If I Drop Dead, My Obituary Will Be Terrible

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of true crime. I’m currently watching the premiere episode of a 6-part miniseries on ID called “The Vanishing Women.” It’s about how six women all disappeared from the same small town in Ohio between 2014 and 2015. Four have been found dead, two are still missing, and the investigation into their disappearances is still ongoing.

As is the case with many of the true crime shows I love, this first episode begins with a scene in which three family members of Tiffany Sayres, one of the murdered women, fondly reminisce about her with tears in their eyes. They talk about how hard-working she was, how kind to animals. They all agree that she was never without her purse, which always contained a bottle of soda and a spare t-shirt. And while watching this depressing, exploitative, ghoulish conversation, all I could think was, “If I were to drop dead tonight, my obituary would be terrible.” I’ve been thinking about what it would say, and so far I’ve got this:

Caroline Nierman, a native New Yorker best known for her resemblance to John Goodman in photographs, died June 9, 2016, according to her family. She was 29. Nierman was born Caroline Nierman in May of 1987, and she aspired to use the stage name Saucy Goblin if she ever performed on stage. When she was 14, Nierman fell on a treadmill while paying rapt attention to an episode of ‘Say What Karaoke,’ and her right knee was never the same. 

Nierman attended a university in Scotland for three years. She spent the vast majority of her time in the United Kingdom outside of the classroom, either enjoying a local restaurant’s signature pancakes or sleeping. In 2008, she returned to New York City and took her first administrative job, which barely covered the rent on an unnecessarily expensive studio apartment that she insisted on moving to. While living alone, Nierman managed to rack up an impressive $4,000 of debt by using her credit card to pimp out an Ikea bed, which she loved like a child, and then ignoring the bills. 

While Nierman worked at a number of different companies over the course of her career, her proudest professional moment was when she was accused of locking a disturbed four year old into a room that had no lock on its door while she was working as a summer camp counselor in high school. Nierman could always be counted on to laugh at YouTube videos of people falling down, and she loved nothing more than catching up on The Daily Mail while curled up into the fetal position with earplugs in. 

Despite her shortcomings, Nierman spent her life loving and being loved by her endlessly supportive and hilarious family, who she was so attached to that she insisted on being picked up from 98% of the sleepovers she went on in her lifetime. She also miraculously managed to reel in the very definition of a catch when it came to her adored fiancé, who is now the sole parent of their delicious dog, Jack (Instagram: @JackieTheBean). 

There will be no funeral, as Nierman found funerals to be unbearably depressing. In lieu of gifts, please donate money to every single animal shelter and rescue organization in the world – seriously, all of them – or else Nierman will, in her own words, “haunt your sorry, callous ass until you’re withered and gray.” RIP. 

Phew. Glad that’s over with! Now back to my program.

 

Why I’m Against Rolling Backpacks

I would rather my kid have a scoliotic back for the rest of his life from carrying heavy textbooks as a tween than for him to have to carry the internal shame of having been the kid with the rolling backpack, because that shit is way heavier. Once I saw a kid with a rolling backpack fall head-first down a flight of stairs, and let me tell you, that backpack was close to lethal when it landed on top of him. I’ll never forget the tableau of the poor guy as he lay in a crumpled heap at the foot of the stairs, his cuffed sweatpants exposing his skinny ankles in all of their tube-sock-clad glory, the fallen backpack open next to him with papers falling out. This truly depressing sight crystallized my opinion that the rolling backpack is more a form of cruel and unusual punishment than a helpful tool to prevent your child from slipping a disc.

That Time I Wore a Winter Coat for 6 Years

I’ve always been pathologically self-conscious. I don’t really know why – it’s not like I was born without a nose or anything – but I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. I think maybe the neurosis stems from having looked so much like a boy when I was a baby that I’d be in my carriage wearing a pink dress and pink hair clips and people would STILL come over and ask, “Aww, how old is he?!” (This might have had something to do with the fact that my ‘hair’ consisted of three wispy strands of nothing, but I digress.)

The self-consciousness wasn’t SO bad when I was a kid, though I do remember being six years old and so deeply ashamed of a tiny mole on my left hand that I would hold it to my body in a palsy-ish kind of way. It only really got bad when I hit twelve years old – that’s when I first put on a knee-length, black, puffy winter coat, and I pretty much didn’t take the fucking thing off for the next six years.

