Tyler’s Tyrades: I was probably drinking when I wrote this

by Tyler Fransen

   If you know me, you know two things about me; I like beer and I can’t have too much of it.

   Coincidentally enough, as of writing this sentence I am currently sitting on my laptop at the bar with an ice-cold-name-brand-beer making countless spelling errors (thank god for spell check).

   My problem with beer is that I simply can’t enjoy it like some other people I know. In fact, one beer in and I’m more giggly than a stereotypical school girl. Two beers and I’m slurring my words, and after three beers I pose a danger to myself and humanity.

   Now I want to make it clear, I never drive drunk, I never call or text people when I’m drunk (or at least not that I remember) and I always keep my clothes on in public. That last one is just a personal choice.

   But the question is why am I such a lightweight when it comes to booze? I have the perfect beer belly, I love bar food and I like talking to the bartender. The bartender I’m sitting across from right now has a flannel shirt, a 1920’s mustache and gauges in his ear so you know he’s actually listening since he’s got extra holes in his ears.

   I love the experience of drinking; sitting at the bar after a long day of work and classes, talking with companions and singing the songs of Billy Joel and Journey in unison.

   Okay, so maybe I’m romanticizing my idea of the perfect night out, but you get the point. As lovely as it would be though to sing songs as a chorus of drunks, the reality of my alcohol consumption looks a lot more like this:

   First, I make sure there’s a reason why I’m drinking. It doesn’t have to be special, but there does need to be a reason. Family reunions, job promotion, stressful day at work, the game’s on, getting that girl’s number or not getting that girl’s number are all perfectly valid reasons for me to enjoy a beer (emphasis on ‘a’ beer).

   Secondly, when I’m drinking I’m either with friends or by myself, but usually with friends. It makes the experience better, sure, but it also gives my friends incentive to ask me for favors. They do this by saying, “Hey, remember that time you were drunk off two beers and we had to stop you from saying something stupid to the waitress?” That’s happened more than I’d like to admit.

   Next, I always make sure that if I’m drinking I either have water to go with it or food, usually both. My favorite bar food of all time is wings, but after a couple of beers my favorite bar food is yours.

    And lastly, when I’m drinking I make sure that I have ceased all communication for the evening. The last thing I need is a call from my mother saying, “How much did you drink last night? I got this weird text from you that just said ‘I loooooooooooove Jahn Elwaaaaay’ and I got concerned.”

   Now, by following these rules, does it make me the perfect drunk? No. On two completely separate occasions, when I consumed way way more than my three beer limit, I asked my sober friend, “Am I drunk?” That’s right, I had to verify if I was drunk, and my friend simply said “Yes, yes you are.”

   But so what if I can’t consume beer like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, it saves me money by not having to buy as much, and I can actually enjoy a buzz without going crazy.

   My fellow lightweights, let this be a message of hope to you. We may not be able to play drinking games on debate night, we may not be the poster child for a wild night out and we’re certainly not breaking any Guinness records any time soon (ha, Guinness, get it?); but we do have one thing that we always fall back on that our more liquor tolerant friends do not have.

   We have more money for beer later. Carry on my light as a feather drunkards, and remember, don’t drink and drive and always drink responsibly.

Prescription drugs cost an arm and a leg: And I don’t have the money for arm and leg surgery

by Tyler Fransen

    This week’s tirade will deal with a controversial topic both political and biological. So, if you are offended by either of these things, I suggest you instead watch the YouTube video, “Corgi Puppy Can’t Deal With Mini Pumpkin;” it’s beautiful.

   Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let me tell you folks a little story about the American health care system and how it beat me upside the head with a shovel and didn’t even apologize.

   Let me first establish that I was in need of medication for reasons that are just going to have to go unexplained because it’s kind of gross.

   I had previously been in need of a similar kind of medication that after tax cost around $10. That $10 prescription was to be taken three times a day for 10 days.

   After my latest appointment, the doctor prescribed a medication that I would only take for seven days, twice a day. So for medication that A: works the same as the previous medication, and B: is taken less frequently over less time, you would think that the cost would be around the same, right? Nope, not even close.

