Why Jaws is the “Quint”essential 1970’s Movie

By Chris Gay388982_3377538558968_401329802_n

Though I was only seven and change when the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Day 1980, I still have a few fond memories of the Disco Decade. And while it’s tempting to write a piece on long gas lines, awful hair, absurd fashions, or the Bee Gees, I’ll instead discuss an often overlooked reality of the 1970’s; namely that it was America’s last ten years of naivety.

Some may argue that I’m a decade late; that that ship sailed in the 1960’s.  That using three that’s in a single sentence such as I did in the one prior is lazy writing. Not so fast. (On the former points at least. The latter may have some merit).

If all of the technological advancements created for use by the common (wo)man were combined, from the time we crawled out of the oceans up until slightly past the final out of the Pittsburgh Pirates 1979 We Are Family World Series Championship, they’d pale laughably by comparison to the thirty-eight years that have followed.

This made much of the 1970’s similar in that respect to the eras preceding it. The difference though was that by the time they’d ended, our world had taken its first steps toward an irreversible course regarding technology and the societal changes it brought.

At any rate, you may wonder what made a time period from our very recent past so vastly different from today. Since you’re still reading this, I assume you do. So I’ll proceed.

Consider that in the 1970’s:

  • Grocery stores had no register scanners. Consequently, you were stuck waiting for uninspired cashiers to type your order into a machine roughly equivalent to what Rutherford B. Hayes used to compose his inaugural address on.
  • The closest thing to microwave popcorn was Jiffy Pop. Although, it was way cooler to make.
  • There were three television networks for 227,000,000 people. So if a variety of TV programming was the spice of your life, the technical term for you was “SOL.”
  • Almost everything was closed on Sundays. I can only guess that that was so everyone could feel like they lived in Connecticut from the comfort of virtually any other state.
  • If your idea of tasteful interior design included a significant amount of the colors Garish Yellow, Avocado Green, and Something Kind of Like Orange, you had hit the jackpot.
  • You weren’t stuck watching a cheesy TV series like That ’70’s Show, which was a 1990’s sitcom set in 1970’s Wisconsin. Instead, you could watch a quality TV series like Happy Days; a 1970’s sitcom set in 1950’s Wisconsin.
  • Each December, in the spirit of good will, the secular and religious alike greeted each other with a festive “Merry Christmas,” and yet somehow managed to go on with their daily lives without media backlash or interference from agenda-driven protest groups.
  • Birthdays were celebrated using cakes decorated with real frosting; not a whipped cream concoction tasting like it was made by someone’s aunt giving a magazine recipe for diet desserts “the old college try.”
  • What’s known today as a Tamagotchi, was known then as a “Pet Rock.” The Pet Rock was great for apathetic people because it was impossible to neglect. And with its personality and intellect, there was also the possibility that it might get elected to some public office or another.
  • When you called someone who was already on the telephone, you received what was termed a busy signal. To combat that, as part of your unlimited monthly plan, Bell Atlantic offered you a popular feature they referred to as “Hang up & Call Back Later.”
  • Approximately no one had a home computer. It wasn’t that big a deal though, as you could easily snag a pocket calculator for around $150.00.
  • Although few people had VCR’s and DVDs were science fiction, if you’d managed to stay awake till 3a.m. you still might catch a re-run of The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • There was no X-Box, but there was Pong; a graphics-laden video game in which the difference between hockey and tennis was a few more vertical hyphens and the speed of what was, inexplicably, a square ball.

To be fair however, before we go on let’s look at a few things that were better in the 1970’s:

  • Even stupid people used decent grammar.
  •  Most people had a sense of humor.
  • The music was WAY better.
  • Lots more food was made with real butter.
  • No one knew or cared what Johnny Carson’s political affiliation was.
  • Quality TV shows were given more than 45 seconds to prove themselves.
  • 95% fewer ordinary, everyday events ended up in some sort of litigation.
  • Nosy busybodies had to work much, much harder to acquire gossip on their friends.
  •  More often than not, people disagreed with each other using their “inside voices.”
  • One could pump gas or patronize a urinal without being subjected to a product advertisement that there was no possible way to avoid.
  • Elton John somehow had less hair than he does now.
  • No one thought that either The Captain & Tennille’s Daryl Dragon or Cap’n Crunch were authentic Naval officers.
  •  Instead of a magical, portable telephone possessing nearly all the world’s collective knowledge, people carried around a Library Card. And somehow still seemed more informed than we are today. Not you though. You’re a smart one, you are.

So, what does any of this have to do with Jaws? Fair enough. Jaws is regarded as the first summer “blockbuster,” and it forever changed the way that movies were marketed and conceptualized.

It was also among the last non-period movies to perfectly capture the very essence of its own time period. There, preserved for all time, are scenes depicting the remnants of the old days we knew, yet would soon know no more. That it almost certainly did so unknowingly is inconsequential and, indeed, adds to its allure.

Here are some examples of scenes you would not have seen had Jaws been filmed just a scant few years later:

  • Beach-goers listening to music and ballgames on transistor radios similar to what MacGyver might have constructed out of a coat hanger and dental floss.
  • Quint ripping the pull-tab off his beer. Pull-tabs were the brilliantly-conceived, curled-up pieces of razor-sharp metal left over from carbonated beverage cans. They were typically dropped into the cans and forgotten. That is, until the consumer finished the contents only to discover he’d just given himself an involuntary tonsillectomy.
  • Any municipality actually thinking it could get away with hiring a shark hunter without nationwide press vilification and a public protest from PETA claiming that Jaws itself was the real victim.
  • Hooper crushing a Styrofoam cup and casually tossing it on the deck. Today, he’d be hauled in by the Green Police and heavily reprimanded for utilizing Environmentally un-friendly beverage containers, and then fined three figures for littering. Afterward, they’d go back for Quint to scold him about the waste associated with using the standard light bulb he dared to install in the lamp over the Orca’s dining table.
  • A mayor voluntarily wearing a suit publicly and on television that looked like it was stolen from Popeye’s closet.
  • Communications accomplished only through land-line phones, CB radios, or walkie-talkies similar to what I once bought at Radio Shack after saving up two-weeks’ allowance.
  • Amity’s beaches were re-opened after a confirmed shark attack for the sole purpose of maintaining profit; yet not a single lawyer endeavored to cash in at the expense of either the town or the bereaved.

Now, here are some scenes you might not expect to see regardless of the decade:

  • Any kid asking for coffee ice cream.
  • After spending hours in the ocean, a 20-foot wooden boat still remaining afloat with a head-sized hole in the hull a foot below the waterline.
  • A large group of people simultaneously deciding to throw caution to the wind and swim in great white shark-infested waters, simply because four cops and an oceanographer are cruising around the Atlantic Ocean on a couple of modified dinghies.
  • Quint seriously thinking the town council would even consider paying him $3,000 to “find” the shark. And then what; ask it nicely to stay put? Hell, Chrissie Watkins found it for free.
  • A newspaper publisher actually believing that the “grocery ads” are the least relevant section of the paper to its subscribers.
  • Quint attempting to catch a 25-foot great white shark on the open ocean using such sophisticated equipment as a rod-and-reel fishing pole, and in a boat that  I wouldn’t trust to get me across the Connecticut River during a mid-summer drought.

