M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, April 30, 2003  

Reader Mail Slot, Episode XII

Today marks the twelfth installment of my one and only regular monthly feature, the Reader Mail Slot. Some folks might call that a year. And to think I started this off with completely made-up e-mails. Now I only use real e-mails with completely made-up answers.

The one thing I’ve learned is that you can never tell what people are going to respond to. I thought the horror story about Trash finding bug parts in her pudding container would trigger a avalanche of missives. Which it did, but it was an avalanche of one. Zen Viking offered:

1. Insects are good for you. Excellent source of formic acid (well, ants are, anyway). Plenty of world cuisines make use of various larvae and bugs. Trash is just ahead of her time, as usual. Just wait: "Amazonian grubworm with chili-lime salsa" can't be more than two or three menus in Chino Latino's future.

I can’t comment on Chino Latino’s future, because I’m not in it.

2. Think carefully. FREE CRATE OF PUDDING. What could be wrong with that?

3. No, think more carefully. Nobody says you got to eat the stuff. Heh heh heh heh.

I can only assume this is a reference to a story ZV once told me about his stepfather filling (or attempting to fill or planning to fill) somebody’s Volkswagen with rich, creamy Jell-O™ pudding back in college. I’m sketchy on the details, but I think that the execution called for the use of a cement mixer.

4. And anyhow, it's probably one of the larger consumer product-healthcare-food conglomerates, right? They might send a crate of pudding, or a set of 4 wet-traction radial tires, or a new DVD-ROM drive. If she bought the pudding at Wal-Mart, you may never need to shop again. Ever.

It is indeed a sizable conglomerate, so I was kind of hoping for a goodly chunk of Asia. What we got instead was a three-dollar gift certificate and a request to mail them the “foreign matter” so they could pursue it further.

Mail the foreign matter? Doesn’t the US Postal Service have rules against this kind of thing? Or do they have special “bug fragment” envelopes with special “mail-a-bug” shipping rates?

In any case, Trash had already thrown away the “foreign matter,” and the surrounding non-foreign matter, and the cup containing the foreign and non-foreign matter, and the papers the cup had been sitting on, and the furniture the papers had been sitting on. And then we moved to a different city. All we can do now is use our three-dollar gift certificate to buy more pudding, and mail them the bug we find in that.

Learn from my mistakes, people. I love to hear from people who have already done that. Like Sayer here, who writes on behalf of herself and a friend:

Having read your blog frequently of late, it was with great trepidation that I recently washed my beloved new scarf. Suffice it to say I learned a great deal from the death of your scarf. It did not die in vain.

Sayer and her scarf "Spiffy"

I’m happy that Sayer was able to avoid my grief and heartache. What really pleases me, however, is that her scarf is apparently now sentient and able to co-sign e-mails. I’d ask how she did it, but then I’d have something around my neck that is capable of getting pissed off at me when I shut it in the car door. That kind of stress I don’t need.

I also expected that my complimentary post about the exemplary customer service available from the IRS would trigger a firestorm of e-mail from pissed-off taxpayers. But apparently the pissed-off taxpayers, if there are any, are too busy complaining directly to the IRS to bother with me. Which left me with this from Sundara:

I just had to tell you that I had the same experience with an IRS customer service person on the phone a couple years ago. The woman was fabulous. I've never dealt with anyone on any sort of customer service phone line with any company that was as kind, thoughtful, polite and helpful as the IRS woman. But my positive IRS experiences don't stop there. Two years ago, I got a random check for several hundred dollars from the IRS. It was the same year that everyone was getting their $300 "refund" from the government, so I was pretty confused, as I had gotten that check a week or two previously. So I called up the IRS and apparently, I can't add. I'm still not sure what I did, but I grossly underestimated the amount of my refund. The IRS noticed, fixed the error, and sent me a check for what they owed me. How great is that? And then, ‘cause I still can't add, I did it again this year. They noticed, let me know, and I just got a check for another several hundred dollars. I LOVE the IRS. Love them.

In my entry, I mentioned that I screw up the taxes somehow every year, but that hasn’t always been the case. Trash used to be the one who messed up. She miscalculated the amount of our return two or three years in a row, and the government sent us a bigger check than we expected. It figures that my mistakes end up costing us time and money, while hers are a decent source of income.

The shortfall in responses to posts about entomophagia and income tax was made up for by more innocuous topics. One of them was softball, which prompted a tip from Gwynn:

As! Seen! On! TV!

I always hated chasing after the balls myself. Of course, this may sort of defeat the purpose of going outside and seeing nature and blah-ti-blah, but you know, I had to share.

Okay, here’s what worries me about the kid at the Hit-A-Lot site. He’s got a bat. He’s got a batting helmet. He’s got batting gloves. He’s got a pristine baseball uniform, complete with pants. I never had uniform pants. Where’s his team? He’s swinging away in full regalia, but he doesn’t have anyone to pitch balls to him or catch whatever he hits or misses. This tells me that he either a) has alienated the rest of his team so thoroughly that they make him go off to a far corner of the park and play by himself on game days, b) lives in a sports-geek version of the fantasy world inhabited by people who don orange flight suits to play Rogue Squadron II on the GameCube, or c) killed his teammates and sold off their organs on the black market to buy all his fancy gear. And I’m supposed to want to emulate this person? I’d much rather emulate Julie:

I'm a big slowpitch softball geek—I play on two teams. Neither one is very good, but we have a lot of fun.

Wow, I never thought about playing on two teams. If I’d done that when I was a kid, one of my teams probably would have won once in a while. Like, when it played the other one of my teams.

The biggest reaction, though, was to a link that was practically a throwaway line earlier this week about neti pots. Here’s what one of the Two Bobs had to say:


So far, so good.

If you're going to do a write up and drop links to sites on nose enemas, do us all a favor and -- I don't know -- WARN us or something. It wasn't good enough for you to coyly drop that crap on neti pots into your entry, was it? You had to make us WANT to Google it. And then find there's actually a friggin market for this practice. And that there are even infomercials for the practice. AN INFOMERCIAL! In which the bodacious young woman fills a neti pot and proceeds to douche out her nose with a saline solution. So there she was, smiling demurely—think of those pissing cherubs in medieval gardens—as a fountain of snot water blew through her nasal cavities. It was sick. Sick, I tell you.

When you say “sick,” do you really mean “hot?” Some people might be into that, you know. Judging from some of the Google hits I get, I would be surprised if nobody was. In fact, I should drop the subject lest I become the top site on Google searches for neti pot porn. Especially now that I’ve just used that phrase.

And you're gonna have to answer for this emotional scarring you've caused. Mark me.

Sounds like I already have. Emotionally, I mean.

Here’s the thing about why I write this blog. I want to be able to make you examine your very existence, search your life for meaning. Or even, once in a while, just make you think about something in a way you’ve never thought about it before. Failing that, I want to get a couple of cheap laughs. Failing that, I’ll settle for inflicting some emotional scars.

To that end, here’s a link to the infomercial that the Bob included in his e-mail. If it doesn’t work, just go to the Nutraceutic home page and navigate from there. And if that doesn’t work, count yourself fortunate. Neti pot porn isn’t for everyone.

Be sure to come back next month, when the second year of the Reader Mail Slot kicks off with your feedback regarding topics I just know you won’t be able to resist commenting on. Or perhaps you will.

posted by M. Giant 3:47 PM 0 comments


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