Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Giving Thanks #2

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Today, I attended an amazing seminar at the Anaheim Hilton, titled “People Pleaser No More!” led by the brilliant Dr. Schmoozeno Schmutz. It was as if I had three years of intense therapy in one day (with free pasta bar included for lunch). I learned that I feel “smaller” than other people, when I should feel “bigger.” I shouldn’t worry about speaking my mind or telling others the truth. Others will still like me, and if they don’t — to hell with them and good riddance!

This new attitude is going to trickle down into my blogging style. No more self-deprecating humor or putting myself down in posts. There now will be a new regime at Citizen of the Month. I’m not going to be a “cheerleader” in your comments anymore. If your husband divorces you, I’m not going to be all cutesy and nicey-nice by saying, “It’s his loss! You can do better.” I’m going to tell you what I really think — “It was all your fault. Maybe if you would have given him head every once in a while, he would have stayed!”

I recently wrote a few thank you emails that I sent to some of you about the birthday gifts and cards that I received. When I re-read my notes today, having graduated Dr. Schmutz’s seminar, I got sick to my stomach. Each note is peppered with “loser” phrases like “you are so generous,” “you are so sweet,” and “I’m so glad to be your friend.” Tie me with an apron and gag me with a spoon. Why do I have to make believe that I’m not worthy? LOSER! Dr. Schmutz has taught me that I AM worthy. In fact, rather than being all grateful and crying with joy over you “caring” about me, I should be wondering why didn’t I get MORE GIFTS and from more of you?! Where were you, Mrs. Mogul and Brooke, for example?! After all, YOU all should be grateful that I still hang around with you when I could be blogging with my peeps — Dooce, Amalah, and the other A-listers.

On Sunday, I received the last bunch of cards and gifts from Danny. Sure, I could say “thank you” and how much I appreciate it, but let’s cut the crap, should we? I think you’ll respect me more if I am more honest with you and tell you how I really feel about what you sent me. Otherwise, I’d be doing a disservice to Dr. Schmoozeno Schmutz’s teachings and to myself.

Heather B, Fatma, Evil Eye Cafe, Mist 1, Karlababble, Whoorl, Miriam, and Otir

Yeah, it’s nice that you sent me some cute birthday cards, but WTF, where are the GIFTS? Couldn’t you have at least included a few dollars tucked inside?

Elisabeth

I enjoy you as a blogger, but I never want to meet you in person. You seem completely inconsiderate. Who in their right mind sends someone the entire collection of Proust — six books?! I couldn’t get through Volume One in college and you want me to read the whole series? Are you a freaking SADIST? Are you doing this because I once called the French a bunch of anti-Semites and this is your payback?

Paris Parfait

I’m convinced that you and Elisabeth are working in cahoots. It must be the French connection. You sent me “Reflections on Exile” by Edward W. Said, knowing that I once took a college course with the late Professor Said. You knew that I only got a B in that class, and clearly you wanted to “rub it in” that you are smarter than me. And now I have to explain to Sophia why I’m reading a book by a Palestinian activist! Thanks for the “gift.”

Ariel

You sent me a copy of “Out of the Ordinary” by John Ronson. Pretentious! I never read British novelists. When are you guys going to accept that your literary heyday ended with George Bernard Shaw? I’ve already exchanged the book at Amazon for Paula Abdul’s new autobiography. She is an American.

Sputnik

You sent me “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. I wish you did some thinking yourself before you bought me this insulting gift. The book is all about bad website design. What are you trying to tell me about my blog? That it is ugly and user-unfriendly? Why don’t you just stab me in the back and give it a good twist?

Churlita

An Iowa lottery ticket? Like Iowa actually pays off anything worthwhile in their lottery. Are the winnings in corn cobs?

Michele V

Yet another losing lottery ticket… I won nothing, bupkes, AGAIN! How about sending me another one, or two, or three?

Ali

Multi-colored sea glass from the beach near La Rochelle, France? How do I know these are really from France? How do I know you just didn’t break a bottle of Budweiser and put the pieces into an envelope? If I cut myself on one of these, I’m suing you before you can say “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”.

TherapyDoc

You’ll have to explain to everyone what you sent me, because just thinking about this mirror paper/”self-help toolkit” makes me dizzy and nauseated!

