The Interoffice Coffeemaker Arms Race

The office where I work is in a former home set a fair distance from the rest of the school. I’m alone on the second floor, making me the most outlying member of the school staff. I’m the institutional Pluto.

There are five of us in this building. Sometimes I hear them having a good time downstairs. Sometimes they leave and lock me in. When this occurs, I remind myself that I have a private bathroom.

cofeepotWhat we do share is a coffeemaker, an ordinary drip machine. It’s a chore. Someone (preferably not me) has to rinse the pot, get fresh water, empty the soggy liner, fiddle with the new liner, put it in the basket, grind the beans, guess how much coffee to add, guess wrong, close the lid and press the button. Then we wait. Imagine: having to wait for a cup of coffee! What is this: 2010?

Meanwhile, over in the main building of the school, there are contraptions, one for teachers and one for the administrative staff one floor down. These coffee contraptions have nozzles and spigots, they grind and hiss, they spew milk and foam, with lights and whirs and perfectly proportioned fresh beans, only the best beans. I assume the bad beans it gleans from the machine. It’s a dream.

Something this sophisticated, of course, is prone to fussiness. Whenever a contraption breaks down, an email is hastily sent out. I paraphrase:

“The coffeemaker in the staff room is out of order. REMAIN CALM! During these dark times, we have engaged the services of the finest baristas to deliver freshly brewed artisanal blends in easily manipulated carafes. To make up for the lack of hissing, spewing, foaming, etc., our baristas will personally top anything you want with whipped cream. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience and hope to alleviate the problem ASAP so as not to endanger the very core of our educational system.”

When these emails arrive, I’m tempted to reply, “Come to our office. We have drip!” Then I’d indicate our location with a Google map.

But I don’t. Too sarcastic. Plus, the teachers would say, “Who’s Ross Murray?”

Not to mention the fact that our office likes the contraption too. When I tire of holding out for one of the others to undertake the drip process, I’ll sometimes come downstairs, mug in hand, and announce, “Who wants coffee!”

“Aaah!” they cry. “We didn’t know you were here!” But then they take me up on my offer.

With three mugs in hand, I set out – boots, parka, ration of pemmican. I trek the path, through the cedars, across the road, beside the dining hall, over the tundra, into the main building. I rest a moment to regain my strength. Then, with the press of a button – once, then again – I fill three mugs with rich, perfectly measured coffee.

With Indiana Jones-like dexterity, I carry the mugs back to our office, moving not so slowly as to render the coffee cold, yet not so fast as to slop the precious liquid onto my mukluks.

We on the outer edges of the scholastic solar system have come to accept our fate. In this world, there are the javas and the java-nots. We are the latter, not the latté.

beansLately, though, there’s been a balance shift. After going without for a couple of weeks, the administrative staff has replaced its contraption with… a behemoth.

It’s sleek and square, the size of a beer fridge, with scrolling video screen, language selection, size and strength options, blend selections and choice upon choice. It makes espressos, Americanos, cappuccinos, mochaccinos, muchachos, RalphMacchios. Hot chocolate! It operates with the sound of industry and fashion models and luxury cars.

I have yet to explore its intricacies, but I suspect it will memorize your preference. It will suggest stock market strategies. It will scold you for wearing that purposely ugly Christmas sweater. It will provide parting words to those setting out on long journeys with three mugs in hand. It will someday run for president.

Up one floor, meanwhile, the teachers are stuck with their contraption, steam engine to the administration’s time machine. Will this stand, this archaic, analog coffee-dispenser? Surely they too deserve the state of the art in beandom. In the name of all that is good and teacherly, they too shall have their behemoth!

And when that day comes, I will rise up, and I will speak for all of us (five) who have gone without for so long, who have ground our own beans, cursed the filter, the endless drip, and cried out, “This coffee is mediocre at best!” I will say to them: “We will take your coffee contraption, please!”

To which they will reply, “And you are…?”

Posted in It Really Did Happen!, Reading? Ugh! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Governing Tips for Teens

Feeling the need to cringe, the other night I pulled out my teenage journals. I kept them quite faithfully during my final two years of high school. They contain about what you’d expect. This  somewhat topical entry from May 18, 1984 is thankfully low on angst yet insufferable nonetheless. In the spirit of Exile on Pain Street, I present it as written, with only the names changed to protect the now-middle-aged.

