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Dear Christopher Ashton Kutcher,

Did you know, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, that your name is not spelled “C-R-O-T-C-H,” but Christopher Ashton Kutcher? I do now. Wikipedia told me so, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, and we all know that Wikipedia NEVER lies. When I Googled “Crotch,” Christopher Ashton Kutcher, the Wikipedia entry showed two pictures – one of you and one of me. THAT is how I know that Wikipedia – and the Internets – never lie, Christopher Ashton Kutcher.

UNLIKE YOU, Christopher Ashton Kutcher.

Anyway, I’m not here to discuss your name, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, although I do find it odd that you’d not go by your full name – Christopher is a FAR less douchey name than “Ashton,” which just makes me think of THAT GUY, you know, Christopher Ashton Kutcher? THAT GUY is who you’ve played in every movie, every television show. In fact, I couldn’t watch That 70’s Show without evoking night terrors because we all know THAT GUY, and *shudders* and you Christopher Ashton Kutcher, play him to a “t.”

(whatever “to a t” means)

Now, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, I was willing to cut you a break on playing THAT GUY because we got married around the same time and I thought it was pretty rad, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, that you’d married an older foxy lady. Demi Moore – she’s quite the catch.

So I knew we’d gotten married around the same time, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, because I remember going to see a movie with my new husband, back when saying, “husband” was a total novelty because OMG I’m A MARRIED LADY. BEFORE the previews, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, I recall that there were commercials and shit, which dismayed me, because then I had to wait through 47 minutes of commercials + previews to watch the movie. But in those commercials, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, and you told me about a camera. A camera so fool-proof, even my dumb ass could use it. I mean, you even showed a BABY taking a picture.

If a BABY could do it, I could, too, Christopher Ashton Kutcher.

I mean, photography is sorta in my blood, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, and I figured you weren’t lying to me about my newly acquired Nikon D50. See, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, with my father, grandfather, and brother all fighting over the light to get the angle justright for every fucking family picture, I’d sorta thought that I’d be blessed with the photog gene. Like osmosis and shit. Okay, so it has nothing to do with excrement, but you know what I mean, Christopher Ashton Kutcher.

Turns out, for all the fancy doodads and whirlygigs on my new camera, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, I was still a shitty photog. Sure, I LOOKED radder when I was walking around with the camera, but I could pick up a smoking habit and look just as cool.

But then I had a baby of my own – not like the one in the commercial who was a fake baby – Christopher Ashton Kutcher, and I was all, I BET IF I TOOK MORE PICTURES OF HIM, I’D BE AN AWESOME PHOTOG, JUST LIKE MY DAD.

I clicked and whirred and adjusted buttons, always screaming about “the LIGHT HAS TO BE RIGHT,” even though the only beings nearby were a baby and a cat. I just wanted to “get in character,” and my character was “photog genius,” naturally, Christopher Ashton Kutcher.

christopher-ashton-kutcher

THIS IS NOT THE WORK OF A PHOTOG GENIUS, Christopher Ashton Kutcher!

It was then that I realized how you’d lied to me, Christopher Ashton Kutcher. Not only were my pictures atrocious, but no one seemed to care if I screamed about the light or bought a fancy-pants camera bag. You know why, Christopher Ashton Kutcher? It’s because you can put lipstick on a pig but don’t just BECOME rad at photography.

My inability to be a photog was made worse by becoming a blogger, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, (blogging, Christopher Ashton Kutcher,  is just a fancy way of saying, “I write drivel on the Internets.”). Apparently when one becomes a blogger, they should also be a fabulous photog and take pictures of their perfect families doing perfect things, while I take pictures of my kid’s boogers.

WHO WANTS TO SEE UP MY BABY’S NOSE? Answer: NO ONE. See, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, the kid is not even flicking me off, which would’ve made the snap eminently more tolerable and handily proved maternity.

So, Christopher Ashton Kutcher, while I appreciate your role in such cinematic masterpieces as “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and that show about pranking rich people, I’m never going to believe you again, even if you DO tell me that next point-and-shoot is going to be life-altering. BECAUSE IT WON’T. PROBABLY. AT LEAST, I THINK IT WON’T.

Forever Yours PROBABLY ONCE I FORGIVE YOU,

Aunt Becky

The morning of my eighth birthday, I woke up to the sounds of my tone-deaf brother’s singing. See, when I was a kid, my brother’s favorite game was to wake me up as obnoxiously as possible, which meant that that day, I awoke to the lilting strains of “Rise and Shine and Bring Out The Glory-Glory,” accompanied by two pots being banged together for the rhythm section.

Getthefuckouttahere,*” I mumbled, my mouth still full of pillow.

“OH NO!” he exclaimed. “It’s YOUR BIRTHDAY! You don’t GET to sleep in lazybones!” He then launched into a a-Capella version of “Lazybones” accompanied by one of our dogs howling.

I paddled my way downstairs in my footie pajamas and threw myself on the couch with the funny pages from the Trib.

“Happy Birthday, Rebecca!” my dad boomed cheerfully as he read the sports section of the paper.

“Thanks,” I mumbled, my head still full of The Sleeps and dreams of reinventing the Babysitter’s Club books so that the characters were all mutant zombies that looked a lot like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“How do you feel?” He boomed loudly, always trying to annoy me with his loud-ass voice first thing in the morning, when all I’d wanted was five minutes of peace to wipe The Sleeps off my face.

“Uh, okay.” I replied, wishing he’d shutthefuckup already.

Knowing he was annoying me, he kept going, “How does it feel to be EIGHT years old? Do you feel any different?”

Finally I put down the funny pages, which had been obscuring my view of my father, in the vain hope that he’d forget I was there and assume that one of the house plants was reading the comics. I let the question bop around in my brain awhile.

Did I feel different? Was I supposed to? Was there some climactic event that happened on one particular day that I should be aware of? What was different about today as opposed to yesterday? I mean, I guess I’m older, but that’s not really much of a deal. Over and over I mulled the question - did I feel different?

At last, I replied with the only answer that seemed appropriate. “Well, I only have one more birthday until I’m in the double digits.”

He laughed before handing me a present to open – more Sea Monkeys for me to experiment upon.

And I went about my day, not feeling even one stinking inch older.

That’s, I think, what bugs me about New Years so much. Not only is the age bracket for having fun between 15-23 (the ages in which puking bar pretzels out your nose is considered “quality entertainment”), but it’s this big pivot point for most of the people I know. This year, I’m going to lose X amount of pounds, or quit smoking, or breastfeed llamas in the Swiss Alps. The resolutions range from the sublime to the absurd.

Take for example, last year’s resolution for me: “DO NOT BECOME LIL WAYNE.” Perhaps this year, I should aim to “BECOME LIL WAYNE,” just to be contrary.

I woke up yesterday feeling exactly the same as the night before, with the exception of my eyes – the sun was being too loud for them. I’d gone to sleep after drinking wee champagne bottles with my friend Paul, who was visiting from one of those states that starts with a vowel. Ohio? Iowa? Kansas City? I didn’t know.

I’d watched both The Facebook and The Twitter exclaiming how they were “so happy 2012 was done” and “2013 was going to be OUR YEAR.”

Since I’ve been using “this is going to be our year!” every year since I was a wee tot to describe my beloved Cubbies, who haven’t won the world series in 104 years (if Jimmy Wales is to be believed), so when I see it applied to the new year, I’m always baffled. If the Cubs can’t break a losing streak for 104 years, how the nuts are we supposed to believe that this year will be any different?

I’m not even wearing my pessimistic pants today – I’m just not sure that the changing of the calendar will do anything to make us different and/or better people. I woke up today in the same shape I woke up yesterday and the same shape I’ll wake up again tomorrow. Life goes on. The calendar changes. We keep on keepin’ on because that’s what we do.

Only thing different is that I’m going to have to stop signing checks 2008.

And come up with another absurd resolution, natch.

*As my brother was ten years my senior, my parents allowed me to swear in the house after I’d complained bitterly that he could swear but I could not.

————–

Do you make resolutions, Pranskters? If so, what are they?

Last week, I’d gone outside to get some air because my apartment was approximately 78 basquillion degrees and, quite frankly, I’d gotten a bit tired of playing Batman. Unfortunately, my apartment is no longer nicknamed “FBI Surveillance Van” in part because I don’t have anyone to stalk, and mostly because my kids are all “IT’S THE BATCAVE!” Kids, man. Their originality is bogus.

