Sunday, December 04, 2005

Impure as the driven yellow snow; Reflections of a converted blogger

You must be advised, I’m writing this with a fever and nothing but Maximum Strength Tylenol Flu Non-Drowsy Gelcaps in my belly. Enjoy!

I always regarded these public writing forums not unlike nudist colonies. Nudist colonies are similar in the sense that they are filled with people I don’t want to see naked, just as these are equally filled with people I don’t want to see writing.

I didn’t attend many dances in high school and livejournal is much to blame for that. Let me explain: The wicked cute boy on the soccer team I’d been crushing on like, finally asked me out and I was so, so psyched. Those were the only details I should have known about him—he was cute and played soccer, no more, no less. But I made the unfortunate mistake of visiting his livejournal where I learned the following things:

a. He was still very much in the process of learning proper English
b. “Blonde jokes” and “fat chick jokes” were his source for all things humorous
c. His only real ambition in life was to acquire x-ray vision
d. KFC was his favorite fast food chain, if he had to choose
e. WORST OF ALL: George W. was his hero

Needless to say I had to cancel our date and explain once again to my parents it wasn’t me who was depressed, it was the other kid’s lives that were depressing. The livejournal waste of space exposed so many writers that should have stayed in their clothes. But like a nudist colony, people voluntarily flaunted their foolish opinions and reveled in all the tedious minutia of their meaningless lives. Livejournals revealed the lack of brain cells in the popular crowd and made it very difficult for me to have a crush on the quarterback and aspire to be the cheerleader.

Livejournals mostly disappeared when I came to college and were replaced with online photo albums, like myspace and facebook. There is one thing I can’t deny—20 something’s make better models than writers, so my dating experience has much improved and I don’t have to learn people’s dim-witted opinions until the second or third date.

Now I have had the chance to test myself and see how I fare on artificial internet paper. Many good laughs and few typos later I have to say I enjoyed this experience thoroughly and would totally date myself after reading this, kidding. Writing gives me the power to reminisce and put my life into a bigger perspective. Sharing goofy personal stories from my past allows me to understand the higher powers that surround me.

I am so pleased that I chose the American Dream to explore because it allowed me to indulge my quirky and fun side, while slipping in some of my own political ideologies. I’m not quite sure how much insight I offer to the American Dream, but it was fun trying. There would be times I’d have a pile of studying to do for other classes, but blogging was too much fun to stop. I could also be having the worst day until I wrote an entry. There was however disheartening writer’s block and fear of exposes my ugly words to the world. I learned the less I wrote, the more writer’s block I had. I owe a lot of my inspiration to both my other classmate’s blogs (I was reading em the whole time) and a blog I discovered randomly while perusing the bloggy world I have grown to love.

I found the other classmate’s blogs to be enjoyable because I could always relate to them and found I was in the same boat much of the time. I wish I had opened a line of communication with the other bloggers, but I'm heiress to a shyness. Dooce.com is the other blog I read regularly throughout the semester whenever I needed a little kick in the butt. Dooce, or Heather Armstrong, really proved to me women can be strong writers, while still being their hilarious and exuberant selves. Because she never talked about anything related to my blog, it was nearly impossible for me to her ‘crops’. But seriously, check her out.

I look forward to blogging in the future and will be relieved to use swear words once in awhile. Blogs seem to be the perfect arena to express things only I think are funny and sarcastically perfect in their form. I especially like titling the entries and would often only write an entry because I thought the title was funny. I don’t know where to take it, but my mom enjoys it and making mummy happy is always a goal.

Although, my mom could be lying and this could just be another case of the emperor’s new clothes in the nudist colony.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Technicolor American Dream Coat

Evidently the American Dream is not only a concept, it’s in style. I was in the library today and sitting next to me was a student wearing a very curious t-shirt. Before he could escape I scribbled down the words on the t-shirt, ran to the computer to Google it and left the poor kid wondering why that weird girl was staring at him. Google had no trouble finding the shirt because Google knows all (BTW what happens if you Googled, Google? Sorry, last time I say Google, promise).

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a picture of the shirt and also a chance to buy it on eBay! And you save a dollar! For those of you without linking capabilities (Hi, Mom) and because eBay listings have a shelf life (while my blog will endure for all times), the words on the shirt read:

“Grind, Hustle, Double-Up, Flip, Stack, Get Your Weight Up, Save, Cop, Invest, Recop, Reinvest, Own Your Own Business, Buy Property, Invest, Build Credit, Stay Determined, Stay Focused, Stay Dedicated and Keep Laundered Money.”

