How to Use Hyperbole to Mask Your Ignorance

exaggeration hyperbole

Sometimes gross exaggeration is the only way you can avoid making your friend (or yourself) look stupid.

Ever get caught in a situation where you can’t tell if the other person’s being serious, or if they’re simply that dumb? Maybe they make a wild claim about how many cars could probably fit into an average 7-Elevan parking lot—they say 130, and with a serious face. Or maybe the person makes a wildly inaccurate statement about an historical person place or thing; like, for example, maybe they say that “George Washington was a short, short man.”

It’s wrong, but not quite wrong enough so that it was obviously meant as a joke. Like, if your friend had said, “George Washington was Chinese,” you’d know he was obviously making a joke and you could feel free to laugh and slap him on the shoulder. But George Washington being short? You’re pretty sure he was a tall man. However you’ve no hard evidence handy readily available to prove this. So you can’t tell if you’re friend is screwing with you, or if he really believes that George was vertically challenged, or even if George actually was short and you’re the one who’s wrong.

So many questions! How are you possibly supposed to respond to your friend’s statement? You’re scared of a) embarrassing him by correcting him or b) looking like you don’t “get” his sarcasm or c) revealing your own ignorance vis a vis George Washington’s officially recorded height. But, hell, you have to say something. He’s looking at you like a kid anxious for his report card!

I have a solution for you. It’s a major life hack. I call it “hiding in hyperbole.” Basically, if you’re uncertain as to the jokingness or rightness or wrongness of a friend’s statement and you’re scared to show your hand, simply respond with a hyperbolic statement. Something obviously exaggerated and silly—it’s the safest way out. In the George Washington example, you’d respond with something like, “Oh yeah, he was real short. I hear he was four foot seven. That’s why the Brits kept missing him.”

Now the ball’s back in your friend’s court. He’ll have to show his hand. Was he joking? Was he serious? Here’s where you find out. Your friend might say something like, “Haha, well not that short but, seriously, he was kinda short. I saw it on the History channel.” Okay, so clearly your friend truly believes his own bizarre statement. This doesn’t mean it’s true—your friend was probably watching the History channel high as a kite. You don’t have to agree with him.

But at least now you know you’re supposed to pretend to agree with him in order to finally change the freaking subject already. “Ah, interesting,” you might say. “I’ve never heard that before.” You’ve survived the episode without incriminating yourself. A transcript of the event would show that you never technically agreed with him.

exaggeration

When in doubt, mask your ignorance via hyperbole.

Or maybe your friend was never serious about George Washington being short. Maybe your friend has a weirdly developed sense of humor where he doesn’t quite make his jokes jokey enough to register to others as real jokes. I’ve known many people like this. I call this “ambiguous stupidity,” when you can’t tell if a person’s being funny or if they’re actually that stupid, the confusion stemming from the fact that it’s indeed possible the person is that stupid. It’s not much of a stretch.

But fear not. By hiding in hyperbole you’ll likely expose your friend’s misfired joke for what it is. After you make your hyperbolic statement about four foot seven George Washington, your friend might simply laugh along with you, as if to say, “Touche!” No, you still may not know whether your friend’s simply laughing at your isolated joke or if he’s laughing at the combined energy of your joke and his joke; it’s possible he simply thinks you’re providing some comic relief to his very serious scholarly fact.

But it doesn’t matter, because you’ve survived your obligation to respond to his initial Washington statement. Now you’re free to change the subject. Steer the conversation into safer waters. Start talking about Iron Man 2 or something.

Hiding in hyperbole is a relatively new life theory for me. It’s still in the beta testing phase, but I’m feeling good about it. I’m going to try and incorporate it into many areas of my social life. Like, if somebody asks me a simple fact about football that I should know but don’t, like “How many yards did Peyton Manning throw last season?,” I can respond with something along the lines of “Eh, I’d say about 100,000,000.” The interrogator will just laugh and move on, never once suspecting I don’t even know what a “yard” is.

Reader, ever encounter some ambiguous stupidity in your social life? How did you react?

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“Trivago Guy” Fan Fiction

trivago guy fan fiction

Finally. Trivago Guy fan fiction that’s truly ideal.

The following is an excerpt of an embarrassingly complete short story I wrote based on the probably already forgotten Trivago Guy meme. It was inspired by the Rolling Stone article, What’s the Deal With the Trivago Guy?, which irresponsibly dangled the possibility of fan fiction based on Trivago’s sad-eyed spokesperson, but then failed to back it up with actual links. I decided I would take it upon myself to produce the world’s first legit Trivago Guy fan fiction. I won’t bore you with the whole 3000+ word short story. The important thing is merely that I wrote it in the first place.

Don’t even bother reading this if you haven’t first checked out the commercial that started it all (see below).

