Clamsumer Reports: What the Eff is the Deal with the Dollar Shave Club?

Over the past few months I have received suggestions from people whom I otherwise consider sensible to join the “Dollar Shave Club.” You know, this thing:

Yes, hilarious video. Thanks shavebro, I am thoroughly entertained. I’m sure you and your buds had a great time putting this business idea together in between keg stands, but before I lay down my hard-earned cash, does ordering my razor blades by mail even make sense? Seems like we should clamvestigate, donnit? To the Clammobile!

Yes, I mean my Subaru. No, I don’t know where we’re going. OK, let’s just go back inside and look at the Internet…Sorry.

Here are the three “deals” offered by Dollar Shave Club according to their webzone:



Free handle

Five 3-blade cartridges per month

1$/month plus $2 shipping and handling which when added together becomes the symbol known to mathematicians as “3” meaning I have to actually pay $3 dollars per month.


Free handle

Five 3-blade cartridges a month

$6/month (ships free)


Free handle

Four 6-Blade cartridges per month

$9/month (ships free)

Wow. What a deal! In comparison, for $7.99 a month you can get access to over 13,000 titles on Nexflix and for $10 a month access to over 20 million songs on Spotify (but no Taylor Swift- feature or bug? Discuss). I’m just not feeling the same  greenfield thrill with the razor plan for some reason, but maybe that’s just my digital to physical bias. I’m sure it’s a great value. So let’s compare to the plan I use:

The Market Basket Shave Club for Men and Anyone Else Who Shaves A Lot We Don’t Judge

$2.79 handle

$1.49/Package of five 3-blade razors sitting on a shelf whenever I want them three miles from my house

Shipping is free because I’m already there buying Cheetos and pushing little old ladies out of the way for the day-old baked goods

Weird. A major purchaser like a grocery store seems to be able to offer a better price than an online buying club.

It looks like a 75-store discount retailer with multiple distribution centers somehow offers a better price than some internet dude. Whoa if true!

Hmm. It would seem I’ve already paid off my investment in the handle, which comes with 2 cartridges, in less than eight weeks. But, come now. Three blades? What kind of man in the 21st century only uses a three-blade razor? It’s akin to saying, “leave me a voicemail” or faxing a Chinese food order over to Midori’s. Actually, that would be pretty funny to see if they even got it, considering they still have a fax # on their menu (side note: How long until it’s hipster to fax stuff? Soon, right?)

So let’s compare plan “C” of the Dollar Shave Club, their “Executive” plan to the high-end plan at The Basket. Let’s call it the:

Shave Club For Guys Who Could Probably Shop at Stop and Shop but Refuse to Put on Actual Pants

$4.39 handle- comes with 2 cartridges of six blade razors

$4.29 per-package with 4 cartridges each.

This is nowhere near $9/month. In fact, it’s twenty bucks cheaper per year than Dollar Shave’s four blade option. And the quality of the MB and Dollar Shave razors seem not only equivalent, but the exact same equipment- I believe the same unit manufactured in Korea by the Dorco corporation of Seocho-dong, Korea. Yes, you read that right: Dorko of Seocho-dong. Magnificent.  

So these foreign manufactures will just sell their products to anybody? How is that even legal?

So these foreign manufactures will just sell their products to anybody? How is that even legal?

Thus if you opt for the “executive” plan you get the privilege of paying over $50 more for the exact same stuff. I guess that is a lot like many “executives” I’ve worked with in the past, spending 1/3 more than necessary because someone made a flashy video. Maybe they could develop a “C-Suite plan” where the razors are endorsed by famous golfers and they advertise in airports next to the expensive watches and “personal wealth managers.” They could charge five times more, would be tax-free and foreign workers would do the actual shaving for pennies on the dollar. SOCIAL COMMENTARY IN THE SHAVING POST- YEAH DAWG!

Look, I understood the concept of wanting access to cheap razors back when the pricing cabal of Schick and Gillette  were doing that shitty thing of selling you a handle for three dollars and then charging 11 dollars per package for the blades. Remember when they used to lock them behind the glass at CVS alongside the Sudafed? You could steal either one and then go on to resell the phenylephrine to lowlife meth producers or the blades to the even lower-life kind of person who fences razor blades. Where are you in the criminal hierarchy when you deal in hot disposable grooming products? Do you get the lamest underworld nickname ever like “IN-Grone” or “Folik-L”?

