PUT IT ALL ON RED

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Month: May, 2012

Cards

by River Clegg

On the front, it says “So I heard you’re turning 50…” and there’s a cartoonish old woman who looks pretty spunky. And when you open it up, bam! It says, “Maybe now you know how your mother felt when all she wanted was to sit for a few minutes and hear about how your day was going before you went out for the night.”

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On the outside, you’ve got something a boy turning thirteen would be into, like a skateboard or an electric guitar. The inside should have the word “radical.”

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The Far Side was one of the funniest and most successful cartoon strips ever, and Gary Larson’s economic, single-panel style is perfect for greeting cards. Let’s see if we can’t force him to do more of those.

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Aging men like golf. So, something with golf.

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On the outside, there’s a menorah – tasteful, not one of those garish ones you see. And on the inside, “Wishing you eight blessed days of Hanukkah.” (Note: Make sure “blessed” is a thing in Judaism. Also, that Hanukkah has eight days.)

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Graduating from high school is an important event in a young person’s life; it can also be financially uncertain. The inside should make light of the fact that there isn’t more money enclosed.

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On the outside we’ve got two children, a boy and girl, in black and white. They’re dressed up like adults, though, with the boy in a suit and the girl in a dress. But the clothes are a little too big for them, which heightens how young and cute they look. And the boy is giving the girl a small peck on the cheek. This sort of card will work for literally anything.

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It’s Greeting Card 101 that sympathy cards shouldn’t have cartoon drawings of Hell. But we didn’t make it this far by following the rules.

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Everyone loves a card that automatically plays a recording when you open it. Especially if it’s Larry the Cable Guy yelling that thing he always says.

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There’s a Christmas tree on the outside. On the inside is a heartfelt thank-you for not making one of those personal, computer-generated cards with a glossy picture of your family on it. God, those are ruining us.

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The outside says, “Congratulations on two beautiful twins…” and the inside says, “…Your wonderful gift to the world.” Artwork can be a mother bird with two hatching eggs or some shit.

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This card is unusual because it’s not for any special occasion. In fact, it’s blank except for an inspirational quote we’ll put on the front. And we’ll have a selection of quotes customers can choose from. Like the John Lennon one about life being what happens when you’re making other plans, or the Jack Kerouac one about how the only people for him are the mad ones. Actually, those two will probably do it.

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Can’t go wrong with a picture of a woman with large breasts.

Just a Thought: Expertise

by Jordy Greenblatt

If you start a sentence with “I’m no expert, but…” you can pretty much finish it with anything.

No Son of Mine is Dropping Out of Clown College!

by Jordy Greenblatt

Jeffery, I know at your age it seems like you have all the time in the world to screw around but I have news for you; you’re three years into The Ringling Bros. Clown College and come hell or high water you are going to finish your damn degree! This is not a two way discussion. I’m here to talk some sense into you.

When you told me you wanted to see the world, I though you meant you wanted a summer internship at Cirque de Soleil. I’d love for you do get some international clowning experience. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle before you spend a whole year bumming around Europe, juggling on street corners to make ends meet.

Wipe that smile off your face and paint on a more serious expression! Clown College isn’t a right, you know. It’s a privilege. The day Congress passes a Federal Funding for Universal Higher Education in Physical Comedy and Circus Arts Act and writes me a check for 120 grand is the day you’re off the hook. But until then, either you find a way to pay me back or you come home with your Ringling Bros. Wacky Hacky Bachelor of Buffoonery degree.

Look, I know it’s been a tough three years. I’ve seen you after two all-nighters in a row, your makeup smeared and your rainbow wig a mess. But son, I am so, so proud of how far you’ve come. Hell, after high school you could barely juggle four rings for a minute without conking yourself on the head. Now you make a seven ball Mill’s Mess look like a three ball cascade!

You have to think about your future. Sure, it seems romantic and exciting to float around, putting down a hat and picking up some clubs when you’re running low on dough. But trust me; it’s a lonely life. I remember having the same conversation with my dad 27 years ago. I thought he was a square. I threw a pie in his face and grabbed my stuff, expecting never to come home. I can’t possibly thank him enough for taking me back when I came home four months later, destitute and hopeless. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy and I certainly wouldn’t wish it on you.

So listen to me, son. I want only the best for you. It took months of practice to get back my skills, to spin a plate on a stick and balance it on my head or spit water out of my mouth into a healthy mist instead of a steady stream. But I put in the time and effort and come August, they accepted me again at Ringling. I never looked back.

Once you’ve graduated, you can grab the world by the big red nose and honk away. But as you ride on this comically undersized car we call life, you’ll come to learn that there are some sacrifices worth making. You have to accept that, while it’s nice to think that life should a breeze, sometimes you’re the one with the water-squirting flower on your lapel and sometimes you’re the one with a face full of seltzer. So I’m asking you—no, I’m telling you—quit screwing around and give me ten good pratfalls!

