From Hair to Eternity

I am a mammal. I know that this is exciting news but I just felt that it was necessary to share. Now, I have had suspicions that I was mammalian for quite some time. But after analyzing the empirical evidence, I have eliminated all the other options. So, I guess you can now say that I am Team Mammal. First, let’s look at the alternatives. I can’t be a fish. While I do enjoy a nice dip in the pool, seawater dries out my hair  and that coupled with the fact that I have all of the aquatic grace of a ball of mud pretty much rules out me being a fish. I would consider reptiles but snakes creep me out so you can forget that. I would contemplate the fact that I may be an insect but the frequency that I have bruises on my body kinds of negates belonging to any group known for its hard exoskeleton. Since I can neither adhere to walls nor jump more than 2 inches off the ground, then amphibians are clearly not where I belong. As far as birds go, I think that in light of what I like to refer to The Orlando Karaoke Incident of 1995, I lack the melodious quality assigned to all birds. Yep I am a mammal and better yet, I am a male one.

The one distinction that mammals have, in addition to being the principal characters in most Disney movies, is that the male and female of each species have certain territorial and socially sex specific roles. Other lower animals don’t have some regimented gender roles because frankly the males of those species have less complex requirements put upon them. For example, if you are a salmon, your role is simple.  Leave the ocean, check. Swim upstream and over rapids, check. Do your reproductive duty, check. Go back down downstream and become Grizzly chow, check. There is no, take out the garbage, mow the lawn, hold my purse while I try this dress on and/or snuggle included in any of those requirements. However, we higher mammals have to do more than just continue the species; we have to interact with members of the opposite sex at times when reproduction is not on the agenda. Because this interaction frequently exposes both males and females to the absolute insanity inherent in the opposite gender, both sexes have developed special territories where we may seek shelter from this insanity. Historically men have had the better selection in terms of man caves. Prehistoric men had actual caves. The medieval men had the knighthood and public executions.  The colonial age gave men pirate ships and the clergy. Early twentieth century American men had social clubs and jobs not involving cooking and cleaning.

Eventually the wheels of social justice began to turn and women began to find special places where they too could be with those of the fairest sex and share the joys of sisterhood, without having to wear an apron. I think this progress is great, but then……..men began to realize that the number of women’s- only places began to dwarf the number of guys’ places. Just look around. You have book clubs, women’s clubs, yoga studios, every store in the mall other than Sharper Image and GameStop. There is also some mysterious establishment with frosted windows named Curves. I am not sure what kind of place that is but based on the fact that the women come out sweating I am pretty sure it’s some kind of lingerie tickle fight arena. Even television, once that bastion of all things male, has gone girly. In order for me to arrive at that holy grail of manly TV., the N.F.L. network, I have to pass 6 shopping channels, Oprah’s channel, the Hallmark channel and at least 4 different incarnations of the Lifetime network. Because of this intrusion into the spaces formerly dominated by those with the “y” chromosome, we men have been forced to retreat to those special places that women have no interest in going, the principle of these being the barber shop.

The barber shop as a kid was a scary place. A barber shop as an adult is ever scarier. Every barber shop had these menacing leather-bound(at least I hope that’s leather) chairs and if you happen to be a small child they would get  out the “booster”. This is basically a leather wrapped piece of plywood that would rest on the arms of the barber chair so the barber could make sure to nick up all of your head and not just parts of it. The best part of it is that the thing had neither seat belt nor handles for you to balance with. It was basically walking the plank with the added fun of scissors near your major arteries. I had a friend who went to a cool barbershop as a boy; at least he thinks it was cool because the kids got to sit on a saddle while they got haircuts. A saddle? Great, they found the one kind of the seat in the civilized world with zero flat surfaces. “Hey Johnny, what happened to your ear?” “I fell off the saddle at the cool barbershop.” “Nice going Van Gogh.”

For those of you have never had the sheer pleasure (sorry I have to include at least one bad haircut pun) to spend time in a barbershop, let me tell you what you are missing. The place is never neat nor tidy. There are a collection of hunting magazines that no one has ever heard of in the waiting room. Well, it’s not really a waiting room. It is actually a collection of rickety chairs about 2 feet from the barbers. I would say it is within shouting distance but that measure of length has little meaning in a barbershop because the denizens of these fine establishments are generally shouting everything they say. The only problem with the proximity from those waiting to those getting bad haircuts, and they are always bad haircuts, is that inevitably one of those waiting will engage the barber about to cut my hair in some topic of conversation that the barber feels passionate about and everybody knows that there is nothing more fun than an enraged man with an endless supply of cutting tools. Usually, by the end of the conversation my neck looks like the cutting board at a Japanese Steakhouse. As scary as what goes on in front of the barber chairs is, what goes on behind them is even worse. Of course the requisite picture of the barber from his days in the army is there, and nothing says high fashion hair styling like a guy in a crew cut. There is the industrial sized bottle of Vitalis. I am not sure what Vitalis is but have a sneaking suspicion that it contains the same chemicals as paint thinner without paint thinner’s more pleasant smell. I swear that when the barber splashed that substance on my neck, I saw smoke. Next to the Vitalis was the giant candy jar….of combs. This container held mor combs that any human being could possibly need in a strange blue liquid. When asked what that viscous liquid was, the head barber told be alcohol. I may have been in a child and still believed in many unreal things. At the time I still believed in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny and the American political system, but even I couldn’t buy that the alcohol was blue. I knew that alcohol came in two shades, vodka clear and Canadian brown. Then to add to my chagrin, the barber would pull a comb from that bacterial frappe and attempt to use it on my head at which time I would dodge every move like I was Neo from the Matrix. Sorry Floyd( it is required that every real barber have at least one guy named Floyd on the premises at all times) but you’re not putting anything near my head that came from a vat of liquid that looks vaguely similar to the product my mother uses to remove rust stains from our toilet. Everywhere you look there is weirdness. Then I would spot the thing that set me over the edge, the combination straight razor and long leather strap. Nothing settles a six-year-old like being 10 inches away from one of the props from the SAW movies.

After all the stress, you finally emerge back into the coed world. You have a new hair cut and the world is so excited. Well, not the whole world but at least the bullies at your bus stop because all your extra hair was making it itchy when they held you in a headlock. You swear that it’s just not worth it. You aren’t going to go to the barbershop any more, you are going to the hair salon because you mistakenly think that will make it better. By the way, you are wrong. As long as I was under my mother’s dominion, I was forced to visit the same barbershop but when the barbers’ tremors finally got so bad that a quick trim may have endangered my mom’s chances at grandchildren, she agreed to let me go get my haircut at the salon. Well, it wasn’t really a salon, it was a StuperCuts.(name changed to avoid any more litigation). I know that it isn’t exactly a Paul Mitchell salon but for a young man who considered any meal not delivered via a drive through window as gourmet, it was quite a cultural change. It was like the Promised Land…with hair on the floor. The difference between the male dominated barbershop and the female domain of the salon were like night and day.

  • Men get their hair cut, women get their hair done
  • Men visit barber shops, women visit beauty salons
  • Beauty salons have actual waiting rooms with magazines from the current decade.
  • Beauty salons are staffed by people who went to school in order to do hair, barber shops are staffed by people who work there  because they dropped out of school.
  • Beauty salons play satellite radio featuring the latest hits, barber shops play A.M. radio featuring shows about gardening.
  • At a beauty shop, they will actually wash your hair for you before your styling. At a barbershop, it’s a challenge just getting the barber to wash his hands after he uses the restroom.

