Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Cure For Male Pattern Stupidity

Several weeks ago, my email program got upgraded with a new feature called “Smart Compose”. Smart Compose analyzes the email that was sent to me, then suggests words, or sometimes complete sentences, as I type my response. For example, If I am responding back to an email and type “G”, Smart Compose suggests: “Good to hear from you”. If I hit the advance key, it plugs it right in. 

At first, this greatly annoyed me (don’t tell me what to write!), but then I realized it is amazingly accurate and I began to utilize it more and more. This is accomplished by using something called artificial intelligence, which programs computers and devices to think like humans.

And then I had an epiphany. If artificial intelligence is smart enough to tell me what to write in emails, let’s use it for something spectacularly great. Let’s use it to help men communicate with their women.  

I believe artificial intelligence would be most valuable in situations where there is a void of any intelligence at all. And no greater scarcity of human intelligence exists than when a male attempts to communicate something of relational importance to a female. Nothing destroys relationships faster or causes more extreme interpersonal conflicts, as when the male of the species engages in verbal intercourse with his partner.

Now ladies, men are not as stupid as you think we are. We really aren’t. We are just incapable of putting the right words, in the right order, combined with the proper timing, tone, and facial expressions, to truly communicate what we intend, without really, really, fizzing you off.

Every second, a man somewhere makes what he considers to be a fully rational statement, which enrages his woman, who choose one (yells, screams, gets angry, cries, sobs, dramatizes, criticizes, sighs, eye rolls, tsks
Gee, what did I say?
and b!+ches). Okay, maybe she runs the table. Oh, and there will be no sex tonight, or tomorrow, or depending on how bad his statement was ….. Well you all know.

Now when men make these horrendously stupid statements it would help immensely if women would respond in a calm, patiently, lovingly way in an attempt to understand and interpret what their Neanderthal is really trying to say. But of course you can’t! Because you are a woman and you need to be able to hold this over us for days, weeks, and even years! 

And men are so dense that we have no idea what was wrong with our initial statement. So we try to calm this b!+ↄh storm by making still another statement. But just like the horrible free-throw shooter who clangs the first one off the rim, our second shot is just as bad, or even worse. Pity the poor guy who keeps talking, with each statement, digging the hole deeper. 

And unfortunately, at this point, “Sorry” doesn’t help. In almost every other situation in life it does, but not here. This pencil doesn’t have an eraser. You have written in ink, perhaps permanent ink. Saying sorry now is just like trying to put out a raging wildfire with a water pistol, and just the effort can even make things worse.

Some guys have realized they are poor communicators when talking to women and implement a strategy of saying as few words as possible. Not the “strong, silent type” as much as the “smart, silent type”. It’s always a red-flag when you hear a woman complain “My husband won’t discuss anything with me!” Well he knows he ain’t good at talking, and you ain’t good at listening. Some guys are so bad at communicating they would be better off just grunting and waving their arms wildly like a caveman.

And some single guys take this paucity of words to the extreme. It is the whole idea behind the “dick-pic” (texting, tweeting or emailing a photo of your Willie). It sends a clear message of romantic interest – without the need to use a single word. It cuts through all that messy conversation and gets right to the point!  It simply says: “I’ve got a wanker – and I’m thinking about you!”. You can’t get any more direct than that without reverting back to prehistoric days.

And there are a whole lot of guys sending these dick-pics. A poll found that 53% of millennial women have received one. And I have read of many women complaining about getting these friendly texts and tweets. The most famous culprit of course is Anthony Weiner, who tweeted his wiener all over cyberspace. 

I found an article that said women are repulsed by this practice if it is unsolicited, but greatly aroused if it is solicited. So a woman could be revolted or ecstatic by the exact same photo, depending on her mood. And to this statement, the women out there say “Duh! Why of course” and the men say “Duh?”, which just complicates the whole issue.

