LinkedIn Needs to Change Up Their Notification Strategy

I’m on LinkedIn. Not proud of it, but I’m on there. It’s interesting. It’s like an entire social network of people pretending to like work. “Check out this great blog about corporate synergy! This is the stuff I’m definitely interested in, or at least I will be until my boss de-friends me on here.”

LinkedIn has a weird set of things they notify you of. One: every time somebody checks your profile. Isn’t being able to keep tabs on people you don’t want to actually talk to without them knowing the whole point of social media? The entire site is like a stalking narc.

They also like to send a notification when one of your friends got a job. “Congratulate Steve Smith on his new position!” They’re missing a major opportunity here. Send me a notification when a friend of mine LOSES their job.

“Congratulate Steve Smith on his…uh, newfound free time? Need any odd jobs done? Good news is he’ll probably do ’em for not too much money! What else does he have going on?”

I’m telling you, LinkedIn. Don’t be like all the other social networks. Be the one that uses schadenfraude to your advantage.

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That Time I Was Savagely Attacked by a Guinea Pig

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The guinea pig pictured above is named LP. Don’t let her adorable appearance fool you. She’s a vicious beast with an insatiable blood lust.

As I’ve written about before, my girlfriend and I own guinea pigs. Today’s her birthday, so I promised I’d write a guinea pig-centric blog. Anyway after years of having them, I finally got bit by one. Here’s the story.

Guinea pigs are generally low maintenance. You throw down some lettuce every day, maybe a cucumber or a piece of green pepper, and that’s about it. It’s a great out for when you don’t want to eat your vegetables. Just chuck it to the rodents and opt for the chips. It’s like having a compost heap where the compost gets rid of everything instead of making a smelly, inconvenient pile.

There are also a lot of them. They’re pack animals, so you have to have a lot of them so they’ll feel comfortable. At least that’s what she told me when we first started going out. Sounds like something the guy at PetsMart told her to clear out his guinea pig surplus. “Look I’m gonna be honest with you, if I don’t sell 10 more of these by next week my kids don’t get Christmas presents. By the way do you need a snake? I can get you a deal. Buy one boa constrictor, get the second half off.”

When you have pack animals that means they have to establish a hierarchy. One of them passed away last fall, leaving three in the cage to battle for who was the new alpha. It’s like a much cuter, cuddlier version of prison.

The day after their fearless leader went to the great guinea pig cage in the sky, I walk by to see two of them getting into a massive, knockdown drag out brawl. It was an absolutely furious battle, like one of those cartoon fights where there’s just a big cloud of smoke with fists appearing outside it every few seconds.

Now I have no idea how to referee a guinea pig fight. Most of the time they’re non-confrontational. It’s not like you see guinea pigs showing up on Worldstar Hip Hop getting into it in parking lots. So I do what I usually do when they squabble with each other: I stick my hand in to shoo them away.

I would soon find out that was a huge mistake.This wasn’t a mere squabble.

LP lept at her combatant pig but was intercepted by my hand. Which she bit into, thinking it was her opponent. Instinctively I drew my hand away. After all, I’d handled being nipped by a puppy before, that’s all this could be like right?

Incorrect.

She sunk her teeth in there deep. So far that as I pulled my hand up, SHE CAME WITH ME. As I pulled back, she came loose and HELICOPTERED DOWNWARDS about two feet back into the cage.

This all happened within a matter of seconds, but it felt like an eternity.

Now I’m freaking out because there’s no way I didn’t just murder this guinea pig. Or even worse, make it into a special needs case. I’m going to be pushing this thing around in a miniature wheelchair and spoon feeding it for years. I can kiss my comedy career goodbye. Hard to get to gigs when you’ve got to spend your evenings cleaning a rodent’s leg braces. Then I’ll have to start a petition to get my vet to build a handicapped accessible ramp installed in front of his building, even though she’d always be transported in a carrier anyway. What does that matter? She should have the option to walk to the vet on her own if she wants.