That being here nor there, I’d been happily admiring the twinkly Christmas lights because OMG SPARKLE IS TOTALLY A COLOR when I heard a BAM! and suddenly half the lights in my apartment complex went out. Now, it had been snowing in the most minor of forms – really a dusting or sprinkling if you prefer, and while it was cold as balls, the conditions didn’t seem quite right for a blackout.

I went back inside where my kids were screaming about the DC Superfriends or something, and as I sat on the couch, preparing for my role as Poison Ivy, the power flickered for a second, then went out completely.

My kids, being lovers of light, were all, “Oh Em Gee, what the hell happened?” to which I responded, “I think it’s a rolling blackout.” I really just wanted to sound smart in front of them, because I don’t actually know what a rolling blackout is – I assume it’s some sort of black ball that squashes people until they black out before moving on to squash someone else.

They looked at me quizzically, or at least I think they did – I couldn’t see anything beyond the flickering of the candle I’d been burning before the night became oh so exciting.

“Okay,” Alex stated, taking uncharacteristic charge of the situation. “Let’s play the Wii.”

“Um,” I said, as I was looking for more candles and feeling mighty dumb about not owning a flashlight. “The Wii needs electricity, J, and we don’t have any right now.”

The two of them frowned in my direction before deciding to change tactics: “How about My Little Pony?”

“Guys,” I said, as I panicked, realizing my phone had been left uncharged and the kids had been using it to watch Curious George, which always baffles me. Why would you want to watch television on a screen roughly the same size and shape as a pack of cigarettes? I can’t get a straight answer out of them, and they don’t seem to mind that it drains the phone’s battery like WOAH, so I just let ‘em strain their ocular muscles and shit while I watch the television-shaped television. But that meant my phone was near-death and my only means of communication with the outside world.

Naturally, I panicked.

“What about dinner?” they whined, having forgotten that we’d eaten ten minutes before, as they headed to the refrigerator.

“Guys, we can’t go in there right now – we have to keep the cold inside the refrigerator until the power’s back on.” They moaned histrionically, before deciding that the source of their ire was, in fact, electricity, or lack thereof.

“I hate electricity,” Mimi declared in the candlelight, her arms crossed and eyebrows furrowed so deeply that I couldn’t help but giggle. She’s hilarious when she’s mad.

“ME TOO,” Alex chimed in. “It’s so stupid.” I imagine he rolled his eyes as he said this, but my back was turned, lighting yet another candle.

“This is fun!” I tried to explain, knowing that this did, in fact, suck ass, especially since it was likely we’d be without power for awhile, which meant no Internet porn, no House, MD marathons, no phone calls, and no, well, dinner.

The three of us gathered at the window, noting the shiny red/blue/white cop car lights clearly sitting in front of the entrance to our complex, because we ALL know that gaping makes the power return faster.

“Wow,” they breathed in. “That’s pretty.” And they were right – between the snow slowly falling from the sky and the shiny lights flickering nearby, it looked sorta magical. Or it would’ve if my heat was capable of returning The FBI Surveillance Van into a toasty oven again.

“Mama,” Mimi said. “I’m cold.”

“Me too,” Alex chimed in.

“Me three,” I replied to them both. “Let’s bundle up and snuggle in bed like baby kittens.”

And so we did. We fell asleep together in a pile on my bed, huddling under the blankets for warmth until 1AM, when the power was magically restored. Awakened and entirely freaked out by the sudden blaring of the television and lights, I peeled small people off my person, and went to turn off the appliances.

I turned up the heat on my way back to the bedroom, laughing quietly when I realized that the two small people had taken advantage of my absence and had filled my empty spot with their spider-like limbs.

Carefully, I disentangled their limbs and crawled between them. As I was closing my eyes, ready to head back into the land of nod, Mimi, then Alex, each threw one of their gangly limbs over me. I smiled as I drifted off to sleep, the sudden increase in temperature making us all sweat like we’d been running a marathon, happy to be firmly ensconced between two of my favorite people on the planet.

Until, of course, they began kicking my kidneys with their sharp pointy toes.

Can’t win ‘em all, right?

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