Can the Humor-Challenged Be Saved?

I’ve been thinking about humor again.

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The Humor-Capable.

I’m almost always thinking about humor as I’m winding through the first draft of a novel I’m working on, keeping myself awake at night wondering if this scene is funny or is that chapter funny? I got to thinking even more about humor when I read the post, “It’s a Joke, Son” over on the blog FiftyFourandAHalf. In that post, the blogger (Elyse) identifies a whole new class of people out there, the Humor-Challenged. I would call these folks the Hopeless-Stupids, but let’s go with Elyse’s nomenclature, since it’s less likely to get a gang of Hopeless-Stupids over here leaving comments like, “No, you’re stupid.”

Anyway, the Hopeless-Stupids Humor-Challenged are the folks who don’t get the joke, never get the joke, and wander around the internet trying to ruin the joke for everyone else.

Now most of you know my good bloggin’ buddy, Peg-O-Leg.  Well, Peg was Freshly Pressed just yesterday!  It was a delayed FP’ing for a post she wrote over a month ago, entitled: Facebook Ruined My Life, Now They Must Pay.  It’s about how she wants to sue Facebook because somebody put up an embarrassing picture of her from her childhood.

It was a joke, son.

But the thing is, she got comments from strangers criticizing her for suing Facebook.  I’m not joking, she got nasty comments about the lawsuit she was clearly making up for a humor blog.

Then I read another post, “Jokes, Gobbledygook, and Cardboard Cut Outs” on This Page Intentionally Left Blank. The blogger (Liam) touched on a number of topics in the post, but the part that interested me was his perspective on writing humor.

Brandon Sanderson believes humor can be cultivated into the tool I mentioned, every time you need it.  Many others believe humor is spontaneous, a gift for those lucky enough to have an edge.  More and more, I’m finding Sanderson’s opinion correct.  He’s not a funny fellow, all by himself and spontaneous.  But when you give him the time, he writes killingly funny quips.  He’s admitted to purposefully raising his humor level in books, especially Warbreaker.  While he isn’t quick on his feet as, say, Howard Tayler, he knows the system of humor and uses it as a tool.

Moral of the story: humor is a tool, not something you’re born with.  Practice it, perfect it, and use it.

And then I remembered a comment that had been left on an excerpt of fiction I had posted for a Blogging University Writing 201 workshop.

And to answer your questions Is it funny? Not yet. Try and spark up a conversation with some witty comments, a conflict that will make them laugh out loud or bring back old memories.

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See? This is what funny is.

The upshot of all of this is I think that there is a segment of the population that believes “humor” is one liners, what I would have called “Yo’ Mama” type jokes before Joan Rivers died last week and I began reading about her career so now I will call them “Joan Rivers” type jokes. In short, it’s insult humor. These same folks are not going to recognize humor that arises out of absurd situations such as suing Facebook over a childhood photo or, let’s say, eating Irish babies as a solution to famine. To them, satire is not what funny is.

Perhaps Liam on This Page Intentionally Left Blank is right in his belief that people can be taught to add humor to their writing. I think I’d only agree that people can be taught to add “zingers” to their writing. And I’m all for adding “zingers.” Here at Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please  I traffic in lots and lots of self deprecating humor: that is, I insult myself for laughs, so bring on the zingers!

But I don’t know if the Humor-Challenged can be taught to appreciate, let alone write, satire. Satire is not something that they are going to find funny, ever. All humor is very subjective, anyway, which is why Arrested Development got cancelled in 2006 and why Two and a Half Men is still on the air. 

And because the robo-bots at WordPress will link to all the wrongs posts at the end of this post, let me add the post that should  be linked to, “Is This Even Funny?”

Royalty free images, including the one in this post, can be found at freeimages.com. The page from the Amazing Spiderman comic book is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.  

 

Fewer Sexual Partners, Bigger Weddings, Happier Marriages?

This many.
This many.

If you ask me how many sexual partners I had before I married, I’ll probably awkwardly casually put my hand up to my mouth and mumble through my fingers some number between “three” and “thirty-three” depending on how good your hearing is.

