The Humorless Twit Creates His Own (A)Version of DENSA | March 2010

 

If you’ve been in Mensa long enough, then you’ve probably heard of “Densa,” the parody version of Mensa created for “the other 98 percent.” Densa actually has a website (it’s not the obvious “densa.com” but rather http://home.comcast.net/~czell/densa.htm), a Wikipedia page that explains how it came about (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Densa), and even a SIG (website at http://www.densasig.org/).

I’m making my own version of Densa only it’s not for the other 98 percent but rather the two percent—the two percent of the population with the lowest IQs.

I run into eligible Densa candidates all the time. Starting with politicians.

Actually, to be fair, most politicians are smart. Their problem is not a lack of smarts but rather the fact that they think we aren’t smart. Although many of the policies they’d like to push on us are, well, not too smart.

The next group that’d be a shoe-in for Densa is certain lawyers—all due respect to some of my friends and acquaintances, who are rather bright lawyers. Many lawyers, in fact, are smart. But some combine density and arrogance—a deadly combination. Thankfully, these folks aren’t neurosurgeons or airline pilots.

Another group I’d throw into Densa (or throw off a bridge, if I could) is some of the so-called “customer service” staff at certain retail stores. At some stores I’ve been to, if you’re finally lucky (or maybe, UNlucky) to find someone to “help” you after hours of looking, more often than not you’ll get an “Oh, that’s not my department.”

BEFORE you even open your mouth to ask a question!

The next time somebody does that to me, I’m going to respond by saying “Well, I was going to leave you a nice fat tip, but since ‘That’s not your department,’ I’ll find someone whose department it is!”

The next group of people who’d easily qualify for Densa are the worst drivers you see every day on the road. The ones who drive 40 miles per hour in the fast lane on the highway. The ones who could drive all the way to Orlando and back with the left turn signal on the whole way. The ones who turn and change lanes without ever using a turn signal, as though the turn signal stem on the steering wheel were covered in the Ebola virus or something. The ones who tailgate when you’re doing 70 on the Turnpike. The ones who have the hazard lights flashing—while the car is moving. The ones who weave in and out of traffic as though everyone else’s car were nothing more than an obstacle on the road. I could go on and on. You get the picture.

You could see it for yourself: just drive around your block once and I’m sure you’ll run into a few of these types of drivers (hopefully, you don’t run into them literally!). I’m halfway tempted, in fact, to print up some invitations to join Densa, dressed up as phony traffic tickets. I’d follow one of these drivers around, waiting for him to park so I can place one of the faux citations on his windshield and watch the sparks fly after that.

I suspect some of these drivers, anyway, would actually mail the Densa application in. Along with the membership fees. If they did, well, then I suppose they truly do belong in Densa.

The Humorless Twit, Now Serving Misfortune Cookies | January 2010

 

The Humorless Twit in the Army, circa 1985

The Humorless Twit in the Army, circa 1985

There was a small group of us who were practical jokers when I served in Germany during my time in the Army.

A lot of the other guys in our platoon didn’t like it because they were our victims.

Our ringleader—I’ll call him Bryan—could get nasty with his practical jokes. One of his favorites was to pour ammonia underneath people’s doors in the barracks. He did this once to the wrong guy and almost got into a serious fight.

I was supposed to be the butt—and I do mean, “butt”—of Bryan’s best practical joke ever.

We were out at the CAS site—every other week we rotated duties with other platoons to guard missiles at this remote site—and I had brought some chocolate-covered cookies for a snack. The cookies needed refrigeration and because there was only one community refrigerator at the CAS site, there they went.

I should’ve known better with Bryan around. You couldn’t leave anything unguarded for a second around him. Especially not anything with chocolate in it.

You see, Bryan’s favorite practical joke was to lace food with massive amounts of laxatives. Preferably, chocolate-flavored laxatives that could easily be hidden in something chocolaty and delicious.

After completing a three-hour shift on the guard towers, I came back to the guard shack and made a bee-line for the refrigerator and my chocolate-covered cookies. I opened up the box of cookies, pulled one out, and right before I bit into it I knew something was amiss.

I took a close look at the cookie and saw there was something wrong with the chocolate covering. The chocolate was too dark in spots, and it was clear that those spots had been added on AFTER I had bought the cookies.

