A little lagniappe.

Awake at Sea

As a cynic, I sometimes find I need to refresh my loathing for my fellow man. Every so often, I start to think, “Hey, people aren’t so bad. I should get out more.” There’s an easy cure to this peculiar delusion, and I just completed it: Go on a cruise. Now, I’m not saying there’s no redeeming feature to cruising. In fact, cruising shares a number of common benefits with vacationing in an RV: You only have to pack and unpack once, a bathroom is never far away, you can grab a snack any time you want, and most people who see how you’ve traveled will look upon you with a faint sense of condescension and loathing “” that, or they love cruising/RVing/watching NASCAR and can’t wait until the next time they get to go. Yes, I know, such stereotypes are unfair. But funny how they don’t go away, isn’t …

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Twice-Baked Tweakers

If there’s one thing we Americans can depend on for a giggle, it’s tweakers. Users of methamphetamine routinely deliver in the physical comedy department, whether they want to or not. They are to rural America what crackheads are to the inner city: scrawny screw-ups whose chronic inability to make a good decision leads to all kinds of madcap adventures. Setting themselves on fire is an oldie but a goodie. A story recently came across the Associated Press wire talking about bumpkins armed with bottles using the new “shake and bake” meth-cooking method to fry their nervous systems and their torsos. The new method is great for your average tweaker because it’s fast, it’s portable, and it can be used on a relatively small amount of pseudoephedrine to deliver a modest quantity of methamphetamine at the end of the process. The entire process is carried out in a single plastic bottle …

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I Pity the Fool

Kids engender a lot of pity. I don’t mean the pity you feel when you see a one-legged kid dragging his begging bucket behind him while his homeless owner whips him for being a laggard, although that sight is kind of pitiful. No, instead, I mean the pity I feel for people without kids. And the pity they feel for me. See, both groups become convinced they have it made. Me, I’m immortal, like the vampire Lestat or all those dudes on Mount Rushmore or John Wayne Gacy. But unlike all those other guys, I didn’t have to suck the blood out of any homosexual virgins to achieve my immortality. I just had to watch something really icky happen to my wife’s lady parts “” the kind of thing you simply can’t unsee, sort of like season three of True Blood. As a breeder, I’m confined to daylight. I seldom …

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The Fun Aunt Takes a Turn for the Mom

I’m a Fun Aunt. The job of a Fun Aunt is to take you to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter, let you taste a beer, not make you brush your teeth, take you to a baseball game, and make sure you stay up past your bedtime. I do those things because they make you happy, and because tomorrow, you’re going back to your mom. It doesn’t hurt to skip a shower once in a while, or eat Little Debbie cakes for dinner, or say as many swear words as you can in 15 minutes. These things are harmless because tomorrow, you’ll go back to your regular life, and your mom will make sure you take a shower and brush your teeth, have clean clothes and nutritious food, and wake up in time for school. She will drive your carpool, pick up your prescriptions, and make sure you feed …

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Oh, No! It’s the Gummint!

So, the lightbulb. That thing with the spiral metal base that you struggle to use, if you’re joke-Polish. This humble source of mirth, as well as shining example of a great idea, and/or the fruit of Edison’s dogged efforts, is now a political hot potato of sorts. Which is great, given that a lightbulb is, roughly, the size of a hot potato, and if powered by a glowing, molten tungsten filament, nearly the right temperature, as well. Where we all went wrong was when compact fluorescent lightbulbs raised their dastardly heads into the fray. These bulbs are all wicked, y’see, on account of “¦ uh, they cost more? And they’re not all warm and fuzzy like white-hot tungsten, I guess? And they hate puppies and apple pie and freedom? Or, maybe, it’s just that the government made the mistake of sticking its giant Uncle Sam nose into our lightbulb aisle …

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Writing When You Wanna

So, I’ve started to entertain a possibility: Maybe people with motivational issues shouldn’t try to be novelists. I say this as someone who’d rather be doing something else. Preferably, nothing at all. Thing is, doing nothing doesn’t fill up the page, unless you spill something on it. Now, being slightly neurotic and having a vague, discontenting “itch” to write can ameliorate some of the amotivational symptoms. So can setting ground rules like “No huffing ether all day and watching Naked Lunch until you produce a thousand words.” But rules like that are easily broken. “Brain hurts, can’t write. Ether will fix everything!” is an easy argument to make, after all. Other jobs, however, would seem a more natural fit. Civil servant is a good example “” a gig I once held. My motto then was “We do more by Friday than most people do all morning!” For you youngsters out …

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