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Dude looks like a lady

Brad Pitt

I’ve always thought I’d be pretty as a girl. You might say that’s because I sort of look like a girl or have girlish features. I don’t think that’s true, but I’d probably be a solid 6.5 or a 7 if I were female.

I mention this because I went to dinner with my wife and sister-in-law the other week, and I was mistaken for a girl. Specifically, I was one of the “ladies.”

We settled into our table at one of South Tucson’s best Mexican restaurants, eager to nosh on food so good it couldn’t possibly be American. Anyway, I wore a navy blue T-shirt that night. I had on jeans and tennis shoes. My hair was and is cut short, like many guys. I spoke in my normal, medium-manly voice. At no point did I ask someone for a tampon.

None of that screams “that’s a dude,” but neither did it suggest I was a girl. It was as “me” as I’ve ever been. If it were an audition for the role of Most Average American Male, I would’ve been cast.

Nonetheless, someone thought I had a vagina.

Our waitress came to our table and said, “Are you ladies ready to order?” I assumed she was doing the proper thing and asking the real women to order first. But, admittedly, I wondered to myself: Does she think I’m a girl?

Nah, no chance. I quickly dismissed it and ordered a bean and cheese burrito. Shortly thereafter, though, the waitress brought our bill, and this time she made her perception clear.

“Thanks for coming, ladies. Have a good night.”

I was initially embarrassed, mainly because my wife and her sister cackled like they had just heard the funniest joke ever told. How could I be mistaken for a girl? I instantly scrutinized every move I made during the meal. Nothing I did was outright feminine. If anything, I was gender neutral, so maybe our waitress thought it was 50-50 and she just flipped a coin. Heads a boy, tails a girl. And tails never fails.

Or maybe (being the obvious non-native English speaker she was) she thought to herself, “These Americans say ‘you guys’ to describe groups of girls, so it probably works for ‘ladies,’ too.”

But I know that’s not the case. Something about my appearance convinced her that I was capable of giving birth.

It’s interesting. I’ve looked that same way practically my entire life. If that appearance led someone to mistake me for a female, then maybe one stranger each day thinks the same thing. How many people walk past me and think, “That girl’s face is too shiny” … ?

I mean, what am I supposed to do? I can’t be expected to make my manhood known at every meal.

“Hi, I’ll have the cheese enchiladas and, by the way, I have a penis in my pants.”

I didn’t genuinely care then and I care even less now. She probably thought I was a nice lady who tips well. Besides, I’ve got a wife, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve mailed it in, I don’t really need to impress anyone for the rest of my life. I can just be Plain Ol’ Jane until the day I die, and I’m fine with that.

20 things more enjoyable than a migraine

I went to bed at 5:47 p.m. last night because I had a migraine. Apparently, the only way to get rid of a migraine is by going to bed no matter what time of day it is or how wide awake you are. (Doctors can prescribe magical pills for these headaches, but rumor has it that the pill is either laced with heroin or takes you inside The Matrix.)

A migraine is the most god-awful ruiner of life there is. For me, it starts with a flickering light that leaves me temporarily blind in my left eye. It’s at that point that I know I will soon be tormented by a vicious whore of a headache.

The forewarning is the worst part. If I just suddenly had a throbbing headache, maybe I wouldn’t hate it so much. Instead, the blinding light lasts for 30 minutes before the pain even sets in. It’s like a friend telling you, “I’m going to borrow your car, leave a smelly dead body in the trunk and then break your taillights so a cop pulls you over.”

Yes, it is that bad. That’s the perfect comparison, actually.

I can’t say for sure that my night would have been very exciting sans migraine, but it sure as hell would’ve been better than going to bed before 6 p.m. like a 5-month old infant.

While trying to fall asleep as sunlight still poured through the bedroom window, I tried to think of experiences that are worse than migraines. I couldn’t think of a single thing. But in 18 seconds I came up with a list of 20 experiences that, despite being torturous, are still better than having your life ruined by a Nazi-approved headache.

