Stop Selling Me Things

By: Ali Benz

Has anyone ever had to Venmo a homeless person? I have. Not having cash is no longer an adequate excuse. The ease of sending money makes everything super awkward, like when I have to donate to a cause on Facebook for a birthday every other day so I can sleep at night. Between Paypal, Zelle, and online shopping there are no limits.  You can literally sell anything. Whether it’s a product, an idea, or an app—someone’s buying. People want the next best thing even if it’s dumb af. You can literally put your trash on Etsy and call it a “Vintage Dream-Catcher” then suddenly some weirdo in Colorado is paying your rent.

I know everyone has seen those stupid Scooters around town for people who can’t afford Uber. That’s already pretty f*cking weird, but now I’m seeing pogo-sticks. You can hop your ass to work now. I was a professional pogo-sticker back in ‘02, but best believe you won’t catch me on one of those today. Pogos are absolutely not a method of transportation and make literally no sense. Imagine if you didn’t have the right backpack on—or bra. I’m so disturbed. Please, no more bouncing. Bring back Heely’s.

If you commute to work like a normal person, you probably need a decent night’s rest. Everyone has insomnia these days because it’s like, “in”. Super irritating considering I haven’t been able to sleep for years but now everybody wants to talk about it. Luckily, people capitalize on trends immediately and sell weird products on the internet to my mom. First, it was CBD oil. Now, it’s f*cking lavender? What? I told my mother I couldn’t sleep and she sent me a jar of lavender to lather myself in. It never put me to sleep but I do smell like a f*cking candle. Usually when I can’t go to bed my friends give me five melatonin and a Benadryl and hope I STFU. It doesn’t work either but at least I don’t turn into a plant.

Speaking of transforming, can everyone please stop downloading the FaceApp? Why are you so obsessed with posting pics of yourselves as old people? Your day will come. I legit never once wondered what any of my friends would look like at age eighty. Also, I don’t get why celebs insist on aging themselves in the app, too? No one cares what you look like Ludacris—I didn’t even know you weren’t that old. Please be more relevant. And seriously, Jonas Brothers? Why’d you do Kevin dirty like that?! He was already the least interesting to look at then they went and gave just him one of those creepy skin tags. Tragic.

When the internet isn’t targeting face-tuners, they pray on the over-weight. Forever 21 sent Atkins bars with plus-size orders as part of a master marketing plan that certainly wouldn’t be offensive. What do these people think, their XL customers will be flattered to receive subpar diet bars with their jeggings? That they’ll start buying Atkins products because the most disorganized clothing company in the world suggested it? Taking diet advice from a Forever 21 is like taking dating advice from Tiger Woods: It just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, the FBI agents in our phones will continue to stalk us and bombard us with ads for exactly what we want. You can’t escape it. Instagram will target you. Amazon will find you. Don’t drink and Prime. You might just end up with two pashminas in the middle of July.

True Life: You’re an Alien

By: Ali Benz

Do people even know what UFO stands for? It literally just means unidentified flying object. I consider a UFO to be that random scrap of meat the hibachi chef throws into your mouth and you just eat it no matter what because—showbiz. The term doesn’t directly relate to aliens, but it’s completely understandable if you grew up watching E.T. A UFO may be flying Japanese meat in my eyes, but to others, it’s the possibility of a whole other galaxy.

I’m down for an alien invasion just as much as the next guy. I just hope these slick extraterrestrials are single af. Everybody these days is either gay or married, so I’d take a handsome, tech-savvy E.T. any day of the week. My hopes are obviously up, but one can’t even be sure that the objects the Navy reported are extraterrestrial. The Navy is dramatic and prob just wants attention, or a day off from work. I told my boss I had tennis elbow to get a sick day, but I bet if I said I saw a UFO in 2015 he’d suggest a leave of absence for “personal reasons”.

Honestly, I think there are aliens all around us and we don’t even know it. For example, where in the world is Carmen San-Diego? Aka Melania Trump? I miss her so much. TBH Melania looks exactly like E.T. There. I said it. I am NOT bullying her. I know she is the obvious leader of the anti-bullying campaign. E.T. is super handsome. They both have that beautiful, copper skin, light eyes, and amazing figure. If they did a face-swap it would be the sexiest first-lady-alien alive, so don’t come at me like some alien body-shamer or whatever. I’m a fan. I just think it’s possible that Trump married an alien and was a huge fan of Steven Spielberg in the 1980s. Conspiracy theory people: Back me up here.

Everyone has their reasons for believing or not believing in intelligent-extraterrestrial life. The other week I was walking home from the bar and I was in a bind. My feet were too tired and Uber is unsafe so I made the obvious decision. I jumped on the back of a delivery man’s bicycle and asked him to drop me off on the Upper West Side. He pedaled me all the way home without asking any questions—and not just because he spoke zero English. As the wind blew through my hair on the heroic man’s handlebars, I realized that I was basically E.T. I’m clearly an alien too, or else I would’ve just taken a Lyft. I also learned that night that you shouldn’t drink on antibiotics. This was the year of realizing things, just like Kylie Jenner said! A modern Gandhi.

It’s rare that others will experience the spiritual awakening that I had. I think a lot of excitement around the UFO sightings is out of desperation. The state of the world is so wild right now that people want literally anything to believe in. From abortion bans to climate change it’s no wonder people are so quick to latch on to the idea of aliens. Maybe these UFOs are coming into awareness as our savior or a reason to give people hope. We all need something to put our faith in and honestly, I’m here for it. I thought Jonathan Cheban was our God, but apparently, he’s just a Foodgōd. Tragic.

This alien sh*t also could not have come at a better time. I just read an article about a new craze of people LARPing in the park with goats. Like there are humans literally role-playing as part of a goat fantasy at local farms in Connecticut. I hope the aliens abduct them first. As if CT needed one more reason for people not to visit. You really blew it, Nutmeg State. And yes, I’m from there. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be ~summering~ at Area 51. Montauk is for Muggles and my hometown is filled with LARP.

Your Smartphone is a Narc

By: Ali Benz

I’ve never used a dating app before. It’s not that I’m against it, it’s just that my sister was cat-fished by a man with adult braces and I’m traumatized. The digital age is creepy.

After losing my phone in the Brooklyn Mirage, a place to go to when you want to leave Manhattan just to see a bunch of people from Manhattan, I realized just how useless people are sans mobile. You can’t split an Uber, postmate a churro, text your mom that you’re alive, pretend to venmo someone, cat-fish my siblings, nothing!

But, don’t be mistaken. These apps are not your friends. They are narcs and Snapchat is Public Enemy No. 1. Sure, you can try to sneak around with that guy you swore you were over, but Snapchat will literally expose you on a map—because this app was clearly built on the premise of love and trust and their mission statement definitely wasn’t “Send Nudes.” Right. You can say it’s a glitch, but your Bitmojis are literally laying together half-naked on a towel. Evan Spiegel is a savage.

Location services are sketchy AF. I don’t get why my ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app needs to be stalking me 24/7, but, also, I don’t know why I have a ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app. I do, however, understand how tracking is necessary for ride-share services. How else would I send my broke ex home in an Uber pool? Tragic.

The only downloads I want on my phone are my Starbucks app, since it’s linked to my dad’s credit card, and my UV app, so I don’t waste time outside if the rays are weak AF. I might just follow in my grandma’s footsteps and revive the old LG flip. I don’t know what kind of secret operations she’s running out of Boca Raton, Florida, but as long as I keep getting eighty dollars cash in a singing card on my birthday, we’re good.