“Come on big guy. You are a boy. Clearly you don’t eat yogurt like a girl. Why is this making you mad!” I say. After I calm myself down, I remember the movie ‘Sandlot’ and the infamous line the fat, freckled kid delivers to the rival baseball team.
“You play ball like a girl!”
Yogurt eating and baseball aren’t the same, but there is precedence to James’ anger. I decide instead of scolding Ivan for being mean, I will help James exact his revenge. I think quickly on my feet, take one look at Ivan’s bright blue Dodgers cap and whisper the dagger into James’ ear that will crumple his older brother. Whenever you ask a five year old to repeat something you’ve said, especially to comedic affect, there is always “HBP” (High Botch Potential), but James nails it.
“Hey…hey guess what?”
“What?” Ivan replies.
“The Dodgers suck and the Giants are making the playoffs.” A great silence falls over the kitchen. I expect mild annoyance at best, but apparently mentioning this storied baseball rivalry brings about monstrous emotions in some eight year olds.
“What did you say?” Ivan stammers. Sensing things are getting strange; I step in front of James and repeat the line but with less gusto.
“That’s right. The Giants just made the playoffs today. It’s a fact.”
Ivan’s eyes grow big and his nostrils flare. “Shut up! No they didn’t! That isn’t true, take it back!” His voice is trembling. At this point I am both shocked and amused that this is getting so serious. I try one last time to convince him that this is actually true, it is sports fact and I relay the message to him as if I am reading the ticker.
Ivan lets out a scream like Colossus from X-men, picks up a full plastic cup of milk I just poured for him and throws his best little league fastball into my chest. It’s a direct hit to the solar plexus. I have never seen milk spray in so many directions. It’s on my chest, jeans, shoes, face, hair and all over the ground. I don’t know how long we all held our ‘some shit just went down’ faces, but it feels like a long time. They say don’t cry over spilled milk, so I don’t, but there is no idiom that accurately encapsulates the epic rage I feel over thrown milk. My full supply of blood and adrenaline rush thru my veins. Part of me almost expects adamantium to burst thru my knuckles. I almost can’t believe I’m this pissed off. If a grown man threw milk at me, I’m not sure if I would laugh or administer a swift roundhouse to his temple. This is a small child though, and right now he is staring at me with the most fear I have seen in a creatures eyes in some time. I take a deep breath and let some logic seep back into my system. Both children are waiting for my next move, which puts me in an odd position because it’s hard to severely discipline kids that aren’t yours. I choose a good ole-fashioned scream off. I drop f-bombs and s-bombs and even a few q-bombs. That’s right, quagmires. Ivan begins crying as I launch into my awkward adult tirade.
“You just can’t go through life throwing milk at people!” This is a situation I find myself in frequently when working with kids. Screaming absurd things that seemingly have little meaning. When you really prod the issue, why can’t you throw milk at someone? The only way I could think of explaining it is that you will probably get your ass kicked and it’s just a dick move. Finding a sophisticated way to explain what a dick move is to an eight year old is difficult.
I continue yelling about milk and attitude adjustments for a couple minutes. Ivan is very apologetic. He starts cleaning up the floor and offers to wash my clothes. I give him the silent treatment and wash them myself. I remove my t-shirt and throw it in the wash. James approaches me cautiously and requests my help with the alphabet. As I sit down bare chested, jeans smelling like 2% and writing lower case ‘a’s’, I realize how hard it is to be a good parent. I’m glad I get to clock out at the end of the day.
Watching a man receive a pedicure through a window evokes many feelings. Mostly I want to yell something like, “Come on man, are you serious!” Then the lighter side of my manhood and my liberal upbringing tries to come to his defense. He may have extraordinarily disgusting feet that require small teams of Korean women to hack at his little piggies like deranged butchers. Maybe he has beautiful feet and enjoys wearing open-toed sandals. This has to be some kind of absurd mandate from a wife or girlfriend. He can’t be single and think that sprucing up his feet will get him laid.
“Oh they’re beautiful!” An old woman with that unmistakable ‘give granny a kiss’ intonation gestures toward me.
“What”? I reply, still fixated on the man’s toes.
“Your kids, they’re so handsome!” she continues. I forget momentarily that I am standing next to two young boys.
“Oh, they’re not mine. I’m not the father,” I say with the conviction of a two-time guest on the Maury DNA test results show.
“Then what are you”? says the old woman.
“I’m their older caretaker man friend.” The old woman looks very concerned. She politely nods, takes out her cell phone and either calls child protective services or Dateline: How to Catch a Predator. I don’t comprehend the creepiness of my statement until the five year old asks me what an older caretaker man friend is. “Well buddy, it’s a vaguely pedophilic term that I use to explain my job rather than tell people I’m a male nanny. Using my twisted logic, it’s better to sound like a pervert than come across as slightly effeminate.” The kid looks at me blankly, and then like the champion conversationalist five year olds are, he smoothly changes the topic. “Why is that man getting his toes painted? Isn’t that for girls”? The man looks through the glass and smiles at us. I shake my head slowly. “I really don’t know boys. Apparently not.”
Joseph Linzusky left his friends at the bar around 1:30 AM last Saturday.
“I was hungry, “ said 33 year-old Linzusky. “I only ate a bowl of Annie’s macaroni before going out, and I had a couple beers in me.”
Linzusky, who consumed numerous whiskey shots and a dozen beers in the span of four hours continued down the street in search of food, passing taco trucks and small Latina women cooking delicious things with bacon. He claims that normally he would stop at a taco truck, but a tall, shimmery red and yellow sign distracted him.
“Look man I’m not racist, I like Mexicans or whatever, but I thought I saw a sign for In and Out. I guess I was pretty buzzed.”
Many fast food chains including McDonalds, Carls Jr., Five Guys and Del Taco use the red and yellow color scheme in their logo. Del Taco Public Relations Manager James Johns maintains this is no coincidence.
“Did we copy the red and yellow scheme to confuse drunk people into thinking we’re In and Out? Yes, absolutely. Have you ever seen someone in a Del Taco during the day? No sober person would ever make that decision.”
Linzusky knew he was in trouble when he saw the depressed cashier, an out of order bathroom and two homeless men playing checkers.
“In and Out has a happier vibe generally. The workers are in a good mood and it smells like it should.”
To-Go order person Lidia Guzman who works weekends at Del Taco agrees. “I hate working here. I hate the people I work with and everyone who comes in. I’ve never even tried a taco from here.”
Linzusky says he considered leaving once he realized his mistake, but the line was really short and the food priced generously.
“It’s 49 cents for a taco. That’s ridiculous. Of course I’m going to buy multiple tacos at those prices.”
After actually eating the tacos and spending an unusually brutal morning on the toilet, Linzusky concluded that the costs might not outweigh the benefits.
“I ended up missing the first half-day of work. I probably won’t go back there.”
2) Narcoleptic Recliner- This is a variation of number one, but equally as annoying. This person arrives on the bus and apparently hasn’t slept in months because they immediately recline their seat, fall asleep and begin snoring within seconds. Now maybe this person has just finished back-to-back marathons and has asthma and is narcoleptic and I am too harsh in my judgment. Or maybe they are inconsiderate slobs. Is it even possible to sleep for 16 hours straight without coming down from an acid trip? Do every one a favor and take a quick nap before the bus, snore it up all you want, and then just sit there and stare straight forward like every one else.
3) Segal- Are you a fan of Steven Segal? No? Then you’re fucked. Be prepared to watch at least one and more likely 900 Segal movies. From his memorable role as Jonothan Cold in “Black Dawn” to his striking performance as Harlan Banks in “Today You Die,” Segal sizzles on the small, blurry, and often cracked monitor. Groggy bus passenger audiences sit captive watching his ponytail flail about as he nonchalantly karate chops helpless goons from Rio to Bogota. One time a Sarah Michelle Gellar movie came on, and a man in the front of the bus punched the driver for treason. Segal is king.
