What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Estrogen Assault

Meet Chester. Chester is a college student who uses his title as a way to get instant credibility. He works less than most people his age, but it's okay because someday he will have a degree. And he will make more money than the people who are working hard now. Chester is proud of how he thought this all through and looks forward to a time when he can rest on his laurels and live the high life. Because Chester isn't living the high life right now. Not at all. Chester needs to go to class periodically and some of his professors actually require him to do the readings. Life isn't hard for Chester, but it isn't as easy he'd like it, either.

It was nine o'clock at night and Chester was lounging in his room. His room was, at that moment, in the happy place between several month-long stretches of absolute disorganization. Chester could see his floor. It's always special when Chester can see the floor of his room. Chester had homework to do, but didn't want to do it and was creating all sorts of odd emergencies that needed resolving in order to avoid the ominous book lying prostrate on my desk in a manner that can only be described as unattractive. Chester had to eat something, Chester had to drink, Chester had to do some push-ups. Chester was almost ready to start preparing to get in the mindset to warm up to think up another excuse to avoid studying when his phone buzzed.

It was Bertha, an intelligent 20-something Chester knew from high school. He'd always liked Bertha, but never quite worked up the nerve to tell her or even act on his feelings. Bertha was home for the summer and wanted to hang out. Did Chester want to come over for a movie night?

Did Chester want to come over? Does Batman fly? Do basketballs bounce? Do Rice Crispies make weird popping noises after you pour the milk? Of course Chester wanted to come over. When could Chester come over? Were there any other excuses Chester could use to visit?

Chester did not think about what he was agreeing to. He did not ask what movie would be showing or who else would be present for the "movie night." His mind was completely occupied with thoughts of Bertha. An evening with her would be pleasant no matter what. Chester convinced himself of this.

Chester arrived at Bertha's house in his typical fashion: a few minutes late, out of breath and slightly disheveled. His afternoon had been stolen by YouTube and he only regained control of his body in time to sniff check his shirt and speed to his friend's house.

When Chester pulled up, he saw Bertha's father sitting placidly in the front yard with a .306 rifle. Chester knew he was Bertha's father because of his Dad T-Shirt. Chester stopped his car, but left his engine running. With the air from his car's central system cooling the sweat drops that formed on his brow, Chester debated the merits of continuing. He had a fast car; he could zip out of the driveway and be on the interstate before Bertha's Daddy could draw a bead. Chester wanted to see Bertha, but Chester did not want to be shot.

As if to make up Chester's mind for him, Bertha's Daddy motioned for Chester to get out of the car. Chester gulped, twisted the key out of the ignition and slid the door open. After brief introductions ("You must be Chester"), Bertha's Daddy pulled the rifle to his shoulder and squeezed off a quick shot toward the a fence outlining the perimeter of the property. When Chester extricated himself from the fetal position and the blood returned to his head, he saw a collection of tin cans on the fence. Bertha's Daddy was taking target practice.

"Missed," Bertha's Daddy muttered. "You'd best get inside and get cleaned up; looks like you might have done something involuntary." Chester hadn't, but he appreciated the other man's concern and walked briskly toward the house. Once inside, he had another shock.

If the outdoors were teaming with testosterone, the inside was paved with estrogen, hard compacted and then decorated with more estrogen. Bertha had invited a bunch of female friends for the occasion and the house was a roar of giggling, cooking and dress making. Yes, dress making. Even Bertha's brother, an overweight n'er do well with whom Chester had a lot in common, had flown the coup for the evening. Chester did not know what to do. He wanted to be very small, to be an ant on the ground that everyone ignores. Some of the girls tried to talk to him, but Chester didn't know what to say or how to answer. The conversation continued without him and he felt utterly lost, surrounded by a bunch of beautiful, giggling people who he would never understand. Chester almost felt that facing the .306 would be more pleasant than the estrogen assault. Almost.

Dinner was worse. Chester spoke English, not estrogen and he had a hard time keeping up with the pigeon dialect of his host and the other guests. At least Daddy Bertha was there. Chester now found him comforting as the bastion of masculinity in a sea of girls. He was the buoy Chester used to navigate his conversational ship and, although Daddy Bertha brought his .306 to the table with him, Chester started to like the man.

Chester had forgotten all about the movie that formed the pretense for his visit when Bertha asked if everyone was ready. Chester had never been asked whether he was "ready" for a movie before. He thought that was funny, but didn't laugh because his throat was too constricted.

To this moment, Chester cannot remember what movie he saw. It might have been the utterly pointless Beaches, the overrated Sleepless in Seattle or the tragic failure Steel Magnolias, which was, by the way, saved from utter destitution only by the stunning Dolly Parton. Chester does recall that Daddy Bertha did not watch the movie and that everyone in the room but him was bawling like a hungry two-year old somewhere near the end. Chester didn't see what was so sad, but he had a hard time staying awake, too. And at the only remotely interesting part of the film, the others told him to look away. Crazy.

When the credits rolled, Chester found an excuse to leave, got into his car and drove a mile or so, his mind blank. Then he got out and rolled in some dirt. He didn't know why, but it made him feel better - more like a man. He also stopped by GNC and purchased some supplements that would be illegal in the NCAA. Chester knew he wasn't Dara Torres; he could take these drugs.

The next day, when Bertha asked if Chester wanted to join her next weekend for a shopping trip, Chester did not hesitate before giving a negative response. He had been cured; at least for a little while...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life Tip #77

Do not get angry when your lawn mower does not start.

If you must get angry when your lawn mower does not start, do not drink alcohol to assuage the anger.

If you must get angry when your lawn mower does not start and drink alcohol to assuage the anger, do not shoot your lawnmower with an illegal short-barreled shotgun.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Waiting on the women

We were getting ready for a long hiking trip, the kind of excursion that makes heels blister and ages knees rapidly. The "we" in that sentence refers to an amalgamation of friends who held roughly the same age but occupied positions all across the gender spectrum. I was one of the guys in the group. The planned hike was sixteen and a half miles through some of the most gorgeous terrain in California - which is saying something - to the top of a national icon and back again. Only a handful of us were cognizant of the strenuous nature of the expedition, but even the ignorant like me knew the most important task to tackle before starting out: visit the trail head's head.

We approached the semi-sanitary lavatories with all gaiety. Afterall, we hadn't hiked but a click and our spirits ran high from the calorie loading of the day before. At least, my spirits ran high. Some of the members of our group felt mischievous. But I'm getting ahead.

Our tempers were dampened only a little by the long line that formed in front of the cement water closets. The queue was reminiscent of the formation by the men's room during the seventh inning stretch; a dead caterpillar that had no thoughts of revival.

I don't think any of us guys even noticed the line (although I did see an attractive brunette who smiled at me and said something very nice that I didn't understand in a foreign language when I asked the time) as we marched to the male lavatory and did our business. We expected the girls to do likewise in the facility marked for their own use.

When I emerged from the trail head's head, relieved and ready to start hiking, I discovered the girls had a completely different strategy in mind. Rather than wait out the lady line, they asked us to post a guard and shut down the men's room for them. Being impatient as well as gullible, we obliged.

Although I'll deny it vehemently if you ever bring this up at a party, I am a total klutz socially. Those of you who know me are entirely too aware of this fact, but it needs to be raised again for reference sake. I have the social skilz of a demented three year old, as evidence by the fact that I just used the word "skilz." But I am comfortable in my uniquely awkward persona and total inability to charm. I am satisfied with my delinquent personality and sub-par conversation abilities. I'm okay with being pushed around by those who are more assertive and better able to get their way than me. I am fine with being the door mat for all my friends. Really, I am.

For the record, I didn't write the paragraph above. I think it was Chip, our latest contributor, but if you have better information, please let me know.

For whatever unimaginable reason, I was chosen to guard the door. As soon as I assumed the bouncer position, a heavy-set male with a ruddy complexion and an Owen Wilson nose approached the door. Something about him told me he had to use the bathroom.

"Can I help you?" I learned the line from the service industry.

"Uh, yeah, is this the men's room?" Ruddy Nose looked tired; he wasn't in the mood to add another crook to his schnoz. I wasn't in the mood to give him one. For the moment we were amicable. But I had to answer this question.

"Some young ladies needed to use the restroom and didn't want to wait through the line which you can see to your left is longer than a Desperate Student post. If you'll just wait patiently--" My sentence was interrupted by a peal of laughter from the estrogen-swamped men's room. I grimaced and Ruddy Nose gave me an amused look.

But it got worse. I cleared my throat, adjusted my collar and spread my legs out to improve circulation. I felt a bead of sweat start to form at my hairline and reached to wipe it away without thinking much about it. Ruddy Nose noticed and evidenced his perception with a tight grin. He really had to go.

Another girl from our group arrived late and looked around for her friends. It didn't take her long to do the math and run into the men's room to join the others. I tried to stop her, to explain that there was now a guy in line who had a long established right to first restroom entrance and that there was another facility where she had the right of way. She would have none of it; her friends had invaded the testosterone sanctuary and she wanted to be in on the fun too.

I looked at Ruddy Nose, intending to shrug sheepishly, but noticed that a couple more guys had lined up behind the first male arrival. Each looking very ready for the trail head's head. Very ready. My shrug turned into a stare that extended straight forward above a gulping swallow. Now was not a time for making light of the situation; no joke would alleviate the tension.

If only the girls felt that way. Another peal of laughter accompanied a louder remark: "You are doing your makeup?" Whoa. I inhaled deeply, ignoring the pine scented air and tried not to think about the travesty I was dragging the other male hikers through. Or rather what the primping girls were dragging them through.

More laughter and jokes followed from the young ladies as the minutes ticked by. Three, four, five minutes passed as more men joined the parade in front of the blocked door like an extended tiger's tail. The line had grown to a couple dozen people by the time the girls emerged, looking nice, but too happy.

None of the guys said anything or even made eye contact with the exiting females. They were zebras leaving the giraffe's cage. The girls tried to claim that their shenanigans were planned and that they intended to put upon us. They said that and other things designed to assuage the tension and drain the embarrassed red from my cheeks. I didn't know whether or not to believe them. I still don't. Regardless, it'll be a while before I close down another men's restroom.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Six Year Old on Skates

Not every derelict college student has a six-year-old brother. Some do, but those cases are rare, and generally limited to the older brother variety of the derelict species. I am, as befits my variegated and diversely endowed existence, a member of that particular strain.

A six-year-old brother is an uplifting if tedious addition to just about any activity imaginable, particularly in the summertime when classes are out and teachers have relinquished their tyrannical but protective custody over the student's mind. Actually, the custody is never relinquished at all. It is turned over to the brother. This transfer of authority became especially clear to me on a particular day last month, as I watched the brother wobble out onto an ice-skating rink. He was doing a good job, I thought, watching him coast a few feet at a time. He showed excellent coordination for the very brother who had an attention deficit so extreme that he couldn't hold a violin under his chin without forgetting it was there and dropping it to the floor for my mother's special enjoyment, and who was always up at six in the morning, eager to conduct a frenzied chat that would frazzle all impatient nerves.

In fact, he was skating so well that I concluded that there couldn't be much to the feat. If the six-year-old brother could do it, anyone probably could. In fact, if the six-year-old brother could do it I probably could. So I rented a pair of skates.

It wasn't as if I expected to be a virtuoso. I had never worn skates before, and I knew attaining a graceful air would take a bit of practice. So I sat for a while at the edge of the ice, watching the advanced skaters waltz and frisk along the shimmering surface. I observed how one foot would gracefully fall in front of the other as they rounded turns. I noticed how they stepped into their allotted trajectories with forward momentum, not backwards thrust. I even noticed the deft little flicks of the blades that sped the skaters along backwards whenever they wished to speak to their partners behind them without stopping. Now, I just needed to implement my new knowledge.

Soon I felt confident enough to try on the size-fourteen behemoths that had been silently handed to me by a dubious-faced youth behind the counter. I removed my shoes (vulgar things they now seemed!) and began with the laces to ascend a Matterhorn of holes and hooks that seemingly stretched up to heaven, or at least to my knees. Who wouldn't feel a bit overconfident after completing a task like that?

They don't tell you this until you've already burned the bridges, but outside of their intended environs, skates are very awkward things to walk in. They're generally leather and universally rigid, allowing no ankle movement at all, which presents many difficulties to the skater. First, there is the necessity of either goose-stepping or brass-band-marching across the floor before reaching the ice. This is not pleasant in the presence of ruddy-faced gliders and ecstatic waltzers who were apparently born in skates (talk about a painful pregnancy!). Second, balance on the ice can be achieved only by an uncomfortable standing squat, or by bending over backwards and falling on one's tail bone. I am a proponent of the former option, but only in theory.

My brother was finishing his lesson as I stepped onto the glassy circle, but I was glad he still had a few minutes left of watching his teacher instead of me. I grasped the wall for my life, and took one step, one thrust, one stumble at a time. I had wondered why that little boy's legs seemed a bit shaky. Now I understood. But I was determined, and I gradually let go of the wall and began to learn to skate. "It's just like roller-skating," I told myself, which felt like encouragement at the time because I had forgotten how bad I was at roller-skating. I took a few steps, threw my weight forward, and fell on my tailbone. The six-year-old brother came gliding up beside me. "Take little steps," he said, his cherubic face denying my planned retort. I got up, and he showed me how to spread my feet apart: "This is how you stop."

He glowed with energy. "You're doing really good for your first time. When everyone is done, a truck comes out and puts snow all over the ice to make it smooth. Did you know what Nick and I do? We watch the water come out of those little gates. Are you going around again?" Indeed I was. I worked around the rink a few more times until I started to get the hang of it. Once again the brother glided along side of me, slowing down so he wouldn't pass me by. "Put your hands out like you're holding a table," he said. I did, but it didn't help. He sped off.

It was then that I resolved in my heart of hearts to skate faster than he did. His legs were not even half the length of mine, and I put mine to work. I skated doggedly for half an hour. Epic theme songs welled in my head, interrupted only every thirty seconds or so when my brother meandered out in front of me and I had to slow down so he could tell me about the crackers we had waiting for us when we got done, or the teenage Olympic candidates who would come to practice later, or his teacher or his sister or his cousin or his toys.

At the end of the half hour I felt like I was getting pretty regular. My brother was in front of me again, but this time instead of slowing down to talk I stepped around him and started off as fast as I could. He came up beside me, gazed at my feet in his hyper way, and gave me a tip. "Take little steps and glide," he said and demonstrated, shooting far ahead of me. I stopped, panting. "How did you do that?" I asked. He showed me: "Like this." I tried to do it. I could not.

Then, with heavy spirits, I knew that I had to leave the rink. I was defeated, and my pride lay on the field as wounded as my tailbone. But as I turned toward the door, so did everyone else. The open session was over, and the truck was coming to smooth the ice for those Olympic candidates. I was saved by the bell.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Public Service Billboards

It appears F is still alive somewhere, because he just emailed us these billboards. We're not sure what he's trying to say, but that certainly hasn't stopped us from posting in the past.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life Tip #76

Do not steal money from a another's house.

If you must steal money from another's house, do not forget your wallet in the house.

If you must steal money from another's house and forget your wallet, do not go back for your wallet.

If you steal money from another's house, forget your wallet and go back for it, do not stay at the house negotiating with the owners until the police show up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How to Speak Guy

The immutable third law of human conversation is that males do not speak to other males the same way they speak to the fairer gender. To do so would be a denial of your conversation partner's rights as a man and an assault on his very manhood. To emasculate one's speech is tantamount to physical castration, a painfully disturbing and altogether unnecessary visual, at least from my reading of Freud. In order to help you, the Faithful FCN Few, avoid this pitfall of human interaction, we provide this how-to guide. Follow the guidelines herein and you'll be speaking guy in no time.

Use short greetings. No guy in his right mind would put together a greeting longer than two words. "Hey, how are you?" is so long that it threatens the auditory attentiveness of the average male. The question is so long that the feelings of the respondent can actually change from the moment the first syllable is uttered until the voice inflection changes to signal the question mark. The respondent has no way of knowing whether you mean how he is doing at the beginning of the query, at the end or in the extended period in the middle when you asked your darn question. Guys who respond to long greetings will often hesitate before answering and may renege on their first impulse (i.e. "I'm okay, I guess" or "Cool...sorta")If you really care about how a person is feeling, you'll say something like:

"What's up?"
"What's happening?"
"What's popping?"
"What's cracking?"

Shorten short greetings.
Even in their abbreviated form, the above greetings may be considered too long for real guys. To use a math concept (dun dun duh!), the word "what" can be factored out of each of the above greetings to create a more economical and appealing "hello." Shorten these phrases to the following:


Create your own greeting. The "H" and "Y" sound in the English alphabet are categorized as greeting noises in the Dictionary of Guy. That's Y as in the Spanish "ll," for all you literalist linguists among the faithful few. You place any vowel sound after an "H" or "Y" and create a greeting. Although real guys will use the first vowel that pops to mind (in this context, Y is not a vowel), most utilize the following:


Speak from below the diaphragm. My singing instructor advised to sing from the diaphragm to get the most pure tones. Guys need more than purity from their tones: they need toughness. In order to man-up their pipes, guys must marshal every ounce of diaphragm strength for their communication purposes. To the untrained ear, the result is a grunt-like sound. But to guys, it is a statement of manhood, sort of like advertising how much you bench press without having to wear a muscle shirt. To practice below the diaphragm speech, push all the air out of your lungs. All of it. There shouldn't even be a dimebag worth of space left. Yes, I just said dime bag. I was referring to Dimebag Darrell, the Damageplan guitarist who...didn't take up much space. What did you think I meant?

It took me so long to extricate myself from that mess that you probably need some more air so go ahead and breathe again. Unless, of course, you're a real man, in which case you probably haven't taken a breath since yesterday after dinner because you are preparing your body for a time when clean air is scarce and it what little consumable oxygen exists needs to be preserved for the women and children. Your altruism is to be praised. Exhale again. Remove all the excess air and then some. Now speak. Speak from the lowest tones possible and say something manly like:

"I never put down the toilet seat."
"Nancy Pelosi is a wuss."

Did you feel it? Did the testosterone pour over you like a water rebounding off a well executed cannon ball? Tonight you will sleep the deep sleep of a man. And tomorrow you will have hair on your chest.

You can go ahead and breath now.

Don't use pronouns. Pronouns are for females and English majors. But I'm being redundant. As proud carriers of a Y chromosome, we graduated from pronoun usage about the same time as the Native Americans. If you don't know what a pronoun is, you are a real man and can skip to the next section. If you do know what a pronoun is, you have been raised by a woman. I was informed by people I trust that a woman was present at my birth. From that moment, for about the next fifteen odd years, I did everything possible to escape women. For the past five years, that gender has become really interesting and rather than avoid contact, I'm finding that I'm actually seeking females out. This trajectory is typical among real guys. The danger, of course, is learning to use pronouns either very early in life or when communicating with females later on.

If you find yourself about to use a pronoun, just stop. Count to ten, light a fire on the kitchen table, do whatever you need to do to not say the word. It is better to be completely socially embarrassed - a state of being for many guys - than to actually utter a pronoun. There are a handful of nefarious exceptions. I've been trying to use that word all day, nefarious. Anyway, they are those wicked contradictions to the general rule that invariably form an impediment keeping the average Joe from becoming a guy. All too often, males go beyond the list of allowable pronouns and get themselves in trouble. What follows is an exhaustive list of acceptable pronouns:

"Pilgrim" because that's what The Duke would say.

