If you have to say you are …you aren’t

Back in the day when I worked in insurance investigations, I had this supervisor who gave me some good advice. Specifically, he said the following;

“If they tell you they’re nice, they’re a dick. If they tell you they’re religious, they haven’t seen the inside of a church since the last time their mom made them go. If they tell you they’re honest, they’ve already started lying.”

At the time, I had a good laugh about it. He was a jaded dude who’d been in the insurance industry far too long, so he was used to people sucking. But as time went on, I realized he was right. If you have to tell someone you are something, it’s because you aren’t.

As an example, let’s take a look at the following message.


Yes, a dude who claimed to have an IQ on par with Einstein’s was incapable of spelling ‘biology’—or holding a conversation without resorting to that obnoxious role play thing that 11-year-old weeaboos do.

Also, before you tell me it’s satire – if you have to tell someone it’s satire, it’s not. It’s you saying something stupid, getting called out and then trying to backpedal by calling it satire.

I bring this up because I think we need to start calling people out on their bullshit. I see a lot of these “my IQ is (insert some ridiculous number)” posts online but what I don’t see is people calling them out on it. Just a simple “no, it isn’t” would satisfy me.

Because no, that’s not your IQ. It’s a number that you made up to sound impressive or one given to you by one of those scam online degree sites. Either way, the fact that you drop the whole “my IQ is (insert some ridiculous number)” statement is actually what convinces me you’re an idiot. Smart people don’t have to tell the world how smart they are. They just do smart things like inventing nuclear energy or curing polio.

Same goes for being nice. If you have to tell someone you’re nice, it’s because you’ve never actually done anything nice to convince them you are. Doing the bare minimum to maintain your status in society does not qualify as being nice. For example, no, I would not punch a baby. This is not because I’m a nice person. It’s because it’s what people expect of me to maintain my space in a civilized society. Otherwise, yes, I probably would have punched at least one baby. To that baby — you know what you did.

On the other hand, I once knew a dude who gave up a well-paying career as a police detective so he could move himself and his entire family to the Ukraine to open an orphanage. During the entire process, he never once mentioned how nice he was.

Weird how that works.

Also, while we’re at it, stop trying to give yourselves degrees you haven’t earned. I once had a Walmart cashier tell me “I have a PhD level vocabulary” with a completely straight face.

You know how you know you have a Masters or PhD level knowledge?   You spend $90,000 and 200 classroom hours learning it. If you think that your life experience is transferrable as college credit, then there’s something called DANTES that you can use to get that credit.

Unless you actually have a degree from an accredited university, you don’t have a Masters or PhD level anything. Stop saying you do. It just makes you look stupid and it undermines the hard work of those who have actually spent the time and the money getting those degrees. It’s like me saying I’m a forensic psychologist because I like to watch “Criminal Minds.”

So before you tell someone you’re smart, or religious, or nice, ask yourself this. “Have I actually done anything that proves what I’m about to say?” Most often, the answer is no.

Because if you have to say you are, you aren’t. Those that are, they just do.

What’s “Literary?”

One thing I’ve found that is universally true is this – people lie about the books they read. Ask anyone what they’re reading right now and they won’t tell you the truth. They’ll tell you the thing that makes them sound smart or makes them look good.

Back before Kindle, I was taking an art class. Because it was art, we had a lot of time on our hands, so some of the students would bring in books to read. The girl who sat next to me was reading “Angela’s Ashes” – or so I thought. Because one day, I picked up the book, flipped it open and said, “you know, I heard great things about this book.” Before she snatched it out of my grasp, I saw the title page.

“The Greek’s Pregnant Mistress.”

Yeah, she actually took the cover of “Angela’s Ashes” and pasted it on the front of a Harlequin Romance to disguise it. Not that I can blame her. I eventually read the real version of “Angela’s Ashes” and it really could win an award for “Most Depressing Book Ever.” Can’t blame her for choosing a bodice ripper over that.

Also, what the fuck is a floury potato?

Anywho, this is just one of my weird random shower thoughts, but I think it’s true.  “Good for you” books are like “good for you” food.  Sure, you can tolerate them in a pinch, but you’de rather be reading something enjoyable. Most of us regular readers have our guilty pleasures and we have our ‘go to’ respectable books that we tell people we’re reading whenever someone asks.

That’s why when someone asks me what I’m reading, I claim I’m reading “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison, when really, I just got finished “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland.” You know, that book from the Cleveland kidnapping victims. I must admit, it did give me hope. For once, the creepy dude keeping girls in his basement wasn’t a white guy. He was Hispanic.

Diversity, people. We’re moving forward.

The funny thing is I have read “The Bluest Eye” and really, it’s not too far off from Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus’ story. Both stories deal with girls trapped in horrible circumstances, ignored by the world and both end with escape. Of course, in “The Bluest Eye”, the escape came from the main character going batshit crazy, but it was still an escape.

But I ask myself, what makes one book literary and the other, not? What makes one book respectable and the other, not? Is it the prose? Because to be entirely honest, I found many a quotable moment in both stories. Was it the theme? Because both have the same theme if you’re willing to read between the lines.

What is literary fiction, exactly? What makes one book respectable and another not? Does the ending have to be sad? Does the story have to be fake? “Angela’s Ashes” won a Pulitzer and it was Frank McCourt’s biography.

Who decides the difference between literary and commercial? Sure, in some cases it’s obvious. Harlequin spews out like 500 “Greek Billionaire” titles a year. I get that. Those people are writing from an outline.

But why isn’t Harry Potter held up as a literary work? Why isn’t Tim Dorsey recognized as a literary figure for his Serge Storm series? Why is Lev Grossman considered a commercial writer while J. R. R. Tolkien is a master storyteller that we learn about in school? What’s the difference?

Mainly, I want to know why we feel the need to lie about what we’re reading. I want to know what literary is and why it gets to be that in the first place.

First World Problems – Hypergamy with Destiny

So in case you’re wondering, the word hypergamy means “the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class.”  Generally, it’s a word used by pick up artists, men going their own way and a wide range of other bitter a-holes who can’t get laid, to explain why they’re still single and why that’s not their fault. As in all the evil women want to trade up and because of that, no man can ever truly be happy in a relationship. I think a lot of the reason that it’s attributed as primarily a female trait is that girls don’t ask guys to marry them.  We know better.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. Instead, it’s about an email I got today from a potential agent. During my hiatus from my blog, I was working on my Masters. My thesis for my Masters was a novel and after the program ended, I figured “what the hell, let’s submit it.”

So I dug up a list of five of the fanciest agents I could find. I received four rejections and one request for a partial. I sent it, checked my email every 15 minutes for about two weeks, then got drunk and forgot about it.

Until this morning, about seven months later, when that last agent contacted me and asked me “are you married to this MC?”  They liked the story, liked the world building, liked just about everything but for the main character. I wrote her as a straight woman in her early forties.

They wanted a black, gay man in his early twenties.

That annoyed me. I mean, the story is first person, present tense. Obviously, I’m writing it from a white, middle-aged chick’s point of view because I am currently, a white middle-aged chick. I know next to nothing about being a black gay man that I haven’t seen on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

Love that show.

But after my initial annoyance, I got annoyed with myself at being annoyed. Who the hell was I to turn down a chance to get published with a Big 5? Fuck, when I started this blog 5 years ago, I was working in insurance litigation and writing articles about penile enhancement for $5 a pop in my off time.

I had this fantasy where I didn’t have to do insurance anymore. I didn’t have to talk to anyone on the phone or go to an office every day. I just got to write. Granted, in the fantasy, I was a bestselling novelist but still, the end goal was the same. No more phone calls. No more negotiations. No more getting yelled at. Just me, writing.

The dream happened, but not the way I expected it would. My first novel floundered and disappeared. Same with the sequel and a short novella. I kept writing but I switched it up to an easier to compete in category. I went with erotica and the sales came in. I hated it. I made enough money but it wasn’t money I wanted to talk about. I was writing fiction for a market I didn’t care about, creating stories that I didn’t want to continue.

Honestly, once you’ve written one sex scene, you’ve written every sex scene.

I went back to tech writing. At least with that, I can still learn something new every day. It was only the other morning I was thinking “What I wanted to happen, it happened.  I make enough money to survive. I don’t have to go into an office.  I don’t get yelled at on the phone or attend pointless meetings. I get to do what I love. So why aren’t I happy?”

