September, 2020 | davidhardiman.com

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Faustian Bargain Struck: Truths I Must Publicly Admit to, in Order to Gain Entrance Into Heaven

 

I David Hardiman, being of mind and body, and in order to become heaven-worthy, do hereby declare, stipulate and admit the following:

  1. I believe a corn maize is redundant
  2. I Try to be Humble: I only use the word “oomph” only when I want to speak with pizzazz.
  3. I believe it’s important to “dance like no one’s watching.” And I believe this is doubly important when it comes to showering.

    This is one of the toughest gated communities to get into and I need all the help I can to access it.

  4. Cheap Thrills: I admit I have chewed aluminum foil just to experience the low-level tingle of voltage running through my teeth. This measly oral quiver also works by connecting the poles of a 9-volt battery with your tongue
  5. I secretly hope that Yahoo! purchases Yoo-Hoo. You do too?
  6. I once made the mistake of staying at a hotel whose sign read: “Mucous-friendly.” It’s snot true. Really
  7. I admit I once hacked into the Denny’s wireless ordering system and ordered 50 Cheese Omelets. I then nonchalantly walked in just to watch them scramble.
  8. I used to pray with my fingers crossed. These days I pray with my eyes crossed
  9. I shamefully admit, I’ve gone to an AM/PM mini market…just to buy my dinner. Who doesn’t like one (or more) of those high-mileage hot dogs rotated to perfection? Dinner at an AM/PM mini market is kind of like eating at a filling station (a restaurant) within a filling station (a gas station).
  10. I’ve both given and received loincloths as gifts. Heck, when I walk my dog we each wear one. That’s why when traveling I always look for “Loincloth-friendly” hotels. It’s true I’m not trying to cover up anything.
  11. I’ve gnever gnawed gnocchi. Gnot once. Who gnu?
  12. Confused Senses: I have a special talent: I’m a non-lip reader. Without ever looking at someone’s lips I can understand exactly what they’re saying, just by listening. Strangely enough I can only understand sign language by listening to the person next to them speak the words they’re signing. And when I try to explain this to language signers, it falls on deaf ears. Maybe it’s because I wear a mask now and they can only read lips.
  13. Everything I ever needed to learn, I learned in…oh, wait, I still haven’t learned everything I’ve needed to learn
  14. I marvel at how rearranging letters in a certain pattern causes people to think of what the words symbolize. It’s like some kind of code or something. I understand principle, but I don’t know how it works.
  15. I spend too much time wondering what a Caitlyn Jenner gender reveal party would be like
  16. When I dine out at a fancy restaurant (other than an AM/PM mini market) I invariably order the “charcuterie.” Not because I like charcuterie, but because I feel so smugly continental when I say, “Ah yes garcon, I’ll start with the charcuterie and then perhaps a nice nom de plume, with a side of eminence grise and noblesse oblige
  17. I admit, that in a recently created “Faustian Bargain” list I’ve used the term nom de plume and have not really known what I meant: My pen name is Daveed Hardrama and I approved this message
  18. I’ve eaten lunch by going to Costco and getting in line 3 times at the free samples stations. Costco is known for its filling stations…and they sell gas there too.
  19. People have asked me why I dance in front of my bathroom mirror? And the simple answer is, “Because it’s too hard to dance behind my bathroom mirror. And anyway, how did you know I was dancing in front of my bathroom mirror? Now I’m going to have to dance like someone is Damn you!”
  20. If at the drive-thru I’m shortchanged an order of fries, I sure as hell circle back, alert them to their error, and get made whole. If, on the other hand, I’ve mistakenly received an extra cheeseburger, well, I don’t really need to stand on principle do I? And I drive away with my bun-filled bonanza.
  21. I once walked across a troubled bridge over serene water – Simon says
  22. I can recite all 17 alphanumerics in my VIN#. I know. Pretty good right? And I easily accomplish this when I’m reading it right off the registration.
  23. Every time I try to go egg candling, I always end up glass blowing instead. You too? It’s the same with my volunteer work. Every time I start to drive down to volunteer at the soup kitchen, I wind up at Figaro’s Bistro in front of a charcuterie plate with a side of nom de plume. I’m hoping it’s the thought that counts here.
  24. I admit I have tried a combover – but it wasn’t on my head.
  25. (If this admission doesn’t get me into heaven, nothing will) When I was a teenager and no one was home, under cover of darkness I used to get naked, sneak out the back door and see how far I could get from the house before my inner voice warned “This is not a good time to be running through the neighbors’ backyards buck naked. Since when did Mr. Johnson get a motion detector spot light? I feel like a prisoner trapped in the yard. And why couldn’t the widow Jenkins pick-up just some of Fido’s poop. Smushy, smushy, smushy. If I’m caught this will not look good on a police blotter or my resume for that matter. But this being the mid-70’s my defense would be, ‘I was sleepstreaking’.”
  26. I once had my ear lobes pressurized to 30 lbs. psi so I could float down the Erie Canal. It was a very eerie Erie ear experience, but I lobed it.Although I don’t have a prehensile tail, I do have prehensile nostrils. It’s snot true. And whenever Frank Sinatra had a cold he was called Frank Snot True.
  27. I think the entire premise of this piece could use a little more oomph. Maybe Wonka can spare some Oompa Loompas.

