Thank You For Reading My Cover Letter

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They say the secret trick to a good cover letter is going back and deleting the first sentence, which I have made sure to do, because I want to convey just how serious I am about this position. (Besides, you’re no dummy. You don’t need me to tell you Lauren doesn’t have the emotional availability to make it through an entire Bachelorette season).

But you’re reading this because you want to find out more about me. Where do I begin? I’m worker good self-starter person, as far back I can remember, really. And furthermore, synergy.

If you’re thinking of asking me what I believe to be my biggest weakness, I’m more than prepared to answer. I’d have to say it’s my inability to summarize myself and my best qualities through a concise note in which I’m expected to sound qualified, personable, and unique. It’s a complete nightmare. In fact, I can’t think of a more stressful task, and I’ve completed two masters programs.

I know there will be a lot of competition for this position, but I believe that I’m the perfect candidate, and luckily, this candidate won’t have to rely on the Electoral College [brief pause for laughter]. I’d like to think my resume speaks for itself—and I wish you actually would just let it speak for itself.  

They say dress for the job you want, and by courageously taking off my helmet, anti-viral facemask, and body armor, I’m dressed like someone with a job that provides affordable medical benefits.

Seeing as how talking about myself isn’t my strong suit, I thought I’d ask you a couple questions as they relate to my qualifications:

  1. Do you really want to pass up a potential hire like me, who has relevant experience in the industry and can bring in an impressive Rolodex of contacts?
  2. Is your company open to outside the box thinking, assuming that the everyday, nitty-gritty responsibilities of the job are being met?
  3. What exactly caused the death of the monoculture, and how has it affected the way we engage in politics?
  4. What should I have for dinner?
  5. Should this be double-spaced?

In conclusion, I look forward to obsessively dreading over whether or not I forgot to attach this to the application. I’m available to start immediately, but please note I have an out-of-town thing in June.

-Jonny Aupng

#RockTheVote: A Deletion Poem

 

*Editor’s Note: Stories For Sunday is thankful to have a guest post from Joe Valentine. He put this poem together as his civic contribution to this great country. 

Deletion poems don’t usually make a lot of sense. Presidential elections usually make a little bit of sense. And yet this deletion poem from the third presidential debate is a pretty solid encapsulation of the 2016 election. Source material found here

 

Chris Wallace: Good evening from Las Vegas.

I’m Chris Wallace of Cheers. No noise

except Trump.

Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump,

let’s get it on. First of all,

what’s your view on words?

 

Clinton: I talk. I stand up and basically say,

I would be great as President.

 

Wallace: Mr. Trump, same question.

 

Trump: First of all, it’s great to be so, so

very inappropriate

toward a tremendous number of people.

Many, many millions of people.

I am bent.

 

Wallace: We now have ten minutes

for an open discussion on

the arms of judge Antonin Scalia.

 

Clinton: The gun show. I respect the arms.

 

Trump: The toughest. Probably you could say

by far the toughest.

Tremendous. Very strong.

 

Wallace: Well, let’s pick on Mr. Trump. You’re pro-life.

 

Trump: I am pro-life.

 

Clinton: I strongly support regulations on

women that block them from Donald.

 

Wallace: Mr. Trump, your reaction.

 

Trump: Well I think If you go with what Hillary is saying,

you can say that that is okay and

Hillary can say that that is okay, but because

based on what she is saying and based

on where she’s going and

where she’s been, that’s not acceptable.

 

Clinton: Scare rhetoric.

 

Wallace: All right. Let’s move on.

The question is why are you right

and your opponent wrong?

 

Trump: Well first of all, she is just pouring

the blood of the youth.

 

Clinton: I rip apart children.

I want to see Donald rip apart any person.

 

Trump: We are a country of laws.

 

Clinton: There are some limited

places where that was appropriate.

 

Trump: Big league. Bigly.

 

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, you gave a

Brazilian for which you

were paid $225,000.

Is that your dream?

 

Clinton: That is private.

 

Wallace: Try to keep it quiet.

 

Trump: Now we can talk about Putin.

He said nice things about me.

He has tremendous

numbers of chicken.

 

Clinton: Well, he would rather have a puppet.

 

Trump: No puppet. You’re the puppet.

 

Clinton: I am not.

 

Trump: She doesn’t like Putin.

