Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

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Saturday

27

December 2014

2

COMMENTS

The Case of the Cutter at Dunkin Donuts

Written by , Posted in Blog, Social Issues

While much of Curb Your Enthusiasm’s humor is derived from the predicaments that Larry David gets himself into as a result of his inability to keep quiet when in the presence of a faux pas, we should take note that the world needs more people like him. Too often, we find the internet to be a dumping ground for instances where a person was wronged yet took to social media when the battle should have been waged in reality. Never being much of a hash tag activist myself, I decided to live the Larry David mantra and engage a man who wronged me at Dunkin Donuts.

The incident occurred at the Old Greenwich Dunkin Donuts, my personal favorite franchise of the popular Northeastern chain. I was second in line to a woman, who had finished her order and paid for it. The employee made the coffee and handed it to the woman, signifying a completed transaction to most who understand how businesses operate. Unfortunately for me, someone thought otherwise.

A man walked into the Dunkin Donuts and proceeded to the front of the counter. Being a regular at the establishment, the employee shot me a confused glance as I starred at the man, disdainful at the thought that this man had clearly not paid attention in kindergarten on the day that the concept of lines was explained. Before the employee could explain the breach of etiquette, the man said, “I’m with her,” pointing at the woman, who was presumably married to this rude piece of existence.

He proceeded to order a bacon, egg, and cheese. Patrons of Dunks know that these sandwiches are not only gross; they slow down the line especially when only one person is behind the counter. This being around noon and Old Greenwich not being a peak location at all hours of the day, this sandwich meant that it was going to be another couple of minutes before yours truly could get his large iced dark roast with a splash of milk and one sugar.

The problem was, being “with her” no longer signified anything for this man. The woman had her coffee and had already paid for it. This was a separate transaction. Sharing a bed with the woman who had just ordered does not represent a sense of ownership over all future orders at a business. But this man was either not aware of this or did not care. Perhaps a mixture of both?

Now I found myself in a predicament of my own. The employee had clearly demonstrated that she too, felt this man was demonstrating an abuse of power over his wife’s limited domain. But she’s a coffee shop employee. Not Pontius Pilate. This was my battle.

The man was pacing around Dunkin Donuts in the long duration between ordering a gross breakfast sandwich and receiving it. When we made eye contact, I decided to air my grievance at this abhorrent human being. Little did he know he was in for a bout of social justice.

“You know when you pay separately, you’re not really together,” I said to the man. Firm, but non confrontational. I wanted to give the man a chance to right his wrong. Sadly that was not to be.

He looked bewildered at this long haired brightly dressed young chap who called him out on his nonsense. “It’s not a big deal,” he said to me, clearly showing that he has final say on my opinions.

“Well, you ordered a sandwich which takes a couple of minutes to make,” I replied. Pausing for a second, I added, “I could have ordered and left in this amount of time. You sir, are a cutter.”

Those words must have melted into his heart of stone for he did not respond. He walked to the other side of the Dunks, clearly saddened by his bruised ego. His wife stood a few feet away from her, possibly contemplating divorce after witnessing what the public perceives of the man she agreed to unite with in Holy matrimony. We’ll never know.

I got an apology only from the employee, who hadn’t done anything to be sorry for and could not speak for the man, who declined to voice a further opinion of his actions. She and I have joked about the incident several times since. It’s good that laughter could come out of tragedy for I will never get those minutes back. I only hope that when I’m old and on my deathbed, thoughts of bacon, egg, and cheese’s are far from my mind.

I suppose the question you might ask is, was it worth it? Was the man right in saying it wasn’t a big deal? Should I have kept quiet with regards to the injustice?

The answers to those are yes, no, and no.

I feel great about the whole thing. That probably wouldn’t have been the case if I had just tweeted about it. The man did something wrong and now he knows that it didn’t go unnoticed. If the whole world were this vigilant, there would be far fewer things to complain about. Catharsis was achieved. Maybe that man changed his ways or maybe he was kicked out his house. Let’s hope he doesn’t cut again.

If you see something, say something.

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Wednesday

17

December 2014

0

COMMENTS

Ranking The Office Christmas Episodes

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture

While Christmas episodes are common for many TV shows, there aren’t too many that have them as seasonal mainstays. Perhaps it’s especially appropriate considering the original UK series ended with a Christmas Special. Christmas at Dunder Mifflin represented a time for humor, plenty of feels, and an excuse to congregate under the mistletoe, while usually drunk off of vodka or beet wine.

