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."

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Well, Hold Onto Your Pampers and Swaddle Me Timbers, It's... DEAR APRON!

I know, I know, this blog post is a desperate attempt by me to hold onto my pre-fatherhood acidic wit and caustic disdain for all humanity, to prove to you that I have not lost my mettle or my resolve to junk-punch Middle America as it searches vainly for wholesome advice to its banal problems and quandaries.

So? Sue me, bitch. And, after you're done doing that, get a load of...

DEAR APRON:

I'm a 25-year-old woman with no future. I am the youngest of three daughters. My parents are divorced and my sisters are both married. Mom has no income of her own, so it's mainly me.

I have come to realize that I'll never be able to have an apartment of my own or fully live my life because of her. She's controlling and always finds a way to make me feel guilty about going out or enjoying myself. I have never had a relationship because she has always found a way of sabotaging any relationship I'm in.

I think she's bipolar, but she doesn't believe in medication or that it's even real. I feel as if I'm being forced to take care of her, and when I finally have a chance to have a real life, it will be too late.

I have discussed this with my sisters, but they haven't helped. I'm very depressed and don't know what to do. If I bring this up with Mom, she gets angry and won't talk to me for days. Please help me find a way out. -- TRAPPED IN CHICAGO

DEAR TRAPPED:

I've got to say, the first sentence of your letter absolutely takes the fucking cake as the single best, most awesome-sauce-coated opening line EVER.

Eh. Vah.



"I'm a 25-year-old woman with no future."



Just look at that, standing there alone, all by itself sort of... hanging there in a gentle abyss. Isn't it glorious, my dears? I just keep reading it, over and over again, loving the way it sounds on my tongue.

So. Good.

And not just limited in its wonderfulness to the context of this advice letter. I think you should use it as your calling card on pretty much every document you compose. Certainly it should be used to commence:

Greeting cards

Christmas letters

Employment cover-letters

Match.com/e-Harmony online dating profiles

Fundraising appeals

Thank you notes

E-mails to insurance companies, mortgage lenders, bill collectors, utility companies, etc.

Suicide notes

WHICH, quite neatly, actually brings me to my suggestion for you. Most people with absolutely no hope, who identify as "trapped" and are looking for "a way out" at some point consider taking their own lives.

Just a thought!

DEAR APRON:

I recently found out that my boyfriend of three years -- the only man I have ever been with -- cheated on me with a woman I thought was a good friend. I love him and have decided to take him back and fight for what we had. He assured me that he wants to be only with me, that what he did was "stupid" and he has learned his lesson.

Apron, although I have forgiven him, I can't bring myself to forgive her. I have never been someone who holds a grudge, but I have so much hate for her that it scares me. I did get professional help, but it didn't work.

I don't want to be like this. This is not who I am. I'm worried about how I might react when I see her. I can't avoid her since we work in the same industry. Why can I forgive him but not her? -- MOVING FORWARD IN TEXAS

DEAR MOVING FORWARD:

I'm not sure that "MOVING FORWARD" is the right pseudonym for you. How about "GON' CUT A BITCH"?

Seriously, though, your intense feelings of hatred will never be ameliorated until you cage fight this slut whilst the both of you are slathered in Newman's Own Mesquite (with Lime) Marinade. It tastes great and it's only 180mg of sodium per 1 tablespoon serving. I would strongly suggest not only selling tickets to the event, but also live-streaming it as well so maybe you can make some money off your boyfriend's infidelity.

Oh, wait-- sorry, he didn't have anything to do with it. He just lay there on the grass clutching his erect cock with this naked hussy tripped and fell on top of him while tripping through the daisies.

See you in the ring.

DEAR APRON:

My friend and I have a massage therapist, "Shelby," whom we hire on a regular basis because she does an excellent job. However, it's hard to get a completely relaxing massage because she likes to talk the whole time.

What's the nicest and most polite way to inform Shelby that we prefer peace and quiet so we can enjoy the massage? -- RUBBED THE WRONG WAY IN COLORADO

DEAR RUBBED:

Do I even need to say anything here?

DEAR APRON:

My marriage has been on the rocks since 2008, when I caught my husband talking to other girls online. He swore he would never do it again and I trusted him, only for it to happen again and again. We have a 2-year-old and I'm pregnant with our second child.

He has now placed another ad online stating that he's a single dad. I am torn. He keeps telling me he loves me and wants only me, and he doesn't know what's wrong with him. He is bipolar and not taking meds for it. He promised this time he will get help and try to get better.

This is the fifth time he has placed an ad or chatted with other girls online. I don't know if I should call it quits or keep trying. I love him and want us to be a family, but I don't know how much more I can take. -- TORN IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR TORN:

You should definitely keep trying. Marriage is a sacred institution well worth fighting for, even though homosexuals are trying to desecrate it by fighting for their right to be treated as equals and get married themselves.

I mean GAY MARRIAGE?

WHAT?!!!!!

Anyway, back to your particular issue, keep working at it. I'm sure you and Single Dad have a really bright future together.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

For the (t)Win

"We depart as two,
Wee-hee, wa-hoo!
And return as four,
No less, no more."

That was the Facebook status update I wrote on Wednesday as my wife and I prepared to leave our home for the hospital to commence our induction. The twins, it seemed, were running out of room in my 5'0" wife's womb, and they weren't going to cook till today-- their scheduled due date.

Returning as four almost didn't happen.

They almost kept our little girl at the hospital due to jaundice. Hyperbilirubinemia, they call it. Thanks to my stupid blood type, our daughter's red blood cells were breaking down and a substance called bilirubin was forming, and she had that tell-tale yellow tint to her skin. So, on our first night together as a family, they took our daughter from us and sent her upstairs to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for phototherapy.

There was talk of sending me, my wife, and our son home, and keeping our little girl.

It's a funny thing. You meet someone for the first time and, instantly, you can't bear to be separated from them. The thought of going home as three, and not as four, ripped me apart inside, and it did that and more to my wife, whose insides were already ripped apart anyway. A very sympathetic nurse pushed our discharge time back hours upon hours so they could test our daughter's bilirubin number to see if it would go down before we absolutely had to be kicked out of the hospital and, finally, it did. And we left as four.

Our tiny house is positively crammed with Fed-EX boxes, cards containing beautiful sentiments, gifts, diapers, burp-cloths, impossibly small socks, and the uncommonly sublime smell of babies (just changed babies, that is).

They say you lose a part of you when you become a parent, and that's true. I'd like to say that I don't mind that loss, because I'm so in love, but that's not true. Well, the I'm in love part is true, but I do mind the loss. I think that's what I was mourning when I broke down and cried hysterically on Sunday-- or Monday night-- I forget which. On my knees in the living room, sobbing hysterically, inconsolably, shaking, clutching at my wife as if I were adrift in the Atlantic and she were a life-raft. And, really, she is. It is her ceaseless love and support that keeps me afloat, that keeps me rising at 3am to stumble blindly about the house and change diapers and feed children and do the dishes and take out the recycling and miraculously find time to get a haircut from the man who gave me my very first non-mommy haircut.

Our son is gaining weight. Our daughter is losing her yellow. My wife is amazing me at every moment. And I am still here, a piece of me lost, and the gains are just beginning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Sentimental Man

"I am a sentimental man,
Who always longed to be a father.

That's why I do the best I can,
To treat each citizen of son of Oz
As son or daughter.

So, Elphaba, I'd like to raise you high,
'Cuz I think everyone deserves the fly.

And helping you with your ascent,
Allows me to feel so... parental.

For I am a sentimental man."

That's how my favorite song from "Wicked" goes. Yes. I'm a 31-year-old straight guy, and I have a favorite song from "Wicked". Wanna fight about it?

My favorite song from that show is not in the "Wicked" Easy Piano songbooks that pony-tailed tweens used at creative arts summer camps for a few years so that they could sing "Popular" and "For Good" at low-budget showcases and talent shows the world over.

"A Sentimental Man" didn't turn into a smash hit, and it isn't very memorable, or complicated, or vocally or musically interesting either, I suppose. It isn't particularly long, so it's easy to forget. One minute and seventeen seconds, the way Broadway legend Joel Grey does it anyway. Back when I worked in the creative arts, I tried to find the sheet music to the song so I could sing it at an outdoor cabaret, but I couldn't locate the music. So I sang Eric Idle's "The Galaxy Song" from "The Meaning of Life" instead.

That's life sometimes.

It's funny, because "The Galaxy Song" is a funny song, about the dimensions of the universe and the insignificance of our mortal toils and foibles, and it's sort of a modern interpretation of a patter song, the type I love to sing in G&S operettas, and, to many folks who know me, that's the sort of song they might use to identify me. But I think, to those who really know me best, "A Sentimental Man" says more about who I am, what I feel inside, how I operate, what I value and what I long for most.

Tomorrow night, at 7:00pm, my wife and I are to arrive at the hospital so that she can be induced. If all goes as it should, the twins should be making their appearance on Thursday the 15th. And my life will change forever. Because, of course, it will no longer be my life.

Well, that changed some time ago, I suppose. On October 22nd, 2006, under a chuppah covered in radiant sunflowers, I married my best buddy. A girl whom I turn towards in the car or on the couch or in the bed and sometimes just look at, because I like the way it feels. I like to look in her eyes, or at her cheeks, or her lips, or her chin. She's shorter than me, by a decent margin, and, when we hug, I like to hold her head against my chest. I love the shape of her head-- I know that sounds goofy, but sometimes I'm like that. Her head feels great against my chest and in my hand.

From that day forward, it was no longer my life. It was ours. And now ours is getting a wee bit bigger.

