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Friday, July 03, 2015

I'm Definitely Not a Nosey Neighbor




Sometimes hanging the clothes out to dry can be horrifying.

Here’s a bit of counsel from someone with experience: Whatever you do, don’t look down. The problem with free advice is that people don’t respect anything they get for nothing. Now go take a peek out my back window into what we call the “Patio de Manzana” which is the interior courtyard of a block of apartments and try to remember my warning.

You can stop screaming now. Hysterics won’t wash away the image cauterized in your mind of the guy sunbathing on the deck below as naked as the day he was born, which if I had to venture a guess was about 125 years ago. I hope that we’ve all learned something here today.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Top Excuses for Weaseling Out of Work to Watch USA World Cup Football



First of all, try not to over-think this too much by feigning some illness you read in a Stephen King novel. Just like back when you were in school it’s better to stick with the tried and true classics. Remember to make the call from home and not in a crowded bar with a bunch of drunks belting out a teary national anthem.  People tell me to DVR it but I’m forced to watch the games in bars because I don’t have a TV—I still have four payments to make on my toaster. But the truth is that my World Cup bar bill would be enough to send one of my non-existent children to Yale for four years and we aren't even out of the group phase.  A friend says he’ll watch the game at work on his iPhone which I don’t think is too cool seeing how he drives a school bus—they only job he could get because he’s on probation.

So if you’re looking for an excuse to duck out of work just rely on one of these timeless originals:

1) Diarrhea. This is always a conversation stopper and I guarantee if you use this excuse there won’t be any follow up questions. The only response you’re likely to hear is “Eew!” before they hang up on you.

2) Dead Grandparent. This one is also bullet-proof even if you’ve used it a few times because people don’t know how many grandparents you have in our divorce-prone society.

3) Had to take child to the emergency room. A great one if you have kids but it will elicit a lot of unwanted attention in the form of condolences about your precious baby when you just want to concentrate on the damn game and forget about the little monster for 90 minutes. Seriously, is that asking too much out of life?

4) Play dumb. “What? I had to work today?” Works best if you actually are stupid.

5) Car trouble. For hippies replace “car” with “recumbent bicycle.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

10 Reasons Why You Should Stop Reading Lists



1) Because lists are mostly idiotic, but more importantly because lists are perverting what we read on the internet. In case you haven't noticed almost everything written on the web these days comes in the form of a moronic series that coaxes people into clicking through, page after page, as if we're rats tapping a button to get a pellet of substance. The difference is that rats get fed while we're just left with a block of wasted time. 

So please stop reading lists of stupid crap like "10 Best Beaches in Spain" or "25 Great New Sushi Joints in Seattle" and if you can't do that at least stop posting that shit on Facebook (unless you wrote the list).

2) There is no #2. Didn't you read #1? Go read a book. There is probably a list of the top ten books you should read this summer.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

File Under Audacity #210

I was buying a few things in one of Valencia’s ubiquitous green grocers that are almost the exclusive domain of Pakistani immigrants. As I placed my items on the scale the shop owner asked me if I wanted to buy a watermelon. I said that I didn’t, thank you very much, and he countered my knee-jerk dismissal of his offer by asking, “Why?”

You got me there, my man. I didn’t have a “because” for his “why,” at least not a good one, so I bought a beautiful watermelon. Not the most sophisticated sales pitch I’ve ever heard but his earnestness made me laugh.

Moral to the story: It’s summer; buy a damn watermelon already!

Estaba comprando algunas cosas en una de las verdulerías ubicuas de Valencia que son casi el dominio exclusivo de los inmigrantes paquistaníes. Al poner mis artículos en la escala el dueño de la tienda me preguntó si quería comprar una sandía. Le dije que no, muchas gracias, y él respondió a mi instintiva desestimación de su oferta con la pregunta "¿Por qué?" 

Me tienes allí, señoría. Yo no tenía un "porque" por su "¿por qué?", al menos nada bueno, así que compré una hermosa sandía. No es el más sofisticado argumento de venta que he oído, pero su seriedad me hizo reír.

Moraleja de la historia: Es verano; cómprate una maldita sandía ya!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Karma, Patience, and a New Notebook



I was standing in line at the supermarket this morning after I remembered that I was almost out of coffee. The line was a bit long as we were stalled behind a couple of old gals rooting in their bags for the 14 cents they needed to make exact change. Two men in front of me motioned for me to go ahead of them as they had a full cart and I only had one item. I told them, thanks, but I wasn’t in a hurry.

One of my most steadfast rules in life is never to be in a hurry unless I can do something positive about it. If I'm in a hurry on my bike I can ride faster, if I’m on foot I can walk faster. Both of these outcomes are positive: I get more exercise. People who drive in a hurry are a fucking menace to society. You should have left ten minutes sooner so that you don’t put the lives of others at risk. When I’m at the supermarket I’m never in a hurry even when I sort of am in a hurry. I never change lines, ever, and I certainly would never ask someone if I could go ahead of them.

When the two men had made their purchase the total came to 40.02€ and the cashier asked them if they had the €.02. They didn’t so I handed the cashier the two cents. The two guys told me that wasn’t necessary but I assured them that I was fabulously wealthy and it was nothing. I also told them that it was a way to thank them for their earlier kindness. Everyone goes away happy in this scenario.

As I left the supermarket I noticed the variety store on the other side of the street and as I had a few minutes to spare I went in to look for a spiral notebook. It wasn’t just any spiral notebook I was looking for but a special brand that I couldn’t find anywhere, even after hunting in at least 15 different shops over the past couple of weeks (I take my pens and notebooks very seriously). Of course, they had my brand and, of course, this fact had nothing to do with the previous fact that I had given the two men two cents, but perhaps I left the supermarket in a better mood because I had done such an incredibly modest good deed and because of this altered state I had decided to look for my precious notebook.