Thursday, November 09, 2006

Skills I Possess that I Thought Would Come in Handier Than They Have

1. Knowing all of the lyrics to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire", REM's "It's the End of the World as we Know It", and the McDonald's "Big Mac, McBLT, a quarter pounder with some cheese" jingle. I need to reiterate that I was a rural latchkey kid and had a lot of time on my hands. I don't know why I painstakingly worked these lyrics out (pre-Internet lyrics search), or what expectations I had; when karaoke came around, I thought I'd finally see some validation, but "ITEoftheWAWKI*" is perhaps the most boring performance piece known to man. The only way to inspire less applause is to sing it in binary.
* What to do with the 3 seconds of time I saved by using an acronym here, what to do.

2. Ability to open champagne bottles without whimpering like a girl. Sure, there've been momentary triumphs here and there, but on the whole, this hasn't taken me as far in life as I'd like. I wait for the day when some rich older woman desperately needs some champers popped and no one's man enough to do it. I swoop in, pop the top, and she's so grateful she gives me a sweet job designing storefront windows for the large, ritzy department store she happens to own. Like you've never seen Mannequin either.

You look awfully proud for a guy fucking an inanimate object.

3. CPR. Why there's a certification for this, and why I had to get it, I don't understand. If my heart stops beating, I'm not going to ask to see credentials. At that point, if you can vaguely approximate my torso, you're tops in my book. Also, TV led me to believe that people dropping dead in public spaces was a far more routine occurrence than it actually is. I feel almost wistful about that.

4. The times table for 11. I don't know the universal forces behind it, but I have never once had to multiply something by 11. I know this portends that I'm going to die on November 11 when crushed by a giant 11 or something along those lines, but I'm just saying, 15 would have been more useful.

5. Balloon animal making**. My dad, an amateur magician, decided to learn to make them for some of his younger patients, and again, without a driver's license, I was a prisoner in my own home, so I took up the art to help pass the time. It just seemed like it would come in handy. Everyone loves balloon animals. Who doesn't have a quaint story about that time, with the balloon animal, and that guy and a girl, that mom and crying kid, that cobblestone park? Maybe it's not your story, maybe it's a friend's, or a friend of a friend's, or maybe you're thinking of a movie in which there was a quaint story about a balloon animal, and a guy and a girl, a mom and crying kid, a cobblestone park. The point is, it seemed as though at some moment, a well-timed balloon animal would just make the fucking story. It has yet to.
**We're not talking that dog and sword crap. I do a such a good monkey you half expect it to throw its own shit.

6. The Radio Alphabet (alpha bravo charlie). Don't remember how I picked this up (I'm gonna guess it was that time I was stranded on a submarine for six months), but as my name is ridiculously common and easily heard, I have yet to whisper the sweet nothings of "Juliet Echo November" into anyone's ear. Barring any sort of sudden career switch to midshipmen, I'm saddened by the 80s song lyrics that will be lost in retaining this knowledge. Also, random thought, it would suck to actually be named "Alpha Bravo Charlie". Every conversation you'd have with customer service would play like an Abbott and Costello routine.

Golf Alpha Yankee

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7 Comments:

At November 10, 2006 7:58 AM, Anonymous asian eric said...

brilliant, as usual. i think i actually have that old plastic record with the mcdonalds song on it. wasn't it part of some contest? you are the only other person i think who remembers this. i think it was an upstate new york conspiracy.

 
At November 10, 2006 8:26 AM, Anonymous Jessexy said...

I know exactly how you learned the naval alphabet. It was during our trip to San Diego in 2000. That's what happens when you're in a fun town and 20 years old with no fake IDs.

Asian Eric - I now remember having that mini plastic record myself. Man, my parents HATED that thing, cuz I played it non-stop. For at least 20 minutes before getting bored with it/it broke.

 
At November 10, 2006 8:22 PM, Blogger balloon-animals said...

if you want to learn how to make balloon animals, got http://www.balloon-animals.com

I have free video clips on how to make balloon animals.

 
At November 11, 2006 8:34 PM, Blogger TFKoP said...

Though I confess to liking REM's "ITEoftheWAWKI", I have to point out something I didn't learn on my own, but was taught all through my early schooling that has yet to help out with ANYTHING: the squat-thrust excercise.

Okay, I can understand that learning how to do pull ups would come in handy if I'm hanging off the edge of a cliff....pull yourself up.

And learning how to run is good for getting away from bad situations (or crazy girlfriends), but the squat-thrust? HELLO! No use for it.

And besides, it looks goofy as hell when you have to do it.

 
At November 13, 2006 1:46 PM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

I taught myself the 12 tables during one insomniac childhood night, and it has actually been useful because 12 inches is a foot. Who knew?

I also learned Morse code because my older brother dabbled in being a ham. (!) It has been utterly useless to me as a life skill, but he's still a big ham.

 
At November 27, 2006 2:13 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

I've got nothing truly useful to contribute here, beyond my profound admiration for your writing skill and sense of humour...

Oh, unless you want to teach me how to make a balloon monkey in exchange for lessons on picking locks? Learned that skill from The Boy with the beat-up Mustang back in high school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Opening a lock with a safety pin or such - now there's a skill you'd think should come in handy, right? But nooo. Shoulda spent my time hanging out at the naval yards and working on that Alpha Bravo Charlie...

Anyway, thanks for some darned fine reading material on your blog!
:-) Jen

 
At December 01, 2006 1:40 PM, Anonymous amish said...

Can't stop laughing....

 

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