Piloting a riverboat is not to be taken lightly. You’ve got surface currents, undercurrents, rocks, submerged branches, and don’t forget about the other boats. I’m just saying, if you insist on dropping out of college to be a riverboat captain, at least have a fallback option.
Your mother and I worry. That’s just how it is. That’s how it’s always gonna be. We love you, and we want what’s best for you. And, if you truly believe that means taking the helm of an old-timey steamboat and heading down the Mighty Mississippi, than we will support your decision. But, until then, maybe you can take an accounting class and see if you like that, too.
I understand where you are coming from with the steamboat thing. When I was your age, I wanted to start a rock and roll band. Instead, I stayed in school, and I practiced guitar on the weekends in the garage. Now, I’m a successful actuary, and you know what? Without my career in life insurance, I could never have bought that Fender Telecaster in the den. I’m just saying, maybe you want to keep the thing that you love a hobby.
Because, once you get out there in the real world of riverboat piloting, it becomes a job just like anything else. I mean, sure, there’s the prestige and the glamour of it, but it’s still hard work. A daily grind even. I’ve seen you behind the helm of a steamer; I’ve seen the gleam in your eyes. Honestly, I don’t want you to lose the fantasy of it. I worry that it won’t live up to the dream.
So, how ‘bout we say this? How about you finish up this semester? Then, this summer, we go out and find you an antebellum steamboat--something small at first, not a full casino on board, just a few poker tables. We’ll see how that goes before we make a final decision about school.
And, you can start growing out your handlebar moustache now. That’s how serious I am about giving this idea a try. Don’t worry about your mother; I’ll get her onboard.
Here are some editorial cartoons commissioned by Comedy Central for its Indecision Forever blog. I made them in the form of vintage postcards.
Click here to see more.
Alright, Pearl, find a duvet cover, and let’s get outta here. This store smells like a cinnamon candle farted in my face. Why are we redoing the guestroom, anyway? The grandkids won’t look up from their phones long enough to notice.
Yeah, sure, that one looks good. Let’s go. No no, I’m not just saying that to leave. You’re right, that is the perfect duvet for our guestroom. It's the same blue as the drapes. It's got the same pink as the guest towels. And, the flowers on it are mums—just like the lamp. It's almost as if it was made for the room.
Although … huh. Wait just a minute. It’s perfect alright—a little too perfect.
Pearl, I am not being paranoid! You don't spend forty-seven years on the Jacksonville Police Force without learning when something smells fishy. This here's fishy. We go out looking for a bedspread, and BLAM! The first one we find is perfect. You learn to question these things.
Listen to me, something's not right here. You wouldn't believe the number of times Baker and I would go out on a call, and it would be just like this—set up to seem like everything had fallen into our laps. But, there was always someone behind it, pulling the strings.
Yes, Pearl, of course I want the kids to visit. This isn’t about dragging my feet on the guestroom. It’s about my detective instincts. I should have never retired, with these things still as sharp as they are.
So, with the bedspread, what do we have to go on? You were right about the colors being an exact match. Then, who has access to our guestroom to know its colors? Only your friend Dorothy. No, Dorothy's not smart enough for this kind of thing. Besides, I ran a background check on her after the cow creamer went missing.
Follow the money. Nine times out of ten, it’s about money. So, where does the money go? Who owns this store? Of course! Crazy Lenny. It’s the perfect cover for a criminal mastermind—everyone thinks he’s crazy. More like, Crazy-Like-a-Fox Lenny!
Pearl, where are you coming back from? What?! You bought the duvet cover? But, it’s trap, Pearl! You’ve put us right where they wanted us. And, matching pillows? Noooooo!!
Fine, but this means I get to buy that mini fridge for the den.
The world’s most elaborate prank started out with a simple idea: What if my friend Pete and I pulled off the world’s most elaborate prank? After that, though, things got complicated.
First off, we’d need people--tons of people, all in on the prank. But, how would we organize them? So, back in the early 60’s, Pete and I invented the Internet. We knew it would be awhile before our invention caught on, however that was okay. We had plenty of other pieces of the prank to set into motion.
Besides people, we’d need proper financing to pull off the world’s most elaborate prank. In order to do that, we decided to gradually shift the nation’s economy from an industrial system towards an information- and money market-based economy. And, we had to make it look natural and unforced. Fortunately, Pete’s dad was a Mason, so he walked us through that kind of stuff.
Okay, moving on to the major players in the world's most elaborate prank. We knew we’d need the following:
- an Oscar-winning actress
- a male scientist with red hair and deep gray eyes
- the head of marketing for a major big box retailer from Sweden
- seventeen sets of identical twins
- a goofus of an ex-president who left behind a fiscal crisis and two wars
- a woman with a hot air balloon shaped like a basset hound
- Bill Pullman
- and a professional lady bug wrangler
The first seven were easy, because Pete was part of Skull & Bones in college. (I’m more of the idea man, and he’s the connector.) But, the lady bug wrangler turned out to be a real problem. It seems that most lady bug wranglers are deeply religious. And, of course, once they heard about our prank and rejected us, they had to be locked away so as to not ruin the world’s most elaborate prank.
Wait, did you hear that? Shhh …
Someone’s coming! I can’t tell you any more. Just be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 17th at 2:13pm. Wear a WackyWonderz Brand gorilla costume. A man named Bill will hand you a legal pad with an address. Go there and await further instructions.
This is gonna be awesome.
So, you’re going on another date. Good for you. You must not have thrown up during the first one. Here are twelve steps for a great second date:
1) Be yourself. Because, honestly, how long did you think you could keep up that French accent?
2) Show up on a tandem bicycle. Yeah, shit just got real.
3) Wear your most expensive sweatpants. Dates appreciate the finer things.
4) Bring along the portrait you painted of him or her from memory. It will show you’re interested, especially because you incorporated their real hair.
5) Prove how generous you are by tipping the emergency room doctor.
6) Or, you could just remember to ask if your dish contains peanuts. For once, god damn it.
7) Fun activity: skipping stones on a pond, especially if you’re super competitive about it.
8) Find out the other person’s name. That was pretty sloppy on your part.
9) If you happen to stumble on the sidewalk, don’t get flustered. Just laugh it off. Keep laughing and laughing until you can hardly breathe and your face turns red. Laugh until you sound like an evil scientist. Then, your date won’t even remember that you tripped.
10) Ask if you can videotape the entire date to help “work on your technique.”
11) Bring up religion. Why not?
12) Now’s a good time to try out some of the weird stuff in bed, before the sex gets monotonous and boring on the third date.
That’s it. Good luck, and remember to listen and smile. Oh, and dance like no one’s watching.
I’m working to build my writing career by pitching freelance magazines articles. Here are a few article ideas I pitched to Real Simple Magazine:
- Balancing Your Husband and Your Crafting
- Yogurt Your Way to Happiness
- 10 Fun Ideas for Broken Christmas Lights
- Lemon Zesters: A Primer
- 30-Second Brunch
- Why Shelf Liners Matter
- Decorate Your House with Stuff Around Your House
- “Ethnic” Prints Every WASP Should Own
- Centerpieces So Easy, Even an Goofus Can Make Them
- 25 Tips to Speed Up Your Leisure Reading
- Homemade Teeth Bleaching Kits for Kids
- Will Having Kids Take Away from Your Felting Time?
- This Week’s Trench Coat Trends
- 200 Recipes for Leftover Kale
- Rain Ponchos: A Primer
- Five-Minute Harried Mom Looks
- How to Turn Your Leftover Ketchup into a Purse
- Almond Up Your Exercise Routine
- Expensive Wrinkle Creams You Need to Buy Which Also Just Happen to be Our Biggest Advertisers
- Letter Openers: A Primer
- Just Photos of Sunny Kitchens
So, guess what? Paunches are coming back in fashion. I guess it’s the pendulum swinging back from skinny jeans and fitted dress shirts. People are getting sick of the waif look.
Finally! I knew this would happen eventually. Remember how rain boots and summer scarves were big two years ago? Now, big bellies are the season’s must-have. I’m so glad I held onto mine.
It’s all about riding out the fads, y’know? First, it’s wide leg jeans; then it’s low rise jeans; then it’s capris; and on and on. You know what looks good? Straight leg jeans. Just stick with a good thing. Like a round little belly.
My wife has been nagging me for years to get rid of my paunch. She thought it looked outdated, and she constantly said I should walk over to the Salvation Army to get rid of it. Yeah, like I’m gonna walk two miles every day to the Salvation Army. It’s on top of a hill, for cripe’s sake.
She’s the one who made me give away my fedora from my swing dancing phase. Now, Mad Men is a hit, and I can’t show off my cool fedora. But, at least I held onto my paunch.
I first got this paunch way back in college. Looks the same as the day I noticed it in a vintage store. (I was trying on an awesome cowboy shirt, and I couldn’t get the buttons to snap. That’s when I noticed my belly in the mirror.) Anyway, I’ve kept this paunch ever since. I guess I’m a trend setter.
Seriously, I have pictures to prove it. Nearly every photo of my since undergrad has my paunch in it, even as other fashion trends came and went. There’s me with my paunch and boot-cut chinos. Then, there was that phase where I only wore hooded sweatshirts over my paunch. I even had it at my wedding, though you can barely see it poking out under my cummerbund.
I simply had faith that if I held onto my paunch long enough, it would come back into vogue. Now, when I go to a bar for my standard four beers and an order of onion rings, I see ladies staring at my roly poly belly. I know what they’re thinking. Sorry, ladies, I may be stylish, but I’m happily married.
Sure, some day my paunch my go out of fashion again, but it’ll come back around. Fashion is cyclical. Look at skinny ties or bellbottoms or hoop earrings. I just hope that giant, asymmetrical foreheads come back into style. Then, I’ll be all set.