1. AndroGel 1.62%
I was watching television on Saturday when I saw a commercial — too slippery for my DVR, un-YouTube-able, but which has not escaped mention — for a product called AndroGel 1.62%, used to treat a disorder known as “Low T,” or low testosterone. The symptoms of Low T include “falling asleep after dinner,” a decline in backyard soccer game performance, and being sad and/or grumpy, suggesting that Low T might be contracted from a sealant used on reclining chairs.
Low T can be dangerous (though the presentation of its dangers might be slightly exaggerated), and is certainly unpleasant — but so, of course, is using a topical treatment gel that can rub off on, say, your girlfriend or toddler and send them into a horror chamber of beards, acne, and premature puberty.
Despite strict instructions to apply the gel to the shoulders (not the penis! Not the penis! Do not put on the penis!) before armoring up with a T-shirt and washing your hands a zillion times, this drug has opened up my brain to around a hundred terrifying scenarios. Call your doctor if you’re a lady and you’ve shaken hands with a crabby septuagenarian dude and then found, upon returning home, that you experience male pattern baldness, a bleeding vagina, and a voice that sounds like Tom Waits, or if your 16-month-old baby develops pubic hair after being burped on grandpa’s unwashed shoulder. Or just call Stephen King and see what kind of deal you can strike.
2. "3-D Salad Dressing"
It’s 3-D because it’s chunky, not because it leaps out of the jar and throws stuffed grape leaves at your plate while making the pew-pew-pew noise. Either way, guess what, salad scientists? Dressing was always 3-D — granulated garlic puts it into the real dimension, as do tiny particles of cracked pepper. Show me some Minkowski Thousand Island and I’ll buy a case, however.
3. The Responsibility To Have Opinions About Everything Even When There Are No Opinions Left To Be Had
I was trying to explain to an Internet-averse friend what was going on with Girls, since she’d managed to insulate herself against the 8 billion articles Molly had to read in order to write this thoughtful missive earlier. Some of those essays were so good, so thought-provoking, that it seemed like a very good idea for everyone in the entire world to weigh in on what they perceived as problems within Girls and the really embarrassing tweets and two-year-old blog posts that huddled under the show’s umbrella and cursed ever being screen-grabbed. What about the nepotism poster and the shower cupcakes? How does everybody feel about that? How do we like this show, all two episodes of it, so far? To have no opinion about Girls is to be left out of a vibrant and circular discourse, so perhaps a person feels almost obligated to weigh in, like checking into a conversational FourSquare meet-up of thousands of online tappy-tappers.
I’ve noticed this elsewhere too. There’s a restaurant pop-up (a “nomadic dinner event” — in Silver Lake, naturally) that recently took to its Tumblr to respond to some tepid Yelp and Eater reviews, and of course there was the fiery back-and-forth that ended with Jason Russell’s “reactive psychosis." Being subjected to criticism is one thing — and probably not a bad thing — but those being attacked are faced with an increasingly insurmountable volume of personal nastiness, and being left to decide whether to respond (which often means facing further scrutiny) or to just smash their Airport Expresses and pretend they’re made of emotional titanium. Getting mad is a real romp, and opining is also great fun, like hanging crisp white linen thoughts on a public laundry line and watching the breeze play with their edges. A critic feels as though they’ve created something tangible, a response that is its own 3-D salad dressing with weight and calories. Sometimes they have. Other times, not so much — that’s more of an arugula Schwarzschild hole, generating no electricity at all. The trouble comes when the criticisms turn into personal attacks, crowding the pulpit and losing the point, spawning responses to responses to responses. I am obviously infected with this disease too, but it’s not my fault. It’s the apocalypse.
This woman bit the lady who stole her parking space. These sinister, shrimp-looking bugs have arrived in California and Arizona, and are infecting people with a “silent killer” disease. And here’s a teacher who bit the arm of a fifth-grade girl who had tried to intervene in his arm-wrestling match with another student (anything to get out of pre-algebra, I guess). Over the course of the past month, the list has grown ominously long, and biting has become so commonplace that a now-noseless man has “forgiven” the pit bull who chomped off his honker. Do these biters ever consider the possibility that their opponents use AndroGel 1.62%? Is biting worth growing a robust beard and going through puberty all over again, but this time with MORE acne? Can’t we just stab each other with knives like we used to?
5. Upcoming Gordon Ramsay Vehicle Hotel Hell
Watching Kitchen Nightmares works as a sort of vaccine against ever wanting to own or dine in a restaurant. Over the course of five seasons, Gordon Ramsay has held up pale, moldy chicken breasts in walk-in refrigerators, kicked aside cockroaches the size of Papillon puppies waiting in restaurant vestibules, and dissected microwaved bowls of queso fundido in slow motion so the goo inside looked just like the contents of a giant’s nasal cavity. It is the most repulsive show — even worse than Fear Factor, because while you probably will never have to eat a bowl of maggots, you probably will at some point have to eat lunch at a restaurant without a Zagat rating. But now, Gordon Ramsay is turning the same formula on hotels, and that’s just wrong.
Though documentation exists on the fear of foreign hotels (xenodochiophobia), being afraid of hotels in general isn’t limited to worrying about running into Norman Bates (or his lunatic asylum roommate Bud Cort): The hair in the sheets and the towels, the stains, the embarrassment when you mistake the lockbox in the closet for a microwave and have to call down to reception to have someone unlock your Lean Cuisine — that shit is real, man, and I don’t know if the Melvin Udalls among us can stand watching Ramsay inspecting the underside of a toilet seat (at least he’s not going to pair it with the exclamation “I’ve eaten here!” — unless ...). What’s next, Public Restroom Scarescapes? Poultry-Farming Dystopias? Where is the innocent and tame Hell’s Kitchen? The end is near. We’re done for.