MR. WHISKERS never asked to be thrust into the bright, blaring spotlight that this fabulously successful website generated.
Indeed, it was out of respect for privacy that I changed his name and gender so he wouldn’t be mobbed by the, what, six readers this blog usually has.
Her name was in fact Sarah, and she was a lady, if we were to concede there exists ladies who, when a can of Friskies is being opened, are frequently so completely overcome by anticipation and ecstasy that they clasp a paw around a naked ankle and gleefully dig in claws and teeth.
I suspect we connected because we are both misanthropic loners living in a place we detest: misery loves company. She originally belonged to the neighbors and based on the fact that she spent almost all of her time in my side yard — specifically on my car (and presumably before I lived here, on a previous resident’s vehicle) — she was not happy in her own yard, nor was she particularly fond of the number of other cats that inhabited it.
A scaredy-cat personified (feline-ified?), Sarah was extremely timid and not an overtly friendly creature to anyone but me — a relationship that developed over a few years. I’ll spare you the innumerable, ponderous, interesting-to-no-one cat stories save this one anecdote: Before she “officially” became mine but after she had made the move from car to back porch, ever closer to inside my house, she was sitting on a patio table there one day when I was about to go for a run. I bent down to tie my sneaker, my head at about table level. Then I felt it: A fuzzy forehead pressed against my own and held there for a few seconds. This cat who to her dying day was never one to shower affection (indeed, the only time she was ever in my lap was when I held her as she was euthanized) spontaneously decided to mark me as hers with her noggin-based cat-glands, as some cat experts would interpret this act, or as others suggest, identifying me as safe and someone she could trust.
Either way, she was right: from that moment on, she owned me, and she had no further need to worry about anything. That trust was well-placed. I didn’t let her down and made the last five years of her life very, very comfortable.
Still, I got the better end of that deal.
LIKE ME, you love those “What-Is-It?” features in magazines and game shows and whatnot, where they take a closeup photo of something and demand that you guess what it is.
So here’s one I came up with just for you!
Guess what this is!
If you guessed, uh, I dunno, a bunch of popcorn crammed into some sort of popcorn ball…you’re wrong! But you may not be too far off! Nope, nope—not a scoop of yummy chocolate chip ice cream, either. What’s that? ‘Detail of the nooks and crannies of a delicious Thomas’ English Muffin?’ Good guess, but no! Hmm! What could it be?
Let’s pull out a bit and let you guess again:
Some manner of fungus found under a rock, attached to a tree stump, growing between my toes? Good, reasonable guesses, each one — yet all equally incorrect!
What could it be?!
Want to take another look?
“I recognize that!” I hear someone say, “Those are NASA photos of the surface of some far-away planet, with craters and ridges eerily resembling otherworldly faces, etched by millennia of violent meteor showers and enormous asteroids bombarding the extraterrestrial surface— or perhaps carved there by some ancient civilization.”
Fascinating! And you, sir or madam, are 100%…wrong! Ha!
Here, try again:
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. “Parsnips, you sneak!” you bellow. “That’s the bedroom from your old apartment when you came home from vacation and found that the cottage-cheese acoustic ceiling was soaking wet from a leak in the roof, and dripped down for a full week onto your bed ruining those Huckleberry Hound bedsheets you’d had since you were a kid, and you, like a jerk, ended up settling with that cheap bastard of a landlord of yours for a hell of a lot less than you should’ve, you-jackass-you!”
Close! In fact, when you mentioned “ceiling” you were very warm — superheated, even!
Because it is in fact…
…the ceiling inside my microwave oven! And despite how terribly unsanitary/unsafe it appears, turns out this is the best microwave I’ve ever owned! And I’ll prove it by cooking a Banquet chicken pot pie for you.
Cooks in half the time the box says, and that’s with it just sitting on the counter near the microwave!
REGULAR READERS of this blog will recall how a while back, there were some, eh, plumbing problems here at Casa Parsnips resulting in raw sewage making a short trip down the toilet, through the pipes into the crawlspace below the house, onward into the ground just a few feet from our lovely home — before building up sufficient pressure to blow the cap off the main sewage line and spewing you-don’t-want-to-know into the backyard for what was a sort of festive, brown-hued geyser that we had a dickens of a time keeping the neighborhood kids from frolicking in.
Roots in the pipes, Little Minerva attempting to get rid of the evidence of the ghastly B- on her spelling test (we’ve since shuffled her off to a home with less academic-minded foster parents), the result of the #2 Enchilada y Chile Relleno Grande Special from Sierra’s — who can really say what caused the unfortunate backup, buildup and blowout?
The important thing is now, $800 later, it’s since been remedied and now there’s a short length of rebar leaning next to the commode to be used to break up anything larger than a Hot Pocket before flushing.
Anyway, I was in the backyard a few days ago and I noticed this:
Oh, you’re not imagining it: Those are three tomato plants where the flooding originally occurred. And I’m not certain, but I’m almost positive that other plant will eventually bear jalapeño peppers.
