Why Have People Started Using the Word “Tribe” So Much?

February 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Posted in What's Up With the Word "Tribe"?? | 6 Comments
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Dear Mr. Answers,

It seems like everywhere I turn these days, someone is talking or writing about their “tribe.” I’m never quite sure what exactly that means. Do you know what it means when people today use that word?”—Baffled in Ohio

Dear Baffled,

As a matter of fact, I do. It means they’re idiots. The primary relationship people who use that word have with other people is through the Internet. People who daily e-communicate with a great many more people than they ever talk to in real life have grown enthralled with that word, because instead of socially retarded affirmation junkies it allows them to feel like lean, mean, jungle-dwelling, loincloth-wearing, rainstick-wielding shamans just one animal call away from being instantly surrounded by resolute yet unnervingly calm members of their “tribe.” It lets them imagine that through shared values and ideals they’re primordially linked with a network of people who in real life have a panic attack if their network server blinks out for a nanosecond.

Last of the Mogeekans. Text Messages with Wolves. Warriors of the “I’ll Sue!” tribe.

All hail Chief Starbucks, stalwart leader of the ferocious Blackberry tribe!

Oh, no.

Mr. Answers has just had a revelation.

He’s realized that he’s jealous because no one’s ever asked him to join their tribe.

Why Is Coffee So Popular? And Who Wants to Know?

February 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm | Posted in Why Is Coffee So Popular? | 11 Comments
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A reader (from Great Britain? China? Mars?) wrote to ask me why coffee is so popular.

Dear Person From A Place Where They Apparently Don’t Drink a Lot of Coffee:

People enjoy coffee because it makes them extremely nervous and irritable. I’m not sure what people enjoy in your country, but here in America we enjoy almost nothing so much as we do being extremely nervous and irritable. If this a problem for you, why don’t you ask me if I care? The answer is I don’t. I might if I hadn’t just enjoyed a triple-shot cafe latte—but I did. So I don’t. Tough bean crackers for you.

But back to your question. What was it again? And why are you asking questions like this? Do you have a problem with the American way of life? Because I don’t. I like what coffee does for me. I like what the Fourth of July does for me. A Whistlin’ Pete once shot right up my pants leg, and dang if it didn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy right before I started screaming bloody murder.

That’s right. I speak British. If it wasn’t for us, you British would be speaking German, if you get my historical drift.

Sorry. That’s not fair. British people rock. You’ve got all those great detectives.

Anyway, the reason coffee is so popular is because it gives people that Get Up and Go to the Bathroom feeling. A lot of people like that feeling, Jack. Bathrooms are pretty nice places to be—as long as you’re alone. Otherwise it can be pretty iffy. The worst thing is to be in a bathroom with a stranger who feels like socializing. There’s lots of ways to put a stop to that, but let’s not go there so to speak.

Now what was your question again? Oh, who cares? I can’t be bothered.

Oh, right: Coffee. You asked why coffee is so popular. You know why? Because people like to stand in line. There’s always a line at Starbucks. Starbuck’s. Starbucks’. God, I hate punctuation. It’s like a gnat that’s always comin’ around to bite you when you’re trying to write.

Anyway, I’d like to answer your question about coffee, but right now I have to use the restroom at this coffee shop I’m in. I hope no one’s in there. Whatever. It’s their problem if they are.

Thanks for asking Mr. Answers a question!

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