Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Appliance Whisperer

Modern-day technology is a wonderful thing. With the mere click of a button you can order sushi, apply to graduate school, and slut-shame your loved ones. But technology also has a dark side. I learned this, as so many do, the hard way: I became able to communicate with my air conditioner.

Recently we had new air conditioners installed, which seemed unremarkable enough. Then my roommate sent me an email. It contained an invitation.

"What's this?" I asked.

"It's a link to an app called Wink," she said. "It lets you control the AC with your phone. You can communicate with it from a distance."

There stirred within me a deep, fuddy-duddy, anti-modernist force beyond my years. "What kind of a distance?"

The more I thought about it, the less comfortable I was with Wink. Don't get me wrong; I am all for communication. But I prefer the traditional kinds, such as violent argument over what episode such-and-such happened in, or the local regional variant of hurling insults at random people on the subway platform.

But communicating with appliances bothered me. There were several reasons behind this. For one, if I could communicate with the appliances, presumably they could communicate with me:

AC (via text message): HEY YOU
Me: Me?
Me: Can't. I'm ten miles away.
Me: No! It's 11 p.m. You'll wake up the neighbors.
Me: No!! Please!!!
Me: Shut up!! Please!!!! I beg you!!!

Of course this is not the worst-case scenario, since my worldly possessions consist basically of cat toys and the complete second season of "Night Court." Nonetheless, it is a harrowing future to imagine. Furthermore, since we have more than one AC, who's to say they couldn't communicate with each other, and plot against me? ("OK, BOYS! AS SOON AS SHE'S ASLEEP, WE REVERSE THE FLOW AND SUCK HER FACE OFF HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE.")

So I have left well enough alone. I remain wary of ever using Wink. I leave this to my roommate, who is more attuned to household matters anyway. It was she who originally noticed that the original ACs had become sub-par, in the sense that they had grown stalactites and stalagmites and a colony of badgers was living inside. Whereas I am the kind of "big-picture thinker" who cannot be bothered to pick up on such minimal details, although to my credit I did occasionally wonder why the badgers were biting me.

Anyway, regardless of my app-phobia, I'm attempting to "get with the times" and maybe even invent some apps of my own. If I can communicate with my air conditioners, nothing is truly beyond reach. Here are a few of my preliminary ideas for new, revolutionary apps:

1. THE "PEN GENERATOR" OR "PENERATOR" APP. As has been the case my whole life, whenever I want to write, I can't find a pen. This app would automatically generate pens in my purse, thereby assuring that whenever I had an idea, I would instantly find a pen ... and therefore immediately lose all interest in writing. Advantage: Cuts out all those pesky middle steps between you and lack of inspiration.

2. THE MERKY APP. I share my home with a deranged gray cat named Mercutio, a cute furry cuddly presence who would really like to bite me to death. I have many times explained to Merky that I will bite him back, but he knows these are idle threats. This app would therefore do my dirty work for me, unleashing bites on Merky from afar whenever he is even thinking of doing something bad, which is always. I would call it the iBite, if I didn't fear litigation.

3. THE "RESTROOM-SEEKING MISSILE" APP. As you know if you have spent significant time in New York, an estimated 87% of life is spent walking around in search of a public restroom whose mere proximity to your body will not kill you instantly. Enter the "Restroom-Seeking Missile" app, which would detect a useable restroom in your vicinity and alert you. The only downside is that this alert would be triggered approximately never. So maybe a more fruitful way would be to have the app alert you to BAD restrooms, but then the sheer volume of alerts would probably cause your phone to burst into flames.

Those are my ideas, and despite my stodginess in the face of modern technology, I truly do plan to pursue them into the future, at least until I get bored sometime in the next hour or two.  In the meantime, if you'll excuse me, my air conditioner is calling me. Something about wanting a movie night. Thank goodness, because I was beginning to worry it didn't like me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Boating Adventures in Prague

The other day, I took my life in my hands and operated a paddle boat.

