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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Open My Third Eye

(Originally published 6/18/10)

Despite hearing nothing but good things about it, I have always avoided yoga because I assumed it was a purely feminine activity. “Yoga is not emasculating at all,” one female friend told me, before adding, “Oprah highly recommends it!” Despite this endorsement I was still skeptical of the whole thing. I mean, any exercise that is supplemented by scented candles couldn’t be very manly. But noticing that bending over to tie my shoe was slowly becoming an arduous task, I decided to give this trendy exercise routine a try.

I grew very concerned when I showed up to the yoga studio and discovered that everyone in today’s class received a complimentary coupon for Nuva Ring birth control. It also didn’t help that I was the only male in the entire class, at least until a guy named Timothy arrived and said “Good A.M gals!” before unrolling his hot pink yoga mat. Still, I think the women in my class were impressed with my courage. It takes some balls to throw on spandex and contort your body into shapes I would never want my parents to see me in.

The routine started off super easy. We just sat there with our eyes closed in a crossed-legged pose, which is about the most natural position in the world for a guy raised by Nintendo. But then it started to get weird. I was instructed to open my Third Eye, which seemed like an action that would require an advanced understanding of Hindu philosophy, or at least a copious amount of drugs. We then progressed into some supposed “beginner” postures, including the Warrior II, the Plough, the Downward Facing Dog, and several other positions that probably were better suited for a pornographic movie than an exercise room.

I was a little disappointed that I, a former college athlete, had serious difficulty holding poses that the 6-months pregnant woman in my class did with ease. There were some postures that I was able to pull off, specifically the ones that involved drinking from my water bottle, but overall it was a struggle that involved a lot of grunting, a lot of humbling. Like sometimes I would get physically stuck in a posture that almost required the Jaws of Life to release me. Noticing my struggles, our instructor offered a friendly suggestion to the group, “If you’re having trouble with any of these positions, feel free to skip them and go into the ‘Delicate Baby Fetal’ position.” That made me feel better about myself.

When I finally did pull off The Standing Tree pose, our instructor kindly shouted, “Way to go, Eric!”, in a tone of voice like I was some toddler who just pooped in the big-boy toilet for the first time. It was only a minor triumph, but enough to get me through the following three days, in which I was too sore to bend down to tie my shoe.

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A Conversation Between a Millionaire and his Butler

(Originally published 5/5/10)


New York (CNN) — A Picasso painting fetched nearly $106.5 million at auction Tuesday, a record for any single work of art, Christie’s New York said.

CHESTER CHESTWICK: What a stupendous piece of art! Giles, what is the current bid for this masterpiece?

GILES: 2.4 million dollars, sir.

CHESTER CHESTWICK: I see. And what is the value of my fortune?

GILES: 106.6 million.

CHESTER CHESTWICK: Okay. So factor in about 75 dollars for shipping, and I think I should bid 106.5 million, just to be safe.

GILES: Sir, forgive my ignorance, but can you expound on the logic behind your bid?

CHESTER CHESTWICK: There are many factors behind my decision, Giles, most of which are probably too complicated for you to understand. Just know that in addition to the external beauty of the piece, there is sentimental value to me. The woman in the painting looks just like my dear mother.

GILES: Your mother looked like that?

CHESTER CHESTWICK: Well not nearly as beautiful as this model, mind you, but they did have similar bone structures, particularly in the forehead.

GILES: The value of the painting is undeniable, but I wonder if such a high bid is necessary.

CHESTER CHESTWICK: I simply must have it. It would look magnificent in the kitchen, just above the toaster.

GILES: That is where you have the poster of the dogs playing poker.

CHESTER CHESTWICK: Good point, Giles. We’ll have to rotate the two pieces on six month intervals.

GILES: Sir, if I may speak candidly, I’m a little concerned about your finances. If you buy this painting you will be left with only 100,000 dollars. The monthly upkeep for your anti-gravity utility vehicle costs 50,000 dollars alone. Are you sure there are sufficient reasons to purchase this painting?

CHESTER CHESTWICK: I can give you two great reasons, Giles.

GILES: And those are?

CHESTER CHESTWICK: Boobs.

GILES: I should have seen that coming.

CHESTER CHESTWICK: Stop being such a worry-wart, Giles. This won’t be the first time I spent a fortune on a naked woman!

GILES: I understand it’s a beautiful piece, sir, but –

CHESTER CHESTWICK: No “buts,” Giles. Just boobs.

A Deep Poem

Writing a deep poem isn’t hard,
despite what your English teachers
want you to think.
The first step is to format
your poem using haphazard

syntax that gives the illusion
of ineffable profundity.
Next, add a couple words that
no longer belongeth in the English language.
Drop in a few parenthetical exclamations
and (lo!) you are off to a splendid start.