4) Balls Cold- If you own Arctic commando fatigues, you are in luck. If you have ever trained to survive sub-zero temperatures then you will be well suited for bus travel in South America. Apparently there are no such things as knobs to control temperature on buses here. The bus temp always hovers around the more reasonable ‘balls cold,’ to ‘cryogenics cavern cold.’ Just pray the trip is under 20 hours, if not, you will be dealing with respiratory illness and or frostbite. According to NOAA, (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) 24 people die in the U.S. every year from issues related to the cold. Last year in South America, 7,000 people died from cold buses and lack of blood circulation due to insufficient legroom. That is a made up fact, but seriously bring a hoody.
5) Anytime Minutes- Someone in your near vicinity will either dial or receive close to 500 cell phone calls. They will have an obnoxiously loud ring tone and will wait until the last possible ring to pick up. The conversations always have something to do with how slow the bus is going and what time they may or may not arrive. Look, we are all on the same terrible bus ride, text your mom or loved one when you are close. We’ll get there shortly barring any horrific accident involving high speeds and sketchy roads… oh wait.
6) Move Bitch Get Out the Way!- One of the most popular practical jokes in South America is to take a big clumsy bus with bad suspension, drive it 100 miles per hour in pouring rain over steep, curvy mountain roads while passing cars on blind corners. Don’t worry, all drivers in South America have watched Tokyo Drift at least three times, you’re in good hands. Sure, it’s pretty frightening for the entire duration of the trip, but once you arrive at your destination you exchange clammy high fives and nervous laughter with the driver. It’s really just a great joke.
7) Gnarly Food Decisions- Bring food and water like you are preparing for a long winter full of earthquakes. While some bus companies provide a luke warm, unidentifiable entrée, the majority will only stop once at the finest dimly lit roadside shack. If you have never tried a cold doughy ball full of raw chicken and old cheese, this is your chance. If you are a brave and self-proclaimed “foodie” then by all means go ahead, but be prepared to visit a farmacia or bano within the next several hours. Oh yea, and good luck with the bathroom. Some buses don’t even have one; others do but never have toilet paper, and some inexplicably read, “For urinating only.” My advice is a big bag of Doritos, yogurt and water.
8) Elbow Battler- If you are traveling solo, chances are someone is going to sit next to you. The best you can hope for is a small girl that doesn’t say anything or move the whole trip. This never happens. You will most likely receive some heavily scented man with a Napoleon complex who swears he needs just as much room as someone twice his size. Dude, I swear I’m not trying to be a dick, I just need a little more leg and shoulder room than you, its just how I’m built. Please stop battling me for elbow position and using every bump in the road as an opportunity to encroach on my already tiny seat.
In one of the most impressive online marketing efforts in recent memory, Kony 2012 has managed to reach millions of people in a short amount of time sparking both praise and suspicion behind the video’s intent. One group in particular, Lord’s Gym in Los Angeles, is outraged by the video’s popularity.
“This is horseshit!” said Lord’s Gym Lead Marketing Coordinator, Karl Hoover, “this idiot and his stupid blonde son ruined everything!” Hoover, who has been working for months on a campaign to resist obesity and raise awareness about the importance of physical fitness, is referring to the gym’s slogan, “Join the Lord’s Resistance Army, “ (LRA) and claims that this terrible coincidence could potentially bankrupt the popular gymnasium.
“We sunk everything we had into that campaign.” Hoover continued. “We bought those Lance Armstrong bracelets with LRA on them. We got the Shepard Fairey Obama like posters that say ‘Join the LRA now!’ We even hired Banksy to do some weird stuff outside of the gym, but it’s all over now.”
Hoover claims that he was unaware of a “Lords Resistance Army” already in existence and says that he didn’t even know Uganda was an actual place. Current members of the Lord’s gym in Los Angeles seem undeterred and vow to keep working out despite the blunder.
“I’m not trying to get involved in international affairs, bro,” said gym member Luis Falco. “As long as there is a bench press and elliptical, I’m chill.”