The fact is, I’m not happy because we’re never happy. None of us. Humans are hypergamous by nature. Not women, not me, humans. It’s why we can win the lotto one year and file bankruptcy the next. It’s why someone like Harvey Weinstein can have the world at his feet and ruin it all with a nonsense sex addiction. It’s why athletes run through million dollar signing bonuses that should carry them into their golden years, in like four years.

We’re always looking for the next big thing. Every dream that comes true is laying the groundwork to yet another dream.

When I got that email this morning, I said to myself “this could be my big break”.  The story I wrote, that story made me happy.  The one thing I actually looked forward to writing, it could be my big break.

All I needed to do was change everything about it.

And I realized that even if I did, even if it was my big break, I’d still never be satisfied. The story would get published, disappear from the world after a year and then, I’d be in the same damn position I am now, hating myself for trying to trade up when I was perfectly happy where I was.  I’m already living my dream. I just need to realize that.

So, like any professional, I responded “new phone. Who dis?” and moved the fuck on.


An open letter to my nice guy


I’m so sick of seeing the #niceeguysfinish last posts on Twitter. Yes, I’ve been Twittering. Well, kinda. I drunkenly online bullied some AT&T reps for not getting my service up again fast enough after Irma. But during the time I was Twittering, I came across that nice guys finish last hashtag far too many times.

And I realized ‘hey, that’s probably aimed at me’’ because I haven’t fucked a sad sack halfwit living in his mom’s basement in the past few months.  So, to the dudes I haven’t fucked —

Here’s the thing, sugar tits (I can be rude because I’m not trying to get into anyone’s pants), nice guys do finish last. Because when your title is ‘nice,’ that tells me that’s all you have to offer.

Do you think Porche sells their cars by saying “hey, they’re nice”? Do you think Coach has the audacity to sell a $15,000 purse because Victor Luis is so fucking incredibly nice?

No. They have a little bit more to offer than just being nice. But apparently you being nice, well that makes you special and everyone should love you just because of that.

But here’s the thing. Nice is not a selling point. It’s the bare minimum required for being a civilized human being. Everyone can be nice. Fuck, I’m nice every day and I’m a total asshole! It’s not hard and it doesn’t make you special. It just makes you a regular person.

Until you try to use it as a selling point. Then it makes you yet another asshole trying to cash in on doing the bare minimum.

So to my ‘nice’ dudes –

It’s not that I don’t love you because I’m crazy, (which I am). It’s that the only person who can possibly get me is another human being who is actually crazy. So as much as I love your support, I’m never going to love you because you could never possibly understand what it is to be me. That’s a personal preference that I stick to.

You being nice isn’t going to change that. It’s not going to make us compatible.

But hey, here’s a bunch of ways on how to actually be an appealing person that people want to hang out with from someone who knows nothing about relationships. As you email me every four weeks or so complaining that you can’t get a girlfriend, figured I’d forward them on. Because of as much as you’d like to pretend our relationship was one-sided, it never was. I always gave advice, always offered options.   Always made it very clear I was not one of those options.

So, your annoying emails about how I just need to ‘focus on me’ and ‘reevaluate my priorities’ as you occasionally point out what a nice dude you are have not gone unnoticed. They’ve been intentionally ignored. Let’s admit it. If I wanted to be with you, I’d be with you.

I know me, way better than you do. I’m not nice. Never have been.  I don’t need to use ‘nice’ as a selling point because I’m so much more. Nice is not a quality. It’s a basic requirement for being human.

It’s not my job to fix you. It’s not my job to finish you. It’s not my job to make you feel ok about being you – and I could literally give a fuck how nice you are.

Because right now, you’re kind of being an asshole.

Lessons from Irma



I’m back again, having pulled myself out from under a pile of brush and empty Natty Ice cans, to recover from my most recent brush with death. Not talking about Hurricane Irma.

I’m talking about my bender.

I’m fine. Can’t say the same for my liver. If he could talk, he’d use his new-found voice to call Liver Protective Services and get placed with a foster caretaker who would abuse him slightly less.  But he can’t, so much like the toddler of a Florida meth-head mom, he’s stuck with me until they find some conclusive evidence at the hospital.

This was my first major Florida hurricane. I’ve been through a few small ones before, but nothing too scary. A bit like a Tindr date. A shit ton of build-up, a half-hearted blowjob and it’s over with minimal debris. Then came Irma. I learned a lot from Irma. Mainly, I learned that I can drink 47 beers in one night and not die. But I also learned some less important things to include;

#1 – AT&T sucks — but AT&T apologists suck even more

As my livelihood depends on having internet access, I was kind of worried as to when that access would be restored. Decided to check a forum, where a lot of people were bitching AT&T out. Then I got pissed. It wasn’t the not having service that bothered me.

It was the tight-lipped policy of all company representatives who refused to give a straight answer. Reminded me a bit of when they caught all them Catholic priests diddling kids and the Catholic church responded by saying “we’re still investigating what we think is an isolated incident. We’ll respond as soon as we’re possibly able.”

I fucking hate non-answer answers!

But even worse are the non-company affiliated high horse assholes who have to respond to every fucking comment. “Jeez, you’re living in a disaster zone! Try appreciating nature. Take your kid to a playground instead of worrying about streaming Netflix.”

First, most Florida playgrounds were blown North of the Mason-Dixon line. Next,  a hypocrite telling me to get off the internet while he’s using the internet is just irritating. I don’t owe you an explanation as to why I don’t want to go enjoy post-hurricane nature. It’s none of your business if my only end game is to finally binge-watch Season 7 of the Walking Dead (which it totally is). My beef ain’t with some random internet douchebag.

My beef is with a company that I pay to provide a service not being able to provide said service, while not providing answers on when that service will be restored. That puts the onus on me to decide whether I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and wait, or whether I want to sign on with a company whose cell towers aren’t made of balsawood.

So shut the fuck up and let them answer the questions. No one needs to hear from you. Why don’t you take some time off the internet and go appreciate nature instead? I hear there’s a lovely sewer overflow in Neptune you just have to see.

#2 The aftermath is worse than the storm

The aftermath is always worse than the storm because natural disasters are smart and people are complete idiots. That’s likely why so many tornados strike trailer parks.

Right now, Seminole county is rough. It’s hot, half the population doesn’t have electricity and people are morons who don’t know how to drive without traffic signals. It’s like they forgot everything they ever learned in driver’s ed. Just an FYI, if you’re ever at a Florida intersection and the lights are out due to a storm, there’s a simple way to determine the right of way.

It’s based on whoever is waving the largest gun.

#3 Reporters are idiots

Newscasters apparently have no sense of self-preservation. Through the storm, every channel was the same. Some windswept, soaking wet reporter shouting into a microphone “the police say it’s incredibly dangerous out here and no one should be on the road. That’s why they’ve barricaded it, but we managed to slip the News 17 van in to —” mike cuts out, fade to black.

How much you want to bet those same reporters, who apparently thought they were above the law, will complain about the lack of response time from first responders in some news special a week from now?

The only thing about them that annoyed me more was their aftermath interviews.

Picture it. A trailer park in Altamonte, waist-deep water, a sad man watching as all his possessions float down the street in a stagnant pool and out to the Atlantic. Some chick shoves a camera in his face.

“Sir, I see the aftermath is really bad. Tell me, how do you feel?”

Just once, I want someone to answer “How the fuck do you think I feel, you stupid bitch?”

# 4 Tethering is awesome

For me, one positive to come out of this storm is that I learned about tethering. I used to think my cell phone was only for playing Bubble Witch or texting randos pictures of my tits. Turns out, if you jailbreak it (rooting for Android users) you can turn it into a hot spot where you can use all that delightful unlimited cell phone data on your laptop, smart tv, whatever. It’s free!

I’m pretty sure it’s illegal but I don’t give a fuck. I’m living in a disaster zone, people. This is an emergency. Season 6 ended on a cliffhanger.




Essa’s Guide to Hurricane Preparedness


Since I was a kid, I’ve had this recurring dream. There’s a monster but it isn’t under my bed. Instead, it’s huge and it’s on a rampage. So I hide. Where I hide, that always changes. Under the bed, behind the refrigerator, in the floorboards, regardless of where I manage to cram my fat ass, I always get found. And at the end of that dream, I always die.

