Tag Archives: Crazy

Oh really? You think vaccines cause autism? Huh?

You always hear about crazy people on the Internet who don’t believe in vaccinating their kids, but have you ever actually met one of those wackos in real life? It’s like, I personally think it’s nuts, the anti-vaccine argument. And pretty much every single person I know thinks it’s nuts also. And so you don’t really have to defend your position that often. We just kind of take these things as a given. Yes, we’re supposed to give out vaccinations to stop the spread of really bad diseases. And yes, there exists a small group of people who don’t believe in vaccines, but they all live far away, and so it’s nothing that I’ll probably ever have to deal with in real life.

But one time I met an anti-vaccine guy. He was my age, so he didn’t actually have any kids yet. I don’t have any kids either, and so, in retrospect anyway, I’ve tried to go back in my mind and think about how this conversation about vaccines actually got started. If I’m certain about one thing, it’s that I didn’t bring it up. No, like I said, I’m part of the majority of normal non-looney human beings who don’t doubt vaccinations as being what they are: a crucial tool in helping to keep us alive and healthy. So I don’t go up to random people that I’ve only just met and start talking like I’ve got to go on the offense against the controversial arguments of a fringe group of vaccine deniers.

My friends and I had gone out with a bigger group of friends, and so there were a lot of people I didn’t know. Like I said, I don’t know how I started talking to this one guy about vaccines, but all of the sudden there I was, this dude was in my face, challenging me to defend the use of mass vaccination. At first I thought he was joking. I thought he was making an over-the-top vaccine joke, and so I responded in a similar fashion, making some remark about Jenny McCarthy or Rob Schneider.

But this guy got a really serious look on his face. He was like, “Look man, I’ll send you some Internet articles, and I’m telling you man, you read this shit, you won’t put your kids anywhere near a vaccine.” And again, I don’t have kids. “You have kids?” I asked him. “Nope.”

And what do you say to a person like this? Because no, I’ve never done any hard research. I’ve never gotten under a microscope and checked the actual science. I’m not qualified. But every single news source that I trust, every doctor I’ve ever met in my life, they all tell me the same thing, that these vaccine deniers are deluded, that the overwhelming majority of actual science doesn’t really have anything to say to these people other than, you’re wrong, you don’t know what you’re talking about, please stop spreading misinformation.

So when I was actually confronted with a vaccine denier, I had nothing really to say. I just kept being like, “Oh yeah? Really? You think vaccines cause autism? Huh? You think the government’s trying to control us through vaccines? Really? Is that what you believe?”

And the guy was like, “Yeah man, that’s exactly what I believe. And they don’t want you to know that I know that they know. You know? I’m telling you man, just check out these Internet articles. What’s your email address?”

And what do I say? What could I have said to change his mind? Nothing. He had that crazy look in his eye that all fanatics have. There was nothing to be done. This guy was already lost. So I gave made up a fake email address and said I had to go to the bathroom.

Everything was different

I walked through the door and everything was different. “Hi honey,” it sounded like my wife, but it it’s my wife. Everything is different, including her. Her hair is falling in a way not like it usually does, like, maybe more to the left? I don’t know, I can’t really articulate it, but this is all just slightly off, I’m looking at her, and it’s not right.


And her shirt, I’ve definitely seen that t-shirt before, it’s one of mine, or a pretty close facsimile of a shirt that I’d received like ten years ago at college, at some club, or one of the club fairs, one of the student groups was giving out free t-shirts to people that signed up for their email list. I’d never worn it, I think it was an XL, but my wife always wears these old oversized t-shirts around the house. Not this one though, it was … was the lettering off? I couldn’t tell if my shirt, like my real shirt, if there wasn’t maybe a hole under the left arm.

But it was definitely different. “What’s wrong?” this lady asks me, and I didn’t want to act not natural, in case whoever set this whole thing up was maybe looking for me to act all convinced. But I didn’t know what to say, it was like trying to smile a natural smile for a photograph, but you can’t fake it, you’re really trying but it looks crooked, I felt like any words that would have come out of my mouth right now would have been the same, it would have been a crooked giveaway. And this dog came up to me, again, it couldn’t have been my dog. They’re about the same size, yes, but the way my dog moves his feet when he comes over to say hi to me when I get home, it’s just, it’s not the same way, the pitter-patter pattern is … could this be like a robot?

No, just different. Is that clock on the wall, wasn’t it like five minutes behind? It’s also … it had to be. I knew that I could only look at it like a guide to the time, not as an actual indicator the current minute, but I’m looking at my watch, could this lady have fixed the clock? Or is this a completely different house? Should I walk back outside?

Or would that be too much? “I’m doing great,” I tell her, I think that sounded close enough, “You’re hungry?” I ask, hoping to draw something out of her, anything, maybe if she talks a little more I’ll be able to put my finger on exactly what’s different here. I mean, she obviously knows me. And I’m supposed to know her, right? What am I missing?

“Are you OK? You’re acting different,” she tells me. I’m acting different? Maybe that’s part of her trap. Is it too late to get out of here? “Listen, I think I dropped my wallet back at the corner, I’m going to go to check real quick,” I finish the sentence as I’m already out the door, she says something to my back but I’m gone, walking down the block, not running, I don’t want to give myself away, but definitely out.

I take out my phone to call, I don’t know who, maybe there’s an email, maybe a text message or something, some clue. But this looks different too, my phone, like the operating system got one of those really minor updates, sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you’re phone tells you that it enhanced this or tweaked that and, you can kind of tell but not really, and that’s what this was like, only I couldn’t for certain be sure as to what changes were made.

Was this my phone? Could whoever have switched around my house and my wife and my dog somehow have gotten into my pocket while I was at work? I didn’t leave this thing on my desk, had I? I don’t think so, but was I positive, was I absolutely sure? I wasn’t really sure about anything, like this block, or where I was, everything should have been the same, but nothing looked like it was supposed to look, the stores, the cars on the street, the money in my pocket, everything looked kind of off, just a little not right, everything was just different.

I’ve got a hole in my pocket

I’ve got this pair of shorts with a hole in the left pocket. Few problems in life shake me to the core like a small tear on the inside of a pocket. It should be easy, to either stop wearing those shorts, or to fix it so there is no more hole. But I’ve been dealing with this all summer, nothing’s happening in terms of me remedying the situation, and it’s progressively getting worse, that small opening consuming a greater and greater percentage of pocket space every time I put these shorts on.


It must be some sort of a bug in my otherwise relatively normal human programming. For some reason, I just can’t connect the dots, come up with a way to make this problem not be a problem anymore. My inability to find a solution, I think it stems from the fact that there’s not a lot going on in my brain in terms of me thinking about my pockets. They’re something that I take for granted. All of my pants have pockets, all of my shorts, even my pajamas have pockets. Did I make a conscious decision to shop for clothing that comes with pockets? No, it’s automatic, it’s something that I’ve never had to go out of my way to even consider.

So I wake up in the morning, I put on a pair of pants or shorts, I take all of the stuff out of my pockets from yesterday and put them into my new pockets. This process repeats itself until I come across this particular pair of shorts, the one with the tiny hole in the left pocket, the hole that I notice every time I put my hands inside, to look for my wallet, to give my hands a little rest while I’m standing around idly.

And for the majority of the summer anyway, the hole was noticeable, I couldn’t help but play with it, this thing that was in my pocket but wasn’t, it’s a very minor absence of pocket, really. It was directly at the point at which the seams of my pocket came together, imagine an ice cream cone that has the slightest gap at the bottom. But I don’t usually keep ice cream in my pocket, and so there wasn’t anything melting down my leg, no urgent, “this hole is causing a problem” warning blaring in my head.

Aside from those instances in which I was physically touching that hole, I never thought about it, not at all. And so that’s part of the reason why I can’t really figure this thing out. It’s only on my mind when I’m in absolutely no position to do anything about it. As the weeks went on, the hole naturally started to grow, imperceptibly at first, but one afternoon I took a seat and felt one of my keys reach through the hole to jab me in the leg. That was sort of uncomfortable, I thought to myself, maybe I should get this hole fixed up when I get home.

But I’d get home, I’d get ready for bed, I’d throw the shorts in the laundry pile, and the hole wouldn’t register in my thoughts until I’d be wearing them sometime a week later, I’d already be out of the house, and I’d feel it again, maybe I’d feel the key. Shit, I’d remember, the hole would come rushing back to my thoughts as this unresolved dilemma, something that I’d neglected to fix.

Sometime last week I was walking down the street when I heard the sound of a coin fall to the floor. I looked down and there was a dime. Was this mine? Did this fall out of my pocket? I picked it up and put it back in, thinking surely the hole couldn’t be big enough to where actual coins were falling loose. A few blocks later I heard the same sound, but I put up a wall, tried to ignore the experience.

Later in the day I found myself spending a lot more time thinking about the hole in my pocket, time in which I’d usually spend not thinking about my pockets, about holes. I put my hand inside and fished around. Wallet: check. Keys: check. Coins … coins? No coins. In my denial I had convinced myself that while maybe, maybe I had been losing some dimes, they are the smallest after all, there was no way that I’d be dropping nickels, quarters, giant chunks of metal unable to stay in my possession.

This pocket was literally starting to cost me financially. Sure, spare change lost isn’t going to necessarily break my bank, but if I’m passing quarters, was it that out of the question to lose my keys? Could I foresee a future in which I’d be locked out of my house, on the phone contracting the services of an expensive emergency locksmith, wondering how I’d be able to prove my residence so that I’d be able to have him let me back inside?

Now I’m only thinking about my pockets, it’s like a mental tick, I’m reaching inside and moving my hands around to the point where people are starting to give me weird looks. You don’t understand, I want to tell them, I’ve got a problem, I’ve got a hole in my pocket. Only, I’m not wearing those shorts anymore. This pair of pants has no holes at all. But try telling that to my brain, to my wandering hands. I can’t tell the difference between good pockets and bad, my reaction is so involuntary at this point that I can’t even remember which pair of shorts I was talking about in the first place. I open my closet and look at my wardrobe, am I really going to have to throw everything out, to start completely over from scratch?

I came close to making an effort to getting up off of my ass and looking for a sewing kit, but I got distracted by the Internet and then next thing I knew, I was sitting at this desk writing this whole pocket lament. I know exactly what’s going to happen, the weather has been getting a lot cooler lately, I’m already finding myself wearing long pants more and more as the summer gives way to the fall. I’ll eventually put all of my shorts away and I won’t think about any of this until next April, at which point I’ll get up one day and think, wow, what a beautiful spring day! It’s the perfect weather for a short-sleeved shirt and a light pair of shorts. And I know just the pair I’ll pick, with just enough time for me to take a nice first-day-of-spring walk before going to work, arriving back at my house exactly when I need to grab my stuff and head back out the door. But what did I do with my keys? Where did all of the stuff in my pockets go?

Somebody give me a TV show. I have so much to say.

I need to have my own cooking show. On my first episode, the cameras will turn to me, standing in some really expensive kitchen. I’ll be wearing an apron and holding a whisk. Or maybe a spatula. No, definitely a whisk. And I’ll welcome everyone to the show and call out a special guest, some celebrity chef that whatever network I’ll be working for ordered to make an appearance on my show to boost the ratings of my first episode. But as soon as the guest comes out, wearing his or her chef uniform, getting greeted by me, “Hey Chef! Welcome to the show!” I’ll start in with a really bizarre line of questioning. I’ll start asking for the chef’s opinions on post-9/11 foreign policy. I’ll get really angry, talking about government conspiracies. Every time I want to make a really dramatic point, I’ll swing and jab my whisk wildly in the air, causing my celebrity guest chef to take a few steps back, which will cause me to take a few steps closer. It will be really uncomfortable for everyone involved. I won’t even cook a single dish. It will be just crazy, wild talk.

And then when I show up for work the next day, I’ll be like, “Whoa. Where is everyone? Why aren’t there any camera people? What happened to the studio audience?” But the place will be totally deserted, empty, so my questions will just echo around the vacant studio, unanswered. And then my agent will call me up. “Change of plans Rob. The studio didn’t think you were a good fit for a cooking show.” I’ll be enraged, outraged, incensed, irate, prorated, deflated, no inflated, really overinflated. But just as I’m about to burst, to pop, to tell off my agent, tell him what I really think of him, him and his no-talent talent agency, him and his stupid Audi convertible – who are you trying to impress, huh? – he’ll tell me that the network was so impressed by my political commentary, inspired really, that they’ve decided to give me my own political commentary show, and it starts taping in twenty minutes.

So I won’t even have time to change out of my cooking show host outfit. It’s, like I said, really just an apron over my regular clothing, but I’ll seriously be so overwhelmed by the change in programming that I won’t have any time to reach around and untie it. Besides, I had to find somebody to help me tie it just right. Does anybody else have trouble making knots when the string isn’t right in front of your face? So I’ll show up with the apron on. And I’m still holding the whisk. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever let it go, not since I picked it up the day before. And I’m gripping it way too tightly. Like my hand hurts, like I’ve been clenching it for way too long. And it’s very shaky, the tremors going all the way up past my elbow, it’s not normal, it’s really weird.

But I’ll make it to the studio just in time. And someone’s like, “Rob, we’ve got to get you to makeup!” and I’ll just say, “No time!” and I’ll take my seat and start in on the commentary. But this time I’m not holding back, not like on the cooking show. You want action? You want political commentary? You want some zest? Well here it is. Unscripted. Uncensored. Unfiltered. Uninhibited. Unbeknownst. Undulating. Understated. Unipotent. Unisex. And it’ll be way too much. Even crazy political conspiracy aficionados won’t be able to make sense of whatever it is that I’m trying to say. I’ll keep bringing up 9/11 and 9/12 and 9/13 and the Ground Zero mosque and the Ground Zero Deli and the Ground Zero’s on all of the other alternate parallel Earths, planets where there was no 9/11, well, where there was a 9/11, but it wasn’t our 9/11, and what are they trying to hide over there on Earth-2, what exactly are they trying to hide on the ninth and eleventh floors of the new World Trade Center and, why haven’t I been able to personally see Joe Biden’s birth certificate or Hillary Clinton’s high school diploma? And my whisk is trembling. The sweat from the palm of my hand is making its way all the way down, so that every time I make a particularly violent point, drops of perspiration are flying from the utensil in every direction I jab.

But then I’ll stop, midsentence. This isn’t what I signed up for. This isn’t at all what I had in mind when I set out to become a host of my own cooking show. I won’t know how I’ve veered so wildly off course. The grip on my whisk will ease up, just a little bit, just a little bit of blood returning to my clenched fist. I’ll take out some eggs. I’ll start whisking them. I’ll have found myself. I’ll keep whisking faster and faster and whispering to myself, “I’m back!” But I won’t really be whispering. I’ll be shouting. I’ll be screaming. Spit flying from my mouth, mixing in with the eggs, but I’m whisking so intensely that nobody really notices, and there’s already a lot of egg foam at the top, from the whisking, that the spittle blends right in. And the camera men will turn off the cameras and they’ll just wheel me, they’ll wheel the whole desk back to my original cooking show studio and the lights will go on and the cameras will start running. “I’m back!” I’ll scream to a packed live studio audience. And everyone will be going crazy. It’ll be nuts. Absolutely, totally nuts.