A Bookworm’s Guide to Slackerdom

Mom, you may not want to read this…

Confession Friday: I have a degree in English from an excellent university…but I never once read an entire book for class.

True story.

In the third grade parent-teacher conference, my teacher, Mrs. Jacoby, told my mom that I was lying to her about all of the books that I was reading. Mom knew that I had no life but the one in books, so she got really mad and bitchy. I’m pretty sure that was mom’s last parent-teacher conference. I also think this scarred me for life in regards to school, teachers, and reading books.

I was talking to the Word Worm about blogging–She writes a fantastic bookworm blog–and she mentioned something about Shakespeare (you can read her blog to find out what she said). I, the lover of Shakespeare that I am, told her that I was a fan of reading Shakespeare. I read Romeo and Juliet (which everyone says wasn’t very good, but I loved it) when I was 12. for fun. At home. I’ve read Much Ado About Nothing SEVERAL times. I did attempt to read Twelfth Night several times to no avail, but other than that, I’m kind of a fan. Hamlet, MacBeth, even Julius Caesar…all enjoyable reads for me.

She then questioned my tactics in college…and asked if I ever read a full book for school. In all honesty… not counting a graphic novel called Maus… no. No, I did not.  I had read bits and pieces. Excerpts. Listening to class discussion (when I showed up for class). Talking to my classmates. Sparknotes. Cliffsnotes. Gradesaver.com. Classic Notes. Classic Reader. And when in doubt, I Googled it. And it worked. I never got lower than a B in my English classes. (OK, and to be fair, there were some books and stories that I had already read.) My mad-writing skills got me exactly what I needed: A decent grade and plenty of time to do other things.

As an English major, required literature was something Chrissy considered...optional. She managed to pull off a splendid GPA considering she didn't read one entire book for class.

College and Computers 🙂

I was a very organized slacker…I had a notebook for every class. Each notebook was filled with excellent doodles (as doodling would help my brain calm down so that I could actively listen). Each notebook had a very important front cover. The cover listed the number of excused absences that I was allowed in that particular class, a dated list of missed classes, and the excuses that I used to not go to class. I made sure that I didn’t overuse cramps or migraines (though those pesky headaches happened regularly). There was even a time that I thought I was having a panic attack…that turned out to be the results of a little too much booze the night before…

That being said, you all know that I’m a voracious reader. And if you don’t, you should see my gratuitous post discussing my ridiculous unwavering love for Pride & Prejudice. The obsession is almost disgusting. But whatever. I read. I do. I just don’t read when someone tells me that I must. I saved every book from all of my classes, college and high school (sans Childhood’s End, which, until Fifty Shades of Grey, was my least favorite book in the history of ever.) Then, I spent summers, and even free time during school, reading. Yes, that’s right. I’ve read a good portion of the novels that I should have read for class…long after class ended.

Here’s a list of the best books I never read in college:

Candide (even though I walked into class after reading the Sparknotes version and told the prof that I had, in fact read it and loved it. After actually reading it–it’s pretty awesome)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which ironically became my favorite American novel)
Tess of the D’urbervilles (which is really super depressing, but well written and uber Victorian… Stupid 50 Shades of Grey for ruining the association.)
The Canterbury Tales (In my defense, the teacher tried to make us read it in middle English. Do you have any concept of how hard that is?!)

OK, and here’s a list of some of the best books I read in college for no reason but to read:

The Stand
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Les Miserable
Great Expectations (Actually a reprise from my youth…thanks to those marvelous Great Illustrated Classics)
The Tenth Kingdom (A book based off a cheesy TV mini series on NBC. If you watched it and like it—I think I love you.)

Have a great weekend!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Kissed a Girl

OK, so we all know that a pretty decent percentage of college girls eventually kiss someone of their own gender for one of three reasons.

1. They’re truly experimenting with the girl on girl thing.

2. They’re drunk.

3. They’re drunk AND looking for attention from dudes.

There may be other reasons, but those were the important ones.

So at some point during junior year, Claire and I decided that we hated men…after the Lumberjack and the Ethiopian respectively broke our hearts. Who needs ’em?! Right? We swore off men and decided to become lesbians. Except since neither of us is really into girls…and we still secretly wanted boyfriends, we became lesbian boyfriends (in name only.)

