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If I Have A Social Disease It’s Only Because I’m Popular

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A series of short diatribes

Sarah Solomon


If I Have A Social Disease It’s Only Because I’m Popular. Copyright © 2011 by Sarah Solomon. All rights reserved. Printed in New York City. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address Sarah-Sol publishing, 9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

FIRST EDITION Designed and illustrated by Sarah Solomon


If I Have A Social Disease It’s Only Because I’m Popular

zz A series of short diatribes

Sarah Solomon


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his book is dedicated to my grandmother, “saint” Eleanor. Your selfless acts of kindness are an inspiration, as is your chopped liver and cooking in general. Thank you for always believing in me, and telling me I’m perfect. I love you. Please don’t ever read this.


like art, means “ Morality, drawing a line someplace. -Oscar Wilde

a feeling is all we “ Sometimes humans have to go on. “ -Captain James T. Kirk


Diatribes

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rologue

You make your own luck. And sangria.

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1 KL

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ifestyle

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3-5

I’m not single, I’ve been having a torrid affair with carbohydrates for years.

omestication

“If a tree falls on a woman...what the fuck was a tree doing in the kitchen?” –mylifeisbro.com

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6-15

16-23

lut Magic If I have a social disease it’s only because I’m popular.

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24-35

ashion

Nothing announces “I’m here to drink,” quite like cowboy boots.

36-47


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ating

“You don’t even like me.” “Yes, but I love the idea of you.”

lcohol

Day drinking is not about giving up, it’s about acceptance.

ocial Media S S Emoticons are the real opiate ot the masses.

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48-59

60-71

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ducation

The hardest lesson leaned: you’re not special, just high maintenance.

G S uburbia Fighting fire and passive aggression one bottle of merlot at a time.

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102-111


You make your own luck. And sangria.


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memory is of being attacked Mybyfirst goats. I was barely three and

rologue b

vacationing with my family in the rural English countryside. Castles, green pastures, and more than enough sheep to entertain even the most narrow minded of British stereotypes. However, it is not the rolling hills nor bleating UGG’s I remember, but being knocked down and trampled within the confines of the petting zoo. I had merely offered the goats a few nibbles of feed before they had launched their full-scale assault.

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Luckily my father was able to jump the barrier and rescue me before any physical damage occurred, but the psychological ramifications proved to be severe. If their incessant and fitful bleating didn’t haunt my dreams, the three traumatizing words spoken after the incident did:

life isn’t fair. Explaining to a screaming toddler how these cuddly animals had the capacity to maim and destroy shouldn’t have consisted of one of life’s hardest lessons. But the cause and effect had been identified, and with my father’s brief explanation came a new and less rosy outlook on life.

Even after two decades I’m still trying to come to grips with that seemingly simple concept, and those fucking goats have become the very metaphor for my existence.


However, in the face of adversity and malicious attempts by woodland creatures, the only thing to do is become a better person for it. I’m not that “better person,” but I’m hoping to meet them some day. Maybe they’ll even be attractive. But until then, please enjoy the views and exasperations of a disparaged, narcissistic, and sometimes malnourished soul. They may not be politically or morally correct, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took hundreds of years worth of slave labor and money laundering.

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XOXO,

arah Solomon

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I’m not single, I’ve been having a torrid affair with carbohydrates for years. (Chapter 1)


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ifestyle v

here is positively nothing wrong with living a hedonistic lifestyle.

As long as you’re not hurting anyone other than yourself, never feel guilty about eating too much, drinking too much, or loving too much. At least until you become fat, bloated, and STD ridden. That is why it is essential to find a decent balance between all three. I refrain from saying “a perfect balance� because unfortunately, perfection is unattainable. Unless you plan on hiring a stylist/nutritionist/trainer/pool boy.

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The following aren’t rules one should necessarily follow, but rather some loose guidelines that have seemed to work for me in the past. However, one should also keep in mind the terrible toll this has taken on my body, self-esteem and sanity. But those were pretty much shot to begin with, along with any remnants of a soul.

ating Three square meals a day are recommended with at least a half-hour of exercise for a reasonably healthy lifestyle. But are you willing to settle for that? “A reasonably healthy lifestyle� sounds a lot like throwing in the towel. Will you concede to twirling your baton in the cellulite parade along with most of middle class America?


Unfortunately, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, there can’t be any of this 2000 calories a day bullshit, especially if you plan on drinking. Your diet should vary upon the amount of exercise you’re partaking in; i.e. how often you leave your cubicle to go hit on the mail room boy. (He’s only nineteen, keep telling yourself that) A diet should become part of your habitual daily routine, as opposed to a new fad or bullshit plan that switches every week along with your pants size. A cleanse or miracle diet will work for about a week, but you will hate yourself and everyone you encounter during it. A hungry bitch is a mean bitch, no matter how good he or she looks. It’s also in your best interests to abstain from diet pills. You want to live to see your future children grow to despise you.

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On that note, here are some suggestions for a diet based on reality,

reakfast Upon waking a cup of hot or ice coffee is necessary to feed a burgeoning or raging caffeine addiction. Ideally the coffee would be black, but if you’re going to be a wuss about it choose skim or soy milk. Don’t use a sugar substitute; the medical community is still not certain about the side effects, and it definitely screws up your metabolism. Quit your bitching, and go with cane or raw sugar.


If you need to eat breakfast (because it’s the most important meal of the day, blah blah blah) then do it right. Fruit is ideal, but an all egg white omelette with veggies sounds like a blast and a half. Homemade home fries are also acceptable; they don’t leave you crying on the inside for sustainable food. Carb loading is a G-d given right, and to refuse yourself the simple pleasure is denying the very right to free will, or even love itself. Bacon and sausage are the punch lines to some divinely cruel joke. They may be delicious, but also highly caloric and meant as a treat as opposed to a breakfast staple. It’s alright in moderation- just don’t make fatty breakfast meats mandatory in your “last night doesn’t exist” ritual. With your track record you’ll never be able to starve away the weight.

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If you need to be on the go, combining a banana, ice, and a half cup of skim milk in the blender is purely magical. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top and you’re really in for a guilt

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free and filling treat. If it’s really a rough morning, throw some rum in there as well. There are only so many saints for a reason.

unch Lunch is a debatable if often overlooked casualty of the day, and during the work week an essential part of your sanity. Sadly, it may even be the high point of the glorious eight hours that put a roof over yours and your many ungrateful cats’ heads.


Once again, moderation is key in maintaining a decent weight along with any reasoning you wish to retain. You need something that will sustain you so you don’t jump over your cubicle in a malnourished rage and attack any ill-fated person who walks by. Unless it’s an intern, as everyone knows they don’t qualify as people. A hearty salad with falafel, chicken or fish is a surefire winner, as long as it’s not with fatty dressing. That defeats the entire purpose of the salad, and is akin to giving up on a healthy relationship. Sure, you may be attracted to ranch, but are you willing to cheat on balsamic vinaigrette? Vinaigrette has always been there for you, even during your lowest points, while ranch was only good for instant gratification.

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nacks You can’t get through your day on three paltry meals, hopes, dreams, and barbiturates alone. You’re probably going to want some fruit salad as well. Snacking has always been a dangerous pastime, like free falling or day drinking. You just don’t know how or when to stop. One chip turns into five, then half the bag, then you’re hysterically scrubbing the orange cheesy dye off your hands like you just committed a murder. You’re not Lady Macbeth, and washing away the evidence still won’t help the size of your thighs. If you need your chip and dip fix, don’t be afraid to waste dishes and set aside premeasured portions. Keep in mind the portions should be considerably smaller than a feeding trough. Living the dream isn’t funneling onion dip into your mouth; it’s fitting into the clothes that make people hate you.


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Don’t eat in front of the TV; the glowing box will distract you from the quantity or quality of calories being shoveled into one of your less discriminating orifices. A self-satisfying and somewhat innocent snack is toasted whole grain pita or cucumbers with hummus. You can stock up and blow some cash on the gourmet hummus options, or make your own. All you really need are some chick peas, a food processor, and the will to blend something other than margaritas.

inner Dinner time serves many purposes. The celebratory meal at the end of a rewarding day, the social niceties of catching up with friends and lovers, the solitary Chinese take-out as you ponder why even your fortune cookie told you to give up. However, one often overlooks the main purpose of dinner: to ingest the proper amount of calories so you can drink as heavily as needed. You wouldn’t run a marathon on an empty stomach, so why not treat a bar crawl with similar respect. A hamburger or veggie burger sounds delectable, or even some form of pasta in moderation. Hell, go classy and hit up Red Lobster. Something with substance, because let’s face it slugger: you earned it.

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If I have a social disease it’s only because I’m popular. (Chapter 3)


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lut Magic c

enormity and gravity of slut T hemagic cannot be captured through words. Its definition or explanation will never do it justice, as it is contained in the entity of a being. To put it bluntly, slut magic is the way the perpetrator carries themselves. It’s that mysterious quality that allows you to sleep with them, although you can’t explain why. Such examples include: “why am I still talking to you when you compared last week’s episode of Entourage to Beethoven’s third symphony?” “Why is he wearing aviators indoors, how the hell can he even see?” And of course, “how can he get away with flip flops in a corporate office and then get promoted?”

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You’ll continue to shake your head at the aforementioned examples and other audacious displays of idiocy until you end up sleeping with him. Then you will realize, often as a repeat offender, that you are nothing more than a victim of slut magic’s vast and inexplicable power. One might argue that slut magic is more of a blessing than a curse. It is a rare gift to possess, the ability to tap into a force that controls not only the drunk and low-esteemed, but skeptics and realists. However, at what point can this addictive air of confidence be considered a form of social terrorism?


It could take years, decades, nay even a lifetime to unlock the mysteries behind its magic. Scholars and degenerates alike have all given up the quest to fully understand and potentially harvest this underestimated power. I have been conducting studies on this subject for years and devoted countless weekends and nights for the good of mankind. I will never get those hours back, nor do I really want them. I will chalk it all up to being a good Samaritan through giving back to my community and sharing my generous spirit. I’ve been told I am nothing but a giver. So far in my research, I have found that slut magic exists in many forms. For example, my friend believes slut magic resides in the bodies of younger men, and I believe it resides in the wearers boat shoes. In her defense, she enjoys preying on the faux naive. In my defense, I’m from New England and would dearly love to go yachting.

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Slut magic is not restricted to the casually preppy or barely legal. It could encompass the skintight pants of hipsters, the devil may care attitude of the punks, or the socially awkward tendencies of the nerd. The trappings and forms of magic all depend upon what sort of stereotypical “type� the victim is most attracted to, and thus powerless against. In my college travels I became well acquainted with the dire repercussions of slut magic. However, I quickly realized any decisions I made under its influence were excusable and could be easily remedied through retail therapy. Luckily, there are a few measures one can take in order to avoid the temptation of slut magic and avoid a vaguely remorseful morning.


Don’t drink. This is silly advice, and more of a last resort than actual option. But if you want to refrain from hearing all about his lacrosse championship game when he “accidentally” set fire to the opposing teams mascot, put down that long island or cosmo. A clean and sober state of mind is the key to walking away before he starts quoting Anchorman and it’s all over.

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Educate yourself.

Actively recognizing what you are and aren’t attracted to is the first step of self-defense. The simple difference between a popped collar or bandanna could be your breaking point. Reflect upon your dating history, from your pre-pubescent mishaps to the guy from accounting you made out with last week. No matter how erratic their style or attitude may be, there’s a key to the kind of person you attracti. Sense of humor, baby-face, or even just being a textbook douchebag…Recognize the symptoms and there’s a faint hope for a cure.


Sense of control and decorum. Before you go out that night, ask yourself the important questions. Do you plan on getting laid? Where are you sleeping? Who should you temporarily delete from your phone book to avoid drunk texting? And most importantly, what are you wearing? What kind of person you attract that night will be partially dependant upon your style choices. Oscar Wilde once wisely stated, “you can never be over-dressed or over-educated.� Unfortunately for us, this was before the rise of the unadulterated hipster bar, where an otherwise unattractive stocking cap not only suffices, but grants you as much PBR as your heart desires.

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Are you already in a relationship?

Unless you’re actively going out to cheat or have an “open relationship,” don’t do something you’ll regret in the morning. Slut magic is a powerful and irreconcilable influence, akin to other devastating forces of nature like a tornado or a rabid squirrel. With that said, guilt and hunger are two of the most powerful forces in the universe. Unless you want to feel as bad as you did after that superbowl when you singlehandedly finished a tub of queso dip, try not to wake up in a random hotel room or apartment.


If you did not heed the advice of choices A through D and find yourself blinking into the harsh light of day through that window formerly known as “opportunity,” please absorb the following.

Get the hell out of there. Unless this guy orders you a complete brunch spread at the Four Seasons, it’s just not worth it. Leave a number, get a number, or simply walk out the door with as little eye contact as humanly possible. Last night was the past, and today is as bright and new as jewelry via blackmail.

