An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walk in Support of MY MASONIC APRON'S 600th BLOGDAY!

I don't remember when we as a society started running and jogging and walking in support of people who have diseases, or for disease awareness, or to do battle with diseases, but it seems to have been going on for quite a while.

Back in elementary school, our gym teacher started a walk (around the permieter of the school) in support of a boy at our school who had a heart condition which killed him when he was in sixth grade. When my wife and I bought our house, we realized that we had moved next door to that little boy's mother, who informed us that my elementary school gym teacher still does the walk to generate awareness for her son's disease, even after all these years have passed.

And I like that.

I say that because I don't want to get people up-in-arms about this blog, and have to suffer through an annoying backlash of hot-and-bothered comments from people who probably didn't even read the post to begin with because, shortly, it's going to get silly, ridiculous, and, yes, say it with me now: offensive around here. Because, really, those of you who know what to expect from me have come to expect just that from me and, chances are, you don't come here for my dashing good looks and superb knowledge of the wine list.

Oh, what am I saying? This post is going to run on Sunday, and nobody reads this shit on Sunday. You're all in church, tithing, like good little twentysomethings or whatever the hell you are.

Yesterday, traffic was appreciably bunged up in my little corner of the wood because of a 5-K walk in honor of something or other-- I don't really know what it was. Maybe it was to raise awareness of something, or to raise money for something-- but it's never just "so you can get exercise because you're fat or have cellulitis," which would be beneficial for a lot of people, but a little too, well, aware and not very, well, you know-- sexy.

So, as my wife and I tried to meander out of our conservative family neighborhood to get to a hipper, ethnic neighborhood for breakfast seated across from middle-aged lesbians, we found it nearly impossible to do this because all of our local streets were blocked off by either police cruisers or aging blockades made of slanting saw-horses. This got us thinking about walks and runs and jogs, and we thought of some good ones that you might want to initiate in your own particular neighborhoods and rally support for. Some would make for excellent t-shirts.

The 10-K Walk for Awareness of Morning Wood

Many people know of the colloquialism, but few people are aware that this condition affects approximately 73.2 million men worldwide between the ages of 13-62. No other penile condition cuts such a dramatic swath across all ethnic, religious, racial and spiritual lines in the male population. Neighborhood flags ought to be lowered to 3/4ths staff during said event.

Jog to Promote Awareness for SNEE

Any woman who's worn a thinly-constructed knit top from Old Navy and then has had the misfortune to walk beneath an air conditioning ceiling vent at work knows the extremely regrettable sensation of SNEE, and the folded arms across the chest, the tucked, introverted posture is a dead giveaway for millions across the globe. Now is the time to raise awareness for this distressing condition. Dress in layers.

Run for Your Cords

Few people appreciate the dramatic impact that corduroy trousers have had on the lives of men and women who shop for leg-covering garmentude at L.L. Bean. For anybody who has ever worn a pair of cords, or who has loved and/or lost someone who has, this is the event to celebrate both skinny and wide wales. This event may also be dubbed "Swish for the Trou."

Jog for Judaism

Also known as the annual Jew Jog, this event raises awareness of and for Jews. Lots of us love throwing our Jewishness in peoples' faces, and here's a way to legitimize that effrontery by wearing black coats and hats, expensive-looking handbags, talking loudly about discounts we've ruthlessly sought out, and complaining about why our children don't call as often as they should.

Race for Facebook

This event should be held in places where awareness of Facebook and other social media sites of the 21st century is sorely lacking, such as Duluth, the state of Alabama, and George Bush, Sr.'s house.

Apron Pride Day

You know you're all up ons this particular event. It's a celebration of My Masonic Apron's 600th post, of all the things that make Mr. Apron Mr. Apron: sarcasm, a foul mouth, earthtones, a random cacophany of reasonably-priced antiques, Victoriana, and music that normal people forsook years ago for target-masturbating, Bluetooth-equipped cars, and cocktails. Dress is business formal, plus a make-your-own-masonic-apron apron.

See you on the street.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


When I walked into work yesterday, I slid my identification card into the electronic time clock, signed myself up for my assignments for the day, nursed my coffee and nonchalantly eavesdropped on some of the pre-workday conversational chatter I'm not yet confident enough to join in on. See, when you arrive for work for a 7am shift at 6:40, you sign up for assignments inside the nurses' station and you are actually not permitted to enter the unit until 7:00am on the dot. So, you sit or stand and you chat or you listen.

Yesterday, I listened. And I heard that a patient, a 23-year-old young man who was discharged just a few days ago was dead.

"He just walked out into the middle of the street, right in front of a car."

They don't know for certain if it was a suicide, but, when you have an incident like this, befalling a recently-released former patient of a mental institution who had been expressing suicidal ideations and bizarre behavior, well, even I can put two and two together and get pretty close to four.

For the purposes of this blog, we'll call the recently departed "Ellis." I first met Ellis about three weeks ago. I was sitting in the activities room on the Acute Unit, writing a report, and he was shuffling towards me. I saw him from out of the corner of my eye. When you work in a psychiatric hospital, filled with prisoners and assaultive patients and convicted murderers, mixed in with the just plain manic, bipolar and disorganized, you tend to use the corner of your eye a lot more than the eye itself. I guess that's why a peripheral vision test is part of the pre-employment physical. It's kind of a big deal.

Anyway, Ellis was shuffling over to me. He had no shoes or socks on, and he was wearing a pair of black and red checked pajama bottoms and a black t-shirt that was full of holes. He had stubble, but it was kid stubble, the kind you could shave dry if you wanted to, maybe once a week and nobody'd notice. His hair was, well, fucked up. Light socket style-- Emmett Brown kind of a thing. It looked as if a bird, or several birds, had been nesting in there for a few months. His teeth were in disarray and, as he approached me, I put down my pen and looked at him.

"Can I talk to you, please?" he said to me in a small, meek voice.

"Sure," I said, "pull up a chair."

And he did. I really don't remember what we talked about, to be honest with you. He told me that he'd been a drifter for a while, I think, and that he'd gone off his meds, and that he was looking forward to "getting everything straightened out." I asked him the standard question we ask everyone, "Do you have any thoughts of harming yourself or anybody else?" He said "No." He appeared able to carry on a legitimate conversation. Five minutes after he walked away from me, he was taking off his clothes in the middle of the hallway. Maybe half-an-hour later, he had to be redirected for wandering in and out of other patients' rooms, ignoring directions, and for trying to escape onto the general ward through a secure door.

He shuffled down the hallway as if he were impervious to his surroundings, as some of our patients do, and believe themselves to be. He had to be watched closely, his behavior was unpredictable. But, after three days of good behavior, he was moved onto the general ward. There, he isolated himself, occasionally going to a group or two. Just a few days ago, I was monitoring the hall, and he shuffled towards me again.

"Can we talk?" he asked.

"Definitely, Ellis. Have a seat."

He talked, and I listened. Again, nothing remarkable. Not much I can really recall. Maybe that says more about me than it does about him. But it's kind of funny because I usually have such an uncanny ability to memorize dialogue and recall what patients say to me, but not Ellis. For some reason, his complaints or questions or statements just sort of blend into the milieu with dozens of other patients I've seen and talked to and interacted with.

But Ellis will be remembered by me as the first patient I ever heard play the piano at our hospital. One day while doing rounds, I walked towards the piano room, which is really never used for its intended purpose, and I heard a sound that made me stop for a moment. It was music. Music amidst the paranoid ramblings, the swearing on the payphone, the frustrated refusals of patients who won't take their meds because they "distort my face" or because the nurses are "poisoning the Crystal Light." There was music. I softened my step, so as not to disturb the beautiful, soft, pedaled strains of a song I recognized, but wasn't too big a fan of.

John Lennon's "Imagine."

As I walked past the piano room, pretending to be more interested in my rounds checklist, I glanced out of that trusty corner of my eye and saw Ellis, sporting his unmistakable, haphazard hairdo, seated at the piano, playing from sheet music-- I don't know where he got it. And, standing there singing, in a soft, sweet voice, was a one of my favorite patients-- "R," the religiously-preoccupied lady with a tidy sum in the bank, who won't use it until God speaks to her, and remains homeless to this day. "God," I thought as I passed the room, on my merry way, "what a pair."

And now Ellis is dead, "with God," as R would say, and I wonder if she knows that her accompanist is gone.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Well, Check Your Ego and Kiss My Id, It's... DEAR APRON!

Well, it's Friday. Time to knock back a little Manischewitz, thank God you didn't die at work by getting your necktie caught in the laminating machine, and be eternally grateful that all that masturbating in high school didn't blind you like Sister Indetia said it would, 'cause then you'd need some seriously expensive assistive technology to read...


Our daughter "Joy" is 20. Her boyfriend, "Danny," is 22. They plan to be married once they graduate from college. Danny is a wonderful young man who loves our daughter very much.

Danny's parents have an expensive home, two new cars, a boat and a vacation home. They do not help their son financially -- even with college. Danny works full time, attends school full time and pays all of his expenses. What concerns me is that he has a car payment, a school loan and is using a credit card to buy an engagement ring for Joy.

Joy and Danny would like a big, expensive wedding. Although we would like to do that for our daughter, we are reluctant about spending so much for a wedding, knowing that afterward they will have to pay off all of Danny's bills. Should we voice our concerns to our daughter or keep our mouths shut? We don't want to start out as bad in-laws. -- LOVING DAD IN UTAH


Why can't you just say, "I want Danny's parents to pay for the wedding"? Can't you just say that? Believe me, you'd feel much, much better and you'd have saved about two hundred and fifty characters.

Danny's parents can't pay for the wedding, for the same reason they can't pay for his college education and his car: they've spent everything they have on that huge house, their vacation home, those nice, sparkly new cars and that goddamn boat that they only let you on after your shoes are off and you've been appropriately deloused.

If you want my advice, which you clearly do, suck it up and pay for this wedding. Trust me, in a couple decades, you'll be very happy that Joy married up.


I have a problem with people in our church congregation who want to greet me with a kiss. Please advise me on how to handle this delicate situation.

