Truncated Tales

Humorous Tales for the Time Challenged

Three Useless Things I Learned Last Week

9986674405604f8060f3043285e93f2cOne of the joys and perils of the internet is information overload. Along with all the important stuff — be it disasters, politics, business, etc. — comes a myriad of useless information. I’d like to highlight three items last week that mean absolutely nothing to me, and I hope they mean absolutely nothing to you, too:

  1. Coconut oil is no better nor worse for you than butter. Really? Who even uses coconut oil? I get all the coconut I need from Mounds bars and pina coladas, thank you. Remember, Julia Child loved butter and she lived to a ripe old age of 91. The trend in this case is not your friend — more like an annoying relative.
  2. The dad bod is preferred by most women. Listen, damn it, I got my dad bod by being, well, a dad. A lot of time and expense went into this paunch, and I don’t want some millennial gamer reaping the rewards we dads worked so hard to achieve. You think eating chips on a couch while watching the same damn Disney movie with your kid for the seventeenth time is easy? And let’s face it, if you have a dad bod at twenty-two, chances are you’ll look more like Michael Moore than Leonardo DiCaprio at fifty-two.
  3. If you die alone in a house with animals, your dog is the most likely candidate to eat you. The study found dogs left indoors with their dead owners will begin eating the face, even when other food is available. It starts with a little licking, proceeds with a nibble or two, and the next thing you know your nose is a human canape. Yet, dogs in the wild will go straight for the stomach for that nutritious organ meat. Man’s best friend my ass.

10 Easy Steps to Writing a Book

How often has a fri9986674405604f8060f3043285e93f2cend come up to you and said, “Wow! What a great story. You should write a book.” Or maybe, as your probing mind throws question after question at that same friend about his night out that his wife knew nothing about because she thought he was working late to make up for the day he took off to get a colonoscopy, which he actually didn’t get because he spent the afternoon canoodling with a young woman he met on Tinder, he would turn and ask, “What’re you writing a book?” You see, you are an author, and everyone knows it but you. So, isn’t it about time to sit yourself down — or stand if you think it will add a few years to your life since sitting is the new cholesterol, although standing for long periods in one spot can produce pooling of blood around the ankles, forcing you to wear support hose years before you should — and start banging away at those keys in search of your inner Hemmingway? Well, it’s easier than you think. Simply follow these 10 simple steps and you, too, can be a published author giving your book away for $.99 on Amazon, after promoting it at $0 for your kid’s entire K to 5 schooling, and having your cousin’s neighbor — whose daughter is studying graphic arts — edit your book for free since he was assistant editor of his high school newspaper in junior year, as long as you compensate his daughter for her cover design to the tune of $975 in cash and a Chipolte gift card. So, here goes:

  1. Come up with a big idea. Something like the “for Dummies” theme, or maybe O’Reilly’s “Killing” saga, or Michener’s “Hawaii,” but don’t write about Hawaii because it’ll cost you a fortune to research, and he pretty much hit that book out of the park. The idea is, you don’t want to be a one-hit wonder like that Jay McInerney fellow, so think series. Think of something.
  2. Okay, you have a format. Now, come up with a subject matter and story that will grab readers from the very first sentence, keeping them glued to your book till the very last word. That should be easy.
  3. Now you have a theme, you pretty much have a storyline, and somewhere along the way, you’ll develop your own style. The hard part is over.
  4. Make tea.
  5. I would say to develop an outline so there’s coherent flow and development of characters, but that would take a lot of time. And god knows, you probably already have a plot line picked out for your second book. If it’s incoherent and rambling with absolutely no empathy for your main characters, well, that’s just your style. Even Hemmingway was misunderstood for his simplcity, till he shot himself in the head. Only then was he truly appreciated, but there’s no reason to take it that far — not at this point anyway. Not yet.
  6. Get a cookie, a cracker — something. It would have been better if you thought about that when you made your tea, but true artists such as yourself gets so wrapped up in their work, they often forget to eat.
  7. Eat lunch.
  8. Okay, so you have a beginning, a middle, and now you have to come up with an ending. Oh, did I mention plot? The ending should have something to do with the plot, unless you’d like to pull an O’Henry — or Cheever for that matter — and shock the crap out of them. Great! You’re book’s finished.
  9. Now it’s time for you to promote it. I say you because I’m assuming your novel was not picked up by a major publishing house. My best advice — start a blog. While it would be fun blogging about the overhead lighting at Costco versus Home Depot, you should really stick to your book. Give them bits and drabs, and make them want to plunk down almost a buck (half-a-day’s pay in some countries) for your hard work. What you want are eyeballs or clicks or something. You would also like them to comment on your work and follow you. Not literally, of course. Well, I guess it could be “literally” since it is a work of “literature.” You see, that’s a pun and injects a bit of humor into your tale, but I should have mentioned that sooner. “And how can I promote my blog?” you ask. Easy. Go on everyone else’s and leave comments on how much you liked their story, their pictures, their writing style, etc.. And don’t forget to follow them. (Again, I don’t mean home.) Just say nice things, and remember to compliment their “About” page. In other words, just make shit up.
  10. Sit back and watch the glowing reviews with one eye, and your multiplying sales with the other. It’s now time to quit your day job.