Me:    OK Guardian Angel. I held up my end of the bargain, can I get into heaven now?

Guardian Angel: Well David don’t you know? You’re already in heaven?

Me:    You mean I didn’t have to admit any of that stuff?

Guardian Angel: That’s right Dorothy. You were there all along.

Me: Now listen here angel behind the curtain – first of all, you can just stop with the Wizard of Oz reference and second of all, If you’ve ever had a dog throw up into your mouth like I have (details available upon request), you’ll always feel like you’re playing with house money. So the jokes on you.  

Magazines for Micro-niche Markets

 

  1. Ultra-Marathon Runner – Voted best marathon magazine 5 years running

    Relics from an analogue age. Pardon my Gutenberg.

  2. Con Appetit – Eat just like a convict with this sister publication to Bon Appetit. Try all these gruel and unusual recipes and you’ll be asking for, “More Sir!” Recipes include:
    1. A Salted and Battered Chicken
    2. Prisoner Pot Pie
    3. Felonious Monk…Fish
    4. Perpetrator Pepper Sprayed Tater Tots
    5. Maybe It’s Peanut Butter, Maybe It’s Not
  3. Stair Master Magazine – Offers tips on mastering its sobering 32,000 Step Program. Remember, the first step to getting in shape is admitting you don’t have a Stair Master.
  4. Stare Master Monthly – Stare like nobody’s watching. Master the Stare Master’s no-step program. This Zen-like periodical deals with focusing on a single object so intently you become the object you’re staring at. A figure-ground reversal for the ages. Caution: Do not attempt this with Picasso paintings.
  5. Architects’ Digest – Sister publication to Architectural Digest. It’s more gastronomically oriented than design oriented. This high-gloss, 4-color publication endoscopically tracks the movement of foodstuffs through the alimentary canals of noted architects – from mastication to defecation, it’s all about the journey in this no holes barred gastrozine
  6. Vanity Good – A less literary version of Vanity Fair marketed to a “more better class of reader.”
  7. Advanced Web Design – Not for humans, but for spiders looking for new web-based layouts instead of the boring old preprogrammed genetic ones we’re all too familiar with. An advice column advises spiders how to cope with systemic arachnophobia.
  8. Popular Mechanics II – Celebrating well-liked laborers and other popular mechanics.
  9. Field & Stream II – Focuses on how Sally Field is coping with her streaming services.
  10. Chair Massage Monthly – For sedentary people who want to “give back” to their chairs. Why someone would want to massage their chair is beyond me, but, apparently many chairs yearn to have their arms, legs, chairbacks and even seats massaged. I know I like my seat massage, so I won’t sit in judgment of chairs. What’s next? Bread massage. Who kneads that?
  11. Who’s a Good Boy? magazine – Sister publication to Well Yes You Are. It’s a magazine claiming to be designed by dogs for dogs, but you can see the American Kennel Club’s paw prints all over this puppy. Dog POV articles include:
    1. If the Tables Were Turned I’d Gladly Scoop My Master’s Poop
    2. Overcoming the Stigma of Dog Shaming
    3. If Only Hitler was Given a Puppy Instead of a Swastika, Things Would’ve Been a Lot Different
  12. Slow Fly magazine – This very limited appeal periodical offers emotional support to sluggish flies who, through no fault of their own, fly very, very slowly and are likely doomed to a life of an early flattening. Phlegmatic flies are identified early (usually in the maggot stage) and told this publication is their last best hope to cope. Articles include: How I Survived a SWAT Team and the truculent So yeah, I’m in the buttermilk. Go shoo yourself.
  13. 4-Ply Toilet Paper Gazette – A magazine geared to rich assh*les. It bills itself as “Soft as a kittens belly.” At the Charmin Softness Awards Ceremony, 4-Ply Toilet Paper managed a clean sweep of all honors – and as we all know, a clean sweep is a rarity for this kind of thing.
  14. Recycled Towel Magazine – This old rag has been wiping up the competition for years with absorbing stories wrung from the fabric of society…OK. I’ll just stop there.
  15. Invisible People Magazine – A magazine for the faceless masses who subscribe to it – the Silent and Unseen Majority. This publication has a short shelf life because it’s written in disappearing ink. The cartoon page is boffo. Shows a busy doctor informing his nurse, “Tell the invisible man I can’t possibly see him today.” And the whole time the invisible patient is standing right there…completely naked.