I'm being melodramatic, of course. Paddle boats are perfectly safe, as evidenced by the fact that they grant boating privileges to any random dweeb who enters Prague. Still, it's hard not to feel melodramatic, given the stone-faced way the boat guy read me the safety litany. It included items like this:

- If you go past the buoys, you will die.
- If other boaters come near you, you will die, and so will they.
- You can sink in the Moldau, just FYI. And if you do, you will die.
- One hour from now, you will probably be passing through the digestive tract of a large water rat.
- If this happens, you may not sue.

Also, he kept calling me "Cap'n," as in, "are you ready, cap'n?," and still with no hint of a smile. How can you feel calm about this when your cap'ning experience is limited to eating Cap'n Crunch?

But I am not one to crumble at such provocations. At heart I am a hardy seafarer, and so I gathered my courage about me and took my vessel to the seas. Let me tell you it is no small thing to set out on the mighty waters with no provisions aside from a sweater, a coat, a purse, all your credit cards and an iPhone. But I settled in soon enough. It turns out paddle boating is quickly seductive. Here is an overview of the thought process you, the cap'n, will be undergoing on the boat:

1 MIN IN, as the boat guy sets you free: OH DEAR GOD
3 MIN IN: hey, I can steer! Kind of!
5 MIN IN: YEAH!!! Let's $%**&in' FLOOR this $*^#$-er *^%$%-er!!!!!

As befits a seasoned salt such as myself, I soon bonded deeply with my vessel. I have dubbed her the S.S. Snark, and though she tops out at the speed of a mallard duck with a nerve disorder, her majesty has never failed to inspire great awe and fear in all who see her, causing some among them to remark: "Huh."

I do not mind telling you that while piloting the Snark, I executed a great many "bad-ass" boating maneuvers, such as:

- Not bumping into other, lesser vessels;
- Executing turns so wide that at one point I bumped into Poland;
- Calling to a swan, "HEY YOU! OUTTA MY WAY!"(I regret to report this did no good, but that's probably because he only spoke Czech.)

Thus maneuvering, I sailed the mighty Snark from one row of yellow buoys set up by the boat company all the way to - get this - the other row of yellow buoys set up by the boat company. This is the kind of fearsome voyage we hardy cap'n types engage in, and I'd like to see you try it. Truly, there is nothing quite like coursing up and down the river, imagining you are going much faster than you really are.

Along the way I also witnessed many fine examples of nature, including:

- Fuzzy baby duckies;
- Humans in other boats that were a lot like the S.S. Snark, only less cool and fearsome and awe-inspiring;
- A water rat the size of a Volvo station wagon, who was probably a local elected official;
and last but not least,
- A floating bottle of Fanta, clearly a relic of the geological period known as the Fanta epoch.

When not manning the mighty Snark for all to see and wonder at vaguely before thinking about other things, I am here to work. I am in a play in the Prague Fringe Festival, in which I operate a large bunraku puppet named Lizette. She requires a great deal of physical skill, but on the other hand, she is excellent company and never dominates the conversation.

Meanwhile, I am delighted to report that I am speaking some Czech over here. Or at any rate, I am speaking some language. I have made a concerted effort to learn basic conversation, but you just never know what will come out of your mouth. For example, this morning it was Bulgarian, which is pretty damned amazing when you consider I've never heard it.

In sum, I highly recommend, if you come to Prague, that you take your own spin in a paddle boat. It will leave your heart full and your mind empty, provided it wasn't already, and if it was it will still be empty, so no harm there. Two hundred crowns or roughly 6 euros gets you an hour at sea, and it will be worth it. I myself even went a few minutes over the time limit, and the boat guys were very kind: they could have charged me over time, but they elected not to. That is the sort of fear and admiration inspired in all who behold the S.S. Snark.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Prague Blog, Day 1: Oslo Edition

Here is my first Prague blog, which, as you will no doubt guess, was written in Oslo.