And if you ask me about my wedding, I’ll tell you I got married on a Friday afternoon (I left work early) at the county courthouse in front of the district judge. The judge’s secretary was called away from her desk to act as witness. Her phone rang in the middle of the ceremony and she whispered, “I’ll just let that go to voicemail.” Afterward, my new husband and I went to dinner and then he went off to work a 16 hour shift and I went off home to bed.

Those two factors (the number of sexual partners prior to marriage and the small size of the wedding) have destined my marriage for eventual failure, at least according to the researchers at the University of Virginia and their study, “Before I Do: What do premarital experiences have to do with marital quality among young adults?”

“We’re doomed!” I told my husband.

“You’re right,” he agreed after scanning the research findings. “If only we’d known about this earlier, we could have already divorced.”

I nodded. “Instead, we’ve hung on to this sham of a marriage for years!”

“Look here.” He pointed out a paragraph in the study he found particularly interesting.

In our sample, only 23 percent of the individuals who got married over the course of the study had had sex solely with the person they married. That minority of men and women reported higher marital quality than those who had had sex with other partners prior to marriage. We further found that the more sexual partners a woman had had before marriage, the less happy she reported her marriage to be. This association was not statistically significant for men. [emphasis added]

Or maybe this many,
Or maybe this many.

“So now you know the reason why I’m always bitching about you not replacing the toilet paper roll,” I said. “It’s because of all those guys I slept with before I met you.”

He shook his head. “No, you missed the other part from their research.” He quoted from the article. “‘This association was not statistically significant for men.’ Don’t you see? I could have slept with a different girl every night, and still we would have a happy marriage.”

“So my slutting around before we got married is what will cause our children to come from a broken home?”

“I’m afraid so.”

After positing these outrageous (and headline grabbing) claims in the first few sentences, this study, like so many of these studies, then takes it all back in the next few sentences.

It could be that these underlying traits or experiences, rather than the behaviors we analyzed, explain the associations reported here. This objection applies to most research that is not based on randomized experiments. We cannot prove causal associations between the personal and couple factors we explore and marital quality. [emphasis added]

Let me explain what they’re saying here: We had a hypothesis (Big Weddings and Fewer Sexual Partners Lead to Happier Marriages!) that our research did not prove (We Don’t Have a Clue Why Some Marriages are Happier Than Others!), and yet we published this paper anyway.

Given the fact that the researchers with the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia admit their study didn’t prove much of anything, I guess I’ll just ignore it and go on focusing on the number of sexual partners I’ve had after I married, rather than before.

Royalty free images, including the ones in this post, can be found at freeimages.com.

People Are Mean on the Internet (Especially to Women)

On the Internet, anyone can be an asshole.
On the Internet, anyone can be an asshole.

Welcome to the Internet. People are mean here.

For those who were still unaware of that fact, Robin Williams’s death spawned a national discussion on suicide internet decency when his daughter, Zelda, shut down her Twitter account after she received a whole mess of cruel Tweets because, instead of sending flowers or a Hallmark card, this is how we offer condolences in the 21st century: by being a nasty fuck on a smartphone.

The discussion spilled into the blogosphere when the feminist blog Jezebel posted an open letter to their parent company, Gawker Media, in an attempt to get some help with their comments section. Here’s a bit from their post explaining the problem:

For months, an individual or individuals has been using anonymous, untraceable burner accounts to post gifs of violent pornography in the discussion section of stories on Jezebel. The images arrive in a barrage, and the only way to get rid of them from the website is if a staffer individually dismisses the comments and manually bans the commenter. But because IP addresses aren’t recorded on burner accounts, literally nothing is stopping this individual or individuals from immediately signing up for another, and posting another wave of violent images (and then bragging about it on 4chan in conversations staffers here have followed, which we’re not linking to here because fuck that garbage). This weekend, the user or users have escalated to gory images of bloody injuries emblazoned with the Jezebel logo. It’s like playing whack-a-mole with a sociopathic Hydra.

