OVER: Turning Everything into a “Journey”

Don’t take the kid along, she’s on her own journey, to fill her diaper.

In the face of an overwhelming dystopia of normality, soul crushing conformity, and bleak banal sameness, we all fear becoming lost in the grand narrative of history. One way to battle, however fultiley, against this eventuality is to try and frame every little daily effort or tiny life challenge as some form of epic journey. The “journey” analogy has been with human-kind for generations, so it has some merit. After Lao Tzu wrote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” in The Tao Te Ching, it should have stopped right there! Such an awesome truth, so deep and meaningful, that even a gazillion meme gifs showing a mountain in the distance with the quote overlaid in fuzzy papyrus font can’t kill it.

Life tends to be an accumulation of a lot of mundane decisions, which often gets ignored.
-David Byrne

So no, Terri from HR, your latest quilting efforts aren’t a “Textile Journey.”  Hauling silk and peppercorns overland from Beijing to Belgrade by dromedary in the middle-ages was an F’ing “textile journey!” No, no, no! This self-aggrandisement and wonton importance seeking has to stop. We’re going to puke the next time someone talks about learning to make decorated cupcakes as their “Baking Journey.” Our lives are not supposed to be some Jason-and-the-Argonauts level sojourn to be dramatically re-told in an amphitheater, our daily existence is JUST THAT, existing … every day!

HOWTOHAWT: You’re going to have to #TROPEBUST this hard! Everyone and their uncle are on some form of feckless “journey.” So we suggest that you go deep into the heart of darkness, community education classes.

If you aren’t already, get qualified to teach community education classes. Once you’ve done that, create a class called “Life Journeys: Getting from there to here.” You’ll get two lonely old guys, a wiccan coffee roaster and several retired librarians. Perfect, these are the “life journey” thought leaders. Remember, cut the head off and the body will die. Start with journaling, another trend that’s better left to the dust heap of hipsterism as well. A “Journey Journal” is just stupid enough to work as a focus for their questions. Do about 4 sessions where you do a lot of sharing, interpretive dance, and rock stacking. Pepper a bunch of lyrics from the band Journey in the lectures, ending each night with “…don’t stop believing.” Then it’s time for the “capstone,” an unannounced and grueling 25 “klick” hike through the swamp outside town. Ideally, the weather is super inclement and they’re not dressed for a hike. Have the IT Guy from your work, the one who wears a kilt, set up at “klick” 22 on a hillock in the middle of the dankest part of the bog.  He should be shirtless and painted blue with his hair all sticking on end with lye. He’s going to be super thankful you invited him here to do this btw, so he’ll owe you. As you all trudge up, the wiccan coffee roaster probably carrying one of the old guys, he begins to sing the song “Where My Heart Will Take Me” (originally performed by Russell Watson).

It’s been a long road

Gettin’ from there to here
It’s been a long time
But my time is finally here

And I will see my dreams come alive at night
I will touch the sky
And they’re not gonna hold me down no more
No they’re not gonna change my mind

‘Cause I’ve got faith of the heart
I’m going where my heart will take me
I’ve got faith to believe
I can do anything
I’ve got strength of the soul
No one’s going to bend nor break me
I can reach any star
I’ve got faith
I’ve got faith
Faith of the heart

Soon, leeches, dehydration, hypothermia and insipid pop music lyrics will cure them of needing to take any more asinine “journeys.” You can be assured that the ripple effects of your work will be felt for many grateful generations, and that’s HAWT!

Downward Goat: Co-dePETdency

downward goat
I mean just look at that goat! Your emotional dependence has turned him into a depressed backpotato. He’s dying inside.

Well, it’s finally happened. We’ve created such a homo-sapien centric stress-ball of a world that we are forced to rely on our domesticated animals for comfort, relaxation, and emotional support. You can’t walk through an airport without seeing a long line of fragile needy humans lined up for some petting time with therapy dogs. It’s the ultimate in psychic subjugation and cross-species emotional slavery. If you can’t handle the twisted mess that is your life, DON’T FOIST IT ON YOUR DOG, and definitely DON’T DO YOGA WITH YOUR GOAT! Thankfully, there are some sane actors in the midst of this madness. A major airline drew the line on some hipster performance artist’s comfort peacock. Unfortunately, the bizarre cruelty had already emotionally scared the beautiful bird because the crybaby milk-toast human had named him “Dexter.” We’ve even anthropomorphized actual llamas to the extend that they have developed “berserk llama syndrome.”  We can’t make this stuff up, folks.  Look, just because your goldfish “Francis” doesn’t literally commit seppuku every time you come home from work sobbing over a mediocre performance review, it doesn’t mean she isn’t crying. Remember, you’ve entrapped her in a watery prison as your unpaid therapy-fish, and you can’t see her tears.

The 2018 Grammy for Best Picture is literally about a loner human falling in love with a fish person.

HOWTOHAWT:  So, the next time your flatmate, Selene, flops down on the couch mournfully sobbing and begins to unload on “Fonzie” the house Chi-Poo about her traumatic shift at the Juicery, you must act quickly. Go get Theo’s tweed blazer (the one with elbow patches) and field notes. Purposely stride into the living room, grab the moist-eyed pup and sit him firmly on the ottoman. Sit in the armchair, and, opening the notepad, posit “soooo, Herr Fonzie,  let’s begin with some word association.”

You’ve already trained him in advance to bark annoyingly with vegan dog treats when he hears the words “mother” and “pain.” You’ve also trained him to whimper when you dip your fountain pen in some ink, and to lay down and cover his head with his totally cute paws when you pull off your tiny circle specs while stroking your goatee and saying “I see.” Selene will be so stunned and humiliated that she’ll flee to her room and curl up in her hammock in embarrassed silence where she belongs. You can confidently know that you’ve saved the dog, this time.

Sigmund Freud was onto something when he said “time spent with cats is never wasted.” Not because it’s good for the wimpy humans, he was looking out for the cats! Cats are clearly immune to human attempts to use them as an emo-soak. They just don’t care. Cats have been ignoring our problems and still getting fed since the pharaohs. So human-up and either get a grip, or get a cat.


Winding Down: Fidget Spinners

Your fingers have been appropriated, and so has your brain!

The next time Theo plops down at the marketing meeting, shifting around annoyingly in his swedish productivity stool, and whips out some odd piece of plastic to idly flip around in his hand, you have our full permission to reach across and pebble grab that thing. The fidget spinner is HAWTNOT!  Hell, even Gloria the apple lady at the farmers market has one. Okay, okay … we all know that some people have difficulty keeping focused and that there are clinical diagnoses which define the issue but that’s no right to infect the rest of the office with your distraction devices.

HOW2NOTHAWT: If reaching across a table and grabbing your co-worker’s self-prescribed ADHD accommodation is too much personal space invading for you, here’s the perfect next level response. Butterfly Knives!

Becoming a butterfly knife master is Napoleon Dynamite level hawt and a most envied skill for every Hawtster. Oh, there will be cuts during your training and there will be blood. But … there will be ultimate satisfaction when you whip out your dragon/monarch engraved Philippine razor sharp blades and, in a blurred flurry of steel and panache, turn the social media analytics report printouts into a cloud of confetti (they were trending down anyway). “Sorry, I was losing focus,” you can coolly claim as you glare at Theo and his asinine brightly colored toy.  The video below should get you started, you’ll need to bring your own soundtrack to the meeting.

Plummeting Trend: Engastration

Inserting all these layered meats inside a huge cupcake can’t even resurrect this fading fad

Engastration, which lies somewhere between a creative culinary delight and the result of a petting zoo disaster, experienced a considerable trend spike in the past several years, but is now coming out of a plateau and into a sharp plummet. For those not familiar with the technical term, engastration involves stuffing one animal within another, within another, within another (and so on). In the event that this description does not sound familiar, allow me to sum it up in one pseudo-word: TURDUCKEN.

The turducken, what can be said … popularized by none other than John Madden, it seems that chefs have achieved in the kitchen what animal husbandry has failed, with considerable effort, to accomplish in thousands of years: create the holy grail of a birdlike agglomeration that pairs well with cranberry sauce, a warm red beet salad, AND bbq sauce. How did mankind progress so far in all of these centuries without this convenient consolidation?

Unfortunately, like many food novelties, once everyone’s Uncle Terry or Cousin Steve has bought or constructed this unnatural combination and brought it to at least one family function (explaining in intricate detail how truly novel this dish is, almost as novel as the cyclical rediscovery of deep frying turkeys or roasting a chicken with a beer can up its butt), interest begins to fade. In other words – the turducken’s wings have been clipped! The only possible salvation of this as a trend might be to expand the range of the animals stuffed into one another. Starting with inserting a Baluchistan pygmy jerboa into a mole and ending by stuffing an elephant into a blue whale may, but not with total certainly, give this trend a few months more life. But let’s face it, even if you had the means to make this happen your friends might think you’ve gone a bit too far this time (a first).

the last turducken thanksgiving
the last turducken thanksgiving

As a public service announcement, I would like to interrupt this trend observation with the following warning: Reader beware, the turducken is not to be confused with a turd-auckin, which is German for “turd sandwich”. It seems that this homophonic linguistic mistake has created a parasite trend in the demand, preparation, and serving of turd sandwiches at eateries throughout the world. The timing could not be more fortuitous, because where the German’s are slipping in overall engineering prowess, they are making up for it with some very well-engineered turd sandwiches. OK, so maybe this is less of a public service announcement than an opportunity to repeatedly use the phrase turd sandwich while taking a jab at a lagging trend that erroneously assigns exceptional engineering to all things German … thank you, now back to our regularly scheduled entry.

There is not doubt that the actual turducken trend was catapulted by Madden in the first decade of the 2000s, but non-turducken engastration reached its peak several centuries ago. Historically speaking, one of the earliest documented forms of engastration is the whole roasted camel, which is traditionally a camel stuffed with a lamb, which is stuffed with a coup full of chickens, who are each individually stuffed with a variety of goodies – rice, apples, eggs, and seemingly anything else that meets the requirement of being mildly edible, available, and able to fit inside a chicken. Think of it as a paperless piñata, of sorts, that you hack open with a machete rather than a stick, and you are treated to a variety of flesh and mammal giblets rather than candy. It is said that the whole roasted camel provides a feast that will feed upwards of 80 people, and is typically reserved for special occasions among the very elite. Due to the scale of this engastration undertaking and the relative shortage of “roasting grade camels”, the reader will quickly understand why the whole roasted camel has been a declining trend over the past several centuries, with a current rate of two such dishes being produced annually, worldwide.

sooo over, turducken cupcakes with a bacon moustaches
sooo over, turducken cupcakes with a bacon moustaches

Unfortunately, there is an economic factor associated with the fading of any widespread trend (ask the quarry that provided the raw materials for pet rocks), and there is no amnesty here. Financial loss to the engastration industry – the turducken machine – is rippling across the globe. Nothing points to the struggle to stay relevant more readily than the panicked and transparent attachment of the turducken to several rising trends. In the past few weeks, you have no doubt been bombarded by the viral Norwegian video “What Does the Turducken Say?” and more brazen – the inundation of Pinterest and Facebook with recipes for turducken cupcakes with a bacon moustaches.

Gobble, quack, cluck – put a fork in it, the turducken is DONE!