McKay

Certificates for a dinner entree and a movie? At California Pizza Kitchen? I’ve been there already. Couldn’t you have at least found me a new place to eat? I like sushi.

Wendy

While I’m sure you enjoyed these two romantic comedy DVDs you sent me, did it occur to you that I am a man, and I would much prefer a movie with some tits and trucks blowing up? “Love Actually?” Do you think I’m gay? The $25 gift certificate for IHOP was a nice gesture, but what the hell do I need that for? Do you know how many coupons I have to IHOP already?

Bre

A Penn State t-shirt? If you actually read this blog, you know I went to college at an IVY LEAGUE school! Do you think I’m going to allow a Penn State t-shirt to touch my ivy-covered chest?

Jen

An Alabama t-shirt? It may be “Sweet Home Alabama” to you, but have you ever seen anyone Jewish wearing an Alabama t-shirt?

Paperback Writer

A book on how to speak like a Pittsburgher? I’m married to Sophia and I still haven’t learned any Russian, for Pete’s sake! Now you want me to learn YOUR language?

Suburban and Jason

Silly Putty and a whoopee cushion? What do you think I am — a five years old?

Expat Jane

The Korean tea set you sent from Seoul is very pretty, in a cutesy Asian kind of way, but I already sold it on E-bay. You may have missed some of my earlier posts, but most of my regular readers know that I DON’T LIKE KOREANS.

All of my previous gift givers, just count your blessings that I thanked you before I attended this seminar by Dr. Schmoozeno Schmutz.  That means you —Two Roads, Alexandra, Question Girl, Becky, Noel, Lefty, Nelumbo, Leezer, Rhea, Eileen, Jocelyn, Irina, Michele, Bella, Don’t Call Me Sir, Zoely, Claire, Postmodern Sass, Colorful Prose, Communicatrix, Everyday Goddess, Karl, Old Lady of the Hills, Lynnster, Nancy French, Richard, Mr. Fabulous, NSC, Buzzgirl, Leesa, Jurgen Nation, Hilly , Deezee, PocketCT, Blundering American), Ash, Kapgar, Albert, V-Grrrl, Javacurls, Fresh New Hell, Spinning Girl), EEK, Ellen, Alissa and Evan, Orieyenta and little Orieyenta, Psychotoddler, Pearl, Deanna, Katie, Mo, Margaret, Stepping Over Junk, Caron, Finn, Nance, Lauren, A Take on the World, Blitz Kreig, Tamar, Doris, Daisy, Better Safe than Sorry, Jules, Roberta, Ascender, Introspectre, Ms. Sizzle, Dave, and Danny.

OK, my birthday 2007 is now officially over!   Much love from Sophia as well!

58 Comments

  1. Oh dammit, if I’d known you were going to the Anaheim Hilton, I would have totally sent you on a mission to get me some more of those complimentarys lotion, cause yanno…that’s exactly what you wanted to do at a seminar to make you a better person.

  2. Umm.. Would a simple happy birthday do the trick? Happy birthday!

  3. a new neil huh! sweet!
    and what exactly did dooce get you, i think that deserves proper recognition.
    a give you a day or two with your new attitude before you crumble.

  4. Ahh, thank you. It’s good to know I’m on the D-List of the blogging world.

    (Saved from sending a gift for another year!)

  5. Wow! Forceful! I feel the might of his laser-precise intellect and obvious sexual prowess! Rightly he has derided me and my impotent gift! Bow down, I must, before the psychic tsunami of his overpowering insight and awe-inspiring man-girth!

    [Pause.]

    Heh. “Man-girth”.

    I’m gonna use that all day.

    You’re welcome.

    Loser.

  6. Feeling feisty now, huh? Considering one out of every 7 Americans graduated from Penn State, you may want to rephrase that… I mean, you Ivy Leaguers may be smarter, but we’re stronger! :-p

  7. “It was all your fault. Maybe if you would have given him head every once in a while, he would have stayed!”

    I see a syndicated Dear Abby type of column in your future. You have a gift.

    I give thanks for Dr. Schmoozeno Schmutz. He’s the man.

  8. You can call me, 'Sir'

    April 11, 2007 at 5:32 am

    I want my dollar back. With compounded interest.

  9. You’re what Stewart Smalley apired to. Never look back in anger, Belated Birthday Boy.

  10. that was SOME birthday!

  11. i totally want to give you h%^d now.

