What are Arguably the Worst Parents in the World

Sooooo, you might be thinking, “WHERE IN THE SEVEN KINGDOMS HAVE YOU BEEN, VALERIE?!?!”

To which I can only respond:

But seriously, I’ve been doing some more top secret writing for a bigger project. More on that in the future. For now, enjoy one of my favorite stories.

Only, this isn’t one of my stories.

My good friend Ashley once told me the following story about life as a high school teacher in Los Angeles. I’ll try to do it justice below.


As a fresh-faced college graduate starting her new teaching position for a high school government class, Ashley began class as all teachers do: the dreaded roll call. Before this story, I had always assumed it was worse being on the receiving end as a student whose name was butchered in front of the class. Now I’m not so sure.

The first names thankfully weren’t difficult to pronounce. Nothing like a curveball to make you choke through the rest of the session (I’m looking at you, Brazil. Ayooooooo!)

Then Brain appeared.

“But Valerie, you mean Brian. Quit being so bad at spelling!!!” you’re wondering.

No no, I meant what I said. Hey Brain, lookin’ good.

Ashley stared at the attendance sheet and saw what clearly said Brain, but gave it her best guess anyways. “Brai-ayne? …Bray-en?” she called out to her brand new batch of 35 students.

35 students exploded with laughter.

A boy toward the back sighed, raised his hand and said quickly, “It’s Brian. I know. But it’s Brian.”

Ashley nodded and called him Brian from then on, feeling like she was missing the joke as the students began settling down from the instant uproar.

It wasn’t until later in the week while in the teachers’ lounge that Ashley got some answers. (Side note: Ash, is the teachers’ lounge as cool as I always thought it was? If not, pretend it is so I’m not crushed.)

Ashley introduced herself to her fellow teachers. When they asked how it was going so far, she said, “Pretty good, there was this one kinda weird thing, though…” as she explained the Brain/Brian situation.

“Oh….well, here’s the thing…” a colleague sympathetically began. Turns out, poor Brain’s parents misspelled ‘Brian’ on his official, one-and-only birth certificate. So every new year and for every new teacher Brain’s had for the past 12 years, he’s had to correct each and every one.

But on standardized test forms and official documents, he still must write Brain. Because Brain is his name.




I take back what I said about not being sure who roll call is worse for. Definitely students.

That’s right, kids. Go hug your parents and say thank you for getting your name right.

Before you feel like a horrible person for laughing at poor Brain like I did, Ashley assured me that Brain/Brian is a happy kid. And he has comedic gold for life, unless he decides to eventually fix that little snafoo.

You go, Brain. You can be whatever you want to be.

Except Brian.

And that’s why What are Arguably the Worst Parents in the World were my least favorite people of the day.


Sources from herehere and here

Posted in Miscellaneous Blunders, Misspelled Names, A Compilation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Whoever Designed my Terrifying Building Elevator

Considering my building is about 100 years old, I’m mad at a dead person. And I stand by it.

But seriously, this elevator is terrifying. Paint peeling, rickety movements, eerily slamming doors, uncomfortably small; I’d say there’s a good chance a ghost haunts it, too.

Worst of all, it’s the only way to reach the basement level, which houses the laundry machines.

The basement…how do I put this… I’m pretty sure Hollywood has used or replicated this basement for the part in horror films where the murderer stabs you with a low-bearing pipe.

That’s this basement. And its entryway, the elevator, is the box you step in moments before realizing you’ve made a huge mistake by going to the basement floor. Might as well be Outlast, you guys.

I’m sorry I came to the basement. So, so sorry. (From Outlast, but this is basically my basement)

Of course, I can’t not do laundry, so I suck it up every so often and do the worst household chore. Yep, I’m calling it. Laundry is the worst.

Around 10:30pm the last time I did laundry, one of my greatest fears happened.

There are two individual doors to this elevator: one outer and one inner. The outer door must be completely shut for the inner door to also close. The basement outer door occasionally sticks before closing, but it’s never been an issue.

Except now. The doors shut. The elevator didn’t move.

I was stuck on the basement floor. In the elevator. Alone. At night. Without my phone.

