It's No Bag Deal

“Oh, I don’t need a bag, thanks.”

If there’s one sentence I say more than any other in my life, it’s that one. I hate plastic bags and their impact on the environment, so I avoid them as best I can. Half the time, I’m only buying a thing or two anyway, so my purchase will conveniently fit in my own hands. I’ve learned to deliver my bag line quickly, since if the cashier reaches the bag first, ey will often crumple it up and throw it in a trash basket rather than just giving it to the next customer. Obviously, the wasting of the bag was not what I was going for, but not every Target employee is a genius like that.

When I know I’m going to buy more than two hands can carry, like for a trip to the grocery store, I’ll bring reusable bags. I’ll admit, I was resistant to reusable tote bags for a long time, mainly because they seemed so lame. When I used to spot someone with canvas bags, it would signal, “That person cares… maybe too much.” It’s funny how societal pressures dictate that it’s uncool to reduce our ecological footprint, like when my coworkers harangued me for recycling.

Even though it’s silly to feel silly for doing what we should all feel responsible to do, my way of compromising and hopefully not looking like a middle-aged hippy dippy was to just bring back old plastic bags the stores. Reusing crumpled up plastic bags made me look at least a bit less unsophisticated, which is an aesthetic for which I genuinely strive. I brought back some old bags to a grocery store that I had been reusing for more than six months. The bagger made a semi-condescending comment to me about how I must have been using these for a long time since they had “Happy Holidays” printed on it and it was then late summer. I just kind of shrugged, wondering why it mattered that I kept reusing them, when the bagger suddenly screamed and grabbed at her eye.

“Are you okay?” the cashier asked. “Something just flew out of this bag and went in my eye,” responded the bagger, who then left to go flush out whatever it was. Whoops. After wondering what the harm was, I had actually managed to injure someone with my ratty, dirty plastic bags. It was the most dangerous incident I witnessed at a grocery store since I saw someone attempt suicide. From them on, I started using canvas bags.

As more people use tote bags, the stigma decreases. Now, I’m proud to hand over my own bags at the register. With that in mind, I freaked out when I saw a network news teaser that said, “Reusable bags are all the rage, but are they DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH? That and more at 11.”

Oh great, just scare people out of going green, that’s real responsible. When will “the news” officially become a synonym for hyperbole? Apparently, a research study using 25 (what a sample size!) reusable bags found that more than half had bacteria present. Bacteria is literally everywhere, but for some reason, the media is willing to sensationalize it to the point where you believe that your reusable bags could kill you.

I learned from the Consumerist that theplastics industry funded this faulty study, and they sure wouldn’t want to scare you into using as much plastic as possible, now would they? They suck! People suck! The media sucks! Corporations suck! Basically, I hate everyone.

Wait -- who am I trying to help save the world for, again?


W.T. Fuck?

Several Margarita Mondays ago, Jocelyn taught me a new curse phrase that I'm simply smitten with: "W.T. Fuck?"

"What the fuck?" is our generation's way of expressing surprise. "WTF" is our abbreviation-happy generation's way of shortening our way of expressing surprise. Those are good and fun, but Jocelyn's suggestion, "W.T. Fuck?" is a superb marriage of these concepts. It hilariously lures the listener into a false sense of security. After hearing the first two letters, they expect to hear a third, not to actually be blasted with the F-bomb. I use "W.T. Fuck?" a lot now, and it usually elicits much more of a visceral response than if I were to come at the phrase in a traditional manner. Let's face it, at this point, the word "fuck" has been so overused that it doesn't have the impact it was designed to. I try to limit my swearing not because I don't like curse words, but out of respect. They can only remain powerful when used sparingly. I'm still willing to say "fuck" in the context of WT Fuck, however, since that means using it in the form of a verbal sneak attack, hence honoring its to unnerving quality.

Once when I said "W.T. Fuck," someone asked, "But why would you censor the words that are clean?" Uh, because that's what makes it funny? It's also sort of the gimmick of this video that Ben introduced me to last night:

W.T. Fuck was that?! It's not often that censoring something that doesn't need to be censored works out to be so amusing, but that's a real hoot.