My first reaction: I grabbed the box and dashed off to find Bryan to confront him angrily. Before I could find him, though, a second, more devious and sinister thought entered my mind.

“Hey, Bryan,” I said. I gave him my best angry stare but deep down inside I was laughing.

He looked at me with his perpetual grin and just asked “So, how’d you like your cookies?”

We both cracked up and I mockingly held up a fist. “You’re lucky I figured it out before I had one, you dumb SOB,” I said through a chuckle. “But I have an idea,” I added.

We had a tall, lanky guy in our platoon—call him Jefferson—who was often the mark of one of our practical jokes. For a while, I thought he was so easy I actually felt sorry for him and I stopped targeting him. But the situation I had in mind was practically made for Jefferson, who had a bad habit of stealing other people’s snacks (particularly sweets)…

“How about I leave these cookies in the fridge—you know sooner or later, Jefferson’s gonna steal a few,” I said.

Bryan’s face lit up. “Excellent idea!” he said.

I put the cookies back in the refrigerator and waited. It didn’t take long. Jefferson called me on the radio as I was on another three-hour guard shift.

“Hey Caderon,” Jefferson said (he’d always had trouble with the “l” in my last name), “can I have some of your cookies?”

I suppressed a laugh and said, “Sure, in fact, have as many as you want, Jefferson.”

“Okay, great, thanks man!” Jefferson replied.

As soon as my shift was over, I looked for Bryan to tell him the news. We shared a laugh and waited for the inevitable to happen.

It happened when Jefferson’s turn at guard duty came up. He had to be “relieved”—and I mean that in so many different senses of the word—at least four times during his three-hour shift. The Sergeant of the guard wasn’t amused. He suspected Bryan, but with me as the only witness and no other proof…

I saw Jefferson some time after his shift. “Hey Caderon,” he said, “don’t eat those cookies, man. I think someone put some laxative in them.”

I feigned ignorance, which was hard to do because EVERYBODY in our platoon knew about Jefferson’s misfortune. In fact, I started referring to the situation as “Jefferson’s misfortune cookies.”

“Really?” I asked in false wonder. “What happened?”

Jefferson explained how he’d eaten the whole box of cookies and how he’d had to go several times, both during and after his shift. It took every bit of strength I had not to break out into hearty laughter.

“Wow, I can’t believe it,” I said in mock surprise. “I’m glad you warned me, though.”

Jefferson’s misfortune cookies became the stuff of legend and to this day, if I run into someone from that time online, a mention of this practical joke is sure to garner some laughs.

The Humorless Twit’s Aunt Flabby Loves Gobbling Turkey | November 2009

 

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Now go and eat your turkey before my Aunt Flabby finds it and eats it for you.


My Aunt Flabby once again threatened to eat me out of house and home literally if I didn’t let her guest write a column for me twisted my arm to guest-write the column for me for Thanksgiving, her favorite holiday (for obvious reasons). So here go some more embarassing disclosures about my embarassing family…



If you ever make the mistake of inviting Aunt Flabby over for Thanksgiving dinner, you'll be lucky if you have this much turkey left after she's done with it.

If you ever make the mistake of inviting Aunt Flabby over for Thanksgiving dinner, you'll be lucky if you have this much turkey left after she's done with it.

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday because of all the good food I, er, I mean, we get to eat, all the family getting together, all the food we get to eat, the football games, all the food we get to eat, the smell of fall in the air, the smell of food in the air, and, oh, did I mention all the food we get to eat?

My favorite Thanksgiving food is… well, I love ALL of it! The turkey—I love the breast, the wings, the thigh and the drumstick (Twit’s note: Make that drumsticks—plural, Aunt Flabby. You put Henry VIII to shame. And speaking of turkey, we usually have to make three of them each year: two for you and one for the rest of us).

The mashed potatoes and gravy. The sweet potatoes. Oh, boy, do I love potatoes (Twit’s note: What a surprise, you’re a couch potato!). The stuffing (Twit’s note: You mean, the stuffing of your face?). The cranberry sauce. Oh my goodness, I’m working up an appetite just thinking about all this scrumptious food. I think I’m going to take a break now and have a snack.

Okay, I’m back. What a delicious snack, a “Starving Dude” frozen dinner of what else, turkey, gravy, stuffing, and mashed potatoes!

