Getting to be that age: or all of my friends are getting married now.

Dear anyone who misses The O.C., people who justify buying $400 worth of goods in addition to your initial $5 purchase at target, and Ronda Rousey:

Wow. November.

The time these days does appear to be flying. And oh my god was fall not awesome?! What with the seventy degree days and all those wonderful football injuries that fucked you over on your fantasy leagues?

It could be worse! You could be me! I just spent the last four months going to weddings.

Let that sink in. August to November. Seven weddings.

And when I say I went to seven weddings what I mean is collectively, I was blessed to sit at, and take in seven individually different celebrations of love for people that I love, people that I know cordially, and people I also found myself asking, “who the fucks wedding am I at right now?” for.

And I don’t know maybe it’s me, or like maybe it’s the way my mind works but I totally saw myself married by now. I’m 27, but I feel 43, and the time that I have been alive, I think might be greater than the time I have left.

It sounds fucked up when I read it but these are the thoughts I had sitting around and watching people celebrate their confirmed dedication to each other for the rest of their lives.

THE REST OF YOUR LIVES.

Guys. Do you know what it’s like to sit and watch people get married seven times in four months?

It’s exaugsting.

It’s nauseating.

Not for the married couples. For me.

And no before you all get angry and say things like “Well fuck Alex that asshole should have stayed home he’s not even that great, why did we even waste money on him to sit at a table and eat our caterers food.” No stop that’s not what I mean.

And don’t kid yourself, even if you didn’t invite me I would have shown up, because I don’t understand boundaries.

I didn’t mean it like that though. I’m eternally grateful that you all invited me to be part of your special days. So I could sit. And watch. And think.

Wait.

No I don’t want to think.

Is this open bar? I’m not drinking?

Shit.

Fuck.

So I think my life dilemma right now is that you guys figured your shit out before me. And maybe I’m a little jealous? I mean I’m happy for you guys it’s truly great that you all are in love and this all went swimmingly but now I’m entering the holidays and all I can think about is, should I have gotten a diamond ring instead of that bowflex machine? Have I been taking the right steps in life while I sit idly by and watch all my friends and all of my significant others friends tie the knot? And all of the “I’m sorry you’re a distant cousin to who and you’re marrying that guy who I will likely never see again but he’s a Giants fan so kinda win win?” get hitched?

I’m still riding public transportation and I still get butt hurt when the McDonald’s drive through people get my order wrong! I’m not an adult I can’t function outside of my domicile where my three cats keep watch over my emotions and I can sob into calico fur pillows and pretend the smell of dog is like that of the honeysuckle and bliss I assume all you married couples constantly detect indefinitely five minutes after you say “I do”.

Marriage is terrifying! I got a smattering of ceremonies that ranged from “hey you down?” to forty five minutes of bible scripture and just shy of a Grey’s Anatomy season finale emotional roller coaster.

And you’re telling me this is all something I have to commit to doing someday?

And going with my better judgment and a survey of my co-workers I have abandoned my original plan to grade each individual wedding and lose friends, and just go with an overall questions, concerns and advice proposal to recap all that I learned about sitting in two churches, four banquet halls, a barn and a field of snow.

1. First and foremost how do you guys decide who sits where?

Like I understand the hierarchy of family first and then non immediate family but then you have to remember where you sat people you don’t like who didn’t get along with so and so last Christmas and oh god the in laws need to be near the parents but not far from aunt Margery who is off boozing away at the wine bar because you couldn’t find a spot for her at the family table so you put her with your roommate from college that had two kids one by a guy she met at a dirt bike convention and a second with your fourth cousin twice removed but now she’s single and loving it.

It’s just a headache. Why not put cards out and let people pick?

That seems like it would alleviate a lot of problems too especially since people don’t like dancing and that way they can just chow down in the corner and spend the rest of the night watching what their friends on Facebook are doing that they aren’t.

Also why did you seat me in the background? Do I smell? Were my chiseled features not good enough to make an appearance in the “natural” looking wedding photos?

2. I need a five minute sit down with your caterers!

Your weddings, although glamorous and glitzy gave me just cause to file grievances with the department of health. Do you understand what eating copious amounts of prime rib and dinosaur BBQ does to ones waistline?!

