Survivor

Day 1

     Jeff Probst stands on a boat in front of all of us. It’s like a really old piratey boat. I am standing amongst 19 other people, all from different backgrounds and home lives. 10 of us are on one mat while the other 10 are standing on the other.
There are chickens running around everywhere on the boat, while different fruits and pieces of shelter are strewn everywhere. Jeff begins to speak.
     “Welcome to Survivor: Jocks versus Nerds!”
     We all clap and cheer. Then the reality sets in and we realize what mat we are on. To our left is the Jocks. The popular kids. Jacked up dudes and ladies ready to rip our heads off.
On our side? Nerds. As stereotypical as you can get. I belong on the other mat.
     “As you see around you, there are Fiji’s finest chickens and other supplies here on the boat. Each team can only pick one thing to leave here with,” Jeff continued.
     The Jocks spoke first. “The fishing spear!”
     None of the Nerds say anything. I feel like I need to step up and be the leader of this group of misfits.
     “We’ll take a chicken!” I bravely tell Jeff.
     “Alright guys. A fishing spear will meet the Jocks at their camp and a chicken will be waiting for you bunch of Nerds.” He tosses out maps and tells us to swim to shore.
     So, we swim.
     We finally get to our camp and we realize that you need to build a shelter in order to survive in this game. Luckily, we had an engineer and somewhat of a Lego building champion in our camp, so we start out with a pretty good plan and get to work. Everybody seems to be contributing and we’re all getting along well. People are starting to form small alliances and although nobody has talked to me yet about any trysts, I know it’s still early in the game.
So, I took a break and walked into the forest, and Todd, the Lego man, noticed.
     “He’s looking for the immunity idol!” He yells.
     I come back down to plead my innocence but it’s too late. The rest of the tribe runs down and begins to look for the idol, trying to find it before I do.
     “That’s fine guys,” I say. “I’m not looking. I’m a team player, I swear!”
     So, while they are tearing camp and the forest apart looking for the idol, I go and sit beside the chicken who we have tied to a tree.
     “Looks like you’re my only friend here, chicken.”
     The chicken makes a noise, like he’s trying to tell me something.
     “What is it, chicken? Tell me, what is on your mind?”
     The chicken turns around and begins to nibble on the ground.
     “Right.”
     Todd appears out of nowhere.
     “He’s trying to make an alliance with the chicken. They’re in a showmance! Look guys a power couple!”
     Of course, this tactic works and for the rest of the night, I was shunned. I’m surprised they didn’t tie to me to a tree, but the fear that I was getting too close to the chicken was real.

Day 2

     I wake up pretty sore. Not a solid 24 hours for my first foray into reality television. But not all is lost. It’s time for our first immunity challenge.
     We arrive in a big clearing. Jeff yells “come on guys” as both tribes take their spots. The Jocks look happy as usual.
     Jeff introduced both teams and the game that we would be playing. It was basically an obstacle course, which very obviously favoured the bigger and prettier Jocks. We were a bunch of nerds, after all.
     “Want to know the reward?” Jeff asks. He lifts up a tarp and reveals a basket with letters in it. “Letters from your loved ones. Worth playing for?”
     Both tribes begin crying uncontrollably around me. Some drop to their knees and ugly cry while I stand there, bewildered.
     I put my hand up. “It’s only day 2.”
     Jeff wipes tears from his own eyes. “Excuse me?”
     The entire cast of Survivor stares at me through their crying.
     “Never mind,” I say.
     “Let’s play.” Jeff starts the game.


*


     So, the nerds got smoked. When we were walking back to the start, Todd came over to me and said “thanks for demoralizing the team.”
     “What?” I asked back.
     “That comment about the letters from home. You killed the vibe here when you mocked them. You’re telling me that you don’t want to hear from your loved ones?”
     “I just saw them last week!”
     Todd looked disgusted. “Get out of my face.”
     A few minutes later we stand in front of Jeff. He hands the immunity idol over to the Jocks, as well as the basket of letters.
     “It was clear that some people wanted this reward more than others,” Jeff told us, looking directly at me. “We will see the Nerds at Tribal Council tonight. Now get out of here.”
     It seems like I’m in a bit of a hole here.
     When we get back to camp, I try a little damage control. I talk to Mark, and Troy, and Sally, and Fred, then the twins Paul and Paula. Nothing. Look like their mind is made up.
     I go back to my chicken friend for advice. He shares nothing of substance.
     I figure I have to talk to Todd. King of the Nerds.
     “Todd,” I say. “We need to work together. We are two of the strongest people here. We can make the merge and run this game all the way to the final two!”
     Todd thinks about it for a second.
     “Interesting point,” he says. Then he whistles very loudly and the entire tribe appears out of the bushes.
     “This guy thinks you’re all a bunch of weak nerds. And that chicken he’s always talking to? He just told me that they have a final two deal. You’re all just a pawn in their game.”
     “What?” I respond, bewildered. “The chicken isn’t even apart of the game!”
      Their mind was already made up.


