Tag Archives: Human Absurdities

‘Office of Institutional Effectiveness’

I just learned we’re getting establishing one.

*glee*

Singing: “Braa-ziiiiiiiiiiil… “

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Grocery store preacher

It was a quiet Sunday night at the low-end grocery store — not a $10 off Thursday that brings out mobs (mobs that include me). I just needed fruit replenishment. Shoppers were scarce, lines nonexistent. Mood: Calm.

The large 60s-ish black man slowly blocking the apples with his cart uttered something that sounded like a comment on the weather, or something else small-talk and friendly-ish to share in our relative peace. But no.

“Jesus is lord.”

I’m sorry? I hadn’t understood, but mistakenly thought I wanted to.

“Jesus is lord,” he repeated.

Fuck! So that’s where we’re going. I switched from friendly small-talk gear back to comfort-in-my-own-world mode. “Oh. Alright,” I said and moved on to blueberries. For a moment, I worried that the tone of my instinctual response betrayed too much doubt and disappointment; I really didn’t want to invite elaboration. As proof that I have a problem, I already saw a blog post forming in my head.

I did notice that he was wearing a baseball hat that said, “JESUS IS BOSS,” and that kept me entertained for the next few aisles. “Well, which is he then? Lord or Boss?” I wondered in a Monty Python voice. If you’re going around preaching to strangers — or is it, in your mind, not preaching but just stating as obvious a fact as “Such a nice April day we’re having”? — shouldn’t you keep the job title straight?

‘Cause Lord and Boss are different positions with different responsibilities, unless you’re just getting all metaphorical on me, in which case I want a hat that says, “Jesus Runs the Stoplights that Made Me Late for Work.” (Meanwhile, I’m thinking of the offshoots: “Jesus gave me good genes, but he took my grandpa when I was 6. Jesus is dropping earthquakes left and right. And he subjects me to country music. He works in mysterious ways.”)

Thankfully, I learned at an early age not to engage unsolicited preachers in conversation — they don’t actually want to hear anyone else — so I resisted the urge, upon our second encounter by the frozen foods, to say, “Wait, I thought he was Boss?” And thankfully, in the frozen food aisle he didn’t address me, because there was a woman closer to his age who needed to hear, “Jesus is Lord.”

Her response? (I couldn’t tell if she was sincere or just better-practiced.) “Ooooh, yeah that’s right.”

Glad we got that settled. The blueberries were good.

Chew at the bit

All queue up and grovel for a hit
Someone pulls the reins as you chew at the bit
Encouraged by commercials, to spend beyond my means
I laughed as it all fell apart at the seams

–“Beautiful Dead,” Killing Joke

It’s a wonder I ever ended up in any type of marketing, because as time goes on I find myself less and less tolerant of attempts to move masses for commercial gain. I don’t really like golf, am (or was) completely indifferent to Tiger Woods, and don’t identify with people — of which there are surprisingly many — who say, “I don’t watch golf, but if Tiger’s playing I’ll tune in…”

That said, I mean who the hell would identify with this?! Who is Nike’s target market? And how do I make sure I avoid encountering them?

Nike Inc. may have missed the mark with that eerie Tiger Woods commercial that features his father’s voice from beyond the grave.

[…]

“I want to find out what your thinking was,” Earl Woods says in the ad created by the agency Wieden+Kennedy as Tiger stares straight ahead, in silence. “I want to find out what your feelings are. Did you learn anything?”

Favorable opinions of the Nike brand dropped from 92 percent prior to viewing the ad to 79 percent after, says HCD.

I would love to have been in the room when they planned that one. It reads and sounds like such self-parody. Thankfully, and in accordance with the scriptures, it has become the subject of a thousand viral parody videos. Oooh, some of these are gooood.

The cognitive steps it takes to trace backward from liking a golfer to deciding to overpay for buy crap with a certain logo on it are stunning to me. But, I know the buyers are out there. Millions of ’em. What an odd planet.

Texting and chewing gum

Ahhhh-hahaha, this was a nice nearly SNL-type bit on the streets of (I think) Chicago. The reporter expertly displays all the behaviors that make you want to rip a mobile device out of someone’s hand/ear and replace it with a rabid squirrel.

Mad squirrel
Mad squirrel is Bluetooth-enabled

(Query: Can squirrels really get rabies? Then consider it a metaphorical rabid nature … in this case, to fit this crime my judicial prudence prefers the persistent gnaw of a squirrel to the vicious bite of a dog or the haunting screech of a bat.)

The past two days I have walked toward the office entrance behind the same headphone-addled, non-stop thumbs-on-the-screen “youth.”

The awful part is that he ACTUALLY WADDLES while he walks, so getting around him requires both agility and guessing when his next random horizontal move will be. He easily could have inspired this video.

I was told there would be yoga

Four days into the ridiculous workout program was Yoga Day — a day I foolishly saw as a mid-week rest after three days of leg and arm work. Me: Idiot.

