Jason Collins, Gay Athletes, and Wearing Our Cookie Monster Pants

Cookie Monster PantsYou may or may not be a sports fan, but you are a Person On the Internet, so it’s pretty likely that you’ve heard at least something of the fact that yesterday, we were finally introduced to the first active, openly gay professional athlete in any of the U.S.’ four major men’s team sports when journeyman NBA center Jason Collins came out via a must-read Sports Illustrated article.

It’s such a great story, and so important in so many ways. No one’s sexuality should ever matter to anyone else with whom that first person is not currently shacking up, but the fact is that it does matter to a lot of people, and it matters a lot in the world of professional men’s sports, which until very recently has been (and in many ways probably still is) among our most backward, old-guard, dudes-just-bein’-dudes institutions. You take disciplines that by and large tend to draw from the religious and the less-than-totally-invested-in-education, you add in the closeness and camaraderie inherent in professional team sports and the communal locker rooms, and you’re going to get a lot of across-the-board, identity-repressing, literally homophobic (as in, actually afraid of any appearance of gayness) norms and unwritten rules and behavior. That’s not in any way to excuse it, that’s just how it’s been; as the rest of our society has moved, and moved quickly, toward acceptance of others regardless of sexual identity or orientation, men’s professional sports has lagged way, way, way behind. Since it’s also one of the leading sources (and perhaps the leading source) of role models for men and especially youth, this has been a pretty huge problem.

That’s started to change lately, partly because no one can be immune from societal pressures forever and partly because of great work by a few pro athletes, like football players Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo. But you can read a lot more about that today in a lot of other places. I’m interested in focusing on a particular reaction to the news, that of professional basketball player and crazy person Metta World Peace (MWP):

Whether this is a free country or not, you should be free to act and do what you want to do, you know, as long as it’s not violent. No matter what it is. I came here in a Cookie Monster shirt, you know, because I wanted to. I was gonna wear the pants, but I thought you guys would judge me. I was gonna wear the hat, too, but I figured you guys would judge me. And I don’t want Mitch [Kupchak, the Lakers’ GM] to judge me. That’s why I didn’t wear the hat and the pants.

Okay, so the first part suggests that maybe MWP thinks we live in something other than a free country, and I don’t think I’m on board with that, and there is a certain something about this “hey, anything goes” response that rubs me the wrong way, like being gay is just as crazy and out there (and as much of a personal choice) as wearing a full-on head-to-toe Cookie Monster uniform. That, I’m not okay with. Put those little nagging senses (and anything you might know about MWP’s history) aside for a second.

Because regardless, distilled down to the basic essence of it, I really fucking love this. I have tried and I have failed to think of a better metaphorical symbol for being openly oneself, for letting one’s freak flag fly, for doing as one feels moved to do so long as that’s respectful of others, and for respecting others’ own choices in doing the same than wearing one’s Cookie Monster Pants. 

It’s absolutely perfect. Whoever you are, whatever you do for a living — even you writers living at home in your pajamas — there’s a pretty good chance that literally wearing Cookie Monster pants all day would at some point get you some funny looks, maybe be a bit uncomfortable. And so what? You’re not hurting anybody. If wearing Cookie Monster Pants is what you want to do, then by God, you should wear those damn pants.

I don’t need to spell it out for you here, do I? Because at some point I’m going to start sounding like a straight white guy who is telling you that the struggles of the LGBTQIA community and other minorities or disadvantaged groups are as trivial and easily solved as deciding whether to wear some goofy pants in public. That’s certainly not the point at all, of course, and what Jason Collins did yesterday took an incredible amount of courage, was nothing short of heroic. All I’m saying is that that’s the world I’d sure like to live in, where we’re all totally free to wear our Cookie Monster Pants with pride, whatever that may mean to us.

Trite and simplistic? Sure. Making way too much out of a throwaway quote from one maybe-actually-insane basketball player? Definitely. I don’t care. I love it. I don’t even know what that concept means for me personally, really, but I want to find out, and I want to wear those pants every damned day.

Promisses No. 4: This Isn’t Going to Be What Does It

Yes, he’s still doing these, every Friday. I don’t know that more than three people in the world are entertained by them, but they happen to be three of my favorite people (myself, especially), so the rest of you are just going to have to deal with (read: ignore) it.

An aspect of Dove Promises that hasn’t been explored much yet in this space (other than in the originating post) is this: Dove makes chocolate, and at bottom, in some way, the Promises’ goal is to get you to keep buying and eating more delicious Dove chocolate. Sometimes they’re pretty explicit about this; this list (which I know from my own research is incomplete) has nine different messages that use the word “chocolate,” like: “A special moment deserves a special chocolate,” and “Chocolate therapy is oh, so good.”

This week’s Promisses message takes that just one small step further. Promisses knows you’ve been a bit down on yourself, maybe eating a lot, maybe concerned about your weight, and just wants you to know that, I mean, it’s not like one more tiny piece of chocolate is going to be the thing that pushes you over the edge. You know? You’re not Mr. Creosote or something. So go ahead, unwrap one more. You know you want to.

Fatty fat fat

Why Catcalls Feel Threatening

I saw a long, superb rant by my internet friend Emmie on Twitter that referenced an old post she’d written on catcalls, and I had to go find said post.

It’s wonderful. You should read it. And then you should read as much as you can stomach of the comments, where she is soon joined by a self-assured young gentleman who feels the need to mansplain away all her petty concerns with what he calls “loud compliments.” The farcical-and-disgusting-term-that-exists-for-some-reason “misandry” comes in at one point, which is how you know it’s good.

Emmie and another woman who joins in do a great job of parrying the arrogant asswipe’s half-considered arguments…but I couldn’t get through more than about half of it. There’s just nothing I enjoy less than a man telling a woman how she should feel about a thing that — however many parallels he might try to draw — can really ONLY be experienced by a woman. Nothing at all, at least that I can think of right now.

Anyway. It’s a fabulous, eye-opening read. This is my first reblogging (and from my phone)! Hope I’m doin’ it right.

I walk to work fairly often. I do it to save petrol and for the exercise, because I live a brief ten minute walk from where I work.

Barely a day goes by when I manage to walk that ten minutes without one of the scenarios depicted above occurring. Sometimes more than once.

I’ve had guys try to get me in their car. Guys try to get me to come over and eat their leftovers (seriously). I have guys holler all sorts of random “compliments” my way. I’ve been pestered. I’ve been interrupted. I’ve even been followed.

More than once.

For men, this sort of thing is just a non-issue. (For the most part. I acknowledge and understand that there ARE cases of street harassment where the targets are male.) But it’s different when you’re a woman.

Here’s why this subject matters, and why it should be talked about.


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The Internet, Sourcing Quotations, and Shouting Crazy Things on Street Corners

I love the internet. It will tell you anything.

It will tell you that Albert Einstein said this (or some version of it): “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

If you’re looking for some powerful, beautifully deep-voiced words about equal rights, the internet will give you this from Morgan Freeman: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared. You are an asshole.”

It will point you to this encouraging gem from Marilyn Monroe: “To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size 0, you’re the beautiful one, it’s society who’s ugly.”

Or this lovely poem from Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Or this terrifying xenophobic diatribe by “comedian” Robin Williams.

Or this even more terrifying ornery-old-conservative-man screed called “I’m 83 and I’m Tired” by comedian Bill Cosby.

Or this well-ahead-of-its time thought (among many, many others) from Abraham Lincoln: “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”

It’s important to note here that I do love the internet, honestly, sincerely and deeply. It really will tell you just about anything, and much of it useful, if you know where to look. But the one thing the internet won’t tell you is the actual origin of any of those quotes above — not just who said it, but the book, speech, letter or so on in which it was said or written.

And that’s because none of those people actually said any of those things.

The “definition of insanity” quote made its first known appearance in a Narcotics Anonymous text in 1981, popularized two years later by author Rita Mae Brown. The little bit of common sense attributed to Morgan Freeman came from a parody Twitter account. The Marilyn quote has no known source, but she certainly didn’t say it; there was no size zero until after her death, and Marilyn (herself quite thin, actually) wasn’t really one for bucking trends, or for self-empowerment more generally. The Nin quote sure sounds like her and is kind of an amalgam of a lot of things Nin may have written or thought, but it was actually written for a 1979 college schedule. The Williams quote is from a much more likely-seeming source — a USENET posting that in a later reposting had a single real Williams “joke” appended to it. Of course Cosby didn’t write that nonsense whining about having to pay taxes (can you even imagine?) — that was a quite possibly insane retired Massachusetts state senator (Cosby is also nowhere near 83 years old). No one knows where the animal rights thing came from, but it’s not from Lincoln; I can find writings about the rights of animals dating back near Lincoln’s time, but the term “animal rights” as it’s used today doesn’t seem to really have been a thing before about 1975.

