Sleeping With The Enemy

As all married men know, sharing a bed with your wife can be a harrowing ordeal. A nightly harrowing ordeal. Here is my story:

Unseen Obstacles: On most nights, my wife goes to bed much earlier than I do. However, before going to sleep, she likes to take a moment to craft an assortment of booby traps in the pathway between the bedroom door and my side of the bed. And when I come to bed, I must trek through her obstacle course in the dark. And naturally, just like an unsuspecting burglar in a Home Alone movie, I walk blindly into each household booby trap and suffer a nightly barrage of cartoonish blows to the groin and head before reaching the bed. Sometimes her traps are simple, like traversing through 14 pairs of shoes on the ground, all with the heels turned upwards. Other times, she may place an open suitcase in my path, positioned in a way for the lid to instantly clamp down on my leg like a grizzly trap when stepped on. And sometimes, she’ll put our lamps and nightstands in weird places and reconfigure the walls of our bedroom so that I crash into them. Of course, most nights I am usually stumbling to bed completely drunk, so that could be part of the problem as well.

Defensive Stance: My wife is a hard-nosed defender. When sleeping, she crowds my side of the bed and positions herself to not allow me any movement whatsoever. I am seriously stymied. In basketball terminology, we would refer to this as a defensive lockdown. And as the rules state, once a defender has established position, any contact made by the opposition is clearly an offensive foul. Consequently, because of her lockdown, I can’t rollover or move my arm without drawing contact. I think she hopes is that I’ll eventually foul-out and be ejected from the bed.

The Night Auditor: I have been awakened many times by my wife talking in her sleep, usually asking an accounting question like “Why doesn’t the general ledger match the data in the cost report?” Fantastic. She is conducting an audit in her sleep again. With a marriage of an actuary and an accountant, you can say that there is always a dull moment in our house.

The Alarm Clock: My wife ambitiously sets her alarm for very early in the morning. Unfortunately, she rarely has the same ambition needed to actually get out of bed when it goes off. Perhaps one day a month she’ll actually get up with her alarm. The other days she simply hits the “snooze” button, and I am treated to a completely unnecessary wake-up, an hour before I need to get out of bed. While being awakened prematurely is never enjoyable, I try to put the extra hour to constructive use. For instance, I can spend the hour endlessly rolling around, desperately trying to get back to sleep. In addition, I have an extra hour now to stew about how much I dread going to work everyday. Needless to say, both of these options are great ways to start the day.

Tall Tales: In the morning, I get a rundown of the agonizing events my wife had to endure the night before. Her tales of hardship center around things like getting up to console a crying baby, or having to cope with the theft of blankets by her husband. Of course, I can usually manage to sleep through the sounds of a crying baby so there is no way to know if her account is totally fabricated. We’ll just assume it is. As for the blankets, while I would love to point out her many annoying sleeping habits, I am usually too delirious from exhaustion to muster a defense for myself.

As you can imagine, I look forward to the day when it is socially acceptable for a married couple to sleep in bunk beds. And just in case that day does arrive, let me get this in print: I call bottom.

Clever Caption Nabs Oink Invite

And the winner is:

The Centaur called me last night and asked me if I’d bit off more than I could chew with this contest. I told him I only ate one of the hot dogs seen in the picture below.

“That’s not what I meant,” he said.

He was referring to the quality of the entries I presume. And the difficult task of picking a winner. And he was right. There was a snow-globe flurry of entries on the last day and they ranged from the completely obvious to the total left field. Just what I had hoped for. So thanks again everyone for playing along at home.

But in the end there was one entry that had me baffled initially. On first read, it was neither clever nor funny. I wondered why someone had submitted it at all. Then, 24 hours later as I was looking back at this caption and studying the photo, it all became clear. Big bonus points for having the guts to play such an understated hand.

So congratulations Tom! If you contact me, I’ll hook you up with that invite.

When you see this many hot dogs on a grill, you instinctively pull out your camera, snap a picture, post it on your blog, and wait for the clever captions to come pouring in. It’s a pretty tired formula. But this time, there is a twist for the music lovers, nerds and geeks out there. On Monday at Midnight (EST), I will award an Oink ( invite to the most clever, funniest caption as deemed by me and me alone. And if you don’t know what Oink is, do as the King James Bible says and “Ye, go forth and google it.”

Nathan's Hotdogs at Coney Island

But I can’t just leave it at that. I have to set some sort of bar, however low. So here are my top 5 captions for the photo:

  1. I guess if heaven is a grill, then all dogs do go to heaven. I don’t think I want to go to grill heaven though. Good thing I am not a dog.
  2. {To the tune of the Reading Rainbow TV theme song} Take you one, it’s in a bun-Weiner Rainbow.
  3. How many lips and assholes are we looking at here?
  4. Is it just me or do all the dogs in their buns look like turtles in various poses? The third one from the top left looks like it’s trying to whisper a secret.
  5. 99 hot dogs in buns on the grill. 99 hot dogs in buns. Take one down, pass it around. Why are we passing around hot dogs in buns?