 

Wallace: I do get to ask some questions.

 

Trump: I don’t know Putin.

 

Wallace: I’m not asking you that.

 

Trump: I never met Putin.

 

Wallace: We are going to move on to

the next topic which

is growth.

 

Clinton: I think Bernie Sanders is on steroids.

 

Trump: Well, I’m a big massive husband.

 

Clinton: My husband has investments.

 

Trump: Her husband was one of the worst

things ever. They

actually fact checked

and they said I was right.

 

Clinton: Donald goes around

with crocodile tears, but he

brought Osama bin Laden to

The Celebrity Apprentice.

 

Wallace: The next segment is fitness.

 

Trump: I really want to just talk

about something different.

She is very sleazy.

 

Clinton: Well, I know I don’t have the AIDS.

 

Trump: You push gays off buildings.

 

Clinton: He can’t prove it.

What is really troubling is

that he has not paid

a penny in federal income tax.

 

Trump: You should have changed the

law if you don’t like it.

You should have changed the law,

but you won’t change the law.

I sat in my apartment today.

I will tell you I sat there. I sat there

watching ad after ad after ad, all ads.

And you should have changed

the laws. If you don’t like what I did,

you should have changed the laws.

 

Wallace: Mr. Trump, Governor Pence on Sunday

is one of the prides of this country.

Are you saying you’re

not prepared to commit to that principle?

 

Trump: I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?

 

Clinton: Donald really is whining.

 

Wallace: Hold on, folks. This doesn’t do

any good for anyone. Let’s please move

onto the subject of the offensive to

take back Mosul. The question becomes,

whoever of you ends up as president,

will you vacuum ISIS?

 

Trump: Let me tell you, Mosul is so sad.

We had Mosul. But we lost Mosul.

Now we’re fighting again to get Mosul.

The problem with Mosul

is in Mosul.

They want to attack Mosul.

We’re going after Mosul.

I’ve been reading about Mosul.

So we’re now fighting for Mosul.

But you know who the big winner in Mosul

is going to be.

But who is going to get Mosul really?

We’ll take Mosul eventually.

So Mosul is going to be a wonderful thing.

 

Clinton: I just want everybody to go Google it.

“Google Donald Trump Iraq” and you

can hear the audio of him

saying Mosul.

 

Trump: Bernie Sanders said Mosul.

 

Wallace: Mr. Trump, Secretary Clinton, no.

We need to move on to our

final segment. It seems to me funny

that you haven’t prepared

closing statements. So,

tell the American people why

they should elect you.

 

Clinton: I’m awesome. I have made

children. I will do everything.

 

Wallace: Mr. Trump?

 

Trump: I have depleted the

Earth for ten lifetimes.

 

Wallace: That brings us to the end of this country.

-Compiled by Joe Valentine

 

Going To Sleep in a City and Waking Up in a Hashtag

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My experience last night wasn’t all that traumatic compared to what you’ve already seen and read. My apartment was a (safe) five-minute drive from the scene. I followed along on Twitter and CNN, I reassured concerned family and friends, and by midnight about 80 percent of my Dallas friends were accounted for. I tried to tell myself to go to sleep, that more accurate information would be out in the morning. Then sirens would roar by, and I’d pick up my phone and refresh Twitter.

I fell asleep around 3:00 and woke up at 7:00. By then, the rest of the country felt sorry for the city I’ve lived in for two years. People are dead, and my connection to them feels primarily spatial, which comes with a strange obligatory addition to my grief. I’m not just supposed to feel empathy and pain. I’m supposed to feel loyalty.

I put on my Dallas Marathon t-shirt with the city’s skyline and diverse little stick figures running in unison, and I made the same 15-minute walk to Starbucks that I make everyday to write. We’re supposed to carry on in the aftermath of tragedy. This was mostly an empty gesture. I don’t think anyone in the snooty West Village Starbucks (rumor has it that JoJo from The Bachelorette lives across the street) found any additional courage from my shirt.

Of course, there are concrete ways to positively respond to this. You can donate to the victims and their families, and I strongly suggest you do. But how people, in Dallas and elsewhere, process last night, how much effort they put into processing it, will be a more complicated task.

