Sleep Deprivation Is Not Your Friend (A Speech)

A little while back, I unveiled my true identity on this blog. I mentioned that it was partly because it would allow me to offer you other content, content that would be impossible to hide behind the two dimensional cartoon-face drawing that represented the pseudonym of Phil. Here is one such bit.

The premise of the speech is simply to entertain with a serious undertone. So, without further ado, I give you a link to my After Dinner Speech. (It begins at 55:37 into the OSAA’s video and is about seven minutes long.) You can find the hilarious, amusing, entertaining, poignant*, funny speech here.

*It’s not actually poignant. You should know me well enough by now to have figured that out.

3 Things You Can Do To Look “Cool” Without Checking Your Phone

Look Cool Without Your PhoneCell phones are constantly improving our communication with each other.

First, you could call. Then, you could email back and forth via Blackberry or other fresh produce. Next, you could drop calls. After that, it became possible to send and receive texts. And now, using the iMessage app on an Apple or other fresh produce, you can watch an indicator telling you when people are typing a reply. Soon, our phones will advance to the point where they can text each other without any input from us, allowing us to socialize with upwards of a hundred people all while doing homework or sleeping.

It’s no secret that teens spend a lot of time texting each other. But it’s also no secret that half the time we appear to be texting, we’re simply looking at our phones to avoid interacting with people around us, or avoid looking alone and uncool. And in that way, cell phones have also harmed our communication with each other.

Why fake texting someone? Well, we’re teens. We are undergoing more awkward hormonal transformations at any one moment than the entire Kardashian family combined. Any number of bad things could happen if we looked up. We could open our mouths and grunt embarrassingly at the last second as someone passes by, forgetting how to use our tongue and making a sound not far different from a cow’s moo. We could nod to someone, but if we time it badly and they aren’t making eye contact, it’ll just look like an invisible man punched us in the forehead. We could even wave, but since we’re not used to the length of our arms, there’s always a risk we could poke an eye out.

Pretending to text, however, comes with its own problems. For example, to fully mimic texting, you probably open your message app and start typing randomly. Which is no big deal, of course, until you accidentally press “send” out of habit, leading to conversations that won’t end well:

You: a;sdklewe9t4nbj apd-e-tjqej cjdpfaisjdf

Friend you accidentally texted: ??

You: Sorry. I sent that to the wrong person

Friend: Oh, cuz that message makes sense if I know what you’re talking about.

You: It was also an autocorrect.

Friend: Sure, sure, happens all the time when I type “a:dkdlwwe94tnJ adew-wer-efioj apoidf” and my stupid phone corrects it to that

You: It was also in a different language.

Friend: Cuz lots of languages intersperse Arabic digits in their words.

You: It was also in code. It was also censored by the NSA. It was also intercepted by aliens. Then the NSA censored it again. And then for some reason it ended up getting sent to you when I meant to send it to autocorrect.

Friend: …

You: *to a different friend, not send it to autocorrect. But it was also an autocorrect. To a different language.

Friend: You should see a head doctor.

Additionally, this means you have to get out your phone, even if your hands are already full of books, a lunch, or a sports bag. Plus, if you pull out your phone every time you pass someone you don’t know, you’ll drain the battery faster than you can say, “Dude, I do that all the time and have no battery problems.”

Thankfully, there’s a better way to look cool and nonchalant when you’re standing or walking all alone. In fact, there are three.

Tie Those Shoes

This is first on the list for a reason; it has so many benefits over staring at your phone. First of all, it allows you to get low, meaning that if you do look up, you’ll only have to make eye contact with people’s knees, which are usually less judgmental than people’s eyes.

Secondly, it lets you show off your shoe tying skills. It proves to the world that mommy doesn’t tie your shoes. No, you’re a big boy. (If you really want to show off, you can also quietly sing the alphabet at the same time.)

Finally, it also draws attention to your shoes. And, if you’re truly a teen, your shoes are neon, casual, or casually neon. This proves how laid back you are, and, if you’re lucky enough to have exceptionally neon shoes, can also blind any passing people so there’s no risk of them seeing your face when you get up.

The only thing you have to watch out for is those times when your shoes don’t have laces, although pretending to tie laceless shoes is probably no more embarrassing than pretending to text using a wallet.

Push Those Cuticles

If you’ve ever received nail clippers, a Swiss army knife, or some other multi-tool, a popular feature is the “cuticle pusher.” Now, I have absolutely no idea what a cuticle pusher is. Looking it up on the scholarly database called Yahoo Answers, I learned “it’s for exactly what the name says.” That wasn’t helpful. I don’t know what cuticles are, and I can’t imagine why you would want to push them around.

If I had to guess, “cuticle” is probably just a name for a slow-moving beetle (it rhymes), and you’re supposed to push them along to help them on their way. I don’t know how that correlates to nail clippers, but then again, you can also buy healthy salads packaged with dressing more caloric-ally dense than a chunk of limestone, so maybe things aren’t always marketed as well as they could be.

The point is, if you have a cuticle pusher, and you know what, where, or who cuticles are, and also when, how, or why to push them, you should totally make use of this skill. Not only does it give you a reason to avoid looking at anyone around you, but it also shows off how brilliantly intelligent you are, that you know the proper use for a cuticle pusher.

Drink That Liquid

Perhaps the second-most common way of avoiding any human contact is to use a drink. Most high school students get a full, restful twelve hours of sleep, total, every two to three days, so it’s not uncommon to see people sleepily sipping a thermos of coffee or tea. The best part is, if you time it right, you can sip just as someone passes next to you, giving you an excuse to tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling.

But while this may be a common and easy technique, it comes with a few potential issues. For example, if your drink is still burning hot when someone walks by, you may have to spit it out all over your shirt. If you’re really slick, you can do that again once or twice and try to start a trend—or at least make it look like you meant to ruin your outfit, because that’s how much swag you’ve got and how YOLO you are—but most people won’t think of that in time.

Furthermore, you’ll eventually finish your drink, and while nobody sauntering by will notice a fake sip, if you’re standing around in a crowd, eventually people will wonder how you’ve taken 3,238 consecutive sips from a twenty-ounce cup.

Final Words

While you might prefer to use your phone as an excuse to avoid appearing alone or awkward, it isn’t always the best option. But even tying shoes, pushing cuticles, or drinking coffee aren’t the best options, either.

Sure, it might seem better to try and avoid awkward human contact at the time, but you’ll enjoy life more if you simply look up with a smile and greet those around you, even with only a moo. Heck, maybe you can ask the next person you see if they know what a cuticle is.

If you’ve already figured out that it’s more fun to meet new people than fake texting, perhaps you’ll be more interested in The Most Effective SAT Study Plan, published this time last year. Because you can’t spell fun without “S,” “A,” and “T.”

3 iOS/iPhone Features We Need

Funny iphoneThe launches of iOS 7, the iPhone 5S (S meaning, “This should have been the iPhone Six”), and the iPhone 5C (C meaning, “Could we call this one the iPhone 6?”) have dominated the tech news for the last week. In fact, they are quite literally the only stories in the tech news; headlines range from “iOS 7 cures all Internet Explorer viruses” to “iOS 7: This story is actually about the Xbox One but we knew you’d never click the headline unless it began with iOS 7.”

As you probably know, the iPhone 5C/S/I: Miami and iOS 7 do have a number a new features. For example, you can now unlock your phone with your fingerprint. Rumor has it that the upcoming iOS 7C will allow you to unlock your phone using your DNA-verified snot.

But what the new Apple products don’t do is perhaps more telling than what they can do. Sure, you can now take higher-resolution photos, but nobody cares if you Instagram a picture of a 6 megapixel pair of shoes or an 8 megapixel pair of shoes. No, what we really need are some teen-specific features that would vastly improve the experience of all iPhone users:

Autocorrecting Autocorrect

Of all demographics, teens seem to have the biggest problem with autocorrect. Perhaps it’s because we text the most. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most of our abbreviations resemble DNA sequences, like “gtg,” more closely than words. Or perhaps it’s simply that teenagers send off texts without re-reading them to catch any errors, and often even send off texts without reading them a first time.

The point is, autocorrect plagues teen society like no other technological invention, save maybe whatever technology creates dubstep noises. As such, I think Apple should consider adding the following feature:

Whenever autocorrect acts up, you would immediately have the option of sending a follow-up text message via a pop-up selection list. Depending on the magnitude of the autocorrect error, you could choose from messages ranging from “Sorry, Autocorrected” to “OH MY FREAKIN’ GOSH that was Autocorrect WHAT THE TARTAR SAUCE I’M GOING TO HAVE A COW I’M SO MAD I COULD EAT A HORSE OLD MCDONALD HAD A FARM EURO. I MEANT EUROPE. I MEANT E I E I O. Go die, autocorrect.”