Well, that’s all for now. Thank you for taking a trip down Seventies Lane with me. Oh, and as if you didn’t see this coming: Have a nice day 🙂

* Though you may think it’s grammatically incorrect to begin a sentence with the conjunction “And,” in actuality there are different schools of thought on that. If you’re still drawn back to it however, there’s really not much I can do. Take heart that, at some point, you’ll most likely get past this.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

#1(A!A)CJGSherlockHomesCoverCMYK1d

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

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http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist on Facebook

Ghost of a Chance on Facebook

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal on Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

Excerpt from ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

Excerpt from ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay. (Copyright 2013)

Author’s Note559744_4692505032308_1564390475_n-1

A short time ago I was given an extraordinary set of recordings to transcribe by a courier who stipulated that, in exchange, I must maintain his anonymity. After agreeing to the condition, I was commissioned to set down the spoken words in book form and then publish them under my own name. To this I also agreed.

We then listened to the audio (it had been transferred neatly onto a compact disc made from the antique tapes out of which it was recorded) so that the courier could be certain I fully understood the gravity of the content. When the disc had run its course I could barely believe my own ears, and asked him why I specifically was chosen for the task.

I was informed that he represented the wealthy British gentleman who possessed the original recordings, and to whom it was of the utmost importance that a foreign, overseas writer be utilized; if at all possible an American. That was the only explanation I received as to how I was selected for the assignment. After some consideration I thought it best not to ask any further questions, and so now that brings me to the matter at hand.

The words you are about to read were spoken well over seven decades ago by none other than Dr. John H. Watson, M.D., friend and confidant to the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes. With them, Dr. Watson explains that the decision as to whether the tale contained within his recordings should ever be published would be left entirely to fate. Clearly fate has at last opted to intervene, and has made its choice.

Not to belabor or overstate the point, but the story which lies ahead is simply astonishing. I’m not certain that I would have believed it had the words not come directly from Dr. Watson himself. I now invite you to decide for yourself whether or not you believe.

Christopher J. Gay

April 13th, 2013

Hartford, Connecticut USA

Foreword

In the years since the demise of my cherished friend, it has been frequently inquired of me just how many of our great adventures remain un-catalogued. While there was a long period in which I might confidently offer an accurate rejoinder, the present truth is that as more time passes even my best efforts can provide merely an estimate. Still, at this late stage I seem to find myself with more occasions to reflect on the rather diminutive selection of our stories that, for one reason or another, I had failed to chronicle. In point of fact, to be precise, one tale in particular.

As I now embark on my ninth decade of shuffling across this mortal coil, I have little doubt that the time is nearly upon when I shall once again have the opportunity to reminisce with my old companion in person. Time and its inexorable connection to mortality is a reality from which no man escapes. That truth being what it is I feel the moment has now arrived to set the record straight.

You’ll forgive me if I appear hesitant to continue, as I’m quite certain that this will prove the concluding narrative to cap off what has been called of late, somewhat to my amusement, the Sherlock Holmes “Canon.” (A generously over-descriptive noun which elevates my writing skills to an undeserved level) As such, I may linger somewhat in relaying the facts of this case, just as I might had I the foreknowledge that on a given day I would be viewing my last sunset.

As arthritis has stolen nearly all of my power to write, I’ll instead take this opportunity to use my Dictaphone to document what I am about to relate. This wondrous machine was a gift to Holmes, later bequeathed to me, in appreciation for his solving a case for the American inventor Alexander Graham Bell. That case in itself was worthy of the telling, and surely would have been if not for Holmes’s promise to Mr. Bell to forever maintain its secrecy. In that spirit, I too shall carry it to my grave.

Moreover, I will be so bold as to state that the following account will certainly prove to be the more memorable tale; in fact it’s likely to top them all. If you are wondering why it hasn’t been previously disclosed, the reason will become self-evident as the story unfolds. If not, it surely will by its conclusion.

As I have no desire to see the publication of this communication prior to my own end, once completed these tapes will be carefully concealed within my current residence in London. I shall leave it to fate that they should be discovered by some future owner and transcribed for public consumption. In the event they someday are, I should like to state for the ages that I have never known a more talented man; a greater champion of good, than my friend Sherlock Holmes. If only I could have measured up to his standards, I should have been much the better for it.

Dr. John H. Watson, M.D. 

30 June 1940

Chapter 1

     It was a seasonably warm day, which was to be expected as the calendar page had recently turned to July. I had only just entered my study and sat down when my housekeeper knocked upon the door.

“Come in, Sara,” said I.

“There’s a telegram for you, Doctor.”

I glanced around while simultaneously patting the breast pocket of my shirt, and realized I’d left my reading glasses in my bed chamber. Sara, having been witness to this same act of forgetfulness on my part for some time now, right away understood its meaning.

“Shall I retrieve your glasses for you, sir?”

“No, thank you. Please read the missive aloud and save us both some inconvenience. I apologize for having grown old and absent-minded in your care, Sara. The steady erosion of one’s faculties is indeed a nuisance.”

Having heard on many prior occasions my complaints on the matter; she offered a silent smile in acknowledgement as she unfolded the telegram.

“It is dated 3 July, Doctor.”

“Yes. Please do go on.”

Sara cleared her throat and proceeded. “Watson. My end draws near. If no bother I should like to say good-bye to my dearest friend. If you’re agreeable, please call on me soon. Holmes.” Sara read the last part with a slight tremor in her voice. She then walked over to my desk and laid the paper down upon it.

     “There, there now,” I offered in an attempt to comfort her; but my heart wasn’t in the effort.

“My sincerest condolences, sir. When will you be leaving?”

“At once.” I picked up a train schedule from the corner of my desk and looked it over. “There’s a 3:30 to Sussex; that’s the one. I’ll go pack.”

“How long will you be gone?” She asked in that same slightly quivering voice.

“As long as it takes, my dear. As long as it takes.”

*     *     *

     A motor-carriage taxi brought me to the station, at which point I boarded the 3:30 train for Sussex Downs. Once situated in my compartment I was finally alone with my thoughts. I am set to turn seventy-eight next week, and yet it seemed no more than a fortnight since Holmes and I had spent our first night together as flat mates in Baker Street. But as the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. And as the wheels on the track drew me closer to my friend and his last dance with life before facing the inevitability we all must, I found myself in a state of reflection.

There were so many cases; so many adventures. Though I could not have known or at least appreciated it then, I realized now that I was indeed a lucky man; and in more ways than one. Having access to such a titanic intellect for so long was a blessing. Still, there was one thing on which I pondered greatly. A still-unsettled case that Holmes never fully solved, though on that fact I am quite certain he remains completely oblivious. The question became should I bother him with it, or let him go to his reward believing his perfect record remained intact? (While he has always considered the Irene Adler case a loss, I do not. And as Holmes’s de facto biographer, what I say literally goes.)