  12. See, my procrastination saved me! Anyone want the mystery gift sitting on my desk addressed to Neilochka? Maybe I should raffle it off.

  13. Somebody had his Wheaties for breakfast!

  14. Neil–You’re such a Grrrl! I can tell from your comments that you have estrogen coursing through your veins. Tell Sophia to pick some Midol up at Walgreens. You’re going to need it any day now.

  15. Kick and whine all you want, but we still got what we came for. Remember we’re all only link whores!

  16. I think he had too much matzah for Passover.

  17. Stab, Stab, Twist! There, you feel better now?

    Tomorrow’s Thursday. Now go write a poem about Dr. Schmutz, since he’s such a special friend, changing your life in a single day and all.

  18. see, my procrastination paid off too, being late on sending that card was only because i knew you’d appreciate the THOUGHT more than anything. because really. isnt that much better?

  19. What are you talking about, no more self-deprecating humor, what the hell is that all about, whoever heard of a Jew without self-deprecating hum…OH MY GOD, YOU’RE CONVERTING, AREN’T YOU???!!! DR. SCHMUTZ IS A MISSIONARY, ISN’T HE? HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD NOT TO LISTEN TO CHRISTIANS WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT HOW THAT MAN? YOU KNOW THAT CHRISTIANS SELL THEIR CHILDREN FOR WHISKEY MONEY; I KNOW THAT’S SO BECAUSE I HEARD DAVID STEINBERG SAY IT ON JOHNNY CARSON ONCE. OH MY GOD, THIS IS AWFUL, THIS IS TERRIBLE! DON’T TELL YOUR MOTHER, IT’LL KILL HER! DON’T TELL THE ALWAYS LOVELY SOPHIA, SHE’LL KILL YOU! YOU SEE, YOU SEE, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE A BLODGE; WHO KNOWS WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE. SEX FIENDS AND PENISES AND TRANSVESTITES AND MORMONS AND GOD ONLY KNOWS WHO ELSE. MAYBE THERE’S STILL TIME; DID THEY DUNK YOU IN A BATHTUB YET? IF THEY HAVENT YOU CAN STILL GET OUT OF THIS WHOLE MESS. JUST STAY OUT OF THE BATHROOM, NEIL, STAY AWAY FROM THE BATHROOM, NO MATTER HOW HARD THEY TRY TO GET YOU IN THERE. THINK OF AN EXCUSE; TELL THEM YOU HAVE TO MAKE AN ALTAR CALL OF NATURE IN THE BACKYARD AND THEN RUN LIKE HELL THE MINUTE YOU HIT THE STREET!THINK OF YOUR POOR MOTHER, NEIL, DON’T DO THIS TO HER!

  20. And what’s so hard about Proust? I read all six volumes. Granted, Marcel tests your patience meter to the limit; books where nothing much happens and the author spends a lot of time describing how the nothing that is not happening is actually not happening tend to annoy the reader after a while, but it’s not like trying to read Finnegans Wake or the legal boilerplate on your life insurance policy, you know.

  21. Brilliant maneuver! Treating your readers like crap will only make them come back for more—that is Dr. Schmutz’s true lesson. Anyone who wants to hear how Neil had tears in his eyes as he opened every single gift just email me privately! And I have it on good authority that “Love, Actually” is on his all-time Top Ten list.

  22. You inspire me to walk on hot coals, Neil.

    My instinct tells me that you’re Dr Schmutz’s understudy on the days he has therapy.

  23. Ha. I loved my e-mail and my public shaming. The issue is not that you’d win a corn cob, it’s how we’d give you that corn cob.

  24. Neil, my birthday is September 23rd. I expect you to remember it…and send me all the cast-off gifts that you have no use for. But not the cards…I have no use for the b’day cards that you received.

  25. I think Akaky might be on to something. I’d be careful if I were you.

  26. Neil, your “thank-yous” made me laugh out loud. And I wish I were half as clever as you think I am. (Did you really get a B?) xo

  27. Wow, I’m glad I already received my thank you e-mail. But wait… were you just trying to please me with your sweet words. That’s it…next year no more Belgian chocolate for you.;)

  28. Oh yeah…you really do seem desperate, Neil. Girls are always crazy for guys that treat them like dirt. You’re in the groove, MR. MAN.

