Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Advice for Young Men
First, grow your hair very long, but only on one side. Next, comb the long hair over your full, luxurious head of young-man hair. If anyone asks "What the heck, dude?" you respond with perfect nonchalance, "combover, bro," (substitute terms for dude, bro, etc as is appropriate for your age/class/ geographic origin, I realize I am a lame old dude, bro). If anyone asks about or accuses you of baldness, just lift up the hair and show them that you have plenty of hair underneath, without any bald spots or thinning. You are, after all, only in your early 20's. Keep the combover without exception, no matter what goes in or out of fashion, no matter what the weather. The payoff comes in about 10 years and beyond, when you are still sporting the combover, proudly as ever, but underneath, you have become, in fact, bald. People who haven't known you for long will say, "Look at the combover. He's not fooling anyone, why does he bother," but all the people who have known you all these years will say, "Actually, he's always done his hair that way, he isn't bald at all."
Too easy. Can't possibly go wrong.
Your Humblest and Most Devoted Servant,
Saturday, March 18, 2006
What are those blinky things on the corners of my car?
We will start small, with the cars themselves. When I first came to live in Watertown, MA to work in Cambridge, MA, (two fine cities with ancient and fearsome graveyards), I thought people were driving like absolute morons. It turned out, as it so often does, that I was the moron. I didn't know the Local Rules (thanks for the term, Dad), and I nearly paid for my ignorance with my life. Or at least my car. Its bodywork, specifically. And the term is "Masshole," not moron, by the way.
OK, so people living in and around Boston, though politically liberal, are among the most socially conservative in the nation. The ability to buy beer on Sunday was achieved in our state last year, for heaven's sake. This has several consequences. The most conspicuous is that no one ever uses their turn signals, ever. EVER. Turn signals were not found on the original cars, and were never used on horses and/or carriages, so the fine people of Massachussets do not feel they are necessary. "Can't you have that vulgar thing removed?" they will ask the car salespersons, pointing to the turn signal doohickey coming off the steering wheel, with an expression which would not be different if said doohickey were coated in a thick layer of dung, abuzz with flies. In a similar vein, they never touch it.
This is not to say that there is no way to know what other drivers are about to do, however. If you see a car that has slowed down or stopped, and none of the funny yellow lights are blinking, then you should assume the car will be turning, probably left. If you are driving and plan to turn left, DO NOT SIGNAL THE TURN. Your blinking light will be assumed to be the hazard lights, with the right bulb out, and everyone behind you will slam on their brakes, causing a huge accident. It happens all the time. Believe me, everyone knows you will be turning left just by the way you are slowing down. If you are not turning left, then you should use the universal "going straight" signal - raise your right hand so it can be seen from behind you (signals in MA are done without opening the window - it ain't Duluth, but it's COLD here most of the year) and extend the middle finger from an otherwise cl0sed fist in a "straight" fashion. How logical. No one needs to get hurt.
A note on turn lanes - we love 'em here. Parts of Waltham are a virtual slalom course of right turn only, left turn only, right turn only, etc. for reasons reminiscent of the ergot infection of the local rye which allegedly led to the Salem Witch Trials. Here's the trick, though - tradition and precedent, remember? If you remember the time before there was a special turn lane, you are under no obligation to obey the restriction. Again, in Waltham, where apparently they ate a bunch more rye bread last year, a few new Left Turn Only lanes were added to the local intersectionry. Quote from the Metrowest Daily News from a councilperson who wished to remain anonymous: "Hee hee!" Anyway, when you see a car in a turn lane, and it is a car from before 2000, and especially if you see a license plate with green numbers and letters (they switched to red in 1967), do not expect that car to obey the sign any more than you would expect the car to sneeze and suddenly turn into a giant armadillo.
Good luck and drive safe. ly.
Your humblest and most devoted servant,
Thursday, March 02, 2006
The Bright Side of the Renewal of the Patriot Act
The Patriot Act makes it illegal to financially contribute to any group associated (however indirectly, tenuously, or unintentionally) with terrorists, and if you do you are subject to a loss of civil rights and property unheard of outside of Stalinist USSR. Now, based on this fact, and the fact that the US Gov't directly supported Saddam Hussein's rise to power during the Iran-Iraq war, and the fact that the US Gov't is known to posess weapons of mass destruction, etc etc etc, I'm pretty sure it is now illegal for us to pay any Federal Income Tax. I smell refund!
Enjoy the tax-free lifestyle,
Your Humblest and Most Devoted Servant,