I have acquired, I think, somewhat of a reputation for being a Negative Nellie. I don't know quite how it started. I'd like to blame Dear Apron, but this persona was firmly established before Dear Apron was formed in the womb.
It's an aura that's surrounded me since, well, I was fourteen or so.
I don't know exactly how it happened. Maybe it's because I'm "snarky" or because I "tell it like it is."
(Vom through my schnozz.)
Regardless of how it began, I think we can all agree that "negative" is as good an adjective to use to describe me as any, right up there with "sickly" and "deformed."
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if you ever catch yourself thinking that I'm a nice guy, keep in mind that this is my favorite cartoon:
My eldest sister sent me this picture maybe four years ago in an attachment to an email, and I am forever grateful. I was sad for some reason, I can't remember which calamity it was at the time, but, regardless-- she wanted it to brighten up my day. I laughed so hard when I opened the attachment that I thought my colon was going to explode. And I wouldn't have cared if it had. Every now and then, when I'm really down, I just open up this file and I laugh until I need my inhaler.
I mean-- the Izod shirt. The corduroy blazer. The chubbiness. The gleeful expression. The CROSSED double-deuce... and he's eating fucking sushi and there's fucking sushi in his MOUTH, for Christ's sake! Genius.
Mother. Fucking. Genius.
So, even though I think I've done this before (would be interesting to compare the two posts, if one had the energy/interest) I thought I'd compile a short list of things that I like. You know, it's like Facebook, but without the cute little thumbie.
I don’t know how it started. I guess with Stan Rogers—a long time ago. If you’ve never given him the time of day, well, now’s the time. Fire up Pandora and open up her box, you’ll be very happy you did. Unless you like Diddy or some shit. While I may be tooling around in my used Volvo in reality, in my head, I’m Rollin’ Down to Old Maui, or decidedly bound for the Rio (pronounced “Rye-oh”) Grande, or pulling in that “Bully in the Alley.” I know the sight of a mustachioed 30-year-old Jewish guy built like a twig singing old maritime music to himself doesn’t make much sense, but, in my life, what does? It gets decidedly awkward when I forget myself and lustily sing out Ewan MacColl’s “Blow, Boys, Blow” while walking from my car to the Post Office, and not just because of the title, but because it contains choice edible accoutrements “monkey ass” and “donkey liver” as well as the trusty old “N-word.”
I know, hating broccoli is the biggest social-loafing device that exists in the world, and I’m actually grateful that it exists to be so universally vilified. The Israelis and the Palestinians and Helen Thomas should all try hating broccoli together—they’ll be fast fucking friends. There’ll be massive amounts of Shalom-ness everywhere. Trust me.
I love broccoli, and it’s not just because I’ve sworn to do the opposite of whatever’s popular. I really love it. We’re actually growing some in our side-yard microgarden, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll eat it cooked, but raw is best. I like the floret and I like the stem. Our dog, Finley, goes fucking bananas for broccoli. If we so much as open the crisper drawer, he stares at us like a strung-out crackhead. I guess he gets that from me. You could say that I don’t actually like broccoli itself, because I don’t eat it by itself—it requires ranch dressing. Barring that, the only other acceptable slather must come from my wife’s specially-prepared garlic sauce. I have been known to consume an entire (very very large) bowl of raw broccoli and garlic sauce for dinner.
And this is where you thank God that you know me from afar.
I think I’ve figured out what I love about being early. It has nothing to do with respect for another person’s time (I don’t) and it has nothing to do with my self-image or my impatience, and it has nothing to do with my perception of reality or my inability to accurately gauge my relationship between time and space:
It’s an addiction.
It’s fucking chemical.
I LOVE the way it feels, in my body and in my brain, when I am early. It’s no different, presumably, than the high a junkie shitskin gets when he injects heroin or battery acid or rat shit directly into his bloodstream. It feels FUCKING AMAZING to know that I’ve beaten The Clock at its sole purpose: inserting its hour and minute hands in my cornhole.
No. I won’t let you. I love my cornhole. It’s small and cute and hour hands and chopsticks and Parker pens do not go up there. No.
Surprised? Oh, come now—don’t be coy.
Another blogger I know recently wrote to me that, for her, blogging had begun to be “a chore.” This made me quite sad. First of all—she’s a very good writer, and for her to feel that blogging had become a chore is definitely an unfortunate thing, because people generally don’t especially like chores (notice, “Chores” are not on my list of Likes) and so I think we may reasonably assume that, if blogging for this individual is a chore, it has become something she no longer “likes.”
Well, shit. That’s not good, kids.
Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s one of those chores that we actually receive some kind of internal gratification from. Like taking out the trash. It’s a pain in the balls, no? I have, like, five trashcans in our small, three-bedroom house. What the fuck is that about? I feel like such an asshole, dragging that big trash-bag (it’s never quite big enough, actually) all over the goddamn house every Tuesday morning, but the reward is that there is no longer trash in the house.
Dishes? Sure, doing dishes is annoying for most people—but I love it. It’s an easy way for an inept man to feel accomplished, and, after it’s all done, the sink smells like orangey yum-yum goodness and not like a Bavarian octogenarian’s anus.
It’s an annoying truth about our society that lots of people are suspicious of men who work with children. Of course, people are more than willing to ignore the fact of the seemingly endless parade of hot middle and high school female teachers busted for assigning their male students “XXXtra credit,” but, hey—what do I know? Never happened to me when I was in middle or high school.
I enjoy working with children, and, after my time at my current job is up at the end of August, I’m going to miss it. Children are honest, even when they’re not, and their perspectives and perceptions never cease to amaze and amuse me, and not in that patronizing way, either, even though it probably came out that way.
I love talking to children—- especially the socially awkward ones—- probably because they remind me of me, the old me and the young me. During a recent rehearsal for “Peter Pan” the ten-year-old boy playing Michael Darling approached me to complain that his flying harness was irritating his “Congo Delta Region.”
When I stopped laughing, I said,
“I think that’s a problem for somebody who isn’t me to deal with.”
How could I leave you off the list of likes? Some of you have been here for a hell of a long time. You deserve a medal or a cash settlement or something—and all you get are more blog posts.