My gym has a track that I’ll sometimes use in favor of a treadmill. It’s not ideal to run on a short track and contend with the idiots that disregard the signs that clearly mark which lane is for walking and which is for running, but I don’t want to wear a ridiculous reflecting sweat suit or deal with freezing temperatures, so the track will have to do.
The other day the track filled with teenagers while I was running. Of course, they had no regard for whether they were occupying the walking or running lanes, and one group of four was walking Reservoir Dogs-style (all side-by-side), which took up the entire width of the track. This was infuriating. All I could think was, what the hell is wrong with these kids? They don’t have anything better to do? Do they think they’re cool? This is bullshit. It’s difficult to say whether I was more angry or confused.
I was about to snap and tell a small group of these self-absorbed pricks to stay out of my way when the confusion-ante was raised again. I realized that there were two young ladies that were cheering the kids on as they were walking.
Wait. Why would…
I looked a little more closely and realized that they were all special needs kids.
Oh shit. I’m such an asshole.
I continued running. I weaved in between the small groups, noticing the way the teenagers interacted with each other and I observed that the teacher/coaches were giving them high-fives as they passed.
Oh jeez. Look at who I almost yelled at. It might have brought one of these kids to tears. What the hell is wrong with me?
Hopefully this can be a lesson to my readers who have short fuses: Think before you let your temper get the best of you, because otherwise you might find yourself yelling at a bunch of innocent retarded kids.
Don't yell at these guys if you are stuck walking behind them.
If there is one holiday that can match the joy and patriotism inspired by Thanksgiving, it would be July 4th. And what could be more American than looking at two things that everyone enjoys, then determining which one is better?
There are some parallels, of course. Both are guilt-free American celebrations without religious connotations or solemn remembrances of fallen heroes getting in the way of the good vibes.
But which one is the best? Let’s break it down with a side-by-side comparison.
The Meal: Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie vs Burgers, hot dogs, sausages, corn on the cob, apple pie
Barbecues are great, but they also take place all Spring and Summer long. The Turkey Day feast is the culmination of roughly 18 hours of food preparation. Also, pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving is like a hot dog at a baseball game. It’s somehow better in that context than in any other. Winner- Thanksgiving.
The Spectator Sports: Football vs. Baseball
Whoops! This one isn’t even fair. Winner- Thanksgiving.
Physical Activity: Half-drunken football game on a soggy or frozen field vs. A Half-drunken football game on a beach, volleyball, cornhole, ladderball, paddle ball, whiffle ball, etc.
This one is closer than it looks. There aren’t a ton of outdoor sports options this time of year, but that crisp autumn air with some cold beers mix nicely with your out of shape buddies trying to prove they’ve still got it. That being said, July 4th just has too much firepower in this category. Winner- July 4th.
He's wearing shorts, so it's obviously a sport.
Mindless Group Celebration: Parade vs. Fireworks.
I suspect that I’d enjoy fireworks a lot more if I had a lobotomy. Unfortunately, my fully-functioning brain gets bored with bright lights and miniature explosions after a few minutes. Parades, on the other hand, have personality. Dedicated people painstakingly put those floats and costumes together and those marching bands practiced their asses off. Plus, you can walk around with them and get shitfaced. Winner- Thanksgiving.
Social Aspect: Family vs. Friends
I’m a child of divorce and I’m married, so every Thanksgiving I hear some portion of my family conveying passive aggressive bullshit about who I'm spending the holiday with this year. I’m then forced to dull that guilt with mounds of food and countless alcoholic beverages. I’ve never heard a guilt trip over my whereabouts on Independence Day. Winner- July 4th.
History/Origin: A bountiful community harvest vs Declaring our Independence from England
I think we were taught in elementary school that Thanksgiving was a feast that the Pilgrims had with the Native Americans. We weren’t taught which tribe, because it was the 80’s and nobody gave a shit. Now if you look the holiday up, you won’t get a straight answer. We know that the Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4th, long after the badass colonists decided that they were fed up with Britain’s bullshit. The date wouldn’t mean anything if we lost the war, but we don’t lose wars. Winner- July 4th.
Modern Meaning: Be grateful for everything in your life vs. Our country is the best!
I’m as patriotic as the next guy (assuming the next guy isn’t Tom Hanks) but July 4th is really just a holiday because it has to be a holiday. Every country with an Independence Day calls off work that day. It’s cool, but not particularly special. When was the last time the Independence Day host imparted some stirring words that made the day feel twice as important? Winner- Thanksgiving.