As the scenery rolled by I thought further on this; even moreso as the train reached the Sussex station. I hired another motor-carriage taxi to take me the rest of the way to the farm and it was there, on the final leg of my journey, that I decided Holmes should know. Moreover, that he deserved to know. At several times throughout our lengthy partnership he made it a point to mention that, for honour’s sake, I should register his mistakes along with his successes. And while I was reticent to do that, fearing a reduction in the high esteem with which the public held him; in this instance it was all but certain only he would ever know.

As the taxi took me down the long driveway to the main house, I could see the remains of Holmes’ once-thriving apiary. A few wooden hives, long bereft of bees, were all that was left of his post-detecting occupation. I was let out near the door and paid the driver. As he pulled away I turned and stared for a moment at the front door; at a threshold which I had not crossed for some time. I might have stayed in my stationary position for an hour longer if I didn’t hear a very familiar voice carry through an open window.

“It’s open, Watson.”

Without response I stepped forward and entered the dwelling; not sure in which condition I might find him. I walked through the front hallway and into his ground-floor living room, where I was surprised at the sight before me. If not for his affliction it might have been the 1880’s in Baker Street once again. Holmes stood near the unlit fireplace; pipe in hand, a fragile, gaunt figure leaning against its mantle for support.

My instincts as a doctor involuntarily kicked in and, without applying much thought, I chastised him. “Really Holmes; smoking during the end stages of cancer?”

He smiled. “The operative words in your rebuke are “end stages,” Watson. The fact is I would have been better served to have taken more seriously your reprimands on this filthy habit years ago. Now though as a man of medicine I must ask you: really, what difference does it make?”

      Of course he was right. “Not much, I’m afraid.”

     “To deny myself even the simplest pleasures at this stage would be utterly pointless.”

     “Quite so,” I agreed.

     ‘Now then Watson, please. Have a seat.” No sooner had he gestured toward an overstuffed chair did he break out in an ugly cough.

     “Goodness, Holmes. Let me call for your nurse.”

     “I’m all right, my friend. Besides I’ve dismissed her from her duties for the next week.”

     “Dismissed her? What on Earth for?”

“It was not an easy task, Watson,” he stated as if he hadn’t heard my question. “As I have been in decline for some time, she has been with me for quite awhile. And I am rather certain I’ll not see her again in this world.” Holmes continued. “What for, you ask? My answer is two-fold. There is no need for her to see the sight which will shortly come to pass, and surely you’ll be staying with me to the last. Who better should I hope to have by my side than the talented Dr. John H. Watson?”

Now it was my turn to smile. “A “talented” doctor who has long-since retired but, yes; of course I will be staying on with you as long as need be.”

“Excellent. Before dispatching my nurse with your telegram I asked her to prepare an upstairs bedroom for you. I trust you will find your accommodations satisfactory, Watson. If not, take comfort in that you will not need to endure them very long.”

“Come now, Holmes. A simple cot would be satisfactory. My only concern here is for your welfare.”

     “I’m afraid we are past that, my good fellow. Now, pray unpack your things and re-join me here for some brandy and reminiscing.”

     “Certainly. Ah, Holmes-“ he cut me off.

“Second door on your right, Watson. Do take your time.”

Want to read the rest? Click here to purchase your copy of Sherlock Holmes and the Final reveal by Chris Gay, either in paperback or on Kindle. Also available on amazon.com. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this book or excerpt may be reproduced in any way without written consent from the author.)

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

#1(A!A)CJGSherlockHomesCoverCMYK1d

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

‘The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm’ by Chris Gay

CJG Full Kindle Cover For Promotions

The Bachelor Cookbook is the perfect (and likely only) addition to any guy’s collection of sarcastic culinary literature. If you’re between relationships and looking to make the most of whatever foodstuffs you’ve got until you meet that next special woman, then your prayers have been answered. Unless you’re an atheist; in which case coming across this book just means your luck was in today. For men looking for sustenance over style, I give you this spectacular cookbook. Well, I don’t “give it” to you, per se. You have to pay for it.

Featuring such taste-bud tempting recipes as:

Popcorn Salad

Meat on a Bed of Rice

Cheese and Crackers

Spaghetti Sandwich

Plus Miscellaneous Cookbook Humor, too!

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. He writes and broadcasts a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s also written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance and three humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and is currently writing his fourth and fifth humor books, Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota  and  Something Witty this Way Comes; the latter being a collection of pieces written for his humor blog. His book Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, is an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective. Also, he’s writing the Ghost of a Chance sequel Perdition’s Wrath, and has written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

Jpeg front cover with bleedsKindle Cookbook Cover 7.12.2013

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http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist on Facebook

Ghost of a Chance on Facebook

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal on Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Twitter: @chrisgay13

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

Anatomy of a Book Signing (Sarcastic Version)

By Chris Gay388982_3377538558968_401329802_n

I’m guessing that many-if not all-of you have spent long, strenuous hours at one time or another pondering exactly what goes into a book signing.  Or at least I’ll take you at my word you do. At any rate, the first thing to know is that there’s a difference between someone like Stephen King setting up a book signing and, say, Chris Gay setting up a book signing. There’s also generally a difference in both attendance and compensation. But I digress. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? We shall.

The Great American Novel

It’s often said that everyone has a great novel inside him or her just waiting to come out. Actually, that’s not altogether true. What most people have is a delusion that they are a great writer and have, instead, a third rate pile of senseless rubbish waiting to come out. The problem is that the general public can’t tell the difference until they buy the book, and there’s only so much disposable income to go around.

Delusional ‘Writers

All people born after 1950 have generally been coddled from, approximately, their very moment of conception. Trophies just for participating, grading on curves, always being told “you’re special.” The obvious question left unanswered is that if everyone is ‘special,’ then who are all of these dull, talentless idiots you see around everywhere?

One unfortunate after-affect of this is that most people grow up thinking that they’re great when, in reality, they’re much more likely to be boring dolts, ignorant of history, science, politics and, especially, grammar. Wait-what did you just say to me? Whatever. I’m just the messenger.

Anyway, sooner or later some of these people will get to thinking they can write, and then do so. However adding words to paper doesn’t make you any more of a writer than successfully dyeing an Easter egg makes you Picasso. Then this claptrap is put out there where it ends up clogging up the literature pipeline like some kind of papery cholesterol. A lot of good writing gets lost within the sea of the inferior. That’s a lose-lose.

My advice, as once espoused by Clint Eastwood, is to know your limitations, and get the hell out of our way. Why not be a CEO of something instead? There’s good money there.

Moving Along

Okay, let’s say you’ve spent your two-to-thirty years writing and editing your novel and now it’s published, either traditionally or independently. Either way, congratulations; you’ve now been promoted to Head of Marketing for your own project. The hours suck and the pay is non-existent. However, your opportunity to run up significant debt is enormous. So there’s that.

All you need to do now is contact every place, everywhere, and ask them if they’d like to host you for a book signing at their venue. If, like 99.8% of writers,* they’ve never heard of you, that task is about as easy as slicing through a hot knife with cold butter.

