Dear Abby

By: David Kinzlmaier

Dear Abby,

Long time listener, first time writing. Me and a couple of buddies all got together to watch the Superbowl a few months ago and we wanted to make a night out of it. We all settled down and we’re about 2 beers in when the first one hit. It was the Tide ad with David Harbour, that cop guy from Stranger Things. Everyone got a good laugh, but it caught me off guard. I was fully expecting a car commercial but, as the dreamy David Harbour stared me dead in the eyes, he reminded me that it was a Tide Ad. I was overcome with a sea of doubt, unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Something about his dark, unwavering stare and calm demeanor hinted at a higher truth, so tantalizingly close yet out of reach to mortal minds. I leaned forward, focusing, trying to understand what he meant as my expectations were subverted again and again and again. Even after the ad ended and the jovial laughter morphed into an excited murmur, the question still stood with me. What did Hollywood superstar David Harbor mean?

It was about a half hour later when the second Tide ad hit, and Hollywood Superstar David Harbour, from within his harem of elderly tennis players, taunted me yet again. The clean clothes, the fresh scent, the knowing laughs, what did they all mean?! There was greater meaning behind his honeyed words, he had hinted at the lock and the key, but it was up to me to find both.

Then it dawned on me. I slowly looked around the room, observing with horrified fascination. My friends were rowdy and jubilant, yet they were asleep. How could they not realize?! The clues were given, the puzzle pieces connected to form a picture, but what a picture. In a fit of hysteria I ran outside, as if running could change the reality in which I was trapped. A blast of a horn followed by the powerful impact of a Ford F150 on my side sent me sprawling into the street. As my senses came back to me, I looked down expecting to find myself broken, bloodstained, dying.

My shirt was a bright white, brighter than ever before. A man knelt beside me, checking to see if I was ok. I turned to him to let him know I was fine, but the words caught in my throat as I looked into the abyssal eyes of Hollywood Superstar David Harbour. He gave me a cold, dead smile.

It’s just a Tide Ad.”

Abby I’m scared. What do I do? What can I do?

Sincerely,

A Very Clean Man

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Reductionist Professor Simplifies Psychology Course into Freud Stuff and “Everything Else”

By: Rachel Boward

Professor of Introduction to Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and known reductionist, Bryan Bugmon, recently announced his radical curriculum change for the upcoming Fall semester. Simplifying his syllabus down into two main parts, Freud and, as he puts it, “all that other crap”, Bugmon claims this minimalist teaching style will better suit the actual expectations of practicing psychologists. “I mean, all you really gotta know is the Freud stuff. But, I do need to fill up the second half of the semester with something.”

Bugmon’s decision comes after many years of complaints on his OMETs from students who were frustrated with the unreasonable expectations for his intro course. “I started out just teaching the students the entire textbook. I mean, I didn’t really think it was that unreasonable, but the OMETs don’t lie!”

The tenured professor resisted instating any radical changes for years, assuming his critics were simply bitter students indignant to find that his class was not as easy of an A as they expected. However, what really tipped the scale for Bugmon was a comment on his “Rate My Professor” page from a passionate ex-student.

“He gave me a one-star rating and asked ‘When the hell am I gonna use any of this shit? The only cool part was Freud. That dude really knew what he was talking about. The Oedipus complex? Too fuckin’ real.’ Really made me wonder: Why even teach material that my students are never going to use again?” After that epiphany, Bugmon immediately began work on his updated syllabus, deleting all material that wasn’t related to Freud and building from there.

Other Pitt professors have begun to follow Bugmon’s lead. Mary O’Connor of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies department has done a complete overhaul of her syllabus to only include Michel Foucault and Judith Butler. Ryan Omega has petitioned the university to create a new class called “Coins and Crap” to be housed in the economics department. One poetry professor, who wishes to remain unnamed, plans on devoting a good 75% of the semester to the classic poem, “The Road Not Taken”, by Robert Frost. And, in perhaps the most dramatic move so far in this new teaching style, the entire sociology department unanimously decided this past Tuesday to reduce all their classes down into one, large course titled “Marx, Marx, Marx.”

This shift has inspired a revolution in the university community. Bugmon seemed ecstatic about the impact his decision has had on his fellow professors. His excitement is almost palpable, “Like I said, OMETs don’t lie. I’ve gotten rave reviews so far, and the syllabus hasn’t even gone into place yet! Plus, my rating on Rate My Professor shot up from one to 1.75 stars. I just can’t wait to see how my stats improve once the syllabus actually takes effect!”