There’s something you should know about me: I’m a little claustrophobic. It doesn’t come up often and I’m normally fine, but this was like unraveling the end of  a spool of yarn and letting it fly down a flight of stairs.

So it took everything in my power to suppress this reaction:

“Calm down, I told myself out loud as my breathing started quickening. You know the unraveling has begun when you’re talking to yourself, and this started up about five seconds of being shut in.

I tried pressing my floor button several times, then any button. Nothing moved. I saw the one marked ALARM and wanted to do everything possible before hitting it. I did, however, use its existence to calm myself down. “See, you can hit the alarm,” I said, this time in my head.

But once I realized it could be a long time before anyone gets me even if I hit the alarm, I started to panic again. I was suddenly hyperaware of my body. “Was I this hot before? Why am I so thirsty? If I don’t drink something now, I might faint of dehydration,” the thoughts tumbled through my head.

Without thinking, I slammed my hand against the elevator door in the hopes that someone, anyone, might hear the sound. I hoped to bypass screaming, but wasn’t sure how much longer I could rein in the claustrophobia. I hit it harder than I intended, and my hand instantly smarted in pain.

But, to my utter disbelief, the elevator began creaking upward. My smack had somehow dislodged whatever slight incongruity there had been to the outer door.

The doors croaked open to the first floor. I remembered dizzily that I had hit every button on the elevator, so naturally, it would stop here first. Not caring about getting back to my own floor, the sixth, I tumbled unceremoniously out the doors and onto the lobby floor, dragging my laundry bag behind me.

I was so relieved and equally mortified that my initial reaction upon hitting the ground was something like this:

I swear, I almost fainted. The lobby was empty, and I let myself stay until I had my breathing under control. I climbed the six flights to my apartment rather than be in the terrifying elevator again.

So yeah, you could make the argument I lived through my very own horror story. Dibs on screenplay rights!

BRB, crying. (Not really.)

… A little.

And that’s why Whoever Designed my Terrifying Building Elevator was my least favorite person of the day.

Sources from herehere and here

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That Girl Who Hated The Most Adorable Puppy

You guys. I can’t.

The subject in question.

Look at it. Look at it and tell me it isn’t adorable.

I’d circled this gif around the office as a pick-me-up, and everyone loved it. Obviously. I call him Polar Puppy because he looks like a cross between a polar bear and a puppy, which makes him even more special.

Feeling good about boosting the office morale, I decided to spread it even further to another friend.

She hated it.

Exact reaction

I believe she called it a monster and was particularly creeped out by its legs. I don’t remember her exact words — I was too busy blacking out in utter shock.

“Don’t focus on the legs, then!!” I pleaded.

“I guess…” she said, clearly not swayed.

So tell me, people. Is this puppy cute or not? I’m serious. Write in the comments if you please, because I sincerely didn’t think people could hate this puppy.

P.S. There’s a right answer.

And that’s why That Girl Who Hated The Most Adorable Puppy was my least favorite person of the day.


Sources from here and here

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The UPS Guy from the Bizarro World

Seinfeld made occasional reference to the Bizarro World, a DC comic creation  in which Superman meets his equal but opposite self in an opposite world. A hilarious refresher below:

Jerry, I get you. I get you so much.

About 100 feet to the left of my building is my very own Bizarro Building.

The facade looks identical to my building, so much in fact that, on my first week in my new apartment, Roommate Rachelle, her fabulous sister Mia and I actually entered the Bizarro Building by mistake.

My key to the building didn’t work. Thinking I was just bad at opening doors (those dang East Coast buildings, am I right? …no, I’m not), we simply waited for someone to let us in. It took us a moment to realize something was… off about the place.

For one, I could have SWORN our mailboxes were to the left, and the painting of the rainforest was to the right. I also didn’t remember the elevator being that far over.

Finally, one of us put it together. I like to think it was me, but I get lost in far less ridiculous situations than this one, so probably not.

That was the last time we entered, or even passed, the Bizarro Building.

Until a few days ago on the day before Thanksgiving, that is, when I found a large box sitting outside of our door.

Surprised, I figured it must be Rachelle’s as I wasn’t expecting anything. It said Apt. 63, after all.

Except neither of our names were on the package. I read it over and over, first thinking it was someone’s down the hall, then assuming it was a previous resident of our apartment. After some inspection, I realized there was a single number off; then it dawned on me.

This must belong to my Bizarro self in the Bizarro Building.

I should explain something. Manhattan is cold right now for the very California girl. I’d also been working from home and was under no circumstances going to change out of pajamas now. Going outside when it was raining to deliver a heavy package to someone that wasn’t me was not exactly what I felt like doing.

But I liked to think Bizarro Valerie would have done the same for me. This package was also marked “ALCOHOL, MUST HAVE SIGNATURE FOR DROP OFF.”

A) Clearly that didn’t happen, and B) I figured Bizarro Valerie was probably purchasing this for a Thanksgiving party, so I should be nice and give it to her.

So I lugged the heavy box out the door while in my pajamas, walked down the street, and was lucky a Bizarro resident was leaving as I was attempting to enter.

After several months of not being here, I was once again stunned out how backward yet otherwise identical everything was. As I reached to the left to hit the elevator buttons, I saw nothing. The buttons were on the right. I turned to my elevator neighbor and said, “This came to me down the street. The buildings look so similar!”

She answered, “I’ve seen that, I’ve even heard there’s another one like this one street down.”

Another Bizarro Building?! I still can’t believe it.

Getting to the sixth floor, I instinctively wanted to turn right, where my own door would have been, but I’d been fooled enough and turned left. Finally, I got something correct.

Knocking and suddenly wishing I didn’t look like a crazy person with a giant box labeled ALCOHOL, Bizarro Valerie emerged.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but she didn’t look anything like me. I found this slightly disappointing.

I explained the situation and Bizarro Valerie thanked me for coming over with it. No thanks to Bizarro UPS guy, I thought.

If a couch ends up outside my door meant for Bizarro Valerie, I swear I’m not moving it.

Bizarro Valerie had a dog, by the way. I think that means she’s better than I am.

And that’s why The UPS Guy from the Bizarro World was my least favorite person of the day.

Source from here

Posted in NYC Catastrophes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Fallen of Sinkpocalypse

Not to seem dramatic, but cleaning out the drain was an absolutely horrifying experience that I may never bounce back from.

For the last month or so, Roommate Rachelle and I have noticed our bathroom sink taking more and more time to fully drain.

The first line of defense was the obvious: some knock-off Drano (we’re recent college grads, save the real Drano for all the richies). It predictably failed, so we even more predictably decided to pretend like it was fine and leave it alone to somehow take care of itself.

We pretended for a couple weeks, saying things like, “It’ll go down eventually” or “Don’t worry, it can’t be like that forever. I mean, we used fake Drano, after all.”

But today, the drain gave us the middle finger and decided it wasn’t going to drain until we did something drastic.

We had no idea what we were going up against.

Arming ourselves with a brand new plunger, we quickly/pathetically realized we didn’t know how to properly use said plunger.

Enter YouTube.

After a few pandering videos (actually, maybe the pandering was deserved if we really needed a video to do this), we decided we now had the intelligence necessary to effectively bob a plunger up and down over and over. One video suggested we fashion a clothes hanger into a hair-catching wire, so this seemed like a good place to start.

Uh… IT WAS MORTIFYING. Hence Sinkpocalypse. This was years and years of buildup by tenants long before us, whom I’ve nicknamed The Fallen.

And we had to clean up after their freaking mess.

I think I’ll save everyone the gory details by only giving a play-by-play of our conversation and nothing descriptive:

“Oh… what… why??” I say in disgust as she first yanks the wire up the drain.

(I really, really wanted to leave and let Rachelle handle it, but I stayed and helped. Promise.)

“….this is the grossest thing I’ve ever seen,” Roommate Rachelle said.

After a few minutes: “…Yeah we don’t have hair that color,” I grimly observe.

*Rachelle gags*

A few more minutes, and something horrible emerges:

“…What…. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! WHAT IS THAT. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE,” I say in complete disbelief.

“WHY IS THIS HAPPENING. I’m pretty sure it has eyes,” Roommate Rachelle answers as she lifts the thing to the trash can.

It was not. pretty. at. all. Cannot unsee.

But it had to be done, and it had to be done right.

Following the ordeal, we plunged and plunged till we could plunge no more, just to be sure we would never have to deal with this again.

