Discontent, datcontent

I would like to take issue with the irritating misuse of the term content.

Understand, I’m not talking about content as in “She was not at all content to be married to her great uncle.”

Rather, the kind of content which can be contained. As in “The content of the alligator’s stomach included bits and pieces of her great aunt.”

And, by taking issue, I mean screaming, shrieking, stomping my feet, throwing myself on the floor, kicking, pounding my fists, punching walls — essentially everything one does when overdosing on horse tranquilizers, and then going to the ER and waiting six hours for the wall punching specialist to come in from the golf course with a bucket of spackle.

In medical parlance this is what they mean when they say somebody is beside themselves. If you are unfamiliar with the term —  perhaps because you’ve been living under an unlicensed rock these past few years — then you’re obviously dead. Go away.

But in case you’re just a little bit alive, perhaps sitting slumped over in an uncomfortable plastic chair in a crowded emergency room, bleeding and broken, maybe an eye poked out, a leg missing, an arm hanging by a thread, you might consider the aptness of the metaphor “beside yourself.”

The dictionary describes it as “a state of extreme agitation or excitement, as in “She was beside herself when she found she’d accidentally married her great uncle.” This phrase first appears in the Newer Testament (Acts I, just before intermission): where some busy-body pharisee says “Paul, thou art besideth thyself; getteth it together Dude-ith, lest someone tell Judith.”

Think about it. Have you ever been so upset, so flailing and hopping mad, such a blur of motion as to almost appear to be beside yourself?   

Have you ever been beside someone else who was beside himself? Did it make you beside yourself? And was there still room on the sidewalk?

As illuminating as this discussion may be, without doubt you are wondering “What does this have to do with this guy’s burning agitation over the misuse of the term content?”

Think of it this way. Would you ever say to Shakespeare “I just read the Merchant of Venice. Nice piece of content. Do you do ransom notes?” 

Yes, yes, Shakespeare is dead and you’ve never read or seen The Merchant of Venice. Nor have you kidnapped anyone lately and felt the need to communicate.

The point is, on the internet you will find line after line of what used to be called words. A collection of words used to be called a story, an essay, a play, a speech, a poem, a screed, an arrest warrant, a driver’s manual. And so on.

Anymore, in an Orwellian overthrow of norms not covered by the lying press, these lines are now called text.

That’s not the worst of it. If you collect several examples of text, you have actually produced content. And if you do, you are not called a writer. You are known by the exalted title of “content provider.”

And, instead of saying “French literature” you now say “French content.” (French kissing is now called tonsil editing.)

Some things, for the moment, are still the same. On a bag of potato chips or box of Rice Krispies you will still find “The contents within may have settled.”

Yes, but settled for what?  For less?

Depends on the lawyer

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, funny | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Rebuilding the dead

Q. What exactly are power handles?
A. They’re pretty much what they sound like. You use them to hang onto power

Q. But isn’t the idea of hanging onto power metaphorical?
A. No, the idea of hanging onto power is one of the most basic instincts of life. Like breathing. Or making a rude noise and immediately slapping your hand over your head and asking, as innocently as possible, “Did somebody step on a duck?”

Q. So, power handles aren’t tangible?
A. You’re thinking of “love handles.”

Q. I’m thinking of what I want for lunch.
A. Be careful. What you want and what you get are often two different things

Q. That’s like Mick Jagger saying “I see a red door and I want it painted black.
A. He also said “You can’t always get what you want.”

Q. What are some other basic instincts of life?
A. Lying, back stabbing, front stabbing, getting your fair share and the share of the guy in front of you, extorting lunch money from PhD candidates in the school yard, blaming everything on someone else, falsely claiming honors like the Congressional Medal of Honor, or shouting “Call that chair!” at the right hand of the Father.

Q. Why do so many people crave power?
A. It’s not so much power as it is a defense against being ignored.

Q. Is that because the dead are so often forgotten?
A. Not always. There are dead people who know how to hold onto their power.

Q. How do you do that?
A. It’s all in the handles on your coffin. And the training of your pallbearers. Something you need to be very specific about in your will.

Q. Always wondered. What if your name isn’t Paul?
A. Security! Little help please!

Interview with a procrastinator



Interviewer: Aha.
Procrastinator: Sorry I’m late. I overslept.