The Goethe-to Guy

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It was hump day like any other Wednesday, or should I say, like every other Wednesday. No, actually, like every Wednesday when a dark cloud formed inside our office. I mean, literally, a dark cloud found its way past the reception desk, past the kitchenette, and into our work area as we were discussing an old episode of Portlandia. So there we were, interacting as officemates often do in a desperate attempt to quash the boredom, when an actual climate event was forming over Rick’s desk. Maya thought she felt a drop, but that could have been Drew’s seltzer effervescing. We call him the Carbonator, because ever since he brought that damn soda-making machine into the office, he’s been putting bubbles in everything. And to make matters worse, he belches every hour, on the hour. But getting back to the cloud, I mean, what the fuck!

You see, Rick was just let go, as in terminated, fired, released of all duties. And we all felt the loss. When our manager gave us shit, when we got a call from corporate in New York telling us to get our act together and start putting up numbers like the Cincinnati office, we would turn to Rick. At some point, he would rise and ask, “What would Jesus do?” And for that moment, you were transported out of your body to another place. He would then offer a parable about a shepherd or a fisherman and you would pause, reflect, and somehow, you felt better. But Human Resources thought he was bad for morale, and they particularly didn’t like his casual mode of dress. Chinos were OK, but sandals a no-no. We all watched as he was directed to the HR office on the fifth floor to get his final papers. No stairs, no elevator, he literally ascended through the dropped ceiling, past the emergency sprinklers,  and hasn’t been seen since lunch. Tough stuff, but TGIF, and Monday’s another week.

Well, Monday came and no sign of Rick. We all felt the loss, and you could sense the stress building throughout the office. We were like lost sheep, wandering aimlessly looking for direction. Tell us what to do, Rick. Show us the way. But nothing. We all looked within, hoping to inspire his wisdom and advice. Instead, we got ball scores and a retelling of old SNL skits. And then he appeared. His name was Jon, Jon Wolf, and he was transferred from our European division. Maya was on the welcoming committee, so as Jon was directed to Rick’s desk by our manager, Maya introduced herself and pointed to our crew. We all nodded, some shrugged, then got back to the business of business. At that point, Jon rose from his desk, looked around the room, and declared, “The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” Wow! And it’s only Monday, I thought, as many remained with mouths wide open. If that’s the first thing out of this guy’s mouth, good luck getting his lunch order right. But you know, there was truth in what he said. It didn’t make me feel any better, but he had a point.

Over the next several weeks, Jon took Rick’s place as our go-to guy. When our manager set an unrealistic sales goal for the month, Jon would smile and say, “I love those who yearn for the impossible.” Some team player, I thought at first, he’s sucking up to the boss. But when our manager was out of sight, he would turn and say, “Precaution is better than cure.” Interesting, he’s playing him. He is a team player. Once, when I had a particularly rough week and was all down on myself, he came to me and said, “He who does not think much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines.” Interesting. I guess that makes me feel a bit better. But I did screw up, and probably lost a few sales because of it. I wasn’t really looking for a pat on the back. So he followed with, “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” This guy’s like having Buddha in the office, I thought. He knows just the right thing to say.

