Area Man Sees Headline And Tells Everyone He Read Article

I read an article...

After telling friends about a fascinating article he read online detailing a new scientific breakthrough in solar power, local man Dave Allen was forced to confess he only read the headline when his knowledge of said article buckled under casual questioning during dinner conversation.

“When Dave started talking about this new advancement in solar technology, the whole table was intrigued and all turned their attention to him. I mean, we’re all concerned about climate change and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, so hearing positive news on the subject from a knowledgable source was exciting,” said Matt Neshound, friend and host for the evening meal.

“But when my wife Kate asked if it was a US-based company or research team that made the advancement and Dave took a bite of his lasagna and mumbled he ‘couldn’t recall exactly,’ I knew something was fishy. And it wasn’t the lasagna because it was vegetarian.”

According to another dinner guest, signs of the deception were evident from the very beginning when Mr. Allen didn’t source the originating publication responsible for his recent wisdom. “Even though I was listening, I was skeptical at the onset when Dave said he read this scientific article he saw on Facebook. We all know Facebook isn’t an accredited outlet for publishing well-researched academic papers. It’s basically Huff Po with pictures of your friends’ babies and beers mixed in. I actually hate Facebook,” lectured James Seville, friend, online curmudgeon and fellow meal partaker.

The duplicitous nature of the fraud was revealed in its entirety under a simple line of inquiry from out-of-towner and infrequent supper companion Arge Wood who, unbeknownst to Mr. Allen, works in the alternative energy sector. “Poor guy,” said Mr. Wood. “I knew he was full of it from the get go but I didn’t want to seem rude so I let him say his piece. Then I just politely started digging. Nothing too hard. Just lobbing softballs really. I wasn’t trying to humiliate him. I just didn’t want him wasting everyone’s time with his nonsense. I only have dinner with this group of friends once or twice a year.”

Under the mounting pressure from the brief interrogation, Mr. Allen became agitated and uncomfortable. He recalled the lights in the room seemed especially bright and focused on him in that moment. Trapped in a web of lies of his own making, he was forced to finally come clean. “Ok, so I only glanced at the headline as I scrolled through my feed,” he explained.

Later, upon reflection, Mr. Allen opined, “Everything would have been fine had Mr. Wood not been invited to dinner. I have quoted from hundreds of articles I’ve never read in the past. Nobody ever had a problem with it before.”

The Next Evolution in the Dad Bod Craze

Dad bod unicorn pissing a rainbow

Men have it good. Maybe too good. We grow old, we’re more “distinguished.” We go bald, we’re better looking! We lose our chiseled physique, we have a sexy Dad Bod! It’s all rainbows and unicorns for us guys.

How far we can take this Dad Bod craze? Where will society draw the line? Of course, some enterprising (albeit unimaginative) Internet Zillionaire-wannabe has already cornered the “Grandpa Bod” market with this t-shirt on Zazzle.

Grandpa Bod Shirt

A true Internet Zillionaire can do better than that. In fact, for the last few years I’ve been hard at work perfecting the next evolution of the Dad Bod. I’ve put myself through an insane regimen. I’ve been skipping weights at the gym and instead going for personal records (PRs) at the all-you-can-eat buffet. I’ve cut out all broccoli from my diet and doubled up on croissants and gummy candy. I drink the recommended 64 ounces each day but I substitute Mr. Pibb for Mr. H20 (water, if you call it by its less formal name). I liken it to the body transformation process movie actors put themselves through when preparing for a role. So, of course, I found the inspiration for the next male body type in the title character of a well-known movie. I call it Shrek Bod.

Shrek Bod is the new Dad Bod

If women thought Dad Bod said “we like being the pretty one” and “good eats”, Shrek Bod pushes the envelope even further. It screams “you aren’t the person I fell in love with” and “you ate all the donut holes in one sitting?”

While a little belly fat and some love handles are the major distinguishing features of a dad bod, the defining characteristics of Shrek Bod are a huge, protruding gut and a really flabby neck which completely swallows the chin.

The movie character Shrek has a green complexion, but Shrek Bod is more of a pasty white. Lack of sun, extreme shame of putting on a swimsuit, and general fear of going out and being recognized contribute significantly to this coloration.

Who loves the Shrek Bod?

While men do have it good, it turns out society has drawn a line. Shrek Bod crosses way over it. Truth be told, Shrek Bod has some unforeseen yet major flaws. Heterosexual women want nothing to do with it. And, among its practitioners, it slowly and silently erodes all self-confidence. Thankfully, the process can be reversed and the effects will wear off.

So if you see me eating carrots sticks and broccoli soup this summer, don’t mind me. I’m just working on my Dad Bod.

The Salad Bar

Worst bar: salad bar

The salad bar is the worst kind of bar.

