A Short Lesson in Pronouns

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I was in your office last week and I overheard this conversation between two co-workers:

“We smoked them last night”

“They did a great job running, but we just couldn’t punch through their defense”

“You’re right; we lost that game because he can’t coach.  Next year they need to focus on their back office and not on our franchise guy”

“You played a great game, congrats on the ‘W’!”

Confused?  Both of these guys walked away thinking the conversation was transparent.  In reality, one guy was talking about his kid’s debate team and the other was talking about an amateur jai alai match played in 1992.

More heart attacks occur on Monday than any other day of the week (We site sources here at skiingingjeans.com).  I once flipped through the pamphlet “Diabetes and You,” so I am qualified to tell you that listening to conversations like the one above is the primary reason you will end up in the supine position on a gurney headed to the hospital.  Your brain overloads with so many synapses firing to attempt to understand the ill-connected pronouns that your heart implodes.  On the way to the hospital, some nineteen-year-old, pre-med EMT trying to become the next Doogie Howser will break your ribs doing chest compressions while slipping you the tongue as he treats you like a Resusci Anne doll.  This near death experience is much more enjoyable than listening to Chuck tell you how he threw for 350 yards, went 12-15 from the line, scored an empty net goal, and held Derek Jeter to only one hit over the weekend.

At the hospital, you will probably overhear two doctors having a similar, pronoun filled conversation that you just had with your co-worker.  You will fall into another cardiac arrest and the staff will run for the defibrillator.  They will yell “Clear!” and bring you back to life like Mark Ruffalo in Just Like Heaven.  Please note the medical team doesn’t yell, “You get clear,” “We got clearance,” or “They need to get clear so y’all can blast him.”  They just yell “clear.”  No pronouns are used and it is crystal clear, right?

Newsflash:  You are not on the team.

If “your” team wins the championship and you do not receive a trophy, ring or other item that will later be hawked on eBay when you’re headed for bankruptcy, you are not on the team.  Yes, the owner, the players, and the groundskeeper all say, “fans are a part of the team.”  That is marketing 101.

Aside from the fact that you are not on the team’s payroll, the logic of claiming any type of ownership is bewildering.  Next time you’re at the ballet try to catch yourself saying, “We almost stuck the landing in the third act, but that fall probably cost us the rest of the season.”  In both cases, sports and ballet, you are the consumer.  You expect to be entertained for the money you pay for a ticket, but don’t expect any fanfare for you when they do well.

No sane person will venture outside to get the newspaper with wind chill levels reaching sixty below zero.  However, lunatics, using ice picks to break up frozen beers while losing fingers due to frostbite, will gladly fork over $150 a ticket to watch twenty-two meatheads play catch in an arctic blast.

“Being a Packers fan is in your blood, hereditary even.”

In your blood?  Flight or fight is in your blood.   Wisdom teeth are in your blood.  Sickle-cell anemia is in your blood.  Cheering for a sport created a hundred years ago is not an evolutionary feat.  Until hockey players grow gills and live underwater, sports are still a fad in the annals of man.

Save yourself a trip to the hospital for cardiac arrest and keep your fingers intact by avoiding pronoun abuse.

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Hello Baby New Year: Here is Your Resolution

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With 2015 starting up, it is time to pull out that list of 2014 New Year’s resolutions.  You casually cross out “2014” and change it to “2015”.  If you’re like most overweight Americans, you have “Get in shape” or “Lose XX pounds” on this list.  Instead of writing some vague statement like “I’m going to be less of a fat ass than last year” or “On Sundays, I will take the stairs instead of the elevator” on your 2015 resolution sheet, why don’t you write something quantifiable like “I’m going to run a 5K in less than 25 minutes.”

Here are some pointers for running your first 5k:

1)   When you sign up for your race, you will get a T-shirt with the name and date of the race on it.  You wouldn’t wear a “Boy George 2015 Revival Tour” shirt to The Brass Rail bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana to watch the has been singer belt out “Karma Chameleon”.  Don’t turn your first 5K into amateur hour by sporting the crisp, new race day shirt of the race you’re in.

2)   Never run the entire 5K distance in training.  Marathon training rules apply here.  Let’s face it, a 5K is your marathon; this is probably the most physical activity you’ve had since you ran the mile in seventh grade gym class.  Keep it simple; one mile here, two miles there.  There is no need to pull a hammy a couple of weeks prior to your big Chariots of Fire moment.

3)   If the race you’re in is big enough, you will be assigned a starting corral.  Since you have no race history, you will be assigned the last corral.  Everyone has to start somewhere, but when you start the winner of the race will be crossing the finish line at the same time.  Your corral will be behind the people with walkers and dudes almost as lame as you.  Pay no attention to your assignment.  Get to the front of the race, and come out guns blazing.  There is a chance that you will be the race leader for the first fifty feet before some Kenyan blows past you.

