Does Anybody Need Mustard?

Does Anybody Need Mustard?

If you check out our pantry, you may notice we have no shortage of condiments. At last count, we had enough mustard to top 3 million hotdogs – the long ones.

If you check out our pantry, you may notice we have no shortage of condiments. At last count, we had enough mustard to top 3 million hotdogs – the long ones.

Quick question: Do you need any mustard? We’ve got tons to spare. That’s because while I do the grocery shopping, it’s my wife who makes up the grocery list. And there the problem starts. You’d think in making a shopping list one would check current inventory. Not my wife. Perhaps it’s a Canadian thing (she is from Toronto).

Hence, we currently have seven jars of mustard. In full disclosure, that’s just a guesstimate. There could be more hidden in the medicine cabinet or in my wife’s art supply closet. You see, my wife also takes charge of putting away the groceries, and she has a peculiar storage system.

Don’t get me wrong. My wife is wonderful, but she does fall short in a few areas – starting with her height of 5’0”. Not sure what my point was. Oh, now I remember. My wife’s organizational skills are roughly on par with those of a schnauzer.

Think of that cute dog with 10 bones. What’s he going to do with them all? Bury them around the yard, of course, never to be used because he forgot where he put them all. That’s my wife with a jar of capers. No, she doesn’t normally dig in the dirt, but I swear we have jars of capers buried in every closet. Far be it for me to suggest she place it neatly on the lower shelf of the pantry, next to the other five jars she forgot we had.

My spouse is equally gifted at not putting away her clothes and not loading the dishwasher, not to mention not emptying said dishwasher. But I digress. Back to mustard. We could fill a small swimming pool with all the Grey Poupon we have – if we had a swimming pool.

So, if you happen to need any Dijon, just text me. Happy to pass it along. I’ll even throw in some cinnamon, balsamic vinegar, and baked beans from our hefty cache. But order fast! We only have enough to get through the pandemic – if it continues until 2029. And if you want to serve soup to an intimate gathering of 130 guests, come peruse our stash of Campbell’s Chicken Vegetable. I’m pretty sure I got you covered.

I’m not sure when my wife began hoarding and hiding, but I found a clue on a mayonnaise jar that was stuffed behind 9 boxes of kitty litter. It read, “Use by June 1989.” Interesting. It turns out her affliction extends beyond food stuffs. I was housecleaning earlier today and discovered that we also have plenty of Windex, bath & tile cleaner, and cold medicine, enough to last well past my own expiration date (2050).

I’m half-tempted to deliberately catch a cold just to clear out some inventory. We also have a small mountain of post-it notes. I’m confident I could cover all four walls of our bedroom with them, floor to ceiling, and still have some left over. I think I’ll use a post-it note to tell her to stop buying so many post-it notes.

We could throw pillows out the window all day long and still have enough to supply our entire community. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. A few couples may need to share.

We could throw pillows out the window all day long and still have enough to supply our entire community. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. A few couples may need to share.

Thanks to my life partner of 33 years, we are the proud owners of enough Ziploc bags to pack lunches for the entire school district – K through 12. If I display the temerity to point out that perhaps we don’t actually need a seventh roll of aluminum foil, my wife will quickly change the subject, saying something random like, “Well, then. Care to explain why you feel we need five bags of grass seed and four bags of weed killer, which I found yesterday in the outdoor storage bin?” 

I have no clue what her point is. Besides, I think we’re drifting from the premise of this commentary, which is that my wife never checks how much stuff we have before adding it to the shopping list. Let’s stay focused here, okay?

My darling wife has also stockpiled an impressive supply of hair scissors, band aids, gauze, and stain remover – all in the laundry cupboard. I have no idea why she needs all this. My current theory is she’s planning on cutting me to ribbons in my sleep (scissors) for constantly nagging her about her excessive acquisitions; then, in a moment of regret, she will attempt to save me (gauze and bandages). After which, she will insist I clean up the blood (stain remover). It’s just a theory. There may be a different, more nefarious explanation.

Perhaps I should take over writing the shopping list and let my wife do the shopping instead. Fortunately, there’s an ACE Hardware next to the IGA grocery, so on her next trip she can swing by there and pick up a bag of grass seed and weed killer.  Make that two bags. I think we may be running low.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021. Edited by Betsy Jones.

