Thursday, December 30, 2010

Focusing On the Present.

Giving presents is easy. Oh sure, some may claim to be stressed about the possibility that the recipient won’t enjoy or appreciate what you spent minutes picking out for them. But in reality, most people, regardless of what you wrapped up in your finest tacky Santa Snowman Rudolph Jingle Balls Birthday paper, will put on a happy face and give you a big ol’ hug and/or kiss and wish you a Merry McSomething. If you know the person well enough, or they simply have no pokerface, then you may indeed go home feeling like shit, knowing you had a shitty gift. But no matter what the case may be, just assume the best and give in to whatever their reaction is. Don’t try and dissect if it’s fake or not, by staring them down and asking dumb questions. 

“Are you sure you like it?”
“Is it the right size?”
“You don’t already have it do you?”
“Bla bla bla fuckin’ blabadee bloo?”

These questions are like a festive gift oriented version of “Do I look fat in these jeans?”. Regardless of their real answer, or how they feel about your gift, the answer will, in most cases, be a firm “I Love It”. They are already put enough on the spot by having you (and everyone else) watch their every facial expression. Honestly, is an added interrogation really necessary? So, don’t do that. In short, receiving presents is the trickiest, and that is when you are really in the hot seat.

There are essentially five situations you can find yourself in after opening a gift.

I Love It.

In this scenario, there is usually no need to act or pretend. You can be very open about how great the gift was, and dance around to your heart’s content. The only exception to this rule is if you are married and the gift did not come from your spouse. In this case, you may show your happiness, but there should be slightly less rejoicing than there was at the opening of your spouse’s gift to you. Otherwise, Lucy, you will have some ‘splaining to do.

“Oh man, that’s AWESOME. Best present of the year, hands down” he tooted not realizing that his wife looked down upon him with a cold stare that could freeze-kill most babies. Once he caught wind of the stare in his keen peripheral vision, he assured the crowd, “… after the Snuggie that my wife gave me, of course. Let’s reiterate shall we, number one present of the year, Snuggie from wife, number two, this amazing thoughtful present.”

… and scene / divorce.

I Hate It.

Unless it is part of some kind of office party Yankee Swap, openly admitting a present’s suckiness is bad form. You can’t ever let anyone know that their present sucked. If you’re a total asshole or just want to make the person breakdown, then, by all means, have at it with a nice fat “What’s this shit?” or a “You gotta be kiddin’ me” or a “Really? That’s the gift?”. But, as long as you want to keep the giver’s feelings intact, you have to get your best Meryl Streep on and find at least one reason why it is a good present (even if the person clearly did not even attempt to think about you when selecting it). Try not to repeat the name of the present too often, as it’s a dead giveaway (yes, you’re right, that is taken from an episode of Seinfeld).

“Well, I’ve never tried snowboarding before, but certainly, now, with this snowboard, I just might.”
“Assorted nuts! Thanks! Regardless of my pesky deadly allergy, I’ll give it a whirl! Where’s my Epi-Pen?”
“I can’t wait to light up my room with this here Lava Lamp! They’re so useful!”
“Oh, the new Britney Spears perfume! Normally I wear cologne, given that I am a male, but I’m sure the ladies will be all over me when I smell like this sweet candy!“ 
“I’ve heard about these Snuggies! Oh, looks like you left the receipt in the bag here, oh don’t worry, I’ll hang onto it. Oh wow, look at that, it has the address of the store and everything, hmmm interesting!

I Already Have It.

Similar to the “I Hate It”, you generally have to come up with a reason why it’s perfect. It’s easy since, you already have it, and know exactly why you like it. In some cases, you can probably let the person know. But be careful. People giving gifts are in a fragile anxious state, and you would hate to see a suicide note that mentioned your reaction to a gift. The absolute worst thing to do is admit you already have it, but then try and find some reason why having two of them is okay.

“No, it’s great, now I can have a copy of it in each car.”
“Seriously, I was actually hoping to have a second plunger for my single toilet.”
“Look, it’s always good to have extra Snuggies.”

What the Hell Is It?

Also similar to the “I Hate It”, the problem here is that you won’t be able to find a valid reason why it’s a perfect gift for you, since you don’t what it is. It may in fact be a perfect gift for you, but you’d never know by looking at it. Sometimes the giver knows that it’s a weird unknown gift item and will explain what it is immediately after you open it. After this, you can move into option 1 or 2. If they don’t make with the explaining, then you have to find something to say, and fast.

“Oh wow, I love the color, they make them in blue? Didn’t know that, nice.”
“Niiiiiiiiiiiii-(stalling for time)-iiiiiiiiiiiiice………….. it’s prettttyyyyyyyy-(while saying this, try reading on the back what the fuck this thing is and react accordingly)-yyyyyyyyy………”
“Well, it’s definitely not a Snuggie, so thank you.”

Where the Hell Is It?

The only difference between this and “I Hate It”, is that in this case the person didn't even give you a present when you were expecting one (the true spirit of Ex-Mas). It’s a non-gift, really. Usually this comes in the form of an empty card, or a Holiday Wish accompanied by a hug-kiss. Sentimentality is generally attached to it in a cheap attempt to stop you from feeling cheated. Try not to let the disappointment show.

“What a beautiful card! It’s definitely better than the new iPood I gave you! You win.”
“Oh! Careful! Don’t give me too big a hug, I will feel like the gifts that I actually bought for you with actual money that I earned weren't expensive enough!”
“At first I thought there was something else hidden inside the Snuggie, but no, the Snuggie is more than enough. It’s definitely an actual present.”

When I was growing up I thought that gift cards were lazy and stale, but now I realize that it might be the only sure win. It’s not cold and thoughtless the way cash is, and at the same time, leaves it open for the recipient to find something that they might actually want. There is still some thought involved, since you had to have thought of a store that they would actually like. As a last resort, always go with the cinema gift card, which pretty much says “I don’t know anything about you, but cash just seems too impersonal, certainly there will be a film of some kind you might enjoy someday”.

That’s it. I’ve got a Snuggie to return.

Foot Note: Sorry that this comes a few days late, but I was busy employing the techniques contained in this very article. Also, feel free to replace Snuggie with Pajama Jeans, ShamWOW, or whatever is currently found at the end of the aisle at most Rite-Aids and CVS stores. !!!HD VISION GLASSES!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bad Language.

While I do feel that some expressions die out before their time, there are definitely some expressions that hang on far too long, well past the point of being totally played out. Usually the way an expression fizzles is that someone exceedingly lame gets a hold of it, and completely ruins it for everyone else. Picture people still spouting the “whazaap” catch phrase from those fucking beer commercials and you’ll know the type of people that I mean. They may even be the same people that would wish you a "Happy Tuesday" (see: Celebrate Good Times? Come On.). Sometimes the expressions that they use were never even that cool to begin with (once again, “whazaaap” comes to mind), and yet somehow they infect the language and become widely used in everyday conversation.

The following is a list of expressions and sayings and things that I would like to do away with immediately, as they have either outlived their relevance and usefulness, were never relevant or useful to begin with, or just should have never become as widespread and popular as they have. They also tend to piss me off every time that I hear them, and I would usually like to kick the perpetrator in the nuts and/or boobies.

1) “Old School”

The popularity of the movie of the same name only worsened the needless propagation of this expression that I personally feel no one really understood in the first place. For something to be of the old school, it needs to be something that used to be the standard practice and has since been replaced by some new standard practice, a.k.a., the new school. This is not how most people use it.

“Oh man, what you eatin’? Fuckin’ fishsticks? Man that shit is old school.”
“There’s like this old school dude standing on the corner peeing.”
“I like the old school episodes of the Cosby Show.”

I really did like this expression for a while. But now it is overused, warped, and thus, quite lame. Dare I say, it is old school to use old school properly. People overuse “hardcore” in a similar fashion, but I’m willing to keep it in circulation. Just promise to stop using it so much, I want it to remain at least somewhat special.

2) “Man-Cave”

This has not become lame through overuse. This was simply lame to begin with. If I have to hear another dickhead talk about his man-cave I think I might shove my boot directly up his man-cave.

“Aw fuck yeah, this is perfect for my man-cave, yeah, fuckin’ flatscreen right there get my beer on, fuckin’ pool table, fuckin’ burgendyblooblooblearghenshpieldoods!!!!!!!! I’M A FUCKIN’ MAN!”

The expression is lame enough, but behind it is a whole adulescent mentality of dudes and whatnot trying to hang on to their college heydays in some sort of bizarre nostalgia for an age that never existed, and that’s what’s even worse. If only the energy spent fantasizing over a perfect cavern-like saloon-style dungeon room full of “manly” paraphernalia could be put to better use by these types, like by jumping off a bridge, we’d all be better off. Maybe I should just stop watching so much damn HGTV and I wouldn’t hear it quite so frequently.  Seriously all the dudes on those house shows say it.

Along with this term, let’s get rid of Bromance, Frosh, Metrosexual, Flatscreen and Grillin’.

3) Any word ending in ‘z’, or, you know, pluralizing shit for no reason

Sure, I am guilty of it sometimes too, but I’m sick of it. Sick of it for realz.

4) Saying obnoxious sounding abbreviations out loud

As early as high school I remember cringing when someone would refer to Geography as “geo”. In college “Polly Sci” made me want to puke everywhere every time that I heard it. Now we have a whole generation of jackasses saying, out loud, stuff that was only meant to be used to shorten the amount of keystrokes in a digital message. Do they not realize that saying OH EMM GEE takes the same amount of time as saying OH MY GOD? Count your fucking syllables people! These are all the same bunch of lunatics that invent words like "Texting", and then, in turn, "Sexting". Rom-com? Tomkat? Double-You Tee Eff (Its longer than saying WHAT THE FUCK)?

