It’s usually a bad idea to get behind me at the teller window, but it’s essential that you watch my favorite TV shows right away, as we explain below…
1. I check the freshness dates when I buy groceries, but they really should be more detailed than simply saying “best by” some date. I need usable insights like,
November 28: Still fresh
December 23: Getting a bit dicey
January 17: Feeling lucky, punk?
2. Speaking of which, my new shower door has a warning to avoid cleaning it with “harsh chemicals,” but I have no idea what that means. I suspect this is one of those questions that won’t get answered until it’s too late.
3. I washed my car, which caused it to rain. I got in line at the bank, which caused it to stop moving. I found a new favorite TV show, which suddenly got canceled. It turns out I’m very powerful, but for the wrong reasons.
4. Whenever somehow claims, “It’s absolutely a win-win,” I hear God saying, “Challenge accepted.”
5. “Wheel cover” sounds so much more elegant than “hubcap.” It’s like when people say flatulence or halitosis.
6. It’s amazing how many times we say things that absolutely cannot be true, like:
7. Every thought I have ever had, every pain, every joy, every tear, every disappointment, every surprise, every dream, has been preparing me for this moment. I really wish I had taken better notes.
8. I’m always amused by people who wish they had lived in a palace in Tsarist Russia. Of course, they think they would have been royals, not stable boys, and they also forget how it all ended for the Romanovs.
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Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve finally caught up on all the TV shows that I meant to watch, but somehow missed over the past twenty years. Now that I’m up to date, though, I’m finally in sync with Newton Minow on that whole “vast wasteland” thing.
Way too many shows are predictable claptrap or so-called reality shows that have nothing to do with the real world that most of us inhabit. Bachelors and Bachelorettes and Kardashians and Tiger Kings and frustrated hotties and…really, there’s nothing out there that reflects my reality, or yours.
I’m tired of watching people who are cooler and richer and better looking than I am doing things I’ll never get a chance to do, especially since I have spent my entire life watching people who are cooler and richer and better looking than I am doing things I’ll never get a chance to do. So, no, that’s not the kind of reality I’m talking about. What we need right now is a reality show that connects with us as we are, a show where we can see ourselves not only as contestants, but as winners. Isn’t it time we had something more approachable, something along the lines of:
Endless Zoom: Young parents must navigate 12 hours of Zoom meetings for work while caring for two children, a side job and a custom-bred labrapoodledoodle. Challenges include feeding an infant while delivering a PowerPoint, toilet training a toddler during a sales call, and remembering to mute while interviewing for a better job.
Meme Swap: This will remind everyone of wife swap, but there will be much more violence. Each contestant is required to post horrific, offensive and fraudulent content to social media for 18 hours per day, but the content must be the exact opposite of whatever they post otherwise. Challenges include: Convincing your friends your account wasn’t hacked, setting up a GoFundMe account for your worst nightmare, and flaming your grandmother.
Vaccine Nation: A group of 20-somethings with no pre-existing conditions or relevant jobs must move up in line for a vaccine so they can attend an immune-only gathering of A-Listers. Challenges include relocating to a state with excess vaccine supplies, creating exotic diseases that change their status, and catfishing a senator. (Actually, the last one probably isn’t much of a challenge at all.)
Monotony Island: Senior citizens who have been isolating for the past 10 months must prove they should still have their wits about them. Challenges include: “What day is it?”, “Did I eat lunch yet?”, and “Why am I in the closet?”
Local sponsors: Now that all the restaurants and local businesses have shut down and there’s nobody to support the park district sports teams, contestants will be required to sign up as sponsors for the summer season. Challenges include: stenciling 50 matching team shirts, feeding the kids and their families after the games, and making sure all the kids get exactly the same amount of playing time.
Pot luck dinner: Maybe we should call this lotsa luck dinner, because survival is not guaranteed. Contestants must assemble dinner from whatever items in the kitchen are well past their expiration dates. Challenges include: “Was it this color when we bought it?”, “That mold is penicillin, right?” and “Where’s the Ipecac?” (Actually, we think Top Chef already did this a few seasons ago, so never mind.)
Now these are the reality shows we’d all watch, and for two very good reasons. First, of course, they’d feel much more real to the rest of us and, second, they’d give us a chance to feel superior to the contestants instead of marveling at their wealth/style/looks/skill. And really, don’t we all need to feel superior to something these days?
Of course, the really superior people subscribe to Dad Writes. You can join them and be super-superior just by clicking here.
Yes, brand new year, fresh start, only a few days old and yet…it seems there was something you were going to do and you just haven’t gotten around to it. What was it? It was really important and the success of 2021 depends on it and you’re not going to be able to sleep at night until you figure it out.
Oh. Yeah. That’s it.
You forgot to make your New Year’s resolutions. What in the world were you (not) thinking when you didn’t tackle this critical project? Not to worry, though, because the scolds at Dad Writes has been working non-stop to find all the changes you should make in 2021 to become a better person.
We understand that some of this will be difficult, but it’s for your own good. You’ve really screwed up a lot in the past year—no offense—and you need some tough love guidance to get you back on the straight and narrow. The list of all the changes you need to make is huge, so we will just focus on the top ten resolutions that you must follow immediately:
These simple steps are guaranteed to make your 2021 even better than drowning in quicksand or dining on dung beetles. Even better, they give you absolute freedom to ignore all those so-called “experts” with their “wisdom” and “experience” and “good advice” and “common sense” that never works. No, no need to thank us. Making you a better person is the least we can do.
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This is absolutely the best week of the year, every year, any year, with zero exceptions. EVER.
Yes, maybe somebody had a better week once, when they got married or promoted or had a kid or, more likely, when their kids finally moved out of the house, but that was once and this week is always.
Seriously, can it get any better than this? Even in a pandemic, the week between Christmas and the New Year rules bigtime. How is it best? Let us count the ways…
So let’s all waste every minute, savoring this week of limbo. Immerse your soul in its blessed emptiness, the hopelessness, the irreversible finality of it all. Even if the calendar doesn’t say it yet, the year is over and the normal demands of our lives are suspended. When a week offers up no demands, no pressure, and tons of day drinking, how can it not be the best week of the year?
And did I mention day drinking?
What’s the second best week of the year? Find out by subscribing to Dad Writes by clicking here and you’ll be the first to know.
Once again, while all the cowards in the media are simply rehashing everything we already know about 2020 in their Year in Review articles, only Dad Writes has the insight, foresight and mystical hindsight to recount the great stories of 2021.
As regular readers know, 103% of our 2020 predictions came to pass precisely as promised, so you can count on us to be 172% accurate today. Yes, it’s true, and to prove it, here are some actual quotes from our 2020 year in review:
January: The Centers for Disease Control will issue a national pandemic alert.
September: Celebrity chefs across the nation close their doors.
November: Americans head to the polls in record numbers to select the next President.
December: Web-based retailers report sharply conflicting data for Cyber Monday.
Yeah, we’re surprised, too, but it gives us the courage to risk our luck on a new set of prognostications. And so, in the grand tradition of Marie Antoinette and Thanksgiving turkeys everywhere, we’re sticking our neck out on behalf of a grateful nation. With thanks to timeanddate.com for research assistance, here are the stories we’ll all be regretting as 2021 comes to a screeching halt…
January 1: With the first dawn of the New Year, the nation experiences a severe shortage of votive candles as 332 million Americans celebrate the end of 2020. Even atheists join the impromptu day of prayer, just to hedge their bets, and Yankee Candle stores finally sell out of their fruitcake-spice double-wicks. By noon, though, everyone realizes nothing has changed and a total of 472 people have been vaccinated fully against Covid. Everyone with any common sense goes back to sleep until Groundhog Day.
January 6: During their peaceful repose, fireworks erupt in Congress as both houses convene to count the Electoral College votes that hint, infer, and suggest that Joe Biden might possibly, conceivably, perchance be the next president. After heated objections and claims of fraudulent voting, both the House and Senate retreat to their offices to consider their lunch orders. During the break, Boris Johnson sneaks into the empty Capitol to add his own name to all the ballots and avoid dealing with Brexit for the next four years.
January 20: After Congress divides its lunch bill 538 ways, they finally select our next president and adjourn, returning to their home states to plan for the next civil war. It’s a very timely discussion as key states celebrate Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate Heroes…the other Founding Fathers…on January 18 and 19. Patriotic fervor reaches a peak just in time for Inauguration Day on January 20, when Donald Trump and Joe Biden hold competing ceremonies for the parts of the country each plans to govern.
January 21: As the inaugural balls grind to a close, campaign season begins anew as 3,289 Republican officeholders and 15 Fox News hosts announce their candidacies for president, as does half of Joe Biden’s cabinet and 6,000 people claiming to be Q Anon.
February 1: Black History month begins, and it is purely a coincidence that it's also the shortest month of the year. The observance is made even shorter as all the people with common sense won’t wake up until Groundhog Day on February 2.
February 5: Operation Warp Speed shifts into high gear as the Food and Drug Administration approves 314 new Covid-19 vaccines, including one derived from fruitcake-spice candles. Actual vaccine deliveries fall short of projections, though, with only 2,300 people vaccinated by the end of the month. As a result, the timeline for herd immunity is postponed until 2038. If nothing else goes wrong.
February 14: Sales of flowers, candy and marital aids will soar as Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, a holiday named for a guy who reportedly helped Roman soldiers get married and was beheaded for his troubles. There’s a cautionary message in here somewhere, but we are afraid to make any suggestions.
February 26: The festive spirit continues with the arrival of Purim, one of the many Jewish observances based on near-extinction at the hands of oppressors. It’s customary for celebrants to dress up in costumes, partly for fun and mostly to avoid being recognized by the Cossacks. Some people really know how to party.
March 17: As if the wild revelry of Valentine’s Day and Purim wasn’t enough for one year, the nation celebrates its greatest excess of cultural appropriation and, um, unfortunate stereotypes: St. Patrick’s Day. On the 14 college campuses still open, students will just be waking up from their “unofficial” celebrations over the prior weekend.
March 25: Speaking of parties that just won’t stop, people in Maryland will hold a Rager to celebrate Maryland Day, a Maryland State holiday that celebrates Maryland. Millennials take the day off in all 50 states, but nobody notices because they’re all “working” from home.
March 31: Reeling from declining revenues and exorbitant fees charged by delivery services, the nation’s independent restaurants close out the month by launching a new app for at-home diners. Instead of delivering food, the new app will dispatch a person to the diner’s home to clean the dishes. After 427 million downloads, the app goes public at a $100 billion valuation. Restaurant owners across the country shut their doors permanently and recruit gig workers who can handle a sponge.
April 2: Leaders of Operation Warp Speed report that 4,298 Americans have been inoculated against Covid-19 in the first quarter. While the number is far lower than the 50 million projected earlier, officials note the total is a record for any quarter in which Covid-19 vaccines have been available. Projections of herd immunity are moved back to 2057. If nothing else goes wrong.
April 8: Congress returns to Washington with a full schedule that includes investigations of whomever the committee chairs dislike, new tax cuts for the world’s largest corporations, and renaming the four post office buildings still operating. Relief for unemployed workers and those who lost medical insurance due to Covid-19 are both tabled until the fall session, although both houses agree to give businesses 100% immunity from legal responsibility for Covid-19 transmission.
April 12: With new protections against liability and zero requirements for keeping workers safe, the nation’s largest employers insist that all employees return to their corporate offices or face dismissal. Workers launch massive protests, demanding such accommodations as social distancing, parking subsidies and freedom to wear pajamas at work. After reviewing Zoom videos of workers in their pajamas, corporate America drops its demand for in-office attendance.
April 16: The Internal Revenue Service reports a $3 trillion shortfall in tax receipts, due largely to more than $32 trillion in deductions for home office expense and $27 trillion in income offsets for Zoom pajama ensembles. Congress meets remotely in emergency session to reduce taxes for the country’s largest corporations, assuring the nation that “growth” will make up for any further deficits.
April 25: In the nation’s continuing effort to return to normal, the 2021 Academy Awards ceremonies are broadcast live, with an audience. The telecast is completed on schedule for the first time in 27 years, due to the fact that only four films were released in movie theaters in 2020. In another surprise development, Adam Sandler wins 14 Oscars.
May 3: With Congress in recess and the economy continuing to grow slowly, the Federal Reserve Board resets the nation’s interest rates to 0 percent and offers all borrowers access to one of the 3,201 Covid-19 vaccines now approved by the FDA. The plan receives strong initial interest, but must be halted as the leaders of Operation Warp Speed cannot locate the key to the cabinet where the vaccines are stored.
May 9: Mothers’ Day provides the perfect opportunity for a return to normalcy, with restaurants open for outdoor dining and moms fed up with cooking non-stop for the past 15 months. Most dinner plans fall through, though, as only 27 U.S. restaurants remain open after the year-long pandemic and wait times expand to four months.
May 16: Encouraged by the success of this year’s Academy Awards celebration, Broadway revives its Tony Awards gala. Because theaters were dark throughout 2020, organizers decide to recognize excellence among costumed characters in Times Square, peep show hawkers on Seventh Avenue, and music students who play for spare change in subway stations. Viewership soars to record levels.
