30 April 2003
When I was about eleven or twelve years old, my mom decided to assemble the thousands of photos of our family memories into four massive albums. There were so many hazy recollections that crystallized upon seeing a single photo, that it was nearly overwhelming. I loved looking through the piles, because, generally, family photos capture happiness. I had a very rich, fun and amusing upbringing, with a sister that is seven years my senior and a brother that is a year younger than her. So, for those of you out there that are social scientists, yes, I was a “happy accident”. But I never felt like it. Well, almost never.
As my mom was organizing and filing the immense collection of pictures, I remember looking through some of the old, grainy color photos, trying to resurrect the moments in my mind.
There…was the picture of me, wadded up in a mammoth old tractor tire, as my sister and brother rolled me around.
There…was the photo of the three of us all dressed up, performing a newscast skit for my parents in our family room.
There…were the snapshots of every first day school for all three of us, from kindergarten forward.
“Hey mom, what’s this a picture of?” I inquired.
I handed her an aged, pixilated black and white photo with the edges trimmed to wavy ridges. In the picture, I could make out a much younger version of my mom and dad. They appeared to be grilling something on an old barbeque at the top of a fairly steep hill, near a quaint little house with a porch. The picture was taken from the bottom of the hill, looking up. At the left edge of the photo, I could make out a body of water, sunlight glinting into the frame. On the hill between the photographer and my parents was a singular blob that slightly resembled a young child. Except…the blob was attached to something. There was a long string affixed to the blob that led partially uphill.
My mom took the photograph from me and looked lovingly at the image.
“It’s funny that you pulled this one out,” she chuckled, “it’s one of my favorites. This is up at the lake one summer, years ago. We rented that house for the week and we had such a good time, fishing and cooking out. That’s you when you were a baby, there on the hill…”
“Really?” I said, looking at the picture again. “What’s this cord that’s attached to me?”
“Oh, that’s the reason we took the picture. It was so funny. See, that was a really steep hill and it dropped off at the bottom, right into the lake. The first time we sat you down, you tumbled a little and started to roll down the hill. We were worried that you’d fall into the lake, so we…”
She looked up at me, just then realizing that she was about to accidentally expose some twisted, locked childhood memory.
“So…honey…we chained you down to a stake,” she continued carefully, “so that you could play on the hill and not roll down into the lake. For your own protection.”
Strangely, the sickness of their act of bondage was not what I had chosen to initially spotlight. I had another issue. See, I had kind of been focusing on the part where they were grilling out at the top of the hill.
“You chained me to a steak!??!” I uttered. “What good did that do? Was I that light that a steak could hold me in place?!”
“Well, sure, honey,” my mom said, relieved that I hadn’t pressed the part about the chain of my oppressors, “you were just a baby. And the stake was in the ground pretty securely.”
“The steak was in the ground?! How did you get a steak to stick into the ground?!” I said, incredulous.
“Well, the ground was soft there near the lake, sweetie. It wasn’t that difficult,” she stated.
Bud Abbott - meet Lou Costello.
“I cannot believe you just left me there, chained to a steak,” I said, horrified. “Even though I was a baby, I bet I still could’ve rolled down that hill. If I got momentum, there’s no way a steak could’ve held me in place.”
“That’s not true,” she coddled. “The stake was firmly in place. And you lived through it, so quit whining about it. As I recall, you had a very good time playing on that hill.”
“I can’t believe you tied me to a steak,” was all I could manage.
So much for a trauma-free childhood.
Regardless of the miscommunication between my mom and I, please do not let the point of this story get lost: My insane parents thought nothing of leaving their young, impressionable child alone and exposed to the elements, chained to a stake!
Or, possibly, a steak.
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29 April 2003
Shaken, Not Stirred
I finally got to experience something last night that I’ve wanted to do since I was a young, fresh-faced lad roaming the plains of Iowa. No, not that naked trapeze thing with the Olsen twins and a midget.
I was in an earthquake.
It was way cool.
At around 5:00 in the morning, I hear a noise that I assume is the cat madly attacking the blinds again for no reason. The noise gets louder. Goddamn cat. Wait. That’s not the cat. The whole bed is shaking. Is there a storm? I don’t hear any rain. Is it just windy? Man, that is a mother wind. Now, the whole house is shaking. What the fuck?!
I sit up in bed.
“What in the hell is that,” I say to my wife.
“I dunno…is it a storm?” she responds.
“I dunno. Why is the bed shaking?” I ask.
“What in the hell…”she says.
And then it stops.
I go to the window.
“It definitely wasn’t the wind. Everything is perfectly still,” I report.
“Do you think something blew up in the attic or the basement or somewhere?” she speculates.
“Um. No.” I say as I make my way out of the bedroom and down the hall, looking for I-don’t-know-what.
“Check the door on the other bedroom. I heard it rattling the most,” she says, pointing down the hall to the only closed door.
“So…your contention is that this door is possessed? Is that what I’m hearing?” I say.
“Fuck. You. Just open the door,” she retorts.
I walk to the door and put my hand on the knob, checking for heat, as I was taught to do in case of fire. I have no idea why. It was cool to the touch. Thank God.
I swing the door wide and stand back, so as to avoid the impending swing of the madman’s hatchet that is no doubt about to follow. Again, nothing.
I peer inside.
“Yeah. All clear,” I report sarcastically.
“Are you going to go check the basement?” she asks.
“Um…that’s like all the way downstairs. I’m not really in the mood; I’m sure it was nothing,” I state heroically. Then, “You don’t suppose it was an earthquake?”
“I dunno,” she says, “I’m going back to bed.”
“Well, that was just freaky. What in the hell was that?” I ask for the final time.
After we get up an hour or so later, we hear on the radio that there was a 4.9 trembler (that’s the term used by those of us that have experienced The Rolling Monster) that was centered in Alabama somewhere. Seriously, does anything good ever come from Alabama?
“Cool,” I say to my wife, “we cheated death.”
“Whatever,” she states with obvious concern.
Yeah. So I’m lucky to be alive.
I’m considering setting up a PayPal account so that you all can send cash donations for my personal disaster relief. Mostly, I have a lot of that hidden emotional trauma that you hear so much about. I have a feeling that it’s gonna be very expensive to treat. So send donations today.
$50 or higher is preferred.
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28 April 2003
The Happy Place
This morning on the way into work, sitting in traffic once again, I was determined to maintain my good mood. In the past, I’ve found that the best way to preserve a positive outlook is to retreat into a happy place in my mind, blocking out all external stress.
So I filled out a withdrawal slip from my memory bank and delved into my childhood for a calming influence. One beautiful thought leapt immediately to the forefront.
