I really don’t like homeopathy.

A woman sitting next to me on the way to Nashville offered me some of her Magical Purse Water for my sinus infection. Oh, wait; some of you probably don’t know the other name for Magical Purse Water. It’s homeopathy.

water The woman, who looked like a standard Daphne from Alpharetta, Georgia but introduced herself as Shailiah from Nowhere and Everywhere, heard me sneeze and sniffle and started rummaging around in her enormous bag of tricks. She pulled out a little glass bottle with a hand written label taped on the side. I completely forget what she said was in it because I don’t think she was using real words. She unscrewed the cap and squeezed the dropper and told me to open my mouth.

Brazen. If she were trying to sell me a car I might have fallen for it, but she was trying to make me ingest her homemade purse water of questionable origin, so I said,
“No thanks, I’m already on something and I’d hate to mix them.”
“What are you on, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Pseudoephedrine.”
Her face contort into a horrified expression.

For the record, I actually have tried to treat a violent sinus infection with homeopathic remedies. Some years ago I was in an abusive relationship with a man – if you feel like getting depressed and reading an essay that’s 2 points shy of making it onto Thought Catelog, I’ve written about it here – who expressly forbade me to take medicine when I was sick. He claimed that actual cold medicine altered one’s brain and made them disagreeable. Like Daph- DAMMIT, Shailiah, he believed in homeopathy.  Unfortunately for me and everyone within a 10 foot radius of me, I did not have some imaginary sickness. I had a real sinus infection that was turning into something worse with alarming speed.

For those of you not in the know, most homeopathic remedies are the biggest crock of shit in the medicinal world. They are literally placebos. They don’t have anything in them except maybe 1/100,000,000,000 of a substance like rose hips or rat poop.

The best part is the process of diagnosing yourself and figuring out what kind of homeopathic remedy will work for you. First you get this big ass book of feelings that some unqualified person decided matched up to certain substances and certain thoughts. Then you assess your ailments. Let’s say you are having headaches and you feel apathetic. Then you pretend that your arbitrary thoughts are connected to your ailments. Let’s say you often find yourself thinking of trees. You would then take your big book of magical rat poop water and look up “apathetic” and “visions of trees.”

Visions of trees and apathetic feelings? Sounds like a job for 1/100,000,000,000,000mg of *RAT POOP. I don’t know if rat poop is what Mr. Homeopathy prescribes for people who have headaches and think of trees, but I do know that rat poop was listed in the big book of purse-water recipes that my abusive ex-boyfriend used to assess my blatantly obvious sinus infection, so let’s roll with it.

You would then buy a little box rat poop pills and trick yourself into thinking you are getting better even though you aren’t because you should have taken some ibuprofen like a normal person.

Getting back on topic with my horrible experience with homeopathic nonsense: my sinus infection had gotten to the point where I constantly needed water and my lips were peeling up to my nose, which was raw from blowing it so hard so often. I was sneezing blood, yet he insisted we continue to wait and see if the homeopathic pills would kick in. Meanwhile, I started to experience dizzy spells. I was walking around with a fever.

Finally this guy in the music program, named *Miguel, blurted out, “Why the hell haven’t you gone to a doctor?”

I told him everything, but in a way I told him nothing since I made a significant effort to gloss over the insanity of it all by emphasizing my willingness to try out my significant other’s lifestyle. In retrospect, I don’t think he bought it.

“Christ, Jas. You need medicine. Also you shouldn’t be here because you could make the entire department sick. You need to be at home, sleeping.”

He opened his backpack and took out a box of Sudafed.

“You’re lucky I happened to have this. I hope it’s enough. Take one of these right now. And these are the super strong kind, so if they don’t start doing something by tomorrow morning, you have got to go to the health center. This is the kind of shit that turns into pneumonia. Here. Just have the box.”

