Hmm Weekly for September 22, 2020

We Put the Kibosh on Tuesday

Hmm Weekly for September 22, 2020


Ask The Sophist

Dear The Sophist,
I am currently experiencing my third-quarter 2020 meltdown, largely driven by feeling like I was living in two parallel universes for 90 percent of the year. And while I would love to share this news with my LinkedIn network, I would have to actually sign into LinkedIn in order to do so. ***Shivers***

But: I have decided to permanently withhold my labor from a profession I believe to be inherently bullshit and at odds with my own values. I feel better already.

I am, however, annoyed that I already incurred the $60 annual credentialing fee paid to my state licensing board (covers through 6/30/21, at which point I can request inactive status, which would presumably draw less scrutiny from the state licensing authority than if I were to do it now).

I’d much prefer to render my credential inactive now, request a full (or prorated) refund, freeing myself from all benefits and burdens associated with said credential. But is it worth the hassle?

In summary: as a general rule, I prefer to stay off the radar of state licensing boards for obvious reasons. And for clarity, I don’t really care about the $60; I care about releasing myself from the benefits and burdens associated with the credential.

Non-Participation Certificate

Dear License to Kill,

The scales of justice hang in the balance here. Or is it the pharmacy scales? Boxing weigh-in scales? Scales used by secondhand precious metal objects dealers and pawnbrokers? Whatever your soon-to-be-former profession may be, in the left-hand barber chair sits your sense of righteousness, and in the right-hand barber chair sits your sense of laziness. And assuming you can get your paperwork filed before October, righteousness is waving 45 bucks' worth of prorated refund at you, as a sweetener. Which one do you serve?

The money is a distraction. At most it represents the symbolic desire to undo your commitment to this line of work you now despise—to literally make them pay. Before you do anything about the question, the Sophist recommends you get yourself a set of paper coin wrappers, the good kind with the rolled rim at the bottom so they hold their shape and the coins don't slide through. Dump out your jar or cup or bucket of old change, sort it out, and wrap it up. Clear your mind of all thoughts but "dime two three four five six seven eight nine TEN...penny two three four five six seven eight nine TEN..." and "Nickels, huh, worst coin of all."

You don't have to go through with this job to the bitter end, any more than you do with your unwanted professional job. Before you know it, your quarantine space will be tidier and you'll have 45 dollars, easy, and a sense of accomplishment. (The Sophist personally rolled up $84.50 before calling it a good night's work.)

All done? Good. The Sophist's guess is that the state licensing board will be just as impressed, or bothered, by your coin-rolling as it would be by your letter announcing that you're quitting their foul trade and demanding your rightful payout. Your whole goal here is to disengage from these people and their purposes and their professional norms—so just assume that they don't care, and if they do care, you don't care that they care. You're not one of them anymore!

So forget about making a performance of it. Not knowing anything about the particulars of your un-chosen field and its ability to enforce its members' obligations, The Sophist's default plan of action would be to let it all slide, forswearing the benefits and ignoring the burdens while you get on with your life. If the plumbers or locksmiths are in a position to actually cause you trouble for ghosting them, the question is only slightly more difficult: is it more of a hassle to write the withdrawal letter, or to do whatever they still require you to do? Then just pick the option that takes the least effort, and start living in your new tomorrow.

If you're a pilot, do land the plane first,
The Sophist

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By Joe MacLeod

The Mr. Wrong column is presented by Hmm Weekly.

Put on Your Big-Person Pants

I DON’T KNOW about you—and how would I, no offense—but I gotta say I am fortunate during these New Normal Abnormal times to be able to work from home. I am also compelled by my employer at my Day Job to work from home, so it’s not like I have Freedom of Choice, but I really dig it, working for my Day Job from my house. It’s The Future of the modern Workplace! It’s healthy! I hope you get to work from home if you have a job, and that being at home isn’t worse than going to your job. Also, don’t get mad at me because I have a job, it’s not my fault.

It’s way healthier to work from home because, Number One, you don’t have to Commute to your place of Employ. Personally, that means I don’t have to get in my car and risk my life driving to my job! Have you been out on the roads? People are psychos! All the anger and frustration gets taken out on their fellow motorists. I used to have a 45-minute drive mostly on a superhighway, so don’t get on my back about how I shoulda walked or biked or used Public Transportation, because I Googled that shit, and it woulda taken me Three Hours and Seven Minutes to Publicly Transport myself to my job’s actual office, versus Three Hours and Thirteen Minutes to ride my bike. The bike part makes sense, but that’s some pretty crappy Public Transportation, eh?

So if I ever have to go back and work in an office (urgh), I will drive my automobile, but I won’t be happy about it. I like working in my house. For the record, it would take me Ten Hours and Nineteen Minutes to walk to my job.

Anyway, working from home is great, because I can stand up more often when I go in the kitchen to eat food and drink coffee. Standing up is good for you, if you don’t have to do it all the time, I read that in the paper, about how sitting is worse than smoking cigarettes, and you don’t even get the fun part of cigarettes out of it. Plus, I can go in my kitchen and eat food and drink coffee whenever the fuck I want, and I don’t have to talk to anybody I work with! Small talk! Bleah! That’s better for my Mental Health, spending my workday with somebody whose company I enjoy, and that makes my Job Performance better. Another good thing about working from home is you don’t have to worry about some disgruntled employee stopping by the office and murdering everybody, just saying, another one in the plus-column for Mental Health!

You should totally skip this paragraph if you don’t want to read about pooping: One really good thing about working from home is you can go Number One and Number Two whenever you want. I have had jobs where I was in my cubicle performing my tasks and I would keep postponing a Number One or Number Two. Mostly I would postpone a Number One, because I lack the discipline to significantly reschedule a Number Two, but anyway, stifling Bodily Functions is not good for you. Working from home means when Nature Calls, you can drop what you’re doing, OK?

Alright, no more poop talk. Another good thing (and this is really the only reason I wrote this column today, so I apologize for all of the preceding paragraphs), another benefit to working from home is the Dress Code. I’m talking about me and my job, where I couldn’t wear jeans or sneakers and I hadda wear a shirt with a collar, to sit at my fucking cubicle all day. I’m not talking about all these tired “reveals” where people aren’t wearing pants in their Zoom meeting, the zany no-pants crew, yeah, get over yourself, no-pants crew, you’re like those dodos who all get on the subway with no pants because they want attention, you’re home telling people on a camera you have no pants because you are desperate for some attention for something, anything, because you are not grateful for having a job or a home to work in. Look, I will pay attention to you if you go to the office that way, and I walk it like I talk it, fuckos, I went to work in bathing suit pants once, one time, and it wasn’t because I wanted attention, it was not a good time in my life, but I got my shit together and I wear pants in my home office, so have some self respect and appreciate that you have a job and put on some goddamn pants. Thank you.

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Another Day in New York City

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AGAINST ALL ADVICE we continue our presentation of select recipes from the leviathan and encyclopedic 1896 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, Principal of the Boston Cooking-School, and a selection of items from


Liquid foods.

Sterilized Milk.
Fill small-necked half-pint bottles to within one and one-half inches of the top with milk; cork with absorbent cotton. Stand in a steamer of cold water, having water surround bottles to three-fourths their height. Allow water to heat gradually until nearly to boiling point, and keep at this temperature for ten minutes. When used for infants allow from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of lime water* for each bottle of milk.

Albumenized Milk.
1/2 cup milk.
White 1 egg.

Put white of egg in a tumbler, add milk, cover tightly, and shake thoroughly until well mixed.

1 quart milk.
1/3 yeast cake dissolved in 1 tablespoon lukewarm water.
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Heat milk until lukewarm; add sugar and dissolved yeast cake. Fill beer bottles within one and one-half inches of the top, cork and invert. The corks must be firmly tied down with strong twine. Let stand for six hours at a temperature of 80˚F. CHill, and serve the following day.

* Lime Water. Pour two quarts boiling water over an inch cube unslacked lime; stir thoroughly and stand over night; in the morning pour off the liquid that is clear, and bottle for use. Keep in a cool place.

We swear we will get back to sandwiches soon, but in the meantime, if you create one of these liquid items, please won’t you send a picture to

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