My Soup Confession

Feeling the need to tell you about something I did. It’s bad.

So, I love Trader Joe’s, right? For all the reasons a twee, quirktastic, adorkable person like me might love a Trader Joe’s. And recently, independently of my zeal for Trader Joe’s, I had a hankering for tomato soup. A hunger—it is a comfort food.

On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I bought a box of their Organic Creamy Tomato Soup. The box art was appealing to me. The adjective “creamy” held some allure. I already had crackers of my preferred variety at home, so I purchased the soup and left. I was sort of excited about this.

At home, I cracked open the soup box’s twist-top and saw that the foil underneath was pierced through. As though some unknown, hairy, filth-encrusted finger had already been by and jabbed through my soup top prior to my knowing it, going fishing. It was an immediately unappetizing prospect. I threw the soup away.

With a sticky note, I affixed the receipt for my purchase to the inside of my front door, so I’d remember to seek reimbursement the next time I went to the store. Or rather, a replacement box. See, I had been burned by Trader Joe’s before—moldy tomatoes—and they’d been amenable to a no-questions-asked exchange. It was encouraging policy. So the next time I went to Trader Joe’s, I took the receipt with me.

This visit, I was intent on not wasting my time. I still hungered for tomato soup—I had a hankering (it is a comfort food)—so I wanted to make this trip count. I walked to the soup aisle, and picked up the first box of Organic Creamy Tomato Soup I saw on the shelf. I cracked it open. And what… what the fuck?

Freshness seal—stabbed through. Again!

This was starting to feel repulsive. I’m no germaphobe, but I know a thing or two about the damn Tylenol murders. That guy never got caught. They’re somebody’s grandparent. Poisoning a food product is one of the most fucked-up and anonymous ways to kill people, the source of many urban legends—I think about it all the time.

I twisted the cap back on this first box, and tried another. Want to guess what I found? You’re correct. Holy shit—a broken seal.

This happened twenty-one more times.

I will admit at this point that a certain stoned fascination took over very early during this process. It blew my mind that so many of these soup boxes with the twist-off tops had been so blatantly, frighteningly violated, and a curious part of me wanted to see just how bad the problem was. How far it went. The feeling was that I was uncovering conspiracy. I felt my love for Trader Joe’s dissolving with each new betrayal. How could they let this many boxes sit here, so obviously, maliciously, systematically tampered with? Every box!

Anyway, it was around box 22 that I finally happened to read the label on the box, a little yellow strip right by the twist-off top.

“JUST TWIST TO BREAK INNER FRESHNESS SEAL”

And then I was like, “Oh.” I realized the whole thing immediately. I felt for the receipt in my back pocket and rolled it up into a ball—don’t need that anymore. I grabbed a box of a different kind of soup and left the store after paying for it. The funny thing is, until the listeria kicks in, no one who shops at Trader Joe’s is going to know what I—completely accidentally, and with the best intentions—let happen to their soup.

I’m probably going to hospitalize forty people. Don’t tell anyone I did this. This is weighing on my soul, y’all. If I were a noble person, I would have bought up all the soup.

current writing projects

Thought I’d update the ol’ portfolio about What The Fuck Is Going On. Current list, up to date, haven’t mentioned anything I’ve been doing lately aside from the tweets, which are always cooking in the lab. Anyway, on my plate we’ve got a healthy, balanced meal.

  • A screenplay about horses and horse racing (it’s a collabo)
  • A listicle about pop culture’s gayest children (for online)
  • Been thinking pretty hard lately about maybe doing a project of some sort having something to do with the topic of local beer
  • poem about my mom (4th revision)
  • There’s this email in my draft folder for this thing that I wrote just way, way too long while I was a little xanned out one night, and I need to edit it and send it but I’ve just been putting it off, putting it off, putting it off, you know how it goes. I also need to send a text message saying “no” to someone but it’s really hard to pull the trigger because I dislike conflict.
  • I’ve also been working on an English translation of Prima Games’ strategy guide book for Final Fantasy IV Wonderswan Color Version for about fifteen years

I was doing all of these earlier but I got distracted by this great archive and now it’s 5 in the morning.

I love my life; my life is great and I love being involved in it

    names for the vape store I am opening soon at 111 S 24th St W in Billings, Mt,

    the grand opening of which is in a matter of weeks.

    Here’s the thing, folks—I’m down to the wire. My whole staff was so excited to get the vape store off the ground that we forgot the best part: naming it.

    • Mamma Jamma Vapor and Accessories
    • Chapel of the Holy Vape
    • Colonel Vapor’s
    • Wacky Electronic Tobacky

    Holy shit this post sucks. I can’t think of anything good. What a tired premise for a riff sesh! I thought this was gonna be hilarious.

    Uhh

    • Riff Sesh
    • Vape Cod
    • Cunt

    Hmmmmm… Perhaps instead I should have premised this post around what to name our e-juice flavors, the flavors of e-juices for the vape. It is possible that it’s funnier to imagine flavors than it is names of places.

    • Dyspepsia
    • Arsenic and Old Ass

    Oh fuck. Abandon ship! Abandon this post! Should’ve never left the fucking drafts!!

    What the hell else do I have in this drafts folder? I have to salvage this. Here’s one that’s just called “man harpooned while eating bagel”—no text—just the title—wonder what was going on there.

    “Ideas for saving the Republic”—no—now’s not the time—so passe—too normie at this point.

    “Historically Significant Baseball Bats”—might table that one, actually…

    Got an untitled post here… “think of what a melting snowman looks like? That is how I feel all of the time”

    Actually, fuck this blog game. It’s time to hang this up like a… like a freakin’ dead possum. I’m gonna really open up that vape store. It’s real and I own it and it’s called Arsenic and Old Ass. The matter is settled! The deal is done. Boys—let’s hit the showers. We’ll try this all again on Monday.

    Photo Credit: I don’t fucking know it’s not mine who cares.

    What are you doing right now, anyway?: I’m watching The African Queen on my phone and idly shopping on the Chinese internet for a 55-inch flatscreen under $200.

    turn and face our truths

    No more secrets. No more lies.

    This is part three of my confessions.

    I listen to podcasts exclusively to feel like I have good friends in the room with me, and that I in turn am laughing with them, and we’re all having a good time, about myriad subjects. The comedy gets dark and goofy, with many inside jokes. I listen to diverse hangout shows for this reason, eschewing other formats. It’s like ASMR for making you feel like you have friends, and the tingles only activate upon a smile.

    Sometimes I like to interject myself into the conversation, talking back into my speaker, and imagine myself in other lives. I like to think about how these people were sitting in a room, different from the one I am in now, producing this moment of fellowship before beaming it to me. I think the oddest things about the entire edifice of it.

    I do this, perhaps, most often while in bed, readying to sleep. And then I can imagine that my podcasts are set up in the dark with me like a slumber party. And I giggle. To be clear, I am alone the entire time. I never listen to them with friends. They’re for me, and me alone. Sometimes for the entire day I am silent save for laughter sparked up by my podcast friends. My favorite podcast is called CUM TOWN, which I thoroughly enjoy for all the reasons I just listed. You would like it, or perhaps not. I sure like those cum boys, though, and hell, I’d like to be one if I could. I’m not, I couldn’t, but I can dream.

    Other good podcasts: Uhh Yeah Dude, Chapo Trap House, Kill Tony, end of list.

    This is my confession. Hence I face judgement from the masses? Or dost thou recognize my sin? Do they do this too? Do you? Who do? I’ll hex you with some witches’ brew if you doo-doo...

    YouTube Rabbit Hole: My favorite film of 2016, Spider-Man eats a booger and fucking dies

    benign reasons for a burglar to be in your home

    In addition to listing these reasons (comprehensively), we will also be ranking them by Level of Moral Unimpeachability (or “LMU”), with a high LMU score connoting a more ethical act, and a low LMU score the opposite.