Above the words is a dollar bill encased in plastic. The shirt I saw was cooler though; it was a $100 bill in the little plastic pocket, which if my calculations are correct, would go for at least $114.99 on eBay.

Have we run out of ideas? We are resorting to advertising MONEY on our shirts. Get out of the rock you’re living under, loose the Nike swoosh and those Calvin Klein brimmed boxers (or briefs Bill Clinton), you’re company just isn’t worth showing off. Money is the new brand. But buying money with money was never the idea. Who will profit from that? I’ve also reached a point where I can’t afford to put a dollar on my shirt; I need that to do the laundry.

My shirt will say: Keep Laundry Money. I’m sure you didn’t see that one coming.

I guess this fashion inspired approach to the American Dream is hipper than that über patriotic stint Americans endured after 9/11. And by über patriotic I’m not talking about a yellow ribbon around the oak tree or even an American flag pin. I’m referring to the bizarre craze when people were dressing up their miniature daschunds in Uncle Sam costumes and having them go #2 on pictures of Osama Bin Laden. Here are some creepy images that brought me back to that time:

The Eagle has landed
This one is creepy for other reasons, too.
Yikes

Rosie the Riveter has definitley proven to be the coolest American Dream marketing scheme.

BTW I Googled "Google" and the internet did not decombust as I originally thought it would...actually really cool things come up like Google Moon images: http://moon.google.com/

Jeopardized before the final round

So there I was sitting in my very first boyfriend’s living room with both of his parents discussing upcoming holiday plans, when his father interrupted me mid-sentence, clicked on the TV and said, “We’re missing Jeopardy!” That moment launched the demise of both the evening and my relationship with my boyfriend. The first few minutes of the show transpired in a relatively normal Jeopardy watching fashion; everyone shouted out answers and received the appropriate praise when their answer was correct. Before long though, my boyfriend and his father stopped shouting answers and begun shouting curse words…at each other.

Being that the only other person in the room not participating in the family feud was the mother, I looked to her to relieve the prickling sensation running up my spine, a sensation I hadn’t felt since I overcame my fear of elevators. To my dismay, she was in the kitchen and had transformed into a coffee making, cheese and cracker preparing robot, anxiously humming Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” NO I CAN’T.

The trivial pursuit nightmare ended when my boyfriend stood up and told his father, “Dad, I don’t blame you for taking American History in the Stone Age, but I do blame you for being a complete **BEEEEP**! C’mon Lisa.” He reached out his hand, inviting me to follow him and we stormed out of the house together. I regard that experience the closest I’ve come to James Dean yelling, "You're tearing me apart!” to his parents in Rebel Without a Cause.

Me: I’ll take ‘Lessons to learn from awkward moments for $200,' Alex.

Alex Trebek: Run like the wind.

Me: What should I have done immediately following the Jeopardy debacle?

The key difference I failed to notice of course was that my boyfriend was no rebel and definitely no James Dean. He was really a hypercompetitive donkey head that even argued with his 9-year-old brother about the authenticity of professional wrestling. If that doesn’t make the coo-coo clock chime in your head, take my final words to him: “No, for the last time I do not want to bet on who will be prom queen and I don’t want to see you ever again.” Every aspect of his life revolved around competition and if competition wasn’t involved it wasn’t worth doing. And he had a temper to boot.

It was obvious his father was to blame because he seemingly provoked this behavior and even told me his son’s ‘competitive edge’ will make him a good stock broker or banker or something. The problem was he mistook his son’s so-called competitive edge for really a freaking edgy personality. I don’t know what his father’s profession was but I know his life involved business suits and an overactive interest in game shows.

His whole existence was reeking with cliché American Dreamism and his son had fallen victim. These hypercompetitive, cut throat personalities seem to misunderstand the American Dream and aren’t aware that it doesn’t necessarily mean compete or death do us part. If that is the American Dream, is it even worth it? I like a little competition here and there, but it doesn’t take death or a near equivalent to satisfy me; a little mortification is plenty of reparation and I can go months, years without another shred of it. Certain personalities though, treat every moment like the Gladiator and I can only worry when I think how my the ol’ boyfriend is fairing in college.