As happens when ever you cross that territorial line between the world of men and women, the novelty of an experience different from the one we are used to make everything seem wonderful…..for a while. But slowly, the reality is that you have simply exchanged one type of psychosis for another. Soon the glow of joy of being at the salon was replaced by the cold wind of reality. The pre-styling hair washing seems to be the entrance level exam for the position of Water-Boarder at Guantanamo Bay. Gee thanks for making my scalp bleed, I really appreciate that. Another problem with the salon is the obsession with making appointments. Now I do understand that some of the coloring and styling activities may take longer than the typical five-minute buzz cut at the barber shop but do you need to schedule what time I should show up down to the millisecond. I am trying to get a few inches chopped off the fro not trying to land a spaceship on an asteroid. I can barely show up at work at the time that I am supposed to, and I am getting paid to do that. So if you expect me to show up at the hair cut place in the strip mall at a certain then I will give you the same advice that I gave my wife on our wedding day, ”Prepare for disappointment.”

Even arriving at salon, there are other issues. First of all, all the salons I have ever been to (that would be three) have an extremely loud door alarm to alert everyone in the zip code that the door has been opened. Nothing breeds hair styling success like startling the people with the razor-sharp instruments. I understand the reason for the alarm on the door. It is to give the employees an auditory prompt fo them to throw down their cigarettes and come back in the salon, because they smoke….they all smoke. Maybe it is the constant inhalation of hairspray or maybe it is the occupational stress one would feel from having to pretend not to notice when the client in the chair passes gas. Whatever the reason, the employees usually have more tobacco than the state of North Carolina. The last time that I got my hair cut, the lady that did it smelled like the lovechild of The Marlboro Man and Joe Camel.  Aside from the cigarette stained fingers cutting my hair, there is another problem I have with the salon employees. It is not the physical contact that takes place when you are cutting my hair, I understand the barriers that having short arms places on your ability to respect my personal space when styling my ‘do, it is the verbal contact that I mind. Let me put this delicately,  “ STOP TALKING TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!” We are not family. We are not friends. Heck, we are not even casual acquaintances. If I could cut my hair, I would. But I can’t and that is why I come here. So, let’s please stop pretending that we need to catch each other up on what’s been going on in since the never when I was here before. I don’t want to talk about the  weather. I don’t want to talk about my job. I don’t want to participate in your conversation about when your boyfriend’s”band” is going to hit it big. I don’t want to join in you and your co-workers’ version of an amateur  The Maury Show. You are a professional and I expect you to behave as one. You are under no pressure to be neither social nor chatty. In fact I want the same interaction with you that I would expect from a prostitute:

  • Don’t tell me your name.
  • Don’t look me in the eye.
  • Perform your duty well and you will be tipped well.
  • Perform it poorly and I will claim that I am a cop and then run away.

That’s’ it. It’s just hair. It really shouldn’t get complex. Of course there is another alternative………maybe I will just wear a hat.

 

Lessons learned

Well, here we are. We made it past the end of the word. No, I am not talking about that Mayan world’s gonna blow up crap. Everybody knows that the Mayans didn’t know diddly about predicting the future, or else they would have seen that inviting the Spanish invaders in for some tea and crumpets would have been a really bad idea. However, if the Aztecs would have predicted the world was going to end, sh#@ would have got real. I am talking about making it through the year 2012, which at several points this year seemed like a never ending big bowl o’ crap. It was like eating at Hell‘s Olive Garden. It had moments of moderate improvement and then got unbelievably worse. I just need to face the facts, 2012 was basically like all 3 of the Transformers movies. No, I am  not talking about the cool animated Transformer movie that came out when I was in Junior High( oh thank you Duval County Public Schools for adding one more feeling of inferiority to my 8-9 grade years by forever making me refer to it as ‘junior”) and had Dinobots in it and when Optimus Prime died you actually cried, or maybe that was just me. No, 2012 was just like the Michael Bay “let’s CG everything” Transformer movies. It started slow, got o.k. in the middle and then just devolved into nothing but noise and failure that you end up hoping that someone would just end the damn thing. Well as the the final credits roll for this year, and no, I am not going to wait around to see if there is one more foreshadowing- laden scene midway through the closing credits, I think it is time to reflect on the things that happened this year and what lessons that can be obtained from them.

 

 

 

So with no further ado, here are The Things that I have Learned, 2012:

 

 

 

  • Don’t underestimate the value of a quality tour guide, as a result of a certain unnamed,( not to protect his identity, it’s just that he wasn’t interesting enough to commit his name to memory) guide’s lack of zeal for his job, the civilized world has been exposed to six months of me typing out my cray cray.
  • Grown men should not use words like “cray cray”.
  • With regards to bosses, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.
  • If when explaining your boss you have to resort to an analogy involving the word “devil”, then you probably have made some unwise career choices.
  • My most rock and roll moment: In the pit and at the front of the crowd at the Van’s Warped Tour.
  • My least rock and roll moment: Standing at an Asking Alexandria concert and thinking that that kid in front of me with the stale smelling t-shirt should really switch to Tide with Febreze.
  • Rotate your tires and check your brakes.
  • That guy at Pep Boys is a jerk.
  • Being unemployed is great, until the bills come in.
  • Having a job  is great, until you have to leave the house.
  • I could remember a lot more important things if my brain wasn’t full of t.v. theme songs and my locker combinations  from seventh grade.
  • Kim Kardasian and Kanye West make a perfect couple. She has a huge ass and he acts like one.
  • It’s pretty clear that the guy that makes Adventure Time does drugs.
  • When deciding whether or not to work for a company, just visit their breakroom and see if they have powdered creamer for the coffee. If a company won’t pony up for half and half,   you can probably forget about any future raises.
  • If you ask someone on the telephone more than once how to pronounce their name,  you are legally obligated to use that name at least 5 times during the conversation. Otherwise, just call me “sir” and get on with your business.
  • Watching the local news in HD is a great way to find out that you live in a town full of ugly people.
  • Beer and pizza>beer>water
  • Beer and pizza with friends> just about everything else
  • I think it’s a compliment when people you just met say they want you to hang around because they find you entertaining. At least I hope it is.
  • If you are in front of me in line at a store, I hate you. Nothing personal it’s just I got places to go.
  • I want to see snow and go to Disney World,  just not at the same time.
  • The list of people that I actually like seems to be getting shorter on a daily,  but those still on the list I seem to like more.
  • The levels of intoxication are: Sober, Relaxed, Happy Drunk, Sloppy Drunk, Wasted,  and “No I didn’t realize that guy was being a jerk to me”.
  • I can drive a golf cart like a sumbitch.
  • Just because I am going into the kitchen does not mean you are about to get fed, cat………..or kids.
  • I am still genetically incapable of keeping my darn ideas to myself.
  • Home runs  are a lot more fun when it’s your team that hits them.
  • If the “get fit ideas” on the internet were half  as appealling as the “get fat” recipes on Pinterest then I wouldn’t have to keep buying new pants.
  • Attention Facebook members( like its a club or something): Please stop posting every whimsical picture and/or ecard that you find on the interwebs. Facebook is for posting pictures of your children, sending birthday wishes to people you really don’t care about, complaining about your job and posting  political opinions that I don’t agree with.
  • George Takei is exempt from the previous rule.
  • Do not let your kids name the new kitten unless you don’t mind saying the words “Pootie Pie” in a crowded vet’s office.
  • Haircuts are overrated.
  • People should be be classified not by race nor by sex but by whether they keep putting the twist tie back on the bag  of the bread or just twist the bag and tuck it underneath. Twist tiers unite, the revolution is coming.
  • After twelve years of bathing, my son still doesn’t remember he will need a towel until after he gets in the shower.
  • As part of Disney’s purchase of Star Wars, I hope they add Jar Jar to the shooting gallery at Frontierland.
  • If you like two different football teams, there should be a rule that they both can’t suck in the same year.
  • According to my marriage license, I got married on Febraury 28, 1992. According to my Facebook timeline, I got married on March 1,2009.  Does that mean I have 17 years worth of saying something stupid that I have to do all over again?
  • Parents celebrate their kids’  birthdays because we went 365 days without killing our children……..yet.
  • AA batteries make great although noisy cat toys.
  • This year is going to be great…….because it has to be.

 

 

Resume for your consideration

 You have to keep your options open. Although I have a stable job with a multinational corporation, I continue to peruse the job market in my quest to find an even better position than the one I currently hold. The problem is that as soon as soon as I see an employment listing, the position is filled before I have a chance to apply for it. I guess it’s true that the greatest ingredient to success is timing. It seems that there has to be a way to get ahead of the job search system. I have an idea. I think the answer is to apply for a job before the general public ever knows that it is available. There are two ways to do this.

The first, and far more morbid, way is to just cruise the obituaries with the thought that every name that is listed is one more job opportunity. However, there are a few problems with that system. First of all, for some unknown reason, the numbers of elderly people who are now deceased are greater than those of any other demographic group and the elderly tend not to have the most covetous jobs. Even worse, most of them don’t even work. Oh yes, they have some great excuses like, ”I am 90” and “I just retired six months ago after working double shifts for 53 years in a coal mine”, but to me it just sounds like they are being lazy. The worst of it is that those employed at all  work only as greeters at Wal-Mart. I am sorry but having to sling shopping carts at the dazzling human specimens that frequent Wal-Mart does not sound very appealing. An addition flaw in trying to follow the Grim Reaper into a career change is that showing up at funerals and asking the surviving family members if the deceased had a good dental plan or got holidays off leads to more confrontations than I feel comfortable with.

The other means of obtaining employment in a position that you desire is to find a job that, although currently occupied, would be a perfect fit for you. All that remains is to make the case as to why you would be the ideal person to do the job better than it is being done.  I have been looking at the various occupations around and think that I found the one that I want. The job requires a limited work schedule, a lot of fringe benefits and best of all, the current job holder has been there so long that he is not doing the job as well as someone new would. That is why I am submitting my application of the position of…….Santa Claus.

First, let’s look at why I am a natural fit to fill the position:

SCHEDULE. Let’s face the facts. Santa actually only really works one day per year. If you ask any of my former managers, they will assure you that only working one day per year is something I am accustomed to.

CHILDREN. Similar to the soon to be ex-Mr. Claus, I tolerate other people’s children once every 365 days as well.

SLEIGH DRIVING. I have been involved in the transportation of various goods throughout my professional career. And if I can maneuver a 25 foot beverage truck with bad brakes through the cobblestone streets of downtown Saint Augustine while drinking a coffee and talking on the cell phone, then landing a sleigh on a roof is really no big deal.

TOYS.  The only other adult on the planet that knows more about toys than me is Josh Baskin ( for the uninformed that was the name of the Tom Hanks character in “Big”). Proof of this is that I am the only person over the age of 10 that still includes a new Hess truck on his Christmas wish list every year.

ELF MANAGEMENT. This should be the one area where my experience should be lacking but unfortunately everyplace I have ever worked at has been run by small petty people so working with actual elves would not be a new experience.

DIET. Cookies, hot chocolate, candy, candy canes, these are the items that Santa is said to consume. Or as I call them…..lunch.

It is not enough to just show that I could do the job as well as it is being done, I need to show how I can do it better. The truth is that with no real competition, the current Santa Claus has become complacent so it’s time to bring some innovation to the North Pole. Guess who has two thumbs and some ways to jazz up Christmas? THIS GUY!!

We need to begin with the basics. I love the nostalgia of the whole reindeer pulled sleigh idea but in this day and age some changes need to be made. A sleigh? In light of the reality of global warming having a vehicle only is useful for transportation across snow seems silly. I have an invention that we should introduce, it’s called the wheel. Actually I am in contract negotiations with the Volkswagen Corporation on designing a new sleigh. First of all, no one designs autos like the Germans and secondly I love the idea of the Christmas Eve trip involving an intercontinental game of Punch Buggy.

I like the idea of using unpaid slave labor to make the toys and will continue to use elves with a few alterations. Say goodbye to the miniature toy makers with the bells on their pointed toed shoes. I am replacing them with the elves from The Lord of The Rings. I would love to see a kid complain about a toy that was made by a race of Immortals with deadly accurate archery skills. Sorry little Johnny that you don’t like the fire truck you just unwrapped. Why don’t you go tell Legolas why it is not good enough, as soon as he is done killing that cave troll with his bare hands.

The suit needs some work as well. Bright red with fur-lined collar? What are we trying to do, give the P.E.T.A. people a heart attack? I say we go with some jeans and a hoodie in soft muted tones. I just think it is unsafe to wear any bright colors in any state that has a Stand Your Ground law on the books.

We need to talk about what the Santa gig is really all about, namely toys. This is the area where the current Santa is really slacking. His obsession with safety has meant the too many toys have been eliminated from the inventory. Has anybody seen the toys now available? They are about as exciting as a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread. It has gotten so bad that we now have board games based on iPhone apps that were based on board games. Somebody stop this ride, I want to get off. The obsession with safety has means all the toys are now nontoxic and non- fun. I think it’s time to bring back some good old-fashioned danger into Christmas morning. I am going to bring back every lead paint based, phosphorus leaking, and sharp edged toy that I can. People can boo hoo all they want about unsafe toys, I know that if it wasn’t for b.b. guns and micro machines poor little Kevin McAlister would never have been able to fend off the Wet Bandits. There is also the issue with creating lasting holiday memories. Sure, a kid may let the morning that he received a Nerf ball fade from his recollection but nobody forgets the trip to the E.R. that was a result of the ride in the go-cart with no seat belt. Like the saying goes,” Photos are fleeting but x-rays are forever.”

The other part of the job that I am uniquely qualified for is the process of designating a kid as naughty or nice. This is the job I was born to do. I spend the majority of my waking hours observing the actions of others and making arbitrary judgment based on what I see so determining the classification of whether some snotty nosed brat as naughty or nice is just too easy. I understand that just making these judgments based on nothing more than my own internal premonitions about a kid is probably somewhat unfair so I will have to codify a few ways to avoid the naughty list. Come to think of it, I can’t believe that we are still using the designation of naughty and nice to describe behaviors in 2012. Clearly we need to come up with new labels to identify positive and negative behavior.  I am going to now refer to the two lists as “Awesome” a.k.a. the nice list and “Sucks” will be the naughty list. It is rather simple to be on the Awesome list. A child and/or adult should treat people well, take care of their responsibilities, look out for your fellow man…. yada yada yada.

Appearance on the Sucks list requires me to lay out a few rules. Committing any of the following offenses will result in immediate inclusion on the Sucks list and let me just add that I hope you like coal.

AUTOMATIC SUCKS BEHAVIORS

  • ·         Saying “axe” when you mean “asked”
  • ·         Writing “a lot” as one word.
  • ·         Farting in an elevator.
  • ·         Not agreeing that Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie.
  • ·         Using off brand Band Aids
  • ·         Having to appear on Maury more than once to find out who your Baby Daddy is.
  • ·         Not liking baseball/football
  • ·         Liking soccer
  • ·         Referring to a tomato as a fruit.
  • ·         Not using turn signals in a car
  • ·         Using hand signals on a moped.
  • ·         Riding a Vespa
  • ·         Turning your mobile phone’s speaker on in a grocery store.
  • ·         Posting intimate details about your life on Facebook and then publicly lamenting that you wish people would” just leave you alone”
  • ·         Asking everyone you meet to read your blog.
  • ·         Reading this blog
  • ·         Not knowing “who lives in a pineapple under the sea”
  • ·         Letting your kids watch Family Guy/American Dad/the WNBA/ the news.
  • ·         Complaining about the weather
  • ·         Blaming it on the a-a-a-lcohol.

 

 

So I guess that is how I will submit my application for Santa Claus. References available upon request.

 

 

 

Last minute gift ideas

Dear Santa,

I know, I know. It has been quite a while since I have written to you but I have been quite busy lately. I understand that you are not used to receiving letters from those of us who are over legal voting/drinking age but since I didn’t really have any kind of relationship with you until I was seventeen years old then I kind of figured that I had some unused years of eligibility left. Also, I presumed that since you are a magical elf that can manipulate the relationship of time and space that you could bend the rules for me and accept this letter. I was just going to deliver this in person to one of your duly appointed representatives at the mall but apparently they haven’t lifted that restraining order yet. However in my defense, I had just figured that if a five year old is going to run his mouth like that then he really out to be able to take a punch. I am just glad that the Taser marks have finally healed.

Well if you made it this far in the letter then I guess I should really get to the point. I would love to tell you how good I have been this year but I recall something about “he sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake” so I won’t waste your time with lies and deception. The truth is that although I have tried to be good, I have been fairly naughty this year. I have acted selfishly. I have gotten angry at the people I love. On occasions, I have drank too much and listened too little. I have not been patient with the faults of others nor those of myself. Most of all, I just haven’t made the positive difference in the world that I believe it is every human being’s obligation to make. There have been moments when I have been good but these just haven’t occurred frequently enough this year. Due to the fact that I find myself on the provisionally naughty list this year, I will not ask for the tangible gifts that I normally would request. I won’t ask for videogames. I won’t ask for some new great kitchen tool that would make me feel like a real cook. I won’t ask for the new Hess truck to add to my collection or a new Star Wars t-shirt, although I don’t think you can ever have too many. Even if I did ask for some physical gift I doubt you could find our house in order to deliver it. The tree is not yet up and the lights are not strung along the roofline. There is no inflatable snowman in the front yard and there is no lighted replica of you on the front porch. I would like to blame our tardiness in decoration on my recent illness or the financial struggles that our family, and many other families too, are experiencing.

But I must be honest, there is something more than that and that is why I need your help. So Santa, the only thing I need from you is ………………….Christmas. No, I don’t mean the actual date of December 25. The passage of time means that day will come and go as it always has. I also don’t mean the version of Christmas that is marketed and packaged as nothing more than an excuse for out-of-control consumerism so that what was once a holy day of celebration is nothing more than an excuse to buy more useless junk. No, the Christmas I am referring to is about something that that can’t be wrapped in a box nor stuffed in an envelope. In the words of Dr. Seuss, it is about “a little bit more”. This is the Christmas I need you to bring.

I want the Christmas that feels like a warm blanket at the end of a cold day.

I want the Christmas that I had the first year I was married as we sat in front of our scrawny tree and shared gifts that were the first ones we had ever had together.

I want the Christmas when my daughter was one and the time when she was mesmerized by the lights and ornaments on the tree not the presents beneath it.

I want the Christmas when my son got his first baseball. It was simple and he had no idea how much joy watching him play has given me.

I want the Christmas of family. I want the day where we get together and instead of convincing our selves why we are better than these other individuals, we share the love that keeps us together.

I want the Christmas of peace and reconciliation. I have seen to many families fall apart this year and I wish them the kindness of heart to put their differences aside and find a way to be kind and respectful to each other.

I want a Christmas of action. Please bring me a time when we can stop feeling bad about those suffering around us and start doing the things that are needed to make their lives better.

I want a Christmas of priorities. Each day we lose a little of the relationships we have with friends and families because we let the distractions of life steal the attention we should pay to the ones who matter to us.

I want the Christmas of love. I want Jews and Muslims, Christians and Hindus, Devout religious fanatics and skeptical atheists to treat each other like the god they believe in, or don’t, wants them to.

Finally, I want a Merry Christmas. Not an empty platitude to mumble as you go about your day, but rather a true feeling of happiness that is based on the lives we have and not the things we own.

So dear Santa, please bring me the Christmas I need….because I know I am not the only one.

Touch me I’m sick

“I am trying to be ill.”- Rik, The People’s Poet

 

I was born with strong bones and a healthy heart. Being born as nine pound plus baby, I can honestly say that I was never weak, nor malnourished. And based on the rapidly growing pile of jeans in my closet that no longer fit and my rapidly diminishing view of my toes, I can say that this situation has continued to be the case. I am grateful that I was born with such a sturdy body. I thank the Lord that he gave me many gifts. He gave me an excellent sense of hearing, strong bones that have never been broken, a remarkably handsome face and awesome muscle tone. He also gave me the ability to completely delude myself as regards my face and physique. It is sometimes a burden to have been born so blessed. However, in an effort to even out the score and ultimately prevent me from ruling the word, the Good Lord is his infinite wisdom decided to give me one pair of organs that frankly just don’t work that good. No, not that pair of organs, you pervert. Based on the two young people that resemble me and spend a good portion of the time calling me Dad, while asking for me to give them money, I would say those organs work just fine thank you very much.

No, the organs I am referring to are ones that have a far more important job and are about as effective as the Jaguars offense, my lungs. I hate my lungs because frankly they work about as hard as a government employee on a Friday afternoon. There was a time when my lungs weren’t consistently letting me down but apparently the factory warrantee on those bad boys expired after 18 months. For those of you who have never known the joy of taking a deep breath and feeling like you are inhaling through a wet sponge, let me enlighten you in on the joys you have missed.

  • ·         You have missed the joys of being up at three in the morning because you can’t breathe and you and your occasionally nodding off mother get to enjoy some late night TV. However, if you think that late night television is bad now with your 300 channels and your 54” HDTV then imagine what it was like back in the early 80s when there was only 3 channels on…during primetime.
  • ·         You missed the joy of being accused of being a smartass by every teacher because you made the critical mistake a taking your usual desperate gasp for air at the same moment that your teacher mentioned her age and/or weight.
  • ·         You missed knowing more about how to conduct a chest x-ray than the Technicians that spend 24 credit hours learning to do it at community college.
  • ·         You also missed the secrets of children’s medicine: If it tastes good, it doesn’t work. If it tastes bad, it still won’t work. And if it tastes really, really bad then it won’t work but the doctor will recommend that you drink a bottle every fifteen minutes.

I don’t want to pretend that I was sick throughout my entire childhood; there were some considerable periods of time when I was completely healthy. The fact was that as long as I didn’t get a cold, I was fine. However, as soon as I felt the first twinges of a sore throat, I was like a man leaping from an airplane without a parachute. Oh sure things were okay right now but the reality is that conditions were only going to get worse. My mom did do her best to make my periods of sickness as tolerable as possible. When the times came when my coughs got really bad she would occasionally deviate from the doctor prescribed medicines and go with some home remedies and they were so great. My favorite was a combination of warm honey and whiskey. I am not sure if it helped my cough, but it sure made the cartoons I was watching far more entertaining. The only problem with home remedies is that once you tell someone that you are open to using them then suddenly everyone that you know is an amateur physician and has their own little known medical secret that will make you well. There is also a simultaneous contest to see whose home remedy can be the weirdest. My rural south Georgian (the state where sanity is on permanent holiday) grandmother always won the title hands down.  My personal favorite recommendation from her was ,in response to my case of pneumonia( another benefit of being sick as a kid is the ability to spell “pneumonia” without using spell-check) , that my Mom render up a large amount of possum fat and the bathe me in it and follow that with wrapping me up in newspaper. Wow, just like it said in the New England Journal of Medicine. I hope this explains my dual hatred of both the opossum and the printed newspaper. The only thing worse than people offering up home remedies, is when they recommend their own doctors. Once again, I truly appreciate that there are people in the world that care enough about me and my health to offer free advice but sometimes it still sounds weird. The conversation is always the same,” Oh, you have a bad case of __________. Well my doctor, DR. ____________ can cure that right up. Just make sure you tell him that I sent you.”

Now, this although noble, is just plain odd. It’s not like there is a vast difference in doctors in this day and age. I mean I always presumed that there were professional guidelines that all doctors have to meet. I don’t think I have ever seen a lottery scratch off ticket that says,” Match the number to your lucky number and win a medical practice.” So since they are pretty much equal I don’t think shopping around would do my health much good. Secondly, your relationship with your doctor is like your relationship with your preacher: First of all, once you have started the relationship you are too committed to leave and secondly you won’t know if you made the wrong choice until after you are dead. But, the truly odd part of the doctor recommendation is the “mention my name” part. What are you working for commission? Did your doctor promise to knock 25% off that kidney transplant if you brought him 15 new patients?  That’s not medical referral, that’s a pyramid scheme.  And just once I want to hear a doctor say, “Oh, you know Steve? Well in that case I am going to give you the “real” medicine because I have been giving everybody else Flintstones Chewables.”

Now while I do have much respect for anyone that would rack the kind of student loan debt that is necessary to become a doctor lately, I must admit that the general level of medicinal professionalism has started to suffer lately. It’s not the doctors’ fault, with growing malpractice insurance premiums, prescription drug abuse on the rise and the fact that every numbskull with an internet connection thinks they can do the job of diagnosing their ailments better than you can. It’s no wonder that the number of doctors is on the decrease. Although there are many fine doctors still practicing medicine, there are a few charlatans operating in the medical field. Have you fallen prey to one of these bad doctors? Here are a few tips to know for sure:

  • ·         Your doctor’s office is an El Camino with no wheels that’s parked in the alley behind the pawn shop.
  • ·         Check out the health of the fish in the waiting room aquarium. If he can’t keep a 93 cent goldfish from Wal-mart alive, then odds are against him curing a human being. A note to you non-aquarium keepers: Fish don’t sleep belly up.
  • ·         The Time magazine in the waiting room refers to the 1880s as   ”The Future”.
  • ·         The receptionist desk consists of just a series of pallets stacked on top of each other.
  • ·         When the nurse calls you to come on back, she adds,  ”if you dare”.
  • ·         The door stop in the hallway is a cooler that reads,   ”Live Human Organs”.
  • ·         The floor in the treatment room has a chalk body outline on it.
  • ·         The back of the doctor’s lab coat has Jiffy Lube on it.
  • ·         When you hand the doctor a vial of your blood, he asks “what’s that red stuff”.
  • ·         The x-ray machine is just an Etch-a-Sketch bolted to the wall.
  • ·         The doctor keeps referring to when he took his Hippopotamus Oath.
  • ·         The office gives you the option of paying with livestock.

Even if you have the good fortune to have selected a quality medical care provider, you will learn as I have that as bad as being sick as a kid was, being sick as an adult is even worse. When you were sick as a kid, Mom always gave me the best care. She let me keep my room a little messier than usual. She made me grilled cheese sandwiches and I got to drink root beer from a straw in my room, activities which were verboten when I was healthy.  She would bring me extra pillows if I wanted and was always trying to do the little things that made me feel better. To a kid suffering from pneumonia, these little things made all the difference in the world. Best of all, eventually I would fall asleep, and while a neighbor came over to watch me,  she would go to the store. It never failed that when I awoke there would be a new toy sitting on the pillow next to me. It may have been only a Matchbox Car, but that little gesture made all the difference to me. These memories made such an impact on me that I adopted my own  ”if you are sick you get a present” policy at my house. The kids love this so much that when we go visit a friend in the hospital I have to make sure they are not licking the doorknobs just to get something new. So as bad as I may have felt as a kid, the love that I received made it not seem so bad.

However, I know that being sick as an adult just plain sucks. There is no chance to stay home if you are sick, not in this economy. No one makes you grilled cheese. You just get to feel bad and yet still have to do all the things that you do when you are feeling well. No one brings you root beer with a straw in it and I haven’t seen a toy car on my bed yet. You also get to worry about how you are going to be able to get better before the deductible on your insurance resets and you have to shell out your Christmas money just to keep well enough to stay out of the hospital. It is sickening and depressing. I always make it worse for not letting anyone do things for me because I feel guilty for being sick. It all seems like just too much to handle. It was in the middle of my current bout with Bronchitis and self doubt that I fell asleep last night. Late in the night, I felt my wife put her hand on my back and checked the rattling in my lungs. It was just a little gesture but it made me happy that she cares enough about me to check on how I was doing, even late at night. It made all the difference in the world……………but I still would like some root beer.

THNKS FR TH MMRS

“Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you disillusionment “-Alanis Morrisette

I was raised in a southern house. The food was generally fried and featured a meat product in every dish. It was a house where you cleaned your plate before you had dessert. You learned that you could live without a heater but not air conditioning.  You had grits instead of hash browns, you called them sweet potatoes not yams and the only tea was sweetened and iced. You never took yourself too seriously and you learned more lessons at home than you did at school.  The most important of these lessons was a rather simple one: Mind your manners.

You addressed adults as mister or misses. You blessed people when they sneezed. You patted them on the back when they coughed. You looked someone in the eye when you shook their hand. You wished them a good day. You said, ”Yes sir” or “No Ma’am” even if the person you were addressing was the same age as you. You said,  ”please”. But most of all, you showed your upbringing was proper by saying “thanks”. Thank the waiter who was just doing his job. Thank the stranger that said   ”God Bless you” after you sneezed. Thank you for not smoking. Thank you for your business. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  It becomes so routine to thank people that the actual concept of gratitude becomes lost in what become nothing more than empty words. I would like to think that I have a strength of character that the words mean something to me but know that the reality is that just are a vacant gesture. The question is how to put some gratitude back into my thank you’s. I guess Thanksgiving is a good day to start.  So here are the things I am grateful for:

·         I am grateful to my wife for not killing me in my sleep although I often deserve it.

·         I am grateful for having the patience to extend the same courtesy to my children.

·        I am grateful for friends that treat me like family and relatives that treat me like strangers because they both prove that it is the bonds of affection that bind us not genetics.

·        I am grateful for sci-fi and sports for giving me something to occupy my time with because otherwise I would be spending it making myself a more productive human being.

·        I am grateful for the bad job I no longer have and the good job I do.

·        I am grateful for free Wi-fi.

·        I am grateful for one hour lunches.

·        I am grateful for the cafe at work because it gives those lacking the culinary skills to work at a public school lunchroom gainful employment.

·        I am grateful that I have not yet eaten at that odd smelling Indian restaurant.

·        I am grateful for baseball games with my son and concerts with my daughter.

·        I am grateful for my wife giggling when she reads what I write.

·        I am grateful for Facebook for letting me see the psychotic ramblings of the people I know.

·        I am grateful that after 20 years, I sometimes still refer to her as my girlfriend.

·        I am grateful for kids that act their age and adults who don’t.

·        I am grateful for chocolate, marshmallows and gummi bears.

·        I am grateful that I live in a Navy town because when I talk about “the men in uniform” , they are real people.

·        I am grateful for Moon River and Dahlia’s.

·        I am grateful for good coffee and great beer.

·        I am grateful for Saturday mornings at Edgewood Bakery and Sunday afternoons at Dreamette.

·        I am grateful for my kids’ good public schools and the teachers that actually care.

·        I am grateful for the strength certain people show when faced with illness because it reminds me how easy I really have it.

·        I am grateful that the seventh grade girls on the bus like my boys hair.

·        I am grateful that the 20 year olds at FSCJ haven’t noticed my daughter’s.

·        I am grateful for Family Guy, Regular Show, and Walking Dead for proving that quality t.v. shows still exist.

·        I am grateful for the word “swag”, because it just sounds cool.

·        I am grateful that I still believe that things will get better.

·        I am grateful for Target for giving me somewhere to go when Wal-mart pisses me off.

·        I am grateful that the bruises healed.

·        I am grateful that our Krispy Kreme is coming back.

·        I am grateful that Krispy Kreme left because if not I would weigh 600 pounds.

·        I am grateful for the morally upstanding people I call my role models and the morally questionable ones that I call my friends.

·        I am grateful that they haven’t “Baker Acted” me, yet.

·        I am grateful that my bank doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement.

·        I am grateful for the people who give a damn.

·        I am grateful that I work for a company that gives to charity.

·        I am grateful that I have a job.

·         I am grateful for my imperfect family at my messy house, on a lousy street, in a crappy neighborhood, in a boring town.

I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Jingle Balls

“I like Jesus very much, but he no help with curveball.” –Pedro Ceranno

If you are one who celebrates the season, then you know what it feels like. The date on the calendar tells you it’s over. All the markings that celebrate the season have been removed. The lights outside have been turned off. The particular foods that are synonymous with the season are no longer being eaten. It seems like it will last forever but it has now ended and only when you discover a discarded list or card do you come to terms with its finality. You are tired and odds are you are broke from the overspending that accompanies the daily attempt to fully enjoy it. Your house is a mess from the lack of time to clean it properly because of all the late nights and travel. All the little irritations and annoyances that accompany the season seem forgotten in the warm glow of accomplishment that you feel once it is over. The truth is that you are more than a little sad to see it end. Although you have seen this season come and go numerous times, each year it seems different and unique. It is a time for children, but you know that the adults enjoy it as much as their offspring do. And as the years pass, you realize that a time will come when your kids will outgrow it so you attempt to make each one as special as possible. As soon as this one ends, you start making plans on how the next one is going to be even better.

No. I am not talking about Christmas. I am talking about youth baseball and to those that partake in these high holy days, it is a far more spiritual experience. However, upon review it has far more similarity to that December holiday that I had previously realized. Witness the evidence:

·        Christmas is a season involving a costumed man in red, Santa, that many kids both love and fear.

·        Baseball is a season involving a costumed man in blue, The Umpire, that kids love when he calls them safe and fear that he is going to call that ball that just bounced across the plate a strike

·        Christmas is a season where parents spend $100 for a bike that their kids will leave out in the rain.

·        Baseball is a season where parents pay $100 for a leather glove that their kids will leave out in the rain.

·        Christmas is a time when people who love each other will scream at each other due to the stress of the season

·        Baseball season is a time when people who love each other will scream at each other because of the stress of watching a kid take a strikeout looking with the bases loaded in a tied ball game.

·        During Christmas there are people whose sole job is to stop people from stealing, they are called security guards.

·        During baseball season there are people whose sole job is to stop people from stealing, they are called catchers.

·        During Christmas, adults go to church and quietly say words like “Son of God” and “Mother Mary” in a voice only God can hear.

·        During baseball season, adults come to the park and quietly say things like “Son of a <bleep>” and “Mother <bleep>er” in a voice that they hope the kids can’t hear.

I guess the one thing that makes both things so similar is the way that marketing companies and commercials have completely violated the celebration of both. While Christmas has recently become a victim of the attempt by retail to push the season earlier and earlier so that it is now possible to have your inflatable Santa holding a Jack-o-Lantern on Halloween night , baseball has fallen victim to equally nefarious schemes that seem destined to separating the “volunteer” coaches from their money. Consider the following scenario: A parent decides to coach his son’s tee ball team but has never run a baseball practice before, so logic dictates he goes to the interwebs for some advice. He googles “free baseball drills” and the results display at least 50 different listings for “free” practice plans for $19.95. Apparently in the baseball world the word “free” has a different definition than in any other segment of society.

I have been involved in coaching my son’s teams for the past 12 seasons( in Florida there is such a thing as Fall baseball) and have learned a few things in the process, so if you want to coach or just pass yourself off as one at the local bar, here are a few tips:

·        If you want the mothers to come to the games, treat the kids with respect.

·        If you want fathers to come to the game, make sure the Team Mom is hot.

·        It’s only called tee ball because the term “herding cats” was already taken.

·        Every kid says that they can pitch, 99% of them are lying.

·        Use the following terms in your coaching instructions: Bend your back, follow through, back of the box, split the plate, roll a pair in the middle.

·        If you actually know what those terms mean there is no need to read this article.

·        “Take one for the team” only applies to other people’s kids.

·        If you believe that winning doesn’t matter at all and the kids only care about having fun, baseball may not be the best sport for you. I would recommend unicorn rodeo or perhaps dragon racing.

·        Baseball will remind you how much you love kids and detest their parents.

·        The players’ health and safety is important. If your star player is bleeding out of less than 75% of his orifices, then leave him in the game. If the cricket chaser in right field hiccups, then you need to give him two weeks off to recover.

·        A ball off the fascia is live…every time.

Finally, enjoy the madness.  You will never celebrate louder than you do when you see a great group of kids succeed.  It’s better than meth without the facial sores and tooth loss.  Coaching and working with the kids is the best feeling in the world and I wish ever parent could experience it.  Well I gotta go and get ready for next season.

De-voted

I have been curiously quiet throughout this entire election season because the way I see it, I have given people enough response to hate me that I don’t think that getting into a peeing match with the general public over their political beliefs would be good for my Karma. So, I have bitten my tongue and smiled through the pain. Now that the election is over and I am growing nauseous from the taste of blood in my mouth, I feel the need to share my opinions about this freakshow that comes to town every four years.  So come on in, but on that gown over there and hop up on the tissue covered table because Dr. Truth is about to drop some knowledge on ya.
First of all and I know if your candidate lost last night that you don’t want want to hear this but, the system worked. There were two choices and one side won and the other lost. The proof that the system works is not what happened on election day but rather what happened on the day after, namely nothing. There are no tanks in the streets. No member of the losing party is being executed in the public square. The winning party is not launching a genocide against the losing party’s tribe. People cast their votes, watched the results, and then got on with their lives. So this morning be thankful that the most this election disrupted your life was in having to scroll through a few histrionic facebook posts.
Now comes the part where I start making enemies. I have a lot of great hearted well meaning conservative friends and I give you dearly but until your party starts acknowledging and fixing the mistakes they make, you are not going to be able to get a dog catcher elected. First of all can you please stop with the crazy? I understand that the Dems have plenty of nutjobs in their party but they are supposed to, they are Democrats. You guys are supposed to be the adults in the room. Yet you continue to let the septegenarian amateur gynecologist running for the state senate in Bugwhump Utah make comments like “legitimate rape”. Then in some blind reliance to these hicks you defend them publicly. I understand your need to support the same values as some of your more fringe candidates but they are an anchor around your neck that is drowning your national candidates in a sea of unelectability. I have a crazy uncle that shows up every Thanksgiving buck naked and covered in Crisco. I still love him, I just dont let him in the house. So when during the next election cycle some Moral warrior from the sticks says something stupid about abortion or gay marriage that is utterly indefensible, and trust me they will, the national party needs to chunk them into the fires of Mount Doom like they were the Ring of Power.
Speaking of candidates, you have got to find some presidential ones that aren’t so dang unlikable. I am sure both McCain and Romney are fine gentlemen and upstanding citizens but they are both lacking that personal touch that wins elections. Cause lets face it, its not intelligence nor ability that gets your guy in the Whitehouse, it’s the ability for Joe Citizen to feel like your candidate is a swell guy. Lets look at recent history. Clinton was a philandering redneck from the backwoods of Arkansas, that’s right the same state that didn’t outlaw feuding until the 1970s. George W. Bush was a reformed alcoholic who had more difficulty with the English language that the Guatemalan dishwasher at P.F.Chang’s. And good ole Barack Obama may be better at delivering the hits of Al Green than at delivering sustainable economic growth. However, all three of these men were elected to two terms as the President of the most powerful country in the world. Why? Because they all had a personal charisma that their opponent just couldn’t match.
For Pete’s sake, when 10% of the country is out of work, there is a fairly good chance that they won’t vote for the guy that resembles the type of dude that gave them their pinkslip. Nice job G.O.P., you nominated the only politician in the country that was more wooden than George Washington’s teeth. So quit talking about how deep the Republican bench is and get them into the game. Find a guy who can kiss babies and shake hands that looks more natural than the stiffs you have been running lately and you might actually get your guy into the big chair.
And Dems, I love your us against the world philosophy but can we please stop pretending that the movie director with the private island is just an average American worker. Just because your standard bearers have become economically successful doesn’t mean they should be ashamed of their success. Steal the line from the Neo-cons and applaud their success as the epitome of the American dream not some family secret that you should be ashamed of. By the way, don’t feel the need to out crazy the republicans. If you respond to every xenophobic or homophobic comment from your opponents with something equally stupid and hateful, it makes it real hard to determine which position is actually the lesser of the two evils.
I guess what I am really asking for is for people to be morally consistent. If your guy says something stupid, call him out. If the other guy says something smart, give him props. Lets get back to actually trying to find solutions to our problems and end this Kindergarten turf war over political positions.
Let’s play fair. The electoral college is not a great invention when your guy wins via it and a totally unfair device when the guy from the other party uses it to gain the presidency. Hypocrite, party of four, your table is ready. It is an equally archaic notion regardless of who has the advantage. It is also something that is a complete mystery to most Americans because it involves the two things that Americans have no knowledge about, math and how the government works. So how about we stop trying to legislate people’s sexual tastes and start working on this abomination. While we are talking about the rubiks cube that is our system of government, there is one more piece of misinformation that spreads like meningitis every election season and I am sick of hearing it. WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY. We are a representational republic. If we were a democracy, farting in an elevator would be a capital offense and the State of the Union would be delivered by President Beiber. Instead we have chosen the more rational and reasonable form of government but often our elected representatives seem to forget that.
Speaking of rationality, and it’s recent scarceness, can all sides stop with the fearmongering and demigoding every issue. Republicans, the liberals do not want to tax you at 100% and use the money to fund bestiality. Democrats, the conservatives do not want to execute you just because you make less than $200000 per year. So can we stop this irrationality and respect the healthy difference of opinion that an open society demands and maybe even once in a while come to a compromise about the issues facing our nation. I know it’s a novel idea but how about honoring the moderate position and not just when you need their votes to win an election.
I realize I am getting a little preachy but here are my rules to civil governance.
1. Do not use the term, “Take back our country” unless we have been invaded by aliens.
2. Do not make authoritative comments about a woman’s reproductive organs unless you have a medical degree …or a vajayjay.
3. Do not promise future governmental handouts in return for promised votes. That is not democracy, it’s prostitution.
4. Avoid unsubstantiated blanket accusations about your opponents. Reserve these fabrications for explaining to your boss why you can’t come to work on Monday.
5. The other guy winning is not the end of the American way of life. Our country has survived 4 depressions, numerous recessions, 4 presidential assassinations, 2 world wars, 2 worldwide influenza outbreaks, a civil war and death of Elvis. So trust me, we will be o.k.
I hope everyone can respect my opinions and see politics for what they truly are, just personal tastes. So save your hate for the important things, like your allegiance to your favorite college football team.
But if you are going to add me to your enemies list, do me a favor………
And spell my name right.

Once more…with feeling

They are good that are away.”- Scottish proverb

A habit is defined as an action  that is repeated until it becomes routine. We all have habits good or bad. These actions are intentional or reflexive but they become simply the way we get things done. Life is full of the habits that we have developed and whether we call them schedules or patterns or customs, or as my therapists refers to them as “manifestations of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder“, they are with us always. For two months I had developed a habit of writing in this blog on an almost daily basis. It had become a habit. As my schedule became fuller due to the return of the kids to school I found myself writing less and less often. This also tended to be at the same time that I had seriously decreased the frequency in my drinking alcohol. Now, I am not sure if my writing enabled my drinking or my drinking enabled my writing. Due to this, I have decided to return to doing both. Furthermore since my current lack of health insurance means that I have no way of entering a recovery program to cure either of this unhealthy habits, I foresee myself staying of this path of dual destruction for quite a while.

I used to motivate myself to write on a daily basis by the belief that I was actually entertaining the masses. After a bit of time had passed I revisited some of my old writings and realized that frankly they just weren’t that entertaining. This caused me to reflect on why I actually wrote at all. The ugly truth is that I write because I enjoy it and i have to stop lying to myself about having any other altruistic reason for doing so. So, if by chance you happen to suppress your gag reflex long enough get at least a bit of enjoyment from this pile o’ crap, then that is a fortunate bonus for me. At least you can have a moment of gratitude that I don’t live next door to you.

Well enough with the self-serving explanation of why I have been away, let’s get back to the insignificant minutia with which I am endlessly obsessed.

Speaking  of habits, I spent the entire summer playing a sort of poor man’s Mrs. Doubtfire except without the copious amount of body hair and without the awkward sexual confusing undertones. As the summer closed and the school year began, I came to realize several things. First of all, my children’s favorite fruit is bacon. Secondly, I came to learn that both babysitters and bus drivers are critically overpaid. I also learned that daytime drinking isn’t as much fun when you have to traverse the hostile environment that is the unbridled chaos that is a Middle school student pick-up area.
However, I continued to thoroughly enjoy the cooking of dinners and pretending to do laundry. I believe that at some point I am going to just burn all of the dressers in my home and replace them with plastic hampers as it seems that is the only way our family is able to store their clothes, besides that will mean far less dusting. I was cruising through my new relaxed schedule when I started to learn that apparently in our modern age money is actually necessary to buy those little luxuries in life. you know, those extravagant things like …food and shelter. I swear I sure do regret spoiling  my kids by raising them to expect things like food to eat and actually sleeping inside. I sure won’t that mistake again.
Therefore, I was forced to face the ugly truth, I had to go (gasp) back to work. Sorry Maury Povitch, you are going to have to wade in the shallow end of the gene pool all by yourself. (Sniff) “You are not the father“(sniff). I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but I gots to go get paid.Luckily, I was able to find a position doing what I do best, namely sitting on my tuckus and running my mouth. It’s nice to have a calling in life.
Speaking of habits, when you have worked at one place for a substantial amount of time you grow accustomed to the specific culture that the company has and when you go someplace new it takes some adjustment to get used to that new culture. I came from the blue-collar world dominated by males and into  the white-collar world where the majority of workers are young women. At my new job, the people in charge manage their business whereas at my old job the people in charge tended to manage to do stupid things that just ticked me off.
The other major cultural difference is the basis difference that occurs between men and women. At my old job, Monday morning became a live version of sports radio, without the ads for drugs promising “Enhancement”(creepy). The guys would gather around and dissect the football games of the previous weekend and congratulate themselves on their vast knowledge of sports.At my new job there is stories of how great dinner with the boyfriends were and how great their new outfit makes them feel. Unfortunately, this feminizing influence also affects some of the men that work here. Yesterday while exiting the restroom I passed a man wearing a University of Arkansas polo. I, being a football fan, struck up a conversation about what he thought of the Razorbacks’ quest for a new coach. He responded that the shirt was just a gift and was indignant that I would misconstrue his garment choice as an indication of his interest in collegiate sports. Well, excuse the bleep out of me. I have a crazy aunt  that used to send me maidenform bras every Christmas but that doesn’t mean I am going to wear them to work. And if I do decide to wear them on “really casual Fridays” you can bet your sweet butt that I will expect you to make certain judgement about me based on what I am wearing.
Speaking of fashion, there are some certain other cultural differences between my current job and the ones in the past. The predominance of young women has the most profound effect in what one wears to work. My old workplace insisted on us wearing uniforms in Satan‘s favorite color, drab green. At my new job casual days meant the wearing of a pair of comfortable jeans and a polo shirt. At this new job, it seems to mean one comes to work in a micro-mini skirt and a pair of “F-me” high heels. I don’t mind so much as everyone likes looking at people dressed well but the problem is that the air conditioning in the building is really cold and my knees are starting to chafe.
So although it may take some adjustment on my part, I look forward to this job becoming the old job that I complain about when I get a new job. I would love to keep on this writing kick but I have to go now.
Its Florida/Georgia Weekend………
 And there is another habit of mine that I am about to indulge.

Hell to the Chief

Politics, n:  [Poly “many” + tics “blood-sucking parasites”]  ~Larry Hardiman

They say that politics is the second oldest profession that has an uncanny similarity to the first oldest profession. Well since I have decided to change professions and my bad knees make walking the streets a less than acceptable option, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring. So it is now that I, with great patriotic fervor and as many meaningless cliches as I can muster, announce my candidacy for the office of mayor….no, governor…..um is Sith Lord an elected position? No,really? O.k.,o.k. I guess I will just run for president. But before I sell my soul, I mean present my great solutions to the American people, I would like to make a few changes to the entire political system first. Cause trust me, it needs a lot of tinkering.