I don't want to hurt any feelings; these are nice people. However, lips carry germs, and I have a weak immune system. I have tried extending my hand in greeting, but one man smooched me anyway, saying, "I don't shake hands with girls!" Abby, I'm 70 and hardly a "girl," and I didn't appreciate his rejection of my handshake.

Do you think it will work if I tell him and others that I have a contagious disease that causes men's lips to dry up and fall off? -- DEANNA IN FLORIDA


Let's be a little more detailed here, if you don't mind. Exactly what kind of kisses are we talking about here? If it's a little peck on the puss, then I don't really see what the problem is, and I'm not quite sure what sort of diseases you expect to be getting from these elderly, liver-spotted gentlemen in green trousers, bowling shirts, and white shoes who smell like Vicks Vapo-Rub.

Well, actually, come to think of it, any man who's kissing on you has got to be at least of WWII veteran age, so it's indeed possible that any number of these gentlemen could have contracted some exotic sexually-transmitted disease half a century ago from an underage, dark-hued Polynesian beauty. But I think the odds of them transmitting such a disease to you through any act of affection that would be appropriate in a church setting would be unlikely at best.

I'm glad to hear that you're still getting sexually assaulted at 70, though. And in church, too. Some people have all the luck.


I have met my soul mate. She has the same name as my ex-wife. How do we remedy this? It is driving me nuts! -- SCOTT IN WASHINGTON STATE


Easy. When you are fucking this bitch, just yell out the name of some random chick. Just make sure it's a different random chick each time, or your soulmate might get the wrong idea.


I am hoping you might have a suggestion on how to handle cigarette smokers who ignore my requests to not smoke in my direction. I have severe allergies, and I also suffer from dry eye syndrome. Even after I have told smokers that their addiction worsens my condition they continue, assuming that by cracking a window the room is ventilated. -- FRUSTRATED IN TURLOCK, CALIF.


Oh my God-- "severe allergies"... "dry eye syndrome..." I have an idea: why don't you team up with the old biddy with the "weakened immune system" and become a super-hero duo together, fighting those who would befoul the air and spread diseases with wanton abandon? Just don't try to kiss her, though.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Such a Rake

On Tuesday, my day off, I was determined to be both productive and leisurely. On Monday evening, after returning from a Target Run with the Mrs., I turned to her and said,

"I'm going to take care of all these fucking leaves tomorrow, it's getting ridiculous. I'll probably need a bulldozer. The neighbors are getting restless, I think."

"Meh," my wife said, failing to notice that every lawn on our street is distinctly devoid of fallen autumn leaves, and that our section of the street was littered with rather substantive leafy mountains.

My lovely wife, I suspect, has a similar lack of social awareness that her lovely parents possess. Oftentimes, they are mystified as to why they don't fit in with their affluent neighbors in Providence, R. I. My mother-in-law and father-in-law look great, on paper. They're Jewish, and she's an attorney and he's a psychiatrist, probably just like lots of power-couples in their neighborhood. Of course, there are cracks in the plaster. She's an attorney who wears pink jumpers emblazoned with cartoon pigs, frilly socks, and a handbag shaped like a watering can. He's a psychiatrist, who, even when attired in a sport coat, collared shirt, dress pants and a tie, looks like he just rolled out of bed on a good day, or a dumpster on a not so good day. Their lawn is unkempt, there are often cast-off cars in their driveway, their mentally disorganized dogs haphazardly pull them down the neighborhood streets and bark at unseemly hours of the day and night, sometimes resulting in law enforcement contact.

While my wife and her family are afflicted with the curse of unawareness, I am struck by hyper-awareness. Or maybe it's paranoia. I'm not really sure, but, since I'm as yet undiagnosed, let's stick with the colloquial. I constantly feel the searing stares of others upon me when I do something, or, worse, don't do something. When our lawn is an unfortunate state, I know I am silently being judged by those around us-- older, wiser, more competent, more experienced, more... with it. As I've said before, lawn care doesn't interest me in the slightest, as I suspect it doesn't interest many other people my age who happen to have the good fortune to have a house to maintain. But I know that I'm supposed to give a shit about mowing and raking and trimming, so I do it. As Pooh-Bah says in The Mikado, "it revolts me, but I do it."

And, Tuesday morning, I did it. With a snow shovel.

Now, as I was "raking" my autumn leaves with a tool definitely manufactured for a different purpose and a different season, neighbors passed me by, jogging, walking their children to the elementary school that I attended as a boy, getting into their cars to start their daily commutes, and I couldn't help but think to myself, "Was what they were thinking and saying about me before they saw me cleaning up the street with a snow shovel worse or better than what they're thinking and saying about me now, watching me shovel gargantuan piles of red, brown, orange, yellow, and purple leaves with a snow shovel?"

And I suppose what it all comes down to (my friend) is that I'll never know, just as those around me will never know the vitriolic, frustrated, judgmental sentiments I have about lots of them (especially that bald jerkoff with the black Passat wagon) and what does it all really matter anyway? A lot of the time, I wish that I could operate more like my wife and her family, wandering around unaware of the vast, great distance that separates us from The Joneses.

Or maybe there's a happy medium somewhere in there. But, for a guy who cleans up leaves with a snow shovel, I sort of doubt it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

See You In My Dreams

"Can you do me a favor, Bobber?" I called to my wife before daybreak yesterday morning.

"Sure," she said. She was in our home office/crafting room, blearily checking her email, Facebook, Ucomics, getting in a quick game of Bejeweled, mayhaps before heading downstairs to breakfast.

"Can you Google the name 'Hans Muir' for me please?"

"Uh, sure," she said.

"I had a dream last night that you and I were watching some documentary about the history of law enforcement, and the credits rolled and there was one in big font that listed the director as Hans Muir."

There followed a brief period of silence, punctuated by some keyboard clicks.

"He's just some asshole," my wife officiously reported. "He's on Facebook."

"Well, of course he is. Who isn't?"

There is, apparently, only one Hans Muir on Facebook. He lives in Seattle and he seems like a pretty cool guy, from his open profile on Facebook that I probably shouldn't be reading or sharing with you. Yes, he's definitely cool-- even though he likes "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show." He's an artist, and I've been to his website, and his stuff is thought-provoking, bold, and energetic. He's three years younger than I.

And, one day, maybe in the not too distant future, he's going to Google himself, as we all do while eating cold pizza at 2:00am in our underwear and he'll find this blog post and he'll track me down and kill me.

Actually, he'll probably just send me a what-the-fuck email. And I will answer it, because I am crazy.

Hans Muir strikes me as kind of a granola-crunchy sort of guy, and I wonder if he is any relation to John Muir, who, according to Google Image, looks like this:

John Muir lived from 1838-1914, and he was pretty crunchy in his own right. An environmentalist and an early believer in the preservation of wildlife, Muir founded the Sierra Club, and he was a constant thorn in the balls of Congress, twisting and turning said thorn until Congress passed the National Park Bill in 1899, preserving Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

John Muir's mission in life, it seems, was to, "Save the American soul from total surrender to materialism."

That's only 58 characters (with spaces!) so you can tweet that from your Droid.

I'm pretty sure that this is the first dream I've ever had where I've dreamt about a specific name of a person that I've never met before and actually remembered it precisely enough to look it up. I don't think it especially means anything, but it's still kind of cool, because, today, I got to learn about two people, Hans Muir and John Muir, when, yesterday, I didn't know fuckall about either of them.

Being generally a narcissitic wreck, I am inevitably left to wonder if there are people out there dreaming and seeing my name. That would be kind of cool. They would Google me and see some fucking weird shit. And it would serve them right.

My father-in-law, a psychiatrist, recently told me of a dream he'd had where he was trying to get back home and was having some difficulty (he is obsessed with thinking he has dementia, and has always been absent-minded and generally lost) and one of his cars from his long-forgotten past was present in the dream.

"Which car was it?"

"Oh, I don't remember," he told me.

"Well, if you ever have the dream again, pay attention. I want to know which car it was," I said, in my charming, proto-Aspergian way.

Well, wouldn't you know that he had the dream again, and he remembered. Here is an email he sent to my wife two weeks ago:

Last night a '51 Ford convertible , my first car. This reminds me of "American Beauty" when the main character buys the first car he owned. I'm probably looking for what once made me happy, a simpler time when I was smart and fit and anything was possible. What next :a '67 Mustang or '73 Datsun 240Z? Should I call Car Talk for interpretations? I recall explaining the importance of cars to my analyst. Perhaps a paper on the dream car as self-object.

Let me know about the kitchen. You might need the sabre saw with a metal cutting blade for the sill plates. Dad.

Happy motoring, my dears. Sweet dreams. The next time you enjoy a walk in the park, thank John Muir. And, Hans-- no hard feelings. You're an amazing artist.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dear Psych Patient...

... Hi.

I'm First Name, Last Initial. Pleased to meet you. Sort of.

I'm going to be your psych tech for the day. I am hoping for a relatively taciturn eight hours with you, and I hope that you are hoping for a somewhat tranquil eight hours with me. It would be really great if you were asleep in your room for the duration of that time period, but I acknowledge that it is not particularly theraputic for you to be sleeping between the hours of 7am & 3pm, thus missing breakfast, and lunch (and two whole smoke-breaks.... eeeep!) and so, bearing in mind that you will most likely be awake for the duration of our time together, (maybe you'll go down for a four-and-a-half-hour-power-nap-pretty-please) it would be great if you could make a concerted effort to read and attempt to adhere to the following guidelines for an all-around awesometots day.

Please, dear patient, do NOT....

urinate where other people can see you.

use the bathroom sink as a receptacle for your feces.

ask me what time it is, what my name is, if you're going home every two-and-a-half minutes.

run at full speed down the hall like you are an Acela train. That scares people.

refuse to eat lunch, throw it out and then, five minutes later, ask for another lunch.

slice your skin open. All that red stuff belongs on the inside.

soil yourself. Come on, now. You're Jesus, you're not a one-year-old child.

vomit on the receiver of the pay telephone. Other crazy motherfuckers have to use that shit.

ask me if you can try on my wedding ring. That's creepy.

nucleafart in a 20-yard radius of me. The devil isn't in your brain, he is clearly up your ass.

have sex with another patient. We are required to physically pull you off if we catch that nast.

shit in the clothes dryer. Really.

Please DO...

sing. Because that is invariably, without qualification, entertaining. Especially when it's "Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes," and you're a crazy homeless, 56-year-old black man with a snaggle tooth, and you're touching your feet for "Head" and your knees for "Shoulders."

socialize with the other patients in the milieu. Because then we get to write notes utilizing the word "milieu" and that makes us sound intelligent.

make every effort to keep your hands off your genitals and the gennies of others.

eat facing away from me. Watching psych patients eat is harder than watching actors eat.

play "Tic-Tac-Toe" or "War" with me while I'm on hall duty. It passes the time for both of us.

write a complaint form when a staff member is inappropriate. I can't seem to get anybody fired here, but maybe you can.

your laundry. You smell.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dusty Old Racism

My wife and I went to Cape May yesterday. Going to the beach in mid-October has its advantages. There are no beach tags, no lifeguards to collect said beach tags, no annoying people listening to the Phillies game on portable radios, no annoying people smoking, no annoying children kicking sand in your face....

No, well, people.

It was 71 degrees. The perfect type of weather for consuming freshly-prepared chicken and vegetarian sandwiches on portable chairs, running lines for my upcoming production of Iolanthe, and basking in the glow of four years of marriage to my partner. In crime.

Don't worry-- it's mostly misdemeanors. We're pretty vanilla.

Our mid-October trek to the beach was sandwiched in between trips to antique shops. Antiquing is a strange sort of hobby that neither my wife nor I enjoyed very much until we got, as Basil Fawlty would say, "manacled together," and, ever since then, it is something that we very much enjoy doing. Typically, we have a mission. We need some obscure item for some even more obscure reason. Case in point: we found one day that we needed a china cabinet. Why would a thirty-year-old and his twenty-nine-year-old bride necessitate a china cabinet? Because my wife's great-aunt Frieda (my wife's father's father's sister) passed away many several years ago, and neither her son nor his children wanted her prized Limoges china.

Well, we wanted it! Bring on the crap-- we'll find a home for it and, if not, we'll buy a home for it. (Actually, my mother-in-law paid for the china cabinet, which was very nice. We paid for the rental van to schlep it to our house.)

Hunting for the china cabinet was entertaining. Antiquing becomes more of an adventure when you have an actual mission, something specific you are looking to procure. A pair of antique eyeglasses for a play, a pocketwatch to add to the collection, some odd piece of Victoriana that you just can't do without when you're, um, gay.

However, this weekend there was no specific mission, nothing on the horizon or agenda that we needed or that was lacking in our lives. We were just another couple, puttering around the vast depths of the past's detritus, seeing if something glittery or something threadbare might catch our eye.

Nothing really did, and we bought exactly nothing (well, except for an overpriced Kit-Kat Bar [not antique] because we were on a bit of a sun-drenched sugar-low by around 3:20pm) but we still enjoyed our little romp through the decades and centuries.

I don't particularly know why people go antiquing, and I'm not even particularly sure why we do it, but we do it. We don't have especially a lot of money to toss around, and, when we do make purchases at antique shops, they usually aren't terribly momentous ones. A $40 typewriter, a $15 pair of glasses, nothing very dramatic or impactful. Maybe that's why I like antiquing, because there's something that makes it accessible for everyone. We know we're not going to come home with a $3,000 armoire, and that's okay with me.

I like antiquing in various parts of the country to see the objects that pop up in different geographical areas. Antiquing in Hershey is fun because of all the chocolate-related business. Antiquing in Lancaster yielded lots of Amish goodies, and also lots of Pennsylvania Railroad stuff, including comfy-looking woolen blankets given out to passengers emblazoned with the PRR logo. Gone are the days of such luxuries.

Some antique shops have bins of shitty old VHS tapes. These boxes are required, by law, to contain the following:

"Sweatin' to the Oldies with Richard Simmons"

"Top Gun"


"Uncle Buck"

"Fatal Attraction"

"Caddyshack II"

And there's always some Jesus shit for children, with some terrible drawing of J. C. wearing a dress with his arms outstretched and a camel and a sheep standing around looking stupid and a big star shining in the sky or something.

And then there's always the Nazi stuff. In the larger antique marts that are home to multiple vendors, there are booths manned by the following archetypes:

Charming elderly lady

Catty elderly lady

Morbidly obese elderly lady with cyanosis, attached to an oxygen tank

Ex-hippy middle-aged woman with hair down to her ass

Liver-spotted elderly man who smells like a century-old humidor

Vaguely homosexual man wearing sunglasses and a kimono and smells kinda purty

Ex-army whackjob with PTSD and a twitch

The latter gentleman is most typically the one who's got the Nazi stuff, and it's challenging being an overtly Jewish schnozzite walking past this type of antique-dealer's booth without feeling a bit, well, prickly. And scared. And moist in the trousers-- and not in the good way, either. There's just something about seeing a case containing a bunch of knives bigger than my torso, surrounded by German army officers' uniforms and swastikas and SS patches everywhere that kind of makes you want to lose your lunch.

There's also, of course, the black stuff. I jokingly refer to it as "Negrobilia." Aunt Jemima grins at you in thick-lipped consumeristic glee from inside alarm clocks, transfered onto serving plates, from her original cardboard and paper boxes and advertisements-- and you can still see her in the supermarket, turning stomachs of liberal-minded white folks since 1893. There's ceramic renderings of wide-eyed elderly black men in sharecropper's garb settin' on down on a fencepost, suckin' down some watermelon, boss, and salt-and-pepper shakers made to look like a slave and his wife. Let's not even get started on the creeptastic Al Jolson record covers. Jazz hands, indeed.

And, somehow, it's perfectly okay to put all that schlock out for sale, amongst the rotary telephones and the filigree engagement rings with the old mine-cut diamonds, the red-handled kitchen tools, and the Victorian hair mourning jewelry. Don't ask me why, or how, because it always still feels wrong to me.

Then again, so does Victorian hair mourning jewelry.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Say "Cheese," Motherfuckers!

I realize that coming to this blog is a little like waking up next to someone with bipolar disorder: you never really know what you're going to get once your eyes adjust to the light.

I mean, on Monday, I could be all sentimental and schmoopie, Tuesday it could be some obscene, profanity-laced tirade extolling the virtues of shampoo-masturbation, Wednesday there's always a possibility that it will be an emotional paean to a fallen police officer, Thursday we could be serving up some guilt-laden monologue about how I don't connect with my family anymore-- and then, if you're lucky, to celebrate the glory of God and the goodness of Shabbat, on Friday you might just get donkey-punched by another fine, upstanding edition of....


No, sorry. This isn't a Dear Apron. But, you know-- maybe tomorrow! Depends on how Jupiter's aligned with Pluto's hot cock.

So, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate that you keep coming back here, even though you never really know if you're going to encounter Jekyll or Hyde, or some bastard lovechild of Maurice Sendak and Barbara Bush. Because, let's face it, that's a possibility, too. Some folks have said that the unpredictable nature of this blog is one of the reasons why they keep coming back. Regrettably, that unpredictability and resistance to pigeonholing is probably one of the reasons why I'll never get a book out of this shit. Well, that and because I refuse to eat celery every day for a year and write about it.

I thought I'd let you know that you're going to get Angry Apron today. Now, the trouble with Angry Apron is that, when diatribing and ripping mercilessly into society's asshole, he may say something that will hurt your feelings. Just know that he doesn't mean it. He's on his period, and his fucking office chair is positively soaked that that schmenck.


So, Mrs. Apron took me to see "Peter and the Wolf" yesterday at the Kimmel Center. It was an anniversary gift, and I was very excited, as "Peter and the Wolf" was an important fixture of my wife's childhood, a special experience she shared with her father. Mrs. Apron and I got gussied up as we are wont to do when going "downtown." Now, seeing a children's concert at 11:30am, you have to prepare yourself for, well, shenanigans, because children, oftentimes very small ones, are involved. Not only are they involved, the entire thing is created solely for them. I mean, if Prokofiev was the type of guy who'd have a shit-fit if a five-year-old wiggle-worm squealed or shrieked during his music, he's probably not the kind of guy who'd have written "Peter and the Wolf" in the first place.

I have to believe he was cool. He and Korsakov-- they're my main motherfuckers.

Anyway, what's funny about attending events for and with children, you spend so much time preparing yourself for inappropriate behavior by children that you forget altogether to prepare yourself for inappropriate behavior by adults. Like most any teacher will tell you-- it's not the kids that drive you batshit, it's the parents.

After the concert had started (there were several mini "acts" prior to "Peter and the Wolf") in walked a husband and wife team, and their two daughters, one was three and the other was an infant. Dad handled the three-year-old, and mom had the infant on her lap.

"I need my Blackberry," Mom hissed to Dad not two minutes after they were seated, squarely in front of us. Awesome. So, Dad handed the Blackberry over to Mom. Silly Apron thought Mom asked for the device so urgently because she had forgotten to silence it. Oh, no. She started taking pictures. Pictures of her husband holding the older daughter, and pictures of herself holding the bewildered, pink-hued infant. I mean, hey-- how could I blame her-- they arrived after the "taking of photographs during the performance is strictly prohibited" warning.

I have to admit to getting a little steamed after she turned the flash on to take pictures of herself holding the baby, temporarily blinding me. Fortunately, I regained my sight long enough to watch over her shoulder in astonishment as she used the Mobile Update function on Facebook to upload the pictures so all her friends could see how chic her family was-- at the Philadelphia Orchestra at 11:30.

Wouldn't you know that, once the pictures were uploaded, they left the auditorium? Strangely enough, the woman's pocket book was still there on the floor so, after the concert, while we were all applauding the conductor and the narrator, they came back to retrieve the bag, unfortunately before I had time to defecate in it.

