Forever 41: A Company Prospectus

f41Our Vision

Forever 41 is a clothing and lifestyle retailer for people who grew up in the eighties wishing they were growing up in the sixties and are glad they aren’t growing up now. Tapping into this nostalgia for feeling nostalgic, Forever 41 espouses a retail attitude that is fun without being silly, serious without being boring, and edgy without staying up too late. At Forever 41, we provide fashion makeovers for those who don’t know what to make of themselves.

Our Motto

Pants, Like Your Dreams, May Require Alterations

The Forever 41 Customer

Our customers are people in relationships or people who wish they were in relationships or people who were in relationships but are no longer in relationships but might get back into a relationship if they could track down that person they were once in a relationship with back in the day, although, let’s get real, if they wanted to be tracked down, don’t you think they’d be on Facebook by now?

Forever 41 customers aren’t conservatives; they’ve merely developed common sense.

The Forever 41 woman is not trying to look like her daughter, rather her daughter is tired of looking at that outfit.

The Forever 41 man has nothing better to do.

Design and Customer Experience

The Forever 41 shopping experience is all about comfort, and by that we mean there are lots of sofas. Even the escalator to men’s wear (Whatever 41) has sofas (the Sofalator41® – patent pending). Store lighting is cheery but not too bright – not Target glare but not coffee shop murk either, more like your higher-class Applebees.

Television screens display an endless loop of John Hughes movies while speakers play cutting-edge contemporary music, like Wilco. Definitely no Top 40 because today’s music no longer has melody, which is something our target customer read somewhere, probably on

Also: the music is not too loud.

The smell of Forever 41 is a combination of Saturday morning breakfast cereal and notarized documents.

The walls at Forever 41 are lined with books that our customers have read or, nodding knowingly, pretend they have.

Customers arriving at a Forever 41 outlet are welcomed be smiling, friendly greeters who fill the customers with assurance that they are still attractive. While the company cannot discriminate by age in its hiring practices, the greeters should ideally be young, but not creepy young, if you know what we mean.

Forever 41 stores include a convenient coffee shop, free eye exams and compassionate career counselling.

Our Product

With an emphasis on quality and comfort, all Forever 41 apparel is manufactured in countries that our customers are pretty certain don’t have sweatshops, although they could probably do some research, but who has time for that when these prices are so low?

Forever 41′s GroanUp line of professional work wear says, “I’m really a 24-year-old at heart and I’m wearing these squaresville fuddy-duds ironically, though secretly I love them.”

But the core of the Forever 41 line is our “Let Yourself Go” line of casual wear, including a full array of comfortable, form de-enhancing cotton and fleece variables, perfect for grocery shopping, picking up the kids from school or just spending another Friday night in front of the television the way you once asked someone to shoot you if they ever saw you doing. Here are just a few of our many sloganned baggy T’s now available:

t blACK T blue T green T yellow

Finally, Forever 41 features a selection of footwear, including our Rationalization shoes for men, and for the ladies, Letdown Stilettos with their mystery-fibre heels that ask the question, “What’s the point?”

At Forever 41, every customer is as special as he was told he was growing up. The Forever 41 experience is great, just not as great as you had hoped.

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20 reasons dogs are better than people

DSC_10981. Dogs are loyal.

2. Dogs are always willing to just hang out.

3. Dogs are always excited to see you, even if you’ve been gone for only five minutes.

4. Dogs never ask you why you ran off like that screaming, “All the real estate signs! The agents! Staring at me!”

5. Dogs will lick your face and never ask if that’s booze they smell on your breath.

6. You can rub dogs’ bellies without them getting all weird about it.

7. Dogs never carry concealed weapons.

8. When I was 11 years old and on vacation in Nevada, an old ranch hand named Dingus Floyd told me that if I put my hand on an electric fence, I’d get calluses that would make all the girls go “Hootey-hoot woo-ee!” (his words). I was a sensitive boy, because of the horseback riding, and I trusted him, though why, I don’t know; he wore an old T-shirt that read “Don’t Trust Me, Dang Fool!” He had written it in ketchup. Anyway, I touched the fence and the shock was so bad I wet my authentic Western chaps, and Dingus Floyd laughed and laughed. Dogs don’t care if you wet your authentic chaps. And they certainly don’t write it up in the ranch newsletter.