Yes, I just wasted your time with those captions. They were purposely bad. The real fun is now in your hands. Put yourself in my shoes. Spend a few minutes thinking about it. Be brave. Throw something out there. There is nothing to lose. Don’t worry if it’s not spectacular. Who cares. You can hide behind the great invisible walls of the Internet just like me. It’s kinda cool back here.

The Official Zillionaire NCAA Bracket Pool

It is once again that time of year to plant myself on a couch, swear at the television, drink to excess and pin my happiness on the success of Gonzaga’s basketball team. Yes, it is NCAA tournament time.

I’m pleased to announce that the second annual Zillionaire pool is up and running. This contest is 100% free, mainly because the prospect of collecting money from each person would entail pulling off the biggest upset in tournament history. Consequently, since this contest is free, there are no prizes whatsoever. Instead, the winner will be lionized on this website and have the freedom to be an insufferable braggart for an entire year.

Please note, by submitting picks, you are subject to ridicule on this site for any of the following transgressions:

1. Horrible picks
2. Losing to my wife
3. Failing to pick a single upset
4. Lack of creativity on user name
5. Neglecting to trash talk others below you in the rankings

Go here to sign up. The deadline to enter is one millisecond before the tip-off of the first game (Thursday Morning, approx 9am).
The group name is: Internet Zillionaire
The password is: Zillionaire

Also, make sure to read up on the scoring system when you sign up, as there are bonus points awarded for correctly picking upsets. The justification for this is that if you are willing to make a high-risk pick, there should be a high-reward for doing so as well.

Best of luck to everyone.

Failed Marketing Names for Best Buy’s “Geek Squad”

Several years ago, the Best Buy CEO addressed the executive board about naming their new team of in-store tech support…

Ok, let’s get this meeting started. First off, I think we’re all in agreement that the marketing name of this new group of computer repair specialists is critical. We really want to stand apart from the competition here. To do that, I have a radical idea. Instead of lauding the professionalism or technical skills of our tech-support employees, I want to play up the stereotype that anyone with knowledge about computers is a socially awkward loser.

That’s right, I think the naming of our tech-support service ought to demean our employees by associating them with the lowest pariah of American society: the nerd. And our job here today is to craft a name for our technicians that will cast them as pathetic introverts to the general public.

Here is my vision: Imagine one of our tech employees strikes up a conversation with a pretty girl he’s hoping to impress. Now, when she asks him where he works, I want her to laugh in his face when he tells her. Then, I want her to run over to her friends so that they can all laugh at him as well. That’s the kind of brand association we’re going for here.

Now, maybe you’re asking, “Why go to this length to belittle and disparage our own employees?” It’s simple. When our customers drop off their computer for repair work, I want them to think that our technicians are such dateless, social misfits that they will have no higher priority on a Saturday night than fixing computers. That translates to peace of mind for the consumer.

Look at it this way, would you want to take your laptop in for repair to a tech support group called “Really Cool Guys That Party and Associate with Females”? Of course you wouldn’t. Your laptop would probably come back covered with beer stains and the disk drive would be stuffed with used condoms.

That’s why we’re going to go in the total opposite direction. Here are some names I’ve come up with so far…

Celibate Squad: Now, this name clearly labels our employees as social outcasts. This is good. Unfortunately, I feel it should also convey that they possess some underlying technical abilities as well. We’ll have to scratch this one.

Introvert Brigade:
I really like this one. However, from a marketing standpoint, it has probably got too many syllables, and it just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

Nerd Team: Personally, I love the word “nerd.” It perfectly embodies the stereotypes we’re trying to perpetuate. The only sticking point is that the word “team” is most often associated with athletics. It just seems like too much of an oxymoron.

Loser Force: This one might be too harsh.

The A/V Club:
While this is not an especially catchy name, I do think this would help with new employee recruitment at local high schools.

And finally, my personal favorite: Geek Squad. In the olden days, a “geek” was a freakish circus performer. Nowadays, the word “geek” has evolved to refer to someone with eccentric nerdiness. A broad word like this gives us a lot of latitude in denigrating our employees in advertising. Honestly, is “Geek Squad” perfect or what?

I can see lots of nodding. I think it’s pretty unanimous… Geek Squad it is!

That’s good for now. Let’s set up a meeting next week to discuss the uniform. Obviously, we’ll make them wear bleached white shirts with clip-on ties. I’ll make sure we get some pocket-protectors in there too. Oh, and someone should contact the legal department to see if we could contractually force the “Geek Squad” employees to get braces and bad haircuts as well.

All right, this meeting is adjourned. Let’s get some lunch.