I Participated in a Medical Trial So You Wouldn’t Have To

By: Ernie Tremper

Journalistic integrity. Seeking the truth, no matter the obstacles. The unimpeachable autonomy of the press. Phrases like this tumbled around in my mind while I drove to the building where I was about to have my first ever medical trial.

And anyway, I told myself, it’s all in the name of science. Journalism and science. That sounds like a rockin’ combo to me.

I had the radio set to my favorite 80’s station, WDOG, hoping it might calm my nerves. But Jimmy Buffett and his classic tune “I’m Getting a Blowjob (in Martinique)” just weren’t doing the trick. Finally, I pulled up to the address I’d been given, and was shocked by what I saw. Paint chipping off the façade. Windows boarded up. Giant graffito of a single lonesome tit, softly lactating, on the front wall. Weeds were peeking out through cracks in the pavement all over the parking lot. Save for my car, it was completely empty. Was I the only participant in this trial?

As I was opening the door to the building, I thought to myself, Nothing that I could possibly see right now could make me feel worse about this whole experience. How wrong I was!

Stepping into the waiting area, I nearly bumped right into a homeless! It was an obvious homeless, too! He had on dirty jeans and a kind of army jacket. His beard was all scraggly and gray, with orange stains. I was horrified! What was he doing here? Had he wandered in looking for a place for his urine? Would he be thrown out soon? Anxiously, I awaited his expulsion.

He walked up to the front desk, where I was sure he’d be met with the kind of fury good home-owning people reserve for the intruding homeless.Imagine my horror when he received no comeuppance! On the contrary, he was rewarded with a piece of paper, on which he was instructed to write down his disgusting name and personal information! Who wants to know such trash?

Reeling from the shock, I ran out of the building, back into the safety of my car. I flipped the radio back on. Oh, sweet WDOG, give me solace in this terrible time. My prayers were answered, because at that moment I heard the lilting strains of Prince’s hit “Let’s Dry-Hump (in Minnesota).”

I sped home. Screw that, I thought to myself. I can conduct medical experiments on myself in the comfort of my own home. (Thus ends part one of my medical trial adventure. Stay tuned for part two, when this spoon finally heats up and I can get these 800 mg of heroin into an injectable form.)

Local Man Honored with Trash Status

By: Jack Seton

Last week, local garbage man Landon Phil was seen having an intense discussion on the sidewalk with his girlfriend, Tanya Fields. His expression was observed to have been one of complete and utter joy at the sight and sound of his girlfriend screaming in his face before she stormed off.
“I told him that he’s a piece of trash and that he can go rot in the dump,” exclaimed Tanya afterwards. “All men are garbage!” Lan, who is an employee at local dumping ground “That Trash Place,” seemed to be in quite a pleasant mood afterwards.
“When I was just a toddler, my dream job was to be a garbage man. Not only has my dream been actualized through my career, but my girlfriend has now provided me with the validation I’ve always been looking for! You see, garbage is one of the most beautiful things that can be bestowed upon a human being. I find that some of life’s most precious moments happen at the dump. There’s simply nothing more special than watching the sunset while sitting among some huge mounds of rancid trash. I’m so excited that Tanya’s finally given me permission to spend my free time at the compacting plant.”
One of Lan’s coworkers, who wished to remain anonymous, provided his thoughts on the matter. “We’re all just so proud of Lan. We’re throwing him a surprise garbage shower tomorrow when he comes into work. Garbage showers are one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon an individual here at That Trash Place. Also, to show him just how much he means to us, we’re going to let him drive the garbage truck and be ‘Garbage Boy of the Day’.” According to Lan’s coworker, the Garbage Boy of the Day gets to throw fun objects, such as bubble wrap, into the trash compactor.
“I sure do love Tanya!” pronounced Lan. “She’s such a piece of garbage!”

Where are All These Studies Finding Twins that Grew Up Seperate from One Another?

By: Shannon Kelly

I’ve only taken two psychology classes in my 16 years of education. However, every time I take a psych course,my professors will bring up, I don’t know, 127 studies where the researchers find twins that grew up separate from one another so the researchers can see if their genes or their upbringing influenced a personality trait. And I’m here just kind of wondering where they all are and how are these studies finding these twins?

For example, do the studies find already reunited twins? That means they just put up flyers that say “Have you recently been reunited with a long-lost twin?” Like, how many bites do they get from those flyers?

The researchers could also be finding the separated twins on their own and then deliberately keeping them separated from one another during the testing. That’s fucked for sure. No doubt, no doubt.