My final destination is the Prague Fringe Festival, where in a few days I'll be performing in a show. But for now, I sit in the Oslo Gardermoen airport, which contains all the amenities you would expect, namely:

(a) large quantities of blond European people, and
(b) comically priced sandwiches.

As an American, I find nothing quite so disconcerting as buying a sandwich and being told it costs "one hundred two." But that is the sort of monkey business that goes down around these parts. Then you leave the restaurant, and the employees share a rollicking good laugh, and you find you have overdrawn your savings account.

So yes, this place is fun, but soon it will cloy. You see, I'm stuck in here for the next 6 hours, or in blond European time, 789.3 metric hours. In these situations one must make one's own fun, as evidenced by the airport men who ride around on a motorized chair, trailing a train of luggage carts. Oh sure, they look as though they're Hard At Work doing Important Work Things, but in fact, they are just fulfilling their little-boy dreams of riding loud clattery things through a large public place, making loud bodily-esque sound effects and preferably mowing people down on the way.

But I don't have my own cart-train, so I just bought a sandwich. Naturally it was slathered in mayonnaise, because in Europe no sandwich is deemed fit for consumption until it is caked in enough sauce to baste your average quarterback.

The other main activity in the Oslo airport, at least so far as I'm personally concerned, is noting cultural differences from the good old U.S. of A. Here are a couple examples:

(a) this screen, which asks you to rate how smiley or frowny you find the restrooms,


(b) this screen, stating how long it will be until the restroom's next cleaning.

That's right. Can you IMAGINE money being spent on this technology in, say, New York City? Well, okay, I guess that's not totally fair. New York might install the liquid readout screen, but only so it could say, "This bathroom will be cleaned in: F**K YOU."

There is also this:

Yes, you can get Hel pizza here. Satan's favorite. This is what makes Scandinavia great, besides the Moomins. And of course the aforementioned restrooms, which, for the record, I found to be smiley.

Next I'll blog about the Prague Fringe, which, as I understand it, is located outside of Oslo. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Children's Birthday Parties: The Case Against

I have lately been present at an increasing number of parties. This has less to do with my social capital than my status as a puppeteer. Ask any puppeteer and you will learn that puppeteers do not often get invited to parties for social reasons. Spend extended time with any puppeteer and you will understand why.

Nonetheless, in my capacity as entertainer, I am in significant birthday party demand, usually for people having the bad judgment to turn six or younger. Now on the one hand, I am grateful for these gigs, in that they allow me to pursue my cherished goal of earning an income so I can pay 90% of it in estimated taxes, with 9.99882% going to rent and, if I'm lucky, a nubbin left over for a little something to shave my legs.

Yes, the American Dream is alive and well among us freelancer entertainers, some of whom never have to sell both our retinas. Yet birthday parties for the younger set leave something to be desired, and here is why:

1. They are for the younger set.
2. The younger the set, the more fluids said set is liable to disperse. This is a true hardship for your weak-stomached birthday party entertainer, such as myself, who cannot deal with anyone dispensing anything beyond a pithy aphorism. However, the younger set never dispenses pithy aphorisms, and if they did, they would likely be crap.
3. No child has ever enjoyed him- or herself at a birthday party. The closest they come is not committing acts of mass carnage. It is a known scientific fact* that 35% of lifelong emotional trauma is caused by childhood birthday parties, with the rest attributable to sleepovers.
4. Increasingly, children are named things like "Brantleigh" and "Kooper." Every time a parent names a child something like "Brantleigh" or "Kooper," the hole intensifies in the ozone layer, which has led to horrific scientific consequences such as global warming, cancer and OKCupid. Therefore all small children should immediately, upon receiving names, be classified as biohazard.
5. But really, it's the parents who should be classified as biohazard.
6. Puppet shows are not a legitimate form of entertainment at a birthday party, because they require sitting quietly, which your average birthday-party-attending child can only do for .0000008 nanoseconds, and if the child is male, cut that figure in half.
7. This problem can be solved with tranquilizer darts, but that really cuts into my profits.
8. Puppet shows also afford the grown-ups in the crowd a chance to sit back and chat.
9. This problem can be solved with the death penalty, but that really cuts into my profits.
10. No one ever pops out of the cake.

So you - I am talking to you here, Mr. or Ms. Caring Parent - might want to keep these irrefutable facts in mind next time you try to give your child an organized birthday party, particularly one involving theatrical entertainment. A far more viable alternative would be simply to take the kid out in the yard and turn the hose on him; after, let him eat an entire thing of Cool Whip; then put him in front of the Cartoon Network for the rest of the day, retreat to the bedroom, and commence wild carnal activities. See how everybody wins here?

It's not your fault that you can't think rationally. Your problem is you've been blinded by being a Caring Parent. This state of affairs has addled your formerly respectable mind. It's much easier for me, a callow and inexperienced 26-year-old with no major obligations to anyone, to tell you what to do. So here, for your own edification, is the problem with hiring a birthday entertainer. Imagine you are a 5-year-old,** running around the house like an overcaffeinated fruit fly but with less self-control, gleefully ripping open presents and shrieking and smearing frosting into the sofa and breaking your presents permanently all in less time than it takes us adults to clear our spam folder; in other words you are LIVING THE DREAM; when all of a sudden a big adult claps his hands, seizes your flailing tiny body and announces in smarmy tones that now we're going to see a SUPER-FUN PUPPET SHOW, which, to you, turns out to be nothing more than some other unfortunate adult, this one with toys you can't touch, alternately shushing you and loudly writhing around before you and your friends in a wildly desperate attempt to get you to experience delight. Only you, by this point, are already off in the other end of the house, gleefully pouring fruit punch into Daddy's keyboard.

You see, parents? This is what you get for trying to force enrichment on your offspring. Your offspring who, I assure you, don't want to be enriched any more than you do. And definitely not at a birthday party, where it cuts into valuable time that could otherwise be spent emotionally destroying other small children. Are you really about to deny your child that joy?

But if you simply must insist on a "traditional" birthday party, don't let me stop you. I only ask that you stop to think, before you hire Enriching Theatrical Entertainment, how much you would like it if your birthday party was hijacked by interpretive dancers.

* SOURCE: Field and Stream.
** Probably named "Brantleigh" or "Kooper."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Acting for Beginners

Most actors have a second job. This has been common practice since the days of Shakespeare, when your average actor was so cash-starved, he had to take a backup job as a codpiece. Still, I think we can agree acting is the best job. You get to wear wacky-ass outfits and you never have to do anything hard. For proof, consult the following chart, which does not lie:
                                                                  Other Professions                        Acting
WACKY-ASS OUTFITS?                                     No                                       Yes

EVER HAVE TO DO                                          Yes                                       No

(Source: Scientific American)

If you don't believe me, you might do worse than consider my in-depth analysis of Other Professions vs. Acting, as follows:

A complete list of the things people in other professions have to worry about: Advancing science, administering justice, furthering education, eradicating disease, whether a patient will die, whether a circuit is properly wired, whether a generator will power a neighborhood, whether a little boy named Timmy will get out of a well, the plight of the persecuted, ice dancing

A complete list of the things actors have to worry about: False eyelashes; thighs.

I am of course being reductive here. Some actors - these are the really intellectual ones - also worry about whether or not they were "on" last night. I recently heard the following conversation between two actors, which I repeat unretouched:

ACTOR 1: Last night, I felt like I was "on."
ACTOR 2: Awesome.
ACTOR 1: But I'm not sure I was "on."
ACTOR 2: Yeah?
ACTOR 1: Yeah. It's like, was I "on?" Or was I, like, not "on"? And like... I don't think I was, like, "on." You know?
ACTOR 2: Yeah.
ACTOR 1: It's like... I coulda been "on," though.
ACTOR 2: Right.
ACTOR 1: I mean, I felt like I was "on."
(Loop conversation 4,569 times.)

Granted, this sort of thing is not an issue for most performers, who are "on" at all times including in deep sleep, during which they can and will break into a rousing round of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" if asked. I should note here that I'm referring to your up-and-coming actor, rather than your established one. The up-and-comer can never afford to be "off," lest a casting director come within range, which will be clear by scent. This is why most actors in the early stages of their careers never even go to the bathroom. Their bladders look like advanced-stage Marlon Brando.

Yes, our lives are not without hardship; to wit, we occasionally must also update our resumes. This is a harrowing task, especially if you haven't had work in awhile. Just think how much easier this would be if you were the employee of a regular corporation:

Employee of Regular Corporation
Position: Associate Codpiece

- Stapling (in many dialects)
- Once thought saw narwhal off port bow of conference table; turned out to be chair

Whereas we actors without work must instead bloat our "special skills" list:

Represented by Codpiece Mgmt., Inc.

- Organ donor
- Can pick things up with toes

Eagle-eyed readers will notice the weasel wording. The actor in question doesn't say he can pick things up with his own toes. It could be anybody's toes. I told you we never do anything hard.

Listing one's special skills can induce great cosmic ass-pain in a certain subset of actors such as myself who do not even have any regular skills, let alone special ones. The older I get, the greater my discomfort over having no actual skills. This is a very precarious state of affairs indeed. Oh, sure, things are fine right now. But I'm concerned for the days ahead, when I start to look less like Amélie Poulain and more like Grampa Simpson. What then?

Some of you will think I'm exaggerating about my total lack of skills. Others among you - those who have seen me attempt to open a door unfamiliar to me - will know better. So that you grasp the severity of my situation, here are some other examples of skill deficiency I live with on a daily basis:

- I can't properly spread peanut butter on bread. I don't know why this is. Other people get a nice even coating of spread across the slice, and I'm not sure they're even trying. Whereas I can only manage a sad and unmalleable blob in the middle. This one really makes me worry about the future, because you know how they say choosy moms choose Jif? Well, clearly I will never be a mom of any kind, because even if I had the intuition to choose Jif (which I don't, because the Target brand is cheaper and "Skippy" is funnier), I wouldn't know how to apply it to bread, and my children would grow up emotionally disturbed, eating sad sandwiches, and eventually become drug dealers.

- Nothing in my house is homey. Sure, everything in my house is nice, but that's different. That's because I have a knack for buying things. What I don't know how to do is arrange them tastefully. Any semblance of taste in my apartment is the influence of my landlady, who left pleasing objects to give me the illusion of having aesthetic judgment. Whereas left to my own devices I would not know how to position a salt shaker.*

- Nor does anything in my house smell good. I mean, it doesn't smell BAD, either. But it also doesn't have that nice smell I associate with the homes of fully operational humans. I'll spend the night at a friend's, take a sniff of the comforter and marvel, "Ooo! Fluffy comforter smells like flowers!" Whereas I'll sniff my own comforter and marvel, "Ooo! Fluffy comforter just smells like comforter."

- I cannot operate an unfamiliar coffee maker. This point was driven home to me long ago at a dull temp job I took while at college. The boss gave me very specific instructions on how to use the coffee maker, but predictably I failed, and the coffee maker spewed forth coffee onto all nearby surfaces, with expensive ones getting priority. I'm not sure whether this was true incompetence on my part or just the fact that I can't keep my mind on things.

- I can't keep my mind on things. In fact, I

So, to what fatal flaw in my being can all these shortcomings be due? Well, I can't answer that, but I strongly suspect an adrenal deficiency, just because it is the first thing I thought of, offhand. I should look into that further, but frankly, I can't keep my mind on it.

Meanwhile, if you have any skills I can borrow, feel free to drop them by my house at your earliest convenience. I'll give you a coffee for your trouble, but you'll have to operate the maker yourself.

And in a pinch, if called upon, I can do a mean rendition of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" in my sleep.

* Martha Stewart advises that the correct position is upright.**
** I'm not sure if she was talking about salt shakers or what, though.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Insight Schminsight

Those eagle-eyed readers among you will notice I haven't blogged for awhile. I got bogged down in the notion that I had to have something to say. This turns out to be false. You can write tons and tons of words without ever having anything to say; otherwise the entire Sweet Valley High book series would not exist. I had those books as a kid. They concerned a suburban California town so deranged that the high school held a prom once per book. Also the townspeople were so fatuous and superficial they didn't even realize they were fictional characters.

(Don't you think you'd notice if you were a fictional character?* I know I would. The first thing I'd do is rob a deli, since the fictitious among us can't get arrested. Just speaking hypothetically here.)

Now it's all coming back to me. I think it went something like this: the heroines of the books were the blonde and beautiful Wakefield twins, who went around saving Sweet Valley from anyone who had the bad judgment to be poor or sexual or black or otherwise not the blonde and beautiful Wakefield twins. Then at the end they would have a prom.

Of course, as a kid I didn't notice much except the prom scenes, and the fact that everyone in Sweet Valley was extremely attractive. I now realize this was due to an efficient municipal culling policy whereby all ugly people were bludgeoned. But when you're little you don't read between the lines. I mostly read the books as light entertainment during meals. The books lived out in crumbling cardboard boxes in our garage in Florida, where, remarkably, giant roaches never ate them. I now realize this was because they had standards.

But back to me, even though I'm not a Wakefield twin. I've put up a brick wall against blogging for awhile, partly because I've been busy, but also because I thought I had to have insight. This is that peculiar power of observation that allows you to comment on things in a manner so profound that people make vague appreciative noises while thinking about other things. Observe the difference between an insightful person and a normal unobservant plebe:

STIMULUS: A glass of wine.
INSIGHTFUL PERSON RESPONSE: "The full-bodied overtones, sepulchral with a hint of nepotism, bring to mind the pituitary secretions of the Andorran jackal, but without the panache."**
NORMAL PERSON RESPONSE: "Gimme more wine."

STIMULUS: A figure skater.
INSIGHTFUL PERSON RESPONSE: "His jumps are reminiscent of the legendary Ulrich Salchow, although they lack the fluidity of the late, great Hans Triple Flip."
NORMAL PERSON RESPONSE: "Gimme more wine."

STIMULUS: An express train decides to go local as you're rushing to work.
INSIGHTFUL PERSON RESPONSE: "Hey, don't stress! It's not about getting there fast, it's about reveling in the journey along the way."
NORMAL PERSON RESPONSE: (Takes out machete, heads toward insightful person first)

Of course, let me be clear: I'm NOT saying you should go out and buy a machete. They're expensive; try and borrow one first.

Now that I realize I'm more the normal type than the insightful type, life is so much easier. I can write about whatever I want without it having to have any point. Takes the pressure off!

With that in mind, I've taken it upon myself to prepare the following list of pointless topics about which I have many things to say:

1. Cab drivers who refuse to drive to my house, predicated on the argument, patiently and painstakingly explained to me, that my house does not exist
2. Bubble tea
3. Small children: The case against
4. Bubble tea
5. The speed at which my floor spontaneously generates filth despite the fact that I have just vacuumed or am actually vacuuming at that moment
6. Musical theatre: harmless pastime or leading threat to global health?

I'll let you decide that last one based on the following photo, taken at my neighborhood thrift store. These books were placed right next to each other. One is clearly the question, the other the answer:

Coincidence? I THINK NOT. Especially because I was the one who placed them there.

Anyway, you can expect to hear more about these topics, and many others, at the new 'n' improved Snark. And if you're thinking that now all my entries will have no point, well, that is exactly the point.

** Source: Your senior thesis.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Crying Foul

Lately I've been thinking about bad words. Like unwanted family members, they've become so much a part of the landscape that no one notices them anymore. For instance, I bet you didn't notice that even the friendly pre-recorded male voice on the New York City subway uses foul language ("Stand clear of the *@#!@-ing closing doors, please"; "This is 176th @!!&%-ing Street"). The barista at Starbucks says, "Would you like your #$%^-ing receipt?" and you say, "Yes, **&$# you."

Obviously this signals the degradation of our society, which clearly was not degraded enough to begin with, even when we started wearing thongs. (Think about it: as a society, we did this voluntarily. Of course there are honorable exceptions, such as the Pope.) (I am assuming here.)

My point, as you have no doubt guessed, is this: we need to return to the refined language of a bygone era. I realize most of us are ill-equipped to remember a cultural zeitgeist any longer ago than Full House, but I assure you we had even older eras. Think back to elementary school, when you learned about Abraham Lincoln. Can you imagine how the Gettysburg Address would read if written today?

Four score and seven #$%^^& years ago
Our fathers, those sons of @#$%!-es, brought forth...

But you know what's really weird, when you think about it, is that most people nowadays use bad words without even being angry. This is really jarring to me. I grew up in a house where no one used foul verbiage except in the case of a seriously rage-inducing event, such as a severely backed-up toilet. But now I hear people use these words in completely temperate situations, situations where no plunger is even thought of. ("Ya goin' to the &#$%-ing store?"  "Yeh, I'll pick you up some @($%^-ing Rolaids."  "Thanks, @#$%-er %(#%-er.")

This bothers delicate lilies such as myself. I was raised to believe you never use these words without just provocation, such as you are being garroted or have just been presented with tickets to Wicked. That's why our language needs to change. Only when we "up our game" verbally can we pull ourselves out of the current linguistic dark age. One good option would be to hearken back to the verbal modes of Shakespeare. Consider the following exchange, before enhancement:

PERSON A: I think Football Team X is a %^$*#-load better than that pile of %($^ Football Team Y.
PERSON B: Oh YEAH??? C'mere, you @$*%#&!
(They pull each other's ears off)

Whereas with a few Shakespearean tweaks, voilà! Iambic pentameter:

PERSON A: My lord, my liege, in sooth I do aver
That worthiest of entities, Team X
Doth kick real good the nutties of Team Y.
Dost thou agree?
PERSON B:      Thou prick, c'mere, let's fight.
(They pull each other's ears off)

No, wait, that's no better. Plus, this option requires training, so that you'll be able to pull out those Shakespearean flourishes at a moment's notice, and who among us has that kind of time? This is why machetes are useful, in a pinch, but that is not my point.

Another, potentially less time-consuming alternative would be simply to give well-considered, articulate voice to your every waking thought. I will use the example of a person I know whom we will call Mrs. R.,* who was once bitten on her finger by her dog while feeding it (the dog) (not the finger) bits of meat. Whereupon Mrs. R. unleashed the following stream of bad words:

MRS. R.: (Feeding the dog)
DOG: Omnomnomnomnom (BITE)

Pretty unimaginative, am I right, folks? Now think how much more articulate of a contribution Mrs. R. could have made to human discourse if she had verbalized her emotions as follows:

MRS. R.: (Feeding the dog)
DOG: Omnomnomnomnom (BITE)
MRS. R.: I feel great rage at this moment, as manifested both literally and in a sense symbolically, by the seeping wound upon my finger. A curse upon you and all your hairy little ancestors.
DOG: Boy, are you ever an ***hole.

Yes, verbal communication is extremely important. You see how they hashed that out? Just think of the pent-up feelings that might otherwise never have been communicated. Can you imagine, for example, the pain and suffering that might come of never cursing your dog's ancestors, let alone never knowing that you're an asshole?

This is why my dream stands strong of one day living in a world devoid of emptily used dirty words. Yes, granted, they are an instant and handy thoroughfare to emphatic self-expression. But I urge you to take a brave first step by using them at least sparingly. When, you ask? To make it simple, let's limit your bad-word use strictly to the following extreme situations: (a) when evil ninjas attack your house; (b) when you burst into flames, and of course (c) those Wicked tickets.

* This is so you will not uncover her true identity as Mrs. D.