Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Writing’s on the Wall

So I was lounging around in bed this morning, trying to fight past the raging headache that threatened to leave me paralyzed from the brainstem down, while feebly struggling to free myself from the tangled mass of bed sheets that had turned into hateful ropes during the night, chaining me to the bed like some kind of drunken Prometheus waiting for his liver to be torn from his stomach and eaten.

And to make myself properly prepared for the day ahead, I turned on the news, to feed my mind with the important issues of the day, like the inmate who gouged out and ate his own eyeball, (it wasn’t the first time he’d done it either. I guess raw eyeballs are really delicious), the worsening economy and the attack of the Killer Mutant Peanut Butter that is currently devastating this great country of ours.

But the thing that really stuck out, the most vital topic of the morning news, was how schools are fazing out teaching cursive handwriting. I, for one, cannot tell you just how shocked I was to learn that they’re still bothering to teach people how to write at all! Don’t we have computers for that shit these days?

Of course the news anchor had to take the moral high ground that not teaching little kids cursive will lead to the downfall of Western Civilization, making us China and India’s bitch, (and in all honesty, he’s right. It’s not the recession/depression that’s going to bring America down; it’s the fact that kids don’t know how to draw a cursive “S”.)

What’s so special about writing in cursive? It doesn’t improve what people actually write, especially with the inane things most people write about these days anyway. Writing in cursive, for the majority of The Great Unwashed, is kind of like gift-wrapping dog shit. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

In fact, I’d go far as to say that writing in cursive is ridiculously overrated. The only thing you really need to know how to write in cursive is your name, (unless you’re one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of girls who, in elementary, middle and high school, have practiced writing my last name, excited for the day when we’d finally be joined in marital bliss*).

Take doctors for instance. They’re infamous for having handwriting worse than a Parkinson’s victim. Michael J. Fox has a super steady hand compared to those in the medical community. But that doesn’t make them worse doctors. You can’t judge a person based on whether he can write in cursive or not, and you can’t judge the fall of a society based on how many people connect their letters while writing their poorly-spelled letters to Penthouse.

Interviewer: Well Bob, Deacon is far more qualified for this job. He’s got way more experience and even wrote the handbook we’ve trained our other employees on. On the other hand, I love the way you do that loop thing with your capital “L”. So you’re hired!

Bob: Hooray for me!

If anything, we should worry less about whether people are writing in cursive or not, and focus more on spelling, grammar and syntax. Because to me, a well written and executed sentence counts for a lot more than if it’s in print or cursive.

What we need to do is attack this new “text speak.” Why isn’t our collective dander up about that nonsense? When I have kids, I won’t care if “ I’ll see you later” is written in print or cursive, as long as it’s not written “I C U L8R.” Now that’s some bullshit!

I personally quit using cursive around my freshman year of high school. It was lame and I wanted to develop a more distinctive and unique style of writing. So for the next three years I practiced writing in print in a new style until I came up with something that is entirely me and very identifiable. When somebody sees something I wrote, they know its origin, (on the other hand, I’m still proficient in cursive and use it when I’m hiding my hand writing. A true Evil Genius has multiple writing styles for every occasion.)

There’s one problem with my writing style: it’s slow. If I were to try to take notes like a normal person, I’d be screwed because I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Maybe that’s why in college, instead of taking notes, I just wrote jokes to myself during class. This would explain why I got kicked out.

But, like all good journalists, I developed my own shorthand. I’ve interviewed thousands of people and you can’t always tell them to stop or repeat themselves while you’re trying to write, (especially since most people can’t remember what they said no more than 30 seconds earlier. It’s true. Try having somebody repeat a point, word-for-word that they just told you, and they won’t be able to. Their minds are already somewhere else. God Bless ADD) it’s just not conducive to good interviews. So, you come up with shortcuts and tricks to make you go faster. And you know what? My shorthand doesn’t use cursive and yet I’m still able to write decent stories.

In the end; cursive or print: does it really even matter? In this day and age, isn’t there something more, I dunno…important to blame for the downfall of man?

*Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but it ain’t gonna happen. Can’t tame this Wild Stallion!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let’s Get Caught up!

So, in the midst of getting back from Iraq, getting the hell out of the army, moving into a new apartment, growing a dirty hippy beard, burying an aunt, getting drunk on days that end in “y”, trying to keep off the 30 pounds I lost in Iraq and acquiring a girlfriend, I really haven’t had the time, nor the inclination, to write any Eighty-Four Glyde entries recently. Too many damn things on my plate and I’m far too lazy to be efficient.

Sorry. Let’s get updated on things.

Looking back, it seems that I haven’t written anything since the middle of December. That’s not strictly true though. The same frustrating thing seems to happen to me whenever I come back from Iraq: I lose a thumbdrive that had a bunch of pre-written (as we in the news writing business call “evergreen” stories because they’re not topical and can be used whenever) entries in it and it bums me out to no end. Truly, it frosts my buttons. It pains me to think of all of the laughs you (my loyal reader) will never get to enjoy because those entries are lost to time (or lost somewhere in my ridiculously dirty bedroom. It makes Theo Huxtable’s room look Spartan and clean.) Pity.

Tomorrow is the third birthday of Eighty-Four Glyde. That’s right, my stupid little blog is three years old. Amazing, no? Yet I still haven’t gotten paid or laid because of it. Such injustice! There won’t be much in the way of any kind of special birthiversary entry as in past years. I had hoped to get the 84 Glyde website up and running in time for tomorrow, but couldn’t get it done in time. My bad, gang. But keep your eyes out, because it’ll be coming soon and it’s going to kick so much ass that you’ll lose your sense of smell! (And I don’t even know what that means.) Of course birthiversary wishes are always appreciated.

Hey, get this: They voted a black guy for president while I was gone! Ain’t that a hoot!? I honestly had no idea America had it in itself. I figured all the WPs would be too scared of black people making rap the official music, ebonics the official language and chicken the official bird, to elect a HNIC. I’m almost proud of this crazy country. I still want my damn 40 acres and a mule though. Quit bullshitting and give me my reparations!

The inauguration was a few days ago, but there are plenty of stories out there of what happened on Tuesday. How historic it was, how iconic the images are, how nipple-freezing it was and how bangable Michelle Obama is. So I won’t go into the event too deeply here.

I live 20 or so miles away from downtown D.C., yet refused to leave my apartment. I’m not crazy, I knew there’d be (literally) billions of people on the mall, and that at least 15% would be ex-girlfriends that I didn’t want to run into. Instead, my girlfriend and I stayed in and toasted with some champagne when the awkward swearing in went down.

Of course, had I known that there wouldn’t be any kind of terrorist attack (I can’t help it, like all patriotic Americans I’ve been brainwashed and frightened by a government trying to convince me that Jihadists are trying their best, 24/7, to specifically kill me) I might have gone downtown to better appreciate the moment.


About a month ago I was voluntold (because that’s how the military works) to participate in a hoagie building contest for the opening of a WaWa’s in Shithole, N.J. (otherwise known as Any Town, N.J.). For those of you not familiar with WaWa’s, it’s a typically middle East Coast place where you can buy poorly made sandwiches, sub-par coffee and diabetes-inducing morning pastries. People in Pennsylvania and New Jersey go wild for WaWa’s. Scientists have yet to understand the phenomenon.

Anyway, as some kind of publicity stunt, for the store’s opening, they had ten soldiers, divided into two teams, form hoagie assembly lines to either make as many hoagies as we could in three minutes, or be the first team to make 20 hoagies. Or maybe both, nobody was quite sure what the rules were, or what we were trying to achieve. It didn’t matter because my suck ass team lost like the giant toolboxes we were. It was pathetic, but at least we got to keep the hoagies we made.

I didn’t eat a single one. They were gross.


As I wind up this rambling and non-linear entry, I’d like to close with something new. With each new year that greets Eighty-Four Glyde, I try to do something different, to keep the blog fresh and relevant. Last year I didn’t use the letter “e” in any of my entries. Two years ago I only typed with my toes. This year, at somebody’s request, I’m going to do less abstract, nonsensical blogs where I pretend to be fictitious James Bond villains, and more entries that have to do with the weird things that go on in my life. Because even though I try to live my life as a shut in, I still manage to go out amongst The Great Unwashed and have kooky misadventures.

So, in 2009, you’ll get to know more about your favorite blog writer: Joshua. Playboy, raconteur, debonair man-about –town, messiah, nose-picker, unparalleled lover, last son of Krypton, philanthropist and kitty-cat petter.

Happy 3rd Birthaversary Eighty-Four Glyde! Sorry for the gift card, I promise to have a real present next year.