What You Rape In Vegas Stays In Vegas

A month ago I went to Las Vegas to attend a Britney Spears concert. Technically, I didn't go to the concert, but the four people I carpooled with did; I just took the ride and resolved to drink and gamble while they were at the concert. I didn't take into account that this situation would mean listening to Britney's entire oeuvre in the car -- twice even. I wouldn't have minded a little more variety, but I suppose it was fine. Besides, I kind of respect the fact that half the reason they wanted to see the concert was in the hopes of seeing a repeat performance of this incident in Tampa:

"My pussy is hanging out." What I want to know is why is there a microphone on at all? She's not singing for real, so they're just asking for trouble.

If nothing else, the car ride was bearable because en route we spotted a woman older and worse than death smoking and speeding. Attached to the back of her car was one of those motorized scooters with a vanity license plate that read "BINGO." I tried to take a picture, but she was going more than 90 mph and zoomed past us too quickly. Who can blame her, though? She's got places to be and bingo to play.

While everyone else watched Britney lip-synch, I made over a hundred bucks and had a good time wagering alongside some friendly strangers. After Britney finished her concert, pussy in place, I met up with some of the friends and we returned to our hotel, the Imperial Palace, the same hotel I had an awkward yet hilarious time previously. The decor was still cruddy, the elevators still didn't work, and I awoke to the sound of a family yelling at each other in Mandarin in the room next door. I suppose that last incident is just some genuine Asian cultural immersion, so I have no grounds for complaint.

In the post I linked above, I had also referenced how the balcony windows include a sticker that warns you that the door can lock behind you, which is a fun prospect when you're on the seventeenth floor. This time we got a photograph of the sticker to prove how hood the Imperial Palace really is. Further proving the hotel's ghetto character, the second part of the sticker, "PLEASE DO NOT DRAPE ANYTHING OVER THE BALCONY RAILING" was defaced:

I don't care if it's juvenile, "PLEASE DO RAPE ANYTHING OVER THE BALCONY RAILING" is the funniest bit of vandalism I've seen in ages. I mean, if you're locked out there anyway, you might as well occupy yourself somehow, you know?

Besides, it's not like I'm not entirely juvenile as well. Shortly before going to sleep, Kim, Lindsay, and I spotted a body lying in the hall in the distance. After some initial concern that the guy might be dead and additional concern that this hotel was so hood that no one would come to clean the body up for another week, I moved in for a closer inspection. Fortunately, I could hear the guy snoring. That meant that he was alive, and more importantly, that I didn't have to feel bad for doing this:

If you pass out in a Vegas hotel hallway, you're practically asking for someone to pantomime sexual acts over your body. All right, who wants to rape him over the balcony next?


Election Inspection

"Democracy is a failure!" "The system is flawed!" "You can't trust Americans to make the right choice!"

I've heard these comments a lot recently. In reference to American Idol. Whatever. How many of the people complaining actually texted in a vote?

Better question, since, you know, it's actually important: How many people actually voted in their most recent local election?

I did. Sort of. Those same quotes I began this post with apply to my experience this past Tuesday as I (maybe?) voted on the latest California ballot propositions, measures proposed in an attempt to "fix" our state's budget woes.

I rode my bike to my polling place and an elderly lady with a Betty Boop voice greeted me and asked for my name. She checked it in her registration book, then read me an address to confirm that it was me. Just like each election for the past five years of my life, I was never asked to show any form of identification. Every time, I think how easy it would be to commit voter fraud by coming back a couple of hours later and providing a friend/neighbor/stranger's name.

Betty Boop asked if I needed a refresher on how the machine worked, but I declined, so the person next to her handed me a ballot. I chose the center booth, slid my ballot into the voting contraption and opened the booklet. The first choice was for President of the United States and my options included Dwight Eisenhower and Thomas Jefferson. Knowing immediately that something wasn't right, I checked the margin and saw "sample" printed, so I figured that that was just an example question and moved to the next page. Those questions were also ridiculous and also said "sample." Hmm, I thought, that's a lot of nonsense, I don't remember seeing a bunch of fake choices previously, but whatever. On the last page were two questions, the first being whether I supported instituting a federal lottery.

A federal lottery? How come I hadn't heard of this issue on the news? One of the propositions I had just studied up on before showing up had been about how to allocate California lottery revenues, so I punched how I was planning on answering that particular proposition with a "No." Then I realized that something must not be right. Where were the propositions I was supposed to be voting for?