Mystifying similes and metaphors
are a must if you
wish to sound esoteric,
like a whimsical firefly floating
through a maze of pensive irony.

Throw in some references to nature,
evoking images of pastel sunsets and
giving unwarranted credit to the
sublime elegance of the speckled frog.
Some random capitalization will
give the reader pause
as she contemplates the abstract meaning of
a Babbling Brook.

Now add a few short lines
to drive home
a message
that always
eludes
me.

If you do these things
your poem will be hailed as
A True Masterpiece
and it will not cross the reader’s mind
that this poem would have been better
if it had rhymed.

Schedule of an Author

(Originally published 3/2/10)

A typical day as I write my book…

7:30 a.m – Wake up

7:35 a.m –Lie in bed, realize I can sleep for five more hours, contemplate doing just that.

7:45 a.m – Remember that poorly written joke on the sixth page of chapter four, realize I won’t be able to fall back asleep until I fix it. Get up.

8:00 a.m – Brush teeth, look at mirror. Consider shaving. Nah.

8:15 a.m – Before getting dressed, check calendar to make sure it’s Casual Monday, Casual Tuesday, Casual Wednesday, Casual Thursday, or Casual Friday.

8:30 a.m – Eat breakfast, drink coffee to store up energy for a long day of sitting.

8: 45 a.m – Decide to work at home today

8: 55 a.m – Listen to mom ask me to take the dogs out for “tinkle-poop.”

8: 56 a.m – Decide to go to work at town library.

9:05 a.m – Arrive at library. Wave to librarian, divert her death-stare.

9:08 a.m – Choose a seat next to a friendly-looking old man.

10:15 a.m – Move seats after noticing friendly old man is looking at pictures of girls on Facebook.

10:20 a.m – Check the hit-counter on my blog. Curse audibly.

10:21 a.m – Refresh my blog 75 times.

10:30 a.m – Work on book.

11:30 a.m – Write funny joke. Be pleased with it.

11:31 a.m – Reread funny joke. Hate it. Delete it.

11:35 a.m – Change mind, put joke back in. Question sanity.

12: 20 p.m – Lunch break. Eat PB&J all by myself. Wonder if this is how it all started for creepy old man browsing Facebook.

1:00 p.m – Back to work! Going to be more productive this afternoon.

1:45 p.m – Goddam writer’s block

1:46 p.m – Check Facebook.

2:00 p.m – Refresh Facebook.

2:12 p.m – Refresh Facebook.

2:20 p.m – Refresh Facebook.

2:47 p.m – Refresh Facebook.

3:12 p.m – Be struck by inspiration. Get ready to write.

3:13 p.m – Forget inspiration.

3: 35 p.m – Try to write some more. Occasionally look up at other authors in the room and share expressions of mutual exasperation.

5:23 p.m – Go home.

5:45 p.m – Remember inspiration, open up laptop to write it down.

5:46 p.m – Battery dead. Screw it. I’ll probably remember it tomorrow morning.

5: 47 p.m – Turn on T.V.

An Interview with Olympic Ski Jumper, Simon Amman

(Originally published 2/23/10)

REPORTER: Wow! What an event we just witnessed, and I’m here now with gold medal winner Simon Ammann. A quick recap for those unfortunate souls who just missed Adam’s remarkable display of athletic prowess: First, Adam was holding onto a bar. Then he let go of the bar and bent his knees slightly as he went down the sloping hill. Then he went into the air, and, in one of the more memorable moments in ski jumping history, he landed a little further than his opponent. What a play! How do you feel, Simon?

SIMON: Just a wonderful feeling right now. I have so many people to thank: my family, my coach, and of course, gravity -couldn’t of done it without you!

REPORTER: Simon, can you take us through what you were thinking during the jump?

SIMON: Well, at first when I was flying through the air, I was unsure whether I would land further than my opponent. But then I did. It was great!

REPORTER: It sure was! I noticed that when you were in the air you really held that pose still. You must’ve been great at freeze tag in elementary school.

SIMON: That’s actually how I got started in long jumping. One day at recess a scout saw how great I was at freeze tag. Then he took me to the ski mountain and saw my skill at slightly bending my knees and skiing in a straight line. A few practice runs, and here I am!

REPORTER: Simon, sometimes I don’t think viewers at home realize just how difficult this sport is. Can you explain how hard it is to hold one position for five seconds?

SIMON: Oh, it’s quite difficult. It takes an enormous amount of concentration. Like sometimes I’m in the air, and my brain is like “Do a spread eagle!” but then I’m like, “No, don’t do that.” So I don’t. The mental game is just as challenging as the physical one.

REPORTER: Truly unbelievable. Thanks for your time, Simon. Now we can add your name alongside of Wayne Gretzky and Eric Heiden in the pantheon of Olympic medalists!

