Happy Columbus Day to the dwindling number of Americans who celebrate this ridiculous holiday, in which we commemorate a rapacious, lost weasel who “discovered” land that was already inhabited. And this motherfucker was looking for spices?
Anyway, we’re all about taking the day off. To celebrate, we’re sharing some of the things that we, too, have “discovered” or “invented.”
Ever have an awesome conversation with a friend? Or a stranger? Or someone at work who surprised you with something interesting? Of course you have! And surely, it crossed your mind that you wish someone else could have been privy to the discussion, because they would enjoy it or learn something important. Well congratulations dear reader, just like me, you also invented podcasts. The historians would like you to believe the first podcast ever occurred in 2003, but we all know that we invented podcasts 1,000 times before and after that.
The advent of the smartphone 15 years ago put the world in our pocket with access to the internet, GPS, music, movies, photos, and millions of apps—on top of the phone lines. It’s easy to say that the smartphone changed how we lived. But you know what it’s not responsible for? The start of the selfie trend, because that discovery belongs to me, dammit. Before Steve Jobs ever walked on a stage with an iPhone in his pocket, I was in my mom’s van, passing the time by taking up close photos of myself sporting an array of pony-tailed hairstyles and dramatic expressions—INCLUDING DUCK FACE—on my flip phone. The resolution sucked, and the photos were embarrassing, but they were mine—my personal flag on the moon, my radium, my DVF wrap dress. Back then, I didn’t call it a selfie as much as a sign of budding narcissism, but let’s be clear, those awkwardly-angled, over-posed photos you see in your Insta feed are there because of me. You’re welcome.
Take me out tonight
Where there’s music and there’s people
And they’re young and alive,
are lyrics I, Jillian L. Conochan, uncovered in the year 2023 anno Domini. The pleasure and privilege is mine to present to you, world, The Smiths, a band formed in 1982 but for four decades, completely undiscovered to anyone outside the three houses to the north, south, east, and west of their garage (pronounced /ˈgær.ɪdʒ/) in Manchester, UK.
With four studio albums, three EPs, a live album (recorded and produced by moi), and 13 videos just waiting to be released, The Smiths sound is enchanting and saturnine, I’m sure you’ll find. I just hope none of the members of the band do anything controversial or cancel-worthy 😕
When you open up your women’s history textbook, you’ll find my picture next to the chapter about shoving things in your bra, which I discovered in 2008. Perhaps you’re going to argue that you’ve seen movie stars from the 1940s putting tissues inside their bras for added volume or to address their uncontrollable weeping, but I truly discovered the art form. For over a decade, my “keychain” was simply a pair of hair ties threaded through the bow, such that I could loop them around my bra strap. Now, I simply slide a fob into the side panel and go on my merry way. And did you know that, for long runs, you can wrap your snacks in plastic wrap and shove them right between the cups? Did you know that a credit card can fit on top of your tiny peaches? You’re welcome, ladies. This is my greatest accomplishment.
You can all thank me for The Gates of Delirium, Time, Solsbury Hill, all of 2112, and any other song that isn’t in 4/4 time. We all know that Yes, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, and Rush wrote those iconic masterpieces but once my eyes were opened to music that offered that awkward groove, the shuffled-step, the inconsistent head-bobbing “Yeah, man. Yeah!” of Progressive Rock, I had to shout it to the rooftops.
“HAVE YOU FREAKING HEARD DANCE OF ETERNITY? IT’S IN 4/4, ⅞, ¾, 13/16, 15/16, 17/16… AND IT GROOVES SO FREAKING HARD!”
Sure, you can listen to bubblegum pop and technocrap all to your vapid heart’s delight. But you are a musical troglodyte if you can’t appreciate the wicked chops of Dream Theater, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and… hey, where are you going? Come back. I haven’t even gotten into Porcupine Tree yet!
Log: 2009 A.D.
Our houseguests would wake up any minute looking for breakfast. Despite writing “butter” on the grocery list in advance of their arrival, there I was, clutching my coffee, staring at the homemade loaf of bread and wondering how to reverse my hostess-shame-spiral. Is toast really toast without butter? No!
Until I came along, that is.
After a few failed starts, I committed to a plan. First, I artfully layered paper thin slices of avocado onto each piece of toasted bread. Then, I added a pinch of sea salt and crushed red pepper. Underwhelmed, I added a second layer of sliced avocado with one more dash of seasoning. And then, in a flash of genius I zested a dead lime (found lurking in back of the crisper from god knows when) over each slice.
[insert: theme song from 2001 Space Odyssey]
And then I served mankind’s first Avocado Toast.
I’ve discovered that I really know how to push a deadline for a mini-Prompt. Hey-oooooooooo.