The tranquil place that filled my psyche was a lake that my dad and I used to visit quite frequently when I was a child. When I was young, I didn’t get a lot of free time alone with my dad. Our moments together, fishing patiently for bass, were magnificent. We would talk or stay quiet, but we were together and that’s all that mattered. There was one fishing hole in particular that we visited all the time that always had about a dozen ducks floating by, watching us with cool indifference. It was so serene.
One of the best parts of fishing was that my dad would let me back the truck and boat trailer up to put the boat in the water. It would take me many, many tries to get the boat in the water and I always became impatient. My dad would help me and guide me, though, and I’d get it done eventually.
Sometimes, on the blazing hot days, my dad would pull out a handful of small, perfectly weatherworn rocks from his pocket. He told me the story about how the early Indians would search high and low for just these kinds of rocks. When the temperature reached extreme points, the Indians believed that putting a few of these cool rocks in your mouth would actually lower the body temperature within minutes. My dad must’ve told me this story a dozen times, and every time we’d both take a few rocks and pop ‘em into our mouth and wait for the desired reaction. And every time, one of us would break down and start laughing and spit out the rocks, causing the other to do the same.
I also remember this one time that we were trolling along, each fishing with two lines, and I had completely forgotten about my secondary line, because I had caught a few fish with my primary pole. After about an hour or so, my dad asked if I was ever going to check my other line. I was embarrassed that it had slipped my mind; it was a breach of fishing etiquette. As I began to turn the reel over and over and over, I was amazed at how far the line had been let out in the last hour. The weight on the line was heavy, but I assumed it was from the various twigs and muck that had collected on the hook over such a long period of time. As I got to the end of the line, I realized that I had, at some point, hooked the biggest catfish I’ve ever caught. My dad started to laugh. He said I must’ve inherited the luck gene from my mom, who was notorious for good fortune. In recounting the story later, we spoke only of the size of the fish and not the method of catching it.
I retell these memories by way of explanation. You see, I feel bad about an incident I had while sitting in the aforementioned traffic. I fear that the reaction to my memories may have been misinterpreted by the unfortunate soul that cut me off by crossing a solid line in ten mph traffic. Though having her nearly hit me was a very upsetting event for me, I attempted to jump immediately to my happy place in order to regain my composure.
Because the great anger that I was experiencing seemed to be clouding my ability to see the Happy Place, I thought it best to try to reinforce the peaceful visions.
So, in an effort to force the Happy Place to the top of mind, I decide to shout my memories to myself as loud as I can.
“DUCK ‘N BASS HOLE!!”
Nope. That isn’t working. I’d better focus more and try again.
“TRUCK!! LEARN TO DRIVE!!! TRUCKTRUCKTRUCK!! LEARN TO DRIVE YOU MOTHER LUCKING ROCK SUCKER!!”
That’s much better. I’m back to the Happy Place.
Oh, drats. I now see your horrified look staring back at me in your rearview mirror, you poor, innocent young woman. I believe that you may have misunderstood my ritual as aggression. I deeply apologize.
And you know how it looks like I am flipping you off with both hands? That is merely a Zen relaxation technique called the “Dance of the Angry Monkey”. It, too, calms me.
I am sorry if there was any confusion.
Also, I hope you die.
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25 April 2003
There is a quote in Say Anything... where Lloyd Dobler asks his sister in exasperation, "How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood, and then just be in a good mood?"
It's always been my belief that Lloyd (or Cameron Crowe) was right on point there. I think that people tend to wallow a bit too much in their own self-pity. Long ago, I adopted Lloyd's statement as a personal philosophy.
This week, I've been guilty of a little wallowing. And it pisses me off, frankly. My posts this week have pretty much been for shit and I owe you slugs better, by God!
The truth of the matter is that regardless of how bad work gets, I have an amazing wife, unbelievably caring friends, there-for-me-no-matter-what family and a fridge full of sissy-drinks.
So now, today, at this moment, I've decided to be in a good mood.
This involves me taking off my pants, so you may want to avert your eyes.
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24 April 2003
My body has been rebelling lately, protesting the passage of time. I am not pleased.
Now, I’m not an old man or anything, but I have noticed a few signs of aging. Laugh if you want, but believe me when I say to you that you cannot run from the clock. It is looming.
I have compiled for you a partial list of my body mutinies. Be afraid.
· After a haircut, I look down at the fresh hair clippings and then up to the hairdresser and then to the mirror and then back to the clippings. Where in the hell did that much gray hair come from? What in the hell has this butcher done to me? Did she drug me, color my hair gray, cut it, recolor it and then revive me to see the aftermath? Yes, that must be it. You devious bitch.
· When I hoist my fat ass to a sitting position at the edge of the bed every morning, I ready myself for the inevitable. As I push up to stand, I hear a fireworks display of cracking and popping that rivals the Fourth of July on the Mall in D.C. I picture it as the abrupt screaming of my joints and tendons, telling me to sit the fuck back down. When the show has ended, I always let out a little moan of satisfaction. I’m guessing that I will spend about five glorious hours a day with this ritual when I’m 65.
· After the joint and tendon fireworks display, there is around ten to fifteen minutes of farting. Oh, I’m charming. Why is it that as the body gets older, it produces more gas? I have to stay overweight just to keep from floating away, for Christ’s sake.
· There is no flowery way to say this: I have a wiry, eight inch long hair sticking out of my nipple area. It’s quite peculiar. I have very little chest hair, and it is primarily concentrated down the middle of my chest, between the ol’ jugs. I like to refer to it as The Tuft. It’s the cutest damn thing you ever saw. But then there is this gaggle of rebellious hairs that has gathered around each nipple, obviously looking to stage a coup. The long one is their leader. I would pull it, but I have the feeling that if I did, it would be like a magician pulling a handkerchief from his pocket. It would just keep coming and coming…
· Not only can you no longer bounce a quarter off of my ass, but if you try, it’ll swallow the quarter up and spit back a dime.
· Every now and then, I hold my hand out in front of me to see if I have the shakes. Sometimes, I do. I’m sure I don’t need to see a doctor, though.
· My muscle spasms are no longer related to the twinge of a vigorous, satisfying workout. No, now the spasms seem to be more of a last, desperate surrender. Sometimes I punch them to put them out of their misery.
· In college, I used to get Party Scars. These were mysterious bumps and bruises that one would encounter after a particularly wild night. I get scars and bruises that are unexplained now, too. But I get them while napping.
· I cup my hand around my ear to hear people at parties. Pretty soon, I’m gonna just say fuck it and get one of those big cornucopia looking thingies.
· Penis still works. Sometimes just not after 10:00.
Of course, some of you old coots can barely remember having experienced some of the items on my list. Your feeble little mind is nearly gone now, yes? That’s just sad. Oop, you have a little spittle on your chin there. Aren’t you just adorable?
Jesus, I hope I don’t end up like you.
