Archive for Entertainment

49. Blind yourself with a camera flash.

You’re at the state fair, and that means only one thing: photo after priceless photo of cows, llamas, prize-winning swine, and, as always, a trick-horseriding chimpanzee.

You first encountered the trick-riding chimp at the fair a few years ago. He looked at you. You stared back at him. It was truly love at first sight. You sat there in the bleachers, marveling at the flips he could execute while riding around on the back of a horse. “That is a monkey!” you yelled at your fellow spectators. “On a horse!” Oh sure, they nodded and politely applauded and didn’t have to watch the rest of the show from the back of a security vehicle, but you know they didn’t really get it.

But you get it. You respect the trick-riding chimp for what it is: one of nature’s greatest miracles. And so, pumped full of coffee and armed with a cheddar-yellow Kodak disposable camera, you take your place in the stands. You pile a bunch of coats and jackets into the spaces next to you, lest someone arrive to ruin your precious time with your favorite primate.

There he is! Waddling out from behind the curtain, holding the hand of his trainer, waving to the “audience” (but you know better – he’s waving to you). As he mounts the trusty steed, you ready the camera in your sweaty hands. This is it! The double triple back swing flip through – his best trick yet! You position your finger over the button, stick your eye into the viewfinder, and prepare to capture this beautiful (and fleeting) moment.

Except that you’re an idiot and didn’t realize the camera is backwards. You hit the button, and are immediately blinded. The flash goes off directly in front of your eye. You scream in pain, causing the trick-riding chimp to become momentarily flummoxed and begin screeching in terror. The entire theater breaks out into chaos, as you fruitlessly grope around and mourn your photographic loss, incomprehensibly yelling something about survival of the hippest.

So if you want to suck at life, blind yourself with a camera flash. You now have a bitchin’ picture of your right cheekbone. Ironically, your retinas are too damaged to ever enjoy it.

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48. Volunteer to participate in a magic show.

You’re sauntering through the mall, grinning at your Bed Bath and Beyond shopping bag that now contains a set of newly-purchased salad tongs, when you notice a commotion over near the fountain. What could it be? Is Sesame Street Live in town? Is the cast of The Young and the Restless on a mall tour? Could it be a bomb scare?

You hurry toward the noise and bustle with no regard for your own safety or precious time, only to find an impromptu magic show unfolding before a myriad of vaguely amused shoppers. Crappo the Magnicifient is waving his silly little wand around like some sort of misplaced orchestra conductor, while a gaggle of small children laugh and continue drooling all over themselves.

After transforming a bottle of Gatorade into a goldfish aquarium, Crappo surveys the audience and asks for a volunteer. Without consulting your brain, your arm immediately shoots up, perhaps in a reflex reaction from your own childhood days of desperately seeking attention from strangers and, oddly enough, magicians. Crappo sees your goofy smile and ushers you to the center of the crowd. He asks you your name and where you’re from, and then proceeds to berate both of those things, as well as your clothing, hair, and general demeanor. This is entertainment.

He then instructs you to take off your shoes. This has nothing to do with the trick, he smarmily points out to the crowd, they’re just horrendously ugly. So now you’re standing there, shoeless, while this hack continues to flourish his wand and inform the crowd of how stupid you are. He then stuffs you into a box, brandishes several razor-sharp sheets of metal, and suddenly thrusts them into your vital organs. A variety of other things happen at this point, but you’re unaware of what they are, as your disoriented head is no longer attached to your body. Now you’re dismembered AND embarrassed. Sparks fly out of his wand, a dove appears from nowhere and perches directly on your decapitated head, and a lovely assistant wearing a sequined dress shimmies her boobs for all to see. It’s pure magic.

So if you want to suck at life, volunteer to participate in a magic show. Among the things that will disappear: your smile, your wallet, and your dignity.

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46. Spill a tub of popcorn within twenty seconds of purchasing it.

You camped out in line overnight. You haven’t been to work in two days. You’re wearing a costume. And you smell pretty bad. But it doesn’t matter, because you are first in line for the midnight showing of Spiderman IV: Still Really Whiny. This is going to be better than that time you won best Gandalf at the LOTR:ROTK premiere!

After sprinting into the theater, claiming your seat with a large flag, and cordoning off the area with police tape and land mines, you decide that it is safe enough to venture back out into the lobby for refreshments. You waddle up to the counter and assess your choices. Only fifteen bucks for a tub of popcorn, but for only $7.50 more, you can get an entire vat of popcorn, plus an entire keg of soda! You’d be a pretty stupid human-arachnid if you didn’t take advantage of that deal.

So you gleefully place your order, hand over the money to the unamused cashier, and giddily collect your purchases. The soda fizzes away in excitement, and the greasy butter flavoring smell is wafting up to your nostrils, who by now have been trained to ignore the fact that such an odor cannot possibly come from anything natural or even edible.

