Today is the last day of 2014 (newsflash for those calendar-ignorant motherfuckers out there) and I was just struck with an extra dose of blogging panic because I need to purge all this December bullshit before it’s too late and I get shot in the neck with a poisoned dart and then dragged to whatever the blogging version of Guantanamo Bay is….Dooce’s basement? I shudder to think.
- First, let’s talk about Secret Santa! I had A-ron this year and I was super-stoked about it and went completely overboard because Secret Santa-shopping is fun as fuck. I mostly got him toys and candy and novelty socks, but the best part was in the wrapping, which I can’t post here because it all involved pictures of various people around the law firm and I’m trying to not be a reckless blogger, remember? Meanwhile, my Secret Santa was KILLING IT. I was convinced that it was Nate, because every day, I was getting very Erin-specific notes and Kit Kats, and not too long ago, Nate asked me what my favorite candy was. AND I SAID KIT KATS. Plus, I figured it had to be someone that I talk to everyday and/or am Facebook friends with, because the details were on point.
The TMNT figures made me really lean toward Nate, but then toward the end, Barb was like, “FYI it’s not Nate” because she had to deliver something on behalf of Nate and it was not to my desk. But then I started thinking, about how my gift wasn’t there that day when I got in, but then it showed up later, AFTER MEAN AMBER HAD ARRIVED FOR LATE SHIFT. How could I have been so blind!? All of my notes were specific to things that she is forced to talk to me about EVERY DAY. (Except the Pens—that’s a mutual topic for us.) So yes, it was definitely Mean Amber (or Amber Claus) and she told me that Nate only asked me what my favorite candy was because she told him to. WELL-PLAYED. God, Secret Santa is so fun!
- In other Christmas news (j/k, this whole post is Christmas nonsense), Chooch joined chorus this year and has consistently failed to bring home pertinent information that involved parents might need to have. Such as: when recitals are and what he needs to wear for said recitals and what time he needs to be at the school before these supposed recitals. A few weeks ago, I got a text from Henry at 5:20 (10 minutes before I was done with work) to tell me that our son had just informed him that he had to be back at school by 6:00 in order to get ready for the 6:30 recital. That jerk is so goddamn lucky that my job is in such close proximity to our house and his school. So yes, we got him there in time and got to watch him sing a medley of Christmas carols. When that was done, the music teacher took the stage to announce that while the band was setting up, several students were going to come out and play a piece on the piano. I was like, “Oh great, more unbridled talent. How will we stand it” when suddenly, the first kid to come back out on stage was my own goddamn son. My stomach flip-flopped, my entire body spontaneously clenched. This was a big surprise to me. Chooch got behind the piano and knocked out a few bars of “Deck the Halls” and, while not without flaws, it wasn’t too bad for a kid who barely practices and has a laid-back punk keyboardist as his teacher. I mean, I knew that he had been working on this song but I thought it was something that he was playing for the kids in music class or something, not in front of all of these parents. And then when he finished, he promptly took a bow. The people behind us were fucking loving it and kept shouting, “IS THAT YOUR BOY? IS HE YOURS?” like we just witnessed a young Amadeus up there and not an 8-year-old rushing through Deck the Halls from spotty memory. But goddammit, I was proud of that kid. Especially afterward when he joined us in the crowd and kicked back in a chair like his solo was no big deal. I asked him if he was nervous and he looked at me like I was absurd. “No. Why would I be?” We are so not alike in that regard.
