October 13, 2009

What the Hell is that Smell?

You know the smell I’m talking about. It permeates the workplace in an almost ritualistic manner around high noon on a daily basis. There’s no escaping its reach, for it has inescapable boundaries. Like a liquid or gas, its scope is bound only by its container—the outer walls of the office. It never takes a holiday. It never calls in sick. It never has a family emergency. Nope. It just floats above you, invisible to the naked eye, wreaking havoc on every nostril in its path. The only warning of its presence comes in the form of a barely audible three-beep sequence emitted by the break room’s grease-encrusted microwave.

It’s hard to point the finger at the company microwave for not triggering a more appropriate warning, maybe something like what you hear when a tornado has touched down within 10 feet of your precise latitude and longitude. That poor bastard is repeatedly bombed into submission one disgusting entrĂ©e at a time.

What’s that Mr. Microwave? Did you have something to say about my lunch? I didn’t think so. Here, explode this meatball for trying to be cute.

The company microwave is definitely an accessory in the nose killing conspiracy, but it certainly doesn’t act alone. Broadly speaking, the main culprit is leftovers. If you want to get specific, it’s leftovers with a dash of multiculturalism and a pinch of domestic terrorism. What do you get when you heat a third-pound of three-day old spaghetti, four of yesterday’s matzo balls and eight ounces of last week’s curry chicken in rapid succession? You get an olfactory pipe bomb capable of destroying the productivity of an entire office floor. That’s what.

There are at least a handful of days each month when I half expect to peek around my cubicle wall and discover my neighbor eagerly going to town on a turd sandwich. So imagine my surprise when I determine it’s just an authentic chicken dish that’s been fermenting in a sealed plastic container for the past five days. Other times, the odor originating in the cube across from me is so ripe, so pungent, that I’d regret not asking what the hell they were eating. In these extreme cases, you have to yield to morbid curiosity. I’ve found you have to be tactful in your investigations so as not to insult, so I paste on a smile and a fake inquisitive expression.

Man that smells good over there. What’s that you’re eating?

Oh this? This is just some meatloaf I marinated in armpit sweat overnight. You want the recipe?

If the aforementioned trio is the olfactory pipe bomb, its atomic counterpart is a pot luck lunch. In case it isn’t clear at this point, yes…I hate pot luck lunches. Here’s what goes through my mind every time I hear about one:

Come on…come on. Where’s the damn sign up sheet. Whew. Okay, here we go. Shit. Some asshole already claimed plastic cutlery. No sweat. Let’s just move to Plan B. Everything’s going to be fine. Don’t panic….oh my god…this can’t be happening. Not today. God why? Why now? Somebody else already staked out drinks and cups. How is this possible? Who are these monsters?

Panic is setting in.

Sweet Jesus, I’m going to have to cook something. Relax. Get a hold of yourself. Think. Come on. Think dammit. Hmm…I don’t see a spot for napkins. We have to have napkins. It’s definitely going to be messy. They’re essential. I’ll just make a spot on the sheet for them. Yeah. I’m going to write it in. Whew. Close call.

Another qualm I have with pot lucks is that nobody ever sends out a reminder the day before. I’m just supposed to instinctively remember that I signed up to bring napkins to tomorrow’s holocaust. Some of these pot luck signups take place a week or two before the feast. This is unacceptable. In hopes of fixing this massive disconnect in human interpersonal communication, I’d like to recommend that the following template be used henceforth to remind indifferent participators everywhere of an impending pot luck lunch:

Don’t forget everybody, pot luck tomorrow! Don’t forget to cook your disgusting ethnic dish tonight and bring it to the office tomorrow so we can all un-enjoy it. And remember, we have no way of heating up any of your entrees, so they’re all going to be as cold as a dead monkey’s nutsack. So plan accordingly. Come hungry and leave starving!

But I digress. I’ve wandered into the realm of taste—a beast of a different color. The theme here is smell. It’s hard to assess the damage done from the outright nasal onslaught a pot luck lunch creates. My reaction to the symphony of scents resembles the blonde chick’s reaction in a thriller when the killer smothers her face with a white handkerchief laced with something that makes her pass out. My knees do get weak and begin to buckle, but unfortunately I’m usually able to maintain consciousness. I’m pretty sure inhaling either kills the same amount of brain cells though.

