Thanks Everyone For Making This The Worst Elevator Ride Ever

Don't worry, every idiot in this paisley-papered deathchute is implicated and we'll review exactly how, starting in the northeast corner with the shrunken old bat whose cough sounds like a marsh being drained by a thousand backhoes. When you stepped aboard on the third floor, everyone was molested by your floral musk which smells like your probably dead husband's mortician-manicured neckfolds and we all wanted to die and kill you and high five in the same instant. That collective hatred of your presence was the closest we will all come to a touching moment on this ascent into madness. So thanks for that, I guess that will be some comfort in your grave.

Moving clockwise, there's the guy in the hat with a terrible lone dreadlock snaking around his neck, matted like the inside of a diner bench, hiding his confusing clavicle tattoo. What is that, it looks like you spilled coffee grinds on your chest while waiting for some fake redheaded girl with two liprings and a beaded anklet that smells like a wound to wire you some cash from Arizona. It's probably some tribute to a drowned friend but sorry it was a mistake.

Next is the ferret-headed woman in the sorry cardigan who sauntered in from the 12th floor basically talking on 40 phones at once. How is your whole life this morning, stranger? Well, we all know that your son has lacrosse tonight, that oh my god your Diet Pepsi was so flat you almost threw it out, and that Donald may or may not have that file, because you know how Donald is, he's an unreliable person and you're not saying he's incapable well whatever you know what I mean, we do, we all do, Donald is the worst but whatever he's fine.

Then we have the little guy in the corner who looks like a child ghost bully, is really man? Here is a small list we've compiled for you to improve your whole self: 1.) Change your body to something that is less angular and repellent. Your elbows have their own elbows and we'd like to strangle you with your dangling earbuds. 2.) Stop looking around. What are you looking for in each of our eyeballs? We're all trapped in a moist, lurching coffin so close your darting alley mouse eyes. 3.) Step out of this elevator and just fall forever into awaiting snakes that each have your terrible face on their hooded heads, leaving behind your shoe, one green Adidas for the lobby lost and found box as a keepsake of your life that we've already all forgotten.

That lady in the blazer...she is just standing there quietly. She seems fine actually.

Then there's the sandwich man, who is gnawing on some flatbread calamity like this is a raccoon surprise party at the dump. Since we all now know what it's like to be inside your mouth, let's describe it for you: Imagine back to being a kid and going to the waterpark for a family vacation and clambering to the top of the tallest, windiest waterslide. Except, when you look down, instead of water, all you see are roiling waves of rancid mayo with rivulets of barf and chipotle seasoning lacing the turgid basin below. Now bellyflop down to the bottom in a sort of slow-motion horrorslump that deletes a handful of happy moments from your future with each viscous turn of the tube.

Finally we have a loving couple with arms interlaced like a beautiful new sneaker in the world's best Foot Locker, who have their milky drinks and almost agree on a rug they saw and here we go with the hands dipping in to each other's back pockets. Creeping in slow with a lingering rub of the jeaned cheek and although it is completely repulsive in ways the brain cannot fully parse it is also perfect and reassuring in ways the heart is certain of so we'll have to hate you for that instead.

It's Time To Get Organized On This Life Raft

I'm not trying to be a huge jerk here, but everyone else with a functioning tongue got a chance to speak their mind, so if it's OK, I'd like to address some issues I've been noticing on this raft. Please prop Marlene up.

I've been hearing a lot of rumblings about how we're going to die, about how the relentless sun is eating away at our face flesh, and about how we are so thirsty that some of us started drinking our own bile, super gross. I know that the sinking of our work cruise is still pretty shocking to many of us, even six days later, but I have some ideas to run past you all on how we can make the best out of our situation.

Maybe if we all had little jobs to keep us busy and give us some purpose, we wouldn't be bickering and writhing around so much. Dan, you can collect condensation in the shuffleboard disc. When there's a slurp's worth, you can let the next person in the rotation know.

OK, right off the bat, someone needs to keep Laine from drinking seawater. He keeps trying to gulp it down and then throwing up on himself. Laine, please cut it out. Your hallucinations are getting really grabby.

Next item, someone has to fight off the seagulls. I think you'll agree they are a more immediate threat than the shark sightings. They are really growing in numbers and causing a lot of scary confusion with their perverse circling and horrible shrieks. Actually two people would be better for this task, one to wave the sweatshirt and one to protect our ration of fish bones. I know I've said this before but I know for a fact that one gull landed on my shoulder while I was sleeping and though no one believes me, I am certain it cawed my name but whatever.

Next, we need to clean up. I realize our back scabs keep us in near-paralyzing pain, but we should all pitch in to make this raft more comfortable. Plus I think it'll help boost our morale better than Manuel's unnerving chanteys which literally nine times out of ten end with a graphic mermaid love scene.

OK, here's something important, I am aware there are a few of us that want to be left alone to die. To this faction, fair enough. But we need a way to prevent your moans from upsetting the people who want to live. Don't get me wrong, I think it works out that some of us just want to be dead and are too scared to just drown themselves. Anyway, we all wouldn't fit in a rescue chopper if one happened to notice us.

This is a minor thing...but is anyone else really put off by Andy's journaling? I don't know, he's always in the corner scribbling in this wet little notebook. Even right now he's leering at us and chronicling this with the stupid pencil tip he salvaged. If it's just me on that one then I guess forget it.