Trump Announces His Official Precedential Liebrary

Trump Announces His Official Precedential Liebrary

A sneak preview of one possible design for the Trump Liebrary, Resort and Casino, expected to be the first presidential library ever to include only one book, the Bible. It will also feature the largest collection of porn videos of any presidential library.

A sneak preview of one possible design for the Trump Liebrary, Resort and Casino, expected to be the first presidential library ever to include only one book, the Bible. It will also feature the largest collection of porn videos of any presidential library.

Mar-a-Lago, FL – President Trump today revealed his long-awaited plans for his presidential library. It will officially be known as the Donald J. Trump Precedential Liebrary, Resort, Casino and Adult Video Store.

In a press briefing, Mr. Trump announced, “This will be the biggest, greatest, most beautiful precedential liebrary in history – way better than Obama’s or even Washington’s.” [Editor’s note: President Washington never had a presidential library. The first one was for Franklin D. Roosevelt, dedicated in 1941. Also, we know, “Presidential” is misspelled, but Trump’s aides were afraid to point this out to him.]

The exact location has not yet been announced, but sources wishing not to be named indicate it may be adjacent to a Las Vegas Hooters or an adult video store in Queens.

Preliminary drawings feature a grand entrance surrounded by flashing lights a la Las Vegas’ Flamingo Casino, with the letters TRUMP in 14-foot tall brass lettering. Upon entering the tasteful, gold-plated palace, visitors will be greeted by a 30-foot bronze sculpture of the president (perfectly matching his natural bronze skin tone). An enormous mouth will blast  recordings of Trump’s most inspirational rage speeches, including top hits “How the election was rigged” and “There was no collusion.” From there, guests descend to the main reception area, riding a 14-carat gold escalator – an exact replica of the one Trump rode down to announce his 2016 run. There, sojourners will be swept away by bikini-clad models (all guaranteed to be at least 9’s), wearing a MAGA hats and wet t-shirts.

In a conscious decision to veer away from the traditional boring presidential library, Trump’s edifice will spotlight just two memorable publications: Trump’s own Art of The Deal (Kindle version) – the biggest selling book in history – and the never-before opened copy of the Holy Bible which Trump held up in Lafayette Square, displayed upside down to ward off Black Lives Matter protestors.

First time visitors will definitely want to check out the Alternate Facts Reading Room. From over 5,000 riveting articles readers will learn the real truth. Included are inspirational rants by Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones about Trump’s 2020 landslide election victory – even in California. Folks will be briefed on how windmills cause cancer and Trump’s heroic efforts to make COVID magically disappear before Easter – which he would have achieved if not for Nancy Pelosi blocking his efforts to Make America Safe Again. A highlight is the authentic photos of the 2016 inauguration with the biggest crowds in history.

Above: A rough schematic of the Trump Presidential Liebrary floor plan. The exact location of the Stormy Daniels / Playboy Model Display is yet to be finalized.

Above: A rough schematic of the Trump Presidential Liebrary floor plan. The exact location of the Stormy Daniels / Playboy Model Display is yet to be finalized.

The centerpiece of the liebrary will be the Hall of Historic Tweets. Here, more than 30,000 of the President’s most compelling Twitter posts will be projected as a blinding mural of images on every surface of the giant hall, floor to ceiling, to mesmerize  patriotic museum-goers. Topics will range from “I totally won the first debate against Sleepy Joe” to “Unlike Obama, as president I will not have time to golf” to “I’m the greatest president in history – okay, maybe tied with Lincoln” and many more. It is estimated that the average patron could while away two years reading all the tweets on display.

In the highly anticipated Trump Ballroom of Bankruptcy, listen to a heartwarming documentary by Fox’s Lou Dobbs, elucidating why none of the six bankruptcies or twelve failed businesses, from Trump Airlines to Trump Wines to Trump University, were Trump’s fault.

Over at the Omni Donald Dome, guests will revel in a larger than life montage of Trump’s most momentous campaign rallies. A 3-D hologram of Trump dancing to the Village People’s song YMCA is said to be so lifelike it will almost feel like he cares about you.