I had a terrifying moment of insecurity last night. As my wife and I dined in the restaurant where we had our first date, as we ate our meal alongside her father, an intelligent though disheveled psychiatrist, I suddenly felt very small in his shadow. The shadow of his expectations and his value system, and his romance with formal educational success, of which I had not very much to speak of. I'm a reasonably talented writer, but I couldn't tell you what a gerund is. To me, it sounds like a weapon used against Jews in the Holocaust.

Speaking of Jews, I felt excluded-- muted-- as my father-in-law and my wife discussed Torah portions as if they'd both just read them yesterday. I can tell you what a Torah looks like, and I know how heavy one is to carry, but that's about it. And I shared my feelings of intellectual insecurity with my wife as we lay on the couch together after the meal was over and her father meandered his way back to his hotel.

"What am I going to be able to teach them?" I asked her, "What am I going to be able to help them with?"

"You're going to teach them about how to be good people," my wife said, which, I have to say, didn't make me feel much better.

There's an insidious air of intellectual superiority about my wife's side of the family. Conversations always seem to revolve around mocking or critiquing "simpler" people in their neighborhoods or schools or workplaces when they lived in upstate New York. My father-in-law is keen to present himself as the one who's always correcting other psychiatrists medical errors, or mis-diagnoses, or over-prescribing tendencies where he works, and my mother-in-law is always one to express judgement over how other people live, but she'll be the first one to correct you if you try to do it. And maybe they do it to cover up their own flaws, or maybe they don't know they're doing it. Or maybe it's just my perception but, as many a psych patient has told me at work, "My perception is my reality".

I wish I could tell you that my terrifying moment of insecurity passed after a good night's sleep, but it hasn't. And I can't lie to you. When I first married my wife, I was petrified that I wouldn't be good enough-- not for her, for she had affirmed, by slipping that orange blossom-engraved ring onto my finger, that I was her beloved, and she was mine-- but that I wouldn't be good enough for her parents. Now I'm scared that I won't be good enough for my children.

"I guess what I am is going to have to be enough for them," was the shaky conclusion I came to last night, as my wife rubbed Hydrocortisone cream over her impossibly huge belly and its accompanying itchy stretch marks, "because I'm all they've got."

And, in the end, maybe being a sentimental man will prove to be of infinite and inestimable value to the life and heart and values and experience of a child.

Children.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Holy Dickstain, It's... MY MASONIC APRON'S LAST BLOG POST!

Well. That got your attention, didn't it?

Good.

I've gotten your attention for some time on this blog, and that's been nice, to varying degrees, but I'm done doing that now.

Looking back on many of the posts I've written, I've noticed that I have a habit of starting out many a paragraph with the phrase, "Life's funny", and I do that because it is-- life is funny-- and because I'm stalling while thinking of something to say. Thinking on my feet. Something you're not really supposed to have to want to need to do while you're writing. That's more of a talking thing to have to do. But I think on my feet when I write, because I don't plan out what I have to say, because that would bore me.

Well, thinking on my feet while writing has started to bore me. It's probably started boring you, too. I can feel it.

It's easy to know when something's over, but it's harder to admit it. This blog was over a while ago, but I kept it going, like people do in relationships, because the sex is good, or because your toothbrush is at her place, or because he has a car and you don't or because she makes a mean bolognese.

I was comfortable here, not happy. There's a difference. You can be both and survive just fine, like I do in my marriage: comfortable and happy. On my blog, however, I was just comfortable, and that just doesn't last.

"My Masonic Apron" was a challenging exercise for me. Be interesting, engaging, funny, topical, witty, passionate, silly, obtuse, frustrating, apathetic, empathetic, ridiculous, superfluous, just be... something.

And I did that. For a while, I did that.

And I'm done doing that.

Last August, I threw in the towel on this shit for a brief time while searching for a job, because this blog was an unnecessary distraction from seeking gainful employment. And I found gainful employment, and I came back. But now I'm facing new challenges. Twins are around the corner, and I need to figure out a way to take an essentially desperately unmarketable person and turn an hourly wage into a salary, a job into a career, a boy into a man. I need to re-Bar Mitzvah, and gifts are graciously accepted.

(Fuck yea.)

I won't pretend that I'm not going to miss this. But I'll also confess that it's less about the blog, and less about the blogging, and less about you, than it is about missing the comfort of something that has become so routine.

I love routines, you know. You know that. You know everything.

Well. Not everything.

No.

You know what I tell you, but I know so very little that you can't know more than a very little.

I won't be deleting the blog-- that would be kind of stupid, and it would rob future generations of trouser-free Googlers the joy of stumbling upon this site upon entering search terms like, "sheep fuck apron" and "alastair atchison" and "mumia abu-jamal" and "totes mcgoats".

Such a colorful array of topics. Such a charmed life I lead.

I'll bet I'll be tempted to come back here and spew bile about the Fort Knox-like protections on our orange juice bottle, or memorialize Finley when he dies, or to brag about the twins when they're born, but I don't think that will be happening. When I say goodbye, it's usually not "so long."

I wanted to get to 1,000 posts. Really I did. But, really, what's the fucking difference? A thousand, nine hundred-and-whatever-- who cares? I'm also tempted to delude myself into thinking, if I'd put more energy into creative writing since 2009, I'd be a published author again by now, but that's probably nonsense. I peaked at 21-- ask anybody I went to college with. Just not the girls I fucked. They definitely wouldn't agree.

I kept my identity a secret on this blog because I have/had aspirations of being a teacher-- and I am a teacher in a lot of ways, and I work with psych patients, and I don't want to get fired because I have a potty mouth. I'm always afraid of getting fired, of being found out, and my therapist opined last week that maybe I was most afraid of finding myself out.

I think he's right.

I'm writing this on Sunday night-- September the 11th-- and I was going to have it auto-post at 7:18am, the usual time, but I kind of can't wait, so I'm going to let it go now. I'm kind of excited to start my new life, free from, well, this. I think it's going to make me sad, like any loss does, but I think it's going to feel better in time.

I think I'm going to be better, in time.

I can't tell you how proud I am of this thing-- this thing that eventually made me sick-- but I'm far prouder of the fact that it was my writing that brought you into my life. You know, back in 2003, it was the bizarre, sardonic, clever J-Date profile that successfully seduced the girl who would eventually become my wife and the mother of our twins. And it worked on you, too.

Sucker.

I love you.

Anger and Love

I've got to tell you, I really worked myself up about whether or not to write a September 11th post-- like what I do or don't do, on this space, and in life, matters a damn.

That's the thing about me: I vacillate so between the two extremes of taking myself way too seriously on the one hand, and thinking that I'm probably one of the most insignificant and ridiculous beings on the face of the earth. It's kind of annoying to have both an inflated sense of self-importance, coupled with self-confidence the size of a whitehead.

I thought about writing about something totally unrelated to September 11th, because I often do that when there is media saturation about something-- I tend to go the other way. But then I thought, "you're just doing that to be an asshole, and you're asshole enough without doing that."

Once I had decided (seven minutes ago) that I would write a September 11th post, my thoughts turned to how I ought to approach it. Would it be the acerbic, sardonic "Dear Apron" voice that is crass and crude and obscene, mocking the vaunted solemnity and vacant pageantry granted to the 10th anniversary recognition of that terrible day, or would the tone be more philosophical, introspective, careful and considerate, weighing the colossal tragedy of the actual terrorist act against the unhinged and seemingly intractable military operations that have occurred in its wake?

And... after at least six-and-a-half minutes of scattered, distracted deliberation: I can't decide.

What's a fella to do?

I thought I might tell you where I was when the first plane hit-- but nobody really gives a shit about that except me and, actually, I don't really give that much of a shit about that either. I don't know why this culture is so fixated on that where-I-was business. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, is where you were when such-and-such a thing happened really that relevant to not only the event, but to your memory of the event? I never understood that.

But, anyway.

I'm writing this post, as I do with all my posts, a day ahead-- on September 10th. So, I don't really know how I'm going to feel on the actual 11th. Maybe much different than I do right now, which is ambivalent and disinterested, by the way, but I don't know. Maybe I won't. I'll be working at my psych hospital on September 11th, hanging with a bunch of folks who, for a time anyway, aren't among the general population. On Saturday morning, one of the ladies asked what the date was.

"It's the 10th," I said.

"Oh," she answered flatly, "and tomorrow's September 11th."

"Tomorrow's September 11th," I repeated, somewhat mechanically. You learn in this business to keep your voice as even as possible, lest any untoward inflection betray how you really feel about things.

"September 11th made me angry," the patient stated, simply, tersely, plainly.

I paused for a second.

"That makes sense," I said, because, in a world where people do and say things that make no sense whatsoever, you've got to acknowledge when things do make sense.

I'm glad I'm going to be in a psychiatric hospital for eight hours on September 11th. For a lot of reasons, mostly though to be in a place where not making sense is as okay as making sense. Because September 11th, even after 10 years, doesn't make sense, nor does anything that came after it.

Or before.

I have vague memories of floating through a surreal, faded version of my college campus on that day, and I can remember watching endless hours of CNN-- not really watching it, acknowledging it maybe. What I remember most was my creative writing professor arriving half-an-hour late to class, breaking down into barely controlled sobs, and sending us away.

And I think, for that one quick, fleeting moment, I fell in love with her. Well, maybe not with her, really-- but her humanity, her dignity, her frailty, and her deep beauty. She ascended, I think, in that moment, as she delivered her news and her tears and her love, in a way that was not quite human anymore. Like the Pieta she was, Mary cradling us all, limp and wounded, in her arms.

It was the single most arresting moment of my college career.

I'd thought about writing about the horror of terror, the anxiety faced by millions in the wake of the attacks, about my forever amplified fear of flying, about life in the city, about recovery and rebirth, but I suppose, in the end, September 11th for me is best summed up with two words:

Anger, and love.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Well, It's Finally Happened...

