How to Engage in Pre-Fight Smack Talk

There was an arcade game called Violence Fight.

I’ll provide a link to a video of the gameplay in a moment, but before I do, you know how sometimes when something is translated from one language to another, some of the beauty or meaning of the original is diminished, and we say that something was “lost in translation?” I’m pretty sure that in the case of Violence Fight, a great deal was gained in translation.

Here’s the link. It should start a couple of minutes into the video. Please wait through the still image of the stage magician and the shiny shirtless man pointing out at the viewer, declaring “Next you!” You’ll be rewarded with the honor of watching an epic fight between two men named “Bad Blue” and “Lick Joe.” 

 

 

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How to Wring All of the Meaning Out of an Old Saying

The first time I ever heard the song You Can’t Always Get What You Want was at a high school pep rally. My mother mostly listened to Johnny Paycheck. My father preferred Polkas. Neither of them really liked . . . music.

Anyway, about the pep rally. Our basketball team was set to play another basketball team, and we were holding a rally to let our basketball team know that we hoped they did good at basketball. As part of the entertainment, the pep squad had prepared what I can only describe as a “skit.” (Note: if you ever want to make a professional comedian angry, whether they’re a stand-up, an improviser, or an actor, call their performance a skit. NOBODY likes that!)

Sorry, I got off topic. The “skit” in question was built on the never-fail comedic principal that taking two jocks, putting them in dresses, and making them dance is a one-way ticket to hilarity. The two poor saps in question danced to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” About halfway through, it occurred to me that the thing they wanted, but couldn’t get, was for the song to end after the first chorus, instead of playing for its entire length.

I learned many lessons about comedy at that pep rally.

 

 

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How to Unify Newtonian Physics and Quantum Mechanics

I find physics to be a fascinating topic. I have, at times, wondered if I would find it even more interesting if I really understood it.

I did once have a job where one of my superiors would drive his car in occasionally, and would have me move his car every hour and a half so that he wouldn’t get a ticket. It was a bit menial, and I didn’t feel good about helping a much wealthier man avoid paying for parking, but on the plus side, I would get several chances a day to pass gas in my boss’s car! That, my friends, is priceless. Crass, but priceless!

 

 

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How to Demonstrate Your Enthusiasm for a Movie

I still say that if they’d only had the will to make it, that product would have sold.

Rereading this comic, I got to thinking about the rubber Hulk fists. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I prefer the Thing over the Hulk. Just to see if they were available, I did a quick google search for “rubber thing fist.” Looking at the results, I had to laugh, and ask myself what I actually expected when I punched those words into a search engine in the first place.

Note from Missy: I love the sneaky “you could use a second t-shirt” in the second panel. Classic dis!

 

 

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How to Handle a Know-It-All

I did have an argument with someone who stated, as if it were an incontrovertible fact, that WALL-E was just a rip-off of Short Circuit. The person with whom I was arguing had not yet seen WALL-E, and had never seen Short Circuit. I had seen both movies, and explained that as near as I could tell, the only thing they had in common is that they both starred robots that had tank treads, and two cameras for eyes.

The other person’s rebuttal was to look at me like I was equal parts naïve and crazy, and say, “Yeah, but still.”

You might say that I won the argument. I’ve certainly said that more than once, but sitting here just now it occurred to me that I’m still irritated about the argument, while the other person has probably forgotten that I even exist. I ask you, is that “winning”?

 

 

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How to Make a Good Impression At a Job Interview

I did once try the “My only flaw as an employee is that I care too much about the quality of my work” gambit. I didn’t get the job. At first I assumed it was because the interviewer figured I was lying, but later I realized that he probably checked with my supervisors (the interview was for a transfer to a new location within the company I worked for at the time) and was likely told that I had recently gotten into a dispute with a coworker about how the poor quality of their work made us all look like idiots.

I’m probably the only person in the history of the “My flaw is that I care too much” gambit to lose out on a job because the statement was provably true.

 

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How to Win at Monopoly Without Losing a Friend

I’m good at Monopoly, or at least I used to be. People stopped playing with me after a while.

It’s not like I’d rub it in when I won. I pride myself on not gloating. It’s just that the game of Monopoly sort of has rubbing it in built into the game. It’s rare to lose quickly at Monopoly. Usually, getting beaten takes about an hour. It’s a well-known feature of the game, so much so that on the rare occasion that someone does get decimated in one or two turns, it’s all the more embarrassing for them.

 

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How to Drive a Long Distance

I always say that I was a professional comedian for twelve years, but because I was clinging to the bottom few rungs of the showbiz ladder, and I was doing so in the American Northwest, really, I was more of a professional driver than an entertainer.

If someone offered me a job driving my own car, paying for my own fuel, going eight to twelve hours a day, four or five days in a row, usually with some obnoxious person I didn’t enjoy sitting in the passenger seat for $100 or so dollars a day, there’s no way I’d take it. But when I was in my twenties, if they added me doing my act in a bar when I arrived at my destination every night, I took the job and thanked them for the opportunity.

I was, in short, a moron.

On an unrelated note, The last panel was done as a favor for a reader who worked for a trucking company and hoped my comic would be good for the drivers’ morale. I don’t know if it worked, but they sent me a nice hat with the company logo on it, which I still have.

 

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How to Compete to the Utmost

Battleship was a great game. It was fun, simple, portable, and inexpensive. Then they improved it.

I remember the first time I saw “Electronic Battleship.” The game board was a big, bulky, and heavy, and programming it to play a game was more challenging than the game itself.

On a more positive note, to this day, when trying to psyche myself up for things, I will still mutter “Eye of the tiger. Hungry like the wolf. Walk like an Egyptian.”

 

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How to Learn the Error of Your Ways from Three Ghosts That Visit You on Christmas Eve

When Ric and I first met, we were both comedians. He was much farther along in his career than I was. Still, “mentor” is too strong a term for his place in my career. I’d describe his role as being somewhere between “occasional advisor” and “cautionary example.”

We knew a guy who taught a stand-up comedy class. He would occasionally ask comedians to speak at his classes. He never asked me or Ric to speak. We once spent a large portion of a drive to a gig thinking about what we would say if he did. Here are the few things we came up with that I remember:

“Fear can keep you alive.”

“A wish to be famous is a terrible reason to go into comedy. A wish to pay your bills is an even worse reason.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned traveling the country doing comedy, it’s this: ‘People hate comedians.’”

 

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