Bart’s full name is Bartholomew Jojo Simpson. Milhouse’s full name is Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten. Krusty the Clown’s full name is either Herschel Schmoikel Krustofski or Herschel Pinkus Yerucham Krustofski, depending on which episode you believe.

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I have a great-aunt in upstate New York that I see several times a year, and I still refer to her as “You know, what’s her name. It starts with a P.”

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Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie are named after Matt Groening’s parents and younger sisters.

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If you mention to a friend, “We should find out where Matt Groening’s family lives and break into their house and steal the real Homer’s tighty-whiteys,” she’ll look at you like you’re nuts. Even when you insist that you were just joking and even if you went through with it, you probably wouldn’t wear Homer’s underpants, she’ll still never look at you the same way again.

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In the German version of The Simpsons, Üter Zörker is from Switzerland. Because apparently the Germans haven’t noticed that their children are morbidly obese and wear ill-fitting lederhosen and eat marzipan candies packed full of iodine.

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Donald Sutherland, who appeared in the episode “Lisa the Iconoclast”, also starred in the 1975 movie The Day of the Locust, where he played a character named Homer Simpson. Coincidence, or did I just blow your mind?!

* * *

I once ended a friendship because the person in question stared at me blankly when I asked her, “What was your favorite line in The Simpsons last night?” I also continued a friendship with somebody possessing a personality that could best be described as a “mouth-breathing cretin” because he once said to me, “I’m only an alcoholic ’cause I want to be more like Homer Simpson.”

* * *

Of Cletus Spuckler’s numerous offspring, my favorites (in name alone) are Q-Bert, Condoleezza Marie, Birthday, Rubella Scabies and Crystal Meth. I think Crystal Meth is such a spectacular name that I’d seriously consider using it for one of my kids, should I ever talk a lady into carrying my demon-spawn. What I’d enjoy most about naming a kid Crystal Meth is that the initial reaction among my friends and family will be abject horror, and then they’ll confront me about it and I’ll feign ignorance until somebody finally says, “It’s just not appropriate to name your kid after a methamphetamine,” and then I’ll burst into laughter and say, “Oh, wait a minute, I get your confusion. I wasn’t referring to the drug Crystal Meth. He’s actually named after Cletus’s eldest son. You know, the slack-jawed yokel from the TV show The Simpsons.” They’ll think about it for a second and nod and say, “Oh, okay, I get it. Well, that’s better, I guess.” But you know what? They won’t think it’s better at all. If anything, they’ll think it’s much, much worse.

* * *

I do not know, nor do I care, where Springfield is located. But I am reasonably sure that the writers are fucking with us. In the episode “A Tale of Two Springfields”, the town is split into two area codes, 636 and 939. If this information is accurate, this means that half of Springfield is in Missouri and the other half is in Puerto Rico. Obviously, that can’t be the case. In another episode, somebody mentions that Springfield is 678 miles from Mexico City and 2,653 miles away from Orlando, Florida. This is not geographically possible. I know these things because I looked them up.

* * *

It no longer surprises me that I don’t get laid anymore.

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The official motto of Springfield is “Corruptus in Extremis”. Back in the early 90s, I knew a guy who wanted to get this tattooed on his right bicep. I’m not kidding. We showed up at a tattoo parlor in Chicago at 2am but they wouldn’t do it because he was too drunk. It was probably for the best. Not because he would’ve regretted the tattoo later, but because this dude was kinda a moron. Anybody who saw this tattoo might’ve mistakenly believed that he was somebody with at least a modicum of intelligence and an adorable obsession with Simpsons minutiae. He had none of these qualities. He was the kind of guy who’d walk up to a woman at a party and say, “Yo, don’t have a cow, lady, just put your balls in my mouth,” and think he was being clever.