In less than a month, Jon captured the respect of the entire office, except for Maya. Every time he would offer another witticism, Maya would roll her eyes. “What’s up?” I asked, “How come you’re not warming up to Jon?” “I was an English major with a minor in humanities,” she replied. “This idiot’s quoting Goethe word for word. Watch this. Hey Jon,” she shouted, “are you getting homesick for Germany?” She then turned towards me, and as Jon responded, she mouthed in unison, Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home. Amazing;  word for word! “That’s a very wise thing you said there, Jon.” Again, she turned towards me and mouthed, Wisdom is found only in truth. I can’t believe it. Again, she knew exactly how he would respond. My bubble was burst. He’s nothing but a fraud! Now that I knew, I wished there were a way to get him to stop. As if hearing my thoughts, Jon rose, and looking straight at me, calmly replied, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” All of a sudden, as if struck by lightning, I channeled a voice deep from within and bellowed, “Shut the fuck up, Jon, and sit the fuck down!” And with that, I felt better. Much, much better.

 

 

Manteca Man Still Troubled by Thing on His Arm

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Manteca, CA — A systems analyst from Manteca, California has let friends, relatives, and coworkers know he’s still concerned about that thing on his arm. Less than a week has passed since Wayne Feders noticed a small red blotch on the inside of his right forearm. He doesn’t remember banging it against anything, nor has any recollection of  a spider or other small insect crawling up his arm. It could be anything, friends have remarked, leaving Wayne to scour the internet for medical advice.

“I’ve seen similar marks on Google Images,” Wayne said nervously, “and if it’s what I think it is, it ends badly. I mean, I’m hoping it’s nothing, but my mind tells me it’s either from a brown recluse spider, or a tick infected with lyme disease. I’m just waiting for symptoms to occur before I can get medical help.” When asked why he simply wouldn’t go to a doctor, he shot back, “Obamacare,” then mumbled something about copays and deductibles, and that he’d rather go to the ER and have someone else foot the bill like it used to be.

As luck would have it, his cousin Luke called out of the blue to ask him if he’d be going to their cousin Patricia’s wedding in Sacramento. Luke was a premed tech before dropping out of Las Positas Community College to pursue his passion for craft beer. “I like hoppy hops,” he shouted repeatedly during a family intervention some years later for his problem with alcohol. Clean and sober for nearly seven weeks, he was quick to give Wayne advice on the photo he’d just received via text of the blotch in question. “It could very well be a spider bite,” he surmised, “but I’m leaning toward the early stages of necrotizing fasciitis, or what’s known as flesh-eating disease.”

Needless to say, this got Wayne into a panic. He dropped the phone, started hyperventilating, and immediately dialed 911. However, in his panicked state, he had the phone upside down and actually called 611. A Verizon rep answered after recognizing the number he was calling from, and Wayne proceeded to tell her his symptoms. She told him she would suggest getting advice from a medical professional, and that he  — according to her records — is allowed an upgrade on his current phone. After some small talk about upgrading to the iPhone 7 in the fall, he abruptly hung up prompting an immediate callback to take a two-minute survey on the performance of the Verizon experience he’d just had.

Out the front door, and about 30 seconds into the survey, he ran smack into his 11 year-old neighbor, Jake, knocking him to the pavement. Unscathed, Jake quickly got up as Wayne apologized profusely, showing him the red blotch and explaining how it will soon consume his arm from elbow to forefinger. Jake said the blotch looked familiar, and showed him a similar one on his left arm. “A flea bite,” he said matter of factly. “My mom said it’s been a bad year for it, and I probably got it from our dog, Misty.” Wayne stood with his mouth open as he recalled how his cat, Tinkles, hasn’t stopped scratching.  Jake assured him it would go away in a few days and not to worry. Wayne felt like he’d been reborn, and promised to fix Jake’s bike the next time he got a flat. No friends, relatives, or coworkers called to check on Wayne’s status because, quite frankly, this wasn’t the first time.

Paleo Speak

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So ……………… the fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, it’s a no-brainer — and that’s the bottom line. Congratulations! You’ve just wasted 8 seconds in mindless, time-filling blabber. Assuming you live to a ripe old age, you’ve just wasted 64 hours, or nearly three days in verbal spackle. We have such a beautifully descriptive language, and yet we often resort to fillers and aphorisms. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, I’m here to say it is broke and must be fixed.

Enter, Paleo speak. It’s time we shorten our verbal communications to grunts and moans. Think that’s a great idea? Yeah, I think it’s a wonderful idea. Wrong! When someone asks you a question, a simple nod or grunt will do. There’s no need to pat them on the back with flowery verbal affirmation just to make them feel involved and secure. Think how much work our politicians could actually get done if they answered all questions in affirmative or negative grunts. I see these men and women asked direct questions that require only a simple yes or no, and they ramble on for 10 minutes. And when they’re finished, a little voice in my head tells me they just wasted 10 minutes of my life and never answered the question.  Is this what evolution sounds like?

Look, nearly a third of your life is spent in bed. Figure about six years eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner — double that if you happen to be Italian, French, or Spanish. Waiting in line? Well, if you include traffic stops, that figure could be closer to five years. How about looking for things? You lost something, you know it’s in the house and will show up at some point and yet, you can’t help trashing the place until you find it. Take off a year or two right there. So you see, grunts and moans, nods and blinks can accomplish what mere words cannot. Cut down on needless verbosity, and you’ll have more time to hunt and gather. And that’s the bottom line.

 

How to Be a Motivational Speaker

Chris Farley - Motivational Speaker

So, you feel lost and drifting in your life. You find yourself surfing the channels from one get rich quick scheme to the other at three in the morning. Do you blow your life savings on a marketing from home idea, or would you rather buy abandoned real estate in Detroit and hope you live long enough to get your original investment back. If this is you, you don’t need a job or investments, you need to  M-O-T-I-V-A-T-E. No one knows what it’s like to be a slug more than you. What you need to do, my friend, is to release that inertia on the world and show them what failure really looks like.

I’m sure you’ve seen the cookie cutter types like Tony Robbins and Joel Osteen. Good looking, dynamic, with positive energy shooting out of every orifice. Let’s face it, that’s not you, and it never will be — so why even try. Remember, if you try and fail, you’re a Loser with a capital “L” — so why put yourself in that situation. Now, before you go all suicidal on me, think, and think hard. What qualities are you best known for? What  is it about you that really pisses people off. What makes them say just looking at that idiot makes me want to vomit. Good, I’m hope you’re writing it down because you, my friend, are on your way to M-O-T-I-V-A-T-E.

If you’re still with me at this point, you have the right tools — I just have to show you how to use them. You’re going to need a mirror — full length, if possible. If you don’t have one, the one on your medicine cabinet will do. Oh ………… do you have a toaster, aluminum foil, anything shiny for God’s sake. Okay then, grab a hairbrush or cucumber — either will do — and hold approximately six inches from your lips. It’s not what you’re thinking, but hey, your rent is due when? Only kidding. Now I want you to speak slowly and clearly, “Hello,  my name is (fill in the blank), and you sure as hell don’t want to be me.”

You see, I’ve read enough articles in Psychology Today to know the mind  is malleable and gooey, and responds to negative stimuli even more than positive. I remember reading one study out of Finland that used a control group of one hundred 18-year-old men. They were seperated into two groups of 50. They were asked to remove their pants and underwear, and told to wait with their hands by their sides After ten minutes, they were down to two groups of 30. Both groups were shown a buzzer and told to hit it whenever and as often as they wished. The first group had young women there to pleasure their privates when they pushed the buzzers. The second group were hard wired to car batteries, and also told to hit the buzzers whenever they wished — which was usually when the full current was conducting through their testicles. What the study showed was the group with the electrified pistachios were more likely to hit the buzzer with greater force and rapidity then the group being pleasured.

Get the picture? Just by being the pathetic slacker you are, you have the potential of motivating hundreds, if not, thousands not to follow your path. Until you get your feet wet, I would recommend not charging above $9.99 for a one-hour session. Check out where your local AA meeting is held (like you don’t know), and see if you can get a cheap rental for, say, a Monday evening or Tuesday afternoon. As you build your audience, you can gradually increase your rates and move from the Church basement to, perhaps, the back room at The Sons of Italy lodge. This CAN happen to you, my friend. And it won’t be long till you’re closing your shows with chants of: “My name is (audience fills in the blank), and I sure as hell don’t want to be him.”

Now go M-O-T-I-V-A-T-E!