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What It’s All About

 

            This book is about words. Lots of them. There’s no getting around it. There are quite simply a lot of words in a book. That is what separates a book from a pamphlet. Okay, a pamphlet usually has a coupon on the back to tell you how to join a fantastic mailing list for only five dollars a month, but you get the idea. Why did I write this book you ask? Well, if you looked closely at the title of the book then you may have gathered that I am about to tell you what it’s all about. Many people have made clever attempts at this over the years by telling you what they think it’s all about or what it is or how to get there. But this book simply cuts to the chase by giving you the inside information that I have compiled over the years by simply observing people, writing what I see down, then losing the paper I wrote those things on, and hazily trying to remember them. By utilizing these techniques, you too can figure out what it’s all about, but since you have already started to read this book, maybe you should just go ahead and finish it instead of trying to figure it all out for yourself. At least that’s what I’d recommend.

 

            In actual fact there really is no one unifying “it” that it’s all about. For different people, and different animals it is about many different things. The popular theory is that it’s all about happiness. This of course is a very vague theory and doesn’t really mean much except to lump people into the same category as animals. Of course everyone wants to be happy but that’s not what it’s about. Here are a few examples to show you what I mean.

 

            For a murderer to be happy he has to kill people. This makes him happy, well at least for a while, but who said this was any sort of serious psychology book? For an accountant to be happy, he simply has to finish out his drudge of a day, type up a few more numbers and go home. Blockbuster Video advertises that if they have the movie you that you want to rent on their shelves that you’ll “go home happy”. For a raccoon to be happy he’s got to knock over your garbage can and start munching on a week old banana peel. You see how these things can’t all work together at once? If the murderer kills the prospective video renter, then there would only be one person happy out of the two. If the accountant goes home from crunching numbers and finds his garbage can knocked over again that just might ruin the short amount of happiness he found in his five-minute drive home while blasting Kool and the Gang. Even people who revel in not being happy are, perversely enough, happy in not being happy. That’s a pretty scary thought isn’t it? It’s almost as scary as the thought that Titanic 3 might be all checked out Blockbuster Video.

 

- Author’s note - The author has accounted for sequels and future humor long after the initial publication date with that last joke. hint - it was the one about Titanic.

 

            If you haven’t figured it out yet, then keep reading, as the odds of more typed up words appearing on the lines after this one are incredibly good. But here it is, the defining statement of the opening monologue that you have no doubt been breathlessly waiting to read - what it’s all about means many different things for many different people, so this book won’t attempt to define one specific thing. Instead, the book will most likely be composed of many random thoughts and ideas, which in some bizarre fashion may account for what’s all about at any given time. Did that make sense to you? It may not have. But, later you may find that it may in fact just be what it’s all about.

 

 

Chapter 1: What’s the Deal with Book Titles?

 

            Since you are intelligent enough to get this far, and have read the first chapter, you obviously don’t like redundancy, and you may find yourself asking, why am I reading what’s titled as chapter 1 after the initial humorous first page of the book which made me laugh so hard that milk came out of my nose and went into my glass of Dr. Pepper? Well, being as honest and frank and as open as I can be, it’s because my editor made me do it. He also has a serious dislike for the lack of commas in my last sentence. (It’s true - Ed)

            Think about it, where did this crazy concept of chapters spring up from? Back when the Bible was being written, do you really think that Paul kicked back for the day after finishing Romans chapter 2? Do you think he stopped for a while and then continued to the “third chapter” when he felt like it? No, he did not. He wrote, and then he wrote some more, and then finally he was finished. Then some time after he was killed by the Romans, some people (who were coincidentally Romans) who used Roman numerals divided his book into chapters using Roman numerals to separate what they thought were concluding ideas or good places to stop at. Yes, those crazy Romans were in fact the first editors, God bless America.