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Etiquette

If you do feel the need to stay and chat, keep it brief and light. Don’t mess up your chance at seeing him again by rearranging his living room and pre-heating the oven for cookies. You might have taken a class on feng shui and make a mean chocolate macaroon, but that still doesn’t mean you won’t come off as insane. Leave the crazy for a month into the relationship when he passes on Breakfast at Tiffany’s in favor of a basketball game. Then you throw his Blackberry at the TV and run crying from the room.


Optimists Beware Coming off of the last piece of advice, I will bet you my first-born child’s law degree that this isn’t “Mr. Right.” This was “Mr. Right for last night” or “Mr. Right with half a gin bucket and a joint.” There’s no law saying you’re bound to a follow up coffee date, dinner, or even giving out the right number. Due to recent advancements in social networking, even giving out the correct name is a hazard. The last thing you need is becoming a nervous wreck because you just checked into Whole Foods via Foursquare, and envisioning him popping out behind an organic almond display. Sanity is precious; don’t squander it on the little things.

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The hardest lesson: you’re not special, just high maintenance.

(Chapter 8)


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ducation o

he American collegiate system is a beautiful thing. Blowing tens, nay hundreds of thousands of dollars on a sterling education that lends itself towards beer bonging up a couple of jean sizes is always well worth your parents’ life savings. Or the loans you will to have to pay off through nothing less than prostitution. Yet, one often forgets about the academic perks of college. The classes and labs that accumulate into a piece of paper, theoretically granting you access into the real world.

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G K W G A F J S K L

A world bereft of easy-mac made with gin and tears. A world without gifted toasters and various electrical appliances for sleeping with several generations of a fraternal family. This cruel world, unlike college, is capable of making you feel shame. The stress from these so-called classes or exams is a dangerous thing, and it can take its toll on an already challenged persona. In order to take charge of these dire situations and ultimately your social life, one must learn the fine and exquisite art of bullshit. Arm yourself with excuses for tardiness and inappropriate comments during class. Skim the dictionary for pretentious words that give you the upper hand in appropriate or amusing situations. Read over the sexual harassment policy of your school’s handbook in order to properly assess the potential for blackmail.


All of these aforememtioned examples will ensure grade inflation and the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you didn’t pull an all nighter studying -but dry heaving in the bushes outside the library. Bullshitting is an innate and treasured gift, but any devoted scholar can become a novice to the craft. All it takes is the strength to overcome one’s apathy for the situation at hand, and the realization that you control your own destiny. And whether or not you can lie your way out of study group in time for happy hour. Example A “You have been tardy every class. There is no excuse for stumbling in 20 minutes late and then using racial slurs.” -Professor XYZ

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It’s like a choose your own adventure game. You can:

A. Profusely apologize, swallowing your pride and another sip of “water.”

B. Argue. You’re only late because there was a bunch of filthy immigrants in the way of your SUV. In your haste to make it on time you clipped one, and like a belligerent Florence Nightengale decided to nurse him back to health. He’s sucking on a juice box for strength in the trunk of your Range Rover as you speak.

C. Meekly apologize and immediately start coughing. Bring out a mildly “blood” stained hankie to dab at the corners of your mouth, and bring up what a truly difficult time you’ve


been having with the consumption. All are satisfactory answers, but only letter “C” will permanently get you out of hot water, incite the guilt factor, and may even warrant a few free cans of chicken noodle soup in the process. No one needs to know you were late because you were watching re-runs of The Real World and trying to find all of the cast members on Facebook.

Example B: You’re forced to take some form of political ethics course. Since helping people or hearing about the plight of others is clearly the last thing on your mind, that paper on genocide is clearly not happening. Unless you take an alternate or creative route, and research a travesty you can relate to.

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Cricetus auratus

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The Hamster Genocide he Syrian hamster is considered a pest in its native land. With their cheek pouches extending from their mouths to their shoulders, they are capable of storing nearly the equivalent of their own body mass in their mouths. Unremitting hoarders, they have been known to gather up to sixty pounds of grain in preparation for the cruel winters and long months of potential starvation. Third world farmers have responded violently, and the cuddly creatures are rounded up and slaughtered by the dozens. This leaves the hamsters with no choice but to live on the run, skittering around as fast as their little hind legs can carry them.