One of the great things about living in America is that there are few certainties that come with the privilege. And that’s the product of choice. You can choose to learn skills that will get you ahead. You can choose to apply those skills towards a brighter future. You can choose to be like me and wallow contently in mediocrity, half-assedly applying your talents just enough to get by. Or you can choose to do absolutely nothing. For the most part, you’re born with an opportunity and you can do with it what you will. That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m a tad perturbed with what you can’t choose. With what is certain.

You’re going to die.

You’re going to pay taxes.

And your workplace is going to smell like shit at lunchtime.

I’m a realist by nature, so I’ve accepted two of those three with only the slightest hint of reluctance. But I’m pretty sure we could all do without the shit smell. It won’t be easy, and it’s going to require sacrifices. I’m not suggesting that you go hungry. I’m just asking that you think twice before heating up your frozen shrimp alfredo delight.


March 15, 2009

The Natural

Old Man Strength (n) - a mystical source of immense power generated by a patriarch when competing with or in front of his offspring in any physical or leisure activity.

Here's the thing about old man strength. Nobody knows how it's created. Does it come from a father's unwillingness to yield to his son or is it caused by a son buckling under the pressure created from an intense desire to surpass his dad?

I could make sound arguments for either source. When I have a son, there's no fucking way I'm going to let him beat me at anything. He's going to be wearing diapers and I'm going to lower the goal to 8 feet, dunk on him and pound my chest. Just so he knows where he came from. If we're tossing a baseball in the backyard, every 5th throw he's getting the stinky cheese. Even if his hat is so big on him that' it's blocking his vision. I'm going to throw his shit on the hardwood (or more likely driveway). I'm going to block his shot so fucking hard the garage door dents when his ill-fated shot bounces off of it. He will know who's the Master.

As a son, I've come so close to pocketing the 8-ball to beat my dad in pool or bowling the spare on the last frame only to fold under the pressure. Over Thanksgiving a few years back, I was kicking my dad's ass so bad in racquetball he starting hitting the ball so that it hit me square in the back. He did this at least 3 times. Have you ever been hit by a racquetball? Hurts like a paintball. He says it wasn't intentional, but I have my doubts. The message was clear. Time after time, sport after sport, I buckle under the pressure, grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.

But there has to be a ceiling right? I mean, Old Man Strength can't last forever. Right? At some point, senility has to set in. But it hasn't yet for my dad. And I was reminded of that on a fateful night a few years back. But before I get to the story, here's some info about my old man...

My dad's in his early 50's. He looks like he's in his early 40's. Taking after me, he's a good-looking guy . He's not in bad shape, nor is he a terrible athlete, but Father Time is starting to catch up to him.

At full sprint, his stride measures approximately 18 inches in length. He scoots more than he runs. His legs, though reasonably defined, have the girth of pixie sticks. Back in his prime, he was a decent athlete. In fact, he was such a specimen in high school that when he tried out for running back, the coaches conferred, and sure enough, they'd found their center. Yep, not even having his older brother (my uncle) as one of his coaches could keep him off the offensive line. That's my Pops.

To my dad's credit, he's still the only person I've ever known who can do a Chinese pushup. If you have to ask what it is, you can't do it.

He could do one right now. Crazy shit.

Thankfully, he passed the family speed down to me. I showed up to practice at middle school having never played organized football.

What position do you play Jay?

Not sure.

What position do you want to play?

Probably running back. Or receiver. Maybe quarterback.

The coaches were so impressed as I sliced and diced through cone drill after cone drill that they agreed unanimously. They'd found their center too. Thanks, Pops.

So here's the story. About 3 years ago a group of friends and our girlfriends and their friends and whoever wanted to join got together for a few weekends in the summer for some pickup games of coed softball. The competition was far from intense, but we weren't just fucking around either. One of the guys was the athletic director for a private Jewish school in town named after a dude named after a strictly male appendage (hint: think hot dog). It was awesome. We'd turn the lights on just for us, load up a cooler full of Smirnoff Ice and pound them down while pounding underhanded softballs all over the field.

We'd been playing for a couple of consecutive weekends when we were short players. Not wanting to end the streak, we searched frantically through our Zach Morris phones trying to round up a few more troops. I exhausted my cell phone directory before thinking...hey...didn't my dad play for his company softball team a few years ago? Wait. That was like 8 years ago. Shit. I wonder if he's any good. Don't want him to embarass himself. I wonder if he'd want to play. I don't know. Hmmm...yeah...ask him. Yeah...I'm going to ask him. I think I'll ask him. I'm going to ask him. Yeah.