Now, I'm not a conspiracy theorist by nature, but it seemed an awful lot to me like these people came to this concert for the express purpose of demonstrating to their Facebook pals just how fucking awesome and metro and cultured they are, and how well they're bringing up their daughters, exposing them to the finer things in life. Of course, their daughters didn't even get to see or hear "Peter and the Wolf," didn't get to experience the absolute charm with which the animals were portrayed onstage (the wolf was a huge gray suitcase with fur ears and a tail glued on) and the infant's brain is basically a Jell-O Jiggler, so what would have been the difference to her anyway?

Look, I know all about the age in which we live. I know. And I know that I've certainly been guilty of the "OOh, let's take a picture of XYZ situation, it'll look great on Facebook" instinct, and I've followed through on that instinct on numerous occasions, but I don't do it without worrying about what it says about me, about us, about it all. Have we become a people who cannot just... be in any one given place, situation, or circumstance without recording it for Facebookville and earnestly awaiting validation, that coveted Thumbs Up, that snark-laden, clever comment that starts a chain of one-upmanship until the next status update?

I'm sure I'm not the first schmegeggie to opine about this, and I don't know what the answer is, or, if there is an answer, or if there is even a question. I just get mad sometimes. And this is Angry Apron, signing off.

See you on Facebook, Friend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hi, Tea.

I made tea for the first time this season.

I don't want to get all goopity about it, especially after yesterday's mush-fest about my blushing young bride of *ahem* seventeen summers, but I have to admit that it felt good.

I miss tea when it's not there, but I don't realize that I miss it until I've been reintroduced to it again, when the temperature gets to around forty five, something clicks inside of me, and I realize it's what I've wanted all along.

I can't even bring myself to drink it when I'm not feeling well. Even when my throat is sore and my glands are pelican-sized, I still reach for the coffee. I don't know why-- it probably has something to do with addiction.

I'm sitting here, rather mesmerized, actually, by the steam that is pouring out from the depths of my metal Thermos travel mug. I've just taken the top off, you see, to cool the tea down a little bit and the steam is just billowing out and drifting off to the right before evaporating about three feet into the air above the computer monitor. Watching the steam pour forth from the mug reminds me of the time in my life when I smoked cigars.

I didn't like the taste very much-- I can't imagine anybody does. Then again, I suppose there are people who gleefully buffet out of their lovers' assholes, so who am I to judge the taste buds of another? Anyway, what I really enjoyed about cigars was lighting them at night and watching the smoke tumble out from the big, fat, luminous end. I loved to watch the smoke snake through the darkness, adding a bit of noir to the night sky. It made me feel that I was more important than I was, more interesting, more debonair.

Less dickhead.

Unlike the taste of cigars, I very much like the taste of tea. At least, after I've placed three teaspoons of sugar into it, that is. My wife would posit that I don't actually like tea, just like she insists that I don't actually like coffee, as the same amount of sugar (plus some whole milk, if readily available) is required for my palate. Perhaps she's right. I mean, she is my wife, after all, so her chances are pretty good.

When we were in Bali on our honeymoon, we moved from a sumptuous hotel in Ubud to a lodging of lesser quality after a brief stay in the beach town of Lovina. It was pouring rain when as we trudged to our new lodging, situated right next to a rice paddy and a throng of ducks. After we climbed the stairs, the sun started to come out, and we were positively drenched. The manager of the hotel brought us up a tray of tea, and I remember that the sugar bowl had ants crawling about inside. Well, some of them were crawling. It looked like a kindergartener's science experiment. Rather than complain to the manager about the sugar infestation, I just sat with my wife on our porch and watched the ducks parade around the rice paddy. I think this is probably why I failed the FBI examination I took recently-- too passive, too inclined to avoid confrontation.

Tea drinkers the world over are probably like that. Tea's not a terribly aggressive drink, and I suppose that's partly why the English love it so much. Tea is very English, even before there were the English. You hear all the time about people getting hopped up on caffeine from too much coffee. Too much tea and you just get very mellow, and you have to pee a lot.

After the autumn and the winter go by the wayside, I'll pack up the tea and it'll hibernate at the back of the cupboard, usurped by pasta boxes and containers of orange jelly candies and granola bars. I'll regret that I won't have the urge to drink any of it during the warmer months, but I probably won't miss it. The same way I don't miss cigars, and waking up with cadaver-breath and thick, green mucous in the back of my throat.

Or peeing all the time, while being very mellow about it all-- probably wearing corduroys.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank You For Four Beautiful Years

Every now and then, I get to be a total mush-pot.

You don't mind, do you? See, it's my blog and I feel kind of entitled sometimes.

Mrs. Apron and I were married four years ago today, under a chuppah dappled with sunflowers, on a sun-drenched October the 22nd on a lovely little hilltop with friends and family, and Gilbert & Sullivan, and a celtic fiddle, guitar, and mandolin trio. There were personal vows, scrawled in pencil on scratch paper, written only hours before, at around one o'clock in the morning while we waited for a tow-truck that never came, to tow away an inert 1966 Volkswagen Beetle that was to be, but never was, our getaway car.

Herbie didn't ride again.

One of our vows was to wait for tow-trucks together. One was to save the last rye chip in the Chex Mix bag for the other. One was to hold hands when we're scared. Truthfully, I don't remember the rest, but I suspect we're making good on our promises to each other most of the time.

And, when we don't, we're pretty good at mending the cracks that inevitably show up in the plaster.

I remember back when Mrs. Apron and I were dating. She lives in Pittsburgh and I lived just outside of Philadelphia. I remember the 311 mile drives to and fro, all along I-76. I remember the billboards about Christ and Gettysburg. I remember splitting my urethra while urinating at the rest stop in Chambersburg, sending streams of pee straight down onto my brand-new trousers. Trousers which I promptly threw in the trash can in favor of corduroys, the only other pants that I'd packed-- oh, and it was around 88 degrees. I remember our first dates, I remember birthdays and field trips, G&S parodies and cuddling together on the couch to watch "E. R.," (an early mutual favorite that we later fell out of love with, you know, after the second helicopter crash), or "COPS" (my influence) or "Project Runway" (her influence) with hot Irish Breakfast tea and home-made lemon bread.

I also remember disagreements and challenges and fumbles and tears-- the brain surgery and the miscarriage, but those are meant to be remembered, just like the laughter and the fun. It's life-- what can you do? Life's like that when you have a partner. Well, it's like that when you don't, too, but I'm glad I've got mine. Sometimes I say, "I don't know who I was before my wife," but that's really not true. I do. It's just that sometimes I'd rather not remember that guy.

He wasn't all that.

The schedule's been a tad crowded these last few months-- with both of us leaving and starting jobs, and facing the challenges of DIY kitchen remodeling and me working swing shift every other weekend, well, life's been different around here. And, in many ways, the same. I'm still just as excited as the dogs when she comes home. And I think that's as good a sign as any. I don't make loud, inappropriate noises or pee on the rug, though. We'll save those types of shenanigans for our fortieth anniversary, I think.

Thank you for holding my hand, Bobber. I used to get scared a lot more than I do these days.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My NPR Dilemma

If you're white and drive a Volvo then, like me, you know that NPR is doing its fund-drive thing. This is always a difficult time white Volvo drivers. The temptation, normally, is to switch over to another radio station during this unfortunate period-- however, the other radio stations to which I tune in are also public in nature and are also doing their fund-drive thing at the present moment.

Bad planning, if you ask me. Or, maybe it's just a concerted, coordinated effort to back our asses into a corner and get us to open our wallets.

Or maybe I'm just an insufferable conspiracy theorist.

Or maybe you're out to get me.

In restaurants, I invariably choose the seat with my back against the wall.

Anyway, NPR is begging for money, to pay for its programming, to keep procuring new journalistic talent with funny sounding, vaguely ethnic names, to send reporters to far off, foreign lands, to pay for Carl Kasell's new set of button-down shirts, to buy $2.00 ceramic mugs that they then turn around and "give" to us for a $120 pledge. They have expenses, and I respect that. I listen to NPR, and I don't give them a single penny, and am, therefore, a thief. I readily confess that I habitually steal from the cookie jar that is public radio. And there have been times this week where I have been tempted, dare I say moved to pick up the phone and call to give my pledge to my local NPR affiliate, to put my money where my mouth is, to put in my contribution to support public broadcasting that I love so much and that contributes regularly to my very justified feeling of moral and intellectual superiority. Yes, there are times when I very much feel the urge to donate to public radio.

But then I usually just end up masturbating.

And there you have it. Thank you very much for listening to my NPR dilemma. And now, back to "This American Life" with Ira Glass.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pineapple Man

So, at present, 190 people "follow" this blog. But, I suspect that maybe forty people actually read it. Probably fewer. I'm a bit embarrassed to say how many people I actually believe really read it. I'm not quite that secure in myself yet. I do sometimes wear purple shirts, though.

On Facebook, I have 321 friends. I think we all know that this is no more an accurate representation of how many friends I have in actual, tangible life than the number of followers I can proclaim on Blogger. Friendship is a touchy subject in the Apron household. Mrs. Apron and I are admittedly a bit light in the friendship department. We're both a little socially awkward-- Mrs. Apron claims that I'm much better at compensating for my deficiencies than she, and sometimes I agree. After all, I've never thrown up on anybody at a social gathering, or shouted "NIGGER!" during a theatrical event, and I've thusfar successfully resisted the urge to lick the face of many a comely young waitress when dining out.

While these are all definite pluses in my favor, I still have rather a dearth of friends. A have a couple old ones, and a couple new ones, but that space between is a bit, well, vacant. Because I eschew smalltalk, socializing with coworkers, and being outside of my house in general, I have tended to isolate myself, and I do realize that it is mostly my doing. The friendships that I do have are intense, and sometimes the other party just isn't interested in maintaining such intensity, and I can respect that. We are not a culture of intensity anymore, I don't think. We're pretty flip, pretty cas, pretty, um, superficial at times. And that just is what it is. Most people either willingly adapt, or find themselves forced to do so. I don't know if I've decided which way I'm going to go yet myself.

Funnily enough, what I am finding these days is that the friends I do have are hovering around my parents' age, and a few are a bit older. This is what happens, invariably, when a relatively young person joins, and then becomes president of, a Gilbert & Sullivan society.

I love my old friends. When my wife and I got married four (eeeep!) years ago, a quartet of my G&S friends sang a medley of wedding-related Gilbert & Sullivan songs prior to my wife being walked down the aisle by her parents. "Brightly Dawns the Wedding Day" from "The Mikado", "Hail the Bride of Seventeen Summers" from "Ruddigore", "Comes the Pretty Young Bride" from "The Yeomen of the Guard" set the mood just perfectly, and it let the folks sitting on both sides of the aisles know that this wasn't just any old cookie cutter affair. And the voices of our friends, three out of the four well into their sixties, melded together just beautifully.

Another friendship I have is with a sixty-something-year-old Hawaiian man, with whom I serve on another non-profit board. When I was a teenager, I went to summer camp with his two daughters, but, as life would have it, I lost touch with them and became friends with him. Michael is an engineer and does I.T. things that I don't understand, even when explicitly explained to me by him. Michael is very good at lots of things, but the one thing he isn't very good at is communicating with a human being whose intelligence and ability to comprehend complex verbiage is beneath his own. I once borrowed Michael's van to pick up some huge theatrical spotlights and Michael warned me that one of the sliding doors on the van was "recalcitrant."

"Ah," I said, "you mean 'broken.'"

"Yes," Michael replied, "in layman's terms, I suppose, yes, it's broken."

While Michael often communicates like a computer, he has a heart of pure gold. He builds all the sets for the children's performing arts center where I used to work, just getting reimbursed for materials. His ability to imagine and then create is truly outstanding, and he builds everything in his basement. Knowing and believing that Michael can do anything, Mrs. Apron asked him one day if he could take a look at our antique bed that had an unfortunate habit of collapsing.

He spent all day at our house, even driving to Lowe's to buy wood and bracing materials, and he rigged he fucking hell out of our bed. He explained everything that he was doing, using complex geometrical terms, and I just nodded my head-- pretending I understood what he was going on about. Sometimes, though, I would just cut him off and say, "Just tell me where to hold the wood, Michael."

To thank him for helping save our bed and our marriage, we bought Michael a heavy-duty floor protecting pad for a snowblower that his daughter had bought him for his birthday that he wouldn't stop talking about. He was very touched. When we moved into our house, he had bought us a Ryobi starter kit, complete with saw and screwgun and auxilliary battery. Slowly, I was starting to realize we were friends, rather than Michael just being the dad of two girls I went to camp with many years ago.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when he called me a couple of weeks ago to ask me for a favor. His parents, who are very frail and elderly, had been in deteriorating health for some time. They were living in their native Hawaii until three years ago, no longer able to live independently. Michael and his wife moved them up here, into their basement, which they had completely remodeled, making a full bathroom down there as well as temperature-controlled living and sleeping areas. As their health worsened, Michael began making plans for them to move to an assisted living facility. Michael's father, Jack, served in WWII, making him automatically eligible for a bed at the V. A., when one was available. Jack's wife, Harriet, assisted in the war effort, and, after filing lots of papers and some wrangling, Harriet qualified for veteran's status, and, since there are not nearly as many women as men applying for spots at the V. A. retirement home, Harriet got accepted first.

"I was wondering if you would be able to pick my dad up from the V. A. a couple times on the week of the 18th. My wife and I are out-of-town and he wants to go spend every day with her. I have coverage for the mornings, getting him there, but I need someone to pick him up three days that week. Can you do that?" Michael asked me.

"Of course I can," I said.

And so, on Monday night, I drove to the V. A., arriving at 7:30pm, and found Harriet in her wheelchair next to the nurses' station with Jack standing behind her. They're both small, gray-haired, stooped over, Asian. Michael's wife, Sally, calls them "The Twins."

"Are you his grandson?" the Indian nurse behind the station asked me.

"No," Jack said, "he is my ride. If he doesn't take me, I have to walk 25 miles home." This is very humorous, because Michael told me that his father's limit is "200 yards."

Jack shuffled into Harriet's room to get our her pajamas and her Depends ready for her for the evening. As Jack got her things ready, I stood looking at the Xeroxed family photographs tacked up on the wall. There was Michael and Sally on their wedding day, draped in Hawaiian flowers, Michael's hair was completely black. There were pictures of their daughters and their beaus, pictures of Jack and Harriet in younger days.

"What handsome people," I remarked to Jack, "you're a lucky man."

"Well," he said, opening the closet, "I hope so, anyway." He pulled out several little bags and handed them to me. "Here, we do not eat so much food. All they do is give you food here. Please, take this." Little bags of Herr's potato chips, a chocolate Tastykake, and two small pretzels, formerly soft pretzels, now as hard as bricks.

"Thank you, Jack."

On the way out to the car, Jack missed the curb and pitched forward, and I caught him, my heart almost in my mouth.

"I'm okay," he said. "A very long day."

On the way to Michael's house, he told me all about the jobs that he had held.

"Before the War, I worked for The Pineapple Company, (he didn't specify which one, so I just assumed there only was one in Hawaii at that time, hence the capitalization) and after the war, I work for them again, for a long time. I was an engineer. Then, this Chinese multimillionaire call me and tell me I going to work for him, work on buildings made of pre-stressed concrete.

"This guy made a fortune with a stand selling ice cream on the beach to tourist. Also, he own a lot of property. He buy a Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealership, and a shopping plaza for $30, $40 a square foot, people say, 'You crazy!' But then, later, he sell it for $80 a square foot. He and I build biggest shopping plaza in Waikiki-- $2.7 million dollar. He build the only revolving restaurant in Waikiki-- it run on a one horsepower motor, unbelievable. Only revolving restaurant in Hawaii. He have a temper. I was a timid man when I first went to work for him. And he say, "Jack, put some balls on." He always call me up and scream at me. Every other word out of his mouth was the F-word. He want me to do some things some way I didn't think was right.

"One day, his son-in-law have a judgment against him, and I went to the lawyer to go clean it up, and he call me there at the lawyer office and say, 'Why the fuck you there without ask me first?' And I say, 'My job is to fix problems, and your son-in-law have a big problem.' And he scream and yell at me-- he was in the hospital all the time-- and I hang up the phone and stand up and say to the lawyer, 'This is the last time you will ever see me here again.' And I went right to the office, he wasn't there, he never there, and I gave the secretary all my master keys.

"I was taught in Catholic school, until college, it was all Catholic. I was taught by the Brothers. They were very strict, and you always know you have to do some things in life to get ahead, but you have to have a code. Some things you just can't do.

He and I still talk, though, that Chinese millionaire. He 94 now. I just sent him a card, actually. No hard feeling."

When we pulled up at Michael's driveway, I walked him up the outside stairs to the house. 3 steps. Jack pitched forward against the outside wall with each step, and I held onto him, gripping his upper arms for all I was worth, more terrified than I'd ever been on any ambulance transport, because this was no patient, this was my friend's father. This was an architectural engineer. This was a WWII veteran. This was the pineapple man.

In the foyer of the house, we shook hands.

"Thank you for bringing me home," Jack said. "It's hard to be away from her. We are married sixty years. I never realized that getting old would be such a... problem."

"I'll see you Thursday, Jack," I croaked, turning away from him, my throat thick.

God save the pineapple man.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ass Backwards. Literally!

Don't you hate when people just can't seem to use the word "literally" correctly? As in, "Dude. It is seriously going to be raining cats and dogs. Literally."

Well, then I hope the street-sweeping crew is going to be hitting my neighborhood after that rain breaks, because, if not, we're all going to be slipping on a lot of kitty entrails and matted blood and fur all over the fucking place. It's a good thing I just changed my windshield wipers and had them affixed with those high-absorbency industrial sponges.

Yesterday, I was ass backwards. Literally. As in, the ass of my boxer shorts was on top of my penis. As in, I was wearing my undewear the wrong way 'round. Literfuckingally.

Getting dressed as I do at 5:20 in the morning, these type of things are bound to happen. Sometimes, at eight or nine o'clock in the morning, I'll look down at myself and, usually a very fastidious dresser and matcher, I will be disappointed at my ensemble for the day. There may be gray socks with brown trousers, or a dubiously-colored undershirt. All of my collared shirts are wrinkled. I refuse to iron dress shirts-- especially to go to work in a psych hospital? Who's going to notice? The 300 pound, frothy-lipped black gentleman who walks out of his room holding his micropenis in his hand asking for a cup of apple juice and an Ativan?

So I don't sweat my apparel, though I would like to have my underwear on correctly.

I knew something was not quite right, you know, down there, but I didn't realize what it was until the end of my shift. I had peed three times during the day, but never noticed the under-roo debacle because *gulp* I often pee sitting down.

Yes. I pee like a girl. Laugh at me. I don't care. Go ahead, laugh. There's Mr. Apron, peeing like a Mrs. Apron! Hahahahahaha. That's pretty fucking funny, isn't it? You like that shit? Yeah. I pee like your sister. Get over it.

Anyway, I'll bet your sister pees standing up.

OH, DAMN! No, I di'int!

Anyway, yes, I di'id.

So, my underwear was on backwards. Not to read too much into it, but I definitely think you can apply backwards underwear to life, if you try hard enough. I mean, we're all backwards, lacking in attention to detail, fumbling our way through the menial and sometimes very important tasks of life and, sometimes, we just, well, step in the wrong way.

I don't remember the circumstances surrounding the other times in my life that this has happened, but I sure remember the first time. I was a freshman in high school, a wormy, skinny, weird, unfortunate freshman in high school and I was trying to find friends the only way I knew how-- by trying be funny. So, on the late bus, populated with theatre dorks, football dickheads, and cheerleader sluts-in-training, I casually announced, in my charming, self-deprecating way, that I realized something so funny in 5th period-- that my boxers were on the wrong way.

There was silence for a minute or two. Then, a freckle-cheeked, towheaded football player broke said silence.

"Oh, yeah? Is that so your boyfriend can fuck you easier-- with the pisshole by your asshole?"

And.... scene.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Glossing Over

You know how there are certain objects that are there so often that you just don't see them anymore?

There are these things in our daily lives-- like your speedometer, for instance, that you just see all the time but you never really look at. That's right-- I'm calling you on the fact that you don't look at your speedometer, Speed Racer. I mean, I know my father doesn't look at his. It is, after all, completely covered by at least four Post-It notes at the present moment.