Fortunately, I don’t write about anything interesting controversial, so my posts are more likely to get drive-by comments like “Nice post!” rather than offers to drive by my house and rape me with a sharp stick if I ever dare write anything again, ever. Although I have been called a jackass (for the post “In Praise of Dating Your Dad“) and “absolutely sick” (for the post “The Best Place to Have Sex in Public (without getting caught) Is to Have Sex in Private“), I’ve never been on the receiving end of the sexist vitriol to which a lot of female bloggers are subjected (unless we count a few excruciatingly polite requests for naked pictures). The problems at Jezebel are only the most recent example of this phenomenon on the internet.

So here I was thinking about Jezebel and, not coincidentally, feeling especially grateful for all those “Nice post!” comments I get, but also wondering why people act like such assholes on the Internet. And then along comes this piece in the Sunday New York Times, “Dealing With Digital Cruelty” that offers some insight into the behavior and some advice on dealing with it.

In the virtual world, anonymity and invisibility help us feel uninhibited. Some people are inspired to behave with greater kindness; others unleash their dark side. Trolls, who some researchers think could be mentally unbalanced, say the kinds of things that do not warrant deep introspection; their singular goal is to elicit pain. But then there are those people whose comments, while nasty, present an opportunity to learn something about ourselves.

Navel gazing.
Navel gazing.

I’m not sure what sort of learning opportunity GIFs of violent pornography offer, but certainly being called “jackass” and “absolutely sick” gave me yet another opportunity to navel gaze. Maybe I was a jackass for joking about incest. Maybe I am absolutely sick to suggest, even in jest, having sex in a darkened theater featuring a double bill of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

My experience causes me to agree that comments, even the nasty ones, offer bloggers opportunities to examine their work, their writing, and themselves. I don’t moderate comments here, mostly because of a philosophical free speech-y thing I have going on rather than the expectation that a commenter might provide brilliant insights (though all my commenters are brilliant and insightful). So, unless you’re one of those people commenting on random blogs about the beauty of generic Viagra (those get blocked by the spam filter), go ahead and say what you gotta say on Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.

 

Royalty free images, including the ones in this post, can be found at freeimages.com.

The Future Includes Butt-Wiping Robots Who Provide Sparkling Dinner Conversation

The future is full of toilet paper.
The future is full of toilet paper.

 

If ever there was an article in the newspaper that made me want to die young and leave a good looking corpse, it’s got to be this one: “The Future of Robot Caregivers.” It’s a piece from the New York Times in which the author, Louise Aronson, a professor of geriatrics at the University of California, argues for the creation and manufacture of robot overlords caregivers because taking care of old people is, um, hard and gross.

 

Caregiving is hard work. More often than not, it is tedious, awkwardly intimate and physically and emotionally exhausting. Sometimes it is dangerous or disgusting. Almost always it is 24/7 and unpaid or low wage, and has profound adverse health consequences for those who do it. It is women’s work and immigrants’ work, and it is work that many people either can’t or simply won’t do.

Aronson’s solution to the problem is to pay higher wages to elderly care workers create and manufacture robots to care for and interact with the elderly until the old people drop dead.  It’s kind of an interesting future the author envisions, and one that I imagine would appeal not only to the old and infirm, but to a 33 year old mother of two who blogs (that’s me):

Imagine this: Since the robot caregiver wouldn’t require sleep, it would always be alert and available in case of crisis. While my patient slept, the robot could do laundry and other household tasks. When she woke, the robot could greet her with a kind, humanlike voice, help her get out of bed safely and make sure she was clean after she used the toilet. It — she? he? — would ensure that my patient took the right medications in the right doses. At breakfast, the robot could chat with her about the weather or news.

want someone to do my laundry while I’m sleeping.  want someone to chat pleasantly with me without rolling their eyes or turning up the volume on the television. Not sure why the old people get to have all the good stuff.

What the author fails to recognize is that science is a long way off from creating a machine that can approximate human behavior, if it’s even possible. Oh, it seems like we’re close, because every so often we hear about a “breakthrough”–remember when that IBM computer, Watson, beat the human contestants at the television game show Jeopardy!? (I remember: I blogged about it in “Watson, Come Here, I Need You”) At the time, there was much hullaballoo until people realized Watson wasn’t anything more than a souped-up version of Google.

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I’m too advanced to assist with your disgusting bodily functions.

