I’m not sure if you guys ever noticed this, but updates on this site can ebb and flow. As we are the most depressed mini-cluster of writers on the internet, this makes perfect sense. At any given moment, one or all of us is in the throes of a crippling despair — or, in contrast, one or all of us is chirpy and pleased with life. This wide range in overall mood is reflected in our overall productivity, here at the Sneer Campaign and also in every single aspect of our lives.

abloo

I guess I should start off by telling you about Depression, as if you are at all strangers to the concept. But I know our demographics. You’re all a bunch of first world 20- and 30-somethings mostly. I assume you are all actually in the midst of your own Pity Parties RIGHT NOW, and are just taking a break to read this article in the hopes of finding some gentle humor to ease your troubled souls. Well, indulge me here for a minute. Pretend that you are all perfect spring flowers and have never seen a reason to frown in your life. Do you remember what that feels like? I think I might, but I could also be severely mistaken and I am just emotionlessly imagining the color blue. But emotionlessness is just an absence of sadness, and that doesn’t automatically mean “happiness.” Although some days, it is just as welcome of a relief. Am I even getting ahead of myself here? You can bet no one cares.

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Before actually working at a party supply store, I was unaware that there are party supplies for EVERYTHING. I had previously been under the notion that people weren’t so stupid that they would need to run out and buy a giant bull skull to complete the look of their “Tex-Mex party,” which would just end up looking like a regular party except with a giant shitty foam bull skull hanging on the wall.

herein is torture and pain

While perusing the mind-numbing amount of overpriced shit for parties, I wandered upon a section, nay, an entire AISLE, just for celebrating old people’s birthdays and such. Well, let me rephrase that since it’s not entirely the truth: An entire aisle just for mocking old people’s further decline into a miserable old age and eventually to a depressing death that will most likely be filled with memories of the time their children bought them a fake jar of Viagra for their 60th birthday.

Some would call them “gag” gifts, and I suppose they are. Only I have never seen so many, and some so completely brutal, in one area before — all for simply being old. It’s as if to say “Congratulations on living for 3/4 of a century and accomplishing more than most of us ever will, now put this chicken suit on and DANCE YOU OLD SHIT.”

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When you are doing your holiday shopping, it’s a great time to add in some extra things that you can give to people in need. It’s especially easy if you have already budgeted for the holidays, to buy it all at once if you have saved any money. Holidays are a happy time for many, many people, but there are certainly many in need who can use some help.

This is the perfect season to stretch out your empathy muscles and find some good causes. And I can help you figure out things to get and give that wouldn’t cause too much inconvenience, while you’re already swamped choosing all the best gifts for friends and family.

give to the poor, richboy

You’ll need to see if there are specific places near you that might need certain things, but you can also check below for some ideas. Always make sure that they want you to give them the things! Just give them a call or stop by and say, “hi I’d like to help, is it okay if I give you this?” or, “what do you need?” (Also ask them if they want things to not be wrapped.)

A lot of places prefer money, but sometimes that’s because they know better what to buy, but you can just ask! If they don’t want your physical gifts, just find another place. I promise there is no shortage of good causes and people for you to make smile.

 

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Sound Advice

Although I am a devout disciple of Mr. Rogers, the kindest, gentlest soul to grace the world with his presence in our lifetimes, I am only human. I am flawed. And I strive every day to not be 100% horrible. I really try to be only half horrible at most. I swear! I even read Mr. Rogers’ quotes every single day because I have a Daily Mr. Rogers’ Quotes Calendar! But on days when I am struggling, I have friends who help me. Or sometimes they encourage me to be awful. But on the day of this comic presented to you, AlexT was in a beatific mood and bestowed upon me (and all of you now too) magnanimous wisdom. Because he is nice.

Sometimes I think of this advice on my own, when I am alone in my struggle. Sometimes I even give this advice to other people, when I am at my best. And now you can print out this comic and hang it next to your mirror at home, and look at it every day as a reminder to be good.

 

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Animals are great! The world is wonderful! Nature is really nice and we should all do our best to preserve it. I think a lot of people don’t mean to harm the environment and the things which dwell within, but they have never really given it much thought. Like that awful business with palm oil. If most people were faced with the actual destruction of animal homes, they would find it within themselves to read labels and make ethical choices. I think most people know that all of the bees are dying, and probably can now correctly identify a honeybee so that they do not kill one in a panic. Learning things helps you make informed decisions, and that is never bad. Or at least, then, if you choose to do bad, it isn’t just because you are ignorant. It is because you are terrible.

We at the Sneer Campaign believe strongly that knowledge is power, just like Schoolhouse Rock told us. And we would like help you to know things. We want to help the world. We want to do good. Now, we are just beginning this journey of earthly well-wishing. We are not at Leonardo DiCaprio, Eco-Savior levels quite yet. Unlike him, we are only mere mortals with limited funds. Lucky for us all, learning is free, and now we will teach you a handy thing or two on how to care for the wild creatures of the forest, free of charge. Specifically, we are going to guide you on how to keep bears happy.

black bear

 

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Despite my repeated listenings of “The Gambler,” by Kenny Rogers in my youth, I was never much into gambling, myself. I even waved off schoolyard bets where the stakes were beloved toys, chores, or stranger acts and favors. I am not sure why I didn’t have an interest in such. That added layer of risk detracted from experiences for me, I guess. Mysteries! Wet blanket, fuddy dud mysteries! Unsolvable.

Well, recently Dollissa compelled me to bet on a horse race, the Kentucky Derby, you may have heard of it. Bet with REAL MONEY, by the way, it wasn’t for funsies − it was for keeps! No one was more surprised than I was that my hastily, arbitrarily picked horse, Nyquist, won. He won! He won FOR ME. I thought that my $13 would turn into $13.50 or something, but I wound up winning over $40. I became wealthy! I became hooked.

slippery slope

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clipclop

At first glance, this looks like another post about horses. And maybe upon second glance, it looks like it is just showcasing that I am an uncharitable, selfish person when it comes to sharing my toys, as though I am a six-year-old, rather than an adult. It’s about both of those things, I guess, but actually, this is mostly an excellent example of how my mother is patient and long-suffering. You could even go so far as to say that she is a saint! I wouldn’t argue. Well yes, of course I would, but not very seriously.

 

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Ho ho ho, or so I am told. It is Christmas Day both far and wide as I write this. Almost everyone knows everything there is to know about this Christian holiday thanks to television, movies, radio, every single store, and the mouths of anyone you might eavesdrop on. Chances are, someone you know might even celebrate it, religiously!

Here at the Sneer Campaign, we enjoy wrapping and giving gifts, and maybe one of us likes decorating a tree. I’m actually not a very Christmassy person, but Dollissa wrote about Hanukkah, so it’s my turn to take one for the team. Also, I didn’t send out cards in time, and that’s the only tradition for this holiday that I actually enjoy. Sorry!

Please accept this drawing as my card to you, everyone who missed getting real tangible mail from me this year.

Christmas Card

Shopping for groceries is one of those annoying tasks you have to do once or twice a week, depending on your habits and needs. Maybe there are some people out there who enjoy the act. Perhaps for them, creating a list for a week, perhaps a carefully planned menu, all of that stuff, perhaps all of that is a pleasure for these people. It might fulfill an instinctual need to hunt and gather. God, who knows. What I DO know is that I am not one of those people. Grocery shopping is a boring old activity that involves many things I despise: making decisions, forethought, crowds, and being out in public.

I believe grocery store managers realize that there are all sorts of customers, and they try to make their stores as pleasant as possible to encourage repeat purchasing experiences. All of the items are arranged systematically, for ease of locating them. The workers are made to be friendly and happy. And they have installed a little sound system in most stores because someone somewhere must have done a study that says that people are more likely to shop happily if they can do so to a mild, inoffensive beat in the background.

I think it is a good idea, all of this playing music in the backgrounds of places. I do enjoy music, and even when they play songs that I would never hear on my own free time, such as, say, any song by Gwen Stefani ever (she and No Doubt in general seem to be a staple of grocery stores everywhere – it causes me to laugh in a way that is unkind), I can still say that I am glad that I am not left to shop in silence. That unwieldy sentence deserves a summary: I would rather listen to crap like Gwen Stefani’s annoying voice than eavesdrop on the often-bewildering drone of fellow shoppers punctuated by the shrill cries of their horrible infants. The songs played are often easily forgettable and mildly pleasant, or at the very least not at all distracting from the shop process. I might notice that Gwen Stefani is imploring me to “don’t speak” for the umpteen billionth time in the Pasta Aisle, but I can still select a pasta suited to my tastes.

grocerystefani1

But this article isn’t REALLY about how much I don’t like that ridiculous singer, no matter how many snarky observations I have on hand, or outright insults if we dare speak of the Hollaback Girl Fiasco. This is about the handful of times when I have been out shopping for food items, and the speakers in the store have played a song that was so noteworthy for its soul-sucking depression, its sheer catchiness, or its just plain old out-of-placedness, that I had to stop shopping until it was over.

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Earth Day is really something I should have paid more attention to all my life. I’ve always loved the Earth, as a planet, frankly. It’s doing a great job. I also love everything on it, including trees, bees, Hummers, and Miley Cyrus. However, I never did much for Earth Day, or even remembered when it was.

You guys, it is April 22. I mean I know today is, but that’s also when Earth Day is, every year. For 45 years now!

On Earth Day, it’s important to think about what you can do to help the Earth. No matter how small or how big, you should do something, for the Earth, for your self, and for your friends! You see, this year’s theme for Earth Day is, “It’s Our Time To Lead.”

Melissa Loves Earth by Amanda Wood

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