Much to my relief, and immediately afterwards my chagrin, she rebounded right away. That was the good news. The bad news was she went looking for another fight. She was going on pure adrenaline now, like a boxer who’d come to far to be denied the knockout. This time I was able to corral all three into separate areas of the cage until tensions subsided.

As the ceasefire commenced, I looked down at my left hand. On it I had a giant gash, bleeding pretty bad. You’d think I’d just been shivved in the yard, if shivving was done right above the pinky. It didn’t hurt but it warranted a trip to the doctor’s office. I partition the cage into three separate cages and wrapped my hand in a makeshift bandage of paper towels and pressure. I headed to the nearest urgent care clinic to stretch the limits of the definition of the word “urgent.”

I go to the doctor and show them the wound. It’s deep, but not quite deep enough for stitches. The doctor casually asks me how I got it. I laugh and say, “Oh, it was from our pet guinea pigs. They got into a scuffle and I pissed off the wrong one.” I’m trying to break this up with a little humor. I get that that isn’t the funniest line ever uttered, but you’d think she gave me a little laugh, or a smirk.

She gives me nothing of the sort. “Have they had their shots recently?” This went from a silly household pet mishap to a fullblown trial for my guinea pigs. I almost expected her to start asking me if they’d come after me like this before. “Mr. Eltringham if there’s a problem you can tell us in confidence. We’ll send the Pet Police over now.”

They ended up giving me a ridiculously huge bandage for it. Visual evidence:

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The finale to this story is that I was fine and the offending guinea pig is now set up in her own partitioned section of the cage with frequent visits with the one she didn’t fight with. Whenever I need advice on how to handle the pigs I talk to her her like Clarice consulting Hannibal Lecter.

The takeaway for you? If you are going to buy rodents in bulk, please…make sure they get along. And if they don’t, don’t stick your hand within a ten mile radius of their fight. Just sit back, start placing bets, and enjoy the show.

More entertaining than a guinea pig fight? Subscribing to my newsletter.

Unconventional Valentine’s Day Date Night Ideas

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Valentine’s Day is today and if you haven’t made plans yet, you may be in trouble. No worries though, I’ve got you covered. Here are some good last minute ideas you can feel free to steal:

* A comedy open mic: After watching countless socially maladjusted 25 year olds with neck beards mumble their way through half-baked premises, you and your honey will feel much better and secure about whatever career choice you’ve made.

* Bowling: Not many realize this, but on Valentine’s Day only bowling alleys allow you to run into other people’s lanes uninvited to throw multiple balls down the lane at once. Don’t do any research on this, just go do it.

* Shark Tank Marathon: Nothing says “I love you” quite like sitting on your lazy ass on the couch, stuffing your face with snacks while saying, “Oh that’ll never work” while Mark Cuban shits on someone who toiled tirelessly to build something they believed in.

* Feed some pigeons: Sounds pedestrian, but few realize pigeons are a natural aphrodisiac.

* Go trip some guys and be a dick in general to everyone: This one applies to Duke forward Grayson Allen only.

*  Get naked and check your spam folders together: Tenderly hold hands with your partner as you get frustrated Gmail sent a great job offer in December directly to the trash.

* Go see Fifty Shades Darker: Go see the erotic thriller everyone’s calling either “Eyes Wide Shut for stupid people” or “Porn for those offended by unsimulated sex.”

* Go to a youth league basketball game and start blocking shots til removed by security: You won’t get to do this very long – you’ll get three blocks in, max – but man oh man, what a ride before you get caught!

* Ruminate on how weird it is that so many ads for Valentine’s Day show Baby Cupid’s ass: Seriously, how weird is that? Who came up with it? Who thought, “You know who should control who we love? A naked baby archer who’s ass we can see.” Weird stuff, man.

A Dog’s Greatest Burden

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…has to be owning everything they pee on.

That’s how dogs mark their territory, right? So in their head, they think they own whatever they pee on.

