2012: A Year in Review (Teen Edition)

(Due to the nature of a humor blog, this post omits the devastating tragedies that befell the US this year. Such tragedies ought to be remembered, but not in a humorous tone. Therefore, recognize that the omission of these events is not because they aren’t important and saddening, but because it would be hugely disrespectful to reflect upon them in a humorous commentary.)

Just some year numbersI was severely disappointed when the world didn’t end on December 21st, 2012, for two reasons. First of all, I knew that whatever aliens/robots/undead creatures rose up to destroy the earth, I’d be spared. There’s nothing aliens like more than laughing at pitiful attempts at earth-humor, and if you make a zombie laugh, well, its ribs sort of shake off, and then there’s not much to worry about after that. Secondly, I knew if the world didn’t end, I, along with the rest of you, would have to go back to school after the holidays.

But before we get too caught up with 2013, it’s important to know just what happened in the past year. And since teens everywhere spent the entire year focused on nothing but sleeping, talking about sleep on Facebook, tweeting about getting no sleep, and instagramming pictures of our beds, we have absolutely no idea what happened.

Fortunately, there’s a thing called the Internet that has lots of info about the past year. Unfortunately, most of the sources present the information using big words and confusing references (who was Richard Nixon, anyway? Is he on the twenty-dollar bill?), so I only gathered a basic understanding of the past year. But, using techniques familiar to us all, techniques that come in handy in making that essay about the use of the word “an” in “Huckleberry Finn” fill five pages, I’ve still managed to write this post.

The World/Universe

As you may remember from our last year in review post, the Middle East had sort of exploded. This year, it continued to explode, while the world tried to ignore it. Syria has gone from “a bad place to live,” to “dude, the real estate prices are negative.” Turkey wants no part in the conflict, and so, logically, it has promised to involve itself if Syria involves it.

In other global news, NASA landed its rover “Curiosity” on Mars. The rover was originally bound for Neptune, but due to an intern at NASA headquarters falling asleep at a crucial moment, the rover instead got sucked in by Mars’ gravity. Thus began a massive-cover up operation by NASA to make it seem like the rover had actually been headed to Mars the entire time.

Also, the Summer Olympics happened in London. The Mayor of London had planned to hold them in the spring, but because of the possibility of rain, they were moved to the summer. The most notable part of the London Olympics was the opening ceremony, which was sort of like Advanced Calculus: they both look impressive, but nobody had any idea what either of them mean.

Nature

Unlike last year’s Irene, the hurricane that hit the East Coast this year was actually a hurricane. Nicknamed “Sandy” by a meteorologist who’d recently divorced his wife of the same name, it unfortunately flooded parts of the East Coast.

One theory behind Sandy’s unusual path was global warming, which continued to slowly cook us. I personally felt the earth increase in temperature by .0000007 degrees Fahrenheit, and I had to start using four or five bottles of antiperspirants a day as a result. Because the green party candidate lost the presidential election, it is predicted that by 2050 we’ll all be either dead or very tan, and scientists, after being exposed to Jersey Shore, are unsure which is worse.

Politics

The presidential candidates of 2012, after putting on an amusing and suspenseful show, all lost the election. President Obama was re-elected, mostly thanks to Bob Smith, who was, somehow, the tiebreaker vote in both Ohio and Florida. Newt Gingrich didn’t mind too much, though, as Geico promised to offer him a mascot position once the gecko retires.

After the election, Washington DC was immediately plunged into the fiscal cliff problems. Sadly, almost nobody has any idea what the fiscal cliff is, because the American population is so fed up with watching “IMPORTANT” or “BREAKING” political news that they’ve all started watching infomercial channels instead.

Teens

Teens were not the focus of many of the top news stories. This is probably a good thing, because most news stories featuring teens also feature kidnappings, runaways, car crashes, petty crime, or a combination of all of those.

As a social group, teens outpaced both adults over 30 and kids in the tech sector. “Instagrammed” and “Snapchatted” both joined the list of verbs that makes your English teacher take a flamethrower to your paper.

This Blog

In 2012, this blog did many things. In case you missed it, at 11:00:02:54:22:09:42 AM, on April 14th, we handed out one million dollars to every visitor. Thankfully, no web service is fast enough to achieve that precision, and we gave out exactly 0 million dollar prizes.

We also started our Facebook page, which features everything but our actual faces. If you’ve yet to check it out, you should definitely do so, as the entire “about” section is original, factual, never-before seen* content.

*since it’s “never-before seen,” I actually have no idea what it says. But “original” and “factual” seem exciting.