Also by just purchasing razors at the grocery store when I need them I can manage demand. If I have a high need for shaving, say I’m trying to introduce a Bonobo ape to clients as an employee to increase billings, then I’ll need more razors. If I decide to go with the insane wild mountain man look so big with the Leonardos these days, then I’ll need fewer. And thanks to the “Going to Market Basket whenever I feel like it because there is free coffee and Anna in the bakery is cool” system, I can let the demand decide how often I purchase razors not just having them mailed to me on some kind of schedule with no adjustability for my natural or desired hirsuteitude.

Conclusion: Someone help me out here, what am I getting for the extra four dollars a month ahead of the MB plan? I’m perplexed by this whole category, to be honest. What is the benefit of doing this by mail? Not cost, as shown. I’m in Market Basket about once a week anyway, so it’s not access. Do I just do what bros online tell me to do, like wear Birkenstocks and a backwards visor with Vineyard Vines shorts? (Answer: I do not) Is there some critical math or benefit I’m missing? Can I start the “Dorko Dong Shave Club?” and compete with the guys just by buying razors at the Basket and selling them behind the Maplewood 7/11 after having the the word “STUBBL” tattooed on my abdomen in those impossible to read cursive letters?



An Open Letter to the Officers of the First Order Re: Death Star Doctrine

il_340x270.767751302_ps14Note: The following contains spoilers.

An Open Letter To My Fellow Officers of the First Order; Gen Hux et. all.;

I wish to open this letter by acknowledging the difficult month we have shared, collectively, as leaders of the First Order. Most if not all of us reading this memo had close friends and trusted colleagues on Starkiller Base, their loss is a palpable wound.

However, even with the destruction of the Hosnian System and the hated Senate, it is up to us as officers to admit we have, yet again, suffered a defeat at the hands of the Resistance. Morale is at an all-time low. This is why we must be particularly careful not make hasty or foolish decisions without careful consideration of the polices that have led us to this low point in the otherwise glorious history of the First Order.

Which is why when entering a conference room on the leadership deck I was shocked and dismayed to discover a group of high-ranking officers, engineers and financial controllers in the middle of a meeting running over preliminary plans to create something they were calling “Ultimate Super StarKiller Murderbase IV.”


Just stop it. Do you hear me? Stop. It’s time we admit that he First Order, a supposed edification of the Galactic Empire, has problems we can’t Death Star our way out of.

This one is going to be powered by black holes or something and will have a oh dear lord please stop....

This one is going to be powered by black holes or something and dark lord above, enough already….

Do you have any idea the sheer scale of our war-fighting resources directed toward increasing size and complexity high-visibility, concentrated-power destructive bases over the past decades? It’s in the quadrillions. Think of all the ships, troops, manufacturing capability, planning and doctrine we’ve slavishly dedicated to these single-use weapons, and what we have to show for it in return. The Rebellion/Resistance, continues to vaporize them with the banal ease of dispatching mynocks from a garage. Worse, because we have placed so much unearned confidence in these weapons as a panacea to achieving our military goals, we have compromised our ability to fight more traditional conflicts.

I ask you to consider how many Star Destroyers, divisions of At-At mobile assault forces, TIE fighters and Stormtrooper weapon training programs (blaster proficiency is at an all time low, even by Stormtrooper standards) do these bases represent? With the effort and treasure we have dedicated to these failed programs we could by now have blockaded every significant system in the galaxy with capable vessels. We could have bombarded and invaded their capitals at will, or simply bribed them into fealty to Supreme Leader Snoke, All Hail Him, without discharging a blaster. Yet still we continue to build toward this scarcely-utilized capability, throwing our entire organization behind one new giant laser after another while the rest of the force survives on bits and scraps.

