The Wistful Decline of Nineties Nostalgia: A Short Story

Max is 25 years old

He and a group of his old college friends had just seen Jurassic World. His friends all agreed it was great. They debated whether it was as good as the original…Chris Pratt movie, Guardians of the Galaxy.

At the bar afterwards, they all laughed as they discussed Game of Thrones with another group of friends on Periscope. He did not participate. “Hey Max, you should really download Periscope,” Jenny said to him from a few seats away. “I think you’ll really like it.”

“I don’t know,” Max replied. “It just seems kind of dumb to me.”

“I feel like you just don’t really understand what it is,” she called back, just getting the sentence out before bursting in laughter at whatever was displayed on the phone Sally was holding in front of her face.

“I understand what it is,” Max said, annoyed. He definitely didn’t understand what Periscope was.

“It’s so great that we’re all back together,” an anonymous member of the group proclaimed to everyone and no one in particular.

“That’s for sure,” Karen replied to the anonymous voice. “I haven’t been able to stop eating all night though. I think I have food baby.”

“IT’S NOT A TOOMAH” Max yelled out, taking a step towards Karen and Sally’s bar seats to feel like he was comfortably a part of their conversation.

The room went silent. The whole group took a break from their separate conversations to turn and look at him. “Uhh, what was that, Max?” Dave said looking both embarrassed and concerned for Max’s reputation.

“Umm… you know…like… from…Kindergarden Cop,” Max replied. He was sweating.

The entire group made eye contact with each other, gave Max a patronizing nod and said “yeah, sure, man” before trying to reengage in their prior conversations. “Wow,” the anonymous voice said under its breath while rolling its anonymous eyes.

“We shouldn’t end the night here,” Karen yelled out. “Anybody have a suggestion for what we can all do later?”

“The new season of Orange is the New Black is out,” Sally responded. “We could all binge watch it at my place. We’ll Uber over there.”

Everyone except for Max seemed pleasantly in agreement that Sally had made a great recommendation. He thought there was still some room to convince them of a different plan.

“OR…we could watch a marathon of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air while we have a Words With Friends tournament! We can order some ‘za from my Kindle Fire. And guysssss… I just found my old Smash Mouth CD! What do you think?!?!”

This time the group refused to humor Max. They all collectively pretended not to hear him. Defeated, Max threw the box of Milk Duds that he had brought with him from the movie theater on the ground and sulked away to an empty booth at the end of the bar.

Dave watched him from the corner of his eye. He and Max had known each other since before kindergarden. He put his hand on the shoulder of Megan, a girl he thought he always had great chemistry with in college but nothing ever happened between them, and said, “Hey, sorry to interrupt, but I’ll be right back.”

He walked over to Max’s booth and hinted that Max scoot over a bit so that he could sit next to him. He took a swig out of his bottle of beer, sighed, and said, “Hey, what’s wrong, bud, you’re acting a little weird.”

Dave, shifted around uncomfortably for a second, took a deep breath, lightly put both hands on the table and stared forward as he spoke.

“I don’t know, I guess I just don’t like how things have changed. I miss the days a few years back when everybody was really nostalgic about the nineties. I remember when I used to post videos and jokes about Boy Meets Worlds and Homeward Bound and Zoo Books on Facebook and they would get so many likes. Those nineties references were gold. I was like Jesse from Full House when I made a good nineties reference.”

Dave rubbed his chin and stared at the ceiling, thinking. “Hmmm, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook…Oh, is that that birthday reminder app?”

“Forget it, man,” Max said in dismay. “I just really miss a particular time, you know? Around 2012, maybe 2013 when the nineties nostalgia craze was at its peak. I just have a wistful yearning for that period of time. I wish there was a word for that.”

“There’s not,” Dave said bluntly. “At least not one that I’m aware of. Look, we’ve known each since when? 1995?”

“I was seven years old in 1995, Dave. How am I supposed to remember?”

“Okay, okay. But the point is that things change, but I’m still here and so are all your other friends.”

Later that night..

Max smiled.

“You know, you’re a pretty good friend. I’m lucky to have you and I’ll always be here when you need me.”

He turned off his Tomagotchi, turned on his Macklemore Pandora channel and drifted to sleep.

