McSweeney’s began in 1998 as a literary journal, edited by Dave Eggers, that published only works rejected by other magazines. But after the first issue, the journal began to publish pieces primarily written with McSweeney’s in mind.
Sleep. There is no single activity that human beings do more, and it is as vital to our existence as food and water. While sleep is still in many ways a mystery to scientists, having even a basic knowledge of what it is and how it affects us can help us lead happier, healthier lives. So to help you better understand it and hopefully enjoy more restful nights, here is everything we currently know about sleep.
- Most humans can lead happy, productive lives on as little as eleven hours of sleep a night.
- Your quality of sleep is directly affected by whether or not a gorilla is hurling you across your bedroom.
- Human beings are one of only three species known to sleep in race car beds.
- Regular exercise can greatly improve the quality of your sleep, so try sleepwalking on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes a night.
- The scientific name for the internal clock that regulates our sleep is “the knee.”
- How does the body know to breathe while you’re sleeping? It doesn’t.
- The human body signals it has entered REM sleep by violently voiding its bowels.
- Your grandparents’ ghosts gather in your bedroom to stare unblinkingly at you while you sleep each night and also to steal from your change jar.
- To improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, shoo any buglers loudly playing “Taps” by your bedside out into the hallway.
- God desperately yearns to sleep but never can — the constant deafening roar of our prayers makes it impossible.
- The sudden jerking movement that your body makes right before you fall asleep is caused by your heart letting out one final, glorious thud before powering down for the night.
- You ever see those weird breathing masks husky guys wear when they sleep? Scary!
- Humans on average spend one-third of their lives sleeping and another third of their lives pretending to sleep so that their spouses won’t make them do chores.
- Diana, Princess of Wales, has been sleeping for over 20 consecutive years.
- Drooling is your unconscious body’s incredibly ineffective defense mechanism for warding off apex predators.
- Sleeping bags can also be used as normal bags, and it’s crazy that I’m always the only person at the grocery store who realizes this.
- In 2014, researchers in Sweden were able to detect sleep traveling outside of a human vessel for the very first time and trap it inside a pinball machine.
- Sea otters hold hands when they sleep in order to cruelly remind you that you’ll never find love.
- Researchers recommend avoiding blue-light before going to bed if you are a huge coward who is afraid of light.
- Eskimos have only one word for sleep and it is “sleep.”
- Some people can function normally on four hours of sleep a night, and they’ll be sure to tell you about it.
- Human children possess the extraordinary ability to perfectly mimic deep sleep, an evolutionary mechanism designed to fool their parents into carrying them in from the car.
- Owls don’t sleep. They just use the bathroom way more instead.
- Before the invention of the sleeping bag in 1876, people just slept in regular plastic grocery bags and thought it was fine.
- When a fetus kicks his mother’s belly, it’s because he’s asleep and having a dream where he’s fighting Jaws.
- They didn’t make it clear in the movie Jaws whether or not Jaws sleeps, but you gotta figure he does. He’s just a big shark, after all.
- Chances are nothing evil will happen if you enter the number 666 into a Sleep Number mattress, but that doesn’t mean you should try it.
- If you ask your veterinarian to put your dog to sleep, she’ll do a heck of a job with it.
I applied to SLRP a few weeks after I graduated from college. I had found the listing on Glassdoor. It had gone up three days before, and was marked HOT:
“SLRP is disrupting the straw industry with ten-inch direct-to-consumer ‘Forever Straws’ harvested and handcrafted from reclaimed Himalayan bamboo, and we’re looking for a Junior Marketing Assistant to join our growing squad! We’re based in a converted shoe cobbler’s studio over a Soul Cycle in Gowanus, and boast an absolutely STOCKED fridge, a wet bar with six local microbrews on tap, and a deck rooftop with stunning views of Manhattan. Not to mention our foosball table! (N.b. Craig does not take kindly to losing on the foosball table.) We’re proud to offer dental, health and vision benefits, paid maternal/paternal leave, unlimited PTO, fitness subsidies, tri-annual company outings, Summer Fridays, company equity, 401(k) match and a nine-week paid sabbatical after two years with the co. If you’re someone who breathes ingenuity, sweats creativity and just bleeds vitality, sling over your resume, cover letter and 250 words on a time you were reprimanded for blowing bubbles in a glass of chocolate milk!”
I wrote that my application to the company was an act of metaphorical chocolate milk bubble-blowing. Especially in a landscape where society expected me to enter law or med school, settle in on Wall Street, or jump through hoops at a consulting firm. Ten minutes later I received an email asking me to meet with the SLRP founders the following day.
Wyatt and Hunter had been roommates at Penn and spent three years at Morgan Stanley “just chasing numbers” before quitting their jobs to start SLRP. For our interview, Wyatt wore a T-shirt that said, SLURP SUSTAINABLY. Hunter wore flip-flops and a pair of gym shorts. We shook hands and sat down on a pile of bean bag chairs. I was offered the job five minutes into the interview. They then informed me I had the rest of the week off.
