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.


Stupid People Declare War!

stupid peopleI’m starting to think stupid people have declared war on me.  In the last month, I’ve had three conversations that defy the laws of reasonable behaviour, and as Goldfinger once said to James Bond, “Once is happenstance.  Twice is coincidence.  Three times is enemy action.”  Could it be that stupid people have finally realized I’ve been making fun of them for years and have decided to fight back?  It looks like it.

I’ve already recounted my experience at the computer store, last week.  I’m probably prevented by law from talking about the exchange I had at Motor Vehicles, but here is the final straw that happened at a coffee shop (not a mega-brand multi-national, BTW) where I was just trying to waste some time while my ride was at the doctor.  (Again, believe it or don’t, this actually happened.)

The sign read:“Please wait to be seated”  Oops! The price of the coffee just got a little pricier.

“Hell-o.” said the girl with the judgmental smile

“Can I just get a coffee?”

“To go?”

“To stay

“We have a minimum charge during the afternoon.”

“How much?”


“No worries”

“Would you like a menu?”

“No, just coffee.  Large Americano.”

“There’s a minimum charge.  $4.75.  Large Americano is only $3.99 plus tax.”

“Right.  I’ll just give you the other 75 cents — plus tax if you like.”

“We can’t do that.  It has to be a menu item.”

“Just charge me $4.75 for the coffee.  What’s the problem?”

“We can’t do that.  The cash register is coded.  It only accepts menu items.”

At this point I’m a little frustrated but still reasonable. If the computer says I can’t have a large Americano, and the chick with the judgmental smile is thinking, “Why doesn’t this old bugger just go away?” who am I to rock the boat?  However, defiantly, I sit down — $4.75 or no $4.75.

“Let’s do this: forget the large Americano.  Why don’t we …”

“I’m not trying to be a bitch.  It’s our manager’s policy so people don’t just order a small coffee and sit here all afternoon.”

Exactly my scam, but I wasn’t going to tell her that.

“Fair enough.  I don’t think you’re a bitch.  It’s okay.  Let’s  not worry about the large Americano.  Just give me two medium Americanos.  Alright: that’s $2.99 — twice — problem solved.”

The judgmental girl held up two fingers.


I can see her doing the calculations in her head.

… $9.50 (slight pause) plus tax.”

“No, $2.99 which is 3 dollars.  Right?  (big pause) Times two (even bigger pause) is six dollars.”

The judgmental girl was clearly losing her cool and started speaking to the old fella in front of her as if he was deaf, half blind, mostly stupid and had just escaped from “The Home.”

“Our minimum charge is $4.75.  $3.99 for a large Americano isn’t enough money.  It isn’t enough.  $2.99 is even less.”

“But I’m ordering two.”

“I didn’t make the policy.  My manager says ‘Our minimum charge from noon to five is $4.75.’  Here: it’s printed right on the menu.  That’s $4.75 and $4.75 (counting on her fingers) which is $9.50.”

I couldn’t help myself.

“Plus tax.”

“Plus tax.  Yes.  Okay.”

“Okay, you win.  Give me a medium Americano (big bad look from the judgmental girl) to go.”

Sigh of relief from both of us.

“I’m sorry.  It’s our manager’s policy.  I just work here.  I have to do what they tell me to.”

“No problem.  I totally understand.”


At this point, the score is Stupid People: 3 — WD Fyfe: 0.

I’ll keep you posted.