The hamster genocide has gone unnoticed for far too long, and once again international diplomacy has failed in its very indifference. Damning an entire group, nay an entire species, is at the very least unethical and another example of our sadistic bastardization of a legal system. Their wee metaphorical shackles and exercise wheels of humiliation have existed for nearly a century, with no end to the cruelty in sight. Without the monetary or intellectual resources (not to mention necessary dexterous capabilities) a hamster revolution is certainly out of the question, and their persecution will continue until met with human resistance.

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The real question is why the international community has kept such a massacre under wraps, denying these creatures the very basic rights to life. The answer lies in the dark underbelly of medical testing, paired with incestuous corporate relationships with shareholders. Hamsters were first introduced to the modern world in 1839 by zoologist George Waterhouse, who aptly dubbed them Cricetus auratus: “The Golden Hamster.� A family of hamsters was bred in captivity in 1930, and it is believed that all North American hamsters sold as pets are descendants of the original litter. Bearing in mind the females go into heat every four days and can birth up to twenty furballs in one litter, population problems were originally out of the question. These rodents are the fourth most tested upon animals, securing their spot right after lab mice. However, they are solitary creatures genetically engineered for the wide expanses of the Syrian desert, and close quarters cause the little ones to attack each another with razor sharp incisors. The only guarantee that two hamsters will not attack one another is when the female is in heat. However, the fairer sex has been known to immediately attack the male hamster after copulation, while he is still recovering from the physical exertion. Granted, the intercourse must have been truly horrible if she felt he deserved such a fate.


Example C: You are forced into some form of peer tutoring because of your lack of extra curricular activities. Or as a perfunctory slap on the wrist for hitting golf balls off the gym roof and nailing the dean’s car below. While you can’t mask any literary or writing abilities for fear of losing special class slots or dignity, you can still make yourself seem inapproachable and unfit to work. The following paper not only demonstrates your ability to form a cognitive sentence, but an inability to deal with freshman unless they’re pledges and feeding you skinless grapes.

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No One’s Perfect, Not Even Me.

Here we are at week nine, and it seems like the term has just flown by. As a class, it seems like we have covered almost every problem a tutor will face from the tutee. Apathy, anger, lack of English skills, lack of social skills… and that’s just our classmates. While I feel like I have learned a lot this term, I do recognize that I still have a long way to go. Luckily, the first step is recognizing that you have a problem, and that is why I am going to work on comma splices and my cuticles. Oh comma splices. According to Wikipedia, “A comma splice is a sentence in which two independent clauses are joined by a comma without a coordinating conjunction.” In my constant struggle with grammar (which I can easily compare to the battle of good verses evil, or the Sith versus the Republic) I am beaten down time and time again. However, I think it’s time I stepped up to the plate and destroyed my comma splices for good. For example, when I try to fix a run-on sentence with a comma, I can ask myself “is this comma necessary? Is it really a semi-colon masquerading as a comma?” Or I can simply insert a coordinating conjunction after the comma, or make the two clauses dependant on one another. By recognizing one of my own struggles with grammar and hopefully fixing it forever, I can help others with the same or similar problem.


The term “helping others” is a funny one. It can be taken so many ways and demonstrated on so many levels. On the other hand, “breaking someone’s spirit” or making them realize “they just will not amount to anything” is a useful and life conditioning tool. How can these nearly illiterate degenerates realize their own inadequacies without a peer leader pointing them out? However, I recognize it won’t be the end of the world if they walk away from the writing center without having an epiphany about the English language. I’m sure I’ll still be able to sleep at night. All in all, I feel that this class has really prepared me to become a tutor. I’m comfortable with the idea of conferencing with my peers and pointing out their grammatical errors and poor taste in clothes. It hasn’t been a long journey, but like Frodo and his quest to throw the ring of power into Mount Doom, we have been brave and done our best. Although I recognize that there are many more students than there are tutors, I look forward to the challenge and will attempt to help these grammatically damned souls. Like Gamling said to Theoden towards the end of Return of the King, “Too few have come. We cannot defeat the armies of Mordor.” Theoden replies, “No. We cannot. But we will meet them in battle nonetheless.” Like the armies of Mordor, too many students will come, but I have confidence that we will defeat their problems and one day return to the metaphorical Shire. 101

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If I Have A Social Disease It's Only Because I'm Popular  

A series of short, sardonic diatribes pertaining to how we are all products of our environment.