If you have the internet, a brain stem, and cogitate in any way then you have noticed the recent flood of Buzzfeed’s “Which … Are You?” quizzes. In the last week, I have found out which Golden Girl I am (Blanche), which mythical creature (the Phoenix), which Beatle (Ringo. Yes, fucking Ringo!), which Harry Potter character (Neville Longbottom), and which classic rock band (Zeppelin).
These quizzes have got to be the most popular thing going on the internet. Basically informal and silly personality quizzes, people love them because they take three minutes to do and offer minor pseudo-analyses that allow you to be linked to some famous social or cultural icon in some way. Bring me a monster snake to slay, for I am Neville Longbottom!
Still, though Buzzfeed makes some enjoyable quizzes, they sometimes miss the mark. Here are some which haven’t enjoyed the same success.
Emails. What a fantastic invention, a speedy way to deal with both business and pleasure. A way to reconnect with friends and family you’d otherwise lose touch with. I shoot emails back and forth all day with friends sometimes and I love getting an email from an old friend. Emails and IMs have completely overhauled our daily communications and it is wonderful.
But. And there’s a big but.
As it turns out, many people out there are rude, ignorant, lazy, and completely incapable of exhibiting the simplest degree of social skill. And all of this comes oozing out in their emails. It’s also where you see the devolution of language and communication and major support for the idea that we are headed down the road towards social Armageddon. And that road is paved with no punctuation and the inability to capitalize.
Here are some of my pet peeves.
Running on a Sunday morning in Prague means running along streets, sidewalks, and paths littered with the remnants of the night before. There are empty KFC buckets, broken beer bottles, blood, scorched scarves, and many more pairs of pantyhose than seem reasonable. It’s returning to the scene of a crime I had nothing to do with.
Running on a Sunday morning also means quiet and solitude. It’s like having Prague all to myself so I can run and sweat and implore the heavens and cry and sing Led Zeppelin without any fear of embarrassment.
Today is no different. Mostly.
I am halfway through my route. I have crossed Výtoň Bridge and am heading along the river towards Palackého Bridge, which I will cross and head the 1.5 miles home. All alone, I am screeching my version of Gallows Pole, but hush when I notice a form in the mist up ahead and the little dog next to him. I recognize the scowl, the hunched shoulders, the hair.
“It can’t be,” I say.
But it is. It’s him.
I am sensitive to words these days. Especially since a lot of people throw them around haphazardly. This is never more true than when someone describes an artist with words like “brilliant,” “genius,” or “hilarious.”
Brilliant. Andy Warhol was so brilliant. Really? If you make me believe that in thirty minutes, I’ll buy you a car.
Genius. This one comes with a whole string of adjectives: i.e., musical, literary, comic. Mozart was a musical genius. I agree, but I don’t really know why. Do you? Joyce was a literary genius. Yes, he probably was, but are you saying that because you’ve done an in-depth study of his work or because you can’t understand it and you’ve heard everyone else say he was a genius?
Hilarious. Lenny Bruce was hilarious. No, he really wasn’t. I mean it, go look him up on YouTube and watch five minutes of his stand up. Daring, yes. Groundbreaking, yes. Important, yes. Hilarious, no.
Every once in a while a person comes along who really deserves these words, since they somehow amaze or thrill us. And Harold Ramis was one of these people. He was, in fact, the man.
In a popcorn and cookie fueled homage to him this weekend, I will watch the following films and laugh at the hilarious antics and scenarios and the brilliant dialogue of a true comic genius.
Adding to my lethargy is the fact that I am sick and every move seems to propel mucus from some bodily orifice. I ache: knees, head, and back. A shuffle to the bathroom is an adventure in wincing and groaning.
To boot, the upstairs neighbors are once again doing their part to send me to a high tower with a long range rifle by doing karaoke and stomping like Irish step-dancers.
It’s February, a month which was meant to be hibernated throughout. Bears, birds, even fish sleep through this shittiest of shitty winter months. And I am following this ritual as well. So pretty much since January 3rd, I have been hibernating in my flat as though it was a cave. A cave with internet access and a stove, but a cave nonetheless. There’s a visible funk, it’s dark, I have the feeling I’ll stumble across a pile of bones and a fur bed.
Can you imagine going back to the time of Shakespeare? Right now you’re probably shivering with terror as you imagine dealing with the thous and thees and hithers, not to mention wearing tights and having a pointed beard.
Have you ever thought about what it would be like for someone to visit 2014 from the past? I mean, besides the fact that they’d have to live in a world with Kanye West.
I am talking about linguistics.
Language constantly changes and as a language teacher I’ve come to understand that I don’t really teach English, but English as it is at this point in time. So if someone came here from Shakespeare’s time, he would probably be just as terrified of our English as we imagine we’d be of his.
But in the last 15 years our language has undergone a serious upheaval due to technology, the Internet, and social media. With our dictionary of new, daily-used jargon, the world would be a cacophony of confusion for a time traveler. And I’m not talking about someone from Shakespeare’s time, but someone from 1994. Consider the following.
It’s 3 am and God hates me.
I am sitting in an armchair in my bedroom. I am holding a book, but I am not reading it. I am distracted by my enemy and keep sending glances over the top of the pages to look at him. His flat expanse, his ruffled skin.
He mocks me. He has been mocking me for four days. I will kill him.
Every once in a while I suffer a bout of insomnia. I believe that my body and brain just throw me the occasional curve ball to keep my on my toes – things could be a lot worse, bucco, so cheer up! So I take the opportunity to read, watch movies, and send death threats to my bed.
As any insomniac knows, a few nights without sleep cause one to slowly lose their mind. Your mind begins to skew your ability to make clear and reasonable decisions. It’s been four nights. Below is an unofficial journal of sorts of my activity and viewing choices, just in case someone needs to tell this to a mental health professional in a few days.
Valentine’s Day can be tough on people, no matter who you are. You can be under immense pressure to plan something romantic, under immense pressure to put out after something romantic, or sad about being in neither of those positions. You could be dreading the looks of the shop assistant who hands you a bucket of brownies and a bottle of bourbon. Or you might just not give a flying frick.
Why is it so tough? Well, because this is the god of all non-holidays. Valentine’s Day is like a day ostensibly conjured up for lovers, but really just serves to make people uncomfortable and unhappy.
As a man for others, I am offering several services this Valentine’s Day. These services are unisex offers.
As I sat down a couple of hours ago to write my blog, I realized that I was a bit gloomy. I glanced at the list of blog ideas I had jotted down. How to strangle your neighbor’s dog, 5 Writer Suicides, and Stories about dying kittens.
It was clear: I was depressed.
And is it any wonder? It is a Sunday night in February. Sunday. February. I was sitting down to write a depressing blog on the most depressing day of the week in the most depressing month. The odds were stacked against me.
But I persevered.
Instead of writing about things that will make you want to shoot yourself, I ultimately decided to write about seven great reasons in February to shake your booty and give you an excuse to drink frosty drinks. Here are seven reasons that make February party worthy.
One of the most enjoyable parts of this alarming activity known as ‘aging’ is that the world moves insanely fast. I don’t mean people speeding around me, though that is the case as well. I mean that time frickin’ flies. It was just last week that I was leaving the university for summer holiday, Christmas was yesterday morning, and surely June will be here again tomorrow morning.
It’s work day in and day out, jogging, read on the tram, watch a sitcom over dinner, sleep. And before I blink, another year has gone by. This is especially true since I tend to worry about the future rather than the right now.
Do you? How often have you said something like: I can’t wait for this day to be over, Once this class/meeting is over, I can relax, I need spring to be here, Come on Friday!
Moreover, happiness is always just around the corner, something that will come at some other time than now. 5 pm on a Friday, on December 24th, after my proctology appointment, on the first day of holiday.
In the interest of not missing my whole life waiting for something else to happen, I am making an effort to savor the small moments. I want to enjoy the little daily joys, the things that happen here and now. And so here are some of my simple daily pleasures.