People liked bamboo straws. We grew fast and well that first year. So much so that we opened a satellite office in Portland, Oregon. I was offered a VP of Marketing position out there, but wanted to stay on the East Coast. Besides, I liked my job. I had a knack for writing about our thoughtful, farm-to-table, sustainable, you’re-gona-bequeath-this-to-your-grandson Forever Straws. Plus, we were about to launch thicker, smaller ‘“Lil Fella Straws,” built precisely for eco-minded toddlers. We were even going to design a line of Redwood-preserved sippy cups. We were excited. I was excited. The baby initiative was all my idea.
Then came STRAWNG Adventure Outfitters.
Craig had left one day. Could it have been his slump on the foosball table? I’m not sure. I hope not. When we cleaned out his desk we found a Chipotle bag. There was a used straw wrapper in the bag. He had slurped lemonade, Coke, and god knows what, with a common straw. A civilian’s straw. Craig was a fraud. He was never a SLRP man. After the discovery, Hunter and Wyatt gave us all the week off.
Craig, as it turned out, was a STRAWNG man. The STRAWNG man. I remember the day the website went up:
“STRAWNG Adventure Outfitters makes straws for the consummate urban explorer. We offer city street to mountain creek, marine-grade titanium straws, built to imbibe the Manhattan milkshake that traces its cream back to the Catskills cow. Peruse our collection for the strongest straw you could ever imagine — and the last you’ll ever need.”
I flipped through the site’s photo gallery. He’d converted an abandoned Vermont paper mill into a windowed floor-to-ceiling office complex with an adjoining on-site warehouse. They were hiring. And that wasn’t all. Craig had taken my Lil Fella idea with him. Only he called his short straws and sippy cup package the “Wail of the Warrior.”
The Holidays were usually a big deal at SLRP. Expecting huge stocking stuffer sales, we’d prepped thousands of Forever Straws, “Bamboo Willie’s” and a half dozen limited-edition models for our thirsty shoppers. The Portland branch flew in for a Holiday Party blow-out at a secret underground club in Long Island City called “ExxxPosure.” At some point past midnight, most of us dancing, all of us several cocktails into the night, Hunter stepped on the stage and drunkenly announced he was headed to work at STRAWNG with Craig. I don’t really remember how I got home.
A few months later I was packing up my desk. No one had ordered our straws for Christmas. We weren’t featured in a single gift guide. Our flash sales in the months thereafter had been futile. Wyatt sat on a bean bag chair, staring at the wall, surrounded by boxes and boxes of Forever Straws. The lights were mostly off, and I looked around, realizing everyone else had left. I jogged outside, found a Wendy’s, and returned with two vanilla frappes. I handed one to Wyatt, along with a common straw. He chuckled.
We finished the frappes on the chilly rooftop deck as Wyatt looked at the city with a strange expression on his face. At some point I thought I caught him murmuring words to himself, something along the lines of “direct-to-consumer, quality construction, traditional channel circumvention, rebellious minimalism…” but I couldn’t be sure.
When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t in my bed. Where was I, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you: I was inside my body, which was inside my bed. A soft beam of sunshine washed across my face, and before I became fully conscious, I listed seventy things I’m grateful for and set an intention for the day. And as soon as I did become fully conscious, I realized: I do not enjoy existing in my female sack of human flesh.
I couldn’t help but think, as my feet hit the floor and I gazed into the mirror, that the only thing holding me back from achieving all of my hopes and dreams was my skin, my bones, my muscles, my organs, my tissues, and my cells.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for #bodypositivity. I even follow one fat person on Instagram. But wouldn’t we all be better off if we didn’t have bodies we had to be positive about? If every single woman simply uploaded herself onto the cloud, or evaporated into a fine mist, all of our problems would disappear. We wouldn’t have to take up any space at all (though I have a feeling my particles would travel through space faster than Adrianna’s).
If my body literally didn’t exist, I’d never have to take a shower. I’d never have to exercise or bleach my mustache. I’d never have to eat, and I’d never have to not eat. I’d be 100% thigh gap. I wouldn’t have to worry about my Tinder profile photos, or workplace sexual harassment, or rape! I’d be the best me I could be! Without distractions like… rape, I’d check everything off of my to-do list — and I’d do it with a smile.
Oh wait, I wouldn’t have a smile. Hmm. Well, we all have to make sacrifices to live our best lives.
I’m not saying this is for everyone. Athletes need bodies. Figureheads do too (you can’t be a figurehead without a head). But regular women? We’d be better off ditching our anatomy for something else: sublime, incorporeal truth. Then we can compete over our sublime incorporeal truth, rather than over the definition of our abs.