Which brings me to a quick side-note...if a chopper or like a fishing dinghy does rescue us, we should chat about what our story is going to be about a few items. Like how Rajesh died. It's clear he got strangled in the commotion over the Pepsi cup everyone was trying to eat. But who strangled him? The important thing to remember here is that there were a lot of limbs tangled up in that melee, the sea was roiling, so who can really know. Another lesson here is that any sea garbage we can catch should be split equally between conscious members.

Final item. Crystal, please don't be offended, but you HAVE to wear your hooded seaweed mask. You know your blistered face is too scary to look at, that's why we threaded that thing for you. I think it's just a known fact that your lips have basically fallen off and I suspect you might be scaring off the curious mackerels that sometimes cluster under the raft. Or maybe just take it off late at night when we are passed out from exhaustion and it's just you and the moon.

OK, Marlene...Yeah - can you - just try to close her mouth, that silent scream is really.... Better, yeah.

Well that's really all I have. Thanks for your consideration on these. I know we don't keep any kind of minutes for these types of addresses, so if you need a reference maybe we can ask Andy for a peek at his precious memoirs.

What Dog On Street and Squirrel On Tree Were Saying

"Please come down from there."

"No thank you."

"Come down from the tree onto the street."

"That's OK."

"What will you do?"

"I will race upward in a spiral."

"That will excite me."

"I realize. I have no choice."

"You could come down. I have something for you."

"No, thank you. Not for me."

"My leash is being tugged. We have very little time."


"I will begin barking."

"I understand. You have no choice."



Dear Elderly Lady on the Museum Submarine Tour

Submarines are historically cramped vessels. Having been designed for stealth rather than luxury, there is not much space for people to occupy. This is the main reason you should consider, if it is possible for you to consider anything outside of your own comfort, moving forward to allow the entire tour group inside the control room.

This tour lasts nine minutes. Some of us here, myself included, are developing an unexpected interest in submarine lore. As such, you can imagine this tour, although brief and delivered by an impatient man in a decidedly non-period fleece, could be perceived as worthwhile. Also, it cost five dollars extra. So, kindly shuffle forward so that we all may hear the carefully timed description of this submarine's legendary capture.

Should I feel guilty for wanting you to walk into the periscope? Reason says yes. But reason does not seem to govern your actions, so it shouldn't govern any of ours. This small boy, for example, the one you're standing directly in front of, should reasonably become disappointed with the fact he cannot see or hear anything because of you. Instead, he is being brave, much like the nine-man boarding party that raised this behemoth from certain doom and guided it back to American shores in 1944. It is this boy's bravery that has inspired me to not try and shoulder past you. For your reference, you are the Germans in this metaphor.

OK, elderly lady, my anger has subsided. At some point in this man's half-hearted delivery of this tour, a capacity for compassion has swelled to the surface. Perhaps it some underdeveloped and latent form of patriotism. Perhaps it is the food court hot dog. It is uncertain. Nonetheless, something tells me we will make it through this nine-minute tour together. My desire to see you step awkwardly into the sea strainer as you enter the galley has subsided. My ballast tanks, once full of anger, are quickly emptying as we make a heroic charge toward the daylight.

This is all based on the unlikely assumption that you will stop blowing your nose like a depth charge every four seconds.

Understandable Ways to React To An Unexpected Shoulder Clap

  • Imperceptibly Annoyed
  • Cool and Neutral
  • Split-Second Flash of Rage
  • Half-Heartedly Smarmy
  • Sustained Chortling
  • Jarring Subject Change
  • Medium Dramatic Eye-roll
  • Instinctual Arm Swipe
  • Sincere Hand Clasp

Why Are We Giving Quizno's Another Chance?

Sure, the new prime rib sandwich looks good or whatever. But seriously? We're going back there? What has a Quizno's trip ever yielded but an overpriced disappointment? We can get reliable sandwiches at Potbelly's for half the price. So what if Quizno's is closer. That is negligible. We are talking about lunch here. Let's not blow this because of laziness.

Yes, sure, toasting, great. Potbelly's does that too, mind you. Without all the deceptive sandwich lengths to choose from. Do you want a "small" size? Hell no. It's like 3 inches. But do you want a large? Because that mother is 12 inches long and will cost you a sawbuck. They intimidate you into over-ordering because they know you are afraid of under-ordering. Shameful tactics, and it's a conscious corporate tactic. Do you honestly want to support that?

OK, yeah, you somehow make it through the complicated menu. You get your sandwich, which never looks like what you ordered. So you are certainly grabbing chips and a drink. You might think that purchasing these items together would create some kind of money-saving combination. You'd be dead wrong. You'll be lucky if you save your dignity when that transaction is over. BOOM. What's that? Lunch costs the same as dinner? Wha? You only have a ten? You need to borrow 2 bucks from me? Sorry, friend.

Yes. The pepper bar is a nice touch. Great. So a whole national sandwich chain and they can only nail one condiment? That is a poor showing. Please do not be OK with that. Besides, what kind of rotation do you think those peppers are getting? Do you think it's the shift manager's top priority to ensure fresh peppers every day? No.

Please do not pull into this meter space. Continue driving straight. Do not just sigh and shrug your shoulders. Your resignation and curiosity is sickening. How easily you look past the years of weakly-meated and overly-crunchy monstrosities. How casually you succumb to the prospect of alfredo sauce on a sandwich. If, however, you really are going to do this, then get me a brownie. It is the least you can do at this point.

I Got A Haircut! Look At My Head And Smile Approvingly!

I am looking right into your eyeballs. Return my glare and match it with an equally joyous one! You may recall that yesterday the hairs on my head were longer, whereas now, they are shorter! By nearly three inches! This is a result of a procedure called a haircut, which I bravely had done last evening!

A keen eye will notice that my bangs are styled in a slightly different manner. This was originally done by the stylist, but I have managed to recreate the effect this morning with my brush. The brush was round, and I think that I can attribute my success largely to that fact!

Do not take your coat off just yet. Please look at all angles of my head. Ask me to twirl around, because I will do so happily. Yes, this was a big step for me, and reflects my inner desire to be a bold person. This inner desire is most easily manifested in the haircut process. At first I wasn’t entirely convinced I had made the right choice, and so now is the perfect opportunity for you to affirm my decisions. You may have to put down your bag to accomplish this.

I have enlisted others in this effort. In fact, every person that passes through that door is participating in this process, which, as you will see, consists of three main steps: Beholding, Extreme Appreciation, and Complete Validation. This is also the suggested order the steps be executed in, but I will gladly allow for some variation. Should you, say, choose to move directly to Complete Validation, I would be accommodating. As long as the final step meets my satisfaction, which is probably easier to achieve than you might imagine. Please make sure to do so before your meeting. I’ll hold your coffee!

I’ve Called You All In Here To Discuss The State Of This Conference Room

File in, file in. Eric, you can stand in the server room if you need to. Get in earshot. Maybe occassionally peek around Beth’s shawl there to see what I’m laser-pointing at. That’s right, come on in. A melange of sitting and standing is fine, that is actually one of the points we’ll get to in a minute. As long as everyone is in earshot. Where’s Keith? Is Keith here today?

OK, we’ll go ahead and get started. If you can, focus up on the projector screen here. As you can see, the title of this meeting is “This Conference Room: It Is Awful.” The title graphic of the crushed Sprite can is courtesy of Devon, thank you Devon, and is based on the actual crushed Sprite can on the floor over there.

First topic – It Is Too Small. Look at all of us, crammed in here. It’s not good, people. Not everyone can see, many of us are uncomfortable, some are standing in the threshold. There is even a slightly palpable tension between the sitting people and standing people. A small-scale class war. This is unacceptable and unsustainable. We have too many people to convene in here any longer. Even the thought of hiring that intern makes me want start throwing elbows. Possible solutions include: stop meeting as a company, stop meeting in here as a company, move to a new location, downsize staff to match the number of swivel chairs at the table. All worth looking into.

Next item – The Temperature Is Inexplicable. It’s either too hot or too cold. When the hallway is a chilly 55 degrees, this room is a balmy tropical forest. When the adjoining server room is sweltering, this room is a barren tundra. Speaking of which, Eric – can you flip on the fans in there? Thank you. Pardon me. Possible solutions include: install solar panels, stop meeting in here, revive disastrous space heater plan, this time with less precarious positioning and not nested in a pile of papers, and harness body heat to store and release as needed.

Third and final, but certainly not least – It Is A Disgusting Mess. This one should be pretty clear – just look around. By a show of hands, how many of you are pretty sure you are sitting or standing on something gross? One…two…three…OK, let’s do it this way. How many of you don’t think you’re sitting or…just Malik? OK. One. One person. Case in point. I mean, look at this table. Abandoned papers, pencaps strewn across the floor like shell casings on a battlefield. And the food. These are someone’s Thai noodles here. The lime isn’t even squeezed. These rolled up plastic utensil kits may look unassuming, but lo and behold, there is a soy sauce packet in every one of them! What if a client were to place his contract right on this? Can you imagine? That deal would be dead quicker than the spider that’s been dangling from that cobweb for as long as I can remember. Possible solutions: Stop having the weekly buffet in here, stop meeting in here, hire a person to clean it every hour, hire a guard to man the doorway and interview all entering and exiting.

So that is that. We may cover other topics in future meetings, location TBD. Right off the bat, I’m thinking Why Do We Have Parties In Here When It’s Not Fun, All These Cords Are Annoying And Dangerous, and Is There Another, Less Embarrasing Place To Store All These Spare And Broken Computer Parts. We’re going to need to get all of IT up here for a few of those, which will be it's own nightmare, I’m sure.

I Shall Wait Forever For My Side Of Mayo

Is this it, then? An official challenge? If so, I accept without hesitation. This will not be the first restaurant that has tried to undo me. I am fully prepared, emotionally and physically, to wait forever for my side of mayo. May my burger become cold and rubbery in the ensuing standoff, it will be a worthy sacrifice when I triumphantly receive the condiment I requested nigh over four minutes ago.

Many of my french fries have already coalesced. Those who were not eaten while I peered restlessly around the dining room were not structurally up to the punishing climate I must endure while waiting for my mayo. They became limp with despair. But fear not, bun top, who sits trembling in anticipation, you will soon be coated in the veneer you so clearly need to become delicious. Protect yourself beneath the lettuce’s leafy embrace.

