All posts by taylor

Review: Taco Bell® Breakfast

I think Taco Bell®’s breakfast slogan should be “Because if you make the worst decision of the day this early, things can only get better” but the drive-thru screen proclaims going to Taco Bell® as “your best decision of the day” which to me really seems like adding insult to injury.

It seems like a few years ago Taco Bell® finally realized that somewhere between 85% and 99.99% of their business goes to drunks and stoners, perhaps best exemplified in a taco where the shell is made out of Doritos®. It seems to be working out well for them, but apparently they’re still catering to drunks and stoners with their new breakfast menu. The problem I see with this is that, even though their breakfast is available later than most fast food breakfast (they go to 11 AM), most people aside from alcoholics, wake n’ bakers, or people still drunk from the night before aren’t going to be in those states of mind that early. Maybe if it went til 2 and was billed as a brunch menu people might have had the chance to get a few mimosas or bloody marys or bellinis or irish coffees or screwdrivers or tequila sunrises or fuzzy navels or whiskey straight out of the bottle or whatever people drink in the morning I ain’t about that life in them.

But anyway, I’m not here to review Taco Bell®’s business practices. I’m totally underqualified for that. And besides, it seems to be working out well so far. I went a little after 10:30 on a Sunday morning (I know, that was too late, I didn’t intend to go but I didn’t have any food in the house and if I haven’t eaten I don’t have the strength to fight past my hatred of grocery stores enough to actually go to the grocery store, it’s a catch-22 where the only way out was Taco Bell®) and a huge line of cars started pulling up to the drive through as things got closer to 11 and the end of breakfast. I felt a little sorry for the poor bastards working there but that feeling went away pretty soon.

Taco Bell® actually has a surprising number of things on their breakfast menu. I only tried a few because I don’t hate myself that much, but most are pretty self-explanatory. Breakfast burrito? Probably pretty good, it’s a breakfast burrito and they’re always good. Breakfast taco? Probably the same as a breakfast burrito, just folded.

OK, now that I’ve reviewed the items I didn’t eat, on to the ones I did.

Clockwise from upper left: Waffle taco, Cinnabon Delights, A.M. Crunchwrap.
Click to enlarge.
Clockwise from upper left: Waffle taco, Cinnabon Delights, A.M. Crunchwrap.

Waffle Taco

The Waffle Taco comes in two varieties, sausage and bacon. I got the sausage one. If you’ve somehow missed hearing about it or seeing it and somehow aren’t able to imagine what something called a “waffle taco” could possibly be, it’s a waffle folded like a taco, containing a sausage patty, eggs and cheese.

Of all the breakfast items, this one definitely looks like it belongs on the late night menu. I could totally see myself…I mean…someone else scarfing down two or three of these at 3 AM. In the cold, sober light of the morning, though, it looks a little suspicious.

I tried to go into it with an open mind. After all, the one time I tried McDonald®’s McGriddle® (a biscuit sandwich using miniature pancakes rather than a biscuit), I liked it, and this is kind of the same thing, right? And it’s not like any of these ingredients wouldn’t be eaten together. Maybe not necessarily in the same bite, but like that disgusting kid in the lunch room who always mixed all his food together used to say, it all goes to the same place anyway.

I first tried it plain, without syrup. It was OK. The waffle was soft and actually did a pretty good job of containing the ingredients. Adding syrup definitely improved it, though. Unlike the abovementioned McGriddles®, the waffle doesn’t have maple syrup flavor already imbedded in it. And then, on the advice of my cousin who beat me to the “ridiculous review of Taco Bell breakfast” punch, I tried something even weirder, and added hot sauce to the syrup.

That’s the right way to do it, hands down. I know it sounds weird as hell, but if (God help you) you ever find yourself eating a Waffle Taco, definitely put hot sauce in the syrup. Think about it, it makes sense: syrup for the waffle, hot sauce for the eggs. Simple chemistry.


Cinnabon® Delights™

The Cinnabon® Delights™ are little fried balls of dough, dusted with cinnamon sugar and filled with frosting. I’m not sure if they’re new, but they’re billed as part of the breakfast menu and I’d never tried them before, so I picked some up.

They’re pretty good. When you put the balls in your mouth, warm, delicious, gooey white frosting gushes out. If you don’t put the whole thing in your mouth, sometimes some gets on your face and you have to lick it off. And no, there is literally no other way to describe that.