            So you see, my theory is that chapters developed because editors didn’t think prospective readers had the attention span of your average housefly, much less than being able to read more than like twenty pages or so without stopping to take a breath. So that’s what they are - a break in the action. New chapters are a time for people to rejoice, breath a sigh of relief, and think back at their incredible accomplishments when they finished reading the last chapter, before leaving the book in the bathroom for about five months next to the June issue of Consumer Reports. You know, the issue with that great article comparing the various uses of the frappe button on different blenders.

            Here’s another important fact to think about: most autobiographies by old people don’t have a real need for chapter headings, because there is never really a break in the action. It’s true, and I am basing this entirely off the hereby unnamed Marlon Brando autobiography I read where everything was so boring that I just stopped reading it for the night whenever I would fall asleep. My morning slobber on the next page would mark my progress. The book just sort of rambled onto the next thing without any sort of defining thought or idea (Sound familiar? - Ed). Was it organized into any sort of order? I really can’t remember, and honestly to this day I swear that I can’t recall much of anything about that book except the vaguest details like that he had kids, and I think he owns horses on his island. And oh yeah, his book his now separated by distinctively different slobber marks.

 

Chapter 3: Really Good Ice Cream

 

            Ice Cream tastes pretty good right? Huh? You’re thinking about it right now right? I tell you this because I thought of it, if anything at any one moment is really what it’s about it’s ice cream. I’m not talking about any just any old flavor of ice cream either, but specifically my favorite flavor (feel free to fill in your favorite flavor here) mint chocolate chip ice cream dipped into a (feel free to put your favorite serving container here) plastic bowl with a (feel free to put your favorite condiment here) cherry on top, and a little bit of (feel free to put your favorite kind of milk right here) milk inside the bowl.

            Naturally when I was talking about mint chocolate chip ice cream, I was talking about a real brand of ice cream you know, one with name recognition that you have to pay like four or five dollars for a pint container of. For those reading this book past the first decade of the year two thousand, I recognize that four dollars for ice cream doesn’t seem like much, but you have to remember that back then (right now for people reading this book between the years of 2001-2010) four dollars was enough to make a downpayment on a used car. Yeah, it was some good ice cream we had back then. You kids today and your fancy flying cars, and your steel grated metallic vanilla ice cream. I just don’t know.

            But what I do know is, that conversely generic ice cream from (feel free to put in your least favorite supermarket to purchase their store brand ice cream from) food lion ice cream is really bad. So to my readers I say this as a public service announcement in lowercase letters - please stay away from superbrand chocolate ice cream.

            No more can be said on the subject of how ice cream relates to life except to say that everyone likes different flavors. For the literal people who read that last sentence, I know that there aren’t several billion flavors of ice cream. What I meant to say was that there are different strokes for different folks, and no I’m not talking about an 80’s television show about a midget, or the way people like to canoe. So folks, enjoy your ice cream while you can get it, because you never know when the end will come, and you’ll have to live on dead bugs, plants, and other things which cannot be mentioned as they would directly affect sales of this book. My editor begs me to never use that joke again or he will force me to eat sugar free, week old, lemon, ice cream ...sprinkled with dead bugs.

 

 

 

Chapter 4: Finding A Job

 

            It’s a sad but true fact which applies to nearly everyone in the known universe (and even a few of the unknown ones): eventually you will have to find a job. There are many reasons why this is so, but most of them apply to the fact that most things just aren’t free. Oh sure, in an ideal Star Trek based system there is no “money” and peace and prosperity rule throughout the land, and oh yeah criminals are also really nice people. You know, like the child killer who lived next door and killed himself who was a really nice guy. Another reason is because people are naturally greedy, and when you want something that they have, and unless you outweigh them by more than one hundred pounds, they aren’t likely to just give it to you. You need to have money to buy items from people. Money comes from jobs, and dead relatives, but that won’t be discussed in this chapter. One of the best reasons for having a job is because it is something that your father may kick you out of the house for not having.

            You should of course bear in mind that this chapter only applies to people in societies where there is a monetary based system in effect. In many tribal villages in Africa you don’t have to pay for things to live, you only have to kill zebra, and skin fish with your teeth. However, this is of course a job, albeit an unpaid one.

