Random Acts of Kindness

My mother, god bless her, always taught me to do nice things for others whenever I can- that’s why I give homeless people “Kind” bars and donate to “Donation Boxes” at various places. Unfortunately, some ideas, like giving Grandma’s computer a “Makeover,” sound better in theory than in actuality. However, last Friday (Friday the 13th, no less!) I did something beautiful for another autism mom that she will never, ever forget.

There’s this website called “Cameo” where, if you pay enough money, you can get video messages from celebrities, or for slightly less money, talk with them directly. Sounds good, right? Well, as it turns out, you have to pay lots of money for these messages, and frankly, said “celebrities” tend to be has-beens or B-listers. So, if you want a message from, say, Liam Neeson, you’re shit out of luck. Seriously, Lindsay Lohan is probably the most famous person on that website, and you have to pay $54.00 just to talk with her. (Considering how washed-up she is, it’s amazing it’s that expensive.)

Earlier this year, I’ve gotten busted with my parents for buying messages through Cameo- particularly the memorial message from Morgan Fairchild in honor of Simon MacCorkindale for his widow, Susan George. My mom, being an economist and all, was NOT happy I decided to use $90 to buy a message, and made me write her a letter about “flushing money down the toilet,” so to speak. I’m honestly surprised that my punishment was this light.

My mom thinks that these purchases are too frivolous. “They’re just messages from celebrities; they’re not anything worthwhile,” she says. I don’t listen to her, though. I’m really adament on connecting with these celebrities, after all.

Looking back on my life, I understand more deeply my fixation with trying to impress movie stars. Growing up during the dawn of the millennium, I had difficulty connecting with the real world, so I often immensed myself in fictional worlds from computer games, books, movies, or cartoons. I loved them so much, I wanted to be, just like Ariel “part of your world.” I didn’t realize it however, until I was about 10 years old. I was in the bathroom after a particularly nasty fight in school, and so upset about my life that I thought about Phil Vischer, the guy from “VeggieTales” my favorite show at the time, adopting me into his family. Seriously. I didn’t tell anyone, so my mom didn’t lecture me about how impractical it was. I also didn’t talk about this dream in school, because you’re not supposed to promote religion there.

Now, I don’t watch the Real Housewives, because I don’t care for reality TV. I do, however, deeply appreciate Jacqueline Laurita for being a fantastic autism advocate for her son. And I’ve seen her Twitter page that she likes some videos my friend Olivia made with her musical therapist, Jammin Jenn. Olivia is severely disabled and struggles deeply, but music is a fantastic outlet for her. So, I decided that my mom’s friend would like a birthday message from her.

My first plan was to start reap money from some other autism moms I knew, so I tried finding their contact info online. Believe me, it sounded like a good idea at the time. Since I wanted my mom to be part of the fun, I asked her if it was okay.

“Jenny, I don’t think that would be practical,” she said. “They’re special needs moms; they have more important things to worry about.”

Okay, fine, Mom.

To be fair, I had screwed up before when trying to do something nice for another autism family. A couple of years ago, after seeing a girl I knew “like” a poster advertising a dance at my college, I figured she would be interested in going. Unfortunately, not only did I fail to realize it was only for high school seniors, but- get this-I used Mom’s Facebook to contact her mom. Long story short, the mom was extremely weirded out by this, and my parents were not happy when they found out. Seriously, Dad even thought I was delibrately screwing up.

However, all things considered, there’s always a Plan B When it comes to these things. So, I got onto Jacqueline Laurita’s website and decided to email her:

My name is Jennifer Rose, and I have a very special request for you. You see, my mom’s friend Kim Gordon, is turning 56 next month- you might remember her charming daughter Olivia from this “Jammin Jenn” video: https://twitter.com/JacLaurita/status/451018152584183808. Anyways, both her and her mom have been struggling quite a bit due to the COVID lockdown, and would really appreciate a birthday message from you. Would you be willing to do this? As much as we’d love to do something on Cameo, it’s just not practical right now- I hope you understand.

Later that week, I realized that this was basically a one-in-a-million chance for me, so I decided to call her musical therapist, Jammin Jenn, concerning the video. She was so eager about the idea, she decided to reach out to Ms. Laurita. Not that that would’ve been necessary, because later that day, I had finally discovered the email response from Jackie in my email, “golden arrow” (which means “Important.”) She said that yes, she would be happy to do the birthday message for her. I was over the moon.

That evening, my mom was calling her on the phone, telling her about the wonderful thing I did for her. I honestly thought I was in trouble for a minute- after all, how else would I have been able to contact a Real Housewife? However, while Mom was kind of shocked about what happened, she wasn’tt upset with me. Not one bit. In fact, she was actually quite impressed about what happened- I was, after all, able to get what I wanted without wasting a single cent, let alone asking anyone else for it.

Recently, Mom went to an event with some other autism moms from my area, and Miss Gordon couldn’t help but brag about my story. And of course, all these moms were equally impressed at what I did, and yes, they were happy that I didn’t ask money from them.

In life, you can’t always expect to get everything you want, but if you’re creative enough, you can definitely find ways to do so- never doubt the power of Plan B. And if anything, what I did was probably even more impressive that buying a video on Cameo. Anyone (given they have enough money and don’t have their parents monitoring them) can “buy” a message from someone on that website, but it takes a really special, creative person to reaching out to her directly. Small wonder my mom’s friend appreciated what I did for her.

Happy birthday, Kim. Glad you appreciate your video.

Holding on in the Age of COVID

In the years leading up to 2020, I envisioned a “clear vision,” so to speak, for my life. I would finally ditch my habit of being online a lot and work on my writing dreams, move out of my house, and get plenty of praise for my work. However, with the COVID lockdown, much of my life was put on hold, as did many other’s.

The year started off fairly well. I started my own blog, the very blog you are reading as I write this. I went off to Israel after being “jipped,” as my mother put it, from another Birthright Israel trip. (In hindsight, Mom is glad I got in under the wire, as COVID also eventually affected travel to Israel as well.) I watched the (in-person, if you can believe it) Grammys, and bawled like a baby when Camila Cabello sang “First Man,” about her beautiful relationship with her father- it reminded me of my own dad, after all. I went to a “Onesie Bar Crawl” and, um, accidentally misplaced my ID- but luckily, a neighbor offered to drive me back. I donated blood at a Blood Drive. Heck, I even met a gew celebrities! (Okay, one of them was a running Congressman, but still.) Things were looking pretty good around here.