Do not discount the “in name only” part. We had a serious bond that could withstand the test of time. And marriage. And babies. (Yes, Claire still considers me her “lesbian boyfriend” despite her fancy house and husband and child and 3 dogs…although I still think one of those dogs should be mine…you know for balance. She could still have visitation rights…)

Rightfully so, this is mostly a giant joke. But on Penny’s 21st birthday (in which I was defo still under age, but using Mama Missy’s state ID for access to bars), The Lumberjack and the Ethiopian were both kinda hanging around…along with a lot of other handsome fellows.

Claire, Penny, Sheila, and I got shmammered that night. Penny kept shouting to the world in an adorable sing-song voice, “Who’s the birthday giiiiiiiiirl?! Penny’s the birthday girl!”

Near the end of the evening, Claire and I were explaining to our ex boyfriends the lesbian boyfriend relationship. They didn’t get it. “Wait, you don’t kiss? You should kiss.” And there in the back room of Gorman’s in front of a huge audience of drunks, Claire and I shared a ridiculously un-passionate kiss. It was then that I knew I would never. Ever. Be a lesbian. When you’re into dudes, kissing a girl is like kissing your hand (if your hand were to kiss back.) This is not to say that she wasn’t a good kisser–she was. Just you know…there was nothing there.

Of course the Ethiopian and the Lumberjack were significantly more impressed, as were a large portion of the male audience. Case in point: Girls kiss girls to rile up the boys.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

You’re Not a Badass Unless…

You’re not a badass unless…
You can do a shot of vodka chased with a saltine chaser.
 
You’re not a badass unless…
You can do a shot of vodka without the saltine.
 
You’re not a badass unless…
You can do a shot of vodka and six more immediately following.
 
You’re not a badass unless…
You can do seven shots of vodka followed by a shot of Ten High Whiskey.
 

Freshman year of college, I was determined to be the baddest of all asses when it came to boozin’. I realize now that this was not the smartest goal that one should go into their college years with, but I was 18 and looking to prove something to anyone.

Cue Porno Steve and all I was looking for in drunken encouragement. He repeatedly tested my drunken daring, by provoking me into doing really stupid shit like swallowing a live goldfish. Mostly with drinking a whole lot of vodka. He also tried to get me to show him my boobs, but that never did happen.

At Bradley, Calling Out Weekend, which was held in the first month of school, was the time when all of the frats and sororities chose their people. This meant very little to our group of friends, other than the fact that it was like opening day for the party season. The Greeks would all get wasted and throw some killer parties. My very first frat party! I was stoked. In fact, one of my best friends from high school was visiting from ISU. Elizabeth, Katie, Sheila, and I spent hours getting ready to go, but were still able to start pre-gaming by 8. We made our way over to Geisert 8 to meet up with Mama Missy and the gang.

It was on Geisert 8 that I introduced Elizabeth to Porno Steve. The dares got higher.

You’re not a badass unless…
You can chug Aristocrat (Aristocrap) Vodka from the handle.
 

Oh Sure, what the hell!? It was at this point that I introduced Elizabeth to vodka. As it turns out, vodka became her drink of choice as well.

Chug Chug Chug!

So after pre-gaming like rockstars, we made our way to the frat scene. There was a brief drunken cry (OK, maybe a little more than brief) that Katie still teases me about, when Elizabeth revealed some secrets she had kept from me. This is what vodka does. It lulls you into a sense of false, yet warm and fuzzy, security; then it whacks you down with truth telling and overly emotional behavior.

No worries, though, because just as fast as vodka pulls you down, another swig can lift you up. After some parties, we stopped over at our dorm to grab another beverage, and were greeted by the Bradley police, The Residence Halls Association, and a few other choice “grown ups.”

Ruh Roh Raggy.

It appeared to be a sobriety testing facility that we had walked in on…and we were defo not sober. The Director of our hall came over and explained the situation.

“We are doing sobriety tests for freshman. This is just for a study we’re doing. You can choose to participate or not participate. No one will get in any trouble. Would you be interested in joining?”

“HELL YES!” Maybe I was a little overly excited.

I touched my nose, I followed the light, I sang the alphabet, I walked the line, and I blew into a breathalizer.

I wish I could tell you how drunk I was, but the number has since left my brain. I know that I was over the “legal limit,” but hey…I wasn’t driving.

