Oh people, when will you realize there’s a quiet controversy polarizing this nation that goes far beyond the white noise surrounding the White House and directly into the hearts, minds and bellies of anyone who has ever had to take a stand to defend a vital personal choice.
Indeed, once one has chosen an option, that’s it–there’s no turning back and that person becomes a stubborn, surly, inflexible advocate, willing to take you to task for even suggesting some sort of equivocation.
Deep in your heart you know of what I speak, because you are quietly simmering the more you think about it as your pour yourself a cool, calming glass of milk, considering the move that will define you among family and friends with the fear your choice will blow previously warm relationships permanently asunder.
I tell you this because a discussion during a recent family meal quickly escalated into harsh words and accusations of questionable loyalty. You see, I innocently remarked I could be perfectly happy eating an oatmeal-raisin cookie. But, aha! My family turned on me with the force of the Pillsbury Doughboy’s belly with the barb, “you say that, but if faced with the choice of an oatmeal-raisin or chocolate chip cookie which one would you choose? Don’t lie! We know no one REALLY prefers oatmeal-raisin. You will guiltily go for the chips!” While not under oath, my personal code did not allow me to fudge my reply as I mumbled, “mmmyeah, like the chocolate chip but ok with oatmeal-raisin….IF NO OTHER CHOICE.”
“What a wimp!,” said a family member. “Your alleged loyalty for oatmeal-raisin is totally conditional on it being the only cookie in the jar. Most sane and honest people would just as soon go cookie-less than descend to the depths of the oatmeal-based outlier.”
Feeling further pressured in this would-be CA…”Cookies Anonymous” meeting I crumbled and admitted to a dalliance with an alluring Snickerdoodle. Was it so bad to stray, just once? But my exposure as someone who cookied-around while trying to pose as an ardent oatmeal-raisin advocate was complete.
I helplessly asked the group, “are you telling me I have to stick with one cookie and make the same choice every single time?”
“Here’s the deal,” the biggest and bulliest family member shot back. “If you’re faced with the choice of chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin, you better pick the oatmeal -raisin. You may be the only one to save it from gathering mold at the bottom of the jar.”
But I suddenly rallied. I noticed something on the face of the family member who first launched the attack, smugly claiming to be a chocolate chip loyalist and fired my coup de grace: “What’s that on your face.??..OREO CRUMBS!” Indeed…there’s no victory for those caught in an argument half-baked.
On this Labor Day during this second year of my sort-of retirement I would like to announce I sometimes like to labor with my hands–making things like Jack Daniels on the rocks or a thick steak on the grill, but sometimes I’m compelled to perform actual handiwork, building something out of wood or something electrical, yardwork and repairs with tools.
There are others like me and many of them join me in the same club–the mailing list for the bestest, most awesome store for guys with guts, too-tight t-shirts, ballcaps and an active email account. Yup it’s the Harbor Freight mailing list. Every single week you receive two, three, four pages of coupons that offer discounts on all sorts of stuff you may never need in your life, but crap, those coupons are like catnip for men like me who just like to buy stuff that either plugs in, spins, cuts, bangs, screws or wipes. At the top of the sheet are generally three coupons offering a free item with any purchase. The free item could be a bag of rags, a little battery-powered worklight, even an electric bug swatter in the shape of a tennis racket! Some are items of no actual redeeming value but you are compelled to buy and item so you can redeem the coupon for the free thing. But here’s the best part, for Labor Day, a one-day coupon offering 25 percent off anything! So off I went with my magic tickets ready to score some great deals.
I needed some cheap gardening gloves, and sure as hell, there was a coupon for $1.99 a pair. Score! My wife requested the free bag of rags. Got ’em, even though I had to fight off two guys with large wrenches in their hands, accompanied, of course, by the appropriate coupons.
Now what would I use that awesome 25 percent coupon to buy? I don’t really need any more power tools, or an ax or even an extension ladder, lathe, plastic tie-downs, tarps, welding torch or drill bits. Ah! I just bought a new bike and there waiting for me was an industrial-strength cable and lock to secure that shiny new two-wheeler. Yes! What’s 25 percent of $10.99? Doesn’t matter. 25 percent is less than 100 percent! I also ended up buying some attachments for my rotary tool, but there was no coupon for that. Sad face.
Bottom line? The $1.99 gloves and free bag ‘o rags I came for ended up costing me a little over 18 bucks. Bet you can guess who the real tool in the store was. But Harbor Freight, I love ya. Can’t wait for next week’s coupons. I think I really need that bug-killing tennis racket.
With just six weeks left in the regular Major League Baseball season I’m surrendering–surrendering to the endless babble of numbers, acronyms and abbreviations known as Sabremetrics…or as I call them….”WTFetrics”
As a lifelong fan of the national pastime I was content with knowing a batter’s average, a pitchers earned run average and other stats like how many homers a guy hit, bases he stole and runs he batted in.
I get that things have moved along and we now know esoterica that help managers, owners and players supposedly make better decisions on the field and off. Therefore, I’ve decided to go with the flow and adapt this development to my own life.
I started today at noon with my midday repast. As I lifted my ham sandwich to my piehole I asked my meal mate to take some video on their phones that I could later examine to better understand what I have designated my “Lunch angle.” Could I more effortlessly ingest my ham on rye by reducing the angle at which it enters my mouth? By adjusting my lunch angle, I might be able to keep my mouth shut longer, thereby allowing me to listen to the gossip being offered before taking another sloppy, noisy bite. I love anything that improves cognition.
Another stat I find useful is how I measure and regulate complaining. I’ve set a hard and fast limit by establishing a firm Bitch Count. When I find myself getting too whiny, I cut myself off after four complaints within an 8-hour period. Then I engage in a self-enforced cool-down cycle by swilling two fingers of Jack Daniels on the rocks. The same goes for anyone I happen to be with. Hit the Bitch Count and you’re cut off–forced to join me for happy hour until you calm down. Could take several rounds.
The one baseball stat I find mind-numbing is OBP, or on-base percentage. Here’s now the pros figure it: On Base Percentage (aka OBP, On Base Average, OBA) is a measure of how often a batter reaches base. It is approximately equal to Times on Base/Plate appearances. The full formula is OBP = (Hits + Walks + Hit by Pitch) / (At Bats + Walks + Hit by Pitch + Sacrifice Flies)
In real life one can use a similar formula to measure a person’s inability to use tact or diplomacy or Obtuse Bile Percentage. The formula would be expressed thusly as: OBP= Swear words + Corporate slang + Inappropriate hand gestures / Text messages with angry emojis + Selfish demands + Supportive References to Sean Hannity. A perfect score of 1.000 wins the designation as PTB or Perfect Trump Boor.
My final example is the fascinating, yet polarizing stat known as the WHIF…or Wife plus Husband per Issues Fought. It’s fairly self-explanatory and is considered an important predictor of future evenings bereft of connubial connection.
That’s just a start but I’m sure by the end of the season I will have established a new benchmark for UNR or Useless Numbers Referenced. Play ball!
phone’s been driving me crazy all weekend. Every few minutes the damn thing’s been binging with updates from the NFL draft. They scream stuff like, “Detroit picks Louie Schmeckingford of Dreck Tech as Left Nipple!” I’m happy for Mr. Schmeckingford for landing a job but truly, I don’t care. Then…bing, bing bing, bing! “The 49ers choose Dick Wad in the fourth round as backup waterboy!” Swell. I open the story to learn that Sir Wad distinguished himself in the Big Billion Conference by breaking all sorts of speed records for water procurement for sweaty slabs of two-legged beef.
I get it. Among fans and Fantasy Football geeks, the draft is almost as important as the the day they had their overbite corrected.
Then I got to thinking that maybe I’m the one who has it all wrong. What’s the draft anyway, but companies flush with money, choosing young people to join their ranks in hopes of furthering their success.
How ingenious! Why is this process limited to sports teams? It seems like a draft is a perfect way to bolster any team.
I see it now. CNBC pre-empts regular programming for the First Corporate Talent Pool Draft.
“Hi, this is Joe Kernan with Becky Quick. Business services firm KPMG has the first pick, earned via a trade with Pricewatershouse Cooper for two insider trading secrets.”
“Joe, KPMG has their eye on Barlow Biteme, who graduated first in his accounting class and won acclaim for his thesis, “Don’t Jump Off the Ledger.”
“Right Becky. But to land him, they’ll have to cough up a huge signing bonus, a corner office and free tanning sessions just ahead of the ‘season’ in the Hamptons.”
“Who wouldn’t pay that, Joe, for a guy who not only crunches numbers, but absolutely chews them up and spits them out just the way the CEO imagined them.”
“So true, Becky! One story going around has Biteme cooking the books so well at his college fraternity, his brothers nicknamed him ‘The Chef!’ No doubt, KPMG can’t wait to serve the SEC what Biteme whips up.”
“Right, Joe! Let’s move on to the second pick. That’s comes from Deloitte.Touche.”
“Well, Becky, those pencil pushers are counting on landing Flo Nase from Wharton.”
“For sure, Joe. She’s was known there as “The Eraser.” In fact, Nase is so adept at making poor performance metrics go away, her Theory of Imaginary Computation won the top prize at this year’s Conference of Complicits.”
“Ha! That’s amazing Becky! One source tells me one of Nase’s favorite funnies is the way she plays dumb when someone challenges one of her audits by exclaiming, ‘audit? Oh..dat!”
“No wonder she’s a top pick, Joe!”
“Indeed, Becky! Don’t you just love this? Folks, we’ll be back with second round picks in a moment, after this word from upstart Wall Street brokers Questionable Quotes.”
As the Winter Olympics come to a close I ask you this question..do you speak Olympian?It’s more than Greek to me–it’s like a cross between Mesopotamian and Klingon. When I hear the announcers describe what’s going on I wanna call 911 because I think they’re having apoplexies. What do I mean? ok…you flip on the snowboard half-pipe event. the announcer starts getting cranked up, just ready to scream out things that make no sense at all.. ok..here we go, there goes schleppy callaghan, whoa! just did a quadruple grab his ass backwards opposite front reverse rolling in the shit switch fake back side flip us off 1080 canadian bacon mindy method mulekick! That was awesome but the judges may take some points off for the shaky roast beef rusty trombone. Right. I can’t tell the method from the madness but i can pretty easily figure out some insane person that’s only 4 feet tall wearing baggy clothes just shot themselves into the air then did a bunch of contortions that made it look like the poor kid just got tased. Then, if they’re lucky, they land on their feet and shoot up the other side of the half-pipe and do something even more crazy that will once again set off the announcer who cries…..ohmygod! that’s the first anyone’s done a quintuple kiss your ass goodbye stiffy stuffy pickpocket …while eating a breakfast sandwich! Uh..yeah..whatever. None of the announcer’s gibberish helps me understand what just happened aside from watching a young person do things that, for most people, would prevent them from becoming an old person. With no hope of emulating what I’ve just seen, I attempt a soft sofa dismount, but lose 3 points for a two-footed landing..and spilling beer and chips on the carpet. I settle for a bronze..just beating an in-law who fell on a Frito.
Then there’s figure skating. I’ve been watching it for decades and to this day, I don’t know the difference between a flip, loop, lutz, salchow or axle. It’s all just skinny people lofting themselves above the ice, twirling, smiling, crying, falling in different ways. When I heard Tara and Johnny kvell that some skater landed a triple lutz, all I could think of was what my father would often ask when someone went crazy about something that didn’t impress him. he’d say, “yeah…but is it good or bad for the jews?” Lutz sounds German, so it probably isn’t. In fact, it’s named after Austrian skater Alois Lutz, but Austria’s just next door to Germany so I’m not budging. i suppose in this age of double, triple, quadruple screen viewing I could have webpages open that define all these terms but if my eyes are averted for even a second when i hear the announcer scream, “holy crap..they just landed a 1600pennsylvaniaavenuetrumpiancombover….and i miss it…well that would pretty much send me into a 1280snuffmytorch.