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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Welcome to the fifth installment of Faux Word of the Day!

To recap, you’ve already learned (and memorized and utilized and enjoyed, I hope) punintentional, fauxjectivity, gendrification, and NetFlixtion.  And today, if you’ll let me, I’d like to add annexiety to your repertoire.

Yes, this will be on the exam.

annexiety (an-eks-zahy-i-tee)

a sudden overwhelming but unreasonable feeling of distress or uneasiness caused by a fear of danger or misfortune that could have, but failed to actually occur; anxiety after the fact

Basically, when anxiety unnecessarily takes over (annexes) your emotional state without an objective or tangible cause.

Annex + Anxiety = Annexity.

For example: “I couldn’t shake the feeling of annexiety this morning after I almost did a face-plant on the sidewalk while running to catch the bus.  Ugh.  That would have been terrible.”

Even though I have a vested interest in brute forcing my FWOD into your vocabulary, I wouldn’t be completely surprised if the Germans already have a word for this emotional state.

We know that schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others, but perhaps they also have a word that perfectly addresses unreasonable internal suffering derived from that same individual’s barely-missed-misfortune?

Some real-life examples of annexiety include:

  1. The bus example (see above)
  2. Almost spilling red wine on white carpet
  3. Almost falling down the escalator at the Virginia Square metro
  4. Almost dropping your new smartphone outside of Penn Station
  5. Almost choking on a carrot while being supervised by your initially-dismissive brother
  6. Almost calling someone the wrong name (especially in a crucial moment)
  7. Almost addressing/sending a chat message or email to the incorrect person
  8. Almost causing an enormous car accident
  9. Almost getting a fishing hook in the eye

I’m a little concerned that my last two FWOTD’s are both anxiety-related (see: NetFlixtion), but I’m going to assume this is nothing to get anxious about.


Or is it?

It is, isn’t it?


[clinking glass with fork]


[clinking glass with fork]

Everyone, please.

[clinking glass with fork]

Please quiet down.  Thank you, yes, yes, thank you.

Thank you.


I have an announcement to make.

Fair warning: What I am about to say will almost certainly upset some people.


I feel it is my duty to declare once and for all that we are done with hand-written boilerplate “Thank You” notes.

Dear X,

Thank you so much for the wonderful Y.  It’s just what I needed.  It was so great seeing you at [time/location/event]…I just wish we could have spent more time together.  Hope to see you soon!  Thanks again.

Warm regards,

Let’s stop this, okay?

It’s over.

It’s not over because thanking people is no longer en vogue, so before I’m accused of suggesting that putting effort into thanking someone for a generous gift (or anything, really) is a bridge too far, allow me to offer this preemptive strike: Thanking people should be about thanking people.  That’s it.  Pomp and/or circumstance completely unnecessary.


Exclamation point!


There was a time when we physically wrote thank you notes because it was the most cost-effective and most reasonable way to send a message of thanks.  It used to make sense.  How do you get in touch with your Aunt Rita in Oregon and Uncle Clay in Arizona?  Why you send them a letter, of course!

In those days (“Ye Olden Days”), phone conversations were magnitudes more expensive than a postage stamp, and other communication technologies (e.g., email, texting, sexting*) had not yet been invented.  We were beholden to the interests of the Big Ink and Big Paper and Big Stamp lobbies.  What other choice did we have?

Then suddenly, technology.




Slightly less hope.

Today, we are able to freely communicate with excruciating speed.  I say “excruciating” because our ability to connect with loved ones (and just plain regular ones) puts us in the permanent awkward position of never really having a legitimate excuse for watching a relationship disappear into the ether.  In the time it used to take to find a booklet of stamps in your junk drawer, you can now send an emoticon-infested email to your best friend from grade school, high school and college.

The times they did a’change.

And yet even today, we continue to hand-write our thank yous.

Why is that?

It seems to me that we continue to do this precisely because it is the least cost-effective and most unreasonable method of communication.  The value of a hand-written note is now almost entirely tied up in the amount of time and energy expended by note-writer.  The mere fact that we are certain the message could have been communicated cheaply and more efficiently somehow makes the painstaking hand-written message more heartfelt, more meaningful.

