Fire Drill

  1. A loud alarm designed to call large numbers of people to play a game of make-believe
  2. The alarm that cried wolf
  3. Not an actual drill made of fire
  4. A socially acceptable lie

Usage Example: “We had a fire drill at work today. Half of the office stayed in the building, and the other half went outside and drove home.”

Background: Fire alarms are important. In the event of a fire, people need as much warning as possible to make a safe exit from buildings. The fire drill was created, not only to annoy people, but to give people some practice exiting buildings in the event of a real emergency.

The term “fire drill” was invented to scare people. Fire drill pioneers thought that the term “make-believe play-fire” wasn’t terrifying enough. Instead, they opted for the image of a flaming power tool.

Fire drills take place during pre-planned intervals, when someone pulls a prank, or whenever there is any type of construction occurring within 100 feet of any fire alarm hardware. This means that some buildings run many fire drills. Over time, people who have been through many fire drills fail to take them seriously.

The fire drill response is a “choose your own adventure.” There are two ways to respond to a fire drill. The first type of response involves quick action and immediate joy. The drillee is overcome with happiness, because he/she has a perfect excuse to get out of whatever they are doing. This is a common response in schools and some offices.

The second type of response completes the following progression:

  1. Hear the fire drill
  2. Wonder why there are so many fire drills
  3. Sit for a minute and hope it stops
  4. Think of the weather outside.
  5. Decide that it is too hot, cold, rainy, etc.
  6. Hang around for another minute, hoping that the fire alarm will stop
  7. Slowly walk toward the door, still hoping that the fire alarm will stop
  8. Reluctantly walk out the door, just as the fire alarm stops
  9. Turn and walk back in the building
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Presidential Debate

  1. Competition between multiple Type-A robots, to see who can utter the most clichés
  2. The worst parts of a beauty pageant, without any beauty
  3. Question dodging recital

Usage Example: “The presidential debate is on Fox? I wonder what’s on Animal Planet.”

Background: In the United States, presidential elections occur every four years. Approximately 90 seconds after the votes are counted and a new president is announced, the first presidential debate of the next election cycle occurs. These debates continue on an almost daily basis until the next election.

Presidential debates give a platform for shiny, Ivy League educated robots to practice reciting clichés. For some reason, this spectacle attracts untold hundreds of viewers.

The main qualifying criterion for participation in a presidential debate is possessing the surname “Bush” or “Clinton”. Other debate criteria include:

  1. Wearing a flag pin
  2. Exhibiting an unnaturally large smile
  3. Telling at least one story about a family “sitting around the kitchen table, wondering how they will pay their bills”
  4. Using the name of at least one unemployed worker
  5. Republican Debates: use the words “Reagan,” “Liberty,” and “strengthening our borders”
  6. Democratic Debates: use the words “Equity,” “Choice,” and “my opponent will take away your Social Security”

Curious George

  1. The world’s least successful helper monkey
  2. The high maintenance pet of a mentally imbalanced man
  3. A monkey obsessed with seeking revenge on his captor

Usage Example: “Why did the man with the yellow hat leave Curious George alone in a chocolate factory? Is he crazy? Hasn’t he ever seen I Love Lucy?”

Background: Curious George is the potty-trained, ex-con monkey pet of a mentally imbalanced man. This man, known only as “the man with the yellow hat,” always wears an all-yellow safari outfit, complete with a yellow tie and hat. He wears this outfit every day. The man’s choice of wardrobe is a symptom of his delusional belief that he is some kind of monkey-catching super hero in yellow.

The history of Curious George and his mentally imbalanced friend is meticulously recorded in multiple picture books, television shows and movies. A normal person might keep a journal of such events, but the flamboyant man in the yellow hat insisted that all records of his dealings with George be inscribed in picture books.

The man with the yellow hat captured George in a bag during an expedition to Africa. He promptly brought George back to America to serve as his pet/slave/surrogate child (as anyone would). Upon coming to the U.S., George quickly found himself in prison. However, his incarceration was short lived, as he promptly broke out, and began his campaign of revenge against his captor, as a fugitive.