Tinder in the Rye

 Holden Caulfield would feel sorry as hell for all the girls whose pictures popped up on his phone every time he clicked on his Tinder app.

The way those girls subject themselves to the mercy of a left or right swipe of his thumb would be a goddam travesty. A desperate cry of vanity proving they can only appreciate a compliment for about as long as it takes to come out of someone’s mouth.

Then again, Holden Caulfield would have a Tinder account. He’d set up his account with mumblings of disapproval towards the creators and the people that use it. The photos he would use on his profile would look forced and awkward. He would purposefully look distant and uninterested and he would never admit how much a part of him hoped that such a look would be sexy to certain girls.

I had a Tinder account for two weeks before I decided I still preferred meeting women in person. Now I swipe left or right in my head and it’s not a permanent decision. When I would get bored with the app I would extend my radius to 50 miles allowing me to peruse through a nearly endless array of potentially awkward conversations. At one point I thought about the idea of using Tinder in a place as ample in population and condense in size as New York City. A radius of 30 miles in NYC would allow me to judge practically the entire female population of the city.

Oddly enough, this would cause me to think about Holden Caulfield. Eventually I came to the conclusion that Holden basically spent about four days in New York swiping left.

And if Holden did have a Tinder account?

Can you imagine Old Stradlater and all the girls he’d find on Tinder? That bastard. He’d bring some redhead back to the dorms and Holden would admit right off the bat that she was pretty and had a shape to her that made him jealous of Stradlater’s hair for just a few seconds. With locks like that of course any girl would swipe right, only being able to judge him on three pictures; course they wouldn’t be able to tell what a goddam moron he is. Turns out she’d be just as full of hot air so they’d be a perfect match.

The Catcher in the Rye is about a lot of things to a lot of different people depending on when in life they read it. But one thing it’s certainly about is an unfinished product in Holden Caulfield judging a bunch of other unfinished products. Interestingly, Holden might be the most unfinished of all the products. He doesn’t really know what or who he is and we don’t what he will become. But he knows who he isn’t because he stares at and socializes with who he isn’t every day. He resents them. He doesn’t really feel sorry as hell for them but he says he does.

That isn’t a far cry from what Tinder is: a bunch of incomplete pieces judging the incomplete pieces within a 50-mile radius of them; a few pictures that equate to one or two pieces in the giant puzzle that defines you—not even corner pieces at that; just your profile picture that garnered the most likes, from people who actually know and have met you.

….

It woulda made him puke thinking about it. You’d have to be a real sorry sonufabitch to plaster your face on that thing and try to describe yourself in one sentence.

Of course, Holden had his moments of sorry sonufabitch-ness. Quietly swiping through Tinder would allow for a little more preserved dignity than drunk dialing Sally Hayes up in the middle of the night and telling her he’s going to come over on Christmas Eve and trim her goddam tree.

But he needed to talk to someone and that’s why Holden would have Tinder. God knows he’d probably chat up some girl and convince her to meet him at a cheap motel before deciding he just wanted to talk once they’re both sitting on the same bed.

Tinder, above all, is an outlet for judgment. Our hopes to hook up are outweighed by an appeal to our own vanity and the power of being able to judge others.

We crave validation in its most superficial form. Tinder, in its simplistic process, simultaneously allows us the ultimate authority to judge while also forcing us to put our insecurities and ourselves on the line by empowering the judgment of others. The app, even in its crudeness, accomplishes a sort of meta balance.

It’s not a peaceful balance, though. It isn’t a recommended one. It’s like taking a few uppers to balance out a few downers; the balance you reach will be far more chaotic than if you took neither in the first place.

Tinder puts judgment on a conveyer belt. It allows an ever-developing consciousness an outlet to meet irrational desires to judge and be judged. Holden Caulfield’s angst, judgment and resentment towards other people—towards anyone lacking complete innocence—were sad, but they were natural.

He fed it through living and experiencing the world. Thankfully he didn’t have Tinder. He wasn’t staring down at his phone— he looked up in the subway and the park and museum and judged people he could watch move and behave. Empathy is rarely a first instinct. It develops when you live your life around people simultaneously trying to live theirs.

