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.




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