Coffee Mug Lies

It’s official — I’m a tree killer. I’ve bought enough reams of paper at my local Staples to call attention to myself. Here’s a picture of the recently deceased, right next to my THE BOSS mug, given to me to claim my matriarchal post.

This mug has gotten me nowhere. I thought it would change my life. It hasn’t. Now I demand one that reads — STOP ASKING ME WHAT’S FOR DINNER.


So at Staples the other day the salesclerk asks me, “Back for another ream of paper?”

Why he recognizes me, I don’t know. It’s not like I’m walking into Staples with my BOSS mug. But he does and he calls me out on my tree killing and my need to edit on paper or I’ll miss everything. I don’t tell him my toner was low and I just printed out 237 worthless pages of my manuscript before noticing I couldn’t read the middle section of each page, turning my novel into a Mad Lib; and that my 7-year-old painted suns and rainbows on the rest of the sheets.

“What are you? Writing a novel?” he asks.

Ugh, anything but that. I’ve written whole posts on how I prefer outlandish lies over admitting writerly pursuits. (Even Grammarly is not accepting my word “writerly”. It’s giving it the red, middle finger.) Just a month ago I told someone I was a pole dancer in my spare time. It didn’t go well. Apparently it wasn’t a suitable, made up profession for a wedding conversation. My husband dove in before I could elaborate, “She won’t admit it, but she’s a writer,” he said, slipping it in while maintaining his own appropriate “nice weather” conversation. Then he set me up for a whole bunch of crappy questions he knows I hate answering.

“No,” I lied still.”I just have a lot of crap to print out.”

“Wow. But I just sold you a ream yesterday.”

I really wanted to ask him where the duct tape was, or if they have a mug making station so I could update my philosophy to DON’T QUESTION THE QUEEN. But he starts telling me to buy a case of paper and then use the mail-in rebate to save $20. He’s about to send me off on a rant about how I hate mail-in rebates, surveys and loyalty cards – i.e. busywork, which is my true profession. So I drop the brick of paper at his cashier station.

“Your loyalty card?”

“I don’t have one.”

“If you sign up today you can save .35 cents. . .”

“For .35 cents I’m not loyal. In fact, I’d be cheating all over town for a better deal and more convenience.”

He’s not sure if I’m messing with him. I know the look well. Smartasses receive it ten times a day. But I’m totally messing with him and he gives me a half-smile.

“You’re messing with me.”

“Indeed, I am.”

“You’re writing a book or something, aren’t you?”

“No,” I say, pretty impressed with his gumption, but I can’t be out-gumped. “I’m just a boss. And I got a mug at home to prove it. Bosses have a lot of rules to print out.”

He shakes his head and laughs. “You need any stocking stuffers? Chargers? Plug-ins?“

“Absolutely not. I plan to have a wireless Christmas. No wires. Nothing electronic. No recording my daily steps, breathing, heart rate, manuscript rejections, the miles I run, the times I complain, the number of singalongs to Santa Baby in my best floozy voice.”

This happens every holiday season. I am always one step away from prepper in a cabin. Nobody better get me Ted Koppel’s book Lights Out for Christmas or there’ll be a peanut butter shortage.

“Receipt with you, or in the bag?”

“Neither,” I say, grabbing my single ream of paper. I’m half way out the door when I realize I forgot to get a new toner cartridge, which is like $70. I should have just bought a new printer.

So then I spend the next half an hour filling out my loyalty form, selling my pride, which was around a $10 savings (not bad), when I notice my cell phone is almost dead.

“Throw in a car charger, too,” I add while Santa Baby starts playing in the background.




48 thoughts on “Coffee Mug Lies

      1. desertdweller29

        It was my pleasure, Amir. Oddly enough, I enjoy writing blurbs and pitches. Good luck with the contest you entered. My fingers are crossed for you! Your book sounds like a scary, awesome read.

  1. FictionFan

    Haha! Great post! Good try, but sometimes you just have to give up and go for the loyalty card! My supermarket loyalty card keeps sending me vouchers for cat food – it’s quite clear who is the Boss in my house! 😉

    1. desertdweller29

      Thanks! Well good to hear mine isn’t the only defective one. I thought I earned mine, but apparently they can be sold to just anyone! I know. Can you believe it? I’m having a word with that kiosk mall man. I’ve even tried using the force. Nothing seems to get through to these people.