Like a hand-made rug or non-IVF pregnancy, we are socially required to be more impressed by an activity done slowly but effectively versus that same action completed quickly and accurately using available technology.

Hand-written thank you notes had a good run — they really did!  A supurb, Jackie Joyner Kersee-style good run.  But like Ms. J-K, they have completely and heroically fulfilled their obligations to society and it is probably time to move on.   Recall fondly those times you spent sitting ass-glued to a chair fountain-penning cliche after cliche as you tuck those tiny fancy envelopes and your “special occasions” pen away in your memory bank alongside the Discman, Trapper Keeper, and those always-expensive-but-never-quite-operational Hypercolor t-shirts.

If nothing else — since I don’t see my anti-note movement getting AquaTred-style traction — please interpret this blog post as an invitation put down the pen and paper if you’re ever considering writing me a thank you note.

If you ever slip up and send one to me, I will be upset.  As I read your chickenscratch, I will obsess over the pain you are almost certainly feeling in your hand as you wrote it.  My hand, in solidarity, will begin to ache.  I will imagine you struggling to remain calm, teeth grinding, as your words begin to fall off the x-axis.  I will imagine you sitting at your kitchen table completely frustrated that you’re missing The Daily Show for this.

I will imagine you did not read my blog!

Call me.

Email me.

Skype me.

Text me.

Let’s talk.

Just do not send me a thank you note.

Thank you.

* I do not condone Brett Favreing your thank yous.

Today is my mom’s birthday.  This is my present to her.  The fact that she is going to cry when she reads this no matter I write kind of takes the pressure off, which is nice.

Mom tears status: None.

scales of justiceThe first thing that you should know about my mom is that she is completely obsessed with fairness.

Growing up, the Sparer Household was entirely dominated by males:  three (“us”) versus one (“her”) at all times. Discussions at the dinner table were exponentially more likely to revolve around computers and bicycles than Les Misérables or the big shoe sale at Altier. 

Of course, this was totally unfair.

Eventually, in order to reconfigure the gender balance, we offered mom a lovable lab-schnauzer-poodle (L’Schnoodle?) puppy consolation prize named Shadow.  Shadow turned out to be one of the greatest Sparers of all time, but while she had no problem balancing a Milk-Bone on her nose, she was comically unsuccessful in her quest to completely bridge the Southwood Lane gender gap.

And so, just as Charles Darwin would have predicted, my mom evolved an uncanny ability to obtain (and maintain) attention.

For example, one of her great many talents is the ability to calculate in her head — to the hundredths place — the exact amount of time that I am on the phone with my dad.  When it is her “turn,” she makes absolutely sure that she “gets to” talk to me for no less than that amount of time.  In the event that she is not home when I talk to him, I will get a call later in the day to even the score (provided my dad remembers to tell her that I called).

That is why it should surprise absolutely no one that I am writing this mom homage (momage?) a few short months after a similar ode to my dad on his birthday.

Fair is fair.

Mom tears status: Expecting.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it occurred to me recently that people have no way of reading my thoughts.

Most of the time, this is a happy reality (especially if you’re ordering a meatball, mustard, and pineapple sandwich in front of me at Subway).  But other times, the fact that my internalized and heartfelt beliefs are not conveyed to the people I care about creates an unnecessarily confused reality where my actual thoughts do not match the perception of my actual thoughts.

Mom tears status: Confused but prepared.

In fact, I’d venture to guess that most of us are living in a world where our internal monologue only vaguely resembles a third party view of our behaviors and verbal communication.  We have opinions about ourselves and about the world around us that are interesting but only exist b’twixt our ears because silent interesting thoughts are objectively unknowable.

In other words, merely having thoughts of love and appreciation is not enough if those thoughts are not appropriately conveyed.

Mom tears status: Welling.

Every day, I think about how much I love and appreciate my mom.

But I also don’t tell her how I feel nearly enough (although it should be noted that she believes that I don’t tell her nearly enough about anything).  And maybe it’s strange to do in a blog post what I claim to need to do more in person, but I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly declare that I do, in fact, love my mom very much.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom tears status: Flowing!


FAUX OUTRAGE BONUS: Hilarious Family Photo (Plus ALF!)

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