George continued to get into trouble, but the man with the yellow hat is a patient crazy person. He never learns. He will often leave George alone (while he pretends to be a super hero) and ask him to stay out of trouble. However, the vengeful monkey will always cause trouble. He has single-handedly demolished stores, hospitals, restaurants, sporting events, zoos, etc. George commits massive acts of vandalism, grand theft and destruction of property, but since he makes Betsy smile, he avoids any charges. This is disturbing to George. He desperately wants to get the man in trouble for enslaving him, but he always manages to make some kid happy, so all trouble is avoided.

The man’s mental shortcomings are also exhibited in that he insists on treating George like a child. He buys him toys, has him sleep in a child’s bed, and even sends him to school. At one point, he even allowed his primate pet to take on a paper route.

The actions of Curious George and the man with the yellow hat are difficult to understand, unless you have a firm grasp on their history and mental condition.

Roger Goodell

  1. The world’s most decisive indecisive disciplinarian
  2. Man committed to protecting the integrity of things by making random decisions

Usage Example: “I’d like to rent Roger Goodell to make disciplinary decisions for my kids, but I’m not in favor of the death penalty.”

Background: Roger Goodell is in charge of handing out discipline in the National Football League (NFL). Some unsubstantiated reports claim that he also maintains a side job as NFL Commissioner.

Figure 1 – Roger Goodell standing at a podium…probably handing out some discipline… or adjusting some discipline… or explaining why he changed his discipline.

Goodell is a man of strong convictions. These convictions include: randomly over-punishing and randomly under-punishing, while randomly standing firm and randomly changing his mind. These facts are not lost on the public. Now, you can even test your luck with an online “NFL Punishment Generator”.

If Roger Goodell made his disciplinary services available to the general public, he would rule your kids with an iron fist… unless he wouldn’t.

Roger would come to your house with a bowl full of candy and have a list of pre-defined rules that govern the bowl. The candy bowl rules are as follows:

  1. The candy bowl is open from 5:00pm – 7:00pm. Any person taking candy outside of this time will be punished by a $10 fine.
  2. There will be a woman guarding the candy bowl. She will be making sure that no one takes more than two pieces of candy. If you punch her in the face and knock her out, you will be punished with a stern lecture. Unless a video tape of the event is made public… Then you will receive the death penalty.
  3. You are allowed to film the candy bowl from certain locations, but if you try to film the candy bowl from the area next to the sofa, you will be fined $10,000 and serve five years in prison. Roger will then confiscate the tapes, and immediately destroy the evidence… Because there’s nothing wrong with destroying evidence.

After Roger arrives with his candy bowl, one of your kids coordinates with a couple of friends to grab some candy at 4:50.

On this day, your neighbor finds a candy wrapper on the floor before 5:00 and tells Goodell. He is furious. He must protect the integrity of the bowl. He immediately alerts the media that candy was taken early… up to two hours early. Your son claims that his watch was fast, and he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. That excuse makes sense to some people, but most people think he knowingly broke the rule and grabbed some candy a few minutes early. He prepares to pay the $10 fine for this infraction.

Then, for some reason, Roger hires a high-priced law firm to fully investigate the matter. The law firm takes months to release a report that concludes that your son “more likely than not” had knowledge of the candy grabbing operation. So, Roger decides to fine your family $10,000 and send your son to a detention center for four months. He must protect the integrity of the bowl.

No one really knows how the $10 fine turned into all of this. But, since many people really don’t like your son, they are fine with the punishment.

Your son decides to appeal the decision. Roger is cool with this. He decides that he will be the one to hear the appeal.

After the appeal, Roger decides to side with himself, and keep his punishment exactly the same. In spite of his own rich history of destroying evidence, Roger claims that he upheld his own decision because your son destroyed multiple candy wrappers before his investigators asked your son to turn over all of his personal information.

The media buys this, and tells your son to give up. Just take the penalty and move on. They say this in spite of the fact that allegedly destroying evidence may speak to his guilt, but does not address the concept of the punishment not fitting the crime. The media also trots out a long line of people that your son beat in past sporting events, and they all cry over the integrity of the bowl.