Holden’s journey completed itself and readied him for another. He was by no means a finished product at the end of it, but he did exactly what all young people eventually do: become angry at the world and the people who make it so difficult to live in, flounder in his own limitations and confusion, acknowledge someone or something that makes him happy and makes everything else alright, and then, probably, repeat.

Holden’s journey was more complex than Tinder, but if Tinder had existed then it might have restricted his journey to the simplicity of left or right. I’d a felt sorry as hell for him.

Jonny Auping

 

DIY Tips for Preparing Your Dog For Its First Snowfall

It’s that time of year when certain states across America are soon to receive their first snowfall. You know what that means; thousands of adorable little puppies will watch snowflakes flutter through the air before landing on their wet little noses leaving them both utterly confused and excited.

But did you know that 972 dogs die each year of cardiac arrest because they can’t handle the shock of seeing snow for the first time? It’s important that your dog enters this winter prepared for what’s to come. These simple tips should really help:

 -Wake your dog up one morning with an aggressive foam machine in the corner of the room. Place a piece of bacon at the foot of the machine and have your youngest daughter scream, “IT’S A MIRACLE!” repeatedly while your dog nervously navigates through the foam on his way to the bacon. This reenactment is as close as your dog is going to get to his first experience with snow.

 If you don’t think your pup is capable of such a high intensity drill then simply start by showering him with confetti while your grandfather downplays the existence of global warming.

 -Sit down with your dog while the two of you watch the 2002 film “Snow Dogs” and make sure he takes time to consider the peculiar career arc of Cuba Gooding Jr. Does your dog even realize that “Snow Dogs” featured rapper Sisqo playing a character named “Dr. Rupert Brooks?” Then how do you expect him to process the inexplicable?

 -Assuming you read to your dog every night, begin reading him Robert Louis-Stevenson’s “Winter Time.” Pay attention to his tail as you read the words “And tree and house, and hill and lake, are frosted like a wedding cake.” If his tail is curled under his body then he still isn’t ready. If it wags two or more times then he is prepared for snowfall.

 -Once your dog is ready to handle snow you’re not out of the woods yet. You don’t want that rascal tracking dirty snow into the house. Teach him to shake snow out of his coat by playing Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” If he is able to shake off the snow by musical cue then Swift will personally take down your Christmas decorations come January. 

Here are a few snow related tips for pets outside of the canine species:

Cat: Put it in a box in the basement until winter season has ended.

Gerbil: Fill its roller ball with processed sugar so that its entire existence resembles a snow globe.

Human Baby: Cover it with vegetable oil before taking it out so that it is resistant to snow and will not become mysteriously trapped in the lower portion of snowman.

 Reptiles: No preparation needed. Lizards and snakes are naturally equipped to handle cold weather.

-Jonny Auping

Bugles and Americana

With each passing year the tides change, the leaves turn, the snow melts and the fingertips of America’s youth remain adorned with Bugles.

As one calendar year gives way to another the climate of our globe warms as glaciers melt, artic polar bears starve off extinction in search for environments that permit survival and you look sort of like a witch until you bite off each witch finger because witches can switch back to normal-looking people whenever they want, plus you have more Bugles, anyway.

 From the millions who died in Vietnam fighting a war they could hardly comprehend to the questionable half-truths we’ve accepted as motives for entering Iraq and Afghanistan, America continues to showcase its superiority and powerful intimidation upon the rest of the world while operating in a blurred gray area of what is ethically acceptable and the salt from the Bugles has entered the cut on the cuticle of your index finger and your eyes begin to water.

While the family road-trip to American landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty remains an outlet for domesticated life, what once occupied that travel time with spoken games while gazing out the window as Americana flies by has since been replaced with apps and vain expression through social media. Unchanged is the country gas station where your parents allow one snack each and finding the Bugles never takes more than a minute. Of course, your younger sister, Sally’s dumbass got Sourpatch Kids instead. It’s only a matter of time until she is complaining about her tongue being numb and you’ll probably just stab her in the eye with one of your Bugle fingers.

 It was 1966, as the country was growing weary of the status quo and evolving into a new era of acceptance and expression, that the Bugle was invented. Its early adopters were sitting on their back porches listening to Creedence. They were replaced by the generation sedating themselves with Bugles and the Ramones only to be cast aside by the next era of youth. But no one stopped believing in Bugles when arena rock came around. The Bugle was a place of comfort for those experiencing teen angst during the grunge era. While the music cherished so deeply by each generation became ridiculed by the next, the commonality remained that whether it was a flower dress, a leather jacket, big hair or a flannel shirt, the tiny crumbs of Bugles would eventually rain down on all of them.

 With political scandal inevitably finding prominence in the newspapers and the self-serving motives of politicians becoming only more discernible, we bicker and disagree over the merits of republicans and democrats, of liberals and conservatives. All the while social compromise becomes a sign of weakness rather than the strength needed for a country to thrive. You look down into the bottom of your bag and realize that the last of your Bugles are simply crumbles, no longer in the shape of a cone and you think to yourself, “Do these things even taste good?”

-Jonny Auping

16 Brussel Sprouts That Are Having a Worse Day Than You

It’s only Tuesday. Ugh. It’s going to be awhile before the weekend roles around and nothing seems to be going right for you. Your check-engine light just turned on, you poured a bowl of cereal before realizing you don’t have any milk and your phone’s 4G is being really annoying. Well, maybe this will cheer you up. Here are 14 Brussel Sprouts that are having a way worse day than you are.

The eight brussel sprouts next to the stalk are only 2.1 centimeters in diameter as opposed to the typical 2.5-4 centimeters that brussel sprout farmers are accustomed to finding.

A slightly below average sized brussel sprout? That’s about as useful to a brussel sprout farmer as a can opener is to a penguin. 

This goofy sprout lacks the proper amount of glucosinolates compounds that help reduce the bitterness that would otherwise be found in many edible brussel sprouts. Talk about a bad day for this Bitter Betty.

This ragtag gang of brussel sprouts were served to a heart patient who is regularly prescribed anticoagulants, which, as we all know, is a huge no-no considering excessive brussel sprout intake isn’t recommended to such people because the high levels of Vitamin K  could lead to blood clotting. Talk about embarrassing. 

This brussel sprout was yelled at by Kanye West for not standing during his concert. Is it Friday yet? It is just not this Brussel sprout’s week. 

I hope you feel better.

-Jonny Auping

 

 

 

SnapChat EVERYTHING: 7 Technology Tips For Freshman

It’s been six years since I was a nervous freshman on a college campus. We barely had color TVs back then. It’s a whole new world out there now, but as a twenty-something who graduated college I am an expert on both technology and pathetically reminiscing about the glory days. This comes with great responsibility and I consider it my duty to make sure incoming freshman putting futons under an elevated bed because it “really takes advantage of the space” are properly prepared to have the most technologically fulfilling college experience they can. 

Here are a few tips:

1. SnapChat EVERYTHING

Your parents probably told you that you will spend the next four years gathering memories that will last a lifetime. Well, they are really old and don’t know anything. Those memories should last ten seconds max. When you and your roommate go to your first party together make sure you split up and send snap chats to each other of what the party looks like from each side of the apartment. It’s the best way to experience it. 

If you have what feels like one of those life-changing moments like meeting the person you want to marry, finding the career you want to pursue or joining a group of people you think really understand you then how is it not your My Story? What are you even doing? 

2. If You Wouldn’t Swipe Right Don’t Talk to Her/Him

Tinder has introduced us to a new level of shallowness and vanity. Why not apply that to your formative years? You are never going to find the person you love without first judging them by their three most attractive pictures. 

Someone walking up to you in the quad? Are they a swipe-left-person? Then don’t go have lunch with them. Don’t study with them. Say no when they ask, “don’t we have Spanish 110 together?” Make note of any sorority or fraternity they are in as it may include more swipe-lefties.

Remember, if we don’t use Tinder the ugly people will win

3. Assume Your Professors Double as Uber Drivers

EVERYONE is an Uber driver these days. It’s a down economy. If your teacher isn’t tenured then chances are they are also an Uber driver. Live on the other side of campus or in an apartment off campus? Just hop in Professor Miller’s black SUV after class. No need to set it up on your phone, he knows you, you’re that kid that answered that one question. It’s perfect because it can double as office hours.