But on March 13th, my life, as well as everyone else’s, took a turn for the worst.

I was out with my boyfriend the day the country went into lockdown. After scrambling to find the “perfect date” for Valentine’s Day, he finally decided to have us go out March, Friday the 13th. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the whole country was on lockdown- though earlier that day, my mom had gotten a call that she had to pick up my sister from her school ( she goes to residential school for young adults with disabilities), which shocked her. Guess what we did Pi Day 2020?

March 15th brought plenty of disappointments. We were going to celebrate my great-aunt’s 90th birthday, but she got sick and died. I was going to an event in Glassworks with my Temple, but they cancelled due to a low turnout- presumably to concerns surrounding COVID. My local Church cancelled their service- now they’re open, but they have no luncheons like they used to, which was my main reason for going, anyway. Even the Irish Celtic concert I wanted to go to in Chatham was cancelled. So, my family spent the day watching old home videos, which, while cute, just can’t compare to going out and having a real life.

This Halloween was a pretty strange one for me. It’s always been pretty difficult for me to engross myself deeply in the holiday before October 31st, because I’ve been swamped with work from college- or in the cases of 2011/2012, the goddamn weather gets in the way! Luckily, Halloween season typically reigns until the first week of November nowadays. And hey, with the devastation from Hurricane Sandy looming, nobody would fault me for seeing Frankenweenie in November. I do find ways to enjoy the spooky season though- when there’s a will there’s way after all- whether it’s through fun Horror movies or fun parties at bars.

Last year I was Alex DeLarge, in honor of my grandpa who would’ve been 100 that year- A Clockwork Orange was one of his favorite books. Boy, did I have a blast telling people “How do you do, fellow droogs?” as I explained my costume to them. This year, however, was quite different.

Now that fall has hit, the country is slowly, but surely, opening up. Many schools are doing a hybrid of in-person learning and virtual learning. Some events are being held in-person, as opposed to Zoom conferences. (Try not to think too hard about how a wine-tasting event can be held on Zoom.)

However, there’s still a lingering concern about the virus, so it’s still not entirely back to normal, so there were very few Halloween parties I could attend, particularly in-person parties- which left few opportunities to show off my Talia Al Ghul costume. (I was going to be Hit-Girl for Kick-Ass‘ 10th anniversary, but then got really interested in Liam Neeson and thought it was cool that he played Ra’s Al Ghul in the Dark Knight series- I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a wig, cool as it might have been.) I went to a grand total of 3 such parties-technically, I also went to a friend’s party on Zoom, but it was just that- a Zoom party, as his mom din’t want him getting sick with COVID. And get this- two of them were hold on the exact same day, and the other was a small one at a local dance studio! (The Fred Astaire dance studio, to be specific, which I attended when I was younger, but never really cared for until now.) Did I mention I didn’t go to any until Halloween season was almost over?

Sometimes I really wish I didn’t have to spend my twenties this way. It’s a time to go out and learn more new things, to discover who you are as person. Not sitting on the Internet at a Zoom conference all day. After all, I already got enough of the Internet during the 2000s. It’s funny to think that, 15 years ago, I was stuck on the internet while everyone else was out doing things- nowadays, it’s the other way around. Even back then, I urged my mom to get me into a summer camp when we were staying at my Grandma’s all summer (long story) so I would finally have the structure I so desperately needed, as opposed to being on the internet all day.

In this day and age, it can be hard to not feel upset, scared, or lonely about what’s going on in our dar country. However, we need to stay strong in the tumultuous face of adversity. Our country is eventually going to open up again, and soon enough we’ll be together- it is, after all, only a matter of time. I myself have felt all of the above emotions since March 2020, yet, I still hold onto the vision of a great life, the one I so dearly promised myself several years ago, as a young college student trapped in a world that didn’t seem to understand, and work toward accomplishing my goals every day, against all odds.

Speaking of which, BRB, off to work on my novel for NaNoWriMo!

Making my own miracles, 10 Years Later

10 years ago, I faced an amazing rebirth. The previous year was horrendous for me- my grandpa was diagnosed with dementia, which led to a lot of drama concerning him coming to my bat mitzvah, and I was kicked out of school- twice. Even at my third school, I still got upset and into a lot of fights. It was a pretty tumultous experience.

But then, ninth grade came along, and I suddenly started to finally come out of my shell, for the first time since my diagnosis 10 years beforehand. I had close friends. I was doing well in school (Granted, it was super easy, but still.) I was finally working on my creative endeavors, suggesting to one of my friends we start a rock-and-roll band. I was donating to charities- granted, they were mainly wrinkled-up dollar bills in the mail, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. And best of all, I had a new special interest with one of the greatest bands of all time- The Beatles.

As I said in my previous post, one of the reasons I deeply appreciated John Lennon’s work and music was because he had a lot in common with Kanye West, as well as myself. Because of this new interest in the Beatles, I had remembered an old CD my mother got for me in the wake of 9/11- “Kids Celebrate America,” which just so happened to have a few Beatles songs on it. It represented a more innocent time, when the world was a beautiful place, and I was living in an equally amazing country. We were all pitching in to help each other, such as my family pitching in to help a young woman trapped in the debris.

The weekend I uncovered the CD after nearly a decade, my family decided to attend the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.”

It wasn’t easy to arrange the road trip. Because it coincided with Halloween weekend, there was also going to be a party at my school. Ever the social butterfly, I wanted to attend. Of course, since my grandma’s house was the “home base” since it was in Washington, D.C., my mother spent practically 2 1/2 hours, late at night, driving. Boy, was she exhausted!

At the end of the day, though, it was all worth it. We saw many amazing people fighting for our rights- the right to sanity, at that! And of course, after coming back home, I dug up the CD from the basement, and pressed some arrows to play “Imagine” on my CD Player. I just stood there, amazed as what a beautiful thing it was. “You may say I’m a dreamer…but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us….and the world will live as one!” Well said, John. Well said.

During the middle years of both decades, life wasn’t easy for me. I was struggling a lot with my disability, whether it was getting upset easily, being an easy target for bullies, or family drama. Heck, even when I was listening to the CD in 2002, things were pretty hard- my grandfather had passed away, I went to a poorly-organized summer camp, and often did inappropriate things due to my disability. However, for all the difficulties of that year, I harbor no psychological scars from that year. In fact, one of my favorite recent songs, is, oddly enough, “2002”- for all the issues I had that year, I only see it as a time of childlike innocence.

