LAST YEAR SUCKED for a lot of people. I enjoyed it because life is a kick-ass, toe-tapping good time in every way for me—but I feel you if you had a bad year. I can't fix it, but maybe together we can work toward a better oh-15 by banning some of the dumbest things from oh-14. As I've done every year for an impressive one year in a row, I've compiled a list of things I don't want to see again in the coming 12 months.
Regal Cinemas' Roller Coaster
It makes no fucking sense. Why is the popcorn so big and why is it popping in space? How is the camera inside the ride when it starts, but outside at the end—even though we're clearly in a closed car? What the fuck is the track attached to? Is it like Mario Kart's Rainbow Road, where we just fall off and die? Why are you telling me there are refreshments in the lobby like I haven't been to any form of entertainment since the 1800s? We already have to watch 15 minutes of ads before the movie starts—can we please just skip the ride?
By themselves, I have nothing against these steampunk indoor cigarettes; it's fun watching people puff vapor into the air like weird land whales. But we've got to find a better name for the activity than "vaping." The Oxford English Dictionary made vape their Word of the Year—which is proof alone that it's annoying and needs to go. Last year it was "selfie," because the OED is obviously trolling us. (Possible alternates: smuffing, emitting, getting steamed, or chasing the dorky dragon.)
Talk Like a Pirate Day
I'm first in line to celebrate fake holidays like "Administrative Professionals' Day," "Ford Truck Month," or "Easter." But "Talk Like a Pirate Day" jumped the shark this year, and that's difficult to do in a schooner. From now on, I'll only invite it back if everybody agrees to talk like actual historical pirates. "Ouch, getting stabbed hurts." Or, "I'm so hungry and have lots of diseases." Or, "Most of us are prisoners on this ship."
Soap with Too Many Opinions
Just shut up and clean me, Dr. Bronner. Nobody cares what you think about God or chemtrails or the real ending to True Detective (full disclosure: I haven't actually read the whole label). We like you because you tingle—so just shut up and be happy being soap.
People Who ONLY Vote on Silly Shit
Almost 50,000 of you voted on marijuana-loving Measure 91 and left the senator section blank. That's insane. I know it's more fun to vote on something you can feel the immediate impact of, but sober up for five minutes and give a shit about what's happening outside your house (or car or small circle in front of a bar). There's a big world out there and it needs more from you than you just getting high.
Kickstarting the ________ of the Future
I'm done with people making small improvements to everyday items, and then crowdfunding them. A cooler with a blender. A suitcase with wifi. A watermelon with GPS. I'd rather give money to some weirdo to make potato salad than support your dream of being in the next issue of SkyMall.
The Police Horses
Somebody got drunk and set the police horses free in November, and that pretty much finished them for me. They can't even stop crime against themselves? Turn in your feedbag and gun, you're off the force.
It's not that I hate police vehicles that shit in the streets... I think they're great. But they're costing us a fortune and we have Segways now. And bikes. And four-wheelers. And cars. Christ, it's Portland. Let's put cops on unicycles so they can really connect with the community.
Any words ending with "-core" need to go away. I'm happy that Gap is finally admitting their look is intentionally boring, but calling it "normcore" is ridiculous. It's not "core" anything. It's just "norm." The "core" is silent. So let's just leave it off.
Drinking Out of Mason Jars
There may have been a time when you happened to have a bunch of them around because of all the canning you'd been doing—but now is not that time, because it isn't the Great Depression. You bought them instead of cups to act as cups, and here's the thing: They're terrible cups. You know why they're called jars? Because they're not cups. Otherwise they'd be called cups. Just buy cups, people. #JUSTBUYCUPS
Camping Out for Things
People camped out overnight for the grand opening of the new Cabela's in Tualatin (fortunately they were all in camouflage, so we didn't have to look at them). At the same time, people camped out for the new iPhone, so at least we got to see people with nothing in common doing exactly the same thing at the same time. But why is any of this happening? Delis solved this problem ages ago. Take a number and go home; this isn't brunch.
Saying "Vanilla" to Insult Boring Things
It's especially common in the pages of our beloved Savage Love, but it needs to stop. You can't say vanilla when you mean plain. Vanilla and plain are two completely different yogurts. Vanilla is a flavor, not the absence of flavor. True fact: It's actually the second-most expensive spice in the world. I mean, nobody who reads the Mercury is having saffron sex... we're not rich. So vanilla is a pretty good compliment.