With traditional book store chains, unless you know someone, or know someone who knows someone, or are sleeping with someone who knows someone, prepare to go through what has been known since the advent of this paragraph as the ‘Corporate run-around.’ Keep trying though, as there is a chance you can land a chain store signing without a name; same as there’s a chance to win yesterday’s Powerball with tomorrow’s ticket. (I didn’t say it was a good chance)

So, now what? You call everywhere. Hair salons, retail stores, financial institutions, health clubs, craft fairs, movie theaters, etc, etc. If you’re local, you stand a better chance. Also, mention that the promotion you’ll certainly do for it will bring the venue free advertising. A win-win.

Also, schedule radio and TV interviews. As an aside, if you happen to be great-looking, you’ll be much more likely to land these regardless of whatever drivel you typed onto Word, printed out, and glued between cardboard.

I’ve also heard that, if you happen to be an incredibly quick wit, that too may help you with getting interviews, as well as your ability to draw interest to your books through consistently humorous Facebook statuses.

Remember, you’ll need your own posters, placards, business cards, stands and cleverly designed bookmarks to leave out with your information on them. The latter, of course, is because everyone will take something made available for free regardless of its relevancy to their lives. Just ask anyone who passes out samples at a food membership club; those people who constantly hear things like,”I hate those pretzels. Oh, all right, I’ll try one.”

Be Prepared for Anything

Know that even if you have a great book for sale at a reasonable price, there’s always the chance you’ll make a huge effort for a signing, and then not sell a single tome. Don’t be discouraged. You’ve gotten the chance to get yourself and your name out there, and every little bit helps.

Also, console yourself with the fact that most people these days seem to be illiterate, anyway. Don’t believe me? Juste cheq the tipicahl sphelling on you’re soshul  mediuh websights.

Keys Points to Remember

As a favor to you I’ll recap the three most important points of this piece so you’ll always have easy access. Here are the best ways to sell your books, get interviews, and/or become rich:

1)      Be Incredibly Hot

2)      Be Incredibly funny

3)      Be Already Rich

In Conclusion

Be aware that if you’re trying to become a writer simply because you have the ability, and believe that writing is all you’ll have to do, think again. By the time you’re ready to start on your second book, you’ll notice that the easiest part of the prior one was just writing the damned thing. Go ahead, laugh. We’ll see what time tells. But in the meantime, as the French say: good luck. Only they say it “bon chance.”

*This percentage is a total guess, but it sounds about right. Maybe even on the low side.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

#1(A!A)CJGSherlockHomesCoverCMYK1d

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. He writes and broadcasts a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s also written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance and three humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and is currently writing his fourth and fifth humor books, Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota and Something Witty this Way Comes; the latter being a collection of pieces written for his humor blog. Look soon for his book Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective. Also, he’s writing the Ghost of a Chance sequel Perdition’s Wrath, and has written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

Jpeg front cover with bleedsbook1book2CJGSherlock1c

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist on Facebook

Ghost of a Chance on Facebook

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal on Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

The Hartford County Diet: Chris Gay’s 1-Step, Guaranteed Weight-Loss Plan for the New Millennium

By Chris Gay

388982_3377538558968_401329802_n

 The Hartford County Diet: Chris Gay’s 1-Step, Guaranteed Weight-Loss Plan for the New Millennium             

Dedication

To Irony. This humor pamphlet, (The antithesis to my upcoming humor book ‘The Bachelor Cookbook’) was written years before I decided to take my food comedy in the opposite direction. Initially this was to be a full humor book, and pre-dates all those which I’ve already written and published. Look for ‘The Bachelor Cookbook’ in 2013; look for ‘The Hartford County Diet’ blog post directly below these words.

 Prologue

This book was conceived for two simple reasons: to make money and help people; necessarily in that order. The notion of the ‘self-help’ book has been around for decades. Just recently we’ve been inundated with the likes of The South Beach Diet, The Atkins Diet and their endlessly multiplying cousins.

While these diet plans may be initially effective they are, in fact, little more than glorified, temporary shortcuts. And not the beneficial kind either, such as deftly avoiding mall traffic by taking an alternate route to a Buffalo Wild Wings in order to make it in time for the opening face-off.

Diet Shortcuts and Dating Advice

These ‘shortcuts’ most often fail for the same reason that changing your persona on a first date ultimately does: No matter how hard you try to be someone you’re not, it’s nearly impossible not to eventually revert back to your true nature. And in the case of food, take that to mean your established eating habits.

With dating you might as well be yourself and hope she falls for the real you. Then, she won’t be surprised when three month’s later you’re still the same chore-avoiding, video game playing, non-communicative couch potato she thought she’d be able to change whom she first met. With victuals, you might as well eat whatever junk you like, ignore the sarcasm, and be happy.

So, you ask, “How do I eat what I want then and still lose weight, Chris?” This is a great question; one easily answered in the following page with great accuracy. In fact, no reputable doctor could refute it.

If followed correctly, you can absolutely eat anything you’d ever want and still shed pounds. What’s better, you can maintain it for life as well. No more PLINKO chips crop-dusted with cheese powder, (rice cakes) or energy bars chalky enough for use in writing mathematical equations on a blackboard. Unless you enjoy those things. Hey, some people like anisette-flavored licorice, so to each his or her own. I guess.

Well, Obviously

If, at this pamphlet’s conclusion, you wonder why you paid good money for the blatantly self-evident, please bear this in mind: professional comedians get paid, some quite handsomely, for pointing out the obvious. What makes you laugh is their assistance in helping you see common happenstances in a new light. Kind of makes you hold them in a somewhat greater esteem, eh?

What you shouldn’t forget though, is that the obvious is still true. Why should you buy this then, when you can simply read it in a typical wait on line in a grocery store check-out line?  For one, I would appreciate the money, and two, eventually, you’ll realize that this book is the bargain of a lifetime, if I do say so myself. And I do. Good luck to you, Reader, and God bless Capitalism.

Chapter One

The first and only step to consistent and enduring weight-loss is the following:

1)      Burn off more calories than you consume.

Epilogue

Well, now you know. That’s all there is to it. It is mathematically impossible to gain weight if your various activities cause you to expend more calories than you take in. It’s foolproof! However conscience compels me to add this little tidbit: I’m certainly no doctor or nutritionist, and I must speculate that if you asked one, he or she would likely recommend eating the proper amounts of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, grain, dairy, less junk food, blah, blah, etc, etc. There, got that out of the way.

Which is the more correct of these methods is a subject for debate in the sequel to be written later for an additional cash-grab. This book only concerns itself with the weight-loss aspect of dieting. I mean, who am I to judge you? Especially since the only time I eat fruit is when it’s on the inside of a Pop-Tart. So if you want to eat a cheese danish with lemonade three meals a day, go ahead. And while that can work for you, I would think it through a bit first.

Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice: if you work in an office where every woman has a bowl of chocolate on her desk that she herself never seems to eat, ignore them. (The candy, not the woman. You never know where a relationship might start) Keep a large, ice-filled cup of water by your side. Eat the ice too, as it tends to be considerably low in calories. And although your dentist may discourage this particular practice, well, I’m not a dentist either so it makes me no never mind.