It’s only natural that I’ve wanted to go back to the state of childlike innocence. I’ve tried repeating that “Miracle moment” every Halloween. I used a “Veggie Tales” CD in 2011. I tried uncovering some old chidlhood books in the basement in 2014. I played it on my Spotify in 2016. (For those not in the know, Spotify is basically the Gen-Z equivalent of Itunes.) But, it’s just not the same. That was just one beautiful moment that couldn’t truly be duplicated.

However, there are little miracles in life everyday. 2020 isn’t been the best year, my “clear vision” prediction on the year notwithstanding. But I still make the most of it. Yesterday, I called my cousin Ryan to discuss film ideas. Previously, he had sent emails, but I hadn’t gotten the “Gist” as to how to write for, say, Backyard Sports. I elaborated on “what” I wanted to write for- basically, parody shorts based on movies that I liked, such as “Dr. Strange,” or “Pitch Perfect.”

“Well, it takes a lot of money to get the copyrights for these. However, if you create something on your own, maybe you’ll get discovered!”

Now, this won’t be the easiest thing for me to do. Frankly, I’m a better author than animator, so working on my own just isn’t practical. And as I told him, when I try to reach out for animation help, they either can’t or won’t work for me- it just doesn’t work out. However, with a little determination, I can truly make my dreams come true and make it into something I’d like to see.

Later that evening, I went to a fun party at the Horseshoe Tavern. I was so excited to see something open, that I decided to go, even though the place was almost at full capacity. First, I talked to a group of people downstairs- one of them even had a “Bane” costume to compliment my Talia costume- but it was so full and loud that I felt overwhelmed. When the party upstairs opened, I went there.

I had an amazing time! I drank delicious fruity cocktails, and met two amazing young men, Jonathan and Caleb, dressed as an athlete and Russian gangster, respectively. The latter even had a sister whom he said was like me, except she was more a gamer, so I gave him my contact information (okay, Instagram handle.)

But here’s the best part- I was basically so tired and tipsy the following day, I basically had my first hangover! And here my mother was, concerned that I was never going to have a typical adult experience, let alone a hangover.

In life, you can’t duplicate the miracles in your life. Rather, you need to see the miracles that are sitting there, right in front you. Whether it’s your cousin supporting you, or your first ever hangover, you need to see the beauty in your life. The world is an amazing place, but every single miracle is special in its own little way.

Happy 98th birthday, Grandma!

My grandmother would’ve been 98 last Tuesday. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal, as few people live to such an age. Yet, she was a core person in my life, long before I was where I am.

As a young girl, I had difficulties speaking for long periods of time. I also had problems showing affections to people. Whenever I was with her however, there was this immeasurable bond that just couldn’t be fathomed.

There was a time in 2004, when I was younger, we were visiting her and Grandpa for the 4th of July. I saw some toddlers with glow-in-the-dark rattles, and leaned over at her, saying “Grandma, look at the babies’ glow-in-the-dark rattles!” She had difficulty hearing me, so I had to repeat myself several times, yet here I was, a young autistic girl who could barely be persuaded to speak, let alone do so on her own, exclaiming something out of the blue to a relative she only saw a handful of times.

Throughout my childhood, she was always supportive of my writing endeavors. We would even send her the things I didn’t write so well, such as my crappy Backyard Sports fanfiction, because hey, I was trying and she knew that, even if it was frankly weird. Boy, would she be happy to know I would be writing a blog now!

Hope you’re having fun wherever you are, Grandma. I miss you.

10 Years Without Simon MacCorkindale

10 years ago today, the world lost actor Simon MacCorkindale. There wasn’t much fanfare- certainly not as much fanfare as when that other iconic 80s star who transformed into a black panther onscreen died the previous year. Nevertheless, his death struck a chord for me.

I was out seeing The Social Network, the film about Facebook the day he died. Dad was all set to take me out that evening to a snazzy little Japanese place, to show me how a man treats a lady on a date- after all, I was fourteen and needed to learn how a man treated a lady on a date. I still remember Lady Gaga blaring in the ambiance of the place as Dad and I ate our noodles. It was a beautiful time.

Most of Simon’s fans tended to be older people, particularly baby boomers and Generation X-ers, as opposed to Gen-Zer’s like yours tuSimon reminded me a lot of my Dad- that kind, classy attitude, the British aura about them (Dad technically wasn’t British, but his works are so popular in Great Britain, that they consider him one of them), the works. Their birth-years even line up, as both men were born the same year, 1952. Seriously, I even considered Simon for the role of my Dad in a(n imaginary) BBC biopic about our lives!

I never met him during my own lifetime, which I deeply regret, yet I always saw myself as having this strange spiritual connection with him. Here I was, going through anthologies of his works and even watching a few of them, as if he were a close family friend, and yet, he was never even aware of my existence, and sadly, never will. After all, my father was popular enough in Britain that, if he connected with him at any sort of book event, they could’ve been close friends. Heck, they’d probably become surrogate brothers and Simon would basically become a surrogate uncle for me!

Of course, Simon’s perhaps most iconic role, for better or far worse, was Manimal. It wasn’t very popular, as it only lasted half a season, however, it developed a popular enough following on the internet to spare itself from complete obscurity. I still remember as a 12-year-old, I was really into 80s culture, and “Garfield,” “Inspector Gadget” & of course, “Manimal,” made the trifecta of favorite shows. However, while the former two are iconic enough that mentioning characters (“Jon, “Liz,” “Nermal,” “Odie,” or “Penny” “Brain,” “Dr. Claw,”) in everyday conversation is considered acceptable, mentioning characters from Manimal, (“Det. Mckenzie,” “Ty Earl,” “Lt. Rivera”,) only gets blank stares. It’s really telling that only the first two not only have film reboots, but sequels on top of that, whereas Manimal has yet to have one.

Despite-or perhaps because of its relative obscurity- I got “re-interested” in Manimal throughout the 2010s. I really wanted to create a film based on it, all things considered- I felt as though there waass a gap that desperately needed to be filled. Unfortunately, a lot of things were keeping me from my dream. When I got “re-interested” in the series during that time, I was feeling too insecure about myself to put my dream in motion, likewise, I had an idea for the film that would not only be too loose an adaptation, but, frankly, too dark for the series- basically, the main character would have difficulty controlling his powers in the vain of The Incredible Hulk, and the characters have to rescue him from experimentation. So, the idea was canned.

