Gym Vocabulary

My blog is all about personal anecdotes, and you may have noticed that lately my blog posts have been a bit sporadic  (if “sporadic” means non-existent).  Blame my whole lack of doing things or maybe blame the folks I’m around for carrying on like normal people are supposed to (“normal” as depicted on television, film, or a Norman Rockwell painting – all great sources of reality, and it’s actually quite mind boggling (dare I say disturbing?) that the people I know are behaving in such a way). Let’s face it, If someone isn’t methodically slamming their grocery cart into the back of mine repeatedly instead of saying, “excuse me” or you know, moving around my cart obstacle, it can be challenging to tease together a blog-worthy story.  (Ok, I suppose that guy never actually made it to the blog, but mostly because I wasn’t bolstered by a pitchfork carrying mob or in the presence of a bruiser of a bodyguard to shout, “get ‘im!”at.)

A few weeks back, a certain mouse suggested a blog post  based off a comment about the gym. I’m going to  run with that idea, since there’s only so much I can tell you about my photo appearing in the local online paper’s “A List” (it’s all about timing and a Santa hat) or going to see Postmodern Jukebox (YouTube video below).

Austin 360 – Conspirare’s Big Sing! Event

Anyway, back to the story about the gym.

Since I started actively going to the gym in August, I’ve learned that my trainer and I have very different understandings when it comes to the definitions of words.  I personally blame her Midwestern upbringing – maybe the harsher conditions or plain living affected her brain adversely.  Who knows? Granted, I realize that people outside of Texas may find this statement ironic or even scoff at the idea that Texans can actually get anything right (insert a few political jokes here), but I contend based on my limited interaction with this delightful Missouri native, that I have a better understanding of words – at least when it comes to adjectives.

On any given weekday I arrive at training dressed in my gym finery with my hair pulled back, holding my water bottle (lest I be stuck drinking spit as she’s suggested before), and exuding my pluckiest, “it’s 5:30am!!!!!” attitude, which may look like I’ve been hit in the face with a door repeatedly, but it’s an exceptionally plucky door.  On a couple of those days, I meet up with my trainer Jenn who always declares, “you’re going to LOVE what we’re doing today; it’s going to be so much FUN!” She somehow manages to deliver this news with a straight face every time.  Clearly, she’s not a person to be trifled with should a poker game break out (as you know they often can do in the middle of a gym).

This is usually where I tell Jenn, as she’s doing a little dance, because “fun” and “love” somehow also involve an impromptu dance or song, that I don’t think she understands the meanings of the words she’s using.  See, her idea of “fun” and “love” usually involve me temporarily losing my ability to move easily out of chairs for a day. On days where things are “super fun”, I lose that same ability to move easily for multiple days – maybe even a weekend.   Pitiful noises including tiny gasps and whimpering echo quietly through the office or house.  I dread “super fun” days. Thankfully, those days occur less often.  In fact, I haven’t had a true “super fun” day in months.  I don’t tell Jenn this in the event she gets worried we’re not having as much “fun” as we could.

Just recently a new word, “chipper,”  was added to her twisted vocabulary.  I wish she’d waited until she was a little more clear on “fun” and “love” before jumping into a brand new word, but what can you do? “Chipper” is very similar to those other words in that its definition is the exact opposite of what a normal person would expect.  You see, upon exploring the topic of a “chipper,” which is used as a noun of all things, I’ve learned you definitely won’t be anything close to “chipper” (the adjective) upon its completion. Instead, you can expect to be sweaty, exhausted, or even a little unsteady, but likely not chipper as what once passed as muscle becomes rubber, and you contemplate how long one can lay on the mat breathing heavily before others become alarmed.   “Chipper,” in her crazy upside down world, describes  a series of events designed to make you cry. I think “they” (the gym “man”) uses it as a way to lure you in – a good old fashioned “bait and switch” technique.  “Here Beth, we’re going to do something “fun”, you’re going to “love” it, it’s called a “chipper.”” A sentence that roughly translates to, “you will probably hate your life, but thanks to your early onset senility you’ll likely do this again and again, because hey we’ve called it a “chipper””.

