Saturday, June 9, 2012

Top Ten Lists From The Antideluvian Period

I was going through a box of old papers last night and came upon something mildly interesting: three Late Show With David Letterman Top Ten Lists that I wrote way back in the early 1990s.

I've always been a big Letterman fan and much prefer him over Leno's smug, cackling persona.

Apparently I liked Letterman's show so much that I used to make up my own Top Ten lists. It's actually fairly easy once you figure out how to do it; there's a very definite rhythm and pattern to the lists. I didn't have an outlet to publish them back then, but thanks to Al Gore and the miracle of the interwebs, I do now.

So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Lists, circa 1994. Note that a lot of the references here are pretty dated. This was seventeen years or more ago after all. Don't judge me too harshly.

Top Ten Ways To Tell You Bought 
The Wrong Computer:

10. Buy A New Application, Get It Home, And All There Is In The Box Is A Big Wax Crayon For Drawing On The Screen.

9. Ejects Floppy Disks With Enough Force To Decapitate Co-Worker.

8. Error Noise Sounds Like Gilbert Godfried Imitating A Siren.

7. You Take The Back Off The Monitor And Inside There's A Bird WIth A Sharp Beak Carving Images On The Screen, Just Like On The Flintstones.

6. Salesman Giggles Like A Schoolgirl When He Says Phrases Like "Ram" And "Hard Drive."

5. Their Commercials Consist Of Spokesman Paul Reiser Saying, "I Got Your Floppy Disk Right Here."

4. Mouse Randomly Delivers A Lethal Electric Shock.

3. Built-In Geiger Counter So Loud You Can't Hear Yourself Think.

2. Speech Recognition Function Only Responds To Bea Arthur's Voice.

And The Number One Way To Tell You Bought The Wrong Computer:
It Says Microsoft On The Front.

See, I told you some of the references were pretty dated. Back when I wrote this computers were still using floppies, and Paul Reiser was a name people recognized. 

Also back then I was very much a Mac zombie. In the office where I worked we all used Macs but we had one lone Microsoft PC to use when clients absolutely refused to send in files any other way. This was in the pre-Windows 95 days, when you still had to type in C:/ just to get the computer's attention. It literally took two people to run the thing; one to do the typing and the other to read from the manual and shout instructions on what to do next. 

I absolutely loathed having to get anywhere near that machine. Fortunately shortly afterwards Windows 95 stole er, I mean duplicated the Mac interface so perfectly that the two systems are now virtually interchangeable. I still use a Mac at work but I draw and blog on a PC at home, and I honest to God don't notice a difference.

Top Ten Ways To Tell If Your Co-Worker 
Is A Star Trek Fan:

10. Tries To Use The Xerox Machine To "Clone" Himself.

9. Claims The Prime Directive Prohibits Him From Working Overtime.

8. Wears His Starfleet Uniform To Work And It Isn't Halloween.

7. Wears His Starfleet Uniform To Work And It IS Halloween.

6. Makes "Swooshing" Door Noise Whenever He Enters Room.

5. Giggles Uncontrollably When He Hears The Phrase "Captain's Log."

4. Tries To Use The Vulcan Neck Pinch On Cafeteria Lady When She Overcharges Him.

3. Goes On Vacation For A Month, Comes Back With Pointed Ears.

2. Hasn't Had A Date Since Stardate 4401.8

And The Number One Way To Tell If Your Co-Worker Is A Star Trek Fan:
Two Words: Spock Bangs.

Well now, that one held up much better than the first one, reference wise. It could have been written today.

#5 is admittedly a little silly; not only is it juvenile, but how often would the phrase "Captain's Log" ever come up in normal day to day conversation?

The Starfleet uniform reference is a personal one; I actually own a replica Next Generation-era Starfleet uniform. And I wore it to work once when the whole office decided to dress up for Halloween. I remember standing in line at lunchtime and the cafeteria lady said, "Well look at you, Star Track man." Somewhat sheepishly I said, "Yeah, well it's Halloween." She looked thoughtful for a second and said, "Hey now, it IS Halloween, ain't it?" Seriously? She thought I just decided to wear my Star Trek suit to the office on a normal work day? Did she think it must have been laundry day and all my other clothes were in the hamper?

Top Ten Least Popular Cartoon Shows:

10. Beanie And Siskell.

9. Batman And Ito.

8. The New Adventures Of Ed Asner's Back Hair.

7. Duck Entrails.

6. The Rush Limbaugh Show.

5. Scoob Doggy Doo.

4. Pinky And The Spleen.

3. Power Rabbis.

2. X-Men Vs. Richard Simmons In Sweatin' Land.

And The Number One Least Popular Cartoon Show:
Where's Kato?

Hmm, this last one hasn't aged well at all. You can tell that the O.J. trial was in full swing here, based on the Judge Ito and Kato Kaelin references. Ask your parents about it, kids.

I remember back around this time I went to the local mall to pick up something and noticed that the joint seemed unusually packed for a Thursday afternoon. Apparently O.J. trial witness Kato Kaelin, who was desperately milking his fifteen minutes of fame at the time by billing himself as "The World's Most Famous House Guest," was making a personal appearance at the mall that day. I inadvertently found myself in the middle of a literal mob scene as people were flocking like lemmings to get even a fleeting glimpse of his floppy bleach-blond locks.

What made it even more puzzling to me was that the man had no appreciable talent nor did he try to come up with even a half-hearted act; he just stood there like a prize cow at the 4H fair as the curious throngs jostled to get a good look at a D-level celebrity. He was also selling t-shirts emblazoned with his "World's Most Famous House Guest" tag line. They were quite stylish affairs consisting of the cheapest quality plain white t-shirt available, with plain black Helvetica lettering ironed onto the front. They looked like cans of generic corn in shirt form. I absolutely did not get it; why anyone would travel two feet to see him, much less all the way across town. I got the hell out of there as soon as I could muscle my way through the crowd of mouth-breathers.

I would totally watch a show called Power Rabbis. Especially the part at the end where they all joined together together to become the MegaRabbi.

Maybe now that I have a blog I ought to try and come up with some new Top Ten Lists. Hopefully fellow Hoosier David Letterman won't sue.


  1. :)I might just watch Beanie and Siskell. :)

  2. Kaelin was "best friends" with actor/comedian Norm Macdonald from mid 2000 to mid 2001 according to Macdonald's The Norm Show co-star Artie Lange. Kaelin was even given a guest role on the show. The two had a falling out which ended their friendship.


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