Hey Pops...we need another player for softball. You want to play?

Shit. I don't know. I haven't played in years. Besides, I don't want to show anybody up out there.

Ha. Good one, Pops. Seriously. We're short guys. C'mon. It'll be fun.*

*This takes me to a quick tangent. Kids are mean as hell. Every guy reading this, take a quick moment to reflect on your childhood and your pickup sports games. How fucked up was it that there was always one kid in the neighborhood who didn't even know about the game unless you needed another player? And if you needed one more, you recruited him like he was the fucking MVP.

Yeah Timmy. C'mon Timmy. We need your hands out there. We gotta add more speed.

If you can't think of the kid I'm talking about, I hate to be the one to break it to you...but you were that kid.

I'm not saying my dad was Timmy, but you get the point.

After a little coercion, my dad agreed to play and we hit the diamond. I'm watching him closely as we kind of fart around and he doesn't look too impressive. Not embarassing, but not some 20 year old Domican pretending to be 16 either.

We pick teams, and my dad is of course the last person picked. And as such hits lowest in the order. We end up on opposite teams. My squad hits first. We slap a couple of hits around, plate a couple of runs in the first. A standard start to a coed softball game.

My dad's team manages to retire the side. When his team hits we can't get anyone out. Everyone is slapping the ball for singles. We're misplaying grounders. Overthrowing first base. Just bungling easy defensive plays. I realized shortly thereafter that all these miscues were merely setting the stage...

Bases juiced. My dad's turn to bat finally comes. He looks a little awkward stepping into the batter's box. Drama can't escape my dad on this night. Thoughts are flowing through my head...

C'mon pops. Just slap a single or something. Just don't strike out.

The first pitch flutters to home plate and my dad watches it thud on the ground for ball 1.

Oh fuck. C'mon pops. Don't take pitches like a little bitch. That's bush league shit. Swing dammit.

The second pitch flutters to the plate...


My dad makes contact on the second pitch and absolutely fucking drills the ball. It's a no-doubt moonshot...





My jaw dropped as the old man scooted round the bases, 18 inches at a time.

It was a helluva a swing. But not quite mighty enough to shake off the skeptics. You could feel the sense of lucky ol' bastard in the air.

We finally retire the side and score a few in the next inning to make it a game again.

Then we get a couple of outs in the next inning with minimal damage before another barrage of singles. Up comes my dad again. Bases juiced...

First pitch.


I use whack instead of smack to describe this one because the sound was definitely different. The first one was a moonshot. This one was a majestic blast that soared like a bald fucking eagle over the Alaskan wilderness...with the Northern Lights as a backdrop.






Before the night was over, my dad would crack two more homers. And I have to say. I was pretty impressed. And damn proud. He definitely didn't embarass himself.

The following week we didn't need players because we've found one. From that point forward he was the first player picked. How's that for vindication?

Maybe your old man has Old Man Strength over you until you become the old man. Maybe it's passed on from generation to generation.

Here's to hoping it doesn't skip mine.

If you have 5 minutes to spare and you want a watch a slightly...and only slightly...dramatized version of what happened that night, click here.

March 11, 2009

Maybe I should keep the top up

I had to have a convertible. So I did my research. I scoured every auto manufacturer's website getting the specs and starting prices for every model that offered a convertible option. After carefully considering all factors involved, I went with the car that satisfied my need for speed and my penchant for patriotism. I went with the Ford Mustang. Made right here in the U-S-of-motherfucking-A. A real American classic.

You turn the key and it rumbles like you fucked its sister.

I've had the car for about two years now, and needless to say I'm happy with it. Always have been, always will be. But about six months ago, one of my co-workers (who is a good friend) suggested that convertibles are gay (and let's just say he's an expert in the field). And if they're not gay, they're "fag magnets."

To this blasphemous venom of unAmericanism, I respond with a barrage of "that's bullshit's" and "fuck you dude's".

It wasn't but a week or two later that I would be the fool once again...

Saturday afternoon I was on my way home from somewhere, I think it was from the Save the Seals Foundation Luncheon. I had to accept an award for bravery or something for some habitat prevention project I headed back in '03. Something like that.

Anyways, I'm sitting at a red light with the top down about a block or two from my apartment when a guy in a silver Mercedes rolls down the window and asks me for directions. He's a weird looking dude, but his looks pale in comparison to his voice. His accent and vernacular tone is equal parts Ebonics, effeminate and Southern. He was speaking Ebofaggern.

Exthcuthse me. Say man, can you tail me how I get to Montrothse*?

Yeah, it's a cross street of Richmond. It's a little ways down though. Just stay on this for about another 15 lights or so.


*For my non-Houstonian readers, Montrose is the street that is home to several bars where members of the hairier gender prefer other members of the hairier gender.

While I'm a huge fan of stereotypes, I'm not a presumptuous guy so I don't think anything of it when the guy asks me how to get to Homoville. I'm just reveling in the post good Samaritan rush.

Well, we pull up to the next light and the guy still has his window down. And he was determined to eliminate all doubt. With a disturbing grin on his face...

Say man, thainks man. I'm just tryin to find me a dick that I can suck tonight.

Uh...heh...ha...I hear that. Well, you're going to the right place.

I circled the block a couple of times so Buffalo Bill couldn't see my complex and called it a day.

Anybody in the market for a Mustang convertible?

March 5, 2009

Chipotle User's Guide

For those of you who haven't yet experienced the unmatched glory that is the burrito bol from Chipotle, you are cordially invited to join the Bolist Movement.

Becoming a bolist requires intense preparation. If you're not armed with the proper knowledge before entering your local Chipotle, the powerful post-bol emotions could be overwhelming. It's even possible you may never be satisfied by another meal again. Other than a bol, that is. But don't worry. I've done the extensive research for you. I'm a veteran more than 500 bols in. You can always come here for ammunition for the fight.

Before I get to the perfectly seasoned meat and cilantro rice of this post, let me first tell you a story that happened a couple of weeks ago. This story depicts merely one example of the interesting life stories you can create on any magical visit to the Chipotle in your neck of the woods.

My girlfriend, her sister and brother-in-law and me all went to our local Chipotle after an intense game of tennis (it's admissions like this that make me want to remain as anonymous as possible). Being the patriot that I am, I ordered the usual...a bol with double meat. A couple of my eating companions foolishly ordered burritos (unecessarily adding 400 tasteless calories to their dinners).

Midway through the meal, an entity sitting at the table next to ours looked up and started speaking to us. I say entity because it was an effeminate being clad in all black wearing a black hat that covered three-quarters of her face. A roller-suitcase sat perched in the chair next to her, she was counting money on the table and didn't appear to be eating.

At first, I thought maybe she had come from a funeral. Then it hit me. She was an angel of death. The Ghost of Chipotle Present.

Excuse me...do you have any change to support a charity?

No, sorry we can't help you.

She became clearly distraught by our lack of interest and immediatly revealed her insanity.

That's okay. That's fine. We don't need yo' money. Obama's gonna see to that. He's gonna make sure we don't need yo' money.

She continued to ramble under her breath incessantly for the next two uninterrupted minutes. As her eyes began glowing a blood red, I turned the group and recommended we jet before she gets a good enough look at our faces to complete our voodoo dolls.

Never a dull moment at Chipotle.

Without further delay, here's the essential Chipotle User's Guide. It contains all the most up-to-date Chipotle terms so you can eat with confidence:

Let's first memorize the PreamBol:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect diet, establish culinary justice, insure nutritional tranquility, provide with the common ingredients, promote the general welfare via the bol, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Chipotle User's Guide.

Glossary of terms:

Pre-bol (adj): vernacular term that describes the period of time and state of mind just prior to bol consumption.

Post-bol (adj): vernacular term that describes the period of time and state of mind immediately after bol consumption.

Boler (syn. bolist) (n): a person who enjoys Chipotle bols.

Communist (n): a person who doesn't enjoy Chipotle bols.

Bolism (n): an addiction to bols. Sufferers, and I use the word loosely, typically consume 3-5 bols per week.

Bolphoria (n): the heightened sense of self-awareness and unequivocal culinary satisfaction felt just after consumption of a bol.

Bolphoric State (n): a brief 15-60 minute period of time (post-bol) where complete satisfaction sets in before you begin thinking about your next bol.

Blue bols (n): state of being that results from consuming a bol without double meat; like its unpunned counterpart, it's better than nothing at all but isn't fully satisfying

Bolgasm (n): an explosive state of pre-bol bolphoria that results from a free or comped bol.

