Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Because I'm an effete snob with an ostrich feather up his ass, sometimes I listen to classical radio. While I'm driving my Volvo. Yeah, that's right. I said it. Classical radio, in my Volvo. With leather seats and ass-warmers.
Uh-huh. You heard me, Truvia-Tits.
Well, when I'm listening to classical radio inside my Volvo with leather seats and ass-warmers, every time Appalachian motherfuckin' Spring comes on the radio, I want to floor it and plow my car straight into the nearest oversized vehicle bearing a "HAZMAT" warning placard. If that fucking guy's candy-assed, jack-in-the-box, hyperactive, schlocko music accurately represents the American experience, then you can burn my passport and call me Pancho.
Fuck you, Aaron. You can kiss my Volvo-warmed black ass.
... Every Indian Person With the Last Name "Gandhi"
Come on, stop it. I know they just want to bask in the reflected glow of The Mahatma, but, seriously, get a new last name. I mean, aren't they sick of every American retarded person going up to them while they're checking into a motel or filling out a credit card application going, "OMG, are you, like, related to Mahatma Gandhi?"
No, Clusterfuckhead. They're not. And neither was Indira Gandhi. And they need to stop pretending that they are related to him just to get more clients for their private MRI/Radiology suite business venture. Kiss my ass, Gandhis.
... The Kid With the Empty Water Bottle
At the Sunday matinee performance of "Peter Pan," I looked out into the house and there was this really cute little boy, maybe five or six years old, wearing khaki shorts, a blue Oxford dress shirt, and a neck-tie. He was sitting on his impossibly obese father's lap. I thought to myself, as I threatened to slap Smee's head for some sort of piratical insubordination, "Hmpf-- I like this kid. He's a snappy dresser and whatnot." Then, though, during "Hook's Tarantella," he started playing with an empty spring water bottle. He was crushing it and letting it expand with air and then he'd crush it again, over and over and over again, because children like to both perseverate and make noise and, when they can combine the two tasks, they're in 7th fucking heaven. You cannot believe the decibel level this empty bottle in this child's little hands created. I was prepared to stop the show and threaten to eviscerate him with my hook, but I was afraid Dad would sit on me. And I wouldn't dream of telling that fat motherfucker to kiss my ass, and, if I kissed his, I could do it all night and not hit the same spot twice.
... Politicians Who Appear on "The Today Show" With Their Neckties Askew
Seriously? You're all 60-year-old white men. And those of you who aren't 60-year-old white men are white men who are even older than that. You're telling me your racist, corrupt-assed daddies never taught you how to tie a motherfucking Windsor knot? I highly doubt that. Can't the little chippy who works your front desk and your cock when nobody's looking tie your tie for you? You're a politician, you're representing your constiuents, and you're sparring with Matt Lauer, whose neckties are always impeccably tied. One side-by-side shots with him, you may have more hair, but your ties look like shit. Get ahold of yourselves, tie your ties correctly, and then kiss my ass. Because I know how to tie a tie-- neck or bow, thank you-- and you don't.
... Drivers of 1996-2010 Model Year Toyota Camrys
Honestly, you people are fucking killing me. Don't you have anywhere important to be? No? Because I do and, more often than not, I am behind you, and I sit there in my car sweating, digging my fingernails into my steering wheel, checking my watch, checking the car clock, squirming in my seat, muttering, "Is this going to take long, bitch?" and having mini-panic attacks. I don't know what it is about you fuckers, but you're beginning to spread your peculiar taciturn driving style disease to drivers of 2000-2010 model year Honda Accord drivers, and I am not happy about that. I blame you exclusively, and I hate you unendingly, and, with your plastic bumpers, you can kiss my hairy, balloon-shaped, treacle-colored ass. Suck it!
... My Middle Sister
Yeah, in case you were all wondering, she's still fucking annoying the piss out of me. Nothing specific, she's just, you know, existing. And that's pretty much enough to set me off. Kiss my ass, hon. Is there a way I can see my nephew while you're, like, out of the country or something? Yeah, that'd be great. Could you schedule that with my secretary/knob-polisher/neck-tie-tier? K, thanksbye.
... Singers Who Say "Bay-beh"
It's "baby," you asslickers. Bay-bee. Bae-bi. Yeah. Like that. You sound like constipated, affected moosefuckers. Stop it. Bad boy, Bryan Adams. Bad. Now pucker up, you little Canadian bitch. Bay-bee!
... My Neighbors
I can't stand how on-top of lawn care EVERYBODY ON MY STREET is. There are, like, thirty homes on my block-- can't just ONE OTHER PERSON be an irresponsible lout so I don't look like the only dickhead around? Is that really too much to ask? Honestly, the guy who lives five houses down from us is around 89 years old. His lawn? Immaculate. Sure, he hires three Mexicans to do it for him, and, if I did that, mine would look immaculate, too, but I kind of don't have disposable income for such purposes. I mean-- there are Gilbert & Sullivan operettas to attend and weird, random things on E-bay to buy to support my various fetishes. I mean, "interests." I can't pay people to mow my fucking lawn and clip my fucking hedges. I also can't be bothered to do those aforementioned tasks more frequently than once every other month.
Sorry. Like, kiss my clippings.
... People Over 60 Who Say "My Bad."
Forget about kissing my ass-- why don't you just take a rusty penknife, saw your lips off with it, and glue them to my ass-- one lip on each cheek, please. Because, really, you don't deserve to speak anymore. You're old. Talk like a fucking old person. Say, things like, "cracklings," "Modess pads," "Jehosephat" and "support hose." Oh, and while you're doing your little self-mutilation thing, go ahead and cut your tongue off and staple it to your own forehead. That's a good old girl.
Sorry if any of this offended anybody-- especially you, Aaron Copland, you little dyke's milky-bitch. My bad.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Dontae Morris was in the passenger's seat. When Officer Curtis entered Dontae Morris' name into the computer database, it showed that he had a misdemeanor warrant for "writing a worthless check." Before pulling Morris out of the vehicle, Officer Curtis called for another officer to assist him.
Safety in numbers, you know.
Officer Jeffrey Kocab, also 31 years of age, rolled up a minute or so later.
A minute or so after that, both officers lay bleeding in the street. Jeffrey Kocab died in that street. David Curtis passed away hours later on the operating table as doctors tried in vain to save his young life, leaving his wife a widow, and his four young children without their father.
Jeffrey Kocab's newly-minted widow is nine months pregnant.
Cortnee Brantley has been arrested. Hopefully, by the time this blog is posted—hopefully by the time I finish this sentence, Dontae Morris will be apprehended. Maybe he will be killed in a shootout with Tampa Police, and that would be okay by me. Not that he is worth the cost of the bullet that would take him out, let alone the cost of trying him before a judge and jury, and keeping him in prison for the rest of his life, or having the state take his life. Really, whatever happens to Dontae Morris is almost irrelevant, so long as he is caught and nobody else gets hurt. It is almost irrelevant because he, like the check he passed that got this whole ball of death and mayhem rolling, is worthless.
Soon Tampa will be flooded with officers from all over the country who will come to say goodbye to these two men most of them have never met. There will be covered badges and white gloves and coronets blaring and bagpipes bleating and widows sobbing. Another big show for the cameras. The procession was five miles long, they'll say.
I know-- that's very harsh, but I've been to plenty of police funerals over the years and, well, you get hardened to the spectacle. You start asking questions.
What will become of these two young women after the pageantry subsides and the ranks disperse?
Who will help David Curtis’ widow raise four children?
Who will help Jeffrey Kocab’s widow teach their baby about who its daddy was?
Who will help the first Tampa police officers who responded to the “officer down” call cope with the trauma of seeing two of their friends sprawled out in the street, the life pouring from their bodies?
An eyewitness said that Curtis and Kocab were on their backs, lying arm-in-arm in the street. How do you begin to process seeing that? Where do you begin?
I don’t know.
I don’t know what makes someone go from passing a worthless check one day to shooting two police officers in the head at 2:30 in the morning on another day. I don’t understand how that happens. I don’t understand the thought process, or lack of thought process, and I don’t understand where these two families go from here. I don’t understand what Curtis and Kocab’s coworkers do to keep from going insane and shooting everything in sight and crying in their coffees.
They say it’s stupid to throw money at a problem, but that’s what I’m going to do, because I don’t know how to do anything else. There’s a woman in Tampa who’s going to give birth any day now, and her husband’s been ripped from her life. There’s another woman who’s suddenly raising four children on her own. I won’t be in Tampa in my old EMT uniform with white gloves on, but my check, however meager, is on its way.
I hope these women— these broken women, and these families, these shattered, bewildered, stricken families, can count on yours, too.
Fallen Officers' Memorial Fund
c/o Tampa Police Department
411 N. Franklin St.
Tampa FL 33602
It won't be just another worthless check. I promise.
Recently, it seems that we've had a spate of situations where decisions made by umpires and referees and other assorted sports officials have been lightning rods for controversy, their calls have been questioned, argued, subjected to endless close-ups and replays and, in some cases, have even been overturned.
I feel bad for these poor sonsofbitches.
I mean, there they are, in the thick of things, trying not to get their heads knocked off by balls and cleats, charged with a seemingly impossible task: ensure that some asshole's foot was either to the left of some arbitrary white line or to the right of it, or on it, or his toe on it and his heel was not. Was a pass complete or incomplete? Was a goal good, or was it un... good? And they're there, these usually middle-aged to approaching elderly men, in their dress trousers, polo shirts and baseball caps, sharing the field with young bucks so juiced with testosterone that they should all be wearing lobster bibs, lest it leak out of their nostrils.
I mean, being a ref or an ump is a serious and scary business. Remember when Leslie Nielsen tried it in "The Naked Gun"? Frisking all those baseball players isn't easy.
Honestly, I don't envy anybody who has decisions to make in their lives and, I suppose, at one point or another, it's all of us-- it's going to be or was or is you, too, Smarty, so look out. It would be accurate to state that I have some rather significant decisions coming up in the next couple weeks/months and I'm not too terribly thrilled about the prospect of having to make these decisions, because any number of them carries with it the potential to either enhance or fuck up my life and the lives of those around me. And that's a big onus to carry for someone who still cracks up when looking at the word "onus."
I am pleased to note, however, that my life isn't filmed by NFL cameramen from multiple angles with telephoto lenses and my life also isn't being watched by millions of angry, ribald fans with their faces painted all kinds of fucked up colors who will have my head, balls, and knees for dinner if I make the "wrong" decisions.
One decision that my wife and I made recently was the decision to join a gym, and I think, unless a weight falls on my neck while I'm doing push-ups, that was probably a great decision. Sure, we lied and said that I was an active-status EMT to get the emergency provider membership discount but, wouldn't you? AT&T is still giving me ten percent off my cellphone bill, too. I don't feel bad about that at all. I feel, after 17 months of making $11.00/hr, I am owed something other than the hospital bedsheet I stole from our ambulance to cover the backseat of my car to protect it from dog fur.
So, we joined a gym. We're going today. I'm kind of excited about it. The chick who registered us was clearly exhibiting her tight... *ahem*... figure and, after we left with our new swipey cards my wife turned to me and said to me, "You were very well behaved."
I so am, aren't I?
Another decision I was tossing around was taking a blogbattical to focus on a.) a full-time job search and b.) writing substantative freelance material for the purpose of publication/compensation. My wife and I had a very serious conversation about this last night, about aspirations of becoming "a writer" and she said something that surprised me,
"I don't think you want to be famous, or even noted, for your writing, or for your acting, or anything. I think you're very comfortable writing your little blog and getting positive reinforcement sometimes from your readers and your friends, and doing G&S and community theatre, and doing it well, but I don't think you really want anything more than that."
It may sound funny, but I had never really thought about it quite like that.
“I mean, really," she said, "you don’t want an editor telling you what to do or messing around with the way you write things, and you don’t want anybody telling you what to write about. If you want to be funny one day, you’re funny on your blog—if you want to write about dead cops one day, you do that on your blog. That’s just your way. I think you just want to write because it’s fun and, if it’s still fun, do it. If it’s not, don’t.”
It is fun, of course. And it’s good practice. Is blogging stopping me from writing some publication-worthy opus? Probably not, though it’s a convenient excuse for not having more published work out there. So another decision I’ve made, today, I suppose, is the decision not to take a blogbattical, at least, not now. The way I look at it—a blog post takes me under half-an-hour to write. Is that really interfering with searching online for jobs? No. If I really, really had something deep within me that I wanted to write to submit to a literary journal to get published, could I do that, too? Sure I could. But, for now—this is good.
Monday, June 28, 2010
She's not what most men would choose. She's kind of homely-looking, maybe some might say dowdy. One thing you can definitely say about her that I couldn't argue with: she's slow.
She's not sophisticated or refined and, at forty-seven years of age, she's kind of a strange choice for a thirty-year-old man already married to a twenty-eight-year-old. You could say that she's "been around the block" more than a few times. I mean, you could say that-- and I'd punch you in the face. Stop insulting my mistress, you jealous prickball.
Being in love isn't easy, and it's far more complicated when you're already married. Fortunately, my wife knows about my long, lusty, torrid and tempestuous infatuation with the Volkswagen Beetle. It began way, way, way before I ever met Mrs. Apron and, even though she knew my heart belonged to another, she married me anyway. So obsessed was I that I even tried to allow a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle to insinuate itself into our very marriage ceremony. But it broke down on the way to our rehearsal dinner.
At fourteen, I had successfully convinced my father that purchasing me a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle was a wise idea. This is no easy feat for a fourteen-year-old boy to pull off and, even today, I am stunned that it worked. It was Bahama Blue, with a slight dent on the driver's side front fender. No surface rust. 1300cc engine. Black vinyl interior. And, God, when you opened the door and took a whiff, oh-- how you were instantly teleported back in time. It was, simply, amazing.
My mother was not amazed. Or amused. I am more than a little surprised that divorce proceedings were not initiated. There were bigger fuck-ups in store and still, she stayed put. Gotta love inertia, or lack thereof. We owned that car for a year-and-a-half but, as the day for my driver's license test got closer and closer, I got more and more scared of the prospect of being behind the wheel of this car, facing modern, heavy, threatening machines. The idea of tooling around in a car that would most definitely crumple up like a boil-in-a-bag in the event of an accident held little thrill for me, even as a moronic 15-and-a-half-year-old. We sold it. In the height of all coincidences, it went to the daughter of a Philadelphia police detective, who had been shot and killed in a narcotics raid. Throughout the entire transaction, she spoke not one single word-- her mother and uncle handled the transaction. She stared at the pavement. I hoped the car would bring her some happiness, if that were possible. If ever there was a car made on this earth capable of making that girl smile, I thought, this is it.
Ever since we sold that car, I've wanted another one. I guess I faced my fears about the unsafe nature of the antique Beetle when I borrowed the 1966 Bug from a local dealership for use as the "getaway" car for our wedding. Before it broke down (twice) I was speeding along a 3-lane freeway inside of it. No seatbelts. No working odometer. No working speedometer. No working gas gauge. Just the seat, the wheel, the tires, and me.
And, as the impossibly loud racket of the engine behind me clattering and burbling away, I thought to myself, "Oh my God-- I am in love."
Like Buddy Hackett's character in the original "Love Bug" says, grinning from ear-to-ear while listening to Herbie's engine humming away, "Like the song of a blue-boid."
The song of a blue-boid indeed.
At a car show and classic car museum this weekend in Hershey, my wife and I encountered many classic car owners and aficionados with their Studebakers and their Crosleys and their Packards, and the thing that unified most of these people was not just their eccentric facial hair and beer guts, but their *ahem* advanced age. And I looked at them, doddering around, futzing under the hoods of their V-8s and such, sipping water from 1970s-era coolers and vinyl-covered, obscene-colored Thermos products. And I looked inside the cars they brought to display, and I saw old-man back-support seat products and Doo-Wop tapes spread across the bench seats.
And I thought to myself, "This is all wrong."
Why is owning a collector's car an old fart's game? You spend your whole young and middle-aged life working, no-- slaving away. You put money aside and, finally, when you're 70, you buy a classic car that you can no longer sit in comfortably or spend any time driving. Take it out for twenty minutes and you're practically incapacitated by sciatica, lumbago, shingles or whatever other ailment that old crusties get. Stamp-collecting, I get that. That should be what old men do. The classic car thing should be for the young, too. While we can still enjoy it. While we can do more than drag it to a car show, let it sit there in the sun for 6 hours, answer the same six or seven stupid questions about it all day, eat some chicken wings and hamburgers slathered in Whiz, and leave-- covering it with a tarp for nine months out of the year.
I mean, really-- is that any way to treat a respectable little mistress?
Sunday, June 27, 2010
It featured a middle-aged blonde, woman. Were this billboard in Philadelphia, on I-76, perhaps, she might have been dressed to the nines, preparing to see a "Broadway at the Academy" show, clutching a clutch, checking herself out in the mirror, adjusting a glittering earring, mayhaps.
As we were in Adams County, however, this woman was sitting in a dentist's chair, draped in a green paper bib and her head was tilted back, her mouth agape, and her eyes were unsettlingly half-closed. She looked drunk and/or about to be penetrated by someone who had doctored her drink at the corner dental bar. From the righthand side of the billboard, an arm entered the picture, covered in the dentalicious whiteness of the labcoat, and the hand attached to this arm held some sort of cringeworthy metal tool.
Above this charming picture read the legend, "While You're Chillin', We're Drillin'"
Well, actually, it read "While Your Chillin', We're Drillin'" but who am I, the Detective-Sergeant of the Grammar Police?
Anyway, it was an ad for, say it with me now, "Sedation Dentistry." Now, as I understand this particular denticular development, sedation dentistry refers to the act of lightly sedating Nervous Nellie patients for routine procedures like, you know, cleanings.
Now, I have my thoughts about the potential societal ills that could develop from treating adults as though they were children, unable to handle the admitted torture of a 35-minute stint in a dentist's chair, getting the bejesus scraped off of your (you're???) enamel, but I'm going to forsake that particular rant today, because, really, I think it's kind of a cool idea, on its face. If I ever went to the dentist again, I would probably opt for some schlockface who engaged in the practice of sedation dentistry. Why? Can't I take the pain and discomfort of the scraping?
Sure I can. Me a big boy!
The sedation would come in mighty handy for me, though, as it would take small-talk with the hygienist out of the equation, and that is worth its (it's????) weight in gold. Small-talk drives me up the fucking wall. I have no patience for it, and no talent for it, and absolutely no interest in it. And I'm pretty sure people can tell. The pained smile that befouls my face (in the dentist's chair, especially), the contorted, uncomfortable body language, the involuntary eye-rolling and the finger-flicking against the palm of my other hand. Every part of my body is saying "go away" while I struggle through a conversation about the weather or about some baseball game I did not watch featuring at least one team I have never heard of.
Give me sedation dentistry, or give me death.
Dental Hygienist: "So, where did you go to college?"
Sedated Me: "Ummmggggnnngghhhhh....."
Dental Hygienist: "So, what do you do?"
Sedated Me: "Gggnnnnnfdsnnnnnssshhhhhhhh......"
Dental Hygienist: "Just let me know if this hurts, okay?"
Sedated Me: "Fuuuuuccchhhhhnhhhh eeeeyyyyyyyyyyewwwwww....."