Movies: Grumpy Old Men; Scent of a Woman; Dutch; Planes, Trains & Automobiles vs The Patriot; Born on the Fourth of July; Independence Day; Jaws
Tough call. July 4th has the blockbusters, and Thanksgiving features some comedy-dramas that may be a little underrated at this point. I think this category is decided by the fact that Dutch somehow made my Thanksgiving Mount Rushmore, and Dutch isn’t even one of my top-4 Ethan Embry movies. Those are Can’t Hardly Wait, That Thing You Do!, Vegas Vacation, and Empire Records (but only for the Ethan Embry parts like this one). Winner- July 4th.
Immediate Fallout: Long weekend vs. More Summer.
As long as you don’t have an awful job, you probably have a nice long weekend in front of you after Thanksgiving. Black Friday is retarded, but the people who don’t get trampled to death really seem to enjoy it! July 4th can obviously fall on any day of the week. Unless you have a job with summers off, you have to build vacation time around the holiday to really get the most out of it. Winner- Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving wins 5-4. Enjoy the best holiday in the world.
1407 – A truce between John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy and Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans is agreed under the auspices of John, Duke of Berry. Orléans would be assassinated three days later by Burgundy. – Classic John. That guy had balls.
1776 - American Revolutionary War: British forces land at the Palisades and then attack Fort Lee. The Continental Army starts to retreat across New Jersey. – It was a somber defeat. For the next 13 years, New Jersey residents remained humble...
1789 – New Jersey becomes the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights. – ...and the humble era in New Jersey ended. They all became obnoxious assholes with an inflated sense of importance. Hey Jersey, Bon Jovi sucks. His music is fun, but in an ironic way. That’s why the rest of us only tolerate it when we’re shitfaced.
1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacks the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick is in part inspired by this story). – 80 tons! That must have been terrifying... Am I the only adult that still giggles to himself when someone brings up a sperm whale?
1861 – American Civil War: Secession ordinance is filed by Kentucky's Confederate government. – It’s a good thing they didn’t secede for good. Without Kentucky, we wouldn't have... uh... why’d we want them back?
1901- Mine fire in Telluride, Colo., kills 28 miners, prompts union call for safer work conditions – From that moment on, there would never be another...
1968 - A total of 78 miners are killed in an explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, West Virginia – DAMNIT!!!
1917 – Ukraine is declared a republic. – Ukrainians celebrated the same way they react to all positive and negative developments. By drinking vodka.
1947 – The Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, who becomes the Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London. – Straight guys everywhere shrugged and said, “Who gives a fuck?”
1962 – Cuban missile crisis ends: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation. – Cubans didn’t have any leverage with us again for another 50 years, when Jay Z and Beyonce took an unsanctioned trip there. We all held our breath again.
1969 – Occupation of Alcatraz: Native American activists seize control of Alcatraz Island until being ousted by the U.S. Government on June 11, 1971. – Really?? So we didn’t care, right? A bunch of activists didn’t seize an island and our armed forces were too intimidated to do anything about it. Feels like a hollow victory to me.
1977 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, when he meets Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and speaks before the Knesset in Jerusalem, seeking a permanent peace settlement. – That marked the beginning of peace in the Middle East. It’s been smooth sailing ever since.
1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released.
1993 – Savings and loan crisis: The United States Senate Ethics Committee issues a stern censure of California senator Alan Cranston for his "dealings" with savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating. – Back then Americans got pissed off about fraudulent investment dealings. Now we’re way more chill. There’s just too many cool things on cable to get worked up.
1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares accused terrorist Osama bin Laden "a man without a sin" in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.- I know this sounds harsh, but perhaps the Taliban can’t be trusted.
2008 – After critical failures in the US financial system began to build up after mid-September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level since 1997. – With the entire economy on the brink of collapse, my then-fiancé was registering for over a thousand dollars worth of stemware and place settings, despite the fact that we didn’t have a dining room. Now she manages our finances. Hopefully she knows what she’s doing.
270 – Maximinus II, Roman emperor (d. 313) – Once you’ve heard the name “Maximus”, Maximinus sounds pretty soft.
1925 – Robert F. Kennedy, American politician, 64th United States Attorney General (d. 1968)
1939 – Dick Smothers, American actor and singer (Smothers Brothers) – One of the porniest names of all time.
1942 – Joe Biden, American politician, 47th Vice President of the United States The guy to Beyoncé's right doesn't seem happy to be there.