Then a few weeks ago, researchers announced that a computer had finally passed the Turing Test: a chatbot program tricked a few people into thinking it was actually human. The researchers contended this met the standard for artificial intelligence set out by the British scientist Alan Turing (I’ve also blogged about Turing and his test for artificial intelligence before in this post, “More Human Than Human”). That was all well and good until you examine the details of the experiment: while 30% of the participants thought the computer was human, a whopping 70% correctly identified it as a computer.  Further, the interaction between humans and the computer lasted for only five minutes. I could probably convince 30%  of you all that I’m the Queen of England (and that the Queen has a thick American accent) in a five minute convo.

So while it may not even be possible to create machines that are this sophisticated, let’s try to imagine a society capable of that sort of technology: wouldn’t it have already solved problems like failing eyesight and decreased mobility? In my lifetime, we’ve mapped the human genome, created a vaccine for cancer, a pill for HIV, laparoscopic surgery, and we routinely replace hips and knees. It seems much more likely that we’ll make advances in the treatment of the diseases of old age before we figure out how to manufacture humanoids.

In conclusion, I think we’ll be wiping our own butts in the future.

Royalty free images, including the ones in this post, can be found at freeimages.com.

Writing 201: Consider using an object as a way “in” to the story


Doing something a bit different today at Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.  I’m participating in the Writing 201 workshop over at the Daily Post. You can read all about the workshop in the post titled “Getting the Most Out Of Workshopping: A Writing 201 Primer.”

Anyway, here’s a link to today’s post for the workshop: “Writing 201: What’s Your Angle?” and I am responding to the following prompt:

5) Consider using an object as a way “in” to the story.

Writer Andrea Badgley suggests that objects hold their own stories — that any object can be a talisman infused with meaning.

______________________________________________________________________________

Excerpt

There were two sofas in the visitor’s lounge of the Dripping Springs Treatment Center and Eugenie carefully weighed the pros and cons of each before deciding where to sit.

The green striped sofa, near the bulky beige heating unit that let out a low buzzing sound whenever it kicked on as if it were powered by a swarm of yellow jackets, had a large indeterminate stain that spread from one seat cushion to the next, in the shape of the state of North Dakota.  The bright red sofa, next to three potted plants that appeared to be in the final stages of some withering disease, was free of stains, although located in the decidedly cooler temperatures near a pair of drafty windows.  Since she had worn a sweater, Eugenie sat down on the red sofa and folded her hands in her lap.  She turned her wrist to check the time on her United States Postal Service Commemorative watch.  Her sister, Wynetta, was running late again.

Eugenie spotted LaVella first, as soon as the older woman appeared in the doorway.  Watching her mother walk toward her, Eugenie realized sobriety did not wear well on LaVella Johnston.

Off the wagon, LaVella took great pains in maintaining her appearance, carefully applying makeup and styling her hair each day.  Some of Eugenie’s earliest memories were of sitting alongside LaVella at her dressing table, watching her mother, a tumbler of Johnny Walker in one hand and a mascara wand in the other, skillfully applying makeup in ways Eugenie would never master.

In the grip of sobriety, LaVella was almost unrecognizable.  Her skin was dry, and she had dark circles under her eyes.  Her hair was wild, desperately trying to escape a headband she wore in an unsuccessful attempt to restrain it.  Her figure, still admirable at her age, was hidden in a pair of baggy blue jeans and a frumpy sweater with a large appliqué of a lobster sewn on it.  Eugenie had not seen her mother in that particular sweater before.

“I got it out of the donation pile,” LaVella explained, sitting in an armchair across from her daughter as she picked lint off the front of the sweater.  “It looked better in the pile than it does on.”  LaVella lifted the sweater up to her nose and sniffed it.  “Smells a little like dog, too.”

“Didn’t we pack enough clothes for you?  You shouldn’t be taking things from donations.  I’ll bring more next time I come.”

LaVella waved her daughter off.  “No, no.  I’ve got a system.  I’ve always hated doing the damn laundry, and the best thing about this place is that when I run out of clean clothes, I just pick some more up from the donation pile.”

