A Christmas Letter*

Dear Friends,

Just wanted to throw a quick note in with our Christmas card so that those of you who we haven't felt obliged to talk to for the last year can feel some small guilt this holiday season, secure in the knowledge that you have completely fallen out of touch with us.

Brian started the year off well. He won the inter-glacial ski-sailing championship in Norway despite heavy competition and a strong showing by the Canadians. He said at the time that he thought maybe they were spiking the akvavit** with extra caraway seeds, giving them an athletic edge, but it turns out the fortuitous mauling of the team captain by a randy moose kept them from capitalizing on this.

Maxine had a great year as well. While technically still not allowed within 100 yards of  the School for the Deaf, after what became known as the "The Mashed Potato Incident", she has found a way to surgically alter that one mole she has to look like Brent Musburger, as has always been her dream. She spends her afternoons lounging around the sanitarium and hurling insults at members of the staff, all of whom she now refers to a "Sir Mortimer Ponce Willobury Snee." They in turn, beat her nightly with soap wrapped in a towel.
But with love.

Little Marly had a tough go of it this year, between the failed application to Space Camp and the loss of her precious stuffed cat "Fucker", she spent all of 2008 filling her closet with earth from the back yard and then burying herself up to the neck in it. Don't worry about her though! She is still competeting in this December's State-wide Moaning tournament. We expect another silver medal at least!

And finally, after 19 long years of marriage, Patricia and I have finally decided that murdering her is the best possible way to end our relationship. She offered resistance to the idea at first but then she blacked out and the rest, as they say is for the courts to decide. Have Yourself a happy holiday season and I hope that you don't spend too much time filling out those silly legal actions again this year. Remember: If you got this card, we have your address!


* This is the kind of thing I never think of until too late. I think next year I am totally going to write a fictionalized Christmas letter and mail it to my whole family.

** Akvavit can also be spiced with corriander, if you're into that kind of thing (perv)

You're a Foul One, Mr. Crotch.

The Grinch was on last night and as we're sitting around watching them sing "Yahoo Door-ehs" or whatever the hell it is they've been singing at me for the last 30 fucking years, so that  you would think I'd know it by now,  when it occurs to me that even when I read the book by Dr. Seuss, the voice in my head sounds like Boris Karloff. 

Hmmm... I didn't know I could do that. Or rather I did but never thought about it. 

And then I start thinking about who else I have in my head. Definitely the guys from Monty Python pretending to be women everytime I think of the word "who?", because in my brain it's a high-pitched keening mispronunciated "Ooo?". (I am keenly aware that "mispronunciated" is not a word. I'm making up for it by using both variants of "keen" in the same paragraph. Also, shut up.) 

So now I'm thinking about Monty Python and trying to watch the Grinch, except every other goddamn word in The Grinch is "who" so that the opening sentence sounds like this:

"All the Ooos down in Ooo-ville liked Christmas a lot..."

Except the "Ooos" are all spoken in the Monty Python screech and the rest is Boris Karloff and none of it is my own "in my head" voice and it disturbs me greatly. Then The Boy jumped onto my head wearing only his underwear, and I ate crotch and it wasn't a Christmas miracle but just gross.

The End.

ps: The moral of the story: You should probably be reading something else.

pps: The underwear may have been clean but I give it like a 30-70 split percentage-wise.

ppps: This night was so uneventful on the grand scale of my life that I almost didn't blog about it, but then I realized eating boy-crotch should NOT be the "norm" of my experiences and maybe by writing about it I can better cope.

That's Bizarre

Over the weekend I watched some Arrested Development (again. but not like "Again?...(sigh)... Jesus Christ! Why don't I do something else?!?"...more like "Yay!") and now I can't get the phrase "pan-sexual bizarre" out of my head, so when the lady at Tim Horton's asks me if I ordered a large or an extra-large Cafe Mocha (Extra large...duh.), all I think is "pan-sexual bizarre" and when my boss asks if I had a nice weekend I hear "pan-sexual bizarre" (which it totally wasn't, because I looked up the Wiki definition of the prefix "Pan-" and it means "all" or "of all members" which made me giggle a little because I am 12.) and when the Ex- calls up and asks if I know when the Winter concert for Honors Chorus is, I hear "Pan-Sexual Bizarre" because it's just stuck in there.

And I always hear it said in Ron Howard's voice, which I don't think means anything because that was the voice I heard it in during the show, but I'm not shut to the idea that I might potentially be haunted by the ghost of some repressed,traumatic, pan-sexual memory from my childhood or maybe that's just the usual way people hear the words "pan-sexual bizarre" and I'm totally "normal".

So of course, I googled the words "pan-sexual" to see if the memory I'm repressing might be something awesome like being molested by a hot babysitter or something and the first thing it came up with was an article from Gawker about a guy who proclaimed himself to be pan-sexual. Wow. I had no idea you could do that. And that made me wonder if maybe there is like a pan-sexual dating service like Match.com, but then it occurred to me that pan-sexuals don't really need a dating service because being pan-sexuals they could just find a provocative-looking tree or something. And then I realized I was thinking about it too much and then my boss called and asked me for the results of the 10K benchmark thermal flow measurements and when I told him he said "That's bizarre."

(*cue Ron Howard*)

How To Make an Assassin

I can tell it's Christmas time. Not because I can read a calendar, although that does play a small role in it, and not because the gentle, hushed fall of millions of snowflakes can be seen see-sawing haphazardly outside my window. I know it's almost Christmas because all of the sudden work is kicking into overdrive. You see, I've come to believe that my entire job is not to run and test subsystems on million dollar printing presses in hopes of finding fundamental design flaws that would make the sale of said presses unprofitable. I think instead, that I am part of some larger psychological experiment to see what it is that makes people go insane.

That's really the only explanation I can think of. Let's look at the facts:

1) During the Christmas shopping season, the one part of the year when I absolutely NEED my free time to shop for the various penis-joke based gifts I will undoubtedly decide on giving, they ask for me to start working overtime. Thereby giving me more money to spend and insuring that I don't have time to spend it.

2) They make me repeat tests I have already completed, without reason. They do seem to raise their eyebrows at me a lot though. This, of course, I take as an absolute slight against my work performance. That carefully arched brow seems to insinuate all manner of nasty things starting with "Your processes on the previous test were substandard the same way Jack The Ripper's opinion of women was less than adequate" and ending with "You are a filthy donkey-man and we hate you." I may be reading in to things a bit here.

3) Knowing full well that I am extremely stressed about the impending end of my contract, they decide that now is the best time to change the operating environment inside my lab to the meteorological equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's going to be 80 degrees with 70 percent humidity in my chamber for the next week. Putting a person with little to lose in a hot, sweaty chamber for long days during the Christmas retail season is like hiring someone to have road rage. They might as well give me a note with a name on it that will self-destruct after reading and tell me where I can find the necessary sniper rifle.

And then I think "I should just be thankful I have any job at all and should quit with the bitching. It could be worse. There are thousands of people out there who are desperate for work and watching the probability of gainful employment erode from under them daily as the economy continues its slow descent into alcoholism. This job of mine is actually pretty awesome and despite all appearances, I seriously doubt they are trying to make me mentally unbalanced."

That's when they brought me a handgun and told me I should kill my lab partner before he kills *me*.

Upward-Facing Dog

The dog is looking at me expectantly. I don't know why. I think maybe he thinks I'm onto some grand scheme where I do something really clever and take over the world. Or maybe I'm just projecting what I hope the dog is expecting of me, it's really too early to tell.

Or maybe, the dog, trapped in some weird Machiavellian metaphysical conundrum, is burning neurons trying to justify his own existence on this mortal coil. Perhaps the rise and fall of the tides within the space-time continuum are his to measure and mark. Tiny fluctuations in reality that are only perceptible to his keenly-honed canine brain. That would explain the pee spot in the kitchen. He was just busy with other things.

He does a quick circle and then sits back down. We make eye contact and instantly his tail begins wagging. So happy. So eager to please. Is that what all this is about? I look deeply into his dark eyes and try to fathom what it is I have done to inspire such loyalty. Such complete and utter willingness to turn himself over to joy.

And then I realize he just wants a doughnut.

Stupid dog.

Technical Difficulties.

As I sat there debating whether or not it was a good idea to write a blog about doing Google searches for semi-pornographic words and tracking how many pages in I had to go before I found actual porn*, the phone rang. It was The Girl and she was in a tizzy (and I don't use that word lightly. Very few creatures are capable of reaching the epic state of anxiety required to be deemed "in a tizzy". Luckily, teenage girls TOTALLY can. I win.)

"Who is this?"
"Heh. Just settle down. What?"
"I need to print out this paper I wrote for school and mom's printer isn't working and the library is closed and now I'm not going to get it turned in on time and I'm going to get a bad grade because he takes off 20% for each day late and I'm never going to go to college and it's all your fault.**"

I'm always amazed by how little she needs to breathe when she's vomiting these sentences out at me. It's like the panic slows her metabolism or something. I guess you could say she is hibernating from sanity. That would also explain the growling.

"Okay. I'll bring my printer over. I'll be there in a few."
"Please Hurry!"
"Well...What if I am in the middle of something?"
"You're not. Come On, Dad."

Her disbelief that I might have a life is unnerving. And creepy in it's accuracy. I think she might be a witch.

So I get over to my ex-house, and there she is, still a-tizzy. I set up the printer, but right away I can tell it's going to be a problem. Not because of any technical issue that is making itself readily apparent, but because The Boy is running around me in circles asking questions in the machine gun staccato he has when he's had entirely too much sugar. I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise.

"Dad! Is it set up yet? Can we print? Are we going to print animal pictures? Have you seen the flying penguin ad? Are we going to keep this printer here? Is Mom's printer broken? Can I go to Webkinz.com? Are you done setting up yet? Is it easy to set it up? Mom says you don't like working on her computer? Why don't you like working on her computer. Ugh. I'm dizzy."