... I want to un-friend just about everybody I'm friends with on Facebook.

Pretty much all 343 of them. They're annoying. Attention-seeking. Clever. Phony. Obnoxious. Self-aggrandizing. Vacuous. Disingenuous.

Come to think of it, make it 344, because I kind of want to un-friend myself.

Note: I didn't say I want to delete my Facebook account. I just kind of what to un-friend everybody.

I'm not going to, though, because that takes energy and motivation. It's purposeful and there are steps involved that one must take, and repercussions, possibly. And I'm not into repercussions. Or step-taking, for that matter. I'm not really into much of anything, frankly. Too many thoughts of diapers and strollers and vomit and shit that looks like watered-down peanut butter.

I'm feeling crabby, I think. I'm in a But-I-Don't-Wanna mood. You ever get like that?

I don't wanna take pictures of the twins and Blackberry them up onto Facebook from the delivery room so people I went to middle school can "Like" them. I don't want thirty-seven "Likes" for the fact that my wife just squeezed out our children. I don't want to read, "Awwww! So cute!" ten times and see all those fucking thumbs-ups.

I don't want it.

It's so cheap. So cloying. So clickably satisfying.

I know, I'm being an asshole. I can't help it. It's how I feel, right now. Maybe I won't feel this way on Sunday, or Thursday. But it's how I feel right now. And, like I said, I don't want to cancel my account, mostly because all my goddamned pictures are up there-- I just kind of want to have a Facebook account, because basically everyone else does, but I kind of want to have one in a vacuum, just sort of by myself. I want to put stuff up there and say witty or crabby things, but I don't necessarily want to hear anything from anyone else. It would be the equivalent, I guess, of the cork bulletin board we keep upstairs in our office. There's a bunch of random crap on it-- pictures and cards and quotes and whatnot, but people don't say anything about it, because nobody else comes up into our office.

Nobody "Likes" the picture of my wife, my sister-in-law, and I standing in the market in our hipster formalwear, each of us clutching a squash like a baby, though, I expect that, if I scanned said picture and put it up on Facebook, that would earn at least 6 Likes and a "LOL!" for good measure.

I was scrolling through Ye Olde Walle yesterday and I was getting so... blargh. I don't even know what I was getting-- enervated? Irritated? Exasperated? I suppose Facebook and all the self-glorifying inanity thereon reaches a point of saturation after a while. There comes a point where you just can't look at Facebook anymore without wanting to give yourself a tonsillectomy with a broken paperclip.

I just wanted to make it all go away. And you can Log Out, but it never really goes away, unless you make it go away. For real. And then you become the antidisestablishmentarianistic hermit-like bowl of ass-sweat that everybody thought you were in college.

And I don't know if I'm really that.

Maybe, though. Maybe.

Friday, September 9, 2011

LOOK OUT: Your Nurse Navigator Is Here, Motherfucker

When I worked in the non-profit sector, I marveled at the seemingly endless amounts of nondescript, nebulous, official-sounding job titles were out there, and all of them essentially amounted to the same thing: file jockey. Data entry schmendrick. They were job titles (all pulled directly from Idealist.org, btw) like this:

Program Coordinator
Program Assistant
Programs Manager
Project Manager
Project Coordinator
Programs Assistant
Assistant Program Officer
Foundation Assistant
Strategic Director
Senior Program Manager
Team Support Administrator
Coordinating Manager
Project Liaison
Program Intake Specialist
Program Associate
Program Operations Manager
Program Specialist
Communications Specialist
Programs Generalist

I mean, are you kidding me? Come on. What the fuck is that shit?

In my time, I held a couple of those fictitious titles myself. And that is really what they are: made up. They're as made up as all of those well-intentioned bullshit names people are giving their kids these days:

Braydon
Kaedon
Jaydon
Radon
Rabies

Etectera.

The jobs are made up, too. The non-profit world is brilliant at making up jobs and job titles to go with them. You wouldn't think they'd have so much money to throw at the random-ass people who end up filling these utterly non-essential, meaningless, clerical, stress-inducing jobs but, when you're only paying them $21,000 and no health insurance, it's not that big a deal for most non-profits to handle.

And, after a year, most of them quit or get fired anyway.

The for-profit world doesn't really get into the habit of making up jobs or job titles. The CEO of a company is the handsomely-graying white guy in the $2,000 Italian suit getting hummed by his secretary behind his black lacquer desk. There's no mistaking what that's all about. Likewise, and down a peg or two, a machinist is a fucking machinist. There are no Senior Programs Machinists or Machinist Liaisons. There aren't Intake Machinist Specialists. There are just fucking machinists. And they work on fucking machines. Because they're machinists.

A car salesman, in all his balding, pot-bellied, yolk-on-his-tie, sweat-on-his-upper-lip glory is a car salesman. Period.

You wouldn't think that the healthcare industry would be one for inventing job titles and positions (a doctor's a doctor, a paramedic's a paramedic, an oncologist head-butts cancer, and so on) but you'd be wrong. The medical sector has, in what I think is probably only the last couple years, worked to contrive and confabulate an entirely new subset of the nursing profession called:

THE

NURSE

NAVIGATOR

As if tacitly acknowledging that healthcare, health insurance, and the entire experience of going into the hospital even for a "routine" procedure has become utterly indecipherable and unknowable for the average schmuck-stain, the position of Nurse Navigator was created, ostensibly to navigate you, the loser on the gurney, through the vast and heretofore un-navigable (I guess) intricacies of the hospital system.

It isn't because hospitals were faced with the increasing burden of nurses that have been in their positions for too long, have become long in the tooth and fat in the ass, short on patience and long on exasperated tirades, nurses who haven't kept up with advances in technology or medicine or culture or all of the aforementioned, nurses who have ingrained themselves into the very fabric of the hospital and cannot be fired, but are utterly useless with patients because they shat out their bedside manner decades ago, and nurses whom doctors secretly fantasize about strangling, (and not in the sexual way either) and so, instead of gracefully putting them out to pasture, they created this odd, undefined position to give them a job that doesn't mean anything, but pretty much gets them out of everybody's hair.

I mean, call me a cynic, but...

If you don't believe me that the job is undefined, don't take it squarely on the chin from me-- here's one newly minted Nurse Navigator on an RN chatboard:

"I have recently been promoted to a nurse navigator type role. I wanted to know are there any nurse navigators here that could help me develope [sic] this new position at our hospital. I am the first one here HELP!"

And then she put a little crying emoticon, just to underscore her complete and utter helplessness.

So, here's a Nurse Navigator, asking other Nurse Navigators to help her (say it with me now) navigate her job.

Folks: don't get sick (or pregnant) in America. We're basically fucked.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Strange Man

Remember the part in "Crimes and Misdemeanors" when Woody Allen shuffles, dazed, into his bedroom, and Joanna Gleason is in bed, and Woody sits on the bed, a bit slumped, sort of staring off vacantly and says,

"A strange man... defecated on my sister."

If you don't remember that part, of (worse) if you've never seen "Crimes and Misdemeanors", then don't come back here until you have.

I think every creatively-inclined Jewish guy in this life and time experiences a very complicated relationship with Woody Allen. It's not something we decide to experience, like pot or upside-down sex-- or cake-- it's just something that... I don't know... is.

We can't help it, and I wonder if he can't either. I wonder if he knows the power he wields over us. I wonder if he cares.

See? ARRGH! Look at me-- wondering if Woody Allen cares about something. This is exactly what I'm talking about!

Annoying.

There's a piece of us, and by us I mean "Jewish American boy-and-then-manhood" that fervently wants to separate ourselves from him, to distinguish ourselves from his typification of THE NEBBISH-- the schnuffling, neurotic, befuddled, myopic, pseudo-intellectual in the big glasses obscuring the mawkish punim. There's that piece of us that can't wait to say, "Well, at least I'm not like HIM," and this is juxtaposed, of course, with our insidious, troubled, and very real desire to be not just like him, but him precisely.

And I don't mean necessarily that we want to adopt an Asian girl and then fall in love with her and then fuck her and then marry her, or whatever order in which he did those steps, I don't really know, but we want to taste the life he's led up to this point. Woody Allen's life, and his characters' lives. We want to struggle with philosophical and ethical dilemmas, and we always want a clever, annihilating quip to slide effortlessly out of our back pockets like a wallet. And, truth be told, we wouldn't mind hooking up with 1996 Julia Roberts along the Italian riviera while wearing baggy corduroys.

Woody Allen is the ultimate Hollywood paradox. The anti-Semites of the world will happily gnaw your ear off (especially if your ear is Jewish) telling you all about how Jews control the media and the entertainment industry but, when they talk about those Jews, they're not talking about Woody Allen, they're talking about Jeff Zucker and Michael Eisner but, really, I don't think there is a Jew alive today who has more influence over mass media than Woody Allen. If you mention his name in Europe, especially Italy or France, the country swoons. Here, a wide cross-section of the country can remember laughing its ass off at "Bananas" and "Sleeper" and I remember, even as a young child, finding that bespectacled ginger trying to play cello in his high school marching band in "Take the Money and Run" pretty priceless.

The importance and relevance of influence of his wit and his style on cinema today may be disputed, but it cannot be denied. And, yet, how did this little stereotype do it?

I can remember being critiqued in Acting I in college by the professor.

"I love your face," she said to me, "it'll never be the face of a leading man, but, if you want it, you'll find a profitable and stable career getting character roles-- Woody Allen type stuff."

And while I could have been stung by that comment, I was buoyed by it-- for a time anyway. The paradox, though, about Woody Allen is that, except for when he's doing cameos in other people's films, like in the one-scene scene-stealer in "The Impostors", he is the leading man. The unlikeliest leading man ever. The leading man whose sister gets shat on. The leading man who chases after lobsters in the kitchen. The leading man whose attempts at intercourse are comic and painful. The leading man we can't stand, but would have over for coffee above any other.