Well, in truth he’s probably faring well. I’m sure he took to the college admissions process like a fish to water, for it is one of the most competitive industries in the nation right now. I found this article in the Seattle Times and it showed many signs of my old boyfriend. The article is mainly about a college admissions advisor who quit his job and wrote a book about the hyper-competitiveness of what he calls the game of college admissions. This excerpt made me especially reminiscent of my old boyfriend:

"Driven students now have to ace 20 Advanced Placement classes, score 800s on all the SAT sections, get voted MVP, write a concerto for the bassoon, preside over the student body, intern with Nelson Mandela, build huts in East Timor, develop a vaccine for the avian bird flu — in short, save the world by the time they're 17. Who has time to hang out in Dick's parking lot sipping schnapps from a Nalgene bottle? These kids are Pink Floyd's automatons."

Don’t get me wrong, seeking to achieve great things is at the core of my being. What else really is there? But articles like this remind me of the intolerable personalities that thrive in these sort of surroundings and have no real interest in any aspect of the game, except the competition. We risk disfiguring the minds of young people; teaching them how to get into college instead of giving them the passion care about what they learn in college.

A study was recently conducted about the nature of hyper-competitiveness and they found the personality type was also linked to “obsessive compulsiveness, narcissism, neurosis and sometimes a dose of paranoia.” Those all sound like pretty American qualities to me, so where’s the problem? Well according to the article it can easily spin out of control and cause major harm to the person and the people surrounding them. The LA Times article chronicles some of the findings:

"We define the American dream as people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps," says Steven Eickelberg, a Paradise Valley, Ariz., psychiatrist who specializes in the psychology of high-performance competitors and whose clients include high-profile athletes and business executives. "But how many people do we walk over to be successful? When is this kind of competition admirable, and when is it pathological?"

For future suitors…don’t walk this way if those are the boots you be wearing. I’m the girl that suggested “high school naps” to the school president when I was 16.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Shrink Wrap: The Remix

During the early 1990’s, a time I like to call “Lisa vs. Nature: The Growth Spurt Years,” I made several pathetic attempts to shrink myself. Most of my inspiration was derived from Alice in Wonderland and the mysterious shrinking devices that allowed her to fit through the tiny door. No need to detail my failed efforts, but to give you an idea most of them involved a washer machine and Saran wrap. I considered myself locked out of Wonderland and just like Alice; all I could do was cry myself a pool of tears.

Countless identity crises have come and gone but insecurities about my height make an appearance at least once a week, despite the fact I barley exceed a relatively average 5’9’’ and I’m really good at basketball (and have a license to toot my own horn). My impressive basketball skills probably come as no surprise; tallness and basketball share a harmonious bond for the obvious reason that the basketball hoop is 10 feet off the ground. My skills however, were not NBA worthy for the obvious reason I just wasn’t that skilled and nowhere near being able to dunk.

Or maybe my shrinking contraptions worked after all and were actually detrimental to my professional basketball career. The average NBA player is a lofty 6’7’’ and that pretty much makes me petite. But odds can be defied—or so I assumed.

Even though I am the furthest thing from a NBA enthusiast I still couldn’t help but marvel at the 7’5’’ Chinese basketball player, Yao Ming. As this article from TheGateway.com points out, the average Chinese male is 5’6’’, which makes Yao nearly 2 feet taller then the typical male from his country. He certainly caught my eye and after reading Yao Ming: the world’s greatest human, I can see I wasn’t the only one.

But there is more to this story than what catches the eye, as I recently learned, a whole lot more. It turns out Yao was no happy accident—Brook Larmer’s new book, Operation Yao Ming explains why the government, not a miracle is responsible for his tall stature. Yao was the product of a marriage arranged by governmental officials with the intention to breed a basketball player. Evidently his parents, both over 6’, were basketball players and acquaintances during their career. The Chinese government knew of them and in an effort to heighten their economic stature in the global economy, persuaded them to breed and have tall children. When Yao was born he was immediately thrusted into a life of training to be a professional basketball player. Source: Onlyagame.com

Unlike Alice or myself, there was no room for an identity crisis of any kind because he was not afforded an identity to begin with.

Operation Yao Ming represents the meeting of capitalism and communism. No where in America could the government arrange a marriage and certainly not on the basis of sports. In communist China, no where could a basketball player make millions of dollars promoting McDonald’s. He is the hybrid of the two worlds and both are making sure to cash in. I find it so strange that this creation, which is inherently Chinese communism, can so effortlessly foster under the terms of the American Dream. He did work hard and follow dreams, but they weren’t his dreams and it wasn’t his work. What warped version of the American Dream is this? I have more questions than answers. Is his assimilation a good thing? Or is this an issue of human rights before an issue of integration?

