School is back in session and I thought this would be a decent time to re-post something I wrote for Yahoo about my favorite teacher of all-time and how she completely destroyed my hope of ever having a positive adult female influence in my life.

I only had a small handful of teachers who had a positive impact on me. In elementary school, there was my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Trani, a woman who always praised me and how well-behaved I was. Mrs. Trani insisted there was something special about me. In fourth grade there was Mrs. Hartbauer, a woman who was similar to Mrs. Trani and actually took an active interest in my life. Mrs. Hartbauer also insisted that there was something special about me. It was not until high school when I would have another teacher attempt to make a positive difference in my life. This woman was my 10th-grade English teacher, Mrs. Hill.

Tenth grade was the pinnacle of awkwardness for me and I think that was why Mrs. Hill tried to help me so much. My quiet demeanor and obvious social flaws made me an easy target to get walked over by other students. Mrs. Hill wanted to do whatever she could to limit the torment from life I would inevitably receive.

The English class I took with Mrs. Hill started off normal. It may have been after a field trip where she noticed I was sitting by myself that Mrs. Hill began paying closer attention to everything I did.

The first assignment Mrs. Hill took special interest in me was a brief one about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I forget specifically what I said, but it was something about comedic writing. Mrs. Hill stopped me on my way out of class and asked if I had heard of a local comedy club. I told her I had never heard of it and figured she was nothing more than a senile old woman asking strange questions. Mrs. Hill was in her mid-50s so it wasn’t such a preposterous proposition for me to believe. The next day, Mrs. Hill came in with a phone number for me to contact the comedy club about getting on stage. At the time I had no interest in ever doing stand-up comedy, so when she asked if I called, I told her the phone rang and nobody ever picked up. Two years later I actually did do stand-up comedy for the first time, possibly subconsciously thanks to Mrs. Hill.

For the rest of the year Mrs. Hill and I continued to have a very strange relationship, not one that ends with her in an orange jumpsuit. We bonded over the fact that I lied to her about having been to Buffalo. I owned a Buffalo Bills t-shirt for some reason and since Mrs. Hill was born in Buffalo, we became friends who would talk about different places in Buffalo, none of which I had ever heard of.

One of the final assignments we had that year was an oral report. The goal of the report was to teach our classmates how to do something. Lacking self-esteem in my bloodstream, I had no clue what I could have taught my classmates. The most beautiful girl in school sat two seats behind me. What did I know that she didn’t?

Mrs. Hill asked me what I would be doing my report on. I told her I had no idea and she suggested I do one of the examples, how to make a BLT sandwich. As a fat kid I took offense to this. I didn’t tell her I was offended though. Instead I said it would be tough to get the materials needed. My parents had separated a year earlier and even though my dad was around a lot less, I could have easily asked him to get me the ingredients for a BLT sandwich.

Of course as our relationship was, I lied to Mrs. Hill. I told her that my parents would not buy those foods for me. I think at that time Mrs. Hill believed I came from an abusive home where I was given a box of crackers to eat each day to survive on. Mrs. Hill was kind enough to offer to actually buy me the ingredients I needed. I told her not to because I have always been someone not to ask for favors. If Mrs. Hill had gotten me the necessary foods I might owe her something. I would be expected to help her move a dead body somewhere down the line.

I ended up doing my report on how to get rid of a stuffy nose. It was actually pretty good and a lot different from the others. Mrs. Hill had a big smile on her face during my report. Even better, the prettiest girl in school was leaning forward against her desk, unable to take her eyes off me throughout. She was amazed that sniffing salt water could clear out your nasal passages. For a few minutes, I had earned her attention.

My favorite thing about Mrs. Hill was how much she encouraged me to continue with my writing. My ninth grade English teacher Mr. Kane told me I was good, but Mrs. Hill practically begged me to join the school newspaper. I had no interest writing stories praising the corrupt high school government or doing coverage on how the cafeteria tater tots were no longer poisonous. Her encouragement of me meant a lot and I was lucky to have her as a teacher.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t stop there. The next time I would interact with Mrs. Hill would be two years later in twelfth grade. My English teacher that year was out sick so they had Mrs. Hill come in and babysit us for forty minutes. I had not seen her in quite some time and I knew she would be a little curious how my life had been going. I looked drastically different by then, having dropped a ton of weight, but I was still clearly me. Mrs. Hill would have so many positive things to say to me. She would have herself to partly thank.

