Issue #69 – “Winds of Change” – June 6th, 2005

-While in Columbus, Ohio for a show earlier this year, I went into a 7-Eleven in the middle of the afternoon and tried to buy one beer.  The clerk looked at me like I had three heads and told me I had to buy the whole six-pack.  I tried to explain to him that in New York City you can buy as few beers as you want in the local delis.  He wouldn’t have it.  I think he might have even muttered “cheap bastard” as I walked out, six-pack in hand.  But the fact is, budgeting is a survival skill that all twentysomethings must master.  That’s why we show up five minutes early for open bars and collect dimes and quarters in an empty forty sitting on the coffee table.  Without our parents’ dole anymore, times are tight.  Those coins are more than just a future six-pack – they’re winds of change.

-If you’ve just graduated college, by now you’ve begun wrangling with the landlord of your shitty-ass off-campus apartment to give you back your security deposit.  I’ll never forget the invoice my nine housemates and I received the summer after graduation.  It listed as damages left behind: “holes the size of people” and “bags full of piss and beer.”  We got 200 bucks back.  Total.

-I hypothesize that the amount of money that chicks spend on clothes, waxing, shoes, and handbags is roughly equivalent to the amount of money that dudes spend on chicks.  If guys were actually into shopping, it’d throw off the whole balance.  But we’re definitely not.  Case in point: at the airport on the way to Columbus, I showed my driver’s license with a photo of me taken in 1996 at the checkpoint.  I looked down and realized I was wearing the exact same shirt I was wearing in the picture.

-Everyone’s got the figure-out-the-check guy in their group of friends.  As soon as the check comes after a big dinner, I immediately pass it to either Brian or Triplet #2.  It is their sacred responsibility to divide up the bill among a dozen drunken idiots who all either only have twenties or want to pay with a credit card.  And without fail, after all the money is counted, figure-out-the-check guy will have to yell out, “OK, who didn’t pay?  Hello?  Yo!  Guys!  Who the fuck didn’t pay!?”

-It is me, or has tipping just gotten way out of control?  Ever try to tip “only” 15%?  People look at you like you stabbed the waiter in the heart.  And cab drivers, forget it.  These guys get 20% just for driving you around the block.  It’s fucking ridiculous.  I believe our society is doomed unless we return to only tipping big for exceptional service, or, uh, you know, if the waitress has cannons.

-I just read in Sports Illustrated that my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, has a school funds-sponsored club that partnered with a gambling web site last year to organize a campus-wide poker tournament.  At first I thought it was wrong for Penn to encourage an activity that could lead to exorbitant sums of money being depleted in an instant.  Then I realized it’s been encouraging that for years.  It’s called, “Going to Penn.”

-The other day, I noticed that the guy standing in front of me in this humongous line at the grocery store was only buying two limes.  And after an absurd twenty-minute wait on line, he paid for his prize in nickels and dimes.  As he gathered a stray penny or two, he happened to glance at me and I said, “Tequila, huh?”  “You know it,” he replied.  I smiled, paid for my one beer, and left, the winds of change blowing softly in the distance.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I just saw a commercial for Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper.  And I thought to myself, wow, I have absolutely no idea what that could possibly taste like.

-You know the five-second rule whereby if you drop food on the floor, you can still pick it up within five seconds and eat it?  I think we need to implement one for chapstick.  I’m always dropping it (since I’m fucking addicted and carry it everywhere), and last time it rolled onto a carpet and the tip got all fuzzy.  I just wiped it off on my forearm and went about my day.  So you see how some sort of rule or guideline could have really been beneficial in this situation?  Yeah, me neither.

-I came to the self-realization the other day that I have a very annoying habit.  Whenever I walk into a room, I make a little comment about the temperature.  I’ll say, “Hey guys!  Long time, no see.  It’s kind of cold in here isn’t it?” or “Yo, sorry I’m late.  Is it a little stuffy or is it me?”  I also make little comments about people’s clothes, career, and hygiene.  But as far as I know, they don’t seem to mind that.

-You know when someone walks out of an elevator and doesn’t expect to see you standing right there and they look up and get all startled for a second?  I love that.

-You think every time an NBA player goes to the movies, the person behind him moans, “Oh man!”

-Were you aware that those two little dots that sometimes appear over the letters ‘a’ and ‘o’ in German words are actually called an “umlaut”?  I totally thought it was called “that Motley Crue symbol thingy.”

-Have you ever taken your cell phone with you to the bathroom, and while you’re taking care of business, a call comes in that you really have to take?  So you pick it up and begin to talk while you’re finishing up, but then realize you’re faced with a dilemma – to flush or not to flush.  The person on the phone won’t stop talking long enough to put them on hold, so if you flush, they’ll know you were dropping a deuce while on an important call.  If you don’t flush, that’s just disgusting.  And if in the midst of this crisis you drop your chapstick, well, then you’re just fucked.

-And, finally, a few weeks ago in Union Square I spotted a girl wearing the strangest outfit – a pair of jeans with one normal leg and one leg cut off to shorts-length.  I’m not kidding.  I got to thinking that the whole half-pants/half-shorts thing could be the newest fashion trend.  Why not?  If I told you three years ago that chicks around the world would start wearing belts around their waist, but not in the actual belt loops, you’d look at me and call me crazy.  Then you’d probably ask, “Karo, isn’t that the same shirt you’ve been wearing since tenth grade?”  And I’d grab my well-worn collar and say, “Um, is it a little stuffy in here?”  Fuck me!