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1. Gratitude Journals.

If you need precious writing space to document the world’s greatest tuna melt you had yesterday, then your life is devoid of adventure and sensory experiences. Instead, try designing graffiti patterns for your sandwich and tagging them around the city. That makes a profound statement and glorifies a sandwich in the remarkable way that it deserves.

2. Sports Championships.

How does this sportsball moment benefit your life? Will you get a bonus in your next paycheck because the Marmaduke Fudpuckers are the Wiffle Ball champions? Will the Bakersfield Thunderclucks’ victory in the Teaspoon Derby finally solve the Middle East crisis? Why the hell is it called a “World Championship” if every team is from the United States and one team is from Punkeydoodles Corners, Ontario? How about instead you do five extra minutes of yoga quietly, seeing if you are any closer to reaching your toes without bending your knees? I’ll bet you’re not. I know I’m not either. Namaste.

3. Superhero Films.

Let’s get something straight about the real world: There’s no giant melon-headed, power-hungry freak from the Xanoxian Galaxy looking to annihilate Earth into smithereens. Furthermore, there’s no orphaned and bullied squirt of an underwhelming kid who is getting magical powers from an ancient turd bowl to save us all. You wanna be the next Dark Iron Bat Lantern Person? Instead of filming some dumbass getting run over by a steamroller putting it up on your Facegram Thread, why don’t you put the phone down and actually help the poor soul. Speaking of which…

4. Social Media Influencers.

How the hell can one justify making a six-figure income by turning on their ring light, getting super close to their camera so I can see their sponsored-product clean pores up close as they tell me how to smile more, achieve their 28-day body results, make a gluten-free coffee concoction using products not tested on caterpillars, or just to have an awesome day? Did Threadstabook recruit people standing in line at the DMV and indoctrinate them into their “What about me?” cult? These “do-gooders” only make us feel like shit that we don’t live their life instead of making the most of the crappy hand we were dealt. If I actually see a person out in the wild with their arm outstretched upward and a phone attached to it as they walk and talk to their Steve Jobs device, I’m going to ruin the shot by following them just offscreen and doing my impression of a yak choking on a hairball.

5. Political Talk Shows.

This should be renamed “Former Political Lackeys Who Can’t Shut The Fuck Up.” You were hired to be part of a machine that pushed lies, propaganda, and divisive opinions on half of your countrymen and women, and once you got tired of the vastly underpaid public service life, you went pro and got some of that sweet and disposable network cash to host your own show. There, you continue to push lies, spew more propaganda, and further divide opinions, likely in direct opposition to the job you previously held, now that you don’t speak for the political machine that put your annoying face on the map in the first place. Here’s a thought: Join the private sector so I don’t have to know what happened to _____ after they sold their integrity to the devil in the first place.

6. Businesses Named with Either Poorly Spelled Real Words or WTF Made-up Words.

All they’re doing is rebranding what is already out there using leftover letters from today’s Wordle, or trying to sell a more expensive version of something you already own. Why would I buy furniture from Kouch or footwear from Shuz? “I need a new spatula and I was going to get one from Targmart but I just got an ecoupon from Qitchn so…” Who the hell are they kidding? Keep it simple, and don’t try to cover your bullshit with your clever use of your dumbing down of the commercial world.

7. (Celebrity’s) Book Club.

Do you honestly think that Oprah Witherspoon read all the books in her club with the attuned eye and spirit of a group therapy leader? Is it a requirement that each 400-page cinder block involve the themes of empowerment, emotions that involve whining, and kids raised by assholes? Not every great book has to make the reader inhale and sigh like they just saved a puppy from eating rat poison. A lot of literary fiction could be summed up as “they made me feel _____.” The End. Where are the books that shock and awe and make readers question their life decisions, or create visceral imagery never conceived in writing that someone had the guts to publish? I’ll join that club.

8. Lists of Best/Worst Things.

What singular writer has the unmitigated temerity to announce to the world that the following eight things suck on ice or will ruin your childhood? More than anything, they are approaching a deadline and instead of taking the time to actually compose something worthwhile and helpful to society, they take the lazy approach of ranting about things that piss them off and justify them with sarcasm and verbal bile till they hit their minimum-750 word count requirement. Nothing less helpful than that in the world. Nope… not even (checks word count) close.

Jay Heltzer

Jay Heltzer writes attention-challenged fiction, plays bass trombone, digs sloppy fountain pen sketches, and is in pursuit of the perfect cheeseburger.

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