are you headed home soon too? Security Guard: I'm on the clock until 11 tonight, actually. Me: Ah, bummer. SG: At least someone's going home, right? Me: Yeah. True. Then I stared ahead at the doors. Staring at elevator doors to open is like looking down the street for the bus to come. It makes no sense and doesn't make anything happen faster, but it makes me feel better. When I felt the elevator do its little dip and recovery, which announces our arrival at the floor before the little voice does, I turned toward the security guard to say goodbye. SG: *raises his hand* Have a good... And then I high-fived him. This is how I imagine it played out internally: Eyes: Hey Brain, there's a hand being raised, palm forward, shoulder height, no movement. What do you make of it? Brain: Seems like a high-five situation to me. Hey Hand, you better get up there and return it. Hand obeys because Hand does what he's told. Ears: Brain, he just said “Have a good”... Brain: “...night.” Hmm. OH! No Hand, NO HAND! STOP! Hand high-fives. Brain: *sighs* Not again. But you know who waves at me every time I see him? That's right, the SG.

About Breann:

I don’t like waiting for the crosswalk signal and only run if I’m late for the bus. I buy myself flowers every week because they make me happy. I have a terrible habit of putting two spaces after a period.

I have an irrational fear of spiders, but not snakes. I really dislike the feeling of velvet and the texture of oysters. I try my absolute best to focus on the positive, smile at drivers who let me cross the crosswalk and say good morning to the door guys at my office building.

Basically just trying to always be the best person I can be, while covering up the weird quirks until the 3rd date. At least.

Does that sound like an Okcupid profile? That’s because I copied and pasted it from my Okcupid profile.

Does it sum me up pretty well? Yep, this baby has gotten me about 25 bad dates and 2 good ones. That’s an 8% success rate, for those counting, and if that doesn’t scream “This person is an excellent judge of character”, then I don’t know what does.

More of Breann's work can be found at https://myoldstumblinggrounds.wordpress.com/

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Thank you, ACLU - A Guest Post from Fee de Merrell

Hello, friends! Over the next few weeks, I am away for my wedding and honeymoon, so I've invited some of my favorite writers to keep you entertained in my absence! Enjoy!! 

I have discovered that buying a house is not only hard on finances, it's also hard on one's sense of identity.  The prospect of home-ownership has revealed that I'm a despicable and fallible creature, that my so-called principles are worthless. And I have the ACLU to thank for this painful but necessary learning experience.  

It began with the drive bys (a phrase I found confusing until I realized it just meant driving by houses I might be interested in  - clearly I've spent too much time watching crime dramas and not enough discussing property investment). My real estate agent said, "Do some drive-bys before you commit" (which seems like sensible advice regardless of whether you're talking about homeownership or a life of crime).  

So I did some drive-bys. Have you ever wondered to what depths you'd sink if you were really pushed to the limit? How your values would hold up if you were teetering on their brink? I don't need to do that, because mine began to crumble on the first drive-by. If you asked me before, I'd have told you I embrace all people as equal, I challenge prejudice, and I never take my own privilege for granted. But as a potential homeowner, I suddenly saw everything and everyone as a threat or problem. Every house I drove by became a helpless target for the criminals of Connecticut. I no longer cared what social injustices might have pushed any of my theoretical criminals into a life of crime. I just saw danger on every street corner. "They" would be out to get me as soon as the moving truck left, they'd be watching me, checking my movements, breaking into my home, searching for non-existent valuables, and being unpleasant to my cat.   

And it wasn't just my woman-of-the-people image that was swept away while I drove-by. I was transformed from a reasonably optimistic-it'll-all-work-out sort of person, into a fear-driven-everything-I-do-will-inevitably-lead-to-ruin nut-job, imagining the worst, convinced that as soon as I committed the rest of my working life to thousands of dollars of debt, the roof of my new home would cave in, the furnace would stop working, and a sink hole would swallow up my house, leaving me and my cat homeless, penniless, and forever in debt.  

But that wasn't the end of my painful self-awakening, because the next thing I did was complete a spending plan worksheet. I thought I was doing this to see where I might have unnecessary expenses, but apparently I was doing it to see what a terrible human being I am. The section for fixed expenses wasn't so bad. After all, rent, car payment, utilities are all necessary and reasonable, and of course I had them. But when I got to the "variable expenses" section, the real me began to emerge from the depths of my psyche. I wasn't completely honest, of course (for example, I put zero dollars for the amount spent on clothes every month, because I decided then and there that I wasn't going to buy any new clothes, ever again, and apparently I'm also only spending $25 a month on going out to dinner or the movies, and you should bear that in mind if you're thinking of asking me out).   

Even with my creative accounting skills, all those variables added up to a whole mortgage payment. I needed to be ruthless. I looked at my monthly charitable donations and my TV subscriptions, and I decided to cancel everything except for causes (and TV shows) I really believed in. I cancelled my Netflix subscription (well, I say "cancelled" but Season Five of House of Cards was about to start, so I decided to cancel it after that. Definitely). I kept Hulu and Amazon. Planned Parenthood made the cut. The Obama Foundation was out (I felt kind of bad, but I figured they'd get along fine without me). And this is where it gets really bad. This is where it came to pass that I found myself trying to decide whether I should cancel my $10 a month donation to the ACLU, or my $10 a month subscription to the WWE pro-wrestling channel. I agonized. For five whole minutes. For reasons I won't go into here, I'm extremely attached to the WWE, but I'm also quite attached to constitutionally ratified liberties and freedoms.

So I googled "how do I cancel my donation to the ACLU?" And it turns out you can't do it online, you have to call someone in New York. Devious bastards. They'd found the bedrock of my principles. I was damned if I was going to talk to an actual human being at the ACLU and tell them I was cancelling my $10 a month donation, because they might ask me why, and although I'm a terrible person, I wouldn't be able to lie, which would mean I'd have to tell the truth, and I wasn't about to tell them that wrestling was more important to me than defending civil liberties.   

Reluctantly, I went instead to the WWE website, and felt a real sadness as I hit 'cancel membership'. They make it very easy. They don't insist you call Vince McMahon and explain to him why you don't care about wrestling anymore. They don't even bother putting a little box on the screen that says, "Are you sure you want to cancel?" They don't have to. They know you'll be back for the next pay-per-view event. I guess the ACLU doesn't have that luxury, but at least it's smart enough to realize it, and hang on to all those $10 donations from ethically compromised people like me.  

So thank you, ACLU, thank you for making me retain a shred of decency during this whole process, even if it did come from a place of fearing to expose myself as an asshole. Thank you for teaching me who I really am. And regardless of whether I ever become a homeowner, in the leafy suburbs or urban metropolis, I publicly vow never to cancel my donation to you. Unless I need the money for a new home security system. Or a new dress. Or therapy for me and my cat.

More of Fee de Merell's writing can be found at jaggedhead.com





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