I correct myself; this effort is anything but effortless. This Financial Times article points out that Yao is still somewhat anchored to China:

If Yao was going to the NBA, the Sharks – and other bits of China’s sports-industrial complex – wanted the millions. The negotiations lasted forever. The upshot is that Yao, now with the Houston Rockets, is paying the Sharks between $8m and $15m of his lifetime earnings, with other bucks going to the China Basketball Association.

I pose but one more question...

Is Yao a free man?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Last (entry before I eat) Supper

After officially being potty-trained, my parents decided it was about time I be introduced to the Church. Good timing if you ask me—because really, who wants to smell a stinky diaper while repenting their sins before the eyes of God? Talk about PEW! And it wasn’t until around the time I started getting chronic zits all over my face that my parents decided it would be time for me to forget the Church—because really, even if he tried, Jesus couldn’t even cure the acne I had going.

During that time frame I learned a decent amount about the Bible, embarrassed myself in front of numerous priests, and discovered it’s really hard to sit still for an hour. I feel it would be rather audacious of me to sit here and denounce organized religion, but thou shall know I’m glad I escaped it when I did.

What I miss most about religious conviction was the scheduled praying sessions that allowed me to thank Mummy and Daddy and President Clinton for all the good they did, yes Bill Clinton. I wouldn’t say I became an ingrate after I stopped praying, but in recent years my mother has had to write and sign all of my Thank You notes. Luckily though, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and soon after that will be New Years, so I can resolute to be a more appreciative person! Holidays are opiate of the ungrateful a---…never mind, but the word I’m looking for here rhymes with “masses.”

I feel as though my parents, two irreligious pragmatic souls, put me in Sunday school and made me bend my knees on that pew because they wanted at least some morality of the Church to seep in. The Bible, for whatever you believe, is a piece of literature worth reading and offers a lot if virtuous advice that is worth seeping in. Or maybe Sunday school was a way to save money on day care.

In the modern American Dream, in my experience, children are not raised to forever be God-fearing people. People are discouraged from getting married and having children at a young age and I must have taken at least three sexual education classes in high school. Many of my friends were also pulled out of organized religion by their parents before they reached high school. But there must be a reason they introduce us to it in the first place, right? A demand for those traditional values still exists in out modern American Dream, even the most unholy of households. Even the Simpsons make it to church, who's marqee has read anything from "NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SALVATION" to "GOD, THE ORIGINAL LOVE CONNECTION."

Never the less, whatever those values may be or however strong the demand is, they have and will never have a place in schools. That is why President Bush’s endorsement of the ‘link. The Intelligent Design theory is in opposition to Darwinism and evolution and holds that there is an “intelligent” cause behind the construction of our universe (i.e. creationism). From my understanding their only ‘scientific’ evidence of this science can’t explain everything. Scientists were never handed a book of answers. They are on a constant journey of discovery. We used to think the stars were Gods but scientists, over time, proved that fiery bushels of gas.

But according to a recent poll, more Americans believe in creationism than in evolution. Check out the article or at least look at this shocking data from angus-reid.com:

Humans evolved naturally: 23%
God caused humans to evolve: 17%
God created humans in six days: 54%
Don’t know: 6%

Now if only the nuns had told me "everybody's doing it"...

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's pronounced Kam-oooooo

"Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being," Albert Camus

An appropriate quotation on an appropriate day. Albert Camus, one of the most prominent writers of the 20th century, would be 92-years-old today.

Although I wholeheartedly wish Camus a "Joyeux Anniversaire," his words are relevant not because of his birthday, but because today marks the 11th day of rioting in the streets of Paris and surrounding suburbs. In the country where Camus himself once resided, riots broke out following the death of two French teenagers of African decent who were electrocuted after running away from the police. There is much debate about whether or not the police are to blame for their deaths. I have no final say on such a matter—here is a link to a more detailed account of their deaths.