Like who the fuck do you think you are feeding me all this delicious food?

I was a 36 in July! A 36!

Now, I am waiting for thanksgiving to roll around and I have already surpassed my holiday weight gain limit and here I am over in the corner of my future in laws a-frame cabin in Tennessee pouring tears out of my eyes and into a bowl of stuffing and mashed potatoes that I know doesn’t need any more salt but fuck it what else are these tears good for?!

And you get to offer buffets to your guests?! Do you know who needs to eat a buffet?! No one that you expect to dance for four hours afterward! I’m honestly not sure how people didn’t barf after half of these gatherings. Like if Jason Derulo wasn’t enough to get the party going you had to offer me smoked brisket slathered in sweetened pork gravy love atop a pile of puréed cheddar potatoey goodness that has enough roasted garlic in it that nasfuratu would shit himself upon it being plated in front of him?

Dammit no. I want my abs back.

Ok I never had them but still! My restraints in life come from two things, knowing when to stop listening to Justin Bieber in front of women and knowing when you don’t NEED to buy that shirt because you have bills to pay this month, and frankly I’m kind of struggling with one of those.

Point is, can we all just pick something light and cheap like Tyson anytizers or like literally anything off the dollar menu of Taco Bell?

My food consumption is an issue. I’m lookin at you Mazzone Catering, with your after dinner and dancing sliders and fries. Knock that shit off. It’s too delicious to say no to.

3. Go home ceremony length you’re drunk.

There is one smidgeon of a question I had from all the weddings that I want to take note of, and it pertains to the actual ceremony. You know the part where you pledge your undying love to each other before you whip and nae nae your sweaty bodies all over the place like you know culture because the YouTube showed you how!

Is there like a time frame the wedding ceremony itself is supposed to go? Because I feel like as the months passed they just got progressively shorter, like some higher being was looking down and thinking, “God these people aren’t gonna make it, just let them get drunk and forget that they haven’t been sexually active in months. Let’s go pastor Bill, make the upper hand joke and get these two in front of hundreds of people clinking their champagne glasses for the rest of the night”.

And a side note. I know it’s cute to have an outdoor wedding. But snow. No. Just no. Have a backup. I’m still nursing a knee injury from a pop warner game back when I was fifteen and it doesn’t know how to hang below thirty eight degrees.

Time heals all wounds my ass.

4. Please for the sake of me choose your music carefully.

Band or DJ is the quintessential question at hand here and honestly unless you hit the big payload from the lotto or you work at Regeneron I wouldn’t bank on booking Bon iver to woo your guests into magical wedded bliss with his sensual voice.

Plus who wants people having sex at their wedding?

No listen, if your DJ has the Macarena, the chicken dance, the cha cha slide or the Cuban snuffle or whatever other jalopey might instruct you how to dance in their playlist, give them the boot! Anyone can see that a DJ who grabs a top twenty playlist off iTunes immediately resorts to the regular charades about ten songs in, they cue the twist! Make them soulja boy! Now quick! Everyone who’s married start dancing and I’ll just start counting and you’ll sit down when we have passed the number of years you have been married.

I don’t have the time. Obviously there are some old ass people here and your inability to count by fives is going to take at least a half hour away from time I could be hearing the weekends new hit single! Btw ‘unforgettable’ by Nat King Cole seems to be the go to song for the guess who has maintained putting up with each other longest game.

And if you go live band, is it appropriate to see if they can switch songs spontaneously and groove their way from back to black into backstreet boys? Like honestly I myself am holding out for Lou Bega to hit me back in regards to performing at my wedding. But if that falls through I can always ask this guy Paul I work with to croon everyone with his hits of the forties.

5. Are your wedding photos sacred?

I am genuinely sorry in advance for any and all mistrust and confusion that I may cause by inserting really awkward faces and messages into any and all of the memories you hoped to preserve on your special day. I fully intend to continue this trend into my own wedding photos if it’s any condolence.

I just have this awkward face and all of these glorious moments where your cameras just seem to focus on me. I can only look pretty so much!

Honestly, let me just say this. All of your special days were lovely and I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t get to celebrate with you guys. None of you got drunk before the ceremony. None of you needed that extra Xanax to get you down the aisle. And none of you vomited in a bathroom to the best of my knowledge.

You all get an A. You’re all Glen CoCo and you all go.

But if someone asks I’m officially wedding-ed out. I hope your love and happiness lasts forever like the profound impact that ‘wrecking ball’ had on me when it came out.

Until next year. Like October next year. When I have to actually be in a wedding for the first time. As the best man.

And try ever so hard to not fuck that up.

But in case I do, I at least have this blog to share about how it all goes down.

Sincerely,

A guy who is really sorry in advance Kurt and Rachelle’s wedding guests.

P.s. Most things are garbage.

 

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Lessons in Thanksgiving: I may be a chef, maybe.

Dear mothers who took offense to my last letter header, anyone shoveling out of Buffalo NY, and Michael Jackson’s children:

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I spent all last winter walking home alone from the mall bus stop during snow storms and frigid winds alike to know that according to my nipples, it is officially winter.

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Don’t let the weather get you in a bind. I know you’re all looking forward to reuniting with family for the holidays, unless you still live at home. And if you do still live at home…good on ya! My mortgage payments and grocery bills weep for your ability to sock away funds for whatever harmonic and melodious things may come your way this holiday season.

My friends and family are getting an autographed photo of me wearing leggings for the holidays.

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That’s what happens when you’re on a budget.

Everyone suffers.

But the holidays aren’t all doom and gloom, and neither should your outlook on them be!

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Think of all the wonderful things you’ll get Christmas morning. Or for 8 days if you are of the Chanukah persuasion. And I’m not sure how Kwanza works (*remember to check Wikipedia later*), and if you worship that weird moon holiday that is non demographic or whatever, then congrats on breathing and avoiding all things fun!

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But in between the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping at your work desk on your handy dandy iPhones that are probably still covered under a family plan, unless you’re unbelievably well off in which case congrats on marrying a doctor early in life, there must be made time for something special.

Seasonal depression is a serious issue and I’ve come up with some solutions to combating the darkness this holiday season.

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I give you, the ‘Most Things Are Garbage’ holiday series:

Plenty of entries involving tips and tricks to fight the cold that is your heart this winter. Mainly because I need it too, and writers block is a bitch.

So to kick you off, just in time for Thanksgiving, an instructional guide to cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey!

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Go Go Gadget Gobble!

Step 1: Grab a pen and paper. You need to document everything that we are doing here. Especially if it’s your first time like me! Draw pictures, take notes, record recipes, produce a tracing of a hammerhead shark. The bottom line is, you’ll want your original recipe for years to come!

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After all, where do you think KFC would be if the Colonel hadn’t jotted down the secret recipe and blatant racism in his notepad?!

Gone. That’s where they’d be.

Step 2: Go buy a goddam turkey. This is a step I shouldn’t have to tell you. If you preheat your oven, and don’t have a turkey, and are confused as to why you can’t get this recipe correct, quit now.

I can’t save you. This blog can’t save you.

Martha Stewart can’t save you.

But, if you do this all in the correct order, head to your local Price Chopper, Hannoford, Piggly Wiggly, or Wegmans (unless you’re in Albany because we don’t deserve Wegmans or something, right Wegmans? You’re too good for Albany is that it Wegmans?) and roll your cart on back to the meat section.

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Picking out the turkey you want is a delicate art in itself. First, count the number of people you’re cooking for. The higher the number, the bigger this bird needs to be.

For every three people you are cooking for, add ten pounds. For example, serving six? Get a sixteen pounder. Because you know all your greedy fucking friends are gonna say:

‘oh! Free thanksgiving!’

What Should We Call Veganism: A Vegan Life in GIFs, Part 1

…and you’re gonna say:

‘oh! Where’s all my leftover turkey for my hot turkey sandwiches? Oh! My greedy fucking friends ate it all!’

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So do yourself a favor and get more than you need.

Make sure the final selection is perfect. Punch it a few times to verify it built up its breast muscles out in the yard while it was being raised in captivity. It should be able to take a punch. Not like those weak ass organic turkeys raised on some farmers couch where he spoon fed it all the right grains and gave it baths and shit.