"I think I messed up?" I said, more so asking, aloud, prompting a poll worker to come to assist me. "This doesn't seem like the right questions," I said, showing him the booklet. Studying it, he agreed I was right. After discussing it with a fellow worker, they decided they must have mixed up a sample booklet with a real booklet and left it out. I received a new ballot and used a different stand. Now here's the kicker: one of them then said, "Funny how no one's pointed that out all day."

Funny? Or scary?! I voted after 1 p.m. and the polling station had been open since 8 a.m. That's a long time for that error to go unnoticed. Part of me wants to say that if voters are that uninformed, I don't want them voting anyway, but then I consider myself a pretty savvy voter and even I was momentarily fooled and voted for a fake ballot measure. In that position, however, I had faith in the system and assumed I was the one who must be confused and wrong. I have no clue how many people voted incorrectly that day, but it's still disconcerting.

Now that's something worth screaming about. On a related note, and to answer the complaints of the American Idol viewers while I'm at it: it's the screaming. Adam didn't win the competition because he screams instead of singing. His screeching is nearly unbearable. Now get over it and worry about the fact that your votes might not really count when it really counts.


Word Salad

I go to the refrigerator and some of my produce is missing, so I search the countertops, then the trash can. Indeed, I see a bag of carrots in the rubbish bin. It must have been my roommate, Christine, so I complain to Lindsay, "She threw out my carrots!" I go looking through the fridge to see if anything else is missing, and I can't spot the salad I ate half of yesterday. "I was just eating that, it was definitely still fresh! Why would she toss my salad?!"

It's really hard to stay irritated when you realize you've just accidentally used the phrase "toss my salad."


President Taft's Chair

It's not as exciting as washing in his famously enormous White House bathtub, but I had the opportunity to sit in a chair custom-made for former President William Howard Taft. Having the opportunity to sit in a chair used by someone of such great importance made me quite feel small...

... literally. Forget the vertical stripes, nothing is more slimming than sitting in a seat constructed for a 300+ lbs. person.



If you think I'm offensive, you should meet my friends!

In the span of just a couple hours, here are the top two offensive things that people said:

2. Singer in a wheelchair
For context, I'm at the lesbian karaoke bar and ordering a drink at the bar. Unbeknownst to me, there's a man in a wheelchair trying to maneuver behind me, but can't find the space between the people at the bar and the table next to it. The person sitting nearby at the bar freaks out at me. "MOVE MOVE MOVE!" I turn and notice the person in the wheelchair and immediately press myself against the bar to make room. While the man trying to get by thanks me, the person who yelled at me at the bar says an aggressive, "God!" at me like I was being rude all along. I got defensive because I wasn't trying to be rude or anything and explained as much: "I didn't even see him! No one even 'Excuse me.'" "STILL!" the fellow patron sputtered at me exasperated. At this point it became clear that I was dealing with someone who was overcompensating for the fact that this man was disabled. He felt the need to irrationally defend a handicapped person, as if I should be expected to sense someone that I've incidentally had my back to the whole time. I'm sure he wouldn't have said a word if someone who could walk was having trouble getting past me.

Anyway, the man in the wheelchair turned out to be an amazing singer with a Frank Sinatra-like voice. The next day, i offered up a silly theory: what if he was told he could only keep one ability, his legs or his voice, and he chose his voice?

L's response: "That's just like Ariel [The Little Mermaid], but the opposite!"

As I type this part, I recognize that perhaps I made the offensive part by introducing the dilemma and L merely turned it around into a joke. Oops. Okay, but I swear the next one was not me and actually took me by such surprise that my jaw dropped; I almost wanted to laugh just to indulge my nervous side, but I couldn't do it.

1. Zoo kids

We're at the zoo and there are thousands of little kids running amuck, screaming, and crying.

L: "This makes me want to put off having a kid for as long as possible."
A: "Why, so it'll have Down Syndrome?"

It's based on statistics, granted, but still...



Yesterday, I went to the graduation ceremonies of my two alma maters and I cried. Sure, I’m proud of my friends for their accomplishments, blah blah blah, but that’s not the real reason for my tears. I cried because it meant that many more people with equivalent educational experience entering the non-existent workforce. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people across the country this weekend earned diplomas, consequently making my job hunt all the more difficult.

I mean, congratulations, though. See you in the unemployment line, class of ’09.


Schindler's List

Lindsay: “You mean Schindler’s List isn’t a comedy? I laughed.”
Adrian: “Of course Schindler’s List is a comedy, it has Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson making a list of things they want to do before they die.