It's not working. It wants Windows. It wants a current Mac OS. It wants to be snuggled. I don't know what the hell it wants. I want to set it on fire by the time I have successfully managed to not set it up an hour later. I wish I had just gone out to the garage and hit my thumb with a hammer one too many times. It would be less painful.

The Girl is pacing behind me and humming nervously. There are many ways to motivate me to do something. Cake. Pie. Cookies. You'll notice the utter lack of "walking behind me and making annoying noises" on that list. That's on purpose.

It took me an hour, but I finally ended up taking the printer back to my house (I managed to drag my USB cable all the way down the street without noticing it hanging out the car door), hooking it up to my desktop, installing the drivers, and printing out the necessary sheets which I then delivered to my grateful spawn. When she was done hugging me and telling me I'm the best dad in the whole world even better than that cool guy on Gilmore Girls, The Boy comes leaping out at me from somewhere. Once again over-stimulated and pantless.

"DAD! Did you print my Christmas List too?"
"Huh? No."

It was a long night is my point.

*For example: if you Google "explode" with Moderate SafeSearch turned off, it isn't until page 4 of the images that you see anyone naked, and then it is just a naked woman, and there is no "exploding" going on, just her kneeling provocatively. I wasn't aware that kneeling was necessarily a provocative activity. But it turns out it is. Bonus points for you, Catholics. In the blog I would have had a graph. Because graphs make everything official.

** She didn't say "It's all your fault.' This is just implied in all teenage communications.

The One About the Snow and the Bears

So it's all snowy and I'm driving into work and I'm listening to the classic rock station because the awesome station I normally listen to is in the throes of "New Wave Wednesday" which is fine, but the DJ of THAT show has a propensity for over-sharing which makes me lightly homicidal* and that isn't the sort of thing you want, karmically-speaking, in the car on a slushy Wednesday morning. So I listened to the stupid classic rock station instead and hoped they would play Led Zepplin and not Mott the Hoople or the Doobie Brothers or whatever. (I totally just spelled "slushie" and had to go back and correct it because I have the delicious frozen beverage on my mind nearly constantly lately.<--- Too much adverb. (*choke*))<---Too many parantheses! (*double choke*)

The DJs at the classic rock station in question are barking about the snow and the weather and generally being grumpy old people, which is what the market-segment for classic rock now demands I guess, and it occurs to me that if you live in goddamn New York state in November, it ought to be apparent to you that it's going to snow. It  isn't like it's something new. Apple didn't just announce the release of it with some huge ad campaign that feels like it should be insulting to me in it's ham-fisted cleverness, but really I find incredibly appealing because the songs they use are just SO DAMNED CATCHY.

Snow...here.... shouldn't be a surprise or even a topic of conversation is my point. Unless you don't really know the person you are talking to and need to talk about the weather to fill the time. But then again, why are you even talking to people you don't know. Haven't you heard of "Stranger Danger"?

I just learned a hard lesson in that very thing today:

And then when I stopped laughing I wondered what kind of bear that was on the poster and tried to remember the proper etiquette for what to do when what I assume to be a Grizzly attacks you, because I randomly worry about the abundance of advice I've been given about that. It seems certain to me that if ever threatened by anything other than a panda, I am going to do the exact wrong thing and find myself disemboweled.  Do I run? Do I climb a tree? Do I hit it on the nose? (or is that a shark?)

Basically, if a bear attacks me my defense is going to be:

a) Cry.
b) Try to give it a stomach ache as I'm being digested.

The End.

* "lightly homicidal" is when you concentrate REALLY hard on killing someone with your mind, even though you have never shown a inclination towards having such a power, on the off-chance that you have suddenly gained it.

With Great Head Explodey Power...

Alright...look,I think I'm a pretty reasonable guy. I try not to let things get to me. I come at life safely even-keeled in an attempt to mask the rampant hysteria that threatens to sweep me out in to the deep waters of insanity at any given moment better follow the path I am meant to take.

However, my life lately has been rife with overly-cute children that are trying to explode my head and I need someone with a little effing culpability to stand up. Seriously parents... pay attention here. Watching your doe-eyed 3 year old mispronounce "hippopotamus" in French is like you purposefully crossing the streams and trying to blast me and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man back to the realm of Zuel. It's ridiculous. It's like watching mythical ponies and bunnies frolic under a sun who is wearing sunglasses and has big smile and is waving jovially at all the woodland creatures. It's like a fairy offering to take me on a unicorn ride over the rainbow to the land of gumdrops.

Seriously. Knock it off.

Your adorable child is emasculating me using a subtle form of physical context. Just by being in proximity to such a massive upsurge of cute makes even a roguishly handsome outlaw, like me, look like a demure Dorothy Hamill after a particularly successful quadruple axle. I mean it's hard enough trying to radiate a perpetual glow of Sinatra-esque cool as it is. I need to be caught saying "Awwwww!!!" while watching a kid do something infinitely precocious like I need a fucking bag over my head.

I should be punching a friend on the shoulder, or making a sexist remark and elbowing someone, or something.

For example, Saturday night I'm out on the town (that's what you call binge drinking after you turn thirty...just for the record), and we're at dinner. I'm up to my usual hijinks...telling lude stories and making obscene hand motions at complete strangers, when some friends show up with their infant daughter. The little girl in question finds a cell phone on the table and starts pretending to talk into it. Every few minutes she cocks her head slightly to one side, cradles the phone between her cheek and shoulder, and laughs heartily at whatever the
pretend person on the other end is saying as if to say "Oh YOU!!"

That's all I saw because then my head exploded.

Cuteness of that magnitude should be harnessed. It's like lightning. If Marty McFly drove past that at 88 MPH you'd see some serious shit.

There has to be a way to use this power for good. Maybe instead of developing weapons with higher kill ratios for use in unjust foreign wars, we could work on some sort of ray that would broadcast kids doing
ridiculously cute things right into the cerebral cortex of an enemy. Then they'd be all "Aww!!!" and they would lay down their guns and everything would be peaceful.

And then their heads would explode.

This is what I'm talking about. Nice knowing you.

(*puts on biohazard suit for inevitable cranial explosion*)

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

An Open Letter of Thanks

Dear Thoughtful Coworker,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for holding the door for me. I'm sure any thoughts I might have about you being a passive-aggressive asshat lie rooted firmly in my own psychological shortcomings and are in no way a reflection on your actual intentions. I bet those were pure as the driven snow.

I really did need that 100 meter jog across the vast atrium. I appreciate you recognizing my particularly high carb intake this morning and my latent (and probably destined to stay that way) desire for a little exercise. Especially carrying my laptop case and a box of paper. That made it extra challenging! I really can't thank you enough.

I know I was spouting "thank yous" at you like a Right Whale with a nasty chest cold, but that sneer and bob of the head was really a nice touch. You have more than effectively relayed to me how indebted I should feel, knowing full well that the 15 seconds you spent holding the door for me was a major, nay...an epic waste of your time. How on earth is all your internet gambling going to get done if you have to spend your days lazing about holding doors for people? Believe me...I know.

In conclusion, I just wanted to reiterate my thanks. Your breathy sigh down my neck as I passed really got across the audacity you were feeling and I'm sure when your Citizen of the Year award comes up, the committee will hardly fault you with a little understandable annoyance at those of us who seem bent on making you support the weight of a three pound door for a quarter minute. I also appreciate your understanding that opening a door involves the complicated process of pushing a button AND THEN pulling. This would have been way beyond my abilities.


ps: Feel free to enjoy the free lunch I purchased for you! Just be sure to order the "shit". Because that's what you can eat.

Trying to Avoid a "Warrant" Reference

Like all good stories, this one ends with a cherry pie. I'm just getting it out front... that there'll be a pie at the end, so that during the scarier bits, when maybe you think someone will be poisoned, you can feel reassured because you know what's coming.

I had to buy a pie dish for starters. One of the unfortunate consequences to having given away most of your possessions is that in a pinch you don't just "have" a fucking pie dish lying around. It's a weird part of the divorce process that no one tells you about. Oh sure, you'll hear epic poems about how she's going to take all your money and infinitely long diatribes of bitter, anger-fueled pschobabble about how he took a mistress because of his inner chi being gray (or whatever it is that non-psychologist friends who secretly wish they were actual psychologists tend to say in such situations), but no one thinks to tell you "You're gonna need a mop."
This is now the FIRST thing I say when I hear someone is getting a divorce.
They always think I'm talking in code though. Like their broken heart will need to be cleaned up or something. And then I have to add "No no...I mean an actual mop." Then they start crying but at least they get an idea of what they're in for.
So I buy the pie dish and it's exactly what I expect it to be. It's red and it's ceramic and it has a little cardboard insert glued to the bottom that tells the consumer what company manufactured the crockery and that it is, in fact, a pie dish and not a helium tank or a garden hose or whatever the hell else a really stupid person might mistake a pie-shaped piece of crockery with scalloped edges for. I buy it and take it home. The checkout girl gives me a funny look which I instantly assume is because I'm so handsome but upon reflection realize it's because I'm buying a pie dish and some heavy-duty cleaners and it looks like I might be planning a long afternoon of poisoning.
I'm eager to get on with it, so as soon as I get home, I start to peel off the cardboard insert. I don't know who's making the purchasing decisions at the ceramic factory but whoever they are, they decided to use industrial strength bonding adhesive to hold the inserts in, and therefore deserve a swift kick in the ass. Is it really necessary to put the same effort into holding a piece of cardboard to the bottom of a pie plate as you might put into holding a wing onto the space shuttle? I know it's supposed to come up all cool and rubber-cementy, but the stuff is bound and determined to leave a residue that will eventually poison my entire family over the years of use and then they'll get crazy diseases like livers that leap to the left unexpectedly and then they'll have to put Dr. House on the case and Foreman will break into my apartment and he'll find the pie plate and be all "Damn! He was poisoning them for years." and they'll revoke my Father-of-the-Year award and I will be sad between the painful jabs as my liver continues to flounce about inside my body like a horny salmon.

