- A loud alarm designed to call large numbers of people to play a game of make-believe
- The alarm that cried wolf
- Not an actual drill made of fire
- 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:
- Hear the fire drill
- Wonder why there are so many fire drills
- Sit for a minute and hope it stops
- Think of the weather outside.
- Decide that it is too hot, cold, rainy, etc.
- Hang around for another minute, hoping that the fire alarm will stop
- Slowly walk toward the door, still hoping that the fire alarm will stop
- Reluctantly walk out the door, just as the fire alarm stops
- Turn and walk back in the building
- Sleeping surface designed to take a person from beach ball to floor in six hours flat
- 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:
- The product must be a sleeping surface that is initially filled with air.
- The product must lose at least 50% of its air over the course of six to eight hours.
- The product must lose air regardless of whether or not any holes are present.
- The product must be designed to emit faint hissing sounds, even though no actual holes can be detected.
- 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.
- The only romantic meal involving bibs and cracking exoskeletons
- Meal featuring a set of tiny torture devices
Usage Example: “You might want to stand back. I’m about to crack this lobster’s exoskeleton… Happy Anniversary.”
Background: Lobster is a popular dinner choice for a romantic meal. This is obviously because there is nothing more romantic than putting on a bib and awkwardly cracking open the exoskeleton of a giant sea-bug.
After choosing a live lobster from a restaurant aquarium, the sea-bug is then boiled alive and served to the customer. At this time, the customer will proudly sport a bib featuring a lobster picture. (Of course, American culture dictates that diners should always wear a bib featuring an image of whatever food is being consumed at the time.)
Diners must then literally plan their attack. A small toolbox full of specialized metal torture devices is made available to help get inside the bug’s hard shell. Diners will often dismember the creature by cracking it, prodding it and tearing it apart with their hands. The bib is necessary because the butchering process can be messy.
When all of these facts are considered, there can be no doubt as to why lobster is such a popular romantic meal.
- A poorly played game of hide-and-seek with a scalp
- Effective method of communicating baldness
- Haircut of deception
Usage Example: “Lester has a comb over? I had no idea. I always thought he had an incredibly smooth and flat haircut.”
Background: Nothing screams “I’m bald” like a good old fashioned comb over. The comb over is intended to deceive people into thinking that the wearer has a full head of hair. However, the comb over is as effective at hiding baldness as the duck-and-cover method is at providing protection from a nuclear blast.
Unfortunately, in all of human history, the comb over has only fooled one person: a legally-blind individual named Randy, from Warwick, RI. In spite of its incredibly low success rate, the comb over is still utilized. Like a child covering his eyes and saying that you can’t see him, the comb over vainly pretends that no one can see the scalp underneath it.
In the wild, the comb over’s native habitat includes local post offices, the Old Country Buffet and wherever Donald Trump is currently located.
- Punishment for parents
- 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.
- A mixture of tomato juice and clam juice…for some reason
- The answer to a question that no one ever asked
- Bottles of red liquid used to help grocery store shelves look full
- A real thing
Usage Example: “This tomato juice isn’t bad. I just wish it had more bivalve mollusk flavor. I need some Clamato.”
Figure 1 – Clamato – Note the small clam on the label.
Background: The lack of shellfish in mass-produced fruit and vegetable juice is alarming. Thankfully, the people at Mott’s produce Clamato: one of the few fruit and vegetable juice products to include the flavor of clam.
Thankfully, Clamato eliminates the messy process of mixing clam juice with your favorite juice drinks at home. Everyone is tired of doing this. For years, I struggled with tiny funnels and tape, trying to mix the clam juice that my kids demanded, into their Capri Sun “Pacific Cooler” juice pouches. Now, I just send them off to school with Clamato. Thank you, Clamato.
With clam juice finally finding its way into fruit and vegetable juices, the market is now ripe for more garden-ocean juice combinations. Cranberry-Oyster, Grape-Squid, and Orange-Pineapple-Horseshoe Crab are flavors that we all can agree are long overdue.
- Trip to a metal and cinder block depression chamber
- Effective weight loss program for wallets
Usage Example: “The oil change place says that I need a new JQB valve. It could be expensive.”
Background: Some people choose to change their own automotive oil. This process is relatively simple and inexpensive. However, it can also be messy and time consuming. This is why many people choose to get their oil changed at a quick-service oil change facility.
Upon driving to the back of an oil change facility, the customer is greeted by a technician. The technician welcomes him and asks him if he wants to upgrade to the fully synthetic, fully expensive motor oil. After declining the Champagne of motor oils, the customer is led into a cramped waiting room to watch Judge Mathis and drink burnt coffee while he nervously waits for the results of the oil change.
The waiting room is tense. After a few minutes, the technician summons the customer. The customer then walks to his car to receive the bad news. The technician shows the customer an air filter speckled with a few molecules of dust and warns the customer about the dangers of driving with a dirty air filter. The technician then generally points under the hood of the car and mentions that a belt is cracked and needs to be replaced. He also tells the customer about his bad JQB valve and lets him know that they have one in stock.
