The Case of the Missing Retainer

I was a junior in high school living in New York City. We had just moved there from Miami, Florida, where we had been for 3 years. Our stay in New York wasn’t for long, only 6 months because my dad retired from the Coast Guard. We couldn’t continue living on the military base (Governor’s Island) so we packed up and moved to Tallahassee, Florida. I wasn’t sad about the move because during the 6 months I was able to do make some memories: snow skiing, sitting in the audience for a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman, playing flag football, learning how to type fast, trying out for the school basketball team, and whitewater rafting with my dad. But one thing I wasn’t able to do was get my braces taken off. I was in 9th grade when I got them. Why? Well, let’s just say the theme song for my teeth was Fleetwood Mac’s…

Some people had buck teeth. I had a buck tooth. And none of my other teeth pointed the right way either. I got braces in Miami, kept them in New York, and it was my senior year at Leon High School (go Lions) in Tallahassee when they were finally removed. “Phew! Just in time for my senior pictures!” But it was in New York that the unsolved case of the missing retainer happened.

One night, a lot like any other, I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed. I dutifully inserted the retainer which I was supposed to wear while I slept. However, when I woke up the next morning, it was gone. Ruh roh Raggy. I checked everywhere. The bathroom trash. My bed sheets. Under the bed. Beside the bed. Under the pillow? Nope. Days went by and the retainer was still missing in action. When it came time to move, I thought, “OK, now that retainer will turn up!” It didn’t. To this very day, I can’t explain what happened that night. The only chance of reopening this cold case is to find the retainer in the box of my stuff in my parent’s attic. And honestly, I hope it’s not there. That would be gross. Can you imagine the smell? Of course, I’m curious how much a vintage 1996 retainer would go for on eBay.

The moral of the story is that sometimes things just go away and you have to be alright with that. It could be a retainer or it could be a person you love. In the end your teeth might still be a little crooked and so might be the path you take, but you should still smile, and smell the roses along the way.

-Out of the Wilderness

Advertisements

The Art of Being Funny

“Women of New York… frost yourselves!”

In the movie, “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days,” Matthew McConaughey’s character Benjamin Barry is pitching a slogan for a new advertising campaign when he yells this memorable message out a New York high rise window. The response is a guy on the street below yelling back, “Frost this!”

There are a simple factors in humor. Below you’ll find pointers in how you, too, can be funny. Let’s start with example 1:

Your friend: Dude, can you pass me the ketchup?
You: Sure, here it is.

Your friend asked for ketchup. Because you’re not funny, you passed it their way with little thought. Now check this out:

Your friend: Dude, can you pass me the ketchup?
You: No, but I’ll pass you YOUR FACE.

There you go, much better. Note that it’s important to raise your voice a tad when you get to the “YOUR FACE” part. Now you’ve learned one way to be funny, ludicrous comments that are over-the-top, borderline offensive and typically unexpected. A few other ingredients for being funny are the same things that make a baby born. Timing and delivery. An excellent example of this is Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Time and time again the most funny scenes aren’t even what he said. It was the way he said it. Other times it was the look he gave as he parented his children. Without even speaking a word, he could have the live studio audience ROTFLing. So if you’re taking notes, I’ve covered two ways you can be a funnier you:
1. add “your face” into a conversation
2. practice timing and delivery

Another thing that can help you be funny is remembering that comedy comes in three’s: setup, setup, punch. Take note the next time you’re watching television. You’ll be surprised how much the setup/setup/punch delivery method is used. In comedy, two is not enough and four is overkill. Three is the sweet spot. A recent example of this from Spongebob Squarepants:

This ties in nicely with the next pointer I have for you: repetition. Take a mildly funny comment or thought, repeat it enough and someone will start laughing. It’s true, try it. If you’re still having trouble making people laugh, here’s pointer five: make clever observations of common events. I’ve seen this on the Late Show with David Letterman. The President is giving a speech and Dave will point out the kid picking his nose in the background.

Something else you can do to be more funny is what most people are embarrassed and/or afraid to do. Belly flops for example. Or this:

So to sum up, anyone can be funny. Even you. The idea, though, is to make sure it’s on purpose, unlike “text and walk” lady above. Practice timing and delivery with clever observations, repetition, and a willingness to laugh at yourself instead of being embarrassed. However, if none of these work and you still aren’t that funny, try this:

Not funny:
Your friend hits a tennis ball towards you.
You jump out of the way.

Funny:
Your friend hits a tennis ball towards you.
Ball hits you in the crotch.