Multiple Bolgasm (n): an exceptionally rare and uncontrollable state of bolphoria that results when both your bol and the bol of your dining companion are comped. Only the most elite bolists will ever experience a multiple bolgasm. Some say its existence is an urban legend.

Key phrases:

Let's go boling: A formal invitation to spice up your day via a bol.

Bol it off: a colloquial expression exchanged between two bolists to avoid a potential conflict.

Example #1:

Friend 1 to stranger at bar who just knocked his beer onto the floor:

Dude what the fuck is the matter with you?

Friend 2 to Friend 1:

Dude, forget about it. Just bol it off.

Example #2:

Friend 1 to stranger who just cut him off in a righthand turn lane but is going straight:

Dude, what the fuck is the matter with you?

Friend 2 to Friend 1:

Dude, relax. Let's bol it off.

Example #3:

Friend 1 to stranger walking out of his apartment carrying his plasma TV and PS3 and wearing a ski mask:

Dude, what the fuck is the matter with you?

Friend 2 to Friend 1:

Dude, they don't have TVs at Chipotle. And they don't need them. Let's bol it off.

If you think of any terms that need to be included to complete the glossary or key phrases section, please let me know. Healthy appetites depend on it.

Special thanks to Joe for helping me coin several of the glossary terms.

February 25, 2009

Bitches be Bitches

I learned at a young age that girls were the object of my affection. I learned at a slightly older age that they can't be trusted. This is the story (DUN DUN)...

Getcha popcorn ready and let's flashback to the 5th grade. My 5th grade. Leonard Lawrence Elementary in Bellevue, Nebraska (suburban Omaha...yes there's a suburban Omaha). Our mascot was the Leopards.

Yep, the Leonard Lawrence Leopards. And this is an appropriate mascot. It's where I learned chasing pussy is dangerous.

It was there on that tiny playground at the ripe age of 11 where I learned one of life's most important lessons. A place where dreams were made, where legends honed their streetball skills and where bitches be bitches.

My 5th grade teacher was one of the best teachers I've ever had (or so I thought). I'm not going to say her name because I'm only 3 entries into this blog and 4 people have already read it...maybe even 5. So it's just a matter of time before old teachers and old flames start stumbling upon this blog and I have to remove the link two paragraphs above and change the name of the school to Schmenard Schmorence Middle.

So anyways, the teacher,we'll call her Mrs. Elway, was really something. She was a fortysomething tomboy who frequently helmed the quarterback position at recess. She and I had a Marino/Clayton, Manning/Harrison, Thigpen/Gonzalez connection on the practice field, and it carried over into the classroom where I was one of her favorite students.

I reached UFS status (Undisputed Favorite Student) with my Tony Award-nominated puppet show, Froggielocks, an epic tale of perseverance and redemption adapted from Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. I wrote, produced, directed and starred in the production, which required me to fearlessly peform a blonde girl's accent in front of a room full of quick-to-judge 11 year-old classmates. A legend was like, totally born that day.

Everything was going flawlessly my 5th grade year. My teacher liked me. I liked my teacher. I was developing my playwrighting skills. I was catching the eye of a few elementary co-eds. I was profiting immensely from the prostitution ring I was running from my parents' basement. Life was good. And then it happened...

Me and one of my buds decided to talk to a couple of the cuties from class at recess. I was on top of the world and my buddy was brimming with confidence following his supporting role in Froggielocks. Ain't no thang.

Given that I was a campus icon, I didn't feel the need to work on my game. I thought I had the necessary credentials.

I walked right over to them. Grabbed my crotch. Shook my right leg. And let out an EEE-HEE!! so powerful only pre-pedophile Michael Jackson could fully appreciate. CHITTITTY LOCK UM HMMMMMMMMM. EEE-HEE!!! One more crotch grab and the girls were eating this shit up.

It was (and still is) the ultimate icebreaker. We giggled like only school kids could giggle until recess ended. Fifteen minutes later, my universe would collapse on itself...

"Jason, I need you to come outside with me for a minute," Mrs. Elway said.

A couple of your classmates said you grabbed yourself in front of them at recess. Is that true?

Yeah. I was just giving them what they wanted.

Okay, okay. That's not what I said...

How awkward of a scenario is this? Holy shit. Looking back it still makes me laugh my ass off. So there I am, staring at the ground with my hands in my pockets. Embarassed as hell. And fucking pissed that those little bitches ratted me out after laughing and playing with me like they wanted to have my babies...