      1. Searching for food to feed her family. (20 LMU. While the idea of an invader being in your home is undeniably disquieting to one’s peace of mind, engaging in burglary to ensure the survival of one’s family is among the more ethical reasons to do so. You may not like it at the time, but in your heart you understand and feel that you might do the same if your positions were reversed. Quite complicated, ethically.)
      2. Searching for food to feed herself. (15 LMU, following the same logic as above, but without the morally purifying factor of baby innocents.)
      3. Seeking evidence to convict a criminal of a heinous crime. (15 LMU. In police proceedings in the USA, evidence obtained illegally is typically only inadmissible if that evidence was obtained by the police, or by an agent acting on explicit behalf of the police. For evidence turned over by a private citizen, the matter of provenance is largely not an issue, so long as the evidence is legitimate. This is vigilante territory, and it could be argued that criminal justice is a matter for police. But if we assume the criminal is in fact guilty of a heinous crime, but evidence is needed to legally prove the matter, then breaking this law in service of the greater good of society is morally sound. A complex issue.)
      4. Blind drunk, broke into house under impression it was their own. (8 LMU. While understandable on a surface level, this is still unambiguously wrong, unsettling, and illegal—but with proper contrition, hard to stay too furious about.)
      5. Had to take a shit real bad. (5 LMU. Even more understandable. Reminding us that desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. This scenario hearkens to the maritime axiom, “Any port in a storm”, relating how any land, no matter how unsafe, is safer than the open water in ferocious weather. Of course, there are consequences to docking in an enemy port, and one should be mindful that they will need to face them when the storm passes.)
      6. Curiosity + Doesn’t know right from wrong. (1 LMU.)
      7. Cop with a warrant. (0 LMU)
      8. Curiosity + Knows right from wrong + Doesn’t care. (-2 LMU. There is no reason to do this in the first place, and the very act of burgling is an assault on one’s sense of safety. Highly discouraged in almost all societies.)
      9. Stealing to support a drug addiction. (-10 LMU. Compounded when the items stolen are worth far more than the resale value they would receive on the black market, e.g., it would be preferable, and perhaps more morally righteous, to wake you and demand $40 cash than to take your expensive PlayStation 4 and fence it for the same.)
      10. Stealing just a few of your video games to entertain her children. (-40 LMU)
      11. Stealing all of your video games to entertain herself. (-50 LMU)
      12. Stealing all of your stuff, not just the video games. (-75 LMU)
      13. Cop with no warrant (-200 LMU)
      14. Wanted to touch your butt. (-250 LMU)
      15. Stabbing you to death in the course of stealing your stuff. (-1000 LMU)
      16. On a single-minded mission of killing you (-10,000 LMU)

    Unused titles from my drafts folder

    The race for the American Presidency will end with the United States being bombed

    I was recently invited into the Illuminati

    My negative Yelp review of the Life in Christ Lutheran Church

    world is a fuck

    ⌊⊇ ‘¸\,/¸’ ⊂⌋

    I Am Writing the Scenario for the NEXT Next Final Fantasy Game.

    EXT. BURNING RUINS OF THE SLAUGHTERED INNOCENT VILLAGE

    Image Credit: Getty
    Work Status: Stalled
    Caffeine Status: Full
    World Status: a Fuck

    I’ve been eating this protein, mane

    Yeah motherfucker. Crushing this. Getting shredded. Just fucking… yoked the fuck out. Crack an egg right down a throat. Take a slug of protein. Get it all up in your maw.

    Such good flavors, homie. Such good flavors, B. Swee-e-et caramel, bah bah bah—yes son. Clif bars in your pocket son.

    Getting swole. Swole. Swole and woke, so woke—swoke.

    I’m gonna eat some fuggin tuna later!!

    Image Credit: no clue.

    I used to take things hyper-literally as a teenager.

    I had a serious attitude about serious things. My text messages were fully punctuated; I cried often. Then one day I discovered irony, and realized nothing matters. Now I live in a tent-like tarp construction that I roll up and carry on my back from place to place as municipalities force my removal from public property. I live off of the land and can identify twelve different types of mushroom, nine poisonous, two edible, one hallucinogenic. Every dollar I make goes toward buying weed and Arby’s sandwiches, and I’ve long grown accustomed to eating discarded food from the trash. Basically I’ve extracted myself from the matrix and my everyday behavior is governed by little more than the fact that one day in the far future the world will be consumed by an unfeeling star, killing billions. I do heroin occasionally. Life is nothing but a tiresome endurance test of chewing glass and bubble gum… and I’m all out of bubble gum

    Last chance sleeping on the alderwood raft

    One day I’m going to publish all of my WordPress and Twitter drafts at once, and y’all will think I’ve finally gone bugnuts insane.

