You Could Be a Foot

Social Media is fantastic, and social media is awful. Being a comedian, actor, and writer; Ive been able to communicate, meet up with, and befriend some pretty famous or well-known people, simply by talking to them on Twitter or Facebook. I would have never had the opportunity to talk with these people, if we didn’t banter back and forth in a Facebook status update, or if I didnt post one of my YouTube videos / characters like Maggie Bubbles on Twitter, and have it retweeted or shared by someone I admire. Hell, my biggest Twitter claim to fame to this day is making a comedy video a few years ago that mocked the Twitter popularity of Ashton Kutcher (he has over 10 million followers and he tweets stuff like: “I’m drinking coffee.” Its mind boggling.) I tweeted the video link to Gregg “Opie” Hughes from The Opie and Anthony Show, he tweeted it to Ashton Kutcher on my behalf, and then Ashton Kutcher posted the link; giving me instant semi-Twitter fame. Of course, half of the people that watched the video were Ashton fans, so they hated it, and really hated me.

I didn’t really care though, since I started up conversation and banter with Opie, which then turned into me doing a comedy video on his YouTube Channel (@OpieRadio) where I walked into a McDonalds and ordered the McLobster, which then turned into being featured in a second video called “Occupy Wall Street: I Need Attention”; which ended up being reposted all over the place and getting some minor “viral” status. Now, in a weird way, I consider Opie a friend. He has continued to be supportive of me and my comedy, and what can I say, I like the guy. The fact that my brother and I both listened to his radio show since we were teenagers back in Massachusetts, just makes it a thousand times cooler. The fact that Opie is a genuinely nice, hilarious, real person is what makes it go from cool to pretty damn special.

I also met my good friend Jay Such because of this Ashton Kutcher video. He also found it funny, and had me call into his comedy podcast “The Some Guy Show”, to talk about it on the air. Now, all this time later, we have become friends, and I have driven out to South Jersey 4 times now to be a guest on that very same podcast. Honestly, it is one of the few things that I actually look forward to and enjoy doing right now. Most days lately, its pretty hard for me to try and figure out a good reason to keep waking up in the morning. But whenever we do that podcast,We laugh so much, that for an hour, I can almost forget that my husband is gone and I’m scared out of my mind for my future. Almost.

My friendship with comedian Elayne Boosler began much the same way … on Facebook. I had posted a silly video called “I Love You Cat”, of me talking to our cats and crying in their faces; begging them to please never leave me. Our cat Autumn gave the best double take look into the camera that I have ever seen from a pet. Elayne is an avid lover of animals, like me, and one of her proudest accomplishments is her rescue animal foundation; Tails of Joy. She loved my video and shared it on her page, and we just hit it off. Before I knew it, we were messaging one another, calling one another, and even meeting up for dinner at a NYC diner with some other comedians after her comedy show. Elayne was one of the first people to come forward after my husband died with her support and genuine words of comfort. I am so grateful for her friendship, and I only wish that Don could have been around to see it further blossom. He really loved and respected Elayne; for her comedy but especially for her pure love of animals. He used to tell his overnight EMS partner while at work: “My wife is hangin with Elayne Boosler tonight and Im stuck here with YOU!” The last time Elayne and I hung out before Don died, I told her how much Don wanted to meet her, and we talked about the four of us (Don and I, and Elayne and her husband) getting together for a dinner party in August. I went home that night and told Don, and his eyes lit up. He said: “Boo is hangin’ with the elite now! Couple more years and I can quit my jobs and live off you forever!” He always joked about us getting rich one day from me becoming famous. “No more Little Debbie Snack Cakes for me! We rich now! I’m eatin’ Hostess!” Unfortunately, our foursome dinner party never got to happen, and Don never did get to meet Elayne. I wish like hell he did, because I truly think we all would have ended up becoming wonderful friends.

 So, for these reasons and many others, I really can’t knock Social Media. It has helped me greatly in furthering my career and networking with a gigantic array of people from all over the place. However, sometimes people act like idiots when using social media, which can create a lot of problems. People are always talking about how “Facebook” broke up their relationship or marriage, because their spouse had an affair with an ex-girlfriend from high school or some shit after contacting her on Facebook. In my eyes, if you are going to cheat, you are going to cheat. Things like Facebook just make it a hell of a lot easier to do so. But its not the website that is evil … its YOU. It’s the person doing the cheating, or the lying, or the hiding. And in the case of posting stupid-ass things on Facebook or Twitter; it is the act of the person posting; who doesn’t THINK before they type.

Since Don died, there have been a number of tiny “incidents” involving postings on Social Media. I say tiny, because in the grand scheme of things, they don’t REALLY matter. But I say incident, because, they do affect me and make me angry or upset, so therefore, they are valid. There are too many to count, but a few of them stick in my mind. One insensitive jerk on Twitter sent me a tweet that said: “I get that you are hurting, but why does EVERY tweet have to be about your husband’s passing?” It really pissed me off. First of all, every tweet is NOT about my husband’s passing. I have actually tried pretty hard to still throw some jokes in there, and keep things with a bit of variety. But guesswhat? My fucking husband just died. So yes, I am going to talk about it. It JUST happened. So fuck off.

Second, I hate the term “passing” when talking about death. I just loathe it. It’s one of those words people always whisper when they say them: “Oh yes .. her husband … he passed last month. So tragic….” He passed. Passed what? It makes it sound like he passed a kidney stone or something. He DIED. My husband died. That is what happened, and it’s okay to say the word. And stop with the whispering. I am AWARE that he died. There’s really no reason to whisper. Lastly, this Twitter douchefuck doesn’t know me at all, and didn’t know my husband or anything about our relationship. So for him to sit there and pass judgement and tell me how to run my Twitter page, really annoyed me. I wrote him back, telling him that his comment was very rude, and if he doesn’t like my tweets, stop following me. His response was even more dumb: “I wasn’t being rude. I just was wondering when you are going to get back to normal.” Get back to normal. Normal. This is when I knew I was dealing with a moron of epic proportions. This is someone who has obviously never felt real love, and never lost that real love in a split second. This is someone whose biggest problem in life is that he ran out of beer that night and the liquor store is closed. Because if this asswipe understood anything about grief or death, he would realize that there is no such thing as “getting back to normal.” It just doesn’t exist. There is “new normal.” That’s the new reality you now live in, after your husband dies way too young. There’s that. And thats not something anyone can possibly understand unless they have gone through it. People are such idiots. I mean, what do they think? Sometimes I think that people ACTUALLY think that when you lose your husband, who was only 46, and who died in seconds with ZERO warning, that you have a period of being upset and sad, and then one day you simply wake up all sunshiny and bright and go: “Well there it is! Im BACK TO NORMAL!!!!” Doesn’t work that way, asshat.

Months ago, I posted this status update on Facebook: “Today is my last day in Massachusetts. Headed back to Jersey and the kitties in the morning. Not looking forward to being in our apartment without Don ..but need to attempt this thing called “life” again. Wish me luck!” A lot of people did wish me luck, told me I am strong, to hang in there, they are here for me, and a bunch of other really nice and helpful things. And then there was this comment:

“Be glad you have your health, Kelley. Remember some of us are living with diseases which make it difficult to just get out of bed. I’ve got rheumatoid arthritis, but some have way worse.” Well, alrighty then. What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? What does your rheuumatoid arthritis got to do with my husband’s death, or ANYTHING for that matter? Nothing. Disease …. losing a spouse. I’m sorry. I don’t see the connection. BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ONE! They are two completely different issues. It makes zero sense to bring up one when talking about the other. I suppose the purpose of saying something like that is to make me feel “grateful” for all the things that I COULD be dealing with , that Im not dealing with. But honestly, I never saw the point to that argument. Its like when you were a kid, and you didnt want to eat your vegetables, and your mom would say: “Now, eat everything on your plate! There are starving children in Africa!” Yeah. So? Whether or not I finish my green beans, they will STILL BE STARVING! Me eating or not eating my food has absolutely nothing to do with them being starving. Starvation will always be a problem, and the only way to combat it is to help them! Send money, help solve the issue of them not having enough food supply. And guess what? These green beans are still fucking disgusting and Im still not eatin’ em.

