If you’ve read my latest book Freak of Nurture, or been around me for more than 45 seconds, you already know that I grew up in Wisconsin pre-global warming. Thus, there was snowcover from November until March, I sometimes went to school on a snowmobile, and a polar bear was my best friend.*
My EXTREME FAMILY: SIBLING EDITION (I am the youngest of seven) and I knew that if we bugged our parental units too much, they’d be reminded “Hey, what’s the use of having a herd of kids if you’re not using them for free labor.” We would be then assigned some horrible chore that only rural parents can devise for their offspring, invariably involving muck, poo (those are related in some cases), cleaning, clearing, being outside in the subzero cold or even–one long winter–handling a great deal of rapidly rotting homemade sauerkraut.
So we became tiny annoying experts at creating ways of amusing ourselves, something that has come in handy since I’ve been in seclusion while in recovery from my (hilarious) knee replacement. If you were you not blessed with a childhood in which the penalty for muttering “I’m bored” was a chore that might lead to acquiring antibiotic resistant cabbage pox, don’t worry. I’ve got some suggestions to share with you:
1. Bundle up, head outside to where local children have been playing and turn their snow angels into snow devils. There are lots of ways to do this: you can apply food coloring, paprika, or laminated witty evil captions, or my favorite, simply lay down a piece of beef liver where the snow angel’s liver would be. Don’t bother to do this where pets are permitted off leash or you will be engaged in an different activity called Turning Snow Angels Into Places Where Places Dogs Fight and Every Dog Owner In the Neighborhood Gets Mad at You.
Do not worry about traumatizing children with this action. Children love gross things, even That Certain Type of Park Slope Child Who Has Had the Soul Parented Out of Them. In fact, these children especially need access to practical jokes involving rotting meat. Your action alone may save them from a lifetime of insufferability. Which is not a word but should be.
2. While you are waiting outside to see if local bloggers to come take photos of your snow devils and make you an anonymous viral superstar, you’ll need something to occupy your brain besides: “I am so so so so so so cold. Is this weather cold enough to kill me? Will it lower my sperm count? Make me lose IQ points? Develop a cat allergy? Why did my parents get divorced? Was it because my snow angels weren’t good enough?Man, it’s so cold” etc etc.
Your next boredom fighter task is pick a sibling and craft a conversation in which you can drive them to homicidal rage using an extremely limited number of texts. For example:
3. Frozen? Bloggers never showed? Go back inside and watch Will and Grace with your friend who has a doctorate in queer studies.
Okay that’s a joke.
You should never ever ever ever watch Will and Grace with your friend who has a doctorate in queer studies.
4. Text all your friends asking to borrow their netflix streaming login and passcode . Log in but don’t create a separate username. Then pick 20 movies that your friend would HATE and watch the first five minutes of each of them. Assign them a five star rating.
Their Netflix recommendation algorithm will be off forever.
5. Watch the pilot of Showtime’s new series Masters of Sex with the audio muted while you stream the audio from any episode of Big Bang Theory. Much like the mystery that is Amazing Grace sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme song**, you will be amazed at the nerd-synchronicity that results.
6. Make affirmation cards that will help your friends work through their most difficult faults and foibles. Snail mail the cards to them.
Once you’ve affirmed all your friends, move along to your favorite celebrities.
If these don’t seem practical, you know what else you could do? Just go ahead and order Freak of Nurture. If you get the ebook it’s only like three clicks between you and starting the first chaper! It’s really funny, and also kind of sad, and maybe you will absolutely hate parts of it. But I promise you will not be bored.
*Only one of these claims is a lie.
**It really works. Try it.