This is the kind of thing that will one day, inevitably, be the end of me. I see a quote that resonates with me (or angers me) and I immediately want to know the context. The identity of the speaker and the context within which it was said often mean as much as the quote itself. Did a surgeon say that, or one of our most accomplished female writers, or a madman in his anti-everything manifesto? Was he speaking to an eighth-grade religion class at an all-girls Catholic school, or at a USO stop in Afghanistan? Did she write it in the speech or thoughts of her novel’s clearly, fatally misapprehending protagonist, or in her own private journal? These things make a big difference. They can make the words mean drastically different things.

The internet (the faceless being that is made up of what must be all these hundreds of people who are apparently deciding to spend real time intentionally misattributing quotes) understands that who said what and when matter, too, but to the internet, that matters only because it gets more attention if it’s sexy. If it’s supposed to sound smart, it sounds better coming from Einstein. If it’d sound really cool in Morgan Freeman’s voice (and what wouldn’t?), then sure, go with that. If it’s about beauty or self-image, you want it to come from The One Classic Image of Beauty herself (or from this weird fictionalized, saintly version of Marilyn that the modern world has developed), and to be paired with one of her photos. If it’s deeply horrifying political nonsense, who better to hear it from than the smiling face of a normally frivolous funnyman? And so on.

It’s not just your friends on Facebook, either. You sometimes have to do real work to uncover the truth about these things. You can find these false quotes — even some of the most clearly false, silly-on-their-face ones — at what appear to be professional, legitimate places. Places like BrainyQuote (which, apparently, is neither) and Goodreads (a good site, for other things). It’s tempting to say “just take two seconds and Google this stuff, dammit,” and doing so would straighten you out very quickly on utter rot like the Williams and Cosby nutsorants, but even that can be awfully misleading on the more innocuous stuff. It’s just the entire internet that has or propagates this problem, or a big portion of the internet that’s often very hard to distinguish from the useful portion. It’s great, this internet thing is, but it’s badly broken too.

It’s like this: try to remember or imagine what life was like, in terms of the media to which one was exposed, in 1985. You had three television networks — not that they were producing consistently great stuff, but it was heavily filtered, lots of people taking lots of time deciding exactly what you should watch and how much of it. You had one newspaper, with a team of fact-checkers, or any of several similarly professionally checked and edited magazines. You could go to the movies or the theater. On the way to the movies or the theater or the newsstand, you might pass a street corner from which a certifiably insane gentleman might yell at you about Jesus through a megaphone or hand you a pamphlet about how the world is ending on Tuesday.

Now, though? Your whole world is that guy on the street corner. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, those guys won. It’s all just shouting stuff now.

You can read whatever you want written by anyone; there’s no filter to check facts or reasonableness or, hell, just to make sure that what you’re about to see isn’t just something that should never be seen under any circumstances by anyone. It’d be incredibly easy and helpful, whenever you’re passing along an interesting quote, to find room for an extra three or five words below the attribution that give you a hint of the actual spatial and temporal source of that quote; on the internet, there’s no one there to make sure you do that, and absolutely no motivation to do it. If something sounds funnier coming from Betty White than the no-name comic who actually said it, then Betty White means more pageviews or shares or retweets, and so suddenly it’s Betty White’s quote. If something is so completely batshit crazy that people will only pay attention to it if you can dupe some poor gullible souls into believing somehow that Bill Cosby said it, than by God, that’s who said it.

The internet is a wonderful place, and for largely those reasons — the lack of filter and accountability and all-around final-frontier nature of it are what makes it all worthwhile and so endlessly fascinating. The world is better, lots better, than it was in 1985.

But, come on. Can’t we get some quotes with proper attribution, every now and then? Or a site (like Snopes but less focused on things that kind of, you know, matter) devoted entirely to sourcing or debunking widely-shared quotes? Do I have to be the one to do this? Because I will do it. And I will spend all my time on it, and yet the internet will slog on unabated, happily pretending that MLK disapproves of our celebrating getting Osama Bin Laden. And it will be the end of me.

