I Can Has Proof Read?

18 06 2009

About a month ago The Herald-Sun ran this article on its front page.  Upon reading it, you may say to yourself “Wow, I know times is tough, but a 13% literacy rate?!? That seems unbelievable.” Well, guess what, it is. The first sentence of the article makes it overly clear that the headline should have read “Durham’s basic ILLITERACY rate at 13%.” Turns out only 13% of Durhamites can’t read, not 87%.

I’m guessing at least one of them thinks he works at the Harold-Son.

Okay, we all know that Carrboro is full of yuppies and hipsters, but let’s not forget about another group of nonconformists the town has to offer. That’s right, the emo kids. That’s not the sound of a squirrel on the Weaver Street lawn, it’s an emo kid weeping softly to himself while Bright Eyes pounds through the speakers of his iPod. On this particular night, it looks like local favorite Elmo’s will be serving up burgers, charred black like their soul and served with a side of inner self-loathing.

Fucking yum.

Chapel Hill parking sucks.

However, from the looks of it, good ole Balfour Beatty Construction might be doing everyone a kindly little favor. The mysterious black curtain clues me into the fact that they probably don’t want me to park here, but with a sign expounding ZERO CONSEQUENCES for doing so, this offer might be too good to refuse.


- Mister John Reitz

5 People I’d Rather Throw A Shoe At Than President Bush

24 12 2008

1. Orphaned children from the 1920s.

Those feet just begging for some ringworm.

...maybe her.

...maybe her.

2. Bush’s Secret Service Agents.
Because, deeyam boyz, I know that his approval ratings are hovering around 27% but your reflexes were slower than Christmas. Put down the copy of Twilight that you were reading (I know, it’s really really hard to do) and maybe stop the guy before he has the time to get another shoe off. What if, heaven forbid, the shoes had been…bigger shoes?

3. The Old Woman Who Lived In One.
Because, with the current mortgage crisis, it would probably be taken as a sign of good will. This being the season for giving, who wouldn’t want free house thrown at them?

4. The chorus of little children who sing at the end of NewSong’s “The Christmas Shoes.”
Because they want their mother to look beautiful if she meets Jesus tonight. C’mon! What if Jesus comes and momma’s feet look stank nasty?!? Toss some Nike Dunks over here Rob Lowe.

5. Governor Blagojevich’s hair dresser.
Because his head looks kinda like a pair of untamed, happy, hobbit feet. And Chicago politics are dirtier than the Mines of Moria.


Honorable Mention: Faith the Wonder Dog
Because she’s just like a person and people wear shoes. She’s “a best friend, a guardian angel” and she’s taught one woman to better understand handicapped people. Because handicapped people are just like a dog with two legs. Just. Like. One.

- Mister John Reitz

Sarah Palin’s FULL HOUSE

7 09 2008

Ever since John McCain announced self-pronounced “hockey mom” Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential running mate I’ve heard rumblings on the interweb and general dissent on shouty MSNBC shows claiming that she’s unqualified for the job because as a “hockey mom” she should be taking care of her family. She does have a large family, but rather than criticize Governor Palin for this we could celebrate this fact. The White House is a big place. If there’s room for 35 bathrooms, there’s certainly room for her children Track, Trig, Briston, Piper, and Willow too. With such a FULL HOUSE they could make a sit-com about it. Hmmm…..

- Mister John Reitz

Scatological Humor

22 07 2008
This is NOT a hat.

This is NOT a hat.

“This is your hat,” says the nurse wearing a Harley Davidson T-shirt.

“Bullshit,” I think as she hands it to me. This is a plastic bowl that you want me to shit in. Don’t call it a hat. A hat is something you put on your head to block the sun, keep your ears warm, or cover your bald spot.

I’ve never had to give a stool sample before so today was going to be an adventure of sorts. I’d been having stomach cramps for the past week so I figured I would schedule an appointment with UNC’s Student Health Services. The consultation was without incident but afterwards the doctor suggested I give a sample, “just to be on the safe side.” I’m generally a pretty hygienic person. If the so called “safe side” involves fecal matter, I’d much prefer the other side of whatever type of medical boat metaphor we’re riding. But the doctor insisted. Which led me the nurse in the Harley-tee; the Hospital Haberdasher if you will.

This IS a hat.

This IS a hat.

“So I’m just supposed to…”

“Put it in the hat.”

“Right, I put it in the hat. But I don’t really have to go,” I say. “Is there something I can do to make this easier?”

“Just think about it,” replies Harley. “It’ll happen.”

She leads me down the hallway to the bathroom, the room which, over the course of the next three hours, I would come to think of as my bathroom. I acquaint myself with the room, adjust my hat, flip through a Reader’s Digest (the hospital bathroom magazine of choice), and I wait. About fifteen pages later, I get something. It’s not much, but its something. I’m proud of myself. I feel like a kitten who’s just learned to use the litter box. I smile at the woman in the Harley-tee as I walk towards the exit.

“You put it in the hat?”

“I put it in the hat.”

“Alright, we’ll do a few checks and you’ll be good to go.”

She vanishes into the backroom for a minute and then returns with a disappointed look on her face. I can tell before she opens her mouth that I should put my kittenish tail between my legs.

“Its not enough,” she says.

“Oh,” I say. “I’m sorry…I guess.” Is this something you’re supposed to apologize for? She just told me where to put “it.” She didn’t say there was a minimum amount of “it” necessary.