I think they may be right. As I finished my chipper last week, and went about returning all of the various equipment (you see, a chipper also involves hoarding all loose gym equipment Smaug style, but said like “smog” instead of “sma-ooog” because that’s just silly), I passed by Jenn who cheerfully called out, “how did you enjoy that chipper?”  And I,  being sensitive to her vocabulary challenges, called back, “it was fun! I loved it! It was my favorite!” This prompted her to give me a thumbs up and misuse another word in response, “AWESOME!!”

I then took my “awesome” self back to the locker room ending another “awesome” moment at the gym.  Of course, tomorrow I’ll be back at it for more “fun,” more things I “love,” and ready for another day where I “chipper” my heart out even though the meanings of these words are a bit mixed up.

And now for some Postmodern Jukebox – a GREAT show!  Thanks to Ben for introducing me to them and April for going with me as part of my birthday month silliness.

LIfe Lessons from the Trailer Park

When last we chatted I believe I convinced you that I had in fact been born (remember that picture of a random baby? surely that was me – I hinted as such), and proclaimed that I “grew up” in a trailer park.  It turns out “growing up” encompasses approximately 3 years; I was a fast grower.

It also turns out (lots of things turning today) you can learn a lot about life in a trailer park in only a few years.  Here are a few of my take-aways:

  • Ponies are angry little equine jerks whose backsides should be avoided at all costs.  Just because you’re little and it’s little, and it has those impossibly big, inviting eyes doesn’t mean there’s a special bond.  The back-kick to the chest is not a love thump or thank you for the sweet sweet weeds picked with tender love and care.  Trailer ponies (a distinct breed) are treacherous, bi-polar, and should be avoided at all cost. Now when I see a pony I make sure to point at my eyes and then to theirs, so they’re keenly aware I’m watching them.  I then nibble on the carrots brought for the more lovely quarter horses (whose hind sides I also avoid) chewing slowly and defiantly.  Thank you pony for showing me the lay of the field when I was 5.  For the record “My Pretty Pony” is a pack of lies!
  • Ice cream men trailer park dwellers are much like ponies, but not as endearing.  You can read one of my first posts about how I tried to kill the neighborhood ice cream man at this age here:  Death to the Ice Cream Man   (trust me, he had it coming)
  • Trailer parks are a great place to discard your fresh deer carcass. Everyone loves driving by a bloody rib cage, and hey the dogs love to romp around with the lower parts of the legs.  I know my dog loved it!  
  • The single older gentleman who lives in the streamline up the way and offers up fudgsicles to you and your friend Rudy (if you’ll only come inside and sit with him a bit) is totally on the up-and-up despite what your mother says. “Don’t go over there anymore” clearly means, “it’s ok as long as I don’t know about it.” Good thing you are a pro at translating “Mom”.
  • The edges of the park are surrounded by mud that will suck the shoes off your feet (and your Mom’s).  Do not attempt to cross without an adult with strong legs and determination.
  • “Why did their trailer catch on fire?” “Insurance” makes absolutely no sense as an explanation when you’re 5.  However, the added words “and you and Rudy stay out of there, it’s dangerous” clearly means, “it’s ok as long as I don’t know about it.” Again, you’re a Mom translating pro!  Sadly, our legs were too short and the steps up to the trailer were removed after the burned-out husk was deposited in the nearby field, but it didn’t stop Rudy or I from looking in that fire gutted place on numerous occasions longingly.
  • People can get freaky about caterpillars (dude, it’s not an asp – I’m holding it my hand), but hey if you agree to throw it in the street, you’ll get a reward like another fudgsicle (assuming you’re not already full on fudgsicles from that friendly/lonely guy in the streamline).
  • Placing a swing set on concrete is a cruel idea.  You’re not a gymnast.  You were told not to play on it without an adult.  It’s best to suck in those tears over your cracked skull, because your Mom is going to be so mad if she finds out. Remember, everything is fair game as long as Mom doesn’t know.  But OUCH!!!!.  Again, I curse kid physics for the oopsie that led to the brain injury, but it does explain so much now.
  • Swarming yellow jackets are only slightly better than trailer ponies, and they’re infinitely better than unapologetic, dog-killing, ice cream men.  It turns out that if you unwittingly jump up and down on a piece of board laid over a cinder block, and beneath the aforementioned board is a yellow jacket’s nest, the occupants of said nest get a bit testy and swarmy.  The best thing to do in that situation is stand still-ish and scream until a parent runs into the angry swarm, scoops you up, and then tries to work through what to do next.  It turns out bleach is an amazing remedy.  Basic science: bases neutralize acid.  Another fun fact: wasp stings are alkaline; however, yellow jacket stings are in fact acidic.  This is also one of the few times you’ll hear me say that I’m glad I wore glasses at an early age. I had yellow jackets protesting the kid induced earthquake in my face, but my eyes were reasonably safe.  Jay recently (last weekend) noted my extreme distaste for yellow jackets when he offered to set a nest on fire, and I didn’t bat an eye.  “Yes, do that!” I cheered him on enthusiastically. Normally setting things on fire from a can sounds extremely dangerous and like something to be avoided at all costs.  I genuinely don’t advocate that kind of thing, but I balanced that against how I really despise yellow jackets (blame them and their early declaration of war on my body).  Anyway, as I said I don’t advocate it until a nest appeared underneath my BBQ pit, and it’s only by pure luck that I noticed it.  I had been thinking “let’s BBQ things! Carbon kissed veggies and meats!”  Had I not seen it, I would have disturbed the nest and Yellow Jacket-a-Geddon Part Deux would have been hosted on my face.  So yeah, burn that thing down. Also try not to let the can explode in your hand, but if that happens well sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good  (Please don’t tell my father. Wasps are useful. They play an important part in the larger ecosystem.  They help with mosquitos?  That’s what their PR worker bee/wasps claim at least.  We love them. Mmm hmm.  Now grab an aerosol can and a lighter.)  