Model Parliament, which kept me busy but never so busy that I couldn’t neglect doing it without harming my position, is over. I have always thought that government was a group of nit-picking old men trying to do anything they can to put down the opposite members and that legislation is a tedious process with too much power going to the whims of the government in power. I was right.

I never really got to do much until the Question Periods. I was the government so I had to bluff. The first afternoon I was asked a question on pornography, which I managed to weasel out of by saying time was up and adjourning Question Period.

The question was raised, of course, by Doris Lynch, critic of everything and anything. There was not a bill proposed on which she did not stand up and shout unnecessarily into the microphone in that know-it-all voice of hers. She did not need the microphone. By the end of the session everyone on the Government was doing everything we could to insult her.

After I presented my bill for second reading, Doris gave a little speech in which she said, “I see absolutely nothing good about this and I think it is quite wrong and bad in every way.” I stood up in reply and said, “Madam Speaker, I think it is quite clear that the member opposite finds everything wrong with everything.” A great cheer went up in the house.

After school the first day, I did go home and prepare for the pornography issue and that night in the evening session Doris asked me again what I planned to do. This time I was ready and I read articles and the Criminal Code which all ended up saying that pornography is illegal but some isn’t.

I was becoming quite efficient at put-downs. Danny Gillis asked me about prisons and I told him to wait for tomorrow when I present my bills. He replied, “Madam Speaker, I think that I may be sick tomorrow and I would like to hear the reply now since I may not be here when it is presented.” To this I answered, “Madam Speaker, I am sorry if the opposition is feeling a little queasy…”

I evaded issues, formed on-the-spot policies and BS’ed my way through two days. Although I still have no confidence in the government system, I am quite amazed at how people can go at each other’s throats across the floor of the assembly and then at a recess chat pleasantly with their opponents. No one held any grudges, except everyone against Doris. She is so damn opinionated and loud. I realize that dissention brings about change but when that dissenting voice brings about cat-calls and groans of authority there is no way to take it seriously.

I suppose it would have been a little different if we had constituents to whom to be responsible. As it was, we were all-powerful. As Ronnie our PM said in an out-of-Commons remark, a remark that was brought up many times, “We are the government; we can do anything.”

 

Posted in It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

Reverse advent calendar, or: What’s in the box!

img_1022

A Christian tradition: Lego snow mermaids

If you’re like me (and if not, why not?), you probably didn’t sleep a wink last night due to the sheer excitement that lay ahead of you this morning. No, not a fresh box of Cheez-Stuffed Razzleberry PopTarts. It’s the first day of your advent calendar!

From now until Christmas Eve, you get to open one small window a day and delight in the small treat inside – unless the treats are tiny liqueur-filled chocolates, in which case you’re probably going to eat/drink them all alone this Saturday night watching “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix. Friends don’t let friends advent binge. Or watch “Gilmore Girls.”

Like the widespread appeal of pumpkin-spiced anything, the origins of the advent calendar are shrouded in mystery. As with many Christian traditions, it is thought to originate with the pagans. Boy, for a semi-primitive culture, those pagans sure came up with a lot of stuff. Shelf liners? Pagans. Negative billing? Pagans. Origami? The Japanese, but adopted by the pagans in the form of decorative napkin folding.

As we all know from reading antiquated National Geographics in dentists’ offices, the pagans were renowned for keeping their enemies in small boxes, the type of box that might house a microwave. (Contrary to popular belief, the pagans did not invent the microwave.) Every year leading up to the winter solstice, the pagans would let one prisoner a day out of the box in order to demonstrate that they weren’t such bad heathens after all.

This became known as “advent” because the pagans had to remind themselves to cut air holes in the prisoners’ boxes — “add vent.” You lose more prisoners that way…

The pagan rite of opening boxes was adopted by the Christians in the form of the advent calendar – one box opened a day in anticipation of the birth of Christ, who was laid in a manger, which is also a box. Full circle.

Like most pagan rituals that became Christian rituals, the Christian advent calendar has reverted back to its pagan roots. Say “Merry Christmas” with this year’s Walking Dead Lego Zombie-Parts Advent Calendar With Real Bile!

Advent calendars are filled with fun and really cheap chocolate. They are a true Christmas tradition.

But I have a better idea.

2016 has been one dismal year. Society not at its best. One pagan short of human sacrifice. Incomplete sentences. Instead of taking things out of the advent calendar, how about we take all the miserable things and put them into the box?