I reluctantly took one, know thing that I would have to answer for it later – and I did. My ex grilled me for details about my day every single evening. Not just a few key details or major events – he wanted to know everything. If I forgot something, even something small like someone holding a door open for me, then he would accuse me of lying and we would sit there for potentially hours figuring out what else I “wasn’t telling” him. Since accepting medicine from a male classmate was my biggest transgression of the day, I came clean about the Suda-fed immediately. He wasn’t happy. He wanted to know everything about my relationship to Miguel. He wanted to know if I had talked about him to Miguel. He wanted specifics. I was sick and light headed and didn’t want to talk about things that I had never said. I managed to convince him that I wasn’t in love with Miguel and he let me go to sleep.

If my memory serves me correctly, Miguel came up to me at some point the next day and said that my ex had approached him and questioned him about the medicine he game me. It would make sense. He had a habit of following up with males who talked to me.

It took nearly the entire box, but thankfully the medicine that Miguel gave me worked. It frightens me to think of what I might have allowed to happen if he hadn’t have been so adamant that I take it. I have trouble with how ridiculously stupid I was.

So yeah. On top of the sheer fact that it’s homeopathic rat-poop infused HOT DOG WATER, I’ve got some emotionally charged opinions about people who try to impose it onto others.

Pseudoepedrine is the active ingredient in Sudafed – or at least it was back then, before young, self-titled entrepreneurs started cooking it into meth and almost ruined it for everyone. You have to go to the pharmacy to get it now, but thank goodness you still can; it is simply the best cold and sinus infection drug you can buy. It dries your sinuses out and cuts your cold or sinus infection in half. Sometimes into a third or a fourth if you catch it early enough. So when some future bag-lady slash Doterra pyramid scheme victim says something stupid like,

“That stuff is terrible for you. It alters your brain. It’s like poison,” then it makes me say,
“Um, you’re a Los Angeles transplant with a fake name that you got from a mail-order guru and you’re carrying purse water in a homemade vile that you offer to strangers.”

I actually didn’t say that last part.

Part of me wishes I had, but all I really did was stop talking, put on my headphones, and ignore her.

However, if I ever I tell this story live I’ll just pretend that I’m a stone cold bitch who leaned the fuck in.

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A good booty is like $1.5 billion dollars.

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I am home for the holidays for the first time in three years. Something about spending another consecutive holiday season in LA made me feel 10% more likely to do the Birdman off of the top of the apartment building. That may be a stretch, but it’s safe to say that I really wanted to go home this year.

This evening, between screenings of A Christmas Story and It’s A Wonderful Life, my mother emerged from the kitchen with an old, browning piece of paper in hand.

“Look at this,” she said, “It’s an old comic you drew about Christmas.”
I took it from her, afraid to read it. Mom once sent me an old book I had written, illustrated, and self-binded with pink construction paper. It was called, Toby, Lissie, and the Giant AppleThe book began,
“Lissie was an orphan. Both of her parents were killed. She had no clothes, no good food, and she was very cold.”

Most of the stories that I wrote as a child began in a similar fashion. A young girl in dire straits finds she has super human abilities and uses them to escape her family and destroy the mean girls at school. Mom has a whole stash of them and, despite the fact that anyone else would read them and immediately put me on a list of children to watch out for lest they become susceptible to a death cult, treasures them to the point where she looks at them and simply sees beautiful, childlike artwork.

“I take this out every year and hang it on the fridge,” she said with great pride.

Here is the comic in its entirety:

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Let’s break this down.

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This picture depicts a gift that my aunt gave us that was wrapped in such a way that no one could open it. Not so strange.

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This picture is of a Christmas tree that cost sixty-five American dollars. I possessed an acute awareness of money as a child. I attribute this to the fact that there was a good, long period of my childhood where my family wasn’t doing so well financially. Money and the iffy status of my dad’s heating and air conditioning business was talked about openly and frequently. This particular year, the Christmas tree farm raised the price of all trees by nearly 100% and my father had a fit. He couldn’t believe that a tree cost sixty-five dollars. The price of the tree was a hot topic that holiday season and significant enough to make it into a comic full of things that reminded me of Christmas.

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Ah, the painting that I was supposed to keep and turn in to my art teacher at school but didn’t because I didn’t have anything to give Aunt Frances for Christmas. I think I told the teacher that I forgot it and painted something else quickly. Aunt Frances got the still life of poinsettias that I had worked on for three art class periods while the school got a hand print with a santa hat drawn onto the thumb.

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This is where the comic starts to get weird. The spiky haired girl with a disaffected expression on her face is supposed to be my sister not caring that Mom is screaming at my father about the Dickensville Collection, a line of miniature snowed-in houses of which we had two. Dad set up one and thought that was enough, but mom wanted both of them on display. It was a legitimate point of contention for days.

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The dog with the horns, wings, and halo is supposed to be Rocky. Rocky died. The dog to the left was Blondie, who is basically saying,
“Please, wherever you are, take me with you. Please. I just want to die, too.”
Fysty was the cat that I obviously didn’t care about enough to assign a narrative.

IMG_0196Trouble, the black cat in the middle, had also died. Oreo, the black and white cat beside trouble, had also died. Unlike the cats below them who dressed in slutty clothes and couldn’t give a damn about being alive, Trouble and Oreo were stoked to be dead.

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This was supposed to be me. I had a dangerous obsession with Little Orphan Annie but I also didn’t like myself, which is probably why I drew myself as Little Orphan Annie with no arms and a club foot. The rain cloud, the bolt of lightening, and a very furrowed brow were supposed to highlight how I was feeling about life.

Now, my mother has a TON of Christmas related odds and ends that she and Dad unpack and use to decorate the house. Why this comic in particular has joined the likes of the holly, the Dickensville pieces, and the onslaught of Star Trek and Star Wars themed Christmas ornaments? I have no idea.

I do know that unlike Little-Jas, who clearly had some things going on at the time of “publication” that I probably should have talked about with a professional, I am quite relieved to be back in Georgia this year. Drinking bourbon with my folks and the cats (who are living) as we watch old Christmas movies was the right move.

This story starts with: “Jas had two parents. When she was an adult, she finally got to go home for Christmas after not getting to see her family for a few years. She packed enough clothes, there was plenty of food, and the house was very warm. There was a weird comic on the fridge, but everyone had a good laugh over it despite the yelling and the dead pets.”

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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“Tell me a joke!”

My friend Chelsey and I have fun.

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We are both comedians. When we tell people we are comedians, the first thing that they say, no matter what, is:

“Oh, you’re a comedian, eh? Tell me a joke!”

With current events being what they are, I have decided to start saying:

“Why did Adele cross the road?”
“…”
“To say HELLO from the other side!”

Or, if I’m feeling particularly puzzling, I’ll say,
“OK. I will absolutely DIE if one more person tells me they don’t know what Goonies never say.”

Waka waka waka, friends.

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The Dumb Ole’ Guilt Parade

This is a post about guilt.

I went to an audition a couple of weeks ago where we had to read a scene in pairs. Upon first seeing me, my scene partner seemed* to show visible signs of alarm. I would have, too, had I watched myself burst into the waiting room, rip off my uniform shirt, and throw on a sweater before plopping down and wheezing,
“So you wanna read this?”

It appeared* that my obvious case of the lunch-break-audition-rush left her with that sinking feeling every actor gets when they have to audition with someone that might make them look bad.

Things went from bad to worse when I had to pretend-throw her phone at the wall…

… and proceeded to actually throw her phone at the wall. Though she kept going with the scene like a champ, I thought I saw her eyes flicker, revealing the kind of carnal rage one might feel after watching something horrible. A lamb at the slaughter, for instance. Or a perfect stranger hurl an expensive, personal, fragile item across a room.

I walked out of the audition thinking, “Holy shit. I have ruined this girl’s day.”
It plagued me for days afterward. If I was out of the apartment and thought about buying a delicious treat, then I would remind myself that I nearly obliterated someone’s phone and I did not deserve a delicious treat.