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It’s no wonder organic costs so much when you consider all the unnecessary spa treatments the animal got before it ended up in your grocery store.

And finally, if you’re eating for one. Don’t buy a turkey. Get a can of chef Boyardee ravioli a or something. Save the birds for people who need them.

Or get a Cornish game hen.

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Whatever.

Step 3: Buy all the ingredients you need to stuff, baste, marinate, fry, or whatever other unhealthy verbs you feel like doing to your bird.

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I’ve compiled a list of ‘could do with’ products below:

Celery
Carrots
Onions
Apples
Chicken stock
Rosemary
Thyme
Sage
Pepper
Salt
Butter
Margarine
Butter alternative spreads
Beer
Oil
Breadcrumbs
Juice
Spam
Matzah
Ice cream
Twine
Flour
Potato
Whatever you fucking feel like.

Step 4: Pay.

And I don’t mean ‘don’t steal’…

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…I mean wait till you see how much this shit costs you…

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…you’re gonna fucking pay.

Step 5: Thaw that bird.

Your friends aren’t coming until dinner tomorrow night, but you don’t wanna try cooking that turkey frozen. You need it to be able to bend with your every creative whim.

Because today you are Emeril Lagassii. You’re a food artist.

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So bring that sucker to room temperature. And if when you wake up the next morning, you find that garbage is still frozen, run him under some hot water.

Because you don’t have time for that shit. You gotta get to prepping. After all, it’s 7:30 in the morning and you’re friends will be here in eleven hours so shits gotta get done and you haven’t even had your first cup of coffee.

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Step 5: Prep your stuffing and rub.

Do you know what you’re stuffing your bird with yet?

Actual stuffing? Vegetables?

Fruit salad?

What Should We Call Veganism: A Vegan Life in GIFs, Part 1

Whatever it is, you gotta use a knife. Unless you’re lazy as fuck in which case throw a whole onion up in that booty.

What’s a couple of full length carrots gonna hurt?

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You’re not a savage! Don’t treat the bird like it betrayed you and ratted to the Chinese mob about the deal you made with Foo to hide the guns he was trafficking. Treat it like a human.

Dice that fricken onion. Slice those carrots. Give them a sensual rub down with some canola oil action.

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As for the rub?

Throw some salt and pepper in a bowl. Then go to town adding other spices.

The more the merrier right?

Just remember to say ‘Bam’ every time you throw some in.

Paprika. Red Chili Flakes.

Ground Mustard. Chive.

McCormick Grill-Mates Sweet Asian Fusion Grill Rub.

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Go nuts.

Then take some of that rub, and mix it together with like, three cups of whatever butter or butter alternative you’re gonna use.

Look at you. Making an herbed butter, you saucy bitch.

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Step 6: Prep your pan.

You gotta pan big enough for this bird? I sure hope so. If you don’t, stop cooking, you’re a failure, and just tell your friends you prepared an ahi turkey a la salmonella for everyone when they arrive.

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If you do, congrats. Make sure it’s deep enough to hold a bed of veggies in a bath of juices and turkey sweat. This bird is gonna get hot.

Take all those vegetables you were dicing earlier and dice more, but bigger this time. Then sprinkle all those things on the bottom of the pan.

Then take your broth/stock/beer/apple juice/hot tub water and pour about an inch into the pan.

Look down at that shit.

Does it look good? Could you have done better?

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Because you’re not me. That’s why you’re learning how to cook a turkey on my blog.

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Because in some country, I’m probably a professional Chef.

Step 7: Preheat your oven.

Pay attention and watch your step kids. I’m about to drop knowledge.

You wanna cook a turkey at a slow heat.

So forget your moms lasagna recipe and ignore Nana’s patented meatloaf recipe, because this bird was meant to be cooked, not heat banged.

325.

Not 324. Not 326.

325.

If you try to change that temperature, I have already procured a team put together by myself and Neil Patrick Harris (or at least a homeless man who looks like him with a beard) who will break into your home and fuck up your turkey with a blow torch while you check on your newborns or finish up that episode of Sons of Anarchy you DVR’d this past week.