So if I tell you my husband just died and you say, “Well, at least you don’t have rhuemotoid arthritis!”, I’m going to look at you like you’re fucking nuts. Unless you leave it as a comment on Facebook. In that case, I will just THINK you are fucking nuts and say nothing, and then write about it in my book later on. No, I don’t have arthritis. I also dont have AIDS, lupus, lyme disease, or a weak bladder. And hey, at least I’m not headless! You know, some people are walking around earth without a HEAD. So be grateful you have a head! And legs. There are some people who have no legs. And if they grieved the loss of their legs, would you say to them: “Well, be grateful you’ve got a torso! You know, some people don’t have a torso! Or eyes. At least you have eyes. I know a guy with no eyes, no torso, no legs, no arms, and no face. He’s just a foot. So be grateful. You could be a foot.” I mean where does it end? Your problems are your problems and my problems are mine. THIS is what I happen to be dealing with. I lost my husband. He is gone forever. I’m sorry if, at the moment, I’m not feeling very grateful for my lack of rheumatoid arthritis.

How To Annoy People In Love On Valentine’s Day (from a bitter Widow)

Ever since losing my husband to a sudden heart attack on July 13, 2011, I have had hard days; and really hard days. There are days that I wake up after only 2 or 3 hours of sleep, and I think to myself: I might be okay today. And then I might be for a few hours. And then I’m suddenly not. Okay. On other mornings I get out of bed, go to work, or do whatever else needs to be done that day, and the whole time I’m thinking to myself: I can’t wait to get back home again and just sit in my bed and cry. It is a pretty sad state of affairs when you actually can’t wait to get home and cry.

My kitties have their moods too. Some days they randomly decide they don’t want to eat anything that I give them, even though they loved that same food the day before. Other days they eat too much, way too fast, and they decide to start throwing up all over the apartment. The best, though, is when they sleep all day long; and then choose the minute I go to bed to start acting like lunatics. Autumn will stare at the ceiling and meow nonstop. Don and I used to say that she sees dead people up there. Now I think maybe she sees Don, and I’m jealous of her because I can’t see him or feel him, so I beg my cat like a crazy person to please tell my husband I love him. Sammy was Don’s sweet boy. Sammy loved Don and followed him everywhere, all of the time. When Don would sleep, Sammy would sleep on Don’s head. On his HEAD! He would wake Don up at insane hours like 4am, by pawing and clawing and giving him love-bites and purring loudly into his ear, banging his head up against Don’s face. He would not stop until Don got out of bed and fed him. Even if you had fed him 4 hours before that, it didn’t matter. If he still had food in his dish, it didn’t matter. This cat would bug the shit out of my poor husband until he got up and fed him. I used to laugh, then roll over and go back to sleep. Well, I’m an asshole, because now I’m the one getting up at 4am to put “fresh” dry food into this cat’s bowl so he will go the hell away and let me sleep.

This morning was different though. On this morning, our sweet Sammy decided to grieve extra hard for Don, by leaping up onto my chest at 5am, when I was finally fast asleep. He scared the shit out of me. I screamed. My arm flung across my chest and flung him off me, and he jumped, his back paw and very large, sharp claw hitting my right eye and underneath it. My cat scratched my cornea, and underneath my eye looked like I had been molested by a tiger. That is how this morning began. Generally, if you have one of those days where you get up, and within minutes, you are thinking: I should never leave the house today and just go back to bed – it is probably a good idea to never leave the house and just go back to bed.