I have a guilt problem.

It stems well beyond the guilt over clumsy accidents. See, I used to be a really angry, jealous person. Actually, scratch that – I was an angry, jealous child who grew into an angry, jealous teenager who became an angry, bitter adult.


Like this except obviously in my head. 

Sometimes I spew out something mildly to more-than-mildly inappropriate in a social situation. Then, upon immediately realizing what I have done, I try to shrug it off as, “Whatever! I don’t care! I say what I want! Look at how much I don’t care!”

And then I go home and care about it for two plus years.

It’s even worse if I find the memory particularly mortifying. My brain has a whole reserve of embarrassing things I have done that it loves to unleash upon the smallest reminder that I haven’t filled the day’s guilt quota. The onslaught begins with this one, particular experience:

When I was still living in Georgia and going to school, I struck up a friendship with a chemistry major in one of my electives. If I were James Bond and she were my badass Bond babe, I would call her Chemistry Majora. Chemistry and I would go to lunch together on occasion and walk each other to classes. I treasured her not only because she was nice, but because I was still with a crazy person who limited my visits home to my family and backed me into a social and financial corner. (See: this.) Because he considered her rather “plain” and therefore uninviting to potential males whom she might otherwise draw near – that plus the fact that she never asked to hang out after classes and take time away from him herself – he tolerated her.

Eventually I left the crazy person and, with no local social support to fall back on, I asked Chemistry Majora if she wanted to hang out after class. Oh, the afternoon we had! We went to the old World of Coca-Cola and walked around The Underground and looked at massive t-shirts with 6-pack abs airbrushed onto the front! It was so nice to be out with someone. In retrospect, there was nothing special about that day at all except for the smell of freedom in the air.

Still, I called her the next day! I went to her house and stayed for way too long.

Then I called her the next day! She said she couldn’t go out because she had to study.

So I called her the next day! She said she hadn’t taken her test yet and still had studying to do.

If memory serves me correctly, I called her every day for a week. Finally she said, “I can’t hang out today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after.”

Lines like those aren’t just reserved for episodes of Jane the Virgin. She shut me down in real life. I took the hint and stopped calling her.

Some months later brought a reunion of sorts. I was finally leaving the university to move back home with my parents, but I was still listlessly going about my days, sitting in random corners and staring at things, as I tended to do back then.

“Jas?”
I snapped out of my stupor and saw her standing off to the side, an eyebrow slightly raised. I remember she was carrying books.
“Oh, Chemistry. Hey.”
“… Hey.”
“How are you?”
“I’m good. How are you?”
“I’m good. I’m …”
It should be noted here that I considered unloading my soul to her, but I could see that she feared I might try to attach to her head like a barnacle.
“It’s just been a process.”
“Yeah. Well. It was good seeing you.”
“You, too.”

She stood there for a second and then walked off and I never saw her again.

It is ridiculous how often I think of this. Even now, years after the fact, I think of this and cringe. Then I think of several other terrible or embarrassing things that I’ve done.

I’ve let some pretty dumb shit fly out of my mouth throughout my life. Spiteful, inane, envious, uneducated, heat-of the moment type stuff. Since time machines don’t exist, I cannot go back and magically make myself shut up. These things have been said and done.

Lately, though, I have been trying to focus on the positives. For instance, the fact that I remember these experiences as negative behaviors and feel guilt over them means that I’m not a sociopath!

I have also been making a conscious effort to re-train my brain to err on the side of kindness and positivity. It’s a huge endeavor to ingrain new defaults into the very core of your train of thought. It takes effort to be the person who automatically thinks,

“Aw, there go two people in love!”
when you are so used to being the person who thinks,
“Whoa, there go two strange looking people holding hands.”

I can only hope that eventually the efforts will pay off and I will realize that I have made it through a day without obsessing so much over what a terrible human being I have been that I don’t want to go outside anymore.

Until then, it really does help to go to a callback where you see a girl whose phone you might have hurled against a wall and have her tell you that there’s no need to apologize, that everything is fine, and that she hasn’t thought anything of it.

It also helps when she sends you a message a few days later, after the two of you booked the spot, to reiterate her well wishes and offer congratulatory words.

Kindness from all directions, with an emphasis on not being too hard on yourself. I think that’s part of the cure for guilt.

 

* Seemed/Appeared – because, really, it’s all in my damn head.

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sociopath1

 

MOMMY’S LITTLE SOCIOPATH. 

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This is my significant other, D. He has obsessive compulsive disorder of Howard Hughes like proportions and believes in Jesus.

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I’m Jas. I go through periods where everything is horrible and I’m not really religious but I appreciate the fact that D acknowledges things like the fact that kids are dying trying to get out of Syria or that a giant chunk of the world’s population has no access to clean water doesn’t really add up to the more traditional interpretation of God.

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We share a tiny, tiny living space with my cat, Taxi. Taxi is a miniature siamese mountain panther. He walks like a predator and sleeps like boss.

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The love we all have for one another is compounded when someone (usually me) says something that reinforces the very likely reality that, were we paired with anyone else, massive chaos and unhappiness would ensue. The following is a collection of not only those statements, but the statements that I know are coming:

“BAND OF BROTHERS IS NOT A BACKGROUND NOISE SHOW.”

“I’m not watching another movie with you because we literally just watched one in the theater and that much sitting during the day makes me feel bad about all the things I’m NOT doing and – no, I’m not crying, stop it!”

30 ROCK IS ALSO NOT A BACKGROUND NOISE SHOW BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO IT.”

30 Rock is not a “falling asleep” show because IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO IT.”

“If you grow a mustache then so will I, and we both know I can’t grow a mustache on my face.”

“When I say, ‘put on some music,’ I do not mean, “play the latest Scriptnotes.

“I will grant you sexual privileges if you ___ for me.”
A. Feed Taxi after I realized that I have gone to bed without feeding him. I would do it, but I’m sleeping.
B. Shake Taxi’s food bowl at 6:00AM because he ate until he saw the bottom of the bowl and decided to run around the apartment and knock shit over until someone shakes the bowl to prove that it’s not empty. I would do it, but I’m sleeping.
C. Inspect the closet after Taxi bursts from it with a puffy tail. I would do it, but I’m 97% certain that Taxi can see ghosts and I don’t want to be near a ghost.

“I need you to play Billy Joel’s Moving Out again so I can make it look like Taxi is in a Billy Joel music video.”

The best worst damn thing on Instagram today #TaxiCat #siamese #billyjoel #movingout

A video posted by Jas Sams (@jas_sams) on


“Ham is a weird meat because it’s the only meat at the center of least 3 episodes of major medical dramas where someone’s brain problem turns out to be a tapeworm they got from eating ham. So basically, ham has the ability to will tapeworms into existence because it’s too much of a stretch for me to believe that these characters would take the ham out and leave it on a potential tapeworm palace long enough for tapeworms to fuck and lay eggs in it and then put it back in their fridge and eat it 3 weeks later. So basically, ham is magic and can create life. It just sucks that the life forged from the magic of ham is a brain hungry tapeworm. Oh, you aren’t hungry anymore? Bet you want salad now, don’t you?”

 

“I’m pretty sure that the illustrator for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark just stared at a plate of overcooked pulled pork until he hallucinated the tendrils and fly pieces of meat taking on dark, nefarious, and demonic forms which he then sketched and submitted to his publisher.”

It’s true. If you stare at this long enough:

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You eventually see this:

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“HELP ME. It has been an hour and at first I didn’t move because Taxi was on my lap and I didn’t want to disturb him but then I started watching this clip of Angie saying Ham! on 30 Rock and I’M STILL NOT TIRED OF WATCHING IT.”

Weird affection looks good on us.

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This dog perfectly captures the essence of what happens in my brain whenever I find out that someone invited me to a party:

Try as I might to get out of the apartment and be the social butterfly I am in my dreams, I end up staying home a lot. Last year’s Comic Con saw me sitting in my car for nearly an hour as I debated whether or not to brave a party by myself until my friend and his people arrived. An hour! What the hell did I think I was going to sort out in the front seat of my grandmother’s Buick at 11:30pm on the busiest weekend of the year in San Diego?

It’s difficult to describe. I were to ever see a professional then they might describe it as a “chronic and crippling fear of being a dumb fucking asshole leftover from large chunks of your life where you were, for lack of a better term, a dumb fucking asshole.”

It’s ridiculous.

It’s tricky to deal with anxiety when you are someone who feels energized by social interaction. The more people you meet and talk with the healthier you feel. If you go for periods where you don’t see anyone, however, then you feel like you are doing something wrong in life which bleeds into other aspects of your life. Again, it’s ridiculous.

Growing up I had a dedicated cluster of close friends, so if I didn’t make friends elsewhere then whatever man; I still had my crew! Now I’m an adult. The crew has long since disbanded. And Los Angeles sometimes feels like the social equivalent of Mad Max: Fury Road. The requirements for platonic, interpersonal relationships are cloudy at best. You can totally fuck someone you matched up with through an app on your phone, but you’re weird if you say, “You like this thing? Holy crap, me too! Let’s trade numbers and text each other about random stuff that happens to us for the foreseeable future and hang out in person on the regular!

That approach doesn’t apply to today’s social culture. Perhaps this is why basic kindness and inclusiveness overwhelms me to the point where one might as well have moved Heaven and Earth just by saying, “Hey, the gang is going to a taco truck, wanna come with?”

WHAT HAVE I DONE TO WARRANT SUCH AN INVITATION?!

It’s this kind of exuberant enthusiasm that I blame for the fact that I cannot account for HOURS of my Halloween.

One of my friends helps organize a long running Halloween party. It has been going on for seven or eight years and they have it down to a science. A lot of time and effort goes into the planning of this event.

Halloweeeen! #scottpilgrim #starwarstheforceawakens

A photo posted by Jas Sams (@jas_sams) on


As he showed us through the different areas of the house, the attention to detail inspired the same welling up of emotions that I usually experience when I watch a film about a scrappy animal that overcomes adversity to save its human. You know, that part of the movie where you think that the dog died, only to see him crest the hilltop as a symphony of positive, powerful music erupts from nowhere? Perhaps I’m overreacting, but if I had a glued 80 glow in the dark hockey masks to the walls to create a Room of Heads for my guests, then I would love to know if someone experienced an emotional reaction to my efforts.

What surprises me was that I was never really that drunk, yet there are giant chunks of time that I cannot account for. At one point there were supposedly over 350 people on the premises, yet I don’t ever remember seeing those crowds. Supposedly several people that I knew were in attendance, yet somehow I completely missed them. There were a few times where Dustin and I got separated for what seemed like 20 or 30 minutes, but apparently it was more like an hour or two. One of the hosts just published over 500 photographs from the night and, aside from some amazing photo booth shots, I am nowhere to be found.

But let’s pause for a second to appreciate this sweet photo booth:

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It’s not that I need to be in the party pictures; it just strikes me as extremely odd because we were there from 8:30pm to 4am. So… where was I? What was I even doing? Did I just slip into an alternate universe for a few hours? 

 
After establishing that I had not blacked out or taken in a nap somewhere, Dustin said, “Honestly? I think you just experienced extreme sensory overload from being around so many people. I don’t know if you know this or not, but you are easily excited by crowds and … well. You don’t really focus that well.”

Dammit. I had been hoping that he somehow failed to notice the fact that it takes work for me to focus on the level of the most average of 6th graders.

However, he is right. Sensory overload makes sense – but it’s alright by me in this case. I like to imagine that I was running around at the speed of light being the social butterfly of my dreams after all.

My brain just couldn’t process how stoked I was.

 More Halloweeeeen! #scottpilgrim #thedriver   A photo posted by Jas Sams (@jas_sams) on

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It’s quite possible that the girl beside me just ordered Tito’s and cranberry juice and was not charged for it. Unless she whipped out a credit card and the flight attendant swiped it faster than the speed of light, I do believe she simply asked and they just gave it to her. Dear God; is this what it’s like to fly on Virgin America?

plane1All air travel as envisioned by me, Jas Sams. 

People seem shocked when I tell them that I found my side job on Craigslist, probably because of the onslaught of posts that advertise a serving job only to reply to you and say that the position of server has been filled, but the one for prostitute was still available. Between the solicitations for amateur models, “servers,” and cam girls, however, you would be surprised at the kind of legitimate possibilities people throw out into the Craigslist universe. An acquaintance of mine found a lucrative gig making wooden lamps that light up when you touch them. He and his boss go to open markets around Hollywood and sell them to kind of people who are so hip that they equate bands like TV On the Radio or Grizzly Bear to the Olsen Twins’ stint in children’s pop music. Another acquaintance became an apprentice to a taxidermist and knows how to make shrunken heads from dead raccoons he finds on the side of the road which, apparently, there is a demand for. 

Because of a chance reply to an ambiguous job posting on Craigslist, I have fallen into a side hustle that sends me all over the country to take pictures of people in various stages of celebration. I’m a traveling makeshift photographer. Not only do I get to see San Francisco at least once every other month, but I also get to go to places I never thought I’d actually go to. I spent a few days at an international sauce convention in Kansas City. I went to Dallas, Texas and met up with one of my oldest friends to go two stepping at this shopping center dance hall called Cowboy’s Red River. Why, just last month I found myself in Alabama eating drive-through barbecue in a rental car. A rental car! The exotic buffet of cities only gets better once they add a 2007 Toyota Camry into the equation. I absolutely love driving rental cars. They’re guaranteed to smell nice, their windows roll all the way up, and their “CHECK ENGINE/OIL/COOLANT/BREAK” lights don’t immediately turn on and stay on due to “electrical issues.” 

Don’t get me wrong; I love my car. The inside reminds me of home because the multiple meals eaten, coffees spilt, and nights spent inside have all but sealed in the smell that I strongly associate with my father and his “work truck.” Driving a rental car, though, makes me feel like I can do anything. I don’t get to use rental cars on every trip, but when I do, it’s, “Watch out, world; Jas is gonna order ribs from a drive through window in Birmingham!”

For all of this traveling, all I really have to do is assemble a photo booth, run the photo booth, disassemble the photo booth, and ship it out. For my services I receive a day rate and per diem, hotel, transportation reimbursements, an occasional rental car, and sometimes – sometimes I get to fly on Virgin.

When I described my travels to an industry colleague, they downsized my experience. I don’t think they meant to; they simply couldn’t understand why I would be so pumped about flying to the Windy City to run the booth at a music festival.

“But it’s for work, right? I mean, ultimately, you are working. You won’t be seeing any bands. It’s not like you’re going on vacation.”

The truth is, for me, it actually is like a vacation. It’s my version of a vacation. It’s not like I could just take off and see these places without the added aspect of work. It’s stressful enough budgeting for gas in Los Angeles, so hopping on an airplane to go to stay in a hotel in a new city to work a music festival that I would never be able to responsibly afford tickets for brings me a sense of wonderment, newness, and honest relief that I rarely experience now that I’m an adult.

People who have money and stability don’t understand why people who do not have money are amazed by basic things like the possibility of getting a free vodka and cranberry on a Virgin flight. It’s not about the vodka cranberry. 

It’s about the fact that my basic ass is on Virgin America in the first place, staring out the window and over the shrinking rooftops of Santa Monica thinking,
“Bye, Los Angeles. I’m being fancy until Sunday afternoon.”

planeset

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YES, QUEEN. YES.

Somewhere along the line, it became normal for people to say,
“Ugh, quit posting pictures of your animals!”
“Ugh, if I see one more post about the wedding I’m going to throw up.”
Oh no, another person is having a baby. Gag!”

My dear friends, family, and Facebook acquaintances that I may have mistaken for actual friends until I showed up to whatever random event you invited me to and learned that you had pressed the “invite all” button and did not legitimately expect me to go nor did you understand why I was there but don’t worry, I’m not a crazy person so I never made a big deal out of it or anything:

I will never tire of looking at the photographs you choose to share from your wedding.

Don’t worry about posting too many pictures of you and your legally bound life partner wearing dope ass wedding outfits. I want to see you wear that enormous white or whatever color gown because, fuck it, you went all in. I want to see that sundress you wore for your nuptials because you were a punk as fuck bride who didn’t have time for Say Yes to the Dress to get all up in your business; there was whiskey to drink and cake to smear all over someone’s face. I want to see you wear a bomb ass suit because if you don’t like a good suit then what are you doing here? Get out of here! Unconventional wedding? Why, yes, I would love to see the pictures of you and your sci-fi themed event:

You will never hear me complain when you post countless photos of the origami cranes, hand strung baby mason jar candles, and all the other pictorial evidence of your bridal party’s toil and devotion to you. More, I say. I want to see professional pictures of handcrafted cake toppers where the boca is OUT OF CONTROL

If you have great aunt with curt smile that thinly veils her disapproval of a union with someone she considers beneath you, then post it! Afterward you can post the one where she has embraced her ancientness and balls out at your reception anyway because she realized she’ll be long gone if you ever decide you made a horrible mistake.

Post the video of that dance routine you and your life partner learned for the reception. I fucking LOVE The Final Countdown. Oh, wait; it’s to Take My Breath Away? I’ll take it, but there had better be a swan dive.

I will look through ALL of your smile booth photos, even the ones of people I don’t know, because smile booths are AWESOME AS FUCK. Especially when you don’t half ass it with the props!

Friends, are you with child? Are you and your partner expecting a baby?

Amazing! My staunch belief that the world is overpopulated and that everyone should be forced to pass a difficult, lengthy exam before becoming a parent will NOT deter me from LOVING THE SHIT out of your creative “We’re having a baby!” announcements, especially if they involve your dog or cat and their impending resentment.

Despite the fact that I cannot remember a time when pregnancy ever appealed to me personally, I think your monthly belly pictures are DOPE AS FUCK.

I will never say, “Oh my god, will you stop?” when you post pictures of your babies, especially if you dress them up as Hillary Clinton or a piece of sushi.

Shit, lady, you dealt with being pregnant for 9 months and your partner or the village in your life supported the crap out of you (at least I hope they did), so you can go as crazy as you want with the pictures. BABY FACES, BABY TOES, BABY ZOOLANDER FACES. I’ll like them all. I’ll probably “LIKE” them all, too!

I love watching videos of babies playing peek-a-boo. Did you know they they think you magically disappeared? They LEGITIMATELY believe that you blipped out of existence and re-materialized. When will they ever be that gullible again? Never! Tape that shit!

This girl that I knew in high school now has a family of her own and she posts random videos of her kids saying the weirdest stuff. I am almost 100% certain her daughter is Andy Kaufman incarnate and I think her family is just the coolest. Sometimes she will post videos of her kids dancing to random kid music. Kids dance by JUMPING ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE WITH NO DISCERNIBLE PATTERN WHATSOEVER. Adults hear music and do the Carlton or the Nae-Nae, but you put on something with a strong downbeat and a catchy hook for some kids and it’s ANARCHY.


UNLESS YOU’RE THIS KID:

My friends, in conclusion:

I ask that you pay no mind to the haters trying to bring you down with their public bemoaning of your triumphs and your successes. Don’t worry about the people who, when faced with a picture of your child, say, “National Geographic quality or GTFO.”

I do draw the line at people turning their families into weird, non-union YouTube reality shows.

But the pictures of your kid, cat, dog, or wedding party dressed as California rolls are A-OK.

Shit’s exciting. Take pictures.

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