Des Plaines, IL-Something incredible happened on Tuesday night of last week in the sleepy town of Des Plaines. Phillip Biggins, manager at the local Plato’s Closet, received a sign from Facebook. A digital Star of Bethlehem nestled in his newsfeed, beckoning him to post well wishes for his best friend’s birthday that would have otherwise passed unnoticed.
Biggins dutifully obliged to the tendering, as he always did, knowing that it was not truly a birthday, engagement, childbirth, or otherwise, until his generic affection was sitting lifelessly on the person’s wall. He clicked into the profile and recalled a lifelong friendship as tears began to form. Filled with profound trials, tribulations, adventures and the seamlessness of being true family, the bond between them truly was something to be cherished.
He had gotten drunk with him for the first time, caught the winning touchdown pass from him at state, and been saved by him from a pack of feral wolfs that had taken hold of the city back in 1997. What could be written to express his profound gratitude for it all? Then in an uncanny moment of clarity, it came to him, an acronym.
Nothing is more earnest than an acronym, especially when expressing an intricate web of human emotions. HB would be the technical acronym for Happy Birthday, though it didn’t have the right ring. Biggins stared at the cursor for several seconds wondering how he could make it more meaningful, something only he and his friend would understand.
Then it came to him, HBD, the D signifying day in the word birthday. Inspired. He proudly examined the uninteresting platitude once more before posting into the oblivion.
South Bend, IN-A tech company in Northern Indiana, already ripe with global brand influencers and other industry game changers with no discernible skills, hired what they believed to be the front runner of a new digital world order. Little did they know, a skill that he had been endorsed for over 12,000 times on LinkedIn, was not another ambiguous marketing proficiency to add to the team but rather indicated an aptitude for lengthy and colossal vape plumes.
“When you see a word like cloud capacity, you automatically think VP of something, hell you’d be smart to create a whole new division around something like that,” said the department head, furiously hacking away at another level of bubble shooter.
“Now knowing that cloud capacity indicates the overall size of a vape cloud he can make in one continuous blow, I’m putting ten people underneath him and giving him a corner office. Being a regional Northern Indiana Vape Champion and being a global brand ambassador/industry thought leadership influencer are essentially the same thing,” continued the head, completely unaware that the newly hired employee’s technological competence is limited to logging into his premium PornHub account.
Though the department remains in shambles, the enormous, passion fruit scented clouds remain a sight to behold.
Chicago, IL-On Tuesday, a tear dripped stoically down a manager’s worn cheeks, across a tranquil smile and onto the mahogany desk below. The sight of a group of coworkers tolerating each other at a mandatory birthday celebration proved overwhelming. The manager looked on in awe and reflected on the glorious culture. The faceless coworkers exchanged dull pleasantries while internally scheming the inevitable retreat to their respective desks. One coworker suggested “The weather has been nice today,” another replied “It seems cooler than usual,” to which they both agreed that there was in fact weather and that it sometimes changed.
The manager looked at how much they had grown as a testament to her leadership, growing from complete strangers into peers forced to endure each other on a daily basis. A sturdy bond, forged in the eternal flames of corporate America, bound by passive aggressive emails and incompetence. The transformation was incredible and substantiated the emotional onslaught in the barren office.
Two men stood, vacantly grinning, discussing a sporting event that neither had watched nor had any interest in. One employee asked if his voice sounded different in the morning versus the afternoon, no one could be certain or cared enough to reply. This was the mecca of growth and innovation.
Another tear dripped gently from the manager’s eye, she returned quietly to her desk and in time so did the rest of the coworkers. They always returned to their desk.
In the midst of humanity’s disgraced swan song into oblivion, discovering a vein of unconditional beauty pulsing through the viscous membrane of intolerance, fear and anxiety that has bound our planet is all anyone needs to realize there may be hope yet. The vein beat through the audience with the earnestness and disruption of a child’s chalk drawing on the otherwise ordinary slab of pavement. Pumping vessels filled with imagination, completely free of judgement or pretention, ready to be digested as something unique to every single audience member.
Witnessing what appeared to be an apparition from 2006 (complete with flat brimmed hat and cut-off shirt) release 5,000 years’ worth of emotions into the air on Saturday night was everything. Heartbreak, happiness, mortality, love, loneliness, death, auto-tune, nothing. At points, the emotions poured out with such abandonment that they were completely incomprehensible. And in those moments of bewilderment, I found myself staring at nothing in particular, swaddled in a state of infantile curiosity. Laughing uncontrollably at a suit of balloons.
Moments later almost crying at the prospect of impermanence and death. That something so delicate and perfect could only sustain itself for so long. Grateful for family and friends and more specifically that incredible moment in time, but understanding the heartbreak that no such moment will ever exist in those exact circumstances again. I’m uncertain if I’d want it anyways. The impasse of wanting nothing to change while also having faith that it is in some ways, somehow necessary.
I found it difficult to write this, because both everything and nothing describe the show perfectly. Ten billion words or zero words in a language that will never be invented. A rare moment in time in which pure happiness and pure sadness poured out simultaneously, in unrelenting beauty. I can only say that I am happy that I was part of the deconstructed mass left in the wake of a masterpiece and that humanity is, in some capacity, still capable of good.
Thank you Sufjan.
In a piece of shit world thirsty for any morsel of news or controversy, celebrity chef Guy Fieri made headlines confirming that he had his first solid bowel movement in over 2 decades. The rare feat happened on Saturday at approximately 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and was met with an obligatory ovation from Fieri’s hoard of Ed Hardy touting servants. “Shut the front door, these guys are what made it happen, they make a porchetta that you won’t forgetta…if yah catch my drift!” chortled a glistening Fieri in a near delirious state after feeling more human than he has in years.
It remains unclear what caused the fleeting glimpse at a healthy digestive tract, but experts plunging into the monstrosity like the sick triceratops scene from Jurassic park have confirmed it could either be the diseased raccoon tartare or tuna sausage consumed minutes prior. The act has caused universal outrage though no one is quite certain why.
“I’m used to it being radio silence down there or looser than creamed corn! That stool is so fresh it’ll slap ya!” continued Fieri being a nuisance and a health hazard in the kitchen with a piece of custom made leather toilet paper hanging repulsively from his camouflage Crocs.
As our stupidity evolves, examining celebrity shit will be a highly influential part in human culture.
A yellowing, wholly beige employee incapable of lifting his own head eased tension around the office as he confirmed the symptoms were a mere product of elevated pollen levels. “Really I should be celebrated for being…sniffffffffffffff….huh huh huh…ARGH….ARGH OH GOD…excuse me…celebrated for coming into the office even when everyone told me not to,” wheezed Gregory Phillips through a series of visibly and audibly productive nose blows, his skin appearing moist and translucent. His bloodshot eyes ripe with the confusion that accompanies any midwinter disease.
Though several people around the office witnessed him taking anguished sips from an already dwindling bottle of Nyquil and noticed an obvious inability to even stand up from his chair, Phillips remained steadfast that these are all completely common symptoms of airborne allergens. “I’m not sick…I’m really not…every symptom can be tied back to allergies, take for instance the…harghhkkkkkk ARHUG…painful white clusters in my throat, clearly just bee pollen from me sticking my head out the bus window on the way in,” continued Phillips casually touching every available surface in the office while huddled in a stinky old quilt.
In a week the entire office will be forced to endure the same suspicious allergy symptoms that inexplicably last 1-2 weeks before subsiding. All the while despising Gregory Phillips.
Old Man Strength
There are certain phenomena in this world that transcend human comprehension. These uncanny spectacles should not be approached intellectually or physically, but rather quietly and respectfully admired from a distance. One such instance of this is a quality that, some if not all, men over the age of 45 seem to inherit. Endearingly and accurately referred to as Old Man Strength.
It is often unrecognizable, but always present. Latent and ready to be provoked. It can present itself in a variety of ways but most commonly:
1.) Rarely touching a drop of alcohol normally, but somehow appearing at a tailgate and outlasting/out-drinking even the raspiest sounding Kamchatka pickled sorority girl. Only to wake up effortlessly and rather chipper the next morning, to toil about and possibly clean the gutters.
2.) Acquiring what is known as a Power Belly.(not mandatory but extremely common). It’s bulbous and misshapen appearance would suggest a certain passiveness, however it’s widely accepted that this is where most Old Man Strength is derived from. A hindrance/stigma at any other age or gender, it is worn with a certain reverence in this instance, and used with haste. Most often times dominating sons in wrestling matches or moving eight foot tall, awkwardly built China cabinets for daughters and wives.
3.) Developing a unique set of the most frustrating/successful basketball moves to play against one on one, most notably the hook, the scoop, and the Larry Bird over the head bank shot that’s somehow impossible to defend. Most of the game involves both posting up on offense and leaning on the opponent during defense. It becomes a war of attrition that is always won with Old Man Strength.
Being subjected to these is mutually embarrassing and comforting. It leaves us questioning our health and physicality but also enforces a certain respect and esteem for the middle aged. That undying perseverance in all of its splendor.
Artist: Machine Gun Kelly
Album: Black Flag
Song: Raise the Flag
I should start by saying I should by no means in no plane of existence like this song. The bizarro Mark Wilson likely doesn’t even like this song. Simply put Machine Gun Kelly is a complete and utter dud, loathsome really. I personally witnessed him get booed off stage at WrestleMania. That same crowd met Flo-Rida with a ravenous standing ovation so obviously easily appeased. I find myself somehow enjoying Raise the Flag despite it arguing with the core of my being. Guilty pleasure. Admitting this enjoyment parallels being caught crossing North Avenue Beach, helmet on, walkie talkie in hand on a Segway tour of Chicago or cutting an eye stinger at the urinal the second your CEO walks up thus having to stand there in silence peeing in your stench. This silence comes after he asks if you had an “angry lunch” and the lack of a response confirms this.
Roll the windows up in your car, make sure your headphones are in tight and put this on the same playlist as your Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jespen. Title the playlist “For Thugs Only” and pray that no one actually clicks on it. Enjoy the sweet guilt:
Artist: Gucci Mane
Song: Like I Used 2
Album: Trap Back 2
This song should be the theme song for Cialis. Gucci Mane is perpetually turnt up. He is larger than life both figuratively and literally. This song is somehow different though…its comical yes, but also embodies what appears to be a hint of remorse or some type of repressed sadness.
Though Gucci’s way of expressing the complex emotions associated with a waning and rapidly fading relationship are downright hilarious. If you listen to the chorus both the lyrics and tone embody an undeniable sadness Gucci was feeling for that fleeting moment, it likely passed immediately after the song was recorded and Gucci resumed guzzling lean and getting blunted into numbness.
Artist: Waka Flocka Flame
Album: Duflocka Rant 2
Release: February 2013
Waka is infinitely angry and loud. He’s more furious than Liam Neeson after his family get’s taken for a second time, and his voice is just as gravely. It sounds like a mixture of Neeson, Nick Nolte and Michael Madsen AFTER they got done chugging cacti full of cigarette butts. It sounds like he did the mixtape in one take because the more gall, fury and volume he discharges the more strained his voice sounds as the mixtape progresses. Overall the mixtape serves it’s purpose, and that is to hurl you into a disorienting frenzy in whatever situation you are in. I listened to it on the way to work and was so tense and agitated that I barely noticed myself completely mutilating my keyboard with every stroke of the finger. This is a great album to chug red bull vodkas and furiously puff lasers to if that’s your thing. There are actually some really complex beats in it though and some of the songs are more approachable than others. For instance Real Recognize Real with a beautifully crafted beat by Lex Luger:
The rhymes are a far shot from intelligent, it’s obvious that Waka Flaka is the polar opposite of the lead singer of the Decemberists (“Put your dick in the dirt, watch yo mama cry”) and it works for him. Who needs intelligence when you have boundless energy and menacing beats…not to mention TONS of gun fire samples. You know what your getting into with this album but if you like Waka you like him and you embrace his shortcomings and are mesmerized by his energy.