So in favor am I of sedation dentistry, I think that mild-to-moderate sedation ought to be expanded in scope to allay our fears, anxieties, discomfort and general dislike of other situations. Brainstorm with me, dear-- let's make neuro thunder and lightning together:
SEDATION FIRST DATES
I haven't had a first date in a long time, but it wasn't so long ago that I don't vividly recall the shameful awkwardness, the forced, stilted conversation, the frequent pauses and watch-checks, the unnecessary trips to the bathroom, the underarm moistness, the fevered quest for mutually agreeable, socially acceptable discussion topics, the painful recounting of your three humorous anecdotes. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if one (or BOTH!) participants in a first date were sedated? If waiters could go through a rudimentary training and certification in sedation, you could opt to have those waiters as your servers. Concierges would greet you by asking, “Sedation section?” and it would be filled with quasi-slumped over couples, drooling onto plastic-covered table-cloths, waiters dropping pieces of chicken and tortellini when the patrons are breathing in the right direction. Sedation would revolutionize dating, it would be the single biggest romantic innovation since the female condom and J-Date.
SEDATION FIRST AWKWARD SEX
You know how awkward it is having sex with someone for the first time? Well, with Sedation Sex, you can…. Oh, wait—this is like rape, isn’t it? Um… nevermind.
SEDATION BAR/BAT MITZVAH
How awesome would it be if you could request sedation prior to attending some pimply kid’s Bar Mitzvah? Really, Bar Mitzvahs are pretty painful events for everyone involved—the rabbi who has to pretend he likes/knows the kid in question, the family who is mentally totaling up the incredible tab for this ridiculous event, the Bar Mitzvah boy himself who is now considered a man before he’s discovered masturbation, the elderly people—because elderly people are always in pain—and the hip, young distant relatives and friends who are there out of some sort of obligation and had to spend money they don’t have on a Cross pen for this lousy, kinky-haired little shit who’s never used a pen in his life anyway. Bar/Bat Mitzvahs would fucking rock if everyone were sedated. Especially the cantor. Can you sing in Hebrew while you’re sedated? Only one way to find out.
SEDATION “THE TODAY SHOW”
I have a friend who TiVos “The Today Show” and then watches it late at night while drinking alcohol. To me, this is kind of like what watching “The Today Show” under sedation might be like. She claims that it’s a lot funnier and, sometimes, even more poignant, at 11pm after a drink or two.
SEDATION TALKING TO A COLLEGE FRESHMAN
If it’s been a while since you’ve tried having a conversation with a college freshman, you might not understand why I’m suggesting sedation is not only recommended, but essential. College freshman are the most arrogant, annoying, obnoxious, self-centered, newly-geniused motherfuckers God ever created, yes, even more than William F. Buckley. Trust me, if you ever need to converse with a college freshman for a period of time longer than three-and-a-half minutes, you’re going to be running for that fucking ether. Save some for me, too.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
If ever there was a futile, ridiculous, exhausting task, it's trimming the hedges. And, no, "trimming the hedges" is not a euphemism for anything. We do not have an electric or gas-powered trimmer, so I go out there with a pair of manual hedge-clippers and do the business. We have a very small house, on a teensy-tiny piece of property. Trimming the hedges takes me approximately two fucking miserable hours. How fucking miserable? Well, the first time I did it, the next day I had a blister on my hand the size of a quarter because my wedding band had dug a hole into my hand. Now, when I cut the hedges, I don't wear my wedding band. And all the passing and jogging women think I'm a real swingin' single, as I sweat through my shirt and mutter obscenities under my breath everytime a bead of sweat from my forehead sends shooting stings into my eyes.
.... Participate in Another Group Project
Remember college? Hell-- remember GRAD SCHOOL? Remember participating in group projects that drove you to the brink of insanity?
Remember how professors told you that group projects would prepare you for the way things are done in the workplace?
Remember the one group member who never showed up to group meetings, or was two hours and fifteen minutes late?
Remember the group member who never understood the assignment, even after it was graded?
Remember how each group member got the same grade, even the one whose thumb was permanently lodged in his/her anus? Remember all that work you did to clean up the messes made by your compatriots?
Remember the damage-control?
Remember faking your way through "your part" of the presentation?
Remember trying to format four different PowerPoint presentations to make them all look cohesive, even though you were the only group member whose native language was English?
Please, serve me up an order of pork fried dumplings lovingly filled with broken shards of glass. I will eat all of them, and ask for seconds while wiping my mouth with a 40-grit sandpaper napkin before I ever, ever participate in another group project.
.... Watch Another Feel-Good &/or Apology Commercial
I don't know if they're eye-raping you where you live with identical or similar commercials, but in the Philadelphia area, we have these new "values" commercials. There's one about encouraging people to give compliments. There's this obnoxious, grouchy, bossy asshole in an apron (no, it's not me) bossing people around in a kitchen when, all of a sudden, this blue-collar Joe-the-Plumber type with some meat and bread shards sticking out of his mouth says, "Hey-- great sandwich. Thanks." The annoying voice over adds, "Compliments-- pass them on!" while the chef, who clearly didn't appreciate the compliment, waves Joe-the-Plumber off saying, "Get outta here!" under his breath.
How about a "Don't talk with fucking food in your mouth" commercial?
Then there's the PSA about weight loss that just kills me. Upbeat music plays while this impossibly fat bastard dressed from head to toe in black dances like he's on the overweight version of Soul Train. Voiceover: "For each pound you lose, that's four pounds pressure off the knees!"
This commercial airs every single morning at 7:29am, right after the local news update ends and they send us back to the Today Show, just as Meredith Vieira is putting her Bloody Mary underneath the desk. The sight of this fat guy dancing around, doing the robot or whatever he's doing, just makes me ill. Pass the glass.
I can't even begin to talk about the vomitrocious nature of the BP and Toyota apology commercials. Forget about eating broken glass, just stick it in my eyes/neck.
.... Perform in a Play That's Being Adjudicated
We're in Gettysburg today at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival's American leg. Companies from all over the place are descending on Gettysburg to perform G&S operettas and each performance is being adjudicated by a G&S authority. The thought of being in a play that will be publicly judged and possibly ripped to shreds makes me physically ill-- and that's just the thought of it. Funny-- I had always thought the adjudicators of theatre were the audience. But I guess I'm just fucking crazy.
.... Wear Shorts & Sandals
Those of you who've seen my legs and toes need no further explanation.
Actually, neither do the rest of you.
Friday, June 25, 2010
These people I know make real, tangible things, and I am almost always impressed by their abilities. The person who makes things in this world that impresses me the most is my wife. She makes coin pouches, sock monkeys, handbags, tote-bags, twirly-skirts, appliqued neckties, children's games, therapy toys, shrinky-dink barettes, and an endless supply of tchotchkies for people that never fail to bring a smile to their faces.
I do not make things. I lack any ability to conceptualize a final, organized object from a pile of other, smaller, haphazard objects. Give my wife some pipe-cleaners, a little modge-podge, some Twizzlers, a glue-gun, Alexander Henry fabric and a stapler and she'll make you a rad Eiffel Tower. I would make you the Eiffel Tower after the Tazmanian Devil had a seizure inside of it.
I wasn't always this way, though. I used to make things. Granted, it was in a highly facilitated environment, but, still, I made things. You know-- macaroni and Elmer's things.
When I was in pre-school, or whenever it was, I made a gift for my Mommy.
Here it is:
Any dreams my parents may have had that I would become an artist or a carpenter were no doubt assuredly and efficiently dashed. But I don't think they ever wanted me to be either.
I won't even comment about the wisdom behind giving 4-year-old children hammers, blocks of wood, and little nails. I'll let you comment about it, you little snarky-snark.
I remember that we were given a list of words that we could select-- each word obviously had to have an "O" in it so we could insert our charming little headshots. I chose "HOPE." I don't know why, but I'm glad I did.
It's kind of funny that this little gift resides in my house and not my parents. After all, it was a gift for my Mommy, wasn't it? My first name is written in all capital letters on the underside of the woodblock, I just noticed. Hmpf. How about that?
HOPE stayed at my parent's house for a long time, until it was time for me to go off to college. I remember going into my parent's room and, seeing it on my mother's bedside table, I pointed to it.
"I think I need that," I said.
"Okay," she said. She was never one to put up a solid fight, especially when it mattered.
I don't know why I needed it, or why I thought I needed it but, at eighteen years of age, I was pretty sure I needed that piece of wood and nails and photograph as I was about to go off to college. Maybe, looking back on it, it had something to do with Ron Powers.
Ron Powers is a writer and he appears as a talking head in the Ken Burns documentary on Mark Twain that I love fiercely, far more than any Mark Twain book itself. As Jacqueline Schwab's beautiful piano rendition of "Sweet Betsy from Pike" plays laconically in the background, Ron Powers quietly says this:
"When you become... unsure of who you are now, you go to... who you were when you knew who you were, and... try to.... read back... out of that."
I had never been more unsure of who I was than when I was about to enter college. I was a terrifically insecure, socially-petrified virgin who had never tasted a drop of alcohol, knobby-kneed, Jew-fro'd, bespectacled, awkward with dubiously-aligned teeth and a sabre-sharp sense-of-humor that had gotten him punched in the chest and thwacked with a hockey-stick on the late bus.
But, the little boy in that photograph?
Decidedly less complicated.
Scared of death and life, sure, but a nice, sweet boy. Yes, the dark circles were definitely forming beneath his eyes, for he did not sleep for weeks on end, fretting and worrying about this and that, and he would let no one cut his impossibly soft, chestnut hair because, well, I don't really remember why. When I was fifteen, my barber accidentally stabbed me in the back of the neck with his scissors and I briefly thought to myself, "Ah, maybe that was why." But it was probably a lot less rational than that.
If I tried now to read back out of who I was when I was four, I don't know quite how successful I'd be, and I don't know if there would be much of a point. I know who I am-- I think-- certainly more than I did when I was a freshman in college. On my first day on campus, by the way, I hid HOPE. One of my hallmates made fun of it, calling me a faggot or a girl or something, I don't really remember what he said, but I remember he was wearing a black wife-beater, black track shorts and no shoes, and he was standing in the doorway of my room, laughing at me. Later on, when I was alone, I put HOPE into a duffel bag in my closet and it did not come out again until sophomore year, when I was more comfortable with my room and my roommate and my hallmates and my skin and my hopes.
I love the kid in that picture. That kid who hadn't yet discovered sarcasm or the stage or heartbreak or violence or sex or Gilbert & Sullivan or mediocrity or college or much of anything, really. He'd discovered anxiety kind of early, but we can forgive him for that. For he'd also discovered HOPE.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I had almost forgotten all about Michael, until yesterday, when I found myself driving behind an adapted Dodge Caravan. It's amazing how memory leaves you, and then comes back one day, just like that. Because of the car you're driving behind. Just like that.
I had never met anyone with cerebral palsy before I met Michael. I did not know what to expect, and I admit that I was terrified. I didn't know where he was cognitively, I had no idea what his mobility was like. I didn't know if he drooled or if he spoke or if he wrote or if he would start seizing. I wasn't an EMT yet-- I was barely out of college. I had just washed out of the police academy and I was thinking about applying to law school. I needed some income. A friend of mine told me that a young man named Michael was looking for an anthropology tutor. That he had attempted to go off to college six hours away, but physical and emotional setbacks had forced him to return home. He'd had surgeries on his legs and he would not be going back to college-- not yet-- and that he wanted to keep his mind fresh while at home.
And he had C.P.
I didn't even know what that really, really meant.
I was very scared of meeting Michael. I was scared I would say something that would offend his parents, or, worse, him. I was frightened I would stare or trip or make an idiot out of myself. These were the same feelings that used to go through my brain before and during a first date. I arrived at his house at 7:30 one night, for our introductory meeting-- our first date. A young Korean girl, maybe fifteen, answered the door.
Uh-oh, I thought. I just rang the wrong bell. Wonderful.
"Mom!" the Korean girl yelled, "Michael's tutor's here!" Michael's mom and dad quickly appeared in the doorway. Both white.
Ah. Right. She's adopted. Good job there, racist.
They were all smiles. Michael's father craned his neck to get a look at my car: a 2001 white VW Beetle with red, white, and blue stripes and a "53" on the doors and hood-- a very mod Herbie.
"Cool car!" he said, "Michael! Your new tutor drives around in the Love Bug!"
I heard a slurred comment and laughter coming from somewhere in the house.
I followed Michael's parents into the dining room and there at the table was Michael. Black, tousled hair, pale skin, arms and fingers contorted in an almost impossible position, fresh scars on both legs protruding at odd angles from beneath a pair of red track shorts, white tube socks falling down above white sneakers. His wheelchair was a big, black thing with a large, black box on the back of it. There was a joystick that reminded me of the SEGA games I used to play in my friend’s basement when we were young and, well, friends. His wheelchair looked complicated. I was immediately afraid of it. I had seen the Carol Burnett Show sketch where Tim Conway’s power-chair goes berserk on a freshly-waxed studio floor.
Our first meeting was supposed to last half-an-hour. I ended up staying two. Michael was full of questions for me—it was quite a harrowing interview. He wanted to know where I went to elementary school and what I liked to eat, and was particularly interested in what television programs and films I enjoyed. His father was impressed by my Peter Sellers fetish. Michael liked my hankering for eating breakfast meats late at night (I have since outgrown that particular comestible proclivity).
Now, I feel it necessary to explain that I was/am in no way qualified to tutor anybody in the subject of Anthropology. I had taken an anthro course in college, and I did get an “A,” but it was one of those A’s that had no basis in my actual knowledge base of the subject. It had to do with the fact that there were two tests, both open-book, open-notes, and that the professor loved me. He was an elderly man with a wicked sense of humor, and I will one day be an elderly man with a wicked sense of humor, and we, well, clicked. I spent much of the class cracking wise and busting up the professor in the middle of his lectures. On the last day of class, when we would individually come out to the hallway to receive our final grades, I got my “A,” and a hug.
“You are a joy,” he said to me, smiling from ear to ear as he brought me in for my final grade hug. His tweed sport coat smelled like pipe tobacco, newspaper, and grandfather. Maybe like what my grandfather would have smelled like, had he ever hugged me.
“We’re not really interested in an Anthropology tutor,” Michael’s mother said to me as she walked me out. I thought I was being fired.
“We want someone to spark Michael’s interest in communicating with people who aren’t his family, someone who can stimulate him intellectually and just on a basic social level—someone who isn’t mom or his sister, or a caretaker. So come over, watch his anthropology videos with him, talk to him about them, talk to him about whatever. It’ll be great.”
And that’s what I did—for a year—and they paid me. They frequently overpaid me. And it was great. After a while, I even stopped being afraid of Michael’s wheelchair—even when he pressed a button that made it completely stand him up vertically (he was securely strapped in, waist and shoulders) to ease the tension in his body caused by his ataxia. He loved asking me questions about the woman who would become Mrs. Apron. Michael was shocked to learn that she had been living in Pennsylvania for over a year and still had a Rhode Island license plate.
“That’s iweegal!” he would say, his eyes popping wide.
“I know,” I said, “she’s a rebel.”
Every now and then, Michael would cut our sessions short, when the pain got to be too much.
“Ow, ow, ow!” he would shout, “my wegs! My wegs!” And I knew that was my cue to go.
He and I would joke about the poor quality of his anthropology videos (the “Anthropology Today” series, if you’re interested) and the corny theme music. Once or twice, we piled into his adapted Dodge Caravan for the trek to Community College of Philadelphia to take a midterm or a final that he would inevitably bomb, but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t taking the class for credit. He was taking it to keep his mind active. And to keep me sane.
I wish I could say that my story about my relationship with Michael had a happy ending, but it didn’t. After a while, I went to work for Michael’s mother, because I barely passed the LSAT. I got a torrential nosebleed during the essay section-- and you're not allowed to leave the room. It was a godawful mess, and, probably, an omen. So I went to work for Michael's mom, and I ended up hating her, and she ended up laying me off after a year, and Michael and I never spoke again. I always wanted to send him an email, letting him know that what happened between his mother and I at work had nothing to do with how I felt about him, but I knew that she checked his email, and there was just no way for me to contact him without using her as a conduit. Maybe that makes me a selfish baby, or unkind, or cruel, or just plain old stubborn. Probably everything.
Michael: it is you who are a joy. And, as Carol Burnett herself would say, “Thank you for this time together.”
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
After all, they are interesting, aren't they? And they're all around us, too. Everywhere you look there's a goddamn bird, chirping its beak off or, you know, shitting in your eye (good luck!) and so it's only natural, I guess, to be interested in birds. There are whackjobs out there with binoculars that would make the Israeli army jealous who just sit in tall grass barely farting just waiting to catch a half-second glimpse of a Bavarian parakeet or a red-titted prechaboo.
Some of these people are even married.
Me? I don't know much about birds. But, in recent days, my radar has definitely been perked up a little bit as concerns these fluttery, flittery little jibbits. I was particularly piqued last week when my wife and I were watching some insipid television program and we saw a commercial that left me somewhat baffled.
It was an ad for birdseed, from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company which, apparently, is "dedicated to a beautiful world." Which is nice for them. This particular commercial was an advertisement for a new kind of birdseed they're peddling called, "Songbird Selections Colorful Bird Blend."
The commercial promises "More Colorful Birds in Every Bag" and, while I question the taste of such a tagline (it conjures an image, in my mind, at least, of a dozen-or-so eviscerated parrots, cardinals, and bluejays dumped together, mass-grave-style, in a Whole Foods sack) I also question, well, everything else about this product.
First of all, how the fuck do these people know what kind of food colorful birds eat? Were questionnaires doled out to the Lilac-Breasted Roller club members at their annual meeting at the Des Moines Holiday Inn? I'm almost frightened to think of how this food was product-tested. Can you picture a robin strapped to a cold, clinical exam gurney (stirrups?) having lots of different birdseed dumped into its forcibly-opened beak until just the right mixture was discerned?
I'm sorry, but I just find it difficult to believe that there is a birdseed out there that gaily-colored birds are all like, "Hot damn! This shit is what we crave!" and other, boring birds are like, "Meh." See, there are product claims that are just too outlandish to be believed, and I think that this kind of speaks for itself. But I'm not so convinced that this is just another case of a company peddling schlock to morons hoping to make a fast buck by making wildly unsubstantiated claims and then putting an asterisk after them to cover their cowardly, pimply asses.
("Attracts up to 2x more colorful birds* *Results may vary by region and/or season. When compared to ordinary wild bird food blends.")
Scott's website claims that "Songbird Selections" products were designed by orinthologists, but I'm not so sure. I'm thinking maybe these wild bird food blends were designed by, oh, I don't know...
Picture it. You've got a bunch of scientists-- they're all white, of course, maybe an Asian or an Indian thrown in there for good measure-- sitting around a labratory with some birds strapped to gurneys and these d-bags are sitting around reading "Playboy" and smoking cigars-- real "old boys club" kinda deal-- and they're talking some shit about, "What sort of bird food can we concoct to attract, you know-- the coloreds?"
Colorful-- coloreds-- same diff, right?
And so they sit there, making projections and assumptions and judgments about what kind of birdseed colored birds would want to eat.
Have you ever taken the time to examine the ingredients contained in a bag of Scott's Songbird Selections?
Black Oil Sunflower (Black, huh?)
Niger Seed (that's no joke, people-- Niger Seed-- for real)
Pam Grier's vagina
Now, you can't tell me that those ingredients aren't downright racist. I mean-- Juniper Berries? Come on, Scott.
To further my contention that the Scott Miracle-Gro company is manufacturing a racist product, in the 1950s in the Jim Crow South, Scott Miracle-Gro was the leading supplier of food products to segregated diners, restaurants, and luncheon counters. Remember those COLOREDS ONLY signs? Yeah. Thanks, Scott Miracle-Gro. Way to be dedicated to that "more beautiful world."
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
It's her Brainaversery.
Her sixth one, actually.
It's hard for me to believe that we were only dating for a very short time when she was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for neurosurgery. I was petrified, but how can my fear compare to what must have been going on in her brain (externally and internally) as she faced, well, the biggest uncertainty of all.
To mark the occasion, I get her some kind of gift. Some years, it's antiquarian-- like the book of 19th century neurosurgery and neurology lithographs. Some years, it's childish, like the "Operation: Brain Surgery" game (n.b. it's totally lame-- got nothing on the original), and some years it's funny, like last year's custom-made, bright yellow t-shirt that reads "I Had Brain Surgery: What's Your Excuse?"
This year it's, um, different. And it's coming from Russia. That should tell you something.
When I think about my wife's brain surgery, when I allow myself to go back to June 22nd, 2004, well-- sometimes I don't know why I allow myself to go back at all. I suppose it's good for me. People might say that. Maybe others might say it's unhealthy-- and I understand that. But, don't worry, I don't allow myself to go back very often. Sometimes I wonder how often my wife goes back-- but we don't talk about it very much.
Maybe when she's combing her hair in the morning and the teeth of the comb descend briefly into the divot in her skull-- not observable to the public, but very much there-- maybe she goes back then. Maybe she goes back every time I have to tell her there's cereal and milk on the left side of her mouth, because she can no longer feel. Maybe she goes back at the breakfast table. Or maybe it's when we see a musical or an opera and she hears the orchestras in which she will not play again, because of the loss of her embouchure, and the loss of dexterity in her fingers. Maybe she goes back at the theatre.
The times when I go back are usually unrelated to these instances-- it comes over me unexpectedly and, annoyingly, usually when we're in the midst of a blissful cuddle on the couch or reading together or in the car. Sometimes, I say nothing. Others, I'm dumb enough to turn to her and say, "I can't believe I let them do that to you-- I can't believe I let them take you away from me."
I walked down the hallway next to her gurney, holding her hand as the astronaut/alien people in blue hats and gowns and booties walked alongside us, pushing her towards her destiny. I went to the elevators, as far as they would let me. And then I heard the ding, saw the doors whoosh open, and they wheeled her in, the doors shut, and that was that. I don't remember how long I stood there, looking at those closed elevator doors. But I remember feeling an overwhleming desire to throw up, to cry, to scream, to break something, to force the elevator doors open and throw myself down the shaft, to suck my thumb, to pull out all of my hair, to sleep. I don't think I slept, or had slept-- really slept-- for at least four days.
"You have to forgive yourself. You saved my life," my wife says to me when I get like that-- remembering.
I forced her to go to the doctor back in 2004, and I forced her by saying "please." She was having tongue seizures, and she hid them from the world-- but not from me. I knew enough to know that it was very, very serious-- and not in the way that my various rashes and moles are "serious." I directed her to my ancient general practitioner, the man who used to make house calls to see my freshly made-up great-grandmother.
"This sounds serious. I'm referring you to a neurologist," he said to her. The MRI confirmed an arteriovenous malformation-- an abnormal connection of arteries and veins that resembles spaghetti, only not as delicious. The AVM was causing her seizures and was threatening to rupture, which would have been, quite simply, a disaster. My wife had this AVM since birth but, as it grew, her symptoms grew more sinister, making it critical to have it removed.
"You can wait till the summer," the vascular neurosurgeon said to us at our preliminary meeting, "but no longer than that."
I would be lying to you if I said that I remembered every detail of her stay at HUP. I don't. And maybe that's because I don't want to. But I remember a lot. I remember the little x's and o's they drew on her forehead on June 21st, after her first embolization, and how I joked that her head looked like a child's board game. I didn't feel like joking, but it was better than throwing up.
I remember going to the hospital cafeteria with my parents and staring at my salad for half-an-hour before giving up on it.
I remember going in to see her post-surgery. She was swollen up and looked like a Cabbage Patch doll.
I remember sitting on her hospital bed, by her knees, and I remember her pushing herself up with her right hand—her left one was basically useless at that point—and she shoved herself up against me in a pathetic, beautiful, terrible, amazing hug, her right arm flung around my neck like a mink stole.
I remember the next day, going in to see her. I was wearing a bowtie. I sat on her bed in the same place, by her knees, and she lay there in a taciturn haze. She opened her eyes slightly, and she motioned lazily with her right hand, like she wanted to tell me a secret. I bent down slightly, and she motioned again for me to come closer. I leaned in close, and I smelled her matted blood and disinfectant and gore and skin and hair and breath. She motioned again, and I got even closer, and, instead of a secret, she tugged on a corner my tie, untying it with a twisted grin.
I remember her mother playing harp by her bedside.
I remember sleeping in her hospital bed, and I remember Hunan, the young medical resident who came in at 3:00am or whenever it was to do a neuro status check on her and his smile when he saw us cuddled up together.
“That’s the best way to recover,” he said, “with your husband.”
We didn’t tell him that we weren’t married yet—just in case it was against the rules.
Monday, June 21, 2010
And that would have been sad-- because she was probably unarmed, and she is also very nice. And you know that's not a compliment I throw around a lot.
When you're Jewish and have forearms the girth of malnourished twigs, you tend to be scared of a lot of things, I find. Maybe it's because I'm hyperaware of things that could pose injury and/or death, or maybe it's just because life is inherently fragile and the world is inherently dangerous. My wife, sometimes to fill a brief conversational lull, will remark on how easy it would be to just drive her car into the opposing lane of traffic and slam into an oncoming car.
And then we enjoy pot pie night and watch "Jeopardy!"
Seriously, though-- life is full of dangers, not just my wife's metallic orange Honda Fit that you might want to pay a little extra attention to if you see it zipping around the next time you're tooling around suburban southeastern Pennsylvania.
What dangers, Mr. Apron, I am rhetorically hearing you ask yourself as you read my blog in a state of seminudness with Q-tips sticking out of both ears. Well, I'm glad you asked:
1.) ALL THAT SHIT UNDER THE HOOD OF YOUR CAR
Most of you who read this blog are female. We can all acknowledge this. I think Sebastian peaced out months ago, and I don't know what the hell happened to Jay. What is it with these British males and their sense of non-commitment? They could learn a thing or two from all of you Canadian women.
Anyway, being female, many of you may not spend much time under the hood of your car. I'm not saying this to be sexist, or an asshole, or even a sexist asshole. This sexist asshole-like statement is at least somewhat research-based. I conducted a psychological study (such as it was) back in college that had to do with knowledge of your own automobile. 10 male participants, 10 female participants. Each one had to answer thirty questions about not cars in general, but their own car. What does your speedometer go up to? How many cylinders are in your car's engine? Does your car have dual airbags? Does your car have Anti-Lock Brakes? Is your car a four-speed, five-speed, or six-speed? Does your car have a power driver's seat? Those kind of questions-- I even asked "What is the make and model and year of your car?"
The women all bombed. It was painful.
Anyway, maybe you do or maybe you don't spend a lot of time under the hood of your car. I think that's good. Do you know how many things under there can hurt, maim, and/or kill you? At least seven. All those belts and chains and fans-- and don't even get me started on the fucking battery! The first time as an EMT I had to jumpstart a stalled-out ambulance I almost passed out from the sickening anticipation that I was about to be electrocuted.
So, yeah, I'm scared of everything under the hood of my car. Except maybe for the windshield washer reservoir. But that scares me too, a little. When I fill it, a little pee comes out. Because the hood could slam down on my head at any second-- just like the sky on Henny Penny.
2.) GETTING HARRASSED
This is not one of my irrational fears-- because it happens a lot. I don't know-- maybe it was the moustache (which went the way of the dinosaurs yesterday, Halle-jew-yah!!!!!) but people seem to take great delight in shouting out random epithets at me. Some of them don't even make sense. Two black kids cornered me while I was taking out the trash at the theatre and asked me if those were my "real seeing glasses." They then informed me that I looked like a "big, ugly dyke" they know.
I get that I'm probably not going to make it to the 10 Sexiest Men, but, really-- I don't think I look like the Elephant Man's cousin. What is it about me that attracts the random, negative attention? The only reason I haven't been jumped yet by these uncouth youths is because I am usually able to resist the urge to blurt out something about hate-fucking their grandmothers' corpse-mouth.
3.) GETTING JUMPED
As I get older, my patience with the random epithets will most likely wane and I worry that I will soon no longer be able to resist corpse-mouth replies. And then I will get my head stomped on. And then I really will look like the Elephant Man's cousin.
4.) GETTING INTOXICATED
Sooner or later, a situation is going to present itself where I will cave to the immense psycho-social pressures of society and either imbibe a licentious quantity of alcoholic beverage or snort rat poison just to be accepted into some writer's clique or, depending on how the next couple years go, plumber's union. I've never been drunk or stoned or high before, and the idea of it scares me. My brain is so fucked up and haywire as it is, I don't know if it could handle the introduction of some hallucinogenic or depressive substance. Kind of like adding a 438th ingredient to Salsa-Flavored Doritos.
5.) MY FAMILY
No joke-- my family scares the shit out of me. They're weird and unpredictable and say fucked up things, and, since my sister's baby was born we're all completely manic depressive. Any one of us is capable of pretty much anything at this point. Eight years ago, a girl broke up with me because my family was "too boring." Well, that was part of the problem. Another part was that I liked cuddling and she didn't.
So, my family legitimately scares me. Chances are they'll just putter and worry themselves into their graves without much fuss, but there is the outside chance that the stress of life will compel my mother to violently rapel, SWAT-style, through the glass booth of the local college radio station and start broadcasting mind-control messages in some invented language and my father will become a gay porn star who always wears sunglasses.
6.) THE DOGS
One is elderly, one is a puppy. I'm scared the old one is going to die, and I'm scared the young one is going to make me kill myself. Honestly, one more turdlette on the rug and I might throw myself down the stairs with a bedsheet tied around my slender, swan-like-though-hairy neck.
I know it's so cool that "everybody's doing it" these days, but when my job ends on August 27th, I'm petrified that I won't have a job, even a shitty-assed lousy one for which I am intensely overqualified, for me to do. This fear is justified because I've applied for at least thirty shitty-assed, lousy jobs for which I am intensely overqualified, and nobody's called me back. Maybe I should start applying for Human Resource jobs. I'd love to get paid for not calling anybody back all day.
I'm afraid that I watch it too much. And, yet, whenever someone I know talks about or references something that happened recently on TV, I invariably have no clue about what the fuck they're talking about.
Come on-- you didn't think you were going to get a Top 10 Fears list from ME and have that one missing, did you? Please.
10.) GETTING SALMONELLA POISONING
My wife and I bake a lot, and she's a spoon-licker. Every time she does it, she looks at me with this naughty grin and lifts her eyebrows up and down. And she never gets sick. I don't get it. You people who eat cookie dough are fucking balls-up rebels. And you're also nutty thrill-seekers. Why don't you just run your tongues along the rims of your toilet bowls?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Do you believe it?
Like the Ford Five Hundred. Do you remember that car? Why the fuck did they call it that? Doesn't make any sense. It's good they started calling it the Taurus. Everybody loves a sequel. That reminds me-- this blog is a sequel. Maybe there's one or two of you here who remember the first blog I created, called "Pudd'nhead Nathan." Is the sequel better than the original? I don't know... hard to remember, really. Probably it's just more of the same mullarkey.
I started this blog in March of 2009, on Friday the 13th, to be precise, and we all know how much I love being precise.
One might think that it would be unwise to commence a blog, or any endeavor really, on Friday the 13th, that it would be some sort of doomed adventure, star-crossed, if you will. But I’m the kind of guy who lies on the floor naked and tries to shoot pee-pee into the ceiling fan. Well, not really—but, if I ever got drunk, I’d probably be that kind of guy. Think about that next time you muse quietly to yourself, “God, I’d love to see that Apron guy drunk!”
Trust me. You wouldn’t.
I don’t know that I realized I had started my blog on a Friday the 13th but, looking back on it, I’m glad I did. It’s symbolic and shit. It’s maudlin and funny and depressive and balls-up, and I like to think I embody those adjectives, even if I don’t, or I don’t all at the same time.
I’m not sure how many bloggers out there these days make it to 500 posts, and do so in just over a year and three months. Pretty balls-up, yeah? I don’t know if it’s stick-to-it-ness or O.C.D. or loneliness or mania or a love of words or a love of you or an incessant desire to be heard—I don’t know if it’s the Chilean government that keeps me going every morning, but we can’t blame drugs. I don’t know if it’s Mrs. Apron. My blog is my way of reaching out to her, every day, in addition to the emails and the text-messages and the voicemails we zip back-and-forth to each other throughout the workday. They’re all really love letters to my wife, if we want to be honest here, and all you creepy voyeurs are kind of peeking through the window treatments.
And I may be an insufferable pervert, but I kind of like that. Kin. Kay.
She’s the one who told me I should blog, and I listened. She’s the one who told me I should become and EMT, and I listened. And now we’re talking about becoming a cop—a day I never, ever thought would come. But I’m listening. Anybody who loves to complain in rote, Sex-and-the-City fashion that husbands don’t listen should come talk to me. Or listen to me. Or… they should do… something. To me. I’m very glad that my wife told me to start blogging. She thinks I’m a real writer. God, I love her.
I was thinking about what I ought to blog about on my 500th Blogday, and I really still can’t decide. I write stream-of-consciousness, and I often don’t think about what a post is really going to be about until I’m at least five or six paragraphs in. My wife wanted me to devote a post to an article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently that bore this title:
“Cornhole Tournament to Benefit Wounded Veterans”
While it feels admittedly a little puerile, a little Jay Leno, it is pretty funny. May I never be accused of turning my nose up at sophomoric humor. Never. I mean, haven’t the organizers of this event ever seen “Office Space”? (“Watch out for your cornhole, bud.”) Truthfully, though, as funny as it is when naïve individuals without a vulgar bone in their body make an inexplicable blunder like that which opens themselves up to torment and ridicule in the blogosphere by more culturally-aware individuals with middle-school sensibilities, I’m kind of just not fully feeling the cornholeness today. I mean-- it's Sunday. Is anybody reading this sacrilege on Sunday anyway?
Anyway, about these cornhole people: they’re just two good-hearted folks trying to organize an event to raise money for wounded soldiers—and am I crossing a line by belittling them, and poking fun at their little faux pas? Maybe I’m getting old. A sixteen-year-old asked me yesterday if I texted and, when I answered “yes” she cracked up. Little does she know I also blog. And that’s a good thing.
Happy 500th blogday to me. Thanks for coming to the party.
Watch out for your cornhole, bud.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Hey, I'm only human. And very at that.
So, by now, you've heard that Diddy/Puffy/Puffed-Rice/Didpuffs/Puff-Dildo bought his son a Maybach sedan, valued at approximately $360,000, for his sixteenth birthday. If you hadn't yet heard about this, then, holy shit-- you just learned a bit of vapid, inconsequential celebrity news from My Masonic Apron.
What is the world coming to?
Dids did, in addition to the car, donate $10,000 to Haitian relief.
Now, this is the part where I rip Didders a new asshole and castigate him for his rampant extravagence and hedonistic excess, not to mention the abominable hypocrisy that fueled his drop-in-the-bucket "donation."
Ready? Here I go!
I mean, really-- why bother? Aren't we all to blame? By making a celebrity out of this d-bag, by buying his music or his bodywash or whatever it is that he's peddling, isn't it our fault that this moron has even enough waddage to buy his son a seven-year-old Chevy Cavalier, let alone a car that costs more than any house I will ever be able to afford?
I’m pretty sure it’s all our fault.
Well, yours. I use Ivory bodywash. And I still have fucking eczema.
I find it somewhat entertaining, and somewhat infuriating (depends on whether or not I’ve had coffee) how we as a culture suck at the teat of untalented shit-for-brains until they are catapulted to the tippy-top of the teetering apex of celebrity status in our culture, and then we sit back and click our tongues when they behave like retarded goat-children with all of the money that we have decreed they should have.
HellOOoOoOoO? Celebrities are assholes. This isn’t some kind of ancient, mystic secret.
I mean, celebrities who aren’t Betty White are assholes. I don’t want to get stoned to death on this blog for maligning the last remaining Golden Girl and Generation Y’s doddering, sentimental darling-of-the-moment. (“I love it when she curses! L.O.L!”)
If I became a celebrity, I can guarantee you that I would become an asshole, too. Sure, my assholedom would manifest itself in slightly different ways than Puffy Combs’. I would have a garage-full of pristinely-restored antique VW Beetles. Would that rub people the wrong way? I don’t know. They’re still pretty economical, even by today’s EPA standards, and it’s hard to call a Beetle “extravagant” when they didn’t even have standard fuel gauges until the 1962 model year.
And I don’t know that I’d be donating a swathload of my money to help clean off oil-coated birds in the Gulf. That would make me a celebrity asshole.
Frankly, I would be surprised if that moron didn’t buy his son a $360,000 car for the kid’s 16th birthday. Wouldn’t it be weird if, like, he bought him a Kia Soul? Really, he was just doing what is expected of him—to be a dick and to live within the expectations of the culture that we have all helped to create for him. This man should, by rights, be buying and selling us at the rate of a thousand a minute, while wiping his ass with damask and bottling his pee for handsome, French women to spray upon their wrists.
Because, Goddamnit, that’s what we expect. And we don’t really have the right to be outraged or disappointed when our expectations are met, or even exceeded, by those to whom we have granted success and fame. Are we jealous? Certainly. Are we insecure? Yes. Are we maybe regretting being part of an insipid, ethereal culture that rewards miniscule or no talent, keeps tabs on celebrities’ every move and choice, and then has the audacity to shake its head in despair when they do what they do, and do so well?
I suppose I have a slightly different perspective on this whole thing, having grown up in a relatively posh section of the Philadelphia suburbs where, in the student parking lot of my high school, there were more Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and Lexus insignias on the asses of cars than there were in the teachers’ lot.
Assholes come in all shapes and sizes and celebrities aren’t the only ones.
That said, though-- I would have LOVED to have seen the look on that fucking kid's face if his asshole dad had gotten him a Kia Soul.
He woulda been all like, "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
Too soon, Apron. Too soon.
Hey-- at least it wasn't a Rue McClanahan joke.
Friday, June 18, 2010
So let’s cover our mouths and noses with a plastic fucking bag and enjoy another rollicking edition of…
Recently I was at a club with friends and ran into a co-worker. He was dressed in drag and introduced himself as "Glenda." At work, he dresses like a male and goes by "Glen."
Since that night he has been avoiding me and cutting conversations short, if not ignoring me altogether. Should I let him know I'm OK with his alternate persona, or let it be? I don't want to risk awkward situations. -- SYMPATHETIC IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Dude! This is just like that episode of “30 Rock” where Lemon and Pete go to the bar to follow Jenna’s new boyfriend and it turns out that he’s a Jenna impersonator! God, I love it when life imitates art. And vice-versa is okay, too.
My question is: were you dressed like a dude? If so, “Glen(da)” probably can reasonably presume that you’re “OK with his alternate persona.” I’ll bet you looked nasty, though.
P.S. I didn’t know they had tranny bars in Northern Virginia. Now that's progress. Thank you, First Black President!
My sister, "Gina," recently became engaged to her longtime boyfriend. A few days after hearing about the engagement, I sent her an e-mail telling her my husband and I were free every weekend except Oct. 8, 9 and 10 because a dear friend had asked me months ago to be a bridesmaid in her wedding that weekend. I have already bought the dress and had it altered. I called Gina to explain the situation after sending the e-mail.
Yesterday, I spoke with my father and found out that Gina has chosen Oct. 9 for her wedding day, even though I told her I couldn't make it then. Gina wants me to be her matron of honor because she was my maid of honor.
Clearly, I cannot participate in two weddings on the same day at the same time in different locations. Who do I say no to? -- DREADING WEDDINGS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Dude! This is just like that episode of “30 Rock” where Lemon gets invited to three weddings (Saree, Floyd and Dot Com’s) on the same day! And she ends up finding sexually inappropriate things to read from Corinthians and plays the guitar while Jack and Nancy Donovan--
Wait a minute—what the fuck is going on here? Is this some kind of “30 Rock” tribute thing going on here? Well, if it is—I like it, but I’d at least like to be told, for Christ’s sake. This is MY blog after all, and if there’s going to be any shameless cross-promotion going on here, I’d at least like to be in on it/receiving checks from NBC/Universal.
Now, about this stupid letter, you say that “Gina wants me to be her matron of honor.” Well, since you already told her that you won’t be available on the day of her wedding, it’s pretty obvious to me that she doesn’t really want you to be anything. She doesn’t want you there—do you understand? She hates you. Do you remember when you decapitated her favorite Care Bear—the one with the shamrock Tummy-Symbol, poured ketchup all over it and left that Arabic note written in crayon by the corpse? Yeah, payback’s a bitch, honey.
I work in a small office, and every day a co-worker's adult child who works nearby comes here to have lunch with her mother. She knows everyone's business as if she worked here, and we're forced to order her something when we get takeout. Frankly, we're tired of it. How can we put a stop to this without hurting anyone's feelings?
-- ONE MORE FOR LUNCH
DEAR ONE MORE:
Finally—a letter that doesn’t have anything to do with “30 Rock.” I mean, enough already—you know?
So, here’s what I think about this: I think you’re a petty, jealous, overweight cow who is jealous of your co-worker’s hot daughter. The very presence at your lunch table of some flaxen-haired, freckle-shouldered beauty with sensitive eyes, chestnut-eyelashes and breasts that resemble two slightly engorged soft-balls just kills you, doesn’t it, you sallow-skinned Hagitha? Sweets, it’s okay to be jealous. But do you have to be so, I don’t know, petty about it?
And, don’t worry—ordering that hot piece of ass a meal just means that yours is safe.
When I married the first time, I wore my mother's wedding gown. She and Dad had a happy marriage. They were married 47 years when Dad died.
My first husband and I divorced. We had two boys. I don't think either of my children would want the dress. In fact, I don't think ANYone would want it because the last time it was worn led to divorce.
What should I do with the dress? I only have two nephews and a step-granddaughter who is 5. I could save it for future grandchildren, but I think the divorce issue is a spoiler. -- JINXED IN KENTUCKY
Well, as you well know from the signature of your letter, that dress is jinxed. Not only jinxed, but poisoned and potentially lethal. It is about as hazardous to you and those around you as an electric cattle-prod or a non-registered sex-offender, or a 1957 Plymouth Fury named “Christine.” This dress must be dealt with, swiftly, surely, and with crushing severity.
Here’s what you do:
You’re going to need lots, and lots, and lots of battery acid.
I suggest visiting one of your junkie nephews who lives underneath a rusted-out Winnebago 20 miles west of Paducah—he’ll have what you’re looking for. Now, pour the battery acid all over your face. This will burn both your eyes out—Slumdog Mill style—but that’s intentional. Believe me, you won’t want to see what we’re going to do to this dress.
Take the dress to the local petting zoo and dress one of the donkeys in it. Then, have someone escort you to Taco Bell. Order seventeen of everything. Go back to the petting zoo and feed everything to the donkey, except for one Chimmichanga—you can rub that all over the acid burns on your face, preferably whilst yelling “CHIMMICHANGA!” over and over again, because that’s funny.
With any luck, approximately fifteen minutes later, the donkey will have released a monstrously foul excretory shitgasm all over your dress. Now, kill the donkey with your bare hands. This will be an awesome spectacle that all native Kentuckians will want to witness—so advertise early. The sight of a blind, crazed divorcee doing Dodge City with a feces-covered donkey in a wedding dress is something that would definitely run in the local papers, if people in Kentucky could read.
After you have split the donkey’s head open, be sure to rub his brain and viscera matter all over the dress—be sure it’s well mixed in with the shit. Then, pull out the donkey’s eyeballs and shove them inside your recently-bereft eye-sockets.
You will look FUCKING MONEY.
Now, get behind the wheel of a pick-up truck. Have a friend strap the dress to the truck’s grill. Floor it. You will go out in a blaze of glory (especially if the truck is a Ford) but, trust me: no more jinx.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Not to sound like a clingy, insecure twat, but sometimes I’m just not sure.
In college, I made Dean’s List enough times to satisfy my parents, but they were never very demanding, so maybe that’s not the best barometer. I got a “D” in biology, which I took in college, and I suppose I could have managed a “C” if I had gone to class more than maybe 20%. One day, towards the end of the semester, I deigned to show up to take a test and there was a different professor at the front of the room.
“Who the hell is that?” I asked a classmate whose name I did not know.
“That’s the professor,” the girl answered.
“Where’s the other one—the one from the beginning?” I asked, thoroughly confused.
“On maternity leave,” she informed me, staring at me like I had a purple dick growing out of my left eye socket.
There was a pause as I took in that information.
“She was pregnant?”
John Stewart claims that you have to be smart to be a smart ass, but I’m not so sure, I might have managed to accomplish the latter while sort of skirting the former. I think I’m able to fool most people into thinking that I’m smart—the glasses and tucked-in collar shirts definitely help— and, ever since I was a little boy I’ve used my inordinate vocabulary as a cover for being intellectually average.
It is that intellectual averageness that leads me, more often than not, to lean on far smarter people for assistance. You know the kind of respect I have for you, and so I’m going to lean on you in this post. I really need your help. Your comments aren’t just snappy one-liners to me—they are fuel that helps propel me to a greater understanding of the multi-faceted and complex world in which we all inhabit together.
So, please, will you help me today, my loves?
Will you help me figure out what the fuck is going on with this Betty White shit?
I need your help, because I don’t get it.
I really, really don’t.
On Facebook which, unfortunately, is the most accurate register of popular public sentiment I can find, just take a peek:
153,187 people “like” Betty White’s “page.”
118,620 people “like” her, um, “other page.”
150,156 people want her to host the Academy Awards. Sorry, Steve & Alec.
Amazingly, only 11,786 want her on “GLEE.” Who the hell would she be? Sue Sylvester’s mother?
Right—don’t give them any ideas…
There are also pages devoted to her hosting the Emmys, the Oscars and, yes, an alien parasite. At least somebody out there still has a sense of humor.
So, I’m left to ask—- what the fuck is going on? You’ve obviously got to be smarter than me (I?) to figure this one out. Is this retro feminism? Is this… um… a suddenly socially acceptable fetish? Is it because she’s the last “Golden Girl” still to claim verticality? Even if that is the case—what’s the big deal? In 1975, was the American populous obsessed with Moe Howard—the last surviving member of the original Stooge clan?
I kind of doubt it.
Is she what we want to be when we’re in our eighties? Is she the funniest woman alive? Is the ability to be funny somehow all of a sudden attractive to us—even at Betty White’s age? I don’t know—I still kind of want to watch Sarah Silverman and Janeane Garofalo take a shower together, (gee, I hope they don’t spend much time Googling themselves) but maybe my tastes are somewhat skewed. I’ve been told that before.
Hot, comedic, fantasy-lesbian showering aside, I don’t think anybody would give two shits about Betty White if she’d stroked out years ago and was all bent up like a pretzel in a wheelchair having drool wiped off her chin by some Jamaican nurse assistant. Is that mean? Yes, but, if you think about it, it’s the truth. It’s not enough for us to have nostalgia, the memory of what someone was once upon a time, we need to be presented with a visual that is just what we remember from our own youth, and if that present image deviates from our memory, well, it’s unacceptable. Why do you think she still puts peroxide in her hair—for her health?
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I think Betty White’s meteoric upswing in popularity is great—for her—and I certainly don’t hope she strokes out just to prove my point, but I just kind of wonder what the hell it’s all about and what it says about our society. I don’t think it says anything especially terrible, but I don’t think it says anything particularly great, either. It is pretty amazing that a bunch of twenty and thirty-somethings are under the spell of an elderly woman, but it’s also kind of weird, too. No doubt some stipend-starved grad student has/will a scholarly paper or article about this phenomenon, and they’ll cite statistics and sources and will spend an inordinate amount of their university’s research grants conducting interviews with assholes my age, and I kind of hope they do.
Because I’m fucking stumped. All I know is this: if Betty White scores a gig as Sue Sylvester’s mom, I’m calling her agent, because I want a cut.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
As such, it might complete the persona to think that I’m not the kind of person who wins things. This perception/assumption would not be wholly accurate. Several years ago, I won a pair of awesome tickets to see “The Lion King” at the Academy of Music—front and center orchestra seats. I called into a radio station at the exact right moment. Timing not being my specialty, I was exceptionally slackjawed with the disc jockey answered the phone. When she told me that I’d won the tickets, rather than screaming like a newly-minted Miss America, I asked her if she was sure.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine sent out a mass-emailer to a bunch of people offering two free tickets to see the production of “The Mikado” in which she was playing Katisha. She was giving the tickets to whomever replied to her email first. I jumped on that “Send” button with both feet and, lo and behold, I’d won those bastards, too. With laughing song and merry dance.
Luck, though it would seem improbable, is spreading in my family like Da Herps. My mother and father were at a charity event for the local library in December and the grand prize of the silent auction was one week at a beautiful house at a New Jersey beach. My parents won.
“Daddy just put his name down because nobody was bidding on it and he was trying to stir up interest,” my mother said in her thin-lipped way, “I don’t even want to go.”
Neither, it seems, does anybody else. Well, my wife wants to go—she’s so sweet and naïve. She has no concept of the family drama and tumult that will ensue at this seemingly innocuous seaside retreat.
Or maybe she just doesn’t care. We could really use a vacation, after all. But, at 30, is a vacation with your parents actually a vacation, or is it more work than Work?
I’m kind of anxious to not find out. Going to Australia with my sister and my father at age 15, right around the time I discovered the inherent joys of playing with myself, was inconvenient and stressful enough.
The only other person who is even remotely excited about the beach house is my pain-in-the-ass middle sister who is delighted at the opportunity to tan her face and cleavage leather while her poor schlep husband probably stays at home with the baby. My father has already announced that there is “no fuck way” he will stay at the beach for a solid week.
“I have a business to run! What am I’m: fucking crazy here?!”
And my eldest sister will not go until scientists/astronauts have invented 650 SPF sunscreen.
And me? Oy. Can I still wear my shirt?
I sat out on the porch with my eldest sister this morning (she was wearing sunglasses and a big, floppy hat, and her twiggy arms were probably greased with 50 SPF) and discussed with her the beach house situation.
“Mom asked me to see if my friend Natalie was interested in taking the house for a week. I told her the value was $2,000, and Dad fuckin’ screamed at me because I should have told her it was $3,000.”
“Isn’t it sad that, here we are, a bunch of hapless assholes, and we have something nice plopped into our laps and we can’t even enjoy it?” I asked, shaking my head, staring off into the clouds behind my prescription sunglass lenses.
“I was saying that to Mom just last night—that this family is so fucked up none of us can enjoy anything.”
“Right, we’re all thinking about what terrible thing is going to happen next or come from the good thing.”
“Well, no, I think that’s just you and me,” my eldest sister said.
My mother came out onto the porch and sat across from me. My eldest sister immediately got up from her chair.
“Well,” she announced with a sigh, “I’m going to go to work and try not to kill myself.”
“Have fun, sweetie,” my mother replied. I stared at them. My sister kissed the top of my head and walked through the behemoth hedges that make entrance and egress to/from the porch nearly impossible without a machete. My father, one day, will cut them back or, more likely, die trying.
My mother and I stared at each other.
“Those are some sunglasses,” she said to me. I looked at her through the dark gray lenses. What do you say to something like that anyway? “Are they new?” she asked.
“No. They’re from the 1950s.”
“I meant, ‘are they new to you?’”
“No. I got them three years ago.”
She looked at me. The night before, I had told her I had put in applications to become a sheriff’s deputy. It was no wonder we were behaving like this.
“Are we going to this fucking place down the shore?” I asked with typical eloquence.
“Sure,” she answered with equally typical enthusiasm.
“Why don’t you just give it to her,” I said, referencing my middle sister, the one with the Africa-sized ego, “she’s the only one who wants to go.”
“It’s worth $2,000—I’m not giving it to anybody,” my mother announced.
“I thought it was worth $3,000.”
“Whatever,” she replied, getting up from her porch chair. “The baby’s sleeping-- I have to check on him.” The baby, who was, of course, at her house. After all, why should he ever be with his mother? I followed her into the house.
“I have to use the bathroom,” I said.
“Well, don’t flush.”
“Jesus fucking Christ—I haven’t taken a shit all day, what do you want me to do—let it ferment in the bowl until it becomes alcohol?”
“Go upstairs, for Christ’s sake,” my mother instructed. I did as I was told. There were 7,452 skin-care products lining the sink, the walls, and on the toothbrush and soap holder. It looked like a Nivea testing facility. There were green, terry-cloth gloves hanging up in the shower. My eldest sister, apparently, showers with gloves on. I was very, very disturbed.
When I came downstairs, my mother was holding the baby, who looked at me, and semi-smiled, the way I do.
I opened the front door and put on my hat.
“Don’t you want to stay here?” she asked me.
“Absolutely not,” I replied, stepping out into the hot June sun, slamming the door behind me.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I have acquired, I think, somewhat of a reputation for being a Negative Nellie. I don't know quite how it started. I'd like to blame Dear Apron, but this persona was firmly established before Dear Apron was formed in the womb.
It's an aura that's surrounded me since, well, I was fourteen or so.
I don't know exactly how it happened. Maybe it's because I'm "snarky" or because I "tell it like it is."
(Vom through my schnozz.)
Regardless of how it began, I think we can all agree that "negative" is as good an adjective to use to describe me as any, right up there with "sickly" and "deformed."
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if you ever catch yourself thinking that I'm a nice guy, keep in mind that this is my favorite cartoon:
My eldest sister sent me this picture maybe four years ago in an attachment to an email, and I am forever grateful. I was sad for some reason, I can't remember which calamity it was at the time, but, regardless-- she wanted it to brighten up my day. I laughed so hard when I opened the attachment that I thought my colon was going to explode. And I wouldn't have cared if it had. Every now and then, when I'm really down, I just open up this file and I laugh until I need my inhaler.
I mean-- the Izod shirt. The corduroy blazer. The chubbiness. The gleeful expression. The CROSSED double-deuce... and he's eating fucking sushi and there's fucking sushi in his MOUTH, for Christ's sake! Genius.
Mother. Fucking. Genius.
So, even though I think I've done this before (would be interesting to compare the two posts, if one had the energy/interest) I thought I'd compile a short list of things that I like. You know, it's like Facebook, but without the cute little thumbie.
I don’t know how it started. I guess with Stan Rogers—a long time ago. If you’ve never given him the time of day, well, now’s the time. Fire up Pandora and open up her box, you’ll be very happy you did. Unless you like Diddy or some shit. While I may be tooling around in my used Volvo in reality, in my head, I’m Rollin’ Down to Old Maui, or decidedly bound for the Rio (pronounced “Rye-oh”) Grande, or pulling in that “Bully in the Alley.” I know the sight of a mustachioed 30-year-old Jewish guy built like a twig singing old maritime music to himself doesn’t make much sense, but, in my life, what does? It gets decidedly awkward when I forget myself and lustily sing out Ewan MacColl’s “Blow, Boys, Blow” while walking from my car to the Post Office, and not just because of the title, but because it contains choice edible accoutrements “monkey ass” and “donkey liver” as well as the trusty old “N-word.”
I know, hating broccoli is the biggest social-loafing device that exists in the world, and I’m actually grateful that it exists to be so universally vilified. The Israelis and the Palestinians and Helen Thomas should all try hating broccoli together—they’ll be fast fucking friends. There’ll be massive amounts of Shalom-ness everywhere. Trust me.
I love broccoli, and it’s not just because I’ve sworn to do the opposite of whatever’s popular. I really love it. We’re actually growing some in our side-yard microgarden, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll eat it cooked, but raw is best. I like the floret and I like the stem. Our dog, Finley, goes fucking bananas for broccoli. If we so much as open the crisper drawer, he stares at us like a strung-out crackhead. I guess he gets that from me. You could say that I don’t actually like broccoli itself, because I don’t eat it by itself—it requires ranch dressing. Barring that, the only other acceptable slather must come from my wife’s specially-prepared garlic sauce. I have been known to consume an entire (very very large) bowl of raw broccoli and garlic sauce for dinner.
And this is where you thank God that you know me from afar.
I think I’ve figured out what I love about being early. It has nothing to do with respect for another person’s time (I don’t) and it has nothing to do with my self-image or my impatience, and it has nothing to do with my perception of reality or my inability to accurately gauge my relationship between time and space:
It’s an addiction.
It’s fucking chemical.
I LOVE the way it feels, in my body and in my brain, when I am early. It’s no different, presumably, than the high a junkie shitskin gets when he injects heroin or battery acid or rat shit directly into his bloodstream. It feels FUCKING AMAZING to know that I’ve beaten The Clock at its sole purpose: inserting its hour and minute hands in my cornhole.
No. I won’t let you. I love my cornhole. It’s small and cute and hour hands and chopsticks and Parker pens do not go up there. No.
Surprised? Oh, come now—don’t be coy.
Another blogger I know recently wrote to me that, for her, blogging had begun to be “a chore.” This made me quite sad. First of all—she’s a very good writer, and for her to feel that blogging had become a chore is definitely an unfortunate thing, because people generally don’t especially like chores (notice, “Chores” are not on my list of Likes) and so I think we may reasonably assume that, if blogging for this individual is a chore, it has become something she no longer “likes.”
Well, shit. That’s not good, kids.
Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s one of those chores that we actually receive some kind of internal gratification from. Like taking out the trash. It’s a pain in the balls, no? I have, like, five trashcans in our small, three-bedroom house. What the fuck is that about? I feel like such an asshole, dragging that big trash-bag (it’s never quite big enough, actually) all over the goddamn house every Tuesday morning, but the reward is that there is no longer trash in the house.
Dishes? Sure, doing dishes is annoying for most people—but I love it. It’s an easy way for an inept man to feel accomplished, and, after it’s all done, the sink smells like orangey yum-yum goodness and not like a Bavarian octogenarian’s anus.
It’s an annoying truth about our society that lots of people are suspicious of men who work with children. Of course, people are more than willing to ignore the fact of the seemingly endless parade of hot middle and high school female teachers busted for assigning their male students “XXXtra credit,” but, hey—what do I know? Never happened to me when I was in middle or high school.
I enjoy working with children, and, after my time at my current job is up at the end of August, I’m going to miss it. Children are honest, even when they’re not, and their perspectives and perceptions never cease to amaze and amuse me, and not in that patronizing way, either, even though it probably came out that way.
I love talking to children—- especially the socially awkward ones—- probably because they remind me of me, the old me and the young me. During a recent rehearsal for “Peter Pan” the ten-year-old boy playing Michael Darling approached me to complain that his flying harness was irritating his “Congo Delta Region.”
When I stopped laughing, I said,
“I think that’s a problem for somebody who isn’t me to deal with.”
How could I leave you off the list of likes? Some of you have been here for a hell of a long time. You deserve a medal or a cash settlement or something—and all you get are more blog posts.