Friday, July 27, 2012

Words to Live By

As I took a break from cleaning out my supervisor’s email inbox to peruse the List this morning, I realized that a great many pearls of wisdom can be found there. Though I can’t say for certain that I remember exactly who each of the contributors were, I can tell you that I’ve taken of these tenets to heart and live by them every day.

#1791: You shouldn't sneak up on people—you might give them a heany

#1891: Sweat glands are 'in'

#2183:   Keep your science tight 


#2110: If you can hear it, you can feel it 


#2349: You can't say “I fart it from the bottom of my fart" 

#2440: If you've got those spackles on your privates, you're in trouble

 #2779: Werewolves are big masturbators

#2797: Tuesday is NOT ‘Tattoos-day’


#2812: Beards grow while you work



#3028: It's hard to flirt and use power tools at the same time


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The List #3094: Oh Sheetz

There is so much to love about Sheetz. Not only does the name of the place lend itself to some great wordplay ("I've got the Sheetz!"), but you could practically go grocery shopping there. They've got everything you could possibly need: individually shrink-wrapped pickles, 14 different brands of bottled water, applesauce in a pouch, one of those machines where you put a cup of frozen goop in and it turns into a milkshake...the list goes on and on.

But probably the most revolutionary aspect of Sheetz is their "MTO", or "Made to Order" system.

Erin and I had never heard of this concept until about 6 or 7 years ago when returning to Cleveland from NYC. We waited in the car while our friend Ezra, who had been driving, went inside Sheetz to get some food. When he got back into the car, he said "It's OK, you can be jealous...I got a shmagel!"

"A what?!" we asked incredulously.

"A shmagel," he replied, as if we would somehow understand him if he simply repeated himself.

"A WHAT!?!?" we shrieked.

"ALL SHMAGEL!" he declared through a mouthful of egg, bacon, and god knows what else.

Had we been familiar with Sheetz' MTO system at the time, we would have known that he was referring to what a layperson would call an "everything bagel sandwich". It's a branding thing--the menu also includes such items as "Shwings" and "Shnack Wraps".

Regardless of the kooky naming conventions (fryz or nachoz anybody?), the convenience of ordering through a touch screen vs. actually having to interact with the employees is unmatched, and the food itself is superb.

I recommend the pretzel meltz.

Monday, December 12, 2011

the list # 768


my mom was always a very crafty lady.

from little painted plaques that read "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" to the (sorta creepy) faceless plush amish dolls i remember growing up, she was always making something. among her many talents, most often she could be found sewing: little angel ornaments that hung on the christmas tree, pairs of monkees pajama pants that i inexplicably split in the crotch, pillows for my brother once his favorite shirt (with pictures of tools on the front) became too small for him to fit into anymore.

resourceful as she was talented, my mom decided one year that she would use some cute christmas fabric and sew up a bunch of reusable drawstring bags that we could use to "wrap" our presents in. it seemed like a great idea all around; we wouldn't be wasting things, there would be no big mess to clean up, there wouldn't be the added expense of buying rolls of wrapping paper, and we could use the bags again the next year.

my family sat around the christmas tree opening gifts. my grandma and uncle were on the couch, my dad was in his armchair, my mom was kneeling beside the tree to hand out gifts, and i sat on the floor with my two younger brothers mike (8) and chris (7).

it was my turn to open something, so my mom passed my brother a big red cloth bag to hand to me. a huge grin spread across chris' face as he pointed to the bag in my hand.


not wanting to give away the surprise before i could even open my present, my dad tried to quiet him.

"chris, hush!" but he was persistent.


everyone looked around at each other, puzzled, while chris giggled at his own personal joke.

"I KNOW WHERE YOU HIDE THOSE DIAPER THINGS!" he exclaimed, obviously proud of himself for his discovery.

he tried getting up, muttering, "i'll show you!" when my mom, red-faced, handed him the biggest bag she could find and told him to sit down and open his presents. while he was distracted with nintendo games and teenage mutant ninja turtles, my mom quietly slipped away to hide the stash of maxi pads that was kept in the bathroom under the sink in her cute little red drawstring bag.

we never used those cloth bags on christmas again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

the list # 860


one summer day, beth and i found ourselves at a party surrounded by a bunch of white trash. it was a birthday party for one of our cousins with a side of the family we had just recently "acquired." an uncle (who admitted to me that he wanted a tasmanian devil tattoo on his leg) married our aunt (stereotypically from - you guessed it - west virginia) and the aunt had a bunch of family over that we had never met before. it was the kind of place where there were too many dogs running around and children who probably never owned a pair of socks or shoes.


we were outside in the backyard, trying to steer clear of most of the company. because it was so hot, all the kids who were at the party were playing with the hose. some were filling up water balloons, which they then used to chase people around the backyard with. eventually the kids happened upon an easy target, a chubby preteen named henry that they were able to corner behind some cars and pelt with half a dozen water balloons. a few of the smaller kids tried to grab him by the arms to hold him in place while the other kids hit him with water balloons and tried to turn the hose on him. our 3-year-old cousin grabbed him by the leg and held on tight, making it impossible for henry to run away.

"WHAT IS THIS?!? BEAT UP HENRY DAY?!" the fat kid cried.

yes, we decided. yes it is.

so feel free to beat up anyone named henry today. and if they demand to know why, tell them you can't help that it was declared a holiday 16 years ago and they'll just have to live with it, even if that means living in fear every june 12th.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the list #2177

beth and i have this really elusive friend named larry. he was always a very secretive person and would appear and disappear from people's lives like a phantom. people would lose track of him, try to get a hold of him, and not be able to reach him for months (or years!) at a time. sometimes its hard to believe he ever really existed at all. this last stretch where he went missing has been going on for what seems like forever (but is probably more like 5 years). this must be even weirder for beth to deal with, seeing as how she once dated phantom larry.

during one of the periods where phantom larry was able to be located, the three of us went to the movies to see "wet hot american summer" -- an entry in itself but i'll save that for another update.


after the movie was over, we set out on our way home but made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the worst part of town ever. it was already night, and the three of us had no idea how to find our way home especially in the dark. we hoped that phantom larry would take charge of the situation and ease our fears because beth and i were close to tears, but he had no idea how to find his way home either. this was before the popularity of cell phones, and none of us had one available. we were not about to stop for a pay phone and risk leaving the safety of the car...not that we could even FIND a pay phone anyway.

we were getting hopeless and desperate when suddenly, the voice of eric clapton came streaming out of beth's car stereo. before we knew what was happening, the three of us were singing along at the top of our lungs to "tears in heaven." i think i speak for all of us when i say i fucking hate eric clapton. normally i couldn't tell you the words to a single song. yet like magic, everyone knew all the words to the song and we belted it out with completely inappropriate enthusiasm considering the subject matter at hand (his son falling out of a building - yikes). also like magic, beth began taking random turns and we excitedly began pointing out things we recognized.

"i know where we are! turn here!" we whooped and hollered and sang "tears in heaven" even louder, pounding our fists on the roof of the car when it became too much and we could not contain ourselves.

just like that, we were back on familiar turf. we knew if it weren't for eric clapton, we would have been lost in the ghetto forever.


this one's for you, phantom larry...wherever you are!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#1171, #1235, #1432, #1464, #1527: Mondegreens Part 3

#1171: 'Don't Mess with Bill' by the Marvelettes
Misheard lyric (my grade school friend Mandi): "Don't masturbate"
Actual lyric: "Don't mess with Bill"

#1235: 'Tired of Sex' by Weezer
Misheard lyric (Beth and Erin): "Tuesday night I'm makin' a man"
Actual lyric: "Tuesday night I'm makin' Lyn"

#1432: 'Woman, Woman' by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap
Misheard lyric (Chris): "Have you been eating off my knife?"
Actual lyric: "Have you got cheating on your mind?"

#1464: 'Devil in Disguise' by Elvis Presley
Misheard lyric (Chris): "You're the devil in my eye"
Actual lyric: "You're the devil in disguise"

#1527: 'Art School Girl' by Stone Temple Pilots
Misheard lyric (Beth and Erin): "I told you 500 times! I told you 500 times!"
Actual lyric: "I told you five or four times! I told you five or four times!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The List #1285: Our Vision of Davy Jones as a Family Man

Sometimes Erin and I have visions. Not like we can see into the future or anything--just that we can picture something so clearly that it is almost as if that thing is absolutely true. Usually the vision starts with just one of us, but then the other gets swept up by the raw power and intensity of the vision and begins to fill in the gaps.

Several years ago we were driving to Pittsburgh to visit a friend, when we passed a sign for Beaver, PA. One of us (I think maybe me) said "Hey! That's where Davy Jones lives now!" (That wasn't part of the vision--we'd recently read it in a magazine or something.)

So a conversation began around what the former member of the Monkees' life was probably like out there in the hills of Beaver. We knew he had a wife and a few kids, but that's pretty much the extent of it. Left with an enormous amount of room for imagination, this is what we came up with:

It is the 4th of July in Beaver, PA. Davy is hosting a backyard family barbecue. He is holding a plate of baked beans, potato salad and a hot dog, and a cup of lemonade while playing football with his nephews in short shorts with the white stripes on the side and wearing ankle socks that are white and have those deep grooves and white Reeboks and taking a tray of hot dogs through a sliding door to the people inside.

I don't know how he was doing all of those things at once, but he was. We were caught up in the frenzy of this wonderfully mundane scenario, which was rendered somewhat magical when attributed to one of our childhood heroes.

To this day, I kind of believe that it really must have happened...exactly as we envisioned it. Fortunately, in our version he wasn't showing off his manboobs.