Thursday, May 17, 2012


(Originally published in The Ashland Beacon on 3-21-12)

There’s no room for a preamble. I’m here to serve and that means doling out well-researched answers to your vital questions, stat (note: we don’t actually have a budget for research. Maybe next year).

DrStrange1963 writes: “Dear Mark, Oreos or Hydrox?”

What? Are you kidding me? I type my fingers to the bone and this is the thanks I get? Ridiculous questions that are so obviously simple that Jessica Simpson could answer them.

On the other hand, you may be serious, so I will treat this topic seriously.

Oreos, ya big lummox! Is there a single person on the planet that wouldn’t pick the classic Oreo, with its perfect combination of delicious cookie and smooth and sweet cream over the cardboard and caulking of a Hydrox?

(By the way, no offense intended to those who love Hydrox–either of you. It’s just that you’re damaged in a deep and profound way, and should seek immediate counseling.)

If you’re still not convinced that Oreo is the superior cookie, then perhaps this will help. Do you know the origin of the Oreo, which debuted 100 years ago this very month? The creator of the cookie, a destitute baker named Hiram Oreo dozed off in his kitchen, exhausted from worrying about his money woes. While he slept, beautiful angels in bakers’ hats flew in through the window and whipped up the first batch of the world’s favorite cookie. Hiram awoke the next morning to find his kitchen filled with the baked goodness of the Greatest Cookie on Planet Earth. Hiram realized his fortune was about to change. He became rich, married a Kardashian, divorced a Kardashian and brought happiness to children of all ages with that cookie the angels made.

Now, let’s examine the beginnings of the Hydrox. In the early 20th Century, an evil alien overlord arrived secretly on Earth from the planet Hydroxia 7. His goal: to take over the planet by brainwashing every man, woman and child with a tasty confection he sold under the name Hydrox. The cookies contained a potent devil’s brew of vicious chemicals designed to sap strength and destroy free will. The evil alien’s dastardly plan would have worked, if not for one small matter.

The cookies tasted worse than doggy doo-doo.

Apparently, the taste buds of the evil alien were hooked up backwards, compared to those of a human, leading to a cookie that is pictured in the dictionary next to the word “horrendous”.

So you tell me: Sweet angels or evil aliens. Which would you choose?

You may be wondering how I knew that Hydrox were less tasty than doggy doo-doo. It’s simple. When I was a kid, I gave a Hydrox to my dog. He spat it out and growled at me. Remember, this was a creature that spent much of the day licking his butt. I rest my case.

Our next email comes from BeckyShecky of Ironton, who says, “Dear Mark, I have jury duty in a few weeks. Have you ever served? What tips can you give me?”

Becky, I have served jury duty three separate times in my life, thus proving that I am a good citizen. And I believe I can offer a couple of tips that just might help you out.

Yes, it’s time for another Absolutely True Story from my exciting life.

One of the times I served on a jury, I was asked by the other jurors to be jury foreman (translation: none of the rest of them wanted to be bothered with it). The details of the case we heard aren’t important. I was fascinated to learn that one of the jurors–a senior citizen–slept through almost all of the testimony and no one–NO ONE–seemed to notice. And he snored!

Anyway, we heard one full day of testimony. The next morning, the two attorneys made their closing statements and the jury was ushered to our little room to deliberate. To get some idea of where we stood, I immediately asked for a vote. It was unanimous. It was 10:30 in the morning and we were through. Since the courthouse was located across the street from my office, my employer expected me back at work as soon as the trial finished. I had a lot of work piling up, so I was ready to leave. I thanked the jury and stood to summon the bailiff.

One of my fellow jurors–in fact, the older gentleman who had fallen asleep and snored in court–placed his hand on my arm and said, “Mark, if we stay here till noon, they have to feed us lunch, and today is meat loaf day.”

The other jurors nodded in agreement. We were staying for lunch. We sat in that little room for 90 minutes, making small talk and pretending we didn’t have a verdict. At noon we put in our lunch order. At one, I told the bailiff we had a verdict. The meat loaf was pretty good.

BeckyShecky, here are my two tips for your own jury duty: It’s okay to sleep in court. And if you’re still there at noon, they have to feed you. Good luck.

Look! An actual, real, not-made-up email from a living, breathing reader of the Freakin’ Beacon: Brent Ramey writes: Enjoyed reading your article. I too spent many a Saturday late night watching Chiller. It would be great to have a list of titles that ran on Chiller from the beginning to end. I am 50 years old now, however if I ever come across a 1950's or 60's Sci fi. I usually end up watching it. I have often thought is there somewhere in the world right now that is experiencing what our 50's and 60's were like. Technology though probably has ruined that chance!

Maybe they’re stuck in the 50s in Outer Mongolia. Back here at home, we have to create our own Chiller experience, with DVDs, popcorn and dressing up in scary makeup to crack jokes about the movies. At least that was my plan. My wife says I don’t need the makeup.

And one more, this time from Barry Grimm: I really enjoy your funny stories each week as I read the Beacon. Keep them coming.

Thank YOU, Barry. You keep reading and I’ll keep lying. Er, I mean, reporting the facts in a fair and unbalanced manner.


Mark Justice hosts The Breakfast Club weekdays on 105.7 WLGC. His email address is He really hates Hydrox.

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