A tranquilizer dart salesman solves the gun crisis

Let’s not kid ourselves. People love guns, they love ’em. They’re not going to give up their guns for anything. They’d rather shoot you.

The real problem isn’t guns — it’s bullets. Guns don’t kill people. Bullets kill people. If we want to really address the gun crisis, the solution is simple. We ban bullets.

Now you might be saying, ‘Gus, if we ban bullets, people won’t have anything to shoot’. Well, that’s the kind of limited thinking that led to our current bullet-centric society. Guns could shoot all kinds of things, but in my experience there’s nothing finer to screw into the barrel than a high quality tranquilizer dart filled with a mild sedative.

That’s right, tranquilizer darts! Can’t you just picture it? It’s late, and you’re alone in a dark alley because it is your God-given right to take a shortcut home. Suddenly a criminal leaps from the shadows. He’s brandishing a gun – but so are you! You fire simultaneously, each getting struck by a Tranq Em Good™ tranquilizer dart. Within seconds, smooth relaxing sedative is flooding through your bloodstream. You and your would-be mugger both collapse in the alley. Several hours later, you wake up feeling refreshed. You have a laugh, compliment each other on your fine choice of darts, then realise someone has made off with both your wallets while you lay unconscious.

That’s the kind of society I want to live in, and I bet you do too.

Will tranquilizer darts solve all our problems? No. You take a tranq dart to the eye, that eyeball won’t grow back. And depending on how many darts a person is hit with and what the average dilution of sedative is in each — you get the picture. But there will be far fewer gun-related deaths and a lot more naps.

You’re thinking, ‘Won’t the low-risks stakes of tranquilizer darts encourage people to shoot each other more, not less? Won’t we have teachers shooting school kids just to get some peace and quiet, and moms shooting children, also to get some peace and quiet, and employees shooting their bosses on a daily basis?’ Probably, yes. What’s your point?

A side benefit is that tranquilizer dart sales are set to go through the roof – and not just darts and sedative! It will be difficult to retrofit most of today’s guns to shoot tranq darts, so we expect to sell dart guns by the crateful. The time to invest is now. And in contrast to bland old metal bullets, darts offer huge potential for personalization. If you wake up on your lawn to find a dart with a neon pink tail feather covered in glitter sticking out of your thigh, you’ll know your six-year-old neighbour Gloria has really improved her aim.

As part owner of Tranq Em Good™, I personally stand to gain huge financial benefits in the post-bullet world. But I’m not only doing this to become wildly rich. I’m doing this because I believe that in this great nation, we can have our guns and shoot them too.

A letter to the cactus in my apartment’s recycling bin

An Letter To The Cactus In My Apartment Recycling Bin
Dear Cactus,

I don’t want to alarm you. I suppose earlier this week you were chilling out, doing your photosynthesis thing in one of my neighbour’s windows. And now you’ve found yourself shoved in this recycling bin, mostly buried under unrinsed beer bottles and partially crushed egg cartons. A sudden move like that would be a big adjustment, I’m sure.

But I’ve got some bad news. Are you ready? Here goes.

I am pretty certain cactus recycling doesn’t exist. Yet, I mean! Doesn’t exist yet. It, definitely will, uh, sometime. It’s up there among other top societal priorities, probably. But at this moment in time – which happens to be the moment in which you’re in a recycling bin – cactus recycling is not a thing.

Unless I’m wrong. Maybe I’m wrong! I get most of my news from Snapchat so I’ve been known to be out of the loop on occasion. And I still haven’t even listened to Lemonade, so who knows? Maybe the city has only just introduced its brand new Cactus Recycling Initiative as part of a future-facing seven-point plan to combat climate change, and here I am, completely oblivious and spouting off like an idiot.

Nope. Just Googled it. No cactus recycling.

I want you to know I would have pulled you out. Really. You looked healthy and I bet you would have got along swell with that philodendron on my windowsill. If whoever shoved you in the bin had just placed you on the floor alongside the white leather sofa with only two cushions and that stain shaped like Nicaragua, someone probably would have taken you home before I ever had the chance.