On the other hand, there could just be like seven pairs of twins that are constantly being experimented on. In that case, should we not be concerned about how all this testing is affecting their personality? Like what if all of these questions and psychological treatments are messing them up? And we’re over here studying that being angry is related to your genes when, in actuality, it is just those pesky labcoats bugging the twins, keeping them locked in a room, answering a billion questions a day.

If anyone has any information about this process, please email me or something. Thanks.

Man Doesn’t Eat Vegetables, Manages to Stay Alive

By: Sonya Acharya

Davis, 67, hates nothing more than the frequent farmer’s markets held near his house. Why, you ask? Because fruits, and worse, vegetables. Each fall, while his neighbors flock to outdoor tents to stock up on beautiful, cheap fresh produce from local farms, he stays home and eats chicken wings and mozzarella cheese sticks. Until Mrs Davis died ten years ago, the family were regulars at farmer’s markets. Davis was known for running through the tents screaming until he reached the baked goods table, where he’d stay, whimpering and stroking loaves of bread until his wife came to take him home. People they used to visit remember that he’d decline fruits and vegetables in pretty much any form.
Today, Davis lives a normal life, except that he eats only carbs, fats, and proteins, but he’s managing to stay alive, and no-one knows how. We reached out to him to learn his secret. “Veggies? Haven’t eaten ’em in years. Fruits? Who’s that?” he asked, when we met him over lunch. He seems to be successfully living a produce-free life. He pointed out that we don’t have the story quite right; he eats onions, garlic, potatoes, marinara, and ketchup, so he isn’t strictly produce-free. But he also confessed that once, a friend tried to poison him with veggie quesadillas. “My life flashed before my eyes. Luckily the first bite was just tortilla and sour cream, but then I saw the bell peppers.” He shudders as he recounts his chilling tale.
Doctors consider him a medical miracle. “He seems to be proving that humans don’t need fruits and vegetables, and by extension, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It’s impossible! It’s also a terrible message to be giving people. Fruits and veggies are important, kids!” says Dr Dietrich, a renowned dietitian. But Davis doesn’t seem to care what people think anymore. He has long been rejecting invitations to go apple-picking or berry-picking or anything-picking. He even skips carving a pumpkin year after year, which some people find concerning. Debbie, 32, who lives four doors down from Davis with her husband and two kids, says “On Halloween, everyone had a jack-o’-lantern on their porch, it was like a glowing orange trail for trick-or-treating. And then there’s this huge hole in the middle, at his house. It’s tearing this street apart!” Will he change his ways? Not likely. Is he happy the way he is? Absolutely. Davis seems to enjoy his fruitless existence, and since he’s not forcing people to follow him, we’re happy to let him romaine that way.

Lawmakers Excited to See Trump Take First Steps

By: Leo Corman

Donald J. Trump’s first year has been filled with stumbles, tantrums, and a noticeable lack of hair. Ever since Trump hatched from his egg and slithered into this world, the people closest to him have been expectantly watching him grow—especially the proud members of the Republican party.

“He’s really getting to be a big boy!” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “When I first met little Donnie T., I couldn’t get over how cute he was! Those chubby cheeks and tiny hands—just adorable. He’s still an infant, of course—oblivious, temperamental, fascinated by shiny objects—but now he’s starting to be more independent. He can crawl and stand on his own, and we can’t wait to see him take his first steps!”

Vice President Mike Pence said that spending the past year caring for baby Trump hasn’t always been easy. “Donnie can be quite a handful. He’ll get cranky if anyone wakes him up during naptime or mentions the Russia investigation,” said Pence, “but he’s still such a sweet little guy.”

Trump has already managed to leave a major impression on those around him. “I remember being there when Donnie said his first words,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “He just started yelling, ‘Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!’ as the drool dribbled down his fat little chin. Everyone in the room broke into applause. I’ll never forget it.”

Many described how Trump’s presence has inspired them to achieve more in their own lives. “It’s been so refreshing to see that wide-eyed, infantile curiosity that comes with knowing almost nothing about the world,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, “and I’ve been trying to inject some of that same ignorance into my approach to life and politics.”

While government officials have become accustomed to tending to the needs of a young child, they say that life with little Trump is still full of surprises. “Most of us are pretty used to the routine stuff by now—changing diapers, breastfeeding, getting woken up in the middle of the night by crying about his historically low approval rating—but some things still catch me off guard,” said Pence. “I mean, when people think about having a kid, they don’t realize all the challenges and swallowing of pride that come with that responsibility. Life with Donnie is definitely never dull.”