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Every year for my birthday, as far back as I can remember, my Uncle David ships me a box of junk he’s hoarded throughout the year. I don’t think he even uses a trash can; he just keeps a cardboard box open somewhere in his office, tosses weird shit in it, and then ships it to me.
To call it a box of “junk” or “trash” or “shit” isn’t completely fair; it’s just what the range of items round down to. There were some standout items this year. After all, it is 2013. Why shouldn’t there be?
Here are my favorites:
A March 2006 Hustler DVD with THREE hardcore scenes, perfect for someone without internet.
A free game of bowling, if anyone wants to go.
Self-tanner, just in time for winter.
A vintage cake knife, I think?
An american flag dog tag that will come in handy for the Olympics.
“God Bless My Grandparents” picture frame (solid brass)
A bell, perfect for calling my children to supper.
Decorations for Valentine’s Day so I don’t need to buy my own.
The rest of the items in Uncle David’s 2013 Birthday Box of Junk:
You don’t truly understand how “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” until Uncle David’s trash becomes your trash.
If you want to read the 2012 Uncle David’s Junk round-up, click here.
The inoffensive scan of the menu; Laser-like, an index finger settles on an uncostly choice. Alas, the namesake and country origin muttered aloud, mispronounced like an earnest tourist. The decayed confidence of a dishrag; The elegance of squeezing toothpaste back into its tube. A shameful bow, paired with a realization I should have chosen beer, or perhaps, stayed home to eat Doritos.
The first thing I should say is, in “researching” what I’m about to write, what I’ve always called the “magic flute” in Super Mario Bros. 3 (the thing that lets Mario skip ahead levels) is actually called a “warp whistle.” Game changer? I don’t know. Possibly. I’m still going to call it the magic flute because that’s what I know it as, so if you’re a Super Mario Bros. 3 purist, you might want to stop reading.
Semantics aside, what I’ve realized is – attending a wedding is the magic flute of relationships. Attending a wedding with someone advances the relationship regardless of its stage. There’s some math to be done in terms of how far it’ll advance, but I’d argue attending a wedding can advance a relationship anywhere from three to a few hundred dates. Why it advances the relationship should be obvious: you compact the activities you might do over a year or several years with someone into one weekend, like traveling, staying in a hotel, and having “September" by Earth, Wind & Fire blasted in your ear by a nine-piece brass band while you stuff your face with cake.
So, assuming you bring a date to a wedding, and assuming nothing goes colossally wrong (which is possible, but doesn’t necessary disqualify my theory), you and your date will have both thought about marrying each other more than once, even if the idea was completely foreign before the wedding. Even if you go to a wedding with someone you’re not seeing, there’s a good chance by the end of the weekend you’ll be seeing each other, or you would have at least hooked up, or one person would have made a decent attempt at hooking up. You could even bring a first date to a wedding (bad idea) and by the end of the weekend you’ll have three kids and be divorced, or at least feel it.
I guess what I’m saying is, maybe don’t use the magic flute until you’re ready, or at least until you’re prepared for the consequences. The magic flute gets you somewhere faster, but you miss a lot of the fun along the way and things you might want to start the game over to play again. At the risk of saying any more and making this too much of a relationship column which I’m in no way qualified to write, I’ll close with this: How great is Super Mario Bros. 3?
I was shooting a sketch the other day in the West Village. I look across the street, and holy shit, there’s Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s sitting on some steps, toying with his phone. Beard, hat, sweatshirt, sweatpants, New Balance shoes. Total gym teacher.
I wanted an excuse to talk to him, so after consulting my crew, we agreed it was appropriate for me to tell him we were going to be shooting a video nearby and we didn’t want him to think we were filming him. (This made so much sense at the time.)
I walk up to him. “Mr. Hoffman, hi. Big fan.” We shake hands. “Just letting you know we’re shooting something over there.” I point towards the set. He looks over. In unison, everyone waves. “I didn’t want you think we were filming you.” He thanks me, then looks back at his phone.
I walk back to the set. A minute later, he gets up and leaves.
Did I do the right thing? Maybe. In hindsight, I sort of regret not shooting the sketch with Philip Seymour Hoffman in the background just so I could write “Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman” in the credits.