Remember, Uber drivers don’t accept tips. Don’t insult them. 

4. Live Tweet Every Class

Obviously, I don’t mean to live tweet every class by yourself. That would just be ridiculous. Get together with a few classmates and form a schedule allowing you to take turns live-tweeting class. This will enable you to avoid having to attend every class as the notes will be available in a string of 140-character tweets. It will also teach you a valuable lesson in synergy that will be applicable to the real world. 

5. Trade Your Meal Plan in For Bitcoins

I’m not really sure what bitcoins are, but I live in the real world and I’m fairly certain they are going to be extremely valuable. Be ahead of the pack and grab as many as you can. Besides, someone can just sneak you leftovers from the cafeteria, assuming they would swipe right for you. 

6. Pick Up E-Smoking

This isn’t high school. You’re not going to be popular just being yourself. 

“Check out that handsome rebel with the clunky e-cig by the fountain? I would go talk to him, but there’s no way he’s single.”

That’s what the girls will be saying when they see you puffing on that coconut and sweet pineapple vapor.

7. Expose the Person on Campus with an HBO GO Account

Someone on that campus has an HBO GO account. Find them and expose them. You’ll be a hero. It’s scientifically proven that an entire campus can survive off just one HBO GO account. You don’t want to miss Game of Thrones and neither does the rest of the class of 2018. Do whatever it takes to get that password, even if it means cuddling up with a swipe-lefty. 

-Jonny Auping

Farts and Depression: Something to Take From Robin Williams’ Death

“I don’t believe it. He always seemed so happy.”

Some form of that sentence was said all across America in the days following Robin Williams’ suicide. It seemed unfathomable that a man who could appear so unabashedly cheerful and hilarious on screen could possibly have the desire to kill himself. 

Well, Robin Williams was an actor. Appearing to be something other than himself was his chosen profession. He doesn’t actually wear drag and babysit for money, he has never fought Captain Hook, he doesn’t actually have a disorder that forces him to age too quickly, he didn’t invent Flubber and he was definitely not always happy.  

Williams appeared happy for millions of other people most likely for the same three reasons most people of his profession do: he was paid to do so, he possessed talent and passion for acting and, hopefully, he could make other people happy in the process. All three of those ring true.

However, there’s another possibility: It was the easiest way to mask severe unhappiness. We don’t know all the details of Williams’ mindset and situation prior to his death nor am I anything resembling an expert on depression or mental illness so forgive me for speaking in generalities going forward. People with depression don’t wear a sign around informing people of their struggle. There might be a few telltale signs, but they are not universal. If there’s anything to be learned from Williams’ death it’s that you never know who might be suffering the most.

Considering there are incredible and inspiring scenes of Williams in films like Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Hook, Aladin, Patch Adams and even the graduation speech from Jack, you could argue I did a poor job of choosing a Robin Williams’ video clip to show for this story. But I took some time to think about it and I want to show this clip of Williams and a bunch of kids farting into a can.

Scientifically speaking, I’m not sure that collecting farts in a coffee can and lighting a match will really cause an explosion, but I chose this scene from Jack for a couple reasons. It’s typical Robin Williams; being silly and ridiculous, not caring about how his comedy will be received by critics and causing uncontrollable laughter of children, the least cynical of us all.

But more importantly, I chose it because it provides a vague metaphor. Jack and those kids collected those farts until the can couldn’t even be opened without causing one of them to lose consciousness. As they passed it around and farted in it, nothing notably changed about the tin can. The sides didn’t dent. It did not become heavier or look unable to withstand more farts. But when they lit a match and dropped it in the can it caused an explosion louder and more powerful than any one fart. It was like a super-fart and thank God it didn’t kill them all. 

So goes depression and other forms of mental illness. Each blow can seem inconsquential to everyone but the victim. It can build up very slowly, but the final straw can turn out to be tragic. In society, we often wait until that match is lit to wonder what we could have done differently. 

The Detroit Free Press claims that, “research tells us that psychotherapy, or talk therapy, may be the best option for those suffering from mild to moderate levels of depression….Friends and family members play critical roles in helping depressed men.” 