There’s even something for sports enthusiasts. Trump, widely known as the greatest presidential golfer in history, has plans to devote one room to instructional golf. Robots will demonstrate Trump’s time-tested techniques, including Putting with Impunity, and our favorite, Cheating Your Way to Irrefutable Victory.

Another attraction that is likely to be a YUGE hit with Trump supporters is the Sycophancy Amphitheater, sponsored by Fox News. Watch objectively researched videos detailing why Trump is the greatest military strategist and humanitarian ever to occupy the Oval Office – not to mention the handsomest lover (so we won’t). Tributes are effusively proclaimed by respected journalists from Tucker Carlson to Sean Hannity, while the narration by Kayleigh McEnany is so moving you just might not believe what you’re hearing. 

Grab your seat at the Not-So-Hottie Hippodrome, which will star lifelike statues of dozens of women Trump has accused of being ugly, nasty, or mean to him. We’re told the Rosie O’Donnell bust is simply revolting.

One of the most moving exhibits will be the Hall of Flags, with hundreds of American flags proudly waving, all of which have been personally groped by Donald Trump himself.

Avid supporters of the president won’t want to miss Conspiracy Corridor, sponsored by Q-Anon. This exhibit presents the President proving beyond a doubt twenty of his favorite conspiracy theories. Featured interviews will reveal how Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring underneath a DC pizza parlor, Obama really was born in Kenya, and Mexico will definitely pay for the wall.

In the Omni Donnie Dome IMAX Theater, museum goers will catch a glimpse of prototypes for Trump’s likeness to be added to Mount Rushmore. Everyone agrees, it will be very tasteful.

In the Omni Donnie Dome IMAX Theater, museum goers will catch a glimpse of prototypes for Trump’s likeness to be added to Mount Rushmore. Everyone agrees, it will be very tasteful.

Liebrary planners didn’t forget about the kids. Youngsters will have a ball sliding down the MEGA-MAGA White-Water Wash – a 300-foot-long slide shaped to resemble one of Trump’s signature endless red ties. Teenagers can hang out in the Apprentice Arena, where they get to decide which of the randomly selected low-wage workers from all over America to fire. All termination decisions will be backed by the presidential seal of authority.

A spokesperson estimates the cost of admission to be a mere $500 (or $5,000 for the Swinger’s Suite VIP pass). Visitors will receive a MAGA hat and a gold-framed 8 x 12 print displaying a realistic likeness of Trump with six-pack abs, dressed as Superman, and shaking hands with Jesus.

All proceeds will go to charity, specifically the Trump Legal Defense Fund, to help the soon-to-be former president fend off the multiple fake news criminal and civil lawsuits he might face in the years ahead.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

States Propose Bold Measures to Prevent Voter Fraud

States Propose Bold Measures to Prevent Voter Fraud

[Author’s note: The following is political satire. Anyone who can’t figure this out should legally not be allowed to vote. – TEJ]

According to 43 state legislatures, the problem with our election system isn’t voter suppression. It’s massive voter fraud. Read what states are proposing to solve the problem of Democrat victories once and for all.

According to 43 state legislatures, the problem with our election system isn’t voter suppression. It’s massive voter fraud. Read what states are proposing to solve the problem of Democrat victories once and for all.

Thanks to the patriotic efforts of former and future President Donald Trump, it is now widely accepted that the only reason he lost the 2020 election was due to massive voter fraud perpetrated by his opponent. This was conclusively proven by election security experts including Rudy Giuliani, the My Pillow Guy, and several nearly grammatical tweets by MAGAMark1776@StopTheSteal, who said he is sure the election was stolen because QAnon told him so.

The Trump campaign and Republican Party officials would have won every one of the 63 election lawsuits they lost in every state and federal court if not for the fact that all the judges – including  Trump’s three Supreme Court picks – were in on the steal, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hillary, Obama, Bill Gates, and Meryl Streep, not to mention 81 million people who illegally voted for the other guy.

In the aftermath of the sweeping election fraud in the 2020 election, state legislators in 43 states have introduced over 250 pieces of voter security legislation designed to prevent Trump from losing next time. If enacted, these measures, aimed at preventing lawless radicals from overturning our democracy, will ensure that only people who are verifiably identified to be American citizens who have lawfully registered to vote should be entitled to cast a vote, thus guaranteeing that the RIGHT candidate will always win.

Freedom-hating naysayers continue to push the outrageous lie that these thoughtful bills submitted by Republicans are  in some way “voter suppression” attempts in the guise of voter security. But that’s simply not so. Without these critically needed voter security protections, the bills’ sponsors argue there will be no way for the candidate with fewer votes ever to stand a chance at winning any future elections.

“Without these long overdue safeguards to protect our election security, our nation runs the risk of letting radical leftist  pedophile candidates win all future presidential elections for no other reason than that they offer more qualified candidates with more popular ideas. It’s just not fair,” said Ron Johnson, Republican Senator of Wisconsin.

Here is a review of some of the landmark democracy-preserving statutes currently being debated in state legislatures throughout the nation. 

North Carolina: “No excuse” absentee voting would be eliminated, except for members of the armed forces serving overseas. Moving forward, in order to vote by mail, all others will be required to receive a physician’s note – witnessed by two notary publics who are fluent in Dutch – attesting to the fact that the person cannot physically vote in person because they are dying of cancer and have less than 10 days to live. 

In the Georgia state legislature, a bill is being introduced in which anyone who has ever LIKED a post by Stacey Abrams on social media will henceforth be deemed a member of Antifa and ineligible to vote.

In the Georgia state legislature, a bill is being introduced in which anyone who has ever LIKED a post by Stacey Abrams on social media will henceforth be deemed a member of Antifa and ineligible to vote.

Kentucky: Due to a chronic problem of people depositing ballots in drop box locations rather than standing in line like normal patriots, henceforth, all voting drop box locations will be eliminated, except for in zip codes where the average household income is over $250,000, in which case, drop-boxes will be provided at the end of their driveways. 

Arkansas: For years, black churches, in conjunction with civil rights organizations, have worked to increase minority voter turnout by assisting parishioners to register or vote immediately after Sunday church services. If enacted, this bill would ban the so-called “Souls to the Polls” initiatives and replace them with a new policy, “Souls to Paroles,” in which minority church goers would be required to check in at the nearest parole board for a background check regarding any possible parole violations before being allowed to vote. 

Louisiana: Concerned by an inexplicable surge in voting by young people in the 2020 election, the state legislature is advancing a draft which would make people under the age of 25 ineligible to vote – unless they can present proof that they find Bernie Sanders annoying. 

Wyoming: In a bold measure aimed at eliminating all voter fraud, the state legislature recently introduced a proposal to make it a misdemeanor, punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail, for knowingly voting for – or influencing another person to vote for – any candidate who does not own at least three guns or who disagrees with the statement “Climate change is a hoax.” 

Missouri: In an attempt to purge the state’s voter registration database of voters who may have died, moved away, or once voted to fund Planned Parenthood, the Secretary of State will initiate a massive purge of voter rolls. It is expected that this effort alone will eliminate over 400,000 bogus voters, including several hundred deceased names, over 1,000 people no longer living in the state, and 398,000 registered Democrats. 

Oklahoma: In a cost control resolution aimed at reducing the cost of election security, the legislature is considering a move to reduce the number of voting locations from 1,500 to four. To avoid having to stand in long lines, people will be encouraged to vote by mail, so long as they sign an affidavit pledging that they think Melania was a better First Lady than Michelle Obama.

In Tennessee, all Republican voters will be invited to use any of the 4,800 available drop box locations statewide. Democrat voters will be instructed to use any of the four convenient drop boxes located in Pidgeon Forge, TN, between the hours of 9pm and 11pm, on Tuesdays.

In Tennessee, all Republican voters will be invited to use any of the 4,800 available drop box locations statewide. Democrat voters will be instructed to use any of the four convenient drop boxes located in Pidgeon Forge, TN, between the hours of 9pm and 11pm, on Tuesdays.

Texas: To prevent loitering, the Texas state legislature is reviewing a measure to fine anyone found at a polling station just “hanging out” with no clear purpose other than to vote, who refuses to disperse within 60 minutes. Anyone caught in the act of providing these loiterers with a chair for their comfort or water or other beverage will be fined and lose their right to vote unless they can provide a valid Republican party registration ID. 