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Obviously, all of the slayings last night were equally tragic and the whole thing was disgustingly senseless, but the name that won’t get out of my head is Brent Thompson, a 43-year old DART officer, or Dallas Area Rapid Transit. I ride the DART rail (essentially just a metro or train) around Dallas fairly often, and I don’t think that Thompson signed up for that kind of danger. His tasks are supposed to include lecturing or kicking off idiots like me who might have forgotten to buy a ticket once or twice.

I don’t need to give you the obligatory statement that Dallas is a great city. There’s no bad city that deserves to have this happen to it. But public transportation is probably one of the best ways to get to know a city and its people. I’ve seen men and women like Brent Thompson doing their jobs. I’ve seen them joyfully interact with all sorts of citizens as if they consider them co-workers, including many people who might have been justifiably outraged by the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and who wouldn’t ever think to associate people like Thompson with the perpetrators of those deaths. Some will look at the two sides involved last night and tie two narratives together and suggest total causality, but that’s not how it works.

Those interactions on the DART, that are a bit closer to the heart of the growing conflict in America, don’t get their own hashtags. They don’t make it to Twitter. They get denied in aggressive narratives. The Black Lives Matter protests of police brutality were peaceful until disaster struck. Those men and women had every right to protest and they were being dutifully enabled to do so by the Dallas Police Department.

These were two groups that were working together because of a systemic problem in America. That should have been a powerful thing. It was something that Dallas might have been proud of. It was something indicative of two different perspectives understanding an issue. 

Instead, it was made into something horrific by a couple terrorists acting on behalf of terrorism.

The most destructive bomb a terrorist can plant goes off in the ensuing weeks in our search for justice. The most effective terrorism divides us.

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Processing extreme tragedy is supposed to be a reckoning that we all have to go through. We’re supposed to struggle with blame and solutions. #Dallas can mean a lot of things. It can be a voice of support or it can pit one group against another.

I live next to a bridge over a freeway that runs through Dallas. The other side of that bridge is one of the wealthiest, trendiest parts of the city. The rent on my side of the bridge is probably 35 percent cheaper. It’s not a dangerous place to live. The apartments and shopping are nicer on the other side, but sometimes I get the sense that the people on the other side are paying a premium to avoid some of the people on my side.

One day, I was walking home and crossing the bridge at the same time was a quirky, talkative African American man who worked for the city. We talked for the five minutes until I reached my apartment. At one point, he gave me props for having a conversation, mentioning, “Nobody over there will even speak to me” and pointing backwards. He was wearing the yellow vest that many city workers wear. He was short and slight, not remotely intimidating.

That bridge is about 100 feet long. We can’t afford to make it any longer, in Dallas or anywhere else.

-Jonny Auping

 

 

2 Chainz, and How I Thank Generous People

clean water

Coming into my 27th birthday this year, I had the same long overdue realization that many lucky people are susceptible to having at some point in their lives, which is that I’m a very lucky person. So I did some research, and in lieu of gifts, I asked friends and family to donate money to people in this world without clean water. I set the campaign goal at $350 thinking that might be around the accumulative amount of money spent on my birthday otherwise. I was just hoping I’d get close to that number.

The campaign raised over $1,000, and I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel. It’s probably the best gift I’ve ever received, if for no other reason than because it’s confirmation that I have people in my life who are so willing to do something selfless knowing that they have absolutely no pressure to do so.

In return, I promised I would write at least 400 words about anything for whoever donated to the cause. Below is a batch of requests. They are a weird mix of funny and sincere and stupid-in-the-best-way -possible. Peruse at your leisure. Read one. Read all of them. Do whatever feels right. If you donated and would still like to request something, just get in touch at jonathan.auping@gmail.com. I’ll publish more of these depending on the number of requests or I’ll just write out something and email it to you personally so that you can frame it and give it to your first born son when you think he’s ready. 

More importantly, there’s still 10 days left to donate to an incredible cause where every single one of your dollars will go to helping people get clean water that would otherwise die. Please help. 

https://donate.charitywater.org/jonathan-auping/jonny-auping-s-water-campaign

 

Subject: Why the Orioles are better than the Rangers.

 Requested by: Eric Wetsch

As a Rangers fan, I get the sense that this request borders on trolling. Also, spelling the word “Orioles” numerous times is a nightmare scenario. Seriously, I hope Baltimore newspapers provide awesome benefits for their sports copy editors because there should definitely be another ‘e’ in that word somewhere. But Eric requested this; so let’s talk about it.

