On Saturday my wife and I went out for a nice walk around our lovely city. Since it was the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, there were plenty of people dressed up in green clothing, draped in cheap plastic green beads and wearing plastic green hats while they stumbled from bar to bar to pay a $10 cover in the middle of the day as they built up to the inevitable vomiting on the street. And in most of these cases, they clearly don’t LIVE here, they just come into the city from whatever suburban strip mall they hang their hat in on special occasions to act like animals, including throwing their trash on the street, blatantly chugging shots from pints of booze in the open and walking around drunk and shout-talking at each other as they lose all ability to control the volume of their voices. 45-year-old man-babies with bald spots draped in baggy green t-shirts and wearing shoes for skateboarders. 30-something women wearing their 22-year-old body’s party outfit. Middle managers attempting to relive their fraternity glory days, complete with cargo shorts and flip-flops.
Fast-forward to Sunday. My wife and I are looking at our cupboards and seeing that things are a bit sparse, decide it’s time for a grocery run. In some cases we just walk to our urban Target or catch a bus to a nearby Safeway or Trader Joe’s, get about two bags of groceries and carry them home. But we decided it was time to get the car out of the garage where it can sit parked for weeks untouched and make a trip out to the ‘burbs. We’ll hit up a mall and my wife can stop by a few of her favorite shops, then we’ll go to the store attached to the mall and load up on all the items we need.
From the second we arrived in suburban airspace, things not only slowed down but got to more of a slow, ambling waddle. Getting into the parking lot alone was a 15-minute ordeal as everybody tried to find their way into spots that were no more than a lazy toss of a Dorito bag away from the entrance. We kept going to the outskirts of the lot, where there were lots of spaces for people willing to burn a little shoe leather. And once inside the mall, I was amazed that these people were so determined not to walk in the parking lot, because they seemed fine mindlessly wandering while inside the mall. Slow, serpentine patterns with families of six or seven giant obese people, most of them playing with some screened device, mouths agape and huffing in air as they slowly just filled space.
We went into one large store that carries a particular kind of shirt I like for pretty cheap prices. We found our way to the Men’s section through endless strollers with toddlers either crying or sucking on some sugary treat as the parent examined some gaudy, logo-emblazoned t-shirt or sweatshirt. Families were shouting to each other from across entire sections. One old man just stood in an aisle, openly picking his nose without a care. Finally, I found the shirts I wanted and took them to a checkout counter. There were three clerks working and all helping customers, with two people in line ahead of me.
I pulled out my phone to check emails/texts as I waited. I was done quickly; it only took a minute or two to get updated on the Sunday goings-on. Still no movement at the registers or the line. So I check Facebook; after a few minutes I look up and still no progress. Then I look at Twitter. After a few more minutes I look up again and still, no progress. At this point I decide to put my phone away and listen to what’s happening. Everybody at the register is arguing about the price of every item they’re buying. The clerks are showing them the price tags and then explaining how tax works and adds to the total. Over and over again. To adults, most of them about twice as old as I am. Finally, one person agrees that the total is correct and pays it with a wad of sweaty singles and fives, collects their items and steps away. The next person in line approaches. Their first item is rung up and the price appears on the LED. “Uhhh, that’s not right,” the man slurps out of his Double-Bacon-Cheesehole.
I turned, found the nearest rack and tossed the shirts onto it. I found my wife and she saw that I didn’t have the items. “Didn’t you buy the shirts?” she asked. “The line didn’t move. I decided I wanted to be out of that line a lot more than I wanted those shirts.” My wife laughed and we returned back into the mall. Next up was a stop at Old Navy, because it has been warm and I discovered that I don’t own any shorts that I would consider wearing in public. Luckily the shorts were placed up front for easy access. Unluckily, Old Navy was also filled with large families of wandering obese Humpty-Dumpty’s, including a large Mexican family with a mom, four sons and a father. Two of the sons were playing video games as they carelessly bumped into things. The father almost never looked up from his phone as the mother pulled large, roomy t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts from the racks and tried to get the family to participate in the act of clothing themselves. They couldn’t have cared less. And of course, they managed to get in line ahead of us at the checkout. Three clerks working, and once again everybody was arguing about the price and forcing the young 20-ish clerks to go over each item, show them the price tag and explain how tax works. When we finally got to a register, the clerk began ringing us up when a young black guy walked up and decided it was time to ask some questions.
“How you try stuff on?!” he shouted at the clerk. Apparently he had just landed from another planet and is unfamiliar with shopping in general.
“Just take the clothes you want back to the changing room, right over there,” she responded, trying to be polite and earn her minimum wage.
“Awww, okay. I ain’t gotta try this one,” the guy says holding out a large white t-shirt. “Will you’s watch it for me?”
“You want me to hold onto it for you while you try stuff on?” she asked, somewhat perplexed. “You can just keep it with you while you try other things on.”
“Awww, damn, you mean I gotta carry all this shit?” the guy responded, then walked away upset, mumbling about how “errbody be hatin’.”
Since the clerk was answering those questions while also ringing us up, our total was wrong. The two items we were purchasing had somehow become four items. We pointed out that the total was wrong, and as we were probably the millionth person to suggest that for the day to her, she sighed and looked at the items. Then she realized that, yes, the total was wrong, as we were being asked to pay for four items when there were only two in front of us. She apologized, corrected the total and we paid. As we tried to walk out, the large obese Mexican family was gathered in front of the exit, almost seeming to have made an effort to block the entire entrance with their mass and then looking shocked when we said “excuse us” and forced them to part and let us out.
Our next stop was the book store, because we enjoy visiting them while they still exist. My wife wanted some financial magazines and I always enjoy perusing books even though I have a stack of unread titles at home waiting for my attention. As we walked in two old ladies on scooters were positioned almost identically to the Mexican family, seemingly attempting to block our entrance. As we browsed the magazines an old obese man, also on a scooter, came into the aisle. He wanted to get to the other end of the aisle where the diet/health magazines were at (I presume because he is big on irony) and even though both my wife and I were quite close to the racks and there was plenty of room for him to get through, he stopped, stared at us and then gurgled, “I gotta git through.”
We walked over to another section and found that apparently people are now picnicking at bookstores. A family had set up shop with a cooler at one of the tables set up for people to sit and examine a book before purchasing. Instead, this table would now be their base of operations for a feast of baloney on white bread and Frito’s. We walked to another section as my wife wanted to look at a certain book, and as we were standing there a pudgy arm suddenly jetted across my person and an old lady grabbed a book in front of me without even a grunt. My wife and I looked at each other and we made a beeline out of the store.
We decided to get it over with and head to the Target to get our groceries. As we made the trip over we encountered the Mexican family yet again, and once more they were slowly ambling without direction. We got around them and then started down the walkway towards Target. About halfway there we found ourselves behind a morbidly obese black woman and her three children. All of them were also slowly walking, seemingly without purpose, and all of them were carrying large pretzels covered in pizza fixins’ and shoveling chunks of the doughy glop into their mouths. One of the kids wasn’t being very careful and a large goop of pizza sauce fell onto her shirt. Her mother noticed the new stain right away.
“If y’all ruin yo good shirt, I ain’t buyin’ you no more a’ those,” she loudly exclaimed.
As we got around them I took a look back. The “good shirt” was a baggy t-shirt that proclaimed in giant lettering, “I Love Haters.”
My wife and I got into the Target, looked around and found ourselves stunned. Everywhere we looked were more of these creatures – giant, obese bags of human excrement, pushing strollers, wearing loose elastic-based clothing, huffing from their mouths and taking up as much space as possible as they slowly shoveled goods into their heaving carts with their sausage hands.
The thought crossed my mind, but my wife beat me to it as she looked at me and said, “I have to get out of here.”
We walked out to our car having only purchased the two items from Old Navy. We got in and my wife said, “let’s go back to the city.” I agreed, and we drove back and went to a small, dirty noodle restaurant that serves some of the best dumplings I’ve ever eaten. Then we went to a grocery store near the Pacific Ocean. We found easy parking at both, and when we pulled up at our building there was a spot open right in front. We parked and carried our groceries in without issue. As if the city was welcoming us back.
I have no idea what’s happening to America or the ‘burbs or to the world in general, but I do know that when some future author writes the inevitable “The Rise and Fall of the American Empire,” elastic waistbands, celebrity magazines, smartphones and pizza-covered pretzels are going to play a really big role.
For every person who does standup, sometime around open mic number three or four, you somehow manage to string a couple of lines together that actually both get laughs. As you head home from that experience, I think everybody starts fantasizing to themselves, “I am amazing. I am going to quit my job and do this full-time, because I am clearly a comedic genius.” Then you remember that money and bills and eating and clothes are all things and think better of it. NOT THIS GUY. And not only did he quit his job, he then records a video of himself declaring his future comedic genius.
And thus was born the “anything you post to YouTube before age 25 must be rewatched by you every year on your Birthday until you die” law.
Throwback Thursday. School picture day - put on your best giant oily glasses, shine up your braces, kinda/sorta pat your hair down and wear your most formal Batman sweater. Oh, the sex you’re gonna have someday.
2013 YEAR END SPECTACULAR AWARDS EXTRAVAGANZA!!!
Time to give out some Barkasties, an award that was just made up while typing this episode description! But enough about that, Jeff and Andrew have a whole year of Bars to reminisce about! They’ll try to remember where they were, come up with names„ and try and piece together the evidence before the SFPD does. Plus clips, tributes, and the Drew Harmon memorial award for best guest!
- Bee Gees - Stayin Alive
- Hot Chip - Flutes
- Tony Orlando and Dawn - Knock Three Times
- Europe - The Final Countdown
- Talking Heads - Found A Job
I’m not totally sure why they named one award the “Drew Harmon Memorial Award,” but if I die this year I presume it will be (a) alcohol related and (b) at either Jeff or Andrew’s hand. But in the meantime - enjoy!
A Very Special Episode of Chucklepedia
Warm up your heart-cockles with this very special eggnog-fueled episode of Chucklepedia. Happy Holidays!
Classic Christmas Stories (updated for modern conservatives)
How the Gay Stole Christmas
Long ago shunned because of his sinful lifestyle, The Gay lives above Jesusville in a cave all alone. One year the Gay decides to wage a war against Christmas, and one night he sneaks into town and tears down all the “Merry Christmas” signs and replaces them with – gasp! – “Happy Holidays” signs. Upon waking up and finding the signs changed, the citizens of Jesusville consider that the true meaning of Christmas isn’t really about signs, but then they decide that, no, this is a huge deal, so they all grab their guns, march up to the Gay’s cave and shoot him dead, recovering their signs and eradicating the world of the terrible Gay. Christmas is saved and everybody gets Xboxes.
A Christmas Carol
Among the richest men in the country, Ebenezer Scrooge is also considered greedy, selfish and generally unpleasant by the people who work for him, do business with him or just encounter him on the street. Then one Christmas Eve, three ghosts visit everybody but Scrooge and show them how his business is actually what makes the country great, and to ask him to share his money would be a form of socialism that would only create moochers who rely on government entitlements. Everybody wakes up on Christmas morning and gathers outside Scrooge’s house, where they all agree that he should get even more tax incentives and more lax regulations on employment laws.
It’s A Wonderful Life
George Bailey, a poor liberal, runs a store where he takes rich people’s tax money and gives it to black people to buy Cadillacs. One day George is on his way to the bank to deposit the latest batch of rich people’s money, but he gets distracted by a dice game and leaves the money sitting on a trash can next to some empty Four Loko cans. Local rich man Mr. Potter finds it and uses the money to throw a big party for his rich friends. Meanwhile, all the poor people get angry at George because they don’t have any money to buy crack or Air Jordans for their babies anymore and they kill George, leaving nobody else to collect rich people’s tax money any longer.
Frosty the 128-ounce Soda
Frosty is a delicious, 128-ounce soda who comes to life when somebody puts a camouflage trucker hat on him. But when he comes to life he finds there’s a group of evil Democratic politicians who want to get rid of people’s freedom to enjoy gigantic jugs of sugary beverages. To save people’s freedoms he gathers a group of kids and they travel to Alaska, where you can drink all the soda you want. At the end Santa shows up and gives all the kids a year supply of insulin and needles.
A Christmas Story
Young Midwestern boy Ralphie wants a gun. He gets two guns. Merry Christmas!
This year my wife and I ordered a tree online. They’ve been terrible at delivering it and it was time to complain. But, y’know, be Christmas-y about it.
Like a pebble thrown into a bottomless cavern, or a shot glass of water poured into the ocean, another podcast has been recorded, uploaded and made available for your listening pleasure. Sure, we know you have your choice of over 18 billion podcasts, but why not give ours a try? It’s infotainingly hilaricational!
Chucklepedia - also on iTunes and Stitcher.
And God Bless Us, Everyone.
Hey, everybody! Happy Holidays and junk.
A big “Thank you!” to the people who came out to see me do some shows in November – I headlined a few, had some fun and enjoyed meeting a few people who had actually seen me perform before and came out because they saw my name on a poster on Facebook. That was very nice, especially when I’ve always operated under the assumption that nobody knows who the hell I am.
For December I’m going to be absent from the stage entirely – I have a fair amount of pressing business at the job that actually pays the bills, as well as some freelance projects that are demanding attention. You can even get on one of them on Social Media, as the great company Nokia has hired yours truly to write some silly holiday-themed tweets for them. If you’re of the Twitter universe, please follow them and give a few RT and Favorites if you’re so inclined. I’ll be writing for them through December as we all experience the Holiday season together.
In the meantime, there will be another podcast coming soon, as well as a long-awaited burger blog entry. I just get to do both of those at home with a glass of eggnog and still be asleep by 10pm. And if you’re wondering, this year I just want cash. So send cash.