People with depression need someone to talk to. They may need to talk about their problems or they may just need to know there is someone out there happily willing to talk to them about anything. We can’t measure what loneliness does to depression, but no problem has ever been made worse by someone else genuinely offering to listen to it. Feeling alone in this world can suck the joy out of anything that once made you happy. People can seem popular, or have money or look happy, but the only way you can truly know that they don’t feel alone is if you are the one providing that companionship. 

Physiological diseases are awful. The need to raise money for them is crucial because hope will always remain that it could lead to a cure. Some day we will find a cure to cancer and even a way to prevent it. I believe that. But depression will exist as long as we do. Unhappiness is real, but like a can full of farts, it’s basically intangible. 

I have a theory about depression. It’s a theory of degrees. I don’t mean to contradict any medical or psychological facts that are proven, it’s just a theory. I think that we all suffer from some form of depression. Things make us unhappy and certain things make us flat out miserable. It’s when those different degrees of things happen at the wrong time and come together in the wrong way that we can cross a line and become clinically depressed. It’s not a matter of weakness. It’s a matter of chance and accumulation. It’s a matter of filling up that can. It could happen to any of us. It’s in our best interest to be there for one another. A few conversations can make all the difference. If someone is too deep in that hole than it becomes your responsibility to convince them to seek help. We don’t know what degrees of unhappiness got them there, unless you’re a professional, it’s not our place to say what degrees of help will get them out. But that’s why we try. The smallest degree at the right time might help in the biggest way.

We don’t know what exactly Robin Williams was going through and I don’t mean to imply that one person could have saved him. What he taught us, though, is not to assume. Don’t assume happiness and don’t assume strength. We can provide each other that strength and that can lead to happiness. There’s probably someone in your life whom you can’t name a person they are really close to. Don’t assume they have people you don’t know about to talk to. Be one of those people and you won’t have to assume. It might seem like nothing, but if you poke the smallest hole in that tin can, you never know, a bunch of farts might escape through. Anything to avoid that explosion.

-Jonny Auping

 

This Week in Internet Advice: Don’t Eat Food and You’ll Get a Job

“This Week in Internet Advice” is a response to the overwhelming number of arbitrary advice columns on the Internet. The Internet has long been the place that we go to with our questions and as a result, over the past few years the Internet has responded by giving us unsolicited advice that we didn’t realize we needed. In this feature, the author picks one of these articles and points out the unintentional humor it provides. 

Guys, we’re back. I know, it’s been awhile since the last edition of “This Week in Internet Advice.” It’s not that the Internet took a break from giving us advice, I just took a break from making fun of that advice. 

Luckily, Huffington Post published an article that tells us that we should probably skip meals before a job interview and go into the ordeal hungry. Apparently a study was done at Dartmouth and Cornell that states that people who are hungry have a greater sense of entitlement and think they deserve more and, therefore, that entitlement will translate into your interviewer hiring you. 

I’d like to suggest that they are overstating the “entitlement” hunger causes us. Perhaps most humans feel entitled to keep living and because they require food to do so, they feel entitled to that food. But who am I to argue with the science of job interviews?

Here is the quote provided by Emily Zitek, who was one of the conductors of the study:

“If being hungry is a good way for someone to be entitled, as the surveys showed, they can maybe skip lunch or skip breakfast or something.”

I’m pretty old fashion, but I don’t like the last two words of my research studies to be “or something.” That’s one step up from, “or whatever, I dunno.” We can “maybe skip breakfast or lunch or something?” Thanks. Way to be confident in your findings.

Another really great part of this article was this picture it provided: 

job interview

The caption reads, “Perhaps this guys wolfed down a big meal before his interview.”

Uhh, yeah, perhaps. It actually seems like the interviewer is about to say “Are you ok? You look famished. Do you need some food? We can reschedule if you’re feeling lightheaded.” It doesn’t look like he just wolfed down a big meal, it looks like he’s about to pass out from hunger.

The researchers conducted two studies. In the first, they stopped college kids on campus and asked them on a 1 to 7 scale if they agreed with the statements, “I honestly feel more deserving than others” or “Things should go my way.” Then they asked them to rank their hunger on a 1 to 7 scale. Apparently hunger coincided with feeling deserving.

