Monday, November 23, 2015

All I Want Is A Treat

I strolled through a farmers' market in my neighborhood this morning. I'm a strong believer in supporting my local farmers. I don't purchase any of their vegetables, mind you. As I've established on here more than once, I do not cook for myself. I visit the market strictly to provide moral support.

To be fair, there was one stand that sparked my interest. It offered treats -- what I believed to be rectangular cookies. Several of them were labeled "peanut butter and bacon." I love peanut butter. I love bacon. I'm not sure I've ever eaten the two of them together, though. I was intrigued.

And then I was disappointed. I continued to read the label and realized that it was a treat for dogs. That seemed unfair to me. Why should dogs -- and only dogs -- be allowed to eat such a delicious-sounding biscuit? How many of them even remember to bring money with them to the farmers' market?

I had brought money to spend at the market, and I would have gladly spent it on a peanut butter and bacon treat. If only it were available for humans.

After I returned home, I conducted an Amazon search of dog treats. I was truly stunned by the variety of flavors. "Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly." "Pumpkin and Banana." "Wild Salmon." "Filet Mignon."

Filet. Mignon. Do you have any idea how rare an occasion it is for me to eat filet mignon? I enjoy filet mignon, at most, once a year, at a fancy restaurant, right before my date tells me we should see other people.

And yet a dog can devour a bucket of filet mignon treats, at half the price. Where's the justice in this world?

Dogs are offered way too many food choices. I've expressed this opinion once before, in my first book, Shaneanigans. I'm quite proud of the title of that book. I'm not quite as proud of its sales totals.

In any event, I wrote in Shaneanigans:

I don’t believe dogs are that picky about what they eat...After a long day of licking themselves, are they really in a position to reject what’s in their dish? Anything must taste good at that point. 

All these years later, I'm still waiting for an explanation.

A dog is an animal with simple tastes. So am I. But I don't lick myself, I assure you. So where's my peanut butter and bacon treat, farmers? I've supported your market. I've been a good boy. I want a snack!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Bathroom Pun To Remember

There are still two months remaining in 2015, but I feel confident in saying that my single greatest accomplishment of the year came last Friday on a bus ride from New York to Washington, D.C. I couldn't wait to share it with all of you, right here on this blog.

Are you ready for it? Here it is: I came up with a great pun to describe the broken door lock of a small bathroom located on the bus.

I was traveling on said bus with a friend. A third of the way through the trip, he stood up to use the lavatory in the back. Minutes later, he returned and reported to me that the lock on the door was not working properly. Over the next hour, we overheard two or three passengers open the door and discover that it was occupied. How embarrassing.

My friend looked at me and wondered, "What would be a good headline for the bathroom situation?" This is a fun game that I like to play: creating headlines for stories that would never, in reality, be published by any website or newspaper.

There are only two rules to this game: 1) The headline must contain a pun, and 2) the pun must either be very clever or very, very dumb.

My friend went first. He suggested a headline that was merely fine. I couldn't tell you what it was; it was not memorable at all. If a headline is really good, it won't be forgotten.

I nodded my head; he made a solid effort, but it fell short of my lofty standards for puns. I contemplated my turn. A headline for a broken lock that disrupts passengers while they are taking care of business in a compartment on a moving vehicle. I thought of words I could use. Bus? Bathroom? Lock? Toilet? Toilet paper? Can? Flush? Urine? So many options...but which ones would make for a great headline?

I stared out the window for two or three minutes. Then, it hit me, like a flash of genius. A great headline.

I locked eyes with my friend, and with the biggest smile I've smiled in a long, long time, I said, "Swirl, Interrupted."

I was so proud of myself. It was a thing of beauty. Two words that perfectly summarized what was happening on the bus, with incredible wordplay and an impressive reference to a 16-year-old Angelina Jolie movie.

It's a moment like that one that reminds me that if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything. Like, say, become a headline writer for the New York Post one day.

I've invited several other friends to top my headline, but none of their suggestions have come close. If you feel you're up to the task, tweet me at @myemptythoughts. But I must emphasize to you: my headline is really special.