Proudly Blowing Since 2001

They posted the results on a big poster in the hall, that everyone could see. Of course, I think it had an opposite effect to what they were hoping. I’ll never forget seeing the girl with the highest level of intoxication and her pride, showing off to others and pointing to her name. I’m not going to lie… I was jealous.

What dares would you take on after a few cocktails? Did you ever breathalize when you were underage? What was your freshman year of college like?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

A Family Born on Geisert 8

Melisa, AKA Mama Missy, burst into our lives like a rainbow out of the clouds on a storm-filled afternoon. Her vivacious energy was like a magnet. I think that I can safely say that Penny, Sheila, and I would not be the same without her.

After my parents moved me into my U-Hall freshman dorm room, with a tearful goodbye (my mom’s tears; not mine), I was free! No parents until Fall Break! Brilliant. So, of course, I had to call home everyday just to say “Hi.”

Every morning, it was the same routine. Wake up, call mom, live college life, sleep. Every morning, mom would ask, “So, did you get drunk last night?” Every morning (for the first few days, at least, I would say, “Nope. Not yet, mom.” Of course, that was before I was reacquainted with Penny.

After our decision to be drinking buddies, I took it upon myself to bring my old pal from high school (the sophomore) into the mix. I had met him and his cute roommate (who ended up becoming one of my very best friends, Mark) for lunch earlier in the week, and I knew that they could get us the “hook up” with the Bradley party scene.

So I instant messaged Joe, and asked what he was up to that evening. It was a Friday, after all, and the weekend had just begun. He invited Penny and I over (Penny would eventually become the secret crush of a bazillion of our friends without ever having a clue that they loved her) for an evening of drinking on Geisert 8. Yes. Geisert 8. That’s where I somehow became cool. Mark and Joe had a mini-fridge full of (OK, they had a six-pack of) Mike’s Hard Lemonade to share. After one drink Penny and I were giggly and smiley.

Just as we were running out of drink options, a quick knock-turned-open-door welcomed a loud and sassy blond with a sparkly shirt, a huge cup of something, and an even bigger back pack.

“Hello boys!” she cried in an adorably central Illinois “southern” accent. She zoned in on Penny and I and introduced herself. I’m Melisa, but everyone here calls me Missy. Who are you, ladies?”

Joe interjected and introduced us, “This is my friend Chrissy from high school and her friend Penny. They’re freshman.”

“Oh my God! How cute!” From anyone else, this might have seemed patronizing, but from Missy, it seemed genuine. I’m not sure what went through her brain but she took us on as a project. We would later find out that we were her second project of that first week of school. “What are you girls drinking?”

We giggled and spoke in unison, “Mike’s Hard Lemonade.”

“But it’s almost gone!” Penny confided in her.

“Oh goodness, don’t worry about that.” Missy whipped her backpack around propped it on the desk. She pulled out 2 strange bottles in addition to a bottle of Aristocrat vodka and a bottle of Diet 7Up. She explained the unknown bottles first, “This is Boone’s Farm. It’s fucking awesome. Here. Try it.” She popped open the first bottle,Fuzzy Naveland passed it to Penny then me.

“Damn! That’s delicious!” I told her.

“I know, right?!” Missy opened the other bottle, Strawberry Hill, which was equally as delicious. “Enjoy, ladies.” Missy sat down with us and started chatting, telling us her college life story, and asking for ours (well, about the first week anyways).

By the end of the night, Missy was showing us how to properly mix a cocktail by using your hands to twist the cup back and forth, just right. We had learned about Boone’s Farm, the oh-so-important bar bag, and why we should drink Diet 7Up with our vodka instead of regular 7Up (We don’t want the freshman 15 to become the freshman 45). Penny and I, giggly as we were, decided that Missy would be forever known as Mama Missy. We also thought that Joe needed a title since he was the one who brought us all together. Papa Joey, it was.

And so our little family was created.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Accident Prone

As I sit here with a cut on my right hand from God only knows what this afternoon, a gash on my left ring finger from this morning (when I was putting my shampoo back into the shower caddy and my razor jumped up and bit me), and a visible scar on my left thumb from cleaning the bathroom several weeks ago (and slicing my thumb open on a screw at the base of the toilet), I can’t help but back-track to all of the other ridiculous cuts/gashes/bruises that I’ve incurred over the course of my lifetime…

This is just a glimpse of a few of my idiot injuries.

