Posts tagged: satire

The Extremities of the Snack Aisle


I was broke, and job opportunities were scarce in Buffalo.  With the downturn of the global economy, I had to make certain sacrifices, starting with my diet.  No longer would I be able to eat out at fancy restaurants every night of the week; I had to shop at a grocery store like some sort of homeless person or single mother.


One afternoon, while perusing the aisles of a store, I came across a product that responded to my age and demographic:


Wow, what a novel idea!  All the flavor of a chicken wing without the guilt and revulsion of eating a disembodied chicken limb.  I flipped the can over  to check the ingredients; Disodium Inosinate!  Wow, these truly were a space aged snack!  I tossed the can into my cart, and they landed softly on the bag of adult diapers I planned on playing with later.


Back at my house, I sat alone on my couch with the open can of Pringles resting on my lap.  The smell of chicken wings spread and reached my nostrils, and I knew that a life-changing experience was upon me

“Well, here it goes, Balloon.”  I said to my dog Balloon.  I lifted one of the sensually-shaped chips to my mouth, and CRUNCH!  Every color imaginable flashed in my eyes, and the world around me seemed to melt away.  Then, there I was, in a completely white room sitting on a white chair.  In front of me was the Pringle Man himself, his flat head floating a few feet off the ground.  He opened his mouth to say something, but before he uttered a sound I found myself back in my apartment, my dog looking at me worriedly.

couchI looked around the room, and everything was in its place.  The lamp, the television,  the giant painting of Tyrese Gibson, as if they had forgotten they had melted before my eyes moments earlier.  I looked down at myself, and said “Uh oh.  Looks like I’ll have to change my pants, Balloon.”  When Balloon looked at me quizzically, I returned with a wink and a nod.


The ensuing weeks the Pringles helped me forget that I was in serious financial trouble.  The credit card bills, the eviction notices all melted away with the crunch of a chip.  I had come so close to getting the Pringle man to speak to me, and was sure that he would have the answers.

After eating a chip and returning to earth one day, however, I looked down and saw that I had accumulated a great deal of body fat from the chips.  This might not be sustainable I thought to myself.  Trying to think of an idea, I looked to the can, which I had taken to doing the last few weeks.  The word “EXTREME” caught my eye, then an amazing idea popped into my brain.

I grabbed my skateboard and ran out the door.


Squinting to keep the sunlight out of my eyes, I walked up and down my busy commercial street. It didn’t take too long for me to find five 14 year old boys drinking Slurpies outside of a 7-11.  They had long, curly hair and clothes that looked extremely expensive.  I walked up to them excitedly.

“Hey guys, whadap?”  I asked, trying to do the gang-symbol for the Bloods but failing.

“Hi.”  One of them said, nudging his friend and smirking.  “What’s up fatso?”

“Nothin….”  I said, trying to tug my shirt over my belly.  “Just wanted to see if you dudes wanted to skate.”

“Um…”  They replied.

“I’ll buy you cigarettes…”  I said.

“Well, alright.”  Another returned.  I had my witnesses.


I went into the 7-11 and came out with three tubes of Pringles and a carton of cigarettes.  They tore into them with glee, sticking them into their mouths and lighting them with the lighters I had supplied for them.  They coughed and wheezed explosively. I said “Yeah, cigarettes are da bomb.”

“Thanks, dude.”  One said between coughs.

“No problemo,”  I said, setting the skateboard onto the ground.  “Now are y’all ready for this?”

They nodded apathetically.  I put one foot onto my skateboard and opened a can of Pringles.  I took seven or eight chips, propelled myself on the skateboard, and put the chips in my mouth.


I awoke to blinding sunlight, my back flat on the concrete.  I sat up, holding my pounding head with my hand.  The fourteen year olds were nowhere to be found, and neither were the Pringles and cigarettes.  I looked down at myself, and saw what I was looking for all along.  A trickle of blood ran from my knee, and I took out my cellphone and snapped a photo of it.


Sitting at my typewriter, I drafted a letter:

Dear Pringles:

hoboThis letter is to inform you that you are being sued.  Your EXTREME BUFFALO WING PRINGLES caused me immense physical and emotional distress.  Your marketing seems to be aimed at people who live the Extreme Sports Lifestyle, so being an Extreme Sports Enthusiast, I tried eating them while skateboarding.  Instead of enhancing my Extreme Sports abilities, however, I fell off my skateboard, and my body became horribly mutilated beyond recognition.  I had some fellow Extreme Athletes witness the event, however, the gore and violence made them run off to pursue treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

I, Tom Van Deusen, am suing you, Pringles, for 1.5 BILLION dollars.  I have attached two photos, one of my wound that I took with my camera phone before fainting in despair, and another of a hobo, because you assholes will be so poor after I’m done suing you that you’ll be homeless.


Thomas C. Van Deusen

Attached: Photo of Disfigured Knee, Drawing of Hobo.



Weeks passed, and I didn’t receive a check from Pringles.  Sad and dejected, I decided to comfort myself with food.  Perusing the shelf at the supermarket for my favorite canned chip, I was flabbergasted to see:


I squealed in delight and knocked their entire stock into my shopping cart.  While I wasn’t sure of the profitability of this new business venture, I knew that good things were coming my way.

25 Things Dick Cheney Hates

dickDear Tom,
I’m don’t remember having a great-nephew named Van Deusen, but my wife vaguely remembered you.  Your letter said you needed 25 things, I’ll assume you meant 25 things I hate.  Stay in school,


25 Things I Hate:
1. Mondays.
2. Computer Internet.
3. My grandchildren.
4. Those who say Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kincaid isn’t real art.
5. Checks and balances.
6. Electric cars, toothbrushes and trollies.
7. Multi-Race Drinking Fountains.
8. People who drink and drive nowadays.  Back when I was a youth, it was a gentleman’s sport.  These kids in their hoot’n’holler-mobiles have no idea what they’re doing.
9. Hitler.  He ruined it for all of us.
10. Secretaries with the clap.
11. Insufficient massages.
12. Gay pride parades.
13. My lesbian daughter.
14. Modern abortions.  Back when I was a kid it was a personal experience between a girl and her coat-hanger.
15. The smell of poor people.
16. That hair pieces are out of style.
17. That guy who yelled at me for stomping on ants outside of the White House.
18. Bikes with wheels that are the same size.
19. The movie “In & Out”, more like DAMNED TO HELL!
20. The Bible.  I wish it was 9,000,000 pages long and written in a language that only rich people could understand.
21. That rape is a crime even if you have a lot of money.
22. People expecting me to dress myself.  That’s what servants are for, dammit!
23. The Emancipation Proclamation.
24. Women’s suffrage.
25. The bullshit Jesus said in the Bible.

Insufficient Funds


Last Sunday, I sat alone in my apartment watching a marathon of Intervention and binge drinking.  For every time a family member cried or someone’s dignity was compromised for entertainment, I would chug a beer.  Needless to say, this took too long to get me drunk, so I resorted to taking a shot whenever someone being interviewed would blink.  This worked a little too well.

“Man, I’m drunk Balloon.” I said to my dog Balloon.  When she didn’t answer I threw a beer can at her.  She scurried off with her tail between her legs as I laughed at her fear of having things thrown at her.

propelSneakily, while I was shouting at my dog the TV had swtiched to commercials.  Reaching to the remote to TiVo through them, a commercial came on that caught my eye.

In it, athletes ran and swam and biked and ran again, all the while irredescent-colored sweat poured from their skin.

“Swamp thing.”  I said to myself.

“Propel Fitness Water.”  The television corrected.

“Oh,” I replied, “I need that.”

I looked about my coffee table for my car keys, smacking the beer cans that had accumulated out of the way.  Finally, I found them and was on my way to Fitness.


atmBefore going to the 7-11 for the radioactive fitness water, I had to stop by an ATM to replenish my wallet.  I drove up to the ATM, popped my card into the robot, pressed some buttons and held out my hand for it to generously spit out 20’s.  Instead of 20’s, however, it gave me the following message:


Huh? What the hell does that mean? I thought, anxiously shaking my hands as if they were damp.  After trying again three times, I panicked and called someone who has a tendency to remedy the situation.

“Hi, mom,” I said, trying to sound as sober as possible.  “The machine doesn’t spit money at me.  I think it’s mad at me or something.”

“Huh?” She replied

“The MONEY machine.”

“Is there money in your account?”  She asked.

“Why wouldn’t there be?” I smartly retorted.

“Because you must have spent all of it.  I wasn’t able to give you as much this month, Tommy, the economy is in horrible shape and we’re having some difficulty getting by.”  She said.

“Why should that affect me? Look, the TV told me to drink Propel Fitness Water, do you want a fat son?!”

“Maybe you should look for a job, Tom.”  She said.

“MOM I TOLD YOU I’M TOO DELICATE FOR THAT!  I’m a goddamned artist!”  I slammed my phone shut, panicking at the prospect of changing my spending habits.


I paced back and forth in my apartment, my brain concocting a plan to get money.  “Rainbow Sherbet, what should I do?” I asked my pet goldfish Rainbow Sherbet.

“Blub blub.”  Rainbow Sherbet replied.


jeezyWhile I was brainstorming, the television was on Mute so as not to disturb me while I was thinking.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a music video by Young Jeezy.

Man, that guy’s got it made.  He’s probably bringin’ in truckloads of tail. I thought to myself.  Then, as if someone had flicked a light switch in my brain to turn on a lightbulb above my head, I thought HE PROBABLY DOESN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MONEY!

I knew what I had to do:  Write a #1 hit song.


My hit song-writing desk was surrounded by wadded up pieces of paper and the surface was covered with eraser shavings, but I had done it.  I had covered every subject, and had written a song that could appeal to anyone.  I picked up the paper and read it aloud to nobody in particular:

“Navajo woman
When I kiss you
I hear drums beating in the distance
Your Indian spirit
The spirit of your ancestors
Lifts my spirits
and tightens my trousers
Navajoooooooo, yo yo
Ay yuh-yuh-yuh A yuh-yuh-yuh (repeat)

I knew I had a hit on my hands.  Now all I had to do was get it on the radio.


“Operator.”  The woman on the phone answered.

“Hi, yes, can you please connect me with Beck?”  I asked sweetly.

“Yes, hold please.”  She said shortly before I was forced to listen to hold music.  My music is so much better than this! I thought to myself excitedly.

“Becks brewing company. How can I help you?”  A woman asked after I was transferred.

“Beck, as in the Beck.”  I inquired.

“…… Yes.”  She said.

“OK, good, so listen….” I said before launching into a diatribe on everything from my goldfish to my mom to Young Jeezy.  Finally, I got to perform my song for the woman on the line.  There was an awkward silence that followed before she said:

“I like it.”

yay“You do, you reallyreallyreally do?”

“Sure.”  She said.  I snapped my phone shut and jumped up in the air in glee.  I was in.


Weeks went by before I finally received a piece of mail from Beck.  I excitedly opened it, careful not to tear the check that it would be holding.  Instead of a check, however, there was a 20%-off coupon for Beck’s beer and a letter that said:

Dear Loyal Customer,

Thank you for your interest in Becks beer.



Becks Brewing Company

So it sort of paid off but sort of didn’t.  I would be saving money on beer that month, but not nearly enough to support my opulent lifestyle.  So when it came down to brass tacks, I knew it.

I would have to get a job.

Copyright Tom Van Deusen 2014.