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Which was crazy right? I can’t believe Jax found out about Gemma.

Anyway.

Step 8: Prep your turkey.

This part is most difficult in my opinion. It’s a lot of handsy stuff, and frankly it will leave you feeling super uncomfortable if you do it right.

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First thing you need to do is avoid burning the wing tips. Because ew. Unless you’re one of those dicks that always asks for extra crispy with your wings. Yes that makes you a dick. And just so you know, all that means to a guy dropping your wings into a frylator is ‘forget about those wings for a while, this schmo doesn’t seem to care that his wings are going to be bones with hard crunchy fat on them by the time you’re done soaking them in grease for fifteen minutes.

Seriously. Just eat wings the way they’re supposed to be eaten.

Cooked.

Anyway, take those wing tips, and bend those bad boys up under your new found meaty friend. This will make his platform steady, and provide the illusion that he is laying on his back with his arms behind his head, ready for the beach and heat.

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Hell, throw some shades on the b. Just don’t blame me when you eat some melted plastic.

Now, apologize to your bird in advance. Your about to vandalize it’s insides like a twelve year old who just got away with purchasing his first can of spray paint.

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Now take both of the legs and pull em apart.

Yes. That’s right.

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The booty is now available.

There’s some sort of thing that blocks the booty. It’s like half meaty and half boney. I’m not really sure what it is to be honest with you because I don’t care and it’s in the way.

So rip that thingy off and just scrap it for now.

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Or mail it to Lady Gaga for her next meat dress at the Grammys.

There should be a bag of blood and guts inside your pal. Take that out. You don’t want to cook him with that in there.

You want him to feel empty inside.

Like when your ex told you that you were no longer sexually appealing.

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Or that time your parents told you that Santa doesn’t exist.

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Or that time you read on a blog that parents have to tell their kids that Santa doesn’t exist.

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Now, take all that stuff you diced and prepared earlier, and shove it up your birds bootay.

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This is like a veggie colonoscopy.

Carrots

celery, apples, raisins, watermelon

gushers, froot by the foot, sno-caps, a loaf of challah

I don’t care just shove it in. Pack it in tight.

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Congratulations. You can use this as a stuffing when your bird is done. You’re a fucking chef.

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How does that feel?

Now! You need to tie your birds legs back together so nothing leaks out while he is relaxing in his rural tanning salon.

Use twine, or something sturdy like an extension cord so it doesn’t break.

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Now find the opening to your rotund baby boys breasts. There should be a little bit of room to wiggle some fingers up under the skin layer like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. Wiggle more and more until you can freely slide your hand around in the gap that is now between your bird and its skin.

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Do you feel good about yourself right now? Do you feel good with the lord?

You shouldn’t…

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If you did this right, you should feel like the lowlife scum that you truly are.

Now take a shovel from the garage and load it up with that gallon of herbed butter you prepared. Then shove that glob into the new layer of bird you just created with your bare hands you monster. Push it around with your hands until your bird looks normal again.

Full.  Lucious.

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Now take your spice rub and just all out slather that crap on top of your birds breasts. Just really rub it in. It’s crucial. It should look like you just dropped your turkey on the beach by the time your done.

If you need a visual, take your bird to a beach and drop it in the sand, then take it home to continue.

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Now you have properly violated the animal you legally purchased at a known establishment.

Step 9: Cook.

If you’ve made it this far, I commend you for having no soul.

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Take some tin foil and wrap it on top of your birds breasts. You don’t want it to get too tan while you’re slowly turning its skin to leather over the next six hours.

Rest your bird on its veggie towel you have created for it in the pan.

Now open the oven and slide it in.

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Step 10: Master Baste.

If you just read what I think you thought you did, your mind is in the gutter and you shouldn’t be cooking for people.

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If you just did what you think you thought you read, you need to wash your hands before you proceed. And probably seek help.

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Every half hour or so, stick that thing that looks like the ear cleaning sucker from when you were a little kid but bigger into your birds sweat which has piled up underneath him. Suck it up, and pour it back over top of him like you’re expecting it to soak back into its pores.

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Step 11: Wait six hours and realize your bird has finished cooking three hours before people are set to arrive.

