Birthday Begins

"At least they're feeding us."

“At least they’re feeding us.”

Quiet on the set! Is everyone in their places? You, by the beans, you’re ruining my shot. Do we have someone capable on pyrotechnics? I don’t want a repeat of what happened to that curly-haired cousin a few years back. You, by the chicken, give me some chicken. Where’s the talent? Wuddya mean she’s in wardrobe? Didn’t we change her five minutes ago? These young stars are the worst. Remind me to never direct another one of these things. Oh, wait. That will never happen because no one with half-a-brain would pay money to see this. What’s that? They’re already planning a sequel? A sequel every year for the rest of my life?!?!?! Now I know how the creator of Air Bud feels. Can we at least agree to keep the sequels true to the original vision? You know: shoe-string budget, heartfelt plotline, characters with real depth. Ah. I see. Each sequel is going to be more expensive than the last, the plot will be exclusively driven by the latest in-demand consumer products (not revealed until the last possible moment), and the quirky yet talented cast will be replaced with friends of the leading lady (who also happens to be the daughter of the Executive Producer). Sigh. Maybe I should just move to Europe and shoot that art-house project I’ve been talking about all these years. You know, the one with the socialist balloon animals. There’s nothing left to do here that hasn’t already been done a thousand – Ooooo look at all those candles! Ha-ppy Birth-day to you…


Forbidden Fruits

"I can stop using it any time I want."

“I can stop using it any time I want.”

Let’s make a deal. You stop fussing, and I’ll let you hold The Precious. But only for a few seconds. We both know that, when put into the wrong hands, especially grubby saliva-covered baby hands, The Precious is capable of terrible things. Things like: accidentally overnighting an inflatable hot tub to our house, or sending cryptic messages to my boss, or secretly recording me, in my bathrobe, trying to choke down black coffee because we ran out of sweetener. Of course, you don’t care about all that. You just like The Precious because it is shiny and beautiful and makes little buzzing noises that have been training you like a pavlovian dog since you were an infant. You’ve also had plenty of time to observe me with The Precious. You’ve seen the way my eyes glow with the reflection of The Precious’ artificial luminance. You’ve seen me lovingly pet The Precious by swiping my finger up and down, left and right, over its smooth, flat belly. You see, I’m a lost cause. Once upon a time, I was taking a stroll through an Enchanted Big Box Store, when a horrible little Sales Nymph used a Discount Hex to force me to fall in love with the first thing I saw: The Precious. Ever since then, I’ve been powerless to resist The Precious’ call to waste hours reading internet comments written by sociopaths and playing Free-to-Play games that would make Sisyphus want to get back to rolling his ball. Where once sat a boy with ambition and purpose, now slumps a man crippled by instant and artificial gratification. But there is still hope for you, my darling child. That is why you must never stare into the crystal abyss of The Precious’ Great Eye for more than a few seconds. Ooo, it buzzed! Give us back The Precious! Give it back to us neeeeeooooooow!



"I'm here to save you from The Wicked Money of Your Bank Account."

“I’m here to save you from The Wicked Money of Your Bank Account.”

I need a hero. And no, I’m not asking for a submarine sandwich (Although, now that you mention it, if it’s not too much trouble, I would absolutely love a footlong buffalo chicken hoagie with all the trimmings, again, if it’s not too much trouble). Nay, I need a person of distinguished courage or ability to rescue me from a dire situation involving an auto mechanic’s shop, a very small waiting room, and a very chatty receptionist. Judging by the position of the sun, which I cannot see, and the position of the little hand of the enormous clock on the wall in front of me, which I can see quite easily, the receptionist has been talking non-stop for the past 45 minutes. And since I’m waiting for my car, and there’s a blizzard outside (we have one every day), I’m effectively this receptionist’s hostage. Oh, I’ve tried participating in the conversation. I’ve managed a few “Oh, really’s?” and some “That’s funny’s,” but that was only while she was inhaling, which seemed to occur a total of four times. I’ve even tried staring intently at the book I brought along, which I (foolishly) placed on a side table when I sat down. Of course, reaching for it now would be the equivalent of reaching for a gun while the evil villain monologues about the time he got drunk with his girlfriends at the beach. Like I said, I need a hero. Someone who will swoop in and save me from- Wait. Can it be??? My hero! My hero has arrived at long last! What’s that? You have an estimate for the repairs? Oh. Well, now I hate you.

The Expediter

"I am Barzaff The Great. Look into my mullet and you shall see the true meaning of magic."

“I am Barzaff The Great. Look into my mullet and you shall see the true meaning of magic.”

Are you ready? Before you answer that question, you should know that I’m not asking if you are ready for some football. Or a good time. Or a weevil pestilence. But, just so we cover all the bases, if you are ready for some football, you may sit quietly on that couch for seven months until the next season begins. And if you are ready for a good time, please see Brian Johnson, lead vocalist of AC/DC – he will take you bowling. And if you are ready for a weevil pestilence, don’t forget to double-check the chimney. They always come through the chimney. [eyes cloud over, swats back of neck involuntarily] Sorry. I…it’s a long story. Well, it’s actually a short story: weevils came through my chimney and attacked me. Or did I dream the whole thing? Anyway, I was asking if you are ready to leave the house. I ask this because no one is ready to leave our house, ever. So if you are ready, you are a liar. And I like liars about as much as I like weevils: not much. In fact, ever since Kid came on the scene, getting out the door has become a freaking magic trick. I’m not talking about finding a quarter behind your nephew’s ear, neither. I’m talking main-stage, dry-ice, laser-show, two-guys-with-mullets-and-a-tiger (also with a mullet), magic trick. It’s such a production that sometimes I wish we had one of those individuals who works in restaurants and yells at the chef to do stuff faster. “Expediters,” I think they’re called. Sounds kinda like “Expert Biters,” one of the many known aliases of–you guessed it–weevils. I think I need to stop eating peanut butter before bed. It’s giving me weird dreams.

The Fridget

"Sometimes the craziest ideas are also the dumbest."

“Sometimes the craziest ideas are also the dumbest.”

I’ve got a crazy idea. But it has nothing to do with pulling yourself into the air by your own head. I exhausted all the permutations of that little beauty during one fateful recess back in the third grade. No, I’m talking about an idea so crazy that it just might solve one of the oldest puzzles known to mankind, The Grocery Unload. Which, as we all know, poses a confounding paradox: attempt to unload the car in one trip and your arms will fall off; attempt to unload the car in multiple trips and your arms will also fall off, but this time because they are bored. Legend has it that Socrates himself wrestled with this conundrum for days, gazing at his groceries, which were lashed to the rump of his donkey, Barnaby, from the front steps of his mondominium (mud condominium). Eventually, he decided to attempt the unload in one trip, but knew he would need energy, so he reached for his favorite energy drink, Blue Minotaur, only to mistakenly grab Caffeine-Free Poison Hemlock, which came in a similarly designed clay bottle, drank it, and died. His neglected groceries were eaten by cicadas, but, happily, Barnaby was saved, and lived his remaining days in a quiet little- Sorry. I’m off topic. Back to my idea: The Fridget. The world’s first refrigerator car. It’s half SmartCar, half SubZero, and fully loaded with power windows, moonroof, vegetable crisper, and in-door ice and water dispenser. With The Fridget, you’ll never have to unload groceries ever again. Just make sure you bundle up when you drive it. Because it’s an actual refrigerator.