To be frank, even if one of these behemoths ever wound up surviving its initial contact with Resistance forces (which one never has) as I have noted elsewhere, their military usefulness is negligible. When one destroys a planet you are denied the entire resource capability of that world forever. Space is big, the number of habitable planets is finite. We just can’t go blowing up the ones with a population we find disagreeable at a particular moment. Despite the political and PR fallout, just from a practical standpoint we would find ourselves running short on the very thing we want to control in the first place, the very building block of a galactic empire: planets. Alderan, for instance, was a pretty nice place. My grandparents kept a villa there and had raised prized dewbacks for generations. Now it’s space rubble. Good luck planting the First Order flag there.

The whole Death Star/Planet Killer concept is vapid. They are ineffective against fleets and smaller on-planet targets such as population centers or military installations. Due to the engineering necessity of large, open spaces at their cores for sufficient venting or to have (as in the case of Starkiller Base), undefended oscillators on their surfaces, they are astonishingly vulnerable to swarms of small, fast, lightly-armed attack vessels. These so-called “super weapons” are instead single-use set pieces, good only for visually displaying just the kind of raw power the First Order stands for, but in practical use they are about as reliable as as fourth-hand droid at a Jawa market.

After a few Antakarian Fire Dancers at any rank-and-file Imperial officers club, when the topic of “Why does the Rebellion keep kicking our asses?” comes up, the first and typically loudest response is some version of the old saw, “Darth Vader’s Son used The Force on us! How are we supposed to defend against that?” The reality, however, comes from the softer, often unspoken voices at the periphery who know that only the first of the successful attacks on our “indestructible” bases were assisted by mystical intervention. At the Battle of Yavin, arguably  the best constructed of the battle stations, The Force was indeed an appreciable factor in its destruction. The others were lost to our own shortsightedness by failing to predict well-established Rebel attack strategy.

I put forth the following argument, at risk of my First Order career and, I realize, my very life at the hands of an enraged Sith, but the values for which we stand transcend my personal concerns. Thus I find myself in the uncomfortable position of speaking aloud what has been whispered in dark corners for too long, and I dearly hope others will openly join me in this realization:

Death Stars are far more useful to the Resistance than they could ever be to us.

When the Rebellion/Resistance finds themselves facing a Death Star-type system they inevitably win both the battle and, on the greater stage, the war. The reason is the same in both cases: Death Star Doctrine warfare plays exclusively to their strengths. Over and over we build massive, slow-moving, highly visible, yet fundamentally indefensible bases. The Rebels/Resistance deploy motley collections of whatever ships and crews they have at hand, making desperate, heroic squadron-based raids one of which inevitably punches through. It’s the same as throwing pebbles at a Wookie skull. Toss enough and one will inevitably land in an eye socket, it’s just simple statistics.

Also they keep getting their hands on the plans. We need to do something about that too.

Also they keep getting their hands on the plans. We need to do something about that too.

Following their victory all credit is given to adherence to “The Light Side” of The Force stoking the superstitions of the Galactic populace from whom they receive financing, support, morale, recruiting and perceived initiative. All they need to do is repeat this cycle every few years or so to keep up the appearances of a viable fighting force.

But stepping back to an orbital view we see the Rebellion and their forebears in the Resistance have only ever had one base with a handful of leaders. Even when Hoth proved conventional, well-led attacks of specialized troops easily sweep their forces aside, we ignore this victory and inexplicably continue to pursue the untenable solution of Death Stars.  Are the vendor relationships within our organization so powerful we will allow them to lead us to defeat after defeat for a few plumbing and thermal-shielding contracts?

The First Order is about removing disorder and restoring stability to ensure progress. I understand why, in the light of our core principles, something like a Death Star/Starkiller seems like a seductive solution. Simply excise the disorder from the galaxy with a single, quite frankly thrilling, giant beam and no more messy impediments to our decretion. But the practical execution of this concept has led us down the path of fatal single-mindedness. Disorder is our enemy, yes, but disorder is the engine of novelty which can be turned against us if we continue to pursue a single course rather than a diverse, calculated military strategy to defeat the Resistance once and for all.

I beg you to consider my plea to divert from this course and shutter the Death Star/Starkiller programs for good.

Yours, Obediently,

Lt. Commander M. Wenchel Gendar


Moff Tarkin School for Strategic Studies

First Order Academy of the Outer Rim


Josh Turiel’s Take On San Bernardino

[ed: This is a guest post from Josh Turiel because your regular Clam editors are just too exhausted and drunk to post another goddamn diatribe on our outrageous gun problem. Also, if you’re unfamiliar, “Daesh” is the word we now use to describe ISIS. According to a Globe editorial, “Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, it can mean anything from “to trample down and crush” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” And basically, ISIS hates it so let’s do it from here on out. USA! USA!]

So the San Bernardino shooters were a couple, apparently led by the woman, who were inspired by ideology to commit terrorism. Which means that OMG Daesh is here.

Except they aren’t here. What we have is a dangerous hybrid of terror wannabes who aren’t part of any organized effort. Some have been overseas and exposed to the extremism virus over there. Some have been following it here and been inspired by Facebook, news coverage, Twitter, and bajillions of things you’ve never heard of. Maybe there’s one nutty charismatic Iman at a local mosque who inspired someone.

Or maybe they broke down and went rogue after listening to this the entire goddamn length of the Pike

Or maybe they broke down and went rogue after listening to this the entire goddamn length of the Pike

In a lot of ways, that’s more scary than if Daesh were actually here in this country setting up operations, but it’s less dangerous overall. America is a pretty free nation, despite what nutters on both sides may think, and there’s always going to be that risk that a couple of people will be inspired by whatever ideology and do something horrible. We’ve been dealing with domestic terrorism for a lot longer than most of you think.


Remember Timothy McVeigh and his partner Terry Nichols? Yep. Domestic terrorists inspired by radical ideology to commit the Oklahoma City bombing. But it was Christian ideology, developed right here at home. The Atlanta Olympic bombing along with several others? Eric Rudolph, a member of the Army of God. Christian. The Sikh Temple shooting? Wade Page, a white supremacist. This past June, Dylann Roof killed nine people at a Methodist church in Charleston, South Carolina. Remember the guy in Colorado just a week ago?


There’s plenty more.


I’m not saying that Muslims are blameless, either. We remember the Tsarnevs pretty well in these parts. Nidal Hassan killed 13 people on the Army base where he worked (he was a US Army Major) at Fort Hood, Texas. Also that year, Abdul Muhammad killed one man and wounded another in a drive-by shooting in Little Rock, Arkansas. There are plenty of instances that a simple Google search can find of arrests and interrupted plots.


The reason that most of these would be terrorists are caught and arrested before they can try to do harm is simple. They organize. They set up groups and networks. A group of people acting suspiciously sets off alarms in law enforcement. They aren’t so good at keeping secrets. They’re noticed, and ultimately arrested. Our FBI isn’t perfect, but they’re pretty damned good – and working with local and state law enforcement they usually stop these plots before they go anywhere.


Note that in the above paragraph I did NOT say “Islamic terrorists”. Law enforcement is good at catching terrorist plots regardless of religious or ideological motivation.


As I mentioned at the beginning, the problem for us (and this is inherent to any society that’s even slightly free) is the lone actor. The married couple. The one angry person and his or her close friend. The brothers. They form a self-contained unit, rarely set off warning signs, and aren’t usually interested in surviving their acts so much as they are sending a message.

The scary thing about it is the simple truth that WE CAN’T STOP THEM ALL. Every city has some potential people that could fit. Every backwoods could have a rusty old trailer with a McVeigh living there. Every neighborhood can have Tsarnev brothers. We never know for sure.


Should that make this country into something else that’s meaner, more suspicious, and more xenophobic than it’s been for generations? I hope not. I don’t blame all my Christian friends for Eric Rudolph. I don’t blame my Muslim friends for the Tsarnevs. I also understand the actual nuance between Daesh as a fighting force in Iraq and Syria, and Daesh as an ideology that has inspired a new wave of nuts in Europe, Asia, and America. We can pretty easily defeat the military Daesh. But it doesn’t stop the people here that are motivated by them. This is the problem we face as a nation and as a people.


That said, if you think that this sort of existential threat is best suited to Facebook memes about Obama being weak because he understands the difference, too? Well, you’re a fool – and you’re probably not reading this article, either. You don’t get nuance. OK, it takes all sorts.


Basically, to sum this up, we have two real military foes right now. Both are extreme fundamentalist Islamic-inspired groups – the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Daesh in Iraq/Syria. We also have a global problem with terrorism committed mainly by individuals and small teams that are inspired by these groups, and by other extreme religious groups around the world. Religious-inspired violence and terror has been a problem for societies since before the modern era. It remains one today. Here in the United States, the Islamic threat of the last twenty years or so is added to the Christian and racially-inspired terror we’ve dealt with since before the Civil War. We need to fight this as a nation without letting the fight destroy us as a nation.


And based on the rhetoric I see all the time, even from serious candidates for this nation’s highest office, we’re not doing so good at that. We’re better than this, people.

Oh Holy Night of the Living Dead

There is stuff to like about the holidays. There’s a lot of free booze around, for instance. It’s less socially awkward to crank down an entire tin of cookies in the middle of the workday than at other times of the year, so bonus there. But beyond these specific advantages your beloved The Clam finds much of the rest to be a massive pain in the dong. We would happily trade the  month-plus pageant of consumption and groupthink for a compressed week of vapid hype culminating in an orgy of binge-eating/power drinking, making it tolerably more like every other week of the year for us. But trade or no, the point remains: The October-January extended “Festive Quarter” has gotten fully the fuck out of hand. It’s exhausting and unnecessary.

In fact, we find the encroaching holidays share many parallels with one of our favorite genres of literature: The Zombie outbreak narrative. Observe:

STAGE 1- September:

Walking into Costco you are shocked by the abrupt first flare-up, a full aisle of animatronic decorations just days out from Labor Day Weekend. Your avoidance response is identical to finding a mangey one-eyed raccoon on your back porch in broad daylight. “I want no fucking part of this,” you say, putting as much distance between you and it as is possible.


STAGE 2- October:

The outbreak is no longer isolated to select pockets and is developing more rapidly than anyone expects. Confusion reigns, with stores, pop radio and the inflatable holiday decorations on lawns around town showing a strange mixture of symptoms. Mostly it’s the increasingly virulent but generally harmless Halloween strain which clears up after about a week. But more and more you notice evidence of the much longer-sustaining early-onset ChristmasN2 mixed in with the otherwise benign pumpkins and skeletons. The sickness has obviously gained a foothold and won’t be going away.

The government seems powerless to respond. “Which holiday is that guy dressing as Santa for?” you ask in a climate of growing unease.

STAGE 3-November:

It’s now obvious something is seriously wrong. Going out in public is no longer safe as it’s become impossible to tell which locations have been infected and which remain clean. Example: You know from experience the bathrooms on board commuter rail trains are like a particularly nasty porta-potty bouncing around inside a giant maraca, so you pop into a nearby Dunkin Donuts to use the loo. Upon entering you are exposed to a full five seconds of “Wonderful Christmastime” at full volume. You retreat, realizing getting splashed with blue dookiewater is less risk than being subjected to an additional stanza.

Get me! I'm givn' out Wings!

Get me! I’m givn’ out Wings!

Short-sighted local officials are making the problem worse by creating early infection sites where the sickness can take hold. Wreaths are going up. Public displays are being installed. We are told told not to panic, reassured most of the current activity is only the serious but survivable Thanksgiving Simplex which only tends to take out the highly emotionally vulnerable. “How is this all happening so fast?” is the question on everyone’s lips.

STAGE 4-Black Friday:

PUBLIC EMERGENCY DECLARED. Riots and deaths as the infection has broken out everywhere at once, seemingly from nowhere. The TV and Internet burst with images of victims thrashing wildly and attacking each other while store clerks and police stand helplessly by. Grainy security video shows a neverending loop of sufferers going stark raving bonkers over half price mass-market kitchen appliances, demonstrating the plague attacks neurological pathways first, assailing the parts of the brain responsible for maintaining social norms. To see a mother stomp on a child over a fifteen dollar Black and Decker waffle iron fills the world with horror. Also will not make pizzelle or crepes so not even worth it. Prayers go unanswered.

Only 28 Days until Christmas!

28 Days of Christmas

STAGE 5 -Early December:

Nietzsche once described hope as the “worst of all evils” because it can only serve to prolong inevitable suffering. It has become clear the possibility of a “light outbreak” with “maybe just a few family and close friends” was a fool’s fancy. We are now obviously engulfed in a full-blown Pandemic. Everyone knows at least one seriously infected person and observing their distorted behavior as the malady takes hold is wrenching. The only bright spot (Nietzsche notwithstanding) is the infected still tend to cluster together in retail centers where they are essentially contained. However there are frequent incidents where they break free and maraud through offices and schools in search of new victims. No one is safe. Your pleas for the military to bomb the worst-affected sites prompts only a “wellness check” on your residence from the local constabulary.

Can they not see how all forms of media have become dedicated to the epidemic? Society has been transformed, with everything functioning around managing the outbreak. Citizens mark their homes to indicate afflicted dwelling within and no neighborhood has escaped, not even Chinatown or Brookline. Residents struggle to cope but cannot keep up with the stretched infrastructure and supply demands of a population under siege. Suicides increase. Many turn to alcohol and drugs. Mental health resources are pushed to the breaking point. Your attempt at weakening the assault by introducing Shane MacGowan and Kristy MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York” to holiday playlists has no observable effect. You feel like Gandalf in the Mines of Moria. “They are coming.”

No we don't make fucking toys!

No we don’t make fucking toys!

STAGE 6- Late December:

All systems have succumbed to the sheer overpressure of the rampaging epidemic. The gravely infected have broken free and are running amok. What was once pity for the victims gives way to searing rage as survivors search for increasingly scarce sanctuary.  Civil control has broken down, surrendering to the critical mass. The plague is now everywhere: Japan, the International Space Station, even submerged nuclear submarines on patrol have all reported levels of exposure. It’s ability to penetrate every defense defies rational explanation.

Oh no! The virus has made the jump into daikaiju! Run for your lives!

It’s made the jump into daikaiju! Run for your lives!

Survivors scurry from moment to moment trying to limit exposure. Mostly they stay inside cut off from the outside world, or take to the forests and hills on long walks to keep out of the path of potential vectors. Public places such as malls are no longer option as the newly infected now throng there and yet the military still does nothing. It’s like the flamethrower had never been invented.

Schools and offices are shuttered. Non-holiday commerce grinds to a halt. No sanity remains as “Dominick the Christmas Donkey” blares from speakers, cars sport antlers and red noses. The weakened strain of holiday pathogen used to inoculate Jews for centuries (much like vaccinating with cowpox to prevent smallpox) is now past, but the deranged still shriek “Happy Hanukkah” at them anyway, which is like wishing someone a happy Independence Day in August. Jews, ever the survivors, find their ways to safe houses and secret dining establishments to wait out the remainder of the scourge.

Mercifully it at long-last burns out. Nothing so hot or bright can sustain and first one by one, then as a mass, the hosts succumb. At last, merciful silence.

STAGE 7- Aftermath:

Society has been transformed. Not a man, woman, child or pet has escaped untouched. Citizens’ health and personal finances are in tatters. Relationships are worn thin. Waste Management trucks grind under the strain of hauling away the refuse. Nothing lies ahead but long, dark days of toil as we attempt to rebuild. Assurances of increased vigilance are made, “We’ll keep it small next year.”

Just something chill and tasteful with your hipster friends Hahahaha! You'll wind up in Wrentham with your Tea Party cousins again.

Just something chill and tasteful with your squad… Hahahaha! Just kidding! You’ll wind up in Wrentham with your Tea Party cousins again.

You finally emerge into night to watch your cold breath against the stars. You have survived this round, who knows about next? You think of Camus: “All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it’s up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences.”

You remind yourself not to read Camus.

Boston Strong?

Remember when the Boston marathon was attacked a couple of years ago? Remember how we all panicked and acted like screechy wussbabies and targeted a bunch of innocent people who had nothing to do with the bombings and hid in our basements, getting on social media to tell everyone we have to carpet-bomb and then invade Muslim countries because we are military geniuses on par with Sun fucking Tzu?


If you were not ripped from the forehead of Zeus then kindly STFU

If you were not ripped from the forehead of Zeus then kindly STFU

That’s right, you instead remember a city responding with strength and resolve. You remember Bostonians, who are total assholes 90% of the time, suddenly displaying a dignity and courage you never would have expected from the same group of people who, on the loss of a center fielder, whined endlessly on sports shows as if the reanimated corpse of George Steinbrenner had just removed one of their testicles and eaten it on live television.

