>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 54 – October 19, 2003

Now Playing: “Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Santa Esmeralda

It's tough being a comedian. Everyone thinks I'm complaining all the time, but really I'm just working on material. Take the first sentence of this paragraph, for example. By itself, it's a whiny line. In a larger context, it's part of a hilarious running joke that the six people who still read this column will no doubt enjoy until such time as their brains, in a courageous display of bravado, leap from their skulls and escape so they no longer have to process this incoherent nonsense. And, in that spirit, here's what happened this week:

-What's up with people sending e-mail apologies? Are you so cowardly and inadequate that you can't apologize to someone in person, or even over the phone? You have to resort to the most impersonal means of communication ever created, with the possible exception of Morse Code? I'm sorry, but I just can't understand this.

-Did you know that if you're Catholic, you're supposed to eat fish on Fridays? I had no idea. I bet even Catholics don't know about this. I wish the Pope would spend more time promoting this instead of flying around and doing his little magic shows. Think of the headlines: “Welcome to the Vatican – Brought to You by Red Lobster”.

-Why is it that, whenever I'm out grocery shopping, the aisle with the air fresheners never smells any better than the rest of the store? They must not be very good.

-Ever notice how grocery store employees know everything about the store they work in? These guys don't get enough credit. They look like a bunch of punk-ass high school kids with eyebrow piercings who do nothing but stock shelves all day, but they're like Mensa candidates or something. And it doesn't matter how big the store is, either. Ask them anything, they'll answer (without thinking) something along the lines of “Three quarters of a mile down aisle six, on the left, second shelf from the bottom.” And they're always right! I bet the hiring process for grocery stores involves a scavenger hunt and a visit to those precogs from Minority Report.

-Quote of the Moment: Liquor store employees, as opposed to grocery clerks, don't know anything. I doubt their toes are even opposable. I asked one of them where I could find the Corona (Not for me! For a friend! I swear!) and he answered, after much hemming and hawing: “I'm not sure if we have any left. We're really low on wine right now.” Sir, I think you need to lie down. Maybe we can drown you in the precog pool.

-I met a girl who was majoring in Dispute Resolution. I told her that was a ridiculous degree to get. She got mad, yelled at me, called me an ignorant jackass and walked away. She'll do great.

-Seriously, though, what can you do with a degree in ‘Dispute Resolution'? I looked into it. Turns out you can be a hostage negotiator, which I have to admit is a pretty cool job. Here's my problem, though: What exactly is the demand for a hostage negotiator? I mean, how often do you find yourself in need of one? And what do you do if you actually DO need a hostage negotiator? Can you just look them up in the Yellow Pages? (“Hi. I work at a liquor store and I'm being robbed at gunpoint. There are three people lying dead in a pile of broken glass and Jack Daniels. Can I get a quote? You know, I'm still shopping around.”)

-And while we're on the subject of jobs, ever look at a cashier and think: “I could do what she's doing ten times faster and more efficiently” and then think “Why would I want to?” I mean, no matter how badly this transaction goes, I get to leave afterwards.

-Job Interview No-Nos: Q: What would you say is your worst quality? A: Kleptomania. Q: Why should I hire you? A: Because I'm nailing your sister. Q: We'll call you when we make our decision, ok? A: That's what my parole officer said (at this point, begin making unintelligable high-pitched yelping noises). They should be calling me any day now.

-I live on the East Coast, and I go to school on the West Coast. I've never been anywhere in between. I have no idea what the middle of this country even looks like. I always kind of just figured that everything east of Vancouver and West of Toronto was just a big farm. I'll bet if you look on a map, it even says so: “Middle of Canada – FARM”. I'd check but I don't own an atlas and the library's closed right now. I keep being told I'm wrong, but then I hear of these farmers in Alberta who do nothing but stand around all day wondering: What the hell is this giant letter ‘F' on the ground? I thought it was hilarious, so I wrote an essay about it. Guess what my grade was?