  16. Bedsore Illustrated – Sports Illustrated rude attempt to parlay their success in the sporting field into the medical field. The February swimsuit edition was a disaster. And after many reader complaints, the scratch and sniff page was discontinued.
  17. Fine Print AficionadoFor people who think small
  18. AARP for Kids – For the pre-retirement demographic of ages 0-12. Prepares youngsters for a rigorous life of early bird dinners, entitlement programs, reverse mortgages and participation trophies in the form of senior discounts you’ve earned simply because you can still fog a mirror. Inaugural issue has Shawn Mendes on the cover. Yeah, I didn’t know who he was either till I Googled him.
  19. Microwave Aficionado – Again, not what you think. This specialized publication glorifies, celebrates and demonstrates methods of very tiny handwaving.
  20. Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific Magazine – Originally published as: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Magazine. For some reason this publication melts in your mouth, not in your hands. Anyway if you’re considering subscribing – Just Do It.
  21. Playman…of a Certain Age – Playboy publication geared for older men. The centerfold is really hard to unfold, like those produce bags at the grocery store. Articles include: How do I Know if She’s Blonde or Brunette if All Her Hair is Gray? And Do Walk-in Bathtubs Ruin the Mood?
  22. Playlady…of a Certain Age – A Playboy publication for women who no longer have to worry about birth control. Features include: How to Gently Suggest to Your Partner It’s Time for a Scrotal Bra and What to Do When the Grandkids Find the Vibrator
  23. Highlights for Dull Normals – A simplified version of Highlights for Children. Sections include: Which Hand is Missing Thumb? and Should You Take It Personally When a Monkey Throws Feces at You?
  24. Better Huts and Gardens – For the paleo-man who prefers to party like it’s 22,000 BC. This instructive periodical informs natives how to make “grub sushi”, how to hollow out a trre trunk to create a very personal commode and what to do when a beaver overstays its welcome.
  25. Them – A semantic hybrid of Us and People, Them magazine focuses on social alienation because you’re you, and not Them. As always each issue of Them is printed in the 3rd person. 
  26. Tissue Magazine – I have every issue of Tissue ever issued, and if I have an issue with Tissue, it’s that I don’t know if it’s about Kleenex (tissue) or sinew (tissue).
  27. You’re Way Too Interested in My Armpits So Get the Hell Away From Me You Creep…Magazine – Whether your armpits are convex or concave this self-defense publication will keep them right where they belong; safely concealed under your shoulders and away from the prying eyes of armpit fetishists. Articles include:
    1. Vegas Pit Boss Tosses Oglers from Caesar’s Who Were Eyeing Women with Arms Akimbo
    2. Is that Museum Visitor Appreciating the Art or Just Staring at the Venus de Milo’s Armpits?
  28. Pharm Living – This Big Pharma publication highlights methods of improving crop yields through the use of non-FDA approved, Vegetable Enhancing Drugs (VEDs). Articles include:
    1. Garnish Industry Rocked by 80 lb. Radishes and 9-foot Parsley Sprigs
    2. Dwarf Fruit Trees Now Dwarf Regular Fruit Trees
    3. Auto Industry Reports a Bumper Crop of Bumpers
  29. Aviation Hour – Companion publication to Aviation Week. Why wait a whole week for aviation news when you can receive hourly updates stuffed directly into your mailbox? A lifeline for OCD pilots. Subscription comes with a complimentary hangar to store all your magazines delivered every hour 24/7. Largest carbon footprint of anything ever printed.
  30. Amish Life – Addresses such questions as:
    1. Amish Identity Crisis: Am I really “Am” or am I just Am-ish?
    2. Trying to Overcome Horse and Buggy Thinking
    3. Is it Morally Wrong to Eat Until You’re Satisfied?
    4. Amish Exorcisms in Southern Pennsylvania: Untainting a Taint
    5. Does God Want Us to Inhale?
    6. Is Gravity Just Holding Us Down, or is There More to It?
    7. If Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, What’s Tidiness Near?
    8. Helga Participated in a Wet Bonnet Contest, We Must Stone Her?

