Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why Can't Stuff Always Be Great?

Because it seems as if I am now on my own here at Stuff, here's a long overdue post. So sorry for the hiatus.

We all know that sometimes, things don't live up to our expectations. And much of the time, it's no one's fault. It's just one of those things. Here then is a list of

Stuff That's Not As Good As We Think It's Going To Be

1. Going to a baseball game
2. Grocery store cupcakes
3. The beach
4. Pancakes

1. Okay, so, I'm talking about going to a Major League game here; my experience is with the Cleveland Indians. I always say I love going to the ballpark, and at first, that's true. Then, reality sets in. I forget that there is a constant humming undercurrent of noise. Hate that. Second, no matter where we sit, it is The Busiest Row In The Park. We are constantly getting up so that Beer Guy can go pee, Bored Child can go let off steam, and Yuppie Mom can go make phone calls and meet her ladyfriends. Third, there is no great color commentary! I really miss it. There is no one saying, "Carl, next up is Mort Slaptickle, who, as you know is seven for twelve when the Braves wear the blue sleeves in Cleveland. Also interesting to note is that Mort became a lefty when his grandma, the heiress to the Beechnut gum fortune, accidentally caught his right arm in the ice cream maker back when he was in the minors." Finally, no slowmo or instant replays of all plays. Oh, and if it's hot, raining, or too cold, you're screwed.

2. Grocery store cupcakes always look really good. They have terrific looking frosting which can even be piped on in a huge swirl. I am also a sucker for pink frosting on a cupcake which is, I know, ridiculous at my age. But cupcakes are hard to eat unless you have an enormous mouth and can get an even distribution of cake + frosting in each bite. Most times, I cannot, and I've even gotten frosting on my nose. Plus, most grocery store cupcakes have awful frosting that is the equivalent of sugar + Crisco. And, most grocery store cupcakes are dry. Ick.
3. The beach always sounds so relaxing and toasty warm, what with the waves and the sand and the sun. Which is, ironically, also precisely why the beach sucks. Sand gets everywhere and you will take it home with you and it will proceed to follow you wherever you go for the rest of your life. Inside and out. The waves, if they are in the ocean, will blast the sand at you and give you raw spots on your skin that will irritate you for days. Lakes are better, but mine is Erie, and let me tell you--there are bacteria warnings posted on our beaches more often than not. And at the beach, there is not a lot of shade to escape to, which means sunblock, and that means the sand will stick to you and do we really need to review that?
4. Every now and then I get a craving for pancakes. And then I remind myself that they are just not worth it. Because pancakes are not a food; they are a relationship. I cannot eat more than 3 bites of a pancake because then, it just has to be over. They are just too much. They're heavy, they're overly-sweet, they're huge, they last in my guts for days. If I could have a pancake the size of, say, half an English muffin, that would be super! But that pancake does not exist.
So what about you? What Stuff is never as good as you think it's going to be?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Don't Say It

These days, lots of people have bad news to share. Sometimes it's hard to know what to say to them. I can tell you right now what not to say to them. Incredibly, these awful, ridiculous platitudes are often repeated to people when these poor individuals are at their lowest ebb, and these terrible sayings are meant to comfort them. Please, never say them to anyone. Here are the

Worst Things Ever Said To Sad People

1. God never gives people more than they can handle.
2. These things happen for a reason.
3. It's all part of God's plan.
4. Well, it is what it is.

Honestly, I mean, just look at them! First of all, that first one has to be the worst, and it's easily disproved by taking a tour of any psychiatric ward of any hospital or looking at the staggering number of people who have prescriptions for anti-depressant medications. How is that comforting? It's basically saying, "Hey, you deserve your pain because you're a reasonably strong and resilient person, so this hardship is your reward! Congratulations!" Yikes.

Numbers 2 and 3 are conveniently mystical and empty. How comforting can they be? They remind me of a group at my school called "PUSH" which meets about twice a month. PUSH stands for Pray Until Something Happens. I have no problem with the P or the U or the H of that mission. It's the S that confounds me. Are they willing to take both credit and blame?

Finally, number 4 really frosts my cupcakes because it's just plain stupid. Imagine if we all lived that way, accepting the present reality of every single situation and never attempting to rise above it, to mold it, to improve it, or to ferret out its origins, relevance, relationships...anything. Besides all of that, what does it really mean? Is it merely some sort of license to do...nothing? Is it the New Millennium's "If it feels good, do it?" Isn't it basically a variation on the GenX "Whatever"? I'd like to find the person who started this pseudo-philosophy/mantra and wring his neck.

Sometimes, the best thing to say is a heartfelt, "That's terrible. I'm so sorry" and let it go at that.


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