Yeah. It's true. I was just messing around though. Doing my Michael Jackson impression.

I'm pretty sure Mrs. Elway was fighting back the laughs when she hit me with the next line...

Well, this is pretty serious. You know that's extremely inappropriate and you can't go around touching your privates in front of girls. Gentlemen don't act that way.

I thought it would end here with a steady tongue lashing. But I was wrong. Even Mrs. Elway couldn't be trusted. Even she would betray me in the end...

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to call your mom and tell her about this...

What a bitch. The sheer embarassment from my teacher telling me I shouldn't touch my privates in front of girls was enough to ruin my first dozen sexual experiences. The lesser of two lessons was already learned. Now she was just rubbing salt in my peehole.

School ends. Mrs. Elway takes me with her to the teacher's office area. Picks up the phone. Calls my mom.

"Mrs. (my last name), I'm calling to let you know that Jason got in to some trouble today. He did something inappropriate at recess. He was playing with a couple of the girls and he...ahem...he touched his privates and did some kind of dance. I just thought you should know..."

My poor mom. The only woman I could trust at the time and I embarassed her. I haven't ever talked to her about what she was thinking on the other end of the phone, but I always imagined her holding back laughter thinking...

My son is a dipshit.

But she reconfirmed my trust in her when she picked me up and didn't say a damn thing about it. The look on my face alone must have said...

Mom, it's cool. I'll only touch my genitalia in private. At least until I'm 12.

The greater of the two lessons learned?

Never trust something that bleeds for 7 days and doesn't die.

February 15, 2009

Ode to a Mall Cop

So here's the problem I'm going to have moving forward. Most writers have life experiences to pull from for ideas. Some think up shit in the midst of a weekend meth bender. Others write about the chick who could do the splits while covered in nacho cheese. Some did hard time. Some without doing the crime. Some can rhyme. But those experiences differ from mine.

I can honestly say I've never consumed an illegal substance (did you catch that FBI Recruiter?), I haven't yet experimented with queso, I've had no run-ins with the law and some days my words don't even flow. You know? But I got's to get to the next paragraph yo.

All I do is win championships.

I'm not complaining about my quality of life here, that's not the point of this entry. So far I'm pretty fulfilled. My life may be vanilla, but I got chocolate skillz.

So where am I going to get my source material? Who knows. But I'm not short of ideas yet. I mentioned earlier that I've never been in trouble with the law, but I did have one close call. And if it weren't for the effort, wisdom and dedication of Mid Rivers Mall Security in St. Peters, Missouri back in 1994, I just might be living life on the unforgiving streets of Sugar Land today.

The Setting (for those of you with poor reading comprehension skills who missed this two sentences ago): Mid Rivers Mall, St. Peters, Missouri, 1994.

The Characters: 12-year-old Me naive of the dangers of white middle class suburban thug mentality, Mike, Mike's dad, and Mid Rivers Mall's finest.

Mike lived down the street from me in Lake St. Louis, Missouri. He's the kid my parents no doubt were most happy to get me away from when we moved to Texas. His entire family seemed odd to me at the time. Given that I was only 12 and picking up on weird family life vibes probably meant that they were one fucked up family. Hills Have Eyes-style. Mike was a year older than me and quickly becoming a terrifyingly bad influence on me. He was a pot-smoking straight-A student and had shoulder-length straggly hair that was shaved underneath. Remember that hair style? The one that was created when someone decided the rat tail wasn't white trash enough?

One of the most uncomfortable days of my childhood was the day I went canoeing with Mike and his dad. Somehow Mike's dad managed to say about 10 words over an 8-hour period while on a canoe in the middle of butt effing Missouri.

But anyways...

The Story: Mike's dad takes me and Mike to the mall because he has some Christmas shopping to do. We don't hit the road until after dark, so we don't have much time once we get to the mall.

Once there, Mike's dad sends us kids on our way so he can buy some things at Famous Barr (now Macy's). Me and Mike shop the mall like any pre-teen would. We hit Gadzook's (this was before it was gay), Spencer's and a couple of teeny bop stores until the mall starts shutting down. Well Famous Barr, being a department store and all, stays open an hour later than the rest of the mall. This being BCE (before the cell phone era), me and Mike use this time to walk the mall alone michieviously. By 9:15 this place is a ghost town. Looking for a cheap thrill, Mike and I climb over Santa's workshop and take a couple of the free sample cereal packs Santa gives away to any tike who waits 7 hours to take a picture with him.

