>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 46 – August 24, 2003

Now Playing: “Life is Good” by Ritalin

-I'm getting ready to go back to school. I'm getting all of my back to school shopping done. I went to the mall and bought a cashmere sweater, a box of cashews and a Johnny Cash album. Now I'm broke.

-I know that first joke wasn't very funny, but it was really meant to illustrate a point. A lot of people don't realize how much money a university education costs. I know you read about it all the time in the whiny editorial section of the newspaper, but really it's difficult to gain perspective on just how much money I'm spending on a four-year keg party. Let's just say that if I were willing to not go back to school next week I could instead buy a small new car or a very large amount of cocaine. Sigh… You can't have everything.

-Quote of the Moment: My friend Ben, who has been practically begging me to put him in Text-Heavy, although if you ask him about it he'll deny it. I asked him if he noticed that hot girl walking by. “Noticed her,” he scoffed. “Heck, I made her feel uncomfortable.” Oh, Ben. You're incorrigible. Like a drunk muppet.

-Because I'm saving up money for school, I decided it was a good time to go out to a restaurant for dinner. We went to a restaurant that I will, for the purposes of anonymity, refer to only as “East Side Mario's”. The seating lady sat us at a table in the middle of the restaurant, where you just KNOW everyone's gonna stare at you the whole time, while there was a perfectly good booth in view. No big deal, we thought, as we picked up our menus and moved over to the booth to enjoy a nice, quiet and not-at-all insane meal at “East Side Mario's”. “East Side Mario's – Where We Strive To Inflict Pain and Illogic on Our Customers In Every Way Imaginable (A Licensed Subsidiary of the American Scientific Creationism Movement).”

-No sooner had we settled into our very private and secluded booth than the seating lady returned to give us a stern scolding. She said something about how they have a system to seat people and she knew how to do her job and we quite clearly didn't, and if we'd just stay seated where she had placed us that would be just peachy-keen. Of course, being the Big Man that I am, I shrunk down in my seat and apologized profusely for disrupting the delicate fabric that is the EAST SIDE MARIO'S SEATING ARRANGEMENT, where innocent lives hang in the balance.

-After having received our complimentary East Side Mario's scolding, we finally opened up our menus and started perusing the wonderful food options. Then I noticed that the Seating Monster was having a huddled discussion with our waitress. They were constantly looking at our uber-secluded booth and pointing and gesturing at us madly. So I of course figured that they were ready to come down and apologize for their behavior any moment now. My optimism started to fade after about 20 minutes, though, when still nobody had come to take our order. We were being snubbed! So we thought we'd teach those East Side Mario's thugs a lesson and… leave. I'm pretty sure they're still weeping over the loss of our business, especially if they caught us scurrying out the back entrance while pretending we were looking for the bathroom, like a small band of homeless criminals. At least we kept our dignity.

-None of this solved our original problem, of course. After having made a daring escape from East Side Mario's (sponsored by The Island of Dr. Caligari) we were still quite hungry. More so, in fact, since nearly an hour had elapsed. So we decided to go to a Chinese Buffet House, where the waiters can't snub you even if they try and where they get really offended if you ask for a doggie bag. Maybe something gets lost in the translation.

-I love the fortune cookies you get at Chinese restaurants. They're stupid, and everyone knows it, but my problem is that they don't even tell you a fortune. At least not in the traditional sense. Hell, they don't even tell you a proverb, or a nugget of wisdom. My friend got a fortune that read (I swear): “You are interested in public service.” What the hell is that? Is this how Chinese people do Career Day? With a fucking cookie? Maybe something gets lost in the translation.

-I used to love the wetnaps you got at the end of a meal. I think they should put fortunes inside the wetnaps. Something like: “Today your hands will be slightly damp and lemony-fresh.” See, that's a fortune. You don't see as many wetnaps around anymore. The last time I had one was when I was fifteen. Hoo-hoo! That's gross!

-My birthday is this coming Friday. It's the worst time of the year to have a birthday. Unless your birthday's on Christmas, because then you only get one present that says ‘Happy B-day/Merry X-mas' on it and then you have to explain to your therapist why you're still having wetnaps. But my birthday's at a pretty crappy time too. The people who have their birthday during the school year get to celebrate it with their school friends, and the people who have their birthday during the summer get to celebrate it with their summer friends. I get to celebrate my birthday on a plane. Nobody will care about my birthday before I leave for school. By the time I get there it will be over. I won't get presents from anyone even though I'll wear a conical hat all day. Then I'll get drunk by myself and take up an interest in the public service. Thanks fortune cookie! You've ruined the surprise!