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Step 12: Panic and yell at the person nearest by, dog, girlfriend, whatever. Blame it on them.

It’s really their fault anyway since all they did was whine and nag at you the whole time.

When You're Mom Keeps Nagging You To Wake Up

They’ll see. When you’re a big famous chef, they’ll be begging to be let back in from the cold.

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Step 13: Call your Dad and ask what to do.

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Don’t cry.

He already thinks your less of a man because you wrote a blog about wearing women’s leggings for a day.

Or because you quit football.

Or baseball.

Or any other sport that isn’t controlled by your hands and a gaming console.

Or because your eyebrow game is on point and you mentioned that to him.

Once.

Or because you had an allergy attack during The Fault in our Stars and you tried to tell everyone that it was probably the cats or the dust but you definitely weren’t crying but you could see how it would look like that.

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Just don’t cry.

Step 14: Don’t cry.

I’m serious.

Step 15: Cover that bitch in foil and cut the heat off. Wait till five minutes before everyone shows, turn the heat back on for ten minutes, pull out that piping hot bird and tell everyone how long you slaved, pretend you’re secure in your cooking abilities, and then make sure they drink heavily before dinner.

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Worst case scenario, they’re too drunk to notice it tastes like dry pillow stuffing and you still walk away from this experience saying:

“Fuck you Bobby Flay, I’ll throw down with you anytime!”

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Step 15: Victory Fist Pump.

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Self explanatory.

Happy Holidays Y’all!

Super full but wondering why all my friends have food poisoning,
Me.

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A letter to Time Warner Cable: Sucks to suck.

Hey Time Warner Cable,

You caught me at a great time in life. I’m being brutally honest and I’m refusing to put up with nonsense. I apologize that this information comes to you via ‘the Internet’ but I’m really tired of being transferred back and forth between 90 different operators before I get hung up on and no one hears my complaints.

I say complaints because I have received nothing but semi poor and lackluster service since I signed on with you. I know I have a current case open with you all to look into why my internet has really never worked. By the way, I still have concerns I haven’t addressed with you in regards to this…

Like how I’m pretty sure the last time I called about the Internet being a huge issue, and your over the phone care rep informed me that the router you provided me with, the one that I pay that fancy new ten dollar a month add on fee so you’ll keep fixing my internet, wasn’t even suited to sustain and provide the “Turbo Internet” I had been paying you sixty dollars a month for.

A product, that I pay for, that technically has never in the time I’ve had it, been working properly. And then, how after I made him confirm that statement several times over the phone and transfer me to a manager, I was told:

“No, he’s wrong, I don’t know why he would tell you that. Just bring your router to be replaced. It’s definitely a problem with the router. Definitely.”

Which kind of, now that I look back after some time, sounds like…

“oh whoops, I don’t know why he would inform you we made an error so monumental. It would really suck to have to reimburse you. Pretend he didn’t say that and bring the wrong router back so we can give you the one you should have had all along and never make up for our oversights or mistakes.”

So look, I wanted to keep you up to date with my most recent and likely last complaint ever. Attached are photographs of my basement:

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You may notice a ceiling panel on the floor, dirt, wood chunks and particles, as well as general disgustingness, and wires hanging out of my ceiling. Could you even tell me why the wood from the beams under my floorboards is covering my basement floor?

Do you often take chunks out of houses when you do anything at people’s residence?

I have attached these because I want you to know how my house was left by your technician the day he came to fix my internet for the bazillionth time.

I should note that I was not present for the visit because I have to work, to earn money, to pay you for your goods and services that don’t work. However, my friend, who was staying at my house for the last month and a half was, and he was not in the basement while this all occurred, nor was he notified that the mess was there, or the ceiling tile, etc. Also, not that it mattered, but he did some work in my laundary room and knocked all of my nicely folded clothes onto the dirty floor. I suppose it’s my fault for not putting them away in a timely fashion and leaving them on my washer…but I figured it would have been picked back up, and not like…ya know…

…left all over after it got knocked over.