How did they even get “bar” status in the first place? They have nothing in common with all the other “bars” out there. Most bars serve hard liquor and beer. Wine bars pour wine by the glass. Cocktail bars have hunky actors behind the counter spinning drink shakers, tossing bottles in the air, and groovy Caribbean theme songs. Sounds fun! Salad bars have wilted lettuce, stale croutons, and slime-covered sneeze-guards. Total Debbie Downer!

But what of the clientele? Is that where the similarities begin? Let’s investigate. Lots of “normal” bars attract a vibrant singles scene, where men and women of all types can meet someone they might consider dating or even sexting. The only things attracted to a salad bar are flies, maggots, and the occasional vegan. No one goes to a salad bar to flirt or find romance. You might find a hair in the olives or a booger on the sunflower seed scoop, but no love connection. Clearly, salad bars don’t appeal to the same crowd.

I’ve also noticed that the service is different at a salad bar compared to other bars. Most bars have a bartender, a knowledgable person who can prepare, serve, and effortlessly conduct the monetary transaction for your drink of choice. They are often personable and try to make your experience in their establishment as enjoyable as possible. At a salad bar, things are almost the opposite. No one greets you when you walk in the salad bar. No one knows your name.

From there, it is up to you to find the teetering stack of industrial-grade plates, pick the least dirty one out of the top three, and then belly up to the salad bar to serve yourself. Joy! But remember, you only have a few minutes to fill your plate with all that germ-infested goodness because the plate itself weighs close to 15 pounds and your untoned arm muscles will give out shortly. Once you’ve fingered every fruit and touched every tong, your plate is piled high and you sit down at your table. No waitstaff will ever come refill your water. No busser will ever clear your plate. In fact, if you are still hungry after that first trip, you take your dirty plate back to the salad bar and reinfect it with all your newfound fungi. The circle of life! When it comes time to settle up, you have to track down the one employee who knows how to use the cash register and regurgitate your order to them before you go outside and regurgitate the contents of your stomach. There are no winners at the salad bar. Only losers.

But maybe I’ve got this all wrong. What if we look toward the some other types of “bars” to better understand the salad bar? Dive bars are just a subset of the traditional alcohol-serving bar just with dirtier bathrooms and older, uglier customers. So I guess salad bars have a bit in common with them. Tapas bars serve food and no matter how much you eat you always leave hungry, so salad bars are similar in those ways. Cigar bars smell like rotting flesh inside so there is that. Is it conceivable the salad bar is included in the pantheon of bars for these coincidences?

After this exhaustive inquiry, my original thesis stands. The salad bar is the worst kind of bar. Don’t you agree?

At Length About Toenails

Toenails: Weirdest Body Part Ever

I am baffled by many parts of the human anatomy, but none more so than toenails. They are the strangest part of our bodies. There is nothing out of the ordinary about mine in particular, but the more I think about them, the less I understand.

First off, what are they made of? Translucent cockroach carapace? Albino lobster shell? It’s disgusting. It makes me feel 99% human and 1% insect or crustacean. I’ve heard they are made of dead skin cells which doesn’t make me any happier. I’m walking around with a petrified skin graveyard on each toe and that is supposed to seem natural?

And why do the tops of my toes deserve an exoskeleton but my sensetive nipples remain exposed to the world? I am fleshy “hamburger helper” everywhere else but my toes are covered in shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass™ like they use on iPhones. If toes are that fragile by design, why not just drop them altogether and go with a blunt-ended stump foot like the one that awesome field-goal kicker in the 1970s had?

Do you ever wonder why the toenails cover just the tips and tops of the toes? With all the Looney Tunes cartoons I’ve watched, I would guess humans have been dropping rocks and hammers on our feet for so long that we needed some extra protection down there. But if the body is going to go to all the trouble to grow a thick “skin shield” for your feet, the toenails we ended up with are pathetic. Shouldn’t we have a giant “footnail” that looks like a baseball catcher’s shoeguard? If the Acme Anvil Corporation stays in business and humans continue to evolve, I bet in a thousand years we’ll all be clipping our footnails.

Clipping Toenails

Speaking of clipping toenails, I have a confession to make. In the thirty years I’ve been in charge of trimming my own toenails, I still haven’t figured out how fast they grow. Do I need to trim every three weeks? Two weeks? Do they all grow at the same rate? The big toe seems to be an outlier, growing at cancerous levels, requiring constant monitoring and maintenance. The rest of my toes seem to only need attention once or twice a year. And, truthfully, the pinky toenail is a lot like Pluto. Its entire classification is in jeopardy. Let me put it this way: If a regular-sized toenail is like a hard hat for the toe, my pinky toenail looks more like a bald guy wearing a crystalline yarmulke.

So our toenails grow and we are all clueless about it. What do we do? We weave a special sheath for our feet to protect ourselves (and others) from our razor sharp, out-of-control toenails. Socks are a requirement for nearly every social occasion. Even if we wear shoes, we wear socks so we don’t accidentally destroy them like documents going through a paper shredder at tax-time. And in those rare times when we aren’t socially required to wear socks, the fear of injury or bodily harm dictates that we do anyway.

My wife is terrified my toenails will slice through a main artery in her legs when we sleep in the same bed at night. Apparently, she didn’t realize she married a velocirapter. In fact, this has become the only consistent trigger for recognizing when I am due for a trim. If she wakes up in a pool of blood and has gaping, knife-like cuts across on her shins, I know it is time for me to clip my toenails.

Context-aware Nicknames for Jack the Dog

A dog named Jack

It has almost been a year since my wife and I adopted Jack. Jack is a dog. Jack the dog is a Gordon setter, an active breed traditionally trained to hunt gamebirds. These days, the only thing he gets to hunt are tennis balls out of the brush in our backyard. But he seems to love it and we love watching him work.

Jack came to us with his name. When we found him at the local animal shelter he was already six years old, so we decided to keep the name and not disrupt his life even more by changing it. I will never forget the way he leaped into the back of our Forester on the day I took him home. He was eager for a new life even if he didn’t know exactly what it would entail.

Rachel and I had no idea what we were getting into, really. We had both had dogs growing up, had studied up on some different breeds that we thought would be a good fit for our home, and had watched countless episodes of Cesar Milan “the Dog Whisperer” on tv. But caring for a living being that can’t talk, needs to develop trust, and was abandoned by other people is different and a lot more real.

We had been to the shelter a few times looking for a dog that we could fall in love with. The day we saw Jack on the shelter website we got excited. He was very handsome and the shelter staff spoke highly of his demeanor. From our experience, we knew we had to act fast as he was likely to be adopted quickly–like within hours. Rachel got off work early and we rushed to the shelter to see and meet him.

The whole process of visiting dogs in a shelter and taking one home is insane. It happens so fast. Our paperwork was already on file that day so we were immediately able to go back to where the dogs are kept. We passed by nearly all the kennels with other dogs on our way to find Jack. Some dogs were frightened and curled up at the back of their kennels, remaining quiet, hoping to be left alone. Others were eager to meet a potential new friend and poked their noses and paws through the steel fence gate trying to make contact. A few were howling like mad, disrupting all thought and tranquility, reminding me that this was more like an asylum than an orphanage.

Finally, we found Jack laying quietly in his kennel. Despite the obvious mayhem around him, he had a zen-like meditative appearance. He came up to us when we put a treat out for him, but he did so calmly and on his terms. We said “Hi.” He laid down. Rachel and I looked at each other and I’m sure we both were thinking “How is he so well-behaved amidst this chaos?”

From there, we were allowed to take Jack out for a brief visit in a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall concrete room for some one-on-one time. We threw a ball and he fetched it. His tail wagged. He would come when I called. It was magical.

After that, I asked if we could take him outside, on a leash, for a walk. There was a short path around the main shelter building for just such a thing. The staff member agreed and we leashed him up and out we went. He was mostly well-behaved on this 5 minute walk, eagerly pulling me to pick up the pace. He seemed perfect in our eyes.

So about 25 minutes after first meeting him we were signing the papers to permanently make him a family member. He really had no idea who we were and we had just this brief encounter and the word of the shelter staff to base our decision on. Again, it is insane. But you know what, we’ve made it work.

Over the last year, he taught us what we needed to know. And what he couldn’t teach us, we’ve tried our best to learn. He still has that same stoic personality. He is not a dog that craves affection. What we once saw as zen and monk-like, we now joke is more akin to an ex-con trying his best to keep his criminal past behind him. Overall, he has been better than we could have ever hoped and his quirks have becoming endearing to us rather than insufferable qualities.

Initially, I was not in love with the name Jack. It was so common, human, and short. But boy was I wrong. Jack is a great name for a dog. Not only does it work by itself, but coupled with my imagination and tendency to use nicknames, it has become the perfect springboard for my creative stylings. In an effort to catalog my lunacy, I present a list of context-aware nicknames I have used for Jack the dog.

Place or Context: Nickname

  • Automobile: Carjacker
  • Plane: Hijack
  • Boat: Captain Jack (Sparrow)
  • Whale Watching Tour: HumpJack (whale)
  • Train: AmJack
  • Casino: Blackjack
  • Alt Comedy Club: Jack Black
  • Watching a Kung-fu Movie: Jackie Chan
  • Quentin Tarantino’s House: Jackie Brown
  • Watching an 80’s movie: Jack to the Future
  • Eating tacos: Pepper Jack
  • Listening to a podcast: Headphone Jack