My point in bringing all this up?
I’m simply saying that life…finds a way.
Also: I’d like to invite everyone over to sample some homemade salsa, and judging by how remarkably fast these plants are growing, let’s pencil it in for the second week in May.
“Hello, Emergency Credit Repair? I was denied for a Capital One Visa, I defaulted on my Learning Annex student loans, my FICO score’s somehow in the single digits, I have a bankruptcy on my record from a game of Monopoly I played with my sister in 1985, and the Salvation Army down the street won’t take my check for $3.99 to buy a pair of shoes I need to walk to the bank so I can beg them not to foreclose on my mortgage!”
“Sit tight! We’re sending the van!”
AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, I ordered a coupla parts for my weed whacker from Sears on Tuesday, March 3rd. Of this year. 2015.
Here’s my order confirmation:
Well, sheesh, how long is the wait for items that aren’t in stock?!
LIKE YOU, I’m pretty impressionable when it comes to advertising.
For instance — that new commercial with the unlikely animal pairs worked exactly as the genius ad-men behind it had planned:
I found myself immediately running out to the exotic pet black market down the street and buying an Australian crocodile and one of those red-assed monkeys — hoping to create some adorable magic of my own.
(Didn’t end well for Mr. Bananas, but I did manage to save most of his butt — I’m having it made into one of those horseshoe-shaped neck pillows you take on planes.)
Anyway: Also like you, I may be pretty impressionable, but I’m not stupid. You and me, we weren’t born yesterday, were we? Nope.
So recently, when I was in the parking lot of a local thrift store — thinking about sending flowers to a friend or loved one or grieving parents of a red-assed monkey, as many of us so often do when we find ourselves in the parking lot of local thrift stores — I saw this…
…and I was of course intrigued. Maybe even a little impressed. And curious.
But not yet won over.
Because while such a magnificent and elaborate car window display certainly implies a particular level of professionalism and an advertising budget quite possibly over the $5 mark (depending on where they bought those rhinestones), I’ve been fooled by car-florists with clever names and flashy signs before.
Then I wandered to the other side of the vehicle where I saw this:
Ah-haaa…! They somehow managed to scoop up both .net and .com! Not an easy task, I reckon, for such a popular domain name!
These people are on the ball! That’s what I’m looking for in a florist.
They’ve got all my flower business now, and, if I may be a bit presumptuous, I dare say yours, too!
Strange name for a vodka? Perhaps.
But maybe it’s so-named intentionally — you know, to help fun-loving, dyed-in-the-wool drunkards skirt inquiries about staying sober without resorting to lying.
“Parsnips you pathetic lush — you been laying off the Smirnoff?”
“Huh? Whuh? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah – Abstynent!”
“Good for you! Keep it up!”
I don’t know about you, but I’m always thrilled when I see this ad on a website.
Especially when I’m eating.
And, brother, I’m always eating.
But seriously – what kind of person is this ad even targeted at? Someone who’s thoughtfully reading the financial news, or a story about the situation in the Middle East, or a compelling think piece over at Reason.com and then they look over, notice this on the side of the page, and they think,
“Huh. That looks a lot like my foot. I’ve been meaning to do something about that hole in my big yellow toenail, but up to this point, I guess I just haven’t gotten around to it. Since it and its brittle, Frito-like brothers are at this point holding on to my toes by the very thinnest threads of congealed pus and rotting tissue, I guess now’s as good a time as ever to go ahead and click on the ad and get started on the road to toenail health.”
Is that who it’s targeted at? Someone like that? I guess so.
Regardless, the good news is that even with my webbing, my tufts of coarse black knuckle hair, and my mystical fairy ring of painful plantar warts, evidently I may yet realize my dreams of becoming a foot model myself.
I don’t know about you, but if I was considering studying a new language, I’d probably want to go with the outfit that placed this online ad:
Because when you think of it, really, does there exist a more apt image that conveys learning a foreign tongue than a little boy’s head with a cutaway view of an enormous spider feeding on the little tot’s brain? It just feels right somehow.
But it’s their deft command of English (“If you can’t speak a 2nd languages…”) would definitely seal the deal for me.
I don’t know about you, but nothing says “loan refinancing professionals” to me like a cartoon hand missing the last joints of its fingers but with enormous black, irregular nails. Sign me up!
Update (2/13/15): A pal found this online…
…and sent it my way, showing us that it’s not just one idiotic online display ad, but an entire idiotic online display ad campaign (if two ads constitute a campaign, and for the sake of this blog post, they do).
Anyway, thanks to our eagle-eyed reader who submitted it, and who would have been receiving an official Ted Parsnips “I’m An Idiotic Online Display Ad Spotter For Ted” t-shirt if he’d bothered to enclose his mailing address. And also if I had such t-shirts printed up, but I don’t — like I have money for that crap!
Yes, yes, yes, “Well, Ted, maybe if you refinanced your home and got a better deal on your life insurance, you could afford such things.” Aaah, get outta here!