Other gym members were alarmed to hear that the marketing snafu could force the small gym into bankruptcy, and noted that maybe the money should have been allotted to a better cause.
“I think its great that someone is trying to resist obesity, but the gym is also in need of new equipment and better facilities. Everything smells like rotting gazelle carcass.”
Hoover’s marketing team came up with their video featuring two fat guys lifting weights in soaked t-shirts, but it did not garner the same popularity.
“Listen I’m not going to sit here and call the guy who made that video a bitch, “ said Hoover. “I’ll be the bigger man, but he’s kind of a bitch right? You kind of just can’t stand him. Was he born with final cut pro? That video is crazy good.”
I have the excellent fortune of living in the presence of taco trucks. L.A. is cheese full of these mobile smile bringers. I have never heard anyone say, “Ah shit, there’s a taco truck here.” It’s always more like, “Ohhhhhhh shit!” Taco trucks bring two important things to street corners; burritos and drunk girls. This is one of the most underrated places to meet a girl in your city.
Drunk, Hungry and Horny
During the day the taco truck is a peaceful glimpse into local food culture where day laborers and business folk alike bond over cheap, tasty eats. When night falls, however, the truck is inundated with loud drunks testing out their 9th grade Spanish and spilling Jarritos on their shoes. I realize what I just described sounds awful to most people, but if you are tolerant and swift enough to dodge some wayward toronja, you have the potential to bond with a member of the opposite sex over the three most important characteristics of a 2am creature of the night: being drunk, being hungry and being horny. If you were to check a box of needs and emotions after leaving a bar or club, one if not all three would pop up. The comradery two hungry and horny drunks share while waiting in a line for food is unparalleled. The same girl who was not giving you attention at the bar, will suddenly open up to you like you’re Barbara Walters and her career hangs in the balance.
“What are you going to get?”
“A burrito.” She replies.
It really is that simple. After that its no holds barred. Ask her favorite color, her thoughts on the Iraq war, her preferred fuck ficky. It doesn’t even have to make sense because you are both experiencing the same emotions and both striving toward the same goal.
Strategy and a Little Bit of Suerte
Let me put it in economic terms. A normal night out at a bar might include cover charges, several drinks, and hours of pursuing girls who may or may not be interested in you. Not to mention taking the risk of drunk driving or having to take an expensive cab ride home. All told it comes to around fifty dollars and a headache the next morning. If you went to your local town fair and there was a tent with a sign that read, ‘$50 to stare at women and then get a headache,’ you would burn that tent to the ground and write a formal complaint to town fair management.
Here is what I suggest: split a fifth or a 30 rack with a couple close friends and play Madden or Call of Duty from 9pm to 1:30 am. Take a bus to your local bar/taco truck area (you can walk, skate or bike too but mind the shit eating in bushes). Arrive at the taco truck just as the bars let out. Find a cute drunk girl who keeps whining, “All I want is a quesadilla! Oh my god.” Slide in line and start up a convo. Remember it starts out about burritos, but then go ahead and get crazy. She’ll be into it. You’re in taco truck world now. Suerte.
Yoshi- You are a girl who has been allowed to play because the group needs a fourth and everyone is being nice because you are the girlfriend of one of the guys there. You like Yoshi because he is random and irreverent. He is quirky and doesn’t speak English. When he’s not racing go-karts, he wears skinny jeans and listens to “Foster the People” while adjusting the shutter speed on his old Nikon.
If you win…People will be furious that a girl controlling a goofy miniature dinosaur keeps beating them.
If you lose…Centuries long prejudice will be validated that girls aren’t good at sports and you will be asked to hand over the controller.
Luigi- You have an inferiority complex and are most likely under 5’8”. Some Hipsters pick Luigi because they think picking Mario is too mainstream. Fuck those people. Luigi is not meant to be some trending indie character, he is a Rudy type workhorse, a Dangerfieldesque “Don’t get no respect” racer. In the hands of a true believer, he can be a real weapon. When you see Luigi in the lead you can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy.