Interviewer: I thought you’d forgotten our appointment.
Procrastinator: No, but I did forget where I put my clothes.

Interviewer: And what is that thing you’re wearing on your…? Is that a dish towel?
Procrastinator: It’s one of my Baltimore Orioles sweat socks.

Interviewer: Forgive me if this sounds rude, but they stink.
The Orioles or my sock?

Interviewer: Is there a difference?
Procrastinator: Hey, we’re rebuilding. Any year now. Anyway I was having a nightmare about being naked in public. I woke up and was about to decide not to come but I put off the decision until next year.

Interviewer: And yet here you are. Late for today but early for who knows when.
Procrastinator: Actually, I’m late for last week but I still haven’t decided about coming today. I’ll let you know tomorrow, unless I forget. Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of time to decide about putting next week’s appointment off until the following week. And since that slot looks like it will be open, I’ll try to get there for today’s appointment. Probably.

Interviewer: May I just say, you seem to have a problem getting it all together?
Procrastinator: Uh.

Interviewer: Is something wrong?
Procrastinator: Well, um.

Interviewer: I’m naked aren’t I?
Procrastinator: Completely.

Interviewer: Damn. I thought sure I was awake this time.
Procrastinator: It happens. I have an extra sweat sock.

Interviewer: Did somebody step on a duck?
Procrastinator: Hey. You’re not exactly in a position to be accusing anybody else of rebuilding, you know.

Interviewer: Is it next year yet?
Procrastinator: Quack, quack quack.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Releasing the krakken

Before I got started, I received a text from the site police. “We’ll need to verify it’s you.”

“Why can’t I just say ‘It’s me?” I typed.  The snarky reply text said “That is a question that not only shows your ignorance in a time of Pandemic and Pandemonium, it shows, well, your farouking ignorance if you know what I’m saying, which you probably don’t.”

Okay, to verify it was me, I had to answer one of the secret questions I answered when I registered on this site last September. When I signed on, the site police selected one of those questions and I had to enter the exact answer I gave last September.

For example, one of the questions posed last September was “Where did you and your spouse first meet?” That sounded like a simple question with probably a simple answer to remember. The problem is, I couldn’t remember the exact, simple answer that I used. And I felt uneasy. So I stalled by typing “Who says I have a spouse?”

Came an immediate reply: “Internet security is no joke pal, because jokes are funny. While accidental funny can be funny – sometimes even hilarious —  it’s usually followed by the kind of impotent rage that requires us to dispatch a krakken.”

“Okay.” I typed in the very tiny box reserved for very tiny comments. “I have a spouse.”

 “Error. Your answer does not match our records. Try again. Meanwhile, we are alerting the krakken.”

I got nervous. Did they mean try that same question again? Or try a different question? Maybe try a different spouse? I typed in “It’s very complicated. My spouse and I never actually met that first time. See, I had a blind date that night and when I went to meet her, her roommate said she was out for a walk with a friend. I asked who was the friend. She told me some guy named Sal. I said ‘Wait. My name is Sal.’ The roommate said ‘You don’t look anything like the other Sal.’

‘That’s because I’m not the other Sal,’ I said. ‘I’m the Sal who looks like me and who is also looking for his blind date.’

‘She’s not really blind.’

‘That’s a relief. I’m not blind either.’

‘Although the other Sal did have a seeing eye dog.’

‘Wait. How do you know it was a seeing eye dog?’

‘I asked him.’

‘You asked the dog?’

‘Dog’s can’t talk. I didn’t think I’d have to explain that.’

‘Hold on. You see a guy with a dog and you just assume he’s blind? The guy, that is.’

‘Your point?’

‘That’s kind of rude, don’t you think?’

‘That’s what Harriet said.’

‘Who’s Harriet?’

‘She’s the one out walking with Sal. Duh.’

‘But I’m supposed to meet Lorraine.’

‘Who’s Lorraine?’

‘Uh, my blind date?’

‘Why didn’t you say so?’

‘I thought I did.’

‘I didn’t actually hear the word ‘so.’

‘So,’ I said. ‘Now what?’

‘Hold on. Some krakken just texted he is getting out of his car. You might want to look behind you.’