An assignment was given to us and since it was late in the year and most of the class had committed to going to the local community college, we had little reason to care about our GPAs. Instead of doing our work for the day we goofed off. Mrs. Hill thought she would authoritatively walk around the room in hopes it would get us to do our work.

I was seated in the second seat closest to the door. Only a girl with the last name Adams came before my name, Tim Boyle, alphabetically. Mrs. Hill made her way across the classroom and over to me with her familiar friendly smile. We made eye contact and her smile grew even larger.

“Are you finished with your work, John?”

There was no mistaking it. She was looking directly at me. My favorite teacher had just called me the wrong name.

My eyes puffed out. My bottom lip dropped. For a few seconds my heart stopped beating then spun around in a circle. My name wasn’t John. In fact, it never has been. I have always been a Tim, Timothy, or Timmy; among other more insensitive nicknames.

“My name’s not John,” I said a little disappointed.

Mrs. Hill’s mind crossed over itself. Then she remembered who I was, “Matthew?” she questioned.

I shook my head. This guessing game would have gone on forever. Mrs. Hill, the one teacher in high school who made a positive difference in my life, forgot who I was even after two guesses. She walked away to the next aisle, never to interact with me ever again.

Out of all the things Mrs. Hill taught me, the most important was that nobody cares about us as much as we may think they do. Thanks for the terrible revelation.

peggy hill

Here’s another old thing I wrote which contains a long list of things. It’s a sarcastic way to instruct people on how to succeed at a job interview.

Ten Tips for Job Interview Success

1) Don’t Show Up: The most obvious way to not fail at a job interview, don’t bother trying. People may try to get in your ear and say the opposite. They will argue that you cannot succeed unless you try. Glass half full attitudes make me thirsty. If you think of it as a glass half empty then you will realize sooner that you need to refill your beverage. So don’t bother showing up once you get the appointment. It shows the company that you didn’t need their stinking money anyway.

2) Change Your Last Name: Changing your last name can help in a job interview. I recommend changing your last name to whoever the most popular reality television show star is at the time. For two months in 2003 I used the last name “Fairplay” to capitalize on Survivor villain Johnny Fairplay’s fifteen minutes. For non-reality fans, I suggest changing your first and last name to match the current president. When they joke about being related to the president, claim to be him.

3) Dress Provocatively: Business suits are so 1900s. We are living in a new millennium. Whenever I go to a job interview I make sure the interviewer can see as much of my body as possible. This not only showcases my strength, it lets them know I am willing to do anything to get the job, including wearing a speedo. For those living in colder climates, stick with a leather gimp suit. It gets the message across and lets the potential employer know you can dress yourself appropriately for the weather.

4) Talk Loud: When you speak loudly you present yourself as authoritative. In the business world people love authority. They bow to it. It’s important that in the job interview you talk at least two decibels louder than the person conducting the interview. How do you know your decibel range? Buy a measuring device, wear it, and ask the interviewer to wear one too for an accurate reading.

5) Print Your Resume on Large Paper: The bigger, the better. If you have the means, print out your resume on a life-size cardboard cutout of yourself. Keep your face wordless. This is a guaranteed way to stand out and helps them match face to words. It’s also helpful if your resume has at least three swear words. The employer will have to take a risk on, purely out of curiosity.

6) Check Your Phone Often: When you show up to a job interview, make it clear to the potential employer that you are in high demand. Even if nobody is actually calling, answer your phone anyway. Use words like “sell” and refer to whoever is on the other end as “baby.” The only time I would not recommend doing this is if your phone is prepaid. They will assume you are most likely a drug dealer and nobody wants to hire a drug dealer, except for people who want drugs dealt to them.

7) Offer Them Lunch: Everybody loves having food made for them. The only exception might be for Emperor Hui of Jin China, who died of an alleged poisoning. The best lunch to offer a potential employer is a homemade one. I suggest something light that travels well, like bratwurst. You know, anything universally loved.

8) Blackmail: Need I say more? Get creative though. Employers love creative blackmail.

9) Repeat Everything: No matter what the person conducting the interview says, repeat it. They will either believe you have so much in common that they have to hire you or they will be so confused that they will have to hire you for answers. Either way, you will have a job. Then you should probably quit. Playing hard to get is good when it comes to job hunting.

10) Lie: Does anybody ever fully tell the truth during a job interview? Am I a legal citizen? Of course not. Born in Ottawa baby! Have I ever been convicted of a crime? Yes. Why do you think I had to flee from Ottawa? Do I agree to follow all of the rules in the employee manual? Maybe half. You can’t go around telling the truth at a job interview if you want to get hired. The real key to successfully lying is to lie about everything. If you lie about everything all of the time then you don’t have to remember anything, or however the quote goes.

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(“Your resume says you’re African-American….which is it? African or American?” – potential employer)

I did another one of those newspaper things for work where I write poop jokes about dogs and stuff. Enjoy!

Dog City Digest August 2014

Remember when I was a real eager go-getter and spent a lot of time writing lengthy books nobody really gave a damn about? Well, here’s something I wrote for Yahoo that earned more money than I think I made in the first 3 months of self-publishing books! So the lesson to be learned here is that nobody gives a damn and you are better off selling out and writing for something corporate. And in a twist of being pushy, you can get a copy of the last book I self-published for free through the rest of the month beginning tomorrow after I post this. So if you happen to read this on Tuesday, come back tomorrow and get a free copy of this amazing book I put a lot of effort into.

Five Heartbreaking Moments From Self-Publishing

Self-publishing a novel can be incredibly rewarding. It’s a way to surpass agents and constant rejection from query letters. Best of all, you have final say in your masterpiece. After I self-published my first novel I thought for sure there would be only positive moments to follow. Then I waited a week and realized the heartbreak continues. Here are five things you should prepare your heart for when it comes to self-publishing.

1) Copies Sold: The biggest part of writing a book is how many copies it sells. You can write a masterpiece, but if nobody buys it then that means nobody is reading it. If nobody is reading it then what was the point? It’s like keeping the Mona Lisa as a bath mat in the guest bathroom of someone who never has anyone over. After self-publishing, it took a few months before I accepted I may never write a book that sells a million copies. I took it hard because I already made a down payment on a yacht made of pure gold.

2) Refunds: It feels great when you sell a book, especially when you know it’s to a complete stranger. Sometimes these strangers will purchase the book then ask for a refund. Why? Why did you want your money back for my product I poured my heart into? On certain self-publishing services you can see why they asked for a refund. My first refund someone reported their credit card stolen. As much as I hate thieves, I must say this one has good taste. When people ask for a refund the author is often left wondering if it was because the product didn’t meet expectations or if the purchaser bought the wrong thing. People are always buying the wrong thing. My dad bought us barbecue sauce thinking it was ketchup for five years. We were all too afraid of him to ever say anything.

3) Reviews: Many independent authors rely on the reviews above anything else. When you are essentially unrecognizable to the public, a good review can convince someone to buy your book instead of passing it over for vampire erotica. A good key to reviews is to have your friends and family leave the first ones, without of course making it too obvious that you know each other. It’s inevitable that eventually a bitter troll will come along, read your book, and then leave a negative review. When they do, get ready to cry and think about giving up on your dreams. Never give up on your dreams though, unless you are older than 35. After that they probably never will come true.

4) Typos/Errors: When you write long-form it can be a lot more difficult to properly edit. English is a language with so many strange rules that sometimes are acceptable and sometimes are not. It starts with the whole letter Y sometimes being a vowel. Shouldn’t it just always be a vowel? After you publish your book you may read through it and suddenly find a very obvious error. To avoid this you can always have your book professionally edited. Usually though the cost of paying an editor will far exceed the amount you will make from sales. You have to determine whether it’s worth it or not. Hopefully you can find intelligent friends to help find any errors in your writing willing to do it for the price of your friendship. Seriously. Threatening to never talk to someone ever again if they don’t help you out is a great loyalty test.

