The Boy Who Cried Wolf

This is the story as we have always told it, for over two thousand years. Not a word has been changed.

There once was a village that decided to task a young boy with guarding his village’s sheep. It was a crushingly boring task. The sheep essentially minded themselves, and as the day wore on, the child became desperate for attention.

Finally, the boy called out, “Wolf! A wolf is coming!” The grownups of the village tore themselves away from their important work and came running to drive the wolf away. But when they got there, there was no wolf.

The grownups grumbled at the boy. One of the village elders said, “This is a very serious responsibility! Don’t ever call out ‘Wolf!’ unless there really is a wolf.” The boy broke down in tears, apologized and promised to do better.

On the second day, the boy was again crushingly bored. The day wore on, and eventually, despite his promise, he called out, “Wolf! A real wolf is here this time!” Once again, the grownups came running. And once again, they were frustrated at the boy’s irresponsibility. The village elder thundered at the boy, “How dare you! You have broken your sacred trust again!” The boy broke down in tears, and made even more promises.

Nevertheless, on the third day, the grownups of the village chose to put the boy in charge of the sheep again. And when the boy cried out for help, they decided not to come.


G: Why did Peter lose his jacket?

Me: Because his buttons were caught.

G: Why were his buttons caught?

Me: Because they were stuck in the gooseberry net.

G: Why was he stuck in the gooseberry net?

Me: Because Mr. MacGregor was chasing him.

G: Why was Mr. MacGregor chasing him?

Me: … because roughly 13 billion years ago, the Big Bang happened, and therefore eventually Mr. MacGregor decided to chase Peter.

G: … what is the Big Bang?

Me: It was a giant explosion that created the universe as we know it.

G: <slaps his own knee as hard he can> — That was a Big Bang!

No, Your Son is Probably Not Brain Damaged

But how is it that two year old boys just know that they need to run around and shriek, “OOGIE SKOOGIE KAN-NOOGIE!”

Is it nurture? It sure as hell isn’t nurture.

Is it some kind of Jungian collective unconscious… thingy?

Is it genetic? Does it provide some kind of increased chance of survival in the wild? (Because from where I’m standing, quite the opposite.)

Fraud Prevention is Hard

[Wife placed online purchase; card was declined.]

Me: Okay, I called the credit card company. They’ve removed the hold.

Sarah: But why did they put the hold on it instead of letting me shop?

Me: The customer service rep doesn’t know anything about that. It’s some crazy algorithm that some mathematicians developed for them…

Sarah (indignantly): What? You’re blaming math?

Me: No, I —

Sarah: “Math is hard, let’s go shopping” — oh wait, I can’t!

The Blog is 10 Years Old Today

October 26, 2001 was the first blog post I ever made. It was handcrafted plain HTML. Eventually I discovered there was such a thing as blogging software, and then it was off to the races.

It takes a special kind of thick-headedness these days to keep producing medium-sized articles, with an Atom feed, on your own domain. To celebrate this thick-headedness, here are ten posts of note, one for each year.

I can’t claim that any given post is the best of that year, just that it was the best I could find on short notice. Will try to do better next decade.

Square Peg in Round Hole

The scene: a FATHER and his thirteen-month-old SON in a living room. The SON is playing with one of those toys where you have to match different shapes to the corresponding hole.

SON: (struggling to push the red square through the blue round hole)

FATHER: Oh, son, son. The square goes in the square hole. Here, Daddy can help —

SON: (twists the square in such a way that it drops through the round hole)

FATHER: … Well, shit.

I’m not sure whether the toy is defective or brilliant.

Baby Style Wushu

Zheng came to speak with Master Wu one late afternoon. “Master, it is unfair that I keep getting matched up with Li Po during sparring practice,” said Zheng.

“Why is that?” asked Wu.

“It is impossible to defend against him,” replied Zheng, rubbing his bruised jaw. “Li Po is nearly twice my size.”

“Idiot!” snapped Wu. “You should be able to defend against him were he ten times your size! Now go home — you are late for dinner with your wife and son.”

At dinner, Zheng attempted to feed his ten-month-old son spoonfuls of pureed broccoli. It was then that Zheng became enlightened.

Come to me, Superplague! I defy you!

Every winter, half the office gets taken out by illness. We call it “the Super Plague”, “the Creeping Crud”, “the Plague of Death.” It’s brutal.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling the tell-tale signs. Scratchy throat, low energy. Uh-oh.

But today I woke up feeling… totally fine! One hundred percent! Yes my friends, the famous Goer immune system, the same one that ensured the survival of prehistoric Goers, kicked in… and kicked ass.

So this is my post where I dance in the endzone, taunting the entire Team Virus defensive line. In your FACE, Team Virus! In your face!