Lions and Tigers and Bears…In Cages!

Everyone told me that I’m too old for the zoo. They said that adults should only make a trip to the zoo under two circumstances: a) if you have kids or b) if you forgot your kids there and had to go back to pick them up. They said, “If I want to pay to see a bunch of beasts stand around chewing and scratching themselves, I’d just go to a Major League Baseball game.” These are the same haters that call me immature when I order extra sprinkles on my twisty cone, or when I start crying after dropping said cone.

The wildlife that frequents my backyard just isn’t exciting to me anymore, even the deformed squirrel with the abnormally short right leg that forces it to only run in circles. I needed some exotic animals in my life and I wasn’t going to let the naysayers deter me, so this past weekend I packed my bag full of smiles and headed to the Southwick Zoo in Mendon, MA.

This zoo has every non-magical animal that you can think of, and the first thing I did was go for an elephant ride. The last time I got a ride on a mammal was when my dad carried me on his shoulders as we walked home from a fireworks show. That was about 4 years ago, so this was a refreshing and fun experience for me. I even got a picture of me on the elephant, though it’s pretty embarrassing when you still manage to look overweight while in the same frame as an elephant.

I was super excited to see the lion, and he didn’t disappoint. He was pretty much exactly like Simba from The Lion King, only he didn’t talk or sing or tell jokes to wild boars and, even though I haven’t seen the movie in awhile, I don’t recall Simba ever sleeping in a pile of his own shit. The parrots were beautiful, and when I greeted one he said “hello” back to me. He was kind of a rude parrot, though, because when I asked for directions to the bathroom he just ignored me.

The zoo also had a petting area where, for a small fee, you are allowed to step in fresh poop. You can also pet some of the baby animals, and it was just so cute watching these newborn goats and lambs experience life for the first time. It’s not often you get to see a creature take its first steps and lose its virginity in the span of five minutes. Toddlers absolutely loved the petting zoo, though one became very upset after his father prevented a goat from giving the kid a hug from behind.

One of the highlights of my trip to the zoo was when the peacock showed off its feathers for me. It was certainly an impressive show, yet I couldn’t help but laugh at it. It just seems so silly that you would put on such a ridiculous display just to attract a mate. I guess that sort of behavior is to be expected from such a tiny brain.

Steve Jobs, Immediately Following His iPad Keynote Address

(Originally published 1/28/10)

Steve Jobs: Whew! That was intense! I practically blacked out up there. How’d I do?

Assistant: Umm, it went well. A few minor inaccuracies, but overall it was fine.

Steve Jobs: Minor inaccuracies? What did I mess up?

Assistant: Well to start off you announced the wrong name. You called it the iPad.

Steve Jobs: What? Shit! The iPad is the name of an accessory for our next big project, the iGirlfriend. I can’t believe I screwed that up. I guess we’ll just have to stick with ‘iPad.’ Do you think the Internet will make jokes comparing it to a feminine hygiene project?

Assistant: Umm, well, probably not. The Internet doesn’t usually pick up on stuff like that. But the name is causing some problems for consumers with British accents –they keep referring to the “iPad” as an “iPod.”

Steve Jobs: I can live with that. Did I make any other mistakes in the keynote?

Assistant: You forgot to mention a few of the iPad’s minor features. Like its ability to run background apps, operate Flash video, and its built-in tamagotchi.

Steve Jobs: Damn, those seem like some pretty important features to leave out. Any other minor things I forgot?

Assistant: Well, I noticed that you skipped the part of the presentation where you were supposed demonstrate the iPad’s hover-board feature by flying over the audience while gleefully tossing limited edition iPod Nanos out of your pockets.

Steve Jobs: Man! What are you going to tell me next? That I forgot to exaggerate its battery life?

Assistant: Don’t worry, you definitely did that. You said the iPad has a 10-hour battery.

Steve Jobs: Ha! Good.

Assistant: Yeah, so it’s not all bad. You also forgot to leave out some of the iPad’s more negative aspects. For instance, you didn’t mention that the iPad’s standard operating temperature is 300 degrees. You also left out that technical issue where anyone who holds an iPad near a running microwave will piss their pants and lose some childhood memories.

Steve Jobs: Excellent. And what about the pricing, did I get those numbers right?

Assistant: You did leave out the zero at the end. No worries, though. People will still camp out to buy the iPad on its release day. Especially after they’re brainwashed by our marketing campaign, which will feature commercials of peppy young adults celebrating their individuality by randomly dancing in colorful T-shirts.

Steve Jobs: I love those commercials. Watching them makes me feel young again. They’re almost as effective as the rejuvenation chamber that I sleep in. Anyway, I have to get back to the office. Today we’re going to attach the iEyes to the iGirlfriend. She’s going to look great!