Add a lot more lettuce to your sandwich. It’s filling, with much fewer calories. Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap, incidentally. Some smart-alec will always tell you it’s the ‘junk food’ of lettuce. Really? It’s essentially green, solidified water, so how bad can it be? Unless you’re allergic to it in which case yeah, avoid it.

Also, go to bed earlier, wake up later,or both; as fictitious studies show it’s difficult to eat while sleeping.

If you order a pizza, share it. If you manage to change your eating habits enough to make a real difference, who knows? You may end up as an annoying yet highly compensated spokesman for a national submarine sandwich chain. But hey, if you do, don’t worry what others think of you as long as the checks clear.

Bettercreme Frosting

If you’re going to eat cake, eat cake-with real frosting. Not one with that horrifying Bettercreme. Sure, people drink a lot of diet soda, so that’s a practical switch. But how much cake do you really eat? If you learn one thing and one thing only from this book, please, let it be that life is much too short for Bettercreme frosting.

In Conclusion

Okay, last thing: Some habits are good. If you can hang on to this mathematical solution long enough to make eating less a habit, it will then become routine. Oh, and don’t eat when you’re not hungry. In fact, here’s a formula to cut out and magnet to your refrigerator. Not Hungry=Don’t Eat.

That’s it. Off you go. Oh wait, one more thing. Get off your backside and move around once in awhile. You’ll thank me later. And if you don’t, who cares? I don’t even know you. Ciao.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out my new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

book1book2

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. He writes and broadcasts a daily, sponsored minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s written three humor books: Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Recipes with a Side of Sarcasm for the Single Guy. He’s currently writing his fourth humor book, Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, along with the Ghost of a Chance sequel Perdition’s Wrath. He has written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. He lives in Connecticut.

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

On Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

 

Exit 2016, Enter 2017

By Chris Gay

388982_3377538558968_401329802_nAs we bid adieu to another year, it falls to us writers/ humorists to throw something out there to elicit a laugh. After all, we don’t make anything useful, such as digital toaster ovens, so we might as well toss some words together for your amusement.

At any rate, here we are.  Once again, the earth has completed its annual 365 day journey around the sun. The unspoken truth is however, that it does this every day. For instance on December 4th, it had been  a year since the prior December 4th. But no one cares about that. (Except, of course, those who were born on December 4th. But it’s not very likely that that’s you.)

So now we all look back and take inventory of what went wrong, what went right, and how we might change things for the better. Also, we buy gym memberships that will be used less than an avocado juicer purchased while watching a 3 a.m. infomercial.

Resolutions

This is the time of year in which we make numerous promises to ourselves that have zero chance of being fulfilled. That’s okay, though. No one fulfills them. If it makes you feel better we all go through the motions. However if it helps, just set the bar very low. For instance, I’ve never smoked in my life. So I resolve not to smoke. Simple. But since I love junk food, I tend to avoid making those kind of unreasonable resolutions.

I also resolve not to listen to rap music or heavy metal, cliff dive off the Rock of Gibraltar, snorkel down to the Titanic’s wreck, or drive 580 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats. See? It’s easy-that’s if you know how to play the game.

Chinese Take-Out Food

On those New Year‘s Eves in which you find yourself either divorced or too lazy and/or uninspired to go out, Chinese take-out food is essential. Nothing goes better with a DVD, followed by whatever hack hairdo is hosting ‘Dick Clark‘s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve’, than a sea of sweet and sour chicken. Plus, while you’re waiting for your order, you can usually help yourself to a generously provided, free Styrofoam cup of tea, which completely wipes out any calories you’re about to consume. *

Live TV Specials

If you do stay home this New Year’s Eve, there’s likely to be a slew of year-end specials featuring untalented singers that, if you’re in your 30’s or 40’s,  you’ve never heard of. Or if you have, you could not care less about. (Though a few of the divas may be hot enough to justify some cursory viewing.)

Your best bet is to either throw in a DVD or watch whatever’s still taking up space on your DVR. Then around 11:50 p.m., switch over to watch the countdown. Though many stations will show it, who is kidding who? You’re going to go back to the network you grew up watching this Times Square spectacle occur on, ABC, with or without Dick Clark. (RIP) If you don’t remember doing that, you’re probably not reading this blog, anyway.

Times Square

At some point during the evening, you’re likely to reminisce on long ago promises made to yourself to attend in person the ball dropping on New Year’s Eve. Don’t screw with yourself. If you were born during Reagan’s first term or earlier, it’s just not happening. Who needs all of that hassle, anyway? Especially if you live in, like, Iowa.

Champagne

Some of you may wish to celebrate the Earth’s most recent revolution with a bit ‘o the bubbly. If so, more power to you. I’m a vodka man myself. If you’re home, or out with a group that includes a designated driver, whatever floats your boat. In point of fact it’s water that floats my boat; but there’s much less fun in consuming H2O.

New Year’s Day

When you awaken late morning (or more likely early afternoon) the new tradition is to watch the National Hockey League’s signature game, the outdoor Winter Classic. Or you can catch one of the TBS showings of 24 Hours of a Christmas Story. No, wait. Scratch that. I got my holidays mixed up. Give me a break; as I edit this it’s after 4 a.m. And also, May.

Biblical Implications

Technically, I’m an Agnostic Catholic. But I did attend Catholic school, and (blatant plug alert) wrote a theological, paranormal thriller novel. (Please see the even more blatant reference in my Author Biography.) So I’m fully authorized to delve into this topic with sarcasm.

You may not realize it, but our system of measuring contemporary time begins with the birth of Jesus Christ. It goes: B.C. = Before Christ, A.D. = Anno Domino, A.C. = Air Conditioning.

Having never taken Latin, I can only assume that the middle one translates to After Domino’s, & references how my early Christian brethren and sister-en ordered their more recent pizzas.

Anyway, what we’re actually celebrating each January is the number of years that have passed since Jesus’s birth. The only issue there is that He was almost certainly born in the spring. But that’s okay. Like all good writing, it got cleaned up during the editing process.

Plus it’s more convenient this way. Since Earth is over 4 billion years old, if we counted from the actual beginning of time imagine how long it’d take to write out personal checks. Not to mention the looks you’d get in the express line at the supermarket. I guess it will become an issue for those people living here in 8 Billion A.D., but who cares? That’ll be their problem.

In Conclusion

Just go with it. Enjoy the day, be responsible, and be safe. And if you sleep through it all, that’s okay. Super Bowl Sunday is only five weeks away.

* I’m not even close to a doctor, so there is a slight chance that my statement is wholly and completely inaccurate

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

#1(A!A)CJGSherlockHomesCoverCMYK1d

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

1977287_10152267078273756_2109539589_n

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist on Facebook

Ghost of a Chance on Facebook

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal on Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

Chris Gay’s Top 15 Christmas Movies

By Chris Gay388982_3377538558968_401329802_n

Typically the movie reviews I write for those particular columns on my blog are rife with sarcasm and humor. However this is the season of charity, and as such I’ll go fairly light on the satire here. (Though me being me; count on some) So here, in descending order, are my Top 15 Christmas movies of all time.