Alabama: Early voting has for years allowed people with nefarious motives to vote up to 21 days prior to the election. With this bill, early voting will be banned, as a way to prevent systemic voter fraud. Only votes submitted on election day will be counted. The sponsored legislation goes on to explain that in an effort to avoid long lines at the polls, Republican voters will be required to vote on election day. All others will be instructed to vote the day after the election by depositing their votes in the nearest designated official recycling bin. 

Mississippi: Under the state’s historic initiative, anyone who is black or gay will henceforth be ineligible to vote. No further explanation was provided nor considered necessary.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

The Challenge of Getting People to Follow Instructions

The Challenge of Getting People to Follow Instructions

Recently I sent an email asking my 11 racquetball buddies to fill out a 30-second survey. I asked them to indicate when they’d prefer to play, choosing from six available times. That was apparently a much harder ask than I realized. I might as well have been asking them to provide the formula for the next COVID vaccine.

Recently I sent an email asking my 11 racquetball buddies to fill out a 30-second survey. I asked them to indicate when they’d prefer to play, choosing from six available times. That was apparently a much harder ask than I realized. I might as well have been asking them to provide the formula for the next COVID vaccine.

For years, I’ve played racquetball with a group of about a dozen men ranging in age from 62 to 83. Until COVID hit, we played doubles games every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8am to 10am. We would rotate teams after every game so that everyone had a chance to play. That is, until COVID shut the club down.

Recently, our club has partially opened back up but with strict health safety restrictions, including only allowing two people on the court at a time. (There’s only one court.) So, I was asked to send out an email survey asking everyone which time slots each person most preferred to play.

Okay, how hard can it be to get the group’s input on this simple question?  Turns out, way, way harder than I thought. Here’s how the group attempted to answer my 1-question survey.

GROUP EMAIL FROM TIM: Hey, everybody. The club is re-opening for limited racquetball play. So, I was asked to send around this survey to ask everyone when they’d most like to play. Because of the limit of only two players on the court at a time, we want to avoid having all of us show up at the same time, understand?

It’s a really simple survey. Just look at the six time slots available. Then email me back your preferred time slots to play, from 1st choice to 6th. Easy Peasy. To make it even easier for you, I provided this simple pre-filled example grid, to show you how to respond.

 

 

 

RAY’S REPLY: Yes to all.

TIM: Um, Ray, Not sure what to do with your response of “Yes to all.” Can you just fill out the survey with 1 for your top choice and 6 for your least preferred time slot?

NED’S REPLY:

 

 

 

TIM: Um, Ned, it appears you just copied and pasted my example and sent it back to me. Can you replace my example numbers with your own preferred times? Thanks, buddy.

GEORGE’S REPLY: Monday: 1, Wednesday: 1, Friday: 1

TIM: Hey, George. Thanks for replying so quickly. But you can’t make all your choices 1’s. Please stack rank the six time slots from 1 to 6. If this is still not clear, just call me.

CORY’S REPLY:  Tuesdays work best for me. I could also do Saturdays.

TIM: Sorry I was not clearer in my email, Cory. Tuesdays and Saturdays weren’t options. Have we EVER played on Tuesdays or Saturdays? If you slow down and re-read my instructions, you’ll see there are six time slots to choose from, two on Monday, two on Wednesday and two on Friday. Okay, buddy?

NED’S SECOND REPLY: Oh, sorry about my confusion earlier. Here you go!

 

 

 

TIM: Ned, you’re still sending me back my example survey, just like you did before. Please give me YOUR preferred times, okay? You don’t need to use the grid if that’s too complicated.

JOHNNY’S REPLY:

 

 

TIM: Johnny, have you taken your meds yet this morning? Not sure what to make of your responses. And what exactly do you mean with “okay?” Can you help me out, dude? Let me try this one more time: I’m looking for one number, 1 to 6, in each box. Got it?

FRANK’S REPLY: Here you go, Tim. Thanks for putting this all together.

 

 

TIM: Um, very helpful feedback, Frank. Great job at not falling into the trap of actually following any of my instructions.