20 things more enjoyable than a migraine

1. Death by bulldozer

2. Eating trash

3. Wetting your pants in front of your boss on the first day of work

4. Wetting your boss’ pants on the first day of work

5. Tying your shoes together and trying to run from a bear

6. Being a drug mule

7. Having voluntary surgery to remove your eyelids

8. Telling Mike Tyson he can throw the first punch

9. Swallowing a hammer

10. Playing the Chuck-E-Cheese band’s music on repeat

11. Wearing underwear made of fiberglass

12. Swimming in shark-infested waters with no arms and a bloody nose

13. Asking a police officer if you can borrow some cocaine

14. Using a rattlesnake as a pillow

15. Tandem skydiving with a piano and no parachute

16. Running as fast as you can down the face of a mountain

17. Putting out a campfire by smothering it with your body

18. Robbing a bank and telling the teller you’re not in a hurry

19. Snorting dried bird poop

20. Delivering a 19-pound baby while rotting in prison for a crime you didn’t commit

Enjoy your day.

My high school glory days as a Chinese gymnast

That’s me, far right, throwing my hat in the air like I just don’t care.

There I stood in the middle of a stranger’s living room, 24 hours removed from my high school graduation, bear-hugging one of my best friends as we cried for an hour like a couple of 4-year-olds who were just informed that Santa Claus was dead and birthdays were canceled for life.

In our defense, many of the tears were brought on by the incredible feat we achieved that night. Four friends and I joined The Century Club, which requires drinking 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes. That equates to one beer every 12.5 minutes and, yes, it was way more difficult to finish than high school.

Naturally, the alcohol opened the floodgates of sadness that built up over the last couple weeks of high school. The night ended with one friend wearing a toddler’s pair of Mickey Mouse undies on his head and four people puking everywhere, and often not in a toilet.

It all signified the same thing: Life after high school was going to be messy, smelly and hard to clean up. Oh, how true it was.

These memories — not just the ones of me acting like a stupid teenager — come roaring back every May, and I yearn for a return to high school. I wasn’t particularly good at anything or popular, but nothing can match the carefree nature of those life-altering four years, when my biggest concern was getting to the cafeteria before the pizza was all gone.

Without question, those were the glory days.

Me and my compatriots at the Olympics.

I started at Sahuaro High School in Tucson standing 5 feet tall and weighing a robust 72 pounds. (I was equal in size to a female Chinese gymnast, literally, but my English was much better.) I knew zero people on the first day and probably ate lunch alone because no one wanted to sit next to the fourth grader who wandered away from recess and onto a high school campus.

It was an ignominious start, but Sahuaro quickly established itself as The Best Place on Earth. I loved every day there, even the day my Spanish teacher told me to pull up my pants and “stop acting like a punk mama’s boy.”

I expect a lot of great things from the rest of my life, but nothing will compare to the pure enjoyment of my high school years. They were filled with unforgettable moments — some bizarre, some funny, some embarrassing, some all of the above. For instance…

• I met my wife in high school. She was a braces-wearing twerp of a freshman, and I was a senior, disinterested in the cute little brace-face who stared at me as she walked past my classroom and into hers. I decided to prank call her one night, and she quickly found out it was me. I denied it anyway.

(She got the last laugh, though. Four years later — once she was all grown up and I convinced her to break up with her boyfriend to start dating me — she puked all over my bed. But then I accidentally dropped her into the puke face-first, so maybe I win.)

• I liked to hang out on campus after school, and one afternoon I was with a friend and his girlfriend. They went to another part of campus and returned 10 minutes later. That night I learned he lost his virginity on the floor of the girls bathroom.

• I inadvertently started a fistfight between two classmates junior year by asking Guy 1 when his girlfriend dumped him for Guy 2. Guy 1 said I was mistaken, but then I regretfully informed him I saw Guy 2 kissing his girlfriend before school that day. He angrily asked, “Are you sure?” and I said, “Definitely.” So Guy 1 crossed the classroom and decked Guy 2 in the jaw. Turns out, the girl I saw Guy 2 kissing was Guy 1′s sister. Whoopsie daisy.

Garth’s song didn’t help me find luck with the older ladies.

• As a freshman, I anonymously gave a very pretty senior a love song I’d written her. It was Garth Brooks’ “Shameless,” but I assumed she’d never heard it and wouldn’t discover what a fraud I was. She never wrote back, and I couldn’t tell if it was because of the plagiarism or the fact that I never told her my name. Either way, she’s a tramp.

• My freshman year, I wrote an article for the school newspaper that said our football coach wasn’t as good as our hated rival’s coach. Our coach and his players really didn’t like me after that, but I wasn’t scared. Only a coward would hit a tiny gymnast.

• I got ejected from a basketball game senior year when I hurled a string of obscenities at the opposing team’s star player and told him we were going to kick their asses. I failed to notice the referee standing right next to him. Timeout was promptly called and a police officer politely escorted me out of the gym.