5) Does Anybody Like It?: By far the most important thing is whether or not anybody actually likes the book. You can be a fantastic writer forever, but if you cannot tell an original and captivating story that meets the reader’s expectations then you have failed. Do people like the books I have self-published? I have no idea. I am still not sure if many people even like me. The most rewarding thing that can happen to you after you self-publish a novel is when someone out of the blue mentions they read your work. Most people are genuinely nice and if they bring it up unsolicited it usually means they enjoyed what they read. Then they ask you for a favor and you remember why you wrote a character based on them who gets killed.

Child with learning difficulties

(People with ADD never dwell on the past. It’s beautiful in some ways really…until they start screaming for no reason at all)

My mom was never big into having her picture taken. She had an ideomotor reaction each time a camera was whipped out. Her palm would open and cover her face as she turned her shoulder away from the camera. For a long time I was the same way until a girl who ended up punting my fragile heart into a fire pit told me over MySpace that I was cute. Even if she was lying, it got me to finally accept a picture of me isn’t worth a thousand repugnant swear words like I grew up thinking. At the same time I am humble enough to realize most pictures of me suck. Most pictures of most people suck. Staying specific to myself because like a teenager on Maury might you may say, “You don’t know me,” these are five reasons why I should never be photographed.

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(Can you find me in this picture? I’m the guy a couple thousand miles away avoiding the camera)

1) Pale Skin

My full name is Timothy Michael Boyle. The only way to get more Irish than that would be Drunky McPotato O’Boyle. I have naturally pale skin which never works well with a camera’s flash. Pictures of me need really soft lighting where everything has a yellowish tint to it or I come off looking like the surface of a fresh snowfall. How did I manage to make my pale skin sound so elegant and beautiful? In contrast to darker things than my skin, like an eggshell, I look even paler in photographs than I do in real life. The only thing pale skin is good for these days is getting a nominee for the Republican party and that’s not really my goal in life. I just want to look pretty in pictures without a giant white glow coming off my forehead.

2) Blue Eyes

My blue eyes are one of my best features, which may or may not say a lot about the rest of me. I have had strangers come up to me and say they were lost in my eyes and never returned once entering them. I should really contact their families. Blue eyes are wonderful until a picture is snapped. I look terrifying in many photographs. I get red eye all of the time. Combine that with the white glow from my skin it becomes demonic. The only solution I have come up with for this is always keeping my eyes closed whenever a picture is taken. Whenever I do this it looks worse, but at least nobody is questioning whether or not I am the spawn of Satan. As an aside, I think I am for other reasons.

3) My Face

Let me be a little self-deprecating here for a moment. My face is fine. There are plenty of wonderful things about it and some people enjoy it. At the same time, there are things that could be fixed. What’s up with the rash that shows up on my right upper lip once a week? Why must the veins in my forehead stick out whenever I am even the least bit exhausted? Don’t even get me started on my nose. From a distance there’s nothing strange going on. Up close it looks like the floor of a dog kennel. Lucky for me I have those wonderful blue eyes and a great smile that distracts people from the other disasters going on around my face. Too bad a picture lasts forever and can be zoomed in on. I really don’t want people noticing how gross my skin really is.

4) Unnatural Ability To Look Happy

I would say I smile on average for real five times a day and that is because I eat three meals and usually see two people get physically or emotionally hurt. In pictures I believe you should always do your best to look natural and happy. Unless the picture is taken candidly, I always look stiff. I never know what to do with my hands other than point. Maybe this is why teenage girls squat down with their hands on their knees? There are plenty of pictures of me in existence smiling. Most of the time though it’s just for show and I’m feeling dead inside.

5) Nobody Cares

I’m sounding like a real downer here, but that is not my intent. I hate to waste photographic space on me, somebody who has no stalkers. There are exactly zero people in the world excited to see pictures of me doing anything at all. The most likes I ever got on a Facebook picture was one and he unliked it after he realized his mistake. I am also not one to ever really brag about the things I have done in life, not that there has been much anyway. When you post a picture online of you at the Grand Canyon or a friend’s party, it’s your way of saying “Hey, I matter and people like me.” I don’t matter and a few people think of me as a neutral party. Photographs of me usually float around in picture viewing purgatory without anyone doing more than a quick glance.

I’m still in my 20s. It feels like I’ve been in this decade of life forever. I barely remember 19 and 30 still feels real far away. I suppose your 20s are supposed to be the best, right? You’re at your physical peak and you have quite a bit of disposal income because odds are someone hasn’t/you haven’t sat on your/someone’s semen and gotten pregnant.

After living enough of my 20s, I have come up with a list of the worst moments from this decade of pestilence excellence.

The Worst Moments From Your 20s

Whatever you decide to do with your life or force your kids to do with theirs, just make sure you never lie to those who choose differently; unless you want to. What do I care?

When I was a teenager everyone kept telling me things would get better once I hit my 20s. They lied. From 20-29 there are enough horrible moments to make me wish I was back to being a pimply-faced teenager with no direction in life. That was not a good time and to say I would sometimes rather be back there than where I am today says a lot about how hard “the greatest decade of our lives” can be.

1) When An Ex Gets Married:

Some of us wish our exes well. Others wish our exes would go to hell. It doesn’t matter what your relationship with your ex is after separating, seeing an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend get married to someone else can really sting. The best way to get through this is to remember that marriage is a bond that is very expensive to break. Your ex is either going to be stuck with the same person for the rest of their life or have to get a second job to pay to end it. Loneliness never seemed so perfect.

2) When A Secret Crush Gets Married:

This is even worse than when an ex gets married. At least with the ex you had the chance to experience what life with them is like. When a secret crush you were stuck in the friend zone with for years finally seals the deal and removes their chastity belt for someone else you will literally feel your soul fly out through your mouth. You will have so many horrible thoughts racing through your mind. The only positive is that you will find the opening wedding massacre scenes to the Kill Bill movies really hilarious.

3) When College Ends:

In theory, college is supposed to prepare us for the real world. No. College delays progression into the real world. When you are in college everything seems so bright and hopeful for the future. When it comes to an end you hear Axl Rose’s voice in your head screaming “Where do we go now?” College’s finale opens up a lot of opportunities. Most of those opportunities involve job rejection, increased responsibilities, and bill paying. Suddenly, the Van Wilder movie makes a lot more sense to you.

4) When A Parent Dies:

When you are in your 20s your parents will on average be in their 50s or 60s. This is the age when parents begin to die. My mom died when I was 23. Blink-182 was kind enough to inform me nobody would like me at that age, but they skipped out on letting me know how much it sucks when a parent passes away. Perhaps worse than your own parent leaving this world, is when it happens to a friend. You have to look up the definition of empathy then learn how to show it. Remember, you’re in your 20s. Empathy and compassion are not your strong points.

5) When Friends Ditch You:

At some point in your 20s a good friend is going to cease contact with you. Heck, several will. You may even feel the need to do it to some of them. In your 20s you finally begin discovering who you are. Your first ten years you don’t care who you are. The teenage years are spent confused and alone. By the time you’re in your 20s you have a good grasp on things, or so you believe because you read some sociology book. There is nothing wrong with having new friends and moving on when the old ones run out of interesting things to say.

6) When You Reconnect With Old Friends:

One of the most overrated moments in life is the reunion. Your late 20s is your high school reunion, something I suggest avoiding. I am already plotting on how my high school reunion will be filled with stories about how I went crazy and live in the mountains now. I may have to hire a guy for that to spread the rumors. Reconnected with old buddies is fun until you see how old they got. Chances are, you got old too. If you ever see me together with old friends, watch your step. The floor is covered with broken dreams.

7) When You Find Out How Old Celebrities Are:

Nothing and I mean nothing can break a person’s spirit more than looking up the age of a celebrity, athlete, or musician they are a fan of then realizing the celebrity is younger. I feel as if I have to quit being a hockey fan because most of the superstars would have been freshmen when I was a senior in high school. The most constant celebrity I think my generation looks to is Kurt Cobain. It’s hard to accept that I am older than Cobain was when the Nevermind album came out. By no means am I an old person, but I feel as if my time at ever becoming a rockstar has already passed. I probably should have learned how to play the guitar if I wanted it that bad.

8) When Your Friends Have Kids:

Lucky for me none of my friends have had kids yet. My friends have enough trouble getting a reply on OKCupid let alone having another person interesting in starting a family with them. When people have kids, especially younger ones, they change. Their life becomes all about protecting those runny nosed mini-clones. Granted, I think your life should be about that when you become a parent. It is one of the greatest undertakings anyone can make. The bad comes in when you are the outside observer. Everything comes back to the children. You are forced to look at hours of photographs of the baby doing the same thing, practically nothing. For the sake of making everybody’s 20s a little bit better, I plan to wait until at least 30 to have children. There’s no way I plan to have a child until I at least stop behaving like one.

9) When You Look In A Mirror:

Recently I was browsing Facebook and saw the page belonging to someone who used to make fun of me for being fat. He was shirtless in a picture and he was fatter than I am now. This is something that happens to a lot of people as they age, they put on weight. In your 20s you don’t have to worry about much else other than the weight gain and slight balding. I am one of the lucky few who look a lot better now than I did a few years ago. To be fair I had nowhere to go but up. Mirrors are still my enemy. They are a blunt friend who never cares about your feelings. They are the first girl I ever dated.

10) When You Look At Your Bank Account:

Nothing is more important than money. I don’t say this in an “I’m all about the money” way. I really would rather never have to deal with money. Unfortunately I do not live in a country where body hair works as currency. The problem with money and being in your 20s is you finally have some and for the most part have no clue how to spend it the right way. Few people in their 20s have their careers set, especially in the first half. Many bank accounts belonging to people in their 20s have a number lower than their weight, which is already at an all-time low for some because food isn’t cheap. Keep in mind, each time you check your bank account the odds of them making an error and putting a million dollars in there increases drastically, so check it often. I’m being sarcastic. You have to wait until you’re in your 30s for them to ever make that mistake.

freddie-prinze-sm

(“This makes no sense to me. I shot myself in the face when I was 22.” – Freddie Prinze)

I’ll keep this brief because I already wasted about 2 hours of my night just trying to get home. I’ll elaborate more because I want some content on the Internet about how much the PATH Trains suck.

First let me give you details on how my daily commute goes:

I walk about 25 minutes to get to the PATH train. I tend to arrive at around 8AM. I take the train 1 stop and transfer to another train on this lovely rail system. Usually I arrive in New York at 8:35-8:40. I then walk another 20 minutes to work.

Coming home it’s everything in reverse so read like a Chinese person (they read backwards) and figure it out.

Last Wednesday though, while traveling home I got to my transfer station. After about 10 minutes of sitting (or standing because these trains are more packed more than…well I guess PATH trains are the metaphor usually used, so that) they made an announcement that all service was suspended indefinitely. They gave us no option other than to go backwards and use a different train system. So I did it because you can’t rely on anyone.

I wrote a nasty letter to PATH which I have yet to send during my commute back to New York then back to New Jersey. In total it took me 3 hours to get home, more than twice the length it usually does. I also had to pay more money because the train more convenient for me to take home wasn’t the one honoring a switch-over.

This same thing happened again today. At first they blamed Amtrak, but apparently it was another signal problem. I’m not sure what a signal problem is. Were the tracks giving the PATH trains “fuck me eyes” and the PATH train mistakenly flirted with them? That’s the only way I can think signals could get crossed. Did the PATH conductor think the coach told them to bunt? Signals shouldn’t fail. Signals can be as simple as a color-coded switch. You can have homeless people with flags out there doing this job yet there seems to always be signal problems with this train system.

I’ll have plenty more to say about this, but it’s almost 9 o’clock and I’m still really angry about how this incompetent train system stole away my night of watching Warehouse 13.

So please, excuse me while I spend the next few blog posts seriously complaining about how much I hate my commute to work because other than my dangling toenail on my left foot on my pinky toe this is the most frustrating thing I have going on.

path-train

(Trivia question: How many people were elbowed or had coffee spilled on them by fellow passengers while boarding this train?)