- Also in CHORUS NEWS, I was just getting on the trolley two Mondays ago when Henry texted me and said that Chooch had called him from school, that he had his chorus field trip that day and was supposed to wear a white button-down shirt since they were going to be performing at the courthouse downtown, and that he HAD a white shirt on, but MOMMY made him take it off. Fucking little liar. You know what he was wearing that day, because he insisted on dressing himself? An over-sized CAT T-SHIRT. Again, this kid is fucking lucky that I work downtown and was able, with Glenn’s permission of all people, to run down the street to Burlington and buy a stupid white shirt for my lying sack of a kid, and then later in the morning, I had to run up to the courthouse which I actually know where that it is thanks to JURY DUTY 2011 when my co-workers did everything short of aiming beacons into the air to make sure I knew where I was going. I found the spot where all of the other school buses were dropping off the band kids, etc., so I stood there waiting for Chooch’s school, which of course passed right by, with Chooch, wearing a baggy cat t-shirt and a shit-eating grin, waving to me from the window. So I had to follow the bus around the entire courthouse because the music teacher apparently is as woefully unprepared as me, until finally the bus pulled over and the teacher jumped off and ran inside the courthouse, I guess to check in. All of Chooch’s dorky friends were waving and pointing to me from the bus, and I’m like, “I gotta get back to work, put your damn window down” and Chooch is like, “What? Why?” and I’m really getting irritated at this point, at him, at the situation, at all these dumb kids laughing and waving at me. It took FOUR KIDS to help him get his dumb window down, at which point, I balled up the Burlington bag, chucked it through the window and growled, “BREAK A LEG!” I found out later that he was pissed that I didn’t stay to watch his performance, are you fucking kidding me? Maybe if I hadn’t wasted my entire lunch break plus some SHOPPING IN A SCARY STORE and practically casing the courthouse like a creep, I could have stayed.
- Between all of this, the Open House fuckarow, and god only knows what else we’ve unknowingly missed, his school probably thinks he has alcoholics for parents.
- I didn’t think Henry and I were exchanging gifts this year since we did the whole Philly weekend thing two weeks ago, but then he told me he had something for me so of course I begged him on Christmas Eve to let me open it. I could tell right away that it was a CD and you guys know that I love music so much but I still started to feel disappointed because CDs are every day purchases, you know? #spoiledbrat But then I opened it and realized that it was a Mike + the Mechanics CD with tickets to the show stuffed inside! YOU GUYS. This was one of the few times I didn’t have to feign appreciation! I was actually going to go to this show alone because Henry seemed really off-put by the ticket prices (when you’re accustomed to $10-$20 small band shows….), but then he bought two tickets for the same seats we had for the Goblin show and I am so incredibly stoked! My Pappap loved this band. I don’t even care that the original singers aren’t going to be there (well, one is dead…) because Mike Rutherford will be, and hopefully my Pappap’s spirit.
- Also, Henry’s lucky that there were tickets inside, because he didn’t get the album that has “Silent Running” on it. What an asshole.
- Before going to my dad’s house for a Christmas visit, we had dinner at Pan Asia with other loners/non-Christmas types. It was nice because the place wasn’t dead. But I made the rookie mistake of sitting across from Chooch, who just got a camcorder and is already calling the (zero) subscribers of his (non-existent) YouTube channel “demon cakes.” There’s an approx. 7-minute video of me sipping my oolong tea. It’s riveting. Henry has already made a gif out of it.