Just a Thought: Parliamentary Debate

by Jordy Greenblatt

I learned once in a history class that the table in the center of the British Parliament was traditionally the length of two swords, the idea being that it would prevent one member from murdering an adversary in a moment of passionate debate. At first I thought this seemed like a good idea but then I realized it was kind of excessive. As long as it’s a little more than one sword length across, the worst they can do is fight for a while without actually killing each other. In fact, that would probably be more entertaining. Unless they somehow found a way around the table.

The Nineteen Stages of Grief

by Melissa Chiasson

Denial: “What? I can’t die this young, there must be a mistake. Your nurse probably just mixed up the test results.”

Anger: “That nurse is so fucking dumb.”

Bargaining: “Look, I’ll pay any amount for you to cure me. I know it looks like I don’t have a lot of money, but I do know a lot of drug dealers, and I’m pretty sure people would pay a lot of money to have sex with me.”

Anger, Part Deux: ”What do you mean it’s incurable?”

Anger, Part Trois: ”What do you mean you wouldn’t pay to have sex with me?”

Drinking: “Look, If you can’t cure me, I can at least drown my pain with my good friend Jack Daniels and then drunkenly text my ex-boyfriends about my impending death.”

Explanation: ”I just keep a bottle of it in my purse at all times in case a surprise quinceañera or fatal diagnosis pops up.”

Over-friendliness: ”Hey, ladies, grab all your nurse friends and come on down to examination room 2! We’re having a party and you’re all invited!”

Faux-apologizing: ”Sorry, doctor, I wasn’t aware that this was a No Fun Zone.”

Depression: ”Well, I guess I’m never going to find out how Cougar Town ends, so I might as well just die now.”

Vomiting: ”Really sorry about that. I’ll buy you a new shirt with all of my drug dealer/sex money.”

Bill Cosby Impression: “Look at my colorful sweater! I was on The Bill Cosby Show!”

Acceptance: ”You know, I’ve had a pretty good run, and I have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks for talking me through this, doctor, and I apologize for the violent mood swings.”

Arson: ”I will burn this doctor’s office to the ground if it is the last goddamn thing I do.”

Placation: ”Please don’t call the cops, it was a joke, I swear! You know what Bill Cosby would say about a situation like this?”

Faux-apologizing, Part Deux: “Sorry, sir, I realize a joke comparing how white people and black people eat jello probably wasn’t in the best of taste.”

Spiking a Football: ”BOOYAH, DOCTOR, IN YOUR FACE.”

Reflection: ”Well, doc, we’ve had one hell of a ride together, but I guess it’s time for me to head home and get my affairs in order. But before I go, are you sure I can’t interest you in a body shot?”

Body Shots: “I knew you’d come around.”

PIAOR How: So You Want to Make a Macaroni Card for Your Mom Because You Forgot Mother’s Day

by River Clegg

(1) Don’t buy low quality macaroni. Sure, the generic brand is half the price, but she’ll be able to tell; she’s your mom. You better believe she knows the difference between Barilla and Safeway brand macaroni. The last thing you want going through her head when you hand her the card on Monday or Tuesday is, “Gosh, first (s)he forgets and then (s)he won’t even pay the extra dollar for decent dried pasta.” Also, you want the card to last. It’s well known that generic macaroni is made from petrified sawdust and will fall apart after a few weeks.

(2) Make the card specific to your mom. Anybody can glue macaroni in the shape of a heart or a flower. You’re not celebrating the general concept of motherhood; you’re celebrating your mother. Make it creative and make it about her. For instance, you can arrange the macaroni in the shape of her dog or have it illustrate her favorite scene from Shakespeare.

Note: If you recreate the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, you’ll want to use a straight pasta like penne for the balcony, or possibly even spaghetti if you want very precise lines. Technically it’s no longer a macaroni card at that point, but she’ll forgive you if you really capture the moment and she’s a big fan of the play.

(3) Don’t bother with glitter. You want it to be memorable, but if it’s too over the top or seems too needy, she’ll just lose respect for you. Try to make it special without compromising aesthetic integrity. A more elegant substitute is to buy multiple sizes of macaroni and make finer details with the smaller noodles. Yes, this will jack up the price a bit. But you can always cook what you don’t use, and you’re not really in a position to complain anyway; you’re the one who forgot about Mother’s Day. Idiot.

(4) Try to refrain from eating macaroni while you make the card. You’re likely to get crumbs on it and she’ll know why. Nothing says, “you did a crappy job raising me” like eating uncooked pasta straight from the package.

(5) If the day you’re planning on giving her the card also happens to be her birthday, do not under any circumstances forget to mention it. This is probably the worst possible way to exacerbate an already delicate situation. Your best bet it to try to play it off like the whole reason you “forgot” Mother’s Day was to set up an even more elaborate surprise for her birthday. Maybe try to make a cake shape out of macaroni on the card.