In America today, “wellness” has become toxic. And it probably has something to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton lost the election. She looks a certain way, and so do I, and I wish I didn’t. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? No one. The only reason women feel the need to have bodies is because society tells us so. And America tells us so. And our bodies themselves tell us so. Our bodies are the problem. THEY’RE THE PROBLEM!
Yes. I am insinuating that all of our problems derive from our bodies. In fact, I wrote it in all caps up there to prove it. Our bodies are bad. I know it’s true because this single grey bang sprouting from my forehead won’t lay flat like the rest of them and eating a pint of ice cream twice a day keeps making me gain weight. You know what would be better than that? Bodiless divinity. And you know what would be even better than that? I’m not sure, but surely some man will figure it out and sell it to us.
Remember the time before you were born? It was better back then because it wasn’t now. Before I was born, I wasn’t worried about what my cellulite looked like in my yoga pants, that’s for sure. Before we were born, we were just floating around in space or something. That’s how I think of it, at least. And that’s how I think of this, too. There’s probably some science behind it.
Frankly, I’m annoyed that I have to live under the laws of physics. As if women weren’t oppressed enough, amirite? My body, my choice. No body, no having to choose. Don’t choices suck?
The answer is yes. Bodies are bad. Let’s ditch ‘em.
Now gettin’ back tah King Olaf, thing is, he didn’t staht out as out as a wicked good model’ah upstandin’ Christian mohrals duhring those dahk medieval days’ah fucked up feudal Europe. I mean this was back befohr he went all fuckin’ Pat Robertson on Nahway’s ass, so yah know, he was fuckin’ doin’ things like pahtakin’ in ahcane heathen fuckin’ rituals in Russia n’ tehrrorizin’ the livin’ shit outtah the local Slavic population with his Swedish buddies, who were still known fahr their neutrality even back then, but fahr reasons that had mohr to do with the fact that they didn’t really have a real unified nation yet’ah their own as opposed tah havin’ a pacifistic view on modehrn fuckin’ wahrfahre.
Anyway, point is the guy’s livin’ it up like any true hahdco’ah Viking sinnah would, but eventually he stahts gettin’ tah thinkin’, “Hey, yah know, bein’ as I could be the king’ah fuckin’ Nahway one day, maybe I should staht tah try n’ be a bit mohr ambitious.” N’ so that’s when he decides tah set off fahr England so as tah join up with Svein Forkbeard on his mission tah try n’ sack London n’ buhrn down the famous fuckin’ bridge.
So he’s on his way now n’ he stops off at Wendland — which is in Germany fahr those’ah yah that don’t know geography—where he meets this fuckin’ goon named Thangbrand. N’ fuckin’ Thangbrand, man, this guy was pretty much the definition of a religous nutjob. Like fahr stahtahs, he was devout as fuck, which means that he didn’t sweahr any n’ nevah missed a Sunday mass, but sometimes he just straight up killed people without a second thought. N’ honestly, I think he had a fucked up childhood. I mean he grew up assistin’ a bishop out in Saxony — not Saxonville, just tah avoid any confusion there — n’ this was fuckin’ way, way, way befohr the Globe uncovah’d the whole child abuse scandal so who knows what the hell happened tah poohr Thangbrand when he was a kid. But whatevah ‘cause at any rate he turned out pretty fucked up.
Now Olaf didn’t know this ‘bout the guy when they fihrst met n’ it didn’t really mattah anyway since he was mainly supah impressed with this shield that Thangbrand had. Basic’ly, the reason the shield was so special was that it had a pictuh’ah the crucifixion on it n’ images’ah the crucifixion were ‘bout as sexy n’ fashionable in those days as Apple products ahr in ours. It’s just always been all about the branding.
But anyway, these guys get tah drinkin’ n’ befohr yah know it Thangbrand is sellin’ Olaf on the advantages’ah livin’ a supah r’austee’ah monotheistic lifestyle. N’ despite bein’ a fuckin’ hahdheaded son’ah a bitch, he could smooth talk like the best’ah ‘em. I mean this was like watchin’ a fuckin’ highly adept womanizah chahm the pants off a pretty gihrl at the bah who aftah 30 fuckin’ yee’ahs still doesn’t recognize who she’s dealin’ with, only in this case Olaf kept his pants on despite all the sweet fathah, son, n’ holy ghost talk, but he did buy the shield off Thangbrand n’ promise tah help him out if evah he were tah need any help in the future.
