Hi or NOT
My older sister Laura is one of my best friends in the world. This review isn’t about her, though; it’s based on the same joke that we’ve been telling each other for 15 years, the centerpiece of which is one unforgettable human being. It all stems from a supermarket trip that took place when I was five and she was six. Our mom would send us together to run errands for her in the store, and on one of these jaunts to the canned foods aisle or wherever, we met the girl who would leave us irrevocably changed. We turned a corner and almost ran directly into the cart that she was sitting in, buckled up top in the baby seat. We were super bewildered in that moment, (a) because we had nearly knocked over a toddler, and (b) because of what, exactly, that toddler happened to look like. She had blonde hair that PUFFED in perfect spheres of fuzz in three directions, I think maintained with bulky scrunchies: one on each side of her head, and one perched directly on top. The rest of her face reminded me deeply of a woman from the comic strip The Far Side, which Laura maintains as well despite the fact that those characters all look well over 40. On its own, the wacky appearance of this little girl probably wouldn’t have made a permanent impression, but it was burned indelibly into our memories when she spoke. She glared at us with the craziest consternation you could ever expect to see on a small child—it was SERIOUSLY bitchy—and, in a voice that was half-bored, half-accusatory, sassed, “Hi, or NOT?” To clarify, the underlying message of this was “Are you going to say hi to me, or are you going to KEEP IT MOVING already?” We were able to squeak out a tiny “…hi” before simultaneously having to turn tail and laugh our goddamned crazy heads off about this wonderful weirdo. She continues to come up in conversation at least once a month when we’re feigning attitude at each other, often while answering each other’s phone calls. Hi or NOT, to me, starts with five stars for her punchy personality and overall look, as well as the lasting power of the impression she made on us, but maybe loses one for being mean 2 me!! —Amy Rose
★★★★

People Protesting at the Local Library
I saw four people rather meekly protesting the closure of my tiny local library. I give their handmade signs one star because they were not very colorful, creative, or eye-catching. They didn’t have a good slogan to chant, but I give them four stars for trying. Involved was the rather crazy lady who also works in the charity shop and calls everybody “Curly-locks” no matter what their hairstyle and randomly bursts out singing. I give her five stars for her enthusiasm and for the confusion she caused passers-by deciding whether they liked her or were scared of her and for entertaining me and making me smile despite myself. —Naomi

★★★★
★★★★★

My Dentist
I went to the dentist after one of my teeth started hurting like crazy. After she had taken a look at my mouth, she decided to write me up a prescription for antibiotics. She looked me up and down and said, “I can see that you’re really skinny, so you probably don’t eat a lot. You have to take this medicine with food—real food, not like water or a salad or anything, so mentally prepare yourself.” For being a totally judgmental asshole, I give this dentist ONE STAR (only not zero because she did cure my mouth pain). SCREW YOU!!! —Laia

Black Sabbath Cover Bands
The former bassist for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins (and obviously a musician in her own right, under her own name, Melissa Auf der Maur) had a Black Sabbath cover band in the early naughts. I thought that was a cool time to have a BS cover band. It was called HAND OF DOOM. But the BEST Black Sabbath cover band name I have ever heard—and possibly best cover band name I’ve ever heard—lives here in Whitehorse, Yukon (where I currently reside), and that cover band name is: A Bunch of BS. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars. A solid B for BULL. —Sonja
★★★★

Colby the Disneyland Guide
There is nothing so faith-renewing as an adult who believes in the magic of Disney. When I went to Disneyland we had the BEST tour guide. His name was Colby and he moved to California to be an actor but started working at Disneyland because he figured he should “make [him]self useful.” A utilitarian, I see! His sincerity perfectly matched his plaid vest and red pants, and his nose was even upturned a little bit like Mickey Mouse’s. Whenever we couldn’t decide what to do next and asked him what he would recommend, his eyes would widen as if we’d just asked him to steal us the princess costumes so we could run around in them and clobber children, disguised as representatives of the Walt Disney Corporation. He would take a step back, hold up his hands, and say, “I am just here to make y’all happy.” But Colby’s best moment was when we recalled a fellow we’d met earlier named Paul, and he said, to no one in particular, “Oh yeah, Paul. Paul the rubber ball.” Then, after a quiet chuckle, “I just came up with that out of nowhere.” COLBY 4EVER. —Tavi
★★★★★