…Hopefully. That’s how sinks work, right?

But The Fallen of Sinkpocalypse will never be forgotten. Or forgiven, for that matter.

And that’s why The Fallen of Sinkpocalypse were my least favorite people of the day.

Sources from herehere and here

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Very Tired Valerie

I think it’s safe to say most people become a little clumsy or make silly mistakes when they’re tired.

Most people, however, don’t get on the wrong train and consequently end up in the Bronx.

Very Tired Valerie was very tired.

While heading home from work, I figured it would be a great idea to transfer to the express train  as opposed to staying on my single, long subway home. Not a bad plan! I’d get home earlier and be able to relax sooner. Win win!

For normal people who get on the right train, that is.

Because, in an all-encompassing desire to get on the A Express train, I willed myself to believe the D train was the A. Didn’t even question it.

I didn’t question it for a long time, actually, because the first few stops were identical to the A train.

Then things got weird.

“155rd? Hm, that’s odd… maybe it’s making local stops for some reason? NYC, you cray,” I thought to myself.

Then, “Yankee Stadium? ….Wait, I didn’t realized I lived that close to Yankee Stadium?”

I don’t live that close to Yankee Stadium.

Then it hit me.

By 167th street, I decided it was high time to get off the rogue train.

Not rogue, just being the usual D train.

Of course, I immediately panicked. Getting lost, no matter how easy it might be to get back on course, always makes me feel like a little girl who’s never getting home ever again and everything’s probably terrible.

I asked an attendant how to be, you know, not in the Bronx anymore, who gave me an answer I barely followed. But Very Tired Valerie trudged forward (technically backward) to get back on course.

Then tripped up the stairs.

I got home pretty late that night.

Very Tired Valerie, please stop thinking you can function proficiently. You just can’t.

And that’s why Very Tired Valerie was my least favorite person of the day.


Sources from herehere and here

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Unprepared Valerie: Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween, everyone! Time to share one of my scariest (ie, embarrassing) Halloween stories.

You guessed it – High School Valerie returns, because this could only happen to High School Valerie.

I was never much for dressing up for school spirit days. If anything, it was something like this:

In my senior year, however, I decided to go big and dress up as Zelda from The Legend of Zelda (as if there’s any other Zelda in my book), which meant I had a blonde wig, a cape, a regal dress and a Triforce on my hand.

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 10.46.40 PM

Oh, High School Valerie. I clearly couldn’t be bothered with doing something about making my eyebrows lighter, but it was pretty awesome. Being part of the festivities with my friends, eating way too much candy (as usual)  and being a silly seventeen-year-old made for a great day.

Enter the not-awesome part.

Around 4th period, a classmate mentioned, “Man, I was too tired to dress up after turning in  that application last night.”

I had done the same extremely important, potentially life-altering college application, but I’d completed it the month before. Confused, I asked, “Wasn’t that due a month ago?”

She answered, “That was just the scholarship application. This is the actual application.”

Reality slowly dawned on me.

My throat went completely tight and I suddenly wished I hadn’t eaten all that candy.

Through a haze of disbelief, shock and eventual acceptance, I slowly asked when it was due.

Monday, she said.

It was Friday.

Which made me look kinda like this:

I could do the application on the weekend, I told myself so I’d stop hyperventilating.

What I couldn’t do on the weekend, though, was ask for THREE recommendations.

So I did the only thing I could do: I ran around the school during my lunch break, chasing down two teachers who had helped me with previous letters of recommendation, and running feverishly through the main office administration building to request a mandatory letter from my guidance counselor.

Remember that thing I said about being in full Halloween attire? Yeah, I didn’t have a change of clothes.

That’s right, I had to convince these three people of what a trustworthy, diligent, hardworking student I was and how sorry I was for the oversight.

As Zelda.

I could barely summon the courage to ask for their help in such a getup, but it had to be done. They must have all pitied me, because they each agreed to write a letter for me over the weekend. I sometimes wonder what they wrote.

You had ONE JOB, High School Valerie. Just one.

At least your hair looked smashing.

And that’s why Unprepared Valerie was my least favorite person of the day.

Sources from here, here and here

Posted in High School Hilarity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments