Hey, Ted, thanks for coming in. Have a seat. I thought maybe we could wrap up the winter quarter with an informal employee review. Just to see how things are going in the office and if there’s anything we could do better. Here, I’ve printed up a worksheet.
How are things progressing for you? Are you satisfied with your position here? Because, I have to tell you, I’ve noticed a few changes in your demeanor lately. Subtle stuff. Like, I’ve noticed you’ve started pointing to things with your middle finger.
I understand some people naturally use their middle finger to point out numbers in Excel or graphs on an overhead. But, I clearly remember you using your index finger before. So, that makes it seem like you’re giving everybody the finger whenever you point. Like I said, these are subtle changes.
Also, in the lobby, you don’t push the revolving door anymore. You stand and let the other people in the revolving door push it for you. Now, nothing in the employee handbook that says you have to push when going through a revolving door, but it makes me wonder what else you’re not doing.
Do you know what I’m saying, Ted? I don’t expect everyone to go above and beyond. I understand that this is just a day job for many of you guys. But, here’s a little example: Every evening, I like to take my wastepaper bin and walk it over to that trash closet. It makes Hector’s job a little easier, and it’s really not a lot of extra work for me.
In your cubical, though, I’ve noticed the wastepaper bin is always overflowing at night with human feces. See the difference there?
I understand you’re busy cutting out pictures of your coworkers and X-ing out the eyes, but it sure would be helpful if you could empty out your trash. Especially if you’re going to be shitting in it.
I mean, you clearly have time to post angry, threatening notes in the break room. And, leaving all those dead mice under Mrs. Gregory’s keyboard must take up a lot of your day. Maybe instead you could put that energy into sharing the workload.
I hope you understand I’m not trying to be the harsh taskmaster here. I’m just trying to keep the cogs moving, you know? Ted? Are you listening to me? You seem distracted.
Ted, do you have anything to add at this point? No? You’re just gonna sit there clutching that letter opener and mouthing curse words? Well, that’s your prerogative.
Alright, well … good talk. Um, I hope to see you at the office bowling party after the break, and I wish you a very happy New Year, Ted. Keep up the good ... nevermind. You can go now.
Hi, welcome to Lydia’s Yoga Shop. We sell activewear for the active woman. Come on in, and I’ll give you the tour. As you can see, we sell a wide range of yoga pants here at Lydia’s Yoga.
First up is our Kriya style of yoga pant. These are cut low at the waist and are terrific for everyday wear--running errands, catching a matinee. These start at around $78.
Next, we have our Prana yoga pants. These pants are cut higher in the waist with comfortable flat-locked seams. This style is terrific for swinging by a boutique or Trader Joes. These start at around $95 and come in charcoal or midnight black.
I should mention that none of our yoga pants are meant specifically for yoga. In fact, we actively discourage doing actual yoga in these yoga pants. It’s far too sweaty.
These are our Turiya yoga pants. These are designed to be worn during pedicures. Note the four-way stretch in the seat and the slight flair along the leg opening. These start at around $112 and come in a massage oil-resistant fabric.
Our Abhaya yoga pants are great for picking up little Dashiell or Dakota from Montessori. They have a pleasant lift and separation in the seat. These are $140, but it’s worth the price when you see the jealous looks on the “working” mothers’ faces.
Again, we ask that you not do any yoga or yoga-related activities in these pants. No pilates, please.
Our Swami yoga pants are designed for watching Julia Roberts movies. They feature hip pockets and anti-chafing Juliamax™ technology. These are on sale today for $98.
Ah, I see you’ve noticed the Maitri yoga pants. These are perfect for a visit to the spa or a weekend away to Napa with your girlfriends. They’re also great for quick trips to Starbucks or the mall. You can have an affair with your personal trainer in these, or you could read the Betsey Johnson interview in Vanity Fair. Really, these are great for reading any magazines—O Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Elle, Real Simple, Vogue, Cosmo, US Weekly … God, do you remember Domino Magazine? I miss Domino.
You could sign up for an awareness walk in our Maitri yoga pants. You can shop for gluten or soy-free groceries in these. They’re good for attending museum events or gallery openings or divorce hearings. These yoga pants are great to wear while recycling huge numbers of plastic water bottles. You can dabble in starting a wallpaper design business in these. You can carry your tiny dog around the dog park in these. You can shop for bridesmaid dresses in these.
Really they’re good for anything except yoga. They cost around $125, and the matte finish is a nice contrast to any over-sized diamonds you might be wearing.
Can I interest you in any of our cashmere tanks or camis?
I can picture myself spending the rest of my life eating cheese on a train. Not like a subway train; that’s disgusting. I mean eating an assortment of fine cheeses on a commuter rail. I recently experienced just that, and let me tell you … pretty great. Pretty f-ing great.
I love the comfy seats with their fold-down trays. I love mini bottles of wine. I love the excessive packaging. There’s something so satisfying about popping open the plastic container, tearing apart the individual plastic wrapper, pulling back the tinfoil, and then peeling away the outer wax. It’s like a goddamn matryoshka doll of cheese.
A plastic knife wrapped in plastic? Crackers parceled out two at a time? Are you kidding me? It’s like Christmas morning.
Is there a way I can monetize this newfound interest? Maybe make a career out of it? People always say to do what you love. Well, I love eating cheese on a train. Maybe I could become an ultra-niche travel writer. “The cheese and hummus tray on the 178 Amtrack between D.C. and Boston is a resplendent escape from the humdrum life of the regional commuter…”
“The tiny block of pre-packaged Tillamook had a hint of almond that betrayed its modest roots…” And, then I’d say something really profound. Listen, I’m not giving away this stuff for free. A man has to make a living.
There’s something so European about eating cheese on a train. Not that I’m a Europhile. Lots of things about Europe are horrible. For example, Europeans. But, I will admit that Europe knows how to eat cheese, and that’s while speeding along at 80 miles per hour.
(Though, they’d probably say 129 kilometers per hour, which is pretentious and gross. Shut the fuck up, Pierre.)
Listen, what I’m really saying is this: If anyone is hiring or knows of anyone who’s hiring a professional railway cheese eater, please pass along my contact information. I can provide references from past trips who can attest to my enjoyment of cheese and train travel. Also, I’m from Wisconsin, so I understand cheese on a very fundamental level.
Cheese is in my blood. Literally. My doctor says I need to cut back.
Are you guys getting excited for Saturday? You know what day it is right? I wait all year for it--the day we get to open the big door on the Advent calendar!!!
What's gonna be inside this year? There's no way of knowing. My guess is a chocolate bell. Colleen, my wife, thinks it'll be a chocolate star, but that's stupid. It was a star last year. They wouldn't do that two years in a row. Where's the surprise in that?
Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!!! What do you think it's gonna be?! I'm only like 60-63% sure it'll be a chocolate bell. I also have this weird feeling it might be a chocolate cuckoo clock. I know, right?! Huge long shot. But, when I first looked at the new advent calendar this year, a little voice in my head said cuckoo clock. What if it's a cuckoo clock, you guys?! I'd lose my shit.
I wish the Saturday, the 25th would come earlier. Every morning this month, I've woken Colleen up at 5am, and we've rushed out in our pajamas to open up that day's door on the Advent calendar. Then we eat a huge goose dinner for breakfast. With all the trimmings. (It's been a long month, you guys.)
I tried shaking the calendar to see what it might be. Unfortunately, one of the other doors popped open, and a little chocolate angel fell out. I put it back, but I think Colleen noticed it was carpet-fuzzy. I just couldn't wait.
Now, it's almost here--the day when people all over the world celebrate opening the biggest door/flap on their Advent calendar. Black or white, tall or short, Jews, Hindus, Christians--we all look forward to the excitement of what's inside. [Note to blog's fact checker: Please check on the accuracy of this. Do tall people celebrate Advent Calendar Day?]
Happy Advent calendar season, everybody. Let's all sing a carol together, shall we?
O holy Advent calendar,
Your doors are filled with chocolate;
I think the big door
Might have a bell inside;
But then I thought,
What if it's a cuckoo clock?
If it is I would worry
I was psychic.
O calendar diviiiiiiiine.
O calendar, o calendar divine.
Across the history of mankind, eclipses have been occasions for hushed awe and reverence. Often occurring once in a lifetime, each eclipse is an important keystone in marking our brief yet significant existence against the vastness of celestial infinity.
Here are a few tips for forgetting to watch a lunar eclipse:
1) A week ahead, fully intend to watch the eclipse. Maybe clip out the newspaper's weather page and stick it to your fridge.
2) On Monday, absentmindedly place a takeout menu in front of that same newspaper clipping.
3) Have a hard day at work.
4) Come home having forgotten to pick up bread to go with soup. Run back out for bread.
5) Do laundry. Preferably reds or warm darks, as those have been piling up.
6) Crash in front of the TV. Watch a Netflix episode of some show that's supposedly good but actually terrible. It need only be totally, brainlessly watchable. Any show off Showtime will do, though I myself prefer something with a female spy and/or assassin.
7) Repeat the previous step several times. Wow, Eliza Dushku can really mangle exposition. Huh.
8) Feel guilty about leaving the dishes in the sink for your spouse.
9) Check in on Facebook for a few hours. Somehow avoid seeing references to the eclipse in four separate statuses.
10) Download a iPhone game involving zebras racing down water slides.
11) This is the most important step: Remain awake and fully dressed during the eclipse. Be too focused on your game of Wacky Rapidz to remember the eclipse is happening.
12) Fall into bed around 3am.
13) Wake up early the next morning and watch a news story about the eclipse while you brush your teeth.
14) Write your blog post on the train.
Let me tell you now the legend of the greatest Scrabble game ever played. Some say the game was a myth. Others say they were there on that fateful subway ride. You may hear tell the game was played by a man and his mobile phone. I say it was played by two giants.