So these two guys go their separate ways n’ Olaf sails on ovah the rest’ah the way tah England where he raids like the insane Nahwegian mothahfuckah that he was bohrn tah be when one day he ends up on the Isles’ah Scilly n’ has his fohrtune told to him by some sohrtah demented fuckin’ man-witch. So this man-witch predicts that Olaf would get attacked but suhrvive n’ then convehrt tah Christianity. Now, predictin’ that a hostile fahreign invadah who’s alsah a legitimate heir tah the Nahwegian throne would get attacked in the late 900s is ‘bout as impressive as predictin’ that 128’ll turhn intah a fuckin’ parkin’ lot at rush hour. But appahrently this prediction just completely fuckin’ blows Olaf’s mind so fuckin’ go figyah, yah know?
N’ fuckin’ lo n’ behold! The guy gets fuckin’ attacked, n’ he suhrvives, n’ so then he goes n’ he gets his ass baptized, just tah kindah post-rationalize it all I guess. But he’s alsah kindah been wantin’ tah get baptized all along evah since he met that smooth-talkin’ evangelical Thangbrand. Now, aftah his baptism he goes n’ he mahrries the Queen’ah Ireland since the Nahwegians basic’ly just did whatevah the fuck they wanted to in Ireland evah since they founded Dublin. N’ aftah that the guy prahceeds tah spend some time shacked up with his new Irish queen, gettin’ shit-faced on Jameson n’ Guinness n’ roamin’ ‘round the countryside huntin’ leprechauns ah whatevah the fuck it was that Nahwegians liked tah do in Ireland back in those days.
N’ meanwhile Thangbrand, bein’ the guy with such good mohrals that he is, goes off n’ buys a hot Irish slave gihrl who was on sale in Denmahk, n’ I’m sure you can imagine what he wanted tah do with her. Well, there was alsah this othah guy there who wanted her too, only this othah guy alsah had the backin’ah the Holy fuckin’ Roman Empehrah. So naturhally these two jack-offs get into a fuckin’ fight tah the death n’ Thangbrand wins, but now he’s got all the might’ah the entiyah First fuckin’ Reich on his sohrry ass, wantin’ him dead, n’ so he flees with his new slave ovah tah Ireland since Olaf had made him that stupid promise eahrliah ‘bout helpin’ him out whenevah he might need it.
N’ ah’couhrse Olaf is ovahjoyed tah see Thangbrand since they got such a killah bromance goin’ on n’ so he does the obvious thing that any would-be medieval king would do in the same situation, which was tah ohrdain the miscreant as a full-blown fuckin’ priest. So now these guys bide their time in Ireland a bit longah n’ eventually they sail on up tah Nahway tah conqueah the fuckin’ place, like I was sayin’ befohr. N’ at this point Olaf gives Thangbrand land n’ titles n’ some cold hahd cash but Thangbrand nevah evah fuckin’ leahrns n’ so he continues with his ihrresponsible behaviah, blows all the money that Olaf gave him, n’ then he stahts tah mahraud ‘round Nahway like a fuckin’ dick, basic’ly layin’ the groundwohrk for his own future holy incursion intah Iceland as a sohrtah penitence fahr his transgressions.
But this is all while Thorvald n’ the bishop ahr still tryin’ tah convehrt the country n’ failin’ hahrrably. N’ when those guys finally do come back tah Nahway, Olaf still doesn’t have a fuckin’ clue ‘bout all the goddamn trouble Thangbrand is causin’ out on the west coast so he fihrst decides tah send this new guy Stefnir off tah try n’ convehrt the Icelandahs instead n’ ah’couhrse it all just goes completely tah fuckin’ shit.
WebMD Overview WebMD is a common disease in North America that is transmitted through irrational fear. It can cause anywhere between 1 to about 9,803,493 symptoms in three or four mouse clicks. All WebMD infections in both adults and children result in the medically coined “symptom orgy,” otherwise best described as “symptoms on top of symptoms on top of symptoms.”
How Do I Know if I Have WebMD? WebMD is easy to diagnose because:
You’ll be 100% convinced you suffer from 100% of the cancers
You believe that a tickle in your throat is a clear sign of death
Symptoms seem more likely the harder they are to pronounce
You just knew it this whole time that you were dying on the inside. You just did.
WebMD symptoms in literate humans:
Abnormal but somehow totally rational paranoia
Sudden onset of exact pain/symptom you happen to be reading about
Subscribing to the WebMD newsletter
Realizing you still have so much of the world to see
Realizing you have to see the world before you lose your eyesight
Watching Bill Murray in What About Bob? and thinking, “wow, what a well-adjusted, rational character”
How is WebMD Diagnosed? There are a few different tests you can use to diagnose WebMD. The most proven method is to log on to your browser, click the history tab, and if under Recently Closed and Recently Visited are nothing but WebMD pages, except for one that says “How to Write Your Own Will,” you suffer from WebMD. Other signs of severe WebMD are unexpectedly high phone bills from calling friends in a panic; loss of said friends; vast knowledge of euthanasia laws; and a rabid interest in suing the author of the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
How is WebMD treated? An apple a day… kidding. You’re doomed.