Now, where were we? Oh yes, dessert! And then there are pumpkin pie—with whipped cream, of course (Twit’s note: Of course! In fact, enough whipped cream to make one full dinner course by itself!)—pecan pie and sweet potato pie (Twit’s note: Two years ago, Aunt Flabby had all three for dessert. No, I don’t mean a slice of each type of pie. I mean THREE ENTIRE PIES!!!!).

Well, in fairness, Thanksgiving is a holiday where we give thanks for everything we have. I’m always thankful for the food, not just on Thanksgiving but every day of the year. Mmm, I LOVE food and I love eating. Oh gosh, I’m making myself hungry again. Time for another snack! Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back!

Mmmm, those Mrs. Schmidt’s pumpkin pies were delish! Okay, I’m back. Well, I must say I’m also thankful for my family. They are wonderful (Twit’s note: Wonderful COOKS, you mean?). Every time we get together we eat! Needless to say, I love our family get togethers. Oh, there’s nothing like Aunt Crabby’s stuffing. Or Aunts Gabby and Blabby’s mashed potatoes and gravy. Or Aunt Drabby’s beet casserole (Twit’s note: Yuck! I hate beets!). Or Aunt Tabby’s fabulous pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan pies. Or my nephew’s, The Humorless Twit, juicy turkey!

Just thinking about all that delicious food makes me wish it was Thanksgiving already. In fact, I wish it was Thanksgiving every day! Aw heck, I gotta wrap up this column. I’m going to the grocery store to buy myself a whole Thanksgiving dinner for my dinner tonight. I can’t wait! I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and make sure to leave some food for me!

The Humorless Twit’s Best Tip | October 2009

 

Boo! TheHumorlessTwit.com is the place for the scare of your life!



Not to brag, but I tend to be a generous tipper when I go to restaurants, get my haircut, or receive a similar service where a tip is usually given.

By way of example, I just got my hair cut a few days ago. The haircut itself was $15; I gave the lady who did the honors a $5 tip.

Just this evening, I had dinner with my wife at a Chili’s. The service was good—not stellar, but solid. The bill was $29. I gave our waiter a $9 tip.

In fact—again, not to brag—I usually leave a minimum $7 or $8 tip on a restaurant bill that’s $30 or less, and I’ll leave more if the bill is more.

Okay, so why am I making myself out to be the Mother Theresa of tippers? Because I’d like to point out that few things annoy me as much as going someplace where a tip is NOT merited at all, and seeing a tip cup staring me in the face!

I mean, they expect a tip at a sub shop? At a place where I have to go to the counter to place my order? Or a tip at a fast food restaurant?

Is it just me, or does it seem EVERYWHERE you go nowadays, you see a tip cup on the counter? Is this just a Miami/South Florida phenomenon, or is this going on everywhere across the country?

What’s worse is that, invariably, when you walk into one of these places, the hired help is hiding. But there’s the ubiquitous tip cup, larger than life and in a place where you can’t miss it.

When the employees at many of these places finally deign to grace you with their presence, they give you dirty looks and ask “May I help you?” in a tone of voice that indicates they’d rather be, oh, having a root canal done without anesthesia than serving you. In my mind, I fantasize about obliging them. But I’m hungry and—customer service principles or no—I don’t want the person preparing my food to get too upset at me while he/she is preparing it.

So I meekly place my order, all the while daydreaming about re-enacting a scene from the film The Marathon Man, with the food preparer as Dustin Hoffman and me as the old German dentist.

My food gets microwaved/handled/wrapped by the food preparer. I walk up to the cash register to pay and see “the tip cup,” which—as a gimmick to entice customers to leave tips—has at least a one dollar bill in it and assorted coins. I pay for my food and the cashier deliberately hands me my change with a flourish, designed to draw attention to the tip cup.

Sometimes I’ll pay with a credit/debit card to foil the cashiers. But they’ve caught on. Now there are fast food joints where the credit card receipt will include a line meant for you to write in a tip amount.

I went to a Cuban restaurant near my home recently, to order food from their window for take-out. Despite the fact that the “waitress” here did about as much work as an order taker at a fast food restaurant, there was that line for a tip on the credit card bill. That’s when I whipped out the cash instead—just enough to pay for the food.