And then I washed it and it came off. Here's my pie...it full of The Star Wars:

My Brain Before Coffee

I'm looking in the mirror trying to remember what it was exactly that article in Cosmo said about men and their facial hair. Was it that goatees are a sign of weakness perhaps? That men with moustaches are trying to hide something? I never understood if that was implying that the things they were hiding were actually IN the moustache or if they were just sinister.

I personally hope for and believe "sinister".

The idea of men walking around with all manner of things hidden on their faces makes me wincey.  I don't have anything hidden on my face. So maybe I'm just jealous. I suppose my eyebrows might be able to conceal something briefly. Like a cyanide capsule or something. But you'd have to paint it with eyebrow camoflage. I mean...upon close inspection someone is bound to see it. And what good is a cyanide pill painted to look like an eyebrow if it isn't actually...you know...IN the eyebrow itself.

This leads me to wonder about what eyebrow camoflage might look like.

I suspect if you saw anything just lying about beyond the confines of the actual eyebrow, painted to look like an eyebrow,  you would throw a cup over the top of it and slip a sheet of paper beneath it and take it outside and set it free.  Prisoners should do that. I bet the guards would fall for that at least once.

Stupid guards.

They'd be all "Holy shit! Look at that giant caterpillar!" and the prisoner would be all "(*snicker*)" and then the guards would wonder why the giant caterpillar just snickered and why was it in the cell block D and where was the prisoner to begin with and how the hell are they supposed to find a cup big enough to put over the top of the massive snickering bug, anyways? And maybe they would try to step on it.

This may not be as good a plan as I had originally surmised.

I'm still looking in the mirror and thinking about facial hair when I hear the knock at the door. I mean...it's not a big bathroom... it's not like it would be hard to hear it or anything, and I don't live near an airport or inside a church bell tower, although that WOULD be totally cool because of the whole hunchback thing and the rafters would be awesome in the early morning sunlight and you'd be up all high and could see the whole of Paris while you peed and no one would be popping in on you unexpectedly because GODDAMN! it's a pain in the ass to get to your bathroom up there in the bell tower, unless you have a bunch of friends who are snipers and generally keep an eye out for that sort of thing.  I don't mean to imply only snipers and hunchbacks enjoy peeing in the belltower. Far from it. Bats and pigeons do it all the time...

"DADDD!!! I'm going to pee my payyy-annnttts! What are you doing in there?"

I bet Einstein never had these problems.


Another truck lumbers up to the curb. I sit in the hard plastic seats that are strung in a line at the edge of the room, and try desperately not to be insulted by the implication that I would steal them were they not bolted down. Across the aisle, the washing machine is chugging and belching and spinning and the clothes are thick with lather.

It's early.

The occasional car whispers down the street in the steep slanted sunbeams of the new day. Shadows run red lights, as the cars that birthed them sit panting small clouds of exhaust onto the wet, black pavement. The light changes and they growl off. Their echoes linger for longer than they are welcome to.

I watch the laundry tumble and think about nothing. The coffee cup has numbed my hand with its radiated fury, but I barely notice it. I catch myself staring at the canted television set mounted to the wall on a bent bracket. It is leaning towards me like a conspirator as it hovers above the washers. It's not turned on, but I watch any way. Better that then the stew of clothing, suds, and water. I turn back to the truck and see if I am right.

He steps out.

He is in denim overalls and a heavy Carhart jacket. His boots tell one thousand stories. They are oily and covered in paint and sawdust from framing jobs too numerous to recall. They are translucent and thin where the leather is stretched over the steel toes. Raised pills of nicked and cut material stand off the surface of the heel like old, puckered, scar tissue. These are work shoes. He is a worker. His face is haggard and rough and hewn from granite. There is no smile below his mustache. There is no twinkle in his eye.

But I know he is one of us.

He hauls the two heaped hampers of dirty clothes in through the fogged glass of the front doors with oafish determination. We exchange a nod. I forget him and go back to the tumbling clothes as one of the machine whirrs to life in it's last spin cycle. It sounds ominous, sterile and mechanical. I see the carpenter nearly slip on the dryer sheets strewn all over the floor.

Another truck pulls up. Another single father gets out. We wash our clothes together in the early morning silence. We wash and dry and fold the capri pants and the silky pajamas and the tiny boxer briefs with Spider-man on them. We talk in hushed tones on cell phones to young ears, just waking from a long night's rest. We sit on the poorly shaped row of chairs, anchored menacingly to the floor and stare at TVs that just stare blankly back at us. We don't talk. We don't think. We don't wax poetic. We just wash and dry and fold and leave.

It is Saturday Morning and the traffic has begun to congeal on Main Street by the time we are done.

Painted Ladies

We sit huddled in the dark.The long weeds by the overpass buffet our hormone-addled complexions, as another car, on the twisting country road below, splashes its headlights over our hiding spot. The six 5-gallon drums of paint, mixed in a flurry in Lee's dark garage, are a pale mixture of every light color we can find. Here in the dark, the buckets look like they are filled with the milk of an especially sick cow. It is thick and syrupy and foreboding.

We've been here for an hour. The cool October night has settled in around us and apart from the cars packed with overly inebriated boys bombing up the hill desperate to get plastered at the cheap dorms of the community college that roar past at random intervals, we are alone in the dark, starless night. The occasional sniff can be heard over the wind as it tickles the long stems of the grasses. A testimony to the chill that our noses are beginning to feel. It's almost time. We look at one another and nod.

The overpass is not busy but it is large. It is covered with bad graffiti singing deep booming sonnets about how Paul is desperately in love with Amber (Paul + Amber, TLA!!) and what a good fuck Joanne is. That's what gave us the idea. Too much graffiti. Too much BAD graffiti. We could do better. But with all this mess...no one would ever be able to pick out our wit and witticisms. We would need a clean slate.  We'd have to paint the whole bridge white BEFORE we could impart our own artistic vision upon the world.

So we sit in the grass with the buckets of milky paint and wait for the dark to be dark enough. For our nerve to be steely enough. For someone else to go first.

We start.

It takes several hours of monotonous rolling to cover the entire face and tunnel of the overpass. We work hard at it though, eventually not even bothering to duck as the cars race by on the road below us. The night gets colder and I blow into hands that are pink from the cold and blistered from the fast action of the roller pole. We are furious and young and happy and mischievous. We know we are leaving our indelible mark upon the world. Around 3AM we finish. My brilliance stands out against the light background, a beacon for all who will pass by on their way to the city. My words etched into that vast swatch of freshly painted granite stand out like they belong on a tablet carried by Moses.

"Sid Lives" and an Anarchy Symbol.

Fucking genius.

The next day we pack into Lee's Toyota and drive over to see our handiwork in the daylight. Turns out... when we mixed the paint in his dark garage we mistook the light color we had produced in such volume to be white.

It was really more of a newborn baby girl, pastel pink.

I'm not saying "Anarchy!" as a call for social reform is best proposed as a legitimate idea when espoused from the mouths of a slobbering radical in front of an official building of some sort...but it sure as fuck looks goofy on a pink thruway overpass.

Fools (fiction)

It's cold and the rain is falling in a misted sneeze. The leaves gather in whispering enclaves at the foothills of the gutters, and each step rakes them angrily along the pavement. Their dried bones hiss and sputter in flumes. The boot sounds bark at the sidewalk with a quick uniform cadence, carrying me with haste between the islands of sickly yellow streetlight. I remember every night that was ever like this, as though some infinitely long string is tied around my guts and is pulling me through my life, making sure that I always find myself on a dark sidewalk on a cold, rainy night in late October.

I've walked this street so many times.

The leaves are falling in butterfly cascades. They swing through the air like sticky-faced children at recess. They move backwards and forwards in lazy arcs, in and out of the cones of streetlight. Those left on the trees giggle far above me as they clap with amusement at each raindrop that beats them like a tight-skinned drum.

I close my eyes and remember.

It's cold and we laugh together as we walk. Saying nothing and everything at the breakneck pace of young would-be-lovers who only want to know more and more and more about the one they have chosen but not yet claimed. We don't look at each other while we walk. We don't hold hands. We aren't there yet. But our laughter vaults the hills and pinballs raucously down the nearly empty avenues and alleys. Far below, on Carson Street, the traffic is bright and loud and filled with reverie. We stop for a moment, and watch it. Our eyes meet. That electric spark...the one you spend the rest of your life trying to recreate... arcs like lightning and my heart begins hammering like a thousand brash timpani.

We resist.
We are friends.
We are fools.

And then we walk again. Carefully spaced so as to never accidentally touch.  We walk in the cold rainy night until we find a warm bar, with beer and darts and more laughter.

We close it. We say goodnight. She leaves for Chicago and I never see her again.

She owns the dark, cold and rainy, late October nights.

She always will.

An Open Letter to My Nemesis

This old-as-fuck repost is brought to you by request of the fantastic Mr. Richard Cox, a brilliant writer and irrepressible Photoshop deviant. It comes from a place long ago (2006) when I still lived with the dog in question and he refused to stop fucking my cat. I love him deeply and miss him greatly now that we live apart. It IS what we professionals call "a joke".

That being said... Enjoy.