If you win…Everyone secretly loves to see Luigi’s face up there on the podium. “Atta boy Lu” they mutter under their breath.
If you lose…People won’t say anything, but a part of them will die slowly inside realizing that no matter the outcome, it will always be Mario’s Kart…64.
Toadstool- You are a closet homosexual. Seriously Toadstool? When you pick Toadstool you are saying one thing, I am lost in life and have no direction. I’m thinking about law school but have never been interested in law and hopefully the economy and job market will be better when I graduate.
If you win…People will turn the game off and go do something outside.
If you lose…People will laugh and cheer and frolic and drink and be merry and say things like “Oh, fuckin Toadstool huh! great choice idiot.”
Mario- You are an All-American. You are also sentimental and appreciate all that this small man has done for you and videogames over the years. Mario is the Patriots, Lakers and Yankees rolled into one. You must be humble and confident at the same time to really bond with this character. You believe if you work hard and say things like “Whoo hoo!” every so often your dreams will come true.
If you win…Everyone will cry foul play. Many believe that Mario has an unfair advantage because it’s his game. The following are a list of grievances leveled against Mario: Receives an unwarranted 4th mushroom, blue shells bounce off his kart, his star lasts two seconds longer than other characters, banana peels don’t slip him up, his green shells are heat seeking and finally he can steal your items without having a ghost. Needless to say you will not be getting props for taking home the gold.
If you lose…Competitors will rub it in your face. People who aren’t even playing will smile when they see Mario lose. Much like a highly touted draft pick who doesn’t pan out in the pros, people are quick to point out that he has all the tools to succeed, but can’t for some reason. A very underhanded “fuck you for picking Mario.”
Peach- You’re a really silly goose. What a silly goose you are. Look I’m going against the grain and picking a girl. Isn’t that silly? You guys get it right? I’m a boy picking a character who’s a girl. You see what I did there? There is one girl and I picked her…. Ok we all get it. You are a real rebel or Woman’s Study major or something. No one cares. I will say, however, that if someone is skilled with Peach, it can be one of the bigger mindfucks. You must also be a great shit talker. That combination can really wreck some havoc on competitor’s psyches.
If you win…Every one will question their manhood. It doesn’t matter how old or mature you are. No man at any age enjoys losing to a girl, even if it’s a boy controlling a girl character in a game.
If you lose… See Yoshi
Wario- You ‘re a dick. Plain and simple. Everything about Wario is obnoxious. From his voice and evil laugh down to his weight issues and gaudy yellow-purple suspenders. Wario is the anti-hero and somehow you identify with that. Is life in the upper middle class getting you down? You are over confident and make personal attacks on other players using information that was supposed to be confidential but is apparently appropriate fodder for a children’s go kart game. Fuck you Dave! I mean Wario.
If you win…People will genuinely dislike you. Not Wario, but you. Some unspecific competitor will slash the tires on your Explorer and claim he saw a couple of hoodlums milling about a few hours earlier with butterfly knives and silly string. But it’s only a game right?
If you lose…People’s hearts will soar. All that is good will be restored to a peaceful and happy world, but you don’t care because you are cold and soulless.
Bowser- You’re a tough guy.. I guess? People who choose villains and cherish the role have issues. You have clearly never played any Mario games and aren’t aware of the pain and hardship Bowser has caused everyone. You are artistic, but suck at videogames and think Bowser looks cool.
If you win…You implicitly endorse every dictator and their actions throughout history. You agree with the concept of genocide and ethnic cleansing and you will tell your children at the age of 16 months that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
If you lose…Bowser never lose!!! (German accent)
Donkey Kong- You are a chiller. A real cool dude. You prefer the Donkey Kong series to Mario and that’s why you pick DK. Either that, or you think it’s really amusing how uncomfortable he looks stuffed into his tiny go-kart. You don’t care if you win or lose because you know there is more to life.
If you win…You will roll a huge blunt and ask if any one wants a hit.
If you lose…You will roll a huge blunt, smoke it and quickly become disinterested in the game.