Another World’s End False Alarm

If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end yesterday. Or maybe it did end and your hell is being forced to read my blog for eternity.

Anyway. Once again, we’ve survived a predicted apocalypse and I’m getting pretty tired of preparing for the end of the world only to wake up and find that I have to go to work. I thought world-ending collapse would at least get me a couple days off.

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During the few years that I’ve written this blog, we (as humanity) have survived several earth-ending scenarios. I already wrote about a couple of those events in Top 5 Reasons the World Didn’t End and Why the World Won’t End This Year, so I’ve had to stretch my mind to find another disaster-specific blog topic about the End of Times. I discovered Preppers.

Preppers are not (as I mistakenly assumed) upscale students, prone to wearing branded clothing to impress their underlings. Preppers are dedicated to surviving disasters through vast and over-the-top preparations for every possible apocalyptic scenario.

Their website boasts topics like (and I’m not making this up):

  • Misconceptions About Prepping for a Nuclear Attack (Misconception #1: You can survive a nuclear attack.)
  • Preparing for the Coming Clash of Civilizations (I’m not sure which civilization we’ll be clashing with. Aliens? Dinosaurs?)
  • Here’s How You’ll Die When the Shit Hits the Fan (Great title for a kids book, just in time for Christmas.)
  • Ten Ways to Fool the Authorities (That sounds like a great idea.)
  • Nine Tips for Preppers With Non-Prepper Spouses (That’s a sure-fire way to spend the apocalypse sleeping on the couch.)
  • Survival Bread recipe (It doubles as a truncheon.)
  • Cooking Without Electricity (I do that all the time. I call it ordering pizza.)

cooking

  • 18 Off-grid Uses for Tin Cans (One of these ideas is a Hobo Alarm. Still not joking.)
  • 10 Awesome Rubber Band Tricks (This only works if we’re invaded by pretend cowboys with wooden guns.)
  • How to Train Your Chickens (Because dancing chickens will come in handy after the end of the world.)
  • Are you Fit Enough to Escape? (Have they seen Americans lately? We’re too lazy to escape an open elevator.)
  • North American Spider Identification.

spiders

For more fun and laughs, wait for the next predicted catastrophic, calamitous, devastating event that will probably involve a virus attack from Neptune and the unveiling of Taylor Swift as the leader of the Neptunians. If you’re interested in learning how to make acorn coffee or turn a coffee can into a machete, check out http://www.prepperwebsite.com.

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Business Conferences: A Survival Guide for the Socially Stunted

Being alone at a business conference is the worst. Actually, just being at a business conference is the worst. There are strangers everywhere–and they’re trying to communicate with me!! (Activate invisibility cloak.)

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(Please, don’t make me socialize.)

I’ve devised some strategies to survive these business/bonding fests where everyone wants to “get to know you,” and “can’t wait to hear about your experiences.” I’d rather be boiled in mayonnaise. Anyway, if you’re socially stunted, as I am, you might appreciate these business conference survival tips.

No eye contact: There are no other words that strike fear into the heart of an introvert than the phrase, “Team Building Exercise.” I’d rather hear, “Mandatory rabies vaccinations,” or “Now let’s go around the room and read the zoning ordinances!” Team building should be banned, and as long as you pretend you can’t see what’s going on, no one will pick you for their team. Just like dodgeball at elementary school. Thanks for that bad memory, business conference.

Act busy: During the meetings, friends and coworkers sit together, leaving the lonely losers (like myself) sitting at the end of a table, trying to not look stupid. That’s when I open my laptop and look extremely focused. But instead of actually doing anything important, I’ll be writing a blog, a humor column, or write down funny observations about the people around me. For instance, did you know mullet/poodle hair is a thing again? I did not know that.

Forget your toothbrush: This was unintentional, but I was in a place where the general store closed at 8 p.m., and didn’t open until after my morning meetings started, so I made a really rank first impression on several unsuspecting people. By the end of the first day, no one wanted to talk to me. Mission accomplished.

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(Someone even offered me a tooth-cleaning dog biscuit.)

Wear headphones: Especially if you’re attending a meeting by yourself, finding a group of people to sit with is a daunting task. Yeah, breakfast is free, but you have to sit with a bunch of strangers getting all up in your business. By wearing headphones attached to your iPhone, you can gesture that you’re on an important conference call, and there’s really nothing you can do. Sorry.

Practice conversation starters: If the conference organizer confiscates your headphones, you’ll have to talk to the people around you. I’ve learned the art of conversation is dead. Mumbling through small talk is excruciating. I asked a fellow attendee, “What’s the biggest issue facing your city?” and it must have translated to “Have you kicked any kittens lately?” Because she grabbed her plate of lukewarm pancakes and sausage–and moved to another table.

Go With Confidence: No one knows you’re a bubbling hive of insecurity. Maybe make an effort to act like a social being. Pretend you’re trying out for the role of the confident business woman. Try not to laugh when people believe you.

Print this up, place it in your daily planner, and when you’re at your next week-long conference, you’ll have a few suggestions to help you survive.

 

Holiday Party Survival Guide

Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m socially inept. Parties, get-togethers, mingles–whatever you want to call it, social interaction gives me hives. I could kick myself for not taking that “How to Make Small Talk” class at the local community college.small talk

(That awkward moment when everybody has said they are “fine”, and there’s nothing else to say.)

And because the holidays are the source of all stress and anger, holiday parties are the worst. Here are some tricks I’ve developed to survive any holiday party situation:

  • Ask the hostess if you can help. While setting out napkins and toothpicks, you can locate all the exits.
  • Show up early to greet guests. After you meet each guest, you can know which ones you’ll want to avoid. (For me, this is usually everyone.)
  • Research a topic and speak about it at length.The longer you speak on a subject, the fewer people will stay around you. By speaking, in-depth, about the discovery of penicillin, you should be all alone within minutes. Mission accomplished.
  • Don’t dance on the table in your cocktail dress. Unless it’s that kind of party. Then, definitely dance on the table. (Note to self: Make sure to wear underwear.)table dancing

(I’m not the one dancing on the table. I’m sitting on the stairs, wishing I was dead.)

  • Introduce yourself to a stranger. I don’t mean the weird guy sitting in the gutter next to your car, I mean someone at the party who doesn’t know you’re a complete social disaster. He’ll figure it out.
  • Don’t sing Christmas carols. Self-explanatory and important.
  • Keep food in your mouth  This helps you not make any stupid remarks. Or if you say something stupid, it’s usually unintelligible due to the large amount of crab dip shoved in your face.
  • Have a signal when you’re ready to leave. If you’re like me and married to a socially responsible person, they’ll probably want to stay and enjoy themselves. My husband and I have worked out a signal so he knows when I’ve had enough. This signal  involves me grabbing him by the arm and dragging him out of the room. We have a deal that I can’t give him the signal until we’ve been at the party for at least 5 minutes.

Follow these handy tips and you’ll survive the holidays with your sanity, dignity and respect all in place.