9. If you cover yourself with raw meat, dogs think you are absolutely the coolest and not just a “habitual meat waster” who really needs to “get help” and “off the carpet.”

10. Dogs won’t eat grapes.

11. Dogs are a great way to meet people but people are not a great way to meet dogs.

12. Dogs don’t have to wear pants. (True fact: this is where the expression “lucky dog” comes from.)

DSCN790013. But they will wear pants if you want them to. They can wear funny hats and lacy things and sunglasses and they’ll let you take their picture, and you can put the picture in a photo album, and then, late at night, when you’re snuggling together in your meat suit, you can say, “Oh, Barksome, remember that time with the glittering espadrilles?” And then you can get the photo album out without worrying about waking anyone up because they’ve all relocated to their so-called “safe house.”

14. Dogs come when you call them, unlike you, Janine!

15. A dog will always be honest with you but not brutally honest, if you know what I mean.

16. Dogs won’t turn you in to the authorities.

Spin Momma Dog MGD©

17. You can listen to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” over and over again and dogs will never storm out of the house.

18. Dogs rarely get offended when you laugh and say, “Look at the way her bum wiggles when she walks!”

19. Dogs are better than people but people are way better than cats. Just putting that out there.

20. You can sell dogs.

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Am I stupid?



I need to ask myself this question every morning. Sometimes I forget to ask it, and inevitably those are the days when I’m stupid. I forget to ask myself whether I’m stupid because I’m stupid. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing, only on those days when I’m stupid, it’s a chicken-and-eggs-are-genetically-modified-by-the-government-to-eradicate-testosterone thing.

It’s important to check whether you’re stupid, because if you are stupid, you might want to avoid certain activities, like operating heavy machinery, running for office or using social media. You might also want to avoid sporting events or using a handgun or parenting, unless you’re counterbalanced by a spouse who is not stupid. She will let you know.

You may be saying to yourself, “Why should I ask myself whether I’m stupid? I know I’m not stupid. Asking myself whether I’m stupid is stupid.” But that’s just what a stupid person would say.

Sadly, stupid people don’t always know they’re stupid, and no amount of telling them otherwise will convince them of their stupidity. In fact, telling stupid people they are stupid only aggravates their stupidity to the point where they inevitably compare what they are being stupid about to Hitler. Hitler, by the way, was not stupid, although he was certainly not much fun.

So if stupid people don’t know they’re stupid, what is the point of asking yourself whether you’re stupid? Smart question. The very asking of that question is a good indicator that you are not, in fact, stupid, but that is no guarantee. Stupidity can be quite clever.

Take me, for example. Like many people, I enjoy being stupid on occasion. After a long week of thinking, I like to wind down by maybe posting a stupid opinion about gender politics on Facebook, because I am one of those – a gender, that is. But I don’t need to be stupid. I can quit being stupid any time I want. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Statistically, however, there are a lot – I mean a lot – of stupid people. The evidence is all around us, or at very least online. Yet I look at my day-to-day life and don’t see that many stupid people, and still stupidity exists. Therefore, I have to wonder: could it be me? Could I be statistically stupid? Demographically doltish? Empirically asinine?

That’s when I need to look myself in the eye – which isn’t easy without a mirror, let me tell you – and ask myself whether, for example, I have the background and expertise to non-stupidly state an opinion about domestic terrorism. Or should I instead be limiting my comments to lesser matters, like Renée Zelwegger’s new face? Not if I frame it as a gender issue, I shouldn’t. You know who else had gender issues? Nazis!

But surely that’s the beauty of democracy, you say: the freedom to express one’s opinions – unless, of course, it’s an unpopular opinion that questions, for example, whether a soldier murdered in cold blood is a hero, in which case we have the freedom to sign a petition to fire that person for freely expressing his opinion.

