Dear Daniel Dos

As a humor writer, I am of course besieged by throngs of fans. It is not uncommon for me to be pelted by underwear and phone numbers when I am out in public, though both tend to be taped to bricks. I often end up wandering the streets, dazed and bloody. But just as often I get requests for advice, and I’ll answer them here.

Dear Daniel,

My daughter is acting strange. During our nightly jigsaw puzzles, she tends to be distracted, sighing and looking wistful. She also has taken to wearing t-shirts that say things like “I’m A Belieber.” I fear she has lost the ability to spell. How can I get her back to her normal self?

Troubled in Toledo

Dear Troubled:

Part of growing up is participating in fads and listening to music that will leave you embarrassed as an adult. You can’t figure out who you are without starting at the bottom of taste. When you’re 16, you’ll wear parachute pants and listen to pop rap. When you’re 26, you’re wearing khakis and listening to the Manic Street Preachers. When you’re 36, you’re wearing whatever you can find without chicken noodle soup on it and listening to “Old MacDonald” while driving your five-year-old to soccer practice. Your daughter will never go back to the child she was once was, but you can speed her evolution into an adult you can relate to by force-feeding her the pop dreck she craves until she is sick of it, at which point she will mature and wear salvation army clothes while listening only to unsigned bands that play for crowds of less than fifty.

 

Dear Daniel,

I recently sat bolt upright in bed early one Tuesday morning and said “Egad, I am a Fairly Wolf Princess trapped in the body of a pudgy 22-year-old male.” My question is, how do you come up with ideas for your written works?

Curious in Charleston

Dear Curious,

Inspiration can come from many sources. I can be perusing the internet and come across a picture of a creepy clown, and suddenly I have an article. Or I can sit around thinking of things that make me laugh, and see what I can run with. Or I can sit for three hours, staring at a blank page, the cursor blinking as though to mock me. I feel a vein in my forehead begin to throb. It’s almost time to publish something and I have nothing. The walls are closing in. Somewhere, inside of me, a voice begins to scream. I hear music. “I threw you the obvious and you flew with it on your back” WHAT WAS THAT SONG?? AAAAAAAAAAAAAA I AM A FAILURE AT EVERYTHING KILL ME NOW!

Then I usually dash off an advice column a day late and go hang out on YouTube.

 

Dear Daniel,

Please forgive the clumsy my words, I will use the program to convert is not my native language is English. My question is, up to now, do you have to tell a problem on the Internet?

Mistranslated in Michigan

Dear Mistranslated,

I have a lot of problems, such as English, do not have to become an international language of commerce. However, complication can arise from English is the language of complex fluid thing to learn in the native speakers is difficult. It is possible that confused the idea of placement for colloquialisms and idiom of misunderstanding sometimes, exhilarating sense of errors. You can translation program help but, your best bet is to learn the language really. I wish you good luck in the communication efforts of your future.

 

Dear Daniel,

Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, So tell me what you want, what you really really want, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, So tell me what you want, what you really really want, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really really really wanna zigazig ha.

Spicy in Seattle

Dear Spicy,

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends. Make it last forever, friendship never ends. If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give. Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

 

Dear Daniel,

I am a cutesy cat mascot from Japan. I am on lunchboxes, hair bows, cars, sushi, pencils, pens, vibrators, cartoons, hand grenades, machine guns, vending machines, and at least one very confused squid. My question is, will anyone really love me for ME?

Anxious in Asia

Dear Anxious,

Love is a complicated thing. We all wear masks, trying to juggle holding back what we think is the bad of us while putting forward what he hope is the best of us, even if it’s just an act, in order to attract a partner. We are all sad, lonely, confused people. Love doesn’t find everyone, even if you go out and chase it. So if you’re lucky enough to find someone who sees the truth of you and loves you for who and what you are, keep that person close and treasure them for as long as they want to stay in your life, no matter what form that love takes. Otherwise you’ll just be left with regrets.

But you’re a cartoon corporate mascot, so I sincerely hope not. No one should love a corporation.

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Scene from a Zombie Apocalypse

Tex looked up and down the street, then spit. “The coast is clear.” he called over his shoulder.

A small group of people emerged from the alley behind him. There was Daphne, a college girl of twenty-one; Mike, a grizzled-looking older man; Maria, the nurse, and Dex, the new guy. Dex had just awakened from a coma, and had been discovered by the group just fifteen minutes before, wandering outside a hospital.

“S-so, no zombies?” Dex was worried, as was appropriate for the New Guy.

Tex’s exes wrinkled as he smiled and adjusted his ten-gallon hat. “No zombies.”

Maria laughed and patted her shotgun. “If there were, we’re all ready!” The others nodded in agreement, all brandishing their weapons.

Dex looked up and down the street. It seemed oddly busy, with, small, armed groups walking to and fro, entering shops, carrying supplies, and in one case, feeding bread to some ducks in a small park.

“Who are all these people?”

Tex spat again. “Survivors. Day’s the best time to stock up. The rotters are harder to see at night.”

“There’s a policeman directing traffic.”

“There’s a lot of survivors.”

“I’ll say. There’s a bus full of them.”

“Yeah, the buses usually go to the Walmart on the south side. Easier to find parking. C’mon, now, we’re wasting daylight.” Tex waved the group forward, and they started walking down the sidewalk in tense silence. Tex took point, and Daphne and Maria watched the sides, with Mike bringing up the rear.

They reached their destination without incident. Dex looked up to see the storefront was labeled “Roy’s Market.” A cowbell on the door jangled as the group walked in. A cashier waved at them from a checkout lane as Tex gathered the group around.

“Alright, everybody, you have your lists. Grab a buggy and fill up, and we’ll meet at the checkout lane in fifteen minutes. Dex, you’re with- Dex?”

Dex looked around from where he was staring at a display of shotguns and crossbows. “Are- are these real?”

“Of course they’re real!” Tex spat. “Gotta be ready for the rotters! Now, Dex, you stick with Daphne. I’m going to go see if the cantaloupes are fresh.”

“I, er, right, sure.” Dex walked briskly to catch up to Daphne, who was headed for frozen foods.

“Here, Dex, you push the cart. I need my hands free.” She pulled out two pistols and began systematically clearing the aisles.

“Shouldn’t I get a gun?” Dex watched Daphne with mld concern. This was not how he imagined a zombie apocalypse happening.

“No. Look for pizza rolls.”

Dex sighed. “You seem awfully well-prepared for the, ah, current situation.”

Daphne brightened immediately. “I know, right? Zombie apocalypse planning was sort of my hobby. I even bought the official zombie bullets! I kept my dorm room full of canned goods and toilet paper. Drove my roomie nuts.” Her tone grew more somber. “I miss her.”

“Did she turn?”

“No, she transferred when she found the shotgun I hid under her bed.”

“I see.” Dex paused in front of a cooler. “Here are the pizza rolls.”

“Good. We need six bags.”

Soon, fifteen minutes had passed and they were all gathered at checkout lane eight. Tex started putting cantaloupes on the belt. The group made small talk as the items were scanned and bagged.

“$151.18, sir.”

Tex opened his wallet. “Y’all take platinum cards, right?”

“Yessir.”

“Oh, I have a shopper’s card, too.” The cashier scanned it with a soft beep.

“Everyone take a few bags, it’s a long walk back to my Escalade!” Tex slung his rifle over his shoulder and picked up some bags. Everyone else followed suit, and the group marched back the way they came. As they passed the hospital where they found Dex, he heard a familiar musical chime. He turned to see mike fumble with the bags and pull out a cellphone.

“Hello? Oh, hi hon. Yeah, I’ll be home for dinner. See you soon, bye.” Mike shoved the phone back into his pocket.

“So cellphones work.”

“Yep.” Tex didn’t turn around.

“And electricity.”

“Yessir.”

“And government services.”

“Indeed.”

“Right.” Dex rubbed his forehead. “Anyway, can I use someone’s phone to call my family? I am sure they’d like to know I’m awake.”

“Wait until we get back to the compound, it’s safer there.”

“Okay, fine whatever.”

It was a short drive out into the suburbs, where Dex noticed most houses had boarded up windows. They finally stopped at a large house, and Tex pushed a button on his steering wheel to open its garage door. No one opened a door until the garage door was shut behind them. Then they all started carrying groceries into a nice, well-appointed kitchen. Dex noticed three kids in the living room playing a first-person shooter game on a large-screen TV.

So, I can’t help but notice this zombie apocalypse doesn’t have much to offer in the way of zombies.”

Tex sighed. “Well, as you know, everyone has a zombie apocalypse survival plan. So most people were well-prepared.”

“Prepared to hold back hordes of flesh-hungry undead?”

“Well, about that, see, turns out there’s a narrow window of time after one dies where a body can become a zombie. Then the body deteriorates too much.”

“So how many zombies have you actually seen?”

The group exchanged nervous glances.

“Er, one.” Daphne said.

“That’s it? One zombie?”

“I shot it!” Daphne beamed.

“Well, so did everyone else.” Mike grinned. “The gunfire went on for like five minutes.”

“There must have been two hundred survivors in that mall!” added Maria.

Dex rubbed his forehead again. “So why bother? Just go about your lives!”

“We are not letting this opportunity slip away!” Tex bellowed. “ We’ve all waited far too long for it! Everyone in this country has longed for a zombie apocalypse, and now it’s here! I’m not going to let a simple zombie shortage ruin things for me!” The others nodded in agreement.

Dex looked between the boarded-up windows at the fading sunlight. “In hindsight, I am surprised the hospital I was in was so empty.”

Maria smiled. “well, there’s a simple explanation for that. No one gets sick anymore. When we get hurt, we wait for nightfall, then eat some raw meat.”

“What?” Dex was distracted by an odd sound coming from outside. “Jesus, it sounds like every dog for miles around is howling.”

A hairy paw was gently placed on Dex’s shoulder. “Not dogs,” Tex said. “Not dogs at all.”

20,000 Leagues and Still Beef

(Originally published in 2003. Note: the web site described in this article no longer exists; I have updated the link to direct to a site with an image of the product.)

There has been an ever-increasing trend over the past few years of people writing books and traveling the media circuit, claiming that the world will end on a specific and imminent date. They usually claim to have based these claims on such factors as intensive study of unspecified clues in the Bible, reading tea leaves, developing a complex mathematical formula based upon springbok migration patterns and the alignment of Alpha Centauri with certain weather satellites, or just drinking Windex until God tells them. As evidenced by the fact that you’re not currently burning in Hell, since it’s well-known that the only Net access in Hell is AOL dialup with full parental controls which would prevent you from reading this, these claims are always proven false by the date in question passing quietly.

However, dear reader(s), I am forced to greet you with something that can only be considered an omen of the apocalypse, something that can only be described as a clearly defined sign of impending doom. What have I seen that would so thoroughly convince me that our society is doomed, you ask? Well, the answer is simple: The “Octodog.” Go ahead and check out the link. I’ll just use this opportunity to insert a paragraph break.

If, after examining the site, especially the pop-up window demonstration of how the “Octodog” works, you do not think that there are severe and immediate problems with the civilization which spawned both a mind capable of thinking of such a thing and an apparent market for it, then you probably also voted for Bush. And yes, I am aware that most of you are Canadians.

Let’s take a look at this step-by-step, shall we?

First, we have the device itself. It basically appears to be a cartoon octopus attempting to ingest a marital aid, wearing the shocked and (hopefully) horrified expression of one that has just managed to turn its switch to “on.” It’s the brilliant crimson color that you would expect of a device burning with the humiliating knowledge that its sole function in the world is to turn a phallus of animal by-product into the Freak of the Dinner Table.

Second, we have the Converted Frankfurter. It was shown in the midst of a fairly mundane looking cookout-style dinner on the website – mac and cheese, some chips, and in the midst of it all, the Oscar Meyer Kraken. I kept expecting a tiny macaroni Captain Nemo to sail up on a mustard bottle and start assaulting it with toothpicks. It even has eyes, though they are fixed into the blank, zombielike stare of the cow whose rectum it was once a part of.

And how does this magic work, you pointedly fail to ask? Well, from the web site:

“1. Insert your favorite hotdog brand into the Frankfurter Converter Holder.” (the octopus)

“2. Insert the eyes to secure the hotdog in the holder.” That’s right, the eyes pop out. This thing just gets freakier and freakier.

“3. Gently slide the holder down onto the Frankfurter Converter Base firmly until it stops.” Aside from the grammar issues, the picture here is priceless. I keep expecting a gentle pumping motion to be involved. Should this thing somehow catch on, one of the side effects will be kids walking in their parents having sex (the parents are having sex, that is) and accusing them of making Octodogs.

“4. Remove the base, then eyes, then lightly shake the holder to allow the hotdog to drop out.” Then throw the freak dog into the trash, because no one likes Ballpark of the Sea. Well, that’s what I’d do.