“But they aren’t clean!  They smell like dog!”

LaVella shrugged off her daughter’s objection.  “You get used to it after awhile.”  She looked at Eugenie and smiled.  “You look tan and rested.  I see that vacation did you some good.  Tell me all about La Costa Laguna, starting with the open bar.  Did they serve those fancy drinks with the fruit and the paper umbrellas in them every night?”  LaVella’s eyes were bright with excitement.

Eugenie filled her mother in about her vacation, leaving out the parts about alcoholic beverages and any mention of Guillermo.  She showed her mother some of the dark, blurry and unfocused photos she had kept on her phone, having to explain each picture as her mother squinted and turned her head sideways in an effort to decipher the images.

“I guess it looks like you had fun,” LaVella said as she leaned back in her chair.  “And now what’s all this I hear about you calling off the wedding?”

Eugenie didn’t bother to ask how her mother, locked away in a treatment facility and supposedly focused on getting sober, would even know about the break up.  This was Dripping Springs, and everyone knows everything.

Eugenie took a deep breath and was about to explain that Virgil Jr. had called off the wedding, although she was just about to call if off herself, anyway, she really was, when Wynetta finally showed up, the click of her heels on the tile floor announcing her arrival as she swiveled her hips toward them.

“Mom, you look absolutely awful!” Wynetta said. She looked from one sofa to the next, and then opted to stand. “What are they doing to you here?”

______________________________________________________________________________

Goal To reveal a bit more about the three characters and their relationships, through their conversation and the objects (furniture, clothing) around them.

My Questions My first question, always: “Is it funny?” ;) My second question in regards to today’s post, “Writing 201: What’s Your Angle?” is how successful am I in achieving the goal?

images

I Am Not A New Adult

I have a shameful secret that I feel I must reveal and where else does one reveal a shameful secret but to their therapist on their blog?

I haven't read any of these books.
I haven’t read any of these books.

Here is my shameful secret: I don’t really read many books.

Apparently this blog has been misleading readers into believing that I read books.  How did that happen? I look up at my blog title. Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, PleaseNo, no mention of books there. How about the tagline? Humor and Sex. Mostly Sex. No, no books there, either. Let’s take a look at some of the blog posts: here’s one about sex. Here’s one about having sex with robots. Oh, here’s another one about sex.

In scrolling through the list of popular categories I’ve written about, sex tops the list, but books comes in at an astonishing fifth place, after humor, dating, and relationships. I guess that fifth place showing makes the blog enough about books to attract the attention of an desperate editor for an desperate independent publisher who

More books I haven't read.
More books I haven’t read.

contacted me to request a review of a soon to be published New Adult title.

A New Adult title?

I’m old enough to remember when the word “Adult” was a synonym for sex, e.g. adult films or adult subject matter, so I was intrigued at the possibility of reading a book in the category of “New Sex.”

And “New Adult” does sort of mean “New Sex.” From a New York Times article attempting to define the genre, “Beyond Wizards and Vampires to Sex”:

They’ve labeled this category “new adult” — which some winkingly describe as Harry Potter meets “50 Shades of Grey” — and say it is aimed at 18-to-25-year-olds, the age group right above young adult.

So the New Adult genre is attempting to satisfy the older readers of Young Adult novels that have been bitching about the lack of explicit sex among JK Rowling’s wizards, Suzanne Collins’ tributes, and John Green’s pediatric cancer patients.

I may look like I'm reading, but I'm actually taking a nap.
I may look like I’m reading, but I’m actually taking a nap.

At 33, I’ve aged out of the cohort that publishers are trying to reach with this genre, so I’ll be passing on the opportunity to review (for free) this New Adult novel. Actually, that “for free” bit was the sticking point, not so much my age.  I like to think I’m a New Adult 30-something, which is way sexier than a regular Adult 30-something.

Still, for a moment, I entertained the suggestions the editor included in her email:

If you’d like to talk with the author regarding a guest blog, an interview, a giveaway, or other promo in conjunction with your review, let me know! We’re always happy to do promo with bloggers, assuming the author’s schedule permits.

But that would mean I would have to read the book.

Royalty free images, including the ones in this post, can be found at freeimages.com.