The year was 2010. Right up near the end of it. The outside world was cold, forbidding, no place for man nor beast. But, inside that F train, there was the warmth of battle.
Our hero received his first seven tiles, and there before his eyes laid a bingo—not lined up all in a row, no sir. Jumbled. But his mind was sharp, his courage strong, and he knew all seven letters could be arranged to spell the word “founder.” That’s 12 points, plus one double-letter, all doubled for the first turn, plus 50 points for using every tile. 76 points in one turn. You heard me right—76 points. It was a harbinger of things to come.
What followed was a mad, wild adventure across nine subway stops. Long, impressive words sacrificed without compunction to line up many small words side-by-side. The Z and Q not feared, but welcomed. The letter W placed on a triple-letter square to make not one, but two words. It counted twice, my friends. Twice times three.
Just then, the internal processor of the cell phone began to rile, cutting off entire sections of the board with misplaced Vs. It hounded his every move, placing a J where no J should go. Our hero fought back valiantly, even opening up the board in an act of chivalry.
Did the cell phone respond to this with equal good sportsmanship? No! It warned that the battery was running low. There was no electrical outlet in sight. Worse, our hero’s charging cord was left at work. Unless the game ended soon, all would be lost.
That’s when our hero noticed it. Up there in the corner. He saw not only a bingo, but the greatest bingo of all—a bingo that stretched from one triple-word square to the next. Could he believe his eyes?
His opponent had laid down an L along the edge of the board. There it was, waiting to be set down—the word “relining,” as in “to line again.” They weren’t impressive letters. No, only the G was worth more than a single point on its own. But together, together they reached from corner to mid-board, lining the perimeter like a cavalry cresting the hill. 110 points in a single move. 110 points using simple Es and Ns. It was his final move.
As far as the eye could see, commuters stood from their seats and applauded our hero. Mittens clasped together in rejoice. His fellow travelers wiped tears from their eyes at having witnessed the game. They would go on to tell their children and their grandchildren. Word of his accomplishment spread, and few believed the tale.
But, I know it to be true. I was there that day on that very train. I saw it with these two eyes, and I tell you I will remember that commute to my grave. It was surely the greatest Scrabble game ever played.
Here are a few words to live by:
Money can't buy happiness. Nor can the lack of money.
Money can't buy happiness. Short term happiness--absolutely. It's great at that. If you have money, try to focus on short term happiness. In the long term, you'll be happiest with that.
Money can buy crappiness.
Monkeys can't buy happiness. No pockets.
Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy Vietnamese sandwiches, and that's pretty good.
Money ... bah. Happiness ... I'm for it.
Money can't buy priceless things like happiness or the wonder of watching a dog wearing booties for the first time.
Money can't buy happiness. Stop trying to buy my happiness. I'm not selling.
Monet can't buy happiness. He's dead.
Money can't buy happiness. Not with the current exchange rate, anyway.
Money can't buy goods or services. It can? Oh.
Money can buy The Pursuit of Happyness on DVD, but believe me, that's not going to make you happy.
Money can't buy sadness either, so at least that's something.
For more words to live by, buy my book 2,000 & 1 Things Money Can/Can't Buy. Available wherever books like that are sold.
I was going to write up a post about rock ‘n roll, but then I realized I’m kinda too rock ‘n roll for that.
I mean, whatever, if you’re into stuff or whatever, that’s cool. I more into, y’know … rock. Rock ‘n Roll.
I mean, that’s what it’s about, right? Just going for it, full on rock-style? Just, like, being into rock ‘n roll and living rock ‘n roll. Actually being, y’know?
I guess it’s just a thing I’m into.
[Note: Hey um, guys, does it sound like I’m trying too hard in this post? I’m working on sounding cooler. And, a big part of being cool is getting outside of my own head and calming down. But, the thought of that’s making me nervous. And, when I get nervous, I get nose bleeds …
… Am I trying too hard to sound like I’m not trying too hard? I thought rock and roll would be a good, bland topic to start out with. So, I looked up rock and roll on Wikipedia. It didn’t have much advice; it was more of a history lesson. I was hoping for an annotated, step-by-step guide to being cool …
… I did a Google image search for “cool,” and a lot of that stuff made sense. There were a lot of smiley faces wearing sunglasses. But, no real patterns were emerging as to what’s cool and what’s not. It seems like being cool is totally subjective and random. That can’t be true, because then I’d be considered cool …
… I guess I’ll just go on being vague about rock and roll and see where it takes me…]
Yeah, so yeah. That’s what I’m into. Like music and living and stuff.
Oh, you’re into music too? That’s cool. We should, like, hang out sometime at a music venue focusing on a mutually agreed upon rock ‘n roll ensemble. Perhaps we can partake in a tête à tête regarding specific sub-genres and eras of rock we prefer. Pardon my candor, but may I ask why you're looking at me so strangely?
Is it my nose? Am I getting a nosebleed? Oh no, here it comes. Excuse me, I need to find a bathroom. We should hang out sometime. Yeah ... cool.