There you have it,  a few of the  things I learned at an early age in our little corner of trailer heaven.  And people claim nothing good comes out of a trailer park. Hah!  Next up, ghost stories – the one and only time I saw a ghost, and how that started an after-life fight that’s still rages on.

Mr. Illiterate Wrong Tracks and His Jolly Dr. Pepper Spam-Eating Bride: An Autobiography

When I started this blog some 9 years ago (good grief) the main goal was to practice writing. If I could somehow amuse my family and friends then that was a bonus.  If I could force them to continue to read without amusing them (as I’ve managed to do), then that was like a super double bonus plus! Go loyalty! The focus or theme or what have you was to write-up anecdotes using the style I’ve always used – the “style” (I really feel that needs some air-quotes) being how I tend to write letters (now emails) to friends.  I’m all over the place – like this paragraph.  They never minded that bit, seemed to encourage it at times, “you write like you speak,” and thus you suffer. Shake your head at them.

I’ve been waiting for a good anecdote to share, but unfortunately an interesting one hasn’t really risen up.  I suspect it’s because I travel in the wrong circles.  That’s right friends, I’m calling you out – you and your clear lack of “right” circle-ness. There’s a geometry joke in there.  Ok, sure there was the one guy at the Humane Society last week.  His fit-pitching was fairly epic as I waited patiently(ish) to ask about a fluffy sole who was clearly calling to me behind the glass, but again not much of a story since I walked out without being helped. His fit had reached a new exciting blend of frustration and confusion over some fairly simple rules. (For the record, Humane Society rules are just not that hard, guy! You don’t have a permanent place for a cat.  One day you will, but that’s not today.)  I also managed to smash a joint on my thumb on the same day.  I keep insisting it’s purple and at least five times bigger than it was earlier in the day only to be asked by these so-called friends while comparing the thumbs side-by-side, “which thumb is it?” Uh, the big purple one!  (It’s purple on the inside?)  It still smarts – probably nerve damage.  It will likely have to be removed. Sadly, it happens to be the thumb I hit the space bar with. Soon my writing will be devoid of spaces.  Iapologizeinadvance.

