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Posts from the ‘Soapbox’ Category

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.


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.

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’ one more time, 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.

Attention, short people: You’re unwanted

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing a blog that approximately eight people will read.

No, my perfect world involves me hitting .330 for the Yankees, or singing to a sold-out audience at Madison Square Garden, or – above all else – floating amid the weightlessness of space as a NASA-trained astronaut.

Sadly, this world crapped on my grandest dreams by giving me limited athletic ability, the singing talents of Enrico Pallazzo and the intellectual capacity of a decapitated goat.

Some people simply can’t perform certain jobs. I’m OK with that. But I realized on my flights from Oregon to Tucson on Saturday that even seemingly normal occupations are quite exclusive.

Exhibit A: You can’t be a flight attendant if you’re too short.

I’ve been on hundreds of flights in my lifetime, but it didn’t really occur to me until the weekend that virtually all the stewardesses are notably taller than average.

Curious, I asked one of the Southwest Airlines flight attendants if there was a height requirement for folks like her.

“There are certain requirements, yes,” said the 5-foot-10-inch lady.

I didn’t ask her to explain the rationale behind the you-must-be-this-tall-to-work-here mandate because the reasons are obvious to me. Here they are:

No one respects a pipsqueak. You have to enforce a lot of federal regulations as a flight attendant, and everyone is annoyed by most of the rules. So if you’re 5-0 and you tell someone to turn off their electronic device, they’ll probably kick you in your little legs and stuff you in an overhead compartment.

Speaking of overhead compartments, you can’t reach them. If the Federal Aviation Administration left you and a bunch of hobbits in charge, you would be of no help to the socially accepted short people who need to safely stow their luggage.

The pre-flight safety demonstration would go unnoticed. You can’t properly instruct passengers how to put on an oxygen mask if they can’t see you over the seats in front of them.

In the event of a water landing, passengers likely will sacrifice your livelihood and use your seat-cushion-sized body as a flotation device.

You are not an adequate food source. If you crash in a very remote location (a la the plane in the film “Alive”) and the survivors start eating one another to stay alive, you’d likely only provide a small snack, leaving the others hungry. So you’d be dead, eaten and hated.