To top it all off, now at work I have to hear people talk about VAYKAY time (meaning vacation… yes, really). And just when we thought we were done with the valley-girl-ish “whatever”, we were bombarded with “whatevs”.

You will notice that the people that use these abbreviated kinds of expressions are the same people that never fucking shut up. I wish that they would just abbreviate themselves.

5) “Indie”

Using this word to describe music, film, comedy, art, people or whatever is about as played out and vague as describing food as “organic”. Please note that it is perfectly acceptable to use this word when referencing Indiana Jones.

There are a whole slew of other words like “Emo”, “Goth”, “Fusion”, “Nerd”, “Punk” or whatever that have become distorted over time, and are now meaningless. You will know these expressions when you come across them, because they will make you feel dead inside. I couldn’t possibly list them all here.

6) “Recession”

Whether it’s your hairline, your gums or the economy, seriously, fuck recession.

If we all work real hard at boycotting these expressions, sayings, manoeuvres and shit, then maybe, just maybe, there will be some hope for us as a society. In the meantime, I’ll just continue complaining.

That’s it. I needz to get back to my old school man-cave now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Express Yourself.

Often times popular slang terms come along and replace the previously popular slang terms meant to describe given actions, nouns, persons, or whatever. While I think that this is a necessity for the advancement of our species as a whole, and for the progression of popular culture in a society, I don’t always agree with the replacement slang terms. Sometimes the old one has not yet worn out its welcome, or simply, should not be replaced by such tacky new slang. I have carefully selected some examples to present here in an attempt to show you what I mean, and perhaps even assist in the bringing back to life of some expressions that I prefer over their modern day replacements.

1) Shaft.

Although it did not last long and was soon replaced by “dissed” or even “busted”, shafting somebody was what we said in my schoolyard days growing up when someone gave someone else the business. In today’s terms, you would no doubt know this as “burning” someone. You might even say “Oh, burrrrrrrn” or “burned!!!” or even concoct all sorts of insane hybrids like “burnination”, or “superburn”, or something involving burns ‘n shit.

Formulating a good burn and then telling someone that they got burned may indeed be satisfying, but it lacks the all out crassness and vulgarity of telling someone that they just got SHAFTED. A burn is something that might sting a little like, “Ouchy that burns!”, and then makes you shed a single tear. A shaft on the other hand…


Followed by vomiting, crying in the foetal position, years of therapy and an overwhelming sense of failure throughout the rest of life’s challenges. It’s a hell of a lot more degrading and demoralizing than a wimpy, sissy little burn. I’d take a third degree burn any day over a huge shaft. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

2) Wet fart.

Look, I can appreciate the humour and intelligence behind the construction of the word “shart”. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t hold a candle to the term “wet fart”. Wet fart is much more descriptive, raw and emotional. Incidentally, don’t ever actually hold a candle up to a wet fart, because it can cause explosions. People probably still say wet fart, here and there, but shart has clearly become the more popular term, and I really do feel that that is a shame. Wet fart is much more elegant and graceful (the expression, not the actual fart).

“Lord Backingfield wept at the sight of his eldest daughter shamefully retreating from her wedding ceremony at the tail end of a true wet fart. The crowd stood motionless, silent, horrifed. The white dress was a white dress no longer.”

3) Dickhead.

You’re probably thinking, “hey no, hold on just a second there ya ol' poo, people still say dickhead”. But think about it. Think real hard. Do they? Do they really? Not as much as they used to. I’m not sure what the direct replacement was, maybe it was douchebag. That seems to still be a popular one. The sad thing is, most people don’t know what a douchebag is actually referring to. Do douches even exist anymore? I guarantee that if they do, they definitely don’t have bags anymore. A dickhead, on the other hand, well that’s easy to figure out. It’s what you call someone, when they are being a dickhead. Say it a few times. You’ll see how satisfying it can be.

“What a dickhead.”
“Man, that Jeremy is a total fucking dickhead.”
“Let’s bail. This place is for dickheads.”

Feels good don’t it?

I think that if we all try real hard, we can start bringing back some of the best expressions of yesteryear. I know at first you may feel like you are going against nature, but I assure you, if the expression is awesome to the max, it will catch on once again, and return to the mainstream. Like fashion, I feel that slang can be cyclical. And then you will be known in your inner circle as one of the wonderful few that helped start the comeback and restoration of a once decayed piece of slang history. You will have been ahead of the curve, for once in your fucking life. Oh burn.

That’s it. I’m going to go shaft some more people.