That's it! No more. You are a guy, not a dictionary. Leave the elaborate English for those who need to compensate for other deficiencies.

Talk slow. Fast talking is a dead giveaway for emasculinity. That's not "masculinity," as in so manly Matthew McConaughey blinks, nor is it "e-masculinity," which is my Facebook profile. Rather it is "emasculinity," as in "emasculated," as in the Reverend Jesse Jackson got a hold of you and decided to teach you a lesson about fatherhood. Spellcheck has a problem with the word "emasculinity," but it also doesn't like the word "spellcheck," so we'll call it even.

John Wayne was a real man. At least he became a real man at one point in his film career. He was actually born with a girl's first name and a half-decent middle name, but his little brother stole his middle name and he generally had a very estrogen intensive childhood. When the cameras started rolling, Marion Michael (or was it Robert) Wayne, jettisoned his feminine side and became a real man. The Duke also had some advice for any guy looking to man-up. He said "talk low, talk slow and don't talk much." Those are words to talk by.

If Wayne decided to read the above paragraph - an unlikely proposition given the number of activities the deceased movie star might settle for instead like roping a heifer and kissing a pretty woman - it would take him at least a minute. He might not even finish it because his voice would trail off into a gruff chuckle that leaves everyone confused but exposed to an awesome display of pure manliness.

There's more, of course. Guys talk from the side of their mouth, never emote and should think twice before issuing any thoughtful compliment beyond "you look nice." But I am reaching the acceptable word limit for my gender and will have to stay silent for the rest of the day just to stay below the quota. I hope you appreciate my sacrifice.

Friday, July 18, 2008

“You have very soft hands”

While prodding through campus, I saw a friend walking with a young woman I’d never met before, but whose acquaintance I immediately wanted to make. With a “hey, wait up,” I tightened the straps on my backpack and accelerated my pace until I was abreast of the duo.

I introduced myself to the young woman and extended my right hand, thumb up.

The practice of squeezing another’s hand as a sign of agreement or respect is really quite singular. It was probably originally intended as a defensive maneuver, but today is a common ritual exchanged between friend and foe alike.

Our hands made contact. We clasped. And just like that the squeeze was over.

“You have very soft hands,” she said as we returned our respective appendages to their comfort zones.

“Thank you,” I replied for lack of a better retort and to cover for a quick rush of adrenaline.

What did she mean by “soft hands?” Was she making reference to my obvious skill at ball sports, most of which require dexterous fingers, an eponymous attribute of “soft hands?” Did she mean that my hands lacked strength and intend her comments as not-so-subtle hint to encourage amity with the weight room? Was she implying that I moisturized frequently, a euphemism for another behavior entirely? Was she forcing me to come to grips (note the pun?) with my soft hands?

While my mind was gyrating, my mouth remained mute, leaving an awkward void in our dialog.

“Is that a good thing?” I asked, filling the silence. I wanted her to say “no” and give me a pumice stone to use on my palms or some acid for the skin around my nails. I wanted a rebuke for failing to maintain manly calluses or a lecture on the value of manual labor. At least then I would have a benchmark for improvement and a way of escape.

Instead she answered with a “sure,” followed by a shrug and a giggle that left me feeling lonelier than a broke supermodel after a failed facelift.

I was dejected, but quickly drew the conclusion that I would have to stop using soap, find a splintery wooden board to rub against or, maybe, just accept my soft hands.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Life Tip #75

Do not drive under the influence.

If you must drive under the influence, learn not to by the time you're 74 years old.

If you must drive under the influence at 74 years old, do not go crashing through the front of a grocery store.

If you must drive under the influence and crash through the front of a grocery store at 74 years of age, do not get out and try to buy a beer from that store.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Paper Mâché

You have probably all been there: A major paper is due in a difficult class in a few hours and you have yet to touch fingers to keyboard. The midnight deadline looms over your evening like a bad haircut, darkening your brow and generally making you feel stressed out.

The path to this common discomfort was an easy one. Whole libraries could be filled with accounts of all the things that didn’t happen on the way to the blank spot on your computer’s hardrive where your paper should be. You attended to the assignment the way Britney attends to Sean Preston and Jayden James.

You committed to one topic in front of your Professor but you will respect that promise about as much as the Obamination did his federal campaign funding pledge. Who could have known how little research there is on the Ramen noodle diet. It was a rotten topic anyway. You also told your Professor you would get him the paper early for comments, but that deadline passed with the Forth of July Fireworks.

All you want out of this is a decent grade; something that won’t disqualify you from your scholarship or embarrass your parents too badly when they see the grade. If they see the grade. What you don’t like is having to write a paper.

Most students would rather have someone jam a screwdriver through their knee than grind out an assignment. After graduation, the additional income earned because of the bachelor’s degree could be put toward knee replacement surgery.

Unfortunately for you, the sadist hotline is down and none of your friends are handy or willing with a screwdriver, leaving you with nothing but a QWERTY keyboard and your own noodle. Technology has failed you again.

The library greets you with a musky small that shouts “old books.” Actually it whispers. You look around the room at the masses of students, scrambling like ants who forgot to prepare for winter. They’re procrastinators, but you can’t really scold them since you will soon be joining in.

Your cell phone buzzes. It’s a friend from high school who wants to talk. You shouldn’t, but you do. What’s another hour when you’ve already dawdled three weeks?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life Tip #74

Do not rob a pizza restaurant.

If you must rob a pizza restaurant, do not rob the one where your wife works.

If you must rob the pizza restaurant where your wife works, do not do so with the help of your in-laws (her parents).

If you must rob the pizza restaurant where your wife works and do so with the help of her parents, let your wife in on the plan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Litter with care

Like most college students, I binge drink. Coffee, that is. Mornings are too harsh to face without the companionship of warm caffeine and I begin my day with 16 ounces of the real Maxwell House deal. No instant brew for me, I march down to the local java depot and pay three times the market rate for…well, for a cup of overpriced coffee.

One morning I happened to glance at my coffee cup – a cheap contrivance adorned with modern commercial art – and read the notice: “100% Biodegradable.”

Biodegradable, for those of you who couldn’t get past the third syllable, means readily compostable. You know those warm and smelly compost piles your grandma used to keep under her sink? The material of my cup was compost minus a few weeks decomposition time.

Can you say appetizing?

So there I was, standing in the cold with a fresh cup of joe, waiting for the recycled fibers to start falling apart and give me my second warm shower of the day, when it hit me like a bad mid-term grade: Where should I dispose of my cup?

Tossing a carefully engineered, enviro-friendly container in with all the other landfill garbage seemed like a big waste, pun intended (sorry). But I couldn’t justify placing it with the aluminum cans either.

And while the cup was environmentally friendly, the lid was made of unrecycled petroleum-based plastic, which would resist rot for decades. The cardboard insulation sleeve promised similar decomposition stubbornness.

I would have to throw it out in parts, like a serial killer disposing of a body.

But what of the coffee inside my cup?

It was probably made from conflict roast farmed by underprivileged farmers on the “wrong” side of Columbia. And the cocoa in the mocha was arguably from child laborers in the Congo. And the half and half was probably sucked from abused cattle masquerading as “happy cows” in the cheese commercials.

So I dug a hole in my backyard lawn and laid my cup to rest.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ode to my notebook

I am an awful student. In class, I make disgusting noises, fidget, doodle, pick at things that shouldn’t be picked at, wink randomly, make inappropriate comments to my classmates and sweat uncontrollably. My mind wanders so much that I can’t keep on one line of reasoning for more than a few seconds and my cognitive ability makes Jessica Simpson look smart. I get bad grades, can never answer a question in class and am so cantankerous that some of my classmates refuse to study with me.

I have other issues too – I can’t get dates, have a nervous twitch in my left eye and sometimes think I’m Elvis – but let’s focus on my educational problems for now.

My notebook knows more than I do. Before every lecture, I obediently remove my spiral bound sheets from their special place in my backpack and flip through to where the last class let off. When the professor starts speaking my pen starts writing and words go from my ears to my fingers without ever crossing the cognitive part of my brain.

Some evenings I will flip through my notes and wonder how so much content was introduced without my noticing. Graphs, equations, people and dates limp off the page looking like a foreign language. Sometimes I vaguely remember the moment of their introduction, but most of the time I look at these random facts the way I look at six month-old yogurt in the back of the fridge: How did that get there?

My doodles, forgotten over the course of the day despite the hours I spend preparing them, look like artful masterpieces in a second examination. In fact, I think some of today’s “masterpieces” may even be doodles in wooden frames.

I wish my notebook could go to class for me. It would sit quietly in some corner and record things. Instead of relying on neurons for memory, it would use the indelible markings of pen and ink as a permanent ledger of the professor’s thoughts.

My notebook wouldn’t get distracted. Although sometimes I think notebooks can be romantically involved, the drama of life rarely penetrates the simple mind of an inanimate object and even the most suave pad of college rule doesn’t have romantic entanglements. Class content alone would dominate my notebook’s mind.

My notebook wouldn’t ask dumb questions or be at all disruptive. It might shuffle a bit now and again to turn a page, but its noises would always be appropriate for a class environment. My notebook would be in everyone’s study group and give notes to all the students who missed class.

If my notebook could take tests, write papers and do homework, I would really be in business. I would have to be careful that none of my impromptu artwork made it onto an exam, but my notebook is pretty smart about these things. Most professors test from lecture material anyway and a clean regurgitation of class content without human emotion would get a top grade every time.

I am trying to figure out a way to make this work; when I do, watch out. My notebook will rule the day.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Backpack Infidelity

It was the kind of experience that would compel Tom Cruise to issue a litany of religiously significant acronyms or force Keira Knightley to start eating. It was a dark occasion, but in an un-Oscar worthy way. A weaker soul might have left the room sobbing or, worse, tried to pull the old accessory switcheroo (think Quick Change magic, not Winona Ryder in a department store).

No, it wasn’t a tête-à-tête with Hillary Clinton, although that would have been frightful. Rather, I witnessed a homeless man carrying a backpack that was the same model, color and texture as my own. Of course, I knew the backpack wasn’t mine – my own sack was in a safe place – but the fact that they looked so similar had me instantly incensed.

Had my connection with the homeless man occurred over any other accessory, I might have let it pass. But not a backpack. Backpacks are as personal as the people they ride on. Like the tiny papooses of California’s first inhabitants, they accompany their guardians unhaltingly, sometimes swinging gently at the side. On other, more turbulent occasions, they lay double strapped and tightened in for extra security. The backpack is an intimate accessory, because it gets to put its straps where most other people can only dream of putting their hands.

Seeing your backpack ride on someone else's back is like discovering your Rolex is fake, except worse, because even a fake Rolex can be faithful.

But what to do? The backpack Bill of Rights, a sacred document among those who believe themselves more than just an empty sac and who want to peregrinate with pride, explicitly prohibits harming other backpacks, even those that are riding with another. So I gave the homeless man a quarter and had a DTR with my backpack where I explained everything I’d seen.

My backpack and I have been together since high school and our relationship has already survived a couple years of college. It’s been tough, but we’ve stuck side-by-side through it all. I raised the possibility that maybe we weren’t giving each other enough space and that each should allow the other more room.

And what do you know? It turned out to be an innocent misunderstanding. I was reading way too much into a guiltless situation. Now I feel a lot better knowing that someone has my back.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Life Tip #73

Do not compare yourself to other passengers on an airplane.

If you must compare yourself to other passengers on an airplane, do not compare yourself to the economy-class passengers.

If you must compare yourself to the economy-class passengers on an airplane, do not express your distaste by exiting through the emergency hatch.

Monday, July 07, 2008

All Hail Google!

Within a decade, Google will be the biggest corporate power in the world. Forget the oil companies, whose biggest hope for future growth lies under discouraging layers of ice. Forget Wal-Mart, whose profits will soon follow its free-falling image. It won’t be long before the internet search giant tops them all.

And what a beautiful world it will be. You will wake up every morning to the smell of your favorite morning beverage, which Google will either remember from past mornings or serve by command after you watch a series of targeted short advertisement from contending brands. The shower will be set to the perfect warmth, calculated to the last significant digit based on outdoor temperature and predictive likelihood of catching cold (a new feature that will then be in “beta-testing”).

Forget where you left your car keys? Google will graciously let you search for the missing item in its exhaustive tape record of your life. Don’t like private moments showing up in the archive? No problem; Google will eliminate those sections of tape from your search results. The corporate office will, of course, maintain a copy for personal entertainment.

Reading material will be a synthesis of popular sources based on the current events of the day and any personal interests you may have. Google will know what you like.

Choices in diet, transportation, housing, friendship and even romantic companionship will all be decided by habit-evidenced preferences. That’s right, your boyfriend or girlfriend will be chosen by Google, using an algorithm that finds and identifies persons with mutual coincidence of penchants, which tech speak for “liking the same music.”

You could also do a Google search, if you’re feeling particularly lonely (or is it lucky?).

After legislation is passed to clear the way, Google will vote for you in a manner more objective then any human being ever could. Candidate selections will be determined by the news articles you favorite and entries you make on your blog, because everyone will keep a blog. Google Voting will be hassle free and will allow 100% of the electorate to have a say.

