Ruminations 4

Why are today’s youth such wusses?  Consider their horror movies.  When I was a kid horror movies were about actual monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Blob, the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.  Today’s kids are petrified of everyday stuff like the Ring, the Saw, and Dark Water.  Dark Water?  Please.  Give me a mop and I’ll take care of that.

Don’t you hate financial advice magazinesSmartMoney magazine boasts: “Retire with $1 Million in Just Ten Years.”  Their brilliant advice: “Just spend $100,000 a year less and put that money in the bank.  Voila!  In ten years, you’re a millionaire.”  Thanks a lot, a-hole.

When you open the microwave, do you open the door slowly so any microwaves that are still bouncing around in there don’t fly out and zap you?

Who thinks Hershey’s chocolate is an acceptable gift for an adult?  I’d like to put everyone who gives me chocolate at the holidays on notice – namely my family and my wife’s family.  Please don’t give me Hershey’s or Nestle’s.  That was fine when I was ten.  I’m not saying it’s got to be Godiva.  But can we at least think of Dove chocolate as the minimum?

How come when America plays the World Cup we lose games to countries like Ghana?  We outnumber them 15 to 1.  We can’t find 20 world-class soccer players among 300 million Americans?  On a per-capita basis, we really suck at soccer.

Don’t you hate going to some swank office building, and the flunkies you’re meeting with don’t have their own bathroom, so you have to use the one in the hall, one that requires a key?  And the key’s attached to some cumbersome piece of brown driftwood?  And this germ magnet is so sticky it feels like it’s been dipped in maple syrup?

If you get ripped off by the Better Business Bureau who do you complain to?

Why does a lawn gnome have to make an appearance in every TV commercial these days?

Anyone else addicted to Jamba Juice?  Gotta have my $5 Jamba orange juice to go with my $5 Starbucks coffee every morning.  Now if someone would just come along and offer a $5 donut my lifelong dream of dropping 15 bucks each morning on breakfast would be realized.

Why are they called “guidance counselors?”  Is there any other kind of counselor?

Has the U.S. Mint gone a little crazy with all the new money and coinage?  They’re resigning the paper notes every six months. Have you seen the new $10?  It’s orange.  There’s a new nickel, 50 different quarters — one for every state, 37 new dollar coins to commemorate all the dead presidents.  It’s crazy.  I get change back and I’ve got to stare at it for a second… “Are these quarters or bus tokens?”

Have you seen Us Weekly’s section “Stars – They’re Just Like Us?” It shows celebs doing supposedly mundane things to make us non-famous readers feel better about ourselves.  But it never works.  Stars – They’re just like us… They water the grass… of their $50 million mansion.  They walk their dogs… on their private beach in Malibu.  They have one-night stands… with Jessica Simpson.

Does Florida’s shape bug you?  It’s like a limp penis hanging off the front of the country.

Why don’t people who run convenience stores install high-quality cameras?  They know they’re going to be robbed sooner or later.  Doesn’t it make sense to install a camera that can actually provide usable images to the police?  I don’t know how they catch anyone with those cameras.  “Judging from this poorly-lit, grainy, black and white image, it appears the robber was a homo sapiens of some kind.”

Is subtraction no longer taught in school?  Last week I picked up a pizza.  It came to $12.98, so I gave the cashier a twenty and three ones.  He looked at me like I just asked him to explain the Theory of Relativity.  In Flemish.  It took management intervention to figure out how much change to give me.

Do you believe in global warming?  I don’t.  Like this summer when the metal park bench on my patio melted into a puddle of molten iron – merely a coincidence.  Just one of those things that happens every so often.  No cause for alarm.

Do you hate being asked for your zip code when you shop?  Every clerk insists on my zip code.  I know why they want it.  They want to know where their customers are coming from so they can decide whether to build a new Gap between my house and this Gap.  If this bugs you too, just give them “99692.”  It’s the zip code for the westernmost tip of the Aleutian Islands.  If enough of us do this, together we can get America’s retailers to build a humongous mall in this remote Alaskan fishing village.

Are the people who write dictionaries lazy or just mean?  When I look up a word like “magnanimity” and it says, “the quality of being magnanimous,” that does not help me.

Are Walmart’s shelf stockers high?  I love the bargains, but I can never find what I’m looking for.  Maybe it makes sense to them, but personally, I don’t see the logic of putting kitty litter next to kites.  Are they organizing things alphabetically?


This piece originally appeared in Funny Times.

About Steve Altes

Steve Altes is the author of several humor books, dozens of humorous adventure essays, and the comedic graphic novel Geeks & Greeks, set at MIT and inspired by MIT's culture of hacking and Steve's own experiences with hazing.
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