I'm a little hungry so I pop open the Cocoa Puffs and start nibbling. We head up the second floor to check the scene and that's when reality bites. A flashlight shines on our backs and a voice yells, "Stop right there!" We look back to see 2 security guards holding flashlights like Horatio Crane on CSI Miami.

Given that the mall is empty and thinking that we haven't done anything wrong, we stop rather than take off running. Looking back on this, it's definitely possible these guys were totally fucking with us kids. God I hope so. Otherwise what transpired was the biggest abuse of power in the history of mankind.

You kids know the mall is closed right?

Yes sir. We're just waiting on my dad to finish shopping.

Where is he?

He's at Famous Barr. We're on our way to meet him now.

Son, what are you holding in your hand?

This is cereal from Santa's workshop.

Yep...you kids are gonna have to come with us.

The mall cops grab our shirts and walk us back to the bowels of the mall to Mall Security Headquarters. Our final destination is a well-lit room about 15x15 in size. The mall cops tell us to have a seat by the wall and begin questioning us like we killed their partner or something. The highlights of the interrogation went something like this (talking to me, not Mike)...

Let me ask you something, how much is that hat you're wearing?

I was wearing a fitted Michigan Wolverines hat backwards (it was trendy to like the Wolverines back in the day).

About 20 bucks.

So your parents can give you 20 bucks to spend on a ball cap but you don't have money to buy food. Is that right?

No sir. I have money to buy food...er...my parents do sir.

So why are you stealing cereal?

I have to admit, as a 12-year-old kid who had never been in trouble these fuckers had me rattled...

I don't know sir. Don't they give this out for free anyway?

That may be true but you still stole it...

It's at this point Lt. Dangle realizes I've been munching on Cocoa Puffs throughout the entire conversation. It's this fact that prompts him to make the statement that makes me re-evaluate life as a 12-year-old. It's this statement that singlehandedly keeps me away from life on the streets. It's stuck with me ever since. It makes me ponder...do I want a life on the streets, or do I want a life in a 4x4 cubicle selling cruises throughout my 20's? It's this statement that makes me see the answer to this question clearly...

Throw me those Cocoa Puffs, son. They don't belong to you.

Of course I want to work in a 4x4 cubicle. Who doesn't?

So long story relatively short because I'm tired of typing, the mall cops call my parents and get the answering machine and don't leave a message. My parents still don't know this ever happened. Mike's dad gets the story from the cops and says like 4 words about it on the way home. The cops say we could have gotten a Class C Misdemeanor, but shockingly no charges were filed. Probably because we stole something that was free. Is that really stealing?

Thankfully, the DA let us off easy.

Four years later, my high school economics class taught me why what I did was wrong. TINSTAAFB...

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Breakfast.

February 14, 2009

First Remarks and Hammerhead Sharks

I'd like to acknowledge in the first sentence that even thinking about writing a blog is as close to the gay/metro realm as I'd like to venture. The fact that I actually started one has me checking my undies to make sure everything is still in place and still beautiful. Well, it's equal parts there and beautiful. So all is right in the world. Holla.

Anyways, I fancy myself the creative type and have realized fairly recently that sitting in a cubicle for 9 hours a day doesn't really tickle my creative pickle. So that's what brings me here. I have no idea how frequently I'll be updating the site. Like most things I try to add to my life, like getting the gym or drinking fewer than 15 alcoholic beverages per week, this will probably be a fad that lasts through this post and then one more rant about how much Mitt Romney kicks ass two days from now. I encourage feedback. So if either of you reading this blog want to leave a comment, please feel free to do so.

I'll try to limit profanity as much as possible. Cock. Balls. But most of you know I have a bit of a potty mouth at times. And don't be fooled by this post, I'm way too fucking lazy to capitalize letters in all future posts. So grammar nazi's save your energy.

Likely topics for posts will be random tidbits from the day, my take on relationships or politics, and any random funny shit that happens to me or has happened to me in the past. I'll try to limit the politics talk because overall it's pretty fucking boring and Rush and O'Reilly cover that shit almost as well as I could. Plus, I really don't care what you think unless you think like me. So you don't really care what I think. If any of my friends are included in my stories, I'll use fictious names or won't use names at all to maintain anonymity. Hopefully I won't hurt anybody's feelings, but when this shit takes off like the Rocketeer there's going to be some anonymous peeps who know I'm talking about them. Knowimsayin?