My question for dogs: how much property do you really need to be happy?

I’ve seen dogs who pee on like 3 or 4 things. Do you really need that extra fire hydrant? Do you need another tree? You’ve already got the house in your owner’s backyard and most likely some sort of big ass pillow in the living room….what do you need all this other stuff for? You dealing with some kind of dog mid-life crisis? I can see it now: a dog trying to send messages to its human, trying to get him to take him to the Porsche dealership.

(An aside: how great would it be to see a dog negotiate with a car salesman? “Look, all this back and forth is a moot point…I already took a leak on it. So any money I give you is me being generous, since legally speaking I do own that Lamborghini. Me pissing on stuff as a transfer of ownership is going to hold up in a court of dog law.”)

Also: Why would you pee on something you own? That’s killing the property value. One day you’ll have a dog real estate agent showing it off and he’ll need to cover for all the pee stains. “This tree here is a little bit of a fixer upper. The last owner spilled a lot of uh…lemon lime Gatorade?”

Dogs could stand to be less greedy, is all I’m saying. Leave some fire hydrants for the rest of us.

The Worst Possible Result of a Drug Test

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The worst thing that can happen as the result of a drug test is not to fail it. It’s something much more intense and nerve-wracking, and I’m about to tell you a story about it.

I’ve taken two drug tests in my life. I’ve passed both, or at least I assume I did. I never got a report card afterwards with an “A+” on it, I just got both jobs.

I got incredibly nervous before both tests.  The hardest drug I’ve ever done is alcohol. I’m not saying that to brag or be judgmental – I’m no better or worse than anyone who has – just to give you the proper context. I got nervous anyway, even though there was no reason for me to be. It’s not like anyone’s ever said, “Ya know what? I’m so sorry about this, but I plum forgot I did a bunch of crack last week. Can we try this again next week? Maybe after I get all these bugs off my skin?”

The first drug test I took was right out of college, which is an appropriate time for drug testing. Employers want to make sure you’re not still getting high like you did back in your college or high school days. I get that. But as someone who again, has never done a drug, I don’t think anyone over the age of 30 should be drug tested. Call it the “C’mon…Give ‘Em a Break, Life is Hard!” law. Plus it may make them better at their job. I know I personally would rather buy auto insurance from soneone who is super chill.

After that first test, I don’t take another one until about 8 or 9 years later. Again, I’m nervous for no reason. I get to the lab, the lab technicians brief me on the process. All I have to do is pee in the cup, fill it to the line on the side of the cup, put the lid back on, and hand it back to them. As soon as I got in there, a wave of calm washed over me. “Relax,” I told myself, “All you gotta do now is pee. You’ve done this thousands of times. And quite well, I might add.”

So I peed. And that, my friends, is when I received the worst result you can possibly get on a drug test.

I didn’t fill the cup.

Like an overconfident sports team gliding into a championship game resting on their laurels, I hadn’t prepared enough. I cursed myself thinking back to earlier in the day. I could have chugged another bottle of water. I could have refused to pee when I got out of bed that morning. I could have listened to clips of running water. I could have bought one of those motivational posters, only this one has a picture of a waterfall over the words “LET IT FLOW.”

My brain went into full-on panic mode. Now what?

Do I wait in the room until I have to pee again? Of all the places to wait for an uncomfortably long time, that would be one of the weirdest. How long could it take to pee, and what else could I possibly be doing in there? I’d be waiting for an exasperated lab guy to knock on the door: “Sir…just give us the pee. We’re not sure what you’re doing in there but it’s not the right venue. Not jumping to any conclusions, but the sperm bank is two blocks over.”

Do I go into the waiting room and subtly try to convince someone else to donate pee to my cause? What if they’d done drugs? What’s my rationale, that since I only needed a little pee from them, maybe no drugs would register? Also…what stranger would just give you some pee? “You look like a decent enough guy…you know what, I’m going to pee for you. Let me finish this coffee and let’s do this.” This idea was stupid and I was playing with fire.

I just had to go to the lobby and confess. But what if that makes them judge me even more? “What? Who can’t fill the piss cup on a drug test? This seems fishy. Automatic fail, junkie.” Then they use that circumstantial evidence to jail me on heroin possession charges.

Once I told the guy at the front desk, he said I could just wait and fill another cup. So they were cool about it, but it presented another problem. Now I’m standing there next to the water cooler, chugging dixie cups full of water until I have to pee again. I feel like I’m obligated to make conversation with the guy at the front desk and I have no idea where to go with that. “So…what’s it like handling pee every day?” “Do you get a lot of people who can’t fill the cup?” “Would you mind just saying I passed? I’ve never done drugs in my life. Seriously, here’s a link to a blog I wrote about this very experience where I mention that fact three times. That means it has to be true.”

I ended up filling the cup on the next try and I passed the test. The lesson here? I’m not sure how funny this story was, or how interesting. From those perspectives, I’m not sure how much of an impact it had on you. But there’s one thing I do know: if you’ve made it to the end of this post and read the whole thing, you most definitely have to pee right now.

This post has been sponsored by the National Association of Getting People to Pee More to Aid in Urinary Health (or the NAGPPMAUH, for short).

One Reason I Bet A Lot of People Get Excited to Have Their Face on a Subway Poster

I’m sure there’s a lot of great reasons to be on a subway poster. Maybe you’re being paid to model a product. Maybe you’re in a hit TV show or movie. Maybe you’re the face of a new ad campaign.

All those are worthy reasons to be excited. But I bet there’s one reason a lot of people get excited for the opportunity.

I bet it’s great if you ever wondered what your face looks like with a dick drawn on it.

I’ve never personally wondered that, but I’m sure someone has. If so, and they did get on a subway poster…what a relief, right? They can rest easy knowing for sure what they look like with a crudely drawn dick scribbled onto their face. They’d probably tell their families about it, even:

“Yeah, this just solves so many problems for me. Before this, I thought I was going to go out and get a tattoo of a crudely drawn dick on my face to answer that nagging question. Now? Thanks to some New York City ragamuffins, I’ll be forced to do no such thing. Now onto my next goal: finding out how I look with one tooth blacked out and the words, “I’LL BLOW ANYONE FOR CASH” drawn on my forehead.”

Gotta give it up for New York’s spray painters. They’re saving successful people who wondered what their faces looked like with a dick on it lots of tattoo fees.

My Main Issue With Peepholes

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….not with the device themselves. The device itself is fine: you’re inside, you need to see outside. Seems like a good tool for anyone who doesn’t want to be robbed.

My issues is with the name. It sounds too creepy. I’m the one using the peephole. I’m the peep. All I want to do is see who’s in my hallway, why you gotta make ME sound like the pervert? It’s not like I’m looking through it for perverted reasons. “Oh look, the UPS guy is here. Finally, I can masturbate! Been waiting on this all day!”

Based on the name, it makes it sound like every single person you see through a peephole is some weirdo wearing a bowtie and an ill-fitting suit. Basically Pee-Wee Herman, but not as a character. That’s how he really is. Likes to engage in tickle fights. Shows up to random places holding unsolicited flowers.

It’s just off-putting. It’s like peepholes were invented to avoid whoever came up with the name for peepholes. The inventor had to be wary of him.

“Yo I know everybody likes my new invention, but for real, the guy who named it skeeves me out. Just in case there’s a peep on the end of the hole you’re looking through, I decree these be called peepholes.”

“But sir, isn’t that kind of insinuating the people looking through the hole are the peeps? Also what is a peep?”

“That’s a risk we have to take, Guy Asking Me Questions At This Press Conference To Announce the Creation of Peepholes. It’s a risk we have to take.”

My suggestion: have some kind of council of architects or something get together to re-name peepholes to put the onus back on the people waiting on the outside. Those peering through the hole should not be the ones made to feel like creeps.