ranking the things I know I don’t know

After alienating 90 percent of my audience (what’s 90 percent of three?) with last week’s barely coherent electoral rant, I thought I might calm things down a bit with a topic that’s a little less polarizing. Like Android versus Apple (not the smartphones, but rather who would win in a battle between Data and a ripe Honeycrisp), or a post ranking world religions based on sexiness of their respective gods, or possibly a meticulously footnoted, 15,000-word screed on why feminism is racist.

I don’t want to lie to you: those topics are gold, every last one, and I will keep them in my back pocket for a time when the Muse stops answering my calls. (She’s already threatened a restraining order.) But while those ideas are guaranteed to generate literally tens of pageviews, I suspect they would all require a fair bit of research, as I know nothing about any of those things. Well, except for the Data/Honeycrisp fight; I already have an accordion folder stuffed to the brim with detailed notes. But you write what you know, they say, but then again, who are they? They’re not the boss of me! (Unless I am at work, and my boss straight-up tells me to write what I know, in which case that person actually is in reality the boss of me, and I will hop to it straightaway). As last week’s post clearly illustrated, ignorance has never stopped me before, so why not flip the paradigm on its ear, and specifically write about what I don’t know? And I don’t know much, but I know I love Aaron Neville. I also know that I am profoundly ignorant about a lot of important things, and I know almost all there is to know about how to put together numbered lists.

(Please note that this is not by any means a comprehensive list of things I do not understand. Trust me, none of us has that kind of time.)

I do not understand:

14. why a Top 14 list should be considered any less valid than a Top 10 list


13. why The Big Bang Theory is so popular

NERD RACISM, definitely

12. why people eat olives on purpose

Look, people, once you’ve squozen all the delicious oil out, you throw the the rest of that foot-sweat-tasting mush-ball into the garbage. After you warm up some chicken noodle soup, do you eat the can? (Apologies to my any readers who are goats, because if the cartoons have taught me anything, it’s that goats eat tin cans and alley cats eat fish skeletons served up on garbage can lids.)

11. how to spell “commitee”

You know, the thing where you get a bunch of people together and you have a meeting or whatever? I am literally a spelling bee champion and I cann’t for the life of me remember how many M’s and T’s and I’s are supposed to be in there. Probably more than I used. Cccooooommittttte?

10. how to fill out this list without getting all meta and padding it out with a joke entry or two

9. how you didn’t see that joke entry coming from a mile away

8. why Gilbert Gottfried doesn’t have his own series

Yeah, he’s a duck-voiced weirdo who occasionally spits out a boneheaded tweet that manages to offend great swathes of globe, but dang if he ain’t kind of a genius. If you don’t mind a heapin’ helpin’ of filthy jokes, I highly recommend his Amazing Colossal Podcast, which will both expand your horizons and make people think you’re a maniac because you’re listening to it on headphones at work and at random intervals you’re snort-guffawing like an asthmatic mule.

6. what is a “swathe”

7. how to keep the numbers from getting out of order

In my defense, I did say that I know ALMOST all there is to know about constructing numbered lists.

5. how to monetize this thing

I know step 1 is something like “get people to read what you write,” and step 2 is probably something like “don’t make jokey lists because Thrillist and Buzzfeed kind of already have that genre nailed down.” So maybe I should work on the basics before I move to step 3. I do know that I don’t want to have obnoxious autoplay videos or a bunch of ads running down the side of screen hawking gold coins and freeze-dried mail-order mattresses or whatever. I’m hoping to seamlessly and discreetly integrate ad copy right into the content. How hard could it be?

4. why anyone has bothered to read this far

3. how life works

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how life starts. I do have a couple of children, y’know, so I’m well aware that life’s beginnings have to do with my wife keeping her eyes closed for 90 seconds, politely asking if I’m done, and then going back to browsing Pinterest on an iPad while sobbing quietly. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m asking you: how do you even know how to live a life in this baffling, nonsensical plane of existence without collapsing into a jittery pile of sweat-soaked terror? Sweet dang, this world does not make a lick of sense. I do not understand why anyone does anything. I do not understand why everybody else has all the success and all I have to show for a lifetime of effort is an absurd amount of forehead real estate and a handful of dumb scars. I do not get what this world wants from me other than that I stop pestering it about what it wants from me. Also I sometimes wonder how did we even discover that you can eat an egg. But mostly just life itself: how do it work?

