It’s never too late to share a tale of holiday joy. One evening just before Christmas, I was looking for my missing glove in the car and opened the passenger door to see if it had fallen on the other side of the seat. I saw the glove in the crevice alongside the seat, so I reached down to grab it. But apparently M. Night Shalamalam directed this scene, because there was a twist. It was not a glove but instead a gnarly black rotten banana of unknown vintage. It oozed gross black banana slime on my hand. So, fight or flight, I screamed like a child and flung it across the parking lot into the neighboring woods. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Now here is a hallucinogen-fueled Japanese banana commercial:
And the original Chiquita Banana commercial from the 1940s. “So you should never put bananas in the refrigerator.”:
Also, this provocative, existentially poignant time-lapse video bananas rotting:
We lost the Professor this week. CNN reports that the news was released by Russell Johnson’s agent, who we assume was the activity director at his nursing home.
I shared that rather tepid joke on social media, and friends facetiously scolded me for mocking a national treasure and hero. And good grief, based on his bio, Congress will soon be approving a monument in his honor. Highlights include a Purple Heart for being shot down in the Philippines in WWII and fundraising for AIDS research.
So let me be clear, I have nothing but love for the late Mr. Johnson. As an Atlanta child of the 1970s, spent hundreds of formative hours planted in front of the television, watching Ted Turner’s groundbreaking satellite pioneer Channel 17, WTCG (call letters he adopted to boldly and accurately encourage us all to Watch This Channel Grow). So my heart holds a special place for Johnson and the entire Gilligan’s Island cast, as well as folks like Fred Gwynne, Don Adams and the girl from the Partridge Family, whom I had my first celebrity crush on (and who apparently now manages an Office Max, so crush sustained).
Apparently I’m not the only one with fond personal memories of actors from iconic shows that shaped popular culture. When Googling Johnson’s background after his death, I stumbled across a mesmerizing fan phenomenon: The YouTube memorial video. Within minutes after news of the Professor’s death, several people posted these seemingly earnest videos to honor his life. Here is a 10-second tribute lovingly titled “Unfortunately Russell Johnson died January 16, 2013,” apparently a full year before Johnson’s agent reported it.
And another, with a moving original score by the poster. Don’t look away–those photos will zoom closer!
And here’s perhaps the most poignant, a full minute of silence in memoriam:
Finally, here’s a delightful Raleigh cigarette commercial in which Johnson played a minor role. “We buy cancer by the carton, and we get these fabulous molded chairs for free!”
OK, I am a libertarian, free-market champion. And I think that while the discussion about CEO pay discrepancies and bonuses is valid, it’s a distraction from issues that have much greater influence on the financial well being of the average person or family. That said, fuck, fuck fucking fuck this fucking motherfucker.
I overheard a guy at the food counter in a Target ask the girl working there, “Are those hot dogs recent? Because sometimes they’re not a good after they’ve been in there too long.”
I’m sorry, sir, but you forfeited your right to be discriminating when you chose to eat that sweaty processed meat baton glowing on the roller grill at Target. You can’t eat hot dogs from Target and also be a foodie. “Yes, are those hot dogs made with pure corn-fed beef? Do they have any fillers or preservatives that might cause harm to my good health and digestion? Could you please trace the nutritional pedigree of those glistening filler and flesh wands? Please just humor me with this appeal to dignity in my hour of desperation.”
This also reminded me of Patton Oswalt’s brilliant assault on the collective retreat from dignity known as the KFC Famous Bowl, probably his most famous stand up routine:
Less well known, but possibly even funnier, is the follow up routine he did following the launch of the KFC Double Down sandwich, with bacon, cheese, gravy, the Colonel’s Secret Sauce (!) and despair all jammed between two fried chicken breasts instead of buns (sorry no video–has anyone seen a clip of this?):
Extra super bonus: This interview with Oswalt on independent station WFMU, in which a caller from Omaha first makes Oswalt aware of the Double Down sandwich. It’s cool to see how Oswalt worked this into his bit about the KFC Mega-Leg and turned it into eight fresh, hilarious minutes of new comedy instead of just retreading the Famous Bowl routine (which he acknowledges that he was trying to phase out):
Finally, switching gears to another of my favorite stand up routines about food. This time, it’s David Cross contemplating the gall of eating gold for dessert (also no video, but the picture of Cross here is funny enough to sustain the entire six minutes):
The first time my mom ever let me answer the phone, I peed in my pants. The moment meant so much to me, and I choked.
Hello? Is it pee you’re looking for?
This effectively recaps my life: Curiosity and ambition dismantled by fear. Conspicuous fear that humiliates, expressed by a slowly radiating ripple of urine. Or worse.
I remember this event vividly because it was humiliating. I recall tiny moments of embarrassment more specifically than even extreme pain, sexual satisfaction or Arrested Development dialogue. Embarrassing moments create grey matter globs that activate without warning decades later. They can reduce you to wobbly insecurity jelly even in your most happy, carefree moments.
I know this also because I accidentally called my teacher “mom” in the third grade and it still haunts me.
I shared this on Facebook and my friend Davin recalled that The Simpsons played this joke amusingly with Ralph Wiggum once. The best part is there really was a kid within earshot who immediately called me out with a Nelsonesque “HA-ha, you called Ms. Miller ‘mom’! Ms. Miller is Doug’s mom! HA-ha!”
Now, how do we bring this all back to pants wetting? The second thing Davin shared was this transcendent grade school anecdote:
I got sent home in 3rd grade with a note about how I’d gotten into a “disruptive argument” with a teacher who didn’t think kelp is algae. I was in the right, but, to her credit, I did piss my pants from my outrage during the confrontation.
This story has changed my life in an important way. I am going to adopt this communication technique for tense meetings at my office. As soon as someone challenges my perspective, I will stand up, shout “Kelp is algae!” wet myself and leave the room.
Thank you, thank you, Burger King, for delivering this gem of relentless comedy today. We now amuse ourselves:
- Burger King launches new soup menu with the introduction of Seattle Stew
- New on the Burger King breakfast menu: Sausage, egg and Seabiscuit
- The Whopper will now be referred to as the Whiiiilllburrr
- Now available for a limited time at Burger King: The Filly Cheesesteak
- A Whopper’s a horse, of course, of course…
- Just announced that Burger King will replace old buns with a new product they’re calling Thorough Bread
- I’m LOVING the new Quiniela Box meals from Burger King
- Just had a delicious Burger King salad with a side of ranch dressage