From that dream, I’ve learned two things. Number one, that myth where you die in a dream and that makes you die in real life? Total bullshit.   I guess I could have just used logic on that one. After all, if someone dies in a dream and dies in real life because of that dream – doesn’t that mean they died in their sleep? Then how did they tell anyone how they died?

Number two, preparation doesn’t stop a disaster.

So you know what I bought today at the store when everyone else was fighting over water and propane?

Candy and beer.

Yup, I bought those two items because worse comes to worse, I won’t be able to buy them for awhile. They’re luxury items. So I bought them. Everything else, I figured out way before.  So today, this is what I did;

  • I made bread –   Not just regular bread, but banana bread, beer bread, apple bread. Pretty much if I can make bread out of it, I’m turning it into bread.   Bread is portable, nutritious and when made right, can last weeks. In the worst of conditions, one slice of bread can be a meal.
  • I stored water – The stores around me are out of bottled water, have been for days. Honestly, I wouldn’t have bought it in the first place. I’ve filled all my plastic containers, from old juice bottles to old milk gallons, with water. I’ve frozen them. This creates a way to keep my perishable food cold and an eventual source of water. In the event that the storms get severe, I will block up all my drains using plastic bags or stoppers. That allows me to fill my tubs, sinks and toilets with as much water as possible.
  • I bought duct tape – Duct tape is endlessly usable.  You can use it to fix a broken window, develop a filtration system, splint a broken arm and minimize wind pressure with a few garbage bags. Never underestimate the power of duct tape.

My focus has been on surviving in my home when possible and the ability to leave it at the drop of a dime. It’s been on the ability to survive on scraps while fighting off the scavengers. It’s been on surviving another day with one goal in mind.

Get more candy and beer.

As much as I joke, I’m ready. I’m not hiding from the monster. I’m facing it head on. I can’t guarantee I’ll win, but I can guarantee I’ll put up one hell of a fight.

See y’all after Irma. Later gators.

The Handmaid’s Tale Was Wrong – Essa’s Guide To Creating A Dictatorship


So I watched The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. I also read all the reviews. I’m obsessive like that. When Atwood wrote the book, she pointed out she only used situations that had occurred in the past, in other societies. She wanted to make it clear how easy it would be that something like this could happen in our society. It was a powerful political message.

I tried to do the same thing in this guide because I think as well meaning as Atwood was, her story was limited and blinded by discrimination. Reverse discrimination is still discrimination. All people are victims of it. Whenever there is a dictatorship, the dictator always seeks a group to hate. Stop hating that group on their behalf.

If you really want to be a dictator, the best bet is to just start hating everyone who isn’t you. Atwood’s story wasn’t one that entirely translates to anyone who hopes to create a dictatorship in today’s capitalist society. So, let me go over what they did wrong, in the hope that you can do it right.

#1. They fucked up the finances.

My mother convinced me to watch the show by pointing out how realistic the first episode was. She said to me, ‘They made it so all they had to do was shut down every bank account where a woman was the owner. That could happen!”

No mom, it couldn’t. Also, for the thirty-fifth time, all you have to do to send an attachment via email is fucking click on the paperclip!

Sorry, off topic. But no, in 2017 you can’t just shut down any bank account with ‘female’ in the gender field. I don’t know much about finance in Atwood’s 1985, when debit cards didn’t exist and your money didn’t have to go through a clearing house while moving from your pocket to a vendor’s. But I can tell you this of finance in 2017.

There’s no giant switch in some building somewhere that will allow you to essentially turn off all the bank accounts of a specific gender immediately – or even within a few weeks. Banking is segmented. That means that your $8 Starbucks, that you put on your debit card, doesn’t come directly out of your bank account, even though it looks like it does. It goes to a clearing house. That clearing house turns that money into data and sends that data to another clearing house. That will happen at least 6 times during your average financial transaction before finally hitting your bank account, at which point your financial institution will be charged.

Different banks use different clearing houses. Many banks use overseas clearing houses. There is no one switch you can use to turn off a bulk group of bank accounts based on gender. That would require the cooperation of thousands of companies.

