Issue #140 – “Unthankful” – November 17th, 2008

-The exact origin of Thanksgiving is the subject of debate among historians and scholars (at least according to its Wikipedia entry, which was probably written by a fifteen year-old kid in his basement).  Before we eat Thanksgiving dinner in my family, we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for.  It’s a nice though somewhat kitschy tradition.  But while I’m fortunate enough to have had a prosperous year, when holiday season arrives it’s still difficult to feel grateful with so much annoying shit going on around me.  That’s why this Thanksgiving, I’ll instead be discussing what I’m unthankful for.

-Please do not tell me there’s a book I have to read about “how to get rich.”  I’ll agree with you on one point – the author is indeed a genius.  But only because he became wealthy by suckering so many people into buying his book.

-I hate when people agree to do me a favor, which enables me to make arrangements assuming the favor is being executed, and then the person leaves me hanging, which in turn forces me to beg them to follow through – which wouldn’t be necessary had they simply refused my favor request to begin with.

-There’s a lawyer in New York who recently sued to stop nightclubs from running “Ladies Night” promotions because they are allegedly discriminatory against men.  First of all, I don’t think I’ve been to a bar that had Ladies Night since I was about nineteen.  I believe the establishment also had plastic pennants with beer logos strung across the ceiling.  Second of all, aren’t clubs that don’t do everything they can to attract chicks actually the ones that are discriminating against men?

-ESPN analysts should not be allowed to make predictions.  It’s fine if you want to break down the games after they happen, but please do not tell me who you think is going to win – or even go so far as to guess the score – based on your “expert” opinion.  You’re just a jackass who is less accurate than a monkey with a dartboard.

-Why don’t employees at Chipotle understand that the ingredients in a burrito need to be mixed before the thing is wrapped?  Otherwise, the result is just a bunch of layers.  I should never have to go two bites without getting more than one ingredient in my mouth at a time.

-Why do car wash attendants and valets return my car with the parking break on?  The chances of me driving without remembering to turn it off – and the potential damage that could result – are far greater than the odds of my car rolling backwards down a non-existent hill.

-Although I first discussed this eight years ago in Ruminations #21, for the life of me I still cannot understand why people don’t know how to leave a proper outgoing voicemail message.  We don’t need instructions on what information to leave after the mother-fucking beep.  We don’t need your number or to be told that you’re not there to pick up the phone.  Don’t record your greeting while at the opera, or in a wind tunnel.  Stating your name and adding “thanks for calling” is more than sufficient.  So before you shut your cell phone off and sit down with your loved ones this Thanksgiving, do me a favor and listen to your outgoing message first.  If it runs afoul of any of these guidelines, please change it.  You may not notice a difference, but at least you’ll seem like much less of a douchebag to everyone else.  And that’s something we can all be thankful for.

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

-I’m a really fast typer.  Sometimes, when I’m pecking along at high speed, my fingers will accidentally press two or more keys simultaneously, producing an esoteric symbol on the screen I’ve never seen before.  I erase it with some regret, knowing I’ll never be able to duplicate that particular combination again.

-I’ve realized that if I can’t easily see something in my refrigerator, I won’t eat it.  So I started lining up everything in a row at the front of each shelf.  As a result, the back two-thirds of my fridge are completely barren…and I still only eat the food on the top shelf because it’s at eye-level when I bend down.

-Your web site should not have a guestbook.  This isn’t 1997.

-I’ve found that most food companies try to put an absurdly low number as the “serving size” on their packages, that way the product seems like it’s a lot healthier than it actually is.  The one exception?  Pepperoni.  Recently I purchased two different brands of sliced pepperoni to make pizza with, and they both had a serving size of fourteen.  Fourteen?  How many pieces of pepperoni are on one slice of pizza?  Three?  My only guess is that these companies are taking the opposite approach and hoping that consumers will plow through the packages fourteen pieces at a time and then have to buy more.

-Why does the first speed of fast-forward on my DVR seem slower than normal playback?

-I take extraordinarily long showers.  Maybe it’s because I live alone, or that I don’t have an office to get to, but every morning I take a vacation in the bathroom.  I didn’t even realize I had a problem until I went to a destination wedding and stayed in a hotel room with a female friend.  After fogging up all the mirrors and using most of the hot water, I got out of the bathroom to find her completely pissed at me.  Though it also might have been because I used all the soap and all the towels and ate the chocolates on both of our beds.  What can I say?  I have trouble sharing.

-And, finally, next week I’ll be back in New York for my third Thanksgiving since moving to Los Angeles.  But despite having spent a lot of time in both cities during the past three years, I can tell that my association with Manhattan is starting to fade.  I know this because I’m losing my hometown “ish.”  You see, when you live somewhere long enough, you learn the lay of the land so well that you’re able to add an “ish” suffix to the areas where two neighborhoods border each other.  For instance, where I used to live on East 25th Street could be called “Gramercy-ish.”  Unfortunately, my knowledge of NYC-ish is rapidly being replaced by LA-ish (“Where’s the restaurant?”  “It’s Beverly Hills-ish.”).  And since I don’t have an office to go to, my familiarity is being reduced even further – to just my apartment.  Ask me for some milk and I might respond, “It’s in the fridge, eye-level, pepperoni-ish.”  Fuck me