Situation # 32 – The slow walker

29 08 2008

The situation: Walking may seem like just an archaic form of transportation to some, but we here at the JSA know that walking is also a way to strut one’s style. What we mean is that the way one walks is an indication of their true self, the beast within (eat that, Freud). For example, men who walk with an exaggerated arm swing and an overly large step are likely those with issues concerning their southern regions. Think of the walking equivalent of a dude with a hummer…with spinning rims …pumping out some C+C music factory. Or, take those people who don’t walk, rather they glide. Each step seems to be as if they stepped on a bed of marshmallows with a level of grace only equaled by the fancy footwork of Tom Jones. This walk indicates that this person must be involved in the black arts because it is unusual to be as graceful as Tom Jones. Perhaps the most devious and awkward of all walking types is the slow walker. These people, demonstrating their callous character, walk at their own pace with no respect for the appropriately speeded walker behind them. They are likely the same kind of people who eat someone’s jellybeans and leaves only the black ones. One of the most awkward and irritating situations that can occur on a street is getting stuck behind a slow walker. There is evidence that such a situation can actually release anger steam from one’s ears (you know what we are talking about).

So, what do you do when you are stuck behind a slow walker?

The solution:
First, you may say “Oh JSA, are you a bunch of senile old hags? You wrote about this in situation #20, the sidewalk shuffle” To you, we respond, Nay. Slow walkers cannot be handled as street dancers/shufflers. Street dancers are just confused souls. These two are different breeds and must be treated accordingly.

Now, to get around those heartless slow walkers, there are both general and specific solutions. The following solutions may seem cruel hearted, but we are dealing with a malicious population here. The punishment must fit the crime.

For a specific solution, suss out the slower walker. Let’s say the slow walker is a club-goin’, Jay-Z listenin’ dude wearing those weird Kanye West Venetian blind glasses. From behind, pretend to talk on your phone (the ever-awkward-saving tool) and loudly exclaim “Serious! There is a sale on gold necklaces with really big dollar sign emblems? Man, I just past that store a block back!” This will result in your slow walker doing the turnaround and booking it to the location of your mentioned “sale” and, thus, getting out of your way. Tailor this approach for specific slow walkers by deleting ‘gold necklaces with really big dollar sign emblems’ and insert whatever hot commodity fits said slow walker.

A more general approach would be to just yell fire. That’ll get ‘em moving.

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Situation #24 – What’d you say?

22 07 2008

The situation: picture yourself with a few friends in a bar. Not any bar, but a loud bar. To the left of you, a crowd is having an unruly discussion about the state of modern pop music. To the right, a group is debating the pros and cons of bar soap versus liquid body wash. There is a band playing some tragic indie rock. The result of all this is you can’t hear a damn thing. Your friend, farthest away from you, is telling you what seems to be a very entertaining story. His arms are flailing in enthusiasm, your other friends are engrossed in this story. He finishes his rant/story/spiel and looks at you, waiting for a response. Was your friend talking about his trek through Nepal, admitting his ongoing crush on Bea Arthur, or was he sadly recounting the details of his dogs death? You don’t know, but you do know you need to respond.

The solution: there are a few important tidbits that you should be aware of:

First, you can only ask someone to repeat something twice. After this, you look like a fool. When someone is telling a detailed story, asking someone to repeat a line of the story, twice, every thirty seconds can proove to be as annoying as PeeWee Herman’s laugh. Its best  to just admit to yourself you won’t catch the story and use this as an opportunity to work on your soothing sounds of understanding.

Second, be wary of responding with the standard “yeah, great” or “oh.” If someone just told you about loosing all their money in a pyramid scheme and you respond “great” or “oh”, you may be confused with a grade A douche. Perhaps even an A+ douche.

We see only one possible solution to this situation. After your friend looks at you for a response, nod with an inquisitive and thoughtful look on your face and then say “You know, this story really reminds me of my friend Paul. I think he would really appreciate what you just said, you would really like him.”

Potential future awkward, you friend asks you to meet this Paul character. Say he is working overseas with an NGO and won’t be back for years. Bonus points here because you have compared your friend to Paul, the generous creature who devotes his life to those less fortunate.





Situation #22 – Nothing to say

9 07 2008

The situation: You’re with a group of people, who all seem to know everything there is to know about carbon nanotube windmills. Huh? You have little conversation to offer and you can’t even think of any questions to ask. Time is dragging on: you feel as though you have had a slightly frightened look of puzzlement on your face for at least three weeks. What do you do?

The solution: Grab hold of any word someone says and use it to jumpstart story-time…about your awesomeness. “You know, those nanotubes remind me of the time I was surfing, it was tubular.”

Don’t have a good story? Well, just make it up; however, we advise to not tell a story about adventures based off a television show. Someone may have seen that episode of Perfect Strangers when Larry and Balki become invincible (alas…it was all a dream). Need a fake name for your story? Just look around you, pick the first thing you see and then add man. Now you have a valid last name. “Oh, my old friend Terry Phoneman, “I was palling around with Dan Brandyman”. Gold.





