No More Cookies for the Cookie Monster

Another column printed in my school newspaper. And, to clarify, I did not make this up, although I wish I did.

Of course, the big story that has been in the news for weeks now is the engagement of Angelina Jolie to Brad Pitt, and what color the flowers are going to be at the rehearsal dinner. But if you’ve dug down deeper into the bowels of the news, you will have noticed that something sinister took place with hardly any media attention at all: the Cookie Monster is not allowed, per se, to actually eat cookies anymore.

That’s right. As if the Jolie and Pitt love affair wasn’t enough to completely tear this nation apart at the hem, we now have to live with a cookie-less Cookie Monster, who for all we know is now required to consume Low-Carb, Low-Cal, Low-Fat, Low-Sodium Cardboard Wafers—Now with 25% Less Flavor.

The central thrust behind this campaign was that the parties involved were cowering under their protective layers of cardboard, afraid that impressionable, young children will witness the Cookie Monster eat cookies and be corrupted into thinking that cookie-eating is a good thing, if you can imagine such an atrocity.

So of course they had to put a stop to THAT. The Cookie Monster is still apparently allowed to eat cookies (but to a much lesser degree), and his internationally famous song (“‘C’ is for ‘Cookie’”) has been changed to—get ready!—”A Cookie is a Sometimes Food.”

I don’t know why these people are so frightened that children are going to want to eat cookies when they see the Cookie Monster eat them. Children like to imitate violent stuff, not questionable eating habits or other innocent things.

For instance, I was one of the three children in the ‘80s who regularly watched “Fred Penner’s Place,” a show filmed in Canada about a man (Fred Penner), who, every week, would drag a guitar into a clearing in a stage forest and sing.

While this show was great fun and allowed my parents to leave me in a room for 30 minutes while they attempted to clean baby vomit off their shoes, I never once got the urge to take up guitar lessons because I saw it on TV.

However, it was a different case when it came to shows like “Power Rangers.” This—as you will remember—was a show where 25-year-old “teenagers” would have their stunt doubles fight grotesque monsters by using obscure martial arts arm movements, although what ended up happening is that it looked like their actions were being controlled from a distant planet by an alien that was a little too hopped-up on tequila.

When I watched that show, I immediately wanted to learn martial arts, but not enough that I wanted to join a class on it. What I did was flail around in the basement, kicking and running around, and pretty much acted exactly as the Power Rangers did, except that they had better medical coverage.

However, despite all of this, I have never seen any moves to create a more watered-down version of the “Power Rangers,” where the Rangers, showing off their machismo and martial arts know-how, defeat the looming monster by beating it at a game of chess.

In fact, as I write these words, plans are probably in the works to have the Cookie Monster guest star as the next city-smashing monster on the next episode of “Power Rangers,” to further frighten children of the evils of TV.

And, depending on what Brad does, he may be in there, too.

WAY below dealer cost

Another humor column, completely unedited, uncensored, and untrue.

Like any sane American with at least half of a working brain lobe, I immediately start regurgitating when I hear this on television:

“We here at the Jimbo “Wyatt” Earp Tri-county Car Emporium invite you to bring the kids, the dog, EVERYONE down today! Dig up Grandma Lucy, strap her to the hood, and bring her down too! We want EVERYONE to enjoy our ROCK-BOTTOM savings at BELOW DEALER COST! We will sell you ANYTHING! Nissans, Fords, Hondas, mopeds, underwear, Cheez Whiz, trampolines, WHATEVER! And you WON’T HAVE TO PAY UNTIL 2005! Even if you have LOW CREDIT! Or NO CREDIT! Or if you hand us CONFEDERATE BILLS! We’ll EVEN TRADE PELTS! If you want, we’ll let you have the car FOR FREE! Drive it off the lot! Without paying for it! We have to make room for the 2007’s!”

Aren’t these commercials annoying? Don’t you just want to beat the voice-over people over the heads with telephone poles? Wouldn’t that be fun?

You’ll be pleased as punch to find out that the next best thing will soon be available, according to a Nov. 10 article in the Omaha World-Herald: they will have their eyes bored out with grapefruit spoons.

No! Just kidding! Car dealerships will now be fined large sums of money if they run a television advertisement that has false information as part of stricter enforcement of advertising laws. The enforcement will prevent companies from airing commercials that say, “Write your own deal,” or, “We’re never undersold,” or make any reference to “bent beauties” after a hail storm, which is punishable by stoning.

The article said that offenses to the enforced advertising laws have been upwards of $2,000. Frankly, I do not think this is enough. If, as Americans, we are to get truthful information from corporations, than the price for not telling the truth should be extended to giving up your first born son.

This system would work. Every time a car dealership uses the phrase, “We finance everyone—no credit is rejected,” the company will be fined $1,500. Excessive shouting in the commercials is a $4,000 fine. Every time the voice-over guy starts talking at the speed of light, the owner of the offending company will be taken out into the street and have leeches planted on his face. AutoMart 150 commercials will simply be banned.

As I mentioned before, car commercials directly after hail storms should be torn up, ripped apart, beaten, thrown, burned, and fed to pit bulls. O.J. Simpson told the truth more than these bloody things.

The entire presentation is a lie. They feature the owner of the company standing on the lot, waving their hands around like a deranged monkey who has just gained operational control of its limbs, saying things like, “The hail has passed, but the deals haven’t at the Jimbo “Wyatt” Earp Tri-county Car Emporium! From now until Wednesday, all of these ‘banged-up beauties’ are 50% off dealer invoice, with 0.95 APR financing! Whatever that means! These cars have dents over more than half of their bodies, but you can hardly notice them! We mean it! Only someone with a microscope and one too many drinks can tell the difference! Would we lie to you?”

Speaking of lies, the same kind of punishment needs to be enacted toward prescription medicine commercials. Finding any viable information in these haystacks is like digesting shrapnel.
My personal favorite is the commercial for Imitrex, which is famous for having a container that looks like a fish.

The commercial starts with a shot of a brown leather couch. The couch has a rumple in one of the cushions, as if someone recently sat in it. As the rumple begins to re-form into standard cushion shape, some children are heard outside, playing. When the cushion is completely reformed, the word “Imitrex” is slapped on the screen in large, purple letters, and a voice-over guy says, “Isn’t it about time you asked your doctor about Imitrex?”

To which most people replied: “Isn’t about time I severed my right foot and jammed it so far up my nasal cavities that my brain is damaged to the point that I actually understand this commercial?”

Clearly, whoever came up with the leather couch marketing concept has lo mien for brains. Not only is it untruthful (is Imitrex a leather couch reupholstering kit?), but it violates other advertising laws, including the one that protects the viewers from slitting their wrists.

No amount of money is great enough to fine these people. Yes—that’s right. They need to be locked up with Martha Stewart.

In any case, these stricter advertising laws are definitely a “step in the right direction” for Nebraska. They’re sensible, logical, and in the consumer’s best interest. And at WAY below dealer cost.

A manly exertion of manliness

I am the editor of a school newspaper, and in between problem-solving and growing white hair, I get to write humor columns, which completely makes up for having to write real journalism.

Within a matter of several minutes, our upstairs bathroom and hallway were flooded with enough water to make the Indian Ocean look like a Taco Bell parking lot after a light drizzle. Somehow—I assume Iraqi Bathroom Terrorists had something to do with it—our toilet exploded, sending out waves of water large enough to surf.

Toilets are strange devices. They often gurgle and sputter, usually because something is wrong with its “flapper.” Over the years, my mom has tried to teach me the finer points of toilet mechanics. She’ll take me aside, lift the lid to the tank, and point to something making sounds you would expect to hear coming from a musk ox after it had been shot with high-caliber artillery fire.

“This is the flapper,” she’ll say, pointing at some obscure object in the tank. “If this is not fit right, the entire toilet will cease to function and we’ll have to go to the bathroom in the yard.”
Then, by way of demonstration, she sticks her entire arm down in the disgusting, festering toilet water. She insists that the water inside the tank is perfectly clean, but it is difficult to trust someone who routinely dunks their arms in toilets.

Of course, most of you are probably laughing at me by now. “Ha, ha!” you’re saying. “How can you call yourself a man and not know something as basic as rudimentary toilet mechanics?”

Shut up or I’ll kick your shins. No, sorry—what I meant to say was that I know I’m not a very mechanically-inclined person, as opposed to some guys who think a fun day at the park involves taking things apart, or building things, or taking apart the things they just built. These are the same people who walk into a hardware store completely drenched in motor oil and demand to know where the “sprockets” are located.

I am not that kind of person. The only thing mechanical I know how to do is program the VCR, a concept that completely eludes my parents.

In my mind, knowing how to record shows on the VCR completely made up for the fact that I have absolutely no other practical skills. People would boast about how they successfully built a new transmission for their car from scratch; I would casually approach them and tell them that while a transmission was fine, it could not, for example, record Alias.

The only time I have ever had to use mechanical skills was this one time in Boy Scouts. We were all instructed to build “bridges” out of balsa wood, which is this semi-wood-like substance that has the all the flair and architectural strength of dry rot.

Yet we still had to build these bridges. Our leader kept pressing upon us that glue—which was the only thing we were allowed to use to fasten the balsa—wasn’t, actually, the best way to fasten the balsa. To this day, I do not understand this concept, since glue, when used in large enough quantities, can be used to deflect machine-gun fire. However, when it is molecularly bonded to balsa, it apparently becomes a brittle shell of its former self and shatters when any amount of force is applied to it.

While other Scouts were building bridges that looked like they had hired a full-time construction firm to design, finance, and test, mine looked like a bridge straight from the Cheesy Props Department at an old Godzilla film.

When it came time to test the bridges—which is done by essentially applying thousands of pounds of weight until they snap—everyone’s did exceptionally well, except for mine, which was destroyed almost as soon as I carried it into the room.

My point is that mechanics has never been my strong suit. This is why the second floor of my house was almost completely submerged when a pipe broke in the back of one of the toilets (which, if you’ll remember, is what we were talking about at the beginning of this column).
I didn’t figure it out until it had been spewing water for a good three minutes, at which point everything was basically underwater. I was the only one upstairs at the time, so the problem was left All Up to Me.

Any other guy would have probably done something manly. Another guy would have taken random things around the bathroom—toothbrushes, sponges, wads of hair clogged up in the sink drain—and used them to create, MacGyver-like, some sort of mechanical device with which to fix the pipe, somehow getting motor oil all over himself in the process.

I did not do that. I called for my mom, who solved the problem with the simplicity it would have taken if she were merely asked the date. But at least I didn’t have to stick my hand in the tank.