Pop-Tart

  1. Flat, delicious method of pushing breakfast sugar
  2. The result of years of experiments designed to create the thinnest, hardest layer of frosting known to man

Usage Example: “Any Eggs Benedict in the vending machine today? No? Only Pop-Tarts, huh? I guess I’ll get the Pop-Tarts.”

Background: Since the beginning of time, humans have desired to eat candy for breakfast.

For generations, high levels of breakfast sugar could only be obtained through the messy and inconvenient process of adding syrup to pancakes or waffles. In recent decades, the creation of sugary cereals has simplified the process, but these cereals still require milk. The world desired a way of obtaining pancreas-rattling levels of sugar at 7:00 am without the social stigma of eating 2 pounds of Skittles for breakfast. Enter: Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts.

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Figure 1 – Kellogg’s Pop Tart with impossibly thin frosting and sprinkle fragments

The U.S. military had been experimenting with impossibly thin, stunningly hard layers of frosting since the Cold War. America simply would not allow the Soviets to control the thinnest, hardest, most delicious layers of frosting on the planet. Military scientists were also covering this frosting with tiny fragments of sprinkles that had been destroyed in weapons testing, for some reason. This technology eventually leaked to the public, was added to thin pastry envelopes, and the Pop-Tart was born.

In the early days, Pop-Tarts were created with fruit flavored filling in an adorable attempt to appear healthy. In more recent years, Pop-Tarts have basically given up and appeared in flavors such as S’mores, Chocolatey Caramel and Frosted Chocolate Chip.

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Artisan

  1. Food produced in small batches to ensure a high level of imperfection
  2. Household products that are scuffed and dented by hand
  3. Hippie or hipster creating small batch, ugly products in order to avoid a desk job

Usage Example: “No, this coffee table wasn’t built by a kindergarten class; it is a hand-made artisan table. I bought it from that guy with a gray pony tail. He has a shop downtown. He says that the design came to him while on a spirit quest.”

Background: Artisan is an incredibly versatile term. While the word is often used to describe bumpy, uneven products; it is also used to describe the bumpy, uneven people who create them.

The food industry uses the word “artisan” in order to maximize profits. That bumpy, slightly burned loaf of bread may have been made using a bag of mix, but since it looks bad, it can be called “artisan bread.” That label will allow the store to charge twice as much.

Artisans are people who dream of turning their hobbies into a food truck, hipster bbq trailer, or getting a share of an artist’s co-op. These people create products using the most cumbersome and old fashioned methods possible. This allows artisans to charge maximum prices for their products, and avoid desk jobs for as long as possible.

Many people attempt ugly, artisan home repairs. Fixing a lawn mower using duct tape always qualifies as an artisan repair.

Beauty Pageant

  1. Crazy plan hatched by drunken frat boys that somehow worked
  2. Annual event that somehow missed the whole “feminism” thing

Usage Example: “The Miss US American beauty pageant will air at 12:35am on the Spike3 channel.”

Background: It should have never worked. After a night of drinking, a group of frat boys decided that they wanted to hold an event in which they could gawk at beautiful women. They called this event a “beauty pageant”.

The beauty pageant would contain the following steps:

  1. Open with an awkwardly choreographed musical number. During this opening: -Each participant must wear a sash containing the name of her home state -Each participant must confidently strut to the front of the stage and frighteningly shout her name and home town, at the top of her lungs -Each participant must smile with an unnaturally enormous smile the entire time.
  2. Immediately after the opening number, heartlessly cut at least ½ of the participants.
  3. Force the remaining participants to individually walk around the stage in swimsuits and evening gowns.
  4. Heartlessly cut more participants.
  5. Some pageants contain a hilarious talent portion at this time.
  6. In order to add some legitimacy to the event, participants are forced to talk for a few seconds. If the participants fail to do well at the talking portion, they will be mocked forever on YouTube.
  7. The final two or three participants nervously hold hands, while the host calls out the name of the winner.
  8. The losers then act like they are happy for the winner, while the winner cries.
  9. A tiara is placed on the winner’s head. This tiara is later pawned for scholarship money.

There may be easier ways to obtain scholarship money, but no one knows about them.

In spite of the insanity of these events, beauty pageants have somehow survived for many years. Beauty pageants are held on an annual basis in such glamorous locations as Atlantic City, Shreveport and Reno.

Loyalty Card

  1. Plastic filler product for wallets and key chains
  2. Empowering opportunity for shoppers

Usage Example: “If you sign up for the bowling alley’s free loyalty card, every tenth frame is 10% off.”

Background: Americans have problems. American wallets are too thin and American key chains are way too empty. Thankfully, every single retail store in the country is helping to remedy this problem.

It all started with grocery stores. Customers interested in paying reasonable prices for groceries have to agree to carry around a piece of plastic with a store logo on it.

The process of obtaining these pieces of plastic is simple. Stores collect your name, address, phone number, email address, driving records, medical records and the names of your family and friends. In exchange for handing over this information, stores graciously give you the option of carrying around a card in your wallet, or a stubby and soon to be filthy chunk of plastic to hang on your key chain. By presenting these chunks of plastic at the point of sale, stores agree to allow customers to pay normal prices for groceries. If you fail to carry around the store’s chunk of plastic, you must be penalized by paying artificially inflated prices for products.

After grocery stores successfully convinced millions of people to carry around their plastic filler products, every other store followed suit. You are now compelled to carry loyalty cards for pharmacies, gas stations, movie theaters, ice cream stores and lemonade stands.

Smart shoppers are encouraged to create their own loyalty cards. Simply tape your picture to a piece of plastic and present it to a retail outlet. If that store refuses to show it to you whenever you shop, inform them that you will pay half-price for all items. This plan is guaranteed to work almost 1% of the time.

Yard Sale

  1. The process of spending a week carefully categorizing and pricing items that will all ultimately sell for 25¢ each
  2. A tedious way of making $67
  3. A long, complicated pit-stop for junk on its way to the landfill

Usage Example: “Do you think 75¢ will be enough to get a living room set at the yard sale?”

Background: Many people decide to remove junk from their homes through excessive and complicated acts of torture. These acts include:

  1. Spending at least a week carefully selecting, cleaning and organizing junk
  2. Spending many hours researching values and assigning prices to the junk that will ultimately be ignored by everyone
  3. Spending a Saturday in the rain, watching carefully priced and organized junk sit in a driveway
  4. Giving the priced and organized junk one final ride to Goodwill or the landfill

When these acts of torture are combined, they form a process known as a “yard sale.”

A major challenge of holding a yard sale is dealing with yard sale negotiations. Yard sale negotiations generally follow the same pattern. Here is an example:

Buyer: “How much for the recliner?”

Seller: “Twenty-five dollars.”

Buyer: “I’ll give you a quarter for it.”

Seller: “I’ll take $20, but I can’t really go much lower than that.”

Buyer: “I have a quarter.”

Seller: “It’s late in the day… I’ll take $10 for it.”

Buyer: “Will you take a quarter?”

Seller: “Seriously? It’s a piece of furniture… How about $5?”

Buyer: “I have a pickup truck and can haul it away right now. I’ll give you a quarter for it.”

Seller: “Fine. A quarter.”

There are easier ways to dispatch excess junk, but only a yard sale can turn your junk into 52 hours of work and a cool $73.

Father’s Day

  1. Holiday created by the necktie industry
  2. Annual participation award given to fathers

Usage Example: “We’re going all out for Father’s Day this year. I’m sending my father a tie and giving him a phone call.”

Background: Mothers grow children inside of their bodies and painfully push them out. Fathers observe this process, eat sandwiches and watch football. In a father’s mind, this makes fathers even with mothers. This idea is the basic concepts of Father’s Day.

In the wild, fathers are occasionally observed wearing neckties. However, over the past forty years, necktie usage by fathers has been declining at rate of approximately 2% each year. Because of this, the necktie industry created Father’s Day.

Father’s Day was designed as a participation award for fathers. As a reward for a strong #2 position in the parenting process, children are encouraged to give their fathers neckties. Kids know that men love tying silky cloth nooses around their necks, and the necktie industry takes advantage of this fact.

Neckties are strips of fabric that are specially designed to serve as flashy closet filler for 364 days each year. On average, a necktie is taken out of a father’s closet for one funeral, court appearance or job interview each year. In spite of this low usage rate, a father has an average of 37 ties hanging in his closet. And, because of Father’s Day, the average father has purchased zero of those ties himself. Strangely, fathers are always happy to receive and store additional ties from kids, even if they never actually serve as non-lethal nooses for him.

Happy Father’s Day!

Mexican Restaurant

  1. A restaurant serving free chips and salsa with the exact same menu as every other restaurant serving free chips and salsa
  2. Home of the “hot plate”

Usage Example: “I love ‘Mexican Restaurant.’ They have the best burrito covered in cheese sauce, served with refried beans and rice.”

Background: The American Mexican Restaurant Commission sets certain guidelines to be observed by every low-priced, local Mexican restaurant. These guidelines are as follows:

  1. Greet customers with the phrase “Hola, amigos!” Use this phrase even if you are the child of Irish immigrants.
  2. Serve free chips and salsa.
  3. Adopt the universal Mexican restaurant menu. This menu must include:
    1. Numbered dinner meals
    2. Fajitas, Burritos, Tacos and Nachos
    3. At least 75% of the menu must be completely covered in cheese sauce
    4. All rice must be some shade of orange
    5. Fried Ice Cream
  4. For birthday celebrations, utilize a novelty sombrero.
  5. Fajitas must be generating a noise louder than 80 decibels when delivered to the table.
  6. There must be no less than 40 Corona advertisements within 20 feet of the front door.
  7. Be aware that 50% of your customers will think that they are fluent in Spanish, and will try to engage in Spanish conversations with you. Smile and humor them.
  8. Servers must repeatedly yell the phrase “hot plate” when delivering plates to the table. This warning must occur regardless of the actual temperature of the plates.

Kentucky Derby

  1. The two-minute period in May when America decides that it cares about horse racing
  2. Showcase for the stunning athleticism exhibited by tiny men sitting on horses
  3. Excuse for insanity

Usage Example: “I can’t believe that ‘Canadian Kaiser’ has 12-1 odds in the Kentucky derby! If I didn’t just find out he existed 10 minutes ago, I would have put some money on him.”

Background: Each May, there is a two minute period of time that causes America to lose its collective mind. The Kentucky Derby has a strange effect on people.

This event causes thousands of people who couldn’t care less about horse racing, to descend on Churchill Downs in order to engage in strange behavior. Women choose to mark the occasion by wearing the largest hats that sweatshops can produce. Men choose to wear white shoes and pastel colors. Many of them will wear bow ties or dress like Ben Matlock. They also choose to drink mint juleps. This is a beverage that only exists at Churchill Downs in May.

On Kentucky Derby day, everyone becomes a horse racing expert. Many people will “have a feeling” about a horse that they had been following for a solid eight minutes. In the hour leading up to the race, NBC runs tear-jerking stories about the horses and that one jockey’s struggle to win the big race after battling addiction and defeat. The public picks their favorite horses during this coverage, or based on which jockey wears the most flamboyant shirt. That is basically all we know about horse racing.

Fundraiser

  1. Punishment for parents
  2. Event designed to teach kids a valuable life lesson: If you don’t do what is required of you, someone else will do it for you.

Usage Example: “Your class is selling candy bars for a fundraiser?.. I’ll write the check now.”

Background: Schools, athletic teams and clubs will often hold fundraisers to punish the parents of participants.

Fundraisers are intended to generate money to help cover the operating costs of participating organizations. The people in charge of the fundraiser will say that it provides a great way for a group of 10 year-olds to get some sales experience. They say that it will teach them valuable life lessons. They will dispatch this group of children to exploit their social networks in order to keep the band program running.

This newly minted group of tiny door-to-door sales people then march out of the school determined to drop the box of coupon books on the kitchen counter and never think of them again.

Two days before the money is due at the school, the parents ask about the box on the counter. The kid mentions that it is for “some kind of fundraiser or something.” The parents then take the coupon books to work and attempt to sell them to their coworkers. After selling a few, they write a check for the remaining amount, so Mr. Fields, the band director, doesn’t break their legs in the driveway for failing to meet the payment deadline.

At this point, the circle of life is complete. Every fundraiser works the same way, every time.

Tiny House

  1. A large dollhouse on a trailer
  2. Covert status symbol in the housing arms race

Usage Example: “People in big houses are so materialistic… I can’t wait to buy all of these specialized materials to build my tiny house. That will show everyone how non-materialistic I am.”

Background: In order to combat the perceived materialism found in the large American home, a group of men in skinny-jeans reacted in the only sane way possible: they built large dollhouses on trailers and wedged themselves into them.

The tiny house movement started booming after the mortgage crisis of 2008. This was a time in which people sought simpler ways of living. People wanted fewer material possessions, and desired to be tightly wrapped in building materials. They disdained the large American house as a wasteful status symbol, and embraced the tiny house as a fun-sized status symbol.

The tiny house movement represents the latest step in the time-honored American tradition of one-upping friends and family through better living arrangements. Americans have been engaging in this housing arms race since the 1950’s. As a result, the average American home continued to grow in size. This trend persisted until even the most creative mortgages couldn’t sustain any further growth. Left with few options, the tiny house pioneers decided to one-up the owners of the largest homes by declaring them “materialistic.” They then chose to move into homemade shoeboxes, in the ultimate show of one-upsmanship.

In essence, the tiny house advocates picked up the ball and went home… but when they got there, they couldn’t actually fit the ball in their homes, unless they folded up the stairs and desk first.