Here then are my proposals for the Reverse Advent Calendar:

December 1: Fabric softener dryer sheets
December 2: Black Friday. It’s just Friday. Plain Friday
December 3: Kanye West
December 4: Hair-trigger outrage
December 5: Beloved rock stars and celebrities, not as punishment but to keep them safe, the poor dears.
December 6: Sandwiches cut in rectangles instead of triangles
December 7: The phrase “ethical marketing”
December 8: People who say, “I don’t want to be a jerk…” and then proceed to be a jerk
December 9: Corn sold by the tens instead of the dozens (metric corn?)
December 10: Competitive puppy tossing – not a real thing but just in case
December 11: People who say, “It didn’t pass mustard with me” instead of “pass muster”
December 12: Passing mustard
December 13: People on the phone who won’t take “goodbye” for an answer
December 14: Flat-head screws
December 15: People who say, “Try these snow peas! They’re like candy!” They are nothing at all like candy!
December 16: My teenage journals. Actual sample phrase: “My funeral would be quite crowded. The young victim taken in his prime.”
December 17: All sources of harm: guns, bombs, white people
December 18: Twitter wars
December 19: Comment sections
December 20: Normalizing Donald Trump
December 21: Inattention to detail
December 23: All the stupid stuff that gets on my nerves and all the stuff I don’t agree with because they’re stupid, stupid, stupid!
December 24: Intolerance

What’s in your reverse advent calendar? 

Posted in Holidays, It Could Happen... | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Zen and the Art of Bookkeeping

An occasional and mostly self-serving record of self-publishing my debut novel, A Hole in the Ground, with possible tips (or warnings) for others thinking of doing the same. 

My dad spent the bulk of his career as a bookkeeper for a local car dealership. He also kept the books for some small businesses after hours. I remember sitting at our kitchen table and watching Dad’s fingers fly across the adding machine, accompanied by the music of the printout: Takatakataka. Gzzzzzz. Takatakakataka-TAK! Gzzz-zzz-gzzz. It was amazing.

What does this have to do with self-publishing? Well, I never mastered an adding machine and certainly don’t have a way with numbers, but I do like a clean balance sheet.

Publishing your own book means taking care of business – all business, from printing and postage to sales and distribution. Keeping track of those expenses and revenues not only helps determine profit (or loss) but also provides a surprising boost of encouragement.

A Hole in the Ground is my third book but the first to be self-published. The other two were produced by very small publishers, meaning print runs of roughly 600 copies and distributed regionally – very much the model I’ve followed myself, except I’ve gone even smaller, 300 copies.

For my last book, not counting my own direct sales, I received from the publisher $1.35  per retail copy sold. For my self-published novel, I’ve calculated after expenses that I have cleared roughly $9.62 per copy. A big difference. In terms of pure profit, self-publishing has been more financially rewarding than the other two published books. (Although, don’t get excited; see image below.)

The downside is that there is a good portion of books out there right now I can’t factor into my accounting. That’s because they’re in the limbo known as “consignment,” neither sold nor unsold, the Schrodinger’s cat of sales. I’ve been lucky in that some retailers have purchased my stock outright at 60 to 70% of the cover price. With consignment, it’s the opposite; they stock my books but I have to wait until they actually sell before I get my 60 to 80%. That wait can be up to six months. Plus, I’m trusting the retailer to honour the deal and follow up with payment, if any. If they don’t, then I have a problem. But such is the compromise for the self-publisher; retailers are wary, and you just want it in their store (or gift shop), so you take what you get.

Direct-selling through Amazon, incidentally, also involves major delays in payment, particularly for new sellers. In this scenario, Amazon expects the seller to ship to the buyer right away. That means the seller has to cover the shipping up front and wait to be reimbursed. In my case, it’s taken over a month to receive my first payment from Amazon.

So there’s a lot of cash and stock going out, and revenue trickling in by multiple means – direct sales, online sales, retail sales and consignment.

a-hole-in-the-ground-revenue-expense_page_1

We’re all friends here, so let’s give the actual figures. When you consider the hours and hours spent writing and revising and promoting, it’s not a lot. But that was never the point, was it?

A simple bookkeeping system helps keep track of it all. I’m using one of the many pre-set Excel spreadsheets, this one called “Simple Monthly Budget,” and it is. It allows me to break down my revenues and expenses by category, and it calculates the bottom line automatically, complete with a bar graph for us creative visual thinkers! Accounting is not a strong point for a lot of artists, so good on Microsoft for keeping it simple.

I’ve even added notations to keep track of who I’ve billed, who’s on consignment, at what percentage, and whether they’ve paid.