When all else fails, crotch shots.

Other thoughts on funny:
Shiny Mess
Scenic Route Snapshots

Popular YouTube Videos

I’ve been posting videos online for 4 years. To date, there are 153 videos under the Driftwood145 label. I’ve listed the 12 most-viewed videos below and descriptions of each. Which is your favorite?

Boney M: Hooray! Hooray!
views: 3,425,401
I discovered Boney M in 2006 when I was in Vietnam along with my sister and brother-in-law who were adopting a baby girl. We were in a taxi, the driver had a disc playing. The two songs I remember hearing were “Rasputin” (which is another great hit from Boney M) and “Hooray! Hooray!” Boney M has been popular internationally since the 1970s and were produced by the same guy who later produced Milli Vanilli. This video gets views from all over the world, especially outside the United States. Here’s the monster international hit, “Hooray! Hooray!”

Boney M: Mary’s Boy Child
views: 543,994
Probably my favorite Christmas song of all time. This also could be Boney M’s most well-known hit simply because it’s played on radio stations around the world during the Christmas season. The song, the video, both are great. I love this band from the 1970s. Here’s Boney M’s Christmas classic, “Mary’s Boy Child.”

Football Hit / Green Bay vs. Jacksonville
views: 194,403
This video was recorded in the 2007 NFL pre-season when the Green Bay Packers played against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Desmond Bishop (#55) laid a hit on Reggie Williams (#11) that popped his helmet off. Some say it was because of his dreads, others just admit it was a good hit. But also a good job holding onto the ball. This video proves pretty well that people like watching football hits.

Lost Error
views: 133,270
If you don’t watch Lost, this video will be lost on you. Here, Charlie is in the Looking Glass Station, held as a prisoner not long before he died. Charlie gets punched in the face. No blood on the face. Then he has blood on his face, then later, the blood is gone again. Small mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Here is the Lost error…

Bike Wreck
views: 93,314
The title pretty much explains itself. Except the bicycle rider does a matrix style exit off the bike, thus avoiding a collision with the mailbox. The video has been picked up by America’s Funniest Home Videos and has aired on that show a few times. Check it out!

Taylor Swift Star-Spangled Banner
views: 72,781
Taylor performed the National Anthem on a Thanksgiving NFL game featuring the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions. It was November 23, 2006, quite early in Taylor’s career. Surprisingly, this is probably the most controversial video on my YouTube page. Comments range from calling the performance amazing to blasting Taylor as a terrible singer and ruining the song. What is your take?

Zac Brown Band perform “Free” on Late Night with David Letterman
views: 77,050
“Free” was released on April 12, 2010 on the album “The Foundation.”

Surprise Marriage Proposal
views: 59,310
I was working at Kanakuk Kamps in Lampe, Missouri in 2000. One of the staff members was about to take a day off to spend it with his girlfriend. She came to the front office to meet him there. From there, they were going to walk to the car. Once they left the office, the guy faked an ankle injury. His girlfriend went to the office to get the first aid kit. Little did she know the ring he would offer her was in the first aid kit! So she brings it out to him. He talks about how much he loves her, etc etc etc. Then he switches knees, pulls out the ring, and shocks her by asking her to marry him. Once she says yes, you can hear the campers cheering in the background (some with bottle rockets). Very creative way to propose!

Play Beyonce Clown off, Keyboard Cat
views: 39,680
Not much can be said about this one. Two videos were already on YouTube. I combined them. Here it is:

The glory days at Florida State
views: 17,121
This team featured Chris Weinke, Anquan Boldin, and a few other star athletes. The NC State Wolfpack featured the quarterback, Phillip Rivers. He was a cheap player back then, as you can see in the video. Can you tell I’m not a fan of Phillip Rivers?

Marching Chiefs… Florida State Band
views: 14,781
This performance was from the night before the 2007 Music City Bowl in Nashville, TN. There is no band like the Marching Chiefs. Here’s their performance of “Seminole Uprising.”

Vietnam Karaoke
views: 11,221
I went to Vietnam in 2006 with my sister and her husband. They were adopting a little girl and I tagged along to videotape the process. More videos can be seen on my YouTube page about the whole adoption process, meanwhile, though, check out the experience I had singing karaoke one night in Vietnam. They do it different there, it’s not in front of a bunch of people you don’t know. We got our own private room with a television and a couple of couches. So then we sang songs in front of each other in the little room. And yes, the last song on this video is “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. Enjoy!