2. your mom

Seriously, what is her deal. I don’t know what her problem is with me, but whatever it is, I suspect what she really needs is a long, relaxing soak in a hot bath, made all the more luxurious with Aromatherapy Lavender Vanilla Bath Soak© from Bath and Body Works®. Bath and Body Works: I Bet Your Mom Would Like How This Stuff Smells.

1. why I ever thought this blog was a good idea

I don’t feel too guilty. Nobody understands this one.

ranking 80s movies I have never seen

10. Say Anything

Why I never saw it: So this is the one where Cusack holds the boom box over his head, right? And that’s pretty much the entire plot, as far as I can tell. Ask anyone–up to and including the president of the Say Anything Fan Club (aka “The Doblerones”)–to summarize Say Anything, and they will all basically mutter “Something something, Peter Gabriel, yadda yadda, roll credits.” Name one other actor from this movie. Just one. If you said anyone besides “Ione Skye,” you are a liar. If you said “Ione Skye,” you are a cheater.

Why you should cut me some slack: Hey, I saw (and enjoyed!) Better Off Dead, which at least had the decency to offset the excess Cusack by including Curtis “Booger” Armstrong.

9. Heathers

Why I never saw it: If memory serves, a solid 48 percent of the girls at my high school were named Heather. Is that not enough Heathers for one lifetime? I ask you, is it not enough?

Why you should cut me some slack: As far as I can tell from a cursory glance at the Wikipedia entry, this movie in some way revolves around a clique of attractive and popular high school girls–a demographic segment that often belittled me but mostly ignored me. Giving this movie the cold shoulder was payback: sweet, misguided, ineffective payback.

8. Adventures in Babysitting

Why I never saw it: I saw Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend. It was a movie about The Greatest American Hero discovering a lost baby dinosaur somehow. It was stupid and boring and I paid money to see it. On purpose. That pretty much forever soured me on any movies with “baby” in the title.

Why you should cut me some slack: It did save me from seeing Baby Boom and She’s Having a Baby, so, you know… glass half full. Of Three Men and a Baby, on the other hand… let us sigh deeply and never speak of it again.

7. Legend

Why I never saw it: I think the devil was in this. Wasn’t the devil in this? Played by Tim Curry? I’m pretty sure the devil was in this. Yeah, we were not allowed to see movies about the devil. That’s the same reason we weren’t allowed to watch Dallas. Patrick Duffy was the devil in that show, right? Maybe I’m thinking of something else.

Why you should cut me some slack: Tom Cruise versus the Devil? Crazy versus evil? Who cares? Who wants any part of that? Thankfully, 1985 was the last year we would ever have to make such a choice.

Source (http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/268041-clinton-on-trump-we-were-never-friends)
Yes, but which is which?! (source)

6. Labyrinth

Why I never saw it: I thought this was Legend.

Why you should cut me some slack: It pretty much is.

5. The Dark Crystal

Why I never saw it: Basically Legend/Labyrinth, but with more creepy puppets.

Why you should cut me some slack: Basically Legend/Labyrinth, but with less Mia Sara or Jennifer Connelly.

4. Big Trouble in Little China

Why I never saw it: I don’t know. I just… don’t know. I have no excuses for this. None. My parents would have had no problems with the content. The subject matter looks like it would have been right up my teenaged alley. (Hey, up your teenaged alley!) I can’t imagine why I didn’t see this when it originally came out. Maybe I didn’t have any extra scratch because it came out the same summer as SpaceCamp and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Flight of the Navigator and Howard the Duck and My Little Pony: The Movie and… hmmm, not sure how those last two got in there.

Why you should cut me some slack: I paid money to see Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, which prominently featured the not-at-all Asian Joel Grey playing a patently offensive Asian stereotype. So, eh, close enough.

3. Commando

Why I never saw it: Guys, this was rated R. R. R-rated movies were verboten in our family. I didn’t see an R-rated movie until I was in college, and I’m pretty sure I exercised my newfound liberty by going to see that Michael J. Fox Vietnam downer Casualties of War. Totally worth the wait, guys. Totally.

