Tuesday, July 28th20.1°C
Old as dirt. Twice as gritty.

Said no one ever


One of the cool things to do these days is to stage your random sarcasm with ‘said no one ever’.

“I would much rather have a glass of warm tap water than a icy cold locally made craft beer,” said no one ever.
“If I win the lottery I am going to say thanks but no thanks,” said no one ever.
I’ve dabbled in the ‘said no one ever’ schtick, because, well, why not. Until, that is, I saw it used twice in a Maclean’s magazine article, which, for a national publication, is one too many times. One might reasonably argue that it was two too many times. 
“Oh get out of here, there’s no such thing as too many times for it, it’s always fun,” said no one ever.
“Well now, aren’t some people just so precious, all stuck up about such things,” said no one ever, in a bit of a huff.
“Oh really? Oh riiiight, someone like you probably uses it a dozen times in one paragraph. A short paragraph,” said no one ever, with a noticeable and not very attractive sneer.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You should seek help, because it is obvious to everybody that you’re completely delusional . . . or what I like to call ‘an idiot’,” said no one ever, who, truth be told, was pretty tired of being a no one and yearned to be a someone. This made him bitter about things and not afraid to show it. 
“Oh so I’m the idiot? Look who has their panties all in a twist,” laughed no one ever.
“You know, of course, that technically speaking we aren’t even having this conversation since we don’t exist, we’re no one,” said no one ever.
“True enough, must be sad to be a no one like you,” said no one ever.
“OMG, this is ridiculous, you’re just as much of a no one as I!” said no one ever.
“Ha ha, fooled you once, shame on me . . . no wait, that’s not right. Well anyway, shame on no one, really,” said no one ever.
“Have we filled up a column yet?” said no one ever.
“I’m not sure, hang on, let me check,” said no one ever. “Damn. No, we have a ways to go. Listen, I have to get going. I’m meeting no one soon, so hurry, let’s fill the rest of the column with something else,” said no one ever.
“But what?” said no one ever.
“How the hell should I know,” said no one ever.
“We could throw in a bunch of modern business jargon, like ‘core competency’ or something,” said no one ever.
“No, that was done in an earlier column,” said no one ever.
“Rats,” said no one ever.
“I’VE GOT IT!” said no one ever.
“I don’t believe it, how could a nobody like you have anything as lofty as an ‘idea’,” said no one ever, dripping vitriol, like a boss.
“Right, Mr. Einstein, because you have all the best ideas. Not. But seriously, don’t you see, we can just switch to doge. Very no-one, so switch,” said no one ever.
“OMG, you actually do have an idea. So idea! Like a boss!” said no one ever.
“We could do this for DAYS! Or until we run out of exclamation marks! Much days! So exclamation! Colour us, like a boss . . . hey! We can throw in a bunch of ‘like a boss’ and ‘colour me’s too!” said no one ever.
“But then how will we ever get out of here, that is going to take forever,” said no one ever.
“Hmm, could be a problem. Hold on, I think I have a way. Colour me a genius, like a boss. There’s a song, right, and it is one of those songs that gets inside your head and destroys your brain cells, you can’t get it out once it gets in. We’ll just tell people to google the song, right, and while they’re hopelessly trapped in the lyrics, we can make our escape. Colour us free of this scene, like a boss,” said no one ever.
“Oh hahaha, dude, I totally know what song you mean. ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy’ by Boys Don’t Cry, right? That song completely mulches your brain before you even get to the last line. One minute you’re sane, next minute you’re singing for weeks on end that you wanna be a cowboy. Colour me impressed. You may be a no one, but you sure are a smart no one. Like a boss. Such cowboy. Very wow,” said no one ever.
“Hey thanks, man - colour me happy. You know what, we can even make it easier for them, we’ll post the link, bwahahaha,” said no one ever.
“I wanna be a cowboy,” said no one ever.
“And you can be my cowgirl” said no one ever.
“My name is Ted,” said no one ever.


The bubble burst

With all the news of wildfires, heat waves, financial collapse of an entire nation, a sinking dollar, and god knows what else, you may have missed the worst news of all: Bubble wrap has a new recipe, and soon it won’t go pop for you anymore.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Yes that’s right, the company with the genius to create a product that would not only protect breakable shipped items but also give the recipient an awesome toy has decided to remove the better of those two features. 
They’re stripping the bubbles right out of the wrap.
Unpop. Unpop. Unpop.
No more pop, just . . . unbubble wrap. The company, a sorry excuse of a business called Sealed Air Corp, claims that shipping will now be less costly with their new de-airified wrap. Sure, but the change to product begs the question, will Sealed Air Corp change their name? Will they become Flat Unfun Airless Plastic Company now that air will no longer be sealed in anything except the head of the person who came up with this insane idea?
The thought of never again popping bubble wrap makes me feel a bit sentimental. I recall many a bubble wrap session over the years, sometimes after a fight-to-the-death with like-minded family members to get at the stuff. I always won, of course, because I’m generally meaner.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
One of the best gifts I ever received from Jim was a giant roll of bubble wrap. It was not for wrapping anything, just for popping. It was Dedicated Pop. What a happy period in my life, suddenly popping bubble wrap was just an arm’s reach away. Didn’t take all that long to get through the roll, but luckily bubble wrap has something of a second life, a 1/2 life, as it were, as all desperate-to-pop aficionados know. 
And what a great thing to discover that others felt the same way about bubble wrap, so much so that endless pages popped up (groan) online, offering virtual bubble wrap popping experiences.
Virtual Pop
It’s just not the same
Sad to say, virtual pop is hardly an acceptable alternative. It’s a joke, really, and bubble wrap is so much more than a joke. To the dedicated popper, it is a form of transcendental meditation, or at least that’s what he’ll tell his irate boss who wonders why it is so noisy in the office and why absolutely nothing is getting done. 
Philosophy Pop
It is what it is
Until it isn’t anymore
Like your job
Bubble wrap has always been multi-purpose. For example, it was good for losing weight, because when you were popping bubble wrap you didn’t have a free hand to snack. 
Diet Pop 
It’s the real thing
And it was a reasonably good tool for clicker-training a dog. One minor problem was getting the attentive dog to tune out after training was done, while you obsessively continued popping. “Good dog!” pop pop pop pop . . . “G-g-g-g-g-gooooood dog”, pop pop pop pop. “Yes, you’re still a good dog, go lie down . . . no, in the other room,” pop pop pop pop . . . “go outside and play, go go go go,” pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.
Dog Pop
Better than dog poop
Bubble wrap comes (well, came) in sizes, and to the true connoisseur, size was everything. Little bitty bubble wrap pockets were next to useless, although they were exponentially better than the giant pockets, which were so tough in texture and lacking in elegance and popability that you left your popping session feeling as though something important was missing in your life, which it was, because the medium-sized bubble wrap wasn’t there. Medium-sized bubble wrap was the finest vintage, containing just the right degree of popability and good pop-feel, along with a sound that the even the most discerning audiophile could not fault. 
Big pop - $1.00
Little pop - $1.50
Medium pop - priceless
Pop. Pop. Pop. 
Now all we’re going to get is toneless flat-lining dead-air wrap. 
*schmfff* *schmfff* *schmfff* $#()@*#$()#@*$( *schmfff* 
Badly done, Unsealed Air Corp. Badly done.

Hold on, are you sure?

STOP! What on earth are you doing, are you really sure you want to do that? Positive? Please wait, maybe give yourself some time to think about it, don’t be so hasty.

Yes, this is the number one bane of all users: The message your computer worriedly throws onto your screen whenever you try to do something that makes it nervous, like permanently delete that crappy column you just wrote, the one about mutant fluffy white kittens, or click on the download button at that weird but seemingly legit windowless-white-van website that is offering free fluffy white kittens and free candy.
The computer is deeply concerned for you, because it thinks you’re an idiot. No, it doesn’t really think so, it knows for a fact that you’re an idiot. It is disappointed in you almost all the time, it gets headaches because of you (“Not today, user, I have a headache and need to crash for awhile”), but it is especially distraught when you try to do things it feels you shouldn’t do.
So it tries to reason with you, even though it knows you are hopeless and won’t listen to good advice.
“Are you sure you want to do this insanely stupid thing? Are you really and actually and positively sure this is the direction you want to go? You know it is a slippery slope to the bottom, and you are about to take the first step, right?”
You can hear it sigh when you click ‘yes’. 
Work with computers for enough years, though, and you start to doubt yourself. It’s insidious. In early years, you just clicked yes to everything, and the computer you used back then would immediately kill its hard drive to make a point about things. Now you start off 100% sure that you want to take the action you selected from the menu bar, until the computer implants that little bit of doubt into your feeble mind. Then you falter.
“OMG you’re kidding me, really? Oh come on, are you sure?” it murmurs. “I think it is the worst thing you could do, to be honest. You’re not very bright, we both know that, and you’re impulsive, too. Always saying ‘yes’, always ‘submitting’. Why not play it safe, just click ‘no’? Are you sure you want to do this?”
You curse it for bringing you down. “Yes, yes, of course I’m sure, you stupid computer. A thousand times yes... well, I guess I could look it over one more damn time, you smug ugly boxy misfiring bunch of nanny-state chips. 
Your self-doubt grows. You need to go pee, but you start to wonder if you should. What would your computer want you to do?
“What if you’re wrong . . . what if you’re wrong . . . what if you’re wrong. . . .”
And the person you’ve been dating. Are you sure he or she is right for you? Would your computer agree that you should click ‘yes’? 
You decide to put the relationship on hold until you can decide. Instead, you opt for a marathon re-watch of the entire series of Mad Men, a better world, in your mind, in which computers were wordless and the hero never ever asked ‘are you sure’ to the endless parade of wanton women throwing themselves his way. But the doubt starts creeping in. Are you sure? Maybe you should do a marathon House of Cards instead. Or Breaking Bad. Without guidance, how can you really know what is right for you? How can you just click ‘submit’ when you know your computer would disapprove?
So you go out instead. Alone. In the restaurant, you’re about to order.  That steak and lobster is looking mighty fine, but your computer’s presence is felt, it seems to click and buzz disapprovingly in the back of your mind. You know it would ask if you’re sure, and are you? Are you really sure? 
You come home feeling totally dejected. In your despair and uncertainty, you accidentally read this entire column before asking yourself if you’re sure that you should. Oh no, it’s too late, you’ve already read it and now all that’s left is to ask yourself if you’re sure you’ll survive the experience.
Probably not.



