CHOCOLATE By John Scalzi

Chocolate is God’s way of reminding men how inadequate they are. I am

vividly confronted with this fact every time my wife and I go out to a
restaurant. When it gets to dessert, my wife usually orders the most chocolate-saturated dessert possible: It’s the one called “Unstoppable Double-Fudge Chocolate Mudslide Explosion” or some such thing. 

I always wonder why anyone would want to eat anything that promises a
catastrophic natural disaster in your mouth.

The dark brown monstrosity arrives at the table, and my wife takes the first bite. Before the fork is even removed from her mouth, a small moan escapes her lips. Her eyes, previously perfectly aligned, first cross slightly and then faze completely, pupils dilating in pure
chocolate pleasure before the eyelids clamp down in ecstasy. The hand
not holding the fork clenches into a fist and starts pounding the table. The silverware rattles. After about six minutes of this, she finally manages to swallow the bite, realign her eyes, and take the next shuttle back from whatever transcendental plane she’s been visiting. Slowly, her sphere of
consciousness expands to include me, her husband, her life-long mate, her presumed partner in all things ecstatic. “Hey, this is pretty good,” she’ll say. “You want some?" No, I don’t. I want nothing to do with an object that does to my wife in one bite what I’ve worked for an entire relationship to achieve. It
wouldn’t do any good, anyway. Men just don’t have the same relationship with chocolate that women do. It’s not even close. I wandered around the office today and asked men – "Chocolate. Your thoughts?” – and the result was always the same. First, a confused look as to why they’re being asked about something so trivial, and
then some lame, obvious statement: “Uh…it’s brown?" 
Ask women the same question, and you get responses like "The ONLY food group,” “ESSENTIAL to life as we know it,” and the ultimate casual swipe at every member of the Y-chromosome brigade, “better than sex." Ouch. Some women will try to make up for that last one by quickly
adding that chocolate is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Uh-huh. Chocolate certainly increases desire; problem is the desire is usually for more chocolate. The best a guy can do is buy a box of chocolates and hope he’ll be considered somewhere between the cherry truffle and the strawberry nougat. Don’t get me wrong. Guys like chocolate just fine; it’s just not essential to life as we know it. Respiration is essential to life as we know it; chocolate is simply one of those nice little bonuses you get. We won’t usually pass it up if it’s offered, but I don’t know too many guys who would get substantially worked up if it were to suddenly disappear from the face of the earth (ironic in a way, as back in the days of the Aztecs, only
men were allowed to have the stuff). 

When I eat a chocolate dessert, I
enjoy it, yes. My world view doesn’t narrow to include only the plate that it’s on. Maybe we’re missing something. On the other hand, we don’t have to
pick up our silverware from the floor after we’re done with our tiramisu. Life is about trade-offs like that. All I know is that come Valentine’s Day, chocolate will be among the things I offer my wife. I can’t truly appreciate it, but I can truly appreciate what it does for
her. Which is close enough. Copyright © John Scalzi

John Scalzi is a columnist and humorist living in Virginia. For more
columns and essays, visit his website:

Germany Debuts ‘Mentally Ill’ Stuffed Animals

A depressed turtle, A delusional snake, A paranoid crocodile, A sheep with multiple personality disorder, A hippo with autism.

Promising hours of fun for the whole family, a German company has introduced a line of stuffed animals that suffer from psychiatric disorders. There’s Dub the turtle, who has severe depression; Sly the snake, who suffers frightening hallucinations; Dolly the sheep/wolf, who has multiple-personality disorder; Kroko the crocodile, who is terrified of water; and Lilo the hippo, who’s been obsessed with solving the same wooden jigsaw puzzle for months. The company’s founder says: “It started as a bit of a joke with my girlfriend, who has lots of soft toys, and then we thought there could be something in the idea. Children and grownups like their vulnerability and find something in them that gives them a great sense of comfort in helping to heal them.” This should go over about as well as bacon sandwiches at a Bar Mitzvah… Funny isn’t it? No… read more below:

A depressed turtle, A delusional snake, A paranoid crocodile, A sheep with multiple personality disorder, A hippo with autism.

At first glance, you might think these are cute. But go further and you’ll learn that these furry animals are stuffed with stigmatizing beliefs about mental illness. – a European toy company – is selling these toys with the tag line “Psychiatry for Abused Toys”. On the website, you can play an online game at “The Asylum” and give “treatment” to the toy of your choice. But be prepared for stereotyped crazy behavior, outdated and incorrect diagnostic labels, hallucinogenic drug reactions and the always insulting puppet-sock therapy. Make sure you see the “no-hanging” suicide policy wall sign in the community room. Insensitive. Distasteful. Stigmatizing.

Several blogs have picked up on this story – so you might be hearing about this in mainstream media soon. I’m no stick in the mud. I do enjoy humor. But this stuff needs to stop. Thoughts?

You Don’t Know Love from Shit

You got a snazzy new car in your driveway,
Expensive new clothes on your back,
Every tight shirt on the highway,
Has spent time in your bachelor pad.

We dance and you look over my shoulder,
And make eyes at somebody else,
You swear that you’re not, But you know that’s a croc,
Cause you only care for yourself.

Your attitude stinks and I hate it,
You’re arrogant, cocky and rude,
You’re selfish, conceited and jaded,
Everything’s all about you,
You think that I’m lucky to have you,
You think you’re so handsome, so what?
I’m kickin’ you out cause I don’t need this crap,
I’m gettin’ myself outta shit. Cause you don’t know love from shigella,
With you love is not what I found,
Cause a man needs someone to hold him,
Not someone to just let him down,
I want someone I can count on,
A cool headed, warm heart and shoulder,
To cry on, rely on, today and from now on,
But you don’t know love from shigella,

You don’t know love…
From shigella! Oh but I gave you love and affection,
But you never gave one iota,
It was an early detection,
That you don’t know love from shigella.

You don’t know love from shigella,
You don’t know what true loves about.
Well you’ll find your world growin’ colder,
When you’re alone and without,
So go on, lover boy, have a big time,
Drink up on your Pinot Grigio,
When you sober up you’ll be fucked outta luck,
Cause you don’t know love from shigella. I’m in it for love, but you’re just a prick,
You don’t know love from shigella.

Copyright © 2010 Ryan Price & Dolly Parton. Dedicated to?!