Not regular, although I might get drunk enough to do it occasionally. I don’t have a huge amount of free time, and I’m a little nervous of where the feature might lead. I’m afraid I’d develop a tolerance pretty quickly, and then it’s all “Is this guy posing with a power drill and a cow’s skull really weird enough? I don’t know. Maybe I should go with the leper.”
“What did Giant Camel say about the internet date post?”
He said, “That’s the funniest thing you’ve ever written. Are you going to marry him and triple-barrel your name? Blogger-Blog-VenomKitty? Wait, is this the fat guy who hangs out in front of the art supply store and hits on the road crew?”
“Doesn’t Tulane Chris live with Giant Camel?”
Not at the moment. Giant Camel allegedly went back to Texas to take a contract job, but I suspect something more sordid.
“Why don’t you make ‘sorr’ cards for special occasions?”
I have mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, part of the beauty of ‘sorr’ is its spontaneity: “Did you vomit in my purse?” “Sorr about the bag…” On the other hand, I would love to see nice ivory cardstock, deep-embossed with legends like “Sorr you’re such a bitch,” “Sorr your marriage has failed as disastrously as your business” and “Sorr your children were such bitter disappointments.” File this one under development. Someone did make a “sorr about the bag” e-card.
“Why don’t you create a nemesis for Kevin Yang called Kevin Yin?”
I don’t mind this idea. Kind of an eternal “Spy vs. Spy,” played out in every bakery, interracial gay bar and Vans outlet between Florida and Hong Kong. I’m hitting a wall imagining Kevin Yin, though. Would he just be barely skewed Kevin Yang? Different color sneakers, hair parted on the other side, goes on disastrous non-dates with Hispanics? Works in a diner instead of a bakery, smokes pot instead of drinks? If they ever meet, the universe will be instantly eradicated by the explosion into life of another, grander universe, full of powdered sugar, incoherent similes, and shitty makeouts on an air mattress? I bet we could sell this as a comic book if we worked on it.
“How about an ‘Around the World with Tulane Chris’ feature?”
I’d like to quote here a conversation I had the other night with a friend who’s teaching English in Vietnam (Vietnam. Imports: French, American, and Chinese soldiers. Exports: French, American, and Chinese soldiers with gonorrhea):
College Friend Nora “Apples” Podjeska: Oh, you should come visit me here.
TC: That’s not terribly realistic. I buy irregular underpants in bulk . I don’t think I could afford…
CFN“A”P: But you’d love it. There’s so much history, and there are all these beautiful gardens, and the food is so good and cheap. You like Asian guys, don’t you? I bet for five bucks you could go to town.
TC: As tempting as that sounds, I’m not entirely sure…
CFN“A”P: It would take a little getting used to. There are crowds everywhere – Chris, everywhere – and we live next door to a dump so there are minor odor and vermin problems. Just wear a lot of cologne and wash your hands a lot.
TC: I already do.
CFN“A”P: You might have a little problem… I mean, the thing about eating dogs is true. It’s fairly upsetting the first time you pass a butcher’s, and anyway, you’ve always been good in a crisis. You’d love it. Except for the crowds and the dog-eating. Oh, and leave your shirt on so they can’t see your “Better Dead than Red” backpiece. It’s not really funny here yet.
Did you catch that she described my theoretical vacation as a “crisis?” I would like to visit her and see Vietnam, but somehow setting it up as “spend a lot of money to interact with your three least favorite things: people who hurt dogs, large crowds, and totalitarian government” didn’t… sell it. I do love to travel and I do regret not having the money to do it. When I was younger (last week) I used to fantasize about becoming a travel writer. So, if you send me somewhere, within reason, I will write about it. However, until then, we’ll have to settle with tucking a little imports/exports behind every country I mention. (India. Imports: tech support calls. Exports: the phrase “Have you tried turning it off and then on again, sir” in perfectly grammatical, heavily accented English)
"If a tree falls in the woods and no ones around, does it raise awareness of breast cancer?"
I’ve waffled on writing about this because I was worried it would be misinterpreted, but after seeing someone else with similar opinions, I decided to wade in. I’m tired of breast cancer branding. It upsets me and I don’t think I’m alone.
Point the first: ubiquity. I have seen breast cancer-branded: wine, eggs, yogurt, snuggies, football games, Waxahachie Fire and Rescue, water, meat, tennis balls, scrubs, soybeans… Overexposure makes anything stale. Notice how even Leno gave up Paris Hilton jokes? When something’s completely expected, it’s simply not a grabber anymore. The newspaper seldom reads “Sun Rises in East; Proceeds Westward Across Sky.” It’s just another bland truism: congress is bickering instead of running the country, today’s teenagers are shocking, and there are little pink ribbons on every available surface.
Point the second: What do they mean by “awareness?” These labels all seem to read that they’re trying to raise “awareness.” Well, of what? The overwhelming majority of people know that there’s a disease called breast cancer. Just saying “breast cancer breast cancer breast cancer” over and over doesn’t do anything. The snuggie isn’t embroidered with the phrase “Women over 50 should have regular mammograms.” One egg in every dozen doesn’t crack open to reveal a little folded sheet explaining how to do self-exams. At halftime, Garrett “Sugar Balls” Hartley didn’t show a PSA about how some high-risk women may need to be screened for the BRIC gene. Just because someone’s talking doesn’t mean they’re saying anything. Is it too idealistic to just want a poster that says, “Get a damn mammogram?” Ellen and Designing Women both did Very Special Episodes about breast cancer, in which characters went to the doctor and learned about it. It wasn’t just Jean Smart and Delta Burke sitting around saying:
“Did you know that breasts can develop cancerous tumors?”
“Me too. Do you think I should tell Julia? JULIA! DID YOU KNOW….”
Point the third: How much money is actually going to breast cancer research? I can’t say for sure, but I’m inclined to agree with the author of the post I linked to above that changing the packaging probably costs more than the donation, at least in some cases. This makes it, essentially, an advertising expense, on par with adding the word “X-TREME.” A lot of products say “a portion” of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. That could mean any damn thing. 0.001% is technically a portion. Yes, it’s still better to have the money for research than not, and it’s naïve to expect businesses to do anything for the common good, but still. It’s slimy.
Point the fourth: It is ghoulish. When I was a child, my mother had a breast cancer scare. Everything turned out to be fine, but it was very tense for a while. It offends me that these companies are essentially profiteering off this. “Don’t you wish there was a cure? Buy these green beans. If you care about the women in your life, you’ll buy this battery!” I get enough nagging about whether or not I love my mother from my actual mother – I don’t need Piggly Damn Wiggly weighing in. And besides, don’t you think women who have breast cancer deserve a break? They can’t leave the house – hell, they can’t open the cupboard – without being reminded that they’re sick. But they’re not struggling in vain! Their illness helped sell some peas. If this blog folds, I’m going to start making candy and selling it under the name “Chris’s Costochondritis Snaps.”
This wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be, and I realize it’s because I’m genuinely angry. I’m willing to concede that a lot of individuals involved in these marketing decisions may have been very well-meaning, but I also don’t think that’s really the point. Good intentions are useless without common sense. A small check to a reputable charity does more than a cartful of pink-ribboned groceries, and it’s more civilized. If the breast cancer branding is as successful as it seems to be, we may be perilously close to seeing Uncle Ben’s colonoscopy.
Also about women: My school’s sororities recently did their community service push. One of them chose violence against women, so they covered the lamps on the main campus thoroughfare with sheets of awareness-purple acetate… which made the whole area much darker… and significantly more dangerous…