20 August 2007

Reader's Digest and the 3 Mystery Gifts

Recently subscribed to Reader's Digest. This is what was written in the Registration page when I subscribed:

To enjoy the Reader's Digest throughout the year or to Gift a Friend the experience, just fill in the form and we will get back to you right away. Remember, 3 Free Mystery Gifts are waiting to be picked up! You can opt to pay through Credit Card or VPP.

The 3 Free Mystery Gifts was something I was really looking forward to. Images of beautiful RD hardbound books flickered in my head, those RD hardbounds found in much abundance in all the second-hand bookshops, and I grinned inwardly, for books, especially hardbounds, excite me like nothing else. There's something about those hardbounds that make them irresistable. Is it because they are beautifully bound and a pleasure to look at, or because they feel lovely when the tips of your fingers come in contact with them, or because they smell so nice? Or is it because all these things come together to become this beautiful experience of sight, smell and touch?

Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I got my first RD copy. There was however no sign of the 3 Mystery Gifts. I waited a while longer, mentally composing an email to send to the folks at RD meanwhile, thinking about all the wise-ass* things I would say, like, for example: "The 3 Mystery Gifts still remain a mystery", or using "The Mystery of the 3 Mystery Gifts" as the mail subject.

While pondering thus, I completely forgot about the letter box in my office, and when I checked today, I found the 3 Mystery Gifts. However, they did not turn out to be the lovely hardbounds I had dreamt of, but three small booklets printed on cheap paper. :-(

They were these three tiny booklets that were put together in a transparent plastic covering and thoughtfully tied together with cheap, coarse string to hold them together, lest they fall out and I get deprived of my 3 Goddam Mystery Gifts. Reader's "Customer Satisfaction" Digest. I now feel I'd have been happier if they had fallen out, but then, if that would have happened, I would've continued thinking that they were gonna send me lovely hardbounds, and I'd have probably emailed them a stinker or something and wait even longer, only to get these 3 Corny Mystery Gifts in the end. The feeling of writing a stinker, the very thought of investing time and effort and even attempting to infuse word-play, all for 3 goddam booklets would have depressed me no end. Hell, it might have even driven me to suicide.

Anyway, these are the 3 Mystery Gifts, and I can't do anything about it. More depressing than the booklets were their topics:

1. How to Lose Weight and Keep Fit:
Printed on cheap paper, this book has a lot of diagrams of this black-bikini clad girl doing these exercises, and the paper is so bad that you can see the black bikini from the previous page(previous exercise) kinda merge and become a part of the bikini-clad woman in the current page. I dunno why, but bad paper and their effects on diagrams always have a very disturbing effect on me.

2. Time Management: Make Every Second Count:
Yeah, you're right. It does have the dial of a clock on the cover. Apart from the clock, it does have four pictures, three of which are of people wearing official attire and staring at laptops, etc., while the fourth picture is of this guy sitting with his son on the banks of a goddam river, you know, just to show that there is life outside office, and that this book will teach you how to plan your time so that you can sit on a goddam river bank with your goddam son, thus, achieving in the end, a proper work-life balance. Work-life balance. That has gotta be the corniest word I've heard in a very long time.

3. The Assertive You:
The cover of this goddam booklet displays the two hands of this guy. One hand, the left one, is open, the palms facing upwards, while the right hand is formed into a fist, and is held above the left hand. Like the fist is gonna come down on the open-palmed hand. You get the picture? An assertive symbol and all. Know who were the authors? Stanley "Body" Phelps and Nancy "Language" Austin.

Anyway, the more I look at these books, the more they depress me, because I always think about how I expected hardbounds and how RD fucked me in the end. I therefore intend to dispose off these books to members in my team who're either overweight, non-assertive or don't give a shit about time. Have already found a taker for the "How to Lose Weight and Keep Fit" book (the taker was this girl who didn't need to lose weight at all. Girls, I tell you. Even if they're thin as a goddam pencil, they still think they're overweight and would want to lose more weight), but not for the other books.

Therefore, people reading this, if you have read and enjoyed this blog immensely, please leave your name and postal address to win 2 Mystery Gifts.

* - At that time, I thought they were clever statements to make, but I now realise that they are like those corny attempts at wordplay that all those retired "Letters to the Editor" type of old people try in order to show off their superior command of the English language.

PS: Doesn't the title sound a little too Harry Potter-ish?

06 August 2007

Loo Behaviour

If there's one sect of people I hate, it's gotta be those who, when peeing in the loo, spit in the urinal.

Urinal. That's gotta be one of the most disgusting words in English. Think about it, and you'll know what I mean. Life is unfair, probably thought the guy who came up with the word, and therefore coined the word "urinal" after much deliberation, deciding that this was probably the best revenge that a guy who was not at peace with the world could take.

Not to be left behind is the word 'urine' and related words used in conjunction with 'urine'. Like how some people say 'pass urine' instead of using the word 'pee'. "Please pass urine into this small container so that we can do the tests". "Excuse me.. I need to pass urine." Yeah? Don't pass it onto me.

It especially sounds very crude when someone's talking tamil and say stuff like "oru nimisham sir... urine poyittu varen", which, when literally translated, means "one minute sir.. i'll go for urine and come". Go for urine. It's extremely disgusting when people use words like 'urine' in a sentence and end up making a grammatical mistake.

One word I've given a lot of thought to was 'Urine Culture', a word commonly used in laboratories. I've always wondered what the hell 'urine culture' meant. Was is something like folk culture? Did pee samples in labs get together and do something? Or did those lab guys really dig those samples so much?

Anyway, like I said, I hate people who spit into the er... umm... bowl when peeing. I also hate the thick 'thhpt' sound they make when they spit and the 'splat' with which it lands. Whenever I hear these sounds, I instinctively get this strong urge to push them forward towards the bowl, but since we are an evolved species, I find other ways to take revenge.

So if you're reading this and realise that I have, in the past, busted your balls for no good reason, you now know why. Muahahahahahaha!

PS: Girls, steer clear from guys who do this. They're usually assholes. Make sure 'He shouldn't spit while peeing' is one of the important points in your 'My Kinda Guy' list. And in case you were wondering, no, I obviously don't do this. :-)


In case you're planning a change of profession, and have finally zeroed in on becoming a parking attender or a security guard who's in charge of a parking lot, here's the one and only thing that they teach you during training, the only rule you will have to follow to the point of obsession if you plan to stay in the race and/or garner respect from your future peers despite being new in the profession:

When people have found parking space after hunting for nearly an hour, and have parked their bikes/cars and are about to go about their business, finally getting a chance to forget about parking-related woes, tell them that they shouldn't be parking there, and asked them to park elsewhere. Most importantly, before you tell them this, make sure that they have taken the trouble of side-locking bike, and if it's a car, ensure they have locked it, and the entire family has gotten out and has walked about 3-4 steps away from car.