I’ll legally have to declare this income on my personal taxes for 2016. Tracking my expenses will (hopefully) allow me to offset some of the damage. I’ll get back to you in April…

But there’s more here than just record keeping. When you’re self-publishing, you look for small victories, whether it’s selling two books at a seniors’ luncheon where you expected to sell zero, or entering a cheque from that retailer who’s been holding out on you. Making accounting entries reminds self-published authors that this is serious business, that what they are doing is real, that their foolish venture is not so foolish.

It’s likewise encouraging to see that bottom line because the revenue tends to arrive in dribs and drabs. And likely goes out just as quickly. I haven’t seen a sudden windfall. So the balance reminds me that, despite seeming lack of evidence, I’m actually making a modest profit.

Less happily, it can tell an author that it’s time to cut her losses. But again, unless you’ve severely under-priced your book or created a supply far exceeding demand, chances are you will make some money on your self-publishing venture. (Read more about how I reduced the risks through Kickstarter.)

Accounting creates structure amid the chaos of creativity. I don’t have the satisfaction of takatakataka-gzzzzz, but watching the numbers change on my spreadsheet is its own kind of poetry.

*

You can order A Hole in the Ground through Amazon.com, Amazon.ca or Blurb.ca or contact the author.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Happy BirthSelfCareDay to Me

img_3570Today I turn 51. That means I am no longer 50. I am in my fifities, which is like being in debt; there’s no getting out of it.

My eyebrow hairs stayed a uniform length for the better part of five decades and suddenly they have ambition.

I need to keep my feet warm and bundled all the time around the house. The other day I caught myself shuffling. Shuffling! It’s a slipper-y slope.

Clearly, getting older is not good for my self-esteem, and if there’s anything I’ve learned from raising children it’s that self-esteem is more important than grammar, math and moving out of your parents’ house.

That’s why I’ve decided I need to indulge in some self-care.

Self-care is a relatively new concept. It’s what we used to call “self-indulgence,” except now it’s smoothies instead of Oreos, yoga instead of whiskey and adult colouring books instead of adult videos.

In the wake of a great shock, self-care allows people to focus on their own needs. For example, self-care can help someone recover from Donald Trump, who, ironically, was elected by people focused on their own needs.

Self-care is different from self-help. Self-help is a means of changing yourself. Self-care, on the other hand, is a means of making sure change can’t find you cowering under a blanket.

As in an airplane emergency, wherein you should place the oxygen mask on yourself before attempting to place it on your child, so too in self-care you should avoid airplanes at all cost because those things are deathtraps.

Self-care is the selfie of the soul (hashtag mental health, hashtag inspire, hashtag hashbrowns).

But if ever there was a trend I can get behind, it’s one that’s all about putting me first. If they come up with everyone-agree-with-me-care, I’ll get on board with that too.

So today, as I turn 51, one card short of a full deck and surrounded by jokers, here is my self-care plan that will, I can assure you, involve cake.

I begin my day with a long soak in a bath filled with orgacha berries, renowned for their soothing qualities and scent of quality hotel rooms, as well as eucalyptus treacle and hand-husked quinoa, which offer the kind of powerful exfoliating properties you don’t want to turn your back on.

After I have unclogged the bathtub drain and picked the quinoa husks out of my beard, I dress myself in a traditional loose-fitting garment known in French Colonial Africa as “les pantalons froufrou.” This is followed by 15 minutes of meditation, during which no one is allowed to use the toaster. It’s complicated, but it’s my self-care, so no questions asked.

Happy 51st birthday, Shirley Henderson!

Happy 51st birthday, Shirley Henderson!

Meditation, incidentally, is very important for self-care because it quiets the mind. If ever our society’s vast problems are to be solved, it will be through not thinking. I, for one, will not be thinking about turning 51 and the fact that I was born the same day as Scottish actress Shirley Henderson, best known for her role as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films. I will, however, be moaning.

Many people swear by the need to properly hydrate as part of their self-care regimen. Hydrating is the same as drinking water except two gallons a day and never from the tap. I, personally, choose not to indulge in hydrating because I am a 51-year-old male whose imminent hobbies include knowing where all the public restrooms are.

Even though it’s my birthday, I don’t want people making a fuss over me. No singing. It’s embarrassing, and embarrassment is positively negative. My self-care vis-à-vis my birthday is for everyone to be aware of my birthday but not actually mention it. Simply thinking of me constantly will do, preferably with great fondness, verging on reverence. There is no need for actual eye contact. Only cake.