I began to think something was amiss. I hit the EscK (escape the krakken) button and the screen went blank. I looked behind me.  Coming up the walk from the curb was a krakken. I’d never actually seen a krakken, but I remembered the old saw: If it looks like a krakken, it’s either a krakken or Donald Trump, Jr. I knew I had no other choice. I simultaneously hit the Ctrl-Alt-Delete keys and I vanished.

“Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? Ahhhhhhhh!”

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2021, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, funny, Mockery and derision, The human comedy | Tagged | 4 Comments

Coming up short

This may not be important, but don’t you suppose at some point in history somebody, somewhere was out of sorts because he was out of shorts?

If you are in charge of shorts at your domicile, you’ll be aware that the first question you ask a shorts-wearer coming up short should be “When you say you’re out of shorts, does that mean you checked the shorts basket?”

The shorts wearer in need of shorts may say something like “Well of course I checked the shorts basket. I’m not stupid, you know.”

Often, a nice diplomatic rejoinder to this comment is “No, that’s the first I’ve heard of your stupidity.” If you’re feeling the starch in your own shorts you might add, sotto voce  “Today.”

Sometimes, as you are no doubt aware, the shorts needer hasn’t actually checked the shorts basket. Often this comes from rank stupidity or just fake oh-no-I-forgotfulness.

Too often this is backed up by the clumsy playing of a bogus sincerity card, i.e., a cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promise — should the sincerity turn out to be fake, which of course it will.

It should be noted that one can only hope to die — with or without a crossed heart —  only so many times, before some busy, heavenly numerary, pressed by The Big Steamer Himself-Herself-Theyself, takes the shorts needer seriously and issues a Croak Order. Not only is the order irrevocable, but it leaves the needer dead in, well, infragrant delicked toe shorts. IYKWIMAITYD.*

Knowing this, the cross-my-hearter will sometimes try a pre-emptive, simulated claim of mental-health-to-go strategy, by blurting an immediate “Sorry-Dude-temporarily-lost-my-mind-and-hoping-to-not-die-heh-heh.”  

However comma while it is one thing to speak of shorts in or not in the shorts basket, it is quite another to speak of shorts in the geo-political context of the shorts drawer. For, as we all know, when you put one shorts drawer next to or on top of another you get drawers. Usually up the ying yang (formerly, the wazoo.) 

Those in charge of shorts at the domicile level are aware that the second question you ask a shorts-wearer coming up short should be “When you say you’re out of shorts, does that mean you checked your drawers drawer?”

The most common answer to this question – from data provided unsung domicile officials —  is a long pause, beginning with “Um,” and/or “Hummida hummida…”

Meanwhile, statistics compiled by the National Shorts Authority show that the contents of only 2.4 out of 10 shorts baskets in America’s laundry rooms are ever transferred into their assigned drawers.

The predictable result: unchecked shorts baskets and unfilled drawers. This suggests, according to Manly Male Man Magazine, a dangerous backup of shorts somewhere in the pipeline.

Perhaps you have seen the public service commercials on behalf of the American  Shorts Cleaners and Folders of Men’s Apparel (SHOCLAFOMA).** They are part of the desperate nationwide “Will you please put your drawers in your drawers for God’s sake” campaign.

By the way – and this, too, may not be important — six  out of ten shorts drawers contain drawers decorated with hearts and/or balloon animals. Which is a crying shame and no one can say if those are tears of woe or insane laughter.

*If you know what I mean and I think you do.

**Not to be confused with “Oklahoma” or even “They call the wind unbreathable” for God’s sake.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2021, all rights reserved.


Posted in Mockery and derision | 1 Comment

Free wisdom

A few years ago I stepped down as the chief executive officer of a well known Fortune 500 company. Unfortunately, I’m forbidden by a court order to name it—a long story for another time. For now I’ll just call it Cicero Industries.

The name refers to the first century, B.C.’s great Roman businessman, Aurelius “Jack” Cicero, brother to the lesser known orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Little known fact: Jack Cicero was once Rome’s largest dealer in new and used asses.

On my last day as CEO, a young man knocked on my door — a man whose name I recognized as a junior executive on one of the lower floors but whom I had never met. His name escapes me now. Ned somebody.