Twitter for Writers (a Sort-of-Outsider’s Perspective) and Promisses No. 3: What to Do with Your Body Parts

Twitter_Logo_by_MegachixSo I started this blog as a way to get thoughts out of my head that weren’t strictly about baseball. It’s been slow going, largely because I have this whole life and everything, but I’m determined to get into it eventually.

The great thing, though, is that I have a very good friend who was already pretty well entrenched in this community of writers, which has allowed me to quickly meet some great folks. I look forward to reading Emmie Mears and Amber West‘s and Jenny Hansen‘s blogs as often as they’re updated, to name a few, and they’re each great people to interact with on Facebook and Twitter besides.

But the referenced great friend (whose name has been mentioned altogether too often around here as it is–not this time, dammit!) put up a post yesterday that got me thinking. The post itself is a collection of tips for authors on managing their social media lives along with their work and the like.

The post is very good. What it got me thinking about was certain trends I’d noticed in how people within that circle — we’ll call them “indie authors” (or “IAs”), which I think is the closest thing to an identifying characteristic they have — tend to use Twitter.

The typical IA’s Twitter experience appears to me to be like so (this doesn’t apply to any of the wonderful people named or not-quite-named above, and certainly isn’t true of everyone else by any stretch): he or she has something between 600 and 6,000 followers, and follows almost exactly that many. The vast, vast majority of IA’s tweets are scheduled auto-tweets and append a link to one of three categories of things: (1) to IA’s own most recent blog post; (2) to IA’s book; or (3) to the blog posts or books of people IA knows and is hoping will return the favor. The content of those tweets is the title of the book or article, a related hashtag or two, and the link — there’s nothing to suggest why IA recommends that you click on that particular link (or even that it’s actually recommended, when you think about it) — title, link, maybe hashtags, boom.  And most of the rest of IA’s tweets are curt thank-yous sent out to the other IAs who have recently promoted IA’s blog or book.

This is really weird to me. My 3.5 years of tweeting (I’m here) has mostly been in the tiny and insular world of baseball geeks, where we’re (those of us who write, which is most of us) pretty interested in promoting ourselves too. And there are probably some people who act more or less as the IA described above, but there’s a real conversation there, too, and one feels like these are real people typing things, not scheduled advertisements.

A few disclaimers. First, self-promotion (for authors, and for at least half or so of all other people on Twitter) is a pretty important thing, and promoting others can be a pretty important part of that; I’m not out to knock any of that. And I know a lot of IAs have thought a lot about their social media strategies and whatnot, and I’m sure there are things they’re doing that are very effective.

Which leads into the second disclaimer: I’m not actually that good at Twitter, and I’d never try to tell you there’s a right or wrong way to use it. I haven’t built up a huge number of followers, really. Most people who follow me are baseball fans, and yet I don’t actually tweet about baseball that often, which can’t be advisable. I sometimes get in silly angry fights on Twitter, which are probably literally the most useless things two or more humans can possibly do with themselves.

So I’m not an expert. I don’t think there’s a right way to do it, and if there is one, I certainly don’t know or abide by it. (If that’s what you’re interested in, Chuck Wendig, who is better at it than I am, wrote what I think is a really brilliant list of things to know.)

But I sure do have a lot of fun on Twitter, most of the time. And to my eyes, the typical IA’s way of doing things just doesn’t seem any fun or particularly effective. My sense is that most writers don’t really want to be on Twitter, but look at it as a thing they have to do. And it shows.

So with that in mind, and without wanting to tell anybody the right way do anything, here are some things I think are kind of screwy about the IA tweeting paradigm:

  1. You’re shouting into the void. You follow everyone who follows you, and (for the most part) only those who will follow you back. That means you’re all of you out for the same one thing: exposure. You tend to post much more than you read. So what are the odds that any of the people you follow, who are presumably doing the same things for the same reasons, are reading what you say?
  2. Relatedly: if you follow everyone, you’re following no one. It feels like the nice thing to do, following anyone who follows you, and the surest way to collect a respectable-looking number of followers. And there might be some people who can follow 4000 and still kind of keep up with some of them. I just can’t get my head around it. I’m currently following close to 600, and that’s just about my limit. I try to follow most people who have interesting things to say and seem interested in what I have to say (but certainly haven’t succeeded in getting them all), aiming for a sizable community without overcrowding the field.
    If I get a new follower with like 6000 followers who is also following about 6000, that’s almost a bit of a letdown, because it’s so unlikely that that person will ever see anything I have to say, it’s hard to imagine what the point is. I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t appreciate those people, just that I regret not being able to interact with them. And I don’t mean to say that one’s follower/followee ratio is important; I do think having a number of “followees” that you can plausibly, y’know, follow probably is.
  3. No one reads links unless you tell them why they should. That’s not literally true, of course. But linking your blog post with the title alone, unless it’s a great title, isn’t likely to do a ton for you, and linking others’ blog posts (and them linking yours) in a similarly impersonal way does even less. All else equal, I’d much rather have five people who have really read my stuff promoting it and telling people why the person thinks they should read it than have twenty people post a “[Title] [link] by @Bill_TPA [hashtags!]” type of tweet. That reads like spam to me, especially if you’re doing loads of them a day.
  4. Relatedly: personality is a good thing. Whatever else it might be for, finding people you like and who like to talk about things you like to talk about, and then actually talking to them, is probably the greatest, coolest thing anyone can do with Twitter. Drawing followers to you that really enjoy you — the personality you show rather than your potential as a marketing or sales tool for them — can only help them be more likely or engaging readers, customers, promoters and so forth.
  5. The utility of hashtags is pretty limited. They seem like a great idea, # signs in front of the important words to allow people who are interested in those words to go searching and find you. They can be very useful; most pertinent to the IA group, it seems that Kristen Lamb has had quite a lot of success starting conversations with her #MyWANA thing (though it’s sometimes overrun by opportunistic self-serving links, which is what tends to happen, and is part of why the next sentence is true). That’s an exception to the rule, and the rule is that hashtags kind of suck.
    Relatively few people will click on or run searches for, say, “#flowers” or “#mystery” or “#romance,” and most of the people who do probably aren’t going to be looking for tweets like yours. Those terms can all mean many different things in different contexts, so your hypothetical hashtag surfer would have to sort through a lot of crap to get to the specific type of item she’s looking for (which probably isn’t whatever your tweet was about anyway). Twitter isn’t a great place to fish for strangers who are looking for certain terms — and they can always search for those terms without the #, regardless. It seems to me that it’s much more effective to develop an audience that knows you, likes you and is eager to introduce you to an even wider audience…and that #peppering each #tweet with #jarring #hashtags is probably not likely to #encourage #that #kind #of #devotion among them. #hashtags

That’s it, those are my thoughts. I don’t know anything about anything, but I think a few things.

This is already too long (maybe some established IA can write a post on blogging for outsiders with a “Don’t write such dense rambling nonsense!” item), but I’ll leave you with my weekly Promisses image, which has no particular deep thought behind it this week but is really only a slightly creepy-old-uncle-ier version of the real thing:

Promisses No. 3

Promisses No. 2: On Priorities

I meant to get a lot of things done this week. Mostly writing. I was going to write a longer, less ridiculous post here, and one on my baseball blog, and some other stuff. I did none of that. I don’t mind too much — for the most part, the things I did instead were either fun or important or both. But the point is that a whole week went by, and I didn’t make any progress on a number of things on which I wanted to make progress. That’s always a bit sad.

Accordingly, this week’s Promisses (does it look better as Pro-misses?) Friday reminds you that our time on this earth is fleeting, and that when you get to the pearly gates or the Great Beyond or the light at the end of the tunnel or the eternity of darkness or whatever, you’re going to want to be sure that you’ve spent the time you had focused on the Really Important Things:

Saved by the Bell Promisses

Happy Friday!

Promisses No. 1: How to Live Life

I had a lot of fun with my post on Dove Promises the other day, on the wisdom and compassion and condescension and creepiness and thinly veiled sexism of the little messages they print on the inside of the delicious little chocolates’ wrappers.

Writing about it, though, really made me want to start coming up with my own little platinum nuggets of indispensable-yet-almost-mandatorily-disposable wisdom. And through the magic of computers, help from some friends, and the fair use doctrine, I can! Every Friday from now until I no longer have the energy for it will be Promisses Friday (not a typo, just a really corny pun).

I expect that in future offerings I’ll try to make them timely in some way, maybe follow some themes and so on. For now, I just wanted to remind you all that — it being Friday and all — it’s a great time to really take today by the balls, drop-kick it around the room a bit, and just really live. You know? Yeah, you know.

