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• Childhood Misconceptions That Distorted My Worldview — A Special Series — Part II: Jerry Seinfeld is a Robot Monster

Remember video tapes? Remember VCRs? Remember scheduled television programming? Teehee.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s when I was a child, my father used to tape things that I liked off television for me with our VCR.

My parents still have a few videos labeled in my dad’s handwriting with my name and an assigned number, each containing various bits and pieces of late ‘80s and early ‘90s television and commercials like the episode of Small Wonder I had to miss when I went to the eye doctor, Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Belvedere, Family Ties, Mickey’s Christmas Carol and more.

We had also taped the telefilm The Muppets at Disney World.

That was when I realized that Kermit the Frog was on both The Muppets and Sesame Street, and I thought he was some sort of multi-talented guy who was hired to do a lot of varied work because of his high demand.

But aside from that, whenever that happened to show on television, at the end it cut to a piece of the Seinfeld series. It was one of the bits of live stand-up that bookends each episode, and for some reason the speed on either the tape or the television had been messed up there.

"010111 011010 1001 01010 10100 11010!"

Jerry Seinfeld looked like a regular guy in a sport coat holding a microphone on a stage, but suddenly when he spoke, he was monstrous. His voice was low-pitched and robotic and horrifying and it scared me shitless.

I thought that was how he actually talked.

And I couldn’t understand what he was saying because it was so slowed down, but I thought that surely he was wailing about what happened to his voice.

Whenever I went back to watch that video tape, I always made sure to avoid the part where Jerry Seinfeld appeared, either by stopping the tape or fast forwarding him away, so I wouldn’t have to hear his slow, tinny lament about his plight.

I never gave Jerry Seinfeld another chance because I was just too fragile to ever want to know what happened to his vocal chords. And besides, if he was once normal and now talked like that, he must also have been evil and wanted to destroy.

It was not until later in life that I came across Jerry Seinfeld on a rerun of Seinfeld and realized that he talks like a regular guy. He was just a comedian with a New York apartment who had friends whom he didn’t want to kill with metallic transformer body parts for revenge or anything.

And really, the earlier I could have known that Jerry Seinfeld wasn’t an evil machine, the better.

*Photo from Design Originale.

• Childhood Misconceptions That Distorted My Worldview – A Special Series – Part I: People Can Claim Sanctuary In Places Of Worship

When I was a small child, I arrived at a lot of incorrect conclusions about life based on assumptions, incomplete pictures of the world that grown-ups gave me, and innocent misunderstanding. Grappling with a big world without having been alive for very long sometimes led to confusion about where things come from or why circumstances are the way they are. I understood certain concepts as “rules” of the way the world worked, without having lived enough to have experienced counterexamples.

Unfortunately for me now, I have a vivid recollection of the majority of my childhood, and so I often remember these misconceptions as something that I have only recently shed. So, my initial childhood misconception might arise in my mind as a reflex, but then I must remind myself that we don’t think that anymore because we learned otherwise.

So, I bring you this special series on childhood misconceptions that distorted my worldview.

__________

This installment of the series is on a piece of incorrect knowledge where for some reason, for a good amount of my childhood, I thought that if someone was ever in danger and ran into any place of worship, no one could chase them in, and they were immune to any form of harm. I thought that this was a universally respected form of sanctuary, and even the evilest of the evil in the world understood that they simply would not be allowed to follow someone into a place of worship if their intention was to harm them. And even if they tried, they would be forcibly prevented.

I think this was before I found out that authorities still chase people into places of worship or can fail to prevent others from destroying places of worship altogether because someone they are targeting might be inside.

I don’t remember what debunked this misconception for me, but I remembered it at an odd time this year.

When I was in Egypt last month, some of those participating in the sit-in that started in Tahrir Square, Cairo from 8 July until 1 August were involved in a march on 23 July that went from Tahrir Square to the military headquarters at the Ministry of Defense. I went there, and the military and the people protesting were set up to occupy an area near a large mosque.

If you read any of my tweets from that day on my Twitter timeline, you will see that they are mostly about how badly I had to pee.

It was unbelievably hot that day, as was every day I was in Egypt during that trip, and I am really obsessive about keeping hydrated. Even in the coldest of weather, I consistently consume a few liters of water every day. I just have to or else I get really desperately crazy.

I had been through a lot of water before leaving home and another bottle of water on the way there, and so I pretty much had to pee well before I even arrived.

I stopped caring about the protest and started caring about the fact that all the businesses, shops, restaurants and pharmacies on the way to the military headquarters closed early because of the march/protest, which meant no public bathrooms.

I was on the verge of going door to door at the residences to ask to use someone’s toilet, but none of the locals seemed particularly pleased that there was a protest happening in their area. They didn’t seem like they would be particularly open to letting a stranger piss in a room inside their home.

If I got stuck in the area where the protest was happening, I was almost certain that someone would see me wet myself in public that day.

The protest escalated into a riot fairly quickly, and people began throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at each other. Masses of people started running, and whenever I’m in a situation where a shit ton of people are running in one direction, I find it best to run in the same direction to avoid getting trampled. I hadn’t even realized it, but people were running because the military fired some shots in the air to intimidate and disperse people. I didn’t hear it because I was thinking about all the worst possible scenarios for me and my bladder in this situation.

My mind had wandered off to wondering whether I would be excused to go to the toilet if I was arrested. I wondered whether I would be put in a cell with a toilet, and if there would be other people with me in the cell who could see me pee. Or perhaps I would be taken to an office and there would be a bathroom next to the office that they would let me use. I wondered if I could get solitary confinement for the privacy privileges.

