Beware of radical mint enthusiasts

Written by David Leonhardt

Some things are as boring asrepparttar dust that clings to your TV screen.

Take toothpaste, for example. If you happen to be a radical mint enthusiast, brushing your teeth might berepparttar 118249 highlight of your day. You might haverepparttar 118250 shiniest teeth in town. You might not want to interrupt your brushing for dinner ... unlessrepparttar 118251 menu includes mint jelly pâté.

I remember one of my favorite comic strips, when Adam was trying so hard to diet. Of course, my memory is fading faster than my jeans, but here is roughly how it went:

FRAME ONE: Adam is sneaking back into bed, when his wife asks if he had been snacking.

FRAME TWO: She gives him a passionate kiss ... or at least as passionate as a two-dimensional, black and white cartoon character can give.

FRAME THREE: No. All "fresh and minty", she concludes.

FRAME FOUR: Adam thinks to himself: "Should be. I ate three tubes of toothpaste."

For those of us who use toothpaste for brushing, it is at best bearable. There is obviously collusion atrepparttar 118252 highest levels ofrepparttar 118253 mint flavor industry to squash our democratic right to a full range of toothpaste flavors.

But what ifrepparttar 118254 Big Mint stranglehold could be broken? What if brushing our teeth could become a custom-designed exhilaration? What if toothpaste came in as many flavors as, say, jelly beans?

We recently tried some new jelly bean flavors on our wedding anniversary. (Oh, come on. What could be more romantic than a romp throughrepparttar 118255 jelly bean dispensers?)

The strawberry daiquiri jelly beans tasted delicious. So didrepparttar 118256 strawberry cheesecake ones. The buttered popcorn ones were so-so, butrepparttar 118257 caramel popcorn jelly beans were oh-so yummy.

We triedrepparttar 118258 chocolate fudge flavor andrepparttar 118259 chocolate pudding flavor, but we passed overrepparttar 118260 chocolate covered grasshopper flavor.

They had three kinds of melon, four flavors of apple and three different toffee flavored jelly beans. But toothpaste comes in just mint. Do I hear you say, "Conspiracy theory"?

Stupidity: Its Uses & Abuses

Written by Robert Levin

It’s time to take punitive action against an insidious and rapidly proliferating menace to our emotional well being. I’m speaking, of course, of "service industry" people who are embracingrepparttar dumbing down craze too enthusiastically and who, doubtless incapable of even masturbating by themselves any more, regularly perpetrate nerve-rattling, mood-curdling, faculty-numbing and spirit-withering indignities against us.

Let me hasten to say that I value stupidity as much asrepparttar 118248 next man. I do. Stupidity is, after all,repparttar 118249 best solution we’ve come up with torepparttar 118250 mother of all problems itself,repparttar 118251 problem of being mortal. Enabling us to recastrepparttar 118252 grimmest of existential givens—making it possible to believe not only that we’ve seenrepparttar 118253 image of Johnrepparttar 118254 Baptist on two separate taco chips but that our sightings are proof-positive of a Second Coming andrepparttar 118255 prospect of salvation and eternal life—stupidity isrepparttar 118256 most effective means available to reduce terror and panic (the human default condition) to a relatively tolerable disquietude. So I respect stupidity. Okay? I think, in fact, that stupidity has been, sincerepparttar 118257 origin of consciousness, a marvel of human resourcefulness. Indeed, as a response torepparttar 118258 human condition, I think that stupidity is rivaled in its genius only by schizophrenia!

But while my regard for stupidity is equal to anyone’s, I also think it’s important to remember that (if for no other reason than simple decency)repparttar 118259 ancient Greek admonition, "anything in moderation," has application even here. I mean for all of its utility as a buffer against existential dread, stupidity is an unruly thing that can have—when it’s exercised intemperately, when no effort is made to confine it to its purpose—a very negative impact on people who are subjected to it. Yes, it’s crucial to our ability to function at all that we not always recognize too clearly that death is both inevitable and final. But if you’re a bank teller it can pose a major challenge to your customer’s medication when you’ve truncated your brain so drastically that you can’t be certain if it’s Ben Franklin or Tom Snyder who appears on a hundred-dollar bill. (Hold this last thought for just a moment.)

Now to illustrate my point I could discussrepparttar 118260 conduct of innumerable emotional shitheels who, in just this past month, used stupidity irresponsibly and, to grievous effect, tracked their slovenly handling ofrepparttar 118261 problem of living into my life.

I’m thinking of clerks, counterpeople and company representatives—AND NONE OF THEM FOREIGN BORN—who reduced my own circuits to flakes of carbon when they obliged me to restrict my vocabulary torepparttar 118262 dozen or so English words they were able to comprehend.

And remaining vivid in my memory are two cashiers, one of whom insisted that $42 for a quart of orange juice HAD to be correct because it was "right there onrepparttar 118263 register," andrepparttar 118264 other who demonstrated an appalling literalness.

Inrepparttar 118265 case ofrepparttar 118266 latter individual: After I placed some half-dozen items in front of him and was reaching for my wallet, he asked me (rhetorically, I assumed) if I was taking them. When I joked that no, I wasn’t, that I liked to go into stores and moverepparttar 118267 stock around, he became irate, bellowed that I must be "some kind of weirdo" to do such a thing and demanded that I leave.

The orange juice jerkoff caused some nasty chemicals to spill in my brain that still haven’t stopped flushing through me. The second bastard triggered a twenty-four-hour period in which I experienced a profound reluctance to leave my apartment, answerrepparttar 118268 phone or take any kind of nourishment.

No, I didn’t make those people up.

But of allrepparttar 118269 recklessly moronic lowlifes I encountered in this brief time frame,repparttar 118270 one that best personifiedrepparttar 118271 scourge I’m addressing wasrepparttar 118272 aforementioned teller, who, when I asked her to make smaller denominations of a large bill SHE’D just slid toward ME, took a long look at it, said, "Wait a minute, something’s very wrong here." Then said, "No, it’s okay." Then said, "This CAN’T be right—I don’t think he’s even onrepparttar 118273 air anymore." And then announced thatrepparttar 118274 bill was counterfeit and that she’d have to confiscate it—without compensating me. (Apparently, having touched it, I’d technically been in possession ofrepparttar 118275 bill—and no, I SWEAR, I didn’t make this lowlife up either.)

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