Why you should cut me some slack: I should probably get partial credit because a few years back, I would yell GET TO DA CHOPPA along with the rest of the internet sheep who had given up trying to say anything original and could only communicate via memes. Yes, I know GET TO DA CHOPPA is from a different Schwarzenegger movie where he carries a large automatic weapon and yells a lot, but in my defense, there was no shortage of such films in the 80s.

2. Poltergeist

Why I never saw it: The devil was not technically in this, but there were ghosts, and it was always my understanding that ghosts (with the notable exception of Casper and Patrick Swayze) were basically members of the same club as all the devils. They would hang together, play golf, have cookouts on the weekend with the ghost/devil families, that kind of thing. We don’t associate with those kinds of entities. They’re from the wrong side of the metaphysical tracks.

Why you should cut me some slack: They made a remake of Poltergeist last year, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that remakes are inevitably better than the originals. A few more decades, a few more remakes, and this movie will be perfect. I’ll just wait.

1. Top Gun

Why I never saw it: I will never say no to shirtless dudes playing volleyball, but bundling it with Kenny Loggins and Berlin is a bridge too far. That “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away” were both massive, chart-topping hits is a stain on America’s soul that can only be cleansed by some kind of large-scale blood sacrifice probably.

Why you should cut me some slack: I saw both Hot Shots and Hot Shots Part Deux + one of my college roommates had the Cocktail soundtrack = the moral equivalent of watching Top Gun 15 times over a single weekend, if you think about it. (Don’t.)

So I guess maybe I was a little sheltered as a movie-going adolescent. And yet I hold my head high, because I did see all the big ones… your E.T.s, your Indianas Jones, your Backs to the Future (plurals are tricky). Hey, I even willingly purchased tickets to see the low-budget stinkers Eliminators and Treasure of the Four Crowns, which is something the vast majority of the movie-going public can never say. Not saying that makes me better than you, but it’s all I’ve got. Please. Just let me have this.

ranking words that rhyme with price

20. lice

A few years ago one of my spawn, who shall remain unidentified (hint: it was one of them) complained of an itchy scalp, and a cursory inspection confirmed a parent’s worst suspicion: they were on the drugs. Wait, no, I mean the second-worst suspicion: lice. And of course we were scheduled to leave for vacation the next morning. Which we did anyway, spending half the trip at a louse treatment clinic at our destination. Then again, the lice ladies served fresh-baked cookies to patients and their parents, and there was soft music playing, and the waiting room was pretty relaxing, plus it was covered by our medical FSA… it just may have been the best vacation ever! Thanks, lice!

19. edelweiss

I think this is a thing in The Sound of Music. I have never seen The Sound of Music. I will never see The Sound of Music because you cannot see sounds. Unless you have that weird thing where you like hear colors and smell textures and such. Synesthesia! Yeah, that’s what it’s called. I know, saying it’s “weird” makes it sound like I am ragging on synesthesiacs or whatever they’re called, and I don’t mean for it to come across that way. But you have to admit, a lifetime of tasting farts has got to do something a man’s head.

18. thrice

This is the kind of word no one says except fat guys with ponytails at the Renaissance Fair. They say a lot of things, always followed with a creepy “m’lady,” and trust me, you do not want to spend one minute more with those guys than you absolutely have to.

17. gneiss

This is a kind of metamorphic rock. I know this because I took geology as one of my required science courses in college. An entire semester, untold hours each week of study and classroom lectures and labwork, and literally all I remember are the three types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and that there is something called a “strike-slip fault.” And I could not define any of those things even if you held a gun to my head. Frankly, a gun to the head would make it more difficult. Stop holding guns to people’s heads, guys. Makes it hard to concentrate and also to live.

16. advice

I’m 45 years old, and I cannot remember one time in my life when anyone has ever taken my advice on anything. It kind of hurts, but then again, who can blame them? The story of my life is less “shining city on a hill” and more “cautionary tale.”

15. dice

Wait, how do I buy a vowel?
Wait, how do I buy a vowel? (source)

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a big gambler, but I have been known to occasionally discard a dollar or two on a slot machine or at the roulette wheel whenever I find myself in a casino. But I have never lost a cent at the craps table, because I straight-up do not understand it and refuse to play it. It just moves so fast, there’s all these common words that have arcane craps-related meanings (“come” and “pass” and “sir please step away”), and the table is so complicated… one look at it, and my eyes glaze over so quickly I may as well be looking at the control panel for a nuclear reactor.

Also, it is called “craps.” Who even wants to throw away hard-earned funds playing a game named after a dooky. Gross.

14. splice

Adrien Brody's in it? HOW COULD IT FAIL
Adrien Brody was in it? HOW COULD IT FAIL (source)

This was a movie, right? Never saw it. It looked kind of like the movie Species, which I paid money to see and would have gladly paid twice as much not to see.

13. bice

This is an actual word that I swear I did not just make up. It’s like a kind of blue. I think I speak for everyone who matters when I say that there are too many words in the English language for different shades of blue. Having 900 separate words for the same thing makes us look decadent and silly. “Cornflower” is why ISIS hates us.

12. device

There is nothing interesting about this word. That fact alone is actually kind of interesting: just interesting enough to garner it the #12 slot.

11. vice

This is either the word that means the tool in your workshop that holds onto things, or the word that connotes a sinful weakness. I can never remember which is which.

10. vise

This is the other one.

9. precise

8. nice

7. mice

6. spice

Those last four words are decent, but I didn’t feel they merited further in-depth commentary. In that, they are much like me: possibly worth acknowledging, but after that not really worth your time.

5. paradise

In the 80s, musicians were obsessed with the concept of paradise, but apparently that obsession never manifested itself in the form of a song that was any good.

“Two Tickets to Paradise” – Eddie Money

“Paradise City” – Guns N’ Roses

“Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Collins

“Almost Paradise” – Mike Reno and Ann Wilson

“Just Like Paradise” – David Lee Roth

And let us never forget the 1982 re-release of Charlene’s “I’ve Never Been to Me,” which contains the hauntingly nonsensical lyric:

I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the 80s did not make a lick of sense.

4. concise

“What is something this blog post is not?” #JeopardyAnswer #StopUsingHashtags #TheyDoNotWorkThatWay

3. rice

I bet apes were thrilled to learn about the existence of rice, because the sheer intrinsic whiteness of it gave people a way to express being “on” something without insulting the appearance of the higher primates. “Ugly on an ape,” indeed. For shame! Not only is it lookist, it’s speciesist and probably other -ists that we haven’t even developed yet. Wait, “white on rice” seems kind of bad, too. #Problematic #WhatDidITellYouAboutHashtags

2. twice

Now that’s a number-related Price-rhyme I can get behind!

1. ice

In the summer of 1990, a talentless white rapper released a single that climbed the charts despite being the aural equivalent of radioactive sewage set to a stolen bass line. My sophomore year in college–the autumn of 1990–everyone thought it was the height of comedic ingenuity to serenade me–over and over and over again–with shouts of “Price Price Baby.”

Rob Van Winkle, feel free to burn in hell.

ranking eateries I liked when I was a kid

10. Andy’s

I don’t know if anyone remembers this place except me, but this was a small fast-food chain with a location or two in Central Arkansas where I grew up. And as far as I can recall, it was a straight-up carbon copy of Wendy’s. The layout of the restaurant was the same, their burgers were square, they had chili. They barely even changed the name! It had to be some kind of McDowell’s/Mcdonald’s-type situation straight out of Coming to America; I’m guessing they were trying to attract hungry people who were also legally blind and/or illiterate, but folks must have been wise to their scheme because Andy’s never seemed to be all that popular.

One time we ran in to Andy’s to get some of whatever they were calling their version of a Frosty, and on the way out I grabbed a packet of saltines from the condiment station. My horrified parents, upon discovery of my perfidy, made me go back in and offer to pay for it, because everyone knew saltines were for chili and so that was pretty much theft. Of course, the cashier just laughed and pointed at me.

I am used to that reaction.

9. Sambo’s

Hoo boy. Where do you even start with this one. For one, you have to cut me a little slack because I was a kid and I didn’t know better. (You think I’m ignorant now? My naïvete knew no bounds when I was a kid.) So for the uninitiated, this was a chain, kind of Denny’s-esque, named after a slavery-era stereotype that was at best patronizing and at worst undisguisedly racist. Sure, they tried to soft-pedal it, insisting that it was from an old East Indian folktale… as though denigrating a completely different ethnic group made it all better. It boggles the mind.

Still… bigotry aside, they made a darn good pancake.

8. Shoney’s

Did Shoney’s make anything besides breakfast? I have to assume they did, because they were open all the time, but the only time we ever ate there was for breakfast. They had A BREAKFAST BAR. Now to you kids today, that is no big thing; these days, every two-bit hot-sheet motel on the interstate advertises an all-you-can-eat breakfast spread. But back in the day? The Shoney’s breakfast bar was, as they say, a thing. You could get biscuits and gravy and bacon and muffins and French toast and bacon and sausage and bacon and then you could go back and get more! The last day of my senior year a bunch of us went to shoney’s for a celebratory breakfast. Why, where else would we go? There was simply no place better to dine upon breakfast delicacies such as stale pancakes and eggs that came from a carton. Mediocre, sure, but the portions! “This,” we thought, “must be how the upper middle class lives every day.”

7. McDonald’s

I’m old enough to remember when Chicken McNuggets were first introduced. Chicken… at a burger place?! Madness! I also remember when they unveiled the Happy Meal, and if I’m not mistaken, it was promoting that action-packed movie that all the kids loved… Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Well, thought it was cool.

McDonald’s was cheap, McDonald’s was edible, but because we didn’t eat out all that much even then we kind of saw it as a treat. And I really did have a soft spot for those little cheeseburgers with the ketchup and mustard and pickles and onions. Once in a while a local McDonald’s would run this special where they would sell cheeseburgers for like 29¢ each and we would feast like royalty, if royalty really enjoyed tasteless grey beef pucks instead of those giant turkey legs or whatever.

6. Arby’s

I have not eaten at an Arby’s since probably the Clinton administration. (I mean… ugh, the first Clinton administration. GOD HELP US.) I cannot imagine ever eating there again. That said, I would take a bath in Arby’s sauce right now if I could swing it.

5. Farrell’s

Remember old-school ice cream parlours? With the marble countertops and wrought-iron seatbacks and waitstaff wearing straw boaters and striped shirts with sleeve garters and spelling it “parlour”? No? Well, this was one of those. There was this… phase… in the 70s, I guess, where people were just all about the 1890s and whatnot for whatever reason. Well, it was the 1970s… I can’t say as I blame people for wanting to pretend it was some other, less dreary decade.

4. Shakey’s

I have not seen a Shakey’s in decades, but I vividly remember the wood-paneled dining rooms, with the pitchers of soda and the pebbly-textured plastic glasses, and the big screen on the wall where they played silent movies and cartoons and–

What’s that? The pizza? Eh, can’t really remember. Thin crust? Probably had cheese on it? Yeah, that sounds right.

3. Wendy’s

I worked at Wendy’s for several years through high school and college, so it would have to be high on this list. But I’m talking about when I was a younger type, back when I would have only been old enough to work in an Asian sweatshop. Wendy’s fascinated me when I was that age. The square burgers! The Frosties that weren’t quite thick enough to eat like ice cream but were too thick to drink like a shake! The tables plastered with these old-timey newspaper ads from the turn of the century! (And I do not mean the Y2K era; remember what I was telling you about how people in the 1970s were obsessed with the gay ’90s, and no that is not what it meant back then?) Half the fun of eating at Wendy’s was reading these ads about horse liniment and quack cures and woolen union suits and those bicycles with the giant wheel in front, whatever those are called. (Wait, penny-farthings? That is a dumb name. I’m knocking Wendy’s down a notch for that. That’s right. It was originally #2 on this list. That’s what you get for indirectly referencing something ridiculous. S. Price Horn won’t stand for such foolishness. Not on this site!)

2. Taco Bell

Doritos Gordita Crunch? Crunchwrap Supreme? Quadruple Layer Quesadilla Salad? Fiesta Nacho Party Supreme Deluxe Burritacolupa Bites, probably?


Ever had a Bell Beefer? No? Then you have not lived.

1. Bonanza

When I was a tyke, on our birthdays my parents would take us out to eat anywhere we wanted. Anywhere. Money was no object! And I chose the same place every year: Bonanza, a steakhouse chain so luxe they had pictures behind the cashier so you’d know exactly what it was you were ordering. And I always ordered the same thing… the Chopped Steak, which was essentially a hamburger patty with no bun. And oh, it was a heavenly feast for the young S. Price Horn, with my steak drenched in tangy Heinz 57 sauce, and accompanied with a giant baked potato and sides from the all-you-could-possibly-eat salad bar, such as a salad drowned in Thousand Island dressing and bacon bits and croutons and chocolate pudding. Well, the salad wasn’t drenched in chocolate pudding, the pudding was on the side. Give us some credit… we were Bonanza diners. We had taste.

ranking jobs I have held (part 2)

If you’re either a completist or a masochist, feel free to check out part one of this completely self-absorbed and unnecessary list.

5. Bank teller

“Hey, here’s an awkward man-child who is terrified of social interaction and who cannot count. Why shouldn’t he be the public face of our financial institution?” I loved the people that I worked with at the bank, but I suspect I only made their jobs more difficult, considering how many times I miscounted change and left money sitting out and sent the canister thingy through the vacuum tube thingy to the wrong drive-thru lane thingy. That’s how terrible I was at it: to this day I still don’t know what those things are called. Anyway, this bank no longer exists. It was bought out a few years after I left. I’m not saying my rank incompetence had anything to do with the purchase, but if the buyers had to pay anything close to the amount of money I lost while I was working there, it didn’t come cheap.

4. PR hack

For a couple of years in grad school, I was the bane of every newspaper, radio station, and network TV affiliate within a 30-county radius of my college, as I spent every day writing forgettable press releases and then wantonly disseminating them to anyone foolish enough to hand over their fax number. The purpose of these things was ostensibly to hype up developments and other assorted goings-on at the university, but more than anything, given my propensity for misspellings, they gave me the opportunity to inundate local news outlets with news about the school’s emphasis on “pubic affairs.” Thisjob also made me a brief TV star, if by “star” you mean “unseen personality on unseen cable-access channel.” But that’s a story for another day (not shooting my anecdote wad this early).

3. Burger slinger

Every high school kid should be required by law to wrangle a fast-food gig for at least a little while, if for no other reason than it gives you an appreciation for the unbelievable volume of grease produced by a single griddle at a single American quick-grubbery joint. Seriously. At the Wendy’s where I worked, we lugged buckets of the stuff out at the end of the night, dumping the effluent into an enormous, astonishingly aromatic vat that was periodically emptied by some mysterious outside entity that used it for… something. Cosmetics was the rumor, but for all I know they were using the old grease to construct a full-scale tallow Lady Liberty. Of course, I didn’t just work the grill, I worked every job in the place: fries, sandwich station, drive-thru… even the “Superbar”—a bizarre and short-lived all-you-can-eat Italian-Mexican salad bar concept. Because who hasn’t walked into a Wendy’s and thought, “Burgers and Frosties® are fine, but you know what I could really go for? Spaghetti nachos.”

2. Desk occupier

This job, if you can call it that, involved manning (sorry, “personning”) the front desk of a dorm during the university’s summer session, mostly during the midnight-8:00 am shift. There were generally not that many students around in the dorms in the summers, so the residence halls would house kids and counselors with band camps, cheerleading camps, volleyball camps, bogus “just-get-’em-out-of-the-house-for-a-week” camps, etc. There would be brief flurries of frenzied activity when campers would check in, or check out, or stream through the lobby on their way to or from some camp thing, but for the most part it mostly involved a whole lot of just sitting there, not doing not much of anything. Killing time. Watching TV. Reading. Building card houses. Discreetly napping, especially during the wee hours of the morning when no one was around. You wanna know why this job is so high on the list? It’s not because it taught me valuable lessons about life or myself, or because I formed lifelong friendships that enrich my life to this day. It’s because I was essentially being paid to not work. It’s as close as I’ve ever been to experiencing the life of a politician.

1. Whatever it is I do now

I have trouble describing to people what I do for a living, despite the fact that I have been doing it for multiple companies for the better part of two decades. I guess the best way to explain it is this: you know when you get a new piece of technology—a new phone, or PC, or DVD player if it is 1998 and/or you are 70—and you unpack it? And into the trash go the Styrofoam™ and twisties and plastic bags and inedible packets of silica gel… and the user’s manual? That last thing that you threw away without a second glance? Yeah, I write stuff like that. Sure, it’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s essentially it. I write computer instructions that are subsequently ignored. I am paid to produce well-researched, meticulously crafted technical content that no one will ever use. Books that one reads! Articles that people skim past! Blog posts that everyone regards with indifference!

Ha, just kidding about that last one; that’s a side project. I do that for fun.