A lot of novices would look at the standings (as I write this the Rangers have five more wins than the Orieles Poorly Spelled Baltimore Baseball Team) and say, “What are you talking about, Jonny? How are the Orioles better than the Rangers?” But wins and losses are just numbers, and baseball isn’t about numbers, despite what every baseball expert might tell you. It’s actually about pain and heartbreak and forcing your grief onto everyone around you.

The Rangers are a more balanced team than the Orioles. But Baltimore hits all the home runs. If someone asks you how many home runs have been hit in the MLB this season just ask how many Baltimore has hit, and say, “a little more than that” because, if my analytics are correct, that’s the most accurate answer.

They are the perfect candidates to be an exciting fringe playoff team that turns it on in the post season and all of a sudden looks unstoppable. It sort of reminds me of the 2010 Texas Rangers who made their first ever World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants. Or the redemption-seeking 2011 Rangers who came within a perfectly reasonable outfield catch of winning the World Series only to lose to St. Louis, the city where I was living at the time.

After the Rangers lost Game 7 to the Cardinals, I sat in my then-girlfriend’s bathroom with my back against the wall screaming that she just didn’t understand. There must have been a lot of perfume in that bathroom because my eyes wouldn’t stop watering.

I’m going to be honest with you, I hate baseball now. It makes me angry, and I pretend I don’t care, but I still kind of do. So let’s all agree the Orioles are better than the Rangers. They’re primed for an exciting run. Soak it in, Eric. Enjoy randomly losing to the Washington Nationals in the World Series. Good luck trying to find meaning in one of the 162 regular season games next year once you’ve discovered that nothing matters and life is bleak and what is hope but the rickety ride up on a rollercoaster you know is taking you down at full speed?

Go Orieles!

Subject: A first-person account of an interaction between my cat, CC, and myself. From the perspective of CC.

Requested by Jessica Overton

…The best thing about The One With The Beard is that his bedroom door is broken and doesn’t latch shut. He doesn’t give me as many treats as The One Without A Beard, but if there’s no food in my bowl in the morning I can wake him up to tell him. It takes a little effort pushing the door with the crown of my head, but once it gets loose, I’m in. Then it’s just a matter of jumping on his bed and pawing at his face or nibbling on his elbow until he wakes up. He’s always super grumpy. He’s probably just mad because I’m the only girl that ever gets in his bed. There’s a cruder joke to make there, but I’m not going to make it. I’m just a cat, a classy one at that.

It took some time getting used to living in the apartment after coming in from the streets. I’ve gained a lot of weight since then, but it’s not like I don’t earn all that food. There are pros and cons. The One Without A Beard constantly takes pictures of me and it’s creepy as shit. Sometimes The One With The Beard stays home all day and types on his computer and bangs his head against the table every few minutes. A lot of humans sing in the shower, but he sings for the five minutes before he gets into the shower so there’s no way he doesn’t realize how awful it sounds. It’s pretty pathetic.

One day about 8 months ago, something went horribly wrong with a big project that The One With The Beard was working on. Some random publication really screwed him over and reneged on publishing something that had taken hours of work. It looked like a real tipping point. He was a mess. He sat in the dark and talked to himself about his career and how all of his peers were approaching financial security while he chased the least lucrative dream imaginable. Anyway, my food bowl was empty so I walked up and nuzzled him and purred and gently pawed at him. You know, typical “give me some food” protocol. He just smiled, composed himself, shook off his ridiculous pessimism and moved on. It seems like things have been going well with him since then. He forgot to fill up my bowl. The One With The Beard is an idiot…

 

Subject: Friendship

Requested by Bob Jameson

It’s probably fair to say that I’m an uncommonly lucky person in that I have a lot of great friends. They’re great friends in both the sense that they are great, totally independent of their relationships with me, and they are great at being friends.

The degree to which I value those friendships is difficult to articulate, but I suppose I’ll try.

In a moment of honest confession let me tell you that I have pretty severe anxiety. I imagine there are people more deeply afflicted with the same problem, and there are worse mental afflictions to be had than what I go through; I’m not depressed, I’m not a victim of traumatic stress, and I’m a genuinely happy person. That said, the average amount of anxiety a typical person experiences in normal conditions is less than the amount I’m susceptible to experience under the same conditions. When I can’t stay ahead of it, I’m not a fun person to be or to be around.