Why won’t the server catch my glare? The follow up is a fundamental part of the service industry. I mean, come on! Stop watching the hockey game and turn around. The people next to me are trying to get your attention too, although I was first. God! That’s good, talk to the bartender. Don’t even glance over at your section, which is crying out for refills, condiments, and all sorts of amenities we presumed were included in the price of our meals. Am I right, older gentleman who can’t enjoy his coffee without creamer? Would you care to give me five in recognition of our plight??

Very well. I will “lower my voice,” if that would please you. And though I may be perceived as a “stupid jackass” to you, I know in my heart who is the brave soul in this battle, and who has perished beneath the crush of complacency. I am the brave soul, for your reference. This bravery will also be reflected in my tip, which is a barbed and purposeful 14%.

Art History Lesson: Ultimate DVD Demo

Where does a person start to describe this masterpiece? All senses clamor to express gratitude for such a marvel of human innovation. It is the perfect culmination of design, emotion, and reckless literalism the sound industry has ever witnessed. Disregard for a moment the disc within, which serves as a comical relic of a time when DVD's still stood to stun the masses with their wild clarity and audio. Focus instead on this cover. Truly, a more perfect collage of things has never been arranged in our lifetime. We can only start in earnest to parse the majesty of this image. Regardless, in the interest of understanding true beauty, start we must.

We will begin with what typically comprises the main focus of any image containing an eyeball: the eyeball itself. This genderless orb, its retina a desperate sea of blue, commands the gaze of all who gaze upon its gaze. This eye must have been selected from the most compelling of Clip Art packages, perhaps one not even commercially available. Lo, this is not ordinary eye, used for such base practices as looking or peeking. This is the unblinking portal to our very souls.

As such, it makes sense that the next Photoshop layer would be a ferocious and unwavering red laser shooting out of it. Where is this laser pointing? To whose very core is it mercilessly plummeting? Is it an act of vengeance towards the taunting letter "A" in the word ULTIMATE, the M being but a innocent casualty in this ageless rivalry? Or is it intended instead as a warning to all of us; a foreboding reminder of our own mortality? It is the latter.

But to regard the laser as the terminus of this image would be to overlook the bounty that is literally rocketing forth from the rest of the retina. Indeed, if one can brave the initial consuming heat of the flame burst, seemingly borne of a mistreated pupil, we are instantly overcome by a cacophony of swirling emotions that leave us simultaneously dizzy with hope and thirsty for comprehension. A human form propels forth on a dirt bike, riding (or perhaps escaping) on this wave of fire, in search of redemption he may never find. Below him, a dolphin leaps downward, hopefully towards an element less fire-based. Do the fighter planes, long a symbol of man's obsession with his own manifest destiny, ironically signal a move towards global harmony? Why is the motorcycle man twice as big as the tiny jet by his handlebars when they exist on the same plane? Perhaps this is a coy commentary on perception by the artist. It is not ours to confirm, only to bask in the abundant and semi-professionally cropped context clues.

One thing remains unshakably certain, however. The true conjurer of this epic dreamscape is John Travolta. Placed in front of and noticeably larger than the entire planet Earth, the omen his constipated grin reveals is one that will forever confound even the most devoted scholars. Within his shrunken, meaty head lies the answers to this puzzling melange of metaphors. Should anyone in their lifetime ever solve the conflagrant riddles layered in this master work, we shall all feel the paradigm shift loudly and permanently beneath our feet.

Together, We Can Successfully Ignore Each Other

As I stand here in this damp basement, humbled and not without a modicum of shame, I issue forth a challenge. Though it may seem daunting, and it will involve effort from all of us, I henceforth decree, though we live in the same building, that together, we can successfully ignore each other's presence completely. It may not be a model well represented in many condo associations, but I know, based on numerous occasions where we have displayed extraordinary stubbornness toward one another, that we can, without exception, pretend that everyone else is dead or nonexistent.

You may be saying to yourself, "How?" "How is this possible? I hate everyone else in this building so much, and with such an abnormally aggressive vigor! Though it would represent all of my wildest dreams come to life, how can I pretend that every other resident died in their sleep while I laughed and pranced around my corner unit?" Well, I will not lie to you. It will not be easy. It will not be easy to ignore Miguel's assaulting Norte music blast around midnight, or to not gag instantly when Michelle apparently broils turds for dinner every night. It will not be easy to not scream with rage when Dennis spray paints the concrete walkway white as he clumsily tries to re-finish his kitchen cabinets. And no, it will not be easy to not topple to your death when the Kendall's choose to litter the primary stairwell with oversized children's toys. But persevere we must, for it is in our best interest. Otherwise, someone here will probably murder someone else. None of us want to speak to cops or testify in a trial. Mr. Manesh, I'm looking at you, because you would likely be killed first since your wet, old person coughs rattle the very infrastructure of the building, leading many to have already fantasized about your death in lurid detail while folding laundry in the first floor common area.

OK! I believe in us. I have personally seen you all do things that are reprehensible. We none of us should be living this close to other humans, and in some cases, allowed to walk the streets freely. However, while we cannot always decide our fate, it is always worth attempting to thwart it. Especially when the new person in 3F is constantly leaving the outer door wide open for anybody to enter. Or when the Cardonza twins are apparently staging a production of Noises Off with all the needless door slamming.

Assuming we're all on the same page here, let's bang out some action items before adjourning. I'll write them on the boiler room door since everyone else seems to have declared this door a public art project. First, nobody look at anybody else, unless it is sternly. This is key. Ambiguous eye contact can lead to empathy and ruin everything. Next, don't make any sounds when outside your unit but within property lines. Third, any personal belongings left unattended on common area will be immediately destroyed and thrown into the brown Dumpster out back. We're all going to have to chip in on that one. Last, for now anyway, is to strongly consider moving far away from this building. Use the internet to research a different neighborhood or city to live in, one that will miraculously tolerate your disgusting habits.

Also, suicide is an option, as long as no mess is created on the property. Mr. Manesh, this one's for you.

Ways To Console A Sad Magician

  • Many People Still Like Magic
  • Children Usually Cry When They’re Excited
  • I Wouldn’t Worry About That Apartment Fire, It Wasn’t Your Fault Necessarily
  • Would You Like A Bagel – It Turns Out I Bought Too Many
  • Do You Want A Ride To A Bus Stop?
  • Do That One Card Trick Again, It Was Really Interesting
  • Where Did You Get That Unique Shirt? So Many Collars!
  • I Think People Were Just Into The Appetizers Is All
  • This Weather Is Putting Everyone In A Bad Mood It Seems
  • Magic Is An Ancient Art Form, Maybe Some People Are Intimidated By That Fact

Ways This Outdoor Steam Engine Museum Is Disappointing Me

  • Water From Drinking Fountain Has That Gross Blood Taste
  • Steam Engines Aren’t Even Operational Anymore
  • Kids Are Ruining It With Their Squeals Of Wonderment
  • That One Is Covered In Dog Turds
  • Sprite Machine Doesn’t Even Offer Sprite
  • Brochures Are All Wet And See-Through
  • Woodchips On The Ground Are Sort Of Dangerous Looking
  • Our Car Looks More Interesting, To Be Honest
  • That Old Man Keeps Giving Us The Stink Eye, Not Sure What His Deal Is
  • The Pigeons Have Really Taken Over

Your Toast Has Offended All Of Us With Its Touching Insight

Man. Wow. Do you think I can step out on the balcony for a second? Make sure to get me an ice cream when they come around. It looks like pistachio. I just want some air. Keith's toast has really upset me. I think it was the way he laid bare some pretty immutable truths about our condition as humans. I'm actually sort of pissed. Judging by the looks over at his table of uncles, I'm not alone in being really irritated that Keith would speak so honestly.

I mean, that stuff about his illness? And finding the true value in life to be spending time with his sons, which, I guess, has been difficult since his divorce? Come on. Not one mention of the Cubs lineup this year. That is an anecdote about hope that is more fitting for this engagement party. I'm surprised Kathleen didn't just walk out when he mentioned that sometimes we have to experience disappointment before discovering real happiness. I can think of no less than three vintage lines from Seinfeld that would have worked perfectly instead. Sure, you might lose the grandmas but oh well.

And the way he used the metaphor of him immigrating here to the great journey that Kathleen and Daniel are embarking on? Way to throw your politics in everyone's face. Really, comparing their journey to the insanely long drive out to this community center would have been excellent. Not to mention a lot funnier. Did we...are they bringing that coffee around to us? What? OK. Just checking.

Who is writing this guy's material? I'm on Wikipedia for like four seconds and I've got a better closer than some crap about the taking the time to make each other smile every day. Who are you to say what's important? Make a somewhat tawdry allusion to the bachelor party and be out. Boom. Speaking of which, is this joker invited to the bachelor party, do you think? I need to talk to Sandwich. He'll know. I'm going to text him under the table. Let go of my arm.

I'm Just Saying, I'm About To Spin This Scrabble Board Really Hard

Consider this fair warning, everyone. I'm about to lose it on this Deluxe Turntable Edition of Scrabble. If everything goes according to plan, all of your letters will go flying in your eyeballs. Maybe a vowel or two will land in a lemonade, and, if I'm lucky, Dan's disgusting blank tiles will hit him directly in his giant forehead, hence knocking that Triple Word Scoring grin off his friend-of-a-friend face. And, Gail, if you think just adding a "di" on the front of my "agnostic" is some kind of dazzling grammatical display, then here's a diagnostic for you: you are a stupid idiot and these candles smell like constant, tiny farts.

I have flipped more than my share of game boards in my day, so as you can guess, this is not a joke. This turntable will just make it easier for me to ruin everyone's fun, and with any luck, the entire night. I am also considering following up this violent show of anger by dumping the velveteen bag of remaining letters directly into the garbage. The image of Lonnie rooting through my pork chop scraps to collect his beloved "J" tiles is actually making me smile. God, Lonnie, I think I'd do just about anything to humiliate you. That knowledge calms me, it really does. Even so, I'm still spinning this mother in like t-minus a minute. Cover your teeth.

Also, Lisa, I'm sorry to say it, but your house rules suck. Abbreviations I can live with, but acronyms? Are you nuts? You single-handedly let Gail slip into second place with her little "REM" maneuver. And the best part? She has never even heard of the band. She meant it as rapid eye movement. I'm sure if Michael Stipe were here he'd have slapped her hard on the mouth. Well, we're all about to see some rapid movement of these tiles as they fly irretrievably into your radiator.

Still think I'm bluffing? Ask Lisa how last October's Monopoly tournament ended. Answer: in tears. And I caused all of them. Her kid brother Mac is still scared of me and I take that as a compliment. That's what he gets for being a slumlord. People get paid for passing go and he robs them blind with his shoddy housing complexes. Lisa, tell them about how I carefully tore each Community Chest card in half while you all watched in fear? Oh, wait, I just did.

Let's Go Ahead And Fabricate This Memory

Crowd around, everyone - over here by the bar. Someone tell Evan to stop playing pool and come over. Yes. Stand behind the railing there. Link arms, guys in the back. Let me dim that pendant light so the flash doesn't wash everything out. We're going to go ahead and completely make up this memory so that everyone can look back at it and remember how forced and orchestrated it is. Put your drinks down and out of the frame.

Stand according to height and smile outward. Act like you're laughing at a joke told by an imaginary person that we all love. Make sure you are touching the person next to you in some way so we can document the transparent sense of comradery that was awkwardly arranged against your will at the expense of actual, naturally-occurring fun. This is going to be great.

This will definitely be something for the old scrapbook. Especially if it is a scrapbook filled with empty, strained smiles and contorted, bemused expressions. If you are into reminiscing over laboriously captured, illegitimate memories that trigger no real fondness and represent a moment that should not have existed in the world, then this is going to be perfect. It will be available on Shutterfly tomorrow morning.

Where are Stacy and Tim? Still lingering in the lounge? Well, we will have to disrupt the true connection that they have discovered in order to complete this worthless non-event. When we idly glance at this photo later, we want to make sure Stacy and Tim are properly wedged into the wholly manufactured memory that is happening right now. Someone go get them and make them stand on either side of the stairwell.

When we're done with this we need to create some completely unrepresentative, instantly forgettable moments. I'll take a picture of your back when you're at the bar so it looks like you're talking to the strange man at the stool. I will cluster people who have never talked and make them stand silently while I wait for my inexplicably non-digital camera to load. I'll instruct you to touch each other's backs lightly, in an utterly false image of friendship, and be sure to catch your grimaces as they wane into passable half-smiles. This will make for a really perverse reflection of reality that we can all set as our screensavers!

Will Squeezing Your Shoulder Ease Your Crippling Sadness?

Here, let me stand at a distance and place my hand on your shoulder. Don't worry, I will hold my hand very lightly, so that the gentle pressure makes the hair on your nearby neck tremble instinctively with fear. Let me look down at the ground to avoid meeting your hollow gaze at all costs. I will even isolate the pattern in the carpet to remove the possibility of considering your palpable grief.

Fear not. My elbow will be completely stiff as I extend this empty gesture of consolation. It will appear as though I am actually pushing you away, which is, in many undeniably ways, exactly what I long to do. After my hand is hovering above your shoulder, I will make the decision to constrict my fingers, creating a menacing claw that I implore you to interpret as a sufficient approximation of concern.

The length of the forthcoming shoulder squeeze will seem interminable. Take comfort in the fact that it hurts me too. While I would prefer to never look at you again for fear of glimpsing the dark, desolate crater your soul has become, it will take the last of my inner strength to keep my hand poised on your clavicle for as long as it will be. As I stand here with a contorted grimace that I hope you will mistake for compassion, know that you are not alone in your suffering. Know that I, too, hurt.

Just when you think this moment of base pity that I call empathy will never end, I will carefully extract my fingers from the woolen fibers of your tear-soaked cardigan. This process will be nearly as painful as the previous segment, the only relief being the knowledge that in a few seconds I will slink away down the hall and, going forward, carefully calculate your movement so as to never cross paths with you again. Please consider this relief my gift to you in your time of need.

I will leave you know, creating the impression that I am moved by your condition but actually just anxious to rinse off the shirt sleeve your red cheek has accidentally rubbed. Disregard my audible sighs of disgust as I dart around the corner, or if you cannot, consider them a heartfelt exhalation of understanding. Later, if you happen to see me laughing with my friends, sharing candy and making fun plans, view that as a hopeful image, a sign that perhaps someday you can make it through all the awkward sorrow that is making you regrettably repellent right now.

We Should Be Careful With The Way We Use The Word Botulism

OK, guys, can we stop for a second? It occurred to me that our list of kitchen rules posted by the lockers may not be as comprehensive as it should be. No smoking, you guys are doing great on that. Thank you, Carlos, for taking it into the alley. No slap boxing - we're working on that. As a reminder, we need to stop clogging the toilets with mole sauce. We had some laughs with that one but it is a waste and really needs to stop, or at least slow down dramatically.

But before we get started with dinner service I wanted to bring this up: We really need to be careful with the way we use the word botulism. I've heard some people joking about it in the break room, whispering in the dining area, and recently had a customer ask me about it. Which resulted in a comped meal. Not good, guys.

Does anyone know what botulism is, specifically? Miko? Are you raising your _ no? You're just waving at me. Hello, Miko, good to see you. OK, so, no. Well, listen to this. Botulism is a serious illness that causes paralysis and even death. It affects your nerves and respiratory system. Not so funny, huh, guys. So you can see why discussing it with customers in a restaurant would be a truly awful idea.

I can tell by your stares and smiles that you're not convinced. Doug, as sous chef, you're prepping the pork loin. Can you tell these guys the best way to handle raw meat to avoid contamination? Right, I guess you could go faster during the dinner rush if you take all the meat out of the fridge every morning. But that would be dangerous, right? Nod for me, Doug. Let's get a nod to confirm.

OK, well, here are some symptoms that real botulism causes. Dry mouth, drooping eyelids, diarrhea. Looks like some of you might be suffering from drooping eyelids, huh. Ha. Maybe some body paralysis, too, judging by your postures. Just a joke, which real botulism is definitely not. How's that, Miko? Oh. Hello. OK.

I've Been Tracking Your Pronunciation Of "Giardiniera" And I Think You'll Find The Results Intriguing

Let me be the first to admit that my methods are non-scientific. I'm just a layperson with no reliable scientific equipment or laboratory to conduct my experiments. But I have taken a keen interest in your pronunciation of the word giardiniera, and at the risk of sounding immodest, I have to say that my findings are certainly worthy of a second look. Come on, sit down - I've printed out a copy of the analysis that we can go over.

Let's start with the executive summary. This one-sheet breaks down my conclusions by heading. First off, you'll notice that the most surprising discovery is the wild variance that has been occurring from instance to instance. This was chief among the unexpected results. Going in, my hypothesis - that's this deck here - was that your delivery would experience slight differences in tone and inflection, but that core pronunciation would not deviate very much from the mean. You can see that here in red. Right, CP is core pronunciation.

Well, imagine my surprise when, after the first week, there didn't seem to be anything like a core pronunciation! It began an irrelevant standard by which to compare subsequent instances. I know, I was really surprised. I had no idea how your speech patterns determined what syllable the emphasis should go on, let alone if there would be any silent vowels!

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start here. This bar graph is probably the most striking visual indicator of the trends I observed. You start of with a fairly predictable "zheear" sound. This seems to capture all the letters of the first syllable, and from what I could tell, did not prove difficult to emit. That's why it gets a 1.2 on the difficulty scale. Comparably, it got a 4.6 on the PPSS, or post-pronunciation satisfaction scale. That measures your relative comfort immediately after saying the word, as indicated by facial expression, posture, and hand placement. It's an aggregated score from those factors.

Then, you change your pronunciation inexplicably. For three instances straight, you use a more rudimentary "jar" sound to begin the word. The crazy part? Your DS and PPSS scores mark no significant deviation! I couldn't support any reasoning for the change during my etymological research, so I decide to just wait and see if a pattern would develop. Boy, was I wrong!

Results for the pronunciation of the second syllable were more stable. Only once did you clearly saw "dee" instead of the usual "dih" sound you usually uttered. I noted this anomaly but really feel like it's not indicative of a larger trend. Jar-DEE-nera! I made a note about its marked hilarity.

On page 19, we see the results of the concluding syllables. Again, we're bag to the erratic patterns we saw earlier. You've got several clear instances of "neh-ra". This is commonly observed among different test cases, and registers very mild to moderate levels on the PPSS and essentially nothing on the DS. I pretty much thought this was a standard, until here...where we see you very overtly switched to a three-syllable pronunciation of this section - that's right, "nee-air-a". At first I thought it was a mistake, maybe brought on by a cold or that time you were sad about your bike being stolen, but I soon realized it was definitely a conscious choice. And, as you'll see here, with essentially no trace of self-doubt or embarrassment! I was flabbergasted. Were all words malleable to you, or just ones with a foreign origin, here documented as forigin? Were you just hedging your bets by using a range of all possible pronunciations?

So that's basically it. Next step is to go back and update my hypothesis, then shop it around on the journal circuit. As a follow-up, I was pondering do a study on your treatment of lettuce-clippings; I've just casually noticed everything from disgust to eager consumption and I just bet there's a bigger story to tell. Sign this release.

Simulated Laughter Will Make This Significantly Less Painful For All Involved

Before you bite into your burger, Ted, can I just announce something? Throughout the course of this mandatory work dinner, I'll be making a series of statements that I unironically consider jokes. The intent of these sporadic and ill-considered comments is to cause laughter up and down the length of the table, from all seated parties. With that in mind, I wanted to point out that laughter, or at least a passable laughing sound, will make these moments far less painful for everyone. Please take this into consideration before we get started.

OK, here we go...Can these cheesesticks get any smaller? They look like fried children fingers. They're more like cheese matchsticks! Everybody call them cheese matchsticks now. If you want to use that one in the future, feel free. It's on the house. Hand me a potato skin, Amy, I want to pretend like I'm going to cup it against my chin like Abe Lincoln. Don't use a napkin. Scoop the bacon bits back on. You're ruining this.

What? Are these too intense for you guys? You're right, you're right. Let's start off nice and easy with some work gossip. How about Steve, huh? Leaving last Monday mid-day and sending that weird email? I mean, what the heck, right? Did his Momma need help warshin' the dishes? Oh man. He is Southern, right? Or am I thinking of Dean.

Remember, what I said earlier about making some laughing noises when I fire these babies off. Trust me, it'll make the mounting tension slightly more bearable. Anyway, you can't all just hide in the bathroom or pace around the front room of this pub, hoping I'll get caught up in the quesadillas and stop making oppressive observations. I'll say this: I won't.