“5. Cook your octodog as desired and enjoy!” Lobsterburger sold separately.

Now, maybe it’s just the vegetarian in me talking here, but isn’t eating a regular hotdog exciting enough, always wondering if the next bite will contain a zesty blast of beef scrote? Whichever, we can only assume that the Octodog is merely the first in a line of Zoological-Appearing Food Products that will eventually include the Sharkbun, the Antelope Ice Cream Sundae, The Bengal Tiger Twinkie, The Urban Falcon Processed Meat Food Product and the Fat-Ass Taco chip.

Today’s Handy Animal Tip: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if a real octopus tried to mate with an Octodog? HAHAHAHAHA- er, I mean, don’t put the cat in the microwave, kids.

The Young Men and the Sea

The waves lapped gently against the hull of the boat, just as they had for the past six days. I was beginning to long for a nice big storm, just to break up the monotony. I looked across the boat at Ted, who was still playing tic-tac-toe on the top of the cooler with an erasable marker that he undoubtedly packed instead of sandwiches. And he was cheating, too. I sighed, looking out over the gently lapping waves for shark fins. I found none.

 

“Hey.” I had come to realize over the past six days that Ted’s voice was whiny and grating. I longed to jam one of the fish we kept failing to catch down his skinny throat.

 

“Hey, Steve.”

 

I looked over at Ted without raising my head from where it rested on the side of the boat. “What?”

 

Ted absently rubbed out an “O” and replaced it with an “X.” “You know, we may not make it through this.”

 

“The thought had crossed my mind, yes.” This wasn’t the first time I longed for an oar, but it was the first time I didn’t want to row with it.

 

“I just wanted to say, you’ve been a good friend, and I’m sorry.”

 

“Mmmm.” I absently prodded one of the fishing poles sticking over the side of the boat, as if that would cause a lifesaving fish to bite, Or nibble. “I should have brought an umbrella. Or a tarp.”

 

“I wonder where we are?”

 

“Well, given we left Fort Lauderdale, and the wind is blowing roughly east-northeast, and judging by the angle of the sun, I’d say we’re in the middle of the fucking ocean, Ted.”

 

“You know, I am handling this a lot better than you are. I think you’d feel better if you joined me for a game of tic-tac-toe.”

 

“Can I be X?”

 

“You know I always play X. It’s how my dad taught me.”

 

I grit my teeth. “How about another game?”

 

“Sure. I spy something . . . blue.”

I stared at Ted for a long moment. “Ted, are you sure you got 1280 on the SATs?”

 

“Something like that.”

 

I rolled over onto my back. The sun beat down on my face. I shielded it with my reddened arm. I briefly thought of Caitlin, and wondered what she was doing. She is always so busy that she probably hadn’t noticed my absence. I made a mental note to haunt her.

 

I rolled over, and looked at the jagged hole in the top of the stern where the outboard motor should be. I sat up, and looked at Ted. “At least I learned something.”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“There are now two situations where I will Immediately start running. The first is when you invite me anywhere farther away from my home than the mall.”

 

“And the other?”


I looked back at the splintered wood. “Anytime anyone says, ‘Hold my beer and watch this.’”

From Clowns to Sommeliers

(Originally published in 2003)

Humans are, by nature, very social creatures. Any student of the human condition will often be found in a bar, where the people come and go and exchange greetings and subconsciously communicate via subtle body language. This will all go unnoticed by the student of the human condition, because he is throwing back up to an entire fifth of vodka in fifteen minutes while despairing and wondering where he went so terribly wrong in his life that he was forced to become a student of the human condition.

However, people do tend to prefer congregating in the presence of food and drink. Now, I have never found a satisfactory explanation as to why people have this compulsion to shovel food into their faces in order to socialize. The best I’ve been able to come up with is either that in a restaurant, there are people paid to clean up after your nasty friends (though whomever is tasked with cleaning the bathrooms is paid nowhere near enough), or there just weren’t enough “Pop-Tarts” at home.

Restaurants are a major element in our culture. They’re everywhere. From the smallest of towns to the biggest of cities, from tiny greasy spoons to fine, urbane French eateries, restaurants are a place not only where one can actually use real-life math skills when figuring tips, but a place to gather, socialize, and drink until the bartender starts reading medical textbooks on diagnosing catastrophic liver failure.

Generally speaking, there are three major classes of restaurant. The lowest class is of course fast food. Fast food is defined not only by the blandness and monotony of its menu (The new McBun!), but by the general homogenization it brings to our culture. You can walk into a McDonald’s in Boise, Iowa, and it will be exactly the same as being inside of any other McDonald’s on the planet. Now, I admit that there are subtle menu variations based upon geography, and I assert that it makes no difference. I was in a McDonald’s in Montreal, and I noted that they had poutine on the menu. I freely admit that I am not French Canadian. I am not Canadian at all. I cannot claim to be from any geographical or cultural zone that in any way, shape, or form is connected to anything French Canadian. I am from the American South, where even the ice cream is deep-fried. And yet, I know instinctively that McPoutine is bland McDonald’s crap just like every other McFood on the McMenu. It might as well be that every McDonald’s restaurant is just a hollow shell, with the doors being portals to the Mc Dimension, which is just one large McDonald’s restaurant. Such is the acute degree of homogenization that McDonald’s brings to an area.

An oft-looked sub category of the fast food phylum of the restaurant kingdom is the diner. Now, in the States, particularly in the South, there’s an interesting chain of diners known as the Waffle House. I doubt that many of your Canadian readers are familiar with this chain, as it’s based in Georgia and seems to taper off no further north than Virginia. Waffle House restaurants are the most homogeneous buildings on the planet. Every Waffle House is THE SAME. They are identical, tiny little yellow and brown buildings that are actually prefabricated. There is but one Waffle House architectural design. Once you get as far south as Tennessee, and especially in Georgia, Waffle Houses are EVERYWHERE. They especially tend to sprout at interstate exits. And yes, they do in fact SPROUT. You can drive by a location one day, and it’s an empty field. The next, there’s an open Waffle House, complete with battered Formica and a tired-looking waitress. Now, here’s the craziest part about Waffle House placement: It is common to be driving down the interstate, and see a bright yellow Waffle House sign at the end of an off-ramp. Then, if you look across the interstate, on the exact same road at the end of the off-ramp for the other direction, there is ANOTHER WAFFLE HOUSE. I swear this is true. They are often less than one hundred feet from each other. The first time I encountered this, I was on a road trip with a friend of mine. I pulled over. Right on the shoulder of the interstate, I got out. I slowly looked from one Waffle House to the other. And I turned to my friend, and I told him, “you drive.” And I refused to open my eyes until we were safely out of Georgia, lest such visions of madness destroy my very soul.

However mad Waffle Houses can appear on the outside, inside they are true diners. And the internal diner ambiance is what differentiates a diner from typical fast food. Inside, you’ll see some of the most incredible people you will ever see. And I do not mean incredible in the “Martha Lou is an incredible person for raising her six quadrapalegic kids alone in a trailer in the middle of the Gobi Desert after her husband was brainwashed by the Nigerian Army” sense, but in a “I am calling the eye doctor as soon as I get home” sense. This is especially true if you visit during the graveyard hours, where there is guaranteed to be one person there who will have some sort of physical or emotional problem manifested to the point where you will just gape. I once saw a person who was every bit of six and a half feet tall and three hundred pounds of a truly indeterminate gender waiting on a woman who was three feet tall, a hundred and fifty pounds who was wearing a miniskirt, a fuschia tube top and enough makeup to fill a moderate-sized pothole. If singer-songwriters ever discover this, we’re all doomed. On a different visit to a different Waffle House, I struck up a conversation with a waitress who turned out to moonlight as a prostitute. She offered me quite a competitive deal on her services, but I declined on the grounds that the cost of having penicillin injected directly into my sex organs for the next ten years would probably offset her discount. I defy you to have experiences half as interesting as that in a Burger King.

The middle class of restaurant is typified by the dime-a-dozen “Bar and Grill” places like TGI Friday’s, Applebees, Chilis, Moose Hut and N*SYNC’s House of Below Average Masculinity. These places offer table service and food that is usually some sort of organic matter made to order. They are typically characterized by “flair,” which is what restaurant designers call their accomodating a paranoid fear of empty walls. “Flair” is stuff like typewriters, skis, canoe paddles, old books, and pool tables screwed to the walls. The general effect is that of being served food in a well-appointed garage. All in all, though, these places aren’t bad, and tend to have the most flirty of servers.

One notable exception to the “Flair” rule is a restaurant called ”Hooters,” which as you would expect is devoted to calling the diner’s attention to the plight of the Spotted Owl. No, seriously, Hooters eschews wall flair for waitress flair, in that the entire restaurant is staffed by busty young ladies in tight tank tops and hot pants. I’ve been there several times to marvel at how exploitive and sexist it is. On my most recent trip, some friends invited me to watch a wrestling special there. I agreed, because I am an idiot. So I’m sitting in Hooters, with my friends, who are all single straight guys, and we’re watching wrestling. They’re ignoring the waitresses in order to watch large musclebound men in bikini bottoms writhe on a mat. And then, they get to the “Main Event,” which is the founder of the wrestling league or whatever you call it wrestling his OWN DAUGHTER. So I’m sitting there, and these waitresses are bending way over to fill my ice water, and all of my friends are laughing and cheering as these “fights” play out, and there’s a guy on the big screen using a lead pipe to beat upon a woman who is at least pretending to be his daughter, and in that moment I realized what it must feel like for Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk. Dan smash room full of morons!

The highest class of restaurant is the fancy, or “Hoity Toity” restaurant. These restaurants are never part of a chain, and usually boast a waiting list just to get on the waiting list. They inevitably have a French name with a lot of apostrophes that translates into something like “The Gilded Asparagus.” There is always a formal dress code, and you’ll want to slip the maitre d’ a twenty if you wish to get a table while your jacket is still in fashion. Basically, the big draw of restaurants of this caliber is being able to say that you ate at a restaurant of this caliber. When you’re wanting to impress someone, load them up into your Gremlin and drive them up to L’aisselle Piquante. Just be sure to tip the valet extra for having to be seen in public near your car.

Now, on the previous two restaurant classes, I followed up on the description with a personal anecdote. However, I don’t have one for this one because none of the restaurants would let me in even to bus tables. So the best advice I can give you is that when ordering wine, always ask for a sample of the house wine. Sniff the cork when the sommelier presents it to you, then recoil in disgust as if the cork were actually dog feces on a stick. Then, grab the bottle firmly by the neck and bludgeon the sommelier about the head while bellowing about how if you had wanted dishwater you would have asked for dishwater, dammit! This helps to establish yourself as a connoisseur of fine wines, which will impress both your guest and those around you. Panties may be thrown.

So in summary, restaurants are cool, always tip 15%, and never expect valet service at a Tim Horton’s. Trust me on this. And always go with the frosted “Pop-Tarts.” They have a more classy flair.

A. Turnbull 1 day ago

Hey, @KCB, did you get the recipe I emailed you? I was thinking about trying it and wanted to know your thoughts.

A. Turnbull 23 hours ago

@KCB: I just sent you a review of that show you said you liked, “A History of Swords.” I hope you like it!

A. Turnbull 22 hours ago

@KCB I just had a dream where you were a unicorn! But no ORDINARY unicorn. You granted WISHES! So I wished for a JETSKI, and MORE UNICORNS, and

A. Turnbull 22 hours ago

@KCB HUGS, and a WEREWOLF LAUNCHER. and for a nice little cabin in the mountains where we can watch anime together! Tweet me back.

A. Turnbull 16 hours ago

@KCB: You’ve been quiet lately. Is everything okay? Tweet me, email me, call me, or leave a comment on the foursquare page for that pizzeria.

A. Turnbull 15 hours ago

Dear @KCB: You should really set up your voicemail.

A. Turnbull 14 hours ago

I’m getting worried, @KCB. I am going to microwave a Hot Pocket and watch “Firefly.” After, I will drive over if you don’t tweet me back.

A. Turnbull 13 hours ago

You weren’t home, @KCB! Called the cops but they say you have to be missing longer.

A. Turnbull 12 hours ago

WHERE ARE YOU @KCB??

A. Turnbull 12 hours ago

Went back to your place and popped the lock. No clues to your disappearance. Brought back your cat to take care of until I find you.

A. Turnbull 11 hours ago

Your cat has urinated on everything I own, @KCB, including the Saber figma you bought me. Should have brought litterbox.

A. Turnbull 10 hours ago

I lost your cat, @KCB. He ran out the door when the cops showed up to ask me about some break-in in your neighborhood.

A. Turnbull 10 hours ago

Cops told me not to leave town for some reason, @KCB. Like I’d leave when some burglar might have you.

A. Turnbull 9 hours ago

I SAW YOU POST TO FACEBOOK FROM YOUR PHONE, @KCB! WHO IS THAT GUY? WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER ME??

A. Turnbull 8 hours ago

Hey, @KCB, I’m sorry I yelled. I was just worried. Are we still friends?

A. Turnbull 8 hours ago

I guess not, @KCB. I’m going to Kroger and buying some wine coolers to soothe my broken heart.

A. Turnbull 7 hours ago

I DONT NEED YTOU @KCB MY LIZARD LOVES ME AND MY MOM MAKES ME COOKIES SOMETIMES

A. Turnbull 4 hours ago

I feel so sick, @KCB. Getting over you is hard. I’ve lost who I am, and I can’t understand. And I am puking Bacardi.

A. Turnbull 3 hours ago

Who am I? Who are you, @KCB? What is the true nature of friendship? Reddit has no answers.

A. Turnbull 2 hours ago

I can’t go on like this, @KCB. Forgive me.

KCB 1 hour ago

Hey guys my cousin is in town and we are having lots of fun ❤

A. Turnbull Just now

So this is a monastery.

A Guide to Summer

(Originally published in 2002)

Well, if you’re anything like me, then you’re likely wanted by several law enforcement agencies. My advice is to stick to the back roads and grow a beard. If you already have a beard, shave it off. If you’re a woman, try testosterone treatments. And if you’re a woman in Arkansas, I’d tell you to shave off the beard, but there’s really no need as you can easily kill anything foolish enough to come after you.

But if you’re anything like me and are not being pursued through the swamp by hounds, you’re probably really feeling the effects of summer right now. For in case you were wondering as to why the days are so long and you’re sweating so much, it’s summer.

But have you really thought about summer? Of course not. Knowing you, you’re probably too busy checking out attractive members of the opposite sex as they glide by in skimpy outfits. You’re probably doing that right now, aren’t you? You’re not even bothering to read this column, which I spend countless minutes sweating over. Well let me tell you something, you toad! None of those attractive people will ever do anything but glare at you with mild disdain. Nothing I do will ever be good enough for you, will it, Gigi? I fly down to New Zealand and kill a studio guard just to get on the Farscape set, and all you do is stare at me and call the cops when I address you as “Chiana!” Well, fine, you elitist snob. I’ll just start sending my haikus of eternal love to Claudia, instead!! W’ell just see who’s laughing then, won’t we??

Let’s start by looking at the word “summer.” “Summer” comes from ancient Australian, where it meant, “Crikey, It sure is bonza hot!” The Aborigine explorers who later colonized the island quickly picked up the word they heard the strange, pale, khaki-wearing natives use whenever it got hot, and a new word entered the English language.

But summer really never had any special significance until the 1960s came along, and bringing with it two things: Public schooling in the United States, and “Frankie and Annette” movies. Both of these seemingly unrelated institutions of pop culture served to popularize summer as a time for the young, ages 16 to 24 only, to frolic and play.

See, it was typically May or June when the few remaining teachers who hadn’t died of malnutrition brought about from low pay or been driven mad by the utter unteachability of the average American student died of heat stroke, brought about by the thick asbestos insulation that all schools have to this day. This left American students to their own devices, and those with enough intelligence to find their way out of the school building went to see “Frankie and Annette” beach movies.

It was the legendary “Frankie and Annette” beach movie (so named for their ubiquitous leads, the legendary team of Jerry Lewis and Lou Costello) that really popularized summer as a time to go to the beach and have cook-outs with your friends, then get in a surfing duel with the head of a passing biker gang to see who is “King of the Beach.” It was such candid pictures of youth culture that paved the way for reality television.

And now that you know the history of summer, let’s look at a few sure-fire ways to “beat the heat.”

Sure-Fire Method #1: Turn the air conditioning down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, then sit in the kitchen directly in front of your refrigerator with its door open. Strip down to your underwear and place your feet in a large bucket of ice water. Make sure all the lights are off to eliminate the radiant heat the light bulbs produce. Then watch a Discovery channel special on something cold, like the last Ice Age or penguin mating rituals or something. Stay as still as possible. Run off anyone else who may happen by: the heat from their bodies and exhalation will raise the ambient temperature.

Sure-Fire Method #2: Become an astronaut. When up on your shuttle mission, trick the other astronauts into flying the shuttle to Pluto.

Sure-Fire Method #3: Kill yourself.

Well, there you have it. Everything you need to get the most out of summer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my computer is giving off far too much heat.