Around the same time, the woman guarding the candy bowl is beat up (see rule #2). A little neighborhood kid is also beaten by another family member. Roger flip-flops a couple of times on these cases, but he always makes sure that these inconsequential events don’t get in the way of more serious matters.

Image Credit: By Marianne O’Leary [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

BuzzFeed

  1. Internet-based service providing assessments for users to finally determine their 90s movie persona
  2. Internet based service providing videos of people trying different foods, for some reason
  3. Internet based service providing random news stories, mixed in with multiple lists about why it’s good to be short
  4. Internet based service providing thousands of lists composed entirely of annoying GIFs

Usage Example: “Thanks to BuzzFeed, I finally have the answer to how well I know the theme from “A Different World”.

Background: BuzzFeed is a powerful player in the crowded world of narcissistic news, video, quiz and recipe providers. By all accounts, BuzzFeed is the primary ADD news provider to the key 15-19 year old demographic. BuzzFeed is also successful in luring in an older audience to take their quizzes, make their recipes and read hundreds of lists about 90s products.

Of all of the random, GIF based content on BuzzFeed, the quizzes are the cornerstone of its offerings. Buzzfeed offers a mind numbing array of “me-based” quizzes designed to provide the children of helicopter parents with answers that can’t be found anywhere else. They are the only online quiz service courageous enough to offer a method of determining which Guy Fieri catchphrase matches your Zodiac sign. Finally. Thank you, BuzzFeed.

Whenever you are concerned about the future of our nation and the world, remember that BuzzFeed is providing our news and information. Then go hide under a table and await the apocalypse… while you take a quiz to determine which tv show apartment you should live in.

Super Glue

  1. A super method of conjoining multiple fingers
  2. Product used to create a super annoying, hard shell on human fingertips
  3. Adhesive product sold to people who live life without fear
  4. Disappointing super hero

Usage Example: “I worked so hard to keep that super glue off of my fingers! Why? Why!? I hate you, super glue shell!”

Background: Super glue is a strong adhesive product that is sold in unreasonably tiny quantities to people who live life on the edge.

Super glue bottles are often so small, that the product’s volume is measured in grams. These measurements allow super glue buyers to pretend that they are actually buying illegal drugs or black-market diamonds.

Super glue consumers live life in the fast lane. They have already made a determination that normal glue won’t meet their needs. They seek the most powerful products available. Super glue consumers laugh in the face of danger. They stare down the adhesive product in the tiny, futuristic bottle with no fear of permanently attaching a couple of fingers. They exhibit no trepidation about the fingertip shell that certainly awaits them.

However, despite the boldness of the super glue user, the endgame is always the same. Super glue doesn’t successfully hold the broken product together, but it does successfully hold a few fingers together.

Detoxifying Cleanse

  1. Pills, juices or extreme diet plans used to make people feel better about eating a whole pack of Oreos
  2. Powerful strain of snake oil designed to rid users of their toxic money
  3. Proof that the word “toxin” is the scariest and most misunderstood word in the English language

Usage Example: “You should try this new detox cleanse. I did it, and I felt awful afterward… So it must have worked.”

Background: The internet loves detoxifying cleanses. And, as everyone knows, the internet is well regarded for its fine judgment and dedication to the truth. That $200 Target gift card offer may have been fake, and the “Obama Grant” may have been a scam, but these “miracle cleanses” absolutely work.

Detoxifying cleanses are everywhere. There are special cleanses for livers, colons, weight loss, and every other human organ or conceivable situation. Cleanses work on a simple premise: people have money to spend and value the medical opinions of anyone other than medical professionals. After all, doctors have been bought and sold by the pharmaceutical companies. They aren’t interested in real health.

Do you know who is interested in real health? This guy Chad in Chula Vista – that’s who. He developed a supplement so powerful that it will cleanse your colon of toxins and help you lose that stubborn belly fat – fast! Just send him $300, and he will send you a box of supercharged powders to mix with your favorite fresh juices. Drink only the supercharged juices for a week, and you will jump start your weight loss! It doesn’t matter that foregoing food for a week will cause anyone to lose weight; regardless of what meth-lab chemicals are added to juices.

People have a strong appetite for snake oil, and purveyors of cleanses are happy to supply it.