Man. What else. Who here likes...Diane? It's me. Who here likes...what's going on down there. What are they saying? Who is the new guy with the glasses. Chris! Hey, Chris...down this way. I got this. Who here likes arena football? Because I know how to get tickets. Write down how many you want and I'll call.

What time is it? At least another half-hour on the boss's dime. Um, waitress, I'll have the filet mignon, please? With a side of really expensive potatoes! What's that? No, I was just joking. I'll have another Sprite please. Ahem.

OK, here it is, I got it. Here's a game: We'll go around the table and each say our most embarrassing accident. Like whatever the worst thing that happened to you or whatever. We can just fire them off if we don't want to do the linear thing. No - wait - let's go in order of reverse seniority! That will be fun. So, that means that Emily goes first. Go ahead, Emily. Say the worst thing that's happened to you in your life. Don't be shy, it can't be any worse than Santi over there.

Come On, Guys, This Is Pizza-Ordering 101, For Crying Out Loud

OK, so now Chris is in. Guess his plans to make a sandwich from existing lunch meats blew up in his face exactly as we thought it would. So we need to increase the pizza size of one of the pizzas from a medium to a large. And it needs to be the mushroom and onion because apparently Chris had a bad experience with Grimboli's sausage. No, I don't know the details because I didn't ask. The important thing is that we're up to three larges, one totally all sausage, one pepperoni, and one mush-onion. I'm going to call it in.

What? Who's Deirdre? Craig's girlfriend? Craig, when is Deirdre getting here? If she's just getting on 94 she's gonna be another 45 minimum. We have to call this in before the game, so you'll have to be her proxy. She's a vegetarian? Of course she is. Well, we're just going to have reconsider the 2-to-1 meat-veggie strategy. It was designed for the meat-heavy audience, which has recently changed. No, I'm not mad, it's just that we'll have to start back at square one. What's her vegetable preference? Some consider the mushroom-onion an unorthodox choice. I personally consider it a revelation but whatever.

OK, so, one good byproduct of Deirdre and Chris's sudden pizza-order hijacking is that we've now upgraded into a new coupon level. Since our order will easily be over fifty dollars, we can now get the Family Feast, which includes the 2-liter of RC and one appetizer for basically the same price. Deirdre and Chris have made us a family. For my efforts, I'm not going to open the appetizer selection to the floor. I'm just going to go with the cream cheese jal-pops. Done and done.

I'm dialing. Keith, why are you still ogling the menu? Put it back in the folder. What? You want a stromboli? You cannot have a stromboli at this point. Sorry. I don't care how world-famous Grimboli's stromboli is. You're committed to eating a third of sausage thin crust. I realize you're upset that green peppers got shot down in the first round of topping negotiations. We've made a note of the proceedings and you will get a guaranteed pick next time, no vetoes.

Somebody ask Chris what his unit number is. Chris should really be calling this in since it's his place, but he gets nervous on the phone. Now they're going to enter his address under my phone number in the system, and I'll have to go through the whole rigmarole when I host. I'm going in the second bedroom because the noise is really jumping up in here. When I come back, someone better have done something about that disgusting pile of twenties on the coffee table.

Hateful Things Matching Game

Match The Inciting Incident With The Resulting Secret Outburst:

  • Some Random Dude Throwing Napkin In Your Desk Garbage Can
  • Officewide Email About Some Stupid Thing That Doesn't Even Come Close To Concerning You
  • That Guy's Ridiculous Headphones
  • Driving Rain
  • Toppled Newspaper Box
  • Misspelled Graffiti
  • Asshole Behind You Basically Implying That You Shouldn't Be In The Express Checkout
  • Morose Teenager With Lipring
  • E! News
  • The Wet Flyer Stuck To The Bottom Of Your Grocery Cart
  • The Minefield Of Dog Turds On The Sidewalk
  • The Obnoxious Delivery Window For Your One Side Chair
  • The Weird Pause In The Voicemail From Your Sister
  • Guy You Know From Softball Clearly Ignoring You on Train
  • Boring Sunrise
  • Limp Chalupa That Was Supposed To Be Baja Anyway
  • Racist Undertone
  • Baffling Hairstyle
  • Choice Of Funeral Flowers

  1. Series Of Tiny Pen Stabs In Chair Cushion
  2. Silent Screams In Bathroom Stall
  3. Mangling Of Cilantro Bunch In Produce Section
  4. Just Totally Hanging Up On Sprint Representative Mid-Sentence
  5. Honking Car Horn At Pretty Much Everything
  6. Dumping Coffee Grounds In Sink Without Remorse
  7. Complaining About The PBR When It's Probably Fine
  8. Whispering To Yourself While Shooting Staples Into Small Pile On The Floor
  9. Trying To Balance Coaster Sideways On Beer Bottle For Nearly Twenty Minutes
  10. Just Rubbing Your Face In Circles Over And Over
  11. Smashing Half-eaten Muffin On Stop Sign
  12. Morosely Get Lipring
  13. Buying Elaborate Lunch
  14. Replying To Everything In Spam Folder
  15. Tear Sleeves Off Old Sport Coat
  16. Stare In Mirror Until Dizzy
  17. Forsake Hygiene
  18. Laugh Until Asked To Leave
  19. Idly Till The Earth
  20. Snap At Dentist