When Being an Early Adopter Spins Out.

I am aware and annoyed that the world tends to hate on new things as they come along, picking apart all of the potential dangers and drawbacks before anyone has had a chance to even try them.

Remember when Pokemon Go came out? All the news stories were about people walking over cliffs or wrecking cars (or the possibilities of those things potentially happening) rather than the fact that an entire people group just emerged from their video-game-playing-basements and were all of a sudden getting loads of exercise and Vitamin D and even human interaction.

(I still marvel at the shocking paleness I witnessed those first few weeks when Pokemon Go was THE THING. I’m pretty sure some of those people had never visited outdoor parks in their lives before said parks contained Snorlaxes and Squirtles.)

The 80s in particular were full of this judge-first hobby – especially in Southern Christian circles. The Smurfs were satanic. Dungeons and Dragons was double satanic. Yoga would turn you into a new age witch. And speaking of witches, don’t forget about Stevie Nicks because she was totally a witch. Oh and now that we’re talking about music, any song played backwards will tell you to worship Satan (did you know that Congress actually held hearings on this issue??) And DO NOT read the clouds in “Aladdin” or look at the cover of “The Little Mermaid” or YOU WILL SEE THINGS.

It even carried over to the 90s when Harry Potter was the echelon of all things Satanic. Too far, too far.

I find this outlook endlessly pessimistic and more-than-a-bit off-putting and am seriously happy that the 80s are over. As such, I always try to give things a good, hard, first try before identifying their potential downsides. Why not look for the benefits of new ideas rather than the drawbacks?

With one exception.

Since the moment they emerged in an explosion of fad and frenzy, I have DETESTED fidget spinners.

Detested isn’t a deep enough word. Loathed, perhaps. Abominated. Is that a thing? I abominate fidget spinners.

I abhor the quiet, smoothly fizzing sound when other people use them around me (“isn’t this a No Fidget Spinning section of this restaurant? No? Please seat me in the No Fidget Spinning section – I’m allergic.”) and I am disgusted by the feeling of them spinning around on the top of my own finger, and I despise them spinning between my thumb and index finger. They literally make me shiver with horror. They give me the total heebs. And actual chill bumps.

Of course, every member of my family with the exception of myself owns and regularly carries one of these horrible devices. Including my husband. Even though he conceal carries, it grosses me out just knowing that vile thing is in his pocket.

Before he realized my intense repulsion by The Fidget Spinner, Chris came home one night with a surprise for me and each of the kids. He played it up, acting like he was the best in all the world (which he is. Or was, until this night.)

After presenting the children with thrilling trinkets for which they hugged him and thanked him profusely, he finally pulled out my surprise – and as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, it was a fidget spinner. But not just any bland old fidget spinner – it was a fidget spinner printed with graffiti, and therefore he looked at me expectantly, happy that he’d hit upon one of my many and varied interests.

IMG_2910“My” Fidget Spinner is the one on the far left. Though I would never claim such vileness as mine.

I’m pretty good at faking thankfulness for gifts I’m not thrilled about, but my complete enmity toward these items made me recoil and scream out “EW! I can’t stand Fidget Spinners!” and push it across the table as if it were a box full of hissing cockroaches.

His face fell and I immediately felt bad. And both kids began begging for my rejected gift.

“OOOH DAD! Can I have it?” “No can I have it?” “I’d really love to have it!” “So would I!”

“You could have at least pretended to like it and told me later so that I didn’t have to figure out which kid to give it to.”

I apologized profusely, but stayed vigilant in my absolute refusal of his inappropriate gift.

(It later got used as bribery to get Noah to behave for like three whole days and was totally worth it.)

(Poor Ali. If only she required more bribery, she too could own more fidget spinners.)

Although Ali and Chris are moderate enthusiasts, Noah has become a collector of Fidget Spinners and Widget Spinners (what he calls the two-sided ones) of all sizes. He pines after them and begs me to search Amazon for newly released ones. I do not demonize these pursuits (at least out loud), even though I cringe with thought of the sound of yet another softly spinning object in my house. Instead, I press on, supporting my family and even my son’s horrific obsession.

Even though fidget spinners just have to be Satanic.

On Discovering That I’m a Prodigy.

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The year of 2017 will be forever remembered as the era where I made a monumental breakthrough on my journey of self-realization. If I were given one of those standard employee reviews where they asked me what my strengths and weaknesses were, before 2017 would be lacking a vital component of who I am.

Because 2017 was the year my husband acquired an NES Classic. Just before they were discontinued forever, might I add. It was for sure fate guiding my husband’s obsessive impulses so that I could discover my greatest ability.

I am a Dr. Mario genius.

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I had played it as a kid and remember being fairly good at the game, but we didn’t own it so I was not aware of my remarkable savant tendencies in the particular skill set that this game requires. Both playing on my own and in a two player game, I am STUNNING. My mind works in just the right way so that I can dominate, knowing instantaneously where the ideal place to land each dual-colored pill is. I can plan ahead, making sure that each killing of a virus is actually a double or triple virus kill, therefore sending extraneous and devastating blocks into my opponent’s pill bottle.