1965 – Mike D, American rapper and drummer (Beastie Boys and The Latch Brothers)
The guy to Beyoncé's right doesn't seem happy to be there.
Today a lady told me that she has been suffering mightily with the shits. She didn’t say “Wooo! If I crapped predator drones, the entire North American continent would be reduced to rubble. You know the water fountain show outside the Bellagio in Vegas that runs every hour? That’s been my ass for the past few days.”
Nope. She was being a lady. She just said something along the lines of, “I'm just getting over a truly brutal stomach bug. It was really, really bad.”
Does she not understand that I can’t help but do the math when somebody says that? She says “brutal stomach bug” and I just heard “I was shitting for two straight days”.
Why tell me? I'm just a guy who works in the building that asks people how their doing if we make eye contact. It's not like I'm your doctor. I don't even know your name.
Maybe I’m not fully evolved, but I don’t want to hear about women in the bathroom. In my mind, it’s nothing but group showers and sensuous bubble baths.
A lot of folks think DST was instituted for the farmers. Some people know that it was widely expanded during the 70’s energy crisis as part of an effort to get people to use less gas and electricity during the workday. Others, like me, know what most people vaguely suspect: We observe Daylight Saving Time because we like to fuck with ourselves.
We don’t usually set out to fuck with ourselves in this country. We generally just do it out of inertia. An idea that initially sounds reasonable turns into a turd sandwich, and than we eat it because it's easier that way. This explains why people stay in dead-end jobs, joyless relationships, and dine at Bennigan’s. This food blows but fuck it, we’re already here. You want a bite of my Turkey O’Toole?
There is hope though. If the TSA will allow us to use electronic devices during take-offs and landings when EVERYBODY has always known there was no danger in it, then maybe we can correct some other idiotic traditions.
Traditions such as…
The penny. According to Wikipedia, the cost to produce and ship one penny has been estimated to be between 1.75 cents and 2.4 cents over the past few years (as the value of copper and zinc has fluctuated). That’s fuckin’ crazy! Why would we have a coin that costs more than it’s worth? That would be like a builder constructing houses that cost $300,000 each for labor and materials, and then turning around and selling each unit for $200,000. You’d have to assume that a tough economy skewed the demand for houses, or a natural disaster forced the cost of materials to go up. He’d never plan on throwing away all that money, right? Wrong. He does nothing but build houses that aren’t worth shit. You’d have to call that builder the dumbest motherfucker alive, right? That’s the US Treasury with the penny. Isn’t the only reason to hold on to pennies so that you can feel smart when you’re preventing the cocksucker behind the register from giving you more pennies? “Nice try asshole! I’ve got three pennies to give you, so I won’t be accepting your shitty pennies today. Suck it.”
Saving the animals. Last I checked, there are a lot of people, ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS, with some very fuckin’ serious problems. Why do I hear about orphaned dogs, killer whales, seals, bald eagles, rhino’s, and lions? Can somebody tell these sociopaths to shut the fuck up? It’s bizarre and cruel to consider animals before humans. I’ll allow that you care for your dog or cat more than you would for a stranger, but you're a real dick if you’re willing to take it any further than that.
Resisting the metric system. Sometimes we look at things that work smoothly in other countries and say, “No thanks, guy. I see your logic, but we’d prefer to keep walking our retarded path.” There’s no better example of this stubborn, self-defeating logic than the reluctance to embrace the metric system of weights and measures. I think the biggest reason we don’t switch to the metric system is that people think it’d take too long to learn. My only issue with that concern is that it’s fuckin’ stupid. How many americans do you know that can’t say how many ounces are in a pound? How many pounds in a ton? How many pints in a liter? Our current system is crazy-ass complicated. The metric system is cake! Every unit is divisible by 10; 100; 1,000; etc. Plus, we’d be weighed in kilograms, which is the shit. I weigh about 180 pounds, and I’d be looking a lot better if I took it down to 165-170. Let’s do that with our new system: I’m tipping the scales at about 81.5 kilos, but I’d like to shed maybe 4 or 6. That’s far less daunting and I already hate myself a little less.
Welcome to Bennigans. This is gonna suck.
I witnessed the epitome of narcissism other day. It was the great white buffalo. This one act summed up everything that I hate most about people.
Some background: I work in a Regus office. The floor of the building where I work is comprised of a bunch of small offices with a common lobby and kitchen area. It might not sound great, but it’s a utopia compared to my prior working conditions. The common kitchen area has a coffee machine, water jugs, a flat screen TV, and some seating.