Sometimes I wonder if Christian kids have complicated relationships with Ryan Gosling or Ralph Fiennes. Maybe, but I kind of doubt it.

I never gave myself the chance to see if my Acting I professor's prediction about me was right-- I never put myself out there to see if I could score that steady stream of character work, the awkward co-star, the unfortunate best friend, the bewildered accountant or the wry uncle, and maybe that's just as well.

Maybe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Me-ness

Mrs. Apron and I went to the King of Prussia mall together on Saturday. It was the first time I had been back at the mall in years. When I was a child, when my family was bereft of things to do, we all inevitably piled into my family's Oldsmobile, or Buick, or Toyota, or Pontiac or, finally, Saab, and went to the mall. It was the Saab that my father was driving when he ran my foot over in the parking lot in front of Bloomingdales when I was fifteen. That traumatic event marked our last family trip to the mall.

Those treks were getting a bit long in the tooth by 1995 anyway.

As Mrs. Apron and I parked the car at Bloomingdales, I stared at the facade of the immense retail space and said, "That's where he ran my foot over with the car," pointing to the curb cut by the entrance, "right there." I shook my head and laughed to myself because, really, it's funny. And I instinctively reached for my wife's hand, and she took it.

When my family would go to the mall together, my sisters, my mother and father and I, we would invariably split up. My sisters would shop for girl things with my mother, and my father and I would pal around together. I would drag him all over the place, to the K. B. Toys, where my dilated pupils would hungrily gaze at all the enormous die-cast cars in 1/18th scale. It was at K. B. Toys where my father first noticed me, as a nine-year-old, standing in the aisle, bent over, rubbing my hand against the small of my back like an octogenarian with spinal stenosis.

"Mummy," he asked, his brow furrowed, "what is the matter with your back?"

"It hurts," I said simply, my brow furrowed, too.

Scoliosis. Thanks, gene pool.

I would also take my father to the Electronics Boutique, where I would show him the backs of all the computer games I wanted. I invariably chose ones that our computer did not have sufficient memory of graphics capability, (remember VGA vs SVGA, 256 color requirements?) to run correctly, or at all. And these wastes of money that would not perform on our home P.C. were invariably not returnable because, in my excitement to use them, I had torn the box to shreds till it resembled hamster bedding.

That man wasted a lot of money on me.

Looking back on our time at the mall, I can't remember one time-- not one single time that he and I were together that he made me go to Macy's with him to look at sweaters for him, or... anything for him. Those trips were all about me, to fuel my interests and my desires and my wants and my perceived needs, and I had no idea.

On Saturday, I accompanied my wife to the mall for no other reason than for her to purchase new bras at Bloomingdales, because our impending twinnage has caused her to appreciably outgrow her current bustenhalters. Okay, we also got Auntie Ann's pretzels, too, but the bra shopping was the main event. And it took an hour. And all the while I stood out among all that lacy and frill and cups and straps looking like part husband and part pervert-- which I am both-- and I texted a friend to ameliorate my feelings of awkwardness by giving voice to them in those text messages.

And it helped.

I suppose I could have gone somewhere in the mall for myself that Saturday, but I had no desire to do so, and it wasn't just my counterculture distaste for the mall.

As we exited, we passed through the men's department (or "menswear" as they used to call it on "Are You Being Served?") and I saw a handsome cardigan, stylish and conservative at the same time. Ralph Lauren. My wife and I both went to it at the same time and investigated it. I didn't look at the price tag, but I didn't have to.

"I can't have anything for myself anymore," I said, half-jokingly, "because we're having twins and my life is over."

Mrs. Apron smiled at me.

"Or, you could say that it's important for you to still have things that you like so that you don't lose your me-ness," she said.

"Right," I said, "the me-ness of penis."

I don't know what that means, I just said it because it rhymed and it's sophomoric.

My me-ness.

Antique typewriters
Old telephones
Eyeglasses
Short-sleeve dress shirts
Skinny ties
Wing-tip shoes
Monty Python
Gilbert & Sullivan
Thrift shopping
Amateur theatre
Writing
Bacon
Coffee
Chocolate
Brash humor
Sensitivity
Introspection
Brooding
Crappy TV
Cuddle time
Worrying

I don't know what parts of my me-ness I'm going to lose once these twins come-- I suppose every parent loses some, as my parents did. Some of it is willing, some of it gets lost with a fight, and I guess what ends up after being funneled and distilled and wrung out by time and diapers and sleep deprivation and sacrifice will be the essence of my me-ness.

Whether I like it, or whether I don't.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hey, Oprah: Where's My Fucking Endorsement?

Dear Oprah,

So, it's Monday night. I'm sitting here at the old desktop (btw, do you have a desktop, sweets? Probably not. You've probably got one of those tab jauns. Do people say "jaun" anymore? I'm horny.) knockin' back a little CFDC and I just happened to glance at this book on the desk in front of my monitor.

It's called "Baby Bargains", and, while it's penned by Denise & Alan Fields (who, I'm guessing, are more than just co-authors, n'yah mean?) their names aren't the most important names on the cover of this book.

Guess who's is, though?

THAT'S RIGHT, MEGALOMANIAC TO THE STARS-- it's YOUR NAME!

Your. Name.

Whoa!

The first words, in fact, that appear on the cover of this book are:

"AS SEEN ON OPRAH!"

Well, howdeyalikethemgranniesmithsnicencrispy,huh?

Oprah, I've gotta tell you, you're lookin' fine these days. And I don't mean you yourself, curvy lady, I mean you as in "your brand."

Show me that O-face, kid!

Mmmmmmm! You know what daddy likie.

Oprah, when I Google your name, do you know how many hits come up?

90,600,000.

(Approximately.)

That's 1,260,000 more hits than materialize when I Google "Ozzy Osbourne" (or, when he Googles himself, though I doubt by now he can actually spell his own name, much less type it out on a keyboard and then press "Enter".) and you've gotta believe that, if you're rockin' our a million more hits than Ozzy, then you're pretty much hot shit.

Oprah: you, baby, aren't just hot shit. You're a steaming pile of it. Sizzling on a Chicago sidewalk. Getting crisp. Fresh. Ripe. Hot shit doesn't even begin to describe it.

People think Moses slid out of your birth canal. Just slid right out of there-- GLORP!-- just like that.

Here's what: I want you to endorse my blog.

Now, I know, I know-- you have standards or whatever, but we all know that broken up little pieces guy kind of put a fly in that particular jar of ointment, so let's not kid ourselves, baby-- it's all about money.

How much do you want? I've got, like, $12 in my wallet at this current juncture. Give me 20 minutes to hit the ATM and I could probably come up with $400, plus the $12 I already got. Well, actually, I'm going to need gas this week, so I'd kind of like $45 or $50 to fill up the old Volvs, if you know what I mean. Oh, and it's going to be my wife's birthday next month...

Okay, forget about money. What you really want is someone else to kiss your ass and extol your virtues to the world so you don't have to do it yourself all the time because, let's face it, that shit can get tiring after a while. I mean, look at you-- you already had to retire from that exhausting show you did or whatever. I mean, GIRL! Take a rest already! You've earned it!

All I want, and really, it's not that much to ask, is for some Harpo skinny-assed intern to look over one or two posts on here, declare them worthy of your name and let me slap your image all over this bitch so we can make some fucking benjamins, because, really? That Volvo is one thirsty cuntsucka!

I'M TALKIN' GAZZOLINA!

Oprah, I'm being serious. I would cut off my left nipple and send it to the C.E.O. of Domino's Pizza as the modeling inspiration for their new pepperoni slices if you would just endorse the cum out of my blogdick.

Please. Make me squeel like a pig, O.

Love,
Mr. Apron

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Holiday or Something

Happy Labor Day or whatever.

I feel like the average American knows more about Tu B'Shevat than they do about Labor Day. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to recently have mentioned something about soldiers in reference to this holiday. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the poster in the cafeteria where I work featuring the Labor Day menu has a picture of a soldier on it. As far as I know, it doesn't have anything to do with soldiers. That's Memorial Day.

I think.

Most people who work normal jobs are off today, enjoying a three-day weekend some place nice and sunny and warm. Maybe I'm just jealous because I'm putting in another eight hours at the funny farm, but isn't it kind of counterintuitive to give people the day off from work on a day that is designed to celebrate industriousness and, you know, work?

Shouldn't you be slogging away at your spreadsheets today? Shouldn't you be grinding those... gears a little harder today? Shouldn't you be swilling coffee at a meeting or drilling your secretary behind your firmly closed office door while your executive desk toys spin or twirl or smack their little silver balls against one another while you're slamming your balls against the back of her inner thighs?

Since my wife became pregnant, the idea of Labor Day sort of takes on a new meaning for me. Wouldn't it be fun if we celebrated the whole notion of procreation? Not Mother's Day-- that shit's different-- but a day devoted to going through actual, painful, vag-ripping labor?

The Russians do that shit-- sort of-- or, at least, they used to.


This is, in fact, a vintage Russian "Medal of Motherhood", Second Degree, that was ceremoniously awarded to, well, chicks who squeezed out some puppies. I don't know specifically what you had to do to earn the Second Degree designation for you and your womb-- maybe bust out a set of twins?-- but there it is. Wouldn't this be some kind of crazy country if we did that-- if that was our labor day?

I think it's kind of funny that the Soviet nation, where people ate potatoes and stockings for breakfast and thought that three-speed manual transmissions on the column was advanced automotive technology was awarding women for bringing more mouths into the world it could not afford to feed. You'd think they'd give women medals for not going into labor.

But, you'd be wrong.