“Google” is Russian for “total global domination under the guise of ‘doing no evil,’” a concept the Russians have struggled to learn, but Google has down to a science. We are on the path now but in a few years, life will be efficient, smart and, above all, searchable.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

FCN Classic: Free Sierra Mist

That's right. All of those cans, boxes and bottles read as "Free" Sierra Mist. Yet Sierra Mist "Free" (made by PepsiCo) costs 40 cents a can. Even if you twist the definition, the soda is not without cost. That's why some people say that the "free" slogan is a bunch of bull. When we first saw Sierra Mist, we got the sudden urge to give you all a slice of our thoughts. The three of us over here at FCN don't feel we have the time to be tricked, and while we don't want to bark up a storm, this is blatant false advertising. In fact, we consider the folks at PepsiCo almost as deceptive as the witch who tricked Snow White. Their mothers must be ashamed.

Some people say this isn't deceptive; we think that's just gay! Yoo Hoo! Any smart person can see that Sierra Mist "Free" isn't free! A cow could win the argument against this one. Not only is Sierra Mist "Free" expensive, but you have to pay for gas to go to a store on top of Pepsi's list price. With fuel over three dollars a gallon, the visit to the supermarket alone is expensive.

The people at Sierra Mist's advertising department may think this is all very fine and pretty, but we don't.
Mr. Pibb and Dr. Pepper noted in their scholarly paper, "Big, Bossy, Beverage Companies", that the new Sierra Mist is anything but free. Fitz, the truck driver said, "It ain't free, if it ain't free". Martha Stewart, the maid, told us she thinks it is unfair. My dad's take on all this is that if free doesn't mean free, frogs might as well be dogs. Hank the janitor doesn't like it either.

The guy who started string of lies deserves a fat lip. This deception is a spot on PepsiCo's record. We need to keep a tab on these kinds of practices, otherwise there might be a big surge in false advertising. We must have an iron fist and stop this.

Businesses that have a lot of pep, see a lot profits. But companies export their ideas to others and spread the word. We all know that companies feel obligated to "keep up with the Jones", and that once one business starts cheating, others will follow the lead. This is because most businesses don't want other companies to get ahead in sales. If this happens, they will have lost. But we will not let these monsters
(wink) win.

So here's our plan to get at the core of the problem. We think the deceptive cans of Sierra Mist "Free" should all be hung by wires and packed into a vault. Next, we will shoot the cans with M5 machine guns. Then we will reload the guns, change the batteries, and shoot the cans again. After that, we will crush, hit, kick and beat the shards. Then we will put whatever is left in an incinerator and light it on fire. We will take the remains and throw them to the fish in the sea. Then everything will be ok.

We don't want to give them a bad rep, but if the soda companies are booed, so be it. Businesses like PepsiCo do not have the right to do this. They are just tangoing with trouble. If we don't stop these companies, it will just be another trouble mountain. Do you want that to happen? Our plan is no hype. We need a boost in supporters and lots of aid for our full plan to work. Fans of FCN, please join our club and our relentless fight against false advertising.

Friday, July 04, 2008

FCN Classic: 4th of July "Tribute"

We have all heard, I am sure, some enthusiastic mantras of praise for the United States of America; expressions of affection that are normally reserved for lovers or little children are extended with unwavering confidence to a nation of 300 million and no time of year is more prone to these tributes than the 4th of July, the day set aside to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, an act that took place a couple centuries and one day earlier.

Do you realize that was all one sentence? Yay for me.

Anyway, FCN hates to be left out of the fun, but we feel that single-minded praise of the USA is nation centric, selfish and egotistical and we therefore craft our 4th of July Tribute with a focus on other countries. America might be the greatest nation on earth, but that doesn't mean we do everything the best. In fact, if you take apart many of the things that make America “great” we find that other nations may have a better claim to “best.” Take a look at the following examples...

Free Speech

America's founding documents say that the dark beauty of the mind of every man, woman and monkey should be pasted for all to see on every newspaper, wall and museum. The result is personal ads, graffiti and the taxpayer funded “artwork” like the unclothed mannequin squatting on the raw chicken. How much more American can you get?

Perhaps the biggest flaw in our speech laws is that websites like Funny Class Notes are allowed to continue sans sanction or punishment. Regular citizens who make fun of elected leaders and deride the policies of our government are not shut down or even punished. Complete fabrications are allowed unaltered and dry comedy that isn't funny or even inspiring is published anyway. In fact, the White House has been known to give press passes to bloggers and encourage independent journalism by issuing press releases to the pajama media.

A better approach to speech regulation is embodied in China's “One-Word” policy. If one word is out of line, there is no limit to the excruciating pain the government has license to level against you. The flag of China is as red as the blood that runs in the citizens' veins and an acknowledgment of that and subsequent regulation to preserve the serenity and tranquility of Chinese life justifies speech controls.

Quite frankly, we need to be protected from ourselves. When we talk, we use the weapon of James, a terrible tool that can cut down friends, families, and even governments, the most sacred institution of all. A standard that no law can restrict speech is wholly at odds with the realities of today.

Wake up, America; China's got it figured out!

Marriage Laws

For some biological reason, America has it in its thick scull that the only people who can marry are men and women and they can only marry people of opposite genders in units of one. While this policy isn't codified nationally, almost every state has a marriage standard that destroys any chance of turning the love of man and monkey into a legally recognized spousal relationship. Tragic.

In the Netherlands, anyone can get a “Geregistreerd Partnerschap.” Well, more specifically, any quantity of anything and/or anyone can go before the altar (or bookshelf for all the law cares) and lynch the knot. These Partnerschaps can include two or even three partners of any gender background or identity. (Due to a lobbying effort on the part of the canine community, the law currently prohibits unions of four, but the Dutch parliament is working to resolve that and full freedom of spousal interaction is on the horizon).

For a nation that promotes freedom at every turn and prides itself in being the land of opportunity, America sure does limit its citizens' ability to hook up creatively. We allow free speech to run rampant but restrict marriage to the most narrow minded definition. Maybe we can learn something from our Dutch brothers and sisters (and barnyard animals).

The Netherlands are, indeed, the land of the three, home of the brave. America needs to leave behind the antiquated views of marriage and adopt a more progressive view that includes, well, everything.

Wake up, America; the Dutch have it figured out!


Turning our attention briefly to the somewhat dry – but always crispy – topic of finances, our monetary policy is hoisted (that means it's bad). Our inflation rate is so low and uninteresting, most of you probably couldn't even cite it. In fact, the last time anyone in your family worried about inflation was when your daddy was in diapers. The dollar is just too stable.

