I wrote this in February before the pandemic changed grocery stores. It hits differently now, but it’s still nice and weird.

This vignette is based off of a writing sample using these three words: association, climate, supermarket.

The Professional Supermarket Association (PSA) was having a meeting in their least-favorite space: the furniture section of Costco.

“It’s blasphemous,” said Cheryl Tanner, the Association’s Head of Leafy Greens. “Putting individually-wrapped apples under the same roof as vacuum cleaners? These people are more animal than man!”

“Shh, we’ll get kicked out again, Cheryl.” Sam Maltow started grinding his teeth. They’d gotten the boot…

(Writing prompt words): abnormal, corn, choose

It was 15 minutes before showtime, and the Abnormal Corns were still waiting for an audience to show up. Even one person would have been nice.

The Corns weren’t sure what was wrong with their band. The effervescent notes of their North Pole-inspired rock were indisputably glorious, and they all had faces. Their Instagram account was chock-full of Libertarian memes starring the Hamburglar and Grimace. And their name, obviously, was brilliant.

At first the label balked over naming the band The Abnormal Corns. It sounds like you’ve got a growth on your foot, they…

My challenge kicks off with the 1983 film Valley Girl. It’s a romantic comedy starring Nicolas Cage (of course) as Randy, a Tough Guy from Hollywood who woos pretty, perfect Julie Richman from the Valley. The source material, you ask? Romeo & Juliet. Duh.

The Trailer

His HAIR though.

Our story begins on a wide-angle shot of a mid-1970s classroom film on agriculture. PLOT TWIST: It’s actually Hollywood, CA minus any identifying landmarks!

Soon we arrive at the mall food court, where Julie, the pretty blond Valley high schooler who has it all, sits with her less-important friends. Julie is…

The man, the myth, the legend.

When I announced on Facebook that I was going to watch every Nicolas Cage film ever made in chronological order, people had some questions. The most common one was “why”? The second most common was “do you need mental health assistance”?

I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. For starters, I’ve never been a huge movie watcher. I get fidgety in theaters, and I zone out at home. I need a damn good reason to sit still and watch a movie, and I like a challenge. …

In the job-hunting system, the people are separated into two distinct but equally desperate groups: The hirers, who ask for your greatest weaknesses, and the job seekers, who conveniently have weaknesses that are positives depending on how you look at it. These are their stories. DUN DUN.

The hunt was on: I was back from Christmas Break, unemployed again, and ready to plaster LinkedIn and Indeed with my resume. I had no clue what I wanted to do next, so I applied to whatever positions LinkedIn suggested.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from a large company downtown about…

“We don’t really have any clients with… snark,” said the creative director, gently pushing my test project back across the table.

Those are not the words you want to hear when you’re interviewing at a fancy schmancy ad agency, especially when they offer health insurance.

I’d thrown my full weight behind this company’s test assignment. They asked me to come up with a campaign for a local bar’s struggling “ladies night” after the promise of “ladies” failed to pull people through the door.

(Side note: the four horsemen of a bad bar are “Ladies Night,” those wine paint parties that…

Abby Stassen

Comedian, writer, professional shadow puppeteer.

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