Bumper Sticker

  1. Analog tool for broadcasting a driver’s thoughts and opinions to a small group of followers
  2. Old-school Twitter for drivers

Usage Example: “I think I’ll vote for that political candidate. The bumper sticker on the car in front of me is displaying his name.”

Background:  Bumper stickers primarily exist for the following reasons:

  1. To display “Grateful Dead” logos
  2. To tell people to coexist
  3. To display the names of political candidates
  4. To communicate the possibility that a driver has allegedly completed a marathon
  5. To display three letters in an oval

Bumper stickers tend to travel in packs. They are rarely spotted alone. It also appears that the adhesive material on the back of bumper stickers clings best to the following vehicles: the Toyota Prius, any Volkswagen, Volvo station wagons, hatchbacks and fifteen passenger vans.

The concept behind the bumper sticker formed the foundation for the social media service “Twitter”. Twitter successfully created (and maintains) a digital bumper sticker service. Bumper stickers and Twitter both allow users communicate brief opinions to groups of followers.

It is also important to note, that while Twitter opinions are often absurd and completely ignored; bumper sticker messages are often absurd and completely ignored.

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Credit Card Rewards

  1. Arcade tickets for adults
  2. Rewards program that failed geography class

Usage Example: “Why does my credit card rewards program think that Los Angeles is 25,000 miles away from New York?”

Background: As children, many of us would go the arcade and happily spend $50 in quarters to win an armload of tickets. At that time, approximately 10,000 tickets would win a pencil. In spite of this fact, and for some unexplained reason, we were excited about the prospect of spending 50x the value of an item in order to “win” it. We would stare longingly at the 20-year-old, dusty, handheld television – knowing that we wouldn’t live long enough to earn the 20,000,000 tickets that it would take to bring it home.

Credit card companies understand that humans never outgrow this insane way of thinking, so they happily offer arcade tickets to adults in the form of “credit card rewards”. Want that $25 Applebees gift card? Spend $18,000 to get it. Interested in that set of golf clubs? It will only take 980 years to earn them.

Are you interested in cashing in your credit card airline miles? If so, it’s time to learn some “credit card geography”. If you live in New York, you might assume that 6,000 credit card miles could get you a round-trip ticket to the west coast. However, you might be surprised to learn that most credit card companies think that New York is approximately 25,000 miles from Los Angeles.

In order to maintain one’s sanity and financial security, it is important to fight this organized manipulation. Now, it’s time for me to hit Amazon… I’m only 50,000 points away from my Beats headphones.

Treadmill

  1. A wild exercise machine that was never intended for domestication
  2. A misery machine

Usage Example: “What is your return policy on treadmills?”

Background: Paper mills manufacture paper. Sawmills manufacture lumber. Treadmills manufacture misery.

Running is a great way to enjoy fresh air, natural scenery, and actually going somewhere. Treadmills are specially designed to ensure that users will never experience any of those benefits. The only benefits that a treadmill can provide are excessive sweating, the opportunity to stare at walls for long periods of time, and the aromas of an indoor fitness center.

The treadmill’s native habitat is the urban or suburban fitness center. It is a social machine. The treadmill is rarely found alone in the wild. Treadmills will naturally form long rows with other treadmills and surround themselves with similar machines.

On rare occasions, a human will attempt to domesticate a treadmill by buying one and placing it in his or her home. This arrangement rarely ends well. Owners initially have excellent intentions of walking (or running) their new treadmills on a regular basis. However, after a period of approximately two days, the newly neglected treadmill morphs into a piece of modern art. At this point, the treadmill only exists as a sculpture: taking up space, mocking its owners, and occasionally being used to hang clothes that wouldn’t fit in the owners’ closets.

Food Truck

  1. A large vehicle equipped to prepare and sell super-cool food
  2. A powerful hipster magnet

Usage Example: “I totally missed the ‘Kim-Castro Cuban-Korean Food Truck’ at the co-op today.”

Background: If a man’s morning routine includes putting on a tank top emblazoned with the words “Visit South Dakota”, spending at least 10 minutes waxing his handlebar mustache, and grabbing his hot-pink 80’s style sunglasses on his way to his vintage bike – science tells us that he will visit a food truck at some point within the next 24 hours. Food trucks are the most powerful hipster magnets known to man.

Prior to the advent of the hipster, food trucks primarily served inexpensive food to factory and construction workers. Today, food trucks serve expensive organic-fusion specialty food to the bearded masses.

Since food trucks move around from day to day, they will often use social media sites like Twitter to announce their daily locations.  This practice allows hipsters to engage in a game of hide-and-seek with their favorite food trucks as they travel the vintage clothing store and farmer’s market circuit. Hipsters love to play hide and seek, and since the owners of food trucks are overwhelmingly hipsters as well, they are happy to engage them.

Dollar Stores

  1. Shopping destination for disposable toys, Chinese toothpaste, off-brand food products and third-world greeting cards
  2. Home of the bipolar shopping experience

Usage Example: “I didn’t know that this dollar store had a meat department!”

Background: Shopping at a dollar store can be an excellent choice or the most frightening decision that a human being can make.

Shoppers looking to save money by purchasing party supplies and off-brand food products may be pleasantly surprised. For example, some dollar stores carry a wide variety of bagged cereals – from “Captain Crisp” to “Fruity Tiny Rocks”.

However, purchasing other products at a dollar store can be a tricky proposition. For example, there is nothing more frightening than the idea of a dollar store meat department. Yes, a dollar store meat department. Some dollar stores actually do contain small meat departments. These meat departments usually sell ham, turkey legs and rib eye steaks.

Purchasing a four ounce rib eye steak from a dollar store is a poor life decision. Some job applications not only ask about an applicant’s criminal background, but also whether he or she ever purchased a dollar store steak. Anyone who is tempted to purchase a dollar store steak is advised to sober up, and settle for the “Captain Crisp”.

Yoo-Hoo

  1. Almost-chocolate-milk for those who want a chocolate beverage, but don’t want the high-class snobbery of chocolate milk
  2. Super sweet chocolate water

Usage Example: “My parents just sent a case of Yoo-Hoo to my dorm! I can’t figure out if they love me or hate me.”

Background: To the uninitiated, Yoo-Hoo brand chocolate-like drink appears to be shelf-stable chocolate milk. In reality, Yoo-Hoo brand chocolate-like drink is so much less than that.

Yoo-Hoo was invented by a New Jersey grocery store owner named Natalie Olivieri in the mid-1920’s. Ms. Olivieri sought to answer a simple question that no one had ever asked: What would happen if someone liquefied a chocolate bar, and then watered it down? The answer was Yoo-Hoo brand chocolate-like drink. Prohibition era America provided fertile ground for the public growth of a beverage that tasted like very sweet, slightly chocolaty water and had the appearance of a muddy puddle.

Today, Yoo-Hoo sits comfortably within the fifth tier of American soft drinks – above Moxie, but below Arizona Iced Tea. Its unique flavor makes it one of the most divisive beverages in American culture. Pope John Paul II was a fan of Yoo-Hoo, as are at least twelve or thirteen other people.

Yoo-Hoo supporters staunchly defend their favorite drink, and Yoo-Hoo detractors enjoy making jokes about it… and silently judging those who enjoy it.

Mother’s Day

  1. The single day each year keeping the brunch, breakfast-in-bed and flower delivery industries viable
  2. Conscience cleansing holiday invented by (and for) lazy people

Usage Example: “We’re going all-out this year. I’m taking mom to Mother’s Day brunch at K&W Cafeteria.”

Background: In the US, Mother’s Day is a holiday observed on the second Sunday in May. The concept of Mother’s Day is simple: you can wash over 364 days of neglect and apathy with a one-day tsunami of flowers, brunch and/or breakfast in bed. Because of this, Mother’s Day grants tacit approval for children to take their mothers for granted on every other day of the year.

The brunch lobby has been a strong supporter of Mother’s Day from its inception. Each Mother’s Day, hordes of children give their mothers flowers and inexplicably drag them to a meal that barely exists outside of the second Sunday in May.

The most bizarre Mother’s Day tradition is the ritual of “breakfast in bed”. Breakfast in bed assumes that mothers would like children, who can barely sit at the table without spilling something, to prepare and serve a meal to them in the place in which they sleep. Some mothers find this terrifying. Most mothers appreciate the idea of breakfast in bed, much more than its actual execution. Most mothers would prefer “quiet in bed” and “breakfast at the table” followed by “clean the kitchen” and “clean your rooms”.

Happy Mother’s Day!