Words of Wisdom

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If you cannot command yourself, you cannot command an army of killer robots.

Men argue; female polar bears act.

A painting of cheap scotch does not satisfy hunger.

It’s not polite to talk with a full mouth or a face like the back of a bus.

If you live fearing poultry yards, then you do not live.

There are as many definitions of love as there are people practicing dentistry without a license.

Pimpmobiles say a lot about self-confidence.

Twin gynecologists of few words are the best twin gynecologists.

Be who you want to be, not what Portuguese nuns want you to be.

The only interesting thing that can happen in a Swiss bedroom is an alleged CIA-backed atrocity.

Frivolous fireballs are hurtful fireballs.

Respect other people’s ape masks.

In California, everyone goes to a therapist, is a therapist, or is smothered with goat cheese.

It takes a whole village to eat a child, if the child is obese.

Once a pancake, always a pancake.

Making money selling manure is better than losing money eating manure.

You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from being served in your restaurant as appetizers.

The average dog is a nicer person than the average scheming barber.

There are times when you have to choose between being human and having a pet eel in the family bathtub.

They say you can’t polish a turd. But maybe they don’t have the proper turd-polishing equipment.

An optimist is a person who is always looking for new definitions of the word “super-honkie.”

Beware of the half-Pope — you may have gotten the wrong half.

A helping neighbor is better than a helping mole monster.

Until you place someone in a rat pit, most people believe that you can’t do it.

So many mistake sex for love, money for brains, and intelligent bass players for civilization.

The problem about a slumber party massacre is that if you tell too many people about it, it ceases to be a good thing.

“Thank you” won’t pay the exorcist.

There are five enemies of peace: avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and batcrap-loony thugs.

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I Try Unsuccessfully To Solve Everyday Problems After Watching An Entire Marathon Of Law And Order

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Problem: The shower won’t stop running in the morning.

Rational Solution: Use wrench, call plumber, put bucket under drip, etc.

My New Law and Order Solution: Tell showerhead in low but firm tone that SOMEONE here was going to stop leaking and that the toilet was on the other side of the curtain at this very moment spilling its guts about the rusted pipe in the wall, so now’s the time to start playing ball, son…(I’m bluffing, of course).

* * * * * * *

Problem: My girlfriend and I argue over who is taking the car to work that day.

Rational Solution: Calmly discuss a compromise involving rides, a future schedule, or possibly switching off at lunch.

My New Law and Order Solution: Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, a good man who fell through the cracks of The System finally got pushed past his limit; that much is true. But the moment he brought up her cycle, HE…WENT…TOO…FAR. And so your civic duty here today is obvious: he must be made to take the bus, pure and simple.

* * * * * * *

Problem: My boss calls me into his office to discuss both my being late for work again and the matter of some missing supplies.

Rational Solution: Apologize and explain that I’ve been having some transportation issues since my girlfriend wrecked her car. Also, point out that no, in fact, I don’t know anything about a lost case of printer ink, why does he ask?

My New Law and Order Solution: Treat my boss with contempt as I repeatedly point out that he ain’t got nothing on me and that he better get a warrant if he wants to search my bottom right desk drawer. Then refuse to answer any more questions and demand to be taken back to my cubicle.

* * * * * * *

Problem: My girlfriend’s cat has killed a mouse and left it on our couch while we were at work.

Rational Solution: Calm my girlfriend down by explaining that it’s only meant as a gift and then humanely and sanitarily dispose of the remains.

My New Law and Order Solution: Call roughly a dozen friends to come over and sip coffee while we look at the body and make hard-boiled comments like, “That’s one cat not going hungry tonight” or, “I hope that piece of cheese was worth it” or maybe even, “Let me guess: crowded alley on the night before garbage pickup but not a single witness? Yup, that’s Kittytown for ya.”

* * * * * * *

Problem: Despite (or because of) it being “Nookie Wednesday”, my girlfriend and I grapple with the same old intimacy problems we’ve had for several months now.

Rational Solution: Stop going through the motions, turn on the bedroom light, and really talk to each other about where we think this relationship is headed. And if that includes going our separate ways, then so be it.

My New Law and Order Solution: Start referring to her as “The Perp” and threaten to “take [her] downtown and jam [her] up” and then inquire “would [she] like that, [honeypie]?”

* * * * * * *

Problem: My girlfriend gets seriously fed up with my “stupid little CSI routine” and wishes loudly that I would “drop it already and just grow up and behave like a normal adult.”