A riot usually stands for more than what initially prompted it and this is no exception. French immigrants and those of immigrant decent live in areas where unemployment rate is upwards of 40% and average wages and income are 75% of national wages. Through government policy and structure, Paris has remained closed to minorities and immigrants for nearly half a century. These policies include building codes that restrict Paris from building high-rises, which creates residential segregation. There is no denying that residential segregation based on race, ethnicity and national origin will lead to poverty. France has also exhibited discrimination when they enacted a ban on religious symbols in public schools, such as Muslim headscarves, despite the fact they have the largest Muslim population in Europe. Here's the full story.

In 'Deep Roots of Paris Riots,' The Christian Science Monitor details the current economic and social state of France. They say:

"The ugly, often poorly maintained blocks of public housing that have become a nightly battlefield are testament to 40 years of government policy that has concentrated immigrants and their families in well-defined districts away from city centers, as housing there became more expensive."

And also:

"… Mr. Sarkozy [the Minister of the Interior] referred to youths in the projects recently as "scum," pledging a "war without mercy" against them."

In light of the riots, as oxy-moronic as this may sound, I can't stop thinking about the treatment of American Immigrants. It is impossible to avoid stories in the media that magnify the conventional "immigrant who came to America with nothing and succeeded" story. Immigrants act as outlets to tell the story of the ideal American Dream. They serve as direct evidence that the American Dream recipe works. But interestingly enough, this notion may not be a myth. According to the Boston Globe's article, 'The Problem of Poverty,' those who immigrate to America may have more access to the American Dream than those who are actually American.

"Many immigrants start from scratch when they come to the United States, and succeed in rising out of poverty. For them, the American dream is not a myth. Data from the Urban Institute show that while recent immigrants in 1980 and 1990 were twice as likely as native-born Americans to live in poverty, this disparity disappeared for immigrants who had lived in this country for 10 years or more. (In fact, in 2003, according to the Census Bureau, immigrants who were naturalized US citizens had a slightly higher median income than native-born citizens.) This success story includes black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa, who on average earn substantially more than native-born African-Americans."

We evidently have a very different setup than France if our immigrants are able to earn high incomes and receive equal opportunities. The notion that black immigrants are able to earn more than African-Americans reveals that we treat our natives with less respect than those who immigrate. That is probably why the most significant riots in the U.S. erupt after African-Americans fall victim to police brutality.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Teenage Mutant Reverse Snob

During my fateful teen years, I had a somewhat foolish but amusing outlook on life. It was my belief that in order to live a fulfilling life one must experience complete deprivation and hardship. In my suburbanite brain, this precisely meant living in the apartment version of a hellhole, fully equipped with cockroaches, leaky pipes and car alarms blaring all through the night. It also meant working X amount of hours for -.0000000X amount of dollars. And on top of everything else, it meant paying for laundry. To be brought down by ‘the man’ was to be a person of character and integrity.

This was probably because ‘the man’ had treated me pretty well up until that point. When Mom would buy me Gap jeans, I would rip holes in the knees. Instead of blonde highlights in my hair, I had an overgrown knot on my head I masqueraded as a dreadlock. These material forms of expression represented my character and appreciation for others’ suffering. I had it all and was able to dismiss ‘the man’ when I wanted to, always aware that I could always come home to warm, welcoming house. If you do not know what I mean, just imagine Joan of Arc, take away the God and the martyrdom and add in a well-off suburban kid begging to be on the show “What Not to Wear.”

My professor recently brought this article to my attention and asked our class to comment on it. The teenage girl in the article and her disregard for all things with a price tag is a pretty accurate portrayal of the current state of our generation. A generation, born and raised on Napster and MySpace, that would be damned before they paid a dollar for Beyonce’s new single.

Reverse snobbery strikes again. I assume that the daughter of a New York Times writer is more or less an affluent person, as are most people I know who reap the benefits of these freebies, including myself. So I pose the question: what do we even know about expenses and price tags? I also wonder what in God’s name we do with that extra $15 we would have spent on the new Beyonce album. I’d be lying if I told you my personal bank account has expanded whatsoever as a result.

Naturally I justify this repeatedly to myself by blaming the ‘the man,’ that unseen entity in the sky I just love to hate. Napster emerged approximately the same time I was growing an infatuation with punk rock music. My punky friends and I all agreed; the filthy record companies were overcharging for CD’s and free music was the most punk rock thing since selling pizza by the slice. Now, when I read free newspapers I can tell myself “Hey, if ‘the man’ can’t beat us, he’s gonna to have join us.”

