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Steve's Mailbag contains all the answers

By Steve Schwartzman
On April 10, 2014

Well sports fans, it’s that time. Two weeks ago I asked you to send in any thoughts, questions, comments and Indiegogo donations for my exciting and fool-proof business venture — it’s for a homemade Choco Taco stand; tell me that isn’t airtight — for a special column I like to call “Steve’s Mailbag.” Let’s see just what tidbits of wisdom you sought from the only person far and wide to eat an order of 20-piece Chicken McNuggets before realizing he only ordered a McFlurry. If that isn’t credibility, I don’t know what is.

Q: I am interested in this funny looking can opener at "Bed, Bath, and Beyond." Or is it "Bed, Bath and Beyond"? Do they use the Oxford Comma? According to their site, they don't use commas at all. That makes no sense whatsoever.

– Michael, New Jersey

A: To be honest, there really isn’t much I can tell you. All I can really say is it’s the Nogent Super Kim shorthand, rotary style can opener. It claims easy access and storage with no handle, is rust-resistant with a nickel construction and chrome finish and imported for all can-opening needs, leaving no sharp edges on the can and — believe it or not — all in all measures at just a spry one-and-a-half inches. It’s like an adhesive wall scaler, only it cuts things. As for the Oxford comma, I am more of a Rockport or Ecco fan myself. You can’t squash comfort and durability, though it is kind of weird that you would claim a shoe company for a punctuation mark. Rookie.

Q: What is your stance on the civil rights of plants?
– Sincerely, Plants rights activists everywhere

A: I am glad somebody finally has found to fortitude to bring this subject to light. Above all topics, under this extremely heavy one, I’d say I have become upset — appalled, if I may — by the blatantly unethical treatment that has befallen any and all non-vascular plants. Look people, they’re plants too. Just because they don’t have roots or a central energy system doesn’t mean they aren’t privy to the same rights and responsibilities as any other shrub, biennial or succulent plant galavanting along the marble pathway of privilege. Just the other day I saw a thallose liverwort along a nearby quarry — depressed, out of a job, no shade to calm its nerves. It was in need of support. It needed help. It needed a friend. And the passers by? They simply averted their eyes and moved forward. Society claims to be a people rooted in respect, but where do those roots spread to plants who have no roots? Nowhere, that’s where. I say as a community we stop such partisan plantist ways and stand up for what is right.

Q: How have you personally been affected by the recent passing of wrestling legend, the Ultimate Warrior?
– Jordan, Orange County, Calif.

A: Every time I passed by my coaxial cable last night, I grabbed it and shook it viciously as if I were in facepaint and it was Wrestlemania VII. Sure, it broke my television and the electricity made it so I can no longer feel both of my ring fingers, but a tribute is a tribute. Every time I gorilla-press-to-running-splash my pillow before bed, I will do it to honor the Warrior. This is the worst I’ve felt since we lost the Macho Man Randy Savage or the Indiana Jones Snickers with coconut in it. Just sad times.

Q: Are you scared that “Girl Meets World” won't live up to your expectations?
– Joseph, Tooele, Utah

A: Are you kidding me? I’m petrified. If they would have simply answered my fan mail and taken my advice for a “Plays With Squirrels” spinoff, we’d all be swimming in hysterics by now. I guess we’ll just ride the wave as best we can. Udapants.

Q: What is your opinion on federal grants increasing the price of tuition. Using the simple definition of supply and demand, one can see that when the government incentivises the general public to attend college by offering grants and subsidies — increasing demand — that would naturally drive prices up. This is not to say many college students, like myself, do not enjoy federal financial aid programs, but when you take a step back, you can see the increased demand for schooling is increasing the price it costs to attend. So, Steve, in your wondrous knowledge of college — see what I did there? — how do you think we should address skyrocketing tuition costs?
– Chantry, Tremonton, Utah

A: This is by far the simplest question of the bunch. Simply allow the students to pay tuition in kind. Start a barter system. Fur pelt and spice could equal roughly one college credit depending on weight, girth and hide rarities. How about an aluminum can machine that closes differential tuition gaps? Selling a bike? We’ll take it, and now you can purchase textbooks. This is the most influential business model since the Ronco Food Dehydrator.

Q: What do you think the 2010s can do to finish the decade strongly and wind up with a reputation as solid as the ’90s?
– Tyler, Orem, Utah

A: Less dubstep, more Gushers. I mean everywhere, especially as jewelry. Problem solved.

Q: Do you know where the nearest restroom is?
– Miranda, Idaho Falls, Idaho

A: Seriously? That’s the best you can do? I give you an open forum to ask anything traveling your mind and distressing the core of your being, and you give me a line of basic ambiguity and dry humor? Now I’m forced to be a shell to the preposterous protein that is nothing but a verbal means to a nugatory end. Shame. Just shame.

Also, head down the main hall. It’s the second door to the right.

Q: Steve, are you done writing that weird column you do or can we actually go to lunch? My lunch break is only 45 minutes long and you already told me we can’t hang out tonight because there is a “Family Matters” rerun you said you had to “watch alone to stay focused.”

– Jenny, your fiancee

A: Oh. Welp. Uhh ... I guess that’s all for now. I’ve got to go.

Steve Schwartzman is a senior finishing a degree in communication studies. With eight years of column writing and improvisational comedy under his belt, he lives to make you laugh. Send thoughts to or hit him up on Twitter @SESchwartzman.

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