4 Unintentionally Hilarious Guides for Depressing Situations
It's usually not OK to laugh at the pain and misfortune of others, but I found a collection of books and videos that were accidentally designed to do exactly that. That's what this article is about, so I'm sorry, unfortunate people -- things still aren't going your way.
Do-It-Yourself Coffins For Pets and PeopleDale Power, 1997
Pets and people are ticking time bombs of storage space issues. One day they are beloved family members, the next they are cluttering up your garage. How am I supposed to get rid of all these grandparents and birds? I can't put them outside and hope the raccoons have forgotten how to push over a trash can! I don't have time to defrost the freezer, and it's not always practical to wait until the next hunter's moon when I again must feast on innocent flesh. Agh, with all this frustration I'm starting to get why people scream when they see dead bodies.At least that's how I thought until I got Dale Power's illustrated guide to coffin building. It shows, in amazing full-color detail, how to build a resting place for any size of dead thing. "But nothing I love ever dies!" you might be saying. That's okay, because these coffins have hundreds of ordinary household uses. Just look:
Coffin Tip #1: When a coffin book author starts talking about "surprising" uses for a sarcophagus, don't drink anything they give you.Why shouldn't I store my extra blankets in a coffin? I can think of two good reasons ... it's fucking crazy and ghost pox. I guess it's still the only way to kill bed bugs, but after they cross over, they become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.I get that there are a couple advantages to replacing all my furniture with coffins. Maybe I'm a vampire who likes to fall asleep in front of the TV. Maybe I have a bag of cat parts I want to hide in plain sight. But don't expect me to believe that there's a
Coffin Tip #2: If you are in a friend's home and notice their coffee table and bookcase are coffins, stab them with a sacred dagger and carefully leap to the side. Their blood will be mostly made of angry crows.From the intro, I was expecting most of the construction plans to sound like "Did you know a child's fingernails still grow when it's dead. Try holding races while you wait for your coffin glue to dry!" But it turns out making a coffin is really complicated. Once he gets started, there is no time for banter. Each of the hundreds, maybe thousands of steps is pictured ... sawing, sanding, gluing, clamping, staining-- if you buried me alive right now, I could not get any more sick of looking at coffins. But something about
I grew up with a healthy fear of saws. My shop teacher had lost so many fingers that when he waved goodbye it looked like he was shaking a leaky water balloon. The author must have had the same shop teacher, because some of his very first advice is to always use a pushing device when you're feeding wood through a saw. And then this advice is ignored. Flagrantly and often. Every page has closeups of delicate human fingers inching towards spinning blades ... it's like when a nipple slides dangerously close to the edge of a bra -- it's so much more intense than if she just yanked her whole boob out. This book is the softcore version of a table saw accident. It's what murderers masturbate to before their parents let them watch Hostel.
Coffin Tip #3: If someone, at any time, describes a coffin as "ready for action," never die next to them without a partner. In the industry, we call this a "coffin buddy."
Grieving for DummiesGreg Harvey, PhD, 2007
We all grieve in our own ways, except for dummies. They use this special book. Grieving for Dummies has pages and pages of cold psychological data to sooth any type of loss. Did your boyfriend die? Maybe your roommate? Your mail carrier? Your landlord? That's really suspicious, lady!
No matter what the deceased was to you, there is a chapter for dealing with the loss of him, her, or it. The book gets oddly specific and the fact that there are sometimes terrible cartoons and jokes makes it all really fucking weird. The author must be a little league coach when he's not sucking at grief counseling because he doesn't seem to care if anyone wins; he only want to make sure every possible type of grief gets some playing time.
