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  11/16/03: Comedy Studio
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  #35: Road Trippin'
  #36: Geronimo! Ditto!
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  #43: Mishaps on the River
  #47: Puzzled Over Puzzling
  #53: Justifying My Tuition
  #55: My Yearbook Quote
  #56: Whatever It Takes
  #65: Pissing in the Middle
  #78: Losing My Faith
  #85: Goodbye, Teeth
  #88: A Painful Separation
  #91: An Only Child
  #98: Nothing But Putrid
  #99: Bovine Dreaming
  #100: 'Dudden Hurt'

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Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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Where the Hell Was I? has moved!

Please visit my new home at:
http://www.wherethehellwasi.com

I'll be glad you did!

Saturday, October 18, 2003
 
Two and a Half Hours of Hell (Not My Hell, But Still!)

Well, that was weird. I'm just shell-shocked now.

It all has to do with procrastination. I am an expert procrastinator. World-class, baby. And not just with icky, distasteful, or boring things. No way, dude. I procrastinate about everything. Just today, I put off blogging until the last minute, and completely zoned out on working on my fledgeling comedy routine. That's over and above the stuff from work that I planned to do today. And this is nothing new. I'm an equal opportunity putter-offer.

So it may come as no surprise that I never watched the end of 24, my very most favoritest show. And not just the last episode, either. Any old procrastinating fool can miss an episode. No, folks, I spaced on the final three shows. I recorded them all -- this was in my pre-TiVo days -- and just let the tape sit, collecting dust, for what, four months? Six? Since the last season ended, whenever that was.

But now, the show's starting up again, ready to go into its third season. And my wife and I didn't want to miss any storylines.

(Yes, I dragged her down with me. She wasn't allowed to watch the taped episodes unless I could watch, too. Of course, onve we got the TiVo, she wasn't able to watch, permission be damned. Hell, it took me twenty minutes to find the magic combination of TV settings and remote controls that would magically get us the picture from the VCR. Thank goodness we don't have to do that often.)

So, we decided to catch up, all in one night. And god-damn, was that intense! Holy shit! If it wasn't somebody getting shot or stabbed or crashing their car, it was planes ready to drop bombs all over the place, or politicos sniping and sneering at each other. Damn.

It was tough to watch the whole thing at once, too. We taped episodes during the season sometimes. And -- predictably -- we would often watch the taped show on the night before, or the evening of, the next episode. So we'd had some experience with back-to-back heart-pounding shows. But three in a row? That's madness! Madness, I tell you!

Or at least 'stressness'. I'd forgotten how easily I get sucked into that show, and scheme and race and seethe with the actors on screen. It's the only show I've never missed -- or at least taped -- in the past two years. So I had to catch up before the show begins again next Tuesday. But now I'm all jittery. Three hours of 24 is like a frigging caffeine enema -- I won't get to sleep until three in the morning. My heart is still all pitter-pattery.

But the good news is that the wife and I are ready to get jiggy with the new season now. And with TiVo to help out, we won't even have to worry about remembering to record it. It'll show up automagically every week, whether we're paying attention or not. Which is good, because we're often not. Ain't technology grand?

What I'm afraid of, though, is that our little TiVo friend will do nothing but feed our disease. With the show guaranteed to go on tape every week, we'll have no pressure to watch the thing when it's actually aired. I can see us relying on the 'miracle box' to record everything, and just watching when we 'get to it'. Which, we've shown, can be weeks, or even months, later.

I've even done the math. The TiVo will hold thirty-five hours of shows. 24 has -- duh -- twenty-four hours' worth of episodes per season. So it's entirely possible that we won't watch a single episode during the broadcast season. We may just let them accumulate, show after show, week after week, until we have the whole damned thing on tape.

At which point... well, we'll drag our feet, most likely. We're not terribly adept at learning from our mistakes, I'm afraid. So you may hear this same sort of thing this time next year, only we'll be doing a freaking marathon of 24-watching -- all the episodes, not just three. Eighteen hours or more of suspense, intrigue, and gunshot wounds, once the commercials are filtered out. We'll just wake up one Saturday and do the whole. Frigging. Thing. Eek.

I can't even imagine what that would be like. Two-plus hours of this stuff was harrowing enough. But every cliffhanger, every car chase, and every backstabbing, two-timing double-cross? Holy edge of your seat, Batman! I'll have to pop some Valium or something just to cope. Drink beer all the way through it, or slurp Nyquil to even out the heart-pounding fury. Jeez, what an ordeal.

I can hardly wait. Woo!



 
You're From Where? Hey, I Heard a Poem About You!

And now, from the 'Notes to Self Department':

  • When you're watching the deciding game in an important baseball series -- say, oh, I don't know, the American League Championship Series -- and your team is cruising to a win against their evil sworn enemies, don't say something stupid like:

    'Hey, look, Pedro's coming back out for the eighth! We've got this thing wrapped up!'

    While you may be logical and rational enough to know that there's no such thing as a 'jinx', the superstitious bastards around you won't forget it if when your team folds like a house of cards and chokes. And they'll blame you. So just keep your damned mouth shut. Washing beer and popcorn and 'probably spit' out of your hair is no damned picnic, dude.
  • Now that you actually live in New England, you should probably stop reciting that damned limerick every time you meet a 'man from Nantucket'. Most of them really don't appreciate it, and they've all heard that shit before. And some of them are a little punchy about it. Literally. Ouchie.
  • Next time you decide to surprise the wife by doing all the laundry, you should probably check the 'Load Size' setting. It seems that she does some itty bitty loads from time to time -- delicates and unmentionables, no doubt -- and turns the dial to the 'Miniscule' setting. And apparently, if you stuff seventy-two towels in there at once (like you know you will), and wash them with the thimbleful of water the lowest setting pumps out, it's not going to go well. It's really less 'doing laundry', and more 'giving the linens a big fat bubble bath'. So be careful.
  • The dog understands many commands. But it turns out that 'Please don't step on my testicles!' is not one of them. Seek alternative preventive measures. (Or have an ice pack handy. Whichever is easier.)
  • Just because you split time in your job between two offices, you can't assume that they don't talk to each other. While it's possible that you might get away with telling Office A that Office B has a wireless network, and vice versa, because you want one of them to pony up the cash for a wireless card for your laptop (so you can use it at your house, like you're doing right now to write this entry), you'll probably get busted when they visit each others' office. Like they do every week at those meetings you go to. Damn.




Friday, October 17, 2003
 
The (Nearly) Unbearable Goofiness of Being... Charlie

Hey, kids. It's time for another installment of 'Hey, look, everybody, I'm a douchebag moron!'. This episode is a story in three acts. The curtain rises at around two this afternoon. Grab your popcorn; we're goin' in.

Act I: Man, I Thought I Was Obsessive! Oh. Shit. Never Mind

So, I was hanging out at work. I was getting some shit done, but I was getting a bit tired, and started to wind things down for the day. There was nobody around, so I hijacked an Ethernet cable and did a bit of surfing while I wrapped up.

So, of course, I checked in here at the ol' blog site. I checked out Blo.gs to see if any of my favorites had updated. And then I checked for any new comments.

(And thanks to Em and Lara for not disappointing today. The rest of you schlebs could learn a thing or two from these folks. Get the hell on that, would you?)

Anyway, before long, my attention turned -- as it always does, for hours a day -- to the access logs. How many people are reading, how much are they reading, how long do they stay -- these are the questions that fuel my jets these days. Forget 'Am I going to get fired?', 'Is this finally the Red Sox' year', and 'Hey, what's this red spot on my ass'. Those questions are trivial, compared to the daily blog traffic queries.

(Though for the record, the answers, in order, are 'Not today, apparently', 'No, dammit', and 'I don't know, but I'm sure if I ignore it completely, it'll eventually go away... right?' Just in case you're interested.)

So, anyway, I ended up seeing who'd come by today. In between my near-constant self-aggrandizing clicking, I got a little bit of work accomplished. But yeah, I was pretty much log-watching at that point. And after a while, I noticed something interesting.

See, most people stop by here and stay for one click. They're in, they're out, it's all cool. Hell, most of 'em are looking for topless cartoons or blow-up dolls, anyway, so it's pretty understandable that they shove off right away. I don't have any of that shit. Or... er, not so far as you know, at least. I ain't puttin' my stash out here for all to see, that's for damned sure.

But sometimes a visitor will pull up a chair and stick around for a while. Two clicks, or three, or even a half dozen. Maybe they dip into the archives, or my '100 Posts About Me'. Or more likely, they have the good sense to check out my links to other blogs, and get the hell out of here to read someone with real talent. Whatever. When I see that somebody's made with the clicky-clicky after they've gotten here, I usually check it out. I see where they came in, and where they went out, try to figure out what they're looking at. It's all about feeding the ego, folks. Feeding the ego.

So, understandably, I get pretty excited when I see someone spendind significant time checking out my stuff. And that's what I saw today. Somebody out there -- some wonderful, freaky somebody -- was checking out a lot of my shit. When I first looked, my mystery fan was up to a dozen clicks or more. Cool!

Anyway, I keep checking in, and this person's still on. Thirty minutes, an hour, an hour and a freakin' half! And they're still looking. At what, I can't tell -- the last page they've been on is always the main blog page.

'What the hell are they doing,' I thought. Are they just reloading the damned page, or clicking in and coming back? What the hell?

This shit goes on for just about two hours. Right around four o'clock, I check in again, and see that my mystery caller has clicked on nearly forty links off my page, and has spent one hundred and twenty-one minutes hanging around. Who does that? Who could be so awe-inspired, so obsessed with my wit, so... so... worshipful to waste two whole hours on a Friday afternoon checking out my site?

And that -- of course -- is when it finally hits me. (Yeah, the thing that all of you've been thinking for the past nine paragraphs. Cut me a fuckin' break, would you? I got up early this morning.) Obviously, the only maladjusted, work-shirking, fucked-up-priorities-having asshat who's gonna spend two hours checking out my crap is... me.

Because I'm at a new office. And my IP filter blocks my home address, and my old work IP. Not my new address, whatever the hell it is. And so that 'bestest fan' from somewhere at 'harvard.edu', which is affiliated with my new hospital workplace? Me. Little stinkin' dumbass old me. Shit.

I hope I don't have to tell you that I stopped working and went home the very second that I had this epiphany. What a tool.

Act II: The Jailbait Day Parade

So, I'm walking the roughly seventy-two miles to my frickin' car, because you can't park in the same damned zip code as the hospital I work at unless you're an ambulance driver, or the fricking pope. And even he pays full price in the garage, folks. This place is fucking serious.

Anyway, I get out the door, and what's the first thing I see? A gaggle -- not one, or three, or even five, people; I'm talking about a proper gaggle -- of chickies with pigtails and painted faces bouncy-bouncing out of a McDonalds in front of me. They were all dressed up in red, with little stripes and glitter and hearts on their cheeks. I frankly had a hard time not leering at them openly, like a dirty old man in training.

Only... once I got a good look at them -- and I did; oh yes, I did -- I could see that some of them weren't... um, weren't quite... 'ready for prime time', if you know what I'm saying. They weren't just 'young girls' -- they were young girls. Too young. Eek.

On the other hand... others in the group were more -- how shall I put it? -- mature. (And a couple were very mature, indeed. Very. We're talking porn star mature here.) And then there was another gaggle, and another, and another. They were everywhere -- teeny-bopping little co-eds, dressed to the nines and heading to a pep rally of some kind. Most of them seemed a bit young, but a few... well, a high school's going to have a few eighteen-year-olds, right? A couple? One? Any? Yeah?

But the question is, which ones? Who's safe to ogle in this situation, and who's just some guy's little daughter? Creepy, ain't it?

And anyway, I guess that's not really the question. I'm married, after all, and happily so. Quite happily -- I don't really engage in a lot of 'window shopping of any kind. Okay, maybe occasionally -- but not 'a lot', all-frickin-right? I wouldn't lie to you people.

But dammit, these were extenuating circumstances, folks. If a hundred little girlies are going to paint up their faces and skip and whoop and giggle all around me, what the hell can I do but look? It was like being on the frickin' Man Show or something. I'm not made of stone, people. (Though for a few minutes, there, I was composed primarily of wood. But that's different. Little. Twisted. And different.)

Anyway, I kept on walking, and trying not to look, and wondering how many of these people were old enough to drive, much less be watched while they were shakin' their not-yet-money makers out on the streets of Boston. But mainly, I felt like a big fat old perv, despite my best efforts, and (relatively) good intentions. When it was all said and done, I just felt dirty. So when I got home, I took a shower to try to get clean.

Can I help it if it was a cold shower, too? That doesn't make me a bad person, right? Right?!

Act III: Are You My Car? No. Are You My Car? No. Are You My Car?...

So, I finally leave the 'Land of the Girls Who Cannot Be Ogled (Much)', and make my way towards my car, more than a mile away. And, of course, because annoying crap comes in threes, something else happened.

About a block into my journey, I rubbed my eye, which had been watering. (Perhaps from the windy conditions, but I suspect it was the bouncy co-eds that were responsible for bringing a tear to my eye. Whichever.)

Anyway, I rubbed my eye. My right eye, to be exact. And without rehashing too much of what I've gone over before, I'm in a little bit of a bad way, eye-wise, these days. I've been wearing hard contact lenses for years. But a couple of weeks ago, I lost one, and am now sporting one hard, and one soft, contact. And the soft one and I don't get along all that well. It doesn't want to go into my eye, it doesn't like coming out of my eye -- it's like a fricking four-year-old child. Can't make up it's damned mind where it wants to be. Bitches.

But at the time, said soft contact was in my eye. Again, the right eye, which I rubbed, vigorously and with much gusto. Which in turn -- for the first time during my limited soft contact experience -- dislodged the damned thing, and jammed it somewhere off-center on my eyeball. I knew it was still in there, somewhere -- I could feel the thing sliding back into my head -- but I couldn't frigging see.

So at that point, I was basically walking around with a plastic bottle cap liner in my eye. That's what it felt like, anyway, and it was just about as effective at helping me not run into mailboxes, and light poles, and oncoming cars. Suffice it to say that I had a rather interesting walk to the car. I think I was flipped off a few times for getting in the way of various cars and pedestrians, but honestly, it was too blurry to tell for sure. It was like it happened on network television or something. Freaky.

Eventually, I got back to my car. After standing in front of three others and trying to open them with the keyless thingy on my keychain, that is. Have you ever stood beside someone else's car, cursing and screaming at it becuase the little button in your hand won't unlock the door? Hmmm? Done that one? No? Well, you should try it sometime, really. It's just loads of fun. Oh, and if you're really lucky, you'll set off a car alarm. Oh yeah, that's the ultimate.

'No, no, officer, it's my car. No, I'm sure it is. I don't know why the alarm won't stop. No, really. This is my silver Maxima, honestly.

What? This car's white? And it's an Oldsmobile? Um, hmmm. Heh. Well, uh, you can see it was an honest mistake. No, no -- I think those shoe dents I put in the door will hammer right out. Yeah, no problem.

Sir, no, really -- look, those cuffs aren't necessary. It's cool. Really, I'm just having a little trouble seeing. It's a simple misunderstanding. See, all these underage girls were skipping along in front of me and -- Hey! Put that stick away! Hey! Help! Help! Now we see the violence inherent in the system!
'

So there you have it. Just another afternoon in CharlieWorld. Hopefully just reading about it won't infect you with my wretched disease. Frankly, I recommend you go right now and take a long shower, just to be sure you haven't caught the cooties. Just remember, if it ends up being a cold shower, thinking about those cheerleadery chickies... well, then it's too late. You've already caught the bug. You'll be checking those server logs every twelve seconds, just like me. Only God can help you now.




Thursday, October 16, 2003
 
This Blaze of Glory Is Gonna Be Deep-Fried, Baby

You know what my problem is?

(No, not incontinence. Not dementia, chronic flatulence, or impotence, either. Those are problems, certainly -- just not my problems. My problem is different.

Oh, and while I can prove fairly conclusively that I don't have most of those problems, I'm only assuming that I'm not clinically impotent. But even if I were, that's not really a problem. All the sex I want without worrying about fathering some little bratty snot? What's the problem?

Come to think of it, I need to get my crotch next to microwaves and X-ray machines more often. Never hurts to help these sorts of things along.)

Anyway, back to my problem. My problem is that I'm old, but I'm not recognized as old. I'm not getting my props for being an old fart.

See, I'm technically thirty-three years old. Technically. But they say that 'you're only as old as you feel', right? Well, dammit, my back hurts, my knees ache, I hate getting out of bed in the morning, I'm crabby, grumpy, and crotchety, and I can't stand the crap that the kids listen to these days and call 'music'.

In other words, I'm old. I've got one foot and most of a swollen, wrinkly, liver-spotted ankle in the grave, metaphorically speaking. But chronologically speaking, I'm in the prime of life. Hell, some of my best years might even be ahead of me. Theoretically, of course. I'm not buying it. It's been all downhill from age nineteen or so; why the hell should I expect the bus to hell to suddenly stop and turn around?

So I've got to believe that this is as good as it's ever going to get. And tomorrow, I'll pine for the 'good old days'. I'll just wish I could get back to the annoying, painful shit I put up with today. And the day after that, I'll wish even harder. Assuming I can still remember such things by then. This little brain of mine isn't any spring damned chicken, either, you know.

So I think it's safe to say I've hit the downhill slope already. I've peaked -- if you can call it that -- and I'm careening toward whatever's on the other side of that 'hill' I've just gone over.

(Probably Punji sticks in a sea of Bactine, if my luck holds, but that's not important right now.)

But no one seems to realize how geezery I've become. I get none of the respect -- or more importantly, the perks -- of being a curmudgeonly old dickhead. All I get is the aches and pains and the gloomy outlook on life. Oh happy fucking day. Bleh.

Where's my dollar off at Denny's, huh? Why can't I ride the damned busses around here for half-price? Who's hogging all the damned Metamucil coupons? This blows friggin' chunks, man.

I can cope with that shit, though. I've done without and paid full price most of my life; I can handle that. But you know what I really want? I want to have that 'Yeah, what the hell does it matter?' moment with my doctor. That would be sweet.

You know the moment I'm talking about. Some decrepit wrinkly old bastard will shuffle into the doc's office, and confess that he's living on nothing but Hostess Twinkies and shots of Stoli, or he's smoking six dozen unfiltered cigs a day, or he's having anonymous, unprotected sex through a hole in a bathroom stall at the local Wal-Mart store. Then the old guy asks what he should do about it, and whether it might affect his health. That's when the doctor checks the records, sees that the old dude is pushing triple digits, and says,

'Hey, fuck it, man -- knock yourself out. A fall in the shower is as likely to take you down as this shit. Party on.'

Now that's a perk, boys and girls. Medically-sanctioned permission to turn your shrine of a body into a greasy, sleazy flop house. If that's not worth getting a few liver spots and some memory loss over, then I don't know what the hell is.

But do I get that sort of respect? No. Not by a longshot. I go to the doctor, and it's all 'Don't eat that', and 'Start exercising this', and 'Yeah, you probably want to keep your dick out of that'. Picky goddamned bastard. When do I get to go nuts and let it all hang out? (Literally and figuratively.) When I'm seventy, or eighty, and barely able to enjoy my wanton hedonistic license to do whatever I damned well please? Fuck that! Hell, I might not make it to half of eighty -- why should I have to wait that long to get my freak on? I'm old now, dammit!

So that's my issue du jour. All I want is to go out with a cholesterol-soaked, boozy, lubed-up bang. Is that so much to ask? A little more Jimi Hendrix, and less Brian Wilson -- who wouldn't want that?

Now all I need is a doctor's note giving me permission, and I am so there. Tequila and pork rinds, anyone?



 
Hey, Aren't You...?

Have you ever seen someone you thought you knew, but weren't quite sure that it was really that person?

I don't mean the people who look like your mother, or your brother, and you can eliminate the possibility with a quick second glance. Nor am I talking about the folks who resemble your roommate from college who you know to be a thousand miles away, or a famous movie star who obviously wouldn't be caught dead hanging out in the dives and crapholes you frequent.

No, I'm talking about that local casual acquaintance -- a friend of a friend, or an old colleague from another department, or your one of your ex-significant other's old chums. (No, not the hot one; you'd remember that one. I mean the plain one, with the sorta crooked nose, or the one whose eyes are a little too close together. You know, that one.)

Anyway, what the hell do you do in that situation? It happened to me today -- I think I saw the husband of a woman my wife used to work with. He's a nice guy and all, and I even remembered his name -- very impressive, given my propensity for forgetting such things pretty much one hundred percent of the time.

(Seriously, I'm surprised I can recall my wife's name sometimes. It's like a big fat mental block I have about what I'm supposed to call people. So in my world, everybody's a 'buddy' or a 'dude' or 'big fella'.

Which works okay for the guys, I suppose. Especially when most of them don't really give a damn whether I know their names or not... as long as I'm buying the beer, of course. But I don't have as many substitute monikers for the ladies, which sometimes gets me in trouble. The best I can usually do is come up with something neutral, like 'Hey there, you!' or 'What's up, Skippy?'

Sure, I know 'Skippy' isn't the most flattering cover to use when I can't remember a girl's name. Still, it's not the worst I could do. I once greeted a long-lost aunt with 'Hey... um, Aunt... BigFella... uh, dude.'

Yeah, I don't get invited to the family Christmas party any more. Big surprise, huh?)

The name wasn't the problem today, though. I simply didn't know what to do. I saw the guy just as he was turning away from me to sit on a park bench. I was maybe thirty feet away from him, walking back to my office after lunch. And since it was noontime, there were various and sundry -- oh, very sundry -- people wandering around the area. I had no fricking idea what to do.

So I just stood there, like a goober. I thought about calling out the guy's name. But then it occurred to me that it might not be who I thought it was. And I decided it might be a bit uncomfortable to be standing there calling, 'Joe! Yo, Joe!' when there was no Joe to be had. (And I certainly didn't want to be doing it if there was a Joe hanging around, just waiting to 'be had'. But that's different. Alls I wanted was to say hello.)

Anyway, I ended up shuffling back and forth, turning toward the office, then back toward the bench, then the office, then the bench. I thought about walking around to the front of the bench and getting a good look, but again -- what if I were wrong? I was hardly in a condition to be subtle about looking this guy up and down, and that would be bad no matter what. If it wasn't my friend, I'd look like some random pervert freakjob. And if it was him, then I'd look like a specific pervert freakjob. And the story of my long, searching gaze into his eyes would eventually make its way back to my wife. So I decided against it.

In the end, I decided against doing much of anything, and finally went back to the office. Now I'll never know whether I was right, or whether this was just some stranger enjoying his afternoon on the park bench. Or picking up chicks, or casing the restaurant across the way, or whatever the hell he was there to do. And I guess that's okay. It's not like it was my long-lost brother, or some old school chum I'd been keeping an eye out for. Really, I should just let it go. I know this.

But I still feel like I could have handled it a bit more gracefully. I could have caught up on some news, or gotten a lunch invitation. Hell, maybe I could have even borrowed money from the guy -- who knows? But I missed out. I just didn't know how to slyly see who it was without making an ass of myself. So, I hung my head and slunk back to work. As usual.

Maybe there was a better way. Or maybe I should have just yelled for the guy, or gone over and stared at him, and the blips on people's gaydar be damned. I don't know; I took the easy way out, and hightailed it out of there. This time, it probably didn't cost me much. A couple of minutes of chit-chat; maybe a snippet of news about a mutual friend. But I want to be ready for the next time, when it might be the generous rich guy from an old job, or that hot girl my wife used to hang out with. It'd be a shame to miss out on an opportunity like that!

On the other hand, maybe it's best to just avoid these situations. I'd probably end up fucking them up somehow, and then those people would never speak to me again. I'd accidentally tell the rich dude he's looking fatter, or I'd forget the girl's name and call her 'Little Miss BigFella'. Not at all good.

Yeah, I think I made the right choice. Even going to work is better than the trouble I typically get myself into. Really, I shouldn't talk to people at all, ever. It's just safer that way.




Wednesday, October 15, 2003
 
Random Shit That Non-Baseball Fans Probably Won't Give a Damn About

Just a few thoughts I've had while watching the Yankees-Red Sox game (which the Sox are losing, right on schedule):

Is there anything even conceivably worse than watching the (Damned) Yankees win an important game in their own stadium? I'm sure there are probably some normal, likable, intelligent Yankees fans out there... but damned if I've met any of them yet. I'm still not convinced they're not an urban myth. As far as I can see, Yankee Stadium is filled with hairy, wifebeatered, gold chain-wearing cab drivers and teamsters, with an MGD in one hand and the other glommed around their big-haired, nose-jobbed, gum-chomping Jersey girlffriend, both of them pumping hairy-knuckled fists in the air and screaming, 'Eh, fuck Pedro! Fuck 'im!'

Or maybe I made that up. Damn, I hate the Yankees.


Fox has absolutely the worst baseball announcers ever. Seriously, I think I could tolerate Fran Drescher and a coke-nosed Bobcat Golthwaite more readily than this bunch of blubbering boobs. Joe Buck apparently learned not a damned thing from his famous, and infinitely more entertaining, father. Tim McCarver is pedantic, rambly, and full of useless drivel that he's all too happy to share. (Uh-uh-uh -- don't even think of saying, 'Oh, like the guy who writes this blog, maybe?' None of that, bitches.) Bret Boone was added to the booth as... as... well, as what, I don't exactly know. I thought he was going to be a 'player expert'. But he acts more like a 'retarded mime'. The dude says nothing -- not a friggin' word -- for three innings, and then pipes in with something like, 'Well, he really wants to get a hit here.'

'He really wants to get a hit here.'

Ooh, that's fuckin' priceless, man. There's a hitter at the plate, and he'd like to get a hit. Damn. Where does a guy have to go to school to develop that sort of brilliant insight? Forget discussing strategy, or his own experiences in the playoffs, or his brother -- his frickin' brother, fer Chrissakes! -- who plays third base for the Yanks. No, sir, Bret. Just tell us that hitters want to hit the ball, and pitchers would prefer to get them out. Absolute genius, man. Somebody pay this guy, would ya?

But the worst, the absolute vilest, is Steve Lyons. He's not covering this particular game; you'll be able to hear his particular brand of 'slope-browed stupid' tonight, when the Cubs and Marlins play their grudge game. Just don't listen too hard -- I swear to God, you'll bleed from the ears. The guy's nickname is 'Psycho', but it ought to be simply 'Dumbass'. It's actually a relief when Lyons states the obvious, because it means he's not butchering someone's name, or mis-remembering a stat, or just plain making shit up as he goes along. If I didn't love hearing the crack of the bat so much, I'd watch the damned games on 'Mute'. Why can't they all take a cue from Bret Boone?


Speaking of McCarver... I'm not really that surprised that he just used the word 'reticent', as he's always dropping fiddy-cent words into his telecasts. The real shocker is that he used it correctly. I think that's a first, folks. I half expected him to say something like,

'Jose Contreras is originally from Cuba, but now he's a permanent reticent of the US.'

Yeah, that's the Timmy McC we all know and loathe. Where's Deion Sanders when you need him?


Ah, yes, this is more like it. The Sox have come back to tie this thing. And come to think of it, I misspoke earlier. (Okay, fine, I 'mistyped'. Nobody likes a nitpicker, man.)

Anyway, I said the Sox were losing, 'right on schedule'. But this is just Game 6. Truth be told, I fully expect Boston to pull this one out -- preferably with a brawl, and a healthy dose of ill will -- and then blow the next game. You know, just to make things more interesting, and to make the fall that much harder when it comes.

Hey, the Cubs are doing the same 'drama' thing, right? They could have put the Marlins away yesterday, and had their young phenom on the mound to get it done. But no -- they tanked late, and now we have a Game 7 in that series. Which the Marlins are pretty much destined to win, right? Sammy's gonna lose a fly ball in the lights, or Kerry Wood will walk in the winning run, or some shit like that. And the lovable losers will go down again, after being soooo close. That's just the way it goes.

And really, I think that's what Cubbies fans want, deep down inside. They've been tortured and disappointed for so long, I think they've started to like it that way. They're like little old Jewish women -- they complain all the damned time, and nothing's ever good enough... but really, they wouldn't have things any other way. Rooting for the Cubs -- and bitching, nonstop and loudly, about the Cubs -- is fun. But if they were to ever actually win the big one? Oy vey.

Of course, you'd never get one of the diehards to admit it. It's 'root, root, root for the Cub-bies', and all that crap. But think about it -- just about everybody in the frickin' country wants the Cubs to get to the World Series, if not win it. It's the underdog factor. But if the Cubs actually win -- if they take home the trophy -- then they're just another bunch of obnoxious, screaming, partisan fans. They're no longer special, and nobody will ever give a shit about what the Cubs do again. (Not unless they can manage to put together another ninety-year-or-so losing streak, of course.)

So while the Cubs themselves most certainly want to pop the champagne corks in October, I'm not so sure about their fans, no matter how loudly they say otherwise. 'Cause if the Cubs are ever World Champs, nobody's gonna listen to their fans' moaning and groaning ever again. They're cute and all now, but once the team is successful, all bets are off. Who knows what would happen then? With nothing to complain about, what will the Cubheads do?

My guess is that they'll be just as obnoxious, but now with an attitude. Just one more reason to cheer for the Marlins, if you ask me. Can you imagine six million Cub fans using all of that compaining energy on gloating and jeering other teams instead? Christ, they'll be worse than those damned Yankees fans. Shit.

Go get 'em, Marlins. Kick some Cub ass tonight. 'Cause as much as I don't want to hear their whining, it's a helluva lot preferable to the alternative. Let's keep the assholes in the Bronx, shall we?



 
Parking's No Walk in the Damned Park, You Know

Parking is the new bane of my existence.

(So you're off the hook, Old Navy commercials. For now. Just wait until I figure out where to dump my car every day, though -- I'll be back on your ass like flies on shit. Goofy-assed cheesy ads.)

Anyway, for the next... um, forseeable future, actually -- I'll be parking illegally during the weekdays. Half the time, I'll be doing it in one neighborhood, in a 'Resident Parking Only' area, and hoofing it twenty minutes or more to one office. The rest of the time, I'll be... well, I don't know what the hell I'll be doing, to tell you the truth. Today I parked at a two-hour meter right outside the office, and fed the annual GNP of a small Latin American nation into it, in quarters, to avoid getting a ticket. (Which would cost me the annual GNP of a large European nation, so it's worth it.)

But I can't go on doing that forever. For one thing, I mis-timed my trips outside every freaking time today. A couple of times -- out of, like, six -- I knew I was late. I'd gotten caught up in a conversation, or a meeting ran long, or something. But the other times, I scampered out to my car with the firm expectation of having a couple or three minutes left on the meter, only to be greeted with the big fat red 'EXPIRED' sign. Either I can't tell time -- which is not outside the realm of possibility; I still have trouble tying my shoes, and I've been described as a 'potty training accident waiting to happen' -- or the meters are cheating. Today, it didn't cost me; maybe the meter bitches take Hump Days off. I don't really know. What I do know, though, is that eventually I'm going to lose that little game of bitch-and-mouse, and so I'd better find a better solution. Fast.

Unfortunately, the prospects aren't good. I think I'm going to end up driving to some arbitrary, but relatively safe, spot, and schlepping the rest of the way in via public transportation. The idea doesn't exactly get my 'nads all wet 'n' slippery, if you know what I mean. I'm not a big fan of commuting as it is. The last thing I want to do is add another half an hour to it, not to mention a half an hour spent not in my cozy, comfy car, but rather in a funky, hazy train, being rubbed up against greasy businessmen and stinky-assed babies and random fat farty people. If I wanted to put up with that kind of shit, I'd go to my damned family reunions. Bleh.

I don't want to hear that 'Lots of people do it, though' crap, either. That poo don't fling, people. It's supposed to mean, 'Well, if those other people can manage to do it, then you should, too.' But to me, it just says, 'Hey, look, there are a lot of slack-jawed morons out there doing something foolish! Why don't you join the herd?'

Which is not to say that commuting for an hour or more each way every day is 'foolish', necessarily. But it's not to say that it isn't, either. Sure, there are a few good reasons for wasting a quarter or more of your waking life getting to and from your job. Maybe your spouse works at a job that's just as far in the other direction, so you're compromising. Or your kids just have to be in some certain school district. Or maybe you have to live in your current house, and no other, to fill some asshole requirement in your great uncle's will, or else you won't inherit the fourteen million dollars. But you know what? That's about it, as far as I can see.

(And frankly, I'm not so sure about the second one. Damned kids don't get to pick their schools -- what the hell is this world coming to, anyway?)

I really can't fathom any other good reason for spending as much time -- or more! -- getting to and from work as you do on all your other non-work, non-sleep activities combined. Seriously, spending an hour getting ready for work, and then two hours getting to work, working for eight hours, and then two hours getting home from work... what's left? That's thirteen hours right there. Match the four it took to get back and forth, and you're up to seventeen. Seven hours of sleep, and it's time to giddyup and go all over again. Uncool.

Of course, that kind of analysis makes me look like a doofus, too. Sure, I only had a twenty minute commute or so to my last job, and I went in around ten. Or eleven. Or 'Hey, it's almost time for lunch; maybe I should just go in after I eat'. That sort of thing. But I was usually sleeping until nine-thirty. Or ten-thirty. Or -- well, you get the idea. And then I'd work until seven or eight at night, or later. So I'd have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to get in my four hours of 'home time', and I'd be exhausted. So I'd sleep in until ten the next morning, and hop on the merry-go-round again. Not exactly the 'American Dream'. (Unless you're a crack-addicted workaholic insomniac-American, of course. Then, it might be right up your alley. Go you!)

But the difference -- I told myself, over and over -- was that I wasn't wasting time getting to work, or from work. And that was the key. At work, I could feel like I was doing something. And at home, I could relax and enjoy doing nothing. But in between? Nothing but hassle, and jackasses, and potholes, and Masshole drivers to swerve around and feed the finger to. Blue-haired old ladies who can't see over the dashboard, and slicked-up greaseball rich fucks with gigantic SUVs (gee, you think they're compensating for something, hmmm?) who won't pick a damned lane. Bastards.

So I'm not a big fan of lengthening my commute. If it were up to me, I'd live right across the street from my office, and just roll out of bed and into the door in the morning. (Or after lunch, maybe... you know, it's already eleven-thirty -- no sense in going in on an empty stomach now.) That would be sweet, too -- I could keep an eye on my desk from my window at home. I'd finally figure out who the hell was stealing all of my pens and re-adjusting my fricking desk chair.

(If I had a goddamned dime for every time I came back to my desk at the last job, only to slam my ass into the seat because the stupid thing was a foot and a half lower than I'd left it, or do a flailing backflip out of my cubicle because the release for the seat back had been fiddled with... well, let me just say I wouldn't be at my current job. A man could retire on that kind of money. Shit.)

I suppose there'd be drawbacks to living right outside the office, of course. I couldn't very well make the '*kaff kaff* Um, boss? *ker-choo!* Uh, I don't feel so good today... *hork*' call while I'm loading my golf clubs into the trunk of my car. Plus, I'd never get a frickin' snow day. They'd probably install a damned T-bar from their door to mine, to be sure that the winter weather wouldn't keep me away. Those bitches think of everything.

Ah, well. Maybe this parking thing will work out, after all. I just need to find a meter that's never checked, or a neighborhood where the police don't bother to enforce the 'Residents Only' rules. Of course, even if I find such an oasis, it's likely to be six frickin' miles away from the office. I'll have to get a Segway, or hire a rickshaw or something, to get from there to the workplace and back. Feh. Whose idea was this job thing, anyway?




Tuesday, October 14, 2003
 
People Really Do This Shit Five Days a Week?

Man, I'm pooped. This going to work business isn't as easy as I remember it.

(On the other hand, I didn't show up at eleven, take a three-hour lunch, and then get loaded, either. So it's not like my last job. Not yet, anyway -- it's only the first week. Oh, hush up.)

