Friday, May 26, 2017

You'll need to sit down for this.

Number Five on a list of cliches to ban from your script that still generates 59 million Google results.

You'll need to sit down for this. 

Are you sitting down? 

You might want to sit down.

Oh jesus, if someone tells you that over the phone, hang up immediately.
No, don't. Because they care about you and they're about to deliver some truly profound news. This is life-altering stuff so you better sit down or else you're gonna ––

Or else you're gonna what?

Might you faint? If so, a chair with arms would be helpful. Because if you sat in a bed, you'd likely just roll off the side and get a concussion. If you sat a on a park bench, someone might rob you after you passed out from the shock of that life-altering news. Now you got two problems.

Might you vomit? If so, standing would be preferable because sitting would make you puke in your lap and ruin your trousers. If you splattered a little spew on your shoes, that's okay. Shoes are designed to handle some gross stuff, like dirt, strangers' shriveled condoms and the occasional coil of doggy doo. Chinos are not.

Might you scream? If so, what good is sitting going to do except to perhaps constrain your diaphragm with the pressure of your contracted abdominal muscles.

Might you spontaneously sprint in whatever direction you are facing and then trip over a rollerblade or slam your forehead in a low doorway? If so, why don't you put rollerblades your rollerblades in the garage (unless you are in the garage – then why don't you hang them up where the mice can't make little nests in the inline) and how tall are you and why can't you control your emotions, man?

Might you pee? If so, you'll ruin the chair.

So I've never really understood the "You'll need to sit down for this" harbinger of doom cliche.

Spit it out already!

Is there an email equivalent for this? What do you even put in the subject?

What about text? I once found out via text that a family member died suddenly. It sucked, but I was standing and I didn't faint or nuthin.

Pros: You won't hit your head if you faint while seated – unless the seat lacks arms or a back.

You won't trip over a rollerblade.

You're successfully reenacting a scene from every network television drama.

Cons: Your urine may ruin a rocker.

You might vomit on your chinos.

Folding yourself up in a chair will prohibit you from adequately expressing your emotions and you'll be dealing with that in therapy later on – that is if you even have the balls to go to therapy.

Stability - 2/5 unless the chair you faint in has a back and arms and maybe even a seatbelt

Cool Factor - 1/5 See: Cliches to ban from your script

Difficulty - 4/5 The news you're about to hear will be hard, but sitting down as your chest cavity rapidly fills with anxiety and dread is not that bad.

Perilousness - 2/5 You could puke in your lap and the ruin the phone in the pocket of your mesh shorts.

Added bonus - 2/5 You're about to build some serious character and test your resolve.

Overall rating - You'll need to sit down for this . . .

11/25 – You didn't even get to 50%

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Go Climb a Tree

Most people read Dr. Seuss and think about his important messages of equality (Star-Bellied Sneetches) and environmental consciousness (See: above) before returning to their daily routine. Others, however, consider Seuss' work canonical -- our culture's moral compass. Like the Lorax, they speak for the trees.

"Get out of that tree and take a shower, you dazed, dirty scum! Shoeless, vegan freak. You're symbolic act of defiance forces our society to consider the depletion of its finite natural resources. That frustrates me and I don't like ideas that threaten my comfortable lifestyle, Hippie."

Before you mindlessly condemn this protester, take pause. Weren't you the one who smoked a bowl, gazed with wide, dreamy eyes at 'Planet Earth' and slowly declared, "Whoa, bro. This is NATURE."

Yes, these tree-sitters probably got high in their perch atop some old-growth forest and said the same thing, but you know they grew their own organic stuff and carried it in a hand-stitched burlap sack. No wasteful, non-biodegradable plastic baggies for them. They have conviction! They made their own trail mix and are resting in some crappy, Swiss Family Robinson-style fort right now making sure there can be a Planet Earth 2.

SoT thinks the tree-sitters realize a few centuries-old trees are inconsequential. Hell, knock them down and sell the wood to Papermate so we can write poems and mission statments. They strive for more than just the preservation of a few big trees. Looney as they may seem, they force us to consider our consumption of nature. Are we being responsible?

You planted a tiny seed in 2nd-grade science class, watered it every day and kept a journal tracking your sprout's progress. You sighed after hearing about polar bears that float into Arctic waters aboard melting icebergs then die of exhaustion when they try to swim back to land. You grimaced at satellite images of eroded soil floating out to sea, never to be replaced.

Now you thoughtlessly side with the chainsaw-toting guys driving bulldozers? The logging company? That's like rooting for the pompous Princeton kid to nail every Daily Double on College Jeopardy, the other two state college contestants to finish with negative amounts and fail to qualify for Final Jeopardy and the Princeton kid to chuckle, shrug and concede, "Well, I do go to Princeton." As a general rule, you should think long and hard before supporting people with chainsaws and bulldozers. And people who put too high a premium on their alma maters.

Pros: This kind of conviction plays really well with the hairy-legged, free love set who you'll easily woo at Burning Man.

Overcome fear of heights.

Subject of an excellent 'Hey Arnold!' episode. Screw Bob's Beepers.

Mock brainwashed, bourgeois society. What you're doing is real, man.

This is what Thoreau and Emerson meant. This is it, man. You're totally doing it.

Cons: Spiders. Allergies.

Uh, toilets?

You now rely on a series of carabiners, tarps and planks to prevent you from falling through foot after foot of sharp pine needles into the handcuffs of aggravated police officers. Sweet dreams. Don't let the bed bugs bite -- seriously, there are insect colonies beneath the bark.

Tree extractor is an actual profession.

In case you forgot, you are stories above the ground without toilet paper or showers hoping the contractors paying their union bull dozer-drivers by the hour don't get too antsy.

If only we all remained so ideological, carefully heeded Dr. Seuss' fables and sat in solidarity with our coniferous brethren. Tree-sitters may be self-righteous dreamers who you can't hang out with because they'll judge your every decision and action ('Really? carrying your lunch in a paper bag? Hhm.'), but they bring attention to our environment. And that is a public service.

Stability - 4/5 Unless of course someone gets trigger-happy with the chainsaw
Cool Factor - 4/5 No matter how little it means, you're a genuine activist.
Difficulty - 4/5 How do you get up there?
Perilousness - 5/5 See: Cons.
Added bonus - 3/5 You'll lose weight.

Overall rating - a civil disobedient 21/25.

Monday, September 14, 2009

That's the Spirit

He gets it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jolly Old Sit Nick

This won't end well.

Granted, that's a realistic-looking Santa Claus -- if a mythical figure who whips around the world leaving presents for people who accept Jesus Christ as their savior can look realistic -- but that just makes the situation even stickier. That girl trusts her parents. She has faith in authority. She thinks her dad is the strongest man in the world and her mom never smoked pot. She believes Grandparents Day is a real holiday, George W. Bush invaded Iraq because bin Laden was there and Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs in 1996 because of sheer heart, determination and a consistent weight-lifting regimen. She knows she'll retire at 65 and the same dog her dad brought back from the pound last month will still be sleeping at the foot of her bed when she cashes that final paycheck.

Flash Forward.

Kid, you sure looked cute in that picture. How old are you now? Six? Six-and-a-half? A little bit of wool has fallen off your eyelids in the last two years, hasn't it?

I know you had a funny feeling back then, right after you cooed in that guy's ear telling him you wanted a Hannah Montana backpack and he winked at you and you squealed and your mom and aunt both yelled, "Look over here!" at the same time and you looked at your aunt's camera first but your mom took a picture too so you ended up smiling and looking into the distance.

Something was off. You just couldn't pinpoint it. So, do you want to know what it was? Do you really want to know what bothered you? Because once you take the red pill there's no going back.

You should sit down for this (lolz). Your parents lied to you. Your teachers lied to you, too. The bulk of Western civilization believes it is easier to deliberately fabricate loads of crap until you're eight-years-old and you find out there's no stork from a sixth-grader on the school bus than to treat you with honesty and respect. I'm sorry it sounds like a Spy Kids plot.

It is tough. Believe me. We've all experienced this. But take solace in your own instincts because you knew there was something weird about 5 o'clock shadow beneath a beard and that Santa must have better things to do than hang out at the King of Prussia Mall on a Tuesday afternoon and that human-trafficking awareness groups would probably raise hell about enslaving generations of nasally little men. Elves look like Orlando Bloom anyway. Not Mickey from Seinfeld.

Mazel Tov, parent. You have successfully sewed the seeds of cynicism in your child. You tricked your son into believing Santa was real and he totally fell for it hook, line and sinker! But now he knows.

"So what else is a lie?" he'll wonder. "Obviously the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the WWE. Of course 'States' Rights' is just dog-whistle code for 'deprive the urban poor (see: black people) of opportunities.' But there must be more!"

And so the truth-seeking begins. And when you try to stifle it, it only grows stronger until...

"Wait, just by praying I can make anything I want happen?"

"Wait, how did God create the entire universe in 6 days?"

"Wait, Jesus suffered, died and was buried and on the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures and his kingdom will have no end!?"


That is exactly the line of thought about 76% of Americans hope to avoid, though they unknowingly initiated it the moment they plopped their nervous toddler on the lap of some guy who just got laid off from AT&T.

Pros: Santa's Lap: Perfect for the family who appreciates instant gratification. Wouldya look at how happy he is right now! I don't even care that his older cousin will deliver some spirit-crushing news in a year! I value pessimism!

Creates the doubt that spawned Punk Music and any other anti-establishment movement. Sid Vicious' mom definitely made him sit on Santa's lap at some local firehouse brunch.

Seasonal jobs for the struggling 'fat, white, unemployed men ages 40-75' demographic.

Cons: Middle-aged men who invite kids to sit on their laps and whisper in their ears? Criticizing this would be cliche.

Jehovah's Witnesses will laugh derisively as they imagine you burning in hell.

Found out it was an elaborate hoax? Goodbye, idealism. We had a good six-year run.

This unlikely scenario:
A wonderful photo opportunity will lead to a lifetime of mistrust of authority. While this wariness is vital for checking power, will it completely displace idealism? In addition, remember the slippery slope from Santa's Lap to the page's of Richard Dawkin's next book.

Stability - 4/5 The soft meaty thighs of a former Wal-Mart greeter.
Cool Factor - 0/5 Why did my mom let me wear a mullet and saddle shoes!?
Difficulty - 1/5 Save face by not crying.
Perilousness - 3/5 Babies can't protect their own soft spots.
Added bonus - 4/5 Initially, discovering the lie will hurt, but later in life you will see past your local congressman's shit-eating grin, consider laundry detergent commercials with skepticism or even topple an oppressive dictatorship.

Overall rating - A disconcerting 12/25 for one of our society's strangest rituals.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bed sores, beer guts and an eternity in hell

'Idle hands are the devil's tools.' -- Grandmas and CCD teachers.

Unfortunately, SitOnThings has had a pitchfork in its ass these past few weeks, a seamless stream of days spent dawdling across the northeastern United States. SoT has relaxed in a disturbing amount of deck chairs, comfy beds and dimly lit couches. We have, as the idiom goes, sat on our hands -- and for too long.

Not to be preachy and hypocritical, but SoT submits this expose as proof that our nation is toes over a precipice. Yet, contrary to the banal-cliche-loving media and faculty lounge crowd, 'this tough economy' is not at the root of our evils. Subprime mortgages and the federal deficit are not the problem. Nor are gay marriages, universal healthcare proposals and Congressional green energy iniatives responsible for our downfall (Taxpayer-financed Argentinian homewreckers are -- j/k).

But let's geat real. Society's ills can be traced to one thing: Sloth. 



Or, more bluntly, an invitation to Satan. The party's 'RSVP regrets only' and he ain't calling. Inertia is an aphrodisiac to the Prince of Darkness.

Consider the lazy, slack-jawed children pictured above. The little slugs rot on a lunchroom bench (a bench!) waiting for el diablo to have his way with them. This school, like so many others, is failing its students! Attention kids: it's time to finish your hot dog and fruit punch, get off that stodgy seat and exercise your free will and creativity. 

Stop sitting on your hands. Or else:

Pros: Ample time to think about the next great American novel, you know, the one you'll never get around to writing.

Your mom will make you cold cut sandwiches.

Finally have an opportunity to study your old yearbook and decide which girls you "totally could have got with."

Cons: See Post Title.

HBO and Showtime air the same movies all week long.

From bed to toilet to chair to couch to bed. Repeat.

You will forget how to write well.

If you enjoy hearing "And if you call within the next ten minutes, we'll throw in..." with your back to the television as you surf, then sit on your hands. Do nothing. Watch your hairline recede and rabbits eat your garden. Just remember, you will have an internet girlfriend who amounts to a steamy pen pal. You will be the last person using Myspace. You will fail to make polite conversation with adults who ask the dreaded "So, what are you going to do next?"

At least Sportscenter is live now.

Stability - 3/5 You cannot slip if you're already stuck in a rut.
Cool Factor - 0/5 Dr. J, Leo and Obama are motivated and ambitious.
Difficulty - 0/5 Your dad does your laundry for you.
Perilousness - 2/5 Your health, your mind, your looks atrophy.
Added bonus - 1/5 The OC on SOAPnet. 

Overall rating - A bleak 6/25

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pour salt in the wound of a dying medium

"Hello? . . . Yes, hi, I'm calling to cancel my subscription . . . Yes, well, I've already stacked a number of old ones on top of each other to use as a video game chair and I really don't need any more . . . What's that? . . . Oh, I understand it's nice to have a hardcopy to hold in my hands . . . Of course I understand newspapers have been the number one news source for the past three centuries . . . I'm sorry, but don't YOU think they've run their course? . . . Yes, well, someone probably should have thought about that before they made all the same content available for free online . . . Look, I understand every cancelled subscription means fewer advertising dollars for you, but that's really not my fault. I simply can't justify wasting hundreds of pounds of paper each year just to glance at the first few front-page headlines so I can pretend to keep up on current events . . . I-- . . . I -- . . . I understand that, but -- . . . Wait, are you kidding me? Did anyone in the newspaper industry even notice the internet, let alone work to adapt to the information revolution? . . . Boxscores? Boxscores! I'm sorry, but do you own a computer? updates their boxscores in real-time! . . . Listen, I can't continue this conversation. I understand the newspaper industry is dying, but it's their own damn fault. I'm canceling my subscription . . . Sure, I'll hold." 

Decades from now, it should be funny and a little embarrassing to explain to our grandchildren, that, "Yes, Virginia, people just like you and me had to wait HOURS to read about the previous night's baseball game on a thin, foldable piece of gray paper.  Hard to imagine, right? Wait, there's more! If the game was in L.A. you'd have to wait two days! . . .  No, you get out . . . Prove it? How about this?"

Man, newspapers seem dumb, but at least a stack of papers, or better yet one of those clunky newspaper vending boxes, provides a relatively sturdy seat.

Pros: Subtly show dinner guests that you collect antiques.

Every saved newspaper is one less piece of windblown-trash on the street.

Read a little between your legs to pass the time, that is until . . . 

Cons: . . . Story continued on page B8 -- down by your heels. 

Every saved newspaper is one less crappy blanket. Or one less place to put my gum on the T.

Black ink is to white pants as the the internet is to the newspaper industry.

Gray is attractive, but dingy yellow? Ew. 

You need a lot of twine and patience to secure a bunch of frictionless piles of paper. 

At the the very least, newspapers are good places for your cat to sit and learn where to piss in your house.
Although the hard-copy newspaper will soon go the route of the town crier, bundled Boston Globes, Daily Free Presses and Star Ledgers continue to serve a purpose as a relatively comfortable chair in your attic, garage or basement. 

. . . 

One more thing before the final tally: The death of the newspaper industry will no doubt lead to the movie Bloggiez, a film recounting the golden age of web-based media, which focuses on an ambitious, young blogger's (played by Zach Efron) citywide quest to boost the unique-hits counter of his own unsolicited-and-uninformed-reactions-to-noteworthy-events website in order to secure premium adspace from Google. 

"That's my Adobe Creative Suite 4! You'll illegally download anudder. Hey, bloggers we got woik to do . . "

. . .

Stability - 2/5, Though this number jumps to 3/5 when twine is introduced.
Cool Factor - 1/5 Newspapers are so 1951-square, man.
Difficulty - 3/5 To your wallet, that is. The few newspapers not about to die will soon cost even more.
Perilousness - 1/5 Nope. Sorry.
Added bonus -  3/5 A true piece of Americana -- a genuine newspaper. Again, wow your grandchildren.

Overall rating - A pitiful -- and soon to be worse -- 10/25

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A great seat for defying traditional gender roles

'Little' Miss Muffet -- the nickname is supposed to be ironic in the same way you call a really tall guy "Tiny" or an idiot "Einstein" --  sat on her tuffet enjoying her zero-carb curds and whey protein shake after blasting her pecs and abs.  

To clarify, a tuffet is a clothed and cushioned stool, kind of like a small ottoman, usually considered feminine furniture.  Muffet's choice to sit and enjoy her post-workout mix of Muscle Milk and cottage cheese on a tuffet demonstrates her calculating mind, progressive attitudes and mastery of symbols.  You see, Muffet defies stereotypes. She is a modern woman who successfully juggles single-motherhood, a career as a premier personal trainer and a demanding competitive weight-lifting schedule while maintaining her womanliness.

Just because she can bench-press more than most NFL linebackers doesn't mean she can't also hem and pleat the skirt of her lovely tuffet or, for that matter, get a little freaked out when she sees a spider.  Spiders are gross no matter how big your muscles are.
Pros: After choosing the perfect pattern from JoAnn's Fabrics, measuring the cloth so it falls just above the floor and applying the necessary stitches, finally enjoy your handiwork and reflect on your most recent workout.  A true Renaissance Woman.

Force people to rethink their conceptions of femininity. 

With heels on floor four-feet in front of you, grip sides of tuffet and dip body so that backside approaches floor for an excellent triceps workout.

Cons: Tuffets provide no back support, which sucks after you just pushed your lats to the limit.

Fabric layers attract insects and, by extension, spiders.

Really ties a room together.

When the documentarians came to spend a day in the life of Miss Muffet, she could have sat anywhere -- a weight bench, a leather office chair, a locker room countertop -- to recharge after a hard workout.  Instead of a more "manly" location, she consciously chose her tuffet, a symbol of traditional femininity, to promote modern womanhood. Today, women can seek a life beyond rigidly defined roles.  The fun-loving sorority girl can also be an exemplary student and the home-economics teacher can talk baseball like Peter Gammons. The jacked gym-rat isn't just "some butch dyke." She can also be an elegant homemaker and doting mom.  Miss Muffet, her protein shake and handcrafted tuffet remind us of that.

Stability - 3/5 -- Tuffet is physically stable, but like Muffet, you can use it to shake up the status quo.
Cool Factor - 5/5 You can be anything you want to be.
Difficulty - 2/5 -- Hard to create, easy to sit.
Perilousness - 1/5 -- Only dangerous if neighboring spider is a Black Widow.
Added bonus -  4/5 -- Pick and choose your own interests, not those prescribed by a conservative society.

Overall rating - A progressive 15/25.