But the thing is – look, you were in the bin pretty deep, and you’re covered in spikes. I mean, obviously, you’re a cactus. So it wasn’t like I could just reach in there and – well, you understand.

What I’m trying to say is – I’m sorry. And I hope that, before you get crushed into pulp in the back of the recycling truck, you get to spike someone really good. I hope you draw blood, buddy. I’ll be laughing with you, you just remember that. Godspeed, recycling bin cactus. Give ’em hell.

In solidarity,


A discussion with my body re 2017 KPIs

Me: Thank you for meeting me today. I’m hoping we can agree on a set of strategic KPIs for 2017.

Body: Sure, whatever you say.

Me: Well, that’s the thing – we make plans and then you just do your own thing. It doesn’t really feel like you’re a team player.

Body: I don’t see you going along with any of my plans.

Me: I’ve already given you all of January to do whatever you wanted, which was apparently to eat Cheetos while watching every single mockumentary on Netflix. It’s time to get serious about this year. My strategy has two main objectives: developing muscle tone and maintaining a vaguely professional appearance. Each objective has three sub-points, starting with –

Body: My main plan is weird chin hairs. Lots of them.

Me: What? No! No one wants that!

Body: Also random wrinkles. Like, vertical cheek wrinkles.

Me: That’s not even a thing.

Body: … yet.

Me: This is what I mean, we’re working against each other. I spend an hour at the gym and then another hour with the tweezers, and you undo it all overnight!

Body: Hey, re-growing those hairs is hard work.

Me: It’s wasted effort! You could be using that energy to, like, develop some abs.

Body: You could be feeding me Cheetos.

Me: 2017 is not the Year of the Cheeto! 2017 is the Year of Beet Salad and Cross-Training and Actually Wearing Some Make-Up to Work Most Days.

Body: Beet salad, really?

Me: It’s got fennel, I thought it was –

Body: Okay, sure.

Me: Look, can you at least stop twisting out of pelvic alignment immediately after I pay $78 to see the osteopath every week?

Body: You clearly don’t know me very well.

Settling the e-books vs direct-to-brain digital text streaming argument

Call me old-fashioned, but no matter how popular direct-to-brain digital text streaming gets, I’ll never give up e-books.

Sure, there are lots of arguments for having the entire canon of English literature digitally streamed to a receptor that has been surgically implanted in your brain. The one-time insertion cost sounds like a bargain at $329 – but don’t forget the $97 activation fee and the $49.99 monthly connection charge (though you can bundle that with direct-to-brain web surfing and texting to reduce overall costs). After all that, you still have to pay for the books!

Exorbitant cost aside, if I can have the complete works of Shakespeare electronically beamed into my brain in under ten minutes, can I really say I’ve experienced Shakespeare? There is something organic about the experience of moving your eyeballs from left to right over an LCD screen in order to take in a sequence of marks the brain then must interpret as words, all the while using your hands to grip a lightweight, durable device.

Not to mention, the claim that direct-to-brain digital text streaming saves a lot of time is pure marketing hooey. Yes, you may be able to absorb all 784 pages of Tartt’s universally beloved early 21st-century classic The Goldfinch directly into your brain in 8.73 seconds. But you then need to mentally process the novel’s contents in sequential order. If not, your brain might access the part of the story where Theo discovers his childhood friend Boris stole the renowned painting from behind Theo’s bed years ago and thus Theo never actually had to worry about being discovered with it as an adult and the emotional impact will be completely lost on you. You will experience this as a mere plot point and not as a devastating revelation capable of making you wake your sleeping boyfriend to describe the entire plot up to that point in a futile attempt to share the unbearable agony.

Compare that to the pleasure of an e-book on a softly glowing LCD screen, the comforting reassurance of this physical object in your hands, emanating electromagnetic radiation into your vital organs. And if you concentrate on an e-reader, you can catch a subtle whiff of warm plastic.

Even as direct-to-brain digital text streaming prices come down and infants receive receptor-insertion upon birth, I believe e-books will remain as popular as they have been since they decimated the paper-book industry within a few short years of their introduction. Because nothing can replace the glow, feel, and smell of a good e-book.

This was first published by McSweeney’s.