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[Based directly on recent real life events]
Take a seat children, and listen up, to the tale of how your grandfather here lost his left thumb in the Great Accident of '06.
You see, back in those days, we didn't have nanotechnology, so rather than asking your WallNavi to construct you a nice meal out of the disassembled junk molecules of recycled matter, you actually went out and collected your food materials naturally.
Do you kids even know that word any more, "naturally"? It means it wasn't made, it was grown, like a plant. Except the plants didn't come from a WallNavi like you're used to either -- I know, I know, weird -- they grew from the ground. You know, naturally. Like that old chair of mine that I like so much, the one that squeaks when you sit in it and is missing a chunk in the back. I keep it rather than getting a new one from the WallNavi because it's the chair your grandmother used to sit in when she read the paper before work each morning. But then, I guess you kids don't remember work either, do you?
Now your old grandpa's getting off track again. As I was saying, back when I was a young man, we didn't have nanotech, so we had to collect our food naturally. And even when you had gotten the food, it didn't come ready to eat, either. You had to cook it. Oh dear, how do I explain this. You had to transform it into an edible substance, kind of like how your WallNavi transforms matter, except it didn't have limitless options. You just transformed it from food that wasn't ready to eat to food that was ready to eat. You "cooked" it.
So anyway, back about 60 years ago, on this very day -- we would've called it December 2nd by the old calendar system -- I was going about cooking some food I had gathered from the store (a building entire minutes away from my house-unit). I set up one of the many gadgets we used for cooking back then, a "grill", and started heating it up. You see, it had to get really hot to transform the food matter into something you could eat.
So the grill got really hot, and I was getting ready to insert the food matter into it, when I noticed the grill device itself was out of place on the counter. So I grabbed the handle and pulled it toward me. Little did I realize that back in those days Interface Engineers weren't around to design everything properly, so the grill was built so that the handle actually heated up along with the inner mechanisms.
Needless to say, the part of my hand making the strongest contact with that handle surface got its matter transformed, just like a piece of food. That's right -- my left thumb got cooked! In a matter of about one second (you see, unlike with your WallNavi, menial things took quite a bit of time back then), the pad of my thumb had been transformed from a bumpy, grabby, fingerprint-inducing digit to a smooth, flat, red surface. And it hurt! We didn't have nano-sized MediBots back then to instantly repair bodily damage. We had to wait hours - sometimes even days - for little things to heal.
Let me tell you, kids, your grandfather learned his lesson that day, the day. From that day on, I tirelessly devoted my life to designing a better grill, and that's where I got the idea for the greatest invention of my career, something found in every household today, something you kids will certainly recognize -- though you may not know it by the name I gave it. You see, fourteen years after this horrifying yet serendipitous accident, I invented a little something called the Super Fantastic All-in-One Internet-Ready George Foreman Matter Transmogrifier Wall Unit. Which you kids know today as the WallNavi.
So here I was, driving across the country to move to my new place, when a bunch of leprechauns pulled up in a leprechaunmobile and tried to run me off the friggin' road.
For a minute I thought I had eaten some expired Lucky Charms that morning and was hallucinating, but the sudden jerk and metallic scrape against the side of my car convinced me it was all very real. I was being attacked by a pack of leprechauns with road rage!
So I did what I normally do in such situations: I improvised.
Knowing leprechauns are distracted by shiny objects, but having no gold on me, I took a handful of quarters and dimes from the ashtray where I keep change for meters and I chucked the whole lot of it out the window at them.
For a minute it worked. They were distracted by the not-so-shiny coins insofar as the coins lodged themselves in the eyes of the green-hatted bastard driving the leprechaunmobile. They swerved off the road, but within a minute another one had taken the wheel and they were right behind me in the rearview mirror.
Seriously, what had I done to piss off these emerald freaks? I know they're naturally mischievious little folk, but it's not like them to just run someone off the road out of the blue (er, green). I suspect maybe they had heard my recent standup routine involving midget jokes and taken the 'little people' digs a little too seriously.
Either way, I now had to deal with a band of pissed off leprechauns in a big green station wagon. It was obvious my car was no match for theirs, so I knew I had to take this fight to foot. I pulled over to the side of the road, and jumped out of my car just before they slammed their own vehicle into it at high speed. A tremendous explosion followed, but there were surprisingly few green flesh chunks among the shrapnel.
At first, I thought maybe they'd made a suicide run, but then I noticed they'd somehow escaped from the leprechaunmobile at the last second, and sure enough they were already surrounding me. I found myself in an open grass field of lush green beside the road, the last place one wants to find one's self in a fight with leprechauns. They blend right in to the ground!
"Arg, stop kicking me," I yelled in no particular direction, not even seeing where my attackers kept hitting me from. "Fight fair, you bunch of wizened Irish fairies!"
At that, one of the little folk came out of his camouflaged hiding spot and bantered back in a stereotypically hilarious Irish accent: "We be the Irish mob, 'nd we're here tae callect on a debt ya owe us."
I stood there befuddled.
"Tree years ago," the spritely sprite continued, "ya burrowed a pot o' gold from the mob, and now we be wantin' it bach."
What gold? I had no clue what he was talking about, and said as much. Could a simple misunderstanding be behind all of this?
"If that's how it's gannuh be..." the bearded little man trailed off, as he faded back into the cover of the grass, disappearing from sight. The invisible kicks resumed.
If my years of training have taught me anything, it's that when fighting a gaggle of short and invisible opponents, rely on senses other than sight to win the battle. So I closed my eyes. I listened. A rustle in the grass behind and to the left. I turned and stuck my foot out in that direction, blocking the kick that came a split second later. Another rustle off to my right -- blocked again.
But they quickly caught on to my aural strategy and started moving more stealthily, so I was forced to resort to the one sense organ I knew they couldn't hide from. No, not taste (seriously, have you ever tasted a leprechaun? Blech!), but smell. My olfactory protuberance engaged the air, and I was almost immediately overwhelmed by the circus of smells coming from my opponents. I could estimate not only their direction but also each one's distance from me. I now knew exactly where they were, and now they had no way to hide. Believe me, a leprechaun trying to mask its perverse smell is like a stereotypical drunk Irishman trying to mask the stereotypical smell of booze on his breath. It just doesn't work.
The rest of the battle went smoothly. I swatted away two of the tiny punks before booting another back onto the highway where it was prompted run over by a passing gay pride parade float with a rainbow banner on the side. There was no gold waiting for the leprechaun at the end of that rainbow. Two more leprechauns fell under my boot and were stomped back into the ground they came from. The last one -- tricksy thing that he was -- kept slipping out from under my crushing blows, so I defeated him with good old fashioned prankery.
"Is that a huge bottle of whiskey sitting unclaimed over there?" I queried, pointing behind him. Unsurprisingly, he immediately spun around on his heels and scanned the horizon for the bottle I knew wasn't actually there. And that gave me time to sneak up behind him and grab him in a tight grip so he couldn't get away.
"Aha!" I proclaimed proudly. "I've captured you! Now you must lead me to your stash of gold -- indeed, to the greatest gold stash ever known: the leprechaun mafia's giant pot o' gold. Now where is it?!"
He sighed, knowing he was defeated. "It be right under yer fate, tall man."
"Yer fate. Yer FATE! The things attarched to yer legs, ya dimwit."
"Under my feet...?" I looked down, and sure enough there was a glimmer of gold sparkling among the dirt nearby. "Wooo! I'm rich!"
I tore a piece of red cloth off of my shirt, tied it to the end of a nearby stick and shoved the stick into the ground so as to mark the spot at which the treasure was buried. I needed to go find some implement to dig it up with, and knew I would never find the spot again in this vast field without marking it. I extracted a promise from the leprechaun not to disturb my marker before I let him go, and then I jogged back to my wrecked car to look for something I could use as a shovel.
Finding no natural digging items, I grabbed a rusty ice cream scooper from among the smashed-in remains of my car's trunk (don't ask why I drive around with an ice cream scooper). It may not be a big scoop, but hey, even the Great Wall of China was built one brick at a time. I was about to be the richest man on Earth.
Unfortunately, by the time I returned to the field, I found it covered from end to end with countless pieces of red cloth tied to myriad sticks poking out of the ground at random spots. There must have been ten thousand such markers, all so similar to the one I had originally left that there was no way I would ever find the spot again.
I sighed a long sigh and tredged my way back to the road to thumb a ride to the nearest town. The mischievous little punk and his cocked green hat may have tricked me out of the gold I had rightfully earned, but I took solace in the knowledge that I had singlehandedly defeated the leprechaun mafia in mano y (wee)mano combat.
I just about got in a car wreck with Drunk Batman today. That bastard is always cruising around in the 'mobile while liquored up. At one point he cut me off, and when I honked just to let him know I was there he threw a fuggin' bat grenade at me! Talk about road rage.
He threw an empty out the window at 75 miles an hour and it hit some elderly lady with a baby stroller on the sidewalk. I mean, granted, she was probably a super-villian and the baby her evil clone, so Drunk Batman was just doing his superheroly duty, but still -- come on, the guy needs to get ahold of that drinking problem or someday he might hurt a real innocent.
For Pete Parker's sake, even the Bat Signal has been blurry lately, and looks more like a giant 40 against the clouds than a bat.
Please write your Congress-person and tell them to ban vigilante boozehounds like Drunk Batman. We need to put police authority back in the hands it belongs in: drunk cops.
"dunna nunna nunna nunna nunna ... Drunk-Batman! *hic*"
"Drunk Batman: He fights crime by getting wasted and forgetting the crime ever took place!"
So here's me, walking down the street in the middle of the day, on some inane errand to get groceries or rent a movie or hire a prostitute or some-such, when suddenly out of the blue I'm jumped by a goddamn hoard of goddamn zombies.
I mean, seriously, who the fuck gets attacked by zombies these days? That's beyond old school and into medieval. But whatever. So here's me and like 14 zombies, and we're not talking the slow, plodding, uncoordinated zombies you see in those movies. No, these are genuine, honest-to-goodness undead gymnasts or something because these fuckers could MOVE.
Now, they obviously had a couple neurons still sparking because they must've recognized who I was. They were smart enough not to just charge in haphazardly as zombie hoards are want to do. No, these babies surrounded me and closed in from all around me nice and tactical-like. They knew they had numbers on me, and they figured they'd overpower me on that basis alone.
Boy were they wrong!
I got into my patented ninja-crouch and prepared myself mentally for what was about to happen.
The first zombie made a "yuuuuhnnng" sound at me, and I backhanded him like a thing that backhands other things. Let's just say he didn't "yuuuuhnnng" at me any more.
The next one received a quick roundhouse that took off his head, and blood spurted out like a thing from which blood spurts copiously.
Another 11 fell to my Menacing Stare and my Stern Glance (those are actual kung-fu moves). All that was left was the leader.
So here's me and the Zombie Leader, eyeing each other like two animals that eye each other before doing things. There was real tension in the air, so thick you could cut it with a zombie-slaying chainsaw. He looked apprehensive -- at least that's what I took his blank, expressionless gaze and non-communicative sway to mean. But there was malice in those glazed-over, empty eyes. I'd known it would come down to this, and if he hadn't eaten his own brain, I think he would've known it as well.
Me versus the Zombie Leader. Mano y ex-mano.
So what does the fucker do? He charges me.
He charged me again.
He looked confused (well, he looked confused before, but now he continues to look confused in a manner suggesting he would still be confused if he had emotions).
So I decided there's only one way I could end this battle quickly and easily (knowing that if I just beheaded him he'd keep on lumbering toward me stupidly): I had to beat him in a battle of manliness. So I asked him the one question I knew he didn't want to be asked.
"How much can you benchpress?"
He looked at me dumbly, clearly so embarassed by his muscular weakness that he didn't want to answer aloud. No response.
"Cause I just benchpressed a car...and your mom!"
He looked as heartbroken as a zombie missing all torso-based organs can look. He lumbered toward me in what I can only take as a sign of conceded defeat, with his hand out, chanting "braaaaains" (which I figure was an obsequious acknowledgement of my brilliance in strategically bringing his mom into things).
But instead of making the friendly gesture and shaking his outstretched hand (which, I should add, was about to fall off anyway), I pulled it back at the last second and mocked him with "SUCKA!"
Then I sauntered away victorious. Last I saw of him, he was nursing his embarassed emotional wounds by seeking consolation in the arms of some nice elderly lady. Or else he was chewing on her skull. I couldn't tell from where I stood on my pedestal as the Most Goddamn Manly Man Around, where I was busy benchpressing a house.
Have you ever had this happen to you? You get up early in the morning, earlier than any human should actually be up and about, and you plod through your morning routine. Brush teeth, shower, grab a bowl and pour some cereal into it. Then you go to grab some milk from the fridge and find -- alas -- there is no milk left!
But you've already put the cereal in a bowl. Once that has happened, the cereal *can't* go back into the box. It's against the Cereal Laws of Nature: if it went back in, the bowl-cooties would spread to all the other cereal pieces and chaos would reign among the cereal people.
So you're stuck with a dilemma. You could throw out the cereal -- but then you have to deal with the guilt that comes from your mom's voice in your head lecturing you about how wasting food makes starving kids in Africa cry. So you're stuck with the alternate solution: find a different liquid in which to bathe your cereal.
Now, at some point or another in our lives, we have all tried cereal in water. Usually as a youngin' this was attempted as an experiment in finding cool new ways to eat your food. Or maybe one day as a desperate college student you dropped your Cap'n Crunch in a rain puddle but you were too hungry to lose your chance at some Crunch so you ate it anyway. However it happened, we all at some time or another tried the water solution...and I think we all came to the same conclusion. YUCK!
So water's out of the question. Orange juice is WAY too strong and the taste would overpower the cereal's sugary goodness. There's soda, but if you're out of milk you're probably out of soda. Which leaves you with one real option to liquify your cereal:
There's always that bottle or can in the back corner of the fridge (or that entire shelf of beer...or that separate fridge you keep just for the beer). Everyone has it, even people who don't drink. So in a move of sheer desperation, and dare I say genius innovation, you grab the bottle of beer and pour it into the cereal.
