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Flavored coffee is going the way of Hammer pants

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

It was 6:50am at McDonald’s. A withered old man in a corner booth coughed violently, groaning and wiping the phlegm from his chin with a cheap paper napkin. A few tables away, a morbidly obese man – at least 350 pounds – devoured his breakfast platter, barely chewing, with a second breakfast nearby. Across the empty restaurant, a half-retarded homeless man muttered and stared angrily at his hands.

Normally, this sort of scene wouldn’t be out of the ordinary here. The gross old man, sickly obese guy, and deranged homeless person are as much a part of every McDonald’s as Ronald McDonald himself. What made this scene bizarre is that each of these loonies were drinking gourmet iced coffee.

Starbucks fans, your coolness factor just dropped like shares of . . . well, take your pick. They’re all dropping.

It doesn’t matter that McDonald’s new “gourmet” coffee sucks compared to your upscale coffee. What matters is that tacky, low-class people now like the same trendy drink as you. These buffoons will chat you up about it at work, relating how they love the subtle flavors of gourmet coffee, just like you. Within a few years, trendy people will have to abandon gourmet coffee altogether, desperate to find something, anything to drink that will keep lesser folk from talking to them.

Single men should not own houseplants

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

I bought a houseplant the other day. As a single man in my late-20s, I don’t feel good about this type of purchase. It feels out of place. It seems similar to a single woman in her 40s buying a cat, and that scares the bejeezus out of me.

When telling other people that I bought a houseplant, I often feel the need to reiterate the fact that I’m still cool. “I’ll bet Ryan Seacrest has houseplants,” I’ll say nonchalantly, forgetting that Ryan Seacrest is not the least bit cool. “Yeah, having a crappy, second-rate plant that can only survive indoors really adds some decoration to the room. Plus it looks nice and, um . . . cleans the air in my apartment? Maybe?”

I also feel the need to remind people that I don’t spend my free time wallowing in depression. “It’s a plant, not a companion,” I’ll say through clenched teeth, annoyed at my friends for bringing up the subject. “It’s not a replacement for hot ladies. Houseplants attract hot ladies. I bought it because . . . stop saying that! It is not like buying a damn cat!”

Clooney brought us a turd

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

This column refers to this event.

The train pulled in slowly, and a heavenly glow appeared on the platform. The source, a devilishly handsome man in his late-40s, smiled and immediately entranced the room. “Hi, I’m George Clooney”, he said, winking at the crowd like a favorite uncle who planned to slip them some money when no one else was watching.

A great cheer rose from the crowd, as if Jesus had resurrected a day late and chosen Duluth, MN as his re-spawning point. The frigid air turned 10 degrees warmer, with this wonderful man transporting everyone, if only in their minds, from the cold Northland to a sunny spot in heaven.

Suddenly, a horrible sound pierced the ears of the crowd. It also came from the platform. “Braaack!” the creature crowed, its mouth creaking open as if someone had once tried to sew it shut. “What town is this again, George? Braaack!” The creature had a woman’s body, but the face of a vulture. Its voice crackled and scraped through the air, bruising everything within earshot.

Clooney smiled, pointed to the creature, and said, “I assume you all know my co-star Renee Zellweger.”

George is my friend, and he gives me money

Whoops. Forgot to post this on Monday.

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

I don’t mean to brag, dear reader, but George W. Bush and I are very close friends. We’re pals. We’re amigos. Mejores amigos para siempre. We’re such good buddies that sometimes we even finish each other’s sentences. Actually, I just finish his, and it’s pretty easy since he’s been saying the same things over and over again for seven years, but we’re still great chums. Just the other day, George gave me $600.

I didn’t even ask for it. The check just showed up in my mailbox. The return address claimed it was from the IRS, but I know who it was really from. That old rascal! Where’d he get that money! Hell, I don’t care where he got it. It’s not my business where the president gets his federally-funded cash.

The best thing about George is he doesn’t even want me to pay him back. He just made me promise to stimulate the economy. “Hey there, Slim,” he said. “I saw you had your eye on that Playstation 3. I thought I’d help you out.” Hell of a guy! I’d kiss him if I could figure out which end was his mouth.

Stop overusing the word ‘fuck’

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

“Fuck” used to be a great word. It was a beautiful, poetic way to describe joyfully defiling and banging the holy bejeezus out of someone you normally wouldn’t care for, or whom normally wouldn’t care for you. It was also a fierce, intense insult aimed at only the vilest of enemies.

Telling someone to “Go fuck a pole” used to mean something. It meant you wanted that person to physically thrust their erect penis headlong into a pole, preferably with a running start, and injure themselves in the worst of ways. Now it’s just another generic insult, thrown out for every mild offense.

Someone honks their car horn? “Fuck you.” The waiter forgets to bring additional napkins? “That stupid fucker”. Your grandmother casually mentions she doesn’t care for NCAA basketball? “Fuck that bitch.” Fuck, fucker, fucking, fucked, fuckety fuck fuck fuck fuck. All the time! Every day! Whether I’m at work or out on the street, all I hear is “fuck this, fuck that, fuckity fuckity fuck”. Enough!

“We went to this great fucking store the other day.” No you didn’t. You went to Target. A “fucking store” would be a business so terrible that you had diarrhea when you left, or were treated like an AIDS victim with a nosebleed. Stop trying to slip the word “fuck” into every single sentence. You’re killing it. You’re killing the word that is most dear to my heart, because it describes the two things I love most: Unclassy sex and brutal hatred.