    I am reading the Quran, and a book by Joy Williams, called Ninety-Nine Stories of God. One of these titles is ironic. Both books are pretty good. I remain a steadfast atheist.

    My dad once posited that I was anti-Christian. I countered that I am anti-whomever’s nearest and loudest. You think I’d be down with life if I was born in Saudi Fucking Arabia? Me? Trans woman fucking shit head mouth shooter? No, thanks. Anyway, as a hippie woman of the world, you can’t read a religious text you don’t believe in unless you tell literally everyone about it. How high-minded and open-assed you are. People love that.

    Fun fact though—the cover of the Williams book is achingingly sincere, so much so that I tucked it inside the Quran, like a Playboy in a textbook, so as not to be seen as a normie on that Jesus shit. I am such a fucking asshole. I am so pretentious, if I ever really thought about it, it would hurt.

    a comment to the cops and their many ardent fans

    Watch this video, and listen to what the officer says to Breaion King, who works as a teacher in Texas. Listen to his advice.

    You hear what he said, how chilling it was? The diabolical nature of his certitude? The confusion on her face, and then, the realization that he is not seeing her? Trapped, captive, she realizes that she has all-but-nothing to do with this. It’s what she looks like, and how that makes him feel, that got her captured in this way. She was arrested for his feelings.

    “Violent tendencies,” he said. “I want you to think about that.  I’m not saying anything, I’m not saying that it’s true. I’m not saying that I can prove it or nothing. But 99 percent of the time when you hear about stuff like that, it is the black community that’s being violent. That’s why the white community are afraid… and I don’t blame them.”

    And I hear this sort of sentiment *all the time* in white rooms, indignant white people, white cops, white security. I’m calling you out. This sort of thinking is a problem.

    The Austin police chief promptly apologized publicly and profusely to the victim and ordered an administrative investigation into the details of the stop. That’s not the problem. Actually, that’s fantastic. That’s a way we can move forward. And much forward movement needs to be done.

    Let’s go down this, line by line. The remark was made as part of a discussion on race, and the officer begins: “I think a lot of people are afraid of black people.” He rephrases it, rhetorically. “Why are so many people afraid of black people?”

    “That’s what I want to figure out,” Breaion replies. “Because I’m not a bad black person.”

    “I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way.”

    “Why?”

    “Violent tendencies.” Stated as a fact, with no evidence or elaboration, about all black people.

    “I want you to think about that.  I’m not saying anything, I’m not saying that it’s true.” But you believe it’s true. 

    “I’m not saying that I can prove it or nothing.” You believe it is true, and you wish it could be proven. You know it for a fact in your heart, and that’s good enough. 

    “But 99 percent of the time when you hear about stuff like that, it is the black community that’s being violent.” Shockingly, insanely untrue. What is “stuff like that”? Is it acts of violence? Ninety-nine percent of acts of violence are the work of the black community? You said this.

    “That’s why the white community are afraid… and I don’t blame them.” Because I agree.

    You say no cop gets up and wants to go commit race violence. You say no cop wakes up and wants to kill. My father was a cop. I agree with you. That’s not the problem. The problem is all of the people who think exactly the same as this guy here. The people who enforce laws selectively, with selective degrees of force, against threats as they perceive them. No cop gets up in the morning and wants to kill—they just want to go to work, do their job, come home safe. Some people see the world a certain way, and until that kind of thinking can be trained out of them, they will see it on the job. They’ll incorporate their racism into their work. They will keep their communities safe, well-intentioned, satisfying their definition of safety. They’re not bad people. They’re not trying to hurt anybody.

    But they are.

    And they must stop.

    It’s very hard to bite my tongue about this sort of thing.

    Violent tendencies. I want you to think about that.

