Monday, June 27, 2016

Candy Crush Saga Life Lessons

By: Ben Johnson

Look, I know this is bad, okay? This is real, real bad. From a certain entirely accurate psychological standpoint, it’s about the same thing as saying, “sometimes I cut myself,” or “I wish I was dead.” But: I’ve been playing Candy Crush Saga on my phone lately. You know, that game people play with the colored dots that you move around and then they explode, and whenever you see somebody playing it in public on the train or in an airport, commuting home in their business slacks and sneakers, you think, “that is just about the saddest thing I’ve ever seen”?

Yeah, that ‘s me.

This is just where I’m at right now, okay? I’m stressed out for a large portion of my life, and then I do this mind-numbingly stupid thing, and then in those moments I find I am doing this thing and not doing anything else, and my mind is soothingly numbed. It’s fine. It’s a fine way to spend your time if the rest of your time is comparably harrowing.

I’m learning from Candy Crush Saga. I’m not learning, like, math things, or “always do the wrapper candy first because that’s hard to get” things, although maybe I’m also learning those things. Really what I’m learning about is—and forgive me for saying this, because believe me I know how it sounds—my own adulthood.

Here are some things being alive, at least my experience of it, has in common with Candy Crush Saga right now:

1. Utterly pointless

2. Goes on forever

3. Isn’t technically “fun”

4. Series of things you have to do

5. Very little control over the things that happen

6. No way to know if you’re even good at it

7. Everything is garish and impossible to understand and also somehow wants your money and also somehow wants to know who all your friends are, wants to connect with all your friends and wants your money and all your friends’ money

8. I don’t know who anybody is even supposed to be

9. Sometimes it’s like “oh well it looks like I’m just not gonna win this time no matter what” and sometimes it’s like “oh wow I thought this was gonna be impossible but it’s totally doable if I just take it one step at a time” and you never know which one you’re even currently dealing with

10. You screw up a lot but mostly it’s no big deal, like most of the time the stakes are really small, like what if I did that thing differently and then that thing would go here, oh whoops, maybe I lose this level and/or the hot dog guy thinks I’m a jerk for like three seconds

11. Sometimes you have to stop, like sometimes you are forced to stop unless you want to bother people you know or pay extra money or cross a similar internal boundary into territory you’ve decided is unhealthy

12. It feels good to get stars or see your name climb a fake leaderboard even though it doesn’t really mean anything

13. The future is just a weird map with no features on it

14. I’m pretty sure I’m not the bad guy, but really there’s no way to know

15. I probably need to get my eyes checked, like I should really do that

16. Culture is a lie

Okay, I made up that last one. Candy Crush Saga doesn’t really make me feel that way about culture, except insofar as I moved to Baltimore less than a year ago and there’s all this interesting and weird stuff to do here and all these new people doing it, and I am constantly confused and feel myself struggling to find anything real I can look at and say “this is who I am,” and maybe the weird things and the new people are more of a distraction than a help in that regard, kind of like how Candy Crush Saga is more of a distraction than a help in every regard.

Am I reading too much into Candy Crush Saga? Not a rhetorical question. Genuine question.

And also: no I am not reading too much into Candy Crush Saga. It’s my life and I can play a dumb game and think whatever the hell thing pops in my head during that. I can do whatever I want. I’m basically a sprinkles candy right now, and I can explode all the blues, or turn them into stripes, or wrappeds, or I can also be Swedish Fishes. I don’t have to listen or do anything. Not all of the time. Nobody can do it all of the time.

How To Not Be A Turd Person

By: Kelly McClure

Do you know what a turd person is? Maybe you don't. A turd person is a person who is more like a turd than they are more NOT like a turd. There are a lot of turd people. A LOT. You may not recognize a turd person right away. Sometimes it can take anywhere between 30 seconds to a full day of exposure before you conclude that, yes, the person you've just encountered is in fact a turd person. 

If you're reading this right now and are wondering "hey, how do I know if I'm a turd person?" There are clues. As a preventative measure, here's how to proactively not be a turd person, if that sounds like something you'd be interested in not being.

1) When visiting someone's house for the first time walk in and say hi to everyone. Say hi to everyone in the house you're in. Say hi to the animals in and around the house too. If there are people outside, say hi to them as well. 

2) Don't move things in a person's house if you don't absolutely need to. Walking up to a thing and moving it to another location is something only a turd person would do. Don't do this. Also, don't slam your turd body down onto furniture so that it moves around the house. Have you ever seen a couch before? 

3) Don't say or write the word "cheers" unless you're holding a drink in your hand at the time of writing and or saying the word. 

4) Don't do that thing where when a person is talking to you you start looking past either side of their face into an undetermined distance. What are you looking at? Are you looking for turds?

5) Don't interrupt people. Chances are the sentence you're about to interrupt is almost over. Wait it out. No one needs to hear the turdy thing you have to say anyway. 

6) Congratulate people on the awesome things that happen to them, even if nothing awesome ever happens to you. 

7) Say something nice to a person when something terrible/tragic/god awful happens to them. If you've met a person once, or even just interacted with them online a few times, you need to do this or else ... turd person. 

8) Don't just randomly touch a person's body. Don't touch their hair or head in general. Don't grab their elbow. Are you a blind turdy person? Do you need that person to guide you to a safe location? If not, then don't touch someone with your turdy hands. 

9) Don't just be randomly loud for no reason.

10) Don't constantly say things about not having a TV.

11) Don't talk about food allergies.

12) Don't call things "crazy" when they're not crazy. A tea flavor cannot be "crazy." A book cannot be "crazy." You don't know what "crazy" is. 

13) Don't act like it's cool to not know what things are. Ex: Waffle fries!?!?! Never heard of 'em.

14) Don't insist that you know things when you clearly do not know even one thing.

15) Don't do that thing where you stand really closely behind someone in line. Doing this will always make it seem like you're either trying to rub your gross wiener on someone, or that you don't realize that putting your crotch on something doesn't make time move faster. 

16) Don't exit an establishment without looking to make sure people aren't walking towards you on the sidewalk. Control your weird face and your weird turdy body. 

17) Don't walk down the middle of the sidewalk. 

18) When someone shares something on the internet don't reply to it by asking "who/what is that?" The internet will tell you who/what that is. That's what the internet does.

19) Don't be weirdly afraid to be the first person to answer a question. Who the hell cares? What's gonna happen to you? Nothing. 

20) Once you leave the privacy of your own home/restroom/public restroom you are no longer able to touch the lower part of your turdy body with your own hands. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I Am The Bestest

By: Pete Johnson

I think the greatest compliment you can get is that you brought joy into this world. I have a weekly pancake date with my niece and nephew, and it is the best. We use the word "goof" a lot. Being alive and in this world and alive is the best, funniest thing. I know this because on Tuesdays before I go to work there is a little human that tries her best to put french toast into my ear.

There will probably be a lot of moments in my lifetime that will be remembered as historic. I was alive and conscious when Obama get elected, and as much as I know that was a special and momentous occasion for our country, I, personally, was busy with other things. There was this guy Jerry who was a regular at the bar I worked at, and even though his life was a tragic mess I was not about to let him win at trivia. We all have our stupid things we decide to be too worried about, and that was mine that night.

I'm not a big boxing guy, but a while ago I read this book by Norman Mailer called The Fight, which is about that time Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in Zaire. I liked it a lot because it was a good example of a person being there for a historic moment and also being too cool to give a fuck about it. It comforts me to think that for every historic moment there were millions of people not getting particularly swept up in the moment's significance, and instead just thinking about what to make for dinner that night. Then this morning I heard that Ali died, so I went ahead and spent the next two hours of my life watching the Ali documentary and crying my eyes out.

If you watch a balloon that got away from a child at a birthday party long enough it will become so small in the great big blue sky that it disappears. It is still there, being a floating balloon, but eventually it gets so small you can't see it. I once watched a balloon float up from the park across the street from my apartment, and it turned into a tiny dot, but I couldn't stop looking at until it was just gone.

How can you be the best person in the world at something and also know it and also be someone your family remembers as fun? Sad things don't make me cry. The things that show you how astounding life is tend to get to me. Like that one clip of the cast of The Lion King bursting into song on an airplane, or when a puppy tries to make it but then it can't actually make it.

I'm never in my entire life going to do anything momentous. I can maybe remind the people in my life that even though we're all sad and lost and fatal and alone, we might as well have some yuks. I'm never going to knock down a huge guy named Sonny Liston. But good God, being there for your family, and being remembered as a dope, goofy dude? I can not think of anything more beautiful.