Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's In A Name?

What's in a name, not that much. For a moment think about all the people you know with the same name as you. Whether they are famous or not, they rarely have similar traits, or look anything like you. The importance of your name then really is self imposed (or parent imposed) Often people change their names or use their middle names because their mother did such a poor job of aptly describing what came out of her Who-Ha. 

My real first name is Justin. I share it with the likes of  Bieber, Timberlake and Guarini. I don't know how I ultimately feel about my name being Justin. I find it strange to introduce myself and use my full name. Perhaps we all feel a little weird like we are having an out of body experience when we introduce ourselves. I've noticed that my family have devised short forms to call me "Justy" in the case of my mother, "Just" in the case of my brother. I get the impression that the formal version of Justin doesn't quite suit me.

Where am I going with this? an anecdote of course!

I used to work at warehouse that sold school textbooks. My job was in the office part of the warehouse. It was my task to look busy while I typed to my friends on ICQ. If you don't know what ICQ is, it reveals how old this story is. This lady named Susan used to work the morning shift and occasionally  I would see her in passing as I arrived to work afternoons. She was about 40 and a little weathered by time but very friendly. When we first met our conversation went something like this:

Her: Hello to you.
Me: Hi my name is Justin, I work here.
Her: Hello my name is Susan, I also work here.
*blank stares*
Her: Well Jason, it was nice meeting you.
Me: Actually, that's Justin, nice to have met you too.
Her: Oops sorry, okay, see you later Justin.

A few days passed and I saw her again:

Her: Hey Jason, how ya doin'
Me: *pauses* uh...I'm doing well, how bout you?
Her: I'm great Jason, I had a great weekend partying.
Me: Cool.
Her: Yeah Jason, you should really get out to____(wherever) it's really quite nice.
Me: I just might if I can ever get off work.
Us: Generic work sucks commentary.
Her: Okay, well see you around Jason.
Me: *GULP* okay, see you around.

For the next couple of weeks I kept running into her and every time she called me Jason. The embarrassment of this situation was heightened by the fact that my brothers name is JASON! What could I do? She had been calling me Jason for two weeks, my name was officially Jason. If I corrected her I would seem like a big ass but more importantly I would have had to face the question "Why didn't you tell me that you name was Justin?"

For the next little while I did what any sensible person would do, I avoided her. I would arrive to work late and make excuses to be in spots other than my office. I was not above diving into an aisle of books or dipping into the break room. But like some moment out of a sitcom she would emerge from the shadows and exclaim "Hello Jason!" 

I couldn't take it any longer. I decided to confide in my boss (who was cool) the dark secret that I had been harboring. 

Me: I've got a problem
Him: What's that?
Me: Susan keeps calling me Jason.
Him: Why don't you correct her.
Me: I did, but now the grace period of adjusting your brain to learning someone's name has passed. To correct her would be awkward and insulting.
Him: It's not that big a deal.
Me: I know, is there any possible way you can give her the hint that my name is Justin.
Him: Sure buddy, I'll help you out.

The next day me and the boss are hanging out and Susan walks in:

Boss: Hey Susan
Her: Hello.
Boss: Justin tells me that you keep calling him Jason, his name is Justin.
Me *sheet white*
Her: Oops, okay, sorry Justin.
Her: Why didn't you tell me Justin?

At this point I swear she gave me the stink eye but I was too frozen with fear and boggled with confusion that I can't clearly remember. Obviously my boss had missed the emphasis I had put on the word "hint" and the words PLEASE DO IT WHEN I"M NOT THERE TO FACE THE EMBARRASSMENT, SHAME AND SCORN OF THE MOMENT.

After that day Susan rarely ever talked to me again. Sure we spoke every once in a while but it was more soulless and empty then our previous conversations. It was as if we lost something. Perhaps she liked Jason better.

Follow Thr...

I thought about continuing the sellout version of my blog.  I wanted you my loyal followers to think "Oh Em Gee" he's really going to start writing this way.  The grand joke would be on you because I'd know in some Andy Kaufmanesque way that it was all a farce. But then I realized something, I don't have the patience or dedication to follow through on anything. Sure I procrastinate, everyone does secretly, they just don't talk about it but that is not the main thing holding me back.

I got to thinking about why I am such a failure at life. I am a fairly intelligent, fairly skilled person. I may have been massaged by the hands of homeliness, but I haven't been beaten by the ugly stick. At the very least I have enough ability to have modest success in the world and yet, I have none. Certainly I have crippling fears and odd paranoias but nothing that should truly inhibit me. 

Besides the real genius's who have a gift for thinking and invention the world is composed of people who just get things done, barely. Certainly most of these people are stupid but they are willing to toot their own horn if ever the opportunity arises. "I give 110% everyday, in everything I do." No you don't, you just show up everyday. If you have an office job you are scratching your balls and playing tetris most of the time. If you are in a warehouse or doing construction you are seeking ways to do your assigned work as slowly as possible so that it takes all day. 

I can't condemn these people absolutely, because I lack even what they have and that is follow through. People who are like me who are too proud to call themselves lazy would say that they are idea people. Being an idea person is another way of saying "I'd rather sit and think about work, then actually do the work." Who couldn't build a pyramid if all you had to do was think about it and 9000 slaves would pop into existence and start building it for you?

To end on a positive note, this blog is my attempt at follow through, and even though I failed at following through on my elaborate joke, I will be following through on entertaining my followers by writing more hilarity infused posts. 

Monday, March 28, 2011


I want to be less edgy. Currently my blog is a tamer, lamer version of how I feel. My humour and many of my real thoughts are quite dark. I imagine that darkness is a manifestation of my fear of death. You know who doesn't want to read about your fear of death? Everybody. Well, there could be a few weird ones who think that they are edgy and unique who will listen. They unfortunately will only read a few paragraphs before retreating back into the belief that they're the only ones who know true suffering. I know this because Tyler knows this. 

I want to be less edgy, yes even less edgy than I already am because I want people to read what I write. I don't want to scare people off with some pretentious esoteric scribblings. I want to be inclusive and accepting. I want to be the voice of the people. 

I have been looking at blogs from all around the world in the last few days to try to get a feeling for what people are interested in reading about. I have narrowed the field down to a few main categories:

1) Cats/Animals
2) Fashion/Makeup
3) Politics
4) Technology Reviews

In my attempt to grasp at more blog hits and by association greatness I bring you the first entry of my brand new blog style.

Hey loyal follower, Today Lucy (she's my cat) came over and sat on my lap. You know what she did after that? she started pushing up and down on me, trying to soften me up like I was her bed LOL! cats think that we are warm chairs. If I didn't mention this already my cat is super smart, she knows how to poop in the toilet (For realz) but unfortunately she can't flush. Talk about an awkward moment when you go to pee at 2 a.m. and the kitty is hunched over the toilet reading the San Francisco Chronicle. 

My dogz's name is Lola, she's a pug. Pugs are ugly as hell. At best their faces look like tired old men at the nursing home, at worst they look like someone glued a couple of golf balls to a scrotum. Since I am too poor and irresponsible to have children, my wife likes to dress the dog up like it's a person. She is ashamed of this behavior but she does it anyway. I think that they should have a fashion blog for dogs so that they can get all the latest styles. They probably do but they need to have a segment where the super tall, skinny, gaunt dogs walk down the runway. Make it work!

I think that makeup is cool. When I was a kid I used to like to put my mom's makeup on. Sometimes when no one was home I would put my mom's clothes on and walk around in her shoes and say "I'm the queen, nice to meet you." Next thing you know I'm in therapy and the psychologist is saying "It's okay, you can tell me if you're gay." Naw, LOLZ that never happened I was just joshing your chain.

How about that Obama eh? I either agree with his politics or I believe that he is a dirty Muslim sinner (audience dependent). Since I hail from Canada originally I think it is absurd that a base level of health care is even being argued over. On the other hand, get your hands off my money Juan and go back to your own country, but leave the churros, thanks. 

Ipads, they suck. I can't afford one, screw you for having one. If you want me to change my opinion send me two.

So that's it, entry one of my new style I hope you enjoyed it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Don't Use Your Fists, Use Guilt.

Physical violence is a chumps game. Pretend for a moment you don't think that it is morally wrong to beat your spouse or children. Pretend for a moment that you didn't enjoy pounding on your younger siblings when you were a kid. At the end of the day physical violence is going to leave marks. Mom and dad or the police are eventually going to find out that you are a shitty person, and you'll probably get grounded or go to jail. There is a much better way of getting people to do what you want instead of hitting them, and that way is through guilt.

Physical violence requires you to be in close proximity of your victim. If your target is more agile than you they might be able to escape your grasp. Worse, they might be able to outrun you long enough that you grow too tired or bored to give them a savage beating. How can you assert your dominance over something that you can't catch?This brings me back to guilt, mental kung fu. Guilt is a telekinetic energy. It can affect people from great distances and is highly potent from close range. Sciency people in a lab somewhere have deduced that there is enough power in one guilt laden phone call from a disappointed mother to level 15 square miles of earth. Used at close range guilt can ruin 10 years of Thanksgiving and Christmas with aftershocks that resonate into summer vacation, birthdays or any other time that the individual(s) considers sacred.

Picture this: A family member calls and tells you that they are eating pizza. There is no way that you can be there to share in the bliss that is eating pizza. You feel bad because you would like some pizza. You also feel bad because they seem to be enjoying themselves without you. Since you can't bring yourself to their level of enjoyment what do you do? You use guilt. You say to them in a glum tone "I wish I had pizza." You then go on to say "Could you save me some?" Wait for them to stumble through a pregnant "I guess so." Before you add "No, it's okay, you don't have to save some if you don't want to." Checkmate. This simple move has been passed down from mother to mother through the generations. If it's ever been used on you, you are a victim of guilt. The purpose of this move is not to get gratification from eating pizza but to make the other person feel so badly for eating without you that they don't enjoy it.

The only problem with guilt is that the seeds have to be sown early. As soon as you have children or as soon as your baby brother or sister is born you have to start working your magic. The recipe for guilt is as follows:

2 cups of love
2 cups of expectation
3 tablespoons of never quite satisfied
4 drops of vanilla extract
add salt to taste.

Guilt is all about feeling inadequate. The more inadequate you can make a person feel without them cracking from the pressure the better. Even if you yourself are too lazy or terrible at the activity you are trying to guilt someone into doing, you must always speak with an air of superiority. Over time the masters of the art of guilt can limit there responses to a particular look or an exhalation of breath. Once you have someone under your guilt spell you may even get lucky enough to have them start guilting themselves. "What would mother say if I didn't make the bed with hospital corners?"

Certainly there are some side effects to the overuse of guilt like depression, thoughts of suicide, low confidence, social atrophy. All in all though the benefits far outweigh the risks, so get out there and guilt someone today!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Too Close For Comfort


I was sitting in my fortress of solitude (my car) waiting on my wife. It was going to be a while so I brought a couple of car magazines. I had the window rolled down slightly, just enough so that a soft breeze could blow in. The air keeps the cabin fresh and cool and stops the windshield from fogging up. I also brought an assortment of old cd's. It's not often I get the opportunity to listen to the crappy music from my youth and on this day I planned to take advantage. 

I scoped out a parking space up high on the hill. Far away from the choice parking spaces near the building and quite a distance from the stairs, I found a juicy spot. To my left and to my right there were two empty spaces. Down below there were several empty spaces for any newcomers to park in. Yes, finally I had planned it all out, a few moments of peace, just me, my music and some time to think.

Just as I began to read about the new Dodge Charger engine and rock out to my tunes I felt a slight vibration from the road beneath me. Then, I heard a distant hum that grew in intensity. I didn't want to look up for fear of manifesting something I didn't want to see, but it was too late. I looked to my left and watched some dude in a white two door Honda Civic park directly beside me.

First off, who just parks next to another car in an otherwise empty row of cars? Men have an unwritten rule about using public urinals and that rule is that you must be at least 1 urinal apart at all times. Simply for cosmetic reasons there is no reason to park directly next to a car. Why risk getting your doors or mirrors smashed by a doofy inconsiderate human? Regardless, I excused the obviously ignorant dude for his mistake and tried to refocus on my article, but then it happened. 

He just stayed there. He didn't fucking move. Some asshole is going to come to my clearly marked off space in an empty parking lot and park directly beside me? Then he's not going to get out and leave his car, he is going to sit there and move in on my space?!

What happens at this point is that I begin to hear him fiddling with his radio, which reminds me that he can hear my music. Now I become ultra aware of what I'm listening to and I can no longer enjoy my music. So I begin to turn the music down but that doesn't work. Frantically I roll up the window to try to reestablish some privacy. But the moment is ruined. Now I'm convinced that he's looking over at me when I'm not looking. I start asking myself stupid questions. "Did you just pick your nose?" "Are you sure?" 

I become obsessed with this guy sitting in his parked car beside me. I begin to wonder what possessed him to park beside me. I begin to wonder what possess him to make other decisions in life.I desperately want to knock on his window and say "Did I look lonely, is that why you are here?" or "Why didn't you just back out and move a spot over?"or better yet "Why didn't you just park in the lower deck?" Perhaps I'd ask "What compels the universe to send people wherever I am so that I cannot ever get a moments peace to think clearly!!!!"

But I asked none of these questions and did none of these things. I just sat in my car and became increasingly more nervous. The more nervous I got the more sweaty I got. The more sweaty I got, THE MORE SWEATY I GOT! After about 20 minutes of listening to music on super low volume and madly flipping through the same 3 magazines over and over  he finally left. He didn't pick anyone up, he didn't score any drugs. There was seemingly no reason for him to be there in that time and space other than to annoy me,and let me tell you, it worked. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Miss Old People

Those who can, do, those who can't, tell you you're doing a poor job. There was a reverence we used to have for older people. They fought in wars, they made brutal migrations from harsh living circumstances into harsher circumstances, just to have freedom. We admired the work that the older generations produced in order to build America. Because of this admiration and respect we found value in the life experiences of our elders. We wanted to know what they knew while we were still young so that we could grow and capitalize on their investment.

But something changed along the way. At some point we reached a plateau. All the buildings that needed to be built were built. All the ideas that needed to be thought had been thunk. We simply became a continent of people milling around trying on different clothes. We became a world of customization rather than inspiration. Everything we needed was already here for us neatly boxed, filed and organized. All we had to do was choose the number of things we wanted, and use them in the order we liked, and we called that life. 

We no longer created new words with new meanings, we simply combined preexisting words and labelled them clever.  So began the era of Bennifer and Brangelina. This new age would see the death of many words. Well, to be fair they didn't die, they just changed meanings in order to suit the collective apathy toward reading comprehension. Goodbye irony, I will miss you.

Since we no longer found value in the lessons and experiences of the older generations we saw them for what they were, old people. Old people are like that Easter bunny that got a little too much sunlight. Underneath all that packaging it's still delicious chocolate but if it's not on sale, I'm always going to pick the fresh one over the melty one. Suddenly, the pursuit of beauty and the appearance of youth became everything. Plastic surgery and the denial of aging was at an all time high.  But none of these things prepared us for the last and final step.

Remember when your mother, father or favorite news anchor would reference a popular culture phrase? You would feel a little embarrassed because the said "The bomb" instead of "Da Bomb" It was as if they were physically unable to understand your jive way of talking. While your parents were a little stuffy and a little uncool you liked it that way. You needed to know that someone had the answers you were looking for or at the very least a different perspective on the situation. 

Old people these days are so consumed with being young and staying young that they have sadly, grossly and absurdly lowered themselves to adopting youth culture. Every older generation is supposed to be repulsed by the new generation. The reason is because each generational gap has a series of levels that we grow and mature through in order to become adults. Once we are adults, the lessons of youth culture should no longer apply to us and thus, from our evolved state it should appear stupid. 
In our desire to stay relevant and pretty we the "older wiser" generation are mining shopping malls and school parking lots for the newest fad. Instead of guiding our kids we are competing with them for Facebook friends and trying to see who can wear the shortest skirt and tallest heels. There is no reason whatsoever that I should have to hear Randy Jackson from American Idol use the word "Swagga". You are a grown ass man, the words confidence, poise, grace, charisma will serve you equally well without making your adult audience projectile vomit all over their flat screens.

Let's old it up people! Enough with the tights and thigh highs grandma, let's try some age appropriate clothing. Let's try to conduct ourselves like we actually have thoughts and lessons to bestow on the children. A little less friendship and a little more stern judgement. Old people are cool too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Old People Do It Too!

Apparently, I'm in a picking on old mood.

Okay oldies, we get it. You are well past the age where the majority of the world finds you attractive but you are still sexually active. Good for you! I'm glad that you and dear old grandpa are still pounding it out between the sheets but do me a favor, spare me the details.

I theorize that there is a component in the human mind that fails or deteriorates around age 50. Internally I believe that most of us are built with sensors that tell us when people around us are feeling uncomfortable. If we are being insulting with racially insensitive comments, sexist slurs or generally disrespectful digressions, most of us get an inkling when someone isn't quite feeling what we are putting down. But this does not happen in the mind of the 50 plus individual. As I stated earlier, old people are immune to recognizing an awkward moment. 

Call me a prude, but I don't want to hear about anyone's sex life. I realize that my parents had to have sex for me to be here but I'd like to believe that all my parents did was sit in their bed and hug until the power of their love made me pop to life inside my mom's tummy. 

If I'm not interested in the sexual exploits of young hard bodied good looking people then I am doubly uninterested in hearing about the sex lives of older people. I am therefore exponentially uninterested (read:scared) of hearing about the sexual wants and desires of old people that I am related to. For the record, I am an equal opportunity despiser of stories. Whether my mother in law is specifying her length and girth requirements or my father is getting naughty with his facebook harem of kinky old ladies, I don't want to know. It isn't that I think that old people are undeserving of love I just don't want to be haunted with an image of my relatives "Oh face" when we're sitting down for Sunday dinner.

Dear oldies, I know that you are old and less talented at everything but you don't have to embarrass your children and loved ones. I used to take my moms car out and do spins in the snow and go street racing, but when I came home I had the decency to lie to her and tell her I drove like a complete gentleman. When she asked why the rotors where red hot and the car smelled like burning transmission I said "I dunno." She suspected the truth was a little different from what I told her, but the car wasn't smashed and I wasn't dead. If I happen to find your bottle of Viagra for the love of god just tell me that they are back pills or blood pressure pills or any other type of pill than a pill that aids the proper functioning of your dick.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Older Lady With Small Dog Syndrome

I dedicate this to my mother.

Don't get ahead of me. This isn't an essay about why I hate older ladies with small dogs, rather it is my belief that old ladies with small are an archetype and they share several strange and absurd behaviors. 

Small dogs are everywhere these days, in fact I have one. The first and noticeable difference between me and older ladies is that I keep mine on a leash. Whether it is their lower back pain, the confusing process of putting on an animal harness or the belief that their dog is a tiny person, older ladies refuse to consistently put a leash on their dogs. What they will do however is scream the dogs name over and over and over again from a distance. The dog of course will pay no attention as he/she crosses into traffic to smell a smell on the other side of the road. the dog has near death experiences regularly but the "cruelty of the leash", robs the dog of his dignity, so it remains in the older lady's pocket, should a "real emergency" ever arise.

O.L.W.S.D's are deathly afraid of salt. When they are shopping they pay close attention to the amount of sodium in everything. If they ever get french fries they always ask for them unsalted and when they arrive to order they will always claim to taste salt. If they are eating Asian food it will always have too much MSG or soy sauce, even if there is none in the dish.The reason they can't eat salt is because it makes them feel bloated. They will tell you how much salt makes them expand between bites of kielbasa and sips of diet coke. They will tell you, every time they see you, every time they encounter salt. Even when someone else is eating it, they will regale you with stories about their difficulties with salt.
OLWSD love brown bread with 17 kinds of birdseed in it. What the hell happened to bread? What's so wrong with a nice wheat bread with a little dusting of oats on the top? Wasn't the original plan of bread to break up grains, smooth them out and make a delicious base for which to put butter on, eat with soups or construct sandwiches? How is four pounds of sunflower seeds and pine nuts enhancing my tuna fish sandwich?

Aging: OLWSD are not afraid of aging. You see, they are older, they are wiser they see the beauty in all things. When they were young they felt they had to compete, now they can just relax and enjoy all of the little details in life. That is until you hear a weak crying sound coming from a Dairy Queen bathroom and you send you sister in law to check it out. There she finds an older lady bubbling over with sadness about the despair of life. Where did all the time go?

I'll tell you where it went, it went into the latest fad diet. "Are ya on the Atkins?" "Are ya on the southbeach?" are you eating according to your blood type? are you eating according to your body type? Are you eating according to you career type? Are you on the peanut butter diet, the pancake diet, the lock your fridge and hide your car keys diet? Yes, she's tried them all. Some of them have even worked for a while but they generally end in regression.

Are you sick? let me consult the OLWSD handbook to help you deal with that. Apparently getting some sun heals every disease, even skin cancer. Yep, you are sick because you are sitting inside and not incorporating enough Ra in your life. If that doesn't work then they'll try backing a truck load of vitamin C into your pie hole. Nothing like that gritty, sandy orangey taste of vitamin C pills, kinda reminds me of the toothpaste at the dentist. The contradiction with this point is that OLWSD's are themselves hypochondriacs. They are constantly convinced the are dying. Any malady is capable of, and certainly will send them to the morgue. Worse they extend this sense of hypochondria to their small dogs. They become convinced that when they are sick they are dying and when the dog is sick it is dying. In most cases, neither of them are actually even sick.

Finally Old ladies with small dogs do not possess self awareness. It could be called narcissism if their brains were not like swiss cheese and they remembered the last offensive thing that they said. Their conversations are a string of mildly upsetting insults with no discernible tact to preserve the feelings of present company. They have no problem identifying and pointing out your flaws but should you return the favor it is not uncommon for them to burst into tears and kick you out of their house. 

Simply put, Older ladies are a treasure to behold and I hope in your lifetime you get to meet at least one. I myself have met a few and I consider myself better for it.

Communication As A Means of Separation

We once believed that communication was a form of unification. Communication allowed early man to hunt more effectively. The ability to record and understand the thoughts of others allowed us to pass down tools and knowledge to younger generations so that we could progress as a species. As we became more advanced technologically, our communication became more advanced. The more opportunities we created to be together however, the more opportunities we created to be apart. Therefore, our true nature is not one of connection and understanding but of separation and autonomy.

The answering machine was the first device that made us truly realize how much we hate each other. It was originally devised to connect us with all the people that we missed when we were not home. The thought was "I am missing a great portion of life by not being at home thus I will manufacture a device so that I can be two places at once." Well, it wasn't long before people exploited answering machines for their true purpose, screening calls. What better way to find out who is trying to get a a hold of you then by forcing them to expose themselves first. Is there any better way to get the upper hand in a friendship or relationship then to know the other persons intentions in advance? Also, what if you don't like the person who is calling and the only reason you ever talked to them in the first place was because of social obligation? Now you don't have to. By allowing the answering machine to do all the work we were able to remove ourselves from a level of human interaction. 

Answering machines evolved into cell phones and blackberries. The cellphone was the best way to be with everyone and be with nobody at the same time. If you were afraid of having an awkward conversation about the weather with someone you don't know, you would simply flip open your cellphone and pretend to be talking to someone else. No longer did you worry about having to make small talk, or even talk directly to valet's, store clerks, baristas or hotel employees. All we had to do was keep blabbing and nodding to the imaginary person on the other end of the line while we rifled through our credit cards or wadded up dollar bills to pay for their service. 

Certainly computers are the biggest and perhaps the final step in communication evolution. Computers once provided the means for all of the freaks and nutters to talk. The computer was a device that stopped the immediacy of knowing exactly how ugly the person on the other side of the screen was. Because of this it allowed ugly people a grace period long enough so that they could dupe someone else into loving them for their personality. Soon that all changed. Eventually the cool people wanted be on computers too and because of them the world became a lot more visual. Myspace, Youtube, Facebook. All of these services catered to the general public seemingly so that every individual could be heard, but all it did, was create another layer of insulation.

If I post it on my wall, I don't actually have to talk to you about it. If I post it on my wall, I don't have to regard you as an individual. Furthermore, you don't have to regard me as an individual either. Instead of saying something engaging you can just "like" my status. Instead of inquiring about how you are doing, I can just send you a request in Farmville. I will amass 3000 friends but I will not interact or engage with any of them on a personal level. Further, when I go out into the real world I will constantly update my Facebook page and check in on my pets in Pet Society while I am in class or at work. 

We are not dividing and multiplying so that we can grow together, we are trying to grow apart. Every human cell is repulsed by every other human cell in a fight for supremacy and separation. The more we seem to fit together, the further we are falling apart. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Came First The Crazy Or The Egg?

Situation: I was sitting idly watching television and not reading or doing anything productive. For the record what I was watching wasn't educational in any way. I was simply wasting my life, moment by moment in front of the television. Suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping on my chamber door. Naturally, I was frozen with fear. Who could it be knocking on my door? Was it the police, would I become the victim of mistaken identity and be arrested and taken to jail? Was it my landlord? did she finally have a verdict on what she thought about the illegal pets that I have been harboring in my apartment? Worse, could it be someone that I know personally who just thought that it would be "fun" to pop by? Whatever the situation, it needed an answer. But I admit, on this occasion my panic got the best of me and I hid in the comfort of the bathroom and waited for the pounding on my door to cease. 

Once it finally did, I mustered up the courage to see if the perpetrator left any evidence behind. Holding my breath I slowly walked to the front door and grabbed hold of the handle. Unlocking the door, I quickly pulled it opened and timidly poked my head outside.  On my doorstep there rested a package from UPS. It seemed that the evil caller that had come to ruin my life was in fact a good doer, come to shower me with gifts.

It was at this point I got to thinking "What the hell is wrong with me?" I have yet in my life to be stabbed or held at gunpoint. At worst as I mentioned I've had to deal with the landlord in a few sticky situations where I've had to lubricate the truth. Other than that, my life is fairly tame. So why then do I dash into the comfort of the bathroom or closet when someone knocks on the door or calls on the phone? Simply put, I'm a little crazy.

 I believe however that my form of crazy is justifiable. You see even though my interactions with humans are fairly pedestrian and not conventionally scary, they aren't good either. Every phone conversation I've ever had is someone trying to get me to help them work through a computer problem. If not that then they are requesting that I drive 40 miles and jump start their car or fix a flat. If not that then I am timidly trying to arrange a job interview over the phone whereby I have to disguise my lack of experience in the field and pretend that my references are real.

In real life, my interactions with people who come to my door are the same. Every knock on the door is a problem. A plumber frantically bangs on my door because the toilet of the guy below exploded and there is shit everywhere. Since we are on the same system the plumber has to hurriedly come in and prevent a geyser of poop from exploding out of my bathtub drain. Or it's someone asking me to move the car, donate to X charity, join X religion etc. Besides the one occasion when the UPS guy came bearing gifts, there is nothing that the outside world has unexpectedly thrust on me that is good. Because of this, I see no reason to go outside or anticipate good things. For people like me anticipating good things is like not bracing for a punch, it just hurts a lot more and you go down faster. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Handi-capable People in Television Shows

This is not an "I hate disabled people" or an "I think that handicapped people should be euthanized" rant. While I am evil, I don't think that I am a dick. Please take into account the message.

I was reliving a fabulous episode of the Simpsons recently where Homer watches an episode of Nightboat (a parody of Knight Rider) whereby the hero solves crimes while driving his computerized talking boat. The thieves always get caught because they foolishly stay too close to a water source that Nightboat can steer into. Exasperated Bart and Lisa say "Every week there is a canal or an inlet, or a fjord. The premise is hilarious in a non serious setting because the idea of a having canal, inlet or fjord to drive into is absurd. But this is exactly what happens in television shows where people with disabilities are involved.

1) Commercials

First off why is every commercial geared toward kids seemingly stuck in the 80's? From their manner of dress to the way they talk. Just watch any Sunny D or Hot Pockets commercial and you'll see what I mean. What you will also see is that Sunny D puts an end to racism and the shunning of others who are different. In every commercial there is a collection of kids of different races who have assembled to play some competitive sport. What you also might see is Johnny Mcwheels in his wheelchair. Johnny Mcwheels is a paraplegic but he isn't going to allow his tragic accident or god given disability get him down. No! in fact, he's gonna be all smiles, you know why? Because he's going to toss in the winning basket, or catch the frisbee or do whatever else he can do without the use of his legs. After he scores, his friends will gather around and say "Great game! how bout some Sunny D."

a) First off, a kid in a wheelchair would have no chance against an opposing team of able bodied kids who can run and jump. Don't believe me? how many active wheelchair bound people are their playing in the NBA today? How easy would it be to reject another player who can only hold the ball four feet off the ground?

b) There is no possible way that the kid in the wheelchair would have (1) so many friends and (2) be well liked and appreciated by his friends. As a former long term cripple I can speak intelligently on the subject. People, especially teens do not want to be saddled with baggage of being friends with a cripple. Cripples are a blight and a sign of weakness in any friend group. I'm not suggesting that I endorse this rule, I'm just saying that is how it is. It's hard enough for teenage boys to get dates and get laid without being friends with the crippled kid. You can't show a crippled kid sitting in a basement playing role playing games with his three dorky friends though, that would be just too honest.

2) TV Shows

Blind people and deaf people. Once again I don't outwardly hate blind or deaf people, I just despise the way they are portrayed and the stories that are created for them on television shows. Why is it that every show that features a deaf or blind person always play up their disability as though it is a skill? In every CSI or mystery type show that uses a deaf person they are never portrayed as someone who is just barely getting by with their disability rather, they become the hero and are lifted to superior heights. 

The blind guy will conveniently find himself in a power out situation and all the lights go off. The only hope is for him to use his keen sense of hearing in order to thwart the bad guy, find the missing girl, or diffuse the bomb. Same goes for the deaf person. At some point in the show the criminal will be near them when they have their back turned. It will put the deaf person in a position of vulnerability. However, at the end of the show they will use sign language to the solve the mystery. The gorilla in the cage at the mansion of the guy who was murdered saw everything, and he knows sign language. Brilliant!

The only time that people on television are depicted with a debilitating disability are the main characters. If one of them gets shot in the back and has spinal damage they will be all bummed out. There's always that one scene where they remember themselves playing baseball and stealing home. Then they flash back into reality and they are in a wheelchair. They give a long look into the bathtub filling up with water and you can tell they are contemplating suicide. 

The definition of disabled is: the condition of being unable to perform as a consequence of physical or mental unfitness.

Why is it so difficult to write a storyline that depicts this subject realistically? People would have more sympathy for disabled people if they were aware of a what a struggle and grind being disabled actually is. Sure disabled people can have rich and fulfilling lives but I bet if you gave a blind man three wishes one of them would be spent on sight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Shamwow is Amazing

The Shamwow is the greatest infomercial ever. We have know for ages that the crap they sell on late night television doesn't work and is merely a gimmick to extract our hard earned dollars. Previously infomercials dedicated a lot of effort into convincing you that their product was reliable. After purchase the item would undoubtedly fail or what once seemed useful about the device no longer mattered. That was how they got you. A big promise up front followed by testimonials and demonstrations. In some cases they even included a money back guarantee which only about 5% of the unhappy public ever claimed. This formula of bullshit and lies continued for about 15 years until one day the mighty Shamwow rode in to save the day.

We believe that it is called Shamwow because it is the combination of the words Shammy(chamois) and wow. In other words the greatest chamois to ever have been created. This is our mistake, look closer. The first word is actually sham.

The definiton of sham is as follows:

a trick that deludes, cheap falseness, a imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine.

The second word used is wow which is a word used to express a strong feeling usually pleasure.
If we put these two words together we get Shamwow, a false, counterfeit pleasure.
During the entire production they never endeavor to lie to you. They tell you upfront that the product is made in Germany and the the Germans make "good stuff." I surmise that the shamwow was probably called the Guntersham and the company was failing horribly. They were most likely failing because the chamois works up to and including as well as a regular chamois, you know the kind you buy at Walmart for 2 bucks to wipe down your car. There was no incentive for people to purchase the Guntersham because there was nothing to be excited about. That was until some brilliant marketer decided to sell a shitty product for exactly what it was, a shitty product.

We have come to know the head of the company as the Shamwow guy. I don't know if he had a part in creating the title and the method of sale, but if he did he gets kudos from me. Every part of his uniform from the penis shaped microphone hanging phallically in his face to his Shamwow embroidered collared t-shirt and crack head eyes only help to sell the product further. It is clear that he is trying to appear as an infomercial impersonator gathering all the techniques and famously bad deliveries of dead end actors, musicians and anyone else who has ever tried to squeeze a buck out of the American public.

Finally we are purchasing an informercial product for the right reason and that reason is because the Shamwow is part of American culture, not because it is good. We know that the Paris Hiton's and the Kim Kardashian's and to a lesser extent the Justin Bieber's of the world are not talented. We have grown to be interested in them only because someone else has told us that we should be interested in them long enough until we finally are. The same goes for the Shamwow. Any person with common sense instantly recognizes the product as a piece of crap but now that it has become a fixture of our culture don't you kind of want one?