Standardized testing is a big deal in public schools. As much as people in the educational business like to downplay its importance, the honest administrators will admit that, although it shouldn't be that way, the results of the standardized tests are the only data that matters.

When I worked as a high school teacher, we were instructed not to teach to the test, but to *wink wink* teach to the test. In an ideal world, I would teach the skills necessary organically so that when the test arrived, the students would be prepared. Unfortunately, these students came to me so far behind that it was way more successful to address the test directly. In the case of the high school exit exam, students needed to pass that test to earn a high school diploma, so I would be doing them a disservice if I didn't prepare them for this test directly.

Prior to the week-long state standardized testing, my administrative team began doing the usual cheerleading and providing suggestions on how to prepare before the tests. Additionally, they gave each staff member a shirt to wear that had the school's name and the test's name printed on the front. We were instructed to wear the t-shirt all five days that the test was administrated to show support to the students. Several teachers complained about receiving only one shirt, thus having to wash it each night. Honestly, this was not a problem for me, as I would gladly wear it dirty before doing laundry every night. No, my problem was with the text on the back of the shirt:

What kind of nonsense is that? One of the principals had devised it as the official "slogan" of the testing week. The sentiment was a nice gesture, I reckon, but as an English teacher, I was thoroughly offended. We spend months teaching/begging our students to use properly English and avoid texting language, then we as the adults promote just the opposite at the time that matters most. For crying out loud, the test we were trying to encourage them to do well on had dozens of grammar questions on it!

Since I had already resigned my position for the end of the school year, I was a little looser and didn't even try to hide my contempt for the shirt and slogan, complaining about it at the next department meeting. "Don't be a grammar snob," said one of my coworkers (who notoriously always used "good" instead of "well,") as if we weren't being paid by the state of California to be just that.

I was going to defiantly refuse to wear the shirt, but decided to turn it into a "teachable moment" during the shortened class periods following a few hours of testing on the first day. Like most days, I started class with a grammatically incorrect sentence for the students fix. Of course, I used "ALL IT TAKES IS ALL U GOT" The students had a field day with it; the (smarter) students identified the following problems:
1. All capital letters
2. No punctuation
3. Passive voice
4. Text abbreviation of "you"
5. Informal "got" instead of "have"

I congratulated the kids on a job well done and proceeded to rant about how inappropriate it was for the school to endorse such a bastardization of the English language. Then I turned around to reveal that I had used white-out to write our corrected sentence on the back of my shirt: "You have all it takes." (The lettering was more vibrant before it partially flaked off in the wash.) I was surprised to find that many of the students found it cool and rebellious to dare to vandalize the official shirt. In fact, I even inspired some students to take action themselves and vandalize edit the posters with the same slogan around campus. Granted, they had to feel like they were breaking the rules before they gave a shit about grammar, but I'll take it!

By the end of the week, I received some flak from a higher-up for destroying the uniformity of the uniforms they were striving for, but I felt justified enough to not let it faze me. The school was ridiculous for throwing grammar by the wayside in an attempt to sound "cool" for the kids. Meanwhile, I found a way to use grammar that actually was cool for the kids. (Heck, the students even listened to an explanation of the difference between the active and passive voice for the purpose of this exercise!) And that is how we should prepare kids for a standardized test.


Here's to Drinking What I Like with the People I Like

Today's a special day, so don't forget to take your mother to Applebee's!

I went to Applebee's last weekend, where I found this advertisement on the table. The promise of a "special flower... while supplies last" sounds like a real treat for moms! I'm especially partial to the text that fills out the bottom: "This Mother's Day we're serving Moms all day long." As opposed to the holiday last year when Applebee's refused to seat mothers after noon in what turned out to be a PR fiasco. No wonder they're throwing in a limited supply of flowers.

Even if I were on the same side of the country as my Mom, I wouldn't bring her to Applebee's though. That place sucks, but it's a mainstream chain, so most people don't seem to notice. I noticed, however, on my previous trip to the establishment, when my coworker memorably told me I "need to get out more" after I admit it was my first trip to Applebee's.

I not-too-strictly vowed to never go back, but when I hung out with Lindsay and her family and friends after her amazing dance performance, the plan was to go to Applebee's. Many of the people had also gone the night before, which made a repeat trip all the more preposterous to me, but as they pointed out, where else can you eat and drink locally at midnight? (Honestly, the town I live in all but shuts down by 9pm -- it's really time to move.) So while it was, in a way, the only practical option, I still think we should have more seriously considered a freeway median as a more preferable location.