An Effective Wake-Up Alarm

By now, if you don’t assume that all teenagers are sleep deprived you are either: a) not a teenager or b) a teenager who is so sleep deprived that you forgot what a teenager is. So, if we are to get to school on time, we obviously need a very powerful alarm clock, a parent strong enough to drop us down the stairs, or an arrangement with the local air force base to create a sonic boom at 6:20 AM every morning.

A lot of people, however, simply use their iPhone’s alarm. Generally, people set between two and eight alarms, because they know that the first one will not be enough to wake them up.

But since we know that is the case, why not create a default alarm app that is actually effective enough to wake a sleeping teenager? Sure, it might take a few (read: thirty-seven) years to develop, and a few more years (read: never) to get FDA-approval, but it would save you the hassle of having to set six alarms every morning.

Basically, it would sound your classic iPhone “bum bum bum, bum bum bum-bum-bum-bum” but it would steadily get louder and louder until it set of all nearby iPhones, which would steadily get louder and louder until they set off all nearby iPhones, until every iPhone on the planet and the six or seven that an angry Bill Gates has hurled into orbit are going off. If the combined vibration and sound of six million iPhones are not enough to wake you up, you might as well stay asleep; the planet can only withstand thirty seconds of mass-iPhone bombardment until the crust shakes apart and the atmosphere crumbles.

Unbreakable Glass

Sure, a shattered screen is a lot less common today than it used to be, probably because either Apple has built tougher iPhones or consumers realized that, unlike the cellphones of the ‘90s, when you had to throw them into a wall to make them work, there’s nothing you can do to make a modern phone not drop calls, so you might as well save your strength.

But, nonetheless, teenagers still commonly break their iPhone screens. Undoubtedly, this is our fault; perhaps we chose to keep it in our shallow athletic shorts pocket as we played basketball on a cement court or accidentally (or intentionally) mistook our neon-phone case for a tennis ball. Regardless of why our iPhones still break, though, Apple could save us all a lot shattered glass if they built an indestructible screen.

The question is, why haven’t they done this already? I would assume it has something to do with the fact that to make true shatterproof glass would involve increasing the thickness of the glass, ruining the design aesthetic. But do you care how pretty your iPhone is if the screen is unusable? Of course not; we’re teenagers (when do we ever sacrifice function for looks, right? Certainly not when it comes to how we wear our backpacks).

Thus, Apple should create a version of the iPhone with 5-inch bullet-proof, shatterproof, drop-proof, hammer-proof, dog-bite-proof, karate-chop-proof, trash-compactor-proof glass. As an added bonus, if anyone ever tries to shoot you in your mid-thigh for some reason, your iPhone can now deflect the bullet.

Sure, we can keep talking about how stunningly wonderful the new iPhones and operating system are (“Breaking: iOS7 wins 5 Emmys”), but let’s not forget about what technology should always strive to be: intelligent enough to take over the human race an improvement over the previous model. I, for one, eagerly await my exponentially louder alarm.

September seems to be a month for us to propose improvements; last year at this time we brought you “Designing a Better Inside Cover for Textbook.”

8 Twitter Hashtags that You Should Be Using

Funny Twitter HashtagsIf there’s one thing that seems like it was invented specifically for teens—aside from driving, texting, and gum—it’d have to be the twitter hashtag.

Who else would want to randomly incorporate otherwise irrelevant phrases into messages? Aside from Shakespeare, who’s dead, only teens would want to, of course.

(For those of you that still think “twitter” is the sound that a bird makes, a hashtag is something that comes after the “#” sign. Usually, you can click a hashtag and discover just how badly it is being abused.)

Unfortunately, it seems that hashtags have become an acceptable part of society, which means that in the future TV newscasts will go from displaying hashtags at the bottom of the screen to simply writing them into the script: “Hello, I’m Rich Richardson here with your 6 o’clock news. Hashtag number sign, numeral 6, capital ‘P,’ capital ‘M,’ lowercase word ‘news.’ Our first story of the night deals with a sinkhole that mysteriously enveloped an entire Wal-Mart just outside the metropolitan area. Let me just say: Hashtag, Capital P, ‘prices,’ Capital P, ‘plummeting,’ ladies and gentlemen. Ha ha. Anyways…”

But, since people seem to have gotten used to the mildly to severely annoying trend of the hashtag, this means that teens, as pioneers of many stupid past trends—such as sagging pants or lenseless glasses—need to take our hashtag use to the next level.

In order to help you along, I’ve compiled a list of hashtags you could use as starting points. While some of them may already be hashtags, they are being used improperly; you’ll find the proper uses below.


I don’t need to explain this one. All you need to do is attach this to tweets about stupid things you’ve done because you hadn’t had enough sleep. Eventually, if it catches on, we can use the #NoSleep tweets as evidence in a massive class-action lawsuit against society, the government/education complex, Canada*, or all three.

An example of a properly used #NoSleep might look like this:

“that morning when you accidentally put the toaster in the fridge and the orange juice in the outlet…#NoSleep”

*Because they probably don’t have very aggressive lawyers, although they do have money.


Remember the earlier mention of how teens are really good at starting stupid trends? Well, sadly, we aren’t very good at sustaining them. So, tweet about an old trend you’d like to bring back, such as: 9 button texting, dial-up internet, silly bands, MySpace, Velcro light-up sneakers, pencil-top erasers, the word “hip,” the Harlem shake, etc.

“my legs are sooooo HOT right now its 70 degrees out. wish I had some zip-off pants #BringItBack”


Let’s face it: teens love complaining. In recent years, this had led to a number of dumb phrases in the form [insert group] problems, such as “Rich people problems,” “Popular people problems,” and “Rich popular people problems” (those are joke examples. The only problem rich popular people have is that I just made fun of them).

The point is, I’d like to see some actual problems, to lend some credibility to the phrase itself. Obviously, as teens, one of the types of problems we’re most familiar with is graphing calculator problems, which is why this would be such a useful hashtag.

“don’t know the right y-window settings to find the max and zoomfit didn’t help #GraphingCalculatorProblems”


“can’t integrate 5x+3 over 3×2/3 and don’t know what to do! Heeeellllppp! #GraphingCalculatorProblems”


What if, after reading your tweet, you don’t see any way to attach a hashtag? You can’t tweet without a hashtag. And that’s where the #Hashtag comes in. If you don’t know what to attach, simply add it and you’ve now met the minimum of one annoying unrelated hashtag.

“My hamster just choked on a grape and died. RIP Chuckles #Hashtag”


So, you’ve been trying and trying to figure out this whole hashtag thing, but you really don’t get it: sure, you use hashtags, but they aren’t annoying enough. All that can be solved with the #YOLO_SWAG_LOL hashtag. It’s especially useful if you don’t want people to remember the tweet itself; they’ll read the tweet, then read the hashtag and throw up, forgetting all about the tweet.

“here’s an embarrassing photo of me when I was like not as old as I am now #YOLO_SWAG_LOL”


Even if you’re not on twitter, you’ve probably heard about it: the private message addressed to only one or two people that really should not have been tweeted. Whether it’s tweeting an invitation to hang out at a super secret location, an inside joke, or simply a picture of a politician’s crotch, it just makes the tweeter look, well, like a tweeting twit.

After all, we have to wonder why it was a tweet and not a text. Did they lose their cell phone? Did they confuse the “Twitter” and “Message” icons on their phone? Or are they so naïve as to think that Twitter is simply a second SMS app? Whatever the reason, this hashtag should come in handy.

“@bob wanna hang by the fountain at ten tonite? Ill bring food #ThisShouldveBeenAText”


There are three types of people in this world: those that know grammar, those that don’t know grammar, and those that know grammar just enough to think that they’re in the first group but make so many mistakes that they’re grouped with the second group. This is hashtag for that misunderstood third group.

I mean, teens aren’t grammarians, nor should they be. At the same time, many of us get slightly annoyed by repeated grammatical errors. So, if you’re using the wrong form of a word, or don’t know where to punctuate, just attach this hashtag. At the very least, people will understand that you were just too lazy to look it up.

“just saw a UFO land over theyre bye the tree too abduct some squirrels #IsItToTwoToo”


As the Twitter sensation spreads, more and more people tweet using their smartphones. Unfortunately, most smartphones have a feature known as autocorrect, which pretends to know more than you do. That itself is an outrageous idea—I mean, a computer smarter than a teen? Come on.

Anyway, avoiding autocorrection errors can be a pain, often involving retyping a word many times. If you don’t want to waste your valuable procrastinating time, you should just leave the autocorrection and attach a sarcastic #LoveMyPhone to the end.

“hey all I just bought some awesome shrews at FootLocker for $20 #LoveMyPhone”


The next time you tweet, ask yourself: can I use any of these inventive hashtags? The answer is probably yes. And if it isn’t, well, here’s one that you can attach to whatever you like: #HighSchoolHumorBlogIsAmazing.

If you’re not on twitter, or you’re already using plenty of pointless hashtags, then you might be more interested in something all teens have to do at some point: in-class note taking. And yes, I know it’s awful, as detailed in “The Horror Known as Note-Taking.”