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Life is hard and filled with failure. Think of it as a raging erection, but replace the forthcoming ejaculant with failure. Did that help? Somehow I don't think that helped. I mean, upon reflection, that opening sentence was pretty clear, and the subsequent line was pretty gratuitous. I kind of messed up the whole beginning. Then again, messing up holes is what a failure boner does best, amirite? Oh dear. That doesn't work. You can only make puns verbally because when you see "whole" and "hole" written out, it kind of kills the joke. And it wasn't really the greatest joke in the first place. Anyway, this sure is one train wreck of a paragraph, which maybe was all part of my master plan for introducing an article about screwing things up. Or maybe it wasn't planned. Maybe I just know that no one's reading the introduction, because after misreading the title, the Internet has skipped over this part, attracted by the bright shiny lights of #6 below. Then again, the people who do that are failures, which brings us full circle. Hey, circle. Hole. Failure boner. My lord, its like some big beautiful free writing where everything makes sense. Could this actually be the greatest paragraph ever written? I'm not sure. It's kind of long and hard. ZOMG! I'm so in the zone.

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Sometimes a cigar is just a terrible pun-filled rambling introduction.

Anyway, life is hard and filled with failure. While many tasks -- like mastering the violin or mapping the human genome -- invite failure, there are plenty of things that are so simple, we have no excuse for messing them up. And yet, we still do. Here are six things I botch all the time for no good reason.

6
Successfully Closing the Seal on Food Packaging

We buy a lot of shredded cheese in our house. Great for omelets, or chicken parms, or tuna casserole, or for eating a handful of shredded cheese over a sink like barbarian.

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Not pictured: cheese.

Using technology that became widespread in the '90s, many packaged foods now make use of vacuum seals. Y'know, that thing where you force one strip of tiny plastic into the groove made by two other parallel lines of plastic. What could be simpler? Nothing. Nothing could be simpler. It is literally a two-piece puzzle. Any idiot can do it.

The Image Bank/Blake Little/Getty Images
"Yeah, it's not typically a problem."

Except that if you don't line it up right on the first or at most the second try, you give up. Or at least I do. I grab it with one hand, pinch, push, and slide. Sometimes it lines up and seals. Sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, I just repeat the process, but two failures? I put it back in the crisper unsealed and blame the children. A simple task I fail at several times a week. (I don't mean blaming the kids -- I'm really good at that.)

5
Hearing a Phone Number Right on the First Listen

Look, some people are just crap at giving their phone number. They rush through it and mumble. Or sometimes you're trying to hear the number in a terrible environment. Maybe you can't hear it over the pounding dance beat at the club or the wail of police sirens as you seek digits at the local high school, you creep. But I don't have any excuses. I just can't hear phone numbers right in my head the first time. Well, not never, but be prepared to say it more than once.


It took me years to learn the lyrics to this song.

But even though I suck, at least I won't make it seem like it's your fault. I won't stress the wrong digit as I repeat it back to you with the subtle implication that you somehow tricked me: "OH! Five-three-oh-nine. Gotcha!"

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4
Getting Back Home by Reversing Directions

Hey, this one is slowly going away because cars are coming with navigational systems and we're plugging in our iPhones, but back in the day, people used to give you directions. And then more recently you'd print directions off MapQuest. That's great for going one way, but how do you get home? Well, if you're not a pathetic loser, what you used to do was reverse the directions. Oh, you traveled east to get here? Go west to get home.

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"You could have printed 'reverse directions.'" --Shut up, loser.

This is easily done. No one should have a problem with this. I often have a problem with this. I have no idea why. Here is what it sounds like in my head:

"OK. Expressway coming up. We can go north or south. Well, we came from the north, so we were traveling south. So now that we're coming from the south, we need to go north. Ooh, Cinnabon. 17 West in 5 miles? Where did the exit go for ... oh, there it is, south ... FUCK!"

3
Writing Your Signature on the "Print Name" Line

Forms have two lines: 1) sign here and 2) print your name because no one can read your disgusting scribble of a signature. But how can we tell them apart? Are we gods? They're both long straight black lines. What fresh hell is this?

Of course, the print name line says "print name" under it and the signature line says "signature" under it, but still!

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If filling out your name is so easy, why do they give you 200 points for it on the SATs?

Well, needless to say, I've botched this countless times, but at least it's easily rectified with the quick use of that half-circle double-sided arrow.

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2
Pulling the Right Amount of Tin Foil

This is another food-based one, which is weird because I think of myself as a pretty fine food-cooker person. I think that's called a chef? In any event, I'm a chicken parmesan master. Seriously, chickens come running just for the chance to be murdered, purchased, and ultimately baked by me.

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Or maybe they're just fleeing the unholy conditions on most poultry farms, welcoming sweet death.

But even though I'm a master at the breading, frying, and baking, I still have a hard time pulling the appropriate amount of tin foil to cover the cookie tray where I'll be baking my cutlets. See, you want the right amount to just fold over the edges, thereby ensuring there's no grease on the tray and also no foil slippage when you're spatula-ing out your cutlets. But half the time I either overshoot or undershoot. This entry should probably end with a joke, and based on the preceding sentence, it should probably be some sort of crappy sex joke, but instead of doing that, I'm going to not do that. You're welcome.

1
Saying "Thank You" Wrong

When someone says something nice to you, you say "Thank you." That's it. If you want to get crazy, however, sometimes you go for "You too." However, as all non-brain-dead people know, those two sentiments are not interchangeable.

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Also apples are not oranges.

Sure, if someone says, "Have a nice weekend," you can go right ahead and say, "You too." You're both having weekends and you're reciprocating their nice wishes. But not everyone who's wishing you well is about to undergo the same experience as you. Accordingly, if someone says the following, just say "Thank you":

1. Enjoy your meal

2. Have a nice flight

3. Have a great time having your prostate massaged by Mistress Godwina

"You too" just won't work there 9 times out of 10 (unless the sex dungeon you frequent allows the hostess to engage in festivities). Keep it simple. Stick with "Thank you," and remember to tip the hostess at your sex dungeon.



Watch the new HATE BY NUMBERS, where Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas recruits Britney Spears to make even worse music. Also, be sure to follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

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