24 Things That I Enjoy

This morning, I decided to make some toast.

I don’t have toast enough. It’s extremely delicious. Frankly, toast is way more delicious than it should be. Because all it is is dumb hot bread. And because of this, I think that I always assume that toast kind of sucks. That I’ll end up disappointed. That there’s gotta be a better option than toast.

But then sometimes I remember. I think, “Wait, think about when you’ve actually had toast—I’m pretty sure it’s extremely delicious.” And I’m like, “Holy shit, YES. Toast is actually amazing.” And then I make toast.

So that’s what happened this morning, and I found myself popping two pieces of bread in the toaster oven.

But there’s a problem. I am surprisingly incompetent at making toast. I’d say I get it right about 4 out of 10 times. The other 6 times it ends up burnt to the point of being inedible. And it’s kind of my fault, but it’s also kind of the toaster's fault.

So here I was this morning, making some toast, and things got tricky. I was using one of those cliché old toasters where you put the slices vertically into the slots. And when it sprung the toast up triumphantly, it simply wasn’t done yet. So I pushed it down again. This is where I always get myself into trouble—the “it just needs a little more” stage. Because it’s always closer to being ready than it looks, and, without fail, I will always forget about it until I smell burning.

When I realized I had ruined the toast, there was no swearing or anything—it’s not only predictable, it’s expected. I just shrugged and put two more pieces in.

When they sprung up, I was left with no choice but to push them down again. And then, once again, I forgot about them. After throwing away my second round of toast, I had run out of bread. Toast would not be occurring today.

This left me in a familiar spot—I’m upset with myself, I’m upset with life, and I need someone to tell about it. And so out you came, little people in the laptop.

Now had I not just written an extensive list of things that annoyed me, that would have been a natural way to go with things. That not being an option, I thought about the other side of the coin—the good side of toast. The toast that always surprises me with its deliciousness. The toast that I named my fantasy baseball league after. The toast that I’ve now written so many times in this entry that it looks and sounds like a completely bizarre word.

And that side of toast makes me happy. So I embarked in quite a different direction.

24 things that I enjoy:

1) Pre-1959 pennies. Before 1959, pennies looked like this:

For years, I collected two things: shot glasses from various countries I visited, and pre-1959 pennies. Then in college my drunk friend Eve knocked over my entire shot glass collection and shattered most of them. Now I only collect old pennies.

2) Adults having tantrums in public. Now I love public disputes as much as the next guy, but adult tantrums are a special brand. You often catch them at the bank, the post office, the airport, the DMV, or other places that no one ever wants to be when they’re there. These are also the places where employees are rude, because you’re not really a customer—you have to be there and they know it. And often, the tantrum-thrower just waited in a long line, got to the front, and found out that they had to come back another day for some reason. Whenever I happen upon a public adult tantrum, I stop whatever I’m doing and watch intently.
3) Old people’s gizzards. By gizzards I mean their under-chins. I realize that gizzard is not the right word, but when I was young, I always thought that the red thing that hangs from a turkey’s neck was called a gizzard (and it really should be, shouldn’t it?), and so I still use the word for that purpose. Old people have spectacular gizzards.

4) Being inside the carwash. It's exhilarating, cozy, and productive all at once.

5) Dog toes.

Dog toes are hilarious, rubbery little round pads. Could anything be funnier and more pleasant? The best part is that it doesn’t hurt dogs when you play with their toes, but it really irks them. When I squeeze a dog’s little squishy black toes, he’s always like, “The hell? Stop that.”

6) The smell when you walk into a Chinese restaurant. It’s weird—it smells better than the food itself. I don’t know how they pull it off. Same goes for Starbucks. When I walk by a Starbucks in the airport I’m like, “Holy shit I want coffee right now,” but the actual coffee doesn’t really smell as delicious.

7) This quote:

“Political Science reduces to Sociology.
Sociology reduces to Psychology.
Psychology reduces to Biology.
Biology reduces to Chemistry.
Chemistry reduces to Physics.
Physics reduces to Math.”

When my sister Lindsay hears something that fascinates her, she does this face where her mouth opens in this dumb-looking smile and she kind of looks up and to the left and just ponders the shit out of what she just heard. This is the kind of quote that would leave her with that face for at least eight seconds.

8) Factory production lines. Efficient.

9) When you order a sandwich to-go and they wrap it really satisfyingly. You know how they do that sometimes? Where they pull the paper really tightly around the sandwich and then fold the ends over and then wrap it in another piece and then put it in a bag and it’s all crisply done and satisfying? It's something I enjoy.

10) Street shows.

You think those people are delighted because this guy sucks? No, they're thrilled because he's obviously intensely rad. In most cases, street performers are pretty phenomenal. I just have great appreciation for anyone who has practiced anything that much. The juggling on the ladder ones are great, break dancing is always a joy, and there’s nothing more entertaining than a really top-level street magician. There’s also this guy on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica who comes out on Saturday and does this delicious bubble show. He blows these bubbles inside other bubbles and blows smoke in some of them and all that. One time I walked down the Promenade with a girl on a date and we got to the bubble guy and I was riveted and she was clearly bored and in my head I was like, “Well, that’s it for her.”

11) The “Tea House” theme in Gmail. Every time you log on the little bear is just doing whatever he likes to do, just living his life. I yearn daily to drop everything and move to China and find him and live with him.

