Word – A St. Louis Comedy e-Zine – January 2018


Break Down of A Bad Compliment

By: Jake Beckman

(originally published on postgradproblems.com)

By no means am I a stellar employee. I spend most of my days at work trying to hover right between levels of consciousness. There’s this way that I position myself where I put my ass towards the front of my chair so I’m slouched backwards, and I put one hand on the mouse and the other on my keyboard so it looks like I’m working. Then I zone out and keep my eyes half open with a milky glaze and I kind of fall half asleep. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Looks like I’m productive, but I do nothing. I don’t hate it.

That being said, my numbers are solid and the higher ups are happy with the quality of my work. If they knew how I spent my time, I think it would be rational for them to give me a standing ovation. One boss though… this guy’s kind of a dick, and I don’t think he knows it.

I was listening to a solid Podcast about The Bachelorette, fajitas, and Miatas when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I pulled out my earbuds and turned around to some corporate fat cat with a Fuckboi haircut, and he said, “Hey Jake, I’m trying to compliment people more often, so I just wanted you to know that I think you’re pretty competent. I wouldn’t have thought that when I first met you.” I told him I appreciated his appreciation and went on with my day. Then I realized… that was a pretty mean thing to say. Let’s break this “compliment” down.

I got to give him props. He got my name right. For the first 3 months I worked here, he called me Jason, John, Jon, Jerry, and Jack. Then for the next 6 months, he didn’t talk to me at all. So I was pretty excited when he actually called me by the right name. That was neat.

Then he followed it up by saying, ”…I’m trying to compliment people more often…” Did he… did he just compliment himself? Yes. Yes, he did. He acknowledged a personal flaw within himself and corrected it. He didn’t need to tell me that; he’s just a narcissistic dick. As it turns out, that was actually the only compliment that was said in his entire spiel. Congrats to you, shit brain: you’re a good person. At least someone made it out of this confrontation with undeserved dignity.

Next up was, “…I wanted to let you know I think you’re pretty competent.” Wow. So… okay… fuck me right? It’d be one thing to say, “I think you’re competent,” but no, he even put it one step below that just by adding the word “pretty.” That’s the most minor thing he could say to me. Don’t beat around the bush, just tell me like it is. “Jake I think it’s pretty great that you know how to use a computer. Hell, you even know the ENTIRE alphabet. Hats off to you man.” Get the fuck outta here. Like… I’m not trying to brag, but I’m on a pretty solid streak of not walking into work, tripping, falling and looking down and it’s because my shoes are tied together. What more can I do to be considered a fully-fledged competent person? Do I wear a bib when I eat? Well yeah. Sometimes, but still… fuck him.

He capped off his commendation with a straight up insult. “I wouldn’t have thought that when I first met you.” What the hell did I do wrong on my first day? It’s not like with walked in with a propeller beanie, a tie that went down to my nipples, a shirt tucked into my underwear, and pants that only went down to the top of my ankles. I imagine that when I walked in he looks to the guy next to him and says, “Hold on, did that moron DRIVE here? Who the hell gave him a license? His goddamn eyes are crossed! Dude’s mom probably still puts his letters to Santa in the mailbox.” Leave my mom out of your hypothetical conversation you dick head. Also yes, my roommates still do that for me. I don’t know man… this dude’s beefin’ and he just used a Gallagher sized meat tenderizer to beat the shit out of me.

I just sat there for the rest of the day like George Costanza thinking of what would’ve been a good comeback. “Thanks, man. Tell your therapist that next session she should work on your overwhelming need to have a 24-year-old think you’re a rad dude. Also, you have a raging boner right now. I’m not sure why, because you just jerked off all over me.” I should’ve said that… I should’ve, but I didn’t.

Instead, I started putting intentional typos in my emails so he has a harder time understanding what I’m trying to say. I know it’s completely counterproductive and actually proves his point, but he’s already made up his mind. I guess we’ll have to see what my next employee evaluation has in store for me. I can see it now, “Jake Beckman: Wears Velcro shoes because he tripped over himself in the doorway last March. Basic grasp of the English language. Sometimes forgets to wear a belt. Overall- kind of competent.”

