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If I asked you to name all the mythical things you'll never find, you'd probably rattle off stuff like unicorns and leprechaun gold. But there's no reason to be so dramatic or fanciful. There are all sorts of unattainable things that have nothing to do with legend. Here are six seemingly ordinary things you can never find.

A Barista Who Leaves the Right Amount of Room for Milk


If you're anything like me, you get coffee at Starbucks all the time and hate yourself for it. It's charred and overpriced, and yet I still fork over my cash under a dubious belief that getting coffee elsewhere would somehow be inferior. Even more unforgivable, I don't even need to go to Starbucks because I never order specialty drinks like a tall mocha chai frappuccino or whatever those dudes who flip through the geriatric hipster CDs on the counter do while they wait for their $4.98 concoctions. I just get a tall coffee. Starbucks calls it a "pike," but I don't because somehow in the back of my sheepy little mind I'm asserting my individuality.

And each and every time I place my order, the cashier does the same thing. First she shouts "Tall pike" over her shoulder with an unstated reprimand for my deficient nomenclature. And then she turns to me with a helpful smile and asks, "Do you want room for milk?"

For the life of me, I have no idea why because in 10 years no barista has ever left me sufficient room for milk. I clearly say "Yes," and suddenly I'm pouring out an inch of steaming hot tar moments later. If the question is rhetorical and ultimately frustrating, why not make it better? "Would you care for a screaming orgasm with your beverage?" "Should I set fire to the Bon Iver CD that's playing?" "May all the baristas form a sexual human centipede for your enjoyment while you nibble on a cake pop?"

Like this, but without the dude or the surgical torture. Plus candy.

And I know I'm not the only one because all my abused Starbucks brethren circle round the tiny Formica garbage hole sprinkling nutmeg and discharging liquids like the stars of some caffeinated bukkake film.

Toast That Tastes as Good as It Does in a Diner


When people aren't handy around the kitchen, they always say the same thing: "For the love of God, Gladstone, put your pants on!" Oh, wait, that's what Christina H. says when I pop over to show her "my new column." What I meant to write is people who can't cook usually say something like "I can barely make toast!" And while I get the concept, I always think it's a weird expression because it's surprisingly hard to make toast as well as they do in diners. I'm actually a decent cook, and I've never done it.

There must be some secret because even when you get toast at the crappiest greasy spoons, it's still almost always fantastic. Two slices of industrial-issue white bread, browned and dripping with salty butter. You can own bread, a toaster and butter, but somehow, when you make it for yourself, it's never as good.

That's all I really have on this one. Sorry, I just like diner toast. And sexually harassing Christina. Moving on.

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A Food Service Vendor Who Actually Only Applies "A Little" of a Condiment


I know there are people who love mustard and ketchup and mayonnaise or anything that's spreadable and bad for you.

Not what I meant. Get your head out of the gutter.

And I like mustard, ketchup and mayo, too, but in moderate amounts. That's not a problem when I'm the chef, but there seems to be no such thing as "a little" in the food service industry.

I'm undeterred, and I keep trying with hot dog vendors and sandwich shop employees. "A liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitle bit," I say, scrunching up my face and holding my thumb and forefinger millimeters apart. But these employees seem to be trained that less is more (not just in personal hygiene, but also in condiment distribution). If I say I want a little mustard and you squirt a line of yellow gold across the dog and then another line back in the other direction, what would you do if I said I wanted a lot? And I think the answer is nothing different. Perhaps there's just something so fun about oozing condiments that nothing will stand in the way of the food service employee's embrace of culinary squirt art.

"I have a vision!"

A Female Bartender Who Doesn't Think You Want to Have Sex With Her


In an earlier column, I talked about guys who believe that sexy bartender ladies are actually into them. It's depressing when a dude is so desperate for attention he thinks women who have full-blown economic incentives to be friendly and/or flirt are feeling a deep emotional commitment based on the way he gets drunk while sitting in a stool.

Now there's a man who knows how to drink his sadness in an attractive way.

But let's speak directly to these sexy ladies of the bar for a moment. I can't help but notice that some of the most friendly of you are also oppressively self-assured that all your patrons are dying to sleep with you. It's true, some of you are attractive. Some are genuinely nice. And I know you have to put up with pathetic men making lame attempts to get in your pants all day long. But not every dude is dying to jump you. First of all, some of us are married, some of us are gay and some of us only achieve orgasm while fantasizing about Elizabeth Montgomery in a three-way with both Dick York and Dick Sargent. But most importantly, some of you just really aren't all that. And I'm not "negging" -- that neat trick where guys put you down to destroy your confidence and then prey on you in your compromised state. And don't say "Yeah, but you'd still have sex if we let you." Well, of course we would. We're men. But that doesn't mean we're hitting on you.

At least personally, odds are I like my Jameson a lot more than I like you. Also, more in the market for a buyback than intercourse.

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An Extra Chicken McNugget

McDonald's makes mistakes. Y'know, simple stuff, like failing to hold the cheese or leaving out some fries. Once, they even gave me a bun that had no burger in it. But of all the mistakes they've made, there's something they never seem to do: give an extra Chicken McNugget.

That's pretty impressive, because I've seen some cashiers exhibiting what I would call less than exemplary counting skills. But no, they always get it right. And I'm sure of it because I always check (because I'm a very sexy man that everyone likes).

You have better odds of snapping a picture of Ronald McDonald snorting blow off Grimace's ass than getting an extra Chicken McNugget.

And Ronald's far too fast for that.

A Customer Service Rep Who Immediately Forwards Your Call to a Supervisor


Customer service is a maze designed to help you lose. My wife's ASUS computer recently inexplicably died after 11 months, resulting in my spending literally 10-plus hours on the phone with customer service and mailing it to their service center no fewer than four times for repairs until it was ultimately replaced. (Oh, for those of you who are now saying "Get a Mac," I want you to know I'm on the way over to your mom's house to have sex with her right now. I have to make one stop first, though, to sodomize the moms of the people thinking "That's why I build my own computers.")

In any event, each time a nonworking computer showed up at my house, you'd think I'd have a story compelling enough to speak to a supervisor immediately. Not so. I called diplomatically; I called maniacally; I assumed every tone and temperament possible, and it just didn't matter. Each time I had to spend 15 minutes with someone pretending to be from America who took down my name, model number, work service order and complaints. They were the frontline of polite uselessness. An amenable buffer of inactivity. Friendly and ineffectual.

"How may I harm you?"

This is not a unique story. It reflects poorly on employees to get their supervisors involved. Meanwhile, only supervisors have the authority to actually accommodate significant grievances. So consumers are placed in the exhilarating position of being forced to talk to the people who can't help them while being kept from those who can. If you ever have a serious grievance and find a customer service person who will forward your call to a supervisor immediately, then chaos theory would dictate that that employee is also the Loch Ness Monster.

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