• I told my honors English teacher the horrible lie that I couldn’t take her (more difficult) class freshman year because it violated my religious views. (God hates persuasive essays.) I still feel bad about this one.

This all seems trivial and makes me sound like a terrible person, but these are just the memories that stand out most today, for whatever reason. I promise I did some good things, such as playing classic rock records in student council and eating Golden Grahams for breakfast every day. I was also an honor student and can say with certainty that at least seven people thought I was a pretty nice guy.

Given the opportunity to time travel, I wouldn’t do high school over again. I milked it for everything it had the first time, and I enjoyed the experience more than anyone in the history of humanity.

So bring on the nostalgia and another trip down memory lane. I might not cry over days gone by anymore, but if I do, I might need you to hold me and then wipe my mouth when I’m done vomiting.

A list of people who are trying to kill you

Hey, kid. Wanna know what heaven looks like?

The world is filled with fearmongers, people who will have you believe that terrorists and criminals sit next to us on the bus or stand behind us in line at the grocery store.

But I can’t live with that much mistrust in my life, so — to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling — I prefer to believe the best in everyone.

There are a few major exceptions, though.

The following types of people are the scum of the Earth and are actively trying to kill you. You’ve been warned:

Adults who no longer like kids’ cereals: At what age do you murder your own soul and decide that you dislike Lucky Charms or Cookie Crisp? If you don’t want to start your day with a bowl full of mini chocolate chip cookies, then you don’t deserve happiness. Worse than that, you thrive on being unhappy, and you want to see other people suffer.

If you see someone sleeping like this, the world might soon explode.

People who can fall asleep anytime, anywhere: Think about it like this: If the world were about to end, what would you do? Call your loved ones? Say a prayer? Not me. I’d take a nap. That way, when the meteor hits Earth, I’m dreamin’ about Cookie Crisp and won’t feel a thing. People who can fall asleep at will are aware of this, and they are hardwired to know when Armageddon is coming. So every time I see someone just randomly nod off, I run to the nearest bomb shelter. You should, too.

People who don’t drink water with their meals: How is it possible that someone eats an entire meal without drinking liquids? My wife does this three times a day, and it’s completely unnatural. If you don’t drink something, you will choke. If you choke, you can’t breathe. Clearly, people who don’t drink with their meals cannot breathe and are lifeless zombies who should be destroyed.

People who don’t own a VCR: If you grew up before the year 2000, you had your home movies filmed on a VHS cassette tape. But most of you don’t own VCRs anymore, which means you don’t want any part of your past and obviously have something to hide. How many puppies did you kill in the third grade, jerkface? God sees your sins.

People who have no idea what a cassette tape is: I’m looking at you, youth of America. You have no redeeming qualities, and this is Exhibit A.

People who don’t wear socks with their shoes: Women do this with slip-on shoes in the dead of winter, willing to let their feet freeze as part of a fashion statement. Men do it with loafers in the summer and let pools of sweat gather under their toes. If you don’t wear socks with your shoes, something is clearly wrong with your brain and you’d probably shank me if you had the chance.

Guys who wear skinny jeans: ‘Cause anyone who walks out of the house looking that ridiculous doesn’t give a f*** about anything.

“Look, Dolores. This is where we’re gonna drop the nukes!”

Elderly ladies: They all smell the same. It’s a good smell, but it’s like they belong to a secret society in which they share the same lotions, perfumes and detergents. And those items are all filled with chemicals. So let’s add it up: A group of women no one would suspect of any wrongdoing + a secret society + chemical agents = the world’s most dangerous terrorist group. But, hey, at least the bombs they drop will smell like lavender.

People who don’t like movies: Even at their worst, movies provide a nice escape from the everyday rigors of life. People who don’t like movies obviously revel in life’s misery and want to be best friends with Satan.

People who don’t like dogs: There is not a single redeeming quality about someone who doesn’t like dogs. You can be more of a “cat person,” but if you don’t like dogs, then you’re on a bullet train to hell.

People who eat mushrooms: Let’s ignore for a moment that they grow in poop. Just kidding, because it’s impossible to ignore the fact that mushrooms grow in poop. If I gave you a T-bone steak and said, “This was created in a big pile of manure,” would you still eat it? If so, you’re probably a murderer.

Sports: Living proof that God hates all of us

The UA basketball team makes me suicidal. (Photo by Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star)

It will be a surprise if I love my children as much as I love the Arizona basketball team.

That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But that’s been the primary thought in my head since the U of A, my beloved alma mater, ended its turd of a season Saturday with a turd of a loss to a turd of a team, thereby missing the NCAA tournament, thereby sending me into a depressed funk that likely will last until Thanksgiving. Of 2016.

Why do people care so much about sports? There is nothing more ridiculous than emotionally investing yourself so deeply in a team (or teams) that, even in an outstanding season, will break your heart. It’s like having a 50-year marriage to the most amazing person alive and then, on your deathbed, she confesses, “By the way, none of our kids are related to you.”

That brings me back to my opening statement. Of course I’ll love my future children even more than the UA basketball team, but it seems like a serious stretch at the moment. My relationship to Arizona basketball is as personal as anything I’ve ever experienced.

That’s perhaps the most humiliating admission I’ve ever made, but it’s 100 percent true. I love Arizona basketball more than I love most of my family members, so if my kid can’t hit an open jumper with the Pac-12 championship on the line, then what possible joy can he or she bring me?

Even the best teams regularly fail and make their fans cry. The weird chicken outfits only increase the pain.

It’s stupid. Rooting religiously for a sports team is stupid, all-caps STUPID, and it’s even worse because the stupidity leads to depression.

I’ve been dealt some serious blows in my life, the worst imaginable, yet my generally cheery disposition never let me linger too long on the heartache. Truthfully, the only pain I ever dwell on is the sting of an Arizona basketball season that ends without a national championship.

Guess what? In my 30 years on Earth, 29 have ended in misery. And the UA is an elite program.

The first year I was old enough to really appreciate sports was 1988, the Wildcats’ best season ever, the year they were destined for the throne. The thought of them falling short never entered my mind. So on the night they lost in the Final Four, I walked from the TV room into the kitchen and quietly sobbed into a bowl of popcorn.

Six months later I had open-heart surgery. Final Four loss + broken heart = surgery. Simple math.

I cried almost every season thereafter, well into adulthood. In 2001, I was just shy of my 20th birthday when an incredibly good and likable Wildcats team lost the national championship game to Duke. There were probably 15 people in my apartment for the game, and I cried in front of all of them. That night I got drunk on a Gatorade/vodka mix and peed on my young neighbor’s tricycle. (I’m not proud of what of did, but I’m not hiding from my past either.)

And I’m still pretty convinced that I had a mild heart attack during the UA’s NCAA tournament run last year, when they were one shot — one INCH of one shot — away from the holy land, the Final Four. The image of Jamelle Horne missing that shot literally keeps me awake at night, 12 months later. It will forever.

Don’t worry, Jamelle. You aren’t the only one who’s haunted. (Photo by Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star)

Is this not the most pathetic story you’ve ever read? What kind of idiots are we to be so obsessed with this nonsense?

Take the New York Yankees, a team I love on nearly the same level as UA hoops. The Yankees are the best professional sports franchise in the history of the world. (That’s not hyperbole, either; that’s the truth, Ruth.) Anyway, every year they are very good, and many years they are the best team in baseball.

But every time they lose a game, it ruins my day. I become a little angry at the fact that I’m still alive. Now consider the fact that the Yankees lose 60 to 65 times in an excellent season. That’s two full months of bad days each year, all because the Yankees lost a baseball game. (This doesn’t include the playoffs, when a loss is worse than having to spoon naked with Jabba the Hutt.)

My wife will give birth to a child in six months, and I’m supposed to help mold this kid into a fully functioning citizen of the world, a person who has a handle on his or her emotions in order to successfully navigate life. Based on what you just read, do I sound qualified to dish out advice on rational behavior?

Normally, I’d say yes. But now, in the wake of the UA’s most recent season-ending failure, I feel like breaking your fingers and throwing your cat in a dumpster.

Bear Down.

This blog will save your life and pee your pants

Hyper Bully may have inspired Zach to choke Screech, and Slater is delighted.

I started this blog, my first ever, late last year. It might have been the most worthless decision I’ve ever made.

There are literally hundreds of millions of blogs on the Internet, and each is as insignificant as mine. What is the point of having one? The odds of someone even accidentally stumbling across this website are horrible.

Yet somehow, people still seem to find little ol’ Hyper Bully.