Overall, 2012 was clearly a year to remember. There was a presidential election, the battle of Gettysburg was fought, and mysteriously, the people in the Roanoke colony vanished. But now, we can truly get excited, because 2013, by definition, ought to be the year of the teen.

If you didn’t even know that it was 2012, about to be 2013, then you may also want to catch up on 2011. In that case, check out our guide to 2011, Teen Edition.

The Best Excuses, Period

OversleptTeens these days, myself included, don’t even need an excuse to use an excuse. We go through excuses like Tiger Woods goes through…cars.

But it would be impossible for us to give you the perfect excuse to every situation in a series of blog posts. Just imagine how many there’d be: “The Best Excuses for When You Forget to Turn the Oven Off,” “The Best Excuses for Why You Haven’t Flossed in Eight Years and Five Months,” The Best Excuses for Tipping Your Desk Back Until You Fall,” etc. Yes, we’ve given you specifics before, but those excuses were for situations every teen faces, often up to eight or nine times a minute: not having your homework, being late to class, or not silencing your cellphone.

Considering this, we’ve brought you some excuses applicable to any situation. Whatever the problem was, we want to make sure that every teen avoids blame as often as possible.

For Family Situations

We all know that there is a massive gap between our parents and our friends. That’s a literal definition: our parents would shop at GAP, but our friends would sooner eat some broccoli. Actually, our parents regularly eat broccoli, too.

  • I was going to, but then I had to shove everything under my—I mean, clean my room.
  • I’d love to, but I promised to do some community service at the park where my friends hang out.
  • I was watching C-Span, so I didn’t, sorry.
  • I have to finish my homework first; you don’t want me to drop below my A- average, do you?
  • I spent too much time mowing the lawn with a nail clippers—for uniformity—so I didn’t have time.

Amongst Friends

You usually don’t need to lie to your friends, unless they’re asking if you have gum. Sometimes, however, the truth is would be worse than an excuse; maybe you were too busy watching “The Bachelor,” but you certainly can’t reveal that.

  • I was going to, but then I had to shove everything under my bed.
  • I’d love to, but I’m grounded for mowing the lawn with a nail clippers; apparently being “too ridiculous” is a crime.
  • I was watching my ceiling fan go around, so I didn’t, sorry.
  • I have to finish my homework first; I don’t want to drop below my C- average.
  • I spent too much time translating my essay on “Of Mice and Men” into mouse-tongue—for the sake of insightful literary analysis—so I didn’t have time.

To Your Coaches

Whatever sport you play—whether it is Football, Basketball, or…actually, those are the only two high school sports—sometimes you needed to miss a game, or forgot to practice on your own time. Your coach spends a lot of time around teens, though, so you’ll need to be more convincing than with your parents.

  • I was going to, but the Olympics took place in my bedroom yesterday so I had to clean my room up.
  • I’d love to, but I have to meet with my English teacher and explain why my essay is composed of the words “squeak” and “tch-tch-tch.”
  • I was watching the Thunder play the Patriots, so I didn’t, sorry.
  • I have to finish my homework first; I can’t play sports with an F in early release.
  • I spent too much time running a triathlon consisting of 3 Iron Mans—for a cardio workout—so I didn’t have time.

For Any Situation that Could Possibly Occur

You knew it was coming. Maybe you’re not talking to a coach, a parent, a teen, or a teen parent who is coaching your health class on why teen pregnancy is bad. But you might still need an excuse.

I’d love to, but I have to meet with my English teacher and cut the grass at the park where my friends hang out with some nail clippers. Then I have to finish my homework, because the last time my counselor tried to print out my report card the printer turned in a resignation letter and moved to Canada. And I didn’t have time yesterday because I was watching C-Span’s interview with Tom Brady and Kevin Durant about how interesting my rotating ceiling fan is. I mean, I was going to, but my room got crushed by a fallen satellite yesterday so I had to clean it up. And then I spent too much time coming up with this excuse, so I didn’t have time.

As you head into the holiday season and then into 2013, keep these excuses handy. I’ve taped them to the inside of some mirrored sunglasses, which is a double bonus, because then they can’t look into your eyes and see that you’re lying, meaning that they actually have to listen to you to see that you’re lying. I think there was something else I wanted to say here, but I have to go finish my homework; you wouldn’t want me to get a 0 on my nonexistent winter break worksheets, would you?

Last year at this time, we posted, “3 Things About the Holidays that I (and You) Won’t Miss.” If you’re getting a little sick of, say, hearing the same holiday music absolutely everywhere, you may want to check it out and commiserate.