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23 April 2003
Though I’ve spoken of it before, I fear that the formerly rock-solid ability to suffer fools gladly has now completely dissolved from my personality.
I have always taken great pains to develop my brown-sugary sweet distain for people in private. Outwardly, I had a real knack for giving my undivided attention, no matter the Yokelisms that spouted from moronic mouths.
I was in retail for around six years in high school and college. I was known for my congeniality and kindness in dealing with the general public. I won all sorts of Employee of the Month awards, based upon letter after letter of praise. Customer Service was second nature. I was a walking, talking ad for the perfect employee.
At some point though, and I’m not sure when, the switch was flipped. The patience waned. The contempt built.
And here I sit, wondering whether or not I can handle my job anymore, based on my inability to tolerate stupidity. Reason tells me that idiots are everywhere; there is no escape. There is no job that will allow me to hide from their never-ending, pointless stories or inexplicable hairdos. There is no safe haven from the faraway, blank, uncomprehending expressions in the eyes. There is no refuge from statements including “supposably” and the unbearable second-grade level emails. There is no shelter for the drivers that appear to be legally blind. There is no sanctuary from the 18 items in the 10-items-or-less checkout.
So, I propose that it’s time for those of us that know the difference between “there”, “they’re” and “their” to rise up! Let us overpower our dimwitted oppressors! Let us break free of these shackles!
I hereby authorize you all to flick anyone on the forehead that says or does anything moronic from this point forward, in perpetuity. If you get flicked more than five times in a day, you must go stand in a corner, away from people and sharp objects. Just hum quietly to yourself. Try not to drool. If you get flicked more than 50 times in a week, you are not allowed to leave your house without a Sponsor.
Good luck to you.
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22 April 2003
I'm having a really tough time finding a reason to like humanity today.
Except for boobies, I can't think of a single redeeming quality.
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21 April 2003
The Waiting Game
Not dead yet. Which is nice.
Had a weird thing happen yesterday, however, that reminded me Death is likely toying with me. I HEAR YOUR RATTLING GIGGLE, YOU SMOKEY BASTARD!!
I was mowing my lawn for the first time this season and due to my unbearable allergies, I chose to wear a Michael Jackson-esque mask. The package for the mask said it would filter out sawdust, metal fibers, hard-boiled egg farts, pollen, asbestos and any chance at arousing a female. I looked like a mental patient, basically. Not to mention, I am not in top physical condition, so trying to push a lawnmower uphill while sucking oxygen through a glorified sweat sock caused me to have several mild heart attacks. The kids pointing and laughing at me from the street did not help matters. I told them that I killed the Easter bunny. They stopped teasing.
My point is this: After mowing for over half an hour, I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally took the mask off in order to breathe in some unfiltered air.
And so I inhaled deeply the fresh spring air.
And then I exhaled.
Upon exhalation, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. I could see my breath. I looked around, doing a quick visual check to see if it had snowed in the last .002 seconds. It had not. It was about 75 degrees. I breathed out again. It looked like I had just taken a thirty second hit off of some primo Panamanian doobage (I imagine).
I walked to the front of the house where my wife was cleaning the garage.
“Hey, check this shit out,” I say, giving her a demonstration of my new talent.
“Hmmm. That’s not good,” she replies, with substantial indifference.
“Gee, ya think!!?” I respond.
Jesus, she knows that Death is stalking me. How ‘bout a little freaking compassion??! I mean, that little bastard in The Sixth Sense saw his breath right before he saw dead people!!
This cannot be a good sign, is all I’m saying.
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18 April 2003
So, death is stalking me. Which sucks.
I’m not sure how exactly I got on the Reaper’s shit-list, but He appears to have it in for me. When I woke up yesterday, I cursed my sinuses for yet another night of fitful sleep brought on by the ever-present Atlanta pollen. I may have said something to the effect of, “Damn you to hell, you motherfucking snot factory!!”
So I guess it could be argued that I brought this all on myself.
On the way to work, I engaged in my normal routine of slow driving and loud cursing. One can look upon it as a gentle ballet set to an orchestra that is punctuated by the baton of my middle finger. Quite lovely.
On yesterday’s drive, an idiot that changed lanes for no conceivable reason cut me off. The traffic was nearly stopped and there was nowhere for anyone to go. Yet, this jaggoff feels the need to jut his shiny all-black Jeep Liberty in front of me right now. Now, one cannot have the woodwind section overpowering the percussionists, so I dutifully raised my baton whilst simultaneously bringing up my horn section.
In time, I managed to work my way alongside of the offender in order to give my customary “Thanks for Being An Asshole” glare. I was rebuked, however, by his deeply tinted windows. I now suspect that within this vehicle, rode Death. I thought he’d be more of a Mercedes guy. So be proud, people - Death buys American!
As the day progressed, I found that little circumstances were going against me:
People around me seemed stupider than normal.
Elevators refused to stop for me.
I gained five pounds.
Truly, I thought nothing of it. It seemed to be just another day in my miserable existence.
Until the drive home.
It had rained for most of the afternoon and I had gotten a late start on my drive home. I was looking forward to avoiding most of the rush-hour traffic. This was a foolish thought, obviously, due to the rain. It seems that the rain in Atlanta mixes with a combination of pollen and the fried food stench that permeates the air and creates a toxic concoction that renders drivers absolutely fucking brainless. So, again, it was slow going.
After taking some back roads and winding through a neighborhood or two, I found myself on a free and clear road. Very few cars around. I was one mile from home.
As I am about to round a mild curve in the road ahead, I notice that the car a couple of hundred feet in front of me is starting to veer slightly to the right of the road. I immediately see why. There is an eighty-gajillion ton Mack cement truck coming from the other direction and it is inching a tad into our lane.
Oh, wait now.
Not inching now.
As the car in front of me lurches even further to the right and around the front of the truck, I notice with some mild angst that the truck is, in fact, completely out of control, brakes locked, skidding at a forty-five degree angle in my lane, toward me.
I am somewhat vexed.
I shoot a look into my rearview mirror to see if anyone behind me is about to plow through my back seat. In the distance, I catch a glimpse of some kind of black SUV.
Looking straight ahead now, I stomp the brakes and begin to swerve to my right, making a quick calculation as to what point I will actually drive my car over the edge of the embankment and allow the Mack to lay gingerly upon me.
The Mack is still in full-brake-slide. I am in Anti-Lock butt-clench.
His headlights are creeping a few feet from my windshield. I look up at the driver. He has the odd look of placid annoyance, somewhat secure in the fact that he will be on the “win” side of the impending fender-bender. If I could peel my hands off of the steering wheel, I would get out my finger baton.
I jerk the wheel a little more to the right. We are both sliding now.
And then, we stop.
Two feet from each other, we sit there.
I don’t know what to do, exactly. My feet and hands are completely ignoring advice.
Get. Up. Trinity.
I turn the wheel a little more to the right and accelerate around the behemoth. The two cars that were ahead of me that had narrowly avoided the Mack earlier are still pulled over to the side of the road, no doubt calling loved ones.
I feel like pulling over next to them, yanking them from their cars and shaking them:
“WE HAVE CHEATED DEATH TODAY, FELLOW MOTORIST!! REJOICE AND DRINK DEEP THE NECTAR OF LIFE!!”
Part of me also feels like just hopping out of my car and raising my hands up in a Rocky pose while screaming:
“That’s right Death!! I just took you and bent you over the guardrail of life!! WHO’S YO’ DAAAAAADDDY!?!?!”
Instead, however, I merely adjust my poopy underwear.
I look in my rearview again. The black SUV is nowhere in sight.
I was a bit filled with adrenaline for the rest of the evening. After the thrill of defeating Old Man Death had settled, however, I crashed harder than a heroin addict at a Mormon convention. Sleep was a welcome ally now.
At around 2:00 in the morning, the phone rings. I am instantly awake. 2:00 a.m. phone calls always mean that Death is calling.
And so it was.
As I breathe deeply, preparing for the worst of news, I pick up the receiver.
I hear the shrill screams of a thousand voices of Death. They screech at me with long, painful shrieks of warning and terror. My eyes grow wide.
I place the receiver back upon its cradle.
Now, it is possible that the phone call was not, in fact, the shrill screams of a thousand voices of Death. It may have been the tone from a fax machine. They are surprisingly similar in both frequency and pitch.
And even if it was a fax tone, I’m pretty sure that it was a fax from Death. Because you just know that Death doesn’t contact you by email or the U.S. Postal Service. Fax is definitely the preferred method of communication of Black Wraiths.
As I sat in bed wondering what the fax from Death would have said, I imagined that He would be very to-the-point. To wit:
Dear CW (or current resident) -
I am so totally gonna kill you. Watch out, motherfucker.
Suck it –
So, I figure I’ve got like two or three days left, tops.
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17 April 2003
The Number You Have Reached Is Busy...
I'll try to write more later, but for now I'm a little busy.
Coupla quick questions though:
- How much more homosexual-leaning am I if I like Justin Timberlake? What about if I made out with his Rolling Stone picture?
- What was the person looking for that came to my site via a Google search for "Penis In Shoes"? Were they looking for a penis long enough to "tuck"? Or, even better, were they looking for a penis that had its own little pair of booties? And also, where can I find a pair of those booties?
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16 April 2003
The Wiz Kid
I was recently reminded of an event in my life that the folds of my brain had chosen to compartmentalize and file under the heading of “Repress”. I tell this story merely as a cautionary tale to the youngsters out there that may be tempted by the sweet nectar of the Vodka tree. Drink not of its delicious fruit, ye carefree young innocents! Vodka is the demon bitch that will love you and cradle you when you are faithful to her and her alone; but should you attempt a sordid ménage-a-trois by introducing that filthy whore Madam Beer to your partnership, Lady Vodka will lash out at you with vicious and unexpected horror.
My tale is gruesome. Be warned.
Years and years ago, in the grimly animated Age of Grunge, I was a college boy with idyllic dreams and a World-Be-Damned outlook. Heady times. I had a close group of friends that enjoyed frequent journeys into intoxication together. Endless laughter accompanied, along with discussions of the improbable but never impossible future that lay in front of us like a virgin prostitute. We counted on little except one another and the promise of another drink.
Most nights would blur together in the formulaic pattern of Boast, Drink, Boast, Drink, Ogle, Drink, Prattle, Drink, Deeply-Discuss-The-Nature-Of-Man-And-Our-Place-In-The-Universe, Drink, Pass Out. It was a consistently superlative plan and to veer from it often resulted in some negative backlash.
Imagine my shock when I was diligent in The Plan and it turned on me. Lady Vodka is vengeful. She cares not of plans.
I was well into my comfort zone on the evening in question. I had executed The Plan to perfection, starting the evening with declarations of my sexual prowess while simultaneously belittling the inferior genitalia of my brethren. I poured thick, luscious, lusty Vodka from her oversized jug into my plastic chalice, letting her slowly interweave with the fizzy 7-Up and hunks of ice. As she crackled the ice and wound her way through her carbonated lover, I cackled like a barmy scientist. The whirlwind spiral had begun. The Plan took us next to myriad taverns, so that we could inform others of the tales of our engorgement and conquest. There was awe. In an effort to entice and woo the women in the area, we stared slack-jawed at their chests and spoke under our breath of the obvious longing that they could barely contain. Their yearning was masked with a thin veil of disgust. Clever, the female.
After a time, we departed en masse from the taverns, romance be damned. It was late and the women were, apparently, far too tired to endure our virility. So, it was back to our magical abode, where reality was always best viewed through the distorted bottom of a shot glass. Lady Vodka had been with me throughout the evening, steadfast in her conquest of my senses. We all stayed up to talk about what might have been. More enthusiastically, we talked of what would never be for those in the group with withered, tiny, flaccid, useless penises. Shaming was a glorious by-product of The Plan.
We were all hanging out in my twelve-by-twelve room as the evening began to wane into the latter stages of The Plan. One by one, they left to stagger to their own rooms within the house: Buzz, Skeeter, Fanto, Corm, Butterfield, Krull. Most managed to get a shirt halfway off and pants wadded inexorably at the ankles before the pull of the bed became an overwhelming force of nature. Another Plan, for them, completed.
The only one left remaining in my room was Animal. He was primarily known for his ability to drink more than any other while still being able to be the Last Man Standing at any event. Also, he played the drums. Like the Muppet. Except crazier. He cracked two beers and handed one to me.
“No. No, I’m done. I’ve had Vodka all night. I’m not switchin’ now. I just know it’ll come back to get me,” I slurred.
“Dude, liquor to beer, never fear!” he reasoned.
I could not argue with his air-tight logic.
Lady Vodka, of course, hates logic.
I grabbed the beer and drank half in a single tip of the can. I was lying on the couch and Animal was on the floor, leaning against a table. We engaged in some Deep Discussion. I remember thinking, as I always did, how fantastic it was to have friends that you could talk to about anything. The conversation faded. Drunkenness had a hold.
“Hey man, get up and go to bed. I wanna sleep on the couch tonight,” Animal stated.
“What?!?” I laughed. “Your room is right across the hall. Go sleep in your own bed, ya drunk.”
“Yeah, but your couch is right here. Plus, it’s so comfortable. Just get the hell up. You’ve got a bed right there,” he pointed. My bed was three feet from the couch, maximum.
Again, his argument was fool-proof. The couch was there. It was comfortable. My bed was close. Case closed, your honor.
“Okay,” I said. “But I swear to God, you are the laziest sack of shit ever.”
I hoisted myself gently from the couch and crawled to my bed. I felt good. Buzzed, but not sickly so. I was a professional drinker. We do not make mistakes.
Or so I thought.
As I hit the mattress, still clad in my shorts and polo shirt, I turned to see Animal had already passed out in a curled ball on the couch. I lay flat on my back to test for room spinning. Everything was rock-steady.
The Plan had worked as designed.
I passed out.
In the dream I am having, there is crisp, cool beach air and the sun beats down upon my reclining body. I am lying up on a dune, surveying the scene. I can hear the surf crashing the shoreline. So calming. Gulls in the air overhead. Salt air. The water lapping at my feet. It's like I’m there. All details are so vivid that…wait. Why is the water lapping at my feet? I’m on a dune.
I am instantly awake. In the darkness, I see Animal at the foot of my bed. He is pissing all over my feet in the most happy-go-lucky manner. Great. Now I’m a fetishist.
“ANIMAL!! Man, you aren’t in the bathroom!! THIS IS MY BED!! KNOCK IT OFF!!!”
“Dude, I’m almost done,” he says by way of justification.
His superior logic has once again stumped me. I have no response, with the exception of the internal shrieking:
A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial.
Lady Vodka has her revenge.
I roll over and go back to sleep. Damp, but wiser.
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15 April 2003
Today, I could go on a rant about taxes and the guv’ment and how they are stealing from the rich to give to the poor (not that I’m in either of those brackets) and how I had a ton of fun doing my taxes, what with selling and buying a house last year and dealing with no less than ten W2’s and/or 1099-MISC’s (don't ask) between my wife and I in two different states and figuring moving expenses and donating a car and fretting capital gains. Nope. Today will be rant-free. Because today, I am curious.
With all of this talk of money, I have been thinking about some fundamental human questions. I know that we are all in different places in our lives and jobs. Some of you are out of work right now. But I think that these questions apply to all and I hope you are able to answer a few of them. For instance:
How much money is enough? Would you take less money to do something that you really love? How much less? What would you be willing to give up in your life in order to have fun at your job? Would you move? Would you take half as much money? What?
If you are in a job you love, why do you love it? What makes a job worthwhile and fun to you?
Do you value your free time enough so that you are willing to work harder, even if it’s doing something that you don’t necessarily enjoy, just to be able to have better, more fulfilling “play” time?
Are you willing to work harder at something you hate just to have a more enjoyable retirement?
What is the happy medium for you?
Cuz I’m having a hard time with these questions lately.
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14 April 2003
This past weekend, there were a number of ways in which I proved myself to be cooler than you:
I got a haircut. Short and sassy. Chicks dig me. Your hair is a fucking gnarled mass of greasy spaghetti by comparison. Punch yourself.
On Friday night, I got drunk on Mandarin Absolut and played X-Box on a friends’ 61-inch TV. Your television is a festering pile of shit. Your friends are losers. Accept it.
On Saturday night, I cooked Shish-Kabobs with Honey Brown-marinated steak, green, red and orange bell peppers, onions and mushrooms on my ass-kicking gas grill. I served seared sea scallops in a butter and white-wine reduction as an appetizer. We ate out on our deck overlooking the waterfall in our backyard and got drunk on good wine. You, however, got drunk on Mad Dog 20/20, masturbated to an old Star Trek rerun and passed out on a bare mattress at 10:30. You woke up in your own puke as your roommate slapped you in the face with a dildo. Your dog won’t even look at you.
Yesterday, I bought four diverse and sophisticated DVD’s: Amadeus; Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross; Secretary and the Futurama Season One Collection. You stared at the static on the scrambled porn channels for 5 straight hours. The seizure you had was blessed relief from the monotonous hell that is your life.
That said, I still like those pants on you. Your ass looks fabulous. I’m not just saying that either.
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11 April 2003
Send in your 5 Songs today!! Last chance!
I am continuing the ongoing story of Veronica today. If you are not familiar with my little tale, start here. Then, go here. And finally, scroll down to March 27th here.
Veronica and Andrea let the sun and wind and alcohol wash over them for the better part of the afternoon. When the boys of the beach would walk by and clumsily attempt to ogle them, Drea would adjust her bikini top dramatically before telling them to move along. If the boy was shy, Drea was sure to whistle at him as he walked away. It made Veronica laugh every time.
“I’m cooked, Nic,” Drea said as she slicked back her hair, “let’s get ready for tonight.”
“And what, exactly” Veronica asked, “are we doing tonight?”
“Lady, I didn’t come all the way over here just to see you. I need to shake my ass on a dance floor soon,” Drea declared as she gathered up her towel and cooler, “I’m not letting a perfectly good buzz go to waste.”
As Veronica got up to follow Drea back to the house, she immediately felt the effect of the three Rum Runners that she had sipped throughout the afternoon. The sun and salt air had made her skin tight and every part of her body and mind felt unfamiliar. She tried to jog to catch up with Drea, but she felt herself reel.
“Drea, I am hammered. You gotta slow down,” Veronica breathed.
“Whoa, sorry, Nic. I forgot that you’re a schoolmarm now,” Drea laughed.
“Bite me,” she deadpanned.
“Well, Professor Petersen, that language is simply unacceptable. What will the soccer moms think of your potty mouth?” Drea mocked, hands on hips.
“The soccer moms,” Veronica said, “may also feel free to bite me.”
“Right. Okay, let’s get you inside for a nap before we go out. You’ll be a new girl in two hours,” Drea said as she grabbed Nic around the waist.
They walked together to the house and dropped everything on the porch. Veronica made a line to the oversized couch and plopped down, face first. She curled and brought her hands under her head. Drea walked over and smoothed her hair.
“Get some rest, sweetie,” Drea whispered.
Veronica was already asleep.
Pushing herself up from the couch, Veronica walks over to the kitchen and grabs one of the huge convenience store cups from the bottom shelf of the cabinet. She fills it with ice and turns the faucet on high, waiting for the water to cool.
“Hey, you up Coma-girl?” Drea shouts from the bathroom down the hall to Veronica’s right.
“Yep. What year is this?” Veronica shouts back as she fills her cup.
“It is the year twooooo-thousand and fiiiiifty…” Drea bellows back in her best eerie voice.
Veronica laughs, pops a couple of aspirin into her mouth and takes a big drink of water. She walks down the hall to the bathroom.
As she enters, Drea is pulling her sun-colored hair back into a ponytail as she looks at herself in the mirror. She is wearing a red, spaghetti-strapped tank top without a bra that says, “Rack” in sparkles and her favorite light blue jean shorts. The reflection of her eyes in the mirror turns to Veronica.
“Nic, baby, you gotta get ready. We’re going over to BeachBound in a half an hour.”
“Ugh,” Veronica protests, “I can’t get ready in a half an hour. I need to shower and wash my hair and pick out clothes and…”
“Nic, we are leaving in a half an hour. I’ll pick out your clothes. Get moving,” Drea insists.
“I’ll try,” Veronica winks.
Drea reaches over to the end of the countertop and punches the play button on the CD player. Axl Rose’s scream pierces the bathroom. She turns and hugs Veronica.
“Now get ready, sugar, before I have to kick your ass.”
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10 April 2003
More Restroom Etiquette
Maybe I pay way too much attention in public restrooms, but I have a few gripes. They are as follows:
- As I’ve explained before, groans of satisfaction are completely unwelcome. Please stop it now.
- Touching me at any point while I am “engaged” in my “activity” is strictly forbidden. You might as well cup my balls while you’re at it.
- Why am I not allowed to enjoy the handicapped stall? I am tired of feeling guilty for wanting to lounge in the luxurious vastness that is the handicapped toilet. I like to get in there and set up a little coffee table, maybe a small T.V. and just have some me time. Is that so wrong?
- Often times, there are two styles of urinals in the men’s restroom: The Highboy and the Lowboy. There are many men that refuse to use The Lowboy, as if it is reserved for midgets. Just step up and drain it, yogurthead.
- I don’t mean to give away any guy secrets here, but there are several methods that men use to pee. Some men prefer to hold down the pants with one hand and “aim” with the other hand. This is commonly referred to as The Two-Hand Flip and Drip. Ok, I just made that up, but that’s what it should be called. This is the method that I use and is the most generally accepted, unless you are some sort of fetishist or pedophile. One of the other methods always makes me giggle a little; I call this method The Gladiator and it involves taking the wang out and then putting both hands on the hips, as if to say, “I am The King of all that I see here!” These men always seem like they are waiting for applause. Another method, which I’ll call The Ankle Biter, I’ve only seen a couple of times. Here, the man employs a stand-at-the-urinal-and-drop-the-pants-all-the-way-to-the-floor maneuver. It’s like nobody taught him the rules after potty training at age four. It’s just sad.
- It’s ok to fart in the bathroom, but don’t look at me and smile. I'm very proud of you, but we’re not going to make out.
- I don’t care if you didn’t “touch it” or “wipe it”, wash your hands, scumbag.
- When either of us are in the act, do not talk to me. I need to concentrate.
- Ok, now this is definitely a guy secret that I’m giving away. When I take it out and let loose, I have no idea which direction this fire hose is gonna spray. I’ve always thought this was some sort of flaw in God’s design. You’d think that if you aim it down, it’d go down. But sometimes, when you aren’t paying any attention, it’ll just spray off to the right at a 45 degree angle like it’s a Vegas water show. I literally get angry with my penis when this happens. Sometimes I scold it, which usually draws some concerned glances from the other restroom patrons.
OK! Enough of that. Just a quick reminder to send me the list of your five favorite songs of all-time, if you haven’t done so yet. Remember, the songs should be representative of you. Also, since most can’t seem to stick to five, you can send more if you are a big fuckin’ baby. Tomorrow is the deadline!
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09 April 2003
Turn the Paige
Today, I am taking part in a little experiment at Witt and Wisdom. The little minx over at VectorGirl has started a progressive story in which we can all participate. She started a “blogvel” yesterday that will continue with my entry today and hopefully an entry from a few of you in the near future. I think it’s a pretty fun and creative idea and it will be fun to see how different people develop and advance the characters and plot. So join in!! If you are interested in participating, let me know in the comments below and VG will take down your names and let me know who is next on the list. Yes, I realize that this is a thinly veiled exercise in blog pimping, but I like the big wide-brimmed fur hat and brass puma topped cane that comes with the pimpin’ life. So join in, yo, or I’m gonna lay four fingers and a thumb of backhand upside yo’ head.
Start with the April 8th entry at VectorGirl. Then, read my addition below.
A dull ache awakens Paige in the morning. She senses that she is sideways in her bed and realizes that she has more passed out than slept. Her head hurts, partially from the last punch that Eddie had so joyfully applied, but also from the tequila that she has used to numb herself of the memory.
She sits up slightly in the bed and begins to shake her head to clear out the gray, but then quickly discovers that movement is her enemy. Slowly and deliberately, she slides out of bed, making her way to the bathroom mirror.
When she finally summons the courage, she is sickened by the frozen reflection staring back. Sickened and pissed. Her thick, chocolate hair is matted with blood in places. There is a bruise radiating from her nose, out under both eyes. Her lips are both cracked and the lower one is sticky with dried blood. Angry and tired, she swallows the tears that she feels coming. Clenches her jaw. She recalls the mental checklist from the night before and only one thing stands out in the haze.
There will be burning.
She smiles, though it cracks her swollen lips further.
Now, with purpose, she gathers everything she can find that belongs to Eddie. T-shirts and CD’s. Magazines of the women to which he constantly compares her. Running shoes. Hmm…what’s this? He seems to have forgotten his wallet. A shame.
Out to the patio.
All of the material possessions pile neatly into his precious grill, she thinks, with a smile of satisfaction. She douses the collection with half of a can of lighter fluid. Stands back four feet and strikes a wooden match. She doesn’t care if he comes home right now and catches her. She is done with him.
“Never again, motherfucker. Never again.”
She tosses the match and a flame five feet high blooms in front of her and then immediately dies down. There is snapping and fizzing. She smiles again, steps up and closes the lid.
Paige turns and walks into the kitchen and grabs the phone.
“Hello? Hello…yes…? No, it’s not an emergency. My boyfriend…last night. Last night he beat me up. No, I don’t need and ambulance. No, he’s not here now. No, it’s not the first time…not at all…I’m just scared… No. I’m sure he’s gone. He left last night. Where? I’m not exactly sure, but he usually goes to his brother’s house when he gets like this. I want the police to come here, please. I’m afraid. I want to file charges. I’m not gonna let this happen again. His brother’s address? Just a minute…it’s…”
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08 April 2003
I had a professor in college that took great pleasure in challenging The Rules of Life. He specialized in interpersonal communications and he taught me a lot about the quirkiness of my fellow man. You know The Rules of Life; they are the set of guidelines that structure our lives and allow us to interact with one another without large bludgeoning instruments or extended screaming matches. Almost daily, he would come to class with another story about how he’d pissed someone off. My kind of guy.
On our first day of class, he spoke of his first departmental meeting at our university, when all of the professors gathered in a large conference room to exchange ideas and discuss planning issues. He intentionally showed up early and took a seat at the head of the table. As everyone showed up, they all welcomed him and then quietly whispered that the seat he was in belonged to the department head. He would look down at the chair each time and say, “Really? Huh. Well, it’s mine today.” And he’d stay where he was. The real joy came when the department head would show up and introduce himself and then stand there for a moment, genuinely perplexed. Every meeting, my professor would come early and take someone else’s chair. Pretty soon, everyone would start showing up early to make sure they got the chair they wanted. The whole little experiment showed how territorial adults can be and how the smallest glitch in routine can throw things into miniature chaos. He had turned an entire group of well-educated university professors into third graders.
The other experiment that has always stuck with me is his elevator etiquette. Every time he was on an elevator, he would stand in the middle, facing the back. If someone else was on the elevator, so much the better; he would stand about a foot away, facing them. If you’ve never tried this, you really should. You have no idea how much this freaks people out. It is the most minuscule disobedience of The Rules of Life, but the effect is remarkable.
The reason all of this pops into my mind is that the elevators in the building in which I am currently consulting are all highly polished chrome. The interior is, literally, mirrors from top to bottom and on all four sides. I’ve always been a little annoyed by this for several reasons. First, anywhere you look, you are forced to self-consciously look at yourself. If you look straight down, you can sense everyone looking at you in the peripheral reflections. If you look at anyone else, either through the reflection or directly, you feel like you just got caught flirting (not always a good thing, trust me) – you try to avert your eyes, but everywhere you look, you’re still staring. It’s quite annoying. So I started thinking about how childish my thinking is and I started to wonder what my professor would have done. What I came up with was this: from now on, whenever I take the elevator, I am going to get very close to my own reflection and primp. Slick down my eyebrows, blow myself kisses, adjust my nuts, run both hands along the sides of my head like Fonzi – whatever feels right.
Ain’t no elevator gonna make me into a psycho.
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07 April 2003
Rainy Days And Mondays
A little note to the gentleman that was driving the $80,000 SUV in front of me this morning: I saw your little license plate surround. It said, “I’d Rather Be Golfing”. Gee, is that right? Wouldja? Wouldja really? Well, that is just super. It’s really good to know that. I found that to be an excellent use of your empty license plate space. You are to be commended, sir.
Now to me. Do you know what I’d rather be doing? I would rather be beating the fuck out of you for power braking to 15 mph at the first minor, insignificant, misting hint of rain on your windshield. I would rather jerk a nine-iron out of the golf bag that is no doubt in the cargo space of that monstrosity you are driving and beat you about your head and genitals until you curl up into the fetal position and poopy in your pants. But that won’t fit on my license plate surround, now will it?
No, it won’t.
Here’s a little tip: Get the fuck off of my road and go swing your Limited Edition Callaway clubs at your $100,000-a-year country club, you self-involved cock-gobbler. I hope you have a stroke on the front nine.
I fucking hate it when someone makes me late for my Christians For A Peaceful Tomorrow rally.
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04 April 2003
It's been a big ol' week of writing for me, so I'm gonna take a little break today. Please submit your auditory selections for the Music of Witt and Wisdom soundtrack. We have quite an eclectic list so far. No matter your musical tastes, I wanna know your list.
To end the week, I am reminded of some sage words of wisdom from one of the characters on my desk:
"You know, gang, you never know where the day will take you. You may find yourself halfway around the world in the shark-infested waters of true-to-life living. Or you may find yourself going down to the store for a lozenge. You can't know, can you? No! You gotta ride that wave! You gotta suck that lozenge! Cuz if you don't, who will?"
So true. So true.
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03 April 2003
I have never had much of an ear for what constitutes good music. I know what I like and don't like, but I am hardly the bellwether for quality. For example, several of the albums that I've owned in my life include: Wham!, Milli Vanilli, Stryper, Firehouse and Winger. And there are many more that are even worse, but I cannot bring myself to type them here. I love music and I know what I like when I hear it, but I am not particularly "edgy".
This is where you come in. I have noticed from reading your blogs that many of you are much more musically hip than I. So an idea sprouted, based upon an idea from Scott among others:
I would like everyone reading to send me a list of their five favorite songs of all-time. I am looking for you to try to choose songs that are most representative of you, so that I can really get a flavor for what my audience is like. I will then go through the list and listen to the songs and put together a compilation of my personal favorites into a Music of Witt and Wisdom soundtrack. Then, my plan is to try to write series of short stories with each song as a soundtrack.
I will give everyone until next Friday to send me their list, either by comment or email.
Once I have everyone's entry and I've made the final selections, I will let you know how you get a copy of the Music of Witt and Wisdom soundtrack.
This has me all a-titter. I'm nearly at full chub.
But I've said too much.
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Please assist me in propagating a new catch phrase. If someone pisses you off today, say to them in your best Samuel L. Jackson voice:
"Don't make me get SARS on yo' ass."
Thank you. That is all.
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02 April 2003
If ya haven't read my last three entries and commented yet, you should probably go do that now.
Answers to some questions:
Love my wife more than ever.
Sadly, I am old enough to have been married 8 years. I'm 31 and my wife is 32.
Love at first sight is possible. You'll know it when you see it.
We got married on April Fool's Day because I thought it was kinda funny. Also, I'll never forget my anniversary.
My wife and I come off as unmarried for two reasons: We trust each other and we've been together for a hell of a long time.
We don’t plan to have kids.
The permed hair left long ago. Now she is all spikey-haired in the back with long bangs. Sexy.
Yes, we are the coolest married couple you will ever meet.
Tell me the universe isn't cruel. The day I bring up how I met and fell in love with my wife, Jennifer Garner gets separated from her gay husband. Why do the Gods mock me?
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01 April 2003
I Met a Girl
If you haven’t already, you need to read the post from Friday and yesterday before you read this one. Today is the end, I promise.
The King of Second Chances
It’s the vortex. I can see it now. The gravitational pull gets stronger.
“He kissed another girl at a bar at the end of last year,” she says bluntly.
“Well, that’s a shitty thing to do,” I say, in no mood to defend him.
“Yeah, well, he admitted to it and apologized and said he was drunk and stupid or whatever. But things just haven’t been the same. I don’t know if they ever will be,” she says and then takes a long drink of the cold beer.
“Man…that’s total shit. Why do guys do that?” I ask off-handedly.
“I have no idea. Maybe boredom. Maybe he’s just sick of me. Have you ever…cheated?” she asks.
“Honestly, I haven’t been in too many long relationships, so I don’t know if I qualify…” I say quietly.
“Sounds like you are avoiding the question, which means you probably have cheated,” she says.
“No. No, that’s not true. I’ve only ever told three girls that I loved them and I never cheated on any of them. I would never do that. That’s not love to me,” I say, looking right at her. “I take that stuff pretty seriously. Trust is everything.”
“Ok, settle down, I believe ya,” she replies.
