Usually when someone says they’re an amateur at something, it tends to mean that they don’t have the drive or skill to pursue it professionally. It’s ok to have a casual hobby, but they’ll throw the amateur in there to make it seem like they’re on the cusp of making it to the next level. These people enjoy making everyone aware of how talented they think they are more actually doing the activity itself.
“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m an amateur painter.”
No you’re not, you just paint shit sometimes.
What does that mean? You bought a camera? Having the disposable income to purchase a $2,000 SLR doesn’t make you a photographer, it just means the pictures of you getting hammered and pissing yourself at your work’s fundraiser at Chili’s will be a little nicer to look at while you untag them Sunday morning.
Holy shit! You own an iPod and you listen to Deadmau5?! You’re practically in Daft Punk.
Apparently, if you buy an expensive bike, a matching set of fertility-crushing tights and a helmet, you can ride your bike in the middle of the god damn road during rush hour. It’s hard enough to drive and play Angry Birds as it is, not to mention when you’re dodging middle-aged men with visible ass-sweat. You can pedal towards your impending death on the bike path, buddy.
There’s no shame in having no impressive abilities that set your apart from the norm; someone has to imprint the M on my McGriddle.
Since I currently live in the city where I grew up, I’m running into a lot of people I went to high school with. I’m not talking about my friends from high school who I’d love to catch up with; I mean the kind of people whose Facebook advances I avoided for my entire college career.
It’s not that I hate these people or wish them any immediate and lasting harm; it’s just that I don’t really know them and their absence from my life has not affected me in the least. We just happened to be educated in the same building for a period of our youth.
One of the more unpleasant types of former classmate encounters is the kind where they keep trying to make small-talk when all you want them to do is take your order. I don’t mean at a decent restaurant, as many people my age work as waiters and waitresses; I mean the kind of food-related occupation you went to high school to avoid. It’s always awkward to pick a spot in the conversation to interrupt them and say “I’ve had enough of conversing with you like a real person for the moment, so stop talking and assemble my panini.”
Another uncomfortable situation is one where you run into someone who has acquired a great deal of life baggage in the short amount of time since you last saw them, such as a hundred pounds or children.
“Glad I’m not you…I mean ‘GOOD SEEING YOU’”.
Recently, I ran into a girl I went to high school with and participated in one of the dumbest conversations I’ve ever had in my life. We ran into each other outside of a store and did the basic “Oh hey! How are you?” exchange, and then I started the follow-up questions. I asked her if she was still in school and said no, explaining that she had gone to community college for a couple of months and had no interest in continuing with her high education career . That’s fine, college isn’t for everyone, so I asked if she was working. No again. Hmm. If she wasn’t in school, she must have been working, so I started to reexamine my questions to see where I may have confused her.
From my experiences with her in school, I remembered she was a little dumb, so I rephrased the part of the question I thought may have fooled her:
“Oh, I didn’t mean are you working right this second, I mean do you have a job?”
“Ohhhh yeah, I work in a restaurant.”
Really? Did she genuinely believe I was asking if she was working right that second? The only scenario I can think of where that could be possible is if she was a hooker, and she wasn’t even slightly offended about me inquiring about her possibly being a prostitute.
“Oh, am I working right now? Nope, I’m actually not selling myself on the streets but thanks for asking!”
I’ve been thinking about my most memorable times at college recently, and without question, one of the things I will remember most was my relationship with Petey the Pirate Duck.
If you went to James Madison University around 2007-2008, there’s a strong possibility you may have seen, petted or even partied with this duck. But the question is, do you know how Petey the Pirate Duck came to be?
When I was a sophomore in college, one of my best friends came to visit from his school in North Carolina for the weekend. He was rushing a fraternity at the time and his elder brothers came up with a great project for their potential new members: caring for a number of baby ducks. They had gotten them from a farm, meaning these ducks would have certainly been killed, and divided them amongst their hopeful fraternity candidates. They instructed them to keep them alive, or there would be consequences that may affect their bid.
So he brought these three little, adorable ducks in a cardboard box and they stayed in my house for a weekend. Despite their cuteness, they smelled awful, primarily because my friend had been feeding them eggs, which seems a little cruel to begin with.
We took them outside and they would follow you around everywhere you went, not just a lazy stereotype. People who were outside at the time gathered around, we put them in the bathtub afterwards so they could swim around, and later, my female neighbors heard about their presence and came to visit. Awwwwws were said, Facebook profile pictures were made.
At one point in the night, my friend received a text from one of his elder brothers. It explained that the ducks were no longer a part of the rushing process, and that they could be returned to the farm. Two of my friends at college were with us at the time, and one of them was highly interested in keeping one of these ducks, but he was also incredibly wasted. My friend said to text him in the morning when he was sober so he could fully evaluate the decision, and if he still wanted a duck, he could have one.
When my friend woke up on my couch the next morning, he already had a text message from my friend stating: “WE WANT THE DUCK.”
So here he was: a real, live duck. I didn’t live with my friends, so the duck being there didn’t bother me. It was actually kind of cool. I don’t remember how the name Petey the Pirate Duck originated, but it suited him and is hands down, the best duck name I’ve ever heard.
At first, Petey was awesome. He would sit on the couch and let you pet him, and then we would take him outside and he would follow us around. We would have parties and he would just walk around the upper floor, making his social rounds. To be honest, a fair amount of sexual encounters my friends had during that time probably resulted from conversations about the duck and I’m pretty sure he was the reason most people were there.
“Hey, what are you doing tonight?”
“Oh, those guys with the duck are having a party.”
My friend even wore a tuxedo one night and put a bow tie on Petey, resulting in one of the more awesome things I’ve seen in my life.
Like most pets in a college environment, people at our parties would get the duck drunk, which would cause Petey to rest on his bill, like a tripod.
However, keeping a full grown duck in a shit hole college apartment created several difficulties. His feathers were everywhere and when people would play beer pong, the ball would hit the floor and they wouldn’t want to play anymore.
The biggest problem with Petey was that he would shit everywhere. I don’t mean just once in a while like a puppy, where it picks a specific spot and voids its bowels there. Petey would shit mid-stride. Just boom. Shit on the couch, shit on the floor, shit on your arm, and this would happen, I don’t know, around 6-10 times a day, if not more. So the obvious solution, in my friend’s mind, would be getting Petey a diaper.
I bet you’re asking yourself, “A DIAPER? FOR A DUCK?! Do those even exist?”
Why yes, they do exist. My friend searched the internet and finally found a woman who hand-crafted an apparatus specially made to hold a diaper for a duck. It was black and had straps that went around the duck, just like the one pictured above, and my friend would buy real diapers and cut them into smaller pieces, and place them in the duck apparatus.
This seemed like the perfect solution, but the diaper resulted in my two friends having to put on gloves and CHANGE THE DUCK’S DIAPER several times a day. They would dispose of the diapers in one big trash can and fail to take it out for weeks. Once again, I was glad I didn’t live there.
The best thing about it was that that the diaper caused my two friends to start fighting like a married couple with a new baby.
“It’s your turn to change Petey’s diaper.”
“I did it yesterday.”
“So did I, then I did it this morning. So it’s your turn.”
“Look, I didn’t even want the duck god damnit! It’s your duck!”
“EXCUSE ME! It’s OUR duck!”
My friend also constantly over-estimated Petey’s intelligence. He would tell Petey to do something or to not do something, and believed Petey would take his demands into consideration next time he did the unfavorable action. He would talk the duck and say “NO PETEY, NO!” and believe Petey would think “ahh, you’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have shit on your shoes. Won’t happen again.”
The real problems arose when Petey somehow consumed a portion of a psychedelic mushroom.
Is this an awful thing to do to a duck, or any animal for that matter? Absolutely. I had a hermit crab named Hermie (yes, Hermie the hermit crab) and I would have never laced his water sponge with LSD. Nonetheless, it happened to Petey and is a key part of the story.
If I was present during this event, I would have strongly protested. It was once described to me as an “accident,” which is ridiculous. How do you accidentally feed a duck shrooms? Another time it was said it was done on purpose and it was just a “small piece,” which makes it totally OK. However it happened, it marked the beginning of the end for Petey.
I assume you understand that shrooms are a hallucinogen and have strong effects on human. Now imagine what they did to that poor duck. Petey did not have a frame of reference, or the brain capacity to think “Hey, I’m trippin’ real hard right now, just calm down. My bill is not melting and walls can not breathe. Just relax and it’ll be over soon.” After this event, Petey would spend significant periods of time staring into the mirror.
Something changed in Petey that day. After his tiny mind was poisoned, he became extremely aggressive and would bite almost everyone; he even bit my one friend on his face and caused a good deal of bleeding.
My friends lived on the top floor of a town house and when I would get to the top of the stairs, Petey would be staring at me from his usual position on the couch. As soon as my foot would hit the floor, Petey would sprint, and I mean full duck, hyper-speed, directly at me and bite my toes.
He would break the skin and I would have to apply several band-aids to my feet. People would ask me: “What happened to your toes?” They probably thought I was going to tell them a funny story about how I hurt myself when I was drunk, not “oh yeah, this duck attacked me.” It came to the point where I had to wear closed-toe shoes, even when it was warm out. One time, Petey even inadvertently flung himself down the stairs after I side-stepped his violent advances at my feet.
After the Spring semester ended, Petey stayed at my friend’s parents’ house for a while, and then was eventually given away to live on a nearby farm with other ducks. At the farm, Petey preferred hanging out with the horses instead, and his aggressive behavior continued, so he was euthanized.
This was probably the best thing for him, and although it was a sad end, I’ll never forget Petey the Pirate Duck. His owner had good intentions and never meant to hurt him, but like I always say, you can’t feed a duck hallucinogens and be surprised when he develops a taste for human flesh.
As much as I love the snow, there’s nothing worse than getting into a freezing car.
Lucky for you, I’ve developed a method for keeping yourself warm while traveling with a friend.
1) Make sure you make it clear that you can not find your keys. Put them under your mattress, in a shoe, pretty much anywhere your friend while not be able to find them for you. This will force them to drive.
2) Leave your cell phone behind.
3) When you get to the car, wait until your friend starts it and then starting patting your coat and pants’ pockets, to create the facade that you’re looking for something. Then inform them that you forgot your cell phone and you need to retrieve it at once. Make them believe you know exactly where it is and that you’ll only be a second.
4) Since you know exactly where your cell phone is, grab it and relax in the warmth of your household while your friend warms up the car for you. Wait for the amount of time you think it will take the warm the car, and when you get back to the car, tell them you couldn’t find your phone.
Could your friend walk back into the house and catch you? Maybe, but chances are they will be too cold and miserable to get out of the car. The years you’ve put into the friendship will make them believe you’re actually looking for your cell phone and this will allow you to take full advantage of their trust.
Even if they do catch you, are they going to stop being your friend over something as silly as this? Nope. They’ll probably be mad for a little while, but they’ll get over it. It’s a win-win.
There’s no reason for both of you to be cold, and if anyone is going to be warm, it might as well be you.