* * *

I read somewhere about a Ned Flanders cult in Britain, where the members dressed up like Ned because it gave them a fetishistic thrill. I even mentioned it to Simpsons scribe George Meyer when I interviewed him for The Believer Magazine, and we shared a good laugh at their expense. But after several years of telling people about this cult and just blindly accepting the details of my hazy memory, I tried googling it again and couldn’t find any evidence that an organized gathering of Ned Flanders role-players ever existed. Is it possible that I made up the entire thing, or even more disturbingly, dreamt it? I don’t know much about dream interpretation, but I can’t imagine it’s a good sign when you regularly dream about an army of identical mustached Christian men.

* * *

An ex-girlfriend once offered to dress up like Lisa Simpson for my birthday. But she got upset with me when I pointed out that, while her costume was technically perfect, her skin wasn’t even close to yellow. I meant it as constructive criticism, but she took it as an insult and indication of a deeper dissatisfaction with her. “So it’d make you hot if I looked like I had malaria?” She screamed at me before storming out of the room. She was missing the point, but whatever. For at least eight minutes, it was the best sex I’ve ever had.

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I read somewhere that Ralphie was named after Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners, and he was originally intended to be more Kramden-esque; kind of a louder, smaller version of Homer. To give you an idea of just how much this information hurt me, imagine that I am a Christian, and I just learned that the original version of Jesus Christ was meant to be more overtly Jewish – his last words along the lines of “S’tut shreklekh vey!” – and more handsy with Mary Magdalene.

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I never cared for The Honeymooners, but I would’ve thought Jackie Gleason was at least mildly amusing if he’d ever said anything as brilliant as, “Me fail English? That’s unpossible!”

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The Comic Book Guy’s real name is Jeff Albertson. Weirdly, I once knew a dude in Chicago named Jeff Albertson. He was not overweight, balding, or to the best of my knowledge, obsessed with comic books. While he was aware of The Simpsons, he was not a fan, though he was the first to tell me that Kang and Kodos were named after Star Trek aliens. So maybe he and the Comic Book Guy had more in common than a surname.

* * *

In the episode “Rock Bottom”, in which Homer is accused of sexual harassment, the show ends with a list of apologies that scrolls by in a blur. Unlike anybody with something better to do (i.e. turning off the TV and having meaningful contact with other human beings), I took the time to pause on each and every frame and examine the carefully-constructed gags. My favorites include:

Styrofoam is not made from kittens.

The word “cheese” is not funny in and of itself.

The Beatles haven’t reunited to enter kick boxing contests

If you are reading this you have no life.

That last line gave me pause. Maybe they’re right, I thought. Maybe sitting alone in a darkened apartment and patiently dissecting the hidden jokes in a TV show about underachievers isn’t exactly the same as breaking cryptographic code for the Nazi resistance. Perhaps, as the writers had so cruelly reminded me, I really didn’t have a life. But a few seconds later, the same episode gave me this hopeful message of solidarity: The people who are writing this have no life. Well of course. The creative staff clearly understood that they and their audience were the same cultural outcasts. We were one and the same. We had an alliance, forged on a wink and a nudge, based on our mutual appreciation for the pointless inanity of existence and the hilarious vacuity of the universe. If we were sad, pathetic excuses for humanity, so were they.

A few months after making this revelation, I interviewed George Meyer (see above). But we didn’t become best friends. Quite the opposite. He sent me copies of Army Man, which was kinda sweet, but we haven’t talked since. Sometimes I wonder if he even recognized me as a kindred spirit, or if I was just another journalist who dragged him to a crappy Chinese restaurant in North Hollywood and asked him why The Simpsons writers love hobos so much.

* * *

Principal Skinner’a prisoner-of-war number in Vietnam was 24601. In a weird synchronicity, this is also Sideshow Bob’s prison number. As I learned the hard way, playing 24601 is no guarantee of a Lottery jackpot. Believe me, I’ve tried. Many, many times, in many, many states. Don’t waste your money.

* * *

Also, forget Homer’s PIN number, 7431. Suck it, Chicago Powerball.