In fact, if people could simply drop off their gifts (cakes) without bothering me, that would be great. This is a self-care day, after all, and it’s unreasonable to expect me to care about other people too.

Of course, self-care does involve eating right. Again: cake, obviously. But also a diet rich in vegetables, fibre, nuts, artisanal fling beans, wolf-milk cheeses, Cornish hackberries, avian phlegm curd, Burundi lizard tarts, itemized kale fragments and – it goes without saying – gluten substitute.

At last, as I rub the emollient-rich shoe polish into my skin, I end my self-care day with a self-affirmation. I tell myself I’m good, I’m strong and I have a full half-century of wisdom to draw on, not counting those first three years when I peed my pants.

And finally, I let everyone know about my self-care journey, because if you don’t tweet it, it never happened (hashtag blessed).

Posted in It Could Happen... | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Beatles on the Border

abbey-rock-island“Legend has it that back in the day the Beatles used to meet [at the Haskell Free Library on the Quebec/Vermont border]. John was banned from the US so he would enter the library from the Canadian side with George, Paul and Ringo coming in from the US side. The locals claim that George, Paul, and Ringo used to stay to relax afterwards because they could walk around and everyone just treated them as regular people.

– wildly inaccurate account posted at www.feedtheweb.click

 

George, Paul and Ringo sat at the bar in the Del Monty Hotel in Rock Island, Quebec, drinking Labatt 50 and being treated just like regular people.

“Say, fellows,” piped up Paul, “isn’t it brilliant to be back here on the border between Quebec and Vermont where we hang out all the time?”

“It certainly is,” said Ringo, drumming a beat with his fingers on the bar. “We’re certainly lucky the Haskell Free Library sits conveniently on the border to allow us to meet regularly because we’re such great chums and not at all involved in acrimonious lawsuits.”

“Not to mention their excellent collection of Sidney Sheldon novels,” said George quietly.

“It definitely makes it easy for us to meet, especially since John is banned from the US, even though he has been living in New York City since 1971,” said Paul.

“Immigration laws are complicated,” said Ringo, “as complicated as my steady drum beats are not.”

“Unless this is 1968,” Paul mused, “in which case we haven’t broken up yet, and then this get-together on the border makes no sense at all.”

“Do they sell crisps in this bar?” George interrupted.

“They call them ‘chips’ here, Georgey,” said Ringo. “Don’t be a wanker. Do you want to be treated like regular people or not?”

“Still, it was a very good meeting, the reasons for which aren’t entirely specified,” Paul continued. “But remind me again why we had to enter from the U.S. side? In fact, I don’t know why we didn’t just meet in Canada since it would appear none of us has been banned from entering Canada for reasons that would make this story at very least plausible.”

Ringo drained his Labatt 50. “It doesn’t need to be plausible,” he said, “as long as everyone says it truly did happen without any actual evidence whatsoever.”

“Hmmm,” pondered Paul. “Maybe someday there will be a machine that will spread this unfounded evidence around the globe, a machine that could not only distort local history but actually influence major political outcomes in an echo chamber of confirmation bias and obstinate ignorance.”

“You’re starting to sound like John,” said Ringo.

“Well, I’m off to write a sonnet on the lavatory wall,” said George with historical inaccuracy.

“Right, and then let’s push off,” said Paul.

The three of them left the Del Monty and walked into the sunshine of Rock Island, with its vibrant downtown that would never, ever fade. “It’s too bad John can’t be with us to relax,” said Paul, “though obviously he could be, based on the wildly inaccurate understanding of our immigration status.”

“I wonder where John is?” asked George, riding a unicycle up and down Rock Island hill while locals waved and treated him as regular people.

Ringo stopped in his tracks. “What if he never met with us at all? What if none of us actually did have a meeting at the Haskell Free Library but it was just a thing that was talked about as a possibility and that over time has been blown up and distorted into a historical fact? What if this isn’t really happening?”

Paul and George looked at each other, a moment of fear in their eyes. Then Paul laughed. “Looks like Ringo’s been smoking yellow submarines again,” he said, adorably.

From The Stanstead Journal, 1973

From The Stanstead Journal, 1973

The Fab Almost-Four strolled down the street and ducked into P&M Restaurant, where they ordered the Thursday Night Shoppers Special (“Something Different Every Week $1.20”) and had a conversation with the locals about the Montreal Canadiens. They paid their bill, caught a taxi and crossed back into Vermont without any problem from U.S. Customs despite their documented history of drug use and general notoriety. Then they all drove to the Derby Drive-In where they watched What’s Up, Doc? starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal.