Magazines That Went Bankrupt and the Reasons Thereof

  1. Origami Magazine – Folded
  2. Weight Watchers Digest – Went belly up
  3. 25% Quarterly – Too Redundant
  4. Modern Slavery – The Civil War
  5. Mad Magazine – The Internet
  6. Thyme Magazine – Herbal copycat never stood a chance
  7. Beast Magazine – Was beauty killed the Beast

Newly Discovered Elements Enter the Periodic Table

A table with no legs!
How does it stand?
It stands periodically.

As a college student I worked at a snooty little bistro called The Periodic Table – a restaurant renowned for its primordial soup and Big Bang Burgers. To say The Periodic Table caters to academia would be…ummm, the second sentence in this paragraph (sometimes I just don’t know how to finish a thought). But not only does The Periodic Table cater to academia, they also cater to people who…ummm want food supplied to an event they’re having. Again, sometimes I just don’t know how to finish a thought.

 

The Periodic Table has a superlative staff. Pastry chef Madame Kurie won a MacArthur Genius Award for twice baking half-baked ideas so they’d emerge from the oven as one fully formed idea. I probably could’ve used her help in the first paragraph. After all, she’s a stable genius. I’m just happy to be a wobbly virtuoso.  

 

Susan Williams, the sous chef, can be very argumentative. She often exclaims, “You don’t like my bouillabaisse? Sue me.” She’s shrewd. She knows no one will sue a sous chef named Sue?

 

With Covid-19 protocols in effect the social distancing between elements is a minimum of 6 atoms. It’s strictly enforced by nuclear bouncers carrying electron microscopes. The Periodic Table spun-off a restaurant called the Isotope. Managers mathematically determined the Isotope would last for 20 years, but signed a 10-year lease because they were smart enough to realize the unstable Isotope would have a half-life of 10 years.

 

The Periodic Table is a popular love nest for couples who are carbon dating. Chemistry majors love this semantic den of clever linguistics. For example, chem students can order their milk shakes in three states: solid, liquid or Massachusetts.

 

Most of the tips I received were of the “Hey, don’t do anything Einstein wouldn’t do,” variety. The fallout from working at the Periodic Table added gritty luster to my otherwise geek-dominated résumé (1st chair high school triangle, Chess Club equipment manager, foster home for orphaned light sabers). Unfortunately the money I earned had a half-life faster than radium and I spent money like an “unstable Cesium-137 atom decaying in a nuclear chain reaction” (I never get tired of that old expression). And even though I spent most of the money on ginkgo biloba, I could never quite remember where it all went.

 

I hope you enjoyed this overture to my list of newly discovered elements. Elements that all have one thing in common. They radiate humor:

  1. Shelium – Newly discovered sister element to Helium. Oddly enough when you inhale it, it makes your voice deeper. And even though Shelium is lighter than air, it always thinks it’s fat.
  2. Fartium – At first it was thought to be a Noble Gas. But after just one whiff you knew…it ain’t so noble.
  3. Cranium – This element is a head case
  4. Copper – Not that kind of copper. In fact, not really an element at all. It’s what gangsters called a policeman in the 1930s.
  5. Miseryium – Not much is known about this dark matter other than Miseryium loves company
  6. Moronium – An element that only seems to affect other people’s intelligence
  7. Acronymium – BTW, Scientists believe Acronymium stands for something, but FYI, they don’t know what…LOL
  8. Belgium – Not an element. Just a shout out to the country of Belgium.
  9. Tamponium – Tamponium will always have a seat at any Periodic Table – usually once a month.
  10. Yumyumium – What Chinese restaurants sprinkle on food to make it taste better
  11. Conundrum – Scientists are still trying to figure out just where this perplexing element fits in
  12. Viagrium – A lot like zirconium in that it’s not an authentic rock-hard diamond, but no one seems to mind and actually appreciate it nonetheless. Warning: If its half-life last longer than 8 hours – see a mechanic – a quantum mechanic.
  13. Blamium – It’s always somebody else’s element. Eventually decays into an Inferiority Complex.
  14. Blamium-238 – A rare isotope causes complainers to reassess their lives and admit “mea culpa
  15. Sherlockium – Elementary, my dear reader. Also available in the sarcastic isotope, No Sh*t Sherlockium
  16. Steakumms – Found in your refrigerator. At least that’s where I thaw it.
  17. Mormonium – The only element that thinks it’s acceptable to marry with the electrons of more than one atom
  18. Cofault – When cobalt decays and makes a mistake it becomes Cofault
  19. Cobalt – makes you feel blue
  20. Codependentbaltenables cobalt to make you feel blue
  21. Meme-ium – That thing where “We haz no cheezburgers”
  22. Virginium – An element of unblemished purity. High concentrations found in Ivory Soap and Promise Rings
  23. Tounguestun – When a taser accidentally hits your tongue
  24. Palladium – Amphitheater shaped element. The Beatles played there in 1964
  25. Homonymium – Sounds just like an element, but it isn’t. Prefers the orbits of its own kind, as opposed to Heteronymium.
  26. Synonymian – An element that can be substituted for any other element
  27. Cinemanium – What a drunk scientist calls a movie theater
  28. Sinamonium – Too much of this element and you won’t get into Heavenium
  29. Cinnamonium – Above a certain threshold and you develop and overwhelming desire to move to Cincinnati. Also tasty sprinkled on toast.
  30. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is your relationship with yourself. Not an element. Just wanted to send you a little preachy reminder in an Oprah kind of way. I zinc it’s important to remember this.

Lesser Known Catholic Saints (and a small lesson in parallel universes)

Maybe I’m attempting too much here, but I’ve only got so much time left and I’m determined to spend it like a drunken sailor.

~ Presenting 6 parallel introductions of the same topic. Each with its own inherent bias ~

  1. The Generous and Funny Introduction: In all of Christendom, the revered Catholic Church is far and away the most consequential. For millennia the resolute Church has provided a dependable sanctuary and a loving interpretation of Christ’s moral philosophy. And even in the darkest of ages, it has been a beacon of hope and a light unto the world. And I use the phrase “unto the world” instead of “in the world” because “unto the world” smacks of greater religious authority. In order to generate even more gravitas in the future, I might rollout out a “thee” or a “thou” and maybe even a few “thines” but I’ll try not to be holier than thou (see, it works). What can you say about an exemplary religion that’s spawned more copycat wannabees than Madonna did in her heyday (and here I’m referring to Madonna the singer, not to Madonna Jesus’s mom)? Sometimes spin-offs work (Doritos begat Nacho Doritos) and sometimes they don’t (Catholicism begat the Amish). Not to disparage the Amish, but my idea of horsepower and their idea of horse power are two very different things.

 

  1. The Damning with Faint Praise Introduction: Of all the Christian sects, the glamorous Catholic Church is far and away the most Hollywood. Tinseltown’s glittery flair seems to have informed the Church’s practices and even decorated their Christmas trees. What can you say about a steadfast religion that’s resisted secular relativism and spawned more spinoffs than Fast and Furious? Sometimes spin-offs work (Chevrolet begat the Corvette) and sometimes they don’t (Chevy also begat the Chevette). Not to disparage Chevrolet, but my idea of horsepower and a Chevette’s idea of horsepower are two very different things.