But you know what they say about opinions; they’re like a day at the dog track: you lie to your boss about a dentist appointment and then spend the day losing all your money while sitting around drinking warm beer and shovelling grey hot dogs into your sorry mouth, all the while watching manic, tormented dogs you can’t help but feel pity for, even as you curse them – curse them from the depths of your corroded soul – for their failure to bring you any satisfaction, only to realize in the end that you’re not much different, you and those greyhounds. Wait, that’s not what they say about opinions at all. Stupid of me.

The problem with expressing an opinion when you’re stupid is that it attracts other stupid people like bees to honey (except that bees are being systematically killed off by Monsanto and Ebola). Civil discourse becomes muddled in stupidity. Next thing you know, all those stupid people are organizing. And that’s how the Tea Party was formed.

So when I suspect I’m stupid – and it’s easy to tell if my primary news source for that day contains the word “Buzz,” “Huffington,” “Ya,” “Hoo” or “ISIS Coming to Get You!” – I try to keep to myself. I try to avoid engaging in conversations that might end up being about gender politics (ah, who am I kidding; everything ends up being about gender politics). I try to keep my knee from jerking over complex topics. I try to stay away from open mics, television cameras and vendettas. I try to avoid young people, even when I’m not stupid, because with young people I’m always stupid. And I try not to write stupid blog posts. I’m not always successful.

Posted in It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Up front about up front


WordPress time travel. That’s what happened when I hit “publish” this morning and all of a sudden I see that my post appears to have been published two days ago which means it didn’t turn up in Reader in the present so I edited the time stamp on the thingy-widget-amacallit for the current time and that put the post in the Reader all right but then anyone who gets notices in their email (Hi Bill) was getting a “file not founded in common sense” message when they clicked the link because today’s past post was now in the present, you see, so I’m reblogging here for everyone that happened to.
For everyone else: Hi, how’s it going?

Originally posted on Drinking Tips for Teens:

kenThere are times when you sit back as a parent and realize, “I’m discussing the scrotum with my 13-year-old. And it isn’t that bad.”

Abby and I were doing Science homework and had reproduction, in all its sexual and asexual glory, spread across the kitchen table. We had reached puberty. Abby’s assignment was to list the associated physical changes (for boys and for girls) and the psychological changes (for both hormone-addled sexes). Turning to her workbook, we found the answers on the before-and-after illustrations of males and females, tastefully drawn and quite accurate.

“That’s not pretty,” said Abby, looking at the page.

“Well,” I said, “that’s what we all look like.” More or less.

Abby began jotting down the physical changes of puberty. “Hairy chest,” she wrote.

“Well, no, not necessarily,” I said.

“There’s hair on the man in the picture,” she pointed out.

“Yes, but not every man has…

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Up front about up front

kenThere are times when you sit back as a parent and realize, “I’m discussing the scrotum with my 13-year-old. And it isn’t that bad.”

Abby and I were doing Science homework and had reproduction, in all its sexual and asexual glory, spread across the kitchen table. We had reached puberty. Abby’s assignment was to list the associated physical changes (for boys and for girls) and the psychological changes (for both hormone-addled sexes). Turning to her workbook, we found the answers on the before-and-after illustrations of males and females, tastefully drawn and quite accurate.

“That’s not pretty,” said Abby, looking at the page.

“Well,” I said, “that’s what we all look like.” More or less.

Abby began jotting down the physical changes of puberty. “Hairy chest,” she wrote.

“Well, no, not necessarily,” I said.

“There’s hair on the man in the picture,” she pointed out.

“Yes, but not every man has a hairy chest. Under the arms and the groin for sure. Boys get kind of hairy all over, actually. But not necessarily chest hair. And hair on the face, but that might not be until later, because everyone develops at different rates.”

Abby looked up and thought for a second. “Cool,” she said.

It was cool, really. We were talking about sexual reproduction – the biology of it, not the, you know, “act”; just the cold, hard facts, thank goodness – and neither of us was blushing or looking through our fingers.