Live today...

Have a great weekend!

Thanks to my good buddy August McLaughlin for the name (and much of the idea, really), and to the beautiful and talented Ben Collin for photoshop help.

What Dove Promises Promise Us

ImageI’ve been aware of Dove Promises chocolates for a really long time; I’m almost positive my mom used to pack them in my school lunches. Dove makes really good chocolate, as affordable chocolate goes, and they come in convenient little pieces so that you can exercise portion control eat about a hundred of something delicious without actually dying.

Now my office has them, constantly restocked in a big jar in a kitchen that’s otherwise filled with mostly healthy things. And I’m obsessed. Not with the chocolate (though that’s still great) so much as with the promises. The promises!! Man. The promises.

Each individually-wrapped piece of chocolate has a little message inside the wrapper — a “promise,” presumably — ranging from utterly meaningless (“Enjoy your life today,” to make one up) to bizarrely specific (“Build a snowman and breathe deeply the childlike wonder of winter,” to — not totally without basis — invent another). They all have a few things in common, though: they’re condescending, jaw-droppingly vapid and, if you assume (as I do from the tone) that the product is marketed mainly toward (a certain stereotyped subset of) American women, they’re at least a little bit sexist. Basically: they’re the worst and kind of also the best things in the world. They’re hilarious.

Lots of products are packaged with little messages not related to the product in any way — Snapple has trivia (does Snapple still have trivia? Is there still Snapple?), other on-mainstream soft drinks have quotes, Alaska Airlines used to have Bible cards. Promises strike me as unique, though, in that the name of the product itself leads you to believe that the point is the little three- to nine-word inspirational message printed on the inside of a terribly fragile foil wrapper, and OH JUST BY THE WAY you get a little delicious chocolate, too. The only comp I can think of is fortune cookies; nobody would eat those awful things if not for the message inside. You can get chocolate anywhere: the promise inside is how Dove pays the bills.

Or so suggests the name; it doesn’t seem to work that way. The description on Dove’s official site concludes with “Each piece is wrapped with a special PROMISES® message for a truly unique moment,” but it’s pretty clear it’s the “exceptional, silky smooth chocolate experience” that’s intended to hook you. Dove’s official Facebook page is full of references to Promises, the product, but I can’t find any references to promises, the messages. It turns out that the promises — product name and all — are an archaic figurehead that is best ignored and forgotten; they’re the British royal family to the chocolate’s Parliament.

We can’t have that. Someone writes these things, sits there and thinks about the kinds of things he (I’m just assuming it’s a he) thinks your stereotypical working mom might really want to hear while she’s enjoying her daily chocolate (ACK!!). Someone, or rather a group of someones, makes it possible for them to be printed on the inside of each wrapper. Someone designed the oh-so-sincere “Love, Dove” signature that accompanies each and every one. These contributions cannot simply be cast aside like so many, well, foil chocolate wrappers!

I have in my possession 22 Dove Promises wrappers, containing 14 distinct messages. Some I have collected over several days at work. Some — too many — I consumed the contents of today even though work also had fresh peanut butter cookies and even though I ate one of those too. (This is what I believe is called Dedication to the Craft.)

“Promises”  seems something of a misnomer. The majority of the messages come in the form of little life suggestions, or commands. Of the 14 messages, there are two that could arguably be called “promises,” and even those end up sounding a lot more like advice than actual promises. It’s possible that they started out as literal promises, years ago, but that over time they have evolved (as great art will) into a thing all their own.

I would definitely read a Vanity Fair oral history of Dove Promises.

At any rate, it turns out that Promises* is quite concerned about you — the probably female, probably middle-aged, possibly un- or underemployed, probably nonetheless overworked, probably lonely, probably overeating consumer — and has a lot of advice to offer. Some of it is contradictory, but you know, we’re complex beings, and what we need to hear from our chocolate at one time may conflict with things we need to hear from our chocolate at other times. Some of it is extremely cryptic, but what matters here is what it means to you. Promises works in mysterious ways. Promises does not apologize for the extremely varied- and generally low-quality photographs below, but I do (mousing over the images below will show you the text of the depicted promise).

* Just so we’re clear: from here on out, “Promises” is a singular, self-aware entity who is very concerned with your well-being. Continue reading