4)   Carb loading is not just for marathoners.  The night before the race, go out and eat.  Don’t limit yourself to carbs.  Eat everything you can get your hands on.  No french fry is too small, no beer has too much gluten, just eat and drink.   When you’re running almost four miles (I rounded for your ego boost) the following day you’ll be grateful you have the internal fuel to carry you through.

5)   Water stations.  Seriously?  Do you pause your Growing Pains collector DVDs so you can rehydrate while watching Carol learn about the dangers of drinking and driving?  You’re not doing the Bad Water Ultramarathon, you’re doing a warm up run disguised as a race.

6)   The last thing you need to go with your sore quads and strained calf muscles are bloody nipples.  Marathon guys are always chaffing and bleeding in weird places.  Don’t take chances.  Get some lube and apply it liberally like Burt Reynolds in Striptease.

7)   Babies poop themselves and so do winners.  If you’re struggling at mile 1, the last thing you should do is take a break to relieve yourself.  Face facts:  If you sit down to poop, you may never get up and finish the race.

It is better to be an embarrassed winner than a clean cut loser.
It is better to be an embarrassed winner than a clean cut loser.

8)   Stretching is for people who do yoga.  Don’t confuse your body with poses and saying “namaste”.  Any time you waste stretching, is time you are not running.

9)   This is the point when most running literature says you should consult a doctor before training.  I know a guy who use to be a doctor (that’s a nice way of saying “lost his license without admitting guilt”); he said that running through the pain is the best way to be a winner.  Ignore those shin splints, cramps, heart palpitations, and asthma attacks.

10)  If you get lapped by the 10K leader on your 5K run, just pull off to the side and cheer on the real athletes.

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Tis’ the Season…For Wasting Money and Time.

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Carolers, mostly people rejected by the gratis church choir gig, are quickly shooed off your stoop so you can get back to your eggnog I.V. drip before passing out on the family sofa. Your family sings “Happy Birthday to Jesus” then attempts to blow out 2,000 candles on a birthday cake.  Your aunt pumps so much sugar candy into your nephew that he hurls all over the green bean casserole saving everyone from pretending they like those goofy fried onion things.  These things are all good Christmas.  The biggest problem with Christmas is the gift giving, and this ruins the entire holiday.

Children are the only group of people deserving of gifts.  They have no money.  Their parents are in the process of going broke paying for their travel baseball teams, guitar lessons, and college applications. Buy them something cool like illegal fireworks, a used Porsche 911, or some other age inappropriate toy.  You will piss off their parents, but the kids will deify your forever.

Adult gift giving is a waste of money, and more importantly, time.  If you want to see the holy light, read this Bloomberg article.

SIDENOTE:  If anyone needs a gift, it is Michael Bloomberg.  That guy was mayor of a one of the biggest cities in the world for over a decade and was only paid $13.

How many times have you re-gifted a banal gift?  Think of all the time that was invested in thinking of that gift.  Then there was more time tied up in going to some tchotchke shop to buy it, figuring how to wrap the thing, and finally having the audacity to hand you something that you should have never unwrapped and simply scratched out your name and written “Uncle Louie” on it and re-gifted.  Wouldn’t it have been easier just to give you a twenty-dollar bill and saved everyone hours of time, an uncomfortable exchange of “thank you” and forced smiles.

Sure, cash is a little tacky.  It is rude and informal in the eyes of the gift pushers, but it gets the job done.  Find someone that would rather get an in the box, never-been-used fondue set (value of $100 plus the aforementioned time suck) over a crisp Jackson right out of wallet and I will show you a schizophrenic.  If you receive a fondue set, you’re going to put it in the basement next to your other unused fondue set that some guest bought for you off your wedding registry fifteen years prior.  Keep the fondue set on the Wal-Mart shelf and make it rain right into my wallet.

White elephant gift exchanges are great.  I rock at those.  I’ve given away 2,000 pennies (stolen immediately), toilet paper (seriously, aside from people who wipe with their own hand in some third world country, everyone uses this stuff), and an Obama Chia Pet (this one goes out to all you Republicans).  Practical gifts with real world applications are the secret to winning these exchanges.

Don’t get creative and think that someone really wants a never been used Dada themed appetizer tray you found on page fourteen of Craigslist.  That thing is getting tossed out the car window as soon as the husband clears Grandma’s driveway on the way home.  If you spend more than two minutes trying to think of a “great” gift idea, you overthought it and your gift will be as appreciated as a virgin Manhattan.  If you must give a gift, stick to the basics of alcohol, cash, or toiletries.

“It is the thought that counts.”  These are the six dumbest words ever strung together.  If the thought really counted, no one would give physical gifts, everyone would just telepathically send you positive, up-lifting messages.  Your head would echo with Tony Robbins on repeat until you gave yourself a lobotomy to stop the voices.

Christmas is an obligatory time of seeing relatives you only see on December 25.  Keep Christmas simple:  Don’t gift.

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Trials and Tribulations of the All-Inclusive

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You finally got away from your 9-5 job.  The warm ocean breeze brushes against your face as you saunter up to a grass hut bar, where a Tom Cruise (go to 3:00) looking bartender awaits your arrival.   You exchange non-committal, witty banter laden with major sexual undertones.  He slips you his number.  You rendezvous with him later.  Life is just grand.

Sorry, this isn’t Cocktail; this is a cattle call for US vacationers.  Instead of Tom Cruise, whose career peaked in that classic 80’s movie, you get a guy who makes IBM’s Watson computer seem slow compared to this little drink dispenser.  There is a line of people twenty-five deep and the poor bastard, Jorge, needs to serve all of them before his boss comes back from break and fires him for incompetence.

We will forget Jorge has ten times the productivity of his counterpart in a first-world country.  Since Mrs. McGriddle, who only eats at buffets even back in the States, was served a Rum Runner instead the Strawberry Daiquiri she ordered, the manager sends Jorge back to the village.  Keep eating McGriddle.

After pounding watered-down, bottom-shelf island drinks there is a greater likelihood of a major sugar crash than a room-spinning headache, but now you are ready to get your blood pumping.  You head to the activity shack and hit up some Spanish lessons.  The locals laugh at you behind your back as you butcher words like “cerveza”, “el queso está viejo y pútrido,” and “ponche burro”.  Now that you’ve successfully embarrassed yourself in front of all of Mexico, you’re ready to challenge your mind playing bingo with old ladies wearing one piece bathing suits complete with those frilly dresses that attempt to conceal their FUPA’s.  B-27 sucka.

Unproven fact:  More people develop Type 2 Diabetes after a weeklong all-inclusive trip than years of drinking pop.

The all-inclusive vacation is really a summer camp for adults.  “Hi, I’m Chuck from NY, this is my wife Cindy; Chuck and Cindy or ‘CC’.  Get it, carbon copy?”  Spending a weekend catching falling knives is more fun than fifteen minutes with this power couple.

Try to avoid the stalker couple that clings to you the entire trip.  You can’t shake them.  They pop up all the time, like that butler in the Adam Sandler classic Mr. Deeds.  Just when you think, you’re going to sit down and start that over-due library book, there is the poor man’s ‘Brangelina’ sitting at the edge of your Chaise lounge asking if you want to play Ping-Pong or one of those ridiculously oversized chess games.  I don’t know about you, but I always use a wheelbarrow to move my knight up two and over one.

Everyone at these resorts should be required to take a vow of silence.  It is cruel and misleading to associate with people who you are never going to see again.  After your college years, you don’t make new friends; you have ‘couple’ friends and acquaintances.  Sure, some of people will stick with you until the day you die, but you will not be able to laugh about the time you chased Roger Staninson all over the playground when he confirmed all speculation that he was into Zoophila because he named his cat ‘Squeeze Box’.  Do the overly tanned guy from Hoboken a favor and shoot him down with a stern look of superiority and solitude before he considers naming you the godfather of the kid him and his wife conceived yesterday in cabana that you are currently sitting in.

All-inclusives are great, but so are Thursday nights at TGIF’s sucking down Double Berry Mojito Shakers while gorging yourself on the Endless Appetizer Special.

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Letters to Corporate: Anheuser Busch

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Coming at your senses sideways.
Coming at your senses sideways.

I have been a legal, and ethical, user of your products for almost fifteen years.  Despite the recent surge of new craft beers in the marketplace, I have remained loyal to your products for their mass produced, consistent, and predictable flavor.

Normally, when I enter the liquor aisle of the grocery store, I quickly grab your flagship product and head to the check out.  Over the past weekend, I noticed a case of “New; Bud Light Lime Straw-ber-Rita; Margarita with a Twist.”  Could it be possible that my favorite, formerly US owned, alcohol manufacture had somehow bottled the classic island drink most appreciated while sitting at a swim-up bar in an all-inclusive resort?  Without hesitation, I tossed the case of Straw-ber-Rita in my cart and headed to the register.

For legal reasons, I had to wait until I was home before tearing into the case of Straw-ber-Rita.  On the drive home, I prepared myself for the mental escape to a place where buffets and palm trees dominate the landscape.  I cracked open the top of the small eight ounce container and tasted the beverage.  My throat convulsed due to the carbonation level of the beverage.  Out of respect for your company, I won a battle against my gag reflex triggered by the horrid drink I had just consumed.  Would Adolphus Busch and Eberhard Anheuser have approved of this vile concoction?

Upon regaining my composure, I reexamined the can and box of the Straw-ber-Rita for any indications of the high carbonation level contained in this product.  I wanted to blame myself for my lapse in preparation for this cocktail, but I could not find any signs that the company that brought tasty products such as Bud Light, Bud Ice, and Bud Light Platinum to market had mutilated the staple vacation drink.  My mind raced with options:  Do I force myself to consume the rest of the case out of deference to your company or throw the rest of the case out with Monday’s trash?

This letter is not written to antagonize your company.  It is written so that Anheuser-Busch is aware that you have an unsatisfied consumer.  I will continue to enjoy your flagship product, but I will be leery of trying new products from your company with sales dependent on allusions spawned from brilliant marketing.

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