Cafeteria Smell

  1. The odor of: fried food, mixed with old mop water, mixed with cookies, mixed with bleach, mixed with hot dumpster leavings – that emanates from every cafeteria
  2. A sign that sloppy joes are being served at a given location
  3. A sign that pizza will be served in the form of a soggy rectangle

Usage Example: “I wanted to try that restaurant, but it had that cafeteria smell.”

Background: There is no escaping the cafeteria smell. Every cafeteria, whether it’s found in an elementary school, college, hospital or standalone “buffet” restaurant, has the exact same smell. It doesn’t matter if it tries to make itself upscale, the cafeteria smell will always be present.

The cafeteria smell is a complex bouquet of pleasant and disturbing odors. Due to its complexity, it can be difficult to identify its individual components. However, in spite of its complexity, the cafeteria smell is instantly recognizable. One single whiff of cafeteria smell immediately takes a victim back to standing in line at an elementary school cafeteria, waiting for his chicken patty sandwich, pudding, chocolate milk and carrot sticks.

The cafeteria smell is comprised of equal parts of odors from the following categories:

  1. The food category
  2. The cleaning supply category
  3. The dumpster category

This combination creates a smell that is somewhat appealing and somewhat revolting at the same time. Cafeteria smell is the primary distinguishing characteristic of any cafeteria-style dining establishment.

Air Mattress

  1. Sleeping surface designed to take a person from beach ball to floor in six hours flat
  2. Stealth torture device for visiting guests

Usage Example: “Hey. Wake up. It’s 3:30 am. This air mattress is almost completely deflated. Do you think we should turn on this incredibly loud pump?”

Background: The air mattress is a popular sleeping accommodation for visiting house guests. Air mattresses have gained popularity because they are easy to store, quick to set up and efficiently torture anyone who sleeps on them. Users can expect to begin the night by bouncing around on a beach ball and finish the night by waking up on the floor – in the hateful embrace of a puffy air pillow.

There are many different varieties of air mattresses available, at a wide range of price points. However, all air mattresses share a few basic similarities. In order to qualify as an air mattress, a product must possess the following qualities:

  1. The product must be a sleeping surface that is initially filled with air.
  2. The product must lose at least 50% of its air over the course of six to eight hours.
  3. The product must lose air regardless of whether or not any holes are present.
  4. The product must be designed to emit faint hissing sounds, even though no actual holes can be detected.
  5. The product must contain a useless “placebo patch kit” to make the user feel good about covering up a hole, even though the kit cannot actually patch anything.

Some air mattress manufactures attempt to fight the fact that all air mattresses slowly deflate, by installing incredibly noisy built-in pumps. This innovation allows users to add some additional air to a half-inflated air mattress, while promptly waking up the entire house at 3:00 am. Making this choice allows a user to enjoy an awful night of tossing and turning, combined with experiencing a new level of searing hatred poured out by the rest of the house, thereby ensuring a spot on the air mattress for any subsequent visits. It is a vicious cycle.

ESPY Awards

  1. The only known way for professional athletes to gain public recognition and win awards
  2. A long-form commercial for a cable sports network

Usage Example: “Well, it came down to watching the ESPY Awards or an episode of Murder, She Wrote… I made the right choice. It was a good episode. Who would have thought that Jessica would catch Robert Culp by snooping around? ”

Background: Finally, the unappreciated toil of professional athletes can be rewarded. These rewards are distributed during an awkward, long-form ESPN commercial known as the ESPY Awards.

The ESPYs were created by ESPN executives who were working to find an effective way to use the egos of professional athletes to help propel their cable sports brand. The result of this work is a depressingly awful awards show.

Athletes had long lamented that they never had an opportunity to walk a red carpet at a self-congratulatory awards show. They also complained that the Manning brothers didn’t have nearly enough trophies.

ESPN executives shrewdly capitalized on these complaints. They gave athletes a red carpet, the Manning brothers a bunch of ridiculous trophies, and created a way for the athletes to get on stage and give semi-coherent, highly rehearsed, yet stunningly awkward speeches. Athletes loved it. Everyone else hated it. But since people love athletes, the public continues to pretend that the ESPYs are watchable and important.