Posts Tagged With: comedy

Why Buying Furniture is Not the Same as Going on a Date

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I am trying to sell some barely used furniture and apparently I need to quit my full time job in order to have time for answering all the questions that potential customers have, and then have an interval to recuperate from drinking heavily after trying to recover from all that glorious humanity.

I just love it when I spend an hour talking to someone about the finer points of a metal shelf that’s worth about $40 (and I’ll probably get somewhere between $35 and $25 for it), followed by the working out the logistics of my location, now that craigslist now has a DIY map with a shit interface and is always wrong.

I would like to point out to Craigslist that I can’t drag and drop something that is OFF THE MAP! Are they too fucking lazy to find the location themselves? I thought that’s why we have Map Quest to begin with—not so I can guess where I live and spend half an hour trying to drag and drop the pointer, like a drone, on top of unsuspecting addresses who have nothing to do with me or the crime of trying to sell some goddamn furniture without losing my fucking mind—I have Map Quest figure it out SO I DON’T HAVE TO!

Sending someone a map with a circle on it through snail mail would be easier than the dipshit system they have now. Who decided that was a good idea? Don’t these geniuses realize that by now people can’t figure out their own addresses precisely because they’ve been using Google maps for ten years? That’s like asking someone to memorize a phone number or to calculate what 20% off means in real dollars. Thanks Craigslist for rendering Google maps as useful as Esperanto.

And in the middle of this I’m getting wonderful text messages that don’t identify themselves and say things like, “Are you available right now?” which makes me wonder what business I am really in, and could I possible get someone I’m actually dating to text me that message and maybe add an interesting picture that later I can post on Facebook when I want to shame her for mistreating me later in the relationship.

“Am I available now?”

If I text ‘yes’ what will happen? And if money changes hands will I get arrested?

Then there are all the questions about the irredeemably obvious:
How tall is it?
See what I said on Craigslist
How wide is it?
See what I said on Craigslist
How long is it?
See above answer.
What color is it?
See picture on Craigslist.
What does it look like?

[Careful pause.] See above response.

How many shelves does the four-shelf shelf for sale have?

I think maybe my answer to that was obscene. . . interestingly because the buyer was a guy, he showed up and bought it anyway. A woman would have posted outraged and self-righteous hate mail on Facebook and I would have been barred from not only selling furniture, but from the human race, and had my ovaries removed to make sure I didn’t have any children who could observe human behavior and comment with some accuracy about some basic differences between the genders.

Men: Do you still have the item?
Women: Oh that piece is so beautiful. It might fit in my living room.
Men: Can you send me more pics so I can get a better look?
Women: What kind of brown is that brown? Do you know who painted it?
Men: Okay, when can I come and get it?
Women: Let me consult my family and friends to see if I really need such a beautiful shelf after all, although I really like it and it’s unique and it would probably go perfectly in my ___________.
Men: [ACTION. Came and got it and paid full price!]

Because we aren’t talking about a car here. That’s a whole different animal with a lot of working parts that deserves a lot of inquiry. But even with vehicles the conversation is easier.

Me: Nope, not going below 5000.00 for the Honda. I know it’s worth that. Nope sorry. Can’t go lower and look myself in the mirror tomorrow.
Men: Okay. Here you go. [He knows about self-respect.]
Me: Thanks for the five thousand.
Men: You betcha’ [and he drives off in it.]

 

Meanwhile Back in Furniture Hell:

 

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Women: I’m not sure that shelf will hold my TV.

Me: It held my mother’s giant, HD TV that was bigger than life itself, that took three people and a crane to move.

Woman: I don’t know. I like it right now. But I might not like it later.

 

I felt a little bit like the Israelis in Palestine and I wondered if I could just hire a drone to drop the fucking shelf on her, but realized I might kill innocent civilians because I’m using the non-map on Craigslist.

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The Feminist Protest

And now because of that statement, I’ll probably get ripped a new one from my female audience because I have failed to love all women at all times everywhere, even though many other people would classify me as a rabid feminist. I just can’t win. I prefer to call myself a ‘rapid feminist,’ and I’m going to leave the meaning of that your imagination and to the comment box (which is conveniently hidden under the “Tags” at the bottom of each blog post. No, I did not put it there. Word Press did. You need Google maps and a flashlight to find it. Brilliant.)

Women tend to interview me about the piece of furniture, as if what they have in their house really fucking matters.

Yes This Really Happened: The Shelf

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The following is an excerpt from several days of negotiation about a 4-shelf shelf that was listed on Craigslist with a picture and a very precise description.
Her: Where is it from? Who is the manufacturer?

Me: I don’t know. My brother put the thing together for my mother 7 years ago and it’s been moved 4 times since then. Did I mention it is a metal shelf?

Her: What kind of metal is it? Is it shiny?

Me: Yes, it’s shiny. It’s some kind of composite and appears to be rust proof.

Her: How tall is it?

Me: Well that is posted on the ad. But I’m 5’3” and it’s as tall as I am.

Her: Well I have other shelves too.

Her: Oh I think this shelf would definitely get along with other shelves. It’s shiny and goes with everything.

Her: What kind of condition is it in?

Me: Oh, well, there’s no indication of any psychological problems. Not based on its behavior so far.

Her: What?

Me: [I paused. Shit, I’d gotten sucked in to the whole thing). Perfect. Except for a tiny wobble, but the leg is adjustable. In fact the whole thing is adjustable.

Her: What adjustments do you think I’d need to make?

Me: I don’t know. It would depend on your needs in the moment. (At this point I am not sure if I’m a psychologist or a furniture salesman or a guru. At this point I am also refraining from suggesting a different sort of adjustment which is probably not recommended by the manufacturer.)

Her: I know I like the piece now. . . but do you think it’s the kind of shelf that I’m going to like ten years from now?

Me: [Inside voice: how do you know you are even going to be alive 10 years from now?] Outside voice: Oh, Absolutely. It comes with a 10 year guarantee. I just found the paperwork here in a drawer of another shit piece of furniture I’m trying to get rid of. Either buy it or don’t but can we please get off the fucking phone? I haven’t eaten in three days now and I’m getting woozy.

I actually stopped with “absolutely.” Maybe it isn’t her fault she’s an idiot.

Her: What else can you tell me about the shelf?

What else can I tell you about the shelf? IT’S A SHELF!!!!!

The Analysis

This is apparently is the furniture warehouse equivalent of the query, often used in job interviews and dates: Tell Me About Yourself. (For how these two things are actually not dissimilar see the future, when I write about it.)

I had to stop myself from falling into an insecure doubt, installed by social media, that perhaps I had missed something, and now all material objects come with some kind of autobiography that I should have known by heart by now, or at least be able to read off The Shelf’s twitter feed. Is this what Shelf Life really means?

I took a drink. From a flask marked: I hate selling things to people.

I should only sell things to pets. I’d be a great dog salesman. Want this bit of food that’s been in my car for a week?

Pant pant. Sure.

Sold!

Armed with this bright view of the future, I threw my flask into the yard, and began to practice deep breathing and then began some dialog I know many men have used in their lives: I’m not sure what to say, honey.

I omitted the word honey. Even though we’d been in negotiations for three days, I still didn’t feel that level of intimacy was appropriate, especially since I’m gay. I didn’t want to deal with what she’d say to her husband, and this woman definitely has a husband, otherwise she wouldn’t know how to torture me with questions I don’t know how to answer and make me feel guilty at the same time.

If I’d said that word, she would have said to her husband later: I would have bought that shelf darling, if she hadn’t sexually harassed me. She called me honey. (I can feel the husband’s empathy for me from here).

I would have answered these accusations with the mature and well thought out argument: Well she started it! She emailed me, three times and called me twice before I even knew that someone was interested in my shelf. That’s a lot of pressure. If we’d been dating I’d have folded like a deck of cards under the subtext: I want you I want you I want you. So naturally I called back, and tried to answer all her questions. She made me believe.

The Temptress

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So then we had the unending discussion of when she would come meet the shelf, make friends, pay me and take it home with her. She changed the times twice. What dedication! With all that attention to detail and biography, I knew she’d come and pick it up. Sold! Whenever I pay that much attention to anything, you can be sure I’m going to marry whatever it is even if it’s bad for me.

So she calls me the next day and says she’s not coming because she’s found someone else. I mean something else, something about someone having some shelves that went along with some other shelves better, and she knew their history and angle of juxtaposition of her pantry to her personality–

What kind of shelf that would be, I am scared to think about…one that probably can’t decide what is best for it and can’t even get out of its box because of all the existential issues involved?

She hoped I hadn’t been inconvenienced.

Jesus Christ in a sidecar.

Irritated I stopped wasting words on her and said, “Fine,” and I hung up before she abused me with any more specious reasoning, obsessions about details, and false promises, leading me to my new rule about dealing with people: asking a lot of questions doesn’t mean shit.

Just buy the goddamn shelf or shut up about it.

There should really be no talking in furniture transaction situations. Grunting and pointing is really all that is needed. Or perhaps some strict rules: Each person is allowed three questions max….It’s a shelf. How many questions can you possible ask about a SHELF?

The Problem with Words

I think most people do not know how to use words, or what they are for and that language is meant to make things better between people and to glean information, not to just be used whenever you fucking feel like it, like the iPhone, internet and Netflix, or asking me a million questions that you should already know the answers to just because you have me on the phone.

Just because some words are there, doesn’t mean you should use them.

This would prevent us from having to pay for the consequences of misusing speech: like not asking questions when we shouldn’t, and not asking enough questions when we should.

How Buying Furniture Is Not Like Dating or Getting Married

Most people spend more time asking about a bit of furniture than they do when deciding to get married. In fact, if people asked as much about fellow humans as they do about things they are about to purchase, they would not even go on dates.

So perhaps the not-asking and not-knowing anything useful about your partner is an evolutionary device, much needed in order to get along with anyone who is also human. Ignorance and delusion promote the survival of the species, (but can’t comment on its quality.) Perhaps if we had to buy our lovers our relationships would be more successful.

Yes honey, I only have three shelves and I’m never going to have four, so either get over it and make a purchase or move on.

Why Buying Each Other Might Be a Good Idea

Buying humans however has a sad history.

Bear in mind I’m trying to insult everyone today. If you feel left out from not having been insulted yet, just hang on.

But let’s not make assumptions: let’s think this through.

Having to buy a human had a certain amount of wisdom (consult human history and stop getting angry at me in the spirit of political ineptness –I mean correctness– that no one takes seriously. Being PC would have worked by now if it was going to, just like the Just Say No movement.)

If we bought our girlfriends and wives we could ask things like:

What are her teeth like? Hips? Will having a kid kill her? How deep? How wide? What color? What does she look like? Will her looks last? Is that a real four- shelf shelf? Would you look at that! Sold!

And for the men (I want to equalize the oppression and objectification here. Every man likes it, even though he says he doesn’t.)

Women can ask: How much will he hold? Is he sturdy? Has he been successful at being a dresser or is there room for improvement? Does he know who he is? Does he take initiative and provide services for which you haven’t thought of yet? Does he fix things (like décor) without being asked? Is he reliable or will he collapse in the next quake, thunderstorm, shopping spree or long drawn out conversation about the relationship? Can he handle the big items he will be asked to be responsible for? Will he protect what we value? Is he versatile? What will he do when the cat jumps on him?

I really think that people would do better to use these questions on dates instead of in my garage in front of my used furniture as if I really care about the crap I am selling. You are not dating or marrying your furniture and if you don’t like it, you can sell it on Craigslist. You cannot do that with people. I’ve checked. I was trying to see if I could sell my brother and get a new one.

Epilogue

I’ve sold about 11 items in the past 2 months. All but two were sold to men. One woman acted like me: saw the chair, wanted the chair, bartered for the chair, got the chair and hauled it off and the chair and her mother are now living happily ever after.

It was all I could do not to ask for her phone number.

Honey.

 

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Categories: Dating | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Why Writers Should Never Introduce Themselves

Letters from The Laughing Coyote: a humor blog

The ‘About’ Tab delayed the launch of this blog (or should I say ‘bog’) for a good nine months.

People have told me I’m funny and the empirical evidence of laughter in my ears makes me somewhat inclined to believe it. Since I also have a  habit of writing anything and everything while trying to find some kind of sense in the world, or failing that, a punchline, I thought: A comedy blog. Perfect. A venue for the theater of the absurd that is my life. A way to waste time until I’m dead.

At last I had found my purpose and I actually had the skills to make it happen.

Shortly thereafter I discovered THE ABOUT page, which exists, like a bacteriophage, on almost every blog in the universe.

Jesus Christ, you mean I have to be a person to have a blog? Fuck! That was my whole reason for joining cyberspace—it’s a whole arena for people who aren’t people. Isn’t this the place where I don’t have to be who I am?

I can’t possibly be a person. Not at this late date anyway.

I’m not sure writers should have to be people. I mean really. That’s a lot of pressure. It’s bad enough having semantic deadlines without the added pressure of having to meet existential ones too. How is that fair?

I think writers should be exempt from all that claptrap because we’re so special (read: neurotic) that, well, I can either write something and entertain you, or at least distract you from something else, OR I can be useful, compassionate, generous human being with a definitive purpose in the world: no way you are getting both, not in this body, not in this century. Not from me anyway.

Existential deadline my ass! Take that ‘About’ Tab! I am NOT going to introduce myself! So there! I will stop this Biographical Blog Virus in its tracks! I will be the Vaccine of Autobiography!

WHY I HATE INTRODUCING MYSELF

In case I didn’t already make myself completely clear: I hate introducing myself. I hate saying who I am, why I write, what I write, where I’m from, what my work means, and so forth. Being asked to explain myself is the only time I’m not fundamentally narcissistic. I get that deer-in-the-headlights look when people stop me on the street and ask me “So who are you anyway?” (Like that happens frequently!) Panicked I look at them like I used to look at my algebra teacher whenever she asked me anything. My mind would flat-line and you could hear the annoying whiny sound thirty blocks away.

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The same thing happens to me when I’m out on a date and the woman says, “So tell me about yourself.” I always feel like saying, ‘That’s the one thing I can assure you I know absolutely nothing about, so why don’t you get involved with me and we can explore who I am together? You be Lewis. I’ll be Clark.”

I think I find it so irritating because it all feels a bit like the following assignment: Define Everything.

MY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL BITS

Maybe all this inner drama exists because my autobiographical bits—now doesn’t that sound worrisome?—are not really my true self and I’m sick of talking about the existential furniture of my life, which usually has something to do with being a psychology Ph.D., a college lecturer, and being from a family dysfunctional enough that it required its own zip code and a subscription to a carbohydrate factory to survive it.

Apparently somewhere I also minored in Unhappiness, which is a little like majoring in air and almost as useful. Stated another way, at the existentialist school of psychotherapy where I spent my twenties, I had some kind of accident involving quantum mechanics, post-modernism and nicotine, and ended up becoming proficient at the “Un,” or “Not,” thereby fully participating in the kind of ribald nihilism that is the driver of any seriously ridiculous humor.

What I would really like people to ask me is: Who aren’t you? This I am definitely overqualified to answer.

Well I’m not in a relationship; I’m not published enough; I’m not making money writing YET; the various forms of my career teeter somewhere between nothingness and total inscrutability; I spend the majority of my time doing things I don’t want to do (teaching being the exception) and I suck at housework—it’s my idea of eternity. I don’t have children (other children wrote in and asked that my unborn progeny be spared), and if you ask my about what I write, I won’t be able to tell you, unless I just use three words, or all of them, and that would be really selfish because other writers need some words too.

What I can say pretty easily is that I appear to suffer from chronic anger. THAT I can say with definitive brevity and assurance. However, it is something I wish I wasn’t, although I hear that you can make money off of being continually pissed off. I really should have named this blog Crabby Ass Productions. Dr. Crabby Ass, I presume? From UWTF (The University of What the Fuck.) I’m an angry writer. There. Finally something we can hang our hats on while we go find the startled deer and take it to a support group. The pissed off comedian bit should also single me right out in a crowd of 100,000.

So that’s the kind of introduction I tend to come up with when I’m left unsupervised. I really need an Author Chaperone to handle this area of my life–kind of like a bodyguard, only one who talks.

WHY WRITERS SHOULD NEVER INTRODUCE THEMSELVES

Writers should NEVER have to introduce themselves. They should just write. Writing is just the opposite of that old adage: it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.

For writers, it’s what you say and then it’s what you say, again. The most action and incarnation you are going to get from a bit of writing is how something is told.  The writing doesn’t care about what you, the writer, do. Who you are, how you screwed up your life, how you didn’t: THE STORY DOESN’T CARE. And neither should the audience.

After years of psychology where I tried to be real, tried to matter, and attempted to do something useful, I finally realized: I suck at this. I don’t DO anything. I say things. Then I say more things. Then I wish I’d said more or less. Then I laugh. Then I cry. Then I edit. Then I say more so I don’t have to edit. (Called an Anti-Edit). Then I sleep. I finally realized: I don’t need to be real. I don’t need to DO anything. I’m just going to say things now. Let people who are good at action do it. I am just going to do one of two things: be silent, or say something. That’s it. That’s all I can do. It’s all I want to do. Oh and well, some sex would be nice.

Disasters occur when we spend too much time talking about ourselves. This blog is already a case in point. Like most things I do, I serve as a WARNING sign, evolving into possible PREVENTIVE MEASURES that save others, if not myself.

Probably you are on the verge of deciding right now, based on all that blah blah blah engendered by the evilness of the Brief Bio About Tab, that this humor blog is about as funny as a 1000 rem of radiation. You’ll be dead in approximately an hour. That’s just enough time to fill out your will online and post one last thing on Facebook.

INTRODUCTIONS CAN KILL 

I nearly died once during an open-mic. And I was in the audience at the time.

I probably shouldn’t say the rest of this because it will probably alienate the 1.5 people left who are still reading this (and thank you half a person—I sooo know what you feel like. . . )

What is it with comedians that we want to say the most awful things and then have people love us, not only at the same time, but precisely because of the  horrible  thing we just said? How ridiculous is that? Why is it that the rules of social interaction are reversed in a comic’s vicinity? Or at least we hope for that, because seriously, being a comic is a genetic anomaly, along with being gay and opposing firearms. My chromosomes definitely attended some unending party of implausibility before falling in line and creating a person.

Anyway I nearly died during someone else’s introduction. Of suffocation. I had to be carried out on a stretcher. Apparently I was holding my breath during the introduction, waiting to hear what the performer had to say, not a dissertation on who the performer was.

If I wanted to actually meet people, I’d go to a social event or start voting. When I go to a writing event, I want to meet the writing. I do not care that the person began their writing career because they fell into a pool and nearly drowned, thus providing the threshold experience severe enough to kick the writing genes into life. (Actually that’s a pretty good story. So tell the damn story. Put it in writing!) If I meet you at an event (at the wine tasting afterwards for example), you can be sure it’s because of what you said, not because of who you are.

Because I’m a writer—and this is part of the argument about why writer’s shouldn’t ever introduce themselves—I have things reversed; I think books are people, poems are pets, good stories are great parents, and comedy routines are shamans in disguise, and that philosophy is a highway leading to the nearest semantic party. Actual people confuse me.  And then I hope to be loved myself for saying things, for god’s sake, especially the stuff people think but don’t say. My entire life comes down to this: Don’t love me for who I am; love me for what I say.

Reasonable is not a word that comes to mind.

HOW TO LIE WITH IMMUNITY…or is that impunity?

Being is entirely beyond me. I read about Being once in graduate school. I had to put the book down and become a professor instead. I feel like being too much in one direction or the other could possibly be dangerous for my readers. In other words, I think my actual personality might be infectious—I could unwittingly pass the DNA of my Being through sentences in a selfish attempt to reproduce like any virus and so the actual details of my life should be titrated with caution. I don’t want to kill the host.

Thus I see myself as the Jonas Salk of blogs, if he’d been a comedian rather than someone who actually saved the world. Following his example, I created the

 Lie-ography, the revisionist version of The Brief Bio in hopes of saving the reader from myself, long enough to create some entertainment, or failing that, some distraction that compels you, the reader, to go online and warn other people NOT to go to this blog, Laughing Coyote Productions, for fear of being permanently infected by life.

A Lie-ography is essentially an auto-biography based on what a person wants to be, instead of what one is. It is different from the ‘plan old lie,’ because it is done for the sake of the populace, which should never, under any circumstances, be exposed to a writer’s real personage, due to the similarity between a writer’s psyche and plutonium (see above for existential exposure limits).

My Lie-ography will be made available to the public in two weeks, in my next post, entitled: Why Writer’s Should Lie As Often As Possible. This article will also shed light on related topics, such as: what or who is the Laughing Coyote, is this blogger as obnoxiously hopeless as she sounds, and how exactly is this a humor blog.

The Laughing Coyote will post “biweekly”, which apparently can mean several things: One, it will only be available in media read by bi-sexuals; two, it will be published twice a week; or three (my personal favorite) it will post every two weeks. I have chosen the latter, at least until Vladimir Putin decides to annex this blog because I once used the Russian word ‘nyet.’

For a more complete, almost total lack of description of me, click on the About Tab, which, as you can imagine, is still under construction.

Best regards,

The Laughing Coyote                                                                                                 imagesCAQ9YDJW

Categories: Author Introduction, Biography as Lie-ography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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