Anyway, I tried to make this the ideal short story, for the best price.

Trivago Guy Fan Fiction: Trivago Guy Buys A Belt [excerpt]

First? Time to power up. He climbed out of bed and got dressed in his signature outfit: slightly rumpled grey shirt tucked sexily into pitch black jeans. The crusty denim smelled of dried keg beer and Febreze and Raid, which meant they were nice and clean and ready to go. His sleeves he rolled up tight and neat and crisp. He had a yardstick set up on the corner of his wall, like what you’d do if you wanted to chart the growth of your firstborn child. Trivago Guy didn’t have a kid. What he used the yardstick for was to identify where his waistline was, so that he could tug his jeans down two inches below that. Since this was a defining part of his signature look he didn’t want to simply eyeball it. Presently he tugged tugged tugged until the fabric waistline met the pencil mark on the yard stick.

His trademark look was nearly complete, except for one very important detail, and it didn’t even require him to do anything—it merely required him to not do something.

It required him to not wear a belt. Which he promptly didn’t do.

And with that he was all Trivagoed up, just like in the commercial. He went over to his big mirror and did the stance. Arms low and fanned out, knees bent just so, toes pointing in opposite directions, sexy half-slouch, right arm hanging a bit lower than the left. When he noticed his hair didn’t quite look quite as “I just crawled out of a sleeping bag” as he liked, he ran a hand through it and shook it out a bit. Perfect. Ideal.

As he stood there checking himself out, his eyes fell again to the trim waistline of his jeans, and all of a sudden everything clicked into place—he knew what last night’s dream had meant for him to do. The answer had been hiding in plain sight all along: buy a belt! That was the trouble, was it not? Ever since the commercial had aired, thousands and thousands of jerks online kept saying Why didn’t he wear a belt. His beltlessness was a key factor in his failure to reach an ideal level of success as that enjoyed by Jared from Subway or Flo from Progressive, both of whom probably wore belts when they were just starting out. So, heck, why didn’t he just buy a belt and be done with it?

Then the story basically follows his adventures trying to purchase a belt via the precarious Internet connection on his old 2001 Gateway computer. In the end, he learns an important lesson about being who he wants to be, not the belt-wearing guy the haters want him to be.

Readers, what do you think of our friend the Trivago Guy? Has he haunted your late night television viewing yet?

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All’s Well That End’s Well: Bittersweet Music and End Credits

stand-by-me

Great movies are often made even greater by way of a killer song to take us into the end credits. And vice-versa.

I’m listening to the Beatles’ “Baby You’re a Rich Man” right now, a song which I always used to consider one of the filler tracks on Magical Mystery Tour. In fact, if the Beatles needed to cut one of the songs from the album, and they turned to me for advice, I would have told them to get rid of “Baby You’re a Rich Man.”

That was the old me. The me before I saw David Fincher’s pretty awesome The Social Network. Had a few little things that annoyed me, but overall I thought it was a well crafted film. And one of the important things I felt it did right was break into a poignant  rock song during the transition into end credits. Even if you weren’t completely sold on the movie, hearing “Baby You’re a Rich Man” creep up right there at the end is sure to leave you with some good vibrations, which will, in turn, convince you that you liked the movie more a little more than you actually did.

It’s a kind of gravity assist, and many movies make good use of it. Stand By Me breaks into its heartstring-tugging, feel-good song right as we’re about to break into credits. If you didn’t already love the movie before, now you’re convinced. How bout My Girl? Cute-but-mediocre film, yet as soon as the Temptations’ “My Girl” starts rolling right there before the end credits, you suddenly feel like you’ve just finished watching an oscar caliber picture.

I’m telling you, many movies do this and it always works to some degree. No, a well-placed classic rock gravity assist won’t fool you into thinking a terrible movie was, in fact, amazing; but it’ll probably lead you to believe that the movie sucked less than it actually did. As the credits roll and Otis Redding sings his heart out, you might turn to your friend and say, “Eh, it sucked, but it wasn’t the worst.”

Incidentally, the movie ending gravity assist doesn’t even have to be a song at all. It could be a surprising last-second revelation or a perfectly timed joke. It doesn’t have to be limited to the last few seconds of the movie either (though that’s your best bet). Think of the climactic lightsaber battle at the end of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Terrible terrible movie, but that lightsaber battle between Darth Maul and Obi Wan was so entertaining most people walked out of the theatre thinking they actually liked the whole movie! It took the general public a while to come to terms with how bad the film actually was.

Flip side of that is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which ended with a terrible CGI swirling vortex of aliens and disintegrating russians and crumbling waterfally mountains. Great images to remember the movie by as you exit the theater. Nobody needed a second viewing to realize that movie was HORRIBLE.

But let’s stick with end credits music. As a filmmaker you’d have to be an idiot to write and shoot and edit a whole movie, and then fail to take full advantage of the end credits gravity assist. Don’t just settle for lame Casio keyboard-sounding generic orchestral music. Spring some extra money and get a legit song in there! And it doesn’t even have to be classic rock, either. Just a legit piece of music that solicits some kind of bittersweet emotion.

And it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Use the right song as you fade to black and your audience will not only like your movie more, they’ll probably like that song more too. This was the case with “Baby You’re a Rich Man,” which has become my favorite song on Magical Mystery Tour. This would have been impossible if not for David Fincher. Clearly drawing on his experience as a director of music videos, he knew how and when to use the song. And to use that song and not another song.

I’m telling you, in the past I specifically went out of my way to not like “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” I thought it was stinking up the whole Magical Mystery Tour. But The Social Network sort of sent me a signal that it was okay to like that song. That song was cool now. David Fincher poured the Kool Aide and I drank hell out of it. Then I asked for more.

Now, quite fittingly, I will end this otherwise mediocre post with a kick-ass tune. I may just get Freshly Pressed.

 

What about you, Reader? Any favorite movie ending/song pairings?

 

 

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How Paperbacks Kick Hardcovers’ Ass

hardcovers vs paperbacks

“Time to move out of the apartment. Who’s got the forklift?”

Why do hardcover books generally cost more than paperbacks? I get that they’re more expensive to print and all that, but still. On some practical level, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Are hardcovers not a royal pain in the ass? A burden to bear? I mean, it makes sense that they should cost more, but only for narcissists who want everyone else to know what they’re reading, or even simply that they’re reading. A nice big hardcover book in your bookshelf can draw plenty of attention from your dinner guests. “Ah!” they’ll say. “You’ve read Moby Dick eh? What a bright lad you are! I approve of you courting my daughter!”

You know who you are! You buy all the smart-sounding books in massive, monumental hardcover, while you buy “12 Shades of Grey” in recycled paperback and then try to hide it at the upper left corner of your bookshelf. For you, Kindle isn’t even an option. If you’re going to read a book, it damn well better have a physical body—Even if it’s only “12 Shades of Grey” or “Star Wars: Jedi Academy”—because at least this way it adds some mass to your cherished book collection. You want your dinner guest to step into your living room and behold a massive, dusty, glorious library of canted volumes.

Don’t worry, nobody’s gonna see the Dan Brown. It’s all about the gold-trimmed collected works of Edgar Allen Poe (Barnes and Noble edition!).

I used to be a bit like this, I admit it. I think this is probably a thing, to some degree, for any avid reader. We tend to think of read-books as trophies awarding us with smart points. We want others to see.

But let me tell you. After my somewhat recent series of moves, I’ve come to prefer my Kindle over traditional paper-bound books in the same way I prefer Netflix to actually buying all of those same movies. Books and dvd cases pile up pretty damn fast, and then they’re just another complication to your eventual exodus. Plus, where does it end? I’m not a homeowner—maybe if I was it would be different, because then I’d sort of have a stable base of operations in which to cache all my crap. But when you’re a hopscotch renter you learn pretty early on that you best not keep accumulating content for your apartment. Soon you’ll be sort buried, and then you discover that the cliche is true: the things you own end up owning you.

Screw it, I say. Screw people knowing what I’m reading anyway. Do I really want them knowing I’m reading “Conan The Barbarian?” Not particularly. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’d have to discover the secret to superluminal flight for people to start thinking I’m smart anyway, so why bother playing Gentleman Scholar? I will surreptitiously make myself smarter by way of Kindle. I don’t have dinner parties anyway, so what the hell am I even talking about?

No way I’m gonna pay more money for a hardcover when, really, it should be the one paying me. After all, it’s going to live in my apartment, take up space, complicate my future moves. A crappy little softcover, or Kindle e-book, would do this to a much lesser degree. Therefore, from my humble POV, it would seem to make sense that I should pay more for the softcover/e-book than I would for the bulky, clunky hardcover that’s going to haunt me for years to come. They should be giving those away, not charging more for em!

kindle vs hardcovers

Kindle is the lightsaber of reading. Much more civilized.

But clutter-avoidance is only part of the reason I think softcovers/e-books have more value than hardcovers. The other thing is that hardcovers generally suck to reader. You sit there in your reading chair constantly shifting and twisting and craning your neck, all in a losing battle to read that heavy-ass leather-bound Barnes and Noble “Great Expectations” in relative comfort. Keep dreaming. Reading a hardcover book is like being handed an overfed human baby. At first it’s a pleasant experience, but pretty soon your leg’s going numb and your arm muscles are sore and you just want that baby to go away.