There are lots of objects in our house. We have, to put it mildly, shit everywhere. Sometimes, it's actual shit, emanating from the posterior section of Molly, our young, impetuous, spinchterly-confused dog. However, most of the time, it's metaphorical shit-- papers that pile up on the very desk in front of me that I am too crippled by fear or other obligations (real or imagined) to clean. Tasks tend to get glossed over at times, too-- the laundry or dusting (do people our age "dust" anymore?), or reorganizing the furniture that has been upended by our kitchen floor project.

But you'd be amazed at what human beings can get used to seeing every day. Mold in a bathroom at work-- I've forced myself to get used to that to the point where I didn't even see the ceiling positively growing. Unfortunately, certain things that are ubiquitous in this house that probably shouldn't be, things that I see every day but totally gloss over, should probably be seen and given more attention.

Like, for instance, library books.

As the son of a public librarian (our neighborhood public librarian, to be exact) you might think that I would pay a little closer attention to which library books we have taken out, when we took them out, and when they are due to be returned to the facility that is, quite literally, .3 miles away from our house.

You'd be wrong.

We must have taken out "Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public's Health" (which sounds an awful lot like a book I would have taken out, but it was actually my wife's pick) and some inordinately large book about the Victorians (that sounds more my speed) at least four or five weeks ago. But I'm not sure, because I'm too embarrassed/afraid to check the card. We will no doubt bring these books back, sheepishly, three weeks from now. My wife is using "Typhoid Mary" as lavatory perusing material, and I know this because it sits on the top of our toilet. I see it every time I go to take the piss-- but, do I really see it?


Not really.

It just sort of blends in, with the tissue box that resides under it. Or next to it-- I'm not really sure.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Utili THIS.

I love "The Cider House Rules."

I love the book, and I love the movie. John Irving pretty much takes the lumps out of my gravy, and not just because he's always on about sex, either, although I do appreciate that.

There's a lot of lines in "The Cider House Rules" that I particularly enjoy-- some are just in the book alone, some made it into the movie as well. I particularly enjoy the interactions between Dr. Larch and Homer, because they strike me as the most authentic, genuine, compassionate, and loving. Dr. Larch says that he raises Homer and teaches him so that he, like Dr. Larch, may "be of use."

"That's all I've ever wanted to be," says Dr. Larch.

I'm kind of all about that, too. I'm realizing that life isn't so much about how many friends, (or Friends) you have, how followed you are or how revered you are, or how long your obituary will be, or how many vehicles make up your funeral procession. Life is, in large part, about being given the opportunity to be of use.

Henceforth, because I try to live my life in a useful way, I like things that are useful. For instance, hoods that stay up via gas struts without having to engage that annoying little rod support thing that you can never find quickly enough when opening your hood at a gas station to refill the windshield washer reservoir and you're always afraid that you didn't engage the rod thingie securely enough and the hood will come down, decapitating you and making for a Halloween-like presentation to people filling up their cars with gas.

Car hoods that stay up are definitely useful, and I appreciate that I drive a car that has a hood that stays up by itself-- not because it's fancy or even particularly important, but because it's useful.

Some collared shirts that I own have a little vertical seam on the front pocket, designed exclusively to hold one pen. That way, the pen has its own little hidey-hole, and it doesn't get in the way of anything else you might have in your breast pocket, and, unlike shirts where the pen just goes in the breast pocket itself, the pens in these special shirts stay put-- they don't slide around the entire geography of the pocket, and/or threaten to fall out when you bend over to tie your shoe and/or luck up some attractive female's skirt.

Facebook, too, is useful. I'm not nearly as good (or as interested) in stalking people as my wife is, but, were I interested in stalking people, it would be very useful for that. And I suspect it's useful for people who are interested in stalking me. I cannot imagine who those people might be, or what is wrong with them, but there we are.

My father, too, is useful. He is not handy-- he is just useful-- and there is a distinct difference. He can't really fix anything, or make anything, but he's useful in that he knows things that others, myself certainly included, do not know. Want to know what he knows that you don't? Everything. Just ask him, he'll be happy to tell you that.

You stupid fucking American dumb retard fuckface dumbest country ever.

24-hour pharmacies and supermarkets: definitely useful. Back in college, I once picked up a pack of condoms and a case of Diet Coke at 2:30 in the morning. Now that I'm 30 and married, I don't have much use for 24-hour pharmacies or supermarkets anymore. Or condoms. And we drink Caffeine Free Diet Coke now. You could pretty much just kind of take us out back and shoot us.

I suppose the news is useful, if you care about what's going on. If you don't, it's still useful because they're hiring some pretty smokin' weather and traffic chicks these days, at least in the Philadelphia area. The new black weather girl on Action News is, um, nice.

So, as you can see, I'm all about useful things and being of use. I am not, however, convinced of the usefulness of the article of clothing that is called the "Utilikilt." I have seen one live and in person on two occasions. The first was at the funeral for my dear friend's brother. One of the, I guess you call them gravediggers, was wearing one. And I was, um, sad and confused. Yesterday, at a craft fair at which my wife was a vendor, there was some Aspergian wackjob selling chain maille neckties and assorted mook and he, too, was adorned with a Utilikilt. And, as he bent down to squat on the floor to adjust the bottom of his tablecloth, I turned away quickly and thought to myself, "Well, that is definitely not useful."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And Now for a Public Relations Gappe

In case you missed it, or weren't amongst the outraged, cybertorch-wielding throng, your throat not quite ragged as you screamed for blood-- there was a wee little bit of a problem when the GAP (or is it just "GAP"?) tried to change its logo.

A week later, they changed it back. Because people were taking to the streets, beheading each other and burning shit in effigy.

Here's the obligatory picture, so you know what the hell I'm talking about, in case you don't already:

Crazy shit, yeah?

I know, take a deep breath-- it's okay. They changed it back. I swear. After exhausting thousands of underage Chinese prostitutes, working feverishly for thirty-seven hours a day to manufacture labels and bags with the new logo on it-- they changed it back, because tons of white people wearing tennis bracelets and frilly underpants got a little excited. And not in the good way.

In case you didn't know, GAP is a big fucking deal. I mean, 750,273 people "Like" it on Facebook, so it must be, you know, totes the shit. I mean, one of my 318 Facebook friends "Likes" it, so it's just got to be significant in some way. I mean, I went to elementary school with this chick.

But what's more the shit than GAP is GAP's fans. Rabid and insensible though they may appear, they are clearly the ones in the driver's seat, turning the wheel, pulling the pubes of this major, international conglorporation. And, when international conglorporations run afoul these days, it's not stakeholders or shareholders or CEOs who get upset-- its folks like you and me, and woe betide the company or entity who pisses off its fans, or Fans. We might not Like you anymore. Feel our wrath. Tug, tug!

Ow! That hurts GAP's pubey-pubes!

Well, get used to it, bitches, because the entitled, engorged-though-still-miraculously-able-to-fit-into-your-boot-cut-skinny-jeans generation is all fired up and ready to Un-Fan you.

We get our TV whenever we want it. We get our email virtually streamed into our veins. We can have a Starbucks drink prepared for us inside the supermarket. We've got our phones in sync with our cars which are in sync with our bluetooth which are in sync with our ears which are in sync to our iPods, and, motherfucker, we'll tell you when it's okay to change your logo and when it's not and, while we're on the subject, how DARE you attempt to change it without even TELLING us first?

I mean, really. Haven't you ever heard of the biggest focus-group of them all? It's called Generation-Y, you inconsiderate bastards. And if you try any of that shit again, I'm going to actually rip out a clump of those pubes and mail them to your fucking mother.

N'yah mean? That's right. We have Masters degrees and we're just starting to discover gray hairs on our heads and




Thank you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

That's Some Funny, Sir

I often fall into the trap that lots of people my age find themselves in, or never realize that they're in to begin with, and that's the trap of fooling myself into thinking -- no, knowing -- that I'm experienced: broad-minded and worldly.

And then, every so often, I realize that I'm just another sheltered, Jewish mama's boy from the suburbs. With post-nasal drip, of course.

Yesterday at the psychiatric hospital that, for eight hours a day is my home, I had the opportunity to experience a first. I have experienced many firsts at my current job-- and I've only been there exactly one month. I have seen male masturbation, and I would say that I've seen more than my fair share of said activity. I have also seen people wander around hallways naked; I have seen patients and staff members get attacked and have intervened physically to restrain patients. I have held patients down while they have received medicine to calm them down, and I have applied full leather restraints to patients to tie them to beds after they have been assaultive.

I've seen some cray-cray shit, and it's really just the beginning-- the very humble beginning. And that's just the shit that I've seen. The shit that I've heard? Forget about it.

But yesterday I had the unusual experience of sitting in a chair, beside an elderly, black, female patient. She was in a wheelchair, covered up to her chin with a blanket, with a Phillies hat on her head, at a jaunty, 1940's angle. She's missing around seven teeth on the bottom row-- she lost two just a couple weeks ago at the hospital. I saw one of them in a Zip-Loc baggie in the nurse's station. It looked archeological.

"I don't know why they didn't just nail that shit back in there, sir," said Gladys (not her real name-- fuckin' duh) "the roots was good. The top was good."

"I don't know, Gladys," I replied, "that tooth of yours that I saw looked like a twenty year old Rice Krispie."

Gladys cracked up. She loves messing around, and I love it, too. She'll look at you out of the corner of her eye after a jest, to check you out-- to make sure you're on the level, and then the corners of her mouth will turn up and she'll start laughing. And it's good medicine.

"You're a funny motherfucker, sir," she said to me, giggling. I said thank you. Gladys has known me for a month now, and she knows my name, but she insists on calling me "Sir." I've stopped asking her to stop. "I got some jokes for you, sir," Gladys said, scratching one of the cornrows under her Phillies hat. "You wanna hear some of my jokes?"

"Definitely," I said, putting my clipboard down on the floor. "Wait-- are they clean?"

She looked at me.

"Fuck, no."

"Excellent," I said, folding my arms and adjusting in my chair, "let's hear it."

"Okay," Gladys said, "first one goes like this: See, there's this black man and he's on the train, you know? And he's sittin' there, just sittin' there on the train, sir, and he's got this big ol' roach on his shoulder, sir-- just sittin' there on his shoulder, on the train, see? And the steward, he comes walkin' down the aisle checkin' all the tickets, and he sees this roach, and he brushes it off the black man's shoulder, and the black man says, 'Shit, mothafucka, leave that roach alone. Man! Everythin' a black man has, people be tryin' to take away from him.'" I let out a laugh and Gladys checked me out, cracked a grin, and she started laughing, too.

"You like that, sir?" she asked.

"I do," I said, nodding.

"That's some funny shit, sir."

"Yeah-- it is."

"I got another one, sir."

"Proceed," I said.

"So, there's a Chinese man, a white man, and a black man, and they's all sittin' down at a bar gettin' drunk-- they havin' a good time, sir. And in walks Jesus Christ. He comin' on down to the bar to have a few, you know. And the Chinese guy, he says, 'Oh, shit! That Jesus,' and he walk up to Jesus and he say, 'Jesus, I got leprosy, I'll buy you a drink if you pray for me and take away my leprosy,' you know. And Jesus touch him and you know his leprosy got cured.

And the white man, he say, 'Jesus, I got these migraine headaches-- bad. Can you touch me and take away my migraine headaches?' (I guess the white guy didn't offer to buy J. C. a drink.) And Jesus said, 'Fuck, yeah,' and he touches this white dude and take away his headaches.

And then Jesus walks up to the black dude, he on crutches, see-- and Jesus start to reach out to the black dude, and the black dude he say, "Motherfucker, I'll buy you a drink, but don't be fuckin' touchin' me-- I'll lose my disability check."

And, as I laughed, and as Gladys laughed, after checking me out first, of course, I laughed with the selfconscious uneasiness of a suburban, Jewish mama's boy (with post-nasal drip, of course) who had never before heard, live and in person, a black person tell a "black people" joke.

While calling me "sir."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mr. Apron's Day Off

Every other weekend, I work from 3pm-11pm, Saturday and Sunday.

As a reward for this seemingly inhuman punishment, I receive one full weekday off every single week, whether I'm working that weekend or not. Usually, my day off is Tuesday. This week, it was Wednesday.

It was not a good day off.

In fact, none of the weekdays I've had off from work have been good days off.


Because they are loaded and scheduled within an inch of their life, crammed full of seemingly innocuous events, errands, things-to-do, responsibilities or tasks that, by themselves are but mere trifles. When all piled together inside the space of one eight or ten-hour-long day, they're nothing but a total clusterfuck. Down the hatch. Up the bum. In the mud.

My wife was concerned, before I took this job, that this would be what our "off" weekends would be like-- a haphazard and breathless attempt to jam in retreats, cultural events, shopping, and other fun things. So far, this hasn't happened yet. Then again, I've only worked one full weekend thusfar. My next one's coming up, right around the corner.

Anyway, before dwelling on the fact that a significant portion of this weekend will be spent at work amongst psychotics and sociopaths (some of whom, regrettably, will be naked), let's dwell on the unpleasantness of my days off, rather than being grateful for them. Because, really: who the hell would want to read that?

So, yes, I realize that I am potentially placing my delicate peen inside the gift horse's mouth with this post, but I accept the fact that my whining might anger those of you who are unemployed/employed with no free weekdays/think I'm an overprivileged assface with a nose the size of an Airbus A-380.

My days off, thusfar, have filled me with nothing but dread, anxiety, restlessness, frustration, a sense of utter non-accomplishment, self-loathing, irritability, and this prickly rash just beneath my--

Oh, sorry.

Anyway, apparently I am catching my wife's disease: Uneasewithstillnessosity. The symptoms are mainly a definitely irrational inability to just. fucking. be. So, if I'm not running around on my day off ticking little boxes on a to-do list that I certainly haven't had the forethought to make in the first place, then I beat myself about the head, chest, breast, neck and head with a child's size pontoon boat and assrape myself with a frozen garden hose because I am, clearly, a bad, bad boy.

I have completely squandered my day off, yet again, I have absolutely nothing to show for it, oh, and I am a crybaby little twatalot.

Did I mention that, when people drive behind me with their high-beams on, it makes me want to club baby seals? However, since they aren't too prevalent in this neighborhood, I'd settle for alley kittens. Or just babies.

Sorry, I know that particular gripe wasn't really connected to my days off, but it sort of just illustrates where I am, emotionally.

I apologize for the tone of this post (and I don't do that often). But I just feel everything.... slipping a bit. My interactions with friends are stilted and terse, my obligations to the boards I am on are being ignored or put off, chores around the house get pushed aside, and I feel like I'm not even treading water these days, as if everything is getting away from me, just enough for me to recognize it but not be able to bring myself to do anything about it. And that makes me feel like a guilty wreck, which I'm used to feeling, but not quite on this level.

Of course, this blog probably isn't helping that predicament. Because here I am, in the twenty minutes before I have to fly off to rehearsal for three-and-a-half hours, blogging on my day off, pretending I'm writing on Thursday at 7:18am, when it's really 5:19pm on Wednesday.

Ah, life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You Can Wipe My Taint, Too.

I don't consider myself a cussy little funt, but I require some taking care of in my needier moments.

All people with low self-esteem are like this, I suppose.

Were my wife a weaker woman, she would have assuredly buckled under the pressure of my near-constant need for reassurance, maintenance, and hugs. Though it might not come across on this here blog, I'm a hugger. I'll hug your tits off, bastard.

Anyway, while I don't consider myself especially demanding, I have certain expectations that need to be met or else I get a little fucked up. There are times in life where I keep my expectations low. Like at a valet-operated parking garage in Philadelphia. I don't expect the African immigrant taking temporary custody and control of my vehicle and objects contained therein to speak English. I do expect that he will not steal any of the quarters contained in the old, orange, plastic prescription medication container in my glovebox. I do not expect him to be overjoyed and give me a bear hug after receiving the typical Jewish tip of $1.00. I do expect him to not masturbate in the backseat of my car while I am enjoying a play at the Arden or a sophisticated cultural event at the Academy of Music.

I have learned to lower expectations when visiting my parents' house, or just interacting with my family members in general. Yesterday, my father and my eldest sister met me at a park near work to have lunch with me on my hour away from clinically inappropriate people. What could have been a crushingly disappointing experience, had I clung to youthful ideals of enjoyable family experiences was instead only a typically disappointing experience, with my father peppering me with annoying questions I didn't want to answer, my sister being depressive and quiet, and the fucking sun in my eyes.

One of the few times where I feel justified in wanting to be taken care of, coddled even, is when I am dining out. It doesn't happen very often and, when it does, I like it to count for something. This is why I do not eat at Old Country Buffet, because that only counts for something if your stomach serves as a heating pad for your genitals and your name is "Dale."

When I go to a restaurant, I appreciate a semi-attractive waitress. If she is too attractive, there are problems. See, I'm married, and I love being married, but my vision, though wonky, is corrected within a reasonable proximity to 20/20. I like being taken care of by my semi-attractive waitress wearing black ass pants and a tight shirt. It pleases me to be taken care of in this manner. These waitresses probably think that their pertness and deliciosity of their leftness and their rightness are the reasons for their inordinately large tip. It's not the case. I'm just shit for math.

(And I like tits.)

I also like being taken care of by the chefs, and I don't care what they look like. I have precious few requirements for restaurant-prepared cuisine.

* Don't kill me.

Undercook my meat, and I will be on the phone to have you arrested for attempted murder. All animal products served to me should be essentially blackened.

* I'm a sucker for pretty.

Gussy up my plate, if you please. Carve a flower out of a carrot, and I'm basically warm butter in your saucepan. I know it all turns into dookie in about six hours, but I absolutely love a beautifully-crafted dish. Cooking is an art, and even a guy who uses the word "dookie" knows that.

* When in doubt: add more animals.

If we're at a restaurant with several other folks (rarely ever happens) and someone asks my wife what I'm eating, or what I've ordered, she'll invariably say, "Animal Party." My favorite Chinese food dish is Sub-Gum Lo Mein which basically means, "Lots of different dead animal pieces with lo mein." Shrimp, pork, beef, chicken. To me, it's not a meal unless there's at least three differet dead things laying around getting cozy with noodles or rice or sauce. If you're my chef, throw in some scallops or a lion's thigh and we'll be in business.

* Prep. My. Shrimp.

This is the big one.

When I go to a restaurant, invariably I will order something that has something to do with shrimp. I love shrimp. Prawns. Whatever the hell you call them wherever you are. I love them-- those curly little fuckers just make me happy is all.


I am always, ALWAYS filled with the greatest trepidation when ordering shrimp (even from a semi-attractive waitress brimming with pertness) because I never know whether the shrimp are going to arrive to the table with their tails still attached or not.

Invariably, I would say 8.9 times out of 10, they're still on there, and it just kills me. Every time, it kills me.

Because, really, how much of a douchelips do you look like, trying to pull those sonsofbitches off your shrimp whilst trying to have polite conversation and/or not look like a hungry caveman? You've been sitting there for over an hour, waiting on your meal, and then it comes. Fifteen shrimp that you now have to spend at least that many minutes on, performing a goddamned necropsy at your candlelit table.

There is no sophisticated way, that I know of, to de-tail a shrimp that has been lovingly coated in a white wine garlic sauce. Let's face it: that's some slippery shrimpery shit, motherfuckers, and there's no doubt that one of those bastards is going to go flying into some old biddie's saggy cleave three tables to the left if you're not careful.

So, chefs of the word: take note. Pull those goddamned shrimp tails off yourselves. 'Cause I might not expect much out of life but sometimes, just sometimes, I'm an uppity little shrimpfucker.

Phew! That was rough. I think I need a hug. C'mere, you bastard.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hi, I'm Still Gay.

I could sense that, with some of my recent posts positively oozing with heteronormity and vag-seeking testosterjit, some of you might be wondering to yourselves, "Wait-- am I still reading a blog written by the gayest, straight, married man alive?"

And I'm here to reassure you that, yes, you most certainly are.

Permit me to elaborate:

* As Vivian, the stock elderly lady B&B innkeeper, was showing us around her reconverted 1850s barn B&B, the phrase that most consistently escaped my lips as we were shown her antique armoires (with original brass finials!), her miniature floral creations that she exhibited that morning at a local flower show (she won first and second place!), and the view, dappled with lamb's ears, mini cabbages, and pink roses was, "Oh, isn't this just lovely!"

Oh. Isn't that. Just. Lovely. Yes, it's just lovely. Faggot.

* Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:15am, worked for eight hours in a psychiatric hospital trying to keep spitting, swearing, masturbating patients from killing each other (and themselves!), sped home, only to bust my ass at the gym, and then return descend to the dark garage to cut cork flooring with a Ryobi circular saw with carbide-tipped blade (and edge guide!) for two more hours. Any straight man worth his salt and the hair on his massive, clementine-sized balls would crave, and demand, bloody red meat. Me? I was lusting after a, say it with me now: salad.

* Given the option and/or opportunity, I will always, always choose to eat pizza with a fork and a knife-- just like my great grandmother. And Liberace.

* I still wear neckties on the weekends. I don't wear them to work because 1.) people already think I'm a doctor, just for wearing collared shirts and, 2.) you're much easier for a psych patient to strangle when you're already wearing a noose around your neck, even if it's a super-cute one, with lots of carrots and one hungry little embroidered bunny rabbit.

* I bought lots of clothes for my wife for her birthday.

And they all fit her.

And she loves all of them.

And that pretty much proves that I'm the gayest straight man you know. Still not convinced?

* Last week at work, they asked me if I wanted to work a double shift. "Oh, I'm sorry, I can't," I said. "Why-- you've got another job?" the scheduling oppressor asked me. "No," I replied, "I have rehearsal on Wednesday nights. For.... an operetta I'm... in."


See, I could have just said, "Sorry, I'm busy," and, as the mixed look of fear, confusion, and revulsion crossed the face of the work scheduler and he backed away slowly from me as if I had just diarrhea'd out my eye sockets while buttonhole-pounding his mom, then, and only then did I realize that I should have said just that. But, I didn't. Because, hi, I'm (still) gay.

Just like you always knew I was. Lover.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Table for Six

Everything about the bed-and-breakfast this weekend was perfect. The ambience was just right. A reconverted, reimagined, reconstructed 1850s barn-- vaulted cathedral ceiling in the living room complete with an impressive stone wall, exposed beams, re-purposed barn wood, rich and on fire, used as a plank kitchen floor. Our room was a violet heaven, tastefully appointed with period furniture, and none of the quaint vom you often find at bed-and-breakfasts, especially in the Lancaster County area.

The establishment sat on acres aplenty of farm land, complete with a horse (and eighteen outdoor cats-- some of whom used my car as a jungle-gym when we were asleep-- evinced by muddy paw prints all over my trunk, roof, and streaks down the windshield that they used as a sliding board). The entranceway was grand and comforting all at once, and so impressive was this B&B that it played host to not one, but two weddings this past weekend in glorious, sun-drenched weather.

The only flaw? As we were being given the tour, I spied only one table in the dining room.

It was like the scene in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" when Dell Griffith (shower curtain-ring salesman to the stars) and Neil Page are forced to stay in a shitty motel room together, complete with one bed.

"We serve breakfast at 9am."

Oh, no. One table, and one meal time means only one thing: we were going to have to sit with... and talk to......


For most people, this is no big thing. But, for an award-winning a-socialite, I was grief-stricken. See-- I don't really like... people. I'm used to B&Bs with several small tables in the dining room, and staggered breakfast times, so you can have the most available chances at avoiding other carbon-based life forms. But, at this one, it just wasn't going to happen. And so it went that we shared two meals with two couples in their early sixties-- the type who cracked open bottle after bottle of wine in the great room and played Harry Connick, Jr. on the BOSE at full blast, laughing and carousing until 11:30pm and then, in the morning, ask, "Did we keep you up last night?"

"This question," I said to my wife later, "is almost invariably asked by the type of person who would be overjoyed if you answered, 'yes'."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Was It Something I Said?

I go back and forth on whether I care about who's reading this blog, and who isn't.

Or, should I say-- who isn't... anymore.

I think it's funny that, on the day I stopped blogging, I was at 188 followers. Six weeks later, I recommenced blogatory activities, and I was up to 192. That's right, I had gained followers during the period in which only the doormice were making little poopie noises around here.

Since I've started blogging again, I've lost two followers. Seems to me I'm more popular when I'm not saying anything.

Of course, people like it when you play hard to get. "Ooooh, Daddy! You went away and abandoned me when I needed you most-- let me follow you!" Maybe I'm just too reliable. After all, I know that I'm going away with my wife all weekend and here I sit on Wednesday, churning out five blogs in a row to auto-appear at 7:18am on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday. For you, my love. And yet, I lose followers.

This, I suppose, is why good girls are attracted to bad boys. My six weeks of silence on this blog was akin to a donkey-punch or a Danza slap (removing one's penis from a girl's mouth during oral sex only to slap her in the face with it whilst yelling, "MONA!"). Am I just too dependable? Is that what it is? Too... good? You want a bad boy, don't you? A bad blogger boy. Someone who will just up and leave you for a month-and-a-half to fend for yourself in your go-go boots and your fishnet tights on the side of the road in Harlem whilst uncaring Hindu cabbies in beat-to-shit Crown Vics splash you with the unkind sludge that has become an all-too-familiar accessory to your meaningless existence.

Whoa. I've got to stop watching On Demand.

Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that I probably turn people off with my abrasive, rancorous meanderings on this blog. And I'm okay with that. I probably also talk about my dick too much, and I'm okay with that, too. Men are obsessed with their dicks, whether they are man enough to talk about it or not, so why pretend like it's not there? I hate when it gets in the way when I cross my legs, by the way.

I used to be much angrier when people would unfollow me. I think I even wrote an Open Letter to Former Follower #178 or something like that and I totally bitched that motherfucker out. But I'm more mellow now. Perhaps working with the clinically insane has softened my tushie bones a tad, or moistened my wick. One of the two. Jeez-- there I go, talking about my dick again.

You know what I'm grateful for, since we're on the subject of me being inappropriate, that there's no male equivalent to "side-boob." Can you imagine if trousers were tailored in such a way as to permit side-dick? Maybe they have that problem in Scotland, but, thankfully, not here. We just have politics and football.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Best Day of the Year

No, it isn't "No Trousers for British Actress Natascha McElhone" Day. It isn't even "Donate Gently-Used Antique Volkswagen Beetles to My Masonic Apron" Day. And, unless I'm sorely mistaken, it isn't even "The Idea of a Jewish President Isn't As Funny As It Used to Be" Day.

It's my wife's birthday.

Knowing me, insufferable sap that I am, I probably wrote a post like this on October 9th, 2009. It just seems like something I would have done, 365-or-so days ago. If I did, hey, you have two choices: 1.) you can sue me, or 2.) you can use this as an opportunity to look at the two blog posts side-by-side and write a little compare-and-contrast essay on them. Five paragraphs, please, double-spaced, size twelve font. Times New Fucking Roman, bitchcakes. Oh, and A.P.A. formatting, because I think all civilized people can agree that M.L.A. is for queers and communists.

I love my wife's birthday. It turns me into a complete Pudding Pop. Every year, at the precise, absurd, prior-to-butt-crack-of-dawn time she was born, we have set the alarm clock to wake up, hug, and go immediately back to sleep. That's just how we roll.

That's not my favorite part of my wife's birthday, though. Well, if it is, I don't know it, because I'm barely conscious, and neither is she. My favorite part of her birthday comes in the weeks, actually, the months beforehand. See-- I'm a planner. I love scheming. I love machinations. I love scurrying around, buying things surreptitiously, trying my best to pay attention when she says, in January, "Oh, I'd like this! Girls love sparkly things," at an antique shop or "Ooooh, cuuuuute!" at some brightly-colored skirt at Anthropologie. I love planning weekend getaways, talking to crackly old biddies named Edna and Mary Jane who run bed-and-breakfasts in random spots along the East Coast. I even like telling them that my wife is a vegetarian, but, "you can just give me all her breakfast meat." I always use that line when booking rooms for us at B&Bs, and the old biddies always laugh. Oh, Edna. Keep that bacon coming.

I like whipping up a birthday treat for my wife. She's the baker in this relationship, and I routinely fuck up things I try to do myself, because I lack the attention-to-detail that a recipie demands.

Add the vanilla AFTER turning off the heat? Oh.

But, usually, my kitchen capers and cockups are regarded affectionately as blunders of the heart, and I am given leave to "try again next year." And I do. Because, for me, it's fun.

Every birthday of my wife's comes with a custom-written parody of a Gilbert & Sullivan song. Rhyme and meter are all preserved, as is Arthur S. Sullivan's music but William S. Gilbert's lyrics are all supplanted (sorry, Schwenck) by yours truly, and I have an absolute ball setting the funny, quirky, delicate and strong story of our love to a patter song from "Iolanthe" or a duet from "The Gondoliers." Yes, that is my idea of fun. What's yours?

I like decorating the dining room with streamers for my wife, because my parents did it (okay, they still do it) for me and my sisters, and for each other. And, after the first time my wife saw the dining room of my mother and father's house streamered up to the nines for me, she started doing it, too. It's a good tradition. It makes more sense to me than not eating pork or not driving a car on Friday night.

My wife and I have known each other since February 16th, 2003, and it's hard for me to remember a time when October 9th wasn't the best day of the year for me. My own birthday has sort of faded in importance to me, that has become a rather emotionally tempestuous day in May where thoughts of mortality, uncertainty and other unfortunate thoughts cloud my otherwise vigorous thought processes.

But I suppose it's only natural that the birthday of the one you love should eclipse your own birthday, because, when you're married to your partner, to your buddy, well-- they're supposed to come first.

I'm glad you're here, October 9th. There's presents for her, double bacon for me, and enough love for a thousand more October 9ths.