You may think I’m exaggerating. I wish that were the case, but you could ask any one of the 120 kids I went to school with back then, and every single person would tell you, “Yeah, Caroline definitely did spend 6th grade through 12th grade comfortably swaddled in a crazy person puffer coat.” I’d break out Old Faithful as soon as the temperature dipped below 65 degrees in October, and I wouldn’t take it off until it was so hot outside that other people were wearing sundresses and shorts to school.

It was pretty nutty behavior, retrospectively, and GOOD GOD was it BOILING HOT in there. Multiple times a week, some other student, most likely clad only in a thin, short-sleeved shirt, would turn to me and say, “Hey, Caroline, it’s super hot in here, aren’t you hot in that coat?” And even though my hair would be plastered to my red, sweaty face and I’d be feeling like I could slump over from heat stroke at virtually any moment, I’d reply, “Oh, man, I’m FREEZING! I can’t believe you’re hot! I’m so glad I have my coat to keep me toasty!” Then I’d spend the rest of the class simultaneously fuming at their nerve and envying them for the fact that they weren’t totally insane like me.

I even had a math teacher, Doc, who would literally beg me to take the coat off in front of the whole class. “Caroline, you’re beautiful,” he’d say, “and for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, could you take the goddamn coat OFF?” I’d just smile knowingly and say, “Oh, Doc. You know that’ll never happen.” And it didn’t – not until after I’d graduated from high school. I’m surprised my superlative in the yearbook wasn’t, “Most Likely To End Up Wearing a Tin Foil Hat to Match Her Paranoid Schizophrenic’s Outfit.”

Finally, I got to college and decided that there wasn’t much of a point to schvitzing like a pudding at a picnic all the time. Don’t get me wrong, though – I still wear a long, black, puffy coat every winter, and the first time each season that I get to put it on, I think to myself, “Hello, old friend. We meet again.”

Embarrassing Moments I Re-live Regularly: Cocktails & Screams

When I was a senior in High School, most of my grade went to the Bahamas for Spring Break. It was awesome; everyone in the city you could possibly want to see or interact with in a tropical locale was there. What wasn’t so awesome was the night that I drank an entire Yard at Senor Frog’s. I sort of remember dancing wildly and feeling great until we got in a cab to go to the next club, a place (ironically) called Cocktails & Dreams. When we arrived, I staggered over to a swinging bench on the beach and threw myself onto it, only to pitch forward face-first into the sand. It occurred to me then, as I lay on the ground in a semi-comatose state, that the night was not going to improve from there.

I finally got up and made my way to the bathroom, which I soon learned was a problematic place to be for two reasons. There was a bathroom attendant stationed by the sinks, which would’ve been fine, except for the fact that the bathroom doors were so short that she could see me as I rested on the dirty, dirty floor in the fetal position.

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you something I learned that night: there are few things more degrading than hearing other drunk bitches talk about you while you’re basically catatonic and unable to defend yourself. They kept saying things like, “OMG, holy SHIT, do you see that GIRL?? She’s, like, TOTALLY PASSED OUT on the FLOOR! And she’s wearing a DRESS! Do you think she’s OK?! LOLZHAHAHA”), and I could form sentences in my mind, but I couldn’t make the words come out of my mouth. It was like being in hell. Finally, the bathroom attendant summoned some of my friends, and they took me home in a cab while I clutched a cup of water and tried not to die.

Man…those sure were the days.

Daily Aggravation 18: The kids these days

Teenagers are the biggest bummers in the world, aside from terrorists and Dr. Ruth. They’re sullen, they’re abrasive and they think they’re cooler than everybody. Wait, what’s that, teenaged girl? You spent $13 on a pack of cigarettes that you’re not even inhaling just so you could look like a badass? You’re an idiot. And oh, hey, teenaged boy, I’m really impressed that you can curse, since that means you’re physically capable of making your mouth say words! Also, congratulations, all of you, on your skill at swarming onto a subway car like a pack of water rats and then bullying each other loudly enough to make my eardrums bleed. I think all teenagers should be sequestered away in a colony named “Weenieland” (copyright Michael Jackson? Too soon?) until they’re old enough to either get knocked up or go be some college dean’s problem instead of mine.