He’d come to ask me to impart some wisdom that he might use to further his own career and perhaps one day end up in the very office I was now getting ready to leave.

I was almost touched, of course, although the question of touching or being touched by an employee is in itself a touchy subject. Best left for another day. Anyway, I will never forget the words of Ned somebody: “How did you get to be such a really evil bastard?”

I was jolted. On the one hand I felt immense pride that someone had noticed. But on the other I wondered if this was just an attempt by some run of the mill bastard to kiss my evil ass.

Until that moment I had no real grasp of whether my evil example was getting through to all the little bastards down on the lower floors.

I was aware of certain grumbling and whining in various corners of the building, some of it louder than others and always appreciated. But I had always assumed there would be pockets of pissants who remained immune to the random chaos of my rule. In other words, people who just didn’t get it.

Ned dispelled that notion when I asked “Who says I’m a really evil bastard?”

“Everybody,” he answered. “Every human being who isn’t you or me, and speaking of me, I’m with them. Thinking you’re an evil bastard, I mean.”

With pride, I pointed to a plaque on the wall bearing a favorite quotation from Jack Cicero.

“To improve your lot in life, you have to have a lot to begin with. You can’t get ahead by improving nothing. Bare minimum, you need at least a piece of crap which has more uses than you might think. Do- gooders love to turn crap into nice, shiny non-crap so they can feel all warm and gooey inside. Which means there is and always will be a lucrative market for crap.”

“There is your wisdom,” I said to the young bastard. “But it won’t do you any good.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“You’re not evil enough.”

“But I lie, cheat and steal every day.”

“Yes, but do you know why?”

“Um,” he said. (Never a good sign.) “Because, it just feels right? Um, I mean wrong?”

I shook my head as two armed security guards came into the office.

“An evil bastard doesn’t feel anything.”



To the guards I added “Drop him down an elevator shaft.”

And that is why my next project will be to write a guide for getting beyond the easy levels in management—the stupid bastard level. There are stupid bastards everywhere, so many, in fact, they have watered down the concept of a bastard in the first place.

Only really evil bastards can understand this. And if you’re not too stupid, or if your feelings have been surgically removed (recommended) you can too.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2021, all rights reserved. Oh, yes, I have rights, you know. And I know how to use them.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

That is, to say, screwed

Q. Just who do you think you are?
A. I am a United States citizen who knows his rights.

Q. Whose rights?
A. Well, his rights. Look, I was speaking in the third person, even though there are just the two of us here. By his rights I actually meant my rights. Because those are the rights he and I know the best. Memorized, you know, and all that.

Q. All that what?
A. Well, uh, heh heh, all that jazz, I suppose. Hundreds of other possibilities. Haven’t memorized all of them because, well, coincidentally, I have a right to remain silent.

Q. What do you like best about your rights?
A. That’s easy. They’re inalienable.

Q. Could you define inalienable?
A. Uh, let’s see. Did you ever see the movie Aliens?

Q. No.
A. It’s one of my favorite rights movies. There are these really ugly aliens, you know, from a different country or streaming service, and they start taking people’s rights away from them.

Q. Like what? Preventing them from voting?
A. Worse than that. First they start drooling on people. Really slimey drools. The kind of drool that our four fathers hated because their four wives would give them hell. “I told you not to wear your new puffy shirt around those slobbering aliens.”

Q. What does that have to do with his inalienable rights?
A. Have you ever tried to get inalienable drool out of your pants?

Q. Hoo boy. Let me ask this. What is your most important right?
A. You mean inalienable or alienable?

Q. Either one.
A. Depends. Have you ever been sitting in the living room, watching a movie, and you get up to get some nachos? You come back and someone is in your seat. You complain but you are told, rudely, “Move your meat, lose your seat.”

Q. But what if you’d called that chair?
A. Called it what?

Q. A chair. You know, you get up and you say out loud “I call that chair.” It means you’ve established your alienable right to sit in the chair when you come back.
A. What if I just had to go to the bathroom?

Q. Doesn’t matter. You have the Constitution on your side. Unless, of course, someone shouts “Hey Frankie. Don’t listen to him. He’s using a crappy alienable right. They’re useless, according to my uncle Milo, who is a Constitutional lawyer.”
A. What if his name isn’t Frankie?