I had another idea in tow, however. Said idea would have Dr. Jonathan Chase trying to stop a colleague who wanted to use his stem cells and DNA to experiment on innocent people to create more “Manimals.” And, of course, he would have a teenage daughter who would eventually inherit his powers. You see, while Simon always reminded me of Dad, regardless of what role he was playing, this particular role took the cake. After all, he was a blond, British professor from New York City named Jonathan, just like Dad! So naturally, I saw myself as his daughter, and really wanted to write a “self-insert” of myself in my Manimal script, one who would be gascinated by her own father’s abilities yet insecure about her own. (Technically he did have a daughter in the 1998 crossover with “Nightman,” which I borrowed inspiration from, but this was a different character. In fact, you could say she was a cross between me and the young woman from Nightman.)

At first I wanted Benedict Cumberbatch for the role, to the point where I even stalked him into the city in 2017 when he was on the The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon (long story.) Basically, I had three reasons for my interest in him:

1. Like the main character in the show, he’s a handsome British stud.,

2. Women will enjoy seeing him tear off his clothes when he transforms, and

3. People who don’t find him attractive say he looks like a horse- this will actually be quite convienient as this will save time with transformation scenes.

However, in August 2019, when I finally felt confident enough in my script to send it off,, I decided to send it to a screenwriting contest sponsored by the Screencraft company, with full confidence that it will help my idea get off the ground. As it turned out, not only was it not qualified for the next round of the contest, the person evaluating it gave it a review that was lukewarm at best. Not only was he put off by the formatting, but the whole idea of writing a more intense adaptation baffled him: “It’s not clear if you intended this project to be a comedy. But even back in the day, no one took Manimal seriously. Doing it as a comedy makes the most sense from a marketing standpoint. I could actually see producers and agents get excited about a spoof about Manimal, as it combines ‘80s nostalgia with comedy…It’s also funnier if you cut directly to the present day, more than 30 years after Jonathan was an 80’s vigilante hero. The script does have a few jokes as he torments his daughter, but things are even funnier and even a little poignant if we pick up with Jonathan now in his 60s.” 

Of course, even though I was eying Benedict Cumberbatch for the lead role, if I had taken his advice and aged the protagonist up for a more modern adaptation, the casting director would get an equally older actor for obvious reasons, so I’m now eying Liam Neeson, my new favorite actor, for the role. (Hey, he and Simon MacCorkindale were born the same year, it could very well happen.)

This won’t be the last time in entertainment I would see Manimal himself as like a father figure to me. I’m also working on a cartoon series called “Jen-Z” which features Simon’s ghost as a character. Long story, short, my character finds him while cleaning out her grandparents’ attic after her grandfather moves. (Oh yeah, and Albert Pujoles angrily cuts her sofa in half…long story.) Like my dad, he gives me helpful fatherly advice in my life, how I shouldn’t be so insecure about myself andf follow celebrities (ironically enough, because Simon was a celebrity, albeit a rather obscure, B-List one) to increase my self-esteem. Of course, since my childhood crush Jorge Garcia (from Backyard Sports, no the Lost actor) is also a character there as a whiny, selfish millennial who constantly bitches to me about how image is everything, this makes things rather…complicated.

It really is amazing how much a single person can connect with your own life, even if you never met them. Of course, it probably helps if they remind you of your dad. RIP Simon. Hope you’re doing well, wherever you are. We miss you.

How One of the Most Iconic Rock Musicians Connected to a Young Autistic Woman in the 21st Century

Last Friday would’ve been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. Not only was he a fantastic musician who founded the most iconic rock band of all time, but he was also a vastly complex individual who used his good work to counter-act his inner demons. It’s only naturally that me, a young disabled woman in the 2010s, would have a deep, spiritual connection with him.

I remember 10 years ago when people were commermorating what would’ve been his 70th birthday, complete with a little Google Doodle where the “70” blended into his self-portrait doodle. While it took me a while, I eventually saw what the big fuss was all about. After all, my mother had exposed me to the Beatles’ music as a child, if mainly through “Kids’ Versions” of the Beatles.

However, what really struck me was, how much he had in common with my then-favorite musician, Kanye West. They both had deep connections with their mothers, who helped them in their creative endeavors. They both managed to earn the ire of U.S. Presidents. And, after Kanye started dating Kim Kardashian in 2014, they both had terrible taste in women.

But, the main thing that brought them together were their complicated personalities.

Yeah, I know this sounds weird. John Lennon is almost-universally held as a patron saint of peace, whereas Kanye is seen as a grade-A douche, even by the standards of hip hop music.

We all know how, um…unstable Kanye is concerning his mental condition. From posting about repealing the 13th Amendment to, yes, interrupting Taylor Swift, it’s fairly obvious he’s a nut- he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and became public with said diagnosis in the mid-2010s. However, he also reaching out to inner-city kids with his work, especially through his charity named for his own mother (told you they had a great bond!) whether through his charity work or spiritual LPs. I actually heard some interesting podcasts from him, and he had some pretty neat insights into many different topics!

And of course, for all his good work, John Lennon did have more than his fair share of faults. Growing up he had a difficult childhood where his relatives could never give him a permanent home, and he didn’t know his own place in the world. Because of this, he would often get into angry fights when upset and even hit a few people. This made it difficult for him to form relationships with other people, especially romantic relationships. His stint as a househusband in the late 70s calmed him, but not long afterward he was shot. It’s no surprise that TV Tropes has their entries side-by-side on the “Byronic Hero” page. (Well, used to before they vetoed that part of the page….long story.)

My main reason for liking both musicians, is the deep connection I felt with both of them. Here were two men, both with crippling mental health issues, who used their art and charitable works as a means to cope with the world around them. I’m not a famous musician and never will be, but no matter. I always had my writing going for me, even if it wasn’t put to melody- that’s why I eventually published a book about my autistic experiences. And as for charitable works, well…it was around then that I was putting donation money in the mail for charities, which deeply impressed my mom. Granted, it was wrinkled-up dollar bills, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Now, at 14 it’s easy to feel the world doesn’t listen. It can especially be true if you’re autistic like I am. And believe me, back then there were plenty of people who couldn’t stand me if they tried. This in turn led me to act out (even more) and even hit a few people. Once I even called the cops on the school because (get this) the teacher got upset when I used the word “slut” & I got into a fight with said teacher. (At 14, two things are for certain: 1. You don’t have a filter. 2. You don’t want one.)