You step away from the counter, and immediately upon doing so, the slippery lard – pouring forth over the top of the vat with such heart-clogging enthusiasm – comes into contact with your tremendously uncoordinated hands. And it’s all downhill from there. The bucket leaps forth from your grip, showering you, the floor, and the unamused cashier with fatty golden kernels of pure delight. You cry out in horror as the shower continues, until every single piece has emptied itself out of your possession. Unamused cashier smirks as you sink to your knees, cursing the heavens, God, and even Stan Lee. You’re clearly taken leave of your senses. You slink back to your seat, crushed, broke, and above all else, starving.

So if you want to suck at life, spill a tub of popcorn within twenty seconds of purchasing it. No doubt your motor skills have atrophied after years of doing nothing but reading comic books in your mother’s basement. Well done, Captain Butterfingers.

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15. Dance awkwardly with a stranger.

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You’re walking down the sidewalk, happy and jaunty because you just got a new haircut. You look fabulous! You went to the post office and bought some stamps whose proceeds benefit a nature fund. You’re an environmentalist! Your puppy also did his business on the paper this morning instead of spraying you with feces as usual. Good for him, and you!

So you’re walking around with your head held high today. Nothing can bring you down. Other people bustle by, their lives infinitely sadder than yours. Woe is them, you think. They’re not privileged enough to adorn their mail with endangered pandas. You stare at them all with no small amount of pity, and a maybe a little scorn.

Which is why it’s so surprising, alert and pompous as you are, that one guy in particular is going to be giving you some trouble. You see him coming towards you from a block away, also jauntily walking down the street, and wearing a bowler hat for some reason. You expect to be able to sidle past this anonymous person as well, perhaps with a nod of the head or a little “Quite a fetching hat, good sir.”

But now he’s getting closer and closer, and neither of you are deviating from the path that you’re on, which just so happens to be the very same one. Surely one of you will step to the side when the time comes, right? There is no earthly reason for two people on a wide sidewalk with plenty of room on either side to meet at the exact same spot, forming an impasse that will take several solid seconds to disentangle.

But happen it does, against all laws of physics. You walk right up to each other, as if refusing to believe that the other exists. And so begins the dance. One of you feigns left, but the other does too. He darts right, but you’re with him every step of the way, helpless embroiled in a game of invisible basketball that no one asked to play. A lifetime of failed coordination is being overcome at this very moment, exactly when you don’t need it. Were the director of a Russian ballet to saunter by, they’d hire you both on the spot.

You attempt the awkward pleasantries to save face, such as “Oops,” and “Excuse me,” and the mortifying yet classic “Care to dance?” You do not yell “PICK A SIDE!” as you wish to, but instead just offer a sheepish smile, rip yourself away from the debacle, and continue on your way down the sidewalk, your face a brilliant and seemingly permanent shade of crimson. Under extreme circumstances, you may be forced to throw yourself into traffic or jump into the nearest open manhole. All options are preferable to continuing this impromptu Festival of Ineptitude.

So if you want to suck, dance awkwardly with a stranger. You’ve nothing to lose, except boatloads of dignity.

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11. Attend dinner theater.

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You’re looking for a fun evening out. You’re going on a date, perhaps, or maybe you want to entertain your parents while they’re visiting, or you’re possibly just so lonely and pathetic that anything other than sitting alone in your bedroom for several hours and crying yourself to sleep would be considered a successful evening. Whatever the reason, there’s a good time to be had, and by gum, you’re going to be the one having it.

So here’s the predicament: You want food, but you also want entertainment. You want something that will not only sate your desperate hunger, but also fill you with mirth and merriment. You want both sustenance and a veritable laugh riot. The answer is clear: dinner theater. Or, dinner theatRE, for the classier folk among you.

The marriage of terrible food and terrible acting are never so pronounced as the kind that populate your standard neighborhood dinner theaters. The evening starts off innocently enough. You mingle, you sip your water, you comment on the set “design”, which consists of a sole wooden panel painted up to depict a living room wall, though it more closely resembles an emergency room floor after a quadruple homicide.

Suddenly, the lights dim and all manner of raucous characters make their way onto the scene. They are loud and boisterous. They are wearing clothes that have most assuredly been rescued from the bargain bin at Bozo’s Discount Clown Supplies. They are painted up like common whores. Fake moustaches abound, as well as feathery boas, Hawaiian shirts, and all manner of fedoras. The improvisation begins, which, as these actors were most likely cast directly out of Larry’s Comedy Shack’s Beginner 1 Improv class, is not good. It consists mostly of yelling, singing off-key, and mercilessly mocking the audience. After a “plot” is established, usually by the commencement of a wedding reception, or a funeral, or a highly improbable murder of some sort, the end of the first act arrives. This is usually signified by a poorly-choreographed musical number and the suggestion that this mystery can only be solved with the diligent help of cunning audience members such as yourselves. So let’s get cracking, gumshoes!

Wait, wait. That festering corpse can wait – the salad course must be served first. The evening continues to abound with surprises, as you had no idea that such classically trained thespians were also versed in the art of food service. Out they come with platefuls of withered greens, moldy tomatoes, and dreaded cucumbers, shouting as they plunk the inedible salads in front of you and brazenly ridiculing your sorry excuse for an outfit. You thought you’d try to look nice for your fun evening. Now you realize that there was really no point in trying, as the man in the muumuu and sequined fedora has just informed the entire audience of your inability to decently clothe yourself. For shame.

The rest of the evening continues on in an endless cycle of deplorable theatrics and prison-grade cuisine. More zaniness occurs. Faces are pied. Ethnic stereotypes are flung about the room with reckless abandon. Perhaps another character is killed, most likely the Elderly Millionaire, the Village Slut, or Tony the Woppy Guido. Unidentifiable pieces of meat arrive as the main course, and you’re sure that if you dropped yours off the top of a building, it would bounce well into the next county. It’s all you can do to hide under the table when the inevitable time comes for people to be pulled up on stage and made to perform some sort of rain dance. Even the bathroom provides no refuge or escape, as those feisty little characters follow you right in, loudly announcing the arrival of your irritable bowel syndrome to anyone who might be listening.

So if you want to suck, attend dinner theater. Not only will you be out forty bucks, but you’ll also suffer a nasty bout of diarrhea, fail to solve the mystery, and end up feeling like more of a disappointment than ever. On the plus side, you’ve learned a thing or two about any and all desires to engage in merriment in the first place. They should never be trusted.

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8. Return an empty DVD case.

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It’s errand day. You woke up, the sun was shining, you looked in the mirror, and said “I’m going to get things done today!” And so far, you have. You went to the bank. You went to the post office. You stopped by the library to pick up the latest Harry Potter book. You left the library upon finding out that you’re grossly behind the times. You went to the hardware store. You bought some ferret food. You returned some ill-fitting pants. And you finally got around to purchasing that medication your doctor said you “need or certain death is imminent.” You’re so productive!

Only one thing left on the list. A quick stop at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video or Mr. Fantasticum’s Cinemadventure Emporium. You’ve got the case right there. It’s riding shotgun, like a perky little puppy with the face of Jessica Alba, or like a tired old whore whose nausea at the thought of the endless cycle of being passed from house to house is quelled only by the promise of a few sweet hours of rest in the return box.

You arrive at the store, exit the car, and drop the case into the slot. You even give a jaunty little wave to the poor unfortunate souls working inside. Enjoy your dead-end career! you mouth. They wave back. You’re so popular!

As you return home, filled with glee over the efficiency of your day’s plans, you turn the key in the lock and open the door. Suddenly, a beam of light hits you square in eyes. What could possibly be the source of such a blinding glare? You squint into the distance, feeling your way towards the coffee table, which alerts you to its presence with a sharp jab to the shin. You look down, and your heart drops.

It’s the DVD. The very same DVD you thought you just returned!

But how could this have happened? You returned the case! There’s no way the DVD couldn’t have been in it! That’s against science!

You curse the heavens, heaving a giant sigh that most likely ends in some sort of expletive. Your whole groove has been thrown. Now you have to go back outside, flee your neighbor’s bloodthirsty dog all over again, get into your car, and drive all the way back to Mr. Fantasticum. The day is ruined.

You slump into the store, handling the naked DVD as carefully as you can, as the ride over was not kind to its exposed surface. You probably shouldn’t have put it atop that pile of nails you just bought at the hardware store. You approach the counter and mumble something in the direction of the kid’s face, which you can barely make out for all the acne smeared over it. “WHAT?” he yells back. In lieu of a verbal explanation, which would require you to admit, out loud, that you paid real American currency to obtain a copy of Good Luck Chuck, you simply hold up the DVD. Then, in order to avoid any ambiguity, you point at it.

The kid rolls his eyes and begins the intricate rigmarole of finding the case, checking the movie back into the stock, and making sure you don’t get charged any late fees, all of which will require your name and the name of the movie to be shouted across the store no less than seven times. You leave shattered, dejected, and humiliated. You may not get out of bed tomorrow.

So if you want to suck, return an empty DVD case. You should really just spring for Netflix, but you’re now paranoid about the possibility of mailing an empty sleeve. And that’s a mess you don’t want to clean up. The Postmaster General is not known for his benevolence.

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