Oh by the way, to preemptively answer your two most obvious questions at the outset: the movies listed here are just that, movies; so you won’t see such obvious TV classics as ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, or ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’.

Also, Elf is not on this list because it’s hard to understand how Will Farrell makes more than $2.99 an hour as a comedian. He’s not funny at all whatsoever.

Now, as Casey Kasem might say were he still with us…on with the countdown:

15) DVD of a Burning Yule Log. (4 Billion B.C.) You know, I’d bet you didn’t see this one coming. For those with a big screen TV but no fireplace, this is an awesome flick (or flicker, as the case may be) to behold. You just pop in the DVD, and then read or whatever else by the light of the TV fire and Christmas tree. Some go for as little as a dollar, and come with a flame level setting and optional Christmas music. What sounds like a joke is, in reality, a winner. And no logs to chop or mess to clean up after. You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you? Don’t even try to tell me you’re not.14.

14) Bad Santa. (2003) I’m not all that big into comedy based on vulgarities. It’s not that I’m offended in any way; it’s just that as a humor writer I find it to be mostly lazy and unfunny writing. This movie however, is the exception. It’s funny nearly from stem to stern. Billy Bob Thornton shines as a Phoenix, Arizona department store Santa who uses his job as a cover to scope it out to later rob. He spends most of his off time- as well as his on time- drinking, smoking, screwing and bumbling around. If you’re not easily offended, this movie, helped by a great supporting cast including the late John Ritter and Bernie Mac, will have you laughing till New Year’s.

13) Christmas Vacation. (1989) The third tale of the Griswold clan is the best in the series. This holiday staple, also starring a pre-Seinfeld Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, reiterates the time-honored advice passed down throughout the generations: before setting up, always check impromptu replacement Christmas trees for rodents.

12) Funny Farm. (1988) In my opinion, this is the superior and underrated of the two Chevy Chase flicks to appear on this list. At Christmastime a beautiful Vermont town, filled with residents of questionable intellect, band together to fake normalcy to prospective home buyers in exchange for a cash payoff from Andy & Elizabeth Farmer; who can no longer tolerate residing among them. The first time I watched the scene of the drunken, belligerent postman respectfully greeting the Farmers (in front of the new owners) with a linguistically perfect, “Mail, Mister Farmer” in order to obtain bonus money, I nearly fell off my couch laughing.

11) Trading Places. (1983) Outside the time of year it’s set in and Dan Aykroyd in a Santa Claus suit, calling this a ‘Christmas Movie’ is like calling Pepperidge Farms flavored goldfish “seafood.” However on a technicality…here it resides. Through the conniving, manipulative efforts of his sibling bosses and for no legitimate reason, wealthy, upper-crust commodities trader Louis Winthorp III is made to exchange places with broke, slick-talking con-man Billy Ray Valentine. After a short while, Valentine becomes successful at Winthorp’s job once he understands that commodities brokering is merely a more sophisticated form of con-game. When both realize they’re being played for fools, they team up to create a fantastic scheme to bankrupt the brothers while becoming millionaires themselves; with the help of a great supporting cast.

10) Die Hard. (1988) Bruce Willis’s Detective John McLane sends Alan Rickman’s superb villain Hans Gruber into the Oh Holy Night of Los Angeles; amidst a snowfall of ill-gotten bearer bonds.

9) The Muppet Christmas Carol. (1992) Laugh if you will, (and you will) but this gem of a take on the classic Dickens’ Christmas novel that features Michael Caine; among Britain’s greatest, most versatile actors, as Ebenezer Scrooge, simply cannot be overlooked. It also contains a roster of creative, original songs you’ll be singing long after the film’s completed. It contains both suspense & clever humor throughout.

8) The Ref. (1994) If you’ve never seen this Denis Leary comedy starring a relatively unknown Kevin Spacey, the first time you do expect to laugh so hard you’ll cry. Leary is a bumbling cat burglar who, through unforeseen circumstances, ends up stuck refereeing an endlessly bickering couple and their family in an affluent Connecticut shoreline town on Christmas Eve. Completely underrated, it’s one of the best Christmas comedies ever; if not the most tactful. (Only ‘Bad Santa’ is more profane)

7) Love, Actually. (2003) Never has a Christmas movie combined humor, romance and star power in such a way that all genre stereotypes are irrelevant. It’s a ‘Chick Flick’ that is very much suited for guys, too. This movie is a modern Christmas classic. (Featuring a who’s who of English talent: Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Andrew Lincoln, Keira Knightley Rowan Atkinson)

6) A Christmas Carol. (1984) The late, great George C. Scott is almost unparalleled as Ebenezer Scrooge. He taught England that, after 150 years, if you really want to showcase the full essence of a greedy, miserly CEO, hire an American and teach him a light British accent.

5) Holiday Inn. (1942) Bing Crosby debuted what is still the top-selling single of all time in any genre, ‘White Christmas’, at his Connecticut Inn that’s open only on major holidays.

4) A Christmas Story. (1983) Nothing catches the essence of a retro-Christmas of yore more so than this fantastically crafted, humorous tale of 1940’s Christmas in America. Along with a young man’s quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts, the “official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Which includes “a compass and a stock and this thing that tells time.” Darren McGavin masterfully showcases both the tough and tender side of parenting a year before portraying a wealthy, sleazy bookie from the same era in 1984’s ‘The Natural.’

3) It’s a Wonderful Life. (1946) The snowy winter scenes of the fictional Bedford Falls, NY (based on the real Seneca Falls, NY) were filmed during a record-breaking California heat wave. This classic film features the legendary Jimmy Stewart as super-nice guy George Bailey, who, after every one of his lifelong dreams are dashed due to his own kindness, becomes discouraged to the extent that Heaven dispatches amiable Angel 2nd Class Clarence Odbody to show him what his family and hometown would’ve been like had he never existed. It ends with the all-time tear-jerking line, “Remember-No man is a failure who has friends.”

2) Scrooge. (1951) There is no question that of all the adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol ever committed to celluloid, Alistair Sim is the quintessential-& best-Ebenezer Scrooge. His performance as the renowned miser is second-to-none, and may never be topped.

1) Joyeux Noel. (2005) This is the amazing true story of the impromptu WWI Christmas Truce across No-Man’s Land between Scottish, British, French & German soldiers over Christmas Eve and Day in 1914. A group of young officers decide they’re not going to fight each other over the Christmas holiday, and instead spend it burying comrades, sharing stories, playing soccer, and exchanging information. When their superiors became informed of the Christmas Truce, all parties involved on both sides were severely reprimanded. The “Great War”; the “War to End All Wars”, was a war over nothing, & cost humanity millions of innocent lives. It dragged on until November 11, 1918; Armistice Day; now known as ‘Veterans Day’. If you can get through this movie without shedding tears, you ma’am or sir, are a better person than I.

 

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out my new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

Jpeg front cover with bleedsbook1book2

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

On Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

The Musical Burdens of Generation X

By Chris Gay 

Every generation grumbles about how they had it worse than their successors, as if it’s some rite of passage. Of course, whether they’re right-or full of it- is for posterity to decide. With that said, today I’m here to make the case for Generation X not only having it worse than our successors, but our predecessors, too. At least in terms of how we listened to music.

In the Beginning

From that beautiful day in 1877 on which Thomas Edison first introduced the phonograph, right up to the 1970’s, all anyone with a desire to hear his or her own favorite music had to master was the skill of dropping a needle straight down onto a disc-shaped shard of spinning vinyl. The only other responsibility was learning the difference between 78, 33 1/3 and 45 RPM’s. Simple, really.

In contrast, by the time I’d figured out that that little yellow disc with the oddly cut pattern was used to convert 45 RPM records for use on standard players, my mom had already moved on to 8 tracks.

Now, I’m uncertain if it was because I was very young then, or merely that I’m a techno-idiot. But not too long after I’d finally learned how to work the 8 track cartridge enough to hear Paul Simon’s Slip Slidin’ Away, a Hartford radio station was already touting a new musical miracle- the Compact Disc. Or, as they called it, the “CD”.

By that time however I’d already had a budding collection of records and cassette tapes. And to be frank CD’s didn’t sound all that much better to me than they did. Be that as it may, the writing was on the wall. (Literally, in the case of the 1979 Pink Floyd album cover).

Musical Musical Chairs

So…we Gen X’ers bounced from records to 8 Tracks and back again. We also perfected the fine art of sitting for hours next to a boom box with our ring fingers frozen to the PLAY button, and our thumbs on RECORD, while waiting for a DJ to spin Phil Collins’ song du jour in the faint hopes of capturing it on the blank cassette snugly nestled within its compartment. Sure, it sounds like a boring activity; and it was. But we’re talking Against All Odds here.

As my luck would have it though, I always seemed to get the Wolfman Jack wannabe DJ who tarnished the first third of every recording by trying to hit the post. You all know who you are. But, I digress.

Ultimately, of course, there was no holding back the CD tsunami. And along with its rising popularity came the requirement of replacing our stereos and upgrading our Sony Walkmans. Later, we had to switch out the tape decks in our cars for trunk or dashboard mounted CD-changers. Then, after spending our first few decades of life juggling audio technology like half-assed circus clowns, things finally seemed to settle down.

However, just when we thought it was safe to remain stagnant within the audio equipment water, suddenly there were music files to be downloaded onto MP3 players. I mean honestly, WTF?

Look, the Baby Boomers, Greatest Generation, and the Roaring 20er’s (Yes, I did just totally make that last one up) had records. Generation Y and the Millennials have file downloading. We Gen X’ers, on the other hand, are stuck with shoe boxes and drawers full of countless 8 tracks, records, audio cassettes and mix tapes that won’t again see the light of day until the last rays of our dying sun shine upon them in 8,000,000,000 A.D.

One also cannot overlook that during this same time period, thanks to cable television, we were trying to adapt from flipping between three TV stations by hand, to fifty- via ever-changing remote controls.

And as if that wasn’t enough, after spending our formative years learning how to work the ring pull-tabs on soda cans, the beverage industry pulled the rug out from under us and switched to pop-tops.

Want more? One day we’re trying to make heads or tails out of a combination calculator/wrist watch and work a typewriter; the next, some teacher throws us in front of a TV screen fused to a keyboard, calls it a “computer”, and gives us two pages of code to type in just to confirm that 3 x 3 equals 9.

By the way, I use the term computer very loosely. What we were taught on made the model Matthew Broderick used in Wargames look like what Hugh Jackman employed in Swordfish. Damn it, it was all just too much. And I won’t even get into VHS versus Beta versus Laser Disc versus DVD versus HD DVD versus Blu-Ray versus Digital HD versus online streaming.

I’m guessing that those of you from adjacent generations likely have little sympathy for our technological plight. Whatever. They were our crosses to bear. Along with having to walk five miles uphill to school every day in the snow.

And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

#1(A!A)CJGSherlockHomesCoverCMYK1d

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

1977287_10152267078273756_2109539589_n

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist on Facebook

Ghost of a Chance on Facebook

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal on Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

Leap Year

By Chris Gay             

Leap Year                    

I’m not exactly certain about the origins of Leap Year, though my guess is that at some point or another, some King, Cardinal or Pope decided to muddle around with the calendar for some long forgotten, (or lazily un-researched) purpose.

The Reasoning

Apparently a year’s actual duration is 365 days and 6 hours. So the end result is, with three exceptions every 400 years,* February gets an extra day every election cycle. How happy February must be.

According to the Book of Google, it was Caesar Augustus who poached a few days from the second month. He did so in order to add them to his namesake August; evidently so as not to feel inferior to his predecessor Julius Caesar, whose own month, July, contains 31 days. And things have remained the same ever since; probably because no Caesar Februarius ever came along.

It has been speculated too that Caesar Augustus did it because the following song, as originally sung: “30 days hath November; April, June and September. Oh yeah, and February,” simply sounded too clunky. Of course, that speculation was primarily done by me in an effort to extend this blog post by an extra paragraph. Whatever. You read it, didn’t you?

Customs

It is said that on Leap Day, it’s acceptable for a woman to propose marriage to her man. Actually, that is a pretty good idea. In fact if I ever get remarried and I’m the one proposed to, I hope whoever she is uses a reproduction of the New York Giants Super Bowl XLII Championship ring.

Meteorological Impact

Although rarely discussed, Leap Year also mathematically influences weather prognostications when it puts in its quadrennial appearance. How? Because any shadow-seeing groundhogs inadvertently condemn us to six more weeks-and a day-of winter.

Leap Year’s Most Noteworthy Event

Though opinions may vary, it’s practically inarguable that the greatest Leap Year moment in all of recorded history came in 1980, when Gordie Howe, the legendary Mr. Hockey, scored his 800th career goal for my beloved Hartford Whalers. In fact, you know what? That is inarguable.

Benefits of Leap Year

Perhaps the greatest benefit Leap Year offers is that it provides yet another relatively obscure topic for comedy writers to blog on when they can’t think of anything better to write about.

* This fact may have been slightly researched, as I suck at math.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

#1(A!A)CJGSherlockHomesCoverCMYK1d

 

 

 

 

 

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

1977287_10152267078273756_2109539589_n

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page (on Facebook)

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist (on Facebook)

Ghost of a Chance (on Facebook)

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal (on Facebook)

The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm (on Facebook)

And That’s the Way it Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings (on Facebook)

Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota (on Facebook)

Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota (on Facebook)

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

 

Groundhog Day-A Comedic Exposition

By Chris Gay                                                        

Groundhog Day Origins

The Groundhog Day ceremony dates back to whenever it first started. Odds are the inhabitants of one European country or another created a custom out of observing what they, for some reason, perceived as the climate-deducing abilities of a rodent…whose closest relative their descendants could find after coming to America was the groundhog.