Here’s my problem: college students walking around campus have to give sporadicly different responses to “things should go my way.” I was in college not that long ago. You might have caught me on my way to a class that starts in 15 minutes on a day when I’m caught up with my studies, had plans to play basketball with some friends later and am feeling confient about my future. OR you might have caught me on my way to a class that started 15 minutes ago, wearing the same beer-stained clothes as the night before with a brutal headache and a fear that an unknown assignment was due today. I would likely have a drastically different opinion on what I feel I “deserve” on each day regardless of if I did or didn’t skip eating the disgusting microwavable lunch that my roommate happened to buy that week. 

The second experiment is much more ridiculous. They surveyed students who liked pizza while a pizza cooked nearby with a strong aroma. They also did the experiment without the aroma. Apparently, hungry students refused to answer the extra questions in the survey, which means they felt more entitled, which somehow means they would do well in an interview. 

Here’s that logic one more time: 1.) Hungry student refuses to finish survey. 2.) Refusal shows sense of entitlement. 3.) Sense of entitlement means that hungry student would nail an interview. 

I’m not quite sure how 1.) leads to 3.). 

It sort of seems like that study just proved that hungry people don’t like to keep doing things that are preventing them from eating. So wouldn’t a hungry person just want to rush through the interview?

I’ve also been conducting a similar study for just about my entire life and my results have proven that hungry people are cranky, irritable and absolutely miserable to be around. So if you want to get a job at the leasing office of a mid-level apartment complex then go ahead and skip lunch. You’ll fit right in. 

Jonny Auping

 

The Existential Question of the Everything Bagel

I always thought it was an arrogant name choice. 

The “Everything” bagel. 

Was the inventor prone to exaggeration? Or was he or she just lazy? Maybe it was supposed to literally imply that it had a vast amount of ingredients or maybe it was just a play on the colloquialism, “this is everything,” you know, like “money is everything” or family is everything.” 

I took to the interwebs to find out. I found this informative article in the Washington Post about the origins of the Everything Bagel. Two separate men claim to have invented the bagel. One claims, “There is no doubt I invented the Everything Bagel.” The other says, ” No, I definitely invented the everything bagel. There’s no doubt. It’s undeniable truth. It’s one of those things that’s 100% true, 50% of the time.”

I’m not sure what that last quote means, but unfortunately for both these men, when two people argue over credit for something I tend to believe neither of them. 

No, the Everything Bagel is beyond anything either of these two men could comprehend. It’s everything. 

It likely has existed in this world longer than we humans. Perhaps not fully formed, but all of its ingredients. Sesame, garlic, caraway, salt, and poppy are not just things. They are everything. If they are everything, what does that make us? Nothing? Probably, yes. We are nothing. 

As I type this I am sitting in a Starbucks, taking a break from more important writing (or could it really be more important? I mean we’re talking about everything here) and I look around and see nothing masquerading as a busy everything. I see a woman who brought her In-N-Out burger and fries into the establishment to eat. I see an eight-year old consuming a drink that is approximately 71 percent whipped cream. I see a man conducting an interview for a job that is so exciting that it conducts its interviews at Starbucks. 

What are we really doing here? The answer’s somewhere in the bagel. It has to be. 

The next time you groan as you look down and notice poppy seeds and who knows what else on your lap after polishing off an Everything Bagel with cream cheese maybe you should show a little appreciation. Twenty minutes earlier you had nothing on your lap. Now you have everything. 

Sometimes I wonder if God really took seven days to put this beautiful world together. Why waste so much time? I’m not sure that He really did create light on day one. I think He created the Everything Bagel. Then He kicked back. There is a hole in it for reason. The light could shine through. 

Jonny Auping

Dawn of the Planet of the Anteaters

You may or may not have noticed that big action/adventure/disaster/suspense movies are not exactly original these days. We’ve got Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Planet of the Apes, Transformers, a thousand different superhero movies and on and on. We’re also supposed to believe that Into the Storm isn’t the exact same thing as Twister. 