I am in no way endorsing dick-pics. I’m just explaining why guys might use them to eliminate all that difficult conversation. I also am not condemning them, because that would be hypocritical. I cannot say for certain that I wouldn’t have engaged in the activity if the technology had existed when I was 17. Heck, if I knew I could send one to Marie Osmond today and not get caught, I, um, let’s forget I even mentioned that.

Therefore, men are in dire need of help when communicating with women. So someone needs to develop something where the man can be in another room and speak into an Alexa type device that translates and transmits his statement into female-friendly language back to his wife. He hears her response back through the device and then the program keeps translating his statements until marital bliss is restored. He is only allowed to rejoin his wife after the conversation ends.

Now I know there are already humorous videos that display this same concept. (Please don’t send me the links) But those parodies pretend that such a device exists. What I’m saying is that by using artificial intelligence technology it is possible for the device to actually exist. And of course, the artificial intelligence would be developed by women who are experts in communication.

“We can reprogram him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first ultra-communicative man. We will make him better than he was before. Sensitive, caring, empathetic.” 

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to revolutionize male-female communication and thus improve those relationships. And with so much better communication going on, it has the potential to even reverse the declining birth rates – if you get my drift – and I know you do. So, get busy AI programmers! The first one to conquer this one gets a billion dollars!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I Am Not Mr. Smarty Pants

Every humor writer/comic tells us about their colonoscopy. I strive to be original and fresh, so I promised you I would not write about mine. Uh, er, well some stuff happened that day that was uh, interesting. So this is the first, and hopefully the last, broken promise of 2019.

When I get to medical facility that day, I am in a horrendously foul mood. I haven’t eaten solid food for 24 hours (no free appetizers allowed) which makes me cranky. I am also dehydrated, which makes me ill and even more irritable. And of course, I have just been totally cleansed, which adds to my discomfort, all this at the unholy hour of 6 a.m.

My cleansing was provided by a new medicine called “Bowelsrific” (It does have an official drug-like name, but I like mine better). This is supposed to be far superior to the “old” way of cleansing. But when the pharmacist told me Bowelsrific cost $90 and insurance only covered $20, I nearly $#!t myself. So Bowelsrific is effective even before you take it! 

And Bowelsrific works! The first shot made the trip from top to bottom in 52 minutes, and like a good deejay, the hits, they just keep on coming. The second shot, taken that evening, rocketed through me in just 48 minutes. By the end, fluid was shooting out of me so smoothly that I imagined I was a fountain statute in the park, with my buns pointed to the sky.

Yes I was totally cleansed. I felt so cleansed I thought I was a Buddhist Monk. So clean, that I was even monkier than the other monks.

They call my name and I just want this thing to be over fast, with no problems, and to not yell at anyone, considering my atrocious mood. But I am greeted by Nurse Nancy, the perkiest woman I have ever met in my life. I’m sure some people appreciate her cheerful, positive demeanor and chit chat. Me? I WANTED HER TO SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP NOW! Just tell me what I need to do, shove the probe up my @$$, and get it over with.

She measures my height, “Such a tall one!” and takes me to the waiting area in full chatty mode the entire time. In order to cope with her, I switched in to full “Husband Listening Mode”. HLM allows guys to total filter out all those boring, unnecessary details your wife says, but alerts you if she says something of value or asks a question, so you can rejoin the conversation just as if you had been actively listening the entire time. So Nurse Nancy keeps yakking it up, but I am ignoring it and not responding to her at all.

But before she takes my blood pressure, she asks me what I do for a living. I answer only because it would be impolite not to.

Me: I’m an economist-analyst in the trucking industry.


Whoa now! This statement would be offensive to a whole lot of people. I could even see one of my former colleagues berating this woman for being so flippant. 

I don’t expect people to be impressed with my job. That’s why I keep the description short. Some people I meet are truly interested in what I do and I answer their questions as best I can and a few of them end up less impressed than when the conversation began. And yes, I do post on social media when one of the big news services quotes me in an article. But it isn’t bragging as
much as informing friends that “important” people are interested in what Don has to say. And many of these friends are more amused with it than anything else.

So I wasn’t expecting Nurse Nancy to be awestruck with my profession, but I was stunned by her absurd reaction. However, I did realize that Nancy wasn’t making fun of me, she was just being her super-perky self. But she had insulted me. So how did I respond to this outrageous outburst?

I started to laugh profusely.  I laughed loud, I laughed hard, and I kept on laughing. Due to my strong reaction, Nancy immediately realized she had crossed the line, and fervently apologized. I stopped laughing just long enough to address her concern. Then I gave her a smirk that said “Oh you didn’t really just say that, did you?” And then started laughing hysterically again.

Yes, she had misspoke. But let’s go back to the part of the story that describes my mental state at the time. Any person that can make me laugh that hard when I am in the worst mood possible, is exceptional. Period. Laughing releases endorphins and several other body chemicals which provide a host of benefits. I was in one of the least desirable situations there is, but now I felt great and wasn’t stressing at all about the colonoscopy. And this is why I try to make people laugh through my writing. It is to provide a distraction from the stress of life.

Nurse Nancy may have been clumsy in her approach, but she ended up doing her job in an excellent manner. And she even cracked me up one more time when she instructed me to cover up with the sheet, because “no one here wants to see your giblets”. What a hoot!

I am taking a risk telling this story for fear the moniker “Mr. Smarty Pants” might stick. I would hate to read a trade/business article that said: “Mr. Smarty Pants states that next year trucking will ….” 

I don’t want to be in my next company meeting when the boss says, “That sounds reasonable, but let’s hear what Mr. Smarty Pants has to say”. Then after I give my opinion, a coworker asks, “That’s interesting Don, but what do your pants think about this? Word is, those pants are smarter than you are.”

And then one of those econo-babes on Fox News calls me for an interview:

Her: Before we start, I must ask if you are wearing pants?

Me: Oh baby, what do you have in mind?

Her: No, you pervert! Not that! I just need to know if you have your smarty-pants on, so I know you are providing intelligent answers.

The good news is, my colon is normal. As proof, the doctor’s office included four photos of my colon on my discharge papers, including thrilling shots of my cecum, appendiceal orifice and retroflexed rectum.  During my time there, the staff informed me that the anesthesia used was the same one Michael Jackson got addicted to. I must say that it is really good stuff. Really, really good. So good that after I came to, I asked them three times if I could have some of it to take home, just in case I had any discomfort. But they told me to beat it.

And regarding the anesthesia, the anesthesiologist saw my profession that Nurse Nancy had entered into my profile. He then asked me when I thought there would be driverless trucks on the highway. I was giving him and the doctor my opinion, a very intelligent analysis I might add, as they waited for me to go under. And I was able to talk intelligently, even after I had “assumed the position”, with my bare butt-cheeks sticking right out in the air. That’s right – no pants – just me! SO THERE!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Very Intimate Handshake – 2018 A Most Incompetent Year (Part 2)

My 2018 was filled with incompetent idiots, as I shared in Part 1. Here are some more people who made the year so special.

Strangely enough there were two incompetent events involving the sum of $50 …..

It’s Free, But it Costs $50 …

I wanted to have a March book signing event at a relatively new restaurant in the area. The place has a nice meeting room in the front and a smaller, shabby, meeting room in the back. I met with a representative who told me the front meeting room was available the night I wanted it and there would be no charge. “Great”, I said. “Let’s book it”. She then asked for my credit card number for the $50 reservation fee.  She explained the $50 guaranteed I would get the room. If I didn’t pay this, someone else might pay the $50 and get the room.  Oh, and the fee is non-refundable. So the room is free, but the reservation costs $50? I told her I would have to think about it.