First of all, let me profess my love for the American political system. It is a great country and the freedoms that we have should never be taken for granted. In the little over 2  centuries that have passed since its founding, we have survived dangerous influences from both outside as well as from within to make us the nation we are today. This is mostly due to those great heroes of virtue that we call our founding fathers. These were great men  that many people believe are without reproach and you should not alter a single thing they did or said. Except for the whole slavery part….oh yeah and the part where women were treated as property……and oops sorry about us trying to kill off all the Indians…..and that “Irish need not apply” thing……. and they hated the Catholics….and the Jews…..and don’t forget most of them were not actually what we today would refer to as ” religious christians”. However, the biggest problem I have with the founding fathers has to do with their fashion sense. I mean really , Knickers and powdered wigs? I think not. None of this makes what they did any less remarkable but it also shows the fallibility of them as men and that the things they did may need to be changed in light of the progress we have made as a nation. It is kind of like that great dog you had as a kid, you still love him but it doesn’t mean you still don’t remember how ticked you were at him when he chewed up your baseball mitt. So here are a few of my proposals to make what I like to call Democracy 2.1

The whole “right to vote” is great and all but quit acting like your one vote makes a damn bit of difference. It’s called the electoral college and no that’s not what I would refer to as a party school. Simply put, it means that a select group of electors cast the votes that are tallied to elect the president and each elector may vote for the candidate  that the state he represents has popularly chosen, or he may cast a huge middle finger to the wishes of his state and vote for whomever the hell he chooses. Ain’t democracy great?

The ” one man one vote” idea is a concept whose time has past. If I can cast 2000 votes for the talentless hack that scammed the system to make into the final of American Idol, then I should be able to vote just as many times for the next leader of the free world.

We have got to jazz up the whole election process. I really enjoy how the Rock  The Vote people run out a bunch of random rock stars to encourage me to vote. Thank you other guy in Wham, I really appreciate how you have educated me on the importance of my civic duty. Although it is nice to see celebrities perform public service that was not ordered by a court, I am not sure if they really should be encouraging people to do anything other than quit illegally downloading their latest c.d. Be that as it may, the reason for these musical heavy hitters to do these ads is to show the young voters how cool the whole voting experience can be. Well Mr.  Idealistic 18 year-old first time voter, prepare for disappointment. There is absolutely nothing rock and roll about about waiting in line on a November day until some octogenarian version of Elsa the female Gestapo checks your i.d. and lets you into the basement of some run-down public library so you can go behind a moth eaten curtain left over from the Spanish American war and randomly choose the names of politicians, who you may or may not of ever heard of. At least we use the most cutting edge technology in our voting process., pulling a lever. Nice to know our entire political process is relying on a mechanism that resembles the board game Mousetrap. Since we are letting Milton Bradley control the machinery of our Democracy, I select all of my candidates based on what number is shown on my game of Pop-a-matic Trouble. We can do better than this people. If major league baseball can trust the internet do select its all star team then shouldn’t we be able to do so for our yearly elections. I know that the concern is and always has been about the security of voting online and the inherent fraud that the internet is known for. Have you seen the way we are electing people lately? It isn’t exactly that the machine of our republic is running on all cylinders. At least on the internet you expect to get scammed. I mean honestly is there that big of a difference between the Nigerian Lottery email and the majority of our candidates? They both bother you at the most inconvenient times, are pretending to be someone that they are not , and promise to give you things that you know are never going to happen. Oh my lord, I just described every member of congress. We go into every election knowing that we are about to get screwed. If that is the way its going to be, put it on the web so I can at least soften the blow with some free porn and funny cat videos.

Now that we have tightened the crescent wrench around the lug nuts of the voting process, let’s talk about candidates. I know you think whatever guy is running against your particular candidate is the devil incarnate destined to pilot our country straight to hell, but I have a little bit of news for you. Your candidate sucks too. Its not your fault. It’s just that thanks to the huge amounts of money in politics and the power involved, all the candidates suck. They are either big money guys bought and sold by major corporations or they are false-populists who see getting elected as a way to fame and influence. And attention to both libs and conservatives, both are the wrong guy. People ask why we don’t get better politicians. The answer is simple. Because, we don’t look for them in the right place. The majority of our elected officials are either lawyers or businessmen, not exactly the two classes of people known for high moral values. And neither class looks to change their stripes any time soon. Have any other fields produced solid political figures? Well, there are actors. Despite what your feelings may be about his policies, Ronald Reagan seemed like a good man and was a talented politician but was the exception rather than the rule. Remember that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Since Reagan’s exit from the political stage , the other actors to join the fray has not been shall we say noteworthy. We even elected someone from LoveBoat, no not Captain Stubbing, nor Doc, and not even Isaac the Bartender. No siree, they elected Gopher to Congress. That’s just sad. But wait there is even one worse than that. That great state of Georgia elected Ben Jones to represent them in Washington. Ben Jones? Yeah, that’s right. Cooter from The Dukes of Hazard was a member of the national legislature, seems only fitting. Hell we even elected half of Sonny and Cher to political office, and it was Sonny. You remember Sonny Bono. He was the short mustached guy that tried to blow up the shuttle in Airplane 2. I need to give some slack to Sonny. First of all for actually being married to Cher and not killing her and secondly due to the fact that he died shortly after taking office when he skied into a tree while on vacation. Dear Lord, I know that I will probably not die with dignity but please, I ask that I do not die in a way that resembles a Wile. E. Coyote cartoon. Amen.

Now, on to my own candidacy. It is now that I declare myself a candidate for President of the Federation of Planets…er I mean the United States of America. I have decided to run because I believe that a country gets the politicians that it deserves. And let’s face it America, we deserve each other. Its like America was misbehaving and I am here to be your national version of Timeout. Why vote for me? Do I have some grand plan for the future? No. Do I guarantee economic stability? Not really. Do I have a clue what I will do? Nope. But unlike most politicians I have a unique qualification that makes me electable. I tell the truth. Do I have skeletons in my closet? Yes I do. Are their embarrassing pictures of me on the internet? Absolutely. Do I drink too much and drop f-bombs at inappropriate times? You betcha. The difference is that I won’t lie to you about it. We expect politicians to fix so much of America’s problems that they are doomed for failure. My solution is to drive down expectations. Here is what I promise to America:

  • I promise if elected that I will wear a paper hat that says “Trainee” for the first two years of my term.
  • I promise not to blame my mistakes on the previous administration but rather on the family of trolls that inhabit the west wing of the Whitehouse.
  • I promise to not spend the government’s money on fancy inauguration balls but rather on the most kick ass keg party in history.
  • I promise that the to bring back the real N.F.L. refs
  • I promise to pick Lindsey Lohan to be my running mate. It’s time to put the vice back in Vice-President.
  • I promise that I will actually admit it when I am wrong.
  • I promise to replace the Star Spangled banner with a song people actually can sing.
  • I promise that every football game gets a flyover
  • I promise to make being a Kardasian a federal offense.
  • I promise to move the capital from Washington to Disney world. It’s called Main Street U.S.A for a reason. Besides, if we are going to have a Mickey Mouse government, we ought to be where he is.
  • I promise to eliminate school uniforms from every school in the country. I will remove the thugs from our schools not just make them wear khakis.
  • I promise to help with the federal deficit by having all services be on a pay per use basis. Call out the police, you get a bill. Need the fire department, you get a bill.  Alaska invaded by Russia, in lieu of a bill I will ask that the Russians just keep Sarah Palin.
  • I promise to insist that the auto industry not make electric cars. I will demand that they make FLYING electric cars.

I am sure there will be other promises made later. I figure now all I need is a really good slogan. Let’s see. From what I have seen, all you need is a good cliche and you are in. Hope and Change? Taken. I like Ike? No, my names not Ike. Lefty loosy righty tighty? No seems too alliterative. I think I have it.

“At least we ain’t Canada. Vote Johnson 2012”

Good night and God Bless America.