Luckily, running with the stampeding people helped me get out just before the riot police came in and closed the exits, tear gassed protestors and started making arrests. If I had been knocked down by tear gas I would have surely done it in my pants.

As I was running, I was very quickly out of breath. We went back past the huge mosque, and I wondered if anyone would notice if I just slipped into the mosque and claimed sanctuary the way I might in my childhood imagination. I figured the mosque must have a toilet, and hopefully a fairly clean one. If the rules of the world really were the way I used to believe they were, I would be safe. And best of all, I wouldn’t have to run. Running while burning to pee and being tremendously out of shape made me care much less about my own well-being (but admittedly, so did not hearing the gun shots).

But the world was not that way, and so I had to hold it until leaving the area, being ignored by the local bus driver we tried to wave down, and finally finding a taxi under a bridge which took us to a supermarket in a different district of Cairo where we met a friend who took us to a coffee shop and I found a bathroom.

And waited a very long time outside the door.

• Racism

I hate racism. But I don’t hate racism because it’s hatred. I have no problem with hatred, as long as it’s legitimately directed.

I hate racism because it’s lazy.

"Fuckin' brown bears...stealing all our fishes."

Why should I give a despicable person an excuse for being despicable by callously shoving him or her into a category that is nothing but a meaningless man-made construction, or is as superficial as a skin color?

I would much rather direct my hatred toward people who deserve it for specific, concrete reasons.

If someone says, “Sally isn’t hygienic, Arabs are just like that,” then Sally is being excused for being unhygienic–something she can help–because of her inherent Arabness–something she can’t help. Well, I’m of Arab descent, too, and I’m obsessively hygienic! You should hate me because I’m judgmental and poor, not because I’m Arab or stereotypically unhygienic.

I would prefer, “I hate Sally because she’s a plagiarizing whore who strategically sleeps with half the guys in the office so she can get promotions even though she doesn’t do any actual work.”

Racist fucks should hate properly, or stick to something a little more sophomoric that they can actual handle. Like liking.

*Photo from Shaw University Mosque

• “Oh Lá Lá”

I can’t really provide a definition of “oh lá lá,” but I think everyone who hears it understands its meaning from the way it feels. 

When I was on my way to Cairo, where I write from now, I took a long indirect journey via London and Geneva. I had less than an hour to catch my connection in Geneva, and I almost missed my flight because I had some airport confusion.

The airport in Geneva has its gates organized as A, B, and C gates, and apparently the C gates are where the connections are. They don’t actually tell you that.

It’s also not clear that you have to go through passport control to access the C gates, even if you have a connection to another fucking country. And even more time consumingly, you have to go through passport control a second time when you approach the actual entrance to the C gates.

Fuck C.

Anyway, when I was slowly learning all this the hard way, and the signs failed me, I started asking airline staff for directions. I reached one woman who asked me which flight I was connecting to, and told her “Cairo.”

Her response was, “Oh lá lá, you have gotten lost! You don’t have much time.”

Okay. Some Swiss people are kind of Frenchy. Okay, they’re French. And I get that. I do.

But yes, lady, please make my airport crisis flamboyant, foppish and chocolate-flavored as I scramble not to lose my flight which cost me twice as much as it was worth. Did I mention I’m impoverished?

*Image from Futurepedia.

• Taxi Drivers Who Won’t Follow Through

Hypothetically, if I was having a perfectly normal conversation over coffee with someone, and the perfectly natural hypothetical question, “If you could choose one group of people to wipe out with a genocide, what would it be?” came up, the first group I would choose would be taxi drivers.

I have had my issues with taxi drivers in Cairo before.

But what the fuck is this thing where they don’t take you all the way to the destination you want because it’s out of their way?

When the fuck did Earth become a planet where I should give a shit about a taxi driver’s destination? That’s like an umbrella asking me to shield it from the rain so it doesn’t get wet while it shields me from the rain.

This week, I’ve had two separate taxi drivers drive me a partial distance in the direction of my destination, and then wait until I’m an inconvenient walk away from it to say that they won’t take a certain turn because they are headed to some other area that makes my stop out of the way for them. Because they would have to make a U-turn if they dropped me off AT THE PLACE I WAS PAYING TO GO. As if they’re giving me a lift as a personal favor.

Also this week, a third taxi driver left me on the side of the road well before my destination and I had to walk the rest of the way because he suddenly decided he didn’t have enough gas in his car. Not that I believe that he didn’t have enough to get me there, but IT’S HIS FUCKING JOB TO HAVE GAS. Committing to a journey that you can’t make just so you can profit off the portion of the journey you are willing to make is douchebaggery of the highest caliber.

I can’t wait until Cairo becomes a more cycle and genocide-friendly town.

Can You Guess Which Of These Is Me?

Click here and start guessing!

I’ll give you a clue: I’m the one with the pissed off look on my face.

• The Fucking Mascara Some Chicks Are Wearing These Days

Chicks want their eyelashes to look like false eyelashes, but they want the effect to look natural?

Click to enlarge.

You do, of course, realize that those false eyelashes that women are wearing in public–which most people can’t even affix properly–make them look like they were fathered by the Snuffleupagas, and that there is really nothing natural about that?

So, they want outlandishly unnatural in every conceivable way to look like they were born with it. Let’s just be honest: they don’t know what the fuck they want.

*Modified screenshot from Max Factor, photo from Wikipedia


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The worst thing about plagiarism is how good I am at revenge.


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