It might seem overwhelming, but there is an exhaustive table of contents for the griever on the go. If you've lost an ex-wife to a sudden strangulation, you'll want to skip right to the chapter about whether or not you can blame God. You know, if I can keep it real for a second, the problem I've always had with books for dummies is that once your reader has agreed that it's okay for you to call them a dummy, there's no point in the author having respect for them. And the author of Grieving for Dummies doesn't-- this might actually be more condescending than Xbox 360 for Dummies.Since the reader is an idiot,
Okay, so after hundreds of pages of comfortless facts about the miseries of misery, the grief-stricken reader has theoretically dealt with his or her loss. Then on page 267, the fucking book hits you with this:What!? Is this to make the misery of my dead family pale by comparison? Was this included as an example of why people shouldn't draw fucking comics while they're watching cancer spread? This cartoon is so tragic that if you look at it while thinking about your dead loved one, your memory of them will look you in the eye and shit on the floor of your brain forever. Maybe this book works on idiots, but
The Couples Guide to Great Sex Over 40Dr. Culley Carson and Diana Wiley, M.A., 1993
I know what you're thinking: sex over 40 isn't depressing! That's because you're thinking about milfy 41-year-olds. There aren't any of those in this video. Before I begin, I want to qualify that I like older ladies. I've dated women in their 40s since I was in my 20s, I will continue to do so when I'm in my 70s. Here's what I like about them: you've probably heard that women know whether or not they're going to sleep with a guy within the first five minutes. And while that's usually true, I've seen a lot of women in their 20s and 30s change their minds after six beers and a finger. Women over 40 have already seen themselves do that enough times to take that into account; they operate like they've just had six beers and a finger at all times. They still might not want to sleep with you, but you'll know that quickly and with unwavering certainty.So what I'm saying is that I was really looking forward to
Oh, but the sex is much more explicit than a scooter accident. It is full in-and-out elderly pornography. And there's something so extra dirty about watching people have sex when they're doing it for education and true love. My favorite couple is 50ish Ruth & Nick, who came ready to make a show out of it. They're each a few classifications deep into a BMI chart and, at least for a second or two, they're dressed in glittery underpants. I imagine that long ago there was a seamstress making a pair of satin panties for men in XXL and thinking, "No good can come of this." She was wrong. Nick makes them work.
Nick and Ruth's sex scene comes right after an informative section on pubococcygeus muscles. The video let me know that at a certain age, women replace these muscles to make room for bridge score sheets. One happy side effect of this is that when women over 40 go swimming, sea creatures are able to both visit and escape their pelvic floor.Nick and Ruth hate all the cleanup of Ruth's pubococcygeus muscles dropping constant waste where she stands, so they incorporate a kegel exerciser into their lovemaking. It's like a dumbbell for your vagina, and with truly amazing porno acting skills, Nick pretends to give it to Ruth as a present. She is excited and fascinated by it like a caveman seeing a cigarette lighter, but no one seems to care that her bra somehow vanishes mid-conversation. Then, in glittery underpants, Nick insists on reading the instructions. "And then you put ... you insert it up... uhh... insert it up to the first
Wheelchair Workout with beginning Karatefeaturing Patrick Horgan with Sensei Gregory Aldred, 1996
Learning wheelchair karate is like learning how to improvise a dental dam out of a rubber glove. It's fun to practice and think about, but if you ever need to use it, it's only after some very bad personal decisions. Although say you do wheel into the kind of neighborhood that attacks people in wheelchairs, this video will still do nothing to help you. It's horrible. Even if it's for inspirational purposes only, it fails at that because its existence implies that there's an exploitable consumer market that is both disabled and stupid.
Before the workout, someone named Paul Southwick interviews handicapped athlete Patrick Horgan in a TV studio. Literally everything about these circumstances terrifies young Paul, and he's so damn nervous that he keeps reading Patrick's answers to the setup questions. Here, I'll show you an example. This is a word-for-word transcription:
So it's a little inspirational that Patrick didn't call him a dumbass and roll away. And it doesn't get any better when the karate starts. The instructor, unwheelchaired Sensei Gregory Aldred, seems to have learned karate from a video about wheelchair karate, which as far as I'm concerned, is now the very worst place a person can learn about karate. Oh, and don't think that Patrick is some long time student of Sensei Greg and together they've developed a special wheeled version of the ancient Oriental fighting arts. Sensei Greg saw Patrick come into his dojo yesterday and his eyeballs turned into dollar signs.
Sensei Greg begins the workout by sitting so close that Patrick can't move his right arm. It doesn't matter because by any standards, Sensei Greg isn't very good at karate. In fact, I've never actually seen anyone be so bad at anything and not die from it. Patrick follows along fine with only one hand since Sensei Greg's style of karate is mostly kegels.
When someone is more douchebag than warrior, they tend to embrace the "spiritual" aspects of martial arts. Sensei Greg is all over that stuff. Every fruity pantomime he does has some dubious cultural symbolism and he throws punches like he's mending a dress. But the worst thing about this video is that it retailed for over $20, lasts less than 10 minutes, and teaches you nothing. Three minutes of finger stretching, three minutes of arm-waving, and three minutes of watching Patrick throw punches for the first time is not a workout, and if anything will only make the viewer more handicapped. It's so fucking short that the video in its entirety fits on one YouTube clip. And speaking of, please enjoy:
Get you some more Seanbaby with Man Comics: Terrifying Safety Lessons for Kids and 10 Traits That Will Come in Handy During The Apocalypse.