May 25: The nation’s social recovery accelerates as Americans observe Memorial Day, eating too much, drinking too much, and glancing every so often at the Indianapolis 500. In a shocking development, whistleblowers reveal that the Indy 500 broadcast is just a loop of one lap played 500 times. Die-hard racing purists vow to boycott, but the rest of the nation just grabs another beer.
June 8: Riding the wave of self-soothing across the entertainment industry, the TV academy revives the 2021 Emmy Awards, also known as the Netflix Appreciation Hour. In a shocking development, a legacy network show wins one of the 32,000 Emmys awarded that night, leading to the immediate sacking of Ernst and Young as auditors for the academy.
June 15: Good news washes over the nation as leaders of Operation Warp Speed report that 29,247 Americans have been inoculated against Covid-19 through May and 49,000,000 misplaced doses of the fruitcake-spice vaccine have been located. Accelerated deliveries are assured for the remainder of the year, although projections of herd immunity are moved back to 2092. If nothing else goes wrong.
June 20: Millions of men will celebrate Father’s Day by playing golf until 2:30 p.m., watching the ballgame, and falling asleep on the couch before being awakened for dinner. There’s nothing like family togetherness to gladden a fella’s heart.
June 21: As summer begins and Americans as far north as Alaska emerge from hibernation, economic activity soars and the stock market roars with $100 billion IPOs. Hottest among the offerings is an app that brings someone to your home to ride your Peloton for you now that the thrill has worn off.
July 4: Americans observe Independence Day by overeating, drinking too much, and watching things blow up. Several Southern States cancel their festivities, though, after they discover that the holiday has no connection to the Confederacy.
July 5: As the nation returns to work, the leaders of Operation Warp Speed report a record 122,928 inoculations and more than 5,271 approved vaccines for Covid-19. Perversely, more than half the population refuses to take the shots and another 35% are unable to figure out which vaccines are covered by their insurance plans. As a result, projections of herd immunity are moved back to 2097. If nothing else goes wrong.
July 18: On the lighter side, social media audiences are transfixed by the newest online charity challenge: the 2,500-meter Whiskey Swim. More than two million people will complete the challenge, but none will remember to send any money.
August 3: After more than a year of intense research and fiddling around with some truly idiotic ideas, health officials across the nation agree on a new plan for safe indoor dining. Millions of Americans welcome the news, as do the owners of all 14 restaurants still operating in the United States.
August 10: Movie theaters enjoy a renaissance as the summer blockbuster season presents such high art as Fast and Furious 28, Jumanji 7, Rocky and Grandsons 41, and A Star is Born Again and Again and Again. After reviewing the offerings in detail, the Motion Picture Academy cancels the 2022 Oscars.
August 23: Entertainment news dominates as Apple TV unveils a new reality show that focuses on people watching reality shows. Production will be extremely inexpensive as the company’s user agreement allows Apple to simply activate the webcams on 42 million IPads.
September 6: Americans celebrate Labor Day by overeating, drinking too much, and watching things blow up. Nearly 20 months into the age of Covid, friends and relatives ignore social distancing rules and gather without masks, pretty much the same way they did a year earlier. In response, the CDC predicts an earlier date for herd immunity…for the survivors.
September 20: Apple introduces its newest line of IPhones, including software that makes all prior accessories obsolete. The company prices the new phones at $11, but makes up for lost profit by selling compatible earbuds and chargers for $8,000 each.
September 30: As the quarter comes to a close, the General Accounting Office projects a federal budget deficit of $928 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year. Congress vows to close the deficit by cutting taxes for all publicly traded companies.
October 4: As the third quarter ends and the fourth quarter begins, leaders of Operation Warp Speed report more than 900 million Americans inoculated and a new herd immunity date of 2012. When alerted to the fact that the U.S. population is only 332 million and the herd immunity projection is before the start of the pandemic, the agency reports it was hacked. Nobody is surprised.
October 11: The first three-day weekend of fall arrives, but nobody knows whether to call it Columbus Day or Indigenous People Day or Native Day or Settler Day or Discoverers Day or Agnes. Regardless, everyone takes the day off and stares at their phones.
October 18: In an example of extremely poor planning, pretty much everyone ignores Alaska Day as the state is already dark for 23 hours and 47 minutes and the temperature is 12 below. Government leaders make plans to reschedule the state observance for June 20 next year.
October 31: Trick or Treating resumes its joyful rhythms as American households load up on excess sugar and accept the risk of being pelted by toilet paper. As the line of costumed tykes extends throughout the day, millions of moms and dads think back wistfully to the quarantined Halloween of 2020.