   This latest prescription drug—that, mind you, I need in order to avoid further and more expensive medical problems—cost me $55.

   Yes, you read that correctly; a drug that I’m supposed to take less, for fewer days had cost more than five times as much as the drug I was taking previously.

   After I bought the drugs I was thinking to myself, “Well, thank goodness I got paid this week, otherwise I’d be certifiably screwed!”

   This is not to say that I wasn’t impacted financially, because I most certainly was. When I broke down the costs it went a little something like this: $15 co-pay for the doctor’s appointment, $55 for the prescription drugs and roughly $25 for the over-the-counter drugs to take in conjunction with the prescription drugs. The brought the total up to $95 spent on one medical issue.

   Again, it was fortunate that I got paid so I was able to afford everything, but I was cutting it pretty close because my paycheck was right around $120.

   Spending money is not my idea of a fun time unless it’s on Broncos merchandise or steak dinners. You can probably imagine the horror I felt when I glanced at my bank statement.

   The thing is, this is not a problem exclusive to me or anyone like me. Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, and real life comic book supervillain Martin Shkreli, raised the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. Pharmaceutical company Mylan raised the price of the life saving EpiPen from $100 to $700 while their CEO received a salary increase and gave out executive bonuses.

   If drug companies are going to make drugs, can they at least be ethical about it with reasonable prices? Do I have to live in a world where I can only get sick after pay day?

   Regardless of your position on ObamaCare, single payer healthcare systems or any sort of health care plan, the fact remains that we need just that: a plan!

   If I was unable to afford my medication, I could be facing more serious problems that will cost me more money down the road, and it’s not even for something life threatening.

   However, if it were life threatening then I might as well change “Tyler’s Tirades” into, “Tyler’s Last Will and Testament” (I know it’s probably a bad idea to print my will into a newspaper, but we can discuss that later).

   The point is, I am in no position to say that our current healthcare system works correctly when I have to pay arbitrarily high prices for prescription drugs and pharmaceutical companies  seem to be making it up as they go along.

   Comprehensive work by our politicians to ensure that people don’t die because they can’t afford the drugs they need should not be a partisan issue. It should be — and frankly is — a life and death issue.

   Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch that puppy bark at a pumpkin while I write to my congressman.

I need an adult

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by Tyler Fransen

    It’s been a pretty stressful time for me over these past few weeks, and I’ve done a lot of self-reflection to try and ease my stress and practice mindfulness.

   Naw, I’m just messing with you, I ate an entire bag of chips by myself while cry singing Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is.”

   The truth is, I need an adult. However, the sudden realization that being in need of an adult whilst I am (technically) one myself, causes me emotional distress that can only be soothed by snack foods and 80’s power ballads.

   Why do I have to be an adult though? That’s the real question! I’m 21-years-old, I’ve never had more than $1,000 in my bank account and, even if I did, half of it would go towards textbooks anyhow.

   I don’t make enough money to live on my own; I’m probably going to have to live with my parents after I graduate until I get a stable job. I’m also fairly certain that the only thing I know how to cook without burning the house down is Kraft macaroni and cheese.

   Yet the government wants my tax money. Politicians want my vote. Credit card companies want my signature. Are they out of their minds!

   Let’s just start with the fact that in 12 years of public education, even with an economics course, not one iota of my days in school were spent learning how to pay taxes. I had not developed any tangible skills of living on my own before I entered college, and when I got to college I didn’t have to worry about food or shelter because I had a dorm and a meal plan.

   However, meal plans and dorms do not exist in the real world. In fact, the only real world equivalent to a meal plan is food stamps, and the only thing comparable to dorm living is prison. Food stamps and prison, not a happy citizen does this make.

   I had to work here in Grand Junction for the summer and, in doing so, got an on-campus apartment in North Avenue that required me to buy my own food. I also had to do what was previously unthinkable: get up in the morning to, gasp, go to work!

   Buying my own food, living on my own, getting up to go to work, good lord I’m an adult! Except not really because, as previously stated, I could only cook pasta. Also the job I was working allowed me to choose my own hours because I was the boss.

   I did have one job where I needed to show up on a scheduled time, but it was a lot of fun working there, once I actually figured out what I was doing.

   So what was my problem? I clearly survived didn’t I. I had food on my own, I had a place to live, what’s the issue? My issue was when I was thrown into the metaphorical fire no one gave me so much as a fire extinguisher or even a bucket of water. The world failed me that day.

   The world in which I live in did not adequately prepare me for being an adult, and I’m pretty upset by that fact right now.

   I think I’m more upset at the fact that this isn’t just an issue with my generation and myself though; generations behind us that are five or even 10 years younger than us are probably going to experience similar, if not worse, conditions than we did.

   Education failed me and I know for a fact that it’s the same education system that failed a lot of other people.

   Schools need to start teaching things like the ability to make dinner for yourself and a loved one without prepackaged instructions. Education should teach societal practices like how to pay taxes, or how to vote or even something as simple as how to work in a stressful environment.

   Otherwise you’re going to have an entire generation of people who will, like me, not know how to be a proper adult in society.

   Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just bought the greatest hits of Lionel Richie and a bag of spicy blue corn chips and I’m not coming out of my room: you can’t make me!

Whatever you do, do not hit send

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by Tyler Fransen

    Last week I wrote about the trials and tribulations associated with arguably the ‘first world-iest’ of first world problems: school supply shopping.

    This week, it is a complete 180, because we are talking about unsolicited pics of your crotch. This column comes in the wake of yet another Anthony Weiner ‘weiner’ scandal, only this time he had his kid in the picture of his ‘congressional staff.’

    His kid! For the love of all that is right in this world, if you are going to send an unwanted picture of your junk, leave the kids out of it! But I digress.

    Congressman Weiner, I believe has a serious medical condition called “Hitting Send-itus.” It is a very serious condition that affects millions in the United States, and possibly billions globally.

    “Hitting Send-itus” has only one treatment, and many of those afflicted by it are not welcome to the idea of the solution. The cure is simple: Do not hit send!

    It sounds barbaric, and perhaps even a little condescending, but in this case it is the only way. You would not tell a depressed person to quit being sad, or tell someone with bronchitis to stop coughing, but in this instance, and this instance alone, a person can only treat “Hitting Send-itus” by not hitting send.

    And it is not easy either. Some experts have even compared it to quitting smoking cold turkey, but it can be done. Congressman Weiner, if you ever read this, please allow me to give you some pointers.

    For starters, if you think that the picture you are about to send to some attractive woman who is not your wife might jeopardize your marriage, expose you to more public ridicule, make you the butt of every joke about your unfortunate last name and/or heighten your uncanny ability to keep screwing things up for you and your family, do not hit send.

    “Hitting Send-itus” does not stop with pictures either, oh no! Racist tweets, drunken Facebook rants, wild night Snapchats, World Star Hip Hop, all of these are directly related to “Hitting Send-itus.”

    Congressman, take a lesson from rapper Azealia Banks. Her tweets directed at former “One Direction” singer Zayn Malik about his mother being a dirty refugee cost her a spot at a music festival, loss of sponsorships and money. Plus she got schooled by 14 year old Disney star, Skai Jackson. Do you want to get schooled by a 14 year old, Mr. Weiner? No? So do not hit send.

    Or take a page out of Donald Trump’s book. You know Donald right? He has a bunch of real-estate in New York, he is running for President against Hillary Clinton whom your wife currently works for, does this ring a bell? Well anyway, Trump is notorious for sending ‘controversial’ (and that is putting it lightly), tweets about, well, anything. Do you want to be known as nothing but a guy with a big ego in politics who can not keep his thoughts to himself? No? Well then do not hit send!

    In spring of 2016 a video of NFL rookie, Laremy Tunsil, surfaced on Twitter wherein he is apparently smoking pot out of a gas mask. Sure he is now making millions of dollars playing football, and yeah this really has not affected him too much, but he is now playing for the Miami Dolphins, and that is punishment enough. Do you want to play for the Miami Dolphins, Mr. Weiner? No? Then do not hit send.