Meanwhile, after the long meeting at the Haskell about something Beatles-related but not important to this story, John Lennon found himself in Montreal where, feeling hungry, he organized a bed-in for pizza.

Posted in Never Happened | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Getting back to sexy business

murraysgaloreAs if Americans haven’t been through enough gut-wrenching uncertainty, next week they must join the rest of the world as we anxiously await a vital decision: who will be People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

The choice will set the standard of male sexiness for the next 365 days, a choice that could influence everything from hairstyles to the horrifying return of men in tank tops.

That’s why I’m writing today, to assure readers and the rest of the world that, regardless of who is anointed, I will continue to fulfill my role as the Second-Sexiest Man Alive, thereby ensuring a sexy continuity, if you will. And you will.

My many years’ experience as the Second-Sexiest Man Alive will allow us to transition seamlessly in the days and months ahead from David Beckham to whichever celebrity is starring in a blockbuster film this holiday season. I will be the sexy anchor the public can hang onto throughout this uncertain period.

As the Second-Sexiest Man Alive, I must always be ready to step in should the Sexiest Man Alive be unable to fulfil his duties or turn out to be not so sexy after all. I take this responsibility very seriously. Seriously and sexily. I need to be prepared at all times. You can’t just turn on these cheekbones, you know. And the ear hair requires constant vigilance.

And it has happened. In March 2014, I had to pout alluringly for 10 full days when Adam Levine was forced to undergo falsetto augmentation surgery. Thank goodness I was tanned, rested and lip-baumed.

Remember, too, that the Second-Sexiest Man Alive is a lifetime appointment, barring severe disfigurement or career-ending Tweets. Thus, as the keeper of institutional sexy memory, I help counsel the Sexiest Man Alive, who is usually new to the job. I tell him things like, “Don’t eat the hair gel even if it smells like apples,” or, “There is a time and a place to take off your shirt, and a funeral is not one of them,” or, “With great sexiness comes great responsibility. And supermodels.”

Speaking of responsibility, because the Sexiest Man Alive is so busy being the sexiest, the Second-Sexiest Man Alive tends to fulfil an advocacy role. Thanks to the work of me and other slightly less sexy men, we have virtually eliminated the midlife goatee.

These days, we’re paying close attention to advances in genetically modified sexiness, the so-called Supersexiness. We’re advocating a cautious but sexy approach. With my second-sexiest-ness, I point out to scientists, “Whoa! Is this not sexy enough? What will happen when you have all that extra sexiness in the air? What affect will that have on climate change and bachelorette parties?”

I didn’t choose sexiness. It chose me. I am but a plush toy in the giant, sexy, claw machine of life. It’s not something I can control, like halitosis or an uncanny ability to assemble springform pans. Sexiness is a gift, a gift that stops traffic and causes unrestrained weeping.

Sure, some of you have come up to me and asked (once you get over the giggling and the tentative stroking), “Doesn’t it bother you to be the perennial Second-Sexiest Man Alive? Wouldn’t you for once like to be the Sexiest Man Alive? And will you please autograph my chest?”

On the contrary, I’m thankful I am merely the Second-Sexiest Man Alive, otherwise life would be a terrible sexy burden. It’s good that there’s a little part of me that’s not sexy (my left kneecap). And chest signings are less fun than you think.

I know that in the past I have bemoaned the fact that I have been passed over as the Sexiest Man Alive. But I’m older now. Older and still sexier. That happens with men, which is completely fair.

Yes, there are many perks that come with being the Sexiest Man Alive: the cover photos, the product endorsements, the fruit baskets. But I realize now that without a Second-Sexiest Man Alive, there would be no way to properly quantify the Sexiest Man Alive. Such ultimate sexiness would be indescribable. With me, people are able to see that there is a range of extreme sexiness. “Oh, I see. He’s very sexy, yes, but, this guy is even sexier. He’s the sexiest of them all! The Sexiest Man Alive!”

It’s my job to make male objectification that much easier.

America, World, Sudbury: I’m ready to still be sexy again! I know we’ve gone through some dark and decidedly unsexy times, but now we’re ready to get back to what’s really important. Let’s bring sexy back! But hopefully not a hairy back. That’s gross.

Posted in Never Happened | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments