Irish Sod Bread. Impoverished nineteenth-century Irish farmers, unable to afford all four letters of “soda,” were forced to make do with only the first three, using clumps of their front lawns as a leavening agent. While years of regular consumption of Irish sod bread inevitably turned one’s teeth green, it was often said that a woman who suspected her husband of infidelity need only look for telltale grass stains on his member.
The Wearing of the Greek. As the result of an unfortunate yet never-corrected typographical error, generations of Irishmen proudly proclaimed their heritage on St. Paddy’s day by affixing a resident of Crete or Athens to their lapels. The practice finally fell out of favor after an incident in which an overenthusiastic Dubliner doused his Greek in brandy, set him on fire, and shouted “O’Pa!,” mistaking the traditional flaming-cheese exclamation as the name of a clan from County Cork.
Sliverdance. Bored and embarrassed by the unsettling, convulsive leaping-in-place touted as “entertainment” by touring Irish dance companies, a group of rogue artists developed an exciting but short-lived choreographic spectacle in which bare-footed participants attemped to moonwalk across splintery, heavily weathered planks of plywood salvaged from demolished skateboard ramps. The last man standing was declared the winner and given a victory tweezing by volunteers from the audience.
The Pot at the End of the Rainbow. Politically radical but socially conscious leprechauns of the 1960s replaced the traditional pot of gold, a hated symbol of materialism, with a Band-Aid box full of “Kilkenny Kush,” a particularly potent strain of marijuana known for inducing strange, fantastic, multi-sensory hallucinations, including a Blarney Stone that danced the frug and reeked of b.o. and patchouli oil.
The Running of the Seans. Taking their cue from the acti0n-packed pre-bullfight custom of Pamplona, Spain, adrenaline-addicted Irish thrill-seekers allowed themselves to be chased through the streets of Belfast by a herd of fresh-faced, red-headed, similarly named males in kilts. Upon arrival at the stadium, a violent free-for-all would ensue among the participants, in the cause of establishing once and for all the primacy of “Sean” vs. “Shawn” vs. “Shaun.” Survivors would then repair to a nearby pub and link arms and sing songs of the old days and hoist pints of Guinness as they paid tender, tearful tribute to the “foine lads” whose skulls they just cracked open.
Boys Gone Wilde. The Emerald Isle’s gay population eagerly awaited this yearly memorial bacchanal honoring the great Irish writer, in which participants, clad only in low-rise briefs with a single lily tucked into the waistband, danced the night away to a Victorian techno beat, their arms above their heads, all the while exchanging witty epigrams and the occasional phone number. At midnight, revelers were treated to a stage show hosted by “Lady Windermere” (known to daytime colleagues as bank teller Kevin Herlihy), with prizes for the best drag impression of Dorian Gray’s picture. This much-beloved annual observance was finally discontinued when organizers realized that it was much more fun to repeat every weekend.
Driving the Snakes out of Ireland Yet Again. Though St. Patrick’s most famous feat became the stuff of legend, rising real estate prices on mainland Europe and a move toward reptile gentrification quickly led the banished snakes to repopulate Ireland’s trendiest neighborhoods and create an unprecedented demand for gritty industrial lofts with lots of exposed brick and “character.” When onerous humans-only restrictions at the local organic food co-op failed to discourage the snakes, one serpent-sick entrepreneur came up with a brilliant plan. Promising the snakes a “free gift” in exchange for attending a two-hour presentation on timeshares in Boca Raton, he instead put them on a charter ferry across the Irish Sea to Scotland. The Scots, for their part, found the snakes delightful, especially breaded, deep-fried, wrapped in paper, and sold with chips from sidewalk vendors. More adventurous but overly optimistic Scottish epicures failed, however, to make a mark with “snaggis.”
I gave my love a cherry that had no stone
I gave my love a chicken that had no bone
I told my love a story that had no end
I gave my love a baby with no cryin’.
How can there be a cherry that has no stone? (1)
How can there be a chicken that has no bone? (2)
How can there be a story that has no end? (3)
How can there be a baby with no cryin’? (4)
(1) “Let me get this straight. You took the $8.00 pint of organic cherries I was saving for my compote, sucked the pit out of each one, and then replaced the cherries in the refrigerator?”
“I like to suck on the pits. I’m trying to stop smoking.”
“Get out of my sight.”
(2) “Hmm. Well, I asked you to get me a Filet-O-Fish, and gave you enough money to get something for yourself, but the McNuggets are fine. It’s a 20-piece box, but there are only three left, so I guess you helped yourself on the way home. I also see that you got some honey mustard sauce, even though I go into anaphylactic shock if I get anywhere near bee products, which you might remember from driving me to the emergency room after I accidentally had some of that salad dressing last summer. Let me guess: you forgot napkins, too, didn’t you? [Silence] Yeah. I thought so.”
“Are you going to eat those?”
(3) “This story makes no sense. I mean, we don’t know if Brandi was telling the truth to the blacksmith, or if Padmalochana was actually her long-lost twin, or if the parrot spilled the beans to the police, or if the archbishop was really willing to give it all up to become a rodeo clown. And couldn’t you have at least stopped at the end of a sentence? This story is just like your community college career and that half-restored 1978 Trans Am that’s been on cinder blocks in the backyard for three years. You never finish anything you start. So, if you really want to get me a present, take these newspapers out to the recycling bin and make sure they end up in it, and not blowing around all over the yard.”
(4) “He’s teething, and I was trying to watch Judge Judy, and I couldn’t hear myself think, so I dipped his binkie in bourbon and crushed half an Ambien into his applesauce. He went out like a light. I hope that was OK. You need me to babysit again tomorrow?”
If you’re feeling under the weather, stay home from school or work. If you’re already in the habit of skipping, be sure to skip an extra day later on to make up for the lost time.
Eat foods high in vitamin C. If none are available, take some vitamin B and vitamin D and hope that it averages out.
Transmission of germs during French kissing can be minimized if both partners wear a condom on the tongue. Upon completion, take a deep breath and exhale to inflate the condom, then release it suddenly to safely propel the germs to another location.
Laughter is the best medicine. So, in case of pneumonia, chuckle.
Resistance may render antibiotics ineffective, so overcome resistance with a calm, reasoned presentation of your main argument and a soothing atmosphere enhanced by soft music and candles. If the antibiotic continues to resist, offer it a cocktail.
To ensure effective hand washing after using the restroom, hum “Happy Birthday” twice. For added protection, use soap and water.
Contrary to popular belief, you will not “catch cold” as a result of wearing inadequate clothing in winter. In fact, you won’t be able to catch anything, since you were too much of a dipshit to glance at the weather forecast and prevent your hands from freezing into grotesque, contorted man-claws.
Sometimes no treatment is the the best treatment of all. At other times, this will probably cause you to die.
Avoid spreading germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow. If you lack elbows, cough into the sole of your foot. If you lack both elbows and feet, cough wherever you want. You already have enough problems.
Warm water with honey and lemon can help ease a sore throat. It’s also the perfect thing to ask the waitress for if you’re too cheap to order an actual beverage.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So don’t try to pull that shit where you charge me for a full pound but mess with the scale and give me only 12 ounces and then distract me by saying “Yo, yo, yo, check it out, check it out” as you show me your new tattoo of Charlie Brown and Lucy “doing it.”
Folk wisdom suggests that you should feed a fever and starve a cold. However, folk wisdom is always sticking its nose in other people’s business, even while its own marriage is falling apart, so feel free to ignore anything it has to say.
I am about to share the greatest idea ever conceived. It’s an idea without peer, parallel, or precedent. It’s an idea whose time has come, has passed, and has cycled around again, twenty-nine times. It’s an idea that will not only shift paradigms, but will light them on fire and juggle them as part of a figure-skating routine to “Nadia’s Theme.” If this idea could be expressed as eBay feedback, it would be even better than FANTASTIC SELLER LOVE MY GENTLY USED SPANX A+++++++++++++++++. It’s an idea so powerful that a single drop could generate enough heat to make a Shrinky Dink for every man, woman, and child on the planet. If this idea were a man, it would be Channing Tatum doing an impression of George Clooney while wearing a Brad Pitt–circa–Thelma and Louise mask. If this idea were a woman, it would be Helen of Troy, in Spanx. The physics-bending properties of this idea are so unusual that they can make water flow uphill, cause helium-balloon avalanches, and turn black holes shocking pink, with faux-leopard throw pillows. Upon encountering this idea, bright ideas quietly slink away to join convents and monasteries in order to spend the rest of their lives contemplating the idea. Good ideas turn to a life of crime and an endless string of meaningless one-night stands. Bad ideas become worse, then become guys who sell cell-phone cases from kiosks at the mall. People invariably insist on picking up the check when dining out with this idea, and though the idea appears to protest, it never ends up paying. This idea acts like its shit doesn’t smell, even though it does, like a combination of new car and wild strawberries, or, during the holiday season, gingerbread men wearing CK One. This idea always ends up as the owner of Park Place and Boardwalk in Monopoly, with hotels, and invariably swallows the last marble in Hungry Hungry Hippos. Oprah begged to join this idea’s book club. This idea knows what really happened at Roswell, what was in Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase in Pulp Fiction, and who Tony saw when he looked up at the last moment of the last episode of The Sopranos (newlyweds Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Earhart). This idea scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT and finished in time to run the Boston Marathon in 2:15:09. This idea’s soufflés never fall, and its pie crusts are always flaky and light. Whenever this idea makes public appearances with Muhammad Ali, Ali is billed as “The Second Greatest.” This idea got the highest appraisal in the history of Antiques Roadshow, even though it was missing the original box. This idea is fabulous in bed, doesn’t snore afterward, and sends flowers the next day. This idea can do that dexterity trick where you rotate a half-dollar around each of your fingers in turn, only with its toes, both feet simultaneously, using wheels of brie. This idea laughs at danger, yet isn’t afraid to cry, but doesn’t. This idea waits for no man, gathers no moss, and is free of clichés. This idea uses different passwords for each site, incorporating both letters and numbers, and changes them religiously every month. This idea was born fully realized, never passing through the awkward notion stage. This idea always finishes its term papers well before the deadline, then parties when everyone else is pulling all-nighters. This idea can calculate the correct tip instantly, and always adds a little extra for outstanding service. This idea has never missed a 7–10 split. The camera actually takes ten pounds off this idea. This idea eats tacos with ease while keeping its head fully vertical. This idea has never gotten confused in the correct usage of “affect” and “effect.” An adequate superlative to describe this idea has yet to be invented, but when it is, it will no doubt be the idea’s own invention, which will also make radish roses and curly fries with consistently flawless results.
Here it is: a secured credit card for dogs, so that they can learn fiscal responsibility and build a solid credit history at the same time.
Major metropolitan areas are completely wiped out, while remote rural locales remain untouched, since apocalypse reception is so unreliable once you’re out of the city.
As thousands gather on a mountainside to watch in horror as a rogue asteroid hurtles toward the earth, a sage old man philosophizes that “the apocalypse is in each of us.” Another man, pointing upward at the ever-growing fireball, shouts hysterically, “Oh, yeah? Then what the fuck is that?!,” to which the old man replies, “Look, I’m not a scientist, okay?”
It turns out that the apocalypse was all the dream of an innocent young child. That young child? Jayden Scovill of Prescott, Arizona, who grows up to be the prick of a boss who fires your ass.
The apocalypse decides to postpone because it wants to find out what happens next on Mad Men, especially whether Don Draper has really turned over a new leaf and remains faithful to his new wife, or lapses into his old habits and sleeps with that woman in the bar in the last episode of Season Five. Also: Will the firm change its name following Lane Pryce’s suicide? Are we ever going to see Peggy again? Will budding teenagers Sally and Glen ever “do it?” And is Betty fated to remain a cold, brittle, emotionally distant bitch for the rest of her life? Once these questions are answered, all life suddenly blinks out of existence.
People cower in terror as the apocalypse begins, only to discover that it can be staved off, like a cat, with a spray bottle.
The unimaginably massive global tidal waves that threaten to submerge every land mass on earth abruptly recede. We later learn that the apocalypse is six months behind on payments to the moon, and that, as a result, its gravitational pull has been disconnected.
What is thought to be the apocalypse is actually an M. Night Shyamalan movie about the making of a movie about the apocalypse directed by a man with a remarkable gift of prophecy (played by Shyamalan himself) who knows the exact moment at which the actual apocalypse is to occur, and thus organizes the movie’s shooting schedule so that the the filming of the fictional apocalypse coincides with the exact instant of the actual apocalypse, mainly to avoid paying overtime to his cast and crew. In a twist ending, however, it turns out that the movie, and the movie-within-a-movie, are part of an elaborate ruse, and that the real-life Shyamalan is in fact the infinite, omnipotent Universal Supreme Being who has completely masterminded and executed the actual apocalypse, mainly to “show” the kids who picked on him in high school. Universal Supreme Being Shyamalan is bitterly disappointed when unenthusiastic critics, blogging from deep subterranean bunkers, describe the apocalypse as “tepid,” “utterly predictable,” and “his worst effort yet, by far.”
The apocalypse actually occurred thousands of years ago, and, unbeknownst to us, modern history has represented the slow, gradual rebuilding of a post-apocalyptic world. While we have been led to believe that our civilization represents the pinnacle of human achievement, newly discovered clay tablets finally reveal that in the pre-apocalyptic era, cable TV was free and Baskin-Robbins had 96 flavors.
The apocalypse fails to materialize. Scholars eventually realize that the circular stone “Mayan calendar” used in their calculations is actually just an ancient sewer cover.
The meek inherit the earth, but are too shy to do anything except kind of shuffle uncomfortably as they look down at their feet.
Several days ago, bored and in explicit violation of my parole—I was convicted in 2011 of hacking Google, which I did with a surplus Vietnam-era machete from the Army-Navy store—I found my way onto a heavily trafficked entertainment-and-gossip website. While I was there, one post inspired me to leave a mildly entertaining quip in the comments section. I can’t remember now exactly what I wrote, or what the original story was about, but I’m pretty sure it was a bit of salacious innuendo about one of those rambunctious “rock and rollers” all the kids are listening to—Shaun Cassidy, maybe, or Olivia Newton-John, the one who starred with John Travolta in XanaxDu, that movie about prescription-drug junkies on roller skates. (I can’t believe it lost Best Picture to License to Drive. Still, that Corey Haim sure is making a big splash as JFK in Stephen Sondheim’s new Lincoln movie! Yes, I am unbeatable at film trivia.)
Anyhow, one reader was sufficiently amused by my comment to comment upon my comment with a comment of her own. Her name was “H@rleygrrl” (what were her parents thinking!), and here’s what she wrote: “LOL! You win teh internetz!” At first I felt bad for her, since I knew she must be facing an uphill battle in her remedial English class, because, I mean, who misspells “the?” And, frankly, I was completely baffled by the weirdly abbreviated allusion to Lowell, Massachusetts, unless she was referring to the New England Quilt Museum, in which case I guess I should be flattered, because have you ever seen one of those New England quilts? That’s real hand-stitching!
Anyhow (again), after puzzling over this enigmatic missive from H@rleygrrl (I think it’s pronounced “hatterlygrill,” kind of pretty), I suddenly realized the significance of what she had written. I had won the internet (singular). It was mine. All mine. Needless to say, this came as something of a surprise, if not an unexpected occurrence. For years now, I’ve been quietly socking away my tips and gratuities and I.O.U.s and Camel cash (I don’t smoke, but I buy the cigarettes for the coupons) and fool’s gold (which I was going to spray paint and pass off as plutonium to those idiots at the swap meet in Pyongyang this weekend), all with the express hope, and this is where it gets spooky, of someday owning the internet. I figured it was going to take a cool six or seven hundred dollars, and I wasn’t even close yet. But now, I have clear title to the internet, and without spending a cent. Hell, I hadn’t even won anything since that $1.00 scratch-off lottery ticket in ’96, and when I redeemed it for another ticket, that ticket had a message demanding that I fork over another ten bucks to the cashier, just to teach me a lesson about wasting my money on lottery tickets.
Naturally, winning the internet has raised a number of vexing, difficult questions. Will it fit in the back of my car? Is the cap the kind you have to squeeze and press down while turning? Does it come in cool ranch flavor? Are the “extra features” actual extra features, or just the original trailer and previews of coming attractions? Is there a pop-up timer to tell me when it’s done? What if it’s a “summer” and I’m an “autumn?”
As I continue to grapple with these issues, I’ve also been giving quite a bit of thought to some other important considerations. As the new owner of the internet, the world is my candy store, like a kid in an oyster. So why shouldn’t I make a few improvements? Hope you like them.
- The internet will close between 8:00 and 10:30 P.M. EST on Thursday nights for Glow Bowling. Sign-up sheets are at the shoe rental counter.
- Censorship is now banned, except for objectionable material.
- I have decided to make the internet more inviting to kids by coating it with that spray-on chalkboard stuff from Home Depot.
- The days of cats’ primacy as the internet’s favorite animal are over. The new favorite animal is the sea cucumber (see photo at right). Submit your outrageously funny sea cucumber videos at YouHolothuroidea.com.
- The internet will now come with Magic Fingers. Quarter slots will be mandatory on all new computers and hand-held devices. I get to keep the quarters.
- Statements followed by “LOL” must be accompanied by audiovisual evidence confirming that actual laughter occurred, and that it was, indeed, audible. For “LMAO,” a notarized letter from a proctologist is also required.
- All memes currently in existence are hereby declared null and void. New memes will be officially selected and approved by a committee of hummingbirds. The first new meme is “NECTAR.” The second new meme is “MORE NECTAR.”
- All pornographic film clips must now share a split screen with a sign-language interpreter.
- The sale of Nazi memorabilia is still forbidden on eBay. However, the listing of actual pre-owned Nazis is permissible under the category Collectibles→Plush Toys & Sociopathic Ideologues→Beanie Babies & Nazis→Vintage.
- The speed of Google searches will now depend upon your previous treatment of Google. If you regularly asked Google if it wanted anything when you went on a Starbucks run and listened politely every Monday morning to the breathless, protracted recap of its “crazy” weekend, your results will be returned with astonishing rapidity. However, if you curtly pretended to be on the phone or “really swamped right now” every time Google attempted to initiate some pleasant small talk at your desk, you may as well buy an encyclopedia.
- Blog posts that essentially take the form of lists are hereby prohibited.
- The winner of Twitter feuds will be determined by a committee of hummingbirds. Winners will become a meme. Losers will be processed into nectar.