“We need you to try again.”

Her mind-over-fecal-matter strategy simply isn’t working for me. So I ask her if it’s okay if I go get some help. “Are there any places near here where I can get something to eat?”

“There’s a southern fast food restaurant upstairs.” This sounds good to me, but I’m thinking I might need a little more… “and there’s a Starbucks on the first floor.” Bingo.

Tony probably has people to shit for him. One of the benefits of being a Made man.

One barbeque sandwich and a double espresso shot later I’m back in the my checkerboard tiled cell. I’d figured to get straight to the point by ordering the double espresso. Plus, I always feel like Tony Soprano when I drink one.

I’ve now officially been trying to shit for two hours. Outside I hear the nurses start to pack up, wishing each other a fun evening, one that I imagine involves untamed motorcycle races around the greater Chapel Hill/Carrboro area with men named Skud, Mutt, or Hoggish Greedly. My heart beats faster as 144 mg of caffeine pump through my bloodstream and I begin to worry about the very real possibility that I may soon become “the night shift’s problem.” But what if that wasn’t enough time? What if I’m still in here tomorrow morning? What if I become the Rip Van Winkle of stool samples, emerging just in time to see Maddie Briann Spears’ sad downfall from pop-stardom?

This has gotten totally out of hand. I close my eyes and try to calm myself. I try not to focus on the task at hand and to just inhabit the bathroom. I take a few deep breaths, pick up my Reader’s Digest, and sit down contentedly above my hat. A minute or so passes…and then its over. Mission accomplished.

It’s in this moment that I have an epiphany: Shitting is like your first improv rehearsal. If you try to force it out, it’s just not gonna happen. You can try as hard as you want to be funny (and you may even get a little something) but it won’t be enough. The funny doesn’t happen until you can relax and just enjoy the space you’re in. Nurse Harley was wrong. Don’t think about it; just go.

Now that’s something to tip your hat at.


- Mister John Reitz

The Facebook: Bringing REAL people together

9 07 2008

This morning I had 806 friends on Facebook. Of these 806, 450 are from UNC, 219 are from high school or earlier, 132 are from around Chapel Hill, most have shitty jobs, one is an aspiring astronaut, one is a ceramic duck, one is a mysterious voice, and two are movie stars: Gael Garcia Bernal and Steve Zissou. I used to be Facebook friends with most of the characters on The West Wing, but I’ve just noticed that C.J. Cregg un-friended me at some point without me noticing— sneaky little strumpet.

When calculating my worth through the Fbook there’s a clear distinction between 802 of my friends and the other four (I’m referring to the duck, the voice, and the “movie stars”). The difference being, namely, that 802 of them are real and the other four are not.

Gael Garcia Bernal did not sit and think to his sexy Hispanic self Hmm…this John Reitz guy seems like someone with whom I’d like to social network. Let’s see…He’s interested in animals. As am I. We both refuse to add the Bumper Sticker application because we think it’s trashy. OH! And he’s got a picture of himself eating ice cream. I love ice cream, or as I like to call it helado. John Reitz is an opportunity upon which I do not want to miss out. Consider this Friend Request ACCEPTED.” No. Sadly the Gael Garcia Bernal who is my Fbookfriend, like the ceramic duck King Glampapa, is nothing more than the avatar of some hopeless fanboy, probably sitting in a basement office working an I.T. job, much like myself.

I highly recommend a subscription to this free podcast.

Over the past half a year I’ve been saving up a week’s worth of the VH1’s daily Best Week Ever podcasts and watching them all at work on Sundays. I feel like I’ve really connected with the show’s cast; all of us weathering the Sunday doldrums together in my basement office explaining to confused septuagenarian callers that “In a chat room, you don’t verbally speak with people. Your computer can’t hear you. You type your message and then press the Enter key. It’s just real life conversation but without all of those icky interpersonal skills.”

This past Sunday I spent some time Googling some of my favorite fundit friends from the BWE Podcast: the ebullient Brian Faas, Max Silvestri and his brazen sarcastic glory, and the sassy yet endearing Michael Cyril Creighton.

FACT: There are 15 Tyler Hansbrough’s in the UNC-Chapel Hill Network, a dozen George Washingtons and three Mary Louise Parkers. Perhaps these are the statistics I took with me when I did a search for Michael Cyril Creighton on the Fbook and absently clicked “Add As Friend.” Certainly, I thought, this was just another amusing avatar. However, perhaps, for just a moment, I actually thought that I was his friend. Just for a second I believed that MCC, Max, and Brian actually had been sitting in my office with me, keeping me company and making me feel like I’m not the only person at work on a Sunday evening, sitting in the basement of a four story university owned building.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I clicked the Add As Friend button. But what I got was not what I expected:



He’s real. And he’s really talking to me, I thought. “Yes MCC!” I wanted to shout. “We do know each other. We hang out at my office on Sunday afternoons. You make laugh by critiquing pop culture in ways I can only dream!” I had so much I wanted to say in my response but I felt like he already knew it all. This Facebook message was just like a real life conversation, but without all those icky interpersonal skills.

Michael Cyril Creighton, you’re my 807th friend on Facebook but you’re #1 in my heart. Thank you for being real!

(Well, actually you’re probably like #15 or so in my heart, after my family, some close friends, and a few other select individuals. But you’re definitely above King Glampapa.)

- Mister John Reitz


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