Thursday, January 17, 2013

Messing Up Your Project

I recently wrote a short poem entitled "Self-Deprecation."  It's short, so rather than click the link to read it, here it is in its entirety:

Self-deprecation sounds
Too much like self-
And I hate myself for it.

The original version contained an added line about how "self-deprecation" also reminds me of masturbation.  But I've always felt like the word "masturbation" is one of the dirtiest words in the English language, so I used to try to find a similar word that would still got my point across.

However, "autoeroticism," "malthusianism," "onanism," "self-abuse," and "self-pollution" didn't really do it for me.

If you know what I mean.

Plus, I like my "poems" to be as short as possible.  So ultimately, I left out the masturbation part.

But before I closed my web browser, I noticed this advertisement on

Thanks,, but I can safely say that masturbation has never messed up any project I have ever worked on.  Aside from sex addicts, I doubt masturbation has ever messed up anyone's project, regardless of the nature of the "project" in question.

I understand how the advertisement works and the goal of it.  Obviously, any word that someone looks up in a thesaurus is a problematic word, perhaps troublesome enough to convince someone to pay for "Writing Dynamo," whatever it may be.

But c'mon  Have a little foresight to see that you can't just capitalize every word that people search for and throw it into an advertisement.

Perhaps my favorite part of the advertisement is the second line.  If you dissociate yourself completely from your knowledge of how the advertisement came into existence, the second line seems to offer an incredibly inapplicable answer to the baffling question it posed in the first line.  Is your problem with masturbation interfering with your work?  Then buy this product to help your vocabulary*!

*I was originally going to use the word "diction," but used to find a new word, because "diction" just didn't feel like the right word to use when talking about masturbation.

Taken out of context, the two statements simply have nothing to do with each other -- so much so that it is laughable.  I can imagine similar advertisements:

Car trouble?  Eating potatoes can be a good way to work more fiber into your diet.

Are you an alcoholic?  Take this quiz to find out your perfect love match!

Overweight?  Catching Fire is the exciting sequel to The Hunger Games.

Are you Christian and single? Walgreens is offering laundry detergent at half price this week.

Carpel tunnel syndrome?  Masturbation could be messing up your project.

Okay, that last one might make more sense than it should.

But sorry.  It's actually harder than you might think to come up with two things that are as dissimilar as grammar and masturbation.

-Youngman Brown


  1. I admit, when I read this I thought of the most obvious ways masturbation could mess up your project, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't got much effect on vocabulary? Maybe I'll ask the oldest that question tonight. I should be able to get at least a glare out of him, if not outright disgust.

    Wait, is it supposed to be that lack of vocabulary is messing with your masturbation?

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha. This made my week. I especially like your Venn.

  3. I love seeing autogenerated ads like this. To me, it's like an online game of Mad Libs. My favorite is when you search something and there's that ad that says, "Find ____ on!" where ____ is what you searched.

    Some notable hilarities:
    "Find meth on!"
    "Find cancer on!"
    "Find Jesus on!"

    That's right, I found Jesus. And he's on Amazon.

  4. Go blind, sure, but I've never had masturbation screw up any project, in fact just the opposite, take a break, clear your mind and come back rejuvenated...shit I just gave way too much information about me.

  5. "I would rather cuddle then have sex. If you're good at grammar, you'll get it" This meme abounds on the internet and always makes me smile. Grammar and sex go hand in hand....for me at least. Bad grammar means no sex from me. ;)

    That being said...hilarious post. I about died at the catching fire example.

  6. I think the word "Malthusianism" has some potential. I'll probably try and slip it into a future post(box)!

  7. I laughed out loud when I reached the diagram you put together. Hilarious breakdown of an ad I probably would have overlooked. I really think you'll make it in the advertising industry.

    I'm going to build off "Who Woulda Thought?"'s comment, unfortunately for you. But I believe masturbation helps with writing projects, as well. Not to say all my posts are post-masturbatory, though.

  8. Love your non sequitur advertisements. They remind me of Don Hertzfeldt's Oscar-winning short Rejected. Disturbingly hilarious.

    Oh, and if Writing Dynamo needs a worthwhile slogan, I've got a little somethin' somethin' for them: "Less friction, more diction."

  9. I have no clever response to this.

    Have you run out of CLEVER RESPONSES on the internet? Try generic Viagra!

    Huh. You're right. If you look at anything long enough, it seems to go together. Except for Masturbation and grammar, I guess.

  10. I laughed out loud at Walgreen's and laundry detergent to solve the problem of being Christian and single. But what's the deal about sex addicts? Isn't everyone who wants sex a sex addict? Ya know what ah mean?


  11. Never mind the ads Youngman, allow me to give you a little cumshaw - I think you have a slight addiction to
    (You're going to go look up that word aren't you?!)

  12. when I saw the picture in my reader, I thought it was because a word got autocorrected to masturbation. I could see that messing up a project. Your story is way better than the one I was expecting.

  13. There are just... No, you know what, I'm not even going to start with the filthy puns because I'll be here all day. I'm just going to say "well played, sir" and leave it at that.

    (Good grief, even "well-played" is no longer innocuous when used in a post about masturbation.)

  14. I had to look up onanism, because I've never heard that word. It's actually a pretty interesting definition. In fact, if your 'project' was having a baby, the exact purpose of onanism would be to mess up that project.

    Very fun, silly post, Youngman :) The venn diagram and the examples you gave were laugh out loud funny.

  15. I am now imagining what kind of projects could be messed up by masturbation. Cloning? Writing about self control.


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