We Are the Meek and, No Thanks, We Don’t Want to Inherit the Earth

Hello, I am Terry “Pizza Face” Jones, and I have been nominated to be the spokesman for the meek. You know: the docile, the submissive, the wedgied masses. For thousands of years we have been told that we will someday inherit the Earth. We were recently alerted that the day has finally come and we will officially being given ownership of the Earth. I am here to tell you: no thanks.

Good one guys! Promise to give us the Earth and then fuck it up before you hand it over, sweet prank! I mean we’ve been here before. We’ve been picked on all of our lives, we know every trick in the book. Like when Francis “Four Eyes” Jefferson was invited to a cool kids party and given a beer to drink, but it was just a beer bottle full of urine. That’s what this gift of the Earth seems like, a bottle of piss. You really think we’re going to fall for the old Free Earth gag? “Just take it guys! We were only mean to you because we were intimidated by you.” Meanwhile your friends are hiding in the bushes giggling.

Sure the Earth would have been a great thing to inherit five thousand years ago, but it sucks now. First off, you killed off all of the cool animals. Mastodon: dead. Black Rhino: dead. John Candy: dead. Secondly, it’s totally broken. I think that’s the only reason you are giving it to us. Maybe so we can fix it? People are giving me broken laptops all the time assuming that I can fix them. They don’t even ask, they just hand them to me like I’m some sort of IT guy. People assume because I’m quiet and I wear glasses I’m good with technology, but I’m not that smart and can barely use a computer. You think the other meeks and I can fix a broken Earth? I’m pretty sure the solution involves not driving cars, eating less meat, changing supply chains and have fewer kids. You think a bunch of shy pussies like me are going to convince everyone of that? If we were that convincing, I would’ve convince you to stop giving me wedgies in kindergarten. And High School. And last Thursday.

The Earth is overheating, its financial systems are busted and the whole thing has Covid. I think this is a gag gift. Or maybe like a shitty hand-me-down. Either way, we’ve gotten enough of both of those to know what they look like.

Another thing: do you know the inheritance tax on the Earth? They are about to lower the estate tax exemption. Us meeks don’t really have 40% of the value of the whole goddamn planet lying around to pay for this. We aren’t the richest ones in the room usually. I have never, ever asked for a raise. I don’t even have the courage to ask for my change when the cashier forgets to give it to me. I don’t have that kind of dough lying around. The more I think about it, this whole thing seems like it might be financially motivated. You guys take all the oil, all the minerals, all of the cool animals, heat the thing up, fill it with Covid, and then pass it off to us and get a giant tax write-off.

Us meeks are natural skeptics. We’ve been through some shit. Do you know what we’re usually doing instead of talking? Thinking. Thinking about the way you non-meeks are always fucking us. We can see this one coming from a mile away. So no, we don’t want your stupid broken Earth. You can keep it.

Guns Don’t Kill People, the Boundary Conditions of the Universe Kill People

Inevitably, after every mass shooting in America there’s the same public outcry: it’s time to ban guns. To those who say that, I respond: the gun didn’t shoot itself. There are many out there who agree with this sentiment, and many of them say that it’s an issue of training responsible gun owners and dealing with mental health issues. I wouldn’t go that far, though. I don’t know what philosophical school you subscribe to, but do you really believe in free will? Do you think we have any say in the choices of others, let alone our own choices? Do you think these gunmen are anything but predetermined to make their decisions based off of their chemical makeup and the unbroken chain of prior occurrences dating back to the origin of the universe? In this deterministic reality we live in, I am of the opinion that guns don’t kill people, but the boundary conditions of the universe kill people.

Sure, you could go ahead and make all of the laws you want to keep guns out of people’s hands. You could increase counseling in schools and access to mental health services. What you can’t do, however, is change the fact that we are are essentially natural robots who can calculate fast enough to have the illusion of choice. Do you think there’s something magic about people that give us the ability to choose? If that were the case, wouldn’t we be making better choices? Think about it: gun violence is a horrible problem, with a super simple solution (ban guns) and yet things are getting worse and worse every year. I think the fact that we haven’t done anything about it as a society is proof that there is no free will. If there were, I’m sure we would have used it to solve this problem.

To those who say “the gun didn’t shoot itself” I say “the person is a causal actor and had no choice in shooting the gun.” At this point, you may be wondering, what we can do? I mean, if there’s no free will, what are our options? Well, remember, we don’t have options; however I’ve come up with a few potential deterministic outcomes that would solve the problem.

  1. A person genetically predetermined to make not horrible decisions comes into power and implements basic, common-sense gun control legislations (least likely)
  2. We somehow go back to the Big Bang and rearrange the infinitely dense ball of mass just right to create an identical reality minus the out of control gun violence
  3. Giant asteroid wipes out humanity
  4. We jump to a parallel timeline in the multiverse where gun violence isn’t an issue. That’s right, I’m talking about moving to Iceland

As you can see, gun violence in America is a tricky subject with no easy solution. Not only is there a large gun lobby and a partisan, entrenched gun culture, but we also are not free to make any choices, either related to this problem or anywhere else in our lives. Heck, even if you are a probabilistic determinist the odds are slim that you could solve this problem. Some of you may not agree with me on everything; you may be a rabid anti-gun activist, or even a quantum indeterminist. Either way, I’m sure we can agree on one thing: gun violence in America is completely and utterly hopeless.

Medical Advice You Can Trust

If you’ve watched the news lately, you’ve noticed there’s been a lot of medical advice and talk about different Covid treatments. My dad always told me that the best medicine for anything was alcohol, not complaining and never, ever messing with the thermostat. He lost his medical license when I was still a small child, but continued to give medical advice to anyone who would listen. And some people who wouldn’t listen.

If there’s one thing I did learn from pops it was to be distrustful. Even your father, a one-time doctor and current deadbeat, could be out there recommending that a small child treat a headache with Wild Turkey and being uncomfortably cold. So, when Covid came along, I understood the vaccine hesitancy. I was also skeptical of people recommending rogue treatments, like Ivermectin or coffee mugs that say “liberal tears” on them. I understood the distrust in general. I mean, I didn’t trust anyone in the world about anything. You could say I have “trust issues” and “daddy issues” and “cirrhosis of the liver since I was a child issues”.

I still needed to figure out a way to make medical decisions. If you can’t trust doctors, or any random asshole with the internet, then who can you trust? I thought maybe I can do like the Christian Scientists and not do any medicine; they just pray. I was a little skeptical, though. I mean, I’ve been praying everyday that my childhood was a horrible dream and that my real dad would wake me from it one day. That hasn’t happened yet, so maybe they are wrong. Also, wouldn’t there be some positive correlation between religious prevalence and health then? Isn’t that basic science? Maybe those Christians Scientists aren’t really that good at science.

So, how do I answer my medical questions and make informed choices? Do I still need to wear a mask? Is my best bet to just try to join the space program and when I go on a moon mission just go AWOL and camp out there forever? Is this all a prank perpetrated by the man once voted the worst doctor in the mid-Atlantic region, somehow trying to get me to hustle harder in little league? I wouldn’t put it past him.

Well, I’ve finally come up with a great system: I just give pops a call and do the opposite of what he tells me. It’s working pretty well so far! Last week when I had the sniffles I asked him if I should take a rapid test before I go to work. After talking to him I turned the heat all the way up and didn’t send him any “parent support payments” (which I’m pretty sure aren’t even a real thing). I’m feeling way better already. If anyone wants to give him a call, you can try his office line at 1-900-DOC-4-EVA.

Try Zop: The First Tele-bris Service!

With all of these travel restrictions, more and more events are offering a remote Zoom option. There are so many different types of remote events these days with unique needs. Zoom just isn’t working for everything anymore. That is why we have developed Zop, the Zoom alternative for your next bris!

If you’ve attended a Zoom bris, you’ve probably experienced many of the issues with using a “one size fits all” teleconferencing service. For starters, everyone is late, often including the mohel. In testing, Zop tried several strategies, including sending automated meeting reminders, logging people in automatically five minutes before it started and even automatically changing all invitations to say a start time that is 30 minutes early. Our research showed that you can’t convince the late comers to be on time, they will always be late. You need to actually simulate a lateness response to get them to show up. Through our testing we found a strategy that worked: a CGI video of the bris starting 20 minutes before the actual start time played over the Zop feed.

One issue with a Zoom bris is making and keeping a minyan of 13 Jewish men. People may RSVP and then not attend, or attend and then drop out mid-call. Well, we at Zop have developed minyan bots. They are kind of like chat bots, but with realistic human avatars and programmed to act like Jewish men. They have realistic kvetching and can (and will) provide unsolicited advice that they are unqualified to give, even to the mohel.

With a new baby in the house, things may be a little messy in the background. A new parent doesn’t have time to clean up for the big event. Sure, Zoom offers some nice fake backgrounds, but none of them are really “bris-friendly”. We at Zop have developed some perfect backgrounds for your bris, including “The Wailing Wall”, “Edward Scissorhands” and “Mortified Mordechai” (Zop’s squeamish but lovable mascot).

Zoom is owned by an evil goyishe corporation, while Zop is owned by real mohels! That is why our board meetings are one month long, to allow all owners the opportunity to say their long-winded spiels. Zoom spends tens of thousands of dollars hosting their board meeting at a five star resort. The chairman of the board himself argued with the cashier over the price of the pastrami sandwiches for Zop’s board meeting. That just screams “fiscal responsibility”. 

So put yourself and your family at ease. Go with the tele-bris service that has an average review of two and half stars. If you know our crowd, then you know that’s actually really good! Try out Zop, it’s really “taking off”!

Sorry, I Won’t Be Attending Your Zoom Vow Renewal Because of Some Kind of Disorder I Have

Hello Carly,

I received the invite to your vow renewal with your husband, Todd. I know this is a big deal to you; you’ve been married for two long years and you want to show Todd that you still love him after all this time. I mean, why wouldn’t you? It’s only been two years. Anyway, I’d love to attend. The idea of watching you two futzing around with the camera in front of a chintzy backdrop on my tiny ass laptop screen sounds wonderful. By the way, are you splurging for a real-fake background, or just going digital? Anyway, I sadly won’t be able to attend because of some sort of disorder I have. Seasonally affected disorder? Seasonal allergy disease? The runs? I forget what it’s called. It’s new and I don’t think the doctors have a name for it yet, but I got it real bad. The long and short of it is I can’t go to your stupid, boring attention grab.

Love is beautiful, and it’s sad when I think about what I’d be missing. I mean, just going through the itinerary is getting me excited. A fifteen minute speech from your original officiant about the history of marriage in the bible? Riveting. Maybe he’ll accidentally be on mute for a while and take some time trying to figure that one out. That would be exciting! A trip down memory lane, where we look at what was going on in the world when you got married? You even saved a newspaper from the big day! Let me Google that: Covid and the capital riots. I think it’s pretty much the same thing in the news now. I guess that would be fun to reminisce about.

I also see there will be a cake that we can watch you and Todd eat, while I can’t even get one if I wanted to because the only bakery in my town closed permanently a year ago when the owner died of Covid. It’s really too bad that my thing has been acting up so much. You know, my syndrome? Diseases are understood. Syndromes, like your reasons for marrying Todd in the first place, are mysterious.

What’s that, you want to know more about my syndrome? Well, I cant remember the name of it now, because memory loss is one of the symptoms. It also makes it hard to attend Zoom vow renewals and do other things that sound fucking miserable. Yes, I can still remember the symptoms; I’m sick not a moron! I didn’t want to make this about me. This is about you and Todd. And all the poor saps who don’t have the mystery get-out-of-vow-renewal-free syndrome.

I see there’s a registry, too. You know, I didn’t get a thank you note for the original wedding gift, but I guess maybe you knew that you were doing the vow renewal so soon that you’d just combine the thank yous into one note. I think that in lieu of a physical gift, I’ll be making a donation to the research fund for my mystery syndrome. Yes, the Mystery Syndrome Research Fund. The MSRF is really focused on their work, so the donation slip you get in the mail may be written on the back of a Taco Bell receipt. That’s how they keep their overhead so low. Also, if you look at the receipt and the order is for six chalupas, that wasn’t for one person. It was an order for their whole office. I mean, who would eat six chalupas while coming up with an elaborate lie to get out of the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard of? You’d have to be sick, but not with Mystery Syndrome, because that is very, very real.

Love,

Jane

The Role of Children’s Games in Society

In ancient societies, children’s games prepared their young for adult activities. Sports and games of tag prepared their youth to hunt and fight in wars. As society evolved, our games evolved to prepare our youth for their changing roles as adults. Here are how some modern children’s games prepare our young ones for the adult world:

Simon Says: This game prepares our young for the modern workplace. A man, clearly white (Simon), tells you exactly what to do. There are subtle, nonsensical rules and if you don’t follow them you are “out”.

Seven Up: Remember this one? Heads down, thumbs up! This one teaches you adult coping mechanisms; put your head down, cover your eyes, and give a thumbs up. As an adult this will be be the only way to deal with the world crumbling around you.

Musical Chairs: In any modern economy there is a scarcity of resources. Sure, when you are young it may seem like you are all happily walking around in a circle with your friends, listening to cheery music. When you get older, though, the music stops and either you or one of your friends will be homeless.

Duck, Duck, Goose: It’s never too young to learn that it’s a duck eat goose world out there. Wait, how did you play this game? Sounds like we had way different rules where I’m from.

Rock Paper Scissor: Sure, real wars aren’t fought with these weapons, but the general idea is the same. When they are older they can learn the real rules: Molotov-Sanction-Nuke. They may learn this sooner if they’re in the room when the news is on.

Monkey in the Middle: I think this teaches them evolution? I don’t know, I’ve never played it.

Hide and Seek: This is great preparation for an adult social life, where everyone either won’t leave you alone or avoids you all together.

The Floor is Lava: When the inevitable apocalyptic natural disaster comes, our children will be ready to hop from table to couch to avoid it. They will also have practice pushing their little sisters into it.

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Year for 2021 is a Defeated Sigh

Every year, our panel of experts at Merriam-Webster discuss candidates for word of the year and choose a winner that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance. This word should be common and well known, a term that reflects the year that was and has left an indelible mark on our society. This year’s winner is one that you may have heard a lot over the last 12 months: A Defeated Sigh.

This marks the first time that a sound has won word of the year, however it became clear in our media review and random polling that this sound dominated 2021. In our poll, we asked 5,000 people to provide one word that summarized 2021, and while we got 934 different words, 95% of responses started with a defeated sigh. In fact, 221 respondents responded only with a defeated sigh. Other common responses that were finalists included “Fuck”, “Seriously?” and a thousand-yard stare.

The etymology of the defeated sigh goes back to the Paleolithic era, when a caveman first stepped in mastodon poop. While it’s remained in the human lexicon, its usage increased over time, particularly over the last three years. Last year, Merriam-Webster updated its definition of defeated sigh to:

Defeated Sigh noun

  1. Just look around at this shit
  2. I mean, are you fucking kidding me?

Few words can truly convey so much about one moment in time. Congratulations to a defeated sigh! While this is the first year a sound has won word of the year, we have a feeling it isn’t the last, as early polling is showing that curling up into a ball and crying is a frontrunner for 2022.

Something Fun You Can Do On the Internet

The following is a true story

In 2008 I was hired as a United States Patent Examiner. Patent examining is, believe it or not, a pretty boring job. To do the job, you are supposed to examine about one application a day. Ideally, you spend an hour reading and understanding the application, six hours looking through a database to see if it exists or if it’s an obvious combination of things that exist, and an hour writing your findings. This would be bearable if the subject matter were interesting. A buddy of mine was in the sex toys division, which was great material for cocktail parties. I was in the valves division, which is pretty low in the ranks for interesting subject matter. I had a friend who was in spittoons, which is somehow its own division (who is even patenting a spittoon these days?) He threatened to quit and they transferred him to valves as an upgrade, so at least valves wasn’t the lowest of the low.

To deal with the doldrums of patent examining I did what any reasonable individual would do and searched the patent database for ridiculous things to see how many hits there were. The following is a list of highlights from my searches of the US Patent Database:

Lazy Son: 2
Huge Mistake: 1
Pie Eating Contest: 2
Horrible Stench: 5
Urine Soaked: 120
Unbelievable: 398
Unflushable: 26
Literally Impossible: 109
Unpossible: 1
Lunatic: 15
Worst Enemy: 23
Satan: 106
Dinosaur-Size: 1
Totally Annihilate: 2
Pie hole: 8
Die trying: 7
Hellhole: 1
Unforgivable: 141
Doomed to Fail: 65
Dunk Tank: 29
Missing Brain: 1
Accidental Child: 3
Godless: 34
God Awful: 1
God is Forsaken: 1
Whirlybird: 9
Suicide Pact: 3
Body Glitter: 9
Miracle Cure: 9
Haywire: 48
Zombie: 292
Worst Ever: 16
Man-eater: 2
Eternal Life: 24
Stink Bug: 460
Dirt Encrusted: 14
Vestigial Tail: 2
Bogeyman: 1
Red Gatorade: 0
Orange Gatorade: 1

I’m not sure if those nine people ever got patents for their Miracle Cures. Like most patent examiners, I quit after a couple of years and never looked back. Still, I like to think that there’s one person out there who enjoyed 20 years of legal protection for their Huge Mistake.

Covid Subway Etiquitte

With Covid seeming like a permanent problem, the MTA has updated it’s guide for subway etiquette for Covid times. You may be surprised that there was existing subway etiquette to update. Well, there is subway etiquette. It’s a subtle but complicated dance, like the kind that two rats do while fighting over food scraps. Here are highlights of the new guidelines:

Man-spreading is now encouraged to promote social distancing.

Defecating on the platforms is only allowed if masked.

G trains will continue to socially distance from other G trains by arriving once every 40 minutes.

Buskers are now only allowed to sing sad, sad songs.

“Showtime” is still allowed to be uncomfortably close, even by pre-Covid standards. If one of the subway performers accidentally touches you during Showtime, you are expected to give them a larger tip to help with medical costs in case you gave them Covid.

Dr Zizmor is considered an essential worker, even though nothing else essential advertises on the subway. Please don’t call his office with any Covid related questions, though.

Mole people are not eligible for the vaccine, so if you see any it is uncouth to ask them if they are vaccinated. Also, they are a myth and please don’t talk to them if you think you see them.

If the train arrival board time feels like it isn’t accurate and it has said the F train is coming in ten minutes for the last ten minutes, then you are probably suffering from time dysmorphia, a common Covid symptom. The train arrival board is infallible and continuously updated by a neural link to NYCT Interim President Craig Cipriano. ALL HAIL CIPRIANO!

If there is only one other person in your subway car, you can assume it is the smelly car (you know, the car with a homeless person so smelly that they clear out the car) and you have lost your sense of smell due to Covid. You should quarantine with the homeless person in the smelly car for 10 days.

Eating on the subway is somehow still totally cool.

If there’s a PA announcement that is unintelligible, please yell “OH MY GOD, IS IT AN OUTBREAK?! ARE WE ALL GONNA DIE?!!”

Even though the Metrocard machines require touching more shared surfaces than buying one from the booth, it’s still ok to use them to avoid an actual human interaction.

It is still 100% never ok to use, ask about using, or even think about using the station bathroom. Ew.

Riding between cars used to be discouraged. It is now not only encouraged, but required if you can’t maintain the impossible six foot spacing.

While eye contact hasn’t been a proven way to spread Covid, still try to avoid it.

“Stand clear of the closing doors” has been replaced with “stand clear of the Covid doors”, in the hopes that people will actually obey it.