    Video Credit: New York Times

    Nom Like a Child

    So I’m reading garbage forum posts on the internet, like I do, because it’s fun to me to lurk around reading the thoughts of oddballs who guilelessly reveal strange things about their life when I have time to kill. It’s that, memes, video games, and then books. This is if I don’t have a new issue of Harper’s. Harper’s is extremely good. Anyway, I am becoming infinitely dumber as I age, so I read more trash perhaps than I used to.

    Doing this, I come across a guy, thirty-something, talking about his diet. It’s very funny to me. I’ll just repost it:

    This is a list of pretty much any meal I eat ever:

    -Steak and a baked potato with cheese and sour cream

    -cheeseburger with ONLY ketchup and mayo and potato chips

    -broiled fish (either whitefish or tilapia, no other kind) and clam chowder

    -fried chicken and jojos with ranch dressing

    -kung pao chicken and steamed white rice

    -beef and cheese burrito with tortilla chips and salsa

    -hamburger helper (classic) and potato chips

    -tuna helper (classic) and potato chips

    -buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce

    -cheese ravioli with marinara sauce and garlic bread

    Holy shit! Aside from being a bulleted compendium of everything I ate today, that’s hilariously bad. I find people with bad diets like this to be very funny, especially when they go on, like this guy, to claim supertaster status, genetic issues, or that a vegetable in their mouth literally makes them vomit, instead of considering that their issue might just be psychological. Imagine going your whole life eating only this! Never crunching a delicious apple! No wedge salads! I mean, fuck health—I don’t even see any cake in here. Or eggs florentine! Fucccck. So salty. So colorless!

    That diet is a damn kid’s menu. That diet is a carbohydrate death injection. That shit makes my chest ache. We have finally found the formula to turn a heart literally to stone.

    Anyway, the word of the hour is bleph·a·ro·spasm. Blepharospasm. It refers to an involuntary tight closure of the eyelids. Sounds scary. So dark in here!!!

    Do not lean into negative emotions. Everyone is scared and petty. Balance the world with your smile.

    Photo Credit: Applebee’s

    Current Meal Status: Applebee’s

    Sometimes You Want to Go: Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Which, for me, is Applebee’s)

    There’s a Sarahsze.com

    And in keeping with tradition, she strikes me as very creative. Also very successful. I need to give her a call. It sorta goes against the literal truth of the modus operandi of the Same Name Squad, but in spirit, it is a-OK. We can always use some help with the visual aesthetics around here.

    I mean, look at this. I can’t do this. There’s so much care and precision, here. Some of the best art I’ve ever produced is basically a story about me throwing up with the word “fuck” used fifty times. When it comes to me, y’know, it’s like, art? More like “fart.” You can use that one. Pull-quote. Right above the title of a book jacket. “More like fart.”—Stephen King. And then SARAH SZABO: Haunted Contemplations.

    Speaking of book jackets, I was named writer of the month for the current issue of California-based literary magazine Drunk Monkeys! Issue number 4. Free stories at the link! One is called “Beer Mile,” and it’s a comedy. It’s kind of funny! The main characters are real dopey assholes, I love ’em. The other is called “Fit of Inspiration”, and it’s short. Short and strange. So, yo dawg, are you bored as fuck? You want me to weave something for you? You wanna get swept away by our shared imaginations to the far-off place where wings take dream? Then please, get up on this dick.

    Youtube Rabbit Hole: The atmospheric loops and jams of Lee Bannon
    Photo Credit: Sarah Sze

    I spend a lot of money buying groceries for myself

    because I eat good, bitch.

    Fridge full of Powerade and nut milks. Fresh celery with a crispy crunch. I have meat. I have soda. I have beer. I eat and drink it all. When I go home to my apartment, I actually climb inside of the fridge. It’s been modified. It’s very spacious, with a chair. And then, I consume. I spark a joint and inhale. But I only eat the finest offerings. Fresh shrimp, the most delicious decapod. Frash shramp.

    The rain pitter-patters on the rooftops and I while away another day. I’m reading this book and it’s frickin’ good. I gotta get this guy’s other books. He’s a history dude. But before I do that, I gotta finish this one before this comes in the mail!!

    Anxiety is in your mind, most days. The lions, in reality, are rarely breathing down your back.

    Youtube Rabbit Hole: Norm Macdonald

    Photo Credit: You Made Me Smile