Friday, September 19, 2014

Advice to Fidgety Children Who Ate Their Dinner Quickly And Now Have Been Told to Just Sit There Quietly Even Though it is SO Boooooring

Little kids, let me give you some advice: When you're at dinner and you wolf your food in 2 minutes and want to leave the table and go back to fun, important things like tree-climbing and LEGO and worm inspection, and your parents won't let you and tell you to be polite and wait for everyone else to finish: DO NOT LISTEN. 

On days when I have one meeting up against a conference call overlapping another meeting at the same time as another meeting, the ability I developed in childhood to open my mouth, insert half a pound of salad and swallow it in a giant lump like an anaconda, is all that keeps me from wasting away into a floppy pile of dial-in codes, shifting organizational paradigms, and pasty, cubicle-wan skin. 

Your parents don't want that! They love you. They don't want you to starve. So if they ever tell you not to wolf your food, it's probably because ... and I know this will be hard to hear ... they're not really your parents. They are replicants who have stolen your real parents and have them tied up somewhere dark, where your mother is weeping quietly and whispering, "God, I just hope he eats quickly and runs out to play, before they take advantage of his lack of fidgeting to drain him of his organs and fluids!" And your Dad will feel the same way, but he won't say it, because they will have already drained him. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Word the Internet Needs

It has come to my attention that many of us who are active on the Internet sometimes need a quick, one-word response to express the idea, "I see your point, and you are correct on some level, but you have expressed this in such a condescending/ smarmy/ mean way that, while I may accept your point once my shame response has faded, right now all I can do is marvel at what a creep you're being." *

The old saw "If you can't find anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" has morphed into "If you can't find anything nice to say, comment online." And it seems to be getting worse. Almost daily, I see situations where a person smugly/aggressively corrects someone's spelling or grammar just to show off; uses a condescending phrase like, "You're too smart to believe THAT" in an online argument; or otherwise throws knowledge around in such a way that the end result is not clarity/compassion/deeper understanding on the part of the person they're lecturing, but shame and resentment. It would be nice to see less of it, and so I think we should use this word to identify it. Perhaps the bullies can gradually be shamed into extinction? (Yeah, probably not).

It is possible this word will have extra-web uses as well, but given that the Internet often seems to turn even nice people into boorish, aggressive yellers, I think its primary use will be online. If you find yourself needing it often IRL, get some new friends to hang out with and stop letting your Grandma treat you that way. 

The word is "Douché." Yes, smartypantses, it is a portmanteau. Please only deploy it on the truly deserving.  (You may have to use it on me when appropriate. I fear I am not immune from The New Cruelty.)

* Note: This word is not for cases where someone uses a stupid, racist, sexist, illogical, non-factual argument. It should be used solely to respond to someone who is largely or at least partly correct, but is being a real snakewad about it. (No offense to snakes, or wads.)

Here are some usage examples.

Betty: [posts a picture of dinner she cooked] Look what I made! It's my first attempt at stroganoff. 
Rachel: It looks like a pile of dog vomit with mushrooms.
Betty: Oh ... Well ... Douché. 

Reporter: [posts story she had a 2-hour turnaround time on, already unhappy that it's not her best work]: Here is my story about kittens.
Reporter: Douché. 

Steve: John, our friendship just means so much to me. I really think your a great person.
John: You mean "you're." 
Steve: Douché.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wheel, Fire

One dark night back in the Stone Age, two Stone Age bros were slowly rolling the big stone wheel they'd made and they saw a woman walking alone, and they hooted salaciously at her to indicate they had invented this wheel and she should have sex with them. She thought their stone wheel was kinda cool and also there were lots of creepy animal screamy sounds out in the dark, so she went back to their cave and had sex with them because it was better than being eaten by tigers. Thousands of years later, the story survives, and stupid dudes are still cruising around in the dark hooting salaciously at every woman they see, just in case it's a lady who will be really impressed by a wheel. They've even upped the ante -- now they have FOUR wheels, baby, hubba hubba. 

Oddly, very few dudes today remember another piece of history -- the time when a nice German lady, Mrs. Fiedler, who was tired of being hooted at salaciously when she herded the goats home at night, tired of how even an activity as unsexual as tending goats could have an unwanted sexuality pressed upon it by passing yahoos, said to her husband Richard, "May I borrow that flamethrower you invented, dear?" And he said of course. So Mrs. Fiedler strapped on her husband's prototype, and next time she was buzzed by a jeep full of horny beer-hall lederhosers, Mrs. Fiedler lit up their jeep with a rope of fire, and the goats all stood around it watching it glow in the Bavarian darkness, the flames reflecting in their weird goat eyes.

Strange and sad how some pieces of history inform our decisions even today, where other ones get forgotten.