November 2: The first Tuesday of November brings an unprecedented celebration of not-Election Day, with more than 200 million Americans posting online notes of gratitude for the absence of political campaigns in the off year. In New Jersey and Virginia, where elections are actually scheduled, citizens of all perspectives demonstrate an incredible display of bipartisan passion as they march together to burn down their state capitols.
November 25: As the nation continues its journey to the most normal of normalcy, millions of Americans will go over the river and through the woods to celebrate Thanksgiving with their extended families…at least with those who survived after last year’s Thanksgiving feast. With a relative calm on the political front, relatives will be reduced to sniping at each other over tattoos, body piercings, and their choices in partners. People will say it was the best Thanksgiving ever.
November 26-29: Black Friday and Cyber Monday will bring an unprecedented explosion of pent-up consumer spending, boosting annual GDP by at least 42% and leading ultimately to the bankruptcies of more than 18 million families. Congress will credit its tax cuts for large corporations as the source of this economic growth.
December 1: The advent of Advent brings renewed hope among people across the world who conclude that the year just ending will absolutely not be as crappy as 2020. Many cautious individuals decide to simply hide in a bunker for the rest of the year, while others boldly load up their social calendars to see 2021 out with a flourish. Operation Warp Speed leaders post a bold-face meme saying, “Mision Ackomplished,” and close up shop as a whopping 322,000 people are fully vaccinated. Herd immunity is achieved ahead of schedule, but the hard way.
December 10: The office Christmas party returns, bringing co-workers together in a socially lubricated environment for the first time in two years. Hilarity ensues with unconstrained hugging, touching and inappropriate comments from people who have forgotten how to function without a mute button. On the positive side, nobody has to clean up their own dishes.
December 14: In a final surprise of the year, dictionary publishers announce their selections for Word of the Year, including chutney, flagrante delicto, and pantaloons. There’s a funny story behind those words, but we’ll have to wait until next year to see it all unfold.
Until then, Happy New Year 2021, and to all a good night.
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I am seriously intimidated by my light switch.
Technically, I know, it’s not just a light switch. It’s a programmable light timer with an LCD display, three-way switch compatibility and synchronization to either the time of day or sunrise and sunset, depending on my whim.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, I can program up to 50 different on/off cycles during the week.
That’s seven per day, plus a bonus on/off to surprise the cat, if we ever get a cat, which we won’t.
In normal times, I’d see that the switch can handle 50 programs and I’d just think it was a really stupid idea. Nobody within a light year of sanity is going to need 50 different on/off cycles for a light. No matter, though. Some engineer decided this was a great array and the product manager signed off on it and now I’m staring at the blinking LCDs and wondering whether I shouldn’t be much more creative about this.
In the time before, I would have sneered at the idiocy of adding an impossible number of features to a light switch and I’d go about the rest of my day. Now, though, I don’t have anything to do for the rest of the day, so I keep staring at the light switch and wondering what I am missing.
I’ve been through this before; we all have. When we opened up our word processing software for the first time and discovered that it included 3,427 fonts, we were very impressed. But we had other things to do, so we’ve been using Times New Roman 100% of the time since then and we never thought twice about it.
That’s because we had lives to live in the time before. We had places to go and people to see and commuting to commute and an actual 3D world to explore. Now, though, even the most adventurous among us is living in a smaller world, more circumscribed, more limited.
Even the people who think this is a hoax, who demand their right to go anywhere and do anything with zero restrictions, are living in a smaller world. Wherever they go, the crowds are smaller, the celebration is more muted, and at least a few absent friends will never pull up a chair again.
Along the way, we’ve all gotten smaller as well. It’s an insidious process, unnoticeable day by day, but it’s immensely powerful. As we become more isolated, as we engage less with others, our thoughts increasingly turn inward. We become more self-focused, less self-aware, more sensitive to our own fears and less sensitive to others.
As our worlds shrink, we shrink as well. Like Plato’s man in the cave, we begin to believe the shadows are reality. We see the world in two dimensions, on a screen, and we are more easily manipulated than we were when our worlds, and we, were bigger.
We like to think we’re above it, that we’re smarter, harder to fool, but we’re still human. We see what we see, and when we see less, we become less.
Smaller can be cured, but it takes some effort to reverse the trend. We can check in on an old friend, find a local business to save, provide encouragement to front-line workers, fight to stay engaged in the real world of God’s children…pretty much anything to prevent ourselves from fixating on a light timer, or fonts, or some meme that cannot possibly be true.
Today is a good day to start out on the road back to full size. What’s the first step for you?
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.