Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thoughts on the holidays

I was commenting on my buddy John's BLOG on a post he did for his feelings on the holidays. The longer it went, the more creative I got I thought, why not "re-gift" this for myself and post it right here. I'd recommend reading John's BLOG though. If you like zombies and space shuttles, you're in for a treat. I'm waiting for the space shuttle PILOTED by zombies. Now THERE's a tale. I'm kidding John.

I normally head to John's blog to leave a sarcastic remark, a witty retort, or a casual guffaw. But for this time I came to bring you news of hope. John wanted to know with all the commercialism surrounding Christmas just where Jesus fits in these days. Why he's all over. All you need to is stop, pay attention, and perk up your ears as you hear people say "Jesus, is this line long" or "Jesus, who'd a thought I'd be in line at Best Buy for four hours".

But the news isn't all bad. It's during the holiday season where you do see the good in people as they kindly let you merge in on the highway. Perhaps this is due to their good natured feelings coming from some upcoming days off from work. Rest assured though, they know deep in their hearts that come January 2nd, if you were to try that in front of them....they'll send you and your car straight to hell first before they give you a break. I'm talking to you blue haired old lady who PRETENDS she can't see me. I KNOW YOU CAN SEE ME GRANNY!!!

Me, I got to spend some quality time with my family and got things I really need. Not that Christmas is about what you get. We all know as adults that Christmas is for the kids. I know it, you know it, and several marketing firms on Wall Street looking to sell your kid whatever crap toy they've bought into pumped out of Taiwan by some guy who just two weeks ago was hawking live chickens on a steet corner. He knows it too. I got an interesting assortment of gifts. From one of my sisters I got some jeans, from another a car emergency kit, and from my parents I got a fine bottle of whiskey. This of course means my New Years resolution to be drunk and shirtless on the side of a road waiting for AAA is right on track!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The doctor will see you now

Any recurring pain that you can't explain away with excuses like arthritis or the occasional taser attack from that female coworker who thinks you're a bit too "grabby" should most likely be investigated. This is the case with my mysterious "tail bone" pain.

Every once in a while I would get a dull ache about four inches above, how should I say it,...awe who cares, we're all adults here, above my poop hole. It would radiate around the area and actual inhibit my walking for a few minutes. Events like this have been happening a lot and since I had the day off, I thought I'd have it checked out.

The worst part of the whole doctor visit thing for me has to be the waiting room. There are the usual characters. There's soccer kid, still in his uniform accompanied by a parent who will at some point tell him to "SETTLE DOWN!". There's the adorable old couple, the 80'ish folks who look so cute you want to put them on top of a very old and smelly cake. Then there's my all-time favorite, "personal-space" lady. The large woman who scans a room full of empty seats only to put her porky biceps 6" over your arm rest all the while breathing as if she just ran a marathon. When they call my name, I'm overjoyed to be sprung from this Star Wars bar of aches and pains.

So I go in and get usual barrage of questions that I have just ONE big answer for. No. "Smoke?". "No". "On any medications?". "No". "History of werewolfism?". "No,...wait, what?!". "Just seeing if you were paying attention".

So I describe the pain I was feeling to the doctor and the reason I came in was that being over 40, I thought I should be checked out for something. I honestly had no idea where my prostate was. I have no excuse for that, I have internet access, it coulda been easily found out. The doctor assured me it wasn't that because my prostate is located directly up from the old "taint". I apologized for my ignorance and not knowing where my prostate was. She said no problem and that most men don't know, adding that women know more about men's anatomy than they do. Hmmmm...........really? Bah-LONEY! Men know JUST as much if not more about WOMEN's anatomy. There are just some things we, well, just don't listen to. When my wife was told about the side effects of the pill, stroke, heart attack, lowering your expectations of a mate, all I heard was "You are CLEARED for lift off captain!".

So my doctor visit as it turns out WAS for nothing, not if you don't count the requisite weigh-in before the visit. I am grossly overweight and it's my goal now to lose 40lbs in 6 months. I am determined, I CAN do it. As I sit here eating my pizza and sucking down the last of a delicious chocolate shake I am reminded of all the great doers this country has seen. I can do this. No where's my elipitcal machine? AH! There it is, now I need to find another place for these coats.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our new family picture.

Tell the truth, if you HAD to imagine what a,...oh I dunno....cookie jar with glasses would look like, that guy in the middle would JUST about cover it, right?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Open up and say AAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!

I hate the denist. I'm saying that as a general statement of course, I'm not singling out one dentist. It's more like I dislike the chance I'll be in pain and not "Don't you hate Bob! He's always like.."Oh I'm so great, I'm a denist!". Got it?

Going to the dentist has got to be the most hated appointment you can make, at least when your not one of those flossing suckups who take YOUR appointment just so the hygenist can fawn all over their whiter than a Pat Boone Christmas special teeth. Shitheads. For guys like me who have teeth only a member of ther Royal Family could love, it's a nightmare.

For starters, I have more metal in my mouth than the entire audience a BET award show (Hey-Oohhhhhh!!!). My visits usually involve some bad news. This last time I went because I was experiencing some pain, off and on, in one of my molars....or was it a bicuspid.....OH NO, maybe it's an incisor. Let's just call it what my insurance company calls it, a deductable.

So the dentist (f*ckin BOB!!) tells me I need a root canal.......followed by a temporary crown........followed by a REAL crown. The temporary thing kills me. I still haven't had that one explained to me. They don't do that with any other part of your body. Your heart doesn't go and some doctor says "We'll need to wait for a transplant for you, in the meantime, I'm installing this veal in your chest".

So I go home to decide what I'm going to do. One, two....four years pass and it starts to hurt again. Now I'm in a new job with new dental benefits which I see as a blank check. "Crown? Sure.....gimme one of them gold ones like P-Diddy has". So I schedule all THREE procedures. I show up at 7am in the morning for this and they take me right in. As soon as the doctor shows up he starts to prep me and the area he's going to work on. Part of this is him (not lying) shoving a 3" square piece of rubber down near my windpipe. I, being the pain in the ass patient I am, start to gag. And what a pain I am, imagine, he needs to shove a rubber square RIGHT WHERE I AM BREATHING and I make a fuss. I mean really. He then has the nerve to ask me "Do you gag easily?". Nope, I'm fine. Why don't you shove a few tennis balls in my mouth to see how I do then.

So he procedes on without the big square rubber sheet and roughs it. Then my favorite part of drilling begins, and by that I don't mean the bullshit lie that if we drill in the Gulf tommorow that means $1.00 gas the next day (Oh no you didn't!). No, I mean the rancid odor of burning tissue. That's gotta be the worse smell ever. When I tell you I gripped those arm rests like they owed me money, beleive me. I was as steady as a rock......I kept going to my happy places.

Next stop, temporary crown. I'm already researching a way to get Nike to sponsor it to cover my deductable. If it's "temporary" why not a nice Nike swoosh on it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things that make your day suck

Houses are funny. They provide you a roof over your head, a warm bed, and a chair to watch football, the three basic needs. But they have a habit of jumping up and biting you in the ass when you least expect it.

Last Saturday, on my wife's birthday, I had my drain snaked. "Why of course Ray, you ARE over 40 after all, don't all men your age have that done?". To that I say "They do, but that's not the drain I speak of". And besides, anything you have on your person you can classify as being "snaked" most likely has you in one of any number of institutions in our fine prison system sharing time with a man of questionable character and an even more questionable sexual orientation.

On Friday my wife pointed out some water on the floor of our laundry room and it being late I quickly passed it off as a leak local to the room, perhaps the washer, and classified it as an "i'll deal with it later" problem. Well, later came quicker than usual (shoulda put it in the "when I feel like it" column) and I was forced to examine the reason for the water. It turned out to be water coming back in to the house through the drain in the laundry room. I'm not "Mr. Fixit" by any means, but I thought right away, that had to be bad, right?

So we called a plumber and luckily one agreed to show up on Saturday. So this guy shows up and grabs his snake and proceeds to insert it into my drain. HOLY GEEZ!! Does THAT sound gay. Take two. Okay, this guy comes in my house and sticks a thing in my hole. HOLY SHIT!! Okay okay......there's gotta be a way around this. Okay. Let's try this. A guy came to help me with my problem (sounds good so far) he showed up on time (good) and when he did he reached into his truck grabbed his tool and........ah forget it!!!

I want to tell you, I was pacing like an expectant father. I had nightmares of my front yard being dug up because of this. Everytime he would poke his head back into the garage I'd wait for an update. "How we lookin' in there" I said in my best macho small talk. "Good, I think we hit a few roots". I'm sorry, roots? Yes, not only do my huge trees in my yard scare the crap out of me when we have high winds (like the 79MPH winds we had recently, thank YOU Hurricane Ike) but they seek out any place they can find water. The guy finishes up and I find out that this might only be temporary, I might have to do this 2 years from now too thanks to those roots.

But the day finished off pretty decent. My wife got to go out with all of us for her birthday and I got some great video of my daughter at her party. But I am a homeowner. I'm just left to wonder what's next. What's the next thing to come....and.........and........well, "snake me up the ass"?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Make Me An Offer

Chalk this latest first experience of mine as a "swing and a miss". Today, we had our first (and most likely last) garage sale. The word "garage" is from the French "garer" which loosely translated means "attention all neighborhood freaks, please show up at my doorstep".

I had been threatening to do a garage sale for quite some time and when a flier came around announcing a neighborhood garage sale that would be advertised and I had to only show up, I was on that like stink on a monkey. THIS, would be how I finally get some clarity in my life by getting rid of all the junk I had. This would be great! I could get that new PC I wanted, why I might even be able to buy that Apple iMac I had been looking at!

I got very organized. Vases, dishes, and pots went into a specific area of the table. That was housewares. The old tennis racket and roller blades comprised my sporting goods, and for those wandering bookworms, I had a small collection of books.

But after so many nice sunny weekends, this one decided to be muggy and rainy. Ah, hopes and dreams. How you DO like to be dashed. We went ahead with it anyway, putting the tables at the end of my garage. My wife, bless her heart, manned one side of the garage and I the other. Soon, people started to show up.

One of the first guys picked up a rifle scope my dad had dropped by with. He was either cleaning out his junk or hiding evidence he didn't want the feds to get, one or the other. So the guy picks up the rifle scope, buys it, and they asks if we have any military supplies. Ah, no. Then he wanted some rifles. Makes sense, what ELSE do you put a rifle scope on, right? No again. THEN, he asked if we had any knives. At this point I thought he is either a weird collector OR he's accessing our ability to defend ourselves should he decide to come back while we're sleeping. We got so many off the wall bizarre questions I was close to putting a sign up saying "Attention: We currently do not have any medical supplies, artificial limbs, hernia belts or deer antlers" just to filter out the wandering ghouls who were showing up.

About a half hour later a portly man in a t-shirt that left little to the imagination and a long white beard shows up to check out our wares. He spies our daughter's fold up playpen and asks "how much". I tell him $10 and he says "Oh that will go. We just bought four of them for a day care me and my wife opened up". So he walks away and I quietly thank my in-laws for providing a safe haven for my daughter during the day so that I can avoid sending my daughter to the "John Wayne Gacy" school for girls for THIS guy to watch her.

The rest of the crew that stops by was enough to make you want to call a contractor to put iron bars and your windows pronto. I got the feeling that everybody was on the lookout for that one treasure, that Van Gogh tucked into the back of Dogs Playing Poker or something like that. Then you had the folks who wouldn't even stop. They'd just slow down, try and dechipher what you had, and just continue on their way.

And how did we do? Well, let's see. We sold the scope for $10 and a couple of DVD's at 2 for $1.00. And I did make enough to meet my original goal though, albeit slightly altered. Now, unlike the one I had in mind, I'm unfortunately only able to purchase an actual "apple", not of the computer variety. Oh well. Looks like it's going to be an early Christmas for the folks who pick up our garbage next Friday!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My hierarchy of useless knowledge

I had a revelation today and it came while my wife was watching The Young And The Restless. No, that revelation was NOT I am a giant pussy who watches soaps with my wife. That came long ago. No, this one was a revelation on how polluted my mind is with useless information.

We got into a discussion about a character on the show, one who's been with the show for years. When my wife had trouble remembering his name I thought for a few minutes then blurted it out. As appreciative as my wife was of me ending her torment I couldn't help but think, has this ability to remember useless crap hampered my growth, my career?

I don't know how memory works, but I imagine it like a series of compartments where information is stored. Empty compartments are ripe for storage while occupied compartments are there to keep information that your mind deems valuable. Who am I? What do I do for a living and why did that lady at Arby's stop and ask me "Do you like the onion bun?" when I asked for a Beef n' Cheddar, only to sell me an NON-onion bun equivelent to "save me some coin". Where did she get the idea that she could go off the script? "I'd like that". "Okay, I will get you that". It's simple. But I digress.

When information comes into your brain it searches for an empty compartment. My problem, I think, is that I am running out of open compartments. Someday I'm going to learn valuable information at work and it's going to want to go to one of my "brain compartments" only to find that it's occupied with "Donny Most played Ralph Malph on Happy Days" or my personal favorite "Buckner and Garcia sang Pac Man Fever". Really?!? Pac Man Fever? I doubt Buckner and or Garcia would own up to that today and here I am carrying that shitty factoid around in my head!

So as I envy the A.D.D. set with their set in stone diagnosis I will sit and wait that someday "I" get my equivilent of Ridilan, a drug that helps me wipe from my head all those deliciously funny memories I have from shows like Different Strokes. "What chew talkin bout Willis!".


Thursday, August 14, 2008

When you think about it, gray hair ain't so bad....

If you had to choose a malady that's synonymous with growing older, you would probably think of graying hair first right? Maybe somewhere down on your list if you're a nutjob like me, MAYBE.......shrinking an inch or two off your height is there.

I am shrinking. How do I know this? My pants. I wear a special band of Dockers that have an expandable waistline in front. I do this because being an obvious 38" waist, it gives me some satisfaction buying a pair of 36's. This would be the same size satisfaction that fat cow in front of you at Wendy's gets from ordering a triple cheeseburger WITH........a diet Coke. Everything in moderation I guess.

Well I had to buy a whole new crop of my male maternity pants (my nickname for them) because the back of the cuff where they meet my shoes were fraying. Those pair that had that problem quickly moved down the social strata of "pantsdom" into "mowing the grass pants". For pants, this is the end of the line. A clear sign that you've lost your "A" game.

So I bought a whole new crop of Fatsy McChucklebutt's "Pants for Porky's". So the first day I put them on I finally realize why the last crop were fraying on the bottom. I am walking on my pants. What gives? Same length as always, but for some reason my heal kept stomping on my pants. This is what ruined the last ones. So my big fix, cuff them. That's great. Now i can walk around, finish getting ready for work, and save my new pants. This WOULD be great if not for the other thing I'm noticing about myself lately. I forget a LOT! So now,....I'm fat......a little grayer (not completely) and walking around my new job for which I hope to impress my bosses, all the while sporting 3" cuffs. Nice.

The thing that scares me is gray hair keeps coming till it's ALL gray.....what if the shrinking doesn't stop? Will my friends and family desert me when I have no legs? Just an ass with feet attached to it? Sure they'll still talk to me. Everybody will want to cash in on those valuable "freak dollars" I'll get at the fair.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not all home runs are in ballparks

I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter. Right when we found out that we were having a girl I, pretty much knowing this might be our only child, started to think of what I would be missing out on now that I wouldn't have that son that all guys seemingly want.

Of course all father and son dreams seem to somehow revolve around sports. His first at bat. His first touchdown. I'd have none of that. Now I had to alter my dreams for a little girl. This was no big deal to me though because my REAL dream would work for a boy OR a girl.

Being the consemate wise-ass that I am, I value humor above most things. I've had some of my biggest chuckles at the most inopportune times. I firmly beleive that nothing, and I mean nothing is above humor. I've visited plenty of funeral homes and I've laughed in most of them (I'm not a TOTAL loon, I show reverance when necessary). I'm almost positive that each indididual I've paid my respects too would have wanted it that way.

So my "home run" for my daughter was a bit different and she hit it out of the park for me last week. While putting her to bed, I playfully asked her "Does your bottle go up your bum?". She looked at me and smiled, knowing I was joking with her which is pretty good for a 2-year old. So I just started saying "bum bottle" and she heard that and started chuckling wildly. So I did it again........"bum bottle....bum bottle, over and over again". She started a wild belly laugh.

Now to most parents, a child laughing is no big deal. They do it all the time. But to me, this was monumental. I had written a joke that my daughter found funny. And she gave back to me more than I could ever imagine. I've been on stage and made complete strangers laugh. None of that could compare to having my littlest audience give back to me such great laughter. This, was her home run.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ah age. How DO you manage to screw me.

I was never the cool guy in the room. Even typing "cool guy" is a dead give away - I was never cool. Nobody cool actually SAYS the world cool.

But tonight is the biggest indicator that I am a un-cool blob of Boronium,...the main chemical compound found in 99.9% of all boring people. Go ahead,...get your Periodic's on there.

Here's the scenario. My wife and lovely daughter are staying over at her parents so that they TOO can know the intense stress that comes with wanting to pull your eyebrows out that occurs just around naptime. So I have the entire place to myself. So why am I not living it up? Getting drunk? Dancing around in my underwear ala Tom Cruise? Okay, that last one was light years away from cool. See!?

It's because of changing priorities. Back in my 30's I would have used this time to, oh I dunno, see a band,...go see a want to know what "crazy wild" thing I want to do tonight? GO TO SLEEP EARLY!

Holy shit Ray!! Call the cops! YOU sir.......are out of control. I know, I am the very definition of lame. Check it out;

lame /leɪm/ - adjective, lam·er, lam·est, verb, lamed, lam·ing, noun
–adjective 1. crippled or physically disabled, esp. in the foot or leg so as to limp or walk with difficulty.
2. impaired or disabled through defect or injury: a lame arm.
3. weak; inadequate; unsatisfactory; clumsy: a lame excuse.
4. A 42 year old man who has a free night to do whatever he wants and chooses to eat potato chips and watch Family Guy.

Hmmm.............potato chips and Family Guy. Wait a minute,....maybe I'm onto something here. Mabye,...just maybe....THAT is what's "cool" to me and to guys my age at this point in our lives. You know, that might be it. Hey! I just MIGHT be cool still! But in a 42 year old, sorta overweight, occasionally farting sort of way. LOOK OUT FONZI!! I AM THE COOLEST NOW! (I know....I know...see definition number 4 under lame).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

High gas prices bring out the loons.

I pulled into our local KFC today to buy my daughter one of her many vices, KFC mashed potatos (or TOES!! as she calls them) and I ended up behind this.

All I can say is, what a man does in the privacy of his own home is between him and the polar bear of his choosing and is nobody else's business.

Now obviously this schmuck has drunk the Kool-aid (or Kook-aid) and thinks "drill monday, cheap gas by friday". WRONG!

My favorite was the other side that said something like "Global warming is a hoax. Carbon Dioxide is plant food". Which is right. And maybe my bestiality charged freind in front of me in line is a botanist and knows something I don't know.

Like he knows of a plant that eats Hydrocarbon emissions. Those are the fuel molecule fragments not completely burned that form ground level ozone in the presense of nitrogen oxide and sunlight.

And maybe there's a particular plant that eats Carbon MONoxide, another product of incomplete burning of hydrocarbon based fuels. More than likely, this wing nut is listening to the insane rantings of the nutjob talk radio hosts who spout this baseless drivel to the only unintelligent sponges that will eat it up. Namely, my polar bear loving freind in the SUV in front of me. The same SUV that gets lousy gas mileage......and burns more gas in a drive through than if he'd just park it and walk his lazy ass inside to pick up his food himself.

Don't even get me started on his lack of punctuation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ignore the experts, get it from the bunny.

If you Google childcare advice you'll likely find advice from such sources as,, and for the southerner who needs help,

Why seek advice you ask? What do you need guidance on? Is that a full bag of Doritos on your desk? All valid questions.

You see, our daughter has it in her that whatever we say, some how SOME way, we're screwing her over. Here's a perfect example. We're going somewhere together. I get ready first, keys...and I try to get her in the car so we can wait for her mother. No way. She would make an excellent infantryman in that she will leave "no man behind".

"Mum-mum too!" is the cry I hear and no matter what I say, that's what I get. So it normally goes like this.

"Let's go baby, Daddy will put your shoes on".
"Mum-mum too".
"Yes baby, Mummy is going too, let's go downstairs and wait for her".
"MUM-MUM TOO!!". At this point, the panic (for whatever reason) starts to set in.
"Of course baby, Mum-mum is coming. She just has to find her shoes".
"Baby, come on. Mum-mum will meet us downstairs".
"NOooooooooo!!! Mum-Mum TOOOOOO!!!!".

At this point, I abandon Supernanny, Dr. Phil, and any "supposed" expert and rely on the only expert that matters. Bugs Bunny.

"Baby, would you like Mum-mum to come too?".
"Okay!(sniff sniff...sob)". Problem solved.

For you see, you can read all the books, watch all the TV shows, and consult your "expert" freinds, nothing will cure THIS particular situation better than the old "Duck Season Wabbit Season" line of reasoning.

And they say you can't learn anything from cartoons....BAH!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A big fun fat time

Kids. They are such a joy. You never think you can do enough for them. What's the most loving thing you can do for your toddler. Well, if you're us, you strap her in a car seat, put the DVD player on a drive her three hours and forty-five minutes away to Columbus Ohio.

We had always wanted to "test" how our daughter would do on a long trip and let me be the first to say...........not good. A 2 1/2 year old's patience is about as thin as the reasons we went to war in Iraq,...yeah, that's right, I said it! About an hour and a half into the drive we started getting warning moans, which we know always preceed a full blown cry.

We got to the zoo later than expected and it was SUPER SUPER hot. The Columbus Zoo is a fantastic zoo and is home to Jungle Jack Hanna, a frequent Tonight Show and Letterman guest. One of my goals is to get to the Bronx Zoo some day. It's ranked in the top 10 on just about anything you read about zoos. At the Columbus Zoo just the parking lot alone is enormous and it has an adjacent water park. Our daughter is too young for that now, but maybe soon. Anyway, so we had to leave early because she was fading fast due to the heat so we headed to our hotel room.

Typically, on the way over she fell asleep in the car (thank you air conditioning). We thought, no biggee, just carry her up to the room. WRONG!! She normally will fall asleep and when you carry her, she'll peak out of one eye...see that she's home, and fall right back to sleep. This time she did that and of course, she saw a hotel hallway, an elevator...nope, this kid was awake now and hyper. I'll never get this kid. When she's tired, I guess to keep herself awake, she is in a word, manic. She bounces off the walls. So that's what we had to deal with in trying to get her back to sleep on the giant king sized bed that she wanted to bounce on.

So, she of course didn't sleep so now what do we do. Well, I knew we weren't going to get her to go back to sleep so we went to the mall nearby. After that, I decided to take her swimming. Two things you have to know here. Number one, I don't swim and being 2 1/2, neither does she. But I figured she'd have a blast if I held her in the 3 foot section.

To say that she had a blast is an understatement. In her short time on this earth, I've never seen her that happy. I wish I could say the same for me. I hate having my shirt off. Saying I am out of shape is somehow (in my mind) implying I was ever IN shape. I haven't been. Well, maybe when I was a baby. When me and everyone around me was short, pale, and pudgy. But that's it.

My wife was taking pictures of us having fun in the hotel pool. I severly cropped myself out of them before I uploaded them for family. In one shot I can see my enormous back fat. With my back fat meeting at my spine, it appears that I in fact have an enormous ass crack that goes nearly up to my neck. This saved us money the rest of the trip because I tried my best to cut back on what I ate. That is AFTER I saw the pictures. Staying for free (used Marriott points) we took advantage of that and ordered room service which TOTALLY kicked ass. And worth all the money too. If I sound like I'm complaining, well, I am maybe a little. But I wouldn't trade this past weekend with my family for anything.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Potty training

It's five months till our daughter's 3rd birthday and frankly we're getting desperate. The potty training hasn't been going well and we're looking at other ideas.

My wife bought an Elmo's Potty Time DVD to see if some encouragement from a familiar face like his would help. So we put it in the DVD player and with some convincing, we get her over to the potty.

As soon as it starts, she get's a strange look on her face as if to say "What is THIS propaganda?". She's probably wondering if we're going to force her to watch a video on a timeshare following this.

And I feel so bad watching it myself. Because It's Elmo..........going "number two" as he says,....and all I could think of was "Okay, who cleans the matted feces out of HIS fur". And anybody who's had a dog knows JUST what I'm talking about!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Too old for (insert activity here)

Having become a father at 39 my continued good health has always been something I've known I would have to keep up if I was to stay active with my daughter as she grew.

Well so much for that. I've been dealing with something that's never bothered me before these past few days, a bad back. For the past few days I've had pain when I did just about everything except breath. For me the sadness isn't that my body is breaking down it's that I don't have an ultra-macho reason for my back pain to brag about. No I did not injure myself executing a dead-lift at the gym nor did I hurt myself doing some ultra-mechanical upgrade on my car. It just went. And I'm hoping it has the decency to come back at some point.

Like any bad situation I have a talent for making it worse too. I decided to tackle one of the tasks my wife had decided for me that I wanted to do. One of them was to take out some of the shrubs in front of our house. These were the decorative ball ones that now, thanks to my distaste for trimming, were looking less,...ah..."ball-like". So I ventured out with every manner of yard tool I had that possessed a sharp blade. This meant my axe, hatchet, pruning shears, and for some reason my Martha Stewart edger. Doing this activity sober of course I didn't have the courage to bring what I truely wanted to remove the shrub. That being a gas can and a lit match.

So off I go, hacking away at this poor defenseless bush one limb at a time. Then, my back started to make it's distaste for yardwork known. The pain said "Sit down and relax.....NOW!". I obeyed. This continued on. So I would hack, grimace in pain, sit down, and do it again. If you could imagine how a 6' hummingbird would do yard work, this was it. It was then that two words came into my mind that put a real kink into my job,...tap root.

A tap root is a root that goes straight down from this type of bush and makes it nearly impossible for a weekend warrior gimp with a bad back like me to remove the stump. I had most of the bush off and tried to rock the stump out by standing on it and it wouldn't move an inch. So my next move is - chemicals. As it stands now it's out there and I'm going to making a trip to Lowes for something to kill the stump, tap root, and anything else growing around it. I have declared war.

But after a few days I've started to feel better. It now takes me less time after getting up from a chair to walk straight. Which really helped me out today when my daughter decided that when we're in a department store "stop!" means run away giggling. I so don't want to be the heavy when it comes to disciplining my daughter but you'd be surprised at how quickly that role materializes when your child scares the bejesus out of you by darting off in a department store.

I've read countless articles on toddlers and so has my wife. What I'm waiting for is the one that tells me when logic arrives. I tell my daughter "either sit in the cart, hold my hand, or let me hold you". Simple right? But no, she comes up with a fourth option which is "run like a maniac away from mommy and daddy". Suddenly, those freaks with their kids on leashes don't look that bad. I can't stay mad at her though. That little voice and those eyes just make you forget that you looked like a girl running in public after your 2 year old. I am too old for this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thank you for your time

I've been in the hunt for a job for some time now. So long so that I've considered adding "Ward of the State" to my resume. Being out of work this long makes you a bit loopy. On the one hand, you're sweating the impending doom of a harsh financial reality. On the other hand, you get a slight kick out of the absurdity of some aspects of this process.

If I won the lottery, well,.....let's just say I'd be on a beach in Maui now and a young Malaysian boy named Pepe would be typing this for me as my hired servant. But let's just say this still is ME typing this, and let's say I was looking for an American woman to marry so I can stay in this country. Well, then I'd be Pepe and you're too late to ask me for some of my big lottery loot. But no, it's me, and if I could financially afford it, I'd continue the whole interview shenanigans on for a bit but for a change, on MY terms. Let me explain.

Some say an interview is like asking a girl out on a date and I'd go along with that. That is if my dates in the past were me asking a girl out and her responding with a request to see my bank account, a listing of all my past dates, and asking me to disrobe so she can see what kind of "potential" I had. Sadly, most of that was my dating life. To me an interview is like a staring contest and it doesn't matter if the other guy blinks, it only matters if YOU blink. Unfortunately I feel a lot of opportunities are lost on poor word choices and yucky fishy handshakes (can I help it if holding a fish helps my dermatitis?).

So, since the web is full of advice on what to do on an interview, here's a tip from me. I read on one site where they suggest you bring a business card that just lists all your contact information and give it to the interviewer for a professional appearance. I say, ask if they want your business card and if they agree, grab a Kleenex from your pocket and write (in Crayon) your name and number with phone misspelled as "Fone". Then ask if they need multiple copies for others present (if others are) and start pulling Kleenex's out of your pocket like you're a magician. Start putting them in front of empty chairs and say "Now here's one for you, one for you, and one for you".

Then, mid-interview, ask if you can go to the bathroom. When they say yes, just sit there and grunt slowly followed by a long pause then smile and say "I'm sorry, where were we?".

But my all time favorite on my "I wish I could do this" wish list is to purposely call the interviewer by the wrong name, even after he/she corrects you. So if they ask you "Where do you see yourself in five years" you respond with "Well Brian, I see me thriving at your company in a much greater capacity". Then when he goes "Actually, my name is Tom", you go "Tom?! What a silly thing to say Brian, back to me, what do you think of this shirt? Brian".

Of course I would NEVER do that. Consider all of this frustration. Frustration from being out of work way too long when you are confident your credentials deserve better. Oh well, back to writing. "Dear Brian.............".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Walking on the South Side today and two CMU students approach me and ask me to be in a video. Okay, I got time. They ask me to put on a stove pipe hat and pretend to be Andrew Carnegie. I haven't done standup in a long time and these kids probably didn't know they were asking someone who's done comedy to volunteer so I was going to give them a show.

Then it occurred to me. There's been a LOT of CMU folks who've gone on to do big things like Rob Marshall (directed the movie Chicago), Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues), Holly Hunter, Ted Danson and a bunch others. I flashed ahead 20 years and saw the highlight reel to these kids lives and didn't want their American Film Institute award to be preceeded by a showcase of their earlier work, like "Schmuck Who Thinks He's Andrew Carnegie". "Yes honey, that's when Daddy helped out a few CMU hippies and later went home praying the prop stove-pipe hat they gave him didn't give his hair lice from whatever acid induced Dead head wore it before him". So I bailed on them.

Lastly, I'm nobody's monkey. I do comedy when "I" want to.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Starting over

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