But ever so often, when I lying awake in bed, I feel an extreme sense of panic. The article says, “Only suckers pay for content.” Does that also mean only suckers will pay people to produce content? I enjoy working in a coffee shop, I really do, but at some point, I was hoping to stop burning my fingers on the espresso machine and earn a living as a writer. I might be going to punk rock hell for this statement but, where’s ‘the man’ when you need to be paid for creativity? I’ve paid my dues for laundry and all I got was this lousy clean shirt.

The Futile Pursuit of a blog about the American Dream (Hardcover)

One of my favorite out there and on the road journalists Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, recently released a new book so related to the theme of this blog I feel compelled to put down my moot court assignment and pick it up. The new book, Bait and Switch : The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, explores the "destination: unknown" state of White Collarites in America. It chronicles the often-futile job hunt college grads face when they attempt to break into administrative world. What would our co-op advisors say about this?

Here's a kind of long exceprt from the book:

"There’s all sorts of useful information being offered, which I struggle to commit to my notebook. Ask people to give you their contacts, and when they do, write them thank you notes by hand, on nice stationary. Get a fountain pen; ballpoint won’t do. If you can’t get a real interview, at least ask for a 20 minute “contact interview” aimed at prying contacts out of people. Write to executives who are profiled in business publications and tell them what their company needs at this stage, which is, of course, you. Tell them how you’re going to “add value” to their firm. “Stand out. You’ve got to be the banana split.” Wear a suit and tie or female equivalent at all times, even on weekends, and I pick up a warning glance here: my sneakers have been noted. Network everywhere. One fellow landed a job thanks to networking at a 7/11 on a Saturday morning; luckily he had been fully suited up at the time."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Nancy Drew and the Secret of the White Bathroom Fixture

There are few things in this world I avoid more than public restrooms. A considerable amount of my time at Northeastern has been spent tracking down, mapping out and staking a claim on unfrequented campus bathrooms. I do apologize, but because what I desire is empty bathroom stalls, I cannot share my meticulous catalog with you.

But before the 'WARNING: ANAL RENTENTIVE GERMAPHOBE!' alarm sounds in your head, let me tell you germs play no role in this tale. It was a mere circumstance of wondering off from my 3rd grade class that produced this neurosis. In a sly attempt to use the restroom on a field trip to the science museum, an idea my elementary school teacher would have shuddered at, I inadvertently stumbled on my first urinal.

Well, three urinals to be exact and next to them was sink and two bathroom stalls. Being only about four and half feet tall, the urinals towered over me and devoured my every bit of attention (probably because I had spent the past three hours looking at model airplanes). After a period of fixed staring and stupefaction, the bathroom door started to open. In fear of my teacher I leaped into one of the stalls and locked the door.

Two male voices resonated through the bathroom and it was then I realized I was in the wrong bathroom. I crouched on the toilet seat and listened in on their whole conversation, hoping to catch an explanation as to what the unidentified porcelain object (UPO) was. This was my first brush with espionage and my efforts proved to be futile. All I learned from the male’s discussion was the upcoming television schedule for that night and some fine points about hair gel.

Returning to my classmates, like Madeline to Miss Clavel, I was certain I had discovered something unknown to every other female on the planet. Being at an age when girls first realize boys are completely different and weird creatures, I decided urinals were the site of all male gathering. There on mighty porcelain thrones, males socialize, make decisions and hold meetings. No wonder all the presidents were male! This notion made me tremendously jealous and female bathrooms would never measure up. Their grass was greener, way greener and it didn’t sit well with me.

Being a future journalism student, I commenced an investigation. To make an inappropriate story short, through my research I learned what the urinals were really for and let me assure you, all of my jealousy subsided. Following the humiliating experience, I grew an intense hatred for public bathrooms and found myself always waiting until I returned home to use the bathroom, which caused many problems while on vacation in Disney World.

The notion of ‘greener grass’ has been a constant source of jealously and insecurity throughout my life. Whenever I think people have it better then I do, I commit crazy senseless acts that would probably make you nauseous, because in truth my grass is pretty darn green. The American Dream does compel people, even people with green grass, to look at other’s lives as preferable to their own. The only reason I wanted a urinal in my bathroom was because I didn’t have one in my bathroom, not because I needed one. I often have to remember the urinals and remind myself the green, luscious grass on the other side is not worth my frustration. The grass is an illusion.

But then again maybe there are more to urinals then what meets the eye; last year a URINAL was voted most influential piece of modern artwork. Frankly, I'm a little jealous.