Monday, August 26, 2013

Social Commentary- Literally III

Literally III
by Rob Cottignies

There is a dog named Pete. He’s a dopey little thing with short stick legs; the kind of dog you’d often see on illegally-too-long leashes in the park. Upon meeting this dog, someone recently exclaimed something to this effect- ‘His name is Pete? I literally just met another dog named Pete. Literally Pete.’ While the first use of the sad and abused L word is apparently acceptable now, the second one was completely inappropriate, ridiculous, and obviously wrong. It made no sense, but it inspired a scheme in my brain. I’ll get to that. This poor word is running through a gauntlet of eternal misery. Every time I conquer an incorrect usage, a newer one is lurking around the corner with a battle axe. If a building exploded each time ‘literally’ was used improperly, we’d all be homeless. It’s being thrown around like a live grenade covered in spikes and bad similes. I’ve accepted that this abuse will not stop but will likely increase to a clinically-maddening level, but I’m still going to fight the good fight. I believe ‘literally’ will be used only for translation once again.
So, on that, everyone is in a big old hullaballoo because certain dictionaries and other resources have added a definition to the ‘literally’ entry. It states, and I quote from merriam-webster.com, ‘in effect; virtually’. This has rendered the term useless. Why? Well, its two definitions are OPPOSITES of each other. Can a stop sign be red and not red? OK, very funny, one could make a blue stop sign if one were so inclined. But that’s not what I mean and if you think it is, play with a toaster in the bathtub. “But the toaster could be unplugged.” Ugh, you bother me.
Without getting into a crazy philosophical debate (which I am willing to do), something cannot be something and also not be that same something. “When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar!” You’re killing me.
Anyway, this dictionarial addition happened simply because people are using the word horribly. I know words tend to change meanings in living languages but I’ve never heard of this. I’m wondering if I start calling fire trucks ‘buggiblops’ and it catches on like an insanely infectious disease, would it too be added to the dictionary?
This unfortunate situation reminds me of another word which has been flagrantly misused. ‘Anymore.’ For knowledge’s sake, this word must be preceded by some kind of negative. I don’t set people on fire anymore. The statement clearly shows that I formerly engaged in bodily arson, but for various reasons I no longer partake. This grammatical assault was more common a few years ago, when I overheard a man in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, say ‘It’s all bullshit anymore.” His wordage was incorrect, but I did and still do agree with him.
Now, back to ‘literally’, my aforementioned brainscheme goes as follows: What I would like for myself and people on my side in this war to being doing is completely destroying the word. I know this is being done anyway, but I’m talking about savagery. Go to the butcher shop and ask for fifteen pounds of shredded ‘literally’. For example, say things like this:
‘That tree is literally.’
‘My literally name is Rob.’
‘I literally did a literally job.’
Beat the life out of this word. Use it where it can’t even be disguised as making sense by some stupid Redcoat dictionary. Use it as an adjective, noun, verb, or even a part of speech that doesn’t exist.
‘Literally is going to literally the literally.’
What!? Saying things like this will get you some pretty strange looks, however take comfort in knowing that you gave these looks first to the people who began this whole atrocity.
Post-script: I was going to name this post ‘Literally The Third’ since it’s the third in my thusfar unheeded series, but I opted for ‘Literally III’. This is clever because it says the same thing but III also looks like the word ill. You’re welcome.
Post-post-script: Off-topic, and perhaps this could be another useless post, but I recently had a nice discussion with two Italians about the use of ‘You’re welcome’ as a response to being thanked. I think it makes no sense. Here is what does make sense- ‘Hey, this is your first time to my house. You’re welcome.’ It’s a gestural statement. ‘Thanks for helping me move my couch.’ ‘You’re welcome.’ ‘To what? The couch? But it’s already mine. And it smells funny.’ This is how I see it: As usual, the Europeans have it right. Bitte. De nada. De rien. Prego. Tað var so lítið. Khahesh mikonam. Не за что!
Look those up and translate them.
Literally.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Social Commentary- Babies Give Me The UGHS

Babies Give Me The UGHS
by Rob Cottignies

I had a good semi-insult recently... I had a bad cold and was at work because I obviously wouldn't call out if I was actually sick. I had slept horribly the night before. My co-worker told me that he slept horribly as well because his rude baby kept waking him up. He tried to make it seem like his lack of sleep was worse than mine, to which I responded, "Well, I didn't choose to have a cold." Nice!
I think babies are awful. Everything about them. But apparently I’m in the minority with this opinion. People throw words around like ‘cute’ and ‘precious’ and ‘not-awful’ when describing babies. Some parents are even "proud" of their babies, whatever that means. How can any of these words be used to describe useless lumps of nonsense that contribute nothing?
Even before the kid is born, there's so much focus on it. Baby showers, the remodeling of rooms, books and doctor visits and breathing classes and whatever else happens. Then the kid is born and it just sucks money and time and sanity from otherwise-decent people.
Did you ever try to talk to the parent of a baby? I say 'try' because all you can do is attempt without succeeding:
'Did you watch that crazy game last night?'
'No, I was putting Baby to bed and then just watched her for four hours.'
'Doing what?'
'Sleeping.'
'You suck now.'
Even when the kid grows up a little, it's impossible. 'Hey, want a beer?' 'Well, I don't know because... [looks away] Balthazar Horatio Girdlestaff! Do not eat the lawn fertilizer!'
You have to tell the kid this? What an idiot.
And what's with this thing where people simply refer to Baby? Gerber and other such companies say things like, 'This is what's good for Baby.' Who is Baby? Isn’t she in the corner somewhere? Did that reference make no sense? Am I supposed to feed pureed carrots to the stripper who lives down the street? Does that question make even less sense? 'Because you care so much for Baby.' No, YOU care for YOUR baby. That's how it works.
How it doesn’t work is by asking me if I want to hold a baby. Why would I do this? Oh, to bond? Over what!? Does the kid listen to Viking metal? Has the kid read the latest issue of National Geographic? Does the kid manage a hilarious yet poignant blog? No, no, and no, in an ocean of no-ness. The only thing we have in common is that we burp, but I can control it and (usually) won't do it like a rude jerk while everyone is eating dinner. Plus my burps are loud and awesome. And for another win, I don't spit up unidentifiable muck when I burp!
So, not to be outdone by these aforementioned “proud” parents, here is my list of words to describe babies:

Ugly
“Aww, your baby is beautiful.” –something I’ve never said because it would be a lie
You might think it's beautiful that your microscopic sex genome created a living being, and that's fine. But please don’t pretend your baby does not look like an alien from the planet Hideous. Actually, if you gave an alien from the planet Hideous a crayon and it drew what it thought an alien baby looked like, that would be what your baby looks like. They’re all ugly, fat, lumpy masses of gobbledygook. (One could say the same about Americans in general and I would not argue.) I mean, even the two most beautiful people on Earth (myself and Kristen Stewart) would have an ugly baby. Sure, it would grow up to be an orchestra of visually-appealing glamour, but who wants to wait that long?
I’ve always wanted to run this experiment: After a baby is born in a hospital, it’s placed in a room with lots of other babies so they can all scream and be awful. I’ve heard it said that the new mother would naturally be able to tell which baby was hers. I say prove it. And if she picks the wrong one, she’s stuck with it. More like motherly inSTINKt. Nice.
And for the adults who are not the parents of a particular baby, don't tell one of the parents, "Oh he looks just like his mommy." Unless Mommy is also an alien from the planet Hideous (assuming, of course, that their looks remain constant throughout their alien lives), this is untrue. The child is an amorphous, featureless blob that isn’t worth looking at. Mommy, on the other hand, might be something to look at after she loses the baby fat.
Which brings me to…

Gross
Have you ever changed a diaper? I sure haven’t. Do you know what’s in a diaper? Yeah, that stuff. And that other stuff. And probably more gross baby stuff. I don’t want any of that on my hands, clothes, floor, or walls. And what’s this about boys peeing while getting a diaper change? This is cute? No, it’s urine in your face. I’m thinking you deserve it.
I’ve also heard parents talk about their babies spontaneously vomiting all over them. This is not sweet or darling. This is unacceptably offensive to all the senses.
Have you ever watched a baby eat? I don’t mean awkwardly staring at a mother with her boob plopped out at the mall food court. I mean spoons full of goop that the kid “gets more on him than in him.” Here’s a free parenting tip- Take a cup of yogurt and dump it directly on your baby’s forehead. Its face will be covered, but that’s what happens anyway, right? The kid will flail around and probably half of the yogurt will end up in its mouth. Much less effort for a better result. No airplane zoom choo-choo noises. After ten minutes, spray the kid with a hose and put it in the crib. But it’s not nap time? Aside from the fact that all time is made-up and irrelevant, the kid doesn’t know what time is. This will teach the child, ‘Put in the crib, time to shut up and sleep.’
And baby fat… After the birth, there are not only one but two chubby gross messes to avoid. Again, gross.

Horrible
By 'Horrible', I mostly mean rude:
‘Hey, child, here's not just life, but food and clothing and toys and attention.’
‘That's nice but I'm still going to CRY and SCREAM for no reason.’
By ‘Horrible’, I also mean horrible. Babies aren’t good at anything. For instance, do you know how long it takes a newborn giraffe to begin walking? An hour! One single, solitary hour! When do baby humans start walking? I don't know. Six months? Six years? Regardless, I promise you it is NOT one hour. And when the calf does walk, there are no pictures taken or dreadfully glowing faces to be seen. Mama Giraffe thinks, 'Right. Now eat some leaves and if a hyena comes near you, kick it!' Oh yeah, baby giraffes can not only walk, but kick.
Baby giraffes: 2, Baby humans: -876489164932864

Stupid
The most obnoxious thing parents say goes something like this: 'I'm not saying this because he's MINE, but my son is really smart.’ Two things: 1) Your son is not smart. If he looks in your direction when you call his name, he's reacting to a sound. He doesn't know his name or your voice or anything else for that matter. And the triangle block ONLY fits in the triangle hole. This isn’t rocket surgery. Parents love to pretend the trivial things their babies do are brilliant and miraculous. Your child won’t do or say anything impressive for a long time, if ever. 2) You are, with complete certainty, saying the kid is smart because he is yours. Have you ever said the same about someone else's baby? Has any of your friends noticed this brilliance and commented on it? No and no. Get it?
Babies just look around and make fart noises because they don't know anything. That’s the definition of stupid. It’s actually not, but it works for me.

For one more thing, once your child hits the year mark, stop referring to its age in months only:
'Oh, how old is your kid?'
'Sixty-two months.'
I have no problem doing Math but I shouldn't have to in order to figure out your stupid kid's stupid age.

FAQs
Weren't you a baby once?
Yes, and I was ugly and gross and horrible and stupid. Luckily, I grew out of it quickly and am stunning and usually clean and awesome and undeniably clever.

Do you think babies in your family are awful?
If there were any, I would surely think so.

Does all of this mean that you never want to have a baby?
Shut up. My main goal was simply to rain on everyone’s parade.

OMG dont ur friend's have baby's? Do u think there ugly 2?
Yes and yes and your lack of grammar skills is nightmarish.

And on that note… To my friends: I do not hate your babies. I just don’t want to hold, look at, smell, hear, see pictures of, or be anywhere near them. Just one time, I will look at your baby, think everything I’ve just stated, and ask where the bourbon is so I can have some drinks before I overhear Goo-Goo Ga-Ga Time. As your child grows, I want to help so it to recognizes my face and eventually calls me Uncle whatever. But I will not participate in any discussion involving diapers, formula, or having no time for yourself. You made this bed, now lay in it for ten minutes until your kid starts screaming.

There is a saying from the Old English that goes, 'Children should be seen and not heard.' I agree with the second part.

Poetry- Invitation Only


Invitation Only
by Rob Cottignies

Across a poorly-lit room
Her presence is felt
Her black black hair and baby blue eyes
Black and blue
He already knows she's hurting
He gathers up his courage and beer
(One in the same)
She watches him tremble toward her
"Is he looking at me?
Would my father like him?
Would he make a good father?"
She thinks to herself and clings to her glass
She separates from her friends
As they near the silence grows
Opening lines are so difficult
Aren't they?
Walking past her he rushes to the bathroom
She snaps back to reality
He wants to throw up but he can't
He's so nervous he forgets his own name
He wants to know hers
He wants to know her
In the mirror his reflection is strong
It glows with all his bad qualities
"You're too tall and plain-looking
You have the wrong-colored eyes
And that shirt is just awful"
He punches the mirror and it crashes
She hears it from outside
"What was that?" she asks, fully knowing the answer
She is already inside his head
Which he's just hit against the wall
Thud, goes everything that could have been
She watches help go toward him
Later,
His unconscious body comes out on a stretcher
She knows this is her fault, in a way
She believes in love at first sight
But she is having trouble believing in this sight
Quickly, she writes her phone number on his arm
When he wakes up he will see
That he was finally invited
"Hello" would've worked, too...