That is what I should have done. Instead; I had things to do. I had to go to the store and pick up some food, cards, detergent … why am I telling you what I bought? You don’t give a shit.  Let’s just say I had to buy stuff. I walked into the grocery store, and the entire store was red and pink. Plastic, tacky heart decorations and large teddy bears holding cheap chocolates permeated the aisles. Love and Hallmark were in the air. Only 3 more days until Valentine’s Day. It will be my first one as a widow, my first one without my husband. I walk by a row of cards, and one says: “Marriage Means Growing Old Together.” Another one shows an older couple and reads: “I Want to Grow Old With You.” My one good eye starts welling up with tears, and I start crying in the middle of the stupid grocery store. There is a bandage over my other eye, so I look like a sad pirate perusing and sobbing over loving cards. People in the store must be extremely confused by my presence. I want to scream out: “ARRRRR!!!!”, but I’m not in the mood to be funny.

When I get to the register, there is a couple in their 70’s or 80’s in front of me paying for their things. The husband is lightly teasing the wife; they are bantering and joking around. It is very sweet, and I am so angry and jealous of them and their time together. As he puts all the heavy items onto the counter for her, she looks at me and says: “My husband is so good at that! He always makes sure I don’t have to use my muscles.” She laughs. I smile with my lips, and cry through my one open eyeball. She looks in fear at my pirate eye and they leave, leaning on one another, literally.

This has turned into one of those days where I should have stayed home, and where I couldn’t wait to sit in my bed and cry. Just about anything and everything can cause it, but on this day, it is the thought that I will never grow old with my husband; and that I could possibly grow old and BE old all alone. There won’t be anyone holding onto me as we go up the ramp to the Golden Corrall for the Early Bird 4pm Fish Fry Dinner. My fears about death and getting old and sick make me instantly hate that couple. My memories of the dinners and the beautiful roses and the lovely, thoughtful cards, and the “I love you, Boo” and those gorgeous blue eyes looking into mine make me hate anyone who gets to have a Valentine’s Day with someone they love. I have grown tired of crying, and grieving. It is so damn exhausting. It is time now to get pissed. Since there is nobody in particular to be pissed at, I will just be pissed at earth and life and humans. As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, I have decided to make a wish list of all the things I would LOVE to do on that day, but cannot, because I would be arrested. Here are my Top 11 Ways to Annoy Those in Love on Valentine’s Day: (Most Lists are top ten lists, but as always, in the spirit of my husband’s favorite movie This Is Spinal Tap and Nigel, “these go to eleven.”

 

1. Go into Walgreen’s, CVS, and other drugstores that sell cheap-ass, stale candy like “Whitmann’s” – and wait for men to pick it up to purchase. Whenever a guy picks up a box, just look at him and say: “Really? This is what you’re going with? Seriously? If I were you, I wouldn’t even bother with the red tacky heart shaped balloon on a stick. Now you’re just being insulting.”

2. Stand at the Port Authority bus terminal, or the grocery store, where men go to buy last-minute bouquets of flowers. I would stand in front of the display and just yell out, as if I’m the one selling them: “Get your discounted, nonpersonal, I don’t give a shit about you at all, flower arrangements right here! These flowers are guaranteed to live for your entire car ride home – up to 10 miles. Tell your girl to ignore the weird, musty smell coming from inside the bouquet. We don’t know what it is either. Please don’t ask. She can water these, but it won’t help. These flowers WILL die, suddenly and without warning. Just like my husband!”

3. This next one was my friend Elayne Boosler’s idea, and I love it. Stand outside in the middle of NYC somewhere, maybe in Central Park, where lots of couples would be walking by. As loving pairs stroll by, make rude comments about them under my breath, judging their relationship out loud: “Oh yeah, THAT will last!”, or “Oh, like she isn’t using him for his huge bank account. Please!” or “How original. Your hand inside her jeans back pocket. Lame!” This would make me giddy.

