How to Be Uncool (Featuring a Swiffer Wet Jet)

swifferI live in a house that’s 90% hardwood floors and tile. Why? Because I have two cats, two dogs, and a 12,000 square foot yard filled with mud is why. When you live in a climate where it’s snowing one day and 58 degrees the next, carpeting rates up there with trips to the proctologist or possibly a dinner where you’re surrounded by all of your exes and you’re expected to pick up the tab. Personally, I’ll take the proctologist.

So, I bought a Swiffer Wet Jet. Fancy thing – cleaning solution and a mop combined into one device under $20. I was closing out yet another 17-hour day last night around 10pm and decided it was a fine time to mop my hardwood floors. I remove the Swiffer from its shrinkwrap and proceed to get the solution bottle into the slot (FUCK, this is easy!), install the mop pad and head into the living room for some squirty/moppy OCD-fueled late-night cleaning action. (Note: I am not dressed up like a French maid or anything of the sorts — to your great dismay and mine.)

I press the button.

Nothing happens.

Press it again. *still nothing*

Naturally, this is where we all become Arthur Fonzarelli.

I shake it, whap it on the floor. I remove the bottle and reinsert it. Press the button again.

MOTHERFUCK.

And right about now is where I start to worry that I’ve broken it with my agressive behavior.

But right then, I think — hey, I’m a giant geek. This has multiple pieces to it. Surely they’ve created an instruction manual somewhere in all that wrapping for prehistoric sloths like me who can’t figure out how to use a goddamned MOP.

And there it is. The instruction manual. We’ll skip the part where I dropped it on the floor and Small Dog came running, scooped it up in her teeth and sat with it ever so proudly on the sofa. Or maybe we won’t. I regained possession (it’s 4th and 8 at this point) and sonofabitch — “Troubleshooting.”

Aside from feeling as if I should start a fire with my college degree right about now, I say FINE! We’ll trouble shoot! Reinsert bottle. Yeah. Did that. Check batteries. WTF batteries? Who said anything about batteries?

<skipping the part where I robbed AA batteries from various “household gadgetry” so I could mop my floors>

I endorse the Swiffer Wet jet. Works like a charm. I collapsed into bed, floors clean and wired tired after a whirlwind week that’s only the beginning of the promo for the book. I thought about all of the communications I’d sent out this week about it. To supporters, colleagues, family, friends, fans.

And I realized that I’d done the most uncool thing.

I’d said thank you. A lot. Borderline metric ass tons.

I have no need to be cool.

Which means I won’t stop telling you thank you. I’ll say it more than you’re comfortable hearing it and I cannot WAIT to watch you squirm. While I blasted into our collective selves the other day for letting common decency fall by the wayside, I will not pass common decency by just because anyone thinks it’s uncool.

It’s become a phrase we throw around willy-nilly. We say it but don’t mean it. We hear it, but we don’t feel it. So I’m committing myself to being the most uncool girl in the world by not only saying thank you — and often — but meaning it.

Maybe it makes you uncomfortable to hear me say it so often. Maybe you don’t hear it when I say it. But for fuck’s sake, I mean it and I will put on a Batgirl costume and do the Snoopy Dance if that’s what it takes for you to hear me and know that there are THREE THINGS I never forget (even after, say…3 bottles of wine…4 martinis…any combination thereof):

  • YOU are the reason I get to do what I love every day. It’s by YOUR grace that anyone even wants to offer me a magazine column or book deal.
  • The conversations you have, start, and share on my Facebook page, blog, and columns are better than any article or post I could ever dream of writing.
  • Getting emails from you and having the chance to meet you when I’m out of the Bat Cave — those are simply the best parts of my days. If you’ve never dropped me an email, try it. Just don’t add me to your fucking mailing list or I will kill you in your left eye. (Love you, mean it.)

And I don’t care how fucking uncool it is to say all of that and let you know I hear you, see you, welcome you, and thank you for hanging out and sharing your dirty hedgehog pictures and shit.

Which bring me to my mom

It’s also pretty uncool how much I love my mom.

There’s no such thing as the idyllic childhood, but my mom did her damnedest with what she had. Three kids, a new career, and time demands from one alway pulling at time able to be spent with the other. And this kid? Yeah. I was a colossal pain in the ass. Mom jokes (or states, rather…semantics) that I’m the cause for every grey hair on her head. But from the day I moved out of her house when I graduated high school (it was the day AFTER graduation) until today, all I’ve ever wanted is for her to look at her middle kid and think I wasn’t such a pain in the ass after all.

That day happened on Wednesday this week when I got these in the mail.

power of unpopular proofs

They’re the first proofs of my book. And it’s undeniably uncool that I sat down at my desk at 8pm at night and cried.

All I wanted to do was call my mom – but I knew she was already in bed. I wanted her to hear me say that – for everything I put her through and every grey hair – I’d finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing. I wanted to tell her thank you, because if there were a living case study on why species eat their young, it’s me. That I was grateful I’d been born human and not a hamster, else I wouldn’t have stood a chance with her. And no matter how often I fucked up (or continue to to so), SHE is the reason I get to do everything I ever dreamed. So instead, I took to Facebook.

Facebook mom

Because she never told me I couldn’t. And she would find it unfathomably hilarious that I spent 30 minute struggling with a mop at 10pm at night because getting me to clean my room as a kid took an act of Congress.

This book? You guys made it possible. But for all of the shit that comes out of my keyboard every day — you should be thanking her. She kicked my ass and told me I could do it. In a lot of cases, she made me do it — all those things I never wanted to do. I might have been a pain in the ass, but I’m her pain in the ass. And she’s my mom.

dedication

You guys are the ones who have my book ranking #3 on Kindle for marketing books and in the top 10 for printed marketing books when the damn thing isn’t even available to ship yet. And yeah, mom bought 2 copies (one of each) because she’s good like that. My commitment to you is to continue my incredibly uncool behavior for eternity and to let you and her know that I’m grateful.

Because fuck — if we can’t say thank you…if we can’t hear it when someone tells us thank you…what the fuck do we have?

Fuck*.

*final, gratuitous “fuck” of this blog post.

Thank you. Maybe ask yourself who needs thanking today — and whether you’re being heard by the people you wish would hear you the most.

37 comments
Joel Don
Joel Don

Middle child.  That explains the book and the grey hairs.  Not sure about the Swiffer.  Looking forward to a good read.

John
John

I'm pretty sure loving your mom is cool again. : ) I'm a new reader, love your expressiveness, and will kick in a few bucks toward your retirement. If your subtitle reveals its secret, it's definitely worth the price of admission. 

Joanna June
Joanna June

Thank YOU, Erika, for letting your freak flag fly where we can all see it. You (again) brought tears to my eyes and I immediately pre-ordered the book. We should all be reminded to say and mean our "thank you"s and you lead by great example gratitude.  On that note: THANK YOU Erika's Mom -- in Captain America sweatshirt doing a muppet dance -- for suffering all those grey hairs and more to produce such an amazing, inspiring daughter. 

Melissa
Melissa

Well that's interesting. I was just telling the world what a pain in the neck I was while growing up as well. No wonder I like you so much. Thank YOU for all you do. I'm thrilled you parked your rowdy self here in Denver! Now go big with the book.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  =) 

jessicamalnik
jessicamalnik

THANK YOU! Posts, like this, confirm why your blog is my favorite. Can't wait to read your new book(S). 

jewelfry
jewelfry

Thank you for being such a bad ass inspiration.

theTsaritsa
theTsaritsa

Meant to reply to your comment, oops.

Sarah
Sarah

Erika: THANK YOU!

Howard Sklar
Howard Sklar

The thanks go the other way.  Your writing is a treat.  You know you like reading someone when your pulse goes up when you see the blog in bold in your RSS reader. And yes, I pre-ordered the book.

jessdowning
jessdowning

This post made me teary-eyed. The reason I decided to have a kid was because I couldn't imagine not having the type of relationship I have with my mom. And, since I now have an adorable little 6 month old girl, I look forward to helping her fly (and make) her own kite!  Oh, and the Method wood floor cleaner smells like almond and is delightful.  Looking forward to grabbing a copy of the book (and maybe finally getting myself a kindle...)

Kate the Healing Harpist
Kate the Healing Harpist

I don't know if you actually read these - but I gotta say Thank You.  I have had an unbelievably crazy couple of weeks (starting a new business), but I always take the time to read your shit.  I am going to go out and buy a Swiffer.

Sam Turri
Sam Turri

Erika, I think you model what building a strong community around your brand is about. Lots of folks in the marketing world (myself included) can learn from you. I'm happy for your new book launch and you'd better believe I'm buying a copy.

Bret Juliano
Bret Juliano

My first thought with the Swiffer problem was, "Did you check the batteries?" But then again, I come from a tech support position to which most of my answers to help calls are, "Have you tried rebooting your machine?"  and I have a Swiffer too, that probably helped on my end.

JosephRatliff
JosephRatliff

Congratu-fuckin-lations on your new book Erika... put on those sunglasses... it's time for the limelight girl! :)

adam telian
adam telian

I started reading your blog a couple weeks ago and I look forward to every next post.  Seeing your passion for what you do and your writing made me get my blog back up and running and sparked my passion for digital marketing again. Thanks for all your work. www.adamtelian.com

theTsaritsa
theTsaritsa

I love letting my freak flag flap in the wind. There's nothing wrong with giving thanks, and besides, popularity and coolness are definitely overrated :)  I really want to read your book!

Marta Spendowska
Marta Spendowska

So I started crying after you cleaned your floor. Just bought Unpopular and can't wait to read you, Miss Reddest!  I love your writing so much! Now — tell me tell me everything you know! 

Janine
Janine

Only you, my dear, could turn a defeat at mopdom into an inspiration about decency. Off to buy the fuck out of that book.

Bryce Alan Katz
Bryce Alan Katz

That little snippet up there in the grey box? That's the one I was talking about. Best. Dedication. Ever.

Sydney Owen
Sydney Owen

You're welcome.  And thank YOU for producing content worth reading/sharing/purchasing/copying/plagiarizing/loving. 

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