Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The New and Okay You

     Fair warning, I have been drinking.  But we are going to do this anyway.

     We all know the basic questions of journalism, right Company?  Go ahead and shout them out with me: Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How.  I am not sure why we always seem to put them into this order, I am sure that it has to do with the order you need to answer them if you are one of the three or four newspaper journalists still left employed out there, but it makes me violently angry the way we order the questions.  I get why "how" is on its own; it is the only one that doesn't start with a "W."  But the others we could at least do alphabetically.
     That still isn't right, though.  It definitely satisfies the OCD part of me, but it still isn't right.  The one which stands alone should be "Why."  Because even though all of those questions are basic fact finding questions, ":why" is the only one that we really struggle to answer on a regular basis.  All those other questions were solved by CSI:Miami a long time ago, but "why" gets so much more complicated because we can't always figure out the answer.  And that sort of unknown frustrates us as human people.
     One of the major reasons why we cannot always figure out the "why" is because it so often features a human element, and we can't always access that human element.  Guy walks into a gas station and lights it on fire then takes his own life.  We may never know why, unless he saw it fit to tell us.  We can guess, we can get a pretty good idea, but we might never know the exact thoughts and reasons that went into the actions which followed.  That makes us uncomfortable.
     Even more difficult to figure out is when the "why" is left up to fate.  That is the worst.  Because we are people, and we can sort of get a handle on people.  We can put ourselves in anyone's situation and let our imagination take control and we can get it.  But fate?  We can't ever figure that out.  There is no rhyme or reason when fate gets involved, and that scares up, because nobody on any CBS procedural (I am looking at you here now Criminal Minds) can even begin to figure out what fate is going to do.  Things that we don't understand create religion.  Back in the days of yore it was things like the Moon or the weather.  But once all those scientists with their lab coats and telescopes and weather vanes got a handle on the Moon going around the Earth and warm air rising, a lot of that went away.  Fate, however, still remained.  So we still have religion, to answer the questions about why things happen that we just don't understand.
     Somewhere along the way, a bunch of people figured out that there was an alternative to religion when dealing with fate: acceptance, which really isn't a fair description because what I really mean is acceptance without blame.  Religion is accepting fate but needing some entity to pin things on.  But a lot of people have just embraced that most frustrating of sayings "It is what it is."  It is acceptance without blame.
    And we accept a lot of things.  These things magnify as we get older, because we realize that through a million twists and turns and decisions that we never in our wildest dreams thought we would have to make, the plan we laid out or the dreams we had are gone.  And we don't always have a reason why.  Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut but now you are a rising star at an insurance agency, pun intended.  Or you wanted to be a sea captain and now you are a mid level government official.  Or for a select few of us maybe you wanted to be a short order cook but ended up being a marine biologist.
     The point here, Company, though all of the Scotch and whiskey and barely coherent sentence structure is that acceptance is key.  Whether there is blame involved or not, acceptance is where it is at.  So many people just can't do that.  But it really does make make a difference in your happiness and your well being.  Because sometimes the point will come where it is your birthday and you are staring at yourself in the bathroom mirror with your hair clippers in your hand, and you are buzzing your head and you notice the gray hairs around the edges and the disturbing lack of hair on the top and as the long hairs from around the skullet fall into the trash can you come to the realization that all of that stuff from the past is going with it.  Suddenly, as the hair falls away so does all of that other stuff you though you'd have: the architecture career, the kids, the wife, the beach house, and you are left with what you are.  What you see in the mirror.  Be okay with it.  Please be okay with it, and don't obsess yourself with the "why."  Because even though all that stuff might be gone, whatever it is you are or have become, it is okay.  You are good and you can sleep at night.
     You know, unless you are a piece of shit or something.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Just a quick note today, Company, to wish you the happiest holiday season regardless of what you choose to celebrate, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the solstice, or even just nothing.  Whatever it is I hope it all goes well for you and yours.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wrap It Up

     It's Christmastime, Company, if you are into that kind of thing.  And if you choose some religion other than Christianity or Consumerism, then you probably have some sort of holiday which you celebrate at this time of the year.  So happy that.  Or joyous whatever.
     In any event, 'tis the season for gift giving, and as I look at the giant pile of gifts which I had the Unpaid Interns compile on my behalf, I am filled with dread at the spectre of having to wrap all of them.  Now, I can hear the list of questions beginning to form in your head, Company?  "Why are you using all these strange words?"  "What is with the British style spelling?"  "Are you having some sort of brain aneurysm?" And lastly, "Why don't you just make the Unpaid Interns wrap them for you?"  Good questions, all.  Not having to wrap my gifts is my Christmas gift to the Unpaid Interns.  That, and I fly them all home to their loved ones, where termination letters are in their mailboxes.  Merry Christmas!
     So every year I do all my own gift wrapping.  I collect all the rolls of paper, bows, tape, gift tags, etc.and sit down with my scissors and list of instructions about how to wrap and I do it.  It takes me hours and hours and hours, sitting in my penthouse corner office and before long I have a pile of extremely poorly wrapped presents and just a giant mound of discarded and abused wrapping paper, ribbon, and all that sort of jazz.  It looks like a Michaels barfed in my office.  So there I sat the other day, all this wasted time, all this wasted energy, all this wasted waste.  And for why?  In three or four days I am going to watch all of my loved ones undo all of my hard work and creativity and tape jobs in one fell swoop.  So all of that consternation and wrapping and whatnot just ends in heartbreak and for no reason other than so that the gift recipients just don't know what they are getting. There has got to be a better way.  And I have it:

   There it is.  That, for the uninitiated, that is a photo of Mr. Met with a t-shirt cannon sponsored by Pepsi.  The most obvious solution here is to just have Mr. Met wrap my presents for me.  But that is not the solution that I am interested in.  I am more interested in the T-shirt cannon.
    Yeah, you suddenly see exactly how good of a solution this is.  It ticks off all of the boxes, doesn't it?  It is the most fantastic gift delivery system.  It accomplishes all of the same things as wrapping your gifts.  1.) The gifts get delivered. 2.) Nobody knows what they are getting ahead of time. 3.) It is super exciting. 4.) Everyone gets the gift they were supposed to get.  5.) It helps people develop their catching ability. 6.) It is an exciting cardio workout if done correctly.
     Heck yes.  You are really warming up to this innovative and exciting idea, aren't you.  I can hear the detractors already.  "What if you have a gift that is large, or dangerous, or breakable?"  I have that covered, too.  For those people I am going to screen print a T-shirt that describes what their gift is and where it is located. "There is a filing cabinet in the garage for you."  That is an example of what the T-shirt might say if you were to receive a filing cabinet from me.  "There is a bottle of wine in the kitchen."  I know, it's brilliant!  As an added bonus, if you are a really bad aim, you can get a head start at taking down all those ornaments.
    Listen, I know that it is not necessarily the traditional idea of what Christmas morning is all about. It is not the usual scene with presents all wrapped neatly under a beautifully decorated tree, with mom and dad hanging on to steaming hot cups of coffee like they are lifeboats in a hurricane, young kids bouncing around full of adrenaline, teenagers who are excited but trying to play it cool and so are staring at their phone.  I get that.  But holidays don't have to be traditional.  My family used to eat ravioli on Thanksgiving and it was wonderful.  Maybe a Christmas morning scene of tubs of presents and a T-shirt cannon in each corner of a gymnasium becomes just a special.  And fun.
     So get to it.  You can do this in stages.  Make the T-shirt cannons the gifts this year and start the new tradition next.  It is going to be the newest trend which sweeps the nation.  Mark my words.  Heads up this Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Douche Machine

My mailbox at the WWHQ.
     Many of you might remember how, oh so many years ago, I was paranoid that my mailman would be mad at me if I didn't make sure to shovel the sidewalk to the mailbox which was otherwise unused.  And because I was and am to this day really bad about getting my mail on a regular basis. For whatever reason, despite being a media mogul and one of the most corrupt and unscrupulous foundry owner in all of North Korea (The Kim Jong Il Metal Foundry, the Glorious Rising Sun of all Metal Foundries), and being notoriously uncaring about the plight of my Unpaid Interns, I am still a man who just wants to be love.  The fact that I choose a mixture of forced compliance (see above) and desperate yet passive/aggressive means to do it probably has my friendly local mental health professional, who charges by the hour, drooling and wondering what color their new Mercedes is going to be.
    Anyway, all of those many mailman-related fears came rushing back to me the other day when I was in the bathroom, because what better place to feel totally insecure.  Right?  Here is a room which is designed for all of the gross stuff we as humans have to so to survive:  We pee, we crap.  It is the one room where it is totally okay to just rip a tremendous fart even if someone else is in there.  That is why we have a bathroom.  But that is also why we have scented things in the bathroom.  To cover up all that disgusting stuff because although essential and although corralled into a single room, it is still disgusting to our delicate sensibilities.
    And so when the motion sensor scent releasing machine - let's call it the Douche Machine - went off as soon as I passed gas while peeing at the urinal (multi-tasking, I was multi-tasking) I immediately got both self-conscious and offended, because I was pretty sure that someone timed it that way on purpose.
    They didn't.  I know that.  You know that.  The whole world knows that.  I can already hear what you are going to say, Company.  "Those things just have little motion sensors in them and they go off when they sense motion."  Or maybe "They are on a timer so settle yourself to stop being all butt-hurt, Big Dave.  Pun definitely intended."  But here is the thing: The Douche Machine didn't go off when I walked into the bathroom.  It didn't go off when I whipped out my other Big Dave.  And it didn't go off when I unleashed my stream of justice down upon the urinal cake.  No, no it did not.  It waited until two seconds after the exact moment when I finished venting my aft torpedo tube if you know what I mean.  Then BAM!  The scent of elderberries filled the room.  Or vanilla.  Or pine scent.  I don't know, I am a boy, I can't tell these things apart.  It might have even been sandalwood.  But I will tell you this: It was way too close to be a coincidence.  Right?
Oh look! Now there are three Douche Machines.
     There had to be a person watching somewhere who hit a big red button on their desk when they saw that.  Or heard it, because I am assuming that the sick freak has audio in the bathroom.  So why play that game with someone?  Why do that?  Let me stand there in my own stink while I zip my fly and wash my hands.  Then hit the Douche Machine button when I leave.  Or spray it right when I walk in so I can think that I am in a rose garden when I am taking a leak, which would be appropriate because in the summer I pee in the rose garden outside the Worldwide Headquarters all the time.  But don't spray the thing right when I cut the cheese.  That is just inappropriate.
     Of course there is no person with a camera and microphone in the bathroom who controls the Douche Machine.  I know that, Company.  I am pretty sure that it is on a timer because I have heard it douche lavender or whatever scent when I am walking by in the hallway and I know there is nobody in the bathroom.  I can put two and two together on occasion.  But sometimes when I do, it makes five.  Especially when it is multiplied by my crippling insecurity.  I mean, I both shower and wear deodorant, so I am obviously doubly concerned about smelling fresh, like the coast of Ireland or whatever.  And I even use soap in the shower!  So when it just so happens that the random plastic timer on the Douche Machine reaches the "douche" setting right as I perform one of the odorous functions that it is perfectly acceptable to do in the bathroom, 2+2 will equal 5 every single time. Every. Single. Time.