Q. In that case, your nachos just got cold.
A. And with an inalienable right?

Q. An inalienable right means it cannot be taken away.
A. Even if Frankie has a submachine gun?

Q. That’s hard to say, because the founding fathers didn’t have submachine guns in 1776.
A. So what good is calling that chair, if you don’t have an automatic weapon?

Q. That argument is exactly what led to the founding of the National Burp Gun Association.
A. I’ve always wanted a Burp Gun. When you just burp, people get upset and you have to beg their pardon. Not a problem when you’re holding a burp gun. Can get confusing, I guess, when you’re trying to burp the baby.

Q. An alternative is to have a notarized form ready, saying it’s your inalienable right to get your seat back.
A. So let me get this straight. I present Frankie, sitting in my chair, a copy of this notarized inalienable right to reclaim my seat. And what if he pulls out a burp gun?

Q. He’s screwed. Don’t worry about it. Take your seat.
A. And the Constitution is on my side?

Q. One hundred percent. Unless…
A. Unless what?

Q. Well, for example, would Frankie be the kind of guy who uses real bullets?

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Note to self

When you think about it, life is almost always about eluding the Inquisition. Which Inquisition, you ask? (If you didn’t ask but you asked your spouse or significant other to ask for you — because you’re too embarrassed and you’ve heard it would lower your credit rating — you’re exactly the kind of intellect the Inquistion is counting on. Don’t worry. It’ll find you.)

By the way, knowing which Inquisition it is, isn’t as important as knowing which it aint — or isn’t, if you prefer. Listen up. I’m going to repeat that.


So. Just a little tip here to help you on your way in life: If someone ever asks you to “Listen up” don’t waste your time listening up, down or out in the yard. Because you won’t hear anything other than dogs or loud kids or people with “issues” and or cranky old guys shouting “Get outa my yard,” or drug dealers getting shot, shooting or both. Which is why it’s always safer when you listen up, up in the aviary. (Note to self: look up aviary.)

Remember, a wise man once said “I can’t believe I bit the head off the milk chocolate rabbit I’ve been saving for a special occasion but couldn’t help myself — and locked the door to keep away people who wanted to help myself — and I ate the rest of it alone and it was no special occasion at all, and now the rabbit is all gone and they tell me I’m no longer considered a wise man.”

Like, what is wrong with this world?

So, let’s wind our way back to the Inquisition. Okay. Take the Spanish Inquisition for example, which it isn’t, but which it used to be until licensing fees and the cost of teaching people like you to speak Spanish became prohibitivo.

What really killed it, though, is the simple fact that nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition any more. So nobody answered the door when the Inqy men dropped by unannounced. Nobody responded to Inqy text messages or opened up cleverly designed Inqy junk mail saying you won a free organ transplant – you pick the organ, as long as you don’t piq your nose.

But I will say this.


And, while people may or may not expect the Spanish Inquisition, they still expect it to be run by the Spanish. Now, you might want to hold onto your underpants, because The Spanish Inquisition is no longer run by the Spanish.

Q. What? Why that’s…that’s just nuts.

You can look it up. The rapper Grunthead just bought the rights to the name Spanish Inquisition and is marketing it to conspiracy nuts, like “LMNOPQ-Anon,” “HillaryEmailsGalore.com,” “The Oat keepers,” and the “The Unknown Boys” (formerly “The Spoiled Brats.”)

In previous eons people spent time trying to elude The Dinosaurs, The Freeloaders, The Elvis impersonators, The Brother-in-law (includes the Freeloading dinosaur) and The Men Who Mooch.

Here’s a bonus thought: It used to be if the Spanish Inquisition or a nun with three yardsticks taped together was on your trail, people would tell you “Your ass is grass.” What did that even mean?

Sorry, no one ever explained it to me when I was young and terrified when big, mean kids kept warning me “Your ass is grass.” No one else seemed to have a problem understanding the ass-to-grass concept. I certainly wasn’t going to ask my mother, or worse, one of the nuns what it meant. Talk about your ass being grass, whatever that means. (Note to self: look up that.)

Posted in Absurd and/or zany, funny, Mockery and derision, News You Can Use (Sort of) | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments