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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Welcome to the first annual so-far-as-you-know Faux Outrage Year End Review (“FOYER”) for 2011!  Not only will this post be a clearinghouse for all of the horrible/awesome stuff I wrote this past year; it will also give you an opportunity to see what it looks like when I write while hopped up on (generic) NyQuil.

The year started out on a serious note when I wrote Mom Homage in honor of the person responsible for 30-40% of the clicks on this website.  Shortly thereafter, I alienated every single old-school, kind-hearted person I know by penning a screed against thank you notes before exposing my general distaste for General Tso’s when it is sold by the pound.

In February, I tried my hand at serious short fiction.  It did not go well.  Lesson learned.  But by the end of the month, I returned to my inane roots and disassembled grocery shopping, or what I call The Least Efficient Process in the Universe.

March brought on the beginning of baseball season and the realization that February is mathematically the worst month of the year.  I dismantled kindergarten logic and pointed folks who were interested to an inspirational video about What Teachers Make.

I lost my grandmother in April and also realized that I have also lost the ability to call anyone I knew without the help of my smartphone. I turned 29, which I decided is the same as turning 30.

In May, self-checkout stations found their way into my crosshairs, as did cereal commercials and poor, defenseless apples.

June is the month that I decided we should stop using the word “overrated” and stop pretending the show Undercover Boss is about the plight of the American worker.  I also debuted the so-far-two-part That Should Be A Thing series in June.

That Should Be A Thing Part I: Open Door Policies
That Should Be A Thing Part II: Parallel Universal

My brain started to melt a little bit in July (it seems), because I started out that month a weird love letter to freedom and a discussion about whether friendship means something different inside a bar than at a lunch counter (if those even exist anymore).  Then I went on to discuss the strange realization that I never put my fan on high and the completely un-strange realization that I am scared of bears.

August started out with a little backwards-looking introspection and even-further-back exploration of the food we (can choose not to) eat.  The month ended with a retrospective of still-helpful shorthand phrases I used to use when the Internet and I were coming age.

September started out pretty serious, first with a frank discussion about (my) (very) low-skilled labor, and next with a poem I wrote on 9/11/2001.  The middle of the month is when I appeared as a guest blogger at Lessons From Teachers and Twits.

Thankfully, things lightened up a bit in October!  I sang the praises of the classic bicycle bell and awkwardly recounted the day when it became clear that I should not be put in charge of counting.  The month ended with a love letter to Halloween, the one day when we pretend that we believe in ghosts and that children can enjoy the company of their neighbors.

More recently, I wrote a defense of the barometer and told a true tale of graphite, art, and friendship.

And finally — just before the end of the year — I got to say “uncle” when my burrito-shaped baby nephew Max was born!

Of course, 2011 also saw a number of additions to the Fictionary:

  1. annexiety  (01/25/2011)
  2. glawing  (05/11/2011)
  3. expertease  (08/25/2011)
  4. fictionary  (10/19/2011)
  5. cropportunity  (11/09/2011)
  6. desirony (12/13/2011)

What a year.

See you in 2012!


Time to add another word to the fictionary!

For the record, we’re up to twelve FWOTD now.

desirony (de-si-ro-ny)

an emotional imbalance that stems from the impossible, unfortunate longing to erase knowledge and experience so as to be able to experience, again, for the first time, the overwhelming joy of a particularly influential discovery

For example: “I am so jealous that you are fortunate enough to never have read Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  I’ll never touch the book again because I know it won’t be the same as the first time, so all I’m left with is an uncomfortable case of desirony.”

Desirony is constructed from two root words: desire and irony.

After all, what could possibly more ironic than the desire to remove a positive experience from your own life for the purposes of seeking it out the first place?

I doubt Alanis Morissette could even answer that question.

(An aside! The most ironic thing in the world actually happens to be Alanis Morissette’s Ironic, the video for which you can find above.   It is not at all controversial — and is in fact bordering on cliche — to point out that song, which reached #4 on the Billboard chart in 1996, contains lyrics that seem to completely misunderstand the meaning of the word “ironic.”  However, due in part to the song’s popularity, primary usage of the word is shifting to favor Morissette’s definition [“unfortunate”] as opposed to, you know, the actual definition [“ironic”].  In conclusion, Alanis Morissette is probably a genius.)

Though our lives — even your life! — are filled with joy, we do not long to reexperience every single positive event that has ever happened.  We fondly remember these events, sure, but we are not overcome with the specific desire to, for example, relive the night we watched a reasonably entertaining movie like A Serious Man.  There is no part of you that pines for the experience of watching it again, for the first time (unless you are an enormous, insufferable Coen Brothers fanboy/girl).  On the other hand, maybe you do think about your maiden Shawshank Redemption voyage.

Or maybe it’s just me.

In any event, while I am not yet convinced desirony is an affliction that impacts anyone other than myself, I have nonetheless have decided that it is a word worth introducing to the world (that will never be used again).

Remember: You can check out the other mostly-useless Faux Word of the Day words by checking out the Faux Outrage Fictionary!

If you ask the doctors, on Friday, December 2, 2011, my first/best/favorite/cutest nephew, Max Louis Sparer, was born about four weeks early. But if you ask anyone else, even those with intimate knowledge of human gestation, they will tell you that Max was born not a moment too soon.

We were told to prepare for a Christmas Baby, or perhaps a Chanukah Baby, or maybe even the “First Baby of 2012” that local news stations insists on covering (and donating diapers to). In the end, though standard American calendars do not arrive pre-printed with December 2nd in bold lettering (I guess International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is too much of a snoozefest to be considered worthy of embolden status), the date suddenly seems more notable than any other.

The moment Max was born, husband and wife became mother and father, mother and father became grandma and grandpa, and grandma and grandpa were finally bestowed the prefix they had been pining for and so richly deserve: “great.”  Cousins, incidentally, remain cousins.

As for me, I need to get used to saying “uncle.”

So far, Max knows a few things. He knows how to sleep, how to cry, fidget, look like a burrito, grab disproportionately large adult fingers, and is slowly learning – and I’m sure will quite soon master – the art of eating food. Most enjoyably, Max knows how to coo like a pigeon, which is especially impressive once you consider the fact that he has never even seen a bird.

My brother, his nervously smiling father, can’t help but to repeat one single word when he is asked to describe his son:


He’s perfect.

A perfect baby boy.

Everything is perfect.

Truthfully, it’s hard to blame my brother, and it is quite easy to admire his position in life.  Max has done nothing wrong, and at this rate, he never will.  He will be a perfect infant, a perfect kid, a perfect tween, teen, young adult, and man before he’s elected the first King of the Moon or is the first to fly a rocketpack around Mars or whatever we’ll be impressed by in the impossibly-distant future.  Whatever Max does in his lifetime, right now we have every reason to believe that he will do it perfectly because there has been no evidence to suggests otherwise.

But while our hearts bet on perfection, our intuition unapologetically paints a wholly different picture.  There will be mistakes, intentional and otherwise.  There will be mishaps, misunderstandings, and heartache belonging both to parent and child.  There will be times when the tears will not be of joy as they were on Friday, but because we were wronged, or have wronged another.  There will be times when our voices will be raised not because of the overwhelming need to share, but because of the overwhelming need to be right.  There will be sadness, words uttered out of spite, and times when we simply fail to say “I love you,” even though it’s the only thing on our mind.

There will be all kinds of times.

And though Max may grow up in a world without knowing the pleasure of a dial-tone, he will be allowed — like all of us — to learn for himself what it is to be human.

He will learn what it is like to fail spectacularly, and to be better for it.  He will learn that in his days of deep, dark sadness, there are those who cannot help but to be there for him.  He will learn that the more he tries to separate himself from a past that he has no choice but to be a part, the more he will recognize that his footprints pushed into the dirt behind him are possible because of the trails that have already been blazed.  He will learn — as we all do — that what seems like destiny can also be understood as the result of a series of non-accidents expertly placed like rungs on a ladder enabling us to reach previously impossible heights.

The more I think about Max, the more I begin to understand that I am just as excited about his unfortunate brushes with imperfection as I am about his unflinching triumphs.  I want to see him learn, to grow, and for him to learn what it means to be growing.  I want him to know that it is okay to fail, a lot, because our initial failures are so often the first steps to a better understanding of the world around us.

In any event, I have a sneaking suspicion that above all, Max will be just fine.  He has two wonderful parents, four wonderful grandparents, and a huge network of friends and family who will be there to help pick him up when he falls.  He will be standing on the shoulders of giants, just as we all were and continue to be.

Though I believe Max’s first word will probably be “mama” or “dada,” selfishly, I cannot wait for the day when he finally gives in and says, “Uncle!”

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