Moving On

When I don’t write, I feel lazy. So I try to force myself to put words on a page whenever possible. Writing fun or silly prose or poetry makes the task more bearable. I wrote the paragraph below as an exercise in producing words and I’m sharing it here just because I can.

It was time to move on. Tom knew he was being held back by his group of friends. His mother always taught him that he should surround himself with the type of people he wanted to be like. Tom wasn’t. This became a stark reality last week when Mitch Panitkin was arrested for publically displaying affection for macramé. Word on the street was that the DA was out for blood. Mitch was likely facing real time this go-around. The gang had been embarrassed in the past by Mitch’s unscrupulous behaviors. During his years playing Snooker in high school he was caught juicing. Coach Bell tried to take care of the situation quietly but Mitch refused to quit. He was addicted to the performance boost. Bell was shocked when Mitch suggested the whole team do it. He said they would be unstoppable. In all fairness, Mitch should have been kicked off the team. But coach liked to win more than he liked to be fair or ethical. He let Mitch continue playing but made him promise to limit himself to ten pounds of carrots per week so no one would become suspicious. But everyone knew what kind of person he was.

Unnecessarily Neat

I was wrapping presents over the weekend and thought about how nice it is that most wrapping paper comes with a grid of lines on the back. Gift givers used to really need to pay attention to what they were doing to get a nice straight cut. Now it’s easy to get a perfect cut every time. What a wonderful innovation! It’s so ingenious, it must have been a Google 20% project. Everyone should be happy about this.

But then I got to thinking, what do I care if my wrapping paper is cut perfectly. I was perfectly happy eyeballing it before. What’s more, nobody else cares if you cut paper straight. Kids tear open present without giving a single thought about the paper. They just want what’s inside. They wontonly tear off what you so lovingly cut, wrapped and taped.

Adults are no better. Think about it from your own experience. When’s the last time you got a present and thought “Gee, these seems sure are neat” or “what loving attention to detail Sam applied to his cutting and taping”.  Sorry, it just doesn’t happen.

Not only do people not care about straight wrapping paper cuts but the grid lines that make it possible also have negative consequences. Think about it, it’s going to cost more to print things on both sides of the paper. Don’t think you’re getting all that ink on there for free. Your wrapping paper is costing you more. Is perfectionism really worth the extra cost?

The cost of perfectionism has other costs too. It’s probably stressing you out, giving you high blood pressure, causing internal anxiety and outward shows of anger and aggression. You might find that every time your scissors veer off the line you start yelling at your children and kicking the dog.

But if health and relationships with those you love don’t move you in this discussion, there’s a more insidious consequence to these seemingly innocuous paper grids. Now that there are lines on the white side, you can’t use scraps of wrapping paper to make little To/From tags. You’re being forced into buying pre-printed tags that you might not even like.

I’ve always enjoyed using the paper I was wrapping with to make my tags. Now that I can’t do that, the joy of present wrapping has left me. Now all I can do is make my wrapped presents unnecessarily neat.

Don’t Be An Idiot

This morning I got an email from the Risk Management department where I work. The email was a list of bullet points about how to walk safely during the winter months. The tips were common sense and should be known and understood without an “expert” reminding you about it.

I usually just delete “don’t be an idiot” emails like this without reading them closely. But this time, for whatever reason, I read all the way to the end. I’m glad I did. Otherwise, I would have missed the absolute gem that was the last bullet point. It read:

  • “When going for a walk in winter weather, carry a small bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter to place on an icy spot that you have towalk on. This will help give you traction and help avoid a fall.”

I can just imagine someone carefully inspecting the ground before each step they take and sprinkling kitty litter on the path just to make sure it’s safe. Or maybe, there’s a more efficient way of doing this. Hence the sketch above.

A Plea For Transparency in Advertising

Panhandlers and bums are becoming more and more honest and trasparent. It’s become fashionable for them to display signs saying something like “Not gonna lie, I need beer”.

Why can’t businesses be more like today’s forward thinking beggars? I’d appreciate the honesty of a commercial stating “We really don’t care about your needs, we just want your money”?

Felix Krautbenschlasser

No one has been more ignored by history than Felix Krautbenschlasser, the inventor of the intermission. Felix never sought to give relief to sedentary opera goers. He was just looking for an excuse to leave boring shows without angering his wife, Hilda.

His first experiment came during a showing of Rigoletto when, during a lull in the singing he made a scene by crying out, “Oh, my thighs ache, I might have a clot!”

It was actually his only experiment because later that night he died from a pulmonary embolism. But after reading his obituary, people started taking breaks during shows.

Excruciating Circumstances

Yesterday I thought it would be funny to sneak up on my unsuspecting teenager and try to scare him. He had on an unzipped hoodie and had pulled the two sides of it up and over his head. Don’t ask why he was doing that. As I said in the first sentence, he’s a teenager. He had no idea I was behind him.

So I quickly wrapped my arms around his waist and said “gotcha”. Well, I scared him so well that he threw himself forward while my arms where still locked around his waist. That move pulled me forward and wrenched something in my back.

Since then I’ve been in terrible pain. It’s been hard to sit, hard to stand and moving is, hard. I’m so uncomfortable that I really didn’t want to to write this post. When my son heard me say this he responded “Just skip it today, you have excruciating circumstances”. 

He thought he was pretty clever with that one. Actually, I thought it was pretty clever too. So I decided to write through the pain and post this, just so I could use his phrase. 

Excruciating Circumstances