I considered my options and called back a couple days later. I said I wanted to reserve the meeting room in the back, but I wasn’t going to pay the reservation fee because I was sure no one would reserve that shabby room on a week night in March especially if the nice room was available.  The conversation then progressed smoothly again, until she asked me for my credit card number, again.  I protested and argued, but she refused to let me book the “free room” without paying a $50 fee.

Well, they didn’t get their $50. They also didn’t get the $300 spent that night at the book signing. Nor, the $1,600 that my authors group spent this year at a restaurant just down the street from them. Throw in my personal spending that I diverted, and they fizzed away around $2,000 trying to finagle $50. Oh, and the book signing made the front page of the community newspaper, so “No, PR for you”! This place, which I will not name, is the Most Incompetent
Restaurant of 2018.  A special thank you to the Winking Lizard in Canton for hosting my successful event! 

Sold Out!

I spent time and some money for over a year to help out a friend of nine years on a difficult project she needed to complete.  And then in the end, she just totally sold me out for a meager $50. Pulled the rug right out from under me. Didn’t ask permission, but didn’t ask for forgiveness either. I didn’t get angry, I was just stunned that our friendship was not even worth $50 to her. Well, if the friendship isn’t worth $50 to you, then it ain’t worth nothing to me. So, buh-bye. You are (was) the Most Incompetent Friend of 2018. 

Honorable mention to the friend who tried to blatantly undermine my authority on a big project (author related) that I was leading. And also, to the friend who got annoyed and trolled me every time I posted something about my book on LinkedIn (as if my book is not a business?)  With friends like these …. 

What Did I Say?  

I encountered the movement of hyper-sensitive interaction between the sexes. Now I know you are thinking that I slapped a woman on the butt, after my post about the hippo in September, but you are wrong! And you should be ashamed for even considering that. No, I didn’t do or say anything inappropriate. I merely complimented the appearance of a long-term acquaintance at a business social event (not work related).

In the past, this woman had sometimes worn the equivalent of her grandma’s sweaters to these meetings, but this time she showed up in a finely-tailored business suit. She looked stunning and I told her so. She accepted the compliment in the moment, but unfortunately this led to a very awkward phone conversation the following morning, because I had “made her feel uncomfortable”.  But shouldn’t she have felt great because she wore a killer outfit and people noticed? (I know some readers will disagree with me on this assessment, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a bad person and you should not get angry about this. It just means we disagree on this subject and we both need to learn something from it.) 

She wanted an apology and I was searching for the appropriate response, when my business phone rang and I abruptly ended the conversation. She was still upset, and immediately called back and left an angry message on my HOME voice mail. Well, if you think I crossed a line dear, you went way over the line with that one. You are the Most Incompetent Acquaintance of 2018. (But you still looked good ….)

Shake It Up Baby

I met a woman at a book event who is a public figure. We were standing at a normal distance from each other when we shook hands. But this was no normal handshake. She grasped my hand firmly and then pulled it back all the way to against her body. I had to take a full step forward. And to make it extra weird, there was actual “boob-contact”. Now you women out that might be thinking “are you sure?”, but the guys understand that we are fully aware when we get that special feeling. That was the Most Incompetent Handshake of 2018. (And the weirdest handshake I have ever experienced) And no, I did not call her the next day because she made me feel uncomfortable.

I Got Spoofed

On three occasions, telemarketers spoofed my cell phone number to make it appear I was calling people to sell them $#!t. This resulted in angry texts and calls back to my cell phone. If I ever catch the people who are doing this spoofing, I am going to kick them square in the nuts. So this better not happen again in 2019. You are the Most Incompetent Marketer of 2018.

One Last Rant

And to everyone out there who ignored my emails and failed to return my calls – I’M STILL WAITING!!!! YOU STUPID, INCOMPENTENT, SONS OF BISCUITS!

So people, lets step up your game in 2019. Just give me some competence, that’s all I ask.

Here’s to a better, maybe even a great year, in 2019!