And take the first bite.
And chew it.
And swallow it.
And sit for a moment in quiet contemplation of what you have just done.
And then you get up and go to the grocery store for some goddamn milk.
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a situation where you were incredibly bored and didn't know what to do, and you thought to yourself "I wish I had a board game with me so that I could entertain myself"? But come on, who carries a board game around all the time, with all those clunky pieces and such?
So to remedy this situation, such that no one need ever be caught without a board game again, I have invented the coolest and most compact board game ever. No pieces are needed. Indeed, you don't even need a board. All you need is the handy-dandy rule sheet provided below.
Go ahead and try it out. I gaurantee it is the most fun you'll ever have with a board-less, piece-less board game:
Best Bored Game Ever
Any number of players may play the game. To begin, each player should start at 1. Then take turns, following the instructions on your turn. The goal is to win.
1. You roll a 2. Proceed to 3.
2. Life insurance matures. Proceed to 7.
3. You roll a 2. Proceed to 5.
4. You roll a 2, passing 'go'. Proceed to 6.
5. You suck. Go back to 2.
6. You roll a 3. Proceed to 9.
7. You roll a 1. Proceed to 8.
8. You contract malaria. Go back to 4.
9. You slip down one of the chutes. Go back to 1.
10. If you got here, congratulations. You win...and you suck at following instructions.
So on the way home from campus tonight, I was jumped by a roving band of ninjas looking to make trouble. But rather than take on the whole bunch (which I certainly could have done), I challenged their leader to a Ninja Duel(tm).
They all gasped with shock -- and believe me, a gasping ninja is a rare sight indeed -- but soon recovered their composure and the leader agree to the duel.
The battle was long and it was bloody. At least seventeen innocent civilian onlookers got too close and were felled ('collateral damage' is the ninja term for it). Trees were toppled and entire buildings collapsed. The entire world shook with the raging intensity of our struggle.
By the end, I had lost both of my arms, I been impaled three different times, and I had lost over six gallons of blood, but I did not give up. Finally, two days into our battle, just when his stamina was starting to falter, I used my secret weapon. He never saw it coming.
I defeated a ninja master with...the power of SCIENCE!
I simply explained to him that under the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics the result of our fight was in quantum uncertainty like Schrodinger's cat, the outcome said to be in 'superposition', and not until the wave function collapsed would the end-result be determined. He stopped and looked at me slightly confused, pondering the widespread implications of this theoretical insight.
That's when I hit him with poisoned nunchucks, and he fell like a black-clad sack of potatos.
Now if only I could get those pesky pirates off my back.
How many people actually read the ingredients list on the foods they buy?
No one. Anyone who did would be obviously nuts.
However, sitting there last night eating a bowl of cereal at 1 a.m., I took it upon myself -- in the interest of science -- to slog through the ingredients list of the cereal I was eating.
I was not surprised to find that my cereal was processed in a facility that also processes tree nuts. I suppose that sort of allergy information is useful to the .00000001 percent of the population who are allergic to tree nuts. I was, however, surprised at a later entry.
Somewhere near the bottom, couched between pyroxidine hydrochloride (vitamin B6) and sodium erythorbate was an entry I did not expect to see: "puppies".
For legal reasons I cannot reveal the name of the popular breakfast cereal I was consuming when I made this unfortunate discovery. But next time you groggily pour milk into that bowl of cereal in the morning, just remember that in that milk drowns the whimpered pleas of helpless puppies.
And an unhealthy amount of sugar.
Oh man, you missed the best thing last night. God totally stopped by -- yes, THE God -- and man, let me tell you, he was lit. We had this profound, in-depth, hardcore conversation about which fast food restaurant is the best. I'm telling you, this guy is smart...he's like, ya know, an intellectual. We were totally on the same wavelength. Oh yeah, and God, he totally had this brilliant idea for an invention. Get this: inflatable cars. Yeah, we were totally riffing off that the whole night, like imagine how easy it'd be to design parking garages in crowded cities - just set up some lockers. It was great; I guess you had to be there.
Man, that God guy, he's cool.
...fucking lush though.
In the middle of the night, as I lie there unable to sleep, I sometimes hear a soft rustling along the carpet outside my bedroom. I awake in the morning to find some odd things out of place in the house. A curtain open when it had been closed the night before. A recliner in full upright position when it had been stuck half-reclined the night before. A throwing star embedded in a pool of unidentified blood on the carpet. A box of Frosted Flakes missing the toy.
I think a ninja lives in my house...and doesn't even pay rent.