We were certainly a long way from the sex ed inflicted on me in junior high back in my very Catholic hometown. In Grade 7, the boys and girls were split up and sent to separate rooms, and each group learned only about his or her own reproductive organs. It felt like a firearms course, especially all the references to lubricants.

I have no way of proving this, but my experience over subsequent high school years convinces me that the girls’ teacher must have pointed out how the female reproductive organs sort of resemble a cross, and that if any boy were to touch anything even close to down there, Jesus would be very, very disappointed.

I do know that there was a grade-wide crisis that year when one of the boys got hold of a girl-parts instruction manual, complete with illustrations. There were outraged teachers, girls in tears, possibly a call to the Vatican. And in the end, none of the boys were any wiser about how to holster their pistol.

I’m glad, then, that boys and girls are learning about reproduction and puberty together. Times have changed. Sex, sexuality, homosexuality – we’re far more open about it now, sometimes too open, but surely too much is better than being ashamed that the opposite sex has glimpsed a schematic drawing of your reproductive parts. Isn’t it good that, with my own daughter, it didn’t feel weird at all talking about testicles at the table?

“Next: the psychological changes associated with puberty,” I prompted, “changes in thinking or behaviour. What about those?”

We got through rebelliousness and mood swings. “What else? What do teenagers become interested in?” I asked.

“Porn,” said Abby.


“Well, no. Yes, maybe, but no. How about just the opposite sex? They develop sexual feelings…”

Yes, porn is available in ways we couldn’t have imagined when we were young (though we certainly did imagine), and who knows what long-term effect that exposure will have on sexual behaviour and expectations. After all, there’s a lot of bad information out there. At the same time, there’s tons of good information as well. Confused teens wondering whether they’re normal, how things are supposed to work, why they don’t have chest hair – a discreet search query offers all the answers. Why, instead of having “the talk,” parents can simply point their kids to a website and run away. That’s a win-win for both parties, I say.

To wrap up her homework, Abby had to pick a reproductive part and research it. She picked the scrotum.

“Really? That’s probably the least interesting of all the reproductive parts,” I said. But then I got to thinking about how the scrotum is the thermostat of the testicles. Really, the scrotum is quite remarkable. In fact, when you take away the “ick” factor, the “I can’t believe I’m talking about this with my daughter/father” component, the biology of reproduction is astoundingly complex and beautiful. Not that I’m recommending that as a pickup line or anything…

“Where are you going?” I asked Abby.

“I’m going to look up ‘scrotum’ online.”

“Hang on! Make sure you search ‘scrotum anatomy.’”

Because it’s not that beautiful.

Posted in Family - whadya gonna do?, It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , , , , | 71 Comments

A fear-free Halloween tale

Boo! No? Too early? Too scary, then. It’s okay, I understand. These are scary times, so I have to ask myself, “Self, do we really need to be more scared at Halloween? Aren’t my pants already sufficiently soiled by day-to-day living?” But self never answers back. Bastard.

That thought and a love of public-domain sound effects (thank you, prompted this audio piece that aired on CBC Breakaway earlier this week. Spoiler: there be banjos.

Posted in Turn that radio on! | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Meditation over a sentence


Here’s a beautiful and intriguing literary game to play from the always thoughtful Letizia. It will make you consider not just individual sentences but how carefully they are placed in you favourite novels. Get your books out!

Originally posted on reading interrupted.:

“….how to read well: i.e. slowly, profoundly, attentively, prudently, with inner thoughts, with the mental doors ajar, with delicate fingers and eyes.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

“I take no sides. I am interested in the shape of ideas. There is a wonderful sentence in Augustine ‘Do not despair; one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume; one of the thieves was damned.’ That sentence has a wonderful shape. It’s the shape that matters.” Samuel Beckett

“Sentences are made wonderfully one at a time.” Gertrude Stein

Get one of your favorite novels.  Go on.  I’ll wait.

Now, flip to the last chapter.

And read the first sentence of that chapter.

Have you ever really paid much attention to that sentence? We don’t hold it in as much esteem as the first sentence of the book (the one that must, apparently, draw the reader in; what pressure). Or as the last sentence of the novel…

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