Just a trim, please

March 20, 1998

Well, as you may have noticed, Freethinkers Anonymous has undergone a small cosmetic change. This was done in response to the impending threat of a meteor crashing into the Earth. Nine hours later we discovered that there was no danger whatsoever, but sometimes these changes, once done, are better left alone. In the entire history of humankind, the phrase, "Let’s see what this will do" has done more damage than any meteor.

But I digress.

Before I share this week’s offerings, here are a couple of quick items that seemed appropriate for the occasion:

In a frame shop I saw a picture of a certain former president. Printed underneath it was this: "President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1962. Informal Head Shot." Thankfully there weren’t any pictures of another informal head shot of President Kennedy taken later in the year. Those have all mysteriously disappeared.

Walking across the college campus where I work, I overheard a student say, "Man, to be the dumbest one in your class would, like, suck." Yes, it would, but obviously ignorance is bliss.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


  1. If it is all the same to you I won’t be coming in to work. The voices told me to clean all the guns today.

  2. When I got up this morning I took two Ex-Lax in addition to my Prozac. can’t get off the john, but I feel good about it.

  3. I set half the clocks in my house ahead an hour and the other half back an hour Saturday and spent 18 hours in some kind of space-time continuum loop, reliving Sunday (right up until the explosion). I was able to exit the loop only by reversing the polarity of the power source exactly e*log (pi) clocks in the house while simultaneously rapping my dog on the snout with a rolled up Times. Accordingly, I will be in late, or early.

  4. My stigmata’s acting up.

  5. I can’t come in to work today because I’ll be stalking my previous boss, who fired me for not showing up for work. OK?

  6. I have a rare case of 48-hour projectile leprosy, but I know we have that deadline to meet…

  7. I am stuck in the blood pressure machine down at the Food Giant.

  8. Yes, I seem to have contracted some sort of attention-deficit disorder and, hey, how about them Skins, huh? So, I won’t be able to, yes, could I help you? No, no, I’ll be sticking with Sprint, but thank you for calling.

  9. Constipation has made me a walking time bomb.

  10. I just found out that I was switched at birth. Legally, I shouldn’t come to work knowing my employee records may now contain false information.

  11. The psychiatrist said it was an excellent session. He even gave me this jaw restraint so I won’t bite things when I am startled.

  12. The dog ate my car keys. We’re going to hitchhike to the vet.

  13. I prefer to remain an enigma.

  14. My mother-in-law has come back as one of the Undead and we must track her to her coffin to drive a stake through her heart and give her eternal peace. One day should do it.

  15. I can’t come to work today because the EPA has determined that my house is completely surrounded by wetlands and I have to arrange for helicopter transportation.

  16. I am converting my calendar from Julian to Gregorian.

  17. I am extremely sensitive to a rise in the interest rates.

  18. I refuse to travel to my job in the District until there is a commuter tax. I insist on paying my fair share.

A timely bit of news:

A man who cut off his head with a chainsaw to prove his manliness and an anti-depressant drug that triggered an orgasm on yawning are among a collection of tales of the bizarre published today.

For 42 years, New Scientist, better known for its reports on research breakthroughs, has been documenting some of the more outlandish feats passed on by the scientific community. Today, it publishes the first collection of these strange tales.

Several concern the lengths to which some men will go to show how macho they are. However, Pierre Pumpille, from Lyon, who shunted a stationary car two feet by head-butting it ("Women thought I was a god," he said from his hospital bed), was outdone by Krystof Azinski, a Polish farmer.

Azinski, 30, had been drinking with friends when it was suggested they strip naked and test their strengths. Initially, they hit each other over the head with frozen swedes but then one man seized a chain saw and cut off his foot.

Not to be outdone, Azinski grabbed the saw, shouted "Watch this then!" and chopped off his own head. Among the patented inventions New Scientist has recorded since 1956 are Hungarian condoms containing a computer chip that plays the Internationale ("Arise ye workers"), a ladder to help spiders escape bathtubs, chocolate shock-absorbers for cars and a toothpaste that glows in the dark and reflects the headlights of motor cars.

The most intriguing, however, is British Rail’s patent in 1970 for a nuclear-propelled, saucer-shaped space vehicle. BR claimed the idea was far less far-fetched than it sounded and that its inventor was experienced in nuclear physics.

Among several verified reports from the animal kingdom is an account of inebriated elephants at Kruger National Park. They worked out how to get drunk by eating huge quantities of marula fruit, drinking large quantities of water and then "jogging" to aid fermentation.

And in a round-up of some of the pointless or redundant warnings printed on products by safety-conscious manufacturers includes one on the back of a packet of Sainsbury’s salted peanuts: "Contains nuts"; a Korean kitchen knife marked "Keep out of children"; a carton of Nytol sleeping tablets carrying the warning "May cause drowsiness"; a Marks & Spencer bread-and-butter pudding with "Take care: product will be hot after heating"; and a car mirror with "Remember: objects in the mirror are actually behind you."

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