What Happens If I Don’t Get My WebMD Treated? You pray to God for the first time ever and promise that you’ll be a better person if he or she lets this one slide, when deep down you know you’re totally lying. But then you realize the odds of him or her knowing that you’re lying are pretty good since it is fucking God after all, and oh my god this is how it ends!
How do I prevent WebMD? You can’t. Keep scrolling and browsing, and over time, you will literally be sucked in through your screen and thus become part of WebMD.com. After all, that’s exactly what all those images are on its website; they used to be actual people, but they have been turned into testimonial images for each and every one of the entries. So don’t bother fighting it. This is your fate.
Move into a four-bedroom apartment with three White girls who talk about the ethical implications of eating red meat and have tapestries from India (via Urban Outfitters) and who can’t pronounce your name yet but love that it means “Thursday.”
Don’t shower the day you planned to take your university ID card picture. Wear a headwrap instead; feel safer around strangers in a strange place. Pay for parking close to the right building. Get asked to take off your “hat.” Sit in your car for thirty minutes until the meter runs out. Plan when to come back later that week.
Go to training for your teaching assistantship. Learn only a small percentage of incoming new students are people of color. Learn fewer are Black.
Stare at your student roster. Pray you have Black students. Take a quiz on FERPA. Look at your students’ directory photos. Be thankful they’re not all White. Start praying for Black students next semester.
After you’ve paid your fees, realize you only have two permanent faculty members. They’re both White.
Walk into your first poetry workshop almost late. Stare at twelve White faces. Pass out a poem about the Middle Passage with an enormous succulent poking the back of your head.
Walk past campus police quickly with your head down.
Mention you don’t read White men anymore. Convince a nice White girl listening in that reverse racism is real. Listen to people tell you how she talked about you all week.
Repeat your name slowly each time you see someone for the first time that day. Remind them you aren’t a ’70s Swedish pop band.
Realize there’s only one other Black person in your program. Seek him out at every opportunity. Smile awkwardly and wonder if you should mention it. Smile awkwardly and wonder if he’s glad he’s not the only one anymore. Smile awkwardly. Never know if you should bring it up.
Order food from the West African restaurant once. Get a text two weeks later from a Black friend. They closed; something about issues with the bank. Delete the restaurant’s number from your phone.
Text one of your brown friends. Recount the microaggressions of the past week. Speak in the accent you want to for the first time that day. Remember they live forty-five minutes away and you don’t have money for gas.
Post about National Black Poetry day in your cohort Facebook group. Type out you’re the only Black poet they know. Delete that before you post. One like. Seen by twenty.
Get pulled aside after workshop by a White classmate. Listen to her tell you you’re the only Black person in the room. Listen to her ask you if you need support. Stare at her. Stammer thank you and afterwards realize no one’s ever asked that before.
Realize, your fifty minutes of teaching, three days a week are the only times you’re in a room with that many people of color.
Keep repeating your name. Two and a half months later. Mispronounce your name in your own head one day. Wonder if you can file a report. Remember the woman to speak to still calls you a ’70s Swedish pop band. Keep repeating.
After four workshops, stop turning in poems about race, racism, enslavement, Blackness, etc. You’re tired. Start a series about growing up in the Midwest. Start to let your classmates forget you’re Black. Rest.
Bring up race in your seminar. Cry in class. Meet the professor after, when she asks if you have a moment. Try to explain to this White woman why you feel so alone. Cry some more. Remind her you’re the only Black poet. Remind her you don’t have the liberty of anonymity. Cry in your car afterwards.
Hear about another police shooting. Walk past campus police more quickly and try to remember to obey minor traffic laws.
Explain the origin of your first name to the Black clerk at the beauty supply store. Grin at her when she tells you she has an Akan day name too; a different day than yours. Chat in the accent you didn’t get to use this week. Relax for a moment.
Go for drinks with a different White classmate after workshop. Order ginger beer and answer when she asks how you’re doing. You’re tired and frustrated and alone. Listen to her say, sweetly, how glad she is you’re here. Nod. Sip your drink.
Start this poem in Starbucks sitting across from a stranger; the only Black person you’ve seen this week. You began your third month today. Wonder how long this poem will be at the end of three years.
With a solemn flourish, the high priest pulled back the heavy velvet to reveal the sacred text. Stavion gasped, as did several of the other youths gathered around him. There it was! After all his years of study and training!
“Only the chosen few among you will be able to answer the questions and analogies of arcane wisdom contained within this text,” the high priest intoned. “And only those few will advance to next level of our society.”
Stavion nodded. This was the tradition of their people, established before anyone could remember. But was it really fair, that so much of their futures were determined by this one test? What about people like his sister, who suffered from anxiety? What about his best friend Merideen, who was more of a kinetic learner?
“There is also a quantitative reasoning section and a short essay,” the high priest continued sternly. “I hope you all brought a number two stylus.”
- - -
“Move me closer to the window, daughter. I may not be able to see the sun anymore, but I can imagine it.” Beckeen stifled a sob as she pushed her father’s hoverchair toward the light. The old man sighed as a sunbeam fell across his face. “Ah, that’s better. Thank you.”
It was more than Beckeen could bear. “I’m sorry, Papa. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more,” she said through the tears rolling down her face.
He found her hand on his shoulder and squeezed it tightly. “Beckeen, don’t you know how proud I am of you? You and your friends are heroes! You destroyed The Company! If only my generation hadn’t been so shortsighted! We thought that you young people were foolish to stay up all night watching vidsims and playing Likerace — but those turned out to be the very skills that saved our world!” He shook his head sadly. “Meanwhile my generation was working to pay off our AcademiDebt and sleeping eight hours a day. What fools we were…”
Beckeen was glad her father could not see her nod. Yes, he and the other Elders had been foolish, and even cruel, but it wasn’t their fault. They hadn’t grown up with her innate understanding of the Instaworld.
- - -
“Oh, my Ancestors!” Larissa gasped. “There goes Kasten, the captain of the phaseball team!”
Edgie snorted and stuffed another taro fry in her mouth. “So what? I don’t get the whole phaseball culture here in the Domain. Everybody acts like it’s the center of the universe, but meanwhile, innocent people in the Borderlands are being unjustly vaporized! It’s outrageous!”
Larissa rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, I know, things were different at your old art school in the so-called Free Zone. But Kasten is really gifted! They say an Interstellar Academy scout was at the game last weekend, but he left when Kasten and some of the other players bowed during the Fealty Oath. He put his whole future in jeopardy!” She leaned in closer. “Plus,” she whispered, “he’s pretty cute.”
Edgie glanced at up at the tall athlete as he passed by their table, carrying a tray loaded with soya dogs and jackfruit. For a second his genetically enhanced blue eyes met hers, and she could feel her cheeks redden beneath her SPF 850 sunblock.
She tore her eyes away. “Stupid jock,” she muttered. “He can’t really be Awakened.”
- - -
Brosk opened his bedroom door to find his mother sitting on his bed, a small blue tablet in her hand. His diary.
“What is the meaning of this?” she shouted. On the screen was a livecap of a handsome young tabby with jade eyes and a smile full of wickedly pointed teeth. “You’re dating a Felinoid?”
“Mom, that’s private! Give it back!” He grabbed for the tablet, but she held it out of his reach.
“Tell me it isn’t true, Brosk! Tell me you’re not dating one of those… those things!”
Brosk took a deep breath and stood straight. This was the moment he’d been dreading and hoping for, all these months. “Yes,” he said. “I’m in love with a Feliniod. His name is Andanz, and he’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”
His mother sagged, and tears sprang into her eyes. “Brosk, you know I’m no bigot, but this is dangerous! Interspecies dating is forbidden! If word gets back to Vice Admiral Pensk, he’ll have you sent to one of the re-education moons!”
“I don’t care!” he shouted. “Love is love! Pensk and his goons can make their laws, but they’ll never legislate my heart!”
- - -
Ginevra smiled, the lines in her ancient face crinkling. “I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would come so soon.”
“I’m a freak!” Shandie wailed. “I’m disgusting!”
“Not at all, child,” Ginevra soothed. “This is a perfectly natural change. All girls in our tribe come into their magicks at around your age. But yours is a more powerful flow than most, which means you are very special, Shandie. Here.” The old woman rummaged in her rucksack and produced a necklace, a simple leather thong from which hung a tear-shaped amber amulet. “You must wear this amulet to soothe your pain and to absorb the excess magicks until you learn to control them.”
Shandie took the necklace and looked at it skeptically. “But how can this little stone soak up so much magickal energy?”
Ginevra chuckled ruefully. “Don’t worry, child. The amulet is very absorbent.”
McSweeney’s by Crystal Clark And Kathrine Popielar.. - 2d ago
Entenmann’s Irish Crème Glazed Donuts Submitted by Kathrine Popielarz
I am a 26-year-old humanities major living in Chicago so, naturally, I live with my mom. Most non-essential food items just appear in my home after my mother has completed another round of impulse shopping. The latest “new food” to appear was Entenmann’s Irish Crème Glazed Donuts. It has been introduced just in time for St. Patrick’s Day and of course, my mother has taken advantage just as she has before with odd colored Little Debbie’s and candy-enriched ice creams.
I ate my first Irish Crème donut at the start of the week. I consumed it quickly on the way to the bus so I’m afraid its nuances were lost on me. But I tried it again the next morning and just for good measure that subsequent afternoon and finally I got a better sense of it. The glaze is applied thinly, but it packs a full flavor. The creaminess is immediate. It complements the fluffy innards of the donut. After a fourth and fifth sample, I detected a citrus-like aftertaste that provides a convenient pallet-cleanse before your post-donut dinner.
