Monthly Archives: July 2009

July 31, 2009

There are any number of serious disadvantages to not having regular employment, some quite obvious and some that wouldn’t necessarily occur to one.

But right now, only for this moment, they pale in comparison to the fact that, having woken up an hour ago and been very sad that Saturday was already half over, I just realized it’s Friday.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 1 Comment

July 29, 2009

This video is very, very, very not safe for work.

The fascinating part starts just after the 1:00 mark.

I’ll never be able to think of the ABCs in quite the same way again.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 5 Comments

July 28, 2009

In Old Church Slavonic, a literary language used in Slavic countries in the first millennium (and still evident in, among other things, the current Russian Orthodox liturgy), the idiom for “say” was “be like.”

This means that a literal translation of the Bible would be full of things like this:

“Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and was like, What seek ye? They were like, Rabbi, where dwellest thou?”

I’m not really interested in converting to Russian Orthodox Christianity but if I were considering it this would definitely be in the plus column.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 4 Comments

July 26, 2009

I’ve never seen anything better than this (adapted from Leslie Packer’s handout on to help people without obsessive-compulsive disorder understand what OCD is like.


As you read the paragraph below, count all the times the letter “e” occurs. You must count and read simultaneously–you can’t read and then go back and count, and you can’t keep track on a piece of paper. You have to do the counting in your head for this exercise. If at any point you lose track of the count or aren’t 100% sure that you’ve counted correctly, you’ll have to go back to the beginning of the paragraph and start again. If you end up with the wrong number, or if you don’t completely understand the content of the paragraph when you’re done, you’ve failed, and you don’t get another chance.

Here goes:

Children who have OCD often have hidden or silent compulsive rituals. These hidden rituals often (You’d better get this right, or else.) confuse teachers who may look at a child and not (Do you have the right number of “e”s?) realize what is going on internally that may make (24, 23, 25, 26) it almost (If you get this wrong you are going to die.) impossible for the child to function normally at (If you don’t die, everyone you love will come to hate you.) times. Young children often don’t realize that what they are (Or maybe it’ll be your brother or mother who dies. And it’ll be your fault.) doing is “abnormal,” and older children, teens, or adults are often (Wait, was it 48 or 50? Or 36?) embarrassed by their rituals and won’t tell you about (Would you wager the thing you value most in the world that you have the correct number?) them. (Are you absolutely sure? Absolutely? Really? What if you got it wrong? 37, 56, 28, 95, 46, 37, 75, how about now?)

Now go and make a joke about how OCD you are about your carpet being straight.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 7 Comments

July 25, 2009

Am I ever going to be able to watch the Christian the lion YouTube clip without bursting into tears? Like, am I going to be 87 and watching the lion running toward them and sobbing into my oxygen tank?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

July 12, 2009

Alas, I can’t remember where I got this.


Posted on by Joel Derfner | 7 Comments

July 8, 2009

MARY MURPHY: I just couldn’t hold myself in!
CAT DEELEY: You didn’t! You didn’t, Mary, you didn’t hold yourself in.

This exchange from tonight’s So You Think You Can Dance may be the best thing I have seen on television in a long, long time.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 3 Comments

July 7, 2009

The patient’s answer to the question below was, “I’m a writer.”

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

July 6, 2009

E.S., if you’ll remember, is a psychiatrist at a hospital.

He came home this evening in a particularly good mood.

When I asked what was making him so jolly, he said, “How many times in your life have you gotten to say the sentence, ‘So what were you doing with the machete?’ ?”

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

July 2, 2009

In 1982, when I was—well, let’s just say that my age was still rendered in a single digit—my Great-Aunt Y., who was visiting from wherever she lived at the time, decided she wanted me to go on a trip with her. Everything she told me about it sounded exotic and very exciting, so it was with tremendous anticipation that I walked into our living room with her to announce our plan to my parents.

FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: I want to take Faustus on a trip.
FAUSTUS: CanIgocanIgopleasepleasepleasecanIgo?
MRS. FAUSTUS: That sounds great.
FAUSTUS: PleasecanIgocanIgopleasepleasepleasecanIgoplease?
MR. FAUSTUS: Where do you want to take him?
MR. and MRS. FAUSTUS: ?!
FAUSTUS: PleasecanIgocanIgopleasepleasepleasecanIgo?
MR. and MRS. FAUSTUS: !?

(Afghanistan in 1982, for those of you who weren’t alive then, was a very dangerous place, occupied by the Soviets and embroiled in a civil war.)

MRS. FAUSTUS: (makes choking sound)
MR. FAUSTUS: Absolutely not.
FAUSTUS: But whynotwhynotwhynot?
MRS. FAUSTUS: Did you actually expect us to agree to this?
FAUSTUS: Whynotwhynotwhynot?
MRS. FAUSTUS: Why would you make such a ridiculous suggestion?
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: Because it’s a crime that this child has not seen the Khyber Pass by moonlight.
FAUSTUS: I want to see the Khyber Pass by moonlight! It’s beautiful! Aunt Y. says so!
MR. FAUSTUS: There’s the small matter of the civil war.
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: Oh, don’t be ridiculous.
FAUSTUS: Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!
MRS. FAUSTUS: And the Soviet occupation.
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: We’ll just take side roads.

(It is clear that Mr. and Mrs. Faustus are not going to relent.)

FAUSTUS: IhateyouIhateyouIhateyouIhateyouIhateyou!
FAUSTUS’S GREAT AUNT: So you want Faustus to grow up into a provincial buffoon?

(Faustus runs out of the room in tears.)

The thing is, I still kind of want to go. But, while I somehow believe that I’d be absolutely safe under her protection, she died seven or eight years ago. So I don’t really know what to do.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 10 Comments