Lest you’ve forgotten your own childhood Dr. Mario experiences, the game works somewhat similarly to Tetris, in that you’re trying to clear stacks of similar colors. Except in this game, the plot is a bit thicker – you’re trying to cure viruses* with pills – three same-colored pill halves stacked on top of a virus clears it. Or if you’re just making a stack of pills, four same colored pills clears out.

When playing one player, I can continue the game indefinitely, despite the growing number of viruses at every level. The only thing that stops me is my eyes – they start to water and see double after a while – just like our mothers warned us, Nintendo will destroy your eyes.

When playing two player, each player selects their own level of difficulty, thereby leveling the playing field with a Dr. Mario handicap. When Chris and I play against each other, I choose level 11 or 12, and he chooses level 5. I have over double the number of viruses he has and that nearly makes it fair – but not quite, to be honest. I still savagely beat him 99% of the time.

Thankfully, Chris enjoys his regular beat down.

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Every time I play, I am re-amazed at myself. It’s as if I suddenly realized that I’ve always known how to fluently speak Russian but had just never encountered a Russian speaker to reveal my talent.

I have since been trying to analyze these previously untapped skill sets and figure out how to apply them in real life, becoming a multi-billionaire by my ability to sort the stock market, or analyze computer code to find (computer) viruses, or something. But I have yet to identify a profitable application of my genius. Perhaps I need to visit my old college advisor. But for now, I guess I’m just going to have to go on the video-game-entertainment circuit, wowing intent crowds with my ability to eradicate viruses in a stunningly efficient manner.

* Despite my love for this game (due mostly to my own mastery of it), the premise does slightly annoy me, as all us mothers know that “It’s just a virus” means “There is no pill in the world that can cure your kid right now so you just go on home and enjoy the misery of your sick kid until that virus runs its course over the next 7-10 days and also enjoy the fact that you just wasted a $35 co-pay.” So either Dr. Mario has made a breakthrough and found a pill that cures viruses, or this game is a complete lie to humanity. I’m putting my money on Dr. Mario being a pill-slinging savant. Just like me.

Congratulations on Your Simple Existence.

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Last week, I had a male nurse tell me all about how he has no health problems and takes no medications. He told me a hilarious story about him going to the doctor for the first time in years just so that he had a primary doctor if he ever needed one, but he probably wouldn’t. He told me the side-splitting tale about the nurse asking him about his health and his medications and then looking at him full of perplex and asking him “Then why are you here?”

He told me all of this directly after I had to tell him about my own complicated medical issues.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. In fact, it seems like “perfect health” is a man’s favorite bragging right. Although this is an especially odious habit for a male nurse, it comes with males everywhere. Especially after a woman has described symptoms and issues that, to them, sound like they must be exaggeration or hysteria since they’ve never experienced any similar thing.

So, healthy men of the world, it’s time we had a talk.

You need to shut the health up.

You’re so stinking proud of your easy existence. As if your body is equal to ours. In complexity, your body is a cheesy laxative commercial, while our body is the lovechild of The Matrix and Inception.

Your systems are early model typewriters – the ones without the self-correcting tape – compared to our super-computer operating systems. We run such high-level programs on our OS that you cannot even comprehend the bodily equations we do on a daily basis. So OF COURSE more things can go wrong and more code can get screwed up.

Most importantly, we are capable of CREATING additional humans. We have an entire system dedicated to that superpower. You think that’s not going to break more often compared to your Neanderthal abilities? So – yay for you. Your abacus hasn’t broken yet. Why don’t you use it to count how many humans you’ve grown.

What’s that you say? You make babies too? Oh yeah – that’s right. It takes you like twenty-two trabillion sperm swarming up a one-way street just to find one of our eggs. That’s some really efficient work you’ve got going on there. Perhaps if your software was detailed enough to program them to ask for directions, you’d be more helpful in the baby-making arena.

Meanwhile, after that “WE ARE MAN SEE US SWIM” ridiculously overpopulated army invasion of yours, we have to do the rest of the nine month process. Then when that new human finally emerges, our entire framework is reprogrammed within 24 hours to go from growing a baby inside to feeding a baby from the outside, which creates the side effect of complete nuclear emotional meltdown. Because duh.

Besides those times when we’re actually growing humans, our baby-making software requires an update every freaking month of nearly our entire life. Those updates take an entire week and while they’re running, every other program is trashed and slowed to 10% of its normal speed and efficiency. You know how on your actual computer you always click “ignore” on that update for Adobe Acrobat? Yeah. We can’t exactly ignore our updates without finding ourselves in one bloody hell of a mess.

And I’m not even going to get into the many studies on how much more complex and inter-wired our brains are than yours, because I don’t want to hurt the few connections you do have. And because I don’t dislike you, dear men – men are important. Men are great! Everyone needs a vintage box fan to help out their central air conditioning unit. But no one needs that box fan bragging incessantly about their perfectly functioning plastic blades.

So for all the women out there who have ever been told by a man that surely they don’t feel as bad as they actually do and by-the-way-have-I-told-you-about-my-own-perfect-health, just remember: you can’t expect Fred Flintstone to know how to drive a Tesla.