WordPress provides site analytics that show you how readers come to your blog, including which search terms they use to get there. It’s pretty amusing to skim the list and then wonder why in the world certain words turned up a blog about a whole lot of nothing. (If anything, it makes me realize that my first 11 posts were filled with idiotic ramblings.)

Here are some of the most bizarre search terms that steered people to my site. These are all 100 percent real.

——————————

  • Teen wetting diaper
  • Boy wets bed
  • Wearing a diaper at a sleepover
  • 1974 diaper
  • Teen nappy wet boy
  • Pee boy
    (For the record, one blog post included the sentences, “I’m going to start a game where everyone has a sleepover at your house and wets the bed,” “[I]nfants will no longer be allowed to wear diapers” and “If you negatively affect my moviegoing experience, I will pee on you.”)
  • Choke someone
  • Bradley Cooper high school nerd
  • What is a hyper bully?
  • Matando a Cupido
    (Spanish for “killing Cupid”)
  • Happy VD Day
  • Wife got mad about Valentine’s Day gift – her fault or mine?
  • I dislike you
  • I really dislike you
  • I extremely dislike you
  • Names that will get your kid’s ass kicked
  • Baby that looks like a goblin
  • Kid ass
  • Best boy names
    (Good thing my wife and I already picked the best one ever.)
  • Frank vowels
    (As compared to unforthcoming vowels?)
  • Red Sox
    (I hope the person who found my blog using these Satanic words immediately fell off a cliff.)
  • The best poop eating movies ever
    (I can’t say I’ve ever written about one, let alone seen one.)
  • Will movies destroy me someday?
  • Movies to make my girlfriend love me more
  • The Godfather killed my brain
  • Michael Cera should die
    (Preaching to the choir, brother.)
  • Short people smell funny
  • My wife takes too long in the grocery store
  • I think my wife is a vampire. Help?

——————————

As you can tell, this blog is an invaluable resource for people who want to read about urine, lousy marital advice, upsetting your wife on Valentine’s Day and movies about poop that will destroy your brain.

I better start writing my acceptance speech for the 2012 Humanitarian Award. Until next time, folks.

Valentine’s Day is for sinners and criminals

There are three things in life that I won’t tolerate. They are:

1. People who use the words chillax or chillaxin

2. Arizona State fans who live to age 40

3. Valentine’s Day

I only dislike two holidays, and one of them celebrates a 15th century explorer who enslaved and killed thousands of people. Somehow, Valentine’s Day is worse.

Here’s a day when the entire world takes a look in the mirror and says, “Y’know what? Somebody better love the sh*t out of me today.” Girls expect it from guys, and guys from girls, and girls from girls and so on. Everyone, even you, even if you aren’t wicked about it, is expecting a big show of affection that you don’t expect the other 364 days of the year.

(On top of that, Valentine’s Day is a big middle finger to everyone who’s single. It’s the world’s way of saying, “Hey, we’re having this enormous celebration, but you can’t come because no one loves you enough. Be more lovable and come next year.”)

"Love me or die."

Allow me to create a metaphor for the typical Valentine’s Day lovewhore: My dog Yankee often sits on my lap and throws back her head against my body. She wants me to pet her, and so I do, happily. After a while, I stop.

Yankee throws back her head again, this time violently, and looks at me with a sense of annoyance, as if to say, “I know you loved me just a minute ago, but you’re not loving me enough. I need you to love me even better now, and you better have a Snausage for me, too.”

That’s exactly how humans think on Valentine’s Day: Love me more, and feed me well. The only difference for Yankee is that every second of her life is Valentine’s Day. (She’s also a world-class assassin who doesn’t take “no” for an answer.)

Four years ago, I made an undying vow to boycott Valentine’s Day. I don’t buy my wife flowers, cook her a special meal, write her poems, nothing. I’ve done each of those things on dozens of occasions in the past nine years, but on Feb. 14, I inwardly celebrate the fact that I’m not getting her anything.

Nowadays, I’m more likely to say “Please run me over in your car” than I am to utter the words “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

It’s her fault, really. I used to get into the whole Valentine’s Day routine because it was my time to shine. Our first Valentine’s Day was essentially Valentine’s Week. I made a few home-cooked meals, gave her little gifts, wrote sweet-yet-witty poems, took her to movies and all that. (Within six months of dating me, she was my fiancee. Homeboy got game, OK?)

She did sweet things for me, too, but after the first couple years, the reciprocity disappeared. And in 2008, after I planned a surprise date that involved a nice dinner out and a movie, she let it be known that Valentine’s Day was all about the guy doing something for the girl.

You can guess my response. I’ll let Garrett Morris re-enact it.

Given that and the petulant show-me-more-love nature of the festivities, I gave up on Valentine’s Day. I still love my wife just as much as normal, if not more, every Feb. 14, but I’m careful how I show it. I don’t want her to think I’m upping the ante because it’s some bogus holiday.

And for you guys and girls who dislike the holiday for the same reasons I do, let me give you a few pointers on how to still be loving while also staying true to your boycott:

1. Compliment your partner’s looks, but not too much. Example: “You look nice, but I bet you’ll look even better tomorrow.” Careful, though, because this could backfire if it sounds too much like, “Better luck next time, sport.”

And for dessert, a stick of Juicy Fruit.

2. Offer to cook dinner, but only give quasi-appealing options. Example: “What’ll it be, hon? I’ll whip you up a mean PB & J, or we can split a baked potato. Your call.”

3. If your partner cooks a meal, be only mildly excited. I actually said these words to my wife once as she cooked dinner: “It kind of smells like diarrhea in here.” To her credit, she didn’t set my face on fire while I slept. So take what I said but tone it down by 80 percent.

4. If gifts must be exchanged, be practical. Examples: New coat hangers or travel-size toothpaste or a gallon of windshield wiper fluid.

Fear not, friends. The world returns to normal tomorrow.

Congratulations! You’re having a goblin!

All newborn babies look similar to this, only sometimes hairless.

In the fifth grade I had a girlfriend named Alaina, who was very pretty and, being so attractive, deserved a good kissing. I was too scared, though, because she was a take-charge kind of girl who always got what she wanted, so much so that she made me get her pregnant.

Well, sort of.

Alaina called my house one night and said she had some big news. A friend was with her, and they were all worked up about something. I thought she was gonna dump me, but it was just the opposite: Alaina and I were about to start a family.

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

I didn’t know what to say, but it was probably something along the lines of, “Mmmphokducktales.”

I was scared. I thought I was in a lot of trouble because I was only 10 and had miraculously knocked up some chick I’d been dating for, I dunno, nine days. After a few minutes, I hung up the phone and walked to my room. I laid down on my bed, Ferris Bueller style, and — suddenly — pure excitement coursed through my veins.

“I’m gonna be a dad,” I said to myself with a huge grin plastered on my face.

I knew it didn’t make any sense to have impregnated someone without so much as kissing her. But I dismissed all rational thought that night: Nothing was going to separate me from my baby.

It was all a prank, of course, but the story is true. Last week’s story of how I found out my wife is pregnant was far less shocking, primarily because I actually had something to do with it. And the fact that it’s real makes it even more exciting and, mostly, incredibly weird.

The pregnancy was supposed to remain a secret for several weeks longer, but my wife treats a secret like it’s a severed head that just landed in her lap. (“I can’t hold this thing anymore!!!”)

The Hansen pee stick, valued at $850.

Within 10 minutes of receiving the result of our positive blood test, she posted a photo of a stick she peed on to her Facebook page, and then came a lot of congratulatory comments and phone calls and text messages. It was a great day.

But it was also bizarre. No one in the history of humanity has been more ill-prepared to be a dad than I am. I still feel like an 18-year-old who wants to spend his days drinking Capri Sun, eating frozen chimichangas and watching “Billy Madison.” How am I gonna raise a child to be of any value to society?

If you’ve ever seen me hold a baby, you’ll know that it’s a bad mix. My technique is this:

  • Firmly grasp the child with both hands
  • Lock your elbows so that no movement can occur
  • Stare directly at the child and never divert your eyes for any reason
  • At the first sign of the child’s discomfort, awkwardly pass the child to the nearest person
  • Exhale and wash hands thoroughly

Hopefully the sheer terror of holding a baby subsides soon because I don’t think one can be a worthwhile father without ever physically touching his kid. But since we’re on this whole holding-the-baby topic, I do have one requirement.

Someone better give my baby a bath before I hold it the first time in the delivery room. All newborns (and I mean ALL of them) look like slimy, heroin-addicted goblins right out of the womb. I’m happy and excited to be in the room for the whole procedure, but before you hand me the baby, you better at least toss it down a Slip ‘n’ Slide to clean it off.

I’ve seen pictures of the delivery room scene. I might wear a hazmat suit. Mama didn’t raise no fool.

