Teenagers at Target

Six teenage boys slap each other in the beer aisle you want to enter. They are ripped, backwards baseball caps and sleeveless shirts. They are confident and they have nothing to lose. Your cart overflows with 18 mega-jumbo rolls that equal 72 regular rolls of toilet paper. It’s Friday evening and you are all alone and just need to pick up that beer and you can head home, stocked up for the week. But you’ve been standing here — hiding — in the vitamin aisle for five minutes. They’re smacking each other in the crotch, pretending to punch each other in the face, trading insults. It’s a minefield out there, and you know they will stop you, they will mock you and the items in your cart. They may assault you. But you want to go home, and so you grip your cart and push forward, telling yourself that you — age thirty-one — are the dominant one, and you will assert that dominance as you step into their aisle.

“Take a good look at your future, fellas,” you say, pushing your loaded cart forward, avoiding eye contact. “I was just like you once, so know that this cart of hygiene products is what you have to look forward to. All these embarrassing but necessary items your mom currently buys for you; before you know it, you’ll be the one buying it all for yourself, alone on a Friday night.”

They clear a space, confused, and you get your beer. But the aisle is long, and you aren’t free yet.

“Nice toilet paper,” you ramble — knowing if you leave any opening in the conversation they’ll seize it and destroy you with brutal insults — “it’s expensive, but you’ll learn your lesson quick that the cheap stuff just isn’t worth the wear-and-tear on your hole. Then you’ve got the aloe-soaked wet wipes, a must for keeping an adult man’s ass clean and respectable. Take a look inside the cart, sure, laugh it up, but one day soon you, too, will be spending four hours at the office discreetly researching hemorrhoid creams and finally — after months of failure — finding one that seems to ease the pain. And then, of course, the Band-Aids every adult needs to help heal his ass after routine defecation. All standard items every adult uses as part of a basic restroom routine. I am neither embarrassed nor ashamed of anything in my cart.”

Just a few more feet. “All right, fellas, you boys have a nice night and stay out of trouble.”

You pass the endcap, step into the white light of the store’s entrance, heading free and clear towards check-out.

“Wait,” one of the boys shouts. But you know their moves, and you do not turn back. “Mister,” he calls. “Sir?”

You stop, knowing it may be a trap. But you liked how sir felt. No one has ever called you that before.

“Sir, are you sure those are all standard items every adult uses?”

You slowly heave your heavy cart around to face the boys. “The thrilling world of adulthood,” you say.

The boys don’t look rowdy or condescending. They seem concerned. “I just…” one of them says. “I don’t think my dad needs Band-Aids on his ass.”

“If he’s a normal guy, he does.”

“And, mister?” another of them says. “I hate to possibly embarrass you, but there’s a dark-red stain on the back of your shorts.”

“Because I’m out of Band-Aids,” you say, rolling your eyes. “Hence this shopping trip.”

“How often do you…” the boy steps closer, whispering, “bleed down there?”

You raise an eyebrow. “Every day? Like an adult man does?”

The boys peer into the cart, seeing the towels and bottles of bleach and tools from the Automotive department you use to clean up the mess each morning and night. The box of new bathroom tiles, three new toilet seats. “All this stuff is to deal with your ass?” one of them says. “I’m so sorry you’re going through this, sir, but just based on my experience with my dad and my step-dad, I don’t think it’s necessarily a given that all adult men are doing this.”

The others nod. “Obviously none of us are gastroenterologists, but my dad is, and based on the bits I’ve picked up from him, I think there might be something wrong with your system, and it’d be best to have it checked by a medical professional as soon as possible.”

“It very well could be colon cancer,” another one says. “I think you should go to the emergency room.”

The air hangs silent for a long time. You look over each boy’s serious face, considering what they’ve told you.

But you can outsmart them. You were once a mischievous teenage boy like them. You know their tricks, their inside jokes. You know how they like to mess with strangers for the thrill of the reaction, creating outlandish stories to rile up residents of our sleepy suburb.

You smile at them. “Nice try, boys, but I’m a little too old to fall for the pranks of bored teenagers. Have a good night and stay out of trouble.”

Proud of your victory, you strut to the self-checkout.

The following morning, you pass away on the toilet.

Breaking Your Smartphone Addiction

The best thing I did to help curb my smartphone addiction was banning the phone from my bedroom. Like many people, I had fallen into a bad habit of scrolling through my feeds late at night and then checking them again the moment I woke up. This impaired my sleep and kept me on an endless cycle of stressful updates that, frankly, I didn’t need to know about at 11pm or 7am. Now, as I’m getting ready to go to bed, I simply turn my phone off and leave it on the kitchen counter, far from my bedroom upstairs, where it sits until I allow myself to turn it on when I’m eating breakfast in the morning. My bedroom is now a serene oasis, free from information and updates. No one can contact me when I’m up there, and I can’t contact anyone. Everyone has to wait to hear from me until morning — friends, family, coworkers, and, I suppose, even the police. With this system, if someone were to break into my home — say a big guy with a heavy pipe — and charge up the stairs headed straight for my bedroom, I’d have no way of alerting the cops before he got in here and beat the hell out of me. Jesus Christ. There’s no way I’d be able to make it downstairs to get my phone before this huge guy noticed me and bashed my god damned face in with his thick lead pipe. This son of a bitch is out there plotting his attack right now. He’s probably reading this, scanning the internet to find dumbasses like me who leave themselves vulnerable and defenseless to men like him. So, look, I’m going to adjust my routine. From now on, I definitely keep my phone in my bedroom, active and plugged in all night. Right next to my bed. With a 9-1-1 speed-dial button on the home screen. And there are three more backup phones stashed in secret locations in the bedroom, in addition to the seven 55″ monitors mounted at the foot of my bed, each displaying live feeds of security cameras covering the perimeter of my home. Extremely bright blue light blares into my eyes all night long. I don’t sleep anymore, as there’s always some movement to inspect on one of the seven screens while I sit upright in bed grinding my teeth and gripping two guns. But for the first time since starting my foolish attempt to curb my smartphone addiction in order to get more rest, I feel safe. You’re going to want to install your own command center as soon as possible. I wish you all the best of luck stopping the scroll, spending more time in the now, and defending yourself from the dangerous man who’s on his way over right now.

Paramount Pictures is Proud to Announce the 40th Anniversary 4K Ultra-High Definition Edition of ‘Grease’

We at Paramount Home Media Distribution are thrilled to announce a 40th anniversary edition of the musical Grease for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

Over the last two years, we had the pleasure of working with director Randal Kleiser to restore Grease to its original vibrancy, with the highest quality sound, picture resolution, and color. The original negative was scanned and received extensive clean up and color correction using previously unavailable digital restoration tools such as high dynamic range (HDR) technology.

During the restoration process, several fascinating elements of the classic film that had never been visible on earlier, lower-resolution formats like DVD were revealed. Fine details in the Pink Ladies’ dresses, text on signs hanging on the walls of Rydell High, and, most critically, we discovered that Barry Pearl, the actor portraying Doody, the wild T-Bird who provides many of the feature’s laughs, had his penis hanging through the zipper hole of his blue jeans throughout the entire film.

After discovering that nearly thirty-one minutes of screen time have always included this exposed penis — inadvertently blurred-out by the lesser picture quality of earlier home-video formats — director Randal Kleiser and the groundbreaking visual effects team at Weta Digital painstakingly went into the film and digitally lengthened Barry Pearl’s penis frame-by-frame because Kleiser insisted men had bigger penises in the nineteen-fifties.

We hosted an internal screening of the new version of the film for the Paramount executives and their families, where CEO Bob Bakish immediately made us stop the projector and go back in and erase what he called a disgusting aberration and a sin.

Director Randal Kleiser was banned from the Paramount lot and the film’s producer Robert Stigwood was called in to supervise the new digital effects pass. At great expense, Stigwood spent seven months working with the cutting-edge artists at Weta to digitally add a new pair of blue jeans on top of Doody’s huge penis, to ensure no viewer would be offended. But during internal reviews, Stigwood realized Doody’s massive bulge changed the character dynamics of the film. If Doody packed such heat, Stigwood said, he’d have more power within the T-Birds. The character relationships in this version just didn’t make sense, and so Stigwood and the Weta team, with additional support from Fuse FX in New York City, spent six months going back into the film frame-by-frame to enlarge Danny, Kenickie, Sonny, and Putzie’s bulges, so they all dance with undeniable meat, and, crucially, the audience knows where Doody stands in the group’s hierarchy.

CEO Bob Bakish again demanded we stop the film three minutes into the internal screening. He said the bulges were repulsive and the digital blue jeans were distracting and unnecessary, and he fired Robert Stigwood on the spot and banned him from all Paramount property forever. By this point, director Randal Kleiser had completed the counseling program Paramount HR had assigned, and he apologized for what he’d done before. Bob Bakish allowed him back to complete the film’s restoration, but only after Kleiser promised he wouldn’t pull any more stunts.

“We have to bring those cocks out,” Kleiser told the Home Media team, plus the four international visual effects companies joining via videocall, during his first meeting back. “I sang the song the pigs upstairs wanted to hear so they’d let me back in here, but I know what the film needs. They’re the T-Birds, god damn it. It’s not the chess club. They have fat pieces and they want the world to know. The singing and dancing always bothered me in this film. I never understood why anyone was doing it. But now that we know what we know, and we have this technology, I realize the story needs all those cocks out and proud and swinging around to make sense. All systems go. I am solely responsible for this decision and I will suffer the consequences.”

Four months later we had a cut featuring a huge, exposed penis on nearly every frame of the film. But we pulled Kleiser aside one day and asked how he was going to get this approved by Bakish. “The oldest trick in the book,” he said, and he had our editor create a layer called SPACESHIP. A massive, CGI spaceship hovered in the center of the frame for the film’s entire runtime, blocking out Danny, Sandy, and all the T-Birds’ cocks.

Bakish screamed two minutes into the premiere. He was furious with the spaceship, saying it made no sense. Kleiser winked at our team and stood up in the screening room and passionately argued for the spaceship. Bakish stood his ground and eventually Kleiser said he’d agree to delete the spaceship if the rest of the film was approved. Bakish accepted the deal, not knowing that behind the spaceship were five astonishing dicks.

With the CEO’s approval, we locked the film and pressed the 4K discs. Fans all over the world will now get to forever enjoy Grease with the best picture and sound quality available, while experiencing the classic story as originally intended by its director, with all five T-Birds singing and dancing while their tremendous flaccid penises slap against their thighs throughout the entire film.