As my brain turned to thoughts of some mustachioed man in a fur hat pinning a medal on my wife's coat for bearing twins, I then thought about "Days" devoted to other life events that people go through that might not yet be readily recognized by the calendar or the government:

* Tuberculosis Survival Day

* Motorcar vs Pedestrian Accident Avoidance Day

* Albino Chinchilla Adoption Day

* Correctional Officer Beating Day

* Getting Up from Chair Without Groaning Day

* Scissor Position Intercourse Day

* Gingivitis Awareness Day

* Awkward Silence Awareness Day

* Physical Comedy Day

* Protracted Conversation with Insufferable Neighbor About the Weather Day

* Offenbach Overtures CD Listening Session Day

* Jugular Vein Twitch Day

* Apathetic Sigh Day

* Frequent Urination/Overactive Bladder Day

* Belated Adult Circumcision Day

* Throw Up Because You Saw/Heard/Smelled Someone Else Throw Up Day

* Make Fun of Other Cultures Out of Ignorance &/or Fear Day

* Put Syrup on Absofuckinglutely Everything Day

Happy Labor Day or whatever. Enjoy your barbecue, I guess.

I just don't know anymore.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ah, Live Garden

I've learned precious few lessons in this loopy little life of mine, but, if there's one thing I have learned, it's that when you're bumming around on a Saturday with a twice-pregnant lady, and it's 3:40pm and you haven't had lunch yet, there's a very high probability that you're going to end up at Olive Garden.

I haven't been to an Olive Garden for probably nine years-- maybe more. I don't know. The mind plays tricks on one, like a cheap whore or a street mime. I can remember being at an Olive Garden-- the same Olive Garden, in fact, at which my wife, unborn twins and I dined yesterday at 3:40pm, and I can vaguely remember where I sat, but I have no recollection of with whom I dined, and/or under what circumstances. I'm reasonably sure it wasn't another pregnant lady.

Whatever the reason-- call it refinement or snobbery or circumstance or a typically logical and appropriate scheduling of breakfast and lunch, or a generalized ambivalence towards heaping portions of cheese-infused cheese, Mrs. Apron and I don't tend to end up at Olive Garden.

Yesterday, though, meals got screwed up-- way too much time had elapsed since breakfast, and there we sat, in chairs with casters, staring at a menu that was essentially coated in cheese, looking at meal options that were...

...expensive.

I mean, maybe to us they seemed expensive, and, to you, paying $16.50 for a lunch entree would be no big thing, and that's okay, because that's what makes America great-- that we all look at things differently, but I was kind of blown away. And not in the good way, where you're blown away by a cheap whore, or a street mime.

Anyway, not including the tip, our meal came to $31.47. Now, sure, I got a wildly overpriced Diet Coke, but we don't drink alcohol (neither do the twins), and we don't get appetizers, and so, frankly, to me, that's a large price to pay for an impulse-driven lunch.

At Olive Garden.

Sure, I get that they're building the cost of their unlimited salad and breadsticks into the cost of their entrees but still. Come on. This is basically dog food. And I say that with all due respect to the nation's Olive Gardens, their loyal patrons, and this country's pet food manufacturers, purveyors, distributors, and consumers.

(Disclaimer: This is where the post gets racist.)

So, Mrs. Apron and I couldn't help noticing that we were practically the only white people dining at the Olive Garden. I didn't really know what to make of that, except for the fact that this particular Olive Garden is located on the sort of dividing line between the suburbs of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia of Philadelphia. It's also right on the major SEPTA bus line, and I don't think it's terribly offensive to make the contention that minorities are heavy consumers of SEPTA mass transit services in the Philadelphia area. So, maybe it's just this and similarly-situated Olive Gardens, or maybe it's a blacknomenon. I don't know. And I don't care, it was just interesting.

You know, in that racist way.

The meal itself was fine-- unremarkable, I guess, if only for the fact that the waitress asked if we wanted grated cheese on top of our already superfluously cheesy meals, which I thought was uncheeselievable. While we were eating our salads, she came over with our entrees, looked at us, paused briefly, furrowed her brow and asked,

"Is something wrong?"

I wanted to say, "Yeah, there isn't enough cheese on this salad," but I didn't. When we declined her offer to further inflate our already-outlandish bill with dessert, she curled her lip down like a child pouting in a toy store. It was bizarre. I wanted to punch her in the face. Instead, I gave her a 20% tip because, sometimes, logic just doesn't enter into it.

I guess food at the Olive Garden is to Italian cuisine what No. 1 China takeout is to traditional Chinese fare. The one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. But we eat it anyway, because we like cheese and unlimited salad and breadsticks and cheese and it's 3:40pm when the waitress says, "Good evening, my name is Miika."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Long, Slow End

Right now, there is a dog upstairs with me in the office as I type out these words. Her name is Molly. We call her Molly McButter, because, really, she basically looks like a stick of butter. When we adopted her from the Morris Animal Refuge, she was called "Miley", but we weren't going to have that happy horseshit. So we changed it. She didn't get it for a little while, but then, she did.

Right now, there is another dog in this house, but Finley isn't upstairs with me in the office. He's downstairs, in the living room. Incessant panting and sporadic yelps that echo up the staircase indicate that Finley wants to be up here in the office with me and Molly (well, okay, probably just with me) but it seems that Finley's upstairs days are over. On Thursday night, for the first time since he came bounding stupidly into my life in March of 2003, he and passed an evening on different floors of the same home.

If you could affix a lighted taxi sign to his hind quarters, it would flash "Out-of-Service". His back legs just aren't functioning anymore. They are atrophied, quivering shadows of their former selves. In the morning, he cannot rise up of his own strength. I have to scoop my hands underneath his big old gray butt and force him to stand up, while he tries to brace himself on his two front legs, which are going, too. I won't pretend that, once, I didn't accidentally shove my finger into his cornhole. I washed my hands five times that morning, but that finger smelled for hours.

Recently, the situation has crept perilously towards untenable, especially considering the impossible-to-blink fact that we've got twins on the way, and they are going to require scads of our time and attention, and having an ailing, failing dog on our hands, who is miserable, unpredictable, frequently unmovable, is, well, troubling.

On Friday, I thought Mrs. Apron and I were taking him to the vet for the last time, and that all we would return with was a leash. But that didn't happen, partly because Mrs. Apron declared herself unready to part with our big, gray friend. Partly because the vet encouraged us to try a last-ditch effort of Tramadol, anti-inflammatories, a new diet, and glucosamine supplements.

Is this going to reverse the damage that 13 (or is it 14, or is it 15?) years have done to deteriorate this dog's muscle tone, will it reverse or at least stabilize the probably severe joint pain he is enduring at every moment? I don't know. I have lots of doubts but, really, I don't know.

And maybe I'm a coward for not insisting that Finley be put to sleep in our arms as we sat on the floor of the vet's office and cried ourselves blind, like so many other dedicated and foolish and lovestruck pet owners have done before us, and will continue to do after-- but I don't know about that either.

I suppose that every pet owner ends up writing something like this, sooner or later, or, at least, they think about it. They feel it. They go through it. This is something you must go through as someone who loves an animal. I've owned a dog since 2003, but I've never gone through this-- the end.

The long, slow end.

I don't know what this is supposed to look like, all I know is what it's supposed to feel like. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing, to protect my dog, to protect my wife, to protect myself. I don't know if I am to follow doctor's advice, or defy it.

In her post about this, my wife went back in her memory and shared on her blog memories of Finley, from when he was young and spry and fun.

I can't do that. I won't let myself go there. It's rather the same way that I won't take out old pictures of my wife and I, when we were new to each other-- not because we were happy then and we aren't now, but because I'm too afraid of looking back. When I was a boy, I would bring my baby album to my mother, climb up on the couch with her and say, "Mommy, let's reminisce." I had a vague notion, I suppose, of what the word meant, but I didn't realize that you can't really reminisce until you've grown old enough to experience memories in a more tremulous, fragile and, oftentimes, painful way. When you get older, I guess, there is that knowledge that what's passed cannot be repeated-- not the expression or the sentiment or the emotion or the circumstance. You can look at wedding pictures and you can even go back to the place where you got married, and it can feel good, and it can feel sweet, but it will never feel the same way it did on October 22nd, 2006-- it just won't.

And you can go back to the dog park, too. But Finley has to stay in the living room.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eating Out (With) Celebrities

I don't think I'd do real well at a celebrity lunch.

This, of course, is just mere speculation.  I really can't say for sure, because I've never dined with a celebrity.  Once, I ate dinner at a small, swish restaurant in Westchester County and Stanley Tucci was eating with a stunningly attractive woman two tables over.  I was with my ex-girlfriend, her parents, and two elderly Italian men.  I had no idea who they were, all Catherine said was that they were "friends of the family" which I took to mean "mobsters."  They were a Laurel and Hardy team from the old country-- one was rail thin and easily eighty years old, the other one looked like a water buffalo shoved into a pair of shimmery slacks and a dress shirt with the first four buttons undone, to show off his broccoli-like chest hair plumes and several gold-hued medallions.  They drank grappa and ate ossobuco all night and spoke Italian to each other.  With Stanley Tucci at what was basically an arm's length the entire time, it was hard to fathom that I was not unwittingly cast in a movie.

In fact, to this day, I'll occasionally IMDB myself, just to make sure I wasn't.  Of course, I could be listed as "Uncredited," so maybe we'll just never know.

Anyway, I got to thinking about celebrity lunches recently because 88.5-XPN, the University of Pennsylvania radio station is holding some contest and one of the main prizes is a meal with indie musician Amos Lee.  Now, I kind of like Amos Lee.  While I think his voice sounds like Ben Harper and David Gray and Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson and all those other assholes, I still like his music.

Kind of.

Now, I don't like him nearly enough to want to enter some gay-ass (sorry, gays) contest for the sole, express purpose of having an awkward lunch with him.  I don't need a contest for that-- I can have an awkward lunch with anybody, any day, any time I want.  In fact, I can have an awkward lunch, even when I don't want one.  Whether I'm with somebody or whether I'm by myself, lunch is awkward.  As Charlie Brown says in that fucking monologue I can't stand: "I think lunchtime is the worst time of all."

No shit, you bald, hydrocephalic motherfucker.

I was joking with a friend of mine once a long time ago when he moved into a new apartment.  I asked him if he'd installed the mirrors on his bedroom ceiling yet and he, ever the self-deprecator, said, "I can't think of a bigger turn-off than watching myself have sex."

That's kind of how I feel about the idea of having lunch with a celebrity.  Let's just forget, for a moment, the exceeding likelihood of me vomiting on him or her-- because the anxiety that these thoughts provoke simply go without saying.  Let's just address the mere fact that I would have to eat in front of this person.  Now, it takes me weeks, sometimes months, to get comfortable enough around another person to ingest food in front of them.  This is what is known in professional circles as "fuckedupedness."  I have anxiety about every part of eating in front of someone.

They're going to judge...

What table I choose to sit at

That I'll make a fuss if it's not a booth, or if it's too close to other patrons

How I sit at the table

Where I put my napkin

How much meat is in what I order

How expensive my meal is

How I use my utensils

How I chew

Whether stuff comes out of my mouth while I talk and eat

If I choke

If I get stuff on my shirt or trousers

If I get stuff in my teeth

If I show my teeth too much

How I cross my utensils like a British prep-school student from the 1950s to indicate that I'm done

The sort of tip I leave

Whether I pay with cash or debit

How many times I get up to use the bathroom because I can't stand the awkwardness

The awkwardness of my conversation/my behavior

And, of course, even if I could get past all that, I don't think I would be able to get past the ridiculousness over the artifice of the situation: here I am with a celebrity who is being paid to eat with me, someone he/she doesn't know or care about, someone with whom there will be superficial, stilted, worse-than-first-date-with-a-nun-or-a-platypus conversation, and no contact ever thereafter, a celebrity who probably wants nothing more than to insert the fork into his/her own eye for ever agreeing to participate in this dumbfuck misadventure in the first place.

See?  I'd be way too consumed with guilt and empathy for the celebrity's position to enjoy my basted chicken or bison-tits or ossobuco or whatever I'd get.  I know someone who entered to win a lunch with Tim Gunn.  If I won that, I'd probably shoot myself.

I certainly wouldn't make it work.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Something Was Definitely Missing...

As it turned out, it was squirrels.

When you go away to a different land, there are things that you notice right off the bat that are different from the place where you were raised, and then there are things that are less obvious, that maybe you don't notice at first, that you have to really think about. Or, not think about and they just come to you at some moment when you're thinking about something else. Like perhaps the way ponytails bob and whip around when college-aged girls are out jogging.

For... example.

When Mrs. Apron and I were honeymooning in Bali, one thing we noticed straight away were all the dogs. There were goddamned dogs all over the fucking place-- stray dogs, feral dogs. Dogs eating garbage, dogs sniffing incense and rice and banana peel offerings left out on the sidewalk for this god or that god. Dogs masterfully avoiding getting run over by speeding mopeds containing entire families.

The Bali dogs.

The guidebooks we read mentioned this phenomenon, but we would have noticed anyway, because they were everywhere, and you'd have to have your head stuffed pretty far up your own ass to not notice it. I'm talking, like, smelling-your-own-spleen territory here.

One of the things that was less obvious to notice about Bali was that everybody spoke English. I didn't pick up on it for a couple days but, I can remember energetically bargaining with a street art vendor on a painting I really wanted and thinking to myself, "Holy shit-- here I am, all these thousands of miles away from... anything remotely English or American, and every goddamn person I've run into here speaks at least some English."

Even if it's, "Jut loo-keen, okay!" from a shopkeeper or a somewhat bewildering "un, too, see, por, pibe, six, seben, ten" count-off from a Balinese traditional dance instructor.

Something that was even less obvious than that was the observation that nobody seemed particularly anxious about, well, anything. And maybe that's a stupid thing to say-- anxiety is universal.... I suppose, and I admittedly wasn't sitting at the kitchen table of a Balinese couple trying to make ends meet, but you know how you can walk along the streets of Boston or Philly or D.C. or New York and see some anxious-looking motherfuckers? Brows furrowed, hands thrust deep into pockets, eyelids absolutely creased in worry? I don't know, maybe I'm just a dumb tourist, but I didn't see... that. And it led me to think that maybe anxiety isn't as universal as we may be tempted to think it is. Maybe it's more of a Western construct. Maybe it's manufactured by Woody Allen and Pfizer to keep us all in check and in analysis and in the pharmacy lines.

In Ireland, the thing I noticed immediately was that the cars were different.

Renault Clio

Skoda Octavia

Peugeot 308

Nissan Micra

Volkswagen Caddy

Toyota Avensis

Ford Mondeo

Opel Vectra

Renault Laguna

(And those are the ones I remember, just off the top of my head. Which is... desperately sad.)

It wasn't until two days into our trip when I remarked to my wife, while strolling through the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin, that, as far as I could tell, there weren't any squirrels in Ireland.

Which, for a native of the Philadelphia area, is disconcerting. And wonderful.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Come On, Apron, Make it Hurt So Good

"Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody."

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

People are funny, and some of the things they do are even funnier. If you don't believe me, watch YouTube. Or reality television. Or scripted television. Or your neighbors.

Or yourself.

One of the funny things, I think, that people do is blog. Since I've sometimes been described throughout my life as "funny" I guess it stands to reason that I'd be one of those people out there, doing that funny thing. According to Wikipedia, which is only wrong when it's really important, there are approximately 156 million public blogs in existence. Of course, not all of them are funny-- intentionally or by accident, and not every blogger is funny.

This, obviously, doesn't mean that there are 156 million bloggers out there, because lots of bloggers write multiple blogs. One blogger might have a personal essay blog, a Hamburger Helper-based recipe blog, a Kama Sutra position blog, a Dow Jones Industrial Average blog, and a Davy Jones celebrity-follower blog. I tried to find out how many bloggers there are in 2011, and it wasn't really going anywhere, so I was like, eh-- fuck that.

A lot of personal blogs out there may look a lot like a lot of other personal blogs out there, but I suspect that the motivation behind creating a personal blog is very different for one blogger as opposed to the motivation stemming from another blogger. As I said earlier, people do funny things in life, and I wonder sometimes whether, if we knew the reasons behind their actions, would their actions be more funny, or less?

If you asked me what my motivation was to create my first blog, back in 2008, and then this one, in March of 2009, I'm sure I could spout off some horseshit that might convince you that I knew what my motivation was, but, really, I don't think I knew. And I don't think that I know, either. I've been giving it some thought, though, of late, and while I don't really know what my original motivation was, I think I'm beginning to see why continuing it is so attractive, so seductive, so important to me.

After doing this approximately 905 times, I'm starting to understand something about this space here that I didn't understand before. Forest for the trees, let's say. Here, I have a voice. Now, don't get me wrong-- in life, too, I have a voice. Light-baritone, actually. And the voice I have in life is soft and quiet-- it's patient to a fault, perhaps, with everybody but me, and it's afraid to be used too much, or too loudly. This voice is occasionally sarcastic, it's sometimes inappropriate, but only when I'm reasonably sure that sardonic comments won't be misconstrued, or taken badly, or reported to some sort of authority. The thing about the voice I use in life-- the voice that's attached to my face and my body and my sound is that it is hardly ever capable of hurting people.

I've hurt people before-- mostly, though, I'm realizing, through the written word. That's always where my balls have been, and it's not the anonymous, avatar-driven nature of the internet that's to blame-- I've been like that for a long, long time. When I was thirteen to about age sixteen, I wrote angry letters-- to Kraft Foods, Inc., Franklin Mint, Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg (don't ask). Vile and vitriol, printed out loudly in faded ink on thin, dot-matrix paper. There were also letters, and, later, emails to friends. Painful ones, angry ones, frustrated ones. Then, God invented the text message. "Thank you, God," as Basil Fawlty says, "thank you so bloody much."

But I've rarely hurt people with my voice. Because I'm scared to be that which scares me-- a bully, a tyrant, someone who wields power over others. And I suppose this blog, slick with sarcasm and snark and cruelty, is an outlet for anger, rage, frustration, despair and pain-- which is so much of what comedy is comprised of, if you think about it.

Just ask Mark Twain-- he'd tell you, if he could.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hey! I'm Going to Kill Myself If You Don't Read... DEAR APRON!

DEAR APRON:

Sometimes my secretary says things like, "I could just kill myself" or, "Just shoot me!" Apron, my son took his life by shooting himself two years ago. She knows what happened because we live in a small town.

I don't know what to say when I hear her utter those phrases, but it feels like someone has reached in and torn a piece of my heart out. Have you any advice for me? -- STILL GRIEVING FOR MY SON

DEAR STILL GRIEVING:

First, I'm very sorry for your loss. Your son was terribly handsome.

Now, I do have advice for you. Which is a good thing, since this is an advice column. If you wrote to me asking for advice and I didn't have any, why I'd probably feel so guilty that I'd kill myself.

With a gun.

Here's my advice to you: stop being such an overbearing, demanding, taskmaster of a boss. Don't you see that it's your unrealistic expectations, your incessant micromanaging, your constant need for anal penetration, and your ignorance of the pitfalls and intricacies of Microsoft Excel that are causing your secretary to experience and express suicidal ideation? Believe me, if you weren't such a heartless bastard, your bespectacled, desk-jockey prostitute wouldn't be having such a rough time, and you wouldn't have to be re-traumatized by her statements.

Now, please, lighten up around the office, will ya, before I stick my head in the goddamned oven.

DEAR APRON:

I was at a party where guests were exposed to salmonella that was on one of the vegetables served as an appetizer. At least 11 people were affected by it. The hosts talked to only one or two of the people who were affected. Some of us were concerned that the hosts didn't contact everyone and warn them of what had happened.

Don't you think they had a responsibility to contact all their guests and advise them of the problem, and even express concern and apologies? -- SICK IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SICK:

OH MY GOD!

Are you OKAY?!

Did the veggie-wedgies hurt my little bubbie-wubbie's tummy-fummy?

Yes. The hosts of this mass-murder-attempt absolutely should have contacted every single one of the guests and informed all of them of the insidious, calculated, and not-terribly-well-thought-out plan to commit eleven counts of homicide in the first degree through biologically-altered vegetables at a staged dinner party. Not only should they have contacted each of the guests, including you, but they should have gone to the local police station with the intention of turning themselves in to the authorities, but, at the very last moment, they should have wrestled a 9mm Glock from the holster of the desk sergeant and done a murder-suicide job on themselves.

God, just shoot me!

DEAR APRON:

I recently got out of a two-year relationship. He broke up with me without explanation. I'm not over him and it still hurts, but at the same time I am starting to have feelings for someone else. The problem is I'm afraid he's just the "rebound" guy. What should I do? -- READY TO MOVE ON IN OHIO

DEAR READY TO MOVE ON:

Wait-- are you a guy, too? 'Cuz, if you are, you should probably just kill yourself.

DEAR APRON:

I am a man who has tried to lose weight for my health and failed. I am trying again now and have lost 40 pounds. A couple of years ago I did the same thing, and then before I knew it I gained it all back. I'm really trying to keep it off this time.

A co-worker said, "You look good with the weight loss, but do you think you'll be able to keep it off this time?" I had no idea what to say. I told him we all have our vices, but I am trying. Apron, the comment hurt my feelings. How would you suggest handling the situation? -- SMALLER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR SMALLER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:

I think it's great that you're trying to lose weight again, and that you're finding major success this time, with the excellent loss of 40 pounds!

Did you lose the weight by taking large amounts of laxatives? I know a chick who did that, and she looks FUCKING AWS! Seriously, if you saw her, you'd totally want to fuck the shit out of her. Speaking of shit, if you lost the weight using laxatives, you probably shit yourself a lot-- but it's worth it, isn't it?

Being fat is no joke, like suicide is, and I think it's really important that my readership understands that. Unlike suicide, obesity is a serious issue. Just ask First Lady Michelle Obama. She could have picked suicide awareness or some other issue in the mental health sphere to be her pet cause, but, no, she picked improving the lives of tubby round kids who eat too much Kraft Macaroni n' Cheese. Isn't that shit good? Oh, man. It's so oooey and gooey. Just like my shit after taking too many laxatives.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stream Away, Apron

They say you should never sit down to write something before you actually know what you're going to say.

And I'm like, "Fuck that-- I pretty much do that every day."

But, really, that's not entirely true. A lot of the time, I have a rough idea of what I want to talk about. Like the lesbian post from yesterday-- I knew, obviously, that I wanted to write about that after my wife was finished telling me the story. I was reasonably sure I knew what I wanted to say about it, but I hadn't formulated a fucking thesis or anything, a cogent argument. No. It's not like that. I think up some main bullet points that I want to hit and the post just sort of creates itself as I go, because, while I write, other ideas come into my head and, because I have no ability to edit, I invariably end up including all of them in the post.

Which rounds it out quite nicely. Don't you think?

But, today for example: no fucking clue. I don't know what I want to write about or what I want to say or why I'm even doing it. The only thing I decided on was that the piece was going to be sort of stream-of-consciousness because that style has always interested me and yet I so rarely engage in it because I'm somebody who leads a rather structured life and stream-of-consciousness writing isn't really my thing. Usually, when I end up writing something without knowing what I'm doing, it sounds like it's come from somebody with some form of psychosis and/or substance abuse issues, neither of which accurately describes me, but there we are.

Today, a coworker of mine announced that her "asshole is hungry". I thought this was a glorious statement, but I didn't tell her that. I mean, what do you say to someone who tells you that her asshole is hungry? "Um, I have a peach upstairs?" No, you don't say that. You just look at her like she's a total lunatic, which is what I did, because that's basically prescribed at this point. And so I looked at her like that, and she laughed, and she explained that, by saying that her asshole was hungry, she was stating that she was having wedgie issues. I thought it was a pretty clever way to let your coworker know that your underwear and pants are riding up your asscrack, and, frankly, I love love love that I work in an environment where people feel comfortable enough to share that sort of information.

On Saturday, I worked a full day wearing underwear that was on inside-out. The seam bothered me. Obviously, wearing inside-out underwear isn't nearly as bad as wearing underwear backwards (with the crotch part by your asshole) but the inside-out underwear was very uncomfortable, and I didn't understand why I was in such discomfort until I got home from work and observed that the underwear was on, in point of fact, inside-out.

This is what happens when you get dressed in the dark so that you don't wake up your wife, who doesn't work every other Saturday like you do because you're a schlep who works in a psychiatric hospital. Getting dressed in the dark could be an extremely complicated endeavor, but I've taken a lot of the adventure out of it by laying my clothes out the night before, even going so far as to loop my belt all the way through all the belt loops. But, even after such diligent planning, sometimes your goddamn underwear goes on top of your hungry asshole inside-out.

I am way overdue for a haircut. I can't believe that I let it get this long, and I've done this for the past year, I think. I used to go a month between haircuts, now I'm pretty sure I'm going about two-and-a-half to maybe three months in between. I look like a douchebag, truth be told. I look like a fuckjob. A hungry asshole. I look like an idiot, basically. "When your hair's longer, you look more Jewish," my wife said to me on the couch.

I'm getting a haircut on Tuesday.

Life's funny, you know? Everybody thinks I'm all psycho-anal safety man and everything, but Mrs. Apron and I didn't start looking for the flashlight on Saturday night until it was already, like, nine o'clock and the lights had already started to flicker. And it's times like that where I think to myself, "People just don't know shit about me."

And then I blog.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Then You're Wrong

My wife takes pre-natal yoga.

I, um, don't.

Before all you virulently Vassarish former English majors cyber-stone me, husbands aren't allowed, actually. Oddly enough, though, there's a pregnant women in my wife's class, and her lesbian partner is allowed to attend the pre-natal yoganess.

Which, I feel, is discrimination against us heterosexual husbands who might actually want to support our wives and possibly even participate in some downward doggedness.

I thought about blogging about this discrimination in my typically entitled, tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek, annoyingly cloying way that I've become decidedly un-famous for throughout the blogosphere, but Mrs. Apron told me something yesterday after yoga that incensed me to the point where I figured I'd better take a minute to actually be serious for a minute.

This post is going to be about the lesbian couple, but not about how the acceptance of the lesbian partner into pre-natal is unfair and discriminatory to me. I'm not in that kind of a mood today. Maybe it's the fucking hurricane.

So, lesbian couple was legally married in Massachusetts. Regrettably, for whatever reason(s), these married lesbians made the ill-fated decision to establish residence in Pennsylvania, the land of Rick Santorum and rabid sports fans whose attempts to climb up lampposts when their teams win (or lose) are thwarted by a police department that coats said lampposts in bacon grease.

(Close your mouth, dear. I'm serious.)

So, because Pennsylvania is about as backwards as a retarded elephant's fart, gay marriage is not only illegal, but funny. In Pennsylvania, this legally married couple is a mere domestic partnership. Now, retarded Republican elephants have been trying to convince the modern world that granting homosexuals the status of "domestic partnership" while heterosexuals can enter into the legal and/or holy bonds of matrimony is somehow just, appropriate, and fair.

With liberty, and justice, for all.

Mm-hm.

Anyway, this couple, obvs, is preggers or they wouldn't be at pre-natal yoga. At the beginning of each class, there is a "share" where the participants and facilitator wax rhapsodic about the joys of morning sickness and the impending joys of episiotomy. Yesterday, though, the lesbian mother dropped a yoga-style bomb on the class. She mentioned that her partner is currently busily filling out paperwork-- adoption paperwork-- to enable her to have parental rights to the as-yet unborn child.

But, wait-- there's more!

The pregnant lesbian, the woman who is actually pregnant with and gettin' her gestation on with this child, is filing adoption paperwork, too.

That's right, kids: this woman has to file-- actually petition-- to adopt (yeah) her own fucking child.

You know how they tell you that what you think can't be wrong? Well...

If you think that you live in a country that celebrates equality, you're wrong.

If you think that America doesn't discriminate against its citizens, you're wrong.

If you're married and you think granting homosexuals the right to marry would somehow diminish what you have with your spouse, you're wrong.

If you think it's appropriate and right and just and fair to grant some people rights and deny some to others, you're wrong.

If you think that any parent should have to file papers to adopt their own child, you're wrong.

If you think that we don't have miles to go before we sleep, you're wrong.

I know that sometimes I've been accused of having a rather inflexible moral compass, and I know that sometimes I come on a little strong, and I know that sometimes I make light of issues that other people are serious about, just to be silly because being silly is more fun than being serious, but I guess I just can't be that today.

And I guess I don't want you to be that, either.

I suppose I've cultivated an audience that doesn't really need to read this piece. I suppose I'm sort of preaching to the choir on this one. But, really, if you think I'm going to stay quiet while the rights of citizens in this country are being blatantly ignored, dismissed or forgotten in the fervent lust for a vote or a payoff or a blowjob or a spiff or an endorsement or a perk, well, you're wrong.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How to Die in a Hurricane

So, we're all going to die this weekend.

In case you haven't heard, Hurricane Irene is strapping on a big, spiked, poison-tipped dilly and is going to fuck the East Coast up the poopocket with force, alacrity and zest, and everyone in her rabid, penetrating path is going to perish. Lots of people are posting tips for how to successfully survive a hurricane. Ever the pragmatist, I am posting tips for how to successfully die in one:

1.) Cross-dress

Give a little thought to the torment and trauma the first responders are going to go through in the days following the wave of unimaginable death, devastation and horror brought on by this hurricane. Just picture these brave men and women, many of them volunteers, sifting through the obliterated homes, the unidentifiable rubble that was once the homes in your neighborhood, poking around to find the broken, dessicated remains of humanity. Why not give these poor schleps a humorous jolt from beyond the grave by taking the initiative to cross-dress before the gale-force winds blow out your living room window, sending shards of glass careening through your neck muscles? EMTs and firefighters love macabre humor, and nothing gives a 45-year-old, pot-bellied, alcoholic volley the giggles like the sight of a twisted up body wearing alternative-gender clothing. If you're a married couple-- mix-n-match duds. It'll be a HOOT from the afterlife!

2.) Pre-destroy your own property

Hurricane Irene's coming, but that doesn't mean she should have ALL the fun! Why not take a little fate into your own hands by beating the everloving shit out of your home and/or car? Tonight-- get blazed out of your mind, and then take a baseball bat or a large hammer to the facade of your house. Smash out all the windows, kick the goddamned door in, piss all over that thing. If you're feeling real ambitious, why not spring for a can of turpentine? Pour that go-juice all over your porch and light a match! It's all going to get blown to Hell anyway-- so why not? Same thing with that car. Irene is going to toss it around like it's a Micro Machine, so I would suggest you rent a chainsaw from your local Home Depot and saw it in half. Don't stop there-- climb into the driver's seat and careen the front end of the car straight into the burning wreckage of your home. Make sure, if you're a guy, that you're wearing a dress first, because you probably won't get another chance at cross-dressing.

3.) Write out a legal document leaving your worthwhile possessions to...

...me! Let's face it-- while your life is basically over, my life as a father-to-be of twins is just beginning! And I'm a poor motherfucker, so we're going to need a little help from you on this one. Please send me an email for my real name and contact information so that you may include all of that in your Last Will & Testament, and don't forget to have that shit notarized.

4.) Buy a flashlight

That way, you can tell kooky ghost stories and read R. L. Stine books, huddled together in the dark with the ones you love before your ceiling falls down, flattening all of you to a gory, unrecognizable, cross-dressed death.

5.) Call your boss

Tell him/her to go fuck himself, and that you've been having an affair with his/her wife/husband/cat for years. If it's true, so much the better!

6.) Have sex with a cat

Come on, you know you've always wanted to try it. Since you're gonna die in this huge fucking storm, now's the chance!

7.) Replace your Brita filter

Having your body identified by your local rescue while you have an expired Brita filter in your fridge is like being identified by your local rescue squad while wearing dirty underwear. And we all know you're going to be wearing clean underwear. Panties, if you're a guy.

8.) Make sure you film the storm

This a critical component of dying in a natural disaster. Instead of taking appropriate cover in some secure area or shelter, you MUST be standing around near a window (or, better yet, outside) operating a cellphone video camera, or a flip, or a vintage-style camcorder (with the intention of putting that shit on Facebook, if you survived) to film the "fucking UH-MAZE-ING" storm. This act of intense stupidity will ensure that you are properly annihilated during the extreme weather event.

9.) Pray

Prayer never fails to kill people. Do you have any idea how many religious whackjobs died in Pompeii whilst in a position of prayer? Trust me-- if you've got your heart set on dying in this storm, get down on your knees, motherfucker.

10.) Read "My Masonic Apron"

'Cuz, man: at least you'll die happy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Goddamn, Thors and Thorettes: It's My Masonic Apron's 900th BLOGDAY!

Well, here we are, kids.

When I started this ass-crap, on Friday, March 13th, 2009, I was not just a 20something Blogger but, as that moniker would imply, a twenty-something.

Now, I'm a thirty-something. And not a 30something Blogger, because that website is all about Cialis and shit. And I can still get it up.

(Obvs.)

Speaking of which, as you know, in mid-to-late December, I'll become a father to two assuredly charming and awkward children. The way I figure it, my impending fatherhood will coincide nicely with the termination of this blog, or at least the obsessive, habitual, ritualized nature of the postings on this blog. I somehow don't think I'm going to manage keeping my marriage together, changing scads of freshly-sharted diapers, doing feedings, tummy-time, G&S lullaby-singing, working, and maintaining my sanity whilst blogging daily.

Will I still write on this site? Sure. Probably. We'll see. When my mother used to say, "We'll see" to me, it always, universally meant "No" but, when I say it, I really mean it.

We'll see.

At the rate I'm going, and have been going for some time, I'll reach a thousand posts before the children are born, and that'll be good, because reaching a thousand posts will satisfy that itch I have for roundness-- must be why I've always been a breast man. Lots of zeroes in a thousand. Lots of big, round... things.

900 is a good number, too, though-- don't get me wrong. But it's not the kind of number to crap out on, necessarily. Not at all.

Mrs. Apron suggested that, on this 900th post, I reflect on what I've been doing on here lo these many months, but I'm a little resistant to that idea. See, there's a fine little line between healthy self-analysis and a kind of neurotic self-absorption that threatens to envelop bloggers throughout Blogsylvania. And I don't want to be enveloped.

Unless it's during sex.

I go back and forth on whether or not I like blogging. If you're doing something for the 900th time, you'd think, "Well, fuck-- I'd better like this." But, even after all this time, I'm still not sure. I've always expressed myself better through the written word than I have through speaking. I get tongue-tied, emotional, my voice starts to break. I get confused, stymied, lost, unhinged, distracted. Caught up. Caught off guard.

Unguarded.

I don't like being caught off guard, and I don't like being unguarded. It's kind of a big reason why I don't do drugs, or drink. Or talk.

Writing is a way to bring it in, real thin. It's a way to make yourself vulnerable, and yet, at the same time, to keep everything firmly in check. Edited. Restrained. Controlled. Guarded. Even my work that appears to be the most wild, the most revealing, the most off-the-cuff, well, isn't. It's the illusion of familiarity and manufactured freedom. It's the performance aspect. It's me letting go, but not.

I think people who meet me after reading me (I make sure that there aren't many of those people) must be phenomenally let down, in a way. And bored. And confused. There's so much... quiet in me. So much furrowed brow and rumpled shirt and half-finished phrases and thoughts-- so much vacant glancing at my own shoes and socks. It's a good thing I usually wear interesting socks.

Or maybe not. I don't know.

I'm kind of surprised, in many ways, that we're here together, you and me. 900 posts. I sort of didn't think I had it in me-- the scourge of the sea, just little old me. Mrs. Hook's little baby boy.

(Sorry-- "Peter Pan" moment. It happens to me sometimes.)

In another way, though, I knew we'd get here. Because I couldn't let us not. I'm not ready to let go of... whatever this is.

Not just yet.

See you tomorrow, Pan.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Caviar and Doritos

Dear God,

I wish you would shut the fuck up.

I know that, in the old days, when you talked to people, it was a miracle or some shit. These days, we call it psychosis. People in 2011 who hear your voice are prescribed medication and are generally believed to be experiencing auditory hallucinations.

That's the popular belief, anyway.

You might think you're doing this sector of the population some kind of really big favor by giving them instructions or advice or commands, but they're actually doing some pretty terrible shit to others and to themselves because, in their warped, cobwebby minds, they believe they're somehow serving you by fasting or breaking themselves.

They're not saying their novinas, getting down on their prayer rugs, nor are they baking challah bread and lighting candles on Friday nights, that's for fucking sure.

I realize that it must be rather boring for you, keeping watch to see who's been naughty or who's been nice (that's you, right?) and making sure I'm not eating too many pastrami-and-cheese sandwiches, but, if you're really starved for something to do, why don't you try talking to yourself for a change? Believe me, we've got enough problems down here on earth without you mixing up trouble by whispering in people's ears.

They can't handle it. Believe me.

You know what would be a real miracle? A cure for schizophrenia. What are your thoughts on that, big guy? Do you think maybe, in your spare time, you could swing that? You'd be sure to fill the pews after a humdinger like that, that's what I think. Of course, who am I to say? I'm nobody, really. Certainly nobody who's ever heard the Word of God.

Way back when, when this whole organized religion thing was cooked up, and you first thought it would be a great idea to start talking to folks to give them guidance, you came up with some seriously crazy shit, I have to say. Or, they did. Or... anyway, it was shit and it was pretty crazy. It was all nice and opportune, too. Mortality was as big as the Beatles and people needed explanations for the terrible things that were happening, and they didn't necessarily require these explanations to be logical.

After all, logical explanations require, well, logic. And we all know that logic and religion go together about as well as caviar and Doritos.

So, I guess what I'm saying is: while you have probably psychotic folks like Moses and Abraham to thank for getting to be all exalted and shit, I think it would be great if you would quit while you're ahead. Don't worry, though-- crazy people will still be crazy without your assistance. They've got a bevy of creative delusions-- they'll still believe that there's microchips implanted under their skin and that people from the CIA are following them and that they're working for the Russian government. But they'll all get along just fine without hearing your funky ass as they fight through an endless forest of other demons as they try to find their way to the first peaceful night's sleep they've had in months, or years.

So, really-- shut the fuck up.

Sincerely,
Mr. Apron

P.S. See you on Yom Kippur or whatever.