Rational Solution: Immediately stop acting like a composite of fictional characters from a television crime-drama and apologize for my childish behavior. Also, stop ending every other sentence with “Chung-chung!”

My New Law and Order Solution: Offer her a deal: I’ll act like an adult for three to five if she cops to Being Controlling. Also, remind her that if this trial goes all the way then the jury is sure to hand down a verdict of Being Totally Just Like Her Mother, chung-chung.

* * * * * * *

Problem: While trying to fall asleep on the couch, I hear our shower floor collapse into the downstairs bathroom as the result of a severe, unchecked leak.

Rational Solution: Call the landlord and the plumber and check on the downstairs neighbors before shutting off the main water valve.

My New Law and Order Solution: Hold my breath, cover my ears, and squeeze my eyes shut so tightly that I can literally see white closing credits on a silent black screen. Coming up next, another ripped-from-the-headlines episode of Law and Order: WNHTS (We Need to Have a Talk Squad)!

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The Thing About You Birds

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You know, the thing about you birds is that you sit on that branch for hours, whistling the same song.

TWEE-twee. Two notes. The same two notes. Over and over. First the high one and then one a little lower.

But, my small, feathery acquaintance, let me ask you this: What do you think will come of all this so-called singing? That you’ll attract a mate? That some female bird will be so taken with your little tweedle-dee routine that she’ll just offer herself no questions asked? That she’ll hear your call and then swoop in and say, “Hey Mr. Bird with no job and no prospects, wanna have some sex?”

Well, good luck. Because I’ll tell you, women don’t seem to like it when guys sit around all day, whether it’s in a “tree” or in what they refer to as “filth” and “crumbs.”

And don’t just dismiss everything she says, because she may have a point about the job. Just loitering on that branch all day whistling isn’t going to get you any closer to becoming a contributing member of society. And even if it did, I wouldn’t show up to your first job interview in months looking anything but your best. Those red and brown feathers may do the trick in the forest but you come like that to an interview and they’ll eat you for lunch (not literally, though I wouldn’t show up around lunchtime. Just to be safe).

Just be careful not to overdo it. I know the logic. When getting dressed for your interview you’ll say, “I should wear something nice, and what’s nicer than a tuxedo?” So you show up in a tuxedo and they, in their corduroys and turtlenecks, ask, “What’s with the tux?” and sensing a fashion gaffe, you feel the only way to save face is to perform that magic trick where you make the baby kitten “laugh,” which, if you knew you were going to be performing it, you would have practiced a little harder and the kitten wouldn’t have stopped breathing.

But those are the chances you take when reaching for your dreams. Unless it’s that dream where you’re walking down the halls of your high school naked but really, you’re more embarrassed because you’re facing allegations of human trafficking. I wouldn’t tell too many people about that dream.

But certainly your dreams are more than this, more than standing on a branch and singing the same two dumbass notes on a loop. Do you think this song of yours is going to make someone stop and say, “Hey bird, quite the song. Here’s a blue ribbon.” Sure, you might be filled with a sense of accomplishment, but then you find out that the blue ribbon is not for musical achievement but for prostate cancer awareness and you freak out and start frightening pedestrians and their children because you get the impression that the ribbon means you actually have prostate cancer, which you don’t, but you didn’t know that at the time. You just wondered how they got all this information about your prostate.

Believe me, your prostate is fine. The point is that you’re a bird and you have wings and you can fly so why would you choose to stand on the same branch and sing the same two notes? Unless it’s because you’re injured and if you are then I’m sorry, but you were probably doing something incredibly stupid, like flying repeatedly into a plate glass window. Why would you do such a thing? Perhaps you were turned down for a job because you dressed inappropriately and might have harmed a young cat during the interview. But that’s no excuse to get all drunk and aggressive and instigate a shoving match with your reflection in the bar window.

If there’s one piece of advice I could hand you, something that will allow you to realize your potential and make your tiny winged life more successful and less complicated, it’s…Oh I see you’ve flown. And I’ve been talking to myself.

You know, the thing about you caterpillars is those creepy-looking cocoons…

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Letter Of Resignation From The Overqualified Cart Organizer At Target

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Dear Brent:

It is with deep regret and a sense of unfulfilled promise that I submit this notice of resignation from my current position at the Batavia Super Target. While I harbor no false illusion that this employment relationship can be repaired, I am hopeful and reasonably optimistic that you will learn from your managerial shortcomings and utilize the talents of the unlucky soul who succeeds me.

