We at Vomitola attended various parties this weekend, and one included a “yankee swap.” I had never heard of such a thing, but it turns out this is an exercise wherein everyone gives each other $20, like in Caddyshack. Sometimes this $20 is first transmuted into ugly crap you don’t want in your house. My heart just sank when I saw things like “Mexican tortilla grills” come out. Mr. H and I actually got $20 in cash in an envelope, making a cool $2 over our contribution, a bottle of merlot I grabbed out of the wine rack as we raced out the door. I didn’t even wrap it; I tied a damn bow on it and scraped off the price sticker. Still, it proved popular, maybe because it was not Trivial Pursuit or some kind of oil dipping set. I instinctively prodded Mr. H to grab the lone envelope, thinking that, at worst, it would be movie passes. Everyone was too polite to swap for the cash, but I will re-gift that $20 like damn.

I read a sign outside a little olde-tyme convenience store, called a superette or a spa or something, and it said “LEAN HAM.” Now I take things very literally, and I am compliant by nature. EAT. DRINK. LOUNGE. RESERVE PIE NOW. These are urgent calls to action. If I had any ham, I would have leapt out of the car and tilted it just so. Instead I just spent the weekend saying “LEAN HAM” and laughing.

What else. I switched dry cleaners because the employees of the more conveniently located one are just too unattractive. My fear of ugliness is at a new high, and I recently learned there is an actual term for it: cacophobia. Holy damn. When I was a kid, I was afraid of amputees (strangely, there were a lot of them in the backwoods) and this one tree that had been hit by lightning. Over the years, this has turned into a fascination with obesity (I am now only 362,250 extra calories from morbid obesity!), and a tendancy to see people I don’t know as misshapen trolls. Like David Sedaris said, “Everyone looks retarded if you put your mind to it.” I would bring this up to my therapist, but he is not attractive! Ethicist, what should I do?

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