(6) This may sound odd, but give it to her while she’s eating. There are two reasons for this. One is that, if she is eating somethings she likes, she is more likely to overlook your thoughtlessness and just smile and enjoy your handiwork. But, if not, she can’t immediately yell at you if her mouth is full. This gives you a couple of seconds to say something adorable to get yourself out of hot water.

(7) If she brings up that you missed Mother’s Day, don’t give her the card to deflect criticism. Just smile knowingly like it was part of your plan all along. Then take her out for a nice dinner and give it to her there. Then it seems more like you knew what you were doing the whole time.

(8) Make sure you flag next Mother’s Day in your calendar.

Note: If you gave birth to Jordy, Melissa, or River, thank you and happy Mother’s Day! Your macaroni card should be arriving any day now. It’s probably the postal service’s fault that it hasn’t arrived yet.

-Jordy Greenblatt, Melissa Chiasson, and River Clegg

Just a Thought: Crime and Punishment

by Jordy Greenblatt

Suspending a kid for cutting class is like flogging a masochist for perversion.

Just a Thought: Nickels

by Jordy Greenblatt

If I had a nickel for every time I went to a vending machine with 95 cents, I’d be a much happier person.

Just a Thought: Friends and Enemies

by Jordy Greenblatt

I object to the phrase “with friends like these, who needs enemies?” Shouldn’t it just be “who needs enemies?” I guess superheroes need enemies if they don’t have a backup career. But I doubt that having jerkoff friends would do them much good if they were unemployed.

Maybe This Whole Thing Was Avoidable

by Jordy Greenblatt

Alright, I get it. Everyone’s mad at me. I’m not oblivious. To be honest, I can completely understand why. Even though the whole thing was an accident—AND IT WAS—it may have been avoidable.

I should probably start by saying that I get invited to very few open bar events (maybe this whole incident explains that fact) so, needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity. Hell, I’ll just come out and say it; I slightly overindulged. Nick, I sincerely apologize for spoiling your special day. And Beth, I am truly sorry for vomiting on your wedding dress, which by the way is gorgeous. Maybe this isn’t the right time to say it, but you guys were made for each other. I bet some day this whole thing will just be a funny story for you to tell your kids. That said, I am fully aware that we are not laughing about it yet.

Before I go on, I have to ask: why didn’t anyone tell me that knife was a priceless heirloom from Nick’s dad? I’m not fucking psychic! When I look at an old rusty knife, my first thought isn’t going to be, “hey, this looks like something that would have been handed down from father to son on the son’s wedding day for seven generations.” Admittedly, I still shouldn’t have grabbed it without asking but, like I said, my judgment was a little impaired.

It will be difficult to explain what happened next without you all seeing it from my inebriated perspective. Nick approached me, very distraught, and asked if I’d seen the knife. Normally I would have just handed it over, but clearly I wasn’t in my right mind. Maybe I was worried that you’d be mad, Nick. Maybe I liked the knife and wanted to keep it. Or maybe I just flat out forgot I had it. Obviously, whatever the reason, I fucked that part up.

Now as for the fireworks, they were meant to be a fun surprise for after the reception. They were meant to be a magical ending to your wedding day and probably would have if I hadn’t left them next to the open flame at the omelet bar concealed in what turned out to be a flammable box. It might also have been a good idea to leave Max at home but I couldn’t find a last minute dog sitter and he has a habit of peeing on my favorite rug.

Finally, I was on the fence about whether or not to show off my new magic act but, get a couple of drinks in me and clearly my discretion takes a nosedive. You guys probably remember what happened next better than I do. Between the shock of the moment and the lingering effects of five Jager-bombs, a double martini that ended up being more like a triple, a surprisingly potent pitcher of margaritas, and some brownish mystery cocktail, my recollection is a little blurry. It seems that the moment Beth volunteered to be in my act (just to reiterate, she volunteered… not that I’m blaming you, Beth), the fireworks box caught fire. It probably would have gone out on its own except that when Beth stood up (again, not your fault, Beth), Max was a little startled by the squeaking of the chair and must have bumped into the omelet bar table.

Since everyone else was watching me, it was probably incumbent on me to notice the flaming box and anticipate the impending disaster, but I was very focused on setting up my big knife trick (which is actually a great trick, by the way) and of course my head was still swimming. The last thing I remember was the knife flying out of my hand when I heard the fireworks go off in back and then some screaming.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: First, I’m REALLY sorry. Second, I promise I’ll pay for the fire damage. Third, I cleaned off the knife as best I could, Nick, but there’s still some blood caked on the blade. Fourth, Beth, your finger is in the ice bucket over there and, I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t look like tetanus to me. And finally, since I didn’t get a chance to finish, does anybody still want to see the trick?

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