I ordered a mudslide and was surprised to find that it was just a milkshake. Checking the beverage menu, I realized that the small text under the mudslide explained that it included just a little bit of Kahlua and nothing else, in spite of being more expensive than a normal alcoholic beverage at any other place I've been. I felt bamboozled and was about to become irritated, but then I started laughing at the suggested toasts in the margins of the menu. "Here's to drinking what I like with the people I like!" I found it so hokey, that I said it no fewer than five times throughout the night to celebrate. In truth, I wasn't drinking what I liked... and the people... well, I mean, most of them are all right. Another toast was "Here's to old friends and older secrets." I'm not even sure what that means, not to mention why I would toast to it. If the secrets are older than your friends, that means you've been keeping things from them. You might as well say, "Here's to staying discreet about our pasts to maintain our current friendships. Thanks to Applebee's for keeping their drinks weak and, in turn, our lips tight." As a writer undergoing a job search, my unemployment seems even more ridiculous since I know I can write better copy for their menus and ads.

Then again, Applebee's probably isn't hiring me based on this post. Looks like I'll have to drown my sorrows. Here's to drinking what I like with the people I like... somewhere other than Applebee's.


Understanding the Understudy

As a teen, I participated as part of the backstage crew on a few youth theater performances by constructing, painting, and moving sets. My friend Jen was acting in the show, though she didn't have a large part. In the week leading up to opening night, I noticed Jen was studying the script. Since she only had a few lines, I made an inquiry and discovered that she was actually the understudy for the lead role. I told her that that seemed like a lot of work just to be a back up, to which Jen agreed but said she had pretty much learned all of the lines anyway "just in case." That's when I started joking, "So if something were to happen to Lauren [the lead], you would get to perform?" "Yeah," she said. Then, doing my best mobster impression, I slammed my fist into my open palm in a menacing manner and promised to "see what I can do." Appreciating my joke, Jen laughed and thanked me.

The following night, now just two days before the show's opening night, the director gathered everyone to give some bad news. Lauren, the lead, had been injured and was in the hospital with two broken ribs. I immediately felt awful, partially because Lauren was seriously hurt, and partially because I was afraid that Jen might think I was somehow responsible after the vague threats I made in jest the night before, especially given the lack of explanation as to how Lauren was injured.

I tried to find Jen immediately to make sure she didn't actually suspect me of anything, but she was already busy going through scenes as the newly promoted understudy. It wasn't until the end of the night that we finally caught up. Our conversation used as few words as possible, but we conveyed what we needed to convey:

Jen: So...
Kevin: No!!
Jen: Yeah...
Kevin: Yeah.
Jen: I didn't think you would, it's just...
Kevin: We had that conversation, so you'd...
Jen: Yeah...
Kevin: But yeah, no.
Jen: Good.
Kevin: Well, congratulations anyway.
Jen: Yeah, ha, thanks, I guess.

It was one of those funny scenarios where I would have not only been offended if she thought that of me, but also a bit if she hadn't at least wondered. I can be tough and evil, right? Jen didn't really think I would do that, and I didn't really think she would think I would do that, but the situation necessitated at least articulating this, however poorly, as confirmation.

As it turned out, Lauren was out of the hospital by the next day and, even with broken ribs, was determined to play the part. The crew did some last minute changes to the choreography and stage directions to accommodate Lauren's injuries, so Jen never even got her big shot at stardom.

I learned a lesson from all of this:
Next time, I won't settle for simply maiming... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!


Head in the Sand

A few weekends ago, I went to the beach. The goal was to get a tan, but then Allison and Melinda buried me in the sand and I remained beneath the surface for much of our time there, so I didn't receive much sun. I did get boobs, though, so that when strangers passed by, I looked extra goofy. Melinda and Allison each crafted one sand-breast a piece, resulting in them looking fairly different. This is probably why most cosmetic surgery patients prefer to have the same doctor do both breasts.

But I digress. RJ took some photos of me in my vulnerable state, but the best (in my world, "best" means "creepiest," by the way) one is this:

Yikes! My head alone isn't too frightening (just politely nod and agree, okay?) but the shadow created from RJ's body as he takes the picture makes it look like it's my own scary shadow body.  Apparently, I'm using my spooky shadow arms to do some model pose.

Let's hope the tide comes in and drowns this monstrous creature.


My Brother Steven Is Retarded

I found this book, My Brother Steven Is Retarded, in a children's liberry's discard pile.  It was with several dozen other books that were clearly outdated.  This one stuck out to me, however, because the use of the word "Retarded" made it severely outdated.   It's not supposed to be offensive, it's an educational book of sorts that inadvertently became politically incorrect since 1977.  I'm just curious how it survived in the liberry for as long as it has.

Below, I'm including a sampling of the pages from the book. 
(note: Click on pages for enlarged view of text)

The sister, Beth, starts by sharing some of her hardships.  I get it, she's being relatable to the kids reading it who probably have negative impressions of people with mental disabilities. 

After getting over some initial fears that she'd catch retardation and that her mom did it to her brother on purpose, Beth drinks some bitch juice and unapologetically declares, "Better Steven than me!"

All right, Beth's still complaining.  She'll get over it soon.  "It's not his fault his brain was hurt": that's compassionate, sort of, right?

Several pages later, and Beth is still complaining about Steven.  He's easy to forget when he's not around, but when he is, damn...

Beth is eternally sad and there's no changing that. 

Now we're on the second to last page.  The last one will surely lead up to a more optimistic ending...

"I hope he will be happy."  Wow.  Is that a kiss-off, or what?  Nice knowing you, Steven.  You won't be my problem anymore.  

I gave this book the benefit of the doubt in spite of its use of the R-word, but it still ended up being pretty offensive.  It deserves some credit for being honest and not sugarcoating the experience of a child with a mentally disabled sibling, but it also doesn't even attempt to show any positive or warm experiences.  I kept waiting for a moment where Beth would acknowledge Steven as something other than a nuisance.  The best Beth ever manages, as seen in an earlier page, is "I guess I love Steven."  Kids reading this book are probably left with the same sentiment that Beth expressed earlier on -- better their family than mine.

In short, this book is just ret... ret... 
Retired.  As it should be.  


Get Testes for Swine Flu

Oh, swine flu. Or "Mexican Flu" as some people want to call it, because swine flu is "offensive" to pigs or some nonsense, and calling it "Mexican Flu" is not nearly as bigoted and certainly doesn't attempt to equate Mexican people with pigs. I don't like saying the phrase "swine flu" because it always makes me think of "swine flew," which is to say that pig's can fly. In the past, I've agreed to kiss, vote for, and otherwise associate with certain people "when pigs fly." If the swine flu obligates me to follow through with these claims, it might as well be the apocalypse.

But the fact is that swine flu/Mexican flu/whatever is not apocalyptic. I'd prefer to call it Hypochondriac's Delight. I swear, the hysterics are such that if people heard that the best way to immunize themselves against the swine flu was to inject yourself with HIV, people would be lining up to get the shot.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to do my part by eating lots of ham, eliminating one delicious pig at a time. Who am I kidding, though? I always eat a lot of ham.

For the record, I like pigs. In particular, pigs have an admirable quality that dwarves the human species' in comparison. Rather than stating it directly, I'll share an anecdote:

As a teen, I occasionally volunteered for the Heifer Project, which meant I was put to work as a farmhand. On one trip to the farm, I was introduced to the "stud" pig. This pig was old, massive, gray, sporadically hairy, blind, and could barely move. Even in that condition, however, he was the fortunate one who got to impregnate all the lady pigs on the farm, in addition to eating all of the expired food that grocery stores donated that his fat heart desired. While bringing stale bread and eggs to feed this pig, my friend Oraine and I contemplated whether or not this pig had a good life, all things considered. Ultimately, Oraine decided he wasn't jealous, however, because this pig was sure to die soon, pointing out the large tumors on his backside. I immediately became concerned that maybe the farmers weren't aware of the pig's condition. We told the farmer about the tumors, so he came to check out what we had seen.

"Those aren't tumors, those are pig balls," the farmer said matter-of-factly.

I've felt like an idiot more times than I can count, but alerting a farmer of a pig's giant testicles still ranks up there.

It didn't occur to me to take a picture of that particular pig, but years later at a county fair, I knew I needed to document them properly:

Look at those! That's a lot of balls! If enlarged sexual organs are a side effect of swine flu, may we all be so lucky to be infected!