No, if I was smart dictator, I’d target my financial attacks. I’d get creative.

I’d use a government institution to focus my attention on those who may be a threat to me. I’d create a law that allowed me to collect all their money if said money came from an alleged commission of an illegal act. I’d also make sure to smear that person in the news, so the public wouldn’t care when I took all their assets without providing proof. I wouldn’t target a gender or demographic. I’d target high-value people with no political allies. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about discrimination claims. I could use government entities to seize all their assets and no one would care. Best part is, I’d never have to prove a thing. The accusation would be enough. I’d be able to freeze all their assets just by getting one government entity involved and never filing criminal charges where their constitutional rights actually applied.

I think I’d call it civil asset forfeiture – but I’m just spit balling names here.

#2.  They managed the angry people wrong

I watched the Handmaid’s Tale episode where they showed the protesters getting fired on by police and running away, with my drug dealer. During that, my drug dealer turned to me, utterly lost and said “why didn’t they fire back?”

Like any normal person, I said, “They didn’t have guns, maybe?”

My drug dealer, who is a normally chill dude, responded. “Bitch, I haven’t walked out of my house without a gun since 1998 and I’m from Connecticut. This shit is supposed to be in New York. NY motherfuckers are hard.” He pointed to the TV. “I once saw a NY dude shoot a guy for stealing his parking space. You think a mother fucker like that would be afraid to start blowing people away when he thought he had nothing left to lose?”

That statement brought up two valid points to me. One, New York is terrifying. Two, he’s right. I know a lot of gun owners and a lot of very angry people who are just looking for a reason. If you think any one of them couldn’t take down some idealistic senator, when said Senator had literally no experience with hands-on violence, you’d be out of your mind. I don’t care how smart you think you are. The stupid and violent will always win when the contest is brute force.So yeah, they did the whole protest scene wrong.

In my dictatorship, there would have never been a violent protest in the first place.

First, I’d just give people what they wanted. Food, drugs and a place to sleep. I wouldn’t give them more than what they need. Too much, and they’d start getting political. Too little and they’d want to rise up. Nope. I’d give them just enough. I’d give them just enough so that they were afraid of losing it. Possibly through a government program.

At the same time, I’d find a way to drug them on a mass scale. Maybe convince some pharmaceutical companies to get on board. Get them to convince people they had a lot of illnesses they didn’t have and get them to take mind altering drugs for those illnesses. I’d give the companies who provided those drugs massive government grants and a wide berth when it came to FDA approval.

Fuck religion being the opiate of the masses. Just opiate the damn masses and cut out the middleman!

The outliers, the ones that stayed angry? Well, I could handle them with misdirection.  I’d create imaginary problems with no solution that led to constant infighting. Both sides would have ridiculous opinions that no one would ever really get behind. While they were fighting with extremism. I’d rule the world with benevolence.

#3 They had a cliched end game

Every dictator wants to better the world, recreate it in their own image. But that’s just more misdirection. Part of the Handmaid’s Tale is that everything is justified through declining birthrates. If birth rates had declined that much – according to the show, the declination rate is well over 1000%, I’d take that as a sign. Not a sign that I need to change things. No, I’d take it as a sign that my species was done.

And I’d embrace that end by enjoying what little time I had left.

Too many people think the end of the world will come in a bang. Zombie Apocalypse, fire, brimstone. Really, it’s probably going to come as a whisper. A slow, steady reduction of our population. Those reductions will come first in the advanced societies, where individuals capable of solving high mortality rates in less advanced populations stop having children. Less advanced societies, where birth rates are high and mortality rates are higher will die off as a result. Slow and steady ends the race.

That’s Armageddon.

Now me, I’m not a doomsday prepper. I’m a girl who can take a hint. I see the end of the world coming, I don’t try to stop it. Life, any kind of life, whether it’s a cell, or a human being, or an entire society, will always end. It will eventually become something else. If my only other option is the Handmaid’s Tale – I’m going with a “balls to the walls, nothing left to lose” apocalypse.

And I promise you get on my side, you will like my dictatorship so much better. Want in? Bring beer and rock on until there’s nothing left to rock for.