I’m not against the notion of taking medicine for such issues. It can be a total game changer for people just trying to live the life that best reflects who they actually are. I don’t take medicine for my own reasons—one of which being a slight paranoia about how it might affect my writing/creativity. So I have my own routine of things I do specifically to keep my anxiety in check. I exercise every day. I write something every day. I meditate every day.

Lastly, I make sure to text or call someone that lives in a different state as me every day. There are people in California, New York, all over the Midwest and Texas and elsewhere who aren’t totally annoyed by hearing from me. That’s an extremely gratifying feeling. Nothing feels more like a safety net than keeping up with people you care about. Space and circumstance don’t have to turn good friendships into causal ones. They don’t have to turn casual friendships into former acquaintances.

I could definitely do better. I could make a better effort with high school friends I’ve slowly lost touch of. In fact, I could stop referring to it as “effort” because it doesn’t even take that. It’s a rewarding thing.

The best thing about having a lot of people who would do you a favor when asked is less about potentially cashing in those favors and more about how good it feels to know those people are in your life. And that’s not to say you need a plethora of friends to experience that. One or two people who are there for you no-questions-asked makes an enormous difference if you soak it in as a conceptual experience and then realize it’s your reality. I know it’s true, because every now and then I forget, and that’s when the anxiety really kicks in. 

 

 

Subject: #TuesdaysWith2Chainz

Requested by Linda Kovac

If you’ve been reading this site since Day One then you might remember that I used to write a column called #TuesdaysWith2Chainz because #content is king and 2 Chainz is a prince. It was funny in a stupid way and stupid in a ‘I’m-still-glad-this-is-how-I’ve-chosen-to-spend-my-time way.’ It was supposed to capture the whole 2 Chainz vibe, and if I came anywhere close to that goal then I’m a proud man. In fact, next month I’ll be published in one of those fancy pants publications that people talk about at dinner parties that cost more than my car, and I’m really tempted to request that my bio read “Jonny Auping writes a recurring column called #TuesdaysWith2Chainz.”

But ultimately that column represents a different time in my career. If this is the last #TuesdaysWith2Chainz where do I even begin to attempt such a daunting task? I suppose the same way I always did: by Googling “2 Chainz” and seeing what kind of crazy shit he’s been up to. This always seems to provide an eclectic potpourri of 2 Chainz information, and if I’m going to worry about anything right now it’s certainly not structure. So here’s a bunch of stuff about a funny rapper:

-In a short profile by the Daily Beast, 2 Chainz said the following in regard to his decision to go to college out of state:

“I could’ve stayed in Georgia, sold dope, and went to school, but I decided to sell dope and go to school somewhere else.”

This is one of the best sentences anyone has ever spoken. It evokes the following qualities: honesty, humor, inspiration, pragmatism, and entrepreneurship. It’s an analogy that applies to so many levels of life. Does your young son want to stay at the school with the great baseball team even though the other school also has a band where he can expand his love of saxophone? Well, buy him some cool black sunglasses and send his little saxophone playing-ass to the new school and pack a baseball glove in his bag too, because that new school’s short stop is about to have to sit his ass on the bench. If he’s nervous just remind him that 2 Chainz could have just stayed in Georgia and given up his drug dealing, but he went out of his comfort zone and sold drugs there.

*Note: 2 Chainz attended Alabama State on a scholarship. He had a 3.2 GPA in high school, which is basically the same GPA I had despite not being distracted by responsibilities like selling drugs or getting laid.

-In Chance the Rapper’s excellent new mixtape “Coloring Book” 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne are featured in the song “No Problem.” At one point 2 Chainz raps the following line:

Aye, Aye Captain

I’m high, Captain,

I’m so high,

Me and God dappin.’

Incredible. Let’s first establish, that “Coloring Book” is full to the brim with Chance’s declarations of Christianity. The majority of the songs contain uplifting gospel-oriented lyrics as a way to provide some sort of context to the happiness that radiates out of his music.

Enter 2 Chainz. His contribution to this theme is to compare how high on marijuana he is to literally being so high up in the air that he is in heaven. At which point, he sticks his fist out to God for acknowledgment and God does the same out of respect. 2 Chainz actually bumped knuckles with God, and your son is too fucking scared to switch schools?

-Linda requested I write this. Linda is a proud Kansas City resident. This is a photo of 2 Chainz on Father’s Day that is captioned to have taken place in the Kansas City airport:

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Here are 10 points of note:

  1. This doesn’t look like an airport.
  1. You’re not allowed to smoke weed in an airport, and he’s definitely smoking weed.
  1. He is wearing a Johnny Cash t-shirt.
  1. His Johnny Cash t-shirt is tucked in to his pants.
  2. 2 Chainz has three children named Heaven, Harmony, and Halo. That’s real. And awesome.
  1. Would Johnny Cash ever wear a 2 Chainz t-shirt if her were still alive?
  1. Is the following a Johnny Cash lyric or a 2 Chainz lyric:

“I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody

I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody, no time,

And until I get somethin’ from somebody, sometime,

I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody, no time.”

  1. The answer to question 7 is Johnny Cash. It is from the 2000 song “Nobody.”
  1. Did 2 Chainz ghostwrite the lyrics to “Nobody” for Johnny Cash?
  1. The answer to questions 6 and 9 is “probably.”

-Jonny Auping

Thanksgiving’s Most Overrated Foods

Thanksgiving. America’s favorite holiday that celebrates America’s favorite pastime–rapid consumption of calories. 

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving will always be burdened by two inconvenient truths:

  1. Everything you were taught about the first Thanksgiving is shit.
  2. Confining your entire extended family to one living room is shit.

With these truths in mind, the importance of the Thanksgiving meal itself multiplies. This is a holiday for eatin’, and your only goal is to ensure the eatin’ is good.

To ensure you don’t ruin Thanksgiving and possibly the entire dynamic of your family, I will happily bestow upon you my personal list of Thanksgiving’s most overrated foods:

Green Bean Casserole

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“Hey honey?”

“Yes dear?”

“You know what would really compliment these savory mashed potatoes, these rich, delicious pies?

“What’s that, honey?”

“The worst vegetable of all time, but we make it really fucking creamy for some reason and crumble up some stale Funyons on top”

I was not at the Thanksgiving dinner when green bean casserole was first added to the menu, but I am confident that’s how history’s darkest day played out.

I will never understand why green bean casserole has a roster spot on Team Thanksgiving. Green bean casserole is the worst. Green bean casserole told the teacher she forgot to collect the homework. Green bean casserole starts most of its sentences with “I’m not racist, but…”. Green bean casserole claps all the end of movies. Green bean casserole thinks Ben Carson has some good ideas.

Cranberry Sauce

cranberry-sauce

Does anyone actually eat cranberry sauce? I feel like cranberry sauce is placed on the table just for looks–a charming bowl of dark red mush, nothing more than a festive garnish.

When dinner is done, the turkey carcass is exposed, the mashed potatoes linger as starchy grains of sand, the bread basket is barren…and the cranberry sauce completely untouched. Actually, somehow there’s more cranberry sauce in the bowl than before. God felt SO bad for cranberry sauce, he made more imcuately appear in the bowl, hoping to get your attention–and you still ignored cranberry sauce. AND you ignored God.

Rolls

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Rolls are what you eat when you’re still hungry, but the only food left is the green bean casserole and the cranberry sauce God made.

Turkey

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You wait and wait for the mecca of the Thanksgiving meal to be served. The capital city of Thanksgiving Town. The Christmas of Thanksgiving dishes. Finally, your darling mother walks in the room, displaying a perfectly cooked turkey.

“I spent five hours basting this turkey, and it’s cooked to perfection”, your mother proudly claims, and you think, “cool mom I’ve done a lot of shit in my life too just set the bird down”.

 You take a few pieces of dark meat, a few pieces of light meat. You penetrate the turkey with your miniature trident, slowly lifting the meat into your mouth and introduce it to your hot, wet, single friend, “taste buds”.

And it tastes sooooo…..turkey-y.

It’s just turkey. You knew how it was going to taste, you eat turkey like once a week. And it’s alright I guess? It’s just turkey. It’s a  white meat that taste and looks an awful lot like chicken. It’s just turkey.

Sorry to ruin your holiday, but come on. It’s just turkey.

Flubber

Ugh mom stop serving Flubber at Thanksgiving nobody likes it why cant we be a normal family.

The Hypocrisy of Saying No

Thousands Of Syrian Refugees Seek Shelter In Makeshift Camps In Jordan

In 1909, a 26-year-old carpenter and his wife arrived in New York City as immigrants from a country that, 106 years later, is a topic of global debate. Shortly after their immigration from Syria to the United States, this couple had a daughter, and eventually, this daughter had a son, a son that become a comedian, and then an actor, starring in a wildly popular “show about nothing”.

In the 1950’s, a Syrian man fled the Middle East as political protests spiraled out of control. Seeking refuge from the turmoil, he traveled to the United States, eventually landing in Wisconsin. Here, he fell in love with a German-Swiss Catholic woman, and, eventually, this couple had a baby, a boy, a boy who grew into the man who made phones as smart as he was, who made computers accessible to all.

Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Jobs highlight our country’s collection of citizens whose family arrived via Syria. These individuals–all of them, not just the ones of fame and fortune–helped shape our country into what it is today.

To deny war-weary Syrian refugees access into our country is to deny the American narrative, to deny our country’s history and foundation–yet that is exactly what the governors of 20+ states and political leaders across the country have just done.

In addition to their astonishingly low levels of empathy, these are governors and statesmen that proudly declare their commitment to the ways of Christianity, though they are seemingly oblivious to the hypocrisy they foster by shutting the door on the needy and the helpless, an act that is a direct violation of the word of God.

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Indiana Christian governor Mike Pence, known Evangelical and purveyor of homophobia, a man already well-versed in religious hypocrisy, has requested state agencies cease all work currently being done to help settle Syrian refugees.

Cincinnati mayor John Cranley has made similar requests, despite being one month removed from a speech declaring his desire to make Cincinnati “the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States.” 

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana and son of Indian immigrants, issued an executive order preventing Syrian refugees from being resettled in Louisiana.

As acts of terrorism plague Middle Eastern nations, I am reminded of the breed of terrorism currently plaguing our own nation–mass shootings, which continue to occur on a weekly basis, often by white people, always by males. These shootings occupy our headlines regularly, yet nobody stands up and declares every single white male a terrorist threat. Nobody declares the actions of the Dylan Roofs, the Adam Lanzas to be the acts of all white men–they acknowledge these individuals as anomalies, dark souls who desperately needed mental help. When it comes to Muslims, however, a group made up of over one billion people, we are so quick to claim that each practicing and non-practicing member of the religion is eyeing the extermination of our lives, our families, our nation.

Why are Muslims judged by the worst of their kind, while we judge our ourselves only by our best?

This is not a plea for tolerance towards ISIS or any fanatical group that uses a false guise of religion to purloin the gift of life. This is a plea for tolerance towards those who have suffered at the hands of this wretched hive of humans most frequently.

The Syrian refugees are not inherently evil—they are desperately attempting to elude those who are. Indifference towards their fight is its own brand of hate.

 

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference”
– Elie Wiesel

 

 

The Grantland Generation and the Lie We Chose To Believe

 Grantland tricked a lot of young people into becoming writers. I’m one of them. Call us the Grantland Generation.

Grantland launched the summer before my senior year of college. In short time, what they were trying to become—what they eventually became—was clear. They were good, thoughtful writing, focused on developing specific voices into diverse content. It would be romanticizing Grantland to say that providing those things filled a gaping hole in the market. Great, nuanced writing, about both sports and pop culture, existed before and after them at publications with similar goals.

What Grantland did was make that work appear mainstream, cool, sharable, and discussion worthy to not just the pretentious or unrealistically informed. Mickey Mouse was putting his backing behind Grantland, and a conglomerate of that size has an ability to legitimize a venture as industry simply by association. Writing—writing about things most young people already love—represented a sect of ESPN, that we chose to believe was equal to any other sect of ESPN, because why would we stop to think otherwise? To a tremendous amount of young writers, Grantland was massively influential in their decisions to call writing a career. That may seem silly to older generations of writers and readers because four years is barely even recent history, but to those of us in our twenties it’s the most informing and impressionable period of time imaginable.

