Sunday, March 04, 2007

I’ve been meaning to write a new one of these things for a while now, but I’ve been far too distracted. The last one was on November 15, 2006. I couldn’t write anything between then and November 22, because I was starving myself in preparation for Thanksgiving. Christmas was held on December 24th or 25th last year, so until then I had to prepare my wish list. The rest of Christmas break featured Driver’s Education, which is story enough for a whole different entry. (Actually I wrote about two pages of that one, but got bored and stopped. You’ll have to ask me about it in real life. Actually don’t, because I’ve told the stories enough and I’ll probably just ignore you if you ask. But they are funny stories.) After Christmas came the turn of the Millennium and I spent January celebrating Martin Luther and drinking Tropicana products. The complete first season of Dragon Ball Z was released on DVD in February. That brings us to the current month, March. “But what have you been up to this month?” you ask.

I respond, “A lotta stuff. Get outta my face,” and briskly walk away. I think to myself, I should have given that person the real answer, which would be: Listening to the new Fall Out Boy album and reading things on Wikipedia.

“Just those two things? For all this time?” You persist.

“Jesus Christ, what the hell is your problem? How did you even catch up to me? And how did you hear my thoughts?” I wonder. “Nevertheless, yes, just those two things.” The FOB disc grew on me like a sugary sexually transmitted delight. At first I thought, Hmm. This doesn’t feel right. This sounds very over-produced, and there are pustules on my scrotum. But after three or four listens those boys from Chicago had me hooked like a simile-dealing fisherman. Every time I fire up my Comp-U-Tron 6000, I immediately start playing a live video of the Boys and love every second of it while simultaneously noticing how they sound worse than a band at a middle school talent show.

The second distraction is Wikipedia, which is the electronic equivalent of an encyclopedia. At night while watching TV I will usually notice interesting things and write them down to research in the morning. I will search for one thing, such as Public Access Television, and start clicking on all the blue words, or “hyperlinks.” Eventually my screen is so full of windows that I mistake it for the Home Depot. When I’m finally done reading all of the pages, it’s usually 3 o’clock in the morning and I’ve entirely forgotten the reason for getting on the computer machine in the first place. Usually I’ll have Instant Messenger running, but for no real reason, as I get annoyed when people message me and interrupt my Wikipedia reading. But I do know one reason for keeping AIM running: Sweet, sweet away messages and profiles. If someone were to write a book composed of hundreds upon hundreds of away messages, I would say, “How did you get that published?”

The author would respond, “Well, it was a lengthy process that involved years of schooling, hard work, connections…”

“Spare me the details, Poindexter,” I would yell in his face. “Just give me a copy of your book. I want to read all of those away messages.”

Which is precisely what I would do. Which is precisely what I do do. Any time I sign on, I must read where everyone is. Every time I sign off I must again read where everyone is. There is no man crazier than the guy who signs off without first running through everyone’s info from top to bottom.

The only problem with this is that people have more or less the same away messages all the time. “I am away from my computer right now,” says one. “Away,” is all another has to offer. But the very worst, the absolute worst away message possible, is the dreaded “Just chillin’,” or whatever other horrible way the author wishes to spell it. I know one person who frequently displays this one, though sadly he is currently sporting “I AM SO GAY AND I LIKE TO EAT MENS BUTTHOLES.” An interesting choice, and I still prefer it to the “JC” option.

“Just chillin’” very well may be the worst euphemism in the English language. It is the main reason I abandoned Instant Messenger for a time between 2002 and 2003, an era similar to Picasso’s Blue Period. I was avoiding the only conversation possible between two sixth graders. It goes a little something like this:

xXxlilhunnyxXx123: sup

sk8ater69: nm u

xXxlilhunnyxXx123: jc

The conversation would end there as xXxlilhunnyxXx123 went to download an Avril Lavigne song. That exchange was so common and useless and annoying that I stopped altogether. I thought I was safe from the dreaded “just chillin’”, but recently I’ve noticed it’s coming back to life, though in a far more horrifying form: Real Life.

It usually appears on Monday, secretly sneaking into conversations that are unnecessary in the first place. This exchange will be something like:

Person 1: How was your weekend?

Person 2: Okay.

Person 1: What did you do?

Person 2: Chilled.

Person 1: Cool.

As you can see, the language has evolved slightly from two-letter acronyms, though the meaning is just the same as it was so many years ago. “Chilled” is such a stupid way to glorify nothing. To contrast, here is how I usually field that same conversation, free of any such nonsense.

Person 1: How was your weekend?

M to the B: Not too bad.

Person 1: What did you do?

M to the B: Not much. I sat around in my sweats and watched some movies. I also ate a few sandwiches.

Person 1: Cool.

For the longest time the “chilling” bullshit had taken advantage of me. I never really thought about what it meant, but I figured it actually had some sort of a meaning. Then one quiet Saturday it was around 2:30 in the afternoon. I was wearing my standard uniform of stained black sweatpants and a t-shirt while eating my lunch in front of the TV and watching MTV. In my mind, this constitutes doing nothing. But then I looked around, squinted my eyes, and whispered, “So this is chilling.”

The next Monday I heard the standard exchange go down and smiled, knowing that the supposed chiller had really done nothing at all, but it’s much cooler to say “chilled,” because, I guess, the words are related by temperature. I wanted him to man up and admit what he had done, but I suppose he will learn in time. Hopefully the use of this dirty phrase will decline now that I’ve exposed it for what it really is.

Also, and this one goes out to anyone attending high school, if you want people to know you drive a car to school, please just wear a T-shirt that says so, or purchase a sign on the school’s billboard, or use a megaphone to announce it. Enough with the obnoxious key chains and Chik-Fil-A cups. They were cute at first, but it needs to stop. You might as well just run around with a Super Soaker and shout “I clean vaginas!”