Families around the nation are reeling from a catastrophic weekend that claimed the lives of 1.2 million innocent boyfriends, and now victims’ loved ones are demanding that Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again answer for its crime.
“He told me before he left for the theater that he was confident enough in his masculinity to see it, so I am comforted to know that when his time came, he was not afraid, not in pain,” James Upton, who lost his brother to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, stated at a vigil to honor the fallen yesterday in New York City. His words echoed the refrain of so many who lost loved ones in the opening weekend: they tried to dissuade their loved ones from putting their lives in danger, but they soldiered on, eager to please their girlfriends.
Experts are stating that the combination of kaleidoscopic colors and sequins, feel-good sing-along tunes, and a sentimental, fairy tale story arc proved deathly: one of these on its own could trigger minor cardiac arrest, but combined, no mortal man stood a chance. Witnesses have reported that few men made it through the opening number, in which Lily James breaks out in a rousing rendition of “When I Kissed the Teacher” during her valedictorian speech at her Oxford graduation and leads her class, singing and dancing in their regalia, away on bicycles.
“Why the public wasn’t warned about this earlier I’ll never understand,” Upton said through tears, “But I only hope and pray that not one more family has to go through the pain of losing a loved one to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” Chants for Universal Studios to be brought to justice followed his speech as the crowd torched a giant disco ball.At press time, The Center for Disease Control issued a statement urging men not to view this summer flick, as it would almost certainly prove fatal.
Only choosing 8 Insta-worthy spots in Faribault was the hardest. Decision. Ever! But after much deliberation, we’ve settled on the must-see attractions sure to ignite your (and your Insta followers’) wanderlust. Rev up those engines (just like the trucks in Faribault are!) and make this adorable southern Minnesota town a destination on your summer road trip.
Throwback Thursday! Many consider video stores a thing of the past, but this real-life Family Video, located smack dab in the middle of downtown Faribault, is beating the odds and still renting out all the hottest new release DVDs. Your followers are going to be foaming at the mouth with jealousy for this one!
The Faribo Mall Merry-Go-Round
For just 75 cents, you can enjoy a one minute ride on the World’s Smallest Merry-Go-Round. And–life hack!–you can even take a photo on this jaw-dropping attraction for free. Forget your DMs–your Instagram followers will be practically hunting you down and stalking you to your place of work to find out where you found this thing.
The Pet Wash
You simply cannot pass through Faribault without stopping by the Pet Wash. Closed every day of the year, this local hot spot has inspired intrigue and curiosity, making each one of Faribault’s 23,000 residents wonder exactly which season the wash is closed for.
The Faribault Mural
This mural has been ‘grammed nearly as many times as LA’s Pink Wall, and the lines start early here, too. Be sure to arrive before 7:00 AM if you want the place to yourself!
The Signature Bar and Grill
All You Can Eat Cod Dinner Alert! The Signature Bar and Grill is the epicenter of Faribault’s nightlife, bingo, and seafood scene. Stop in Wednesday nights for bingo, Fridays for cod, and enjoy free popcorn and a rockin’ digital jukebox any night of the week. Just don’t be too disappointed if you have to endure 2 hours of heavy metal before Rock Lobster gets played!
4th Street Potholes
Oh, trust us–you’ll know when you hit these! Your car will probably break, giving you the perfect excuse to hop out and snap a pic with what has been called the Crater Lake of Minnesota. No shame in this Insta game!
River Bend Nature Center/Faribault Jail
Adventurous types can enjoy a scenic hike at River Bend Nature Center, but don’t go too far, or you’ll end up at the county jail. On second thought…Do it for the ‘Gram!
I see you standing in the corner. What, you think you’re invisible? Please. No way.
I’ve never seen you at Andy’s place before. I know; I would’ve remembered you. So what’s your story? Why are you hiding in the corner, a pretty thing like you?
A little shy? You shouldn’t be insecure. Sure, everyone here is beautiful. They practically sparkle. They’re intimidating. And yeah, I’ll be honest, you’ve got a different look. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re kind of plain.
Hey, wait! Where are you going? I told you not to take that the wrong way! I mean–you’re simple. Simply beautiful. Beauty in your simplicity, that’s what I mean. And that’s striking. When everyone else is shiny and sparkly, simplicity is striking. And you, my dear, strike me.
Especially because when I look closer, I can see you’re really complex. There’s writing all over you, but if you don’t look carefully, you’ll miss it. I bet a lot of people do that, don’t they? You’ve been through a lot, haven’t you?
God, I just want to get to know you! AHHHHhhhhhh!
You don’t talk a whole lot. That’s okay! No worries, no worries. Anyway, I just came over to say hi. And I wanted to say that you’re beautiful. The most beautiful in the room. Anyway, I can see you want to be left alone now. I’m gonna go dance. If you ever get your back up off the wall, come find me.
Ohhhhh! You wanted me to move the desk? Sorry! Got it.
Madison, WI–Exclaiming confidently that “one day she’d deal with that,” area woman Danielle Brook exited out of an email about her retirement fund and proceeded to browse Instagram’s “explore” page for 20 minutes while at work this afternoon. “I just figure that what I really need to do is sit back and let my 401K work for me,” she said. “I shouldn’t touch it too much.” Imagining that it’d be like when she’d write a paper in 10 point font and watch it magically grow when she enlarged it to 12 point font at the end, she assumed that one day decades from now she’d open her account and have plenty of money to retire comfortably. Her Instagram explore page, which featured photos of attractive women on beach vacations, tips about how to exercise the tricep, and videos of drunk college girls falling off tables, kept her blissfully entertained as her retirement fund exploded by $0.02 each month in the background, setting her up to retire by age 130.
“Okay, let’s use our magic powers. Everyone visualize the door opening and how much we’ll laugh when it pops open. Close your eyes. Ready?”
This is not something you want to hear your Airbnb host say.
“We’re doing it!”
This is not something you want to hear yourself saying in response, especially not with sincerity.
Nevertheless, it’s what my friend and I found ourselves doing one fine morning on our road trip. Our home for the night had been an Airstream trailer in our host’s backyard, and now we were stuck. And I had to pee.
Our stay in the trailer had started fabulously. We had hauled our luggage up the stairs, tossed our backpacks into the aisle, and collapsed on a daybed padded with throw pillows. (It was time for our daily siesta, after all!) Our host had explained through our email correspondence that the trailer didn’t have a functioning bathroom, but we could use the restroom in their home. We considered this nothing but a minor issue, especially taking into account how delightful our little spot was. Windows surrounded the bed, allowing the afternoon sun to warm my legs and the baby blue curtains to tickle them as they fluttered in the breeze. Pure bliss!
Unfortunately, my friends, bliss does not a story make.
The next morning, I woke up around 8:00 desperately needing to use the bathroom. I tip-toed over my friend, turned the trailer handle, and pushed.
No problem, I thought. Just push some of these levers. Surveying the locks and buttons on the trailer door, I might as well have been looking at an airplane control panel. There was one metal post sticking out, a “step on” switch (which I could only assume lowered and raised the trailer stairs), and three sliding locks scattered all over the general door region.
I messed with these as quietly as I could, my friend’s peaceful face only inches away from the chaos. I pulled a lock, turned the handle, and pushed and jiggled the door until the whole trailer shook. I walked away (as if trying to fake the door out into thinking it had a break), then ran back at the it, kicking and karate-chopping and throwing my being against it until it shook again and I thought my bladder might give out.
After a few minutes of red-faced, frustrating struggle, I resorted to waking my friend up. Half-asleep, she tried the handle and pushed. “Call our host,” she said, and turned back to sleep.
Twenty minutes later, an ethereal woman with a pile of brunette hair pulled into a giant looping bun walked into the backyard waving her arms. “What happened?” she called. “You’re locked in?”
“I don’t know what happened, but we closed the trailer door and now it won’t open. Maybe there’s some trick to un-jamming it?” I added, trying to not sound like the hysterical idiot I felt like.
“No, this has never happened before, and I don’t have a key,” she said, hands on hips, surveying the scene. She jiggled the handle and pulled, the rocking waking up my friend. That’s when she said it: those fateful words that told me we weren’t getting out anytime soon. “Okay, let’s use our magic powers. Everyone visualize the door opening, and how much we’ll laugh when it pops open. Close your eyes. Ready?”
“We’re doing it,” we responded. And we really were–with gusto. (Our swim coaches used to have our team do this while preparing for big races in high school. The idea wasn’t so different here, right?)
“Shoot,” she said. “Alright, I think there are some keys in the shelves beneath the sink. Why don’t you look there and drop them to me through the hole in the back closet.”
Twenty minutes and lots of rocking later, she surrendered. “My partner is on a bike ride, but he’ll be home in 45 minutes. He’s a man, he has keys; he’ll figure it out.” My friend and I agreed this sounded like a good enough plan and assured her that we had enough air.
Little did she know, air was not the issue. I didn’t want to come right out and admit to this perfect stranger how badly I needed to go to the bathroom, but unfortunately after another half-hour of waiting, I could bear it no longer. Next thing I knew, our hostess was attempting to shove a jar up that same tiny hole in the bottom of the trailer.
Another painful half-hour passed before her partner returned, first trying the keys, then busting out the power drill in attempts to remove the entire door. When that didn’t work, he tried lowering the trailer, but not before he popped up in the window to introduce himself. “Who am I rescuing here?” he asked. “Oh, hi! Nice to meet you.”
Down, down, down went the trailer, and my friend and I exchanged nervous glances as it pitched side to side. Is this really where we’d die? Not in a car accident or a plane crash, but in a tipped Airbnb?
Finally, our hostess decided we could USE THE EMERGENCY EXIT THAT HAD BEEN THERE THE WHOLE TIME, a process that involved nothing more than removing a piece of tape to release the back window’s screen. Whatever. We emerged triumphant but haggard like the rescued Chilean miners, tossing our backpacks out ahead of us and into the garden. Sweet freedom!
Our hostess thanked us for coming and apologized again for the inconvenience. We apologized for breaking her screen, which I suppose is just the Minnesotan in both of us, apologizing for something we really shouldn’t. Overall, I’d still consider our stay a good time, even one of my favorite places on the trip.
I do have to wonder if her guests for that night had to crawl through the back window, though.
I’m curious to hear about others’ experiences with Airbnb. Do y’all love it? Have you had a wild experience? Please, tell me!
Before I sign off, here are just some highlights of the trip, photo-style.
It’s hard to even think about my life pre-Delilah.
That’s what I call the period when I was aimless, self-destructive, and selfish: the pre-Delilah years. Let’s do a little thought experiment: squint or close your eyes and imagine a redheaded, overweight man (fine, boy), technically age 25. He’s living on your couch, promising for the fifth time that his brother is working a job out for him at the Vitamin Shoppe he owns, but the paperwork is still coming back. He only mutes the Rock of Love reruns on TV after two minutes of strained conversation to tell you this. No, he has not paid rent or helped out with groceries, and you’re pretty sure he’s using your toothbrush.
Open your eyes. Believe it or not, that guy was me.
So, Tinder Date, you must be wondering why I’m telling you this. You also must be curious as hell as to who on earth Delilah is! Don’t worry, I’m not married or anything. But I am committed.
Let me tell you another fun fact about me: growing up, I always wanted to adopt a highway.
My parents and I would drive down Highway 100 and see that glorious sign: Adopt Today! “Please! Please! Can we??” I’d beg, face pressed up against the window. My parents always shot down my requests with a huff. “They’re way too expensive,” they’d say, glancing into the rearview mirror. “I’m going to end up being the one taking care of the highway once you get sick of it.”
All through college I dreamt of adopting a highway too, but I knew it wasn’t time; I was too busy and broke from my studies.
After college, I hit that rough patch I mentioned earlier. My plans to rush straight to the Highway Adoption Center after graduation were thwarted when my Razor scooter flipped over a pothole and landed right on top of me. Yes, I was on my way to the adoption center. I don’t know if it was fate or divine intervention or sheer coincidence, but something stopped me that day, and I was doomed to weeks in the hospital room with a broken pelvis.
I felt totally depressed after that. Weeks on the couch recovering led to gaining weight, losing a job, and losing all hope. I saw my friends get married and have kids, and there I was still wasting away. I got kicked out of my parent’s place and my brother’s, and became estranged from numerous other friends.
It wasn’t until my last friend kicked me out that I realized what I had to do. As I rode along the road on my Razor scooter (I still didn’t have my driver’s license), I ran into that same pothole. My backpack broke my fall, and luckily, this time my scooter fell to the side. As I gathered my strength to sit up, I remembered what I’d been doing all those years ago when I first tumbled; I remembered where I’d been going. Immediately, I scooted back to my friend and asked for him to spot me on the adoption. Luckily, he said yes.
I was surprised by how many people had opinions about adopting a rescue. ‘Aren’t they dangerous?’ They’d ask. ‘Don’t they come with a lot of baggage?’ To them I say: who doesn’t?
Even more egregiously, some people even think I only adopted a highway to pick up ladies. Well, only time will tell if that works or not. Heh, heh.
Adopting this highway, Delilah, is hands-down the best decision I’ve made in my life. Pre-Delilah, I was drifting through life with no sense of responsibility or commitment to anyone else. As soon as I got her, I had to grow up and stop just thinking about myself. Soon I was up at 5 AM cleaning up her trash, and now I can’t imagine a life doing anything else. Seeing this change in myself, I really believe it’s no coincidence that highway is just “God” spelled backwards.
What’s more, I learned what unconditional love really feels like. Delilah accepts me when I’m blasting music with joy, moseying and feeling blue, and everywhere in between. She’s always there with arms wide open to bring me in. She calls me to be better than I am without even saying a word. That’s why I always try to be the person my highway thinks I am.
It’s a lot of work, but worth every second. When people ask me if I rescued my highway, I always have to pause and think. “No,” I tell them. “She rescued me.”
Whew, I’m so embarrassed! I’ve been talking about myself this whole time! Tell me, what do you do for a living?
This essay is dedicated to “JUST BILL,” the man who personally owns, cares for, and loves a stretch of Highway 97 in northern California (or was it southern Oregon??). Your highway was lookin’ good. We appreciate you!!
Nothing brings people together quite like being the victims of a shitshow, especially at the hands of Sun Country Airlines.
I saw this bonding of humanity first-hand yesterday when I flew out of the Humphrey Terminal, or “the small terminal,” as it is informally known. This terminal is a joy because once you exit security, it takes maximum 5 minutes to get to your gate. There’s no tram to catch, no moving walkways, no stress. It feels like you’re in Margaritaville. OR SO I THOUGHT.
Being “the small terminal,” I cast aside my usual anxieties about arriving to the airport 2+ hours before my flight, deciding that I could begin my Uber voyage when I’d usually be arriving. Time of flight departure: 7:00 AM. Time on the clock? 5:00.
My Uber driver did his darndest to make it around the labyrinth of summer highway construction, but despite his best efforts, it made a dent in our time, and we rolled up at 5:45 AM. “No problem,” I reassured him. “It’s the small terminal.”
I strutted into the airport grinning, the words “today is the day I go to LA” thumping in my heart and plastered on my face. Ah, but what was that in the distance? Past rows and rows of empty baggage lines, I glimpsed chaos: hoards of people clumped in front of one desk, the group overflowing into the hallway.
No. I blinked, thinking maybe this was a desert mirage already.
Shouts and the sound of gunfire confirmed in was real.* When I got in the line for passengers with boarding passes, a line substantially shorter than that for general check-ins, I felt relieved. Phew, I thought. I’m in the right lane, there are only twelve people ahead of me, and it’s all going to be okay.
Minutes passed, which I knew because I kept impulsively checking my phone, resisting the temptation to text every person in my contacts “UGH GONNA MISS MY FLIGHT.” Then one of the desk employees called out in a strained voice, “All passengers for Fort Lauderdale, all passengers for Fort Lauderdale! Come up and form a line on the left side!”
The family ahead of me sighed. Kids, parents, and youth groups rushed under the line divider and formed a new line next to ours.
“This is ridiculous! They just keep pulling people!” The father in front of me exclaimed, looking around at the many lines. His daughter pointed to a woman in the other line who was wearing black and white patterned bell-bottoms. “We would have been right behind her!” She said with a smile on her face. That woman was only four from the front.
Time on the clock? 6:05 AM.
“All passengers for Atlanta, all passengers for Atlanta!” Another crew of neck pillow-clad jet-setters ducked under the line and dragged their suitcases past every other pissed-off passenger. The line had grown even more frenzied. A group behind me became particularly vocal as they observed the ebbs and flows of the crowd. “Are we moving forwards, or are we just getting closer together?” One woman asked after we took one measly step. “They’re just pulling everyone in front of our line! How is that fair?” “Sun Country used to be top notch, but it has really gone downhill.” Then the woman asked the guy next to her, “So are you flying to Boston for work or for fun?”
Wow. I had assumed they were lifelong friends, but evidently they had just met. Already the family in front and I had established we were both going to LAX, and that if they called our flight up, I needed to stick with them. “You’re part of the family for the day,” the mom said. In that moment, I was happy to be adopted. The mood there reminded me of scenes in apocalyptic movies like The Day After Tomorrow where the regular citizens are trying to escape and people are crowded together and turning against one another but also coming together to fight for their lives. In this case, the four overworked Sun Country employees were the rich and powerful, and they were feeling our wrath, our ignored discontentment bubbling over.
Soon enough, they called LAX to form its own line. It was 6:20. The family ahead of me looked back and nodded to be sure I followed their lead. A charismatic woman who oozed news anchor vibes filed in behind me and guided me from line to line as we continued to be moved around. I think I imprinted on her. “Good luck,” we all said to each other as we checked our bags and rushed to security, giving forlorn glances over our shoulders as if someone might be left behind and killed by the imminent natural disaster.
When we finally arrived to the gate, I saw the family; they’d stopped for coffee and tea after getting through security. “We made it!” The mother cheered when she saw me. On our flight, the news anchor woman stopped to ask about my trip on her way to the bathroom. While I did not enjoy that stressful experience and will never again neglect my duty to arrive 2 hours before a flight, even at the “small terminal,” I was glad to meet those people, and I hope they’re enjoying L.A.
By the way–I’m in L.A. to take a West Coast road trip with my lifelong friend, my partner in debauchery and class projects, my Nathan Fielder’s-wife-to-be. She lives in Los Angeles, so we’re starting here, then journeying up the coast to Vancouver, B.C. beginning tomorrow. Stay tuned for stories of eating, praying, and loving!
*There was not actually gunfire, but it FELT like there could be.
Does anyone else find sleeping on an airplane ridiculously uncomfortable?
Here’s the way it goes for me: lean back against the headrest; fold tray down and rest on arms (facial orifices just inches from unimaginable germs left from laptops, kleenex, babies, etc.); inevitably jerk awake as hurtling towards the stranger in the next seat. Repeat.
Last February, with a big trip to Jamaica coming up, I decided it was time to rectify this situation once and for all (without springing for SkyMall’s monstrous face rest). So before flying off to the Land of Wood and Water, I decided to pick up a needle and thread for the first time in a long time and sew my own neck pillow.
This only required a few simple materials:
the ol’ needle and thread
fabric, which I took from an unloved pair of pajama pants wasting away in my closet
In case you haven’t noticed, the crotch of a pair of pants looks an awful lot like a neck pillow. (See Fig. 1.)
In an effort to keep things as simple as possible, I cut out the crotch of the pants, and voilà! The inside of the pillow was already stitched! (I might not advise this approach, but more on that later.)
The process was easy-peasy after that. I flipped the fabric inside out to conceal the seam, and used a simple running stitch to sew the pillow together. About halfway through, I flipped the pillow right-side out and continued.
As I pulled through that final stitch and tied it off, I marveled at the final product. Wow–it looked like a crotch!
Baby Shorts or not, when I placed this baby around my neck and rolled my head around it to test it out, it was a fluffy, magical cloud.
So, did this neck pillow live up to all the expectations I had? Did it solve my sleeping woes?
Not really. I’m becoming more convinced that neck pillows just weren’t made for the sleeper self-conscious about conking out with her head back and mouth agape. (Spiders: need I say more?) That being said, this makes for a really cozy sleeping pillow. En route to Jamaica, I ended up resigning myself to putting it on the tray table and sleeping there, hunched over again. However, it worked perfectly as a barrier from the germs.
If neck pillows do work for you (and I hope they do), go ahead and make your own, and let me know how it goes for you! Also–if you have tried that monstrous sleeping face rest from SkyMall magazine, will you tell me how you like it?
I found myself in a manic fit of creative energy the other day, the type where I MUST. MAKE. SOMETHING. NOW! I could have turned to baking, to drawing, or even to–I don’t know–writing?
But no. This was the type of fit where nothing but crafting something with an empty Zicam bottle would quench my artistic thirst.
Luckily, I had one on hand. Taxed with the mission of deciding what to create with it, I let my mind wander. The best it could come up with was “roll it in loose tea leaves and see what happens.”
Well folks, this is what happened:
I’ll give you a moment to collect yourselves. I know it is hard to handle.
Whew-ee! Is it hot in here, or what?
Not to brag, but to call this a work of genius would be an undersell. This is a tour de force of creativity on the level of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and a classic that rivals Homer’s the Iliad. I usually don’t like to toot by own horn, but I think this piece warrants it.
You might be asking yourself “what is it supposed to be?” If it has to be anything, here are some ideas:
It is a decoy bottle used to drop off small illicit materials, such as expired Hit Clips. One simply slips the contraband inside the bottle and leaves it in a dirt patch somewhere. Blends right in!
It is a fake ant hill. An upgrade from the Whoppie Cushion, this is a prank that’ll leave your friends in hysterics, especially when you put it right next to the kitchen table.
Ultimately, these two could work, but what I really think it is is a conversation piece. Everyone needs one in their home, right? Something that gets people chatting, laughing, ogling.
This. Is. That. Piece.
I can’t tell you how many times friends and guests alike have said “Wow, what the hell is that?” or just screamed in response. Instantly, we have something to talk about, and soon they’re marveling at my creative prowess. Just the other day, a couple of friends were over for tea, and one of them caught sight of the Majestic Ant Colony. “Uhhh, what is this?” Her awe was obvious. I told her exactly how I made it, and she responded, “Wow, you would think this looks good.”
I’m taking that as a compliment!
Anyway, I won’t make a tutorial for this thing, because what is there to explain? Just go batshit crazy for 10 minutes, and there you have it: a conversation piece sure to impress and amaze.
I was moved by a fit of inspiration after eating an airport fruit cup whilst traveling to Seattle, Washington for my cousin’s graduation a few weeks ago. This little ditty goes out to anyone who has fallen prey to Caribou Coffee’s “fresh fruit” assortments, which give melon everywhere a bad name.
Lament of an Airport Fruit Cup
Oh, Airport Fruit Cup, you cost me 5 dollars,
but took so much more of my pride.
When at last I found a fork to eat with
it seemed like you wanted to hide!
‘Where the hell does this thing open?’
I asked, searching for truth in this one life.
Straining and struggling and pulling to death
you stayed shut, the start of my strife.
Oh, Airport Fruit Cup, you were leaking juice,
but from where I could not detect.
If I achieved my goal and pried you open,
Grapes, pineapple and juice would you eject?
We were crammed together in economy class,
just a breath from the nearest stranger.
The man next to be wore a tweed sportcoat;
he watched me strain and could feel the danger.
Then, hark! An Opening! Disguised as a hinge!
You opened with a warm welcome.
But your $5 price tag mocked me with glee,
and I wondered if I could be more dumb.
Your melon was tough, your grapes rather soggy,
And I really don’t mean to complain,
But the pineapple was so tough that out of fear for my bridge,