 

The Letters That No One Needed To See

I never wanted to think about U.S. Presidents having sex.

When our disastrous glorious forty fourth president, Barack Obama, was elected and his wife became the First Lady I remember reading an anonymous comment posted somewhere that at least now we have a couple in the White House who we, the American people, can imagine having sex.

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I think I’m working on the Octomom’s car!

At the time I read the comment, I wondered what sort of person had been longing to imagine the President having sex. Long time (even short time) readers of this blog will probably think that I am exactly that sort of person, but, honestly, I only want to think about, let’s say, James Franco having sex. Or that cute auto mechanic with the perfect white teeth who rotated my tires (“No charge,” he said, smiling) when I brought my Mom car luxury SUV that seats nine in for its annual safety inspection. (“Wow, you must have a lot of kids!” he said, his smile fading as he looked past me.  “Only two!” I felt compelled to respond in an effort to regain his attention. “That’s hardly any at all! And they’re small.” I put my hand out and held it very low to the ground to indicate how tiny my offspring are. “Really, you barely notice them.”)

So I never wanted to think about the Presidents of these United States having sex. I wanted to think about him (or her) solving the latest Mideast crisis, or the latest debt crisis or the NCAA Bowl Championship Series crisis. I don’t want to imagine her (or him) naked and sweaty and saying stupid stuff like, “You look shorter naked.”

But how am I supposed to not think about Presidents having sex now that we have the private letters of Warren G. Harding to read? From the New York Times article, “The Letters That Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See.”

The correspondence is intimate and frank — and perhaps the most sexually explicit ever by an American president. Even in the age of Anthony Weiner sexts and John Edwards revelations, it still has the power to astonish. In 106 letters, many written on official Senate stationery, Harding alternates between Victorian declarations of love and unabashedly carnal descriptions. (While Phillips’s notes and some drafts of her letters have been preserved, her actual replies were not.) The president often wrote in code, in case the letters were discovered, referring to his penis as Jerry and devising nicknames, like Mrs. Pouterson, for Phillips.

Four score and seven years ago, I had a boner
Four score and seven years ago, I had a boner

After reading that article, it’s all I can do to make it through the day without thinking about having sex with a President. I’ve been thinking about French kissing George Washington and his wooden teeth, wondering how Teddy Roosevelt really got the nickname “Rough Rider” (in my mind, it has nothing to do with the charge up San Juan Hill), soaping up with William Howard Taft in his custom-made-for-fat-Presidents bath tub, and feeding Jimmy Carter peanuts while we’re both naked. And every single one of the wartime presidents would have to endure my discussion of military strategy in post coital pillow chats when all they really wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep.

I guess we should be thankful that modern technology has all but banished letter writing to the dust bin of history. At least now the American people will be spared reading about the intimate details of some future President’s private life.  Now if we can just get politicians to stop taking dick pics . . .

You can read more about Warren G. Harding and Jerry the Penis in The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage During the Great War.

A portrait of President Harding.  No portrait of Jerry exists, thankfully.
A portrait of President Harding. No portrait of Jerry exists, thankfully.

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG. The photo of President Harding comes from whitehouse.gov.

Finger Lickin’ Con

Do you ever stop and wonder just how gullible people are?

Seven Herbs and Spices and a $30,000 check for Internet Extortion.
Yes, it is finger lickin’ good, but you’ll have to go elsewhere on account of your face.

I had to stop and wonder about this, again, when I read about the Internet Outrage of the Week, Little Girl Kicked Out of KFC. Quick summary: Grandma claims heartless Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC workers kicked her and her three year old granddaughter out of some Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC in Mississippi after another customer complained about the girl’s disfiguring facial scars, suffered back in April when the girl was attacked by Granpa’s pitbulls. Auntie posts the incident on Facebook, donations flood in to the tune of $130,000 and Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC promises $30,000 and an investigation.

I read the story and was reminded of previous Internet Outrages of the Week.  Perhaps you remember the Red Lobster waitress,Toni Christina Jenkins, in Tennessee who logged onto Facebook to post a picture of a customer’s receipt with the N word written in place of a tip amount. And just to show that the Northeast, home of Eastern Elitism, is not immune to this phenomenon, Dayna Morales, a waitress in New Jersey, claimed that a customer wrote this novel note on the receipt in lieu of leaving a tip: “Sorry, I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life.” Morales must be the last living person not to have a Facebook account so her story did not go viral until Have a Gay Day posted it on their Facebook.

Now my curriculum vitae includes the double misfortune of having waitressed and also worked in the fast food industry and all the stories sounded, well, odd to me when I first heard them.  My experience one long, horrible summer working as the “Fry Girl” (I scooped french fries into their cartons during the lunch rush) at Wendy’s™ had taught me that customers who eat fast food want to eat food fast, they don’t sit around the dining area observing the other patrons to determine who might offend their sensibilities enough to disturb the digestion of a Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe, ordered off the Dollar Menu (since my sojourn at Wendy’s™, there’s been a name change and it’s now the Right Price, Right Size Menu and it costs you a $1.49). And also, fast food workers lack both the initiative to respond as well as act on customer complaints, so if someone did complain (which was unlikely), it was hard for me to believe that an employee of the restaurant would do anything.

As for waitressing, a few customers tip well, a few don’t tip at all, but most give the standard 15-20%. No one ever wrote me any offensive messages on the receipt, unless we count that dorky guy who wrote his phone number that one time. Considering the sort of waitress I was, someone probably should have taken a moment to give me some helpful career advice such as “You suck!” on the tip line.  Diners are more concerned about the food, their date, whether they’ll make the movie on time, why their car makes that weird noise every time they turn right, or just about anything other than their server. I really doubted that someone would communicate their racism or homophobia using the forum of a restaurant receipt.

Here's some money, Internet Stranger.  I hope you feel better.
Here’s some money, Internet Stranger. I hope you feel better.

As you may have guessed, both stories turned out to be hoaxes: the Red Lobster customer came forward to proclaim that he was no racist, just cheap, and had stiffed the waitress and wrote nothing on the tip line and a New Jersey couple contacted the news media with their copy of the receipt showing an $18 tip on a $93 check and no reference to “lifestyle.” Unfortunately, the stories weren’t debunked until Jenkins got $10,000 and Morales $3,000 from strangers on the Internet who had heard about their (fake) plights.

And I suspected this KFC story would turn out to be untrue as well. By Wednesday, the results of the internal investigation were released. From the Washington Post“Viral Story of Disfigured Girl Kicked Out of KFC Was a Hoax”:

Security camera footage from that KFC and another near the hospital did not show children matching Victoria’s description going into either restaurant on May 15, according to sources interviewed by the Leader-Call. Nor did any orders taken that day include both sweet tea and mashed potatoes – what Mullins claimed she ordered for her granddaughter.

I guess my interest in this story and others like it comes from the fact that we are so quick to believe the worst about our fellow human beings (“Of course some idiot complained about a scarred girl, and of course the idiot fast food workers kicked the poor girl out!”) and also our willingness to give money to strangers on the Internet, while we walk by homeless people warming themselves over heating grates in Center City Philadelphia (ok, maybe you haven’t done that, but I’ll admit that I have).

Or maybe I’m the one who’s believing the worst about my fellow human beings when I’m skeptical about the story of a scarred girl in Mississippi.

If You Ban Sex, I’m Going To Take My Ball and Go Home

 

My leftovers will look deceptively edible!
A deal at any price!

As an American, I’ve found it hard to get aroused excited about the 2014 FIFA World Cup, currently being held in and around Rio de Janeiro.  Oh, wait. I better take a moment to explain to my American readers what I’m talking about: the World Cup is this global soccer football soccer tournament held every four years.  A really big thing in other places not located in the United States.  It really is.  I know, I can’t believe it, either, but I’m not shitting you, it’s a very big deal.  I even saw a huge pile of US team jerseys for sale at Costco this past weekend that I, along with all the other shoppers, ignored as we headed off to buy the 42 pound bag of Scoop Away cat litter and the 128-piece Rubbermaid food storage set.

1998163_full-prtEvery so often, I’ll come across a World Cup news story that is so unusual that it piques even my American interest. For example, I was particularly startled by this story, US Team Defeats Ghana. After reading that headline, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.  Yes, the United States team, led by their captain, Clint Dempsey, managed to win its opening match on Monday!  My red white and blue heart swells with national pride. On the flip side, how depressed is the entire nation of Ghana right now?  I mean, they lost to the Americans.  The Americans!

I’m not sure why Americans, who are exceptional at every thing else, suck at soccer football soccer. Perhaps it has something to do with what you have to do to be good at it. From cbssports.com:

Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera wants his team thinking about football during the World Cup, not sex.

As such, Herrera has banned his team from having sex during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

You can't even get to first base in this game!
Ooooooh. Now I understand why they never score.

And the Mexicans went out and beat Cameroon, 1-0, last Friday. Then the Mexican team went on to play one of the tournament’s favorites, Brazil, to a tie on Tuesday. Those of us here at Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please can only hope that their powers of abstinence are waning. And if the Mexicans lose their next match, I’m calling a victory for sex.

Go Croatia!

You can catch all the exciting World Cup action televised on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 and streamed on WatchABC and WatchESPN.  Or you can watch paint dry.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.  The image of the happy lady with all her lovely plastic containers comes the Rubbermaid website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.  The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil official poster is used in accordance with the guidelines published here.

 

Sex The Americans Style

I’ve been watching a lot of sex on television lately, and it’s almost all doggy style.

The other day I was binge-watching, which is the the way I consume almost all of my television in the 21st century.  I’m sure when I’m older I’ll bore regale my grandchildren with tales of how once there was a time when there was absolutely no sex on television and the entire family would gather together in the living room each evening to watch shows that were only broadcast once, or at least not again until summer reruns.

Yes, I can hardly wait for the day when I’ll be sounding just like that really old guy in line behind me at the supermarket who noticed I was buying a six pack of Coke Zero and decided to share this scintillating fact from his youth: “Back then you could get a Dr. Pepper for a dime!”

Anyway, as I was saying, there’s a lot of doggy-style sex on TV.  The position is also known as “the congress of the cow” according to the Kama Sutra but I’m not recommending you use that term because no one wants to think about cows during sex.  Of course, I’m not sure anyone wants to think about dogs during sex, either, except maybe other dogs.

DIGITAL CAMERA
Even cows don’t like to think about cows during sex. We think about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

But there I was stuck thinking about dogs and sex after having seen not one, not two, but three instances of rear entry sex while binge watching the second season of the Cold War period drama, The Americans. It all happened in episode six, “Behind the Red Door.” Apparently what’s “behind the red door” is lots and lots of coitus more ferarum. First we see married Russian spies Philip and Elizabeth spicing up their sex life with role play and “wild sex,” which seems to mean nothing more than “doggy style sex.”  Next, we see Nicaraguan super-spy Lucia bent over a desk looking up at a portrait of Ronald Reagan on the wall while congressional aid Carl gives it to her from behind.  Finally, as the episode ends, Philip stumbles upon a couple having sex out on a fire escape (I think) and they, as well, are doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel.

As luck would have it, while I’m thinking about dogs and sex and whether or not my butt looks as good as Keri Russell’s when I’m lying face down on a bed, I came across this article over on Slate, “‘Doggy Style’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means.”

And the article was right!  “Doggy style” is nothing like what I thought! In fact, it’s absolutely horrible, with the poor boy-dog being stuck inside the poor girl-dog for up to an hour (an hour!) afterwards.  From the article:

Apparently, dogs doing it for the first time can get a little freaked out about the prolonged attachment, as do first-time dog breeders. If you should ever find yourself in this situation, The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds suggests you prevent the female dog from trying to rip free from the male, because doing so can cause serious injury to the penis. Breeding websites recommend you get down on the floor and comfort the female.

I need some comforting just from reading that paragraph!

I’ve never been a fan of the position, anyway, because I need to see the man’s my husband’s face while we’re doing it, just to make sure he’s not thinking about some other woman, or dogs or cows, while he’s having sex with me.

You can see more doggy style sex, and maybe more of Keri Russell’s ass, on The Americans Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.