Monday, August 25, 2008

What's in a name?

Everything. A good name will open doors and build bridges, and conversely a bad name will close doors, burn bridges and get you made fun of behind your back.

Kids need good names more than anyone. If you name your child a weird and crappy name, you may as well beat them up before you send them off to school and save the bullies the trouble. I won’t give any examples, but some of my friends and family have doomed some of their kids to getting ridiculed for life.

My brother-in-law, Rafa, wants to name his first son “Luigi.” All I know is that if the kid gets word of that through the umbilical cord, all the ultrasounds will be of him shaking his fist at Rafa.

The thing about names is they inevitably shape what the child will become. For example, if you want your kid to grow up to be a full-time pot smoker, just name him or her something like “Sunshine” or “Marley.”

Businesses need good names too. A business should say what it does, you know? Like naming a hamburger place “McDonald’s” is just stupid and could confuse a potential hamburger consumer. Luckily for obese people everywhere, McDonald’s has done well in spite of a poor name choice, but places that came after have learned from their mistakes, choosing more straightforward names like “Burger King” and “Taco Bell.”

Certain places have names that just make me not want to give them my business. For example, there is a restaurant called “The Blue Burrito”. Sick. A blue burrito? That’s just unappetizing. First of all, how did the burrito turn blue? I don’t plan on ever finding out.

There’s another place called “OK Automotive.” No way. If I’m gonna pay somebody a bunch of money to fix my car, they better do a heck of a lot better job than just “OK”. And just down the street there is another place called “OK Brakes,” which sounds more to me like “OK Car Accidents.”

I saw a billboard for “Pay Less Homes.” Don’t get me wrong, I like to save money. I will “Pay Less” for shoes all day long, but a home is not something I really want to skimp on.

Some places have misleading names, like “Discount Tires”. I went there and bought some tires and when I went to pay I said, “I would like a discount please.”

They were like “Do you have a coupon? Do you have a family member who works for Discount Tires? Are you a senior citizen?”

I said, “No, but this is Discount Tires, man. Gimme a discount.”

They didn’t give me a discount. But I did drink a bunch of their complimentary lobby coffee, though. Well, I would have if I drank coffee. Instead I just poured everyone else in the lobby a cup, even if they didn’t want one.

And I stole every single straw.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I am not opposed to infanticide

Yes, I am not opposed to infanticide. That means “killing infants,” specifically four-year-olds. OK, that’s not true. But I am in support of physical punishment. That means “beatings”. OK, that’s not true either.

I don’t even believe in spanking children, but all that almost changed one fateful morning. I was visiting my family and I woke up and went to put my contact lenses in, only to find that my contact case was open and my contacts were missing. I checked my eyes to see if I had forgotten to take them out the night before. I hadn’t. Maybe I had misplaced them as I stumbled in from a night of debauchery? No, I try not to be under the influence of any kind of substance other than ice cream, so unless it was some particularly strong Chunky Monkey, not likely. Did someone else mistakenly put my contacts into their own eyes, thinking they were theirs, a disgusting but innocent mistake? No one else wears contacts in the family, so that was out.

Then I thought of Raquel.

As I’ve mentioned before, my parents are masochists and had eight children. Raquel is the youngest and is four years old. She also has a reputation for being a kleptomaniac, and she had seen me putting my contacts in the other day and asked me what I was doing, so that made her my prime suspect.

I showed her the case and asked “Did you play with this?” She looked at the floor and just shrugged. Without my contacts I couldn't see her facial expression, but she was acting suspicious.

“How can you not know?” I asked incredulously. “Seriously, did you play with this or not?”

“No,” she said, still looking at the floor.

So not only had she effectively blinded me, now she was lying about it.

With a little more interrogation she came clean and together we tried to find my contacts. We crawled all over the floor looking, but found nothing. Raquel couldn’t remember what she had done with the contacts, or at least that’s what she said. I’m thinking she might’ve flushed them, so now I am doomed to bump into stuff and squint until I get some more contacts when I return to school.

I complained to my mom but she was unsympathetic.

“Oh that’s nothing. She has so much stuff that belongs to me, I don’t even keep track anymore. She steals from everybody.”

She didn't even care! Completely unconcerned. I guess having eight kids and dealing with their ridiculous behavior makes a person insane.

And the next day Raquel got into my laptop and somehow e-mailed all my friends a message that said “dkadpaooifihaofoiahhdpqopdihhaspsdpodoihhewwq.” Fantastic.

I went and got a vasectomy immediately. OK, that’s not true, but I sure thought about it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Grocery lines cause anxiety, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure

Few things in life are more frustrating for me than the grocery store. I can handle the shopping process, but paying for the stuff is always an ordeal.

Where it all starts to go wrong is I always get in the wrong line. I always check really carefully and select the shortest line, but it seems like no matter how short a line looks at the outset I always get stuck behind someone who needs a price check or wants to argue about prices.

Jerk: “$1.25? I coulda swore that was a dollar. I know there are twelve people behind me and it’s only 25 cents we’re talking about, but can we get someone to go check?”

Other times I’ve gotten stuck behind some parent who can’t control their kids and the kids are throwing stuff out of the cart, punching each other and demanding candy. I tried to offer a kid some candy once to speed the process up, but that only got security called on me.

I started using the self-checkout things in hopes that the smart people were more likely to use a self-checkout machine and the line would move faster. But even with the self-checkout I always manage to get stuck behind some 90 year old man who got in the wrong line by mistake.

Old Man:
"Hey, where is the checker? I need some service here! I need to pay for these prunes!" (Or whatever old people buy.)

Clueless old men aside, I love the self-checkout stands because they don’t judge. Triple strength Gas-X? No judgment here. Jock itch ointment? Hey man, it’s your business. A grocery clerk might look at you, laugh to herself and then hand the item to the bagger who will also laugh to himself, but not the self-checkout. The self-checkout machine remains mercifully neutral.

I think I will just start stealing instead. It will save money and time and if I get caught, getting arrested can't be half as embarrassing as buying that stuff.