Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#4 -- A Working Pinch

". . .you want your next actions to be recalled using the following words: 'I realized there was an attraction when. . .' "

Doberman and I try to keep each other honest. The understanding is that we've had a lot of influences on our style, comedically and dramatically, and that we need to own up if we're borrowing materials. Therefore, we should address these influences here and now so people don't shout "hey, motherfucker, you stole that from _____!" No shit, Sherlock. The Simpsons already did it. But, as Chef points out, this was already a riff on an old Twilight Zone episode, so everything is stolen, and people that go out of their way to be 'original' usually do it more for the sake of desiring an identity, not because it's a meaningful piece of work. Therefore, we give you:


We started reading Penny Arcade right when it was hitting its stride artistically. You can see Gabe's style jag off into different directions stylistically over the years, and Tycho's writing is infinitely quotable. If you can spot his influence in our text, it's usually in the insults. The whole Penny Arcade production was spiky, immediate, consistent, and agile. It still is. And obviously, since you're reading our work right now, and you see text, and you see a comic, you'll do math and realize some similarities. This is obvious, and we want to get it out of the way, but what we love about Penny Arcade is that there's deliberate (and vocal) mimicry that inevitably morphs away from its influences into something different. And that's what art is. It's a macro-photograph of a fractal image -- ever expanding and different from every perspective, and that's why Penny Arcade was such an influence on us. I expect this will resemble Penny Arcade less with every post.

On to the actual post!

Right here, we'll begin by explaining a simple litmus test. It takes a bit of imagination, but not an inconvenient amount, and it can save you a great deal of self-loathing down the road if you do it correctly. Let's start by saying, for instance, you're at a party, talking with a group of people, and one of them is an attractive girl (or guy, we guess? We decided it could work from either perspective, but in this instance, we'll be using the feminine singular) that you know on a limited basis but have had only some flirtation with. You're trying to make a move, but you're a bit of an indecisive weirdo and you seriously think Creep is a song about you (it's not, it's about Thom Yorke stalking a girl (who is a genius)), so you so you attempt some humor with the girl instead. Hey, you can always laugh it off as a joke if it crashes and burns.

Now is the time for you to stop, think, and do a bit of self-assessment. This is the test. Whatever you're about to say or do will generate a lasting feeling -- which is what you want, right? Right, well, you want your next actions to be recalled using the following words: "I realized there was an attraction when. . ." Obviously you want to get with this girl in some capacity. Obviously you want to make a good impression. Somewhere down the line, you're thinking that what you're about to do is going to be one of those moments that's remembered as you at your very best. That's why you're doing it, right? Why you're marketing yourself, why you're making that joke, or that statement, or that quote? It's why you're wearing that shirt. It's why you're picking that song, why you're drinking that drink, why you're embellishing your job, and why you're taking that stand.

So, ask yourself, will she say it? Will she remember it and say: "I realized there was an attraction when..."

Put yourself in her shoes, tick time forward a few minutes, hours, or days, to a moment later on when she's describing you to somebody else (which is a good thing to an extent, because at least you were memorable). Sitting at lunch with her friend, hopefully talking about a pretty cool guy (you, dummy), she'll say, in as many words, "I realized there was an attraction when..." It'll sound like that. 

"He was really (funny (sexy (smart))) when..."

What did you do? What will you do? What will you not do? What do you regret?

It works a couple of ways. If you can definitely see her not saying: "I realized there was an attraction when he asked if there was a lot of skin cancer in Texas," then you should probably not ask it. (That's an actual quote, and we know the guy that said it, he's also kind of a genius, but in a different way from Thom Yorke.) Of course, it's hard to predict this sort of thing, but before you ask if her dad had big feet too ("because your dad had big feet, and, you know, it's a genetic thing"), just... think, dude.

Think hard before you dance, for example. You could count on one hand how many times a man's dance moves at a house party specifically got him laid. Don't bust a move. Don't try to breakdance, or do the robot, or the shopping cart, or the Gaga. It's a bad fucking idea. Singular motions with some movement in your feet will do the job. Don't be a fucking freak. You're better off going to Meringue class, which is a great conversation piece, and good life skill (plus, it's a fun word to say when your drunk). Don't flail like a muppet, don't seriously ask if she likes your moves, in fact, the more distance you can put between yourself and bad dancers, the better.

"I realized there was an attraction when we stepped aside for some fresh air and started making fun of all the bad dancers."

There's a time and place for everything.

(click to embiggen)

Peace out, cub scout.

-- Ghost Little
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

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