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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

El Ascensor and the Importance of not Being Petty





A lot of people would be positively thrilled to have one of these marvels in their building. I lived without a lift for two years in a third floor apartment. No big deal but I had to be extra-careful going up and down the stairs with my bike so that I didn’t scuff up the walls. I live on the fourth floor in my new building and it has a lift although I rarely use it. I’m trying to get into the best shape possible and a few stairs every day can't hurt towards that end.

I never take it down, or almost never. I almost never take it up. If there is someone else waiting or someone just behind me when I enter the lobby I always just hump up the stairs and leave it for my neighbors. The lift doesn’t have memory so it just goes up or down and won’t stop at multiple floors to collect people so if it’s going down from the ninth floor and you live on the eighth you have to wait until it goes all the way to the bottom and then comes back up to collect you. Even when I really want to use the elevator I almost never do because I can’t stand waiting. When I take my bike out of the apartment (2-7 days a week) I usually wait for the lift although sometimes I don’t. The stairwell in this building is nice and wide so carrying a bike is fairly easy and quite often I just can’t be bothered with the wait.

I was taking out my trash and recyclables yesterday so I called for the lift and when I entered there was a note inside. It asked that the residents of the fourth floor (little old me as the unit across the hall is vacant) please make sure the door to the lift is closed because twice now it was stuck on the 4th floor and there are elderly people in the building who need to use it. By “twice” I’m sure they meant “once” because posting a nasty-gram in the elevator for only one transgression would just be petty, wouldn’t it? I had some friends come by and it was probably they who left the door to the lift ajar and thus instigated the shitstorm in my building.

I’d be willing to wager a lot of money that the fourth floor uses the lift considerably less—like 99% less—than any other floor in the building, including the lazy slobs on the first who use it constantly (I know because I pass them when I am on the stairs as they are waiting for it to collect their sedentary asses). Now I’m the asshole who left the door open instead of the cool guy who always takes the stairs and leaves the elevator for his neighbors. It almost makes me want to stop my health kick and hog up the lift like everyone else.

But that would be petty. Petty is a great word and doesn’t truly translate into Spanish. I like to explain this word to people, some of whom speak great English but don’t know this gem in our vocabulary. I’ve actually had to write my own definition because I have found dictionaries to be inadequate and imprecise. Petty: mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things and a person who worries about not-shit* stuff and who therefore usually places little or no importance on things worth contemplation. I try never to be petty. The older I get the less tolerance I have for pettiness and I ban it from my life like a bad habit (and it is a bad habit for some). I can’t even imagine how many times the lift would have to be stuck on a neighbor’s floor before I would be compelled to put up a note.

*of little or no importance

Saturday, March 22, 2014

With Our Condolences




I grew up reading Woody Allen’s great comedy books so I was thrilled to be able to listen to him reading them in these audio editions from  Audible.  These gags are my tribute to Woody Allen.

In this popular feature we share with you the week’s top obituaries from across America. 

The death of Morty Weintraub came as a complete shock to everyone—both residents and work-release caregivers—at the Final Countdown Retirement Facility. No one even knew that the 103 year old former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader stalker owned a skateboard or that he had planned to ride down the handrail from the mezzanine at the Manhole Adult Theater where the funeral will be held on Wednesday. The proprietors of the local cinema request that in lieu of flowers mourners send tips on how to remove blood from a wool carpet.

Arthur “Artsy-Fartsy” Copsky, director of the cult scatological horror classic I Know What You Had for Dinner Yesterday: Corn, died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday. Unfortunately, he was driving a crowded school bus at the time.

Local teenager Josh Evans, 14, became the youngest person ever to die of old age. It had been his dream that he would be the first of his family to live long enough to attend high school.

Renowned Koranic scholar Ibrahim Abdullah (or Abdullah Ibrahim if you happen to be reading this in your rearview mirror) was pronounced dead on arrival today at Our Lady of Obama-Care Hospital from injuries he received from an overly-enthusiastic application of the Heimlich Maneuver when his guttural recitation of the Islamic holy book was mistaken by a passerby as choking.

A retired harmonica repairman died in an accident yesterday in what was the 24th model train related fatality in the past two days in the Tri-State area, still shy of the record of 35 set back on Labor Day weekend in 1989.

Cecil Artilio pushed what doctors say was the limits of dying of natural causes when he passed away from complications arising after being thrown into the moving propeller of a large military aircraft.

Former Mafia assassin and founder of the uplifting Christian singing group, Up Yours, Anthony “Ice Pick” Cacciopoli left this world on Friday after his gardener mistook him for a rose bush and trimmed 11 of his 13 bodily appendages. When pressed for details the gardener replied reticently, “He should have said something. What am I? A mind reader?”

"You Look Tired"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fatherly Advice from The Godfather




It’s almost impossible to click your mouse these days without hitting on some list of things men are supposed to know. Most of their life tips are completely silly and useless but why would you expect more from some guy on the internet? Instead of heeding the advice of some nobody I sought out the wisdom of a guy a lot of us admire.

1. No body, no crime.

2. Send a hand-written note of apology if you finger your best friend in a plea bargaining deal. You’d expect the same from him if he ratted you out.

3. Don’t be too hasty choosing a prison gang. The Aryan Brotherhood has cool tattoos but the Mexican “La Eme” throws better Christmas parties.

4. Putting two in the back of someone’s head may seem like a cliché way to clip somebody but I guarantee that the mutt you just took care of won’t think that.

5. Remember to stretch before giving someone a beat down so you don’t pull a muscle.

6. The time to learn how to kill a guy with a prison cafeteria tray is not right when you need to kill a guy with a prison cafeteria tray—improvising works in jazz but rarely in a jailhouse assassination.

7. The driver gets to choose the radio station in the getaway car. No arguments!

8. Always wear safety glasses when stuffing some punk in a wood chipper.

9. Keep your friends close but keep your enemies close to an open window on the 10th floor.*

10. Looking good is important so remember to fix your hair after the cops finish pistol whipping you.

*I’m plagiarizing myself with this one but I think that is allowed.