Becoming Undazzled

First, some quick updates:

I’m still alive (always a good start);

I still work at the Forge;

I still have a day job;

I’m still on the radio once a month;

Ben and I are still happily together;

… and I am still neurodiverse, which is a big part of why nobody’s heard from ol’ Marjorie in awhile.

The depression hit at some point over the summer. I don’t think any particular thing set it off, other than unfortunate brain chemistry, but regardless, it led to an extended, oppressive fog in which I could really only focus on basics: Show up for work on time(ish), keep up with chores just enough to prevent my apartment from officially qualifying as squalor, etc. Compounding the depression, though, were some unexpected financial setbacks, a minor medical crisis, and assorted car troubles (including two more highly unnecessary break-ins), all of which contributed to the general feelings of malaise and despondency.

There’s an old X-Men comic in which everyone on the team has to choose between continuing the mission (stealing a big, magic crystal, if I remember correctly) or achieving their heart’s desire. However, when faced with this decision, the X-Man Dazzler is offered three different desires from which to pick: She could become a world-famous rock star, a high-powered attorney, or a bag lady. Here’s how it played out:

Dazzler

As a kid, this had a profound effect on me: Whenever I was struggling with something, or feeling overwhelmed, I’d be like, “Well, do you want to be a rock star or a bag lady?” And I’d push through. But for the past several months, as debts piled up and waking life got more difficult to navigate, “bag lady” started seeming more and more like a viable career option.

And old friend of mine used to say that it was hard to be a writer when the act of writing triggered her depression. I totally get that, but for me, the opposite is true: Writing puts me in a good mood, and I get my best writing done when things are going well — in that state, the act of writing enhances the happiness. It’s when my depression is in full effect that I can’t write, especially when I’ve used up all my spoons on Sisyphean efforts like getting out of bed or remembering to eat. And that makes me feel like a failure, which in turn makes me want to move into a cardboard box under an overpass with the other homeless mutants.

The blog languished during this period, and while I made occasional notes for potential posts, I spent more time at the Forge growling at customers instead of jotting down the hilarious things they said. I kept meaning to post… I don’t know, anything, even just a brief “not dead, just sad,” but even that seemed like an onus. And besides, it wasn’t like anyone actually cared what I wrote anyway, right?

And then, one fine day, Tank texted me to let me know that a woman name Bridgett had messaged the store, because I hadn’t posted anything for awhile, and she wanted to make sure I was okay. I mentioned this Nuke a few days later, and he was like, “Yeah, we’ve been getting phone calls from people, too. Apparently, you have fans.”

I strongly maintain that it’s okay not to realize one’s blog has a cult following, but that said… guys, I sincerely apologize for making anyone worry. The depression is still lingering around, but I can finally see the light at the end of the rabbit hole, and as such, I am going to do my best to get back to posting regularly and keeping you all entertained with the weird shit that never seems to happen to anyone but me.

And hey, Bridgett? Thank you for checking in. Even if it took awhile to set the bag lady costume aside, I appreciate being made aware that I was wearing it in the first place. This time around, I’m going to be a rock star, and I’m dedicating my first album to you.

ETA: I forgot to mention in the updates that I started wearing glasses again. That’s neither here nor there and has nothing to do with depression or blogging, but still, I think they suit me.

Zennis

Cock Block of the Walk

[Two customers enter the store with mischievous glints in their eyes.]

Customer 1: “WE’RE GONNA HAVE SEX IN HERE.”

Me: “Are you, now?”

Customer 1: “Nothing says we can’t have sex in here!”

Me: “Just me.”

Customer 1: “But the sign outside doesn’t mention the Forge…”

[Ed. Note: There’s a laminated sign by the front door of Ripcord that says, “No sex in the bar area, bathrooms, or on the patio. If caught, you will be asked to leave, period.”]

Customer 1: “… SO WE’RE ALLOWED TO HAVE SEX IN HERE.”

Me: [leaning over the counter and beaming like a bear trap] “You are welcome to try.”

Customer 1: “…”

Customer 2: [meekly] “I promise we’re not going to have sex in here.”

Time to make more signs for the register, I guess. I hope management is sympathetic when we run out of Post-its.

You’re Going to Say I Should’ve Said What Everyone Else Said I Should’ve Said

Straight Girl: [pointing at a display of socks] “Socks.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Straight Girl: “Socks.”

Me: “… Yes. Those are socks.”

Straight Girl: “How much are they?”

Me: “$6.99.”

Straight Girl: [grinning seductively] “And how much are they if I show you my boobs?”

Me: “$6.99.”

Straight Girl: “…”

And then I rolled my eyes and went to help other customers.

I told this story several times throughout the night, and while amused, everyone from the doorman to the bartender to the manager critiqued my response in exactly the same way.

Me: “… and then she was like, ‘And how much are they if I show you my boobs?’ And I was all, ‘$6.99.'”

Them: “You know what would’ve been funnier? If you told her $15.00.”

Me: “Damn it all to hell.”

The new rule at Ripcord is that if a heterosexual wanders into the Forge and gets mouthy, I am to send an emergency text to everybody on duty, so that they can come running and throw efficient shade for me. I sincerely appreciate the support, but it also kind of feels like I’m getting picked last for gay dodgeball.

It’s either in Leviticus or the Apocrypha. I forget which.

Customer: “How much are these jockstraps?”

Me: “The Nasty Pig jocks? Those are $59.”

Customer: “Hmm. I think my package is just about ready for one of those.”

[He starts vigorously thrusting his pelvis.]

Customer: “Because [thrust] I’ve [thrust] been [thrust] lifting [thrust] weights!’

Me: [impassive smile]

Customer: “…”

And then he busied himself out of the store. Had I the chance to do it again, I definitely would’ve started doing the Time Warp and shouting, “GROUP SEX GROUP SEX GROUP SEX” in time to his thrusts, but that would’ve probably gotten real awkward real quickly if he wasn’t familiar with the song and/or movie.

Then again, he’s the one walking into retail establishments and simulating sex in front of the staff. And like it says in the Bible, let he who is not enthusiastically fucking air cast the first stone. Or he who just bought the damn jock already. Something like that. I’ll have to look it up again.

Toy Story 5: The Revenge

Customer: “Do you sell single-use packets of lube?”

Me: “We don’t, but I do have free samples, if you’d like some.”

Customer: “I only need one.”

Me: “Okay. Well, here you go.” [I hand him a packet.]

Customer: “Thanks! It hurts.”

Me: “It… hurts?”

Customer: “Yeah. I bought a toy at this other shop…”

Me: “Oh.”

[beat]

Me: “Oh.”

Customer: “Yeah. They didn’t have any lube, but I went ahead and… listen, could I use your dressing room?”

Me: “With my blessing.”

He came out a couple of minutes later all, “Whew. Much better!” And then he smiled at me and left.

I tried to smile back, but, y’know. It hurts.

Bighting My Tongue

Straight Girl: [placing a bundle of bondage rope on the counter with a giggle] “I’d like to buy this, please.”

Me: “Okay. That’ll be $21.64.”

Straight Girl: “My boyfriend’s gonna be like, ‘What the heck?’ Ha!”

Me: “Ha. Yeah.”

Straight Girl: [eyes suddenly burning like coals] “AND I’M GONNA BE LIKE, ‘WHAT TIME IS IT NOW, BITCH?!'”

Me: “…”

Straight Girl: “Byeee!”

Long story short, I just found the spokesmodel for my upcoming #NotAllStraightGirls campaign. The Internet ain’t even ready for her.