This Thing Called a “Selfie Stick”

When people get old, you sometimes hear them say how they can’t keep up with the latest trends.  Well, I recently experienced an incident in which I was not only late to party of the trend, but it had actually already gone out of style by the time I arrived.

You see, some things become a thing and remain a thing until we hate the thing.  That’s a confusing sentence, so let’s try it this way:  some things become a thing and remain remain a thing until we hate the thing.

Note:  There are rare occasions where a thing becomes a thing only to technically lose its thing status but still remain somewhat thing-esque, so perhaps we could refer to it as a “thing.”  For instance, Saturday Night Live spent nearly four hours on Sunday reminding us how it was once a thing, and despite no longer being in the golden years, it could probably, at least, still be considered a “thing.”

All of this somehow leads us to selfie sticks.  Extenders, tri-pods, sticks, fishing poles, whatever-you-want-to-compare-them-to that you attach to a camera in order to get a better angle on your selfie pictures.  Honestly, I didn’t even know that these things existed until we, as a society, decided to hate them.  And even after extensive research, I can safely say that I have no idea what the big deal is.  There have been articles, exposés, and I’m sure dissertations are on the horizon. People have started petitions to ban these harmless props from not only restaurants and museums, but entire countries.  Think about the kinds of literally-death-inducing items you can carry around with you anywhere, but we’re more concerned about a group of tourists trying to take a goofy picture in front of the Statue of Liberty?

Are we really so offended that a person would want to take their own picture from about three feet away?  No really, that’s a legitimate question.  I need to know this stuff so I can be one of the cool kids again.  Maybe there’s an app that can keep me up-to-date on the latest things.

P.S.  I sincerely apologize to all my former English teachers who told me to never use the word “thing.”  I look forward to your comments.

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The Dire Consequences of an iPhone Alarm

The past few weekday mornings I’ve been cuddling with my phone.  Not because I feel any special affection for my phone (although, I must admit, it’s quite an amazing piece of technology), but more so because I’ve been riddled with guilt.

You see, as us kids do these days, I use my iPhone as an alarm clock.  Well, a couple weeks ago I hear a knock on my apartment door.  I answer and there’s someone who I’ve never seen before, but turns out he’s my next door neighbor (another “city life” anecdote — not knowing who’s been living next door to you for the past four years. ).  After some brief chit-chat, he asks me if I was hitting snooze on my alarm — and by “hitting snooze,” he meant repeatedly hitting snooze over the course of an hour or so — because he could hear it and it was waking him up.

Perhaps it was just me catching the new year’s resolution bug, or just your average attempt to get more out of the waking hours, but I’ve been trying to rise out of bed earlier and earlier.  Well, the first day I gave this a shot, it was nothing short of an abject failure.

But I couldn’t admit defeat that easily.  So when my neighbor asked me about it, I lied!  I straight up said it wasn’t me — or if it was me, I must’ve been doing it in my sleep and had no recollection of it whatsoever.  He knew I was lying, I knew he knew I was lying, and yet I still lied.  The truth is I snoozed the ever-loving hell out of that alarm.  I hit snooze so many times that even Siri was like “God damn it, dude!  I can’t do this any longer!” I mumbled out a few b.s. scenarios of what it could’ve been,  apologized “if it was me,” and told him I would do my best to make sure I’m not the cause of any wake up calls for the foreseeable future.

So now, in my perpetual pursuit to have my unproductive cake and eat it too, when my alarm goes off the first time, I grab it, hit snooze, and muffle the alarms that follow nine minutes later with my pillow.  I get to snooze my way through another wasted morning and my neighbor can continue to catch his z’s.  A win-win for everyone.

Now that I’ve solved that problem, maybe I should actually just try getting out of bed.

Police Lights, Big City

This is not the kind of reaction you would have in a situation like this in your hometown.  But here you are…

Okay, enough of the homage.  You’re I’m not going to write this in 2nd person.

On my way home from dinner the other night, I turned onto my street and immediately noticed that at least twelve police vehicles were lined up outside an apartment building just a few down from mine. One of the cruisers was parked just a little too far away from the curb, which made driving between it and the car on the opposite side of the street a tight squeeze.  I managed to wiggle my way through unscratched and pulled into my driveway, all with a single thought running through my head:  “Man, these cops really need to learn how to park.”

So to clarify:  In relative extreme proximity to my home was an incident that required at least a dozen squad cars.  Assuming (for dramatic purposes) that each car housed two cops, then there were approximately twenty-four police officers.  Just a few houses over.  At night.  Clearly, something big was going down.  Was it a huge drug bust? Domestic violence involving a gun?  It doesn’t even matter, because all I could think about was how terrible of a job they did parking.