Cooking a bagel–finger burn
Toasting an English muffin-hand burn
Cooking a frozen pizza–wrist burn
Opening a cereal box–paper cut
Walking down stairs–more injuries than I can count
 
The time when I was doing my civic duty, throwing away my trash after a movie. I tossed the drink cup into the garbage attached to the wall, and something bit me. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but something cut deep under my nail bed. So bad that it swelled up, bruised up, and I had to go to the doctor for antibiotics thanks to a raging infection. SUPER FUN.

One of my favorite “cutter” stories is from the start of junior year at Bradley. I had just officially moved into my college apartment, and I was waiting for my future boyfriend to arrive in town. I was having one of those really great days; you know the ones where you’re dancing around your apartment and doing all sorts of random cleaning/organizing because you’re actually motivated to do them?

So I was about ready to make some lunch, and I decided that I would have a turkey ham sandwich with cheese. I grabbed a steak knife to open the plastic packaging, and was having trouble when WHAM! I sliced into half of my finger. Luckily, Katie’s then boyfriend, Jim was arriving at the apartment, as I was panicking. He barely looked at it, but went off to CVS to pick up some medical supplies in order to handle my little situation.

Cletus showed up while Jim was at the pharmacy, learning everything he could from the pharmacist to ensure that I kept my entire finger in tact. When Cletus saw the blood soaking through all ten paper towels I had wrapped around my hand, he panicked. He told me that I should probably go to the hospital and get that shit handled. I had plans that night and I was NOT going to mess around with doctors and hospitals.

Jim returned with supplies and helpful tips from the local pharmacist, and he helped bandage me up. Welcome Week certainly started with a bang that year.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Mind Games or Mindless Games?

I love stupid mindless games. Maybe they help me think. Or stop thinking for just a little while. Maybe they bring me to a certain focus that regular games can’t… I’m currently addicted to Bejeweled Blitz and this crazy adventure game that I’ve been playing addictively for weeks now…

A few months ago, it was a game called Balloons Tower Defense.

Several years ago, I was sitting at my computer, procrastinating. Word Twist wasn’t really doing it for me. All of my friends were busy doing…their jobs….and I was bored. And then I thought of snood. And visited snood.com. And thus began another circle of the 6th level of hell that is snood.

Still, I blame Penny for this never-ending cycle. In fact, while we’re placing blame, I’m going to go ahead and blame Snood for not graduating from Bradley with honors. Single-handedly ruined my GPA, snood did.  Remember when I couldn’t think of anything to write for George Chambers? And I kept sitting there, playing Snood. And then I wrote him a poem about Snood? I do.

What about the time that a friend of mine tried to hook me up with the guy who looked like they Grey Snood? No matter how drunk I got, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself he really was cute….All I could see was Grey Snood.

And then I deleted snood.

And life was good. Until I found Snood Towers. And re-addicted myself to Snood. Fucking Snood. Then, while working towards my masters degree,  I supposed that because I was back in college, grad school, even….I should have had Snood back up and running. Just plain old original Snood….but there were oh so many more options than just Snood. That guy started running some crazy multimillion dollar organization or something.

There are now a hundred different versions of Snood! I wish I had bought stock in it when I first started. Maybe I wouldn’t be so damn broke. Maybe I wouldn’t waste hours at snood. Maybe I would be able to pay for my masters degree with money from SNOOD!

I am the master of procrastination.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Bradley University and Me

I almost didn’t make it to Bradley. As the one school that had almost everything I wanted from the time we started looking at colleges sophomore year in high school, Bradley was definitely on my list of future schools. My junior year, I discovered that my high school boyfriend, Sam, also aspired to go to Bradley University…so when we broke up right before senior year, Bradley was the last place I wanted to apply.

With the help of a guidance counselor that I adored and spent a lot of time with senior year — thanks to the undecided nature of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I narrowed down my search. The lazy procrastinator in me didn’t want to spend all of my weekends touring colleges, researching schools, and applying to a wide range. My counselor recommended 3 schools — my goal, my reach, and my fall back. My goal was a small school, but I still wasn’t sure which. My reach was Notre Dame, and if I had gotten in, my dad would have sold his soul to pay for it. I’m pretty glad he got to keep his soul. 🙂 My fall back was ISU, though I feared the lack of success that would come with such a large school.

After many conversations with my pal Joe, who was a freshman at Bradley and loving it, I decided that Bradley was definitely the place for me. Joe, a comm major, assured me that my future in journalism would rest in the capable hands of the Global Communications Center at Bradley.

While the comm major in me never made it past freshman orientation, I survived four of the most amazing years at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Home of the Bradley…Squirrels? Crazy Bicycling Asian Men? Rivermen? My school spirit was minimal, but my personal spirit thrived at BU.

As an English major, required literature was something Chrissy considered...optional. She managed to pull off a splendid GPA considering she didn't read one entire book for class.

Spring of my senior year, Dad and I drove down to Peoria for a school visit. Driving through the quaint but large downtown area, over the river, and onto the beautiful campus, I fell in love. On the tour, we found that Bradley had everything I wanted except for a football team. We ate lunch at Geisert Cafeteria, which we thought provided a pretty decent meal (little did we know that “visitation days” were Bradley’s best-kept meal secrets.) I was done. Sold. This is the school for me.

So I had a plan. And I got accepted.

That summer, I was to attend the freshman orientation: Two and a half days of the college experience. When Mom and I started the trip down, I was terrified. I cried. I didn’t know what to expect or what I was going to do. I wouldn’t know anyone. I kept thinking, What if it’s horrible?

They separated the parents and the students pretty quickly, so I was forced to fend for myself in the collegiate jungle…amidst 80-some-odd other scared freshmen. I met another kid from Glen Ellyn, who we referred to as Glen Ellyn Steve until he later gained the name, Speech Class Steve. I also ran into another Glenbard East alum, who I had never spoken to. Throughout the rest of college, Danny and I maintained an excellent passerby-acquaintanceship based solely on our mutual high schooling. Funnier still, he ended up living with my best bud Cletus senior year. Additionally, I made a gaggle of girlfriends during the orientation activities.

On the first night, we stayed up until 3:00 AM, playing Truth or Dare Jenga, eating grilled cheese sandwiches made on one of the best inventions, ever–the grilled cheese sandwich press, and talking up a storm in a Geisert common room.

On the second night, I met my best friend in the whole world. After a rockin’ dance party, in which I became the ringleader of a small group of suburbanites–promising that we would all get together over the summer for nights of dancing and hanging out and awesomeness, we made our way over to the East Peoria Steak & Shake.

Katie and I started chatting. She seemed like a pretty cool chick with her sassy punk rock princess tee-shirt, brightly colored Chuck Taylor’s, and wide leg jeans. I remember making her giggle when I ordered cheese fries and a kid-sized strawberry milkshake. This girl was going to be my pal. I just knew it.

While I left for orientation crying because I didn’t want to go, I left orientation crying because I wanted college to start right away. No one to tell you what to do? No one worrying what time you’re going to bed? All the time in the world, and living in a mini hotel with all of your friends? That was the place for me. Bring it on college. Bring. It. On.

Mom and I left for my uncle’s house–we had our family reunion the day after orientation. On the way home, she began telling me her orientation stories. She hated it. After meeting Glen Ellyn Steve’s parents on Day 1, she ditched out on half of the activities and hung out at the casino most of the time. Here’s why:

The conversation between the Glen Ellyn-ites parents went as follows:

Mr. Glen Ellyn said, “Oh! Hey, you’re from Glen Ellyn, too!”

Mom replied with a smile, “Yep.”

Mrs. Glen Ellyn asked, “So, where in Glen Ellyn are you?”

“Right off Roosevelt, east of the tollway.”

Mrs. Glen Ellyn looked at her confused, “Oh, where in Glen Ellyn is that?”

Mr. Glen Ellyn looked at his wife, patted her on the shoulder and said, “You know, honey…the projects.”

My mom-disgusted-walked away. She was done. I don’t blame her.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to return. The first few days of college were a blur, and I spent them with a new friend, Jessa, who I had met in my building. Every morning, Mom would call and ask me if I had gotten drunk yet. I hadn’t. During my wandering and exploring with Jessa, I kept passing this girl I knew from orientation. I couldn’t remember her name until day 3 when we were passing each other in U-Hall. I looked at her and said, “Katie?” She smiled back at me in recognition. We started chatting and got into a conversation about drinking. She told me that her roommate, who she had met at orientation, wasn’t a drinker and that she needed a drinking buddy. I told her that I was in. We’ve been best friends ever since.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!