Women Get Stuff

I am painfully aware that writing about gender in these troubled times is like being the goalie on a javelin team, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Stereotypes be damned!  The truth has to be told: women get way more cool stuff than men.  Yes, I realize there’s the whole punitive underwear problem and, beyond Barbie, toys for girls generally suck. But look around you: women have tons more fun with life than men do.  Why?  ‘Cause they get all the good stuff.  Here’s a selection of evidence to prove it.

Sleeves — Women get more sleeves than men.  There are bell sleeves, cap sleeves, raglan sleeves, lily-point sleeves, bishop sleeves etc., etc., etc.  In fact, according to one source, there are over 40 different sleeves available to women.  And what do men get?  Long sleeves and short sleeves!

Hats — Put a hat — any hat — on a woman and you’ve got instant sexy.  Put a hat on a man, and unless his name is Indiana Jones, Humphrey Bogart or Che Guevara, you’ve got a candidate for Geek Of The Week.

Colours — Women get all the colours.  Men get several shades of mud.  Don’t believe me?  How many men do you know who are climbing the corporate ladder in a 3-piece, electric-blue hounds-tooth suit with ruby red shoes and matching belt?

Hair — Even Stephen Hawking can’t calculate the infinity plus one number of things women can do with their hair.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the chromosome patch, men have the faux hawk, the man bun and bald.

Shoes — I’m not even going to touch this one.

Stories — See a well-dressed woman dining alone in an expensive restaurant and there’s an elaborate story there somewhere.  See a well-dressed man dining alone in an expensive restaurant and … he just got dumped … like, 20 minutes ago.

And finally:

Girl’s Night Out — Girl’s Night can range from a drunken pub crawl through the streets of Maribor, Slovenia — where someone ends up with her panties in her purse — to Ramen Noodle Night with sweatpants, jasmine tea and vintage Ryan Gosling videos.  On the other hand, since the beginning of time, Boy’s Night has always involved a game, junk food, alcohol and the eruption of various bodily gases.

I rest my case!

Everybody Works (2022)

Everybody works.  Some work harder than others, some work smarter than others, but as each of us wanders along life’s incredible journey, we all have a relentless series of jobs to do.  Just to clarify – I’m not talking about gainful employment; I’m talking about all those nasty little tasks that haunt our otherwise leisured existence — everything from filling out income tax forms to assembling a Fridekgloben bookcase from Ikea.  This is the work that torments our souls.

Having survived on this planet for – uh – a number of years, I’ve done my share of personal chores and, without bragging, I’ve gained some valuable experience.  Here are just a few bits and bobs from what I’ve learned along the way.

1 – Every job takes longer than you think.  No matter how simple it looks or how comprehensively you’ve prepared, the task at hand is going to eat up more minutes than you bargained for.  (See items 4, 5, 6, 7 and sometimes 8 for a detailed explanation.)

2 – The rule of quarters.  No matter what you do, the first 75% of the job takes 25% of the time and the last 25% takes 75% — or more.

3 – Do as much as possible before lunch — cuz after lunch, you’re going to be useless.

4 – Something you need isn’t going to be there.  Whether it’s a particular medical receipt, a pinch of coriander, an account number or an oddly shaped one-use-only tool, there will be one item, that’s absolutely necessary to the task, which you either don’t have or can’t find.  This means you have to stop, search or go buy it – no other choice.  And, BTW, this never happens at the beginning of the adventure but always more than halfway through — when you’ve got everything torn up, half assembled, disassembled and/or spread out all over hell.

5 – There will be an essential piece of information missing.  Assembly instructions are notorious for this – the placement of Lock Washer #3 is a mystery known only to God.  Meanwhile, the Federal Government will not accept your tax return without an entry in Box 906a even though its purpose is a bigger secret than the contents of Area 51.  But the very worst are online forms that demand an encyclopedia of personal information and, after you’ve entered it all, flash the big red “Error” warning at you — while slyly refusing to tell you where the error occurred.

6 – The thing that’s supposed to fit … won’t.  Carpenters and plumbers know this and are skilled in Improvise, Adapt and Overcome, but the rest of us are utterly stunned when the last bolt’s too big, the connecting rod’s too short or the brand new muffin pans don’t fit in the oven.  The result is an extended period of swearing and weeping.

7 – The experience you gain from one task does not translate to anything else.  What you learned trimming the hedge doesn’t help you buy car insurance online.  Painting the porch and making a soufflé are straight chalk and cheese.  Every task demands a particular expertise, so whatever you attempt to do (unless you’re a poly-skilled professional, or spend your life watching YouTube) you’re going to waste a lot of time reinventing the wheel.

And finally:

8 – You can’t get there from here. – This doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens regularly enough to be included here.  Basically, there’s always a danger that the first touch on any project will set off a chain of disasters, each more expensive and time-consuming than the last.  The leaking faucet that eventually becomes a $5,000 plumbing job.  The birthday cake that ends up with a new stove.  The computer upgrade that resets your Netflix account to Serbia and your banking information to Good Shepherd Savings and Loan in Azerbaijan.  Seriously, I have a friend who tried to buy a paper shredder and is locked out of Amazon forever.  (Even they don’t know why.)

Yeah, we all have jobs to do, but I’ve discovered that only paid professionals and enthusiastic hobbyists get anything out of these mundane tasks.  The rest of us just have to grit and bear it.

Top 10 Jokes of 2022

If you take the world seriously (which I haven’t for some years now) there’s enough going wrong these days that even optimists are getting the Windex out to clean their rose-coloured glasses.  Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse – they did.  People are starting to read Kafka for laughs and Cormac McCarthy is beginning to look downright light-hearted.  However, rather than dwell on the obvious let’s stop for a moment, pour a beverage and relax.

Remember, August is that time of year when the local folks of Edinburgh rent their houses out for mucho dinero and bugger off to Spain; chased out of their town by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  For those of you who’ve never heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, that’s too bad because it’s the greatest mish-mash of all-things-considered in the world.  The Edinburgh Fringe is actually several coexisting arts festivals that run amok, day and night, through the streets of Edinburgh for the entire month of August.  It was started in the late 1940s by some university students, and even though it’s become internationally huge, it still maintains its undergraduate Alphagetti-for-breakfast air.

One of the biggest parts of The Fringe is comedy; some good, some bad, some awful.  And even though humour has been outlawed by the woke crew the Fringe keeps plugging away.  And after a Covid hiatus, it has produced a Top Ten list of the funniest jokes of the Festival.  This is this year’s offering.  So, as the world continues to spin, tune out for a second and remember we’re still the funniest species on the planet.

1. “I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get pasta” – Masai Graham

2. “Did you know, if you get pregnant in the Amazon, it’s next-day delivery” – Mark Simmons

3. “My attempts to combine nitrous oxide and Oxo cubes made me a laughing stock” – Olaf Falafel

4. “By my age, my parents had a house and a family, and to be fair to me, so do I – but it is the same house and it is the same family” – Hannah Fairweather

5. “I hate funerals – I’m not a mourning person” – Will Mars

6. “I spent the whole morning building a time machine, so that’s four hours of my life that I’m definitely getting back” – Olaf Falafel

7. “I sent a food parcel to my first wife. FedEx” – Richard Pulsford

8. “I used to live hand to mouth. Do you know what changed my life? Cutlery” – Tim Vine

9. “Don’t knock threesomes. Having a threesome is like hiring an intern to do all the jobs you hate” – Sophie Duker

10. “I can’t even be bothered to be apathetic these days” – Will Duggan