The term "keeping up with the Joneses" originated with Rebecca and Mary Jones (old money of 19th century New York's high society and aunts of novelist Edith Wharton). In 1868 they ordered the construction of a mansion on 57th street, which at the time was inconceivably uptown, and Mary was said to be the first New Yorker to own a plumbed bathtub.
From conception, "keeping up with the Joneses" has been tied to competitive materialism, and in 150 years the term has shifted from referencing The Joneses of 1800s Manhattan, to our personal Joneses we spend to keep up with. Despite this transition, however, the main factor that motivates [...]
How many times have you wished for a personal assistant? Someone to pay the bills, schedule the doctor visits, put gas in the car?
You can’t talk to Amy Cray without wishing she would come to your house and make everything easier. She’s just that kind of person—with an easy smile and a competent, friendly manner.
She’s also the personal assistant for, among other clients, a Very Famous Literary Personage. Personal assistants of Amy's experience make $80-$125K annually, plus health, retirement and bonuses, but those positions are hard to come by. Amy is in the middle of that range. Personal assistants with moderate experience working for CEOs, CFOs, etc. [...]
Sometime between when our house was built in 1898 and when we moved in this May, there was a termite infestation. We discovered this one night after settling in to the living room for some quality time with our Oz DVDs. My boyfriend Nate was standing next to the TV, fiddling with the remote, when half his leg fell through the floor.
After he dislodged his kneecap and retrieved the broken boards (which had landed in the basement because our house has no subfloor), we discovered termite tracks. Panic ensued.
He took to the basement with a flashlight while our dog nervously paced around the hole, giving me side eye [...]
The book was called 100 Bullshit Jobs and How to Get Them.
I want to say that I bought it in the San Francisco airport, but during those days, it could've just as easily have been Dulles, Heathrow, Oakland, San Jose, Newark, JFK, or any other number of airports. At the time, I was traveling almost weekly, and while I usually have a great head for small details, that era of my life has faded into a blur.
While being in the book put me in the same dubious company as "Right-Wing Radio Talk Show Host" (#82) and "Being Donald Trump" (#11), I'll admit to being tickled when [...]
I received an offer my meager budget and wandering nature would not allow me to refuse: A 664-mile round-trip on the Greyhound bus from San Diego to Las Vegas for $62.50. Even if I had to pay for a post-bus ride tetanus shot and sputum culture on account of Greyhound’s supposed dreadful conditions, the ticket was still just half the cost of driving. Plus I’d have eight hours of nothingness each way, which was almost unheard of in the two years since I went on an unexpected reproductive binge that resulted in two off-the-chain baby boys in just over 18 months. To the Hound I went.
San Diego’s main [...]
At Chipotle, a place where I have eaten roughly three times a month for the last ten years, I sometimes ask the cashier for "a little cup for water." Then I walk over to the soda fountain and fill it up with Sprite. (I choose Sprite because it is clear and looks the most like water, so if a worker walks past, he or she won’t suspect it is a stolen drink.) At most Chipotles, the water and the lemonade come from the same tap at the soda fountain, and to get the water you have to pull on a little lever. Sometimes, to distract potential witnesses of my crime, [...]