            Jobs started when people realized that their parents weren’t going to take care of them their whole lives, and they certainly weren’t about to fork out one hundred bucks for those new nike air jordans. Now it seems you can’t walk too far without running into someone who either has a job now, or used to at some point in history. Even people on welfare have a job, and as much as they hate doing it, they have to go out and pick up their checks and food stamps on a regular basis. “How come the government doesn’t have a personal assistant for me who will pump food into my belly when I need it, and pick up and fill out all my lottery tickets when the jackpot gets up to about a hundred million?”, is a common question asked by many people on welfare who don’t wish to look for a job, and in fact feel that they should be given more money for their strenuous task

            Now before we go any further, we should define what exactly a job is. Anything that you have to do to live that you wouldn’t normally be doing is a job. This doesn’t apply to small “tasks” like taking out the garbage, which since they only require a small amount of time are called “chores”. Of course, a good chore can be stretched out the entire day, thus making it a job. Note: this is probably not something that you want to do, since the pay rate for all day chores isn’t exactly the best.

 

            This next short section of this chapter was written on impulse by my friend John Lane. Please note John Lane is his real name. It is not an alias, no matter how much it sounds like someone convicted of mailfraud who has changed his name.

 

you forgot to mention the bum dilemma theorem

 

bum needs a job

for bum to get to job bum needs car

to get car bum needs money

to get money, bum needs a job

but bum cant get to the job

cause he has no money

to buy a car

 

goto 10

 

The last joke I must explain, as confused looks of “huh what is he talking about?” don’t usually make for good book sales. I’m a personal believer in the theory that your readers must have at least a vague idea and understanding of what is going on in the book in order to recommend it to friends who will buy it, and help put it on the bestseller list. When John Lane wrote goto 10 it was a reference to Basic computer programming of the 80’s where you could have a line of text that told you where to go; in this case the line tells you to go to line 10. If you took this too literally you would have gone near the end of the first paragraph of the book. Hopefully you didn’t and are still in an emotionally balanced state of mind enough to read further.

 

Chapter 5: Now You’ve Got A Job or How do I keep from Killing My Co-Workers?

 

            Keeping with the laws of natural selection, and to refrain from confusing the great majority of you who like your book chapters in a nice little arranged “order”, chapter 5 is about having a job. On a side note, judging by the many confused looks of readers who just finished chapter 4, this is not a self help book. In other words, in case you didn’t notice, I didn’t make any pretense at all of helping you to find a job in the last chapter, I simply commented about finding a job, and why you must have one. The point of chapter 5 then is outlined neatly in the chapter title listed above where the underlying point is that killing co-workers is bad, and collecting paychecks is good. I apologize if the preceding paragraph made no reasonable sense at all. I was only trying to fill up space with an intro.

            So congratulations, you have a job. Whether its filing something, filling slushee cups, selling ceiling fans, or even somewhere in-between those three; it’s a much better option than sitting at home watching television, and trying to beat the people on the Price is Right on the rare occasions that you wake up by 11:00 am. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what kind of job you have as long it fills these important qualifications: Does it pay anything? Do you hate it? Do you hate your co-workers? If you don’t have all the right answers to these questions, you may soon find yourself at home on your couch again, remarking that even after they started propping Bob Barker up, he still looks the same as he did in the 80’s.

 

Does Your Job Pay Anything?