 

  1. The Contemptuous Zoological Introduction that Goes Off the Rails: Of all the animals in the Christian Zoo, the outsized Catholic Church is the elephant in the room no one wants to clean-up after. In the menagerie of Christian denominations masquerading as the ultimate path to God, Catholicism has the biggest footprint – and why wouldn’t it? It’s the elephant in the room with 4 huge stamping feet that parishioners hope will walk softly and carry a big trunk. What can you say about a religion that’s spawned more spinoffs than an RC Cola accidentally set on a Tommy Dorsey record played at 78 rpms? Make that a Jimmy Dorsey record. In fact make that a reference from less than 80 years ago that people might possibly understand or appreciate. Clearly, I’ve got work to do and I implore you to stay with me and keep reading. You can get back to the familiar satisfaction of your iPhone in 10 minutes, I promise. Hmmmm…but what if you’re on your iPhone now reading this. Suddenly it’s Alice through the looking glass and a tsunami of anxiety overwhelms me. This is no time for a panic attack and yet this fretful, disjointed introduction is a panic attack just waiting to happen. Check that. Oh sh*t! It’s not waiting. It’s happening. Right now…to me. Jesus, where’s writer’s block when you need it. As I hyperventilate and begin rocking back and forth, a semantic question pierces my anxiety: Did writers who lived behind the Soviet’s Iron Curtain suffer from Writers’ Bloc?  

 

  1. The Vacuous, Out-to-Lunch Introduction: Of all the Christian sects, the Catholic Church is one of them. It’s a big one. Elephant big. The Church knows it’s important to be good (or at least to not get caught doing anything bad). But if you are caught, you are invited to confess to a priest and all is forgiven. The idea of being good seems to have informed their practices and is somehow indirectly responsible for all the glorious decorations on their Church ceilings. What can you say about a legacy religion that’s spawned more spinoffs than Pepperidge Farm has with their cookies? Sometimes spin-offs work (Darth Vader begat Luke Skywalker) and sometimes they don’t (Hamburger Helper begat Pancreas Helper). Not to disparage all other religions, but…oh forget #4. I’m just relieved my panic attack is over.

 

  1. The Unforgiving Malevolent Introduction: Of all the Christian sex, the unpoliced Catholic Church has far and away screwed everybody the most. Unvetted priests have groomed and corrupted impressionable followers in the most irreligious ways imaginable. Self-serving silence seems to have informed their practices, even at the cost of millions in settlements and untold psychic harm. What can you say about a religion that spun-off a Hall of Fame to enshrine its most luminous players – they call it Sainthood? Sometimes spin-offs work (The Pirates of the Caribbean ride begat The Pirates of the Caribbean movie) and sometimes they don’t (The Pirates of the Caribbean ride begat The Pirates of the Caribbean movie). I guess it all depends on your perspective in judging whether something works or not. Not to disparage Johnny Depp, but his imitation of Keith Richards as Capt. Jack Sparrow gives no Satisfaction.

 

  1. The Even-Handed, Glossed Over Introduction (so we may finally get on with our entertaining little story): The Catholic Church has done its god damned best to attend to its needy flock. Sometimes they’ve fallen short, but not for a lack of good intentions. Whether Crusading through Europe, or just gently interrogating the Spanish to make sure they were really, truly Catholic, the Church always had its heart in the right place. Sometimes that heart had only 2 creaky chambers distributing the milk of human kindness stingily and unevenly, instead of 4 robust chambers pounding out truth and justice equally to all seekers. What can you say about an institution that’s produced more copycat religions than there are copycat Beatles tribute bands? Not to disparage these tribute bands, but my idea of revolution and their idea of Revolution are two very different things. At any rate, our evolution can only happen at a speed we can handle. Godspeed everyone!

And Now We Begin Our Story

Similar to the way Steven “Book of” Jobs founded Apple by tinkering in his dad’s garage, Jesus started writing code for his start-up cult in his dad’s stable. Sometimes Joseph would poke his head in and suspiciously inquire, “Jesus Christ, what’s going on in here?”

To which his exasperated son would reply, “Daaaad! I told you, I’m formulating a moral philosophy for mankind to live by.”

“Yeah sure son. Every night for 6 months?,” Joseph would huff in Aramaic. “I’m not sure what’s going on in here, but I smell frankincense.”

“I told you dad. I got that as a gift when I was born. It helps me to think.” Jesus explained. Read the rest of this entry »