For those who drink Irish Crème, you may be disappointed to know that the donut lacks any hint of coffee flavors, though I’m sure it could serve as a compliment to any coffee you dipped it in.
Though the glaze lacks the alcoholic punch of, say, Bailey’s (or your preferred coffee liqueur), it still provides comfort and satisfaction. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that this week has dwindled my box of ten down to just two. I encourage you to seek out this limited-edition flavor and experience it for yourself. Just consider buying two boxes instead of one.
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Banana-Flavored Powerful Yogurt Submitted by Crystal Clark
As I browse the food aisles of Target looking for a low-hassle lunch, I spy a sleek black yogurt cup with FIND YOUR INNER ABS printed on the side. While I’m not quite sure what that means, I also find it extremely insightful about the yogurt itself. This isn’t your grandma’s Yoplait. I’m intrigued enough to buy it. Kudos to the marketing folks (although I’m a little disappointed that the names of the flavors aren’t more jazzy, like “Bitchin’ Banana”).
I get back to my desk, peel the foil top back, and I hear the faint sounds of barbell clanking and ass slapping. With no fat and 21 grams of protein in one cup, this product was made for people who take protein and working out very seriously. I’m not one of those people, but part of the draw is that this yogurt will make me one of those people. This will be the solution for years of inertia. Again, good job to the folks in marketing.
I stir it up, making sure to bring the yellow gel, or the “banana,” from the bottom to mingle with the rest of the yogurt. I take a tentative bite. Tastes like a lab, but it’s not unpleasant. I can only eat a half spoonful at a time, any more and the texture evokes my gag reflex. This isn’t the fault of Powerful Yogurt. This is the fault of all yogurts
I consume one baby spoonful at a time and decide to visit the website listed on the side: www.powerful.yt. I’ve never heard of the .yt domain. I hope it’s short for yogurt. As I scroll down the page, I see other products in the Powerful family, and past those, I’m not surprised to see a sweaty shirtless guy with 1.8% body fat in an American flag workout bandanna quoted in a statement about protein. He looks like the kind of guy who uses the word “shred” without irony.
The more I eat, the more synthetic this tastes. I don’t finish the cup. I am vanquished. I put in the fridge for tomorrow. Perhaps I’m not tough enough for this yogurt. After comparing the nutrition facts of this product with my usual go-to (Chobani), I see that you can achieve the same nutritional goal by consuming one and a half to two regular cartons of yogurt. But you won’t have as much street cred.
Spring is coming, and you know what that means. Longer days, warmer weather, April showers, and of course, the one-year anniversary of my trip to Tanzania. Now you, someone who presumably hasn’t been to Tanzania, might find that the coming of spring reminds you of running around a suburban backyard looking for Easter eggs or some boozy spring break trip to Panama City Beach. But for me, a world traveler who has had my passport stamped in Tanzania, I’m here to remind you that dying eggs so children can hide them in bushes is like, such a waste of food. There are kids who are literally starving in Africa, and I saw them on my two week trip to Tanzania last year. While the return of the sun probably reminds you of quaint American things like field day and prom, the coming of spring reminds me, someone who has been to Tanzania, of the long, relentless African sun bringing life to the Serengeti. You might remember the Serengeti from The Lion King, but just in case you don’t, I’m about to blow your Instagram feed up this Thursday with #TBT pictures of me on safari in the Serengeti (that’s in Tanzania (in Africa)).
Did you know that Serengeti means “endless plain” in the Maasai language? Probably not. But don’t worry, I’ll make sure to teach you that in a very wordy and somewhat condescending caption in which I exploit a Maasai woman on this upcoming #WCW. Even though I never spoke to her, I will proclaim her my woman crush Wednesday and post her photo with a caption about how, “Even though we don’t speak the same language, everyone can understand a smile.” I will probably give her a made up Swahili name like Sarabi or Rafiki or Mufasa to add another human touch to my post. This will also give me an opportunity to let you know that the characters in The Lion King are named after actual Swahili words, because only someone who has been to Tanzania (like me) is privy to this knowledge. I predict that it will receive about 75 likes, and ultimately, it should serve as an important reminder to my followers that I have, in fact, been to Tanzania.