      PS I love your hair! Einstein would be proud.

    1. desertdweller29

      Sorry ’bout that, Walt! I love BB’s, but that song was meant to only torture my children. Me? I love old school rap.

      And how do YOU find time? I love your posts… It’s only a chore selling myself to others. If you take that away, it’s a downright pleasure — especially poetry.

      1. walt walker

        Well it wouldn’t have been stuck in there if I hadn’t grown up on it. It was dormant, and you woke it. 😉

        I don’t have time, really. I just neglect more important things!

  2. Don Royster

    Listen. You need to be proud you are a WRITER. And you are a darn good one too. So they won’t ask. Get a hat that says WRITER or CAREFUL, BUDDY, OR YOU’LL END UP IN MY NOVEL. Then when they ask if you are a writer, evidently you’re not a reader. So you can just laugh and say, “What do you think?” When they say yes, then say, “If I’d wanted your opinion, I’d have asked for it.”

      1. Don Royster

        Oh, you are a WRITER. You already have gumption. 🙂 Hey, maybe we should have a National Writers March in DC to show that Writers Rule. Without Writers, where are all those newscasters, tv shows, movies, and internet sites going to get their blogs. Here is our campaign slogan: “Every word your mother or your or your husband or your wife or you child speaks was written by a Writer. Honor Writers or we will take our words away.”

  3. Debbie

    Ooh, DD, I can totally relate to this fantastic post! I confess I catch errors better on paper, too, and that’s why I finally bought an entire box of paper on sale at Staples. This way, I don’t have to face those niggling questions of what I’m doing going in there one a week for another ream!

    As for being a “closet writer,” you know I’ve heard that when you finally accept the fact — embrace it, even — it’s easier to deal with. Puts folks on notice that anything they say might be used in your next novel, or something like that! As I remind myself (regularly!), it’s NOT publication that makes a writer — it’s writing!!!

    1. desertdweller29

      Debbie you are less stubborn than I — and all the wiser for it! I’m going for the box next time. But I have to wait a few weeks so he doesn’t notice I’m back with more paper demands. He’ll think I’m writing a manifesto.

  4. JoHanna Massey

    I love trees. I love blank new clean paper. Buy it by the case. JUst used huge amounts to make snowflakes for my windows for the holidays. WOn’t even go to how much runs through my printer. My rationalization is that I have planted thousands of trees in my lifetime. But every time I am in my truck behind a log truck, which I swear I can hear the trees moaning in distress.I wonder….

    Great post.

  5. Andrew Reynolds

    Since I still have a day job, sigh, I steal reams of paper from work. No loyalty card needed. Sadly, the office doesn’t use the same toner cartridge as my home printer.

    and a few years ago my son gave me a CD with four different versions of “Santa Baby.”

    1. desertdweller29

      Four different versions of Santa Baby?! That would send me over the moon. For some reason when I sing it, I have a strong Queens, NY accent. I sound like George’s mother on Seinfeld. It’s the weirdest thing.

      I would totally steal reams of paper if I had a real job. Maybe I should get a real job just for this purpose. Then I’d have paper AND a paycheck.

  6. ramonawray

    I hope that you’re writing humorous fiction, my dear DD, because you never fail to crack me up. Your jokes are intelligent, nimble, and bursting with the right kind of energy. And if you do publish, please let me know. I’ll buy your book in a twinkle. Hugs.

  7. Professor VJ Duke

    *laughs* They really should give you more than 35 cents. That’s awful. People get nosy. That’s the thing. You must just kick them in their noses next time.

    I’m also surprised the mug isn’t working. It should, you know.

    1. desertdweller29

      The mug gets no respect. It’s a crying shame. I think Santa should bring you one that says TALK TO THE KATANA. What do you think?

      Where has the Professor been as of late? I must trot off to watch you on YouTube as you ascend to internet fame with your guitar. You are an amazing musician, sir.

      1. Professor VJ Duke

        I’m not sure what to do about the mug. Maybe you should introduce it to everyone first. That might work. Yes!!!! That’d be so awesome.

        You guessed it recording and getting ready to film! Three new ones for this month. It’s been crazy. Really? That’s so nice to hear. I don’t feel very amazing, I tell you, madam!

      2. desertdweller29

        George Lucas just called and said he needed your SW rendition. It was killer! Bravo! Now I think you owe it to the man to see the new ones.None of this wishy-washy business.

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