In Zimbabwe, a country that wins the award for the best name, inflation hovers around 5,000%. That means that in Zimbabwe money is like a car: It loses most of its value the moment it leaves the mint. But there are some awesome things about having an super high inflation rate. For instance, the currency is printed with an expiration date like milk or yogurt and businesses are not legally obligated to accept old bills as legal tender. This means that immediately before money is about to expire, the economy is boosted with a huge injection of activity, helping keep one of the poorest nations in the world afloat.

If America printed bills with an expiration date, greenbacks would find their way out of mattresses and into the hands of Wal-Mart cash registers, thus helping both the American and Chinese economies. An expiration date is a brilliant way to stimulate economic growth, throw the American consumer for a loop and give Ben Bernanke something to talk about.

Wake up, America; Zimbabwe has got it figured out!


Somewhere along history's timeline, America picked up a perspective on gender relations that promises equal treatment and the same rights for men and women. That's all fine and dandy in a political sense, but in the real world, where only the strong survive and the weak must wear headscarves for protection, a different perspective is appropriate.

Iran, the land of the great Imams, which gave the world camels and burritos, takes a more Darwinian approach to gender equity. Women are given all their rights by men. As three teenage guys living in America, we think that's pretty cool. Not everything about Iran is that awesome. We can do without the noontime wailing and the bed spreads that pass as casual wear, but the idea of subservient women is attractive. Guys, imagine being able to silence any female with a snap of the fingers. Heck yeah.

Instead of enslaving our female population, America has granted the fairer sex suffrage, land ownership rights and drivers licenses. Women are put as equals to men in government and business and are given the choice to work wherever they want, as corporate executives, small business owners or even mothers.

The day of the liberated woman is over. Iran has recognized this and recaptured the women that were never set free. What a picture!

Wake up America; Iran has got it figured out!

That's our tribute. Hopefully we've provided more evidence in favor of free speech restrictions. We've looked at four countries from five continents to find just a few examples of where the greatest nation on ever is behind the curve. Sorry to rain on the “America is awesome" party. Maybe next year we can celebrate reforms that bring us closer to having an unbeatably great country. Until then, we can continue to suffer - as is FCN's habit - under mediocrity.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

FCN Classic: Todd's Paper

Todd has a five hundred word assignment due in his online History class at 11:00 on Wednesday morning. He rises at 8:00 and completes his shower, shave and shine routine in just under 15 minutes (Todd is very much a guy in this regard). He swallows a quick five minute breakfast and presses the power button on his computer to begin work on the paper.

8:22: The computer takes several minutes to load the Vista operating system because of the stock ticker, weather information and quote of the day docked on the desktop. Todd never uses these, but he thinks they're cool.

8:26: The computer has loaded, but the Internet connection is a little choppy because Todd's file sharing application is competing with his browser for access. Todd sighs and disables Limewire; that new Kelly Clarkson song will have to wait.

8:30: Todd's hompage, ESPN news loads quickly on Mozilla Firefox and Todd inhales sharply when he reads the bold headline. Alex Rodriguez, the Yankee's superstar slugger and Todd's favorite player, is considering negotiating a contract extension mid-season. The Yankees never do that; they didn't even talk with Babe Ruth until after the playoffs. Todd reads the Sports Guy's analysis and then navigates to the basketball tab.

8:48: Todd checks the clock on his computer and is satisfied he has plenty of time to finish his paper. He loads his Facebook and smiles when he sees the list of people who have poked him. Todd pokes back.

8:51: Todd adjusts his profile picture to the goofy one he took last weekend at the carnival, removes Rascal Flatts from his list of favorite musicians, accepts four friend invitations, writes a note about how pathetic and clichéd Rascal Flatts have become, writes on three friends' walls, gives a cyber gift, comments on a friend's photo, asks a public question and adjusts his status.

8:58: Todd is "smothered in work."

8:59: Todd glances again at the computer clock and decides to get to work on his paper. He opens his email to retrieve his earlier draft.

9:00: Todd is shocked when he sees a message in his inbox from an old friend. He and LaTasha haven't talked since, well it's been at least four weeks. The message is long, detailing a summer of fun, relaxation and little work. It includes a couple of current photos and a vague invitation to come visit.

9:12: Todd writes his reply.

9:31: His curiosity about LaTasha aroused, Todd navigates to her Xanga and reads the latest entries. She has some real wit and Todd finds himself poring through several pages of old archives.

9:45: A Firefox email notification informs Todd that he has new mail. LaTasha has responded already and her sharp conversational repartee demands an immediate answer. Todd begins crafting a reply when his buddy Craig instant messages.

9:49: Craig wants to know about Todd's plans for next weekend and has a bucketload of teasing for him about Donna, the girl Todd took with his family to the carnival last week. The new Facebook picture has aroused Craig's suspicion and he is convinced that Todd and Donna are more than just friends. Todd tries hard to defend himself, but even he doubts the real nature of his feelings.

10:05: Todd puts the email to LaTasha aside and tells Craig he needs to run. He downloads the draft and opens it in Microsoft Word, letting the three paragraphs of already written text poor over his monitor.

10:06: The phone rings. The ring tone is Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang and Todd makes a mental note to change that ASAP. The caller is a chatty Donna who is making plans for next weekend and wants to include Todd.

10:10: Donna tells Todd about a new YouTube video and Todd loads the hilarious clip and watches while Donna provides running commentary.

10:14: Todd follows the YouTube related links to watch several more videos.

10:33: Todd hangs up with Donna but feels bad that he had to end the conversation so abruptly. He turns his attention to his computer screen, only to discover that his terminal has gone into standby. Todd pushes the power key.

10:34: A Fox News urgent news alert pops up on Todd's Firefox browser. Todd reads the headline carefully. Barack Obama has fallen to number two in several key states and the Hillary Clinton campaign is celebrating the advance. Todd reads the article.

10:38: Todd turns his attention to his word processor and rereads the content of the earlier draft.

10:40: Todd opens his browser again and conducts a Google search for articles on the British slave trade, the topic of his assignment. A couple of early hits catch Todd's attention and he opens those pages in new tabs. One of the articles is hosted on a blog.

10:43: Todd is intrigued by blog author's writing style and, after browsing a few other articles, decides to send the author an email praising him for his work.

10:57: Todd glances at his computer's clock and closes his eyes in disappointment. He was just too busy to finish the project. He sighs and remembers something his teacher said about late work being downgraded by 10%. Todd feels he is doing well in the class; he doesn't have to get an A on this paper.

11:00: Overwhelmed by the morning's workload, Todd exits his word processor and goes into the kitchen to find something to eat.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

FCN Classic: North Korea problem solved.

Yesterday, diplomats of North Korea and the civilized world approved a first draft of a plan to disarm the country's nuclear weapons program. FCN was all over that one. We called up the North Korean embassy and managed to book an appointment with KimJongIl early this morning. A transcript of the interview follows.

FCN: Thanks so much for agreeing to talk to us.

KimJongIl: Been a long day.

FCN: I'm sure it has been. Let's talk about that. What was the tone of yesterday's negotiations?

KimJongIl: Desperate. I say desperate. We drop nuke from high place onto tiny village. Glow very big, but my sunglasses bigger. Now America say: we don't want to get spanked like tiny village. We want to keep San Fransisco, because it have tasty clam chowder!

FCN: So, you have the upper hand in these negotiations?

KimJongIl: Of course. Otherwise why talk at all? Build more nukes. Build, build, build! Boom!

FCN: Why did you start building nukes in the first place?

KimJongIl: American army ready to invade from south. So we build nukes. Now America too scared to attack.

FCN: So, nukes are just one part of the defenses?

KimJongIl: Oh, yes, many defenses all over Korea. I visionary leader. I work hard to save my starving people.

FCN: We're told that conscription and taxation are so heavy, they've caused economic collapse.

KimJongIl: Yes, yes! That how visionary I am. I do anything for my country - even starvation.

FCN: That's inspiring.

KimJongIl: You think? So do my concubines.

FCN: There have been diplomatic talks for decades about your nuke program. What makes you think this one will work?

KimJongIl: I never say it work. It up to America to make it work. Not my fault if it not work. My country do everything we say we do. We never lie to America. Not once. But America lie every day.

FCN: How effective are the sanctions being put on your country?

KimJongIl: They cause much starving, many poor people. But they not work. I visionary leader. My resolve not break!

FCN: I notice you keep talking about America. What about the other countries in the talks?

KimJongIl: Other countries?

FCN: Like China, South Korea ...

KimJongIl: That ridiculous. You Americans so funny! [laughs]

FCN: Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill said: “Three yards, three yards, three yards — and then it’s always fourth and one.” Do you consider that an accurate evaluation of negotiations at this point?

K imJongIl: No! That American propaganda. America not make three yards. Korea blitz American quarterback! They lose three yards every time. Now it fourth and nineteen. They try make field goal, but it no good. Then it our ball. We build, build, build! Boom!

FCN: So, you're not optimistic about an agreement?

KimJongIl: I say I have message for San Fransisco clams.

[Awkward silence]

FCN: What is it?

KimJongIl: Boom!

FCN: Thanks so much for your time. We know you're busy.

KimJongIl: Yes, very busy. Build, build, build! I go now.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

FCN Classic: Q&A with curious guys

FCN is always open to answering your questions. We'll put our team of highly trained delinquents on any problem, query or concern that crosses your mind, and even a few that don’t. Below, we have a series of questions from curious guys who never quite got a satisfactory answer from other humor blogs.

Question: Why is it that middle age people often joke about their age but generally old folks never touch the subject?
~Joseph, Omaha, KS.

Answer: The same reason any joke gets old (pun intended). When a person starts getting on in his years and realizes the grave isn’t in the too distant future, he tries to hide his fear by making jokes. The jokes don’t make them any younger; they just help relieve the pressure of their coming demise. Then, as that eternal phone call in the horizontal telephone booth becomes as eminent as a Democrat’s tax increase, the joke stops being funny. It’s probably still funny to you, Joseph, because you are a young guy with many good years ahead of you. Realize these old codgers have intense pressure to stop making age jokes; whenever they are at the country club and let rip with a “boy, these legs just don’t want to walk anymore” line, they are greeted with horrified stares. Sometimes those jokes can cause the management to suspend the membership of a truly egregious joker. So generally really old people stay quiet about their age.

Question: Why do most married couples engage in all sorts of really intimate behaviors including mouth to mouth kissing but insist on using their own toothbrush?
~ Ike, Carbondale, Ill.

Answer: Cooties. It really is a shame, too, since using the same toothbrush can be a great way to get closer as a married couple. Can you imagine the romance in gathering around the bathroom sink and removing each other’s plaque with the same utensil? Mutual brushing, as this practice is called by people in the therapy industry, is a great way to help couples who are on the rocks get realigned.

Question: Why is it that the more expensive a piece of clothing is, the more quickly it wears out?
~ Blythe, San Francisco, CA.

Answer: You know Blythe, that really hasn’t been our experience. A 2-3 dollar shirt (the bottom end of our price range) usually tends to be pretty flimsy, while a really expensive 10-15 dollar garment tends to last a lot longer. You can also wear the more expensive shirt for greater intervals between washing. At all the stores we shop, you get your money’s worth.

Question: Why is it that people stare at me when I wear white socks with dark clothes and shoes?
~ Trevor, Colorado Springs, CO.

Answer: That’s a question that has bugged us a lot, too. We honestly don’t have an answer, but we picked your question to highlight a major injustice in today’s fashion. We’re white, we wear white undershirts, have white bellies, etc. But for some reason, society says we have to wear dark socks. This stipulation totally destroys any individualism we might otherwise be able to express and turns us into dark clothed, zero imagination zombies. This much we do know: people stare because they have been ingrained with the lie that white socks are taboo. The average person is scolded by his mother when only a prepubertal babe and scared into believing that white is somehow morally wrong. When they see free spirits like us choosing not to be tied down by color distinctions, that whole episode of their lives is reopened and they are forced to relive their painful maternal rejection. Sympathy for others is about the only reason we can think of to avoid white socks.

Question: With all the craze over paternity tests, why don’t curious kids insist on maternity examinations as well?
~ Richard, Anaheim, CA.

Answer: All it takes is one look at the Maury or Jerry Springer shows to notice that no one questions maternity these days. They should though. Anyone who doubts their paternal lineage should reserve similar suspicion for their mother. Think about it: any woman with a paunch could claim to be the mom. It wouldn’t be that hard either; the devious woman would sneak the biological mom a significant cash amount and then jump into the delivery bed and pretend to be in pain. The substitution wouldn’t even have to be devious; all babies look alike at birth and with the myriad of mistakes hospitals make, parents really don’t know that the kids they take home are really theirs. Few are willing to admit this fear and most try to cover it by cooing “oh, s/he looks so much like you” to their spouse. Instead of these common-place “you are not the father!” routines, shows like Maury and Springer’s should bring in kids who don’t think their mom really is. That’d mix things up a bit.

As always, if you have a question for our FCN staff, feel free to email it us. That’s funnyclassnotes – at – gmail – dot – com.