I walked out of my office into the kitchen to see a guy who looked like he was in his late twenties. He wasn’t particularly dapper or professional-looking, but definitely well-dressed. Designer jeans, button up shirt, vest (seriously), and custom leather shoes. I noticed the shoes because he was standing and he had one of his feet up on the arm of the leather loveseat. He was dabbing the top of his shoe with a wet paper towel.
The message this conveyed was unmistakable. His shoe, which had a little bit of a scuff on it, had to be addressed. Never mind the fact that the bottom of his shoe, which was placed where somebody’s arm would be lying within five minutes, was probably dragging piss from walking on the urine-soaked Philadelphia subway platform.
I stopped in my tracks and stared. How awkward would it be if I took a picture? I’m too slow. He’ll be finished by then. I just watched, baffled and impressed. He looked up at me for a moment before lowering his head to get back to his shoe. When he was finished, he looked up again and gave me a “what the fuck?” look as he walked away. I’m pretty sure I was smiling, but I can’t be sure.
While I find that type of behavior abhorrent, I’m mostly jealous of the people who give that little of a shit. How easy is life for the people that only care about themselves?
It’s so weird how sometimes, when you’re alone in your car and you’re jamming to a great song, you hear yourself singing and it sounds phenomenal. You lower the volume to isolate your vocals and, holy shit, you have the voice of an angel. You finally figured it out. The pitch is right and you are in the right key, you have the melody down perfectly, and for a fleeting moment you feel like, “This is what it’s like! This is the way Paul McCartney feels all the time! It’s so wonderful to be able to sing!” The problem is that if you take a ten-second break, it’s over. You can kiss that feeling goodbye for about a year. Then it will come back again for 45 seconds while you’re all alone.
I had that happen the other day, but this time it wasn’t with singing. It was with an impression. I fell ass-backwards into a lights-out Jerry Seinfeld impersonation. This is how it went down:
I said to my wife, “Hey, what’s the deal with the pumpkin carving we’re doing on Saturday night?” Before she had a chance to answer, it was on. (Jerry voice) “What’s the deal with pumpkin carving??? Who decided that was a good use of our time? I wonder if the first guy to carve a face into a pumpkin knew that he’d be responsible for thousands of wasted man-hours. Our kids aren’t proud of us afterwards, it's messy, and there’s no money in it. Why do we engage in this ridiculous ritual? It’s craz-ay!!!”
In typical wifey fashion, she proceeded to tell me what the plan was for the pumpkin carving party we’re attending this Saturday.
I had to interrupt. “Didn’t you hear that Seinfeld impression I just did?”
“Yeah, that was really good honey.” I hope you can sense the condescension that I felt.
“It was fuckin’ amazing, right?!! Who knew?”
“Yeah, so we’re probably going to want to get there by five…”
The lesson is that it’s sometimes better to do your strongest work alone.
I haven’t been able to summon a decent Seinfeld voice since, so I’m back to having one reliable impression in my repertoire: Fred Thompson.
Such a crowd pleaser.
There’s a good chance you’re an asshole. Yes you.
How can that be? I don’t vandalize property, steal, litter, or pick fights with strangers.
...So you’re not a criminal. No argument here. But that doesn’t preclude you from being an insufferable douchebag. It’s not entirely your fault either. There are so many shitty people out there because nobody is calling out the store-brand, run-of-the-mill assholes anymore. There are precious few “Wrong Way” signs as the less self-aware amongst us start careening at dangerous speeds down Dickhead Drive. Our society is more interested in judging smokers, news correspondents with harmless-yet-unpopular opinions, athletes that say stupid things on Twitter, and D-list celebrities that may or may not have used a racial epithet over the course of the past forty years (gasp!).
Plenty of non-assholes are guilty of one of the offenses listed below. If two or more of the following pertain to you, it’s time to make some changes because you’re currently a narcissistic shitstain. Some of the following are symptoms of being an asshole, and others are the actions that make you the asshole.
1) You chew gum and you’re more than 19-years-old.
2) You don’t know your sibling(s) ages or birthdays.
3) You don’t have any friends from high-school.
4) Your adult children don’t speak to you.
5) You tail people closely at high speeds and think it’s okay because you have good reflexes or they drive too slowly.
6) You don’t consider how much of the speaking you are doing compared to the other person or people in the room.
7) You don’t walk faster to cross the street so cars can make turns.
7.A) You take whatever angle you like to walk to your car in a parking lot, even if that holds up traffic.