    And lastly congressman, we have the final shining example of why you do not hit send: You. This is at least the third time you have been caught, and this time your wife has decided to separate from you; you go Huma Abedin! Your political career is over, you have soiled the name of the Democratic party, or at least you have soiled it for this week, you have potentially exposed your infant son to unwanted publicity and above all else you have lost virtually all credibility. It is things like this that we regular people can get into pretty serious trouble over, but you have the advantage, congressman. You have influence, money and (albeit very little) power.

    If I was in your position, not only would I never hit send for the third time, I would not have hit send for a first time. Since I am not in your position however, if I were to send something out like that I could face legal trouble and possibly never being able to talk to women again.

    So to Congressman Anthony Weiner, and anyone else who thinks that it is a good idea to send out a picture of your junk, say something racist about a celebrity or potentially be drafted by the Miami Dolphins, do us all a favor, and do not hit send.

Women’s clothing is designed pretty poorly: And why it’s partially my fault

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by Tyler Fransen

    Ladies, we need to talk about your clothing. Now wait, wait, wait, I know what you are thinking. Yes, I realize the irony in the fact that I, a herterosexual white man, am talking about women’s clothing. But think of this ladies, as less of a critique on your wardrobe and more of an apology. An apology from men like me everywhere, who to some degree, designed your clothes for you.

I am not referring to me personally, if I so much as look at a sewing machine my fingers start to bleed. I could not tell you the difference between a harlequin pattern and a- another pattern. But if I am going to apologize for men everywhere, let me first explain what I am apologizing for.

For starters, ladies, why do your pants never have decent size pockets? I own multiple pairs of cargo shorts (much to the dismay of my dating life), and I can fit just about anything in them. This includes: my wallet, my phone, my phone charger, my portable charger, my sunscreen, my bug-spray and all three seasons of “Arrested Development” on DVD. Your pants however, can not fit anything more than a nickel, and who uses nickels anymore?

I hate to say this, and this is the first apology, your pants are designed not to fit anything so that you have to buy expensive purses, and for that, I am sorry.

Secondly ladies, what is the deal with wedding dresses? A guy can wear a suit to a wedding, the next day wear it to a business conference and the day after that wear it to a funeral. Plus he can then wear it around town whenever he wants to make himself feel important without receiving judgmental looks.

But if someone were to wear their wedding dress on any other occasion, outside of their own wedding, people would think they were crazy! Can you imagine if you were in your wedding dress headed to an important meeting? You walk in the board room; your glowing white gown dragging across the floor behind you. Your boss looks at you funny; you step on it while giving the quarterly reports- it is a nightmare.

A guy can also wear a suit to his wedding, and someone else’s wedding. But may God most high have mercy on your soul if you even dare show up to someone else’s wedding in a white colored dress, much less your wedding dress!

And let us not forget that a guy’s suit can be relatively cheap, or expensive, but still multifaceted. A wedding dress’ starting price can be well over $1,000, and that is just the base model. But you do not want the base model; it is your special day! It is the day your two families unite as one! You do not want to be caught dead in some old rag, no! You blow your entire life savings and spring for that $6,000 ball gown with the diamond sequins because darn it all, it is your day!

And then you can never wear that dress again so it just sits in your closet for the rest of your adult life.

I am sorry, but if I am going to spend $6,000 on something I am only going to use once, it better be a round trip cruise from Miami to San Diego.

So, for designing wedding dresses that are only used once and cost an arm and a leg, I am sorry.

Finally, there is the pressing issue of what constitutes a “sexy” or “beautiful” body. We tend to think of the skinny super-model as being the pinnacle of beauty. All too often the media (of which I work for) portrays women as objects rather than people. We tell little girls everywhere that if they want to look pretty they need to buy this makeup with this dress, and if they shop now they can get 40 percent off these shoes that will make their ankles break and their feet swell. Well ladies, I say to hell with it all!