It's tough to actually do shit again, though. And so much shit, too! I walked, and I thought, and I listened, and I made conversation. I was like a real person again. Which was very foreign, and a little bit creepy. I was getting pretty close to perfecting the 'asocial hermit' thing; just another couple of weeks, and I think I'd have had it down cold. The grumpy muttering, the yelling at neighborhood kids, going out in my boxers and a T-shirt to get the mail... really, I almost mastered the whole bit. I was born to play that role.

And then I was unceremoniously thrust back into society. It's a shock to the system, really. I feel like an astronaut coming back from a long space voyage; suddenly, the whole weight of the world is on my shoulders, and it's a struggle even to stand up. Much less kiss ass properly, or jump 'how high' they tell me. I'm just not ready, dammit!

Eh. Maybe I'm just tired. I got up at seven thirty this morning, which is roughly four hours earlier than usual. And I still had to rush around all willy-nilly to get to my nine o'clock meeting on time. And then to be around people for the next eight hours, and three hours more for my class? Please! How about a little 'me time' over here, huh? Who do I have to sleep with around here to be left the hell alone?

(Um, actually, apparently the answer to that last question is 'Every girl I've ever known except my wife'. But let's just move on, okay? No need to dig up that sort of thing. It's all hoes under the bridge now. Hoes under the bridge.)

Anyway, I've got to get up and do it all over again tomorrow, so I think I'll cut this session a bit short. I'm not sure how many days of this in a row that I can handle, you see. I may have to start getting in bed by midnight, or even eleven! (In other words, four hours earlier than usual.) I'm a delicate damned flower, you know. Gotta have my resticles.

But I'll get back into the groove, I think. I'll relearn how to function before ten am -- not function well, of course, but at least be able to friggin' breathe without having an aneurysm. And I'll probably remember how to use my brain for things other than baseball stats and fart jokes.

(On the other hand, both those sorts of things would seem to play well at my new office, so I can't go too overboard with the cerebral shit. Yeah, like that's a possibility -- I'm going to be too cerebral. Sure, that'll happen. And then I'll grow nipples on my ass, and get my jollies squirming around in my chair all day. Right. Not gonna happen, folks.)

But I'll cope. Hell, before this summer, I'd been working non-stop for a dozen years or more. I'll get it back -- I'm gonna make it, after all. It'll just take some time, to adjust and adapt to the demands being placed on me. And if that means hopping in the sack before three in the morning... well, so be it. I may not know much (and I don't), and I may annoy my new coworkers (and I will), and I may steal office supplies and sneak vodka into my Pepsi bottles (and I do). But dammit, I will find a way to do something useful at these early-morning meetings.

More useful than drooling on my chin and scratching my crotch, that is. That shit, I can do in my sleep. Come to think of it, it's just about time for some more practice. Drooly-chinned itchy-crotched sleepytime land, here I come!



 
Heroes Who Always 'Turn the Other Cheek'

Okay, you're going to think I'm weird.

I know, I know -- your opinion of me couldn't get any lower. I've already sunk to the deepest depths of bizarreness, scraping the very bottom of the bizarro barrel, right?

Wrong.

I went to my first day of work at my new job today. We had a meeting at nine am (which I was on time for, a small miracle in and of itself). At said meeting were my two new co-bosses and various lab personnel. Just another day in the workplace. I paid close attention to the first twenty minutes of the meeting.

Then.

Then I turned to my right to look at one of my new bosses, who was explaining something Very Important™, and Very Complicated Indeed™. And I noticed that he has a mole on his left cheek -- the one facing me as he spoke. Now, it's not a big scary old-person mole. It's not hairy, or swollen, or warty. It's not ginormous, or anything; this is not a Gorbachev type of mole. It's just a mole. A birthmark. An overgrown freckle.

But.

The thing is, I've got the very same sort of mole, only mine's on my right cheek. In other words, the one facing him as he spoke. Again, not hairy, or huge, or Gorby-gross -- just a plain old garden-variety mole. But it got me to thinking. And after just a bit of thinking, I came to the only logical, obvious conclusion:

Clearly, he and I are a superhero crime-fighting duo. We're like the Wonder Twins, only our special shape-shifting abilities are activated when we 'meld moles'. We're the Fabulous Mole Duo, or maybe the Freckle Friends, or even the Benign Birthmark Battle Boys. We've got secret hideouts, and costumes, and stuff. Really secret -- so secret that I don't even know about it, apparently. Now that's keeping a low profile!

And we get into lots of fights and scrapes. And just like all the other superheroes out there, we lose -- pretty miserably -- for the first three-quarters of the melee. But then -- just as things look bleakest -- we brush cheeks and call on our Mole Morphing Power to save the day. I assume the form of a cactus, or a bowling ball, or a slice of American cheese. Meanwhile, he turns into a down comforter, or a katydid, or maybe a charm bracelet. Whatever it takes to repel the force of evil.

So, anyway, I zoned out for pretty much the rest of the meeting. Sure, I was there in the room physically. But in my mind, I was battling crime, fighting off the Whiner, and Dastardly Duck Sauce Man, and the Homeless Boozer. With my crimefighting partner, of course. Can't do it alone, you know.

Of course, I have no real way of knowing whether all this is true, or just some sleep-deprived fantasy I've concocted. No way of knowing yet, that is. See, there's only one way to know for sure, and I'm working on it as we speak. It'll take a little planning, and some subterfuge, and perhaps some drinking -- yes, quite a bit of drinking -- but eventually I'll come up with a scheme. Some excuse or ruse to brush against the man, cheek-to-cheek for just a moment. And as our freckle-spots glide against each other, I'll call out,

'I assume the form of a French ballerina!'

Either I'll immediately morph into a tutued nymph, or I won't. Either way, I'll know for sure about the superhero thing, and that's what's important. (And either way, I'll probably have just a bit of explaining to do. Erk.)

So that's my story. Not so weird once it's all explained, right? Um, right? Fine, be that way. Poopyhead.

I didn't want to talk to you anyway. But I'll tell you this, mister smarty-farty-pants -- when the Homeless Boozer shows up at your door, pissing on your carpet and drinking you out of house and home, don't come crying to me, all right? Me and my magic mole are gonna be busy that day. So nyah!




Monday, October 13, 2003
 
Back to the 'Grind' (Not the Fun, Spanky Kind, Either)

The summer went way too quickly.

I'm not talking about the weather, per se. Frankly, I prefer the fall -- all that hot, humid shit is for suckers. Who wants their undies in a bunch clinging to their ass all damned day, anyway? (Somebody else's undies, maybe. But your own? Nah.)

No, what I'm really bemoaning (and it's 'be-moaning', people, not just plain 'moaning', all right; I don't need any more nasty letters from the Peanut Gallery) is the end of my temporary retirement. My non-self-inflicted sabbatical. My extended vacation. My 'fat lazy unemployed slob' phase.

For you see, at nine am tomorrow, all of that changes. My new job starts. Suddenly, I'll be a fat lazy employed slob again. It's the end of an era. I'll have to get up, fight commuter traffic, actually interact with people during the day. Possibly, I'll even have to carry on conversations with some of them, or make eye contact. The horror!

(On the other hand, I am a software engineer. Which means that a bit of asocial behavior is pretty much expected. Maybe no one will talk to me, after all. I think I'll start wearing Birkenstocks and grimy T-shirts and grow a Jesus beard, though. You know, just to be sure.)

Anyway, it's going to be tough getting back to the grind, I think. I was unemployed for three whole months. You can break a lot of habits in a quarter of a year, you know. I'll have to remember how to be polite to people, and greet them cheerfully in the morning, not to mention how to put my damned pants on.

(Last time I wore pants, I strapped a pair of my wife's jeans to my head and chased the dog around the house, yelling, 'I'm a bunny rabbit -- hippity hippity hippity hop!' until I crashed into the kitchen table. I think it's good to keep the puppy on her toes, in case a real wild animal should ever get loose in the house. But mainly, I just like wearing my wife's pants on my head. Is that so wrong?)

Hopefully, I'll be able to get all my shit together in the next twelve hours or so, though. It's probably a good idea to blend in for the first few days on the job, before I let them know the kind of guy they've really hired. I even put the kibosh on a couple of antics already. Like pushing all the elevator buttons when I went to the interview, or futzing with the TB test I had to take.

(Yeah, they gave me a tuberculosis test. I think it's standard procedure; my new employer is a hospital. Of course, it could be because of the tofu I hid in my hand and pretended to 'cough' all over the guy's desk at the interview, too. Hey, I said I vetoed some of the shit I was planning on doing -- I never said I nixed all of it.)

Luckily, I was given this last day of reprieve before getting in there and getting my hands dirty. (Thank you, Chris Columbus. You go, bee-yatch.) But tomorrow is D-Day. T-minus zero seconds. Showtime, and all that shit. And there's so much I left undone during my hiatus from gainful employment. All those rounds of golf left unplayed, the Madden NFL championships unwon, the mid-afternoon drinking binges I never managed to find the time for. It's sad, really.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm glad to have a job again, and this one is actually really exciting and interesting. It turned out to be a great fit. It's just going to be an adjustment, that's all. I'm not used to being out in public any more. I haven't seen the light of day in a while. I'm like one of those kids you hear about who do something bad, and then get chained to the radiator for a few years, and lose their ability to socialize properly. You know the ones. What? You don't? That doesn't happen where you are? Hmmm. Must just be my neighborhood. (Now you wanna visit, don'cha? Yeah, you know you do.)

So, anyway, life changes for me tomorrow. I just wanted to warn you. Hopefully, you won't even notice. But if the firehose stream of words eases up a bit for a while, don't be alarmed. I'm just adjusting. And I'm away from home three evenings a week. But on the bright side, I'll be out in the rat race again, in the world of men full-time. So I'll no doubt witness lots of asinine boobery to write about. The Content-O-Meter will be through the roof. That should even things out.

Now, if I can just find the time to write all that shit down, in between meetings and status reports and putting-on-pants lessons. Man, this 'having a job' shit is going to be hard.



 
If You Haven't Read It -- and You Haven't, Trust Me -- It's New to You!

Hey, all. I'd like to torture annoy regale you with another piece that I submitted to a local paper, and heard back... well, nothing. Which means, quite clearly, that they have no interest in publishing this little ditty, and so I'm doing it myself. So there!

Anyway, I suppose I can see why they're not on board with this one. It's pretty anti-social, when you get right down to it. Still, I thought it was a pretty good topic, and maybe you will, too. (Or maybe you won't. There's only one way to find out, now, isn't there?)

This train wreck of a submission actually started out quite a bit longer, if you care about such things. But the rules of submission for this paper said five hundred words. So I picked, and clipped, and snippy-snip-snipped, and this is what's left. Hopefully, you like it. Apparently, they didn't. The bastards.

Anyway, here it is. I don't think I ever bothered to come up with a title, but maybe it should have one. How about 'Automotive Dreams', 'Fighting Fools with Fuschias'? Nah, those aren't quite right. I'm drawing a blank right now, though. Any good ideas out there? Lemme know.


I finally have a solution. After years of trial and error, I have at last found the cure for one of our region’s most heinous problems.

We all know that Boston drivers are a notoriously asinine lot, and that the pedestrians are even worse. But no one really understands why. Boston is a wealthy, cosmopolitan, well-educated city. Some of the nation's finest institutions of higher learning are here, and it's a major hub for high tech industries. Fresh ideas and creativity simply ooze out of Boston’s pores.

So it's a mystery why the average Boston citizen is completely flummoxed by the notion of a ‘turn signal,’ and when and how to use one. Or why our best and brightest in Harvard Square routinely forget everything they’ve learned about the consequences of high-speed vehicular collisions involving their soft, fleshy bodies, and cross the street willy-nilly like herds of spooked cattle.

Well, I for one have had enough. I’m tired of SUVs and graduate students blocking my right of way, leaving me no recourse but to swerve and scowl, and perhaps honk menacingly in their direction. Lately, that sort of impotent reaction simply isn’t enough. I want to make a quick, satisfying impression, and finally, I know how to do it.

The answer is paint jets. That’s right, paint jets. Mounted on the fronts of our cars, alongside the headlights. Little tubes that – with a press of a button – send a burst of water-soluble paint shooting in front of the car. So the next time some fool cuts you off on the ‘Pike – spppplllltt! Or a pedestrian inches past your car while your green light ticks away – tthhhppttt! Now they’ve got a bright orange stripe along their fender, or their knees. It’s safe, harmless, and even washes off with water. But you’ll feel a lot better knowing that you’ve scored a direct hit in the war against incompetent boobery. And until the paint is scrubbed away, the world can share in your victory, too.

So that’s my idea, and frankly, it looks awfully good on paper. But there’s a fatal flaw in my plan. You see, it’s highly unlikely that whoever produces these jets would require an IQ test or driving exam as a prerequisite for purchase. So the goons who infuriate us today would have the same ammunition as we do tomorrow. And knowing them, we’d get doused in gooey paint every time they tried to turn on their windshield wipers or open their trunk. Clearly, this technology shouldn’t be in their hands.

So I guess I don’t have the answer, after all. It’s too bad, really. We could have made it work. Folks like you and I would have been responsible with our new toys. We’d never spritz that new BMW or Lexus, just because we finally had the technology, right? Well, hardly ever. And I’m sure we wouldn’t get itchy trigger fingers if a group of Yankees fans were to cross in front of us at a red light, either. That would just be wrong. Or wrong-ish, anyway.

You know, the more I find wrong with this idea, the better it sounds. Anyone know a good creative mechanic out there?





Sunday, October 12, 2003
 
Don't You Bully Me with That Thing!

I know that some of you out there aren't dog owners.

Now, I'm not putting you on trial or anything here. Maybe you've got a reason for not being a 'pooch pal'. Maybe you're allergic to fur, or drool, or things that can -- and do, almost constantly -- lick their own asses.

Or maybe you're a 'cat person'. I won't hold that against you. (I won't count on you for anything important, mind you, since you've already shown signs of mental instability by preferring felines to canines. But I won't hold it against you, either. Much.)

Anyway, the point is, maybe there's no slobbering, tail-wagging nincompoop in your life right now. (Or, if you're like Ben Affleck, maybe there is, but it's not a dog. In which case, you have way more problems than I can help you with. I suggest you start drinking immediately, and don't stop until you can't remember who you are or where you live. It's not a permanent cure, but it'll work in an emergency. And if you've just realized you're 'like Ben Affleck', then it's a friggin' emergency! Trust me on this one. Seek help.)