Such a tradition is similar in spirit to the German Hessians bringing Christmas trees here during the American Revolution. Or the British introducing us to Cadbury Crème Eggs to celebrate the Resurrection on Easter. (It’s okay, you can laugh. I’m technically Catholic.)

Groundhog Day Mysteries

Let’s examine the two most perplexing mysteries surrounding Groundhog Day:

Why did those aforementioned descendants opt to settle in a town that’s only other societal contribution is the (admittedly) highly-impressive score its name racks up in Scrabble?

And how does February 2nd mark Groundhog Day in both the United States and Canada, when our countries can’t even agree to set Thanksgiving Day in the same month?

Hedge-hogging His Bets

From the time his predictions were first recorded, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow far more times than not. This indicates to some that Phil is lazy; that his primary motivation to fake the freak-out is simply so he can return to hibernation.

However with Groundhog Day anchored to February 2nd, and the onset of spring consistently set around March 21st, the reality is that whether or not Phil sees his shadow, there are going to be six more weeks of winter. Do the math, people.

Groundhog Day in Pop Culture

When comedian Buddy Hackett voiced the cartoon groundhog in the 1979 Rankin/Bass television production Jack Frost, one can only surmise that he secretly rejoiced in cornering the groundhog character for generations of viewers.

Alas, two things would conspire to deny him his chance at securing immortality.

Unlike Rankin/Bass’s reigning Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jack Frost kind of sucked. As such, it’s rarely seen or even remembered today by anyone. Well, that is, anyone other than writers who must learn reams of useless trivia for those instances when the need to drop obscure references into articles arises.

Hackett’s disappointment at not overtaking Rudolph was later transformed to complete and utter dismay by two simple words: Bill Murray.

Notwithstanding the endless speculation of how many days Phil Connors actually woke up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2nd, (or for that matter how both his friends and the townsfolk could possibly not notice that they too were reliving the same day) Groundhog Day remains the gold standard for movies based on non-holiday holidays.

The film has something for everyone. And to its viewers brings laughter, tears, and a perpetual loathing of Sonny and Cher.

The Groundhog Day Setting

Although Gobbler’s Knob sounds more like the name of an R-rated Bond girl, (perhaps more so than even Pussy Galore, which Saltzman and Broccoli somehow got away with using in Goldfinger- in 1964!) it’s actually the little nook east of Punxsutawney where tuxedo-clad men annually yank Phil out of a plastic tree stump.

Yes, the pomp and circumstance of the day is no doubt appealing. But the question remains that if these men are truly able to understand the language of Groundhog, one might reasonably assume that they’re also intelligent enough to avoid standing in sub-freezing temperatures at 7:30 a.m. to speak with a rodent in possession of no formal meteorological training whatsoever.

In Conclusion

Groundhog Day is little more than a morning of benign fun for all. In fact the most perplexing thing about it is why, unlike the winter non-holiday holidays named after Saints’ Valentine and Patrick respectively, so few have yet to find a way to make truckloads of cash commercializing it. At any rate, enjoy the day. And if you can’t make it to western Pennsylvania, there’s always the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

#1(A!A)CJGSherlockHomesCoverCMYK1d

 

 

 

 

 

As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

1977287_10152267078273756_2109539589_n

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page (on Facebook)

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist (on Facebook)

Ghost of a Chance (on Facebook)

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal (on Facebook)

The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm (on Facebook)

And That’s the Way it Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings (on Facebook)

Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota (on Facebook)

Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota (on Facebook)

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

 

“Haha” versus “Lol”-So What’ll it Be?

By Chris Gay

So, you’re about to send or respond to a text or email; or perhaps comment on a social media thread. With your thought completed, you now seek to punctuate your words with something to indicate a humorous intent, as you fear your recipient may be too much of a simpleton to grasp the underlying comedy. You now face a choice that will likely define you for years, nay, decades to come.

‘Haha’…or ‘Lol’?

With the exception of the occasional miscreant who insists on bucking the system and utilizing some other suffix to denote a droll post, most of us are going to pick from the two. Why? For the same reason that nobody really wants to buy domain names if they can’t get what they want to end in .com or .net. Indeed, domain merchants practically pay you to take the .infos off their hands.

At any rate, what you go with at the outset of your texting career will almost certainly set the tone for a lifetime. If this last sentence sounds a lot like the one that concluded the first paragraph, it’s because some topics don’t lend themselves well to my self-imposed ‘minimum four hundred words per humor blog post,’ and so filler is required. Even clever-er is that that unnecessary explanation, for that which you likely didn’t even notice anyway, brought me even further toward my goal. In fact it went so well, I’m even tempted to go into the reason one would use ‘further’ in place of  ‘farther’ just then. However that might be pushing it. So moving along, decisions like this take time as well as consideration. As a service to you, let’s take them in turn shall we? We shall.

Lol. What does that even mean? Yes, I realize that literally it expands to Laughing out Loud. But it’s nonsensical. No one actually ‘laughs out loud’ at nearly any of the electronic correspondence he or she receives. Indeed, the funniest thing about a text or email from a friend is likely the ludicrous grammar used by someone who you otherwise thought was an adult of reasonable intelligence.

It’s even more absurd when someone inexplicably uses it after a blatant insult. For instance, you might receive a text reading something like: “Btw thanx 4 the bday gift, but next time don’t get me clothes. U seem 2 have the fashion sense of a far-sighted circus clown. lol.”

It’s to the point where people now believe they can write anything in a message, so long as they tack on an lol. So now texts like these become commonplace:

“It was nice meeting you for lunch after so long, although I was somewhat surprised at how fat you’d gotten. Hopefully, that buffet we ate at will still be able to stay in business. lol”

Or, “Wow, the plastic surgeon really screwed up your nose job. Well maybe now you can get work posing for comic strip characters. lol.”   

Haha, while not ideal, is more practical. It’s used for the most part to compassionately explain that the writer’s intent is not meant to be serious, as it’s sometimes difficult to determine the context of a given message. For example, which one of these two texts would you rather receive?

1) “Dude, the doctor just said my “issue” should clear up on its own in a few weeks. So is it okay now if I call your sister?”

2) “Dude, the doctor just said my “issue” should clear up on its own in a few weeks. So is it okay now if I call your sister? Haha.” 

Or these:

1) “Thanks for letting me borrow your credit card to fill up the Toyota, honey. Oh btw, I also decided to buy $700 worth of Omaha steaks to stock our new freezer.”

2) “Thanks for letting me borrow your credit card to fill up the Toyota, honey. Oh btw, I also decided to buy $700 worth of Omaha steaks to stock our new freezer, haha.”

So you see, there is a measurable difference between the two and, now that you know it, the choice is yours. So as not to influence your decision I won’t give you my own preference, haha.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out my new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

Jpeg front cover with bleedsbook1book2

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. He writes and broadcasts a daily, sponsored minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s written three humor books: Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Recipes with a Side of Sarcasm for the Single Guy. He’s currently writing his fourth humor book, Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, along with the Ghost of a Chance sequel Perdition’s Wrath. He has written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. He lives in Connecticut.

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

On Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

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