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I was in my study when I heard my wife's Infinity FX hum to life in the garage. God I loved buying her that car/light truck. I was thinking about her going grocery shopping, and if she was, what delicacies she would bring home. Would it be the always hard to find Camembert and/or Gorgonzola cheeses? Perhaps some of those precious sesame crackers and Tahini, that rich and exotic salve of the soul (and toungue). Then perhaps, she might stop off at le wine shoppe on Centre Street and pick up a bottle of 1992 Turning Leaf Red Zinfandel, or perhaps even some Verve Cliquot, for an unforeseen special occasion. What with this global village of modern importing and all, these are the best of times we're living in. It makes life, I remember thinking, worth living.

But after daydreaming for a while, I thought it strange how the FX's engine was still running in the garage. Curious, I walked down the stairs (my new Cole Haan shoes padding against the carpet grain) and noted an open jar of Grey Poupon and a half-melted tub of Haagen Daaz Dulce de Leche on the kitchen counter. When I entered the garage, at first I wasn't able to see clearly what the situation was, both literally and figuratively. The air was thick with exhaust, and I could only see the FX at all after opening the garage door. That's when I saw Eve, sitting in the driver's seat, a hose pouring the car's poisonous fumes into her face. I knocked on the window. She opened her eyes, looking sort of embarrassed, yet angry (at me?). She handed me the hose and drove away - and not in the direction of the grocery store, either (although she did come back with many fine groceries a couple hours later).

We've never really talked about it since, partly because she came back with the aforementioned good groceries, and partly because, well, it just hasn't been a problem.