Dear Dog,

Look. I know our relationship is strained at best. My hostility with you, though often unfounded, is well-documented.Were it not for the kids, who inexplicably find you charming, you would have found a new home long ago. Probably in a snow bank on the side of the interstate. But that is beside the point. It looks like despite my unwillingness to vaccinate you, you are intent on surviving ...out of spite,no doubt. So let's lay down some ground rules to insure that the kids never come home to find that you have "run away":

1) Stop barking. Really, enough already. You're as a tough as Paul Lynde playing hopscotch with Liberace. The only person who would be startled by that staccato yap of yours, is a chipmunk who just snorted a kilo of coke.It's fucking annoying. Quit it. The Mailman knows you're a pussy. Stop making him laugh. He might drop the porn in the snow.

2) Stop pissing on my boots. I know you're doing it on purpose. The fact that you have singled MY boots out for these clandestine urinary christenings, is proof further, that you have all the brain functions of a bag of Cheetos. I WILL step on you if you don't knock it off, you worthless bag of fuck.

3) Stop fucking my cats. You have no reason to do this other than to address your inferiority complex. I love the cats. I hate you. Start dealing with it. Putting your emasculated love gun inside the Lower GI tract of a cat that outweighs you by 5 or more pounds is the intellectual equivalent of checking the home of a rabid badger for occupancy by covering your hand in gravy and swirling it around inside the hole. They're going to scratch you dumbass. I'm trying to teach them to go for the eyes...just a fair warning.

4) Stop Begging for food.While the kids might find your explosive diarrhea funny, I do not. If you eat another chili pepper/mayonnaise/eggshell gumbo, I am going to hit you in the head with a shovel to see if I can get that elusive, cartoon "Wong!" sound I'm so desperate to hear.

If you follow these simple guidelines you will find that I can be a warm, compassionate, and kind pet owner. To the cats.

You can get fucked, you ass-raping shitbomb.


Missing Her

My life has been an absolute mess since she left. You get used to the little nuances of a relationship, and then when it's gone...POW! A big hole. She knew. I trusted her. She always gave me a smile and an extra pickle.

I miss you, Sandwich Girl.

Yesterday was the last straw. I'm waiting in line watching the miscreant behind the sneeze-guard roll up some other unlucky shlub's Vegetable Medley wrap and wondering why on earth I keep coming back.

She's gone, Man!
Moved on to greener food service pastures!

I feel the tears starting to well up as I see him forget the frilly toothpicks and watch in horror as the Veggie Wrap vomits grilled peppers everywhere like a drunken Las Vegas showgirl on a Chili-tini bender. Why Sandwich Girl?!? Why?

Now it's my turn. He has to ask me what I want on my garlic wrap. Sigh. SHE never asked. SHE remembered. I go through the list. Light Mayo, Brown mustard, shredded lettuce, Pepper Jack, and Roast Beef. He looks at me dully. Like I'm his eighth grade English teacher who just got done reprimanding him for using "ain't". He starts to compile the ingredients and immediately I have to reprimand him for trying to add tomatoes.

She would have known better.
She never tried to use tomatoes.

He slathers the edge of the wrap with enough condiments for ten foot-long subs served to hungry, burly men wearing hard hats. And then he begins the clumsy rolling process. It's a nightmare. I have to avert my eyes for fear I will turn to stone at the sight of such horrid sandwich-making. But it's like a train wreck where the train is filled with clowns, and pythons, and fireworks. I can't look away. Thick rivers of mustard and mayonnaise squeeze out of the sides like a toothpaste tube opened by a wolverine and applied by an elephant. It's everywhere. Under the wrap. In his hair. Spattered like a bloodstain on the wall. It's awful.

He has the audacity to ask if I want pickles.

"NO! I want a fucking sandwich that doesn't look like the aftermath of a zombie apocolypse!" I want to scream at him.

Oh darling Sandwich Girl!
Why hath thou forsaken me!!

"Yes, Please. Dill." I say instead.

He looks at the mess he's handing me, and in a gesture of apology throws FOUR pickles on my plate. That's crazy generous. We make eye contact and then IPublish Post let my gaze drift down to the sandwich and his four sad offerings of dill. Then back to him. He looks away...ashamed.


Thursday at the Speed of Lint

I just overheard the most awesome conversation. It went something like this:

Lady: So... you hold down the fort while I'm gone.
Latino Co-Worker: Eh?
Lady: Hold down the fort while I'm gone.
LCW: The fort?
Lady: Yeah. The fort. Hold down the fort.
LCW: What is the fort?
Lady: This is. This is the fort.
LCW: I should hold it down?
Lady: Yes. Watch the fort while I'm gone.
LCW: Watch the fort?
Lady: Yes! Watch the fort!
LCW: The fort?
Lady: Ugh! Yes. You... watch the fort ...while I'm gone. Hold it down. You're in charge.
LCW: Hold it down?
Lady: Yes! Hold it down! You are in charge until I get back. Make sure nothing happens.
LCW: To the fort.
Lady: THIS IS the fort!
LCW: (*shaking head*) Okay.
Lady: Okay?
LCW: Okay.

It's awesome to see a conversation go from baffling, to condescending, to  frustrating in a matter of seconds. Look Lady, she's not familiar with that colloquialism. Try something different. Making her sort through the double set of allegories is like watching someone try to climb a ladder to the moon. It's painful and stupid. Just stop and tell her she's in charge until you get back. Sheesh.

In other news, it is a spectacularly miserable October morning. I mean that. I love how downright grumpy it is outside. I believe the switch from Autumn to Winter ought to involve at least a few temper tantrum days. It's all windy and rainy and cold and the leaves are blowing off the trees in giant flumes like the mist left by the surf pounding the coastline. The sun is all weak and sad and thin and buried behind a thick, downy comforter of dark gray stormclouds.  Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I didn't even bring an umbrella today  in deference to whatever god is up there pouting. Bring it on you grouchy bastard! I love this shit!

The Boy is turning into a Hobbit, I'm afraid. He made me order him two breakfasts at the drive-thru this morning. One for now and one for later in case he needed "a little smackerel of something". He knows using Winnie-the-Pooh speak on me works every time. I feel so manipulated. He also told me he was getting ready for bed last night at the Speed of Lint. Because when you do your laundry,  the first thing you find in your pockets afterwards is lint. Lint is THAT fast! (He got this from The Tick and is therefore awesome.)

Getting Huffy

That tears it. I've decided. From now on when the supermarket clerk or the checkout person at the Quik-E Mart says "Thank You." in that unmistakably dismissive "I don't really mean it." way that signals the end of their time tolerating me, I will NOT say "You're welcome."

I know. I know. It's dickish and probably signals the end of the human race as civilities continue their inevitable slump back to the Cro-Mag days. But Kip-damnit! They don't even mean it! Here...lemme 'splain.

I'm in the Quik-E Mart this morning making my usual purchases of a porno mag and a spray paint can for huffing milk and cookies. The line is long. Like...ass-long. Like...I considered stealing my $1.25 worth of stuff because my time is WAY more valuable than the price of any commodity long. (Except for diamonds. I would wait in line if I was buying diamonds.) So I  make some general grumpy noises and take my place at the end of the line, all the while looking to make eye contact with one of the other patrons so that I can do the "Dissatisfied Customer Head-Shake (DiCHS)". I found no takers because it was early and everyone was buying coffee and still looking at their shoes. (I still shook my head, but it was for my own benefit.) When my turn finally came I dumped my diamonds on the counter and she rang me up. She didn't even ask if I wanted a bag! She handed me back my change without looking at me (and thereby totally managing to not notice how handsome I looked.) and said "Thank You."

And that's when I pulled my coup. I said "Mmmm." and walked out the door.

In my mind, she totally stopped what she was doing. She looked up expectantly as I walked defiantly away. She realized she had just objectified me and minimized my importance as her customer. She also super-regretted not giving me a bag and she spent the rest of the day wondering what a man with such an attractive back-of-the-head might look like.

What really happened is the guy behind me asked for some "American Spirits" and she asked to see his ID.

I recognize in these trying times as Wall Street burns, and Sara Palin rides around on her dinosaur trying to out-cute Tina Fey, and people look at their retirement accounts with the exact same anticipation as one looks at the closed door in the Dentist's office behind which an alarming number of drilling sounds can be heard, that the necessity for civility only increases. I also recognize that I am sitting here fretting about not saying "Thank You" three hours after the run-in, so really instead of being all anarchy and piss, I just feel guilty. But still, we have to draw the line somewhere, don't we?

Now can I get a plastic bag from someone...this paint isn't going to huff itself.*

* Thanks to the Grey Street Girl for teaching me the ins and outs of huffing paint. It is a rare woman who goes to such lengths for her man.

Hello World.

 I remember sitting on a stool next to my father under the hooded fluorescent light in the basement. The greenish swatch of sickly luminescence swayed almost imperceptibly as the two thin chains that were artificially thickened by years of spiderwebs and dust rocked gently on some moldering air current. The dark wooden beams overhead with their dismal pink beards of brown paper-backed insulation. The soft lullaby of water dripping into the cistern. The bright, hot smell of the melting solder wafting up to my nostrils, as my father sat hunched over the tiny circuit board, his jeweler's loupe screwed into his bloodshot eye. My dirty elbows stamping into the dust of the bench holding up my weary head. I'd watch as he moved with the grace of a neurosurgeon over the transistors. The tip of the iron would touch the solder causing it to trickle onto the correct connection. Hours and hours and hours. And then he was done, and we had our first computer, and he programmed it to print over and over and over again on the cheap Black and White TV he had procured from a garage sale the week before. It was an ugly jumble of wires and anarchy and LEDs and capacitors with a push-pad keyboard that was really just a series of tiny flashlight switches. I remember sitting there and watching those words scroll endlessly, the pixels glowing like white coals in the dark basement. I remember reading the scrolling words in the reflection of my father's eyes as I looked back at him for confirmation that this hobby of his was talking to us.  The smile on his stubbly face as he looked on at his creation is one I will never forget.

"Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World.Hello World. Hello World. Hello World."

Two things were born at the same time in that moment. The computer and my love for them.


We join our hero in the middle of an important lesson on sexual relationships at the tender age of nine. Imagine if you will the endless rows of cub scout tents stretched across the horse field. Thousands of pre-pubescent boys with no one to make them stay hygienic. I bet the smell was dazzling. The full moon rises as we all head off to bed. Outside the scout masters talk to one another quietly, before crackling flames that twinkle across the field like an ancient and mysterious archipelago of light. They probably are not discussing molestation convictions for the sake of this story.  Let's see what's going on in MY tent...

Me: It's cold.
Rob (my cousin): Zip up your sleeping bag.
Me: I did. I'm still cold.
Rob: Too bad there's not a girl in there with you.
Me: Heh. Yeah. That would be awesome.
Rob: You wouldn't even know what to do.
Me: Yes, I do. I would totally make fuck* with her.
Rob: "Make fuck?" HAhahahaha! You just say "fuck".
Me. Oh. Well...then I would totally fuck her.
Rob: You would?
Me: Totally.
Rob: She would have a baby.
Me: No way! I'd put it in her butt.**
Rob: THAT'S how they get pregnant, dummy!
Me: No it's not! You have to have pussysex*** to get a girl pregnant.
Rob: Go ahead. Put it in her butt. You'll be a proud papa at 10.
Me: Really?
Rob: Yep.
Me: So...all girls are like that?
Rob: Yep.
Me: And they like it like that?
Rob: No. They like it in their pussies better. But that's the only way to make a baby.
Me: Oh.
Rob: Why? You haven't had sex before?
Me: Well... just once before. I guess I'm lucky she didn't get pregnant since I put it in her butt****
Rob: You're such a liar.
Me: Oh. Right. And you've had sex with a girl before?!
Rob: Yep.
Me: No way.
Rob: Yep. Only I didn't put it in her butt because I don't want a baby! You're so stupid.

I spent the rest of the night imagining my 3rd grade teacher, who was pregnant, being fucked in the ass by her husband, my soccer coach. I barely slept.

I spent the next 2 to 4 years terrified of women and their ceaseless cravings of baby-making anal sex.

To be fair, Rob was a credible expert... Uncle Chuck had TONS of Playboys that Rob stole and snuck up into the barn. It was like having access to all the secrets of women, all the time, when he was around.I felt lucky that he was willing to impart his wisdom on me so openly. Until the next morning, when he told the rest of the scouts about my anal sexcapades. Then he was just a big jerk.

* I specifically remember making this mistake in my verbage because of how hard he laughed at me. I'm not being cute here.

** It's amazing how quickly this solution came to me. I need to discuss this event with my therapist, maybe.

*** This might be creative license. But "pussysex" should definitely be a word in the middle school vernacular if it isn't already, I think. I stand by my re-enactment.

**** I like how this lie perpetuated my ignorance while validating my theoretical 9 year old sexual goddliness.

Nero is Tuning His Fiddle.

Still having "The Block", so if you were hoping for a major glut of fresh, invigorating and rejuvenating content from me, you might just want to close this down and go have a nap or beat off or something. Sorry. I can't deal with that kind of pressure right now. There are only 26 days left until the election, and the whole of America seems on the verge of imploding. Now, I'm not strictly opposed to that...but I do watch with growing apprehension as the gap between Obama and Ol' Man McCain refuses to grow at any kind of rate that makes sense. I remember the surety I felt 4 years ago that the people of this country were smart, and would never vote in THAT idiot again.

So now I can't sleep at night.

Here...let me tell you a story.                                                                                                

A tourist in New York right now is getting off the train in Grand Central Station, tilting her head a little at the beautifully gilded, vaulted ceilings and asking her overweight husband with the giant fucking camera bag that she BEGGED him to leave at the hotel because it's NEW YORK and there are MUGGERS,  "What IS that smell?"

"It's okay, Baby. That's just Wall Street burning."

"Oh. Okay. Can we go try and stand in front of the windows at 30 Rock? I wanna see Matt Lauer. He's so HANDSOME now that he's graying."

"Calling it '30 Rock' doesn't make you sound like a New Yorker, you know. It just tells people you own a TV. Go stand by that clock. I wanna get a picture."

"I wish we hadn't stayed up so late. That debate ruined my night. I had really wanted to see the new 'Fringe.' "

"I know, right? I'm dragging myself this morning. Let's find a Starbucks!"

"Ooo. How metropolitan of you! People are going to think we're from Queens. Wait...Queens is the clean, white one right?"

"No. I think that's Brooklyn."

"Whatever. Let's get that coffee. Don't forget the sign!"

(*He's holding a sign that says "Cumberland, Ohio LUVS you Matt! xoxoxo!!"*)

The End.

Pray for us.

The Thief,The Turkey, The Punk and his Butter

Blah,blah,blah...I still got nothing. I should probably leave a disclaimer on this that says "WARNING: This blog is going nowhere and by reading it, you are allowing the author to steal a piece of your day and use it for his own nefarious devices." (I have decided I will use the word "nefarious" in every blog I write until I get my game back. Feel free to keep track at home! Fun for the whole family!)


I'm going to take these few minutes you give to me, and I'm going to save them up and use them to help me get to work on time. I'll tell my boss..."I'm not late...I've got dozens of unused blogging minutes. I'm going back in time, motherfucker!" And then I'll make a dramatic hand gesture like magicians do, and wait for everything to go in reverse, or for Doc Brown and the Delorean to come roaring out of the wall, or for those wavy lines that happen when they flashback in a movie and I will just stand there in my full-on time wizard pose smiling smugly. He will then point out that I'm an idiot. And then I will punch him in the neck with my glazed donut still in my hand and it will leave a big, sticky, grease-gray welt on his Adam's Apple. And then security will escort me from the building whilst I try to flail loose from them, kicking and spitting and swearing...because I REALLY can't think of anything better to do.


The only thing worse than writer's block is being bored and having writer's block.

I think I'll just make a series of statements and you can choose to react to whichever ones you see fit. I'll make sure they're all true because I believe in journalistic integrity. Not my own, mind you...I just believe that it exists...like El Chupacabra and Ninjas.

1) I drove past a house this morning whose front lawn was completely over-run with wild turkeys. I mean...there were lots. I can't help but thinking the home owners might call an exterminator, there were so many. It would go something like this in my world: "Ace Pest Removal. What kind of ...Uh huh. uh-huh. 10 of them, you say? Uh-huh. Thanksgiving. Right. No,Ma'am. No chemicals. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Gobbling until all hours,huh? Uh-huh. Yes. We'll... Uh-huh...No Ma'am. We don't have any stuffing-based extermination methods. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Okay. We'll be right over. (*click*) FRANK! Grab The Baster!"

2) There was a frost last night, so I guess winter has officially decided to make a go of it again this year. I feel very pouty about it. Like maybe if I had a temper tantrum, God would change his/her mind and just throw a kegger this year instead. It could be a really long kegger, if he/she was worried about filling up the time. I'd be okay with that.

3) I still haven't got around to filling out my change of address cards from the Post Office. I get so little mail that it has had absolutely NO impact on my life. But somewhere out there....there is a bureacrat who thinks I'm living somewhere I don't. That's right...I know how to stick it to the Man.

4) Speaking of which...Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols is now selling butter in a commercial over in England. The overwhelming disallusionment I am feeling is offset only by the fact that the product in question looks all golden, melty, and delicious.



I hate irony.

Not Writing

I'm run down. That's all I can think of. I find the prospect of writing anything to be ominous and overwhelming. I don't even feel like writing out my grocery list, which means I'll come back from the store with straight razors and cookies and a box of some crazy cheese product I got roped into sampling and thought tasted decent.

Sending me into a grocery store without an itinerary is the moral equivalent of genocide from a time killing perspective. I wander around like my sherpa has been carried of by a particularly foul-tempered yeti. Seriously. It's ridiculous. I can't even count the number of times I've found myself staring at  the lobsters in the fish department and wondering whose job it is to put rubber bands on their claws. That, my friends, is a shit job. But I'll just be staring at the tank and thinking about that poor sonuvabitch in Maine who has to get out of bed knowing he's going to be spending his whole day handcuffing shellfish, and the minutes will spin out into quarter hours. If I'm lucky my phone will ring. If I'm super-lucky it'll be someone I can ask why I came to the store in the first place.

Such is my life without writing.

The problem is, I don't feel particularly witty. I would love to pretend that I write to further a cause or advance some agenda. (hopefully a secret one involving international intrigue and bikini models packing Uzis), but really I just write to amuse myself. You really have no idea how endlessly entertaining I find me. This is not a flattering personality trait. (at least this is what I am told by the ex-...and I suppose she would know). I start to write when I'm in this state, and what comes out looks suspiciously like poetry. I ask myself, "Why are all those sentences so short?" or "Why did I end that thought with an ellipsis?" or "Why did I use the phrase 'cloistered dark and nefarious things' when I'm trying to write a story about being a day camp counselor?" The punctuation is all wrong! God Damnit!! I've written poetry! And poetry is the first step to wild pretention, and frankly I'm just not fond enough of turtlenecks to be saddling THAT horse.

So I'll just go on not writing, and then ....wait...what?

Sailin' On

It's October! The best month of the year, in my hardly humble opinion. It's all "Dude. You should totally put on an over-sized sweater and some comfortable jeans. Check out these leaves! Pretty fuckin' cool, eh? How about trick-or-treating? Do you like free candy and dressing up in cool shit?" and I'm all "Fuck Yeah, October! You rock!"

In an effort to convey the sheer positivity I am feeling. I thought I would share the one song that always puts me in a good mood and gets me all optimistic and "fuck yeah"-y.  Here's some Mother's Milk. Don't be ooged out. It's fortified with the Recommended Daily Allowance of RHCP.

"Lovers, keep on lovin'
While believers, keep on believin'
Sleepers, just stop sleepin'
Cuz it won't be too long..."

Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Higher Ground" from the album
Mother's Milk

Father of the Year

Boy: Did you vote for George Bush the second time?
Me: I NEVER voted for George Bush!
Boy: That's good.
Me: Why?
Boy: Because George Bush and John McCain are dickheads.
Girl: Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Me: You can't say that word!
Boy: Oops! I'm sorry! I forgot!
Me: You forgot that you can't say the word "dickhead"?
Boy: No. I forgot I couldn't say it in front of you.

I am both proud and horrified at the same time.

As I Want You To Be

I'm walking down the massive corridor with the 30 foot ceilings that always makes me feel like Jack from "Jack and the Beanstalk". The lights haven't timed on yet and the stern red glow of the emergency exit sign turns the long shadows that lay behind me the color of a deep bruise. My footfalls sound like a church bell wrapped in cotton, and rung by a person with little upper body strength. They are tiny and echoless despite the hall's propensity for exactly that sort of hubbub.

The yellow arcs of light fan out at each doorway, from cramped and claustrophobic labs, whose sounds are just as cluttered as their shelves. It's early. The building is almost absent of people noises. I pass the fabrication lab with its thick smell of machine oil and metal chips. Inside,some unseen coworker turns on the radio as they get ready to start their day.

And that's when I hear it.

And then I am 19 again and it's late September and I'm standing outside in the rain waiting to get into the tiny club in the warehouse district. There's a girl in there with dreadlocks and an infectious smile. She invited me to come. Some stupid band from out west I'd never heard of. I don't care about them, I just want to get in out of the deluge.The thick steel doors  advertise the club's sparse, industrial atmosphere and keep the sound muffled as the discarded cigarette butts of the milling crowd, pile like damp amputations in the growing puddles. These are the forgotten whose friends either went in without them or have yet to arrive. I shove my way through to the bouncer, who takes my ticket,and instantly dismisses me, as I am too thin to pose a threat to anyone.

Inside, the band groans to a stop, and there is a smattering of applause. I walk out onto the thinly populated floor and look for the girl. She's in the corner by the amps waving to me. I smile and wave back. I don't listen to what the singer is saying. I am just thinking about how beautiful she looks in the soft warmth of reflected stage light. They start playing. The guitar is heavily distorted and warbling with some weird effect. The singer, a skinny thin kid with long blond hair has this sad gravelly whine that stops me in my tracks. This is something good. This is something new. I turn away from the girl and listen.

"Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be.."

That was 17 years ago.

I realize I've been standing outside the doorway transfixed once again by his voice as the sound echoes mournfully down the hall. I stand there in the shadows and I listen. I listen to it until the song is over and the lathes fire up and footsteps start to come and the day gets under way.

This was a good morning.

Nirvana - Come As You Are


It is here and upon me and I forgot about it. It seems like it was only a heartbeat before that the air turned to smoke at my lips. That the restless, angry things inside me began to twitch and stir like so many weevils under my skin. It is Autumn again and some primal, transient instinct is beginning to kick in.

I want to fly from here.

To feel the richness of the wet leaves in every action I take. To wash myself of this modern world with all its dry, crackling, electric sterility and return to the places where the rows of freshly plowed-under corn and cabbage stalks flow over the fields like an infinity of whitecaps in the morning frost.

That simplicity.
That dirt-under-the-fingernail easiness. 
The warm throb of over-worked shoulder muscles.

I want to run until the crisp, apple-scented air is roaring in and out of my lungs like the billowing plume of a steam locomotive.

To change.
To grow.
To become.

And I will roar at the ancient Gods of harvest. I will make them know me by all my names.

I am man.
I am the future.
I am the past.

I will scream "I! Am! Still! Here!" and they will have to come forth and acknowledge me, because the seasons turn by my clock...not theirs. And then the last leaf will fall and the the howling thing will grow tired and look around perplexed and then it will sleep.

And another heartbeat will pass.


Even when we were married I suspected. She tried to hide it, but deep down I knew that this facade she had built was a flimsy construct of overly-watered down plaster. It was her dirty little secret that she sequestered far back in the corners of her mind. Away from me. Away from the light. It tore at her insides and corrupted her very soul, withering her heart to a pale, dusty black. On the outside, one would never know it by looking at her. No one would be able to fathom the black things that lie coiled like blind eels gnashing their bent and oddly angled teeth at the very core of her pysche. Thick and rolling and hissing and spitting.

That's right. I just found out my ex- has become a Republican.

(heh. I'm very funny.)

An Open Letter to My Loudmouth Co-worker

Dear Jackass,

There is no point in ranting about Autumn. It, like your wife leaving you for someone thinner, less bald, and entirely less crotchety, is inevitable. Bitching at length about it doesn't do anyone any good. Summer has ended. Get over it. The thought of you in a Speedo alone is enough to bring a Nor'easter howling in,off the lake. Even God can't handle THAT shit.

I understand that you have to drain your pool. Life sucks. I know that without the constant ability to complain about its maintenance you are going to run out of conversational topics early. Maybe you could go down to the trampy part of town and pay a transvestite to stomp on your nuts for a five-spot. THEN at least your misery would be interesting to me. The pros and cons of a +1 pH in your inground means as much to me as nude pictures of Dabney Coleman. (Wow. Did I really just pull that image out of my head?)

I also get that now you will have to pay someone to rake your vast yard to get all the leaves up before they kill your prize-winning fescue. Wow. And here I was donating all my money to under-privileged, blind orphans needing liver transplants. (ie: hookers). I should have been shoveling cash at the Rich Assholes in Danger of Having to Work A Little Foundation. Whatever will you do? I mean besides pay that burn-out from the Landscaping company copious amounts of cash to do it for you? Maybe you need another martini?

Some of us LIKE the cool air in our nostrils in the morning, and the way the steam roils off the canal like thick, billowing curtains. Some of us like the way the sunlight takes on a thin and defeated quality, kissing the newly turning leaves with soft hints of amber and scarlet. Some of us like feeling the cold air on our faces when we wake up, subconsciously causing us to draw the heavy comforters to our chins as we hit the snooze one more time.

So shut the fuck up already. It's not like you are any happier any other time of year.


ps: I still have all my hair and an active sex life.

Another Random Friday

* Started the day off right. I woke the kids shouting "Get outta yer berths ye stinkin' bilge rats, there be decks that need a-swabbin', an' scurvy lands ta plunderrrrr. Arrr!" Apparently THEY didn't know it was International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day. Landlubbers.

* Played a rousing match of "Pinecone Hockey" or "Pockey!" as He likes to call it, with the Boy as we waited for the bus. He claims I cheated but I could have sworn hip-checking was in the rules somewhere. I think he might have killed that little pine tree. He landed in it pretty hard. ps: I totally won!

* I had another case of the Drive-thru stupids this morning. Usually, my M.O. is ,I pay and then drive off without my coffee. THIS time I was trying to order in a pirate voice and I said "I'll have two chocolate chip muffins, two milks and a Cafe mocha, me hearty! To Go!" It made the chick wearing the headset laugh. She shot back. "Are you sure you want that 'to go'? You could just sit out there in the car for a while and enjoy your breakfast." I was so focused on my Piratese that I wasn't concentrating on the content of my message. Stupid trying to talk like a pirate.

* Looks to be a long quiet weekend for me. I'm looking forward to that. More time watching porn collecting my thoughts and working on the new novel. Yeah. That sounds believable. Assuming you also believe in unicorns and that newly nominated Shiny Thing, Sara Palin, is a qualified vice presidential candidate. Wait...what?

*I was wishing they had International Talk-Like-A-Ninja day, but then I realized that a ninja who talked would be a very shitty ninja. It's hard to silently deal death onto your foes when you are chattering on and on about cupcakes or Scrabble or how awesome bacon is or whatever*.

*We just had our bi-annual fire drill at work. It's funny watching the waddling herd of 50-something, plaid polyester shirt-wearing, velcro shoe-having, Viagra dependent,flaccid bellied old men, grouse their way out of the building and stand in circles talking about how awesome John McCain is and what a shame it is that we live in a state that is permanently blue thanks to all the "Jews and Faggots" in New York City. I've often contemplated running into their midst and making loud, startling noises...just to see if I can make some of them drop dead.

*I have now mentioned Pirates, Ninjas, coffee, cupcakes, bacon and masturbating in one session, officially making this the most awesome blog ever. Some people might say I was a legend. I would have to reluctantly agree.

Shorts (part 1)

She wipes the thick layer of makeup away from her eyes in long smeared drags. The lights from the cheap dressing room mirror cast yellow-toothed shadows across her freshly uncovered skin. It looks gray and cracked compared to the bright white of the pancake. The costume jewels lie like deliberate monoliths around the perimeter of a stained and half-filled ashtray. Tall skinny fingers of smoke grasp at the heavens only to be swirled to nothingness by the noisy ceiling fan with the bad bearing. She tries not to look too closely at the blooming wrinkles around her eyes. She wills herself not to rub her feet. She won't even unwrap them here amongst the piles of discarded costumes and frilly dresses. She has some dignity left. She will wait until she is safe in her tiny apartment with the broken tile in the bathroom to survey tonight's damage. She slips her arms gingerly into the stained gray trench coat of her father's long ago, and bundles it in tightly to her waist with a dramatic tug on the belt.

It's not until she opens the door that she hears the rain. It rolls in thick streams off the soffits and tumbles in torrents along the rusting grid work of the fire-escapes overhead. Just down the alley, the rush of traffic scatters newborn puddles every which way, before they even have a chance to sparkle in the light of the running marquee. She draws the collar up tight and sets off into the night, limping in a way that advertises her exhaustion but belies her strength.


I haven't had a flat tire in almost 2 years.

The reason I know this is that I had a stretch in mid-2006 where I had 6 in a 2 month period. What kind of car did I drive that needs six tires? None of your goddamn business, that's what. Actually, that was spread across two cars, so..you know...THAT'S reasonable. The reason I mention this is that today, upon leaving the house  I found that my streak was broken. Passenger side front.  Muth-a-fucka!! So much for getting to nap work on time.

Seeing the tire took me back to a particularly bad place, which is why I mention it.I know how you love hearing tales beset on all sides by misery and woe.

On June 26, 2006 my Ex- told me that she didn't...nay...she NEVER loved me, and that we were done. I started blogging 3 weeks later. For almost 2 months, I howled out into the empty ether to no one in particular.(lucky thing,that...as no one was reading). The guy I was then doesn't resemble me at all. I was miserable. I never laughed. My online life was completely disconnected from my reality. The stuff I wrote was  downright depressing. I was broken.

And then I got the third flat in 3 weeks and wrote a blog about it called 'The Rubberized Madonna/Whore". It got some attention. Specifically...it got pimped by one of my newest readers...some chick who called herself "Buddha Mama Sans Drama". All her friends came in to check it out.She had a lot of friends. (as opposed to the 6 or so that I had) They befriended me and all the sudden I wasn't alone anymore. (I mean... other than (*airquote*)in reality(*airquote*).) It was a great and silly time for me, and it really helped carry me through a period that otherwise would have been punctuated by crying fits and dramatic double-fist pumps at God whilst screaming "Why!?!" as lightning flashed through the angry sky and I'm standing on a mountain-top and there is a hot,half-naked, slave girl in a torn up toga slithering around my feet...wait, what?....where was I?

That was almost 500 blogs ago.

I guess the point is, (heh. Like I have one.) flat tires suck but not as much as being alone does. Thanks to everyone who reads this. I do appreciate you all. Well...everyone except you. You stole my prescription anti-psychotics and left an axe in my trunk. You should have known what would come of THAT. Stupid DNA evidence.

So... without further ado, I present: "The Rubberized Madonna/Whore":

in a relationship right now. 8 tires, each one special in its own way.
I love them, I nurture them. I give them the very air that they breathe.
I got out of the house this morning and found ANOTHER flat.

fucking ingrate!

I told her I loved her. I told her if she would hold
her air I would keep an eye on her pressure. I bought her when no one
else would.


She got screwed by some fancy
galvanized fuck from uptown. Put it in her deep, the bastard. When I
pulled the two apart, all she could do was sigh. Now I'm left with a
limp vestige of the tire she once was.

We could've been great baby! But you blew it!

This is my third flat in as many weeks. Please pray for my sanity.

Our Tire, who art inflated
hollow on your frame.
Thy punctured skin, Thy bent-up rim
Flat on earth as it is on pavement
Give me this day a bloody knuckle,
and forgive me my swearing,
as I have sworn so many times against you.
And lead me not into insanity,
by keeping your fucking ass inflated,
for thine is the means, and the neccessity
and the only way I'm getting to work on time.


The Stink Conspiracy

We're standing in the aisle under the harsh yellow florescent lamps and pondering which air sanitizer to buy. The whole spectrum of pastel, flower petal-covered boxes is laid out before me, and I succumb to brief episode of vertigo whilst trying to take in all the estrogen-targeted marketing. The Girl has been recruited to help me untangle the Gordian Knot that is modern scented candle / oil purchase.

"Here smell this one."
"Yuck. Smells like feet."
"It doesn't smell like feet. No one would sell a scented oil that smells like feet."
"Try this one."
"Nope. It's all flowery."
"So I don't want my apartment to smell gay*."
"What does that even mean?"
"I don't know. I want it to smell... woodsy, maybe."
"Woodsy? Like covered in animal crap?"
"Heh. No. Not like a litter box...woodsy."

And so it goes.

The reason I am looking for a scent is because of the media. At least that's who I blame. I wish I could figure out a way to blame Sarah Palin, but she's too new to be behind the Stink Conspiracy. See, the media has been telling me for years that as a man,I a) stink and b) am too heterosexual to know it**.

I don't understand why all the men in the Glade commercials are always like "Wow, Honey! It suddenly smells great in here!" The subtext being...if you are a straight, married, white man you are only aware of how things smell when they are suddenly better.

We're always smoking cigars, with a dog on our lap, as our sweaty, beer-drinking buddies watch the big game. We can't even see the wavy lines of green that are coming off the dog for fuck's sake! If I was holding an animal and all the sudden these highly questionable squiggly lines came unfurling out of its back, you can bet your sweet ass that I would be getting that fucker away from my balls as quickly as possible. Jesus, the dentist won't even give me an x-ray without covering my junk. You think I want my boys zapped by some freakish dog radiation? Hell no!

Just once I'd like to see a commercial where the guy in the sweater vest walks in with his golf clubs and says "Holy fuck! It smells like you're growing a bumper crop of ass in here!" Then HE cracks out the Febreeze and starts wandering around squirting everything. Even though he doesn't have a vagina...he can tell that it smells bad. I wonder if that means that, medically speaking ,the vajayjay and the nose are somehow connected. Must be true...I saw it on a commercial.

I will make a great doctor one day.

"How about this, it kinda smells woodsy."
"Hmm...not bad. It's a little too vanilla though."
"Yeah. It makes me hungry for french toast."
"That's not a bad thing though. It's like breakfast in a cabin."
"Only in oil form."

The other thing that bothers me, is the fear that I have somehow adapted to a horrific odor in my apartment, and am now scent-blind. I routinely ask the kids, when they come in from their mom's house if they smell anything. They say "No.", but then I discredit them as quickly as I sought their opinion. "Pssh. They live here. What do they know? It probably reeks of cat urine." Nevermind the fact that I don't own a cat anymore. Nevermind that I have become a bit OCD about vacuuming and mopping. I am a man after all. I don't have the necessary birth canal that is required to detect foulness. So that's why I find myself out shopping for anti-stink measures.

"Here. Smell this."
"Nice. It smells like wood and cheese. But not the bad foot cheese ...Asiago...more like the good cheese smell...like warm fondue."
"I don't want to live in warm fondue."
"And sawdust."
"Who the heck decides on these scents? Hobos?"
"Heh. I think the "Hobo" scent should be marketed along with "Feet".
"I'm going to go with the woodsy, syrupy one. It has scratch-and-sniffs."
"What is it called?"
"Autumn Spice/Harvest."

I think the "Harvest" part is what sold me. "Harvest" is pretty butch.

* Not that there's anything wrong with that.
**Gay people always smell good. Look it up.

Parenting 101

I've reached the point of diminishing returns when it comes to threatening to embarrass my daughter. This morning, The Boy and I were out on the front porch with her as she waited for the bus. Normally, we are sequestered safely inside the house so no fellow bus-riders will know that she actually has a family. Like most teenagers she is acutely aware of how uncool we are. The nice thing about her, is that she rarely seems to care. But the bus is different. If we embarrass her as she gets on the bus, she has to sit there, trapped in a metal tube while being harangued. There's nowhere to hide. This is where I come in.

Me: Hey! I know! Let's do the "Waiting for the Bus" dance! (*does horrific shuffling hillbilly dance*)
Boy: Hahahahaha! Yeah! (*does equally horrific chicken-like spasm thing*)
Girl: (*sigh*)
Me: I'm waiting for the schooool buss! I like the schooool busss!
Boy: I like to riiiiide it! I like to riiiiide it!
Girl: (*unaffected*) Are you done?
Me: Yeah. I guess so.
Boy: I like to riiiiide it. I like the schooool Busss!
Girl: Will you take him inside now?
Me: (*sigh) Yeah.I guess so.
Boy: I am in 8th grade! and I am stooopid!
Me: Okay. That's enough. Be nice.
Boy: I'm going to stay out here and dance.
Me: No you're not. Come on. Let's go eat some waffles.
Boy: Okay. (*runs inside*)
Me: You weren't even a little scared I'd embarrass you?
Girl: Nope.
Me: I'm losing my touch.
Girl: That's what she said!

I am stunned because a) She knows now I would never embarrass her on purpose, b) She totally used my best joke on me, and c) I'm her father, damnit! I'm supposed to be embarrassing, annoying and inappropriate!

Just as I'm walking inside, head hanging low from obvious failure at being a jackass, I hear the bus pull up. I watch my tall Girl stand up from her seat on the porch steps, and I realize that she really is growing up despite everything I've tried to prevent that. Just then I hear the back screen door slam shut. A blur in the driveway. I look back to see the Boy standing at the end of the driveway doing a particularly stirring rendition of the "Waiting for the Bus" dance. He keeps it up until the bus pulls away and he's laughing hysterically as I try and reprimand him without laughing.

He doesn't buy it.

A Curious Incident at a Red Light

So as I sit parked at a red light this morning, I casually look over to see if the person next to me is driving a bigger piece of shit then I am. It's a fun game I like to play called "Try and feel superior over someone else's car, when you're driving around in a complete catbox on four wheels." I rarely win, but when I do it's like a tall drink of cold water. So I check it out. Nope. Not this time. It's a late model Lexus. My vehicle doesn't actually even qualify as a "car" by comparison. I might as well be riding around on a saddled goat or a Segway. Displeased with my loss... but hardly surprised... I am about to turn back to watch the light when I see it.

There are things you witness in your life that could qualify as "glorious". I'm talking about that which makes you a better human being for having been graced with its visage. I'm not saying this elderly, refined business man, with two, entire, hairy knuckles jammed up his right nostril counts as such... I'll leave that to the historians, when they write about the event that changed my life forever... I'm just saying "Wow". I mean this guy was rooting around in there like the antidote for some poison a gang of ruthless kidnappers had given his only daughter was in there somewhere. He was doing the whole mouth contorting thing, like maybe he was poking his brain stem and momentarily losing muscle control in his face.

Of course, I started laughing and narrating as his mouth made dramatic "oooh" and "ahhh" shapes.

"I think... I can... just reach... the tip. Hand me.... that... poleaxe! Quick! I can...almost...ahh..ahhh..ahhh...".

I'm laughing hysterically at myself at this point. The guy scowls for a second, pulls back the finger to a more reasonable depth, reseats his grip, and then plunges again. I almost peed my pants. Really.

That's when he looked over.

We locked eyes for a moment. His index finger was still distorting the wall of his nostril into the tall shape of a shotgun shell. I could see the finger wriggling around under the skin. I stopped laughing almost instantly. For whatever reason, I felt like I was the one who had been caught. It played out like a high-noon showdown. Him with his trigger finger buried up his nose, me trying to wipe the tears from my eyes. We stayed like that for a second. I could picture Ma and Pa Jones, hustling their half-wit son off the boardwalk in front of the 5 and 10 as the shadow of a buzzard turned circles in the dust around us. A tumbleweed blows past. The clock ticks to 12pm.

And then he scowled at me.

That's right. HE scowled at ME. Because I had the audacity to catch him picking his nose. I think he was pissed off because I had deprived him of a hard-won meal. No way could he eat whatever species of flora and/or fauna he had just extricated from his nasal cavity knowing he was in plain sight. I found myself getting angry at his lack of embarrassment. I felt like shouting "Dude! You were totally just picking your nose! I saw you! You drive a $50,000 luxury car and you're still mining the green gold!"

I didn't say that though. Instead I just sort of blinked a bunch because then the lights changed, and he tore off...desperate to get started on his phlegmy breakfast.

Booger-Eating Morons: 1
Kurt: 0

Six Degrees (Much Swearing Follows)

I was pretty sure from the moment I woke up that today was going to be six kinds of fucked. I have never before attempted to isolate these six degrees of morning fuckitude, but I shall do so now in pursuit of scientific breakthrough. Are there more than six? What is the glass ceiling in terms of fuckery? Let us investigate.

Level 1: Basic "I don't want to be awake" Fuckery - This is the kind most people have most mornings. When the alarm clock is blaring and it's cold outside and the covers are going out of their way to be warm. I mean, seriously...when you lie down at night they don't feel like that. What the hell happens to them in the night to make them all inviting and womb-y? Magic. That's what.

Level 2: Advanced Basic Fuckery or "Where the fuck are my glasses?" -  This happens to me at least once a week. I've finally pushed through the unwillingness to be vertical only to find that I've been turned into Velma from Scooby-doo during the night. I can almost see myself in her tight orange sweater and red miniskirt as I crawl along the edge of the bed, pawing at the rug and wondering if I should be yelling at the kids for this. Oh shut up, I have fantastic gams.

Level 3: Lower Middle Level Fuckery or "Bad things in the shower." - This happens every few weeks. The Girl has used 6 towels in order toassure maximum dryness, leaving exactly none in the bathroom. Now I'm not a female, but I THINK I've seen all the parts that they have. Is there some unknown area that requires six goddamn towels to dry it? What is there... a spigot somewhere that I don't know about?  Nothing feels better than a cold morning breeze shriveling the testicles whilst you try patting yourself off with a handtowel that only resembles "dry" in that it isn't made completely out of a liquid and which upon further inspection, appears to have been used as a kleenex by some filthy, soon-to-be-orphaned child.

Level 4: Middle Level "I swear to Kip....if there weren't laws about beating children." Fuckery - This one is among my personal favorites. They SEE that they are running late. They KNOW how tense you are getting. They UNDERSTAND that if you are late it makes you bitchy. Hey! Wouldn't this be a great time to start bickering over who was ready first? Or how about just calling the small, overtired sibling "Smelly Fruitfoot" for no good reason other than to see if you can make him cry? Wouldn't this be the best time for that? Why is Dad turning purple?

Level 5: Upper Mid-level Fuckery or "I hate my fucking car." - You're already late. You've almost come to terms with it and you are finally showing progress towards getting this piece of shit day off the ground. That's when you turn the car over and remember sitting in it the night before and thinking to yourself "Fuck it. I'll just get gas in the morning." or better yet, someone left the domelight on because broad daylight isn't goddamn bright enough for...you know... riding around in and now the battery is dead. It is at this point when you have to warn anyone near you to never, ever,ever speak to you again or else you are going to freak out and kill them. And no you aren't being metaphoric.

Level 6: "The coupe de grace." - We get the car moving because I know how to pop a clutch and live on a hill and then we head to the gas station to fill the tank. Everything is going fine. Everything is back on track. I breathe a sigh of relief as I get to the house. I turn the car off and try restarting it. It purrs to life. And by "purrs" I mean "makes ungodly loud and flatulent noises because I haven't gotten my exhaust fixed yet". I turn the car back off. The Girl's bus crests the hill and that's when she turns to me and says "Oh my GAWD! I forgot my backpack!" and bursts into tears. Level 6 baby....Level 6.

Yo! Brah!

I'm sitting in the cramped waiting area to which the bitchy secretary has banished me. I look up at all the plaques on the wall and snort to myself about the fact that they are all for making charitable contributions...not for any type of excellence. If they had a plaque up saying "Presented to [COMPANY NAME] for killing 1000 Grizzly Bears with their bare hands." then I would be impressed. These plaques were the equivalent of the "participant" ribbon I got every year in the grade school Olympics for coming in 1000th place in the slow kid relay.  These were the kind of prize you get when you donate the monetary equivalent of a spray-painted, styrofoam ball diorama of the solar system in a shoe box to the science fair. Cheap fucks. No wonder they couldn't afford a pleasant receptionist. I sit there in the hard plastic chair and imagine-slash-wish  hideous physical conditions on her that might justify her being ugly both on the inside and the outside. "I bet she has hemmerhoids the size of Manhattan." was my first thought. Then I gave her Mad Cow Disease. (In my head I used the words "Bovine Spongeform Encephalitis" because I am very proud that I know the real name and will trot out that nugget any chance I get...even in my own head.)

It's not like I got there super-early or anything.  There was no reason to bark at me, Lassie. I know how this works. I sign in and pretend to be well-mannered. You ring the guy I'm seeing and POLITELY ask me to take a seat. I've been on enough job interviews to know you just fucked up your part. I am truly sorry about the hot itchy bumps in your anus and/or your brain dissolving into a runny gray slurry , but seriously...you could be nice if you wanted.

Just as I'm sitting down and looking at the questionable assortment of sport / car / pop culture magazines I could peruse, I hear his voice drift over the cubicle's 3/4 wall.

"Hey! Dude! I'll be right with you!"

Okay...first things first. If you're going to be shouting across the office anyway(s), what's the point of the receptionist? She could be out tripping people as they leave the bakery with their wedding cakes or biting mailmen or something. Secondly, Did you really just call me"dude"? I mean, if all the business etiquette classes I've snuck into are correct, shouldn't YOU be trying to impress ME as well? "Dude" does not impress, "Dude" says you've got serious issues abandoning your wild nights of date-rape and pseudo-homosexual ritualism from your time at Phi Omega Tau. (I made that up...you don't have to be in a fraternity to be a date-rapist...it's just more likely.)

He comes sweeping around the corner and in a moment I size him up, as he does the same to me. He is shorter than he likes to be, wears what GSG calls "low power shoes" (She is my point person for all shoe related facts. Seriously. If you could solve global warming with shoes, she'd know how to do it.), and is balding in that way that says "I'm really uncomfortable about my hair loss, so I'll mask it by acting like a frat boy." He, of course, sees me as a handsome, swashbuckling, rogue-scoundrel-genius. That's how everyone sees me. Especially me.

Him: So, Did you have any problem finding your way here, Bro?
Me: Nope. No trouble.
Him: Alllright! Well...just sit down here in this conference room and I'll be right back! You want a Red Bull?
Me: No, thanks. I'm good.

He doesn't high-five me at this point. The universe collectively gasps in amazement.

We sit down and have the interview. He is flailing around in his chair like someone is trying to light his balls on fire. He asks the necessary questions. And when I give honest answers that show my concern about not meeting all the criteria set forth in the job description he comes back with "Yo! You could totally do this job, Dude. Trust me."

Anyone who says "Trust me." is trying to fuck you. It's a known fact. Like the capital of Texas, or that I am a fantastic lover.

So we do a little more interviewing, but basically he says he's going to "put a good word in for ya, brah!" when he talks to the actual employer.

I have to take a moment and sit you down to discus the word "brah".  "Brah" is only appropriate if your name is Keenu Reeves and you're playing a character named Bodhi* opposite Patrick Swayze in a movie about surfing. Otherwise, you'd be better off just screaming into a megaphone. "I'm a douche!"  Like maybe sing it to the Lone Ranger theme: "I'm a douche! I'm a douche! I'm a douche, douche,douche!" "Brah" indicates you are so severely disconnected with your own reality that you actually think you are cool enough to pull this atrocity of speech off. You're not. No one is. (Except Bodhi).

After it's over, I exchange surly parting glances with the AA, and try to work feeling back into my mangled hand. Turns out someone likes to play the "Squish your fingers with my rugged handshake" game. He was sweaty too, which made the whole thing like shaking hands with a mop-wringer. I walk back to Ham, fiddling with my keys and wondering if maybe I'm being tricked in some way. Seems like the only possible explanation.

*I actually had to go to the Point Break IMDB page to verify he was called  Bodhi in the movie...he was, except I was spelling it "Body", which my English-speaking friends tell me is pronounced differently. Thanks, fuckers!