The Fiscal Cliff: A Guide For Teens

A Fiscal Clif BarIf you have done anything other than sleep over the past week, then you’ve probably heard of the fiscal cliff. You can literally be brushing your teeth in the morning, and your toothpaste will start talking to you about it. Then, before you can reply, your faucet chimes in with its sanctimonious opinion, and before you know it the shampoo bottles have gotten into a brawl over it.

Or, at least that’s what happens to me. That might be a function of me spending more time brushing my teeth than sleeping this past week, though. (No, I don’t take 3 hours to meticulously scrub every incisor, I, like a majority of you reading this, am just sleep deprived).

Regardless, because the Fiscal Cliff has hijacked every editorial section, editorial cartoon, and editorial editor (it has them tied up in a room somewhere), it appears that it is either a very important political issue or that it has simply grown arms, legs, and an ability to hijack things.

As teens, we pride ourselves on knowing absolutely nothing about anything, so needless to say none of us have any idea why the TV keeps droning on about rock formations. As a blogger, therefore, it is my duty to break your ignorance and ensure that you become thoroughly misinformed about this issue. I present to you “The Fiscal Cliff: A Guide for Teens,” a guide completely devoid of biased partisan politics, biased bipartisan politics, and biased bipartisan bipolitics.

How it All Started

The Fiscal Cliff, and all geological formations, really have their roots where this country started: Plymouth Rock. Plymouth rock was where the Pilgrims landed and made the Mayflower compact, forever tying government legislation to rock formations.

Now, after about 400 years of history and 1,300,000 pieces of legislation per year, the federal government seems to have run out of rocks. Just kidding. We’ve got plenty of stones, pebbles, and boulders in the Federal Reserve for situations just like this.

No, the real problem is something called the Budget Control Act, passed at some point in the last 40 years. Essentially, it stated that unless we controlled our budget, we would not control our budget. Instead, the Act would have control. Personally, I think this is brilliant: handing our government’s legislature powers over to nonpartisan inanimate objects such as pieces of paper, binders full of paper, and warehouses full of paper would greatly increase our government’s efficiency.

How It Didn’t Get Fixed

Unfortunately, the Budget Control Act was set to take effect soon after the presidential elections. This meant that most politicians spent the two to four years before the November elections trying to get re-elected, and thus they didn’t have time to deal with the budget. On the bright side, at least this re-election frenzy gave us entertaining commercials for a few weeks.

Then, due to articles 1-5 of the Constitution, which state that, “…the aforementioned government shall enact hereto any legislation which respectively takes thee government under fourscore years to complete…” the budget negotiations simply aren’t complete yet.

Why It’s Called the Fiscal Cliff

The Budget Control Act created certain spending cuts that would take effect unless other action was taken. Sadly, rather than calling them “The Spending Cuts That You Won’t Stop Hearing About for the Entire Month of December,” Congress instead named it, “Sequestration.” This name came from the roots of the word: seq, as in sequel, meaning the thing that comes after; uest, as in bluest, meaning the most depressing; rat, as in the rodent, meaning despicable pests; and ion, as in chemistry, meaning science-y. In other words, sequestration means that a group of scientifically genetically modified rats, all depressed, will come after a failure to fix the budget, and just blindly chew up random papers until enough expenditures have been gnawed into oblivion.

This, of course, was a concept too difficult for the common man to understand, and too juicy for the circling comedian-vultures, so they nicknamed it the Fiscal Cliff.

Does it Matter?

Arguably, yes; based on the news coverage it has garnered, one could assume the Fiscal Cliff matters. Teens, though, have the benefit of ignorance on their side, and so we could probably also argue that it doesn’t. It’s not as if our country will suddenly be overrun by Canada. And if it is, then think about the plus side: our pharmaceuticals will be less expensive.”

The real issue, though, is at the heart of the matter: our government takes and and uses a lot of money. Therefore, I think the solution, in the long term, is to use Monopoly money to pay our governments debts. Frankly, I don’t know why these so-called “smart” political figures haven’t already come up with this solution. It’s probably because private investors have a monopoly on Wall Street and Boardwalk and the government doesn’t want to lose.

What You Can Say

Now let’s say you’re in class, or at a family gathering, and, since you’ll be voting in a few years, want to appear intelligent and politically active. The topic of the Fiscal Cliff arises in the conversation. What do you say? Well, here are some pretty solid talking points:

  • I think we should all get parachutes and just see who survives the jump.
  • It’s really a cliff-hanger, ha ha.
  • Well, if sequestration happens, lots of stuff will then be affected. Like the entitlements reformed and an increase tax.
  • Honestly, if they would just arm-wrestle it out already we could all go back to talking about the newest Twilight Movie.
  • So, nice weather, eh?

Overall, I’m sure that the Fiscal Cliff is very important, and shouldn’t be taken so lightly. But maybe we should look on the bright side: I bet the view from up on the cliff is beautiful.

The long gap between this post and the last post is due to the common teen affliction of sleep deprivation. It hopefully won’t happen again anytime soon. But if you really need to read a post, our archives are always available.

Of course, sleep is rarely an issue if we have a snow day. And if you have any questions about snow days, then you might check out, “Snow Day FAQ: Frosty Answers Common Misconceptions,” published in December of last year.

How To Handle Horrible Holiday Gifts

In the 1900’s, teens invented sarcasm as a coping method to deal with the utter uncoolness of adults. With it, teens were able to express their criticism of all uncool things* right in front of the adults’ faces. Sadly, after about 60 years, adults learned to recognize sarcasm.

*which includes everything save certain other teens, the word “cool,” and this blog.

As the holiday season begins, teens have to mentally prepare themselves for the difficult experience of receiving gifts. Now, you might consider receiving presents a largely positive experience, and not a difficult one. You might be thinking that that last statement is more wrong than the fact that gum now costs 400,000% what it did in the 1900’s. But, let me ask you this: what do you do if you get a gift you don’t want?

What Not To Do

It’s the first night of (political correctness ahead) your winter holiday of choice. You’ve gathered with your immediate family (sitting on the sofa), extended family (gathered in various places about the room), and hyper-extended family (sporting a lively medley of various appendages in slings). You open the gift from your great-aunt Marge, which is short for Margarettalonacia, and it’s…unspeakably awful.

The “I Love It” Response

You: Gee, Aunt Marge, I don’t know what to say. [You begin to feel nauseous.]

Aunt Marge [Played by Professor Umbridge]: I knew you would love it.

You: Hold on one second. I want to run to the bathroom to wash my hands before I open it; I’d hate to dirty it. [You run to the bathroom, and turn on the faucet full blast. The rest of your family can hear what sounds like vomiting over the noise of the water]. Sorry about that. Anyways, thanks so much for the crocheted wool tube socks that come up to my thighs. How did you know that I love socks like that? Plus, you covered the socks with a pattern of various math equations! My favorite.

Aunt Marge: Oh, it was nothing, just a little intuition. Okay, well, actually, I asked my friend, an 80-year-old kindergarten teacher, what gifts are good for teens, and she suggested this gift.

You: Wow. I really appreciate it.

Here’s what’s wrong with this response. Sure, you didn’t anger your aunt, but let’s face it: you just expressed love for socks so ugly even Justin Bieber wouldn’t wear them to a meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada. Next year, your aunt will have mentioned to all her friends that you just adored the socks, and you’ll receive 18 more pairs of socks from her clueless friends.

Since you “love” them so much, you’ll be required to wear them whenever your aunt visits, and, since your aunt visits you at times of family gathering, you will become the laughing stock of your cousins. You’ll receive nicknames such as “poodle,” “leg-sweater man,” and “furry thighs.” Eventually, your self-esteem will be so decimated that you become incredibly shy, to the point where even photographs of other people make you anxious. To solve this, you spend the rest of your life in a metal filing cabinet. Needless to say, your life is ruined.

The Sarcastic Response

You: Aunt Marge, I don’t know what to say. [You begin to feel nauseous.]

Aunt Marge: I knew you would love it.

You: BLAAAAARGH! Sorry about that. I throw up when I get super-excited. I’m sure we can clean that Oriental rug. Anyways, thank you so very much for this autographed copy of “Quantum Physics in Relation to Extended Metaphors Present in Shakespeare.” I can’t wait to read it!

Aunt Marge: Are you being sarcastic, young man?! I can tell you secretly loathe my present. You know what? I didn’t have to get you anything, but I did. The least you can do is be thankful!

You [Dripping sarcasm, hoping Aunt Marge won’t notice]: I am. I sincerely love relating quantum physics to plays written before my great-great-great grandpa was born.

Aunt Marge: You lying boy! I am personally insulted.

After your aunt leaves, she tells all of her friends how ungrateful you are. Rather than being clueless, however, in this scenario your aunt has befriended the deans of all 4,000 colleges in America.

When you apply for college the next year, all systematically reject you. You end up attending a community college in Azerbaijan run by goat herders. Needless to say, your life is ruined.