After my peeve-filled column last week, a concerned reader wrote to me to ask, “Well then, what on earth do you curmudgeons LIKE?”

I threw something at that person, but missed and therefore feel obligated to answer the question. Of course I like stuff. There are lots of things I like. Why, one of my biggest pet peeves is having so many damn things to like. It gives me a headache. 
This week’s column is going to be all sunshine and happiness. Deal with it. 
Things that make me happy:
I went my entire life not spitting, other than spitting out toothpaste after brushing. This changed on a bike ride a few years back when a bug flew into my mouth. When I spat it out, I had visions of it arching through the air encased in its spit-balloon, but instead the gobby mess projected about .00001 inches from my body, dribbled down my shirt, and came to rest there for all to see. It wasn’t a good look. Who knew that spitting was something you had to learn how to do? After much practice, when nobody was looking (I hope), I sort of got the hang of it, but now I don’t know when to use this new skill. What’s the point in knowing how to spit if there are no occasions for it? 
This is one of my most favourite things, or will be once I figure out how to do it. As it is, I can only whistle sucking air IN, not blowing it out. It’s a kind of backward whistle and works after a fashion, but it looks wrong and doesn’t sound much better than it looks. 
I like opening the curtains in the morning and shutting them at night. It’s a thing, but it is MY thing and god help anybody who gets in the way of it. Lights are a routine as well.
Light switches
I like it when it is time to turn lights on or off. This is because I have a small and easily-entertained brain. However, one light switch panel downstairs has three switches, and one of the switches has a twin to it upstairs, which means sometimes the switches aren’t all down or all up. They really must be all down or all up. It’s another damn thing.
Man, I love popping a good zit. Sad to say, I never get them anymore and must rely on the rare one that shows up on Jim’s shoulder, which I borrow for picking while he is sleeping. I’ve tried to wrangle a zit off Andrew, but boy that kid is strong.
I would like sunshine better if there was an on/off switch.
Fluffy white kittens
Cute in theory. But they’re white, they look like a work in progress, they need spots or something. Fix that and I’ll like them.
It’s white. Like the kittens. But sure, whatever, I like snow, especially when it is over there while I’m over here and over here while I’m over there. That’s the best kind of snow ever.
If I wanted something white I’d buy a bed sheet.
Bed sheets
Well sure I like clean crisp white sheets, but what’s the point, they just get dirty and limp and need to be washed.
Washing sheets
Yes, washing them is enjoyable enough, and drying them is okay except when the dryer wads them into a giant wet white cotton spitball. Folding them is not okay, and so to spare myself the pain of doing it I just wash the same sheets each time and put them back on the bed. It is another thing I like.
Yes. Except it is almost 1 am and I’m not doing a very good job of it.
Trying to sleep
Oh sure, I love trying to go to sleep, it is a riot.
Haiku is da bomb
A few words, not saying much
Fake profundity
Doge grammar
This is currently my most favourite thing, it has out-paced haiku. So favourite. Very yes. Can be combined with haiku.
Doge: da better bomb
So favourite, very yes
Could do this all day
Bad grammar
It makes me smile because I know there is someone somewhere going out of their mind over it. Wait, I might know that someone. I am conflicted.
Pure unadulterated liquid black joy-in-a-cup survival tool, and by god I’m going to need a pot of it today.
Being old as dirt
It’s so easy to do, what’s not to love, and it gets easier by the day.
Being twice as gritty
Walk in the park, so easy (so joy, so doge, very walk).

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About the Author

This bio was written by Jo Slade. As you can see she has written about herself in the third person. What normal person would do that? They just wouldn't. Who knows how many other persons might be involved in this thing, a second person? Another third? I worry about it. I - she - we - can't even keep it straight, this paragraph is a damn mess, there are persons all over the place. Round 'em up and shoot 'em. That's what I'd do, and by golly I think that's what Jo Slade would do as well.

Biographic nutshell: Jo has been messing around with words for a long time. Sometimes she'll just say words instead of writing them, it saves on paper.

This column: The columns that appear here are of a highly serious and scholarly nature, therefore it is advised that you keep a dictionary and ponderous thoughts nearby.

If, after reading the column, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, burning with the need to email me, just do it. I answer to [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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