Date Written: September 19, 2004
Author: Benny Maniacs
Average Vote: 4.83333

09/22/2004 qualcomm (5): for creating one of the most hateful characters in acme history, i salute you. but would a turning leaf fan be the same sort of fellow who drinks veuve clicquot? maybe korbel would have been more appropriate.
09/22/2004 Joe Frankenstone (5): Great. Like the shallow materialists painted in the first half of Fight Club, but still palatably acrid in this post-9/11 world. Nice!
09/22/2004 Will Disney (5): i'm glad for them that it hasn't been a problem since then. tournament this sunday.
09/22/2004 Mr. Pony (5): First time I ever laughed out loud because of mustard.
09/22/2004 Joe Frankenstone: Interesting you mentioned the mustard. I liked that but didn't get it -- was it random crime-scene detail? Or something else?
09/22/2004 Mr. Pony: ...
09/22/2004 Dick Vomit (5): Mincchia!
09/22/2004 Joe Frankenstone: TELL ME DAMMIT!
09/22/2004 Mr. Pony: Author, I believe you meant that the air was thick with exhaust, as Carbon monoxide is colorless. :-[
09/22/2004 Litcube (5): 4.5
09/22/2004 TheBuyer (5): She handed me the hose and drove away.
09/22/2004 qualcomm: frankenstone, are you fucking serious?
09/22/2004 Pix (5): A good little spin this one.
09/22/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan (5): Charming to the very end.
09/22/2004 Joe Frankenstone: I'm allowed to be stupid.
09/22/2004 Will Disney: What is the scenario that has her opening up both a can of mustard *and* the ice cream?
09/22/2004 Joe Frankenstone: All I can come up with is a mistaken (in my opinion) take on the pickles and ice cream equals pregnancy trope -- and if that's the case, this short is even more awesome. But honestly, I haven't heard the mustard and ice cream before.
09/22/2004 Jon Matza (4): Frankenstone, could you exit the room for a moment? When you concentrate your furrowed, neanderthal brow blocks the doorway and the clanking noises made by your brain seem to drown out all intelligible conversation. Now then: while this short is perfectly servicable, I must ask you, computer friends, if it's really such a masterpiece. No, computer friends; it's merely a four. While choosing brands that are a boob's idea of swanky is a pleasing gag, isn't the brand name fetishization itself directly lifted from "American Psycho"? Moreover, the short's not so interesting premise/worldview seems to be that the ersatz nature of modern life results in desperation/despair. So what? In short, I believe you have been collectively hoodwinked...in fact, your collective adoration of this easy-to-digest short resembles the narrator's regard for, say, Cole-Haan. I hope you're proud of yourselves.
09/22/2004 qualcomm: dude, they were just following my example. who can blame them?
09/22/2004 qualcomm: i found the fives across the board puzzling as well. i was being somewhat whimsical when i 5ed this this morning, giving it extra points for inscrutable reasons of my own. i think once it got a couple, idiots like disney, pony, vomit, litcube, pix and fpc followed. what a bunch of jerks, huh, matza? huh?
09/22/2004 Jon Matza: Jerks, yes. Well, that's a relief.
09/22/2004 Mr. Pony: But Matza, isn't this your short? And Summer, I had my own deeply personal, staggeringly honorable reasons for giving this five stars, reasons that I don't expect you or anyone to begin to fathom. So it looks like the only idiots here are disney, vomit, litcube, pix and fpc.
09/22/2004 Mr. Pony: And also, Matza: (?) Doesn't the despair felt by the wife in this short stem not from any shallow shortcomings of modern life; but from her husband's dingbat nature? And isn't the husband perfectly contented with his hollow consumerist boobery? Hmm? Matza?
09/22/2004 Jon Matza: No doubt you are correct, brother pony. I'm merely posing a question: wouldn't Acme become even more encrusted with sweet lustre if those capable of competent/articulate discourse took the trouble to state their reasons/argue their positions/justify their votes more often?
09/22/2004 Litcube: Yes.
09/22/2004 Jon Matza: (That's more like it.) Point taken that there's some Prell humor in the wife's response to the idiot narrator. Re "isn't the husband perfectly contented with his hollow consumerist boobery?" Yes, but surely the short's sympathies lie with the wife. Nnngh?
09/22/2004 anonymous: Korbel would have been a better choice.
09/22/2004 anonymous: Yes, exhaust.
09/22/2004 Mr. Pony: summer.
09/23/2004 John Slocum (4): Too tired to give lustre.
09/23/2004 qualcomm: what?
09/23/2004 Mr. Pony: No, last night it occurred to me that maybe you had written this short; that maybe you had even gone so far as to plant the champagne flaw so you could correct it with the opening comment, both bringing added value to your own brand, and diverting any attention away from any other shortcomings the short might otherwise exhibit (including your authorship); that you did all this because you are the sort of diabolical, calculating villain who, while loving power for its own sake, understands and is not above enjoying the benefits of said power. I can't believe that wasn't clear to you by how I said your name! Anyway, I'm wrong.
09/23/2004 John Slocum: 2 wine-related issues here. 1. This short must take place in the mid 90's since the guy is talking about a 1992 Turning Leaf red zin (not made to age, consumed quickly). I don't know alot about the winery but they must have a huge marketing budget because it's one of the few wines for which I've seen a t.v. commercial. which leads me to 2. It's completely consistent with veuve clicquot: both wineries market like crazy, make wine in an easily consumable, appealing but boring and superficial style and are every tom, dick and harry's knee jerk selection, since basically no one in america knows how to critically taste wine and just buy what the media tells them to drink. Turning leaf for everyday drinking, veuve clicqot for special occasions. I applaud your use of these wines in your mass-marketing oriented short. It's very well written and I like the ending, but like Matza, I felt the targets were easy and it's been done before.
09/23/2004 qualcomm: i think you're slightly off, slocum. turning leaf is what someone who knows absolutely nothing about wine and doesn't want to know anything because he doesn't care would drink. it's for someone who wants to spend less than $10. veuve clicquot is for someone who knows very little about champagne but wants to spend a little bit on it to make sure he gets something good. personally, i think the veuve is in keeping with this man's other objects, but the turning leaf isn't. i'd say this guy would buy something by the coppola winery; it costs a little more than your average bottle and it's well-marketed. thank you.
09/23/2004 qualcomm: or, seeing that, as you pointed out, this takes place in the early nineties, maybe a fresh, new beaujolais.
09/23/2004 TheBuyer: and would give Two-Buck Chuck as a gift to his receptionist.
09/23/2004 Dylan Danko: or at least a crappy american syrah.
09/23/2004 Mr. Pony: I buy wines by the label design, thank you very much. If it comes with a little toy bull, so much the better.
09/23/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan: Right on, Pony.
09/23/2004 John Slocum: Wrong again Ol' Summer.
09/23/2004 qualcomm: on which point(s) and why, you charlatan?
09/23/2004 John Slocum: Turning Leaf, with their aggressive advertising campaigns, have convinced people that their product is synonomous (sp?) with quality such that some dumb american who is into Grey Poupon, Cole Haan, Haagen daaaz, etc. is also into turning leaf, whether or not it's a quality product. While a dumb american might be able to ascertain whether a cole haan shoe is of quality, he/she won't be able to ascertain the same for the wine. Veuve clicquot sucks. They over sugar their champagnes destined for the american market because that's what their market research told them to do for the coca cola swilling U.S. (yes that's right - their are some 'demi-sec' champagnes with less sugar than veuve clicquot, which tries to pass itself off as 'brut'.) The point here is in a perceived quality based on media driven marketing to unthinking idiots who don't know how to be human beings, and therefore turning leaf and veuve clicquot are great choices consistent with what Maniacs was going for. (hope this is coherent)
09/23/2004 scoop: As a member of the Coca-Cola enjoying ugly American jetset I take issue, might I say umbrage, sir, with your choice of the verb "swilling."
09/23/2004 qualcomm: dude, a guy who's skimping on an $10 bottle of 'leaf isn't going to pay $50 or $60 for veuve. come on!
09/23/2004 Mr. Pony: But Summer, the guy isn't skimping--he's just poorly informed.
09/23/2004 scoop (5): This hovers somewhere between a 4 and a 5. While I sympathize with Matza's analysis, there's somehting about how she just drives away that I found pleasantly surprising and funny.
09/24/2004 John Slocum: Well - that felt good. What pony said. Actually, people are always prepared to spend more on champagne, possibly because the champagne industry has done a great job of attaching champagne to celebration. Someone drinking turning leaf for $10 isn't skimping in the way you mean.
09/24/2004 Mr. Pony: Wow, I wish I'd thought of that.
09/24/2004 qualcomm: Pony: do you mean that thinking of that would have been "better" than not thinking of it?
09/24/2004 Mr. Pony: Why are you so afraid of my ideas?
09/28/2004 John Slocum: Mr. Pony: It's because your ideas can be terrifyingly powerful, so fearsomely prodigious in their scope and implication. I sometimes find myself trembling when you have an idea. Just think about what 'Ol Summer would be doing. Fetal.
07/21/2009 qualcomm: time has been kind to my argument. let's revisit. the narrator is a consumerist. all he has to go on is price, and $10 means the wine's not very good! he probably also knows enough to be turned off by a winery that advertises on television. a nice bottle of ravenswood would be right up this individual's alley.
07/22/2009 Jon Matza: Retroactive 4.5. Incidentally IMHO the below controvversy (i.e. the wine one) - regardless of who's in the right - is a nice example of the kind of stylish discourse/good hustle oft found on Acme in its heyday. Makes a brother feel wistful; melancholy.