Modern Sin 2021

I miss the days when sin was a tangible commodity.  You knew where you stood back then.  There were clear lines that you kinda crossed occasionally (or more often) but you did so at your peril. There were consequences for being a dick.  Okay, some of the rules were a bit much; after all, who among us hasn’t coveted their neighbour’s ass a time or two (metaphorically speaking) and I’ve never been convinced that a hotdog on Friday was enough to unleash the hounds of hell.  However, most of us (even the scoffers) stayed away from the Big Boys and left hardcore sinning to the professionals.  These days, however, sin has become a moveable feast, and even saints are having trouble trying to figure it out.  Luckily, I’m here to help.  I’ve created a 7 step scale that navigates the sin-isphere – from “You’ve some got explaining to do” to “Burn in hell!”

7 — Irish Pubs outside of Ireland – If you want to make fun of somebody, there’s no better way to do it than find an ordinary bar, change the name to “O’ Something,” stick a neon shamrock over the door and serve bad Guinness and potato skins.  This is a sin.  And the only way to make it worse is to have leprechaun-tossing contests on Too-Ra-Loo-Ra Tuesdays. Where the hell are the cultural appropriation people when you need them?  (BTW, this goes double for faux French cafes!)

6 — Stupid Foodie Stuff – There’s the deal: Cheeseburger Pizza is not fusion food: it’s a sin. Yeah, and turkey gravy ice cream is, too.  Real foodies are wonderful people – creative and adventurous — but the wannabes are culinary crackheads.  They have no respect for themselves, their guests or what they put in their mouths.  What next? Oreos and Orange juice?  I wouldn’t bet against it!

5 — Male Fashions – Men have always dressed like idiots – witness the codpiece – but in the 21st century, it’s gotten out of hand and needs to be called what it is – a sin.  No human (forget a Supreme Being) can look with favour on a baseball cap on backwards, an Aloha shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops — all at the same business meeting — on the same guy.  Dress for success has become God, what a mess!  No wonder most women believe men think with their protruding parts.

4 — Comical Clothing on Pets – No, no, no! A thousand times no!  Devil horns, reindeer antlers, bowties, propeller beanies, frilly skirts and false moustaches are not cute on animals: they’re a sin.  What you have just done is taken your most trusting friend, the one who’s been there for you, every time, without fail, (remember the night Herbie Jenkins dumped you?) and made them look ridiculous – for your own amusement.  This comes under the “Do unto others” doctrine.  If you insist on dressing your pets in comical clothes, they should have the right to take you to the doctor and have you neutered.  Fair is fair!  

3 — Bullshit University Degrees – Taking an 18-year-old, who is less than a decade away from believing Batman is a career choice, and convincing them to go into debt up to their eyeballs to get a degree in Leadership is a sin.  We’ve created at least one (and probably two) generations of seriously over-educated/woefully under-qualified young people who have no marketable skills beyond pouring coffee and complaining.  And considering how badly they got screwed, who can blame them when they can’t do either one properly? 

2 — Women’s Magazines – Even though, in recent years, these tableaux of evil have migrated from ink and photo to font and pixel, they are still the total sin they’ve always been.  When the only reason you exist is to tell women there’s something wrong with them, there’s something wrong with you.  This is psychological abuse on an industrial scale.

1 — Litter and Twitter – These two are off the scale on the Sin meter.  There is nothing worse than wantonly throwing your garbage on the ground or spewing vindictive trash across Cyberspace.  Nothing!  There is never, ever a reason to do either, and they are both just wrong – full stop.

Truth

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Despite what philosophers and college sophomores try to tell you, Truth is not an elusive beast.  It’s not some shy chimera, hiding in a morally ambiguous forest, feeding on tender buds of nuance and leafy shoots of supposition.  It’s not semantically ambivalent.  It’s not coloured in a million shades of grey.  It’s not a matter of opinion.  Nope! None of the above!  Truth is real.  It’s big.  It’s bold.  It’s etched in stone.  And I can prove it.  Here are some hardcore facts — no ifs, buts, or maybes.  This is Truth, and it’s happening all around us.

The square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

There are three kinds of people in the world — those who understand math and those who don’t.

Your family always knows which buttons to push because they installed them.

Rock Bottom has a basement.

Paris is always a good idea.

The distance between loser and lover is sometimes measured in tequila.

Pregnant women are smug.

If you keep your clothes long enough, they might eventually come back into style — but by the time they do, they won’t fit.

A low-cut neckline beats a bad hair day every time.

The probability of red wine getting spilled on white carpet is directly related to the cost of the carpet, not the cost of the wine.

The only birthdays that actually matter are 18, 21, 40, 50 and 60.

And my favourite:

Everybody wants a sensitive man until the sonofabitch actually shows up.

WD vs The Machines

machines.jpgI don’t get along with my machines.  They’re smug.  They can do things I don’t understand, and they know it.  They play with my emotions like a half-faithful lover, almost daring me to abandon them.  I swear I’m going to do it someday, just not right now.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a poor man’s John Connor.  I don’t believe machines are out to get us.  I just realize they’re not as sweet and carefree as they say they are.  They have their own agenda, and it doesn’t include me.

I’ve known about machines ever since I discovered the toaster was lying.  Despite the buttons, switches and dials, there are no settings on a toaster – just hot and off.  For years, it would tease me with light brown and pop-up black or hold onto the English muffins as if they were Joan of Arc.  And, sometimes, in a snit, it wouldn’t toast at all — just return the bread, warm and naked.  Finally, with a screwdriver, I found out the dial at the bottom wasn’t actually attached to anything – just a little bend me/break me strip of metal.  I broke it, and the toaster changed its tune after that – for a little while.

Likewise, my microwave has a personality disorder.  It has trouble with authority.  If I follow the instructions on the package to the letter I risk a Dresden-class explosion and burrito guts splattered across the glass.  Recently, I’ve learned to announce the product before I place it inside and just hit high octane for two minutes.  Mostly, it works.

Small kitchen appliances aren’t the worst though.  Major appliances are bigger and more contrary.  My refrigerator has a secret compartment that stores leftovers until they return to life, and then it re-introduces them into the general population — gangrene green and smiling.  When it’s bored, it sours the milk and wilts the lettuce, and sometimes, just for laughs, it makes everything, including the orange juice, taste vaguely like onions.

My washer and dryer have been fighting for years; these days, they hardly even speak to each other.  I’m sure they blame me for forcing them to stay together.  My washer can ruin white shirts in a single cycle and fade colours at a glance.  My dryer eats socks and underwear and picks its teeth with buttons.  I wish they’d learn to get along; my friends are beginning to ask me if Value Village just had a yard sale.

Frighteningly, the more sophisticated the machine, the more cunning.  Every car I’ve ever owned has made mysterious noises that baffle the most accomplished mechanics.  These are expensive sounds that result in monumental Visa bills and no cure.  It’s now obvious to me that, like winter bears, automobiles are ill-tempered, lazy and prefer sitting in the driveway to the lure of the open road.  I’ve taken to riding the bus rather than anger them.

Most diabolical of the machines, though, are the electronics.  They are the spoiled brats of the mechanized world.  Because they have no moving parts, you cannot bend them to your will or even command their attention.  They live in another dimension, and poke their heads into ours like mischievous trolls, sinister in intent.  Televisions promise us pee-your-pants comedy, sober and thoughtful drama and high adventure but only deliver re-runs of Two and a Half Men and Dancing with the American Idol.  They suck the time out of us and leave us sofa prone, dusted with crumbs and languorous.  Telephones capture our friends, imprison them in a concealed world and then swallow the key.  I don’t even remember my own mother’s phone number anymore.  Without our telephones, we have no friends.

Some would say computers are the most vindictive of all; however, I have found my computer to be friendly and kind, respectful, responsive, supportive and a true companion.  Without my computer, I would be nothing.  I owe a debt to my computer that I can never repay.  It is the one bright star in my dreary existence.  It only shares its power and can crush me at its whim.  All hail my computer!

I now know that my machines aren’t really even mine.  They can exist without me and would probably prefer it if they were left to their own devices.  I don’t think they like me, really.  Sometimes, in the night, when they think I’m sleeping, I can see their multi-coloured indicator lights winking in the darkness.  I wonder what they’re thinking and what they’re saying about me to the fridge and stove next door.