Friday, September 23, 2016

The Sunday Paper

Last Sunday, I was was walking home, and I came across one of those street vending machines that sell the Los Angeles Times. Now, I like to do things that make no sense--so I bought a Sunday paper for $2. But first I had to get change. To others, doing something like that is a task. But not me. I see it as an experience. An experience to relish. I'm all about that. It's my my middle name. My full name is Rodney Experience Relisher Ohebsion. So I went into a convenience store and bought a pack of cherry Bubblicious with a $50 bill. And I said, "I need all of my change in quarters, so I can make some calls on a payphone, and so I can buy the Sunday paper from a vending machine." The guy was confused. He said, "First of all, you don't need that many quarters to do those things. Second of all, this isn't the year 1997. 1997 is a more suitable year for those items on your To Do List. Third of all, you can just buy one of the newspapers in front of you that we sell at this store. We keep them in stock for our elderly customers who don't use the internet." And I told him, "No thanks. I want the experience of buying a newspaper from a vending machine for eight quarters! I'm gonna relish that experience, just like I'm relishing this experience of getting change in a convenience store. "

So I went to a machine and bought a newspaper. And not just any newspaper. The Sunday paper. On Sunday, you get the full smorgasbord. I'm all about the full smorgasbord. That's my middle name. My full name is Rodney Full Smorgasbord Ohebsion. I'm all about the Sunday paper. The newspaper company works around the clock to crank out that bad boy. They obviously don't try as hard when they're working on their Monday through Saturday papers. Especially their Wednesday paper. If you ask a newspaper reporter about Wednesday, he'll tell you, "Forget Wednesday! I don't care. I'm focused on Sunday." On Mondays through Saturdays, the newspaper is bare bones. No food section, no real estate section. You only get one page of comic strips, and one page of classified ads. And on Wednesdays, the news stories aren't even complete. On Wednesdays, they say stuff like,
"Man buys car." But they don't tell you which man, or which car. On Sunday, you get the full smorgasbord. On Sunday, they tell you, "Remember how on Wednesday, we mentioned how a man bought a car? Well. The man was Bill Gates. And the car was a Hyundai Sonata."

The craziest thing about the Sunday paper is the vast array of valuable coupons. It's amazing. Bill Gates has a net worth of $82 billion, and the Sunday paper's coupons have a net worth of $83 billion. You can just hold up your Sunday paper and say, "I'm the richest person in the world! Sort of!"

Those coupons are intense. Some of them save you so much money, that the company has to place a limit on how you use them. Right there on the coupon for $3 off of sunblock, it says, "Limit of one coupon per purchase." And then it goes on. "Limit of 8 identical coupons per household per day. Any other use constitutes fraud." In other words, if you somehow get your hands on nine copies of that coupon, you can only use eight of them. According to coupon law, you can only buy eight bottles of SPF 40 sunblock. Which means if you go to the beach afterwards, you'll only have enough sunblock to cover your body 758 times. You won't have enough for that 759th coat that's recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. Too much sun is gonna go int your skin. "Wow. That's some sunburn you got. How'd you get it?" "It's those damn coupon limits. Read the fine print. 'Limit of 8 identical coupons per household per day.' That limit is gonna give me skin cancer."

The really bizarre thing about that coupon limit, is that it's actually imposed on a household. Not an individual. In other words, the company doesn't want you to conspire with another member of your household to bypass the limit. That why the coupon says, "Limit of 8 identical coupons per household per day. Any other use constitutes fraud." It says fraud! It uses the term fraud. That's some serious terminology for a coupon. Ordinarily, when you're talking about an act that "constitutes fraud," you're referring to some guy embezzling $127 million from a hedge fund. As opposed to Charlotte and Brianna Darchinyan trying to score massive amounts of discount Banana Boat Ultra Mist. Is the Sunday paper gonna cover that story? Maybe. It'll say, "The Darchinyan sisters are at it again! Their household used nine identical coupons!"

Now let's talk about the most coupon in the world. You know which coupon I'm talking about, right? The one where if you live on the planet earth, you're very familiar with this coupon. Because every time you open your mailbox, there's one staring you right in the face. I'm talking about the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon. When was the last time you opened your mailbox, and you didn't see that blue and white mailer in your mailbox? I'll tell you when. October 22nd, 1988. Because starting on October 23rd 1988, Bed Bath & Beyond instituted a policy of sending 1000 coupons a year to every single address there is. Even if you don't have an address, you'll get the coupon. There's a guy right now handing Bed Bath & Beyond coupons to a bunch of homeless people on the street. They say, "Spare change?" And the guy gives them 20% off their next purchase of can openers. Bed Bath & Beyond coupons are the most abundant resource in this country. We're expected to run out of oil in 2085, and we're expected to run out of Bed Bath & Beyond coupons in 376,992. There are 72.9 billion of those coupons in America right now. However, most of them expire next week. Because Bed Bath & Beyond wants to get you into their store ASAP. "Hurry up and get in here, before your coupons expire! Then after you're done shopping, go home, open your mailbox, and get some more coupons. And then come to our store and use those coupons before they expire." They're training us, like we're a bunch of monkeys. We just keep on pressing down on the lever and getting more bananas and pillowcases, over and over and over again.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Your Neighbors

If you live in an apartment, you spend a lot of time trying to solve the mystery of what's going on in your neighbor's apartment. Every day, you get a new clue. On Monday, you can hear an argument, but you can't quite make out what anyone is saying. You think, "Did he say 'this company is losing money,' or 'Three's Company is really funny?' Did she say 'do you understand this alibi is awful' or 'it's your two hands that are all in my popcorn. The words 'awful' and 'popcorn' sound the same when you're listening through a wall." Another day, you see the husband walking into his apartment, and he's holding a giant tub that's labelled 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.' A week later, there are some scratching noises coming from their apartment, and you can also hear a chicken clucking. Then the next day, there's a package at their door, and the return address is from Des Moines. And that's when you come up with a unified theory. "OK. So, the margarine is what they put on the popcorn which is manufactured by their money-losing snack food company in Iowa. As for the chicken, it lays golden eggs any time it watches a funny episode of Three's Company.  Like the one where Mr. Furley throws a pie at Mr. Angelino." But then the next day, your theory is disproven when you can see inside your neighbor's apartment, and the chicken is standing there eating the margarine while watching Gilligan's Island.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sports Trivia Grandmaster

I have a friend who's one of those sports trivia grandmasters. You watch a game with him, and he starts giving you the players' biographies. The TV announcer says, "And Roethlisberger takes off, and he picks up the first down." And then my friend adds, "This is the first time in Roethlisberger's career that he's rushed for over 100 yards in one game. He usually has a 'pass first, run second' mentality--which makes sense, considering how he weighs 247 pounds and 14 ounces." What impressed me most about that statement was not my friend's thorough knowledge of Ben Roethlisberger's rushing stats. It was the fact that he knew Ben Roethlisberger's weight in pounds and ounces. I mean, when you know how many ounces someone weighs, it's usually because you gave birth to him yesterday. "OK, Mr. Henderson. Breathe in, breathe out, and give me one more push. OK. He's out. It's a quarterback. Good job. Give me a second to cut the cord. And now let me weigh him. OK. He's a little bit heavy. 247 pounds and 14 ounces." "Should I put him on diet?" "No. Just make sure he has a 'pass first, run second' mentality."


Supermarkets are confusing. How come every time you walk into one, they have lots of alfalfa in stock? Who exactly is that alfalfa for? Over the course of my life, I've seen people eating Cheetos 15,000 times. And I've seen people eating alfalfa once. I was driving through Albuquerque, and there was a shirtless man in a purple cowboy hat standing at a bus stop and eating alfalfa. He's the only person in America who buys alfalfa. But for some reason, every supermarket manager in the country keeps on telling his employees, "Put in another order for alfalfa. We gotta replace the old alfalfa with some new alfalfa."

How come the shoppers in a supermarket are so protective of their shopping carts? They're always standing near them, and guarding them like maniacs. They act like everyone else is thinking, "As soon as he reaches over to grab a box of Fruit Loops, I'm gonna take his cart and head straight for the Mexican border. After all, Safeway has no jurisdiction in Tijuana."

Sometimes I shop for groceries at a small ethnic grocery store one block from my home. It's a great place--except there are a few products with misspelled words on the label. You see that a lot at those kinds of grocery stores. One time I came across a container of cinnamon--only the label spelled it "cinemon." I would love to hear the story behind that one. I guess the owner of that company was working on the label, and he thought, "Um. I'm not sure how to spell this word. Should I look it up in a dictionary? No. That's not my style. I'll just put down C-I-N-E-M-O-N. That's probably over 50% right. That's all people demand out of the food they buy. Semi-correct spelling. As evidenced by the success of products like 'Korne Flaiksss' and 'Lo Faat Millck.'"