* * * A humorous but otherwise deceitful episode of The Simpsons revealed that Lisa’s email address is smartgirl63_\@yahoo.com. This is a fabrication. Whoever is actually at that address, I’d like to apologize yet again for my last few emails. They were intended for somebody with spikier hair and snarky vegetarian-Buddhist beliefs and a subscription to Non-Threatening Boys Magazine and, well, decidedly more fictional.

* * *

Of the many, many, many fictitious stores featured on The Simpsons, I am most fond of the air conditioner store called “It Blows.” In fact, if I was forced out of the journalism racket and opted to pursue a career in kitchen appliance sales, I wouldn’t think twice about opening the first It Blows franchise. But then I’d wake up one morning and realize that I sell air conditioning units for a living, and my son is named Crystal Meth, and my entire life is pretty much one big copyright infringement lawsuit waiting to happen, and after a night of binge drinking and underage prostitutes, I’d either shoot myself in the face with a sawed-off shotgun or decide that there must be more to life than post-modern irony, and like the antihero in Tom Waits “Frank’s Wild Years,” I’d burn down the house and start over.

* * *

That said, I would probably still open a novelty shop called Yuckingham Palace. Because fake vomit, even without The Simpsons connection, is always funny.

* * *

Marge and Lisa have four eyelashes, and Maggie has three eyelashes. God has five fingers, and everybody else on the show has four fingers. Add these numbers together and you get 16. The Rosicrucians believed that nature consisted of 16 elements, and according to some Numerology texts, the number 16 “destroys only what is already rotten; it is almost always a destruction for good, regardless of how unpleasant it may seem when it happens.” If you don’t find this a shocking insight, it may be because you didn’t just do a one-hitter with a guy with a glass eye in the alley behind the Friar Tuck’s pub in Chicago.

* * *

I went to see Ice Age 2 just for the chance to see The Simpsons Movie trailer. That isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds. I tried to tell my friends that it was just like the time I bought tickets for a Jeff Buckley show just to see opening act Soul Coughing and then left before Buckley took the stage. But you know what? It’s wasn’t like that at all. After the Buckley show, I ended up having sex with a random goth girl in a bathroom. After Ice Age 2, I went to a Cinnabon in the mall and had a lemonade chillatta.

* * *

When my mother called and told me that my father had died, I didn’t know what to do or say. I think I went into shock. I seem to remember dropping the phone, like it had suddenly become very hot, and looking at my wife and saying, “My dad’s dead.” After that, I just tuned everything out. She was crying and I wondered why I wasn’t and my body went limp like a marionette whose strings had just been snipped.

At some point I wandered into the living room and collapsed onto the couch, trying not to think, unwilling or unable to make sense of what had just happened, and listening as my wife made the necessary calls, telling the people who needed to know. I don’t remember if I turned on the TV or if she did, but I have vague recollections of watching The Simpsons. I wasn’t really paying attention, just staring at the familiar yellow faces, comforted by the white noise of jokes I’d heard countless times before. It was something approaching normalcy.

The pain was closing in fast. I could see it surrounding me. I could smell it in the air. It was circling me like a shark, searching for a way in. But it couldn’t touch me. I’d made damn sure of that. I’d shut out the lights, locked all the doors, closed up shop for the day. If it wanted to burrow its way into my chest, it’d have to wait until normal business hours like everybody else.

I distinctly remember Homer saying, “Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals … except the weasel.” And I remember laughing, though not because it was funny. At the time it seemed eerily significant, though I’m not sure why anymore. I wasn’t thinking clearly, and The Simpsons made it easy to fade away. It was like morphine. I needed to be numb, and for a few gloriously inconsequential minutes, Groening’s animated dementia made me forget. It even made me forget that I wanted to forget. And for at least one sleepless night, that was enough.

* * *

Bart’s locker combination is 36 24 36. Don’t bother trying those numbers on the roulette wheel at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas. Unless you want to call your mother and ask for an emergency $300 wire transfer. Trust me, there’s no way to explain how you lost the money without sounding like a jackhole.

(This story originally appeared on TheNerouvBreakdown.com)