*


     Standing in front of us at Tribal Council, Jeff is holding a piece of parchment paper. He didn’t even let us deliberate, instead he just told everybody that they should really do the right thing and then started the vote.
     “With a vote of 9 to 1, the first person voted off of Survivor Jocks vs. Nerds, is Josh.”
      Nobody is surprised.
     “I’m really going to enjoy eating that chicken,” Todd says.
     Jeff buffs out my torch.
     “The tribe has spoken.”

List of Obscure Awareness Dates for Next Year

January
Don’t Be a Jerk Awareness Month

February
National Wear a Dumb Hat Day
(Feb. 24th)

March
National Sleep as Much as Possible Week
(March 4th – 11th)

April
Take Your Pets to Work Day
(April 26th)

May
National Ridicule Smokers Day
(Yes, this includes Vapers)
(May 31st)

June
Hug A Dad Day
(June 17th)

July
Be Nice to a Fast Food Worker Awareness Month

August
Try Not to Stare at Left Handed People Day
(Aug. 11th)

September
Wear a Backpack Week
(Sept. 9th to 15th)

October
Teach a Child to Drive Day
(Oct. 31st)

November
National Adopt an Ugly Pet Month

December
National Tattoo Regret Awareness Week
(Dec. 9th to 15th)

Poetry Corner

On a bench, in the park
My mind, a place so dark.
I open up my coat, pull out a bag
Inside is something so horrible and vile.
I place it down on my leg
And all the while
I think to myself
Do I want to die tonight?
Is this how it ends?
I take the hard stuff
The D-R-U-G-S
Into my hands and
Pull out the lighter
My mouth meets the end
The flames explode the tip
I inhale.
It’s over.
The marijuana fills my lungs.
My life.
It’s over.
My parents.
Disappointed.
They won’t be able to
Look me in the eye at family dinners.
Why?
Because I’m dead.
And you will be too.
If you ever try drugs
Even once.
Just say no!


I call that one: “8-year-old has to write a poem about drugs”

Harvey and Delilah

     A man sat at a wooden desk, mercilessly scribbling down letters and punctuation on a pad of paper that seemed to translate into words and ideas.
     His name was Peter and he lived in a two-bedroom cabin with no windows.
     A skinny man, that Peter had a scraggly bit of facial hair and a mop of brown hair that was beginning to turn grey. His favourite colours were red and brown, which were a big reason why he wore nothing but a red button-up sweater and brown corduroy pants. They were a comfort to him in a world that had begun to feel anything but.
      The main door of the cabin led outside. Hardly used, that door was basically just for show at this point. A second door led to a room that used to be a bedroom. Now it houses rows and rows of potatoes, grown for consumption and reminiscent of a “living on Mars” type of situation.
     Peter wrote at his desk beside his two best friends, eagerly awaiting the finished product.    They shared a planter to the right of him, laying together, almost hand-in-hand. Harvey, the larger of the edible tubers, had a pair of sunglasses sharpied on the front of him with a wicked smile that almost looked like a young Tom Cruise in Top Gun. He also had a top-hat. To his left was his girlfriend. Delilah. She had dots for eyes and long, stringy hair. And a big nose. Too big. They were mature potatoes, two of Peter’s collection that he had grown fond of and would only ever eat in an emergency. Even then, he might choose death over tearing those two apart.
     They sat and waited patiently for one more of Peter’s tall tales.
     “Once upon a time, there lived a -” Peter stopped in his tracks and stared at the potatoes.
     “What now?” He turned back to what he had wrote and glanced over it.
     “’Once upon a time’ is a perfectly acceptable way of starting a story.” Peter turned back to them. “Do you feel as strongly about this too, Delilah? Harvey, you’ve turned her cold and rubbery. She used to love this stuff.”
     Peter crumpled up the paper and threw it against the wall. He put his head in his hands and stood up, knocking the chair to the ground behind him.
     “Why can’t you guys trust that I know what I’m doing here?”
     He walked over to the rolled-up ball of paper and picked it up. On the bottom of the front door was a wooden plank that covered an old entrance that a dog might have used to get in and out of the home. A screwdriver and an oven mitt lay sprawled on the ground beside it. Picking up the screwdriver, Peter knelt down in front of the plank of wood and started to unscrew the corners. Once it was removed, he put on the oven mitt and grabbed the crumpled-up fairy tale with it. He took a deep breath and punched through the plastic covering of the old doggy door, pulling his arm back inside almost as fast. He dropped the empty mitt to the ground and shook his hand out like it spent a little too much time in the fire.
     After screwing the wood back to the door, Peter picked the chair back up and took a seat at the desk once again.
     “Okay, no more fairy tales then I guess.”
     He picked up his pen and began writing some more, making grunting noises as he scribbled faster than before.
     Then, a knock on the door.
     Peter stopped.
     He stayed very still.
     Knock.
     Knock.
     He put down the pen and stood up.
     Then silence from outside.
     Peter turned back to his desk but a female voice echoed through his small cabin.
     “Help me! Is there anybody in there? I need help.”
     Peter stayed still, deciding between his moral compass and his own safety.
     More knocks on the door.
     “The air is tight! Please, I don’t have much time. I know somebody is in there! Please!”
     Peter looked towards the potatoes for guidance.
     “Seriously? Fine. If I die, that’s on you guys.”
     The door is covered in locks. He reached into his pocket and produced a roll of keys and unlocked them. The knocking stopped when he unlocked the last one.
     Peter backs slowly to the corner of the room and gets in the fetal position.
     He yells. “It’s open!”
     The air is still.
     The door flung open and a man came barreling through, almost like he ran full sprint at the door, tackling it with no regard for his own body.
Peter walked slowly around the perimeter of his cabin. When he reached the open door, he tried to close it but it got caught on a foot. Alex, a teenaged girl, barged into the cabin and Peter closed the door behind her. She dropped down in front of the body.
     “Thanks for opening your home to us, mister. It’s so scary out there.” Alex told Peter. She was the voice from outside.
     Peter peered over Alex at the limp body on the ground.
     “Is he going to be okay?”
     “You know, you’re like a hero. You remind me a lot of my grandfather, and he fought in the war.”
      “How old do you think I am?”
      Alex turned to the body and gave it three solid pokes.
     “Yeah. Jeff’s dead now. The air outside must have gotten him. Sad.”
      Peter turned to the door and ran his finger along the crack until he got to the floor. Then, he put his finger to his nose and smelled it.
     “Sour?” Alex asked as she had gotten up and started to admire the cabin around her.
      “It’s true, then? I mean, of course I’ve always believed it was true but I’d be lying if I didn’t think there was a part of me that was a little bit-”
     “Crazy?”
     Peter turned his attention back to the body on his floor.
     “What are we going to do with him? We can’t just go outside and give him a proper burial.”
      Alex kneels down in front of Harriet and Delilah.
     “How do you survive without going outside?”
     A lightbulb went off in Peter’s head. He hopped over the body and ran over to the potato room.
      “We can bury him here! That’s a great idea. I’m always looking for new ways to supplement my potato crop. It might get a bit stinky, but you know, that’s a sacrifice we’ll have to make.”
     “Excuse me?” Alex seemed a bit turned off by the idea.
     “Well, there’s nowhere else we can put him. Plus, with you living here now, I’m going to have to double my potato growth. It won’t be easy, but the decomposing body should really help.”
      “Dude, you really are off your hinges. Jeff, let’s get out of here. Jokes over.” Alex stood up and walked back towards the door.
     The previously limp Jeff got up and dusted himself off. Peter looked in horror as the dead body rose up, gave him a dirty look, then walked ever-so zombie like towards the planter with his two best friends in it. It felt like slow motion as Jeff pulled out Delilah and took a giant bite from her head, removing most of her hair and almost all of her face.
      Then he spat her out.
      Just like that, an innocent life lost.
     Peter felt rage like he hadn’t felt in a long time. His hands balled into fists which caught Jeff off guard. Scared, Jeff sprinted for the door. Alex opened it first, but Jeff barreled through it much like he entered the house, and finally the door exploded off the hinges.
     Jeff stopped when he got outside and turned around.
     “What are you going to do, old man? You can’t touch me outside!”
     Peter sprinted through the open door at Jeff, catching him off guard. Jeff tossed Delilah to the ground, turned around and ran towards Alex, who stood at a tree which held their bikes.
      “There’s no time. Go!” Jeff signaled for Alex to get out of there and she jumped on her bike and rode away. Jeff ran past his bike, not bothering to stop and deciding it was faster to travel on foot then risk being mauled by this crazy cabin man.
      Peter didn’t follow Jeff to the tree and down the road, instead he stopped at the decapitated body of his dear Delilah. He held her up, the insides still glistening from Jeff’s rabid saliva.
     He noticed the sunlight hitting the potato in a certain way and realized where he was and what he had done. Peter collapsed to the ground and clutched his throat, letting the thin and poisonous air suck the last bit of life out of him.
     Except that didn’t happen.
     Instead, nothing happened.
     Peter stopped writhing around on the ground and stood up. With Delilah in his hand, he walked over to the tree by Jeff’s bike and dug a hole. He placed her inside and said something quietly before covering her up and jumping on Jeff’s bike.
     Peter hadn’t ridden a bike since he was a little boy but, in this instance, he felt that it was a lot like riding a bike. One pedal after another, and he was gone. The wind ripped through his almost-greying hair as he sped down the uneven pavement, the air not destroying his skin and his lungs as he had feared just minutes ago.
     Peter headed to the grocery store. An odd place for the first destination after finding out that an actual apocalypse hadn’t occurred, but if there is one thing Peter knew, it was that there was now a tuber-sized hole in his heart that he needed to fill as soon as possible.
He parked the bike against the building and walked in to the air-conditioned store. People looked at him weird and it wasn’t just because he had the smell of a man who hadn’t bathed in a good while. The red buttoned-up sweater and brown corduroy pants seemed to rub people the wrong way.
      “What an interesting combination,” said one elderly man.
Peter made his way to the produce section, and more specifically, to the edible tubers. There was a beautiful row of yams on his left and a beautiful row of sweet potatoes on his right. Peter stood in the middle and picked up one kind in each hand. The yam, with its holes, bruises and other imperfections, versus the sweet potato, which looks nothing like an actual potato and actually more like a yam. Is there a difference? Since Peter knew he had many things that identified as a potato at home, the decision was easy.


*


     Back in the cabin, the door was wide open. Well, more literally, the door was still off the hinges and he had no choice but to live with it open for now. The fresh air was a nice change of pace for him, though.
     Peter sat at his desk, scribbling away with his pen on a pad of paper. To the right of him in the planter was Harvey the potato, looking like the love of his life wasn’t just ripped from his grasp too early into their love affair. Beside him was his new roommate, Delilah 2. An imperfect yam with sharpied on hair and a nose even bigger than the last one. Although they had known each other for only a few hours. Peter knew that they would eventually fall in love and start their own family of tiny edible tubers.
     He stopped scribbling on his paper and cleared his throat.
     “Are you ready for a new one?”
     Silence.
     “Okay, okay. Good. Okay. Once upon a time, there lived a man in a cabin. He-” Peter stopped abruptly and stared at the potato and the yam. “But she’s new! She’s never heard a story like that before. Seriously? This took me forever. Fine.” He crumpled up the paper and stood up aggressively from his chair.
     Peter walked to the open door and added it to the pile of other crumpled up stories that he had tossed aside in the past.
     Then he walked back to his desk and sat down.

History of a Word

Windreamument

[win-dreem-yu-muh-nt]

Noun.
⦁ An oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation; within a dream; where the person dreaming successfully overpowers their opponent in a duel of wits.
⦁ A discussion involving different points of view; debate; but like, in a dream and you win.

     Ah yes, the classic dream argument. Picture this: you walk into a town in the Wild West. People are staring at you like you don’t belong. Because you don’t. You find a saloon and wonder all in. The room goes quiet. You order a beer but instead you get a little sass from the bartender. He comes at you with a fact. Something like, the sky is green. You reach into your wealth of knowledge and tell him that the sky is in fact, blue. Everybody goes outside and cheer for you as you all look up, and your point is proven. You just experienced a windreamument. Then you wake up and go to work in a town that is certainly not a Wild West situation.

     Alternately…

Argumaladreamument

[ahr-gyuh-mahl-uh-dreem-yu-muh-nt]

Noun.
⦁ Entering into any sort of squabble with a being that is not human, regardless of win or lose.

     For example, if you walk into the same Wild West saloon and you accidentally give the racoon at the table by the bar a sour look, and he comes over and wants to discuss oil or like, the conflict happening overseas, and he schools you so bad with his facts that you lose and get kicked out of the saloon, that’s an argumaladreamument. If it went the other way and you said something smart to make you the winner, it would be the same word. It’s an act, really. The act of argumaladreamument.

30 is Coming

     It’s raining. You hold an umbrella over your head for 10 minutes. A sharp pain shoots through your arm and down your lower back.


30 is coming.

     Winter time. You wear socks to bed because it’s cold all the time. You hear a crash in the middle of the night. Intruders? Cats? You jump out of bed and your socks connect with the hardwood floor of your room, sending your legs in two different directions. Groin pull. And not the good kind.


30 is coming.

     It’s your high school reunion. 10 years. You show up looking really nice. You find out that the nerd group you may have disrespected a few times growing up are now all doctors and engineers and own their own houses. You have to leave early so you can give your cat her heartworm medication before she falls asleep. Also, you’re wearing sweatpants under your dress pants.


30 is coming.

     You are at home in the dark, watching a scary movie alone. You have a glass bowl of popcorn in your lap. JUMP SCARE! The bowl smacks you in the face, knocking a tooth out and causing your neck to snap back. Whiplash.


30 is coming.

     You’re outside. It’s a little wet out. You take your dog to the lawn across the street. She goes to the bathroom. You were going to take her for a walk, but it’s raining. It’s gross out. You go home and look at the clock. It’s 1:30 PM. You went outside. That’s worthy of a nap.


30 is coming.

     Your favourite reality show isn’t on tonight because of some stupid political debate. You leave an angry comment online. Now what are you supposed to do tonight?


30 is coming.

     The grocery store is out of your go-to kind of bagged salad, but lettuce is on sale. You don’t eat tonight.


30 is coming.

     You write a list of things that sound pathetic, but every joke has some sort of truth to it.


30 is coming.

New TV Pilot Idea

“Better Human”

⦁ Wes, a normal 30-year-old dude, emerges from his front door wearing a cheap tie and a worn dress shirt
⦁ He trips and falls over something on his porch
⦁ He picks up a package addressed to him and rips it open, finding a brightly covered information pamphlet and a small vial containing two pills
⦁ The pamphlet says “Be a Better Human Today!”
⦁ He opens his door again and tosses the box back in his house
⦁ Wes arrives at his job in the back of a vacuum store as a vacuum repairman
⦁ Craig, his boss, comes in and tells him that vacuum sales are down, so he’s going to have to fire him
⦁ He receives his last paycheque and hits the streets.
⦁ Wes passes a department store and sees something in the window.
⦁ He goes in with his paycheque and comes out with a brand new fluffy pink pillow.
⦁ Wes goes back home, a man at a crossroads, unsure of his next step in life
⦁ He grabs a sharpie and a pad of paper and writes something in bold letters
⦁ With the piece of paper on his chest that reads: “Too Broken to Fix”, Wes attempts to suffocate himself with the new pillow he bought
⦁ Instead, he just keeps sneezing, later realizing he is allergic to the pillow material
⦁ When that doesn’t work, he lies on the ground in despair
⦁ Then, in the corner of his eye, he sees the package he tripped over earlier
⦁ He opens it back up again and grabs the vial of pills
⦁ Wes swallows them whole without water, without even knowing what they do
⦁ He reads over the pamphlet, but it doesn’t give him any answers, all it says is “Be a Better Human Today!” and has a phone number on it
⦁ Shaking, Wes takes his phone out and dials the number
⦁ It rings
⦁ And rings
⦁ Until finally, somebody answers the call


End of Pilot.