If you want to walk around campus in your ugliest and most comfortable of sweat pants, go for it! If you have nothing better to wear but a chili-stained t-shirt and cargo shorts, go for it! If there is nothing you would rather do than binge watch “Game of Thrones” with a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream in your underwear, gosh darn it, go for it!

Because in the end, we are but tiny specs on a tiny rock hurdling through space, so we might as well be comfortable. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go call my mother and tell her what I lousy son I am.

Tyler’s Tyrades

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By Tyler Fransen

    I loathe with every fiber of my body the idea of “back to school” sales. Actually, truth be told, I don’t like back to school shopping as a whole. It’s such a stupid thing to hate, right?

How can one possibly hate the idea of getting 30 percent off retail price on a Darth Vader backpack? Or saving five bucks on binders? Let me tell you why it’s stupid.

Reason number one: That Darth Vader backpack was probably made by some kid in a third world country with lax child labor laws and a greedy CEO to boot, so have fun with that on your conscience.

 

Reason number two: Those binders you saved five bucks on? Yeah they’re worthless pieces of garbage, because god forbid you actually try to put paper in the pockets! The pockets just rip, tear or get stretched out after putting like 10 sheets in there!

Now you might be thinking, “Just get a three-hole punch and stick them in the rings of the binder.” First of all, I’ve already reserved those rings for the 250 pieces of loose-leaf paper I’m going to take notes on, so there’s no room for other items! (Now, in the interest of fairness, of those 250 pieces of paper, about 15 of them will actually be used for notes, but that’s neither here nor there).

Second of all, where am I going to get a three-hole punch from? The office? The bookstore? The office supply store? My profess… you know what, don’t answer that last question.

Reason number three: Basic supply and demand economics will tell me that demand for school supplies will be at its peak when back to school starts. The same thing applies when it goes the other way; demand will be at its lowest once back to school is no longer a seasonal trend.

 

    I could be completely wrong here, but if basic economics still applies to modern America, those same items on sale, will be at the same price or lower once they’re out of season and demand is lower.

Again, I could be completely wrong, because I only ever shop for school supplies during back to school sales so I haven’t been able to test this theory just yet. Despite that, American capitalism has yet to fail me… well, at least this week it has yet to fail me.

Reason number four: Do you really want to be shopping with all the other soccer moms and their disease harboring children, while they all but bash each other’s skulls open for that last pack of multicolored pencils?

No, no you don’t, because you’re an adult, who behaves like one in a civilized society. And besides, you know that Kathy is going to be shopping there today,

she posted about it on Facebook for the zillionth time.

You and Kathy haven’t been getting along lately since that last PTA meeting where you said, “we should try something other than a bake sale this year.” Yeah, Kathy was not happy with you that day. Although she has been on edge since she found out her husband cheated on her with Debra from down the street.

Personally, I think Kathy had it coming, I mean the signs were all there. Debra and Paul were always seen together getting coffee, going to the gym together, taking cooking classes. I mean really, cooking classes? No heterosexual man takes cooking classes with another woman unless his goal is to… well you get the idea.

So yeah, it’s probably best if you just avoided the whole Kathy mess today. Oh and don’t even get me started on Carol’s drama.

Reason number five: Textbooks are too expensive. Pretty self-explanatory here, but to give you an example, when I was at another school I once paid at least a hundred dollars for a book that I didn’t even need. The book that I actually needed was back ordered through September and I had to buy the online version. (First world problems, I know).

 

Finally, reason number six: Quite literally everything you can think of that you need for the school year, can be found online. There’s no hustle and bustle, no Kathy or Debra or even Carol for that matter. There’s no screaming children, no mini- vans taking up all the parking spots and especially no crowds. Heck, you don’t even have to wear pants to shop online, you can literally wear nothing but a bathrobe and some underwear. Heck you don’t even need underwear, all you really need is a credit card and some snacks.

Plus, the regular store doesn’t have the GMO-free, organic, all- natural, no hormone, grass-fed pencils that you like.

So, my fellow Mavericks, as we begin the journey once again, do yourself a favor and try to avoid the chaos that is back to school shopping, if you can.

If you can’t avoid it, then just remember not to make eye contact with Kathy.