Archive for September, 2014


the structural integrity of this burrito wrap has been compromised

He discovered his talent, as many dillettantes do, by accident, having dropped the platter holding the cake his grandmother had made for the family to enjoy after lunch. Eager to get back in his cousins’ good graces, he accepted their dare later that afternoon to eat the blackened bananas from the freezer she had been saving to make banana bread. Decades later he could no longer recall whether it was the exhilirating cold, the surprising sweetness or the regaining of his loved ones’ affection that made eating expired food such a pleasant experience, but what kept him hooked was more than merely the thrill of risk inherent to his habit. As a college student he had to fight the perception that he was just that weird kid in the dorm who would eat anything, politely declining snickering offers from his classmates of orphaned pizzas and burgers from the fast food joints near campus notorious for disregarding accuracy in filling their customers’ orders, knowing that by the time most students discovered an error they would be unlikely to make the trip back from the dorm demanding satisfaction. Instead he would patiently clarify that his preference for expired food was one purely of taste and that a sub sandwich with olives on it, disgusting though it may be, hardly qualified. Among friends he achieved a perverse sort of acclaim for being able to predict to the minute when milk would cross the line into absolute undrinkablity. As an adult he spent years developing a tolerance for, and then an immunity to, the gray parts of overripe avocados, and later expanded his palette to encompass even the opposing pleasures of slimy wilted spinach salads and the dried hardened edges of forgotten cheese slices. And so it is with great sadness that we lay him to rest today, taking meager but meaningful comfort in the knowledge that he was able to enjoy one last serving of his beloved day-old egg salad before tragically being struck by lightning.


electronic mergency

Pardon me, friend. I hope I’m not assuming too much here, but if you’re looking for the Rose Room it’s right down that hallway past those elevators. Have you checked in yet? There’s a really helpful information packet they give you when you get your name tag; always helps the first-timers feel a little more comfortable. Me? Oh, this is my fourth go-round with Dr. Johsnon. No, that’s not a typo; he’s actually really particular about making sure people pronounce his name correctly, which they’ll spend some time on at the orientation session before breakfast. He also won’t pick up his order at Starbucks until the barista says the “Ph.D” at the end of his name. But I suppose once you’ve had the kind of success he’s had, you can afford to be finicky about some things, no? And Dr. Johsnon is definitely the real deal. It sounds cliche, but these seminars have changed my life. Before I listened to his audiobooks on changing your sneeze, I was just a mess out there. I could hear my friends, family and colleagues laughing behind my back every time allergy season came around, but I felt helpless to do anything about it. Like you, I was a little skeptical at first, but my life was so out of control that something simply had to change. Turns out I just had a Class IV mouse sneeze- pretty common, actually- and by Sunday night I was able to sneeze with the same confident, smooth delivery as my ex-wife’s new husband. I personally have seen Dr. Johsnon work actual miracles with people who had been suffering their entire lives while imprisoned by scream sneezes, yodel sneezes, even a few poor souls with slide whistle sneezes. In ’09 I heard a moving testimonial from a brave woman who had just been reissued her library card and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. This year I’m taking the advanced course, where Dr. Johsnon himself will be showing us how to refine our sneezing technique so that we can achieve, as the Tibetans do, a spiritual awakening in the moment our heart stops just before the release point. It’s the only way to counteract the considerable emotional damage done by forcibly altering immutable personal characteristics.


lazier beam

Good morning, Mr. Guidry. Let me begin by apologizing for any rough treatment you may have received en route to this undisclosed location. I’d like to add that on a personal level, I’m especially sorry for the use of the black hood and leg shackles which, while they may have seemed a touch dramatic, were absolutely necessary for your protection during transit. Although I’m afraid I am not at liberty to tell you much more about where we are other than to say we’re roughly one thousand feet underground in a virtually indestructible bunker, you are certainly due the best explanation that our national security concerns will allow me to provide.
As you are no doubt aware, next week President Bush will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before Game Three of the World Series, an event that has taken on much greater importance in light of last month’s tragic attacks on U.S. soil. The resumption of our traditions and customs is a vital step toward healing from this national tragedy, and the President feels that a smoking fastball right down Broadway could help boost the American people’s confidence at this critical time, as well as sending a powerful message around the globe to the terrorists who perpetrated this crime. And though the President is a big baseball fan, even serving as the managing general partner for the group that owned a controlling share in the Texas Rangers for a few years, he hasn’t played baseball competitively since high school and could use a few pointers to really send that white dot screaming across the plate. The President himself requested you as an instructor, as he is a big admirer of yours from your days with the Yankees. And I’m not just saying that to be nice, either; sometimes he’ll cancel a block of appointments with foreign dignitaries just to spend a couple of days holed up in the Oval Office poring over videos of your sublime 1978 season, particularly your 18-strikeout performance against the Angels.
I appreciate what a difficult position this must be for you, but your country needs you to answer the call. The American people need their President to display the strength and resolve that makes this country great, and of course we all want to see you returned safely to your family, so this represents a convergence of those interests. President Bush has said repeatedly to his advisers that he views this pitch as the most important act he’ll undertake during his Presidency, and he may well be right, considering that next week the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be meeting with the Vice President and various Cabinet members to discuss strategy in Afghanistan and elsewhere while he gets a guitar lesson from Eddie Van Halen. Oh, that reminds me: would you kindly place your hood into this laundry basket? We’ll need to have it cleaned before then.

September 2014