Nonetheless, I’m excited. Freaked out, for sure, but primarily excited. I’ve already told you what the baby’s name will be if it’s a boy, which will make this whole process even more badass. And having a girl would be equally great, no matter how many people tell me that raising a teenage daughter is more grueling than riding in the Tour de France with one leg.

So we’ll see how it goes. The estimated time of arrival for the baby is late September. Somewhere in the world, Alaina from the fifth grade is weeping at the thought of what might have been…

Living in a fantasy world of nerds

Three guys walk into a bar.

One is wearing wizard’s robe, a fake white beard and introduces himself as Gandalf’s cousin, Blargonzodorf.

One has a bowl cut reminiscent of Lloyd Christmas and a button pinned to his Dance Dance Revolution T-shirt that says, “Math is radical!”

And one looks like Bradley Cooper, dresses like George Clooney and spends his free time managing four fantasy football rosters and worrying if a shoulder injury to Tom Brady will prevent his team, Mayor of Pimpville, from beating his friend’s squad, LadiesLoveMy6Pack, to win the fantasy league trophy made of empty Keystone Light cans.

Tell me: Which of these three is the biggest dork of all?

I don’t think the average person fully understands the severity of dorkiness that resides deep in the souls of people who play fantasy football. Because it is associated with the NFL (America’s most popular sport) and is based on the real-life actions of world-class athletes, its participants are mostly given a reprieve from being what they are: a monstrous collection of nerds.

You cannot deny your place among the village of nerds just because you’re a fan of a manly sport like football, or because you otherwise look like you belong to the “in” crowd. You are a weirdo who does weird things in a fake football league. There’s no way around it.

Today, I’m sad to admit that I am a fantasy football dork of the highest order. I don’t dress like Clooney, look like Cooper (he’s no Gosling, anyway), nor do I have a team nickname that instantly identifies me as The World’s Biggest Tool, but I must acknowledge that I have a problem.

I spent nearly the entire weekend thinking and worrying about my place in Sunday’s fantasy league championship. It wasn’t unlike the anxiety a regular sports fan feels before a favorite team plays — except for the fact that my team doesn’t really exist.

Here is fantasy football explained to the layman: Take 10 green army men, give them names, and give each “player” points for their actions during the course of a battle against another team that is being controlled by someone else in another state. Agonize over the fact that you used one player instead of another, thereby costing your team valuable points, and then sacrifice precious hours of sleep doing Internet research in order to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

Then go call your parents and apologize to them for disgracing the family name by being such an enormous dweeb.

That’s how I felt yesterday when I realized what a loser I am. I was a nervous wreck all day. I ignored my wife for a handful of hours (oddly, she didn’t seem to mind) and contemplated suicide every time the tide appeared to turn against me. I flipped back and forth between the day’s four TV games, and I had three games on at once on my laptop.

I cherished every point I accrued as though they directly benefited the life of my unborn son, Indiana Jones. No one in the history of nerddom was as pathetic as I was yesterday. I made George McFly look like the prom king.

In defense of fantasy football players, there is money on the line — and sometimes it’s a nice chunk of change. Nonetheless, it’s amazing and humiliating the things we fantasy team owners do to put ourselves in the right competitive mind-set and in a position to win money.

I am not admitting that I have done any of the following, but I guarantee you there is a substantial number of fantasy football players who have:

  • Given their team a pregame pep talk to encourage maximum effort
  • Staged a press conference in their delusional minds to answer questions about their team’s performance
  • Discussed (out loud and to themselves) their reasons for using or not using certain players, as though they were real NFL analysts
  • Prayed incessantly for God’s help to beat Da Bone Crushers in order to make the playoffs
  • Refused to brush their teeth because their current winning streak began one Sunday four weeks ago when they were hungover and forgot about basic hygiene

This is the community I belong to. If I were still in high school, I’d be getting swirlies all day long. Fantasy football dorks were made to have their heads dunked in toilet water.

I really dislike you, but it’s only temporary

The holiday season does not bring out the best in me because, quite frankly, I’m not a whiner to begin with. I’m at my best 360 days a year, with a handful of I-might-choke-someone days sprinkled here and there.

One of those days is by design, and it’s Dec. 23: Festivus.

A holy prophet, Frank Costanza, started Festivus in response to the fanaticism and frenzy of the holiday season. (For you ignorant souls out there, watch this 60-second explanation of the birth of Festivus.) Of the many appealing features of Festivus, the greatest is the Airing of Grievances, in which a person lets others know just how much disappointment they’ve caused in the past year.