What Grantland did for writers my age was create a similar construct to the one that made so many sports fans in the nineties and early 2000s (and even now) idolize Stuart Scott, Scott Van Pelt, Dan Patrick, and other SportsCenter anchors. They had dream jobs. Grantland came along and, all of a sudden, being a writer didn’t seem like the starving artist livelihood that being a painter or a poet appeared to be. Grantland had an office that ESPN paid for, and great writers hung out there. It created an ideological shift that cool, funny, serious, and weird writing was a career field. The Grantland Generation didn’t need to get a job at Grantland. We just assumed we’d get a job at a place-like-Grantland, because once you freelance enough, a Bill Simmons-type will notice you and you’ll become a specific voice for a much larger vehicle.

I was never published in Grantland, and that fact doesn’t bother me. I’m proud of the places where I’ve seen my work. I can say truthfully, that some of the writers whose names I’ve been published alongside are probably my greatest sources of satisfaction in my career. And working with some of my editors has been like taking free throw lessons from Steph Curry.

Sure, Grantland writers inspired and influenced my writing. I wouldn’t have chased down a story on Johnny Manziel’s hometown if I hadn’t studied the writing of Bryan Curtis. I wouldn’t have started a column called “Tuesdays With 2 Chainz” if Shea Serrano hadn’t made me laugh so much. I wouldn’t have reported on the world’s largest podcast conference if I hadn’t read Molly Lambert on the world’s largest porn conference. I wouldn’t have published joke emails to Ryan Gosling’s restaurant (and Justin Timberlake’s, and Mark Wahlburg’s) if Rembert Browne didn’t make me realize that being silly won’t make people discount your intelligence. I wouldn’t have learned how to write about basketball and make it sound like I’m talking about it with my friends if I hadn’t read Chris Ryan and Jason Concepcion.

But I had inspirations elsewhere, too, and there was incredible, versatile writing outside of Grantland. Too much to begin to name, in fact. Look around and you’ll find it, and love it. But Grantland convinced me, and countless other, that there was an industry to support the size of this writing community. It didn’t take much convincing. We believed it because we wanted to.

We’re writing now. Not at Grantland, but we’re writing, and it’s hard. Not just for the reasons it should be hard, that is, because writing anything is a painstaking, vulnerable task. No, it’s hard because not quite enough people care, and less pay.

Grantland’s death—more specifically, the way Grantland died—is first and foremost sad for the great writers who lost their jobs. But for the Grantland Generation, it was a punch to the stomach, because Grantland didn’t have enough financial support, and was so unimportant to ESPN that it could exist at 10:00 AM and be a memory at noon. I think a lot of us young writers liked to pretend that maybe every Grantland writer was making six figures while totally aware it was just a fantasy we used to justify the less-than-lucrative work we were doing ourselves. Now, we realize, the majority of those writers are not just unemployed, but now competing with us for jobs and space in a room we already could barely fit in.

To an older generation of writers, the demise of Grantland is surely just another reminder of the nature of a tough business with no guarantees. To us, to those that came into writing in a world where Grantland already existed, it’s a shattered illusion. It’s a look behind the curtain to see that the Land of Oz is actually controlled by Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.

So in a way, Grantland lied to us. Or maybe we just lied to ourselves. It doesn’t really matter.  Many of us, and perhaps some Grantland staffers, chose to see Simmons as an Ari Gold-like figure, running around town protecting his talent (a reference and analogy many writers would probably shudder at, but I have a feeling Simmons would appreciate). But that’s not how this industry works, and ESPN was never all in. Advertisers care less about Time On Site and more about clicks, which is a bad thing for anyone putting effort into each thought. 

So that mindset led many of us not to a career, but to a life of hoping that the most recent invoice comes through before rent’s due. But the reveal of the illusion doesn’t actually change anything except for our own realizations. The landscape isn’t all that different, but it feels more intimidating. The odds were always stacked against us, and some of us are just now realizing the gravity of that.

This came in a month stretch when I was having increased difficulty getting paid for what I considered good writing (as if it’s ever easy). My gut reaction to this, to all of this, is to write, and to write more than I already do, which will be no easy task. Even if that doesn’t make sense. Even if I don’t get paid or pieces go to waste, unpublished.

Trying to be one of many people contributing good, thoughtful writing out into the world isn’t a job just because I want it to be. You don’t just get health insurance because you write every single day.

But I’m going to keep doing it. I think a lot of other people just like me will too.

“You are meant to play the ball as it lies, a fact that may help to touch on your own objective approach to life.”

-Grantland Rice

Written by Jonny Auping

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.

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