Situation #20 – The sidewalk shuffle

4 07 2008

The situation: On some sidewalk somewhere right now, there are two people experiencing the awkwardness of the sidewalk shuffle. The sidewalk shuffle you say? Well, picture yourself humbly sauntering down a sidewalk. Then there appears another humble saunterer, coming in the opposite direction. You both walk in your chosen direction, but end up on the same sidewalk spot, needing to get around each other to continue with your walking. You attempt to do the side-walk (on the sidewalk, get it?) and shift over to the left to move past this person, but, oh no, this devious creature has done the same! No problem, just move to the right side to get around the walker. This person must be related to Miss Cleo, they also just moved to the right side ,as if they could read your mind . This goes on until it is like you are doing some sort of perverse mirror dance from the 80s with your fellow walker. So, how do you get out of this unplanned disco move?

The solution: There is only one way to get out of this awkward situation, and that is to call a spade a spade. Assume a middle sidewalk position, and with some enthusiastic jazz hands say to the person :  “Thanks for the dance!” and then blast past them. For added effect, chasse your way away.





Situation #18 – The sneeze

29 06 2008

The situation: You are sitting in a meeting, trying to look important and smart. You’ve got that puzzled look, the chin resting in one hand and you are twirling a fountain pen in your other hand. Then you feel it. Its coming. You are about to sneeze.

Now, the first piece of awkwardness to avoid when sneezing is the audibility of your sneeze. You don’t want to be too quiet…quiet sneezers seem like they’ve got something to hide. You don’t want to be so loud some people think you are practicing your best Chewbacca moan. This is something we advise you to practice home, not in front of the mirror.

However, the foremost awkward event that can arrive from a sneeze is, dare we say, when your launch a rocket, of the snot variety. There is no pretty way to put it. You sneeze, you got nose contents in your hands. What are you going to do?

Solution: The solution to this quandary involves multiple steps. All steps must be completed in order and none are to be left out.

  1. Clasp your hands together, nose contents within, and regain your puzzled yet interested look.
  2. Count to 10 in your head (with those Mississippi’s!). Maintain your interested look.
  3. Ensure all nose contents are shuffled over to your right hand. Do so without unclasping your hands.
  4. Now, oh, it seems your ankle is itchy! Reach down with your right hand and scratch your ankle (so it seems to the public eye). While doing so, wipe former nose contents onto your sock.
  5. Clear! Congratulations, you have avoided awkwardness!




Situation #16 – Everything is broken.

23 06 2008

The situation: You’re visiting a friend, and as she steps into the kitchen to get you a glass of water, you decide to examine the finery in her china cabinet. (Yes, you have very classy friends. We know.) And then just like Sir Isaac Newton sitting under his apple tree on that fateful day, you too become suddenly and acutely aware of the Earth’s gravitational pull. However, unlike Sir Isaac Newton, you are not graced with a scientific discovery worthy of universal acclamation, but instead just a broken vase. How should you go about telling your friend what you’ve done?

The solution:

1. If your friend has a pet, you are home free. Blame the pet! And don’t feel badly about it, not even for a second. Pets have a pretty cushy existence, you see. In addition to the regular walks and treats, people actually bend down and clean up their waste. Think about that for a minute. And all they have to do in exchange is look cute and accept the occasional blame for an unfortunate odor or a broken lamp. Besides, pets rarely get punished for breaking things – they’re too cute to punish.

If there are no pets around, you’ll have to be a little more creative.

2. Act as though you have just done her an indisputably large favour.

“Great news! You know that Faberge egg that never quite fit with your décor? Well, …”

3. Frame it as retribution for some long-forgotten and petty wrongdoing on the part of your friend.

“Remember when we were in second grade and you started a rumor that I still liked to eat glue and I was called ‘Elmer’ for the rest of the year? Well, I broke one of your family heirlooms, so I think we’re even now.”





Situation #15 – The window seat bathroom run

20 06 2008

The situation: You’re sitting comfortably in the window seat, watching Hugh Grant bat his eyelashes through the in-flight feature, when suddenly that latte you enjoyed in the airport lounge decides to beat a hasty path towards the exit, if you know what we mean. Unfortunately your seatmate has been lulled to sleep by all that British charm. The seatbelt sign is off, and yet you remain captive, a prisoner of someone else’s sleep-wake cycle. How to escape?

The solution:

Step 1. Flail about violently in your seat. If you have a book with you, throw it into your seatmate’s lap.

Step 2. Repeat step 1 as necessary until he/she begins to stir awake. Once you’ve thrown your book, you will have to start throwing other objects, such as headphones, or possibly magazines.

Step 3. Say the following: “Wow! You actually slept through all that turbulence? Well, now that you’re up, I’m going to squeeze past to get to the bathroom.”