Tom’s Law #42
Want to know who’s really in charge? Wait for the shit to go down and just watch.
Every year or so the stories briefly get featured on the evening news like a blip on a gloomy green radar screen then are as quickly forgotten. Until the next study is released or, worse, some human bodies are asploded. Now that’s news.
Think of a list of professions where you’d really like people to be fully rested and alert. Airline pilots? Air traffic control? Doctors? Truck drivers?
Nice list. Congratulations. You just came up with a list of people that we fuck the most. Logical, right?
This week, again, the issue of employee fatigue was in the news. The FAA commissioned a study on air traffic controller fatigue. The results are none too surprising. Then the government fought for four years to keep the findings secret.
“Psst. Hey dude. I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. You pay top dollar for me to conduct a study about how I’m fucking you over. Then I keep the results secret from you. Sounds like fun, right?”
What could possibly be going on here? Luckily I got a good night’s sleep.
My Two Tuppence
If you invest your suckance
Slyly with a skank
Like a ship run aground
More rewarding than invested in a bank
It will fail to astound
A wallet violently oppressed
And you’ll feel it each time they molest
As your effluence stickily expands
Deftly in the hands
Of the directors
Who invest your liquidity per their horny little glans
So yeah, there was that time I put thousands of dollars in a savings account with that “American” multinational bank. You know the one. Their logo is a red, white and blue
flag credit card. Because nothing is more quintessentially American than, “I want it now. I’ll pay for it with credit.” Hey, let’s make our logo a credit card. That’ll show ’em what we’re really about.
And we fall for it.
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I’m not going to go all Plato and Socrates in your grill. But I am going to have to go a little deeper than normal. Gimme five degrees down bubble on the dive planes and rig for silent running.
What is a game?
One might as well ask why does chocolate taste good? Why is a flower pretty? What it is about poop that makes it so interesting? We have full-time philosophers who study these things but no answers yet.
Let me take a crack at it. A game should be fun.
The word “should” gets the italics treatment because of my pinhead professor in philosophy class. He imparted into me the basic wisdom: “One shouldn’t say should.” Dammit all to Hell, man. Why did you say that?
The word “fun” gets the italics because its usage in that sentence opens a brand new rabbit hole for us to jump down.
What is fun?
See what I mean about going deep? If you follow this crazy train you’ll quickly jump the rails. It’s like having a conversation with young Mr. Data. “What is ‘is’, Captain?” Oh shit. This might take a while.
The point here is simple: I thought “games” were supposed to be “fun.” Then I owned an iPad and it totally changed the way I looked at what a game should be.
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We watched a few episodes of a so-called reality show about people who turn over storage units for a living, like it’s a career or something. It’s like the modern version of treasure hunting. Except it’s not.
One time a friend told me how she had lost a bunch of her possessions. It was mostly junk like furniture and knickknacks that wouldn’t fit at her house but it also included irreplaceable family heirlooms and stuff like family photos.
She stopped paying for the thing and – poof – her stuff was gone. “Why didn’t you tell me,” I cried. “I’d have paid your account so at least you could get the important shit.”
It was too late. The shit was gone. As in forever gone. There had been an auction. They sure didn’t waste any time.
Oh well. Easy come and super easy go.
I decided right then and there that I had to get me one of those shiny storage unit things. But I also had to remain true to myself and my core values. I was going to do this the Tom B. Taker way.
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Out in the street in front of our drive was a sawhorse festooned with a garish sign and, get this, a festive baby blue helium balloon dancing playfully in the air.
My wife knows how to throw a party.
“A balloon,” I said. “Where the hell did you get a helium balloon?”
“At the dollar store.”
“Huh. How much did it cost?”
Dripping with more sweat than Mike Rowe driving a Ford Truck, I had just muscled tons of our most useless crap out on the front lawn. My normally well-oiled brain wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.
Weird how it was that moment the heavens decided to deluge our asses and stuff. I welled up with despair as I watched the rain beating down against that little helium balloon. I’m proud to say it didn’t fight back much. Soon it lay there, on the ground, like a fresh chunk of roadkill.
It wasn’t a winner, but I knew how to handle that. I dashed out in the rain and pinned it with a “participant” ribbon taken from my trophy collection. It popped and was gone for good.
Our “yard sale” was officially underway.
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Fires in the Works
I am proud to be an American.
Whoa! What the fuck was that? And, more importantly, who’s going to help me change my diaper?
So let me get this straight. You love America, too. And to prove it you’re going to make something go boom boom. Do you mind if I get some background information? Are you the same guy from elementary school who got paper towels wet and threw them into ceiling lights until they blew up? Are you the one who was so fascinated with fire that he set his junior high school locker ablaze? Do you think shooting a gun up in the air is good clean fun? No, no, don’t tell me. Let me guess. All the same guy, right?
Just in case you doubt my cred to discuss this topic, please know that one time I visited the game store where
my son the gerbil liked to hang out. Staff regaled with me with stories of my son’s exploits in the back parking lot shooting bottle rockets using his ass as the launch platform. So I think I’m qualified!
In 2012, 60-percent of the year’s fireworks injuries occurred between June 22nd and July 22nd, sending an average of 200 people per day to the hospital. … All six fireworks-related deaths that happened last year involved illegal or homemade fireworks.
–Source: All the Amazing Facts About Your Fireworks Injury (Gizmodo)
Fireworks are a product. I know for a fact that those who make them have a profit motive. What I secretly suspect, however, is that they also hate America and are out to conquer us one body part at a time. Yes, it’s a theory, but it fits the available facts, dammit!
There’s no such thing as a zero error rate in the manufacture of products. Stay with me here. I’m building a logical proof piece by piece (if you’ll pardon the expression). That means some percentage of fireworks legally sold in this country are inherently flawed. Use of those products is, therefore, a calculated risk. Fuck that. I’ll stick with the craps table. I deem that to be an acceptable level of risk, but hey, that’s how I roll. Your mileage may vary.
Some, like me, might argue further that just the existence of the product is an intentional design flaw, but I won’t go there.
I’ll just say, like I am often wont to do, “What could possibly go wrong?” Life is dangerous enough. Why do we deliberately go out of our way to do nonsensical things that have no logical purpose that increase the odds against us? That makes absolutely no sense to me.
At ease, people. Blow ’em up if you got ’em.
BTW, the fireworks we give to youngsters make a lot more sense. Sparklers. So pretty. And what are they? Pieces of metal burning at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees or about as hot as a blow torch.
What could possibly go wrong? (Oops. There I go again.) I can’t understand how sparklers are responsible for 12 percent of reported fireworks-related injuries.