Uganda Be Kidding Me Read online

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  In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

  This book is dedicated to all my friends whose

  friendships I’ve ended by writing this.


  What is the proper way to spell traveler—with one l or two?

  Answer: Who cares?

  Where are the best places to shoplift?

  Answer: It doesn’t matter as long as you walk out of the store with the items over your head. This has the opposite impact one would expect.

  Why is there no app along the lines of Grindr to find little people within a fifty-yard radius?

  Answer: This is more of a pitch than a question. There should not only be an app for little people to find each other sexually, but also for fully grown people to be alerted when a nugget is nearby. The app should include their height, dimensions, and nationality—and, of course, locations for viewing.

  Why do black people have better night vision?

  Answer: I think it would be racist to presume I know.

  Where is the best place to get a bikini wax in Paris?

  Answer: Ask Gwyneth Paltrow.

  Why do people think other people want to hear about their dreams?

  Answer: The same reason other people feel the need to tell you that they were once almost hit by a car.

  What are three must-haves when traveling?

  Answer: A compass, skis, and a shotgun.

  Why do people in certain countries consider meat and pastries to be perfectly acceptable companion pieces to gluten?

  Answer: Because they’re Communists.



  June 21, Thursday

  I woke up at 4:45 a.m. in Johannesburg, South Africa, in my bra, underwear, and eyeshades. My head was torqued to the right due to the length and width of the pillow I was resting it on, which had the same dimensions as a panty liner. The duvet accompanying this “pillow” was an inch or two wider and could have doubled as a buffet napkin. I hadn’t traveled halfway around the world to dislocate my collarbone while sleeping. The idea was to go on safari; if I had wanted to go to camping, I would have driven four hours north of Los Angeles to Big Sur, taken some mushrooms, and sexually assaulted a tree.

  I manually maneuvered my head forty-five degrees in the opposite direction to look over at my lesbian friend Shelly, who was sound asleep and fully clothed in a quasi-respectable pair of pajamas. Adults wearing pajamas are already hard to take seriously; it’s even harder to respect that person when she’s a forty-five-year-old professional, and the pajamas in question have toy crop dusters silk screened all over them.

  Our pickup time from the hotel wasn’t until 9:15. I looked at the clock again and deduced that another Xanax would likely induce an eight-hour run of sleep, when really I only needed to kill four hours. My doctor had told me very specifically not to take more than four Xanax in two days; I had already taken seven and slept a total of twenty-five hours in a period of forty-eight. So I picked up a Xanax, bit it in half, and then popped both halves into my mouth, chasing them with a large sip of champagne that was on my nightstand from the previous evening.

  My thoughts then meandered to the entire continent of Africa itself, and I whispered a question to myself, so as to not wake Shelly. “When Kim Kardashian finally births Kanye’s next black baby, wouldn’t it be wonderful if they named the baby Africa with a k? Or better yet, Afrikash?”

  In my limited experience as an adolescent/immature adult, I’ve found it’s always best to travel in even numbers, so there were six of us being flown into the “bush.” One was my cousin Molly, twenty-six. She is the younger, whiter version of Tyler Perry’s Madea. Large—and in charge.

  I remembered that Molly loved animals and wanted to become a zoologist before her parents convinced her to aim lower and work on a reality show. If you’ve ever heard a hippo entering a watering hole, then you know what it sounds like to hear Molly chuckle. Her birth name is Ulrike (pronounced “OOL-reekie”) because our mothers hail from Nazis, and in an effort to live a peaceful life alongside our Jewish brethren, she chose her middle name—Molly—to use personally and at McDonald’s. While everyone else refers to her as Molly, I call her by her birth name because I find Ulrike both appalling and embarrassing. Over the years, it has been shortened to Ricky or Rick the Dick. However, Rick the Dick has never caught on with others, and I constantly have to explain to people who know her why I’m calling her Rick or Ricky. So I’ve adapted to referring to her with either name only in intimate settings such as texts or in a whirlpool.

  Accompanying us would be my newly divorced sister Simone (I facilitated it). She resisted coming because she and her three children were moving into a newer, better house, and the timing couldn’t have been worse. I thought it best to bulldoze right over her plans by hiring movers and getting her a plane ticket, then telling her it was nonrefundable and that I’d be out twenty-five thousand dollars if she didn’t come. Simone often refers to me as a relationship wrecker.

  The other safarigoers were Shelly, the aforementioned lesbian lawyer who lives with me in Los Angeles; Hannah, my oldest friend from LA; and Sue Murphy, who is a co–executive producer on my TV show, Tracey Lately.

  Sue is best described as a female Hunter S. Thompson but with her shit slightly more together. Every once in a while, usually on vacations such as this, she will walk into someone’s room or onto someone’s balcony at around one in the morning, glue a couple of sentences together that sound as if she had moments earlier suffered a stroke. She is the type of person who upon finding herself with a bottle of pinot noir and no available glass will gladly empty the contents of the bottle into a bowl of cereal and then proceed to ingest both the wine and the Frosted Mini-Wheats with a soup spoon. Sue is probably the best traveling companion of all time, stateside as well as internationally.

  We refer to Sue as “sixty, single, and looking.” She is not close to sixty, but after this mantra is repeated in front of enough strangers, people often come up and whisper that she looks great for her age. Sue doesn’t bother correcting them, and more often than not she introduces herself as Shelly’s mother even though Shelly and Sue are the same age.

  She is also the only one in the group who is in something along the lines of a “relationship,” with a man who goes by the name of Chuck. There are three male names that top the list of making it impossible for me to take them seriously: Chuck, Howard, and Ducky. Sue and Chuck’s relationship takes a beating every time I break up with a boyfriend, decide to take a trip across the planet, and force everyone to come with me.

  Sue and Lesbian Shelly on the plane to Johannesburg, South Africa.

  “When the hell did you decide to go to Africa?” Sue asked me when I rode my Segway into her office and gave her information about the typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B shots we would all need in order to traverse to Africa.

  “The doctor will be here at three today for you, me, Hannah, and Shelly.”

  “Chelsea, we tape the show at three thirty p.m. Did you forget that you have a TV show?”

  Out of fairness to Sue, there have been times when I have indeed forgotten that I do have a TV show. I’ve gone to lunches on a Mon