RICK’S REPLY: I would like to play. Thanks for asking.

TIM: Rick, buddy, throw me a bone. Just READ THE FREAKIN’ INSTRUCTIONS!! Fill out all the boxes. Put a number 1 – 6, in each box. This is not rocket science.

RICK’S SECOND REPLY: Sorry about that. I wasn’t wearing my glasses before. Here you go.

 

 

TIM: Much better, Rick. Mission accomplished, buddy. I think it might be time for your nap.

NED’S THIRD REPLY: How about now? Better?

 

 

TIM: Ned, whatever you’re smoking, can I have some of it? Your latest response establishes a fairly lucid awareness of several days of the week. But I have to ding you 5 points for your final answer. Technically, “banana” is not a day of the week. I’ll send you a copy of our home game just for playing. Now, go have a donut. You’ve earned it.

NORMAN’S REPLY: Tim, when you say, rank our preferences from 1 to 6, with 1 being our top pick and 6 being our least preferred pick, do I win anything if I guess all the correct answers?

TIM: Yes, Norman. Yes, you do. You’ll win The Congressional Medal of Honor. Thanks for asking.

BERT’S REPLY:  Do I need to wear shorts?

TIM: Bert, what an excellent, totally on-point question. You can show up however you like, in boxer shorts, a tuxedo, or your favorite clown costume. I really don’t care. Sorry for taking you away from watching Judge Judy.

GROUP EMAIL FROM TIM TO ALL:  You guys are all killing me. Just read the F*CKING INSTRUCTIONS. As I stated in plain English – which apparently is a second language for many of you – I just want you to list your time preferences, ranked from 1 to 6. How is this so hard to comprehend? You know what? Never mind. Forget it.

The more I think about it, I need to apologize. I failed to grasp the enormous complexity of my survey question. It was not fair of me to ask everybody to give me answers using the first six numbers of our counting system. In hindsight, I realize now that I should have included a five-page set of instructions, with diagrams, a refresher on how numbers work explaining how 1 is a smaller number than 6, along with a detailed FAQ anticipating likely questions such as “what is a number?”

Forget about giving me 1 to 6 answers. Instead, feel free to reply any way you’d like. Perhaps just send your opinion on which is better, pie or cake. Or maybe share a quote from your favorite Tom Hanks movie. Or just enclose a photo of your favorite pet from your childhood. Any of these will be every bit as helpful as the feedback I’ve received thus far. Thanks.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

Announcing the Pandemic’s Most Annoying Person

Announcing the Pandemic’s Most Annoying Person

Meet the world’s MOST ANNOYING PERSON, Brad Buttons. While you were spending the past year in COVID lockdown sitting on the couch, eating ice cream, and binge-watching Emily in Paris, Brad was being productive – annoyingly so.

Meet the world’s MOST ANNOYING PERSON, Brad Buttons. While you were spending the past year in COVID lockdown sitting on the couch, eating ice cream, and binge-watching Emily in Paris, Brad was being productive – annoyingly so.

(Atlanta) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that in a unanimous vote, they have awarded the title of “Pandemic’s Most Annoying Person” to a uniquely deserving individual: Brad Buttons of Kenosha, Wisconsin. This is the first – and the CDC hopes last – time this honor will ever be bestowed.

When asked why Brad was selected to be this year’s recipient, a CDC spokesperson explained, “Frankly, we really had no choice. The more we learned about this exasperating fellow, the more obvious our decision became.”  When pressed for details, the spokesperson went on, “Ever since the pandemic was announced in March 2020, and people were asked to socially distance and wear masks, Mr. Buttons has stayed home, in his one-bedroom apartment, and maintained a rigid self-imposed quarantine.”

Asking why this qualified him to be selected as the pandemic’s “Most Annoying Person”, the spokesperson added, “Well, it’s just that he’s always taking on an endless number of projects to learn new things and make the world a better place. He’s like a machine. To be honest, if you spend even just a few minutes around him, it’s impossible not to become irritated. We’re only human.”

In issuing its 15-page press release explaining its decision, the CDC listed dozens of feats Brad has achieved in the past year to alienate normal people. For starters, during the pandemic, Brad has read the entirety of Wikipedia, learned three foreign languages (plus Klingon), and written two science fiction novels. “Who does that?”, the spokesman asked, clearly perturbed.