The Honest Response

You: Aunt Marge, I don’t know what to say. [You begin to feel nauseous.]

Aunt Marge: I knew you would love it.

You: No, actually, Aunt Marge, I’m speechless because I am repulsed by your gift. I don’t have the time nor want to watch this 67 DVD box set of “The Most Boring Shows of the 1960s.” I think that you must have awful taste, although I thank you for the thought. BLLAAAAARRGH! Wow, this gift was so awful that I actually threw up. I haven’t thrown up since 6th grade.

Aunt Marge: You ungrateful boy! What’s wrong with this wonderful gift? Do you know how much it cost? It was in the 4 digits! All wasted! I will never speak to you again!

As fate would have it, the next week your aunt wins the MegaLottoPowerBasket-ball, winning a 90% stock share in Google, Apple, and China (the country). Every single other person in your family becomes a billionaire due to the generosity of your aunt.

You don’t get rich, of course. And, to express her dislike of you your great aunt pays everyone you ever come in contact with $5 each time they say “You ungrateful boy!” Eventually, the strain gets to be too much, and you move to Tajikistan, where people still shout at you “You ungrateful boy,” although it’s no longer in a language you understand. Needless to say, your life is ruined.

What To Do

Now that you’ve wised up to the folly of the above methods, you’re probably wondering what to do when you inevitably receive a gift you don’t like. Sadly, taking a sudden vow of silence for religious reasons is not the answer. If it was that easy, the entire teen population would remain silent for all of January.

Choose Your Words Wisely

You: Aunt Marge, I don’t know what to say. [You begin to feel nauseous.]

Aunt Marge: I knew you would love it.

You: BLAAARGH! Oh no, was there, uh, salt in the food we ate for dinner? [Dad nods affirmatively]. I totally forgot that I developed a salt allergy [Dad is about to interject with disbelief]…an hour ago! Sorry about that. Good thing we didn’t give the cat a bath yet today.

Anyways, Aunt Marge, thanks for this cool fax machine. The nice thing about fax machines is that you only need one, so I’ll never need another. I bet I can learn a lot by putting it together. I can’t wait to send a fax to my friends; they’ll think this is a riot [which is true, although for different reasons then you imply]. You know what would be awesome? If next year I got an Amazon gift card so I could spend some time picking out stationary I’d like to use for faxing.

Aunt Marge: You’re welcome. I’m so glad you like it. In fact, since we have such similar tastes, why don’t you take this solid gold bar I found in the gutter on the way here. I’m sure you’ll use it wisely.

Condemn a Family Member

You: Aunt Marge, I don’t know what to say. [You begin to feel nauseous.]

Aunt Marge: I knew you would love it.

You: Um, it looks like it was made in…[squinting]…China. Oh darn, that’s terrible. BLAAAARGH! As you can see, I get nauseous around things made in China. I can only wear clothes made in Vietnam or Honduras, which severely limits my fashion choices to only 50% of the entire clothes industry.

I know, however, that Cousin Tommy has always wanted a deck of cards made of whole red bricks, so I am going to demonstrate the trait of generosity, which I’ve learned by spending time with you, and give them to him. I know he will appreciate it.

Aunt Marge: Oh, that’s so kind. But I don’t want you to not have a gift. You know what? Take my new car. I think it was made in Europe, not China; it’s called a Rolls-Royce.

Be a Humanitarian

You: Aunt Marge, I don’t know what to say. [You begin to feel nauseous.]

Aunt Marge: I knew you would love it.

You: You know, I was just thinking. I love this VHS copy of “Rocks: The Journey from the Volcano to Beach Sand,” and I’m sure it’s a great movie, but I when I think about all of those poor dogs at the Humane Society, lonely and all, it just makes me sad. I’m going to donate your gift to the Humane Society so that the dogs will have something to watch and be, uh, entertained.

Aunt Marge: That’s so wonderful. If you ever need a place to stay when you are traveling in New York, feel free to stop by my penthouse.

It’s astounding how greatly the outcomes of your family interactions can differ based on how you handle getting unwanted gifts. If these methods could be applied to getting unwanted grades in school, then our lives would be totally complete, but as it is, I’m sure you’ll find this guide comes in handy when you least expect. Myself, well, I’m going to go buy a copy of “Molecular Microeconomics: For Dummies” so I can cross my great-aunt off of my holiday shopping list.

If you’re not even thinking about the Holidays yet, since we haven’t reached Winter Break, then perhaps you’re more concerned with your daily operation as a homework machine. In that case, you’ll find “Printers: Enemies of All but One,” published this time last year, pretty interesting.