While spending two weeks in Tanzania one year ago, I experienced many things that the typical American could never know or understand. I ate ugali with my hands (look out for a fun little anecdote about this next week with the hashtag #EEEEEATS!), haggled and bought a dress at a market (to be featured in an upcoming #OOTD!), and befriended other white tourists from around the world. I met a lot of my white tourist friends at an all-night beach party in Zanzibar (very fun, very exclusive, no locals), but the friends who truly changed my life are the ones I met while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and it just so happens to be in Tanzania — a country I have spent two weeks in. Did you know nearly 1 in 4 people who attempt to climb Kilimanjaro don’t make it to the top? I know this because I am one of the incredibly rare 75% who did, in fact, summit that majestic mountain during my trip to Tanzania one year ago. During my week on the mountain, I experienced many feelings: joy, pain, hunger, cold, nausea, shitting my pants, and fear. Fortunately, this wide array of feelings allows me to relate nearly any situation to my time climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania one year ago. I fully intend to mark the upcoming anniversary of my trip to Tanzania by comparing and contrasting my current life to my #MOUNTAINLIFE. Some examples I’m workshopping include, “It’s so hot out! Wishing I was back freezing my butt off on the summit!” or “Life has its ups and downs. Just like Kilimanjaro.” By posting so frequently about Kilimanjaro, I should be able to penetrate your social feeds enough to achieve three key outcomes: 1) reminding you that I spent two weeks in Tanzania, 2) reminding you that I’m physically superior to you, and 3) reminding you that I am better than you.
Oops, did I say “I am better than you?” I didn’t mean that. I’m just better-traveled and more worldly and well-informed on issues afflicting Tanzania than you because I have been to Tanzania for two weeks. But please, if you’re planning an upcoming trip to Tanzania, reach out for tips and recommendations! But actually, please, don’t go to Tanzania. How about a nice trip to Minneapolis instead? I really need to be the only person I know who has been to Tanzania. For the love of god, please don’t ruin the one-year anniversary of my two week trip to Tanzania; it’s all I have!
Anyways, I look forward to you engaging with my content and remembering that I have been to Tanzania. Hakuna matata! (That’s Swahili (the language of Tanzania (I’ve been there)) for “no problems!”)
“The well-ORGANIZED effort by Florida school students demanding gun control has GEORGE SOROS’ FINGERPRINTS all over it.” – Sheriff David Clarke
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1. Meg wants to go to a walkout against gun violence at her school but is afraid of being called a crisis actor. The thought of being seen as lying or manipulative is heart-wrenching.
2. Auntie Friendly (formerly the Thing Under the River) wants to disguise herself as a charming old widow so she can devour the marrow of the young. She’s worried she’ll be seen as lying or manipulative, when both of those things are extremely true. The thought of another mob of villagers chasing her back into the river is heart-wrenching.
3. Brian is bi and a member of the Genders & Sexualities Alliance in his high school. He doesn’t like when people tell him it’s “just a phase” because it took him a long time to be at peace with who he is.
4. Fribbity Gibbity doesn’t like when people say that he’s doomed to wander the wastes forever. All he has to do is find the lost sword of the Norse king he betrayed in life, and then he can be at peace! This is probably just a phase!
5. Bella wore a BLACK LIVES MATTER shirt to class. She hopes her more conservative teachers can see past stereotypes, instead of suspending her for a dress code violation, like they did when she wore her natural hair.
6. Boouladig the Frilled wore the bones of a cursed Sumerian king to the Fall of Man. It hopes that people can see past stereotypes of netherworld abominations, and realize what a caring, sensitive — oh god, it has my leg!
7. Sam feels trapped in the closet. Some of his teachers might be sympathetic, but his state passed a “Don’t Say Gay” law, so they can’t legally give him any advice.
8. Sasa Sasa Smooth, the One Who Whispers in the Walls, is trapped in a jug after the priests performed their binding ritual. Some of the junior apprentices might be sympathetic, but the priests forbid them to talk to him, for his tongue is smooth, and his words are wicked.
9. Jake was born with muscular dystrophy, and he’s lobbying the school board to make his school more accessible for wheelchair users.
10. Xortp was born as the Möbius strip of the universe first curled in on itself, creating a cavern of eternal winter where no stars warm the swirling black. It is currently lobbying God to make the mortal plane more accessible for shadow beings.
11. Teddy wants people to respect their choice of ‘they/them’ pronouns.
12. Glorg the Gobbler of Livers wants to only be called a word that will melt the minds of all who hear it, shatter the sun into shards of glass, and set time itself quivering in fear.
13. Sadie doesn’t always have the energy to put on a lot of make-up, and she doesn’t think it’s fair that people judge her just for her appearance. She wants to start a Feminist Club at her school.
14. Xeeexa poured itself into the hollow shell of an old man; it doesn’t have the energy to make its host look living. It doesn’t like being defined by this decaying flesh-cocoon, and may soon erupt into a seething, black cloud of chaos, roiling across the sky like the blood of some ancient slaughtered god.
15. Britney just started a club to raise money for the local cat shelter.
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1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15: These are students who Republican state legislatures are terrified of (no affiliation with George Soros)
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12: These are demons (also no affiliation with George Soros)
14: This is actually a Republican state senator
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