12) When Andy Roddick loses.

I spend every golf major rooting for Tiger and then if he falls out of contention, I lose interest. Likewise, I spend every tennis grand slam rooting against Roddick and when he inevitably loses, I lose interest (unless Federer-Nadal happens). He’s just an immense dick.

13) This website. Just a tremendous procrastinating website.

14) Huge snowstorms.

Anyone who doesn’t like massive snowstorms has no inner child. How fun is it when the weather people are all freaking out and there are all these alerts everywhere and then five feet of snow fall over 24 hours and everything is closed for three days? Every part of that is fun and exciting. Torrential thunderstorms are pretty great too.

15) Baby feet.

What a silly object. It’s like you took a normal foot, scaled it down to one tenth of its normal size, and then pumped it full of water.

16) Mosquito bites. Now let’s be clear—I loathe mosquitos. Nothing is more upsetting than lying in bed and suddenly hearing the little high-pitched buzz two inches from your ear. Which is basically his way of saying, “I’m gonna feed on your blood all night while you sleep you little bitch.” But—the bites themselves are delightful to scratch.

17) Mindless, addictive iPhone games. Because I’m doing my best on this list to leave out obvious things, like “summer,” and “steak,” and “compliments,” I’ve used every ounce of willpower I have to leave off the iPhone. Instead, here are the best games to play for like four minutes while sitting in a waiting room or standing in line:

Paper Toss
Photo Hunt
MotionX Poker
Flight Control
SkyWorks Ping Pong

18) That moment when the alcohol first kicks in. You know—you’re somewhere, maybe at dinner, and you’re having drinks. After a little while, you get up to go to the bathroom and you’re like, “Whoa.” This always puts me in that “Damn it, life is good” mood. And suddenly, the night is full of possibilities.

19) Making lists. I’m an organized procrastinator. That leads to a lot of lists (including this one).

20) Things where other people bust their ass and are miserable and I get to be comfortable and entertained. The Olympics is a classic one of these. It’s like, “You worked for every day of your life and you and all your family and friends are incredibly stressed out—all so I could have a beer on this couch and be entertained.” Winter NFL games are another. On Thanksgiving, everyone loves sitting in a warm house watching miserable dudes in a strenuous battle in a 10 degree snowstorm.

21) Babybel cheeses.

Fun and delicious.

22) Greek Myths. Always a good time. I especially enjoy when Zeus is doing his thing, being a rad dude, but he has to constantly deal with Hera being all up in his piece.

23) Those mini-movies at the beginning of Pixar movies.

Definitely better than any actual movie.

24) Bratty kids whining and crying in public. This contends with street shows and adult tantrums for top-level public entertainment. If the kid is too young, you feel bad for the parents, and it detracts from the fun. But when the kid is like five or older, it’s obviously just a product of their parenting, and it’s a pure pleasure to watch.

Part of my enjoyment may stem from the fact that I was an only child for the first five years of my life and was the subject of a number of these episodes myself (then my sister came around and my parents were like, “Seriously, I don’t really give that much of a shit about you so you should probably go elsewhere,” and I was forced to acquire other tactics of problem-solving). One time when I was about four, I was in the grocery store with my mother and we got to the check-out and I saw the candy and was like, “Oh Christ that looks heavenly” and inquired about the possibility of having one. My mom said no but was willing to compromise with some grape gum they were selling. I was like, “That’s funny that you suggested I get some grape gum, because I could have sworn I just said I wanted candy.” After the second “No,” I was left with no choice but to throw a fit. Normally a softie (hence my brattiness), my mom went with a surprise move, pulling the whole “Okay well now you get nothing.” And she walked away. Left standing there, horrified at the prospect of getting nothing, I was suddenly very into the grape gum. Though it was just me standing there now, I reached for the gum. In my frantic state, I couldn’t even get it out of the rack—it kept slipping. I looked up at the cashier, who was (undoubtedly thrilled to be) watching the whole episode, and I said to her, sobbing, “But my mom said I could have it.”

I never got that grape gum.


w4gw4gewg34w said...

Great post. I love toast as well.

Anonymous said...

Love it! Especially # 3, 5, 7, 18, and 24.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a craving for grape gum every time you see it now?

Don Shetterly - Relaxing Piano Music said...

Maybe you could buy toast like you find especially in South Florida at the grocery store.

Didi said...

things i enjoy: mosquito bites... you really are a very special guy, aren't u? :))

Anonymous said...

Dang ... you always find the best random web sites to procrastinate on. I'm still hooked on Sporacle. Keep posting fun links you run into.


Eve Martel said...

I want some toast now!

But the movie dork in me can't help but notice that you used a Blue Sky Studio/20th Century Fox film charactere (Scrat, from the "Gone Nutty" short that played to promote Ice Age) to talk about Pixar. ;)

Anonymous said...

One cent pennies RULE !!!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know just when you broke in to photograph
my pooch without my consent

Unless my pooch just snuck
out again to pose alongside
another little pooch.

Lindsay Lohan ...

Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Jaime said...

Grape Bubbletape was so good.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah. bubble-tape was incredible. so soft and powdery.

Anonymous said...

I got a mosquito bite on my eyelid once. It was not delightful.