Today, the gloves come off. Most of you are safe from my Festivus-inspired disdain, but others might be caught in a hailstorm of hatred and ridicule. If you’ve got a problem with that, take a long look in the mirror, jerkface.

I consider myself a good person, but today I’m gonna try to make you cry.

Target I — Michael Cera: If I saw this guy on the street, I’d quickly build a campfire and throw him in it.

In 2008, for whatever reason, I decided to grow my hair longer than I ever had. I quickly realized I have a beautiful head of hair that should be fawned over and appreciated by the masses. Sadly, I realized this at the height of Michael Cera’s popularity, which he gained by acting like the same awkward loser in every movie or TV show he’s ever been in.

The look-alike comparisons trickled in, but I shrugged them off. Then I became a high school journalism teacher, and those teenage bastards were relentless. I mean, there’s got to be something to the rumors, right? Naturally, I cut my hair and the comparisons stopped.

When Michael Cera dies, entire nations will rejoice. And by “entire nations” I mean me and my beautiful head of hair.

Target II — Vowel-haters: Here’s a quick list of things that won’t exist in 10 years: polar bears, print newspapers and vowels.

The first two are debatable, but the third is a guarantee. By now you’ve undoubtedly noticed how much dumber society becomes each year, and I attribute that to text messaging and Twitter. Several generations of people (mine included) feel the need to express their thoughts as quickly possible, and, apparently, the only way they can do that is by eliminating vowels.

Check the cell phone of any teenager in America, and you’ll undoubtedly see this: “Dnt evr tlk 2 tht grl agn cuz ur myn” or “OMG did u c wht Jstn Bbr jst sed abt ur bubz???”

The problem is that these little consonant whores know their language is intelligible enough to understand, which means it’ll only get worse and dictionaries and spelling bees (of which I’m a two-time winner, thank you very little) will no longer exist by 2025.

Target III — Word-abbreviators: The aforementioned younger generations are most guilty of this crime, in which normal words are cut in half in order to accomplish God knows what. Examples:

  • “What’s the situation?” becomes “What’s the sitch?”
  • “I’ll talk to my parents” becomes “I’ll talk to the ‘rents.”
  • “You’re so special” becomes “You’re so spesh!”

Here’s my contribution to these two language-shortening epidemics:

  • “Say the word ‘preggers’ and ‘I’ll cut you’ becomes ‘U guna die.’ “

Target IV — “White elephant” parties: I went nearly 31 years without ever playing this immoral holiday game, but then I played it three times last week, including once while on the clock at work.

You know the rules: Everyone opens a gift and then has free rein to trade in their crappy present for one they like better. Inevitably, someone gets stuck with homemade mittens or a ballpoint pen.

The underlying lesson is that, for at least one day, it’s OK to take something that belongs to someone else and then laugh in their face about it. While we’re in the process of reversing valuable lessons our parents taught us, I’m going to start a game where everyone has a sleepover at your house and wets the bed.

Target V — Makers of nicknames: In the 1920s, people were so clever that they took a badass name like Babe Ruth and made it even better with monikers like “The Great Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat.” Alas, there is no creativity left in the world, as evidenced by the idiotic formula that is used to devise modern-day nicknames.

Is your last name Jones? You’re now “Jonesy.” If it’s Gardner, you’re now “Gardy.” Have a plain name like Jennifer Lopez? Now everyone will call you “J-Lo.” Even if you have a horrible name like Peter Bartholomew, someone will eventually turn it into “P-Bart.”

Sorry, but if your name is as lame as Peter Bartholomew, you don’t deserve a damn nickname.

Target VI — Life insurance companies: I was denied life insurance coverage this year because I have a pre-exisiting health condition. It wasn’t a surprise and didn’t bother me until the company sent a letter saying they denied me because I have a condition that, y’know, warrants life insurance coverage.

I say we apply this logic — overtly denying people the things they really need — across society. Henceforth, infants will no longer be allowed to wear diapers, zoos must remove all barriers between park visitors and the deadly animals, skydivers will receive a backpack filled with Skittles instead of a parachute, and firefighters must now contain fires using a strongly worded speech rather than water.

Target Last — People who talk or text in a movie theater: This is your last warning. If you negatively affect my moviegoing experience, I will pee on you.

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