"I'm a Lesbian Trapped in a Man's Body"
I was talking to a douchebag in a bar the other day and he was hitting on a friend of mine. When she was in the bathroom, I told him she only dates lesbians, and without hesitating he dropped that old chestnut on me. Why would we care that you're a lesbian trapped in a man's body? That's still not what she's into. She's mostly looking for a lesbian in a lesbian's body; that's part of the fun for her.
I don't know what his best-case scenario was—like he was hoping she'd lick through his douchey male outer shell to get to the soft nougat/lesbian center—but it's not happening. Besides being wrong-headed, that's also a supremely creepy way to say you like women. Like what you like, but don't trap people inside your body. I enjoy sugar cubes, but there isn't a horse trapped inside my body.
You know you're in a classy bar when you see a Megatouch Live machine on the counter. They allow you to play crappy iPhone-style games—but for money. Fun, huh? Nope. The good news is the company stopped production back in January, but the bad news is the machines are still out there being awful. It's not the terrible games I object to... it's the repugnant interstitial ads. While the game isn't being played (which is the majority of the time), it runs a series of game previews mixed with sexist, douchey slogans and stolen internet jokes. It's like your uncle is emailing you racist memes the whole time you're sitting in the bar. This is a bad touch, Megatouch.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Love the enthusiasm, could use more focus.
Organic Condoms, Organic Christmas Trees, Etc.
Let's be done with stories about how so-and-so is the first to make an organic this or that. It's not cute or impressive anymore. Nobody about to get laid is worried about how their latex was harvested, and nobody about to celebrate Christmas wants to know their tree had plenty of room to run around. The novelty has worn off—just like your ability to fight insect invasions.
"Homeless by Choice"
Yeah, this one's too heavy for this list—but I'm irritated about it, and don't get to write the cover story for the Mercury every day, soooooo... Portlanders want to complain about homeless people, but they also want the rest of the world to think Portlanders are more enlightened. So the trick they've developed is this: "I hate those kids, the ones that choose to be homeless. They're so annoying." How is it that you've been gifted the ability to instantly divine the history of every person who asks you for change? It's like yelling, "Get a job, bum!"—but in a cool, modern way. Unless they're in front of an Apple Store douching around waiting for an iPhone, you don't get to assume you know their life choices.
Okay, back to silly complaints. Exaggeration has gotten a million times worse than it used to be. I saw an interview with a woman who said, dead seriously, she was ready to "Turn it up to 13." Regardless of what "it" is you're turning up, stop for one second and think about what you're saying. The whole point of the quote you're exaggerating is that it was the dumbest person ever who was saying it. All you've proven is that you're 18 percent stupider than that guy.
Lightning Bonus Round
And now... more things presented without comment because I'm almost out of space.
Zombies; the name Aiden; new names for weather patterns (polar vortex! super storm!); white people writing their opinions of race, saying, "This isn't politically correct," when they mean, "I know I'm going to hurt people by saying this, but I don't care because mine are the only feelings that matter"; pictures of sunsets on Reddit, names that rhyme with Aiden, toxic blue-green algae making the river marginally more disgusting than normal; magical bridge decking that doesn't work; and celebrities that everybody looked up to turning out to be gigantic assholes.
BONUS! A Few Things Actually Welcome Back in 2015
As a special bonus this year, here's a tiny bit of positivity to end the column. Three things that are actually invited back for another year.
The Trail Blazers' Sleeves
I'm in the minority here, but I loved those sleeves the Blazers sported for a hot second. Armpits are the worst part of basketball, and those little sleeves did their best to class up gross arm parts. Good job, little sleeves. You may come back.
Crazy Ballot Initiatives
It's an insane way to run a government—but letting people vote on legal minutiae is actually a pretty fun way to get people excited about the political system. As mentioned above, I'd prefer people take a few minutes to figure out how to vote on the whole ballot (the Mercury publishes a handy guide if you're busy!), but it's great that we can get people interested in the system. Next time, let's add a few more initiatives that will get everybody riled up enough to vote. Some ideas: a bike tax, mandatory gay marriage for children, and something that lets Monsanto choose which movies you can watch on Netflix. (That'll get everybody to the polls!)
Purringtons Cat Lounge
Look, I know it seems silly to pay to hang out with cats since cats are free. I know you can just go outside in almost any neighborhood and a cat will rub up against your leg. And I know that literally every one of your friends has cats. But still, I like the idea of a cat café, if only because I enjoy people making a living doing silly shit and I like stealing ideas from Asia. So good luck in your first year of selling the company of cats, Purringtons. I hope you make it.
NOTE: Everything that didn't make one of these two lists is officially on probation. Enjoy the New Year. I hope this year turns it up to 15.