So, in light of this writing lull and to keep practicing (because after 9 years there hasn’t been any noticeable progress)  I’ve resolved to write an autobiography of sorts.  I know, right?  Some of history’s most famous and infamous people have them and now we can add famous, infamous and Beth. It’s a literary milestone.

I’ll start off slow.  I don’t want to completely overwhelm you with the life and times of the lower middle-class all at once – the adventures of a monolingual speaker who has barely escaped the borders of their state much less the country.  Hey, there was that time I went to Canada.  Boy, talk about culture shock! Loonies and toonies – where do they come up with that stuff?

Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. (So I’m reminded in song.)

They claim this is a photo of me, but really it could be anyone. Parents, just because you wrote my name on the back doesn’t prove anything. I’m watching you!

I was born.  At least that’s what I’ve been told, and as proof I’ve been presented various papers and a book with a few photos documenting the event.  It’s all rather convenient and a bit suspicious if you ask me. Some of the photos show these youthful kidults who I can confirm did grow up to be my parents. They look a bit tired in the earlier pictures. I’m told they remained that way for approximately 18 years and then something inexplicable happened that made them look and feel lighter. I’ve never been able to identify precisely what changed, but it must have been fairly important.  Although, I admit I’ve seen the weight return over the years, which oddly corresponded with some big things in my life. Must be some sort of weird symbiotic thing.

Both of my parents were from Dallas.  Mom from Highland Park and Dad from South Oak Cliff.  If you’re familiar with Dallas, you understand the significance.  If you’re not, then to sum it up – Mom was born on the right side of the tracks (in fact those tracks aren’t even Dallas tracks, they’re tracks in their own city within Dallas) and Dad was born on the very wrong side of the tracks.  I later learned that many of Dad’s (and his family’s) numerous shortcomings had to do with his tracks (those shortcomings multiplied x10 each year post their divorce). I learned from Dad that people from the right side of the tracks (aka “your mother”) tended to marinate Spam in a lovely Dr. Pepper based sauce.  Dad wasn’t particularly good at lobbing insults.

I’m not really sure what initially drew them together.  Mom would say she thought Dad was smart, but was proven wrong; he was only social climbing – tricked her by claiming to read books. Clever guy! Dad said something along the lines of Mom was really nice and fun.  Bless his heart.

I’m personally from a trailer park in West Dallas.  Well, that’s probably not true.  My parents were both attending school when I was born, and I’m told we lived in Arlington.  There are more pictures that they claim  prove we lived there, but we could be any place, and I find these people somewhat sketchy.  I mean can you really trust Mr. Illiterate Wrong Tracks and his Jolly Dr. Pepper Spam-eating bride? (Just think, I am the product of that union; it actually  explains so much about my personality and my humor???)

Quick disclaimer to stop any gasping: I absolutely would tease my parents in this way.  In fact, I’m teasing Dad now.  Dad, you’re welcome!  To post a retort, I guess you’ll need to work on that new blog of yours.  Now you have incentive. You’re welcome, part two.

Next up, the trailer park! (In other words, I’m cutting this short and giving you a small reprieve.  There’s only so much “me” one should be forced to sit through in one day.)  And I’ll leave you with a little Julie Andrews, because I stupidly got this song stuck in my head where it is now firmly lodged.  I only have myself to blame.

Squirrely’s

During my summer vacation, which sounds more like a three month holiday away from school rather than a few days out of town, we decided to a make stop.  Truth be told, we made several along the way to New Orleans, because one of the more awesome traits I inherited from my mother (that did not include her looks, her unblemished skin, her fine features nor her athletic ability) was her bladder, which is exactly the size of a walnut.