- Hanging out at my dad’s on Christmas night was really nice and we all laughed a lot. On the way home, I was thinking about how nice this Christmas was — no tears, no ungratefulness. And then my phone buzzed with a Facebook notification. My friend Jenny had tagged me in a comment that she left about my serial killer cards. She’s always pimping my shop, so I didn’t think anything of it at first, until I noticed that the thing she was commenting on actually WAS one of my cards….only with some other person’s logo on it. So I went to the actual page on FB that this was posted on, and it turned out that they had taken EVERY ONE OF MY CARDS and put their logo on it. From what I could tell, they weren’t selling them, but they were taking credit. And they were getting A LOT of great feedback from people who were commenting, liking, and sharing. We’re talking 100s of people. This guy, whose name I refuse to mention, has over 30,000 likes on his page. These are all people who could have been potential customers, but instead, they think he’s the “brilliant” one churning these things out. I know it’s a really weird/dumb/sketchy thing to be involved in, but I have literally cornered the market on serial killer greeting cards since 2007. And I take pride in that. So first, I commented on one and, even though my immediate reaction was to fucking go off, I tried to stay rational and explained that I was the creator of these cards, here’s the link to my shop, etc. Then I started replying to some of the comments too, saying things like, “Thanks! I made this card. Here’s the link to my shop.” I tried to send this guy a direct message and couldn’t find the option to do. Then I noticed all of my comments had been deleted. He fucking blocked me. I found his website and contacted him through that; meanwhile, I had posted on my personal and business Facebook pages and a lot of my friends and customers were going after him, only to have their comments deleted and get blocked as well. Some lucky people were even getting personally harassed by him. I couldn’t even believe the balls on this guy. He was so mean and cocky. He told my one friend that he was trying to enjoy Xmas with his family, so what’s her beef. WELL THAT IS WHAT I WAS TRYING TO DO TOO! Oh my god. Then he and Henry started messaging back and forth and he flat out told Henry that his girlfriend “found” my cards on the Internet and since I didn’t get “permission” from the inmates to use their pictures (are you fucking kidding me), that it was OK for him to steal from me. Because my ideas and the time I put into creating these cards don’t mean shit without BTK’s seal of approval, I guess. Then he replied to my email and basically tried to bully me into giving him a cut of my card sales because, and I quote: “I have 30.000 followers and you have 200. Who are you?” And then he attacked me on my business page, basically saying that just because I “steal” inmates’ pictures and cut and paste, doesn’t make me an artist. It was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to reason with this piece of shit, but luckily Facebook came through in less than 24 hours and took down all of my images from his page. We’re protected under basic copyright laws, but you better believe we’ll be registering for an LLC, which I never thought would be necessary before since we don’t really sell that many of these things and it’s certainly not our bread and butter. I mean, Henry and I both have full-time jobs. I’m not sure how I would feel if I made enough money off serial killers to quit my day job, anyway. I haven’t heard from this guy since Facebook stepped in (although the next night, he “liked” my non compos cards FB page….and I have a feeling it’s not because he wants to kiss and make up). I just have a feeling this isn’t the last I’ve heard from him, but I’ll tell you — I have never been so thankful to work at a big law firm.
- Not to be corny, but the best thing about all of this is that so many of my friends, and their friends, and past customers totally had my back. They defended me, they hijacked this guy’s hashtag, they reposted on their own FB about what he was doing, they tipped off their mutual friends who also liked this guy’s page. It was just really, really nice to not be in this alone. Octavia even started sending messages to the people who had liked his posts that used the images of my cards, since he had blocked her from replying to their comments. And now I’m officially friends with one of my favorite repeat customers, Polly! I’ll take my 200 friends over his 30,000 followers (which he probably paid for) any day.
- The worst part was that I let this guy get under my skin and into my head and spent the rest of the weekend questioning my validity to the point where I wanted to just close my shop altogether.
- Also, it wasn’t about the money. It was about pride. I created these and he was taking credit. Do you know how nauseating it was to see people giving him praise for something that I made, something that came out of MY head? I was shaking so violently Thursday night that Henry had to tell me to sit down and he handled it from there.
- In his email to me, he stated that he writes to all of the “big name killers” and that Dennis Rader probably wouldn’t be too happy knowing I was using his picture, but he spelled his name “Radar.” And then he did it again on mu Facebook pages, and Henry said that he spelled it that way in a message to him, too, which makes me laugh. It was everything I could do not to type “I HAVE A DEATH ROW PEN PAL TOO!” Ugh.
- In better Christmas news, Henry framed my Goblin and Circa Survive show prints! And then he didn’t hang them the way I wanted. But still. At least they’re framed and not rolled up somewhere.
Overall, 2014 wasn’t too bad. Sure, it had low points, what year doesn’t? But it also brought a lot of laughter, amazing shows, and new friendships. And I get to end it by going to the hockey game tonight with Henry! So for that, I can’t hate on 2014.