Anna*
Anna came to see the Magnetic Fields with her boyfriend. She was probably 16, and very tall, over six feet in her heels. She had a camel-colored cloche around her bouncy blonde curls, and that, along with her short, perky nose, made Anna look just like Taylor Swift. This girl could have entered a 5,000-person Taylor Swift lookalike contest, and she would have won. Anna and her boyfriend hung around the merch booth, touching each other affectionately and occasionally stepping back to call one of their mothers. They swooned over the setlist, and kissed, once. I am 90 percent sure that Anna was born a boy, but standing there in front of me, she was a teenage girl just like any other, excited about being out on a proper date. I would give her 10 stars if I could. —Emma S.
* Not her real name.
★★★★★

RIDICULOUS Couple on Bikes
There’s really nothing like the first day that the weather gets warm enough to bring back all your memories of summer fun. You know it’s not going to stay that beautiful for long, but you can’t wait to start planning all your warm-weather adventures. On this one particular such day I was outside ogling the passerby when this SUPER HOT tattooed dude rode by on his bike. My boss and I were all, “DAMN!” There was a girl, also riding a bike, next to him, and a couple seconds later the dude extended his arm and GRABBED THE GIRL’S HAND and then they continued riding their bikes down the street while holding hands. I give them both five stars for being the cutest ever and reminding me that LOVE IS REAL AND BEAUTIFUL. But I also give them one star because of the puking that ensued after witnessing such a scenario. —Laia
★★★★★

London Messiah
A couple of months ago I was sitting at the front on the top of a double-decker bus in London. The bus had momentarily stopped at the Liverpool Street station. I watched the rather bored- and sullen-looking faces of suited businessmen droop along the sidewalk. It was a cold, English winter, and everything was looking predictably gray and fed up. Before I knew it, I saw a flash of color whiz out around a corner. There he was: a man, wearing only a pair of orange Hawaiian shorts, with a beard and long waving hair, both down to his waist. Barefoot, he skateboarded down the street, his long locks dancing through the air wildly as he slalomed around passersby, high-fiving every dreary Londoner as he passed. His happiness was contagious, and I watched through the bus window as everyone he touched instantly grew an enormous grin. A man in a gray suit spun around and laughed as he made contact with this man, who, I’m almost sure, was a reincarnation of Jesus. And I give that man five stars…not just from me, but from the whole of London. —Eleanor
★★★★★

My Friend’s Little Sister
Lauren is the little sister of my friend Megan. She’s 10 years old and enjoys insulting me, making song parodies with her friends, insulting me, and coning. She has fiery hair and she wears cute Boden-style outfits that she picks out herself. The other day I was with Megan at the mall, and Lauren was with us. At Dairy Queen, she ordered a cone, and sweetly asked the cashier if he believed in unicorns. When he said no, she angrily shoved the cone onto her head like a unicorn’s horn. “Well, ya should!” she yelled, and strutted away, ice cream dripping onto her face. I truly do like Lauren for her spunk, but I will have to deduct one star for her calling me a shiny-nosed moron (or some variation) on a regular basis. —Ruby B.
★★★★

This One Kid in Line at Six Flags Two Summers Ago
In the summer of 2010, two friends and I rented a car and drove to New Jersey to spend the day at Six Flags Great Adventure. The whole day was spent observing HUMAN BEINGS and what weird creatures they are—especially the child variety, who just do crazy shit in public with zero embarrassment and no apparent awareness that they might be observed. Which they were, with a vengeance, by us. Like, a five-year-old would be walking along a promenade with her parents and would suddenly bust a crazy disco/ninja move, then just proceed like everything was normal. The best example of this has become a legend in our lives. I was in line for a ride with my friend Julie. The line was long and winding, so you’d be standing right next to people way farther down the line for like half an hour waiting for this damn ride. Two of these other people were a pair of boys, probably about nine years old. One was big and one was small. They were unremarkable. UNTIL! The big one suddenly, out of nowhere, grabbed the small one around the waist and violently humped his butt for five seconds, calmly stating, while doing so, “Nuts. Nuts. Nuts.” Then he loosened his grip and they both acted like nothing had happened. When in reality EVERYTHING HAD HAPPENED. I give this kid five stars for showing me that you just can never tell what is going to happen anywhere at any given time. —Anaheed
P.S. When I was assigning these reviews I ordered all the Rookie writers to draw pictures to go with their pieces. I bragged to them that I had just downloaded a program called Seashore and taught myself how to use it and made a GREAT illustration in like 20 seconds. Amy Rose insisted I show them the picture. When I revealed the drawing above, it led to three solid hours of full-on internet HYSTERIA. Naomi made a video of herself laughing at it. At one point I think Hazel rolled clean off her bed. (I give myself five stars, too, for setting a good artistic example for the Rookies.)
★★★★★
★★★★★