Honey, I’d’ve happily tipped you—and generously—had I eaten inside at your restaurant, not taken my food to go. Nonetheless, I’ll leave you with these “tips:”

-Can the surly attitude.
-Can the “I’d rather be a million miles away from here” look.
-Can the phone call to your friend complaining that you “have” to work today (be grateful, there are millions of unemployed people in the U.S. these days) and the snarky “oh, here’s another pesky customer interrupting my phone call, I’ll have to call you back” comment.
-And last but not least, can the tip jar.

Do all that and I might come back and I might actually leave you a generous tip.

The Humorless Twit Is Sick—And He’s Not Feeling Well, Either | September 2009

 

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As I write this, I’ve been sick a few weeks, I just found out the great news that I don’t have the swine flu—I had the “run-of-the-mill” flu instead—and I have a strong pain in my back and itching on my belly thanks to the shingles.

It all started about four weeks ago, with a garden variety 24-hour stomach flu. Because of my long-running gastrointestinal issues, I played it safe and went RUNNING to my gastroenterologist’s office. He said I just had the so-called 24-hour flu, but just to be safe and because he knows I’m a hypochondriac and will nag his office staff incessantly until I get answers, he ran some tests on samples of my blood and, well, another bodily substance I won’t name here.

The tests all came back negative.

I had missed a day of work due to the 24-hour flu, and the day I came back I didn’t feel too hot. The next day, I felt as though “I was coming down with something” else, that vague feeling that I’m about to become ill (again). I woke up with a sore throat the day after but the day after that, it was gone.

A couple more days passed and then it was Friday. I went around all day again feeling as though I was coming down with something.

The next day, Saturday, I woke up with low-grade fever and body aches. I knew I had the flu and I spent the entire weekend in bed.

Monday came and I didn’t feel any better. My temperature was flirting with 100 degrees. I called in sick to work and got ready to see my doctor (my “primary care provider,” as opposed to the gastroenterologist).

I took a quick shower and as I dressed, I noticed a small rash on my back. I went to the doctor, she diagnosed me with the flu (and told me she didn’t think it was swine flu but at this point I hadn’t been tested yet), bronchitis and an ear infection, gave me a bunch of prescriptions and an excuse note for work that was good until Wednesday, and sent me home with an order to rest.

By Wednesday, I was feeling a little better but was worried about the rash on my back. And I had spoken to my boss, who wanted a doctor’s note certifying that I didn’t have the swine flu. So I went back to the doctor’s on Wednesday.

I showed her the rash and told her I was worried it was shingles; she said because I didn’t have any other symptoms I should keep an eye on it a couple of days and if it got worse, I could see her again. I asked her for a note for my employer certifying I didn’t have swine flu; she said she could only give me a provisional letter saying she didn’t think I had it but I hadn’t been tested so she couldn’t “certify” me for sure. So I asked if she could test me and give me the provisional letter, for now, and she agreed.

It was going to take a few days for the test results to come back but I figured I’d be okay to go back to work the next day, Thursday. I went back, with the provisional letter for my employer, but it was obvious I wasn’t ready to return to work yet so the boss sent me home early.

The next day, Friday, I woke up feeling slightly feverish again. The rash had spread around my side to my belly and it was feeling itchy and painful. In other words, typical shingles symptoms.

I called in sick to work yet again and went back to the doctor’s—again. The doctor said, yep, you have shingles, she gave me medicine for it, and we went back and forth over how many more days I should stay home. Finally, she figured the medication would work its magic on me that day (Friday), plus the weekend, she added Monday and Tuesday for good measure, and said I should be okay for Wednesday. So she gave me an excuse note good through Tuesday.

I rested and rested. On Tuesday I called the doctor’s office and was told I did NOT have swine flu. “Whew,” I thought.

I went back to work Wednesday and the day just kicked my rear end. Same thing for Thursday—which is today. The pain has been coming and going all day and I can’t get comfortable in a chair. But still, I don’t think I have shingles as bad as others have had it, like my mother who was completely bedridden for about three weeks the two times she had it. The medication for the shingles—which is a form of herpes—has worked. My wife, though, thinks I’m a living pharmacy with all the medications I take on a daily basis. The worst part for me is I haven’t been able to go near the baby for a few weeks.

So you see kids, this is what you have to look forward to after you’ve hit the big 4-0. Enjoy your youth while you have it but don’t do anything stupid—or, ahem, rash.