From 14 Hours in the Future: An Introduction

The column that eats your chips and dirties your rug.

The point of Crunchable, for those of you who haven’t read our Declaration of Purpose and Being, is to fill the void left by the slash ’n’ burn Internet environment of the past few years.

There are still plenty of sites out there, that’s for sure, but it’s the content of those sites that concerns me. Infinite numbers of sites that talk about entertainment are still out there, but there aren’t many left that are meant to entertain.

I remember a time when I could waste away the empty hours at work by cruising the Web, finding almost endless sources of amusement. These days, there are one or two sites I can count on for a regular dispensing of laughter.

Sure, there are more then one or two overall, but most of them tend to update with a less regular schedule than Image comic releases. The other places that I visit now are just and endless string of game reviews, movie reviews, toy reviews, and reviews of other reviews.

It’s a nasty situation, and one that needs to be dealt with. That is not to say that I think my column is going to save the Internet; far from it, in fact.

My purpose is to merely hope that I can solicit at least one chuckle or grin from at least one person who reads what I have to say. As long as one person has a slightly better day because of what I can give them, then the rest of what may come is just gravy on the platter.

That may seem like an odd metaphor, but trust me, it works.

I could take the easy path that lay before so many columnists and simply waste away my allotted words with a diatribe about how I hate people who don’t use turn signals, or why it is that hot dogs at the ballpark are so expensive.

But fear not, that is not the road I have chosen to travel. I ascribe to the “Crazy Uncle” school of column writing.

Everybody has a crazy uncle. Even if you don’t, you probably know someone who has one that can serve as a surrogate. He’s the guy who spends the whole day sitting in front of the TV, latching on to whoever walks by and drags them into his world of anecdotes and insults.

No subject was too sacred for him, and no one could escape his wicked little jibes. From his mouth would flow endless stories of all types, on such diverse subjects as how the Russians pulled through on the Eastern Front to the time your mother got drunk at a party and threw up on the sofa.

He didn’t tell the stories to be mean to anybody; he just wanted you to smile. And you always did.

Now, of course, I can’t fully embrace the “Crazy Uncle” philosophy because I can’t personally insult your relatives and spill drinks on your furniture. But I can still tell my stories; and if you invite me over, I can most certainly spill things.

I suppose that you’d probably like to know a little more about me before you invite me into your home, though. The last time I went into a home unintroduced, it resulted in a subpoena, so I’d like to avoid that kind of situation in the future.

I am an English major, five months out of college. Now, I know a lot of people say that an English degree isn’t a wise choice if you want to get a good career. Don’t worry, I took that advice to heart and backed up my English with a minor in Music. If that doesn’t spell J-O-B  O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y, then I don’t know what does.

I haven’t received any large contract offers with signing bonuses in the mail yet, but I’m sure they’ll be here any day now. I am, of course, kidding.

Now, I am crying. Let’s move on.

Since people apparently don’t just hire writers off the street, I currently work in retail. I hate retail. I know that sounds like a complaint, which I said I’d avoid, but it’s the honest truth. The actual job I work in isn’t that bad, and I like my co-workers, but I just hate the overall field of retail.

But, one does what he has to do. Fortunately, despite its many shortcomings, retail does let me meet a lot of people. And most of those people will have some sort of story. You’d be amazed at how many little stories get told to me each day even though I’m just a complete stranger trying to sell something.

This is a good thing, since every good Crazy Uncle needs a reservoir of stories, borrowed or otherwise.

The column, as you may have noticed, is called “From 14 Hours in the Future.” It’s called this because I lived in the future once. It is a place called Japan, and they exist 14 hours ahead of us. They also have better television than we do.

While I was there, I didn’t get any chances to send information to the past, so I don’t know if I missed my one opportunity to alter the space-time continuum and the eventual future of mankind. So, if I missed my chance from the future, I might as well try from the present.

I’m not looking for any big historical alterations; like I said, I just want to make someone out there have a better day. And maybe spill a few drinks in the process.

Article © 2001 by Joel Haddock