Stevieslaw: My Voices Column for April

Beyond the Tube. The Less-intelligent-than-average-American Guide to Free Time

At LAG, our current studies show that 43% of Americans feel they are in dead-end unrewarding jobs. Another 54% are in so deeply immersed in work related comas that they were unable to fill out our questionnaires. Only 3% of those surveyed, mostly politicians, televangelists, and card sharps, feel fulfilled in any way. With the average work week now roughly 74.8 hours and the possibility of retirement out of the question for 99.6% of us before the age of 87.6, it is important that Americans find another means of fulfillment. Sure, the lucky ones have turned to sex, drugs and rock and roll, but what is there for the rest of us? Compounding the problem is the undeniable fact that most Americans have gotten tired of people, no more talented or wise than they are, singing, dancing, gossiping, backstabbing and manufacturing crises, on ever larger and thinner screens with better than viewable definition in surround sound. We are, as a people, growing tired of the tube.

We, at Stevieslaw, feel that reviving the tradition of engrossing hobbies may provide the answer to rewarding free time. That is the reason we are proud to announce the publication of “Beyond the Tube,” the LAG to enjoying your free time. In the guide, you will learn all about:

1. Traditional hobbies:

a. Collecting things, such as stamps, coins, butterflies, books or belly button lint can be very rewarding. Collections may be easily stratified by socio-economic class, with the poor collecting string, the middle class collecting string, and the 1%ers collecting vacation homes.

b. Dabbling in the arts by painting, drawing, sculpting or writing memoirs may provide a fine way to spend your free time. Certain graffiti techniques will allow you to combine these arts—and practicing on a bank wall, will make you a new set of friends in either the local occupy movement or in jail.

c. Learning to play a musical instrument will reward not just you but your family, friends and neighbors, while providing that dog next door with yet another reason to howl. While some guides recommend the brasses, we feel the nearly impossible to play, high pitched, strings are best.

d. Playing board games can be fun for the whole family. Moreover, a few games of Monopoly, Risk and Clue can give you the same deep insight that many of the current candidates for the Presidency have about American finance, foreign policy and justice.

2. Active Hobbies:

a. You can’t go wrong with an active hobby, like tennis, bowling, softball, or hula hooping. Join a gym. The advantages include the enhanced ability to fall asleep during work, the additional, medically approved, sick leave for sprained, strained or broken whatever, and the ability to lord your active lifestyle over the couch-potato neighbors who’ve complained about your cello playing. Try golf if you don’t like to sweat while active.

b. Watching baseball, football, soccer, or basketball may be considered an active hobby, if you do it correctly. Bad manners are a must. First, you must be present at the actual game. Second, you must develop a state of mind that will allow you to believe that Murphy’s error on a damned, **#**###, simple ground ball to third is more important than world peace. Third, you must behave accordingly.

3. Obsessive hobbies:

We highly recommend an obsessive hobby as it will take over your entire life. In the guide, we will provide you with the nature and manner of 158 potential obsessive hobbies. Here, we will discuss only “duplicate bridge,” which is played for an imaginary currency called “Masterpoints.” The game is played with partner, given a “directional” name—say South, but to you, sooner or later, you will simply refer to him as “that lowlife.” Hard-up divorce attorneys often recommend that troubled couples play as partners. A duplicate bridge player involved in a catastrophic emergency will spend his time reviewing bridge hands while waiting for the ambulance: His final thought on dying will be “please god, one more hand.”

4. On Line hobbies:

On-line hobbies can be practiced while at work— a huge advantage. They also have elements of tradition, obsession and activity—particularly if you are so focused on winning that each of your moves is aerobic. While some guides recommend playing the old standbys like Solitaire, we at the Guide recommend the newer interactive games like scramble or hangman with friends. Don’t be dismayed by the “friends” in the name, you can play with random strangers and the game will anoint them as friends. And just like that you have friends! You can play these games on your work computers, your tablets or your smart phones, but in the guide you will learn about the new, incredible Ithumb, a device so small that it is often confused with a hangnail. It will be equipped with a personalized full size virtual keyboard and 48inch virtual screen; so that no one will ever need know that you are watching or that your rapid, nearly continuous finger motions are actually keystrokes.

Need we mention that collecting all the LAG guides is a fantastically rewarding hobby? They are sure to get rarer and rarer, so their value can only go up. For now, you need never be bored again—just buy LAG and go play!

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