We’ve just had Sex Christmas. A day of romantic love, the only acceptable kind of love for men, as long as it heterosexual. But I’m not here to talk about the isolating effect toxic masculinity has on men and how it drives up their suicide rates. You see, love is like wrestling. Professional wrestling. You may have done well on the 14th, put on the Sequined Jumpsuit of Courage and stepped into the Squared Circle of Sincere Expressions of Feelings, but you never know when life will tag itself in while the referee is changing his contacts and throw you into the Ropes of Insecurity, knocking you down with the Clothesline of Repressed Frustration and finishing you off with the DDT of Angry Outbursts, all while the Screaming Audience of Regret mugs for the Camera of Public Opinion. Then the Arch Rival of Lust enters with the Pyrotechnics of Hubris and okay enough of this metaphor.
But there’s still Valentine’s candy. And now it’s marked way down! But what to buy? None of it will make them love you. But my experience tells me that eating your feelings is a surefire way to kill the pain, and there’s always great candy around this time of year.
If there’s one thing we can count on humanity for, it’s us doing what we think is best for us at the moment no matter what. For example, studies show that two-thirds of all automobiles in junkyards have worn-out horns but blinker bulbs that have never been used. In fact, no turn signal bulbs have been manufactured in the United States since 1961; they’re just pulled from scrapped cars and put directly into new ones. The cockroaches that shall inherit the Earth from us in about five years will still be using them in their vermin wagons.
Many people, estimates vary from approximately 1 to 99 percent, believe in some form of spirituality. This can take many forms, from collecting weapons-grade scented candles to replacing the exhaust system on your lifted full-size crew cab pickup with devices that make the engine louder and spew black smoke like a violently deadlocked papal conclave. The Romans believed in a single specific god for just about each and every specific element of their lives, because they stole it from the Greeks. So I’m stealing it from the Romans, because the Greeks gave us pitas . Here are some of the gods who help us through modern life. The previous list can be found here.
Halloween is many things. It is a socialist plot where America is destroyed by letting children accumulate quantities of candy so vast their little pancreases preemptively shut down. It is parents convincing their children that they are about to be eaten by a dracula. It is getting so hopelessly lost in a corn maze that you forget corn can be walked through, and you call 911, and the owner has to give the police officer a map so they can escort you to safety. Unless you’re black, of course. White people will insist that the corn gluten be free range. Having little Kaelybb exposed to anything more pedestrian would be as bad as exposing him to the MMR vaccine.
This is a holiday whose traditions are always evolving. Once it was a religious festival, then a feast for Catholics. Later, all manner of people would carve turnips into grotesque faces, the horror of which led directly to clown makeup and orange spray tans. Someday oldsters will gather the children around the burning piles of Juiceros, Keurig pods, and participation trophies that are our only source of fuel after the ecological crash. They’ll hope it’s dark and cold because it’s October and not because of the eternal cloud of radioactive ash that always blots out the sun. They’ll tell the shivering, emaciated children tales of shelves with food and what candy was, how we had smart toasters that would tweet at us when our toast was done, complete with a photo of how toasted the bread is. Hashtag #toast. Then the children will draw lots to see who gets eaten, and the elders won’t participate because even now they are selfish, entitled Millennials.
My favorite part of Halloween is the discounted candy November 1. You can get a three pound bag of Milky Way bars for a dollar because they have bats on the label. It’s a wonderful time. But for most of you yahoos, it’s about scary things, like haunted houses and horror movies. There’s nothing some people like more than to put on a scary movie, curl up on the sofa, and drench themselves in terror for an evening.
I am not one of these people. Real life and actual people scare me far too much as it is. Remember the fad last year where people would dress as clowns and try to lure people into desolate wooded areas? As I write this, I have a stoma, which means my digestive system ends abruptly and prematurely at a hole cut in my abdomen. I don’t need your David Cronenberg. I use my entertainment to escape, so I watch sci-fi and comedies, funny-bad movies and just plain crazy stuff. Maybe even the occasional romantic comedy, because if there’s one thing life sorely lacks, it’s happy endings. What I’m saying is, I’ve never been much for horror movies. This upsets people I converse with to no end, as they say things like “You’ve never seen ‘Saw?’ Man, you gotta see it! It’s the best!” I usually counter by insisting they experience the overlooked genius of “Battlefield Earth,” because I want them to hurt. I’m petty.
So here now are my reviews of four classic horror films that I have never watched, nor plan to. I glean my information from Wikipedia articles, animated gifs, and recollections of any friends with a few minutes to spare.
Crystals are all the rage right now. People are lauding their mystical healing powers, imbued from sacred vibrations in sync with the Sacred Earth Mother homeopathic chakra feng shui. Or something. You can understand why, when a hunk of quartz is $7.25 at your local Crystal Emporium and Mud Spa whereas actual medical treatment in the United States is $1850 just for them to print and send you the bill. It’s easy to see the appeal of eating a fistful of quinoa, taping a garnet to your forehead and hoping for the best.
That is not to say that the healing powers of crystals are devoid of merit. I’ve done some research, and while I’ve found countless sources telling you WHAT each kind of crystal or stone is good for, there’s very little documentation on HOW to use them to best effect. It’s hard to find a reliable druid in this day and age.
Once again, Sneer Campaign is here to help. I have tirelessly scoured the internet, head shops, rock shows, Burning Man-type peyote appropriations, and exactly one florist. Presented here is the Sneer Campaign Guide to Optimal Crystal Implementation.
There is no love quite like the love of a pet. They’re always there for us, when we’re sick, sad, or lonely. They’ll play with us and keep us company. They are therapists and confidants, best friends and playmates. Unconditional love for a small adoption fee.
When I was about seventeen, my neighbors adopted a kitten for their daughter and named him Samson. Children can be fickle creatures, and it turned out that their daughter wasn’t hugely interested in having a cat, so Samson was pretty much left to his own devices.
He was a longhair, mostly blue-gray, but with a white patch on his chin down to his tummy, and on the tips of his paws. He had beautiful, piercing green eyes.
Marketing has always had a pronounced gender divide. Look at an ad for, say, laundry detergent; You never see Dad sorting the whites and colors, it’s always Mom doing the chores while Dad sits on the couch trying to lick the last of the cheese dip from the bottom of the jar. To market to men, all you need is a mixture of diamondplate, sports, and aggression. Marketing both builds and reinforces gender stereotypes. Live up to the standard of masculinity or lose your “man card.” Masculinity is very fragile, and can go away at any moment if you can’t name at least three starting quarterbacks for the NFL. It’s stupid, demeaning, ugly, and it’s time I cashed in.
Fidget spinners are all the rage right now. Originally invented as an aid for children and adults with conditions like anxiety and ADHD, it’s now caught on in the mainstream, so now it’s dismissed as a toy so the people who need them look foolish for taking advantage of them. Once again, it’s time to cash in. Every product, from hygiene to TV dinners, has a version “FOR MEN,” and it’s time fidget spinners caught up. This fad has a shelf life, after all. So now, in the interests of cashing in on fads and upholding the masculine standard, Sneer Campaign presents FIDGET TOYS FOR MEN.
You’ve seen him. You’ve heard him bray about his “donkey sauce.” He is festooned with odd colors and odder compulsions. He is Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States.
No! Trump is merely orange. I speak of Food Network darling Guy Fieri, guilty of abetting more crimes against calories than every Subway restaurant put together.
When I was a young lad, I was afraid of one of my uncles. I was never around him, seldom saw him, but I knew he was a monster. I knew from how the other adults spoke of him. Not of his misdeeds, of which there were many, but the word they used for him, in hushed tones. “Manic-Depressive.”
Mental illness runs in my family.
Both of my parents have been in mental hospitals. An aunt on each side has unspecified “problems.” My brother has crippling anxiety. Suicides crop up here and there. Always whispered about. Always hidden. Always stigma.
I have bipolar disorder. Approximately 2-7 percent of the US population over 18 does. They have to estimate because so many people hide it, try to drink it away, or are lost to suicide. More are men than women, because thanks to stigma, those who seek help are seen as weak. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed in 5.7 million Americans. Roughly half of us will attempt suicide at least once. Of those who do, a third will ultimately succeed. Almost a million Americans alone. Mental illness is real, and it is lethal.
You can feel it in the air, can’t you? The tension. The nervousness. The sheer pinkness of it, reaching for you. Yes, another Valentine’s day has come for us poor wretches.
VD is a complete train wreck of a holiday. It seeks to make us insecure about ourselves, our significant others, and the validity of our own emotions. This is, in part, because love is a nebulous and confusing thing. Everyone wants it, but few people ever really get it, because no one has any idea what they’re looking for. What do you think of when you think of “love?” Several images probably flashed through your mind; many of them no doubt scenes from romantic movies. And if any of those scenes involved Meg Ryan, just go kill yourself now and spare yourself some bitter disappointment.