4. Go to a restaurant, put my name on the reservations list with the last name “Widow”, so they will have to call out: “Widow – Party of One. Widow – Party of One???” Get a table in the center, alone, and wait for all the many couples to show up together, celebrating Valentine’s Day. Once the place is filled with happy couples; start loudly talking and giggling to myself as if there is another person there with me. Act extra giddy. Laugh loudly, pull out a rose from under the table, present it to myself, and say: “Oh baby! You SHOULDN’T have! For meeeee?” Bat my eyes. Unbutton the top two buttons on my blouse, look across the table and say: “Oooh! Here? Right now? You naughty, naughty boy!” Then get up, holding hands with my imaginary lover, and exiting the place, leaving them all completely confused and wondering.

5. Start my own line of “Widow Anti – Valentines Day Conversation Hearts”, and replace all the normal ones in stores with mine. They would have messages like:  “Everyone Will Die”, “Love Ends When One of You Dies”, “I Am Completely Alone”, “This Heart Was Made With Real Tears”, “Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m Dead!”, “Will You Be My Valentine … Cat?”, “Be Mine – Until I Die Unexpectedly”, “All We Are Is Dust In the Wind”, “You Might Choke on this Heart and Die”, “There’s a Good Chance One of Us Will Get Cancer Someday”, “Nobody is Promised Tomorrow”, “Enjoy this Sugary Treat Knowing that My Husband Had a Heart Attack!”, “Text Me! No Wait – Never Mind. My phone Is Disconnected Cuz I’m Dead.” Okay, most of these most likely wouldn’t fit onto a tiny little candy heart, but this is a fantasy, so let’s just pretend it does.

6. Get a hold of every single romantic comedy ever made in the history of time, go through and at the very beginning, add a shot of me saying into the camera: “SPOILER ALERT! None of this matters! Everybody Dies!” Then, each movie ends the exact same way, with text across the screen reading: “Two weeks later, they were both tragically killed.”

7. Go through every card aisle of every Hallmark store on earth with magic marker and put sad faces and giant penis drawings on all of the Valentine’s Day cards. Hide behind display and laugh.

8. Pre-chew all of the Valentine’s Day chocolates and then put them back into their little wrappers. Replace identification signs like “Vanilla Cream” and “Rasberry Filling” with signs that say things like: “This tastes like Ass”, or, “Unidentifiable Orange Disaster”, or, “Smells of Poop.”

9. Be the person in charge of the messages that get attached to all of the flower deliveries, and mix them all up so they go to inappropriate people. Send a dozen roses with the message: “I can’t wait to be alone with you tonight. You make me so hot!” to some dude’s mom. Creepy.

10. Crash a wedding. Wait for the priest to say “If anyone here does not approve of this marriage, speak now or forever hold your piece…” (Okay. Nobody actually says that in weddings. Ever. I have never once heard it in my entire life and I’ve been to a lot of weddings. But again … this is a fantasy, so let’s pretend.) When he says that, yell from the back of the church:  “I DO NOT CONDONE THIS UNION!!!” Then drop your pants and blast the Benny Hill theme song over the loudspeakers. When it ends, leave slowly and awkwardly; sans pants.

11. Bring my husband’s death certificate all over the place, and keep presenting it at stores as if it’s a gift card or discount card. “Excuse me, do you offer a Widow Discount? But I have this death certificate …. ” “Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, and my husband died. I’d like to buy myself some flowers and chocolates. What is your policy on Widow Discounts? Here is the death certificate … ” “Can I just get HALF of a banana split? I have nobody to split it with, since my husband is dead and all. Please give me the Widow Price. Here’s the certificate…”

In reality, I will most likely just sit home on Valentine’s Day and stare at the wall. Or have dinner with our kitty cats and then watch them throw up. But I’m not bitter or anything.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air. And then you’re dead.