For entertainment value, I'll be a little more mean-spirited than I am in person. But enough disclaimers.

I'm a little nervous about putting myself this out there in case I ever go after a job with the FBI. And I'm only half-kidding. I'm considering that. I can see how the interview would go:

Mr. (MyLastName), thanks for coming in today. Before we get started I just wanted to let you know the status of your background check. Everything came back fine but there was that blog you had back in '09. Nobody ever read it so it shouldn't be an issue, but at one point you wrote quote, "Cock. Balls." without any apparent reason. Do you mind explaining that?

To polish off the first blog I'll tell the story that many of you have already heard in person. We'll call it The Hammerhead. However there's an update to this that most of you haven't heard.

The Setting: Baker Street Sugar Land

The Characters: Me and my co-worker friend Matt, Hammerhead, random bartenders

The Plot: Me and Matt meet up for drinks after work for a tad late happy hour. I think it's a Thursday night. Fast forward to today, and I haven't seen Matt in about 2 years and I only knew him for about 8 months, but he's easily one of the 10 funniest people I've ever met. We're a couple of drinks into the night when Hammerhead makes eye contact with me and makes a B-line straight at me. She's about 5'10", maybe 180 or so. Pretty big girl but certainly not morbidly obese. But her eyes are a good solid 4 inches apart, Hammerhead shark-style. She's got fiery red hair and looks like she knows how to p-a-r-t-y. And of course that's not a good thing. She's obviously a few drinks further along than Matt and I, because she grabs my arm and murmers something to me like "oh my god you're so hot."

Now despite my rugged good looks, this sort of thing doesn't happen to me frequently, so I don't know exactly what to say to Hammerhead. I try to brush her aside gently-yet-decisively by giving her a "Haha, gee thanks. That's nice. Well, we're going over there."

Hammerhead isn't having any of it. She comes after me like she has scurvy and my cock is a packet of Emergen-C. Matt's wingman efforts are worthy of a Purple Heart this night as he tries to shake her off with every manuever in the book. We try the we're gay route, we have girlfriends route, we're not interested route, the get the fuck away route. But there is blood in the water and Hammerhead is onto the scent.

I finally get her to leave us alone by saying politely "Hey me and my buddy haven't seen each other for a while so we're just trying to catch up. I'll come by and we can talk at the end of the night." She takes the bait and does her thing for the next couple of hours.

The lights came on for last call a couple of hours later. By this time me and Matt are totally shitfaced and have all but forgotten about Hammerhead until she makes one last hurrah. She walks over to us and says "Can I ask you guys something..."

And before she could finish Matt interrupts with the meanest thing I've ever heard someone say to someone's face...

Yeah, you're fucking UGLY.

Immediately after saying it, Matt is crouched over the bar laughing so hysterically he's got tears in his eyes. Well, this is terrible and Hammerhead looks ready for a fight at this point so I try to salvage things by saying,

I don't think you're ugly at a...

Then SPLASH! Her 3/4 full Jack and Coke is all over me. It drenches my shirt. It's splattered all across my glasses. It's all up in my hair and inside my ear like I just got shot with a Super Soaker a-la 1994. And I'm laughing so hard a couple of drops of pee escape.

Not only has this never happened to me, I've never seen it happen to anyone at any bar I've ever been to. And that's a shit-ton of bars. I mean this shit is straight out of a shitty RomCom starring Meg Ryan. Meg Ryan wouldn't be the one throwing the drink of course. She'd see it happen at a bar and write about it in her advice column for some Cosmo-style mag. And we'd hear her take on the story via voice over.

Hammerhead swims off and I look over at the bartenders who are laughing like it's the funniest shit they've ever seen. Two years later I can't go to the bar without one of them asking where my girlfriend is. Who, Hammerhead? That ain't my bitch knowimsayin.

Adding to the Saga, this New Year's Eve I go to a random bar in the Heights to watch my girlfriend's gig and who's serving me my drinks? Lo and behold, it's Hammerhead. What an odd twist of fate. After several rounds I run into her on the way to the bathroom and I say rather non-chalantly to avoid vag cheese in my beer, "You know, you threw a drink on me once. That was fucked up."

She proceeded hug me, kiss my cheek and apologize.

I'll always wash that cheek again.