Monday, July 31, 2023

is this my best line?

 My friend Scott Levin told he thinks this the funniest line I’ve ever written …

"If most men are being honest --  a big "if" -- we'd admit to seeing a lot of ourselves in Ken while aspiring to see just a little of ourselves in Barbie.”

Is he correct? Do you recall a better one or do they fade from memory right away?

What about these? Hope you like 'em all!

--  <<  >>  --

Adventure tourism will take an extreme turn when scientists perfect heat-resistant vehicles & rec gear that’ll be able to withstand the temperatures on the surface of the sun. Solar visas won’t be granted until applicant can prove he or she has requisite amount of sunscreen SPF 9.999,000,000,000,000. Warning: You might want to think twice before accepting an offer to play “Shirts vs. Skins” beach volleyball 

• So much of writing isn’t writing at all. It is instead the iron-willed destruction of inarticulate, artless sentences you mistakenly thought was writing when you composed your crappy first draft.

• Limitless learning potential. Confronts every challenge with aggression. Compromise viewed as weakness. Prone to using catastrophic weaponry when confronted with alternative progressive theories. History’s most efficient killing machine. Take a bow, Mankind! You’re nature’s Artificial Intelligence v.1.0!

• A good friend will tell you all about their tattoos, even the ones the public cannot see. A really good friend will tell you all about their scars, especially the ones the public cannot see.

• Everyone says the inevitably robot takeover will be peaceful as long as we imbue in AI robots the values of empathy, compassion and the value of every human life. Right because that’s exactly what we’ve been doing with our darling children for generations and the world is just in such great shape.

• I have a theory we could end world hunger if we in America ceased competitive eating contests and figured out how to fax surplus hot dogs to hungry people with really sophisticated fax machines.

• A shortage of money, goods or other tangible items is a deficit. A shortage of sarcastic, egotistical waterfowl certain to be outsmarted by a wily rabbit is a Daffy-cit.

• How would it impact his legacy and place in pop culture if Bob Dylan remained Bob Dylan in every way except instead of singing like Bob Dylan he sang like Susan Boyle? For one, I don't think The Wilburys would have had him.

• Crackdown is such a thuggish word. There’s a crackdown on recreational drugs. There is a crackdown on women wearing skimpy clothing to the office. And there’s a crackdown on party noise after midnight.. Every where pettiness reigns, boom, there’s another crackdown. It’s time we usurp the very definition of crackdown. I propose we all begin using crackdown to describe sleep posture. So if someone asks how you slept last night, the response could be, “Crack down.”

• Technology is our greatest uniter. Everyone exposed to it either swears by or at it.

• Line from the romance novel I'll never write: "Will you let me swim in your oh-so-blue eyes if I promise not to pee in your pool?”

• The Biblical idea of Pearly Gates is charming but incomplete. I believe in heaven there are pearly fences, pearly utility poles -- even pearly manhole covers. There is just a surplus of pearly construction materials.

• It saddens me that my self-awareness about the topic is so high that wnen my daughter said my hair looked nice, I blurted out, "Which one?”

• I dreamt I died and was being evaluated for Heavenly admission and  the 1st thing they did was show a lavish compilation of me helping people. It lasted 12 hours! After it was over, I started for the door marked, “Heaven.” As I reached out for the door knob, a voice said, “Not so fast. Now we have to show the film of every time you failed to do anything that would help extinguish the flames of human misery.” I asked how long this one lasted. “Let’s just be glad we have eternity.”

• “Cool Hand Luke” is maybe my all-time favorite movie. Today during what might have been my 10,000th viewing, I noticed something unsettling: A 1967 movie about a Southern prison camp/road gang has not one African-American in the cast of 48 inmates. What were producers thinking? Sophisticated movie goers wouldn’t accept the idea that an all-white Southern jury could possibly find a black man guilty?

• I know men who've driven women into the arms of another man. I know women who've done the same to men. What's surprising, given the reliability and convenience of the service, I've never heard of someone who's been Ubered there.

• We’re proud of our first responders here and admire their commitment. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some complaints when our holiday parades are choked with dozens and dozens of firetrucks and other emergency vehicles ensuring the parade in the hot sun will take up to 2 hours. Well, I have a solution sure to satisfy everyone. Have all the firetrucks you want, but insist they run the entire route as if it were they were responding to an actual emergency. Top speeds. No brakes. Sure, there will be wrecks and injuries, but that would turn it into a showcase for EMTs. It could be a competition!

My nearly 2 hours with world's most sadistic barber

(671 words)

I’m so resigned to the cruel realities of male pattern baldness that when my daughter said my hair looked nice, I said, “Which one?”

So normally I lack the impetus — not to mention the hair — to write about my coif But after what happened to me at the Ye Olde Barber Shoppe in Duck, N.C., I feel compelled. 

We were on the Outer Banks when I decided I needed a haircut. The decision was based on pure whimsy. I could go the rest of my life and not “need” another haircut.

But I find barber shops are great places to absorb local culture, sports banter and other topics appealing to a sophisticate like me, albeit a sophisticate still on a quest to learn the perfect fart joke.

It was appropriate here  because my time at the Ye Olde BSer really stunk.

Had I checked Yelp I would have known this and gone elsewhere. Here’s just one customer review:

This place is awful. The experience was hands down the worst customer service I have ever encountered. The owner/ barber took no less than 7 personal phone calls, while busy, and while cutting hair. He also was very, very pessimistic about everything. Everything was about how shitty everything is. He hated everything. He talked about shaving the eyebrows off of customers he didn’t like. I heard that and said bye-bye. I’d had enough.”

My experience:

Ignoring the “Let’s Go Brandon!” flag in the window, I walked in and took a seat. I was third in line. It was 2:15 pm. I learned the barber’s name was “Coooter.” Five minutes after I sat down, an elderly gentleman came hobbling into the shop. He’d left his walker in the car. I jumped out of my chair and rendered assistance. He took my arm and I led him to a vacant seat. I mistakenly thought my gallantry would earn me some good will.

Like the Yelp reviewer, I sat there as Cooter spewed hatred for everything that could be described with a noun. He hated minorities. He hated government, gays, foreigners, etc. It was all couched in an aw-shucks, good ‘ol boy, I’m-just-tellin’-it-like-it-is banter where everyone’s in  on the joke.

When after an hour, it was my turn, he asked a standard ice breaker: “Where you from?” I told him Pittsburgh because it’s not only the truth, I’ve found it to be perfectly safe

In my experience, Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers enjoy a great reputations around the country. Pittsburgh is very neutral. It’s not NYC or, thank God, Boston.

It was the wrong answer. He leaned in so close I could feel his beard tickling my ear lobe. “So you’re not only a Yankee, you’re a damn Yankee.”

I had no idea what that meant, but it sure sounded sinister. 

Describing the hair cut as harrowing  would be an exaggeration. But I’ve been in dentist chairs where I’ve felt less apprehensive. Let’s call it hairowing

Toward the end of the nearly 45-minute ordeal he put me in a sort of headlock, held me steady and said, “I hope you enjoyed your education.” Then I felt the razor rake the back of my neck. It stung when he slapped on the aftershave.

“Just a little kiss to remember me by.”

He said it was $25. I paid it, happy to leave with both ears still attached. It was 4 p.m. I’d been there an hour and 45 minutes.

Later at the beach, Val noticed my neck had a pinkish hue, one that corresponded to the bloody stain tainting my snazzy beach shirt.

That was Cooter’s “kiss.” The sirt would need dry cleaning.

I’ve always considered myself a man of reason. Not rash or flighty. I think things through and settle firmly on a steadfast position. I’m for the most part a social progressive with an unflappable belief in the goodness of my fellow man/woman/he/she/them/their blahbidy blahbidy blah …

But all it took was one “kiss” from Cooter and I’d become a real redneck.

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered straight to your inbox!