Leveling Up

By: Christine Compas

How do you prepare for the next level?

You pray.

Asking the universe for guidance, for direction,

and clarity around your path.

You meditate.

Find comfort in the silence, focus on your breath,

and ask yourself what you seek to know.

You listen.

Through the silent mind comes the voice of universal knowing.

You trust.

Trust that voice. Trust your path. Trust that the universe

will never turn its back on you.

You know.

Remaining certain in what you truly want, and never doubt that

what you seek is making its way towards your life.

Eyes forward.

If you are not moving ahead, you ARE sliding back.

This is the fight of our generation. This is our war.

It is within our own minds, against our own selves,

our ability to see the truth,
and our ability to keep shining our light

… no matter how dark the night.



Cutest Proposal Ever

By: Rima Parikh and Justin Luke

Sports Nuggets: An On-the-Couch Look into Sports History

By: Sharon Hazel

Spotlight:  Plaxico Burress, former Wide Receiver of the New York Football Giants

How do you come back from shooting yourself in the ass?  How do you shake off the humiliation of going from playing in the most popular sport & city in America, to guarding your nuts in the shower at Sing Sing?  How do you rub some dirt on that. Pride, machismo, and dare I say a little arrogance was what Plaxico Burress was feeling just prior to his gun going off in his pants at a popular New York City nightclub on November 28, 2008.  The security dude had just offered Burress and crew (homies, dogs, brothers from other mothers…) free access to the upstairs VIP room, you know, to get away from the common folk. The New York Football Giants were fresh off one of the best Super Bowl wins of all time so the players were literally giants in that town. Then, in the blink of an eye, a very very bad decision about a wardrobe accessory changed a young man’s life forever.

Ironically it was a slip going up some stairs by the graceful wide receiver that jarred the gun from his britches. More ironically the gun went off during a security escort up to the VIP room to get away from actively enthusiastic crowd. After the whoops, slip, spillage of high priced beverage, and catching his balance, Plaxico all of a sudden had an unlicensed firearm in his sock. This must have happened all the time to Burress because he reacted cool as a cucumber. He felt no need to alert anyone (homies, dogs, brothers from other mothers…) of the newly unsecured and exposed killing tool amongst them. He just calmly bent over to pick it up and bang.  I wish we could measure the speed at which a man sees his professional NFL career flash in front of his eyes. One second king, the next criminal.

After the attempted murder of his butt, Plaxico was rushed to the hospital.  There he had to endure perplexed and disgusted gaze after perplexed and disgusted gaze from New York City hospital workers as the came to check out the Einstein of a football player. Perhaps more uncomfortable for Plaxico, was living through session after session of strangers hands being all over his ass.  Heightening the humiliation was explaining to everyone from his mom to his personal trainer how he pulled the move. Piece de resistance of it all:  Plaxico didn’t have a license to carry the gun.  So in addition to all the humiliation, he had to serve 20 months jail time. Mr. Burress played two more years in the NFL and he was done. But now he is back. He has committed to coaching and this year Arizona Cardinals gave him a Coaching Intern position for the 2017/2018 season. He is officially back in the NFL and ready to make an impact. Hope he does well.  Hope he doesn’t mess it up. You know I have to say it….hope he doesn’t shoot himself in the ass.


“Fried Ya” By: Matt Wayman


By: Brendan Olsen

Broken notes sing asunder

Chords crushed and rhythm blundered

A singsong tone not but timid

Melancholy melody broken and rigid

A course chorus flows, like sand

Through refrain, again, out of hand

Butchered beats with unkept time

Repressing, manifesting not a rhyme

A hymn that echoes for all to hear

A carol cursed, brings not but fear

For all have heard this ode, it seems

The Undying desire of undreamt dreams

Twenty-two Bucks, Two Large Pizzas, and My Innocence

By: Bryan Bushong

I talk about delivering pizza in my stand up, and all of those stories are true. This one is true as well, but I don’t think it’s funny enough to tell on stage.

I started at Domino’s in 1986. Through luck or misfortune, in 1987 I was “promoted” from driver to second assistant. Second assistant was a bone they would toss you in the old days when employees could still be duped into believing that management was a desirable place to be. “We don’t think you’re ready to be a first assistant (read: “real assistant manager”) because we would like to maintain the illusion that we have very high standards and all of these things that you witness operationally are actually aberrations and not the status quo, but if we can squeeze more work out of you without paying you more, we will–and here’s how.”
So this rank of second assistant was established as a baby-step to real management. It did come with a substantial raise, though. I went from 3.60 to 3.85 per hour. I was more likely (but not guaranteed) to get the hours I wanted, subject, of course, to the preferences of everyone else who had been there longer than me. Thank God for turnover: I was moving up the seniority list.
In my traditional style, I will preface this story with another story. Earlier I had been making 3.45 per hour, and doing a good job. The manager called me into the office about 7:30 on a Saturday night for a quick meeting. He thought I was doing a good job, too, and told me I was getting a raise. Don’t mention it to anyone, no one else is getting one. Fifteen cents–
In 1987, at Domino’s, in a driving position where you receive tips, fifteen cents was pretty good. At least, they made it sound good, and I bought.
Later in the evening, around 9 pm, he called me in the office again. He closed the door again. He said, “I need to ask you to not get high while you’re delivering anymore, okay? We can smell it on you, and we got a call from a customer.”

You know pot makes you paranoid, right? Imagine how busted I felt at that moment, and yet–I was being let off with a warning. I answered, “I understand. No more. Sorry.”
And I did understand, too. I was going to have to be much, much more careful from now on.

That was the middle of summer. A few months later, I was a second assistant. None of the prestige of being an actual assistant manager, I was instead a special grunt, a go-to. A driver with a stripe. Need something done that no one else wants to do? Here I am. Deliver a free pizza for no reimbursement? As you wish. Clean the bathroom? Oh, oh, pick me, pick me. Busy, and need help? Just pull me off the road (where I was making money) and let me help inside, because you didn’t schedule or plan correctly. Now I can watch all the money go out the door without me. Then piss on my face, apparently I asked for it.
Another perk I enjoyed was the fact that I was obligated to come in if they called and needed help. Domino’s Pizza had the 30 minute guarantee at that time. In the Wild West that was the 80s, instead of 30 minutes or 3 bucks off, we were 30 or free. FREE. Time, in a very literal and stress-inducing sense, was money. It was also your lifeblood, your career, and your eventual downfall. I have quite literally seen upwards of 100 managers and assistant managers come and go. Some with violence. Anger at the impossible standards we were expected to keep.

So try this, just for fun: Start at your house. Drive randomly to four different houses, the last being 2.5 miles from where you started. Doesn’t seem like far, does it? Pull into the driveway, or just stop, at each one, for a (timed) 45 seconds.

How long did it take you, from start to finish? How about, instead of random houses, we have houses that you had an address for, and had to find? Do that in 12 minutes. The speed limits, by the way, vary from 25 to 35 miles per hour.
I did this, on a regular basis. This is how you get to know an area really well. I swear, on more occasions than I can recall, this would happen: I would pull up to the door in front of the store. The manager would be waiting outside for me with a stack of hotbags, 3 or 4 of them (In theory, under the rules, two at a time was the max). He would open my door, throw them in, and tell me what the first one was (just the street name) so I would know which direction to turn out of the parking lot–and that was all. This was the late 80s, before smart phones and GPS and navigation apps. I did not have a street guide in my car, either. I just knew. There was a map on the wall, in the store…but after a year, I didn’t need it.

And he would tell me how old they were, too. “First one is 25. 22 and 17.” I would make them all before their 30 minutes was up. Domino’s had this thing called “HTA”: heightened time awareness. They used it in the store, to get the pies made and in the oven as soon as possible. But we had it on the street, too. We weren’t necessarily speeding, but we were not wasting time.

My whole point in laying this out is to explain how the 30-minute guarantee and the culture around it related to my robbery.

Monday, December 21st, 1987. It snowed about 2 inches, the first snow of the season. I got a call, can I come in tonight? Crap. Well, okay. I have a personal policy of not turning down work unless I have specific plans. Extra hours, extra cash, and hopefully tips would be good in the snow. It should only be through dinner rush, about three hours, right?
It’s almost dark by the time I get in at 4:30. I’m taking runs, making decent money, and making drops like I should. (For the lay people: Drivers typically carry less than 20 bucks. After each delivery, drivers drop their excess cash in a lockbox. It’s a habit. We do it every time as required by company policy and reminded by signs everywhere.)
Our supervisor, Scott Wilson, was in the store during our rush, all gung ho, and he was taking a few runs for us also. He was actually “up,” in a sense, but he saw the direction they were going and being a supervisor he could drop in or out of the line up as he pleased, so he casually sauntered over to the makeline to “help” inside for a few rounds, until a good run came up. The runs up were Hallwood and Knoll. Of course he passed them over. That is the area west of 367, in Moline Acres and towards Ferguson. Knoll would be first, on the way up to Hallwood. I grabbed my slips, checked for sodas, and hit the road.
I pull up to the first house, and it is dark. No lights on inside, no porch light, no car in the driveway. My training taught me that, in theory, you don’t go up to a door like this; you go to a payphone and call. The nearest one was only three blocks away, in front of a small hardware store. But time and experience had worn me down. In just a year, I had dealt with so much of this, that I called it for exactly what I thought it to be, what I had seen so much of before: They are home, but didn’t think enough to turn a light on. I just shook my head.

I pull the car in the driveway at an angle and turn the high beams on the door. I get out, look around, and quickly I’m up at the door. Knock, wait, knock, wait for a 10-count. Knock again, each with increasing volume. I check the address to make sure I’m at the right place. I knock one more time, then turn to leave, shaking my head again. They are wasting my time and cutting into my money. I was engaged, and we were doing our own wedding. Every dollar was precious.
Just as I crossed the driveway, a young black man came out from around the side of the house. I was initially startled, but he had is hands in his pocket like he was reaching for cash. He had his head down. He mumbled, “How much is it?”
I felt a small wave of relieve that I wasn’t about to be robbed. I raised the bag to get a look at the price, and just as I did, I heard a slight rustle behind me. Before I could turn, I was tackled, low and illegal, into the garage door. My legs buckled as the pizza bag flew out of my hands and my glasses came off my face. When I tried to sit up, I got pummeled by several black fists on the top of my head and face. All I could do was cover.
A voice above me said, “Give me your money!”
In one quick movement, I had it out of my pocket and over my head. It was grabbed, and I was hit some more, and kicked in the stomach a few times.
“That ain’t all of it!”
From under my arms, I said, “Yeah it is!”
They hit and kicked me again quickly, then took off. I looked up, but everything was blurry. My face was cold and my cheeks burned hot at the same time. I heard a voice say, “Grab the pizza, grab the pizza? Go! Go!”
I think I pissed myself.

I sat there, but not for long, as I was scared they would come back. I looked around and found my glasses in the snow. I got up, got in the car and locked the door. What to do now? I knew a drug dealer around the corner, named Rodney. I drove to his house and he let me use the phone, but then asked me to go outside before the cops came. However, I was so indoctrinated by Domino’s Pizza about what was important, that I called Domino’s first. The manager, Tom, answered the phone.
I remember the words I spoke exactly: “Tom! This is Bubba. You need to remake Hallwood, I just got robbed on Knoll.” Am I a company man, or what? After the initial questioning, I asked about what to do next and what would happen. I then called the police, and they came out. I rode in their car to the scene, where tracks in the snow indicated that there had been three of them.
I then followed them in my car to the police station, made a report, and was asked to describe them. I just looked at them. “I didn’t even know how many there were.” After that fruitless endeavor, I drove to the nearest hospital to get checked out. I had to call Tom again from there so they could talk to him and verify Worker’s compensation information. I waited and waited, and then finally they “saw” me, in the loosest possible sense of the word. Someone took some X-rays of my head, and after more waiting a doctor looked at them and says, “No concussion. No broken bones. You’re fine.”

I didn’t feel fine. I went to the bathroom and got a look at myself in the mirror. My ribs hurt, they were bruised and I didn’t remember why. There was a bloody cut from eyebrow to forehead, black eye, bruised and bloody lip, bruised forehead, bloody nose. Bruised cheek.
–Bruised soul–
Did they give me a band aid, or a towel to wipe off with? Not so much as a “have a nice night” or a “kiss my ass,” and they turned their back on me. I guess I was free to go.

I finally get back to the store, where I report to Tom what happened and clean up, and then we check out my cash for the night. I had had 22 bucks on me before, plus the two large pizzas, plus the hot bag. I was reimbursed for 20 of the 22 dollars per company policy, and as an added bonus, I was not charged for the pizzas or the hotbag that was stolen. Then I clock out. I got to stay on the clock for the duration of the ordeal, but Tom filled out an exemption form so that the three and half hours I was on the clock at 3.85 an hour but not actually delivering didn’t count against his labor goal for the month. In the meantime, he had also called my fiancé, against my wishes (but probably a good idea).

A few days later I saw the supervisor. He was a bit spooked by it. Those were his runs, technically. “That could have been me!” he said.

“Yeah, but it wasn’t.” He didn’t hear me. Somehow he managed to make it about himself.

I was able to take some time off, but I after that I got right back on that damn horse. I was then—and remain still to this day—skittish and hyper aware of my surroundings when I’m on a delivery.

The sympathy from my fiancé faded with my scars, and no one wanted to hear about what happened. Just be normal, get over it—

I didn’t want to talk about it anyway. Not with these people. Not with anyone.

A few weeks later, I got a call from Rodney’s brother, Jerome. Remember Rodney–he let me use his phone? Jerome called me while I was at work. He said he knew who did it, he knew who robbed me. And he would tell me. But first, he wanted to be properly *compensated.* After all, he was putting himself out there, putting himself in danger by narcking on the perps. That had to be worth something. He wanted me to give him 20 bucks to tell me who they were.
I threw the phone against the wall.

Fifty Shades of Grey: A Chapter by Chapter Book Review

Chapter 1

By Shannon Yarbrough

So, in Chapter One we meet Anastasia Steele who is taking her college roomie’s place as an interviewer for an article for the college newspaper. She’s going to interview Christian Grey, the young CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. The roomie, Katherine Kavanagh, is sick with the flu.

The chapter starts something like this in my mind: Like, Oh My God, my hair is a mess, and Like Oh My God, I can’t believe Katherine is sick and I agreed to do this interview for her. Oh My God! Mr. Grey only hires blonds, and like, why are they all looking at me? Oh My God! Oh My God…like…he’s so like hot and stuff.

Mr. Grey works in a gray building with gray walls, wears a gray suit and has gray eyes.  Pull out the bottle of vodka and when you read Chapter 1, take a swig every time Ana calls something gray. Hell, take another swig every time she says his name which is gray with an e. Put the book down, sleep it off, and read Chapter 2 tomorrow.

I immediately hated Ana because she becomes a big boobed bumbling idiot, even tripping over herself as she enters Mr. Grey’s office because he is so hot.  She stutters. She catches her breath. She fidgets and can’t get the tape recorder set up. Meanwhile, Mr. Grey is smooth, collected, rich, conceited, pompous, confident…grab a thesaurus and insert your favorite adjectives here because E. L. certainly did. Too bad the best word she could come up for gray was gray (or Grey).

Ana proceeds with Katherine’s list of questions, one of which is Are you gay?  He says he isn’t and Ana fumbles all over herself some more.  OMG!  Crap…I can’t believe Katherine was going to ask that.  Like Oh My God, why didn’t I read these questions first!  Tee Hee!  Will you buy me something pretty?  

Ana turns down a tour of the building and an offer for an internship and says good-bye with a sexy look as the elevator closes on Mr. Grey.  Hollywood is gonna eat this shit up!

I laughed and threw the book down.  I was tired and my vodka bottle was empty.

For More Chapter Reviews CLICK HERE!!!


Anti Vaxxer

By: Matt Wayman