However, for all the difficulties of life, I could always count on my favorite musicians to make me feel better. Seriously though, I deeply appreciated John Lennon’s music so much, I actually convinced myself I was his reincarnation. Yes, really. Cue Libby (names have been changed to protect obnoxious brats) saying, “Eeeww, she’s so weird! She thinks she’s the reincarnation of a guy.” In retrospective, I honestly wished I didn’t do it because I didn’t have the slightest idea of how reincarnation even worked, let alone interwove it into my own story, but hey, autism is a hell of a drug. And frankly, she had some issues herself that she didn’t know how to deal with, so she took them out on me.

Of course, whenever I tell my story on to my Internet friends, one of whom just so happens to be voice actor Eddie Deezen, they all find my story to be quite charming. Of course, it probably helps that they’re all successful people with their own accomplishments and meaningful lives- seriously though, Libby felt so insecure that around that time, she latched onto a nasty popular girl for emotional support. And yes, they did gang up on me, but that’s another story. (Did I mention said mean popular girl got annoyed by my obsession with being John Lennon?)

One of the main reasons i saw myself as the reincarnation of John Lennon was that, I saw myself as, well, him. Here he was, a man doing his best with his terrible mental illnesses, and me as a young woman doing exactly the same, even though he was the only Beatle to have died before I was born- we had this deep, spiritual connection that was, as Paul McCartney put it, “way beyond compare.”

It’s often said that the entertainment people consume, whether it’s the movies we watch, music we listen to, and or books we read, is a reflection on who we are as people. People look to these movies, music, and books as a means to connect their feelings with those of others. As Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak (one of the books I read during my Beatles phase, natch), herself once put it, “They can turn to a book and find hope. They can turn to a book and find understanding.”

And that’s exactly what I did with the Beatles- find hope and understanding in a dark world. Thank you, John. Happy birthday.

Green with Envy

Okay, let me start off by saying things have been pretty hard lately. You see, after the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, our dear President decided to nominate a new Justice. And, as it turned out, a young woman by the name of Amy Coney Barrett was nominated.

Now, Miss Barrett is one busy lady. Not only is she a professor who’s earned several awards, but she has (get this) SEVEN children. Seriously. And she STILL got sworn in last Saturday, because Trump felt confident with having her as the nominee.

Sounds good, right? Well, mostly. You see, as much as she enjoyed watching the inauguration, she couldn’t help but get jealous. Because, as busy as she is, she still gets time to accomplish her main goals, which Mom doesn’t get to. Boy, is she bitter about it.

Needless to say, hearing about it upset me dearly. After all, I’m already self-conscious about how “pretty” my life is, and seeing Mom’s thoughts hurt. Look, I understand having a special needs child, let alone two, is difficult. However, I could see a lot of myself reflected in my mom’s thoughts. I myself have always complained about how “pretty” my life was, to the point it annoyed Mom like, a lot.

You see, ever since I was little, I always wanted to create my own cartoons, movies, shows, and of course I would be the star. Of course, I never fathomed that I lived in a “celebrity culture” until the late 2000’s, at which point I got self-conscious about how “glamorous” and “popular” I was, at which point it was all downhill from there.

Of course, a lot of my innermost thoughts are reflected in my stories. For example, in 2011 I wrote a Backyard Sports fanfic where Jorge, the snobby rich boy, gains superpowers (basically, his ancestors were at the exact location of the Big Bang, getting them powers that they passed onto him) and used said powers to stop a mean-girl super-villianess by the name of Tiffany Stevens. Yes, really. As stupid as that sounds, it had an underlying theme to it. You see, not-so-coincidentally I dealt with a mean girl who seemed to have the whole goddamn school catering to her every whim. And of course, she got away with treating me poorly like you wouldn’t believe. My parents told me to ignore her, as did my teachers, feeling as though her negative treatment of me would cease of I acted as if she didn’t exist. Well, she wanted a 24/7 spotlight, so that was easier said than done.

And of course, I wanted to send my idea to a big film company. Of course, that also turned out to be easier said than done- being an amateur writer aside, according to one of the voice actresses, Lani Minella, Backyard Sports wasn’t really popular enough for a movie. Granted, she was somewhat of a cynic (and frankly did not like me calling her at 5 in the morning because I didn’t understand time zones) but still.

When I was listening to the 2000s radio station, which had a recap of 2009 that week, I remembered how 80s that period was for me. My favorite shows were Garfield, Inspector Gadget, and Manimal, my favorite (non-modern) song was “Abracadabra” and I even had a Ronald Reagan-esque doctor, who told me that, no Jenny, your mother is not interested in dressing sexy because you want her to, because the only 50-year-old woman who can pull that off is Madonna. And speaking of 80s pop icons, the period ended with the death of Michael Jackson.

For some reason, it made me remember that, for all my faults, pop culture was always my refuge. So, after scrambling to find it, I finally discovered my old autograph book, complete with a signature from Matthew Broderick himself. (Oh yeah, and I watched the 1999 film version of Inspector Gadget.) I imagined Matthew standing up there with my teacher, John Keane, who has always been supportive of my writing dreams regardless of how annoying I was about them. (And believe me, I could be pretty darn annoying.)

JOHN: “Wow, I can’t believe I’m standing here, with…. all you people! Great job! Thanks for bringing me here!”

MATTHEW: Yeah, there’s an awful lot of Generation Z coming here to hear two people from Generation X!

*everyone laughs*

JOHN: Yeah, these guys are young enough to be my kids! Anyways, the person we’re here for tonight is, one of my students here, Jenny Rose.

MATTHEW: Jenny’s Dad and I go back a long way. I used to shove him in lockers at Stuyvescent! (Matthew Broderick and my Dad went to the same elementary school, City & Country.)

*everyone laughs*

JOHN: That’s enough, Matt. Anyways, I’ve known Jen here since she was 15. Now, at that age you’re not always sure of yourself, don’t always know where you are in the world. It’s especially hard when you’re getting bullied at school. But, for all her difficulties, she always had her writing going for her. Once she told me she wanted to write a Family Guy story where the teenage daughter sings with Alvin and the Chipmunks. Now, I was pretty weirded out by it, so I asked her “why?” and she said “I want to give Meg a Happy ending.” And tonight, I can honestly say she has, to the very best of her ability, written her own happy ending. Let’s give it up for Miss Jennifer Rose!”

*everyone claps, I walk up to the podium to speak.*

ME: Wow, what a crowd tonight! I thought I’d never make it here!

*everyone laughs*

ME: Seriously though, I’m just glad to be here. And you know who I can thank for my success? My beloved teacher, John Keane.

*John smiles.*

ME: What can I say that he hasn’t here? Well, like he said I struggled a lot with bullying at school- at 15, becoming the target of the popular girl is a death sentence. The school itself wasn’t much better, as it was so basic I couldn’t divert myself from the doldrums of my situation. But there was one shining light in the hellhole that was Montgomery, and that was my teacher, John Keane.

*I bring John up to speak.

ME: Now, John here was a pretty cool guy. He knew all the great rock bands and superheroes. Let’s face it, if you can talk like Batman, you’re kind of the “cool teacher” by default. Even without the lack of competition. But, he also used his interest in superheroes to teach us a comparison between Zorro and Batman, which sure beats watching a dingy, made-for-TV version of The Red Badge of Courage.

*everyone laughs*

ME: But anyways, what he taught me that day was more than just about comic books. He taught me that there’s no “one way” to tell a cool story, whether it’s by film or TV, and that, at the end of the day, all of today’s iconic stories and characters were borrowed from someone else. And that’s pretty darn awesome.

JOHN: I always knew one of my students would be famous. I just hoped that it wouldn’t be the face on a milk cartoon!

*everyone laughs.*

Of course, it never came to pass, because the story idea was so bizarre that i had no chance of it becoming a movie. Not to mention my nasty break to reality came in less than 12 hours. And yet, there was an underlying theme to my fantasy- if I want my dreams to come true, I have to work for them. It may look more difficult at first glance, but it is possible. Earlier today, I emailed my cousin Ryan concerning my film idea for Backyard Sports. He wasn’t too familiar with the series, (he was more into Ninja Turtles as a kid) but wanted to help. Likewise, I also contacted the “Born this Way” foundation, Lady Gaga’s organization to help the bullied community, concerning my “sit-out” for World Bullying Prevention Day.

Sometimes, the sun doesn’t shine. However, if you have the capacity to make great things happen, then use it to the best of your ability. You may not always get what your want, but you are still capable of some great things- as the old saying goes “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Happy birthday, Mom!

“If I wrote you a love note
And made you smile with every word I wrote
What would you do?
Would that make you wanna change your scene
And wanna be the one on my team?”

croon Justin Timberlake on the 2007-themed “Throwback” playlist I listen to as I write this piece. While doing so, I can’t help but think of how I want to give Mom a great birthday. We already have the reservations picked out, and I sent Mom a list of discounts she can get for her age. Everything seems great.

Funny that, Mom’s birthday was actually yesterday.

You see, the reason I was determined to give Mom a great birthday this year, is because frankly, last year I was a huge bitch. I woke up September 23rd, 2019 a nervous wreck. Then, after eating breakfast and getting washed up, I got into a nasty fight with Mom concerning my messy handwriting on a form, an issue I hadn’t really had since the 2000’s (if only because with the inclusion of Google Docs in 2014 everything went digital, and I mean everything) and it just want spiraling downwards from there. Seriously, later that evening we got upset over an internet password. Granted it was a password for grad school, but still.

Anyways, this year I decided to give Mom a great birthday, which for me, meant taking pains to avoid getting upset- after all, my conscious was basically telling me all day Jenny, you screwed up your mother’s 61st birthday, you are NOT screwing up her 62nd! That’s like, 2 ruined birthdays in a row! (Yes, Mom, I know I should be more focused on my grad school studies. But I’m doing well, what’s there to worry about?)

So this should be easy, right? Well, actually, thanks to a lovely little…. “thing” I have called anxiety, some things in reality I just can’t handle- at least not handle well. It’s also why I have never been on a roller coaster willingly (at least not the classic, big, scary type) despite going to Six Flags several times.

That morning, I was reading something for class, but couldn’t help thinking of how “unpopular” I believed I was. Frankly, I should’ve outgrown it in middle school, but nowadays with all the social media channels, image seems to be everything. And God help you if you don’t care/want to wear a mask, like, um…a few people I know. (Not giving names on this public blog; that wouldn’t be fair.) Of course, my family not only doesn’t give a shit about our image, they think it’s stupid that I do so. And yes, they do believe I should’ve outgrown this attitude in middle school.

Now, that alone would’ve been stressful enough, however, I also had a project for class I needed to work on. Said project involved analyzing an internet database- an educational internet database, so IMDB wouldn’t qualify. Because I’m a more “creative” person than a “technical” person, I was confused as to where to start, so I asked Mom, who’s more familiar with this. Of course, she was in the middle of a phone call, and busy with helping someone install a new water filter, but she found the time. As it turned out, “finding” the database was much easier than I thought- all Mom did was hear the assignment the professor had posted! Of course, I had already seen the positive grades I got on my assignments, so Mom knew I could do well.

Just when I finally thought things were hunky-dory in my life, however, I realized I had misplaced my cell phone! Now, when I was younger I had the unfortunate habit of not only losing things, but having meltdowns over losing them. Of course, most Americans nowadays consider their cell phone to be their most prized possession, so naturally they would get very anxious over losing said phone- yours truly being no different. So, I spent literally the next hour and a half (to put in perspective, that’s the length of the average movie) looking for that thing and getting super-anxious about it. Seriously, I was actually considering getting a new phone if I couldn’t find it, as it was getting kind of old and dingy anyway. However, my mother finally found it charging in the playroom, where it was the whole goddamn time. After finally getting relieved, I decided to go out to eat, like I usually do to get away from my parents, confidently believing I would have a great time.

Needless to say, some things are easier said than done.

You see, because my mom’s birthday coincides with rock star Bruce Springsteen “The Boss” (this may explain why my mother thinks she’s the boss) I tried to listen to him on my phone. Of course, unlike most phones in 2020, the internet didn’t even work on the darn thing without Wi-Fi, so I had to stop every ten minutes at some sort of institution, just so I could hear the Boss.

Throughout my little (mis)adventure, I got so nervous I started teething at my phone. Yes, really. You see, one of my nice little stims as an autistic person is biting on things, such as wires, pencils, clothes, and yes, my phone. Seriously, I’ve had to buy multiple phones over the past few years because I basically, um, ate them.

After my trip to Starbucks, I honestly thought my behavior was no big deal. I have, after all, “teethed” during my other big, long walks, and nobody noticed, so what’s there to worry about? I was much more concerned about my negative thoughts, mocking me for not being “cool” and “marketable” enough. (Seriously, I was all set to post on Reddit about how terrible my life was and how awful my parents were, until I remembered my promise for Mom’s birthday.)

