jeudi, août 21, 2008


Axioms vary from culture to culture, from era to era. Self evident in their prime, wise old sayings like a penny saved is a penny earned were once indisputable in America. While it behooves us to observe that every old adage in this country was either coined or catalogued by Benjamin Franklin, thereby reinforcing his case for the title of Greatest American Ever, it has to be obvious to any observer that such rustic wisdom no longer applies. This is a country where a penny saved is a penny you could have flushed down the toilet of credit card debt buying crap you can't afford.

So let us begin the process of cataloging our new axioms, wise new sayings by which future generations can understand who we are. Self evident truths like:

"A stitch in time can extend your career several years."
But more than one will make you look like a freak, on a sliding scale somewhere between Joan Rivers and Michael Jackson.

"Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, but still somehow sucked into the national caffeine addiction."

"The News Media and the American people are like mongrel dogs meeting in the street and smelling each other's butts."
Each can only offer the lowest common denominator, because each is only offered the lowest common denominator.

"Make the world a better place: punch Bill Maher repeatedly in the face."
Ok, this one is something you DO more than say. But it feels good just thinking about it, doesn't it? To be fair, I was totally in love with the book he wrote just after 9/11. But that was yesterday. Seriously: I want to fight Bill Maher. I'm putting it out there now. Because having a discussion with him is like wrestling with a pig, you both get dirty and only Bill likes it. I know, I know, violence just plays into his hands, because smarmy condescension is his tool to get your brain to go angry and shut off so he doesn't have to worry about you exposing his weak, wannabe hipster bombast. I don't even care if I get paid. And it doesn't have to be in the squared circle. A back alley will do just fine. The need for this has to go all the way back to elementary school. He has literally been begging for it his whole life, and the only reason he has gotten this bad is because the poor fellow has been coddled when he should have been beaten. So let me be the one. [Editor's Note: Given S.K.Namanny's well documented abhorrence of violence, and his total inability to stomach fighting of any kind, it is unlikely that he would be able to follow through on the above-mentioned threats. He is, after all, a vegetarian. It is hoped therefore that the mere image of Mr. Maher's bleeding nose and/or blackened eye will suffice to please the reader.]

"You made your bed--now have loads and loads of sex with multiple partners in it."
If you don't, they'll never put you (or any fictional character resembling you) on television.

"Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em."
I don't know exactly how or where it applies, but please, just for me, will everyone please please start saying this as often as possible? For instance, the next time you get pulled over for a traffic violation. The cop says the requisite "Do you know why I pulled you over?" And you respond with "I don't quite know officer, but as the old saying goes, Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em!" It works on so many levels.

It's no Poor Richard's Almanac, but it's a start.

mardi, août 19, 2008

News From the TMI Dept. (or, the road to nirvana is paved with toilet paper)

Years ago, I read something above a urinal that troubled me.

No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always falls in your pants

With the wherewithal I then possessed, I had only one course of action, to prove the statement wrong. I developed an elaborate ritual of shaking and dancing. Eventually I became convinced. The last drop was not in my pants. It was elsewhere. It had to be. No bodily fluid could withstand such dedicated efforts. Years passed. I was able to move on.

Enter Doctor Long, professor of philosophy at my Alma Mater. When he started the first day with a seemingly non sequiturial story about taking his dog out to the forest to put it out of its misery, I knew I was in the right place. Here was a professor who aggravated--nay, infuriated the general ed. minimalists who wanted to get a C, fulfill a requirement, and get back to beer and mindless sexual conquest.

One day he arrived purposefully late. There were already grumblers, using the occasion of his tardiness to complain about how our instructor seemed to bring up annoyingly useless information on a regular basis--that they didn't have any idea why they were even in this class. I was debating the merits of wasting breath explaining to the bimbo contingent how badly they were missing the point(s) when the inscrutable philosopher walked in. In place of an apology, he simply surveyed the class and made the following announcement: "I wear shorts. I prefer shorts. But how can I stop the urine from splashing on my knees when I urinate? It's inevitable, and a little disgusting. I guess people who wear pants don't have to worry about it. Anyway . . . "
Ingeniously, he had confirmed the complaints that were circulating before his entrance. He didn't discuss the matter further. Because to explain literally means to flatten out. And because obvium est means there is something in the way.

But something was in the way. I knew what he was doing. And as I examined the useless minutia of life, and let myself wonder if they do indeed constitute its truest meaning, an errant thought, a dangerous thought, entered my mind: What if the last drop is still falling in my pants? What if, for all my ceremonial shaking, the act of evacuation is what it is? Can life be clean and still be called life? Was that bit of potty humor written by a prophet? How can I go on living if I can't stop the last drop of urine from dropping in my pants? Am I not a man? Can I not pee standing up and return unencumbered and unhindered to my manly pursuits? It haunted me. For a time. But the purpose of it all had to be acceptance. So I accepted. I agreed to disagree with Life.

Until one day, when, peeing in the privacy of my own home, the toilet paper called to me, saying: Discard your gender bias, your learned self deception. I've been here all along. Follow the path. Enlightenment awaits. You will see. You will see. My brain went to a place of utter focus, stillness even. Upon completion of the drip drop dance, I exited my body and saw my hand reach out for a few squares of toilet paper. I saw that same paper used to daub, or dab, and witnessed the drop of urine that no dance could shake free, a drop that would have ended up in my pants. I didn't even stop to fret about all those drops that had obviously been there despite my efforts. This was a new dawn. Toilet paper had set me free.

The only problem then was that I was left to mourn for all those who didn't know. Who couldn't answer the call of the toilet paper. Who unhygienically allow that last drop to fall where it may. It didn't seem a subject that could be broached. Maybe people must discover Nirvana on their own. Maybe they can't face the truth. Maybe we just don't talk about what happens in the bathroom for a reason.

Then, as I sat eating a wonderful lunch, the woman who had thrice tried to kill/maim me offered the following question, which, if she is the first to ask it, makes her a philosopher in her own right: "I've always wondered, do men wipe after they pee?" The initial answer in this unenlightened world is, "wipe what?" followed by, "we don't have to, we're men." She could not have known how destiny had prepared me for this question. I proudly stood and proclaimed: "Alas, by and large, we do not. But those who have attained wisdom know what to do!" I felt liberated, and, as is the case with all true liberation, called to a higher purpose.

Hence, after all these years, I can at last pass it along. Use this information as you will. Even to make fun of me. I don't care. You all go ahead and shake and dance. The last drop doesn't fall in these pants.

lundi, août 11, 2008

The Onion

We would be amiss if we failed to pause and raise our voices in collective praise to brilliance where and when we find it.

If you already visit on a regular basis, then this will be nothing but another chance to agree with Girl Pants. If you already read the onion in print, but have yet to visit their website, this post will not necessarily change your life, but it remains a revelation of sorts. If you have never heard of "The Nation's Finest News Source," then I'm about to make your day, and at least one day a week for the rest of your life.

Please to be visiting immediately. Absorb their completely revolutionary and consistently hilarious take on local, national, and global events. Watch all their videos. All of them. There are hundreds in their archive, but there isn't one that will disappoint you. Order their books, (starting with Our Dumb Century). Don't read it in the bathroom, because you'll spend hours in there, laughing out loud. People will get the wrong idea.

Before there was the daily show, there was The Onion (many of their writers now write for the Daily). Considering their amazing, juggernautesque track record, I don't think it hyperbole to state that The Onion is, quite simply, the greatest, most inspiringly funny presence on the internet. [And one could write an entirely separate post paying tribute to their A.V. Club, which consistently offers the most insightful commentary on the entertainment industry (movies in especial) available on-line.]

They certainly don't need my advocacy, or your patronage. But do yourself a favor. Log on to The Onion at least once a week.