When reached for comment, Brad was putting the finishing touches on his handmade full-scale replica of Michelangelo’s David, using nothing but seashells he found on the shores of Lake Michigan. “I’m thrilled about this prestigious recognition by the CDC, but I really don’t feel deserving,” Brad humbly responded. He then returned to his garage to resume work  building an authentic 1967 Austin Healey 3000 SL which he learned to assemble just by watching YouTube instructional videos. “I didn’t have most of the tools I needed, so I scrounged up some scrap metal and built a blast furnace. Check out this lathe I made.” 

When asked how he has had time to do all of these things, Brad replied, “It helps that I have no friends. When the pandemic hit, I decided to read the ancient Hindu holy text, the Rigveda – in the original ancient Sanskrit. I thought it would be more of a challenge that way.” A tour of Brad’s apartment revealed an extensive collection of Star Wars action figures, as well as what looked to be replicas of famous artwork.

When asked where he purchased his reproductions of paintings by the masters, including Da Vinci, Monet and Van Gogh, Brad explained, “Oh, no, I didn’t buy them. I painted them. I learned by watching old Bob Ross videos. I have to say, getting down Da Vinci’s Sfumato painting technique for softening the transition between colors took me a few tries to master.”

In the past year, while most people have hunkered down on the couch in their pajamas, eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream by the carton, Brad has been keeping busy. Disturbingly busy. Brad penned an Italian opera (because doing it in English was not enough of a challenge, he said). He also invented a machine that turns urine into potable drinking water.

In his spare time, Brad built replicas of WW 2 German fighter planes, like this Messerschmitt Bf 109. But Brad felt prouder about the incredibly detailed one-tenth scale replica of the Titanic he built using used lawnmower parts. It’s currently on loan to the Smithsonian – because he can’t fit it in his apartment.

In his spare time, Brad built replicas of WW 2 German fighter planes, like this Messerschmitt Bf 109. But Brad felt prouder about the incredibly detailed one-tenth scale replica of the Titanic he built using used lawnmower parts. It’s currently on loan to the Smithsonian – because he can’t fit it in his apartment.

Prior to the pandemic, Brad’s diet consisted mostly of drive-through fast foods. But in the past year, he’s dropped 230 pounds (he’s now a lean 155 pounds with six-pack abs). He’s even self-published his own cookbook, The Pandemic Chef, and has put out a series of 25 one-hour home fitness videos based on an exercise program he created in his spare time.

In the CDC press release citing Brad’s exhausting list of discoveries, publications, and inventions, it accidentally failed to mention that he also patented a fuel converter contraption that converts water into a non-polluting fuel able to power any car, plane, or deep space probe. “Actually, all you need is urine. Want me to show you how I do it?” Brad added.

The release went on: “Taken together, it is almost unfathomable that any single individual could accomplish all of this and still find time to find a cure for cancer, but this man did it. That’s why the CDC unanimously concluded that Mr. Buttons is far and away the most annoying person we’ve encountered since the pandemic began.”

The CDC’s decision was applauded by millions of Americans – and Brad’s own immediate family, who have unfriended him on Facebook because they are sick of reading about his achievements. 

The overall sentiment of most Americans who remain trapped in their homes binge-watching Netflix crime documentaries and past seasons of Schitt’s Creek was perhaps best summed up by David Wilkinson, a bartender from Brooklyn, who protested, “Dude, just stop!. You’re making the rest of us look bad. Here’s an idea: How about you invent a spaceship and become the first person ever to fly solo to Mars. Then plant a flag and NEVER COME BACK!” 

Upon hearing that he’d won the award, Brad was said to be so excited he began an awkward victory dance. (Dancing is one activity Brad failed to learn – badly.) In the process, he tripped over his just-finished replica of an 18th century tall-masted ship in a bottle, fell, and broke his ankle and the ship in a bottle. Not salvageable.

Due to his unfortunate injury, it appears Brad will be laid up, unable to work on any more projects, for at least three months. Millions of Americans greeted this news with celebratory dances of their own.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.