Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Best of the Best.

I get about one gazillion emails a day, and there are far too many of them using the ‘best regards’ closer. Oh sure, some people try and mix it up sometimes with some warm regards, kind regards, delicious regards or even plain ol’ regular adjective-free regards. But generally, the best regards are the most popular of the regards. But how can all of these regards really be the best? Isn’t best supposed to be the best? You know, as in there can be only one best? Like Highlander, and shit? Apparently people have thousands of their best regards, just laying around to be given out for no good reason. Personally, even if I had thousands of my best regards to spare, I’d reserve the best regards for people that I care about, and for important messages only. Some people are giving best regards in insanely inappropriate contexts.

Hi Bill,
I need that report by five’o’clock or else you’re fired.
Best regards,

It’s only a matter of time before people take it up a notch and start sending people their best best regards. Just once I’d like to see someone close an email with a more honest set of regards, like second best or fourth best regards, the worst regards, smelly regards, awkward regards or simply zero regards.

Hello Benjamin,
Take your report and shove it directly up your ass.
Absolutely no regards at all whatsoever, not even one single regard,

When letters or emails are outside of the formal business kind of context, people tend to gravitate towards best wishes instead of the regards. But the same logic should still apply. There is always that family of assholes that sends out some long Christmas letter to everyone they’ve ever met to update them with every single thing that has happened to them over the last year, no matter how personal it may be, and how private it should have remained. I’m sure you know the kind of letter that I mean. And it always ends with wishes, but not just any wishes, the best wishes.

Dearest Fapperwheel Fanclub Member,

This year was another roller coaster of a whirlwindy year for the Fapperwheel clan. The family’s patriarchal figure Benjamin Fapperwheel was promoted early in the year and has succeeded just tremendously in his new role as the guy that stands on the side of the road in a Spiderman costume to entice people to come and buy roses at the flower shop. He gets to make his own sign, with an arrow and everything. He also has a Santa Claus costume for the holiday season. We are blessed with all of his newfound success. As for myself, the mother hen, Tiffany Fapperwheel, I was let go mid-June from my position at the Bouncing Titties Buffet and Salad Bar. Rather than get down on myself for too long, I turned it around into an opportunity and started giving dancing classes at the local YMCA. Once the initial protests died down, the classes became quite popular, although many of the class members were overweight unemployed men who refused to participate, and just liked to watch. The tips have been generous though!

Our youngest son Jeremy Fapperwheel is settling in well at his new high school, where the other kids have nicknamed him the Whiz Kid. Not because he is smart, at all, but simply because of his continuous and frequent need to urinate, often accidentally. We all feel that this is a vast improvement over his former school’s nickname for him, Piss Face. Keep it up Piss Face, I mean, Whiz Kid! Our middle child, Dandylion Fapperwheel, a.k.a. Dandy the Amazing, has continued to AMAZE audiences at children birthday parties the county over with her magic act. Contrary to what you may have read in the paper, the parent’s of that particular child dropped the charges in the end, admitting that the burns were not so severe after all, and that in all likeliness her hair would probably grow back just fine, and the same color as before. With a lot of careful editing, a little movie magic, and frequent use of the star wipe, she just completed her video portfolio to send off to clown college, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for her!

Our eldest son, and other middle child, Benjamin Fapperwheel IV, is following in his father’s footsteps by dropping out of school to pursue a career at the car wash, being the guy standing on the roadside trying to get people to turn in and get their car washed. We’ve never been more proud! Our eldest daughter, Britney Fapperwheel, got knocked up at some point this past summer and is planning to marry early in the New Year, you know, before the baby comes, to some real asshole, quite possibly not even the father of the kid. Check your mailboxes soon for the invitations! The ceremony and reception will be held at the Chuck E. Cheese in town where she works, where she usually can be found cleaning the balls one by one from the ball pit where the kids play and pee. She just loves big ol’ shiny balls! Our hearts are just bursting with excitement and joy!

I would like to end on a small note about our two beautiful dogs Prick and Von Johnson Woofenwiener. They’re dead.

All our love and best wishes,
The Fapperwheels

Now that they have used up all of their love as well as their best wishes, one would assume and maybe hope that they would have very little to live for. But don’t get too excited, somehow, they’ll be back, year after year, with all new love and shiny new best wishes. What the hell do I want someone else’s best wishes for anyways? Unless one of their best wishes is that my best wishes comes true (or somehow happens to be the same thing as one of my many wishes,) then I really can’t use them. I doubt that their best wishes are for me to somehow win lots of money. Maybe Jeremy Fapperwheel’s best wish is to stop peeing so much. What the hell good does that do me? And what good does that do him if he gives that wish away?

“Dad, I had wished to stop peeing so much, how come I can’t stop?”
“Oh, that’s easy, son, I gave all of our best wishes away to everyone that we know. Incidentally, we really hate each other now, because I gave all of our love away too. Now, would you mind standing on the plastic, Piss Face?”

The end of letters like that should just read ‘Some love and occasionally decent wishes.’ If you want to spice it up, feel free to make it ‘lots of love and wishes’, but just don’t promise your best. To make matters worse, some people don’t even feel that the best is enough, and they will follow the ‘all our love’ motif and throw in an ‘all the best’.

Hey there Petunia,
I heard through the grapevine that you finally had your head successfully pulled out of your ass. Kudos!
All the best,

All the best… what exactly? All the best… chicken wings? All the best… aluminum siding? All the best… testicular cancer? No matter what it refers to, can this person really claim to be giving them all to you? Like, everyone’s? Not just all their best, but all the best... in the world? Who the hell do you think you are, thinking that you can just give away the world’s entire best? Well, I’m keeping mine, god damnit! And if that shit is not proof enough that people don’t understand the concept of ‘best’, just look at how overused it has become in various expressions, all throughout society. Best man, man’s best friend, the best for last, best of the best? Come on! How could a movie ever be a good with a title like that? It doesn’t even make any sense. It makes even less sense that they made three sequels. And what was James Earl Jones doing in the first one? And what was Ernie Hudson doing in the fourth one? Man, you were Winston Zeddemore, for crying out loud! Winston! Further proof of improper usage of 'best' is that people will say things like ‘absolute best’.

“I did my absolute best.”

As opposed to your other 'best', the one that isn’t absolute? I saw an advertisement for a radio program that claimed it was the ‘#1 BEST SHOW in town’. At first I was annoyed, knowing that there was no need to use both the ‘#1’ and the ‘BEST’ descriptors together. But, eventually I realized that the advertisers are probably only doing this to accommodate the average person, who overuses ‘best’ and has no clear picture of its 'best' meaning.

If they just put ‘BEST SHOW’ then people would ask a stupid question:
“Oh sure, it’s best, but is it the absolute best?”
In contrast, if they just put ‘#1 SHOW’ people would ask an even stupider question:
“Yeah, it says #1, but how do we know if it’s the #1 best?”

So, choose your words carefully, and stop giving out best regards, wishes or whatevers all over town, all willy nilly and shit.

That’s it. All the best regards and best wishes for the best.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Writer's Block, Vol. I.

I sat in a grey office, dimly lit. It was the middle of the afternoon, and there was little to do but reminisce about the bad lunch with my colleagues. Man, work sucks today. I knew I shouldn’t have had that extra portion of veal curry. That was going to come back to haunt me pretty soon. But then I thought, well, going to the washroom is the most enjoyable part of my work day, so that’s a good thing, which either means that I really don’t like my job, or that I like pooping a little too much. Either way, I was looking forward to veal curry’s triumphant return south of the border.

So, sometime not long after this revelation, I got the call. I entered into the washroom and saw an orange peel in the garbage can. Who is taking oranges into the washroom? More importantly, who is peeling oranges in the washroom? I needed to drop my deuce, so I ventured into one of the stalls, only to find some kind of cocoon built on and around the toilet. Don’t get me wrong, I understand covering the seat with a thin veil of rough public washroom paper in a useless attempt to protect yourself from flying herpeecrabs and liquid chlamydia, but this was just insane. I couldn’t even see the toilet seat. I couldn’t even see the water. This person actually brought paper towel from outside the stall to help build his little nest. I didn’t need to see anymore to know that this was not the stall for me. Who does this to a toilet? Hopefully it’s not the same moron who pees in the stall without putting the seat up, and manages to get it all over the seat and even hit the toilet paper dispenser and the surrounding floor, which was the story of the second stall. Who are these people? I decided that I would try and hold it in. Then this guy came in and washed his hands before peeing, but then not after. Who does that? Moreover, what was he playing with before his visit to the washroom that had him convinced he needed to wash up before handling his junk? Probably oranges. I guess the citric acid could sting a little on the ol’ peener. And why the instructions on how to wash our hands? If people haven't figured out how to wash up at this point, are we really to believe that the problem is that they haven't been properly shown? Obviously it's part of some multi-million dollar government effort to eliminate swine-cow-bird-caca-flu.

"Oooooh, you dry at the end! I was drying first, then rinsing and then putting soap all over my hands." or
"Ahhh, that man just sneezed into my open mouth, I'd better go wash my hands. Hopefully the bathroom here has instructions."

That's how it works, and we are that stupid, apparently. As I left the washroom, I noticed that the next guy walking in was wearing open toe sandals. To me, this seemed like a dangerous choice for a public washroom, especially one used by people with such shockingly bad urinary aim. He had toothpaste and a toothbrush in his hand, hopefully to brush his teeth with.

On the way back to my desk, I ran into that idiot that walks around the office real fast, in an attempt to look busy and important all the time. This is usually the same person who writes everything they've ever heard at work in a little notebook. Hey, I wonder, do they have shelves full of notebooks at home? Are they figuring that someday the CEO will walk in and say, “excuse me, but what did I say eight and one quarter years ago, at the company meeting? Oh, you know? Awesome, you get an instant super promotion…”? Not gonna happen, busy bee. Busy bee tripped over my extended leg, accidentally of course, and went flying out the window. It made a really cool sound. The whole floor cheered. I returned to my cubicle, where I sat watching the clock until quitting time. “I sure could use a muffin”, thought I. In my peripheral vision I could see someone napping. Maybe they were dead, but probably they were just sleeping. You could hear people, all around, complaining about how much work they have to do, but it is obvious that no one is doing any of said work. And then quitting time arrived. Quitting time's arrival is always kind of anti-climactic isn’t it? I wish that just once it could be like in the Flintstones. You know, with a squawking bird and I could slide down a stegosaurus?

It was raining out, so I had to dodge umbrellas. Despite my best efforts, some guy ran into me with his umbrella, top speed. In an attempt to shield himself from the rain, he had the umbrella in front of him, thus blocking his entire field of vision. The tip of the umbrella went directly into my eye. He said sorry and smirked and then, thankfully, ten seconds later, has a similar encounter with a bus. He flew through the air, umbrella still in hand, all supercalifragilistic and shit. As the paramedics took him away, he said sorry and smirked. Somewhere between then and the time that I got home, I thought of something really hilarious to write about tonight and then fell asleep on the subway. I can’t remember what it was though. I think it may have involved the fat lady busker’s monotone singing of “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” dressed head to toe in a hot pink snowsuit, but I could be way off. They say if you retrace your steps, that the idea may come back to you. Well I just did, super accurately, not making anything up at all or changing events in history, and the idea hasn’t come back to me. And now it’s becoming increasingly annoying to type with this eye patch on. In conclusion, umbrellas are for assholes, and it’s probably best to time your poops for your at-home hours of the day. Oh yeah, and don’t bring food into the bathroom.

That’s it. I’m going to go make a grillcheese sandwich and have a good sit.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fool's Errand.

Don’t you just hate doing the groceries? I don’t mean going to a little yuppie cutesy market and buying little organic wheatballs or whatnot. I mean the weekly groceries. Milk products, eggs and string cheese, meat sticks, fruit roll ups, frozen stuff and all that other shit. There are always so many obstacles standing in your way from having a nice, carefree and smooth errand run. The main problem, as always, is the clientele at these establishments. At the grocery store, you will likely be there at the same time as some of the following schmucks.

A) Bullshit parents with their sucky children.

You know what really bugs me? A kid walking around eating potato chips out of the bag before it’s been paid for. The parents always look like real champs too.

“Mommy I wants my potatey chips! NOW!”
Fine, here you go, Travis, have your Pringles. What can I say? He just doesn’t like to have to wait until he gets home to eat his Pringles.”

Doesn’t like waiting until he gets home? Does this apply to everything in the store to you people? If it does, I gotta say, I’m a little bit frightened to go down the toilet paper aisle. Thank god you’re not shopping for toilet seats or dildoes. Why are you so Gung Ho on creating all kinds of needy little fat monsters, anyways? Here’s an idea, let’s teach the kids about patience. They can wait. No one needs Fudgeos that badly, ever, never, not ever. This is the same ass-hat parent who sees his kid eating grapes out of someone else’s cart and thinks:

“Isn’t that cute? No, Todd, don’t take that man’s grapes, here I opened the chocolate milk for you.”

Yeah, real cute, a little thieving bastard. I say we should be ratting these kids out to the security guards at the front, and the parents too, because I think they’re in on it.

Ever seen one of those jackasses with their jackass child on one of those leash harness things? I’ve actually had it where Jackass was looking at granola bars on one side of the aisle and Jackass Junior was on the other side licking cans of cake icing. This, in turn, was causing the leash to act like some kind of police caution tape, or velvet rope, or any other blocking belt like instrument. I suggest you bring scissors along for just such an occasion. Chances are a good thirty minutes might go by before Jackass sees that their kid is no longer at the other end of the rope.

"I now declare this bridge open."

How about the moron that lets his dumb kid operate the cart? I’m not talking about the responsible parent/kid team with the kid who knows the score. Those kids are awesome, and should instantly be promoted to adult status. I’m talking about the dumb kids, produced by dumb parents. Look, if your kid sucks and you want them to learn about responsibility, give them extra chores, get them a dog, force them to work in a factory, or send them to Maury, and subsequently to Boot Camp, but don’t let them push the cart. The other day, I turned a corner into the cereal aisle, and there was a child piloted cart perpendicular to the row, a roadblock, if you will. The kid was just sitting there, dumbfounded.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t’ see a parent anywhere. Probably they were chasing their other child, currently free and running around with half a leash dangling behind them. Or maybe the parent is one of those real important looking people (with the Bluetooth headset and high-speed raditude) and was busy talking about something very loudly and simply didn’t realize that their kid wasn’t behind them anymore. You know the kind of douche bag that I mean, who's all like “I said fourteen million god dammit!” Just push the cart out of the way, the kid won’t really notice or care, as they are more than likely busy playing Gameboy and/or picking their nose. Don’t hold onto their cart for too long or they might start following you, and assuming that you are their parent.

Recently I was in a parking lot, and this horrible looking mother was trying to get her horrible looking daughter out of the car, at which point the daughter screamed at her mother to “get the fuck out of my face, faggot”, to which the mother replied something along the lines of wishing that she could send her daughter back to Russia. The daughter of course said she’d be happy to get away from her “faggot” mother, and of course the mother said that she would love to do it too, and that she should “just wait... you just wait an' see”. Hey, at least they finally agreed on something. I can’t begin to explain the cornucopia of problems I have with all of these statements and with this pair of winners. Personally I wouldn’t want to send her to Russia, because that would just be exporting the bad genes, and could ignite a war. Let’s keep it local. I guess I don’t really have a point at the end of all of this, except that I really wish that that wasn’t a true story and maybe that some people just really shouldn’t make any babies.

B) Old people, just in general, but especially the really old ones.

They never know what they want, and they never know where to find it. They navigate their carts the same way that they drive, making incredibly wide turns and nearly running people over. They knock shit off the shelves without even realizing. When choosing eggs, they take forever. They fill their carts with oddly large quantities of fish. I think their goal is to slow everything down, and keep everyone in the store for so long that, upon exiting, everyone is old like them. If they are in an aisle, that aisle is slow, if they are at checkout, then that checkout line is terribly slow. They have coupons, and they want to try and negotiate prices, even though they can’t. Also, once it’s finally time to pay, they always pay cash, and it’s always, “Hold on now, now just wait a second, I think I’ve got the seventeen cents”… in pennies.

I once saw an old lady arguing with the cashier over the price of the decorative wax fruit she picked up in the non-food section of the grocery store. She was insisting that bananas were on special, at twenty-nine cents per pound, and asking for the manager. Either she is brilliant, confused, or completely insane, but in any case, you definitely don’t want to be behind her in the checkout line. I don’t know how this particular wax banana argument ended, because the cashier two rows down opened up a brand new line and I ran over a small boy and his mother to get there before anyone else. I was out of there before the manager had even made it over to resolve the banana dilemma. The best way to deal with old people cluttering up the aisles and checkout lines is to ask them if they need any help with their groceries, and then club them over the head with a baguette when their guard is down.

C) Couples,you know, the annoying kind.

Maybe they just moved in together, maybe they are newlyweds, maybe this is the first time they’ve gone shopping for groceries together and they are letting themselves get carried away in the romantic sights and smells of the milk products and various butters, but honestly, let's keep the hardcore make out sessions for home. The really annoying ones get so caught up in the moment that they leave their cart in the middle of nowhere, and that’s when there’s an obstacle created. Screaming “Get a Room” or slapping one of them on the back of the head, won’t get you anywhere. I like to just take off with their cart, or throw random shit in it, like pickled bull testicles, or expired cheeses. Pickled bull testicles and moldy Camembert? But, those aren’t on the list!

“Honey did you put these in the cart? Because, you know I’m allergic!”
“How do I know you’re not just getting them for that bimbo floozy at the office?”
“That’s it, I want a divorce!”

…and scene.

Couples that fight at the grocery store aren’t good for anyone’s well being either. Yelling, screaming, dangerous arm waving… All of these can lead to trouble. I get stressed out just being in an aisle with them. I feel like I have to get out of the aisle and give them their privacy, but then I think, that’s bullshit, I really need some of that artificial cheese. If you see a couple fighting, then throw a jar of apple sauce or a container of plain yogurt right at their feet and yell out “cleanup on aisle seven”. That ought to shut them up, shut them up real good. Then reach right over one of their shoulders onto the shelf behind them, and be like, "excuse me, but I was really just trying to get some Velveeta".

D) Picky people picking out produce, taking forever.

Some people apparently know all of the tricks to finding the best fruit and veggies ever. Man, fuck those people. They sit there in front of the tomatoes taking up space, when all I want to do is grab four or five tomatoes and move on quickly to the next item on the list. One technique I like to employ is to tap them on the shoulder and ask them to pick some out for me. They’re happy because they get to show off their “skills” and I’m happy because I still got my tomatoes before them. If they say no, then just throw tomatoes at them, and boo them. These are the same people that you see squeezing all the loaves of bread, in some kind of psycho-sexual quest for freshness. Always take the loaves at the back of the shelves, there’s less chance that those ones have been thoroughly molested. The bread feelers seem to feel the front most loaves and then move on.

And, this is completely unrelated, but why do they even have those huge peanut sacks in the produce section near the potatoes? Are there a lot of elephant owners in the urban milieu? I’ve never seen anyone buy a single one of these huge sacks. If you want to get some attention, dress up like a circus ringmaster and fill a cart with those peanut sacks. Everyone will get excited and think that the circus is in town. Speaking of which, does the circus still come to town, and if so, do people get excited? Do they still travel by train, with the giraffe head coming out of one car? You know, and the bearded lady and stretchy thin guy are married, and their kids are wolfboy and fartface? These are all questions that fill my head and cause me to forget to pick up liquid fabric softener and garbage bags. Meanwhile, this asshole is still checking each cantaloupe one by one. Just make a fucking decision already!

E) Cheap people, focusing solely on sale items.

These are the idiots that think that toilet paper only goes on sale once every generation. Have you ever seen a toilet paper sale, where it’s one of those big packs of about forty-eight rolls on sale for half price, and it says ‘limit of eight per customer’? And you’re thinking, who could possibly buy more than one, let alone eight? Right after asking yourself that, you see the guy. He’s got eight of them balancing in his cart, like the leaning tower of teepee, trying to navigate through the aisles to get to the cash. He’s not even here for anything else. He’s just here for toilet paper. How much shit could your household possibly produce that you need this much toilet paper? I wouldn’t even know where to put it. I’d need a spare room in my apartment just for the toilet paper. This is the same person who feeds his children Christmas Logs for supper everyday in January, because they are now eighty-five percent off. After all, it has all four food groups: milk, molasses, fruit and logs. I guess, a family surviving on an all Christmas Log diet, would go through quite a bit of toilet paper. Increase Log input, exponentially increase log output. Everything is starting to make more sense now, you know, mathematically.

The good part about these people is that they usually know exactly what they want. They often do their homework and know specifically what is on sale. The real trouble comes when you get the people that go in blind and just browse for sale items. These are the people that take up space and try reading the bar codes to see if the little sale label corresponds to the product that they are holding.

“I can’t tell if it’s all the Mini-Wheat varieties or just the cinnamon bun ones that are on sale.”
“Check the bar code.”
“I’m trying to see. There’s a number here that ends in ninety-two, do you have a ninety-two?”
“I’ve got a seventy-five.”

I like to give them misinformation. Tell them that, "actually, it’s all the cereals other than the Mini-Wheats that are on sale". They’ll be very excited. Try to sound like you work there. Generally these people are stupid, and will believe you. If you do this, though, be sure not to end up behind them at checkout, or else you will be there for a while.

“But the cereal man said it was all on sale.”
“Right, which ceral man was it? Was it Captain Crunch or Tony the Tiger?”
“No, he was dressed all in black.”
“Sure. That’s Count Chocula. Are you on any medication?”

Sometimes these people are also old, so you’re facing all the same problems mentioned earlier as well, at which point you should ask them if they need any help with their groceries, and then club them over the head with a baguette when their guard is down.

If you find a grocery store that is open really late at night, then going late at night can often assist you in avoiding many of the aforementioned problematic peoples. However, beware, because late at night, you risk running into a whole mess of other types of problematic peoples such as: crazy people, the homeless, night shift workers, vampires, lounge singers, prostitutes, crackheads, insomniacs, ninjas, or combinations of those I just listed. If you are able to go in the middle of the day, on a weekday, this is also advantageous, as it will diminish the overall number of people, however the concentration of old people, will be increased. Make sure to load your cart with day old baguettes, and you'll be fine. It’s clobberin’ time.

That’s it. Toilet paper’s on sale.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Color Commentator.

Baseball cards and other types of collectible cards are pretty stupid aren’t they? I think even as a child you kind of realized this. It’s the one thing that you might have collected as a child that had absolutely no use to you at all. Toys, you can play with, comics, you can read, but cards? Nothing. It's also the only type of possessions that you have that you'd be willing to trade to a friend. That's how little you cared about the cards themselves. I think that was why when those Magicky playable types of cards came out, all of the kids flipped out.

“Wait a minute! So, you can collect them, but then also, you can play with them too? Oh man, I’ve gotta get these. All of these.”

The whole gotta get them all syndrome came in way before Pokemon. Pokemon was just the first organization that wasn’t shy to admit it and just put their balls right out there. But the sports cards? Boring! Likely they were only invented to create consumer adults who have the need to collect useless shit, and buy useless storage for their useless shit. Sadly, my favorite part was opening the packs and then organizing all of my cards into a nice neat book, giving in to the collector habits. I guess I was a bit obsessive compulsive even at an early age. But once they were in those binders, what the hell do I do with them now? Look at them and read the backs? That’s not very entertaining. Usually I liked to go and find the worst player ever. You know that one guy who's so terrible, that even his action shot on the card is of him striking out? Hit percentage .00002? Most people would accidentally hit more than that. It always gave me a bit of hope. Surely if this guy made it, then I could succeed in whatever I want to succeed in, in life, eventually.

Sometime after finding the worst player though, I would put the binders of cards away in my bookshelf, and they would stay there, pretty much forever. They would still be there now if my parents hadn’t moved. As a result, they are actually in a big box in my parents’ current garage. You know someday they might be worth something. That’s what you tell yourself as a kid. You even go out and get one of those shitty cataloguey books that tells you which ones are rare, which ones are medium rare, and which ones come in every single pack. I armed myself with all of this valuable information and even tried to sell some cards at one of those hobby shops once. I was convinced I was walking out of there rich. And then I could buy more cards.

“I’d like to sell these cards, sir.”
“But the book says they’re rare.”
“Then how come I already got them?”
"Would you like to see the book?"

Those books were total crap. Maybe it is their vintage that is the problem. Maybe I just haven’t waited long enough, and someday when they are very old, then, and only then, they’ll be worth something. I need to keep them and pass them down to my children’s children’s children, so that someday, long after the apocalypse comes, the collection will be valuable, and can keep them warm for just a few more days.

“Papa, the fire looks very colorful and warm today, how did you make it so?”
“You can thank your great great great grandfather for that, my son. He bestowed these binders full of flammable paper upon us many ages ago. Throw another Wade Boggs on the fire.”
“Oh no! Careful Papa! The Wizards are coming!”
“EVERYONE HIDE! Save the ‘91 Upper Deck Binder!”

And so, in the end, they’re not rare at all, they’re well done.


Like I said, as a kid, you eventually realize that the whole trading card thing is a sham. And that is why recently, when I saw a grown man opening up packs of hockey cards on the subway, I was completely baffled. He was a hefty man, probably in his forties, with a big fuckin’ moustache, and dressed in his work uniform, that of a paramedic. Oh yeah, that’s just who we want saving our lives, isn’t it?

“Quick, get the oxygen!”
“Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet, a Lagrosselaide hologram card! I don’t have this one yet. This one’s really rare!”
“Hey, yeah, well, this guy’s really dead.”

Maybe it's just the moustache, but to me, any grown person who collects anything completely devoid of use, is really weird. Think Fabergé eggs, stamps or coins... Weird. Alarm bells are ringing, sirens are going off, and sadly, this guy is showing up. The collector of cards was actually separating the cards into piles, signifying that he already knew which ones were doubles. He had that memorized. Then I saw him checking out the stats on the backs, possibly committing them to memory as well. Is there any information in the world less useful than sports statistics? As a kid, I can understand buying into the whole magic of sports, being amazed by how many homers and ribbies a guy has. As a kid, playing games is pretty much all you do, and all you want to do, so why not idolize grownups that get to play games all the time? But as an adult, honestly who gives a shit?

“Who was the M.V.P. in the nineteen swibble-dee-swoo Stanley Cup finals?”
“Pfff... That’s easy, it was Art Farnswilly.”
“Oh no, I’m sorry, but the correct response was ‘who gives a shit’.”

Unfortunately, you will find, that a lot of people give a shit. Lots of shit. At least five or six shits. And you can’t always avoid these people, and can’t always ask them who gives a shit. After all, you don’t want to look rude, and sometimes you might even want to feel like you’re part of the gang. So, at times, you may find yourself needing to humor these types, and sometimes even, join in and fake some sports knowledge. I’ll try and offer a couple of pointers from my years of experience being a non-sport-watching-guy living in hockey country.

Sometimes sports fans will refer to the home team using ‘we’. These people are delusional enough to think that sitting at home in your underwear drinking beer and yelling at the television counts as being part of the team. And they’re doing their part. Unless you want trouble, you’ll have to resist the urge to correct them, and point out their stupidity, when they talk like this (Seinfeld has pointed this out before, of course).

We played really hard yesterday, we won.”
We did nothing. They won. You just watched. I still don’t care.”

Also, you’ll realize that in every game where the home team loses, it would appear that some referee type made a bullshit call against the home team. So if ever you’re put on the spot, and you know the home team lost, you can casually refer to the existence of a bullshit call. It will make it look like, not only, that you saw the game, but that you are so well versed in the rules of play, that you know when a call is bullshit. Be careful though, as you won’t know any details of the bullshit call, and if someone asks you to elaborate, in the end, they may call bullshit on you and your bullshit call. And who would ever want to be a referee anyways, while we’re on the subject? Nobody likes you, referee. You’re really just a lame person that wants to make sure everyone else follows the rules, and then you whine when people don't. Whiny little crybabies. And honestly, nobody likes anyone who uses a whistle for a living. Traffic cops, lifeguards, referees and gym teachers… no one likes any of you.

Contrary to the home team loss, it would seem that every home team win is a great game. If you deduced that they won, mention the sweet play / goal / hit / tackle / kick / pass / shot / whatever that transpired during the game. Even if you don’t know what it is you’re talking about, they’ll assume that they know, and start commenting on it. Always make sure to quit while you’re ahead.

“What a game last night, such a sweet goal.”
“Which? Tchetchnevievo’s in the third period? You must mean that. Man that was sweet, eh? God what a game, we played so well.”
They sure did. You stay here, I gotta go this way.”

Some people get into sports enough to gamble on the outcomes. Some big ol’ Nostradamus type thinks he can predict sports, because of his excellent stat knowledge. If he talks to you about it, and you don’t want to sound like a total wienie, ask him what the spread was. Ask him if he covered the spread. Sports’ gambling seems to involve some kind of spread. I think it's made from hazelnuts.

If you want to avoid all of this confusion and trouble, just be open and honest from the get go like me, and explain to this crew around you that you simply don’t follow sports, at all. This will be hard for them to understand, but eventually they’ll accept you for who you are. Or they’ll call you a pussy. Either way, you’re better off not hanging out with them anyways. Oh, and also, don't collect anything that you can't use. Throw that shit out. And don't sell it to anyone else at a garage sale, because, as I've previously said about cutlery (see: Knife, Spoon, Fork, Garbage), that would just be spreading the disease of useless collecting.

That’s it. The game’s on.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Panel of Judges.

Probably, you care what people think of you. Probably you care too much. While it is true that first impressions can be important, relying on them too much is kind of a cop out. Lazy people too lazy to bother getting to know someone properly will rely on first impressions to write people off, and thus, judging a book by its cover. For instance, they say that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their shoes. But I don’t know how accurate this would really ever be. Like if a person is wearing plastic bags, you will think that maybe they’re homeless, but I’ve gone to university classes or grocery stores wearing crusty old slippers, or duct taped holey shoes, and I’m pretty sure that I had a home at the time. It’s not like there are specific shoes that go with different jobs either, like police shoes, or janitor shoes, or taxidermist shoes. Except for clowns, they have their own shoes. Speaking of clown shoes, they’re also a good example that shoe size doesn’t always reflect foot size, so you can’t count on that assumption either. What about those goofy looking morons who walk around wearing those super pointy dress shoes? Surely their feet don’t actually come to a sharp knife-like sheik style curly conclusion like that? Hence, shoe shape does not equal foot shape.

And forget about thinking that you can tell where they’re coming from, or where they’re going, based on their shoes, and all that Forrest Gumpshit stuff, because if you see someone wearing soccer cleats, you might assume they’re playing soccer soon, but now your guard is down, and maybe they’re actually about to kick you in the nuts. Look out! I guess getting kicked in the nuts by a steel-toe shoe would be the most painful. Clogs or even elf shoes would be quite painful as well due to their shape, and also would be tremendously humiliating. You’d sure feel like a loser if and when they’d start dancing around you, as you lay on the floor, in the foetal position. A clown kick in the balls, with the squeaky shoes, would probably be the most embarrassing and humiliating of all, though, you know, because it would squeak once or twice upon testicular connection. Also, it’s usually a pretty wide shoe, and would probably strike each individual gonad with equal force.

Anyways, if shoes are off the table, but you still would like to effectively try and judge a book by its cover, then here are a few accurate ways to gauge someone’s personality, just by observing some random thing about them.

You can tell a lot about a person by…
how drunk they currently are.

This completely depends on context too, but is mostly self explanatory. If you see someone dancing around with their shirt off, at the office, on their desk, while simultaneously peeing themselves, slurring their speech, holding a whiskey bottle, and talking about how the government stole their best pair of bowling shoes, and you’ve seen this happens three times this week, then you can safely say that they have a problem. You might also wonder why they still have their job. What’s your company’s problem? That does look like fun though, doesn’t it? If they can get away with it, then why can’t you? Now you join them. Now you have a problem too. Oh no! You barfed on the floor. Oh well, that’s the janitor’s problem. What are you looking at? What’s your problem, man?

“That's mister Vice President to you. Pack up your things, you’re both fired.”
“No problem! I hated this job anyways.”

Unemployment is a huge problem.

You can tell a lot about a person by…
which finger they use to pick their nose in public.

Be careful picking in public. You’re giving away hints about who you are. Some of you might find it wrong to pick in public altogether. Well, you are considered to be snobs. You can generally be spotted by your huge nose, turned up at the rest of the world, completely full of snots which are entirely visible from the outside. You won’t clean house, and we can all tell. You know when someone has one just barely hanging on to the outer rim of their nostril, swaying with the wind of each exhale, and you just want to yell at them to take care of it? Well I like to throw one of those little tissue packs at them. It’s well worth the dollar. If you’re more normal, and you realize that there is an urgent need to empty out after a long day of breathing in crusty air, but still care what other people think, then you will likely first attempt the thumb pick. This tells the rest of us that you don’t want to offend us with visible boogers or whistling nostrils, but also don’t want to make it too obvious and gross us out. Now that’s class. Unfortunately, due to its larger size and awkward positioning, you often can’t get anything meaningful with the thumb. Sometimes you’ll even be cursing yourself for having clipped your nails the night before.

“Curses! If I only had yesterday’s superior longer thumb nail I could have gotten this thing out by now. Why did I clip!?!”

Usually you just work at it a bit and loosen it up for your next line of defense, the index. You gain much more reach with the index. You should, however, be careful not to start digging when anyone is looking directly at you. You can still hide most of the nostril with the thumb, in case someone glances your way, but for the initial penetration, you should make sure the coast is clear. Remember, the key word here is class. If you successfully pluck one out of the nose, you might have to move up to the middle and ring finger, but only to roll it into a flickable morsel, not to dig. Be sure to only ever flick it onto the floor or a small child. Never use the smear technique, unless you can smear it onto a tissue, or else you risk smearing your reputation if someone spots it. Also, it is important to notice that the middle finger and ring finger never entered the nostril. The index and thumb are the only ones that should penetrate the nostril in public.

If you’re caught using the pinky to pick in public, then it tells the rest of the world that you’ve completely given up on yourself, and should be arrested, immediately. There is nothing more disturbing than catching someone in the midst of a full-on backhanded pinky dig, with the elbow raised in the air, and making that nose pick face like they’re trying to pull their eyeball out through their nostril, eyes watering ever so slightly. You obviously mustn’t care what the rest of us think of you, or that we’re scared you might start bleeding if you dig any harder. And don’t think that wrapping a tissue around the pinky somehow excuses you. It’s still revolting to see, especially since we know you’ll end up examining your findings after the gold dig is over. The same goes for rolling up a tissue and using it like a soft sixth finger. That's bullshit.

Remember, if you see a person with a very long pinky nail, sure, they may be a flamenco guitarist, or they may be an honest to goodness coke fiend, but be careful, because they just may be a public pinky picker, and no one wants to see that. Look away! Jeepers creepers, get a room.

You can tell a lot about a person by…
their breath.

You can tell what kind of food they’ve been eating, if they’re a smoker, if they’re drunk, if they’ve recently had a genital in their mouth, if they’re dehydrated, if they’re sick, if they’re all minty fresh, what kind of gum they like, if they’ve had too much coffee today, too much tea, if they forgot to brush their teeth, remembered to brush their teeth, if they’ve recently napped, or any number of other smelly giveaways.

Most importantly, if you are able to detect such subtleties in their breath and can even clearly see the texture of the shit caught in their teeth and of their gums, then this means that the person is definitely a close-talker. This, in turn, means that they are one of the worst people to talk to ever, and are potentially psychologically damaged. Careful, they're grabbing your arm to pull you in closer!

You can tell a lot about a person by…
whether they wipe their ass sitting down or standing up.

You may or may not have realized, but there are indeed two popular methods utilized for wiping in the modern day afterpoop routine. The timid people, more reserved and prudish, tend to remain seated, possibly in an attempt to conceal the fruits of their labour. I’m no scientician or psycho-analysisser, but that sounded totally legit. The standing people, on the other hand, are proud and fearless. They like to properly examine their output before extinguishing the smelly fire. They check for inconsistencies and take mental pictures to remember length and girth, and compare with previous efforts. Some people claim to be somewhere in between, but these people are indecisive, and that to me, screams of sitters. Standers are sure of themselves, and proud to be standers. The sitters of the world are sneaky, untrustworthy types.

That’s why I believe that the automatically flushing toilets were conceived by politician-sitters to try and convert the proud standing people of the world into more passive sitters. Now, for the standers, on these auto toilets, wiping has become a race against the auto clock. If you miss that first round flush, your autographed paper is still sitting in the bowl, un-flushed and exposed, alone. Now you have to sit back down, not knowing how long you need to wait until you can get back up and make it flush again. It hardly seems fair. Those damn sitters probably wipe, and then walk away and never look back. Well, probably they pull up their pants first. But I bet they don’t even care if it clogs. Not the standers. They are considerate, they stand, they watch, and they make sure everything goes down smooth. They also pull up their pants before walking away though. Some sources have told me that most automatic toilets have an override button, but I think that’s bullshit. I haven’t ever seen one. That sounds to me like a rumour started by sitters to try and keep the standers from rioting.

“There must be a button here somewhere… I guess I just don’t see it…”
“Haw haw haw, those fools. There’s no button! Yes… Sit back down! Good…Sit...”

While we’re on the subject, the courtesy flush becomes a little awkward, for both sitters and standers, with the automatic toilet, doesn't it? Because, either you have to get up and walk away a little, even though you know you might have another round coming, or you have to lean forward far enough that the toilet thinks you’re no longer there. The problem with leaning really far forward is that you’re bent over far enough that someone outside the stall can now see your head. Now they know it’s you, and that you were in the midst of such a dirty experience, that you required a courtesy flush.

Now that I think about it, I suppose that in a public bathroom, you could tell a lot about someone by their shoes though, by looking at the shoes in the stall, and then later recognizing them walking around in the workplace, or school, or street, or wherever.

“Hey, I know those shoes. Second floor bathroom lunchtime diarrhea guy, right?”

Here’s a question. When a sitter is at home and runs out of toilet paper, and the cabinet is empty, and then they have to leave the bathroom to go get some more elsewhere in the home, do they stay in the seated position the whole time? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself, when I probably should be doing my job instead.

You may be wondering how you would even find out if someone is a sitter or a stander, especially when we are talking about first impressions, and you just don’t recognize their shoes from any previous bathroom visit. Well, that’s easy. Follow them to the can and wait. Duuhh. Or just ask them.

“Well, it was nice to meet you, Wallace.”
“The pleasure was all mine, Alfred… say, do you wipe your ass standing up or sitting down. I just want to get to know a bit more about who the real you is.”

You’ll make a lasting impression. That’s what all of this was about anyways, wasn’t it? I guess it wasn’t about that at all. Oh yeah: Learning to not judge a book by its cover, except for certain cases where you should. Never judge a book based on its shoes, or else you might get kicked in the nuts. Unless you saw those shoes in a bathroom stall, and can then assume a certain level of knowledge regarding the frequency and style of their bowel movements. Also if the book has swords and dragons and dwarves and shit, then it could potentially be a really lame read. These are all just very loose guidelines. Now, go use the power of observation! I’m sure I’ll think of some more ways to judge the covers of books later. I’ll be sure to let you know.

That’s it. I need to go out to buy some shiny new shoes and books.