Why Don’t You Tell Me What’s Going On?


It’s just after 2pm on a September Saturday afternoon.  If it were five years ago, I would be on a baseball field right now, coaching Junior and his fall ball team.  I would have disrespected the fact that the sun comes out in September, and subsequently would have sported a burn on the lower half of my face where my lid and shades didn’t offer protection.

But it’s not five years ago.  It’s five years from then and I’m sitting by myself in an empty movie theater.  The screen is currently littered with commercials for soda, candy, power mortgages, and radio stations that play really, really bad pop music.

Ever since the end of 2012 when I completed the Letters From The Past project, I haven’t written enough to even justify hosting a website.

Being that I spent my formative years in a community where my height and weight automatically qualified me to be discounted, I didn’t get a whole lot of attention outside of the house.  Given my innate desire for such attention, I have every intention of leaving the site up and running.

Dammit.  I’m typing this on my iPhone.  The iOS 8 which I just installed is generally pissing me off when it comes to Autocorrect.

I’m here at the movie theater to see Tusk.


For every thing I know about this flick, it represents one man’s ability to expand on the most unique of ideas and follow it through to a happy ending.

The movie is starting now.  I’ll circle back in a few hours.


Yeah that was Saturday.  It’s now Tuesday morning on I’m on a plane slightly larger than the one which killed the likes of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Lady Gags.

Gags, Gaga, take your pick.  I find it poetic that Autocorrect assumed I was typing “Gags” when “Gaga” was the intended slur.

I’ll be in this seat for the next four hours next to a curly haired lass sporting a sundress and a hammer toe.  She tried to commandeer my aisle seat when I was negotiating the placement of my carry on bag with the flight attendant of ginger descent .

I’m going to New Jersey on bidness with the auxiliary office.  Given that I have some time to kill in this sensory deprivation tube which will ferry me to the one place I don’t want to go, I might as well catch up on my aimless meandering via the written (fat thumbed) word.

Now back to the walrus movie.

It should be stated here and now that the irony of my writing about a Kevin Smith movie while seated on plane is not lost on yours truly.

I don’t write any reviews about books, TV, or movies that are really worth reading, so I can’t really offer this collection of poorly contrived metaphors and general smart assery as such.

That won’t stop me from throwing an opinion or two though.

The person in front of me eating Mexican food could easily become my best friend if they would just share.  I have a bag of pepperoni pizza combos that I may have to share with the hammer toe.   If she has anything to eat, I’m guessing she won’t share it with the pasty bald creep sitting next to her who keeps cussing at the Autocorrect function on his phone.

I honestly don’t know what to say about Tusk.  Ever since the premise of the movie was offered on a podcast last year by writer/director Kevin Smith, I’ve heard updates about the progress of the flick which generally built my excitement about seeing the movie.

At the time he was inspired to write the screenplay, he was preparing to go film Clerks 3, had a hockey movie in the works with some TV network, and was then resigned to retire from making movies.

But then some smart ass with a penchant for writing gag articles and ads somewhere in the UK put up a request from a person seeking a boarder for the mere price of dressing up in a walrus costume a few hours a day.

The ad captured Smith’s imagination, and his plans to retire would be forever changed.

Fifteen months later, you’re truly is sitting in the back row of a movie theater preparing to watch the of fruits of Smith’s labor.  There are two other people in the house and that’s it.  One can only hope that Pee Wee Herman or Fred Willard will take a lonely seat off to the side and liven the joint up a bit in a way only the likes of Pee Wee or Fred could do.

The demands placed upon the audience to truly enjoy this film rely on the fact that you have to know what Kevin Smith has been up to for the last few years.


For someone to come in blind of such activities and watch the film, I expect it will create a major Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment.

The audience won’t pick up on a few little Easter eggs planted by Smith, such as the main character’s ringtone, Detective Frank Garmin, or a couple of strategically placed cameos inspired by the wonders of nepotism.  They won’t appreciate whatever the hell a podcaster is and how it applies to the plot.

As to whether they’ll appreciate Justin Long’s portrayal of “Wallace the Hutt gets an abscess”, the jury is still out on that one too.

At the point the walrus is revealed, I was a bit dumbfounded.  I knew it was coming.  I knew it was an unsettling image.  Three days later, I don’t know if I was impressed or disappointed upon taking in the optics of it all.

Part of me lamented wasting the time and money to be there.  The other part cheered in part for never, ever having seen that before, and for Kevin Smith to putting it to film.

I’m not convinced the ending made sense to me.  I know it conveyed the message that Michael Parks’ character adhered to.  Something about shedding humanity to become more human was the key I picked up.

Even still, I can think of other ways the film could have ended.  Granted, one of them copycats what happened in The Fly with Jeff Goldblum.  Beyond that, there are other endings which could have been more palatable in my own opinion.

All in all, I’ve got to think I’d be willing to watch Tusk again once it arrives on the likes of Netflix or my basic cable lineup.




So I told you that story to tell you this one.  As I write this piece, it’s now November 15th.  The aforementioned text has been sitting on my phone for the last two months.  I haven’t really done anything with it for two reasons:


  1. I had nearly forgot about it
  2. It failed to achieve the standards of quality the Board of Directors here at TharpSter.Org demand of its bloggers and other employees sold to the organization in what can only be considered indentured servitude.


Generally speaking, I still think it sucks.  Even still, there’s a passage in there which stuck out at me as I reread this, the 167th runner up to 10th place in the ongoing effort to identify my magnum opus within my lifelong litterary efforts (spelled that way on porpoise).


See what I did there with the malaprop?


As I sat in the theater a few months ago, I was experiencing issues with the new iOS for my iPhone.  Two months later, nothing has really gotten any better.  In fact, more issues have reared their ugly head.


So the following is directed specifically at the savants at Apple.


Good Lord in Butter people!


I mean really!  Did your ability to do some simple effin’ software testing die with Steve Jobs or did you just give up on it altogether when it was announced that Ashton Kutcher would play your late founder?


Have you ever heard of doing a bug fix *before* you release a product for mass consumption?


Has it occurred to you that there are those of us who would rather turn our phones horizontal to text?  Then why on God’s Green Earth are you making us turn it back vertical to make the frickin ‘Send’ button work correctly?


Did you know that Siri can’t find the last text message I received?  Guess what?  I can if I just look on the screen, but that doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot of good if I’m trying to voice text and drive at the same time now, is it?


And what’s going on with iTunes?  Why am I having all of these problems getting songs on to my phone when I never had these issues before?


You know, it’s not like I’m trying to film a walrus movie on my iPhone or anything.  I don’t expect the phone to do absolutely everything for me.  At the same time, I expect the phone to do for me what you blue shirted *ahem* geniuses say it’s supposed to do without getting about six feet of my lower intestinal system tied up in knots over successfully loading pirated copies of the full Metallica catalogue to the digital music player of my choice, namely my iPhone 5s.


apple textHang on a minute people.  I’m getting a call from Mom.


“Tech support for Boomers.  This is Randy.  How may I help you?”


For those of you who may not be aware of this little tidbit, I’ve taken on an additional career path in the last year which ultimately fulfills my community service requirements.  Generally speaking, I provide Tier 1 Technical Support to Baby Boomers.  My primary clients are the TharpSter Mom and the TharpSter Mom-in-Law.  My primary responsibilities are to assist them in wading through the treachery that is personified in 21st century technology, such as virus protection, website maintenance, WiFi connectivity, garbage disposals, and iPhone issues.


Ladies and gentlemen, just how ironic is it that I’m sitting here writing a rant about my recent issues with the ill-conceived, poorly tested ambitions of what can only be characterized as the slow witted, booger eating morons charged with running the shop in the wake of the passing of Steve Jobs (God rest his soul), and then 50% of my client base puts in a support ticket to yours truly with a steroid infused version of some of the issues I’ve encountered?


I’m firmly of the belief that one only has to look to the problems of others in order to realize that one’s own problems could be much worse.  Mom’s current iPhone problem involves an error code 54 and a stubborn refusal to sync all of the checked songs which currently occupy her vast selection of soft rock, Celtic yodeling, Canadian caterwauling, contemporary music, and Fleetwood Mac.


After a few hours of trying several different routines, Googling the error code 54, and going on mute a few times in order to relieve various bodily functions which really shouldn’t be heard on a phone call between a mother and her son, it was ultimately determined that the Tier 1 support I provide was no longer sufficient to get the various selections of soft rock, Celtic yodeling, Canadian caterwauling, contemporary music, and Fleetwood Mac on the phone.  Care to guess why I couldn’t help?


I’ll tell you why.


It became abundantly clear to both of us on that call that the reason we were not able to fix this issue was because we were relying systematic processes and common sense to resolve an issue which was obviously created (purposefully, I bet) by sociopathic Svengalis who are compensated on a commission basis with vast sums schadenfreude.


Remember that comment about the problems of others?  Mom’s problems may be worse than mine, but I’m guessing they have nothing on the poor blue shirted *ahem* genius at the Apple store who is ultimately presented with the wonderful opportunity of fixing her problem when she packs up her phone and laptop and darkens their door with this issue.


Why don’t you tell me what’s going on?


Of course I will.


In fact, I’ll give you a choice.


Do you want to hear about a $5M marketing mistake involving a walrus, or a doosh (spelled that way on porpoise) bag move on the part of a massive computer company to alienate its customers?





Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

Type something witty and eye catching right here: