David Gian-Cursio’s All-But-Comprehensive Archive of Timothy McSweeney Epigrams

I’m an avid reader of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a sort of on-line literary/humor magazine. Up until November of 2016, the site featured a series of rotating headers. Each article page is topped with an epigram beginning with the name “Timothy McSweeney.” At any given time, these were the same for every article on the site, and they changed every month or so. Now and then, I’ve looked to see if anyone was keeping track, but no one was.

Since they’re pretty funny, and I abhor the idea of anything being lost to history, I started keeping a record myself, which I’ve backfilled thanks to the Internet Archive. There wasn’t another page collecting them, so I’ll post them here.

There were gaps in the Internet Archive coverage. When I began my research, I didn’t consider whether analysis was worthwhile, so I didn’t mark duplicates or dates (indeed, duplicates aren’t listed consistently in their earliest or latest appearance, because of how I gathered my data). A few have links where events around their posting provide important context. There are at least two that are almost, but not quite, duplicates; I left them in since I’m not sure if that was a transcription error on my part. Someday, I may re-research these to get the metadata I omitted here, but that day is not today.

Without further ado, the McSweeney’s taglines I’ve collected so far.

Timothy McSweeney

: A Prayer For Him

’s Resting Comfortably at Home.

’s Small Liquid Globule Thing That For a While Was Dangling But Then Fell.

’s Shooting at the Walls of Heartache Bang-Bang.

’s Unreserved Embrace.

’s Racing For the Prize.

’s Love is Full-Color and Loud.

’s Don’t You Even Think It!

’s Science Fair Volcano.

’s Laughing All the Way.

’s Favorite Orange Things Are Round.

’s Gifts Are Always Handmade and Incorporate Dried Food.

’s Recipes Are All For Sauerkraut.

’s Belly is Like You’d Expect.

’s Face is Sixty Percent Teeth.

’s Chowder is Better Than His Moonsock.

’s Fabulous Necklace Will not Stop Glittering.

’s Wonderwalls Aren’t, Really.

’s Visions Originally Involved More Suede.

’s No Longer Interested in the Thick-Mustachioed Men.

’s Somehow Embarrassed to Be Seen Carrying an Out-of-State Newspaper.

’s Blind Bastard Child Will be President Someday.

’s Got Some Awesome Seasonal Meets and Cheeses

Understands How. He Does Not Understand Why.

’s Stomach Looks Precisely Like the Stomachs You Read About in Books.

Knows When to Stop Chopping Nuts and Start Whipping Butter.

’s Interest in Those People Has Waned.

’s Pink One is Now Dark Pink.

’s Friends No Longer Drink Milk.

Burns Sage, Not Flags.

Does Not Need an Apostrophe.

Lost Himself For a Moment, Thinking About the Roof of His Mouth.

Talks to the Babies, But Doesn’t Always Listen.

Woke to a Sandy Tongue and a Reddened Elbow.

’s Only Worried When He’s Awake.

’s Floor is Your Ceiling.

’s No Longer Interested in His Bathtub That Way.

’s New Cereal Will Not be Eaten By Todd.

’s Taking the Cereal Todd Would Not Eat and Giving it to Steve.

’s Polishing the Parts of His Body That Demand It.

No Longer Needs a Jogging Bra.

Pours Cashews Into a Blender and Falls Asleep.

Places a Berry Into the Mouth of a Bird.

’s Gables Are Lime Green and Crumbing.

’s Corner Store is on Fire.

’s Retirement Cottage is Being Rented Out Right Now.

’s Suitcase Looks Like It’s Been Opened.

’s Neighborhood Association Won’t Leave Him Alone.

Buys a Sleeping Bag and Carries it Into the Attic.

’s Grainy Face Made it Into a Famous Photo-Realist Painting.

Uses His Peripheral Vision to See in the Dark.

Draws on a Leaf With a Permanent Marker.

Was Unsettled When He Last Heard the Pledge of Allegiance.

Throws Real Books Into a Fake Fire.

Plucks Gray Hairs From His Cat’s Second Chin.

’s Pants Are Loose and Getting Looser.

Eats a Banana in Front of Gorillas at the Zoo.

’s Home-Canned Green Beans Gave Botulism to the Entire Family.

’s Ancient Chinese Relic Apparently Holds No Supernatural Powers.

Knuckles Ache When He Thinks About Toledo.

Ruins an Anthills, Then Watches While They Rebuild.

Gentrifies the Dance Floor.

Tips Out His Muse.

Puts Avocado on Everything and Calls it “California Style.”

Uses Sardine Bones to Build Miniature Corsets.

Tivo’d Cashmere Mafia by Mistake?

Is Demanding to Know What Day it is From a Shoeshine Boy in the Street.

Got Cauliflower Ear From Spooning Too Hard.

Responds to a Bee Sting by Shooting a Hornets’ Nest.

Can Whistle All the Airs From That Infernal Nonsense Pinafore.

Is Devastated and Lost. 

’s Favorite Leaning Tower is the Leaning Tower of Pulai Mosque.

Is Looking Forward to November 5 Like an Alcoholic Looks Forward to January.

Is Voting For the Adults This Year. 

’s Early Video Art Involved a Lot of Crying in Bathtubs.

Isn’t Above Picking His Nose With Kleenex on His Finger.

’s Spatulas Are Never the Right Shape.

’s Working His Charm on a King Charles Spaniel.

’s Facing the Harsh Reality of Full-Blown Fantasy

Wears His Green Lantern Ring to Bed.

Goes on a Cakewalk but Refuses to Win.

Distinguishes Between Accuracy and Precision.

Pits the Gendarmes Against the Constabulary.

Under Celebrated the Return of His Prodigal Sock, and the Other Ones Never Came Back.

Is Learning to Want to Do the Things He Ought.

Is Stepping Out, and Wants to Know if Anyone Wants Coffee or Health Insurance.

Doesn’t So Much Garden as Solemnly Bury Plants.

Is Penning a 3,426-page Palindrome.

Carries a Picture of Henry Fonda in His Wallet.

’s Great-grandfather Voted for FDR Three out of Four Times.

Keeps Chewing After the Roof of His Mouth is Burned.

’s Country is Actually a Fine Country for Old Men.

’s Rock Opera About the Internet is Stalled in the First Act.

Never Feels Braver Than when He Places at the Typhoid Vaccine in His Fridge.

Accidentally Implied That if He Were Fleeing the Apocalypse to a Safe Rural Place, He Would Take You with Him.

’s Dreams Are Not Up for Interpretation.

Drinks Like a Man with Bigger Problems.

Would Name His Band “Greenspan and the Free Market Orthodoxy.” They Would Only Play to Fully Rational Crowds Who Do Not Exhibit Herd Behavior.

Understands That “Infantryman” is the “Liberal Arts” of the Army.

Got an Ultimatum, Thanks a Lot Beyoncé.

Gets His Vegetables from Fat Slice.

Wakes Up to the Sound of Construction, but Falls Asleep to the Throb of Crickets.

Would Tell You That He Loves You, but He’s Trying to Think of a Better Way to Say It.

’s Accent is Thickening.

Ruins an Anthill, then Watches While They Rebuild.

Does Not Need an Apostrophe.

Pays the Monthly Minimum on His Library Fines.

Isn’t Sure Whether He Wants a Love for Friday Nights or Sunday Afternoons.

Faces Backwards on the Train.

Is Darning His Socks and Damning His Unmentionables.

Is Not Responsible for the Placement of the Carrot on His Snowman.

Gets Stitches in the Team Colors.

’s Snack Mix Tastes Suspiciously Like His Party Mix.

Fiddles, but It’s Not Like He Was Going to Extinguish Rome Anyway.

Was Not Muddy in the Team Picture.

’s Cat Only Hunts Weasel-sized Animals or Larger, Because It is More Sporting.

Does Not Make Eye Contact, Does Not Make Aura Contact.

Brings a Badger to a Knife Fight

Knows Cupboards Are for Closing.

Is Busy Trying to Create a Market That Behaves According to His Model of Economics, After He Builds a Frictionless Surface for His Physics Experiments.

Is Nobody’s Panda.

’s Racehorse is Named Vietnamese Food Cart.

’s Church Outfit is the Same as His Election Outfit.

’s Pet Camel Has Been Waiting a Long Time for Nativity Season.

’s Ermine is Two-toned Like a Bluesman’s Shoes.

Prefers Industry to Commerce.

Only Does Things Full-assed.

Competes Discretely with the Other Volunteers.

Did Not Mean to Reply “Are You on Drugs?” to Your Sincere Profession of Love.

Is a Volunteer Air Marshal but Only Travels by Train.

’s Car Horn is Stuck and He’s Mouthed “I’m Sorry” Three Times Already.

Secretly Rakes Your Side of the Yard.

Has Already Seen the Movie You’re Carefully Describing to Him.

Is the “Granite State” of Men.

Synthesizes Tenents of the Frankfurt School, Chicago School and the School of Hard Knocks into Long, Rambling Diatribes.

Purchased His Bratwurst with Obsolete Alaskan Treasury Bonds.

Is Jealous of Your Languages’s Vowel Structure.

Has Sexualized His Anxiety.

Understands Why. He Does Not Understand How.

Talks to Babies, but Does Not Always Listen.

’s Only Desire is for Your Happiness.

Pyramid Schemes Contain Obtuse Angles.

‘s Masochism Concerns His Loved Ones.

Takes His Cookies Straight.

Practices Baroque Hand Gestures While Grimacing in a Modernist Way.

‘s Overnight Bag Calls a Lot into Question.

Sublets His Intellectual Property.

‘s Best Editor Was Always Mother.

Gingerly Places His Ink-dipped Paws Onto the Foolscap.

Naps Soundly in the Halls of Medicine.

‘s Knee Injuries Are Communicable.

Sits Up Straight when He Reads About Kyphosis.

‘s Method for Cooking Stew is Unhygienic and Produces Bad-tasting Stew.

Has Been Cobbling Longer Than You’ve Been Carving.

‘s Touching of the Jaguar Was Frequent but Accidental.

Mistakes the Sound of a Foghorn for a Harbor Seal.

‘s Ships Sailed from Troy Without Incident.

’s Passwords Are All Unique.

’s Dearest Ally Led the Insurrection.

’s Chisel is Set to the Hardest Stone.

’s Domes Are Always Geodesic.

’s Sighs Are Units of Measurement.

’s Rough Beasts Have Decent Posture.

Did Not Anticipate Such a Strong Reaction to His Motorcycle.

Imagined a Voice Somewhat Deeper Than That.

’s Demo Tapes Sound Best in His Friend’s Car.

Is a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Wrapped in Bacon.

’s Early Video Art Involved a Lot of Crying in Bathrooms.

Treats Everyone to the Sampler Plate.

’s Plywood Playhouse Has Too Much Caulk Sealant.

’s Posture Improves as the Weather Worsens

’s Thumb Drives Vanish Like Summer Bubbles.

Avoids Activities Involving Self-description.

Has Very Good News.

Will Now Commence an NPR-Style Pledge Drive.

Reluctantly Repeats the Beginning of Jokes for Latecomers.

’s #KicksweeneysMcStarter

Is Only Taking You Hiking Because He Can’t Afford Dinner.

’s Sturdy Brown Chair With Tiny Squeaky Wheels.

’s Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a Deep Source of Strength.

Has Started Chopping Wood So He Can Tell People He Chops Wood.

[Last Updated 2016-11-07]