Okay, circling back to the point, I'm guessing there are a few of you who don't own dogs. You may, therefore, be unaware of the various products that are available for our prized pooches to play with. Or eat, or chew on, or chase around the house. Which is a shame, frankly. And so, I'm here today to erase your ignorance in this area, and to give you just a few of the many highlights of the bits and baubles currently available on the market for our furry, slobbery friends (not named Tom Arnold... though I hear he does enjoy a mid-afternoon Snausage snack from time to time).

And so, without further blather, I bring you a partial list of Weird Shit You Could Buy for Your Dog. You know, if you had a dog. And you were clinically insane. 'Cause I can't imagine who else would buy this goofball crap. Anyway, enjoy.

First up, there's 'Dog Apparel'. Clothes for the always-naked set. Coats for the terminally furry. And I'm not talking about big hairy Italian guys, either. I mean real dogs, and real coats. Have a look, if you don't believe me. We've even got one of these contraptions ourselves. It's like a little fuzzy sausage casing that velcros around our dog; she sticks her front feet in the 'sleeves', and then it just wraps around her. It's snug. It's warm. It's cozy.

And it makes her look like a frigging moron. Seriously, she won't even go outside in the damned thing.

'No, that's all right,' she tells me. 'I think I'll just shit right here on the carpet and take the heat for that. It's still better than putting on that stupid pooch vest. Really, I've made my choice, thanks so much.'

Of course, it gets even worse. I can only speak for the vest from personal experience, but there are plenty of more ridiculous things out there. Like this hat, and this 'charming' ensemble, and this... this... what the fuck is this, anyway? Who comes up with this shit? Does Catbert work for these companies, or what?

Anyway, on to the next sin against nature. Namely, 'Food-Shaped Toys'. Like these sqeuaky hot dogs, or these veggie toys.

(Great, now the porn phreak crowd will be all up in my bidness again, because I've got a reference to 'veggie toys' on my site. Fantastic. At least I didn't mention 'horny lesbians' or 'barely legal teasers' anywhere near -- oh. Poop.)

So, is it really a good idea to teach your dog to attack and glom onto these toys that look like food? I'm thinking not. Now, maybe I'm just being difficult, or overly cautious. Or maybe -- just maybe -- I own a pit bull, and I'd like to be able to hold a freaking hot dog in my hand without having to worry about the dog chomping my damned fingers in half trying to make the weiner go 'squeaky squeaky'. (Which is one damned fine sexual euphemism, if I do say so myself. And I do. I'll have to remember that one...)

What else have we got? Well, let's see. There's always the 'Dog Pudding'. That's right, dog pudding. Pud-ding. Frozen pudding. Bill Cosby would be all moist and puckery if he knew about this.

As for me, though, I'm not so excited. Why? Well, for one, this just teeters on the edge of letting the dog eat better than I do. Seriously, if I'm nuking my frozen burritos, or popping in a TV dinner, how am I going to feel if I feed the dog a 'healthy and delicious pudding cup'? There's a pecking order, dammit, and I'm on top! Me! Or... um, well, really, my wife, I suppose. But I'm above the dog; that much, I'm sure of. So she's not gonna out-eat me in my own home. No way. Peck, peck, peck, bitch. Peck.

Plus, think about where this shit would be kept. In the freezer, or perhaps the refrigerator. Now, my wife keeps pudding and yogurt of her own in there sometimes, and you can bet your ass that the first time she reaches in there for a tasty dessert and gets one of these horse-sicle cups, there would be hell to pay. And then it would be my ass. So no thanks to the 'Dog-E-Licious' pudding folks. I think I'll pass.

Which brings me to my final entry in this carnival of creepy pet paraphenalia. That would be the 'Bully Stick'. Really, this is good. You'll be glad you stuck around till the end.

So, as you may know, the dog chew-toy industry folks like to use every part of the cow, or horse, or pig when making treats for our best furry friends. And so it's quite possible -- easy, even -- to find items like smoked cow hooves, puffed pork snouts, beef knuckles, and pig ears.

None of these, though, come close to the 'Ewwww' factor of the 'bully sticks', or 'bullies'. For you see -- and as you may have guessed by now -- real, genuine bully sticks are all-natural, non-synthetic, unadulterated bull penises, lopped off and lovingly prepared for your dog to chew. Really, I'm not kidding. You can look it up.

So what's wrong with bringing a few cow dicks into your home for your puppy to play with? Well, let me count the ways.

First, there's the sheer grossness of it all. This is a bull dong, for heavens' sake! If I wanted a big ugly wang rubbed all over my carpets and floors and up against my couches, I'd do it myself, all right? I certainly don't need a decapitated 'bullywhacker' lying in the middle of the living room floor for me to look at, and kick around, and accidentally step on with my bare feet. Ew, dammit -- ewww!

Secondly, what the hell do you tell your friends and neighbors when they come over?

Them: Hey there -- I see Fido's got a new toy. What is that, rawhide?
You: Um... no. Not exactly.
Them: Oh. Plastic, then, maybe? It looks pretty hard.
You: Uh, unh-uh, it's not plastic.
Them: Weird. Well, what is it? Can I have a look?
You: Erk -- um, no. No -- dude, don't pick that up. It's --
Them: Wow, it's pretty heavy. This seems oddly familiar somehow...
You: Dude, just put it down, okay?
Them: Hey, don't worry; I won't break it. Hey, this smells pretty good. Has this been smoked?
You: Uh... well, I don't really, um, know. My guess would be no, but who knows what happens out there?
Them: Wow, it's really big, too. Man, I bet the dog loves this baby. This must taste fantastic!
You: Dude...I, uh... I'm not sure we should be friends any more, all right? Maybe you should just leave now.
Them: Wha?
You: Just... just drop the dick and walk away, man. Just walk away.

You can see the potential for unnecessary ickiness. But that's not all. Think about what you're doing with the thing. You're feeding it to your dog. You're asking your dog to consume another animal's willy. Talk about cruelty to animals -- that pretty much qualifies as a two-for-one special, if you ask me. Plus -- assuming your dog is actually faithful (and dopey) enough to go along with it, now your best bud is going to be running around your house with dickbreath. Who wants that when they're getting a big sloppy wet smooch from the pooch? It's bad enough they lick their own ass; must we really add another creature's reproductive organs to the mix, too?

Besides, where's the guarantee that the neighbors will know whose trouser treasure it is on the dog's breath, eh? You could get some very funny looks from the family down the street if they smell somebody's Mr. Happy when the dog pants in their face, you know. Sure, you know the truth, but how discriminating are your friends' noses, to tease apart the aroma of bull pecker from neighbor crotch? Chances are, those folks haven't had enough experience with either -- let alone both -- to make the distinction. (Unless you live in the deep South, or certain parts of San Francisco, in which case, your neighbors might well be experts. Friggin' connoisseurs, even.)

Finally, if you're of the male persuasion, there's the ego factor. It's always nice to be the, er, 'longest golf club in the bag', if you know what I mean. Especially in your own home. And some ot these bastards are pretty friggin' big. No way you want to be staring down the barrel of one of those as you're sitting down to eat dinner. Hell, I didn't even adopt a male dog -- you know, just in case -- do you really think I want to have to compete with the dog's damned chew toy? Or that I want the dog to think that those are fair game for chewing in the first place? *gulp* No way. I'll stick to the pork snouts and cow feet, thanks. Much safer.

So now you see the ridiculous stuff I have to walk past when I'm picking up a bag of kibble for the pooch. Frightening, isn't it? Maybe I should have just adopted the hedgehog at the pet store instead. Hmmm.




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