At this point, the customer agrees to have the work done, and is led back into the waiting room. The customer spends the next 15 minutes pretending to look at Field and Stream while the technicians get back to work. They change the air filter and belt while pretending that a JQB valve actually exists.
They then place a sticker on the customer’s windshield, explain that his coupon is only good on Wednesday mornings, lighten his wallet and send him on his way.
- Pellet of compressed sawdust designed to help people feel better about their decisions
- Edible Fitbit
Usage Example: “This daily multivitamin only has 40 mcg of chromium. That is not acceptable.”
Background: The daily multivitamin comes in many forms. The most commonly available multivitamins are the standard compressed sawdust variety. However, the water-filled plastic pellet and gummy placebo forms are also available. Regardless of the form, multivitamins serve a single important purpose: to help adults feel better about ordering the triple-bacon-cheeseburger with unlimited fries.
Ingesting a daily multivitamin feels like a healthy decision. This helps people justify participating in a nine hour Storage Wars marathon with a fifty gallon drum of cheese balls. Similar to buying a gym membership or wearing a Fitbit, a multivitamin doesn’t actually do anything, but it makes people feel healthier. This opens the door to all kinds of unhealthy activities.
Adults who choose to take gummy vitamins are people who enjoy making unhealthy decisions disguised as healthy decisions, in order to make more unhealthy decisions later. In short: they are geniuses. However, after taking their daily candy medicine, they are constantly faced with the temptation to eat the entire jar…It’s a good thing they don’t really do anything.
- The best and worst decision of the year
- A battleground
Usage Example: “I’m looking for a powerful chemical that will instantly kill giant spiders in my vegetable garden, but will still allow me to say that the vegetables are organic… Do you have anything like that?”
Background: The home vegetable garden is a battleground. The choice to grow vegetables at home is both a peace treaty and a declaration of war on nature. The home gardener must work with nature by watering and nurturing plants, and work against nature by waging war on weeds, insects and animals.
At first, a home gardener may naively plant a few vegetables, water them, and sit back, assuming that they will have a crop of beautiful vegetables in a few weeks. However, it doesn’t take long for these rookies to realize that nature hates them, and will do anything that it can to destroy their precious little weekend project. Gardeners generally follow this pattern:
- Decide to plant an organic garden after seeing beautiful vegetables at the farmers market and on Facebook
- Prepare the ground through backbreaking labor
- Purchase and plant vegetables
- Water seeds and plants
- Realize that an animal is eating the plants
- Purchase and set up a fence
- Realize that an animal is still eating the plants
- Purchase liquid animal repellents
- Battle a giant spider
- Search the internet to identify strange looking insects
- Search the internet to figure out what is making those tiny holes in your leaves
- Purchase an organic insect repellent
- Search the internet to figure out why your leaves are yellow
- Purchase and install an extra-large fence
- Purchase and use chemical insect repellents that actually work
- Battle a giant spider
- Harvest three small tomatoes and five misshapen squash
- Decide that your Facebook friends are liars
- Vow to never plant a vegetable garden again… But those vegetables did taste really good…maybe just one more try…
And, just like the addicts that they are, gardeners keep fighting the battle year after year – hoping that the next year won’t contain huge spiders.
- Magically delicious boxes of breakfast sugar
- Breakfast crack-for-kids which successfully redefined the word “marshmallow”
Usage Example: “Since eating a bowl of Skittles isn’t socially acceptable, I’ll settle for some Lucky Charms.”
Background: Lucky Charms is a breakfast sugar product sold by the General Mills food company. It is composed of delicious, sugary chunks of Styrofoam that are branded as “marshmallows,” and an unidentifiable filler product.
To most kids, Lucky Charms is the holy grail of breakfast cereals. Approximately 100% of kids have asked their parents to buy it for them at some point. However, relatively few parents agree to the deal. The cereal is called Lucky Charms, because kids who end up with a box feel like they have a winning lottery ticket – a lottery ticket that guarantees a prize package of several trips to the dentist.
Lucky Charms completely redefined breakfast. Before Lucky Charms, few people consumed bowls of sugar for breakfast. Now, this practice is commonplace. This innovation has greatly advanced the social acceptance of the leprechaun and elf communities.
Despite all of this, the most culturally significant contribution of Lucky Charms is the fact that it successfully redefined the word marshmallow. Lucky Charms claims to be full of marshmallows. Absolutely no one questions that this claim is true. However, upon closer examination, Lucky Charms is actually full of brightly colored, sugary chunks of Styrofoam. These chunks barely resemble marshmallows, but society has accepted that they are marshmallows. This shows the sugary power of Lucky Charms.
Lucky Charms is a magical part of a complete childhood obesity plan.