8) When you arrive to your car that is parallel parked in a congested area, you’ll usually make sure to find the perfect music and return some phone calls before you get moving. This process will take about 6 minutes and you won’t look up to see whether there is another vehicle waiting with the turn signal on.
9) When a topic that you are knowledgeable in arises, you harness the opportunity to educate the people around you.
10) You are over 30 years old and you’ve never been a groomsman or a bridesmaid.
11) You pause for dramatic effect several times over the course of your best stories.
12) Anyone who has spoken to you for more than ten minutes at any one time knows where you stand politically.
13) You never understood why people think Bill Murray is so funny.
Some people just don't get it.
I currently know a bunch of people who are pregnant. Women mostly. To their own detriment, my friends rarely consult me on critical child rearing decisions such as day care options, which bedroom the kid should sleep in, or what crazy religion he should be indoctrinated with. That’s all fine by me as long as I don’t take the blame when your little monster becomes a glue sniffing sociopath.
Since nobody is taking my advice directly, I’d like to use this space to impart some thoughts I’ve recently had regarding names. A name is important. A name is like your brand. Established brands have reputations, and some of them are considered better than others. Some examples: A Toyota Camry is a basic, reliable car. Bose makes a compact and powerful sound system. Viking appliances are timeless and high-quality. Sheldon is a pussy.
Instead of reinventing the wheel with a bizarre new name or riding the trend of whatever is popular right now, I’m providing some names I’d like to see come back.
Rodney or Rod- Preferably just “Rod”. Strong, simple, and implies he has a big schlong.
Hugh- This moniker has a phenomenal success rate. I can name four Hugh’s: Douglas, Hefner, Laurie, and Jackman. All impressive for wildly different reasons.
Barry- It’s classy, yet down-to-earth. He could be the head of the company or the janitor. The world needs both.
Hank- Hank’s a tough SOB that you can rely on. If Hank says he'll be over at 8 AM to help build your patio, he'll arrive with black coffee and a pack of Marlboro Reds at 7:55.
Clarence- Who’d mess with a white Clarence… other than the black Clarence, who would obviously make quick work of white Clarence?
Herb- We're long overdue for a famous Herb. Play the odds.
Leroy- It gives the kid options. He could go by “Lee” or “Roy” or just the silly-ass, Leroy. I’m happy either way.
Harvey- Nobody talks down to a Harvey. The kid will be referred to as “sir” by the time he’s 12.
Speed round for girls’ names: Ruby, Lois, Lorraine, Annie (I watched the movie a thousand times when I was a kid. My dad may have spent too much time at work), Elsie, Betty, and Lucille.
I bet life isn't so bad for Hugh.
Hey fuckface! It's been a while. I wish I had contributed more over the past couple months, but I've been really busy with ____ (fill in whatever bullshit excuse you like because it doesn't really matter).
Now I'm back with a new segment called asshole of the week. You know who the asshole is this week? The guy or gal that camps out in the middle of the escalator without troubling his-or-her morbidly obese ass to climb any steps. This chubby slob or old bag of bones also doesn’t bother to move to the side so the people who are not incredibly lazy can pass.
You can witness the same pathetic display of sloth at the airport on those little walkway belts that run down the long terminal corridors and move at about a 3 MPH clip. People are so goddamned lazy that they stand on those things and just wait to get to the end before they start walking again. Do these people enjoy the airport? Why not move things along and add another 3 or 4 MPH to the process by walking, and then it’s almost the equivalent of jogging? That’s what I see those conveyer belts for: They turn your walk into a run without making you look like an asshole. They’re not for just standing still. Shake a fucking tail feather once in a while.
Back to escalators for a moment. People are way too scared of the escalator dismount. Whenever you witness that all-too-rare instance of a person actually hustling up or down an escalator, they tend to stop right before they reach the top or bottom. I think I know why: We were all told as kids to be extremely careful about tripping or getting shoelaces stuck on the escalator. The thing is, you’re not seven years old anymore and you should be able to navigate moving stairs without hurting yourself. Why is the escalator warning the one everyone took seriously? We were also warned about the perils of masturbation, drunk driving, and cracking knuckles. I do all of those things simultaneously and I'm fine. It's called living.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Who are these people that can’t deal with escalators? How frequently do you ride escalators? I’m not one of these people.” My answers: 1) At least 75% of the escalator riders, 2) on a daily basis, and 3) fuck you. I can tell you’re one of them.
This is a daunting sight to many people.