A paperback isn’t so heavy as to put any stress on your forearms or elbows. Often, you can hold the thing with one hand, freeing your other hand for your corncob pipe. Same thing goes for Kindle. No numb legs. No squashed genitals. Achievement unlocked: 25 smart points!

Then the question becomes: paperback or Kindle? With a paperback, you still still get your coveted book-trophy after you’re done reading. With Kindle you get no bonus smart points (unless you weirdly encourage your friends to leaf through your Kindle library). I’m gonna still go with Kindle here, because I’m really making it a point in my life to downsize as much as possible. But I won’t make fun of you if you go with a paperback.

Anything’s better than massive, Neverending Story-esque hardcover books. You’ll see what I mean next time your landlord gives you two weeks to vacate the premises.

How bout you, Reader? What is your preferred way of reading? Paperback? Kindle? Online? Let’s have it…

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Since When is Reclining Your Seat in a Plane a Fightable Offense?

seat recline funny

“Aw HELL no. Dem’s fightin’ words!”

Yesterday a third flight was diverted due to passengers fighting over somebody reclining her seat. The third flight to be diverted for this reason in about two weeks! What the hell is this anyway, the beginnings of a new plot by criminal mastermind Lex Luther? Are these airlines showing Fight Club as an inflight movie? Are they flavoring their ginger ales with methamphetamines? What’s with all the hate! And why, all of a sudden, is plane flight seat-reclining a fightable offense?

It’s totally reasonable to get pissed off if the person in front of you reclines his seat all the way back. You have little enough room as it is. Yes, by all means mutter something offensive under your breath. Make a big show of clearing your throat. Show the seat-recliner guy you’re annoyed.

But do you really need to take it to the next step and go buck wild, to the point of where they need to make an emergency landing and bring you up on federal charges? Is your extra leg space that important to you? Can’t you just hold your book or iPad a little bit higher to compensate? Besides, the guy in front of you is probably dealing with the same seat-reclining issues as the guy in front of him. Give him a break!

Read about the latest airline seat-recline fiasco

Yes, I understand that struggling airlines need to cram more and more seats into their planes in order to make the whole venture worth it. It’s been the trend for nearly a decade, now. Plus, blasting through the sky 100,000 feet in the air can be hard on the nerves. Some people aren’t used to flying and spend much of the flight with their stomaches twisted into weird party balloon shapes and their hands clenched on the hand rests.

Plus what if the person sitting next to you has BO, or won’t shut up, or has had his or her iPod turned up way too loud for the last 750 miles. Probably wouldn’t take all that much more to kick somebody into crazy foaming-at-the-mouth survival mode.

But these are all age-old complaints re: flying on a passenger jet. These are the standard grievances you hear when you pick Aunt Sally up at the airport. Everybody knows that it sucks to have the person in front of you recline his or her seat back when you’re trying to pour your ginger ale into the little plastic cup. Why is this suddenly a fightable offense? Why three such fights in two weeks?

You want to know why?

Because that’s how humans work. Humans are copycats. The first seat-recline fight actually made some sense. The fight started because the guy in the back tried to physically block the lady in front of him from reclining her seat, by way of a plastic device called a “knee defender.” Basically it was an anti-recline device. Once she recognized what was happening, the lady flipped out.

Why such a thing was allowed on board in the first place, I have no idea. Such a device robs the person in front of you of their ability to get their full money’s worth out of their expensive seat. It’s a little like strolling over to the diner booth next to you and unapologetically taking people’s sugar packets. Maybe they were going to need them or maybe they weren’t, but, either way, they were entitled to them, damnit!

Read about the “knee defender” fight that started it all

I can honestly see flying into a mouth-foamy rage over something like this. Resorting to a surreptitious anti-recline device seems like a childish and cowardly thing to do. Why not just tap the guy in front of you on the shoulder and tell him the truth: “Bro? I have a weird, childish phobia about reclining plane seats, so I’m going to have to ask you to refrain from reclining your seat for the duration of this flight. I’m willing to buy you a few screwdrivers or vodka tonics in compensation. Thank you for your corporation in this matter.”

If you want to be a little bitch, at least be a man about it!

So I totally get the first fight. But the second and, now, the third? Eh, those were clearly just copycat crimes. Anybody on any plane flight these last few weeks would naturally have Recline-Gate on their minds, would be primed and ready to blow, much like how one irate parent at a elementary school parent night is likely to stir up unrest in the other parents. “Yeah! That’s a good question, just why do you give so much homework?!?”

In the case of Recline-Gate, it’s more like: “Yeah! That’s a good question, why should I have to put up with this seat reclining nonsense?!?”

Or, maybe even more accurately, it’s like (in drunken southern accent): “Dem’s fightin’ werds!”

People tend to go foam-at-the-mouth crazy when, on top of feeling somehow impinged upon, and feeling generally nervous about being on an airplane in the first place, they also believe they have a social obligation to blow a fuse. If a guy feels he’s supposed to go nuclear about something, and he doesn’t, he’s going to feel like he just took one in the rear. Recline-Gate 1 sent a message to others that maybe you’re supposed to go nuclear about somebody reclining their seat in front of you. It’s basically the new Cabbage Patch Kid.

Maybe next month the big thing will be going nuclear over too few ice cubes in the vodka tonics.

Readers? Ever witness a passenger going nuclear on a plane flight/airport?

Or, Frequent Flyers, take a chill pill and read my article: 5 Ways to Unwind After a Stressful Plane Flight

 

 

 

 

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Knowing What I Know Now, I’d Become a Fourth Grade God

bastion and falcor

Having your adult knowledge and wit in fourth grade would be akin to having your own Falcor.

I’ve already talked about my thoughts on the back-to-school season. Here’s the Cliff Notes: I think it stinks, even if you no longer have any connection to a public or private school system. Just the vibe stinks. That summerkilling vibe.

But today’s Daily Post writing prompt posits an interesting question: What if I were magically 10 years old again via the Tom Hanks-rejuvenating genie in the movie Big, and was therefore about to return to school? But with an adult’s mind? How would I feel about that?

Let’s jump right into this: I’d feel pretty good about this scenario. I’d have none of the back-to-school jitters I had back then, because this time around I would use my grown-up knowledge and wit to run the place. I’d have no fear of hard/mean teachers or being friendless or anything—I could deal with it all! I’d be a popular whiz kid. Every question the teacher asks? Hand raised. Answer right.

I’d soon isolate the power players amongst my peers and I’d recruit them to my society. I’d do this by helping them with their homework, and by demonstrating for them my athletic prowess in gym class. I’d climb that knotted rope all the way to the tippie top and slap my hand against the ceiling. I’d be a God.

Elementary school gym class, by the way, isn’t about how strong you are or how skilled at kick ball you are. At that age it’s simply about believing in yourself. No kid is that much stronger or faster than the next kid. It’s about who thinks they’re stronger and faster.

For example, you might think you suck at playing dodge ball, but the second you overhear one of the pale nerd kids cry to his friend, “Oh no! Bill Carson’s got the ball! Run!” Suddenly you forget how much you sucked and now you’re a dodgeball-playing Terminator. You have arm strength and targeting accuracy you’d never known you had. All from a little hint that at least somebody thinks you’re good.

I would use this confidence technology to rule my fourth grade class in a way that simply wasn’t possible back in 1992. I’d be running that joint. Skittles and potato chips and square cafeteria pizzas would be strewn at my feet, in exchange only for my friendship and protection and technical assistance. I’d be so much better at using my smartphone than the kids are. I’d be the go-to guy for smartphone/computer troubleshooting.

One thing I wouldn’t have is access to all the same X-Box video games as the other kids. I don’t have an X-box and I don’t really play video games, or if I occasionally do, they’re not the kind of video games the kids would dig. So this would be the one kink in my armor, just as it was back in 1993, except back then it was a regular Nintendo Entertainment System. Because you’re either part of the club or not.

Overall, I’m confident that I could be confident as a forth grader with an adult mind. As is the case throughout every stage of your life, unwarranted, narcissistic belief in yourself is more than half the battle.

Readers: How would your adult knowledge inform your Fourth grade lifestyle?

Check out the original writing prompt here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/zoltars-revenge/

Read my related post: Why Back-to-School Season Sucks for Everybody

 

 

 

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Why Being a Cop Probably Sucks

bodycam cops

“Resistance is Futile.”

To be police officer. From my point of view, it’s got to be the worst job you can have. Not that it’s not a noble and important profession—it totally is. Batman is a lousy alternative, if for no other reason than he keeps getting himself captured by Joker and the Penguin and is therefore not always available. No, if my house gets broken into or a bunch of dudes jump me and give me the what for, the cops’ll be the ones I call. But damn, if those guys don’t have a rough gig.

Being a cop would probably suck.

At least for me. Some people would doubtless get a thrill at carrying a gun and a badge and giving people tickets all day. Even getting into the occasional 7-Eleven shootout. But me, I’m more of a life-let-live type dude. Very much so. In fact, if everyone on the planet were exactly like me, I’m pretty sure we’d all die off in a few years. Because you know what say the philosophers of old: it takes all kinds.

Besides, a lot of jobs—most jobs—require you to be the bad guy every once in a while. If not, you’re probably not doing your job right. Even a librarian. If you get caught trying to have sex by the window at the back of the non-fiction aisle, just watch how fast your mild-mannered librarian becomes a dick!

No. The reason being a cop has to suck is because everything they do is necessarily scrutinized. To the point of impotence or self-incrimination. This is the one job I can think of where your boss is always over your shoulder scratching his chin, shaking his head, rolling his eyes. He’s there inside your car’s dashboard camera, your high tech “body cam”, the smartphones of anybody standing around. You get out of line during a routine Quickie Mart arrest? You’re finished pal.

Think about how a nervous schoolteacher feels on the day the school principal is scheduled to come and observe her class. It’s freaking difficult enough to corral those cats, and now you have to do it in front of your steely eyed ex-frat boy principal. You better be on your A game.

No more letting things slide or looking the other way in order to avoid the threat of defiance. All infractions of any size must be addressed, all violators disciplined, even little hellchild Sally Appleseed, whose shrewish mother is on the PTA. You must play with fire. And if you get burnt in any way, your principal will jot it down in his little pad.

old_man_clown_arrested

“Step AWAY from the poodle balloons!”

Well, for most cops, that’s probably how it is every day.  Or at least that’s how it will be in the coming years, once body cams and dashboard cams are standard in every police district in every state, and its mandatory to keep them always on (even when you’re trying to draw a picture of a penis in the police HQ bathroom stall). That’s the direction it’s obviously going. You’ll be in a position where you can’t bend the rules without fear of reprimand. No more letting poor widows off with just a warning. No more letting the old man free who’d simply shoplifted a single Werther’s Original candy.

All these body cams and dashboard cams will basically turn policemen into dysfunctional, glitchy Robocops. They are expected to function with Robocop’s excessive dedication to justice, except they’re not machines. They’re human. They’re going to f-ck up, just give ‘em some time. And the cameras are going to get it all on tape.

The worst part is, I totally agree with the need for body cams and dashboard cams. For every righteous Serpico there’s a seedy, trigger happy Alonzo Harris. I’m not going to go into the subject of self defensive/excessive force. Being a cop doesn’t even need that touchy issue to suck! No, I’m not saying police districts should do away with body cams. I’m merely saying being a police officer has to suck. Big time.

You ever hear the mantra of roller coaster engineers? “If it doesn’t shake, it will break.” Roller coaster structures need to be able to wobble and vibrate and bend just a little as the cars torpedo up and around and upside down, or the stresses of constant use will wear the structure down and it’ll topple. That’s how it is with professionals too. You can do a good job without having to become the Borg. No matter what your profession, you should be able to say, every once in a while: “We’ll let it slide this time.”

In the very near future, cops won’t have this inalienable human privilege. They’ll have to swing for the fences on every pitch, no matter how wild or fast. Not only that, but the minute they strike out? Yoouuuuu’re out!!!!

Yeah, being a cop probably sucks…


 

This post was based on a Daily Post writing prompt: Nightmare Job—In honor of LaborDay in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

prompt:http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/nightmare-job/   

 

 

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Why You Should Never Bother with “Coffee Naps”

coffee nap funny

“Any second my brain’s gonna explode, any second my brain’s gonna explode, any second my…”

So apparently “coffee naps” are a thing. Scientists have been recommending them lately as the ultimate power nap. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. You chug a cup of coffee (lukewarm or cold, I’d imagine) and then you take a flying leap into your bed or break room couch and, quick!, fall asleep before the caffeine kicks in 20 minutes later. In theory, the caffeine will snap you awake and you’ll be more refreshed and focused than you would have been with just the coffee or just the nap.

That’s right, you have a 20 minute window to force yourself, with caffeine already bubbling through your stomach tubes, with the afternoon sun shining smack in your face, with the fuse already lit, to fall gently asleep.

Good luck.

The theory behind this makes enough sense, I guess. An article on coffee naps in Elite Daily sums it up as follows: Our brain naturally produces a chemical called adenosine. This is the chemical our brain uses to keep tabs on how tired it’s supposed to be. Throughout the day—especially after a storm of brain activity, adenosine collects like rain puddles in our brain and fits into special receptors. The receptors are like trip wires; as more and more of them are tripped, we get more and more tired.

What typical naps do is they help clear out the accumulated adenosine, making us less tired. Meanwhile, caffeine gives us that coveted alertness by interacting with and freaking out those hopefully-empty adenosine receptors. They need to be clear of adenosine in order for caffeine to be effective. That’s why caffeine doesn’t always do a good job waking you up—sometimes you’re just too polluted with adenosine!

I’m still not totally clear on why scientists have been suggesting that a coffee nap is better than just coffee, just nap, or even taking a quick nap and then drinking coffee. I don’t get the latter. Why all of a sudden do you have to insanely drink coffee before your nap, when, either way, the same theory applies: nap reduces adenosine, caffeine swoops in and suddenly you’re Rain Man-counting-toothpicks.

drinking coffee fast

Pouring coffee into a mug wastes a good 10 seconds out of your 20 minute nap break. Skip it.

If it’s all the same to you, Scientists, I’d rather just take a sober 20 minute nap and then, while I’m working back to my cubicle, start drinking my coffee. Taking naps during the day is hard enough as it is. There’s a sort of performance anxiety going on there. Sometimes you just sit there on the break room couch, eyes shut, head tilted back, for your entire 20 minutes break without ever falling to sleep. You might pretend to be asleep when your coworkers walk in and out of the room, but really you’re just sitting there with your eyes closed like a crazy.

It’s a rule, in fact. Your ability to take a power nap has an inverse relationship with how badly you feel you need to take that nap. If your boss is away on vacation and you’ve got absolutely nothing going on? Your attempt at a nap will likely be successful. If you have a major presentation to give to your coworkers later in the day, and you’re operating on zero sleep from the night before, your attempt at a nap will likely fail. Too much pressure. It’s like trying to take free throws when the game’s on the line—suddenly it’s so much harder.

But damn, how hard would it be if you chugged a whole cup of lukewarm coffee first? How the hell are you supposed to fall asleep knowing that, at any moment, your brain is basically going to explode with activity. You’re a freaking ticking time bomb! That’s some real Rock a Bye Baby stuff right there, let me tell you.

And how long did it take you to drink the probably-too-hot coffee? How long did it take you, in an anxious state of mind, to fall asleep? Just how many minutes do you lose out of your ostensible 20 minute coffee nap in order to have a 20 minute coffee nap? Not very economical, I’d think.

You have a much better chance to actually fall asleep—and more potential “sleep time”—if you just stick with what job-havers have been doing for hundreds of years: take a full twenty minute nap and then, while your supposedly back on the job, drink your coffee. And take your time, too. Sip real slow, and smile lovingly after every sip. Your boss won’t say squat. The best part of drinking coffee on the job is it sort of looks like you’re working.

I was going to go into deeper research regarding why some scientists think coffee naps are more effective than just taking a nap and then drinking coffee, but you know what? I’m too tired. In fact I think I better go take a nap.

Who’s got a 5-Hour-Energy?

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Munchkin Madness: The Flakey Majesty of Chocolate Glazed Munchkins

chocolate glazed munchkins

How I’d love to take a Scrooge McDuck leap into a massive pool of chocolate glazed doughnuts…

Next time you go to Dunkin Donuts, here’s what you do. You buy the coffee and/or doughnut you went there to buy in the first place, and then you tell the guy, “Oh yeah, and throw three glazed chocolate munchkins in there. Why the hell not, right?” Then pay. Then leave. Then, in your car, before you even sip your coffee, eat those little babies one by one. This is basically how you prime your engine for the coffee and/or full sized doughnut.

Chocolate glazed munchkins are the best. They just are. I’m pretty sure the glaze is made out of crack. I’m salivating as we speak. Something about the weight and the moist-yet-crumbly texture and the flakiness of the sugary glaze. And the fact that they’re so small you can hardly feel feel guilty about them. Even if you eat three of them, that’s like half a regular doughnut. And they’re cheap. Asking the Dunkin Donuts dude to toss a few extra in there feel just like asking the Chinese Food lady to drop some extra packets of soy sauce into the bag.

I used to have this awesome ritual with a co-worker of mine. Every time either one of us went to the nearby Dunkin Donuts for whatever reason, we’d have the dude drop an extra chocolate glazed munchkin in there. Then, upon returning to work, the buyer would present the extra munchkin to the other person like Dr. Feelgood. It would be the best treat—an unscheduled chocolate glazed munchkin. And seriously, just one was enough to make the person delighted as hell. Just needed a fix is all.

I’m telling you, “munchkin padding” can become addictive. I mean, if you’re in Dunkin Donuts anyway, the sin has already been committed. Even if you’re not there for a doughnut, you’re there for some of that signature Dunkin Donuts coffee, loaded with cream and sugar. All that sugar turns to fat, just so you know (because some people don’t). Therefore, what harm can one or three extra chocolate glazed munchkins do? You’re already jumping off the cliff, might as well enjoy the fall!

Just watch out for munchkin anomalies.

Last time I was at a Dunkin Donuts a munchkin anomaly took place. I ordered a coffee and then I delivered my trademark line, “Eh, you know what? How bout throw three chocolate glazed munchkins in there too? Why the hell not, right?” It was a simple order. The dude went to the basket shelf with the chocolate glazed and got confused and looked at me and said something that sounded like, “Chocolate glaze three?”

With some hesitation, I nodded my head and said, “Yes. All three chocolate glaze.”

Then I watched as he put two chocolate glazed into the bag and two regular glazed. Never once during the entire ordering process did I say anything about regular glazed. And never did I mention the number 2—as a rule, I always deal exclusively with odd numbers. But the man was clearly drunk or tired or not-awesome-at-English or something, and I wasn’t about to make things worse by engaging in a complicated redirect/reorder procedure.

I figured I could deal with 2 chocolates and 2 regulars, even though it’s one more munkchin than I’d planned for. Still cheap and not-too-bad-for-me either way. Yes, the mass of four munchkins certainly approaches the mass of a full doughnut, but it’s not quite there yet. If it’s doughnut territory at all, it’s a dwarf doughnut and not a full doughnut, in the same way the Pluto is merely a dwarf planet. So I just smiled and nodded and paid and left the store wondering if I was the latest victim of a munchkin padding scheme that preys on the meek.

But when I got to my car and fully inspected the munchkin anomaly, I found that the munchkin count was actually three chocolate glazed and two regular. That’s five munchkins total, when I’d originally only ordered three. And you know what else? The receipt only accounted for four munchkins. The receipt said two chocolates and two glazed, which wasn’t what I’d originally ordered, nor was it what was even in the bag! It was madness. Complete munchkin madness!

I wondered, Was the dude trying to hook me up? This particular dude is weirdly popular with the store’s clientele—this I have witnessed before. Slappin’ people five and stuff like that. Maybe he had too many regular glazed and he was going to throw them out anyway, so that’s why he dropped those into the bag on top of the chocolates I’d ordered. Cool, but then why did he charge me for four doughnuts when he should have charged me for three, with two extra free ones.

Again, it was munchkin madness. I decided it was best to simply eat the evidence and move on with my life. Which I did.

What’s your favorite kind of munchkin’s, Readers? And if you don’t have access to official munchkins, what are your thoughts on chocolate glazed doughnuts in general?

 

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Why Back-to-School Season Sucks for Everybody

Walgreens-Back-To-School

The unholy, summer-killing aisle in Walgreen’s.

Three constants in the world: death, taxes, and the fact that back-to-school season sucks. For kids, for teachers, for parents, even for bachelors with no remaining ties to a school system. There’s a sinking feeling when you start hearing those first commercials on the radio or television. “Back to school sales!” “Get stocked up for the school year!” Terrible, horrible, no good very bad stuff like that.

When I was a kid, and, later on, an educator, hearing commercials like those would mark the death of the Summer. Or maybe not the death. The grim diagnosis, where the doctor just put a number on how much time you have left. Three weeks. Two weeks. Whenever that first back-to-school Walgreen’s commercial first strikes. “Stock up on your Trapper Keepers and your pencils with our special back-to-school sale!” Suddenly you can very clearly see the end. The tone of your entire summer shifts paradigmly, as if the movie of your vacation just switched genres from a buddy comedy to a courtroom drama.

I call this type of thing “calendaring,” when a period of time, which, heretofore, has felt endless and fresh due to your keeping the end-date vague in your head, is suddenly synchronized with your wall calendar. Now you know exactly where you stand. No more “eh, I basically got about a month left if you round it up.”  Once you get calendared, it’s more like: “Oh my, I only have 11 days left?!? What have I been doing?”

It’s the ultimate buzz kill.

Same exact thing goes for educators. It’s one of the many difficult things about being an educator. You have to relive this gruesome moment of summer-murder again and again, year after year. Soon you will have to start stressing out and worrying about how many nightmare kids are going to complement your class roster. Though educators (usually) get to experience the first day of Summer vacation, and this perhaps balances out the back-to-school blues. But it doesn’t feel like it at the time, I can tell you from personal experience.

sad_keanu

“Don’t be sad, Keenu. I know you thought there was still plenty of summer left but you have to face the facts.”

Parents of small kids might think they actually like the back-to-school season. After all, soon they will be relatively free of the responsibility of figuring out what the hell to do with their kids from 8:00 to 3:00. But these parents must now drag their spawn to Walgreens and Target and Walmart to pick out new stone-washed jeans and Ninja Turtle t-shirts and Trapper Keepers and notebooks and wacky pencils.

Nothing too terrible, I guess, but it’s an annoyance and an expense. And your kids are all nervous and sad, which can probably be depressing. Even so, I’ll give you that parents suffer the least from back-to-school season. But suffer they do.

What about freewheelin’ bachelors? What claim have they on back-to-school suffering? A big one. Back to school season is not just about the school year coming back around. It’s also a signal that the best chunk of the summer is already past—it calendars the summer itself. No more pretending it’s going to continue being summer for “weeks and weeks.” Doctor Death has just given Summer the bad news, and it must now make its peace with its estranged family (the other seasons). Won’t be long now.

What about you, Readers? Do you agree that back-to-school season sucks for everybody? Who doesn’t it suck for? I’m serious. I actually want to know.

This post was inspired by Daily Post’s prompt “August Blues”: As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?

Check it out…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/august-blues/

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