We see the sign on the way to Houston for a place called Buc-ee’s.  Now I’ve never heard of this place and all I see is a gigantic, happy squirrel head on a sign accompanied by some bad puns.  Oh sure, it’s a beaver to the rest of you, but my brain wouldn’t let the whole squirrel thing go and try as I might to get it right, it stuck in my head that we were going to Squirrely’s.  April assumed I had to be familiar with Squirrely’s since it was a Texas thing.  It may be a Texas thing, but it’s never been on my Texas radar. You see my car only drives two ways – one is on IH35 north of Austin, the other is northeast to Nacogdoches.  Now before you think I’m a complete big box convenience store newbie, I had actually heard of and even been to both Love’s and Stuckey’s.  I’ve even been to Robertson’s in Salado on a number of occasions, but never a Squirrely’s.  Never heard of it.  So, it’s basically not my Texas, it’s someone else’s Texas.

We pull up and Squirrely’s is just huge.  I’ve never seen a Stuckey’s or a Love’s quite so large – it might compare to a mini Wal-mart (there is actually such a thing).  We go in and like the Tardis, it’s bigger on the inside and offers an assortment of everything.  It’s the kind of store where you become a little concerned you’ve stepped into a Grimm’s fairy tale and feel the need to worry that if you grab too much of whatever some cantankerous, hoarder hermitess (I cannot believe that word made it through spell check – who knew it was real) will grab you up then pop you into a special people cooking oven. My only comfort was the knowledge that I would avoid the oven, because well I’d like to see a hermitess try – I border on ”immovable object” – a good thing when facing down fairy tale cannibals.  Solid planning on my part! In the store is a wall of candy (you see the analogy here, right?), fresh fruits, snacks that involve cheese (ok, that’s my love of cheese shining through), sodas with special crunchy ice, computer stations to order fast food (I guess you can’t just walk up to a person an order), clothes, knick-knacks, do-dads, toys and 100 super clean bathrooms.

I took pictures and I walked out with a Squirrely puppet.  Of course I did.  I decided this little squirrel would have be included in the vacation. Being mid puppet show, it was obvious that this pairing of girl and squirrel were meant to be.  A friend of mine sent me a text post purchase, after I shared a photo of the Squirelly and me, basically asking, “how is it you’re more ridiculous than I am?” Oh young Jedi, it takes focus and dedication – years of being a ridiculous human, but I’m straying off topic.

Squirrely!

I start posting these ridiculous photos with this ridiculous squirrel (yeah, yeah, yeah beaver) and I discover there’s this whole crazy convenience store cult lurking among my Facebook friends that simply adore Buc-ee’s. PIcture the martians in Toy Story and “the claw”.  You could hear them all say the words in unison, “the Buc-ee’s” or 100 Homers saying “donuts”. You get the idea.  It was a bit eerie.  I was genuinely blown away by the envy pouring my way. Some were excited for me – hooray, she’s finally arrived at this consumer’s paradise. It was as if I had been transported to whatever place you find to be the most magical and it made my friend’s happy. Mine involves ornate outfits – the bigger the skirt the better, a gigantic library, and a lovely stroll-worthy garden. Oh, and access to all of our modern conveniences, because let’s face it if we go back in time people were rather stinky with bad teeth.  Plus, in this fantasy world I have pets and pets need good vets and also I’d like a recycling program in place – very important. Oh, and cheese.  Did I mention I’m a huge fan? Right, that’s my place – theirs was Buc-ee’s.  You would have thought, based on the ecstasy that followed the announcement that I’d been to the store and as the doors swished open angels began to sing.  It was crazy.

Now, I don’t mean to put down Buc-ee’s.  It’s a great place to stop.  It’s clean, the bathrooms are great, the ice is cheap, there are a ton of gas pumps, but it is a convenience store – a very large convenience store.

I do admit that on the way back home we did made another stop there (my request), because I just had to. I drank that Kool-aid.  When we did stop in again, a person dressed as Buc-ee (a happy gigantic squirrel if you’re me) was strolling the store. You could have your picture taken with him.  I did do this.  It was hysterical.  You will never see that photo, but know that Buc-ee hugged me.

I guess a small part of me has been inducted into the cult. Please don’t tell them I still think it’s just a large convenience store until I’ve studied their inner circle.  They don’t need to know that I don’t believe as some do that it might be the place where Greek heroes go after they die. (There are still Greek heroes, right? Zeus still catting around. I digress. I always digress.)

That’s my report.

Fifi & Mr. Pickles

Another shoot featuring one of my favorite people that was written, directed, and edited by another one of my favorite people, and filmed and sounded ummm soundified? soundied? by more of my favorite people.  And to get Executive Producer, all I had to do was offer up my garage (you’ll soon admire how fancy it is), eat cookies and occasionally shout out a line when needed (only occasionally… sometimes not at the right moment, but meh I made the credits! Go me!

You may remember this shoot was mentioned in a previous post where a crazy neighbor stomped on my porch and let us know she didn’t want this kind of thing in her neighborhood.   “…people popping up and down…”  The scandal!

Well, now you too can enjoy the scandalous shoot that shocked a neighborhood in all its scandalous glory.  Starring Holt Boggs & Jonathan Spear!

Writing, Lists and Other Random Thoughts

I promised myself that this year I’d write more. I didn’t promise I’d necessarily blog more, since I tend to wait on life to be randomly absurd before making a post, but I decided I’d write a few more sketches.  While I have managed to work on a sketch (just one while I think of a new one), I still feel like I’ve neglected my blog.  My excuse has been that life hasn’t thrown anything overly zany my way to warrant a solid post.  So, I’m in a bit of a writing limbo where I’m not writing and thus you get this thrown together post – some randomness from my head which will allow me to put a mark in my 2014 writing book that means “hey, I wrote a thing! Go me!  Kudos GIRL!”  I may high-five myself at the end – not because of the content of what I plan to write, but because I made words.

Without further ado…

One of the many things I hate about FaceBook is that every now and again someone will create a status update that outlines a peeve they have that serves as a general notice to their many friends – a warning.  For example, they’ll post a shared photo that points out how people use language or turns of phrases incorrectly.  Your job as a friend is to take heed and ideally respond that you are either of a like mind and equally offended by the foolish masses that clearly cannot use language or you confess to your own writing indiscretions and vow on bended knee to make changes.  On the one hand, it’s a fine way for you and your nearest and dearest to feel quite smug about your superior grasp of language (aka a bonding moment) and on the other it allows the huddled ignorant masses to see you as the bright shining beacon of intellectual superiority you always knew you were and genuflect accordingly (as is your due).  Thankfully you are content knowing both spoken and written English haven’t evolved since the first spoken word was, well, spoken.   I mean, who can’t read the works of Chaucer or the poem Y Gododdin without translation? Imbeciles!

Ultimately, I suppose I could care less about this. (That’s right language snobs, I threw down that gauntlet!)

By that same token, I also hate those lists people post of books you’re supposed to have read to be considered intelligent.  They usually invoke a line about how the British or possibly some British publication has actually made the list, so your job as a patriot is to show the British that you can read words on paper.  Now go ahead and substitute “British” for “you” since Snopes has fact checked the truth of that statement and found it to be false.  The British may suspect (and likely do) that we’re idiots, but they’re savvy enough not to put it in a major publication, which means I’m supposed to prove to you I’m well-read.  Here’s a fact: I will never read “Far from the Madding Crowd” nor will I read “Crime and Punishment” to prove to you I belong in your book club.  You’ll have to continue to love me for my belligerent idiocy.

So, I decided in honor of all of this recently getting under my skin, I’d make my own list of pet peeves that my friends can work their way down to see if they conform to my ideals of a good world citizen.  In my opinion being an offender of any of these makes you a lesser person and me better.