I would say at this point that I am surprised but I am really not. It’s funny to me, and comical in a way that you speak so highly of your customer service and all I hear from people is the opposite. I didn’t take the survey from my visit because honestly, it doesn’t seem to do any good to call you with issues to begin with.

Look, I’ve done you a huge solid here by sending this message privately, because not that one person would make a huge difference, but we live in an age of social medias and re-shares. While your twenty dollar credits here and there are fantastic for when I, well I don’t know, want to go buy myself a dinner at Olive Garden, your service, your customer service, and your products are terrible.

I don’t want to have to make things like this public (whoops…sucks to suck), and if by the off chance I don’t hear back from you regarding this, and I can actually get your usually spotty and non-working Internet service to hold steady for a bit, I will probably put it on the Internet, and I’ll probably try to make sure everyone sees it.

Because I mean let’s face it, what do I really have to lose…other than the wonderful service I have received from you since I signed on.

Fondly,


Alex Foster: Disgruntled customer number 678,342 I’m sure.

 

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Remember pizza?

Dear Mom and Dad,

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Remember when I got that second job at a pizza joint to pay off that bookie because I mistakenly put four thousand dollars down on the New York Yankees to clinch a win at Super Bowl XLVII in my first attempts at betting on sport?


(Don’t worry, I’ll be smarter in the game this year…I really think the Bruins are going to tank against the Nuggets)

Well I needed you to know I’m a better person for having gained the experience there.

Fore score and many a pie ago, as you know I began what I will now refer to as an ascent into the luxurious world of pizza making. Take pause on your assumptions other readers, for this was no Dominos, no hut serving pan crust once frozen, no establishment run by some Papa. This was your very classy run of the mill pizza parlor complete with connected bar.

Oh the thrills!
20140115-102339.jpgOh the excitement!

It was a joyous event that fell into my lap because I had applied for a position of delivery man, and three months later sans automobile I was called upon to serve a higher purpose in life to tackle that pesky debt.

Pizza maker.

Now there are a few things I learned working at this unbelievable and incredible establishment, a service of explanation I would be deemed unjust for not explaining to the kind folk of the world, and you…the creators of the wonderful human that is me.

Let us begin and try to follow along, it has even a few months since I have made any dough here (zing, pun intended):

1. When you work in a pizza shop, I mean absolutely work-cook, clean, run, and ring, you develop relationships with everyone you work with as with what I assume are most jobs. You gain bonding experiences without which you would be out of the loop as to who got drunk and hooked up with whatever last night, who stormed off quietly by having a not so delicate conversation with the owner about their illegal activities, and who or what was occurring in the walk in cooler while you weren’t there.

Side note: I heard, but cannot confirm, that butt-cheeks will freeze to metal if held against it long enough.

2. Pizza shop owners are like unicorns. At their best, they ride high like the wind, slaying dough, and slathering the breaded goods of the world in a marinara cheese combo to produce a parm so majestic that it absolutely should have a sparkling horn attached to it.

On the contrasting side, they could have a gnarly cocaine habit and be a fall over drunk that likes to finger-blast the young delivery girls in an attempt to re-live what they refer to as their golden years.

(side note Mom, the current owners-as it transferred hands a bit after I started-are much cleaner and reputably honorable gentlemen, so that’s why I praise the food still. Also, finger blasting is a term I learned working here…I assume it’s when you make a gun out of your hand and yell things like ‘pew pew’ or ‘bang bang’ at people, but I’m not sure…so, sorry for the grey area)

Hark, it smells of oregano and shame in this here establishment!

3. Avoid the foods you know get dropped into a fryilator. I know, I know…give me your tired, your poor, your tenders and fries! We all like them because they’re yummy and frankly because the world is filled with people who like to dip shit in other shit. If you don’t you’re weird and my condolences to your poor palate.

I’ll make this short: in high volume food service, a fryilator should get cleaned once a week because the oil turns black and all the pieces that fall off burn and congeal on the bottom. It takes me thirty five to forty minutes to clean one and I am efficient. Most places have a cook that drains, wipes it down with an already used rag, and refills it. If I’m cleaning, fry whatever you like. If I’m not, odds are ew.

4. Delivery drivers can be dicks to the cooks. Fun fact, they make bank and anyone in the store, unless your manager has the last name Christ and the first name Jesus, doesn’t get to share in the wealth. They pray for your misfortune in financial givings and hope to god you walk out with two bucks a night so they have forty three deliveries.

It’s sad, but life in pizza land tends to often revolve around just the tip.

You can also up your chances for donations with a fun sign on the tip jar. Most people respond well when they’re crafty and clever. This one was my favorite attempt, regardless of success:

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5. Drunks are your best friends. I’m not talking about your social choices, remember we’re talking behind the counter here. But listen, even if Lindsay Lohans twin sister walks in stumbling to avoid the regurgitated bile her best friend has left all over the floor, in your interactions with them, they are both princesses and they look beautiful, because that’s what Princess Cuervo wants to hear, and that’s what makes Princess Cuervo throw tens in your tip jar because they have a 1 on them and you’re super accommodating.

Even if you know that hard work that you put into the pizza is for nothing because it’s going to see a corner in a back alley later when it comes back up, you’ve made those seven-or-eight-deep customers that much happier for the time being.

6. Free food earned for working is great, but feel free to remind yourself you are surrounded by carbs, more carbs, and carbs that probably have their own carbs. You bread, pizza, pasta and crouton yourself into oblivion and before you know it you look like Tony Soprano and you have developed and Italian accent that you slur out between ventilating breaths that cause your newly developed moobs to rise and fall rapidly. It’s just something to stay conscious of while we envy the bastards working at ‘Salad Creations’.

7. Also cheese.

8. Ovens are hot. Self explanatory, yet somehow unavoidable because you forget your hands aren’t oven mitts from time to time and it can be hot when you are sliding it in and out…

…the pizza I mean. C’mon now.

On the bright side, you get to join a unique club where you have the same tattoo as everyone else who has ever worked cook in a pizza shop. It a long branded slice looking scar on the bottom of your forearm.

It’s like being blood brothers with all the people you’ve never wanted to be!

9. It’s great to be a smoker! This sounds like poor advice, but the ratio of breaks between smokers and non-smokers is astounding. You would cringe at the number of times a person is left to fend for themselves while the entire staff steps outside for a cigarette break. Good thing too! I hear it curbs your appetite…not that it’s keeping your hands out of the crouton bin.

10. The key to good food at a quick rate is to not give a shit. If you spend thirteen minutes prepping a chef salad, delicately placing the meats and cheeses wherever you see them beautifully arranged based on that super useful art degree you got at that college place, someone is going to notice, and they’re going to call you out on it every single time, in an exceptionally sardonic tone.

Also, don’t get set in stone. Odds are everyone is going to do things differently, but because you work at a pizza shop, your boss may feel the need to validate his power over the minions by changing shit up whenever he feels you have it down to a science. You learn the proper folding techniques of deli meats for an antipasti salad? Think again Bobby Flay! Now were gonna dice it because the boss had a bad night and is too upset with his self worth to let you win this throw down.

bonus tip: If you mess up a pizza for a customer waiting in-shop, the people working behind the counter are going to get really angry, because it’s rare to make mistakes in a pizza shop. I’ve only done it twice because I’m fairly close to a perfect human being…

…but here’s how I handle it:

-you realize there is an issue and make a loud announcement full of expletives and mumbled incoherent words. Something like, “Goddamn every time stupid fuck fucker you marriage license gumball butt snatch quiddich guzzler!”


-The counter person will realize you have burnt the bottom of the pizza or gotten the cheese stuck to the stone rendering it unsalvagable.


-The counter person will say something to the affect of, “Fucking REALLY Alex?!?” to place all the blame directly on you in the eyes of the customer.

-You will die a little inside.


-You will realize you’re a badass wizard and stare the counter worker directly in the eyes while you wave your hands over the carcass of cheese and char and sarcastically say ‘I got this let me just turn back time quick!’

-Mutter an incantation.


-Give them the finger in a clever manner and say ‘fifteen minutes’

-remake aforementioned pizza

Problem solved.

So you see mom and dad, valuable life lessons. Don’t worry, I’m eating well and the pets still aren’t dead so I guess you can say I’m above par at the moment!

Love,
Your baby boy.

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