  29. I am so glad that I chose to send you nothing. I fully expect a big “Fuck You” to show up in my inbox shortly.

  30. Yesterday was my birthday and you sent me the same thing I sent you.

    Thanks for nothing!

  31. You mean you aren’t really glad to be my friend and you don’t love me? Xanax, please – I’m more confused now than I was before.

  32. Sophia…I think Neil needs a little “present” from you…Clearly..he’s about to EXPLODE.

  33. wow look at you. i may be a cover girl, but you have to be the blogger that got the most presents ever.

  34. Wow, you do have a pair Neil. Way to step up and show them in public. Finally.

  35. Oh, and it’s KRIEG. I before E pal. It’s German and it means war. Thought you’d know that one.

  36. Speaking of lotteries and Iowa, we’ve already been planning your 2008 birthday party. We’re thinking, we’ll gather in a cornfield, one that has a quarry nearby, and hand out tiny slips of paper to everyone. Yours will have a tiny black dot.

  37. Brooke — I could never say that to a woman. I might think it, but never say it.

    Psychomom — Happy Belated Birthday!

  38. That was so thoughtful, Neil. Thank you. Next year, I will get you the same thing I got you in 2006. What was it again? Oh yeah, nothing.

  39. Oh Neil! Thank you, thank you so much! I increased my ranking thanks to your link, that is such a blessing! Looking forward to receiving so much more traffic, and spam and search engine requests, and see my bandwidth slowly but surely eaten just because I gave in this wonderful adventure of the ego!

    Love ya.You’re perfectly right. That was worse a minimum payment. I can’t imagine the time it took you to gather all this so perfectly well organized information, matching pseudos with email addresses and url. Truly amazed. What a birthday!

  40. I think there was a warning on that card. I think it said, Reader, beware. If you look at yourself in this green mirror paper you’ll feel like throwing up. Really. There was a warning. If not, you lost it, you loser you.

  41. Now I feel TERRIBLE about that last comment, so hopefully you didn’t lose it.

  42. Neil, we have Jewish people in Alabama. We just keep them safely contained in the wealthy section of town where they cannot contaminate anyone else with their non-Baptist teachings. Besides, everyone knows Bama is the promised land! It flows with milk and honey and peanuts and cotton; what more do you need??

  43. You’re adorable, Neil. Truly.

  44. Ahhh, Neil, you’re so cute when you’re angry.

  45. Adorable? Cute? I can’t lose with you guys.

  46. Oh, thank you so much, now I have to say “I love you Neil”.
    Damn you, being all nice and stuff.

  47. My mother just called up.  “Your last post was very nasty and you should apologize,” she said.
    Also, several sponsors have pulled out of “Citizen of the Month” after some of my statements.

    Neil:  “I am very sorry for insulting anyone, especially for saying that I hate Koreans. As anyone who knows me in real life knows, I’m really turned on by Asian women.”

  48. If you start calling me a nappy headed ho, I will pull my sponsorship as well!

  49. I think you might want to start talking about the number of blacks in Portland again.

  50. I love a good racial slur as much as the next guy, but this one was way over my head. They were playing basketball… how nice should their hair be? You want some nappy hair, you should see MY hair when I get up from a NAP! And what made them hos anyway? They looked more like athletes than hos. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re lesbians, but hos? Nah. I’ve seen hos before on Santa Monica Boulevard. Haley Scarnato from American Idol in that short skirt. Now she looked like a ho.

    I never found Imus funny or interesting.

  51. I knew there was a reason I forgot to send a gift … I love the wrath of Neil. Oh … and happy extremely belated (but seemingly awesome) birthday.

  52. Actually I did buy you a second lottery ticket but it won $10.00 so I kept it for myself. Perfect fit for the new Neil – keeping the winnings.

  53. This is the longest birthday EVAR!

  54. Fine then, next year you’re getting NOTHING!

    How does that sound?

    And you must admit, it was a pretty card, right?

  55. I wanted to send you a birthday something or other but unfortunately, life got in the way. I see many other bloggers represented well for me though. You know it’s because I told them to, right?:)

  56. I like this new you a lot better. If you had been more of a manly man and less of a touchy-feely sissy BEFORE your birthday, I would have sent you a real gift instead of that dumb card that I shoplifted and sent you. Keep this up, and next year you’ll get the hooker I WOULD have sent you this year.

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