Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What the world doesn't need anymore

...so that gets made out to "K. Shpeley"? Alright, so you jumped in front of the SUV which had no chance to swerve out of the way. That's exactly what happened, isn't that right?


Here we are some 6,000 years into human existence (that's a shout out to the JC crowd amongst the readership) and it seems to me we're due for some spring cleaning. As we've evolved (sorry JC crowd, I'm going to have to go with science and logic here) we have developed quite the advanced society with many wonderful things, ideas and institutions. Unfortunately we've also picked up a few things along the way that we could really do without. I'm not talking about war, famine, strife and all that as I'm sure the case against them has already been made. I'm going to focus more on society's lesser evils which individually may not be much but as a whole represent a significant blight on our world. Think of this like The Bucket List except its not a movie starring two aging stars playing out the schedule on what used to be respectable careers.

Birthday Cake and Turkey: I'm sure some of you are saying "But I love both those things why would you ever want to get rid of them". Really? I presume then, given your love affair with these two foods, the last time you went out to a nice restaurant you asked for a drumstick, some white meat and a big slice of chocolate cake with a little bit of waxy residue on top. Of course that didn't happen because you had countless better options. Why are we captive to holiday culinary traditions? Can't we break free from these shackles forced upon us by the Butterball and Duncan Hines lobbies. Trust me, they control everything. Banning birthday cake would not only allow us significantly superior choices for dessert but also put an end to birthday cakes at the office. The accounts receivable and HR staff aren't going to show up at your office once a year belting out an ear-splitting "Happy Birthday" with a cheese plate. The end of the Birthday Cake will commensurately bring about the end of this awful tradition. At my last job I tried to convince people I was born on Christmas Day just so I could avoid this painfully awkward interaction with co-workers.

Engagement planners: Commercialization has taken all of life's special moments and turned them into stressful times where whatever you do (and spend) will likely be inadequate to meet society's ever increasing expectations. The wedding industry has turned the formerly simple event of promising one's self to another into an overly orchestrated spectacle of opulence that in many cases has lost all sight of what the evening is supposed to be celebrating. We can thank wedding planners for that (might as well throw them on the list while we're at it). Now, you can't even get to the wedding itself before the experience is turned into something contrived and without meaning. For a sizable fee you can have someone tell you how to ask that special someone to spend the rest of your lives together. Shockingly people were able to do this on their own for centuries. In a few years people will be amazed that engagements could ever have happened without some woman telling you exactly what to say, when to say it and how many doves should be released coinciding with the question being popped. This is where society is going. As an aside I wonder if there are engagement planners in areas where arranged marriages are common? That would be a pretty sweet gig. Even I could do that.

Groom: How should I ask Parvati to be my wife?

Me/engagement planner: Ask? Dude, get your head out of your ass. Your Dad took care of that. What did you think the goats were for? Just to be nice? By the way, that'll be $4,500.

Personalized license plates: Need I say more. 95% of vanity plates can be paraphrased by "I'm someone who you're completely justified in hating...and I'm hung like a gerbil".

I'm sure he meant this to say "kickin' ass" but that first "K" could be a hard "C"
(and I'm not referring to the word "cooking")

Cornrows: Much like a goatee cornrows are always a bad choice. This cuts across all races and creeds. Black guys, why would you go for the ridiculous looking cornrows when you have so many superior options that aren't available to us white guys. You guys can pull off any number of variations on dreads. I'd be torn between what Chris Bosh has going or more of a Malcolm Jamal Warner/Etan Thomas thing.

Me, as a brother (maybe with a little more working out)

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum black guys can sport a shaved head without looking like their masking premature baldness or serial killers. Us white guys, with the possible exception of Mark Messier (who was masking his thinning hair), don't have that luxury. In terms of everyone else let me just leave you with some visual evidence. This should make the case for the eradication of cornrows better than anything I could write.

At least he has the excuse that he was high at the time.

Don't you like them? All of us on the team got them in Jamaica

Getting rid of the 'rows would only be step 1 for this douche

Monologue Dialog: This is a school of TV writing that first showed up in and around 1997 on the now defunct WB network. The most early example of this was Dawson's Creek. The Monologue Dialog would be characterized by two people technically talking to each other but really just delivering long-winded monologues. These monologues would involve superfluous four and five syllable words, frequent use of the third person and literary references beyond the realistic grasp of the conversation's participants. It is the most uneconomical conversation ever. Here's an example:

Pacey's Mom: Would you like some eggs?

Pacey: Depends on what you are getting at by like. The chorus rings out for one Pacey Witter being defined by whether blah blah blah.. Proust...metaphysical...Waiting for Godot... forlorn ... Pacey Witter... existentialism... Fellini-esque...whatever.

And this would go on for hours, if not days. People talking and talking but not quite saying anything. This style was born out of an idealized vision of how people should talk with no connection to how people actually talk. The genesis was likely a group of frustrated writers who were high school outcasts creating a revisionist history for their own disappointing experience. Oh what a world it would be if people mentioned French satirists in every second sentence and conversations took hours not mere minutes. Later incarnations were seen with the Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy and on the big screen with Juno. There was even talk of TV's first crossover/spin-off involving cast members from Dawson's Creek and the Gilmore Girls. It was to be called "Endless Inane Babbling" and was schedule to air from 7AM until 11PM on Thursdays. Rumor has it that this was at the root of what caused the WB to shutdown. Supposedly the network was faced with a crippling lawsuit after 49% of the focus group committed suicide halfway through the pilot screening. I see no reason to doubt this actually happened.

Well that's a good enough list for now. I'm sure with a little hard work we can get rid of these few things before moving on to the next list. It doesn't seem like much now but when you add these up their combined absence will make the world a much better place for generations to come.

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