This list ranks the seven Christmas episodes. Note seasons one and four did not have Christmas themed episodes, as one was only six episodes and four was during the Writer’s Strike. As with all of these sorts of lists, the rankings are somewhat subjective. I encourage you to debate my findings in the comment section if you disagree.

  1. “Christmas Wishes” (Season 8)

Surprise, surprise! “Christmas Wishes” was actually a high point in an otherwise terrible season, but it pales in comparison to most of the other Christmas episodes. The Jim/Dwight plotline deserves credit for putting a new spin on a tired gag, but ultimately the Erin/Andy mess drags the episode down.

It’s easy to forget how much of the show’s later seasons were tied up in the Andy/Erin romance, which was never as interesting as the show wanted it to be (it’s also featured prominently in “Secret Santa” and “Dwight Christmas,” despite the latter’s lack of Andy). This is an entertaining episode, but it’s easy to see why it’s at the bottom of the list.

  1. “Moroccan Christmas” (Season 5)

“Moroccan Christmas” is another Christmas episode that doesn’t get much of its laughs from its A plot. Michael’s attempted intervention for Meredith wasn’t as funny as it could’ve been and probably should have been relegated to a different episode. Phyllis seems somewhat uncharacteristically mean in this episode, though as “Secret Santa” also shows that this tended to happen in isolated cases.

Dwight’s unicorn toy plotline provides the laughs from a storyline perspective. This episode is fueled by superb Kevin and Creed lines and also from Michael’s attempt to invent new mixed drinks such as the orange vod-jus-ka. Depending on how you feel about Andy, his embarrassing moments are also quite entertaining.

  1. “Classy Christmas” (Season 7)

Being hour-long episodes, “Classy Christmas” and “A Benihana Christmas” are somewhat difficult to place as it’s harder to compare them to the regular length episodes. “Classy Christmas” is light on laughs as it focuses primarily on the return of Holly. As her return signaled the beginning of the end for Michael, this is certainly understandable.

It’s effective in its mission to tug at the heartstrings. The Jim/Dwight dynamic is hilarious while the Daryl subplot falls flat. Ultimately there’s enough here to like, but not as much to love. Besides Jim freaking out in the parking lot as he anticipates a mass snowballing from Dwight of course.

  1. “Secret Santa” (Season 6)

This might be the best episode of the Michael and Jim as co-manager era, depending on how you feel about the morality of “Scott’s Tots.” Michael’s reaction to Phyllis as Jesus is Michael at his best. Angela supporting the presence of Jesus at the party was also a great subtle gag.

The episode also does a great job of showcasing some of Dwight’s subtleties. He’s not sparring with Jim or acting especially crazy, but he’s entertaining nonetheless. Phyllis threatening to bring Bob Vance into the equation was also hysterical. The big news of the sale of Dunder Mifflin was a nice touch and didn’t take away from the jokes at all.

  1. “A Benihana Christmas” (Season 3) 

The other Christmas episode to feature Michael feeling sad about a woman is also the other double length episode. This episode is also the first to really showcase Andy’s true character to someone other than Jim and Karen (which isn’t always a good thing). Jim and Pam pull off one of the most memorable Dwight pranks, which was surprising since Jim was dating Karen at the time.

The Jim/Pam tension along with Michael’s somber tone had a lot of potential to derail the laughs. But they’re pretty consistent through the extended episode. The highlight is without a doubt when Michael marks his date with a sharpie to tell her apart from her friend.

  1. “Dwight Christmas” (Season 9)20t49ix

This is the pick I’m going to get the most slack for without a doubt. While the show took a dive after Michael left, season 9 had quite a few standout episodes. But with the exception of the finale, none were as memorable as “Dwight Christmas.”

This episode serves as both a tribute to past Christmas episodes and a reminder as to why these were so cherished in the first place. Dwight’s “traditional” family Christmas was hilarious and the Jim/Pam moments were their highpoint in an otherwise shaky season for the couple. Daryl also shines as he drunkenly broods over Jim’s apparent neglect with regards to the Philadelphia sports job.

  1. “Christmas Party” (Season 2)

This one doesn’t need much explaining. Yankee swap is classic Michael as is his overspending on a gift coupled with his disdain for Phyllis’ homemade oven mitt. Creed’s old man coat rivals Kevin’s foot bath (a gift for himself) for best gift of the episode.

“Christmas Party” also features some of the best Jim/Pam moments and played a big part in their eventual courtship. This episode is more than just the best Christmas episode, it’s one of the best of the whole series. The only thing that could have made it better is if Dwight kept the teapot to use nasally in future episode.

So there are the rankings. Disagree with my order? Comment below. Since it’s the Holiday season, I figure I can get away with pointing out that my book, Five College Dialogues, makes a great gift. Cheers!

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Thursday

4

December 2014

0

COMMENTS

Christmas in ‘Nam: An Alternative Pageant Narrative

Written by , Posted in Blog

The Christmas Pageant play is a staple in churches around the world. While the second greatest story ever told (naturally deferring to the original Star Wars trilogy) certainly deserves such widespread attention, I thought a modern update might be appropriate for children to perform this Christmas. Enjoy!

Narrator: December 24th, 1974. Joseph, an American journalist, leads Mary, a pregnant nurse, away from the swamps of Saigon, where U.S. forces are under siege from the Viet Cong. Mary fled her company once for fear of punishment and for the safety of her unborn child and found Joseph, whose anti-war sentiments lead him to be cast away from the company he was covering. Fearing the birth is nearing, Mary and Joseph trudge through the swamps in search of shelter.

Mary: Joseph, it’s dangerous here. Are you sure you know where you’re going?

Joseph: Yes, we trudged through this area a couple of weeks ago. I remember it vividly. There’s an abandoned camp somewhere around here. We should be able to find shelter and maybe a MRE if we’re lucky. Those things last forever you know.

Mary: And what if we’re captured?

Joseph: What would the enemy want with a reporter and a pregnant nurse? It’s the Americans we should be worried about. They’ll spin this somehow. Say I knocked you up and hang me.

Mary: Oh Joseph, you can’t think like that. You’ll be a hero when we get home. Everyone will know it.

Joseph: Yea that’ll be the day. Look, up ahead. A tent. Maybe someone will help.

Joseph approaches the tent. An old Vietnamese man appears.

Joseph: Excuse me. My wife and I are traveling and need shelter for the night. Is there room in your tent for us?

Old Man: No. No room.

Joseph: Please, she’s pregnant. I’ll help you forage for food and firewood. Just let us stay.

Old man pulls out a gun

Old Man: I said no room. Go away American scum.

Mary: What did he say?

Joseph: He said he was having people over to watch M*A*S*H later and doesn’t have any room for us.

Mary: Oh dear. I don’t think I can go on much longer.
Joseph: We’ll find something Mary. I know we will.

Joseph and Mary walk for a few steps until they see a makeshift campsite.

Mary: Joseph, I think I see something up ahead. It looks like a campsite of sorts.

Joseph: It looks too disorganized to be the work of the army. Unless something happened. I don’t like the looks of it.

Mary: We have to try. The baby is coming soon. I have a good feeling about it.

They approach the campsite. An army officer appears from a tent.

Soldier: Civilians? What are you doing out here? It’s dangerous.

Joseph: Please, my wife is pregnant and we need shelter. Do you have any room in your tent?

Solider: This is a warzone. The Viet Cong could show up at any moment. An outpost is no place for a pregnant woman.

Joseph: We have nowhere else to go. Please. We’re tired and hungry.

Soldier: Well all right. There’s room under the tarp for two more. It’s not much, but it’ll keep you dry.

Narrator: Mary gave birth in the middle of the night to a baby boy. Joseph, the soldiers, and various wildlife gathered to celebrate the joyous occasion. Danger lurked as the Vietcong approached.

Scout: Sir. The enemy is approaching.

Soldier: Load up men. Let’s do what God put us here to do. Wait until they’re out of the swamp.

Splashes in the swamp are heard as the Vietcong approach

Solider: Fire on my mark.

The Vietcong cry out

Angel: Don’t shoot. I bring you tidings of great joy. The boy that was born here tonight, the baby to be known as Jesus. He is the savior that will end this war and all wars after it. Lay down your weapons and share the good news.

Solider: We must go to command and tell them what we have seen.

The Vietcong nod in agreement. A rustling in the bush is heard. Three men appear.

Red Cross Volunteers: Don’t worry. The Angel guided us to you. We bring the gifts of Playboy magazines, MREs, and toilet paper.

Mary: Hosanna in the highest!

The cast sings, “Light my Fire” by The Doors

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