Cubicle Life

I used to lose my mind I was so busy at my job. I had a part-time paralegal that helped me. He was an odd dude. He was a fifty-something year old choral director at a church and he was married to the pastor. He had the hots for a young, beautiful, pregnant attorney in the office. When she was around eight months pregnant he sent her an email of a version of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. He recreates a poem about a talking raven’s visit to a distraught lover and the man’s slow decline into madness into a poem about the attorney’s impending birth.   It’s called The Baby.

It begins:

Once upon a Thursday, deary,
While I pondered (!), tired and weary,
Over a file I’d never seen before.
While I pondered, nearly napping,
I thought I heard a gentle tapping,
As if a tiny fist were rapping,
Rapping on a chamber door.
So I listened a little more.

I’ll spare you the rest.

He sent the attorney hundreds of emails that often opened with, “How’s my favorite beautiful attorney?”

This was an interesting one:

“I’ve checked with the social worker in this case and she confirmed that the primary allegation in the affidavit is correct:

Peter Piper picked slightly less than a peck of pickled peppers but picked exactly a peck of putrid pineapples, porous papayas and prickly pears. How would you like me to prep the case?”

He eventually got fired for drinking whiskey on the job and running into walls.

For some unknown reason my job is currently the opposite of busy. I’m pretty certain it’s not due to a sudden decline in child abuse. Anyway, I have a lot of free time on my hands in my cubicle.

I click on CNN and I go, “AAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!” and I quickly close it. I walk down the stairs and then back up. That’s ten minutes out of the way. I read clinical trials on the website Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. FYI: This article was not a page turner. The Function of Thioredoxin-Binding Protein-2 (TBP-2) in Different Diseases

I consider decorating my cubicle like this guy but the uptight office manager won’t let me. Seriously, I’m pretty crunchy but this is out of control.


I go talk to my coworkers and pretend I’m very interested in their life.

I walk down the stairs and back up.

I go to the bathroom. I take the long way back to my cubicle.

I search, “Best soup recipe on the entire planet.”

I search, “How to liven up your boring day in a cubicle.” One of the suggestions is to have fun with magnetic poetry. Problem is I would get the F-word version and these uptight people would not appreciate it one bit.


They’re All-White

I was asked to find out why visitation between a set of siblings in foster care and their biological parents ended. I call the social worker to inquire.

She says, “The bio parents were acting inappropriate. They sneaked gifts to the kids. They gave their daughter a book about a depressed mother who kills all of her children. They gave their son a Ouija board. One time the father came to a visit wearing bright red contact lens and fangs. It wasn’t Halloween. The bio parents show up to their son’s football games. The mother runs along the sideline and yells for him to take off his helmet so she can see him.”

I was telling a coworker about it. She says, “They’re white, right? That’s a crazy white family story right there.”

She’s right.

Ways I’ve Tried To Quit My Job

I formulated a non-toxic and effective mosquito repellent called F-Off!  I spent a year researching the formula. It works really well! I sell it at a farmer’s market up the street. I’ve earned enough money to go consignment store shopping on the 75% off day. Maybe it will take off next year.

I sent Bill Gates an email advising him that I have been working on child abuse cases for eighteen years and for that I deserve one of his billions. I also advised him that my F-Off! Repellent is right in line with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s disease prevention efforts in Africa. I told him I could change the name to Ebolaway! I never heard back from him. I’m going to send a follow-up email.

I play the lottery. I never used to play the lottery because I have a better chance of scoring a billion dollars from Bill Gates. Whenever I purchase a ticket I look up to the universe and I say, “Have mercy. Please let this ticket be the winning numbers. I promise to give all of it away except the calculated amount that I need to quit my job and live comfortably.  I will volunteer at soup kitchens. I’ll start going to church. The Quaker church where you just walk in and sit in silence. No small talk in the narthex after the service because they have no narthex. It’s a friends meeting house. You just walk out of the front door and you’re done. A no contact church is my kind of church. Actually, I could sit quietly in my den and get the same results.”

I asked my thirteen year old son if he would like to model robes for Ralph Lauren even though it goes against all of my morals. He says, “No fucking way am I modeling.”



I May Have Lied About Miles Davis But Now I’m a Big Fan

I’m thirteen years old. My first big crush is the cutest guy in the class. He’s the first chair trumpeter. I have a direct view of his beautiful face from my chair in the flute section. Travis’s eyes hold a gaze that resembles sunlit honey. The way he crosses his leg and perches his trumpet on his knee is a perfect pairing of corduroy and brass.

One day Travis and I are in the instrument closet all alone. It’s my opportunity to let Travis know I exist. I’m wearing dockers, a button down shirt and topsiders. My bangs hang over the tip of my eyes. I’m sixteen pounds overweight.  I’m about as sophisticated as Jabba the Hut.

“Hi Travis!”

“Oh hey.”

“Do you like Chuck Mangione?”

“He’s okay. My favorite is Miles Davis.”

I lie: “I love Miles Davis!”

“Really? What’s your favorite album?”

“I can’t think of it. It’s the one the radio plays all of the time.”

“He doesn’t get radio play.”

“Well…Chuck Mangione gets radio play. I saw you and your mother driving down Jamestown Road two Sundays ago. I was like, hey it’s Travis and his mother.”

Travis walks away. I go home and put on my father’s only Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue. I eat two big bowls of Breyers mint chocolate chip ice cream and mourn the loss of a relationship that never was and never will be.

Travis and I are friends on Facebook. 

One night after many drinks I draft a message to him that says, “I lied about Miles Davis in eighth grade but now I’m a huge fan. My favorite album is Bitch’s Brew. Also, Chuck Mangione is lame. Your former big-time crush, Kathy.

Thank Jah, Buddha, the stars and the moon I did not hit send.

Former justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced she has dementia.  I lost both of my parents to Alzheimer’s Disease.  I read a lot of information about the disease.

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up eating garbage. I believe it affected my behavior, ie: sliding down the stairwell over and over. Bumpity, bump, bump, bump. Back up and bumpity, bump, bump, bump.

If my mother called the Early Intervention hotline: “Yes, hi, my child is sliding down the stairwell around five hundred times consecutively. What has she eaten today? Frosted Wheaties, Pop Tarts and maybe two or five glasses of Tang. Why do you ask?”

My parents ate junk food every day throughout their life. Hamburger Helper, deviled ham, flimsy orange things posed as cheese, Twinkies. Mom made potatoes from a box. Who thought of that weird concept?

Today’s headline predicts that by 2060 the rate of Alzheimer’s will double. There is no cure. Pfizer announced it will stop research into developing drugs after many failed and costly attempts.

In 2017 Science Daily published this article:

Lund University


New research has shown that intestinal bacteria can accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the researchers behind the study, the results open up the door to new opportunities for preventing and treating the disease.

Unsolicited advice:  Do not bring up gut bacteria at a party. People walk away and find someone else to talk to.

The diet connection to disease is a heated topic. One reason is because it would mean having to give up Chick-fil-A, french fries and Breyers mint chocolate chip ice cream.  It would mean spending time cooking instead of zoning out to CNN to catch up on how fucked up the world is.

In 1972 scientist John Ludkin published Pure, White and Deadly. “Lustig is one of a growing number of scientists who don’t just believe sugar makes you fat and rots teeth. They’re convinced it’s the cause of several chronic and very common illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. It’s also addictive, since it interferes with our appetites and creates an irresistible urge to eat.” Add in mental health issues as well.

This cracks me up: Coca-Cola came out with a marketing campaign to increase sales after many consumers have cut down on soda consumption.  “Taste the Feeling” is an attempt by the world’s fourth-largest advertiser to return to more straightforward “story telling” that explains the “benefits” of Coke’s various brands. Coke says the campaign focuses on “the simple pleasure of drinking a Coca-Cola, any Coca-Cola”.

Because how do you tout the benefit of high fructose corn syrup, caramel color and caffeine?


Do You Offer Mouth Epidurals?

I get an F minus as a dental patient. I’ve had so much work done that I suffer from post-traumatic dental  work disorder. I took an extended break. Today I went for my six year cleaning. Also, I have a toothache.

They took around twenty x-rays of my mouth with the “new and improved technology” that benefits dentists but not the receiver of a metal contraption that is poking my gums while I am supposed to bite down thereby increasing the poking to a degree that is unbearable.

I choked and pulled it out. “I REALLY CAN’T HANDLE THIS!”

“Just relax and breath through your nose.”

“This is as relaxing as the time I saw AC/DC and I thought my ears were exploding while simultaneously watching two girls next to me break out into a full-on brawl complete with hair-pulling.”

“Ma’am we have to do the x-rays.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes we do.”

“Do you have any Morphine?”

“Hahaha. Lean back and open up.”


This does not resemble the scene today.

The nice dentist comes in and starts beating on my teeth with a metal hammer. “Ma’am does this hurt?”

No but when it does I may fly out of this chair and destroy things.”

“Ma’am you need teeth extracted and gum cleaning. Hopefully, you don’t need gum surgery.”

“Nobody is cutting my gums. I’ll floss a hundred times a day. I’ll gargle with tea tree oil which for the record is not pleasant. Gum surgery is lower on my list than open heart surgery.”

“Let’s go make an appointment for the extractions.”

“Okay. The last time I had a tooth extracted they used nitrous oxide. I’ve used nitrous recreationally in the past. It’s fun at a party after a few drinks. Nitrous is not fun when a dentist has a pair of heavy duty pliers yanking a tooth out of your mouth. Do you offer an epidural for the mouth? It worked well when I had my c-sections.”

Wacky On The Junk

Many years ago the talk show host David Letterman had a skit where he asked random strangers a series of questions. I don’t remember the questions but it went something like this: What’s your name? Where are you from? How are the hot dogs in Kentucky? ARE YOU WACKY ON THE JUNK? The reactions were hilarious. One guy shook his head immediately like, “Yeah, I’m definitely wacky on the junk.”

The skit stuck with me. I grew up eating Fruit Loops, Pop Tarts, Cheetos, and Hamburger Helper. It didn’t go well for me. I remember when I first saw Lily Tomlin’s character, Edith Ann on TV. She was a precocious six year old who sits in a giant rocking chair and tells a story about the sandwich she makes with mustard, peanut butter, lettuce, pickles, salami, raisins, cheese, pretzels, tuna fish and leftover oatmeal. She mashes it together with a dictionary, then she gives it to her dog, Buster. He doesn’t like the sandwich so Edith Ann takes a bite and says it’s awful. She ends the skit, “and that’s the truth” followed by a raspberry, the sound effect of flatulence.


Edith Ann was the first comforting reality that maybe I’m not alone in the world.

I read an article that one possible cause of depression and anxiety is inflammation caused by food allergies. What we consume affects our brain. Alcohol is exhibit A. Sugar is an inflammatory and it’s linked to depression and bipolar disorder.

I radically cleaned up my diet. It was life changing. For the first time in my life I felt comfortable in my skin. I have a deep sense of joy I have never experienced before. I’m even-tempered. My family is grateful I no longer go from zero to sixty on the emotional scale in three seconds.

There are so many causes of mental illness. A percentage of patients do not respond to anti-depressants. It’s encouraging that one solution may be to change what we eat.