 

            Amazingly enough, there are some jobs that don’t pay anything, and even more amazingly there are people who take these jobs. This defies all true logic when meeting new people and they ask you those all important questions about what you do and does it pay well. Being known as someone with a non-paying job is highly unlikely to get you invited to parties or restaurants where many of your new friends may suspect that you’ll want to borrow money from them. This puts you in the same category as the neighborhood felon that nobody talks to. Occasionally, there are some jobs that promise to pay something after a certain “training” period. This is of course a ridiculous lie, albeit one that may never be prosecuted in court. Most training periods that you don’t get paid in are sales jobs where after several weeks of intense training in learning how to sell, you can happily work your business as much as you want that week content in the knowledge that you could be taking home as much as one hundred dollars for several weeks in a row until you eventually quit. These sort of jobs always look for what they call “highly motivated people”. Unfortunately these sort of highly motivated people have obviously made some sort of a pact with the devil and could sell cough medicine to their own grandmothers. These people make huge gobs of money and tell you how you can be just like them. They may also say they eat, breathe, and sleep success. These people are fruits. Do not listen to them. Run away. Now.

            When there is a lot of risk involved the profits are higher than a standard sales job (i.e. - car salesman - duh). What other business is this true of? I’ll give you a hint. A lot of this sort of business is imported from Cuba if you know what I mean.... Okay forget it. Here’s another hint. A lot of these sort of business’ go up in smoke. Okay, you got me. Forget it. IT’S THE DRUG INDUSTRY PEOPLE! Yes, that’s right a business where you don’t make any money at all if you don’t sell anything is very similar to the drug industry. Whew, glad I got that off my chest. In other words, make sure you get hired at a job where you are actually paid money.

 

Do You Hate Your Job?

 

            Let’s face it, unless you’re paid a million dollars a year to lounge around the house in your underwear watching old Different Strokes re-runs whenever you feel like it, at some point or the other you would rather not work. Can you stand your job? This is a most important factor in having a job, because if your work consists of doing menial tasks all day where all of your accomplishments are shelved and devalued, then there’s a good chance that you would elect not to continue. Do you have to shovel poop all day and wind up feeling like crap when you go home? I for one would rather have my head bashed in with a shovel then do that, but some people think it’s fun. So who am I to argue with poop shovelers? Try to find a job that you like just enough to not feel like committing suicide at the end of the day. Employers usually make an earnest attempt to keep their suicide count down every year by reachout programs designed to make you feel special. These are similar to the stickers your first grade teacher gave you with a star on them that said “Great job!” So make an effort to enjoy your job, and when the poop is flying make sure you duck.

 

Do You Hate Your Co-Workers?

 

            This is the last item on the agenda of having a successful job, and also the one that I feel is directly responsible for all school shootings within the last year. It’s true. Sometimes your co-workers just hate you. Maybe it irks them that you’re so much smarter, maybe you took the last doughnut out of the box that they were planning to eat, maybe you don’t follow company policy as well as them and they feel like they have to enforce the law, or more likely than not, they’re just mean people who keep losing their pencils and like to blame it on you. You must be able to stand your co-workers. You absolutely cannot work in an environment where you dream nightly about stabbing the people you work with to death and laughing evilly. It’s true. No matter how much you get paid for your job, homicide justifiable or not is absolutely out of the question. Unless of course homicide is your job, then we’re talking some serious money. Whoa! That was almost hot enough to put in all caps. (ALMOST). However, most mobsters claim that it’s nothing personal “just business”. And by the way are you looking at me tough guy?

 

 

Chapter 6: Things You Can’t Avoid

 

This chapter is about the magic of unexplained yet strangely familiar phenomena. Please note that I am not referring to the allure of John Travolta in the movie Phenomenon, where he plays a man who gets powerful healing and telekinetic powers for a few days before he dies. I am talking about something that happens to the average American every day.  Something so sinister and evil you might tear your hair out just thinking about it! (and no it’s not belly button lint) The fact is that there are certain things you can’t avoid, and there’s nothing really that you can do about it. The common adage would have you believe that the only two things you can’t avoid are “death and taxes”, but if that were true then you’d only have to worry about unavoidable annoyances once a year, and of course towards the end of your life, whenever that may be. Then again, the common adage would also have you believe that giving money to the Russians to build nuclear weapons is “a good idea”. No! The unavoidable is blatantly hard to avoid, and with that in mind the first unavoidable thing will be talked about in the very next paragraph! So read on intrepid reader! This a good spot! What ARE YOU DOING? Keep reading! Don’t fall asleep! I don’t care that it’s two o’clock in the morning! This is important stuff that you need to know and you won’t be able to fall asleep if you don’t read about it! The first and most unavoidable thing is ....sesame seeds!!!!!

           

1) Sesame Seeds.

 

Yes, it’s true. All across the world right now, people are in line in their cars to buy a burger from various fast food chains. Most of those burgers have sesame seed buns that are deceptively tasty, which is the reason why we eat them. However, what you didn’t know was that those same sesame seeds are deceptively evil. As you soon as you purchase said burger, they will do everything within their power to fall off the bun and nestle themselves somewhere in your lap, your seat or the crevices of your car where you will never see them again until you attempt to sell the car. Upon attempting to sell the car you will pull back your seats to vacuum it where you will discover that “DEAR LORD MY CAR IS DIRTY!”. Unfortunately your car is filled with sesame seeds, mustard stains, molecules of dirt and other unavoidable items which render your car helpless and there’s nothing you can do about it short of selling your car to really nearsighted people and explaining that it has “a lot of character”. You may have noticed that at the end of this paragraph I talked about items other than sesame seeds which you also can’t avoid, but what you, smart reader, didn’t realize was that I was using sesame seeds to represent all things that we can’t prevent falling into strange crevices in our car. So in that case, yes that Ross Perot voting pamphlet will most likely wind up in one of those crevices as well, however this is mostly due to agonizing embarrassment on the part of most normal people after his first presidential campaign failed. I do realize that I just used the word normal in a sentence to describe people who wasted their vote on Ross Perot.

 

2) People talking to you about the weather.

 

Unfortunately most people on the planet haven’t learned the simplest wisdom of Confucious wherein you remain silent until you think of something remotely intelligent to say. Because of this many people feel the compunction to talk at times and will occasionally try to strike up conversation with total strangers with amazing lines like these: “looks like we’re in for some rain”, “it is cold outside”, “man it’s a hot one out there today”, and the always classic sentence “shut the door it’s freezing!” It’s a proven fact that normally the only people who really want to talk about the weather are exceptionally cheery people, and the mentally handicapped; everyone else would rather eat week old grape nuts then hear people blather on about how they just drove in from Canada and boy was it cold! In a secret government file that “they” don’t want you to know about, stats are kept on the number of people who have married each other after the initial pickup line was “hey it is really snowing out there”. I don’t know exactly what the number was, but I do remember that it was very small, and that there was a cross chart matched up with people who voted for Ross Perot. There is always the exception to the traditional rule of not talking about what it’s “doing” outside, but this generally involves weather so extreme that it forces you to talk about it, and if you don’t, then the wind is likely to blow a door open right in your face when you’re entering a coffee shop. Hey, no one said mother nature was always gentle. She can get downright ornery at times.

 

3) Car Salesmen

 

Probably, at sometime in your adult life you will have to buy a car. There are a few exceptions to this rule which usually involve people so rich that they just call people up on the telephone to get them to do things for them, people who are so poor or strung out that they will never know the sheer agonizing joy of having to buy a car, or women in foreign countries who are either not allowed to buy cars because they have to tend the goats, or have never heard of cars because they are too busy being naked and making huts; either way, the last two kinds of women will probably never read this column in English anyway, so we won’t worry about them. Oops, terribly sorry. I forgot to include people who’s arms are either crippled or ripped off in a tragic accident, and so they won’t be driving a car anytime soon unless they can get a personal Knight Rider style car that will drive wherever they tell it to go (I hear they are working on these now).

            Now then, now that we have gotten most of the people out of the way who will probably never reasonably buy a car for any foreseeable reason, we are dealing with you, the reader who will probably buy a car, or already having a car will most likely buy a car someday once again because you can’t stand putting up with your hunk of junk any longer.           

 

(chapter currently indevelopment - very unfinished)

 

Chapter 7: Our Obsession with Celebrities

 

            If you live in any sort of country where English is actually printed and read and people who speak it aren’t killed on sight, then you may have a vague idea that various crazy people in the world want to know everything possible that they can know about people who are famous. It usually doesn’t matter what they are famous for, since as soon as they become famous they are instantly questioned by tabloid reporters who want to know answers to important questions like “who are you dating?”, “what’s your sign?”, “what do you think of your newfound popularity?”, and “are you free Friday night?” to report back to their rabid fan base. It is not even currently possible to list the number of magazines currently that report on the everyday goings and happenings of celebrities. After all, your life would obviously not be complete if you didn’t know what your favorite celebrity liked to eat for breakfast so you could replicate their breakfast eating performance exactly and feel “famous”. There’s also no way you could live your life without knowing what kind of pizza Brad Pitt likes. Brad Pitt eating pizza does suspiciously sound similar to knowing what celebrities eat for breakfast but just try to ignore that.

            This obsession with celebrities goes beyond merely knowing extremely trivial facts about them, and what they like eating for lunch, many people across America (and probably the world but how would I know?) fantasize about being their favorite celebrities to the point of stalking them, and sitting next to them at McDonalds. (no seriously how would I know if people are crazy about celebrities all over the world?) Many normal people in actual fact have their own stories of “the most famous person they ever met”, and this occurrence was documented with much humor in the Married With Children television episode wherein the man who shook the hand of the man that shook Andy Griffith’s hand charged people to shake his hand. Regular people frequently have incredible stories such as the time that they had dinner with Pat Robertson (translation: he sat in the same restaurant as them...far far away). I myself regale people with the tale of how I saw Star Wars Episode I with Bruce Hornsby (translation: he was in the same movie theater as I was for some reason). However, call me crazy but when someone goes after George Harrison in his bedroom with a knife that just might be crossing the line. Friends should have been tipped off to this wacko by looking in his datebook for the day, where it reads “Wednesday - change the oil, pick up daughter from soccer practice, kill George Harrison, on the way home pick up milk, and get something to wipe the blood off with”.

            Tragically I don’t know anyone personally who goes crazy over famous people, but I’m certain there must be someone, otherwise there wouldn’t be entire tv shows dedicated to the subject of who’s kissing who on the set of “the hottest new movie in Hollywood”.

 

(unfinished to be completed later)

 

Chapter 8: Some People Really Enjoy Sleeping

 

I know that I personally rather enjoy sleeping and I am confident that I am in the majority opinion with a great deal of people around the world. You see the thing that happens is that your body tends to wear down after a long period of activity that is generally associated with what is known as consciousness or the quality of being awake. Once again, I feel I must express a personal opinion and point out that my quality of being awake is one of my better qualities. I’m certainly much better at writing when I’m consciousness then when I am in a period of prolonged slumber. Sometimes during sleep I have this nagging dream that I have written something down but when my snoozing is recessed I find that I have actually written nothing at all. This does not generally cause me much great distress unless my sleep has been interrupted at a time when I have not gotten enough of it. There’s just something good to be said about sleeping enough. It’s a quality all of its own really. I don’t believe that anyone has ever commented to another human being that they really ought to be awake longer. No, certainly not. Instead they say, “Man do I need to get some sleep.” Of course right now you’re pointing out that many people in the mornings say things like, “Man I need to get my wake on”, or “Man do I need to catch some awake right now.” However, the inverse of this is actually true because this simply means that they did not sleep enough. Sure, some people complain that they don’t do enough with their waking life, but that can hardly be blamed on their quality of awakeness. During the typing of that last sentence I caught myself in a yawn, which made me think, naturally enough, about sleeping. Some people think about going to sleep for the better part of their normal awake cycle. Others in fact would like to do nothing but sleep through their whole lives, with periodic interruptions by a beautiful Swedish bikini model who would handfeed them and then cuddle with them afterwards. There really can be absolutely no doubt at this point that sleep is really what its all about.