As we look at each other for a long moment, I begin to notice the discussion going on in the grass behind me. Someone is joking around with RW’s friend Carmen. It’s Mike. They are mock-arguing. Everyone is laughing when Mike takes the play to the next level by splashing a quarter cup of beer into Carmen’s face. She is laughing nearly uncontrollably now as she takes her full beer and dumps it over his head.
“Uh-oh,” I say, “it’s about to begin.”
“What’re you talking about?” RW asks, a bit confused.
“The party,” I respond, “has just been elevated.”
As RW and I stand up, we turn and see that the crowd of twenty or so is now throwing their cups of beer at the person nearest to them. RW and I look at each other. Simultaneously, we react. Both of our beers go flying at each other.
Oh, it’s on.
It’s now a rush to the keg to fill up cups and put perfectly good beer to waste for the sake of crazed entertainment.
Mike has already gotten to the keg and filled a pitcher and dumped it over the Carmen’s head.
We are all screams and shouts and vague threats of impending doom and fornicating mothers.
Everyone decides to forgo the cups. Carmen has set up a stronghold at the keg and is spraying directly from the spigot with a finger over the front, so as to send a more refined mist over the masses. The pressure is not strong enough. She is overtaken.
And then I notice that Mike is nowhere to be seen.
From behind the keg, I see Mike emerge with the hose. The water pressure is set to “Riot Control”. There is no escape. It’s a monsoon.
It is over. Mike has won.
“You guys are all insane,” RW laughs.
“This, is true,” I reply. “Let’s go inside.”
The whole group is toweling off inside, but it seems to be a futile task. We are soaked to the bone.
RW and I grab a blanket and wrap ourselves in it together. We join the others upstairs for a few drinking games.
There is laughing and amity and the kind of please-don’t-let-this-ever-end vibe that only the vortex brings. Person by person, I notice everyone in the room glancing over at RW and I. I feel like there is no hiding that I am falling for her. Everyone can see.
There are whispers. Something is happening. Plotting is occurring.
Coming from either side of us, Tim and Mike grab RW and I and wrap the blanket tightly around us. Our arms are pinned to our sides, we cannot bend our legs and we are face to face, inches apart.
“Get the duct tape!” Mike shouts.
They proceed to wrap the tape around us, about 8,000 times. A group picks us up, lays us down in the hallway, turns and closes the door.
We are stuck.
After 5 minutes of talking and shifting and laughing, we are getting numb.
“Ok, guys,” I yell, “this is getting a little crazy.”
“Guys?!” I shout again.
A few giggles.
“Okay, c’mon – this is no longer funny,” I say in a calmer, though more menacing voice.
I wink at RW.
Out they come. Around and around the tape goes.
We are free.
“You two belong together,” someone says.
“Let’s get married!” I shout.
“What?!” she says with a laugh.
Everyone around us begins to shout and whoop.
“Yeah! We need a marriage tonight,” Tim says. “I’ll get Buddha.”
Everyone in college has met a guy named Buddha. Years of experience and the beer belly to prove it. This night, he is to be our minister.
We all go downstairs to the parlor and everybody gathers around. Buddha blathers on about something romantic in his drunkenly eloquent way. I’m down on one knee. I grab a ring that an old girlfriend had given me and slip it onto her finger.
I say I want to be with her for the rest of my life.
Everyone is quiet all of the sudden.
This weird, wild, strange joke has shifted.
I look up into her eyes and, for a perpetual moment, everyone fades away.
I know. More than I’ve ever known.
She turns away.
“I should go,” she says as we walk up the stairs.
“Ok. I understand,” I say. “Can I talk to you alone first, though?”
“I don’t know…I guess…okay.”
We step into my room and sit down on the couch. I know that I won’t get another chance to tell her what I know to be true. I have to say it.
“R, you need to know something. I love you. You love me too, you just don’t know it yet. I have never been more sure of anything in my life.”
“C, I’m practically engaged.”
“I know,” I say, “but there’s nothing I can do about that. I only know that I love you and I would never do anything to hurt you.”
“That’s crazy. You don’t fall in love in a night,” she whispers.
“Maybe you do,” I say.
“I should go,” she says.
She walks toward the door.
“Are you serious?” she asks.
“Absolutely,” I respond.
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
The next 48 hours are strange and fantastic and unbearable. There are only shards of moments floating in my memory…
She leaves work for an early lunch the next day and runs the mile or so toward my house. I meet her partway and walk with her.
When we get back to the house, I pull out my well-worn CD and play “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughn for her.
One of my friends tells me that he just wants to be around us because he has never seen anything like the two of us together.
I ask what she is doing later and she says, “Defrosting my freezer with a hairdryer.”
After work, I call her and tell her that I’m coming to pick her up. She is, indeed, defrosting her freezer with a hairdryer.
I take her to my parent’s house and introduce her to them. In 20 years, I have never, ever brought anyone home to meet my parents. They don’t know what to say or think. They are even more confused when I say, “I have to get her home, her boyfriend is coming into town tonight.”
I take her home.
Her boyfriend arrives in an hour.
It gets late. I don’t hear from her.
I go to bed.
Next morning, no word.
I look for distraction.
The guys are planning a party for tonight. I’m in no mood, but I don’t let that stop me.
We start drinking at 7:00. I still haven’t heard from her.
I am paralyzed.
We are watching Apocalypse Now. Drinking. Everyone is looking at me. They know that I’m serious about this girl. They’ve never seen me like this.
A knock in the doorway of the room.
And she is there.
I cannot stop smiling.
“Carmen and I snuck out of the bathroom window of the apartment while he was hanging out with his friends. I couldn’t wait anymore to see you,” she says, looking up at me.
“Jesus,” is all I can manage.
I hug her.
“We have to get back soon,” she says.
“You should go,” I say.
And she does.
We have the party at the house. Many, many people come.
Including RW and her boyfriend.
I pace and scowl and avoid. Please, just let it be over soon. Please.
After a time, they leave.
We do not speak.
I do not sleep.
The next morning she calls.
“Can I see you?” she asks.
“Is everything…okay?” I ask.
“I need to see you,” she says.
She comes over.
We go for a walk.
She says nothing.
“Well, what happened!?” I ask with unrestrained urgency.
“I broke up with him,” she says simply.
She smiles at me.
“R, will you go out with me?” I ask immediately, feeling all of twelve years old.
“If you promise me one thing,” she responds. “You promise me that you aren’t lying to me. Promise me you’ll never lie to me. I just ended a three-year relationship based on what you said to me.”
“I’m not lying to you. I won’t ever lie to you. I love you more than you know,” I say, looking into her brilliant jade eyes.
“I believe you.”
As we walk down the street, I take her hand in mine.
Nearly thirteen years ago, I met a girl that I could not have.
Nearly eleven years ago, I told her I loved her.
Eight years ago today, I married her.
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