>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 14 – January 12, 2003

I've been on vacation these last few weeks, which for me means ‘put aside what I'm doing to work on some other unprofitable projects'. Anyway, here's what happened on Christmas Break:

-Because I've never worked in a mall, one of my favorite things about Christmas is hearing all the Yuletide songs on the radio. One thing I've noticed is that it takes some stations longer than others to get into the spirit, so the days leading up to the 25th provide an eclectic mix of Christmas music and Marilyn Manson's latest hit: “I want to cut off your skin and wear it like a jacket”. Vaguely unwholesome. I was listening to the radio with my little brother, and changing the station was kind of like tiptoeing across a minefield. It'll be like: Frosty, Rudolph, Little Drummer Boy, OH NO COVER YOUR EARS WHAT HAVE I DONE?

-Does Frosty the Snowman actually have anything to do with Christmas?

-For Christmas this year, I received a new Monopoly game. After extensively testing this game out, I have produced the following list of People You Don't Want To, Under Any Circumstances, Play Monopoly With: People who refuse to make any kind of trade whatsoever, for fear that it will lead to their demise; People who care if you're in jail or just visiting; People who think landing on Free Parking means you win $500; People who arrange their houses and hotels really neatly, and then get upset when your dice roll knocks them askew; People who always want to be the racecar; People who think being the racecar somehow gives their opponent an unfair advantage; People who can't remember how many consecutive doubles they've rolled; People who peek at the next Chance card; People who try to pay out $17 in one-dollar bills; People who insist on paying 10% on their income tax because they think it will save money; People who always want to be banker; People who never want to be banker; People who always lick the title deed cards after mortgaging. That basically just leaves me, the undefeated Monopoly champion of the world.

-I got some other neat presents. I got the ‘Axe' Deodorant Bodyspray. I tried using it like it was being used in the commercial, by putting some on and then stepping into an elevator in hopes of being ravaged by beautiful women. No such luck. I just rode the elevator for a day and a half, eyeballing everyone who stepped inside with me and waiting for the delightful sexual romp that never happened. Damn you, Axe Deodorant Bodyspray! I witnessed a girl step into an elevator with me whom I noticed was also wearing the Axe Deodorant Bodyspray, so, obviously, I tackled her to the ground and tried to get it on with her just like the commercial told me to do. Yeah, I know. That excuse didn't work in court, either.

-Do you ever wonder how many girls who go visit mall Santas grow up to be strippers? I mean, they're basically toddlers doing a lap dance in exchange for presents. So I'm finishing up my Christmas shopping, and I try to warn some parents about this, and everyone looks at me like I'm some kind of pedophile. Last time I do anyone a favor.

-I always get people these amazing presents, like a big-screen TV or scuba gear, and then I get nothing in return. Every Christmas is like a Charlie Brown Christmas at my house. My mom always comes up with these lame-ass mom-style excuses for not getting me a present, like: “You've been naughty this year” or “You're fucking Jewish.”

-I keep getting offers to sign up for credit cards. Everyone I know keeps urging me to do it. They're like “Dude, I have, like, a $15000 credit limit. I'm so cool.” Since when did it become cool to brag about all the money you don't have? If I had borrowed 15 large from the mob and lost it playing Blackjack you wouldn't see me going around saying “Dude, I'm gonna get my legs broken. That's so cool.” In fact, you probably wouldn't see me at all, since I would already be on a plane to Nepal. Now THAT would be cool.

-Apparently, the first step on the road to becoming an alcoholic is to spend several days without getting sober. Of course, this rule was probably written by people sadly unaware of just how close together Christmas and New Year's are to each other.

-I have a friend who is trying out for the Gay Olympics. He's a biathlete.

-I won a sweepstakes. Nothing big, really. A free meal at Wendy's. But they made me answer a ‘skill'-testing question. It's always the same thing, isn't it? 4 + 3 – 1 = ? What the hell is the point of this? Is it discrimination against really stupid people? I was thinking. instead of a skill-testing question, they could subject you to a quarterstaff duel to the death against Friar Tuck, like in Robin Hood. Think about it. You come back, all bruised and bloodied, and everyone would be like “wow, he EARNED that burger.”

-Please do not email me telling me that it was Little John, not Friar Tuck, who had the quarterstaff duel with Robin Hood. I already know, and you don't win anything.

-Ever read the small print on a contest sweepstakes? Invariably, it says something like “You must be nineteen (19) years of age to participate”. What the hell is up with that? Are there people out there who actually can't read numbers when they're spelled out? And if so, how come THEY'RE not disqualified from the sweepstakes? They sure as hell wouldn't be able to answer any ‘skill'-testing question, that's for freaking sure.

-More Christmas presents I could do without: Someone gave me a cell phone, which was a nice gesture. Except of course that the cell phone is the cheap part, and the bill they're going to send me every month is going to kick my ass. Cell Phones: The gift that keeps on taking.

-This cell phone has too many buttons. I was trying to program someone's number into the address book, and it took 3 of us 45 minutes and we still couldn't figure it out. I thought cell phones were for normal people now. Why the hell do they make it so complicated? A few years ago I had a really great cellphone, it only had one button. There was never any doubt about which one to push. Want to program someone's name into the address book? Push the button. Want to make a call? Push the button. Want to play Snake? Push the button. My old phone didn't even have a ‘4' or a ‘0'. All you had to do was Push the Button. I've read through 70 pages of instructions for this new phone and I still haven't found out how to play Snake.

-I got my family a new printer for Christmas, because it was really cheap. It was like $29 for a brand new printer. That's a sweet deal. Until, that is, you need to buy a new ink cartridge. That's like $900. For INK! Fuck, somebody get me an octopus and a clamp vice, we'll save some money.

-I hate people who make New Year's Resolutions and then brag about how quickly they broke them. They're like: “I resolved to quit smoking… and lasted only 7 hours!” Wow. Aren't you a superstar. Me? I've resolved to start smoking. Seriously, folks. Smoking's never been cooler. My problem is that I can't get myself addicted. I've even tried just wearing a nicotine patch in the hope that I would develop a craving. So far, nothing.

-People Unclear of the Concept, Part 741: An actual sign at an outdoor beverage booth by a ski race in Timmins, Ontario reads “Iced Tea (heated) – $1”.

-I hate New Year's. Each year is worse than the last. It's about a week and a half of hype and then a drunken orgy of idiotic events. I keep promising to stay in on New Year's Eve and hide under the bed, waiting for sunrise, and then I always end up going out and regretting it with great intensity. This year was no exception. I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that at 4 in the morning a friend of mine and I were driving around the city looking for another friend of ours who was probably lying dead in a snowbank. The worse part of the whole night is that it took me no less than 4 hours to break MY resolution: To stop giving a shit about other people's well-being.

-My plane ride back to Victoria was supposed to take off at ass o'clock in the morning, so I was understandably fatigued when, about 45 minutes past Thunder Bay, a diabetic on board began seizing and we had to turn around and make an emergency landing, thus delaying my breakfast. It took the paramedics an hour in Thunder Bay to get her off the plane, during which time the other 300 passengers on the Boeing 747 sat impatiently. Then they had to refuel the airplane in order to make it to our destination. But the Thunder Bay airport (“The only airport made entirely out of plaid”) did not have enough fuel for such a large plane, nor did they have any staff capable of fuelling this type of aircraft. So they had to fly in fuel and staffers from Toronto, causing another hour and a half delay. All in all, the 4-hour flight took a little more than 9 hours, during which time I received a total of zero (0) in-flight meals. This is just one of many examples that I could bring up wherein diabetics come along and ruin my day.

-Quote of the Moment: Turns out there's someone out there who has a blacker heart than I do. A few rows down from me, as the paramedics were working against the clock to save an elderly diabetic woman's life, random passenger says: “For this kind of inconvenience, she'd better be dying.” Yeah, wouldn't it be awful if you missed your business meeting and then it turned out that the woman pulled through? Good one, Adolf.

-I can't stand malls. Actually, it's really the people inside the malls that piss me off. Specifically, I'm thinking of the parents who put their children on the kid leash, as though this adorable little five-year-old girl is a rabid Irish terrier. I don't know how the kid is going to explain this to her therapist a couple of years down the road: “And then, when I got home… They went and cleaned my litter box! ” Kid leashes? I'll take ‘bad parenting' for a thousand, Alex.

-Now Playing: “Picture” by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. On repeat, no less. All my new neighbours think I'm really weird because of it. But I don't care. That's how good this song is.

-I finally moved into the University dorms. I must admit, though, that I'm a little disappointed with my welcome. There were absolutely no topless models waiting to greet me in my new room. I did get a roommate, though, and that's definitely something that takes some getting used to. I mean, sharing a room? That means that there's someone there, watching you, while you're asleep. That means someone could be looking through my most personal possessions as soon as I leave to go to class. My roommate did his best to quash my fears by greeting me with a warm smile that I interpreted to mean “I'm going to go through your laundry when you leave the room.” Ha ha! I'm just kidding, of course. He's a really nice guy. Please don't kill me in my sleep.