You remember Bostonians going to work, crowding the T and Commuter Rail. You remember us dodging armored vehicle convoys in the street, finding ways around Copley to get to offices and appointments. We did it all week while those jackholes were still at large. Because “fuck those guys,” was the attitude. The only day we didn’t show up for work was on Friday when they told us to get off a packed train into town because the cops were pinning down Dzhokhar. But we were all going in. “Fuck those guys,” to reiterate.

It smelled of Dunkins, Fenway Franks and Tamerlan Tsarnaev pissing himself as his brother drove the SUV over him

It smelled of Dunkins, Fenway Franks and Tamerlan Tsarnaev pissing himself as his brother drove the SUV over him trying to escape the cops

Tuesday I heard a newscaster saying how the marathon bombing had “paralyzed the city for a week.” The fuck it did. I had to stand in line behind a fully-jacked SWAT team to get a goddamed tuna sub, but we were all there. Everyone. We had a vendor coming in from Manhattan to have a meeting we probably could have delayed or done remotely but we kept the engagement. And the Manhattan people didn’t ask to reschedule. They came up on the Acela and even though I’d never met them they emailed to say, “we’ll still be there on the 17th if you guys will.” Damn straight. I’m not a solider. My job is not particularly important to the day-to-day functioning of society, I don’t save lives and I don’t keep the lights on. But maintaining our cool and doing the right thing was all of our duty and we did it.

Guy on the right is saying, "Ah shit, we shoulda put a chair in our pakin space."

“Ah shit, we shoulda put a chair in our pakin space.”

I’m wondering this week what happened to that city.

We didn’t say “no refugees” back then, even though the guys who attacked us had come here seeking asylum in 2002. We’re supposed to be the “smart state” and we seemed to know after the actual bombing here that there’s no more or less risk among screened refugees than there are from people born here. We asked thoughtful questions about radicalization, the shifting dynamics of warfare and America’s leadership role in the world which Boston, a city smaller than fucking Memphis, or El Paso or freaking Jacksonville Florida, gets to help define. Because we are tough and smart and punch above our weight. Or we used to, anyway.

Spoiler Alert: This is the 21st century and people are going to get killed by terrorists.

Yep, that’s the reality. No politician will say it, but that’s the truth. Sorry. The same global open communication and travel networks that allow us to lead 21st century lives are the same tools these human-shaped bags of rat feces can use to hurt and kill us. There is no way to completely stop them without hurting ourselves in the process. It’s like cancer- it’s too much like us to kill easily. The best we can do is try and prevent it and cut it out when we find it.

The not dying of smallpox or getting polio part of being in the 21st century makes it a pretty good deal though, on balance. Today you’re more likely to be killed in a car crash or fireworks or setting your own house ablaze on account of being a dumbass or by effing cows (who kill 108 people a year in the United States), than from terrorists. But the sad reality is people are going to get killed. We can take actions to prevent and minimize it, but nothing can fully prevent it. Like car crashes, shark attacks and people being hit by trains; some small number of our fellow citizens, maybe people we know and love, maybe even us, are going to be killed by terrorists. Fact.

Life. Pretty much.

Life, pretty much.

So what do we do then?

Don’t be idiots and do what the terrorists want. Don’t listen to people trying to use fear to increase their own power, whether that’s fucking ISIS or our own presidential candidates, both of whom are desperate for attention. Don’t give it to them.  Don’t advocate cruelty against large groups of people who aren’t responsible. I’m the first to say the Islamic supporters of these radical movements have to be harshly dealt with- especially elements inside places like Saudi Arabia and Qatar- who are the funding head of the ISIS snake. But anyone who’s ever traveled overseas knows our government can do some shitty stuff, but most people in the rest of the world can separate citizenry from leadership. They don’t treat Americans badly because they know I personally didn’t make the call to invade Iraq or back Noriega. We need to be like this as well. We need to show some backbone and not be scared even when there is risk, which is almost always slight. Don’t be stupid, but don’t be a coward either.

I want strong, smart Boston back. I’m ashamed at the difference between how brave we were in the face of a real threat and how pants-shitty we get around nominal threats like Ebola and the Paris attacks. Pull it together, Boston.

We’re better than this.