Melissa Witt | A Tribute to the Gold Standard of Friends

[Now Playing: “That Place” by The Lion’s Daughter]

“Our earthly bodies will surely fall
But the love we share outlives us all”
– “Only Memories Remain” by My Morning Jacket

Yesterday I stood at the gravesite at Rest Haven Memorial Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky in the pouring rain and said goodbye to one of the dearest people that I’ve ever had the privilege of calling a friend.

Melissa Witt was smart as a whip, quick-witted, funny as hell, curious about the world and how it worked, a brilliant artist and designer and a kind and loving friend. She could pick up new languages and their accents at the drop of a hat. When we went to Tulum, Melissa’s accent was so impeccable that people thought she was a local.

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I Smoked Weed in an Uber

Yesterday I had plans to meet a friend for drinks at a German joint called Der Biergarten in downtown Atlanta. Not wanting to deal with downtown parking or driving after a few steinfuls, I booked an Uber to pick me up from my house in Cabbagetown. Immediately after hitting “Request UberX” the driver calls me.

“Hi! This is Jared, your Uber driver. How are you?”
“I’m good, and you?”
“I’m great. So how are you?”
Pause. “I’m fine,” I say hesitantly, having not the slightest clue what is happening.
“I wanted to ask if it’s OK if I have a friend riding with me.” No explanation as to why.
“Yeah that’s fine,” I reply. My first thought was that he’s simply giving his friend a ride somewhere and is doing double duty. My other thought was that it’s probably just two dudes riding around like we used to do when we were in high school and the only things to do were drive around, or hang out in the Walmart parking lot or in the woods. I found out immediately that it was the latter. Continue reading

The Paper Route


There was a point when I was in elementary school that my mom was pretty much my best friend. When I first started school and she still had her paper route she would sometimes let me stay home sick so we could play hooky. We’d get McDonald’s for lunch and rent movies like Splash from Blockbuster. We’d laugh and joke. Probably make fun of things as we were wont to do. There’s a scene from the movie “Say Anything” when Diane Court’s father is trying to figure out what’s going on with her and he implores her, “You know you can say anything to me.” That’s how it was with my parents, I could say anything to them. 

I remember once I got old enough to start going out with friends and start making big girl mistakes they sat me down and told me: No matter what you do, what happens in your life whether you kill someone, get pregnant, rob a bank, anything. We will help you. I never forgot that.


Trailer Haven

When I was really little, before I started school, mom worked a paper route and many times I would go with her. She would wake me up at three in the morning, make us each a cherry Pop-Tart wrapped in a napkin and a little glass of milk for the road. We would drive out to a bank where all the paper deliverers met and rolled their papers for the morning. Then we would drive through the Trailer Haven trailer park while it was still pitch dark and mom would cruise through the lanes and whip the papers out the window of her Toyota while she played Fleetwood Mac. Continue reading

The Joys of Moving

It’s that time of the year, folks: Moving Season. I have a question, why the fuck does everyone wait until it is 106 degrees outside with humidity to rival the Amazon to move? Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about that in Atlanta.

Atlanta heat wave, Hotlanta, atlanta weather map

Oh, wait.

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Mary Kay: Like a Cult, But Without the Animal Sacrifice

Last night I had the single most horrifying experience of my life. It didn’t involve a severed human torso or carnies with brown Chiclet teeth; those things I can handle. This experience took me completely out of my comfort zone and into some alternate universe where faces are spackled and painted, each hair is frozen into place with layers of Aquanet, and you can hear bangles jingling from down the hall.

I attended a Mary Kay holiday meeting.

Not the kind that takes place in someone’s home with friends or women you vaguely know pushing their lip glosses and hand moisturizers. Those are bad enough. But this was a whole different animal.

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The Fall Update: Slacktober, Root Canals and Yes, More Paula Deen

Feeling pretty guilty about not posting anything since August. However, when I write 10-12 of these suckers (blog posts) a day at work it’s kind of hard to muster up the energy to get back on the computer when I get home. Most days I come home and send hateful thoughts and glances to my computer sitting innocently unused on my desk. When you work in social media, you tend to become resentful of the things that used to bring you enjoyment.

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The True Form of Paula Deen

Thanks to a link on Facebook posted by my old SCAD buddy, Josh Buckner, I have found another tool that my archnemesis is using to woo innocent people into her clutches.

Those who know me know of my long-standing fear and loathing of the she-devil that is Paula Deen.

Paula Deen evil Continue reading

Adventures in Bill Collecting

I have joined the ranks of the unemployed once again. Let me regale you with the tale of my most recent escapade into the frightening and confusing world of work.

It started the same way most of my jobs begin: with sheer desperation. I went over to a friend’s house one Friday night about a month ago and his girlfriend was talking about her new job and how much she liked it. She ran through everything that she did at work and said that they were hiring and that I should come apply.

What is this mystery job, you ask?

Medical bill collecting.

I know, I know. Trust me, my red flag went up too.  But the thought of a paycheck was so enticing and the fact that I could allay the calls from my own bill collectors (although I would miss talking to Sanjeev on a regular basis) pretty much sealed the deal.

So that Tuesday morning, I went in for my interview. The lobby was small and sparsely decorated save for a few back issues of  “Collector” magazine (who knew?).  As I waited, I magically concocted a desire to be a collector, and after a nerve wracking half-hour interview, I landed the job.

I started training the following Monday, and by the end of the week, I was out on the floor. I even took my first payment of a whopping $54.45! My manager announced it over the loud speaker and everyone clapped and cheered. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all, I thought.

Over the next two weeks that feeling quickly waned. The job consists of sitting in front of a computer all day that has a smart dialer that automatically pops up with an account as it calls the person. The call will usually not be picked up and with a few quick key strokes, you leave a message. Easy. But then comes the fun part: someone picks up the phone. The first thing you do is ask for the debtor. “May I please speak with John Doe?”

Some of my personal favorite responses include:

  • “Who the fuck is that?”
  • “Who are you and what do you want?”
  • “Who dat be on my phone?!”

But then you get the not-so fun responses such as:

  • “He died last month.”
  • “He’s sick in bed; he has terminal cancer.”

In the event that you do actually speak with a debtor, once you get through the formalities, the conversation always tends to go downhill.

Me: “So you can’t pay $13,460 in full today? How much can you pay?”

Debtor: “Not much, I’m on social security income and I just had a stroke.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. Could you afford $25 a month?”

Debtor: “Maybe, I can’t move the right side of my body, so I can’t write you a check.”

Me: [What I’m supposed to say] “That’s O.K. if you go grab your checkbook, you can just read me off the numbers and we can do a check over the phone!”

Me: [What I actually say] “I’m so sorry. I will note the account. I hope you have a speedy recovery, have a nice day.”


I just couldn’t do it. I can’t call an 86-year-old woman in her  nursing home and badger her for money.  Or call people at their jobs and bother them every day. I just don’t have it.

But let me say this, I do realize that hospital bills  have to get paid in order for their doors to stay open and to keep serving their communities. Bill collectors serve a very necessary purpose. I, however, was not cut out for that line of work.

Back to the drawing board, eh?


The WordPress Challenge

Since I started this blog back in the Fall of 2009 for a Writing for the Web class at SCAD, I have found that the more I post, the more creative I get and the better I feel.

That is why, as one of my New Year’s resolutions, I have chosen to participate in the WordPress PostAWeek2011 challenge. This particular program encourages bloggers to write a new post once a week every week this year. I plan on pushing myself to post at least two or three times a week.

Another thing that keeps me blogging is feedback from my readers. I love getting comments from people, whether they are positive or negative. If something I write pisses you off, let me know! If something is funny, tell me!

Happy New Year to everyone and if you haven’t started your own blog yet, now is the time!

Holiday Hellride

I sit in the car as it idles. I glance down furtively at my phone as if there will be some message that reads “turn back”.

But I’ve come too far, I think to myself. So I turn the key, open the door to the biting cold and step out onto the grass. I trek up to the Wickham Park Senior Center and walk inside. I am greeted by a herd of elderly women in Christmas sweaters who shuffle about aimlessly.

“Hello there!” yells a woman in a lime green sweater. “Are you here to volunteer?”

Today is the Holiday Hayride and for some reason I am here to volunteer. “Yes, I’m Sarah. I’m signed up to work the craft table.”

“O.K. sign in on this sheet,” replies Green Sweater.

I sign in. I have no idea where I am going or what I am doing and Green Sweater senses this so she escorts me into the great room where the games and crafts are to be held. She introduces me to Mindy who checks her very important schedule and points me to my table. By the time I have finished haphazardly gluing on googly eyes to my first felt mouse, Mindy walks over.

“You wouldn’t mind working the hayride would you?” she asks.

“No, that’s fine,” I answer without thinking. She leads me outside to meet the motley crew of fellow volunteers where I introduce myself and then immediately forget each person’s name. While we walk the half-mile or so down to the hayride, I try to make small talk, but no one is feeling very chatty at the moment so I drop it.

Then it starts to rain.

I check the time on my phone for the sixth time since I’ve been there. It’s only half past five. A plump woman walks up with a cardboard box in her arms and sets it on the grass. She tells us that we are to put a baggie of sand and a flameless candle in each festive paper bag and line them along the sidewalk. This does not sound like a hayride to me. 

Obediant little volunteer that I am, I kneel down and start assembling the bags. Soon after, I notice that people and their kids have started lining up to go on the hayride. One little girl in a bright pink coat scampers over to me and kneels down at the box.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“I’m putting these in bags,” I say holding out a bag of sand.

Without giving it a second thought she said, “I’m going to help you.”

Apparently I have no say in the matter because she started grabbing fistfuls of sand bags and thrusting them in my direction. I take a few of them and put them into paper bags and she says matter-of-factly, “We’re best friends now.” Shit, I think. This little girl is going to latch on to me like a succubus.

“Come over here now, Mikaila,” calls who I presume to be the little girl’s mother. Fortunately she obeys her mother and I am free. For now.

At six o’clock the Christmas lights come on all around the park and it is time to start loading people onto the tractor-trailer beds lined with hay bales. I am the first one onto the trailer and head to the back to sit down. And who is the second person on that trailer but the little succubus. She came straight to the back and sat so close to me she might as well have been on my lap.

“I hope you don’t mind,” said the girl’s mom.

“Not at all,” I said smiling. Get this little . . .

Just then the truck started up and we were taking off on the hayride through Florida’s own “winter wonderland.” My job was to make sure that nobody leaned on the flimsy PVC pipe railing and fell off the trailer. As I was vigilantly doing my job, the girl kept chattering on and on: “I go to big girl school and my brother’s name is Todd and it’s fun being best friends and . . .”

Suddenly, I looked down and the little monster was throwing fistfuls of hay on me!

“That’s not nice,” said the mom. The girl stopped for a few short minutes and then started throwing it again. How soon our relationship had changed.

Then the mom snatched her up and berated her quietly. The little girl started to immediately wail at the top of her lungs and didn’t stop for the next fifteen minutes until the ride was over. And so the name Holiday Hellride was born.