  • People who stand in line in front of me.  I don’t have time for you to shop.  I’ve got pressing things going on and need to leave before you. Your behavior is rude.  Move along.
  • People who enter an aisle at a store that I’ve claimed.  I’ve claimed it by being there.  Please peruse the end cap until I’ve exited the aisle.  Definitely, don’t snuggle up next to me. It’s too close to hugging and you’re not family.  I don’t want stranger hugs while I’m trying to locate the wheat flour.
  • People who drive near me and are not going the same speed, but are either going faster or slower.  The perfect speed is the one I’ve randomly chosen.  Please choose another road.
  • The word “cause” being used instead of “because”.  If you use “cause” please follow up with an “effect”.  I don’t want to be surprised when you start blurting out an excuse and I’m expecting something grammatically different.
  • Lottery-style games that are rigged against me.  If you’re going to give me the opportunity to win a Big Foot costume to promote the upcoming movie “Big Foot Wars”, then I want to win.  I don’t want to be in a pool with others and you draw one of their names. Don’t make me angry at statistics. This holds true for my chances of winning an autographed book by Josh Gates (host of “Destination Truth” as you know) and any other drawing I’ve recently entered.
  • People who make me take knitting classes with them when knitting classes are up there with poke-myself-in-the-eye classes on a perfectly good Sunday like today.  Especially those same people who ditched the Special FX makeup class I signed us up for, which was by all accounts (made by me) a better class. By better, I mean “cooler”.  This is a random item on my list. Honest. A hypothetical. I’m not stuck in a knitting class today as 2 1/2 hours of my life drains away.
  • People who don’t appreciate how much I typo in a blog and don’t understand that it will take me reading a post through at least 50 times before I catch most of my errors.  This quirk makes my blog charming.
  • People who make ridiculous lists and expect people to live up to their standards.  Wait… ummm….

Red Kryptonite

Some time ago I was brought into an informal meeting to talk about my future.  Since this was a casual thing, I decided it was safe to not have my “interview guard” up – to be me.  You know if I’m mentioning it at the start, then it’s probably foreshadowing.  I kind of bumbled into the office, as I sometimes do, flopped down and smiled goofily around the room.  Then the questions started.  Note: treat the parenthesis like a thought bubble – anything in between them, I thought but I didn’t say.  It’s the ones outside of the thought bubble that you should, “dear God!” about.

Supervisor: Beth, what would you say your biggest strength is?

Me: Uhh… communication! (Yes, that’s a solid answer; I’ll go with that one).  Yes, communication.  I’m also skilled at working with difficult people. (This is true, some of the most difficult, crunchy, grumpy, angry jerks come flop in my cubicle. They bring me presents from their vacations, send me cute notes, think about me over the holidays and won’t miss a beat to growl at others while saying hello to me.  I use my goofiness and curiosity about people as my tools to work with them. So, not a bad answer.)

Supervisor: What would you then say is your biggest weakness?

I hate this question.  The trick to it, that you already know, is to make that weakness a positive.  I typically go with, “I find it challenging to work with people who don’t work as hard as I do.”  I don’t really have a hard time with those kind of people, but I can’t say, “I’m glad you asked.  It’s sugar! Cute animals.  I mean holy cow, they’re cute! Memorizing lines for my next sketch show. Rock climbing. Oh, and not yawning in post-lunch meetings.  Hey! I’m digesting people! Wait, that sounds like I’ve eaten people.  Make that, “Hey! I’m digesting, people.” Better.”  I paused a bit.  I really didn’t have my interview game on and my mind was racing around trying to remember what that thing was I always said when asked this question. “Make it a positive Beth, make it a positive!”

Supervisor: Is it kryptonite?

Me (straight faced): Well, it’s actually red kryptonite.

Supervisor: It’s the worst.  Any problems with blue?

Me: Not that I’m aware of, but I really hate the one that turns you into a baby.  It can make things awkward.

Supervisor (making a note on my résumé): So, biggest weakness is red kryptonite.  Anything else?

Me: My terrible sense of humor.

And that’s really what I said in an informal, yet crazily awesome interview.  Oh, and I should mention that I may have also asked if I was going to be cyberstalked, because much like kryptonite you see how that could easily come up in interview.