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Posted on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

A few words to all you movers and shakers

By Mike Ball

As we stumble headlong into 2012, which as we all know will be the year during which the Mayan god Quetzalcoatl is going to turn all of us humans into little puddles of smoldering slag, I would just like to take a minute and fire off notes to some of the people who have helped shape the world we live in.

Dear NFL players.

When you make a routine block, tackle, pass reception or even a touchdown, try to act like you've done it before. Maybe you are under the impression that thumping your chest and tippie-toe-dancing around the end zone makes for better television than a cutaway shot of a 315-pound lineman standing behind the head coach and blowing snot rockets into the AstroTurf. You are wrong.

Dear Reality Show Producers,

OK. Your shows are super-cheap to produce, since there is an endless supply of camera-hungry wannabe singers and dancers, hoarders, over-eaters, pregnant teenagers, crab fishermen, truck drivers, pawn shop owners, junkies, meteorite hunters, outrageously gay antique pickers and overweight guys who buy and sell crap they find in abandoned storage lockers. I heard a rumor that there is even a project in the works called "Highway Hookers - Trucks & Tricks." Fair enough. We get it. We do.

But “Extreme Couponing?” Really? It’s like you guys just aren’t even trying any more.

Speaking of which;

Dear Parents of “Toddlers and Tiaras,”

What the hell is wrong with you people?

Dear Republican Candidates,

As you spend most of this election year trying to out-angry, out-stupid, out-heartless and just plain out-crazy each other in your quest for that all-important fringe vote, maybe you could tone it down a notch or two. At least lose the little American flag lapel pins when you’re on TV. Seriously, the world is watching, and you are embarrassing the rest of us.

Dear Yoplait,

No, “Swapportunity” is not a word. And it never will be.

Dear Companies Whose Web Ads Suddenly Appear Between Me and the Article I’m Trying To Read

I’m not sure how you people figured out how to defeat pop-up blockers, but I do know that there is a special place in Satan’s realm reserved for you. Do you really think that when I’m concentrating on a story about 20 orphans killed in a Peruvian mudslide, I’m likely to drop everything and refinance my mortgage based on a floating, rapidly-blinking purple billboard?

Dear Facebook,

I know Microsoft has set an industry standard by redesigning the user interface for Word into something as easy to understand as Romeo and Juliet penned by a Japanese instruction manual writer; "But, soft! Windows through the breaks in the light of what the other side?"

But is it really necessary for you to periodically take an eggbeater to your own interface? For instance, I am curious to know the reasoning behind repositioning the button someone would hit if they want to attend an event, then changing the label from “Attend” to “Join.” Who “joins” a concert?


Mby u cld shrpn up nd rfine ur msg a bit nstd of usng ths dmb abrevs. Nd mby lose sum of those #hash #tags #bippityboppityboo.

Dear Readers,

Thank you for hanging in with me for the 10 years that I’ve been writing What I’ve Learned... So Far. We’ve had a lot of fun together. Let’s just hope that when the time comes, we can all go out and greet old Quetzacotal with a smile.

Mike Ball is the Erma Bombeck Award-winning author of "What I've Learned So Far..." and the book What I've Learned So Far... Part I: Bikes, Docks & Slush Nuggets.


Paula Gardner

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

This article has been edited to delete an offensive reference.

Marshall Applewhite

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

You spelled "hoarders" wrong...

Mike Ball

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Thanks Marshall - my proofreader wanted me to spell it with a "w." I think your way is way better! - mike


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Does anyone have an exact date for the end of the world as we know it? In other words, how many more shopping days left before I can kiss my credit card good-bye?

Mike Ball

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:36 a.m.

How could the date be wrong? It was on the Science Channel.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

Awesome! That gives me 11 months to also avoid paying utility, insurance and health care bills. And, I plan on creatively expressing my sentiments to my obnoxious neighbor just before the mushroom cloud hits Ann Arbor. Of course, I'll be feeling a lil' sheepish if the end date is incorrect.

Mike Ball

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Consensus seems to be 12/21/12, so we should spend all our money and max out our cards by December 20. What could possibly go wrong.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

Um, this is a comedy piece, people. And a very funny one. Lighten up . . .

Mike Ball

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

Thanks for the good words! - mike

rusty shackelford

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

As unreadable as this is, to be fair, if you switched the names, I probably could barely tell it from a Mitch Albom column.

Mike Ball

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

I've never actually read one of Mitch's columns, but I know him, I've read all his books, and he's been reviewed as "the best writer in America," so... thanks?