You weirdo

Last night the Horse Heiress called me out of nowhere for the first time in like a year. Two years? There’s no way of knowing. She asked me to take a 6 downtown for drinks but as you know if you follow me on Twitter, I was on an unexpected vacation.

“It’s been so long!” she said.

“I know,” I said, and, because I could tell that she was just a little looser than usual, I asked what she was drinking.

“A shirley temple! Have you had one of these?”

I had. Have? I was very young, maybe seven, and on a vacation to Orlando, Florida, where I would later live. This first time around, though, the whole of the city may as well have been Disney. I was with my sister and her husband, who traveled there for a tractor conference, and at one business meetup a bartender was memorably excited to hand me a shirley temple in a short glass. Bang! All that sugar nearly blew out my vision.

“I was thinking about your idea,” she said. “Something happened while I was in New York–well, it happened in the Pony Isles–and your business suddenly made sense.”

“My business?”

“You weirdo.” By which she meant my idea for a service agency. When your wife leaves you or your job fires you or your friend says you’re not a good influence and so you need to keep away, you sign up with You Weirdo and we monitor your social accounts and your email and your text messages and your paper mail if you’re still into that and when you start to get weird we intervene. There’s a monthly maintenance fee you can cancel when you get your life back on track. And if you don’t have the money you can go with the free account where all monitoring is handled by the community. In that arrangement we monetize the discussion space with sidebar ads.

These Are My Funnies #30: Still He Slides

(300 seconds)

We’re close on a boy’s face. He’s ecstatic, nearly screaming with joy. His hair whips and water splashes him and we are obviously in a snaking water slide. Washed out color goes dark as we enter a tunnel, then returns. Then another tunnel, then another.

This time, when we reemerge into sunlight, the boy is no longer happy. He looks ready to stop. He looks around, tries to angle his head so he can see over the walls of the water slide. We loop, we go dark again, and now the boy is panicked. Soon he is yelling for help. But still he slides.

These Are My Funnies #29: Did I Waken Thee?

(45 seconds)

A room lit poorly by light through shades. A figure visible only by the sheen of his oily skin. He breathes and the telephone handset he holds rings to a connection somewhere far away. These are the only noises.

“…hello?” someone says, finally. Someone tired, someone exhausted.

“Did I waken thee?” our man says, and then, after a moment without breathing, he guffaws. “Haw!”

He hangs up, dials a number without much care, and the scene repeats.

Your Mom called and she’s worried you’re playing too many video games

A few Fridays ago some friends came to this apartment for drinks and pizza and Smash Bros., a new game in which you command Nintendo characters to jump around a drunken stage in a drunken frenzy and attack each other in drunken ways. I use that adjective because even if you are not drunk you will think you are drunk. You will think, How can I be so terrible at this game? How can I not pick up that crate? How can I have thought I was that Dr. Mario when really I was that other Dr. Mario on the other side of the screen, bear hugging a bomb that would rocket me out of play?

Late into the night I tired of doing terribly and said to one of our guests, who was fiery in his desire to carry on, “Reginald, your Mom called and she’s worried you’re playing too many video games and she also asked me to remind you to—“

And then I laughed a laugh. It was the sort of quiet, debilitating laugh that prevents you not only from finishing your thought but from ever finishing it. It might cause you to drool. It might cause you to choke.

“Your Mom called and she’s worried—“ I said.

“Your Mom called and she’s worried you’re playing, hwah, that you’re playing too many—“

“Too many what?” said someone else, whose name was Rupert the same way the other guy’s name was Reginald.

“That you’re, woo, that you’re,”  I said, and this carried on for a long time.

Finally, after much steeling of the soul, I said, “Your Mom called and she’s worried you’re playing too many video games and she also asked me to remind you to take your penis medicine.”

“That’s it?” someone might have said or someone almost certainly thought.

But here’s what I think: the penis medicine joke is a three-part masterpiece of humor.

1. “Your Mom called and she’s worried you’re playing too many video games…”

This part, the opening, is maybe 6/10 golden “Ha!”s. The idea that a 30ish year-old man’s mother would call the host of a party to quietly express concern over that man’s passion for a video game not even owned by that man but brought by a guest is absurd but also a little recognizable, the sort of worry you can probably remember from 20 years ago. And it’s even better than the mother is not concerned that her son is at a party at one in the morning, that the person she just expressed this concern to sounded like he was twisted around a bottle of whiskey. She is only concerned about the video games. She has probably been worrying about her son all night and finally, unable to sleep, she has risen and called his home and found him gone. She has called his mobile and found him unresponsive. She has called his friends until she found the right person to talk with: me.

2) “…and she also asked me to remind you to take your penis medicine.”

This second part is actually two parts. I’m going to address the first part here.

Penis medicine. What does it mean? Is it medicine to address a condition of the penis? Is it medicine to enhance the might of the penis?

3) “…and she also asked me to remind you to take your penis medicine.”

The only explanation this part needs is: The mother is so concerned about the video games that her son’s need for penis medicine is an afterthought. It’s a thing so casual she need not even remind her son herself.


These Are My Funnies #28: Three Tricks to Reinvigorate Your Organization’s Social Media Identity

(210 seconds)

We open on a packed auditorium. People slump in suits and shiny shoes; they are obviously near the end of a grueling day toward the end of a week-long conference. Their postures tell us that things started well and that good information is still being shared and they are learning techniques they will excitedly take back to their workplaces but also that they are ready for it to end. They want to sleep in their beds, pet their dogs, enjoy their own showers.

Cut to: the front of the auditorium. A podium fills the screen until we pull back enough to see THE SPEAKER, a man in his late-40s. His suit is expertly cut but we can see he’s gained a few pounds since he bought it. His face is handsome but we can see that he’s tired. He leans forward on the podium.

“Last night,” he says,  “I woke and looked at my wife and where her face should be there was only a shadow as in the mouth of a cave, a curving inward to darkness, collecting more darkness. Her face was gone, and I knew as if through experience that its eyes had looked sidewise at me in the night, judged me asleep, that the face itself had then lifted away and tiny jointed legs had carried it over her jaw, her chest, onto the bed, carefully over my sleeping form, and away.”

He continues: “Then I woke with a start to the noise of fire crackers. The awful certainty of the missing face had been a dream. My real wife’s face was next to me, held in place in her head. But what were these fire crackers? They were through now, though their smell remained. I stood and padded to the living room and found my dog but joined now by many I’d not seen before, in our neighborhood or any. Their heads and mouths moved as if they howled and I realized that they howled. The noise of their voices rose as if deafness were slowly seeping from my ears, until their howls were all I could hear.”

These Are My Funnies #27: Twisted Leather

(90 seconds)

“These cows, sir,” a man on TV says. His voice is clear but there is no video. We’re concerned something is wrong with the cable again. “They’re, to put it like our sign says, they’re twisted. They’ve done vile things. But that’s what makes the leather so good. Here, feel this.”

The screen remains black and, in the confusion of the moment, we notice the feel of the leather couch we’re sitting on. It’s so slick and worn, three years old now, and for the first time we think of where it came from. What sort of cow gave this hide for us to sit on, to sleep on, to spill drinks on, to have sex on with that person from work and that other person from the first floor?

“These cows, they deserved what they got. That’s why you can enjoy the coat guilt free,” the voice says.

We thumb at the couch and get up to shut off the television but it won’t shut off.

“Sick minds, these cows,” says the voice.