I believe this is somewhat unique to living in a city, because when a major incident likes this occurs, you don’t think of what the hell could be happening — you only think of how it’s going to inconvenience you.  See, if I was back in Oklahoma, and two cop cars showed up in front of someone’s house in a town that was fifteen minutes away, then boy oh boy.  You’d best believe that we’d be gathering up some canned food, grabbing a battery-powered radio, and beelining it to the safe room.  Lock the door and get cozy, y’all — we’re riding out the apocalypse.

But now, ehh whatever.  Just don’t let your armed robbery interfere with me getting my Starbucks in the morning.

 

John Kerry (Apparently) Hates France

I woke up this morning and saw that “James Taylor” was trending on Twitter.  Of course, I immediately think, “Oh, I guess James Taylor died,” because, you know, that’s how we’re conditioned to react when we see an older celebrity’s name trending on Twitter.

But after a little bit of digging (okay, just after clicking on the trending name — it’s not that much work), I see that what really happened is James Taylor joined John Kerry on a trip to Paris as a token of condolences for the Charlie Hebdo attacks.  Mr. Taylor played his hit “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and Kerry delivered a speech.

However, judging by the reaction of those in the Twitterverse, this is how you would’ve expected the press release to read:

Secretary of State John Kerry visited France today.  He whipped out his penis and proceeded to urinate directly onto the Arc de Triomphe.  Upon completion, he let out a monstrous fart and said “Keep the change, Frenchies.”

Look, you have the right to be upset with how the United States failed to appear at the unity rally this past Sunday.  But let’s not overreact and pretend that this is the most egregious foreign-relations act the U.S. has ever made.  And come on, at least we didn’t send Pitbull or Right Said Fred, ya know?

Spiritual Experiences at Starbucks

The other day I was sitting at Starbucks, enjoying a nice cup of coffee, when all of a sudden this young kid–couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old–came and sat directly across from me. He stared deeply into my eyes, as if trying to take a peak at my soul. I sat in silence, looking directly back at him. I felt the urge to ask him a question, but I wasn’t sure what that question was. Finally, he took a sip of his coffee, and began to speak:

“This is not a physical universe,” the fifteen year old said. “There are no solids, no liquids, no gases. Only energy. Our interactions with those around us are nothing more than molecules bouncing around without order. But that’s not to say there can’t be order. With just a little bit of work, you can control these molecules, and harness that energy to build your life however you see fit.”

This fifteen-year-old kid took another sip of his coffee and continued. “Align your thoughts with what you desire, and watch as this realm begins to shift in your favor.” And with that, this fifteen-year-old kid calmly stood up, grabbed his coffee, and headed for the door.

It took me a second to regain my composure, for what I had just witnessed was other-worldly. I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and finally realized the question that had been bugging me from the moment he sat down. And such a great, powerful question it was. I had to know the answer, or else how could I continue my life’s journey?

I looked. He was mere inches from the exit. Time was running out. I quickly jumped to my feet and shouted at him, “Who the hell drinks coffee when they’re fifteen?!” That kid’s an idiot.

Damn the Definition to Hell!

George Carlin is the 3rd greatest comedian of all time, right behind Dave Chappelle and Richard Pryor. His early years gave us some of the funniest jokes and observations about our society, including the famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.” As he got older, he turned into quite the curmudgeon and his acts mainly consisted of him complaining about how awful everything was. Of course, the audience would laugh and critics would praise, because once you receive the genius tag, it takes a lot to have it revoked.

But in his mindless ranting towards the end of his life, Carlin did have one line that is truer than any before. A line so profound that Aristotle, John Locke, and Confucius would weep in joyous revelation if they were to hear it. That line, of course, was:

People are f@!#ing dumb.

George shared this wisdom with us in 2005, but it was more of a prophecy than observation. Because I can comfortably say that now, in 2013, we have achieved a level of stupidity that was previously unimaginable.

By chance, have you happened to look up the definition of the word “literally” lately? You haven’t? Well then, let me educate you:

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 9.10.42 PM

Look at the second definition listed.  It literally says that “literally” means “not literally.”  I feel as though this bears repeating:  in today’s world, the word literally no longer means literally.  Now, I’ve never tripped balls on mushrooms before, but I’m beginning to wonder what kind of weird, through-the-looking-glass realm am I living in.  We, as a society, used and abused this poor word in the wrong context until we literally changed its meaning. We Ludovico’d it until it could no longer stand on its own. It gave up, and submitted to our demands.

But where does this madness end?  If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with this:  up is down, left is right, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

Now, wait a second.  Let’s think about what’s really happening here:  We, as a society, have changed the definition of a word.  Not only that, we changed it to literally mean the opposite of what it’s supposed to mean.  That’s incredible!  I’m so proud to have been a resident of this fantastic planet during a time of such powerful change.  Sorry, George, we aren’t f@!#ing dumb; we’re f@!#ing brilliant! Can you imagine what we could accomplish if we all put our minds together in similar fashion on other issues?  I bet we could send someone to the moon!  And if we could, I would volunteer Chris Traeger, who has literally been our “literally leader” since the beginning.  Literally.