As it turned out, quite a bit.

You see, a “good Samaritan” had actually called the police to alert them about my odd behavior. And, as I was just about to make the turn to walk downhill, I found the police, who were all set to pull me over- albeit in a very friendly way.

“Hey, how are you doing?” he asked.

“Good,” I said, shakily. I was honestly baffled as to why he was doing this!

“You remember me, I saw you walking to the office to eat. Someone called to say you looked disoriented, and that you were chewing on your jacket and phone. You okay?”

“Yes.”

“You don’t want to hurt yourself or others?”

“Nope.” (I really didn’t want to get into trouble here!)

“Would you mind if we drove you home?”

Ummm….yes? It was at that point I explained to them I was fine, and that I was capable of walking home “It’s right down the block anyway.”

“Okay, we understand. Can we at least call your parents?”

“Okay.” (Not posting the number here, don’t want stalkers or telemarketers here.)

Mom picked up, talked to them, and was reassured that I was fine, I was just showing odd behavior in public.

Meanwhile ,the police kept me busy by intitating a conversation with me.

“What do you like to get there?”

“Paninis.” I was honestly too nervous to answer with anything else.

“Cool. What kind?”

“Cheese.”

“Just cheese? Nothing else?”

“I like chicken in there too.”

“Oh cool.”

I was pretty nervous going home, until I heard Mom’s surprisingly pleasant reaction.

“It’s okay, just as long as you’re home safely.”

As it turned out, everything was not okay, and during the cart ride home from Writer’s Circle, Dad excplained to me what happened. Likewise, the following morning, my mother expressed her concern about what had happened, as well as her concern about my living in a dorm.

“You know Mom, on my trip to Israel, I was fine. I even felt bad about upsetting the other kids when I chewed on my jacket.” Which, to be fair, is true. In fact, to discourage me from my terrible habit, one of my friends, a young lady with Down’s Syndrome, said “Now, Jenny stop trying to east yor jacket. It’s not bacon!”

Of course, when I lived away from my family in Israel, I passed my trip with flying colors. I made sure my roommates were comfortable- no dirty music videos during downtime. And, even during that week, I did try to be nice to Mom- nasty phone call to my doctor notwithstanding- if only because I wanted her to be nice, too. When I realized how distraught Mom was about what had happened, I genuinely felt bad. After all, I want to go out in public without making a scene, not just for Mom, but for me as well.

Whenever I get self-conscious about my family, my parents tell me “They don’t judge you by us, they judge you by your own behavior-” they’re totally right.

Mom, if you’re reading this, remember I love you, and appreciate what you’re doing for me. Happy birthday.

9/11 through the perspective of Generation Z

Today marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11, when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked New York airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center, taking numerous lives and impacting countless others. Many people remember quite vividly the exact place they were when the first plane flew into the World Trade Center, yet, most “young people” nowadays were only small children when it happened. I myself am part of the latter generation, little kids who couldn’t fully comprehend what was going on, let alone remember.

My mother works in the city at a college quite close to the World Trade Center, yet came home with nary a scratch. We did, however, encounter a young grad student, Heather Weymouth, who found herself trapped in the city when the attack happened; thankfully not too close to the attacks themselves. So, my mother decided to offer her refuge in our house for the days following, eventually bringing her back when it was safe to do so. I don’t remember much, except buildings falling down and asking Mom “Do you like buildings?” (She didn’t.)

By 2004, several years later, I was finally old enough to understand what was going on. Around that time, I was really interested in a website called “It’s My Life,” a subsidiary of PBS Kids. As a website for millennials, it dealt with many issues facing the Y2K generation, such as IM-ing, wanting to buy Juicy jeans, Britney vs. Xtina, and of course, 9/11, which just so happened to coincide with the website’s launch. There was even an entire section dedicated to such, with the headline “1 Day + Forever,” and an image of two people of different ethnicities shaking hands in . Needless to say, I was very touched by the image, and believe much, I was never touched by anything back then.

And of course, our town’s end-of-summer pool party just so happened to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11. Now, here’s where I really fucked up: I called it a great day, mainly because of the image I had seen online. (The website, by the way, had no intention of being disrespectful to 9/11 victims, let alone making it look like a positive thing- in fact, the section was for millennials who were feeling unsafe in the wake of such. They just wanted to showcase the solidarity reaction in the days following.) At which point, Mom got upset at me, and explained to me what had happened. Sure, I was only a kindergartner when it happened, but that was still no excuse. After all, I was being incredibly disrespectful to all the innocent people who lost their lives, even if I myself was too innocent to know better. To say I felt guilty about what I said was quite an understatement. I did, however, reassure Mom that it would only was a great day this year, yet, I still felt incredibly guilty about what I said long after the party.

Many years later, and I found myself part of a Writer’s Circle where we share our writings for critique. And afterwards, we hang out and talk with each other about whatever’s going on in our lives. One day, the conversation focused on a comparison between Millennials and Generation Z, and so, it inevitably led to a discussion about reactions to September 11th. One of my friends in the group, Matt, happens to be a member of the former generation, and like me was quite young when 9/11 happened, albeit old enough to understand what was going on. I told him the horrible thing I said at the pool, guiltly confessing as to what a horrible person I was: “I called it a great thing! I’m practically Hitler!)” (Okay, that’s not fair to me, I’m Jewish so I can’t be Hitler.) Baffled as to what I had said, he reassured me that I wasn’t such a terrible person “It’s really unfair to compare yourself to Hitler, you were a little kid when it happened, don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Now, as an autistic person, I had the double-whammy of immaturity- not only was I too young to understand what was going on, but my disability hindered my perception of the world. As far as I was concerned, the world was a beautiful place where the sun was always shining, birds were always chirping, and my favorite fictional characters, be they Frankie the Dog or Madeline, were always there to play with me. And of course, growing up in the wake of 9/11, I truly, deeply believed that the United States of America was the greatest country on the face of the earth. However, I didn’t understand quite why I believed so.

Of course, as a young millennial/member of “Gen-Z” I’m in quite good company. About a decade ago, I read about “inappropriate reactions to events caused by immaturity” on a TV Tropes message board- and as it turned out, quite a few of them had inappropriate reactions to September 11th- an entire page was dedicated to 9/11 in fact. Of course, this was back in 2011, so, even if they were 20, they would only make them about ten when it happened. For example, one young man confessed that he said “Cool, fire!” when he saw the attacks on the screen. And yet, not one of them thought they were terrible people for how they reacted- it was all a matter of childlike innocence, when you believe the world is your oyster. After all, not one of them was deliberately being disrespectful to the victims. Granted, their reactions weren’t quite as bad as calling it “The Best day!” but still. So basically, the younger you were on 9/11, the more likely you were to have an inappropriate response, even if you’re a millennial and especially if you’re Gen-Z.

Of course, looking back, the reason I said what I did was, interestingly enough, other people’s reaction in the days that followed. After our buildings fell and many lives were destroyed, Americans across the country did whatever they could to support each other. Whether it was doing small good deeds for others, or even going out of our way to house others like my parents did, we all pitched in to repair the backbone of our country. Heck, some people say that, while they would never want another September 11th, they would definitely bring back the America that was on September 12th, 2001 if they could. It wasn’t just the flags flying in the distance, or the tributes, rather, it was the solidarity we felt as a nation. We weren’t just a nation, we were a family, the biggest family in the world at that. And that was, in itself, a beautiful thing.

Sisterly Love

As much as I love my sister, and I do, sometimes it’s difficult for me to be close to her. Sometimes she gets really annoying at times, to the point that we have to take drastic measures just to keep her calm.

However, one bond we’ve always shared together is through our love of movies and television. It’s not always a “positive” bond- there was an incident early on where I discouraged my parents from taking her to see The Incredibles because I read somewhere that it was too scary and violent- but it’s been pretty good overall.

During my sophomore semester at Drew, I was having a lot of issues concerning the stress I felt of being thrust into a dark, scary world with little support. However, I took refuge in my one “special interest” at the time- Doctor Who. While the show itself could get pretty dark and scary at times, technically speaking, the characters in the series had no need to worry too much about interdisciplinary threats, because they always could rely on an adorably quirky space alien to save them. And, barring “To Be Continued…” specials, the episodes more or less ended on happy endings.

Now, sometimes I would go too far with my “special interests” and force my sister to like them. I had no intention of being selfish, rather, I thought they would be something she would like. After all, she already shared some of my interests of the mid-2000’s, like VeggieTales, Hello Kitty, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield (she had actually gotten me interested in the series instead of the other way around), and later on, Top 40 Pop. Especially Top 40 Pop. (Seriously, poor Mom had to put up with her yelling “I WANT Z100!” whenever she tried to play anything else on the radio. The only reason she wasn’t too upset over this was because her own siblings, my aunt & uncle, introduced her to the Beatles, and these guys didn’t even do as many drugs) So, I honestly thought she would be equally interested in my other interests, like Hilary Duff. 

However, this eventually led to a nasty fight with Mom and Dad, when I tried to show her a Disney Channel music video and got upset that she didn’t like it. I hit her for doing so, so Mom and Dad took away internet privileges. This in turn led me to run out of the house screaming, and eventually, call the cops, who didn’t buy my story of my parents abusing me. Quite frankly, I didn’t buy my story of my parents abusing me- my dad is such a nice guy, and here I was, casting him as the villain!

This time, though, was different. I honestly didn’t expect her to join me, let alone enjoy the show, so I didn’t bother inviting her to watch with me. Even I knew forcing interests that were too mature for her, such as The Daily Show (she did repeat a rather cute joke from the show one time, but that was it concerning her interest in the show), John Hodgman, Kanye West (she did eventually have a friend who was a fan of him, at which point I felt old), or Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (technically she did watch it on her Ipad, but it entirely by her own initiative- I was honestly pretty impressed she showed an interest at all!) was going too far. Of course, it probably helped that, by then I had already understood the concept of “knowing my audience.” After all, my fifty-something baby boomer parents were not going to care too much about Avril Lavigne, and frankly, they shouldn’t- our parents are not supposed to like our music. 

Also, while Doctor Who is kind of a show for kids- in fact it was originally conceived as a somewhat educational program for children back in ‘63 as like a proto-type to PBS Kids- it’s still more popular with teenagers & college students, then, say, the 8-14 crowd, fantasy plots and fun action notwithstanding. Yet, one day when I was watching the show at home, she came over, blanket and all, and decided to watch with me! As if that wasn’t enough, when I asked her if the Doctor (who, by the way, was played by David Tennant, only the most gorgeous person to play the Doctor on TV) is cute, she actually agreed with me! It was absolutely precious.

This wasn’t the only instance of Flora and I bonding over favorite television. Later on, shortly after I finished college, my neighbor, a kindly elderly Irish grandmother, invited my sister and I to hang out. Since it was on TV, I decided to watch South Park while she & Mom chatted. Basically, the episode had them playing homage to The Bachelor. Basically, they needed a new replacement for their friend Kenny because their old one kept dying (if you’re not too familiar with the show, Kenny was a character who kept dying in lots of episodes, especially) and they gave boys who had potential to be the new Kenny “roses”- just like on The Bachelor. I asked Flora “What are they doing?” to which she responded “Give them roses,” followed with “Like,” and, in the most adorable way possible “My last name is Rose!” It was really cute. Cue her saying “South Park!” over and over in the most adorable way possible.

“My sister is a South Park fan now. Maybe we’ll watch the show together!” I told Mom later that evening. Hey, it’s 18-year-old humor- can you blame 18-year-olds for liking it?

“And chase us out of the house screaming!” said Mom.

While they did find the incident to be quite cute, my parents were a bit concerned about us watching South Park at our elderly neighbor’s house, because she’s an old, somewhat proper grandmother. However, she was upstairs and so didn’t hear anything- if an inappropriate show is being played and a grandmother isn’t around to hear it, it isn’t offensive now is it? Not to mention, my sister was literally turning 19 in about two weeks, and I wanted to expose her to 18-year-old humor while I still could. The episode wasn’t even that bad- unlike some episodes which feature things like guys deliberately giving themselves cancer in order to get free marijuana, or the boys’ gay teacher trying to become male again (don’t ask how) after regretting his choice to be transgender- it had the fairly innocous plot of the boys trying to get a “new friend” and if you didn’t realize why they needed a new friend, it just looked like a normal episode of a kids’ show.

Now, I am not saying that this is a fix to all our problems, or something to help my sister with her issues. I am just saying that bonding with my sister over TV together is a beautiful thing. After all, I am a bad, bad influence on my sister, and I’m proud of it!