My first clue should have been discovering, and double-taking, that whereas the other workouts are about 60 minutes, this yoga session was 90 (including warmups/cooldowns). My second clue should have been that the yoga session starts with a bunch of “warrior” this and that stances that are essentially various upper body stretches while in a lunge stance.

My legs — which thanks to hockey completed the first few days much better than my weak core did — burn. They just burn. So standing in various lunge stances was not welcome.

And knowing that I didn’t have time to squeeze in 90 minutes, I committed to doing just half the yoga session. (I did say “corners will be cut.”) I just picked the wrong half. Turns out the second half was more work on the ground — the kind of floor stretches and reaches that cripple me but which I desperately need, and which do not work my aching upper leg muscles as much.

Then last night I played hockey for the first time during this program, and my leg muscles just cried after about two sprints on each shift — this is absolutely why I don’t do stuff like this during our hockey season. But it was good. I was able to play. And I woke up craving today’s workout. Not sure if I’ll be singing from the same hymnal next week, but we’ll see. Just 86 more days to go!

I remember this feeling

Looks innocent enough.

I’m doing one of those DVD workout regimen things. The kind they show on TV via an infomercial with an annoying ripped gym rat touting its benefits and using some kind of catchphrase that challenges both your manhood and your ability to be an Upstanding Human all in three words.

It’s very unlike me. But I can explain.

It started with my sister, whose resistance to pop culture and general marketing crap I respect. So when she brought this program up, my normal instinctual scoffing at mass culture was disarmed. (Oh, how Mrs. Fall of Because would die to master the ability to disarm this scoffing.)

This sister has always been very athletic, but she was looking to get back into a groove after spending long stretches of the last decade being, as they say, “with child.” She wanted a workout partner; I was still in hockey season and rehabbing wrist and thumb injuries that would keep me from committing to a daily thing all too ready to make excuses like my pushup-hindring hand injury, particularly since I couldn’t dismiss the program as infomercial junk.

So she marched on without me, and it turns out it’s a nice workout program (there’s a “P” and there’s a “[3 times thirty]” in it, but I’d rather not draw the search results by referring to its name.) More importantly to me, it’s one that has a variety of sessions that work areas of my physiology I’ve long neglected. I’m kind of lazy in that through luck and genetics I could count on hockey, laughably minimal weightlifting and occasional biking/running to keep me reasonably fit. Still have my college weight, so I figure that’s a good thing.

Postponing the Inevitable Only Lasts So Long

But I’ve always been horribly inflexible, my back is hindered by my height, my core strength is laughable for someone who plays hockey as much as I do, and I have several weak areas that have atrophied from lack of use, injury, sitting at a computer, general laziness, etc. I’ve always known I’d have to address some of these areas or else age less gracefully than I’d prefer. The roaring 20s now spent, it’s time to deal with it.

So here we go. The program pledges to transform your body in three months — and, having experienced Day One and taken a gander at the rest of the program, I can confidently declare that’s no bullshit. But my aim isn’t to “transform.” I just want to fix areas of sorry weakness. So…some corners may be cut. I’m just happy to have a varied workout and specific instruction without having to interact with people. Particularly people who work out.

I won’t turn this blog into a workout journal, but I hope to record impressions as I go through this curiously American method of Self-Torture in the Name of Self-Betterment. I figure it’s a situation ripe for some humor.

For instance, I started it yesterday, and today my body feels torn to shreds after doing a bunch of the upper body and core work instructed on Day 1. I woke up feeling like I’d been thrown down a flight of stairs. But that’s all cool: As today has gone on, the soreness has started to feel good — in that nearly sadistic way that muscle pain feels when you’ve worked, but not destroyed a muscle group. I haven’t felt this since my roommate — a future physical therapist, naturally — worked me out back in college, and I loved it, and I was naturally in the best shape of my life. (It’s amazing what you can do and how fun life can be when your only concerns are sex, beer, food and learning amazing stuff, in an order of priority that shuffles daily.)

This “good” intense soreness: It’s different from skiing or hiking or stuff like that, because those fun adventures inevitably work the same muscle group repeatedly, to exhaustion, over the course of three or four days.

So as today has progressed I’ve increasingly felt that addicted-to-pain instinct in my brain. The feeling of atrophied minor muscles reawakened, brought back to life as if to say, “We should be part of your daily movement too, couch bum.”

And that excites and scares me. ‘Cause I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to love non-interesting (i.e. not via sport or transport or social) workouts. I don’t want to be excited about pain. Yet here I am already looking forward to Day 2.

…Which is why I’m writing this down now, before the Day 2 workout happens. Because I’m pretty sure after today’s workout is over, those optimistic thoughts will change. The next journal entry will more likely be: “WTF?! God this hurts. I’m in hell. Working out is stupid. No way I can do 88 more days. Oooh look: Hockey’s on TV!”