Fantasyland: We, The Staff

By Emily Jean

The final question on the application reads, “Why do you want to work at Summer Camp?” Nearly everyone writes some cliché bullshit along the lines of “Camp is my home away from home” or “I really want to embrace and explore my Jewish roots.” That’s the sort of sappy crap the directors look for during the hiring process. Each summer, they employ a staff of us ranging from seventeen to thirty – everyone on the verge of futureless and bringing the single-and-ready-to-mingle mentality of a sexually desperate high schooler. So let’s be honest here. If we were all to answer that question truthfully, we would collectively type:  Continue reading


The Hussies Upstairs: Part 2

J Parker-Skyline-ViewBy Amber Robbin

I emerged from the bathroom, as put together as I’d bother for a humid Windy City day, and merged with the other little black dresses careening around marble corners on a carousel of false, glittering smiles and jewel-toned cocktails. I rounded the bend at the giant glass windows overlooking the seamless lake and passed Nigel on my way outside. He was busy taking orders from a server: “But I had that section last night,” she whined “and I had nothing but two-tops the entire night! Why ya gonna waste one of your best servers on date night, Nigel, when I could be rockin’ that couch section better than any of the girls in here?!”  Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #5 Non-Fiction

Bare CoveBy Amber Robbin

Normally, Whole Foods is a place that brings me joy, boasting a “guilt-free” hot buffet that smacks of buttery goodness and free samples galore left unattended in generous heaps. It’s a veritable playground for the sometimes-vegetarian (that I am) with yoga mats and fancy lip balms that make the yuppie lifestyle almost desirable. The only downer, normally, are the last few minutes anyone ever spends inside the store, when it becomes all-too-apparent that a more befitting name for the place would be ‘Whole Paycheck.’ Other than that, I associated Whole Foods with perfectly lovely memories – until one night in March. 

On that night, my soul collapsed over a brown box of marshmallow encrusted sweet potatoes. I felt myself being consumed exactly as I was meant to be doing the consuming, eaten alive by my inner swarm of lacking purpose, lacking sense of self, and lacking desire to wake up the next day and go to work – a full eight hours before that task even needed to be confronted. Continue reading

Fantasyland: Only Camp

Only CampBy Emily Jean

The other day I fell in love with a dress I knew I couldn’t afford on one of the overwhelmingly delicious racks at Urban Outfitters. And after experiencing the back and forth battles of joy versus angst and I-Cant-Live-Without-This versus Broke-Ass-College-Kid, I realized that the dress represented more than just floral, cotton, and my entire paycheck. It represented a Friday night on a beautiful peninsula in Middle-of-Nowhere, MO. The dress represented too many posey photographs taken in front of the mural outside the dining hall, hairy Shabbos chicken and dry chocolate cake, checking for daddy long legs on the chapel benches at services before returning to sitting after the Mourner’s Kaddish, and lots and lots of clapping, dancing, and cheering out random words in Yiddish. Camp’s Shabbat was all up in that dress, because plainly and simply, thoughts of camp are always all up in my mind.

Continue reading

A Joint Affair: Episode 2 – Shitty First Day

A Joint Affair 5
By Lirot Comma Brian

I glide across the rainy road as the darkness turns grey. A regretful high-pitched tone beats the drums of my ear due to the trials and tribulations of the recent hours past. I cannot go into work without a shower…no way. I fold down the passenger side sun visor to see my brown hair laying above my greasy forehead in clumps.

Six hours slide by, and just like that, the adventure’s over. As soon as David pulls into the driveway of my parents’ house, I swing the door open before he can get the chance to park.

“Thanks for doing that, Mike.” David hollers as I grab my backpack from the trunk.

“Anytime homie.” I respond as I speed walk up to the garage door. “I’m always down for whatever.”  Continue reading

Merry Christmas, To Whom It May Concern: Part 2

By Amber Robbin

'What do you want to do today --hunt, gather, or just hang out?'

Around week five, Will and I had concocted the perfect business model to save us from our job search (or at least from having to think about it by making ourselves laugh):

“Man, Will. Your apartment is turning into an internet café.”

“Haha, totally.”

“We should just invite people in from off the streets. It could be a café for unemployed people! Think about it: a place for us to meet other pathetic, jobless folks and commiserate together.”

“Yeah, Logan Square would dig something like that.”

“And we could serve food! You make such good sandwiches, sweetie! We could call it…The Well Fare Café…with Sandwich Art by Will.”  Continue reading

A Joint Affair: Episode 1 – Bloodshot Disguise

By Lirot Comma Brian

Everyone seems to be a little shell-shocked after the past winter, but since the Midwest began to boil, my loving locks lack practicality. I didn’t cut my hair while studying Art & Design this year in downtown Chicago, but now that I’m back in the west suburbs, I can’t walk around looking like a fuckin’ hippie…or so my parents say. Oh the irony…

“Have any summer plans yet?” the European barber says under her thick accent. Why does she always think I want to talk to her?

“No not yet, I’ve had a couple interviews since I got home from school, but I haven’t heard anything back yet.” I reply while a couple hair follicles fall into my mouth.  Continue reading

Merry Christmas, To Whom It May Concern: Part 1

By Amber Robbin

me and carl

I heard the sweet, familiar sound of Will whispering faintly behind me: “Amberrr…” It was the last time I’d see that crop of wavy brown locks he referred to as his “basket of curly fries” emerge from behind the wall that bordered my desk. I swiveled in my chair to take in the sight of his affectionately nicknamed “gooseneck” arching over the partition like one of the Land Before Time longnecks, but this time, I saw a faint redness in his gentle eyes. “They just fired me,” he said, accent on the “fired,” and the frustration. We knew the company had been thinking about making cuts for a while, but I didn’t think they’d actually cut him. Just me: the inattentive, not-to-be-bothered, please-leave-me-to-my-feminist-blog, yes-this-IS-my-fifth-Kit-Kat-from-the-office-snack-bowl receptionist. “I’m so sorry. They just fired me too.” “Oh really? Ok…I’m gonna go call my mom in the bathroom and then get my stuff together. Meet you by the elevator in twenty minutes.”  Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #4 An Action Adventure

By Amber Robbin

Law Firm 4


I emerge from the boardroom like a bat out of hell, just having endured a painful, two-hour meeting with Georgia and Nancy about the database overhaul I’m “spear-heading.” This translates to: “you’re about to spend every waking moment of your life correcting thousands of mailing addresses so that Mr. and Mrs. Rich Deusch can be sent their gift basket of ass kisses to their current multimillion-dollar address.” I have no time to think about what that might mean for my hopes of not hating my life. I have to get back to my desk immediately if I have any hope of walking out the door at 5:30 to my much-needed therapy appointment.


I have an hour left and a dozen binders piled high on my desk. I’m printing with my right hand, labeling with my left, and hole-punching with my foot. Continue reading