Are we really that void of creativity? Hollywood really can’t come up with something new that can entertain us in a cold theater for two hours? Luckily, I have come across what should clearly be the newest blockbuster movie. I was stumbling around on Yahoo’s front page when I saw the headline “Giant Anteater Kills Two.” Naturally, I clicked on the link, but I didn’t expect much, it’s a big, crazy world out there and every day people manage to die in some very odd, but ultimately unimpressive way. 

Boy, was I wrong. Apparently the anteater mauled the two people to death in Brazil, but it wasn’t the story that left me breathless. It was THIS PICTURE:

I’m assuming you’ve spent about three minutes trying to figure out what you are looking at.  How many animals is that? Well, technically it’s three animals. After reading the story and the description of the picture I was informed that it is a picture of the giant anteater with its two small baby anteaters riding on its back.

Oh, okay. That makes sense, except for, you know, ITS LEG IS A FUCKING PANDA HEAD!

Apparently that is a picture of an anteater walking forward and what “appears” to be a panda head is actually just its left leg. Yahoo makes no mention of the panda and will just have us believe it’s some sort of optical illusion. 

I’m not buying it. We have a genetically created, cross-species, super predator that is out there killing people. The two deaths were separate incidents meaning this thing has struck twice. Here’s the description of one incident:

“The anteater stood on its hind legs and grabbed the man with its forelimbs, causing deep puncture wounds in his thighs and upper arms. The hunter bled to death at the scene.”

It seems to leave out that one of those “forelimbs” is the head of a panda bear, which probably bit through him like a piece of bamboo. 

So authorities should probably figure out how to subdue this creature before there are any more victims. But that’s not my job, that’s the authorities job. My job is to pitch this to Hollywood so we can finally get a cool summer movie that doesn’t involve Mark Wahlberg pretending he cares about dinosaur robots fighting each other. 

Here we go…

So quick camera shot of beautiful Rio De Janeiro. Now keeping going past the beaches to a low-budget, but well-intentioned zoo where there is only so much space and certain animals are kept in the same environments together including, yep, you guessed it, anteaters and pandas. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the American animal lover/panda specialist who warned the park that the two species shouldn’t be in the same proximity. He was worried about his favorite panda, Daisy. 

One day, Daisy and a giant anteater named Gregory both spot a bamboo stick, which just so happens to be covered in ants. They both want it and it turns into an epic battle. Apparently, when Brazil built the stadiums for the World Cup they had to relocate a bunch of toxic waste and they irresponsibly and inexplicably stored it at this particular zoo. Amidst the anteater/panda battle they knock over barrels of toxic waste which results in a large explosion. All animals are seemingly dead. BUT when the dust settles we see the anteater walking away with DAISY AS HIS FOOT. He escapes into the forrest/jungle.

Manny from Modern Family will play another zookeeper. He’ll be the comedic relief. There’s a strong chance he’ll die at some point in the film. 

As the anteater/panda continues to eat ants and bamboo it gets bigger and bigger and its two baby anteaters are also growing. Eventually it’s approximately the size of Godzilla. To a creature that big, humans begins to look like….ants. And skyscrapers look like bamboo sticks. 

Emma Watson will play the female American solider who is always underestimated by all the guys even though she’s the toughest solider in her squad. She is part of a plan that will destroy the creature. Eventually she crosses paths with JVG and he tells her “there’s got to be another way” and keeps saying “if I could just talk to Daisy,” which if you haven’t kept up is the left front leg of this giant anteater, which happens to be the head of a panda, which used to be JVG’s best friend. Watson is clearly falling for JVG. 

The final battle scene will be epic and some major city will basically be destroyed. 

If the studio demands that the animals can talk Jack Black can be on hold to voice as many animals as possible. 

Don Cheadle will play Watson’s ranking officer who knows she is the best solider out there, but “takes too many damn risks.”

Jeremy Piven will play the owner of the zoo who took too many shortcuts to cut costs and put everyone’s life in danger. 

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I think it’s fair to say I’ve laid out the groundwork for a Citizen Kane-esque film that will entertain the entire globe. It is now someone’s job to sign me up for Kickstarter. Someone else should put this pitch on KickStarter and hopefully we’ll have the money by September to get this thing rolling. 

-Jonny Auping