They’re super tasty, but I’m not really into sugary breakfast. Honestly, even as sugary breakfast goes these seem way too over the line. They’re actually even sold on the dessert menu later in the day.


The A.M. Crunchwrap™

You might have heard about the A.M. Crunchwrap™ already, and anything you’ve heard is true. I mean, I’m not gonna say angels sang when I bit into it or anything but it was really good. It comes in three varieties: steak, bacon, and sausage. I got the steak one because I’m bougie and also because what is steak even doing at Taco Bell®.

Unless you skipped the rest of the review, you probably know by now I wasn’t too sure about the whole Taco Bell® breakfast thing, even after eating the other stuff. The Waffle Taco was better than I expected, but was it good enough to justify Taco Bell spending millions (or billions? I have no idea how much things cost) of dollars on rolling out a whole new menu, adding coffee makers to their stores and expanding their opening hours into the morning? Maybe not. It’s kind of a gimmick item in all honesty.

The A.M. Crunchwrap™, though, is clearly the item that is going to make Taco Bell breakfast a success. In all honestly, it’s probably the entire reason Taco Bell® even considered making a breakfast menu in the first place. Some misunderstood, underemployed genius on the food line came up with it, and the stoners in upper management were so impressed that they actually put down their bongs for a few seconds.

“Dude,” one said, “We have got to make a breakfast menu. We are gonna make trillions off this thing.”

“But, we can’t make a menu with just, like, one item, man! We’re, uh, respected businessmen?”

“Man, I dunno dude, let’s make a taco out of a waffle or something.”

And thus the Taco Bell® breakfast menu was born. It was morning, then it was evening, and on the next day the Taco Bell® execs rested and raked in the money, over the bent and broken backs of the working class.

OK, so, the A.M. Crunchwrap™ itself. It’s based on the same concept as Taco Bell®’s Crunchwrap Supreme™, which is also pretty good, but the A.M. Crunchwrap™ is smaller and better. It’s filled with eggs, cheese, hash browns(!), and sausage/bacon/steak, depending on what you chose. If you’re a hot sauce person, put hot sauce on it, if you aren’t, don’t. I am and I did, but it’s good either way.

Taco Bell®’s food has never really been the kind you could eat while driving. Tex-Mex or southwestern or whatever the hell it is that Taco Bell® is bastardizing isn’t exactly the neatest food. The A.M. Crunchwrap™ changes all that. I’m a somewhat messy eater, and I was at a table so I wasn’t even being that careful, sometimes putting it down or opening a hot sauce packet or stopping to cry at what I was doing to my digestive system, and only two little bits of egg fell out the entire time.

It doesn’t even make sense. They must have hired MIT graduates to work on this thing. Not only is it the least messy item Taco Bell’s ever made, it’s probably the least messy fast-food breakfast item anyone’s ever made. Your precious Chik-Fil-A® biscuits crumble to pieces and get crumbs all over the damn place, don’t even try and tell me they don’t because you lyin’, that’s just what biscuits do. The A.M. Crunchwrap™ is the perfect size to fit in your hand, and it doesn’t make a mess at all. It may not be the perfect drive-thru breakfast item, but it’s as close as our flawed species has come so far, and it may indeed be the closest we ever come.

Daniel and Elijah’s Magical Evening (18+ I guess?)

Content Warning: Contains celebrities.

Elijah’s heart pounded in his throat. He was finally going to meet Daniel. They’d never met in person before (except for a few minutes at a press event years ago), though they’d been flirting over twitter for a while. But tonight Daniel had finally invited him over to his place. Surprisingly, he lived just on the other side of town, and Elijah felt foolish for not having realized it before, and also for not being the one to make the first move. He was shy, plain and simple, and he was nervous about how this meeting was going to go. Still, he really liked Daniel, and he was pretty sure that Daniel liked him, too, so how bad could things go?

Butterflies in his stomach, he rang the doorbell.

The door opened. There stood Daniel Radcliffe, in the flesh (and what beautiful flesh it was). “Hey, Elijah, good to see you,” he said, extending his hand.

Elijah Wood shook it and smiled. “Nice place you have here,” he said. The house was enormous.

“Oh, yeah,” Daniel said. “Well, after those Harry Potter movies, I had something like a billion dollars, so what else could I do with it? You know how it is.”

“Well, not really,” Elijah said.

“Really? I’d have thought those movies you were in would have…they were pretty big, I thought. What were they called? Lord of the Flies? No, it was something about the Twin Towers?”

“Lord of the Rings,” Elijah said. “And they were popular, but obviously not as much as Harry Potter!”

“Well yeah, obviously,” Daniel laughed. “All those preteen girls loved Harry Potter. A magic orphan? Way more exciting than elves or whatever was in your movie. Hey, you want something to drink? I already got started without you, sorry. You were late, so…” he shrugged nonchalantly and took a sip from his own glass.

“Oh, sorry,” Elijah said. “Yeah, sure, I’d love a drink.”

“Great,” Daniel said. “I’ll mix you up one. Let’s go ahead and go up to my room. I’m pretty horny.”

“Um,” Elijah said. “Yeah, me too, I guess.”

They went up to Daniel’s room. There was a minibar in the corner, and Elijah sat down on the bed while Daniel whipped up a top-notch mojito. Daniel came over and handed him the drink. Elijah took a sip and smiled. Daniel leaned in for the kiss. It was as magical as anything in either of their movies.

“Wow,” Elijah said afterwards. “It’s like kissing a mirror.”

“I know,” Daniel said. “That’s why I like it.”

They made out for a little while, until Daniel put his hand on Elijah’s crotch.

Elijah pulled away. “I’m sorry, Daniel,” he said. “This is just moving kind of fast for me. I’m not usually a sex-on-the-first-date kind of guy. Can we just talk for a little bit first?”

“Ugh, fine,” Daniel said, sighing heavily and getting up to mix himself another drink.

“So what are you up to these days?” Elijah asked. “I know you were in that play…”

“Yeah,” Daniel laughed, “I fucked a horse in that! Can you believe that! Americans are so weird.”

“I thought Equus was written by an Englishman,” Elijah said.

“Maybe. I’d believe it.” Daniel sat back down on the bed and took a long sip of his drink. “I also had another movie come out, too, something about a ghost or a house, I don’t really remember. I just did it because I was bored.”

“Oh yeah, and you’re in that movie about Allen Ginsburg! He’s such a great poet, I really love his stuff.”

“I don’t know,” Daniel said. “I don’t really read or go for nerd stuff like that.”

“Oh,” Elijah said. An uncomfortable silence filled the room for a few seconds.

“Oh, hey, listen, I’m so sorry,” Daniel said. “I didn’t realize. You finished your drink. I’m a terrible host sometimes. Let me get you another one.” He took Elijah’s glass and walked back to the minibar.

“It’s such a good idea to keep a minibar in your room,” Elijah said.

“Yeah,” Daniel said. “I have them in every room, actually. They were the first things I had put in. This house is so big, it’s such a pain in the arse to have to walk to the kitchen every time I want to get my drink on.”

He drained his drink, poured another one, then drained it again. Finally, he filled Elijah’s (and his own again, of course) and walked back to the bed. Elijah took the glass and sipped it gratefully.

“Hey,” Daniel said, fishing a bag out of his pocket and dumping two pills into the palm of his hand. “I’ve got some molly, what do you say?”

“Uh, no thanks,” Elijah said.

Daniel shrugged. “More for me,” he said, swallowing both pills and washing them down with the rest of his drink. He got back up and walked over to the bar again. “Sometimes I think I ought to pay someone to invent a nightstand with a minibar in it,” he said. “It would probably be the most useful invention I can think of. I should see if I can get that patented.”

At that moment, a man dressed in a giant dog suit walked into the room. Elijah blinked a few times and rubbed his eyes.

“How’s it hangin’?” the dogman asked. “Not at all for me, since this asshole over here got me fixed.” He jerked a thumb towards Daniel as he plopped down on the bed next to Elijah. Reaching under the bed, the dogman pulled out an enormous bong.

“Uh…that’s your dog?”

“What, are you afraid of dogs?” Daniel asked. “Shake, boy!”

The dogman held out a handpaw and blew a cloud of smoke. “Name’s Wilfred, pleased to meet ya.”

Elijah shook the dogman’s handpaw gingerly. “He’s very…uh…big.” The dogman was at least six feet tall.

“You haven’t even seen me when I’m excited!” the dogman laughed as Elijah recoiled. “Don’t worry though, mate, I’m not gonna join in, I just like to watch.”

“Hey, Dan, thanks for having me over,” Elijah said, “But I just remembered I have to…do something tomorrow.”

“Oh, hey, I’m sorry, I should have known you were afraid of dogs. Here, let me put him up.”

“Aw, come on, mate, don’t make ‘im put me in solitary! I was just joking about watching, I’ll go back in the other room and give you two some privacy. Just try to keep it down with the squeaking and groaning and all, I’ve got pretty good hearing y’know.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Elijah said, standing hurriedly. “I just, uh…”

“Really?” Daniel said, placing a hand on Elijah’s arm, “Can’t you stay over for a little bit? I mean, if we start now it’ll only take five minutes.”

“No, sorry, it’s been fun.” Elijah said, rushing out the door. “I’ll call you!”

“Damn it,” Daniel said sadly, scratching the dog behind the ears. “Another night alone, stuck playing with my own wand again.”


Alternate title: One Cockring to Rule Them All


At My Neighborhood Kroger (if their commercials are to be believed, that’s now the name of the store), they’ve started putting “freshly” baked doughnuts near the entrance of the store, those magnificent bastards.

So far, I’ve always managed to resist the temptation, but I always give them a fleeting, longing glance as I leave the store. Only today, after I’d been staring for well on 30 seconds, I realized a guy was standing next to them, giving me a weird look.

“Oh, sorry man,” I said, “I was looking at the doughnuts.”

He shook his head. “You weren’t lookin’ at doughnuts,” he said, “You were lookin’ at DEEZ NUTS!”

A Year in Review: Pleasantville by Night

Zombie Nerd from Pleasantville by NightA year ago today, I sent out the first invites and officially opened the doors of Pleasantville by Night to the public. I’d previously been involved with another game called Xenos (in fact, a lot of Pleasantville’s code is based off of it), but there I hadn’t been the only one working on it. There were others able to fix bugs, and to give me feedback on my content before I went live with it. Pleasantville was a solo effort, and I was nervous.

Would I be able to handle it? Was I a good enough programmer? (The answer: “Not really, but turns out it doesn’t matter”)

Ghost Hunter from Pleasantville by NightMost importantly…would people even like it? This was a world that nobody had seen but me, and here I was about to put it out there for everyone to see. I had no idea if other people would think the jokes were funny or if the content was too dark or bizarre. Would people I know start giving me strange looks, calling the whitecoats on me, or maybe performing impromptu exorcisms to cure me of what is obviously a case of demonic possession? (No demons here, aside from the ones in the game. This stuff’s all 100% me. I dunno if that’s better or worse).

Well, here we are a year later. While new user retention isn’t as good as I’d like, a large number of the people playing the game today joined a year ago, so obviously I’m, at least, OK at this.

To those of you who play the game, thank you. It is fantastically, monumentally cool to see other people enjoying something you’ve created, and without you, there wouldn’t have been a year to review. The pride I feel I guess is kind of like the pride of having a kid, but less expensive and with less pooping? (Probably about the same time commitment, though)

Duck of Hell from Pleasantville by NightFor those of you who used to play, come on back! I’ve been putting a lot of effort over the past few months to make the game a lot more accessible. This round, for example, I massively simplified the stats so it’s more clear what things actually do. Give it another go…for me? (And if you still don’t like it, please, let me know why! I can’t promise I’ll make every suggested change, but if it’s a good idea, I probably will).

To those of you who don’t play, give it a try! ( It’s free, the community is friendly, and it has zombie nerds, werehippies and Beelzebros! What more could you possibly want?

Some numbers, because everyone loves statistics. Since February 15, 2012:

    • 217 user accounts have been created.
    • We’ve had 7 complete rounds, and we’re now on the 8th. The shortest (the first) lasted less than two weeks. The longest (the 7th) lasted almost three months!
      • 4 Beelzebro Wins
      • 2 Inquisition Wins
      • 1 Cthulhooligan Win
      • 0 Weirdfellows Wins
    • Besides the original content, I’ve added:
      • More than 60 creatures
      • Almost 200 items
        • 11 of those items were donator-reward Items of the Month. 2 of those actually came out on the first of the month. Obviously there’s still room for improvement.
      • 6 areas

Classy Skeleton from Pleasantville by NightSo, in the end, tl;dr as the kids say, thank you for playing Pleasantville by Night, or at least putting up with me talking about it. It’s been a great year, and I’ve got some good things in store for next year. They say the first year of running a browser-based massively multiplayer team-focused role-playing game is the hardest, right? (Please someone tell me they say that, I don’t know if I have the strength to keep going otherwise! This thing is horrible…I’m going gray!)

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for putting up with my rambling. Much love to all y’all,


On Speaking With Ghosts

Why would I want to talk to the dead? What could we possibly have to say to each other that would be of any interest?

“So I tried out this new pizza place the other day….”

“I haven’t eaten anything in 25 years. Way to rub it in.”

“Oh sorry. Let’s talk about you, then. What’ve you been up to?”

“Oh you know, not much. Just kind of floating around, rattling chains, moaning spookily, regretting having died with unfinished business, the usual. It’s been pretty lonely, really, it’s hard to get out when your physical manifestation is tethered to the spot you died.”

“That’s cool,” I’ll say, meaning the exact opposite. “Well, it’s been fun, but I gotta go.”

“Really? You just got here. What do you have to do?”

I don’t have to do anything, I’m just sick of talking to this boring dead guy. I can’t say that, though. I’m a sensitive guy and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. So I make something human up and hope he doesn’t remember enough about being alive to realize what I’m saying makes no sense: “I have to pee. You know how it is. Damn these bodies, always with their physical needs and stuff. You’re lucky, really. Anyway, I’ll see you later.”

“No you won’t because I’m an INVISIBLE GHOST.”

The Legend of Halloween Tim

Everyone knows about Halloween, but not everyone knows why we celebrate Halloween. Well kids, gather round, because i’m about to tell you.

Many years ago, nobody celebrated Halloween. October 31st was just a regular day like any other. However, an evil wizard had been up to evil tricks and opened a portal to a terrifying nightmare dimension and monsters poured in and started attacking and eating people.

The people went to the king and begged for him to send his soldiers to protect them, but the king was a selfish man and just locked up his gates and stationed his soldiers around the castle to keep both monsters and commoners out.

There was despair and helplessness, and the people considered selling their soul to the Devil for protection, and they were just about to sign the contract when…

A man stepped forward…a man who we to this day know as “Halloween Tim.”

Halloween Tim was, to all appearances, an ordinary man, but he held within his chest a pure heart and a powerful will. He kicked the Devil in the face, then tore up the contract and ate it. His stomach absorbed the mystical power that the contract was infused with, and he became more powerful than any man before or since. He gathered up a militia and led the people across the country, slaying the monsters and restoring hope and joy to the land.

His campaign led him to the evil wizard’s tower itself. Here, Halloween Tim left his followers outside, and went in to fight the wizard one-on-one. Nobody knows for sure what happened inside the tower, but it is known that Tim was victorious, and was able to close the portal.

After that, Tim led his people to the gates of the king’s castle. The king wanted to make him a Duke for his services, but instead the people overthrew the king and established a democracy. Halloween Tim was elected the first president and served 34 terms, ruling fairly until the day he died.

Today, the legend of Halloween Tim lives on. Every group of friends or family democratically elects one person to be “Halloween Tim” that year and that person gets to judge their costumes and hand out candy and prizes.

It’s symbolic, you see, of Tim handing out violence and justice to the monsters that attacked his land.


If you liked this story, you might also like my horror/humor game, Pleasantville by Night.


I’ve known Becca since before we could walk. Neither of us has any sisters (I have an older brother, she was an only child), so we just pretended we were sisters. Becca was most definitely the “good” one. While in truth she was in no way what my mother would call “a proper young lady,” she could at least pretend to be when adults were around.

“Why can’t you be more like Becca?” my mother would ask, after I’d break something or light something on fire or come home tracking mud on the carpet or make a mess at the dinner table.

“I can’t be like Becca,” I told her. “She’s Becca, I’m me. I can’t be like her any more than she can be like me, because then we’d be each other instead of who we are.”

At this point, my mother would sigh and pour herself another drink (I say “another” because this was almost certainly not the first of the day). “Well, run along and play with her,” she said, “Maybe she’ll be a good influence on you.”

Becca was anything but a good influence, though. For example, if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have ever started smoking. One day, she stole a pack of cigarettes from her mom’s purse. She said they’d make us look glamorous, like Audrey Hepburn. I didn’t know who Audrey Hepburn was at the time, but if Becca thought she was cool, that was good enough for me. We smoked the whole pack, passing the cigarettes back and forth like joints, taking long drags and trying to look as glamorous as possible. I ended up throwing up, but it was the most glamorous vomit of my life.

Review: Taco Bell Doritos® Locos Tacos

Taco Bell Doritos® Locos Tacos

I had of course heard of the Taco Bell Doritos® Locos Tacos for several weeks. Every time I had the same thought: “That is either going to be completely disgusting or completely amazing, and probably both.” I don’t dine at Taco Bell® with the frequency of my younger days (mostly because I don’t live very close to one anymore), so the chance to sample this new dish did not readily present itself.

I eventually decided that if I didn’t seize the day eventually it would vanish from the menu (and most likely never return), so one day after getting off of work I decided to try it. I got off around 11pm, which is crucial because it means it was late enough that I was too tired and lazy to go to the store to buy food or make food, but early enough that my girlfriend wouldn’t be home for another few hours so if I needed to throw it up afterwards I’d have time.

Pulling into the drive-thru I was struck at how cheap the price was. Usually Taco Bell®’s promotional items are downright pricy (up to $3.50 in some cases!), but the Doritos® Locos Tacos are only $1.69 for the regular version, and $1.89 for the “supreme.” I have no idea what the difference is between the regular and the supreme, but I figured that I might as well “go big or go home” and go for the full Taco Bell Doritos® Locos Tacos Experience. The price being so low, I considered buying two, but then instead I decided I liked being alive.

The cashier at the drive-thru was fairly pretty. I was a little embarrassed to be buying such a disgusting food from her. She gave me extra sauce though, so obviously she didn’t think too lowly of me. Really, thinking about it, it’s not too outside the realm of possibility that I was the best-looking man who’d been through the drive-thru during her shift. This is Taco Bell® after all.

The drive home was one of anticipation. I drove quickly, perhaps too quickly, afraid that the culinary masterpiece sitting in my passenger seat would go cold (it did a little, unfortunately).

When I got home, I poured myself a glass of fruit juice to go with it so I could pretend that I make good life choices sometimes. I unwrapped the taco.

I could see immediately why the price was so low. It’s the same size as other Taco Bell® tacos, which is to say, pretty small. The other thing is that like most other Taco Bell® products, it contains that wonderful weapons-grade tube beef. When I eat at Taco Bell® I usually opt for chicken. It’s a bit pricier, but it doesn’t come from a tube and it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to assassinate you once it’s inside your body. In this case, though, I decided to opt for the beef in order to get the “pure” Taco Bell Doritos® Locos Tacos experience (at least as far as you can use the word “pure” when describing a taco with a shell made out of Doritos®).

What distinguishes it, of course, from other tacos is the shell. The shell was the angry orange-red of Nacho Cheese Doritos®, and indeed, taking a bite I could immediately taste the familiar flavor as the shattered bits of corn chip hit the salt receptors on my tongue. There’s also the cheesy aftertaste you experience with Doritos®, as well as a bit of the familiar finger residue (not nearly as much as from actual chips, however).

The Doritos® flavor was soon overwhelmed, however, as I began to masticate the contents of the taco. With a normal bite, it was impossible to tell that it had anything other than a plain corn chip shell except for a slight Doritos® aftertaste.

The taco was quickly devoured, leaving me still hungry. The fruit juice washed it down nicely.

Her Average Life

I wrote this for Creative Loafing’s 2011 Fiction Contest (the theme was Math). I had forgotten about the contest until the night before submissions were due, so I wrote this in about an hour, glanced over it the next morning to make sure  there were no glaring problems, and submitted it. Needless to say, it didn’t win.

Mary had always been good at math. Unfortunately, it was about the only thing she was good at. It’s not as though she was terrible at other things, but she was solidly average (though whether mean, median or mode was less certain).

While she had a few male friends, she had never been seriously romantically involved with anyone. By an improbably slim chance, her last semester in college Mary finally happened to meet someone she could see as an equal. He sat in front of her in advanced calculus, and each time the professor returned the tests she was able to see that his grades were almost as good as hers.

She managed to work up the courage to talk to him, and was surprised to find that he liked math as much as she did. They talked more and more until eventually they somehow ended up dating. Many people considered their relationship odd. Like most couples, they often spent evenings at one another’s homes, staying up late into the night. More often than not, however, the two were engaged in writing and solving equations, each trying to outdo the other in complexity and difficulty. Mary was always able to beat him, but to make him feel better she sometimes pretended that he had stumped her.

Their time together added up as a few years passed. He eventually worked up the resolve to ask her to marry him. She agreed without hesitation, and before long the two had publicly pledged that they would forever be two halves of an indivisible whole. Most people at the ceremony had no idea what the vows they had written each other meant, though almost everyone agreed they were “probably very sweet.”

Their wedded life was blissful and their love for each other grew exponentially. Their lives continued much as they had before, with perhaps a few additions. He got a job as a university math professor, and she started working as a statistician for the government.

One day, however, Mary had a realization that would change the course of their relationship forever. Fearing his reaction to the news, she walked slowly into the room as he sat at his desk grading papers. He was so involved in his work that he didn’t notice her until she spoke.

“Honey,” Mary said, “I’ve got something to tell you.”

“What is it?” he said, turning and smiling at her.

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

His smile widened. “That’s great!” he said, “I’ve always wanted to multiply!”


I stand in the pharmacy aisle, looking for toothpaste. You’re standing in front of one of the shelves and I am annoyed because I think that you are directly in front of the toothpaste, and I am standing next to the chap stick. I need for you to move, but I can’t really ask you to when you’re actually looking to buy it.

Actually, it doesn’t even actually bother me very much that you’re in my way at the moment. The problem is that you take so long to do it. I could walk up, select a toothpaste, almost at random, and be done in about 5 seconds. Even if I had a major brand or taste preference, or if I was looking for the cheapest one, a more intensive examination would only take perhaps another 10 seconds. There is no reason that you should spend over a minute picking out toothpaste. Does you even have such a preference? Is your search for exactly what you want really taking this long? The store carries several brands, flavors and formulas. It should have something to satisfy you.

Perhaps your dentist, as part of his stereotypical dentist cruelty, gave you a very specific recommendation. Perhaps there is only one type of toothpaste that will keep your teeth from hollowing out and shattering inside your head. This is why your search is so thorough. You check and double check each product to make sure you purchase the only one that can save you from a future of oral anguish.

Or maybe you were in a philosophical mood when you came grocery shopping. Maybe the sight of the toothpaste aisle inspired you along a train of thought about the phenomenon known as “toothpaste.”

“What did our earliest ancestors use for toothpaste?” you wonder, “This can’t be a product too necessary for life. That’s a pretty piss-poor job of evolution if a creature can’t even keep its own teeth from rotting out of its head without having to rub some shit on them.”

Then you realize our earliest ancestors were considered lucky to make it to 40. You also realize that our earliest ancestors ate pretty terrible food like rotten berries off the ground and tiny hard potatoes someone dug out of some random field and almost-raw meat without any seasoning or A1 sauce. You realize how much of our food today is pre-processed, most likely with all kinds of terrible chemicals that rot your teeth, or at least just lots of sugar. This drives you, perhaps, to a crushing depression and despairing thoughts about the trajectory of the human race. On the other hand, maybe it makes you think that you really want some potato chips. That’s why it takes so long for you to pick out your toothpaste. Because you’re depressed and wondering where the snack aisle is (but let’s be honest. You know. You know it better than any other aisle).

Or maybe, somehow, you were never told about dental hygiene as a child. Then today you took a wrong turn trying to find out whether canned tomatoes are with the “canned fruits” or the “canned vegetables” and got distracted wondering why the hell they separated the two into different aisles in the first place. Suddenly, you found yourself in the pharmacy aisle. Curious about what is actually in the pharmacy aisle (because really, who ever goes to the pharmacy aisle?), you walk down it and are stunned to realize that someone is making paste for your teeth.

Paste for your teeth? So they’ll get stuck together? No, dumbass, it’s toothpaste, the stuff dentists tell us to rub on our teeth with a brush six times a day to keep them clean. What the hell? You were only told about the most basic aspects of hygiene like deodorant, soap, shampoo and razors! Nobody told you that you were supposed to brush your teeth! I can understand why you stand there staring at the aisle in shock. It’s a terrible thing when you find out that literally everyone in the world knows something you never did. That kind of shock could kill someone!

Eventually, though, you regather your wits and make your purchase. I steal a glance at what you just bought. As far as I can tell, it’s nothing special. Colgate Whitening with Advanced Tartar Protection. Cool Mint Flavor. I pick the same one.