My work at Target began last November with big dreams and visions of grandeur. Although I was somewhat disappointed at the corporate office’s summary refusal to interview me for an open senior management position, I did take its e-mail suggestion to pursue what it termed “local retail management opportunities.” When I explained my credentials to you at our initial interview, you appeared energized by my candidacy and genuinely amenable to my hypothesis that talented minds merited strong advancement consideration throughout the organizational hierarchy. You went to great lengths to explain that the inside work environment tended to stifle creativity due to the stringent dictates on store lay-out from headquarters.

And so began my tenure as Director of Outside Logistics/Second Shift, a title which we agreed was befitting a man of my accomplishments and a job which was, according to you, a “total bitch to get anyone to do.” You encouraged me to take on this intellectual challenge, remarking that my civil engineering degree and doctorate in applied mathematics would be put to good use. With the benefit of hindsight, however, it appears that your pull within the organization was not as advertised and that those much-discussed opportunities for “advancement” turned out to be a good bit of crafty salesmanship on your part.

During the Fall months, I spent endless hours developing a complex algorithm that Target could have employed in all of its retail facilities to ensure more efficient cart utilization for the holiday shopping season. You assured me that you would forward this on to “your contact” at the corporate offices in Minnesota. Instead, I come to find out that you and Kristen from “Electronics” used this proprietary diagram as rolling paper to smoke reefer in the storage room after a school formal.

Things got worse after the new year. I did not appreciate your efforts to jettison my union organizing campaign among the junior associates. The fact that they were not able to form legal contracts due to their age does not give you any right to sequester my union activity from their parents and guardians. Among other inexcusable acts, you scheduled “hookah night” at the same time I had planned on convening the initial meeting of the organizing committee. Please be aware that there are legal remedies for interference with federal union campaigns, and I suggest you obtain counsel to ascertain any liability you may have. Perhaps when you graduate from high school, you will learn that not everyone has access to basic health care coverage and other perquisites of employment. In the meantime, the legal process will sort this out.

Even more troubling was your involvement in undermining my February rollout of the titanium infused flat-bed warehouse cart. You initially supported me in this endeavor, assuring me that the company was “on board” with a strategic plan to redress problems associated with the involuntary lot migration of red plastic carts during windy spring conditions. It was also implied (falsely) that Accounting would reimburse the start-up costs I fronted. To develop a prototype, I worked with Lu Shin, a former MIT colleague, whose doctoral thesis “Nonlinearity in Applications of Corrosion-Resistant Metals Through Climate Dynamics” received widespread acclaim in civil engineering academia during the late ’70s. When it was time to implement the prototype, Skip and A.J. decided to take a mid-shift frolic through the Wendy’s drive-thru, load the cart up with “Biggie” colas, and see whether it would make it across Randall Road during rush hour. I think you know how that experiment turned out. I have not spoken to Lu Shin since.

My career has inexplicably stagnated, and responsibility rests at your juvenile feet. The events of the last ten days simply have resulted in a workplace to which no reasonable human being should be subjected. Myriad instances of neglect and malfeasance continue to occur under your watch. I show up to work on Saturday morning for opening shift to find out that you and your buddies saran-wrapped all the shopping carts and chained them together in the Applebee’s lot. I wish I could begin to describe the chaos that resulted from 8 until noon.

Also, please don’t think I will forget last Thursday’s practical-joke-turned-attempted-assault any time soon. Officer Washington of the Batavia Police Department informs me that the craigslist personal ad in question was posted in “Casual Encounters — M4M” and contained an embedded picture of me on duty along with a list of deplorable and morally bankrupt “turn-ons” that I supposedly was seeking to fulfill, which included aggressive role-playing and submitting to something called “roofies” (?). I hope you are aware that the armed, leather-clad perpetrator was a registered sex offender from Nebraska now facing extradition proceedings. I have a strong suspicion that you and your friend Mark were behind this little ruse, but we’ll have to let a federal court subpoena resolve that. (You’ll note that my labor rights counsel, Marvin Winger, is copied on this registered letter.)

Am I left to conclude that those opportunities for career advancement that you sold me on last November were not as plentiful as I might have first thought? With my departure, who is going to help you with all those vexing geometry assignments? And what is the future of outside logistics at the Batavia Super Target? The answers to these questions may not be easy, but they are indeed self-evident. It is disappointing that our relationship thus comes to an unsatisfactory denouement.

Very Truly Yours,

J. Caldwell Robinson, Ph. D (MIT, 1981)

cc: Marvin C. Winger, III., Esq.

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